Thursday, October 23, 2014

Favors: Introducing Corcoa & a (big) Manos Giveaway!


Hi, Knitters,
Do you remember the Pair and a Spare mitten story from a few weeks ago? You can click here to read all about it. Basically, my son who is in the business school at the UW-Madison was in a group that had to come up with a small business plan and they picked knitwear accessories as the product. Knitwear is near and dear to the hearts of all UW-Madison students who have to walk miles and miles in the bitter cold for month after month. My son consulted with me for ideas and we came up with the Pair and a Spare mitten idea. The group loved it and used it as the basis for a mock small business plan. 

Now jump forward a few weeks. My son had to come up with a small business that actually sells the goods. It is part of the small business class curriculum. He racked his brain and searched high and low for simple yet useful ideas. The product had to be something he could produce himself. I am a bit of an idea machine so he talked to me a lot during his quest to find a product to sell that he could make himself. I thought of so many ideas (a ton) but nothing really stuck until we started discussing Mason Ball Jars.

My son and I both have a love of Mason Ball Jars. He made a wall hanging using Mason Ball Jars last summer as a matter of fact. I have a bit of a collection of these jars so we started talking about things you could make with them. The list went on and on. Finally he focused on the lids which you can purchase separately. We thought about how you could flip them upside-down and use them as coasters. But the inside needs to be lined with something water-resistant and to provide a bit of a cushion for your glass. Cork seemed the perfect fit. Cork coasters are pretty commonplace already and with good reason. Plus the lids are smooth on the bottom so they won't scratch table surfaces. 


Then he started thinking about themes and printing on the cork with permanent ink to stylize the coaster sets. The coasters just needed a little more character. When he brought home a set for me to check out I couldn't believe how terrific the simple lids and cork had become! These are wonderful, inexpensive and just cute. I want a set of each!

I actually was worried about the ink running so I tested it out. I filled one of the lids with standing water and let it sit for a long time. There was no running of ink. After it was good and wet I even tried my best to smudge the ink by rubbing on it quite hard while it was wet and it did not smear at all. 

Yesterday my son launched his website to start selling his Mason Ball Jar lid coasters called......

Corcoa! Get it? Cork + Coaster = Corcoa 

My son pronounces it Corco-ah. I pronounce it Corco. Either one is fine.

The coasters are made from the Wide Mouth Mason Ball Jar lids if you are wondering about size.


Of course I asked him to make a set with knitters in mind (or really a set just for me). He obliged and this became the Knitting Coaster Set. He came up with three other themed sets: Northwoods, Birds and Winter. All of these things ring true to our hearts here in Wisconsin. I love his theme choices.

Here are the choices:











The price is only $10 for a set of 4 original Corcoa Coasters! My son has the prefect packaging all set to go. He has to sell as many as possible for his class project (and grade!). 

I am wondering if any of you would like a Madison-crafted set of four Corcoa Coasters for your home, office, cottage, patio, or anywhere? They are really sweet and kind of old-fashioned and farmhouse-like. I love them and will buy many sets for gifts and for our home. Look out Christmas because everyone I know is getting a Corcoa Coaster set under the tree this year.

These would also make perfect teacher, mail carrier, caretaker, neighbor, or anyone needing a little sign of your appreciation- type gift. The price-point for a gift is right on the mark.

I have had so much fun working on this project with my oldest in his final semester at the UW-Madison. He did all of the work I just talked it through with him. He is a really fun, sincere and kind kid (he's the one engaged to the lovely Miss Molly). 

Please check out the beautiful website my son created for Corcoa (click here!). I don't usually ask for favors but for my son I will and plus the coasters are truly wonderful. If you feel up to purchasing a set I would be forever grateful. If not that's okay, too! No worries at all, I will continue to love you either way!

Thank you for considering and reading.

Now on to some yarny goodness and giveaway fun!


I received a very sweet email from one of my blog readers named Helen. I have heard from Helen off and on for awhile now. She writes a good email. This time Helen asked a favor of me. She recently moved to a much smaller space. The new space could not hold all of the stash she had collected through the years plus Helen's health hasn't been quite up to par lately and her knitting has slowed down a bit. 

Helen asked if she could send me some of her stash and help her find a good home for it. I quickly responded that I would be happy to help. I happen to know a few knitters who would love to help as well! So last week I received a box of yarn from Helen. I am sorting through it and giving yarn to people who will love it as much as Helen did.

Today I would like to share a little of Helen's stash with one lucky knitter. See that beautiful squishy Manos yarn in the photo above? That entire lot is for one of you.


Here are the yarn details for the giveaway. The winner will receive:

9 full and new skeins of Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend (30% Silk, 70% Merino Extrafine Wool, kettle dyed), 50 grams per skein; 150 yards per skein

1350 yards total ~ a sweater's worth of Manos Silk Blend!

