scottish reel

Posted on 8 CommentsPosted in patterns

in april we introduced our new fingering weight yarn called ghillie sock, which is spun from bouncy, resilient cheviot wool produced in new york state.

the yarn was an instant hit with our bare naked clubbies, who got to see and feel it first, as our april club selection. they loved its soft, springy hand and creamy-white color right out of the box—even before knitting with it.

they didn’t even know how beautifully the fabric would drape, but would soon find out—the yarn was paired with a design for a fun pair of gansey textured socks and/or an adorable triangle shawl that sported a flirty ruffle which proved irresistible. such an approachable project and so much fun to knit—great for beginners and experienced knitters alike (you can find the patterns for those pieces in our BNK 2013 eBook here or here).

clubbies waffled back and forth about which to make, the socks, or the shawl? i didn’t tell them at the time, but i had a third project up my sleeve, which i had planned to throw in as a mid-month extra, but then thought better of—i did not want to add to anyone’s decision-making stress, haha.

plus, i realized that we needed a design to release to ALL our customers to go with our ghillie yarn and this fun infinity scarf was just the ticket. it’s so simple to knit yet with all the texture changes, it keeps things moving along. it’s the perfect vacation traveling companion—it goes everywhere you want to go and practically knits itself.

if you can count to eight, you can knit this.

the pattern has three sizes, all of which can be worn in several ways—pin it, twist it, pull it around your shoulders; this piece is quite versatile once it is complete.

(heart shaped pin is hand carved in oak from recycled wine barrels; you can find this style and more at

the fabric is light and lofty enough to work well in a larger cowl like the one shown; with a bit of sheen and nice drape, it can be fashioned in many configurations or worn as shawl-style piece.

shown here in size medium, knit up in bare naked wools ghillie sock, spun from 100 percent NYS cheviot wool, color cream

using a softer spun yarn such as our breakfast blend fingering will result in a cowl with even softer drape and hand.

to purchase the knitspot version of the pattern or view complete pattern information, please click here to visit the knitspot pattern shop.

our good friend karolyn deserves a hand for knitting this beautiful sample for today’s presentation—we so appreciate all the wonderful knitting she does for us, always on a deadline and always with a smile. how lucky are we?

have a great weekend everyone and be sure to share your progress on this and all your knitspot projects in our wonderfully fun and helpful knitspot ravelry groups.

and don’t forget, signups are open now for our fall in full color 2013 club, due to begin mailing in august (which is right around the corner!). we’ll be shipping an incredible array of yarn and pattern selections in luscious, exclusive colors available only to yarn members—once that head count is final, there won’t be any more dyed until next year.

we’d love for you to join us! need a little more encouragement? take a look at this beautiful slide show that erica put together from last year’s club book. and if you’ve already signed up, please tell a friend how much you enjoy your participation—maybe they’ll com along for the ride.

TNNA and beyond

Posted on 18 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events, designing, lace/shawls, projects

this was one of the few moments of stillness and peace i experienced in the last few days—ironically while running in downtown columbus.

our trip down on friday was speedy and uneventful; sarah and i got there midday to meet up with the detroit contingent (erica, padraig, and nana candy), who were transporting the other half of our booth setup, as well as our friend carrie from irish girlie knits, just in from the west coast.

with three of us on hand and candy looking after the baby, our setup went smooth as silk; by five pm we had a booth arrangement that we all liked, which could be easily navigated when showing designs to prospective customers.

thanks to drew at lovan printing, we had some great vinyl posters showing off some of our more popular pieces; carrie was even able to order some from where she is on the west coast and have us pick them up to deliver at the show.

once we were satisfied, it was off to enjoy a cocktail with our friends from shalimar yarns—as is our tradition on setup day.

kristi held the baby for a while and in a short time managed to get him hooked on  a particular blue skein of fingering yarn.

one of my favorite things about the trade show is spending time with colleagues and catching up with people i like within the industry; i feel lucky that so many colleagues in my field of work have become lasting friends.

friday was also the evening of the marly bird designer dinner, which i attended for the first time this year. i must have had a really great time talking with my table mates because i don’t seem to have even one photo from that event!

after that, we trundled ourselves back to the hotel to get a good night’s sleep—saturday was a big day for us as this is the first year we had booth space at the show.

