Purple is in Full Bloom

Posted on 7 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events, food and garden

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Lately, it seems like purple is everywhere. This weekend I passed field after field of potato plants

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sprouting purple flowers.

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My dad arrived from the farmers market with this lovely bouquet in tow

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and I couldn’t get over the range of purples. Lavendar is in full bloom everywhere and I can’t pass a plant without rubbing a sprig between my fingers. It is my favorite smell and one of my favorite colors.

Did any of you see this on 4th of July?

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We had purple bursts in the fireworks display in Birmingham!

I have always said green is my favorite color, but purple runs a close second. I think because it comes in so many varying shades between red and blue. This proves true in the plants in full bloom  at the Detroit Zoo

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Since I have purple on the brain, I can’t help but take photos of the purple coming at me. In the cafe at Meijer Gardens, there is an amazing glass installation by Dale Chihuly.

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The ceiling is covered in glass pieces that range in all the colors of the rainbow, but of course we happened to sit below the purple section.

The other day when Matt and I were running errands in Detroit we passed this

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and this

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and he exclaimed, “look at all that purple!” Now I have him noticing things he never did before and the colors used. It’s like we’ve been on an I Spy game for weeks.

I’m sure that some of you remember the purple potatoes I posted a few weeks ago,

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but I forgot to mention that all my groceries were bagged like this!

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Purple is everywhere and I couldn’t be more excited that today is the release of the FIRST pattern for the FIRST knitting club shipment of Passion. Anne’s club all about purple couldn’t have better timing. Purple is the Pantone color of the year and I can’t wait to see the journey Anne is going to take us on throughout the months of the club.

The first pattern was released today and while I was writing this post, Robert the mailman brought my first squishy package.

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I won’t leak any spoilers, but OMG am I excited about the pattern and photo shoot Anne did for this project. Amazing! You can see spoiler pics of the pattern on Anne’s ravelry designer page here (look for Passion Spoiler 2014 as the cover photos).

The yarns for this club were meticulously chosen from small business owners with a passion for quality yarn and beautiful color. They are amazing! There are a few memberships left and you can read more about it here or join right now here.

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We’ll get your package right out so you can cast on with the rest of us. The Knitspot in Full Color ravelry group is BUZZING right now. Catch the fever and get your purple on here!


Posted on 13 CommentsPosted in designing, food and garden, lace/shawls, projects, yarn and dyeing


after all that chatting and running on i did the other day, i totally forgot to update you on the garden. i know how everyone loves to see what’s growing in our yard.

well obviously from the photos, it’s time for hydrangeas to populate their globes with little blooms; how i love them in every stage.


first i think the entirely green ones are my very favorite and then they explode into blue-lavender worlds and i think, WOW. just wow.

and then, just when i thought i was sick and tired of pink forever, they transition again and voilà!


i am shown to be glaringly wrong.

this year our hydrangea shrubs are the greenest green, healthy and lush and abundant, but mostly lacking in flowers. each shrub has just one bloom—but what a bloom it is.


in each case almost vulgar in size and perfectness.

i don’t know what happened to the rest of the blooms but i gotta tell you, the ones we have are so spectacular, i don’t even care about the ones we didn’t get.


in fact, the whole garden is in vivid bloom right now, from lilies to green beans, so let me take you on a tour.

first i’ve got photos of the vegetable patch from each of the last three sundays, to compare with previous photos taken on june 19th, less than a month ago


first, when everything was still pretty new, before i left for denver.


then what it looked like upon my return last sunday—we had a lot of rain and cool weather when i was gone but the squash, peppers, and eggplant all had vegetables big enough to pick.



and finally, yesterday; it got hot near the end of last week and the soil was quite a bit more dry. but look at how those marigolds to the left have bloomed out


they are tall and covered with flowers to stand guard over the squash and greens nearby.  we’ve eaten several meals so far that include squash—we pick them at a very small size to eat when they are tender and delicate tasting. today i even had enough to share with friends.


speaking of which, the last squash in the row has climbed up into the barrel where i put one of the tomato plants and is using the tomato as a trellis to climb further (the neighbor’s bees love our garden patch).


everything over there is starting to grow into an inseparable tangle; i love it.


