Welcome to the New Blog Page

Posted on 21 CommentsPosted in projects

Finally after years of procrastination and inability to decide what design direction to take, we present to you our new look. A slightly bolder design, with more of an emphasis on images. Note the slider above, here we will feature new patterns/yarn, clubs and upcoming events, never miss what is happening at Knitspot and Bare Naked Wools again. Speaking of new events, the first installment of Bare Naked Knitspot 2017 will ship to international members this coming Monday, US members the following Monday. Still a few spots available, join here. Roll out of Ensemble continues, 3 or 4 more patterns in the offering, if you are not receiving the newsletter, you can signup here and be among the first hear about a new Ensemble release. Enjoy.

ps: We have a homeless dog homesteading in our compost pile, could be lost or abandoned, but no tags. Very skittish and fearful, runs when approached, ergo the blurry photo. A medium/small sized dog, the face is oddly mature looking to me, but the body seems youthful and dog is fast. Trapping seems a bit cruel, but may be the only practical solution. We may end up adopting our first dog if all ends well. On the other hand, a rather special site to see a dog living in relative freedom and independence on it’s own terms. Appreciate any advice from anyone that has actually experienced this sort of situation.

Yarn Close Up: Kent

Posted on 8 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, projects, yarn and dyeing

Around this time of year, I find myself reaching towards the DK and Worsted weight yarns more than any other. While I enjoy lighter weight yarns year round (and you know that Anne does), I think that there’s something about the chilly weather hitting the Northern Hemisphere that makes me want to knit with something warm, wooly, and a little bit thick. During a recent visit to the Bare Naked Wools headquarters in Canton, OH, I found myself being drawn to Kent, which luckily happens to come in both of these weights. There’s something about the way this yarn is plied that just keeps me enthralled, and today, I’m going to explore the why of it a little more.

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ANATOMY OF A YARN

Kent’s worsted and dk structures are more or less the same. The fiber is a blend of 60% Merino wool and 40% Romney. You might know about Merino – most knitters do – but Romney is often mistakenly classified as a ‘rug wool’ or sadly labeled as ‘scratchy’. It’s true that some Romney wools are scratchy, but not the one in this blend. I honestly couldn’t have told you it was Romney from first touch. Did you know that when Romney wools are dyed, they lose some of their inherent softness? Even high quality Romney feels like a totally different fiber when it’s been dyed by the best of the best. You really haven’t experienced this wool until you’ve felt it in a near-natural state (like Kent!).

The yardage is great on this yarn – 220 yards on the Worsted, and 300 yards for our DK. One of the things we always like to stress to anyone buying Bare Naked Wools is that our yardage often stretches a bit further than your average skein, given that each of the yarns can be knit at many different gauges. You could try the worsted in an aran weight gauge, for instance, or bring the DK down for an incredibly lofty Sport weight feel. That’s why we show a wider range of needle recommendations, too. (8 – 10 US needle for the worsted, and anywhere from a 3 – 7 for the DK!)

Kent is a two ply, and one of the squishiest two plies I’ve ever used — the plies nestle up against each other and when the swatch (or garment) is washed, fill up the empty space in a beautiful way. Because Romney is a longwool, it adds luster and shine to the supremely soft Merino, and adds a bit of drape to the finished fabric.

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SWATCHING

Like all Bare Naked Wools, our Kent benefits from a nice long soak in warm (or hot) water with a bit of wool wash (read how to make your own here.) Wool goes through a lot before it gets to you, and while we skip many portions of that process in favor of a more natural texture in our yarns, each skein has still sat on mill floors, been through spinning machines that likely deposited a bit of oil onto the yarn, and has been handled, then stored in plastic bags until it was shipped to you. It’s not that the skeins are dirty, in the same way that you aren’t necessarily dirty after a long trip, but don’t you — and your yarn — deserve a bit of freshening up time before you’re ready to be judged by someone new?

Anne recommends waiting until your hot water is completely cool before taking your swatches out of the bath, and then letting them soak again for a similar amount of time (no swishing needed) if your first bath is at all cloudy or tinted. After they’re removed, roll them out in a clean towel and squish some of the excess water from them, then vigorously ‘pop’ the swatch from all directions to really help those fibers bloom. Ever wonder why so many top-tier designers like to knit sweaters in pieces? It allows this type of movement of washed garments in a manageable way before they’re pinned out to dry in the correct measurements. I found that my swatches for Bloch Ness ended up telling me I needed to go down another needle size — something I never would have known without this crucial step.

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PROJECT PROPOSALS

Swatches completed, my first cast on for 2017 will be Anne’s Bloch Ness sweater. I’m knitting a size up to give myself a roomy, oversized fit. We’ll be recommending some of our favorite Kent patterns on social media this week, so be sure to follow along on our Facebook page or Instagram. The newest Ensemble, due to be released later this month, will also feature a few patterns in this deliciously springy wool.

In the meantime, if you’re searching your Ravelry queues for a new project, we can’t recommend Kent enough for anything that has a massive quantity of stockinette or knit-purl textured stitches or could use a bit of spring. While this yarn does do well with cables, lace, and everything in between, I’ve personally found that one of my favorite applications is mindless knitting – the pleasure of feeling this yarn between your fingers is enough to make any project more interesting.

Now excuse me, I have a sweater to knit!

tree hugger

Posted on 4 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, projects

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the holiday weekend was a good time to get a bunch of knitting done and while i have a few secret projects on the needle that i can’t share, i can tell you that i’m making excellent progress on my birches cardigan. last time you saw it i think it was just the start of the front.

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i’ve been sharing my birches progress on our instagram while posting more about the red scarf fundraiser here last week (i’ll catch you up on that in a minute). i’ve taken over our IG account in order to share photos more often—so if i haven’t blogged on a particular day, you can probably find me posting over there. sometimes it will overlap a bit but mostly not—i try to do more in-depth topics here on the blog, so still worth joining us here!

