Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Hound's Tooth 101

Hi Knitters,
Yesterday I picked up a copy of Knit.1 at Barnes and Noble. There is a lot of good stuff to check out in this issue. Yay to Adina Klein, the new Editor in Chief! When I got to this page with the attractive hound's tooth jacket by Mari Lynn Patrick, who is a very talented designer, I remembered something from my past. I am not afraid of sharing this hound's tooth disaster with you, my dear knitting friends, because if you have been knitting as long as I have, surely you have a few skeletons in your closet as well. I know I am not alone.
How completely unflattering is this sweater on me? Wow, that's hard to look at!
Let's go back to about 1987. I was in graduate school and was working as a program assistant for the school of education at the UW. I was in charge of contacting school districts and placing student teachers in classrooms around the Madison area. I vividly remember working on this Very Easy, Very Vogue hound's tooth sweater set while I was working on these placements. Did I just say sweater set, you ask? Why yes, believe it or not I knitted this bad boy up with a very short hound's tooth skirt to match. I'll give you a second to stop laughing.
I can't find the skirt, I am so mad about that. I would have slapped that on for you to get the full effect. The sweater is absolutely huge in width, but that was the style then. Huge, voluminous on top and skinny on the bottom was the trend, which has come back in style only it is much more flattering today. This is not a good shape for my build at all but I unfortunately went along with it anyway.
I pulled the waist in behind my back for the above shot to create some type of shape. Fitted Knits, this is not. I remember wearing the skirt and sweater with black tights to my program assistant job. That is so funny to me. The other people in that office were very granola-type academics, basically hippies. This is Madison we're talking about here. Then I show up wearing the full hound's tooth shabang! What was I thinking? Clearly not much. I remember feeling really proud of the two stranded color work I had achieved. I think this was my first attempt at this technique. It kills me that I actually thought I looked good in this sweater. I asked my seventh grade son to take pictures of me at about 6:30am on our front lawn. He is a good sport. My kids thought this sweater was so funny, and they couldn't believe it when I told them it had a matching skirt and that I actually wore it out in public. We all had a good laugh at my expense.
Maybe in 2027 a mother will pull out an old knitted outfit from 2007 and her children will get a good giggle at her expense, too. I can't even imagine what the knitted future will bring.
On another note, my seven-year-old daughter had 10-inches cut from her hair yesterday to donate to Locks of Love. I am very proud of her for doing this. It was her own idea. Her cousin had this done and so she was inspired to do the same. I gave her every chance to change her mind but she was determined. I loved her long brown pony tails and I will miss them. Now she looks adorable with her chin-length bob. There is something so warming about the thought that her hair will be made into a beautiful wig for someone in need of a little comfort.
best, susie

Saturday, May 26, 2007


Hi Knitters,
Here she is, the finger knitting champion of the world, well maybe our neighborhood. This 7-year-old has completed finger knitting an entire ball of Red Heart rainbow yarn. The skein was 278 yards. I had the privilege of interviewing her about the experience.
Question: How long did it take you to knit this gigantic cord?
Answer: Well, I kind of stopped in the middle of it, but after that it didn't take that long because I kept working on it.
Question: What are you planning on doing with the cord now that you are done?
Answer: I am not really sure. When I play house with my sister I could bring it and I could carry it around everywhere. Right now it is rolled up in a big ball.
Question: Was it fun to make?
Answer: It was fun to see how long I could make it and I beat my old record.
Question: What's next for you as far as projects go?
Answer: I want to keep on knitting and I want to knit a hat with the same kind of yarn.

Thanks for your time, I know your interview schedule is tight with that championship title!

This morning I finished a large knitting (the kind with needles) project along with my daughter. I like to get some knitting work done early in the morning, then I feel like I can move on with the rest of the day knowing I already accomplished something.
Happy Saturday.
best, susie

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Good Charlotte

Hi Knitters,
Finally I got around to finishing up this blanket for beautiful baby Charlotte, who was born in January. Charlotte is the daughter of the photographer for itty-bitty hats and itty-bitty nursery. She had a baby during the work for both of the books, two babies, two books.
I finished embroidering her name on the edge this morning and I will pop it in the mail tomorrow. The yarn is Manos Cotton Stria. A storm is brewing outside so the colors look a bit more muted than they actually are. I used size 6 needles and made 5 strips that I later stitched together. Then I picked up and knitted a picot edging in white. Easy, easy.
Even if she is almost 6 months old, you can use a blanket any old time, right? Or maybe I should say, better late than never!
Here is another site to check out. This one is loads of fun, so much to see.
best, susie

