Tuesday, 13 June 2017

WWKiP Day Recap, and sneak peeks for Canada 150!

Well, I'm back from Leslie Grove Park, folks, and I had a blast!

Sadly, I didn't do a lot of (ok, any) photo taking. I was too busy chattering and knitting.

I was a bit late getting there, since part of the Subway was down for maintenance over the weekend.  But, I made it in the long run, which is the important part.   Originally the weather looked like we might get rained out, but, nope, it was actually perfect weather. Underneath the trees in the shade, we were quite comfortable!

Since it was about knitting in public, I brought with me a new WIP I've started up recently.  Though I didn't get photos while there, I've taken some now so you folks can see!

This is a prototype of my Zig Zag Lace Tank Top (as usual, working title)!  This particular photograph is the beginning of the back panel.

Flat Knitted lace on two wooden needles, with a bottom edge of ribbing. The yarn is a fingering weight, and varigated blue-green-brown.

The yarn is Fleece Artists' Canada 150 Yarn, in the New Brunswick Colourway, and the needles are Maple needles from Turn of the Century.

And oh my goodness, this yarn is gorgeous!  I picked up a few different colours while I was The Purple Purl last time, and I'm -so- glad I did, it's selling out all over the place!  I have plans to make my second sample of this tank in the Northwest Territories colourway; and I've also got a skein of the Yukon colourway as well that I have different ideas for.

But that wasn't the only excitement.  The wonderful staff of The Purple Purl were doing giveaways, and I ended up with this wonderful bag!

A bag striped in Purple, Turquoise, and Black.  It has two handles and a zippered top.
I managed to remember the various KAL's that the store's done over time (after stammering for a moment, because I forgot the names of the patterns) so I that's how I won this bag. It's got a zippered top and an interior zippered pocket that defied photography, and it's actually quite sturdy. So, a huge thank you to The Purple Purl for the awesome new project bag!

Anyway, that's my update from WWKiP 2017.  It was a lot of fun, and I'm already looking forward to next year's KiP!

Thursday, 8 June 2017

World Wide Knit In Public Day!

Yep, you read that right!

WWKiP Logo: Two knitting needles crossed over an image of the globe. Text Around the Globe Reads: World Wide Knit in Public Day
For those who are unfamiliar, please let me explain.  Every year, on World Wide Knit in Public Day, people gather together in public places to knit.  There's lots of reasons, which the website enumerates better then I ever could.  But, at it's most basic level, it's all about community.

So, I'll be out for WWKiP day this year.  I'm heading to Leslie Grove Park this Saturday, as The Purple Purl is running an event!  For the Toronto locals, the landmark for the park is Queen Street East and Jones Ave (which is 1 block west of Queen and Leslie). It's 1 to 4 pm, and it's going to be a sort of picnic, so bring blankets!   They'll have prizes, and a trunk show from The Blue Brick Yarns (who I have to confess I know very little about, but I'm suspecting that will change on Saturday)!

And, they'll also have some of the folks from Knitted Knockers there too!

It's going to be a busy weekend, but I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, 5 June 2017

2017 Toronto Knitter's Frolic Haul!

It's taken me longer then I'd like to write this, considering the Frolic was over a month ago.  My apologies.

To those who aren't familiar with the Toronto Knitter Frolic, I promise, my delay is solely because of the sheer amount of awesomeness there is to write about!

The big questions are always: "what did you get!?"  "Who did you visit?"

And well, here is my answer to that question!  Those of you on Facebook may have already seen these photos (I'm more active on Facebook then other social media, I think it's because it's the most familiar to me!), so if you've already seen these, then you're ahead of everyone else, and I ask for your patience once again!

My first find was from the wonderful folks at The Woodlot, who've been coming to the Frolic for a number of years now.  The buttons are all reclaimed wood, which is awesome.  I'm not entirely sure what exactly these will be used for, but they've been tucked away safely in my button jar for now!
A small plastic package containing wooden buttons. At the top, there is a cardboard foldover with an image of trees and the text: Wood Buttons.

It's not just wooden buttons, either, but bigger tools, as well!  Courtesy of AB Originals, I finally got myself a nostepinne.  (And yes, I had to look up how to pronounce that!) 
I've already put it to use winding up tag-ends and half skeins for a scrap blanket.   It did take some exploring on Youtube to make it work, (you can find the video tutorial I used on my Fiber Arts Resource Page, scroll down to Nostepinne to find it!)

Wooden Nosterpinne. A wooden dowl with a carved handle, and a notch around the other end.

Next find is from Stix and Stones.  I first got introduced to these wonderful folks when they came into Toronto as vendors for a Toronto Knitter's Guild Meeting, and I was excited to see them as vendors at the Frolic, as well.   I picked up two skeins of Dragon Strings Siren Hair.  The colour is "Froggie in the Pond" which was another hard one to photograph.  Despite my best attempts, I'm not sure the colour is completely true-to-life, but it should still give an idea of the awesomeness that is this yarn.

Two twisted skeins of turquoise variegated yarn

My random lucky find at the Frolic was two skeins of Truffula, which is a limited-edition base from Red Sock Blue Sock.  I stopped at their booth on a whim (I was distracted by the pretty colours!) and ended up with this.  It's called "Blue Jay", and it's gorgeous.  It feels a bit rough in hand, so I'm curious to see how it behaves when I wash it.
Two skeins of varigated blue-white yarn on a wooden surface.

Every time I go to the Frolic, I hit up Dye-Version. Jane is a total sweetheart, and I always end up chattering to her at the booth. Plus, I really do love their yarns, especially their BFL Sock!  This is possibly the hardest-wearing sock yarn I've found; and the colours are amazing.  This particular batch is called "Neptune".

A skein of deep turquoise yarn laying flat.

Sadly, this isn't their BFL Sock, but it is another favorite, of their 100% Bamboo! They do a Fingering Weight and a Sport Weight Bamboo, and this is the Sport Weight.  The colour is "Nymph", and I have plans for it to be a shawl, I think.

