My Knitting has Rhythm

Posted on 25 CommentsPosted in projects

I was taught to appreciate music, of all types, at a very early age. Actually, it all probably started in the womb since I attended a few concerts at that stage of my life. When I was a wee babe, my parents would sing to calm my anxiousness or play music on the record player to entertain me. They had a fabulous record collection of many genres and I acquired quite a palette.

I can remember these headphones so vividly – the weight of them, the smell and how the foam felt against my ears as I slid them on. And then the sweet sounds of my music of choice entering my ears. I could listen for hours. I will never forget when I got my own record player that I could keep in my room. I could request 45s as birthday gifts! I would have little concerts in my room and invite my family members to attend. It was no surprise that by the start of middle school I was desperate to be in band. I played the clarinet and alto sax until I graduated high school.

As just a babe in a carrier on my dad’s chest, I was learning the magic of a live musical performance by attending concerts in the park. My parents exposed me to everything and I attained a great appreciation for classical, jazz, folk, motown, blues, but as it turned out my most fave was rock. My mom says she has fond memories of a little three-year-old chiming in to the chorus of songs from the car’s back seat. Her fave? My little voice shrieking “hit me with your best shot. fire awaaaaay,” with a little kid lisp.

All my life music has been there for me, kind of like an old friend. So it’s no surprise that it has found a place in my knitting. I didn’t even realize this until it was pointed out at crafty night with friends. I got caught humming as I knit my Slöfock. My friend asked me what I was humming and I said “Slow Ride. And I don’t even like Foghat.” I went on knitting and everyone just stared at me looking for more of an explanation.

I told them no matter what I’m knitting, a song usually pops into my head during the beginning of a project and seems to stick with me until I finish. For Slöfock, I couldn’t help but rewrite the lyrics and hum them when I knit…

“Slöfock, take it easy. Slöfock, take it easy. Slöfock Slöfock. Slöfock Slöfock…Got to knit your repeat one more time.”

They thought I was nuts. The conversation got really silly and we laughed til we cried. That night I couldn’t stop thinking about my realization of how intertwined music and knitting were for me. When I used to fly a lot for work I would plan out my music choices and projects. These would differ when I commuted on the train. Or when I needed to focus and knit really fast for a deadline, I popped in my earbuds and listened to house music. Funny, how I had never thought about all of this before. Even when I spin, I can’t help but hum Spinning Wheel by Blood, Sweat and Tears. Every time.

When I was at Anne’s last week, I told her all about my secret silliness. She pretty much gave me the same look as all my crafty girls. We sat and discussed pattern after pattern that we needed reknit in Bare Naked Wools. I think she thought she would stump me when she looked at me and said René. I looked at her and said “Walk Away Renée by The Left Banke. We could play this game for hours!”

I did end up finishing my cap last week at Anne’s and she snapped some pics before I left town. I was horsing around a lot during the shoot

but Anne made me straighten up so we could get out of the frigid weather.

I can’t get enough of this hat! It was a blast taking part in the raverly KAL with Shalimar Yarns.

Now I want to knit it in Breakfast Blend DK.

On the needles now is Squeeze Me, which is too divine for words. I’m knitting it in Breakfast Blend DK and each stitch makes me incredibly happy while singing Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me by U2. The infinity takes two skeins (which I received), but I sacrificed my second skein. Last week David came running into the dining room frantic because someone ordered two skeins (when we had one left) just before we marked that yarn SOLD OUT on the website. I just couldn’t break a knitter’s heart. So I gave up my skein.

Soon I will need more, and there is none to be had. Anne felt that knitters out there were bound to have leftovers to spare, so she started a Yarn Aid thread in the Bare Naked Wools ravelry group. Isn’t she a hoot? But it truly is a great idea. So often those leftover balls just sit around the house and never get used. I’m crossing my fingers someone can run to my aid. Isn’t this yarn and pattern pairing amazing?

Until that happens I’m debating over what to knit LOVe with. I couldn’t help desiring to knit this after FREE PATTERN FRIDAY this week on Facebook. The contest was super fun! The shawlette is for a very special person that I saved my FIFC 2012 yarn for.

It’s Aries Oceanus from Fleur de Fiber  for Cyclone, a slouchy tam, but I think it would be just as gorgeous in this shawlette. Just look at the sheen!

And yes, I’ve all ready come up with a song to hum while I knit. L-O-V-E by Nat King Cole.

