Posted on 10 CommentsPosted in designing, lace/shawls, projects

when i was packing to go away last weekend, i added two things at the last minute to my knitting bag that were not really on my work agenda, but which i thought i might need—a big sweater is not something you can whip out just anywhere, so it’s good to have some small or mindless work to take to the coffee shop or to do when chit-chatting with guests.

one of those projects was this gray garden shawlette that i started in february, but put aside for several reasons. first, i got busy and couldn’t keep it at the top of my knitting queue. and secondly, the gorgeous raft of otter fingering yarn from alisha goes around, is sadly not available at the moment—alisha has taken a leave of absence from work to attend to the birth of her newborn.

but it nagged at me; i love the yarn, which glows with rich, sexy inner light that would be a shame not to wear. and i like knitting this shawl—it’s a really good take along project, which does not belong in limbo. so i grabbed it and made room in my bag for it.

sure enough, between visiting with erica’s aunts and riding in the car, i got lots knit on it—in fact, i got all the way through the upper body and am now ready to start the hem section. about halfway complete.

on the car ride back to detroit on sunday, i was ready to work on something a little smaller and different than what i’d been doing all weekend. i decided to play with an idea i had for some cotton mitts, using this deep green, organic color-grown pakucho cotton lace yarn from ecobutterfly organics.

since i started wearing my plain jhaynes almost constantly at my desk, even in our warmer weather, i’ve been thinking that a cotton pair might be lovely, and maybe even useful when it gets very hot, for keeping my hands dry when i work.

so i started out with the idea that i’d use the stitch pattern from the hem of the may BNK club design and then work the body of the mitt in stockinette. this was extremely pretty, but not exactly what i wanted for my personal use. plus, it was a little too loose on the needles i had chosen. so i ripped it out and will reknit it a bit later in the vanilla or natural cotton, i think; it will make a nice gift for a bride.

now i’ve restarted with a smaller, horseshoe style lace that still results in a pretty, semi-sheer hem, but is not so frou-frou. something simple with a touch of sweetness, more to my liking for every day accessories. i’m not sure yet what the top hem will be; maybe just one repeat of the pattern to give a bit of an edge.

i was also in need of a very small project i could tuck into my purse, having finished the plain jhaynes i had going. this is a crucial project to keep topped up at all times—i find that between riding along, meetings, airports, and waiting for appointments, i get lots done on any knitting i can keep in my bag.

lace accessories are feather-light and have an amazing ability to be folded away in the tiniest of bags, like this small mia accessory bag from three bags full (if you don’t see what you want on the site today, michele is always happy to re-stock if anyone wants any; tall mias work well too.)

my little mia can hold several sets of DPNs and two small balls of lace yarn, enough for two projects at once, in case you get bored easily. now that’s a weekender solution almost any knitter will jump at. in fact, it’s coming along with me today to the orthodontist and over the weekend, to the wool fair.

erica and candy are arriving later today for a weekend visit; we are going to our annual fiber festival in wooster—the great lakes fiber show. if you live in the region and are looking for something fun to do for the holiday, you should come; it’s a great little show that the whole family will enjoy. and if you see us about, please do stop and say hi—we love visiting with friends at these events!

things are shaping up in holda

Posted on 23 CommentsPosted in designing, projects

over the weekend, i finally finished the second front piece for the sweater i’m designing with spirit trail holda, which meant i could then join the neckband and get a good look at how the whole thing hangs on the body. i know it’s rumpled, but try to imagine how a good blocking will smooth the fabric into a sleek elegance. the verdict?

i love it.
i’m very pleased with both the shape and the fit. it’s not pinned anywhere and even without the support of the back piece for balance, it hangs well. the slope of the neck is right where i want it to be

not too high or too low. and the armhole depth is good—generous enough for the unconstructed shape, but not so deep that it looks like a sack. for me, it strikes just the right balance between bathrobe and jacket—it should be comfy and look great at home or on the street.

