Archive for the ‘projects’ Category

holiday weekend

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015


i’m always amazed that no matter what date memorial day lands on, our poppies burst into bloom to celebrate the holiday. how do they know??


i was convinced that between the cold and wet last week (we had a frost one night), they would be a little late this year. but when i backed the car out on my way to the grocery store friday, there they were, the first pink, papery petals just uncurling—and i jumped out to take a picture for you.


yesterday, after the weekend events and festivities were complete, i snapped some more on my way home from the office, when i saw that the red ones had since bloomed as well.


the bees were so greedily feeding on them that their backs had turned bluish purple from rubbing against pollen loaded stigma.

more about the garden later on—let’s talk about the weekend; did you have a good one?


all of our hard work and preparation to get ready for the great lakes fiber show came to a close on friday, when the whole kit and caboodle was loaded into several vehicles for the trip out to wooster. many MANY thanks to darpan, barb, erica, anastasia, lillian, and david for packing it all and setting it up.

i stayed on at the ranch to greet our weekend guests, cherie and anne marie, while getting ready for my friday afternoon yarn voyage class.

we had a terrific class that evening—so much so that as usual, i forgot to take photos (maybe laura got some?). afterward, dinner with the crew and knitting back at the house, at least for as long as i could keep my eyes open, haha.


the next morning it was up and out early for all of us to get ready for a busy show day.


for lauren, our new graphic designer, this fiber event was her first; i think she had a lot of fun.

i’m always so tickled to see new and old friends, knitters who read my blog and hang out in our ravelry groups, people from near and far.


chris and laramie were visiting from england!


it’s also nice to see what everyone is wearing at the show. since it’s usually warm for this event, scarves and shawls are the norm, but in the early hours, it’s sometimes possible to see a knitspot sweater in the wild.


bonnie, who raises sheep and alpacas, used some of her 3-ply 50/50 alpaca/merino handspan to knit this highlander sweater last summer. the stitchwork is just beautiful, isn’t it?


on a road trip through new england, she purchased these beautiful celtic knot buttons for it.


on the way back to canton that day, we made our traditional stop at the dalton dariette for ice cream; cherie is now a devotee.


duly fortified, we went right on to a knit along with our retreat group that night. i had been working on my third triticum sample in stone soup fingering yarn for about ten days by this time and i was just winding up the right front piece, which i had started a couple of days days earlier.


i finished that off at the KAL and cast on for the first sleeve. i need to have this sample completed by the friday morning, but i really want to have it all seamed up by wednesday so i can wash it will before we leave.


even though i’d done a lot of knitting up to that point, this meant that i still had to knit two sleeves and the back. i got busy right away; by the time we left the hotel KAL, i had started the ribbed cuff.

sunday was another full day—class for six hours and afterward, i think i took a nap—can’t remember!


i definitely worked on my first sleeve for at least a bit, but i must have been too tired to get far, because on monday morning just before the yarn tasting, it looked like this.

by mid morning our weekend events were complete and i made a beeline back to my study to put my feet up and enjoy a day of knitting and listening to audiobooks. i probably should have been gardening but i really need to finish this sample too!


the sleeves go quick, thank goodness; a little before noon i was at the underarm bind off (they are three-quarter sleeves) and ready to start the cap shaping. that took no time at all as the stitch count diminishes with every couple of rows. by 2 pm i was done.

i was so pumped at how quickly i’d knit that sleeve that i figured i could knock out at least the second one before  i had to go to bed last night.


sure enough, it is possible; in fact, by 7:30 pm last night the second sleeve was ready for cap shaping as well. i had plenty of time after binding off to begin the final piece—the sweater back.


i got cast on and started the hem ribbing; by the time david was ready to stretch out and watch TV together, i had begun the pattern for the central panel. at this point, i was indeed tired—and even—just a little bit—tired of knitting, though that wouldn’t have stopped me if i wasn’t sleepy, haha.

i was on a mission.


i worked for a few hours this morning while i had my coffee and made some phone calls; by eleven, i had finished the body shaping and was heading to the underarm bind off.

i knit some more this afternoon during another meeting and now i’m ready to shape the armholes—a finish tonight will be mine!


i have to run to an appointment now, but when i get home, i will complete the back and steam block all my pieces. i can start seaming while we watch TV later.

more seaming tomorrow and then a nice hot, sudsy bath to make this fabric soft and cuddly and bright—stay tuned!

(also, once it’s done i need to get back to the gardening .)


Janelle Martin has patterns to giveaway!

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

Thank you so very much to everyone that posted on the blog!  We enjoyed reading each of your favorite Janelle Martin designs and we hope to offer more pattern giveaways by other collaborating designers in the future!

And the winners are…

Michelle J. Iseman says:
May 17, 2015 at 12:08 am
Janelle is a powerhouse of incredible talent that the rest of us can only drool at in awe. I am honoured to be entered into this giveaway. My two fave patterns are: Flower Bell Stole and Taming of the Fox socks. It’s so hard to decide because all of her patterns are gorgeous!

