While Anne’s Away We Will Play…

laura wrote this in the early afternoon:

Hi guys!  <She says with a smug look on her face> We’ve clearly been up to no good…

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Wrapping Up Winter Poncho – Blanket Statement Blanket

As you guys know, Anne spent a lovely week in NYC.  She knitted in solace, away from all of us.  And though she checked in, we could tell… she loves us… but it’s great to plan a getaway!

Well, no sooner did she get back into town and we were pushing her out the door again to head to Albuquerque, New Mexico.  This weekend, she’s teaching at Village Wools!  I’m sure you’ll hear more about the excitement in the days to come; stay tuned for Anne’s posts about how the classes went.

So, while Anne’s been away… we’ve been able to play!  There’s really no other way to put it.  I’m sure the entire office staff will have to deal with the consequences later, but until then…

This week many of you have been calling and emailing in to see if we’d prepare a custom made Better Breakfast Blanket Statement Kit for you!  Of course!  I don’t think you guys realize just how much fun we have doing these types of things!  No one should be having this much fun at work.   (Actually, scratch that.  We ALL should.)

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Is it just me, (it can’t be) or do the vast majority of knitters get satisfaction out of manipulating colors?  All of the pretty skeins stacked in neat piles or rows… all of the endless possibilities for combinations.   The shades, the tones, the contrasts, the similarities.  How does color effect skin tone?  What about eye color?  Is it enhancing your hazels?  How does it make you feel when you wear a certain color?

Basic psychology here… RED makes you feel saucy!  In BLACK, you portray professionalism.  BROWN makes you seem trustworthy. Why do we flock towards specific colors?  “Why did I buy another BLUE shirt?  I already own five!”

Then there’s the really fun stuff…

How to blend colors… create palettes with colors.  How DO the color trends begin?… Why does EVERYONE own an Eggplant Kitchen Aid mixer?

And getting down to the root of it all…

Why don’t I own an Eggplant Kitchen Aid Mixer?  Geez.

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Random Fact: Did you know that Julia Child’s KitchenAid mixer is on display (along with her kitchen) at the Smithsonian Institution?  The appliance also was a staple on the set of “Friends.” The more you know, folks.

Some of you may write in to tell me that Eggplant is no longer the “in” color.  Guys, I know.  It’s like SO 2010, duh!  Now, you can chose from colors like Almond Cream or Watermelon.  It’s actually pretty ridiculous if you ask me… but I get it… looking at pretty, shiny things…

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What was I saying?  Oh yes – we’re been having a blast creating your custom kits!

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This one was made using our Better Breakfast DK.  Isn’t it gorgeous?  So beachy!

And then there’s this kit for Amie, one of our new club members!

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Here, Erica used Better Breakfast DK in Warm Coals, Daybreak, Mocha, Porridge, and Sugarfrost.  We can’t wait to see how this one turns out!

In other news, this past Tuesday, I got to hang out with some kiddos (and adults!) that really wanted to learn how to knit!  And can I just say, my cup runneth over.  Again and again, I catch myself before I fall asleep, thinking I’m living a dream life!  I never EVER would have guessed knitting could be everything is has become for me.  And being able to give back to my community; it gets me.  It gets me every time.

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Kelly Sedlak is an extension educator for the Carrollton, County 4-H club.  She and I teamed up to offer knitting classes to the community.  The children really have a great program, here.  They aren’t just learning how to knit.  Sewing, designing, and fashion shows, are all a part of the curriculum!

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The community is very agriculture-focused.  They showed much interest and excitement in the fact that we work extremely close with the mills and farmers to provide a yarn that Anne and everybody over at Bare Naked Wools is happy to call our own.  I’m super excited to come back next week and see everyone’s progress!  We’ll laugh about the mistakes and we’ll learn how to rise above them, right knitters?!

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And really, I can’t say much more than that.  I can just sit over here with goosebumps.  I’m speechless.  I’ve always known, but I’m realizing that I’m just a small part of something that’s much bigger than myself.  I’m cultivating knitters.  And you’re knitters.  And you GET that.  I know I don’t have to say anything.  We can just sit here, enjoy our tea, and behind smug faces, blissfully knit the weekend away.

Psst… Keep this a secret guys.  Between you and me.  Promise me, please!  Anne can’t know how much fun we were having…  I wouldn’t want to know what the punishment would be if she EVER found out.

Wishing you a Sunny Saturday!

L

so close

anne wrote this at around evening time:

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one week later, it’s definitely spring—one day up and one day down; you can’t predict. on friday, the daffodils were ready to burst open at the slightest nudge from mother nature, though it wasn’t to be that day.

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i met up at lunchtime with cathy and agnes (we missed you nancy!) to kick off the holiday weekend, which was always one of my favorites in the city because it is celebrated so widely and differently from one faith to the next.

after lunch i had a couple of errands to run in midtown, but since it was raining i hopped on the train instead of walking as i usually would. in just a few minutes i was at 34th street and close to my destination—M&J trimmings.

