another round of holiday goodies

Posted on 6 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, book reviews/events, designing, patterns

it’s wovember and open season for all-out knitting, when work on winter wearables or special holiday gifts begins in earnest.

giving is always on my mind, but especially at this time of year when i ask you to join me in making a young person’s dreams come true. our 2017 red scarf scholarship fundraiser is underway now through january 1, building an opportunity for our student jelissa to complete her degree at FIT, new york city. you may click here to read all the details about the fundraiser and a little bit about jelissa, our recipient.

but on the way we like to make it fun and keep it knitterly and we know that right about now you are—like me—making a list of gifts for knitworthy loved ones as well as for yourself (what?? you don’t do that? c’mon, you can tell us). well hey—whatever your MO, we’ve got you covered from all angles with our next round of red scarf fundraising goodies!

this month we are featuring our festivus 4.0 sport weight in a delicious trio of colorwork accessories by designer mary o’shea of tullymongan designs. mary has created many delightful items using bare naked wools yarns—check out her designer page for alternatives that will also work well with festivus 4.0 sport or worsted.

first up, if you live in a very cold climate and need to be outside frequently, these gorgeous cranberry trellis mittens might be right up your alley. pretty and festive in red, gray, and white, they are also super warm; the stranded colorwork has a secret—it traps air between its layers of yarn to offer a cozy measure of insulation. they feature a turned picot hem, which can be lengthened so that the entire cuff is lined for extra warmth.

i will admit that i’ve never been much of a mitten wearer, preferring to have my fingers free to work, but walking the dog in these early days of frosty weather has got me thinking that i need some. first, they are many times warmer than gloves and secondly, they are far easier to pull off quickly for the finer tasks of dog walking (ahem.).

but i love my fingerless mitts for almost all other purposes—i wear them indoors and out for nine months of the year and i’ve got them in several weights for different seasons. so i was especially pleased to see these cranberry lattice mitts in the box of design samples that mary sent for the fundraiser . . .

aren’t they adorable?? and they are included as a bonus in the mitten pattern—that’s two for one, folks; her present to you (PLUS it’s a donation to the scholarship). also worked in stranded colors with sport weight yarn, this pair is more unisex with a vintage athletic wear look—these are the perfect quick knit to tuck into the “TBD” section of your gift knits stash, ready to pull out when a last minute present is needed.

and oh, but that’s not all . . . if you’re knitting mittens, or mitts, you’ll surely want a coordinating hat, right??

and mary’s got your back here too, with such an awesome little cap. the minute ellen opened mary’s box of samples, she seized on this hat and the fingerless mitts as perfect for her.

the cranberry lattice cap is a match for the cranberry lattice mitts, but also coordinates perfectly with the cranberry trellis mittens—note the pattern in the thumb which matches the hat.

SO, so cute, am i right?

and my favorite thing about this entire set is the pairing of the specTACular cranberry red (by dyer julie asselin) with the soft grey confection sport yarn that mary chose to work with. the medium gray cookies and cream shade along with the white chocolate shade are the perfect foil for that rich, glowing cranberry crush color.

the pieces are shown here in size medium, but adjusting the sizing couldn’t be easier—simply move up or down one needle size to make a larger or smaller set. the lively spring and bounce of the all-natural yarns means they will expand or contract according to need with only a slight difference in fabric density; the color stranding will fill in to support the fabric as well.

festivus 4.0 on patchwork gradient

one skein of each yarn will provide plenty to complete an entire set of all pieces, with spares left over to squeeze in another small something.

david has created a convenient kit containing all the yarns PLUS both patterns; click here to view details and purchase. 100 percent of the pattern price ($7.00 each) will be added to the fund along with 5% of the yarn prices. you may use the pulldown menu on the product page to add an additional donation amount to your purchase.

to view more information or purchase a cranberry trellis/lattice mitts pattern, please click here for the knitspot store listing, where you can also choose to add a donation using the pulldown menu; we will be happy to add it to your ravelry library afterward if you request it with a note at checkout.
OR click here to purchase on ravelry (no extra donation option).

to view more information or purchase a cranberry lattice cap pattern, please click here for the knitspot store listing, where you can also choose to add a donation using the pulldown menu; we will be happy to add it to your ravelry library afterward if you request it with a note at checkout.
OR click here to purchase on ravelry (no extra donation option).

i would also like to thank our friend kerri blumer SO very much for continuing to make her andiron cowl and andiron scarf patterns available for the ENTIRE fundraising period (we only asked for a month of sales, but she’s extending it!); she’s just awesome and she has lots of beautiful designs to share—be sure to check out her ravelry shop.

now, let’s talk about goals . . . after the first month, doug tells me that we have just about reached the $1000.00 mark—woo-hoo!

last year we tried to reach $5000 but unfortunately did not meet it, falling rather short. i would love, love, LOVE to make it up this year and top the charts with the best fundraiser ever. we are trying to exceed last year’s goal and get to $6000 this year.

looks like we still have a ways to go—can you help us get there?? here’s what you can do to help:.

