girl power

anne wrote this in the wee hours:

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i’m signed up for races on every saturday in june and some fridays as well
(i couldn’t help myself—we have these “night glo” races here that are irresistible and in keeping with mister knitspot’s schedule, i might add). many of these events are ones i am unfamiliar with—i like to surprise myself by finding out all about it when i when i get there.

yes, sometimes this can backfire on me, haha. but not this past saturday.

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before i picked up my race number on friday evening, i had no idea what girls on the run encompassed; i just thought it was cool that there was something only for girls and that it especially supported the goals of youngsters who want to run or take on a new challenge. that is so up my alley, yay.

i love posters lining the tunnel that lead to the athletic field where the pre race crowd was gathered. add capes and tutus and you have my complete attention.

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but wow, this is so much more than than fun costumes and streaked hair, and you can tell by how many, MANY non-running supporters were there, both at the pre-race expo and at the event itself (i mean, if you are getting out to cheer us runners at 7 am on saturday morning, you are a special person and my hero).

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there they are, lining the route out of the starting gate and i can tell you for a fact, they were there over all three miles of the route.

the start gate was a mob scene; our small city managed to conjure up 1500 local race participants (a lot when you consider that the most popular 5k races in our area draw 300 to 600 runners of all genders).

the excitement was electric—girls and moms and grandmas and unattached women (like me) alike chatted amiably, compared notes, and wished each other luck while we waited for the start. there were running buddies and coaches and the happy, but clueless—like me.

then the “soleMale” was introduced

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this year for the first time, one guy was chosen to run with the field in honor of the many other men and boys who faithfully support this cause.

when it was time, we all counted down together and the race was on.

i couldn’t take photos after that but you can tell from the earlier pictures that we ran in stellar, late spring weather conditions—cool and fresh with a warm sun rising.

it was a big field for me but i ran pretty well and just missed getting fourth in my age group by mere seconds. pout. it was my own fault, too; i started too fast, a chronic issue for me in short races. i’m trying to learn to do better.

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afterward, we all gathered back at the race expo for snacks and a cool down. i ran into our accountant, pam and had a great conversation with her, through which i found out about another awesome organization in our city that supports kids. we decided to work together on a couple of things in the near future, including sponsorship for their upcoming events, one of which is another race in july that i’m signed up to run. small  world, right?

after the race i got back on my bike and rode to my saturday yoga class, which was the perfect followup. then it was home to a quick lunch, a short nap, and some garden work.

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i got the herb plants in the ground and put in several rows of potatoes before it got dark. david was working on getting some of the weedy areas around the perimeter cleaned up. he also erected the trellises for the tomatoes, which i’ll photograph and show you next time (it’s too dark now). after dinner, i sat down with a diagram of the garden and my notes about companion planting to plot out where all the seeds would go.

looks like everything can be in a happy spot with friends close by. phew.

today i got up early to run before going to an all-day yoga workshop, which was incredibly good, but exhausting; i could not believe how wiped out i was at the end of the day! i came home and collapsed into bed for something like four hours, can you believe that? but it was delicious too, sigh—i rarely get to indulge like that. needless to say, i missed my window of opportunity for getting back out to the garden, so i will have to do that after class tomorrow night.

i also completely missed out on taking knitting photos, but i promise there will be more next time; i’ve been doing lots of knitting and designing.

the next thing you’ll see though, is the announcement of our awesome rhinebeck after party signups—woo-hoo! erica will be here monday or tuesday to tell you all about the classes we are offering and how to reserve your place. david is busy working on how to make signups easier by putting a listing in our online store, so it can be accomplished with a series of clicks intend of through email.

slowly, slowly we are getting better at this . . .

and now to commence with summer

anne wrote this around lunchtime:

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oh what a perfect weekend!

i can’t even count how many times i heard that sentence over the past few days—and perfect it was, from beginning to end. to start, the weather here in northeast ohio was absolutely sublime–mid 70s to low 80s with clear skies; the days were warm with cool breezes wafting regularly through and the evenings were restfully refreshing.

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then there was the fun of the great lakes fiber show (wooster), which was a huge success for bare naked wools, thanks to all of our loyal followers who came out to browse, chat, and purchase yummy yarn at our popup shop. honestly, there really aren’t words for the kindness and generosity shown to us over and over at these events. we want everyone to enjoy their visits to our booths; we do our best to make each show a unique and special experience. it feels so nice to get feedback telling us that we’re on the right track. thank you!

david and i haven’t been taking vacations for a lot of years now, so we try to make mini “rest stops” out of national holidays, using that time when we have the house to ourselves for a quiet day of puttering or just wasting time. for him this might mean a good long sleep well into the afternoon (as you know, he’s always awake at least til dawn, usually later).

no matter how late i went to bed, for me it means getting up early to maximize the fun i’ve been dreaming about and planning, haha. this memorial day started with a nice breakfast with my friend anne marie before she took off for home.

