let’s catch up a bit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A new pattern and a good cause

Posted on 5 CommentsPosted in projects

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

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

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

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

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



Posted on 11 CommentsPosted in lace/shawls, patterns, projects

when we originally scheduled the release of this pretty eyelet cardigan—violet—we were thinking that march is the month when we begin seeing the tiny spring flowers. and while a crocus or two has turned its face to the sun and some buds were beginning to appear, march has mostly been the scene of this

not very springy outside, but we knitters know how to change our weather at will—start a new project or cast on a new yarn to make it any season we please!

and this design is so flexible—we’ve knit it in four of our favorite bare naked wools yarns and the possibilities don’t end there. today i’m going to talk about two cool-weather versions that we’ve created and in a few weeks, i’ll refresh your vision by showing you two more samples in our spring/summer yarns.

when i conceived the idea for this simple, but very versatile little sweater, i was anxious to knit with and show off our chebris lace yarn in the latest colorway, frappé, a complex, minky taupe shade that has beautiful depth. it looks great with the leaf and fagot scarf knit in soft ginny sport yarn from my lace lessons eBook (twelve lace scarves and variations).

the luxurious mohair fiber catches every glimmer of light that passes through the holes in the fabric, bringing the whole piece to life. soft against the skin and light as a feather, this option can be worn with confidence to the office over beautifully tailored skirt or slacks and later, to a fancy dress party when paired with a long skirt (especially when adorned with tiny glass buttons from moving mud). and don’t even get me started on the mayhem that’ll ensue when you wear it with black leather . . .

once i’d knit that first sample, i wasn’t done—all along i had also pictured it as a prim tweed vest and knew that our stone soup fingering yarn was the best bet for creating this look. and the first sample knit up so fast that i barely had time to get to know it well; i was totally up for a second one. i pulled a couple of skeins in our darkest shade, river rock, and cast on right away. it was a wonderful traveling companion during the fall teaching season.

whether your preference is fuzzy and soft, silky and shiny, simple and cottony, or warm and tweedy, we’ve got a yarn choice that will turn out beautifully for you.

shown above, violet cardigan in size small, knit in bare naked wools chebris lace, color frappé; buttons from moving mud.  the incredible yardage in this particular yarn means that you can make most sizes cardigan or vest with just two or three skeins.

shown below, violet vest in size small, knit in bare naked wools stone soup fingering yarn, color river rock and finished with brown agoya shell buttons from our online shop.

click here to view and purchase a kit for one of these great versions, or explore our shop for other yarn options.
click here to view pattern details in the knitspot yarn and pattern shop OR purchase on ravelry by clicking here (please purchase on ravelry if you’d like the pattern in your rav library).

pattern details are included on each product page.

i love the body shaping in this piece—just enough to give you a waist if you don’t quite have one, but not so much that it feels constrained or won’t button. its placement is set in from the side seams to smooth the torso and accent the bust area nicely.

even when you wear it loose and open, it has a lovely shape that falls toward the body and doesn’t sag unattractively. and if you really, really don’t like shaping, you can simply eliminate it and skip to the next step, easy-peasy.

it’s the perfect little spring sweater and one that will move gracefully throughout the seasons with your changing wardrobe. one easy-to-knit piece that barely looks the part, but is a workhorse for your wardrobe. add a small arsenal of equally easy-to-knit lace scarves—you can wear the cardigan more often and switch the look completely. and we have a fresh new crop of those, too.

i can’t wait to show you more samples of this design in our summer yarns! today it’s a bit chilly and snowy for that, but very soon, we’ll be panting for them and i’ll have your back.

amandine takes the cake

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in projects

thank you everyone who participated in the naming game for our new shade of cabécou brillant sport!

amandine took the prize for overall favorite, with crème brûlée and croquembouche tying for second place.

i guess we love our sweets around here, huh? and the winner of a trio of patterns is cynthia E; congratulations cynthia!

while i have knit quite a lot with our cabécou lace yarn, i have not knit a sizable project with the sport weight, which substitutes well for any of our DK weight yarns. because, while it has a slightly smaller diameter, once it blooms its gauge is similar to stone soup DK or better breakfast DK. it can be knit on needles of the size i would use for those yarns—as it is in the volta shawl or that luce stellare scarf i showed you the other day.

