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  • summer days

    The midnight sun is disorienting. In Tromsø, the sun literally doesn't set between May 18 and July 26 due to its location above the Arctic circle. We had many sunny (and even warm!) days in May, but once the calendar flipped over to June, the chilly clouds rolled in and we've seen a lot of rain. The thing about a cloudy sky when the sun never sets, though, is that midnight looks a lot like noon. Time does not exist. There have been clear pockets of weather, however, and in the evening on the summer solstice the clouds slowly dissipated and the sun came out. My friend Beth was in town for a visit and since the skies looked like they were clearing up, we decided rather spur of the moment to take the cable car up the mountain. It was still fairly cloudy while we were up there, but it was worth it. (We opted to walk home to enjoy the middle-of-the-night sunshine, and the photo above was taken at two in the morning!)

    We made it up the mountain just before midnight, and it was pretty amazing to walk around the mountaintop at that time of night. The light was constantly shifting and the reflection of the sky on the water was soft and beautiful.

    As you can see, the mountains still have some snow clinging to them, but otherwise, Tromsø is very green now. After the long winter and late spring, it seemed to happen very suddenly.

    I took Beth to the university's botanical garden during her visit and for the first time, the little cafe that serves waffles and coffee was open while I was there (it's always been closed on my previous visits to the garden). It was a highlight to sit outside the adorable building, surrounded by tulilps and other blooms, sipping coffee and eating Norwegian waffles. It was wonderful to see the botanical garden really coming alive again after the winter, too - in about a month I think it's going to be spectacular.

    I'm off to Seattle for a couple weeks now, and I'm looking forward to seeing the night sky again. Stars! Remember those? 

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  • april (snow) showers

    It was starting to get springlike around here - well, enough for the temps to reach near 10ºC / 50ºF with lots of sunny days, melting most of the snow. But today brought fresh snow, perfectly normal here in northern Norway at this time of year! Spring comes late. The days are growing long, though (sunset is after 8PM now) and the midnight sun will begin in mid-May. The light here is always changing and it continues to be surreally beautiful. I'm grateful for that.

    It's a bit quiet here on the blog at the moment because April also means I'm now spending a majority of my time working on my course papers, which are due in May, and I also broke my shoulder a month ago, which means I'm on a bit of a necessary break from knitting, obviously. I need a bit more sleep and I'm eating more than normal, but otherwise it hasn't interrupted my everyday life too much - aside from the knitting. I definitely miss it at this point and I'm looking forward to when I'll be able to pick up the needles again.

    If you've ever had to take a break from knitting due to injury (or for any other reason), I'd love to hear about what helped the most when all you could think about was the projects you'd love to be casting on! 

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  • quince & co.

    A lot has happened in the month since I wrote last. The middle of the semester is busy as usual, so the weeks seem to be flying by. I was beginning to suffer from some cabin fever but I took a weekend trip to Oslo a few weeks ago that was incredibly refreshing - I celebrated a friend's birthday, saw friends I haven't seen in ages, visited favorite old haunts, and I also got the chance to meet up with Katie, the organizer of the Oslo Strikkefestival. It was quite a treat, and I came home to Tromsø feeling energized and happy to be back. I've planned some more travel since then: Edinburgh Yarn Festival coincides with the beginning of my Easter break (Norwegians take a whole week off) so I decided to book myself a trip! I'm quite looking forward to it (so many fantastic folks in one place!), and if you're attending as well, keep an eye out and say hello if you spot me!

    My biggest piece of news today, however, is that I am absolutely thrilled (humbled, honored, overjoyed) to be a part of the inaugural design team for Quince & Co. My first piece as part of the team should be out sometime this week, but in the meantime you can read the announcement on the Quince blog over here. I've written about my love for Quince as a company and for their yarns on this blog before, so needless to say I'm truly so thrilled to be working with them on more patterns. The whole design team lineup is absolutely stellar and I count myself lucky to be listed among them: Bristol Ivy, Cecily Glowik MacDonald, and Isabell Kraemer have already been announced and Pam Allen is also contributing patterns to the collections (ETA: also Melissa LaBarre, who was announced today!). My first pattern as part of the team will be going live soon, so I'll share more then!

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  • new year

    It's been a surreal start for 2016. Here's a glimpse:

    Emma Watson started an online feminist book club (it's called Our Shared Shelf, and you can join the group on Goodreads, if that's at all appealing). I read most of the first book, Gloria Steinem's My Life on the Road, on a flight to London over the weekend. My route back to Tromsø included an overnight stay in London where I got to hang out with Lydia of Pom Pom and some lovely folks at Loop. I didn't take any pictures until the train ride to Gatwick (that always happens these days), but I had a lot of fun. I love London.

    Monday morning I woke up at six (thanks, jet lag) and spent some quiet time hanging out in the tiny bed in my tiny hotel room. It was there that I learned about Bowie's passing, via Twitter. It felt absolutely unreal, and then I was just sad. It's still surreal.

    I finished My Life on the Road in the first hour of my flight from London to Tromsø. It was really, really excellent. I tweeted about this, and then Emma Watson replied and retweeted me (!). I've now had a (very) tiny glimpse of what it's like to be a celebrity on Twitter, and I'm grateful that's not my reality. Not only do I have a lot of respect and admiration for Emma, but she's an actress near my age who I watched grow up on screen, so the surreal score is off the charts for seeing my tweet right there at the top of her feed.

    I'm back in snowy, dark Tromsø now and the beauty of this place at this time of year is as surreal as ever. The days have been clear since I got back and the light's been incredible. In less surreal news, I've started classes for the new term and already have a stack of reading to do, but I've managed to get in a few stitches here and there on some small projects. I'm sensing a color theme; it might have something to do with the light outside. I love these wintry blues. Also, now that I'm thinking about it, the fern pattern and the tree motif have quite a lot in common...

    The embroidery is a kit I bought last summer at Urban Craft Uprising, from Studio MME. It's one of those fantastic and simple little kits where the pattern is printed right on the fabric so the stitching is relatively mindless but the end result is stunning (I'm sort of halfway through, so if you look very closely you can see the difference between my stitches and the printed bit I have yet to embroider). You can find this particular kit in their online shop (although it appears that it's now being sold with a round hoop, instead of the oval one I got). The knitting is another kit, a Toatie Hottie by Kate Davies. The pattern is for a hot water bottle cozy and the kit (not currently available in Kate's shop) came with yarn and pattern plust a mini-hot water bottle just for that purpose. I bought the kit ages ago and have actually used the hot water bottle several times, but I'm using it more regularly in Tromsø and I thought it was about time I actually knit the thing. I managed to knit most of it in an evening, getting through the whole chart with just the top bit and ribbing left.

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  • forward

    What a few weeks it's been! Busy, with lots of ups and downs, and still so much practical stuff to do... but I'm remembering what a difference it makes to my mood to be well-fed and to knock a few key things off the to-do list (especially those I've been putting off). So having just made myself a nice lunch after successfully tackling a rather daunting to-do list this morning, I'm on the up at the moment.

