eight days a week

anne wrote this just before lunchtime:

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oh my, what a week! and one full of smiles, i might add. it was so, SO good to reunite with wonderful friends during our week abroad at the big wool show.

i had totally planned to blog before this, but one disadvantage of being constantly on the go is that anything i might plan has potential to be sabotaged. for instance, while i did have wi-fi at the hotel, i couldn’t connect to the internet from sunday through wednesday. we finally figured that issue out just in time for me to move on to my next destination, haha.

ETA: and see? just when i was getting into the meat of THIS post, we lost internet at my mom’s, thus delaying it once again. sorry!

shall we back up a bit and start from the beginning? i promise there is some fun knitting to be seen all the way back there . . . in fact you might remember me mentioning a couple of secret projects i had going, yes?

well one or two of course were the october projects for our bare naked wools club and you can click here to peek at those (spoiler alert). in the two weeks before i left for rhinebeck i put the finishing touches on those and also worked on my secret rhinebeck swap project

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which would be revealed at our annual knitspot meetup picnic on saturday at the fair. this was my very first swap—talk about pressure! i didn’t know much about my giftee until a few weeks before the date, so i procrastinated a bit in getting started, waffling about what to make.

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when i finally realized who exactly she was, my plan took shape. originally, i wanted to make this shawl with shades of stone soup fingering yarn, but when i realized i knew more about my person’s taste, i decided to do some of the stripes in purple.

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i pulled a skein of woolen rabbit pearl sock yarn from my work stash (i think it’s colorway lady slipper, but the tag is back home, so i’m not positive). since it’s a tight twist sock yarn, it has a nice round profile with lots of polish; a nice complement to the flannel soft, tweedy surface that stone soup fabric has (i used two different shades of SSF in slate and granite).

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after our grand opening even was concluded, i got down to business and completed a serious amount of knitting during the drive to and from yarn in the barn. this shawl knits up very quickly and because of that, it’s quite a fun project. even though i was concurrently designing and knitting half a dozen color work cowls and two of the october club projects (plus creating the book chapter to go with them), i managed to get my shawl completed and blocked over the weekend before we left for new york. i remembered to snap a photo of the finished UNblocked shawl (above)

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so you could see what a difference it makes. i know you already know this, but the transformation still makes me go “wow” every time i stretch and block lace.

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i’m pretty good at predicting what will work, but i really wasn’t sure i was going to love—or even like—this piece until i saw it all stretched out. maybe it’s because i’ve been working more with neutral combinations (though certainly not exclusively) but i kept wondering if the purple was too much of a contrast.

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once it was stretched however, the color impact was considerably balanced when the gray tonal variations and rich brocade textures were brought out in the fabric (i always loved the combined textures in this shawl!).

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isn’t she lovely?

i wrapped it up with some additional goodies and crossed my fingers that the recipient would love it  as much as i did. then i proceeded to plan my next project around this idea—i was really taken with the look and how much fun it was to create.

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the next one will be knit in that raspberry/chocolate combination of yarns i showed you in my last post. i packed everything i needed to get started, but well, so far i haven’t begun. i had to process my idea a little more; i was overwhelmed at first with possible motifs to go with. i’m just about there and have decided at least what the hem will be so i will most likely start that when i arrive home.

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so last thursday, with everything that could fit packed into the truck (thank you david!), sarah, barb, and i bundled ourselves into our vehicles to head eastward.

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in twenty minutes we were at starbucks, a necessary pitstop.  after that though, it was all business—we wanted to get there as quickly as possible.

i am very lucky and grateful that sarah drove the whole way, while i knit on a color work cowl sample for my classes the next week. i know that sound incredibly irresponsible to have left it to the last minute, but i have a good excuse!

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this is knit in our new confection sport yarn and we actually hadn’t received all the shades i needed until just before we left (in fact, one shade that i wanted to use never came til after we left, so i altered my design to suit). sigh—never a dull moment, i tell ya.

anyway, thanks to sarah taking the wheel for the day, i was able to get really far along on this project, having been all the way down in the bottom ribbing at the start of our trip.

