i throw up my hands

anne wrote this mid-afternoon:

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despite the fact that i have yet to see even one crocus pop up in our yard, i was out out for a walk last wednesday when i came across a patch of well-devloped tulip sprouts. there’s this property with a white fence out front, where the spring bulbs always show up so early and in such numbers that i’m starting to think they use a magic potion on their beds. or it’s some  fluke of the sun hitting in just the right spot or something.

meanwhile, at our end of the street, we get treated to this for the first day of spring

honestly, i am throwing up my hands in despair of spring ever arriving this year.

the latest snowstorm started almost before i could get back to my desk after seeing susan and barb off to the fiber expo in ann arbor, michigan. BTW, they are having a great time with their first retail show experience—don’t forget to stop by the booth to say hello as you move through the show.

fortunately, the snow stopped after a few hours and just an inch or two of accumulation and later that afternoon, the temperatures and “soared” all the way into the 30s in time for my afternoon run. very windy though—and there remains in it an icy breath that is no friend to my leg muscles . . .

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despite the icy coat of that morning, my tulip friends are making gains hand over fist. i’ll see more of them on my long run today . . . but i’m waiting for it to warm up just a little more while i write my blog.

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the night before they left, we traveled to a new-ish, nearby yarn shop named heidi and lana that is one of the first stores to carry our stone soup yarn line (also look for it at trillium yarns in morrisville, NJ!). this adorable shop specializes in american made yarns, so it’s  perfect fit for our first wholesale collection (stone soup will be showing up in here and there in local yarn shops as our production capacity grows; we’re excited about this new development).

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we think that working with shops, along with participating in some wool shows, will create valuable opportunities for knitters to see, touch, and feel the quality and softness of our yarns in person. we are pleased as punch that a store so local to us was eager to participate in our new wholesale program.

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the event drew a very nice turnout of visitors to see the trunk show and purchase yarn—susan, sarah, and i enjoyed chatting with steady stream of completely lovely knitters about the samples and patterns, helping them choose yarns to crate their own projects.

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we also got to knit in the cozy seating area that margaret has created to snuggle into with yarn and needles. i worked on my secret project that is growing by the day and should be done for the upcoming deadline. as it happens, this piece is knit with stone soup fingering yarn, so it gave me an example to talk about. i can’t wait to share the results with everyone here in a few weeks . . .

we could hardly believe it when 7 pm came and it was time to go; thank you margaret for such a nice evening. we’ll have to do that again some time!

as i said, the weather has been very brisk these last few days—colder than you’d expect with wind chills still in the single digits. thought the days are longer and somewhat sunnier now, it’s still too early to spend much time out of doors aside from my runs, which i am religious about if for no other reason that to stop would cause me to petrify at my desk. it’s still WAY too cold and windy for biking much at all; i do miss that.

so i spent the weekend doing last minute errands for my trip west on tuesday, getting some knitting done, and putting the new kitchen through its paces.

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yesterday, after yoga class and several stops to pick up this and that, i decided that i just had time to bake a blueberry pie to take to the coffee house evening at the home of our neighbors, bruce and norma. i made a batch of the same pie crust i’d used for the lemon meringue pie and got that chilling while i cooked the filling with frozen blueberries, sugar, lemon rind and a touch of cornstarch.

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we prefer crumb topping on most pies so i also got that ready in advance. haha, however that is where i completely forget to take any more photos, even when the pie came out of the oven looking scrumptious.

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while not so attractive, hopefully these “morning after” leftovers speak for themselves. i have got to learn to put less filling in the dish so it doesn’t bubble over so much. it just never looks full enough beforehand, heh.

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while it baked i knit a few rounds; wednesday night i cast on another op art cowl, this time in a different weight of the same fiber blend—the fingering selection from spirit trail fiber works called sunna. omg, this color—va-va voom!—is to die for. such  great deep pink. at first it looks red, but then you realize that it’s got that vivid edge that makes it more of a pink. i love it.

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this cowl is taking a bit longer because i cast on the largest size, but even at that, it’s easy to make steady progress because most of the rounds are soothingly mindless. last night i brought it to a coffee house evening and knit almost in the dark while we listened to music and chatted with neighbors. when we got home, i was aMAZed at how many rounds i’d completed. i even did the round of twists while i was there.

this is definitely going in my suitcase to san diego this week—it’ll be great knitting for chatty evenings with kim and her family. karolyn is working away on the test sample for the medium size in DK weight birte—also in the va-va voom! colorway.

the pattern is all set to go, so as soon as we get the samples done and photos shot, we can release it. i know that several of you are anxious for it but hang in there!

we also have matching arm warmers underway—so cute. they really show off the patterning as they expand and contract over the arms, puffing out here and there. can’t wait to show you those.

