Archive for the ‘book reviews/events’ Category

the shoe fit

Friday, January 29th, 2016

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ok, i never did snowshoeing before but i always wanted to try it. and yesterday i got the chance. kim knows a mountain trail that begins less than a mile from her home and so, after the kids left for school and we’d had a nice hour of morning knitting, we got into some outdoor gear and headed for the trail.

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mandatory selfie to kick things off

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there is a lot more snow here in utah thats there was last year when i visited. and tons more than we have at home (it’s been a dry snow-less winter in our area).

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we trekked uphill for a little over an hour and the first half of the journey was more open; we could have easily gone off trail to explore a bit if we wanted. one thing i didn’t realize before coming to utah for the first time is how stunningly beautiful it is—the mountains look fake here, haha.

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climbing higher, we got into some denser forest. kim was trying to get us all the way to the horsetail falls, but wasn’t sure how far it was. as it turned out, it was farther than we could manage that day, maybe a goal for hiking after the snow melts.

the woods were as beautiful as the open stretches; we were following a trail made by some kind of sled or snow mobile, maybe both. in the trees, the path narrowed a lot, taking us over little hills and what might have been rocks or fallen trees underneath.

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aren’t the trees amazing? i have a love affair with pine trees anyway, but the ones here are impressively tall and well shaped; i could tour the woods for a good long time. it was so quiet here; you could hear a pin drop. we saw a few other pole marks from skiers or snowshoers, but not many. the snow was so completely undisturbed in most places that it has a thick furring of sparkling crystals on top, like a coating if crushed sugar candy.

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this is the view from the top of our climb, which i was really enjoying, by the way. snowshoeing was much less strenuous or difficult than i’d imagined; it’s pretty easy to get up to speed as long as you dress warmly and have boots that fit well. i would definitely take this up as a regular activity if i lived someplace with snow and mountains like these. and who knows—it might be fun to explore some of our county trail system at home on snowshoes; i might try it once we get some snow.

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the trip down was considerably faster; i had to concentrate more, so i didn’t take as many photos. but as we neared the bottom, the sun was hitting the mountains just so and i got this shot. nice, huh?

i have to hand it to kim; she moved here from southern california just over a year ago and has become quite the snow bunny. i’m glad because she got me to try something i might never have done!

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it’s been a crazy week since ensemble came out—almost as soon as it was published i had to be out the door to the craftsy instructor summit last weekend.

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which a was super intense and interesting learning experience (still processing a lot of it, haha).

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since i was going to be that far west, i decided to tack on this little after trip to visit with kim’s family. they’re not all here, but you get the idea—everyone is growing up fast but so far, happy and healthy.

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cole will be getting married to and in april—hard to believe this is the same boy that held my sock for the camera during my first visit with their family!

it looks like i’m going to get to meet up with rex again over the summer during the alaska cruise i’m teaching on in july—he’s going to be working up there again this year.

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kim an i also drove to sundance one day, which i’d never been to. i’m not a skier so we didn’t do any of that but we did eat lunch there and take in the giNORmous icicles hanging all around the windows. wow. the ride up and back was breathtaking, too.

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during the week i had another rare opportunity—touring the inside of the provo mormon temple, which is open to the public for just a brief time before its dedication in march.

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the temple burned to the ground in 2010 and has now been rebuilt; the tour provides a fascinating glimpse into its history and an introduction to mormon ceremonial tradition.

we also knitted a LOT this week. i am mostly working on secret projects that i can’t reveal just yet, but also swatching for the spring collection . . . more on that when i get home.

i’m flying out today; it will be sad to leave but i’m also looking forward to seeing david tonight.

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i’m hoping he’ll have some of this ready when i get in, mmm!

repeating

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

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there are definitely some things in life that i have no desire to repeat—seventh grade and all of high school, for instance. but as a knitter, i get a lot of pleasure and relaxation from the repetition—from stitch to stitch and row to row, i like the rhythm of patterns that are easily executed with one basic group of sts, in slightly different arrangements.

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often, it’s so comforting that knitting one isn’t enough and i end up working through two or three of the same design before i’m satisfied (and even then i may come back to this project later to repeat again for gifting).

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the last six weeks have been such an exciting and nerve-wracking time, first with the process of pulling our ensemble collection into presentable shape—we were all on pins and needles waiting and wondering how you’d like it—then with aftermath of catch-up tasks and travel this week (when it rains it pours, haha).

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that said, even during the most busy and stressful times—why, even when working late, late nights and not sleeping—this knitter must have a project waiting with open arms when she does take a break; something to sink into and bask in the repetition of simple stitches. aaaahhhh.

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and it’s especially great if it’s a gratifyingly quick knit—maybe not simple, but interesting; something to make all the other stuff go away.

for me lately, it’s been the physalis shawl. i really REALLY enjoyed knitting that first one in fine cabécou lace. well, that first one was not nearly enough to satisfy my curiosity and interest in making those spectacular leaf shapes—i couldn’t stop wondering what they’d be like in chebris lace and maybe a few other yarns i love. so, with ten days to go before the collection was scheduled to go live, i cast on this second sample in truffe.

