the time between

Posted on 11 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events, designing, lace/shawls, projects

bearFarmSheep07_30

oof, finally coming up for air after two catch-up days back at the ranch. but not for long—i’m heading out again tomorrow for a weekend trip to michigan.

WGbrewPub07_30

the finger lakes fibers retreat in watkins glen, NY was really nice—i’m sure most of you have seen by now all the lovely photos that erica took and posted to Facebook and twitter. she was a much better blogger than me in the face of being wi-fi challenged over the weekend. when it turned out we couldn’t get online in our hotel during our entire stay, i was happy to relax and enjoy the experience of being a little out of touch. she, on the other hand, trucked all her work stuff over to the neighboring hotel during the wee hours of the night to use the public wi-fi there for blogging and email.

WGparkA07_30

i, on the other hand, got several good nights of sleep (a real luxury for me!) so i could be ready for my teaching days and get up early to run (i have my sights set on running a half marathon in a little over two weeks, yikes).

sidewalk07_30

watkins glen is a charming town that sits on the bottom edge of seneca lake. its claim to fame is a history of car racing past and present; sidewalks throughout town are embedded with racing memorial plaques. but there is plenty more to love about it—stunning geography for hiking, camping, and photography, situated well for great fishing, boating, and wine tasting, strong participation in the central new york locavore movement,

WGneighborhoodA07_30

pretty gardens, kind and friendly residents, and last but not least, an active fiber community. oh, and did i mention yummy ice cream on every corner??  what’s not to love?

WGchurchGarden07_30

we arrived on wednesday evening and stayed til sunday morning; i taught on thursday, friday, and saturday, the schedule was relaxed enough that we had plenty of opportunity to get to know the town and sample a variety of local eateries (all good). the running was terrific, nothing short of inspiring; i did some of my fastest runs of this summer over the weekend (of course there were few hills and none like the ones in my neighborhood).

i really enjoyed the group that gathered for the retreat—with a range of knitting skills and interests, they came prepared for new knitting experiences. most of the participants were new to me but a few people from previous class offerings were there too—it’s always fun when students return for  another class.

we did a wonderful yarn voyage class to get started, then moved on to lace knitting for the rest of the weekend.

jimBear07_30

there was an alpaca farm tour on friday which erica attended and a trip to bear farm on saturday, where most of the fiber in our soon-to-be-released corriedale yarn was sourced.

bearFarmGunner07_30
jim and carol bear, along with their son, raise approximately 150 head of very healthy corriedale sheep on a beautiful spread of land along the eastern side of seneca lake. you’ll be seeing lots more about them when we celebrate the yarn release in a month or so. i took the opportunity to get a group shot of all the retreat participants at the farm

bearFarmGroup07_30

in addition to classes and farm visits, we had a little pop-up shop at finger lakes fibers, the local yarn store which hosted the retreat. it’s always fun to watch knitters experience our bare naked wools for the first time; they are SO delicious and more so in person. the quality and richness really shines when you see it up close; truly a farm fresh product. we were treated to some surprise visits from friends who live in the area as well—like our friend kristin, who came in on saturday evening with her family.

waffleCreamsToe07_30

i had several knitting goals for the weekend—not big project goals, but smaller ones that needed finishing and i did pretty well staying on track with that, despite all the fibery distractions, haha. i was determined to finish my second pair of waffle creams socks, on the needles since last spring. when i left home i was about halfway down the leg

waffleCreamsToeA07_30

but by the time we got home on sunday night i was well on my way to finishing the foot and in class on monday, i got all the way through the toe decreases. now i just have to clip the yarn and weave in the ends. yay, done!

these were going to go on david’s sock shelf originally, but he has a pair so i am gifting them to a dear friend instead.

hourglassBBspecialB07_30

i actually finished up this big swatch just before we left—in fact, it was a little damp when we packed the pop-up shop, but i was determined to bring it along to show off the breakfast special #1 yarn we are putting into the hourglass throw kits. david is working on listing those kits now, so if you want one, keep your eye on the kits page in our online shop; there will be just a few available from this test batch of forty total skeins.

