summer fine

anne wrote this in the early evening:

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though it’s been mostly chilly and rainy over the last few days, i did manage to get this sunny photo during a rare break in the clouds.

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as i stepped out the back door on my way to the store the other day, this little butterfly was so intent on exploring the marigolds that it allowed me to get really close up to take some pictures.

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i hovered above, snapping every few seconds until i got the money shot for you (it didn’t take long).

the garden is just buzzing with butterfly and bee activity these days. our neighbors got a hive in the spring and we are visited by their honey bees as well as a host of bumblebees, wasps, and other types.

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the result being plenty of good eating for us. i just collect produce daily until i have enough to make something and then spend some time in the kitchen on rainy days cooking it up (more on that later).

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i was kind of tied up with other matters on friday, when we opened our little retail space to customers for the first time. i ran over in the morning to “check in” and sarah put me right to work figuring out a solution for displaying our buttons more prettily, haha.

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and of course after that, it was one thing after another, tidying up this corner and that, trying our different ways to display samples and merchandise. sarah concentrated on getting all the structural pieces in place first and now we’re working on warming things up with loads of luscious samples. it’s a work in progress, so to speak.

during our first weekend, we enjoyed visits from friends who drove in from an hour or more away, as well as some who live more locally. it was a lot of fun to chat with everyone who stopped by. we’re really excited to begin having classes and yarn tastings soon.

all of this evolved so quickly that we’ve barely had a moment to really plan how it would look; one minute there was a beehive buzzing in the first floor of our house and then next thing we knew, we had an offsite space for it. and then the possibility of making a shop presented itself—well, it’s been a whirlwind month, alright. we’re pulling our look together as quickly as we can . . .

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next weekend we’ll be open during the same hours—please stop in if you are in the neighborhood for any of the hall of fame events. we are just a block or two off the grand parade route on saturday morning and only a few blocks from the hall of fame itself—come on over and say hello!

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this weekend we were also excited to be sponsoring a running event here in town! the hands for hope run was a benefit to support TIQVAH, an after school program here in canton that provides students with new learning experiences, a place to do homework, and support for making positive choices as well as healthy snacks and meals before heading home at the end of the day.

i was SO excited to run in this event and wear the shirt with the knitspot logo, but as luck would have it, i developed a bit of tendonitis in my ankle on thursday that took me down. i had to be content with cheering everyone on at the start line, pout.

i also had to sit out the pigskin run on sunday morning, a hall of fame race. thankfully though, my ankle seems to be benefitting from the rest; it feels LOT better already and i’m thinking that tomorrow morning i should be able to go walking on it, weather permitting. if that goes well, then i’ll try some easy running on wednesday, or a run/walk pattern. i don’t want to take any chances; i have a couple of big races coming up later in august and september that i definitely don’t want to miss.

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late last week i finally got my new pedal pusher cardigan into the wash for a good wet blocking.

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wow did that go nicely! the sweater blocked out perfectly to the exact size it was meant to be, both in width and length.

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and the fabric looks awesome—knit in our 100 percent corriedale confection worsted—i can’t get over how consistent and smooth it is.

and with hardly any encouragement either; i washed it in the machine on the hand wash cycle in a mesh bag, then just shook it out and laid it flat, smoothing here and there.

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this is what a beautifully balanced yarn will do for you.

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i was a little behind on getting the pockets knit up, so once i had them done, i soaked them separately in a bowl of soapy water and pinned them flat to dry on my pressing bench.

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once i figured out where i wanted them placed, i stitched one on during my class this afternoon (i still need to steam it) and will do the other on wednesday night, i think.

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i love how it looks with the pockets applied and they’ll be so useful. they totally turn this cardigan into a jacket i can run around in for a good part of the late fall and winter. with a great scarf or shawlette at the neck and a slouchy cap?? so much more comfortable than a big coat, especially in the car . . .

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doesn’t it look great form the back? the fabric has such nice drape; the consistency really shines in this view.

and i used just a little more that four skeins of yarn. while technically it’s a worsted weight, which sounds heavy, the springiness of the fiber makes an airy yarn that goes a long way and produces a garment that is light and very breathable to wear.

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now i just have to decide on the buttons. i’m down to two options—these cedar ones that i love, but which might be too big and a bit rough for the buttonholes. or some bone ones that are kind of a marbly greenish gray.

