Archive for the ‘lace/shawls’ Category

fresh tracks

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

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i couldn’t help myself—i missed my snow tire scarf project once it was done; i just had to start another. originally i planned to knit my next one in our better breakfast DK (that link is just for reference; we can’t list the DK in the shop right now), but when i went over to the boutique to get some, i found that our supply was pretty much wiped out. i knew this of course, having forked over my one and only skein of the incredible rose gray muesli shade so that anastasia could complete the better breakfast orders for our upcoming blanket club.

but the reality of the situation hadn’t really penetrated my limbic system and good thing, because for any experienced knitter, this is when our bodies throw the clutch, hurtling us into full panic mode. this is the situation we dread, the very reason we stash—the moment when we realize we are stranded in the whirlpool of life’s stormy sea with no. more. yarn.

yes, even with the security of a store full of yarn right in the back yard, it’s possible to become completely unhinged over the one thing that’s out of stock.

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ok, well, we did have one single, solitary DK skein put aside for test knitting—in espresso—but for photography purposes at this time of year, i really need something medium gray or lighter. and there will be none of that til the middle of the month (and almost all of it is spoken for in club orders, but i am getting one if i have to step on anastasia’s neck to do it).

so what now??

well, i spent about an hour pacing our office space and shop, bothering every single employee present while waffling over other possibilities (anastasia finally got up and went home, haha; i’m still wondering if that was my fault). i mean, it’s not like i don’t have anything else to knit.

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finally, erica B suggested ghillie sport/DK. (we always call this sport, even though it is quite a fat DK—really a light worsted—in size.)

“we don’t have anything knit in that”, she said, “and we have plenty in stock; we could use a sample.”

“oh, okay i whined; i’ll look at it . . . but it’s white” (still whining)
(honestly now—wouldn’t you slap me if you were within ten yards? i really don’t deal well with indecision.)

off i trundled to feel up the ghillie sport. and, O.M.G.
i instantly felt an awful sensation run through me . . . of guilt.
i am at serious fault for having shortchanged this yarn in terms of well—everything. oh, what a fool i’ve been, groan.

the thing that really irks me about it is that i know better—i designed this yarn. i’ve also researched its fiber makeup thoroughly and discovered its many impressive qualities throughout the process of swatching to work out its size, structure, and twist. i have closely examined the test knits we had made and recorded feedback from test knitters, but i had not yet knit a whole garment with it myself. for shame!

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when i picked up the skein yesterday in the shop, i could feel right away that this yarn has a stiffer hand, due to the sturdiness and spring of the cheviot fiber. but stiffness does not translate to scratchiness; when i dug my fingers into the swirled yarn within, i was rewarded by a surface creamy to the touch, with a rich, spongy depth underneath.

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so i took it back to the house to cast on, thinking i’d just get the stitches on the needles so it’d be easy to pick up any time i was ready.

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uh, yeah, i did skip my workout after all. i ask: would you rather go running in the cold rain or stay home with sweet, squishy yarn love in your hands??
i think i know which way you’d lean . . .

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and you’d be right; this yarn is like buttah. so smooth, with such beautiful stitch definition, such delicious texture and color. it is quite literally dizzying.

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i’m thinking right about now that i need another aztec mazes. or that maybe it’s time to finally get a pattern written up for this sweater

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i’m not promising it will be soon, but at least now i have a yarn to focus on.

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the cool thing about this yarn is that you can knit it on needles ranging from 3.5 mm (4US) to 5.0 mm (8US) (above). knit it looser for scarves, cowls, and blankets (i’m using 8s to knit my scarf) and allow it to bloom into a super-light and dense fabric.

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(take a gander at this before wash/after wash comparison; isn’t it marvelous?)

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knit it on the smallest needles for heavy boot socks and mittens with ironclad toughness. this swatch is knit on 6s (4.0 mm). the middle of the range will produce sweater fabric that is both light and comfortable to wear, but unlikely to pill much, if at all.

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suffice it to say that i am quite pleased by this yarn choice and it will keep me quite happy until that next batch of better breakfast arrives; something to dream on, unexpectedly.

