Sunday, September 6, 2015

lots of things happening

It has been quite a busy week around here. With Tuesday's etsy update, wrapping and packing till a million o'clock (which is super fun and I love doing!) - there has not been the knitting time I would have liked. We can't have everything, right?

Even though my fingers weren't knitting, it seems that my mind was ticking along and making some grand knitting plans. Most of these plans I am keeping to myself, only because there's less pressure to actually make them should I forget / move I am prone to do. I have managed to channel my scattered creative energy into one new project this week, and it's a good one! 

I briefly mentioned in my post about the Viola Breaking into the Pretty KAL that my ambitious knitting list included a jumper knit in Speckled Mist, the colourway I designed for Loop. Well, it's happening folks!!! In my true fashion, I've already had to rip it out's possible that I may have to again, but I don't mind a bit because I'm just loving the knitting! The yarn I dyed for Loop is Merino Fingering, and I've realized that I don't have a sweater knit in this stuff yet. Thank goodness that's about to change. I'm loving the super high twist springiness that's going on, and love knowing that it's also going to be durable because of it!

Once again, I am also making up the pattern as I go along (the reason for lots of ripping out). The trouble with me and creating patterns is that I have a vision of exactly what I want to make, but then I have to use math...and well, that's it. So I knit by trial and error; not the fastest, but it works for me.

Anyhow, here's the little bit I've knit of the neck so far...

...the plan is a simple (ha!) top-down raglan...still deciding what will happen at the bottom so stay tuned! I've also decided to use a variety of batches of Speckled Mist together in this jumper. This colour has a mind of it's own, let me tell you! I hung onto a little selection of skeins that are all quite varied, just because I loved them. Now they're all getting knit together. Sounds mental, probably. We'll all have to wait and see what happens!

 Another sad side effect of all my business is that I have not reported on the studio's progress in a while! Well, lots has been happening, but here's the big stuff...

...and I mean big stuff. Look at this truck! 

Last I mentioned we were all sweating away, digging out this hole (except Lucy the dog did not help, but mostly stood in the center of everything). The hole has since been filled in with gravel (lots of blisters later!) 

The hero of concrete day, Shane! A very handy friend who just so happened to totally know what he was doing; having worked on many a concrete floor before this one. The floor would not have happened without him. I'd still be poking dried up concrete with a shovel right now if he hadn't turned up!

...I have no clue what I'm doing here...

This big stick is called a Darby, so I learned something!

By the end of the day, I was covered in concrete and I barely did a thing!

Here's the finished floor. The change in the room is unbelievable! My brave father tackled the job of cutting lines into the dried floor. I decided to take photos of all the dust drifting out the door instead...

Friday, August 28, 2015

I almost kept this...

It's shop update time again. Always very exciting (and very busy) here in Viola-land. I'm really enjoying my new tradition of posting my favourite skeins from each update. So, without further adieu, here are the skeins that I almost kept from Tuesday's upcoming update...

Ok, oh man, this one was really hard. I'm just jumping in with my number one, ultimate, the best new colour. Phew. I'm calling it keeping with the totally cosmic kick I've been on these days. This guy a prototype. There will be more, but it's going to change slightly next time round, so yeah. It's a big deal! The yarn is Merino Singles 4 ply and there are 9 skeins going into the shop. I want a saggy, oversized sweater knit in this...but I'm not keeping it ;)

Next in the ranks is this Blushy beauty, also on Merino Singles 4 ply. I'm calling this one an Eclipse as it's not close enough yet...but it's just about all of my favourite things all mixed together...dusty pink, coppery streaks and plum splodges. Phew, too exciting!

An old favourite. I can't figure out how it's taken me so long to return to Mineral, a colourway from the good ol' days of Viola. Here it is on MCN Worsted, and there's 10 whole skeins of it coming your way. cozy autumn jumper methinks.

I can't get away from it. I just love Ice Berg. Every batch I dye is captivating to me, it's only a matter of time before Ice Berg doesn't make it onto this list...Here it is on Merino Lace and there's lots to go round with 6 skeins total!

And last, it's Giant Peach. Yep, I'm back to this again. I've dyed it up this time on Merino Fingering, again, with lots to go round (10!) So get in there, this soft, subtle and warm colour is the favourite of all Viola team members...but we're be seeing you on Tuesday.

Tune into the etsy shop Tuesday, September 1 @ 4pm EST

Hope you enjoy!


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Breaking into the Pretty

I cannot claim ownership of this great idea. It wasn't me, it was the lovely ZarahMaria who suggested a Viola KAL. Long overdue I say. I've just jumped on the bandwagon!

The idea behind this little KAL (and CAL) is to cast on and knit those skeins of Viola yarn that you've been hoarding for...well however long. I have some skeins from the very beginning. That's a pretty darn long time! I've heard from many people that they love certain colours and yarns so much that they don't want to knit them. For those years I spent in England, I fear that I only increased the levels of panic...sorry for that (I felt it too!) My Viola stash, spread over 2 continents, was guarded like the crown jewels; no moth would ever be allowed to sniff it...or eve know that it existed...that's still my policy!

