Sunday, September 30, 2007

I Heart My Doorstep

Hi Knitters,
The other morning my husband was the last to leave the house and as he stepped out onto the front doorstep he yelled in at me, "What's this birdhouse thing out here?" Well, I have a few birdhouses out in the yard and I thought one had fallen or something. When I came out to see what he was talking about I found this! Oh my.
Another sweet friend, not the cookie friend but a knitter friend, actually made this and brought it quietly to my front door. She made this with paint, decoupage and her wood-cutting husband. He cuts the wings and feet for her. How's that for a terrific surprise? I hung it on a little tree in my front yard and when I sit in my front room knitting I now look out at this masterpiece. My friend tells me that birds actually live in these houses. I can't wait to see if that happens. This little house will really pop in the winter against the white snow. I love it and I love your thoughtfulness, Renee. Thank you.
Switching topics here, I have to talk about this book. I just got it yesterday. I have been waiting on pins and needles to get my hands on this one. Here's the thing, I am a girl who loves a good pair of shoes (the hearty kind, not heels) and a good scarf (any kind!). I am into scarves in a big, big way and this book blows me away. It is crazy, this book. I may have to write a review on amazon about it. I am having strong feelings about Knitting New Scarves, like I can't stop thinking about it. That's so fun. My sister was just over and I made her look through the entire book with me. I also made every member of my family who came over today look at my new birdhouse. A little bossy, no?
Knitting New Scarves is not for the weak of heart or needle. It is an unusual book with innovative techniques that are making my brain ache to try them all. For example, see that ribbed scarf on the front. I have some shoes just like those red mary janes, j'adore. Back to the scarf, this simple looking ribbed scarf, which I am going to make for sure, includes these techniques:
Combine Stitches
Rib Division
Slip Stitch, Muticolor Patterns
Knitting Around on Two Double-Pointed Needles
Reading Slip Stitch Charts
Huh? This is just the kind of thing that makes me crazy with love. I love this so much. What a fantastically new and fresh scarf book. What a creative and fantastic mind Lynn Barr has! Many of the scarves have a 3-D element. As soon as I get a chance to breathe (maybe in two months from now) I am diving head first into this book. I love to learn new stuff like this. I will review Knitting New Scarves again in more depth and after I try some of the patterns. It is beautifully photographed and just pure interesting. If you are up for learning some new techniques and studying for your knitting go get this book in a hurry.
My sweet bee turned fourteen last week. He is a great kid and he has a really funny sense of humor. He makes me proud to be his mom.
best, susie

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Picot Edging

Hi Knitters,
Here is the video tutorial for the picot edging. I hope this helps. It is a fantastically quick edging to add to a blanket, bootie or hat. This is a sweet decorative finish for any baby knitting you are doing.
best, susie
p.s. Man, do we have a squeaky door!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Hi Knitters,
The Foliage hat is already being worn to school today. You can see the lace pattern more clearly after a light blocking and with a head inside! It is a chilly morning, only in the 40's, a good hat-wearing day, indeed.
I have two quick tour updates for you. The October 2nd Knitting Tree event is being rescheduled to a later date. I'll keep you posted as that gets set.
There is another east coast stop that has been added. On November 12th I will be at the Black Sheep in Needham, MA. I'd like to thank Alison for helping us set that up. More information on that will be coming soon.
Have a good Wednesday.
best, susie
p.s. I will get that picot edging tutorial posted by the end of the week.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Hi Knitters,
I am sure you have already checked out the new fall Knitty. Be sure you do if you haven't yet. There is always something for everyone in this online magazine. This beautiful lace hat caught my eye right away. The pattern is entitled Foliage and it is designed by Emilee Mooney. Emilee provides a worsted weight version and a chunky weight version of the hat. The Leaf Lace pattern is from A Treasury of Knitting Patterns (a great investment!) by Barbara G. Walker adapted to work in the round.
The hat in the pattern is made out of Malabrigo which is a lovely, soft meriono wool. I made mine in the emerald blue colorway #137 and in the worsted weight. I just happened to have 2 skeins sitting around and this pattern was the perfect answer for one of them. Maybe a scarf will emerge from what's left. I sat down to start knitting yesterday and this morning I already have a shiny new hat.
The pattern is clearly written with both charts and written lace patterns, so whichever you prefer it's there. I used size 7 dpns and sixteen inch circular needles and size 5 circulars for the ribbing.
You start at the crown to create this beautiful star-like top and head down with the dropping leaves to reach the ribbing. I added an extra 6 rounds of the leaf lace pattern because I think it was coming out a bit short for my liking. I don't enjoy a short hat that won't sit at your eyebrows and cover your ears. We need that extra coverage in this neck of the woods.
I also bound off using a size 7 dpn to knit onto. I wanted to ensure a comfortable bind off. Oh, and I decreased 4 stitches when I started the ribbing which wasn't in the pattern but it seemed like it could be a touch loose. I want a snug but comfortable fit.
It's a good hat! You should give it a try, it is quick, relatively simple and it uses a ton of techniques on a small-scale project. Those elements are always a perfect combination in a pattern.
best, susie
p.s. Itty-Bitty Nursery snuck out a little early!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Good Sock Morning