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i’m kind of leaning towards these because they’re so smooth and then also, you know how i love the hand-me-down-from-grampa look.

i decided to give it some thought while i worked in the kitchen this weekend.

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there was a lot to do—on the one hand, i had a sink full of vegetables which i wanted to turn into a pot of ratatouille.

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and on the other hand, a tidal wave of green beans to square away (these are all from a four or five foot run of climbing beans that matured in just the last few days).

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when i woke up yesterday morning to the sound of rain steadily drumming on the roof, i knew it was the perfect day to spend in the kitchen, starting with the vegetable stew. i cut up each selection into nice chunks and sautéed each one separately before adding to a pot of simmering tomatoes

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from eggplant to peppers to onions and squash, the dish progressed until it was a full pot of deliciousness that just needed some seasoning and fresh basil added. mmm.

while that simmered, i put a big pot of water on for blanching the beans and got to work taking the tops off. thank goodness for audiobooks when a tedious task is at hand, right?

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before long they were all cleaned and ready to go and once you get to that point, the rest is but a few minutes work getting them blanched and into and ice bath afterward. i ended up with three bags of plain beans and two cartons of green beans in sauce for the freezer, plus one carton of green beans in a vinaigrette for our dinner that night.

which we also ate with our little harvest of green peas. i had planted just a few feet of pea vines to see if they would grow undisturbed by rabbits. squirrels, or birds. lo and behold, they did. we only harvested one meal’s worth, but next time i’ll do more.

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tonight we’ll eat that ratatouille with some cod fish and another night, we’ll eat some with pasta. about half the pot was divided into two containers for the freezer; in january we’ll eat that and pretend it’s july again, hehe.

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i have more blog fodder, including the results of testing the sport weight confection yarn, but i think i’ll save that  for the next post. i don’t want to get boring on you . . .

blissfully clean

anne wrote this in the wee hours:

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last summer we had an awful lot of fun putting together the final shipment of the 2013 bare naked club. we’d introduced our membership to super soft color grown organic cotton the previous year and we thought it was time to step things up a notch by designing a shipment with one of the heavier weight cotton yarns and pairing that with a new selection that might not be as familiar—

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gorgeous, natural hemp.

at first i thought that we’d work with the very fine lace weight hemp so as to knit it into some long-lasting, hardwearing lace item, but the more i thought about it, the more i wanted to jump in with both feet and take on the challenge of a heavier hemp yarn.

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so that’s what we did and with it, i came up with a group of projects that not only complemented the yarn choices well, but were wonderfully freeing for hot weather knitting.

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the cotton was assigned for knitting the softest and most supple of wash cloths—in the knitter’s choice of three textures. the ecobutterfly organic color grown cotton sport yarn goes really far, in fact; two skeins was plenty for three generous cloths and most clubbies stretched it even further to knit four.

and now with a full selection of colors available, the project can be new all over again!

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knitters also had choices for the hemp DK—it could be knit into a bath mitt in one of two styles or sizes OR into a back scrubber, also with two choices of texture and size.

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we added some beads to the packages for adorning the pieces—clubbies got creative with hanging loops and edges using the beautiful recycled glass beads, also from ecobutterfly.

so many of these sets were destined for christmas gifts last year because they are wonderful gifting projects—reasonably priced, easy to knit, and fun. and something you can take care of right now when it’s too hot to knit anything warm or fuzzy.

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you can even switch the yarns around a bit and knit the mitt in cotton if you like or the cloths in hemp.

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shown above, three cloths from the i’m a soft touch pattern in ecobutterfly organics pakucho cotton sport, color golden café (click here to see a full range of color possibilities, from pale green to dark brown).  don’t be afraid to scale up the pattern to knit a towel or two, as many of our clubbies did.

or hey! super size that by using a worsted weight cotton selection and a larger needle to knit thick scrubby cloths, towels, or bath mats.

the mitts and scrubbers below from the i like it rough pattern were knit in ecobutterfly fluturi fine hemp DK  yarn, color natural white

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click here to view more information about the patterns for i’m a soft touch or i like it rough. you may also view them in my ravelry pattern shop—click here for i’m a soft touch and here for i like it rough.

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perpetual KALs for these projects and other club favorites are running live at all times in our swinging BNK clubhouse on ravelry—don’t be shy; you needn’t be club a member to join in the fun (but we hope you’ll consider it at some point!).

