Saturday, July 23, 2016

settling in and getting back to work

Quite a lot has happened since the last time you heard from me. Lots of unpacking, moving boxes around, putting things away and then moving them over and over. It's a long and slow process - settling into a new home and making things comfortable - but at last I can see it all coming together! There is still yarn everywhere, knitting projects teetering on the arms of chairs and Viola stickers all over the kitchen counter, but settling in progress is being made every day.



 At the beginning of the month, I hosted the first ever Viola dyeing workshops (a kickstarter reward) I had such a fun time sharing the studio, wonky old general store and new home of Viola with these two lovely women. Sherry and Jenny, you are delightful - thank you for your support and for the very fun day!


Sherry and Jenny's finished colours. They each tested out a few different bases and the results were great (if you ask me). Looking forward to seeing these beauties knit into things!


Dyeing workshops are not the only kickstarter rewards that have been filled this month. My new studio is up and running (at last) and the first yarn I dyed was Mooresburg DK for the secret surprise Leeleetea kit rewards. Natalie is a fellow Torontonian currently living in London. I've known all about her serious knitting skills for a long time now, so I was delighted when she offered to design two secret patterns for Viola meets Mooresburg. Some folks out there may have already received their kits, and the rest of you won't have to wait much longer. We're keeping the design a secret for a little while longer (or else it would be a pretty bad surprise!) but I cannot wait to see these hats and mitts being knit up. My own set is not far off. So please share photos of your kits as they are being knitted and when they are done too - I can't wait to see!


the kit colourways were the very first skeins that I dyed in the new studio, and I think it was the perfect yarn to start out with. Mooresburg DK and Mooresburg colourway being made in Mooresburg at last!


 Next up, I moved to the Mooresburg DK yarn club. Packing and moving took up much of the spring, and then it was battling water issues in the new studio (mostly sorted, more on that in a minute), which left the spring colourway quite neglected. These delays gave me lots of time to think about both the spring and summer colourways, so I made the most of it with lots of research and exploring...


 The colourway for spring came to me on an early morning run in April; the roadside was full of these pussy willow plants, just starting to bloom (or puff, what is the correct term?) It seemed to me that the young plants had a core of bright lime and yellow that showed through their thin bark, giving the effect of glowing from inside the stalk. On that cloudy, spring day they looked like they were softly glowing along the roadside. Quite magical!


Summer's colour was an easy choice for me. I came across these wild Columbine plants on a walk in the woods. They're pretty much my favourite colour, and it took some restraint to keep this photo (and my yarn colour plans) a secret while I was waiting to get back to work.



I cannot say how good it feels to be dyeing in the new space. While I still have lots of work to do before it is 'finished', it already feels like home. There will be quite a steep learning curve - I still have a lot of experimenting to do and fine tuning the new system. I am not planning to change anyone's favourite colourway, only iron out some of the kinks at my end. I am so happy to have the opportunity to do this overhaul!
Thankfully, the water woes I mentioned in my last post are not nearly so bad as I had thought. Many of the colours I've dyed so far are...just not the same...the space is not the same either so it's unreasonable of me to expect the yarn to do all the adjusting. I'll be spending the next few weeks bent over a dyebath pondering and stirring until I have what I want. So just a bit of growing pains over here, and that was certainly to be expected from the beginning!


There is still more news, if you can believe it. At last, I have started working on something that has been on my list for longer than I care to mention. I'm making a real WEBSITE!!!! Slowly, but surely (that's my only pace) I've been plodding away on scary internet things that I don't really understand. Learning lots along the way, of course, and so excited at the prospect of having a store, blog and lots more stuff under the same digital roof.

...SO, this will be my last post here on blogger. For more news and future blog updates, please click over too...

violaandthemoon.com

I will be adding and changing things for a little while still, but feel free to click over and take a peek at the progress. I will keep you up to date on Ravelry, Instagram and the new blog too!

Righto, more news very soon 😊 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

life update

I never realize just how much I've been doing until I sit myself down to account for all of it. I've not been posting as often as I would like recently; moving house, working on the studio and big VIOLA plans have kept me even busier than usual these past few months. Of course, I must keep some news secret, and most of it is too boring and mundane to bother with...so cutting straight to the pertinent and interesting bits, here's what's been happening...