L is for the way you look at me
O is for the only one I see
V is very, very extraordinary
E is even more than anyone that you adore and

Love is all that I can give to you
Love is more than just a game for two
Two in love can make it
Take my heart and please don’t break it
Love was made for me and you

Happy Valentine’s Weekend everyone! May you have lots of treats and knitting!

heartfelt

Posted on 65 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events

last monday morning i landed in snowy, gray ohio after spending ten delicious days on the west coast, running in shorts and keeping my face tilted to the sun. when i got off the redeye at 10:30 am, i was tired, hungry, and . . . cold.

david got me home straightaway, where i crawled into bed and slept until my class began at 4 pm. we celebrated my birthday with pie and cards and fun chatter over knitting—we had missed each other while i was gone.

just as class broke up at 6pm, the lights blazed on across the street—while i was away, bret had completely re-done the porchscape into a spectacular valentine—for us.

we were—in a word—speechless and we ran outside to get a closer look

along the eaves ran a row of valentines, but not just any old hearts; these were each dedicated to a neighbor and one prominent one had my name on it!

i gather that bret was taking requests from the gentlemen on the block during the week before and david put his message down on paper, just the way he always signs it for the two of us.

and of course, bret’s message was on the biggest heart of all, because well, that’s just how he rolls—bighearted.

but the best thing—and the real attention-getter—was front and center, aimed right at our house

for you, for you!!
isn’t that the coolest?? what a great surprise, huh? and believe me, bret is sincere—he loves knitspot!

on saturday, erica and i went over to get a closer look and take some daytime photos for the blog

i HEART the gremlin valentine; i want that one—it’s so me!

we snuck in close to get a picture of the sign and also one of erica in her new slöfock hat

we tried to get a shot of the two of us with the sign, but our arms are not long enough . . . before we knew it, bret came out to see who was raising such a ruckus in hi planting bed. hehe, just us . . .

so he offered to take a photo for us

it’s so much fun to be bret’s neighbor—we just never know what’s going to happen next, haha. one thing we do know is that whatever it is, it will be big.

happy valentine’s day to all—from our little corner of the world.

going, going, gone

Posted on 17 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events, designing, lace/shawls, projects, yarn and dyeing

it’s been quite a process to get the first shipment for our 2013 bare naked club pulled together and packed, but david finally has seven stacks of large totes filled with club packages all set to go to the post office tomorrow. now the fun can begin! and we are just about sold out as i write this—i think there are four or five spots left in case anyone still wants to join or upgrade (if you do and your category says SOLD OUT, please contact david and he will hook you up).

i am working this week on getting the first BNK book chapter finalized, getting some pattern work done, and putting together a big re-order for breakfast blend yarn—wow do you all love breakfast, or what??

this is what’s left—we can’t get over how fast it’s going out the door, especially the DK weights. we’ve put in a big reorder for the existing colors and today david and are sitting down to create an order for some additional colors. we read that everyone would like to see some lighter shades, so those will go to the top of the list. i think we can certainly get some lighter grays, pale oatmeal, and even some peach and rust tones.

we so, SO appreciate your support of our new venture and hope you are enjoying our yarn products—for us this is a dream come true, something we’ve wanted to do for years. it’s so cool to see it come to life and to watch your enthusiasm for it.

my main job this week is to finalize the first chapter of our BNK book, which will be a treasure trove of material—some months are abundant with content, while some are slimmer and this will be a big one.

i am also trying to get a little ahead on pattern work and setting up new projects, because once again i will be traveling at the end of the week—this time to work on a different sort of project with craftsy (more on that later).

when i do have a few free minutes—usually at the end of the day—it’s been a real pleasure to work on the shawl i’m knitting in our breakfast blend DK. it’s so lush and knits up so quickly; i can’t help but find it satisfying after a long day of looking at the computer.

i finally got the hem chart issue solved and am now flying along once again. the yarn goes surprisingly far—the first skein got me all the way through the body section and the start of the hem. i have attached my second skein of yarn, but i’m wondering if i’ll use it all. hard to tell, of course, because the last few inches will eat up yarn at a much faster rate.

won’t this be a cozy layer to curl into at my desk? i am situated between two windows in the outside corner of the office, which is wonderful for people and bird watching, but disastrous for keeping warm; i am always in need of  shawl or scarf and am known to wear a hat as well on very windy days.

erica put her order in for a cowl/infinity scarf design in our fingering yarn, so that’s another thing i’ve been working on this week.