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after dropping the truck off with erica in kingston, we piled into barb’s car and headed for our little cottage on the other side of the river.

after settling in and grabbing a quick bite at a cute cafe in red hook, the three of us settled in for an evening of knitting and chatting. sarah was working through a strömming cap knit in bulky yarn (she just knit the smallest size, using fat yarn and 6 mm needles). it took all of a few hours and turned out so cute, but i never got a photo. maybe she’ll post it to her ravelry project page?

the next day was a big one, so we turned in early to get our beauty rest. we started with a visit to the fairgrounds to drop off various items with vendors, from samples to printed patterns.

we had a nice visit with jen and her team at spirit trail as well as the briar rose family (hugs all around!). i’m not saying if by chance we happened to get a preview of the wares that would be available to everyone on saturday—we might have . . .

then it was on to the CIA for our annual lunch date with friends nathalie and mary, to catch up on all the news with them and talk knitting (they are bot incredible knitters). anne marie was joining us for the reminder of the weekend as well, starting with this meet up at CIA.

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our dear kimkimkim couldn’t make it rhinebeck this year (WA-AH!), but i channeled her in by ordering multiple desserts. unfortunately i could’ eat either of these (clearly, i’m no match for her skills at dessert or shopping, but i try). i did eat them later in the weekend over several sittings.

we had a lovely and delicious lunch (butternut squash soup = A++++).  the weather was absolutely sparkling for once—it usually rains buckets the day before the wool show. and this was our last bit of relaxation for a while—the rest of the afternoon and evening was jam-packed with activities.

first thing after lunch, barb and sarah had to get back to kingston to join erica O. in setting up our display for the indie untangled event. anne marie and i headed back to the house to drop her things and then snuck in a quiet coffee and a bit of chocolate (see? i can eat dessert! i just have to make it it’s own meal)

back to kingstone to drop anne marie off; i actually had attend the romney growers association meeting for the evening. which was very interesting—i got to met several of the producers who provide romney wool for our kent yarn line.

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it was terribly dark so i couldn’t get a great photo, but you might remember devlin here, because i mentioned him in the post i wrote about the creation of our kent yarn. well, he won the romney growers scholarship this year—yay devlin.

by the time this event ended at 9:30 or so, the event across the river was also finished. i checked in with my pals and we decided to meet up back at the cottage for wine, snacks, and knitting. and of course swapping stories and relaxing if possible.

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this turned into a late night session of hilarity as we roasted kimkimkim in the ravelry threads for a couple of hours (serves her right for abandoning us). seriously, i’ve never seen anne marie laugh so much or so hard.

ok, this has got to be continued later—i need to go out with my mom; we’re seeing a movie today

back in a few hours with more

quick getaway

anne wrote this in the wee hours:

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phew, i really didn’t think i was going to make it to this point at a decent hour, but somehow the hour is here and i’m ready.

 

we are off to rhinebeck in the morning! barb, sarah, and i are riding caravan style—barb in her own vehicle with me and sarah in the cargo van that will be carrying the makings of our popup shop.

i’ve got a couple of class projects on the needles and a couple of secret projects and a couple of fun new design projects that are my treat for working so hard these last couple of weeks. more on those as they progress. . . sounds like a lot of knitting, i know, but i’ll be gone almost two weeks and i’ll have some time to knit with my friends as well as my mom—i’m going to stop up and visit her after our after party.

meanwhile, back at the ranch, david, emily, erica, and anastasia will be holding down the fort. my october chapter is done and dusted and will be released sometime around midnight on the 16th.

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these are the yarns i’ve picked for one of my new design projects. i’ve been playing around, mixing handed yarn with our bare naked yarns; between striping and patterning, i’ve been having a lot of fun with it. what i’ve got here for color is a beautiful skein of yarn spun by my friend phoebe and gifted to me for my birthday; i just love the raspberry and chocolate tones in it and when i put it next to our wools, it really pops.

