Archive for the ‘book reviews/events’ Category

busy city

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

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last week i mentioned that we were heading out to participate in a large wine and food event downtown and what an adventure it turned out to be! first of all we made new friends all over the place.

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i mean, who can resist doughnuts, especially those made by peace, love, and little donuts? and doughnuts with wine?? well, i’ve learned—that’s how we do things in canton OH, haha.

just after setting up our pretty booth, a big storm rolled in that spattered everyone with rain throughout the evening. in fact, at one point the tornado sirens went off and they cleared everyone off the street to get inside under cover.

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no matter; it didn’t last long and afterward, everyone came out ready to party. the event was absolutely PACKED and the rain just made everyone duck under the tents to congregate around the booths—perfect. and we got to have fun too—i tasted a few wines that i really liked, my favorite being fagus, a grenache that comes from a 90-year-old vine. it was very dry with a wonderful clove scent. mmm-mm.

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of the non-wine offerings, this was my personal favorite—chocolates by erin. this is what i brought home for a treat at the end of the night.

what a fun event; we didn’t sell a lot but we gave out tons of cards and invitations to our grand opening party next weekend (which i jokingly refer to as the GOP).photoShoot09_17

once vintage canton was over, we all had to scurry to get everything finalized for our september purple club release. we had a very specific look we wanted for the photo shoot, which required just the right kind of streetscape. i love the way everything turned out, thanks to david and sarah and our models quentin and sheyanne.

and of course there is no rest for the wicked—as soon as this month’s samples were off the needles, it was time to get serious about other projects that have been queued up, including cooking for the week ahead and catching up with things around the house.

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i’m not joking when i say i’m still picking tons of beans every few days; they just won’t stop. i picked three or four pounds of them on sunday and since they were a bit big, just roasted the whole lot (thank you cathy). some i coated in sesame oil with chile garlic sauce and some coated in truffle oil, salt, and pepper. these were ziplocked away into the freezer for future meals.

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meanwhile, i had some smaller ones i’d saved aside from the previous batch to make a big pan of those stir-fried beans i showed you last week. i could eat those every night; we had them on sunday with salmon, fresh dug, crisp-roasted potatoes (jealous??), and fresh sweet corn.

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yeah, the potatoes are gonna be the next tidal wave—we have so many out there and they did SO well this year that i’m actually a little frightened. every time i go out to dig some, i get all i need from one or two hills—these took longer to hose off than they took to dig, haha. we might have to store them right where they are and dig as we need them; i don’t think we have room anywhere to keep them in the house.

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I’ve spent a good deal of my “free” time in the last week on swatching—in addition to several secret projects in various stages of planning and knitting, i’ve got some gorgeous birte DK from spirit trail fiberworks with which to design a new scarf/cowl in time for jen to release it in her booth at rhinebeck.

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i love this sludgy dark blue-gray, the color of an oil slick. it’s called bog shadows; isn’t that appropriate? i found a pattern i liked right away—one big motif with a cable running right up the center. it’ll be so striking but SO simple—just the thing to make a few of for holiday gifting.

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along with that dark color, jen also sent this rich, ocean blue that fades in some areas to teal and olive; another winner. and look—jen has a BUNCH of birte on her sale page right now, many colors still have two left (which is what you’ll need for a nice sized scarf with some leftovers)

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i’m also gunning right along on my colorwork projects for fall classes—this is one version of my new mass transit cowl which is being released the first weekend of october. i’m knitting it in one colorway of briar rose fourth of july along with two shades of stone soup DKmarble and granite. next i’m going to knit the exact same pattern with the same colors, but in a different arrangement and i think you’ll be amazed at what a big visual difference that will make.

(these are awfully fun projects . . . they make me want to abandon all my responsibilities, run away to a remote cabin in the woods, and knit every variation i can think of for the next month or so from just these two patterns. does that make me a bad person??)

