we heart small business

Posted on 21 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events

over the nearly seven years that knitspot has been open for business, i’ve had the immense honor and pleasure of working with—literally—hundreds of other artisans who are also small business owners, many of them one-person operations.

this gallery of photos represents just a handful of the brave, creative, interesting, and entertaining entrepreneurs who rock our little corner of the world. i couldn’t locate photos of everyone that should be here, but it doesn’t mean i’m not thinking of them today—so many more have touched my life, knitting and otherwise.

thank you for supporting small business.

BNK Signups are LIVE!

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in designing, projects, yarn and dyeing

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BNK 2014 signups have begun! And we are celebrating opening day with a 24-hour sale!

Bare Naked Knitspot is a club we are all very passionate about. It explores the beauty of natural colors and typically features unique and artisanal yarns, often only available in small runs. Anne Hanson spends a great deal of time researching the history of the fiber, swatching the yarn, creating exclusive patterns, and writing an extensive chapter each month encompassing her labor of love and it is delivered via ebook.  Starting in February, receive six bi-monthly installments of yarn and chapters, plus a couple special goodies along the way. Every bit of this club is a surprise until it’s delivered to your mailbox. To give you an idea of what the club is like, I’ll give you a couple examples of previous installments.

BNK 2013’s February shipment was Snow Leopard Trust Handspun Camel. This yarn is handspun by Mongolian herding families and supports the effort to save the Mongolian Snow Leopard from extinction. For that month’s ebook chapter Anne created several projects highlighting the handspun properties of the yarn.

Caravan Blanket

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Caravan Scarf/Wrap

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Gobi Mittens and Cap

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Anne often gives a variety of projects for the monthly yarn so people possessing a single dip of yarn can choose one that strikes their fancy. Or, for clubbies that have chosen a double dip of yarn they have enough to knit a few small accessories or the large/tall version of a shawl or wrap.

May 2013 was a custom spun 100% cheviot wool artisan sock yarn named Ghillie. Keeping with the traditional use of this fiber, Anne created a sock featuring the deep ribbing and horizontal knit/purl motifs of a classic gansey sweater

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Hornpipe Gansey Sock

and a shawl with a plaid motif which segues into a series of classic gansey knit/purl patterns.

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Cheviot Hills

To browse all the patterns from 2013, see the pattern library on ravelry here and to explore the offerings from 2012 click here.

Clubbies also chat each other up and cheer each other on in our swingin’ clubhouse on ravelry. There are spoiler threads (clubbies flash their shipments as soon as they grab them from the mailbox) and non-spoiler threads (clubbies that LOVE the element of surprise and don’t peek). I tend to sway towards the non-spolier thread, even though I’m involved in the purchase of all the yarns. But I try to tuck away that knowledge and try to be surprised. I’m still that kid that even though she knew where Christmas presents were hidden, she wouldn’t peek. I love surprises so much that Anne hides the final design from me and I see it for the first time in the ebook chapter. Isn’t she fantastic!?

The clubhouse is a really fun time and a great way to converse with other people that have the same passion for natural yarns. I am very drawn to beautiful colors, but through this club my eyes have been opened to the beauty of natural fibers

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and the amazing palette they create. I love how Anne scours the earth for unique offerings and presents them in such a lovely fashion.

Won’t you join us on the wild adventure? Sign up today and take advantage of:

$10 off full memberships (and yarn add-on)

$20 off with extra yarn – the double dip

$2 off pattern only membership

Hurry…club memberships are limited! For more details, check out the BNK essentials page here.

danger

Posted on 4 CommentsPosted in patterns

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while it’s not  quite time to push the panic button on holiday knitting and resort entirely to projects that knit themselves, we have hit that point on the calendar where we need kick up our efficiency quotient.

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to that end, a super-quick, almost-mindless project is worth its weight in gold—something you can work on while standing in line, commuting, waiting for pasta to boil, or when you’re too tired to think about knitting anything more complicated.

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not only will you be getting another gift off the needles—and a fabulous, hand knit one at that—but those wasteful, anxiety producing moments are suddenly transformed into “me time”. and productive me time, at that; don’t be surprised if you start to look forward to it.

