Posted on 22 CommentsPosted in patterns


some months back when ordering yarn for FIFC 2013, we overshot on the estimates we thought we’d need for the first few shipments and found ourselves in possession of one hundred extra skeins of briar rose stella lace yarn in a special put-up. Winterwood046_72dpi

hey, we thought, let’s get those dyed in a unique colorway and create a special holiday design for it. when we proposed this idea to chris at briar rose fibers, she got very excited, saying she had a cranberry color in mind that she’d been dying to work on.


oooh, i thought, i had always wanted to design a small shawl based on my snow on cedars mitts design; this would be the perfect opportunity to do it.


and so this pretty crescent shawl was conceived. the rich cranberry colorway is enhanced by the silk content in the yarn base so that the reds shimmer with inner light, adding just the right twinkle to the branches of tree and snowflake


the crescent shape carries the lace composition in a graceful sweep around the shoulders, giving winter outfits a whole new look—and who doesn’t need a little pop of brighter color right about now?


the fabric is so fine it can be gathered up around the neck in surprisingly warm folds to line the neck of a coat or jacket with panache or piled high in a warm beehive shape from collarbones to chin.


once you’re warmed up or find yourself indoors for a bit, loosen the ends to release a cascade of pattern.


the shawl pattern is written for two sizes—petite/tall—and this limited-edition the kit (just 95 of them) includes enough yarn to make either one. the piece shown here is the petite size.


to purchase a kit or view complete kit information, please click here to visit the knitspot pattern shop. we’ll be starting up a  KAL for this project in our mothership ravelry group as part of selfish knitting month (and beyond; we never stop at just one month, haha)


i can’t thank our friend karolyn enough for agreeing to knit this shawl in between all the secret knitting she does for our club installments each month. i was completely shameless in exploiting her love for reds and for briar rose yarn when i dangled this carrot in front of her. but she does such lovely work, sigh . . . i couldn’t resist trying. thank you, dear karolyn; you’re one in a  million.


and then there is chris of briar rose fibers, who is always so enthusiastic about collaborating—yes, we go way back and we know each other well, but she still digs deep to contribute her best artistic effort in each of our partnerships—i really love and respect that about her; thank you chris.


and many thanks to my dear sister in law, nan, who we dragged out into the cold for an impromptu photo shoot—isn’t she just lovely? i couldn’t have asked for our project to be set off to better advantage.


(micah wants me to make sure and mention that he helped too)

boy crazy

Posted on 10 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events, projects


has everyone been having a nice holiday? here in ohio, santa has been very good to us indeed, bringing us family and good food and a bit of distraction from our usual busy pace.

micah is entranced with this ornament of a little baby snuggled inside a nutshell. he’s informed me several times that it doesn’t need to be on the tree; he knows a better spot for it (probably safe inside his pocket, haha). this is actually one of my oldest ornaments, handmade by someone special and gifted to me when i was about twenty years old. i’m torn—i want to give it to him to take home, but even MORE, i want to look forward to seeing him enjoy its magic it each year when he visits; i think that’s important too. i remember that growing up, it was fun to know that when we visited this aunt or that godmother, our nana or grandma, there were special fascinating items we looked forward to seeing each time as part of their homes.


christmas day was a bit dark and damp, a good day to stay in to cook, knit, and enjoy each other’s company. amad and i were up very early as usual (we are always the first two out of bed). i had started my last two christmas knitting projects just the night before, using our december club yarn and pattern (the pattern is exclusive to our FIFC 2013 club, but you can still join as an eBook member here or here). well, i didn’t get much further than row three before my eyes began to close and i had to go to bed. so up early christmas morn; we made ourselves some tea and coffee to sip while i knit and amad played on his tablet.

by ten o’clock i had the first cap done and was started on the second. when i was about halfway through it though, i had to take a break to get dinner started—we had a bunch of cooking to do! we’d postponed our feast of fishes from christmas eve (as is traditional) to christmas day, when we could take things at a more leisurely pace. i had cooked the calamari sauce the night before and put the bacala in its marinade while nan made tiramisu. i still needed to prepare smelts for frying, bake the marinated bacala, made our salad of oranges, anchovies, garlic, and pepper, and cook some pasta.

i knit a few rows here and there throughout the afternoon, while the pots bubbled or when there was a lull.


soon it was time to eat—first the appetizer of pan-fried smelts with our slide. i honestly thought that amad and micah would be much more hesitant about eating these foods which were foreign to them, but boy-oho-boy was i wrong


they fell upon their plates like they’d never seen food before, exclaiming the whole time and fighting over the last little fish and orange slice. i suddenly felt myself channeling my grandpa who used to chuckle out loud while watching us eat.


