gotta get back to nashville

Posted on 9 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, designing, home and family, lace/shawls, projects

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

switchgrass

Posted on 5 CommentsPosted in projects

the second installment of our grand ensemble summer lace KAL is here—switchgrass skirt in deliciously cool hempshaugh fingering yarn. i chose the kasha colorway for my sample knit—it coordinates well with any color top from black to pale lavender. this project is the perfect next piece for your summer knitting because the stitches are easy to work, it has no seams (i.e., very little finishing), and makes for terrific travel knitting; you can take it on vacation and wear it home!

and when you’re done, you’ve got a go-anywhere staple for weekend travel or a full day of summer fun away from home. pull it on in the morning over a swimsuit when heading to the beach and tuck a cute top into your bag to pair later for lunch on the pier or dinner in a swank seaside nightspot. we’ve put it together with the sleeveless version of our violet cardigan, knit in hempshaugh lace, color millet, but it can be dressed up further with a slinky, strappy top and wrap. you may decide you’ll need two of them!

hempshaugh has quickly become my go-to summer yarn for a multitude of reasons—shall i fill you in?
first (and most importantly for the knitter) unlike many hemp yarns, this one is super soft and pleasant to knit with. you might see hemp and think “oof, ropy and rough“, but not so with this blend; it has a measure of smoothing, soothing silk and a dose of merino to add some bounce and lightness. secondly, it is soft, cool, and dry to wear, no matter how muggy the day becomes; it always has a wrinkle free, freshly-washed look. it packs and unpacks endlessly without crumpling, even if your “suitcase” is a large sling bag tossed over your shoulder. and third, it responds well to gentle machine washing, reshapes easily, and air dries in no time. it behaves like an up-to-the-minute tech fabric AND a soft vintage linen at the same time.

let’s talk design details: this breezy skirt in nine sizes from XS to 5X has a drawstring waistband and is knit from the top down in the round. the fabric is solid through the hip and semi-fitted, opening up in eyelet ribs as the shape flares to a swishy mesh-patterned hem. it hugs the high hips just enough to stay put all day, but the overall feeling is loose and light.

the sample shown here in knit in size small to fit someone approximately size 4 to 6, depending on body type (it’s always best to choose a size by measurements rather than your “store bought” size). when a relaxed cast on is used, the waist will stretch well beyond the stated finished size to pull over the hips.

while i’ve knit mine in my favorite hemp blend yarn, the gauge will work well for our dreamy deco fingering yarn or chebris lace yarn as well, for a couple of dressier alternatives. or if you have a wooly, fall/winter version in mind, it would be fantastic in stone soup fingering yarn.

david has put together a kit for those of you who like to grab and go—with choice of BNWs deco or hempshaugh; click here to see details and purchase.  this might be your chance to try our deco blend in the new color, bronze.

click here to view pattern details and other yarn options in the knitspot yarn and pattern shop OR purchase pattern alone on ravelry by clicking here (please purchase on ravelry if you’d like the pattern in your rav library).

pattern details are included on each product page.

enjoy your summer; i’ll be back VERY soon with a blog update (i know i owe you big time).

let’s catch up a bit

Posted on 4 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, designing, food and garden, lace/shawls, projects

hey gang! it might seem like i disappeared completely the last couple of months but i didn’t. we’ve had some big and little changes around here and i’ve been working behind the scenes a little more than usual. knitting is also happening; surprisingly more than you’d think but less than i’d like, haha. today i’m going to do a quick survey to update you on all the goings on of the last month or so and then tomorrow, i’ll do a more sedately-paced post about my knitting progress and home life (i.e., dog and garden update, hee-hee!).

our manager erica betz left her position with us in april to take a job at another company and we wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors! this was a pretty big and sudden shift for us and it all happened so fast that i needed to move over to the office to do her job, hire her replacement, and help our new manager, ellen, get situated.

and we are very excited to welcome ellen into our work family; she brings many years of knitting and textile industry experience to our company and it couldn’t be a better fit. i know you’ll enjoy getting acquainted; if you have a need to communicate with her, please use any of the same email addresses as before to make contact. you will also see ellen participating in our ravelry groups and working in the booth at our show events, so stop and say hello!

in fact you’ll have a chance this coming weekend, when we’ll be exhibiting at the great lakes fiber show in wooster, OH; our booth is in the 4-H building, which is the large one right near the parking lot. we’ll have all of our yarns, tons of samples, and boxes of patterns for you to browse and buy. we’ll also have a variety of kits for sale, which were so popular at maryland earlier this month.

the wooster show is a wonderful fiber event—big enough to draw many reputable vendors from all over the midwest region, but small enough to feel homey and allow you to visit each booth in relative relaxation. if you live within a comfortable radius, consider coming out for the show; it’s just a short drive from several surrounding states. plus there are excellent fair fries for lunch—i know that’s going to be MY lunch on at least one day. i’m very excited that our friend and knitter extraordinaire cherie will be joining us for the weekend; i’m SO looking forward to her visit in our home!