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Family Trees and Knits

Hi Knitters,
Well, the Family Tree by Barbara Delinsky was such a pleasant surprise for me. I quickly picked this up before I went to Florida in March. I started reading it beside the pool and I was immediately hooked. I literally couldn't put it down.
I'll give you the quick premise of the book. A young couple is thrilled to be getting ready for the birth of their first child. The husband is an attorney and comes from a prestigious east coast family with a heritage that is documented back to the pilgrims. The wife has a more questionable family lineage. She was raised by her single mother and grandmother. Her father was a big question mark, and when the story picks up her mother had already passed away in a terrible accident.
Okay, the twist comes in when the couple deliver their beautiful baby and she happens to be African American. The parents both thought they were white. Here's where the story picks up. Accusations fly, questions are posed, and the quest to find the truth takes on a life of its own. Secrets are revealed along the way and other situations are stirred up do to the digging to find answers. The story doesn't unfold as you might imagine.
Now there are two things that I found fascinating. When I selected this book I thought it just looked like a fun, easy and entertaining read for my trip. I was surprised to find out that much of the story takes place in the grandmother's yarn shop. Knitting is a major part of the story line and is a major part of the characters' lives. Oh the joy I felt when I discovered this.
The second unknown was that much of the story takes place in Madison. The mother went to school at the University of WI and this is where she met the missing father. I love Madison and I love it when it is included in stories and movies. It is a beautiful city.
So now I've got an interesting story, plot twists, knitting galore, a baby, and Madison all in one novel. I recommend this book for a fun read that catches your attention right from the get go.
Debbie Bliss has done it again. Family Knits was just released and I had to pick it up. There are patterns for everyone including men, women, children, and babies. There are sweaters, scarves, hats, lace socks, long coats, and mittens. It is Debbie's classic lines and fantastic yarns that make this another one of her outstanding books. The photography is inviting and the shots of scenery and flowers and beaches make you wish you were there. I would wear many of the sweater designs easily. The children and baby designs are wonderful as always.
I have been an admirer of Debbie Bliss since the late 1980's, and I continue to support her whenever I get the chance. One thing you may want to note is that in the past her books didn't have schematics for sweaters. This book has schematics for all of the sweater designs. This is a good move!
One more thing, check this out. I have been loving this blog lately and you might too.
Happy Monday.
best, susie

Lost Again

Hi Knitters,
Well, the saga with my camera continues. My boys and my husband went to a Brewers game on Friday night and they took my camera along. When I asked where my camera was no one had any idea. My sons thought my husband had it and vice versa.
To make a long story short, it was left in the cup holder in row four behind the plate at the Miller park. My husband called the Brewers lost and found and they kindly are sending it back to us. That is pretty remarkable. In the mean time we started researching new cameras. I have been wanting a better camera for a long time. Even though I am getting my old camera back, we splurged on a new one today. We got a new Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H9. I haven't figured it out quite yet, but my son took these shots tonight.
A little progress has been made on the Vesper Sweet Water sock. I am on the heel and I am loving the yarn.
This is a new book project I am working on with some Manos and a wee bit of simple fair isle. The flower at the top is sitting on my kitchen table. A sweet friend gave it to me for helping her knit her first baby hat, not necessary but appreciated.
It's bedtime at our house.
Good night.
best, susie

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

This Is Why

Hi Knitters,
This is why I love making hats and other things for babies! Yesterday I went to my daughter's music concert and who was there but baby Sophie wearing the hat I gave her last week. I put it in a flower pot for delivery. She is about the cutest thing I have ever seen.
Baby, baby.
best, susie

80th Post

Hi Knitters,
Wow, a lot has happened over the past 80 posts, life-changing events, family milestones, knitting milestones and many memorable times. It hasn't really been that long since I started this blog and it has gone so fast. I enjoy it and I am never short for content. Thanks for coming along so far.
My daughter, my youngest child, is a crafty girl. She reminds me of me! She looks like me, her interests are mine and she and I share the same ability to work on the same project hour, after hour, after hour. Lately she has gotten into finger knitting. She knows how to knit with needles, which I would prefer her to do, but this is her choice right now. The only reason I prefer the regular knitting is because I am always challenged with the mile long cords that need to be made into a project at the end.
I came up with a great idea. The cord for the nest in the photo was about 16 feet long. She knitted this entire ball of novelty yarn which I can't remember why I had. It probably came from the store closing. She works fast and furiously and doesn't even look at her hands while she works. She is my best shot at having an avid knitter in the family (my fingers are crossed). Anyway, I folded it in half and then made knots all along the strand. Do you see my plan for eating up as much length as possible? Then I made the all-time favorite coil pot and sewed it together with a needle and thread. She was just thrilled when I pulled out my felted flowers from here and fabric glued them to the rim. She is now finger knitting another cord that has reached the 20 foot mark and she is still going. More knots are in my future for certain.
These roses are part of my mother's day gift. My husband shopped at Sam's Club for me and these were the bargain of the occasion. Actually they are beautiful. Who knew Sam's for flowers? I love a practical gift and that's what I always ask for. I received an excellent set of Raechel Ray pots and skillets with orange handles. You may think this isn't exciting, but for me it is the best. I cook a lot and I love to cook big, hearty meals for my family. My pots and pans were looking worn out so this is something we all will get enjoyment from. My daughters also picked out earrings for me from Target. One daughter picked out turtle earrings, which made my ears itch something fierce, but of course I wore them anyway. The other daughter picked out flower earrings which don't seem to have the itching problem. Phew! I will have to alternate wearing the two pairs for a long time now, one day itch, next day no itch.
I can't believe how old my kids are getting, and I guess how old I am getting for that matter. They are a funny bunch of kids with big personalities. There is never a dull moment.
I hope you all had a great weekend.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Jell-o People

