the seeds you sow

Posted on 13 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events

Hello and Happy Holidays Anne and Knitspotters,

It has been awhile since I have written and Anne asked if I would like to write a guest blog before the year ended to give an update—of course I would!

To start I want to say thank you for all the support you all have given me on my journey, and I hope you are all well. As for me, I have been doing really well most of the time, as most people do and especially here in cold damp Washington. I have battled with some minor illnesses, but I am doing better now.

Me-Fall-2015

I’m not sure if I have mentioned it before or not, but I was looking into studying abroad for a semester, and I am pleased to say I am going to be in Florence, Italy next semester! I will be studying at Studio Art Centers International-Florence (SACI). Here I will be continuing to study art history, I will be taking a few contemporary Italian art classes, as well as one focusing on just women in art history! I am also going to be in a beginning Italian language course. I am still headed as far as studies go towards being in a Curatorial/Museology program. I will be in a Museology class while abroad as well, and there are plenty of optional fieldtrips I am hoping to take part in!

As things are going now, I am expecting to graduate as soon as I am done with my semester abroad, and after graduation I plan to work and save for Graduate school, as well as looking for internship opportunities. A good friend of mine brought an internship to my attention that takes place at The Smithsonian and I really would like to be able to apply for and get it. But, in the meantime there are a few local museums that need volunteers and it would be great experience to get all sorts of different perspectives of museum life.

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Outside of school I haven’t done a whole lot . . at the beginning of the term I did a rather strenuous hike to the top of the Oyster Dome.It was a great feeling to have been able to do it again and to cut nearly two hours off my previous climbing time. I have also attended a couple of dinners with other foster youth who go to Western, they are nice but it seems most of them are as focused and busy with school as I felt to have been able to get together more often than we did. It was nice however to get to know them and their stories.

Other than these few dinners I met a girl at my best friends birthday party and it turned out that she was also in the Art History program at Western and we were even in two classes together. Her name is Christie and we became fast friends with all the things we had in common, it is a great but bittersweet thing, because I have had a hard time in college making good lasting friendships and to meet someone who I have been so compatible with in my last term. I plan to visit and see her and a couple of other people who will still be in Bellingham after I graduate, but I will not be living there.

I will be moving back down to Chehalis where my grandparents and my sister and her family live. I also have a job at a locally owned market in Chehalis where I will work to pay back the small loans I have had to take out for my study abroad, and save for grad school.

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We had a pretty big Christmas celebration my sister and her family, and my uncle came to my grandparent’s home to celebrate and it was really nice. My sister recently had her fourth child a boy named Mason

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so it has been very nice to spend time with all of them and know that they are happy and doing well. Something that I was really excited to have gotten to do was to see my older sister’s son who I haven’t seen since he was 18 months old; he was adopted by a very nice family and is now almost 6 years old. He didn’t remember me but it was great to see him and know that he is loved and happy!

To end my entry I want to thank you all again for your support of me over the years and I hope you all have a wonderful 2016!

Best,
Brandy

christmas in any key is fine

Posted on 12 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events

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the other night when i got home from yoga class and stepped out of the garage, i noticed a to-do across the street—music and festivities to ring in the holidays.

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santa was shaken’ it and even abbey the dog was a-waggin’ her tail to the sounds! i dropped my things inside the door, grabbed the camera and went over.

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our neighbors were caroling, this year with extra instrumentation in celebration of our unseasonably warm temperatures.

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bret had already told me earlier in the week that his holiday display was going to be very low key this year . . .

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but i never dreamed it was gong to be THIS low key, haha.
seriously bret, i think you missed a spot.

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oops, nope, i’m wrong—there’s the tree in all its glory after all, with lights to the tips of its branches. well done.

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while the skiing polar bear, elves on a ladder, and other characters are sleeping through this year’s show, the addition of a new disco light show adds that extra layer of sparkle to fill the gap. santa at least, seems perfectly happy with things the way they are.

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after a bit the merry marauders headed back to the streets—maynard and bruce are neighbors and brothers—they’ve been playing together for years and years (you’ve seen them in photos of other events, like the neighborhood coffee house and the summertime driveway blue grass party).

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soon the band showed up on our front doorstep, where they played to david (who sat at the dinner table inside) and to me while i snapped some more photos outside. fortunately, they don’t mind being blog fodder.

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after a bit, they headed down the street to the next house, leaving echoes of christmas cheer in their wake (along with a little bag of chocolate goodies, thank you!).

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wherever you are on this night of nights and whomever you’re with (and however they’ve decorated), i hope you are having a warm, peaceful, and fun couple of days to relax and enjoy the moment.

much peace and love,
anne

boogy cowl

Posted on 7 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, patterns

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need a very quick last minute gift? ready for a project with some color changes?

