A Constant Exploration

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Things are just a fury at headquarters and everyone is excited to ship the first installment of Bare Naked Knitspot 2014. The girls are busy making brown paper packages of a special yarn Anne has carefully selected to kickoff the club, while Anne puts the finishing touches on the ebook chapter (there are still memberships left. Signup here!).

I can never decide what is my favorite part about the club – the varying natural yarns, the designs, or the extensive chapters about the history of the fiber. And of course the design notes! It’s pretty special to get a glimpse into a designer’s world and see how the exclusive design came to fruition.

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You can print the chapters out and read them at your leisure, or enjoy browsing them on your tablet or computer. I love reading the digital chapters on my iPad. They’re beautifully laid out with breathtaking photos of the animals, farmers, mills, and handknits.

We constantly get comments through email, the blog, facebook, twitter, ravelry, instagram, about how much knitters enjoy the club. Whether they are new knitters or lifelong knitters, or something in between, they tell us they always learn something new from Bare Naked Knitspot. I think it’s pretty remarkable that Anne can create a club package every month that appeals to knitters of varying taste and skill level. It’s an extraordinary feat!

I was recently chatting with a few clubbies who are experienced knitters and their enthusiasm for the club was intoxicating. Michelle sparked me to start saving the comments when she said,

I’ve been knitting for 8+ years and I sign up for Knitspot clubs because Anne’s patterns are peerless.  She thinks of everything and makes sure her patterns are (virtually) error-free. They are also so fun to knit!  Anne’s taste in yarn is also impeccable. I have become more comfortable with new fibers and blends I never would have tried without her inspiration.

I wanted to capture the excitement of clubbies and share it with knitspotters, so I asked them to finish three sentences about the club.

As an experienced knitter, I continue to sign up for Knitspot clubs because

Anne’s patterns are always at the top of my list when it comes to knitting, and I don’t want to miss out on anything that she is doing!  I also enjoy our virtual clubhouse in the club [ravelry] groups. Everyone there is so amazing. Hattie

Anne always designs projects that expand my knitting skills and my knowledge of how fibers behave. Judi

in every shipment I am introduced to yarns that I rarely would have found on my own.  Many are from small regional mills, or even spun exclusively for the club. Anne Marie

there’s always something new to me, or a new twist on/new way of looking at something i already knew. Cherie

I know that I am guaranteed to learn something new each month when I download the new chapter. I wait until I am going to get some uninterrupted ‘me’ time and self-indulgently read and re-read Anne’s words. Helen

How long have you been knitting? What have you learned from BNK?
I’ve been actively knitting for about 10 years now, and I learned that I actually like natural/undyed fibers!  I was always drawn to bright colors and handpainted yarns but this club has really shown me that sometimes simple is best, and that there amazing blends out there that I should branch out and try! Hattie
I’ve been knitting for  40 years and i learned  about incredible yarns that I would never have had the opportunity to use. Judi

I‘ve been knitting since childhood and learned so much from BNK.  What I really love is learning about the different fibers and how each is suited to a different purpose. Then after obtaining all the knowledge from reading the chapter, you get to try the yarn out for yourself.  I think that’s why I keep coming back to the Bare Naked Knitspot clubs.  I’ve been in other clubs where you just receive yarn and a pattern, as a member of BNK you also receive an education. Anne Marie

I’ve been a knitter for over 40 years, but only recently have I come to think of myself as a “knitter.” A “knitter” knows how to knit, a “knitter” understands the process;the relationship between fiber and needle and stitch pattern. Reading the chapters and knitting with the various fibers has taught me about the process and relationships of knitting.  Cherie

I’ve been knitting for more than 40 years and I learned to appreciate the strengths of a whole variety of fibres that I had never even considered working with from BNK. Helen

A club based solely on the exploration of natural fibers appeals to me because…

it really puts the focus on the beauty of the pattern and yarn with no distractions.  And especially when they are Anne’s patterns, since she does a lot of great textures that really complement the natural yarns that are featured in the club. Hattie

it expands my knowledge of fibers. Anne does an amazing job of telling the story of each fiber and pairing it with the perfect design. Judi

more and more I am interested in where my purchases come from and how they are manufactured.  Anne’s chapters give so much information, from the history of the fiber, to the procurement and spinning process for the club yarn, to the best uses for this particular yarn, and finally to insight into Anne’s designs.  On top of that there are always several patterns from which to choose. Anne Marie

I used to knit with any yarn I bought at the store. Even though I have know-how to knit for many years, I am really a ‘newbie’ in the matter of natural fibers. I want to learn all that I can about this craft I love, and the ‘story’ of each month’s fibers helps me to do that. Cherie

I find it fascinating to really get to know how a particular fibre will behave and what is perfect for one pattern might be a disaster for another. I would never have started thinking about what fibres I choose for my knitting without this guidance. Helen

I’ve been reflecting on BNK as well. I learned to knit in 2006 and I never turned back. I was always hungry to learn new skills, tackle new projects and learn about fibers. I had been in a few clubs, but it wasn’t until Knitspot clubs that I felt I had an enlightening experience. There have been so many aha! moments. Being a clubbie, I feel as if Anne is holding my hand in the way she writes her patterns and through her words it’s as if she’s constantly saying, “you can do this!” And she’s right. I have become a better knitter through her clubs and I have made so many things I am proud of.

Before I left for England on January 12, I wanted to make my best friend something special. It kills us to live so far apart and I wanted to her to have something with love and happy thoughts worked into each stitch. Almost like a hug from abroad when she needed it. I labored over the selection of an accessory while rooting through my stash. And then it hit me! With my knowledge of how pattern and fiber worked together, I knew I could knit the April 2013  yarn with the March 2012 pattern of BNK.

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Sky Cap knit up beautifully in Bijou Bliss. And with some troubleshooting with gauge and size, I knit the size 2 Toddler, because I knew she would like less slouch in a hat. I was pretty proud when all my calculations worked out and I could admire it blocking before I left.

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M was so moved by my gesture and she graciously agreed to a photo shoot when we were at Royden Park with our babies.

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She put a cute outfit together, complete with Hunter boots. I just love that British girl!

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A big thanks to Anne Hanson. I couldn’t have done this without you my dear friend!

There are a limited number of BNK 2014 club memberships left. Won’t you join us?

Super secret packages of artisan fibers begin shipping in just a few days. Signup here so you don’t miss your exploration of the natural world…

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7 Responses to “A Constant Exploration”

  1. Hattie says:

    Love all the comments, and all of them are so true. The hat also suits your friend perfectly!

  2. josiekitten says:

    It is so interesting to read other knitters’ thoughts on BNK. I know that I wouldn’t miss it for the world! Your friend looks fabulous in her hat. Great photos!

  3. Lizy Tish says:

    Love that hat! It looks great on your friend. I’ m hoping to join the club one day – it looks so fun and interesting!

  4. Alhbooks says:

    I love the yarn and pattern combo for the Sky Cap. Great choice!

  5. Lisa Fall says:

    ARGH! You got me!. Trying to stay away from clubs this year–ttoooo much stash at my house. Could not resist after this post though. So HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

  6. anne says:

    aww, what a nice post, thank you erica! and many thanks also to the wonderful clubbies who contributed their thoughts; i really appreciate these affirmations of the goals we set for the club!

  7. CandyO says:

    What a lovely post and yes of course we love anne and her amazing talents and great eye for the yarn we all lust after!! What a great pic of you and m and the boys, miss her, and can’t wait to meet her little man!!