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i have my boilermaker cowl (also a future release) knit to the point where i really need to add a third shade, but put it aside because that shade has not yet arrived from the mill. i  might just go ahead and work with another one; trying to decide . . .

our plan is to make everything available during the yarn in the barn event weekend. if you can’t make it to michigan, we’ll bring it to you at home—we’ll offer kits right here combining our undyed bare naked wools with chris’s beautiful fourth of july in four different colorways so you can knit along with us from home.

i’m excited—are you excited?

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and finally, needles are in the shop—both our retail space and our online store. and if you want some, you better get them before i cannibalize the rack—i’ve already taken one pair (to knit my second cowl!)

emily and erica are going through the website a little at a time to add links to the pattern pages for the right needles along with yarn suggestions.

we are all working hard this week making final preparations for our grand opening days next weekend—i hope you’ll try to stop in if you live nearby. i promise it will be worth it; we have some awesome door prizes for one thing. we’ll be drawing names every hour, but you have to be present to win.

alright now, somebody said something about working g hard and that would apply to me too—i better go over to the office and see where i’m needed.

A Grand Affair

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

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It’s time to celebrate the boutique in proper fashion, don’t you think? There are new samples coming in weekly from our team of knitters,

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new inventory has been rolling in,

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including ChiaoGoo circular and double point knitting needles (yahoo! soon they’ll be in the online store too),

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and Sarah’s done a great job of constantly updating the look of the store,

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that we feel it’s TIME to have a shindig. We’re bursting at the seams with excitement about the details and you’re all invited!

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The party begins Friday, Sept 26 at 5:30 with a ribbon cutting ceremony and then we move into the boutique for shopping

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while enjoying light apps and wine from local vendors. At 7:00 design talks will be presented by Anne and Hunter Hammersen.

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Anne will discuss the history of Bare Naked Wools,

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followed by Hunter’s talk about designing these slippers with Bare Naked Wools and her upcoming book.

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As people roam the boutique and check out the trunk show, Anne will chat further about the unique properties of her natural yarn line and how her designs come to fruition.

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Anne and Hunter will complete the event with a Q & A session plus knitting pattern and book signing.

If you can’t make Friday’s event, join us Saturday for morning treats and coffee with a similar design talk session at 11:00. During the 2-day event all Knitspot patterns at the boutique will be BUY 4 get 1 FREE and just for visiting, every customer will receive a ticket for a chance to win this door prize!

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We are giving away a basket including a Dutch Tiles throw kit, Knitspot canvas tote bag, and a couple surprise Knitspot goodies. For every $50 you spend in the store, we’ll give you additional entries into the drawing!

So mark your calendars, call your friends and get carpools to Canton organized. This is an event you don’t want to miss!

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let’s get winey

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

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still working away on my large-ish secret project but while that’s in the finishing stages and just about to come off the needles (SO close), i’ve been working away at some other projects to get ready for my fall classes which begin in about a month (plus some fiber shows we are involved in!).

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first, to prepare for my color work classes at the briar rose yarn in the barn event in michigan, i spent some time in august playing with combinations of chris’s gorgeous hand painted yarn with shades of our bare naked wools. for the classes, we are knit with combinations of colors in briar rose fourth of july and naturals in our brand new, soon to be released, confection sport yarn; the colors for that will be the same as for our confection worsted weight line (plus a new addition i haven’t seen yet).

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i’ve sorta been going nuts with the swatching—you know how i get excited once i get my teeth into something. especially something bare naked, haha.

seriously though; you can’t even imagine how lush it all feels knit together—wow.

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right now i’m substituting the stone soup DK for the confection sport because there are a couple shade that haven’t arrived yet and wouldn’t you know, one of them is just the one i need for my final project. hopefully that will arrive next week.

swatching for color combinations can really make me seem frantically nuts, as in, i can’t put it down, you know? i just want to try every single possibility! and i haven’t even made a dent yet in the stranded swatching that i’m doing for demonstration purposes.

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we’ll be doing a larger proportion of that in our rhinebeck after party classes, along with a beautiful project.

