Saturday, May 27, 2017

For the Love of Shawl Knitting

Hi, Knitters,
I hope you have a wonderful weekend full of knitting ahead. I know I do amongst other things. I'm starting my Saturday morning out very early with a bit of quiet shawl knitting and a mug of coffee. As you can see I am on the home stretch of my Sonora shawl. I am so in love with this shawl. It is the simplest pattern, a two-row repeat, and one of those rows is knit only. Then every once in a while you add in the garter slip stitch pattern which is so much fun. It's a perfect springtime knit.

Anyway, I am closing in on the final garter lace border and honestly, I'll be sad when it's over. But then I'll get wear it so that is the good part.

Pattern: Sonora by Kirsten Kapur for Barrett Wool Co. (available for purchase on either Ravelry or Barrett Wool Co.)

Yarn: Barrett Wool Co. Home Fingering Weight in Pepin (Main Color ~ 2 skeins) and Ellie Gray (Contrast Color ~ 1 skein)

And I want to let you know that over on Barrett Wool Co. we are celebrating Memorial Day Weekend with a Free U.S. only Shipping offer for any purchase over $25! 
The code to use at checkout is: GRATITUDE

Click here to visit Barrett Wool Co.! Most of the yarn, both lines, are in stock right now and there are a few kits available for order as well, the Wildflowers Cap Kit, Sheep! Kit, and the Flower Fairy & Leaf Sprite Kit. Take advantage of the free US shipping and enjoy!

Earlier this week I literally took almost everything out of my tiny studio to organize and get ahold of the situation. When I am super busy things tend to build up and get messy. I spent a few days reorganizing, getting rid of tons of stuff (so much stuff!) and cleaning. It was an overwhelming process and it was not fun. But what is fun is the final result. I made room for a very nice work table which I have never had before in my studio. It is small but kind of perfect. I now have my sewing machine tucked neatly underneath, too. Before I had to take over the kitchen table if I wanted to sew. 

I even have a new chair on order that will be arriving next week. It feels so light and airy in here now and hopefully, I can be more productive. That's the plan anyway. Spring is such a good time to refresh and clean out your home even if it is only one room. 

Once all of the pieces are in place I will share some photos of my tiny studio space with you if you are interested.

Early last night I went for a run and the day was definitely running out but it was just so pretty outside. It had rained earlier in the day, which you can see on the grass. The lighting was kind of golden and it made me happy to be out in the world. I feel so much gratitude and inspiration when I am in the out of doors. 

I'm planning on being out a lot this weekend and I hope you can get out there, too!

I'll be back with more next week. Thanks for spending a moment with me today.
xo ~ susan

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Wildflowers Cap & A Good Retreat

Hi, Knitters,
I hope you are all having a good week. I am finally home for a stretch here and that feels wonderful. I want to mention a couple of things today. Last night over on Barrett Wool Co. we released our newest kit for the fantastic Mary Jane Mucklestone's Wildflowers Cap. This pattern originally appeared in Making Magazine No. 1 / Flora. I can't say enough about this super fun, simple and fast hat. It is addicting and it makes the perfect quick summer knit. 

There are lots of pattern options and a few different colorways for the kits. You can purchase the kit without a pattern if you already have it, or with a Ravelry download code, or with the Making Magazine that includes the pattern and much more. Each of these options has a different price.

The Wildflowers Cap Kit includes either our Wisconsin Woolen Spun or Home Worsted Weight. The kit in the first photo includes the Wisconsin Woolen Spun in Rainshower and Sherwood. Our yarns are the perfect match with this Maine wildflowers inspired design. I love Mary Jane Mucklestone's designs and she is one of the most wonderful knitters of our time. She is talent and personality all rolled into one of the best people around.

The kit above includes Wisconsin Woolen Spun Worsted in Rainshower and Hazelnut. I love the look of this one so much. 

The Wildflowers Cap Kit above includes our Home Worsted Weight in Peppercorn and Picket Fence. The hat above was photographed and knit by @kellythecarelesscat on Instagram. Thank you, Kelly, for permission to use your beautiful hat and photo!!

And enjoy! You will love the yarns, the pattern, and Mary Jane!

Last weekend I had the privilege of teaching so many wonderful students at the Good Retreat in Orlando, Florida. The retreat was hosted by A Good Yarn which is in Sarasota, Florida. While I was there I did some knitting on my Sonora Shawl and I started my second Wildflowers Cap

The Sonora Shawl is really one of my favorite knits ever. The design is by Kirsten Kapur and I am using Home Fingering Weight in Pepin and Ellie Gray. It is all garter stitch goodness from start to finish! 