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both these designs are included in the 2013 BNK eBook, which is overflowing with wonderful information about the yarns we produce as well as fourteen patterns custom designed to go with them.

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and now i think it’s time to get our weekend on, don’t you?

 

Things are Clipping Right Along

majordomo wrote this in the early morning:

knitting and napping

I’ve been sneaking in a few rows while Padraig naps, during summer concerts in the park (check out the gorgeous moss dogs and their rooftop garden on the doghouse),

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historical society,

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and at the zoo

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and also during any commutes where I’m in the passenger seat.

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Before I knew it, I was pretty far on my Slouch Potato in Enzo Sport and my Zig Zag Mitts for the summer cotton KAL were half done.

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I am in LOVE with the sport weight cotton for this pattern. The stitch definition is amazing and the fabric hugs my hand perfectly. And the pattern? It’s 16 row repeat is so addictive! It becomes mindless at 4 row chunks at a time. I mentioned to Anne last night that it would make a gorgeous blanket, so I think that’s my next project. Barb has definitely inspired me to cast one on. Bring on the worsted!

Sarah had to give her summer KAL project a little break. It became a tangled mess and completely frustrated her. We’ve all been there, haven’t we!? Susan rescued it out of her knitting bag

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and together they got Billow Cloud back on track.

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Knitting friends…they’re just the best. And it’s always more fun to straighten out someone else’s project. For some reason it’s less painful. Maybe that’s just me.

Last night there was a lot of knitting progress sharing in the Wednesday night group and Anne text me photos so I didn’t miss anything.

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Anne’s reincarnation of Baci into a sport weight cotton cap is just stunning and Barb’s revamped cotton Kiltie cowl

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into a little girl’s skirt is just too much! Isn’t this the cutest ever? All it needs is buttons and this little number is ready for someone’s first day of school. I’m seeing a back to school ravelry KAL brewing now. Go ahead, grab some sport weight cotton. I’ll wait.

Speaking of Barb, she showed up to knitting wearing her finished Ivar

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in Shalimar Breathless. I love the color; such a fresh green. Bravo Barb. Bravo.

In case you’re wondering, Barb is standing in the NEW RETAIL SPACE! I’ve been watching it grow from paint to carpet to stocked shelves of Bare Naked Wools via Face Time and text.

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It’s been thrilling for all of us to watch these four walls become a fresh and inviting space for natural yarn lovers to flock.

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Look how giddy Anne was the other day when she popped in to see the progress! We can’t wait for customers to see it! The wait is finally over…we open TOMORROW just in time for the hoards of people flocking to Canton for Football Hall of Fame festivities. Join us this weekend!

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Directions and more details can be found on the new boutique page David set up here. We will have regular weekly hours starting soon and as always we are available by appointment. Just call or email us ahead of time to set something up. We can’t wait to see you! I think it’s time to start planning summer road trips…

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Anne will pop in soon with a new hat pattern, plus updates on the shop in all its glory. In the meantime, follow us here for the latest:

Facebook (Knitspot and BNWs), Instagram, Twitter (Knitspot, BNWs, KnitspotClubs) and Ravelry (Knitspot, BNWs, Bare Naked Knitspot, Knitspot in Full Color)

good folks, good music, good eats

anne wrote this at around evening time:

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look at this nice little haul from our garden. it’s so great to be in that season where i can go out with my colander and fill it with a variety of things for dinner. we’ve got squash, eggplant, a few okra, a couple tomatoes, a handful of peas, and some green beans—plus thai basil and a sheath of swiss chard.

i added a large onion, some shitake mushrooms, and a block of tofu and we had the perfect combination of things for a thai curry. which we cooked and ate last night, mmm-mm. how can you not have energy when you eat this way? i’m super excited to be cooking from our garden once again.

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the other day, we had a visitor—our friend hunter hammersen, author of the knitter’s curiosity cabinet books, among others and a dear sweet colleague. she was down from cleveland to do some research for her new book project and we got to have lunch while she was here. which gave us time to talk for a few hours, which was wonderful.

