Designer Spotlight: Mary O’ Shea

laura wrote this around lunchtime:

Wicked defined by Webster’s dictionary – Morally very bad; evil

Wicked defined by a New Englander, such as our next Spotlit Designer -

New England slang that adds emphasis. Synonymous with reallyvery and hella.

To describe how great something is: “This car is wicked cool!”
To show aggravation: “This f***ing guy is a wicked a**hole!”
To show frustration: “That guy is wicked slow!”
To show amazement: “Wow, that game is wicked awesome!”
To describe a person: “She’s a wicked b****!”
To describe the weather: “Man, it’s wicked hot out here!”
To emphasize feelings: “That story made me wicked sad!”
To exaggerate your point: “That took a wicked long time!”

“That wicked cool car is wicked fast is owned by that wicked old guy, who drives it wicked slow when it’s wicked hot out, which makes me wicked sad cause I’m wicked broke and I got to walk a wicked long way.”
by C. Wallace May 20, 2004


I feel like if I just use “wicked” in my sentence any which way, I’m gonna come off as a native New Englander.  I’m actually feeling pretty confident about this.  But, I think there’s gotta be a science behind it.  Perhaps a formula of a sort.  I mean, it can’t be that easy, right?

Mary simplifies it.  She takes out the aggression and the foul language.  She states that wicked means “just as good as it gets.”  

I don’t know about any of you guys, so I’ll speak for myself…

If we got to knit all day in Science class – I would have gotten an A+.  I’d have probably been valedictorian of my class.  Just sayin’.  Not bragging or anything.  Just stating facts.  Science is based off of theories that can be proven right?  Like … if we happen to straighten our hair with a CHI while standing too close to a bath full of water – bad things will happen.  That’s Science.  Like… Doctor Who is this awesome Time Lord that saves the world from Dinosaurs and Daleks… That’s Science.  (Maybe that’s Sci-fi…)  at any rate…

I was the most awkward, shy, stubborn, and lazy middle schooler.  The fact that I was super artsy and not at all interested in Science, meant that I got bored very easily.  Well, it just so happens that Mary O’ Shea may be the coolest Science Teacher EVAR.  She knits AND she designs!  She’s wicked!  (I hope I used that right.)


When Mary isn’t teaching, she and her family run a prosperous small farm in North Orland, Maine.




I’m a city-girl, so the fact that this small operation successfully nourishes and provides for her family and friends year around is beyond impressive!

Her blog, Tullymongan Farm, chronicles her passions and it’s her way of staying in touch with friends and family that can’t be at arms reach as often as she’d like.

When Mary’s chores are done, she finds solace in knitting.  Now, more than ever before she gets much satisfaction out of creating and making garments for her children.

Many of her designs showcase beautiful color work.

I love the idea of making a baby cap that shows off substantial knitting prowess.  This cap is an heirloom, undoubtedly.  And instead of it being in the stereotypical baby blues, pinks, and yellows, Mary totally had fun with it!  She created something whimsical and light-hearted.  It certainly doesn’t hurt that the little model is as cute as a button!


Recently, Mary teamed up with Anne to create some special mittens out of Bare Naked Wools yarn.  Introducing Bare Bones – Wickedly contrasted to create stunning visual dualism.


maryosheamittens maryosheamittens2 maryosheamittens3

Bare Bones are made with Stone Soup DK in  the colors Pumice (light) and River Rock (dark).  The mitts use approximately 300 yards or 150 yards of each color.  They are beautiful and look Oh-So-Cozy.

Looking at this pattern is like watching cumulus clouds in the summer–searching for images in the sky. Depending on which variation you’re viewing, and where you’re coming from, you might see bare tree branches, arachnids, hearts, paper birch bark, subdivision layouts, circuit boards, arthropods, etc. What do you see?”

Isn’t that a great description?  I see love of a craft.  I see a lot of nature’s influence.  I see passion for life and a desire to slow down and watch the seasons change.  I see something that’s pretty wicked.


