there should be a law

anne wrote this around lunchtime:

garageHome02_09

haha, this was the view from inside the garage when i got home from the airport the other night—it was snowing again and frigidly cold; a FAR CRY from what i left behind in san diego

torreyPinesF02_03

i could weep. there should be a law against such an abrupt thrust back into reality.

i can’t complain though; i am very, very lucky to have had that reenergizing week of sun and sea. and i missed david; it’s good to be back home with him!

planeCharlotte02_09

luckily, my flights home went pretty smoothly; i know many people experienced delays that day because of the snow, but i was traveling just enough behind the storm that things were almost completely back on schedule at each of my stops. and because i knit, a short delay in charlotte was passed contentedly with needles in hand.

morningHome02_09

the next morning, i got a much better idea of the amount of accumulation we were talking about—wow, those snowbanks are high (about four feet). and since i’ve been home there has been more. much more

sundayMorning02_09

poor david can hardly keep up with he shoveling and i think the city has given up entirely on plowing our back street, where we access our garage. bigger fish to clean elsewhere, i imagine, haha.

sundayMorningA02_09

yesterday it snowed and snowed, but on the other hand, temperatures rose to an absolutely balmy twenty-six degrees in the afternoon. we haven’t seen highs like that in weeks; there were even a few runners out taking advantage of the heat (unfortunately, not me; i am fighting off a sore throat and so far, winning by a just hair. better to stay in and work on my chapter).

it was very short lived, however; this morning we are back to low single digit temperatures. which makes me want to stay inside my house, knitting and cooking until april.

speaking of which, i got a considerable amount of knitting done while i was gone and during my travels home as well. i got everything finalized for the first shipment of our 2014 bare naked knitspot club—and i think i’m in love all over again.

projectBagSecret02_09

the contents of this bag are so squishalicious, i can hardly contain myself. it’s all i can do to keep from sharing it, but i think i can manage to hold out for the remaining few days before the USA shipments go out. soon, every yarn member will have some of their own to squeeze and i can’t. wait.

BNKyak02_09

in fact, i’m really excited about the whole year we have planned—we’ve got a great mix of special exclusives custom spun from domestically raised heritage breeds, along with several rare exotics from across the globe. we are pulling on backpacks and lacing up climbing boots, packing mosquito netting and phrase books for our year-long, worldwide fiber adventure. interested in joining us ? lucky you—we still have a few spots left.

BNKrambouillet02_09

want to upgrade from an eBook only membership—no problemo; david will be happy to cash in your eBook membership and get you set up with a yarn membership. with a swinging’ ravelry group group dedicated to bare naked club activities, you can’t help but enjoy yourself while knitting the projects and making new friends.

BNKbombyx02_09

(yes, even the crawly kind)

and oh, do we have some terrific projects planned to go with each delicious selection. as with all of our club shipments, you will often have several options for using your yarn (last year for instance, we included fourteen patterns from start to finish).

BNKmuga02_09

in fact, many members find themselves wishing they had extra yarn to knit more of the items offered, so we came up with a solution for that—the double dip. while supplies last, david can upgrade you from single to double—just say the word and he’ll make it happen for you. signups for yarn memberships will extend to the last day of february or until supplies last, whichever comes first.

sigh, just one more week til the first chapter release . . .

ok, i’ll stop being a tease now, haha.

while finalizing club projects was my first priority, i also worked on other knitting, though i did not get as much done on those as i’d hoped—too many field trips to the beach (but do you blame me?). and of course, spending time with kim before she goes and gets hitched next month was the most important purpose of my trip.

opARtCowl02_09

we had some great evenings together to knit and chat, spending time with the boys. portable projects turned out to be best during this trip—i worked on my spirit trail op-art cowl in verdande worsted—i just love the way this one is turning out; the yarn is so silky and smooth, it’s going be lovely. and soon it’ll be off the needles; i don’t have munch left to go.

all my big plans to finish my sea pearl sweater? ooops. like so much dust—blowing in the wind. i am really hoping that with the club going to an every-other-month schedule, i will now have time to get the bigger projects off the needles more efficiently. some of them i can hand over to a test knitter, but this one, not so much; i really needed to make this one myself to understand how to write up the pattern. which is also nearly done, though not quite.

