[Giveaway] Fully Spun Yarn

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"Phlegethon", a top-down asymmetrical shawl, drops next Friday as a single pattern on Ravelry! So this week we are shining a spotlight on the Fully Spun yarn used to create this colorful accessory.

Brooke, of Fully Spun, learned to work with yarn from her mother, “My mother was a crocheter, and I used to watch Vicky Howell on Knitty Gritty, and that piqued my interest. I picked it back up in college and became obsessed with the fibre world. This is the time during which I learned how to dye yarn and fiber and spin yarn.” After another break following her college years, Brooke picked knitting back up in 2016 and has “been obsessed ever since.”

Seeking something more creatively fulfilling than her day job, Brooke found it with Fully Spun. “My business is part of a personal journey. My mission is to provide high quality, colorful, beautiful yarn to fiber artists, while staying genuine and authentic to what inspires me.”

Unlike other yarn companies, Brooke hand-dyes the wool roving and has it spun at a mill. “This process creates a fractal effect, similar to the fractal method of hand spinning. My yarn is also special, because every colorway is the translation of a visual or conceptual inspiration. It is so much fun to apply this method to these conceptual ideas and have it translated into something real.”

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Website: www.fullyspun.com
Email: info@fullyspun.com
Instagram: www.instagram.com/iamfullyspun/ 

GIVEAWAY

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Want to win the "Phlegethon Shawl" kit? Entering is easy. First, follow Fully Spun on Instagram. Next, leave a comment on this post on our Patreon page with your Rav ID answering the question, "How do you insert pops of color into your life?" Giveaway is open until April 20, 2018 11:59pm EST. The winner will be announced along with the release of Phlegethon Shawl next week!

Your Questions About Swatch Studio, Answered by Swatch Students!

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With the doors to SWATCH Studio now open, I wanted to address any questions or worries you may have about the course. Is it really for you? Can you take the plunge? Is it worth it? And instead of me answering these questions, I decided to ask my SWATCH Students for their experience with the program.

1. Will I have the time for it? I already work a busy schedule

“I thought the video's and the format of the 'books' was excellent. It meant I could take my time and work at my own pace. It's also great to be able to log back in anytime and refresh on particular areas.” - Jen Arrowsmith

I work almost full time so I have very little time anyway. [...] Late August was my very first designer anniversary. Looking back at what I did in a year was kind of amazing. Seeing how much distance I had covered from the very first tentative steps until now, I'm really happy with the way it went. And I have a lot of ideas for future designs so I'll just go ahead! There will always be some moments of doubts and possibly struggle but that should not stop me as a designer. I feel I can do this.” Skeinwalker

I love my independence so being able to learn at my own pace was a huge plus for me, AND I also was impressed with her Live streams for Q and A to help us during the course plus AFTERWARDS. That's really very awesome.” - Katalin Beth

2. $247 is quite a bit... Will the investment be worth it?

“At first, I was worried about the cost of the course - that I might have put in a bit too much money for something that wouldn't lead anywhere. Of course, I was absolutely blown away by the quality of the course and would have spent five times the amount now that I know. The depth of the training and the fact that every single step was covered in complete detail - absolutely nothing was missing from the process of releasing a knitting pattern.” - Jess La Blache

“I was nervous that I would invest money in a course and never sell enough patterns to cover the costs. (My first pattern covered the costs )” - Petra Machova Kourilova

She's always adding new content that comes with your original fee to join - there is no smarmy selling as you finish a section. Just straight up commitment from Frenchie helping me when I have a question/problem.” - Rheba Smith

3. I really want to design, but I still don’t think I’m creative enough

“I didn't think I was creative enough to be a knitwear designer but I had a urge to try it. [...] During my first IKD, I proved to myself that I was, in fact, creative enough to be a designer so I decided to take the plunge! [...] I'm really pushing to hit my goal of publishing 10 designs this year. I was most nervous about actually publishing a design in real life but now I've got 6 done so far, 1 in the test knit stage, and 2 more planned out.” - Christy Furlan