slouchCapTwoA07_30

another project i worked on is a second soft cotton cap, this one inspired by my sign of four sock design. i’m knitting it up in ecobutterfly organic color grown cotton sport again, this time in the rich cinnamon chocolate color, mmm.

slouchCapTwo07_30

this is a pattern you have to be patient with—at first, the texture doesn’t seem to be noticeable. but as the fabric builds the impact of the knit/purl motif makes itself known and is quite strikingly defined.

like the slouch potato hat i knit in deep green cotton last week, this too will be slightly slouchy cap, not too much, not too fitted. the wide brim helps keep it in place.

slouchPotato07_30

highly recommended by sarah, haha.

we arrived home to a stack of mail and all sorts of activity in the knitspot office. one thing that arrived while i was away will be of special interest to you, i’m pretty sure—a beautiful sample of the wasp and rose shawl, graciously knit for us by our friend kari in bare naked wools mrs. lincoln’s lace.

waspRose07_30

i took the photo above yesterday, just before putting it on to soak in a nice warm bath with my favorite patchouli wool soap. last night after dinner, i finally had a chance to stretch and pin it out.

waspRoseBlocked07_30

it’s really lovely in this rich black/brown yarn with its beautiful lincoln lustre. not a soft yarn to be sure, but very rich, nevertheless. and after blocking, the lace opens up amazingly to show off the motifs in this composition.

waspRose766_72dpi

i’ll take some modeling shots over the weekend; i’ve got a special person in mind who will look radiant wearing wasp and rose in dark brown. we are so excited to have all the pieces in place now to release this yarn into our online store; it’s been trending high on the ravelry yarn list ever since we shipped it to our club in june and clubbies snapped up the few extras we had on hand. that will be next week; hopefully tuesday and we have plenty in stock, plus more at the mill if we need it.

do you want to drool over the blocked piece in the meantime?? haha, i know, a dumb question . . .

waspRose744_72dpi

what a difference, right? it’s like magic, sigh. i’ll get more nice photos over the weekend; you’ll love that.

so yes, i’m taking off once again for a few days, this time to spend time relaxing (at least partly) with friends. i plan to bring my easy to knit cap and my secret project (which i aDORE) to knit, plus my sea pearl sweater, which we last laid eyes on before my trip to the finger lakes.

i’m actually not all that anxious to be on the road again BUT it is a good thing i won’t be here in a way. as if we didn’t have enough going on with two-thirds of our first floor under construction, we are losing the use of our enclosed porch for the next few days.

porchDining07_30

we’ve always used the sunroom/porch as a summer living space but this year, it represents ALL of our available living space for cooking, eating, and sitting around. it’s been quite nice actually; we are used to using our kitchen/dining room  area as a household hub, so it’s not all that different from before, with added benefit of birdsong and critter chatter, haha.

porchCooking07_30

oh yes, and no running water. i’ll admit that’s proved a bit inconvenient, though for the most part, we are quite content with the situation. however, sometimes our interests compete for space.

porchDishes07_30

for instance, our dish collection and drying station (we wash in the lavatory sink, then carry everything out to dry) is now sharing space with what appears to be a garlic drying station, probably for the next month or so.

garlic07_30

though we didn’t plant a spring/summer garden, we had put garlic in the ground last fall before deciding to go ahead with the renovation. david harvested it while i was gone—a bumper crop, indeed.

but as i said, we are about to lose even this small oasis for a few days. you may have noticed that the windows are very vintage to put it nicely—big cheap double track storm windows that were installed in the 50s or 60s and haven’t worked in years. with no screens, so it can be an oven in there at times (thank goodness this summer has been quite cool).

porchPlywood07_30

and then, to add insult to injury, some decorating or architectural genius thought it would look just fine to fill in the ends of the porch with plywood inserts when they couldn’t get stock windows or doors of the right size. sigh—this has been bugging me for years, but i’ve turned a blind eye and focused on saving my pennies for its revenge.

finally, we are ready to undo all of that meticulous dreck and get some real divided windows and transoms installed. we went to the window place in may and ordered everything and as luck would have it, the windows are now ready in time to enjoy for a while before fall comes. it will be lovely when it’s done; the new windows are heat reflective too—the setting sun is kind of harsh in that room. i’m trying to remember if we ordered tinted ones or not . . . with so many changes, i can’t remember all the details any more.

that reminds me, i know it’s time for an update on what’s happening behind the plastic wall in our front hall, but i’ll have to save it for next time. i’ll be posting the jazz strings sock pattern and kit tomorrow night when i get to michigan; i’ll see you there!