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we had a wonderful weekend together; despite the activity around the booth operation, we were home early enough each night to spend several hours knitting and chatting before bed. i completed my wheaten mitts to match the hat that i finished last week.

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they fit great; i love the length and how the patterned panel runs along the outside edge of the hand. i used one skein of breakfast blend fingering yarn to knit the small/medium hat and medium/large mitts in color morning smoke; i’m not sure yet what the final sizing or yardages will be. i should be able to get this pattern completed by the end of the week; we might even release it sometime next week.

while i put the finishing touches on the second mitt, we lingered over coffee, fruit, and toast, having a last chat. we really miss each other’s company since anne marie moved away a few years back.

once she was on the road home, i jumped into shorts and tank top to get ready for the 5K race i’d signed up for that morning. just as i positioned my sweatband, my ride pulled up outside.

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i grabbed cold water and off we went to the races. erica, candy, and padraig came prepared; what a hoot! i couldn’t help but be impressed and flattered; what a nice effort they made to cheer me on. it wasn’t my best day for running, however, but it was  fun event.

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somebody got a medal and my race number for hanging in there til i came in.

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and look—my friend roxy got a first place prize in her age group; good job roxy!

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and i don’t know who this boy is but he was chatting me up big time about his race—he was certain he got first place in his age group and he was right. he was extremely proud to be photographed for the blog, haha. i hope he keeps running; he has the confidence and talent to be really good at it.

what a fun morning—it was hot in the sun but cool in the shade; the best kind of weather for such an outing. afterward we all piled in the car and headed to a canton landmark for lunch—taggarts ice cream parlor.

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somebody was a little worn out, even for fried food, but he perked up when his sloppy joe came out and ate well after all. we of course all saved room for ice cream desserts (i’m a huge fan of coffee and vanilla); erica got the bittner sundae, which is a taggart’s trademark creation and super yummy.

after lunch they dropped me off back at home with plans to meet up later for knitting. i wanted to get out into my garden to do some planting but the afternoon sun was a little strong, so i settled on a nap instead.

when i woke up, i put on my gardening clothes and headed outdoors, where david had been busy mounding the tilled garden into rows. he wanted to try a new system this year for better drainage, one that several of our friends recommended. all the compost he’d placed over the garden had been sitting for a while, so he rented a tiller over the weekend and turned it all under. then on on day, he made tall—sixteen to eighteen inches—mounds for planting.

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some are wider for sowing seeds and less bushy plants a couple of rows apart or in patches. two rows are narrower for planting a single row of tomatoes in each; he plans to erect trellises along these so the tomatoes can grow up and across, rather than staying to close to the ground, where disease and insects can invade leaves from damp, splashing soil.

i had to go on a scavenger hunt in the basement and garage to locate my gardening tools, which were put away in scattered locations during the renovation last summer. once i had what  needed, i managed to get all the eggplant, tomato, and pepper plants in the ground.

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then, across the walk on the front edge of the smaller garden area, i put in all the squashes and marigolds we had. this will isolate the squashes from the nightshades so that if the squash gets invaded with bugs (a constant challenge in our area), they won’t be near the other plants. i also like this location because i’ve noticed that the squash plants always crawl in a westerly direction as they grow and vine out. this placement will allow them the freedom to do that without crowding other plants—another constant issue for surrounding plants. i love the squash but when they do survive, they take over and choke everything around them.

by then it was getting dark and the mosquitoes were coming out, so i watered everything and packed up my tools to take indoors. the garden was pretty dry anyway; we were expecting rain on tuesday and i thought it would be better to sow seeds after the ground had a good soaking—that way, the seeds would be happier and part of my job would be done for me.

i cleaned up and went over to sarah’s house, where erica was staying with her family. we all watched an old movie i hadn’t seen before (and enjoyed greatly; you can’t go wrong EVER with a robert downey, jr. film) and some of us even knitted as we’d planned, haha.

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i put one more repeat on my pedal pusher cardigan that i’m designing with our confection worsted in the dark chocolate color. this is such a nice, smooth knitting yarn and so cushy—in fact, we love it so much that we are talking to our mill about spinning it up in a lighter weight as well. even though we just got done with cold weather around here, i will be looking forward to fall when it’ll be chilly enough to wear this. i’ll have a brand new sweater all set to wear on that first cold day and a new yarn to knit with as well!

