long on love

Posted on 4 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, book reviews/events, designing, food and garden, lace/shawls


here we are in albany, enjoying a weekend away from home. even though these times away are far to short, ti’s still nice to get a few hours extra sleep each night and slow down the pace a bit.

always before we leave there is a mad dash to tie up a bevy of loose ends in an attempt to get a little ahead of the game for our return.


by wednesday night, i had almost everything done—i had picked all but the last minute vegetables and cooked whatever was sitting around in the fridge and on the counters . . .


first, all the tomatoes got cooked down and puréed


to make a base for my favorite italian stew, ciambotta. almost everything in this pot is form our garden, yum! the only ingredients we didn’t grow are the carrots and celery. i made it with all my preferred ingredients—onion, yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, celery, carrot, potato—and also threw in some slices of larger okra, since it is plentiful and i’m looking for any excuse to use it.

omg, this came out ssooo good! it’s the first time i’ve used our potatoes this year and they taste aMAZing. i uaully put in extra since i love the potatoes in this dish.

i boxed up a big carton to bring along to my mom’s and left one at home so we can enjoy it when we return.

by wednesday night i was 95 percent ready; i just needed to bake some fruit bars after knit night and pick the last of the vegetables on thursday morning.


but i even got a little ahead of schedule when no one showed up for knit night. i knew barb was away but none of the others came, probably due to the torrential rain that came down just about the time we opened.

back across the alley i scurried, turned on the oven, and started mixing ingredients. even an extra hour feels like a bonus when preparing to leave for the weekend.


the next morning was bright and cool and i was up early to strip the garden of as many beans, okra, tomatoes, chard, and other ripe items as i could. these tomatoes could sit and ripen fully indoors while we were gone. and my mom just loves fresh produce, so we packed a big box of tender green beans, chard, and all the rest.

off we went!


i drove the first half and then david took over. the first thing i did after taking over the passenger seat was to pull out my sweater back and get going on adding some inches. hehe, then i fell asleep—it happens on every trip; become hypnotized by the road and fall asleep for a stretch. but not for long, just enough to rest my eyes and soon i was back at work.


between then and the next morning i added two more rows of blocks and had just one more to go before starting the armhole shaping (and a considerable reduction in the stitch count, always a bonus).

yesterday was mostly filled with errands and cooking, but after supper, i picked up again. having brought just one project to work on has been a good thing in this case and i’m making excellent progress toward a finished sweater.


i’ve completed the armhole shaping and am working my way up to the neck shaping; it won’t be long til this back piece is complete. i brought an extra set of needles so i could cast on for the final sleeve piece and have something extra-portable to take along for knitting at the picnic on sunday. i am determined to finish this sweater very soon and if i can get the pieces all finished over this weekend, i’ll give myself extra points, haha.


today was the big day—our first family picnic in a number of years, but what a great day we had for a good turnout of at least 150 people. four generations of my mom’s family (on her mother’s side) got together to eat and have fun, as we had nearly every labor day weekend of my childhood and young adulthood. above is the oldest living generation—my mom and her surviving cousins (there used to be a lot more!), children of the the original nine sisters and brothers of my grandma’s generation.


it was really nice to see so many of my cousins removed again (second generation) and to introduce them to david and other new members of our family. there are actually a LOT more of us than are represented here; a lot of my generation couldn’t make it this year.

everyone contributed information to add to the family tree, so we should know soon to what number we’ve grown since we started having the annual picnic in the 1960s.


this is the third generation—children of my cousins and second cousins. the fourth generation are all babes in arms at this point, and for some reason they did not have that group line up for photos.


my mom’s family has always been very camera happy—we have an excellent collection of family photos that dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. they never minded spending a little money on capturing the good times and life’s milestones. this display is made up of photos form past picnics—i noticed that it almost never rained, haha.

i did bring my knitting and work don that sleeve that i cast on, but truthfully, there was so much to do and so many people to hug and talk to that i didn’t get much done. still, it was nice to have a little quiet time to sit with david under the trees and knit while we watched others play volleyball.

