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July 11th, 2014

Emma-6712

Our location. Just a few feet from this sign, the wrong side of the sign. Shhh. But who could resist that sea of Rosa Rugosa?

There’s photographer Emma Sampson (below), knee deep in flowers.

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Shooting Ashley (below).

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Note the perfect evening light: Soft, golden, deep shadows, and a bit of mist. A photographer’s dream and rare to come by. 

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By the way, that shawl is Lostren, not yet published. But will be soon.

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Emma checks photos with Ashley. Let’s see. Did we get it?

July 11th, 2014

Sister Bay-4034

If you aren’t familiar with Paula Emons-Fuessle, let me introduce her. You should know her.

Paula is host of Knitting Pipeline, a knitterly podcast, host of Knitting Pipeline retreats (one right here last year!), and a consummate shawl designer: Piper’s JourneyEllison Bay, Hyla Brook, Gills Rock, and the winsome Lullabye Rain.

Her latest wrap is pretty Sister Bay, designed for our 2014 Shawl Week. It’s crescent shaped, has a lot of garter stitch (love), and a pretty, contrasting-color, simple eyelet-pattern border (detail below).

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The version here is worked in Chickadee, colors Camel and Birds Egg. Please note that the shawl was photographed wrong-side out, meaning that the purl bump row at the color join is more forthcoming in the photos than it would be photographed on the other side. My fault. So hard to keep track of everything on a shoot. But you can just make out the right side in the detail picture above, no purl-bump ridge showing on the section under Kathleen’s hand.

We actually shot another version of Sister Bay a week or so earlier. This one in Chickadee/Iceland and Egret. But as (bad) luck and lack of attention would have it, we again featured the wrong side (can we call it the ‘other’ side?) in all the photos. We didn’t run these pictures because we’re completely out of Chickadee in the heathers (word has it that they’re in the making and will be back in stock soon). But see how lovely the shawl is in these other colors?

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All of this is a long introduction to Paula’s knitalong. See her announcement below. And let us know if you have any questions or want color suggestions. Can’t wait to see all the FO’s!

From Paula:

Greetings!

You are invited to join the Knitting Pipeline Group on Ravelry for a knit-along for the newly released shawl, Sister Bay. Sister Bay is suitable for most skill levels. It would be a suitable project for new knitters who want to try a bit of lace and texture. The lace is easy to memorize and if you make a mistake it is easy to go back and fix it.

What is a Knit Along aka KAL? A knit along is usually a group of knitters who are knitting the same design within a specified time frame.

Why would you join a Knit along? It is fun to share your progress and enthusiasm with other knitters. Also, if you have questions there is a built-in group of friendly people to ask and learn from. You will also meet new knitting friends online and they will encourage you along the way. Oh, yes, and there are prize drawings at the end of the KAL!

How do I join? Gather your pattern, yarn, and needles together and join in the Sister Bay KAL Thread on Ravelry.

You can read about the Sister Bay KAL on Knitting Pipeline (blog) or listen to the Knitting Pipeline podcast Episode 177.

I have created the Sister Bay Progress Tracker (PDF) for those who like to check their progress and have the project divided into weekly assignments.

You can read all the details in this Ravelry Thread.

Start date is July 20

Finish date is by midnight on Sept 1.

Follow the Sister Bay Progress Tracker for an assignment for each week of the KAL. Each assignment is about 25% of the total knitting. The chart shows % accomplished for the body of the shawl so can keep track of yardage.

NOTE: When in doubt follow pattern not tracker! You have to purchase the pattern for the Progress Tracker to make sense. The pattern has been tech edited. The Progress Tracker has not been edited.

Week 1 starts July 20
Week 2 starts July 27
Week 3 starts August 3
Week 4 starts August 10
Bonus Week starts August 17 (extra week to catch up when life gets in the way of knitting)

Post your photos in the Sister Bay KAL Prize Thread by Sept 1.

Tag your project sisterbaykal, please.

I hope you join in our Sister Bay KAL!

 

July 8th, 2014

Texo peek cropped-2189

Anjali M. uses textured pattern in her Texo Shawl. In Tern/Syrah.

July 7th, 2014

Sister Bay-4092

Nothing like a holiday to get in the way of previews. Darn.

But never too late for the next one. This: Sister Bay in Chickadee by Paula Eamons-Fuessle, colors Camel and Birds Egg.

 

July 2nd, 2014

lamassuy blog

Lace. So elemental. Lamassu by Leah Thibault in Sparrow/Blue Spruce.

July 1st, 2014

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Summer is so here–and we have shawls for you. Time for our annual shawl week. This year, however, we over-knitted a bit. Hence, we have more than a week’s worth for you.

(Hope you like shawls as much as we do.)

A few peeks are in order. First up today is a little number in Piper designed by Melanie Berg. So breezy!

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June 21st, 2014

Alicia Plummer and Melissa Schaschwary do stripes (easy ones) in Kestrel.  Above is Alicia’s Adam’s Multi-Way Wrap in colors Cove and Sans. It’s perfect summer knitting; Alicia says, it’s ‘brainless.’ But it’s not boring, placed stripes and bias construction (makes good drape) make it interesting.

