gotta get back to nashville

Posted on 8 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, designing, home and family, lace/shawls, projects

i’m writing this post on tuesday because by the time you read it, i’ll be on my way to nashville with ellen, where we will exhibit at the super summer knit together market day. i am pretty excited about this trip; i lived in nashville during the early 1990s for a few years, when it was a fairly sleepy small city. now it’s grown and changed so much; i can’t WAIT to see it!

this will be a great opportunity to see our friends from the area; if you plan to come to the market day on saturday, be sure to stop by and say hello. we’ll have knit naked bags, all manner of patterns, and BNWs yarns in old favorites as well as the new colors we’ve been teasing on social media. plus, glamorous samples from ensemble collections and my own design portfolio will be on display.

such as this costa figueira pullover tunic in deco fingering yarn, in the chrome shade—one of a few fresh samples knit in a newer yarn. i just love it and will probably be wearing it on saturday.

it is SO cool. very many thanks to ellen’s friend coletta, who knit it for us. i’m sure she has an awesome ravelry page but i don’t know her rav name!

and then our long-time friend kathy knit this caïssa cardigan in ginny DK, our lusciously soft blend of cotton/alpaca/merino in the mississippi shade. doesn’t ellen look gorgeous wearing it? i had it on too (caïssa is an old favorite) but my photo doesn’t do the sweater justice and i think you’d rather see it on ellen anyway.

colletta and kathy really pushed the pedal to the metal on these and got them done in just a couple of weeks—there’s still time to knit one and wear it for late summer, just when you’ll be looking for a sweater to throw on at the end of the evening . . .

and of course you’ll be able to see and fondle the extravagantly soft oana cardigan designed by elena nodel for the BNWs winter 2017 ensemble collection. the sample is knit in BNWs chebris sport, one of our luxury mohair offerings.

this design would look (and feel!) fantastic in the über-soft soufflé shade, new to the chebris line.

if i could give you a squishing experience with these skeins, i would—i think it’s the softest shade yet, so yummy. it’s a beautiful oatmeal color, threaded with a mix of warm brown, white, and gray fibers. it maintains that silvery sheen that polishes all of the shades in our mohair lines (the secret to that is great quality mohair fiber).

also super-floaty in cabécou brillant sport, if you like that extra hit of luxury with your cardigan. we just got restocked in a shade we haven’t had for ages—check out the new batch of poivre.

by the way, doug tells me that in may and june, sales of the oana pattern raised $2,115 which we are forwarding the go fund me for elena’s cancer treatment. thank you to everyone who purchased a donation pattern or yarn kit during our fundraising period; they are almost at their goal!

behind the scenes here, the office has been abuzz with the activities of packing and prepping for SSK. ellen has been preparing and packing samples and kits for the booth, doug pulled many skeins of our most luscious yarns to fill our cubbies, and Cardigan supervised; nothing gets by her.

at the house, i washed and freshened up a selection of other favorite samples to display front and center, along with the new samples i showed you at the top of the post. we are ready to greet you, nashville knitters—come visit our booth!

in designing news, i’ve been diligently (and pretty monogamously) knitting my way up the back piece of my aspergillum tunic, which i’m enjoying immensely. with no shaping to keep track of, this stitch pattern becomes totally engrossing and addictive to work. mean, really—i can hardly tear myself away, and not just because i have a deadline.

addiction leads to great progress and i can often finish off a 24-row repeat in couple of hours of morning knitting. i will confess, i don’t keep track of my knitting time too carefully (and why? that would totally defeat the purpose).

even the wrong side texture of this fabric is amazing i think; i just love it to bits.

anyway, i’m almost done with the back now—that pink marker is the underarm point and i am a repeat or so past it today; two repeats for the armhole depth and less to start the back neck shaping. this top has shaping for both the front and back neck because the neck band is wide. also, beause i like summery tops to be a bit more open at the neck.

i do think, however, that i might have fashioned the front neck to be a little too deep for the width. i’ve ben changing my mind every day about whether to go back in and remove a bit from the shoulder height. for fitting me personally, i think i should do it, but i’m more “shallow” at the neck and armholes than most people. i know i can add it back into the pattern before tech editing if it seems too high later on—that would be a minor change.