    I forgot how it feels when you first move abroad - the way time marches forward, oblivious to the many, many things you need to do in order to start getting settled (and there's a lot more of it this time around than there was when I was in Hungary). There are utilities accounts to set up and housewares to buy and errands to run and furniture to put together. The electrician needs to come by and see why the overhead light in the bathroom isn't working properly. That piece of mail delivered to our box by mistake needs to be taken over to the post office. And I finally took care of getting a Norwegian SIM card this week only to learn after putting it in my phone and using it that I'll be unable to text American numbers if my Norwegian mobile provider doesn't have an agreement with the American mobile provider for that phone number (a problem I have never, ever had with Norwegian SIMs in the past). I forgot the way that all of those little things can start to add up and accumulate to make you feel like you're having The Worst Day Ever. And Time doesn't care, it marches on.

    But that stuff starts to get dealt with, and it gets better, too (and, note to self: eating good meals regularly helps immensely). There's so much to celebrate and be grateful for right now. School is going well and I love the little yarn store down the street. The nights are now dark enough for some of the stars to come out, and last night the aurora was out. I watched it from my bedroom window (my bedroom window!) for about an hour. It may seem trivial or frivolous to say this, but that is one of the things I have been looking forward to the most about moving here. The northern lights inspire a sense of childlike wonder in me in a way few other things do. The landscape here does it too, but the lights... the lights are magic. 

    I think that stuff, that sense of awe and wonder, is so important to life and mental health and feeling whole and fulfilled in this world. So for now, I'll remind myself that the stuff that's hard right now will fall away with time, and I'll do my best to eat well and take care of myself and go easy on myself when I can. For now, that's enough. 

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  • photographic milestones

    I got a new camera!!

    My very first camera was a 35mm SLR: a Nikon FG-20. It was a hand-me-down from my mom and I loved it. I used to walk around my yard and my neighborhood as a teenager, snapping photos of anything and everything (but rarely people). I remained a faithful Nikon photographer when I bought my first serious digital camera, a Nikon D70 that I bought second-hand in 2007. It wasn't my first digital camera, but it was my first serious digital camera. I bought it a few months ahead of a semester abroad in France - I remember wanting to have a good camera to document my first extended trip in Europe. That D70 remained my faithful companion for the next seven years, coming with me on a cross-country move as well as trips on four different continents. I basically used it all the time. But at some point last year, that started to change. I got an iPod Touch before going to Norway for the summer, and even though my D70 came along, I used the iPod almost exclusively. Last fall I replaced the iPod with an iPhone. The cameras have come quite far in smartphones, as we all know, and for everyday snaps you really can't beat the ease and portability they provide.

    As I started using my phone more and more to take photos, I think my old D70 really started showing its age. My relationship with it had changed, too. I didn't want to bring it along to document much of anything, and it really only came out to shoot pattern photos or knitting projects. In the last few months, it's finally given up. I can no longer shoot with it. Whatever's wrong with it is probably fixable, but I decided that I'd rather look at buying a new camera than pay money to have a rather old one fixed, especially since digital photo technology has moved forward by huge leaps and bounds since that camera was released. And there's something to be said for investing in a camera that moves me to take pictures again, that's inspiring just to have in my hands. So I started looking around.

    What I landed on is the camera pictured above: the Fujifilm X-T1. I went for the "graphite silver edition" because the silver top is reminiscent of the Nikon FG-20 that was my very first camera (nostalgia totally sells; smooth move, Fuji!). The purchase of this camera marks a rather momentous occasion for me: it's the first time I've bought a proper pro camera totally brand new. There's a lot about it that's very different than my Nikon - the biggest thing being that the Fuji is mirrorless - but I love the photos it takes and I love how it feels in my hands, and that stuff matters to me just as much as the technical specs (if not more). 

    I took a long walk today to spend some time getting a feel for it. Walking around with this camera in my hands, I almost felt like that teenager walking around with her first camera again. It's been a long time since I've felt that sort of giddy excitement about a new creative tool. Most of the photos I took today are just snapshots, really, but I thought I'd share a few here on the blog. I hope to be sharing a lot more photos on the blog again, especially once I get to Norway in August.

    I also wanted to say thanks to the friends who sat and talked cameras with me as I worked my way up to this decision, particularly Kathy and Rachel. Your enthusiasm and encouragement means so much, and I'm grateful for it.

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  • a move; a shift; a change

    I have some rather big news to share today. I've been looking forward to sharing it so I'll get right to it - and for those of you who want to know the hows and whys and buts, you can read on below - but here it is:

    I'm moving to Norway this August where I'm going back to grad school. 
    I'll be starting a master's in Theoretical Linguistics this fall at the University of Tromsø.

    This is obviously a huge life changing thing - a move abroad is quite an undertaking in any case, and the scale of this one is pretty different than my first go-round (some of you may remember I once spent a year working in Hungary). There are many, many more practicalities to consider, I'm bringing a spouse along this time, etc. But it's also a huge career shift from where I am at this moment and what I've been doing for the last two and a half years. 

    I've spent an immense amount of time in the last year trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. That's a big question to ponder, and one we never totally figure out - we're constantly evolving, after all. But it's a question I definitely wasn't really ready to answer when I was finishing my BA in Linguistics six years ago. I freaked out about finishing school and applied to grad school at the last minute. I got a Master of Arts in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), a program that put my linguistics background to very practical use and which I enjoyed immensely. I went to Hungary to teach. Hungary was wonderful, but it was exhausting. I decided to head home to Seattle at the end of my contract and give my long-held dream of running my own arts & crafts business a go. And what a go it's been! But the challenges of being self-employed are myriad, particularly when one's spouse is also self-employed. Sometimes we just don't have an anchor, and I've struggled with it often. I'm incredibly lucky to have friends and colleagues to lean on for support, and I'm so lucky to have support from every one of you who's ever sent me a message, knit one of my patterns, taken a class, said hello at a conference or trade show. It's an incredible thing to make a job out of a passion, and I'm happy to have done it. But - of course there's a but - I've been making myself face a lot of truths about the realities of the situation I'm in. Motivational realities. Financial realities. Trying to imagine what I want my business to look like five or ten years down the road. Can I even imagine still running my business five years down the road?

    That's opened the door to imagining all kinds of possible futures. If what I do now isn't my career, then what do I want my career to be? It's a big question (there have been a lot of big questions lately). So I thought about it, and then I thought some more. And then some more (and I'm still thinking about it). I started thinking about academia again, about applying to go back to school. My summer in Oslo last year was a little bit of a test-run/research trip, actually, though of course I didn't divulge that here at the time. I quietly applied to grad schools last fall, and I also started thinking about the possibility of teaching English again (especially after I didn't get in to a few of the more competitive programs I applied for). But when I found out I got into the University of Tromsø's master's program in Theoretical Linguistics, it was a game-changer. It's a department I've followed since I was an undergrad, in a city I've been to and like quite a lot, in a country I really love. There are many reasons it's neither the most practical nor the "safest" option at this juncture. There's a lot of risk involved in a leap like this. And I agonized for a few weeks as I tried to make my decision about what to do. But in the end, I couldn't say no - the stuff about this decision that doesn't make sense falls away in the wake of all of the things that make total sense. Sometimes a big leap makes sense, even if it's risky in some ways. And I am very lucky to have a partner who's been supportive of this decision and is probably just as excited to move to Tromsø as I am.