i’ve been swatching some openwork patterns, searching for just the right motif that balances texture and light. so far, i have a couple i like, but i still feel there might be something even better out there. i think i need to explore some solid knit/purl textures too, since i really REALLY enjoyed designing and knitting  squeeze me (and you could totally knit that with the BB fingering yarn; just use a 3.5 or 3.75 mm needle and make one of the larger sizes).

i do like this swatch a lot—it’s reversible with a sort of allover openwork pattern. while it doesn’t have a strong, distinct appearance, it DOES have an ethereal, cloudlike quality that i find lovely; i can totally imagine that a larger volume of it would work very well as an infinity scarf.

naturally i love this geometric pattern quite a bit—it’s so ME. but i think this one could be far better as a wrap than an infinity scarf, something along the lines of hypotenuse, which is such a favorite. why, i think even mister knitspot would covet such a thing, don’t you?

and i have loads of secret knitting in the works which unfortunately, i can’t show you, but it may help to know that i’m excited about what’s on the boards.

now, after all that, i bet you’re jonesing for a spot of color, eh?

i put another inch on my sign of four sock while sitting in the orthodontist’s waiting room the other day. i forgot to mention last time i showed it that i’m working with string theory caper sock in black cherry
(i think), which is a delicious  merino/cashmere/nylon blend—nice and plump. certainly a happy sight in an otherwise gray afternoon (we’re expecting a little snow this afternoon, i think).

and that’s all i’ve got for now, but we do have a special valentine’s treat to post, so check back later!

beyond exciting

Posted on 11 CommentsPosted in designing, lace/shawls, projects, yarn and dyeing

hi everyone; boy did i miss you! and what a week it’s been; i barely know where to begin. i feel like it’s been weeks since we visited; i’ve flown across the country with barely a whisper about the last weekend of my trip—but hey, i took a picture . . . that’s the view of LA as as my east-bound plane took off last sunday at midnight.

i had lots of knitting planned for my flight home, but i barely touched it after all—i cavalierly packed only my shawl project and a sock to knit on the plane and as soon as i settled in to work, i hit a snag with the way i had set up my hem chart, so i had to put that aside.

i had put several inches on my sign of four sock while eating dinner and hanging out with cookie A earlier in the evening. so i took that out in an attempt to extend the roll i was on with it. but the plane was too dark (as usual, i was the only passenger with my reading light on, haha) and my eyes were too tired, so the knitting was slow. i knit for a while, but fell fell into fitful dozing somewhere over the far midwest.

it’s always good to come home to david, but it was especially nice that at the end of this trip, a chocolate-frosted butter cake was awaiting my return—we had a birthday to celebrate. one day after the fact, but in this case, better late than never.

there were several lovely gifts to open as well, including this goodie package from our good friend phoebe, who is a long-time blog reader and test knitter, but most importantly a wonderful friend. each year she sends me a skein of handspun and some goodies; it’s so sweet! BTW phoebe, erica ogled that skein of yarn the whole time she was here this week!

i had a funny card from kim

which makes ME laugh every time i see it because i can hear her laughing so hard; she really gets a kick out of jazzy girl, here (i sure hope this isn’t one of our readers; do you ever wonder about that when you look at these vintage cards?).

 

after a good, three-hour nap and a shower, it was time for monday knitting class, which i always look forward to. we missed two sessions this month, so i was very ready to knit and listen all the news and knitting woes.

while i waited for them to arrive, i unpacked another item which arrived that day—a box of citrus fruit picked by sam, which i’d mailed home from kim’s house.

omg, the grapefruits are so sweet we are eating them like oranges. i arranged a bunch in the fruit basket and sat down to eat some while i contemplated the scene outside.

ugh! SO not in california any more . . .
the whole first part of the week was like this, in fact; cold, snowy, windy, brrr. not quite nasty enough to cancel class, but not nice enough to keep our dinner plans for afterward either.

debby brought one of her famously delicious chocolate cream pie—a big piece of this was definitely in order. i had pie for dinner and cake for dessert on my birthday—that’s just about a perfect celebration, wouldn’t you say?

once everyone left i realized that david had gone upstairs to conk out—he’d been working triple time all week, poor fella, and was exhausted. between the debut of our bare naked wools and preparing for the first 2013 BNK club shipment, he was buried and desperately in need of downtime.

our place has been a veritable beehive all week—all hands have been on deck for packing duty to get yarn order out and club packages put together.

