Archive for the ‘yarn and dyeing’ Category

Spring Ensemble 2016

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016


Firstly I want to thank the designers that have collaborated to create these lovely creations:

Bristol Ivy

Rich Ensor

Andrea Rangel

 Janelle Martin

General Hogbuffer

Anne Hanson (a special kiss for Anne)

Spring Ensemble, a mindful approach to styling and presentation, making our knitwear a functional part of your daily wardrobe. We have taken great care to ensure that the items in this collection are indeed wearable and not merely esthetically pleasing, although they are beautiful. The collection debuted at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this past weekend, the reception has been extraordinary, I can not sufficiently express how often I heard the words, beautiful, lovely, wonderful spoken as festival attendees admired the well dressed manikins in the booth. Barb and Anne were particularly fetching in their Ensemble attire. The reactions have been just great at the Maryland Festival, a successful debut as it were and we are admittedly very proud of this collection, and we are so happy to be able to share it with you. I hope that you like it.

Purchase downloadable Spring Ensemble patterns on Ravelry or in our Bare Naked Wools Boutique.

See the collection of Spring Ensemble kits in our luxurious yarns.

Spring Ensemble Lookbook.


Our staff (Erica, Andrew, Doug and Lillian) have worked really hard on this project, thank you, your efforts are very much appreciated, especially Anne who has literally worked ceasingly these last 10-12 weeks, probably to the detriment of her well being. And alas a big thank you to all of our proof readers, tech editors, test knitters and models. A huge undertaking for such a small company, Knitspot/BNWs is boss.

Now the yarns, they are spectacular on their own (Bare Naked Wools Better Breakfast, Hempshaugh, Ginny, Stone Soup, Chebris, Cabécou and Ghillie), all natural, no dyes or chemicals, nor harsh processing. Bespoke yarns created by Anne Hanson, whose knowledge of wool is incomparable (says I) and allows us to produce really excellent yarns – there are no short cuts taken or use of inferior fiber, just really good quality wool. You have seen our mills at work, their passion, commitment and attention to detail when creating yarn. We have also shared video in recent years of some of the goat and sheep farmers we purchase fleeces from and again their love of their animals, translates into better fiber. Much of our fiber is local, as are the mills, and we are striving to make these percentages even greater. If a particular yarn should be out of stock just now, either pre-order (if option permits) or get on the back in stock list.

Here are some of the Spring Ensemble patterns:


Estlin Pullover by Bristol Ivy


Salt & Pepper by Anne Hanson


Costa Figueira by Anne Hanson



Arques Sock by Rich Ensor


Arundhati Shawl by Andrea Rangel


Zwickel Sock by General Hogbuffer



Dust Devils by Anne Hanson


Gibo Auja by Janelle Martin



Cardita Cowl by Andrea Rangel



Janet Guthrie by Anne Hanson


Chevi by Anne Hanson



Pairings Club Signups Now Open

Sunday, May 1st, 2016


Signups are now open for Pairings Club. In this club we will combine yarns, patterns, recipes and drink for a multi-sensorial experience. A skein of Bare Naked Wools (undyed) and a skein of hand dyed yarn to create beautiful accessory patterns that use color techniques from stranded to color blocking. On the food end, chef Katharine Wainwright will provide some wonderful recipes to accompany the knitting projects. More details about the Pairings Club here. Wish I could join, presently continuing work on Blanket Club and my skill level is not adequate to allow me to participate. However, the recipes I might attempt.


Been considering another knitting project, perhaps a skirt. Have always been intrigued by the idea of men in skirts. After all, men were wearing skirts before pants. I recall in the nineties, that Gaultier created an entire collection of men skirts, it was absolutely brilliant. In the past considered a kilt, but this seems somewhat typical, a safe choice if you will. The last few years have seen a resurgence of men in skirts, perhaps even a trend. Anne’s Interlaken skirt is presently at the top of my list, may have go at this.


Landscape fabric now in place for new tomato bed.


Same tomato bed, different perspective.


Again, new tomato bed, moving dirt to create mounds.

Have begun re-creating the mounds for the vegetable garden, the new tomato bed is coming along rather nicely. Hoping to have mounds sorted by weeks end, but probably next week is more likely. This year will share the garden offerings with Bil and his partner, glad we were able to expand garden. I do love that adage, “if you have enough, you have enough to share” – hopefully the garden will be bountiful this year. Nearly ready to sow peas and potatoes, surely by the end of the week, hopefully sooner. We picked up seed potatoes last week and we have pea seeds. Just had quick glance at weather forecast, potentially a rainy week, may hamper efforts a bit, but will be great for newly planted seeds.


Potato bed nearly ready for potato seeds.


Same potato bed, note dirt in background awaiting mound formation.

It’s Back

Monday, March 21st, 2016

Hi, again! I had to drop by and show you some more tempting new things…..

For those of you that missed out on the spinning fiber last month, we have some more!

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This time around we have one of our very special plant fibers as a roving option. This super shiny and silky soft fiber is Hempshaugh Buckwheat. Hemp is usually a rough plant fiber, so many spinners haven’t used it, but this is a soft and unique blend that will make for an excellent project!

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The other fibers are Better Breakfast (65/35 Merino/Alpaca). This dark, stormy grey is a rich color that will complement many outfits and skin tones.

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This creamy white is a soft and luscious color. It has some slight variations in shade that lend a lot of character and charm to the roving.

