Archive for the ‘projects’ Category

happy birthday mister knitspot!

Friday, October 2nd, 2015


it’s the first day of october and david’s birthday (ok, well my internet was down when i tried to post this yesterday, so let’s pretend it’s still the 1st). he did NOT get a basket of vegetables for his birthday; those i picked on wednesday.


and yes, we are still collecting THAT many green beans every two or three days (this was an eight-pound haul). i just can’t bear to throw them out so i give them away to just about anyone who walks by the house. in this case, it was barb—not that she’s just anyone but, knit night is wednesday so after pulling out a couple meals worth for us, the rest went home with her.

for david, i used all those vegetables (plus a huge basket of swiss chard) to make a fairly authentic indian meal. i would have taken photos but my phone camera has been working only on and off and today, it was decidedly off. hmm, i just realized that i’ve mentioned two things broken down and i’m only on the third paragraph; what next??

let’s talk instead about something that IS working.


thank you for all your enthusiastic comments regarding my new cabled coat design, vendange. the name, taken directly from the name jen gave to the yarn color, is inspired by the french word for “grape harvest”. here’s a sneak peek of what it looks like in action.


david and i took the coat to a church downtown the other day for a photo shoot and i got to test it for true wearability. the timing couldn’t have been better; the weather had turned suddenly cold, windy, and rainy—a reminder that we are going to need sweaters like this from now on.

and hey—they might as well be wonderful ones that we want to wear, yes?


the verdict?
this one definitely IS; i love it! i was worried that it would be heavy, but it’s not; it’s really nice to wear and SO cozy. the A-line shaping is just right—enough to swing freely around my body, but not so much that it’s bulky.

barb is knitting the shorter version and last night she was adding the collar, so she’s almost done. and she has started one in chebris worsted, for which i am foaming at the mouth (no pressure or anything barb . . .).


i think you get the picture from the photos—smiles all around. look for the pattern release just before rhinebeck weekend (october 17 and 18); buy it either online here or in the spirit trail booth at rhinebeck. more details as the time draws closer; i believe jen has a promotion brewing with her vesta yarn rollout and we plan to do the same on bare naked wools purchases for this garment.

we will be showing that weekend at the indie untangled trunk show event and also our own event


on sunday afternoon at the courtyard marriott in kingston, from 2 to 9 pm. come on over after the show to browse our popup shop and enjoy refreshments with us in a relaxed, social atmosphere. we are cooking up several promotions for the event; stay tuned for details.

ok, now, much as i want to just bask in the glow of my recent FO, i am already deep into the next one, which has been on my needles since i stitched the last button on that red coat. i’ve got a schedule i need to catch up with, for i am behind as usual.


fortunately, i am once again knitting with a lofty, big, squishy, delightful yarn so staying on task is not difficult.


this time it’s chebris worsted in the silvery dragée shade—to die for, truly. if only miss piggy could be here  . . . she’d be all over this one (stay with it through minute three). i am even more excited about this design than the red one i think—i even thought of the most excellent place to do a photo shoot, if they will allow us.

back to the present tho . . .


tomorrow erica and i are off to the athens area fiber faire; this is a gem of a show and we are so excited to have a booth there. if you are within driving distance, it promises to be a terrific early fall weekend—why don’t you come see us? i understand that athens is a fun college town with lots of personality; it will be my first visit and i’m really looking forward to it. i know a few peeps are talking about being there—please stop by to say hello!

(that reminds me; i still need to pack a bag.)

so i’ve gotta get going now and get back to my packing and my knitting; hope you are working on fun stuff too!

knitting in the zone

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015


the last few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind as our little shop participated in a regional yarn crawl. usually not the epicenter of activity, suddenly we had all sorts of new faces crossing our threshold—fiber enthusiasts who traveled to us as part of the tour. it was absolutely wonderful to meet and talk to so many knitters and crocheters and introduce them to our yarns and designs.

many had never heard of us before; quite a few do not use the internet or even a computer and yet we had plenty of common ground to share around yarn love, haha.

oooh, speaking of yarn love, the winner of the carol feller book giveaway is andrea m. she has been emailed and her prize is on the way. thank you all for participating in carol’s book release; authors work so hard in secret for so long, it’s a real treat to finally celebrate with us all.


