Archive for the ‘book reviews/events’ Category


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.

i’m being followed

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015


all winter long, my friends out west have been crowing about the fine weather they are having; temperatures in the 50s, 60s, and even 70s, clear skies, and a complete lack of snow.

until, of course, it was time for me to head to denver—then it snowed.


i booked a flight for a day early, just in case winter weather encroached on my travel—a production schedule waits for  no storms or planes. since the weather was clear by then, i ended up with a whole day to get some work done and explore the city.


i headed out first thing for a morning run; i have been much too cooped up inside at home. it was wonderful to run alongside the river as the sun got warmer and warmer.


before i knew it, i was actually out near TAXI, the studios where craftsy shoots our classes; traveling by car on previous trips, i had no idea it was within running distance.

is that blue sky amazing or what?


even with the altitude change, i felt really good, though my pace was a little slow. all fine with me, hehe. afterward i did a little work for a few hours, so i could take off in the late afternoon.


my friends luci and scott drove down from ft. collins to visit and took me out to the arsenal nature preserve, a wildlife area just outside the city.


we spent a couple of hours wandering paths and roadways through the preserve, watching for wildlife and appreciating the stunning spaces just a stone’s throw from the heart of denver.


the first thing we saw when we drove in actually was this herd of bison, just off the side of the road; they were actually a lot closer than they look. my first thought was, “i wonder if anyone collects their fiber??” once yarn ho yarnie, always a yarn ho yarnie.

deer, prairie dogs, and bunnies abounded; we also saw a few cool looking hawks.


mostly it was just wonderful to hold my face to the sun and feel the balmy air (50 degrees!!); feels like it’s been years since i did that! eventually though, the air did begin to chill as the sun sank toward the mountain tops and we reluctantly headed back to the car. we spent the rest of the evening over a really nice dinner at work & class; the perfect end to a fine and refreshing one-day vacation.


this morning it was back to reality, as i had my first day of production for my next craftsy class. up at the crack of dawn and to the gym (too dark at that hour to run outdoors, though the weather was still warm enough).


knowing it might be a long day though, i did manage after breakfast to take photos of my current knitting projects in the morning sunshine. on the plane i started the back of my natty sweater, which i am knitting in our better breakfast DK in the muesli shade (oops, looks like we are out at the moment, but we should be getting more soon).


i left my two finished sleeves at home; they need to be blocked, but you can see how strongly the texture stands out, even in such a soft fabric. i think the overall effect is going to be cute.

i will admit that by the time i got on the plane, i was so wound up that i suffered a bit from both project ADD and eventually, sleepiness from lack of rest over the previous few days. even though i had a nice chunk of knitting time ahead, i didn’t get a whole lot done on any one thing.


i did manage to begin a sleeve with that gorgeous tayet fingering yarn from spirit trail that i gave you a peek of last week. this midnight blue is so up my alley and a color i don’t have in my sweater wardrobe yet. i think you’ll be happy when you see the design i’m  knitting with it.


i’m kind of crawling along on my reversible little shawl, but i’m allowing myself t take my time—right now i’m much more focused on producing some sweaters patterns while the weather is cold enough to really enjoy knitting them. there will be plenty of time for lacy bits in a couple of months. that said, i do plan to add a row or two whenever the urge hits; the yarn is so soft and delicious, sometimes i just want to feel it run though my fingers for a little while.


soon after organizing all my photos for this post, it was time to head into the studio for the afternoon. this will be my home for the next couple of days as we put together a class about sweater making essentials. this one will be full of advice, tips and tricks, and useful techniques for making a successful sweater.


the day started out well, we were on a roll and getting everything up and running for a full afternoon of shooting. but right after lunch, what should appear?


i am NOT kidding. it’s following me everywhere i go. i mean, talk about luck, right??

and it didn’t get any better as the day progressed either—by 4 pm we were all sent home; hopefully this won’t put us behind much tomorrow.


it took almost an hour to get back to my hotel (remember, it’s within running distance) and i was really glad to get into warm, dry comfy pants to settle in for the evening.

i plan to knit on my sweater some more while watching the premier of kosher soul, starring the children of our dear friend nancy. it looks like a lot of fun—you should watch!


back home, david is working hard on the start for his blanket statement club knit—he’s knitting the love squared version. someone has created a thread in our BNK ravelry group devoted to his progress and all of us are following and cheering him on. me most of all—david doesn’t share much with me about his knitting; i have to read about it online!


barb—a stripper with a plan—is sailing along on hers as well; she makes sure david keeps working away on his.

well, speaking of knitting, i think i’m ready for some myself—time to get comfortable and get my needles out. i’ll be back as soon as i can with more; it will be a busy few days, but i’ll be back as soon as i get a chance.

sweetheart of a weekend

Monday, February 16th, 2015


in the midst of a polar blast which blew in a ton of snow and the coldest days of the winter so far, a little warm glow sparked and grew at knitspot HQ on valentine’s day.