“I had a fear that I couldn't create anything good. I signed up for SWATCH Studio because I loved initiate knit design challenge and your live videos on fb. I was nervous about publishing my first pattern: I thought that people wouldn't buy my pattern or would find a lot of mistakes, or wouldn't like it. I discovered that I can create something even if I have no ideas.” -Klara

“I was really struggling with being a “one-trick pony”. I had been designing knit/felted items for several years and felt safe there, but knew I could do more. I just didn’t. I now realize that I have much more to offer the design world. I can offer my unique view of design to a larger audience, felted or not. There is room enough for all designers to make their mark, including me!” - Paula King

4. Is SWATCH Studio really that good? Is Frenchie qualified to teach this?

She is infinitely qualified to help you make it through the minefield of self doubt and criticism, because she has already created a path through the minefield for you [...]. She is eternally your cheerleader and makes you feel as though you could do anything you set your mind to accomplish.” - Paula King

“What I love about working with Frenchie is that she is available to help you out along the way. It's not like: you buy the course and she disappears. No, she is really here to help. Frenchie has a non-nonsense approach that I really like. She helps, gives tips the best she can and provides insights about the way she does things design- or business-wise. I think that "sharing" is a keyword here. Frenchie shares all of her knowledge with us and I feel that all this behind-the-scenes information helps me making better choices design- or business-wise. That's invaluable.” - Skeinwalker

Frenchie’s ability to explain things and break them down into clear, actionable steps is amazing. It does wonders for alleviating the overwhelm of being a new designer. Her generosity and enthusiasm are awesome! She gives to her tribe without reservation; it's what I most want to model my own budding community after.” - Karen Mofett

5. Why did other students decide to join the program?

“Before enrolling into SWATCH Studio, I was struggling with my confidence to work on multiple designs. So I decided to join SWATCH Studio to grow my knowledge of actually producing a professional pattern and for the community of like minded designers.” - Babs Rudlin

“At the beginning, I didn't know anything at all about the process of knitwear design - I sort of thought that all knitwear designers were professionals with qualifications and didn't really think about the idea that normal people could design and release knitting patterns! Then I completed the Initiate Knit Design course and discovered that it was my passion. I wanted to learn everything I could about creating knitwear patterns so that I could try and make a career out of doing something I really love - knitting!” - Jess Lablache

“I wanted to know more after twice having participated in the Initiate Knit Design. I was struggling with how to write the knitting pattern. I'm still working on finding my style so I continue to use all the informations from the SWATCH Studio. It has become my 'How to' guide/reference.” - Vibeke

I decided to sign up for Swatch Studio because although I'd been designing on my own, I felt overwhelmed by it all. I love knitting and often designed my own garments, but had patchy knowledge on how to make the leap from that, to a polished and professional outcome. [...] This course was integral in realizing my goals and I thoroughly recommend it- learning from Frenchie who's a generous person and committed, dedicated knitwear designer was like having a mentor on hand.” - Katalin Beth

You can read the full stories from these students and many others here!

And when you're ready to take the dive into knitwear design and begin the journey of transforming your yarn into designs of your own creation, enroll today! I'm super excited to work alongside you this semester! Seats are limited.

[Giveaway] mYak Tibetan Fiber

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The star of the Seeker 2017 Fibre Muse Alchemy Kit was mYAK Yarns. I met Paola at TNNA (a networking event for fiber artists) last year, in Washington D.C. She had reached out to me beforehand, asking to meet me and discuss potentially collaborating together. To date, I have created five designs in her yarn. I am in love with her natural and rustic colorways—the deepness of the colors shine so vibrantly!

mYAK yarn is quite special. It undergoes quite the journey getting from the fiber off of an animal’s back to a skein in your hands. The fibers come all the way from the Tibetan Plateau, sourced from the nomadic herders who hand comb the undercoat of baby yaks and cashmere goats. Since mYAK works directly with the herders, they are able to contribute to the well-being of the local community, as well as keep an ancient tradition alive and thriving in the modern age.

