nordic knitting conference / hearth slippers for tolt yarn and wool

It was a whirlwind weekend, but I had such an amazing time at the Nordic Knitting Conference a week and a half ago! It was the biggest conference yet, and it was such a treat to be teaching alongside such a fantastic roster of teachers. I’m incredibly grateful to my truly wonderful students for making such a busy weekend such a joy, as well. My five classes flew by, and nothing makes my day quite like a satisfied student’s sincere thank you on their way out the door. I also want to make sure to say thanks to the Nordic Heritage Museum for having me, and I hope to have the opportunity to work with the museum on events in the future.

One of the funny things about being an instructor at an event like this is that I didn’t actually see very much of my fellow teachers, but I did get to hear Arne & Carlos, our headliners, speak at the banquet. If you ever get the chance to take a class or see these guys speak, do it. It’s difficult to overstate how funny and engaging they are, and I was in stitches all night.

I was busy enough that I didn’t really have a chance to get any photos over the weekend, but you can check out the #nordicknittingconference tag on Instagram to see photos (viewable in a web browser here).

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I also had a new pattern make its debut at the conference. Anna at Tolt Yarn and Wool approached me around a year ago about designing a pair of slipper socks, maybe with a Nordic-inspired design. Obviously, I was in! I started playing around with motif ideas and before too long, Hearth Slippers were on the needles. This was an interesting pattern to design and write, because it’s heavily charted but offered in three sizes (two adult sizes and a child size); this meant, in effect, writing three patterns in one, as each size comes with its own set of charts. I’m quite pleased with how it worked out, though! I’ve heard that the pattern kits Tolt was selling at the conference were a hit. I’m going to borrow a photo of Kathy Cadigan‘s, where you can see the project bag I designed for the kits as well!

These are worked in the round from the cuff-down (which is how I typically work socks), but everything else about the construction borrows heavily from traditional Norwegian mittens. The motifs on the top of the foot, back of the leg, and sole of the foot are divided into three separate sections, separated by borders. The heel is an afterthought heel, worked much like you might work a thumb on a mitten: waste yarn is worked across the row where the heel is placed as you work the length of the slipper, and then the waste yarn is removed and heel stitches placed back on the needles to work the heel after the fact. The motifs are very typically Norwegian, as well. A little bit of duplicate stitch in the center of the Selbu stars adds a pop of color and contrast.

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We used Fancy Tiger’s Heirloom Romney for this design, a cozy but hard-working yarn made from American wool and well suited for winter slippers. The samples also have suede slipper bottoms from Fiber Trends sewn to the sole. I love the color palette of Heirloom Romney and I think there’s a lot of potential for beautiful combinations (and in fact I’ve just ordered some yarn from the new Fancy Tiger online shop to make myself a pair in a new color combination!).

Paper copies of the Hearth Slippers pattern can be purchased at Tolt Yarn and Wool’s brick-and-mortar store in Carnation, Washington, or you can procure a PDF version here on Ravelry or here on Tolt’s website.

tolt yarn and wool

Happy Monday! The highly anticipated opening of Tolt Yarn and Wool in Carnation, Washington was this past weekend, and I’m so excited to share a few photos with you. There are also links galore, so grab a cup of something warm and delicious to keep you company while you peruse.

Anna, the shop’s owner, was absolutely instrumental in making the photoshoots for Paper Tiger Fall/Winter 13 a possibility, and the lookbook wouldn’t have been possible without her help. She is one of the most awesome people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, and I’m so proud of all of her hard work on the store and I’m incredibly excited she gets to share her vision with the world now that it’s open.

The store is lofty and large; it’s a really beautiful old space on Carnation’s little main drag. It’s thoughtfully designed and laid out, too. I remember that Anna was dismayed when she realized the old hardwood floor was in bad enough shape that they’d have to tear it out, but in an effort to preserve some of the space’s history, much of the wood from the floor was salvaged and used on the south wall of the space. It adds warmth and character that would have otherwise been lost. Anna’s stocked the store with both hardy wools as well as more luxurious yarn options (being a fan of both, I’m very happy about this). She’s also carrying several Skacel yarns and Ístex Létt-Lopi, which makes it great place to pick up yarn if you’re planning to make, say, Moon Pulls or Nikoline. Also in stock is HiKoo Kenzie, so you’re covered if you want to make a Pine Bough Cowl. There’s even a sample on display in the little Kenzie corner!

Andrea Rangel, who was just down here in Seattle for Knit Fit, designed a pair of patterns to celebrate the store’s opening, and the pieces are proudly on display front and center when you walk in the door. Aren’t the Tolt Hat and Mitts beautiful? I love the subtle color shifts of the contrasting yarn, one by Spincycle Yarns (also locals, up in Bellingham!).

The notions, bags, and other accessories in stock at Tolt are also pretty crush-worthy. There are some sweet goods from Fringe Supply Co. and I really liked these bags from Such Sweet Tierney. One of those Tolt mugs came home with me, too.

I can tell I’ll be making many trips over Lake Washington to visit this cozy space. If you have a chance, you should make the trip yourself, whether you’re local or you’re just traveling through the Pacific Northwest! You definitely won’t regret it. Visit the website for Tolt Yarn and Wool at toltyarnandwool.com, and be sure to follow the blog if you’d like to keep up with what’s going on!