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when i got home, david and i watched TV until late while i worked some more on my sweater. he did not knit because his squish me hat is done—and i have been totally forgetting that he’s patiently waiting for me to show him how to close the top.

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tonight, i promise. then he can wash it, block it, and put it away for next fall. he did a great job using double pointed needles for the first time—i know it was a little weird for him at first; he forgot to use the spare needle once or twice, but that was easily corrected and he was soon on the right track. david takes direction very well, especially while working on a project where it can be applied immediately.

i’m thinking he will want to start something new right away, probably in cotton for summer this time (i’m itching to knit with cotton myself lately, aren’t you?). a light hat would be good, like a slouch potato or peu bourgeons. i have to get out the cotton yarns and let him pick something.

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erica stayed in town through yesterday afternoon so we could have a longer company meeting to discuss our retail popups and wholesale program (that’s right; we are starting to do some wholesale and making a list of shops we’d love to work with).

the postman pulled up right in the middle of the meeting in a van filled with boxes for us—several shipments of yarn arrived all at once. the breakfast blend DK we’ve had on order since last fall is now back in stock and we can now offer the flapjack color in that weight as well (david will get it listed as soon as we have counted it in and labeled it).

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along with the breakfast blend came our shipment of a new mohair blend that we’ve been excited to see—40 percent iron gray kid mohair from pinxterbloom farm (the same producer that sold us the fiber for our chebris lace and chebris sport), blended with 40 percent fine romney wool and 20 percent tussah silk. we are calling this 2-ply sport weight yarn cabécou brilliant after a tiny goat cheese produced in aquitane

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not as weighty as the chevrè worsted we produced last year, it has a lot of the same character and i think it will be and even better option for sweaters and wraps, such as stonewall, hypotenuse, gnarled oakwoods, box leaf wrap, or obstacles. and i’m sure you can think of many more.

the cabécou also has to be counted and labeled before david can list it in the shop, but we will be SURE to let you know when it’s there.

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i worked on my hydrangea cowl during the meeting and also for a bit this morning over my coffee—with summer coming on, the earlier sunrise means that i’m getting up sooner and have some time each morning to knit a few rows. i think i am going to go ahead and add the edging as shown in the original pattern; i’ve been waffling about it ever since i started the piece, thinking i might leave it off in favor of a simple garter edging. but now i’m leaning toward the fancier version. at any rate, this piece should be done very soon and the updated pattern can be listed in our shops.

in other upcoming news, our friend hunter hammersen is coordinating with erica to run a summer sock KAL in our bare naked wools group on ravelry.

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any of hunter’s beautiful sock designs paired with any bare naked wools yarn will make an engaging and portable summer project—if that sounds like it will suit your summer knitting goals, why not join in the fun with a group cast on scheduled for may 31. visit the KAL thread for more details and a list of categories and prizes. erica took home some stone soup fingering yarn for her KAL project; this yarn is wonderful in so may other garments, we all got wondering how it would perform as socks, so erica’s going to test it out.

alright then, i think that’s all i have for today and since i have other work to do and some bicycle errands to take care of before a late-day meeting, i’m going to sign off now—see you next time.

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(haha, we;ve been chuckling at all the things padraig does that no one remembers showing him—like when he saluted at the flags on race day; seems he’s beginning to pick up stuff from beyond the nest.)

hooray for a holiday weekend

anne wrote this in the wee hours:

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yesterday began the memorial day weekend and around here that means just one thing—it’s wooster time. wooster is the everyday name for the great lakes fiber show, our regional wool festival. i’ve written about the show many times because i attend every year (check the archives, right, for the last weekend in may each year); the show is an absolute treasure, small enough to cover in one day and big enough to fill that day with great satisfaction. also very busy for its size with a fun, friendly air; it’s a nice day out for a few girlfriends or the whole family.

and each year, i see both familiar faces and fleeces as well as fresh new ones. and this year, the latter group includes our own bare naked wools. that’s right, we are very excited to have secured a booth space at our local show, yay! we will be on site both days to introduce customers to our yarns and patterns, plus answer any questions. and of course, we’d love to see you there.

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in addition to our usual suspects, we have a couple of celebrity visiting knitters who are helping out. our good friend and yours, anne marie is in town (more about her visit in a sec), erica and her mom, candy brought padraig for his first wooster experience (well, he was here two years ago, but he didn’t didn’t get to see anything, haha), susan’s granddaughter, caroline (above, labeling bags) is pitching in, and our own emily and erica will be out sunday to help in their first show experience.

i’m so excited about everyone being together this weekend that i can hardly contain myself.