Mary Nesbitt says:
May 17, 2015 at 11:53 am
Wow, Janelle is certainly a prolific designer and her upcoming releases look to be a wonderful collection – I hadn’t come across her before. Hard to choose, but I think the Fosseta set wins by a whisker!

Mary and Michelle – Won’t you email me at with your Ravelry information? Janelle will gift the patterns to you! Congratulations, ladies!!


Fosseta Cowl by Janelle Martin


Taming of the Fox Socks by Janelle Martin


Flower Bell Stole by Janelle Martin



One last thing…


We are eagerly anticipating this weekend’s festivities!  The Wooster Retreat begins tomorrow!  In the meantime, the boutique has been getting a fresh look!  Here are some behind the scenes photos that we thought you might enjoy!


Erica caught the shop getting spruced up for the big event!  In the photos you’ll see samples of some of your favorite Knitspot designs; The Gearhead pullover (not released yet), Triticum, Bloch Ness, Toffer, Blanket Statement, Natty Set, and many many more!  Of course, Ivar greets you as soon as you enter the door.  It’s so much fun to play dress up with these beautiful garments!

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We hope to see a just a few of you guys at the Great Lakes Fiber Festival, ;-) but if you can’t make it – I wish you a S’wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!


Happy Knitting,




knit happens

Monday, May 18th, 2015


almost there with the big spring woolen wash—it got cold again for a few days, but thankfully i hadn’t washed all of my own sweaters yet (hehe, i know better; i often wear the lighter weight ones into the month of june).


i’m not going to run on and on about this, but i am SO GLAD i finally made my own wool soap—it is blowing my mind how fresh it smells and how nice it leaves the fabric. i’m serious; i’ve had my favorites, but nothing has ever made my knits this soft and fluffy and glossy looking to boot.

This pea trellis shawl came out so heavenly soft that it feels like cloud matter. i’m not kidding.


i want to make some for everybody i know—as soon as i find a nicer solvent, which, thanks to the comment from grey dove, i am on it.

(be assured, i will eventually calm down and find something else to be this excited about)


just two more loads to go and all the samples will be clean. i didn’t count them, but i bet we have a couple hundred items . . .just in BNWs alone. tomorrow we will start retagging the ones that are done to get them ready for our show booth and a special in-store display.

in addition to our booth at the great lakes fiber show next weekend, we will be hosting classes in our shop for our wooster retreat. we still have room for you, should you decide to join us! just email laura (servicesATknitspotDOTcom) if you’d like to come.

so, last time i was here i ran off to meet barb for knit night at the shop and when i arrived, what did she pull out of her bag but another triticum project.


she’s knitting this one in briar rose sea pearl, a great choice; it’s silky, yet has nice body and wonderful wearability. in fact i have a batch of this exact same colorway—we each bought one at rhineneck in october and i got one for kim3 as well.

barb was so cute with her second triticum project, but i had a surprise for her . . .


i was starting another one too! i’m knitting one in our stone soup fingering yarn because we are entering a sample in the fashion show at TNNA and i want it to be in a yarn that shops can purchase wholesale from us.


by the time we left that evening, hers was another half repeat along


and i had finished the hem ribbing on my left front; i was now ready to work through the body shaping toward the armhole.


by the time i went to bed, i had worked to the waist and completed all the body decreases. the next day i worked on it a little bit over morning coffee and started the increase pattern that leads to the armhole.


that night i worked some more and got myself nearly to the armhole; this sweater really goes fast once you get past the hem ribbing (it’s totally worth doing that hem in one diligent sitting so you can get to the fun part).

you can read more about barb’s sweater shenanigans in our triticum knitalong over at ravelry. there are actually TWO triticum KALs—one for bare naked wools too, in case you are knitting with better breakfast fingering or stone soup fingering (or whatever your poison!).


it’s been so cozy late at night to watch TV with david knitting feverishly next to me on his blanket statement blocks. he has been very dedicated to this project, now that the knitting goes smoothly. at this writing has completed almost half the blocks he needs.

with a special thread in our ravelry clubhouse dedicated to david’s knitting journey, he is taking his obligation to his fans seriously by posting progress, observations, and philosophical musings as frequently as he can manage.


his yarn and needles are always out and ready to pick up—he never puts them away. david is knitting with all the brown shades of the old breakfast blend DK, a wonderfully round and soft yarn. i really get the feeling that he’s begun to enjoy knitting immensely and look forward to it as a nice ending to each day.

soon he’ll have to pick up a hook as well to do his crochet edges and then sew them up. i am confident he will be fine with the stitching up; david has been sewing since he was a boy.


my reversible triangle shawl project is quickly moving toward completion; i have moved into the cable and lace hem section and though the rows are getting longer all the time, it feels like things are going much faster.


i hope to have this project done by monday or sooner; i would like to offer this new pattern at the fiber show next weekend (and of course for everyone online too!).

and once i get this off the needles, i’ll get back to my textured vintage cardigan; i miss it. i also have a couple of secret projects that i’m anxious to start; haven’t had any of those in a while. but with the green club starting in two month’s time, i need to get my samples done.

i’m trying not to think about how i’m ever going to squeeze my gardening in, but somehow it happens every year so i guess i just have to have faith that all will be fine.

i hope you’re having a wonderful weekend; see you soon.

