Friday, January 30, 2009

Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner!!

Hi Knitters,
I stole that blog title straight from my friend, Stacey. I don't think she'll mind it was just too perfect. Without further delay here are the winners of the Knit Chickens pattern:

Jimberlys
Knittin Kudzu
Sarah Dedmon

Yay! These three winners need to email me by sometime on Sunday, Feb. 1rst. If I wake up on Monday and don't have a mailing address from you, I will pick a new winner and post it then. My email is on the sidebar and I just need a mailing address from each of you. Congratulations. Thank you for entering the contest. I wish I had a pattern for you all.

Attention Annette Wetzel! Your email address doesn't work. I need a new email address so I can send you your pattern order. I hope you read this: )
I finished these mittens awhile ago. The Collector loves them and is now wearing them everyday. They are felting up a storm but she doesn't mind and neither do I. The yarn is Manos Del Uruguay wool and I think I knitted on a US size 9 needle. I love the loop stitch and the half-linen stitch and will use them both again. This is a fun and quick pattern and I liked everything about it.
The pattern is in Knitting New Mittens & Gloves by Robin Melanson. The book is a treasury of fantastic and unique but yet practical mittens and gloves. I love this book and highly recommend it. Robin uses interesting techniques throughout the patterns and there is a wide variety offered. The techniques are clever and not difficult. If you are a mitten or glove lover like me, you should own this book. If I haven't convinced you yet, I have more to share from here later.
I know I keep sharing photos from readers lately and I hope you don't mind, but when photos like these show up in your inbox it is hard to resist. The above shot is from Melanie Bauer and I need say nothing more. But I will. Holy cuteness! She is wearing the Sweetheart Hat. I love the added pom-pom on top.
Jane Belling shared her Sweetheart Washcloths with me. They are so wonderful. She is knitting a bunch for a church fundraiser. Remember that any charity knitting with this pattern is okay by me, you don't need to ask permission for that. I love it. I think Jane used Sugar-n-Cream, at least that's what it looks like to me. Thanks for sharing, Jane, and good luck with your charity knitting.
Okay, just one more. Aren't these cute? Chris Fredericks sent me this photo of her Sweetheart Hats. She knitted them for her granddaughters who are 2 years old and 7 weeks old. How fun. I hope I get to see the girls in the hats. Good knitting, Chris.

Knitters, Friday is here so fast. Have a good and peaceful weekend. I hope you all get to knit this weekend, I know I will find the time. 
best, susie

Monday, January 26, 2009

Chicken Pattern Giveaway!!

Hi Knitters,
When I opened my mail today I got a sweet surprise. Sylvia at Blue Sky Alpacas sent me a little stack of the Knit Chickens pattern. I posted about the chickens, if you are interested, here. I was thinking this past month has been so much fun on the blog and ravelry and I am feeling the love!

Now I want to give some love back to you. I have 3 Knit Chicken patterns to give away! Leave me a comment to enter the contest. That means if you are an email subscriber, hop on over to my blog and leave a comment on the blog. Say hi, tell me about your chicken love, whatever you'd like, leave your name or something distinguishing on your comment.  
I am going to pick a winner pretty quick so enter quick! You can be from anywhere, I'll send it to you. I will pick 3 winners with a random number generator. I will post the winners on my next blog entry, who knows when but soon. 

Then those lucky chickens will need to email me (on my sidebar) to give me their mailing address. If you win, you will have 2 days after I post to email me. If 2 days pass and I haven't heard from you, I will then pick another winner.

Good luck, chicken lovers!  And we're off!
I made up these Sweet Pea Hats for another set of twins that needed a gift last week. It seems twins are everywhere these days. I guess it's the new trend: )
This is the third set of twins I have knitted Sweet Peas for since last fall. I have made 2 sets of sweet peas for boy/girl twins and one set of sweet peas of boy/boy twins over the last few months. 
These are teeny tiny hats. I can hold both of the hats on one hand. This set of twins was born 6 weeks early so teeny tiny is just right. I hope they do well, go home soon and that the hats will bring the parents a little joy during this difficult time.

