it’s that wonderful time of the year

anne wrote this in the early evening:


OK, everybody, get your needles warmed up—it’s kick off time for our annual Red Scarf Fundraiser and KAL!


when these samples skeins arrived the other day from yarn hollow, barb and i cast on right away at knit night—her snow flies scarf in progress (above) and my small stripey cowl (below) are just the beginning.


this first one took no time at all;  it was done within 24 hours. i love me a quick holiday knit. but the nice thing is that this festive stripey version also has a nice vintage look that carries on well once the holidays are over.


now that this cowl is finished i plan to cast on this evening for a larger one in solid red.


i couldn’t be more excited to be releasing the latest red scarf pattern and yarn—this is what makes christmas a holiday for me. each year the release of our red scarf fundraiser pattern brings the true meaning of the holidays to our community—when we devote december sales from this pattern and yarn, then knit along together to raise money for our knitspot scholarship, which goes to one student who participates in foster care to success programs. Our previous student brandy, has graduated and gone on to study further. our current student is jelissa, who attend the fashion institute of technology in new york city—the organization even found a student who plans a career in our industry; how much do we love that??

foster care to success is an amazing organization with all sorts of programs to assist young adults who are aging out of foster care to navigate a journey to college and beyond. if you can imagine your own kids getting through the challenges of college AND taking care of their own housing, groceries, cooking, paperwork, doctor and dentist visits, car payments and maintenance, insurances, PLUS negotiating the complexities of adult decision making, relationships, interviews, important meetings, and interior life without you you as a safety net, then you can grasp how urgent it is to provide whatever support we can.


For me, it started in 2008 with knitting scarves for the scarf drive that year. the next couple of years, i sent along a little cash as well to help with mailing, to pay forward the good fortune this community has provided me. then in 2011, i had the idea of increasing those funds by designing a pattern to raise money . . . and we raised enough to put the knitspot name on a scholarship. the next year we raised even more with the 2012 red scarf pattern, fall line and the scholarship drive became an annual event.


a couple of years ago we expanded our fundraising by having one of our yarns dyed an exclusive shade of red—it is available only at this time and only in very limited quantities.


the first part of our shipment arrived today; doug and erica got the listings ready for purchasers and they are live right now!


lillian labelled them all before she left the office and is excited to get to work monday to pack and ship your orders.

we would LOVE to exceed last year’s amount of $4500—can we get to $5000 this year??

want to be part of it? you can participate in several ways:

  1. purchase a pattern and/or add an extra donation on our website—use the pulldown menu to increase your gift and the entire $7 price PLUS that amount will go into the scholarship fund. we are happy to add the pattern to your rav library if you let us know!! (but we have to do it manually, so please tell us)
  2. purchase a pattern on ravelry—the entire $7 retail price will go into the pot.
  3. purchase a nifty scarf kit which includes the pattern PLUS enough special edition festivus 3.0, to knit a scarf, wrap or cowl. we will add 10% of your purchase price to the fund.
  4. buy one or more skeins of festivus 3.0 for any project and we will add 10% of your purchase price to the fund.
  5. please, please, PLEASE tell everyone you know about the fundraiser—they don’t need to be a knitter to throw $7 (or more!!) at this wonderful cause. please mention it with a link on your Instagram, Facebook page (and link it), tweet it (with a link!), pin it (yes, with link) and finally just drag your friends over to look at the blog, haha. we’ll even give them a “knitter for a day badge” if they help out.
  6. join us for a fun red scarf KAL in our ravelry mothership—we promise a rollicking good time, plenty of support, and of course, neat-o prizes.

and with that, i’m going to sign off and go cast on for my big cowl while dinner heats up on the stove. thank you all so much in advance; let’s make 2016 our biggest year yet!


i know—too early, right?

anne wrote this late at night:


ok, i’m not ready for santa claus with all the trimmings including a couple dozen trees; actually i don’t think i’m ever ready for that, haha. i like plain and simple christmas style—oranges stuck with cloves, bunches of rosemary here and there lots of yarn and projects lying about, some baking—more frontier style than victorian. but during the museum trip at the end of our albany visit, we ran into him so i snapped a photo. and in the lobby, i bought six raffle tickets for five dollars and stuck them all in the container to win “death by chocolate”. hey, you never know . . .

the next day we were on our way home, where a very busy week and some treats awaited us. i managed to finish my herringweave cardigan before we left—in fact just the afternoon before i left. i did have time to soak and wash it, along with a few other garments and left all of those spread out to dry while we were in albany. i was, therefore, excited to get home and add the finishing touches.


i love the way the sweater turned out but it couldn’t be photographed without buttons, so that was one of the the first tasks on my to-do list.