ETA: david has added an option to choose ghillie sport as the knitting yarn for the fundraiser red scarf kit;  until january 1, 2014 each kit sold will earn $10 for our red scarf scholarship fund. the entire purchase price of every snow tire scarf pattern sold during this period will also be contributed.

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speaking of the red scarf project, we have a blocked and grafted snow tire cowl sample now—isn’t it delish?

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since i ended up with the longer length in my sample, i have a chance to play with it a bit more and wow, you can really wear this in a variety of ways

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every one of which shows off the reversible fabric delightfully.

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i even noticed that it can be worn as a vest-like baffle that protects you stylishly from wind around all the edges of your short jackets

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so you can go ahead and wear that dressy but flimsy party blouse out into the cold night air.

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for me, this would work even better in the shorter size, since it’s a little long in back. i do love how the weight of the cable creates a fold that is just right as it wraps around the neck.

with this project finished, i turned to my santa suit yarn in worsted weight, left over from last year’s club projects.

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using a scaled-down version of the viable against the same background, i started a pair of mittens. they are knitting up in  flash; i should be able to get that pattern out in plenty of time for you to knit a couple pair for holiday gifting. i’m really excited about these—they look like the quintessential winter accessory to me.

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some of you may have noticed that the november club release came and went without me saying anything about releasing last november’s patterns. oops.

sorry about that—time will get away from me when i’m preoccupied with other things. i’m getting my act together to release those tomorrow. now those patterns were a pretty set of scarf, tam, and shawlette, knit in yarn hollow superior; the exclusive club colorway was white pine.

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the yarn is a blend of BFL, silk, and cashmere—can you spell LUSTROUS? the photo doesn’t pick up all the beautiful variations of forest greens and blue-greens that are in it, but trust me, it is so much richer in person. we have very few remaining skeins of this yarn in the club colorway (if any), but we do have some in the popular lime rickie color we had custom-dyed for the bay leaf and lime kits.

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i have always thought that this would be a wonderfully quirky holiday color, just when we need it most—kind of a grinch green—one that speaks to those of us who like to shake things up.

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and oh my does it glow; it’s magnificent.

someone—david, emily, or erica—is making sure that the yarn is listed in the shop before the patterns go live; i think there may even be a kit. we should be all set with that by morning.

it’s been terribly gray and rainy at the end of the week—chilly, icy, and otherwise unfit for most outdoor activity. we and all our neighbors were shuttered up tight against the weather for the past few days and i couldn’t help but notice how bare bret’s house has been looking. i was getting worried that he wasn’t feeling well again.

until today—today was gloriously sunny and while not warm, at least it’s been enticing me to get out for a run. i couldn’t help but notice as i sate here writing that things are happening across the street.

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and later, some progress

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for me, the holiday season has officially begun.

and now, it’s time for that run; see you tomorrow!

eight days a week

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

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oh my, what a week! and one full of smiles, i might add. it was so, SO good to reunite with wonderful friends during our week abroad at the big wool show.

i had totally planned to blog before this, but one disadvantage of being constantly on the go is that anything i might plan has potential to be sabotaged. for instance, while i did have wi-fi at the hotel, i couldn’t connect to the internet from sunday through wednesday. we finally figured that issue out just in time for me to move on to my next destination, haha.

ETA: and see? just when i was getting into the meat of THIS post, we lost internet at my mom’s, thus delaying it once again. sorry!

shall we back up a bit and start from the beginning? i promise there is some fun knitting to be seen all the way back there . . . in fact you might remember me mentioning a couple of secret projects i had going, yes?

well one or two of course were the october projects for our bare naked wools club and you can click here to peek at those (spoiler alert). in the two weeks before i left for rhinebeck i put the finishing touches on those and also worked on my secret rhinebeck swap project

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which would be revealed at our annual knitspot meetup picnic on saturday at the fair. this was my very first swap—talk about pressure! i didn’t know much about my giftee until a few weeks before the date, so i procrastinated a bit in getting started, waffling about what to make.

 

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when i finally realized who exactly she was, my plan took shape. originally, i wanted to make this shawl with shades of stone soup fingering yarn, but when i realized i knew more about my person’s taste, i decided to do some of the stripes in purple.