On Ravelry some people have finished Sweetheart Hats and some have finished Sweetheart Washcloths. Take a look if you'd like.

Here are some patterns I am thinking about and you might like, too: 

Have a good Monday, Knitters. One last note, if you click on the little arrows in the new Twitter box you can see previous entries if you are interested. Thanks to those who are following me on twitter. I am still trying to figure the whole thing out, it's pretty fun.
best, susie

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Share, Share

Hi Knitters,
It's show and tell time. Sunny sent me her Sweetheart Washcloth on her newly finished mosaic bathroom. She is actually a mosaic genius among other things. She is doing her entire house in mosaic and it is so cool. Seriously, take a look here and scroll on down. This is one ambitious woman, she even runs a jackhammer. Sunny is from Japan but is living in California. I love it when she mentions my blog because then I get traffic from Japan. She has a big following from all over the world. It is super fun. I've even gotten orders from Japan for the washcloths. More to come from Sunny later.
Lissa from Green Bay sent me this photo of her sweethearts. Love the different colors. Thanks for sharing.
Cathy sent me these fantastic shots of her one-year-old twin grandchildren. She knitted the birthday cake hats from Itty-Bitty Hats. That's her beautiful daughter, too.
She has a boy and a girl! Aren't they cute?
Oh yeah! He's a keeper. I love those little baby teeth and those cheeks! Those are too good for words. I was touched at how proud Cathy is of these beautiful babies but also how proud she is of her birthday cake hats. That is sweet and it warms my heart.
One last thing from Sunny. She is a fantastic knitter and mosaic artist but she also does ceramics. She made this stunning ceramic hat stand where she changes out her Itty-Bitty Hats (she has knit quite a few for her daughter) to display in her home. She loves the hats too much to put them away she told me. That hat is the Rainbow Marley from the book. That hat stand is about the coolest thing ever. I love the petal base. I wish I could do ceramics. Maybe someday...

Okay, Knitters, I am just quickly touching base tonight. It has been a fun, busy day. My boys are at a swim meet returning soon and so my husband and I spent the day with our girls bumming around town. It's cold but there is still a lot you can do, you just have to bundle up!

Have a good night.
best, susie

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Queen of Chicken Strikes Again

Hi Knitters,

*added later* 
Suzette at The Wool Cabin will have the Knitted Chickens pattern in her shop next week. Email her at woolcabin@gmail.com and she will be happy to send you the pattern. Thanks, Suzette!

Last summer I was asked by Blue Sky Alpacas if I'd be interested in designing some Chubby Chickens for them. Ummm....yeah! I'm pretty much your go-to-girl when it comes to chubby chickens. I noticed the pattern is up (check out their picture) and available on the Blue Sky site and it is listed on ravelry now. They are calling the pattern Knit Chickens.
They are knit in the Blue Sky Dyed and Organic cotton, which is simply luscious. The Collector was pretty pleased with the chickens. She loved giving them a good squeeze.
The pattern offers three different sizes, 8, 10 and 12 inches long. They are knit on a US size 5 needle. The chickens are worked up in a slick way. You knit a bottom piece back and forth. Then you pick up stitches around the edge of the bottom piece with a circular needle. The rest of the chicken is knit in one piece. Of course you have to add the tail, crest, waddle and beak after the fact. It is a fun little project to knit. If you don't want to add the details, it is cute as a plain one-color chicken, too.
It's so nice to see the green grass. These photos were taken in last August. I miss you, warm summer grass.
This is the 10-inch long chicken with an applique flower.
This is the 12-inch long chicken with embroidered spider-web dots.
This stripey guy is 8 inches long. I love them all and you can mix and match the patterns with the size you'd like to knit. You can check with your local yarn shop to see if they are getting or already have the pattern or you can check the Blue Sky site to see where it is being sold. 