Hi Knitters,
I got up early this morning to some sock knitting and coffee. I opened my studio window to let in a chilly breeze, mmmm. I finished up the first Kaibashira sock in yarntini pumpkin spice. How good is that? The cuff edging is time-consuming but a sweet touch. You cast on 187 stitches to start. That is the most stitches I have ever put on 3 small dpns but I did it. I think it is well worth all of that counting, good detail. I am itching to start my second sock later today.
The pumpkin spice sock was finished along with my first cup of coffee. Along with my second cup I finished up the never-ending sereknity watermelon sock. Finally fini! They feel good, very squishy and thick. I have lucky feet, indeed.
My daughter ran out and joined me on the front step while I was taking pictures. She saw what I was doing and ran back in to get her Fixation socks I made for her a couple of years ago. After she put her handknit socks on she told me she was going to leave them on for awhile they felt so good. I agreed.
Happy Sunday.
best, susie
p.s. I have machine washed and dried the heck out of those fixation socks and they still look pretty darn good! What a yarn.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Can We Talk?

Hi Knitters,
Does it get any better than pumpkin spice yarntini on a gorgeous fall day? I think not. I am so in love with this yarn an now even worse, I am so in love with this pattern. Have you seen this pattern, is everyone already knitting this and I am out of the loop? This fantastically simple pattern is easy-peasy and beautiful. It is called Kaibashira by Chrissy Gardiner. What is interesting is she is using that same type of technique that I just demonstrated for the felted flower video where you are passing stitches over and off the left-hand needle. Only she uses it for the cuff edging, too good, too good. Loooovin' this idea and I will revisit this in some other form someday.
I must warn you about this, you are going to be seeing lots of yarntini Kaibashira socks in progress and hopefully completed. Get your seatbelts or sockbelts on. You know what's funny is that the sock above is riddled with mistakes (don't be looking now) and every time I see a new mistake I've made it only makes me laugh. I have no urge to correct my errors. I think it is fun for me not to worry so much about every single stitch.
By the way, I have absolutely no business knitting socks right now. You would not believe all of the other things I should be doing. It is called stress-induced procrastination in the worst way. Note to self: I have to put all yarntini things aside immediately, no question. I have a feeling it ain't gonna happen.
Okay, here's my next thing to talk about. I mentioned that I got my invitation to ravelry. It is an amazing site for all things yarn. The resources that are at your is astonishing. But here is my thing, it overwhelms me. I hate to admit this. I clearly haven't had time to sort through and figure things out, but yikes. Really, I basically have nothing on there but an "about me" page and some books in the library. The lay-out of the site is so handy for an organized soul. For example, on your personal notebook you have a place to organize and catalog your needles. This kills me. Do you see the massive pile of needles above? That's not even all of them.
This makes me laugh. I know where everything is in this pile from dpns, to addi turbos to knitpicks options. There is no problem here and this totally works for me. Can you believe that statement? The vintage black lunchbox was my dad's and I have been using that for the past 10 years to cram miscellaneous needles in and I enjoy it. The needles at one time were organized from smallest to largest but sadly that isn't true anymore. That doesn't even bother me. Oh no, it's a slippery slope.
This huge binder is filled with addi turbos in these handy pockets I got from here. (As if you are going to follow my lead on this topic.) These work great but when you are like me you start shoving multiple pairs in each pocket and things become a little blurry. I have probably a dozen or so pairs from this binder in use right now and I leave the empty addi pockets on top of the binder while I am knitting with them. How's that for some keen organizational skills? Anyway, it would literally take hours and hours to go through and catalog all of my needles and it is probably not going to happen. I don't see any need for it although it may appear to others a mess, for me it works.
I admire people who can organize and use ravelry to its fullest. It is a remarkable tool for knitters. I still need to figure out how I am going to use ravelry. To each her own! I'll keep you posted.
One more thing, I have a funny (at least to me) story for you. Yesterday I went on youtube to check on the tutorials I have been posting. My son posts them through youtube and so people can view them without going through the blog. So I hadn't had a chance to check out the newest clip yet on there and I see that the marley topper video has an honor. It was #17 on the most linked videos for that day in the DIY/How To category. I thought, oh, that's cool and I click over to the top 100 list in DIY. I thought it was so funny and weird to see what was on the list surrounding my kitchen table knitting tutorial. For many of the videos I couldn't even figure out what the topic was but quite a few in that top 20 list seemed to include guns. Yes, that's what I said, guns, Itty-Bitty and a whole lotta guns. I don't know if it was just that day or what because there are thousands of knitting and craft videos on youtube. I guess gun repair was a hot topic a couple of days ago (and knitting?).
As my mom would always say, "What a world."
best, susie

