Archive for the ‘book reviews/events’ Category

it’s time . . .

Friday, March 20th, 2015


old man winter is a sassy thing isn’t he? thinks he can get us down by thumbing his nose at us one last time as we show him out the door—HA.


yes, we woke to quite a little scene this morning, after half a week of sunny, lovely weather.


still, i can’t complain—spring is coming at me like a freight train all of a sudden. when we left town last thursday the yard was still covered in a deep layer of snow, but by the time we returned on sunday, it has disappeared. i noticed on my way into the house that garlic was sprouting in all directions from it’s hump in the garden.


the weather has definitely broken for good—though we are still having nights in the 20s, i don’t think we’ll be seeing any more of those single digit temperatures, thank goodness. and though these photos look quite gray, we actually had some brilliant days this week.


and even from the gray we get hints of something bright and cheerful; solomon’s seal is up. in fact, springy growth is pushing up out of the soil at an eager rate in every corner of the garden. i don’t know if we are quite ready to think about all that yet, but the warning has been issued—time to get things in order.

tulips, hosta tips, daffodils, and hyacinth are all making an appearance. did not see crocuses though; i wonder where they’ve gotten to?

and of course, training must pick up for spring races; i have been sluggish on getting back to my usual spring running routine. february really did a number on my schedule and i need to get back into my happy place with it.


speaking of happy places and nice weather, we have organized a summer retreat for wooster weekend (memorial day weekend). classes and activities will take place here in canton (about a half hour from the show grounds) at the lovely mcKinley grand hotel—which has tons of space for a gigantic knitters gathering.

we have been having trouble with the signups page for a few days and we are working on it—thank you for your patience!! 

in the meantime, please don’t worry that you have missed out on getting a seat. if you are making plans and want to be sure, we will be happy to take your reservation and invoice you by email (davidATknitspotDOTcom or servicesATknitspotDOTcom). you may click here to read all the details; online signups will be available as soon as we can fix it!

east meets (mid)west

Thursday, March 19th, 2015


awww, i just came across this picture when i was downloading blog photos from my camera; don’t you just love baby clothes? they are so cleverly cute, they cannot be resisted. of course, only a baby could wear them and only for a few months—which is just the point, haha.

while we were visiting, james and diana said they wanted to shop for the baby’s hanbok (traditional korean dress, usually worn for special occasions).


my sister in law, mun, worn this beautiful hanbok at their wedding as did her best friend.


on saturday afternoon we headed out, stopping first at honey pig to indulge in a full-on korean meal. it was excellent and we all happily ate too much while the baby snoozed.


well, he didn’t sleep the whole time—there were plenty of photo ops.


three generations of men fighting the forces of evil, haha.


afterward we moved on to lótte, the large asian shopping center in their area, to stock up on some korean foods. we have nothing like it where we live (we WISH) and we strolled the aisles appreciatively. diana and i immediately got into trouble for taking photos inside the store, when we should have noticed the sign outside prohibiting it.

oops—on to asking about the hanbok. james and diana were under the impression he would need it for his one hundred day birthday (baek-il), but the sales person who helped us out said it was worn for the first birthday (doljanchi). baek-il is celebrated only with food.


we flipped through a stack of dol hanbok and when we landed on this one, james and i both said at once, “that’s the one!” it was clear that this handsome ensemble was going home with us, haha. click here to see all manner of adorable doljanchi photos of babies in hanbok—you won’t be disappointed.

by this time, the rain and the crowds had gotten the best of us and since we had procured everything we’d been looking for (i found my favorite black pepper sauce and bought a BIG jar), we headed home to settle in with some movies and knitting.


i rotated projects all weekend long, depending on the lighting and how much attention they required. can i just say that i adore this orange color?? chris dyed it just the exact perfect orange that i wanted (how does she do that?). it’s going to look so good with my hair; i can’t wait to wear it. and with any luck i should be doing that soon.


