Archive for the ‘projects’ Category

Designer Spotlight: Mary O’ Shea

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Wicked defined by Webster’s dictionary – Morally very bad; evil

Wicked defined by a New Englander, such as our next Spotlit Designer -

New England slang that adds emphasis. Synonymous with reallyvery and hella.

To describe how great something is: “This car is wicked cool!”
To show aggravation: “This f***ing guy is a wicked a**hole!”
To show frustration: “That guy is wicked slow!”
To show amazement: “Wow, that game is wicked awesome!”
To describe a person: “She’s a wicked b****!”
To describe the weather: “Man, it’s wicked hot out here!”
To emphasize feelings: “That story made me wicked sad!”
To exaggerate your point: “That took a wicked long time!”

“That wicked cool car is wicked fast is owned by that wicked old guy, who drives it wicked slow when it’s wicked hot out, which makes me wicked sad cause I’m wicked broke and I got to walk a wicked long way.”
by C. Wallace May 20, 2004


I feel like if I just use “wicked” in my sentence any which way, I’m gonna come off as a native New Englander.  I’m actually feeling pretty confident about this.  But, I think there’s gotta be a science behind it.  Perhaps a formula of a sort.  I mean, it can’t be that easy, right?

Mary simplifies it.  She takes out the aggression and the foul language.  She states that wicked means “just as good as it gets.”  

I don’t know about any of you guys, so I’ll speak for myself…

If we got to knit all day in Science class – I would have gotten an A+.  I’d have probably been valedictorian of my class.  Just sayin’.  Not bragging or anything.  Just stating facts.  Science is based off of theories that can be proven right?  Like … if we happen to straighten our hair with a CHI while standing too close to a bath full of water – bad things will happen.  That’s Science.  Like… Doctor Who is this awesome Time Lord that saves the world from Dinosaurs and Daleks… That’s Science.  (Maybe that’s Sci-fi…)  at any rate…

I was the most awkward, shy, stubborn, and lazy middle schooler.  The fact that I was super artsy and not at all interested in Science, meant that I got bored very easily.  Well, it just so happens that Mary O’ Shea may be the coolest Science Teacher EVAR.  She knits AND she designs!  She’s wicked!  (I hope I used that right.)


When Mary isn’t teaching, she and her family run a prosperous small farm in North Orland, Maine.




I’m a city-girl, so the fact that this small operation successfully nourishes and provides for her family and friends year around is beyond impressive!

Her blog, Tullymongan Farm, chronicles her passions and it’s her way of staying in touch with friends and family that can’t be at arms reach as often as she’d like.

When Mary’s chores are done, she finds solace in knitting.  Now, more than ever before she gets much satisfaction out of creating and making garments for her children.

Many of her designs showcase beautiful color work.

I love the idea of making a baby cap that shows off substantial knitting prowess.  This cap is an heirloom, undoubtedly.  And instead of it being in the stereotypical baby blues, pinks, and yellows, Mary totally had fun with it!  She created something whimsical and light-hearted.  It certainly doesn’t hurt that the little model is as cute as a button!


Recently, Mary teamed up with Anne to create some special mittens out of Bare Naked Wools yarn.  Introducing Bare Bones – Wickedly contrasted to create stunning visual dualism.


maryosheamittens maryosheamittens2 maryosheamittens3

Bare Bones are made with Stone Soup DK in  the colors Pumice (light) and River Rock (dark).  The mitts use approximately 300 yards or 150 yards of each color.  They are beautiful and look Oh-So-Cozy.

Looking at this pattern is like watching cumulus clouds in the summer–searching for images in the sky. Depending on which variation you’re viewing, and where you’re coming from, you might see bare tree branches, arachnids, hearts, paper birch bark, subdivision layouts, circuit boards, arthropods, etc. What do you see?”

Isn’t that a great description?  I see love of a craft.  I see a lot of nature’s influence.  I see passion for life and a desire to slow down and watch the seasons change.  I see something that’s pretty wicked.