september is harvest month and tomatoes wait for no yarn crawlers—we spent many late nights this month taking advantage of our garden’s productivity to get food stored away for winter.


one night i put up so many tomatoes that i ran out of containers and we had to scramble to make do. i had enough yellow tomatoes this year to do a separate batch of yellow puree. i don’t know what i’ll use it for but it will make a surprisingly vivid sauce for a special occasion. i’m even freezing tomato juice—a personal favorite; i don’t know why i never did it before.


the onions i pulled while david was away have been brushed clean and trimmed; they are stored in the basement with the winter squashes.

the squash plants have mostly died back, but i’m still picking pounds of green beans each week as well as eggplant, peppers, and lots of greens. everything tastes wonderful; we barely buy anything at the store when we shop.

the next harvest will probably be potatoes, leeks, and celeriac, the last root vegetables that i have in the ground. the salad patch i planted does have some beets tho, so maybe a few of those as well.

i feel so lucky this year; we are rich.


and despite all that was going on, i brewed up a bit of a knitting storm last week, which escalated considerably between wednesday and sunday—that’s why you haven’t seen me around here at all (sorry!!). but i think you’ll be happy with my investment.


in fact, i actually took two days—thursday and sunday—completely off from the computer so i could focus on knitting alone. and the big cabled blob benefitted greatly from that concentrated effort. i alternated skeins through the hem and lower body of my project because one of my skeins was darker, having been dyed in a separate batch.


mmm, soft pretzel cables . . . deee-licious in spirit trail vesta, which will be a jen’s new offering at rhinebeck this year (get some at the spirit trail booth in building A).

the knitting just flies along when working with chunky weight yarn and as my piece grew, i became even more motivated to finish ASAP.


by saturday morning my big body piece was off the needles and ready for finishing. after attending to some other things during the day, i fired up the iron after dinner and blocked both this piece and the sleeves.


that night i began the process of finishing—stitching the shoulder seams, picking up the stitches for the collar, and getting a jump on knitting that before i finally passed out.


when i woke up, i put the shell on my dress form; it was so exciting to finally see what i had. the armhole depth was a little too long and needed to be adjusted, but aside from that, it was looking good. phew! there is a shorter, hip-length version as well, which barb is knitting.


i got so many positive comments about pockets on the the pedal pusher sweater that i’m thinking this coat could even have some cool cabled ones added at the sides; what do you think?


the yarn has a spongy, dense, and velvety feel, perfect for a cuddly warm coat. this is a great chill chaser; i’m looking forward to seeing how long i can wear it into the deep winter weather. i’m hoping all the way through, as the fit is super comfortable—roomy through the body and upper sleeves to accommodate layers inside, but snug at the edges to keep out the elements


somewhere in those few days, the buttons arrived from moving mud—at jen’s request, i sent a swatch to sarina and as usual, she created the perfect accent for the front of the coat. i thought the flat style would be best for my purposes, but by all means, round ones would work equally well.


yeah, man . . . they are like little slices of exotic fruit, aren’t they?


and they are just the right accent for the front of this coat—strong enough to stand up to the oversized cable with their stunning gray-green edges.


buttoned all the way up, the coat sports its own slouchy cowl to use as a wind barrier.


personally, i just love the wide, delicious collar unbuttoned enough to spread out over my shoulders in a pleasingly crumpled heap.


it will accommodate a little nothing scarf inside  to add an extra layer of texture and warmth. the pattern for this garment (which includes instructions for a jacket length version) will be released along with the vesta rollout over rhinebeck weekend (october 17th and 18th). it’s in production now and will be ready for purchase both here and in the spirit trail booth—keep your eye out for it.

we are knitting one in chebris worsted as we speak—the frappé shade. mmm, won’t that be a treat? i cannot wait to sink myself into that one, yum yum.


and speaking of chebris worsted, now that the cooler weather has arrive, i can fully indulge the itchy fingers i’ve had for this yarn all summer long. i have been dying to start something and now i have; care to guess what it might be?