 Now that I'm back to dyeing and have no plans to run off for 3 years again, we all can relax and know that there is always more where that came from. Phew. So let's celebrate with a fun KAL!

I'd love to see what Viola yarn you've been loving too much to use, and what you might be inspired to knit it into? Exciting!

So here's the plan...We've already begun knitting and sharing our plans over in the Ravelry group. So if you want to join, just get in there! Not on Ravelry? Send me an e mail ( if you'd like to participate and I'll make sure that your project is shared with the group. The KAL will end October 31st. At which time, all completed projects will be entered into a draw to win some more Viola yarn!

As I said above, I suffered with exactly the same fear of yarn wastage. And hoarded lots of my favourite Viola yarns and colours. While I haven't been able to share photos yet (due to flickr not making any sense mostly...) I've finally got it together and chosen my projects, wahoo! Mine is a rather ambitious list, but here it goes...

First off, there are lots of babies appearing in my life recently (none are my own) and that means the special joy of knitting extra cute and tiny things. I've decided to start on a cardigan knit in Mineral Merino Fingering that has been in my stash forever (seriously!) it has a contrasting stripe in a rather bright version of Sea Storm. I love it!

  This first cardigan, is knit in garter stitch with a drop shoulder and cabled 'suspenders' as I've been calling them.I loved knitting this so much that I've dyed up a bunch of Mineral for the next shop update (TBA)!

The next little baby cardi is a variation on the cabled 'suspenders' theme. This time, the cables bend in with raglan increases (knit this one top down). I struggled with colour choices here, and wanted to use ALL of the colours, as usual. I used Merino Singles 4 Ply, and settled on Barouni for the main colour, and contrasting bits of Puddle, Giant Peach and Winterwood. Although I hadn't been holding onto this yarn for a long time these skeins were all REALLY special and pretty much my new favourite colours. It seemed like the perfect opportunity!

The body of my little Barouni cardigan is almost finished, and the sleeves should be close behind as I have a long train journey to Montreal this weekend. Love train knitting!

Also on the agenda are 3 pairs of socks (am I crazy, yes). I love knitting socks, it's pretty mindless for me, and I never turn down an opportunity to add a contrasting colour on a heel or toe. All of my 3 pairs of socks are going to be gifts. Some seriously fabulous friends have helped out with renovations on my future dye studio and I feel they should be rewarded with cozy feet! So I've dipped into my most valuable Viola stash...the old and wonderful Sock yarn. Being such a serious sock knitter, I've hoarded this yarn like a crazy person. I love it. I love the way it dyes up and it knits into the most comfortable and durable socks. I haven't dyed it since I've come back from England, which makes it pretty special to me. Anyhow, I've picked out some fun colour combos for my 3 lucky sock recipients...

a seriously fabulous skein of Sea Storm with Pear for toes...

These are going to be really fun.  Pebble (left) is the main colour. Contrast in Black Lodge, Love and Nut Brown.

Finally, A one off skein that never got a name (I LOVE this one) and a most special bit that remains of the original dew drop. It's an historic moment; the first skein of dew drop that I ever dyed. FUN!

As if that wasn't enough. I'm also plotting an oversized, floppy pullover knit in Speckled Mist, the bespoke colourway that I created for Loop. I fear that this one may be a bridge too far, but had to share anyhow. Gotta dream big, eh?

So If you're game to join the KAL, come visit the Ravelry group. It's easier to crack into those special skeins with a bit of moral support. 

Happy knitting!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

a finished shawl and the beginning of a studio

Here it is at last, my finished Quill shawl! I rarely work on one project at a time...not sure that I've EVER worked on one project at a time before this. Anyway, it's happened. I put it down to the fact that I loved the yarn and the pattern, and the combination of the two of them together so much that I just was not interested in knitting anything else (like the gazillion important gifts that I should be knitting). 

I've loved this pattern from the very beginning, and when the beautiful Polwarth and Alpaca emerged from my dyepots I knew that it was meant to be. For a long time I had gone off of shawls entirely, or perhaps that was just the cold Canadian winter making me knit endless jumpers in an effort to survive. Whatever the cause, this project has brought back my shawl love!

The yarn is so light, soft and airy. Almost weightless, but completely cozy when knit up. I hardly even understand how such a wonder could be possible...and I ought to after working in the John Arbon mill for more than two years! I shall simply say it is some Arbon magic and not try to puzzle out this mystery any longer. 

I followed the pattern almost completely, initially intending to knit more stripes with more colours. When the time came to begin adding the stripes, however, I found that I loved the simplicity of the main colour I had chosen and opted to knit just 3 thin stripes around the very edge of the lace border section. I also chose to knit two extra repeats of this section, to ensure that I would have a very big and ultimately cozy shawl in the end. Success! The knit on edging was addictive and such a fun treat after miles of garter stitch. Phew, can you tell that I love this shawl?!

