here, there, and everywhere

Posted on 12 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, book reviews/events, designing, lace/shawls

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what a month! i have literally been all over the the map and filling every moment with some important task or other—and i have so much to tell you as a result, haha!

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well, you all know by now that we recently exhibited at the maryland sheep and wool show and then followed up immediately with the release of our spring ensemble collection.

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but i would like to back up and show you some of the gorgeous knitted samples that have been the real show in my eyes. we couldn’t put our beautiful booth displays and collections together without a considerable contribution of fine knitting to show off our designs and yarns.

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i don’t think one person came to our booth at maryland that didn’t notice whatever barb was wearing that day—in the two weeks before the show she knit this cute striped amalfi coast skirt AND a janet guthrie top in our hempshaugh fingering yarn. she also packed along the costa figueira jumper that she knit just before that.

SO many visitors to our booth made a beeline for “barb’s outfit” each day. believe me, we won’t leave home without her now!

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another eye-catching sample on display was this stunning ponte di rialto square, knit by vanessa with two skeins of our cabécou brillant lace, the champagne shade. this beautiful design by romi hill was part of our january ensemble and can be knit in fine lace yarn  or a slightly heavier weight, such as better breakfast fingering yarn.

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many people wonder how to wear a square shawl—the answer is that there are a variety of ways. with a super lightweight fabric like this lace sample, the piece can be draped in layers for outerwear or used as a light blanket or umbrella in a shower.

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lightweight lace is surprisingly (and efficiently) warm when layered up in folds—it traps air to reflect back our own cozy body heat.

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when the shawl arrived at knitspot headquarters, it was yet to be blocked—vanessa always saves that part for me, haha. it looks very crumply and somewhat homely coming off the needles, but that is easily remedied with the magical process of blocking.

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i put it in a soaking bath right away, but wasn’t able to actually pin it out til a couple of days later. no matter—undyed natural fiber is safe to sit in water for an extended period.

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it was well worth the wait—when i finally had a little time to stretch and pin it, it was a spectacular 60-inch square of lace finesse. this piece is not only a work of art, but one of considerable generosity; thank you vanessa!

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another generous contribution of knitted prowess was this outfit of the amalfi coast skirt, knit by our dear friend cherie and the costa figueira vest, knit by our good friend kristi. both pieces are shown here in the millet shade of hempshaugh as we had intentions of photographing them—along with the square shawl—as a wedding outfit.

while that plan went astray when we couldn’t coordinate good weather with a wedding party of models on the same day, we were still able to photograph it as a wonderfully summery outfit that will be perfect for a hot weather party later in the season. come june and july, we’ll be looking for a combination like this to wear . . .

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and guess what? i finally finished up the physalis shawl that had been on my needles since february, in our stone soup fingering yarn. there is absolutely no reason it should have taken this long except that i kept getting distracted by new designs.

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still, a few rows or a half hour of morning knitting at a time and it is now done. i even got to block it right away; my favorite part. i just love how those spaces between the leaves open up along with the mesh body.

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it’s a total transformation.

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we displayed this shawl at the front of our booth with the cream outfit above and it got SO much attention—the organic forms within knit in the rustic tweed yarn, made for an incredibly realistic (and dramatic) portrayal of leaves, vines, pods, and bark.

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i love this shawl—it’s so me; it’s really fun to knit and much faster and easier than it looks.

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i’ve knit it three times now and each one is my favorite, haha. from front to back in chebris lace (truffe), stone soup fingering (granite), and cabécou brillant lace (champagne)

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just before maryland and the ensemble release, erica and i had a date to spend the weekend with the miami valley knitting guild in dayton. on the way, we stopped off to visit our ohio mill for the afternoon. i love this photo because you can really see where all the gorgeous shades of our better breakfast yarn come from—carrie and robbie can tell you in minute detail about the coat of fiber each animal produces, haha.

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carrie does a lot of weaving and showed up this awesome rug that she made using the fiber that comes off of our hemp blend in the dehairing stage.

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she makes this really cool tubular yarn from it that she weaves into rugs. it’s so pretty made up, isn’t it?

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after a nice visit with them, we moved on to meet up with our friends at the guild. we set up a popup shop with yarn and samples so they could preview a few of the ensemble pieces.

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over the weekend we did some classes together in sweater fitness and finishing; it was a really great weekend. thank you miami knitting guild for a lovely opportunity to meet and work with you!

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back home everyone else was working to get ready for maryland—we even pressed doug into service, packing patterns and yarn to go into the truck.

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we pretty much stripped the shop bare and took every spare skein along with us.

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i love that our truck has a camel on the side that kind of also looks like an alpaca.

setup went like clockwork with everybody helping and before long, we had an adorable booth filled with yarn goodness and pretty samples—ready to show customers on saturday and sunday.

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on friday night we ate at a classy joint, haha. but a well deserved break for all of us; it felt as if we had not paused for weeks.

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and we had a terrific show—many many thanks to all who visited our booth and introduced yourselves to us. we just love meeting readers and customers and ravelers at our events. it makes the whole journey worth it; thank you all so much!

speaking of journeys, just wait til you see where i am now; i will catch you up in the next post, hopefully tomorrow.

