Celebrating our Friends

erica betz wrote this just before lunchtime:

Hi, everyone!
I am sure most of you know me or have seen me mentioned on the blog before, but for those of you who do not, I will introduce myself. My name is Erica, and I’ve been working at Knitspot since the Summer of 2012. I started working here with my sister occasionally packing club orders, and now I manage the office and do everything and anything that comes across my desk. I LOVE working with knitters because they really make for the nicest customers. I love to hear from all of you and see your projects and ideas. I learned to knit nearly two years ago and have recently branched out into lace projects. I am a senior at Kent State University and plan on graduating with my BA in Business Management in December.

I have decided to start doing some blog posts because I think it will be really fun to show all of you what’s going on around the office and other things that might give you some insight into how we work together to turn great sparks of genius from Anne’s mind into all of this.

This week, I wanted to show off some of your projects because at Knitspot HQ we really do look at them and enjoy your ideas so much. Many of my goals and projects at work are inspired by the suggestions, reactions, and comments that you give us as you knit. This week, let’s see some Vendange coats!

unspecified-1

unspecified

This is a cool coat. It’s elegant, sexy, and smart all in one. I love designs that are versatile because they flatter your style and personality without overpowering you. Thanks to Barb for making our samples so quickly!

yarma_medium2

This is Kathy’s Vendange in Berroco Peruvia. It’s a green/blue color that is perfect for her. She is embracing the cowl-neck! She has some more photos on her project page that show off the coat, but I love this selfie 🙂

image_medium2

image_medium2-1

I just don’t think this blog could happen without these shots. I want to learn to strike a pose like her.  Cynthia’s Vendange is rich and cozy in a bulky Targhee by Blue Moon Fiber Arts. She is really showing it off, and it is the perfect color and fit for her.

image_medium2

image_medium2-3

Heather’s classic and silly shots show off how awesome she looks in her Vendange ! Heather’s coat is a great fit and very cozy in Miss Bab’s K2.

Thank you to the wonderful knitters that gave me permission to celebrate their coats with all of you! Anyone currently working on their Vendange?

Knitting is Hard?

mister knitspot wrote this in the late afternoon:

david-first-project-scarf1

Knitting is hard, well yes, sometimes. Kim (a dear friend) taught me to knit about 5 – 6 years ago (maybe longer), at the time she living in San Diego, we would visit amidst the doldrums of winter in Ohio. Such visitations are the perfect tonic for the long Ohio winters, a nice respite as it were, but alas Kim now resides in Utah where she gets to experience a proper winter herself and I no longer have that much needed break. Kim was so very patient, seemingly every other row I would encounter some blunder or other, requiring assistance to undo and repair. I would leave inquiring notes for her to fix a mistake in my knitting, as she would retire for the evening before I would, while I toiled at the work at hand. There was only a day or two before Anne’s return from a knitting conference, not a lot of time for me to absorb the lessons or time to practice. Learning to knit for me is not unlike my abysmal sense of direction, I can literally drive somewhere (GPS assisted these days) and upon leaving not remember if I should turn right or left to return home. Only by repeating again and again does the instructions become attainable, oddly enough location directions and knitting are very similar in this respect. Can not think of anything more in life that presents such tangible difficulties, fortunately it is possible to overcome with repetition and persistence. I should say this was to be a surprise birthday gift for Anne. Keeping such a secret when you spend all of your time with your wife save a few hours after she has gone to bed is not a trivial task. Where do you hide this secret project, as I have no real space of my own in the house to conceal such things. All I had to reference at the time were some iPhone video I captured of Kim’s brief tutorials, I watched these over and over to gleam some semblance of understanding, but proved somewhat futile. Even my knowledge of knitting terminology was lacking. Each overnight I would knit away, often becoming frustrated as I could not correct my mistakes, nor adequately fudge. Of course I continued to knit despite the accumulating errors. The resulting scarf from this first project was shall we say unfortunate, replete with drop stitches, uneven rows, simply a disaster. Not very gift worthy I should think, but Anne accepted this unexpected surprise most graciously, and really appreciated the effort.

david-first-project-scarf2

Hoping to blog more this year, aiming to do so weekly. Next week considering writing about my experience of reading/knitting patterns.

what keeps you warm?

anne wrote this late at night:

orchidOpening02_12

oooh, is it cold and blustery out there. and it’s supposed to continue through the weekend, brrr.

orchidOpeningA02_12

luckily, we know how to stay cozy and create a little spring inside to cheer us up.

