tile that makes me smile—priceless

Posted on 27 CommentsPosted in designing, projects, yarn and dyeing

we haven’t talked about progress on our house lately, but we do actually have some to celebrate this month. it’s been quite a journey, but we are finally installed in our new main bath. david finished it up while i was away earlier this month, so we could start using it when i returned home.

i know the floor was a real challenge for him to put in, but i love every square inch of it. the handwoven rug i purchased at rhinebeck a couple of years ago from marilyn magnusson is perfect, completing one of my favorite color combinations, black, white and green.

the lighting is incredible, especially now that we have clean new tile and david’s signature hand-burnished white plaster walls. the finish provides a soft glow that can’t be replicated with paint.

we recycled the bullnose tile from the old bath because it was one of the few original elements that was in good shape. there was just enough to go all the way around.

we sacrificed our tub so we could put in a really great shower; as big as this room is, there wasn’t space for both—too many doors and windows. but we have a wonderfully large tub on the third floor and this configuration is the one we’ll use most. everything is so sparkly!

sigh, i’m really impressed with my husband . . .

ok, now that’ i’ve distracted you from the fact that i have very little public knitting to share, i can show you some other cool stuff that i had almost nothing to do with. we continue to receive samples from wonderful knitters for our breakfast blend collection

our good friend carol sent us two pieces that are just lovely; this handsome woodstacking cowl (above), knit with oatmeal DK and the wiggle mitts (below) worked in fingering weight earl grey.

our yarn is a bit thinner than the sport weight called for in the mitts pattern, but since there are several sizes, carol worked one of the larger ones on a smaller needle and they turned out great (she’s so smart).

once we have a nice pile of items knit up in all the colors, we’ll put together a nice look book that can be viewed online or downloaded for reference. we will also use the samples to show off our yarns and patterns in our farm stand booth at the squam art fair in june, where we are a sponsor of the ravelry revelry.

as the colors pile up, they are amazing—you can put any combination together and all the elements “go”. i love that . . .

i started the typhoon cuffs to match the cyclone tam i showed you the other day; they go so quickly that i had one done and a second one on the needles in no time.

BUT (and you knew there was a but coming, right??)

last night as i finished the second one up—and trust me, i was completely done, even halfway bound off—i noticed that i had not changed to a smaller needle size to knit the wrist section. oh crap.

off it came from the needles to be ripped all the way back to the top of the hem section. i got it back on the (smaller) needles and worked a few rows before i started dozing off.

i will finish those tonight for sure and block them tomorrow. if i mail them saturday, they will arrive in plenty of time.

my cocoa sprössling still awaits a button decision because the green glass ones have not yet arrived and i want them to have a fair viewing. thank you all for your input about the choices. i realized that i wasn’t completely fair in not offering a full-sized view of the sweater so the buttons could be seen in perspective. i feel that as much as i like wood or copper buttons, they will disappear or look blah on this fabric. ditto for the shell buttons, as pretty as they are close up.

personally, i like that little pop of color that the lavender glass ones provide, but i’m still entertaining the ribbon candy ones with their flash of gold. and who knows; the green may just blow us all out of the water.

alright now, i’ve gotta get up to my study to work on secret knitting—tomorrow, we’ll have another pattern release, this time, the peu bourgeons hat and mitts set.


peu de pluie

Posted on 4 CommentsPosted in food and garden

this month we launched bare naked knitspot 2013, which means that now, we can release the patterns from BNK 2012; month by month, you’ll see those designs offered released as single publications.

the bare naked club is so special to me—not only do i get to design with fibers that are new to me and in such a gorgeous range of natural tones, but the work of writing about them has opened worlds of exploration and learning to me. as single releases, the designs will offer ideas about using farm yarns and exotics that turn up in our stashes now and then—let’s get started!