I also did some stitching on my Satin Stitch Sampler by Dropcloth on Etsy.  I am loving Flower Thread lately. It is such a treat. 

For the retreat we stayed at the enormous and magnificent Rosen Shingle Creek Resort. It was lovely. The classes were so much fun, I just loved the students. We really just stayed in the resort the entire time and had meals together, too. I loved spending time with Ann Budd, Romi Hill, Clara Parkes and of course, the best event planner around, Cindy Hallam. We laughed a lot.

I took the photo above from my hotel room window.

The highlight for me was the most informative and fun speech by Clara Parkes to end the retreat. She is a delightful and smart speaker. She knows her topic (which is wool!) so well. It was the perfect end to a successful retreat. 

Have a good rest of your week, Knitters. I'll be back soon with more.
xo ~ susan

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Comings and Goings

Hi, Knitters,
I hope you are all doing well as we move into the late spring and early summer months ahead. It has been busy in this neck of the woods, as I'm sure it is for you as well. Spring always seems to move at a fast pace at home and in the knitting world.

I am working away on my Sonoma Shawl by Kirsten Kapur. I can't say enough good and complimentary things about this pattern and shawl. I have knit and designed so many shawls but I can honestly say this one ranks at the top of the list for me for lots of reasons. 

Here are some of those reasons:
1. It's so simple but yet interesting. Sonoma holds my attention.

2. It appears to be difficult and complicated but it's not. Sonoma looks like stranded colorwork but you are switching colors every 2 rows and using only one color at a time in every row in the patterned sections.

3. I love the slip stitch pattern to no end. This is the first time I have worked a charted slip stitch pattern (and all in garter stitch) and all I want to do now is explore more of these slip stitch patterns. It is really fun.

4. The squishy gorgeous yarn is perfect for the pattern. Home Fingering Weight is squishy 100% American Wool and it is the perfect match for the design. It is fun to match two contrasting colors.

5. Sometimes a nice solid yarn for a garment or accessory can be understated, elegant and beautiful. Although I love brightly speckled and multi-colored yarn, too, I don't necessarily want to wear it all of the time. Variety is good!

6. I can't wait to wear this shawl in every season. The simple, clean lines and neutral colors make the shawl very versatile.

7. It is big and cozy. 

8. The entire shawl is garter stitch, not one purl stitch to be found! Even the lace is garter stitch. That is fun and fast.

The Sonora shawl takes 3 skeins of Home Fingering Weight, two skeins in a main color and one skein in a contrast color. I picked a lot of color combination options to look at, if you are interested click right here.

If you post any photos of the Sonora shawl be sure to tag the photo with #sonorakal so I can find it. I am picking prize winners from this hashtag over the next month. I have already selected the first winner of a fun prize and I am sending it out to her today. Her name is Mary and she is @mamachachacita (love the name) on Instagram. Here are a couple of photos of her Sonoma shawl knit in Home Fingering Weight in Snowy Pine (a light mint color) and Marmalade (a warm pumpkin orange):

Photo by @mamachachacita

You can see how beautiful and squishy the garter stitch is in this photo. I love it! Even the lace border is in garter stitch and it is stunning. I love how the lace border becomes a more saturated section of the contrast color. It is genius.

photo by @mamachachacita

The Snowy Pine main color paired with the Marmalade contrast color is one of my favorite combinations. Well done, Mary! I hope you enjoy your prize and thanks for posting. 

The next quick thing I want to share with you today is that over on Barrett Wool Co. in the Mercantile we are having a bundle sale. If you purchase any combination of scissors, cards and stitch marker tins for $18 or over you get 20% off by using the code: BUNDLE. Magazines are not included. 

The discount code is good through Friday, May 19th, 2017.

So I spent the entire last week in Denver, Colorado, filming a new and long class. It was a ton of work but it is always so much fun as well. The crew and staff at Craftsy are fun, talented and supportive. I enjoyed every minute of it. The new class comes out at the end of June so I'll have more details for you at that time.

While I was filming everything came to a sudden stop as Craftsy was at that very moment purchased by NBC Universal. The NBC executives were all in Denver to close the deal and I even got to meet some of them as they toured through the studio as I was filming my class. That was fun.

This is a very big deal for the company, huge stuff. The mood was so elevated and happy and excited. I am really happy for them all because I think they work so hard with long hours and with sometimes limited resources. They all strive to put out a great product. 

This will certainly mean even bigger and better things are coming for us through in the future. It is really exciting times over there. 

I just filmed my fourth class with Craftsy. If interested, links for the first three are here with a 50% off discount (these are affiliate links):

The photo above is my view from the hotel. Colorado is one beautiful state. 

