keep them coming!

Posted on 3 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events

oh wow, the flood of learn-to-knit stories to our email box this morning has been fantastically touching, charming, and a true testament that all over the world, knitters at least, still find common ground. thank you SO much!

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i learned to knit from my grandma and my mom so long ago that remnants of my first projects probably do not exist. but i do have this gorgeous scarf which was david’s first project, and which hangs on the back of my desk chair, where i can reach for it any time i need to feel warm.

david was taught to knit by my our dear friend kim3 as a surprise for my 49th birthday. you can read more about this gift in the blog i wrote back in 2009. i’m going to try to convince david to write just a little bit later today about learning to knit.

if you haven’t done so yet, drop your own comment at the end of sunday’s post to be included in the book drawing.

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golden cozies

Posted on 91 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, book reviews/events, designing, food and garden

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fall color came on a little later than usual this year. we didn’t see much of a foliage display at rhinebeck and even after we got home, the leaves clung stubbornly to their summer greens—fine with me, since the weather was also miserable and it was not worth a look out the window.

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but this past week, they have offered a truly spectacular change and with sunny, warmer days, my very favorite color combinations were painted across the sky. i just adore that vivid contrast of orangey gold against a sky so blue, it appears almost purple. it makes my heart beat fast just thinking of crisp air and sun, cozy knitted sweaters, and cable-y goodness.

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perfect then, that my current projects are all-fall, all the time. my secret projects are so huggably soft and squishy and full of fall fun, that it’s a daily battle to keep them to myself. thank goodness i have this twill and cable cardigan on the needles to share.

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the current project is the cardigan version of that twill pullover i knit back at the end of the summer (above), in kent DK color mussel shell.

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while the pullover is man-sized, this prototype is my size—and not just because i coveted one for myself, but also so that i could make sure that the cables would fit and look right on a smaller canvas. i think they look fine, but they won’t fit on a size smaller than this, especially where they converge at the shoulder.

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i finished the left front last night and started the right front this morning; between my morning class and watching the shop while erica had a day off, i’ve completed about six or seven inches. i love my fingering weight sweaters to pieces, but it’s always fun to knit one in a heavier weight because it goes so fast. plus, i don’t own a sweater in kent and i’ve always wanted one; this one will not become a shop sample, haha.

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i’m knitting the cardigan in the same kent yarn, but this time using the driftwood shade. oh, the lusciousness. as you can see from the photos, this color has a wonderful mix of gray and brown romney fiber and the underlying white merino really allows the glossiness of the longwool to highlight the cables. it’s soft and squishy and delicious, sigh. i think this will be vary quick knit . . .

well, actually it has to be; we need this sample for the fall/winter ensemble, which we will be photographing at the end of the month. no problem; i am in a “making” mood since i got home—a symptom of fall nesting or cocooning or whatever we want to call it.

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i know most people have put their gardens to bed for the year, but i just can’t do it yet—ours is still producing so much abundance—even the zinnias are still flowering. and anyway, let’s be honest—that’s a job that david will probably do, so it’s up to him to decide when.

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but i think he agrees that as long as we are picking stuff, those parts of the garden stay. the fall garden certainly looks a lot different than the summer garden did, but is no less beautiful or productive.

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it’s true that our okra grove has finally dropped most of its leaves and stopped producing pods—really, just in time since they were getting so tall that i could barely reach high enough to pull the tops down to get at the okra, haha. i think they stand about seven feet tall right now. i’m wondering if they will dry and harden enough over the winter to use for a pea fence next spring (or support some other vining plant) or do they get mushy and weak when they freeze? they are certainly spaced evenly enough that with little string or light fencing material, they’d be a very pretty support. i’ll have to consult with mister knitspot.

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our greens are nothing short of astounding—the chard is as beautiful this week as it’s ever been and so prolific.

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all the asian greens i experimented with are also producing beautiful, crisp leaves and stems; if only i could keep up with them enough to pick them at their peak and use them in every meal. sadly, i don’t have time to cook every day (oh, how i wish!), nor am i cooking for a large dormitory of lumberjacks, so we just can’t seem to make a dent, haha. but i do make an effort to use them often.

