dock and cabin

Posted on 9 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, designing, patterns

i’m excited—today is the day that we’re releasing my very favorite design of this winter’s ensemble collection: dock and cabin cardigan, knit in stone soup fingering yarn.

this replica of one of my oldest and dearest sweaters, which i designed and knit back in the 1990s, has been several years in the making.

originally knit in morehouse merino 2 ply sport yarn, i had planned to reknit it many times, and even bought the yarn once, but always put it off in favor of more urgent projects.

i think i sort of doubted my ability to recreate it exactly, or that reknitting it might not reproduce the magic of a sweater i loved so much.

it’s not that i didn’t have a pattern—i did—meticulously handwritten notes for every step of the process (being that it was designed and knit before computers were a fact of life). i just knew there were some challenging parts that i wasn’t sure would translate to a range of sizes or that i could even reknit successfully again in one size.

then my dear friend stone soup fingering came into my life and after knitting one favorite sweater with it, i knew i had to reknit my old favorite in it too (and of course, it would be luscious in better breakfast fingering or ginny sport as well!). i pulled five skeins in color pumice and set to work.

once i got started, my confidence in my dog-eared, handwritten pattern solidified and i was off to the races. the details i worried over actually came together very well—i remembered a lot more than i thought i would.

i won’t lie, an oversized cardigan like this entails a lot of knitting, but with little fit or shaping involved, it’s easy to settle into a rhythm with a fun stitch pattern to watch unfurl, some cabling to keep it goal oriented, and the knowledge that a wearable beauty would be mine at the end.

and the fabric was just what i had hoped—very much like the original, but now in our own yarn. this size weighs just 17 ounces—not bad at all for a good sized slouchy sweater. i love it so much i am already contemplating another; just have to decide which yarn to use . . . or maybe the same yarn in a different shade—i love it that much.

let’s talk a bit about the sizing and fit, because you might be surprised to see that there are just three sizes, with a wide spread of measurements for each. this garment is intended to be oversized—i wear mine with approximately twelve inches of ease. that said, each size will accommodate more than one size person, so my small/medium sample looks equally great on turner, alex, barb, cherie, and cynthia, though we all wear different sizes in a sweater with a more traditional fit.

the fabric of this sweater is very light and airy, so it drapes against the body beautifully—i.e., all that extra ease does not add poundage the way a stiffer fabric with more body would do. also, while this is a drop-shoulder style, i still added some armhole shaping and a sloping sleeve cap, so as not to end up with a lot of extra fabric under the arms, the way a straight, boxy drop-shoulder sweater would have.

it’s still plenty roomy so that you can wear a heavy shirt or use it as a jacket over layers, but the shaping makes the fabric fall around our curves and not bunch up in bulky folds.

and it looks great on guys as well—a totally sharable knit, should you be so inclined. for everyone who told me they were awaiting this pattern, i hope you’ll start one soon and share with us in our ravelry group! this is wonderful knit for long winter evenings and snow days . . .

Welcome to the New Blog Page

Posted on 21 CommentsPosted in projects

Finally after years of procrastination and inability to decide what design direction to take, we present to you our new look. A slightly bolder design, with more of an emphasis on images. Note the slider above, here we will feature new patterns/yarn, clubs and upcoming events, never miss what is happening at Knitspot and Bare Naked Wools again. Speaking of new events, the first installment of Bare Naked Knitspot 2017 will ship to international members this coming Monday, US members the following Monday. Still a few spots available, join here. Roll out of Ensemble continues, 3 or 4 more patterns in the offering, if you are not receiving the newsletter, you can signup here and be among the first hear about a new Ensemble release. Enjoy.

ps: We have a homeless dog homesteading in our compost pile, could be lost or abandoned, but no tags. Very skittish and fearful, runs when approached, ergo the blurry photo. A medium/small sized dog, the face is oddly mature looking to me, but the body seems youthful and dog is fast. Trapping seems a bit cruel, but may be the only practical solution. We may end up adopting our first dog if all ends well. On the other hand, a rather special site to see a dog living in relative freedom and independence on it’s own terms. Appreciate any advice from anyone that has actually experienced this sort of situation.

tweel

Posted on 9 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, designing, patterns

this weekend’s ensemble release is a new wool skirt—tweel—which is the scots gaelic word for twill. knit in airy kent dK, with its gorgeous sheen and drape, this skirt is a classic. from its eye-catching herringbone twill fabric that’s a dead-ringer for a woven version, to its beautifully wrought cables along the princess lines, this is one skirt you’ll pull on over and over again.

the skirt is designed to be a companion piece and extension of my herringweave sweater design. the two could be worn as separates, coordinates, or a suit—except this suit would be cozy and comfy to wear all day on the go, at work, or in meetings.

the way we knitters like our clothes to be . . . plus, nothing is as snuggly in cold weather as a hand knit skirt; like wearing your favorite little throw out of the house—only stylish.

i’m a big fan of separates and coordinates over dresses; for one thing, i can usually find a better fit with separates . . .

this skirt has an elastic waist with the flexibility to accommodate a waist-to-hip differential of up to twelve inches. even if you pull the elastic to fit a small waist like our mannequin has, it won’t look make lot of deep gathers or look “dirndl-y”. you can pull in up to about one-third of the waist circumference without experiencing bulk.

