three haps

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in Bare Naked Wools, designing, lace/shawls, patterns, spinning and fiber

in april, just as the first bright greens of spring were emerging, we released three hap designs in our bare naked knitspot club to be knit in elemental affects shetland wool.

and it is with great pleasure that i’m now able to offer these pattern for general release—they were very popular with our clubbies and many people outside the club have been asking when they could start knitting them too.

from top to bottom above, we have the bold and sassy jack tar triangle, followed by the muirburn triangle, and then by the eshaness scarf/stole. each pattern includes instructions for two sizes and four colors, but both are easily adjusted to suit your taste for more or less color changes and bigger or smaller final size.

our friend kathy recently knit this pretty sample in four shades of our tweedy stone soup fingering yarn; it’s so light and airy, but also rustic and cozy to wear; i love it.

the yarn is light and soft, the fabric will flutter prettily in the breeze. it also handles the light just beautifully, filling up with a glow at the merest hint of sun.

muirburn and eshaness are designed using the same stitch patterns and colors, but make use of the shetland shades in different ways. the effect in each design is soft and subtle, with the yarn reflecting the landscape of the scottish heather moors.

jack tar is designed to show off the intensity of the natural shetland colors, which range from deepest black to white—twenty-one natural shades in all to accent the bold sailor’s stripes along the hem.

which one of these designs reflects your personality?

i think the intense discussion over the answers to this question made this installment the most fun for our clubbies.

shown here are the petite size shawls and the scarf version of the rectangular piece. this small size can be made with about five ounces of wool, using something light and airy.

the stiffness and luminosity of this natural shetland or our stone soup fingering yarn is just perfect; the yarn helps the light openwork keep its blocked shape and luminous appearance where something more springy would weigh the fabric down. i imagine they would be stunning in our chebris lace mohair blend as well for the same reasons.

the simple stitches just fly off the needles in these easy to work yarns—the perfect fast knit to consider for a special holiday gift. take a look at our clubbies’ project pages for expanded color ideas and notes.

to view and purchase pattern only, please click here, here, or here for ravelry purchase and click here, here, or here for knitspot pattern shop purchase.

homeward bound

Posted on 15 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, designing, food and garden, home and family

with the fun and excitement of rhinebeck put to bed til next year, i’ve taken a few days to stop off and spend some time with my mom in upstate new york. the foliage here is turning rapidly now, reminding me of how quickly we are moving toward winter—how can that be already?

it seems like just last week that i was frantically trying to figure out what to do with the five pounds of green beans i was picking each time i went into the garden, hehe.

our summer was almost mind-numbingly busy, with out of town sheep and wool events, teaching events, an incredibly productive garden, and our new family member to teach and share experiences with.

but in between the watering and harvesting, the truck packing and car travel, we squeezed in a wonderful evening walk each day, shared dinners around the table together, made new friends in our community, and at the end of each long day, a bit of cozy knitting time.

you really can’t ask more than that from one short summer, can you?

as for knitting, you would think i’d gotten nothing done, considering how few times i blogged about it, but a lot of stealth knitting was accomplished.

in addition to these shawl/scarf designs for the the bare naked knitspot club, i started and finished a second sample of my new birches cardigan design in lightweight cabécou brillant sport.

omg, it is SO light and fluffy; the depth in this yarn is spectacular in person, too—i used the sel gris shade, which is a warm gray with gold tones added by the unbleached tussah silk; so rich and pretty. ellen wore it this past weekend at a couple of our rhinebeck events and it looked stunning on her—much better than on me!

the early fall was filled with activity around knitspot central; i had a couple of weekend teaching dates that were exciting and invigorating—i love spending time with students who are expanding their skills and exploring new horizons in knitting. we were also part of our regional yarn shop crawl, a three-week event during which we hosted hundreds of knitters at our brick and mortar shop in canton, ohio.

in between knitting events and designing, it was a mad scurry to harvest and put up the abundance of the good things that our garden produced this year.

we had a crazy big tomato season that yielded thousands of cherry tomatoes and hundreds upon hundreds of full-sized heirlooms as well. every surface of our kitchen and dining area featured a red, green, and yellow landscape.

we did a lot of creative shifting around as they ripened for roasting, drying, and freezing. all of our neighbors and acquaintances benefitted from the harvest in our small garden space.