A skein of deep turquoise yarn laying flat.

And it's only now in typing this that I realize I missed photographing one of my finds!  Arg!  The yarn in question is now nicely stored away in my big plastic bin of lace-weight yarn, so I don't want to go digging to fish it out. That said, here goes: 
I got two skeins of the special Frolic Blend from Cottage Craft Angora. It's a gorgeous yarn, a blend of a number of fibers, including 10% Qiviut.  I've never worked with Qiviut before, so that's going to be exciting for me!

Another exciting find for me this year was the Upper Canada FiberShed. I'd seen their booth in previous years, but not really checked it out (which, I admit, was foolish)!   I got 4 skeins of 100% Alpaca from Nuevo Norte Alpacas at their booth, and the pictures don't do the yarn justice.   I'm planning for this to become a cabled tunic.
4 skeins of marled yarn

Last but not least was the awesome yarn that was tucked into the Gift Baskets from the Spring Social! It was hard to get a picture that photographed true-to-colour, so this was the best one I could find. The yarn is a sport-weight cotton from Universal Yarns, who were one of the sponsors for the Spring Social.

Two cakes of green/turquoise yarn

And for those of you who are wondering what this Spring Social was, you can check out the description here (scroll down), and you can see pictures on the Toronto Knitter's Guild Flickr Stream. I originally was on the fence about going, but I'm really glad I did! It was wonderful, and I very much hope they do it again next year!

Thursday, 1 June 2017

If This, Then That. (IFTTT)

Sounds like a logic puzzle, doesn't it?  Or maybe something out of your high-school programming class?

Yep, you're not far off.

IFTTT is a website.  It's a website where you can go in and automate just about anything.

For example, on their home page right now, I see little applets that will do things like "Get an e-mail if there will be rain in your area tomorrow".  And "E-mail me when there are new books on the best-seller list."   There are also more specific ones, like "Get an E-mail when X Store puts new products for sale."  The list is almost endless.  I'm incredibly thankful it's searchable.

I know I've only scratched the surface of what it can do, But in doing so, I really thought I should share.

The biggest (and currently) the only applet I'm using is RSS to E-mail.  So that takes an RSS feed, and e-mails me each time that feed has an update.  Why is that useful?


Screen Capture from IFTTT, showing a number of RSS subsciptions to KAL threads.
Screen Grab from my own Applets on IFTTT
 This is a screenshot from my own IFTTT account.  I've got a bunch of the RSS to E-mail applets.  And they're incredibly useful.  They consolidate all of my feeds across a bunch of different threads places right into my e-mail account.  The biggest purpose?  To keep up-to-date on Ravelry KAL threads, chat threads, blog posts, and more!  While Ravelry's 'watch thread'  function is useful, no question, for me and my admittedly distractable mind, getting an e-mail for each new post is even better!  It insures that I don't miss a post that I actually might care about.

This also means that following blogs, no matter the host, is easy!  If there's not an easy 'follow by e-mail' option on the blog I'm looking at, I've yet to find a blog that doesn't have an RSS feed.
I also am looking at getting IFTTT to e-mail me when specific people I follow on Facebook/Google+ post new content.  On Facebook, it's rare to see all of someone's content unless you go right to their page, and for me, having everything one place makes sure I don't miss something! Right now I can't find an applet for that, but maybe I can make one?

Anyway, I've been wanting to share this cool piece of tech for a bit, so, here you folks go!

Have any of you used IFTTT?  How did you find it?  Did it work for you (or not)?   Please, let me know in the comments!

Monday, 29 May 2017

I'm teaching Knitting Classes!

. . . wait what?

Yep, you read the title right, I'm now officially teaching Knitting Classes!

Learn to Knit with Sarah Dawn.  In Person Knitting Class: Materials Included.  Toronto, Ontario, Canada Area

Learn to Knit with Sarah Dawn.  Knitting Class: Virtual or In-Person.  Toronto, Ontario, Canada Area.

The classes are available via my Etsy Shop (see the image links above for direct links to the listings), or you can contact me directly at sarahdawnsdesigns@gmail.com, as always, for more info.

The classes are are one-on-one, and either 2 or 3 hours long.  For those in the Toronto, Ontario, Canada area, it's an in-person class with materials included; and the meeting place will be decided on mutually.  It'll likely be an accessible public space like a coffee shop or library.  For those outside the GTA, it's a virtual/correspondence class, and materials are not included.  If you need more extensive guidance on materials, there's a class on How to Choose Yarn, which also covers choosing needles, hooks, and other tools.

In both cases, I'm customizing the class to the student. Perhaps one person works better over e-mail, while another person works via Skype or Google Hangouts; so I'll work with the student to figure out the best method for communication and teaching.

So, if you're interested, check it out and let me know.  Feedback is most definitely welcome!

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

2nd Place in the Designer's Challenge Voting! Thank you!

Wow.  Thank you all so much! 

Artistic, multi-coloured text: Thank You!

Thanks to your support, interest, and votes, I took second place in the March/April Designer's Challenge Voting!

I'll admit it -- I was wondering if I'd get a single vote.  But you folks did take a moment to go check out the entries and vote, which is super-exciting!

If you're looking for the end results of the designer's challenge, I'm hoping to have the pattern for my Lace Leaf Market Bag (working title!) up for testing in mid-to-late June.  So stay tuned here for the test-knit call!

You folks are awesome.  No, seriously.
That is all. :)

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Designed in Canada KAL on Ravelry!


So I just found the Designed in Canada Ravelry KAL.  It runs from May 27th to the Beginning of September.

An image of the Canadian Flag

I saw it briefly last year, but didn't give it much thought. This year, I actually have some patterns available, so, I'm jumping into offer prizes, and to also offer all my self-published patterns at a 25% discount to KAL participants!  All of my patterns are eligible in the KAL (including my free pattern), so feel free to jump in.   Also, anything I self-publish between now and the beginning of September (or whenever the KAL ends), will also be eligible, so long as you finish it before the KAL deadline.

