Archive for the ‘yarn and dyeing’ Category

gifts beyond compare

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

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packing for my trip the other day, i was really glad i’d decided to fly on the airline that allows me to take two bags—i had to devote one entire suitcase to wedding paraphernalia alone!

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most of my plane ride took place in complete darkness, as i was flying from east to west, but as we landed, the sky was a beautiful sapphire blue—until we got below that thick marine layer hugging the coast.

i got tons of knitting done, completing the sweater back i had going and working a bit on a secret project as well. i’ll show you all of that in a weekend post.

below clouds, it was chilly, windy, and rainy; not as warm as i’d hoped it would be, but better than home, where it was blizzarding once again.

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but sunny smiles all around from my west coast “family”. the afternoon was filled with errands and another trip to the airport; then it was time to head out to sam’s swim meet.

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which was held outdoors unfortunately; the day became increasingly damp and chilly as it wore on. afterward, we all piled into the car and headed posthaste to a warm middle eastern eatery, mmm.

this morning i was up early for a nice long run, during which the sun actually came out for a while and i came home with ever-so-slight tan lines—to be developed further during the next ten days.

we had a lot of errands on the agenda for the rest of the day and naturally with so many last minute things to take care of, there were a few SNAFUs as well. by 9:30, kim was literally buzzing around the house putting out fires.

but before we headed out, i insisted she take a break to catch her breath and enjoy a little indulgence from her knitting compadres.

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you see, i not only traveled to help celebrate the marriage of our dear friend kim; i was carrying precious cargo as well. david and i, along with about thirty of kim’s dearest internet friends have been hatching a secret gift project for a couple of months and finally the day has arrived to present it.

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well, to say she was surprised would be the understatement of the year. you can see the complete story in the youTube video that her daughter xanning made, posted on the knitspot channel.

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and the fact that thirty knitters who love to chat could keep such a wonderful secret from her was the best part i think. her genuine and unadulterated surprise was a real treat to witness; it made us all feel great.

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isn’t she fab?? this is why we love her and love doing things for her; kim’s joy for life is so completely contagious. it’s hard not to smile and laugh when i’m spending time with her.

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and the blanket wasn’t all—there was a beautiful storage bag made by michele

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from fabrics printed with a zombie theme, inside and out; SO much fun and kim just loved that

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the last item in the bag was a special project made by the two newest knitters in the bunch. sarah, who actually learned to knit a bit too late to contribute a blanket square, wanted very much to make something to give to kim.

barb suggested that she and david could knit some blocks to make a pillow.

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ao with barb’s help, they did just that and it turned out so cute!

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each knitter also sent along a card which kim is reading as i write this; she is just so touched.

i know it was a huge effort for everyone involved to keep the whole thing a secret, but i promise it was completely worth it. thank you so much to all who contributed!

we would have loved to spend the rest of the day curled up on the sofa painting our toes and watching movies while alternately admiring this beautiful gift, but realistically, there was a lot of running around to do. another trip to the airport and some errands

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she had to stop at sephora, so i picked up some fresh spring lip color while i was waiting

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to go with my dress, haha. far be it from me to just stand around wasting time.

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later on, while kim packed for her honeymoon trip to paris, i steamed her dress.

we are all set for tomorrow morning; we have to leave the house by 7:30 . . . AM. so i think this is probably a good time to sign off; i’ll be back later in the weekend with a wedding update and lots of party photos.

in the meantime, erica will be filling in on friday with a blog about something new. have a wonderful weekend; see you on sunday!

caravan and kent—a love story

Friday, March 21st, 2014

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a few weeks ago when we released the first design for the bare naked knitspot 2014 knitting club, we focused on the newest addition to our bare naked wools yarn collection—a worsted weight version of our kent merino/romney blend. this utterly squishaliscious selection knits up into the most delectable cables, knit/purl textures, and plain stockinette—all of which we got a taste of in the projects for that first shipment.

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we gave our clubbies first crack at purchasing the stock we had—for one week it was theirs alone. we thought we had tons enough on hand to list in the shop for general release, but by that monday, our shelves were swept clean of every salable skein we had!

so we were forced to delay the release of the yarn in our online store and also the patterns we planned to roll out with it.

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like this timelessly classic blanket, the caravan throw, which so many of you have written me about. our dear friend anne marie knit up this gorgeous sample in the new kent worsted; isn’t it great?

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you may also notice that with this new addition comes a new shade of kent—we’re calling it driftwood; we’ve got that in our kent DK as well, in case you prefer a lighter weight yarn.

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we showed the DK version in one of the slouch potato hats you saw on the blog last friday.

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months ago, when we laid plans for the release of this yarn and patterns, i never dreamed that this late in march we’d still be lusting to knit blankety weight items like the caravan pieces. and when we ran out of the yarn in february, i had every reason to believe that we might even miss the cold weather entirely before we could get restocked.

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yet here it is, the beginning of spring and wa-LA! still windy and icy cold most days and today—SNOW flying all about and piling up very quickly.

i do love to sit down in the evening with my current blanket or large shawl to cover my legs while the wind whines and whistles through the eaves of the house.