Hi Knitters,
As I have said recently, I have been doing a major clean out and I found this book of my mother's called, Joys of Jell-o from 1952. Now every time I think of Jell-o or am around Jell-o (do they still hyphenate the o?) I am reminded of a friend of mine, who we used to socialize with a lot. I loved it because she would spend hours and hours making elaborate Jell-o creations, you know the layered pans of Jell-o in seasonal colors for every occasion. She made pans with 6 or 7 colors layered together. Can you imagine the time that would take?
One time I was talking to her about her layers and layers of Jell-0, which the kids went crazy over I might add. She just laughed when I brought it up and said, "Oh yeah, we're Jell-o people." Are you kidding me? I loooved this. It still makes me chuckle. Did you know there are Jell-o people? I just like to say it.
Hey, Jell-o people, check out these treats. The page above shows some easy Jell-o options where you make the cubes days ahead and then throw the dessert together the day of your party. We've got the Crown Jewel Dessert which is shown in the mold, a pie and a spring-form pan.
This is my favorite page that contains the recipes for the Ham Salad De Luxe and the Ring-Around-the-Tuna in the picture above. Is that green tuna? I am loving the olives and chopped pimiento, too. This book is a treasure I am hanging on to. Jell-o people, I know you may be pretty jealous of my find but if you ever need a recipe for that dinner party, just give me a jingle.
Another spring cleaning story that makes me laugh is the story of my daughter's two hats. I ran across these as I was putting away the winter gear. My youngest loves her stripey stocking cap, the original hat is on the right. She wears that thing all of the time, even when it is pretty warm outside (note the naturally felted pom-pom). Well, she was crushed because she thought she lost her hat. I mean she was distraught. What's a mom to do but make her another one, hence the hat on the left. I even ordered new Manos to make this one because I didn't have great colors in my stash. I worked hard to quickly make her new hat. She was thankful, but she never liked the new hat very much.
Then one day she came running out of school wearing her old hat. I couldn't believe it. Her friend had found it in her backpack at the very bottom in a generally unused pocket. Now she has two hats, one to wear and one as a spare. From that point on she has only worn the original hat and I don't mind a bit.
To all of you mothers out there,
love and enjoy each other and,
have a beautiful Mother's Day.
best, susie

Monday, May 07, 2007

What's Goin' On

Hi Knitters,
Two of my neighbors both recently had baby girls so today I am dropping off these flower pots on their doorsteps. Sophia and Lindsay are their names, so cute.
I stuffed the hats with some fiberfill and tucked them into little terra cotta pots. I hope I get to see the babies in the hats. I love that.
I started this ripple scarf yesterday. I am using Jo Sharp dk wool that's waaay old and a 4mm crochet hook. I picked out a pattern that uses single and double crochet stitches, which are the only two I know. I surely could master more but I felt like doing something easy.
I think it is turning out well. I am using the pink ripple #16 pattern. There is one row that is a bit wonky on my scarf, but being the rebel that I am, I'm leaving it in! That's about as wild as it gets over here on a Sunday.
Go ahead and get this fantastic book, 200 Ripple Stitch Patterns by Jan Eaton. It contains both knit and crochet stitches that would be terrific for blankets, pillows, scarves, table runners, etc. Ms. Eaton offers up a huge variety with clear guidelines and options. This is a winner.
Okay, remember I wrote about my Suss Cousins cardi with the leather ties? Well, here it is. The yarn is Meunch Trikolore #32 multicolor. I used the leftover for the wine bottle cover with the buttons and fringe from the last post. I selected this color because I loved it on Juliane Moore, but I didn't make the sweater she is wearing. I picked a different sweater called the leather tie cardigan. Oh yeah, the book is Hollywood Knits, Suss Cousins' first book.
I strung a loop on one side and knotted some strands on the other to make the closure. You can get the leather string on a spool at a craft store. This is a snappy little cardigan with 3/4 length sleeves. I always look long and hard at sleeve length when I am knitting sweaters. Being the petite girl (okay, short) that I am, I do have to modify sleeve length most all of the time. 3/4 length is one of my favorite sleeve styles because then I don't have to change a thing.

