A Voyage Into Color Territory

majordomo wrote this in the early morning:

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Understanding how yarns perform is an essential knitting skill. To gain this knowledge, it’s important to know about the fiber

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from sheep to yarn

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to knitted fabric.

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Or to learn fibers have long or short staple lengths and are good for particular types of knits. Plus, the construction of the yarn – plies, blends, weight -

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is an essential part that should be taken into account when planning a project.

I learned so many vital pieces of information when I took a Yarn Voyage class from Anne. I had notes scribbled everywhere and my head was swimming with new information. I can’t tell you how many times I blurted out “aha!” in class (and possibly a few more in my head). Several us chatted after class and unanimously said, “if only I had taken a class like this when I started knitting!”

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Everyone, even very experienced knitters and spinners, left the class with lots more knowledge about yarn and its properties. I must say that every knitting project since class has been more successful. The necessity of swatching was really driven home,

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plus I looked at my stash completely different. I feel I have more of an educated eye when discerning between yarns in the planning process of a project. Even when I get to the swatching phase and a yarn doesn’t necessarily work out, I no longer get frustrated or think time has been wasted. I just log that swatch and information away for a future project. And my finished Knitspot objects – well, they’re just that much more beautiful.

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This year at Rhinebeck After Party Anne is teaching Yarn Voyage II: Color Territory. In Anne’s words,

Yarn voyage for color knitting and design: Are your attempts at color knitting foiled by sloppy looking results, fabrics that appear lifeless, and/or stitches that gape and won’t lie straight? Do you find your attempts at substituting colors or creating your own combinations disappointing? It might not be you—it could be your yarn. Learn how choosing the right yarn will help you achieve a smooth and cohesive surface as well as a beautifully orchestrated palette in your color knitting projects. Our voyage into color knitting territory is much more than a discussion about yarn weight. It’s an explorative class for knitters and handspinners of all levels, covering the specific characteristics of yarn that influence the outcome of color knitted fabric. Included will be a short history of color work in knitting, how it was disseminated around the world, how various cultures influenced its development, and the evolution in turn of its separate ethnic identities. Participants will learn how yarn type relates to the fabric surface, texture, weight, and elasticity, and how to use that information to make better choices and/or substitutions in their projects. Students will test Bare Naked Wools of various fibers and twist ratios to make comparisons and learn to assess final fabrics. Even the most experienced knitters and spinners will go away with new insight on the fibers and yarns they thought they knew. 
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This is a class I am super excited about. Colorwork is my absolute favorite, but I’m not very good at it. I’ve knit a few color projects (mostly striped or slipped stitch) and a couple successful fair isle items like this Peruvian Purl Earflap Hat,
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but I’m desperate to learn more about the process. As I learned in the first Yarn Voyage, a lot of unsuccessful knits are due to choosing the wrong yarn. I definitely believe that was the culprit in my past experiences. I’m excited Anne’s new class takes Yarn Voyage to another level and focuses on color, with emphasis on naturals. I drool over fair isle sweaters and vests, but I have a little fear. I know Anne will help me nip that in the bud. She always does. I want to knit Apples in Clover
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and Sheltie Triangle, but I can never seem to get past the planning stage. Which yarn? Where should my color placement be? How can I add a pop of hand dyed color into my neutral palette? Can I mix fibers? There’s just so many questions!

For those that have taken Yarn Voyage I, you will definitely learn new things. For knitters that haven’t, have no fear! The first class is not a prerequisite. We will all leave this class with our eyes wide open and itching to cast on a project. Speaking of that, Yarn Voyage II is just the kickoff to the After Party. Following the afternoon break, Anne will teach A Survey of Color Knitting - an exploration of techniques including mosaic, intarsia, stranded colorwork, and slip stitch. Both two-handed and one-handed stranded color knitting will be covered! The following day, jump head first into mosaic or stranded knitting with Color Project Immersion. This class includes a brand spankin’ new kit with an unreleased pattern. You will spend the day (with an afternoon break) in a relaxed, semi-social setting planning your color palette, swatching and knitting the beginnings of the project. Not only will students be the first ones to buy this Knitspot kit, Anne Hanson will be walking you through the process! How cool is that!?