You do have to be a Ravelry member to participate in this KAL, but if you're not on Ravelry, I do strongly suggest it as a really good fiber resource!

For the KAL rules and sign up, go here; for the 25% off on my patterns for KAL participants, go here. (Also, I'm not the only designer giving discounts, so you can check out that thread for other Canadian designers who are giving pattern discounts for the KAL).

So, after all that's said, I'd love to see you there, and I look forward to seeing your wonderful FO's!

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Me Made May Week 2!

Ok, onto Week 2 of Me Made May!

You'll see some repeat photos, so please bear with me!  And if you're following me on Facebook, a lot of this will look familiar.  
[Image Description: Someone resting their hand on their knee. There's a fair-isle fingerless mitten on their hand, done in worsted-weight yarn].
#MMMay17: Day 9 and 14
So I was out and about at different workshops on May 9th. . . so no new pictures. I've noticed that I don't take my MMMay pictures if I'm running around doing other stuff, so hopefully I can get better about getting pictures when I'm at home!

However, I was wearing the prototypes for my Fair Isle Fingerless Mittens (working name only, I promise!), and here's the repeat photo of them.

I also wore these to The Fair Trade Show on the 14th. If you have the chance and are in the Toronto Area, it's actually a great show! While there was no yarn sellers there, there were lots of people clothing and textiles, and I saw and learned many cool new things (like the fact that you can spin the stems of the Lotus Plant)!

A woman standing next to a window with her hair up around her head in braids. The braids have a purple scarf worked into them.
#MMMay17: Day 10
 I really think I'm getting better at this Selfie thing, it's another selfie that doesn't totally suck! 
Anyway, I've been tying my hair up for a while, and I've been looking into ways to do the 'braids around the head' hairstyle. Hairsticks work fine to keep my hair up and nicely contained, and aren't hard to do with long hair, but you can't wear a winter hat over them. (This is very important for a Canadian Winter!)

Well, I found out how to use scarves to put your hair up in braids, and started doing it.
Anyway, the scarf I used is the 2014 Year of Lace Scarf by Elizabeth Ravenwood. I did her KAL for this scarf when it was released, and I did it in Tanis Fiber Arts Silver Label, in "Grape".

But, I almost never wear a lot of thin scarves around my neck, so I never really knew what to do with it until I started using it as a braid scarf, and it works really well! And, the silk content of the TFA Silver Label means my hair doesn't snag on it. When my hair is fully down, it's mid-back and goes everywhwere, so I really do need to put it up or it gets in -everything-, including my knitting. Having to pull my hair out of my yarn is sometimes a reality. 

Day 11, I admit it, was when I stumbled.  I didn't wear any handknits. At least I have the excuse of not feeling so well.   But I just didn't have a lot of energy that day.

 A woman facing the camera. Her hair is in braids around her head, with a purple scarf braided into them. She is wearing a light blue t-shirt; and a buttoned short-sleeved sweater over the t-shirt. The sweater is knit, with a lace yoke and large wooden buttons
#MMMay17: Day 12 and 13
Day 12 is my first Finished Object in May! I spent the morning of Day 12 finishing and blocking the sweater I'm wearing in the photo, and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out!

The pattern is Tin Can Knits Low Tide, done in baa ram ewe's Titus. Buttons are from The Woodlot's Etsy Shop!

I also wore it on Day 13, to Game Night.  This was one of the projects I worked on during Game Night, so people were curious to see what it had become!

 Well, I think that brings me up to speed for week two!  Again, if people have their own Me Made May projects or stories to share, please, post them to the comments below! I'd love to read them!

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Varigated Yarn Tales Interview, and my thoughts on Disability.

I got interviewed!  Eeek!


Actually, no, it was amazing. It wasn't 'eek' worthy at all! Monica, of Knit's All Folks, was totally sweet, even when my e-mail went weird and I only sent her half of the interview!

It's a little scary -- I've never been interviewed before for my yarn/fiber business.  And I don't often talk about my disabiliti(es) on these platforms.  Not because I'm ashamed, (far from it) but because I don't feel that my disability activism and disability pride work belong directly in my business material.  It's a business, not my personal soap box.   Sure, I'll talk about the legal or business perspectives for accessibility, and why they're important if it's relevant to topics, or direct access barriers for me attending an event and what can be done, or even to provide my knowledge to those who ask. But I'm in this particular corner of the internet to create knitting patterns and fiber-related stuff, not blog about disability.

Monica's search for diverse fiber artists hit home, though, and the two worlds collided a little.  There's almost no representation of disability in the visuals of the knitting community, and, in fact, many disabled knitters can't access parts of the knitting community. There are many yarn stores in Toronto, it's a huge place for awesome fiber people. . . . and yet only two yarn stores are wheelchair accessible.  (If someone knows more, please, let me know in the comments!)  Visually impaired knitters are locked out of a huge range of patterns, because knitting and crochet charts are impossible -- written instructions are needed!  D/deaf knitters are confronted with many, many tutorials on Youtube and other video channels that aren't captioned, or use Youtube's horrible automatic captions.  And Podcasts?  Nope.

And that's only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.

That said, I want to give a huge shout-out to Monica for her interview questions and style!  Quite often interviews of this nature end up focusing solely on my disabilities, and the "tragedy" of what I can't do or my perceived shortcomings.  Monica's questions were about being a fiber artist/knitter, which allowed me to acknowledge where my disabilities mattered, without making it an overshadowing/overwhelming part of the interview.  It showed that I'm also a nerd, that I have way too many WIPs, that I forget to take pictures of my work, and that I'm horrible at naming patterns!

So while I don't usually talk about disability directly on this blog or on Sarah Dawn's Designs social media channels, it is a part of who I am and has shaped how I am, and I can't (and won't) deny that.  I wanted to show that there are fiber artists with disabilities out there, and that we're part of this community too, and we should have proper representation in the publications, and at the events: after all, people with disabilities are actually the largest minority in the world!