(amad is currently into photo bombing; we have to watch him like a hawk whenever the camera is out)

i was worried they had filed up so much on those dishes, there wouldn’t be room for the pasta with calamari sauce, but i was proved wrong again—they emptied their bowls and even ate dessert a little later. wow.



a little after-dinner ninja fighting so the food could settle before we opened gifts, gave me some time to work the last decrease rows on the second hat.


i finished up while we drank our coffee, just in time for the opening of presents. (stop laughing—i know you’ve gifted mitts without thumbs before and little cowls that were still warm from your hands!)


next came an hour or so of insanity while presents were distributed and unwrapped. the boys weren’t expecting anything because their big gift was a trip to ohio, but i had a few things for them, like fun swag i’d collected from races and a couple of backpacks filled with race t-shirts (seriously, they love those trophy shirts).



the hats and mittens were a huge hit—they don’t really need these in las vegas, but they do need them here. much better for playing in the snow than fingerless mitts.



and everything fit great, with a little room to grow as well. so they can wear them next year when they visit!


once those gifts were done, i got back to work on the bocce mitts and hat, a set to coordinate with our baci scarf or cowl. i really like how the mitts came out; now to knit a blue pair to go with the blue bocce hat i knit earlier this week. i have to weight my leftovers to see if i have enough for the mitts; if not, i may ask anne marie to send hers.


alternatively (and probably more conveniently) i was thinking of using this shibui alpaca yarn, which actually is a much better match than it looks in the photo, though a different texture. it might be nice (and certainly educational) to see how the mitts knit up in an alternate yarn. decisions, decisions . . .


speaking of the baci scholarship fundraiser pattern, i have an update on our goal, which is to match last year’s scholarship of $3500. we are about two-thirds of the way there, with a total so far of about $2200. we have a few days to go and there are a couple of ways you can help, even if you’ve already purchased a pattern or kit or even if you can’t spend money yourself.

please tell a friend (or two or three!), mention it at knit group or your new year’s eve gathering, put it on your facebook page, tweet it, tumblr it, or instagram it—feel free to grab a copy of the pattern photo from our product or blog page and post it with your recommendation.


tell friends that if they purchase a pattern we give the entire sale price to the red scarf scholarship fund and if they purchase a kit, we give MORE. we would love for a miracle to help us reach this goal. thank you everyone for your contributions.


in these last few days of the year, i’ve got to get some secret project work done as well as the hat and mitts pattern written up so it can go to proofreading. our first new release of the new year, maybe? hmm no, i think that will actually be one of the new shawls i was telling you about last time.


but first, we are enjoying the end of our visit with nan and the boys—they’ll go home the day after new year’s and we’re spending these last couple of days getting a new year’s even celebrations together (nan will cook thai food, MMM-mm). yesterday we shopped at our local asian market and took a trip to the apple orchard swell, giving uncle david an afternoon of peace and quiet (he took a nap, haha).


and there was also ample opportunity on that fine, spring-like day for photos


i think we were doing incredible hulk on the left and spider man on the right.

it will be much too quiet here after they leave; i can barely think about it.

i’ll be back soon, probably new year’s eve or new year’s day—i’ve got a stack of books on the corner of my desk that is staring me in the eye, begging to be written about. i’m thinking they are part of my new years resolution and trying to find just the right way to honor them.


and now we are off to the akron museum of art for the afternoon; i can’t wait!

That’s a Wrap

Posted on 8 CommentsPosted in projects

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Merry Christmas everyone! I can’t believe it’s the day after already! Wow, was this year full of festivities for our family. And with Baby Knitspot being a little older this year (remember what he looked like last year…)

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the holiday had a little more magic for us all. We started a new tradition this year – Elf on the Shelf.

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We named him Siog (Irish for fairy) and he would magically appear in a new place each morning. I kid you not, Padraig would get up in the morning and rapidly search with his eyes until he spotted him, then squeal and point. It was too precious! It got to the point that we could say, “where’s the elf?” and he would crawl around frantically until he found him.

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Since Thanksgiving, we’ve spent a lot of time with our family and friends. My brother and his wife get more excited by the day for the arrival of their lil guy. They spent a weekend with us in early December to shop baby stores at our mall and see Santa.

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We couldn’t get over how Padraig just posed for the camera, and then he would listen to Santa

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and pose again for the camera.

