polartorte

Posted on 11 CommentsPosted in patterns

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look at how cute our three models look in their polartorte caps! they are all set for the big winter storm that is heading our way this weekend (groan).

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this is very rare for me to say, but i have to this one time: polartorte is my new favorite hat and i think it is destined to be yours, too. i’ve knit three of them so far and have a fourth on the needles now—they are addictive (and quick!)

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and the result is SOoo delicious—a cozy swirl of soft, soft wool, lush with texture and drape so that it slouches in that just-so way. it attracts so many compliments it’s almost embarrassing.

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best of all, you can knit any one of the five pattern sizes from a single skein of our stone soup DK or kent DK (check out our new driftwood shade). it’s the perfect snow day project . . .

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in fact, after the photo shoot, our little friend niya was so taken with the knits and our knitting projects, that she asked us to teach her and by evening, she was knitting away on her own little piece of work.

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it wouldn’t surprise me if she had a hat of her own on the needles when i see her next, haha.

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and i don’t know what our friend mark went home and told his partner bil, but next thing i know there are several messages on my phone telling me that friends don’t let (bald) friends get frostbite.

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well, far be it from me to deprive my friends . . . and over david went with a few hats.

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i’m sure niya wouldn’t have fallen for such a line, but there you have it, i’m a softie.

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shown above, the small cap in stone soup DK, color marble

shown below, the medium (left) and large (right) size caps, also in stone soup DK, colors slate and granite.

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

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sarah and david have also put together a polartorte kit in the stone soup DK that includes the pattern in all sizes and your choice of yarn color. you can even knit a couple of the smaller sizes from one skein—what a deal.

click here to purchase the kit in the knitspot pattern shop.

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this hat has the same appealing combination of textures as my waffle creams sock design with a lush a thermal stitch to trap warmth and keep your noggin cozy. a handsome cable along each side adds a touch of classic definition to keep it looking sharp. the name for the cap comes from a popular frozen dessert available (as i understand it) in kazakhstan. the things you find out on the internets . . . who knew?

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now, there is a graft at the top of that hat, but it’s just a few stitches and i will walk you through it myself in my FREE craftsy class on grafting; you’ll be a pro when you’re done.

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many thanks to our friends mark, malia, and niya for taking some time this week to help us out with photos. we so appreciate their involvement and enthusiasm.

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and lots of knit love to sarah’s mom, anne C. who knit our largest sample; that’s a lotta hat, thank you anne!

and now, time to go enjoy some knitting ourselves; gotta get our yarn in order before the snow starts flying again! happy weekend everyone; we are traveling to visit my mom for a few days, so we will see you when we get to albany.

Going for Gold

Posted on 7 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events, projects

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Wow! Did the Olympics fly by, or what!? It seems like just yesterday people started chatting about Ravellenics and Cathy started a thread in the mothership group, asking if people wanted to take a virtual trek to Sochi with their needles clicking away. KnitaStitch quickly chimed in that she would love to handle captain duties and before we knew it we had a team. Sarah made this cute ravatar for everyone to use and we quickly felt team unity as we customized and posted them.

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Just before Opening Ceremonies, I was lying out all my project possibilities and convincing my mom she should join TeamKnitspot2014. She wasn’t sure if she would be able to compete since she is knitting like crazy to get a SUPER SPECIAL baby gift done for my brother and his wife. I explained to her that you’re supposed to challenge yourself, in any way you see fit. So she replied, “there is no way I would cast on anything new in this timeframe when I have so much knitting on my plate.” I replied, “there’s your challenge.” She laughed and then went diving in my stash.

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She decided to knit Matterhorn Hat in Fourth of July, to match Baby Knitspot’s Whitfield Shorty. This jacket has been a long abandoned WIP of mine and I entered it in the Ravellenic Games. Seemed like the perfect idea, right? We got our project pages loaded and officially tagged and were ready to knit. I chose to cast on oh, Baby in Koigu. Thanks to Canadian TV, we were able to cast on during LIVE Opening Ceremonies.

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Ever since this point the TeamKnitspot2014 thread was buzzing with excitement, progress pics, cheerleading, Winter Games updates, and stories about daily life during the Olympics. It was a fantastic team to be a part of! Lots and lots of people met some great challenges and while not everyone finished all their projects (including me), we got really good starts on lots of things. And quite a few knitters crossed the finish line for the team…

unionpearl Sweet Tea

unionpearl’s Sweet Tea

Cathy Hazeline

Cathy’s Hazeline

BombadilsLady Gobi Hat

BombadilsLady’s Gobi Cap

sandygale ILikeItRough

sandygale’s I Like It Rough

judetha Natty Cowl

judetha’s Natty Cowl

CandyO Matterhorn

Mom bound off Matterhorn in plenty of time to cross the finish line, getting her first-ever medal in her first-ever Ravellenics. Yay for CandyO!