Just in case you're wondering where that lovely backdrop is, I shall tell you. It's the beautiful meadow at the store. My future home as well as the future headquarters of Viola. Pretty exciting stuff!

If you receive the newsletter, you may already know that renovations have already begun on the little shed that is to become my future dye studio. The week before last a little team of diggers helped to clear the old earth floor out and make way for the gravel that will eventually be covered by a new concrete floor. Who knew concrete could be so exciting?!

Much to my dismay, the digging did not revel any more buried treasures. It seems that the deer bones, rusty bits, old pepsi can and broken plastic comb will have to suffice. The only thing our weekend of digging yielded was a large hole and more rocks that I ever thought could possibly be in the ground. So many that I'm now distracted by wanting to build a stone oven! Anyhow, here is a silly picture of me with a pick.

The rather large pile of dirt that was removed from the shed is a satisfying reminder of all our hard work

And, here is the glorious hole that we dug! Doesn't look like much but by next week it's going to be a smooth concrete floor. To be honest, I didn't want the concrete and argued for keeping the charming dirt floor from the start. Turns out that there are some very sound reasons for all of this work, and I get to use a sledgehammer, so that's fun too.

Monday, July 27, 2015

I almost kept this

Things are busy around Viola headquarters today. Getting all the last minute bits and bobs in order for tomorrow evening's update (weee!)

So here's a little sneak peek of my favourite colours, because there are always a few that I almost keep...

 First up is a new colourway that I am rather excited about, Giant Peach in MCN Worsted. I keep having visions of a great big cozy pullover knit in this. I suppose it's the soft and warm colour itself that makes me want to bundle up on an autumn day...premature considering the weather at the moment, but it never hurts to be prepared!

And Garden Ghost in MCN Worsted. I'm still perfecting this colourway, but it is certainly one that will be sticking around as I seem to have planned an entire wardrobe knit in it... A variation of the Ghost colourway, I've added more speckles of all my favourite colours. If ever a ghost lived in a flower garden, this is the colour it would be!

While I often do not choose greens for myself, I love how light and fresh this batch of Lettuce Merino Singles 4 Ply is. I feel cooler just looking at it (and that's saying something because Toronto is a stinking hot mess at the moment!)

 Winterwood Merino Singles 4 Ply. I can't do anything about it, I just love brown. Especially cool, dark browns. This is another colourway that is still 'in development'. But there was something very lovely about this batch that meant it almost missed the update. It reminds me of dark tree bark after lots of rain.

And lastly, there are so many Eclipse colourways in Merino Fingering this time around that I am numbering them! Here is Eclipse # 4. I can't help but see a unicorn standing next to a pond with Monet somewhere near by. But that's a far too complicated name I'm afraid. 

All this and more is going to be in tomorrow's etsy update at 4 pm EST. 

Hope to see you there!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Shop Update!

The next shop update is scheduled for...

Tuesday, July the 28th at 4pm EST

...I'm really excited about this update, mostly because there is a lot of stuff that I reeeeally want to keep in here! But I'm being strong, and sharing my favourites. Hope you like them as much as me!

My main source of excitement is the fact that there are lots of big jumper quantities of ECLIPSE colourways, on my Merino Fingering base. Truth be told, there was a point this week when I had convinced myself that it was possible to knit a few dresses out of these 4 ply lovelies...I have since reconsidered.

You'll also find Merino Singles 4 ply as well as jumper loads of MCN worsted.

Hope you enjoy!

Regarding shipping charges, I am changing the way that I combine and charge shipping. The charges on Etsy have been updated - making single skein cost less! As many of you must be aware of already, etsy does not allow for very accurate shipping estimates. I have done the best I can with the changes I made. Going forward I will be combining shipping on all multiple orders from the same update. If you have been overcharged on shipping, I will send refunds based on the totals from the post office receipts and not the etsy estimate. If this sounds complicated to you, it is! This will only be a short term solution, as I am sorting out a better shipping calculator. If you have questions / concerns please send me an e mail at

In other news, Construction is finally beginning on the new (but very old!) dye studio. Within the year, Viola is going to be making a big move from Toronto to Mooresburg. This weekend, conversion of a little shed is beginning! I can't wait to see it all take shape, and build a more spacious and efficient workspace!

First off was clearing out all the bits and bobs that previous owners have distribulted (we've found some real treasures so far!) The best, obviously, are a selection of deer bones that were swept into a corner, sadly they have been trampled a little bit.

Now we're moving along to digging out the old earth floor (looking forward to unearthing a few more treasures!), filling in with gravel and preparing for concrete to be poured.

More updates to come when I return from my week of digging. Feels nice to be putting in some hard work...