Color # 3110 (rich brown, gold, blue, purple, and green) It's gorgeous beyond description!

Gauge: 22-24 stitches per 4-inches 

Recommended needle size: US size 4-6 needles

Handwash/Dry flat

All of this for you! The yarn is worth about $115 and it is in absolutely perfect condition. It smells wonderful and there is no wear and tear at all. I will vouch for this. It is in stellar condition.

Thank you Helen for spreading the knitting joy! I appreciate you so much. 

Please leave a comment on this blog post that includes your email address or Ravelry username or ID. Please leave only one comment. There will be a delay until your comment will appear because I approve posting all comments to prevent spam. Please be patient and don't keep clicking on the post button. This causes multiple entries. I will randomly select a winner in a few days.

Due to the fact that I get quite a few people emailing me to enter the giveaways I am going to go through the steps of posting a comment for you if you don't know how. If you email me it won't enter you in the giveaway. I hope these steps will help so everyone who wants to enter can enter!

1. Go to the actual blog at www.susanbanderson.blogspot.com. If you are getting an email version through subscription click on Susan B. Anderson and it will take you right to the blog.

2. Scroll down to the bottom of the post and click on "comments." This will take you the place where you can read the comments and where you can leave a comment.

3. On the right-top corner of the comments page is a box. Type in your comment in the box.

4. Click on the orange box that says "Publish Your Comment." Only click once and remember that there is a delay before you will see your comment appear!

Tip: Don't click on "email follow-up comments" or you'll be getting hundreds of emails with everyone else's comment entries.

That's it! I hope that helps.

Good luck if you enter. 


Thanks friends and let the comments begin!
xo ~ susan

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sock Report & Knitcircus Winners!


Hi, Knitters, 
I have randomly selected and contacted the two winners for the Knitcircus giveaway. The winners are:
glongley (rav id) won the sock knit by me and the second Gradient Stripes cake to knit the second sock!

and

kathyg (rav id) won the colorway of her choice in the new Gradient Stripes matching socks set!

Congratulations to both of you. Thank you for entering everyone. Jaala of Knitcircus on Etsy has had an overwhelmingly positive response in her shop with orders coming in like crazy for the new Gradient Stripes socks sets, the Matching Gradient socks sets, and for her clubs. It has been an exciting week at Knitcircus. Thank you to Jaala for the fun, and a huge thanks to all of you for supporting such a great indie dyer who is also my friend and neighbor here in Madison. She is a very talented and generous one.

As you can see, I have started the cuff of the first of my Gradient Matching Socks Set in the colorway Over the Rainbow. Jaala has a pair that she knit for herself and they are just beautiful. I can't wait to have my own gradient matching rainbow socks to wear this winter. I am knitting 8-inch cuffs to make sure I get to all of the colors.


As for the sock update for the day, I am happy to announce that I have finished the String Theory Colorworks Continuum socks in the Kinetic colorway! I purchased the yarn at The Fall Fling and I love the finished socks so much. The yarn is 80% super wash merino, 10% cashmere, and 10% nylon base. It is so soft and thick and squishy. What a joy to knit!

On the cuff I did a slip 1, knit 1 repeat for one round every time the color changed. For the foot I went on with plain stockinette stitch. It worked out well for the wider stripes here.

I did make the socks matching on purpose and I have another pair that I am making matching but I have to say that it kind of sucks the joy out of the sock knitting for me. I don't really enjoy worrying about having matching socks. The counting of rows, cutting and splicing in yarn, weaving in of many ends, and finding the right spot to start really wasn't all that fun. I'm not sure how much I'll do that in the future. We'll see. I actually have a love for mis-matched socks and I now know why, they are cute to wear and easy to knit! I have some more String Theory sock yarn coming my way from The Loopy Ewe and I can't wait.

Sock pattern: How I make my socks (my free pattern!)
Yarn: String Theory Coloworks Continuum in the Kinetic colorway (purchased here at The Loopy Ewe!)
Needles: US size 1/2.25mm dpns in the 6-inch length from Signature Needle Arts.

I think making the socks match is more important in some yarns than others.


Now for these socks in the Regia Design Line by Kristin Nicholas the stripes and pattern repeats are so short and varied that it doesn't make any difference if they match in my opinion. I love this yarn! Kristin sent me the yarn I'm using for these socks and I actually have purchased two more of her fun colorways to knit up next. I love it that much. Kristin's color sense rings through and through in this fun patterned sock yarn. I also purchased the Smiling Pansy 3313 and Autumn Harvest 3312 colorways. Oh, they are super fun! Make sure to note if you are ordering that the put up is in 100 gram AND 50 gram balls. If it is 50 grams per ball you will need two balls for a pair of socks. 

