ensemble

anne wrote this mid-afternoon:

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it’s live! click the logo to take a look . . .
our first bare naked wools collection, with contributions from designers kiran badola, irina dmitrieva, anne hanson, rosemary hill, and general hogbuffer.

purchase downloadable ensemble patterns on ravelry or in our bare naked wools boutique . . . then move on to see a collection of ensemble kits in our luxurious winter yarns.

it’s been a labor of love for everyone here that was numerous months in the making; we are deeply grateful to all who contributed, test knit, tech edited, and hosted our photo shoots. i am especially grateful for the efforts of our team here—my superhero erica betz, the ever-agile andrew (our graphic designer), anne marie and ronni for tech editing, the lovely lillian, our dear models and friends, and of course, my partner in love and crime, david. thank you all!

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doug has great news

anne wrote this in the wee hours:

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hello readers and happy new year! i hope everyone had a warm and satisfying holiday week—ours was busy, but filled with good friends and great news, the first being that we not only met our goal of matching last year’s scholarship fund, but we passed it by about $725—yay!

david and i will kick in to round that amount up, making a final total scholarship of $4500. once again, the knitspot nation has pulled together to make a really good thing happen; thank you all SO VERY MUCH!

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david and i stayed home for the holidays this year and it was nice each weekend to have a quiet few days at home. with the weather still warm for christmas, we got outside to run and bike each day, cooked some delicious traditional meals afterward, and spent some time knitting on current projects together.

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christmas eve marks the time for our annual feast of fishes. since we didn’t have company over to share the usual array of seven fish dishes, we made a simpler—though no less yummy—puttanesca dish for two.

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meanwhile, with our family rather scattered across the USA this year, my nephew put together a hilarious photo stream to which we all added our holiday preparations throughout the day. filled with pictures and video of my mom cooking for his family in maryland (peppered with too-cute pictures of baby eli modeling various holiday outfits and eating meatballs), my older brother and his wife celebrating with friends in hawaii, my sister and younger brother in texas with their families, it ended up being a really fun shared celebration after all.

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i am one of those people who enjoy the christmas eve celebration much more than christmas day, haha. by late evening we were settled at our own table with these gorgeous plates of pasta.

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just the thing to fill and warm us after our brisk evening bike ride, but not so much fuss that we couldn’t enjoy it immensely.

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my current knitting is all secrets projects, i’m afraid—things i can’t share just yet. suffice it to say that i am knitting like mad and that i think you will really enjoy these projects when they are unveiled. david on the the other hand, has been working through the top shaping of the squish me hat he started over thanksgiving.

he’s had to redo it a few times because he struggled with dropped sts. and then he had it all done, but realized it wasn’t as long as he’d like, so he ripped it back again. good thing he’s using nice yarn—stone soup DK in river rock—all that ripping and redoing did not harm the yarn one little bit. and this new batch is SO soft; i can’t get over its flannely, baby soft squishiness.

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persevering paid off in the end though—he’s been wearing it almost nonstop for the last week or so, with the cold weather that has descended.

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i think he was very glad to have it on saturday, when we spent the whole—very frigid—afternoon in cleveland, shooting photos of the ensemble collection.

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speaking of stone soup DK and the ensemble project . . . last wednesday barb brought her finished sample of the interlaken skirt to knit night to pass off to me for the weekend shoot. this one is a couple sizes smaller than my prototype and made to fit me (or whoever could wear it for the photos). we are swapping; in exchange for me keeping this one, she will take home my prototype skirt in kent DK that you saw her clowning around in a couple of weeks back.

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i took the new one home for blocking, to get it ready for the weekend photo shoot. after a nice bath and some steaming, the the fabric was light and drapey, but still had that warm, cozy feeling too—just the perfect winter skirt. i love the flare and the length that resulted from the revised pattern; it fits me perfectly now. more finished photos in a bit . . .

i just realized i lied about something—i DO have a finished knit i can show you; my slow dog noodle scarf that i completed in our festivus 2.0 gradient reds, sometime around christmas day.