Spring Ensemble 2016

Posted on 16 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, designing, lace/shawls, patterns, projects, yarn and dyeing

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Firstly I want to thank the designers that have collaborated to create these lovely creations:

Bristol Ivy

Rich Ensor

Andrea Rangel

 Janelle Martin

General Hogbuffer

Anne Hanson (a special kiss for Anne)

Spring Ensemble, a mindful approach to styling and presentation, making our knitwear a functional part of your daily wardrobe. We have taken great care to ensure that the items in this collection are indeed wearable and not merely esthetically pleasing, although they are beautiful. The collection debuted at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this past weekend, the reception has been extraordinary, I can not sufficiently express how often I heard the words, beautiful, lovely, wonderful spoken as festival attendees admired the well dressed manikins in the booth. Barb and Anne were particularly fetching in their Ensemble attire. The reactions have been just great at the Maryland Festival, a successful debut as it were and we are admittedly very proud of this collection, and we are so happy to be able to share it with you. I hope that you like it.

Purchase downloadable Spring Ensemble patterns on Ravelry or in our Bare Naked Wools Boutique.

See the collection of Spring Ensemble kits in our luxurious yarns.

Spring Ensemble Lookbook.

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Our staff (Erica, Andrew, Doug and Lillian) have worked really hard on this project, thank you, your efforts are very much appreciated, especially Anne who has literally worked ceasingly these last 10-12 weeks, probably to the detriment of her well being. And alas a big thank you to all of our proof readers, tech editors, test knitters and models. A huge undertaking for such a small company, Knitspot/BNWs is boss.

Now the yarns, they are spectacular on their own (Bare Naked Wools Better Breakfast, Hempshaugh, Ginny, Stone Soup, Chebris, Cabécou and Ghillie), all natural, no dyes or chemicals, nor harsh processing. Bespoke yarns created by Anne Hanson, whose knowledge of wool is incomparable (says I) and allows us to produce really excellent yarns – there are no short cuts taken or use of inferior fiber, just really good quality wool. You have seen our mills at work, their passion, commitment and attention to detail when creating yarn. We have also shared video in recent years of some of the goat and sheep farmers we purchase fleeces from and again their love of their animals, translates into better fiber. Much of our fiber is local, as are the mills, and we are striving to make these percentages even greater. If a particular yarn should be out of stock just now, either pre-order (if option permits) or get on the back in stock list.

Here are some of the Spring Ensemble patterns:

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Estlin Pullover by Bristol Ivy

saltPepper

Salt & Pepper by Anne Hanson

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Costa Figueira by Anne Hanson

 

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Arques Sock by Rich Ensor

Arundhati

Arundhati Shawl by Andrea Rangel

zwickel

Zwickel Sock by General Hogbuffer

dustDevils

 

Dust Devils by Anne Hanson

gibo

Gibo Auja by Janelle Martin

Cardita

 

Cardita Cowl by Andrea Rangel

 

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Janet Guthrie by Anne Hanson

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Chevi by Anne Hanson

 

 

Pairings Club Signups Now Open

Posted on 8 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, food and garden, patterns, projects, yarn and dyeing

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Signups are now open for Pairings Club. In this club we will combine yarns, patterns, recipes and drink for a multi-sensorial experience. A skein of Bare Naked Wools (undyed) and a skein of hand dyed yarn to create beautiful accessory patterns that use color techniques from stranded to color blocking. On the food end, chef Katharine Wainwright will provide some wonderful recipes to accompany the knitting projects. More details about the Pairings Club here. Wish I could join, presently continuing work on Blanket Club and my skill level is not adequate to allow me to participate. However, the recipes I might attempt.

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Been considering another knitting project, perhaps a skirt. Have always been intrigued by the idea of men in skirts. After all, men were wearing skirts before pants. I recall in the nineties, that Gaultier created an entire collection of men skirts, it was absolutely brilliant. In the past considered a kilt, but this seems somewhat typical, a safe choice if you will. The last few years have seen a resurgence of men in skirts, perhaps even a trend. Anne’s Interlaken skirt is presently at the top of my list, may have go at this.

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Landscape fabric now in place for new tomato bed.

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Same tomato bed, different perspective.

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Again, new tomato bed, moving dirt to create mounds.

Have begun re-creating the mounds for the vegetable garden, the new tomato bed is coming along rather nicely. Hoping to have mounds sorted by weeks end, but probably next week is more likely. This year will share the garden offerings with Bil and his partner, glad we were able to expand garden. I do love that adage, “if you have enough, you have enough to share” – hopefully the garden will be bountiful this year. Nearly ready to sow peas and potatoes, surely by the end of the week, hopefully sooner. We picked up seed potatoes last week and we have pea seeds. Just had quick glance at weather forecast, potentially a rainy week, may hamper efforts a bit, but will be great for newly planted seeds.

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Potato bed nearly ready for potato seeds.

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Same potato bed, note dirt in background awaiting mound formation.