orchidOpen02_12

i know orchids are kind of joke with some people but i love them. they bloom at just the right time of year, in deep winter, when the rest of the landscape is mostly barren. they have flowers for months and well, they are just so weird and fascinating—i could look at them all day.

i’m particularly attached to this one, which went dormant over the summer, but which i managed to bring back this winter. i’ve always had a rather black thumb for houseplants.

orchidGarden02_12

but orchids now—these i can grow, seemingly. david found all of these at home depot on the $5 clearance shelf and indeed they were just about to drop their flowers when they came home with him in november. but i’ve been coaching them to expect more out of life and to live beyond the moment and i think it’s working!

a couple that had begun to molt are now pushing out new buds.

orchidSpotted02_12

this is the newest one and it came to us loaded with flowers, so i’ve just been working at keeping it healthy. it had started acting funny (as in shriveling) when i had it in the window over the sink with the others, so i moved it to its own spot and it’s bounced back beautifully.

orchidSpottedA02_12

we still have a large rose-colored poinsettia as well, which is showing no signs whatsoever of kicking the bucket. i’m hoping that it will last til spring when we can put it outside.

BBDKWaffle02_12

we are also staying cozy with lots of knitting. i’ve been working up a small project—plain fingerless men’s mitts—in some of the old breakfast blend DK in bakery rye.

BBDKMitts02_12

they are working up a treat, so soft and squishy, i love the way they feel. i might need to make myself a pair in the fingering weight.

swatchesSpringWashed01_31

after systematically swatching and framing out a bunch of spring patterns, and simultaneously finishing up several secret projects, i’m finally ready to cast on. i can’t WAIT to start the first piece. i’ll tell you more about all that next week; i don’t want to dilly dally here and end up with no knitting time tonight.

BNWsockClass01_28

we recently finished a sock class at the shop, which ran on saturday mornings and was a lot of fun. hilary (center) got her mom mary (left) to sign up and we had a blast knitting with her each week. she is so delighted to be knitting again after a long hiatus.

SSFsockPreBlocked02_12

i even finished up this sock which i knit in stone soup fingering yarn, in the now discontinued travertine shade (sorry, our mill just can’t make it any more). this is just a (mostly) plain stockinette sock that i’ve knit to test drive SSF as a sock yarn. with its firm twist and sturdy fiber content (several heritage wools and alpaca, AKA nature’s nylon), it should wear well. and with a healthy merino content, it’s awfully soft as well.

SSFsock02_12

and today i washed it; doesn’t it clean up nicely? nothing like a hot, hot bath and a capful of wool soap to make a good knit really shine. now, i just need to knit the mate and i’ll have a new pair to walk around in.

barbBoogyCowl01_28

we do have a couple of new classes scheduled, too—barb will be teaching beginning knitting on monday afternoons while i’m out of town in march; doesn’t she look like someone you’d like to learn to knit from?? trust me, you do.

wheaten581_72dpi

and when i get back in mid march, i’ll be teaching a wheaten project class on saturdays; you can knit the scarf, wrap, or a blanket—whatever size is comfortable for you. it’s a very versatile pattern that you can knit in fingering or worsted weight yarn.

wheaten895_72dpi

if you live close by and you’re interested in one of these opportunities (or know someone who would be) please leave a comment or email erica (operationsATknitspotDOTcom); she will get you signed up.

barbPedalPusherSea01_28

speaking of barb, have you see her recently completed see the sea shawl?? so pretty. i’m always cheering a little inside when barb gets excited about a lace project—she vowed years ago that she would never be a lace knitter, but she enjoys it now. it took a while to grow on her but i think it’s gotten under her skin . . .

BarbHazard02_12

that green shawl wasn’t off the needles but a day or two and she was texting me to ask what other quick shawl she could knit. i made a few suggestions but she needed up putting the hazard wrap on the needles in kent DK in white sand—something to travel with on her florida trip this weekend (she was SO smart to get out of town in this bitter cold).

and if it says anything about how soft this romney blend is, barb was going on and on about how nice the better breakfast felt in her hands, haha. when i got up to take a closer look, i saw it was really the kent.

oculusCoat01_28

this is another shop project we completed recently—well i should clarify that by “we” i meant barb did all the knitting and i coordinated the project, haha. when our ohio mill owners came to visit just before christmas, we showed them all the BNW ensemble pieces that had been recently photographed. carrie threw on the oculus coat (knit in chebris worsted, which is spun at their mill) and it looked absolutely smashing on her.