polartorteMarble02_09

and i totally thought i’d knock this hat out with barely an effort during my trip, but not so! sure i took it everywhere, tucked into my bag “just in case”. and sure, i took it out during each commute to knit a few rows, but guess what? i know you will find this completely shocking, but it turns out kim and i love to talk and when we do, i often forget all about the knitting in my hands and just chatter on as if i don’t have to work for a living.

no worries though; i’ll get this done ASAP now that i’m home again. between class time and TV knitting, i should be able to do it in the next couple of days.

grayCharis02_09

several other surprises were waiting when i returned home, aside from the weather (which is really more in the category of “shocking” than surprising, heh). the dining room chairs that we picked up years ago for a couple bucks from our local reStore have had a trip to the upholsterer and now sport a classy, charcoal gray suit of clothing (much less blue in person than they appear here)

graySofa02_09

also, no more garish burnt orange sofa—that too has had a re-do to bring out its inner metrosexual. david found a large table solution at ikea that will work for the time being; our new living space is starting to a bit more pulled together together.
(yes, i bug him every week about writing up his big reveal post, but he claims he has writer’s block on the subject and can’t come up with an angle.)

BDgiftHelen02_09

also, i had some birthday gifts waiting here to open, which was a very nice surprise. our good friend helen sent me some yummy soaps and a brown (stuffed!) olive tape measure to complement the ones we sent out as a club goodie a few months back. i love it, especially since helen designed and crocheted it herself using our breakfast blend fingering yarn. what a delight; it really does look like a brown olive, thank you helen!

BDgiftPhoebe02_09

and one from my friend phoebe too; she has remembered my favorite day with a lovely package each year in recent memory. she fills it with a delicious assortment of chocolate treats and a hank of her handspun yarn—now that is above and beyond, isn’t it? the yarn is the most beautiful rose color, very attractive and there is enough to knit a shawlette; i really love it. i use those little triangles a lot, so it is just a matter of deciding which one to knit—maybe the new bay leaf and lime . . .

BDgiftNancy02_09

and i wasn’t home but  a few hours when UPS came to the door with this terrific cookbook from nancy. we went to this restaurant with cathy and agnes while i was visiting NYC a couple of weeks ago and they could not stop talking about all the great recipes they’d been making from the book. so i put it on my mental list to acquire but of course, had not gotten around to purchasing it yet. i am thrilled to have received it now, yay. i gotta tell you—i cannot stop looking at it; i want to cook everything. the recipes are very accessible, too; they do not call for a lot of hard to get spices or ingredients.

what a great birthday; it’s nice when it’s spread out a bit by necessity.

ohioChallengePrize02_09

then on saturday, one last surprise, not really related to my birthday, but it still felt like it a little. i won a prize in our running league last year and didn’t know it. the league banquet was in december and i planned to go but my intentions were waylaid due to a spur of the moment fiber expedition. well, i needed to go look at the fiber as it was for our club, but it was seven hours away so i had to ditch the running banquet. i had no idea i was even in the running for a place, but i took fifth in my age group overall for the whole year (50 to 54 is actually a pretty large age class in our league, so i wasn’t at all expecting this).

the coolest thing is that i won a gift card for the grocery store where we shop most frequently. yay for running; it’s literally paying off, haha.

ok, well that is all i’ve got for today; i hope you are staying warm (warmer than me) and enjoying your present knitting endeavors. it’s possible that it’s too late to join a team for the winter ravellenics, but you are always welcome ton knit along with us in our knitspot mothership group, where our ravellenics thread is hopping.

and if competition isn’t your thing, well then, we’ve got a nice comfy, relaxing, and educational club adventure that might suit you perfectly—check it out!

projectBagEnd02_09

west coast time

anne wrote this just before lunchtime:

torreyPines02_03

i feel like the luckiest person on earth—not only does my work give me great fulfillment, but it has brought some really special friendships into my life.

torreyPinesX02_03

i’ve been reflecting on this quite a lot in the last few weeks, as i’ve traveled to each coast of this great big country. from east to west, i’ve been welcomed warmly into the arms of  people that i met through my work, who have over the years become very dear friends.