Finally, I know that some people with disabilities are afraid to come to events, because they're worried about access needs, and to that I say, make your needs known, advocate for what you need until you get it, and please, come out and join the community of fiber people. They are generally awesome folks!  Yes, you're still going to encounter bias and ableism. I'm not going to put on rose-coloured glasses and say it will be perfect. But most fiber people are honestly willing to try and learn, and most of them really do try and make things right.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Me Made May, Week 1!

Well, welcome to my roundup of my Me Made May Attempt.

I've been chronicling my attempt on Facebook with the #MMMay17 hashtag, (hopefully the search link works, let me know if it doesn't!)

But, I also said I'd post it here as well, so; here we go!

A shawl wrapped around the shoulders and neck of a person. The shawl is a number of various colours and stripes of various thickness, and the bottom edge of the shawl is fringed.
#MMMay17: Days 1 and 3
 This is me wearing my Freestyle Shawl. The pattern is from a pattern book I bought in 2004, and it really is just a scrap shawl. This particular shawl is mostly acrylic scraps, old stash I bought when I didn't really know much about fiber.  However, it is thick and warm, which was needed since we were under a thunderstorm watch; and it was windy, cold, and generally dismal. 
Someone sitting with their feet tucked up on a chair. On their feet is a pair of worsted-weight knitted socks done in a Sky Blue colour. The socks have textured ribbing.
#MMMay17: Day 2

So what do you do when your feet get cold? Grab a pair of heavy socks, that's what!

These are my Textured Socks, knit up in 100% Superwash Worsted Merino Wool. (Pattern is a Ravelry Freebie, you can find it at the link!)

Day 3 was a repeat of the Freestyle Shawl.  The weather's been dismal, and there hasn't been really any sunshine until today (Monday). 

A sky blue open cardigan with ribbed front bands and eyelets along the bottom edge. It's laying flat on a wooden surface.
#MMMay17: Day 4
 And the weather continued, and I wanted something else warm to wear about the house.  Shawls are great to snuggle under, but not so practical when you have to do housework. 

 So this is my Staring At Stars Sweater, (pattern by Alicia Plummer) done in 2016 as part of a Knit-Along run by Eat.Sleep.Knit.. It came out a teeny bit too big for me, but it's another thing that I'll reach for on a cooler day (and since it's still raining, today definitely qualifies!)

 Also,  I think I've mentioned before that my selfie taking skills leave much to be desired. While I was wearing this, I couldn't get it to photograph remotely right (and the one time it did, I looked so -angry- because I was concentrating so hard)!  So, here's a picture instead, of it spread out. I was wearing it most of May 4th, I promise!

A blue textured fingerless mitten done in fingering-weight yarn
#MMMay17: Day 5
 Those of you who follow this blog have probably seen these before.  They're my Spiralling Star Fingerless Mittens, and the testing for them is almost done. Yarn for these is a gorgeous Merino/Silk Blend from SweetGeorgia Yarns, and look for the pattern late May/early June, if all goes well!

Someone resting their hand on their knee. There's a fair-isle fingerless mitten on their hand, done in worsted-weight yarn.
#MMMay17: Day 6 and 7
Well, the weather was still horrible, but this was taken while I was enroute to the St Lawrence Market (seriously, if you get the chance to go to the Farmer's Market, it's amazing, if crowded)!  I also wore them a day later, on the Sunday morning to church (we had a frost warning, so I was glad I had them!)

I knew I needed something warm, so, I chose something I knew was warm -- these are made from Juniper Moon Farm Moonshine, so they're Alpaca/Wool/Silk, and really nice next to the skin.

These are a prototype of one of my own patterns -- my working title is "Fair Isle Fingerless Mittens", which is descriptive; but not what I'm going to publish under! Pattern is still in draft stage, but I'm hoping to get this one out by September at the latest. So keep your eyes peeled here, on Facebook, or on Google for the test knit call. 

Image Description: A woman smiling at the camera, waving her hand. There's a shawl wrapped around her shoulders, neck and chest. The shawl is cream with 5 colour stripes, the stripes are a gradient from purple to green.
#MMMay17 Day 8
Wow, a selfie that isn't horrible!  Maybe I'm learning something?

Well, here I am. I decided to knit outside on our balcony today, since it's actually nice out! But it was cool enough to need a shawl while I worked, especially when the sun went in. 

So, the shawl I'm wearing is my First Point Of Libra, by Laura Aylor. I knit it as part of a knit-along hosted by The Purple Purl (even if, as usual for me, I finished late)! The yarn was chosen for the KAL, and it's SweetGeorgia Yarns Tough Love Sock. The stripes are their Mini-Skein Party of Five Set. 

Well, that's the first week of Me Made May!  Here's hoping I can continue through!  I've got a vest that's off the needles, it just needs ends woven in and blocking.  And there's a second sweater I might finish up as well before the month's end.  

If anyone has any awesome Me Made May stories/photos, I'd love to hear them!  Please, post them in the comments here!

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

March/April Designer's Challenge: Voting and Sneak Previews!

Hello again!

So, those who follow me on Facebook might have already seen these, but for those who haven't, here is a preview of my (tentatively titled) Lace Leaf Market Bag!

A mesh market bag with a half-open drawstring top.

A mesh market bag with a few vegetables inside. It's been tied off at the top with a twisted cord drawstring.

A mesh bag laying flat on a dark surface. The top half of the bag is openwork mesh, the bottom is a lace pattern of overlapping leaves.

And, since I finished on time (for once!), I'm in the running for the voting!

As usual, the entries have been amazing, so please, go, check it out and vote for your favorite entry on the Ravelry Thread.

Voting runs until the 17th of September.  So, if you've got a minute,  please go take a look!  You will need to be a Ravelry member to see the forum thread and be able to vote, but signing up is completely free, so don't worry about that!

That's to for the moment!  Thanks for your support, folks!

Monday, 1 May 2017

Giveaway of Tickets to The Fair Trade Show!

Hello all!