it’s briar rose joyful, a new polwarth sport yarn offered by briar rose fibers. the yarn is deliciously spongey and produces a velvety-soft fabric surface and terrific stitch definition.


it’s different than the better breakfast fabric i knit for the pullover version, which has a luxuriously slouchy softness. i finished this pullover front up on friday night and moved right on to finishing up the first front for the orange cardigan and starting the second. in no time i had the ribbing completed and was into the body pattern.


the orange fabric is a bit stiffer and has more body—it feels a little more dressy and snappy. since i’ll end up with two sweaters that’ll be very alike, i’m glad they will feel so different from each other.  this joyful yarn knits up so quick, too—i managed to get one front completed and the second one is pretty close. which made ME pretty joyful . . .


i alternated that project with working on my wheaten cardigan—i was just about at the point to begin the body shaping when we left home. this is another completely enjoyable knit, in spirit trail tayet, a 100% BFL fingering yarn which jen will be rolling out at maryland sheep and wool in may.


in other words, i’m on a deadline and it’s fingering weight AND we have these extra-wide fronts; i’m not letting myself get behind on it. besides, karolyn is waiting on a draft pattern so she can get started on jen’s booth sample; we have to stay focused. after i finish writing this post i plan to go on a pattern writing binge to get a draft into karolyn’s hands by friday as well as to tana, the tech editor. same goes for the natty pullover/cardigan—that pattern has to go into production ASAP as well. then i can get back to putting the final polish on the other three sweater patterns i have in various stages of near-completion (they are being test knit and finalized, yay).

confused yet?

so i was tooling right along on that front and by this afternoon i had it knit to the underarm when i realized i had made a mistake and forgotten to start the neck decreases, which for this garment begin at the waist (so it was understandable, bit still . . . grrr).  don’t you just hate when that happens?

so out came the last four inches of knitting. honestly SOMEone has got to invent that alarm which goes off when you get to these pattern landmarks. honestly, why can’t my iPhone do that??


anyway . . . i’ve got a sleeve and half a front knit. sweaters in lightweight yarns take a lot more time to knit but they are so worth the trouble; these are sweaters i wear a LOT and i should have more in this weight, considering that. besides, even though at the start they seem like a never-ending project, i eventually get into a rhythm and gain momentum. even this one will be done before we know it.

the pattern will have an option for a three-quarter sleeve and i considered ripping back to knit it that way, but instead, i think i’ll ask karolyn to do that version (i’m sure she won’t mind a little less knitting, haha).


so i came home with a pile of things to take care of—block my pullover pieces, sew up the seams, and add the neckband. finish knitting two more sweaters, and write up two patterns to go with them. finalize two other sweater patterns and get a third set of two patterns to the next stage of editing (six unique new sweaters altogether, two of them with options).


i also worked on the march blanket statement club chapter, which was released on tuesday. everyone seems to be having a lot of fun with this club and it’s growing in polarity as we proceed, which is interesting. we have new signups every day, both for yarn memberships and eBook ones. so cool! i think we’ll just keep this one going until i can gather my wits to create another one (maybe cable focused? maybe lace? who knows?).


i just love going over to the projects board for this club—it is really inspiring to see how many of the posted projects are knit in our bare naked wools. and we are doing some really fun extensions on the patterns too, like this awesome piece we call Wrapping Up Winter.


using a blanket club kit in size small or the instructions in the eBook, knit four strips in any combination of shades and patterns; ours are knit in kent DK yarn (anne marie used one skein for each strip), but you could use stone soup DK or better breakfast DK (the most popular choice this week). and you can make them whatever length works best for you—they dont have to be even; jon super long side and one short would be fun, too.

you make one simple change—at the end of each strip, add two buttonholes evenly spaced (you can use these or not, but if you don’t have them, you can’t use them). laura and david made a video to show you how to put it all together. add some buttons, hardware, or shawl pin and voilá!