the front band, which is incorporated right into the body construction, extends past the point of the shoulder bindoff to wrap around to back, where it is first grafted, then sewn to the neck edge, forming a collar at the same time.

the wide rib pattern helps it to pleat and fold prettily to conform to the body contours. i like this feature in particular.

i feel confident to write up the pattern, now that the more involved parts are complete and to my liking. it will be a work in progress for a while yet, but the major questions are answered at this point and i can get the ball rolling.

the large back piece is already underway; i’ve actually gotten a little more done on it since this photo was snapped the other day. i did lose my cable needle somewhere this weekend—it must have dropped when i was pulling pieces out of the bag. i’ll need to remember to pick up another of my favorite brand next time i’m in a yarn shop . . .
(i’m hopeless at cabling without a needle and part of my apathy about it is that i actually like using the third stick. plus, it’s WAY faster for me. not saying you have to agree, just explaining before i get a flood of suggestions to try it. believe me, i have and it’s really not for me.)

this will be a good project to work on over the weekend while i have company and when i travel next weekend to my teaching gig in NYC/NJ. i may even get the back done before i go, so that all i have to take along are the sleeves. wouldn’t that be nice?

healthy sprouts

Posted on 7 CommentsPosted in designing, food and garden, lace/shawls, projects

yesterday i took a look in the garden and saw that almost all the root vegetables we planted last weekend had sprouted already—yay.

we’ve got potatoes coming up in two long rows and surprisingly great germination in the carrot rows as well

considering how dry it’s been and how much damp they need to get going. i’ll have to do some vigorous thinning next week. no sign yet of parsnips, but perhaps they are just slow (fingers crossed). i do have an extra supply in case the first ones don’t come up.

even the spinach germinated well—wonder of wonders—i’ve never any luck at all growing spinach, but maybe this is my year. these sprouts look very strong.

so what we do have in the ground is doing well. however, i still haven’t planted the majority of my vegetables. my travel this month has not been in very good sync with the biodynamic planting calendar and i’m a little bummed; the time i have at home has not been on planting days for fruits or leaf crops (which is what i have left to go in the ground). this last weekend was ideal for those in, but i wasn’t here and this whole week planting of any kind is contraindicated on most days. hmmm. it’s looking like i’ll have to wait til sunday or monday to do anything. maybe i can sow seeds now and save the transplanting for the right days . . .

now, all that garden talk doesn’t mean in don’t have knitting . . . yes, you read that right—finally, i have something to show for all my closet knitting time. so much in fact, that i’m going to spread it out over a few days so as not to send us reeling from the shock.

i mentioned this baby jacket the other day in the post about erica’s shower; i knit it during my trip to san diego. so kim and beckie and sam and kade (and my knitting students at home) knew all about it, but it we all kept it secret from everyone else, even erica’s mom, who knit the little hat from the BNK club’s february bonus pattern.

she enjoyed knitting the sky ladder blanket, hat, and wrap so much that i was afraid she’d beat me to the punch and dream up her own sweater pattern, too.

if you haven’t seen the february patterns, which were designed for the mountain meadow wool cody sport yarn we shipped that month, here is a peek, modeled for us by my friend debby’s daughter, hannah and her grandson, graham.

(ps: these patterns are exclusive to our barenaked club until next february, BUT you can still join as a pattern-only member by purchasing the eBook option in the club shop. you will receive all the patterns included in the BNK club, plus a beautiful portfolio of designer notes, fiber research, and photographs.)

erica’s mom, candy, knit all three pieces for her shower gift—the baby blanket, the hat, and a wrap for erica to wear to the christening, which will be in the fall.

she really rocked the set and she deserves a big hand—it’s splendiferous, candy!

anyway, i really like the way the sweater turned out and erica likes it too. i think she’s going to use it for the christening, along with the blanket. we decided it does need some booties or leggings to go with it though, so i’ll probably work on that . . .

the sweater pattern is forthcoming, but i need some time—i have all my sketches and prototype pattern organized, but none of it is in a state which i can submit to tana for tech editing and sizing—yet. i am terribly backlogged on pattern work at this point . . . i’m doing my best, but don’t lose sleep waiting up for me.


