Archive for the ‘lace/shawls’ Category

falling

Friday, November 4th, 2016

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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 . . .

Monday, October 24th, 2016

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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.

the lace lessons

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

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for quite a few months we’ve been steadily working on a new book of little nothings scarves and variations and finally now—it’s ready to purchase!

The Lace Lessons is meant to be a useful resource for lace knitters, particularly those who are taking on lace for the first time or struggling to enjoy its allure. While not a formal manual encompassing the whole vast subject of lace knitting by any means, the “lessons” are in the designs themselves—the kind we absorb by example and by doing, and not always related to actual knitting.

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The design included are all new, fresh additions to a collection of designs I call “Little Nothings”—a series of simple scarf patterns which has been extremely popular with readers and users.

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Each piece features only one overall stitch pattern, like a swatch that is large enough to wear—just enough of a scarf to drive off a chill or add a spot of color to an outfit. These small, lightweight accent pieces work up quickly, travel well, and make excellent learning projects.

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for several of the designs, i’ve created new variations as well, that take the motif into a different direction, such as a triangular scarf/shawlette or cowl.

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most are one-skein projects—usually one four ounce skein, but some can be knit with just two ounces of yarn, like the mini neckerchief shown above!

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the book starts out with a few very simple designs that should be manageable for new lace knitters, in sport and DK weight yarn with simple openwork motifs and lots of solid background.

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we fondly call these “husband scarves” because they have unisex appeal and can be knit in a variety of yarns. as is my custom, the patterns include both written and charted instructions—making it a great resource for teaching yourself to knit from charts if you desire.

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but we all know they are not just for men—they can be worn by anyone and in a slinky shiny yarn like our new deco—completely feminine (you’ll be able to see this yarn in person at our rhinebeck events).

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after the section of husband scarves, the book offers a group of fancier scarves with more openwork, that can be knit in more delicate yarns.

while visually complex, most of these are surprisingly easy to work and offer both a relaxing and engrossing lace experience. with just a little organization, it’s easy to be working steadily along on one of these in no time.

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wherever possible, we’ve chosen to show the designs in alternate colorways, sizes, yarn types, and/or yarn weights. our knitspot ravelry group already has a KAL in place, an extension of the test knitting group. they are a completely entertaining and fun group, but also extremely knowledgeable; please join us there to knit a scarf or two!

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the judith scarf for instance is knit once in this fine silk yarn to create a delicate, but really sexy lightweight scarf that feels fantastic against the neck.

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then again, we knit it up in our own chebris mohair/merino lace yarn for this spectacular large, airy scarf/wrap. same number of stitches to cast on and still just one skein, it it completely transformed when knit on bigger needles in this yarn that blooms with a pretty halo of fiber to upholster each leaf shape.

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and luce stellare, knit above in a dark shade of fine merino/silk lace yarn is wonderfully transparent, nonetheless.

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if you’re hesitant to work with such a fine yarn, these designs are flexible enough to work in an alternate—try a heavier yarn on larger needles for your first time out and once you get the hang of things, graduate to smaller needles and yarn for the next piece.

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the book includes instructional sections about how to substitute yarns and needles, what to look for when creating an alternate fabric weight, and a general guide to working with our bare naked wools yarns.

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there is also a section about washing, blocking and caring for your finished project, so you can show it off to its best advantage.

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the designs in the last section are inspired by the landscape, culture, and art i found so impressive in my recent alaskan travels. i was so excited that i even set right to work on swatches in my cabin at night.

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this set of mendenhall scarf, taku cowl, and tongass creek crescent shawl, for example, represent reflections on the terrain of the glacial formation we saw during the trip.

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another cowl and scarf were inspired by the fantastic woven and painted hats created by women artists of the haida culture.

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the collected patterns may be purchased in eBook from in both our knitspot pattern shop (click here to purchase or view more information) and in our ravelry pattern shop (click her to purchase if you want the book in your ravelry library).

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the patterns are also available for individual purchase if desired;  you can find all of them in our ravelry pattern shop or in our knitspot pattern shop.

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erica has also concocted kits for each one, including several with exclusive hand dyed yarns—click here to browse the selection of kits in our online shop.

and if you are coming to rhinebeck, please visit our booth at the indie untangled event on friday evening, where we will have all the scarf samples on display, with kits and individual patterns available for purchase (including our new deco yarn).

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and if you can’t make it to that event, please join us on sunday at the marriott hotel in kingston for the bare naked wools popup shop, from 11 am to 9 pm; we will have ALL of our luscious yarns on display, tons of samples, patterns, and well, fun! please stop by to say hello and browse our beautiful wares.

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i hope you will enjoy this new collection; it is a wonderful resource for gift knitting and inspiration. many thanks to all of the dyers, knitters, and models who contributed to the production of my book; it wouldn’t have happened without you!