Happy Knitting!


i gotta be quick, but i miss you

anne wrote this around lunchtime:


ok, so really, i wasn’t kidding about the snow following me—it has been everywhere i go. first denver got slammed twice while i was there.


it made for good knitting and sleeping weather though. normally i’d head out after a day in the studio to roam around the neighborhoods and look for an interesting place to eat, but when the streets are full of wet, deep snow, i eat in the hotel and knit while i wait for my dinner to arrive.


fortunately, the weather did not cause any great disruption in our production schedule and we kept the whole class shoot right on schedule.


this is colleen and alex, doing a little backtracking when a software crash caused us to lose a bit of one of the lessons, but thanks to them both, we were able to re-do it without a complicated porocess of resetting.


this is david, the camera guy, shooting some stills at the end of the production.


i even got to knit a little bit on set during this production which is kind of a first for me, yay! i think we even did some photos of me knitting this sweater; better breakfast is acting like even more of a diva now, haha.


right after the production wrapped on friday, i took a car to the airport and headed off to utah to visit our beloved kimkimkim. just look at the place she lives in; it’s astoundingly beautiful.


i took these photos yesterday on our walk. i have to say that when she moved from san diego; i was really sad; i had come to adore her back yard view there and her proximity to the beaches and ocean.

but i have to say, if anywhere can come close to comparing with that, it’s her new home here in utah.


i mean, wow, right?? (and yes, sigh; it did snow last night; the first they’ve had since christmas, can you believe my luck? more on the weather in the next post).

and this is just the view from the back yard. i took so many more photos yesterday that i didn’t have time to get them ready for this post. we sat and gazed out on this view (without the snow) yesterday morning while we knit for a few hours.


i’m just about ready to bind off for the underarm shaping in my sweater back now, yay!


after which, we decided to go out for a walk so kim could show me the neighborhood. this is a little farm smack in the middle of her subdivision that has camels, sheep, goats, rabbits, donkeys, horses, and more. we love it.

i have so much more to show you from just the one day i’ve been here, but i really have to stop for the moment; i’m traveling north today for a visit with cousins i haven’t seen since i was a kid and i need to get on the road.

but i’ll be back later; we have two sock patterns to celebrate the start of sock madness month and some delicious yarn to go with them.

i’m being followed

anne wrote this at around evening time:


all winter long, my friends out west have been crowing about the fine weather they are having; temperatures in the 50s, 60s, and even 70s, clear skies, and a complete lack of snow.

until, of course, it was time for me to head to denver—then it snowed.


i booked a flight for a day early, just in case winter weather encroached on my travel—a production schedule waits for  no storms or planes. since the weather was clear by then, i ended up with a whole day to get some work done and explore the city.


i headed out first thing for a morning run; i have been much too cooped up inside at home. it was wonderful to run alongside the river as the sun got warmer and warmer.


before i knew it, i was actually out near TAXI, the studios where craftsy shoots our classes; traveling by car on previous trips, i had no idea it was within running distance.

is that blue sky amazing or what?


even with the altitude change, i felt really good, though my pace was a little slow. all fine with me, hehe. afterward i did a little work for a few hours, so i could take off in the late afternoon.


my friends luci and scott drove down from ft. collins to visit and took me out to the arsenal nature preserve, a wildlife area just outside the city.


we spent a couple of hours wandering paths and roadways through the preserve, watching for wildlife and appreciating the stunning spaces just a stone’s throw from the heart of denver.


the first thing we saw when we drove in actually was this herd of bison, just off the side of the road; they were actually a lot closer than they look. my first thought was, “i wonder if anyone collects their fiber??” once yarn ho yarnie, always a yarn ho yarnie.

deer, prairie dogs, and bunnies abounded; we also saw a few cool looking hawks.


mostly it was just wonderful to hold my face to the sun and feel the balmy air (50 degrees!!); feels like it’s been years since i did that! eventually though, the air did begin to chill as the sun sank toward the mountain tops and we reluctantly headed back to the car. we spent the rest of the evening over a really nice dinner at work & class; the perfect end to a fine and refreshing one-day vacation.


this morning it was back to reality, as i had my first day of production for my next craftsy class. up at the crack of dawn and to the gym (too dark at that hour to run outdoors, though the weather was still warm enough).