ETA: what a dope! i forgot to say that the pattern i chose is bayleaf and lime in size petite.

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i pulled a skein of woolen rabbit pearl sock yarn from my work stash (i think it’s colorway lady slipper, but the tag is back home, so i’m not positive). since it’s a tight twist sock yarn, it has a nice round profile with lots of polish; a nice complement to the flannel soft, tweedy surface that stone soup fabric has. i used about three ounces of stone soup fingering yarn in granite, and about two ounces in slate in slate, plus about two ounces of the purple sock yarn and i knit on size 6US (4.0 mm) and 5US (3.75 mm) needles.

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after our grand opening even was concluded, i got down to business and completed a serious amount of knitting during the drive to and from yarn in the barn. this shawl knits up very quickly and because of that, it’s quite a fun project. even though i was concurrently designing and knitting half a dozen color work cowls and two of the october club projects (plus creating the book chapter to go with them), i managed to get my shawl completed and blocked over the weekend before we left for new york. i remembered to snap a photo of the finished UNblocked shawl (above)

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so you could see what a difference it makes. i know you already know this, but the transformation still makes me go “wow” every time i stretch and block lace.

because i used bigger needles and a bit more yarn than the original pattern calls for, the finished size was also bigger—about 21 by 58 inches

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i’m pretty good at predicting what will work, but i really wasn’t sure i was going to love—or even like—this piece until i saw it all stretched out. maybe it’s because i’ve been working more with neutral combinations (though certainly not exclusively) but i kept wondering if the purple was too much of a contrast.

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once it was stretched however, the color impact was considerably balanced when the gray tonal variations and rich brocade textures were brought out in the fabric (i always loved the combined textures in this shawl!).

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isn’t she lovely?

i wrapped it up with some additional goodies and crossed my fingers that the recipient would love it  as much as i did. then i proceeded to plan my next project around this idea—i was really taken with the look and how much fun it was to create.

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the next one will be knit in that raspberry/chocolate combination of yarns i showed you in my last post. i packed everything i needed to get started, but well, so far i haven’t begun. i had to process my idea a little more; i was overwhelmed at first with possible motifs to go with. i’m just about there and have decided at least what the hem will be so i will most likely start that when i arrive home.

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so last thursday, with everything that could fit packed into the truck (thank you david!), sarah, barb, and i bundled ourselves into our vehicles to head eastward.

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in twenty minutes we were at starbucks, a necessary pitstop.  after that though, it was all business—we wanted to get there as quickly as possible.

i am very lucky and grateful that sarah drove the whole way, while i knit on a color work cowl sample for my classes the next week. i know that sound incredibly irresponsible to have left it to the last minute, but i have a good excuse!

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this is knit in our new confection sport yarn and we actually hadn’t received all the shades i needed until just before we left (in fact, one shade that i wanted to use never came til after we left, so i altered my design to suit). sigh—never a dull moment, i tell ya.

anyway, thanks to sarah taking the wheel for the day, i was able to get really far along on this project, having been all the way down in the bottom ribbing at the start of our trip.

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after dropping the truck off with erica in kingston, we piled into barb’s car and headed for our little cottage on the other side of the river.

after settling in and grabbing a quick bite at a cute cafe in red hook, the three of us settled in for an evening of knitting and chatting. sarah was working through a strömming cap knit in bulky yarn (she just knit the smallest size, using fat yarn and 6 mm needles). it took all of a few hours and turned out so cute, but i never got a photo. maybe she’ll post it to her ravelry project page?

the next day was a big one, so we turned in early to get our beauty rest. we started with a visit to the fairgrounds to drop off various items with vendors, from samples to printed patterns.

we had a nice visit with jen and her team at spirit trail as well as the briar rose family (hugs all around!). i’m not saying if by chance we happened to get a preview of the wares that would be available to everyone on saturday—we might have . . .

then it was on to the CIA for our annual lunch date with friends nathalie and mary, to catch up on all the news with them and talk knitting (they are bot incredible knitters). anne marie was joining us for the reminder of the weekend as well, starting with this meet up at CIA.