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Then all of a sudden, it was fun no more!

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Poor little guy! I bet lots of you have photos just like this in your family archives!

All the holiday travel has presented some extra knitting time and I’ve been progressing along nicely on my Scotty in the passenger seat.

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I’m knitting it out of Fiberstory Fave in Spiced (details here) and I can’t wait until I add the buttons I found at Rhinebeck. A lot of my other planned knitting didn’t meet the holiday deadline, so i’ve decided on this new mantra “Keep Calm and Finish it for Next Christmas”. I’ve had a ball watching everyone finish their projects in the Countdown to Christmas KAL, and for those of us that didn’t make it I say we start a new thread and get those gifts knit all year. I have a lot of Bare Naked Wools ideas that I would love to gift next year. Speaking of which, the Herrington KAL has been extended! Please join us, there are more prizes to be awarded! I’ve got two of these on the needles, so I’m knitting along with the group to finish them for 2014 Christmas gifts.

The rest of the season we spent decorating the house and tree, anticipating Santa’s arrival. Here’s the rest of our holiday in photos…

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And to our surprise, we had a white Christmas in both Kalamazoo (celebrated on Dec 22) and at home in Detroit! We were elated! For some silly reason, it is pure magic to me when you can see grass on Christmas Eve and there’s a white blanket on everything Christmas Day.

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This occurrence also makes for great toque wearing weather! Thank you to everyone participating in the Vintage Knitspot – Woodcutter’s Toque contest. I know it sparked some of you to cast on for Christmas gifts. The winner of the contest is Bonnie C. Congrats! Happy holidays everyone and if I don’t see you soon, Happy 2014!

a shining light (or three)

Posted on 13 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events


i never noticed this in christmases past, but bret’s little penguin is actually knitted (in my defense, there is just SO much else to look at over there, it completely passed me by).


but yes—when you look close, it’s constructed of a garter-stitch net, knit from what appears to be some kind of plastic bouclé, that is pulled over a wire form.  even its little scarf is garter stitch—wow. just wow.

i think i can speak for all of us when i say the we’ve been on pins and needles to know if bret’s annual christmas display was going to happen across the street. we sorely missed his halloween presentation and have been beaming  up communal karma that the universe would come around and settle in the right alignment for him to be well enough to execute the christmas design he had drawn up. usually he starts on the day after thanksgiving, but not a creature was stirring over there that weekend. i would have begun feeling nervous, but i knew that the bitter cold was keeping most of us indoors; even i wasn’t running much.


about a week later though, i was working away at my desk when i noticed building materials being dragged out and something happening with them.


over the next couple of days, santa’s throne sprouted on the porch and following that, the man himself to fill it.


while out running one afternoon that week, i saw bret had added some lights and mechanized the figure, so i stopped  and snapped a few pictures.


over the next few days, as the weather warmed up, he slowly added more lights as well as the north pole to santa’s left.


then these appeared on another day—the mysterious parts for some new constructions that i couldn’t really fathom.

we went away on a fiber scouting trip over the first weekend of the month and when we returned, even MORE lights were up, along with some candy cane paths and hanging decorations. no snowmen or elves yet; i always look forward to those.


the whole design is finalized about two weeks before the holiday, maybe a little less this year, as bret was taking it very slow. but it was definitely all done by the time the boys arrived.

yesterday while we were putting the final touches on dinner, i noticed that the light were particularly vivid against the gray dusk, so i ran out to get some transitional photos.


look how colorful it all is—i love all that blue with the reds and whites.


dapper snowmen are lined up along the candy cane and snowflake lane that leads to a glowing set of blue stairs


which go straight up to the north pole and santa’s throne. a huge pile of presents waits at the bottom for the sleigh and eight reindeer to come by and pick everyone up for tonight’s flight around the world.


just a little while later, night had fallen and the glow from across the way intensified.



time to walk the walk and discover each piece—frosty is waiting to escort us.



WOW, that santa sure knows how to build anticipation.



further up on the porch, a huge wreath and lots of lights make the outdoor sitting area feel like a stage. the kids just love it.


there is something to look at in every direction—no space is left unfilled or unlit.


every department store santa should be so lucky . . .


looking out over the yard from his perch, santa has a bird eye view of his planet and the children who live on it—he’s watching to see who’s naughty and nice!


deciding who’s going to get presents and who’s going to get coals.


i hope you’ve enjoyed this years trip to santa’s lair; happy holidays to you and yours!