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i forgot about it because it’s not blocked yet (i know; shame on me, you’d think i’d be more excited to get it done!), but my blocking space was taken up at the end of last week by another project.

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i love how the gradients work with this scarf; no matter which way you wear it, they come together to double the effect.

in the week between the holidays, i got a couple of new secret projects on the needles and underway, making excellent progress on both the knitting and the patterns. i’d like to get both of these squared away as quickly as possible so i can get back to knitting things i can share.

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also during my evenings last week week, i spent a little time each night getting started on the makings for our new year’s eve party. one night i made gluten free crispy vanilla wafers to use in a cookie crust for cheesecake.

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the next night i made the cheesecake; it’s my grandma’s recipe that she got from her nephew’s wife, who got it from her mother and it is heaven on a plate, i’m telling you—light as air and fluffy, it never feels like a brick going down, even after a big meal like the one i had planned.

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plus, with just a short list of gluten free ingredients, it was the perfect choice for our NYE dessert, since several of our guests need to be careful that way.

the only thing is, like all of my grandma’s recipes, it consists of a penciled in list of ingredients on the back of an envelope, sorely lacking in notes about method. so my cheesecake invariably cracks. i have read up on that and am trying different methods to see what works, but i won’t share the results until i get it right. i promise that when i have a successful outcome, you will be the first to know!

the day before NYE i raided the garden yet again and came in with a boatload of greens to clean and cook for the main dish—vegetable lasagne. why buy expensive frozen organic spinach when we have the good, great fortune to pick our own fresh, delicious greens??

david was especially gracious the night before to clean all the greens and veggies while i prepared tomato sauce and a series of fillings for the lasagne layers. good thing we did it that night—it took hours longer than i imagined (but totally worth getting ahead of the game)

i did take the whole day off on new year’s eve to make the final preparations. i mixed and kneaded homemade pasta dough, both regular and gluten free. then david and i rolled it into sheets and i assembled the lasagnes, layering that lovely fresh pasta with cheeses, sautéed mushrooms, sliced zucchini, and chopped greens sautéed in oil and garlic. when beckie arrived, the two of us composed antipasto platters of oranges and olives as well as cheeses and vegetables. a real feast!

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i know it sounds like a ton of work—and it is—but SO, so worth it. we made two large pans and had enough left for another small pan plus some handcut pappardelle that we will prepare sometime later this week. plenty enough for everyone to eat like kings and for us to have several meals prepared and ready to go in the freezer.

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naturally, i spent new year’s day relaxing, haha. well, knitting like nobody’s business with my feet up anyway. for me, that is a complete day off. plus, i wanted to get a sample done so i could go to the photo shoot on saturday without anything hanging over my head.

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after weeks of unseasonably warm winter weather, the weather finally turned cold here, just in time for us to spend a full day outdoors taking pictures over fifty miles from home. oh well; the show must go on, eh?

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yes, it was incredibly chilly, even raw, especially at the beach; i don’t know how everyone managed to stay so cheerful, but they did and we had not only a lot of fun, but put in an excellent day’s work as well.

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remember the skirt in stone soup DK that i showed you earlier? photographed at several sites in cleveland, we love it paired with the oculus coat as part of the ensemble collection.

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and we also love it in kent DK, this time with a dramatically large, winter weight shawl in better breakfast fingering yarn, designed by rosemary hill.

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we moved from one location to another throughout the day, from beach to bridge, capturing our little collection in a variety of moods against the city background.

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we can’t wait to show all—coming soon! look for a full reveal sometime around 1/18. and until then, stay warm!

 

the seeds you sow

anne wrote this in the late afternoon:

Hello and Happy Holidays Anne and Knitspotters,

It has been awhile since I have written and Anne asked if I would like to write a guest blog before the year ended to give an update—of course I would!

To start I want to say thank you for all the support you all have given me on my journey, and I hope you are all well. As for me, I have been doing really well most of the time, as most people do and especially here in cold damp Washington. I have battled with some minor illnesses, but I am doing better now.