  1. purchase any of our 2017 red scarf fundraiser patterns here, here, here, and here, and/or add an extra donation on our website—use the pulldown menu to increase your gift and we will donate the entire pattern price PLUS that extra amount. we are happy to add the pattern to your rav library if you let us know!! (but we have to do it manually, so please tell us)
  2. purchase a pattern on ravelry here, here, here, and here—the entire retail pattern price will go into the scholarship fund.
  3. purchase a 2017 festivus kit which includes the pattern PLUS enough special edition festivus 4.0, to knit a scarf or cowl. we will add 5% of your yarn purchase price to the fund.
  4. buy one or more skeins of festivus 4.0 for any project and we will add 5% of your purchase price to the fund.
  5. please, please, PLEASE tell everyone you know about the fundraiser—they don’t need to be a knitter to throw $7 (or more!!) at this wonderful cause. please mention it with a link in your favorite ravelry groups, a link and hashtag on your Instagram, Facebook page (and link it), tweet it (with a link!), pin it (yes, with link) and finally just drag your friends over to look at the blog, haha. we’ll even give them a “knit naked sticker badge” if it helps them to help out.
  6. join us for a fun red scarf KAL in our ravelry mothership—we promise a rollicking good time, plenty of support, and of course, neat-o prizes.

cardigan is wondering where her mitts are—but in the meantime, she’s pleading in the cutest way she knows how for you to join us in our holiday giving event.

and from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for all that you do to make this happen each year!

three haps

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in Bare Naked Wools, designing, lace/shawls, patterns, spinning and fiber

in april, just as the first bright greens of spring were emerging, we released three hap designs in our bare naked knitspot club to be knit in elemental affects shetland wool.

and it is with great pleasure that i’m now able to offer these pattern for general release—they were very popular with our clubbies and many people outside the club have been asking when they could start knitting them too.

from top to bottom above, we have the bold and sassy jack tar triangle, followed by the muirburn triangle, and then by the eshaness scarf/stole. each pattern includes instructions for two sizes and four colors, but both are easily adjusted to suit your taste for more or less color changes and bigger or smaller final size.

our friend kathy recently knit this pretty sample in four shades of our tweedy stone soup fingering yarn; it’s so light and airy, but also rustic and cozy to wear; i love it.

the yarn is light and soft, the fabric will flutter prettily in the breeze. it also handles the light just beautifully, filling up with a glow at the merest hint of sun.

muirburn and eshaness are designed using the same stitch patterns and colors, but make use of the shetland shades in different ways. the effect in each design is soft and subtle, with the yarn reflecting the landscape of the scottish heather moors.

jack tar is designed to show off the intensity of the natural shetland colors, which range from deepest black to white—twenty-one natural shades in all to accent the bold sailor’s stripes along the hem.

which one of these designs reflects your personality?

i think the intense discussion over the answers to this question made this installment the most fun for our clubbies.

shown here are the petite size shawls and the scarf version of the rectangular piece. this small size can be made with about five ounces of wool, using something light and airy.

the stiffness and luminosity of this natural shetland or our stone soup fingering yarn is just perfect; the yarn helps the light openwork keep its blocked shape and luminous appearance where something more springy would weigh the fabric down. i imagine they would be stunning in our chebris lace mohair blend as well for the same reasons.

the simple stitches just fly off the needles in these easy to work yarns—the perfect fast knit to consider for a special holiday gift. take a look at our clubbies’ project pages for expanded color ideas and notes.

to view and purchase pattern only, please click here, here, or here for ravelry purchase and click here, here, or here for knitspot pattern shop purchase.

field and shore

Posted on 3 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, designing, patterns

back in the winter, when i published my dock and cabin cardigan pattern, my good friend nancy said that she wanted a blanket pattern with all the same textures. funny thing was, i already had it in the works!

several months before i had swatched the patterns in our stone soup DK yarn and the result was deliciously smooshy and inviting. i liked my first swatch SO much that i did one in a second shade. i put together a quick pattern, thinking that we could squeeze it into the winter ensemble collection and our friend amina agreed to knit the sample, saying “blanket knitting is my happy place right now!”

in no time at all, we had this gorgeous blanket back in our hands and were snuggling up with it. but by then, we had decided to save it for fall and our october focus on bare naked wools stone soup yarns.

you can imagine my impatience at having to wait so long to release a newly completed pattern, but wow, the time has flown by! here it is, the week before rhinebeck and the perfect time to get a blanket on the needles. field and shore knits up so quickly, it could even make your holiday gift list. the lap size blanket (shown here) is big enough to satisfy for TV watching and knitting, but small enough to be a very quick knit.

