thirteen miles on the erie canal

Posted on Posted in Bare Naked Wools, book reviews/events, designing


another cold but gloriously sunny morning for the third annual second sole made in america race. i’m a happy camper if we are lucky enough not to have a high wind for the event and today we got lucky indeed.


mister knitspot accompanied me to the start line to take a few photos; i use a phone app to track my pace along the route.


the race is run almost entirely on the wooded paths that hug the edge of the ohio & erie canal where it runs through the neighboring town of massillon. one of these years i will remember to take photos along the way; the tree-lined route is so pretty this time of year!

unfortunately, no photos of the finish; david was staying warm and dry in a nearby coffee shop when i crossed the line, a little earlier than i expected. i didn’t think i’d end up with a good time today; i’ve been running regularly, but have not been putting in many longer training runs (early fall is so busy with travel, etc., i tend to skimp on training as i should). but thanks to a good base of every day workouts, i managed to pull out a decent time anyway; i’m sure i’ll pay for that tomorrow, haha.

meanwhile back at the ranch, four large and heavy boxes arrived this week form our ohio mill, packed tight with favorite yarns that were sold out for a while.


shades of better breakfast DK and fingering yarn, plus the long awaited ginny DK (i have been coveting a caïssa sweater in this yarn myself, maybe the mississippi shade . . . or should i do georgia?)


AND, hemp, hemp, hemp, in all shades, both lace and fingering weight. if you’ve been waiting on these yarns for say and atlantique top or a freefall stole, now is the time to pounce; they are all restocked.

i spent the week immersed in a spate of secret knitting projects which meant i didn’t have much to blog about (sorry!). now that those are done, i can turn back to some works in progress that i’m excited about.


my wool skirt (which i’m knitting in our kent DK, color driftwood)is coming along nicely and actually, it was good to spend some time looking at it from afar, adding to it only a bit. today i ran a waste yarn through the sts and took it off the needles to get a better look at how it’s shaping up.


first of all i am very happy with the shaping; the idea here is to achieve an elegant A-line shape, not too full at the bottom, but definitely nothing close to a pencil skirt either—i’m pretty sure that a more form-fitting shape would bag out after sitting in it a bit, whereas one that loosens at the hip to fall into slight folds will not. the waist will be elastic, but i don’t want too much gathering there (i avoid the dirndl shape at all costs, haha).

the inspiration for this design comes from my attraction to the wonderful skirts i’ve seen offered by activewear companies like ibex and title nine. i have a couple and they are terrific for adding a layer over tights or leggings—like a sweater for your legs. plus they travel really well.


(right now my sample looks just a  little bulky where the casing folds over at the waist, but the fabric will be much sleeker and have a lovely, light drape after blocking—that waist will flatten out nicely.)

i’ve been happy to put it on hold for a few days because i’m waffling about whether to add another repeat of the diagonal texture pattern to the top portion. my original design plan was to use the texture around the top, where the flattering diagonals would carry the eye downward. below the hip, “stripes” of ribbing would lend a more streamlined appearance, with increases in the between panels to shape the flare. then at the hem, one repeat of the texture pattern, enlarged by the increased stitch count.


what i can’t decide is if i should add another repeat of diagonals around the hips. i’m worried that once a shirt or top is added to the outfit, most of the pattern will be hidden and the skirt will look too plain. i’m not that far past the point where a second repeat could be added; i wouldn’t lose much by ripping back now. whole thing will end just above the knee (about four inches below the body of the dress form), so there isn’t a huge canvas with which to work. what do you think? if i have more pattern at the top, will i lose the illusion of that sleek length? decisions, decisions . . . hmmm, i wonder if i can photoshop a mockup?


well it turns out i can! and i’m so glad i did—because i absolutely hate it.
WAY too much, right? yeah . . SO wrong; we totally lose that sleek vertical line.


it looks infinitely more tailored and sophisticated without, i think. plus, it gives more wiggle room for changing the length and keeping the design intact.

wow, thanks you guys for helping me work that out. now i can stay calm and knit on, haha.


in other knitting news, i am swatching once again—this time for the annual red scarf project and our related scholarship fundraiser pattern. yes, it’s that time of year again, when we ramp up for the holidays by rallying together to make a good thing happen. you can read about the details in blog posts from previous decembers or at the foster care to success website.