i’ll be teaching my yarn voyage class on sunday morning from 9am to 12pm, although i believe online signups have closed. i don’t know if they are taking any late signups, but if you missed it and really want to get in, you could try contacting the organizers to inquire.

once again this year our experience showing at the maryland sheep and wool was everything we’d hoped it would be and more! our booth was jammed all day on saturday and most of sunday as well, although at least that day most people were able to get in for a visit. in fact, we’ve spent much time this month figuring out what we need to reorder for the rest of our summer shows and events.

here we are before the show opened on saturday, putting the last touches on our booth setup. hannah was on hand as well, though she’s behind the camera for this photo. we had no idea at this point that the next time we’d step out of the booth would be at 6pm, haha! all good problems to have, i think.

what we love about doing these shows is getting to see old friends and getting to know new ones. our booth is the place where we can meet face to face and help shoppers personally. it’s a truly pleasant experience for one thing, but for another, i always feel better sending someone off with a project knowing that they were able to get questions answered and find just the right fit for yarn and pattern.

i was really touched by how many booth visitors asked about our doggie, cardigan—so many had read her story and showed concern for her continued health and wellness. i will do a big update about her in the next post—there is a lot to show and tell—even if i hadn’t fallen madly head over heels in love with her (which i have, haha). i mean, just look at her; she’s adorable, right? both david and i have been working with her a lot in the process of bringing her into our family, but talk about time well spent—it is a continually gratifying experience.

the whole office has been involved in preparing a special treat for our next knitspot club adventure, a delightful tumble down the rabbit hole of color, color, and more color! you know we like to change it up with our clubs to keep everyone intrigued and involved and hannah especially has put a lot of thought into making this one a unique experience.

for the first time in our club history, participants will have a choice of yarn packages. the idea here is to explore how color reflects our inner personality and how design can change and morph with a shift in color perspective. when you sign up, you will have a choice of purchasing the “mood” package or the “lifter” package—and double dippers can choose one of each if they like or lots of the same. MOOD will be represented in color as subtlety, depth, and/or shade, while LIFTER will be represented by brightness, playfulness, and light. if you love using a pop of color to accent a wardrobe of neutral basics, the LIFTER option might appealing; if you prefer to present yourself in an ombre of subtle tones, then MOOD may be your ticket. projects will be accessory pieces designed to use one or two skeins of any combination.

this photo provides the sort of inspiration i am working from to come up with design ideas for this concept club; to me, it embodies all the aspects of working with one color “camp” or the other and the combination as well. look at the beautiful depth in the decaying tree stump and then the pop of color from the frilly fungi growing within its cavern.

we are super excited to bring this club to you; it’s been in the planning for quite some time. there will be three bi-monthly  installments of yarn, patterns, and goodies to begin in september—what a way to kick off the fall season! we’ve chosen some standout dye partners to participate—hedgehog fibres, zen yarn garden, and asylum fibers. we are opening signups to our current clubbies now (those enrolled in our BNK 2017)—check your mailbox for the eBlast. general signups will open to everyone on june 4th. if this sounds like a fun ride, we’d love for you to join us!

ok, that’s it for the moment, but i’ll be back soon with another post and i hope to see you this weekend. if you can’t make it, please join us on 6/4 for our next color adventure.

A new pattern and a good cause

Posted on 5 CommentsPosted in projects

It’s not often that we take to this blog with particularly sad news, but today is a bit of an exception. While the office is bustling with our Maryland Sheep and Wool preparations (and we are very excited about all that we are ready to show you at the event), it’s with a heavy heart that we have to share that our dear friend and fellow designer, Elena Nodel, has recently found out that her cancer has returned. While you can read the details in Elena’s family’s own words on her Go Fund Me campaign, we wanted to do what we could to support her in our own way.

Back in November, before we released Ensemble, we decided to hold back a pattern of Elena’s for a later, Spring release. Oana, a stunning cardigan with elegant, draping fronts, seemed like the perfect early Spring cardigan. Effortlessly beautiful and knit in our glowing Chebris Sport, this cardigan was fully deserving of an individual pattern release outside of the full Ensemble showcase. Now, with Elena in need, we can tell that this is the opportune moment to share some of her most recent work with the world, at a moment where it can do the most good.

While all of Elena’s patterns kick back a percentage of proceeds to her as a designer (and we have certainly seen an uptick in these pattern sales thanks to her generous friends and supporters), we wanted to do something a little more for her with the release of Oana. Bare Naked Wools will donate 100% of the purchase price of this pattern. Additionally, if you purchase an Oana kit in our shop or from our booth at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Show (to knit in our Chebris or Cabécou sport yarns), we will donate $10 plus the amount of the pattern donation ($8.00, or the amount of your choice in the dropdown menu).

As with our Red Scarf initiative, we are also offering single pattern sales for Oana that can be augmented with a donation level of your choice. Click here to explore the options.

We really wish Elena the best on her road to recovery and want her family to be able to be with her without the worry of financial burden in every crucial moment of her treatment.