I hope they brought the chickens out to TNNA in San Diego for people to hold. Did anyone see the chickens there?
Sweetheart mania continues. I have been getting some photos of a few Sweetheart Hats and a bunch of Sweetheart Washcloths. I see people are posting on a Sweetheart Washcloth ravelry project page, too. Jody Meese was kind enough to send me a few photos of her completed sweethearts in some different yarns. The above version is knit in Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille in #200 Dotty Pink, it's very pretty. I hadn't seen the speckled version of the chenille.
The solid pink version is made out of Bernat Cottontots which is available at Joann's and Michael's. Jody says it is softer than the Sugar-n-Cream.
For these two Sugar-n-Cream Sweethearts Jody used Strawberry and White. She used a size 5 needle and a size G crochet hook. Great work, Jody, and thanks for sharing with us.

Thanks again for the support on the new patterns. I hope you are having fun. I'd love to see some Taiyo Reversible Scarves, too! I'll post some more pics later.

I have one last sweet Valentine project in mind and I'll see if I can find the time to whip it up and write it up for you. If not, I'll save it for next year, but by then I might forget:)

I am working on another yarn company project that I started today. It's kind of fun. I still have some manuscript stuff to finalize this week. The knitting story continues....

Okay, I'm off for now.
best, susie

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sweetheart Hat Pattern

Hi Knitters,
Here it is! Sweetheart hat is ready to go.

Here is some information for you:
Yarn: 1 ball Sugar-n-Cream for the hat (I used Strawberry)
Small amount of Sugar-n-Cream for the hearts (I used Rosie Pink)
Small amount of Sugar-n-Cream for the trim on hearts (I used White)

Size 7 sixteen inch circular needles and double-pointed needles (set of 4)
Gauge: 5 stitches per inch in stockinette
Finished sizes: 0-6 months (6-12 months, 12-24 months, small child)
Level: easy, easy, easy! 
Skills: knit, purl, ssk, k2tog, kfb, single crochet
Go for it!
Have fun, Knitters. This is a quick little knit. You can whip these up super fast for a go-to gift.

If you are interested in purchasing the pattern click on the "buy now" button below and it will take you to paypal. The pattern is $3.50. I will email the pattern in a pdf file. It may take a short while for me to get the pattern to you.

Thanks and enjoy!
best, susie






Sugar-n-Cream Sweetheart Hat

Hi Knitters,
I was so inspired by the Sugar-n-Cream yarn that I bought a few balls for $1.99 a pop at Joann's. This is a pretty slick little deal for some decent cotton. The colors are sweet and fresh and I always like a good solid cotton yarn. Throughout the years I have had requests to design a Valentine's baby hat and I have done a few before. I started thinking of a new way to incorporate the sweetheart pattern into a sweet hat for a baby. This morning it came to me. 

Here it is! I'll be posting this pattern soon.
Sweetheart earflaps! The ties are optional, of course. I used 3 colors of Sugar-n-Cream. You could get 3 hats or a hat and a Sweetheart Washcloth or any other combo. There is plenty of yarn left after you knit either of these projects.
It's pretty darn cute with this simple cotton yarn. Sugar-n-Cream is a worsted weight cotton but any type of worsted weight yarn will work fine for this pattern.
I worked this on US size 7's both 16-inch circulars and dpns at 5 stitches per inch in stockinette. Anyhoo, let me know if you're interested and I'm going to get busy writing it up for you:) Check back soon.
I did one more Sweetheart Washcloth in a darker purple with a lavender trim. It's a fun color combo. I think I have everyone covered for gifts now. I need a few more soaps to match up with the washcloths. I can't wait to wrap them up for Valentine's Day.
I bought this pattern yesterday, it's a ravelry download. I think it is really wonderful looking. I wanted to try the yarn called for in the pattern, Paton's Classic Wool and that is the reason I ended up at Joann's in the first place. It's only $5.99 for a ball of 223 yards. You need one ball to make the neck warmer. That's a pretty good deal and would make a great gift as well. I'll keep you posted on the yarn and pattern as I go.

