Sampler

I’ve mentioned I like my job, right?  Because I really do like my job.  Part of that is because I get to spend all day in my pajamas by myself and only rarely have to talk to actual people face to face.  But an even bigger part of it is because I get to work with awesome people on fun projects.

One of those awesome people is Anne Hanson (Knitspot mastermind). I mentioned to her that the next Curls book was  going to use all gray yarns and asked if I might be able to use one of her Bare Naked Wools yarns in it. The next thing I know, a happy little package arrived in the mail.

bnk samplesAnne does good gray (which you may recall from last year’s adventure in slippers)!  Now I have to do is make up my mind. I’m torn between the cabecou sport and chebris worsted, though really you can’t go wrong with any of them. I think there is some serious swatching in my future.

Grand Indeed

This past weekend found me at the Grand Opening of the Bare Naked Wools Boutique.  The marvelous Anne Hanson has been making wonderfully interesting, amazingly knitterly yarns for a while now, and now there is finally a place to visit them all in one place.  bnw3In addition to all the marvelous yarns, you’ll also see lots of samples of Anne’s patterns to pet and a few carefully chose buttons, tools, an other goodies to complement your knitting.  bnw2I may possibly have had a skein or two of the delightful Cabécou Sport follow me home.  My gray front porch on this stormy day does not do this yarn justice.  In person it absolutely glows (it’s the silk, and the romney doesn’t hurt either).  Now that the weather has turned cooler, I may possibly have just the thing in mind for this lovely bit of fluff…bnw4

Bare Naked Wools Grand Opening

You know how my normal tendency is to hide at home?  Safely tucked away, snuggly in my pajamas, with a cup of tea at the ready?  Well, the delightful Anne Hanson, mastermind behind Knit Spot and Bare Naked Wools is one of the very few folks who can tempt me out of my hermit’s cave.  She’s opening her very own yarn store (be still, my beating heart) and she’s having a grand opening.  I’m going!

Grandopening_InstagramI’m bringing piles of samples, signing books, and just generally hanging out and talking yarn.  If you’re free on either the evening of the 26th or the morning of the 27th, I’d be thrilled if you stopped by to say hi.  Anne’s yarn is delightful, and seeing so much of it in one place at one time will be a treat.  And you can all remind me that leaving the house from time to time and going to see real people in the real world is a good for me.  Or at the very least, a character building experience.

Bare Naked Wools Knitalong

You all know I love Anne Hanson’s work.  Her designs are beautiful, and when I heard she had started her own yarn line, Bare Naked Wools, I knew it would be absolutely marvelous.  Last year, she and I did a two-part blog series on substituting yarns.  And of course I used her yarn for the recent slipper extravaganza.  So when the folks at Bare Naked Wools got in touch and asked if we could do a sock knit along, of course I said yes.

The rules are pretty simple.  You knit my socks with Anne’s yarn, and post about it over here on the knit along thread in Anne’s group.  Any of my socks are fair game, as are any of Anne’s smashing yarns.  (If you don’t have any of Anne’s yarn’s yet, you’ve got time to order them before the May 31 cast on date – I promise you’ll adore them).  I’ve got some suggestions for yarn and pattern pairings over in the thread (plus a few coupons for many of my patterns, just in case there was something you were hoping to add to your library).  We’ll have prizes along the way, and everyone is very welcome.

I had a chance to stop by the Bare Naked Wools booth at the Great Lakes Fiber Show yesterday, and it was absolutely amazing.  Custom bases, beautiful natural colors, and gorgeous samples made for a lovely display.

DSC00536Anne and I even chatted about some of her upcoming yarns, and I can pretty much guarantee  you’ll be seeing more of her yarns around here in the future.  So check them out, find your favorites, and come knit along with us.  I promise you’ll be glad you did!

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Quiescent

Quiescent: adjective marked by inactivity or rest

slipper front c, smallerThe slipper pattern is out, and you can find it over on ravelry, should you feel the need to make yourself a pair!

Oh, and on the off chance kittens aren’t your thing, I do have the odd pic or two with no kitten.  Let’s see, perhaps this one will show off the knitting without the distracting influence of a Furry Overlord.

slipper front a, smallerOr maybe this one.  I swear that ribbing makes even my (shamefully flat) feet look all curvy and graceful.  Imagine what it will do for your lovely feet!

slipper profile, smallerThese are made with Bare Naked Wools (Confection Worsted for the sole, and Breakfast Blend DK for the upper), and they really are a marvelous fit for the pattern.  The beautiful undyed colors all go perfectly together, so any two colors you pick will look fabulous.  The lovely, sturdy Confection cushions the bottom of the slipper while Breakfast Blend keeps the top of your feet cozy.  I really am awfully taken with the pairing.

slipper tall, smallerAnd I’m going to indulge myself and share one more picture with Douglas.  Because he’s adorable, and because he’s not the type who normally sits still and doesn’t cause trouble.  I figure the moment needs to be well documented (so I remember it the next time he’s being a windmill of destruction and claws).

slipper front b, smallerOnce again, the pattern is over on ravelry, should you happen to need a pair of your own!

Bloom

I mentioned last time that I loved how the Bare Naked Wools yarns bloomed when they hit the water.  Then I showed you a picture of them still on the needles where they were totally 100% not blooming.  So let’s fix that, shall we?  I just finished up the second slipper (well, finished the knitting, I still have to attach the strap).  The first one has had a soaking, a nice vigorous thrashing, and a good blocking.  The second is fresh off the needles.  Look at the difference.