and i like the option of swapping bottoms and tops around so that, with a fewer pieces i can produce a wardrobe of outfits.

here we pair the skirt with a lightweight textured pullover in a dark shade that has a smooth fit, giving the whole outfit a neat, tucked-in appearance.

and here, we switched out the trim pullover for an oversized casual cardigan in a lighter color—more of a saturday look and super-comfy at that. the tone on tone oatmeal shades look fab and modern, like shades of sand—you can get away with it in neutrals, but maybe not with a  bunch of colors.

working with a group of separates also gives me the chance to mix textures in different ways—one of the outfits above plays around with allover field textures and the other juxtaposes cables of different types and scale. (and yes, this roomy cardigan is coming up for release soon, too!)

i like having these options and not being married to just one way of wearing a garment.

a lot of knitters are suspicious of the hand knit skirt from a behavior standpoint—probably the most frequent question i’m asked about them is, don’t they stretch and bag out after a little while?

it is for exactly this purpose that i wear my skirt designs myself. i find that careful design and choice of yarn are the keys to skirt success. i mentioned the elastic waist earlier for an easy solution to a customized fit at the waist. these skirts are sized to fit smoothly over the upper hips to accentuate the right stuff and then just at the hip apex, a little flare allows ease for movement, sitting, and bending without producing a saggy seat.

and lastly, fabric. choosing a yarn that blooms and produces a self-supporting fabric that is light and stable will keep the skirt from dragging down; fibers that lock themselves together after washing will recover better when stressed (as in sitting). overly soft yarns that lack body could let you down in a garment like this.

i design skirts because i like them; it’s as simple as that. i write up the patterns for my favorites because i think you might like them too. besides, a skirt is a pretty quick and easy knit; definitely worth taking a chance on.

The yarns of Ensemble 2017

Posted on 3 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, yarn and dyeing

Each time we release a new Ensemble collection, we spend a lot of time considering which yarns could be substituted for which patterns. While at first glance it might appear that a dk is equal to another dk, or a worsted to another worsted, the unique nature of how we make Bare Naked Wools’ yarns actually makes the process a bit more in-depth. Gauge across the board translates well from yarn to yarn in our lineup, but each yarn creates a unique fabric all its own.

We thought that before launching into another week of patterns (most specifically, the sweater patterns we know you have been waiting on), it would be good to discuss how the yarns develop and influence the garments in which they are featured. We’ll start with three and add some more after the next round of pattern releases.

Kent (DK & Worsted)

Kent, in both weights, made a lot of appearances in this year’s Ensemble. You might even say that it’s “having a moment” with our designers. This two ply blends Merino and Romney wools – one for softness and squishability, the other for shine, strength, and enhanced stitch character. When working in Kent, you know that what you make will last and look beautiful for a long time. The wide range of colors available, from creamy white to dark chocolate brown, made Kent a surprise favorite for colorwork in patterns like those from the Snowy Evening Woods set. It was also featured heavily in garments, including Anne’s extensive Herringweave pattern and in upcoming Minato. One of our favorite features of Kent is it’s chameleon-like ability to work wonderfully on a wide range of needle sizes. Kent DK can be used as a light worsted, dk, or sport, while Kent Worsted can fill out aran or knit at a tidy, tighter DK gauge.

Cabecou (Lace and Sport)

The first release of our collection, Volta, had us sold out of some colors in Cabecou Sport in no time flat. Just as beautiful in real life as in photos, Cabecou has a richness and shine to it from the mohair content. This yarn is relaxed, with drape that enhances shawls and results in effortless-looking, high-quality garments. This yarn also blended surprisingly well with Kent DK in Urbanza. While some of our other wools might seem to heavy for warmer climates, Cabecou’s unique blend of mohair and wool allows for larger than average gauge. This versatility allows Cabecou to be knit with more open space, resulting in lighter garments that allow the halo to lift from the finished fabric. While it’s a joy to knit with this yarn, the true joy comes with repeated wear – Cabecou garments actually look better with time as the halo can fully develop.

Better Breakfast (Fingering, DK, Worsted) 

The yarn that started it all. Better Breakfast was our first Bare Naked Wools yarn, introduced in our very first club. Spun up on the dream that you, our dear readers and followers and clubbies, might want a yarn that was as true to the fiber as possible, without alteration or interference. This yarn has a wonderful range of color due to the content – local Ohio de-haired alpaca, blended with soft Merino wool. Paired with multiple plies and a tight spin, this yarn is everything knitters dream of: softness, durability, and a squishy hand that even makes knitting swatches pleasurable! Available in multiple weights, this yarn was featured throughout this year’s Ensemble collection, in accessories like the Minstrel Shawl or Abri Hat and Cowl to the gorgeous Rocky Fork Pullover; designers just love its velvety depth.

We hope that you’re enjoying Ensemble as much as we are this year, and will try some of the patterns in the yarns for which they were intended, but also experiment and step outside of the box. We encourage your substitutions – our yarns are created to meet the needs of knitters through the creation of soft and luxurious garments. No chemicals, dyes, or harsh processing, so the resulting fabrics are durable and give you the true character of the fiber.

As always, our yarns come from animals that are loved and doted on, and our mills understand and appreciate their materials. Each yarn is carefully constructed and much thought is put into spin, hand, and content. For knitters, by knitters!