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and the black kale is just loaded with leaves, ready every day of the week to be part of our supper. i’ve made several batches of soups and things, but i’ve yet to make kale chips with it. i’ve got that on my list, for whenever i have some free time this week. i’ve heard that this type of kale (lacinato or cavalo nero or black kale) is the best for chips. i know i love it best and i don’t grow other types any more because i favor this one for the types of dishes i cook.

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we also still have loads of great sweet peppers; i’m kind of playing weather chicken with them this week because i want them to turn the maximum redness and sweetness, but also because once i pick them, they will need a spot in the fridge.

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same with the eggplant, which are still flowering for heaven’s sake. and while the fruits are smaller at this time of year, they are for the most part, still very beautiful, though even more susceptible to the effects of frost. i know i should pick the more delicate vegetables this weekend; today it was 34 degrees when i woke up and bret’s roof was covered in frost. but our garden is rather protected and everything out there was fine. still, the day is coming . . . and soon, i know. it is, after all, november. sigh, i can’t complain; we’ve been incredibly lucky this year.

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i mean, i am still cooking heavily with ingredients that i picked within hours of preparation; it doesn’t get better than that.

and for sure the greens will last a while, even after the frost. the kale will actually be even better and the chard—well, we were still picking fresh chard in january this past year, so i’m hopeful we’ll be as lucky this year. hard to tell with the winter predictions being so dire, but maybe we will even experiment with covering them or putting up some sort of hoop house.

oh man, let’s get back to a warmer subject, haha!

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i had a chance or two to wear my dock and cabin cardigan at rhinebeck, having attached the buttons late on the night before we travelled. and i love the way it feels; it will be even better once it’s broken in.

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but for now i’m keeping it as pristine as possible til after the ensemble photo shoot. this weekend i’m working on getting the pattern out to the tech editor for sizing.

but my friend nancy planted a seed—well, actually, she out and out told me—that this cardigan fabric would be perfect for a blanket design as soon as i had the time to write one. and as soon as i read her comment, i knew she was right—we do need a blanket in this fabric; i love this idea. only in stone soup DK weight, softer and squishier to knit on bigger needles.

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yes, like this, yum. i knit these swatches in river rock (front) and slate (back) right around the time we went to the michigan fiber show, so they are all set; i just need to put a pattern together and figure out how to get a sample knit. maybe my next project? it’s been ages since i knit a blanket but i suddenly have a desire to do one and maybe that would be a good project to travel with over thanksgiving. if anyone else wants to test or sample knit this one, let me know; that will give me a goal for getting the pattern ready.

i think the twill and cable fabric would make a great blanket, too . . . just saying’.

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i missed buying a copy of nora gaughan’s new knitted cable sourcebook at rhinebeck, so when i got home i ordered a copy. wow—this arrived right at the perfect time of year, just when my attraction to cabled fabrics is at its strongest. there are some wonderful new stitch patterns and panels in this book—look for some of them soon in my knitting.

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i was sent a review copy of this adorable picture book—a hat for mrs goldman—from Random House Children’s Books and i want to share it now because some of you may have a young knitter in your life who will appreciate receiving a copy.

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it’s a wonderful illustrated story book about the bonds that form when a child learns to knit from someone they love. i won’t show you lots of pages as i usually do, because it would give away the story in this case, but it’s very nicely done. i’ll be sharing my copy with my nephew amad, who is learning to knit now; he reads well above the age level for this book, but i think he’ll enjoy reading it to micah.

and lucky for us, sterling has offered a giveaway copy of a hat for mrs. goldman to our readers! if you’d like to win a copy, leave a comment at the end of this post telling me who taught you how to knit. i will close comments on tuesday night at 9 pm EST—a little gift for getting all of us through election day without killing someone, haha.

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and with that, i think the sun has set on this post; see you again soon!

falling

Posted on 8 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, designing, food and garden, lace/shawls, projects

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oh boy. somewhere along the way i got lost and october just slipped through my hands, blog speaking. but i have photos to prove that it existed . . .

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we went to rhinebeck!

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and we had the best time; kim3 traveled from utah to go with us and erica betz came along for her first RB experience. and we couldn’t have had a better weekend.