Happy Knitting!


i gotta be quick, but i miss you

Sunday, March 1st, 2015


ok, so really, i wasn’t kidding about the snow following me—it has been everywhere i go. first denver got slammed twice while i was there.


it made for good knitting and sleeping weather though. normally i’d head out after a day in the studio to roam around the neighborhoods and look for an interesting place to eat, but when the streets are full of wet, deep snow, i eat in the hotel and knit while i wait for my dinner to arrive.


fortunately, the weather did not cause any great disruption in our production schedule and we kept the whole class shoot right on schedule.


this is colleen and alex, doing a little backtracking when a software crash caused us to lose a bit of one of the lessons, but thanks to them both, we were able to re-do it without a complicated porocess of resetting.


this is david, the camera guy, shooting some stills at the end of the production.


i even got to knit a little bit on set during this production which is kind of a first for me, yay! i think we even did some photos of me knitting this sweater; better breakfast is acting like even more of a diva now, haha.


right after the production wrapped on friday, i took a car to the airport and headed off to utah to visit our beloved kimkimkim. just look at the place she lives in; it’s astoundingly beautiful.


i took these photos yesterday on our walk. i have to say that when she moved from san diego; i was really sad; i had come to adore her back yard view there and her proximity to the beaches and ocean.

but i have to say, if anywhere can come close to comparing with that, it’s her new home here in utah.


i mean, wow, right?? (and yes, sigh; it did snow last night; the first they’ve had since christmas, can you believe my luck? more on the weather in the next post).

and this is just the view from the back yard. i took so many more photos yesterday that i didn’t have time to get them ready for this post. we sat and gazed out on this view (without the snow) yesterday morning while we knit for a few hours.


i’m just about ready to bind off for the underarm shaping in my sweater back now, yay!


after which, we decided to go out for a walk so kim could show me the neighborhood. this is a little farm smack in the middle of her subdivision that has camels, sheep, goats, rabbits, donkeys, horses, and more. we love it.

i have so much more to show you from just the one day i’ve been here, but i really have to stop for the moment; i’m traveling north today for a visit with cousins i haven’t seen since i was a kid and i need to get on the road.

but i’ll be back later; we have two sock patterns to celebrate the start of sock madness month and some delicious yarn to go with them.

i’m being followed

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015


all winter long, my friends out west have been crowing about the fine weather they are having; temperatures in the 50s, 60s, and even 70s, clear skies, and a complete lack of snow.

until, of course, it was time for me to head to denver—then it snowed.


i booked a flight for a day early, just in case winter weather encroached on my travel—a production schedule waits for  no storms or planes. since the weather was clear by then, i ended up with a whole day to get some work done and explore the city.


i headed out first thing for a morning run; i have been much too cooped up inside at home. it was wonderful to run alongside the river as the sun got warmer and warmer.


before i knew it, i was actually out near TAXI, the studios where craftsy shoots our classes; traveling by car on previous trips, i had no idea it was within running distance.

is that blue sky amazing or what?


even with the altitude change, i felt really good, though my pace was a little slow. all fine with me, hehe. afterward i did a little work for a few hours, so i could take off in the late afternoon.


my friends luci and scott drove down from ft. collins to visit and took me out to the arsenal nature preserve, a wildlife area just outside the city.


we spent a couple of hours wandering paths and roadways through the preserve, watching for wildlife and appreciating the stunning spaces just a stone’s throw from the heart of denver.


the first thing we saw when we drove in actually was this herd of bison, just off the side of the road; they were actually a lot closer than they look. my first thought was, “i wonder if anyone collects their fiber??” once yarn ho yarnie, always a yarn ho yarnie.

deer, prairie dogs, and bunnies abounded; we also saw a few cool looking hawks.


mostly it was just wonderful to hold my face to the sun and feel the balmy air (50 degrees!!); feels like it’s been years since i did that! eventually though, the air did begin to chill as the sun sank toward the mountain tops and we reluctantly headed back to the car. we spent the rest of the evening over a really nice dinner at work & class; the perfect end to a fine and refreshing one-day vacation.