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while i was working in the kitchen and since i had pie crust underway anyhow, i threw together a quiche filled with spring vegetables for our supper. beckie has been generously supplying us with plenty of eggs from her hens, so it was a great way to use some of those up.

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mmm, asparagus and mushrooms. we had this for a late supper after we got home from the coffee house. there are plenty of leftovers for david to eat while i’m away; i’ll probably freeze a few slices for him to use one by one when he doesn’t feel like cooking.

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speaking of mister knitspot—look at the hat he’s knitting, isn’t it beautiful? he is really quite the knitter. i’m enjoying the fact that sarah is impressed enough by david’s work to aspire to careful stitch work and even tension in her own knitting. and both of them have a willingness to rip back and fix that i’ve never seen in beginners before, the result being that both of them are turning out remarkably perfect fabrics.

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i must be doing something right by just stepping back and letting them compete, haha. kinda like the hunger games of knitting?

speaking of wishing for spring, i am attempting to coax it along with my own special brand of voodoo—calling up the goddess of UFOs and promising to turn at least one big one into an FO if she will just let spring, well . . . spring.

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yes, i am actually working and successfully, on getting somewhere with this sweater. i finished the one sleeve and have started the other and gotten that one nearly to the point where i change patterns.

i am taking this one with me as well, so that i can finish it up during my trip. i will be away two weeks and am taking four projects—my secret stone soup one, my op art cowl, this sweater, and another secret one that i can say boo about yet. all of them are half done, so i may even pack a fifth one, not sure yet. i don’t want to tempt myself, you know? i really want to force myself to finish up my most urgent projects. plus, i have to work every day too; i’ve got a club chapter deadline coming up when i return.

alright now, all of that is making feel stressed; i better get out for my run and get back so i can pack my suitcase. i’ll try to be back with another post before i leave on tuesday, but that’s a bit doubtful; the next time you see me might be in sunny san diego, where our dear friend kim is getting hitched in just a few days! i’ll be all news with wedding details from the front, how about that?

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(this is my dress; isn’t it cute?)

and i won’t be at all sorry to be enjoying the sun when i get there.

 

caravan and kent—a love story

anne wrote this in the wee hours:

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a few weeks ago when we released the first design for the bare naked knitspot 2014 knitting club, we focused on the newest addition to our bare naked wools yarn collection—a worsted weight version of our kent merino/romney blend. this utterly squishaliscious selection knits up into the most delectable cables, knit/purl textures, and plain stockinette—all of which we got a taste of in the projects for that first shipment.

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we gave our clubbies first crack at purchasing the stock we had—for one week it was theirs alone. we thought we had tons enough on hand to list in the shop for general release, but by that monday, our shelves were swept clean of every salable skein we had!

so we were forced to delay the release of the yarn in our online store and also the patterns we planned to roll out with it.

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like this timelessly classic blanket, the caravan throw, which so many of you have written me about. our dear friend anne marie knit up this gorgeous sample in the new kent worsted; isn’t it great?

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you may also notice that with this new addition comes a new shade of kent—we’re calling it driftwood; we’ve got that in our kent DK as well, in case you prefer a lighter weight yarn.

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we showed the DK version in one of the slouch potato hats you saw on the blog last friday.

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months ago, when we laid plans for the release of this yarn and patterns, i never dreamed that this late in march we’d still be lusting to knit blankety weight items like the caravan pieces. and when we ran out of the yarn in february, i had every reason to believe that we might even miss the cold weather entirely before we could get restocked.

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yet here it is, the beginning of spring and wa-LA! still windy and icy cold most days and today—SNOW flying all about and piling up very quickly.

i do love to sit down in the evening with my current blanket or large shawl to cover my legs while the wind whines and whistles through the eaves of the house.

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and now we have the yarn for it. still in limited quantities, but enough to put together some kits—this caravan blanket is one—and still have single skeins available too. just in time to celebrate the fact that kent worsted is trending pretty high right now on the ravelry yarn page.

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(anne C. is laughing because she now lives most of the time in north carolina, where spring really HAS begun). she’s in town this week, but something tells me she’ll be hightailing it back there sooner than later . . .

she’s not laughing about the yarn though—that she really likes. in fact as far as i know, everyone who has some is really liking it. this was kind of a test for us; we’re trying to decide if we should make the worsted weight permanent and have it spun in all sheds of kent. let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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remington (we call him remy) likes the blanket too—just saying’.

shown above, the lap size blanket in bare naked wools kent worsted, color driftwood. kit available too! click here to purchase or to view more information.

shown below, the baby square in snow leopard trust handspun mongolian camel, color desert.