these nasturtiums have the prettiest blue-green leaves and bright red flowers, wow.


lavender in a pot at the corner to rub between my fingers whenever i pass by.


while most of the garden looks just beautiful, thanks to david’s careful tending, my chard patch is in dire need of thinning and weeding. i keep thinking i’ll have time to do it “tomorrow” but that extra time just never materializes.

vegetables have the w=sweetest flowers—so delicate they last only hours; a day if we’re lucky.


at the back, the green beans are climbing vigorously up the wire fence and putting out white and purple flowers. at their feet, the bush beans are doing the same and when i peek underneath their broad leaves to take a photo


what do i see but the tenderest of little string beans. in a day or two these will probably be on our plates at dinner, mmm.

the potatoes and carrots populating the remaining back area are starting to take over in a lush jungle of vines and feathery tops. i love when everything fills in like this because it really cuts down on the number of weeds that can grow.


moving toward the front, we see my favorite row of the garden—i love the mix of green (radishes, eggplant), purple (asian eggplant) and gold/brown (marigolds) all in one row. the only thing that could make this better is if the parsnips i planted alongside had germinated, haha.


back up front i see a welcome sight—a pair of nearly ripe early tomatoes. another thing that will be on our dinner plates in a couple of days (i will let them ripen completely on the vine for maximum flavor).


circling around to the front of the house, we are in the middle of lily season. besides a proliferation of day lilies, we have a wide assortment of asiatic lilies with their extravagant flowers and scents.


showy stargazers seem pinker than ever (i feel like they were a lot more white in other years)


and the fuchsia gifted to us by our friend anne marie is thriving under the eves of the front porch.

for now, just keeping the status quo is reward enough, with all that we’ve got on our plates at the moment.


the new work/retail space is coming along nicely; david has finished painting and has begun moving yarn and equipment from the existing office.

on saturday afternoon, he and i took a trip to pittsburgh to procure shop furnishings. we were going to order them online and have them delivered but when we discovered how long that would take, david said we should go pick it up in person. i was a bit dubious about fitting it all in our little car, but he thought we should try. erica betz just laughed and laughed as we drove away . . .


i panicked all the way through the store and mentioned several times that we could still back out, but david kept saying we should try.


i was heartened a bit when we got back out to the parking lot to see a possible plan B in the distance. i texted erica betz with a photo of our haul and she was still laughing.


david started loading the car; i swear he must have emailed someone to ask the exact dimensions of the boxes because the length fit exactly.


and before i knew it, so did everything else. there wasn’t a sliver of space left for sunlight to penetrate and we had to leave the hatchback partly open with bungie cords to hold it, but it was all inside the car anyway.


on the way to and fro, i knit on david’s hat and by the time we got home, it was done except for weaving in the ends, which i did this morning.

the pattern is proofed and ready to go as soon as we can get some nice photos (hopefully tomorrow!)

yesterday was sunday, which means a long morning run for me. i wish i had gotten out earlier, but i go to bed too late to be up at dawn. i need to train for some upcoming long races, but still nursing an overly tight hip muscle, so i have to be careful. it’s slowly getting back to normal and this weekend i did my longest run in a while with good results.


we were having friends over for dinner (i love using our new kitchen and living space for this purpose!) so when i got home and showered, i got to work on baking a pie. while i’ve been pretty happy with the gluten free crusts based on my own pastry recipe, i’ve been so happy with the results from the america’s test kitchen gluten free cookbook that i tried their recipe this time.


first i made the filling—black and blue berry—using a standard filling recipe with a bit of thickener, sugar, lemon juice and orange peel.


i made sure ahead of time that i had all the ingredients listed for the dough, though i did substitute their second favorite flour for the blend they recommend (i will make that at a future date). it was a very hot and muggy afternoon which made for some gooey dough, but i managed to get it in the pan with a fluted crust without losing my enthusiasm for the project, haha.


they don’t actually list a crumb topping for pie in the book so i tried their apple crisp topping


which is made from a blend of toasted oats and nuts ground to a flour along with gluten free flour, butter and sugar. it was really tasty, perfect for apple crisp alright, though more crunchy than i prefer for pie. i’ll have to find another crumb top to use; maybe there’s a crumb cake topping i can use . . .