notes from the gray area

Thursday, September 17th, 2015


in case you haven’t seen this yet, thea colman has produced another design with bare naked wools; we love her! for her stranded two-color (+accent) hat, gray rose, thea chose to work with kent DK, then sized up by knitting also in kent worsted on bigger needles.


modeled here by her adorable daughter zoe, the DK version is shown in the tide pool and beach glass shades (but any two contrasting shades will work). a few yards of leftover DK yarn from your scrap pile to use as an accent color is all you need to round out the materials. i don’t see why you couldn’t do the centers in a variety of colors even.


we’ve created a kit with your choice of yarn weight and shades in kent—with it, you’ll be able to knit two hats if you switch the background and foreground use of color. Use code BNW for your purchase of Gray Rose via Ravelry. The offer is good until Sept. 30th with or without the purchase of yarn! Thank You, Thea!


a hat made from snuggly bare naked wools would be a most excellent holiday gift, stocking stuffer, or swap item. and two of them in one package? that’s the best of both worlds; one to keep and one to give away. the kit itself would be a terrific gift for a knitter, too.


in other news, my coat sleeves are complete. now that the september ENVY club chapter has gone out the door for this month (SO glad everyone loves this month’s green yarn and patterns so much, yay!!), i can get down to business on the sweater body, which is knit in one piece to the underarm and then split—thank goodness the yarn knits quickly at a lofty gauge on big needles.

i’m not a huge fan of sweaters worked in one piece, but in this case it makes the most sense because that gigantic twining cable will be running up the side seam area and no way would i add a seam to the middle of that drama.


the cast on last night was a struggle because i was so tired i couldn’t add the numbers right, even with my calculator in hand. but i finally got it and after that i of course knit the first row wrong—three times. well, i did go to the “i never learn” school of knitting after all . . .

i finally packed it in and will tackle it tonight. isn’t the colorway just jammin’ though?? it’s even more awesome when you can feel it. in fact, i keep stopping to admire the yarn and i’ve got to get myself to stop that if i am to knit the sweater body in a timely manner. and i don’t have a lot of time—in fact, i’m afraid if jen sees this post she will have an anxiety attack because this garment and the pattern need to be done for rhinebeck. but they will be.


well now you didn’t think my garden had just disappeared overnight did you? sigh. it is very much alive, thank you. and putting out almost more than we can handle . . . except for tomatoes.


we are getting just a medium number of tomatoes, but i have hopes that we will get as many as we need for the freezer by the time the frost hits. it’s supposed to be warm through september at least, and if it is, we should be fine.


the problem isn’t the number of actual tomatoes produced, it’s the number of edible ones we are getting. unfortunately we have many, many, gorgeous red plum tomatoes with end rot, ugh. the orange, black, and round red tomatoes seem fine, but the plums are bumming me out. the orange oxhearts and the black nguyens are just scrumptious.


we have a veritable eggplant forest with several different types—my refrigerator bin is almost full, just waiting for me to have a few spare hours to cook ratatouille and some curry.


our greens and swiss chard are just phenomenal—i don’t think we’ve ever had such a good year for greens and i hope now we have it down because this is my favorite vegetable. we’ve been eating them almost every day.


and i know you are just dying for a shot of the green beans because there can never be too many of those so here you go! this is another vegetable we’ve been eating nearly every day—and gladly—but i could use some fresh inspiration for cooking them; how about some recipe ideas? (nothing with gluten flours please!)


we have all sorts of peppers coming back now that the weather has cooled a bit (they took a break during that hot, dry period we had in august). these purple island peppers are so yummy—they have a cool, sweet citrusy flavor and are lime green inside; great for salads or eating raw.


i took a chance on this chocolate pepper but so far this is the only fruit it has produced. it’s chocolate alright, but i don’t know yet what it tastes like and i don’t know if i’ll find out—it’s already softening on the one side.


the little salad/power greens patch that i planted while david was away is doing well; i need to make time this weekend to get out and thin the seedlings. we will be clipping baby greens in a few days i think.


and some of the new beet and spinach greens are ready now. time to get out there and do some trimming. plus there are baby leaves to be culled all the time from the bases of the big chard plants. we will have a nice weekly supply for quite a while, if we get enough rain to keep them sweet.