_DSC9486See how the top one is nice and fuzzy and happy?  You can see the ribbing clearly, and the stitches are neat and tidy.  Whereas the bottom one is still sort of tense and bunched up.  You can’t really see the purl half of the ribbing at all, and the stitches are uneven.

_DSC9483The whole structure of the slipper changes dramatically.  The soaked and blocked one is lovely and relaxed, the one fresh off the needles is puckered and tight.  This is a prime example of why it’s ridiculously important to wash and block your gauge swatches before you start your project.  Yarn changes when it hits the water, and it’s important to know how it changes!  The only way I’ve found to do that is with a swatch.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to finish up the straps and tuck these away in my suitcase.  I’m headed off Wednesday for Washington and the Visionary Authors retreat (I wrote a bit about last year’s trip here), and I want to photograph them on the trip.  This is one of those trips that’s oddly hard to talk about (it’s the strangest combination of lots of fun and really really hard work), so I’ve not said too much about it in the past.  But I do have every intention of making a return visit to the sheep and goat farm for another blanket, and of heading out to the water, though perhaps without encountering a giant mudhole, so with luck, I should have something to report when I return.  And never fear, I won’t leave you languishing while I’m gone, I’ve got a lovely give away lined up for later in the week!

Fitting

I am, for reasons that seemed extremely good at the time, knitting with gray and cream yarn in the middle of a very long winter.  Normally, this would be enough to drive a knitter around the bend.  But somehow this yarn is so snuggly and cozy and textured and just downright knitterly that it feels right.

knit slipperThis is take two of the strappy slippers ( you guys wanted them enough that I’ve gone ahead and started working on them as a stand alone pattern instead of waiting until the end of next year and putting them in a book you’ve not even heard of yet).  The yarns are from Bare Naked Wools and are just perfect.  The lighter yarn on the upper part of the slipper is Breakfast Blend DK in Oatmeal, and the darker yarn on the sole is Confection Worsted in Milk Chocolate.  They play together perfectly, and they bloom up beautifully when they hit the water.

I’m absolutely itching to get this one finished and start playing with the straps!  Expect a fairly irritating barrage of updates on these as they come together.

Strappy

So the straps were absolutely positively the way to go.  The straps, in fact, quite make the slipper.  Allow me to demonstrate.

slipper strap sideAwfully cute, no?  How about one more, this time from the front.  (Erm, and if this looks suspiciously like two left feet, that’s because it is.  My display feet are all lefties.)

slipper strap frontI’m wondering how I could have ever doubted the inherent wisdom of straps.  They make the slippers stay on perfectly, and they increase the cuteness factor (already alarmingly high) significantly.  Swinging the strap all the way down to the heel was the simplest tweak imaginable, but it made all the difference in the look of the things.  I’m quite taken with them.

Weather and schedule permitting, I may see about enlisting The Boy to take some proper pictures of them soon.  These do not do them justice.

The yarn (Bare Naked Wools’ Breakfast Blend DK on the top, plus Kent DK held double on the sole) is a marvelous match with the pattern.  It’s got that ever-so-slightly-rustic vibe that just suits these perfectly.  I thrashed them around just a bit the first time I washed them, and they bloomed up beautifully.  And having two colors that play so nicely together was an added bonus.  I have a feeling it’s going to be my go-to choice for future variations on this theme.

Making up for lost time

Despite the previous rocky start, slipper the second is now well underway.  In fact, by the time you read this, it may well be done (not to draw back the curtain on the glamorous world of knit blogging too much, but I’ve been known to take advantage of the afternoon sunlight to take a picture, write a blog post to go with the picture in the evening, and schedule it to go up the next morning).  I continue to be enamored of them. They are just so amazingly tidy and orderly.  Everything flows very nicely, if I do say so myself.

Knit slipperI’m trying to decide whether I want to add a strap.  My inclination is yes because I think they’d stay on better with one.  When I do a second version of these (totally a when, not an if, these need to be explored in greater depth), I’ll have the top of the foot close up a tiny bit sooner.  I feel the foot opening is a hair too long for me as it stands, so they have a very slight tendency to wiggle a bit at the heel.  A strap would clear that right up.  I may give them a bit of a soak and a light thrashing first to see if they snug up a bit before I make a final decision.  In either case, expect to see them in their finished state soon.

Smitten Slipper

The first of the slippers is finished up.  I find myself quite smitten.

slipper 0I also find myself completely unable to take an attractive picture of my own foot while sitting on my back porch in my pajamas in the rain.

slipper 1Perhaps these will at least give the idea and prove the thing is done.

slipper 2These are made with Knitspot’s lovely Bare Naked Wools (Breakfast Blend DK on the top, plus Romney DK on the sole).  It’s the perfect yarn for these (snuggly, squishy, sturdy, and just a bit grippy).  [ETA:  Either I’m having a special moment, or this went and changed names on me between when I got my yarn and now.  It looks like what I’ve been calling Romney DK is really Kent DK.  I swear it says romney on my label, but I think I got an early skein!  No matter the name, it’s lovely!]

Slipper number two will be underway shortly (KCC3’s photo shoot is this Friday and Saturday, so my time is at something of a premium this week.  This is code for ‘I am stark raving mad and see no chance for improvement till Saturday night’.  I’m anxious to finish the second one, as I have a bit of a trip coming up (can you say Rhinebeck), and these will fit much more comfortably in my suitcase than my other slippers.  I may even be able to enlist some help to get some more appealing pictures in some picturesque spot.