Why You Should Stick with Your Current Subscription Box

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With a new subscription box hitting the market soon, you're probably wondering if the Fibre Muse Alchemy Kit is worth signing up for. And honestly, you're probably better off with sticking with your current subscription box. These subscription boxes have been around for a much longer time and have a large consumer base, allowing them to expand their businesses and upscale. What does that mean? More customization and options for you! Not just in the yarn color ways, but the brands they work with. They can offer several patterns per box from different designers because they have the resources and reach. 

Because they have a larger customer base, they have better negotiation power for the items they curate for their boxes, resulting in deeper savings for you. Which is the whole point of a subscription box: you want to get great value each month!

The Fibre Muse Alchemy Kits offers value in a different way. While we aim to save you money on each kit, because we have chosen to work with small/indie, artisan, handmade, local businesses in the Fibre industry, the payoff for quality, unique products crafted and created with love and passion, is a higher price point. So I totally get it if the Alchemy Kits will be priced as a luxury item - because they are!

And because we're limiting subscription sign-ups to only 100 spots for the first launch, our negotiation powers are not going to be as influential (why would a maker want to give us a deeper wholesale discount when my audience is much smaller compared to the bigger box brands? And I don’t believe in paying just with “exposure"). However, we believe in paying makers what they are worth and collaborating in a way that is fair to everyone involved and contributing to the growth of the Fibre industry, especially the small brands.

But why should you care about the growth of the hand-made industry? It's more expensive and not as convenient and you're iffy on the quality of customer service and the product you’re buying. At least you know machine made is consistent! Hand-made, local or artisan are just buzz words to you and you don't really care that much (and maybe we *should* get real jobs!). And you know what? You're totally in the right to feel that way - because you’re not wrong.

But if you do care deeply about the Fibre industry and want the excitement that comes with hand-made, unique items, a tight-knit community, then the Fibre Muse Alchemy Kits may be right up your alley. Join the VIP launch list to be the first in line when the kits go live. 

 

How to Choose Three Color Combos to Make Your Project SHINE!

Thank you so much for the massive and awesome reception to the release of the Makariri Shawl last week. If you missed last week’s email or somehow you didn’t get the pattern, click here to download it!

With the special Holiday KAL for the Makariri Shawl starting next week, in the Fiber Muse Sanctuary Facebook group, I want to share some tips this week on how to choose color combinations for projects that use three colors. In the pattern itself, I provide some of my favorite color combos, but if you want to step outside your comfort zone and get really creative, let me share some of my favorite resources with you on the blog today!

Design Seed

 Be prepared to spend HOURS on this site.

Be prepared to spend HOURS on this site.

 

I LOVE this site. The creator behind the site, Jessica, takes photos and pulls the most common colors from it to create harmonious color combinations, which are fresh, soothing, or just plain gorgeous. She has sorted them by themes, such as the seasons, so if you want to make a Raumati Shawl (Makariri is Maori for Winter, Raumati is summer), you will pull up the summer themes to see what color combos best represent the feeling of summer! Be careful, you can get lost on this site for HOURS!

The Adobe Color Wheel

 The Great Adobe Color Wheel!

The Great Adobe Color Wheel!

If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, try out the color wheel. Color theory follows some general rules, and depending on the color scheme you want to follow (such as triad, analogous, monochromatic, etc.) this wheel sets it up so that you just have to play around with the hands, and the colors that pop up will result in a color scheme that will work!

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Here’s a question for you: based on my original sample of the Makariri Shawl, which color scheme did I follow? Triad, analogous, or monochromatic?

5 Shawls, 5 Days Round-Up (and E-Book Release!)

Last week I launched my first challenge, 5 Shawls, 5 Days. Each day of the week participants would receive an email with one surprise shawl shape—a basic overview of the shape and written pattern that served as the backbone of that particular construction. The main goal behind the challenge was to encourage knitters to take the time to see how the increases come together to form a shape, without the pressure of knitting a full sized shawl, with complex stitches. A mini yet educational and motivational KAL with which many had tons of fun!