First off, almost all of my things have been packed and sorted and moved to Mooresburg. Awesome! Just a handful of carefully styled items remain for showing the old house, so they hardly even count. Through some miracle I have sorted through all of my yarn, fabric (I can't really even sew, but I have lots) and various collections of sticks, shells and sparkly things that I have retrieved from beaches forests and parks. That's the list of the most important things I own, and I've managed to pair down a lot. It feels good to have all my things in one place. Organized, just the essentials. I haven't been settled in once place since I moved to England in 2012, so this was no small job. Reclaiming years of scattered objects, ideas, projects and things has been an emotionally and physically exhausting job. 

Now that I'm here in Mooresburg, I would love nothing better than to unpack and settle into my new home. An obvious and (if only) simple next step. Everyone out there is familiar with the trials and frustrations of moving, and this move is nothing special, I am sure. Suffice to say...I am in the thick of it. Total chaos and mayhem, boxes everywhere and 1000 scattered packages of incense that have finally been amalgamated and no pans to cook dinner. Just the usual moving craziness!


Moving my business, however, has been slightly more stressful. Planning the new studio was a challenge, albeit a very rewarding one. Building the studio is proving the be very similar. I am clueless when it comes to building, but am learning fast. I now know one very important thing about building projects - everything takes much longer than you thought it would take and lots of things go wrong and break and don't work and are not possible no matter how hard you try. I've watched those home renovation shows and seen folks in hysterics over a toilet, or sobbing about countertops. I'm not at that state just yet, but am starting to understand the forces that have driven them to their madness.


My (would be) simple little studio is at that point where it seems like everything is going to deviate from my well laid plan, break, not fit properly and pretty much bite it's thumb at me. Without getting into the details that are quite tedious and boring, I will say that there have been a number of setbacks, minor disasters and annoying things going on in there recently. 

I know that I keep talking about the big plans I have for VIOLA, and those are still in place. They have just been bumped back a while by the series of events and life stuff that has got in the way. I want to be completely honest and direct with all of the lovely friends, customers, kickstarter backers and everyone else out there. Viola things have been quiet on the internet recently. Here in Mooresburg I have still been scheming and dreaming whilst batting the barrage of setbacks, complications and disasters that accompany a big move and a big building project.


It is frustrating for me, as I feel like I've been making patient humans out there wait far too long. I am not trying to dangle carrots in front of anyone, but at the same time want to be realistic about just how much I am going to be able to accomplish over the next few months. My first priority at the moment is to resolve the issues in the studio and start dyeing yarn again - as quickly as possible! My diary is telling me that I should be sending off the last kickstarter rewards now, but will not be able to do so until I sort out the studio. To those of you still waiting for your spring yarn club shipment, Leeleetea kits and leeleetea pattern, it is literally at the very top of my list. Thank you for being so patient! I can't give you a time estimate as of yet, but will be keeping everyone informed. Stay tuned!


Oh yes, and it has been a most beautiful spring here in Mooresburg (I'm not all doom and gloom) so I'm sprinkling in some photos from a recent early morning forest walk. Something about that low light that is the best!

Monday, May 9, 2016

exciting surprise shop update!

Let me tell you, it has not been easy to keep this little project a secret. The yarn has been dyed for months now, safely tucked away and awaiting this moment when it can be shared with the world at last. I honestly don't know how I resisted the urge to knit up the whole big bag-full of yarn...


 Rest assured, I am NOT going to keep it all for myself. it will all be listed in the etsy store this 

SUNDAY, MAY 15th @ 2pm EST!

Years ago, I dyed up a little bit of cashmere and silk yarn for my lovely friend Caroline who has knit the yarn into the MOST PERFECT pattern. Caroline's designs are always beautiful, carefully thought out and delightful to knit. This one sure fits the bill and she has generously offered to debut her new pattern in a kit featuring the very same yarn!

This Sunday, I will be listing 4 different kit colour options in the etsy shop. Each kit includes 3 skeins of the brand new Viola Cashmere + Silk yarn and a PDF copy of Caroline's new pattern, Cashmere Love. There is enough yarn in the kits to knit the cowl and hat, and gives you options to change up main colours and contrast colours too!


To see each of the colour options knit up, click over to the ravelry pattern page. Four lovely test knitters have each put their spin on the pattern and knit up beautiful examples of each colour option. Thank you testers!


