violet

Posted on 11 CommentsPosted in lace/shawls, patterns, projects

when we originally scheduled the release of this pretty eyelet cardigan—violet—we were thinking that march is the month when we begin seeing the tiny spring flowers. and while a crocus or two has turned its face to the sun and some buds were beginning to appear, march has mostly been the scene of this

not very springy outside, but we knitters know how to change our weather at will—start a new project or cast on a new yarn to make it any season we please!

and this design is so flexible—we’ve knit it in four of our favorite bare naked wools yarns and the possibilities don’t end there. today i’m going to talk about two cool-weather versions that we’ve created and in a few weeks, i’ll refresh your vision by showing you two more samples in our spring/summer yarns.

when i conceived the idea for this simple, but very versatile little sweater, i was anxious to knit with and show off our chebris lace yarn in the latest colorway, frappé, a complex, minky taupe shade that has beautiful depth. it looks great with the leaf and fagot scarf knit in soft ginny sport yarn from my lace lessons eBook (twelve lace scarves and variations).

the luxurious mohair fiber catches every glimmer of light that passes through the holes in the fabric, bringing the whole piece to life. soft against the skin and light as a feather, this option can be worn with confidence to the office over beautifully tailored skirt or slacks and later, to a fancy dress party when paired with a long skirt (especially when adorned with tiny glass buttons from moving mud). and don’t even get me started on the mayhem that’ll ensue when you wear it with black leather . . .

once i’d knit that first sample, i wasn’t done—all along i had also pictured it as a prim tweed vest and knew that our stone soup fingering yarn was the best bet for creating this look. and the first sample knit up so fast that i barely had time to get to know it well; i was totally up for a second one. i pulled a couple of skeins in our darkest shade, river rock, and cast on right away. it was a wonderful traveling companion during the fall teaching season.

whether your preference is fuzzy and soft, silky and shiny, simple and cottony, or warm and tweedy, we’ve got a yarn choice that will turn out beautifully for you.

shown above, violet cardigan in size small, knit in bare naked wools chebris lace, color frappé; buttons from moving mud.  the incredible yardage in this particular yarn means that you can make most sizes cardigan or vest with just two or three skeins.

shown below, violet vest in size small, knit in bare naked wools stone soup fingering yarn, color river rock and finished with brown agoya shell buttons from our online shop.

click here to view and purchase a kit for one of these great versions, or explore our shop for other yarn options.
click here to view pattern details in the knitspot yarn and pattern shop OR purchase on ravelry by clicking here (please purchase on ravelry if you’d like the pattern in your rav library).

pattern details are included on each product page.

i love the body shaping in this piece—just enough to give you a waist if you don’t quite have one, but not so much that it feels constrained or won’t button. its placement is set in from the side seams to smooth the torso and accent the bust area nicely.

even when you wear it loose and open, it has a lovely shape that falls toward the body and doesn’t sag unattractively. and if you really, really don’t like shaping, you can simply eliminate it and skip to the next step, easy-peasy.

it’s the perfect little spring sweater and one that will move gracefully throughout the seasons with your changing wardrobe. one easy-to-knit piece that barely looks the part, but is a workhorse for your wardrobe. add a small arsenal of equally easy-to-knit lace scarves—you can wear the cardigan more often and switch the look completely. and we have a fresh new crop of those, too.

i can’t wait to show you more samples of this design in our summer yarns! today it’s a bit chilly and snowy for that, but very soon, we’ll be panting for them and i’ll have your back.

knitting landscape

Posted on 14 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, designing, lace/shawls, projects

back in november and december when the temperatures were well below freezing and it looked like the winter ahead might be rough, i decided i needed a warmer oversized sweater—something in a heavier weight. my fingering and sport weight sweaters get the most year-round wear and those knit in our lofty BNWs are especially cozy, but when the temps hit the teens and below, i reach for DK and worsted weight ones.

since i hadn’t yet knit myself something with our stone soup DK in the marble shade, i pulled six skeins and sat down to design a cardigan along the lines of my caïssa or my dock and cabin designs—longer, easy-fitting, and textured.

i swatched a few stitch patterns, picked one that i liked and, as we set off to spend thanksgiving with my mom, i cast on for one of the sleeves. i knit maybe three-quarters of that first piece during the trip but once we got back home, the project was laid aside as the work on the winter ensemble picked up and the deadline for another sweater design drew near. with not much knitting time to spare over the next few weeks, my cozy sweater languished a while, sadly.

