what keeps you warm?

Posted on Posted in Bare Naked Wools, designing, food and garden, projects


oooh, is it cold and blustery out there. and it’s supposed to continue through the weekend, brrr.


luckily, we know how to stay cozy and create a little spring inside to cheer us up.


i know orchids are kind of joke with some people but i love them. they bloom at just the right time of year, in deep winter, when the rest of the landscape is mostly barren. they have flowers for months and well, they are just so weird and fascinating—i could look at them all day.

i’m particularly attached to this one, which went dormant over the summer, but which i managed to bring back this winter. i’ve always had a rather black thumb for houseplants.


but orchids now—these i can grow, seemingly. david found all of these at home depot on the $5 clearance shelf and indeed they were just about to drop their flowers when they came home with him in november. but i’ve been coaching them to expect more out of life and to live beyond the moment and i think it’s working!

a couple that had begun to molt are now pushing out new buds.


this is the newest one and it came to us loaded with flowers, so i’ve just been working at keeping it healthy. it had started acting funny (as in shriveling) when i had it in the window over the sink with the others, so i moved it to its own spot and it’s bounced back beautifully.


we still have a large rose-colored poinsettia as well, which is showing no signs whatsoever of kicking the bucket. i’m hoping that it will last til spring when we can put it outside.


we are also staying cozy with lots of knitting. i’ve been working up a small project—plain fingerless men’s mitts—in some of the old breakfast blend DK in bakery rye.


they are working up a treat, so soft and squishy, i love the way they feel. i might need to make myself a pair in the fingering weight.


after systematically swatching and framing out a bunch of spring patterns, and simultaneously finishing up several secret projects, i’m finally ready to cast on. i can’t WAIT to start the first piece. i’ll tell you more about all that next week; i don’t want to dilly dally here and end up with no knitting time tonight.


we recently finished a sock class at the shop, which ran on saturday mornings and was a lot of fun. hilary (center) got her mom mary (left) to sign up and we had a blast knitting with her each week. she is so delighted to be knitting again after a long hiatus.


i even finished up this sock which i knit in stone soup fingering yarn, in the now discontinued travertine shade (sorry, our mill just can’t make it any more). this is just a (mostly) plain stockinette sock that i’ve knit to test drive SSF as a sock yarn. with its firm twist and sturdy fiber content (several heritage wools and alpaca, AKA nature’s nylon), it should wear well. and with a healthy merino content, it’s awfully soft as well.


and today i washed it; doesn’t it clean up nicely? nothing like a hot, hot bath and a capful of wool soap to make a good knit really shine. now, i just need to knit the mate and i’ll have a new pair to walk around in.


we do have a couple of new classes scheduled, too—barb will be teaching beginning knitting on monday afternoons while i’m out of town in march; doesn’t she look like someone you’d like to learn to knit from?? trust me, you do.


and when i get back in mid march, i’ll be teaching a wheaten project class on saturdays; you can knit the scarf, wrap, or a blanket—whatever size is comfortable for you. it’s a very versatile pattern that you can knit in fingering or worsted weight yarn.


if you live close by and you’re interested in one of these opportunities (or know someone who would be) please leave a comment or email erica (operationsATknitspotDOTcom); she will get you signed up.


speaking of barb, have you see her recently completed see the sea shawl?? so pretty. i’m always cheering a little inside when barb gets excited about a lace project—she vowed years ago that she would never be a lace knitter, but she enjoys it now. it took a while to grow on her but i think it’s gotten under her skin . . .


that green shawl wasn’t off the needles but a day or two and she was texting me to ask what other quick shawl she could knit. i made a few suggestions but she needed up putting the hazard wrap on the needles in kent DK in white sand—something to travel with on her florida trip this weekend (she was SO smart to get out of town in this bitter cold).

and if it says anything about how soft this romney blend is, barb was going on and on about how nice the better breakfast felt in her hands, haha. when i got up to take a closer look, i saw it was really the kent.


this is another shop project we completed recently—well i should clarify that by “we” i meant barb did all the knitting and i coordinated the project, haha. when our ohio mill owners came to visit just before christmas, we showed them all the BNW ensemble pieces that had been recently photographed. carrie threw on the oculus coat (knit in chebris worsted, which is spun at their mill) and it looked absolutely smashing on her.