Needles: US size 1/2.25mm Signature Needle Arts dpns, 6-inch length


Have a great start to your week. I am going to Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago next weekend. I hope to see you there. I am teaching two workshops on Sunday only (I have TC's swim meets to attend on Friday and Saturday!) and in between the classes I am giving a lecture. It will be a busy day and I'm really looking forward to it. I love this event.

I'll be back soon with more knitting for you. I have another giveaway already lined up coming very soon.
xo ~ susan

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Episode 10 ~ Knitcircus Gradient Stripes Socks Set Giveaway!




Hi, Knitters,
For email subscribers please Click Here to watch the 24-minute video on YouTube!

Click here to subscribe or check out the Susan B. Anderson Podcast on iTunes!

I am a bit scattered off and on so hang in there with me to hear about the fantastic giveaway.

There is much to talk about and link for today's short podcast episode but most importantly I want to share a few photos of the Knitcircus Gradient Stripes Matching Socks Sets that I am giving away so you can get a good picture of what the socks look like. This is a new gradient concept created exclusively by Knitcircus and the owner and my friend Jaala Spiro.

The photos for today's post are taken from the Knitcircus Etsy shop with permission.


I love this fun photo of the Gradient Stripes Matching Socks Sets colorways. It is a unique concept to have gradient stripes plus the yarn is squishy and compelling to knit. It's a winner all around. The change in stripe colors is gradual and interesting and subtle. You will love this yarn!



This is the next colorway I want to get and knit up right away! I have to put my order in with Jaala.


This is the matching socks set colorway called Tropical Sunset. I knit the one sock in Tropical Sunset that I'm giving away to a lucky winner! I used up one ball and you will get the other ball to complete the second sock. It is gorgeous and fun!

I will select two winners for the Knitcircus Gradient Stripes Matching Socks Sets. The prizes are as follows:
~ One winner will get the already knit sock by me and the second ball of yarn to make a matching sock. I show this already completed sock on the podcast.
~ The second winner will get a Gradient Stripes Socks Set in their color of choice.

You don't need to watch the video to enter to win!

To enter leave ONE comment on this blog post that includes an email address or your Ravelry ID or username. Please be patient for your comment to appear on the blog, there is a delay for me to approve comments. Please don't keep posting the same comment by pushing the publish button more than once, multiple entries make it an unfair contest. I know sometimes it is an accident so no worries, I try my best to take out multiple entries as I publish comments.

The one sock I knit from the set, that I shared on the podcast, is made using my How I Make My Socks free pattern on US size 1 needles, casting on 64 stitches with a 7-inch cuff. The foot length is easily adjustable. The sock is knit to fit a US 7.5-8 women's shoe size.


Okay, now for the various other links I discuss in podcast Episode 10:

Two Minor corrections: 
1. I say I never got to wear blue when I meant to say I always wore blue. (I also never complained to my mom about my dislike of blue so she had no idea.) 
2. I say I am going to make baby size fingerless mitts ~ no to this ~ I meant to say thumbless mitts for a newer baby or infant.

Twinset Designs podcast with Jan Hamby of Fair Winds Farm on Etsy ~ coming soon! (the beautiful teal alpaca farm yarn)!

Eggy Johnson sock yarn ~ no online shop. Barbara is a good one to follow on Instagram as ravblb and on Ravelry as blb. I don't know if she takes requests for her yarn or not. It is really beautiful.

I'm wearing the Lullaby Rain Shawlette by Paula Emons-Fuessle. I fail to mention this at first.

The yarn for the Lullaby Rain shawlette is Quince & Co. Finch in the Frank's Plum colorway.

The shawl pin is from Deerfield Creations.  I love this light-weight shawl pin, highly recommend.

Waiting for Winter Mitten and Fingerless Mitts pattern, the stripey Noro Kureyon Mittens. Here is the link to the blog post about the stripey mittens I made in Maine.

Here is the photo of the Entrelac piece I frogged to get 5 mittens worth of Noro Kureyon. It was about 10 years old and still on the needles (literally).

Sheppard Handmade Etsy Shop ~ one of my favorite pottery artists sent me the sheep mug as a thank you for hosting a giveaway for her. I love her buttons and have used them on several projects. She is wonderful and has great customer service located out of Canada. Highly recommend her shop!

There were a few other things I picked up in Maine that I forgot to share and I will do so another time very soon. 

Don't forget to enter the super fun double sock sets giveaway including one already knit sock by me!!! 

Leave a comment to enter if interested in winning the Gradient Stripes Matching Socks Sets. 

2 winners randomly selected soon.