another  terrific video was inspired to give you ideas for styling your ponchoWrapThing six different ways. of course there are many more you can try once you get started. how fun is that?


and how perfect for the season? now is just the time that we need a totally adjustable garment. i know we’ve been marveling all week at how sunny it is and at the same time, when we step out the door how chilly and windy it is. we love this garment for right now!

we just received the march shipment of better breakfast yarns—milk and honey, americano, mocha, and sugarfrost are all in stock in both DK and fingering weights. at least at this writing; anastasia tells me they are going fast. the americano is especially delicious this time—it has wonderful flecks of coppery brown mixed with the espresso brown so that it truly looks like fresh-ground dark roast beans. amazing.


just after the styling video went live on youTube, i got an email from someone who saw it and loved the garment—she wanted to make one and asked if could pick out the softest range of shades in better breakfast DK for her kit. i pulled milk and honey, sugar frost, porridge, and daybreak—so beachy and pretty we had to take them outside for a photo! hehe, some of her skeins didn’t even have labels yet.

if you’d like a blanket or poncho kit in better breakfast yarns, please email us and erica or david will put that together for you.


david is the unlikely inspiration for another avenue of clubhouse fun in the thread that is dedicated solely to his blanket knitting progress (well, as much as any of our threads can focus on just one thing, haha). being a truly nocturnal being, it’s hard to catch him at work; he does most off his knitting after i go to sleep.


all the cheerleading must be having a good effect however, as his pile of finished blocks is growing (he’s a square, not a stripper). if you want to know more about squares and strippers, you’re going to have to visit the clubhouse, that’s all there is to it. and if you go there, you may as well join the group; it costs nothing to be a rubbernecker and is infinitely entertaining in there . . .

coming up soon, we’ve got signups for our ENVY club opening on april 1st—a luscious selection of green yarns in luxury blends to keep you coolin’ through summer. if you are participating in the current blanket statement club on any level, you may sign up for the green club early and receive a discount.


and very VERY soon, we will be opening now we have opened signups for our WOO!ster summer retreat, planned for wooster weekend (memorial day). we are excited to have lots of advance interest in that event and are making plans to show everyone attending a good time; we are proud of our regional show and we think you’ll enjoy it too, along with classes and knitterly relaxation.


whew, such a whirlwind week already and it’s just wednesday night (it’ll probably be thursday by the time you read this tho . . .). i am ready for some knitting right now. see you next time!


Wednesday, March 4th, 2015


what a week it’s been for incredible sights. i am gong home with loads of visual inspiration to revisit in my upstairs study in canton.

but before we spin off on a whirlwind tour of kim’s new home state, i want to tell you some unrelated good news.


our friend janel laidman has come back from a two-year hiatus with a new edition of the knitterati collection. the collection consists of nine designs—five sock patterns and four shawl patterns—each using one skein of sock yarn. go take a look; many of these would be lovely in bare naked wools fingering yarns.

i’m just so happy janel is publishing again; i have missed talking shop with my friend and colleague.


speaking of friends, i have been spending the most wonderful week with my friend—and yours—kim and her family. she’s been showing me around her new hometown by day and at night we knit, cook, and hang out with the kids.


the knitting theme this week was finishing up a gift knit so that she could launch her blanket statement club project. to keep herself motivated for finishing the gift knit, she periodically treated herself to winding a couple of skeins of kent DK for the big blanket and better breakfast DK for her small blanket (she’s really committed!). me, i just watched and worked on my own knitting, thank you.

well, not completely true—i may have shot a little video so that ALL of you can see her in person, too.

this was a project that began on the day i arrived and continued over several days, with everyone helping out. i’m happy to report that she’s ready to start stripping now . . .


on sunday, while everyone went to church, i borrowed a car and headed a couple of hours north to visit my cousin ted and his wife kristen. they live in a gorgeous area near the idaho border.


after chatting for a while over coffee, we headed out back and up into the hills behind their home for an upward climb with their four dogs.