Just a quick blog post this time around:  I'm giving away two tickets to The Fair Trade Show, which is in Toronto, Ontario, May 13 and 14.
A mannequin holding a generic paper ticket.
The giveaway's happening over on my Facebook Page.  It closes May 5, (since they're paper tickets, I want to make sure I have enough time to get them in the mail!) So if you'd be at all interested, pop on over to the linked Facebook post and comment!

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Spring Construction: Resource List, Errata, and Social Media Changes

Hello again all!

So now that Spring has finally appeared, it seems that it's the time for my blog to undergo some construction.

A crossed hammer and wrench on yellow warning sign.  Text underneath reads: Under Construction

As I learn more about the Blogger Interface, I've been adding more features here (you may have noticed!) But it's not just that. I'm slowly expanding both my knowledge and my web presence, and the changes here are going to reflect that! 

So, without further ado, here's what's changed in the past little while, and what's going to change in the near future:
  1. First and Foremost, I'm now on Google+!  So those who were looking to find me there before, well, now you can!
  2. Second, in relation to that, I've added in a Social Media Widget on the Sidebar, replacing my previous list of links.  The Widget has links to Facebook, Ravelry, Google+, Pinterest, and my Etsy Store. I had to do some tweaking to get things to do what I wanted, so if something isn't displaying correctly, or a link isn't working, please let me know!
  3. Errata!  Those who follow me on Ravelry or have seen my listings on Etsy have seen that I've added Errata links to my pattern pages, and those are hosted here on my blog.  It means that if you have a copy of my patterns and aren't getting the Ravelry Updates when I correct something, you now can access Errata for the patterns.  You should be able to see the list of pattern Errata in a new list of links on the sidebar.
  4. Resource List: I'm slowly working to migrate my list of Fiber Arts Resources from the sidebar to their own page, and I'm getting close to done!  So please don't panic when that list vanishes; the list has simply been moved (and added to)!
  5. Mailing List Sign Up.  Yep, you can now sign up for my (infrequent) Mailing List right from the blog.   Just check the sidebar!
  6. I've added in a 'Follow By E-mail Option, also in the sidebar.  It's a bit different then the Mailing List, though it will keep you up to date just as well -- it will e-mail you when I post a new blog post here. 
  7. And right at the top of the Blog Sidebar, I've added in a Search.  Just in case people want to find something in older posts. 
Thanks for all your patience during these changes -- I hope they work for you to find what you're looking for here, and feedback is always appreciated.

Now, I'm going to go back out on my balcony and enjoy the spring weather.  Until Next Time!

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Sneak Peak from the IKD Challenge!

Well, the Initiate Knit Design Challenge from Aroha Knits has finished up, and I wanted to share with you all what I came up with!

A small swatch of cable and lace knit in the round; done in sky blue fingering-weight yarn.

I know, it doesn't look like much, but this little swatch will one day become a hat!

The inspiration's been kicking around the back of my brain for this one for a while.  Where I live used to be a factory/industrial area, and now the factories and such are being converted into condos, lofts, and office buildings.   But there's still some quirky architecture around, and one of those quirks is still some slats of corrugated metal on the side of buildings that create vertical lines -- except when they don't create lines due to wear, rust, or decay.   So, I wanted tight vertical twists of cables, with a few open holes; and this is the stitch pattern I came up with.

The yarn for this is Northbound Knitting Merino Silk Fingering, and it's a gorgeous yarn to work with. The Merino gives it a bit of stretch, and the silk gives it sheen and amazing drape.  Even my Fuzzy Knitting Helper approves of this yarn:

A black fluffy cat curled around a wound up ball of yarn.  The cat looks to be asleep.
The rough release timing for this pattern is probably sometime in November 2017, if everything comes together properly, so keep your eyes open here late September/early October for the test knit call!

That's it for now, so until next time!

Monday, 17 April 2017

Spiralling Star Fingerless Mitts Test-Knit


My apologies for not posting this sooner to my blog, but the Holiday weekend did play about with my schedule.  So, here I am!

Anyway, here's the test-knit call for my newest pattern, my Spiralling Star Fingerless Mitts.

a pair of blue fingerless mittens in a textured pattern being worn and displayed against a brick wall.
These are fingering-weight fingerless mittens, worked up in Star Stitch (also known as 3 into 3, if you look for it in Estonian stitch databases!). The sample shown is in Sweet Georgia Merino/Silk Fine in "Hush"

If people are interested, sign ups are over in the Ravelry Thread.

Also, if you want to be notified on Ravelry about new test-knits; you can PM me on Ravelry to sign up in my test-knitter's thread!  I'll also post test knits here and on my mailing list (sign up link), but the Ravelry notifications are usually the fastest.

That's about it for the moment. There are a few more exciting things coming down the pipe, so stay tuned for more information, test-knit calls, and other fun stuff!

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Me Made May 2017

I saw the Me Made May challenge last year, but found out about it quite late.  So, this year I'm in!


'I, Sarah Dawn of Sarah Dawn's Designs sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '17. I endeavour to wear one piece of clothing made by me each day for the duration of May 2017' 

I don't have an instagram account, but I'll be documenting this daily on Facebook. Weekends will likely be tricky, since I tend to be lazy about my clothes on the weekends, but I'll see how this goes through! Since my selfie-taking ability is questionable at best, I don't know how much photography will happen, but again, I'll see what I can do!

Most of my MMMay17 choices will probably be socks. I do have a good number of hand-knit socks. Mittens, too (it can be still cold enough to need fingerless mittens, and they're great at keeping the gunk off my hands!).  I do have two sweaters that I've made for me (with another on the needles), so those are another option.  I have lots of shawls, so those are another thing that I can wear.

For those who are curious exactly what this is, you can check out the image link, which will take you to the explanation and 2017 sign ups.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, 30 March 2017

(Almost) One Year Sale!

The title's a little weird, I know.

But, it was one year ago to the day that I actually went and signed up for the Business Development Program from TBDC.

So, to celebrate my life-changing (and terrifying) step forward towards self-employment, I'm having a sale!

