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.
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.
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.
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.