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i’ve got one on the needles now, in fact; i’m making several versions because i can’t decide which is most beautiful and i want to show participants how easy it can be to get a different look with the same exact yarn choices.

well, i don’t want to give it all away here, but you get the idea. haha, just trying to rustle up some excitement for those looking forward to joining us! hey, if you’re not signed up yet and your interest is now piqued, please consider coming to the party—there is still room for a few more.

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ok, now i gotta boogie—we are a sponsor of and a participating vendor at a big event downtown tonight—vintage canton. this is a fun and foodie event with art, artisans, and music as well—if you live in the area, it might be a fun thing for you to come and take part in. and if you already have a ticket, please stop by the bare naked wools booth and say hello to me, sarah, and the now famous barb!

also ran

Sunday, September 7th, 2014

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did you ever have one of those weeks when you felt harried and frantic to keep up the whole time but had nothing to show for it at the end?

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the nice thing about blogging is that you actually end up with a record of your activities—it’s not to say they are all productive but at least you can account for your time!

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we finished out last week with an incredibly wonderful friday at massachusetts museum of contemporary art—AKA massMOCA—where david, my mom, my cousin, and i explored the installations, sculpture, and paintings throughout the buildings and grounds.

i love this kind of place, where the history of what the buildings used to be provides a pervasive and insistent background to my experience of its new use. the ability to display REALLY large artworks at the proper scale is just astounding; we were overwhelmed at every turn.

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like this hallway/ramp left intact from takes you from one floor to another—it looks like a mineshaft. i swear i can hear the strain of carts creaking their way up from ground level heavily burdened, then the clattering rumble as they return to be reloaded.

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the rest room was one of our most favorite works of art, with its rough-welded, black steel stalls and long work sinks.

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halfway through our day we took a break to share a picnic on an outside deck—my mom had packed sandwiches, salads, and fruit. the weather was spectacular.

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after that we explored the boiler house and anselm knifer annexes, both fascinating. this is my favorite photo of the day; isn’t the light just beautiful there? david and i were equally transfixed by the atmosphere in the boiler house.

wow; it was just so great to have a chance to visit this place. we don’t have anything like this where we live now and it’s one thing i really miss about NYC—the privilege of stopping in just anytime to world-class art exhibits.

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on our last day, my mom and i took a ride to nearby middeburgh, NY to shop at the produce farms there. since our tomatoes are not very productive this year and i hadn’t seen any bulk tomatoes in ohio yet, i thought i might have more luck buying a bushel there to take home and put up. i wasn’t wrong.

i could have bought a carload of that eggplant—it looks so good! we picked up a variety of vegetables and fruits for dinner and to fill my mom’s fridge, plus my bushel of canning tomatoes and few big heads of garlic for planting later in the fall.

my mom had been worried that all she had for dinner was lentil soup, but by the time we added fresh sweet corn, sautéed bok choy from my cousin’s garden, green beans i’d brought from our garden, and some left over pasta, there was plenty, haha.

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the next day we packed up our car and headed home with supplies to fill our labor day with end of season kitchen chores. those hours in the car were our last quiet rest hours for the whole week, i think.

first thing the next day i got myself out to the garden to see what needed picking—that would be everything. plus i had left some tomatoes to ripen on the counter while we were gone. even though my friend barb had been over to pick beans on saturday, there was a full basket to get in on monday. good thing i got out early, because the rest of the day was rainy and dreary—perfect for spending time in the kitchen.

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even though i had a backlog of desk work to do, this is the time of year that when nature calls one must report for duty.

i thought it would be quicker work than it was though; it ended up taking all day to get those tomatoes peeled, cooked, and puréed.

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but SO worth it. i think we now have plenty stored up for winter sauces and other dishes.

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any tomatoes we get from our own garden i plan to roast and put up a little at a time, like this pan of garlic-and-oil roasted heirloom tomatoes. i had enough here to make some calamari sauce for dinner and put a carton in the freezer. i have another batch that’s ripe now which i’ll cook with green beans freeze for side dishes.

