Archive for the ‘projects’ Category

ba-a-ah-d blogger

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

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i know—there is no excuse for telling you i’d be back in a few hours and then disappearing for a week, like a bad boyfriend! hopefully you will accept a peace offering of my favorite rhinebeck photo.

i mean, a nun walking a goat?? i had to bring that one home for you.

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the rest of our wool show weekend was very, very fun. i worked in my friend chris’s booth for the part of saturday, but after that, i got to shop for kimkimkim and visit with friends at our annual picnic.

after some knoshing and visiting, josée handed around the swap packages and we all unwrapped our gifts—time to see whether my swap recipient liked her shawl . . .

i didn’t sign my card so at first, she didn’t know who the heck she was paired with. then she noticed that erica and i were furiously snapping photos as she looked into there bag. i love that moment when she finally caught on about what we were up to, haha

well, she was surprised for sure—yvonne had just one a prize at our grand opening celebration a couple of weeks earlier, so this was a double treat for her. in fact, at the GOP, i tried to get her to tell me what her favorite design was, but she said it was the dutch tiles blanket and i wasn’t up for knitting that in time for the swap, haha.

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anyway, yvonne likes this one pretty well, i think.

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and i got a perfect-for-me little les abeilles triangle scarf from lynn, my swap partner

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i love it—the colors in it are really beautiful to look at and it’s knit from bugga! she included a hilariously appropriate card as well

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don’t you just love it?

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i think everyone was really happy that day; many thanks to josée for organizing the swap which added such a fun and endearing component to our annual picnic. i hope we do it again next year . . .

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after lunch i was able to wander around a bit with anne marie, who was at rhinebeck for the first time. she and barb had spent quite a bit of time shopping in the morning, so i had some catching up to do.

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i picked up a sweater quantity of sea pearl while working in the briar rose booth that morning—i wear my blümchen so much that i feel a need for a second sweater knit with this superb yarn. it’s so versatile—warm enough for chilly fall weather, but light enough for springy days too. and it’s dressy, too—but not so much that i can’t wear it with jeans and active wear. this is a fresh new colorway for chris, which i snapped up the moment i saw it.

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and then i found these two skeins of her polwarth/silk blend which i was going to put in kim’s bag, but then decided i had to keep instead (i’m going to try to squeeze a sweater out of it). at this point, i didn’t know yet that my swap partner was knitting me something in the same colorways, but it’s uncanny, isn’t it?

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for kim, i got a sweater quantity of spirit trail sunna like the top skein here—a new colorway called faerie wood. and then i got her some nona lace yarn in that aMAZing turquoise color called corfu (my skeins are all in the birte base)

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that faerie wood was popular with our group—we ALL went home with some; sarah in verdande, barb in sunna, and me with the birte. barb got right to work of course and is knitting up the sculling cowl with her sunna—a great choice. i think kim’s batch is a bit more green, which will be nice for a sweater fabric.

i also got her a surprise purchase (hey, she said “no limit” and i’d barely made a dent!) of something a little heavier to knit into a great big winter cowl or cozy accessory for herself—she lives in a snowy climate now, she’s going to need it.

i actually thought about keeping the surprise yarn to knit her something for christmas, but then did a reality check and decided it probably wasn’t going to happen and keeping it would be a waste because it’s something she’s going to love.

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after the show we stopped off in town to visit our favorite boot shop, where we all actually found something to love. we won’t divulge how many pair of boots barb managed to buy, but suffice it to say that she earned a “free” gift. i found some awesomely comfy laceup shoes that are perfect for long teaching and travel days or when we are doing a booth (and when i linked just now, i might have bought a second pair online. so barb isn’t the only shoe sucker you know).

that night we decided to grab a quick dinner, get back to our cottage afterward, and into our jammies for another evening of knitting.

i worked some more on my color work cowl while we all admired each other’s purchases.

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on sunday morning, anne marie and i went back to the show for her last morning with us. with fewer crowds, we got to wander in a more relaxed fashion, stop in to say hi to friends, and get a closer look at the wares remaining in the barns.

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now, you know and i know that i should never go anywhere near the bedfellows blankets booth, but that’s exactly what i did, first thing we got into the big building. peggy hart always has something special and this year it was this bold gray/cream/red throw in a sturdy weave that made use of an over-twisted gray merino yarn, unsuitable for other purposes.