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our dear kimkimkim couldn’t make it rhinebeck this year (WA-AH!), but i channeled her in by ordering multiple desserts. unfortunately i could’ eat either of these (clearly, i’m no match for her skills at dessert or shopping, but i try). i did eat them later in the weekend over several sittings.

we had a lovely and delicious lunch (butternut squash soup = A++++).  the weather was absolutely sparkling for once—it usually rains buckets the day before the wool show. and this was our last bit of relaxation for a while—the rest of the afternoon and evening was jam-packed with activities.

first thing after lunch, barb and sarah had to get back to kingston to join erica O. in setting up our display for the indie untangled event. anne marie and i headed back to the house to drop her things and then snuck in a quiet coffee and a bit of chocolate (see? i can eat dessert! i just have to make it it’s own meal)

back to kingstone to drop anne marie off; i actually had attend the romney growers association meeting for the evening. which was very interesting—i got to met several of the producers who provide romney wool for our kent yarn line.

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it was terribly dark so i couldn’t get a great photo, but you might remember devlin here, because i mentioned him in the post i wrote about the creation of our kent yarn. well, he won the romney growers scholarship this year—yay devlin.

by the time this event ended at 9:30 or so, the event across the river was also finished. i checked in with my pals and we decided to meet up back at the cottage for wine, snacks, and knitting. and of course swapping stories and relaxing if possible.

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this turned into a late night session of hilarity as we roasted kimkimkim in the ravelry threads for a couple of hours (serves her right for abandoning us). seriously, i’ve never seen anne marie laugh so much or so hard.

ok, this has got to be continued later—i need to go out with my mom; we’re seeing a movie today

back in a few hours with more

open arms

Friday, September 26th, 2014

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well, we are ready—or nearly so.

david has been putting the final touches on our newly expanded workspace.

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that’s right, we’re already changing things in our office, haha. we were sort of over-full almost from the beginning, so once we saw that our retail space was paying off, we decided to expand our footprint a bit, taking the entire lower level of the building that we’re in.

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that was just two weeks ago and several yarn storage rooms needed to be emptied and repainted. this will give us some much-needed elbow room in which to store and access the yarns. anastasia is SO excited that she won’t have to climb over stacks of nine to get at the ones in the back.

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with the other end of the floor came an additional common space, which david has fixed up to create a knitting lounge, where we have now placed comfy furniture and pattern books for browsing. i promise it looks ten times better already—more pictures over the weekend.

(this is also the spot where we can relax and knit with visiting guests or to house an extra class. local class schedule to begin in january; please join our mailing list at the right if you’d like to receive notifications). we will also be able to entertain groups from out of town for day-long classes or events.

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all that’s left is to hang some art.

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emily and erica are out shopping for goodies

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sarah picked up the wine for friday evening, which we’ll serve with snacks and on saturday, we’ll have breakfast items and coffee. hunter hammersen will speak about her experiences working with our yarns and i hear tell that she has been knitting swatches and putting together a beautiful trunk show to bring along with her books (which will be for sale). i’ll talk a bit about how our yarns came to be and how we work, both within our local community and the national fiber industry.

we have a couple of in-store specials for those who make the trip.
one is that when you purchase four patterns, you may choose a fifth one as our gift to you—that is, free.

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the other special is a kit for either the zinfandel shawl or the syrah stole pattens i will be releasing this weekend. we have a VERY limited supply of the gorgeous deep purple briar rose stella lace yarn left from from last october’s club installment; when they are gone, they’re gone.

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but we have been gifted some awesome door prizes too, some of which we ARE able to share with our online friends! we have prizes for delicious meals at the rail, basil asian bistro, tapas 218, main street grille, EB’s pub and party center, then tasty snacks and extras from smoothie king, grapes in a glass, milk & honey ice cream and confections,  and cloud nine cupcake. PLUS five gifts from my favorite hair and nail professionals at salon mystique.

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and our dear friend hunter is giving away a copy of the complete, three-volume set of her knitter’s curiosity cabinet.