    So what does that mean for the future of Paper Tiger? It's a valid question, and a good one. And the answer, of course, is that at this point it's impossible to know. I'm not naive about what I'm taking on with a research-based graduate degree. I won't make any promises about whether or not I'll continue designing once school starts this fall. But I can say that this space isn't going anywhere. I'll definitely still be knitting (I'm literally moving to the Arctic, after all), and I plan to keep writing - about knitting, about Norway, about whatever seems relevant. I'm definitely excited for a chance to learn more about knitting in Norway, and get to know Norwegian yarns that are domestically raised and produced.

    In the meantime, I do have a few things lined up for fall release that I'm working on before the move, so you certainly haven't seen the last of my patterns yet. This is still my day job, at least for a few more months! 

    --

    For those who will ask about the mitten in the photo: it's purely selfish knitting! The university seal of UiT features stylized renderings of Odin's ravens from Norse mythology, Hugin and Munin (representing "thought" and "memory"), and I couldn't resist knitting them up in to an otherwise very traditional Norwegian mitten. I actually knit myself a pair of mittens when I got into grad school the first time around, too. I'm happy to say my skills have progressed since then!

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  • business-ing

    It never fails to amaze me how much work it is to run a business by yourself. I am so immensely grateful for the support and advice of friends and family, and I am eternally grateful to my perpetually patient and encouraging spouse (for letting me destroy our basement as I reconfigured the Paper tiger studio last week), because running Paper Tiger would be impossible without that support. I think a lot of businesses like mine (especially in the craft and "lifestyle" industry) often try to make our work look effortless - you come here for fun, after all, not to read about the office-job side of running a creative business. We're about celebrating the beauty. But the truth is there's a ton of work - so much work - that goes on behind and the scenes and so much of it is very, very business-y. January has brought a lot of that to the forefront this year - from filing business taxes, which I do every January, to new challenges like adjusting to the new EU VAT rules which went into effect on the first of the year.

    I think I'm almost out of the admin black hole, but a few relevant updates:

    - I've configured Paper Tiger pattern sales to EU customers via Ravelry with the system that Casey has so wonderfully set up with Loveknitting. EU customers, please let me know if you run into any issues trying to purchase patterns!

    - Paper Tiger has joined Kollabora, and I'm in the process of getting all the Paper Tiger knitting patterns up. I love that it's an all-around creative community! You can find the Paper Tiger page here.

    - I've started working on my pattern release schedule for the late winter/spring. I have a bunch of stuff that's been simmering on the back burner and I'm looking forward to getting it out!

    - I've also put together my preliminary schedule for tutorial posts. I'm hoping to start posting tutorials once a week, beginning next week with tips for combatting tight colorwork.

    All that said, 2015 is off to a fantastic start around here and I hope the same goes for you!

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  • a new year, tutorials, & yokes

    Happy 2015! I hope everyone's new year has gotten off to a good start. I must admit since getting home (and it is so good to be home again) that I've been swept up in the new-year-fresh-slate-mindset a little bit. I decided to give in to that impulse this year, knowing that some of the changes I've made this first week/month of the year will stick, and some won't; some will probably come and go depending on the weather/my mood/the time of year/any other number of things. It's hard not to feel good about taking steps to make positive changes in my life, though. Three mornings in a row of yoga (which is kicking my butt but still manages to make me feel amazing) followed by a huge green smoothie feels like a great start, even if I can't keep it up every day moving forward.

    I've been slowly working my way back into work this week - I always have a hard time getting back into a good work flow after traveling - so there's been a lot more studio organizing and a lot less hands-on work. The good news is that's given me a chance to start planning a schedule for the tutorials I'm hoping to start posting soon. I'm aiming to address a lot of the most common questions I get about my patterns, so there will be a definite focus on colorwork! I'm hoping to cover things like different provisional cast ons and grafting together ends (used for Pine Bough Cowl and Inkling), working the thumb gusset increases for a Norwegian-style mitt/mitten (as in Seven Stars), as well as some more general colorwork stuff like how to trap long floats and ways to combat tight colorwork. If there's anything in particular you'd like to see me cover, please let me know! I'll make sure to add it to my list. 

    --

    One of the most exciting things about getting home was finally being able to crack into my copy of Yokes, the beautiful new book by Kate Davies I've been posting about. I have no idea which sweater I'll knit first, or even when I'll have time to cast on for one, but in the meantime the wonderful essays should keep me busy! I had the opportunity to read through the second chapter, "Greenlanders and Norwegians," in advance; Kate and I did some writing back and forth about this topic and I was able to translate a few small pieces of one of the chapters in Ren Ull to help her find some information she was missing about some iconic Norwegian yokes. It was a thrill after helping her with the research to see how amazingly she tied everything together and was able to draw through-lines I wouldn't have seen otherwise, and I'm so excited to read the other pieces of writing in the book. Thank you so much to Kate for the engaging conversations and for putting such a wonderful book out into the world.

    You can view all 11 patterns from Yokes on Ravelry, and you can purchase your own copy here.

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  • a trip and a pattern sale

    In a sort of continuation of my last post: while we small business owners are very lucky to do what we get to do, and I am so immensely grateful for the community of talented and creative people I get to work with regularly, small business can be a slog. December, in the run-up to Christmas, tends to be the best month of the year for many, many retail businesses, and this includes small businesses (perhaps especially so for yarny ones). So perhaps this is a bit crazy of me - but I'm taking December off. Last year, during the month of December, I found myself getting really burned out. I'd had an incredibly busy fall season and was facing deadlines on top of the bustle and stress of the holiday season and the personal toll that can take - and I realized right then that I didn't want to be in that place this year.

    This time tomorrow, I'll be on my way to the airport, bound for Europe! My husband and I are taking three weeks to travel from England to Istanbul by train. I am so excited. We'll be covering old ground and new: both places we've been before and places we never thought we'd end up. I've loaded up my phone with bilingual dictionaries and language learning apps and I can't wait to take a million photos.

    I'll be periodically checking email and Ravelry, so I'll still be on hand to answer questions, but my response time will very likely be slower than normal. Additionally, wholesale orders are on hold until I'm back in the office the first week of January.

    As a treat, both because I'll be semi out-of-the-office and also because I love the holiday season, all Paper Tiger patterns will be 25% off for the month of December! Simply use the coupon code papertigerholiday at checkout. There's no minimum purchase and you can use the code more than once! Please note that the sale applies to Paper Tiger patterns on Ravelry only; patterns published by third parties (Brooklyn Tweed, etc.) are not included. The sale will run from December 1st to December 31st (Pacific Standard Time). Thank you all for making what I do possible.