Well…if only I finished that Whitfield Shorty WIP! I did work on it, but more and more I kept thinking it wouldn’t fit Padraig very long at the current size. So I have three of the pieces to unravel and then I can cast on the next size. Out of the four events I entered, I crossed the finished line in Cable Cross Country with a newborn Sky Cap in Yarn Hollow

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and Single Skein Speedskate with size 2 oh, Baby socks in Koigu.

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Though I only highlighted a few of TeamKnitspot’s projects, you can see the rest here. A couple people finished sweaters!

I’m pretty excited about my accomplishments. I haven’t knit that much in a really long time and it felt great. There’s something about a KAL with friends that keeps me motivated. My next thing on the needles is Winter Birch in Confection. I’m doing this as part of the Bare Naked Wools KAL with designer Debbi Stone. It’s a great one skein project and perfect for this time of year in chilly Michigan.

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The mass cast-on was Sunday, but we would love to have more joiners. Debbi has already awarded a prize and I’m running a contest for KALers in the thread now. Grab a skein of Confection and Winter Birch and join us here. Let’s keep this team knitting going!

i’m finished

Posted on 17 CommentsPosted in designing, projects

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ah, our weather finally broke this week; for two whole days now, the temperatures have been above 30 degrees. ok so what that it was gray and rainy all day today with thundersnow showers?

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yesterday was actually nice; even what you’d call warmish, with sun and everything. i took full advantage and got a longer run in while i had the chance.

don’t think that makes us complacent . . .

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despite the spike in temperature, our front walk still looks mostly like this; heaven only knows how long it will take those snow banks to melt.

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our front yard looks like a gnome’s winter village.

before i get into knitting news, erica and susan have entered our business in the fedex small business/big grant competition. our next step is to collect votes from readers and customers who love our work; businesses with the most votes will move on to the next level of consideration for a grant. and that’s where you can help us! readers are allowed to vote once per day through february 23rd, so please help us out and cast your vote today and each day until tuesday next week. thank you!

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so it’s windy and gray outside; what’s new? inside however, things are just as they should be—lots of knitting and yarn and good people. now that this months’ club chapter has been released, i can turn my attention to finishing up some other projects that are on the needles. my cowl in spirit trail verdande (color wild blueberries) came off the needles yesterday morning.

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and went straight into the blocking bath. one skein was the perfect amount for a shorter cowl

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plus a generous gauge swatch.

the fabric relaxes quite a lot when it’s washed and because the yarn has a pretty tight twist, it takes a while to dry. but once it’s completely given up any moisture, it regains its springiness very nicely.

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yet it has beautiful drape for a piece like this, which has some built in shape to accent the stitch patterns. it’s a long story (which i’ll tell you another time), but as a child i experienced a pivotal mind shift while viewing a piece of op art painting—my first exposure to the genre. recently, i realized the importance of this moment, which has shaped the way i looked at the world ever since.

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in a similarly sudden way, i stumbled across a set of stitch patterns that brought the whole event rushing back to me and i thought it might be time to transform this experience into a present day work. so this little series of design is based on my op art moment.

the cowl is the first piece in the series and i plan a couple of others, all in different weights of the same yarn blend (merino/cashmere/silk), using stitch patterns that are similar, but contrast in scale. so far the marriage of this yarn with the pattern is perfect; rich and full bodied but with great drape. i can’t wait to do more

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i also finished my polartorte hat and i love it. several readers wrote to ask about the yarn which i neglected to link to in my previous post about the hat. i’m knitting with our stone soup DK, in the marble shade and it IS the loveliest silvery gray, with a  bit of sparkle from the sheen of the fibers included.

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this is another great piece to learn on; between learning to cable and doing the graft at the top, it’s got at least two good lessons.

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i got this one blocked right away too; it’s so easy with smaller pieces. i can put them on to soak while i’m starting the coffee in the morning and when i go to get a second cup, i can take it out of the bath to begin the drying process. by keeping it near my desk or in a spot that i pass by throughout the day, i am reminded to turn and reshape it frequently, so the yarn regains its light, lofty  personality and the stitches plump up and fall into nice even lines.

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seriously, you could even bring a small project to the office and baby it throughout the day, it’s that easy (on the other hand, maybe that’s one reason i never did fit into office culture very well?).

clean and even more sparkly, it joins its siblings . . .

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look how handsome they are! now to get some nice photos; sarah and david need to organize that and nicole will put a kit together (just one skein makes any size, yay!). soon it will be ready for release, yay.

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we are very excited to be participating in the shalimarch event this year, with a new design to offer in shalimar enzo aran, a twelve-ply superwash merino yarn. i thought this would make an excellent blanket, soft an warm and drapey, yum!

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i thought a design based on our very popular roger sock pattern would be fun—such a cushy texture; what’s not to love?

we asked vanessa if she’d like to knit the test sample. or we thought we did anyway—poor vanessa, received the sample yarn in the mail and thought it was something she’d forgotten she ordered; both myself and erica thought the other was getting hold of vanessa to ask, haha.

no worries thought; she was happy to say yes, since she’s been laid up with a bad knee again. i think she got the yarn a week ago and i sent her the pattern on sunday. and in true vanessa style . . . wah-LA

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she’s done.
and i’m stoked; it’s really nice, isn’t it? it will be beautiful to photograph. and another great practice piece for sarah, who is learning to block.

