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  • Guest blogger, Colleen Diamond

     I first started following Colleen on Ravelry.   I loved her finished projects and she seemed to be "favoriting" knits that I was also drawn to.   Not only does Colleen have an amazing style, she is also a very talented photographer.   All the photos in this post are hers.  Be sure to follow Colleen on Instagram and her Ravelry page.

    Colleen wearing her finished Telja sweater by Jenn Steingass from By Hand Issue 2

    Hello, My name is Colleen. I live on the Southern Shore of Lake Ontario. I'm an avid photographer who enjoys documenting my creative projects online.

    I've been making things with my hands all my life, so it was only natural I wanted to learn how to knit. My mother taught me to knit as a young girl, she showed me the basics, and I knit my first garter stitch scarf using a pair of vintage aluminium needles and acrylic yarn. Many years later (in 2004, to be exact) I revisited knitting after being inspired by Debbie Stoller's Knitters Handbook: Stitch'n Bitch. Knitting sort of became a way of life for me after that. There is not one day that goes by without me knitting or daydreaming about it.

    Lately, I've been putting my ideas on paper and writing patterns for my own designs. I'm much more confident at following a pattern than being in the design seat, but it's nice every now and then to switch gears and push myself out of my comfort zone. I'm often test knitting for designers that I know and admire their work  It gives me a better understanding of what it takes to be a good designer.


    If I'm not knitting, I love to naturally dye wool fibres with plants and kitchen scraps. I love the process of harvesting plant matter to make into a dye — I'm always stunned by the beautiful shades that nature can produce. Some of my favourites to dye with are black walnuts, black turtle beans, marigolds, avocados and European buckthorn. 

    Holding a basket of Léttlopi and wearing her Afmæli sweater by Védís Jónsdóttir for Ístex.

    As a Canadian, I spend half the year being extremely cold! For that reason I need to find ways to keep as cozy as possible!

    Icelandic wool is like no other wool. For starters, it's incredibly warm and insulating, thanks to its two types of fibres. It is lightweight, breathable, water repellent and hard wearing. All of those qualities, plus the rustic feel of the yarn, and the wide array of saturated and natural colours make me choose it whenever possible, it's also very reasonably priced. 

    I always block my finished garments with a mild wool wash, in lukewarm water before I wear them as it softens the wool and blooms the fibres to a beautiful fabric.

    Wearing Grettir by Jared flood, knit in Léttlopi .

    Wearing her Aftur sweater by by Védís Jónsdóttir for Ístex.

    The back of her Afmæli sweater by Védís Jónsdóttir for Ístex.

    I'm often drawn to the traditional designs of Icelandic patterns for their beauty and function. Usually the patterns blend Icelandic nature and landscapes into their designs which appeals to me as a knitter/designer.
    With a wide range of Icelandic patterns to choose from, my favourite is the bottom-up yoke. I love how quickly a lopapeysa flies off the needles — for me, it's the anticipation or reaching the yoke that makes me knit a lot faster!

    Ultimately, I love the task of picking colour combinations and watching the magic unfold as I knit. Each lopapeysa is like a work of art with the possibilities being endless. 

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