lauren’s first fiber show

Posted on 10 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events

lauren wrote this in the afternoon:

My name is Lauren and I’m the new design assistant here at KnitSpot working on social media graphics, advertising and some photos. I have really enjoyed the last few weeks of working here, everyone has been so welcoming and helpful. I’m currently a junior at Kent State University studying Visual Communication Design.

 

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My first fiber show was a great success! I had a ton of fun meeting everyone that stopped by our booth and learning more about yarn, fiber, knitting and patterns. As someone who has no knitting background, I was very interested to see how everything worked and how the fiber was actually put together. The first day we were at the show, it started out as pretty overwhelming considering there were so many people around, but as the day went on I warmed up to the atmosphere and really enjoyed getting to socialize with the customers. As a graphic designer, I spend a lot of time in front of a computer and sometimes miss out on connecting with our customers face to face – so this was a great chance to get to talk to everyone, listen to what projects that have going on and what they’re interested in. Another thing I loved about the show was walking around and seeing how everyone’s booths and what they sell compared to what we sell at BNW. I learned so much about the different types of yarn, the different weights and how it matters what type you use for each pattern.

 

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Thanks to Laura and Erica for making the weekend a blast and teaching me more about knitting and fiber, I asked them a lot of questions through out the weekend and they were sure to answer everything!

This show definitely made me want to learn how to knit; I think it would be great to sit in on one of Anne’s open knit nights here at the shop to try to pick up on some things. I’m excited to go to shows in the future, especially once I get the hang of knitting, I’ll get to shop more!

seams like a good time

Posted on 14 CommentsPosted in designing, lace/shawls, projects

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(i just love the shadow of my funky little chair that appears in this photo!)

i finished knitting my triticum sweater pieces on tuesday night, but it was a little too late to get them blocked.

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so up early on wednesday to steam the pieces and put them together; i had the iron fired up by 6:30 am.

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it’s really important to block these sweater pieces before they go together so that the lace panels can be stretched and opened up fully. it’s ok if later, they pleat up again in the wash; they seem to hold their blocked shape pretty well (depending on the yarn choice).

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you want to block that lace fabric so that it will drape in a nice sweep down the front of the garment and not just sit there in a crumpled fashion, you know?

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this particular sample, knit in our stone soup fingering yarn (in the marble shade), is a good example of the fabric you are trying to get in this sweater. while it appears that i am stretching the pieces beyond a reasonable amount for a garment, it is by this method that i will achieve the light, airy, and open-grained fabric i want.

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it really should be semi sheer when you hold it to the light. part of that is how loosely it is knit and part of it is achieved in the blocking process.

the samples i knit with better breakfast fingering (porridge) and spirit trail tayet (midnight rendezvous) relaxed and opened up much more easily, due to the fiber content and relaxed twist of those yarns.

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stone soup fingering has a tighter twist and needs a little more coaxing to open up like that—one reason i like to knit it into a looser fabric on bigger needles than you would expect (in this case size 6).

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once it’s soaked, it blooms and softens a lot and the openness is supported by the expanding fiber network within.

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the final fabric has all the integrity of a heavier, firmer fabric with strong, even stitches and a smooth surface, but feels feels much lighter and more breathable—perfect for temperate weather, yet very durable.

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(the same goes for shawls and lace accessories by the way; SSF is a workhorse yarn that is, at the same time, soft and delicate).

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once my pieces were steam blocked to size, it was time to start assembling them into a garment.

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the first thing that needs to be joined are the two lapel extensions that form the back collar; this requires grafting. i always enjoy the special little pattern that a center back graft creates—it’s a unique feature that will occur only once in a garment and whether it’s the back of a shawl or the collar of a sweater, i love planning how it will turn out.

do not allow the prospect of grafting to cause you anxiety or allow you to avoid this project altogether—i will be there to help you. just log in to my free craftsy class on grafting and take it step by step. you will feel so great about mastering another knitting technique (and your fears about it).

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once the lapels are grafted together, the collar can be stitched to the back neck and the garment can be viewed on the dress form for the first time—so exciting!

from here, the sleeve caps are sewn into the armscyes and those seams are steamed and shaped (see this post for more detailed information and photos about seaming triticum or my craftsy finishing class for in-depth finishing instruction).

after that the underarm and side seams are stitched up and that’s it—triticum has no added button bands or neck finishes, so once the seams are sewn it’s done.