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the streets in midtown were literally thronged with people and the atmosphere was festive, despite the dark, drippy weather. swallowed by the crowd outside the subway, i instinctively turned myself into a bicycle wheel to thread my way through.

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inside the store i headed straight for the wall of buttons and quickly found what i came for—brown leather ones. there were several boxes with choices in fact, but only one had enough of the same, correct size for my sweater.

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i would have liked them just a tad darker, but i think i can doctor them with a bit of oil or shoe polish. i would also have liked to get four of them in a slightly smaller size for the button detail at the side seams, but they weren’t available. i’m hoping that something in my button box might match or come close.

sigh, sometimes even when you can choose from seemingly all the buttons in the world, there still aren’t enough, haha. i probably should have made the effort to go on to another button store, but the weather had turned ugly again by the time i left and i was getting anxious to go home. instead i ran by 5th avenue chocolatier to pick up a present for david and headed back to brooklyn to knit late into the night.

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i worked on the back piece for my triticum cardigan as long as i could, but with thick clouds darkening the sky, i had to switch projects fairly early in the evening.

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fortunately, i have the perfect thing for low light conditions—my bright orange cardigan, which you last saw as just a hem. i got busy with that and by the time i went to bed, i had knit to the underarm bind off and little beyond. i actually took this photo on saturday morning, allowing the sun to do it justice.

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the sky outside when i woke up was swirling in the most unusual way—those foreground clouds were moving to the right and the background clouds to left as the wind blew at 25 mph and higher. fortunately, they cleared off soon enough and while it remained windy, the sun shone to warm things up.

haha, it was blowing so hard in fact that running was impossible, the result being that i was pushed all over the place every time my feet left the ground. i had to settle for walking that day instead, which was fine—a good day for it, in fact.

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the farmers market was open on grand army plaza and i visited with my friend mary after lunch. the food offerings are not plentiful just now but non-food ones are abundant.

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forced bulbs and little potting plants provided much needed color, though i’m not sure they were so happy getting knocked about by the gusting winds that afternoon.

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everyone wants spring to take a leap forward and people were buying herb and flower plants by the box, though i couldn’t help but wonder how long they’d be able to keep them alive.

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these little seedlings seem awfully vulnerable, bent as they are in the wind. still, it was a lovely, lovely afternoon.

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back at the apartment, i finished up the back piece for the misters cardigan and got back to work on the one for the triticum cardigan, hoping to make good headway before evening.

before i knew it, i’d finished that one too, and started on the left front piece.

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i really got a lot of knitting done over this past weekend in fact—and it was sooo good to immerse myself in just knitting and making. my hands needed that—and it gave me so much time to think, too.

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i’m trying to decide about how to finish the front edges of this sweater. at first, i thought it would need an added edge of some sort and i planned to knit i-cord all around the front and neck edges as the finish.

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but i’ve been playing around with the four purl sts that lie next to the edge and at least for me, they look nice enough to allow a curled self-edging to form that is nearly identical to i-cord, but without the hassle. the final decision has to wait until i see what they look like after blocking, but if they are smooth and elegant, i don’t why they won’t do. i’m not sure adding an i-cord edge is necessarily, at least for my own knitting. i will probably keep the i-cord finish in the pattern, though for those knitters who are not happy with their curled edges and want more of a finish—knitter’s choice, so to speak.

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the moonrise on easter eve was nothing short of spectacular. with the sky completely cleared of clouds, it rose large and orange and full; just perfect.

the next morning was balmy and calm, so after some knitting and coffee, i headed out for a nice long run. i did a good eight-miler, and then walked around a bit to cool down. i was picking up a few items at the store when i ran into an old friend of ours.

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phyllis represents david’s mom and has a small art gallery in park slope; in fact she had a show of mary’s work on the walls at the moment and told me to come on over to take a look.

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i just wish i had taken more photos, darn it; we were taking a mile a minute and i didn’t end up getting the whole show. i hadn’t seen phyllis in years so this was a nice surprise and a good break. i’m so glad i went into that store—i almost didn’t!

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i spent the rest of the day knitting on the front piece for triticum—if it looks like i’m a woman hellbent on a mission, i sort of am; i want to get these two sweaters finished by the end of next week so they can be shipped out to the dyers to show at maryland sheep and wool.

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and i’m almost there—the week’s knitting retreat was a great success. just two full sleeves and one partial sleeve to go, plus seaming, button bands, and possibly an i-cord edging.

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on the plane last night i worked on my sleeve during the quick flight. this morning i knit on the triticum front while i watched the rain come down in torrents outside. they are each edging toward completion and i’m looking forward to the finishing work.

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and i still have to finish one last sleeve for the pullover version—i didn’t quite get that done before i left. always plenty to do . . .