it ended up well, though—the time away gave me a chance to choose and chart up a large cable pattern to place along the front edges. the sinuous background texture and the branched cable gave me the idea to call the design birches. and in the marble shade, it is the color of white birches, one of my favorite trees.

during christmas week, anxious for some time off to knit, i settled back in with this project and enjoyed some progress—working with lofty, soft stone soup DK on size 8US (4.5 mm) needles, i was able to gain inches in a single sitting, which was just what i needed.

i was liking the front panel an awful lot—the large cable segued to simple, lush ribbing at about chest height and once i got to the shoulder, i began to muse about turning the lapel into a shawl collar.

i threw that out on instagram and wow—the response was immediate and unanimous. shawl collar it is. the shaping didn’t even require much experimentation; it practically knit itself, for which i was awfully glad. i know it looks weird, but when you bend it and stitch it down . . .

shawl collar origami!

in january ensemble once again cut into my knitting time considerably, but with just this one project on the needles, i was still able to make progress through a second front.

then, shortly after the last ensemble piece rolled out and the club patterns were done and dusted, i gave myself a couple of knitting days to catch my breath and by that sunday morning, i had a satisfying stack of completed pieces. i was truly going to stop there and write a long overdue blog, but the call of the steam iron was too strong and i caved (sorry blog, next time i will be stronger).

could not resist of shot of the strange and wonderfully shaped front piece.

it actually took a bit longer than i’m used to spending, but was so worth it—as the sun was setting, i folded up the last blocked piece. would i be able to resist seaming them that night??

no i would not (i am so weak).
actually we did go to a movie too, but i spent the rest of the evening grafting my collar and seaming. another advantage of a looser knit sweater on big needles—seaming is super easy.

now this cardigan could be shorter (i will probably offer two lengths), worn loose and overlapping, or belted, or you could add buttons. i like buttons, so what i did was to add three eyelet buttonholes for public buttons on the right side, secreted away in the rolled edge and one buttonhole on the opposite side to secure an inside button. my thinking was that the buttonholes don’t show, so even if i decide to wear it open or belted, they would be tucked away out of sight.

i finally got around to giving this one a good soaking bath the other day. the toggles i ordered had arrived and i wanted to put that final touch on.

i have a choice of these kind of flattish ones made from horn . . .

which have a bit of warm brown along with the charcoal

or these antler tip toggles (i even have a choice of colors with these)

these are more true gray with streaks of a lighter, yellowy color and they are round rather than flat.

what do you think? i’m leaning toward the flatter ones because i like the contrast, but either one is really good-looking.

i don’t have modeling shots yet; every time i think about doing them, i feel like i’m just not looking my best right then, haha.

i still have to finish writing up the pattern and then send it through tech editing; i’m thinking that once it’s all done, it will be truly spring and this sweater won’t be in such demand. so we’ll probably save it for a fall release, maybe during rhinebeck month. we’ll see . . . one thing is for sure, i am going to knit another one of these from our cabécou brillant sport—i have been drooling over this yarn since we first received it in the sel gris shade and now i’ve found its match. can’t you just picture that collar in our minky mohair cabécou  or chebris blend??

gosh i just ran on and on about that project, sorry . . . i think i’ll hold off on sharing more right now because there is at least that much to say about my current couple of projects.

i’ll leave you dreaming about deliciously juicy mega cables.

falling

Posted on 8 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, designing, food and garden, lace/shawls, projects

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oh boy. somewhere along the way i got lost and october just slipped through my hands, blog speaking. but i have photos to prove that it existed . . .

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we went to rhinebeck!

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and we had the best time; kim3 traveled from utah to go with us and erica betz came along for her first RB experience. and we couldn’t have had a better weekend.

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after an incredible evening in our booth at the indie untangled trunk show on friday night, we got up early to a frosty saturday morning and headed for the show. the river crossing did not disappoint; the mists were rising from the water in a spectacular show.

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our very first stop at the show was a visit to the goat barn to say hello to the friends who make our mohair chebris and cabécou yarns possible—the pinxterbloom farm gang.

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we found our producer john enjoying a quiet pre-competition hour, cuddling one of his kids who was spread out blanketing his lap. you never saw such love and affection; it’s no wonder that fleece turns into such gorgeous yarn.

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while shopping in the three bags full booth, we ran into needletime, wearing a gorgeous glentrekker cardigan knit in better breakfast DK.

i’m not sure where the next couple of hours disappeared to (i know i bought some things at stacey stanhope pottery), but before we knew it was noon and time to meet up at the annual knitspot picnic.

