Archive for September, 2012

Fall Is In The Air

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

The weather has been crisp and gorgeous for days. This afternoon I went onto the deck and observed the few plantings I have in the backyard. I noticed only one bloom on my Rose of Sharon. Then it hit me. Wow! Fall is here.

Fall really gets me in the mood to knit. I think it’s the combination of weather change and the realization that holidays are just around the corner. This year I really don’t see sweater knitting on my agenda (well, maybe baby sweaters), but I do think I can squeeze in some accessories during Baby Knitspot’s naps.

I’ve been looking through Anne’s vast pattern catalog and there’s quite a few accessories that can be done under a tight deadline. I swear that girl has a project to fit anyone’s knitting needs! Here’s some ideas I have so far…

Crooked Little Scarf

is worked in a light fingering luxury yarn, making the perfect unisex gift. I think my dad would look great in this worked up in a vibrant blue. It would be a nice contrast with his silver hair.

Cité

is a soft neck warmer which Anne calls “chill-chasing.” Enough said. It would be perfect for a few ladies on my gift list.

Lacunae

is a great stash buster DK weight project and I love that it’s a set. Or not…depending on how last minute I cast this on.

Handsies

are a perfect gift for the kiddos and they knit up at lightning speed. I’m not sure how ambitious I’ll feel this December, but the neighbor kids would be adorable in these!

Matterhorn

is a great set – mitts, hat and scarf. If I end up making this, you’ll all know how much I love the recipient depending on if they get one, two or three pieces. Ha ha!

Not that I need to cast on another pair of socks (I have a pair in the works in nearly every knitting bag. And I have a lot of knitting bags!), but I’ve been dying to cast on

Sign of Four

since it’s release. And low and behold, the Socks That Rawk! group on ravelry picked it as their Q4 KAL. It must be fate. It starts tomorrow and you can join here. KALs are so much fun because they really keep you motivated and you can see what yarn everybody else in the group is knitting with.

cheap nfl jerseys

I will be knitting socks for Matt in Socks That Rock Lightweight that I bought at sock camp.

I bought this yarn for him and stashed it, waiting for the perfect pattern to come along. Matt loves socks with a long leg (unfortunately) so I thought I would knit the main part of the socks in Manly yes, but I like it too! and do the cuffs, heels, and toes in Mossly Manly. Aren’t the names a hoot?!

Well, that’s enough knitting daydreaming for me. I think I hear a hungry baby’s cry. Good luck in scheduling all your holiday knits. I look forward to seeing your finished projects shared with the knitspot ravelry group.

barrel o’ monkey

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

a couple of weeks ago, when david and i got to meet baby knitspot in person i didn’t go empty-handed. with me i had a project i’d kept secret from you—one that erica hadn’t even seen (though she was the one to suggest we use it for baby’s first knitspot photo shoot)

it’s a little olive snuggle sack—crazy soft and cuddly; just the thing to quiet flailing limbs and cycling legs so baby can rest comfortably.

ours is knit with lovely organic cottons and features some short-row shaping to create a scoop that’s higher at the back of the neck

and just a bit lower across the front—but not too; just enough to keep drafts off baby’s neck.

the body is ever so slightly egg-shaped to provide a bit more room down below for little legs to to kick. it’s knit in the round in one piece, mostly stockinette

so simple you could whip one up at the very last minute for that early bird baby who can’t wait to join the world.

the matching cap is equally easy to knit in matching yarn or a contrasting color.

lest you think we cooked this up merely as a knitspot marketing gimmick

presto, change-o; we have one prepared in natural vanilla as well

to show you how gorgeous it is barenaked.

and as soothing to knit as it is to hold; mmmm.

how precious is that??

baby says: “i’ll show you precious . . .”

above in knitting notions organic cotton yarn, in delicious vanilla. below, in ecobutterfly organic color-grown pakucho cotton in colorway deep green. cap is knit in colorway poppy, currently only available in lace weight (which i knit holding four strands together).

just look at how calm and cozy padraig is in his new sack.

and erica is happy when the baby is happy.

to purchase pattern or view complete pattern information, please click here to visit the knitspot pattern shop. or purchase the pattern in our ravelry pattern shop.

catherine from knitting notions was very generous to test knit this set in her organic cotton yarn at the eleventh hour and to lend it to us for photography—thank you catherine; it’s the perfect project for your yarn.
many thanks to baby padraig who put up pretty well with all of us intruding on his quiet saturday afternoon snoozefest.

and when he’d had just about enough, he let us know, haha, as babies are prone to do.

buddy sympathizes . . . modeling is so exhausting.