believe me, more than once my eye went to cardigan’s little paws, wondering if i could teach her to peel and chop. somehow, i don’t think she’d appreciate being pressed into kitchen service . . .

she’s more interested in outdoor “work”—good company in garden during those early morning hours, following me from one area to another to snooze nearby while i picked beans or tomatoes.

we had a spectacular garlic harvest in july, netting just under a hundred large heads. we culled out the biggest ones for planting next year’s crop and david put those cloves into the ground earlier this month—our 2018 garden is already underway!

our greens were plentiful and delicious as well, but we didn’t have time to harvest as much for summer eating as i would have liked. we shared a lot as they grew, but the good thing about greens is that they just keep chugging along til i had a window to cut a big batch for freezing. i’m relieved that i did because these are my favorite.

in the middle of the fall flurry, david’s birthday kicked off the month of october and we celebrated by having a make-your-own pizza night for just the three of us. the sauce naturally was made from fresh roasted tomatoes and garlic; toppings included fresh zucchini, mushrooms, peppers, and more.

the pizzas were followed by big slices of chocolate fudge cake, yum-mo. it’s my go-to recipe, adjusted to be gluten free; still the best one yet!

in addition to tomatoes and green beans, we had beautiful eggplant and peppers, which i cooked into big pots of stews and such to freeze for winter. now we are harvesting the root vegetables and were pleasantly surprised at how many beets, potatoes, and rutabagas we have. this is the first year we’ve had really good sweet potatoes and the timing couldn’t be better—they are one of cardigan’s favorite foods, along with green beans.

i picked  a few baby parsnips to thin the row for now; the rest will stay in the ground til after the frost, along with the rutabagas and beets for further flavor development.

there’s nothing like that first pan of freshly dug roast potatoes—yum, YUM!

i have to say though, much as i enjoy it all, i’m glad the garden is winding down and there will be more time for knitting.

although who knows—mother nature may have another plan for my “free time”. a couple of weeks ago when i was picking some of the last tomatoes, through the dying vines i spied this small grove of new plants, growing in our compost pile. apparently, the bad tomatoes i’d been throwing on top had sprouted, self fertilized, and grown there. i have no idea which ones are which, but it’s likely we may see fruit from them if this temperate weather holds out; the compost is warm and will make a friendly environment for an extended growing area . . .

between club designs and sample knits, i squeezed in a small personal project—a new pair of lacunae fingerless mitts for me, to replace my beloved original pair knit in briar rose fibers fourth of july yarn. i lost one at the end of the spring while i was walking cardigan.

i’d been meaning to knit a new pair anyway so it was probably for the best. i love this design because the stretchy cross-stitch has a nice firm grip that doesn’t lose its shape. the yarn is really hardwearing as well; the original pair never pilled at all and still looked great after years of constant use.

i finished them up during our rhinebeck weekend, weaving in the last ends on our last night in the rental house, yay! they are a bit wrinkled from being squished in my project bag, but they’ll look much better once i have a chance to wash and block them.

and i have so much yarn left over that i think i’ll knit the matching cap—i gave the original one away on a whim and have always missed it, since it fit me very well (it’s not easy finding the perfect hat for my little pea-head).

speaking of rhinebeck, what a whirlwind weekend it was, fun, fabulous, and all too fast. our dear friend kimkimkim was in town to attend the show and spend the weekend with ellen and i. as usual we had a lot of fun catching up, though we also worked hard.

with a booth at the indie untangled event on friday evening and our own popup shop on sunday afternoon, we needed to cram most of our fair-going time into saturday. this was ellen’s first rhinebeck and if you’ve ever been, you know how that is—completely mind boggling, haha. but fun and wonderful, too.

the day started out cool and breezy, turning unseasonably warm and sunny in the afternoon. the crowds were epic, swallowing up our friends within moments. every time i look at this photo i think of “where’s waldo??”—ellen was right in front of me but can you spot kim in the crowd?

we definitely made the most of our show-time hours, beginning with a trip to the animal barns to visit the sheep and goats. this handsome creature was getting a final clip and trim before entering the show ring and being so patient about it, too.

this adorable fella should look familiar—it’s one of the goats from the farm that produces the mohair for our chebris and cabécou brillant yarn lines!

after visiting the animals, it was time for shopping and people watching; everyone’s favorite part of the show. i am on a strict budget this year so i concentrated on the latter mostly, but still stocked up on my favorite shepherd’s friend hand cream from maggie’s farm and treated myself to a mug from stacey stanhope pottery.