Wild Rose, Cosmic, Garden Ghost


Mustard Seed, Bronte, Pebble


Sea Storm, Dew Drop, Ghost


Dove, Mineral, Amaranth


The yarn and pattern are really a great pair; this delicate, soft and gleaming cashmere and silk blend knits up into a warm and almost weightless fabric. It feels like total luxury and is perfect for a very special accessory!

I can't pick a favourite colour choice, but I did knit my sample (which my wise mum has already claimed) out of the Sea Storm option. I love it! There will be 14 kits available in each colour option and each kit will be $116 USD

Friday, April 8, 2016

26 hours and counting...

With the update almost here, and I'm enjoying the last bit of time surrounded by these beautiful yarn mountains. So many yarn mountains!

As promised, I'm back with more previews of what's to come tomorrow. Without any more nattering, here I go...

Mustard Seed


There will be lots of Polwarth + Alpaca, which is a very good thing indeed if you ask me!

This is an Eclipse, but it's a colourway I'm playing around with at the moment. Could become a real something soon!


Garden Ghost


Sea Storm


Blot, which surprisingly emerged as this soft pastel. I love it!

A little bit of Mohair Lace is destined for the shop tomorrow as well. While I love every single skein of this yarn, there are (I think) a few stand out colours this time round...

Pink Clay


Asteroid


Golden Oak


Garden Ghost

And I've dyed up lots of sweater quantities in MCN Worsted! I love to look at the piles and think about the lovely garments they may be knit into some day. And I've managed to not keep a lot of great stuff too...

Blot


Sea Storm


Pink Clay


Golden Oak

Also keep an eye out for Merino Singles 4 ply,  Merino Lace and Merino Fingering. 

I'm off now to sort out a few little things in preparation for tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

I almost kept this...


Yay, hooray, update day is almost here! As I know I have said already, it's a big one, and I am not exaggerating! Being such a big update, I have been busily preparing for a long time now, and am very much looking forward to Saturday. Mainly because it means that the yarn mountains all around the house will go to new, loving homes. Because I can't fit even one more skein of yarn in this house! (I know, this is totally NOT a bad problem to have)


Without a doubt, the highlight of this update for me is the debut of Mooresburg DK! Until now, only Kickstarter backers have had their hands on this lovely yarn. So it is an exciting moment indeed, because Mooresburg DK is spun locally to me, from the fleeces of local sheep to boot! It's 100% Cotswold/Dorset cross fleece spun into a bouncy 2-fold yarn in a Double Knit weight. Rustic, soft and lustrous all at the same time. It's good stuff!

Mineral


 Sea Storm


 Soft

Each 100g skein is 238 meters (260 yards) and $25 USD. I cannot wait to cast on another sweater in this yarn, but haven't been able to settle on the perfect pattern. Think I'm getting close though!


I recently finished knitting this Humboldt Sweater by the brilliant and lovely Anna Maltz. It calls for 2 yarns held double throughout, and I jumped at the chance to use Mooresburg as the main yarn (I used Giant Peach with a natural grey Wensleydale yarn) 


Just about every Viola yarn is going to be represented in this update, so I am working hard to narrow my favourites down for this list...and here they are...

Golden Oak

Sock yarn was especially tough to choose, as I am really into mixing heel and toe and contrasting colours into socks...it's just an excuse to have 3 times the colours!

The highly coveted mauve-ish Eclipse that I have managed to recreate...just this one time.


Surf


 Mooresburg

I just finished up a pair of socks in the Mooresburg colorway and loved it so much I'd be happy to cast on a second pair this minute!




Which leads me straight on into the sock kits that will be also be available. To save you some of the trauma of choosing 3 whole skeins of yarn , I've put together 4 different options for kits! Each kit contains 1 100g skein and 2 25g skeins of sock yarn! When you purchase the kit, I will also send a download code for Emily's Favourite Socks. Everything you need!


from left to right: Surf (MC) with Titus and Eclipse, Graffiti (MC) with Amaranth and Soft

Mustard Seed (MC) with Bronte and Eclipse, Golden Oak with Bronte and Blot.

I'll be sharing more previews as Saturday draws nearer. Still to come is Mohair Lace, MCN Worsted, Polwarth and Alpaca, Merino Lace, Merino Fingering and Merino Singles 4 ply. How exciting!