this morning it was back to reality, as i had my first day of production for my next craftsy class. up at the crack of dawn and to the gym (too dark at that hour to run outdoors, though the weather was still warm enough).


knowing it might be a long day though, i did manage after breakfast to take photos of my current knitting projects in the morning sunshine. on the plane i started the back of my natty sweater, which i am knitting in our better breakfast DK in the muesli shade (oops, looks like we are out at the moment, but we should be getting more soon).


i left my two finished sleeves at home; they need to be blocked, but you can see how strongly the texture stands out, even in such a soft fabric. i think the overall effect is going to be cute.

i will admit that by the time i got on the plane, i was so wound up that i suffered a bit from both project ADD and eventually, sleepiness from lack of rest over the previous few days. even though i had a nice chunk of knitting time ahead, i didn’t get a whole lot done on any one thing.


i did manage to begin a sleeve with that gorgeous tayet fingering yarn from spirit trail that i gave you a peek of last week. this midnight blue is so up my alley and a color i don’t have in my sweater wardrobe yet. i think you’ll be happy when you see the design i’m  knitting with it.


i’m kind of crawling along on my reversible little shawl, but i’m allowing myself t take my time—right now i’m much more focused on producing some sweaters patterns while the weather is cold enough to really enjoy knitting them. there will be plenty of time for lacy bits in a couple of months. that said, i do plan to add a row or two whenever the urge hits; the yarn is so soft and delicious, sometimes i just want to feel it run though my fingers for a little while.


soon after organizing all my photos for this post, it was time to head into the studio for the afternoon. this will be my home for the next couple of days as we put together a class about sweater making essentials. this one will be full of advice, tips and tricks, and useful techniques for making a successful sweater.


the day started out well, we were on a roll and getting everything up and running for a full afternoon of shooting. but right after lunch, what should appear?


i am NOT kidding. it’s following me everywhere i go. i mean, talk about luck, right??

and it didn’t get any better as the day progressed either—by 4 pm we were all sent home; hopefully this won’t put us behind much tomorrow.


it took almost an hour to get back to my hotel (remember, it’s within running distance) and i was really glad to get into warm, dry comfy pants to settle in for the evening.

i plan to knit on my sweater some more while watching the premier of kosher soul, starring the children of our dear friend nancy. it looks like a lot of fun—you should watch!


back home, david is working hard on the start for his blanket statement club knit—he’s knitting the love squared version. someone has created a thread in our BNK ravelry group devoted to his progress and all of us are following and cheering him on. me most of all—david doesn’t share much with me about his knitting; i have to read about it online!


barb—a stripper with a plan—is sailing along on hers as well; she makes sure david keeps working away on his.

well, speaking of knitting, i think i’m ready for some myself—time to get comfortable and get my needles out. i’ll be back as soon as i can with more; it will be a busy few days, but i’ll be back as soon as i get a chance.

Designer Spotlight: Thea Colman

Saturday, February 21st, 2015


Let’s warm things up a bit, shall we?  Come in.  Sit down.  I’ve got Jazz standards playing in the background.  My knitting is within arms reach.

(I hope you brought yours too.)

And of course, my cup o’ coffee is even closer and it’s getting down to the last drop…

Can I offer you something to drink?

Perhaps a spicy Bloody Mary?  I have Champagne, it’s dry and light.  Perfect for a Mimosa if you care for one of those instead.

Maybe I should ask Thea Colman what she suggests… After all, she’s BabyCocktails.

If you follow Thea on instagram (@theacolman) you’ll know that about a week ago she treated herself to this heavenly concoction.  A hot toddy of sorts made with cardamom clove syrup, bourbon and cider.  Mmmm… it sounds comforting and smooth.  (The way I like my Jazz, by the way.)