I know you are all wondering and the answer is yes, I do wear a shirt under my Leather Tie Cardigan at all times. I guess I am not very Hollywood.

best, susie

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Wino Forever

Hi Knitters,
I love that story about how Johnny Depp had "Winona Forever" tattooed on his arm. Then when they broke up he had it changed to "Wino Forever." That is too good, very funny and clever.
I am cleaning out my basement and house as we are contemplating what exactly we are going to do with ourselves in the near future. We are simply bursting out of our house. I love this house, but it is tight in here. We are tripping all over each other. Very soon we are either going to have to move to a bigger house or remodel our current house and add on.
Anyway, as I was cleaning out the basement I ran across a ton of knitted items I had done awhile back. I think I packed a lot of stuff up in bins when Alphabet Soup closed down.
As I was digging through a bin of knitted treasures I found these fun wine bottle covers I had made. Now I am not a wino or a whiner nor do I even indulge in wine, but I do like these bottle covers. In fact, I had to search to even find a bottle to put these on for the photo. I am trying to remember what yarn this is. I have a cardigan made in the same yarn as the fringed bottle, I think I used a pattern from Suss Cousin's first book. I should pull that out too because that is a great little cardi with some leather ties in front.
I do remember the big red button on the bottle is made from a coconut shell. These were so quick to knit on larger size dpns. In fact I know I wrote down this pattern somewhere in my old sketch books. If I remember correctly I just knitted the bottom section and then changed to a smaller size dpns for the neck of the bottle. This is a super easy project, and a great beginner project for knitting in the round on dpns. I'll try and find that pattern for you.
Here is an example of what I am up against when trying to keep my house in order. This is my second oldest son jumping off a couch with my three year old nephew following right behind. I found this picture on my camera and wasn't aware this had been going on. Those rascals! Evidence is good to have. This is our bonus room and has been used for many things over the years but mainly it has been a playroom of sorts. I am currently in the middle of fixing it up into a regular-like living space for real people who don't jump off couches with a guitar. Yeah right, like I have a chance.
Take care and have a terrific weekend.

best, susie

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Hi Knitters,
You can imagine my delight to find this beautiful silk box filled with yummy flower sugar cookies on my doorstep yesterday. It has been a difficult couple of months. Some days are better than others. The reason I am mentioning this at all is because I want to share with you how grateful I am to still be receiving all of the love and support from knitters and non-knitters alike. It is nothing short of pure sweetness and love to still find little gifts dropped off on my stoop, cards in the mail, emails, and phone calls from friends just checking in. I really think this is how people make it through tragic situations. It provides a little lift in the day. Thank you, friends.
My kids get so excited about things like these cookies. I love that about them. They all planned out when they are going to eat their cookies. Everyone opted for today after school. My friend, being ever so smart, sent 6 cookies, one for each of us. She used to work for a dog bakery, baking doggie treats at home. That is so cute and she is a wonderful baker, knitter, mother to Kaitlyn and she is beautiful inside and out.
That's my gift, but boy do I have some gifts for you, too, my dear readers. My friend Jill has so graciously transformed 3 patterns of mine into printable pdf files for you. They are free and I will put them up on the sidebar as soon as I find a little more time. In the mean time here they are as links: elefante, 45-minute mittens, and the page 81 booties. Jill has a wonderful etsy shop with fun knitting related note cards and other cute items. You just have to check out her finished elefante and her new blog. She works at a local yarn shop in Michigan where they are going to have a class on making an elefante! I think that is so fun. Thanks to Jill for her friendly support and providing these gifts to anyone interested.
Here are a few more gifts I purchased when visiting with my sweet friend, peaknit, here last weekend. I am finally getting some steam back in my knitting I am happy to report. On the left is some Cilantro from Nashua yarns enough for a child-size sweater, in the middle Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille for something little and squishy, felting needles and size 11 dpns, and on the right is one of my staples Rowan Handknit Cotton in some great boy colors, a little pink and purple and just enough for a chocolatey bunny of some sort. Good yarn-y fun for me. I am working away on new projects, not just for babies but for kids, teens and adults as well.
Itty-bitty is branching out, just a little though, because I can never get enough of that baby knitting.
best, susie
p.s. I know the Paula Deen Lemon Blossoms recipe link didn't work a couple of posts ago and I tried many times. Sorry about that. If you go to and type in Lemon Blossoms you will get that recipe in a jiffy. You probably already knew that anyway! I'm telling you, this recipe is to die for and it's easy.