i was up at dawn and itching to go to the gym—which was closed until 9 am (i know!), so i opted instead for a nice run outside, which turned out to be the perfect thing.

the streets were almost deserted, but not in a scary way, so i not only got my run in, but some wonderful pre-sunrise shots of downtown columbus, like this one of the state capital.

when i spied the planter’s peanut sign, i stopped in my tracks; i hadn’t seen one of those in years—not since high school, when my brother worked in the planter’s peanut store in downtown schenectady.

this one looks almost identical to the one he worked in; what a throwback. he used to bring home a huge bag of hot peanuts every payday, which really spoiled us—to this day they are a favorite snack, but i can’t just eat any old ones from the grocery store.

and with that, i headed back to the hotel for a shower and to pick up erica and head for the show floor.

our booth was part of the deep south fibers group, which is a wholesale pattern distributor that aggregates a number of indie designers to offer yarn shops a one-stop shopping opportunity. having a booth under their umbrella is nice because each designer who participates brings a following, which all the other designers then benefit from.

the floor was fairly busy, but traffic was definitely lighter than in other years. we were expecting more inquiries on saturday than actual sales and had prepared accordingly, so we talked to as many people as possible about our patterns, inviting them in to  look at our samples and have a chat about what their customers enjoy knitting.

baby knitspot stopped by at lunch time with candy, sporting his special show badge and looking quite the happy tourist in this new situation.

by afternoon, the pride parade had pulled a large percentage of the crowd outside to enjoy the sunshine and activities of that event. traffic through the booth evaporated and soon we saw the babies again, just in from the parade.

padraig’s new friend is sam from french press knits; they are the same age by just a few days and so perfectly suited for playing together. they monkeyed around together  for a bit, playing at who could show off his crawling skills better. i was out strolling and came back to quite a crowd gathered in front of the booth, haha.

by then it was pretty close to the close of the show floor for the day; i was surprised at how far i’d managed to knit on my jazz strings sock during the periods when we weren’t busy.

between the knitting i got done in the car on the way down and the inches i added on saturday, i was nearly done. go me. i love how the ghillie sock is knitting up in this design; once the fabric is washed, it will be even more lovely to look at.

that evening we ate with the family and afterward, headed over to the main hotel lobby where a big stitch n bitch usually gathers in the evenings. this is a wonderful time to see friends and gossip and a part of the TNNA weekend that i really look forward to for meeting new designers as well.

ready for a change, i grabbed my sea pearl sweater project, which is a very easy stitch pattern and pleasant to knit in the company of others. i love how this yarn feels as it runs through my hands; it was the perfect thing to settle in with for the evening.

that evening i got to the point where i need to change stitch patterns and begin the lower part of the sweater. i had not however, swatched that new stitch pattern to determine whether the gauge was the same, so i stopped there until lat night (more on that progress in a bit).

sunday at the show was much busier and we wrote lots of orders, yay. the day passed very quickly and even though we were tired, we agreed it was a good one. for one thing, i think we finally have a mill that can produce our breakfast blend yarn. with a few tweaks to the samples we saw, we should be back in production with that VERY soon. yay.

that evening erica and i joined the other craftsy teachers and staff over dinner to celebrate the good year which was had by all. it was really nice to see everyone there; i love the craftsy crowd.

we headed back to the knitting circle for a second night and on the way, we may have been diverted by the sight of dessert at le chocoholique. can you spell mm-mmm??

i finished sock one and cast on for sock two and that’s about all the knitting i accomplished that night; sitting with the ladies from shall we knit?, we spent too much time doubled over laughing to engage in actual knitting.

soon though it was time for me to turn into a pumpkin, so we headed back to our own hotel to repack suitcases for departure in the morning.

bright and early monday morning i piled my stuff into the clown car 2013 and headed to canada for the next stop on my journey—a week in waterloo, ontario, where i was to teach at shall we knit?

kim from indigodragonfly was in the back seat and when i asked if she had a nice soft yarn i could use for a special project, she threw a bag forward for me to root through. i picked a couple of choices and set them on top of the cooler to my left to consider while i rode along

i worked on my ghillie sock while i thought about which one i liked.