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and now we have the yarn for it. still in limited quantities, but enough to put together some kits—this caravan blanket is one—and still have single skeins available too. just in time to celebrate the fact that kent worsted is trending pretty high right now on the ravelry yarn page.

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(anne C. is laughing because she now lives most of the time in north carolina, where spring really HAS begun). she’s in town this week, but something tells me she’ll be hightailing it back there sooner than later . . .

she’s not laughing about the yarn though—that she really likes. in fact as far as i know, everyone who has some is really liking it. this was kind of a test for us; we’re trying to decide if we should make the worsted weight permanent and have it spun in all sheds of kent. let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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remington (we call him remy) likes the blanket too—just saying’.

shown above, the lap size blanket in bare naked wools kent worsted, color driftwood. kit available too! click here to purchase or to view more information.

shown below, the baby square in snow leopard trust handspun mongolian camel, color desert.

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or maybe you’ve had a yen for something to wrap yourself up in for stepping out, day or night—we’ve got you covered for that too, with the caravan scarf or wrap.

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something a little more personal, this pattern offers three great quick-knitting options for giving or keeping: a scarf and two wraps to knit in worsted weight opt aran yarn.

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again, this was one of the original pieces from the february 2013 club pattern package and part of the 2013 BNK eBook, which contains fourteen terrific patterns for undyed yarns.

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and of course you can use the kent worsted to knit the gobi hat and mittens we featured on the blog last month

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it works beautifully for these warm accessories. in fact there are a number of designs that would work a treat

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susan knit up our popular creel cowl and is now working on the matching hat and mitts. this is one of sarah’s favorites; she’s been pushing for a while to have this design knit up in our yarns. now that we have it, she put together a creel kit in several sizes, so you are covered, whether you want to make one piece or all three. she even got her friend mike to model it for us (thanks mike!)

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and the two of them, along with david, braved the biting wind today to get some nice shots in our downtown neighborhood.

to purchase patterns or view complete pattern information, please click here to visit the caravan blanket page or caravan scarf/wrap page in the knitspot pattern shop or visit the caravan blanket page or caravan scarf/wrap page in our ravelry pattern shop.

click here to view all kits.

the  patterns are also included in the BNK 2013 eBook collection—14 terrific garment and accessory patterns that celebrate the beauty of natural fiber, each one multi-sized and suitable for gifting or keeping; many will have universal appeal for women, men, and children alike. purchase the eBook collection from the knitspot club website or in our ravelry pattern shop.

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the BNK eBook is a very special component of our club; packed chock full of valuable information, each chapter provides a depthful study of fiber types and the production behind making them into yarns, beautifully photographed and fully researched. taking the current eBook subscription is a great way to participate in our BNK 2014 club if you missed getting a yarn membership, are on a budget, or prefer to spin your own yarns.

for more information or to purchase your 2014 subscription, please click here.

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ready to get your hands knuckle deep in some heavenly yarn goodness? click here for more information or to purchase the latest drool-worthy selections we have to offer. have a great, knitterly weekend; try to stay warm!

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OH! and if you plan to visit the fiber expo in ann arbor michigan this weekend, you will have a chance to see and squeeze this yarn in person at our booth—along with all of our other yarns in every color we currently have in stock. susan, erica, and barb are super excited about this weekend’s event, so please do stop in, say hello, and browse our overflowing selection of goodies. it promises to be a terrific weekend.

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coldmaggedon

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

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it finally stopped—today is the first day since last thursday that we haven’t had any snowfall. of course, it’s probably too cold to snow now, haha. but this past weekend? it was a shovel-fest. poor david.

sigh; i was supposed to be on a plane to san diego right now but for some mysterious reason, my flight was cancelled. it must be due to snow and bad weather somewhere else because here, it couldn’t be a more beautiful day. cold yeah, but not the craziest cold i’ve ever seen and not like in some places (although i just checked and it’s colder here than in maine, new hampshire, northern new york, montreal, toronto, and alaska (where it’s 33 degrees and raining; how crazy is that??).
that’s pretty cold, and not like our usual at all.

fortunately we have heat and knitting.

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i washed my new waffle creams hat, which i knit in stone soup DK and it turned out a treat—so soft and cuddly and it fits perfectly, too. just in time to put it through its paces; i love the slate shade, which is the darkest color we have so far. since i’m home today after all, i will wear it out this evening when i go to yoga class; i’m going to try to get the pattern written up, too.

here are a few shots of it on my head; i don’t carry it off as well as sarah would, but i’m still keeping it, haha. she can knit one of her own (ok, that’s NOT gonna happen, but maybe her mom will do it).

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while i’m on the road, i’m going to knit a second one in the marble shade to test the pattern in an alternate size; we had this partial skein all wound up in our leftovers bag and having a second hat for the gifting box will be one step along the path to next christmas, right? i think there is even enough in that ball to knit david’s size—the hat is surprisingly light and takes less yarn than i thought, about 150 yards for my size.

i guess my out-of-proportion excitement over a dumb hat tells you something about the kind of winter we’re having around here.

