Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tons of This, That & Gift Ideas

(photo from

Hi, Knitters,
I have lots and lots of links for you today. I hope you are all doing well and knitting away. It is weird that we don't have too much snow here in Madison just spotty patches of snow here and there with none coming on the horizon. Ah well, such is the weather. Do you have snow? I think Maine has lots of snow. I've seen some pretty good Maine snow photos this year. 

So here we go with the linky-links for today.

Martha Stewart has a free pattern up called Cozy Mittens shown in the first photo. They are in worsted weight yarn, knit flat in garter and seamed with crochet. The mittens have an unusual construction. I'd like to try them because they are so cute and homespun-looking. You might like them, too.

My friend, Kriste, gave me this adorably sweet and dainty ceramic flower necklace at the Knitting Pipeline Retreat last September. I love it and wear it all of the time. Thank you, Kriste. Plus the card has foxes....

(photo from

There is a new audio podcast in town and it is called Woolful. Ashley does a great job interviewing interesting fiber-talents. She has three episodes up. Ashley also has a cool mercantile up with fascinating farm wools with stories.

I have a new color block hat pattern in a great book by Tanis Gray called 3 Skeins or Less. My hat is made in three colors of Shelter by Brooklyn Tweed and I designed it for a man. The book has the hat photographed on a woman. I guess it could be unisex. It is a fun hat with stranded color work and very simple knitting. 

This would be a good project for those leftover odds and ends of worsted weight wools. The photo in the book has the hat perched on top of the adorable model's head but it is designed to be a regular beanie pulled down over the ears for warmth. 

The book is wonderful and jam-packed with accessory patterns. You should check it out!

I found the Alan Dart Yuletide Gnome I knit years ago and set him out for Christmas. Alan Dart is an amazing toy designer that I have loved for many, many years. He is so talented. 

I knit my gnome in Cascade 220. The beard yarn is now discontinued and I don't know where to find similar yarn. Look in the finished projects on Ravelry to get ideas.

I was gifted this beautiful self-striping yarn and stitch markers from the owner of the Knitting In France shop on Etsy. The yarn is squishy and beautiful. The colorway is called Bounty. The dark section is more brown than it is looking in the photo. I love it very much. She sent two skeins so at some point I'll be giving the other one away. Thank you!!

I was also gifted self-striping sock yarn from Lise. Thank you! This beautiful squishy yarn is called Dance with the Wind (the purple), and If you think you can, you can! (the gold). 

I finished up a new shawl design yesterday and I used a lot of stitch markers along the way. I am blocking today. I can't wait to see how it blocks out. 

I noticed my Little Skein stitch markers need to be put back in their correct corked bottles so they can be sets again. These are some of my favorite stitch markers and they would make the perfect gift.

Costco has these packs of my favorite lip balm, eos. Stockings will be filled with eos at my house this year. Eos is sold everywhere, Target, CVS, Walgreens, grocery stores, etc. I first discovered eos at The Loopy Ewe Spring Fling when Sheri put it in the goodie bag. Now I collect them and run out often.

Coffee and Doughnuts anyone? It's 4 oz. of Polwarth waiting to be spun.

Hey Lady Hey is taking over my world with her amazing color and patterns! She is super talented.

(photo from Hannah's site, Knitbot)

The amazing Hannah Fettig sent me her new app called Stashbot to review. It is really cool for sweater-knitting peeps on the go or to use anywhere really. She explains it better than I ever could but it is cool, well-designed, super handy and pretty much genius. And there's even a video to help you understand. Thank you, Hannah!

I've listened to three audiobooks in the past few weeks. The first is the novel The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen. It was a good listen and I liked the narrator's voice. It's a different-type story, kind of like an almost-fairytale at times due to some magical things that happen. It was entertaining and charming.

Okay, Ann Shayne of the Mason-Dixon Knitting duo, pretty much blew me away with her reading of her debut novel Bowling Avenue on audiobook. A long time ago I started reading the book and enjoyed it a lot actually but never finished it for some reason and not for the book's fault. 