    P.S. For those of you who are as uncomfortable as I am with "Black Friday" as both a name and an idea, you might find this an interesting read. The popularly given origin of the term, the red-to-black story, is a total myth. My aversion to the Black Friday phenomenon (and the fact that it's spreading beyond U.S. borders) is largely why my own sale isn't starting until December.

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  • lately

    It always seems hardest to keep up with blogging when I'm at my busiest, and it's been a busy fall so far! But there are many, many things of note happening in the craft world at the moment as well as in my own world, so I thought I'd mention a few things here:

    - I've been sewing some more, in free moments. I finished my first Deer and Doe pattern two weeks ago, the Airelle blouse, and you can see my version here. I'm not sure if I'll make it again (I prefer a straighter cut and narrower sleeves in blouses, I think) but the pattern itself was great and I'm very pleased with how it turned out! I'm looking forward to more sewing, and I recently picked up some lovely light grey fabric for the Chardon skirt, also from Deer and Doe.

    - Felicity Ford's new book, the Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook, has been making the rounds of the craft blogosphere and it's become obvious that I need to pick myself up a copy! For anyone who's ever wanted to get into stranded colorwork but struggled with choosing colors or finding inspiration, or if you're the kind of knitter who wants to break free from patterns, I think this book will be a huge help. If you'd like to learn more about it, I'd hop over to this post by Kate Davies or this one from Ysolda (or, for that matter, check out the whole blog tour which begins today - the list can be found at the bottom of this post), and the book itself can be ordered right here.

    - Speaking of Kate Davies: Kate is wrapping up work on her forthcoming book, YOKES! I am beyond excited for this book: featuring 11 patterns for yoked sweaters of all different sorts, it will also feature quite a bit of history in the form of essays and other short pieces of writing. Having been a follower of Kate's work for years, I'm beyond thrilled that I was able to aid Kate in her research for certain sections of the book. Isn't that cover sweater a stunner? I'll be sure to post when it's available to order.

    - The preview of the Winter issue of Pom Pom Quarterly is up, and it's beautiful! I love the cozy cover sweater by Bristol Ivy. The whole issue is full of cozy knits, soft and warm tones, and I love the pub where they did the photoshoot (especially that portrait of Queen Victoria).

    - I've really been enjoying the #fringeandfriendsknitalong, the cabled-sweater knitalong begin hosted by Karen Templer of Fringe Association. I'm not participating, just following along, but it's a great place to be a fly on the wall. Check out all the KAL-related blog posts over at Fringe.

    As for me, I'm furiously working away on wrapping up a few new patterns. One of those is Seven Stars, the pair of fingerless mitts pictured above, featuring Spincycle's beautiful Dyed in the Wool. These will be the basis for a colorwork workshop I'm teaching at Knit Purl in Portland, Oregon on November 15 (I believe there are one or two spaces still available; more on that here). There will also be a Paper Tiger trunk show, so if you're in or around Portland, you should stop by! Seven Stars is almost ready for publication, so I'll have more info for you on those next week!

    I'm also going to be stopping by Knit Fit! in Seattle the weekend of November 8-9. I won't be vending this year, but I'm taking a crochet class (!) and I'll definitely be stopping by the marketplace as well! If you see me there, say hello!

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  • new classes & events page

    I'm busy with last minute Nordic Knitting Conference preparations this week, but I did want to pop in and let you all know that I've added a page for upcoming classes & events to the website! The Nordic Knitting Conference is listed there (for the next week, anyway), and I'm also teaching a workshop at Knit Purl in Portland, Oregon on November 15th. It'll be a stranded colorwork workshop and we'll be working on a brand new pattern for fingerless mitts using Brooklyn Tweed Loft and Spincycle's gorgeous Dyed in the Wool! The cost for the three-hour workshop will be $55 and you can find more information and register on the Knit Purl website here. I'll be keeping the classes & events page up-to-date as new events are scheduled. 

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  • school, snow, and a vasa update (sort of)

    When I last posted two and a half weeks ago I had every intention of returning to more regular blog updates. While that obviously didn't happen, I have been keeping busy. Not much of it directly pertains to Paper Tiger as a business, but I thought I might share some of it here all the same (Paper Tiger was a personal blog and a place to share my thoughts and creative work before it was ever a business, after all).

    Firstly, this is as close as I've gotten to a photo of my fully finished Vasa from the Vasalong:

    I'm holding out for a proper modeled photo (taken by someone else, preferably not on an iPod/iPhone) before I share all of the details, including my mods, etc. but the short version of the story is that I love it in the linen (yarn is Quince & Co. Sparrow, in the colors Juniper and Little Fern), I love the sleeve border I added, and this one has quite a bit of positive ease, far more than I recommended in the pattern (which was at least 4" - I haven't actually measured this thing yet, but I know it's more than that). I promise I'll wrap all that up soon! (The ravelry project page can be found here.)

    As for why it's taken me so long to get around to photographing and writing about my Vasa, as well as other projects I have going on, the reasons are many. The biggest reason, however, is that the summer school does actually keep me fairly busy, and when I'm not in class or hanging around the library working, I'm resting, cooking, exploring Oslo, or traveling. The International Summer School at UiO is something I have wanted to do for a very long time - nigh on a decade - and now that I'm actually here doing it I want to enjoy it and get as much out of the experience as I can. That makes PT work lower priority and it's naturally fallen a little bit by the wayside. This has also been a time of reflection for me. I'm in the middle of something of a long transitional period, and coming to the summer school has been a deliberate part of that. It's a transition away from creative work as my full-time daily work (though I will never give it up entirely) and back towards the world of education. It's something I plan to write about more on this blog, because I have a lot of feelings about it all and I've spent a lot of time thinking about it, but I'll save that for another day.

    In the meantime, to give you an idea of what I have been doing...

    Most days look a lot like this:

    But some days look like this:

    On top of Aurlandsfjellet in Sogn og Fjordane fylke. That's the lopapeysa I bought on my trip to Iceland in March I'm wearing.

    Or this:

    Voss, in western Norway, in the rain & fog

    I've been on one ISS-organized excursion (around the Oslofjord) and one road trip unrelated to the summer school to visit friends in Voss, which was this past weekend. The drive to western Norway is one I've done before, and it's staggeringly beautiful. It was nice to stay in Voss as well, and we took a brief trip to the Folkemuseum there (I only have a few photos from it, but I think that still warrants its own blog post). I won't be going on any trips this coming weekend, as I've only been in Oslo one weekend out of three since I arrived, and I'd like to do some weekend exploring (hitting up farmer's markets, second-hand markets, and parks and the like that I wouldn't normally get to on a weekday). 

    I've also been thinking a lot about the concept of home, my nomadic tendencies, and why I'm drawn to Norway in the first place. The visual ties to the Pacific Northwest are pretty obvious in many parts of the country. I found myself thinking about drives out to Tolt Yarn and Wool in Carnation, Washington, as we drove through Hallingdal on the way back to Oslo on Sunday. I never realized Hallingdal looked so much like the Snoqualmie Valley. 