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On the last day, you can tackle knitting successful sweaters with Sweater Fitness. In Anne’s words, 

An intermediate workshop in the important basics of sweater fit and construction. Get into your best shape EVER! Participants will complete a thorough set of body measurements and discuss how to use them to choose and use a sweater pattern in an appropriate size. Students may knit gauge swatches during the workshop. Other topics of discussion will include swatching, yarn choices, pattern reading and terminology, types and uses of shaping techniques (increasing and decreasing), tips and tricks for successful navigation through a sweater project. 

During part of the afternoon break of Sweater Fitness, Anne added Color Project KnitALong. Have you ever wanted just a little more time with an instructor (yes, that’s me!) after you took a class? This is your chance! Project Immersion students can add this KAL to advance a little on their project, ask additional questions, or get another Knitspot color project on the needles while Anne is sitting next to them. As an added bonus if you sign up for the entire Rhinebeck After Party (kit and caboodle), the KAL session is FREE!

There are openings left in all classes, but they are going fast! Sign up here to snag a spot. I can’t believe New York Sheep and Wool is right around the corner! See you soon!

Garden Inspired Knits

majordomo wrote this at around evening time:

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Most of you know Anne has many passions that drive her creative force. Anne appreciates beauty in every form and finds a lot of inspiration in nature. Her and David’s garden is a labor of love every year, no matter the size of crop.

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Anne likes to be up early in the morning to see what the world has to offer each day. New plants, flowers, nests, insects, buds and blooms end up spiraling in her head until they produce or inspire a stitch pattern.

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Often the patterns get on the knitting needles immediately, and sometimes they sit in the Anne vault for months or even years until the right yarn comes along.

 

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Anne thought it would be fun to start a trip down memory lane and highlight shawl and scarf designs that were birthed in the garden. She started a Facebook album, which will be added to over the next few days, and started posting pattern photos on Instagram with #GardenInspiredKnits. I thought it would be fun to highlight a few more here. Come…take a walk with me…

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Lacewing is a faroese shawl with allover floral and fern patterns finishing with a banded insect motif just above the hem. It’s worked top-down, with shaping at the shoulders and an applied (knitted on) lace edging at the hem border. 

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The shawl design was inspired by the lacewing,

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a delicate insect that is a great help in pest control for your garden. The name alone easily lended itself to a lace knitting pattern. Originally knit in Knitting Notions Class Merino Lace, this would be stunning in Chebris or Mrs. Lincoln’s Lace. See Anne’s original blog post here.

Frillibet is a triangle shawl

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with a mix of leaf

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and petal motifs that mimic a blooming hydrangea.

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I think this is one of my favorite shawls because I find hydrangeas such a beautiful explosion of color.

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I love going on walks through my neighborhood in June and July, seeing all the different shades of their blooms. Frillibet was originally knit in Malabrigo Lace, but I think it would make a stunning knit in any of the natural colors of laceweight cotton or  Fibre Co Meadow. For more, see Anne’s original blog post here.

Morning Glory is a wrap that pays homage to a delicate flower that only lives for a day.

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Most morning glories unravel into full bloom in the early morning and they prefer bright sunlight. They definitely have an almost magical quality in their temporary beauty.

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This piece is knit in a DK weight and I think it would be gorgeous in Stone Soup DK. It has such unique properties and when knit in lace it has a sophisticated rustic appeal. See Anne’s original blog post here.

Anne says Fruit of the Vine is the “essence of summer knitting—practically weightless, it takes up no space in a purse or tote. the pattern is simple to work and to memorize; with wrong side rows all in purl it is the perfect knitting for hazy, daydreamy summer evenings. come autumn, when mornings are nippy again, you’ll have a bit of sun-soaked color to wrap up with, mmm.”

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The beautiful open work lace mimics a grapevine trellis, with bits of fruit poking through.

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The original scarf is knit in a discontinued yarn,

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but it would be suitable for several laceweights found in our online shop here. See Anne’s original blog post here.