in a nutshell, the organization lends assistance to kids who have aged out of the foster care system and are navigating an upward path by putting themselves through college. these students do not have the support of a family, so we try to pitch in with help.

here at knitspot, what began as a participation in the annual scarf drive has evolved—through your abundant generosity—to include a separate knitspot scholarship fundraiser. i create a special, original scarf pattern each year (which can be knit for the scarf drive or not) and all december sales of it generate our funding.


for the last three years, our scholarship has been awarded to brandy, who is enrolled as a junior in the curatorial studies program at washington university. we have watched her grow as a student and hope to help her finish out with a successful senior year in 2016/17; our funding helps to reduce some of the financial stress of putting herself through college.

we really enjoyed your excitement and participation that resulted from getting the pattern out early last year, so we plan to do it again! we should have the pattern ready right around thanksgiving (last year it was released on 11/25, our marriage anniversary, so i’m thinking that repeating that might be a nice touch).

by popular demand from readers, we will offer options to purchase the pattern at various price levels for those that want to give a little more (thank you so SO much for suggesting we enable your generosity!).


we are also putting together a kit in the seasonal “festivus” yarn—i KNOW! it will be a different base this year and we are working with a favorite dyer to get the perfect 2015 red. AND, we are thinking gradients, since they are so popular—i KNOW!! i think this will be a terrific update for our community project, providing oodles of possibility for participants to put their own stamp on the design, plus generate even more dollars for the fund.

while we await the dye samples (which should be arriving any day now), i am swatching a motif i’ve had my eye on with shades of our confection sport. we are so excited about this project—there are so many possibilities for options. i’m pretty sure the pattern will have not only the traditional scarf and cowl versions, but a wrap as well—one of those warm squishy manLace type rectangles.

so stay tuned and start planning—there will be several ways that you can help get the word out to make this our most successful year yet. i’ll be back soon with a swatching samples, dye dips, and more information!

15 thoughts on “thirteen miles on the erie canal

  1. LOVE the skirt, Anne! You were so right…I thought I liked the repeat until I saw without….it is classier with just the diagonal rib. Can’t wait to see the red scarf pattern and yarn!!

  2. Definitely right decision on the skirt. I love the sleek look. Amazing what you can do with photoshop. Looking forward to seeing the Red Scarf projects.

  3. I also am glad that you lost the 2nd repeat. For many women the lower abdominal region (yes, I’m talking post birthing) is not an area that needs to be highlighted!

  4. What a whirlwind! You must have had an outstanding time if David wasn’t at the finish–I think more bragging is in order. The red scarf project can change a life in such a significant way–thank you for all you do! The design of the skirt is lovely–are girdles coming back lol!

  5. So happy you had a good race, Anne. You made the right decision on the skirt proving less is more. I’m excited for the annual red scarf fundraiser. And a new Festivus yarn. You’ve been busy!

  6. Love the skirt, and I look forward to seeing the re-vamped Festivus! Congrats on a good race time, too!

  7. Congrats on running a good race. The scenery must have given you wings. I also think less is more for the skirt. Nice to see the two to confirm the decision. Looking forward to the scarf!

  8. Another great “peak behind the curtain”. I think I have figured out how you manage to be such a prolific designer…’s all Photoshop! Ha!

    But seriously, it is a great design.

  9. The skirt looks WAY better with just one repeat at the top I agree! Can’t wait to see what’s in store for the red scarf!

  10. I absolutely love the skirt in progress. I’m curious if you considered having a single repeat extend further down, so you would wind up with a stripe of patterning. I can’t quite picture it in my mind, so it may not work at all.

  11. Congratulations on a successful race! I am super-excited to hear about the possibility of a gradient kit. Having avoided wearing red for most of my life, I am drawn to it more and more these days. Knowing how fast your kits sell out, I just hope I am in the right place at the right time when they go on sale!

  12. Congratulations on the run!

    I’m excited about this year’s red scarf kit naturally and what a great idea to makeit easier for us to add on an extra donation (you have such smart readers)!

  13. My knitting has been in the doldrums lately. I think a new red scarf design is exactly what it needs to perk up. This program got me inspired to look around and I found my alma mater has a similar program on their campus. They get a gift from me also these days. Thanks for championing these young people that need a little help to launch them into successful lives.

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