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beautiful hattie in her brand new bloch ness cardigan, hot off the needles. she is working the shape of that neckline; i don’t think i’ve ever seen it look more sexy.

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and with it her new design, the lady rose mitts, knit in ginny sport, color texas. we are so honored the hattie chose our yarn for her new design; aren’t they pretty? she loves that ginny sport, too; so soft and luxurious. think you hattie!

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daughter of voracious knitter brought her snow tire scarf in progress to show off at the picnic; what a terrific project she’s working up; beautiful stitchwork and promising knitting future for her.

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katharine was wearing her newly-completed empreinte crescent shawl knit in blacker farms yarn (cotswold, maybe? i keep forgetting), which absolutely glowed in the autumn sunshine. this, on top of her illas ciés pullover in ginny sport—gorgeous, both of them.

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after lunch we strolled around, running into lots of friends here and there, like eric lutz who hosted a movie night sock KAL on his podcast, sticks and twine and is working on a new men’s knitting publication. can’t wait to see it.

i made a visit to marilyn magnus‘s booth and bought a couple of small rugs for our home; marilyn is one of my favorite rhinebeck people and a wonderful weaver. her rugs are a highlight of our guest room. there were so many vendors and knitters i did not get to see this year for some reason; there just wasn’t time to see everything in one day. next year i will try to be more diligent . . .

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whew, long day at the show but we left happy, ending the day with dinner and dessert in town.

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seriously we DID eat real food beforehand.

after dinner we went to hang out with our friends and knit for the evening. they had a great rental house near the fairgrounds and once we got past the traffic to get there it was a really fun evening.

so much so that i didn’t snap even one photo all night. i brought just two projects (and a third emergency one) on this trip because i really wanted to return home with something finished. one was a mindless knitting project (because it is my third or fourth one), his silk kerchief, which i cast on for at the athens festival in ecobutterfly organic cotton sport, color forest mist.

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i did very well with my mindless knitting project and returned home with a finished kerchief. with two skeins (300 yards) of the cotton sport, i was able to complete the medium size shawlette, which is a generous kerchief or a nice shoulder warmer.

my first day home is usually full of confusion as i settle in, so i like to have a task such as blocking to ease into things.

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i love these little triangles for traveling; they serve a variety of purposes in all seasons and fold up small enough to tuck away where they can be easily reached any time.

but i’m getting ahead of myself—i wasn’t home yet; not even close!

the other project i brought was a little vest version of that violet lace cardigan i showed you last week

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which i’ve finally managed to get buttons sewn on—little glass ones that look like ice chips all the way down the front; so cute.

anyway, i thought this design would be adorable as a little vest in stone soup fingering, so i brought everything with me and cast on as soon as we got to our house in the river rock shade. lovelovelove this deep dark color with bright white news; they look like snow or stars in the night sky. this design works up so fast that even i can’t believe it.

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started on 10/12 and the pieces were all done by the 10/25, including all that travel time (i drove a lot so not much car knitting on this trip). the edgings are all narrow and worked in garter stitch so finishing is about as easy as it gets. ten simple shell buttons down the front reinforce the contrast of such a feminine design knit in classic tweed.

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it turned out exactly as i’d pictured it; i’m in love (and i don’t even wear vests as a rule, except fleece ones for running). excuse the bad lighting; the days are getting very short now, sigh.

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i love it a tad shorter and with a bit more waist nipping—still not extreme, but now it is truly curvy for a sexy look. i can just imagine this knit in the hempshaugh lace yarn for a cool, super cute summer top over a little cami or bra—so darn sexy. i just might have to knit that next.

i really enjoyed my knitting time on this trip; after the lace lessons book was published, my brain was quite fried and i was SO over working at the computer (well, still  struggling there, haha). it felt SO good to knit a lot, get outside and see people, laugh a lot. just what the doctor ordered.

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and we get so much help in that department, haha! don’t they look like trouble fun? this photo was taken on sunday after everyone had been to the show and stopped in to our popup shop at the marriott hotel.

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this is the event where we can really spread out and show off LOTS of samples and yarn. it’s a great chance for friends from far away to see everything up close, cuddle the yarn, feel the fabrics, and shop at their leisure.

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we always have an excellent day here and we so enjoy visiting with everyone who comes. so many knitters with projects in tow—either completed or in progress.

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look at cherie’s beautiful janet guthrie top that she finished just before leaving home, worn under her costa figueira vest. she is admiring a triticum cardigan back knit by another friend (i knew i should write down her name!).