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here’s yet another knit inspired by my recent trip to comfort, texas—this time a super-quick cowl/infinity/scarf project. as i was packing the night before, i realized i didn’t have a mindless project to bring—something i could knit amid the myriad distractions of airport lounges and social knitting groups.

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i remembered a really easy stitch pattern i’d swatched at one time that drew lots of interest on the blog, so i dug out my notes (locating them was the hardest part of the whole project), wound up a skein of our newly-arrived confection worsted, threw some big needles in the bag and zipped it all into my travel tote.

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once i was past security and settled into my chair, i did a few calculations based on my swatch and then cast on. i worked on the hem until they called my flight. once on board i switched to a more complicated project, but i continued to pick up and put down the cowl knitting throughout the weekend, finishing up the bind off in the outgoing airport lounge during a departure delay (providing entertainment for several other passengers as well).

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and there you have it—a totally smooshable, finished gift, knit with scraps of time that would likely be wasted otherwise.

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what knitter doesn’t love that??

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more importantly, what recipient wouldn’t love this?

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shown above, the large cowl in bare naked wools stone soup DK, with a bold, two-tone approach pairing the slate and marble shades. our breakfast blend DK would knit to the same gauge and provide several other color options—or go for three shades; the pattern is nothing if not easily adaptable. sarah is wearing danger around the neck of her bloch ness cardigan, knit in our kent DK

shown below, the small cowl in bare naked wools confection, color white chocolate paired with the scotty hat in stone soup fingering yarn.
BTW, the pattern includes instructions for several sizes and for two yarn weights—if you prefer something more delicate or live a in a more temperate climate, fingering weight stone soup or breakfast blend might be more suitable.

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david and sarah are putting together kits that should be going up in the shop really soon (maybe by the time you read this; look for them in our kit department which we are gradually fill in up with goodies).

another note—YES there will be a blanket and wrap pattern to match, yay. we’ll get that out in the next post, for the weekend, ok? something to rest up with after a big day of black friday shopping. and by then, you’ll be all done with one of these cowls, won’t you?

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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.

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kudos to anne c. who knit the two-tone for sarah as well as that gorgeous sweater; we’re very lucky she is sarah’s mom . . .

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as the snow flies

Posted on 12 CommentsPosted in designing, lace/shawls, projects, yarn and dyeing

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we’re at the start of our first snow storm of the year—it’s supposed to be a big one. that said, we’ve been fooled many times in the last few years by dire predictions of blizzard-sized snowfalls and then . . . nothing.

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THAT said, the snow did start falling several hours earlier than expected and has so far, not let up.

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it’s accumulating, alright.
(can you believe how dim the light is here at this time of year?  these photos were taken at 10 am. yep, it’s like this from november 15th to about january 15th—perpetually dusk. it makes me want to knit and listen to ibsen.)

it snowed most of the day on sunday as well, though due to the high winds, not much accumulated. temperatures stayed in the teens all day, with a wind chill in the single digits.

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it was a good day to stay inside and do fibery stuff, which is exactly what i did.
(this weather really puts a dent in my running routine; maybe it’s time to reconsider that gym membership i keep putting off?)

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last week, we received an absolutely gorgeous sample of a new design, test knit by dear friend jessica in the new bakery rye shade of our breakfast blend fingering yarn. she unexpectedly ran out of yarn a little before i had hoped she would and the wrap turned out a bit wider and shorter that estimated.

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i just love how these yarns have both a soft, luxurious drape AND great stitch definition with body. plus there is a bit of lustre that highlights any texture to beautiful effect. sigh, it’s a great balance.

anyway before adjusting the pattern, i wanted to see if reblocking it would produce the desired results.