Love you all! Thanks for the constant support and for the fun you bring to my life.
xo ~ susan

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Winners & Favorite Sweater 5 for #projectsweaterchest


Hi, Knitters,
Early this morning I randomly selected the winners for the Little Skein in the Big Wool winners. Anne Vally, the creative mind of Little Skein, has generously upped the ante once again. She wrote me that she wanted me to select 9 winners for this exclusive giveaway: 1 Luxe Kit, 1 skein of Anne's Story sock yarn, and 7 sets of stitch markers! Here's how it turned out:

Winner of the Luxe Kit: pattytrish (rav id)
Winner of the Anne's Story sock yarn: sewknittystar (rav id)
Winners of a set of stitch markers:
1. bookchick29 (rav id)
2. karenswb (rav id)
3. cascott (rav id)
4. flogigknits (rav id)
5. alilou (rav id)
6. tjf (email entered)
7. yarnaddict (rav id)

Hooray! Congratulations! I have sent all of your Ravelry IDs and email address to Anne of Little Skein. She will be in touch to gather your mailing addresses. Thank you to everyone for entering. It was a great response and I loved reading about all of the Anne of Green Gables connections and memories. It was really quite sweet.

Now on to today's topic at hand. I am on Favorite Sweater number 5 for the #projectsweaterchest along. If you are just joining me I made a little video of my favorite sweaters in a casual fashion show kind of way and now I am giving details on them in no particular order.




As I've been traveling around to teach this fall I have had more comments from people on the two sweater videos I made and posted about a month ago. That has been really fun to hear and the person is always laughing or smiling when they talk to me about it. I love that. 

There was no planning for these videos at all. I looked at my sweater chest one day and thought I should try on my favorites and some oldies and record it. I arranged the top 10 on top for quick access and started filming. It was one take for both of the videos. 


Today the featured favorite cardigan is the Basic Chic Hoodie by Bonne Marie Burns or Chic Knits. 


I decided to knit this very simple top-down raglan hoodie using up a skein of my handspun striped with some black Cascade 220 from my stash. The handspun began as a bullseye bump from Loop.

Click here for Loop on Etsy! Use caution. You will want to purchase everything in this shop!


The thing is the yarn turned out better than I could have imagined. It was a chain-plied worsted weight and came in at about 250 yards. I wanted to do something really special with the finished skein.


For more details on the spinning of the Loop Bullseye Bump click here!

I searched and searched until I found the most basic simple hoodie pattern and the entire project turned out perfectly.



I enjoyed everything about knitting the Basic Chic Hoodie. The pattern is clear and well-written. This would be a perfect first time cardigan project. It couldn't be any more basic and simple. The pattern has a lace panel front option included. The size range is from a 36 to a 54 inch bust so it is expansive. 

I had some custom buttons made by Deerfield Creations. These are my most favorite buttons of all time. They are hand-turned black wood buttons and they are smooth as butter and beautiful.


I made some modifications but you wouldn't need to change a thing. I made my hoodie in the smallest size. These are the modifications I made to the original pattern:

- worked at a slightly different gauge (smaller)
- added waist shaping
- changed the number of sts cast on under the sleeves (fewer)
- changed the sleeve decreases (did a rapid decrease right away to get rid of extra fabric under the arms and then continued on a bit differently than the pattern suggests)
- changed the length of the body and sleeves
- changed the buttonhole number 
- picked up a different number of stitches for the button bands and hood edging
- used kitchener stitch to close up the top seam of the hood to give a smoother finish (instead of 3-needle bind-off)
- added the stripes!


I finished the cardigan a little over a year ago. I wore it a lot last winter and plan on repeating that for the upcoming cold season. It fits great, it is comfortable and it looks sharp. Plus, I used up my entire skein of handspun for a sweater. What could be better than that?


There is more to come for #projectsweaterchest! People are already posting in Instagram using the hashtag. This is a long knitalong being run by Leslie of The Knitgirrls, Jasmin and Gigi of the Knitmore Girls and me. Basically it's simple to participate, just hashtag your Instagram photos that relate to knitting sweaters starting now or anytime with #projectsweaterchest. Periodically prizes are going to be drawn. The podcasters are planning on talking a lot about sweater knitting and how to choose and knit a successful sweater. 

It is exciting and as more happens I will be sure to link and discuss on here.

Later this week I am planning on recording a new podcast episode and I may just have another exciting giveaway to share. Stay tuned...

xo ~ susan

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Huge Little Skein Giveaway! Plus join the #annealong!


*All of the photos for today's post are used with permission from Little Skein in the Big Wool.


Edited to Add on Oct. 9th, 2014: Anne Vally has added one skein of the Anne's Story fingering weight yarn to the prize package!! So an additional $32 skein of Anne's Story included with the Luxe Kit!!! Thank you, Anne, for upping the ante!