    Driving through Hallingdal on road 7

    In any case, I'm having an amazing time in Norway. We have a long weekend (no class Thursday or Friday) this weekend, so I'm planning to hit up some of the museums I haven't had a chance to get to yet and hopefully catch up on some work as well. As always, you'll find more photos on my instagram account (I'm @cakeandvikings) and you can follow me there if you'd like to keep up with what I'm up to on a more regular basis!

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  • nordic knitting conference 2014

    I have a little announcement to make today. It's a rather exciting announcement, actually! There's an event coming up in October that I'm really looking forward to...if you know me well (or if you read the title of this post), you might already know what it is!

    I'm teaching at this year's Nordic Knitting Conference! Do you like Nordic knitting? Like the lace and mittens of the Baltics? Fancy some fair isle? Then it's time to start thinking about coming to Seattle this fall. I'll be teaching along with some pretty fantastic folks, I must admit. That's reason enough to knit a pair of announcement mitts and take silly photos, don't you think? This year's conference takes place October 3-5. You can find the class schedule and more details at the Nordic Heritage Museum website right here.

    Arne & Carlos are the headliners this year, and it's possible I squealed a little bit when I found out. You might've seen their book on knitted Christmas balls, or their Space Invaders Mariusgenser. These guys are masters at putting a new twist on old techniques, which I love. As headliners, they'll be delivering the keynote speech on Saturday night, which is always worth attending.

    Also on the teacher's bill are Swedish-born technique master Susanna Hansson, handspinner extroadinaire Judith Mackenzie, all-things colorwork muse Mary Jane Mucklestone, the creative and talented yarn maven Cirilia Rose, and Laura Ricketts, an expert knitter who has lately focused her attention on Sámi knitting, which I find very, very exciting. It is an honor to be teaching alongside all of these folks; aside from my initial excited squealing when I heard about Arne & Carlos, as a colorwork lover I've been following Mary Jane's work for years, and Cirilia and I actually met and became friends at the last Nordic Knitting Conference in 2012 (and come to think of it, Laura was in our Latvian mittens class, too!).

    We'll be teaching a variety of classes over three days, the class schedule is here (subject to change at this point). You'll find classes on everything from introductory stranded knitting to spinning with Icelandic fleece, choosing colors for your colorwork, knitted braids, or even Lopapeysa-pimping. The only bummer about teaching myself is that I can't take any of the classes! If you're not a knitter or a spinner, there are also a few lectures you might be interested in attending. The conference is hosted every two years by the Nordic Heritage Museum, an organization right in my own backyard in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, and one of which I am a proud member. If you attend other knitting events like Vogue Knitting Live, Stitches, or Madrona, you'll find that the Nordic Knitting Conference is much smaller - as evident by the much smaller list of instructors - but a cozy, friendly, and absolutely worthwhile experience. There's an upside to specialization. Here's a quick run-down:

    - Classes take place over three days: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (this year that'll be the 3rd, 4th, and 5th of October)

    - Friday night features a Happy Hour event so that you can get to know other conference attendees; mix, mingle, and knit, of course!

    - Saturday evening is the keynote presentation, with dinner included. I've attended both times I've attended the conference and it's always a wonderful experience.

    - There's a marketplace, featuring a variety of great local vendors!

    - Registration opens June 2nd at 10:00 AM, so mark your calendar.

    If you're coming from out of town, the Hotel Ballard and the Ballard Inn (both on Ballard Avenue, about a 20-30 minute walk away from the museum but with easy bus access) are offering a 15% discount on rooms to conference attendees. Just ask for the Nordic Knitting Conference discount when reserving your room. If you'd rather not stay in a hotel, the Sunset Hill B&B is very close to the museum and would be a lovely place to stay. Other options could be found via airbnb.com, or if you want to try and room together with someone, you could try and coordinate lodging by posting in the Ravelry group for the 2014 conference.

    Feel free to shoot any questions you have about the conference my way as well - if I don't know the answer, I can direct you to the people who do. I hope to see some of you there! And for those of you who want to know about the mitts in the photos - I know you're out there - I'll be posting about those a little later on.

    --

    Tangentially related: if you're in Seattle, or the Seattle area, the Nordic Museum hosts a monthly Knit & Spin gathering. Typically it's the first Sunday of the month but you can check their Ravelry group to find out when it's happening. I haven't been for aaaages but I hope to make it back this year at some point!

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  • wool people 7 / hoquiam

    It is an exciting day in the knitting world: Brooklyn Tweed release day! I am thrilled to once again have a pattern in the latest collection in their guest designer series, Wool People. We're up to Volume 7 now, which is full of some insanely wonderful sweaters (I'm already lusting after Devlan, Yane, and Seine) and a few accessories. Before I go on you should take a minute to go peek at the look book here, if you haven't already. Go on, I'll wait for you.

    --

    Are you back? Okay, now I can tell you a little bit about my pattern, Hoquiam. It is one of my favorite constructions: a seamless infinity scarf (or cowl, if you like), knit in the round as a tube, with the ends grafted together. I've made good use of this construction before (example one, example two). As written, it's long enough to loop around your neck twice, but you can also wear it long to show of the cable and lace textures (and it would be easy to knit a shorter or longer version if desired!).

    Hoquiam came from a desire to combine cables and lace, and the motifs I chose for the two widest panels - the seed stitch medallions and pairs of leaves - are motifs I haven't seen used very much of late. Once blocked, these run down either side of the cowl, framed by columns of cables. You can wear either side facing out. Looped twice around your neck, it's quite cozy.


    Hoquiam uses Brooklyn Tweed's worsted weight, Shelter. The sample is knit in Hayloft, a bright pop of color in the collections largely muted palette. There are so many colors of Shelter I would love to knit this in, but at the top of my list are probably Snowbound, Sweatshirt, and Button Jar. Fossil would give it a very fisherman's sweater feeling, and Embers would be wonderfully autumnal for those of you in the southern hemisphere. You get the idea... many, many possibilities here!

    Hoquiam can be purchased via Ravelry or at brooklyntweed.com. We hope you like the collection.

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  • reykjavík so far

    Hello from Reykjavík, where we're halfway through DesignMarch 2014 and the Reykjavík Fashion Festival!

    I've been posting on Instagram since arriving, as have Cirilia and Stephen, and I put a bunch of our photos into the montage above. If you want to follow along, you can follow us at @cakeandvikings, @cirilia, and @westknits.

    First of all, Iceland is beautiful. I may be here for the design and fashion events (and to galavant around with buddies) but it wouldn't be that hard to skive off and stare at the landscape or out over the rooftops all day instead. Truly. 


    I arrived early in the morning on Tuesday. I had the Flybus drop me off at Reykjavík Downtown Hostel, near my friend Peter's place, which worked out well for me because I could have a coffee (I didn't sleep on the overnight flight) and some breakfast while I waited for Peter. We got to spend the day together, but I also got to get some work done and take a nap (very necessary).