The words 'Sale' in colourful text
Yep, a sale!

So, until end-of-day March 31, 2017 (that's -5 GMT), you can get 50% off any of my self-published patterns via Ravelry or Etsy with the code: BIZCLASSSTART2017

If you've had your eyes on my patterns before, now, here's your chance to pick them up half-price.

I hope you enjoy!

Pattern Release -- Snowdrop Lace Cowl!

Hello all!

So I'm quite pleased to present the release of a new pattern -- the Snowdrop Lace Cowl!

A woman holding a bulky-weight knit cowl over her mouth and nose
Photography: Stephanie Wallace
This cowl was originally created as part of the Initiate Knit Design Challenge, hosted by Francoise Danoy of Aroha Knits. The goal of the challenge was to help people get their design ideas off the ground, and this super-bulky lace and cable cowl was the result!

The cowl is worked in the round, with garter stitch edging and the Snowdrop Cable and Lace Pattern forming the body of the cowl.
The yarn used in the pattern is Blue Sky Fibers Bulky, which is 50% alpaca, 50% wool. It is classified as a super-bulky, so for substitution purposes, you’ll want to double most yarns if you want to knit this in anything below a bulky-weight. Also, if you’re substituting yarns, I’d suggest a yarn with at least 50% wool content.

A woman sitting with a bulky cowl loose around her neck.
Photography: Stephanie Wallace

To purchase, you can visit the Ravelry Download Page or my Etsy Shop Listing.
5.00 CAD
Feedback, comments, and questions are, as usual, quite welcome!  You can comment here, send me a PM on Ravelry, or e-mail me at sarahdawnsdesigns@gmail.com

I hope you enjoy, and I'd love to see your FOs!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The Initiate Knit Design Challenge (aka, the humble beginnings of my Snowdrop Lace Cowl).

Here's a bit of designer irony:  people often ask me 'where do you get your ideas?'

The answer to that is: usually, at the most inopportune moments, an idea will pop into my head.  It will occur at a time when I have no way to write it down.  In the shower, or half-asleep.  Or maybe when I've got my hands covered in paint (my other hobby).  And my ability to sketch in a hurry leaves a lot to be desired.  My last attempt to sketch a shawl design. . . well, lets just say I opted to hand-write some notes, instead.

It's not about a lack of ideas when it comes to designing.  Quite the opposite -- I've got a long list of pattern ideas I haven't even really swatched for yet!    Instead, it's about the ability to translate those ideas into an actual, functional, pattern, something that someone else can knit, and a pattern that will actually create the thing that you envision in your mind.

Enter: the Initiate Knit Design Challenge:

A background image with a skein of yarn, a small plant, and the hand of someone sketching in a notebook. The foreground is a text overlay: "Join us for the Initiate Knit Design Challenge.  Transform your yarn into designs of your own making."  A small banner at the top of the image reads: "Starts April 3".  A banner at the bottom of the image reads: "www.initiateknitdesign.com"
Run by the wonderful Aroha Knits,  it was this program that gave me the design for my Snowdrop Cable and Lace Cowl.  It was the perfect kick-start to go from rough design idea to finished project.   You don't have to finish the project (and you wouldn't be able to finish most projects in the 10 day span of the challenge, anyway), but it's about getting to a point where the design is solid, and this challenge does that very well!

And, as a bonus, the challenge is free to sign up.  Yep, that's right, it's free.  I'm always amazed that Francoise Danoy (the woman behind Aroha Knits) is willing to run this challenge for free.  This challenge stands on its own, and while she does have other classes that are not free, this challenge is solid even without those courses.

I'm entering again, so I'll see what inspiration is sparked this time!  To sign up, click on the image above, or go to www.initiateknitdesign.com/.

Well, I hope to see some of you in the challenge!  It starts April 3, so there's still plenty of time to sign up.

See you there!

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Toronto Knitter's Guild -- March 2017 Skills Exchange!

 Yes, that's right!

The Toronto Knitter's Guild is hosting their Skills Exchange again, and it should be amazing!  I attended last time they did this (you can see pictures in their Flickr feed), and it was totally worth it, even if I haven't yet finished up the mini-project from one of the classes yet. . . (and oh, look, I should get a picture of that half-finished project!  Whoops!)


Well, anyway, this time around, I'll be there, but I'm not attending, I'm teaching!

That's right, I'm the Sarah Dawn who's teaching the 'pick up and purl' mini-workshop.

Why 'pick up and purl?'  Because it's something that seems to scare off knitters, especially when I mention it in combination with Entrelac.  But it's not that scary, and if I can demistify it for a few people, then I think that's a great thing!

For details, follow the image link to the March 2017 meeting page!

If you're in the Greater Toronto Area, I hope to see you there! 

Monday, 6 March 2017

Sarah Dawn's Designs is a Sponsor for the Aroha Knits Colourwork KAL.

As seems to be usual for me, the title says it all, but let me go into a bit more detail.

I'm one of the sponsors for the Aroha Knits Colourwork KAL, which starts today (wow, it's already March? When did that happen!), and as a prize for the KAL, I've offered up a coupon code for a current or future self-published pattern from my Ravelry Store. 

You can see all of the patterns for the KAL by clicking on the image below.  I'd enter myself, but I still haven't finished the last Aroha Knits KAL, so that just seems like tempting fate a little too much!

Copyright: Aroha Knits

I will, however, be checking in on the KAL over the course of the month, to see the awesomeness that's being created, and I wish you all the best of luck!

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Etsy Shop!

Hello all!

. . . I have an Etsy Shop!

I hadn't originally planned on having one when I first started this business.  But I'm running into a problem I didn't anticipate, and Etsy seems to be the solution to this problem.

See, I knit a lot of my own samples.  It's how I figure out how patterns work and how things go together.  And I have to knit samples in sizes people will wear.  There's no point in my knitting a Large if I have no one to test the Large size and tell me if it actually fits. Test-Knitters take care of some of that (and thank you to my awesome test-knitters, if you're reading!), but I still have to make at least one of the items using my own knitting needles and try it on on a physical person in the same room as me.