the funny old celeriac is maturing nicely; we have about a half dozen of these fascinating roots this year. i love their flavor in so many dishes; it adds a great dimension to soups made from pureed root vegetables.

i don’t have a photo of my gigantic butternut squashes, but i’m so bummed—they were so gorgeous and blemish free until today, when i see they each have little bites taken out by some nasty critter (probably a skunk). don’t be skeeved out, but i’m thinking i might just take them in and cut off the parts that are nipped (with a very big margin, i promise). i hate to see such big beautiful winter squash go to waste. does anyone else do this and is it ok??

the squirrels have been stealing tomatoes i know, but i don’t think the are the culprits behind this; i think it’s something bigger—a “squash buckling” skunk or possum, possibly a raccoon. ugh, disgusting.


thank heavens for flowers. this is my alkanet plant that i bought at wooster in may as a little sprite of a thing. david had to move it to a pot because it was taking over his poppy bed.


it doesn’t seem to have cramped its style any, hehe.


ok, now we have a couple of exciting things coming up for you in the next couple of days. on friday we will release my new atlantique pattern—a cool top with a pretty buttoned neck finish to knit in hempshaugh lace. wear alone or with layers; with sleeves or without.

and with the way the weather is heading, we’re going to want one of these for a while yet.


erica has put together a kit with yarn and pattern; quantities are limited, so don’t dilly dally if you’ve got your heart set on this one (i don’t mean to sound pushy; we really don’t have all that much of this yarn—it’s popular!). i believe we are restocking as fast as we can, but the laceweight is spun in very small batches; we can only get a certain amount each month.


and THEN on monday, our friend carol feller will be contributing a guest blog to tell you about her new book—short row knits. she’s going to discuss some strategies for dealing with fear of short rows and techniques for making your short rows look their best.

and you never know, there just might be a book giveaway . . . actually i have it on good authority that there definitely will be one—spread the word!

alright now, off to get that atlantique pattern up and write a post about it. see you soon.


look who decided to show up

Friday, August 28th, 2015


hey, remember me? do you recognize me? i know i’ve been terribly negligent; we’ve been very short-handed around here lately and i’ve been hard at work on myriad projects all at the same time.

i feel like i talk about the monster that is our garden a LOT, so let’s start with knitting stuff and slowly work over to the back yard situation.


you may have seen his already, but our good friend romi has designed and knit the most striking shawl in our stone soup DK yarn—just two skeins in two shades will make you one swoop shawl (thank you romi!!). rosemary used river rock and pumice, but there are several possibilities for great pairing. we are a bit low on the popular stone soup yarns at the moment, but we will be restocked near the end of september—just in time for serious sweater knitting.


swoop is knit mostly in garter stitch with insertions of mesh wedges. i love how the ends of the short row shaping create those radiating dashes. it reminds me of the neon in times square or parts of the chrysler building.


the mesh wedges along one side are airier and allow light to come through, like a crooked venetian blind, haha. though it’s knit in DK weight yarn, you can see how light and airy it is in these photos; our yarn is cozy and warm but very light for its substance. you can purchase swoop in romi’s ravelry pattern shop either as a single pattern or as part of her 7 small shawls; year 5: asymmetry collection.

by the way, rosemary also has just released a book with interweave press, inspired by her new home in nevada—new lace knitting: designs for wide open spaces. the eBook is available now and the print version will become available in september.


as you can see from the above photo, i’ve been up to some finishing work; that’s my sleeveless hemp top in my lap as i wove in the final ends last night.


i actually completed all the knitting about three weeks ago—i can’t believe it’s taken me all that time to get the finishing work done but there you have it.


a neck finish here, then distracted for a few days; an armhole finish there, then pulled over to something else. and so it goes.


well finally, it’s done and this morning i gave it a nice sudsy bath in hot water. it’s drying now—in fact it’s time to turn and reshape it before a crease sets in.

ok, i’m back; that didn’t take but a few minutes and it’s a really good way to make the fabric look its best.

i did take a photo before i dunked it in the water. it will hang a little differently on me. this is a longer top with a looser, wider hem; the smallest part of the torso is at the high waist area (you can see the silhouette on the far left there). i think it will look great with shorts or skirts or slacks; i love it.