because of the recent release of our breakfast blend yarns—a great choice for knitting up the march 2012 patterns—we did a little switcharoo  with the order just this once, by releasing those patterns this month instead of next (you’ll see the february 2012 releases next month).

the march package was actually a series of two patterns—peu de pluie and peu de bourgeons—that included four total pieces. i’m releasing one today and saving the other for the end of the week.

peu de pluie is a delicious cowl and scarf design, with some textural depth and openwork to show off a yarn with a fuzzy halo and soft drape.

the openwork allows light to filter through the fiber and catch its sheen while the textural portions lend some support and dimension to the overall piece.

i just love the way the diagonal patterning in the scarf encourages the fabric to drape into soft folds as it swirls about the neck.

while the welted hem gives a bit of weight to the ends so they stay in place.

the cowl is a dreamy cocoon—light and airy, but warm; agin, the fibers in a fuzzy yarn will rise up to form a baffle against the wind, filing in those openwork bits with luxe insulation. pretty and practical; who would argue with that?

the scarf is worked in one piece, long enough to be worn doubled, and is easily altered if more or less length is desired.

shown above, scarf knit in great northern yarns 100% extra virgin yak, colorway natural, our march club yarn last year. it’s not listed as available at the moment, but there are some color choices.

below, the cowl worked in bare naked wools breakfast blend DK, color burnt toast, our new yummy merino/alpaca blend. the soft springy fabric holds its shape nicely, creating that warm cushion we need when it’s windy outside.

to purchase pattern or view complete pattern information, please click here to visit the knitspot pattern shop. or purchase the pattern in our ravelry pattern shop.

peu de pluie is also included in the BNK 2012 eBook, collection—12 terrific accessory patterns, each one multi-sized and suitable for gifting or keeping; many will have universal appeal for women, men, and children alike. purchase the eBook collection from the knitspot club website or in our ravelry pattern shop.

as we set off for a second season of fiber adventure in BNK 2013, i hope you’ll consider joining us. while the yarn memberships are now sold out, we have unlimited space available for eBook members and we’d love to have you.

stay tuned for part II of this installment, coming your way at the end of this week—peu de bourgeons, a delightfully soft slouchy hat and fingerless mitts combo.


lipstick on a pig

Posted on 32 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events, designing, lace/shawls, projects

me getting a manicure is almost like putting lipstick on a pig—there’s a limit to how much cosmetics can improved such poor abused fingertips. and because they are in constant use, i rarely put much effort into making them look better; in fact, the last time i had a real manicure was in 1992. but i scheduled one for last saturday anyway, because my hands were going to be on film

and you know what? turns out that manicuring involves more than just polish and when i have one, i actually take better care of my fingers to maintain the improved look—no biting, no using them as tools or a backboard for stress. hmm.

i’m thinking about keeping this up; my cuticles are so neat i can hardly believe they belong to me.

so i didn’t fall off the face of the earth; i was in denver all week, filming a couple of classes for craftsy. in those few days just before i left, i had to finish up the first chapter of our bare naked club eBook, organize a big reorder for our breakfast blend yarns (thank you knitters!), pack up what felt like half my life to take with me, somehow get some travel knitting organized (HA, as if i had time to knit), and try to get a little ahead on pattern work.

haha, for several nights before i left, the house was bustling—erica and emily in one room packing yarn and pattern orders

while zack and brittany packed club bundles in another room.

and i ran all over the place hunting down what i needed to pack into my suitcases upstairs.
we are constantly reorganizing to handle our growing activities, but just when we seem to get on top of it, we need to make another adjustment. all good problems to have . . .

by saturday, i had my chapter finished and all i had left to do was get my suitcases finalized and travel knitting organized. i had been swatching the previous week for infinity scarf material and settled on this reversible horseshoe lace for one in our BB oatmeal fingering yarn. it’s hard to tell here what the texture is actually like—the pattern is smaller and reversible; it shows to much better advantage in quantity and in the light.