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well, almost—the length is still a bit shy of what i intended and the width a bit too much in proportion (no worries, there is a tall size too!). if i took one repeat off the width, that would leave plenty of yarn to knit three more repeats on the length and then no one would be struggling to stretch it. it could even be left a little more relaxed to accentuate the depth in the texture.

i think we are all set now to release this design; we just need a few more photos to show it off really well. the pattern includes instructions for two wraps and three blanket sizes, all in TWO yarn weights, fingering or DK/light worsted. and it knits up really fast—another fun cover up project for the long wintery evenings we seem to be in for this year.

when i went to texas in october, i knit up a quick cowl of the same fabric design, using our confection worsted. i’ve created a scarf/cowl pattern for that design too, which also knits up in two yarn weights and several sizes, including a scarf option.

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sarah’s mom, our friend anne c, knit a two-tone sample in the largest size from two shades (marble/slate) of our stone soup fingering yarn

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which sarah has been wearing pretty much constantly (even when we’re not doing photo shoots, haha).

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anne also knit her a bloch ness sweater—totally not fair, right? (so—what do you think; could i pass as sarah, move into her room, and become part of that family??)

probably not, huh? her dad might notice something is off there . . .

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i washed my swatches for the red scarf project that i was showing you the other day. i thought it was interesting that so many people made comments about preferring one stitch pattern over the others—i actually plan to use all of them in the coordinating projects i have planned, so everyone gets their wish.

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it’s always a good idea to wash your swatches so you can get a good idea of what the fabric will be like in its final state. this fabric, for instance is very cushy, lofty, and springy before washing—so much so that it’s curling up tightly and doesn’t want to lie flat. the fabric feels pretty dense.

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it’s a lot different after soaking—still lofty and soft with good stitch definition, but the fabric feels thinner because it has relaxed out; i am definitely sticking to the smaller needles i swatched with rather than the larger ones for my actual projects.

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what i was thinking is that the stitch pattern on the bottom right would be great for hems and brims and such, since it is most densely patterned and lies flat really well. the medium-density pattern (upper right) would be used for the scarf body—it has just enough garter stitch to also lay flat, but the texture is lightened up a bit which reduces any stiffness and lends a nice hand to the fabric.

the most open fabric (left; my personal favorite) will be used for the body of the slouchy hat because it has such terrific drape; the garter ridges and cables will give it enough body and weight to plop over in just the right slump. also, it reminds me of the patterning on bocce balls, which i always found charming. the brim will be worked in the firmer, more textured fabric so it holds its shape the way a good brim should.

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and wouldn’t you know, while the swatches were drying yesterday, the yarn arrived from studio june—SO exciting! how about THEM reds, huh?? i just love the names . . . want a closer look?

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YUM.
(alright now, mind that drooling on the keyboard)

jill really outdid herself with these. she also sent a lovely blue option for the test knitter which, in my immense excitement, i totally forgot to photograph. but you’re going to love it, trust me. i’ll show you that next time.

i am SO psyched that the yarn got here before thanksgiving and that i’ll be able to kick this project off this weekend.

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we’re going to have a quiet thanksgiving at home this year because, TA-DA! we are finally able to get into our very own kitchen (just in time; it was getting really cold out on that porch, haha). there are still a few odds and ends tasks to be finished up, but at least now we can do some simple cooking.

we may wind up spending the day organizing cabinets and unpacking dishes that we haven’t seen in eleven years, but that actually sounds like fun to me (i WAS originally planning to organize my bedroom closet and drawers for the holiday, haha, but i might have to put that on the back burner now; no pun intended). and somebody has to do it before the december holidays and ensuing company are upon us.

the big reveal deserves its own post though, which i’d love to cajole mister knitspot into writing. i think it’s only appropriate, don’t you?

other than that, we are preparing for our black friday and cyber monday promotions—details are in the newsletter that erica sent out today (along with all kinds of other good news). if you haven’t received it or you’re not on the list yet, you can read it here—it’s chock full of goodies and worth a click.

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if i do get some knitting time in the next few days (which is likely, considering how the snow is falling now), i’ll probably be working on this—something new and tasty! for now, we’re calling it “christmas surprise”; the flavor is lime rickey. i’ll leave the rest to your imagination . . .

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i don’t know if we can exactly call these progress shots, but it certainly looks like there is no turning this storm back.  i may have to stay home from yoga class tonight . . .

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