such a crime

Posted on 13 CommentsPosted in designing, projects, yarn and dyeing

like all the things i am getting started late on, the traditional december red scarf is behind schedule. but fear not—there will be one.

the yarn i’ve pulled is this delicious vampire red 8-ply merino sport from skeinny dipping, appropriately named crime scene. yum. christine is still  dyeing this colorway, but tells me she is now working with a different sport yarn base, so we put our heads together and decided to switch out the sport weight for worsted weight. she’s dyeing the yarn today (or maybe yesterday) and i should have it shortly.

and as it turns out, i may not end up as far behind “schedule” on this as i imagined—i dove into the archives to see when exactly i did start last year’s red scarf and it looks like it was november 28, 2011, because i blogged about it on the 29th. ok, so i guess i’m not behind??

hahaha, can you tell i’ve made a life of working right up against the deadline?

the actual drive to collect scarves may be over for this year by the time i finish it, BUT the main point of this project is to create a scarf pattern from which we can dedicate december sales proceeds to foster care to success, under which the red scarf project operates. last year, we raised enough to form a $2500 scholarship—go blog!

it’d be a crime if we didn’t match that effort this year.

another crime—not finishing up this adorable sticks and stones baby sweater, knit up in briar rose nate’s sock yarn.

it’s been sitting in the project bag for a month, ever since i left rhinebeck. i didn’t take it to NYC because i needed to trim down my baggage. and then one thing led to another once i got home, so here it lies, needing neck trim and front bands. that’s it—it’ll be finished once i put those on and sew up the underarm seams.

basically, this little guy is my swatch—it was small enough to knit very quickly with one big skein of yarn and yet had all the parts i needed to make sure the adult sweater design would translate well and the shaping would work.

now it’s time to make a couple of bigger ones and silly me, i think i can do it by christmas. haha. in fact, if i could knit them before we leave for las vegas on december 18th, that would be ideal, since we are going there to visit the recipients and it would be best to have them done and dusted when we get there.

i’ve got two batches of chris’s new yarn, which is the same weight and texture as the nate’s sock yarn, but with 10% mohair added, giving it a soft sheen and nice hand, but not enough to make it fuzzy or prickly. the coppery colorway above is for micah’s smaller sweater and i have a big batch of blue as well

which is amad’s favorite (i can’t believe amad is big enough to need a sweater that takes one and a half of these giant skeins!). he’s gonna flip when he sees this color—blue is his absolute favorite.

chris isn’t listing this yarn yet on her site (and it may end up as simply an experiment), but nate’s sock is interchangeable with it and chris has lots of that to choose from.

i finished up the knitting on my bloch ness cardigan two nights ago, so i am ready to start knitting the boys’ sweaters. i think i’ll go wind my yarn now; i’ll be back monday with updates on all the christmas projects now in play.

til then, happy knitting!

fits and starts

Posted on 17 CommentsPosted in designing, projects, yarn and dyeing

that ina garten, she sure writes a good apple crisp recipe, mm-mmm. especially the apple part, though i do think i like my friend chris’s recipe better for the topping. next time, i might marry the two and see.

so now that we’re settled with our apple crisp, let’s get down to the business of what yarns i’m playing with and what’s on the needles. cuz there’s a LOT to see right now and i’m not even going to get into the three secret projects i’ve got going. i gotta tell, you, this staying home stuff is really good for my productivity  . . .

i am honing in on a finished bloch ness cardigan—i’m so close i can taste it. this is my pile of sweater parts on monday, when i had just begun work on the last front piece. don’t they look luscious? the polwarth silk from indigodragonfly just gets better and better; i can’t wait to actually wear it.

this morning, my front piece is just about ready for the armhole bindoff

sweater knitting goes so fast when i actually stay home to work on it!

but i’m especially motivated to have this one off the needles; in recent months it’s become increasingly clear that for now, cardigans are the only practical sweater option; all my pullovers are migrating to the back of the drawer until my climate control issues even out. but i miss the variety of choices i’ve grown used to, so the minute this sweater is done it will go directly into circulation. and a good green sweater will be so useful for my wardrobe. yay.