the next morning at around 7:30, i got a text from robbie, asking if he could buy it from us for her christmas gift. awww—so sweet, right?? well, we couldn’t let our own sample go, but i told him i could find a knitter and order some handmade buttons to make her an exact copy. and that’s what we did. we mailed it out about ten days ago and by all accounts, she is thrilled. they are supposed to be sending photos, which i’m sure will show off the coat better, haha


winter is such a good time for cooking and baking and tho i don’t have a lot of free time to do it, once in a  while i just get the urge to try something new. and for me, that is usually some new frontier in gluten free baking.


i haven’t eaten pizza in over two years, so i recently tried a quick recipe and it wasn’t bad! the top part was great, in fact, our usual recipe for pizza toppings. while not an epic fail, the dough could have been better, so i will definitely be trying a few other recipes for that.


and for my birthday last week, i made this awesome carrot cake which DID turn out really good. i used my longtime favorite carrot cake which started as this martha stewart recipe and has developed into our own recipe over many years of baking it. i made it exactly as i’ve made it in the past, with just the substitution of the GF flour blend i’ve been putting together myself, using recipes from this page. for this cake, i used the “better than cup 4 cup” blend.

then we invited eight or ten of our dear friends over to share it; no one could tell it was any different than a regular cake—it was high, super moist, dense with carrots, nuts, citrus zest, and some dried fruit. and naturally, slathered with cream cheese frosting. we even had a chunk left to eat as a treat over the next few days. yum.


alright now, i’m going to end this; my swatches and pattern are calling. i have a LOT of knitting to get done by the middle beginning of april!


oh one last thing—the IMMERSION club, shipping this weekend, is virtually sold out now—just a tiny handful of spots left. if you are thinking of joining or double dipping, now is the time to grab one of the last ones!

for the first time thee is an absolute limit on the number of total spots, as one of our featured yarns will only be available in a set quantity. when they’re gone, they’re gone!

11 thoughts on “what keeps you warm?

  1. I am a HUGE fan of cauliflower crust pizza. GF, low carb and so tasty.
    My orchid is sending out baby blossoms now too! I can’t wait! (Also can’t wait for my first blue skeins to arrive!)
    Stay warm!

  2. I love your orchids! I tried them for awhile, but they languished and never bloomed again. Maybe I should give it another try. Love Barb’s cowl! I started a petite see the sea with an additional skein that I got from your shop/David. You inspire me to cook more too! Especially pizza. Those swatches, ah! Especially those three on the right hand side of the photos….Ahhhhhhh! Very curious to see what they will turn in to. My wood stove is keeping me warm so far. But I’ll have to let the oil furnace take over – supposed to be -24 tonight, not including the wind chill. The wood stove heat doesn’t distribute well in the house – unless I decide to knock down all the walls!

  3. I saw Robbie and Carrie today at their mill! I picked up the first run of our hobby farm’s Suri alpaca yarn and I couldn’t be happier. I owe you a huge “Thank you” for mentioning and linking their mill in a post about a year ago, as that is how I found out about them. They are truly special people; so helpful and hard-working. I am going through your beautiful pattern gallery to try and pick out a match for your pattern and my yarn. I’ll let you know what I decide. Thank you so much for connecting us! Always a fan of your work and blog. 😄

  4. Your house is so inviting–yummy food, beautiful flowering plants, and knitting, knitting, knitting. What could be better.

    P.S. I am intrigued with the swatches. Can’t wait to see what you do with them!

  5. Hi Anne-
    I just wanted to say that I hope if you find a good GF pizza dough recipe that you will share here. I have been trying to find one and am not succeeding. They either turn out completely soggy and falling apart, or else they are like a piece of cardboard.
    Thanks & lovely pics!. I have a black thumb with all plants- especially orchids. Yours look amazing. And I love the introverted orchid that needed space by itself to thrive. I can totally relate. 🙂

  6. Orchids are amazing. My mother keeps them. It is always amazing to see, year after year, what appears to be a stick in a pot of dirt blossom into a thing of beauty. I never knew orchids were a joke. I think they are imbued with fairytale magic!

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