knit, knit, knit . . .

Posted on 12 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, designing, lace/shawls, projects

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hello, hello, hello! SO good to be back; thank you for your patience over the last couple of weeks while i was away and THANK YOU especially for your enthusiastic response to the release of my book, the lace lessons.

so much has been going on behind the scenes during and just after the book release; i have tons of stuff to share with you, including lots of knitting and travel.

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at the beginning of the month, erica and i went to athens, OH to participate in the athens area fiber faire.

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lots of friends visited our booth at this show; some of them even brought finished knitspot projects to show us.

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we were especially pleased when little anne and her family came to visit.

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with knitting in tow. anne has been making steady progress on a cowl project, helped along by the knitting group at her local library. Brava!

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i brought along an easy to knit project from the lace lessons book—his silk kerchief in ecobutterfly organic cotton sport, color forest mist. i love this soft, delicious yarn which is spun from cotton that grows in colors. this was the perfect project to bring; easy enough to pick up and put down throughout the weekend as the traffic to our booth ebbed and flowed.

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i cast on just before we left and by the time i got home on monday morning, it was nearly done. i did have to put it aside for a while tho, to work through the last push for the book. in my next post, i’ll show you some finished photos taken after our rhinebeck trip.

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at the show i purchased a couple of thrifty finds—the first is this 100 percent wool afghan kit in gradient gold-to-brown colors. the kit includes a sheet (yes, just one!) with several different patterns printed on the back. i don’t think this pattern would pass muster in today’s market, but it’s a wonderful souvenir of what was available when i was growing up. not sure who will end up knitting this yarn up, but i couldn’t resist the bargain.

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my other treasure is this book about wool as a textile fiber that is absolutely fascinating—it is a more or less scientific handbook that must have been used as a text for a class when it was published. the cool thing is that it confirms a lot of information i have heard over the years about the molecular properties of wool and its behavior, but have had a hard time confirming in my own research. so, i always hesitate in passing this information on as fact, but now i have something to point to and to use as a starting point for finding other sources. and for just $3, how about that?

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just before leaving, i had finished up the last piece of my little eyelet cardigan, knit in chebris lace yarn (color frappé), and blocked everything.

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i brought my pieces along to add button bands and neck finish, and maybe start some seaming on the trip. luckily, i was able to get most of that done in our room during the evenings and mornings, when it was quiet.

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i can’t remember if i took this photo before or after it was washed, but didn’t it turn out cute? and it used just one and a half skeins of yarn; i love that!

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i had been waiting for this one to be done so i could wash all three of my new sweaters at the same time, giving them a long soak in hot soapy water, then spinning out in the washer and air-drying. they look great.

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once they were clean, i added buttons to dock and cabin so i could wear it to rhinebeck, just one of the small tasks i was supposed to accomplish during deadline week, but only managed to do as i was packing the night before we left, haha.

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i held off on adding buttons to the lace cardigan; we had a set of moving mud glass buttons in our shop that look beautiful with it (above), but i wondered if i might see something at rhinebeck i wanted more. as it turned out, sarina wasn’t at the show this year due to a family emergency, so i will move ahead with the buttons i have.

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not having buttons did not prevent us from taking some great photos of the sweater on our scarf model, bethany, who looked spectacular in it. for the longest time i did not know what to call this garment but i think i’ve decided on violet—the tiny florets and leafy edgings remind me of that plant.

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right now, i’m knitting another one in stone soup fingering yarn—this time without sleeves to be worn as a pretty little vest; i think it’s going to be so cute! i made some changes in the second prototype—slightly shorter and a bit more nipped in at the waist to add to its femininity. i’ve completed both fronts and most of the back piece now—again, i can hardly believe how far i’ve gotten with just one skein of yarn. i just tied on the second skein, and i bet i won’t use more than half of it . . .

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it seems as if everyone is busy working on sweaters right now—donna came to knit night wearing her new triticum knit in briar rose sea pearl.

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this perennial favorite fits perfectly and looks so well on her; i’m always so thrilled to see excellent results when knitters wear their FOs to show and tell.

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and barb knit up a cricket (hers) pullover from the new BT wool people collection, as fast as can be, right before rhinebeck, in our stone soup fingering yarn (marble shade) paired with the yarn hollow umpqua in faded high tops that was part of her pairings shipment. doesn’t she look the part?

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one other thing i made time for before going away was blocking this gorgeous edmonia shawl, knit by agnes and then gifted to me in our fresh lace silk/linen blend. can you believe she gave this to me? it’s SO lovely and i am not deserving!

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and i love it; it’s soft and drapey and feels really nice against my neck, which is fairly sensitive (though i can wear most of our BNWs yarns without any discomfort). i just love this one to bits; thank you agnes!

the book was literally moments away from going live when i went to pick up kim from the airport, as she arrived for her usual overnight pre-rhinebeck visit. of course i had planned and then hoped we’d be done well before that time, but oh well . . . once we got home i was able to push all the buttons to finalize it and we were free. time to have fun!

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this year we left a day early so we could have one whole, work-free day to relax, knit, and enjoy ourselves in the hudson valley—lord knows i needed that. we caravanned our way east, kim and me in the truck yakking the whole time and barb and erica in the car, doing the same, i’m sure.