also, i want to get this done before i become absolutely swamped with holiday knitting (the fact that i don’t think i’m there yet should indicate how much of a crisis this could turn out to be).

i’ve been working on it late at night, when we settle in to watch TV for an hour or two; that’s the time when i knit on something fairly mindless until i can’t keep my eyes open any longer. when david has a project going, he works on it then, too; that way, i’m nearby in case he blunders.

as you know from his post-thanksgiving essay, he’s working on a washrag—isn’t his knitting nice? he got pretty far with it on thanksgiving day, nearly to the widest point. but last night when he took it out, he thought the fabric seemed too loose (he’s picking that up from us!). so—and i’m so proud of him for this—he ripped the whole thing out and started over. it’s only his third knitting project, so i especially admire his willingness to redo work he isn’t crazy about.

the yarn he’s using has been in my stash quite a while; it’s a linen blend gifted to me by rosi g, specifically for knitting washrags. the linen content makes it very hardwearing. i used one skein and kept the other back; now david is enjoying it.

i think he’s going to make a little series out of these; he enjoyed working in a pattern when he knit an afghan square for kat j recently and wanted to try using more patterns in washcloth squares. and well, we’ve got plenty of resources he can mine for this venture . . .

i’ve started several new projects, some of them secret, but one that is NOT secret and that i’m super excited about is a new cowl/infinity scarf project in two delicious yarns. cuz really? there’s no point in putting something near your neck if it isn’t luscious. it is also stupid quick and easy to knit; my favorite kind at this time of the year.

ok, here’s the swatch front—i love how it scrunches up all by itself

i also love that it looks equally sexy on the back side

great texture contrast for the loops of that infinity scarf (or for putting either piece on in the dark).

(WHY did i say that, because we get dressed in the dark so often???)

i’m knitting the infinity version in this awesome red holda, from spirit trail fiberworks. the colorway is named sorbet and it’s a red i just adore; i think of it as the color of faded red sneakers, but you could say it’s kind of a watermelon color (it’s less orangey in real life than it looks here; i’ll try to get a better photo as the project progresses.)

i’ve cast on the shorter cowl version in a different scrumptious yarn from shalimar yarns called haven. it’s a 5-ply merino/silk blend that has a similar hand to the holda yarn—drapey but plush, with great body.

i’m knitting with the silver sage colorway here; it has subtle gray-green tones which i find entrancing. and shalimar has a wide array of additional color options. the haven is just a tad thicker than the holda, so i went up one needle size and the fabric seems perfect (though i can expect the result to exceed the garment measurements).

that’s the nice thing about knitting an accessory like this—it has no fit, so you can modify parts of the pattern and as along as you feel confident about your yarn supply, it won’t have a bad outcome. i can make it longer, deeper, in fingering yarn or chunky—whatever. i’m absolutely certain i’m going to love this project in both yarns; i can’t wait to have them further along so i can show you more. i’m pretty sure you’re gonna like them, too.

the other day, i finished the cowl i was knitting with that gorgeous handspun baa baa huey from newhue handspuns.

david has been eyeing this piece ever since it began to take shape. he reaches over to squeeze the fabric every so often, letting me know he plans to make it his (i’m letting him sweat but in truth, i’ve had it earmarked for him ever since i first laid eyes on it. it’ll make a great christmas gift.). david’s favorite kind of yarn is handspun; in a sea of choices, he will gravitate straight to it.

while we were playing dress up with it, i had david try it on his head so i could get an idea of what modifications might be needed for the hat.

okay, first—even i can’t believe that giant cowl fits his head! (david is the reason that all my unisex hat patterns go up to size 26-27 inches). i’m glad i put it on him though, because it made me wonder about making an entire hat in that texture. after a bit of discussion, we decided that the bottom part should be basketweave and the top part should be the underlying rib pattern. i’ll keep you updated on the design.

i got out the hat kit and cast on the other night. i rewound the yarn so that the darker portion was at the outside of the ball and i could start with the lighter portion. i worked a narrow ribbed edge in the plain green yarn (right), then started the basketweave pattern in the shaded colorway.

now i’m doubting my choice though—i think before i get too much more invested, i’m going to rip back, rewind the yarn back to where it was, and start with the darker end, so that the ribbing blends a little more subtly.