i had a half dozen options, but right off the bat i knew that many of them wouldn’t work; either the color or the size wasn’t right. i liked two the left and middle above so i proceeded to photograph them laid out on the button band for assessment.


first the darkest black horn buttons; while i often do like a higher contrast button, i wasn’t crazy about that look for this sweater and i finally realized why—they compete too much with the cables, i think.


next i tried the smaller auburn bone buttons (middle photo above); while these were better in tone, they just felt a little blah to me, a little too plain. i didn’t have anything else in my button box that was better so i ran over to the shop to root through the button inventory—we have a few odd lots and sometimes there’s a treasure among them. i found a packet of caramel brown horn buttons (far right photo above) with a dulce de leche swirl—six in all—just the number i needed. fingers crossed, i ran back to the house to try them (because bringing the sweater with me would have made WAY too much sense).


success—i love these. they pick up on the golden tones in the yarn but also speak to the streaks of gray and the dollop of creamy accent on each one gives them some dimension without distracting from the cables.


and with that, my ensemble garments were complete as well as a couple of extra pieces to release early next year. five of the sweaters in this stack are ones that i knit, all of them completed since mid-august. the other two pieces, a skirt and a pullover, were knit by barb and cherie—who saved my skin by taking them on.


one of the other nice things about coming home from nearly a week away is opening the mail we missed; this time it was samples from vanessa for our november club projects—a pair of small sized mittens and the cowl that i added in at the last minute.

these stranded color work designs and the custom blackish-green colorway were inspired by the fall greens we used in our soup recipe for this installment—kale and broccoli raabe. the background shade of stone soup DK in granite, is like a wonderful artisan bread to dunk into the broth.


i got cooking as soon as i opened the package and put those knits into a bath to soak.


since the color work makes for a denser fabric, i rigged up my sleeve board to act as a support for better air circulation as it dried. it worked very handily, allowing the cowl to hang quite close to the hot air vent, where it dried nicely without creases. we will be photographing these tomorrow.

and all that kale in the photo above?


i finally got around to making kale chips with it. they were super easy to do (especially using the greens stripper we sent along as a club goodie) and we liked them ok, but thought they could be a lot more flavorful. next time i will try a stronger tasting oil (perhaps sesame oil?) and seasoning (with soy sauce or other asian condiments?).


another reason i was happy to be home? the food options are just better, haha. we had a huge week ahead of us and i wanted to cook up a few things so we wouldn’t have to cook at night while hannah was in town.


although it’s been pretty cold with many night below freezing, the garden is still putting out for us. the potatoes have been harvested for some time, but when i went out to pick greens, i also found a bunch of leeks i forgot that we’d planted and some onions that hadn’t been pulled. plenty of greens still available, too. i made a big pot of potato and corn chowder, YUM. i even roasted a head of garlic to add in.


that afternoon hannah arrived and we all dove into a two-day planning meeting for 2017. we also had our ensemble photo shoot scheduled for the weekend. in addition, she trained us on some social media tools so that we can use them better (and so i can use them at all, hehe).

hannah left on sunday and since then, i’ve been working on the next few projects on my list.

while i’m not relishing all the crazy pre-holiday bustle at this very moment, i’m still itching to get started on some fun, no pressure seasonal knitting—it’s time for our red scarf run-up to new year’s. we are going to make another scholarship, you guys!


our special lot of red festivus 3.0 yarn is on its way to us and while i wait, i’ve been swatching. i love this stitch pattern—it’s quick, fun to work and completely in the spirit of our annual knitalong. this swatch is unwashed but i knit one in several shades of kent DK (that’s our base this year)


and after a nice long soak in hot soapy water (which i won’t do with the dyed yarn; that needs cooler water), they smoothed and straightened out a good deal.


but not so much as to lose their depth or stitch definition—i love them.

the movement in this pattern is particularly festive and if our stars are crossed just right, will show off the yarn to its best advantage. because it has a special feature—that i won’t reveal just yet—which will accent those traveling stitches very nicely.


there’s just one tiny catch; because the YOs and decreases point in only one direction, this stitch pattern has a wee tendency to bias a bit to the left—not terrible though and i think it can be corrected by using blocking wires or by steaming well. at first i worried that it was a deal breaker for knitting a flat scarf (it’s a complete non-issue for the cowl version, since that’s circular anyway), but after working a good sized swatch and washing it, i think it will be ok. i tried reworking the pattern to stabilize it more, but could not come up with anything that helped. then i tried to find something else i like just as well and nothing really appealed to me.

the pattern is in tech editing now and i should have a nearly final version by wednesday (save for final yardages and measurements). as in previous years, we plan to release the pattern in this not-quite-final form so that we can all knit along together. because i love that aspect of this project; it’s my favorite thing about it! besides you know, the scholarship total at the end.

as in previous years, we will have patterns and yarn kits for sale to raise money for a knitspot scholarship to benefit our sponsored student through foster care for success. i’m writing up a separate post with all the information, current details, and background of this project so that it’s ready to go as soon as we have everything in place.

erica has been creating listings for patterns and yarn kits, including the drop down menu options we used last year so that knitters can add a donation to their purchase.

i’ll be back with a post devoted entirely to this topic as soon as it’s all put together; i can’t WAIT to share it all with you! but until then, maybe you’d enjoy some roasted garlic?