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on our first day off, we did all the fun things we love, at a leisurely pace. a visit to the CIA for lunch was delish; our meals were fantastic, though the desserts were not as yummy as usual. kim didn’t even finish hers . . .

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afterward we strolled the halls for a bit so erica could get a feel for the place; it was her first time there.

it was a really good idea to go early and have this day of rest—the remainder of the weekend was a wild ride. i have lots to share about that and i’ll be back in a day or two to show you more.

the lace lessons

Posted on 10 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, book reviews/events, designing, lace/shawls, patterns

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for quite a few months we’ve been steadily working on a new book of little nothings scarves and variations and finally now—it’s ready to purchase!

The Lace Lessons is meant to be a useful resource for lace knitters, particularly those who are taking on lace for the first time or struggling to enjoy its allure. While not a formal manual encompassing the whole vast subject of lace knitting by any means, the “lessons” are in the designs themselves—the kind we absorb by example and by doing, and not always related to actual knitting.

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The design included are all new, fresh additions to a collection of designs I call “Little Nothings”—a series of simple scarf patterns which has been extremely popular with readers and users.

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Each piece features only one overall stitch pattern, like a swatch that is large enough to wear—just enough of a scarf to drive off a chill or add a spot of color to an outfit. These small, lightweight accent pieces work up quickly, travel well, and make excellent learning projects.

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for several of the designs, i’ve created new variations as well, that take the motif into a different direction, such as a triangular scarf/shawlette or cowl.

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most are one-skein projects—usually one four ounce skein, but some can be knit with just two ounces of yarn, like the mini neckerchief shown above!

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the book starts out with a few very simple designs that should be manageable for new lace knitters, in sport and DK weight yarn with simple openwork motifs and lots of solid background.

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we fondly call these “husband scarves” because they have unisex appeal and can be knit in a variety of yarns. as is my custom, the patterns include both written and charted instructions—making it a great resource for teaching yourself to knit from charts if you desire.

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but we all know they are not just for men—they can be worn by anyone and in a slinky shiny yarn like our new deco—completely feminine (you’ll be able to see this yarn in person at our rhinebeck events).

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after the section of husband scarves, the book offers a group of fancier scarves with more openwork, that can be knit in more delicate yarns.

while visually complex, most of these are surprisingly easy to work and offer both a relaxing and engrossing lace experience. with just a little organization, it’s easy to be working steadily along on one of these in no time.

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wherever possible, we’ve chosen to show the designs in alternate colorways, sizes, yarn types, and/or yarn weights. our knitspot ravelry group already has a KAL in place, an extension of the test knitting group. they are a completely entertaining and fun group, but also extremely knowledgeable; please join us there to knit a scarf or two!

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the judith scarf for instance is knit once in this fine silk yarn to create a delicate, but really sexy lightweight scarf that feels fantastic against the neck.

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then again, we knit it up in our own chebris mohair/merino lace yarn for this spectacular large, airy scarf/wrap. same number of stitches to cast on and still just one skein, it it completely transformed when knit on bigger needles in this yarn that blooms with a pretty halo of fiber to upholster each leaf shape.

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and luce stellare, knit above in a dark shade of fine merino/silk lace yarn is wonderfully transparent, nonetheless.

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if you’re hesitant to work with such a fine yarn, these designs are flexible enough to work in an alternate—try a heavier yarn on larger needles for your first time out and once you get the hang of things, graduate to smaller needles and yarn for the next piece.

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the book includes instructional sections about how to substitute yarns and needles, what to look for when creating an alternate fabric weight, and a general guide to working with our bare naked wools yarns.

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there is also a section about washing, blocking and caring for your finished project, so you can show it off to its best advantage.

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the designs in the last section are inspired by the landscape, culture, and art i found so impressive in my recent alaskan travels. i was so excited that i even set right to work on swatches in my cabin at night.

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this set of mendenhall scarf, taku cowl, and tongass creek crescent shawl, for example, represent reflections on the terrain of the glacial formation we saw during the trip.

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another cowl and scarf were inspired by the fantastic woven and painted hats created by women artists of the haida culture.

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the collected patterns may be purchased in eBook from in both our knitspot pattern shop (click here to purchase or view more information) and in our ravelry pattern shop (click her to purchase if you want the book in your ravelry library).

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the patterns are also available for individual purchase if desired;  you can find all of them in our ravelry pattern shop or in our knitspot pattern shop.

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erica has also concocted kits for each one, including several with exclusive hand dyed yarns—click here to browse the selection of kits in our online shop.

and if you are coming to rhinebeck, please visit our booth at the indie untangled event on friday evening, where we will have all the scarf samples on display, with kits and individual patterns available for purchase (including our new deco yarn).

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and if you can’t make it to that event, please join us on sunday at the marriott hotel in kingston for the bare naked wools popup shop, from 11 am to 9 pm; we will have ALL of our luscious yarns on display, tons of samples, patterns, and well, fun! please stop by to say hello and browse our beautiful wares.

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i hope you will enjoy this new collection; it is a wonderful resource for gift knitting and inspiration. many thanks to all of the dyers, knitters, and models who contributed to the production of my book; it wouldn’t have happened without you!

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