three haps

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in Bare Naked Wools, designing, lace/shawls, patterns, spinning and fiber

in april, just as the first bright greens of spring were emerging, we released three hap designs in our bare naked knitspot club to be knit in elemental affects shetland wool.

and it is with great pleasure that i’m now able to offer these pattern for general release—they were very popular with our clubbies and many people outside the club have been asking when they could start knitting them too.

from top to bottom above, we have the bold and sassy jack tar triangle, followed by the muirburn triangle, and then by the eshaness scarf/stole. each pattern includes instructions for two sizes and four colors, but both are easily adjusted to suit your taste for more or less color changes and bigger or smaller final size.

our friend kathy recently knit this pretty sample in four shades of our tweedy stone soup fingering yarn; it’s so light and airy, but also rustic and cozy to wear; i love it.

the yarn is light and soft, the fabric will flutter prettily in the breeze. it also handles the light just beautifully, filling up with a glow at the merest hint of sun.

muirburn and eshaness are designed using the same stitch patterns and colors, but make use of the shetland shades in different ways. the effect in each design is soft and subtle, with the yarn reflecting the landscape of the scottish heather moors.

jack tar is designed to show off the intensity of the natural shetland colors, which range from deepest black to white—twenty-one natural shades in all to accent the bold sailor’s stripes along the hem.

which one of these designs reflects your personality?

i think the intense discussion over the answers to this question made this installment the most fun for our clubbies.

shown here are the petite size shawls and the scarf version of the rectangular piece. this small size can be made with about five ounces of wool, using something light and airy.

the stiffness and luminosity of this natural shetland or our stone soup fingering yarn is just perfect; the yarn helps the light openwork keep its blocked shape and luminous appearance where something more springy would weigh the fabric down. i imagine they would be stunning in our chebris lace mohair blend as well for the same reasons.

the simple stitches just fly off the needles in these easy to work yarns—the perfect fast knit to consider for a special holiday gift. take a look at our clubbies’ project pages for expanded color ideas and notes.

to view and purchase pattern only, please click here, here, or here for ravelry purchase and click here, here, or here for knitspot pattern shop purchase.

homeward bound

Posted on 15 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, designing, food and garden, home and family

with the fun and excitement of rhinebeck put to bed til next year, i’ve taken a few days to stop off and spend some time with my mom in upstate new york. the foliage here is turning rapidly now, reminding me of how quickly we are moving toward winter—how can that be already?

it seems like just last week that i was frantically trying to figure out what to do with the five pounds of green beans i was picking each time i went into the garden, hehe.

our summer was almost mind-numbingly busy, with out of town sheep and wool events, teaching events, an incredibly productive garden, and our new family member to teach and share experiences with.

but in between the watering and harvesting, the truck packing and car travel, we squeezed in a wonderful evening walk each day, shared dinners around the table together, made new friends in our community, and at the end of each long day, a bit of cozy knitting time.

you really can’t ask more than that from one short summer, can you?

as for knitting, you would think i’d gotten nothing done, considering how few times i blogged about it, but a lot of stealth knitting was accomplished.

in addition to these shawl/scarf designs for the the bare naked knitspot club, i started and finished a second sample of my new birches cardigan design in lightweight cabécou brillant sport.

omg, it is SO light and fluffy; the depth in this yarn is spectacular in person, too—i used the sel gris shade, which is a warm gray with gold tones added by the unbleached tussah silk; so rich and pretty. ellen wore it this past weekend at a couple of our rhinebeck events and it looked stunning on her—much better than on me!

the early fall was filled with activity around knitspot central; i had a couple of weekend teaching dates that were exciting and invigorating—i love spending time with students who are expanding their skills and exploring new horizons in knitting. we were also part of our regional yarn shop crawl, a three-week event during which we hosted hundreds of knitters at our brick and mortar shop in canton, ohio.

in between knitting events and designing, it was a mad scurry to harvest and put up the abundance of the good things that our garden produced this year.

we had a crazy big tomato season that yielded thousands of cherry tomatoes and hundreds upon hundreds of full-sized heirlooms as well. every surface of our kitchen and dining area featured a red, green, and yellow landscape.

we did a lot of creative shifting around as they ripened for roasting, drying, and freezing. all of our neighbors and acquaintances benefitted from the harvest in our small garden space.

believe me, more than once my eye went to cardigan’s little paws, wondering if i could teach her to peel and chop. somehow, i don’t think she’d appreciate being pressed into kitchen service . . .