Keeping it Local

Posted on 12 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events, projects, spinning and fiber, yarn and dyeing

I have really fallen in love with Watkins Glen, New York. It’s a quaint four-block downtown with interesting shops, amazing local organic food at Wildflower Cafe where you can knit through lunch

and the best part of all…Finger Lakes Fibers on the main drag in the center of town.

Anne taught her first class there last night to kick off the Finger Lakes Fiber Tour & Knitters Retreat. It was completely full and you could hear a pin drop during most of it. Every student was enthralled with the information on yarn characteristics and their effect on knitted fabric in Anne’s Yarn Voyage class. Afterwards we opened up the Bare Naked Wools pop up store so retreaters could get first dibs on the yarn. And they ATE.IT.UP!

Later today Anne teaches Beginning Lace Knitting, followed by a trunk show of Knitspot shawl, scarf and sweater samples. Afterwards, the Bare Naked Wools pop up store is OPEN TO THE PUBLIC from 7 – 9 p.m., plus you can sit and knit with other Knitspotters. If you’re in the Finger Lakes area, please stop in tonight! We would love to show you all the artisan yarns, plus a couple that we haven’t even released yet in the Knitspot shop. Come see what Fall has to offer! Directions here.

Road Trippin’

Posted on 6 CommentsPosted in projects

Anne and I are headed East again with a car full of yarn!

Yesterday we were busy at headquarters packing up samples,

swatches, and Bare Naked Wools

for the Finger Lakes Fiber Tour and Knitters Retreat.

Anne is teaching Yarn Voyage, Beginning Lace Knitting and Lace Scarf Project Class this weekend plus we are bringing a Bare Naked Wools pop up store! Join us Friday, July 26 from 7 – 9 p.m. at Finger Lakes Fibers (directions here) to peruse lots of BNWs samples and see which artisan yarn strikes your fancy.

We’ll be bringing Kent DK, Breakfast Blend DK and Fingering, Ghillie, Stone Soup Fingering and DK (yarns available here), plus a preview of Fall offerings and soon-to-be-released yarns!

I’m planning on taking my Fartlek WIP in Stone Soup DK to knit on in the passenger seat. The only knitting I’ve been doing lately is on short car rides or Tigers games with the fam.

Baby Knitspot seems to love the games, even in the ridiculous heat!

But I think he preferred the night game we went to in the rain a lot more!

What have all of you been up to lately? Any summer travel plans? Have you taken any Knitspot and/or Bare Naked Wools projects on the road? Well, maybe you should squeeze in a road trip to the Finger Lakes.

Anne and I would love to chat with you about yarn. You just might find your next project for the summer! Plus, we would get a kick out of seeing more Bare Naked [Wools] in Public (details here).

knitting around

Posted on 8 CommentsPosted in designing, lace/shawls, projects

i’ve been on a bit of a hat kick lately; i’ve now got my third hat in two weeks on the needles. there’s something about hat projects that i love—or maybe it’s many things that add up to one big plus.

i won’t list them all here because you could probably recite them in your sleep. the top three for me are probably portability, technical simplicity (once you’ve got a cast-on number), and speed of completion. what’s more satisfying than a project i can complete in a single evening?

i LOVE this new one in the deep green organic color grown qoperfina pakucho cotton sport; it’s SO soft! i got blockhead to model it, but he didn’t do it justice. not that i’m much better, but at least i’m capable of smiling when a fabric makes me happy.

plus, the hat fits me better . . .

this one is a gift, however, so i’m going to have to knit another for myself. in the meantime, i cast on another hat to knit on over morning coffee

this one in rich cinnamon chocolate features the pattern from the sign of four sock around the brim to add to our growing collection of soft, sock-inspired caps. i’m just happy to have a little travel project that i know i can reach for in almost any social situation. it’s compact, easy to knit, and yet interesting enough to keep me busy.