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it did not disappoint. busy as i was most of those days, i relished the prospect of sneaking in an hour in the morning with my coffee and another before bed. there they were, those leaves that seem to appear out of nowhere on the needles—yes the cast on is long, but once you set up the pattern, they seem to knit themselves (i’m serious; i have no idea how they get done so fast). it helps that the stitch count is constantly decreasing—by the time the hem is done, i think we are down to half the stitches (motivating in and of itself, yes?)

and then the short row shaping—always addictive, am i right? at least for me . . . then there is the big finish at the top, where you just can’t wait to see what happens next. anyway. it all conspires to kind to keep me glued to the project in any free moment and before i knew it, it was done. this time, in less than four days—kind of disappointing, haha.

just kidding; i was actually really glad that there’d be plenty of time to include photos in the look book.

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 we’ve discussed before how homely this particular piece of knitting is when it’s on the needles—just a regular dog’s dinner. but the first glimmer of what it can become is already showing through after a good soak—once it relaxes a little, you can see some interesting openwork start to show up.

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the concentration of decreases vs increases is so imbalanced that the solid areas seem to float, once the shawl is subjected to some rigorous stretching (pull harder than you think—really).

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personally, what i love about this lace is its ragged, papery appearance, as if it’s disintegrating before my eyes. so in this case, i’m even in favor of stretching the edges SO much that the pins create uneven points along their borders. to me, it contributes to the look i was going for.

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remember the pods that are my inspiration for this lace?

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by using needles much larger than you’d think for lace knitting (5.0 mm in this case!) those lacy inserts become nearly skeletal, appearing to provide only the most fragile supporting structure to the solid parts. love that . . .

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and oh my, crisp as it looks all pinned out flat, how soft and fluid it is when the pins come out.

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you know what i’m talking about . . . these things are irresistibly gossamer when they are finished; we can’t keep our hands off of them.

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sigh; i  love this photo.

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and another one already on the needles . . .

i’m in utah with our friend kim3 for a few days; i’ve finally caught up a bit and have lots of edited photos to show you, so i’ll be back with another installment tomorrow. right now, we are getting ready to go snowshoeing!

ensemble

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

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it’s live! click the logo to take a look . . .
our first bare naked wools collection, with contributions from designers kiran badola, irina dmitrieva, anne hanson, rosemary hill, and general hogbuffer.

purchase downloadable ensemble patterns on ravelry or in our bare naked wools boutique . . . then move on to see a collection of ensemble kits in our luxurious winter yarns.

it’s been a labor of love for everyone here that was numerous months in the making; we are deeply grateful to all who contributed, test knit, tech edited, and hosted our photo shoots. i am especially grateful for the efforts of our team here—my superhero erica betz, the ever-agile andrew (our graphic designer), anne marie and ronni for tech editing, the lovely lillian, our dear models and friends, and of course, my partner in love and crime, david. thank you all!

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the seeds you sow

Monday, December 28th, 2015

Hello and Happy Holidays Anne and Knitspotters,

It has been awhile since I have written and Anne asked if I would like to write a guest blog before the year ended to give an update—of course I would!

To start I want to say thank you for all the support you all have given me on my journey, and I hope you are all well. As for me, I have been doing really well most of the time, as most people do and especially here in cold damp Washington. I have battled with some minor illnesses, but I am doing better now.

Me-Fall-2015

I’m not sure if I have mentioned it before or not, but I was looking into studying abroad for a semester, and I am pleased to say I am going to be in Florence, Italy next semester! I will be studying at Studio Art Centers International-Florence (SACI). Here I will be continuing to study art history, I will be taking a few contemporary Italian art classes, as well as one focusing on just women in art history! I am also going to be in a beginning Italian language course. I am still headed as far as studies go towards being in a Curatorial/Museology program. I will be in a Museology class while abroad as well, and there are plenty of optional fieldtrips I am hoping to take part in!

As things are going now, I am expecting to graduate as soon as I am done with my semester abroad, and after graduation I plan to work and save for Graduate school, as well as looking for internship opportunities. A good friend of mine brought an internship to my attention that takes place at The Smithsonian and I really would like to be able to apply for and get it. But, in the meantime there are a few local museums that need volunteers and it would be great experience to get all sorts of different perspectives of museum life.

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Outside of school I haven’t done a whole lot . . at the beginning of the term I did a rather strenuous hike to the top of the Oyster Dome.It was a great feeling to have been able to do it again and to cut nearly two hours off my previous climbing time. I have also attended a couple of dinners with other foster youth who go to Western, they are nice but it seems most of them are as focused and busy with school as I felt to have been able to get together more often than we did. It was nice however to get to know them and their stories.

Other than these few dinners I met a girl at my best friends birthday party and it turned out that she was also in the Art History program at Western and we were even in two classes together. Her name is Christie and we became fast friends with all the things we had in common, it is a great but bittersweet thing, because I have had a hard time in college making good lasting friendships and to meet someone who I have been so compatible with in my last term. I plan to visit and see her and a couple of other people who will still be in Bellingham after I graduate, but I will not be living there.

I will be moving back down to Chehalis where my grandparents and my sister and her family live. I also have a job at a locally owned market in Chehalis where I will work to pay back the small loans I have had to take out for my study abroad, and save for grad school.

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We had a pretty big Christmas celebration my sister and her family, and my uncle came to my grandparent’s home to celebrate and it was really nice. My sister recently had her fourth child a boy named Mason

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so it has been very nice to spend time with all of them and know that they are happy and doing well. Something that I was really excited to have gotten to do was to see my older sister’s son who I haven’t seen since he was 18 months old; he was adopted by a very nice family and is now almost 6 years old. He didn’t remember me but it was great to see him and know that he is loved and happy!

To end my entry I want to thank you all again for your support of me over the years and I hope you all have a wonderful 2016!

Best,
Brandy