the hat will have a somewhat different look than the cowl, because the hat and mitt kits are spun with some dyed fiber and some natural fiber, making the colorway more tweedy. they will coordinate perfectly with the cowl, but will have their own look.

ok, that’s where i’m going to stop for today, but i have more already lined up for next time—several projects i have pulled yarn for, but have not started yet and which are poised to go on the needles when that sweater is done.

til then, happy stitching; don’t let the holiday rush eclipse the joy of having a great big excuse to sit and knit.


runaway weekend

Posted on 10 CommentsPosted in designing, food and garden, projects

ooooh, i know—it almost hurts to talk about how cold it’s gotten over the last few days, but our stretch of glorious fall weather had to end sometime, i suppose . . .

yes, we had our first snow, which began saturday morning and filtered down lightly all day and evening on saturday. everything had a thin blanket of white for about 24 hours, that disappeared when the sun came out yesterday.

it was a lovely punctuation for a fun holiday weekend.

on thursday morning i got up extra early to participate in our local turkey trot event—a 5K run that drew thousands of participants, more than ever before. this was my first organized event and i was excited; i would like to run a half marathon in the spring and this was part of my research (i also signed up for the first run coming up on january 1st).

i rode over with my friend ellie who lives up the street; you know her as one of our beautiful knitwear models but in real life, she’s a doctor. she also ran a half marathon in october—those doctors are such overachievers. her training inspired me to think about doing events myself—thank you, ellie!

the start was a little rough with so many people leaving the line at once (they didn’t do corrals), but finally we were running and before we knew it, we were done. it went by so fast . . .

i did pretty well and learned a couple of things about running in events—mainly that is is WAY different than running by myself. so much so, that i may even try to find a running group to participate in once a week.

after a hot shower, i baked the cornbread i was bringing to thanksgiving dinner and we bundled this and our peach/blueberry cobbler into the car to head over to our friend debby’s house.

they live on a christmas tree farm now and had a house full of people to celebrate the holiday. dinner was early and after eating, we pulled out our knitting to sit, chat, and watch sports. i worked on my basketweave cowl in newhue handspuns baa baa huey, colorway pine (i don’t see a link for just the yarn, but you can see a link to cheryl’s cowl kit here).

i’m hoping to have my pattern ready VERY soon—look at how cool it turned out in the shaded yarn. david is drooling over it . . .

i want to add a hat and mitts to the pattern too, so i need a little more time to get those items knit up. i’m thinking these will be at least as much fun as our hot waffles pattern—quick, easy to knit, travels well, and can be worn by anyone; all very attractive traits for a holiday knitting project.

on one side of me, gracie—who is very old—dozed the day away, undisturbed by the noise and hubbub, deaf as she is. she perked up when we all filled our plates, but soon lost interest when no one let her nibble.

on the other side of me, david got started on his dishcloth project—he’s had several yarns with dishcloth potential lined up for some time, but had not yet begun knitting. i was happy to see him packing his needles and yarn into a projet bag as we got ready to leave our house that morning.

we cast on three sts to get started on the ubiquitous dishcloth we all know and love, worked in a diamond shape. i thought that would be a fun way to introduce him to increasing and decreasing. he got as far as the center point before we left; his yarnovers look great!

next he’ll learn to decrease; maybe tonight (i know; we’re so romantic around here, haha). actually, there was a bit of romance in our weekend—yesterday was our twelfth anniversary.

as some of you know, david always gets socks for our  anniversary and this year was no exception (albeit by the hair of my chinny chin chin . . .). i finished one of my waffle creams sock pairs at debby’s on saturday morning—the ones in the flapjack colorway.

they really ARE luscious; i’m psyched to finish up the oatmeal pair now—the sock shelf is now empty again and will need refilling, the sooner the better.

from the sock shelf i took the pair of sign of four socks i had stashed and the pair of almondines as well, then bundled them together with the waffle creams and wrapped them up with a card to put at his place at dinner.

david knows he’s getting socks each year but he still looks forward to this gift—like our marriage, it never gets old. he forgets that he modeled them at some point earlier, so they are new again to him. he really loves and appreciates his handknit socks . . .