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here at home, it was much to wet to go out and explore the garden, but i did notice a few crocuses blooming near the front walk—maybe daffodils are on the way?

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robins are puffing up their chests at one another outside; maybe that will lead to a nest we can watch.

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the yard is starting to come to life . . . at the next sunny day, we’ll get out and see what’s blooming or broken ground. spring is late, but it’s bound to appear any day now, haha.

sundown on the crown

anne wrote this mid-afternoon:

sunset on crown heights, brooklyn, 4/02/15

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knit and ramble

anne wrote this just before lunchtime:

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weatherwise, the start of my week here was not as auspicious as i had hoped—the forecasted warm temperatures and clear days turned out to be all smoke and mirrors as mother nature had her way with me.

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and so i found myself parked in the corner window of the astor place starbucks on tuesday afternoon watching the rain pour down outside instead of doing the errands i had planned. good thing i’m a knitter, because i knew just what to do with a couple of spare hours and a cup of coffee.

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i had packed my smallest project into my side bag before leaving brooklyn, so i had the perfect fit for the situation. by the time i had to leave and meet agnes, cathy, and donna for dinner, i had accomplished enough for everyone to cop a good feel of the squishalicious fabric that was being generated from the needles.

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it really does glow, this yarn (better breakfast fingering, in the daybreak shade) and is SOooo touchable; it’s actually a little too distracting. eh, i can live with that . . .

anyway, back to the shawl—i’ve been carrying it along all week and  getting a surprising amount done.

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okay, now here’s the fun part—you can really see the pattern that has developed.

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which means you can also appreciate the flip side pattern too! snazzy, huh?

yep, on one side the pretty half-chevron pattern of yarn overs and decreases is featured in the foreground and on the other, a luscious cable pops off the fabric surface on a background of organized eyelets.

yesterday i took a very long train ride to a special destination i will tell you about on sunday and i think i got far enough that i need to start thinking about ending the hem and starting the body. so really, before i leave the house today, i ought to do a little math to figure out the direction i’m going next.

i love it so much i want to knit a triangle version too, since that is my favorite and most-worn type of shawlette. i think i’ll cast on that one in the mocha shade of BBF when i get home, to take on my teaching trip to village wools in albuquerque, new mexico next week. it will make a great example to show my lace knitting class and i can save the blocking of the crescent to demonstrate in our blocking class.

BTW, we have a full weekend of terrific classes planned april 10 through 12—if you live nearby, you should come!

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yesterday morning i was up with the birds and had several hours of knitting time, so while it was still dark, i worked on the hem of my orange cardigan. i love that i can work on this when the light is bad—it greatly expands my knitting time, which i really need right now.

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whenever the light is good, however i take the opportunity to work on my triticum cardigan because that i cannot do when it’s dim or dark. i’ve gotten the bulk of the back piece done now and am nearly ready to start the armhole shaping. as soon as i get back from lunch, i’m settling in to work on both of these for the rest of today. sigh—can’t wait.

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well, since tuesday, the weather has improved greatly. first the days became sunnier, though still windy and cold—much colder than expected actually with mornings in the low 30s, brrr.

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still, the sun was dazzling and there was an undercurrent of warmth to be felt on wednesday and the earth began to respond.

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by yesterday there were definite signs of spring popping, when i went out for my morning run.

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i decided run down through my old neighborhood of carroll gardens; i hadn’t had a chance to visit there the last couple of times i was in brooklyn.

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when i first moved there in 1988, i lived just above the esposito pork store, near the corner of court and president streets. the neighborhood was still a quiet, italian american community then—i felt right at home.

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this guy wasn’t in residence when i lived there; he may have been moved over from their old store in new jersey.

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i played basketball every morning before work right around the corner at carroll park, weather permitting. a few times i was even invited to join the guys pickup games, but i always declined; their much bigger size intimidated me.

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i love this park; it has a huge tree right in the middle; you had to play around it, haha. there is also a bocce court right alongside the basketball court—probably so the grandpas could keep an eye on the kids while they all played.

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at that time there were many, many italian food shops still in operation, but most are gone now it seems. caputo’s is where i bought bread most of the time, but for cookies, it was court pastry all the way (sadly, gone now).

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i moved to this building in 1996 at the very end of columbia street—seriously, right next to the brooklyn tunnel. you would think that would be awful but it was actually a really nice quiet spot, right on the waterfront and nearby to all my friends, most of whom were visual artists. david and i fell in love while i lived here, so i will always think of it as the center if the universe—and beautiful.

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i ran back up to park slope and passed over the gowanus canal—boy are they making changes there, literally razing entire swathes of industrial area to rebuild into what looks like an entirely new landscape. truly the end of several eras, i think. i don’t know how i feel about it, but it’s happening anyway. the scale of the demolition mess is monumental in and of itself, i’ll say that.

ooops, look what time it is—i have a lunch meet up in the city so i must get a move on—will be back with more over the weekend.

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