Monday, September 17, 2007

Marley Topper Demonstration

Hi Knitters,
I have a quick 4 minute video tutorial for the Marley Topper today. I received a few requests for this tutorial so I hope this helps. For an added bonus I am joined today by my carrot-loving helper!
This hat topper can be used on any simple hat or the multi-colored hats in the book. Another idea would be to just make an extra-long strand in one color and wind that up in one piece to put on the hat. You could also put this topper on a store-bought hat or a fleece hat or maybe you could try knitting in wool and felting it to see what you get.
Have fun with it!
best, susie

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Girl of 100 Lists (oh, and yarntini!)

I am a girl of 100 lists, from what should I wear, to who I have kissed. (from my favorite go-go's song)
Hi Knitters,
Well, we can safely say my lists don't include either of those items. My lists include groceries, knitting class outlines, patterns to write, recipes, doctor appointments and knitting tips. It's not quite as exciting. However, I do have something exciting to share.
Can you make this out? Oh yeah, it says Itty-Bitty Susan. Yes, that's right, I've got my very own Yarntini color! Jessie, of Yarntini fame, outdid herself by coming up with the yummiest, happiest, stripey-est yarn I have ever seen. She took inspiration from itty-bitty things to come up with this gorgeous array of colors. It seriously looks like candy and I may just have to take a bite or at least a lick.
I special ordered just a few skeins from Jessie and she threw in the Itty-Bitty Susan skein just to be nice. I love her and I love her yarn.

There's appletini,



pumpkin spice,


and itty-bitty susan.

