the next big thing

Posted on Posted in designing, food and garden, lace/shawls, projects, spinning and fiber

can you believe this?
i am still collecting vegetables from my garden. mostly it’s just enough for a meal every two or three days, but wow; none of our past gardens have offered up goodies for this long.

this is how my tomato patch looked this morning. the temperature went down to 30 last night. weird, huh?

that, of course, is feeding my sense of denial about the fact that one of these days (“and it won’t be lo-ong . . .”) the garden will die off for the season. but not yet, apparently

the eggplant has never looked better, and is still flowering and making fruit. we’re eating good.

i fell in love with my vegetable garden this summer.
i always liked the garden as a functional addition to the house, and thrilled to the produce we got from it. but this summer, i was unreasonably drawn to everything about it.
there, i admitted it. it was a haven for me the whole season, a way to shower love and care, to coax things to grow and be healthy, and to allow nature to reveal to me the splendor of new life after a difficult spring.
i will probably break down and cry the day i wake up and we’ve had a killing frost. i don’t recognize this in myself . . . i’ve never been so attached to the work or the wonder of it.

for now, the big question is, should i bring in all the green tomatoes or not?? there are tons of them out there, and some of them look like they have great potential to ripen into fat globes of summerness between now and christmas. uh, yeah, i think that’s my answer . . .

i feel bad about this next note, but . . . i was going over the snow on cedars pattern today (i don’t even know why) and i found a tiny error:
page 4 in the palm section, R15 and R17 are incorrect; they should read:
R15: repeat R3
R17: repeat R5

it has been listed on the errata page as well; again i’m sorry for that. people expecting kits will need to make that correction, since those patterns went out the other day.

here’s another sort of ripened produce . . . my grafton fibers sock yarn washed, dried, and skeined—ready to be knit into socks . . . or something. mmm.

winter brings a lot of gray skies to our area, so knitting, spinning, and teaching become the avenues along which i can nurture new growth and be productive

this is renee, the hair-genius who takes a razor to my mop of gray cowlicks every four weeks like clockwork, and fashions into something resembling a hairstyle (ha! using my hair and fashion in the same sentence might be a lie . . .). she makes it look as good as possible, so that i just have to wake up and give it a tousle each day before dashing off.

renee is finally learning how to knit (that explains the radiance we see here). she’s been talking about it for a year, and is now attending classes with the wonderful wednesday afternoon knitters. look at her work—she’s only been at it a couple of weeks, and she’s fixing mistakes on the needles already. next thing you know, she’ll be going to rhinebeck next year. look out.

so now that cluaranach is to be launched tomorrow, what’s the next big thing gonna be??

well, i still have a couple of sweaters on the needles from last year and you know, i’d really like to get those done. but they can be background knitting.

because i DO have a new design project i’ve been keeping a secret from you.

a few months ago, tina newton, at blue moon fiber arts, contacted me about creating a shawl design for her new series of yarns.

i was completely bowled-over and honored to be asked; tina’s yarns are much-coveted as you know, and very beautiful. the hitch (oh groan, there is always a hitch, even when both parties want something so much!) was that in order to be included in tina’s book for the series, i’d have to come up with a design in like, a couple of weeks.

at the time i was in the throes of getting the honeybee stole pattern ready, had myriad other deadlines looming (including the BSP you haven’t seen yet), and wondered if i’d ever have time to even take a shower again.

but i SO wanted to work with her—i have long been an STR virgin (and still am; it might become a badge for me . . .), having too much yarn already and not enough pluck to fight over sock yarn. and i knew wanted to give it up at some point. so i semi-agreed.

and then i got a box of raven yarn samples in the mail. can you say, she came undone, bye-bye?

i took a closer look at my calendar. (see how she snuck in that STR to corrupt my virginity to boot? hehehe, i’ve got her number. oh wait—that would be me that loses if i hold out any longer. damn)

i homed right in on the nearly-black raven series yarns—these are all dyed with the deepest tones of hues from across the color spectrum. though they tend to read in photos as mostly deep blue or black, they have beautiful undertones of plum, red, green, gold, etc.

i checked out the sock yarn but knew that would not work for the kind of lace piece i like to knit. there was a skein of geisha that i loved (shown here already wound), but since another designer is doing a large piece in that, i asked tina if i could work with laci, a soft merino laceweight. she agreed it would be a good choice and one that she did not have represented enough.

but we still had to iron out a timeline, since my own schedule was so tight and her deadline was too close. we talked back and forth about how we might make this happen and we slowly ironed out a great way to do it (tina is very creative, convincing, and flexible).

i would not be in the book.
but this was good!

instead, i would create a design apart from the book schedule and blog it.

