Archive for the ‘projects’ Category

oh boy

Sunday, October 11th, 2015


it’s all about friends, right? our weekend at the athens fibre faire was filled with them, thank goodness.


after driving in the rain most of friday afternoon and unloading the truck in a downpour, the rest of our setup went smoothly and we managed to put together a pretty booth


at least, that was what a lot of shoppers told us as they approached our corner and were drawn in.


we like to create outfits to showcase all the shades of our natural color yarns and how well they layer with each other. there’s so much to choose from! i dunno, maybe it’s an extension of dressing up barbie dolls, which i loved so much as a girl—i would sew up new outfits for them, one after the other and dress them in a different one for every hour of their day. poor dears . . .

well, at least it prepared me for something; you know how i hate to waste time, haha.


anyway, we had many visits from wonderful knitters who loved our aesthetic and our yarns; i am always grateful when others share their enthusiasm and support for our brand and the producers behind it. kelly here follows the blog, has knit several of my designs, and has also purchased a few different BNWs; she not only appreciates knowing where the yarn comes from, but is sincere fan of the quality and beauty of the projects she completes with them.


we also very much enjoyed getting to know our neighbors, sarah and her daughter from my sarah’s sweets. and guess what her daughter’s name is? anne—who wanted to learn to knit.

well, of course we hit if right away and toward the end of saturday, i had a chance to sit down with her to get started. the only spare yarn and needles i had were in my own project but i figured, what the heck and got her going on the purl stitch first, since that was the row i was doing.


well, she blew me off the map, i’m telling you. not only did she get the purl stitch right away, but when we turned the row to start on the knit side, she immediately observed that a knit stitch is just a purl stitch done backwards. how about that? she learned so fast that i even had her doing the yarnovers and k2togs that are part of the pattern. knitting lace didn’t phase her at all—just part of the learning curve. erica looked on agog; she has been working up the courage to start knitting lace but has not yet tried it.

i am totally keeping the two rows that anne knit in my project—first of all they are perfect and second of all, it’s a gift knit and i think it’s really cool that this good karma is part of it.


the next morning we reconvened and this time we brought an extra ball of kent DK we had at the hotel and opened a set of needles for her to work with on her own.


we cast on 96 sts for a simple cowl in garter stitch and stockinette and sat back to knit together (clearly, not without some iPad silliness). can you believe how relaxed she is with her work already? the show was a bit slow on sunday so we had a lot of time to work; we were all impressed with how many hours in a row this kid can knit! when it was time to pack up to go, she had completed about five rows of her garter stitch hem. i hope she will write to me from time to time and let me know how it’s going!


after a weekend away, it’s always hard to choose between dealing with the overgrowth in the garden and the overgrowth in my email box. but this week the garden won out because my computer was in the shop til thursday.


that gave me a bit of reprieve to put up the nearly half bushel of tomatoes that had accumulated in my ripening area (and to be replaced by another big batch that was waiting on the vines).

we had a lot of everything else too, which we ate all week, yum, yum! my favorite from this week was pasta puttanesca with roasted tomatoes and garlic, eggplant, peppers, capers, olives, and codfish. deLISH!


we are also picking wonderful baby power greens as often as we can use them—i’m so glad i planted that little cutting garden in august. fresh spinach, tiny zen greens, mei qing choi, and pak choi, red chard, beet greens, and erbette. we are fond of making large salads for dinner with salmon or tuna.

david also dug up the potatoes and sweet potatoes while i was away—these drying on the porch for a few days before being stored away. i already stole a few to cook with and they are amazing.


speaking of cooking, last night and this morning i put together a huge pot of winter squash soup, using everything from the garden—butternut and acorn squash, garlic, celeriac, sweet potatoes, yellow potatoes, celery, onions, and parsnips. i put aside a big container to bring with us to rhinebeck for our friday evening meal after the indie untangled show. everyone decided they wanted to eat in that night. i’ll bake some gluten free cornbread to go with it; i think that will be a great combination. with cheese and apples from the hudson valley? heaven!


progress shot of our freezer—nearly full now. there are a few little nooks and crannies left, but the garden is winding down and next weekend we expect frost. so i think we paced it just right . . .


i even remembered to make something to give back—roasted squash seeds for the birds.


the rest of the week has been a beehive of activity to get ready for our events at rhinebeck and to release the vendange sweater design. barb brought her completed short version to knit night on wednesday—isn’t it great?


yesterday was so gorgeous, we took both versions out for a walk downtown to take photos with emily, who rocks it way better than i do.


everyone is SO excited about this pattern release—jen is ramped up with vesta ready to sell in the spirit trail booth at the show and we will release the pattern in time for downloading to take in your shopping bag.


long or short, it’s a wonderful coat for fall and winter—easy and quick to knit too, so you could have your own by thanksgiving.


and for those who’ve been awaiting a glimpse of the coat in our chebris worsted—here it is! barb dropped it off after church today so i could take on the finishing work (we make a great team don’t we?). she was worried about the length so i reblocked the body and it worked out just right.


i’ve got my work cut out for me this afternoon and evening; knit the collar, add the button band, and sew in the sleeves. if i get it done by tomorrow afternoon, i will wash it, too. i’ll take photos first so you can see it on the mannequin . . .

this is the small size again, this time knit in chebris worsted in the frappé shade—a frosty café au lait color that is to DIE FOR.


she and i went through our store stock of moving mud buttons and found these—they look like chips of ice down the front. perfect. sarina is making a set of 1-inch size that i can pick up from her and sew on next weekend. it’s all pulling together!


meanwhile, over at the office, erica and kiran are busy getting things ready to roll out on thursday. we have a truck to pack and plenty to do, but i will be back to blog before then.










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.