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i can’t wait to cast on—i’m thinking maybe a crescent this time. or a triangle. or both. i’ve got a hankering for a new little neck scarf and i’m pretty fond of the little triangle shape, but maybe a crescent would be a nice change up . . .

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the other day we had a special guest in our monday knitting class—my friend jude spent some time with us and after he mentioned about twelve times the he wanted to learn to knit, i scrounged up some needles and yarn, sat him in the corner next to me and showed him a few tricks.

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wow, fastest learner i think i’ve ever taught; i just and to show him once or twice and he knit himself a whole row. but then it was time to go, but i’m pretty sure he’ll be back.

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he says he needs a hat. or a cowl.

alright now, time for me to get to bed. but please come to one of our fun weekend events at the wool show—there is indie untangled on friday evening, our knitspot lunchtime picnic on saturday at noon, our popup shop on sunday afternoon, and our retreat from monday through wednesday. all are welcome; see you at the fair!

wake and eddy

anne wrote this late at night:

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oooh, it’s fall and october and rhinebeck time. and when it’s rhinebeck time, it’s time to get together with good friends—like sweet jen from spirit trail fiberworks.

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when jen asks me to design with her yarn, i can’t say no—i love it all so much. it’s a bit of a tradition to create something new each year for her booth at rhinebeck and this year, it’s a luxurious scarf/infinity loop/cowl knit with her scrumptious birte DK.

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the colors she sent me to work with are water colors—one dark and one lighter. i immediately began to think in terms of wavy patterns that would remind me of water or waterfalls in some way.

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birte is a nice round yarn blended from merino, cashmere, and silk—luscious, right? it catches the light with a soft sheen and drapes beautifully against the body as it falls from the shoulder.

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while i fell in love with this undulating wave pattern, i was a bit concerned that it might drape too much, so i trimmed the edges with rolling garter stitch and added a cable to the center to stabilize the fabric.

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the result is a scarf or cowl with just the right amount of weight to slump ever so lazily around the shoulders without losing its body completely. it’s light and warm and soft as can be, with a fine cashmere halo all about its surface

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to catch the light in its openwork. sigh.

shown above: short cowl/small infinity, knit with one skein of spirit trail birte, colorwway bog shadows

shown below: petite scarf, knit with two skeins of spirit trail birte, colorwway ebb and flow

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pattern also includes instructions for a long infinity scarf and a longer rectangle scarf.

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to purchase pattern or view complete pattern information, please click here to visit the wake and eddy page in the knitspot pattern shop or click here to see specs and purchase in my ravelry pattern shop

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you can’t tell from these serene photos, but we are all a bit crazed here, trying to pull everything into place for our trek to the hudson valley of new york—we are going to the fair!

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in the spirit trail booth, you’ll be able to see these samples alongside jen’s entire array birte colorways to knit your own wake and eddy. and for those who choose yarn to buy birte for this project, she will provide a free ravelry download of the digital pattern (available at the spirit trail booth only, sat 10/18 and sun 10/19)

nice deal, right?

well, there’s more . . . we are also releasing the pyro, chiminea, and firestorm patterns at the show, featuring jen’s sunna—the fingering version of this delicious merino/cashmere/silk blend. if you purchase sunna to knit those pieces, you will also get THAT pattern free (as a ravelry download; available only at the show 10/18 and 10/19 from spirit trail fiberworks).

yep, we are going to the sheep and wool and i’ve been planning what i’ll knit on this trip—i’ll be away almost two weeks. first things first—i have a couple of samples and swatches i’d like to complete for our after party popup shop and for my classes at our retreat.

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once i’m in the car with sarah at the wheel, i plan to snuggle into that passenger seat with a nice ball of our new, better breakfast DK (coming soon; we are SO excited!). i’m going to treat myself to a short wake and eddy cowl—i can just feel it.

i’ve been so crazed that i haven’t even had a chance to knit something substantial from this yarn yet and i’m dying to get my fingertips into it. trust me, this is so, so lush—everyone who touches it goes weak in the knees. if you’ve been loving breakfast blend, you will simply adore better breakfast. i have just two words to say about it: completely dehaired.