knowing it might be a long day though, i did manage after breakfast to take photos of my current knitting projects in the morning sunshine. on the plane i started the back of my natty sweater, which i am knitting in our better breakfast DK in the muesli shade (oops, looks like we are out at the moment, but we should be getting more soon).


i left my two finished sleeves at home; they need to be blocked, but you can see how strongly the texture stands out, even in such a soft fabric. i think the overall effect is going to be cute.

i will admit that by the time i got on the plane, i was so wound up that i suffered a bit from both project ADD and eventually, sleepiness from lack of rest over the previous few days. even though i had a nice chunk of knitting time ahead, i didn’t get a whole lot done on any one thing.


i did manage to begin a sleeve with that gorgeous tayet fingering yarn from spirit trail that i gave you a peek of last week. this midnight blue is so up my alley and a color i don’t have in my sweater wardrobe yet. i think you’ll be happy when you see the design i’m  knitting with it.


i’m kind of crawling along on my reversible little shawl, but i’m allowing myself t take my time—right now i’m much more focused on producing some sweaters patterns while the weather is cold enough to really enjoy knitting them. there will be plenty of time for lacy bits in a couple of months. that said, i do plan to add a row or two whenever the urge hits; the yarn is so soft and delicious, sometimes i just want to feel it run though my fingers for a little while.


soon after organizing all my photos for this post, it was time to head into the studio for the afternoon. this will be my home for the next couple of days as we put together a class about sweater making essentials. this one will be full of advice, tips and tricks, and useful techniques for making a successful sweater.


the day started out well, we were on a roll and getting everything up and running for a full afternoon of shooting. but right after lunch, what should appear?


i am NOT kidding. it’s following me everywhere i go. i mean, talk about luck, right??

and it didn’t get any better as the day progressed either—by 4 pm we were all sent home; hopefully this won’t put us behind much tomorrow.


it took almost an hour to get back to my hotel (remember, it’s within running distance) and i was really glad to get into warm, dry comfy pants to settle in for the evening.

i plan to knit on my sweater some more while watching the premier of kosher soul, starring the children of our dear friend nancy. it looks like a lot of fun—you should watch!


back home, david is working hard on the start for his blanket statement club knit—he’s knitting the love squared version. someone has created a thread in our BNK ravelry group devoted to his progress and all of us are following and cheering him on. me most of all—david doesn’t share much with me about his knitting; i have to read about it online!


barb—a stripper with a plan—is sailing along on hers as well; she makes sure david keeps working away on his.

well, speaking of knitting, i think i’m ready for some myself—time to get comfortable and get my needles out. i’ll be back as soon as i can with more; it will be a busy few days, but i’ll be back as soon as i get a chance.

cold brings out the worst(ed) in us

anne wrote this around lunchtime:


at just about this same time last year, our lucky BNK clubbies were discovering a delicious new yarn offering, exclusive to the club; kent worsted, which is everything we love about kent—soft, airy, beautiful sheen—and pouffier, squishier, chunkier.


with the cold hitting all-time lows for the season, this makes all kinds of sense now—we need cover. so it is with great pleasure that i’m finally able to release the exclusive designs that went with that wonderfully wooly stuff.


because we need style too, i designed a deliciously cozy trio of pieces to make the most of this incredible yarn. first, carlsbad—a BIG cowl with BIG cabled texture to knit in two sizes, short and long.


but it doesn’t end there; carslbad has a little secret that adds up to more than meets the eye. see that dishy slouchy shape?


short-row sections are worked into the circumference to add luscious folds, the better to keep warmth where it belongs, near you.


the shaping also works with the length to make the cowl a little more versatile; in a windy dash to the parking lot a block away, pull it up to keep your ears warm and save your hair.


OR if you’re a hat person, knit yourself a topper for that purpose—hills in jamul. this tam has all the same features in a littler package.


the same great texture, highlighted by the sheen of the kent worsted, and a nice slump at the back, encouraged by its soft hand.