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that evening just about wrapped up our rhinebeck weekend for the most part; the next day kim and i waved goodbye to erica and barb (twice, haha!) but stayed on and took a trip with katharine to crafts people, that wonderful collection of craft galleries in the woods.

it’s worth it for the driver there alone, along the back roads, deeply wooded and devoid of cell phone service. when you get there you are treated to the loveliest visit by the owners and gallerists.

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seriously, be sure to visit them all—you won’t want to miss any of it.

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a little more damage to my credit card early christmas shopping in the jewelry and woodwork gallery, then a bit more in the pottery gallery, which always weakens my resolve—there is just so much wonderful clay work there. and i am pottery ho, so there you go.

that afternoon i drove kim to the airport in albany, which gave me a chance to look in on my mom and spend a couple of night with her before heading back to ohio.

she had a bunch of things to figure out on her phone since updating to the new iOS, so after dinner with friends, we took care of that. now everyone gets balloons with their texts, haha, whereas before, it was purely accidental.

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the next morning was spectacularly warm and while she was off making visits at the nursing home, i treated myself to a hike in the nearby pine bush, where autumn was putting on her fancy clothes.

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they have really cleaned up and developed this trail—not so far as to pave it with wood chips or anything but it’s a little less muddy and you have to wade through a lot less brush now.

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it’s still quite hilly in a good way; more challenging than a mere walk in the woods. in fact a couple of those hills would be difficult if there was mud or ice.

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but that makes for some nice views inside the bush and lots of peace and quiet—it’s also much cleaner than a lot of flat trails i’ve been on in other parks.

after lunch we got her christmas gift ordered and then i got her started knitting her first triangle shawl with some briar rose sundance i’d bought for her in the summer (the purple on the left below; the other one is for me).

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she decided on double happiness; by the time i left she was knitting away and has had only one question since i left her on her own. i should have an update over thanksgiving when we see her again; she might need help getting started with the hem pattern. but then, she’s really looking forward to wearing it, so she’s pretty motivated to keep going and good at figuring things out on her own.

the next day was the long drive home, always a little grueling when doing it alone, especially in the haul full of booth stuff. but it was nice to have some alone time for thinking too; i try not to waste any opportunity, haha.

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back home, erica and i took an afternoon to get the shop back in order, with all new fall outfits and accessories to prepare for deep knitting season. since the holidays are not to far off, people like to come and shop now for special accessory projects. we love this big, cozy slow dog noodle wrap, which can be knit in a scarf size as well (in fact it was last year’s red scarf pattern).

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i’m noticing a lot of hat patterns flying out the door of our pattern shop; we have a lot to choose from and most of them are multi-sized which makes things easy for holiday knitting.

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knitters are also fingering samples for bigger projects that they plan to knit after the holidays during selfish knitting month and beyond—sweaters, blankets, and big shawls.

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and so nice to get the shop looking tidy and put together. it’s becomes a little disordered over the summer when we are constantly taking things out to shows and returning them not quite as neatly.

since i’ve been back i’ve been knitting a lot, mostly on secret projects, but i do have some things to show you as well—next time—i just realized how late it is and how long i’ve been running on. i promise i make it soon.

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knit, knit, knit . . .

Posted on 12 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, designing, lace/shawls, projects

blockingEyelet10_22

hello, hello, hello! SO good to be back; thank you for your patience over the last couple of weeks while i was away and THANK YOU especially for your enthusiastic response to the release of my book, the lace lessons.

so much has been going on behind the scenes during and just after the book release; i have tons of stuff to share with you, including lots of knitting and travel.

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at the beginning of the month, erica and i went to athens, OH to participate in the athens area fiber faire.

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lots of friends visited our booth at this show; some of them even brought finished knitspot projects to show us.

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we were especially pleased when little anne and her family came to visit.

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with knitting in tow. anne has been making steady progress on a cowl project, helped along by the knitting group at her local library. Brava!

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i brought along an easy to knit project from the lace lessons book—his silk kerchief in ecobutterfly organic cotton sport, color forest mist. i love this soft, delicious yarn which is spun from cotton that grows in colors. this was the perfect project to bring; easy enough to pick up and put down throughout the weekend as the traffic to our booth ebbed and flowed.

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i cast on just before we left and by the time i got home on monday morning, it was nearly done. i did have to put it aside for a while tho, to work through the last push for the book. in my next post, i’ll show you some finished photos taken after our rhinebeck trip.