I first discovered Thea back in 2012 when she exploded onto the scene with none other than Vodka Lemonade.  (Seriously, I’m not talking about a beverage this time…) I’m talking about this:


At the time, I was working as a sales associate at a yarn shop and all of our Wednesday ladies were oohing and ahhing over the versatility of this Spring cardigan.  Thea knows her market well.  She offers this sweater in sizes that range from 32-52.  Just the other day Anne and I were discussing sweater fit and size.  Not many knitwear designers know how, or rather, don’t really care to offer a sweater design that provides reasonable sizing for the female figure.  Just offering S, M, and L doesn’t cut it.  I’ll even go so far as to quote Ellen Lewis and say “It’s lame.”

Another old adage I like to live by comes to mind… “Do your work with mastery.”  Even mere muggles know that knitters spend hours upon hours creating.  Designers do too, even more so.  But the great knitters and the great designers all have that one thing in common; they do their work with mastery.  They don’t stop until the dream turns real.  They tweak, they muddle, they step away, they come back with new eyes, and somehow they have a finished product that provides us with a certain story.

That story is inspiration that was given life!  It’s been released and now it’s tangible.  I can see it.  You can feel it.  It’s not an idea in someone’s mind – now it’s music you can hear, it’s art you can see, it’s a knitted garment that you can wear!

And for any person who gets excited by the idea of creating and being creative – Designers can create an energy that we easily get drunk on. (Well, I’ll speak for myself.)  At any rate,  as a knitwear designer, you’re inspiring others to create your vision.  It’s a talent that few execute efficiently.  But when they do – I find myself saying “I gotta have a piece of that.”    And that’s EXACTLY what happened when Thea finished this beauty:

a cables and a sleeve

I mean for crying out loud… Every time I look at this, I imagine it’s the same way a scotch drinking man looks at a slinky lounge singer.  (Blame it on the 1920′s Boardwalk Empire Jazz that’s still on da repeat over here.)  I’m coveting it so badly.  I can’t stop.  I’m practically drooling in my coffee.  I want.  I need.  I must have.  It’s my one desire.  A knitwear designer hasn’t made me feel this alive in quite a while.

I got so excited that I didn’t even introduce the two of you properly…  Knitters of the Knitting Universe … Get ready for World Domination.  (Are your sticks at the ready?)  This is Ommegang by Thea Colman and it’s the bee’s knees.

a longer body shot

To me what sets this garment apart from all of the knitting patterns out there right now is this:  It’s classic.  It’s not going anywhere.  It’s a garment that will stay in your closet forever.  It’s modern, inviting, and oh-so-cozy.  (I think a lot of the coziness specifically has to do with the yarn choice.)  Allow me to wax poetically about Bare Naked Wools, because the stitch definition achieved by Thea’s use of BNW Stone Soup DK (shown in Marble) is also what I think makes this a show-stoppah.


The garment is detailed.  The cables need you attention.  And there’s nothing I like better than sitting by myself, cup o’coffee, Saturday morning, slow jazz, and a fantastic cable knitting project.  Mmmmm… pretty satisfying if you ask me.

On top of that…  This can easily be dressed down or dressed up.  I LOVE my tights.  Ask the girls at Knitspot – all you ever see me in are my tights.  Make this into a tunic length, and sport some tights with some sexy high heels.  You have yourself a killah outfit.  If you want to wear the boyfriend jeans, it’s gonna go great with those.  And um… if you just want to wear it without pants…  I’m not gonna disapprove.  You’re going to look mahvelous dahling.  Just stay inside for that.  I don’t want you to catch a cold because I conjured up a crazy idea…  Just sayin’.


Sarah – Sarimor on Ravelry created this beautiful Ommegang using Thea’s larger cowl neck option and I LOVE the results!

Thea – Lady friend… you outdid yourself.  I wish you so much success with this pattern and I look forward to everything you’re going to create in the future!  I speak on behalf of the entire Knitspot team when I say it has been an absolute pleasure collaborating with you on this design.  You created something truly special.  Dare I say, it’s The Cat’s Meow.

Happy Knitting, guys!