Recently I was looking for a few audiobooks to listen to and saw that Ann had narrated Bowling Avenue. I had to get it. I love Ann's southern accent and sense of humor so I knew her narration was going to be good. This novel is a family-centered story set in Nashville (Ann's hometown) with lots of interesting twists and turns and secrets revealed. I LOVE this book. I hope she writes more to make it a series.

Hearing Ann's take on this story in her own voice was nothing short of funny, charming, heartbreaking, warm, sweet, thoughtful and again, funny. Please listen to this book if you get a chance. Ann is amazing and she is one of our very own.

The 2 Knit Lit Chicks Podcast is a mother-daughter audio podcast about knitting and books equally. I love this podcast and never miss an episode. I have read so many books due to their recommendations. The Farm is one of those books. This one I listened to on audiobook and I could not stop. This is a suspenseful, intriguing story about a very unusual family in both Sweden and London. It has adult themes and it takes twists and turns that you can't predict. I really enjoyed this book and the narrator has a great voice and accent. It's so good.

Also, on a different note, there is a new Sock Knitting E-zine that is out! It is really good and I recommend it for anyone interested. It would make a great gift. There is a subscription available or individual issues are available. I was gifted the first edition and I am impressed. The issue is packed so full with information, interviews, 7 sock patterns and more.

Lastly, a sweet friend and neighbor of mine who I have known for years asked if I could pop over yesterday to meet her mother-in-law Lois. Lois is visiting from Colorado and she is a voracious knitter and a reader of my blog and books and such. 

Well, I went to my friend's house and was greeted by Lois in such a fun knitterly way. She had her iPad armed with photos and patterns to share. I just loved her. She enthusiastically showed me some of her preemie hats. Lois knits loads and loads of preemie hats that she donates to a local hospital. She has adapted some of my baby hat patterns and some other patterns so they will fit a preemie-sized head which is about the size of an orange. Lois' enthusiasm for donating her adorable preemie hats and for knitting in general makes me so glad to be a knitter. She was so warm and friendly and giving. It was a fun visit. 

Here is Lois' email (slightly edited) to me telling how she adapts patterns and sort of pieces them together and which patterns she used for the bow hat in the photo:

Hello, Susan,
Thank you so much for stopping by to meet me at my daughter-in-law's home. I have been a fan of yours since I discovered your book, Itty Bitty Baby Hats.

I looked a little closer as to the origins of the preemie hat I made (that you photographed) and discovered that I purchased the pattern with the bow, Preemie Hat with Bow on Etsy, from The White Daisy Designs. I used her instructions for the bow. I used the free pattern, Big Bow Hat, at for the idea of knitting a contrasting ribbon, but I used seed stitch to make it stand out.

My sister, Mary and I knit hats for preemies at Memorial Hospital in Colorado. We are inspired by your patterns and love your books! We like to adapt full-size baby hat patterns to fit preemies. Your designs lent themselves to this treatment.

Best regards,
P.S. Thanks for the wonderful gift, the potpourri and the two cute sheep cards in the cloth bag with the adorable sheep tag!

Thanks to Lois! It was great to meet you.

Alright, Knitters, that should do it for today. There is so much fun going on in our lovely community and just not enough hours in the day to get everything in.
xo ~ susan
p.s. I am not on any affiliation programs with Amazon or any other organizations so I don't get any benefits or money when you click through any of the links on this post or my website in general (with the exception of the Craftsy links on my sidebar for my specific classes. Those are links that Craftsy provided me and they are tracked through Craftsy).


Abbie said...

Wow! This a whole lot of information, but very helpful. I've been eyeing a skein on the Knitting in France Etsy page so I am glad to hear that you like it!

Kristebee said...

Awe! I'm so glad you like the little necklace. its so cute and dainty just like you! Hope you're enjoying your holiday season so far. Excited to see the new shawl pattern... Xoxo

zenitude said...

So much to explore with this post! I don't think I would have ever looked twice at the seamed mitten pattern if you had not featured it here. It is quite intriguing and I will most likely knit a pair just to see how they fit. I love the crochet seam in a different colour. And another podcast to discover. Thanks so much Susan.
p.s. so happy you like the yarn ;-)

Greg said...