Hi, Knitters,
I am here today with a fantastic giveaway for you! I am so excited to be part of the team that gets to promote and host a giveaway for the newest Little Skein kit, Green Gables. I was lucky enough to be in Maine with Paula Emons-Fuessle, the designer of the shawl Balsam Hollow for the Green Gables kit, on the day the kit debuted and was released for sales. The kits are still available for purchase now but the initial kits sold out in literally a couple of minutes! It was so exciting to witness when we were together in Maine. Paula and Anne are rock stars for sure.

Anne Vally, the creative force behind the ultra-successful Little Skein in the Big Wool brand sent the kit preview along with four sample shawls knit in the yarn color choices for the kit. The entire kit is breathtaking. Anne goes all out and that's why her kits are so incredibly special.

Here are some links for you to enjoy:

Paula Emons-Fuessle of the Knitting Pipeline podcast! She's the designer of the gorgeous shawl.



Little Skein in the Big Wool Etsy shop! You can purchase all of the kit pieces separately and together in different forms. If you are thinking of a knitting-related gift for the holiday season, any part of the kit would make a great gift.

Knitalong with Littleskein group on Ravelry! I'm a member ~ come join us.

It's hard to imagine the amount of work and thoughtfulness and love Anne pours into her kits. She is really something. So today I am giving away to one lucky blog reader the Luxe Kit! Thank you to Anne Vally for the generous giveaway opportunity.


Here is Anne Vally's description of the Luxe kit:

The LUXE Green Gables shawl kit features everything you need to make "Balsam Hollow," a new (and exclusive to Little Skein) shawl design from Paula Emons-Fuessle of the Knitting Pipeline and inspired by Anne of Green Gables, and to truly reminisce about the optimistic and enchanting Anne Shirley and her forever home on Prince Edward Island.

Your LUXE kit includes:

  • A PDF copy of Balsam Hollow, a beautiful new shawl design from Paula Emons-Fuessle (you will receive download instructions after placing your order)
  • Two 100g skeins of Leading Men Fiber Arts' Marquee yarn in the exclusive Green Gables palette colorway of your choice, which is ample yarn to knit either the standard size or the extended size of this beautiful shawl
  • A project bag in your choice of style: drawstring bag (suitable for 1 to 2 skein projects) or a larger zippered project bag (ideal for 2 to 3 skein projects)
  • A Canadian Girl stitch markers (with either the Anne master marker or Canadian Maple leaf)
  • Autumn Leaves impatient knitter tag
  • A surprise sweet treat and all of Little Skein's signature special packaging



The yarn for the kit is custom-dyed by Leading Men Fiber Arts.


There are four options plus an added variegated sock yarn (click here to see this one, I had to order my own it's so pretty!).  The colors are gorgeous and autumnal. I have the Green Gables color and I'm getting the Anne with an E color sent to me. I am going to cast on Paula's Balsam Hollow shawl very soon! It will be good retreat and travel knitting for me coming up.

Here is the description of the beautiful yarn from Anne Vally:

About your yarn:

Leading Men Fiber Arts' Callback base is a round and bouncy 3-ply superwash merino wool. It absorbs color beautifully and is rich, saturated, and glowing. This yarn is the perfect sportweight blend and creates a drapey yet warm fabric.
The palette of available colors evoke autumn on Prince Edward Island -- the luscious green leaves of Green Gables; the evergreens of Orchard Slope, the sloping area between Anne's home at Green Gables and Diana Barry's farm; spooky purples and dusky evening colors of the Haunted Wood; and of course, Anne's beautiful red hair.
Dyer: Leading Men Fiber Arts
Base: Callback sportweight
Colorways: Green Gables, Anne with an E, Orchard Slope, or The Haunted Wood
Fiber content: 100% superwash merino
Yardage: 328 yards per 100 grams
The Anne palette of colors is available exclusively from Little Skein in the Big Wool.




You get to choose between two bag options. Both are so beautifully handcrafted. The zipper bag is a little bigger and the drawstring bag (the one I have) is just right for a skein or two plus your project. Anne designs her own fabrics. The lining is as intriguing as the outer fabric. I think this is my favorite fabric design yet from Anne. The leaf motif with Anne of Green Gables outline in the big maple leaf is one of the best details ever. I LOVE this bag!