and as i was finishing up my birches cardigan, i got to thinking—i sure would love a copy of this sweater in that light and airy cabécou yarn. i can just imagine how soft and minky that shawl collar would feel around my neck and shoulders on a cold day. so as soon as our box of the sel gris shade was counted in and weighed up, i asked lillian to put aside a batch for me. i plan to cast on soon; i know barb is also anxious to knit one for herself in the amandine shade so we’ll have a little test knitting KAL while the pattern is prepared for publication.

meanwhile, i’ve got other projects brewing (always something new!). i had me a little swatching jam session to reset my brain after the ensemble rollout, in search of themes for summer and fall designs. this is the pile of unwashed swatches i ended up with, mostly revolving around two cable patterns.

absolutely loving this one in a variety of our fingering weight yarns. one of the things we strive to do with our yarn lines is to make them interchangeable in gauge so that several of the fingering weights can work in a single pattern; ditto for the sport, DK, and worsted weight choices. this allows our customer more latitude for expression and for using favorites in a variety of garments. it also makes our designs more versatile.

i’m not sure yet what kind of garment or series of pieces i’ll be designing with this cable, but over the next few months i’ll figure it out.

now i’ve been hankering to work with this cable ever since i spotted it in norah gaughan’s knitted cable sourcebook. such depth! such scale! so lush! i actually started out this whole effort in search of the perfect cable to knit a special fingering weight batch of our precious yarn blend (unfortunately, too small to even offer in our shop), but i could not resist trying it out in several fibers.

from left to right: the precious, then better breakfast fingering in the muesli shade (middle), and stone soup fingering in slate (right). i was hoping they would all knit to the same gauge but that precious blooms SO much, it’s more like a sport yarn. i just adore the cable in all three yarns, but i’m going to have to design with the two regular fingering yarns and then knit my precious version after the pattern is written, probably from a different size to compensate for the weight.

but wow, do i love them all—that stone soup version is killer, light, airy, and crisply defined, despite its tweediness.

and man oh man, do i love the drape and sheen of the better breakfast version too. it actually knits to the same gauge as the stone soup fingering, though the fabric is very different; silkier and more relaxed, very stretchy.

you know i love my stone soup fingering sweaters and i talk about it all the time. that said, i have to confess that lately, i’ve been wearing a better breakfast sample sweater (which i can’t show you right now, but trust me it’s just the bees knees) almost constantly. as in, even david is looking at it slightly askance when it appears my shoulders day after day. i can’t help it; i’m in love.

so i decided to start this mega cable design project with the better breakfast fingering and secured a SQ from the shop in the poppyseed shade (the swatch above was knit on a much larger needle; i was experimenting with pushing the gauge as far as i dared).

of course, i decided all of this sometime after midnight on the night before we left to visit my mom, haha. but i just HAD to wind my yarn, print out my working pattern, and pack my needles because i needed to have this sweater as soon as possible. i even started on the cuff that very night while watching TV before bed.

i got almost to the underarm on the first sleeve while david drove for his half of the trip; it knit up so fast.

i cast on right away for the second sleeve while at my mom’s and knit that one too during the trip. it was really nivce to arrive home with sleeves complete.

i cast on for the body the other night; i am knitting it all in one piece to the underarm because the big cables sit squarely on the side seams—in fact, they take the place of the side seams, providing some structure and support to an otherwise very soft frame.

working the body in the round makes for some longer rows, but once the ribbing is done, it begins to fly along faster with the body mostly in stockinette. i am just loving this—the large cables relax out a lot after soaking and washing so they take on the fluidity of the rest of the garment.

and who doesn’t love a good charcoal gray?

while i work away on the more or less mindless portion of the sweater, i’m swatching on the side to configure the neckline detail—i’m aiming for a v-neck that is framed in the mega cable, but still working out how it will grow from the body of the sweater.

there are some challenges. obviously, one of them is gauge—the cable squeezes a lot at the crossing row but not so much in between. this is one of my working swatches, where i was testing out and increase pattern and also which direction the cables should cross. i would like this just fine except that there is a lack of dimension right at the center front as it takes so many rows for the pattern to grow to a “crossable” size. the mega cable has such a long row repeat that there will be just a few twists alongside the neck—i think it will end up looking funny if there is no action at the center front. back to the drawing board; i know there is a solution.

it always amazes me how much thought and work go into designs that look carelessly simple.

but if this idiot squirrel can come back and try day after day to work on cracking the case of the ‘squirrel buster’ bird feeder, i can figure out a cabled neckline.