the waiting period gave me a chance to make a little youTube tutorial for the twisted rib cable used in the design. i’ve incorporated this cable into several other designs and some knitters find it confusing to learn from the written instructions—better to see it live, so we’ve arranged that for you here.

this is a great piece to toss over your favorite chair or to keep on hand for enjoying those last mild evenings on the porch or deck (or boat). and what baby wouldn’t feel handsome as all get-out sporting THIS blanket over his or her stroller or crib? it’s sturdy, go-anywhere design for that special little cuddle bear.

and the pattern includes several sizes, should you want something larger for a sofa or bed. Not to mention the wrap option—a lovely rectangle long enough to swaddle your upper body but keep the rest of you comfortable for driving.

can’t you just feel the depth? trust me it is all that and more . . . our stone soup blend is a velvety combination of four heritage wools—rambouillet merino from montana, churro, lincoln, and columbia wool—with some alpaca and a smattering of luxury fiber like silk, bison, and tencel to add those tweedy neps. it knits and washes to a flannelly soft surface that gets better and better over time. there’s no wonder that stone soup blend my favorite of all our yarns (don’t tell the other yarns i said that!).

but of course it will work with all of our other DK options as well and would be particularly handsome in our festivus 4.0, with a needle change up for the worsted weight (maybe US9 and 10) or down for the sport weight (US7 and 8).

shown here, the small blanket in stone soup DK, color slate

david has put together kits in stone soup DK, Better Breakfast DK, Kent DK, and Ghillie DK; click here to shop the kit listing.


to view and purchase pattern only, please click here for ravelry purchase and click here for knitspot pattern shop purchase.

thank you ever so much to our dear friend amina, for knitting this spectacular sample. if you’ll be at rhinebeck next weekend, please stop by our booth at indie untangled or our popup shop on sunday at the courtyard marriott in kingston to fondle this lovely blanket in person.

the true meaning of festivus

Posted on 7 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, designing, patterns, yarn and dyeing

hello friends! i’m so excited to be back in my blogging chair and writing about one of my favorite knitspot projects—our annual red scarf scholarship fundraiser. funding our scholarship has become a warm and inspiring tradition in our community, one that knits us together across the miles. i feel like it commemorates the fast and solid friendships we’ve nurtured through our years of knitting, chatting, clubbing, confessing, and laughing together here at the knitspot. it’s our chance to share the good fortune and support we’ve enjoyed, passing it on to an aspiring young person who is becoming a success on their own.

plus, it involves RED YARN—what’s not to love?

for those who are new to this, let’s start with the specifics. our scholarship is offered each year to one student (studying in a field related to our industry whenever possibly) participating in the foster care to success (FC2S) program for kids who have aged out of the foster care system and who aspire to continue their education. the fund provides and administers scholarships, life guidance, and help with handling the challenges of higher education.

this is jelissa roberts, our current scholarship recipient. she’s is a fashion business major at FIT in NYC and will graduate in may, thanks to her scholarship.

the red scarf fund was created through the knitting community to support FC2S students with emergency money for costs not covered by tuition and scholarships; the red scarf project is a way for knitters to contribute warming gifts and care packages to hardworking students as a special valentine’s treat.

the knitspot scholarship has its origins in the red scarf project—as i participated each year, i had the idea to publish a pattern to raise money for the care package postage fund. this effort grew and became SO popular, that within a few years, it was earning enough to fund a separate knitspot community scholarship. you can see all of our red scarf patterns, past and present in our online shop.

this year, in an effort to exceed all previous funding efforts, we are ginning up the fun factor with yet another new twist—MORE DESIGNERS AND PATTERNS! i am very please to announce that THIS year i am joined by the talented and generous Kerri Blumer, Kate Atherley, and Mary O’Shea in bringing you some red letter pattern choices for the holiday season. we’ve put together a crackerjack portfolio of people pleasing textures and color for quick, fun, last-minute gift knits as well as those to invest with love. the entire price of each and every pattern with be placed in the scholarship fund.

the first patterns are this gorgeous andiron scarf and andiron cowl designed by kerri blumer—read on for more purchasing details and kit options!

a few years ago, we started offering a special red yarn to go with the annual scarf design, for which we also donate a percentage. we call it festivus and it’s offered as a one-time, seasonal batch that is not repeated; when it’s gone it’s gone! what began as a mill accident has evolved into a MUCH anticipated competitive dash to acquire at least one skein—festivus usually disappears quickly, never to be seen again.

our 2017 festivus 4.0 yarn is dyed on our new patchwork gradient base by the very popular julie asselin, in her custom-for-us cranberry crush colorway. available in both festivus 4.0 worsted and festivus 4.0 sport weights, this cushy 2-ply yarn, is spun in 100 percent merino from varying shades of natural wool, which produces a slow-fade gradient fabric and subtle striping. the shading in each skein is completely random; every one is a unique work of art. this year’s yarn reminds me of red glass tree ornaments; they catch the light in such a variety of shades.