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that’s right, the new mill we’re working with is able to remove all that tickly guard hair, leaving this yarn with nothing but soft, downy fibers. even the fussiest and most sensitive of our test knitters are swooning over it. (hattie will vouch for it!)

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interested? come see and purchase the fingering version at our after party popup shop right after the wool show, open sunday october 19th (2 pm on) through tuesday october 21st  at the marriott hotel in kingston, new york.
(click here to see photos of our first sample knits in this divine yarn)

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we’ll have a VERY limited number of sample skeins available in a few shades, fingering weight only, while supplies last. come and get it.

oh phew, i have been keeping that secret for months; it feels SO GOOD to finally tell!

in fact, we will be talking about and playing with yarn and color for three days—why don’t you join us? learn, have fun, and enhance your stash; there are  a few spots left. click here for more details

Glentrekker

majordomo wrote this mid-afternoon:

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I have been anxiously awaiting the release of this cardi. Months ago, we sent Jen Hagan skeins of various Bare Naked Wools to swatch and explore. Breakfast Blend DK immediately struck her fancy.

She told me, “I knew right away I wanted to swatch some cables with it. The wool/alpaca blend is perfect for cables. Alpaca for softness and wool for definition.” After spending some time swatching and sending me sneak peeks, she finalized the design and chose Bakery Rye. She said, “It really is as scrumptious as rye – my favorite bread.”

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As she knit through the design she would release progress pics on Instagram making the knitting world just drool over the photos.

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Even the wrong side was gorgeous! And then, two months ago she posted this pic

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with the caption, “She’s all done, buttons and all! Now to finish writing the pattern and get some testers.” I wasn’t the only one dying to see the finished piece! Test knitters were clamoring for a chance to work on this design.

Throughout this process Jen and I kept in touch and she shed some light on the design.

How did your design come to fruition?

The yarn often tells me what to do. It’s the boss of me sometimes. The Glentrekker came to me as a perfect use of this lovely yarn. The structure of the cardigan took some twists and turns (haha), but I finally decided to let it be simple. The garment structure is pretty traditional.

How is BB DK different than other yarns you’ve designed with?

I love that this is American-made fiber and I am working with another small business in this project. Teamwork! Also, the yarn is of exquisite quality. I don’t remember encountering one single knot and I was able to work felted joins for the entire sweater, leaving few ends to weave when I was done. The fabric washed and blocked out gorgeously. The whole project was a delight.

I am pleased to introduce Glentrekker by Jen Hagan, a limited edition Bare Naked Wools kit.

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The allover cable detail is strategically placed in this raglan design for intrigue and flatter, complete with a shawl collar it is a super comfy design to wear this fall and even into cold winter days with a scarf or cowl.

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Plus, Jen also designed a hat as a great accompanying piece, an idea inspired by her hero Elizabeth Zimmerman. “In her book The Opinionated Knitter, the instructions for her Leaflet #6 Circular Aran Sweater state ‘I shall not ask you to make the hated swatch, but a useful cap, which will familiarize you with the patterns, and give you a perfect gauge.’ What an excellent idea!”

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Kits are available in five colors of Breakfast Blend DK here and the first 30 kit customers get the sweater and hat patterns for FREE! Grab one here.

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Need buttons for your cardi? We have shell and glass options here.

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And, in case you haven’t heard, we now stock ChiaoGoo needles in our online store! Shop sizes here.

Join us for the After Party next weekend in New York and you can see these pieces in person! They will be on display Oct 19-21 in the popup store. Want to make sure you snag a kit during the After Party? Order your kit online today, make a note on your order that you want to pick it up in New York, and we will pack it in the van!

I’m super pleased to announce that Jen will also be hosting a KAL in the Bare Naked Wools ravelry group. You can choose the Glentrekker cardi or hat, or both! Cast on begins November 1 and runs through February 1. Join the fun here.

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And HAPPY I LOVE YARN DAY to everyone! Go ahead and give some a yarn a squeeze and cast something new on. Enjoy!