    Stephen and his friend Barbara (of Chillimint) arrived from Amsterdam later that day, and Cirilia arrived the next morning. Our days thus far have consisted of a lot of coffee, snacks, and knitting. And outfit changes. Reykjavík is known for its street style but I'm not sure this city's residents can hold a candle to these guys. 

    Cirilia, Stephen, and Barbara headed down the hill to Harpa for Thursday's opening day Design Talks. I love how Harajuku Cirilia's pimped-lopapeysa look feels.

    post-coffee on Wednesday

    I feel positively tame standing next to them, swathed in black, white, and grey (right down to the lopapeysa I bought at the Handknitting Association today, seen in the Instagram montage above). But I feel like me, so it works.

    Opening day's talks on Thursday were really excellent (you can read about the programming on the DesignMarch website here). "Design" is such a diverse, broad term, and the wide range of speakers really drove that point home. The morning started off with two speakers who work in urban planning & design situations, and one of them, Kathryn Firth, might have been my favorite speaker of the day. She's working on the ongoing redesign of Olympic Park in London in the wake of the 2012 Olympics, and I have to admit I hadn't given much thought before to what happens to all the giant Olympics complexes after the games.

    After lunch the talks switched gears: we had some tech talk first (with Robert Wong from Google) and then moved on to fashion, with Mikael Schiller from Acne Studios and finally Calvin Klein. The Google talk was good, and about what you'd expect: Robert was charming in a humble, not-smooth-talking kind of way, with funny quips and emotional hooks and appropriately placed "instructional videos" that are totally ads, no matter what Google claims. I got caught up in the moment during his talk, and found my feelings toward Google (which are mostly good, but I do have some grievances) shifting in a more positive direction. After his talk, however, I came down from this magic Cloud (I guess Glass isn't a great thing to stand on) and realized I'd just been expertly emotionally manipulated. High five, Google. You're winning whatever game you're playing and it still makes me uncomfortable.

    I really enjoyed Mikael from Acne's talk. He was funny and genuine and seems generally bemused that people like what his company is doing (though of course he works very hard to make it so that people do). I probably won't buy their jeans or other clothes, but Acne's really on the up right now.

    Calvin Klein... well, he's undeniably a legend. Instead of giving a presentation like the other speakers did, his talk was in the form of an interview, and his interviewer was Icelandic designer Steinunn (a former employee of his). It was clear that CK and Steinunn have somewhat of a special relationship and the utmost respect for each other, which is lovely, but it made for a pretty vanilla interview, I must admit. I'm very glad to have heard Calvin Klein speak at all, and he gave some great advice for aspiring designers, but it would've been a much richer and more interesting interview if his interlocutor had been willing to bring up critique or controversy, or anything other than glowing praise. Perhaps if you're Calvin Klein, you have the authority (or maybe the ego) to pretend critical analysis doesn't apply to you and choose your interviewers accordingly. He was so casual when he mentioned hanging out in the Hamptons and deciding to send his personal plane to Boston to fly Marky Mark down to talk about underwear... and it was at that moment that I realized how far Calvin Klein's reality was from mine, or most of the other people in this world. Nonetheless, it was interesting to hear his story and I'm grateful I had the opportunity. 

    --

    The weather the morning of Design Talks was gorgeous, and we took advantage of the gorgeous light outside Harpa (reflected off the geometric, multi-colored windows) and snapped a few goofy photos:

    I have more to write about what we've done so far (especially the National Museum!), but I think I'll save that for the next post. Until then!

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  • patterns!

    I've been working on something behind the scenes recently, and I'm so excited these are finally ready to go: I now have hard copies of Paper Tiger patterns available for wholesale! If you work at a local yarn store and you're interested in carrying these or you want to know more, shoot an email to wholesale (at) paper-tiger.net and I'll make sure you get the line sheet. If you don't work at a store but you'd love to be able to purchase these at your LYS, let them know!

    I'm very happy with the quality of these patterns and I hope you all like them too. They're all either 4-page or 8-page booklets, printed in high-quality full color, with heavier paper stock used for the covers. That makes for sturdy little booklets, which is quite nice. What I'm most excited about is that every pattern includes a unique digital download code you can use to download a PDF version of the pattern at no extra cost. So purchasing a paper copy of the pattern means you get both versions - paper and PDF! You may be familiar with this model if you've purchased a hard copy of Pom Pom Quarterly, or if you buy vinyl records. The download codes are located on the inside front cover and can be redeemed via Ravelry. If you purchased Vasa at the Tea Cozy or you purchased one or more patterns from my booth at Knit Fit!, see my postscript below.

    At this moment, I've got the five patterns from Paper Tiger Fall/Winter 2013 as well as my bestseller Vasa available. While I love the ease of digital files, I'm a sucker for a beautifully printed publication, so I'm incredibly happy to finally have these on offer. Please do shoot me an email at wholesale (at) paper-tiger.net if you're interested.

    *Postscript: If you previously purchased a paper copy of a Paper Tiger pattern, there was no download code included. I'd love to be able to offer free digital downloads to customers who purchased early paper copies, so if you'd like to have a PDF version as well, send me an email at dianna (at) paper-tiger.net and let me know: 1) when and where you purchased the pattern, and 2) what your Ravelry username is.

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  • updates & miscellany

    I went to the Ballard Locks today in search of signs of spring and found some early blooms! I may love winter, but I can't help but look forward to the start of cherry blossom season every year.

    I baked some shortbread cookies a few days ago and frosted them with lavender buttercream. They turned out pretty divine! If you'd like to make your own, I used this recipe for the shortbread and this one for the lavender buttercream (just a heads up: you'll need to infuse the whole milk with dried lavender for 8 hours before you can get started on the buttercream).

    --

    And an actual Paper Tiger update: for legal reasons, my pattern for Brooklyn Tweed Wool People Vol. 6, previously known as Skydottir, has been renamed Sundottir. The old Ravelry link should redirect to the current page, which can be found here. You can read the Brooklyn Tweed blog post about it here.

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  • a few updates

    I'm back in Seattle after a few weeks of travel over the holidays, and it feels quite good to be back in the office and working again. I had a lot of fun on my travels, though. Here are a few things I've been up to:

    I spent the new year in Oslo, which was really lovely despite the lack of snow. In addition to seeing some dear friends, my partner and I did a little bit of coffee tourism, because there's a pretty unique thing happening in the Oslo coffee scene right now. I have to say I'm a fan (you can read about it here - thanks to my friend Kamni for the link). The coffee in the photo above is Finca Tamana at the Tim Wendelboe spot in Grünerløkka (extracted via the Aeropress, which was totally different than an espresso preparation - Aeropress is the way to go, for this one).

    I went to London, where it was mostly rainy (but there was some beautiful sunshine as well). I had a chance to meet up with Meghan and Lydia from Pom Pom Quarterly which was a treat, and I hope I'll get to see them both again sometime. I'm already looking forward to the spring issue coming out. And I really loved London. I want to go back already, because there's so much to see! I feel like I barely scratched the surface.