then i worked on my swatch for the lower part of the sweater. the new pattern will be a bit more decorous than the simple one running down the bodice, but a very much appreciated change of pace. turns out too, that i don’t even need to switch needles—my gauge is just about the same in this stitch pattern as it is in the one i’m working now. yay.

as for the yarn i’d been mulling over, i finally decided on both choices—one very colorful option called as god as my witness i thought turkeys could fly and another option named bright lights big city busy highway slow unicorn. i swatched another oldie but goodie pattern, this time from everyone’s favorite, the roger sock.

more on this project as things develop . . .

merrily we rode along, making excellent headway until we got to the border, where we ran into a bit of difficulty, the fallout of which was that  unfortunately, i was not allowed to enter the country to teach my classes which were scheduled for later in the week.

fortunately, erica doesn’t live too far from the border and i was able to head back here to spend the night. karen tried to make some headway to get me in today, but to no avail. oh well, i’ll really miss seeing my friends at the shop up there, but we will straighten this out so i can return at a later date.

i actually returned to erica’s before she and the gang got here, so i set to work finishing my swatch and washing it. i love the pattern and am looking forward to starting the next section of the sweater.

everyone here is a bit dazed and tired; we’re all moving a bit slowly.

carrie left for home this afternoon and we’ll miss her. david will come to pick me up tomorrow; i’ll get home several days earlier than previously planned, which could be a good thing. there is plenty to do at the house—for one thing, blueberry season has begun and i want to get a bunch of those put away in the freezer for winter.

and i think with that, we are all caught up now! i actually have a little backlog of patterns to release and erica has at least one post she wants to put up too, so stay tuned; we have a full week planned.


nobody here but us chickens

Posted on 16 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events, designing, lace/shawls, projects

beckie got some chickens a couple of months back and when i was at her house the other day putting up strawberries, i had a chance to check in on them.

they love the strawberry tops—and we had plenty to toss into the ring for them to eat. they got busy making a tasty dessert meal out those, alright. there’s nothing quite like making chickens happy.

and we’ve been busy all week around here too; we seem to be getting used to our new living circumstances. after the initial stunned feeling dissipated, we turned out to be pretty good at adapting (it really helps to keep things very simple).

the work is going along quite well; i think the demo is over and the rebuilding has begun. there is a wall of plastic between me and the work area and i don’t go around all that often to check the progress; i leave that up to david, who manages most of the interactions with the work crew.

i do know that much has changed and i will try to get some photos very soon.

the rest of the house has been completely focused on getting us ready for TNNA. we’re having a booth this time, so if you’re heading to columbus for the show, please stop by to visit; we’ll be in the deep south fibers area.

we’ve all got jobs that will contribute to getting us on the show floor on time tomorrow morning. sarah has worked with erica to pull and organize all the knitted samples we’re bringing.

she’s so organized; she’s got all the samples listed in a color-coded spreadsheet, which she uses whenever we have to pull a trunk show or booth setup. have i mentioned how much we love sarah?? we do.

erica (left)  and emily (right) worked on sort of craft project for a couple of evenings this week—a color card we made up of all the bare naked wools yarns we’ve released so far.

we’re not wholesaling these yarns at this point, so we wont’ be showing them at TNNA, but we want to have something to give to other designers who might want to try something out.

i love how all the yarns look together; you can really see that each has its own character and that it’s not just another gray.

i’ve been busy lining up appts for the show, running around getting this and that ready, and working on designs, frantically trying to get a couple of pattern written up before i left so that they could be proofread and test knit while i’m gone. i am going right from TNNA to a teaching gig at shall we knit? in waterloo, ON, so i”ll be away for at least ten days.

we also had a very long meeting on thursday evening at home depot to go over our cabinet order for the kitchen. this is something we already did months ago at another store, but we’ve never been able to get samples from them of the finishes we wanted, so we are now exploring other avenues.

in the meantime, knitting keeps me sane and i’ve been making quite good progress actually on several projects.

my sea pearl sweater is going gangbusters; i’m so pleased with the progress i’m making on it. sea pearl is so easy to knit with, it just makes me want to pick up the project and work on it obsessively. it helps that the main stitch pattern is so easy to work, too; i can basically take this one anywhere at the point it’s at now.