i had originally thought the neckline should be more voluminous but i changed my mind when i saw the way this simpler neckline tips out just a little. because it ended up simpler than i thought, i will probably lower the neckline about an inch in the final pattern.

we’ll try to get some photos over the weekend so you can see how it looks in real life, on a real person.


some time between finishing up the pieces of that top and getting the seams completed, erica and i left home to travel to the michigan fiber festival. it was supposed to be an adventure for david and me, but he got called away in the other direction at the last minute, so erica kindly stepped in.

we had a lot of foot traffic at this show and enjoyed visits from so many of our friends. it felt as if all day long we were chatting and helping people pick out projects (i love when a show is like that). so despite the almost treacherous heat, we had a good show and are looking forward to a few more in the near future.

first up, along with 20 other shops across northeast ohio we are participating in the yarn discovery tour from september 8 through 26. if you’ve been wanting to visit our shop, the 19 days of the tour is a great time because in addition to our regular hours and knit night, we will be open for extended hours: thursday/friday from 11 to 6 and saturday/sunday from 11 to 5. from the number of requests we have already received for passports, this should be a really fun time. every visitor receives a free pattern!

in just three weeks i’m teaching at windy knitty in chicago (sept 18 through 20). on friday evening i’ll present a trunk show and we’ll do a yarn tasting. on saturday we’ll have a lace project class (we’re knitting a sampler version of the bee fields shawl) and on sunday we’re tackling the finishing series—all great stuff; you should join us!

then during the first weekend of october, BNWs will be traveling just a couple of hours away to have a booth at the athens area fiber faire, which looks to be a terrific (and growing) show in a great college town. the organizers describe it like this:

Located in the scenic Hocking Hills region of southeastern Ohio, Athens in October is bustling with autumn activities. From our top-ranked farmers market, through our quaint uptown, to the gorgeous Ohio University campus, Athens offers an astounding variety of shopping, dining, hiking, biking, and sporting events for all ages. Only an hour from Columbus, and within 3 hours of Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh, Athens makes a wonderful day trip or weekend getaway spot. So spread the word and mark your calendars; we’ll look forward to seeing you in October!

after that, we are heading east to NYS for rhineneck weekend. though we did not get accepted to have a booth at the main show (WAAAHH!), we will once again participate in indie untangled on friday october 16 and will also host our annual kingston marriott popup shop on sunday afternoon and evening, october 18.


this year we are making the sunday event more of a salon/reception to treat our friends and customers to refreshments and offer a sneak peek at our next big company project. some of our favorite celebrity knitters will be on hand; so excited!

around here there is lots of knitting, even though it is a little erratic and i’m prone to a bit of project ADD. for one thing, i’ve had some secret knitting to do, which i can’t share for a while. i’ve been organizing some new projects to start—about four of them need to get on the needs ASAP if i’m going to make my next set of deadlines.


i did start one new project with this deliciously squishy vesta, a new yarn offering from spirit trail fiberworks—check out jen’s awesome new website—a chunky worsted merino that is SOoo squeezable and yummy, i look forward each day to my knitting time with it. it’s as good as chocolate, i swear.

with it i am designing a longer jacket type sweater. i don’t want to tell you too much til i have enough knit to show you—i think it makes a better impact that way. but i can tell you it revolves around some really beautiful cabling. and the cool thing is that the pattern will translate to another chunky, smoothy favorite of mine—our chebris worsted. yum.

more on this project in the near future . . .


in our monday class, susie, debby, and debbie S. are all closing in on finished blanket statement projects. susie, in the foreground, is whipstitching her better breakfast strips together into the large version of the blanket. they are so gorgeous; even i’m jealous. debby and debbie are knitting the last strip of their blankets, so they will be joining soon.

so, is anyone out there as distracted as i am by the incredible wealth of produce we are having right now?? as if my own garden wasn’t enough, i’ve succumbed to peaches . . .


i mean. how could i not? i didn’t really need a lot of peaches for freezing, but we’ve been enjoying them for breakfast every day that we can. i’ve baked a couple of pies and plan to pick up more at the farmer’s market this weekend so i can bake one to bring to my mom next week.