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or maybe you’ve had a yen for something to wrap yourself up in for stepping out, day or night—we’ve got you covered for that too, with the caravan scarf or wrap.

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something a little more personal, this pattern offers three great quick-knitting options for giving or keeping: a scarf and two wraps to knit in worsted weight opt aran yarn.

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again, this was one of the original pieces from the february 2013 club pattern package and part of the 2013 BNK eBook, which contains fourteen terrific patterns for undyed yarns.

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and of course you can use the kent worsted to knit the gobi hat and mittens we featured on the blog last month

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it works beautifully for these warm accessories. in fact there are a number of designs that would work a treat

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susan knit up our popular creel cowl and is now working on the matching hat and mitts. this is one of sarah’s favorites; she’s been pushing for a while to have this design knit up in our yarns. now that we have it, she put together a creel kit in several sizes, so you are covered, whether you want to make one piece or all three. she even got her friend mike to model it for us (thanks mike!)

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and the two of them, along with david, braved the biting wind today to get some nice shots in our downtown neighborhood.

to purchase patterns or view complete pattern information, please click here to visit the caravan blanket page or caravan scarf/wrap page in the knitspot pattern shop or visit the caravan blanket page or caravan scarf/wrap page in our ravelry pattern shop.

click here to view all kits.

the  patterns are also included in the BNK 2013 eBook collection—14 terrific garment and accessory patterns that celebrate the beauty of natural fiber, each one multi-sized and suitable for gifting or keeping; many will have universal appeal for women, men, and children alike. purchase the eBook collection from the knitspot club website or in our ravelry pattern shop.

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the BNK eBook is a very special component of our club; packed chock full of valuable information, each chapter provides a depthful study of fiber types and the production behind making them into yarns, beautifully photographed and fully researched. taking the current eBook subscription is a great way to participate in our BNK 2014 club if you missed getting a yarn membership, are on a budget, or prefer to spin your own yarns.

for more information or to purchase your 2014 subscription, please click here.

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ready to get your hands knuckle deep in some heavenly yarn goodness? click here for more information or to purchase the latest drool-worthy selections we have to offer. have a great, knitterly weekend; try to stay warm!

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OH! and if you plan to visit the fiber expo in ann arbor michigan this weekend, you will have a chance to see and squeeze this yarn in person at our booth—along with all of our other yarns in every color we currently have in stock. susan, erica, and barb are super excited about this weekend’s event, so please do stop in, say hello, and browse our overflowing selection of goodies. it promises to be a terrific weekend.

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Happy St. Pat’s

majordomo wrote this in the early evening:

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This is how St Pat’s week started for us – lucky mail from O’Nana and O’Papa. Special delivery for a wee lad. This year we weren’t going to spend the holiday with my family, since we all just saw each other AND my brother and sister-in-law’s first baby is due in about a week. But this little green envelope got me wishing for family and mom’s cooking.

So we hopped in the car Friday night and headed for Grand Rapids. And so did my parents, so we could all stay the weekend with my brother and his wife. We made it just in time to celebrate Pi Day with mom’s lemon meringue.

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It was the best one I’ve ever had. It was super tart and super delicious.

The next afternoon we headed to Founders and the sun was shining enough to sit on the patio!

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I can’t wait for these cuties to be parents! And I get to be an auntie and put tons of cute handknits on the baby! She’s due March 26, so any day now…

I can’t decide what is my favorite baby knit right now. It’s a toss up amongst Sky Cap, Slöfock, Barrel o’ Monkey, and oh, Baby socks. Truly, Slöfock is the best baby gift. Being a slouch, it can be worn folded for a long time at first and then turn to a slouch as baby grows.

Baby Knitspot and I sported our matching Slöfocks on Saturday

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in the Emerald Isle colorway of Breathless DK. Perfect for the day, don’t you think!?

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This kid has found selfies extremely fun. I think I have about 40 versions of this pose.

After our quick outing we headed home for a late lunch of the meal we wait all year for.

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Aaaah…corned beef, cabbage, carrots, potatoes and mom’s homemade rolls. I really think this meal trumps the Thanksgiving feast as my favorite meal. It’s so delicious!

We spent the rest of the evening watching Padraig get better at walking (yes, he’s walking!) and chase three dogs around his toys. Kids are an endless amount of entertainment. And it’s a chance for all of us to let our silly side show.