she’s more interested in outdoor “work”—good company in garden during those early morning hours, following me from one area to another to snooze nearby while i picked beans or tomatoes.

we had a spectacular garlic harvest in july, netting just under a hundred large heads. we culled out the biggest ones for planting next year’s crop and david put those cloves into the ground earlier this month—our 2018 garden is already underway!

our greens were plentiful and delicious as well, but we didn’t have time to harvest as much for summer eating as i would have liked. we shared a lot as they grew, but the good thing about greens is that they just keep chugging along til i had a window to cut a big batch for freezing. i’m relieved that i did because these are my favorite.

in the middle of the fall flurry, david’s birthday kicked off the month of october and we celebrated by having a make-your-own pizza night for just the three of us. the sauce naturally was made from fresh roasted tomatoes and garlic; toppings included fresh zucchini, mushrooms, peppers, and more.

the pizzas were followed by big slices of chocolate fudge cake, yum-mo. it’s my go-to recipe, adjusted to be gluten free; still the best one yet!

in addition to tomatoes and green beans, we had beautiful eggplant and peppers, which i cooked into big pots of stews and such to freeze for winter. now we are harvesting the root vegetables and were pleasantly surprised at how many beets, potatoes, and rutabagas we have. this is the first year we’ve had really good sweet potatoes and the timing couldn’t be better—they are one of cardigan’s favorite foods, along with green beans.

i picked  a few baby parsnips to thin the row for now; the rest will stay in the ground til after the frost, along with the rutabagas and beets for further flavor development.

there’s nothing like that first pan of freshly dug roast potatoes—yum, YUM!

i have to say though, much as i enjoy it all, i’m glad the garden is winding down and there will be more time for knitting.

although who knows—mother nature may have another plan for my “free time”. a couple of weeks ago when i was picking some of the last tomatoes, through the dying vines i spied this small grove of new plants, growing in our compost pile. apparently, the bad tomatoes i’d been throwing on top had sprouted, self fertilized, and grown there. i have no idea which ones are which, but it’s likely we may see fruit from them if this temperate weather holds out; the compost is warm and will make a friendly environment for an extended growing area . . .

between club designs and sample knits, i squeezed in a small personal project—a new pair of lacunae fingerless mitts for me, to replace my beloved original pair knit in briar rose fibers fourth of july yarn. i lost one at the end of the spring while i was walking cardigan.

i’d been meaning to knit a new pair anyway so it was probably for the best. i love this design because the stretchy cross-stitch has a nice firm grip that doesn’t lose its shape. the yarn is really hardwearing as well; the original pair never pilled at all and still looked great after years of constant use.

i finished them up during our rhinebeck weekend, weaving in the last ends on our last night in the rental house, yay! they are a bit wrinkled from being squished in my project bag, but they’ll look much better once i have a chance to wash and block them.

and i have so much yarn left over that i think i’ll knit the matching cap—i gave the original one away on a whim and have always missed it, since it fit me very well (it’s not easy finding the perfect hat for my little pea-head).

speaking of rhinebeck, what a whirlwind weekend it was, fun, fabulous, and all too fast. our dear friend kimkimkim was in town to attend the show and spend the weekend with ellen and i. as usual we had a lot of fun catching up, though we also worked hard.

with a booth at the indie untangled event on friday evening and our own popup shop on sunday afternoon, we needed to cram most of our fair-going time into saturday. this was ellen’s first rhinebeck and if you’ve ever been, you know how that is—completely mind boggling, haha. but fun and wonderful, too.

the day started out cool and breezy, turning unseasonably warm and sunny in the afternoon. the crowds were epic, swallowing up our friends within moments. every time i look at this photo i think of “where’s waldo??”—ellen was right in front of me but can you spot kim in the crowd?

we definitely made the most of our show-time hours, beginning with a trip to the animal barns to visit the sheep and goats. this handsome creature was getting a final clip and trim before entering the show ring and being so patient about it, too.

this adorable fella should look familiar—it’s one of the goats from the farm that produces the mohair for our chebris and cabécou brillant yarn lines!

after visiting the animals, it was time for shopping and people watching; everyone’s favorite part of the show. i am on a strict budget this year so i concentrated on the latter mostly, but still stocked up on my favorite shepherd’s friend hand cream from maggie’s farm and treated myself to a mug from stacey stanhope pottery.