i just love this photo that i took yesterday, of the unfinished back and the blocked front, side by side. i’m so excited to be in the home stretch on this design; i’ve been patient til now but i want to see how it all pulls together. keep your fingers crossed for me!

ok, gotta go now and finish up my packing. i’m bringing my tunic project to finish, along with some secret design swatching and a travel project i started in may—my see the sea shawl design in our smoothie gradient (i’ll show you that next time).

i’m pretty sure that Someone doesn’t know i’ll be gone for a few days; it’s hard to convey to her what’s happening without making her nervous. she’s learning to be secure, but not sure yet. i feel bad that for her, i will just disappear without any explanation. un fortunately, she doesn’t FaceTime yet.

at least i know she’ll be in good hands while i’m gone . . .

leapfrogging

Posted on 11 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, designing, lace/shawls

even though i haven’t blogged in forever, i have continued to compile photos and think of subjects to post about, so a LOT has piled up over the last couple of months! to be honest, i don’t really know where the time has gone—it’s just been flying by, what with introducing a new family member to our home life and a new co-worker to our knitspot team. so i’m going to leapfrog over most of what’s passed and focus on what’s happening now and going forward.

except . . . so many people have asked how cardigan is doing that i’m planning a whole post devoted to her for later this week. get your rescue doggie sweatshirts on; it’s going to be fun!

plus, i need to catch you up on our garden, because some of you have told me you missed that too—yet another separate post later this week (after cardigan, haha).

so let’s start with knitting and what’s been on and off my needles for the last couple of months; there has been a LOT of secret knitting that i can share now.

i never got to show off my club designs for the april shipment, but i really like them—between the yarn choice, the fun knitting, getting to write about shetland fiber, and the pretty results, it was one of those completely satisfying deliveries. in fact, i loved working on them so much that i knit all three samples myself (often, i ask for help with the club knitting but not this time).

working on the chapter was sort of like taking my dream research trip to the islands of northern scotland and now, after longingly following the real life shetland travels of friends and fellow designers these last few weeks (some day i will get to go myself!), i figure this is a good time to share photos to let you know that i’ve been working away, even if you couldn’t see it!  (just to clarify though, these patterns won’t in general circulation for a few months yet; you need to be in our BNK club to have access now.)

for this installment, we worked with 100% american shetland fingering yarn from elemental affects in california. we chose four undyed shades from an array of about eight to ten that are available from this producer.

jack tar has a more solid body pattern with a snappy, modern chevron hem. the scale of the chevrons and the arrangement of colors give it a more impact here, but that could be toned down by using a more subtle gradient palette.

eshaness (scarf/stole, above) and muirburn (triangle shawl, below) are knit with matching  openwork stitch patterns throughout, but i used a different arrangement of my colors in each. the rounder, undulating motifs really lend themselves to softly shifting colors, but again, that can be changed up for a different look.

the body pattern from jack tar can also be knit with the hem pattern from muirburn—the nice thing about subscribing to the club is that the eBook includes all the instructions, which makes adaptations more accessible. in each installment i try to point out ways to adapt patterns and encourage clubbies to try their hand at it; it makes for some fun shares in our ravelry clubhouse discussion threads.

i’ve also been working on finalizing the pattern for my birches cardigan, shown in some of the shawl photos above, knit up in stone soup DK color marblei know some enthusiasts out there would like to knit that jacket for rhinebeck.

i’m still working on my second sample in cabécou brillant sport, chugging away on it whenever i get a chance; i just love it in this light, frothy yarn!

and we just got a mill shipment last week with more of the popular amandine shade. PLUS, we are finally restocked in the poivre shade (not pictured, darn it), which we didn’t have for ages! the silvery medium gray is sure to be a hit, knowing how much you share my love for grays.

this is a pretty easy knit so there isn’t really a good reason why i’m not working faster, except that there is so much other knitting to do and i don’t have a firm deadline to keep me on course.

a series of unfortunate events put me a bit behind on my ensemble summer lace KAL projects; good thing my switchgrass skirt design knit up quickly in a very short time and according to plan in my favorite hemshaugh fingering yarn. it starts out with a very easy variation on a knit/purl rib.