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i got up early on friday and baked a pie; i really wanted to make strawberry rhubarb but it’s just a bit early—we are getting nice strawberries in the stores from down south, but no rhubarb yet and that’s one thing i haven’t gotten around to growing (though i want to). so i settled for blueberry pie instead, which everyone likes.

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i’m doing better at getting that gluten free crust in the pan, thanks to a reader’s tip about using plastic wrap to move it, but still struggling a bit. the final result is always fine, but i wish i could invent a way to make it prettier.

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and then there i my propensity for piling up so much filling in the crust that it bubbles over more than is pretty. no one ever seems to notice this when they are scarfing down a slice, however, haha.

after i finished baking, i went for a nice run and then worked at my desk for a few hours. i’ve been trying to square away some detail work on the sea pearl sweater to follow up on the work the tech editor did. i have to make some additional charts and i’ve been working through the series all week here and there; next week  when the shows are over, i’ll be able to attack the task more seriously.

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i also have a couple of new patterns to write up for the wheaten cap and mitts which i showed you the other day (almost done now)

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and a new little nothings scarf i’m working on in a cable and lace motif. the yarn is silk mist from sweet georgia yarns, a fine kid mohair/silk blend in the woodland colorway. it’s delicate but plush, light as a whisper. and the way it conducts light?? holy cow.

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i don’t have a deadline for this project or any goal for finishing it, but i thought it would be a lovely summertime project to pick up and put down, carry in my purse (it all fits in a wee project bag and weighs all of nothing), and make lots of headway at once or not so much. the cable-and-lace motif is a cinch to learn and in one repeat i was off the chart and on my own. in other words, relaxation knitting.

in terms of goal knitting (besides my secret deadline projects), i want to finish this hydrangea cowl up sometime soon—it’s been on the needles since winter and it would be nice to get it down for use in our popup shops.

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it’s knitting up just beautifully in our breakfast blend fingering yarn. this batch of cream n sugar came out so smooth and lovely, you’d think it was actually somehow made from cream. i have to decide soon if i’m going to add the original edging, or just make it straight—i’m leaning toward the edging. for now i’m tooling along on the body pattern, enjoying it whenever i get a chance; this project is the one i carry around in my bag and in the car to knit whenever i find myself waiting for something.

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one of the things i did while i waited for anne marie to arrive was to organize some knitting projects for next week. the sweater/jacket i started in confection worsted a couple of weeks back is zooming along. i’m almost to the underarms, having put it aside to travel to kentucky and to take care of things here between shows.

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i asked sarah to wind me up six skeins of dark chocolate, which would give me almost 1300 yards to work with. with this much done, i’m almost through my third skein of yarn.

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i love the cable; it’s a textured rib that’s really easy to work.

then i started the wheaten cap and mitts project, which i wanted to crank out quickly, so i laid aside the jacket in favor of traveling with the smaller project. with the wheaten things nearly done and wooster almost over now, i’ll be able to settle back in on the jacket this coming week.

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because i definitely want to finish this project quickly; i’d like to get the pattern and test knitting all done during the summer so we can have it ready to sell at the fall shows—it’s the perfect leaf raking sweater.

once anne marie arrived, we settled down with our knitting to talk and catch up on everything. we email nearly every day, but when we get a chance to visit in person, we still have tons to talk about. i showed her everything that was new in the bare naked wools war room as well as all of me current projects.

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like this super pretty swatch i’ve been working on with a special batch of briar rose stella we have—this is the seedling of the next special kit we’re going to release. i don’t want to say too much about it yet, but then again, it kind of speaks for itself, doesn’t it?? i just adore the way the colors are dancing along in these wavy patterns—it’s a very shimmery effect. more on this as it develops . . .

a little later in the afternoon i got to work fixing dinner for ourselves and whoever else decided to drop by. i made guacamole for a starter, finishing up just as beckie arrived. while she and anne marie chatted i got going on the main dish, pasta with vodka sauce and seafood. once i got into it, i completely forgot about taking photos, however, sorry!

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we’ve been eating asparagus from our garden for the last week or two and some of our recent pickings went into the dish.

sarah and erica arrived with her mom and padraig in tow; they are staying at sarah’s house. it was nice to have everyone together the night before the show and i think they all enjoyed our meal immensely.

by 10:15 that night i was just beat, so i hiked my tired self up to bed and collapsed. needless to say i was then wide awake by 5 am, thinking about the day ahead and hoping our booth would do well at wooster (i always worry that no one will come and i’m always wrong—we have wonderful friends that always show up!).

well not to worry; as anne marie and i pulled into the fairgrounds at 9:55 the next morning, i had a call from sarah that we were already out of some yarns! (the fair officially opened at 10 am, haha). good thing we were only 45 minutes from home and that erica had not left the house yet. a quick call to mister knitspot to pull more yarn and patterns for her to pick up on her way out and we were fortified.