anyway the pie turned out lovely, didn’t it?


mark just lit up with delight when he saw it, haha (sorry, i couldn’t resist that photo).


the filling ran a bit because it was still warm, but it set up wonderfully once it was cool. next time i’ll remember to start earlier . . . these leftovers were much appreciated at knitting class this afternoon.


and speaking of this afternoon, today it was back to work for all of us. the first USA shipment of our purple club went to the post office this afternoon—that’s a lotta packages, right? tomorrow we are doing the photo shoot with the projects and on thursday, the patterns will be ready to download. i don’t know who’s more excited, us or our clubbies.

we are just about sold out for this club but we do have a few spots left; you can still get in on the fun if you act now.

being monday, sarah was moving a bit slow today—that is until larry, our beloved UPS guy pulled up with a double shipment of yarn.


first, boxes of cotton to restock our online store; if there’s a color you’ve been waiting on, emily and erica will have it restocked by tomorrow afternoon.


there are also a few new goodies in this batch—a chunky, super soft textured cotton yarn that will be delicious for simple cowls, scarves, and hats.


i’ll let sarah tell you all about that in her ravelry cotton KAL when she opens some of the packages.


and as if that weren’t enough goodness for one day, there were several MORE boxes of new yarn from another direction entirely—this time the fingering weight of our newest addition to the stone soup family, in travertine. this is the first brown we are adding to the stone soup line; we’re hoping to do a couple of shades in this more golden brown. isn’t it lovely? the caramel and white speckles just knock my socks off.

today our friend bil came over to put all the shop furniture together (bil likes to put ikea furniture together). i think we’ll be ready very soon to do an unveiling. so sit tight and we’ll be back with you in a few days; happy week ahead!




outside the box

Posted on 14 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events, designing, food and garden, lace/shawls, projects


hey, long time no see, right? i feel like i’ve been around the world and when i got back, i barely recognized the place—but more on that later; first things first.

the day before i left home for denver, i was signed up for a race and when i showed up at the start line early, it dawned on me that i was, er, on a farm. for some reason i’d missed the news that this was a cross country race, haha. i’d never run in the field before, but i was game—i got in there and did it; it was for a good cause.


it was actually quite lovely, though also—due to the deeply rutted trails caused by our recent heavy rains—very uneven running. my legs were quite tired by the end; i’m not sure i’ll do one of those again. what can i say; i’m a wuss.

then it was home to pack and make the final preparations for my trip to denver. i (quite sensibly as it turned ou) packed a minimum of knitting this time—i remembered how little i accomplished outside the studio on my last trip to craftsy. i brought three small projects and some swatching and while i worked on each of the projects in progress, i did not even touch my swatching..


during the flight to denver, which is not all that long from where i live, i got started on this slouchy cotton cap for david. i’ve been wanting  to knit him a very soft cotton hat since last summer and sarah’s summer cotton KAL gave me a good reason to make good on my intentions.

i knit and knit all through the flight (he has a gigantic noggin, so my progress is a bit deceptive) and a little after dinner that night while i chatted with my cousins.


(ps: the hometown chocolates i brought along were a big hit at every stop. must remember that for next time!)

the next morning at the craftsy studio, i knit some more while the crew set up the studio for filming my class.

then i stopped and really looked at the hat in my hands. wow, it was huge—too big even for mister knitspot, i think. say bye bye . . .

i laid that project aside and worked on another until i had a breather to restart. the days at craftsy really flew by and before i knew it, the shoot was over and we all dispersed for the holiday weekend.


nah, we didn’t have any fun making the show . . .
actually i hated to say goodbye but i was also looking forward to some R&R with good friends over the independence day break.

while the cotton cap project languished, i finished off a secret project i needed to complete for a photo shoot next week.

during my bus ride from denver to ft. collins, i had the opportunity to restart my hat while being stared at really hard by the guy across the aisle. well, he wasn’t staring at me exactly, but at my hands. it was a little unnerving but i didn’t mind—i had seen him earlier in the station, taking socks from his own duffel bag to give to a child that had neither socks nor shoes. he made me wish i was a more thoughtful person . . .