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total mass

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

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oh, there is nothing like new england in the fall and this past weekend, i was lucky enough to be an instructor at the first WEBS fall retreat, which took place in the heart of the berkshire mountains.

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not at the store (though we did get to spend some quality time there!), but on the beautiful UMASS amherst campus, in their teaching hotel and conference center, surrounded on all sides by views of new england.

and very fun people.

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even though this was my third weekend away this month and i barely got out of ohio with my pants on straight, i was thrilled to be there with one hundred enthusiastic knitters, the ever-attentive WEBS staff, and my fellow instructors (who know how to make any event fun).

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with just three days at home between waterloo and amherst and long to-do list to accomplish in that time, it was with a huge sigh of relief that i sank into my seat on the plane and pulled out my current knitting project.

i started this little eyelet cardigan in our chebris lace yarn (now available in this delicious frappé shade) while still in canada and knit most of the first sleeve during my plane rides home. but i had not touched it since and was eager to get back to work on it.

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by the time i got to amherst, i was nearly all the way through the sleeve cap. what i love, love, love about this project is how quickly it is knitting up, compared to my previous two garment knits—much smaller in size and without cabling to complicate things, a very relaxing and mindless knit (just what i needed).

heh, or so i thought; apparently i was so exhausted that i forgot how to count to seven and had to rip back to the start of the sleeve cap. then i did it again while we knitted at the dinner table that evening. oy, vey!

third time was the charm, however and i finally got that piece off the needles.

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of course, there were all sorts of distractions playing havoc with my focus, haha, like the trip to WEBS on saturday night instead of knitting. and these two honey badgers with their tricks . . .

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or these guys . . . it was such a fun group that no one even minded the line stretching to the back of the store all evening. of course there was serious stuff going on too, like classes . . . an i was such a focused teacher that i forgot to take enough photos of them.

on saturday morning, we knit mini double happiness shawls and everyone did really well.

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then in the afternoon, we blocked them, along with blocking several other types of projects, like socks, cowls, and sweater pieces.

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my little DH was knit ahead of time in chebris lace as a test knit for my pattern; once off the blocking wires it is as light and airy as can be (which is why i’m knitting a lace cardi in the same yarn).

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many of the students in the blocking class left early, exhausted by a whole day of intense classes and late night knitting on friday. but i stayed behind with tina to stretch and block her triangle shawl, which was knit from handspun alpaca yarn that her daughter brought back to her from ecuador. i’m not sure what pattern she used, but the shawl is exquisite—some of the fluffiest alpaca i’ve ever seen, with the charming texture of spindle spun yarn. she couldn’t be happier; the shawl blocked out much bigger than she expected.

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on sunday morning i had a last breakfast together with the other instructors and then spent some quiet hours knitting in the lobby with kate atherly while we waited  for our shuttle to the airport. we were each designing something and quite happy to knit side by side without too much chat. just lovely!

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i used the time to cast on (three different times, oh well) for one of the cardigan fronts and once i was settled with the right stitch count, it was off to the races. i had that front piece done by the time i landed in ohio that evening. have i mentioned that i love this cardigan?? so quick, so light, so pretty . . . or it will be, once it’s blocked.

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admittedly right now, the pieces look like so much crumpled paper, but trust me, they will come to life with silky-soft goodness and glow, once they’ve had a hot bath, a spanking, and some serious pinning and steaming.

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i know you can’t feel this, but the fabric is a lit-tle too pettable; i have to be careful not to wear it out.

as you can see in the photos above, i’ve now got a third piece to join the first two completed ones—on monday i was so brain dead from the previous couple of weeks that i gave myself permission to knit for most of the day, only breaking for one short meeting at the office and then for a nap later on. and still i got another full piece completed before dinner; now there are TWO fronts.

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and a respectable stack of little sweater pieces.

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this morning i cast on for the back piece and got through the hem lace sections before forcing myself to put it away (i did have knit night tonight, so i was able to bring it back out and add a couple of inches during that time). just look at the gleam on that yarn, wow. mohair is so pretty anyway, but such soft and well cared for mohair?? priceless!

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and because it’s knit in laceweight yarn, it all smooches down to a little package that fits into a slim project bag which i can take anywhere. what’s not to love?

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one of the things that has made my time at home so busy in between trips is our local yarn discovery tour. we’re open for extended hours during the yarn crawl and the shop has been very busy. it all ends this saturday though—if you live anywhere in the vicinity, please stop by and visit. there is a free pattern to participants and door prizes too.

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we’ve picked up a few new faces at our open knit knit night on wednesdays through this event, which we are happy about; always great to have a full house on knit night, right?

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after i wrote my blog on wednesday, i did indeed steam block the rest of my dock and cabin sweater pieces. i ws a little anxious about how that yoke would fit together, so i decided should just block it and see.

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now it’s looking much more like the right shape, phew. i’m sure it will be fine.

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second sleeve also got steamed to match the first and everything is ready to be joined up with the fronts as soon as those neck and button bands are complete.

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