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the high twist creates a texture and density that pushes it to the background, allowing the lighter cream yarn to rise to the surface.

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anne marie bought a lighter throw made from the same yarn in peggy’s log cabin pattern, like the one i purchased a few years back

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but hers is in that unusual textured gray. while we were in the booth another person popped in because she had seen peggy’s blankets on my blog in other years; hurray!

while everyone was chatting, i spied another piece i instantly fell in love with. a lightweight throw just perfect for summertime napping. i don’t know about you, but i can’t sleep well without some kind of covers, even in summer. this year i was longing for a very light linen blanket, something to cover, but not hot (linen is so great for that).

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this sahara cotton/linen throw is exactly the thing; just gazing across its surface makes me feel cool and restful. after swearing i was done, somehow i became distracted and my check writing hand bought it behind my back. what could i do?

after this we left the building and made a trip to the car—blankets are far too heavy to carry around the fair. it was on the way back that we ran into sister mary elizabeth and her goat; what a hoot (or a bleet as it were).

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i just wish i could remember the goat’s name.

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another booth i really enjoyed was the germond metal works, where jesse and hallie germond were enjoying an exciting first year at the show. they produce beautiful metal sculpture and functional metalwork goods, such as weather vanes, signs, fireplace screens and other household fixtures.

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these two are completely charming and their work is really cool. i have been wanting a weather vane for our garage for many years and as soon as we can get a new roof on that building, i’m hoping to add one of these to it.

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i LOVE the striped bass. or the pig. or maybe a sheep is more appropriate. but of course, an olive is always a possibility, too. (this is why we don’t have a weather vane yet; you have to choose).

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i really wanted to get this rooster for kim and kade, but i wasn’t sure they’d want it and my text didn’t go through. i figured they could buy it online if they see it here and like it that much. i like how it’s made in pieces and joined with studs, so it looks a little mechanical, like frankenrooster.

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since all the sheep were gone by then, i settled on a smaller standing hen sculpture which i’ve been enjoying as an addition to our dining area. it’s folk art, but modern; i love it! but it may migrate to the shop in due time, as it would be beautiful next to our yarns.

next year i plan to get there early for a sheep . . .

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by now we had to make our way over to kingston to get ready for the opening of our popup shop at the marriott and so anne marie could be on her way home. we hated to see her go; it was SO MUCH fun that she joined us this year.

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all the night before, erica had been hard at work in the hotel conference room, setting up our shop. it looks GORGEOUS when we arrived; i was so excited when i saw it. there she is, wearing the danger cowl that she received in our picnic swap, knit for her by barb in our ecobutterfly organic cotton worsted, colors deep green and sage. it’s so soft; erica barely took it off for the whole rest of our trip.

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with the popup ready to go we ran around looking at the yarns as if we’d never seen them before, haha. anne marie decided to knit another color work project, bogolan by Elizabeth Davis, a very clever and modern design that met with immediate approval from all of us.

we pulled some of our new confection sport for her to work with and then off she went to home.  we missed her instantly . . .

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but she sent photos just  a few days later of her bogoaln progress and wow, it’s even better than we thought it would be. as with many of our yarns, the loft in the confection can cause a fabric to feel a bit stiff if knit on needles smaller than size 6US (4.0 mm) or so, especially in color work. i’ve been using it on size 7 to 8US (4.5 to5.0 mm) needles for my recent projects. anne marie found she had to size up too, but then was able to work one less repeat in height to make up for that.

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picking out the yarn for bogolan reminded me of a new two-tone design i’d been itching to start knitting on and while anne marie picked out her yarn, barb and i picked out two-tone sets for the new design. i’m using stone soup DK for mine, in travertine and river rock. as you can see i’ve placed a lifeline at the top of the hem so i can go back later and add a cashmere lining. not that the stone soup needs it, but i thought it would be a good chance to do a series of tutorial photos—hopefully for a post early next week, for those that have been waiting.

one of the tasks on my to-do list for today is to write up the pattern so barb can get going on her sample, in kent DK . . . driftwood and white sand, i think. but more on that later . . .