Happy Saturday, Knitters.
best, susie
p.s. Did you notice I added a twitter box on the top of the sidebar? You can click on it and sign up to follow me on twitter if you'd like. I am going to be posting little updates and fun things in between my regular posts on the blog. If you are an email subscriber, you will have to visit my blog to check it out. See you there!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sugar-n-Cream Sweetheart

Hi Knitters,
First off, Robbie Washburn from Brodnax I got your order this morning and I have tried to send you the pattern about a half dozen times and I keep getting it back. Your email address isn't working. Could you please send me another email I can send the pattern to, please? Or get in touch to figure something else out? Thanks and I hope you read this. I remember you: ) You won one of my giveaways last summer.

Okay, so I have been getting a lot of email about a lot of sweethearts. One question I have been getting is if I have any recommendations for other yarn to use instead of the cotton chenille. I think any cotton with about the same gauge (4 sts per inch) would work just fine. I was lucky enough to get this email  and photo from Peggy today with a great example of a sweetheart done in an alternative yarn.

Peggy used Sugar-n-Cream in Pink Stripes to knit her Sweetheart Washcloth and it looks fantastic. I looked up Sugar-n-Cream and it looks like it is going for about $2.00 a ball at Joann's. Peggy said she thinks she can get two Sweethearts out of one ball. That's about a dollar a washcloth. How's that for a sweet deal? 

Peggy used a size 6 needle and a size G crochet hook (she doesn't have an H) and it turned out to be about 12x9 inches. Mine is about 10x9 inches. Her's is a little bigger but it doesn't matter for a washcloth.

I love this example because it is adorable and affordable. If you were having a hard time finding the cotton chenille or it is a little too pricey for your taste, the Sugar-n-Cream is the perfect alternative. 

You know these could be used as dishcloths with the Sugar-n-Cream yarn, too. That is so good. I know people love their knitted dishcloths.

I have one more Sweetheart email from Suzanne and she gave me permission to share it. She made a poem to go along with her Sweetheart Washcloth gifts for Valentine's Day and here it is:
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
I knit up this washcloth,
especially for you!
Happy Valentine's Day.

Hot chocolate and cookies kept me company this afternoon as I was working away on my manuscript. Boy, did that taste good. Are you wondering if I dropped that second handful of tiny marshmallows into the cocoa? You bet I did, every last one. 

My older daughter made the chocolate drop cookies. She's twelve and does that girl ever like to bake. She is so fun to watch in the kitchen. Last night she whipped up 3 dozen chocolate chip cookies for her older brother to take to his homeroom today. He had the treat today. I appreciated that because, as always lately, I was working away on that old manuscript. 

I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel on all of the new book stuff. I sent off a big chunk of the manuscript to Trent (my editor at Artisan) this afternoon. Then on Friday I will be sending off a little more that I've finished editing. We are working hard and long on this one. Phew! It's going to be a good one.

Okay, dear Knitters. I have been so overwhelmed by your response to the new patterns. Thank you. That makes me feel really good.
best, susie

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Few More...

Hi Knitters,
My stack is growing. I am loving making these Sweetheart Washcloths. It's that kind of addictive knitting. I am doing a lot of starting and stopping with no long stretches to knit. These work for that kind of knitting, plus I get to finish something.
I have the pattern memorized now. I could knit hearts in my sleep.
I added a couple of red and pink hearts for some traditional Valentine's colors.
This top one is the Collector's favorite. I'll show you if I get a few more knit up. I am hearing that people already have some Sweethearts finished. Send me a picture. I'd love to see your version.
Hope you are all doing well this week, Knitters.
best, susie

Taiyo Scarf Drop Stitch Demo

Hi Knitters,
Here is the video demonstration of the drop stitch for the Taiyo Reversible Scarf. We had a few technical difficulties so it ended up not being super focused but you can still easily see how it works. Thanks for the support and I hope you enjoy your scarves. You can also view this video on my youtube videos.
best, susie
p.s. Nice face! Quick push play!

video

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sweetheart Washcloth Pattern

Hi Knitters,
The pattern is here for the Sweetheart Washcloth! It is so cute and just in time for Valentine's Day or any day, for that matter. This fast and simple little project is the perfect handmade gift for anyone on your gift list, teachers, moms, grandmas, babies, children, etc. You get the idea, anyone would love this squishy, soft treat. Imagine bathing a baby or child using this sweet little washcloth. Love it.