the yarn colors have been kept top secret until now, but since the line will be launched on november 5th, and sock club participants have received a sneak peek of the line in their most recent sock kits, it’s time now for me to begin revealing my design.

tina sent me a link to a page of incredible raven photos so i could trawl for information. she sent a video link too but i seem to have misplaced that. too bad; i really felt inspired by that one.

i began thinking about the concept and how i could make it mine . . that is, i wanted the piece to evoke all the raven-ness i could muster without being overly literal. i mean, it’s a shawl first and foremost—it’s knitted lace.

and then, it was interesting in the beginning to work with an idea that came from outside myself, something that i wasn’t necessarily inspired to do on my own at this point in time. this one was plopped rather unexpectedly in my lap, rather than growing slowly from my subconscious.

i struggled with that a bit . . . i worried that since i did not spawn the idea from my own observation and desire, that i would not be able to make a design that was . . . mmm . . . transcendent enough, that had enough distance from the real and literal.

but slowly, as i absorbed the idea and turned it over and over (while working on all my deadlines), i formulated a vision in my mind about what i wanted to do.

next time i’ll show you some swatches and talk about the agonizing process of testing choosing.

39 thoughts on “the next big thing

  1. Oh my goodness…you are just causing a whole lotta trouble up in here! I keep seeing kits of yours that I must make next…despite my new project moratorium until I get some things finished.

    I’ve been soo curious about the Raven series…and now a shawl pattern too…

  2. Well this is just peachy. I want to make my mom a black (or blackish) wrap pretty soon, and I was *this* close to ordering some Morehouse merino laceweight in straight black. And then this comes up! So what should I do? Order the Morehouse? Or wait to see what lovelies you come up with, with this beautiful yarn? Oh the quandry. 🙂

  3. Well that is just excellent to hear – it will be something very special, I know! And I am particularly pleased that it will be in the Laci – I have been looking for an excuse to get some of this yarn for a while now.

  4. ANNE – no way you should be shocked that tina of bluemoon would like you to design a shawl – you are oh so talented I have all your patterns -loved doing the bee stole and am one mitt into the fern mitts [delicato] and they are so lovely – people wait with baited breath for your patterns to come out – like tomorrow for your thistle shawl

    pat j

  5. I picked most of what I could out of my garden this afternoon, too, since it’s to be 28 tonight though it was 40 this morning. I love the samples Tina sent you! I absolutely hated my STR this month (on my blog) because it is not blue or black but ugglee purple. To me. There are many who are raving about theirs. I just really hate purple. And look terrible in it.

  6. Aaaaaaaarrrrgggggghhhhhhhhhhh!
    You really know how to make a Taurus crazy, don’t you?
    Already panting over blue-black lace yarn,

  7. Anne- I have had November 5 marked on my calendar, and the fact that YOU are designing a shawl in the laci- it just doesn’t get any better than that!

    I feel like it’s Christmas- will it have a raven theme?

  8. Sounds really awsome, can’t wait to see more (show us, show us!!!). I can understand why you were just about ready to keel over when faced with all that wonderful yarn!

    Also wanted to say, that reading your blog and seeing your design process really inspires me, and helps me in the jungle of my own wee attempts at designing!
    You ROCK!!!

  9. Well you put a lot of work and love into the garden it is just repaying you. Pick the tomatoes if there is a danger of a frost killing them. Yey for Renee! I need a Renee to work wonders on my hair. Renee does a great job on yours. I look forward to the swatches. Understandable about the doubts but we all know they will be unfounded.

  10. Come on, I have to have a Knitspot charge card!!!!! I just cannot keep up. I’m going to have to make a list of what I have yet to buy of yours, because they’re piling up. Goodness. I wish I had some of those green tomatoes! Send me a couple with my new card–just joking, everyone. Take it easy. There is no Knitspot charge card. Sigh. . . .

  11. ooohhhh……….those colors are beyond scrumptious!! I too am a STR virgin. I came close to buying some in Rhinebeck, but somehow I could not bring myself to stand in that forever long line. Now I am glad I didn’t, it will give me a good reason to purchase this stunning yarn and whatever you come up with to knit it with.


  12. regardless of your knitting deadlines and bsp’s, etc. you create new projects way too fast for me! without even seeing more than the yarn i’m intrigued and have this terrible sinking feeling this will be another for the ol’ queue. which might not be so terrible, except i just spent waaaay too much on yarn and knitting books this weekend – and have yet to make it to yarnia.

    (oh, and my mom will mourn with you when the frost hits. she always does – but she tries to make up for it by bringing as much as she can indoors. it’s green around here year ’round!)