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the nice thing about this cardigan project is that in our stone soup DK—i’m knitting with the marble shade here—on size 8/5.0 mm needles, it knits up so incredibly fast. when i have an hour to knit, i can get a whole repeat of the cable pattern done (36 rows; not too shabby). now that i can see a quantity of fabric and with the distance of the camera lens, i am really liking the combination of cable and background texture.

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obviously this is not a birch tree, but i still enjoyed spotting that wavering texture in my back yard and then later, replicated in my knitting.

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i was soon at the underarm bind off, a milestone that i always celebrate with a little “yay” (in my head, not out loud, haha. unless i’m knitting with barb). there is something about reducing the stitch count by just a few that spurs me on.

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more progress on christmas morning; i really have to control how much i get off track from the deadline knitting i’m supposed to be doing, so i’ve had to limit my work on birches, even tho it would be SO easy to zoom ahead and finish it up. i know in my heart that finishing my obligations first will reward me with a relaxed frame of mind—or that’s what i tell myself anyway. and let’s face it, it’s ALL knitting, right? i’m so lucky that this is my job!

this is what it’s all about

Posted on 9 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, book reviews/events, designing, interviews, projects

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our red scarf fundraiser design—snow flies—knit by our dear friend barb. it looks like an ordinary scarf, one of hundreds you could choose to knit this season, but let me tell you how it is SO much more . . . and the most important $7 you could spend this holiday season.

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first, every cent from sales of this pattern through 12/31/16 will go into our scholarship fund. and if you are lovin’ on our red festivus 3.0 yarn as well, we are also donating a portion of the yarn and kit sales to the same fund (yes we have kits too, yay!)

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who knows, this could be the lifesaver you were looking for—a fast, fun project that can be finished by the 25th and make you  hero twice—once for a special student and once for that lucky recipient.

I always look forward to hearing from our sponsored student and from foster care to success, the organization that we work with to choose the student who will receive our scholarship.

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when our contact, tina raheem, wrote to me in august of this year, she included a photo of our previous recipient, brandy, taken during her study-abroad trip in florence. in this photo, it looks like she is visiting venice and is dressed for a masquerade; what a wonderful experience!

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in the same letter, she introduced me to our new scholarship recipient, jelissa and included a note from her as well.

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i was really REALLY touched to receive this beautifully written note from a young woman i hadn’t yet met or corresponded with. it gets right to the heart of what our scholarship is about—the safety net. here was a student who was faced unexpectedly with an extra year of school that she wasn’t sure how to pay for and there was our scholarship—the perfect fit (no pun intended, haha).

i asked permission to email jelissa myself, as i have done with our other recipients and got an immediate response:

I am so grateful for you and the Knitspot community for your generous donation to help further my education. If there’s anything you’d like to know about me, please feel free to ask. Just to start, I am 23 years old, from Dallas Texas (moved away when I was ten), currently living in Harlem, NY. I was placed in foster care at 13 years and aged out at 21. I graduated from the Borough of Manhattan Community College in December of last year, and will start classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology August 29th (fall semester).

Thank you again and I can’t wait to hear from you.
Jelissa Roberts

we had a little exchange of emails during the next few days and i liked her so much from what i read; i knew you all would love her too.

then a couple of weeks ago, i wrote to let jelissa know that our red scarf fundraising drive had begun and could she think about a photo essay to send us during this month to share with all of you. today, i received her photos and story, so here it is:

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I go to the Fashion Institute of Technology!! This is the 27th street & 7th Avenue entrance of my school.

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Just wanted to take a picture of one of our iconic yellow cabs.

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This is ME!!! I had a presentation for my AC111 class (Advertising and Promotions). My team and I did really well (I’m in Macy’s by the way, my school is pretty close by.)

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I took this in class before my professor came in!

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Here’s where I work; which happens to be Central Park!!
It’s called the North Meadow Recreation Center, located at 97th street Mid-Park. In the spring & summer I help out with the basketball clinics and tournaments, run my own fitness program, and join in on other programs in Central Park. Currently I’m running our Youth Hockey and Ice Skating clinics for the winter! I’ve been getting kids suited up in their hockey gear all week!

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I was on my way home, here’s a photo of the 145th street & St. Nicholas Station.

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AMC Times Square Movie theater! I got to see a free movie!

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I take this path to work every day.

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It’s me again, with my co-worker Joseph (we call him Cool Joey!). We’re on our way to the Annual staff holiday party.

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The holiday party is held at the Central Park Boathouse every year!

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Inside the party room.

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Thank you sooooo much for everything! I hope you enjoy the pictures!

isn’t she wonderful? thank you all who have purchased and contributed so far; we ALL really appreciate your kindness! doug tells me that our total so far is $2,050—and we’d like to get to $5000 this year so we’ve got a ways to go; please spread the word.

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and if you’ve been waiting a bit to see how the snow flies scarf turned out before diving in and purchasing, please know that the pattern is now final—those who have purchased can download a fresh copy and those who purchase now will receive the latest version.

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if you’d like a kit for a scarf/wrap size, click here; if it’s the stripey cowl you are after, click here—they are both available in our signature red festivus 3.0 or in beautiful natural shades (and kits or a pattern make a great gift!). tell your ravelry buds about it too or share on your Facebook, twitter, and instagram (with a link).

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if you purchase the pattern our site in order to donate a little extra, we will be happy to add the pattern to your rav library; just leave a note on your order and david will take care of that. that reminds me—once you’ve purchased, please join in on our red scarf KAL on ravelry in the knitspot mothership group!

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be back soon with my holiday week activities and knitting—see you then!