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no time to waste admiring our work though; we’ve got a jam-packed calendar and lots to do before next wednesday, when i go up to cleveland to tape a couple of segments for knitting daily TV. in one episode, we’re going to talk about fitting sweaters and in the other we’ll chat about using undyed yarns. i will demonstrate my grandma’s cast on, as well as how to close the top of a hat nicely and weave in the ends.

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since hats are so popular (and essential) this winter, i’ll be demonstrating these techniques on samples of the slouch potato hat that we haven’t yet released (it will be out there by the time the episode goes live). it’s a great example because we happen to have it knit in several different yarns/fiber types.

i’m knitting it right now in our kent DK. this pattern is really similar to the scotty cap but the brim does not have the button detail and it’s designed for a heavier yarn (so the stitch counts are quite different). anyway, i just love the way it’s working up in our beach glass shade of kent—so glossy and elegant. the top will have lovely drape; just the right amount.

and with that, i am reminded that i have lots of swatches to knit before next week too—i better shove along and get to it. see you in a couple of days!

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gobi hat and mittens

Posted on 10 CommentsPosted in patterns

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if you live anywhere east of the mississippi river, you are probably spending an inordinate amount of time this year dodging the bitter cold. that is, when you’re not bracing yourself for yet another avalanche of snow.

it’s not even a question any more of whether it will strike; rather, we plot our schedules now in terms of when and how much??

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as i see it, there are two ways to defend myself against the onslaught. first some good, warm accessories to cover head, hands, and neck when we head out to shovel. and second, some really satisfying knitting projects to work away on indoors while the winds howl.

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either one will increase the warmth factor where it counts and help me feel especially productive at the same time. i can even snuggle under a blanket with my feet propped on the coffee table while i pump out squishy mittens and hats to wear out in the cold—how great is that?

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most years we are thinking about spring knits by now, but this year, i find that heavyweight knitting still has a hold on me. not only because it is functional, but because something new right about now for a change of pace would be awfully nice.

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or maybe someone you care for has worn his or her accessories so much that the wear and tear makes a new set kind of mandatory. this late in the year, the best solution is something quick, but effective.

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enter, the gobi mittens and hat, which knit up super fast on big needles in worsted weight yarn; just the ticket. mostly worked in stockinette, there is a cable detail to show off a nice lofty yarn and add just the right touch of handsome texture. worked in a natural fiber shade or a wonderful hand dyed color, these will serve well through the end of winter and into next year.

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each piece is  great beginner project—really basic structures and stitchwork. there is a graft at the top of that hat, but that’s just an opportunity to check out  my FREE craftsy class on grafting; which will take you through the procedure step by step. i promise, it won’t be painful.

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shown above, gobi mittens knit in snow leopard trust handspun mongolian camel wool yarn, color desert.

shown below, the gobi hat also in  snow leopard trust handspun mongolian camel wool yarn, color desert

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either one of these designs would look especially handsome knit up in one of our bare naked wools worsted weight yarns as well, such as 100% corriedale confection or our soon-to-be-released kent worsted, a super squishy merino/romney blend (available for general purchase beginning 2/25/14)

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to purchase patterns or view complete pattern information, please click here to visit the gobi hat page or the gobi mittens page in the knitspot pattern shop or visit the gobi hat page or mitten page in our ravelry pattern shop.

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these patterns is also included in the BNK 2013 eBook collection—14 terrific garment and accessory patterns that celebrate the beauty of natural fiber, each one multi-sized and suitable for gifting or keeping; many will have universal appeal for women, men, and children alike. purchase the eBook collection from the knitspot club website or in our ravelry pattern shop.

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another fun thing to do—click here and here to view the project pages for the gobi mittens and hat. see more examples knit by club members and photographed on a variety of people and in alternate yarns. or better yet, join us in our swinging’ BNK clubhouse or knitspot mothership for a KAL!

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speaking of club knits, we put heart and soul into creating wonderful packages with which to surprise our members each month. we just started shipping our 2014 bare naked knitspot club—a celebration of the under-discovered side of the fiber world in all its natural, undyed glory.

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(love is in these packages!!)

we have a few spots left and will continue to take signups through 2/28/14 (or until we’re sold out)—we’d love for you to join us!

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we scour the globe to find interesting yarns and the fiber story behind them, beautifully photographed and fully researched.

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each yarn selection is paired with a design that shows its character off to best advantage and sometimes we throw in a cool goodie for fun.

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our partners are all small business owners and wool producers who care deeply about their role in putting farm fresh fiber products into knitters hands.

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all of this delivered right to your door, six times per year—what could be better? if that sounds fun to you, come join the flock!

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many thanks to my friends sam and kade for modeling the january 2013 club knits for me last year. we had a lot of fun climbing around the hills near jamul, CA and they were extremely good sports about helping out to make the chapter one of our best ever.