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but soon, soon, i will be in another mindset entirely. since i was supposed to take off this morning, i am completely packed, even my knitting.  i have lots of secret knitting to do, but some public projects as well. in fact, traveling to a kim’s is a good reason to resurrect some projects that have been languishing.

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like my arts & anne sweater in sea pearl—i am almost ashamed that i haven’t finished it up. you are probably sick and tired of my promises that i AM finishing it. it’s not as if i’ve been spending the time instead eating bon-bins and watching telly, but i actually do WANT this sweater to wear, so i’m going to try like crazy to it done on this trip.

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here’s another project that i really need to get going on. when we had a test batch of our december club yarn—festivus—spun up, everything about it was great except that the mill made the incorrect yarn weight. so we have about 80 generous skeins of this wonderful fingering yarn. it’s the perfect thing for a squishy, soft valentine’s day scarf. i started swatching eons ago and there it lays, half swatched.

time to get that puppy out of bed and running around the yard, you know? it would be a really fun limited edition kit. the yarn is a bit of an adventure; this mill doesn’t do skein washing, so the yarn undergoes quite a transformation when it’s washed. i like it unwashed for knitting because it’s smoother and easier to cable with. but then later, i love how it puffs and become airy-light; perfect for a warm layer around my neck (and yes, there will likely be a matching cowl or infinity version).

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i’m also bringing along my op-art cowl, which i’m knitting up in worsted weight spirit trail verdande. it’s coming along just as i imagined; i can’t wait to get it off the needles to show you. this is the wild blueberry colorway; it’s actually darker in person with just highlights of that bright blue, which are so pretty against the deeper midnight color.

i have the same color in both sunna and bite as well, but on this trip, i’m going to bring the vavavoom color to cast on a pair of armwarmers.

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it’s always nice to have at least one project going in a bright color for knitting at night or when the light is low. i should actually cast these on before i head out tomorrow so if i want to knit them on the plane, i can.

i am SO excited to see kim and to feel the sun. i wanted david to come along but he begged off this time; he probably wants us to have some girl time. alright then, the next time i see you will be on the other side; stay warm!

BNK Signups are LIVE!

Friday, November 29th, 2013

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BNK 2014 signups have begun! And we are celebrating opening day with a 24-hour sale!

Bare Naked Knitspot is a club we are all very passionate about. It explores the beauty of natural colors and typically features unique and artisanal yarns, often only available in small runs. Anne Hanson spends a great deal of time researching the history of the fiber, swatching the yarn, creating exclusive patterns, and writing an extensive chapter each month encompassing her labor of love and it is delivered via ebook.  Starting in February, receive six bi-monthly installments of yarn and chapters, plus a couple special goodies along the way. Every bit of this club is a surprise until it’s delivered to your mailbox. To give you an idea of what the club is like, I’ll give you a couple examples of previous installments.

BNK 2013′s February shipment was Snow Leopard Trust Handspun Camel. This yarn is handspun by Mongolian herding families and supports the effort to save the Mongolian Snow Leopard from extinction. For that month’s ebook chapter Anne created several projects highlighting the handspun properties of the yarn.

Caravan Blanket

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Caravan Scarf/Wrap

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Gobi Mittens and Cap

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Anne often gives a variety of projects for the monthly yarn so people possessing a single dip of yarn can choose one that strikes their fancy. Or, for clubbies that have chosen a double dip of yarn they have enough to knit a few small accessories or the large/tall version of a shawl or wrap.

May 2013 was a custom spun 100% cheviot wool artisan sock yarn named Ghillie. Keeping with the traditional use of this fiber, Anne created a sock featuring the deep ribbing and horizontal knit/purl motifs of a classic gansey sweater

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Hornpipe Gansey Sock

and a shawl with a plaid motif which segues into a series of classic gansey knit/purl patterns.

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Cheviot Hills

To browse all the patterns from 2013, see the pattern library on ravelry here and to explore the offerings from 2012 click here.

Clubbies also chat each other up and cheer each other on in our swingin’ clubhouse on ravelry. There are spoiler threads (clubbies flash their shipments as soon as they grab them from the mailbox) and non-spoiler threads (clubbies that LOVE the element of surprise and don’t peek). I tend to sway towards the non-spolier thread, even though I’m involved in the purchase of all the yarns. But I try to tuck away that knowledge and try to be surprised. I’m still that kid that even though she knew where Christmas presents were hidden, she wouldn’t peek. I love surprises so much that Anne hides the final design from me and I see it for the first time in the ebook chapter. Isn’t she fantastic!?

The clubhouse is a really fun time and a great way to converse with other people that have the same passion for natural yarns. I am very drawn to beautiful colors, but through this club my eyes have been opened to the beauty of natural fibers

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and the amazing palette they create. I love how Anne scours the earth for unique offerings and presents them in such a lovely fashion.

Won’t you join us on the wild adventure? Sign up today and take advantage of:

$10 off full memberships (and yarn add-on)

$20 off with extra yarn – the double dip

$2 off pattern only membership

Hurry…club memberships are limited! For more details, check out the BNK essentials page here.