Black Friday Offerings

mister knitspot wrote this in the wee hours:



The return of Bare Naked Knitspot is here. Signup now for a discounted membership (previous members of a Knitspot Club, signup here), use coupon code: blackfriday2017, enter below zip code.

Many of you are familiar with BNK, but please allow a quick review. In the BNK Club we will explore and knit a range of animal and/or vegetable fibers (sheep, goat, camelids, yak, silk, and cotton are some possibilities) in undyed shades from cream to khaki to gray to chocolate. Experience the soft, lustrous, stout, and sturdy array of fibers from fascinating farm producers around the globe. Each package is a surprise; yarn weights and fibers will vary. On this trip we will turn the spotlight on lace shawl and scarf designs, making the most of each yarn’s unique character with fascinating stitch patterns and constructions.

One more thing, a 50% discount on all eBooks (excluding Lace Lessons). A great opportunity to acquire great patterns from previous Clubs. BNK eBooks are also a wonderful source of knowledge regarding yarn. Use coupon code: blackfriday2017 for discount.

gobble gobble

anne wrote this mid-afternoon:


well, it couldn’t last forever—after an absolutely balmy friday, with highs in the 70s, saturday dawned snowy and frosty with temperatures in the 20s and 30s. bummer.


but a good day to stay inside and do some preliminary prep for thanksgiving.


my assignment was to bring greens, a butternut squash side dish, and to help my mom get dinner on the table.


i also needed to bake for a neighborhood fundraiser, so i offered these gluten free oatmeal chocolate chips—and doubled the batch because this is david’s favorite cookie and i wanted to keep a few at home for him.


and i customized just a few for myself—i don’t like chocolate in my oatmeal cookies, but i love dried fruit.


while it was a challenge to keep the greens from freezing on their stalks over the weekend, with creative covers we managed to pull it off and on monday afternoon i picked a HUGE basket of kale, collards, and chard to bring on our trip. some for us and some for our cousins.


then early on tuesday morning, we were off, heading to albany from ohio, about an eight hour trip, depending on the weather. the skies were dramatically ominous but thankfully we did not run into “the big storm”—either it hit before we got to upstate NY or just after.


my travel knitting was a pleasantly mindless new project that i threw on the needles very late the night before (doesn’t everyone design a new sweater just as they are walking out the door??). if one thing has become clear over the last week, it’s that i am going to need some big, warm sweaters this year—i just cannot get warm, no matter what  i do. more on this as it develops.


yesterday we kind of relaxed, doing some last minute grocery errands, getting some exercise, and stopping in to drop off greens with my mom’s cousin and have a little visit.

then early to bed (for us) because i had to get up early


to participate in the 100th troy turkey trot to benefit the capital area food bank. what a crowd! over 7000 runners, most of them in the second race (i ran the 10K race, which was up first).


it was much more fun and less slippery than the last time i ran it two years ago, when it snowed fourteen inches the night before! i don’t know if you can see it but one guy ran with a full-sized turkey on his head!


i am always in awe of the volunteers at these cold weather events it’s great enough that people volunteer at races when the weather is nice but when it’s a windy 28 degrees?? that’a special. thank you to all who do this!!


now here’s something you don’t see at many running events—tailgaters! maybe because it’s thanksgiving, or maybe just because they do things differently in troy, there was a whole section on the outer couple of miles with grills and table set up for a sideline buffet. how awesome is that?


and then there were these guys, who were just tailgating bloody mary, haha. i told them they were getting blogged and i hope they were supposed to be doing last minute errands, haha.


i did pretty well, considering i did not train for this one and have not been running as much as i’m used to. but now that all the fall busy-ness is done, i should be able to get back to that (i like cold weather running).


as soon as we arrived back home we shifted gears and got our dinner underway. my mom ordered a precooked turkey so that just needed to brown in the oven for a few hours, but a bevy of vegetables dishes needed to be pulled together.


chard was sautéed, stuffing was baked, broccoli cooked.


during a short break in the cooking we set the table with my mom’s good china, which almost seventy years old and still gorgeous (and every piece intact).

i see mister knitspot is already sitting at the table as it fills up with dishes. time for me to go and enjoy our feast. a very happy thanksgiving to each of you and yours; stay warm, share happiness, and give thanks.

i know i am very grateful that you are in my life.