town and country

Monday, September 24th, 2012

look at that—gorgeous green pasture and blue sky as far as the eye can see; who wouldn’t want to live here?

the car trip to maryland  on thursday was actually lovely—traffic was low, the weather was sparkling, and i listened to a book i really like. today begins my break between teaching gigs, so i thought i’d get us all caught up on the places i’ve been and the people i’ve met.

first stop was shalimar yarns and the farm-based studio where kristi johnson dyes up a storm of beautiful colors. i was surprised to see that nearly everyone who came to friday’s class was a returnee from the sweater fitness workshop we did in the spring; it was like a reunion. this crowd is a LOT of fun, too.

we gathered in the studio building for an all-day finishing series, where participants learned and practiced blocking, seaming, and garment add-ons—everything they need to finish off a sweater project like a pro. above, ashley prepares to steam block the back of her bel air sweater by pinning it out to the measurements in her schematic.

she brought along everything she needed and by day’s end, she was well into the seaming. and with those gorgeous yellow glass buttons from moving mud as incentive, who wouldn’t want to get to the final steps as quickly as possible?

around lunchtime, i noticed that the sheep and the donkey were wandering out of the barn, probably wanting to know what the humans were up to—i couldn’t resist running out right in the middle of class to take a photo, haha. i knew you’d want me to . . .

there was wet blocking too; several participants threw their accessory pieces or sweater parts into the wash water for a good soak before reshaping and blocking them to dry.

we even soaked and stretched a shawl on blocking wires, though to my dismay, i did not get photos of threading it onto the wires (we all pitched in to try our hands at it)

once it was pinned out though, i did get pictures—since it was white, we took the whole shebang (blocking boards and all) out to the patio to dry under the umbrella in the warm breeze. the fiber was so light, i don’t think it took even an hour.

it dried in plenty of time for susan to model it

she was beaming at the results (in  previous iteration, it was too small and a bit distorted in shape). and well, doesn’t she look pretty in it?

by day’s end we had covered seaming and adding on button bands, buttonholes, pockets, and all manner of other finishing concerns. everyone went home full of new knowledge and excited to put those last beautiful touches on their own projects.

the sun was heading down for the treetops as we got ready to leave the farm for dinner and the light was so pretty i couldn’t resist stopping for  few photos.

i find the donkey endlessly amusing—but i can’t ever remember their names! i think they have really commonplace names like clem and ron, but i know that’s not exactly right. sigh; one of these days i will become more thoughtful about these things . . .

this one wants to come in for a kiss at every opportunity; he’s SO cute i almost gave in!

i managed to restrain myself, however . . .

in a complete about-face, my next stop was alexandria, VA, which by comparison, is about the busiest spot i could find myself on a fall weekend.

i’ve been staying right in the heart of old town, where i get to run in the mornings on charming, brick-lined sidewalks through quiet neighborhoods of tilting old townhouses—it is so east coast, it makes me a little homesick.

i could take pictures of houses all day here, haha, but i held myself to just a few; i didn’t want anyone to think i was being inappropriate.

this is my favorite so far; if i lived there, i would use both doors every day.

i was here, of course, to teach at fibre space, which has to be the busiest shop in the yarniverse. i am always floored by how many shoppers are in there at any one time—it’s simply amazing.

i took my photos when the shop was closed because once it opens, all thoughts of my camera seem to fly out of my head, haha.

they even have a charming bike rack.

this is a shot of the famous knitting pit, which at any given hour is filled with knitters taking a break form the outside world to get in a few stitches while chatting with other customers.

i did manage one photo inside the shop, when i saw rich, who was in my sock design class in may at the shop. we chatted for a bit and then he pulled off his shoes to show me these

the socks he designed in class—aren’t they stunning? and they fit perfectly. beautiful job rich and thanks for sharing them.

luckily, they have a quiet upstairs teaching space away from the hubbub, where we had another finishing series on saturday and an advanced lace workshop on sunday, focusing on a twig and leaf shawl project.

i’m such a bad blogger; i didn’t even take one picture in class—thirty lashes with a yarn skein for me. but i think everyone had fun—we did some awesome blocking and had some real breakthroughs in the seaming and embellishments segments. i think everyone went home happy. it was also nice to see many returnees from the spring workshops; thank you everyone for another lovely event.

afterward, i took a nice walk and treated myself to a killer coffee at a local caffeinery. i thought about indulging here

but decided a photo was enough. i’ve been staying away from sugary stuff for a while now and feeling good; i don’t think the time to break down is during a working trip, haha.

you might already have guessed that i’ve barely knit a stitch since i left home; i really haven’t had that much free time. the first two nights it was all i could do to catch up on sleep. byt last night i finally felt more rested, but ended up grazing the internet far too long instead of knitting, in a zombie hangover state.