    I also had a stop in North Carolina, where I was able to give my mom this skein of handspun I'd made her for Christmas. It's my third skein, a 2-ply, and much finer than the first two. It's more even, as well, and mostly a fingering weight (with some thicker spots). I'm still enjoying spinning, though I feel quite slow at it, but I love the portability of a drop spindle.

    A few other updates:

    • I've created an errata page for pattern corrections, which can be found here. I'm working on integrating it better into the site so that it's easy to find, but the "knits" page needs an overhaul anyway, so I'll probably combine those two projects.
    • I'm at work on a couple different patterns at the moment, so I'll have new designs to share in the coming weeks, which is always exciting!
    • I have paper copies of several of my patterns now (Vasa and the F/W 13 collection) and I'm putting the finishing touches on my wholesale set-up (I'll be distributing myself for the time being), so if you work in a yarn store and your store would be interested in carrying paper copies of Paper Tiger patterns to sell, I'd love to hear from you. My email can be found on the about page.
    More soon, as always.
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  • knit fit! wrap-up and other updates

    I took a day off yesterday after working all weekend at Knit Fit! and getting caught up on a few other things earlier this week, but I'll be sharing the next post about the Fall/Winter patterns later this afternoon! In the meantime, I thought I'd share a few updates!

    I had the MOST fun at the Paper Tiger booth in the Knit Fit marketplace, and I want to extend a huge thank you to Hannah and Sasa, who put on this event. It was incredibly fun to have such a fantastic marketplace bustling with activity just up the road from the Paper Tiger HQ! I also want to thank everybody who stopped by my booth. So much of what I do involves sitting at a computer, whether I'm writing a pattern, sending emails, or spending time on Ravelry, and while I love being able to see the beautiful pieces knitters make using my patterns, nothing compares to actually getting to interact with them in person. I had patterns and samples on hand for the entire Fall/Winter 13 collection, as well as my bestseller Vasa, and it was so much fun to talk to knitters about the pieces and to see folks trying them on. And a HUGE thank you to everyone who bought patterns! I have to admit I was a little nervous going into this kind of marketplace with only patterns to sell, but I clearly didn't have to be. It was such a worthwhile experience.

    While I am working on a few new patterns (if you picked up a coupon card at Knit Fit, you got a little sneak peek at one of them!), I'm looking forward to things slowing down a little bit now that the collection's finally out. As a result, one of my main goals for the next several weeks is to knock out some of my long-term WIPs that have been languishing for the last few months (some for much longer). Here's a look at some personal projects that are on the needles:

    Row 1: faire du vélo, alpaca lily mittens 
    Row 2: lillebarns marius, hansker til mor 
    Row 3: winter is coming, norske sokker

    Some of these projects are closer than others to being finished; Faire du Vélo is really quite close so I've been working on that one, and the gloves for my mother (hansker til mor) just need fingers, and they're long overdue, so they're high priority. The Icelandic shawl (winter is coming) is actually also really close, but I don't know how I'm ever going to figure out where in the lace repeats I am. The biggest problem with my WIP pile is that they really are all things I want to finish. How do you motivate yourself to finish long-term WIPs?

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  • knit fit! and a vasa knitalong

    Have you been thinking about knitting Vasa? Then it's the perfect time to head over to Ravelry and join the September knitalong hosted by Holland Road Yarn Co. of Wellington, New Zealand! Of course, the southern hemisphere is heading into their spring, which makes it the perfect time for southern hemisphere knitters to cast on, but if you live in some of the warmer places up here in the northern hemisphere (like my home state of North Carolina) you've still got a month or two of Vasa-appropriate weather. I was quite excited when I discovered that Tash, who owns HRYC, had chosen Vasa for her store's September KAL, because I had *just* been reading about the store and her yarn, Knitsch, in Extra Curricular magazine. I love it when worlds collide and I'm hoping to work with some Knitsch sock on a design for winter or early spring release... but more on that later!

    If you want to join the Vasa KAL for September, you can find the Ravelry thread right here. I've been enjoying seeing different Vasa tees pop up on Ravelry - it's so fun to see what colors everyone chooses! I hope some of you will join in for the KAL.

    My other announcement today is that Paper Tiger will be a vendor at this year's Knit Fit! marketplace. Knit Fit is a knitting even in Seattle with classes, lectures, and a free-entry marketplace. This year it runs November 2-3 at the Ballard Community Center, and the list of instructors can be found here. I will be releasing my Fall/Winter 2013 collection in the week leading up to it, so I'll have printed copies of collection patterns available and samples on display in the booth! I'm also hoping to put together a few kits, for pieces from the collection and hopefully a few of my other patterns as well (Pine Bough Cowl, anyone?).

    If you're in the Seattle area and a trip to Chicago for Vogue Knitting Live! is a little out of your budget, Knit Fit is a fantastic local alternative. You can view the schedule of classes and events here, and registration can be found here. If you're not up for any classes, you should still pop by the marketplace and say hello! Registration isn't necessary for the free-entry marketplace. I hope to see some of you there!

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  • the new paper tiger hq

    A few weeks ago I made a very exciting decision - I signed a lease on a studio/office space for Paper Tiger! While there are some things I loved about working from home, I feel like making the leap to a workspace outside the home has been a fantastic decision for my creative work. Change can be a little scary, but over the past few weeks I've been working on putting together a bright, inviting space that is both comfortable and inspiring. It's still a work in progress, and there are a few more pieces of furniture I need to procure before it's "done" and presentable, but I thought I would share a sneak peek of a few details of the space in progress!

    For those who are curious: the succulent is Burro's Tail; the teal fabric on the wall is a Michael Miller print I bought at Drygoods Design (available here); the ombré curtain is from Target; the dreamy pendant lamp is the Garland Light by Tord Boontje; the mirror with Norwegian on it says "to dream and to do"; and the coat rack yarn holder was totally my husband's idea.

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  • travel / store updates

    I've just gotten back from a two-week trip to Australia and New Zealand! It was an inspiring trip in a million different ways, and I'm working on a post rounding up some of my favorite things and places, but I've got a bit of work to catch up on before it's ready to go!

    In the meantime, I'm super happy to announce that the Paper Tiger Store is now accessible right here on paper-tiger.net and it can be accessed at any time by clicking "store" at the top of the menu on the left side of the page. It's still set up through etsy.com, but being able to carry my products right here on the website rather than linking to an external site is a great move forward for Paper Tiger! In conjunction with this move, I'm really happy to announce that my knitting patterns that are available for purchase on Ravelry are now also available to purchase as instant downloads in the Paper Tiger Store (free patterns won't appear in the store). While most knitters I know seem to be on Ravelry these days, plenty of people do still purchase elsewhere so I'm glad to be able to offer another option!

    Lots of stuff is in the works, so look for more updates soon!

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  • happy 2013 from paper tiger

    It's been a slow first week back at Paper Tiger after the holidays, but I wanted to wish you all a happy new year and all the best in 2013. I'm excited to see what it brings and excited to bring you new things! I spent new year's eve watching for the northern lights on a fjord in northern Norway, and eventually, the pretty things showed themselves, even if only faintly. It's a memory I will long cherish, and I couldn't help trying to capture the spirit myself.