in ft collins, i was reunited with long-time friends luci and scott—it had been a long time since we last saw each other. luci is a filmmaker and scott manages a large retail marijuana facility (which we discovered has many parallels with managing a yarn business, haha); they have the most interesting jobs! in fact, while i was visiting luci produced her weekly one-minute film, which she posts each thursday on her website, movingpostcard.com (don’t get lost over there!).


i arrived on 4th of july eve and while luci finished up some last minute work, i went for a long walk on the nearby spring creek trail with my new best friend, whiskey. we two bonded quickly and had many wonderful adventures together over the next few days—i just love me a good walking dog.

as well as one who loves hiking, swimming, and just visiting. she’s the sweetest thing, but don’t tell buddy i said so; what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him and there’s no point in making him jealous.

that night we talked and talked out on the patio and scott cooked us a nice dinner, after which we all sacked out.


the next morning i got up extra early to head out to my holiday race. to warm up, i ran the 3.5 miles to the race along the mason trail, which took me along the MAX line through the CSU campus.


i was signed up for the yearly firecracker 5-miler at home, but then this job came up and i had to skip it. luckily, there is a race in nearly every town across the country on the 4th of july, and so i signed up for one at city park in ft. collins that morning.


and what a shindig it was—one of the most fun events i’ve ever been to.

the food at the end was the best i’ve had at a race—tons of fresh fruit, good coffee, bagels, and local homemade donuts. and the people watching—well that was unparalleled. and they are serious about it—who knew there were so many variations on men’s red, white, and blue running shorts?? i only wish i had realized in time to do a photo essay on that subject alone . . . next year.


i hung out for a little while, but when i started feeling like i REALLY needed a shower, i made my way home, back along the mason trail again. this time i ran only partway and walked the last couple miles so i could take pictures of the beautiful wildflowers and trail highlights.


there were so many things to see up close that i couldn’t have stayed on the trail alone. ft collins is a platinum level bicycle friendly community, criss-crossed by a large and well-planned network of trails and paths. there are so many options for getting around by bike that, by comparison, bikes are rather scarce on the street.

anyway, because it snaked through town along the tracks, the mason trail has an abundant mix of natural and industrial elements, which has in turn inspired some beautiful building projects along the way,


most of them with excellent access to the trails as well as to public transportation.

back at the house, it was just a little after 10 am—wow; i felt i had gotten a complete day’s worth of adventure in already. but believe me the best was to come. i had missed the first half of the germany/colombia match, but i showered quickly so we could head over to a friend’s house to watch the second half.


i knit out on the patio while chatting with new friends and watching the brisket get smoked; we were being treated to dinner that night by friends who love to cook.


i knit throughout the world cup quarter finals, which i’d never watched before.

i kind of wish i’d had a spare needle that was one size smaller for the brim; that would give a bit more stability to this very soft yarn—i’ll make sure the pattern recommends it and i’ll use it in my next sample.


by lunch time i had a good chunk done, but that afternoon we went swimming in a creek which was SO refreshing it was well worth putting my knitting aside for, haha.

that evening we chowed down on barbecue and salads—there aren’t words for how delicious it all tasted after a full day of fresh air and sunshine.


once it got dark, we headed out to another friend’s farm who has plenty of land from which to view the many fireworks displays held citywide. there we were treated to our choice of razzleberry pie and ice cream, root beer floats, or cookies. i chose the pie and it was really good.


as well as a few private celebrations. this year there has been plenty of rain in colorado, so the usual danger of fire was not an issue; otherwise this never would have been a good idea.

after that we all went home to bed; what a long, full day of fun.

the next morning i was up again early (one of the perks of staying on east coast time while visiting out west) and headed out for a quick run and then a walk with the dog before cruising off to meet my friend anne merrow for a bike ride.

anne and i have worked together a few time professionally, but mostly we just like spending time together—we like to talk about books, explore new tastes in food, and this time, we got to bike together.


i didn’t take too many photos on the trail because my hands were busy, but we did stop to take photos of the is cool sculpture built near the colorado state environmental learning center. made from salvaged weathered wildwood, rough planks, packed earth, and river rock, it chronicles the rise and overflow of river during the spring floods.