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our booth was positively bumpin’ most of the day, but during one of the few quiet moments, i snapped this cute photo of susan, barb, and anne marie together. our wednesday night class united again, haha.

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i didn’t get to take many photos—it was too busy!—but i did get this adorable picture of kerri who drove up form columbus to visit the show; isn’t she cute??

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and this adorable lady with her green squall; i feel terrible that i spent half and hour speaking with her today and i can’t remember her name. i wore my ivar cardigan all day, even though it got fairly warm outside—the sweater is so light and breathable in stone soup fingering yarn (color slate) that i was comfortable all day.

the day was well documented by erica for our Facebook page, so i bet you can see lots more over there. it all passed so quickly, but if you missed it, guess what? we’ll be back tomorrow and i hope you’ll come see us. plan to get there early for the best selection, just sayin’.

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thank goodness our new batch of breakfast blend fingering yarn (or BBF as we fondly call it) arrived just before the show; i don’t think we’d have been able to offer it if not.

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our BBF bins were almost completely bare.

now, we’ve got all the current shades restocked, PLUS—you’ll never believe this . . .

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we’ve got the original flapjack shade from the first BNK club back in stock! yep that’s right, flapjack is BACK. this was the very first BNW yarn, even before the oatmeal. it’s a different lot of course, so it’s not an exact match but it’s the closest i’ve seen. i am ridiculously excited for those who’ve been missing it. (it gives me hope that one day, the elusive earl gray color will once again grace our shelves).

for those who did not get to see it firsthand, flapjack is a darker, warmer fawn shade than the oatmeal; it really is like comparing the color of flapjacks and oatmeal in real life. we have it in the booth this weekend (haha, sarah even has a wheaten wrap knit up in flapjack by her mom from the original batch) and david has listed it in our online shop; click here if you’re interested.

along with the fresh breakfast blend fingering, we have plenty of the very popular chebris lace that is trending in third place on the ravelry yarn board and its sibling, chebris sport. as well as plenty of other goodies.

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one last work-related item—my chinese fringetree is blooming. for anyone who ever wondered about it, this tree was the inspiration for my fringetree shawl design.

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i always thought that in addition to how perfectly the patterns mimic the actual tree flowers right down to the way they move in the wind, the hem motif ironically also has a “chinese” name—pagoda pattern.

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now, enough talk about work, let’s talk about other fun stuff—like when the gardening will commence. david has been working on getting the bottom layer of our compost pit out from under and transporting it to the vegetable garden patch. look at that gorgeously dark soil; doesn’t it make you want to sink your hands right in and wiggle your fingers around?
ok well, maybe it’s just me then . . .

we plan to do some planting on monday; maybe we’ll even get all of it done. i have a race that morning and after that, a whole day free. and it just feels right to spend memorial day in the garden.

i hope you get to do something that feels like a tiny vacation that day, too—happy holiday!

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(strawberries forming)

Wooster Anyone?

majordomo wrote this in the wee hours:

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Early Friday, the Bare Naked Wools pop up crew started with boxes, bags, and totes full of yarn

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in Wooster, Ohio, and within hours it became a beautiful booth of an array of natural colors

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and samples from the trunk show strategically placed.

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Stocked in the Great Lakes Fiber Show booth are kits, kits and more kits,

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every Bare Naked Wools yarn we currently offer,

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loads of Knitspot patterns, and the perfect adornments

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for your natural colored garment or accessory.

Join us today and tomorrow for a fantastic show (details/info here) that is right in our backyard. Everyone’s so excited to be a first-time vendor at this regional show, that the entire Knitspot staff is taking turns working the popup shop at Great Lakes Fiber Show. Plus Anne is hosting meet and greets in the booth Saturday 2:30-3:30 pm and Sunday 1:30-2:30 pm.

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There’s also a picnic today at 1:00 so fellow BNWs/Knitspot fans on ravelry can meet each other. See this thread for info. Grab some friends, hop in the car, and make a day of it. In the booth, mention PURPLE IS MY PASSION and we’ll give you a special treat.

The photos above are just a sampling of what we’re offering. Stop by this weekend and see what else we’re unveiling!

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In just a few hours I’ll see the booth in its entirety. I can’t wait! Live too far away and want to go to the show virtually? Follow us on Facebook, Ravelry, Twitter and Instagram.