i wasn’t going to buy a mug at all and i certainly don’t need another, but i saw the composition on this one and caved—i just love her work too much to walk away. i look at it as a piece of art and i know i’ll spend more time than i’d ever admit just turning it round and round, enchanted by the motifs. (and i hear tell that some day soon, the cake plate i’m patiently awaiting will be a reality, too. no worries—good things take time and i can be VERY patient.) we even talked about working a silhouette of cardigan into a small piece in the near future—sign me up!

after that it really was time for people watching ONLY and of course there is more than enough of that at the show to satisfy a knitter’s appetite for fun, fresh ideas.

i couldn’t believe it when i was walking back from a trip to the car and ran into becky, who had written me several times in the previous week about a special yarn order. she mentioned casually that she had knit a dress from our hempshaugh fingering yarn that had fair isle hem and yoke and i was intrigued. so i was doubly glad that she was wearing it when i saw her! while i couldn’t really envision it as described in writing, it was very pretty in person and the hemshaugh yarn worked well with the wool she used for the stranded sections. i love the millet shade, which is slightly butter colored, with the grays. so creative and the lighter fabric makes the dress much more wearable year-round.

i confess that i don’t always remember to bring out the camera when i run into friends, but i did remember to get a selfie with eric lutz who is lots of fun and has a great podcast on youTube that you should check out.

our own retail events were hectic and fun—so much so that i did not get photos at either (i know, bad ME!). in my defense, my phone serves as our internet connection during these events so it’s not really handy to unhook it to take pictures.

so after a truly busy weekend filled with people and yarn fumes, we all headed out on monday morning in different directions. ellen drove to ohio with the yarn truck and i drove kim to albany to catch her plane, then landed myself at my mom’s for a few days.

i’ve been helping her with some fall cleaning chores and reorganizing; we’ve made real progress in her kitchen where she spends a lot of time. there were too many items out of her reach and too many unnecessary items in her way, so we weeded out her cabinets and placed everything in reach with more space around them; it’s much more workable now. we also got her holiday lights up and now she just has to plug them in to turn them on when the time is right.

meanwhile, i had an assignment from friends at home to complete—securing my mom’s christmas cookie recipes in order to share them. luckily, while i was cleaning out cabinets, i came across a whole folder in which she keeps them separated and a treasure trove it was.

i spent several hours the other night, scanning the ones she’s made the most often over the years—which is still over ninety recipes with a  few cakes and breads thrown in. of course she didn’t ever make that many all in one year, but tried new ones and got rid of old ones after a while—sometimes bringing those ones back when enough time passed—adding to her portfolio for over sixty years.  it’ll be fun to organize them into one place and give a copy to each of my siblings and friends. i have to decide on the best way to go about it, so i’m not sure that will happen for THIS christmas, but if not, maybe next.

there hasn’t been a ton of knitting time, but i’ve snuck in a few hours over the last few days on secret projects, as well as this tiny start to a new gift project. you won’t see much of this one, but fingers crossed it’ll be done for christmas. i have just a few other gifts on my knitting list—all small stuff that i think i can get done for the most special people in my life—stay tuned.

tomorrow i head home to my little family and i can’t WAIT to see david and cardigan. i snapped this impromptu photo just a day or two before i left home while she napped near the foot of my desk; isn’t she pretty here? i know david has been taking good care of our girl and bonding nicely in my absence. he’s been posting great photos of their walks on our photo stream so i can stay in touch.

i’ll be thinking of them all the way home and that will make the time fly by i hope! i’m sure i’ll have a bunch of new little stories to share before long; the cuteness never ends when you live with a furry little friend. see you in a few days . . .

field and shore

Posted on 3 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, designing, patterns

back in the winter, when i published my dock and cabin cardigan pattern, my good friend nancy said that she wanted a blanket pattern with all the same textures. funny thing was, i already had it in the works!

several months before i had swatched the patterns in our stone soup DK yarn and the result was deliciously smooshy and inviting. i liked my first swatch SO much that i did one in a second shade. i put together a quick pattern, thinking that we could squeeze it into the winter ensemble collection and our friend amina agreed to knit the sample, saying “blanket knitting is my happy place right now!”

in no time at all, we had this gorgeous blanket back in our hands and were snuggling up with it. but by then, we had decided to save it for fall and our october focus on bare naked wools stone soup yarns.

you can imagine my impatience at having to wait so long to release a newly completed pattern, but wow, the time has flown by! here it is, the week before rhinebeck and the perfect time to get a blanket on the needles. field and shore knits up so quickly, it could even make your holiday gift list. the lap size blanket (shown here) is big enough to satisfy for TV watching and knitting, but small enough to be a very quick knit.