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her timing was perfect—we had just received a box of samples from the mill for our confection sport yarn, so i was anxious to show them to her. we had planned to have the sport version of our 3-ply corriedale confection worsted spun to about the same specifications—basically, the same yarn in a thinner diameter.

but then the mill thought the sport version might need some adjusting—maybe even a big adjustment to a 2-ply construction. i wasn’t so sure about that; i felt the two yarn weights should match in appearance and performance (and it turns out that every knitter i present the dilemma to agrees—don’t play around with the number of plies).

but i was willing to entertain the idea, so we got some samples spun.

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now the 2-ply is squishier and airier; we particularly like the one on the right, which is spun a bit tighter. but wow, the difference in texture is a problem for me. plus, a 2-ply has several other traits that will make it perform differently from the 3-ply.

then there were three samples of 3-ply yarn, each spun  little more loosely to offset some of the stiffness that the miller felt was problematic.

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the original yarn (top) with the three variations. truthfully, we all like the original yarn most and maybe the one spun just a tad looser. thanks to its lincoln lineage, corriedale fiber is a bit stiffer than say, pure merino, but that crispness provides incredible stitch definition and sheen, plus a sturdiness that merino on its own cannot offer. it still has lots of bounce; when knit on larger needles, it makes a lovely, soft fabric.

below, a swatch knit with the original 3-ply sample.

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it’s been a really busy week, so i haven’t had time to swatch the best three or four of the samples, but that’s on my agenda for tomorrow. i’m pretty sure thought that we will either stick to the original 3 ply construction or go with the next looser version.

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we showed hunter our new office and retails space, which is shaping up nicely—we are planning to be open for sales by friday, when activities are launched city-wide for hall of fame week and the enshrinement festival. we are located just blocks away from the football hall of fame, so if you are in town with a fan, please come by to say hello.

we’ll post lots more information about our opening as the week progresses . . . including contact information, hours, and any other pertinent news.

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speaking of confection, now that my monthly club patterns are published and the purple club launched, i have finished my pedal pusher cardigan prototype and i love it.

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it still needs to be blocked but i’m waiting til all my ends are tucked in (working on that now)

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and my underarm seams are sewn up (i have one done and one to go). i’ve been squaring away the finishing work during the late night hours while we watch each daily installment of the tour de france.

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my pockets are knit up but i won’t sew them on til after the sweater is blocked. since i knit the sweater all in one piece, it will be kind of hard to steam block the individual parts, so i’ll probably just steam the seams and then wet block the whole garment. once the pockets are sewn on, i’ll steam them as a finishing step. so exciting; i always love completing a new sweater, no matter what the weather (though it happens we are having a string of very cool nights).

now i just have to figure out what buttons i want to use; sarah has a whole bunch of my buttons somewhere in her sample stuff, so i have to wait til monday before finalizing that step.

i’m working on the pattern and should be able to send that to the tech editor before too long, yay.

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i’ve also been working on my cotton empreinte a little at a time, during classes and while chatting on the phone. in fact, after i finish this post, i’m calling my mom, so i’ll work on it while we talk. it’s really turning out lovely; i know i’m going to love it.

now that david’s cap is done, i need to begin a new one; i was thinking that i’d knit up the bocce cap from last winter in one of the cotton yarns next, giving me a good excuse to finally release that pattern.

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the other night we went to a wonderful party at our neighbor’s home to celebrate their retirements and the completion of some projects around their home. bruce is part of a bluegrass group so anytime they have a get-together, entertainment is on hand. i just love this photo of the group, haha; they are so much fun.

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and even more so when the women join in.

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david and i enjoyed chatting with our neighbors, and listening to music (this is him smiling)

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i worked on my oculus scarf until it got too dark. i got two more repeats done so that wasn’t bad.

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it’s such wonderfully lush piece, but incredibly light. the sweet georgia silk mohair that i’m knitting with is just gorgeous.

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norma had the yard strung with colorful lights and had set up a memory tree that we could add to by making an ornament with a favorite memory written on it.

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today i got up early to do a few things in the kitchen and then set out for my long sunday run. i’m training for a couple of half marathons that are coming up in august and september. i always do a  long run on sunday, but between may and july, i didn’t do any runs longer than ten miles. so i’ve been working on increasing and today i finally hit the thirteen mile mark again. i went a little faster than i probably should have, but it felt good.

i’m pretty sure i’m going to be feeling that tomorrow, hehe.

well, time to talk to my mom now; have a good monday. i’ll be back with more in a few days.