ooops, i got off on a tangent about socks and marriage and forgot to finish up our thanksgiving day, which ended with a talent show spontaneously organized by debby’s grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. jude was especially keen to show off his guitar skills and soon he was joined by tori

who then did a solo piece that i believe she wrote herself

after that, the boys all got up and did a group rendition of pork and beans

with their own choreography—i’ll leave the details up to your imagination.

it was just about what you’d expect from a pack of sugared up boys and we all laughed a LOT

lincoln closed by performing on his harmonica and after that, most of us went home. what a great holiday; we love spending time with debby’s family!

i got quite a bit of knitting done over the weekend, but actually, i have to leave off telling you about that til next time—lots of christmas projects started and several finished, too. it’s a bit of a yarn parade as well, so it will definitely fill a whole other post.

this morning i prepped everything for an apple crisp, so that i could bake it in time for class today. i’m going to pop that in the oven in just a little bit—i’ll take pictures when it comes out to share next time too. because nothing goes better with yarn than apple crisp . . .

BNK 2013 Black Friday

Posted on 12 CommentsPosted in designing, patterns, projects, Uncategorized

Hope everyone has indulged fully this Thanksgiving. Anne and I, spent Thanksgiving with a good friend and her family (et al extended), we are so grateful to be able to spend the holiday with Debby’s family. Some amazing food, particularly Simon’s grilled vegetables and an outrageously delicious trillium cake baked by Debby (apparently even better the next day).

Managed a bit knitting, Anne started me on this impromptu knitting project, a simple dish cloth. If you have not used one of these hand knitted dish clothes you are truly missing out, an indispensable cleaning implement. Speaking of impromptu, there was some very special entertainment by the younger persons (children) of this gathering. Music, singing, joke telling and dancing, a slightly raucous, but in a good innocent way as young boys tend to this such predilection. Very impressed by these kids, the ability to perform without any prompting from their parents or any other adults. A huge thank you to Debby and Robin for a great Thanksgiving.


Bare Naked Knitspot Yarn Club


Bare Naked Knitspot knitting club’s first Black Friday, we are really pleased to be able extend this modest discount of $10 off any membership with yarn and $2 off for a pattern only (eBook) membership, one day only, signup here. BNK is really a rather unique in it’s offerings, there is particular expressed beauty of natural wool and when paired with a pattern designed specifically for that yarn, the result is something truly extraordinary (click here for more information ). In this knitting club, we celebrate yarn, design, art and the members (Ravelry clubhouse). Allow me to share once more an excerpt from a chapter of previous BNK knitting club:

my initial vision for the final month was a large scarf or stole project in a floaty, sheer silk yarn, but i wasn’t sure about sending out a super-fine silk yarn. 

i began to suspect that compromises were in my near future, heh. i was determined to exhaust my options however, so along with beckie, set to work tracking down possible sources. when we received sample cards from treenway silks, i felt like we’d hit the silk motherlode—the array of wild silks in all colors was just what i was looking for; they monopolized my attention and imagination.

i immediately seized on the wild muga as my favorite—the dark, golden tan color was exactly what i wanted for our club. the yarn was very fine, however and i was pretty sure our membership would be happier with something heavier. so we began talking about a custom spinning order.

with the knot in my stomach growing ever tighter, i reported in to susan who was anxiously awaiting my feedback. i poured my doubts out to her like a barfly weeping into my beer and she wrote back with a few gentle suggestions and more helpful information about handling silk. by this time, i needed a break so i put my first swatches aside to think about things for a few days.

i couldn’t be more happy with the results—they feel especially sweet in the face of all the unknown factors leading up to the finished design. but in the end this is just the reason i wanted to do this club—to explore the beauty of unusual fibers, to experience true adventure, and to celebrate the results, no matter where our travels landed us.  —- anne hanson

Below, Photos of BNK 2012 Club Yarn and Project:

We offer to share this knitting club with you, the eBook itself is worthy of a proper bound book. The amount of research yielded, collaborating artist, brilliant pattern design are all differentiators and make Bare Naked Knitspot a most unique and desirable knitting club.

Hope you will join us and thank you.

I love your comments, especially welcome those of you that have experienced the first BNK knitting club and if you just want to say hey.

Mister Knitspot.