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the boogy cowl can be knit any way, whether you prefer an organized pattern of stripes, something random and fun to use up bits of leftovers, or a solid color for more textural impact.

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our shorter version is knit in narrow stripes that repeat as a group; striping will emphasize the undulating movement created by increases and decreases in the openwork. in a longer version you’ll double the effect—bigger impact when worn long and loose or a pile of stripey goodness when wrapped twice.

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i knit mine very quickly so we could could get this last minute pattern out to you, but now that we have it, we’re planning more samples in our favorite neutrals

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like gradient shades of cozy better breakfast DK or confection sport and a mix of every shade of luxe chebris or cabécou sport. i can’t decide between BBK and chebris sport for my own . . .

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needless to say, this would make an excellent lat minute gift—not only is it useful and pretty, but so fun to knit; if you have to put your nose to grindstone to crank something out, it should at least be loads of fun!

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shown above, the medium size cowl in bare naked wools festivus 2.0, in colors (light to dark) fezziwig, christmas present, cratchit, and scrooge. Festivus 2.0 is an overdye of our confection sport, a 3-ply yarn spun from 100% soft corriedale wool raised in upstate new york.

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click here to purchase or to view complete pattern details—as with the slow dog noodle scarf/wrap pattern, this particular listing is a little different—thanks to david’s hard work today, there’s a dropdown menu so you can choose your purchase price, from $6 and up (we’ve added options for those who would like to give more).

from now through december 31st, 100 percent of every single boogy cowl pattern sale (plus extra donations) will be added to the red scarf scholarship fund!! as of yesterday our fund was up to $2940—so awesome! thanks to your generosity we are on track to surpass last year’s goal and do our part to keep up with the rising cost of education.

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purchasing is as easy as any other pattern on our site; it just requires that tiny extra step of using the pulldown menu. the pattern is also available on ravelry, however, we cannot set up the extra donation option there. if you’d like to make an extra donation, we ask that you purchase here and request for us to send it to you in ravelry (your download will be immediately available here; it may take a little while for us to process the rav thing. we appreciate your patience!).

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thank you all so very much for your enthusiastic participation in this even year after year. it means so much to us, but be assured it means even more to our student recipient.

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speaking of students, isn’t helena looking wonderful these days?? she is currently finishing up her waldorf early childhood education certificate and working in several children’s programs around town. she is also interning with a design studio downtown and working with us a photo stylist. thank you so much helena for taking some time to model our latest release!

are you ready?

Posted on 15 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, designing, food and garden, lace/shawls, projects

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i just love this slow dog noodle wrap—light and airy, it’s great as a huge scarf over a heavy sweater or atop a wide open jacket. but it’s also a wonderfully cozy wrap to throw on while knitting or watching TV—long enough to cover my legs, but light enough to allow my arms to work. love!

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and with the mild weather we’ve been having, i can even wear it instead of a winter coat, a la mister knitspot. with such versatility—now it’s a scarf; now it’s a blanket!—this kind of wrap is wonderful to wear traveling.

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the fabric drapes beautifully and at the same time, has the deeply textured appearance of a much heavier bulky knit—without all that weight, yay.

this is a great piece to add to our wardrobe (yes, this is one i think we can share, haha).

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i could not resist casting on the scarf version with a few odd-ball skeins of the festivus 2.0 red gradients—i am adding rows here and there whenever i need a mindless project (like during a meeting or when i’m too tired to do something challenging).

we are doing very well in our scholarship fundraising—thanks to you all! last tuesday, our scholarship number was over $1800 and tomorrow i will get an update from doug. we are hoping to meet and perhaps pass last year’s final number of $4000.00; let’s make it happen!

now that the pattern numbers are final and it’s available to everyone, including LYS sales, please let friends and family know that they can help a lot by purchasing a copy (if you purchased early, please re-download an updated copy with final photos, sizes, and yardage requirements before casting on).

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i finished up the coordinating cowl last tuesday, a little late to include in last week’s post. that night i soaked it, reshaped it and set it up for drying with anne marie’s handy-dandy roller method.

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two oatmeal boxes, a couple of paper towel rolls, or the tube from a roll of wrapping paper will set you up for a lifetime of ease in cowl blocking (a couple of pieces of PVC tubing will also work a treat and won’t succumb to dampness). just insert a length of tubing at each side of the cowl and roll every hour or so until dry—it speeds up drying like nobody’s business and creasing will be a thing of the past.

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don’t the gradients look nice knitted up? in real life, the color shift are so subtle that you can hardly locate them in the three lighter shades. but then obviously when the darkest shade bumps up against the brightest one, it’s there.

