into the pines

anne wrote this mid-afternoon:

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i love pine trees— i was very lucky to grow up on a small farm with its own pine grove, where we ran over a carpet of needles through its “hallways” and built a fort that grew higher as we did ourselves.

seeing those huge shaggy pines of upstate new york state is something i look forward to whenever we travel back for a visit. they feel like watchful guardians along the highways and byways of the places i’ve wandered most of my life.

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when last november, i had a chance to work with a beautiful deep green yarn dyed by rita at yarn hollow, i immediately thought of the pine tree motifs that had been earmarked in my stitch dictionaries for some time.

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i picked the two that represented the feeling i wanted so much to share, of walking through quiet pines in the snow. the hem motif shows staggered tree shapes that are separated by airy openwork, giving the impression of snow patterned with footprints. i love how it translates into the triangle shawl, which i named in snowy pinewoods.

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the body sections consist of an allover motif that looks like snowflakes or stars; they appear to descend on the tree shapes and settle all around. either of these fabrics could be beaded to add extra dimension and bring out the natural sparkle of the lustrous yarn blend.

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the edging that runs along the sides of the shawl, scarf, and stole pieces takes the shape of pine branches. the rectangular star and pine design includes sizing for both a scarf and a stole.

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over the weekend, i worked up a swatch in the same glowing yarn, but in the quirkier lime rickey colorway—i love this less traditional interpretation; i bet it would also be stunning in a silvery blue or a deep night-sky blue.

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oh, and there is the snow globe tam to match. it’s quite light and silky; maybe not as warm as you’d need for deep northern winter weather, but perfect for medium and temperate climates and a beautiful way to tame hair on mild but windy days.

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a view of the back and top, where the fabric is more solid. this hat, which also has several sizes, decreases in concentric circles.

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shown here are the petite shawl  (above) and the scarf with large tam (below), all knit in yarn hollow superior, a blend of BFL, silk, and cashmere in colorway white pine, the custom dyed colorway for our club.

erica B has created a kit in our online shop that includes patterns for all the pieces shown (plus the stole, not seen here) and one or two skeins of yarn hollow superior in either the white pine colorway or lime rickie. you may also click here to purchase the lime rickey colorway separately (our supply of white pine is too limited to list separately).

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if it’s the single pattern you’re after, click here to view more information about the snow globe tam, the star and pine scarf/stole or in snowy pinewoods. you may also view or purchase them in my ravelry pattern shop.

any of these accessories would be cushy and delicious in our breakfast blend fingering yarn or classic ghillie sock.

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these patterns are also included in the 2013 fall in full color eBook, which compiles seventeen total accessory patterns from the 2013 fall color collection—that’s a lotta patterns! anyone looking for a knitalong around these designs need not look further than the ravelry clubhouse where our color clubs meet—all are welcome and appreciated.

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many thanks to our friends helena and kris for modeling these designs; we always love to see them together.

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anne wrote this mid-afternoon:

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i couldn’t help myself—i missed my snow tire scarf project once it was done; i just had to start another. originally i planned to knit my next one in our better breakfast DK (that link is just for reference; we can’t list the DK in the shop right now), but when i went over to the boutique to get some, i found that our supply was pretty much wiped out. i knew this of course, having forked over my one and only skein of the incredible rose gray muesli shade so that anastasia could complete the better breakfast orders for our upcoming blanket club.

but the reality of the situation hadn’t really penetrated my limbic system and good thing, because for any experienced knitter, this is when our bodies throw the clutch, hurtling us into full panic mode. this is the situation we dread, the very reason we stash—the moment when we realize we are stranded in the whirlpool of life’s stormy sea with no. more. yarn.

yes, even with the security of a store full of yarn right in the back yard, it’s possible to become completely unhinged over the one thing that’s out of stock.

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ok, well, we did have one single, solitary DK skein put aside for test knitting—in espresso—but for photography purposes at this time of year, i really need something medium gray or lighter. and there will be none of that til the middle of the month (and almost all of it is spoken for in club orders, but i am getting one if i have to step on anastasia’s neck to do it).

so what now??

well, i spent about an hour pacing our office space and shop, bothering every single employee present while waffling over other possibilities (anastasia finally got up and went home, haha; i’m still wondering if that was my fault). i mean, it’s not like i don’t have anything else to knit.

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finally, erica B suggested ghillie sport/DK. (we always call this sport, even though it is quite a fat DK—really a light worsted—in size.)