Before we left for home the next day, the previous dinner was turned into hash

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with Padraig cheering for his meal. He sure knows how to melt a Nana’s heart!

Today we went to our first music and movement class and he was excited to wear his special hat.

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He absolutely loves his Woodcutter’s Toque in Confection. It’s one of the few hats he keeps on. And he loves feeling the texture of the heavy cables.

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I spent the rest of the day at home working while Padraig took a long nap, so we could spend a little celebratory time tonight with daddy. I’m taking my boys,

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donning Confection hats (Padraig in his Woodcutter’s and Matt in his Pembroke), to hear some live Irish music!

Then I’m spending the rest of my holiday working on this divine knit.

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Willowherb in Confection, colorway Cookies and Cream. I have enough yarn for hat and mittens and I can’t wait to complete the set. Happy St Pat’s to those that celebrate and happy knitting this evening to those that will be joining me.

slouch potato

anne wrote this in the wee hours:

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as promised, here’s a little hat to pair with the roger that blanket we released the other day. i had hoped to have a sample knit in the matching colorway, but the yarn never arrived and we didn’t want to delay it another moment.

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plus, we’ve got it knit up in so many great shades of natural, i think it’s a terrific opportunity to celebrate what we do have all around us.

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natural beauty always shines the brightest, right?

we’re lucky that so many people shared the love of the natural with us, like niya (above) and her mom, mandy (below, whose name i got wrong in the polartorte post—SO embarrassing!)

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this hat kind of goes back a ways—i designed and knit it last summer in soft organic ecobutterfly qoperfina sport to gift to a friend who was just about to begin chemo treatments.

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i thought it would be soft, yet cool enough to wear until fall. the color grown cotton—unmercerized and free of dyes—seemed to be the perfect choice. it created a softly slouching hat that was both fashionable and comfortable for the season.

i kept meaning to release it, but also pushing it back in the queue as other, more wintery items pushed their way to the front. i also had the idea that we should knit a sample in one of our own yarns to show off the flexibility of the design.

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and then fate showed me why all that happened just the way it ought to; one day at the end of january, my friend anne merrow from interweave emailed to ask if i could prepare a segment about natural yarn to present on knitting daily TV—to include some sort of project and pattern.

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she suggested the fallberry mitts, but i thought this hat was just the thing—something fresh and new, yet super quick and easy to knit. and SO very attractive in all of our natural shades; the design, with its contrast of fabric types, really shows off the versatility and quality of our artisan yarns.

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well, once i started knitting the pattern, i just couldn’t stop—i thought up all manner of reasons to keep knitting one after the other (and still i want to make more!). when i brought them out in the TV studio, everyone wanted to pet them (BTW, this episode will air sometime during the season that begins in late july; we’ll update you when it’s time to look for it on your local PBS station).

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here are my samples in several of our yarns; from left to right stone soup DK (slate), kent DK (l. to r.: driftwood, beach glass, and white sand), and ghillie sport (cream). and just as with the matching roger that blanket and roger sock, there is a size for every member of the family, from wee babes to the big guys.

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emily and erica really liked wearing this hat—its deep, textured brim provides a snug fit around the ears to keep it inlace while the volume up top allows it to slouch, rather than squash our hair. so far, i think it looks cute on everyone

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shown above, size small (left) and size medium (right) in kent DK, colors white sand and beach glass

and below, sarah and niya (foreground) model it in size small in stone soup DK (left, slate) and ghillie sport (right, cream), while mandy (background) models it in size medium in kent DK  beach glass.

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to purchase patterns or view complete pattern information, please click here to visit the slouch potato page in the knitspot pattern shop or visit the slouch potato page in our ravelry pattern shop.

sarah and david have also put together a slouch potato kit  as shown here in kent DK, stone soup DK, or ghillie sport, that includes the pattern in all sizes and your choice of yarn color. you can even knit a couple of the smaller sizes from one skein, making this a great deal for future gift giving. (david will be adding options to purchase the kit with stone soup DK and ghillie sport on friday afternoon)

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and with the versatility to knit in cotton, this design can take you all the way into summer if you so choose. hmm, maybe we need a kit for the cotton version, huh?

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sarah say YES!  i’ll have to get right on that . . .

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thank you to anne merrow for inspiring me to finally bring this design to the front of my queue and for all of our lovely models—mandy, niya, sarah, erica, and emily; they bring it to life, don’t they?

now, you go off and have a really fun weekend. you’ve got a new project and hopefully some nice weather to enjoy, what more can we ask for?