my hazeline has been getting the most attention, probably because i can almost knit it in my sleep. i’ve worked on it during odd moments in classes and i’m almost done with section A. i don’t want to show it on the blog yet, for fear of spoiling someone who may not have received this month’s yarn yet.

maybe next week . . .

well, it’s still early and i’m pretty much done here—i have time before checkout to go for a run and if i’m lucky, i’ll even get to check out this shop before i leave town

i’ve always wanted to go in but it’s been closed whenever i had free time during the last two trips. today could be the day.

next stop—pasadena to spend time with my dear nephew james and niece diana in their brand new home. they are so sweet to have me stay with them when they’ve just moved; i hope i can be helpful around the place this week . . .

 

caïssa

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

this new sweater is destined to be a real favorite for me and i hope it is the same for you; it’s light, comfy and easy to toss on by itself over other layers. while it has plenty of volume, that extra fabric drapes beautifully against the body without adding bulk.

so that for all of its comfort and ease, it feels luxurious and streamlined as well, with only the most subtle of textures breaking its calm surface.

the body of this garment has the simplest of shapes that knits up quickly and easily; if you’ve fallen behind on that goal of knitting a sweater to wear to the fall shows, this just may be your answer.

uncomplicated enough to knit while watching TV or cheering on your weekend sports warriors, there is just enough going on to keep this project at the top of your work basket, with the pile of finished pieces growing.

all the trims are incorporated into the knitting of the main pieces so that once you’ve knit all five of them, you are done, save for sewing up four straight seams. it couldn’t be simpler to put together.

just ask all of our lovely test knitters, who finished their caïssa sweaters quickly enough to share our results as a group. they were gracious enough to send me photos for an album to share with you.

lara (above), anne marie (below) and myself all knit our sweaters with spirit trail fiberworks holda, a luxurious  lambswool/cashmere/angora blend, that has the softest, most sophisticated hand and a beautiful sueded surface.

 don’t you just want to reach through the screen to touch it? believe me, i wish you could . . .

it’s luscious  to knit with and wear; you won’t want to put it down.

i’ve knit mine with a new colorway—purple haze—that jen created just for knitting into this sweater. anne marie (above) has chosen seaweed, and lara (below) picked rosewood. and of course jen has a full array of gorgeous colors just waiting to be picked up from her online shop.

to purchase pattern or view complete pattern information, please click here to visit the knitspot pattern shop. or purchase the pattern in our ravelry pattern shop.

but the fun doesn’t stop there . . . barb (below) has knit her caïssa in briar rose wistful, a merino/alpaca/silk blend

doesn’t she look stunning in this blue-gray colorway? oh look—chris has named the color caïssa, so we can find it as easily as possible, haha. thanks chris!

wistful makes a lovely fabric for this sweater too—a bit heavier in weight, but with the same soft surface and drape.

it’s interesting to note that the sizing of this garment is very flexible; while lara knit the extra-small size, the rest of us have all knit the small/medium size, with the result that it is shown here with a varying amount of ease.

barb’s blue sample was actually knit for chris to wear and display in her booth. while it fits barb well, she has decided she’d like a looser-fitting one as well and is knitting, since she is quite a bit taller and broader through the shoulders.

she is already halfway through another new one in the next size up (barb is our house over-achiever; we love that about her!), this time in a beautiful green/gold colorway that looks outstanding with her eyes and hair (yes, even more than the blue).

i threw this one on for a few photos as well, so you could get an idea of what i’m talking about. if you are trying to decide between sizes and are looking for a little more room to move around in, choose the bigger size. if you like a closer fit, choose the smaller size.

on me, this sweater has about twelve inches of ease; while on barb, it has more like four—either way, it provides a nice fit, since the shoulders can sit anywhere.

we also have a beautiful sample contributed by jody, who knit hers in madelinetosh merino DK, in a rich red colorway (i don’t know which one, maybe oxblood?)

doesn’t it look amazing with her skin? jody finished this one up last week, i think and then emailed yesterday to say she likes it so much, she is already knitting a second one. she says this will be her go-to autumn sweater; what a great compliment, thanks jody!

well, i think that just about wraps up what i have to say about caïssa today; i’m off to the east coast to teach for the next ten days; next time you hear from me, i’ll be in sunny (and hopefully warmer) maryland.

 
and as always, many thanks to david for his wonderful photography, capturing both the fun and the serious moments and once again, our most grateful appreciation to lara, anne marie, barb, jody, and karolyn for their help and expertise in bringing you another knitspot design.
have a good weekend!