erica is beside herself with excitement, haha; when she finally arrived on wednesday, she had her computer set up within moments and was snooping into everything; of course i was excited to show her all of it too. it’s been quite a while since she she was here last. by friday, she had taken over the blog and well, if you read the last post, you know the rest.

we had an extremely intense three days of working here; we still didn’t get to everything on our punchlist, but i’m planning to be up her way in a few weeks to knock out the rest of it.

a quick update though—we are now sold out of both oatmeal and cocoa in the DK weight. i guess we didn’t order enough DK, huh? we still have some burnt toast and morning smoke DK and LOTS of fingering weight in all colors (yay, for spring knitting). we’ve already reordered and are still expecting an additional one or two colors on the way in both weights (ETA unknown).

it’s really no wonder; the yarn is luscious and the DK is so snuggly for the weather we’re having right now. and if that wasn’t enough, it practically knits itself.

because we didn’t have anything knit up in the new burnt toast colorway, i cast on friday morning while erica and i were working for a peu de pluie cowl. she looked at me like i was crazy—”oh, just what you need—another project!!” (i was gonna knit the hat too, but agreed to let her ask someone else to do that).

sigh, look at that drape. and yet, it’s a cozy fabric, dense enough to shut out that nasty winter wind.

i knit a few rounds that morning, but had to rip back because i didn’t read the pattern first. most of it i knit while we watched a movie that night—seriously. i think invested all of three hours and about half a skein of yarn in this project.

by the time erica left on saturday afternoon, it was washed, blocked, dry and photographed (thanks to the heat vent in our office).

i used a size 4.5 mm needle because i thought i’d like a more relaxed favor, but erica says she would prefer a stiffer fabric that stands up more and if that’s the case with you, then stick to the size and gauge stated in the pattern.

this pattern isn’t supposed to be available for another month, but because it is so perfect for the BNW breakfast blend (AKA BNWBB) i’m thinking of asking the clubbies if i could do a switch and release this pattern next weekend and the sky ladder pattern for march. because as it happens, our next BNW yarn offering coming forth in march will be a match made in heaven for the sky ladder package.

that’s right—there will be a whole new yarn added to our collection next month; can you stand it??
it’s actually on the premises as we speak, but we are holding it back so our bare naked club members can be the first to see, feel, and knit with it.

in the meantime, ultra top-secret knitting has commenced.

in the meantime, i’ve pulled a skein of the BB fingering yarn in the earl grey colorway to begin a new design—erica says i must make a pattern for a new infinity cowl. yesterday, if possible.

when this fingering yarn arrived, we inadvertently ended up with two different earl grey colors: a cooler one composed of dark merino and white alpaca (top) and a lighter, warmer one composed of white merino and black alpaca. they were supposed to both have black alpaca.

no worries; we love them both! the only problem is that currently, we don’t have DK in the darker shade and we don’t have fingering in the lighter shade. but we are not stressing; we are re-ordering and those are on the list. it will take some time to receive them; until then we will simply knit with other colors.

what should i do with my leftover burnt toast?? my cowl used just a tad more than half a skein; i still have nearly two ounces left (about 115-120 yards). hmmm, i don’t really want fingerless mitts . . . maybe i need to knit another cowl? i’ll let it talk to me while i work on the infinity scarf . . .

thursday is valentine’s day and our neighbor bret has created a dandy of a valentine this year to celebrate. we have a special feature post cooked up that we needed to photograph before erica left town. so yesterday, we donned hats, scarves, and warm coats to brave the cold and get our day shots done.

halfway through, bret came running out his front door to see who the heck was sneaking around in his bushes. when he saw it was us, he burst out laughing; he had been all set to start shouting. here’s erica in her slöfock cap, explaining to bret how we were trying to get a shot of ourselves near his newest prop.

and here’s a closeup in my back yard—the hat is knit up in shalimar yarns breathless DK, colorway emerald isle. she’s all set for st. patrick’s day now.

now she’s gone home and we are getting back to normal—only for a bit though; i’m hitting the road again next sunday, so i need to get the first BNK book chapter done as well as plenty of other work this week.

plus, it’s tax season; need i say more?

i will try to get back to blog in a couple of days, hopefully with some nice progress on that infinity scarf. and i think we’ll have some sort of pattern release before the end of the week as well, though as i said earlier, it’s a little up in the air which pattern it will be.

i’m going right now to beg the club’s leniency with my petition; wish me luck!