Here is Anne Vally's description of the bags:

About your project bag:

Prince Edward Island project bags are handcrafted from original fabrics, created by me, exclusively for the Green Gables kit.
The fabric features hand-painted watercolors from Polish artist Agnieska Swiejkowska and adapted by me to create a portrait of leaves and the natural world in beautiful autumnal colors, with a wistful silhouette of Anne Shirley. The exterior fabric has been digitally-printed for me on my favorite blend of cotton-linen fabric, which is wonderfully durable and has a slight nubbly rustic texture to it. For the zippered project bags, I've upsized the design to create a larger motif of Anne, and the drawstring bag's fabric is likewise sized to that particular design.
The interior fabric for Prince Edward Island is a warm autumn green, featuring some of my favorite quotes from this classic heroine, like secret and optimistic messages from Anne to you.
My drawstring bags have been sized for 1 to 2 skein projects, and my shawl-sized zipper bags are quite roomy and are sized to fit 2 to 3 skeins of yarn and your work in progress.

The Little Skein stitch markers have long been one of my favorites. They are so well-made and pretty. In the Luxe kit you win a set of markers and the choice of one of two charms. Here is Anne Vally's description of the stitch markers:
{ ABOUT YOUR STITCH MARKERS }
You'll receive a set of 8 stitch markers with a master marker of either the Anne silhouette or a Canadian maple leaf. Let me know in the notes section of your order if you have a preference; otherwise I'll surprise you!


Paula picked a leaf motif because trees play such a big role in the setting for Anne of Green Gables. It's perfect. The shawl is so simple, triangle shaped garter stitch with a simple leaf lace motif at the border. A first time lace knitter could knit this shawl. It is lovely. There are two sizes, the original and then one with an extended lace section. Great work, Paula! I love the way the shawl design ties in with the bag and stitch markers and yarn. 

Leslie Wind also contributed and designed the most beautiful shawl pin I have ever seen to go along with the kit. It is a simple leaf shape and it is effective and stunning. The leaf silhouette shawl pin is called Kindred Spirit. It is light as air and a real piece of art.

The shawl pin is NOT included in today's giveaway but you may want to order one to go with your gorgeous new shawl. I have one and I can't wait to wear it all together, and carry my bag while using my stitch markers and knitting my Anne's Story sock yarn...... while reading my new Anne of Green Gables book!




Anne's patterns are always beautifully photographed and have a clear and easy to follow layout. The pattern for the Balsam Hollow shawl has been tech edited and test knit. 

The other part of the Green Gables kit is the #annealong that is running from September 23 to December 21st! You'll want to join because it is so simple to enter and there will be fantastic prizes along the way with a big grand prize given at the end. Here are the Grand Prize details......

And: the grand prize is totally awesome, and it will be announced on December 22. 
At the end of the #annealong, on December 22, I’ll choose a grand prize winner who will receive the NEXT Little Skein kit which will be released in January and features a new (upcoming) shawl design from Susan B. Anderson and two skeins of Plucky Knitter yarn.

Yes, that's me! You get the chance to win my upcoming new kit with Little Skein!!! It is going to be spectacular and fun. And yes, the yarn is exclusively dyed for the kit by the Plucky Knitter. You'll want to try to win this one so enter the #annealong by posting anything Green Gables related along with the hashtag. It's so simple!

The #annealong is a wide open -along that includes not only knitting Paula's shawl but also reading, sharing a photo, starting an Anne Shirley-related or inspired project.... well, here is Anne Vally's great description of the #annealong:


I am so excited to announce that Little Skein in the Big Wool, together with my co-hosts Susan B. Anderson, Amanda Jennings (heyporkchop of the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery), and Paula Emons-Fuessle of the Knitting Pipeline, will be hosting a fall #annealong on Instagram to celebrate fall with Anne Shirley!
Here's how it works:
The #annealong is an Instagram contest, readalong, watchalong, and knitalong. To join in, make sure you have anInstagram account and then:
1. Start an Anne project ...
  • Knit the Balsam Hollow shawl from Little Skein’s “Green Gables” kit -- kits will be available for sale beginning September 22 at 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time in both the Little Skein Etsy shop and in the new Little Skein pop-up shop
  • Knit any pattern that reminds you of Anne of Green Gables
  • Knit with yarn that reminds you of Anne, Prince Edward Island, etc.
  • Read one of the Anne of Green Gables books (maybe read along with the awesome Juniper Grace?!)
  • Watch the fabulous Anne of Green Gables miniseries
  • Do anything else that reminds you of Anne Shirley, Green Gables, Prince Edward Island …. make it work, double dip, have fun
2. Share a picture on Instagram that shows what you're doing
3. Enjoy the community
  • Like an #annealong photo
  • Comment on an #annealong photo
  • Become inspired and uplifted
4. Maybe win a prize!
Now, to win the Luxe Kit worth $105 please leave ONE comment on this blog post (please do not email me to enter) that includes your email address OR your Ravelry ID! Please be patient for your comment to appear and don't post repeatedly. I approve all comments to avoid spam and sometimes it takes me awhile to approve the comments so there is a delay. In your comment I'd love to hear your connections to Anne of Green Gables or your favorite part of the kit if you'd like or just say hello. I will randomly select one winner next week when I return from teaching at Webs in Massachusetts.