I'm leaving for Orlando, Florida tomorrow after only a few short days at home. I'm teaching at the Good Yarn Retreat along with Ann Budd and Romi Hill. That sounds like some great company. Oh, and of course, Clara Parkes is the featured speaker! I love Clara.

Here are a few more upcoming dates: 

I'm going to film with Vickie Howell for her new show, The Knit Show at the end of July!

I'm teaching at the first Signature Needle Arts Retreat in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, next Oct. 13-15th, 2017, and there are still openings available! I am teaching with Ann Budd, Romi Hill and Kate Atherley. Good group! Click here to find out more.

I've updated the rest of my upcoming teaching schedule on the sidebar of this blog if you ever want to see my where I'm headed. It's not totally complete and I can't talk about some of the dates yet until the places are ready but most of it is up there.

I'll see you back here on the other side. Have a great week ahead.
xo ~ susan

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Weekend Cast On:: Sonora

Hi, Knitters,
The gorgeous new Sonora shawl by Kirsten Kapur has captured my attention and all I can think about is casting one on for myself. Kirsten graciously accepted my invitation to design a shawl for Barrett Wool Co. and when the finished shawl arrived in the mail I could not get enough of it. It is my favorite shawl. The shawl takes 3 skeins of Home Fingering Weight. Two skeins of a main color and one skein of a contrasting color.

The Sonora pattern is on sale for $4.00 right now with the code: SONORA
The code is good on Ravelry and Barrett Wool Co.
The sale is on now through Sunday, April 30, 2017! On May 1, 2017, the pattern price will be set at $5.50. 

We took the shawl to the Grand Canyon with us in hopes of getting a couple good photos to use for the pattern. We got more than a few. The shawl seemed so at home in the setting. It was a blustery day but when we took the photos the wind didn't affect us at all. My son's girlfriend modeled the shawl and she really is a natural in front of the camera. How lucky am I to be surrounded by such wonderful young women in my family? I absolutely love it.

The day was sun-kissed and the beautifully scenic photos only added to the happy mood. 

Kirsten Kapur has some of the most beautiful designs. If you aren't following her you really should. Here are some of her links:

Drop Dead Easy Knits (Kirsten's first book! I have a project in here, too.)

The shawl is worked completely in garter stitch, not a purl to be found. The diamond pattern is done with slipped stitches and uses only one color at a time. I can't wait to try this stitch pattern! It looks like so much fun. Even the lace border is done in garter stitch. Kirsten Kapur is one of my favorite designers because her work is beautiful, fun to knit, and the end result is always stunning and wearable.

This is the perfect spring knitting project! I'm casting on this weekend.... now for what colors to use.

The shawl in the photos is knit in the color Bluff for the main color and Morning Sky for the contrast color. 

Over at Barrett Wool Co., we are so excited to be fully stocked again with our Home Yarn Collection. All of our 100% American Wool in fingering and worsted weight are back in stock.

And just a reminder, we are celebrating by offering free U.S. shipping for any purchase of 3 or more skeins starting now and running through the end of the day on Sunday, April 30, 2017. You don't need a coupon code, the free shipping will be automatically calculated into your order.

I'll leave you with this gorgeous photo of the Grand Canyon taken by my son. Indescribable.

Have a great weekend, everyone! Happy knitting and happy spring to you all.
xo ~ susan

Thursday, April 20, 2017

It was Grand and other knitting news!

Hi, Knitters,
I am back from a spring break vacation with the family and I want to share a little bit about it. But first, I am so excited to say that we have a new kit available over on Barrett Wool Co. for my Three French Hens pattern. You can purchase the kit with or without the Taproot Magazine (this is the only place the pattern is available right now). I think you will love this pattern, the kit, the yarn and the magazine!

In six months from now the individual pattern for the hens will be available for purchase on Ravelry.

In other news, I did a write-up recipe for adding short row shaping to the backside of a sweater. Do you see that swoop at the back in the photo above? I did that by adding in a few short rows before I started the ribbing on the Branches & Buds sweater by Carrie Bostick Hoge. I love doing this so that the sweater doesn't ride up in the back. I provided a general how-to recipe that could be used for any sweater or cardigan, either top-down or bottom-up.

By the way, more sweater kits are in the works for the Branches & Buds sweater and should be available very soon.

Now for some fun vacation stuff!

So we took a week off and flew to Phoenix, Arizona, a place I had not visited before, and we had a fantastic time. My entire family came along with the exception of Peachy. College gets in the way of vacations sometimes. My sons and their significant others, TC and my husband, of course, were all there for the fun.