Once the fiber has been sourced, it is spun in Italy into the wonderful skein of yarn that, if you were lucky enough to get your hands on the Fibre Muse Alchemy Kit, you are holding right now. mYAK yarns are incredibly soft, making it a pleasure to knit with.

I love working with yarns that not only have a compelling story, but also come from remote places around the world. And due to the work of the brand, they bring to me, into my home, knowledge about other ways of life. I certainly hope you will feel that connection too.

FIND MYAK TIBETAN FIBER ONLINE: 

Website: https://myak.it/  
Email: info@myak.it  
Instagram: www.instagram.com/myak_us/


GIVEAWAY

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Want to win the "May Pole Cowl" kit? Entering is easy. First, follow mYak Tibetan Fiber on Instagram. Next, leave a comment with your Rav ID below answering the question, "How do you insert pops of color into your life?" Giveaway is open until April 6, 2018 11:59pm EST. The winner will be announced along with the release of May Pole  next week!

Knitting in the News: It’s not all Granny References and Mistaken Identities

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I’m sure you’re with me on this one...when I read a news article about knitting, where they either make the blanket assumption that all knitters are octogenarians, or that knitting is a hobby only practiced by elderly and/or boring people, or they mistakenly call a crochet hook a knitting needle, I cringe. Still, you know what they say: all press is good press, and these days knitting does get some pretty positive attention in the news, which is awesome! Here are just a few recent examples:

Knitting Celebrities

Most of us have heard rumors about a few celebrities who knit, but if you take a look at this giant list from the folks at Knit Crate, I bet you’ll find a few names on there that take you by surprise; I know I sure did (hello, Kurt Cobain!).

Of course, one of the most recent examples comes from Krysten Ritter, the star of the Netflix series Jessica Jones, who is famous for being a knitting addict, like the rest of us. She recently appeared on the cover of Vogue Knitting magazine, and even attempted to teach Stephen Colbert how to knit on his late night talk show!

Of course, these celebrities are privy to the secrets we already know—the multitude of ways that knitting can enrich your life and make you feel better on even the darkest day. Though their knitting is no more or less important than anyone else’s in the long run, the benefit of having them among our ranks is that they get more publicity than most of us. Every time a young, trendy actress takes up her needles, the world gets a visible reminder that the traditional stereotypes about our beloved craft are all wrong.

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Knitting in the Olympics

Thanks to the Finnish Olympic Ski Team, knitting got some major publicity this winter in the 2018 Olympic Games! These athletes use knitting as a way to calm their nerves and hone their focus before hitting the slopes. This interview on NPR details their adventures with wool, and how knitting helps the team. I love how one skier describes the rectangle he’s knitting, which was supposed to be a square: “There's been a couple other, you know, mishaps, but I don't mind. I mean, it's a living, breathing thing kind of that goes on. I'm freestyling here.”

Whether you’re a “freestyle” knitter or a traditional one, I think we can all appreciate the way knitting helps us connect to people all over the world, somewhat like the Olympics does! It was refreshing to see our favorite pastime combined with the Olympics in a way that the whole world would see.

Knitting and Activism

The story isn’t a new one, but it’s always good to see that knitters continue to take up needles and yarn in defense of the things they care about. Recently, for instance, a group of Australian knitters decided to host a “knit-in” at the office of a local government official, in order to call for an end to the use of fossil fuels. Apparently, the official won’t make any commitments about switching to clean energy options, and according to the article, “As a consequence, the Hastings Macleay Knitting Nanas will sit and knit outside his office every second Tuesday, from 2-3 until the Australian government stops funding fossil fuels.”

How will knitting empower YOU to take up a cause that’s close to your heart? Are you feeling inspired to take your knitting to public places, and raise public awareness that this craft we love is beneficial for anyone? Imagine, if we could all get just one or two more people in this world to take up the hobby—how much more connected would we feel, as a worldwide population?

I hope you’ll find joy and inspiration in every stitch, and spread the love as you go.

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Yarn Alchemist Spotlight Series: Andrea Mowry

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The Yarn Alchemist Spotlight series on the Aroha Knits blog was started up by Ash Christine. She wanted to use the Aroha Knits platform as a way to shine a light on the hidden gems in the community and give them the opportunity to share their story.