Don't miss out on this fantastic giveaway opportunity... yarn, bag, pattern & stitch markers worth $105! That's a huge and beautiful prize.

Good luck and let the comments begin!
xo ~ susan

Saturday, October 04, 2014

The Knitting Pipeline Maine Retreat 2014 ~ Recap

photo by Barbara ~ ravblb on Instagram

Hi, Knitters,
A week has passed and I think I have finally recovered from the Knitting Pipeline Maine Retreat 2014. I had the best time ever! Paula, in the photo above, is a fantastic host and retreat coordinator. She has just released her podcast reviewing the retreat. Paula has a gift for bringing people together and for fostering friendships. She hosts three Knitting Pipeline retreats throughout the year. The three retreats are all very different. Two of the retreats are hosted in Washington, Illinois, her hometown, and then she hosts the Maine retreat. This was her second annual Maine Retreat. If you are interested in attending any of Paula's retreats you'll need to start following her on Ravelry and her Knitting Pipeline Podcast. All of these retreats fill up incredibly fast and there are always waiting lists to get in.



photo by Susan Wilkins of Fresh Air Photography

Do my eyes deceive me or do I actually look tall in this photo? Trick photography!

Here is the entire group of wonderful, knitterly women. Everyone is holding a pair of mittens that were donated to the Maine Mitten Project. It was so much fun to meet everyone and to have these fun knitters in my classes. Their enthusiasm for knitting was contagious. I'll never forget the Knitting Pipeline Maine Retreat for so many reasons. First, Paula let me teach and then she let me enjoy the retreat as an attendee for a couple of days. I didn't have to work the entire time which was such a gift. I took full advantage and loved every minute of it, soaking in the setting and the knitters. Second, it was my first (of hopefully many) trips to Maine and I feel as if I could live there I loved it so much. Last, meeting all of these talented, fun, spirited knitters is something that will stay with me for years to come.

One more last, I got to meet Pam Allen from Quince & Co. in person for the first time. I have emailed and talked on the phone with Pam but we have never met face to face. This was a true highlight of the trip for me. Pam is one of my main role models in the knitting industry. She is honest, easy to work with, hard working, and so talented, everything she does is spot on. I met Pam when she came to share her gorgeous Maine Quince & Co. yarns for all of the knitters. Everyone went crazy for the yarn and the purchases were flying. It was super fun to see.

The Quince crew including Jerusha and Dawn along with Pam, came back the next day with the orders for the attendees. This time I got to sneak away with Pam for a coffee and a macaron and a chat for an hour or so. I loved this time together so much. We have a few more projects together coming up soon! 

Thank you, Paula, for this life-changing retreat!


Linda Healey was the perfect tour guide because she lives right in Kennebunk, Maine. Linda and Barbara picked me up from the airport, took me out for lunch, gave me a grand tour of the area, and then delivered me to the retreat center. Linda's knowledge of the area is impressive to say the least. She knew so much history and all sorts of facts. I loved it. Linda helped me plan out my running route for my stay in Kennebunk. I appreciated that because I have a horrible sense of direction and can get lost very easily. I stayed right on track when running because it was so simple to run along the ocean. Thanks to Linda for all of her help.

Click here for Linda's Instagram feed! She has gorgeous photos of Maine, knitting and spinning. She's a good one to follow.

Click here for Barbara's Instagram feed!  Barbara takes great photos, too! Another good one to follow.


Barbara is a talented photographer and knitter and she has some great photos from the retreat. I bought a skein of Barbara's beautiful hand dyed yarn from her line called Eggy Johnson (no online shop is available) that I'll share later. Thank you, Barbara for the welcome and for your photos.

At the end of the retreat Linda also took me back to the airport in Portland the following Thursday and we went out for lunch at Becky's Diner in Portland. I had some fantastic chowdah (that's Maine talk for chowder) that I won't forget anytime soon. We stopped by Port Fiber and I got to meet the energetic owner, Casey, and I purchased a couple of her hand dyed braids of Maine fiber. Housed in the same building is A Gathering of Stitches, a workshop space owned by Samantha. I hope I get to teach there someday! 

Here are a few photos of my first day in Portland:




The following photos are of my stay in Kennebunk for the retreat:


The setting of my first early morning run on Gooch's Beach. Not too shabby. I ran every day while in Maine. I was in heaven.




I'm obsessed with the jagged rocks all along the beach.