and in addition to those there is the most fantastic corn this year.


which is making its way into our freezer as well.


home frozen corn is about a hundred times better than even the best store bought and so easy to do. this is another thing i’d like to get just a little more of—maybe one more dozen.


fruit and corn are the only items that i’ve had to buy elsewhere—we are getting much more than we need from our own back yard (YAY!). squash, greens, and beans still going strong; in fact i’ve been picking about fifteen pounds of beans each week since they started, with no reduction in sight.


as you can see, the tomatoes also started coming in; i’ve been cooking a pot of puree every couple of days. also lots of eggplant and peppers, which are super sweet this year and tasty. BTW, these two hauls were only a day or so apart (and you wonder why i’ve been scarce?).


my other favorite way to put up tomatoes is to roast them with garlic in the pan, then process. this makes a puree with a more intense flavor and color—great for pizza or any sauce that requires bolder ingredients.


when we got back from michigan there was a monster of a squash in the garden; i could hardly believe how big after just a few days away (must’ve been all that sun).


my acorn squash plant succumbed to some malady or other, but at lest it had a few nice sized squashes on it before it went. these are stored away now in the basement. my butternut squash continues to expand throughout the garden in the bloom of good health; the winter squashes on the vine are enormous.


besides the pie i plan to bake early next week, i’ve got a box going to bring to my mom—garlic, fresh dug potatoes, a butternut squash, and whatever else i can unload onto her unsuspecting self think of that she might like.


definitely some peppers and tomatoes and definitely a big bag of green beans (hehehe).

last friday i went outside just to peek and see if anything needed immediate attention and when i realized i still hadn’t pulled the onions, i thought i should do that—the tops had been laying down for at least a week and we were having a nice dry sunny day.


well, it didn’t take any time at all to pull them and they started drying right away.  but once i was done i thought, hmm, i’ve been meaning to plant some fall greens to make a salad bed where the garlic was and now i have a second empty spot—maybe i should do that before too many weeds set in.


so i started smoothing the dirt on those two mounds and as soon as my rake went into the soil a bit, i hit potatoes. now, i and been wondering how the potatoes were coming along this year and curiosity got the best of me so before i knew it, i pulled a plant up. attached to the end were two enormous potatoes and several smaller ones. mmm, potatoes.

well as it happened, there were several plants sort of kind of in the way of making a really nice long bed of beets, so i puled those few plants up as well—now i had several nice bakers and a decent basket of little ones to make something with.


i planted my seeds alright—some spinach, some beets (mostly for the tops; they are my favorite greens), and a whole mix of seeds jumbled together in the other bed for hearty salad greens.


i am thinking that if we continually cut the leaves of these plants when they are no more than 4 inches in length, we will have  avery steady supply of “power greens”, our favorite salad mix.

the seeds sprouted within just  a few days and already there are straight rows of red and green seedlings to watch (i’ll post pictures when they get just a little bigger; they don’t photograph well yet.


over the last week i’ve been working on a big pattern project for a deadline, but on saturday night i finally said, enough—i need to get out of this chair and into the kitchen. i pulled all of the last few days produce out of the fridge drawer and got to work on a HUGE pot (my 16-quart one) of ciambotta for  freezing. everything that went into it—tomatoes, eggplant, squash, onions, peppers, garlic, celery, basil, oregano, and potatoes—was from the garden, except for the carrots.

omg, it was SO good. luckily we had company last night for dinner and even more lucky, the meal was already cooked.


recently, someone remarked to me that one of their all-time favorite blog photos was the one i showed several years back of t=my freezer at the end of summer. well, it’s not quite the end of summer and i’m reserving space on the top shelf for more tomatoes, but as you can see, we are filling up steadily. everything is pretty systematic—a little of each item near the front so we can access them all, but by necessity, plenty behind that front layer too. the bottom shelf is mostly for ready made dishes, so that area rotates more frequently as we use up soup, casseroles, curries, and stews, then replenish them. the door (which you can’t see here) has racks of bags containing greens and beans.

still some work to do to get it filled to the brim . . .


and now, i think i hear a big bag of beans calling my name—time to do some topping i think.