So, I've accumulated lots of things.  I'm a knitter -- I already have lots of accessories knit up from all sorts of designers around the web.  There are only so many accessories that I will ever use.  And the same is true for my friends and family.  While I can (and do) knit samples as gifts, how many hats do people actually need? And while I also can (and do) donate some of my samples to charities, I was still left with a question: 

What to do with my extra samples?  Well, selling them seems like a reasonable idea.

Hence, an Etsy shop.

It does two things for me.

One: It allows me to take commissions.  I did a commissioned knitwear piece for someone earlier in Feb, and I discovered I quite enjoyed the process! I'd originally been afraid of commission work, but now I'm realizing it's not as scary as I thought, provided I'm clear about pricing/expectation/etc.

Two: It gives me a space to sell extra samples, or things I knit from my patterns.  I don't object to this idea.  I don't know how much inventory I'll actually have (this is still secondary to the actual pattern design process), but, it's opened an intriguing door for me!

So yeah.  I have an Etsy shop. (Can you tell I'm still adjusting to this idea?)

Right now there's just my one Mitered Drawstring Project Bag Pattern PDF available.  Etsy doesn't have support for free patterns like Ravelry does, so my free patterns won't be on Etsy until and unless that changes.  But, feel free to take a look, ask questions, and if you're interested in a commissioned knitwear piece based on my designs, or want a custom-made commissioned knitwear piece, let me know!

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Resource List Update!

Just a quick update this time around:

Instead of  continuing to place my various Fiber Arts Resources in a side link on the main blog page, they're being moved to their own page.

This will also allow for better organization of links, better descriptions; and a way to directly link to them (like I did above!)

So, if you're wondering where new links are going, or, if you are seeing links vanishing from the sidebar, don't worry, they're not gone!

Also, I'm trying to collate as many resources as possible, so if you have something you'd like to add to the list of Fiber Arts Resources, please, send me an e-mail; or post it to the Fiber Arts Resource Thread on Ravelry.  Even if there's already one resource on that topic multiple tutorials are a good thing, since everyone learns a little differently.

I do reserve the right to veto submissions (sadly, there are spammers and such on the internet),  but more resources surrounding the Fiber Arts are always welcome.

This is going to keep me busy for the next little bit, so, until next time!

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Snowdrop Lace Cowl Test Knit

I'm back with my next test knit!

This has been a bit in the making, since getting good (or even decent) photos for this has been an exercise in horrible luck and horrible weather, but, I'm finally looking for testers for my Snowdrop Lace Cowl.
A woman wearing a bulky-weight blue cowl loose around her neck.

Image Description:  A lace and cable cowl worked in a bulky-weight pale blue yarn, laying flat on a concrete surface.

This is a bulky-weight cowl, knit in the round using cables and lace.  What I worked the sample up in is Blue Sky Fibers Bulky in "Frost", (using just under three skeins). which was quite an adventure to knit with!  It really does qualify as a 'super-bulky'.  That means, though, that this cowl knits up absurdly quickly, which is nice.  And it's absurdly warm.

So, if I've managed to catch your interest and you're interested in testing, come over to the Ravelry Thread and sign up!  All of my test knitting does take place on Ravelry, so if you'd like to be a test-knitter you do need to be a Ravelry member. (But I'm putting together a blog piece on why Ravelry is awesome, so I do hope that you will become a Ravelry member if you're not already!)

That's it for this update!  Here's hoping everyone stays warm!

Friday, 10 February 2017

After Six Months: My experience in the world of Pattern Designers

Well, I've been 'official' for over six months now.  It's been over six months since I applied for my business number and started honestly making this my job.  

The title's kind of vague this time, but it's the best way I can think of to explain this post today.  It's both about what I've learned and am learning, and what I want to say to you wonderful folks, my readers, creators, and followers.  So here goes.

Also, as I wrote, this post ended up being less of a post and more of a mini-essay, so, it's going to be a longer read.  I won't be offended if you don't get through it, I promise.

- - -

So I spent a lot of 2016 and early 2017 doing research on what it really mean to be in the world of designers.

You know what? There's still no real answer to that question.   So I'm still trying to find my own footing and my own way as one of many people on this fiber-y journey.

However; I have learned a few things that seem to hold true.

1) This is still a business. In 2016, I was witness to some fiber artists who got themselves into trouble by treating commercial design work like a hobby.  Patterns being paid for and released late, things not being edited/tested, or products being shipped late.   They didn't mean any harm, but they weren't thinking as a business owner, they were thinking as a hobbyist who (sadly) got in over their head.

This is now my job. And I've realized I have an obligation to treat it as such.   That would be one of the reasons why I haven't as of yet committed to specific pattern release dates or specific projects, because I'm still learning how long it takes to get a pattern from prototype, through the process of sample knitting, writing, photography, test-knitting and tech-editing.  If you read back through this blog, you may find my estimates of release dates, but those can change as I learn something new, or even as I discover that a yarn I worked with has been discontinued so I have to make a sample again in something else.  And from watching these experiences, it's taught me to try to hold to a much better schedule.  One of my new years goals, is to keep you, my readers, better updated on the process of various patterns.  You've got a question? Ask it! 

2) Fiber People are (generally) generous.  The idea I've heard from more then one designer is that 'we're all in this boat together.'  Is there competition?  Yes. . . but.

Yes, we're technically competitors, in that we are competing for your pattern and class dollars.  But the fiber arts are wide enough that there are different things that each designer can bring to the table.   Most designers are comfortable sharing what they've learned or experienced with other designers to aid them on their journeys, rather then walking solo and trying to best the others in the industry.

One of the questions put to me very early on in my business course was designed to counter the 'well, why should I pay for it? ' attitude that some people have, especially when there is a plethora of free content online.  My business advisor asked me to answer that question.   At first, I was speechless.  I stood there fumbling to come up with an answer.   But then, I stopped and thought 'well, what -do- I bring to the table that no other designer will bring?