i wasn’t going to buy a mug at all and i certainly don’t need another, but i saw the composition on this one and caved—i just love her work too much to walk away. i look at it as a piece of art and i know i’ll spend more time than i’d ever admit just turning it round and round, enchanted by the motifs. (and i hear tell that some day soon, the cake plate i’m patiently awaiting will be a reality, too. no worries—good things take time and i can be VERY patient.) we even talked about working a silhouette of cardigan into a small piece in the near future—sign me up!

after that it really was time for people watching ONLY and of course there is more than enough of that at the show to satisfy a knitter’s appetite for fun, fresh ideas.

i couldn’t believe it when i was walking back from a trip to the car and ran into becky, who had written me several times in the previous week about a special yarn order. she mentioned casually that she had knit a dress from our hempshaugh fingering yarn that had fair isle hem and yoke and i was intrigued. so i was doubly glad that she was wearing it when i saw her! while i couldn’t really envision it as described in writing, it was very pretty in person and the hemshaugh yarn worked well with the wool she used for the stranded sections. i love the millet shade, which is slightly butter colored, with the grays. so creative and the lighter fabric makes the dress much more wearable year-round.

i confess that i don’t always remember to bring out the camera when i run into friends, but i did remember to get a selfie with eric lutz who is lots of fun and has a great podcast on youTube that you should check out.

our own retail events were hectic and fun—so much so that i did not get photos at either (i know, bad ME!). in my defense, my phone serves as our internet connection during these events so it’s not really handy to unhook it to take pictures.

so after a truly busy weekend filled with people and yarn fumes, we all headed out on monday morning in different directions. ellen drove to ohio with the yarn truck and i drove kim to albany to catch her plane, then landed myself at my mom’s for a few days.

i’ve been helping her with some fall cleaning chores and reorganizing; we’ve made real progress in her kitchen where she spends a lot of time. there were too many items out of her reach and too many unnecessary items in her way, so we weeded out her cabinets and placed everything in reach with more space around them; it’s much more workable now. we also got her holiday lights up and now she just has to plug them in to turn them on when the time is right.

meanwhile, i had an assignment from friends at home to complete—securing my mom’s christmas cookie recipes in order to share them. luckily, while i was cleaning out cabinets, i came across a whole folder in which she keeps them separated and a treasure trove it was.

i spent several hours the other night, scanning the ones she’s made the most often over the years—which is still over ninety recipes with a  few cakes and breads thrown in. of course she didn’t ever make that many all in one year, but tried new ones and got rid of old ones after a while—sometimes bringing those ones back when enough time passed—adding to her portfolio for over sixty years.  it’ll be fun to organize them into one place and give a copy to each of my siblings and friends. i have to decide on the best way to go about it, so i’m not sure that will happen for THIS christmas, but if not, maybe next.

there hasn’t been a ton of knitting time, but i’ve snuck in a few hours over the last few days on secret projects, as well as this tiny start to a new gift project. you won’t see much of this one, but fingers crossed it’ll be done for christmas. i have just a few other gifts on my knitting list—all small stuff that i think i can get done for the most special people in my life—stay tuned.

tomorrow i head home to my little family and i can’t WAIT to see david and cardigan. i snapped this impromptu photo just a day or two before i left home while she napped near the foot of my desk; isn’t she pretty here? i know david has been taking good care of our girl and bonding nicely in my absence. he’s been posting great photos of their walks on our photo stream so i can stay in touch.

i’ll be thinking of them all the way home and that will make the time fly by i hope! i’m sure i’ll have a bunch of new little stories to share before long; the cuteness never ends when you live with a furry little friend. see you in a few days . . .

birches

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in projects

gosh, i love this birches cardigan—can i say that? i loved knitting it (twice now) and i love its coziness when i wear it. plus, it just screams “FALL” and just at the moment when our weather turned seasonally crisp (finally—the temps dropped twenty degrees last).

and its oversized cut allows me to throw it on over anything—perfect for running out to the store or a quick walk with my doggie. uncomplicated, but with a richly proportioned shawl collar that always falls into place and a cable feature that’s a real focal point.

i knit this prototype sample in our stone soup DK yarn (color marble) because i know how soft and light it knits up, especially on a bigger needle. it’s buoyant, but still falls into lovely folds; just the thing to show off the stitch patterns here.