super simple to knit, i thought i’d need something like this in my bag for the trip. and if one is a good thing, then two is even better, right?

i love this other swatch as well; when i just couldn’t decide between the two, i cast on both.

for this one, i went with our burnt toast color, a rich, warm brown—just look at the highlights in that skein, yum-yum. these projects will knit up with just one skein and will be light, airy layering pieces for spring. something new to add to the little nothings category . . .

knitting the swatches and getting my travel projects organized was pretty much the highlight of that week as i wasn’t allowing myself to leave my desk all that often. too bad i didn’t get more knitting done during my trip.

some length got added to my DK shawl on the trip out and that was about the last i saw of this project til i photographed it today. (really, this should have been finished my now; why am i dawdling over it?)

and a VERY little bit of knitting behind the scenes at the studio—i think i did all of six rows on one infinity scarf between the time i left home and the time i returned. the other, i didn’t even touch.

but what’s this?? apparently, i was in hat-knitting mood. so good to see i got something accomplished. this is cyclone, a slouchy tam from FIFC 2012, which we knit in november. the club yarn was fleur de fiber aries oceanus and i gave the larger of my two finished hats to my SIL nan, who reports that she is in love with the set and wears it constantly.

the club-exclusive abalone color was a knockout on her, but i think this woolen rabbit opulence in oh ruby  will also be gorgeous. she has a birthday coming up so this will make a nice gift. i’ve got the matching typhoon cuffs on the needles now. these yarns always scare me; they grow a lot when they are wet, but they do shrink back as they dry if i reshape them constantly. hence its place on the heat vent in my office, where i can keep an eye on it.

other than that and some swatching for secret projects, it was a pretty dry week for knitting in denver. i arrived early last sunday, so i had the afternoon to nap a bit and then visit my cousins who live there.

we don’t look at all alike, but our hair gives us away—it’s the tie that binds our family. we had a wonderful meal, celebrated all the february birthdays between us, and talked for a few hours. it was really nice; i wish we could do it more often.

the next morning it was up and at ’em by 4 am; myself and another instructor were being picked up at 7:30 by our charming makeup artist danica to be whisked to the filming studio and made glamorous.

danica of course is already glamorous and sweet, too; if you have to get up that early  and be human, you really need her in your corner.

lisa is another instructor who was on set last week; she owns delicious desserts, a successful cake and dessert business on cape cod. we were both kind of nervous that first morning, but danica put us at ease and soon we were laughing.

now except for photo shoots here, i don’t wear makeup as a rule, so it was a bit shocking to see how much they use. it felt like a big change but i trust that it looked good on camera.

once i had makeup on, i went into the studio where everyone was setting up. amy, who i had met at TNNA, asked for a photo for her mom which i was happy to do—i just love meeting knitters who read the blog.

i unpacked the suitcase full of teaching materials and sample garments i brought. all at once i felt a head rush of nervousness. barb had knit over forty swatches and step-outs that i’d be using in my classes and suddenly, i was sure i would not recognize when to use what, even though she had very kindly bagged and marked them lesson by lesson. ok, deep breath, hanson; you made the list so of course you know what’s what. right??

it must have been the lights, cameras, and faces all pointing at me. anyway, once we got underway a little while later, i was fine. thank goodness.

after that, the week just flew by; denver was cold and snowy for a few days, but i managed to get out to a couple of fine dinners with friends and colleagues during the week. and my hotel room got upgraded to a palatial suite which was delightful. because i had to leave in the dark and come back in the dark, i didn’t get to run outside on this trip, but maybe i’ll get asked back at a time when i can try that.

before i knew it, i was on my way home again. my classes will debut around the third week of march and we’ll be sure to let you know; they are both focused on finishing skills and one of them will be offered free, so anyone can take it. we have a lot to do before then; my craftsy profile needs to be filled out and patterns uploaded to the shop on their site; our website needs a landing page that knitters can use to access my classes on craftsy.