Designer Spotlight: Janelle Martin

Saturday, May 16th, 2015

Hope you are all doing flawlessly.

Let me just say – I think you’re in for a treat!

Janelle Martin’s Interwoven Blanket made in Bare Naked Wools Stone Soup Fingering

Janelle first met Anne in 2009 when she invited her to guest judge for her local knitter’s guild show.  She had just started designing, so you can imagine that having the opportunity to spend time with a designer that she really admired was the chance of a lifetime.   It was during this visit that Anne mentioned a new endeavour; one featuring all natural yarns.  Hence, the creation of Fall in Full Color and Bare Naked Knitspot.



Janelle Martin’s Every Which Way in Bare Naked Wools Confection



The first designs Janelle ever created using Bare Naked Wools, were the Every Which Way Collection.

“The first time I touched Bare Naked Wools ‘Confection’ I knew two things: 1) I wanted to wrap myself in the yarn and 2) the amount of “spring” in the yarn would make it a dream to knit with.”


Janelle is graciously offering not only an Every Which Way Set ebook but ALSO an Interwoven Blanket pattern to all of our blog readers!  Winning is easy; go to Janelle’s designer page and check out all of the beautiful pieces she’s designed since 2009!  Won’t you tell us what pattern you love!?  Winners will be selected Tuesday May 19th at midnight, (so getchur comments in!)  We’ll announce the winner on Wednesday! Happy commenting!




This past summer, Janelle traveled to New Foundland, specifically, the arctic coastal tundra region where the Vikings had the first European Settlement in North America.  This stunning landscape inspired her upcoming collection.  “I find the remote and stark landscapes inspiring – nature has such beautiful lines and movement.”

Janelle’s collection will offer 30-40 pieces (shawls/stoles, scarves, hats, cowls, blankets, and possibly socks.)  If she can squeeze them in!  I mean, that’s A LOT of knitted goodness!

“I knew right away that the beautiful, natural colours and textures of Bare Naked Wools paired perfectly with this landscape. The collection also features indie dyers, focusing on colours drawn from New Foundland and it’s geographical cousins in Iceland and coastal Ireland.”



The collection is being offered in three parts.  Part One will be released this August.  Part Two comes out at the end of this year and Part Three will be available in Spring of 2016.  Each part of the collection will be offered as an ebook or individual patterns.

Secret Society by Janelle Martin, coming in July 2015

Secret Society is a “teaser” pattern from the upcoming book.  The pattern calls for either Stone Soup Fingering or Mrs. Lincoln’s Lace.  It’s a bottom up, triangular shawl inspired by rocks found in The Burren, Ireland.



Janelle described her design process to me.  I find this aspect of knitted garments extremely interesting.  All too often, I’m wondering how a designer envisions a concept and thus, turns it into art:

My favourite items to design are shawls and stoles.  The large amount of space allows me to incorporate multiple stitch patterns. I call my design aesthetic “organic”. I like there to be continuous lines in my work, for the stitch patterns to grow out of each other. Often this means I have to create transition charts to move from one stitch pattern into the other. My complex lace designs, such as Cartouche Shawloften have five or six charts to handle these transitions, but the result is worth it.


Cartouche Shawl by Janelle Martin Knitted by Mari AKA rapelleykset on Ravelry


Janelle offered Cartouch as a Knitty pattern in Knitty’s Winter 2011 edition.

I’m drawn to the complexity of Japanese stitch patterns. Their stitch dictionaries show stitches that are combinations of smaller elements joined together and there is such beauty and complexity in their presentations. These stitch dictionaries approach knitting with a different eye and that is what I’m drawn to. I tend to combine patterns that share elements and can build cohesive designs out of these stitch patterns. An example of this is my Flower Bell Stole.


The cohesive element in this design is the raised flower bud. It appears in the attached edging, the bottom border, two different sizes in the left/right borders and in large form in the centre panel. The use of this element in various sizes creates cohesiveness of design. Of course, these stitch patterns “eat” yarn just like cables do and so I had to work through several iterations of this design before I found a final version I liked that didn’t require excessive amounts of yarn.


Here at Knitspot HQ, we are so excited to see what Janelle has in store over the next few months!  Her 3 part series is sure to be a treat for the eyes and a joy to knit.  We’re thrilled to be in collaboration with her and we wish her incredible success!


She wishes to mention one last thing:

I owe a lot to the incredible support, encouragement and mentorship provided by fellow designers like Anne Hanson and Kate Atherley, indie dyers/designers such as Kim McBrien Evans (Indigodragonfly) and Tabi Ferguson (Sericin Silkworks), industry professionals such as Amy Singer (Knitty) and Sanguine Gryphon who included my early designs in their publications, and Karen Crouch, the amazing owner of my LYS Shall We Knit?  I would not be where I am today without the invaluable resource these incredible women have been and their excellent advice.


My designs are available through Ravelry, Patternfish and LoveKnitting, as well as on my website (