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back to the party, however—it was a wonderful night! so many people came to shop and visit with us; i always really enjoy meeting knitters who love our yarns and designs. i just wish i could remember to write down their names; isn’t that what smart phones are for?

now for the next three days we convened our after party retreat, with classes, outings, knitting nights, and more—i’ll be back next time to fill you in on all the details; it was another wonderful event.

eight days a week

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

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oh my, what a week! and one full of smiles, i might add. it was so, SO good to reunite with wonderful friends during our week abroad at the big wool show.

i had totally planned to blog before this, but one disadvantage of being constantly on the go is that anything i might plan has potential to be sabotaged. for instance, while i did have wi-fi at the hotel, i couldn’t connect to the internet from sunday through wednesday. we finally figured that issue out just in time for me to move on to my next destination, haha.

ETA: and see? just when i was getting into the meat of THIS post, we lost internet at my mom’s, thus delaying it once again. sorry!

shall we back up a bit and start from the beginning? i promise there is some fun knitting to be seen all the way back there . . . in fact you might remember me mentioning a couple of secret projects i had going, yes?

well one or two of course were the october projects for our bare naked wools club and you can click here to peek at those (spoiler alert). in the two weeks before i left for rhinebeck i put the finishing touches on those and also worked on my secret rhinebeck swap project

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which would be revealed at our annual knitspot meetup picnic on saturday at the fair. this was my very first swap—talk about pressure! i didn’t know much about my giftee until a few weeks before the date, so i procrastinated a bit in getting started, waffling about what to make.

 

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when i finally realized who exactly she was, my plan took shape. originally, i wanted to make this shawl with shades of stone soup fingering yarn, but when i realized i knew more about my person’s taste, i decided to do some of the stripes in purple.

ETA: what a dope! i forgot to say that the pattern i chose is bayleaf and lime in size petite.

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i pulled a skein of woolen rabbit pearl sock yarn from my work stash (i think it’s colorway lady slipper, but the tag is back home, so i’m not positive). since it’s a tight twist sock yarn, it has a nice round profile with lots of polish; a nice complement to the flannel soft, tweedy surface that stone soup fabric has. i used about three ounces of stone soup fingering yarn in granite, and about two ounces in slate in slate, plus about two ounces of the purple sock yarn and i knit on size 6US (4.0 mm) and 5US (3.75 mm) needles.

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after our grand opening even was concluded, i got down to business and completed a serious amount of knitting during the drive to and from yarn in the barn. this shawl knits up very quickly and because of that, it’s quite a fun project. even though i was concurrently designing and knitting half a dozen color work cowls and two of the october club projects (plus creating the book chapter to go with them), i managed to get my shawl completed and blocked over the weekend before we left for new york. i remembered to snap a photo of the finished UNblocked shawl (above)

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so you could see what a difference it makes. i know you already know this, but the transformation still makes me go “wow” every time i stretch and block lace.

because i used bigger needles and a bit more yarn than the original pattern calls for, the finished size was also bigger—about 21 by 58 inches

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i’m pretty good at predicting what will work, but i really wasn’t sure i was going to love—or even like—this piece until i saw it all stretched out. maybe it’s because i’ve been working more with neutral combinations (though certainly not exclusively) but i kept wondering if the purple was too much of a contrast.

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once it was stretched however, the color impact was considerably balanced when the gray tonal variations and rich brocade textures were brought out in the fabric (i always loved the combined textures in this shawl!).

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isn’t she lovely?

i wrapped it up with some additional goodies and crossed my fingers that the recipient would love it  as much as i did. then i proceeded to plan my next project around this idea—i was really taken with the look and how much fun it was to create.

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the next one will be knit in that raspberry/chocolate combination of yarns i showed you in my last post. i packed everything i needed to get started, but well, so far i haven’t begun. i had to process my idea a little more; i was overwhelmed at first with possible motifs to go with. i’m just about there and have decided at least what the hem will be so i will most likely start that when i arrive home.

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so last thursday, with everything that could fit packed into the truck (thank you david!), sarah, barb, and i bundled ourselves into our vehicles to head eastward.

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in twenty minutes we were at starbucks, a necessary pitstop.  after that though, it was all business—we wanted to get there as quickly as possible.

i am very lucky and grateful that sarah drove the whole way, while i knit on a color work cowl sample for my classes the next week. i know that sound incredibly irresponsible to have left it to the last minute, but i have a good excuse!