one of the things i love so much about sea pearl is how lovely the fabric feels next to the skin; it’s silky, but has wonderful body, too. right off the needles the surface is rather bumpy, but after a bath, it smooths out miraculously into a satiny fabric with a beautiful luster.

my little pea vines mini is coming along such a treat! it’s actually done now, but i have some progress shots from the last few days

i will use this tiny sample in both my shawl project class and my blocking class at shall we knit? next weekend.

so i’m leaving it unblocked for now. the mini has all the same sections and stitch patterns as the adult version, just tinier. susan says i should release a pattern for it; what do you think?

my ghillie sock is almost done as well, though i don’t have a current photo. i’ll get one today and post it next time. and now, it’s show time; we are heading over to the show floor to have some breakfast with the shalimar yarns gang and open our booth.

i’ve got great photos from our setup yesterday and i’m sure we’ll have lots more later today, so stay tuned; we will TRY not to be so out of touch.

i also have several patterns ready for release but have just been so tied up with business that i’ve not been able to organize their release. but this coming week, things should be more calm and i’ll have time to take care of that.

sheltie triangle

Posted on 7 CommentsPosted in patterns

the middle of the month signals just one thing around here—time to release the next pattern from the bare naked knitspot 2012 club. last june we had a wonderful chapter that featured brooklyn tweed loft, which was fairly new to the yarn market at the time.

we shipped the yarn in a set of three colorways for a total of approximately 800 yards of yarn with which to knit a set of pieces that explored a range of colorwork techniques from simple stripes to the more involved color stranding.

fascinated by this new tangent i’d gone off on, mister knitspot even made a little film about stranding technique to show members how it’s done. and although i am not in any way and expert in the matter, i agreed to act in the film. (the apples in clover tam will have its own release in due time)

this was such a fun chapter in our club; at first, i think some members were a little flummoxed that they had to make some design decisions for themselves, but once they got over that initial nervousness and started seeing examples knit by clubbies who forged right ahead, everyone threw themselves into the fray and got busy knitting on their own creations.

it was one of our most fun and productive months ever in the club, i believe! i was especially impressed by the number of clubbies who tackled the big sheltie square throw option (also coming soon; just room for one pattern at a time!)

in 2012, we filmed each chapter in both color AND black and white. i loved the effect of using both formats in the chapters, though it did add a degree of difficulty to presenting some of the material (the beautiful variations of the animals’ colors don’t shine through as well in B&W).

anyway, it turned out to be fascinating for me to see all the variations one could achieve with the same three neutral tones.

the idea here was to recreate a modern version of the scottish hap shawl, which is a simple everyday garment knit from shetland fingering wool, often using leftover amounts of various colors to make striped effects.

many of our knitters added bits and bobs of other yarns to the mix to enhance the music and movement of the hem striping.

because the hap is traditionally worn as a workaday article while doing chores or moving about one’s errands, i named it for the scottish sheltie dogs who work at sheep herding. the striping of our hap reminded me very much of the dramatic coloring in their coats.

when our own yarns were ready for sampling, one of the first things i asked vanessa to knit for us was the gorgeous sheltie triangle above in three of our breakfast blend fingering yarn colors. i am very much looking forward to the day when all our colors are back in stock and we can feature the shawl on its product pages (hopefully by the end of the summer; we’re getting close to deciding on a new mill).

and shown below, the medium size triangle knit by karolyn in brooklyn tweed loft, a woolen spun fingering yarn which knits up light as a feather. here in colors fossil (lightest), woodsmoke (medium),  and soot(dark gray)

i knit the petite size triangle below in the same three colors, but arranged them differently

and used them rather haphazardly in my hem, in  contrast to karolyn’s more formal interpretation. see what i mean about making some design decisions? not tough at all and a lot of fun once you get going.

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.

as mentioned earlier, the sheltie triangle is also included in the BNK 2012 eBook, collection—twelve 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 (it takes a few seconds to view).

another fun thing to do—click here to view the sheltie triangle project pages to see more examples of these shawls knit by club members and photographed on a variety of people and in alternate yarns.

and of course, please come over to our ravelry groups to join in the fun there; we have live threads for all of these projects and more that we welcome you to take part in.