“we don’t have anything knit in that”, she said, “and we have plenty in stock; we could use a sample.”

“oh, okay i whined; i’ll look at it . . . but it’s white” (still whining)
(honestly now—wouldn’t you slap me if you were within ten yards? i really don’t deal well with indecision.)

off i trundled to feel up the ghillie sport. and, O.M.G.
i instantly felt an awful sensation run through me . . . of guilt.
i am at serious fault for having shortchanged this yarn in terms of well—everything. oh, what a fool i’ve been, groan.

the thing that really irks me about it is that i know better—i designed this yarn. i’ve also researched its fiber makeup thoroughly and discovered its many impressive qualities throughout the process of swatching to work out its size, structure, and twist. i have closely examined the test knits we had made and recorded feedback from test knitters, but i had not yet knit a whole garment with it myself. for shame!

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when i picked up the skein yesterday in the shop, i could feel right away that this yarn has a stiffer hand, due to the sturdiness and spring of the cheviot fiber. but stiffness does not translate to scratchiness; when i dug my fingers into the swirled yarn within, i was rewarded by a surface creamy to the touch, with a rich, spongy depth underneath.

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so i took it back to the house to cast on, thinking i’d just get the stitches on the needles so it’d be easy to pick up any time i was ready.

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uh, yeah, i did skip my workout after all. i ask: would you rather go running in the cold rain or stay home with sweet, squishy yarn love in your hands??
i think i know which way you’d lean . . .

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and you’d be right; this yarn is like buttah. so smooth, with such beautiful stitch definition, such delicious texture and color. it is quite literally dizzying.

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i’m thinking right about now that i need another aztec mazes. or that maybe it’s time to finally get a pattern written up for this sweater

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i’m not promising it will be soon, but at least now i have a yarn to focus on.

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the cool thing about this yarn is that you can knit it on needles ranging from 3.5 mm (4US) to 5.0 mm (8US) (above). knit it looser for scarves, cowls, and blankets (i’m using 8s to knit my scarf) and allow it to bloom into a super-light and dense fabric.

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(take a gander at this before wash/after wash comparison; isn’t it marvelous?)

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knit it on the smallest needles for heavy boot socks and mittens with ironclad toughness. this swatch is knit on 6s (4.0 mm). the middle of the range will produce sweater fabric that is both light and comfortable to wear, but unlikely to pill much, if at all.

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suffice it to say that i am quite pleased by this yarn choice and it will keep me quite happy until that next batch of better breakfast arrives; something to dream on, unexpectedly.

ETA: david has added an option to choose ghillie sport as the knitting yarn for the fundraiser red scarf kit;  until january 1, 2014 each kit sold will earn $10 for our red scarf scholarship fund. the entire purchase price of every snow tire scarf pattern sold during this period will also be contributed.

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speaking of the red scarf project, we have a blocked and grafted snow tire cowl sample now—isn’t it delish?

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since i ended up with the longer length in my sample, i have a chance to play with it a bit more and wow, you can really wear this in a variety of ways

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every one of which shows off the reversible fabric delightfully.

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i even noticed that it can be worn as a vest-like baffle that protects you stylishly from wind around all the edges of your short jackets

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so you can go ahead and wear that dressy but flimsy party blouse out into the cold night air.

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for me, this would work even better in the shorter size, since it’s a little long in back. i do love how the weight of the cable creates a fold that is just right as it wraps around the neck.

with this project finished, i turned to my santa suit yarn in worsted weight, left over from last year’s club projects.

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using a scaled-down version of the viable against the same background, i started a pair of mittens. they are knitting up in  flash; i should be able to get that pattern out in plenty of time for you to knit a couple pair for holiday gifting. i’m really excited about these—they look like the quintessential winter accessory to me.

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some of you may have noticed that the november club release came and went without me saying anything about releasing last november’s patterns. oops.

sorry about that—time will get away from me when i’m preoccupied with other things. i’m getting my act together to release those tomorrow. now those patterns were a pretty set of scarf, tam, and shawlette, knit in yarn hollow superior; the exclusive club colorway was white pine.

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the yarn is a blend of BFL, silk, and cashmere—can you spell LUSTROUS? the photo doesn’t pick up all the beautiful variations of forest greens and blue-greens that are in it, but trust me, it is so much richer in person. we have very few remaining skeins of this yarn in the club colorway (if any), but we do have some in the popular lime rickie color we had custom-dyed for the bay leaf and lime kits.