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this is knit in our new confection sport yarn and we actually hadn’t received all the shades i needed until just before we left (in fact, one shade that i wanted to use never came til after we left, so i altered my design to suit). sigh—never a dull moment, i tell ya.

anyway, thanks to sarah taking the wheel for the day, i was able to get really far along on this project, having been all the way down in the bottom ribbing at the start of our trip.

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after dropping the truck off with erica in kingston, we piled into barb’s car and headed for our little cottage on the other side of the river.

after settling in and grabbing a quick bite at a cute cafe in red hook, the three of us settled in for an evening of knitting and chatting. sarah was working through a strömming cap knit in bulky yarn (she just knit the smallest size, using fat yarn and 6 mm needles). it took all of a few hours and turned out so cute, but i never got a photo. maybe she’ll post it to her ravelry project page?

the next day was a big one, so we turned in early to get our beauty rest. we started with a visit to the fairgrounds to drop off various items with vendors, from samples to printed patterns.

we had a nice visit with jen and her team at spirit trail as well as the briar rose family (hugs all around!). i’m not saying if by chance we happened to get a preview of the wares that would be available to everyone on saturday—we might have . . .

then it was on to the CIA for our annual lunch date with friends nathalie and mary, to catch up on all the news with them and talk knitting (they are bot incredible knitters). anne marie was joining us for the reminder of the weekend as well, starting with this meet up at CIA.

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our dear kimkimkim couldn’t make it rhinebeck this year (WA-AH!), but i channeled her in by ordering multiple desserts. unfortunately i could’ eat either of these (clearly, i’m no match for her skills at dessert or shopping, but i try). i did eat them later in the weekend over several sittings.

we had a lovely and delicious lunch (butternut squash soup = A++++).  the weather was absolutely sparkling for once—it usually rains buckets the day before the wool show. and this was our last bit of relaxation for a while—the rest of the afternoon and evening was jam-packed with activities.

first thing after lunch, barb and sarah had to get back to kingston to join erica O. in setting up our display for the indie untangled event. anne marie and i headed back to the house to drop her things and then snuck in a quiet coffee and a bit of chocolate (see? i can eat dessert! i just have to make it it’s own meal)

back to kingstone to drop anne marie off; i actually had attend the romney growers association meeting for the evening. which was very interesting—i got to met several of the producers who provide romney wool for our kent yarn line.

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it was terribly dark so i couldn’t get a great photo, but you might remember devlin here, because i mentioned him in the post i wrote about the creation of our kent yarn. well, he won the romney growers scholarship this year—yay devlin.

by the time this event ended at 9:30 or so, the event across the river was also finished. i checked in with my pals and we decided to meet up back at the cottage for wine, snacks, and knitting. and of course swapping stories and relaxing if possible.

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this turned into a late night session of hilarity as we roasted kimkimkim in the ravelry threads for a couple of hours (serves her right for abandoning us). seriously, i’ve never seen anne marie laugh so much or so hard.

ok, this has got to be continued later—i need to go out with my mom; we’re seeing a movie today

back in a few hours with more

quick getaway

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

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phew, i really didn’t think i was going to make it to this point at a decent hour, but somehow the hour is here and i’m ready.

 

we are off to rhinebeck in the morning! barb, sarah, and i are riding caravan style—barb in her own vehicle with me and sarah in the cargo van that will be carrying the makings of our popup shop.

i’ve got a couple of class projects on the needles and a couple of secret projects and a couple of fun new design projects that are my treat for working so hard these last couple of weeks. more on those as they progress. . . sounds like a lot of knitting, i know, but i’ll be gone almost two weeks and i’ll have some time to knit with my friends as well as my mom—i’m going to stop up and visit her after our after party.

meanwhile, back at the ranch, david, emily, erica, and anastasia will be holding down the fort. my october chapter is done and dusted and will be released sometime around midnight on the 16th.

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these are the yarns i’ve picked for one of my new design projects. i’ve been playing around, mixing handed yarn with our bare naked yarns; between striping and patterning, i’ve been having a lot of fun with it. what i’ve got here for color is a beautiful skein of yarn spun by my friend phoebe and gifted to me for my birthday; i just love the raspberry and chocolate tones in it and when i put it next to our wools, it really pops.

