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.

knitting landscape

Posted on 14 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, designing, lace/shawls, projects

back in november and december when the temperatures were well below freezing and it looked like the winter ahead might be rough, i decided i needed a warmer oversized sweater—something in a heavier weight. my fingering and sport weight sweaters get the most year-round wear and those knit in our lofty BNWs are especially cozy, but when the temps hit the teens and below, i reach for DK and worsted weight ones.

since i hadn’t yet knit myself something with our stone soup DK in the marble shade, i pulled six skeins and sat down to design a cardigan along the lines of my caïssa or my dock and cabin designs—longer, easy-fitting, and textured.

i swatched a few stitch patterns, picked one that i liked and, as we set off to spend thanksgiving with my mom, i cast on for one of the sleeves. i knit maybe three-quarters of that first piece during the trip but once we got back home, the project was laid aside as the work on the winter ensemble picked up and the deadline for another sweater design drew near. with not much knitting time to spare over the next few weeks, my cozy sweater languished a while, sadly.

it ended up well, though—the time away gave me a chance to choose and chart up a large cable pattern to place along the front edges. the sinuous background texture and the branched cable gave me the idea to call the design birches. and in the marble shade, it is the color of white birches, one of my favorite trees.

during christmas week, anxious for some time off to knit, i settled back in with this project and enjoyed some progress—working with lofty, soft stone soup DK on size 8US (4.5 mm) needles, i was able to gain inches in a single sitting, which was just what i needed.

i was liking the front panel an awful lot—the large cable segued to simple, lush ribbing at about chest height and once i got to the shoulder, i began to muse about turning the lapel into a shawl collar.

i threw that out on instagram and wow—the response was immediate and unanimous. shawl collar it is. the shaping didn’t even require much experimentation; it practically knit itself, for which i was awfully glad. i know it looks weird, but when you bend it and stitch it down . . .

shawl collar origami!

in january ensemble once again cut into my knitting time considerably, but with just this one project on the needles, i was still able to make progress through a second front.

then, shortly after the last ensemble piece rolled out and the club patterns were done and dusted, i gave myself a couple of knitting days to catch my breath and by that sunday morning, i had a satisfying stack of completed pieces. i was truly going to stop there and write a long overdue blog, but the call of the steam iron was too strong and i caved (sorry blog, next time i will be stronger).

could not resist of shot of the strange and wonderfully shaped front piece.

it actually took a bit longer than i’m used to spending, but was so worth it—as the sun was setting, i folded up the last blocked piece. would i be able to resist seaming them that night??

no i would not (i am so weak).
actually we did go to a movie too, but i spent the rest of the evening grafting my collar and seaming. another advantage of a looser knit sweater on big needles—seaming is super easy.

now this cardigan could be shorter (i will probably offer two lengths), worn loose and overlapping, or belted, or you could add buttons. i like buttons, so what i did was to add three eyelet buttonholes for public buttons on the right side, secreted away in the rolled edge and one buttonhole on the opposite side to secure an inside button. my thinking was that the buttonholes don’t show, so even if i decide to wear it open or belted, they would be tucked away out of sight.

i finally got around to giving this one a good soaking bath the other day. the toggles i ordered had arrived and i wanted to put that final touch on.

i have a choice of these kind of flattish ones made from horn . . .

which have a bit of warm brown along with the charcoal

or these antler tip toggles (i even have a choice of colors with these)

these are more true gray with streaks of a lighter, yellowy color and they are round rather than flat.

what do you think? i’m leaning toward the flatter ones because i like the contrast, but either one is really good-looking.

i don’t have modeling shots yet; every time i think about doing them, i feel like i’m just not looking my best right then, haha.

i still have to finish writing up the pattern and then send it through tech editing; i’m thinking that once it’s all done, it will be truly spring and this sweater won’t be in such demand. so we’ll probably save it for a fall release, maybe during rhinebeck month. we’ll see . . . one thing is for sure, i am going to knit another one of these from our cabécou brillant sport—i have been drooling over this yarn since we first received it in the sel gris shade and now i’ve found its match. can’t you just picture that collar in our minky mohair cabécou  or chebris blend??

gosh i just ran on and on about that project, sorry . . . i think i’ll hold off on sharing more right now because there is at least that much to say about my current couple of projects.

i’ll leave you dreaming about deliciously juicy mega cables.

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.