Here below are some of my favorite FOs from the challenge. I was really impressed with all the talent and thought that went into knitting up the samples! Knitters experimented with different types of increases, bind-offs or even added some simple stitch patterns into the mix! Others used some extremely funky yarns to quite stunning effects! Over 600 fiber bosses signed up for the original challenge - more people wanted to play so I created DIY version of the challenge, which saw more than 800 people sign up for that!

 Day One!

Day One!

 Day Two

Day Two

 Day Four - I lost Day Three's files haha

Day Four - I lost Day Three's files haha

 Final Day

Final Day

While it was exhausting for me to make sure all the systems were ready to go, to have all the materials for the Periscopes prepared, and to respond quickly to emails, it was very rewarding to see this community of knitters come together, interact and engage with one another. And I’ll definitely be planning round two of the 5 Shawls, 5 Days challenge, but first, a whole new type of challenge is in the works…


And today I released my long awaited e-book, "Forming Shawls and Their Charts". This has been a huge passion project of mine and I'm so excited to be finally releasing it! With 15 shawl shapes to discover and explore, you will find the possibilities for shawl knitting and design endless!

Chrysanthemum Shawl Beta Release

This week I’m bringing you a special treat—a free pattern! The Chrysanthemum Shawl is one of my latest collaboration pieces. This one is between the talented Amelia Putri, of Papiput Yarns, and me!

Amelia Putri has the amazing title of being Indonesia’s FIRST independent yarn dyer. Her mission is to introduce knitting to her community, and introduce the knitting community to Indonesian culture. We have both been huge admirers of each other’s work, so a collaboration was bound to happen.

Amelia’s contribution, to this project, is a skein of her wonderfully fabulous Silky Merino lace-weight yarn: 766 yards of soft, silky goodness. Even better, she created a special colorway for this collaboration that we named Ayu Wahine, “Beautiful Woman”, a combination of Japanese and Maori words.

The resulting piece is the Chrysanthemum Shawl, an all-over lace piece featuring four different lace patterns coming together to form a painting of elegance, grace and beauty. Pair it up with your favorite skeins of lace-weight yarn and you’ll have an eye-catching shawl, which you’ll always want to wear.

The Chrysanthemum flower represents optimism and joy, two values that both Amelia and I hold dear! May this shawl bring you joy and positivity, as well as beauty, to your handmade wardrob!

A beta pattern means that the pattern has not been tested or edited, but pattern support is still available—email me if you have any questions or problems! The pattern will be available for free on my website until April 15th, by which time it will have been tech edited, corrected, and made available for purchase on Ravelry. 

Beta No Longer Available

And Special giveaway! You can also enter to win a skein of Papiput’s Silky Merino in Ayu Wahine! Just follow the rules below to be entered in! Giveaway ends April 8th.

Hiya Hiya Interchangeable Needles Review

After two years of faithful hard work, it was high time to retire my Knit Picks nickel plated needles. The Knit Picks set makes a great kit for beginner knitters, because it is easy and flexible for working a variety of stitch patterns, lace, cable, etc., as well as working with different fibers.

However, the nickel started to rub off from all the friction caused by regular use, making for a slower knitting experience and a grinding one too. Nonetheless, I’m still going to use my size 9’s and higher, as needed, because they are still in good shape since I’m primarily a fingering and sport weight type of gal!

I must admit that the main reason why I purchased the Hiya Hiya needles was because of the beautiful case. I am all about presentation and aesthetics, so I immediately fell in love with the blue patterning and the soft pouch that holds all the needles. My Knit Picks plastic casing fell apart long ago, from lots of use.

 So pretty!

So pretty!

The Hiya Hiya needles are SHARP making them perfect for lace work stitch patterns, which is what I most commonly knit. I noticed that my knitting speed has increased a bit, as the yarn flies off the needles so very nicely. Even the cables provided are made from a different material than the Knit Picks ones and doesn’t cling as much to the yarn, so everything slides off smoothly.

