let’s catch up a bit

Posted on 4 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, designing, food and garden, lace/shawls, projects

hey gang! it might seem like i disappeared completely the last couple of months but i didn’t. we’ve had some big and little changes around here and i’ve been working behind the scenes a little more than usual. knitting is also happening; surprisingly more than you’d think but less than i’d like, haha. today i’m going to do a quick survey to update you on all the goings on of the last month or so and then tomorrow, i’ll do a more sedately-paced post about my knitting progress and home life (i.e., dog and garden update, hee-hee!).

our manager erica betz left her position with us in april to take a job at another company and we wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors! this was a pretty big and sudden shift for us and it all happened so fast that i needed to move over to the office to do her job, hire her replacement, and help our new manager, ellen, get situated.

and we are very excited to welcome ellen into our work family; she brings many years of knitting and textile industry experience to our company and it couldn’t be a better fit. i know you’ll enjoy getting acquainted; if you have a need to communicate with her, please use any of the same email addresses as before to make contact. you will also see ellen participating in our ravelry groups and working in the booth at our show events, so stop and say hello!

in fact you’ll have a chance this coming weekend, when we’ll be exhibiting at the great lakes fiber show in wooster, OH; our booth is in the 4-H building, which is the large one right near the parking lot. we’ll have all of our yarns, tons of samples, and boxes of patterns for you to browse and buy. we’ll also have a variety of kits for sale, which were so popular at maryland earlier this month.

the wooster show is a wonderful fiber event—big enough to draw many reputable vendors from all over the midwest region, but small enough to feel homey and allow you to visit each booth in relative relaxation. if you live within a comfortable radius, consider coming out for the show; it’s just a short drive from several surrounding states. plus there are excellent fair fries for lunch—i know that’s going to be MY lunch on at least one day. i’m very excited that our friend and knitter extraordinaire cherie will be joining us for the weekend; i’m SO looking forward to her visit in our home!

i’ll be teaching my yarn voyage class on sunday morning from 9am to 12pm, although i believe online signups have closed. i don’t know if they are taking any late signups, but if you missed it and really want to get in, you could try contacting the organizers to inquire.

once again this year our experience showing at the maryland sheep and wool was everything we’d hoped it would be and more! our booth was jammed all day on saturday and most of sunday as well, although at least that day most people were able to get in for a visit. in fact, we’ve spent much time this month figuring out what we need to reorder for the rest of our summer shows and events.

here we are before the show opened on saturday, putting the last touches on our booth setup. hannah was on hand as well, though she’s behind the camera for this photo. we had no idea at this point that the next time we’d step out of the booth would be at 6pm, haha! all good problems to have, i think.

what we love about doing these shows is getting to see old friends and getting to know new ones. our booth is the place where we can meet face to face and help shoppers personally. it’s a truly pleasant experience for one thing, but for another, i always feel better sending someone off with a project knowing that they were able to get questions answered and find just the right fit for yarn and pattern.

i was really touched by how many booth visitors asked about our doggie, cardigan—so many had read her story and showed concern for her continued health and wellness. i will do a big update about her in the next post—there is a lot to show and tell—even if i hadn’t fallen madly head over heels in love with her (which i have, haha). i mean, just look at her; she’s adorable, right? both david and i have been working with her a lot in the process of bringing her into our family, but talk about time well spent—it is a continually gratifying experience.

the whole office has been involved in preparing a special treat for our next knitspot club adventure, a delightful tumble down the rabbit hole of color, color, and more color! you know we like to change it up with our clubs to keep everyone intrigued and involved and hannah especially has put a lot of thought into making this one a unique experience.

for the first time in our club history, participants will have a choice of yarn packages. the idea here is to explore how color reflects our inner personality and how design can change and morph with a shift in color perspective. when you sign up, you will have a choice of purchasing the “mood” package or the “lifter” package—and double dippers can choose one of each if they like or lots of the same. MOOD will be represented in color as subtlety, depth, and/or shade, while LIFTER will be represented by brightness, playfulness, and light. if you love using a pop of color to accent a wardrobe of neutral basics, the LIFTER option might appealing; if you prefer to present yourself in an ombre of subtle tones, then MOOD may be your ticket. projects will be accessory pieces designed to use one or two skeins of any combination.

this photo provides the sort of inspiration i am working from to come up with design ideas for this concept club; to me, it embodies all the aspects of working with one color “camp” or the other and the combination as well. look at the beautiful depth in the decaying tree stump and then the pop of color from the frilly fungi growing within its cavern.

we are super excited to bring this club to you; it’s been in the planning for quite some time. there will be three bi-monthly  installments of yarn, patterns, and goodies to begin in september—what a way to kick off the fall season! we’ve chosen some standout dye partners to participate—hedgehog fibres, zen yarn garden, and asylum fibers. we are opening signups to our current clubbies now (those enrolled in our BNK 2017)—check your mailbox for the eBlast. general signups will open to everyone on june 4th. if this sounds like a fun ride, we’d love for you to join us!

ok, that’s it for the moment, but i’ll be back soon with another post and i hope to see you this weekend. if you can’t make it, please join us on 6/4 for our next color adventure.

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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