the waiting period gave me a chance to make a little youTube tutorial for the twisted rib cable used in the design. i’ve incorporated this cable into several other designs and some knitters find it confusing to learn from the written instructions—better to see it live, so we’ve arranged that for you here.

this is a great piece to toss over your favorite chair or to keep on hand for enjoying those last mild evenings on the porch or deck (or boat). and what baby wouldn’t feel handsome as all get-out sporting THIS blanket over his or her stroller or crib? it’s sturdy, go-anywhere design for that special little cuddle bear.

and the pattern includes several sizes, should you want something larger for a sofa or bed. Not to mention the wrap option—a lovely rectangle long enough to swaddle your upper body but keep the rest of you comfortable for driving.

can’t you just feel the depth? trust me it is all that and more . . . our stone soup blend is a velvety combination of four heritage wools—rambouillet merino from montana, churro, lincoln, and columbia wool—with some alpaca and a smattering of luxury fiber like silk, bison, and tencel to add those tweedy neps. it knits and washes to a flannelly soft surface that gets better and better over time. there’s no wonder that stone soup blend my favorite of all our yarns (don’t tell the other yarns i said that!).

but of course it will work with all of our other DK options as well and would be particularly handsome in our festivus 4.0, with a needle change up for the worsted weight (maybe US9 and 10) or down for the sport weight (US7 and 8).

shown here, the small blanket in stone soup DK, color slate

david has put together kits in stone soup DK, Better Breakfast DK, Kent DK, and Ghillie DK; click here to shop the kit listing.

to view and purchase pattern only, please click here for ravelry purchase and click here for knitspot pattern shop purchase.

thank you ever so much to our dear friend amina, for knitting this spectacular sample. if you’ll be at rhinebeck next weekend, please stop by our booth at indie untangled or our popup shop on sunday at the courtyard marriott in kingston to fondle this lovely blanket in person.

the true meaning of festivus

Posted on 7 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, designing, patterns, yarn and dyeing

hello friends! i’m so excited to be back in my blogging chair and writing about one of my favorite knitspot projects—our annual red scarf scholarship fundraiser. funding our scholarship has become a warm and inspiring tradition in our community, one that knits us together across the miles. i feel like it commemorates the fast and solid friendships we’ve nurtured through our years of knitting, chatting, clubbing, confessing, and laughing together here at the knitspot. it’s our chance to share the good fortune and support we’ve enjoyed, passing it on to an aspiring young person who is becoming a success on their own.

plus, it involves RED YARN—what’s not to love?

for those who are new to this, let’s start with the specifics. our scholarship is offered each year to one student (studying in a field related to our industry whenever possibly) participating in the foster care to success (FC2S) program for kids who have aged out of the foster care system and who aspire to continue their education. the fund provides and administers scholarships, life guidance, and help with handling the challenges of higher education.

this is jelissa roberts, our current scholarship recipient. she’s is a fashion business major at FIT in NYC and will graduate in may, thanks to her scholarship.

the red scarf fund was created through the knitting community to support FC2S students with emergency money for costs not covered by tuition and scholarships; the red scarf project is a way for knitters to contribute warming gifts and care packages to hardworking students as a special valentine’s treat.

the knitspot scholarship has its origins in the red scarf project—as i participated each year, i had the idea to publish a pattern to raise money for the care package postage fund. this effort grew and became SO popular, that within a few years, it was earning enough to fund a separate knitspot community scholarship. you can see all of our red scarf patterns, past and present in our online shop.

this year, in an effort to exceed all previous funding efforts, we are ginning up the fun factor with yet another new twist—MORE DESIGNERS AND PATTERNS! i am very please to announce that THIS year i am joined by the talented and generous Kerri Blumer, Kate Atherley, and Mary O’Shea in bringing you some red letter pattern choices for the holiday season. we’ve put together a crackerjack portfolio of people pleasing textures and color for quick, fun, last-minute gift knits as well as those to invest with love. the entire price of each and every pattern with be placed in the scholarship fund.

the first patterns are this gorgeous andiron scarf and andiron cowl designed by kerri blumer—read on for more purchasing details and kit options!

a few years ago, we started offering a special red yarn to go with the annual scarf design, for which we also donate a percentage. we call it festivus and it’s offered as a one-time, seasonal batch that is not repeated; when it’s gone it’s gone! what began as a mill accident has evolved into a MUCH anticipated competitive dash to acquire at least one skein—festivus usually disappears quickly, never to be seen again.