the cables are distinct yet light and soft, never stiff. the knit/purl texture has great stitch definition and that little bit of poof to accent its wavy tendencies.

and yet, not so springy as to lend the overall fabric an unwanted stiffness. the textures remind me of the thick stands of birch trees in upstate new york, where i grew up.

the construction of this cardigan is quite straightforward, making for some speedy knitting. it has a straight body with a loose, casual fit that is far from “unshaped”. the front panel becomes the shawl collar with a few sections of simple short row shaping near the shoulders.

the drop shoulder stops short of the bicep and some shaping at the armhole does away with the bulk that is usual with a full drop shoulder. a slight amount of cap shaping in the sleeve allows it to articulate without pulling on the whole garment—much more flattering and polished.

wear it loose and open or belted; add toggles or buttons if like me, you prefer a secure closure to keep things neat. the pattern includes four sizes from XS/S to 3X/4X; shown here is size M/L with approximately six to eight inches of ease.

this is another design that will work beautifully with all of our other DK options as well as several of our sport yarn options. i wasn’t very far into my prototype when i decided i’d love another— this time in one of our super-light and frothy mohair yarns.  so i knit this second sample in our cabécou sport yarn in color sel gris. it looks so fabulous on ellen that i’m going to corner her on our rhinebeck trip for a mini photo shoot and share that with you when my mission is accomplished.

to view and purchase pattern only, please click here for ravelry purchase and click here for knitspot pattern shop purchase.

david has put together kits in a variety of our DK and sport yarns; click here to shop the kit listing.

time to get this winter cardigan on the needles—if you start now you’ll have it done just in time to laugh at the cold.

speaking of time, i’ve got to get going and wrap up a few last details before i leave for rhinebeck. my dear friend kimkimkim is landing here tomorrow afternoon and i want to have everything crossed off my to-do list by the time she gets here. i can’t wait to see her;  we’re making the drive to NYS together—we have SO MUCH catching up to do!

please stop by our booth at indie untangled or our popup shop on sunday at the courtyard marriott in kingston to take a closer look at birches and all of our wonderful samples and yarns. and don’t forget all the other goodies we’ll have—rhinebeck colors kits, knit naked zipper totes, festivus 4.0 yarn and kits, plus our new patchwork gradient yarn and much more—be there or be square!

rhinebeck colors kit

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in projects

have i mentioned that we’ve put together a special week of surprises in the ramp up to rhinebeck 2017? even if you can’t make it to the festival next weekend, we’re bringing it right to your desktop with wonderful new patterns (like the field and shore blanket i released in yesterday’s post) and new kits.

today we are featuring a special kit to celebrate the vivid colors and crisp sensations of autumn in rhinebeck. the kalio cowl, lacinato cap, and colcannon mittens were real favorites among our pairings 2016 clubbies, then knit in deep, black/green shades of late autumn.

for the general release of the patterns, we’ve reworked the color scheme, this time knitting them in the river rock shade of stone soup DK with a feederbrook farms entropy gradient, custom dyed just for us in this sugar maples colorway that is perfect for leaf peeping in october.

we just love the way it turned out! a perfect riot of color and texture—festive, but modern.

each rhinebeck colors kit includes one 300-yard skein of each yarn (600 yards total) plus a special eBook version of three patterns PLUS a drawstring project bag to hold everything—totally portable, totally giftable.

The kit has enough yarn to knit BOTH a cowl and a cap (with pom pom) and probably a headband as well OR a headband, cowl, and mittens. each pattern includes two sizes which are well-covered by the yardage. you can use either yarn choice as the foreground color; we’ve knit the cowl and cap both ways—one with colorful leaves and one with the leaves in silhouette. we like both!

worked with stranded knitting technique, the fabric offers body and warmth; the high merino content lends just the right amount of slouch and and next to the skin softness. our sample knitters were enthralled, watching the colors advance.

click here to purchase the kit now and have it shipped or pick up in person at our indie untangled booth on friday 10/20 or our popup shop on sunday 10/22 at the courtyard marriott in kingston.
but don’t wait too long; we’ve been getting inquiries all week about our sneak peeks on instagram and i think these will go fast.
see you in RB!

thanks a million to our lightening-speed sample knitters vanessa and barb; we SO appreciate your knitting prowess!