we rode on to the nature center itself and were pulled toward the bustling activity around the raptor shelters that are the rehabilitation center for the rocky mountain raptor program.

here volunteers care for and help rehabilitate raptors that have been injured or orphaned; some will be released back into the wild when they fully recover, while others who are too injured to survive a release will  make a permanent home here. the oldest in habitant of the shelter is this bald eagle, who suffered a gunshot wound that tore straight through both wings and his body. while recovering, he contracted west nile virus which left him blinded in his right eye.


he has been a resident at the facility since 1993. we were fascinated enough to spend a good hour or so there. arriving back at our bikes to continue the ride, we discovered that one of my tires was flat. darn it; without tools or a spare tube, i wasn’t going to be able to fix it on location.

anne’s fiánce, jim saved the day by driving out to pick us up. we decided it was time to eat and headed into town for brunch at snooze. yum, yum; everything i had to eat there was delish.

this was the last full day of my visit and we decided that more swimming and a hike would be the prefect way to end my trip. scott was napping when i got back to the house but luci was ready to work on our little done-minute film and i was game. we banged out the production in no time (hey, it’s  minute for heaven’s sake), including some nice photos of items from my sample suitcase, which i happened to have with me because of my craftsy gig.


just as we were putting the finishing touches on that project, scott came back to the land of the living and we all piled into the car for the drive to horsetooth reservoir. whiskey was ecstatic, of course; WHAT a weekend.


we decided to hike the trail to arthur’s rock in lory state park, though we didn’t have time to get all the way to the top if we were also going to fit in a swim (that’s ok; there’s always next time!).


instead we hiked to this outcropping of rock just below the peak. between the start of the trail and there was a lot of really cool scenery along a beautiful, moderately easy hiking trail.

we got pretty warm along the way; thank goodness we had our swimsuits on underneath our shirts, cuz off they came halfway up.


what i found really cool was how much the trees and trails look the same as ones i’ve seen in antique photos; there is a really old feeling about the scenery here.


at the top, a much deserved rest to appreciate our surroundings and the view, plus an opportunity for an adorable “family photo”. what a terrific last event to end my trip with. we did get back to the reservoir to swim, but it turned out that the water near the shore at that time had a lot of floating bark and wood debris—too much to be very pleasant swimming. drat. well, it was cooling off anyway and we were getting hungry.

we headed off for showers and dinner, then talked long into the night afterward.

the next day i packed up my bags and headed to the airport, where i was once again reminded how grateful i am to be a knitter—the plane was delayed for a couple of hours, but i was not at a loss to fill the time.


i worked on the hat as long as i had to sit in a crowd, but then switched to my little secret project once i found myself in a fairly isolated spot. all through the trip i knit on it and shaZAM—i cast off just before landing in canton. woo hoo.


it was late when i arrived, but the next morning i asked david to try the hat on; i wanted to make sure this time i was on the right track. it’s perfect, phew. and the color looks beautiful against david’s skin.

between monday and wednesday class and some late night TV knitting, i’ve gotten almost far enough to begin the decreases; david wants this hat long enough to coil his hair inside, which is a little more knitting than usual, but i’m happy to do it for him.


i’d have the whole thing done, but i’ve got a couple or three other projects going on at the same time, like this lace shawlette, also a cotton KAL project.


this empreinte shawlette, for instance—growing slowly, but surely in the organic color grown pakucho lace cotton. it finally has enough of  fabric on the needles to make the knitting go a little faster.


between the substance and the fact that i can now see the pattern more easily, it’s beginning to fly. last night in the space of two phone calls with friends, i got a dozen or so very long rows knit.


isn’t that shaping up prettily in the forest mist color? the hem of this shawl has lavishly deep and complex scallops; it’s such a treat to create.


and as always, not a week goes by that there isn’t a new yarn project on the boards. this week i am swatching from sample skeins for two new variations of yarn the we produce. this is such an interesting and crucial part of the work of making yarn; i have to test drive it to see how it performs.