we’ll be heading home in the morning; i will catch up with you later this week once we are there. hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend and are heading back to work refreshed.

neck and neck

Posted on 13 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, book reviews/events, designing, lace/shawls


in between preparing for the pairings club and the fall/winter ensemble, we’ve had an exciting summer project going here at knitspot HQ—we’re producing a book of all-new lace scarf designs.

this project is actually several years in the making—i started working on a slightly different version in 2010, which was going to be part compendium of existing patterns with some new designs added and a lot of text.

but i had to put that project aside for sheer lack of manpower; david and i were still doing everything ourselves at the time. earlier this year i noticed a big trend toward the old lace scarf patterns in our sales and i thought it would be a good time to dust off that project and get moving on making it a reality.

i decided to forego the idea of compiling older pattern into the book and make it all new designs, keeping it to a number that was manageable for a fairly short production timeline.


we are able to use some of the samples from the previous conception of this project; the designs that were new have still not been published. those are mostly knit in hand-dyed selections from artist collaborators i’ve worked with over the last decade.


but in the years between, we have started producing our own yarns, so each design will now be represented in both hand-dyed version as well as one of our bare naked wools selections.


a couple of designs will be interpreted in several shapes—such as this pair, which share a stitch pattern but are produced by different constructions.


there were just a couple of designs that i wanted to see in varying formats; it’s not necessarily right for all the designs and i didn’t want to bring that level of pressure to the project.

the set of swatches above was knit for a series of three separate designs, all using the same stitch pattern, but in different types of yarn.


this book is really about the spirit of the little nothings first and foremost—fun, simple constructions that are more or less an extended swatch, but also happen to be incredibly pretty. the design process is subject to my whims and interest at the moment; it’s very much off the cuff. some pieces beg me for more interpretation and some don’t.

we know from watching hundreds of knitters work with the existing patterns that they offer a lot of freedom to put one’s own stamp on the design or to expand it into an interesting variation.

and we also know that there are lots and LOTS of knitters who, at the end of the day, just want someone else to do the math so they can enjoy the knitting.


the book will include general information about substituting yarns into the patterns, scarves into cowls or stoles, working with different fiber types, and blocking. to get you started, we’ll provide examples of how we changed the size of a sample or substituted yarn to create an alternate look.


please excuse the fact that some of these samples still need to be blocked—i plan to have a couple of big blocking days in a week or two, shortly before we photograph everything so they all look freshly primped.


as i mentioned earlier, the original project was put on the back burner due to lack of manpower for production. but back then as well as now, we had SO much support and help in one area and that was the test and sample knitting. thanks to our super-supportive ravelry mothership group, we’ve gathered a crack team of knitters who have produced the beautiful pieces you see here.

i want to thank them from the bottom of my heart for making this all-new set of samples possible. more about them individually in the book!


for now, take a minute to go over and browse the little nothings knitting thread; you will be treated not only to additional photos of samples in progress, but to discussion about the yarns we’ve used.

and of course, they can’t do anything without a healthy injection of funny chit-chat, so i highly recommend it at the start of your day.

i myself got totally sucked in when my swatch for one of the designs took on a life of its own to become and actual sample.

one minute i was knitting a small triangular test piece and seemingly in the next moment i was casting off a scarf—how did that happen?

with all of the patterns done now and the sample knitting nearly complete, i am putting together the “general guidelines” pages. with three weekends of travel in a row and the next installment of the club to go out in two weeks, i’m a little nervous about finishing everything but hoping that the rest of the knitspot team can handle the photography and other details without me.


and still trying to figure out how to shoehorn the new tencel blend into the script—hopefully we can!

are you excited? i think it’s going to be lots of fun going into the holidays to have a whole new collection, where you can share your projects and yarn choices and enjoy the company. because not everyone is a sweater knitter, right? and we are very very glad there are all kinds.


so keep your eyes on the blog, our rav group, and our newsletter these next few weeks—we will share progress as things pull together. it won’t be long!