Anyway, we stayed in a rental home that was just beautiful. It was in a nice neighborhood and it was full of little luxuries. The house had an infinity pool and spa and a putting green in the backyard. There was lots of comfy shaded seating and umbrellas, and a huge grill and outdoor dining area which we loved and used a lot. We hiked, ran, biked, walked, ate really good food, relaxed, read lots of books, and just enjoyed each other. It was really nice.

On one of the days, we took off very early and drove to the Grand Canyon. We packed a picnic lunch and hiked all around the Canyon for several hours. The photo above shows one view. There is no possible way to capture the majesty and beauty of the Grand Canyon in a photo. It is a sight beyond your wildest dreams. I have flown over the Grand Canyon many times but to actually stand at the edge of it is humbling. I am glad I got to see it in person with my family.

On another afternoon we hiked Camelback Mountain. It has an "Extremely Difficult" rating and we were warned by a park ranger as we started up the mountain. This is an accurate rating for sure, the hike was no joke. The photo above shows one section of the hike and it was pretty much straight up with huge boulders to navigate the entire time. 

I have to say that even though my husband has climbed this mountain 5 times before he didn't really describe it as all that difficult for some reason. If I had known how challenging it was ahead of time I may not have done it. But I feel really good that I safely and slowly but surely made it to the top of the mountain and back down. It was a really hard hike for me, not so much physically, but more mentally. I loved it. The best part was choosing the path to take and maneuvering around, up and down those gigantic rocks. I was more concerned about the getting down part but I made it fine.

The kids at the Grand Canyon! 

We are so lucky to have the Baker in the family! That's my second son if you don't know. He is currently cooking at a fabulous local restaurant in Madison so he isn't baking as much right now professionally. His cooking skills are impressive, to say the least. At home he pretty much only shops at our local Madison farmers markets for his daily food. He was excited to visit the Phoenix open air farmers market on our last day. It was a good market. We ate an entire meal using only the market produce that night.

Above is the salad he whipped up for us. The salad in the photo consisted of Swiss chard, beets, grapefruit, fresh squeezed lemon juice (from lemons picked from the backyard tree), and salt. It was the best salad I've ever had. The rest of the meal consisted of grilled vegetables on skewers. I loved it all so much.  

On the trip I did a ton of stitching. I have so much embroidery that I want to do but I just don't make time for it in my busy knitting schedule. I took advantage on the trip. I started and finished two pieces.

The embroidery in the photo above is from my favorite, Rebecca Ringquist, and it is called the Red Line Sampler. I've talked about her pretty extensively in the past. Her company is called Dropcloth and she is fun and artistic with her work. I highly recommend her.

Click here for Rebecca's online classes on! These classes are so good. I've taken many of them.

The other stitching I finished is from Cozyblue and it is the little house on the right. Cozyblue or Liz makes adorable little stitching kits. These kits come with the needle, floss and printed fabric. I have a couple more of these to make in my stash. 

I've recently purchased a few interesting stitching items at French General, too. I'll share those soon but the bobbins holding my threads are from French General if you are interested. 

Thanks for joining me today. I hope you are all doing well.

I'll be back soon with more. 
xo ~ susan

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Flower Fairy & Leaf Sprite Kits!

Hi, Knitters,
How are you all doing this weekend? Things are going well around my house. Everyone seems to be at a good place in their respective jobs and schools. This is always comforting to see as a parent. I have been hard at work on a few new projects, and I've been revamping a few older projects as well. That's always satisfying.

So I wanted to bring some new to life the little Flower Fairy & Leaf Sprite project I designed for Carrie Bostick Hoge's first issue of Making Magazine. I decided to put together a fantastic kit for this sweet little project over on Barrett Wool Co.

To start, I reknit the project in our Wisconsin Woolen Spun Sport Weight yarn and it was a complete delight to dive into it. I absolutely loved knitting every piece of this set again. The pattern is really good and clear if I do say so myself. Sometimes you never know when a pattern is tech-edited and reformatted to fit another publication how it's going to end up. This one is good!

The only thing I did differently this time around is that I went down a needle size. The pattern recommends a US size 4 needle and I used a US size 3. You might want to take note of this if you get a kit. I also steamed all of the parts with my iron after they were finished. With the Woolen Spun yarn steaming really helps to open up and make the yarn bloom so nicely. It makes a difference.

The custom box fits the six skeins and colors of our Wisconsin Woolen Spun yarn perfectly. After you knit the toys they could be kept in the box or it could be used as a gift box, too. It is so sweet. That's my artwork patterning the top and sides of the box. I love the box so much. 

You can get the kit with or without the pattern if you already own the magazine or the pattern.