    Happy 2013 to you all!

    xo

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  • washington HOME stickers back in stock

    I have a couple announcements on this Monday morning, and the first of them is that my Washington state HOME decals are finally, after a 1+ year absence, back in stock! I'll be shipping new orders at the end of this week, and more regularly starting next week.

    If you'd like to pick up one (or more), you can order them here.

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  • home again

    After a year abroad, on the move, traveling and teaching, I'm back home in Seattle.

    I'm very happy to be home, and I've been getting the new Paper Tiger studio set up and running, which is very exciting! I already have some projects in the works, and you can expect to see more new stuff in this space very soon.

    In the meantime, I thought I'd share a few photos from my walk yesterday. My work right now leans way toward the running-the-business end of Paper Tiger, and my days are spent sitting at my desk more often than not. In an effort to get out and be active, I've been setting aside time for long walks. Yesterday I took a walk through the Ballard Locks and Discovery Park. One of the things I missed most about Seattle when I was living in Hungary was its proximity to so much natural beauty; we are spoiled by our views of the sound and the mountains surrounding us.

    Discovery Park is a little piece of nature (or a rather large one, really) in the middle of Seattle, a place where a few steps away from the parking lot you forget how near the roads and houses truly are, because it feels like you've stepped into the middle of nowhere. The presence of a few paved access roads and the other people enjoying the park are some of the only reminders that you're still within the city limits. It is a favorite spot.

    Both the park and the Locks were good places to catch glimpses of autumn creeping into Seattle (particularly the Locks).

    I'll be sharing my new projects here very soon, but until then I plan to keep sharing photos. From daily walks, from this last year's travels, from anything that seems fit to share. I'll leave you with this photo of a salmon in the fish ladder at the Locks. More soon!

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  • projects

    Lately...



    Left: Hexacomb by Katie Himmelberg
    Right: Waffle Stitch Fingerless Gloves by Jill Toporkiewicz


    and upcoming...



    I cannot seem to keep my hands off my knitting needles lately, so I am knitting knitting knitting and will hopefully have some more things to share & sell in the coming weeks. Luckily, I have generous friends who know yarn makes a great Christmas gift so I have plenty of yarn waiting to turn into finished objects. I am getting back into pattern-writing and I have lots of ideas bouncing around in my head...

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  • preorder saint bartlett

    I have a few upcoming art projects related to the release of Damien Jurado's new album, Saint Bartlett, so I am thrilled to pass on the news that it is now available for pre-order via the Secretly Canadian website.

    All pre-orders will receive an instant mp3 download of the whole record, which is pretty rad. As for those art projects, there will be more news soon...

    saintbartlett.com
    secretlycanadian.com
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  • damien jurado / saint bartlett


    Damien Jurado's new album, Saint Bartlett, came out May 25th, and on May 29th he played an album release show here in Seattle at the Triple Door. I made this poster for it. The whole thing, from start to finish, was a made-by-hand process. I am going to attempt to document that process here, for those of you who are interested in that sort of thing - if you're not, you can just check out the images.

    I have always made a great deal of my artwork on the computer, and this poster (along with one I made last fall as well as a large-scale painting project) is part of an attempt to unplug and get back to a more tangible process of making things. And it was a process!

    This poster began as an idea: embroidery by hand only, with no aid from computers or machines in any way (with the sole exception of scanning the actual piece of fabric to reproduce it). I haven't done any embroidery since I was in elementary school, probably, so it required some preparation and planning. I skipped over to Stitches to purchase fabric, embroidery thread, and the incredibly crucial heat-transfer pencil (this was necessary for making a pattern). I sketched the whole thing up in regular pencil, first. Everything was drawn by hand, including the lettering. Then I flipped over my sketch and traced the lettering on the back of the paper with the heat transfer pencil. This gave me a heat-transferable sketch of the poster - backwards - enabling me to iron it directly onto the fabric so I knew where to place my stitches.

    Labor-intensive as that sounds, the next step was definitely the longest part. Embroidering the band names was a long process, aided by the fact that the band names were none too short. I embroidered at home, at the Jurados', in the passenger seat of friends' cars, and on the way down to Portland for a shoot with Kyle Johnson (that post will come at a later date). I took to carrying my embroidery hoop around in my purse for whenever I had a free moment. To give you a point of reference, just one letter of Damien's name would take me anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour to complete, depending on the size and complexity. Luckily, I am incredibly satisfied by this kind of time-consuming handicraft; there's something about the near-tedium that I can really get into.

    Once I finished the lettering, the trees were smooth sailing to the finish. We scanned it once, but I am a perfectionist and was not satisfied with the quality, so I ironed it out and re-scanned it. The original sits now atop my dresser, but prints are also available for $5 via Luckyhorse Industries, here. There will definitely be more unplugged tangible artwork in the near future...



    (Last two photos by the incredibly talented Sarah Jurado)

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  • upcoming: illustrating saint bartlett

    I am midway through a painting project that I have been working on in conjunction with the release of Damien Jurado's Saint Bartlett - illustrations based on the song lyrics, one piece per song. I'm still working away, but I thought I'd share a peek at the paintings I've done so far.

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  • where in the world is paper tiger?



    Hello, friends. It's been a little quiet in this space as of late, I know! It's high time I provided an explanation.

    Arts and crafts are a huge part of what I do, but I am an academic as well. Earlier this year, sometime in the spring, I was getting ready to finish up my master's degree in TESOL (that's Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), and feeling restless, I decided to apply for English teaching jobs abroad. Well, I was offered a few, and so I have relocated to Debrecen, Hungary for the 2011-2012 academic year to teach at the university. My new job takes up quite a bit of my time and energy, leaving less time for the various art projects I usually have going on.

    But never fear! That does not mean that I'm not working on any projects. I still have some design things on the horizon, and I'll be doing quite a bit of knitting and crafting over the course of the year. I'm hoping to finally work on a few of the knitting patterns I've been meaning to write for months (or years). I will continue to post about arts and crafts and music happenings. And next summer, when the year is over, I'll be headed back home to Seattle.

    If you have any interest in my Hungarian adventure, you can read about it and see lots (and lots) of photos right here:
    greathungarianplain.wordpress.com

    And in the meantime, here are a few recent happenings:


    I performed at Doe Bay Fest on Orcas Island in Washington with my old friend John Vanderslice, and it was an immensely good time. I might have something to share with you in the next few weeks. Until then, this is a photo of me and John by the supremely talented Lori Paulson, taken at the festival.


    On a trip down to San Francisco this summer, I made sure to swing by Vanderslice's studio Tiny Telephone to see the new B Room, Minitel. Having shot the A Room last summer, I had to shoot the B Room too! You can see all my Minitel photos here.


    My first knitting project in Hungary: this is Knitted Bliss's Stockholm Scarf


    I had some WA Home shirts printed for my art show in June, and there are still a few available through Luckyhorse Industries.

    Check for more here soon. Promise!

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