BTW, if the mention of short row shaping scares you off and you prefer a less slouchy look, simply eliminate those sections from the pattern—they are worked only as inserts (like a stripe) and are easily skipped. many of our club members took liberties with their own accessory projects and you can check those out on ravelry here, here, and here.


well now, a cowl and a hat are  a great start to battling the kind of ferocious cold we’ve been having this month, but what we really need, is to keep hands warm when running, snowblowing, or shoveling. and we all know that gloves are a bust when it comes to keeping fingers warm.


what we need are good mittens, like these torrey pines. the fabric here is knit more densely (the better to to repel water), but using the same light, airy kent worsted—the better to trap air near the skin for insulation. that same fabulous texture along the back of the hand is handsome, yes, but also tightens the fabric up to create a windproof panel just where it’s needed most.


you might be tempted to keep these on the front seat of the car so you can pull them in a hurry to brush away snow, but leave them lying about at your own risk—just saying’.

sarah is wearing the hills in jamul hat in size medium, the carlsbad cowl in size tall (above) and size small (below), and the torrey pines mittens in adult size large, all knit in bare naked wools kent worsted, color driftwood.

we are excited to announce that due to the popularity of kent worsted with our club crowd, we have brought it in as a permanent part of our lineup AND we are making it available in three additional shades:

left to right: whitecaps, tide pool, and mussel shell


erica has put together a kit for this new trio of kent worsted favorites, which includes the compilation of all three patterns with your choice of two or more yarn skeins in any available shade.

patterns are also available in my ravelry pattern shop; where you will also find the BNK 2014 eBook, a compilation of nineteen total patterns for undyed, natural fiber yarns.


i think it’s fair to say that this trio of warm, fun-to-knit pieces was one of the most popular projects we did in the 2014 bare naked knitspot club and in no small part due to the delicious yarn with which it was paired. i was actually a bit surprised by how much everyone enjoyed the new worsted weight kent and how swiftly they got these projects on the needles.


kent worsted has all of the same terrific properties of kent DK, which many of our blanket club members are discovering for the first time as they open their boxes of blanket yarn and begin to knit.


the pearly shades have a luminous glow as if viewed through water or glass; i just love that about them. it makes for fabrics that are cool and sophisticated.


to make both of our kent yarns, top-quality romney wool is hand selected for softness, luster, color, and springiness.


farm producers like karin and her son devlin set aside the best of their yearly clip for our yarn. now that wool is right off the sheep—can you believe how beautiful it looks already?


at the mill, the romney blended with combed merino to make an array of gorgeous shades, then spun in a 2-ply construction to make the most out of its natural its bounce and loft.


the final yarn is light, springy, and offers incredibly crisp stitch definition, not just in heavily cabled fabrics, but in airy knit/purl combinations as well.


above, quentin is wearing the creel cowl, knit in kent worsted, color driftwood.


i can also picture the tide pool shade as a new woodcutter’s toque for david—his go-to snow shoveling hat, with it’s bulletproof barrier of heavily cabled fabric.


the gobi hat is simplicity itself—it knits up in an evening and is such a perfect gift for the kid who hates everything.


with matching gobi mittens, you might even get one of those rare smiles you deserve. after all, even cranky kids get cold.


or these sweet, fat-tire mittens


did the mention of a cozy blanket start your wheels turning? something to cover your lap on these frigid winter evenings? this wheaten blanket is for you, you, you—maybe in that mussel shell shade, eh?

maybe something bite sized right now? left to right: comfort me, dutch tiles, and caravan (shown here in kent worsted, color driftwood), are just the thing

lots of participants in our ravelry blanket KAL found these lap-sized wonders not only the perfect size for lounging, but so useful around the family room that everyone fought over them. fortunately they are incredibly quick to knit in a few skeins of our worsted weight yarn.


the new, bigger kent has proved to be easily interchangeable with our confection worsted, so any pattern listing confection as an option will work beautifully in kent as well.

the product page for each shade includes a list of pattern options; erica has also added the kent worsted option to some existing kits, such as comfort medutch tiles, wheaten, or caravan blankets; fat tire mittens, caravan scarf/wrap, and creel cap, cowl, and mitts set.


enjoy and stay warm—more cold weather is on the way. brrr.