 Knitting at the speed of light!

Knitting at the speed of light!

The set I purchased ranges from US size 2 up to 8, which is the range I work with most. It comes with 4 different cable lengths, including a 16” cable. This was extremely exciting as I don’t have to work magic loop for hats anymore! I’m used to working magic loop, but it’s much more comfortable to me to work seamlessly in the round. So extra points for that!

 The reason why some needles are missing is because I've already cast-on projects with them!

The reason why some needles are missing is because I've already cast-on projects with them!

There are also little pouches where you can store your stitch markers and other little notions. The case is small and easy to carry around, making traveling with it nice, as it takes up little space in your bag! In comparison to the Knit Picks bag, which is not huge but it is bulkier and more cumbersome to carry about, and it doesn’t have any compartments where you can put your notions in; so you would have to carry an extra bag just for those.

The only downside I can see to these needles is the sharpness, so I have to be careful not to poke myself and some knitters might find the 16” cables really cramped to work with. But so far, no complaints from me and I’m excited to be casting on ALL PROJECTS with these needles. Lacework, here I come!

And now, silly pictures (don't sue me Marvel and Fox). Anyone want to guess which x-men character I'm trying to pose as? (Hint: check the number of claws).

Hello yarn, it's needle stabbing time (maybe we really do knit so that we don't kill people).

Ahem. Anyways! What are your favourite set of knitting needles?

Whakatā Shawl Beta Release

After a long and stressful day, unwind with the Whakataa Shawl. A relaxing and meditative knit, you’ll find yourself entranced by the yarn running through your fingers, hypnotized by the rhythm of the stitch patterns and in love with the swooping silhouette of the crescent shaping. A collaborative piece between Aroha Knits and Moeke yarns, this shawl was designed to take advantage of the rustic and organic nature of the yarn with a classic and simple design and textural stitches that play wonderfully with the variegated bases.

The beta version of the Whakata Shawl will be available for free download until January 29th. Make sure to save the pattern to your desktop!

Beta no longer available.

Pattern support still applies to betas, so email me if you run into any problems (or post them to the mini-KAL thread in my Ravelry forum)!

If you wish to receive the final version, which will be tech edited, corrected for errors, updated with photos and special tutorial videos (including a link to where you can view high-res images), please purchase it when it goes live on Ravelry. Sign up for Frenchie’s Knitsagram to be among the first to know of the official release, as well as receive exclusive discounts on Aroha Knits patterns. You will also receive a free copy of the SeaShell Shawl when you do. Note: if you sign up for the Newsletter but get a blank email, hit respond to let me know. Sometimes the automation system gets a bit buggy.

Whakata Shawl Mini-KAL

I'm hosting a mini-kal for the shawl in my Ravelry forum, from Friday, January 22nd to February 12th. It's totally laid-back, and stress-free; a good opportunity to meet some of the other magic-makers in the Aroha Knits community and support each other. I'll be present in the thread, available to answer any questions and encourage y'all on. Some small prizes will be given to participants who finish the shawl!

Click here to join in!

Moeke Yarns Giveaway

Enter below to win two skeins of Moeke Yarns Transylvanian Merino. I reviewed this yarn a couple days ago and all I can say is that it is easily in my top 5 favourite yarns to work with. If I can get my hands on some more skeins of this rustic and organic yarn, I certainly will! I'm sharing the goodness of this treasure from Romania with you all so that one lucky knitter will also be entranced by this very special yarn. Just follow the instructions below for chances to win this precious yarn (note: if you are in New Zealand, I will not be able to get the yarn to you. Japan refuses to send yarn to NZ due to customs and quarantines. However, if you are willing to wait until June to get your yarn - which is when I'll be back in the States - then enter away!).

When entering, you just need to enter your email address once, even if you do more than one entry.