this week i’ve been visiting kim in san diego, mostly for fun, though of course i’m working on stuff while i’m here. that’s the other cool thing about my work; it’s pretty flexible and some of it can be done very much on the go. this week, it’s mostly secret projects, but i’ve been knitting another waffle creams hat and my spirit trail cowl as well (i’ll blog about those next time; for some reason i have no photo at the moment).

i left home last wednesday when it was minus 12 degrees with a wind chill of minus 25 or some such nonsense. my flight had already been delayed one day due to the cold, stormy weather, which was paralyzing airports all over the midwest and south. drat! i was really antsy to get to the sun.

and it was a perfect afternoon with blue, blue skies. sigh

thursdayA02_03

the next morning we woke up to some rain and lots of fog, but still . . . gorgeous, right? everyone was apologizing for the weather but i’d just respond by saying “it’s still 65 degrees warmer than at home”.

thursday02_03

morgan the duck probably loves the damp weather after a couple weeks of dry heat.

thursdayRunF02_03

i think the mist is pretty; i pulled on my running shoes and some light clothing and headed out as soon as it got light enough fro drivers to see me (i have SO enjoyed running in shorts pants and tanks all week, haha!).

thursdayRunE02_03

dreary weather doesn’t last long here; often it is misty at daybreak. but that burns off by mid morning and the sun comes out for the rest of the day. i went for a nice 7-mile run in the hills near kim’s home.

and but the time i headed back, blue patches were showing in the sky and the sun was burning through. it was a lovely day after all.

thursdayRunC02_03

back at the house, i jumped into the shower to get ready for our lunch date with jocelyn and nan. kim and i were meeting them in carlsbad.

carlsbadA02_03

i feel  a little bad; i have a couple of beautiful beach photos from that afternoon, but nothing else in the camera. we talked and talked, so excitedly that i totally forgot the camera (which is really the way it should be with friends, no?)

but anyway, isn’t the beach lovely?

we stayed until mid-afternoon and then headed home where kade and i cooke a curry for dinner. i could swear we took picture, but i guess not. it was pretty yummy though and disappeared quickly.

torreyPinesZ02_03

the next day was saturday and a lot sunnier. after a nice early walk with kim, we all headed for torrey pines to hike the hills and explore the beach (that’s where i took the photo at the top of the post).

torreyPinesAA02_03

WHAT a spectacular day, sigh. people were out in droves to enjoy the sun and the beach, but everyone was pleasant and the park was festive with activity.

torreyPinesQ02_03

we walked down the beach trail, through scrub pines and then rock walls to the water’s edge

torreyPinesJ02_03

it’s one of my favorite beaches; the cliffs alongside are so interesting at different times of the day

torreyPinesM02_03

down at the bottom we walked around and explored the beach, looking for sea glass and other oddities; i think kade and i could spend all day searching among stones for precious ephemera.

torreyPinesD02_03

taking home photos and memories in my mind’s eye is the real reward, along with muscles tired but happily filled with the effort of climbing toward the sky.

torreyPinesB02_03

but mid- afternoon we were ravenous, so we shook the sand off our shoes and piled into the car to head for saffron, one of our favorite places to eat thai food.

back home we all napped and spent the rest of the day and evening knitting and watching movies. it was a good way to wrap up a wonderful day.

the next day was sunday and while everyone else went off to church, i worked for a while and started preparing our dessert for the afternoon meal. i had promised everyone i’d make sticky rice.

sundayRun02_03

then headed out for my long run of the week. i’m trying to stay in shape to run a couple of half marathons in april; i’ve mostly been able to keep up a regular running routine at home, despite the cold weather, though when it dips below ten degrees, i opt for the stationary bike.

let’s just say that running in the sun, wearing just a tank and shorts has been a much-needed break from the heavy clothes i have to don at home and i’ve really enjoyed it.

sundayDinner02_03

back home, we got started on sunday afternoon dinner and this time, we got pictures. we were cooking a family favorite, pasta with vodka sauce, which we make with shrimp, fish, and lots of veggies.