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speaking of green beans, we had the best dish the other night, based on a suggestion by ellen—blanched beans, drained and cooked in oil til they char just a bit. i used sesame oil and added a tablespoon of red pepper chile sauce at the very end—fantastic; we gobbled those up. i could have eaten just that for dinner i think!

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also on the way home from albany i finished knitting the bocce hat i brought for a travel project to alternate with my secret knitting project. i had washed it when i got up and while i cooked, it dried.

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now it can join the others in waiting for its photography, which hopefully will be happening this week (left to right, bocces in vegan yarns fifo sport, ecobutterfly organic pakucho cotton, and studio june springy sport). once we have photos, we can release the pattern.

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whenever we travel, we always have our mail held at the post office and when we finally got it on tuesday, there was a package containing a sample of stephanie pearl-mcphee’s oatmeal stout cowl, knit by our dear friend cherie in three shades of our very own confection worsted yarn.

stephanie designed this cowl, and infinity scarf, and some fingerless mitts with clara parke’s new CVM yarn, but before steph could release the pattern, the yarn was sold out (cuz clara makes gorgeous stuff that everyone loves!). she kindly mentioned that our confection would be a nice substitute, so we asked cherie to knit one.

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that stephanie is always right about yarn and knitting—confection is lovely knit into this design, because in addition to being soft and squishy, it has beautiful drape—perfect for achieving those plump warm folds we like for this kind of cowl. and we have a good range of shades to play with—use three or five, whatever.

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we also are just about ready to add the sport weight of this yarn to our shop pages, in case you like a lighter accessories. i think we’re just waiting for the last couple shades to arrive from the mill; we’ll be sure to announce when it’s available.

meanwhile erica O has started an oatmeal stout KAL in our bare naked wools group on ravelry. if you’re a fan of cushy yummy QUICK knits and a fan of the yarn harlot, why not grab a pattern and join us?

oh, and did i mention i was signed up to run a half marathon today to round out my week? yeah and right up to the last minute, i wasn’t sure i’d be able to participate—i’ve been rehabbing and ankle injury and back to running for only about a week.

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i had to decide by yesterday what i was going to do—sit another one out, switch to a shorter race (there was a 10k as well), or stick to the half and do it as a walk/run event if need be?

the thing is, i REALLY wanted to participate in this event—the entire course was run right in my neighborhood; these are streets i run every time i go out—it was my race! so i bit the bullet and committed to the whole shebang.

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i got up early and felt good; my ankle was a little stiff, but i had no discomfort and no pain. the morning was quite cool (low 50s) but looked to be the start of a real beauty of a day. i literally only had to walk about ten blocks to the start line, so i got myself downtown just a little before 7:30 when the race began. i had decided beforehand that i could walk whenever i wanted and told david i would turn around and head back at the slightest hint of trouble. after all, i knew i would never be very far at all from home.

still,  i was nervous.

and guess what?? i didn’t have to do any of that! i started at a light, slow (for me) pace and felt great; omg, before i knew it i was at the halfway point and i hadn’t even really thought about the fact that i was running the whole time, i was enjoying myself that much.

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i actually didn’t even walk once, which is a major breakthrough for me; i ALWAYS have to walk just a little. i think starting out with such a cautious pace was really good for me, even though it’s very hard for me to do when i’m feeling tip-top. it’s so easy to start out too fast and wasted my energy at the beginning. not that the end was easy or anything, but i made it in great time, considering everything and i learned a LOT.

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only a few minutes slower than my usual half marathon time—plenty to be happy about there. i placed fourth in my age group, just shy of a prize. but i got my reward—i am BACK, haha.

on the way home i had an overwhelming yen for baked macaroni and cheese; but no energy to make it. fortunately i remembered there was a wee, single serving dish in the freezer from the last batch i’d made.

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well, a happier girl never there was; color me content.