I am one lucky girl! I have a feeling I am going to have a good weekend. Thank you, Jessie.
That's one list that is fun to see in pictures. One more thing about lists, when I was growing up we always used to laugh at my dad because he was a major lister. He would take a yellow lined notepad, free from the University (in fact, that is his old notepad I am using) and would write in capital letters, "THINGS TO DO." Then there would be a long list that followed. I don't think he ever finished the tasks on his list but he had good intentions. I'm afraid the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree where listing is concerned. Lists are only good if you actually do what's on them. When am I going to learn this?
I have a few quick pointers I have been listing so here they are:
1. For kfb (knit in the front and back of the same stitch), if you knit in the front of the stitch as usual then simply slip the stitch over to the right needle it makes for a slick increase without a bump. This I read from Meg Swansen in the last Vogue Knitting. Good tip!
2. On the following round after an ssk (slip, slip, knit), knit through the back loop of the ssk stitch and it will lay smoother. I love this tip and saw it this morning on the Knitty Gritty with Cat Bordhi who was knitting socks, of course. Very slick, must try.
3. Another Cat Bordhi tip (she's a sock genius if you didn't know), if you are knitting with a double strand of yarn and need to increase you simply knit in one strand of the stitch and then the second strand of the stitch, each separately. That's cool and creative.
Also, I have a great bit of information about the Pom-Tree, which is my favorite simple tool of all-time. I use this tool a ton in both itty-bitty books for making poms, tassels and fringe. Well, a friend of mine (hi Sue) actually made contact with Alice, the inventor of the pom-tree. She is an 81-year- old woman living in the south. She didn't know about me touting her invention everywhere I go and in my books. So now I know that she has her own website. Check it out and order from her if you need one. I guarantee you will love it. I am adding her site to my sidebar under favorites, too. It's all very sweet.
One last thing, my niece had her appendix out this week. She is 13 and she is very brave. She is spending the day with me today because my sister is out of town on a college visit with her one of her other daughters. She brought over this wonderful little lap quilt she received in the hospital. It is from the Project Linus group and it is beautiful. The quilt is backed with a soft flannel for extra snuggling power. Anyway, she loves and adores this quilt and I am thoroughly impressed with the craftsmanship. What a great charity project to make kids feel loved and safe.
Have a good weekend.
best, susie
p.s. Video tutorials are on the way for the Marley hat topper and picot edging! Thanks for the ideas. I will keep adding to my list. I may have 101 lists at this point.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Orange You Glad I Didn't Say Banana?

Hi Knitters,
You know that knock-knock joke, right?
So I'm sitting at my weekly allergy shot appointment (major bummer), and I am looking at my orange Chaco sandals. J'adore. Then I glance in my knitting bag and I see this gorgeous Blue Sky Alpaca Bulky in pumpkin. Muy bien. Then I look back at my orange Chaco sandals, then back at the pumpkin yarn, then back get the picture. I love being easily entertained in color.
I went to the market with my daughter after school to pick up some fresh veggies and fruit for dinner. This girl is obsessed with carrots that are still in their natural form, not the baby carrots in the bags. I have to agree with her. It is something about their length, texturey skin and then that burst of green at the tops. It is good.
She stood right by my side while I peeled and crinkle cut them. I could feel her breath on my arm. I love that so much.
These are my favorite veggies to look at. When I see radishes all I can think about is how much I want to knit them. I haven't done it yet but this has been going on for years. That's a little strange, don't you think?
best, susie
p.s. On second thought I may be asking the wrong crowd.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Free Preview Pattern

Hi Knitters,
I am so excited to offer you a free preview pattern from Itty-Bitty Nursery! The pattern is for the flower pacifier clip. You'll find the link for the printable pattern on the sidebar. Just a note, the pdf included front and back cover shots that were used for a card-like pattern the publisher created for promotional purposes. My son didn't know how to delete those pages from the pdf. When you print the pattern out you could just print the last two pages to save paper and ink if you prefer.
Have fun! I can't wait to start seeing blooming pacifiers everywhere.
best, susie

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Monsters, Cookies and a Fairy

Hi Knitters,
Last night I finished the second monster hat by Insubordiknit.
It turned out great and this time around I had just the right amount of yarn with a tiny bit left. I made the smallest size on the pattern that came with the kit using US size 11 needles. I used my own decrease sequence for the top. The handspun yarn was pure fun to knit. What a great little kit. Snatch one up if you find one available.
My sweet friend once again left a gift bag of iced apple sugar cookies on my doorstep yesterday morning. I took this picture before the kids got home from school. They were gone in a flash. It is so touching, beyond words. She quietly sets the gift on the front step with no note, no fanfare, so humble, so thoughtful. She's a rarity and I am flooded with gratitude.
In that first shot of the cookies I left out the fairy next to the plate and then I reconsidered. Isn't that cute? She is named Clarice. Drawing fairies and eating apple cookies is a good way to end any day.
Have a glorious weekend.
best, susie

Knit, Knit

Hi Knitters,
I have been knitting a ton lately. Some I can share and some I can't. I'd like to share everything I knit because I feel such accomplishment when I finish a project. There is nothing better. I lined up just a few of the projects I have going and believe me this is the tip of the iceberg! I know Stacey recently posted about the guilt she felt for having three projects going. I had to laugh at the number I have going all at once. It is a huge number that I don't really want to know. I don't mind because I always finish everything I start just not in an orderly fashion.
Starting at the left is a baby sweater I am working on. It is made in pistachio Nashua Cilantro. This is a springy, springy yarn. Next I have my second watermelon Sereknity sock. I've just got to get the second sock done for the fall. I am trudging away to complete pairs for several single socks I made over the summer. You know how that goes.