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after an incredible evening in our booth at the indie untangled trunk show on friday night, we got up early to a frosty saturday morning and headed for the show. the river crossing did not disappoint; the mists were rising from the water in a spectacular show.

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our very first stop at the show was a visit to the goat barn to say hello to the friends who make our mohair chebris and cabécou yarns possible—the pinxterbloom farm gang.

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we found our producer john enjoying a quiet pre-competition hour, cuddling one of his kids who was spread out blanketing his lap. you never saw such love and affection; it’s no wonder that fleece turns into such gorgeous yarn.

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while shopping in the three bags full booth, we ran into needletime, wearing a gorgeous glentrekker cardigan knit in better breakfast DK.

i’m not sure where the next couple of hours disappeared to (i know i bought some things at stacey stanhope pottery), but before we knew it was noon and time to meet up at the annual knitspot picnic.

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beautiful hattie in her brand new bloch ness cardigan, hot off the needles. she is working the shape of that neckline; i don’t think i’ve ever seen it look more sexy.

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and with it her new design, the lady rose mitts, knit in ginny sport, color texas. we are so honored the hattie chose our yarn for her new design; aren’t they pretty? she loves that ginny sport, too; so soft and luxurious. think you hattie!

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daughter of voracious knitter brought her snow tire scarf in progress to show off at the picnic; what a terrific project she’s working up; beautiful stitchwork and promising knitting future for her.

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katharine was wearing her newly-completed empreinte crescent shawl knit in blacker farms yarn (cotswold, maybe? i keep forgetting), which absolutely glowed in the autumn sunshine. this, on top of her illas ciés pullover in ginny sport—gorgeous, both of them.

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after lunch we strolled around, running into lots of friends here and there, like eric lutz who hosted a movie night sock KAL on his podcast, sticks and twine and is working on a new men’s knitting publication. can’t wait to see it.

i made a visit to marilyn magnus‘s booth and bought a couple of small rugs for our home; marilyn is one of my favorite rhinebeck people and a wonderful weaver. her rugs are a highlight of our guest room. there were so many vendors and knitters i did not get to see this year for some reason; there just wasn’t time to see everything in one day. next year i will try to be more diligent . . .

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whew, long day at the show but we left happy, ending the day with dinner and dessert in town.

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seriously we DID eat real food beforehand.

after dinner we went to hang out with our friends and knit for the evening. they had a great rental house near the fairgrounds and once we got past the traffic to get there it was a really fun evening.

so much so that i didn’t snap even one photo all night. i brought just two projects (and a third emergency one) on this trip because i really wanted to return home with something finished. one was a mindless knitting project (because it is my third or fourth one), his silk kerchief, which i cast on for at the athens festival in ecobutterfly organic cotton sport, color forest mist.

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i did very well with my mindless knitting project and returned home with a finished kerchief. with two skeins (300 yards) of the cotton sport, i was able to complete the medium size shawlette, which is a generous kerchief or a nice shoulder warmer.

my first day home is usually full of confusion as i settle in, so i like to have a task such as blocking to ease into things.

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i love these little triangles for traveling; they serve a variety of purposes in all seasons and fold up small enough to tuck away where they can be easily reached any time.

but i’m getting ahead of myself—i wasn’t home yet; not even close!

the other project i brought was a little vest version of that violet lace cardigan i showed you last week

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which i’ve finally managed to get buttons sewn on—little glass ones that look like ice chips all the way down the front; so cute.

anyway, i thought this design would be adorable as a little vest in stone soup fingering, so i brought everything with me and cast on as soon as we got to our house in the river rock shade. lovelovelove this deep dark color with bright white news; they look like snow or stars in the night sky. this design works up so fast that even i can’t believe it.

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started on 10/12 and the pieces were all done by the 10/25, including all that travel time (i drove a lot so not much car knitting on this trip). the edgings are all narrow and worked in garter stitch so finishing is about as easy as it gets. ten simple shell buttons down the front reinforce the contrast of such a feminine design knit in classic tweed.

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it turned out exactly as i’d pictured it; i’m in love (and i don’t even wear vests as a rule, except fleece ones for running). excuse the bad lighting; the days are getting very short now, sigh.