  13. My STR just came Friday. It is OH SO SCRUMPTIOUS. Since I just ripped open the package and ogled and fondled the yarn, I haven’t read the commentary yet and didn’t realize it was part of a series.

    All I have to say is that if this yarn is any sign of what that series is going to be like, I am in deep deep deep deep trouble.!

    Was thinking about using this stuff for teosinte – which I adore, but haven’t picked the yarn for yet. This might be it. Will have to swatch and see…

    ON the gardening front, my tomatoes have been kinda done, but I clipped the basil and it’s hanging in the spare bathroom to dry out before being tucked away for later.

  14. Well that did it….now it is official. Instead of all of the plans I have made over the years for my retirement I will now be knitting all of Anne’s designs I will have in que by then.

    You are just too talented and life is too short. =)

  15. LOVE those raveny colors..can’t wait to see your design.
    23 yrs ago (I remember because Ben was 2) we had a summer/fall like this one and I wrapped all of our green tomatoes individually in newspaper and stored them in our unheated basement. They ripened slowly through Christmas — it was awesome! I’m doing it again this year.

    Would you email me the twinings pattern and I will pay you in class on Wednesday?

  16. Oooh I cannot wait to behold the Ravenny goodness!

    As for the tomatoes: what I have read in the past is that as soon as there is any color on there that isn’t green, you can pick them and bag them. A paper bag, rolled-closed. They gas-off the stuff that helps make them ripen, and eventually you get nice ripe tomatoes! I’ve done it with some of my heirlooms that have the barest hint of pink on them and it worked great! Good luck! 🙂

  17. All of your ripened produces – veggies and handspun – look wonderful. I can’t wait to see the Blue Moon one that is ripening!

  18. Oh my goodness. Now I’m never going to be able to sleep tonight! I LOVE those colors — absolutely love them (not to mention being a corbae fan; ravens are cool). Let me know if your new beauty might perhaps need a test knitter 😉

  19. Today’s entry is the perfect ending to a perfect day — and it looks like you had one, too. Veggies, spinning, smiling friends, gorgeous deeply shaded yarns, and a special project. (And may your veggies grow at least another month.) I’m looking forward to tomorrow!

  20. Yep, pick the tomatoes, layer in paper and they’ll ripen until Christmas. A deep frost will kill them. I once read about someone pulling the entire plant and hanging it upside down, in a cool, dry place, and the tomatoes continued to ripen. It’d be interesting to try doing that with one plant – just to see.

    The Raven yarns are colors I can relate to. Can’t wait to see what you come up with. 🙂

  21. Oh the suspense, to be continued….BTW, I can not believe you’re still claiming all that produce from your garden 🙂 I feel sad for you just thinking about the first hard frost killing off your garden, I’ve felt the love you’ve had for it in your posts!

  22. Keep your hair short so all these GREAT ideas can just explode from your head 🙂 🙂
    Can’t wait to see this new project, I’m sure you will come up with something stunning !

  23. I know how you feel about your garden. When I start to feel sad, I re-read Barbara Kingsolver’s “Prodigal Summer”. It just really conveys a feeling of renewal and plenty. I highly recommend it to combat the Fall/Winter doldrums!

  24. Wow! A Shawl That Rocks! Now that’s going to be lovely. Can’t wait to see what you come up with and the process of getting there.

  25. About the tomatoes. I learned from the hubby’s family that if you uproot the plants, shake the dirt off, bring them indoors to the basement and hang them upside down the fruit will still rippen just fine. My mother in law told me they had fresh tomatoes till Thanksgiving whjile she was growing up. If you do take the fruit green and put them in the counter they may never realy rippen. Another thing you could do is make a nice batch of green tomato pickles. I make mine sweet and sour just like bread and butter pickles. I just love the sweet mouth puckering taste 🙂

  26. we had a good hard frost last night. so sad, but I’m looking forward to planning the garden for next year!

    ravens – what a great subject matter – all sorts of things that will make great lace – wings, beaks, feet….

  27. Oh my goodness, you’re going to kill me with this raven shawl-to-be! Amazing colors and I know you’ll do something fabulous with it.

  28. Well – it looks like some other folks gave you good advice about the tomatoes… pick pick pick. A cold front is coming your way, and once it hits they are very much gonzo.
    Heh heh – so Tina caught up with you eh? Good for her. Her new Raven series is fabulous. I’m so glad that she’s having you design for her – It’ll be a winning combination for sure!

  29. We had a frost warning last night, so I brought everything in, finally! 🙁 It has been a great year for a garden, even though I fear what it means in terms of climate change…

  30. That yarn is spectacular! Count me in if you need a test knitter for this one.

    (no I haven’t finished the Bee Shawl YET, but I did finish the Morning Glory Stole yesterday!)

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