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and finally a dutch tiles lap blanket kit from all of us here at bare naked wools, which includes four skeins of confection worsted, pattern, and a knitspot carry bag.

everyone who makes a purchase this weekend, in either our online shop or our boutique will be entered into the drawing for door prizes. we’ll pull names every hour or so throughout the two-day event and for the books and blanket kit at the end.

all that to say, it’s gonna be fun and i hope you’ll join us; see you this weekend!
details on our boutique web page; directions to the shop can be viewed here

 

 

Garden Inspired Knits

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

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Most of you know Anne has many passions that drive her creative force. Anne appreciates beauty in every form and finds a lot of inspiration in nature. Her and David’s garden is a labor of love every year, no matter the size of crop.

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Anne likes to be up early in the morning to see what the world has to offer each day. New plants, flowers, nests, insects, buds and blooms end up spiraling in her head until they produce or inspire a stitch pattern.

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Often the patterns get on the knitting needles immediately, and sometimes they sit in the Anne vault for months or even years until the right yarn comes along.

 

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Anne thought it would be fun to start a trip down memory lane and highlight shawl and scarf designs that were birthed in the garden. She started a Facebook album, which will be added to over the next few days, and started posting pattern photos on Instagram with #GardenInspiredKnits. I thought it would be fun to highlight a few more here. Come…take a walk with me…

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Lacewing is a faroese shawl with allover floral and fern patterns finishing with a banded insect motif just above the hem. It’s worked top-down, with shaping at the shoulders and an applied (knitted on) lace edging at the hem border. 

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The shawl design was inspired by the lacewing,

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a delicate insect that is a great help in pest control for your garden. The name alone easily lended itself to a lace knitting pattern. Originally knit in Knitting Notions Class Merino Lace, this would be stunning in Chebris or Mrs. Lincoln’s Lace. See Anne’s original blog post here.

Frillibet is a triangle shawl

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with a mix of leaf

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and petal motifs that mimic a blooming hydrangea.

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I think this is one of my favorite shawls because I find hydrangeas such a beautiful explosion of color.

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I love going on walks through my neighborhood in June and July, seeing all the different shades of their blooms. Frillibet was originally knit in Malabrigo Lace, but I think it would make a stunning knit in any of the natural colors of laceweight cotton or  Fibre Co Meadow. For more, see Anne’s original blog post here.

Morning Glory is a wrap that pays homage to a delicate flower that only lives for a day.

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Most morning glories unravel into full bloom in the early morning and they prefer bright sunlight. They definitely have an almost magical quality in their temporary beauty.

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This piece is knit in a DK weight and I think it would be gorgeous in Stone Soup DK. It has such unique properties and when knit in lace it has a sophisticated rustic appeal. See Anne’s original blog post here.

Anne says Fruit of the Vine is the “essence of summer knitting—practically weightless, it takes up no space in a purse or tote. the pattern is simple to work and to memorize; with wrong side rows all in purl it is the perfect knitting for hazy, daydreamy summer evenings. come autumn, when mornings are nippy again, you’ll have a bit of sun-soaked color to wrap up with, mmm.”

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The beautiful open work lace mimics a grapevine trellis, with bits of fruit poking through.

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The original scarf is knit in a discontinued yarn,

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but it would be suitable for several laceweights found in our online shop here. See Anne’s original blog post here.

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Sonnenblume is full of delicate motifs that when all brought together in this cleverly structured semicircular shawl, it looks just like sunflowers.

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To me, sunflowers are one of the happiest flowers – they’re large, hearty, come in array of gorgeous colors and resemble little smiling faces. Just this afternoon Padraig and I stumbled upon sunflowers lining a neighbor’s driveway and we froze in our tracks, smiling at their beauty.

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Sonneblume was originally knit with Knitting Notions, but it would also be lovely in one of the soft organic cotton colors here or a Bare Naked Wools here. See Anne’s original blog post here. To view Anne’s entire shawl/wrap collection click here and to view the scarf collection click here.

Pop back now and then over the next few days on Facebook and Instagram and see more of Anne’s garden inspired knits. There’s an abundance of them! So I’m dying to know, which is your favorite garden inspired design of Anne’s? Tell me in the comments below by Tuesday 9 pm EST and I’ll pick two winners to receive a shawl or scarf pattern of their choice!