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Sonnenblume is full of delicate motifs that when all brought together in this cleverly structured semicircular shawl, it looks just like sunflowers.

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To me, sunflowers are one of the happiest flowers – they’re large, hearty, come in array of gorgeous colors and resemble little smiling faces. Just this afternoon Padraig and I stumbled upon sunflowers lining a neighbor’s driveway and we froze in our tracks, smiling at their beauty.

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Sonneblume was originally knit with Knitting Notions, but it would also be lovely in one of the soft organic cotton colors here or a Bare Naked Wools here. See Anne’s original blog post here. To view Anne’s entire shawl/wrap collection click here and to view the scarf collection click here.

Pop back now and then over the next few days on Facebook and Instagram and see more of Anne’s garden inspired knits. There’s an abundance of them! So I’m dying to know, which is your favorite garden inspired design of Anne’s? Tell me in the comments below by Tuesday 9 pm EST and I’ll pick two winners to receive a shawl or scarf pattern of their choice!

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anne wrote this late at night:

 

 

 

 

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to continue on the theme of finished knits, my friend susie brought her completed capricorn triangle to our monday knitting class. this shawl, knit in our cuddly chebris lace yarn, was the april feature of our 2014 bare naked knitspot club and members of my monday class have been working through it together over the summer.

janet finished hers a while back and i’m blanking on where debby is with hers, but susie is now the proud owner of a finished AND blocked copy of her own. and as you can see, she’s pretty chuffed about it, haha; what’s not to love about this photo?

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debbie s. will be the next finisher—she’s been plugging away on the first half of her edging and was victorious in getting to the halfway mark at last monday’s class. seeing susie’s finished gave her a little something to look forward to (pattern is exclusive to club members until april 2015, but eBook memberships are available here; KAL for the project can be joined in our BNK rav group).

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just that morning i had blocked a couple of things myself—one of them was my completed empreinte crescent shawl, knit in the beautiful forest mist shade of organic color grown cotton.

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i am totally in love with this piece all over again—it is so different, yet equally fetching in light, refreshing cotton lace. and wow, so great to finally see it off the needles, huh?

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i think this hem lace is one of the most stunning patterns i’ve ever had the privilege to knit—it just knocks your socks off, doesn’t it? it’s really pretty in the rectangular version too, where more pattern results in a piece with lots of wow factor.

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and the edging, short though it be, adds that little extra-exquisite touch—again, its impact is amplified in the rectangular piece where it runs along the full length of the piece.

once it was unpinned, i got to play with it on the dress form

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i had to fan myself a little bit when i stepped back to see it.

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the drape of this fabric is so alluring and it does so effortlessly; you don’t have to fuss to make it look incredible.

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just toss it on and fluff—talk about power dressing, haha.

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i knit the smallest size of the pattern, using needles one size smaller than it called for (3.25 mm and 2.75 mm). i used less than one ball of the ecobutterfly cotton lace—about 450 yards/1.3 ounces; your mileage may vary. the piece blocked out to about the same as it did in the wool yarn on slightly larger needles; plenty large enough for a good sized scarf on me.

i am completely thrilled with the outcome!

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on the same day i also blocked a sample scarf that karolyn knit for us, using the unusual purple fifo cotton lace that was shipped with the july installment of the passion club. an openwork celtic knot is placed at the back of the neck.

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this cotton yarn grows in an extremely deep and rare shade that runs the gamut from the color of purple beets or carrots to a brownish mauve. we were very lucky to procure for our club shipment the most purple examples of its type—much more so that the heavier weight versions we have in sport, fingering, and worsted weight.

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this yarn knits into a completely different fabric from the green and brown color grown cottons. with a fiber texture more like linen, the fabric is sturdy like denim and has the same propensity to be a bit stiff at first, softening with time and handling. the design is the rectangle version of the club project, knit into a fabric pattern inspired by bandana prints. this pattern will be released when the club pattern comes up for general release in november.