Here is the information:
Finished measurements: 10-inches wide, 9-inches tall
Yarn: Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille (98 yards/50 grams)
2 skeins of contrasting colors will make 2 washcloths or 1 skein will make one washcloth in one shade.
*Any cotton yarn with a similar gauge will work fine for this project.
Needles: U.S. size 6 needles or size to obtain gauge
Crochet hook (optional, for edging only): size H
The washcloth looks cute without the edging, so no worries if you're not up to the crochet.
Gauge: 4 stitches per inch in stockinette stitch
Difficulty Level: Easy, Easy, Easy! You will use the knit stitch, knit 2 together, and ssk (slip, slip, knit 2 together through the back loop). For the crochet trim you will use a chain stitch, slip stitch, and single crochet. 

This is an easy and fast project! You will love these washcloths. I am making up a big stack in all different colors to have on hand when I need a quick gift.
The fantastic soaps can be ordered from The Soap Opera. The Soap Opera, right on State Street, is a long time Madison staple. It is a fun, beautiful little shop in downtown Madison. The soaps are cut from big blocks as you order and you wouldn't believe how good they smell. The fragrance is so fresh and clean, just right. The soap is a fun touch to add to the washcloth if it is a gift but of course it's not necessary. The washcloth alone is a great gift by itself. 
Here is how I am giving the Sweetheart Washcloth to my favorite sweethearts. I am placing the Valentine bar of soap in the center.
Next, I fold in the heart to the center to bundle up the bar of soap.
Lastly, I tied a ribbon around the whole thing to keep it folded up. What a sweet little package. Can you imagine getting this gift? I would love it. I don't know where I got that ribbon, I have had it a long time. It is silk and textured but that is all I know about it. Any type of ribbon would look just as good: )

If you are interested in purchasing the pattern click on the button below. The pattern is $3.50. As soon as I get notice of your payment from Paypal or the e-check clears (can take up to 5 days) I will send you the pattern via email in a printable pdf file. Sometimes there is a slight delay so don't worry, it will arrive in your email. 

Enjoy!
best, susie
p.s. Next up I will be doing a video tutorial for the drop stitch technique in the Taiyo Reversible Scarf. I will have the tutorial available in a few days. Go ahead and start your scarf, you don't need to do the drop stitch until the very end. I wanted to get the Sweetheart Washcloth up first so people could get a jump start on their Valentine knitting. I've heard from a lot of knitters who already have their cotton chenille and are waiting to get knitting!






Thursday, January 08, 2009

Taiyo Answers and a Sweet Surprise

Hi Knitters,
What a response to the Taiyo Reversible Scarf! There is a lot more interest than I had planned on. The pattern orders are still pouring in. Thank you! I want to give you a few more shots to look at. These photos show off the ruffly movement effect of the dropped stitches. This scarf is incredibly easy to make and the texture of the knitted fabric is wonderful, beautiful and rustic.
I have been wearing my Taiyo folded in half with the ends pulled through the fold. This seems to be the best way to show off the texture.
I want to explain how to work the scarf a little here. I didn't know this but there are a lot of knitters who haven't ever dropped a stitch on a knitted piece before. So here are some answers to a few questions I have been getting:

1. What do I do first? Knit the entire scarf. That's right, just work to the very end. Don't worry about dropping the stitches until you are basically done with the scarf. Don't think too hard about the end effect, just follow the pattern. Dive right in.