I love *all* these links. The preemie hat story is especially touching to me since I became a knitter when we received some hand-knit preemie hats for my daughter when she was in the NICU 2.5 years ago. Stories about people knitting preemie hats always make my heart warm. Thank you for sharing!

Amy said...

If you liked Sugar Queen, you should read the rest of Sarah Addison Allen's books. They are all wonderful.

Kepanie said...

You sold me on both books. I've already read two of Sarah Addison Allen's books. They were good. I've always wanted to try that eos lip balm. I see it everywhere. Next time I'm at Target, I'll pick one up. I'll look at that app although you are the queen of jumpers and I've only knitted that Spud & Chloe which I need to dig out and wear with this rain we've been getting.

peaknits said...

The Sugar Queen is one of my very favorite, I have given it away ten times over. Thank you for all of the clever ideas! Happy holidays Susan!

Barb said...

Wow! Thank you for all the amazing links - so many wonderful things to look at, listen to, read & knit - and never enough time to do it all ... But fun to try.

Kristin Nicholas said...

Love your new hat in Tanis's new book. Lots of info to check out. Need a new podcast to listen to. We have had days of icy sleety weather and a little bit of snow. XO

Susie Craft Happy! said...

Hi Susan,
Love all the neat gift ideas and all the other this and that! I've read the Sugar Queen and all books by Sarah Addison Allen. She's an excellent writer. If you've not had a chance, check out Garden Spells, its her first book and its a lovely read.

Knit up something wonderful and make it a great day!

RAV: Barbys

bspinner said...

I don't know about everyone else but I often can get my audio books right from my library download onto my mp3 players. Not all books but they don't cost a penny so maybe others want to check it out.

Beau said...

Oh, Susan ................ You realize this column is like putting a luscious piece of cheese cake under the nose of a person on a serious diet, don't you? :) Like most, I am in "crunch mode".

I love the gnome. Alan Dart's creations are so much fun to look at. I haven't tried one yet. Regarding the yarn for the beard. I have been using yarnsub for finding appropriate substitutions for a yarn. The program is now out of beta testing. They give several yarns which can be substituted for the Foxy. They give all sorts of great info like texture, yarn content, fiber quality, and so on. They list the yarns in a % of fit order. You might want to take a look and see what you think.

Thank you, Miss Susan! You have put sunshine into a very gray, damp day - no rain but it feels like spitting would put enough moisture into the air to start a good shower.

Nan - englenook on ravelry

KML said...

And, here I thought that I had completed all my Christmas knitting.
thanks loads for this blog.
Have a peaceful and restful Holiday.

pat said...

I love your gnome! Years ago i made a similar looking one by a pattern from Marie Mayhew. He is felted and just darling. She is local here (Twin Cities, MN) and a very sweet person. Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan! Thanks so much for your awesome posts here. You are so friendly and down to earth, I feel like you would be my best friend if I met you in person! I am finishing a few projects for Christmas, but am already planning my next project. I just viewed the new issue Knitty and am in love with the Winter Doldrums sweater. I remember that on a previous post from you (I think!) that you used a tool to string through your stitches as you are knitting so that you can try on a sweater as you go. I tried to find it in the blog postings here, but had no luck. If you could tell me the name of that tool, I would really appreciate it. Thank you for sharing your talent with us! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Susan B. Anderson said...

It's called Try It On Tubing and if you google it the site will pop right up:)

Malinda said...

This has to be my favorite entry that Susan has written. So full of fun information and inspiration. Thank you
Susan you are always on top of great yarns and patterns.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much!

Ashley Yousling said...

Thank you so much for the lovely words and for sharing the podcast! You've been a knitting inspiration since my first stitches :) xoxo -Ashley

Quinn said...

Such pretty skein pictures! And your checkerboard-y hat is going on my list for worsted weight :)
Alan Dart is a genius, IMO. Just looking at pictures of his patterns makes me happy.
And I don't want to say I *badgered* Ann Shayne about doing the audiobook of Bowling Avenue, but it's possible that I sort of badgered Ann Shayne about doing the audiobook. And I'm so glad she did! It's lovely!