Please note that any purchases over on Barrett Wool Co. from April 9-16th will be sent out on April 17, 2017!

Here are some more photos of the kit:

These are some of the sweetest toys I have ever designed. I love how the fairies fit so perfectly in the little pockets. There is so much imaginative play that could be done with them. 

Again, please note that any purchases over on Barrett Wool Co. from April 9-16th will be sent out on April 17, 2017.

Also, we will be fully stocked again on Barrett Wool Co. very shortly! We are so excited and I have some wonderful things coming up over the next few weeks. Can't wait to share more. 

Alright, my loves! Have a super Sunday. I plan on getting a lot of knitting done today but I also have some new books lined up on my Kindle and that sounds pretty nice, too. I'd love to hear how you are doing and what you are working on lately.
xo ~ susan

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Super Clog Giveaway, Podcast news, and March Mayhem!

Hi, Knitters,
There is a lot going on today. First I posted a new podcast episode on my YouTube Channel. Click here to see the video on YouTube. I'll link all of the show note links at the end of this post. 

Next, I am so excited and honored that my Sheep! pattern has made it to the Final Four of the Mason-Dixon Knitting's March Mayhem bracket. We are in the Championship round. Thank you for voting and if you are up for one more vote I would really appreciate it. The voting is open today, March 30 and tomorrow March 31, 2017. Thank you so much for taking the time if you vote. 

I have put up a 20% discount for the Sheep! pattern on Ravelry (no code needed)! The pattern is set at $4.00 for today and tomorrow, March 30-31, 2017. Click here to go to the Sheep! pattern!

Now for a quick clog story...

I was in middle school when my mom bought me my first pair of Troentorp clogs. From then on at the beginning of the school year I would get a new pair of Levi's corduroys and a new pair of Troentorps. I was pretty much ready for anything with that kind of wardrobe. Years and years later, as an adult, I was at a doctor appointment and the nurse who was checking me in was wearing the same clogs I wore in high school. They were brown Troentorps with shoelace ties. I had forgotten about them and was completely enamored seeing her pair that day. 

Since that reminder I have been slowly building up my Troentorp clog collection. I think I have four pairs at this time and I simply love them. I especially love wearing them with my handknit socks. It is a super combination. 

I have been posting lots of Troentorp clog and handknit sock photos on my Instagram account lately. This lead the good people at Troentorp to contact me to see if I wanted to host an Instagram giveaway for a pair of Troentorp clogs. I said of course! I could not pass up this opportunity for my beloved sock-knitting friends.

To enter to win a free pair of Troentorp clogs of your choice do the following simple steps:

1. Leave on comment on Susan's Instagram post! Please do not leave a comment here on the blog or email me. Click here to go to the Instagram post to leave a comment

2. Follow @troentorpclogs over on Instagram! This is a must to be eligible to win. 

Troentorp has generously provided a 10% off discount code good through April 12, 2017 for you to use. The discount code is (same caps and space): Susan B

I hope you take advantage of this super fun clog giveaway and the discount code from Troentorp Clogs. 

I will be back in a few days to randomly select a winner over on Instagram. I'll be in touch with the winner at that time.

Show notes for Episode 28: Sweaters, Mittens & Hens

Barrett Wool Co. We now have it so you can sign up for an email notice when any out of stock item returns to the shop. This is an immediate email update from the shop so your odds are really good this way!

Barrett Wool Co. Kits

Taproot Magazine (includes the Three French Hens pattern) for sale now on Barrett Wool Co!

Soulemama ~ one of my favorite blogs!

Branches & Buds Kits  Sign-up for the email notice and our newsletter to find out when these kits hit the shop next week. They have sold out super fast the other two times we listed the kits. We have a big order of yarn coming in for this next round.

Three Color Bulky Twist Mitten Kits Grab one of these kits now! I don't know when we'll have this yarn back in the shop, it could be awhile.

Fringe Supply Co. tape measure bracelet

Tea Embassy Lemon Chiffon Tea

Jennie the Potter

Suburban Stitcher Yarn and podcast

Knitters Guild Knit In event (I'm on the schedule to vend Barrett Wool Co. and to teach next year 2018!)

Wisconsin Woolen Spun Yarns

Home Fingering Weight Yarn

Three French Hens on Ravelry

Making Magazine 3 coming to Barrett Wool Co.! I have an adorable design in this next issue in May, 2017.

Never Not Knitting (house tape measure)

Little Skein (Winnie the Pooh bag)

Okay, friends! Thanks for the support and love and I'm sending it right back at you. Much love to you all. Happy knitting and I'll be back soon with more.
xo ~ susan