festivus 4.0 on patchwork gradient

we are making all the festivus that we ordered available NOW; we know everyone looks forward to getting some as soon as it it’s available. we’ll keep the fun going by offering the patterns on a continual rollout—every week or two another option will be presented to keep your fingers happily working in that gorgeous festivus yarn.

let’s get back to that beautiful andiron scarf and andiron cowl, designed by kerri blumer in Festivus 4.0 worsted

this is a nice, long scarf as shown, but as with any scarf the length is up to you and easily adjusted. the pattern is a soothing repetition of knit/purl texture, bordered by a simple cable at the edges.

its horizontal orientation makes the most of the slow-fade gradient yarn, resulting in subtle color transitions, even in a narrow piece. a super-squishy muffler for the coldest winter days and sure to be appealing to women and men alike.

to view more information or purchase a scarf pattern, please click here for our store listing, where you can also choose to add a donation using the pulldown menu; we will be happy to add it to your ravelry library afterward if you request it.
OR click here to purchase on ravelry (no extra donation option).

and we have kits all made up for you in festivus 4.0 merino 2-ply gradient. the kit includes the yarn and pattern, plus you may add a donation if you choose. a percentage of the yarn price PLUS the entire pattern price (and donation) will be added to the scholarship fund.

the andiron cowl has the same handsome texture as the scarf. here, the cable feature along the edge takes on the appearance of a ribbon edging.

the edging has a split at on side to encourage just the right amount of slouchiness and drape—it covers the open lapel of a coat, but stands tall to shield your face from the wind if needed.

to view more information or purchase a cowl pattern, please click here for our store listing, where you can also choose to add a donation using the pulldown menu; we will be happy to add it to your ravelry library afterward if you request it.
OR click here to purchase on ravelry (no extra donation option).

we also have cowl kits all made up for you in festivus 4.0 merino 2-ply gradient. the kit includes the yarn and pattern, plus you may add a donation if you choose. a percentage of the yarn price PLUS the entire pattern price (and donation) will be added to the scholarship fund.

i would like to thank kerri so very much for designing these pieces for the scholarship fundraiser; she’s just awesome and she has lots of beautiful designs to share—be sure to check out her ravelry shop.

want a lil peek at some of what we have in store for you from our other designer contributors?

lots of clever detail, schmooshy texture, and FUN to come!

now, let’s talk about goals . . . last year we set a goal of $5000 but unfortunately did not meet it, falling rather short. i would love, love, LOVE to make it up this year and top the charts with the best fundraiser ever.

let’s try to exceed last year’s goal of $5000—can we get to $6000 this year??

to do that, we need to sell all the yarn and tons of pattern too—want to be part of it? you can help out in several ways:

  1. purchase a scarf pattern or cowl pattern and/or add an extra donation on our website—use the pulldown menu to increase your gift and we will donate the entire pattern price PLUS that extra amount. we are happy to add the pattern to your rav library if you let us know!! (but we have to do it manually, so please tell us)
  2. purchase a pattern on ravelry—the entire retail pattern price will go into the scholarship fund.
  3. purchase a nifty scarf or cowl kit which includes the pattern PLUS enough special edition festivus 4.0, to knit a scarf or cowl. we will add 5% of your yarn purchase price to the fund.
  4. buy one or more skeins of festivus 4.0 for any project and we will add 5% of your purchase price to the fund.
  5. please, please, PLEASE tell everyone you know about the fundraiser—they don’t need to be a knitter to throw $6 or $7 (or more!!) at this wonderful cause. please mention it with a link and hashtag on your Instagram, Facebook page (and link it), tweet it (with a link!), pin it (yes, with link) and finally just drag your friends over to look at the blog, haha. we’ll even give them a “knitter for a day badge” if they help out.
  6. join us for a fun red scarf KAL in our ravelry mothership—we promise a rollicking good time, plenty of support, and of course, neat-o prizes.

cardigan is a HUGE fan of this fundraising project by the way—as a former street dog, she knows all too well how tough it is out there on one’s own. you have to have to be smart and have guardian angels or be incredibly charming to snag a good gig. so she’s completely on board with what we’re doing.

hmmm, red or natural?? cardigan has been sniffing to decide which she prefers, but it’s a tough decision; she might have to knit a project in each one.

and with that, i’m going to sign off and go work on my own design contribution to the cause—secret for now, but i think you’ll like it.

oh, i guess cardigan decided she likes ALL the yarn and wants to keep it. she’s swatching now to figure out which to knit with first . . . and after that, scarf or cowl? or maybe she needs a blanket more.

thank you all so much in advance; let’s make 2017 our biggest year yet!