i love the soft colors of the sage covered hills—so variable once you relax and look long into them.

with the winter being so mild, spring is waking up a little early this year and we saw many examples that made us smile over that (especially me; spring is definitely still dead asleep where i live!).

i saw an almost violently brilliant array of lichen on the rocks as we walked and i couldn’t resist examining their colors up close.


seeing my cousin ted after so many years and meeting kris for the first time was both fun and a warm reminder that keeping in touch with family is full of unexpected and interesting possibility.

once back in ted and kris’s yard, we noticed even more proof that the seasons are changing in this area, with trees budding out and greens sprouting in the garden.

the day was nothing short of incredible—with temperatures that kissed 70 degrees, it was looking like the five day forecast of sun and warmth was becoming a reality. as we know now that was to prove an all too erroneous assumption, but i enjoyed every minute of it nevertheless.


i even snuck in a few shots out the car window as i drove away from their place—the fields and mountains were so pretty from the other direction in the light of the setting sun.


i promise i didn’t take my eyes off the road—it did it all by touch and instinct.


(don’t tell david—he doesn’t like it when i take photos from behind the wheel.)

just as i was pausing for these photos, kim texted me a photo of everyone sitting down to the dinner i had cooked and left for them to eat


just the start of a week of fun times in the kitchen with the kids—more on that later.

i have SO many photos from this week; i’m going to save the rest for next time. i can probably put them together while i wait for my flight in the morning. yes, i’m leaving tomorrow; boo-HOO! i know david will be glad to have me home, but i’ll miss kim and her family a LOT.

some day, maybe we can be neighbors. or at least within driving distance of each other.


oh, and for whoever it was that asked me to take a picture of her white camel yarn—here it is.

i gotta be quick, but i miss you

Sunday, March 1st, 2015


ok, so really, i wasn’t kidding about the snow following me—it has been everywhere i go. first denver got slammed twice while i was there.


it made for good knitting and sleeping weather though. normally i’d head out after a day in the studio to roam around the neighborhoods and look for an interesting place to eat, but when the streets are full of wet, deep snow, i eat in the hotel and knit while i wait for my dinner to arrive.


fortunately, the weather did not cause any great disruption in our production schedule and we kept the whole class shoot right on schedule.


this is colleen and alex, doing a little backtracking when a software crash caused us to lose a bit of one of the lessons, but thanks to them both, we were able to re-do it without a complicated porocess of resetting.


this is david, the camera guy, shooting some stills at the end of the production.


i even got to knit a little bit on set during this production which is kind of a first for me, yay! i think we even did some photos of me knitting this sweater; better breakfast is acting like even more of a diva now, haha.


right after the production wrapped on friday, i took a car to the airport and headed off to utah to visit our beloved kimkimkim. just look at the place she lives in; it’s astoundingly beautiful.


i took these photos yesterday on our walk. i have to say that when she moved from san diego; i was really sad; i had come to adore her back yard view there and her proximity to the beaches and ocean.

but i have to say, if anywhere can come close to comparing with that, it’s her new home here in utah.


i mean, wow, right?? (and yes, sigh; it did snow last night; the first they’ve had since christmas, can you believe my luck? more on the weather in the next post).

and this is just the view from the back yard. i took so many more photos yesterday that i didn’t have time to get them ready for this post. we sat and gazed out on this view (without the snow) yesterday morning while we knit for a few hours.


i’m just about ready to bind off for the underarm shaping in my sweater back now, yay!


after which, we decided to go out for a walk so kim could show me the neighborhood. this is a little farm smack in the middle of her subdivision that has camels, sheep, goats, rabbits, donkeys, horses, and more. we love it.

i have so much more to show you from just the one day i’ve been here, but i really have to stop for the moment; i’m traveling north today for a visit with cousins i haven’t seen since i was a kid and i need to get on the road.

but i’ll be back later; we have two sock patterns to celebrate the start of sock madness month and some delicious yarn to go with them.