I realized that I bring all of my experience as an advocate, community builder, librarian, adminstrator, knitter, crocheter, and so much more.

. . . ok, but, still, what does that mean for you, my reader?

Well, it means that I don't want to just sell patterns and give lessons in knitting.  I want to create a community.  I want to create a place where -anyone- can learn to knit, and that's not just marketing hype and hyperbole.

For my readers and pattern buyers, it means that I'm going to be here even if you think you can't knit, or can't do something, I can help you find resources to do the thing you want to do.  
It also means fostering a truly inclusive community online, where fiber artists of all abilities and skill levels are welcomed.  
It means creating accessible media by making sure my alt-text is functional, that videos I make have closed-captioning and/or transcripts available, and that I do my best to make my material available to everyone.
It means learning to properly size for diverse bodies (and then doing so), and throwing my full support behind those that mod my patterns to make them fit even better.
And those are just the start.

3)  I've realized that this is what I'm supposed to be doing.

Do I have doubts?  Absolutely.  There are days when I sit here and wonder if this will ever pay the bills.

But I can't imagine myself doing anything else, and any other job I take (barring an amazingly awesome job, of course) will be taken out of necessity, to pay those bills.  This is my -career- now.

That's both a terrifying and awesome realization.

But it's something where I can honestly say that I love my job (well, I'm not as fond of the bookkeeping side, but I can't have everything, right?).  It's something where I can honestly say that I can see myself continuing this job for 20, 30 years, and still be enjoying it.   And that's such a rarity in today's society; to me, that has more value the the money (or lack thereof) that I make. To not judge or be judged on my outward appearance of productivity has proven to be one of the best parts of this job.   And that's something I've come to treasure.
In conclusion (I hate that phrase, but I've always been terrible at closing essays and papers!)  I want to bring forward to you all that I'm here.  One of my goals is to be available to help, and accountable for my mistakes (because we all make them).  If you see something that doesn't work, I want to hear it.  If you see something that does work, please, I love positive feedback!  I really do want to create a positive place where absolutely everyone can knit; and can make things that look awesome for them and for their body.

So, if you have ideas on how I can do that, let me know any way you'd like.  E-mail me, post your ideas as comments to the blog, post to Facebook, or post to Ravelry.  I promise I read them.  Even if they're spam. (Actually, I really do love reading comments!  Most people are incredibly awesome  people in the fiber arts community, and I know I'm in a generally good space when I read comments.  And I have to read the spam comments to moderate them, so I do read those too, and usually they're worth a laugh.)

Well, I guess that's it for this post.  I didn't intend quite for this to be a mini-essay, but, that's how it turned out.  Until next time, folks!

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Mitered Drawstring Project Bag KAL Winner!

Hello all, here's a short post update to wrap up my Mitered Drawstring Bag KAL. Thank you all so much for following along!

So, the big question always is: Who won?  Well, this time around the prize winner is Bobnlin, and you can see the winning KAL entry here. 

Congratulations Bobnlin!  You won two coupon codes for a current or future pattern from my Ravelry Store, and (if you're reading this) they should be in your messages box on Ravelry.

I had a great time running this; and I do want to run more KALs in the future.  So stay tuned here, on Ravelry, and on Facebook, for more KALs and challenges as the year progresses.

Thank you!

Friday, 27 January 2017

5 Shawls, 5 Days Roundup

Well, it's exactly what it sounds like . . .almost. 

Hosted by the wonderful Francoise Danoy of Aroha Knits, the challenge was to knit 5 mini-shawls in 5 days.   Note the mini-shawl part.   That's the 'almost'.

When I first saw the challenge, I did a mental 'eek, no way!'  I thought there was absolutely no way I could knit 5 shawls in 5 days.  But, rest assured, they're mini-shawls, I promise.   Indeed; the e-mail instructions included such things as 'knit for no more then 30 minutes.'

Now, the official challenge is closed, but if you'd like you can still sign up for a 'DIY version,' which I strongly recommend.  It teaches a lot about various shawl constructions, and has sparked several design ideas for me!

So, onto my 5 days, 5 shawls:

A miniature winged shawl done in stocking stitch with a garter stitch border, made in turquoise aran-weight yarn.
Day 1: Winged Shawl

Day 1 was triangular shawls, and this was a pretty familiar construction (as I suspect it is to many people who've knit shawls before).  I altered mine by adding an extra set of increases, to give it a longer wingspan.

A miniature semi-circular shawl done in stocking stitch with a garter stitch border, made in turquoise aran-weight yarn.
Day 2: Semi-Circular Shawl
Day 2 focused on semi-circular shawls, which are very similar in construction to triangular shawls, just with a different pattern of increases.

A miniature crescent shawl done in stocking stitch with a garter stitch border, made in turquoise aran-weight yarn.
Day 3: Crescent Shawl
Day 3 was the crescent shawl. While the basic construction wasn't new to me, the method of increases was, so that was interesting.  I also had a bit of trouble getting this one to block evenly, but that might have been because I was in a hurry to get this one done!

A miniature triangular shawl knit side-to-side in stocking stitch with a slipped-stitch edge and YO increases on one side, made in white worsted yarn.
Day 4: Side to Side Shawl
Day 4 focused on shawls knit point-to-point.  I've done a shawl knit sideways before, but not constructed like this one.  Despite my best attempts at blocking, it does still curl a little.  I don't know if that's me, or if that just means it needs another round with the iron!

A miniature non-symmetrical triangle shawl knit from point to edge in stocking stitch, with a slipped-stitch edge, made in white worsted yarn.
Day 5: Asymmetrical Shawl
Day 5 was actually the most interesting for me, despite making mistakes on the pattern.  I think this would work out amazing with a knitted on lace border of some kind.   This is also one where I altered the pattern, swapping M1L and M1p for the YO stitches.

So, there you have what I've been up to recently!   If you're still curious, again, you can check out the course for free in the DIY form.

Until next time!