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at the show i purchased a couple of thrifty finds—the first is this 100 percent wool afghan kit in gradient gold-to-brown colors. the kit includes a sheet (yes, just one!) with several different patterns printed on the back. i don’t think this pattern would pass muster in today’s market, but it’s a wonderful souvenir of what was available when i was growing up. not sure who will end up knitting this yarn up, but i couldn’t resist the bargain.

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my other treasure is this book about wool as a textile fiber that is absolutely fascinating—it is a more or less scientific handbook that must have been used as a text for a class when it was published. the cool thing is that it confirms a lot of information i have heard over the years about the molecular properties of wool and its behavior, but have had a hard time confirming in my own research. so, i always hesitate in passing this information on as fact, but now i have something to point to and to use as a starting point for finding other sources. and for just $3, how about that?

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just before leaving, i had finished up the last piece of my little eyelet cardigan, knit in chebris lace yarn (color frappé), and blocked everything.

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i brought my pieces along to add button bands and neck finish, and maybe start some seaming on the trip. luckily, i was able to get most of that done in our room during the evenings and mornings, when it was quiet.

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i can’t remember if i took this photo before or after it was washed, but didn’t it turn out cute? and it used just one and a half skeins of yarn; i love that!

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i had been waiting for this one to be done so i could wash all three of my new sweaters at the same time, giving them a long soak in hot soapy water, then spinning out in the washer and air-drying. they look great.

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once they were clean, i added buttons to dock and cabin so i could wear it to rhinebeck, just one of the small tasks i was supposed to accomplish during deadline week, but only managed to do as i was packing the night before we left, haha.

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i held off on adding buttons to the lace cardigan; we had a set of moving mud glass buttons in our shop that look beautiful with it (above), but i wondered if i might see something at rhinebeck i wanted more. as it turned out, sarina wasn’t at the show this year due to a family emergency, so i will move ahead with the buttons i have.

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not having buttons did not prevent us from taking some great photos of the sweater on our scarf model, bethany, who looked spectacular in it. for the longest time i did not know what to call this garment but i think i’ve decided on violet—the tiny florets and leafy edgings remind me of that plant.

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right now, i’m knitting another one in stone soup fingering yarn—this time without sleeves to be worn as a pretty little vest; i think it’s going to be so cute! i made some changes in the second prototype—slightly shorter and a bit more nipped in at the waist to add to its femininity. i’ve completed both fronts and most of the back piece now—again, i can hardly believe how far i’ve gotten with just one skein of yarn. i just tied on the second skein, and i bet i won’t use more than half of it . . .

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it seems as if everyone is busy working on sweaters right now—donna came to knit night wearing her new triticum knit in briar rose sea pearl.

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this perennial favorite fits perfectly and looks so well on her; i’m always so thrilled to see excellent results when knitters wear their FOs to show and tell.

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and barb knit up a cricket (hers) pullover from the new BT wool people collection, as fast as can be, right before rhinebeck, in our stone soup fingering yarn (marble shade) paired with the yarn hollow umpqua in faded high tops that was part of her pairings shipment. doesn’t she look the part?

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one other thing i made time for before going away was blocking this gorgeous edmonia shawl, knit by agnes and then gifted to me in our fresh lace silk/linen blend. can you believe she gave this to me? it’s SO lovely and i am not deserving!

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and i love it; it’s soft and drapey and feels really nice against my neck, which is fairly sensitive (though i can wear most of our BNWs yarns without any discomfort). i just love this one to bits; thank you agnes!

the book was literally moments away from going live when i went to pick up kim from the airport, as she arrived for her usual overnight pre-rhinebeck visit. of course i had planned and then hoped we’d be done well before that time, but oh well . . . once we got home i was able to push all the buttons to finalize it and we were free. time to have fun!

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this year we left a day early so we could have one whole, work-free day to relax, knit, and enjoy ourselves in the hudson valley—lord knows i needed that. we caravanned our way east, kim and me in the truck yakking the whole time and barb and erica in the car, doing the same, i’m sure.

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on our first day off, we did all the fun things we love, at a leisurely pace. a visit to the CIA for lunch was delish; our meals were fantastic, though the desserts were not as yummy as usual. kim didn’t even finish hers . . .

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afterward we strolled the halls for a bit so erica could get a feel for the place; it was her first time there.

it was a really good idea to go early and have this day of rest—the remainder of the weekend was a wild ride. i have lots to share about that and i’ll be back in a day or two to show you more.