our 2017 festivus 4.0 yarn is dyed on our new patchwork gradient base by the very popular julie asselin, in her custom-for-us cranberry crush colorway. available in both festivus 4.0 worsted and festivus 4.0 sport weights, this cushy 2-ply yarn, is spun in 100 percent merino from varying shades of natural wool, which produces a slow-fade gradient fabric and subtle striping. the shading in each skein is completely random; every one is a unique work of art. this year’s yarn reminds me of red glass tree ornaments; they catch the light in such a variety of shades.

festivus 4.0 on patchwork gradient

we are making all the festivus that we ordered available NOW; we know everyone looks forward to getting some as soon as it it’s available. we’ll keep the fun going by offering the patterns on a continual rollout—every week or two another option will be presented to keep your fingers happily working in that gorgeous festivus yarn.

let’s get back to that beautiful andiron scarf and andiron cowl, designed by kerri blumer in Festivus 4.0 worsted

this is a nice, long scarf as shown, but as with any scarf the length is up to you and easily adjusted. the pattern is a soothing repetition of knit/purl texture, bordered by a simple cable at the edges.

its horizontal orientation makes the most of the slow-fade gradient yarn, resulting in subtle color transitions, even in a narrow piece. a super-squishy muffler for the coldest winter days and sure to be appealing to women and men alike.

to view more information or purchase a scarf pattern, please click here for our store listing, where you can also choose to add a donation using the pulldown menu; we will be happy to add it to your ravelry library afterward if you request it.
OR click here to purchase on ravelry (no extra donation option).

and we have kits all made up for you in festivus 4.0 merino 2-ply gradient. the kit includes the yarn and pattern, plus you may add a donation if you choose. a percentage of the yarn price PLUS the entire pattern price (and donation) will be added to the scholarship fund.

the andiron cowl has the same handsome texture as the scarf. here, the cable feature along the edge takes on the appearance of a ribbon edging.

the edging has a split at on side to encourage just the right amount of slouchiness and drape—it covers the open lapel of a coat, but stands tall to shield your face from the wind if needed.

to view more information or purchase a cowl pattern, please click here for our store listing, where you can also choose to add a donation using the pulldown menu; we will be happy to add it to your ravelry library afterward if you request it.
OR click here to purchase on ravelry (no extra donation option).

we also have cowl kits all made up for you in festivus 4.0 merino 2-ply gradient. the kit includes the yarn and pattern, plus you may add a donation if you choose. a percentage of the yarn price PLUS the entire pattern price (and donation) will be added to the scholarship fund.

i would like to thank kerri so very much for designing these pieces for the scholarship fundraiser; she’s just awesome and she has lots of beautiful designs to share—be sure to check out her ravelry shop.

want a lil peek at some of what we have in store for you from our other designer contributors?

lots of clever detail, schmooshy texture, and FUN to come!

now, let’s talk about goals . . . last year we set a goal of $5000 but unfortunately did not meet it, falling rather short. i would love, love, LOVE to make it up this year and top the charts with the best fundraiser ever.

let’s try to exceed last year’s goal of $5000—can we get to $6000 this year??

to do that, we need to sell all the yarn and tons of pattern too—want to be part of it? you can help out in several ways:

  1. purchase a scarf pattern or cowl pattern and/or add an extra donation on our website—use the pulldown menu to increase your gift and we will donate the entire pattern price PLUS that extra amount. 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 retail pattern price will go into the scholarship fund.
  3. purchase a nifty scarf or cowl kit which includes the pattern PLUS enough special edition festivus 4.0, to knit a scarf or cowl. we will add 5% of your yarn purchase price to the fund.
  4. buy one or more skeins of festivus 4.0 for any project and we will add 5% 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 $6 or $7 (or more!!) at this wonderful cause. please mention it with a link and hashtag 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.

cardigan is a HUGE fan of this fundraising project by the way—as a former street dog, she knows all too well how tough it is out there on one’s own. you have to have to be smart and have guardian angels or be incredibly charming to snag a good gig. so she’s completely on board with what we’re doing.

hmmm, red or natural?? cardigan has been sniffing to decide which she prefers, but it’s a tough decision; she might have to knit a project in each one.

and with that, i’m going to sign off and go work on my own design contribution to the cause—secret for now, but i think you’ll like it.

oh, i guess cardigan decided she likes ALL the yarn and wants to keep it. she’s swatching now to figure out which to knit with first . . . and after that, scarf or cowl? or maybe she needs a blanket more.

thank you all so much in advance; let’s make 2017 our biggest year yet!