and with plenty of time to get established in a rhythm, we throw in a few yarnovers to break up the solid fabric, then a few more, and so on, in a swirl of textured eyelets reminiscent of tall summer grasses.

the hem opens up in a mesh pattern with some increases that cause it to riffle just a bit as it moves—not enough to become an actual ruffle, but enough to suggest it. i really like the effect, personally.

as with many just-knit hemp fabrics, this one looks a bit sorry when it’s off the needles, but a good soak in a hot bath helps the stitches lengthen and smooth into shapes that conform beautifully, making the whole thing drape like a dream.

mine is knit in the kasha shade and barb knit hers in the buckwheat shade; i will add a photo later this evening—she’s wearing it to knit night and david will take some photos.

we sure do love a drawstring skirt like this for summer—easy to pull on and wear, whether to the beach or out to dinner. mine is paired on our model raina with the sleeveless violet top in hempshaugh lace, color millet.

in june, we explored suri alpaca using the suri decadence blend from still river mills. this luscious lace yarn could not have been more different in the hand and the contrast has been a great learning experience for all of us. i designed the crescent shawl above and the cowl below to take advantage of its soft, liquid drape and incredible halo.

these coffee-and-cream shades have golden highlights served up by a measure of muga silk that is enfolded into the suri.

now i bet you’re wondering when i’m going to mention those swatches at the top of the post, huh? well, i think the time has come . . . aren’t they intriguing? let me just say, i am SO in love with them.

i carry a few of them around in my project bag because they are so much fun to fondle, haha. they really are as tactile as they look . . . it’s stitch patterns like this that made me want to learn to knit as a toddler—i just love digging my fingers right in to explore every bit of their squidly shapes. that sounds somewhat naughty, yes, but there you go; i’m baring all, haha.

anyway . . .

what i’ve been knitting with this motif is what i hope will be an irresistible drop-shoulder summer tunic, loose and light with a riffle of shifty rib along the hem and a wide band of tighter rib securing the neck and sleeve. can you envision it?

if not, i’ll show you how it’s progressing. i finally got it on the needles a couple of weeks ago and once it was underway it has been knitting up seriously fast.

those cables have a lot of stitches so i was rather dreading the actual knitting, but was pleasantly surprised at how mesmerizing and rhythmic the pattern actually is.

while it looks complex, the stitches are pretty simple and those cables only cross every twenty-four rows; i made some good progress on a daily basis. if you enjoy knitting lace, you’ll probably like this one.

but best of all, there is almost no shaping involved; it’s two big rectangles of straight pattern with a wee bit of neck shaping near the top. normally, i don’t go for this type of sweater at all because it can overwhelm my frame, but in such a light fabric with lovely drape, i’m an enthusiast.

somewhere in there i took some time to knit yet another swatch in our deco lace yarn (right, above) just to see if it would work as i’d hoped. and yeesss, it does. in fact, i like it so much that i think i might knit a shortie version of this tunic in it—just long enough to graze the top of the hip in front and maybe a little longer in back? i think that would be so pretty with a maxi skirt or shorts (i still have plans to knit shorts with hempshaugh fingering at some point).

and all that air-conditiong built right in? it’s a no brainer for me and will be a key drama piece in my ever-expanding hempshaugh summer wardrobe (i told you, i am aiming for 100% at some point!).

now, i know this texture might look bulky in my progress shots, but trust me, it all smooths out beautifully after a wash. here, just take a look at this

i finished up the front yesterday and had to wash it to see what i’ve got (i get nervous about outcomes, too!). it’s perfect—smooth, consistent stitches and no bumps, but offering tons of depth, nevertheless. LOVE.

the neck is w-i-d-e, with a ribbed trim almost equal to the bottom hem. the shoulders drop and will have a deep ribbed hem as well, to create a “sleeve” that falls toward the elbow (not sure how long that will be, yet. i’m so in love; i can’t wait to get the back knit now.

cast on earlier today, so i’d be ready to roll for knit night tonight. two hours of knitting with friends—here i come!

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.