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i have always thought that this would be a wonderfully quirky holiday color, just when we need it most—kind of a grinch green—one that speaks to those of us who like to shake things up.

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and oh my does it glow; it’s magnificent.

someone—david, emily, or erica—is making sure that the yarn is listed in the shop before the patterns go live; i think there may even be a kit. we should be all set with that by morning.

it’s been terribly gray and rainy at the end of the week—chilly, icy, and otherwise unfit for most outdoor activity. we and all our neighbors were shuttered up tight against the weather for the past few days and i couldn’t help but notice how bare bret’s house has been looking. i was getting worried that he wasn’t feeling well again.

until today—today was gloriously sunny and while not warm, at least it’s been enticing me to get out for a run. i couldn’t help but notice as i sate here writing that things are happening across the street.

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and later, some progress

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for me, the holiday season has officially begun.

and now, it’s time for that run; see you tomorrow!

FO, FO, FO!

anne wrote this in the early evening:

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(the following announcement was sent to anyone who purchase the snow tire scarf pattern on ravelry; for those who purchased in our own online store, you may download the pattern update by logging in to your knitspot shop account and navigating to your recent purchases page)

hello, red scarf heroes!
today i finished and blocked my snow tire infinity scarf and have updated the pattern to state the final number of repeats and yardages required. it’s not dry yet so we don’t have modeling photos, but i wanted to give you this update because there are some changes to the knitting you might need over the weekend.

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the good news is, you will be knitting quite a few LESS repeats for the scarf to reach the correct length! and i know you’ll appreciate that if you are knitting on a holiday deadline or if you’d like to squeeze in a second one before the holidays (i know it was good news for me—i’ve been hoarding a skein of better breakfast fingering for my next one!)

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now, in the course of knitting my prototype along with you (and this is precisely what test knitting is for), i realized i could be knitting it even MORE efficiently and more identically on right and wrong sides. so this new version includes a very slight change to the “all-knit” and “all-purl” rows.

you can, by all means, continue using the original pattern or, just for fun, switch tactics right in the middle as i did—honestly, i challenge anyone to spot the row where i changed my stitch pattern; it’s undectable, even to me.

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i opted to wash and block my scarf flat, then graft the ends together when it’s dry (probably tonight while we watch late night TV)

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a nice sudsy bath does this fabric a world of good, so don’t skip that step, no matter how much you love the texture as it is—i promise, the wash will not ruin the depth of the pattern; in fact, it should improve it. and definitely you will have a much cleaner fabric; mine ended up needing two baths to get all of the spinning oil off the previously unwashed yarn.

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next, it went up to the third floor for blocking on the library carpet (the only large blocking space that’s left to me any more). i used up all the yarn i had left in my bundle—about 400 yards—to knit 38 repeats of the pattern and my scarf ended up measuring the length of the large size; bigger than i predicted. by the time it was all pinned out it had started getting dark, so excuse the crappy photo—we’ll get some really nice pictures over the weekend with as handsome a model as we can find, ok? BTW, there will be one more update once we have final photos.

i hope you are enjoying this knit; for me, it’s been a wonderful lifesaver this holiday season. soothing, simple, and makes me feel very productive, even when i’m not. it’s been my morning coffee knitting each day since i cast on.

thank you all so very much for your generous support of our 2014 red scarf fundraiser!

i’m excited because with this sample off my needles, i’ll be a bit more free to get my gift knitting underway. between the red scarf and my secret knitting for the month—which definitely ran away with itself—i seem to have fallen behind.

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but fortunately both of those efforts crossed the finish line almost simultaneously and i’m now free to knit whatever i want for a week or so. do you think i have enough time to knit david a sweater? i mean, i have started later than this in the past. much later even, some years. if i knit it in confection worsted or kent worsted, i bet i could do it.

ok, someone slap me into reality, would you?

actually, after i write this, i’m starting some mittens to match the snow tire scarf in the heavier santa suit worsted weight yarn; some lucky clubbies still have some left from last year’s all in full color club.

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i also have to get back to knitting david’s christmas hat. heh—can you believe i’d even mention knitting a gift sweater when i can’t even seem to manage a hat in under three weeks? jeesh.