i’m going to need several projects like this to take with me later this week when i head for watkins glen, NY to teach at the finger lakes fiber retreat. erica and i are packing the space car full of bare naked wools yarns for a special trunk show/selling event on friday evening at 6 pm at the finger lakes fibers yarn store. we’ll have samples galore, currently available bare naked yarns AND a couple of pop-up special edition yarns to share.

here’s an example from a test batch we had spun up in our search for the new breakfast blend yarns. it’s the same merino/alpaca blend in a gorgeous  silver gray, closest to our morning smoke color but a bit lighter. while the fiber has an incredible softness and sheen, the final yarn isn’t as lofty as the existing breakfast blend we are looking to reproduce.

it is, however, nice and smooth and perfectly balanced. it offers incredible stitch definition and wow, what a color, right?? we are putting together kits for the hourglass throw with this yarn, to sell at the event. and i’m thinking that we should simultaneously put some in our online shop as well, to go live at the time the event opens.

my homework this weekend is to knit a big hourglass swatch so we can photograph it for the kit cover. you could also knit the heavier versions of wheaten with this yarn; it would be lovely and SO cozy.

i finally gave myself a whole afternoon to knit yesterday, which allowed me to get over the hump on my sea pearl cardigan project. i needed some focused quiet time with it to work the transition between the upper body and the lower body. mission accomplished; i am most of the way through the first repeat now.

speaking of sweater knitting, craftsy is having a big, site-wide sale on all classes, including my button bands and buttonholes class—check it out by using this link or clicking on the icon in the sidebar. we’ll get a little kickback if you make a purchase, whether it’s my class or someone else’s; how cool is that?

ok, now back to the cardigan . . .

where the pinstripe pattern in the bodice was pretty subtle, the motif in the lower body is much more highly embossed and fancy, i can’t wait til a little more of it is complete—looking forward to seeing it in the fabric is a big motivator for me. the pattern is larger, but not all that complicated; i will still be able to work on this while traveling and knitting in mixed company.

the sweater has reached another exciting stage in that it is now long enough to be able to hang it on the dress form or try it on myself. this time i didn’t take silly bathroom mirror pictures to show you, haha.

the transition between upper and lower body hits at a nice level, i think—low enough to totally clear the bust, even on someone who is fuller than i am there, but high enough to be feminine and to maintain a nice vertical line (the height of the transition changes according to size as well,so no worries that it will be wrong for you if you are a bigger size then the one shown).

and of course, it will all look a thousand percent better when it’s off the needles and blocked.

i love the shape of the neckline, redesigned  to be slightly different than that of the india print henley, which was the inspiration for this sweater. i’ll probably give it a short-sleeved version as well; i wanted to add that option to the india print, but we ran out of time for that.

i also have my second jazz strings sock still on the needles, so i’ll bring that along to finish up. so that’s a hat, a sweater, and a sock. oh, and of course i have a secret project i should bring, too. hmm, i’m only going away for a few days; maybe i should knti heavily on the sweater this week and leave it home over the weekend . . .

our flowers continue to be stunning—these are hydrangeas that we moved last year to a different spot because they were not thriving where we had them. we replaced them with red twig dogwoods and moved them to the south exposure (still shady on our property) and now they are already twice the size. yay.

and these fresh hosta blooms looked so pretty this morning i couldn’t resist sharing them. another plant i just adore . . . so lush.

our yard is filled with lily blooms right now and david has all of a sudden realized how very many we have.

how did we end up with so many?, he asked me the other night. haha, i said, you tell me, you planted them all! he just didn’t remember putting in this many, i guess. and who knows, maybe some of the old ones are reviving from all the rain we’ve had.

they really are something else; and the scent—it’s almost too much. but then i think of the alternative and i’m grateful we have wonderful scents swirling around us and not nasty ones.

air freshener that’s truly natural—priceless.

some of the lily plants have five or more blooms and they are huge, too. these white ones are spectacular.

alright now,i have to boogie; i’ve got some pattern writing i must get to this evening. you have a nice monday and maybe one of us will even be back with something new by tomorrow night (i have several patterns that need to be released, pending photos).