the next morning at around 7:30, i got a text from robbie, asking if he could buy it from us for her christmas gift. awww—so sweet, right?? well, we couldn’t let our own sample go, but i told him i could find a knitter and order some handmade buttons to make her an exact copy. and that’s what we did. we mailed it out about ten days ago and by all accounts, she is thrilled. they are supposed to be sending photos, which i’m sure will show off the coat better, haha

pizzaA01_28

winter is such a good time for cooking and baking and tho i don’t have a lot of free time to do it, once in a  while i just get the urge to try something new. and for me, that is usually some new frontier in gluten free baking.

pizza01_28

i haven’t eaten pizza in over two years, so i recently tried a quick recipe and it wasn’t bad! the top part was great, in fact, our usual recipe for pizza toppings. while not an epic fail, the dough could have been better, so i will definitely be trying a few other recipes for that.

carrotCake02_12

and for my birthday last week, i made this awesome carrot cake which DID turn out really good. i used my longtime favorite carrot cake which started as this martha stewart recipe and has developed into our own recipe over many years of baking it. i made it exactly as i’ve made it in the past, with just the substitution of the GF flour blend i’ve been putting together myself, using recipes from this page. for this cake, i used the “better than cup 4 cup” blend.

then we invited eight or ten of our dear friends over to share it; no one could tell it was any different than a regular cake—it was high, super moist, dense with carrots, nuts, citrus zest, and some dried fruit. and naturally, slathered with cream cheese frosting. we even had a chunk left to eat as a treat over the next few days. yum.

swatchesIvaresqueWashed01_31

alright now, i’m going to end this; my swatches and pattern are calling. i have a LOT of knitting to get done by the middle beginning of april!

immersion02_12

oh one last thing—the IMMERSION club, shipping this weekend, is virtually sold out now—just a tiny handful of spots left. if you are thinking of joining or double dipping, now is the time to grab one of the last ones!

for the first time thee is an absolute limit on the number of total spots, as one of our featured yarns will only be available in a set quantity. when they’re gone, they’re gone!

krokos blooms

anne wrote this in the wee hours:

krokos519_72dpi

well, that spring weather didn’t last . . . winter has finally hit our area, with temperatures plummeting down to the teens, wind howling, and snow flying—albeit, for the first time this winter.

krokos561_72dpi

but we are managing to stay cozy here, warmed by folds of our delicious better breakfast DK worked up in my new shawl design—Krokos, which was published in the spring issue of interweave knits—just in time for my birthday last week!

krokos551_72dpi

this snuggly shawl is just the thing for a sudden bout of bitter cold weather—big enough to wrap around on top of your coat lapels and light enough to fall into luxurious folds that capture warmth and hold it close. and who doesn’t love having an extra layer handy at the office?

krokos544_72dpi

one day soon, when spring comes on us suddenly, you can ditch that coat and just wear the shawl for a stylin’ solution to changeable weather—it’s attractive both coming and going in the warm coals shade (my favorite kind of clothing).

krokos562_72dpi

and even though it’s high on function, it’s also got some really fine features that are all aesthetic, from its openwork hem (just look how beautifully that BBDK yarn blocks out)

krokos373_72dpi

to the diagonal body pattern that falls into natural pleats so prettily around the shoulders.

krokos388_72dpi

i knit this lighter sample in our ginny sport yarn (in the georgia shade) on needles two sizes smaller than the pattern calls for, but my sample still blocked out to the same measurements as the DK version.

krokos360_72dpi

it’s a little airier and frothier, but still warm when gathered all about the head and neck. it would be lovely as a wedding shawl over bare shoulders; this is a nice fiber choice for sensitive skin.  ginny DK would also work well, lending a luscious density closer to the hand of the BBDK.

krokos611_72dpi

emily modeled this for the camera back in october, when we still had green leaves on the trees.

krokos657_72dpi

not only was the design included in the interweave issue, but they wrote up a lovely story about our bare naked wools yarn label as well; if you have a copy of the magazine, check it out on page 4.

krokos622_72dpi

and do you know, i haven’t even mentioned the best part yet: it is super easy to knit—that’s a promise. first, it has no special or challenging sts; just the basic k, p, yo, and simple decreases.

krokos350_72dpi

and then, the wrong side rows are worked entirely in purl except for a few at the very end, which are in knit. great for traveling or spectator knitting, terrific for beginners.

krokos375_72dpi

it’s a good choice for a first shawl project because the dramatic results belie its simplicity. who knows, this could be mister knitspot’s next knitting adventure . . .

krokos393_72dpi

after all, i’ve got another birthday coming up in less than a year.