for now, i’m just glad to be home again—i missed being home. when i arrived friday there was a tone to do, including opening a bunch of mail. there were several envelopes with samples knit by generous souls in our new yarns; we have a terrific team of knitters working on getting some of our existing patterns knit up and they are looking lovely.

just look at this incredible sprössling cardigan knit for me by our dear anne marie in breakfast blend fingering yarn. did she knit this fast or what?? we sent her the yarn just after erica left.

i just love it in the cocoa color; i tried it on as soon as i unwrapped it—perfect fit.it has a nice stretchy feel that i like in an everyday sweater; easy to pull on, easy to take off. i’d completely forgotten about buttons, so this afternoon i went exploring in the button box to see if i had anything on hand. turns out, there were actually lots of options.

these shell buttons are classic and have incredible depth, each one a little light show. i love the colors but there is something about the shape that doesn’t seem right; it’s just a little too plain for what i want

these vintage glass ones with a little gold eyelash are stunning, but i think a little too green for the fabric; i’ll save those for a future project.


oh my—now these are fun and clever looking! i hadn’t thought of using a bright color, but that lavender is quite fetching against the cocoa brown. they pick up a tone in the wool that really responds. this is the good thing about having a button box—serendipity sometimes strikes to set us on an interesting tangent. 

hmmm; i only have a few of these left over from my blümchen sweater—not enough for this sweater too. but maybe another color would work, or maybe i can get more of these. OR i could trade out the ones from the blumchen for something else.

and  then i remembered seeing some green glass ones at a verb for keeping warm last time i was there. i called the store and sarah set me up with the green ones she could locate. if they get here and they don’t go, i will use them somewhere else. i also looked on etsy and found a couple of backups.

heh, vintage glass buttons are way to easy to get hold of, IMHO.

i also have these little confections, if the color ones don’t work out—they are also too adorable and perfect, like little chunks of ribbon candy. and i didn’t even glance at the wooden options i might have.

i really think my head has been turned by the colored glass ones, but i’ll leave it to a vote—what do you all think?

i can’t wait til our little gallery and look book are photographed and organized for your perusal; we have some really delicious samples coming in each day.

stay tuned because later today i’m releasing one of the february club patterns—we have two this month for a total of four new accessory pieces, just right for the end of winter.

Vintage Knitspot – Snow on Cedars

Posted on 252 CommentsPosted in patterns, projects

Ah, it’s time once again for me to dust off the archives! Anne is super busy with all kinds of fun stuff (she’ll fill you in on Sunday) and I didn’t think you’d mind a little trip with me down memory lane. Plus, there’s a contest involved!

With the metro Detroit area covered in a new blanket of snow, it seemed apropos to highlight this beauty of a mitt pattern.

Snow on Cedars is a mid-length mitt with allover lace motifs of pine trees and snowflakes. Doesn’t this seem like the most delightful thing to knit for a friend? It’s the perfect accessory for chilly offices or knitting in drafty places. Or to wear running errands and not be bothered with taking your gloves on and off.

It’s a pretty quick knit as well because the right and left are interchangeable. I can’t imagine I’m the only one that has knit two left mitts. Even I can’t screw this one up!

Don’t you just want to wrap these mitts around a hot cup of tea as you gaze out the window at the snow covered pines?

Can’t you see these mitts done up in Breakfast Blend Fingering? Won’t they be a little piece of heaven for your hands?

I think this duo and I are going to spend some time together this weekend. Hmmm…coffee, hot cocoa, tea, hot toddy…I definitely have options. Or maybe you guys can help me. What is your fave hot drink? Leave your suggestion in the comments by 10 pm EST on Feb 24 and I’ll pick a winner to receive this mitt pattern!

I’m off to check on Baby Knitspot before I turn in for the night. Today he turned 6 months!

I can’t believe it. It seems like Aug 22 was yesterday.

Happy weekend everyone!