sundayDinnerA02_03

kade, who was my sous chef for the afternoon, works at ralph’s, a local grocery chain that specializes in fresh foods, so we have a plethora of beautiful ingredients to work with; the fish was especially flavorful and nice.

we prepped and sautéed the fishes first, then set them aside to marinate, while we sautéed the grilled veggies, broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes, and cream. meanwhile, the sticky rice which i’d cooked in the morning had finally absorbing the last of its liquid and coconut milk syrup, mmmm.

sundayDinnerF02_03

normally, this dish would be steamed rice, but we didn’t have the right equipment, so i cooked it in the rice cooker as a different sort of dish, more of a rice pudding. (ever since my SIL nan left, i’ve been obsessed with getting as much thai food as possible into my belly, haha).

anyway, our pasta meal turned out just lovely and was much appreciated by all

sundayDinnerE02_03

chica out there is pretending to be all nonchalant, but you can see that her ears tell us she is quite on the alert for any invitation to share the table with us.

sundayDinnerH02_03

but ih well, the boys didn’t leave much for her to snarf up, haha.

movie and knitting time commenced after supper, but we weren’t long into the evening when sam started inquiring about our special dessert.

mangoSticky02_03

yes, we were all looking of reward to this, mmm

mangoStickyA02_03

but especially sam. and it was yummy; not the best we’d ever had, but a very fair result for our first attempt. we decided that we must perfect the dish during my next visit, which will be at the end of march.

BDcakeAnne02_03

as you know, yesterday was my birthday and everyone here made it a very special day. thank you all so much for your kind notes and happy wishes; we did have a lovely day.

kim and i went for  anise long walk in the morning, which i ended by taking a solo trip up the hill we call the butt burner

buttBurner02_03

that’s it at the left of the photo, snaking up the mountain.

i figured i should walk off that cake before i eat it, just to be sure, haha.

we checked out a big running store in town and then picked up birthday desserts at extraordinary desserts, a real experience (if you live close and haven’t been, you must go). after a dinner of middle eastern food, we all dug in to our luscious sweets; what a treat!

kim gave me a beautiful pair of handcrafted earrings as gift and i love them; they will go perfectly with a bracelet i have.

see what i mean? i am so luck; this was a wonderful visit and a perfect birthday. the only thing missing was david, but maybe next time he’ll come out here, too!

 

ok, now we are heading out to one last beach before my visit is over. i will be back with knitting news very soon. not sure if it will be at theme or here; there is a possibility my flight might not be running as planned with the storms and all. stay tuned and stay warm!

Happy Birthday Anne!

anne wrote this in the late afternoon:

photo copy 16-1

Hi! It’s me Sarah! Anne is in sunny San Diego spending some time with her friend Kim. What a perfect way to spend a birthday! Anne has been texting me photos of her trip and I can’t resist sharing them with you.

When she arrived, this was a little something on the bathroom counter from Kim.

IMG_4621-1

Kim loves her special soaps!

David sent along some gorgeous ammonite (petrified shell) jewelry.

IMG_3417-1

The ring is a greeny gold and the earrings have that color, plus blue and purple. The setting is very tailored and minimal and she loves them. Great job David! Another birthday surprise was the release of the February/March edition of ARTICLES.

february-march-2014-articles-cover-1

It is a Stark County, Ohio-based magazine celebrating the audible, edible, and visual arts. Inside is an article about designer owner of Knitspot, Anne Hanson. How cool, right!?

I was so excited when I first read the article because it featured quotes from my mom Anne C and included a couple pictures of me modeling Knitspot handknits. It’s a great article about how Anne started her business and how it’s grown over the last few years. You can read the entire article online here (make sure you scroll down;the article appears on page 10).

Happy Birthday from the Knitspot Team. We can’t wait to hear about the rest of your birthday surprises!

A Constant Exploration

majordomo wrote this around lunchtime:

BNK_package

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.

IMG_2017

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.

skyCapWIP

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.

sky cap blocking web

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

IMG_4604web

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

IMG_4593web

IMG_4597web

IMG_4603web

IMG_4602web

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…

IMG_4606web