 Andrea Mowry of DreaReneeKnits

Andrea Mowry of DreaReneeKnits

1. Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started in knitting

Hi there! My name is Andrea Mowry and I design knitwear under the name DreaReneeKnits! I was born and raised in Michigan, and returned with my husband to raise our family here. We have a daughter—Olive, Son—Levi, and little pup—Fargo. I consider myself so lucky to have learned how to knit from my grandma, when I was about 9 years old. She planted the seed all those years ago, and I am grateful everyday! I came back to knitting as a teenager, and haven't set the needles down since!

2. What type of Fibre Muse are you?

This was tough! It is so hard to only pick one answer for each question. But apparently I am a Mystic Fibre Muse :)

3. What first inspired you to start designing your own patterns?

 Comfort Fade Cardi

Comfort Fade Cardi

When I really jumped into knitting full on, it was pre-Ravelry and the main books in my knitting library were by Elizabeth Zimmerman (one of my heroes!). She really empowers the knitter to just find their gauge and knit. So I started off by creating my own patterns, with the help of her recipes and guidance. When I left my job as a pastry chef, while pregnant with my first child, I found I finally had the space in my life to get back to designing my own patterns and thought, why not try publishing them to see if anyone else wants to knit them, too! I had so many ideas flying around in my head of knits that I really wanted in my wardrobe, so I just jumped in and went for it!

4. Where do you draw inspiration from in your designs?

I am most often inspired by the yarn I am planning to work with. I believe if we listen, it tells us what it wants to be. So I start there. But I also always try to be present and take in the world around me, as it is full of inspiration—color, texture, style—it's really endless! I'm also drawn in by techniques. So, often if I try something new (ahem, brioche), and I fall in love with it...then I will try to find different ways to manipulate it in my patterns.

5. You have a lot of unique designs available—if you had to pick one technique or project type as your favorite to design, what would you choose?

Right now, I am all about sweaters. I find that is what my mind keeps going to, so if I could only pick one then that would be it! (Followed up closely by shawls, of course).

6. How do you see your work making an impact in the knitting and fibre community?

It's challenging to know how my work will impact the knitting community in the future, but as for right now, I think it has helped draw more people to playing with color and indie dyers, which is really special to me! I love supporting indie dyers, as so many of them are super awesome women supporting their families with their dye business. I am doing the same for my family with my designs, and definitely want to support others in any way that I can! I am also a huge lover of brioche, and have had so much fun introducing other knitters to brioche through my patterns and workshops!

7. What is your favorite part about being a knitwear designer?

KNITTING! I always say I knit all day for work and all night to relax ;) But beyond that, it is absolutely being a part of one of the most kind, genuine, and thoughtful communities ever. Knitters want to support and connect with each other, and they truly are just the nicest people! I feel so, so lucky to be a part of this ever-growing community!

8. What’s in store for the next year of your life and your designs?

This year I am doing a lot of traveling to teach, and I am also trying to make more space for independent design. I love collaborating with other people, but I find that some of my best work comes out of creative freedom. I am really excited to take down any constraints, and just see what flies off of my needles! I've also been trying out some new-to-me yarns from people that I really admire, which is bringing another level of love to my work. As I mentioned earlier, I have sweaters on the brain, so they are at the top of my list, along with playing with new and interesting constructions. Oh—and socks! I am determined to become a sock knitter, as my sock drawer is feeling really sad at the moment!

Where can we find you and your work?

Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/dreareneeknits
Website - http://www.dreareneeknits.com/ 
Ravelry shop - https://www.ravelry.com/stores/dreareneeknits


GIVEAWAY

To support Andrea Mowry, I'm going to gift a copy of one of her patterns to a lucky winner! To enter you just need to leave a comment with which design you would love to knit (and perhaps what yarn you'll do it in!) along with your Rav ID and give Andrea a follow on Instagram.