2. When do I drop the stitches? On the last row! That's what makes it so simple. You work straight to the end, then you drop the stitches. Your next row will be the bind off row.

3. What does it mean to drop the stitches? You actually take the specified stitch on the left needle off the needle and let it drop down. Pull the dropped stitch down several rows before you continue on with the row. You will have to pull the dropped stitch out of the stitches as you work it down the entire length of the scarf. Even after pulling the stitch down a few rows you will start to see the ladder effect appearing. The cast on row will stay in place at the bottom of the scarf. No worries, just do it!

4. How do I carry on with the row after I drop the stitch off my needle? Easy. All you do is look at the space between the stitches still on your needles. You will see the ladder or the line of bars going down the scarf. Place the top bar on the left needle by placing your needle under the bar from the front to the back. Next, knit the bar on your left needle through the back (or through the back loop), this will twist the bar and make it into a regular stitch on your needle. The next row is the bind off row so you will work the "bar" stitches as regular stitches on this row.

5. I am an email subscriber and when I push the "buy now" button it doesn't take me to Paypal, what do I do? Easy, click on Susan B. Anderson at the top of the email. It will take you directly to the post on my blog where you can click and order. For email subscribers, you should pop on over to the actual blog from time to time to read comments and to see any updates or corrections that I may add later to posts. You always get the first version of every post with no comments or corrections or additions. Just a suggestion: ) I don't know why the button didn't work for some people on the email subscription.

6. Help! I still don't get it! This weekend I will try my best to get a video tutorial together on how to drop a stitch, just like you need to do for the Taiyo Reversible Scarf. I will check with my camera man (my 17 year old son) to see if his schedule will allow a filming session. I think we can pull it off. Please check back for that if you are interested. When you see me drop the stitch on the video, you are going to laugh about how simple it is. It reads much more difficult than it is.

In conclusion, just start your scarf! Don't worry about the dropping of the stitches until you are done with the scarf, remember it's the last row where you drop.
 
Now for my sweet surprise. 
Okay, I am really excited about this project. I have designed and written the pattern for the cutest ever cotton chenille Sweetheart Washcloths. Squishy, squishy, soft, soft. These are next up on my pattern list. You can whip these up for Valentine's Day presents for all of your sweethearts. I am so in love with these and I hope you want to make some, too. This is one of the cutest projects I have ever made. My daughters are going crazy to get their hands on these heart washcloths. Think of all of the people who would love a Valentine pick-me-up, teachers, moms, grandmas, friends, daughters, babies, kids..... 

I am going to tell you where to get those fantastic soaps, too, the shop has a complete mail order service. Those soaps were picked out by The Collector.

I will have the pattern available in a day or two. This is a super fast, simple knit. Seriously. I made two Sweetheart Washcloths yesterday with a lot of off and on knitting.

Level of difficulty: Easy, Easy, Easy! (garter stitch, knitting every row and stitch is the main ingredient)

Here's what you need to get ready:
Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille (2 skeins make 2 washcloths) Check out this link to see all of the fabulous colors available. I think green or blue or red or dark purple, etc., etc..... would all look fantastic. Be creative. I love this yarn and for some reason I have a ton of it I've collected.
U.S. size 6 needles
U.S. size H crochet hook (Now for you knitters who won't crochet, the crochet edging is optional, the washcloths are still super cute on their own or you could just pick up around the edge with your needles and bind off on the next row for an edging or you could do a knitted picot edging, see my sidebar for tutorials.)

To give you some size reference, each washcloth is 10-inches wide, and 9-inches tall.

Any cotton yarn will do with a gauge of about 4 stitches per inch in stockinette give or take.

Okay, you would not believe the avoidance that is going on with me. I have an enormous manuscript staring me down from my desk right now. I have to get to editing. Bleh.

Love you, Knitters. You keep me going more than you'll ever know. I really needed a kick this week and the Taiyo scarf definitely gave it to me, thanks to all of you.
best, susie