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and this one is so pretty too—i even love the wrong side of the fabric. i’m working with all the shades of our stone soup DK yarn for this one—which doesn’t just look soft, but feels so cuddly as well. it really doesn’t need the cashmere lining but i would do anything for david, so i’ll be adding one. it’ll provide that extra shield he needs from the wind.

and now, i have something really special to show you—look what cherie knit up for us

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an over the top, beee-yoo-teeful morning glory wrap knit in our super-lustrous cabécou sport, the sheen of which makes it look like spun silver. talk about extravagant . . . with that motif and edging, it’s a real head turner.

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and it’s so light—i can’t get over how little it weighs when i pick it up. this one was knit with just two skeins, one for each half. i think the lightness is partially due to the airy mesh sections at each end of the wrap

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the solid sections are up around the shoulders where they do the most good and can be carried well, then the rest is a froth of light and sparkle.

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it has a fine enough hand to scarf it up into a really BIG statement at the top of that LBD—can’t you just picture the entrance this would make to an after-work cocktail party or holiday event? stop. it.

i think i’m going to stop here and leave you with that pretty thing as a parting image. i’ll be back later in the weekend with christmas knitting updates and to release a couple of patterns that might help out with your own gift list.

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or hey—if you’d like to see any or all of these in person, why not check out our holiday open house at the shop? it’s next week on thursday dec 11 or saturday dec 13; swing by just to say hello or reserve your seat at the yarn tasting we’re offering during the event.

alright, now i’m really off to knit; thanks for coming by.

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(i also need to figure out what to do about this situation—the dang critters are using the squirrel baffle as a patio, arghh.)

 

 

dear readers

anne wrote this in the early afternoon:

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my snow tire infinity scarf is really growing now; i’m starting to wonder if it will be the right length before knitting all the repeats i originally predicted. the patterns says thirty nine, but since this is my prototype and we’re all test knitting this together (HA! gotcha), i won’t know for certain til i get there.

measuring it would help, huh? but it’s all the way downstairs and i’m too lazy to go fetch it. plus, i might get distracted yet again from writing this post (i started it hours ago and do you see how far i’ve gotten??).

i do have some numbers for you—are you ready?

it looks like so far, we have sold approximately 143 snow tire patterns and 39 kits for a grand total of just about $1400.00!
we are doing GREAT—if we can keep up this momentum, we should be able to reach or surpass last year’s final tally of $4000 with no problem. we still have a way to go, so we’d be über-grateful if you’d please take a moment to text, email, or share on your facebook page with any and all friends who would be interested in our effort (or who just might like this scarf!). they can purchase a copy just for the love of a good cause or to gift away to a knitter they know (it’s really easy to gift a copy using this link to purchase in our ravelry pattern shop; i the upper right area of the listing is a live link for gifting—easy peasy)

by the way, our annual fundraising does not just go into a big pool of money that some administration committee sorts out and divides up—the whole sum that we raise goes directly to a single student, who knows where it comes from and maintains a steady communication with us to the best of their ability.

you might remember that last year, our student brandy did a wonderful blog presentation for us in which she wrote about her life at school (that’s her on the left in the photo below; how much do we love her hair, purple clubbies?). she is the current recipient of the knitspot scholarship, which we funded last december; she is working hard to get to her goal of graduating with a degree in curatorial work.

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brandy has written and emailed me a few times during this past school year as well and today, she surprised me by sending a note to share with all of you.

Dear Anne and Knitspot Bloggers,

I am sorry it has been so long since I have written; this fall quarter has been very busy but exciting. I have recently found out that I was accepted into my major of Art History. This year I am in a new apartment and have a new roommate who has been great! Just days after I came back to school my sister had my baby niece, and I was just able to visit for Thanksgiving and meet her for the first time!

The past few weeks have been rather hard and stressful for me, I have two big papers due at the beginning of next week and I have been working hard on them both. One is almost done, and the other I am waiting for the teacher’s feedback about it. I am also an intern at the art gallery on campus, and this has taught me many valuable things in a short amount of time.

I have been looking through the past few months of entries on the blog and I just have to say, there are so many beautiful creations. And the scarf pattern for the scholarship fund is beautiful, and I love that it is done in red! A few of the other pieces I was admiring were the bocce cap, the pyro and sugar dance sets, all of the cowls. I had no idea that’s what those were called, but they are beautiful. I want to thank you all for your campaigning for the scholarship and your continued support of me both through your gifts, kind words, and picking me as the recipient of your scholarship. This support has helped more than I can say. I hope all of you are having pleasant holidays!

Brandy

well, i had more to add but now it seems wrong not to end here; i can’t follow that up with anything better or more styling. i will see you next time!