to start the day,  leslie, olga, and angie drove up soon after we opened, determined to make the most of their weekend get-together despite the storm. we spent a delightful hour or more chatting and drooling over yarn—i might have sold them some yet-to-be-counted-and-labeled stuff from out of the back room (sorry anastasia). and someone might have got back in the car with the brand new cabécou laceweight (it’ll be listed soon, we promise!) for a pine and ivy, or couple of stone soup fingering skeins in river rock for  a wheaten wrap, or better breakfast fingering in three shades for a sheltie triangle. and maybe just a little more BBF for a couple of wheaten cap and mitt projects were purchased too, but i’m not telling . . .

with all that knitting in their plans, i wanted to jump in that car and tag along—i hope they are having an absolute blast with the rest of their weekend.


just as they were getting ready to go, beckie arrived with her spinning wheel to show the kids how it’s done.


of course they just loved that.


the weather kept a lot of families at home yesterday after all, but the ones who braved the snow and cold to come over had us all to themselves and a good afternoon was enjoyed by all


some of them even did some knitting!


this little guy wasn’t really ready for sitting still with sticks and string, but sheyanne entranced him nevertheless with her camera—now that was fascinating.

we also got some parents to give it a try and i think that was a lot of fun for them. or something a little different anyway.

we really appreciated everyone who came in and hope that they’ll join us again some time.

when the afternoon was over, i scurried back home to get into warm clothes and put a pot of soup on the stove—potato—and i’m glad i did; it was cold last night.


after supper, i finished up work on the first blanket club chapter that will go out on tuesday.


i am so looking forward to seeing how everyone will put together their shades and pieces; i just know there will be a huge variety and some wonderful surprises, both form those with yarn memberships and those who joined up for the pattern only (eBook) option.


the BS ravelry threads are heating up and i hear there is a contest afoot—and you know that contests mean prizes.

alright then, now that my chapter is put to bed (or it will be after one last look-see from anne marie), i can get back to my knitting in earnest.


i started my natty sweater in the better breakfast DK option (in muesli, which gets its taupey color from rose gray alpaca). even though i had knit a ton of swatches, i was still really, really not sure what needle size i should go with. i wanted this sweater to drape nicely most of all, but i also wanted good stitch definition and that can result in the two being at odds when it comes to needle size.


so i began, as i recommend in my classes, with a sleeve swatch (top) on size 3.75 mm needles. i was sure this was going to be right, but after getting a few inches in, i felt like it was too dense. this fabric will become more liquid after a soak and wash, it’s true, but it still didn’t feel right to me.


so i put that one on a holder (top) and started afresh on size 4.0 mm needles (bottom).

amazing—it feels exactly right now. i just know it. even if it does become more fluid after a wash, i’m comfortable with whatever will happen. i’m keeping the first swatch because although i won’t use it for this sweater, i happen to need one for the craftsy class i’m preparing to teach—nothing lost at all. in fact, it illustrates points i need to cover in several lessons so it’s a great investment.

when something is right, it’s just right—and it’s amazing how the whole project takes off once you figure that out. my sleeve is almost to the underarm now and i believe i’ll finish that tonight.


meanwhile, i swatched the pattern in a new polwarth DK yarn from briar rose fibers called joyful—when chris asked what color i wanted to work with, i suddenly felt a need for some orange in my wardrobe (hmm, i wonder why??) and in just a couple of days, here it was on my doorstep. a juicy valentine indeed, hehe.

one of them will be a cardigan and one a pullover—but i can’t decide which. i’m leaning toward the orange for the cardigan and the natural for the pullover, but i don’t have to decide just yet. i can knit the sleeves and backs and then decide when i get to the fronts. barb will help me . . .


i finally got my little reversible crescent shawl cast on too—poor thing got set aside in the excitement of finishing up my cam cable pullover. i know it’s not very far along at the moment, but i feel as if, with the cast on accomplished, i could pick it up at any time to knit a bit. for this week, it will be my kitchen project to work on over morning coffee—an actual better breakfast at daybreak, haha (snort, i’m such a doofus). i’ll also pack it in my bag for my trip west next week.


i knew you all would seize on this little group of swatches, haha. honestly though, while the yarn is right, i’m not actually going to work with this color.


this is the real color, which i personally like a whole lot more (i like red, but not so much for my clothes). i think this skein has enough for the little sweater i’m planning with it, but to be safe—and because i have the spare skein of that red—i’m not using any of the blue for swatching.

i won’t say much more about this just now—since the yarn is a new offering and not yet available for purchase, we’ll save the evolution of this project for a little later. i will say that the tayet yarn is simply divine and i can’t way to delve deeper into that delicious blue bundle.

after all, i’ve actually got plenty going on right now—preparations for a class, a few new sweater patterns in various stages of production, and a couple of garments on the needles (plus a little shawl for good measure). i mean, that’s enough for the moment right?

i knew you’d agree—time to go knit now. have a wonderful presidents day.