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I’m not sure if I have mentioned it before or not, but I was looking into studying abroad for a semester, and I am pleased to say I am going to be in Florence, Italy next semester! I will be studying at Studio Art Centers International-Florence (SACI). Here I will be continuing to study art history, I will be taking a few contemporary Italian art classes, as well as one focusing on just women in art history! I am also going to be in a beginning Italian language course. I am still headed as far as studies go towards being in a Curatorial/Museology program. I will be in a Museology class while abroad as well, and there are plenty of optional fieldtrips I am hoping to take part in!

As things are going now, I am expecting to graduate as soon as I am done with my semester abroad, and after graduation I plan to work and save for Graduate school, as well as looking for internship opportunities. A good friend of mine brought an internship to my attention that takes place at The Smithsonian and I really would like to be able to apply for and get it. But, in the meantime there are a few local museums that need volunteers and it would be great experience to get all sorts of different perspectives of museum life.

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Outside of school I haven’t done a whole lot . . at the beginning of the term I did a rather strenuous hike to the top of the Oyster Dome.It was a great feeling to have been able to do it again and to cut nearly two hours off my previous climbing time. I have also attended a couple of dinners with other foster youth who go to Western, they are nice but it seems most of them are as focused and busy with school as I felt to have been able to get together more often than we did. It was nice however to get to know them and their stories.

Other than these few dinners I met a girl at my best friends birthday party and it turned out that she was also in the Art History program at Western and we were even in two classes together. Her name is Christie and we became fast friends with all the things we had in common, it is a great but bittersweet thing, because I have had a hard time in college making good lasting friendships and to meet someone who I have been so compatible with in my last term. I plan to visit and see her and a couple of other people who will still be in Bellingham after I graduate, but I will not be living there.

I will be moving back down to Chehalis where my grandparents and my sister and her family live. I also have a job at a locally owned market in Chehalis where I will work to pay back the small loans I have had to take out for my study abroad, and save for grad school.

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We had a pretty big Christmas celebration my sister and her family, and my uncle came to my grandparent’s home to celebrate and it was really nice. My sister recently had her fourth child a boy named Mason

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so it has been very nice to spend time with all of them and know that they are happy and doing well. Something that I was really excited to have gotten to do was to see my older sister’s son who I haven’t seen since he was 18 months old; he was adopted by a very nice family and is now almost 6 years old. He didn’t remember me but it was great to see him and know that he is loved and happy!

To end my entry I want to thank you all again for your support of me over the years and I hope you all have a wonderful 2016!

Best,
Brandy

christmas in any key is fine

anne wrote this at around evening time:

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the other night when i got home from yoga class and stepped out of the garage, i noticed a to-do across the street—music and festivities to ring in the holidays.

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santa was shaken’ it and even abbey the dog was a-waggin’ her tail to the sounds! i dropped my things inside the door, grabbed the camera and went over.

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our neighbors were caroling, this year with extra instrumentation in celebration of our unseasonably warm temperatures.

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bret had already told me earlier in the week that his holiday display was going to be very low key this year . . .

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but i never dreamed it was gong to be THIS low key, haha.
seriously bret, i think you missed a spot.

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oops, nope, i’m wrong—there’s the tree in all its glory after all, with lights to the tips of its branches. well done.

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while the skiing polar bear, elves on a ladder, and other characters are sleeping through this year’s show, the addition of a new disco light show adds that extra layer of sparkle to fill the gap. santa at least, seems perfectly happy with things the way they are.

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after a bit the merry marauders headed back to the streets—maynard and bruce are neighbors and brothers—they’ve been playing together for years and years (you’ve seen them in photos of other events, like the neighborhood coffee house and the summertime driveway blue grass party).

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soon the band showed up on our front doorstep, where they played to david (who sat at the dinner table inside) and to me while i snapped some more photos outside. fortunately, they don’t mind being blog fodder.

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after a bit, they headed down the street to the next house, leaving echoes of christmas cheer in their wake (along with a little bag of chocolate goodies, thank you!).

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wherever you are on this night of nights and whomever you’re with (and however they’ve decorated), i hope you are having a warm, peaceful, and fun couple of days to relax and enjoy the moment.

much peace and love,
anne