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i knit a bocce hat from the fifo cotton in sport weight, which i also blocked and washed the other day, but forgot to photograph. i’ll do that when i get home; i’d like talk a little more about how the fabric opens up and changes with washing.

well, that was monday—we were to travel on wednesday and i wanted to use up the various vegetables we had in the fridge before we left.

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so once everyone went home, i got to work in the kitchen on a curry. i think just about everything in it was from the garden except the tofu.

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yum-yum; summer eating is so good! and the best part is that there was plenty to put in the freezer so when we get home, we can just thaw and heat for dinner.

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first thing the next morning we hit the road for albany. as usual i drove the first half and david took the last half, which meant i was free to knit til we got there.

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i brought a few different projects along, but the one i worked on in the car was my third bocce cap in our kent DK yarn—i’m trying to get a few samples knit in different fibers so we can have a variety for the photo shoot.

i finished the brim and did my increase round, then changed needles for the body. i always enjoy passing that milestone; even though the size grows a bunch all in one shot, my hands love changing to larger needles and a looser gauge.

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with the ease of a more flexible fabric, the body pattern just flies along—lots of stockinette and a pattern that begs for more rows to be added. by the time we got to albany and settled in, i was well into the hat body.

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i worked on a different project that evening, but the next day, i knit on it while i checked email and ravelry and later when we went to the movies, i put on a few more rounds.

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and on today’s trip to massachusetts, i got a bunch more done—i’m almost ready now to start the top decreases.

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today i finally did some running after almost a month of rehabbing my ankle from its mysterious injury. i’ve been biking a lot to keep in shape while it heals, but have been hesitant to run or even walk on it, since the last time i tried, i had a backslide with it. i figured this would be a good time, while i was away and getting more sleep and some relaxation.

so yesterday i went for a good four mile walk and today i did a mix of walking and running, finishing with two miles of running. the roads near my mom’s place offer some nice shady woods as well as neighborhoods—there are even trails leading into the pine bush nature area to explore. often those are way too muddy to navigate when i’m visiting, but today they were good and dry. it felt great to be out there again; i’m hoping i can keep it up. so far, it still pain free and i’ll try again tomorrow. unfortunately, i’m fairly certain that next weekend’s half marathon is out—a big disappointment since the race route takes us along all the streets i run nearly every day; i was really looking forward to it.

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yesterday we went with my mom to the movies in the afternoon and then to a terrific photography exhibit in the evening at the albany institute of history and art. i really enjoyed that; if you live nearby, it is well worth checking out.

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then today we were lucky to take a trip with my cousin to massMOCA museum of contemporary art. this was such a treat; one thing i really miss about living in NYC is the access to world class museums. i’m going to tell you all about that in the next post as this one is getting too long now, but i do want to show you one beautiful thing i saw today (among many others)

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this adorable doggie named flannery, who stole my heart when she posed so readily for my camera. what a charmer! we had a wonderful day filled with art and my head was just about to explode with visual excitement by the time we left.

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back at my mom’s place, we made a nice dinner of fish and vegetables, including—guess what?—green beans from our garden, which we all enjoyed.

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now it’s time to join my mom and david in watching a movie (we sort of glut ourselves on AMC classics when we visit, haha). i’m working on a secret project this evening; let’s see if we can sneak up on it to spy . . .

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drat, not quick enough; it heard me coming and zipped itself up tight. a sure signal that it’s time to stop typing and go knit. see you soon.

eastward, ho

anne wrote this in the early morning:

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i’ve always just loved the lace pattern that is the hem of the empreinte crescent shawl and now i have one in lusciously soft organic cotton lace—it feels like cashmere, but summery. mmm. even the name—forest mist—feels cool and fresh. i enjoyed every minute of knitting this project.

we are on the move today—david an i are traveling to albany for a visit with my mom over the holiday weekend. i had hoped to get a blog up before we left this morning but i just ran out of time—too many green beans to pick and square away, haha.

(i’m SO not kidding; i was out there as soon as it got light to pick whatever i could before we leave).

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i did get my knits blocked and once we are there and settled, i’ll be back with a real post, hopefully late tonight. have a good day and see you soon!