Melissa’s swingy top North Fork (below) is knitted from the top down. The back is shaped with a few short rows and side slits at the hem keep it relaxed in fit around the hips. Colors from the top down are Sand, Senza, and Porpoise.

 

June 11th, 2014

Hunter socks

Lovely  socks, no?

They’re called Conferva Villosa Socks and you’ll find them in The Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet Volume 111, by Hunter Hammersen, just released today. The socks are worked in Finch/Carrie’s Yellow and their undulating stitch pattern was inspired, as were the other projects in the book, by a marine illustration like  the one below. The plant illustrated so gently here is conferva and is described as a threadlike, fresh water, green algae.

conferva

The rhythmic-texture stitch used in thee hat below reminds me of the bumpy outside of large conch shells. You know the ones I mean? Though it’s called Conferva Villosa Hat. It’s knitted in Lark/Split Pea, the perfect conferva color.

H Hat

And here’s the cover with another pair of pretty socks. For more information on the book and on the pre-order special, go here.

Hunter cover

June 6th, 2014

Piper swatch-987

Suzie Von Reyn, proprietor of KnitWit, our LYS, just stopped by yesterday with a swatch she’d worked in Piper. In love all over again. So soft and feathery, the swatch barely touched the surface of the table. The stitch pattern is from Carrie Hoge’s Sparrow shrug, Emma, which calls for size 4 needles. Suzie used 3′s, but says she’s a loose knitter. Her gauge is plenty close enough for an unfitted piece like Carrie’s shrug. So if you’re inspired to knit a shoulder warmer like Emma in pretty Piper, swatch until you find a gauge that suits the yarn and pattern. A great little pair.

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June 5th, 2014

As I mentioned in the last post, we’ve developed a new yarn, our little Piper, a delicate mohair/wool blend. But that’s not the half of it. I don’t want to introduce this yarn, I want to sing about it.

When we started Quince & Co, the idea was to make yarns from American fiber in American mills. We do that. But until now, our wool has come from a commercial broker and we can’t be more specific about it than “it comes from any number of states west of the Mississippi.” Not so Piper. Piper is a TEXAS yarn, quite literally born and bred there. Can I tell you how that makes my heart beat faster?

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At the end of March, we took a trip to Texas to see the goats in question and we came back with a lot of pictures. Given that I could talk about Texas and goats and the mohair industry all day and part of tomorrow, I’m going to give you a slide show of sorts with a few annotations thrown in. Got questions? Send them in. Any excuse to talk about goats.

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Angora goats first arrived in Texas in the mid-1800′s. Legend has it that these goats and their fiber were prized by the sultans of Turkey. One in particular offered them as gifts to the royalty of Europe. However, he took care to export only neutered goats in order to maintain his country’s exclusive hold on the animal. Somehow or other, a pregnant goat was included in one of the shipments. And, well, that was that.

The vast, arid turf in the western Texas hills was the perfect habitat for roaming goats who can subsist on very little. They multiplied. Over time, the fiber from these curly goats became a major product in Texas. And all the attendant businesses that go with fiber–farm labor, shearers, warehouses, processing plants, carding, combing, spinning, brokers–were a big part of the region’s economy. Today, things have changed.

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Goats nibble on anything growing on the ground and can subsist on scrubby thistle, like the plant above, hoarhound, and even tree bark.

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Because of the current draught, there’s little plant life around, and more prosperous ranchers buy hay to feed their herds.

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This little guy (below) got stuck in his scramble for a snack.

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As we drove along small highways through ranch country, we saw new tall  fences that have replaced the old shorter ones. Our guide pointed out the difference and explained that many ranchers have succumbed to the demand for game hunting. It’s easier to import wild boar and other exotic animals from Africa and get paid to let sportsmen spend the day crouching around the tundra shooting these creatures. Ridiculous as it seems (sorry, I’m biased), hunting ranches are now big business in Texas.

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Occasionally, these imported animals escape from their confines and find new places to roam. Depending on which animal it is, they can have an impact, or not, on goats. The African deer below graze freely on a goat ranch. The owner drives around in his truck with a pair of binoculars on the seat next to him, at the ready when he spots the growing deer herd. He mentions that he could make a lot of money if he allowed hunters on his property. But a glimpse of the delicate beauty of these fleet deer through the lens of his binoc’s is pleasure enough for him.

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Not all imports are as benign as African deer. Escaped wild pigs are devastating to baby goat herds. They eat literally every part of the goat between the head and the hoofs. We spoke to one rancher who lost 300 kids this year, many to these non-native pigs. It used to be that Mexicans came and went across a porous border to work on the goat ranches and kid mortality wasn’t much of an issue. Now, ranchers are on their own. And dogs are the only affordable way to protect a ranchers herd. We spoke to another rancher who said that domestic dogs are also a predator, as well as the occasional dog owner.

Baby goats are vulnerable as well in other ways. Angora goats aren’t great mothers. They often abandon their kids when they roam in open territory. Our rancher built small plywood ‘rooms’ near his barn for bonding purposes. When a goat delivers a kid, he puts the two of them in this little house for a few weeks in order for mom and baby to get to know each other.

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More on Texas goats and their industry in an upcoming post.