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by wednesday evening the work was complete; i finished up the last of the seams at knit night. but it still needed a good bath and after a quick dinner with david, into the wash it went.

i let it sink into a big tub of hot sudsy water, which lifted all the remaining spinning oil and dust from the fiber. once freed of this film, the scales on the wooly fiber open up and bloom, allowing water to penetrate. it is this process that transforms a dull looking yarn into a soft, clean, springy thing of beauty, alive with light.

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it really does look like carved and polished marble, doesn’t it?

after a good wash and rinse, i laid the clean garment out to dry. it’s been humid here this week so i was again very glad i had gotten it done by wednesday night—it would have a full two days to dry if needed.

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this yarn has wonderful wicking action however, and by noon the next day it was completely dry. it actually dried faster than i was prepared for—i meant to go back when it was halfway there to stretch the lace a bit more before it was totally done.

no worries, i can steam that out this morning. normally i wouldn’t even fiddle with it much, but this sample will be going into the fashion show at TNNA tonight, so we want it to look its best.

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my other incentive for getting all my work done before thursday is that my good friend and fellow designer, rosemary hill arrived yesterday for a pre-TNNA visit. we were able to have a really lovely day of knitting and talking about all things under the sun—from designer shop talk to yarn to trends in the industry to yarn to business and back to yarn (it is SO great to count one or two friends among colleagues that i can really talk to and share information with).

we will be traveling downstate in a few hours with erica B. to begin our weekend at the show; if you see me there, please stop and say hello.

laura and lauren will be storming the blog this weekend to bring you a couple of fun posts and i’ll be back next week to talk about new stuff.

holiday weekend

Posted on 11 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, book reviews/events, designing, food and garden, projects

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i’m always amazed that no matter what date memorial day lands on, our poppies burst into bloom to celebrate the holiday. how do they know??

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i was convinced that between the cold and wet last week (we had a frost one night), they would be a little late this year. but when i backed the car out on my way to the grocery store friday, there they were, the first pink, papery petals just uncurling—and i jumped out to take a picture for you.

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yesterday, after the weekend events and festivities were complete, i snapped some more on my way home from the office, when i saw that the red ones had since bloomed as well.

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the bees were so greedily feeding on them that their backs had turned bluish purple from rubbing against pollen loaded stigma.

more about the garden later on—let’s talk about the weekend; did you have a good one?

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all of our hard work and preparation to get ready for the great lakes fiber show came to a close on friday, when the whole kit and caboodle was loaded into several vehicles for the trip out to wooster. many MANY thanks to darpan, barb, erica, anastasia, lillian, and david for packing it all and setting it up.

i stayed on at the ranch to greet our weekend guests, cherie and anne marie, while getting ready for my friday afternoon yarn voyage class.

we had a terrific class that evening—so much so that as usual, i forgot to take photos (maybe laura got some?). afterward, dinner with the crew and knitting back at the house, at least for as long as i could keep my eyes open, haha.

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the next morning it was up and out early for all of us to get ready for a busy show day.

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for lauren, our new graphic designer, this fiber event was her first; i think she had a lot of fun.

i’m always so tickled to see new and old friends, knitters who read my blog and hang out in our ravelry groups, people from near and far.

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chris and laramie were visiting from england!

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it’s also nice to see what everyone is wearing at the show. since it’s usually warm for this event, scarves and shawls are the norm, but in the early hours, it’s sometimes possible to see a knitspot sweater in the wild.

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bonnie, who raises sheep and alpacas, used some of her 3-ply 50/50 alpaca/merino handspan to knit this highlander sweater last summer. the stitchwork is just beautiful, isn’t it?

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on a road trip through new england, she purchased these beautiful celtic knot buttons for it.

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on the way back to canton that day, we made our traditional stop at the dalton dariette for ice cream; cherie is now a devotee.

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duly fortified, we went right on to a knit along with our retreat group that night. i had been working on my third triticum sample in stone soup fingering yarn for about ten days by this time and i was just winding up the right front piece, which i had started a couple of days days earlier.

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i finished that off at the KAL and cast on for the first sleeve. i need to have this sample completed by the friday morning, but i really want to have it all seamed up by wednesday so i can wash it will before we leave.

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even though i’d done a lot of knitting up to that point, this meant that i still had to knit two sleeves and the back. i got busy right away; by the time we left the hotel KAL, i had started the ribbed cuff.

sunday was another full day—class for six hours and afterward, i think i took a nap—can’t remember!