first up, a new variation on our beloved confection worsted—we’re launching a sport weight version of this yummy, springy corriedale yarn. that is, we will be launching it as soon as we finalize the yarn specs.  what i have here are two swatches (knit on 4.0 mm and 4.5 mm needles) of a three-ply version that is spun very similarly to the worsted weight. it has great stitch definition and is super springy, but maybe a little stiff.


i do like it pretty well as is, but the miller has worked out a few variations which we should have in hand by next week to compare; she like to get it a little softer and squishier. and who am i to argue? if it can be softer, i’m all for that!


we’ve also been working with yet another new mill in search of the perfect producers for our breakfast blend yarn. though what we’ve had has been good, we’ve frankly been struggling to get exactly the yarn of our dreams.

however, we are very hopeful that we now have a partnership that’s going to work and that we’ll finally be producing the super-luxe yarn worthy of the luxury alpaca label.


the sample skeins are absolutely to die for—so lush and soft AND hairless in fact, that we will probably rebrand this yarn once we go in to full production, something along the lines of “mo BETTER breakfast blend”.

yes, it’s that good.


ok, compose yourself now; after all, it’s just yarn . . .

yeah right.

we are starting work with them very soon, producing micro batches for a few months in a row that will begin arriving in august. we’re thinking of making these available at our rhinebeck after party popup shop to get things started, then in january, we’ll go full swing into production of larger orders.

meanwhile, across the back alley . . .


work on the new space is complete and david started moving stuff over there today. oh my, are we ever excited. boxes and boxes and boxes of yarn are now, blessedly NOT in my house. there is actual room to walk in some places, haha.


sarah and i went over there today to work out the placement and size of the signage—no small feat as the space is tucked away a bit and the entry has multiple depths that do not make a good background for artwork.


david very kindly made cutouts of the store logo and taped them to the door so we could see how readable they are from a distance.

sarah and i perched inside the house to judge.


afterward our original suspicions were confirmed—we have to go to plan B. at some point, we’ll also get a cute awning, but that could take a few months. first, we need a good sign out near the street so you can find us . . .

the good news is that we’ll be ready to open as soon as the furniture arrives; david and i might even go pick it up this weekend. we are all excited; i hope you’ll come visit!

alright then, i’m done; time to go knit. have a good weekend; see you next time.

Cotton and Cashmere Restock!

Posted on 6 CommentsPosted in projects, yarn and dyeing

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Big news! Organic cotton fingering is now stocked in the store! This is pure heaven to knit with and Budding Apple would be a perfect fit!


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Wouldn’t this shawl be perfect in a natural colorway? It would be a versatile neutral piece to add just a bit of softness and warmth to a vivid outfit or a summer dress on a cool evening.

LOVe is another shawl possibility


and knit in the petite size would make a great accessory for a lightweight denim jacket.

I could also see Scotty in the organic cotton fingering,


giving the hat that extra bit of drape and slouch. Wouldn’t it be cute with some little delicate floral buttons? The yarn comes in shades of natural – khaki, painted hills, sandy twist, and straw harvest – and the colors are limited.

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We won’t be restocking the fingering weight, so be sure to snag the color you want soon. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.

Speaking of limited edition, the coveted cashmere from Bare Naked Knitspot club is back in stock too!

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Anne designed Petit Pois and Pea Trellis

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for this gorgeous yarn and we have a very limited restock of cashmere in the shop. The patterns are part of the ongoing BNK 2014 ebook. We’re only in the third installment of this club and Anne has already designed eight patterns! There’s lots more in store for the remaining three months. Even though the yarn portion of the club is sold out, the pattern ebook can be purchased via Knitspot here or ravelry here.

Since we’re on the topic of Knitspot clubs, the 1st installment of PASSION is being packaged as we speak

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and shipped out to international customers!

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Then we’ll start shipping out the domestic packages by mid-month, for the anticipated exclusive club design that’s released July 17. We are so excited about this club all about purple! If you want to be part of the fun, or if you want to double dip on your yarn portion, it’s not too late. There’s a few memberships left here.

While everyone is busy getting the new retail space ready, new yarn is arriving by the truck load! Stone Soup is arriving daily and we will soon be restocked in all colors and both weights. Also, the sold out organic cotton colors from Ecobutterfly will be restocked any day. Keep checking our social sites for updates. There’s lots happening around here!