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You all seemed smitten with the Chebris Multi last month, so we had our brilliant millers create a similar fiber blend in Better Breakfast. This unique mix is similar to our muesli with a stunning blend of grey and brown. It is the perfect shade for a sweater or accessory as it pairs beautifully with most neutrals.

Now, for the yarn! I mentioned in my last post that I wanted to use the fluffy and cozy new Better Breakfast Worsted to make a blanket wrap for my sister. I could not decide which of those shades to use, so I grabbed a couple skeins of each and decided on some stripes.



I am knitting Hypoteneuse. I highly recommend this pattern if you’re like me and haul your knitting everywhere! I knit in the car, in class, at the laundromat, restaurants, waiting rooms, and everywhere else. I had this pattern memorized three rows into the motif and it goes so quickly. I am knitting a half to a full stripe a day, depending on my homework demands.



My kitty, CC, loves to cuddle under it while I knit. She is an adult, but will never get bigger than a kitten due to a genetic disorder. She is a great knitting buddy and loves anything Alpaca!

More to tempt you…



Biscotti on the top and Muesli on the bottom. The biscotti is a little different from the fingering and DK shade as it was blended with brown alpaca and light merino as opposed to brown merino and light alpaca.

When I saw the two new shades in Worsted, I was planning my next project. I love the way this yarn is working up as a blanket or wrap, but I want to do a cabled hat like Woodcutters Toque or Gobi  with the new shades.

What would you knit with the new Worsted, and which fiber was your favorite this month?

Good Things Take Time, So Just Be Patient

Friday, March 11th, 2016

The above title reflects my fairly recent impression of pattern reading. Unfortunately I don’t read music, but imagine it’s akin to reading a knitting pattern, especially the terminology. A musician’s notes, chords, bars, rhythm all culminate to create a song. Our knitting language is not dissimilar, we have knit/purl, cast on, decrease, wrong side, and more, lots more actually, resulting in fashionable wearables.


Admittedly my initial reception of pattern reading was less than stellar, preferring to be coddled and no so interested in knowing the intricacies of a reading a pattern. Having an expert knitter/designer and pattern writer seated next to me is the absolute best, indulging every call for help. Anne would offer an impromptu lessons with each interruption, however as I said I was not so receptive at that time, being satiated with my immediate problem being resolved. I feel awful about this, taking advantage of Anne’s generosity, could have been a much better student. To my credit I did realize my failures and yes lack of gratitude (by way of not absorbing imparted knowledge Anne offered) and took steps to rectify.

My first foray into deciphering knitting patterns was the Blanket Statement Club, a rather audacious introduction I should think. An assortment of various patterns to be conjoined, now throw in a bit of stitching and crocheting and you have what constitutes a brilliant foundation to understanding and reading of patterns. Perfect for beginners like myself, affording an opportunity to hon my newly acquired skill set and be rewarded with a lovely blanket, of which I have yet to complete, hopefully soon, after finishing Anne’s hat (although if it does not fit, will gift to someone else instead of ripping out). Using the original Breakfast Blend for my blanket project, if anyone is interested the Blanket Statement Club, we can arrange a selection of yarn for you, just forward a note to me.



44 squares so far.

Early on I was unable to grasp the concept of casting on, despite Anne showing me several times. In an attempt to sort this out I took to watching Anne’s Grandmas cast-on video, not only upon casting on, but a few times when not knitting. Resulting in a technique that has become embedded in my mind, instant recall as it were now. The stitches of a cast-on must be consistent, not too tight to allow for some elasticity, no doubt true for most other cast-ons as well. Important to get just right as it serves as the foundation for the project.


In the beginning I found myself often ripping back a square to begin anew (Blanket Statement project is composed of many square patterns, averaging about 31 rows), when a mistake would occur. As I was not able to make corrections on my own, this can only be done so many times before frustration ensues and desire falters. At this time I began to pay keen attention to Anne’s lessons, showing me how to undo several stitches and ripping out just a few rows and picking up stitches. This lead to a transition from angst and frustration to a relative pleasure. A better understanding of the mechanics of knitting, a sense of unravelling (pun intended) of what has heretofore been somewhat nebulas. Good place to end, will continue another time, want to talk about charts versus written instructions next time.


Renovation update, about 2/3 of the ceiling has been removed, my desk resides under the remainder of the ceiling on the other side of plastic sheathing. Will probably temporarily relocate upstairs now that the temperature is rising as spring is near. It is astonishing the lack of interesting relics from the past, you would think that a hundred year house would be a treasure trove of such things. Not so much this house. A fire place in the center hallway was uncovered during the kitchen renovation. Much to my surprise I found a written note and drawing on the wall from the 1940’s where I was scraping off wallpaper, part of the note is obscured by plastic sheathing just now. I thought it curious by the seemingly lack of layers of wallpaper, this explains it. Sadly the plaster can not be restored as I had desired, sustaining a lot of damage when crown moulding was installed. Old plaster will serve nicely as a base for a new finish coat of plaster.




Previous installation of crown moulding damaged plaster. Bil suggested using fabric softener to remove residual glues from scraping of wallpaper, works really well, as you may discern from the two photos above. Still requires quite a bit of elbow grease to get the job done, but worthwhile as it is necessary for preparation for finish coat of plaster.


I try to respond to everyone that leaves a comment, so if you any question and/or comments would love to hear from you.