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, 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.
#MMMay 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!

**This post contains affiliate links.  Any link marked with an * will give me a reward or commission if you purchase something using that link.**  

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

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.
#MMMay: Day 1 and 3

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!

 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.
#MMMay 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.
#MMMay 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.
#MMMay 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
#MMMay 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.

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.
#MMMay 2017: 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!