showered with joy

Posted on 16 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events, projects

this weekend was whirlwind of travel and meeting new people as a large group of friends and relatives gathered in kalamazoo to throw a shower for erica and baby knitspot.

after a busy day on thursday, i packed the car and as i pulled out the driveway, i saw a happy sendoff—our poppies were all in bloom, a full bed of them.

i got to erica’s house in record time, we had dinner and a short day of work on friday, then set out in the afternoon for her parent’s home in kalamozoo for the weekend’s festivities.

we shared a nice meal and an evening of chatting and getting to know erica’s family and then saturday morning, bright and early, the house began to prepare for the party.

candy masterminded all the kitchen activity, pulling together a week’s worth of preparation to produce, as if by magic, an entire buffet of delicious yummies.

erica was assigned the task of creating the appetizer tower from a colorful array of cheeses, veggies, and fruits—mmm, pretty!

buddy served as her assistant, keeping the rug clean and generally making sure we all had something to do. i just did whatever anyone needed me to do and snuck around taking pictures when i wasn’t busy.

even before any guests arrived, there was a big pile of gifts

and boxes that came in the mail.

even with all the planning, we still experienced a flurry of excitement when the guests arrived and the camera was forgotten for a short time.

then the fun began, everyone lining up to sample the goodies on the buffet and find a spot to eat and socialize.

it was a beautiful lunch—the baby was kicking with approval

it was truly a happy, special day and everyone felt the love.

next it was time to open gifts; there were a few children helping to celebrate, so they volunteered to traffic presents from the gift table to erica to be opened.

once again buddy was at the ready to help—patrick was fascinated from afar and very much wanted to pet the dog. candy introduced them

the ball got rolling with gifts from the little ones, who were beside themselves with excitement to watch erica open presents

it was obvious form the contents of their packages that their moms had consulted them on what to give—many of their own favorites were among the treasures.

they were very excited to explain the significance of each one. once their gifts were unwrapped and passed around, they went off to throw toys down the laundry chute and play with erica’s dad.

then the parade of gifts got serious—erica has a large number of aunts and cousins, many of whom were present or sent gifts, many, many of them handmade.

this very special hankie bonnet from aunt kathleen was a gift that erica herself wore to her christening, then carried through her wedding, and now has been re-sewn for the new baby to wear.

of course we all cried a bit over that one.

from afar, a dear friend who couldn’t be there sent a gorgeous peter rabbit quilt to go with the theme of the nursery.

our good friend carrie, who couldn’t be there either, sent some sweet hand knit caps, as well as little soft clothing and toys to go with them.

and just look at this adorable fella—a completely hand-sewn, lop-eared rabbit, deliciously soft, in a custom-tailored jacket.

there were funny cute gifts too—this one was a particular have.

then it was time for grandma’s gift and we passed the kleenex box around

candy knit a stunning sky ladder baby blanket from her first bareneaked club kit

not only that . . .

she knit the matching wrap for mama to wear to the christening . . . AND a tiny matching hat for baby baron—aawwww!

my present came next—no one had any idea what i was planning but it sorta goes along with candy’s; can you guess what it might be??

a little christening jacket, one of my recent secret projects. i knit it during our visit with kim in california a couple of weeks back. it was a LOT of fun to plan and knit behind her back, lemme tell you.

and then, just to be sure she had something nice to pack those lovely handmaids into, david and i are giving erica a custom made diaper bag, made by our friend sherina, who owns sweet baby funk.

all in all it was a lovely party and it was so much fun for me to be welcomed into erica’s family and take part in such an important even in her life. i feel so honored to have been asked to take part.

before we left the next day, erica’s dad took some nice photos of the three of us together with our gifts.

then we loaded the car up and headed back to detroit

buddy was ready.

there was much more knitting but i’m going to hold off and show you that another day—already it’s 9:30 on monday morning and i need to get on the road home myself, so that i’m all settled in time for class today.

see ya next time!