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i can’t wait to cast on—i’m thinking maybe a crescent this time. or a triangle. or both. i’ve got a hankering for a new little neck scarf and i’m pretty fond of the little triangle shape, but maybe a crescent would be a nice change up . . .

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the other day we had a special guest in our monday knitting class—my friend jude spent some time with us and after he mentioned about twelve times the he wanted to learn to knit, i scrounged up some needles and yarn, sat him in the corner next to me and showed him a few tricks.

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wow, fastest learner i think i’ve ever taught; i just and to show him once or twice and he knit himself a whole row. but then it was time to go, but i’m pretty sure he’ll be back.

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he says he needs a hat. or a cowl.

alright now, time for me to get to bed. but please come to one of our fun weekend events at the wool show—there is indie untangled on friday evening, our knitspot lunchtime picnic on saturday at noon, our popup shop on sunday afternoon, and our retreat from monday through wednesday. all are welcome; see you at the fair!

Glentrekker

Friday, October 10th, 2014

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I have been anxiously awaiting the release of this cardi. Months ago, we sent Jen Hagan skeins of various Bare Naked Wools to swatch and explore. Breakfast Blend DK immediately struck her fancy.

She told me, “I knew right away I wanted to swatch some cables with it. The wool/alpaca blend is perfect for cables. Alpaca for softness and wool for definition.” After spending some time swatching and sending me sneak peeks, she finalized the design and chose Bakery Rye. She said, “It really is as scrumptious as rye – my favorite bread.”

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As she knit through the design she would release progress pics on Instagram making the knitting world just drool over the photos.

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Even the wrong side was gorgeous! And then, two months ago she posted this pic

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with the caption, “She’s all done, buttons and all! Now to finish writing the pattern and get some testers.” I wasn’t the only one dying to see the finished piece! Test knitters were clamoring for a chance to work on this design.

Throughout this process Jen and I kept in touch and she shed some light on the design.

How did your design come to fruition?

The yarn often tells me what to do. It’s the boss of me sometimes. The Glentrekker came to me as a perfect use of this lovely yarn. The structure of the cardigan took some twists and turns (haha), but I finally decided to let it be simple. The garment structure is pretty traditional.

How is BB DK different than other yarns you’ve designed with?

I love that this is American-made fiber and I am working with another small business in this project. Teamwork! Also, the yarn is of exquisite quality. I don’t remember encountering one single knot and I was able to work felted joins for the entire sweater, leaving few ends to weave when I was done. The fabric washed and blocked out gorgeously. The whole project was a delight.

I am pleased to introduce Glentrekker by Jen Hagan, a limited edition Bare Naked Wools kit.

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The allover cable detail is strategically placed in this raglan design for intrigue and flatter, complete with a shawl collar it is a super comfy design to wear this fall and even into cold winter days with a scarf or cowl.

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Plus, Jen also designed a hat as a great accompanying piece, an idea inspired by her hero Elizabeth Zimmerman. “In her book The Opinionated Knitter, the instructions for her Leaflet #6 Circular Aran Sweater state ‘I shall not ask you to make the hated swatch, but a useful cap, which will familiarize you with the patterns, and give you a perfect gauge.’ What an excellent idea!”

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Kits are available in five colors of Breakfast Blend DK here and the first 30 kit customers get the sweater and hat patterns for FREE! Grab one here.

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Need buttons for your cardi? We have shell and glass options here.

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And, in case you haven’t heard, we now stock ChiaoGoo needles in our online store! Shop sizes here.

Join us for the After Party next weekend in New York and you can see these pieces in person! They will be on display Oct 19-21 in the popup store. Want to make sure you snag a kit during the After Party? Order your kit online today, make a note on your order that you want to pick it up in New York, and we will pack it in the van!

I’m super pleased to announce that Jen will also be hosting a KAL in the Bare Naked Wools ravelry group. You can choose the Glentrekker cardi or hat, or both! Cast on begins November 1 and runs through February 1. Join the fun here.

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And HAPPY I LOVE YARN DAY to everyone! Go ahead and give some a yarn a squeeze and cast something new on. Enjoy!