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i definitely worked on my first sleeve for at least a bit, but i must have been too tired to get far, because on monday morning just before the yarn tasting, it looked like this.

by mid morning our weekend events were complete and i made a beeline back to my study to put my feet up and enjoy a day of knitting and listening to audiobooks. i probably should have been gardening but i really need to finish this sample too!

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the sleeves go quick, thank goodness; a little before noon i was at the underarm bind off (they are three-quarter sleeves) and ready to start the cap shaping. that took no time at all as the stitch count diminishes with every couple of rows. by 2 pm i was done.

i was so pumped at how quickly i’d knit that sleeve that i figured i could knock out at least the second one before  i had to go to bed last night.

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sure enough, it is possible; in fact, by 7:30 pm last night the second sleeve was ready for cap shaping as well. i had plenty of time after binding off to begin the final piece—the sweater back.

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i got cast on and started the hem ribbing; by the time david was ready to stretch out and watch TV together, i had begun the pattern for the central panel. at this point, i was indeed tired—and even—just a little bit—tired of knitting, though that wouldn’t have stopped me if i wasn’t sleepy, haha.

i was on a mission.

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i worked for a few hours this morning while i had my coffee and made some phone calls; by eleven, i had finished the body shaping and was heading to the underarm bind off.

i knit some more this afternoon during another meeting and now i’m ready to shape the armholes—a finish tonight will be mine!

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i have to run to an appointment now, but when i get home, i will complete the back and steam block all my pieces. i can start seaming while we watch TV later.

more seaming tomorrow and then a nice hot, sudsy bath to make this fabric soft and cuddly and bright—stay tuned!

(also, once it’s done i need to get back to the gardening .)

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double happiness

Posted on 12 CommentsPosted in patterns

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looking for a fun, quick traveling project to take away this holiday weekend? no need to think twice—just cake up a skein of yarn, grab two sets of circular needles, download this pattern, and you are packed for the weekend.

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you won’t need another project because this one is so addictive.

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it starts off at the top with easy, mindless maneuvers—shorter rows all in garter stitch; exactly what you need while riding in the car, waiting in an airport lounge, or chatting with family and friends.

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there’s quite a bit of luscious garter stitch texture to carry you right through your travel and settling in phase of the weekend—the perfect vehicle for getting comfy with a yummy yarn choice. mine is our better breakfast fingering yarn in the mocha shade, yum, yum.

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you’ll probably be well relaxed and ready for a change of pace just when your top part gets to the right length. and presto! the hem begins just in time to buoy your interest.

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but it’s not just any hem—this one is two hems in one, sooo much fun to see it tick off the needles.

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the smallest size of this shawl can be knit with one skein of yarn and a few spare vacay days or evenings. it’s a great newbie shawl project, too—simple to start with just enough going on that it doesn’t look like a beginner work.

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it makes a smart little layering piece to keep or give as a gift.

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but if small shawls aren’t your thing, the pattern includes two more (taller) sizes.

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as with its crescent sister, love me two times, the size is generous enough to wrap in a variety of ways

and with the reversible option there’s no limit.

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shown here is the petite size, knit from one skein of better breakfast fingering yarn in the mocha shade.

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to purchase pattern only or view complete pattern information, please click here to purchase in our knitspot online shop and here to purchase in my ravelry pattern shop.
(if you wish the pattern to appear in your ravelry library, please use this ravelry store link, thanks!)

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i know that some of our friends who’ve been doing the ravelry KAL for love me two times are just about ready for a new project to start—join us in the mothership group with any yarn, any size, any pace, any deadline. barb is going to create that thread very soon

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we’ll be back at the great lakes fiber show this weekend in the same spot as last year; please come by to say hello and see what’s new in out booth.

We also have retreat classes going on here at the shop on friday evening and sunday as well as  yarn tasting on monday morning to end the weekend on sweet note. it’s not too late to join in; email us and we’ll get you signed up.

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our rollout of the new mohair yarn selections begins on saturday morning—we have very limited stock in these yarns right now (we are spreading what we have between the site, the boutique and the wool show), so online quantities will be small at first. we will also have some at the show as well as in our shop—come by and take a look!

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and if we don’t see you here, have a safe, wonderful holiday weekend—enjoy every minute!

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