We stayed at the Franciscan Guest House in Kennebunk. It was the perfect setting for the retreat. Kennebunk's main street was a few blocks to the right and the ocean was a few blocks to the left. Everything was incredibly scenic and convenient. There was so much to do and see and the venue was perfect for just hanging out and knitting together. There were outdoor and indoor spots that were comfortable for everyone.


The President and Mrs. Bush were staying at their house in Kennebunkport while we were there. The photo above is of their home. It is huge and gated and heavily secured. It is an impressive sight. A few knitters saw Barbara Bush a couple of different times walking with her walker and dogs on the beach, secret service in tow of course. One of the retreat knitters, Pam, actually talked to Mrs. Bush about her dogs while she was walking on the beach. Pam was so funny recalling the story.


I ate my first award winning lobstah (that's Maine talk for lobster) roll at the Crab Shack. Paula and I shared this order I am showing. We each had a sandwich and a bit of coleslaw on the side. It was delicious. Each one of those sandwiches cost $18 and they were not big.

I'm wearing my Hyla Brook shawl, a design Paula did for Quince & Co. I love this shawl so much and wore it for the entire retreat. It is the perfect size. Click here for the pattern information for Hyla Brook. I made mine in the Storm colorway of Finch from Quince & Co. I added beads to the bind off edge. 

Photo by Paula Emons-Fuessle on Walker Beach


This was the setting for dinner one night. The water was like glass and the colors were so vibrant. Maine is just breathtaking. Plus, I had one of the best fish dinners I've ever had. The food was so good in Maine.


This is the little restaurant where we had dinner. I can't remember the name of it.

Running on the beach! What a treat.


My buddies Kriste and Kelly, a mom and daughter duo from Texas, kept me company throughout the retreat. I just love these two and have met them before in person. Kriste does a lot of test knitting for me, she is such a talent. I consider her a good friend and now her mom falls into this category, too. Her mom Kelly is so much fun and a great knitter, too. I love their matching stature (very tall) and gorgeous red hair. They are a stunning pair. The two of them together are fun, warm, welcoming and the retreat would not have been the same for me without them. Thank you, Kriste and Kelly!

One afternoon we snuck away to Ogunquit, which was about 30 minutes from Kennebunk, and we went for a long and scenic walk along the oceanfront. Every turn on the path was more beautiful than the last. 



I wanted to make sure I stuck my feet in the ocean before leaving. It was freezing and rocky.


I found out that two of my favorite podcasters Mary of the Knitting Dish (left) and Grace of Juniper Grace have secret nose spoon talents at dinner. Who knew? Grace didn't really drink all of that but someone thought it added to the photo. I kind of agree. These two are a hoot. I love both of their podcasts so be sure to check them out.




I taught the Sock Yarn Bunny Workshop! There were a few finished bunnies, many almost finished bunnies and many in progress bunnies. We put the bunnies in their various states on the table and took a photo. It was fun to see how many knitters kept working on their bunnies after the class. I have received a few messages from people who have finished their bunnies now at home.


Mary's finished sweetheart!


Twinset Jan's finished mini sock yarn bunny is so cute! I purchased some of Jan's farm alpaca yarn that I will share later. Jan has a wonderful podcast that I've mentioned before, Twinset Designs. I highly recommend it.



Bunnies together forever!



Paula, Louise and Lisa (from left to right) are checking out Paula's photo! 


You may recognize Louise from the Caithness Craft Collective podcast. I've listened for years and you should definitely check this podcast out. Louise and her mother came all the way from Scotland to attend Paula's retreat. It was incredible to meet them. What a fun pair! There were people from all over the country in attendance and from Scotland and Canada. That's such a credit to Paula that people will travel so far to come to her retreats.


Click here for Louise's Etsy Shop! She sells Tartan knitting project bags that are adorable.


While at the retreat I designed and knit this tiny little sheep that I am using for a new workshop I am developing for The Knitter's Review Retreat in November and for Vogue Knitting Live in NYC! The Vogue Knitting Live class sign-ups just opened if you are interested. I think the class is called 3 Wee Sheep! Let me know if you are coming to class with me.

I gave this little guy (it's about 2-inches tall) to Linda Healey as a thank you for driving me all around and taking me out to lunch. I have already made another for my class sample. It's a fun, one-piece bottom up knit. The pattern is currently only available for my classes. 

Thanks to Paula and all of the attendees for making my first Knitting Pipeline Maine Retreat a fond memory. I hope to go back again and again either as a teacher or just as an attendee! I don't want this to be my one and only time at this retreat so I'll make sure this wish comes true.

xo ~ susan
p.s. Paula debuted her new shawl design and kit release in coordination with Little Skein at the retreat. The kits and Paula's Balsam Hollow shawl are a HUGE hit. You can order your own Anne of Green Gables inspired kits right here on Little Skein. I will be talking about the kit and the #annealong very soon.