You have until March 23rd, 11:59pm EST to enter! I'll pick and announce the winner right here <3

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Holly and Ivy Dyeworks Featurette

Holly and Ivy Dyeworks

 

Holly and Ivy Dyeworks is helmed by two Fibre Muses: Katrina and Eve!

Katrina

Katrina was taught how to crochet by her grandmother, when she was only seven years old, “My mother taught me to cross-stitch, and they both helped me learn to sew/quilt. When I was in college, I met Eve and she inspired me to finally teach myself how to knit (something I had wanted to do for quite a long time). So I suppose I could say that I got into the Fibre Arts because my family and friends shared their love and knowledge of it.” 

For Katrina, creating is a natural outpouring of herself, “Like Eve said, I almost can't help it! I have a need to express experience and emotion—and a desire to bring people happiness, specifically, when they see my work. It brings me great joy to see someone pick up my yarn, squeeze it, and smile. At the same time, being a part of the process of creating for someone else is incredibly fulfilling!”

The story behind Holly and Ivy Dye Works is a unique one, “Eve and I take on the dyeing process differently, but both of us share through our yarns. It is fun to talk with my customers about the specific stories behind my yarns.”

Katrina shares an example of a conversation that happened at a recent vending event she worked, “There was a woman who picked up my Writer's Block colorway multiple times. She finally told me that she loved it, but she was a writer and felt that she probably shouldn't purchase it because of the name. 

I was so glad she told me because I was able to share the story behind that colorway: “I was having a creative block while preparing for a Fibre event, and my blue dyes got mixed up. The colorway I thought I was dyeing turned into a different color altogether. When I realized it was messed up, I embraced it and added speckles. There it was! And I was inspired to go on and create two more new colorways afterwards! She then decided that she had to have it for the next time she got Writer's Block, in order to help her come out of it.”

Eve

 The Wifty Top - Designed by Francoise Danoy of Aroha Knits using Holly and Ivy Dyeworks yarn.&nbsp;

The Wifty Top - Designed by Francoise Danoy of Aroha Knits using Holly and Ivy Dyeworks yarn. 

Eve has been interested in the Fibre Arts for as long as she can remember, “When I was four, my grandmother taught me how to crochet and my mother showed me how to hand sew. I was always making/creating things, and I was especially drawn to all things fiber related. I began knitting when I was eighteen, and got a job at a knitting shop. I fell in love with the yarn world. At the John C. Campbell Folk School, I took classes in dyeing, spinning, and weaving, which intensified my love of the Fibre Arts. Katrina, my business partner, and I met at college and discovered that we both had a passion for knitting and yarn. Years later we started Holly and Ivy Dyeworks, because of that shared love of color and fiber.” Her creativity for the fibre world is a God-given drive, “I can't help but create, it truly is something I have little control over. There is something intoxicating and so alluring about the Fibre world. The way it combines beauty, color, texture, practicality, and style never ceases to take my breath away. And the craft itself, not just the finished item, is a wonder. Yarn and knitting bring me both peace and passion. I needed to be a part of that world. I love inspiring people to push themselves to create a beautiful craft. That is why I don't just make finished items, I want to be a part of someone else's creative story/process.” 

Holly and Ivy Dyeworks is built upon friendship and a shared passion. “Although Katrina and I have separate yarn lines in the business (hers being Ivy and mine being Holly), and are inspired by different things, we feed off of each other's drive and love of color and fibre. I tell the stories of my life through my colorways: Gatlinburg October, Mississippi Storm, Stratford Hillside, etc. I dye the colors into my yarn that flit across my mind when I think of my past and the places I've been. Our yarns are created from both a place of artistic inspiration and from personal storytelling.“

Giveaway:

Want to win the "Wifty Top" kit? Entering is easy. First, follow Holly and Ivy Dyeworks on Instagram. Next, leave a comment with your Rav ID below answering the question, "What is it about the creation process that brings you joy?" Giveaway is open until March 23rd, 2018 11:59pm EST. The winner will be announced along with the release of Wifty Top next week!

Instagram: www.instagram.com/hollyandivydyeworks/

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