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you could arrange the shades differently of course—make an ombré by working from light to dark and back or go random and mix them up continually (that’s a great strategy if you have an uneven amount of leftover yardage from a scarf or wrap project)

this is the medium size (there is one smaller size and then a long size that you can double wrap); it weighs just 2.1 ounces—a little under 200 yards total. it took almost no time to knit.

i’m hoping we’ll have the pattern ready on tuesday evening in case you need a very last minute gift! and of course, the proceeds from this one through december 31 will also be added to the scholarship fund.

the gradient sets were shipped out last thursday evening—they are landing everywhere as we speak. erica does have a very small quantity of extra skeins to offer as sets or individually; if interested, please contact her (jeevesATknitspotDOTcom).

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i’m not making a lot of christmas gifts this year, but i did try a new crafty project that is working out well so far—lotion bars. i use a lot of these; my hands really suffer from dryness both winter (from the indoor heat) and summer (working hands syndrome from gardening and sink work).

buying them has been a bit hit or miss—sometimes they are so hard as to be unusable, sometimes the scent ends up being too perfumey for me. and the ones i especially love are expensive (natch) and too big to be portable.

my experiments with making my own wool soap made me curious about other DIY products and over the summer i poked around on the internet to see if lotion bars would be equally easy to make at home. and they are—for the price of a few bars of my favorites brands, i was able to buy supplies—including a few splurges for luxurious butters—to make several batches and in the smaller size i prefer. the recipe is ridiculously easy and the results are luscious; definitely a keeper.

so i’m making several batches to add to christmas gift packages—and learning to use scent judiciously, haha (i love scented hand lotion; it’s easy to go crazy, but i want these to be appealing). my only hangup is that i can’t find an inexpensive solution for containers; my favorite options require me to buy a case of like a thousand—a few more than i really need. i’m working on it, trying to think outside the box about boxes . . .

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i spent saturday in my kitchen to prepare some nice dishes to serve on sunday, when we hosted carrie and robbie from our ohio mill, spinners of our better breakfast, chebris and cabecou, ginny, and hempshaugh yarns.

it was nice to spend the afternoon chopping and cooking some of the last garden produce into a huge pot of black bean chile, mmm. it made enough to put several buckets in the freezer for meals later on, too.

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but i didn’t stop there—i felt like having a special dessert for once; we don’t really “do” desserts unless we’re having company, so this was my chance, haha.

chocolate pecan pie is one of david’s favorites and we hadn’t had it in a long, long time. i use a recipe from one of those old 1970s product-related cookbooks. thanks to the wonder of the internet, i found it easily to share with you—click here to view.

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and while my pie crust came out a little overly done this time (drat!), the overall result was really good. this recipe can be made into dessert bars as well; the filling is gooey, but not runny.

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remember my rather pathetic looking lace shawl project? i don’t blame you one iota if you’ve been thinking it is very much less than inspiring—it’s hard to love something so homely isn’t it?

well. . .

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how do you like it now? yep, it’s all done; can you believe that this came out of that??

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i couldn’t be happier or more surprised—it’s bigger, lacier, and prettier than i expected.

oh, the magic of blocking—how can anyone disagree?

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i can’t remember now what day i finished it up, but i blocked it pretty much right away because i was dying to see what i had inside that crumpled pile of stringy yarn.

speaking of the yarn—if i may say so, our cabécou brillant lace in the champagne shade, is nothing short of spectacular for lace; i love it so much.

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it can fool you at first, seemingly dull and lifeless, but hidden inside are sparkling threads of light, just waiting for our hands to work their sorcery.

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i really enjoyed knitting this too—it may have seemed to take a lot of time, but that’s because it was a prototype and i had to rip back and re-do a couple of times. i am all set to knit another, perhaps in the chebris lace this time (i’ve been dying to get that truffe shade on my needles since it first came in). i’ll most likely use a bigger needle with the heavier lace yarn . . .

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what i love about this shawl is how papery the textures make the yarn look, though it is soft as wisps of cloud. this piece weighs in at just 49 grams—less than half of a full-sized skein.

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it could be a gorgeous wedding shawl and then be worn every day to the office and worked into a rag-and-bone club outfit, too; all that fine stitching will never just sit in a drawer.

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this piece is another that we will be including in our january ENSEMBLE collection—to be released mid-january. we are stocking up on lace yarns especially for projects like this—are you excited?

and with that, i think i will leave you till later this week; we’ll have the cowl pattern to offer  in the next day or two, plus i have a few wonderful book releases to let you know about and probably some VERY last minute knitting; happy holiday prep!

don’t forget to share about the fundraiser patterns!!