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i love it a tad shorter and with a bit more waist nipping—still not extreme, but now it is truly curvy for a sexy look. i can just imagine this knit in the hempshaugh lace yarn for a cool, super cute summer top over a little cami or bra—so darn sexy. i just might have to knit that next.

i really enjoyed my knitting time on this trip; after the lace lessons book was published, my brain was quite fried and i was SO over working at the computer (well, still  struggling there, haha). it felt SO good to knit a lot, get outside and see people, laugh a lot. just what the doctor ordered.

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and we get so much help in that department, haha! don’t they look like trouble fun? this photo was taken on sunday after everyone had been to the show and stopped in to our popup shop at the marriott hotel.

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this is the event where we can really spread out and show off LOTS of samples and yarn. it’s a great chance for friends from far away to see everything up close, cuddle the yarn, feel the fabrics, and shop at their leisure.

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we always have an excellent day here and we so enjoy visiting with everyone who comes. so many knitters with projects in tow—either completed or in progress.

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look at cherie’s beautiful janet guthrie top that she finished just before leaving home, worn under her costa figueira vest. she is admiring a triticum cardigan back knit by another friend (i knew i should write down her name!).

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that evening just about wrapped up our rhinebeck weekend for the most part; the next day kim and i waved goodbye to erica and barb (twice, haha!) but stayed on and took a trip with katharine to crafts people, that wonderful collection of craft galleries in the woods.

it’s worth it for the driver there alone, along the back roads, deeply wooded and devoid of cell phone service. when you get there you are treated to the loveliest visit by the owners and gallerists.

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seriously, be sure to visit them all—you won’t want to miss any of it.

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a little more damage to my credit card early christmas shopping in the jewelry and woodwork gallery, then a bit more in the pottery gallery, which always weakens my resolve—there is just so much wonderful clay work there. and i am pottery ho, so there you go.

that afternoon i drove kim to the airport in albany, which gave me a chance to look in on my mom and spend a couple of night with her before heading back to ohio.

she had a bunch of things to figure out on her phone since updating to the new iOS, so after dinner with friends, we took care of that. now everyone gets balloons with their texts, haha, whereas before, it was purely accidental.

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the next morning was spectacularly warm and while she was off making visits at the nursing home, i treated myself to a hike in the nearby pine bush, where autumn was putting on her fancy clothes.

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they have really cleaned up and developed this trail—not so far as to pave it with wood chips or anything but it’s a little less muddy and you have to wade through a lot less brush now.

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it’s still quite hilly in a good way; more challenging than a mere walk in the woods. in fact a couple of those hills would be difficult if there was mud or ice.

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but that makes for some nice views inside the bush and lots of peace and quiet—it’s also much cleaner than a lot of flat trails i’ve been on in other parks.

after lunch we got her christmas gift ordered and then i got her started knitting her first triangle shawl with some briar rose sundance i’d bought for her in the summer (the purple on the left below; the other one is for me).

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she decided on double happiness; by the time i left she was knitting away and has had only one question since i left her on her own. i should have an update over thanksgiving when we see her again; she might need help getting started with the hem pattern. but then, she’s really looking forward to wearing it, so she’s pretty motivated to keep going and good at figuring things out on her own.

the next day was the long drive home, always a little grueling when doing it alone, especially in the haul full of booth stuff. but it was nice to have some alone time for thinking too; i try not to waste any opportunity, haha.

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back home, erica and i took an afternoon to get the shop back in order, with all new fall outfits and accessories to prepare for deep knitting season. since the holidays are not to far off, people like to come and shop now for special accessory projects. we love this big, cozy slow dog noodle wrap, which can be knit in a scarf size as well (in fact it was last year’s red scarf pattern).

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i’m noticing a lot of hat patterns flying out the door of our pattern shop; we have a lot to choose from and most of them are multi-sized which makes things easy for holiday knitting.

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knitters are also fingering samples for bigger projects that they plan to knit after the holidays during selfish knitting month and beyond—sweaters, blankets, and big shawls.

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and so nice to get the shop looking tidy and put together. it’s becomes a little disordered over the summer when we are constantly taking things out to shows and returning them not quite as neatly.

since i’ve been back i’ve been knitting a lot, mostly on secret projects, but i do have some things to show you as well—next time—i just realized how late it is and how long i’ve been running on. i promise i make it soon.

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