Next in line is the beautiful O-Wool Balance that I have been hearing so much about. I had to order some to try for myself. I ordered from here. Boy, oh boy, is everyone right about this yarn. It is wonderful to knit with and is an organic wool and cotton blend. It has a great texture but is light to work with. I see a sweater in my future with this beautiful yarn. It is a worsted weight with the gauge listed from 19-21 stitches per four inches, knit on a US size 5-7 needle. I am knitting a really fun toy out of that beautiful pale blue right now. I recommend this yarn. It is lovely.
Last but not least is my trusty Manos Del Uruguay which I also purchased here. This colorway is spruce which is the perfect name for this project. What could be better than the rustic stitches of this fantastic wool. I simply love this yarn and always will.
I have a couple quick updates I need to tell you about. First of all, the paypal progress to sell my patterns from this blog is not progressing well at all. We are waiting for an email that was supposed to arrive this week and I guess there is still one day to go so maybe tomorrow. After we get that go ahead things should start moving along.
Secondly, I posted my tour dates that are coming up so fast. I hope you check those out and come out to see me if you are close by. I had so much fun last year on tour and this year looks even better. I love getting out there to see all of those great knitters. Plus I get to talk about baby stuff and that's always a happy topic.
Lastly, I want to share a quick assignment my daughter, who is eight, had for homework after the first day of school. The teacher asked her to write down words that describe her and her favorite things. I loved her list so much I asked her if she would write a copy for me and here is her list:
artist, Lisa Loeb, bananas, red and purple, reading, story writing, panda and polar bears, watermelon, brownies, fairies, sparkles, colored rocks, soccer, gymnastics, piano, cray-pas, knitter, drawing dresses, starbucks frappacinos, chocolate cake, fresh from the farm carrots, sweet peas, dancing, strawberries, shrinky dinks, laughing, weeping mulberry trees, and family.
That list makes me wish I was eight. If only....
best, susie

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Felted Flower from Itty-Bitty Hats

Hi Knitters,
Today I have a clip about the felted flower from Itty-Bitty Hats. It is a flower made out of Manos Del Uruguay wool that is made in layers, sewn together and then felted. Each layer is made in three rows and rows 1 and 3 are both knit all stitches. The second row is the challenging row.
I have had a few questions about row 2 for this flower and that's why I decided to do a quick demonstration. There's nothing better than seeing someone do a technique "in person" to add clarity to the task.
Hopefully this will help.
best, susie

Simple Pleasures

Hi Knitters,
The end of summer is always a bittersweet time of year for me. I have always lived on the school calendar instead of the monthly calendar. September is the start of the year in my mind. My dad was a professor and then I became a teacher and then I had children who are in school. There was never a break in that cycle. So as the summer ends and the new year begins I am taking delight in life's simple pleasures. Here are a few:
1. Two completed book projects. These are the best toys I have ever designed. I am thrilled with the way they turned out and I can't wait to share their entire story with you.
2. A stack of fabric delivered from purl.
This is the Chocolate Lollipop collection sampler from Anna Maria Horner. She is a wonderful talent and I love her blog.
3. My own version of fruit style. I made mine with a finger loop for easy carrying.
When I show this to anyone all they ask is, why? Every single time it happens and I love it. I made mine out of Rowan Handknit Cotton and it is so easy. I am thinking about cranking out a few more for my kids to give to teachers on the first day of school. You should give it a try.
4. My daughter's summer sketch book decorated with left-over ribbon.
She is filling it with fairies on each page. She has a lot of fairy ideas this summer. It is so cute and fun. It is good to be eight.
5. Rediscovered artwork from childhood. I have found a lot of surprises from my childhood that were packed away and this piece made me smile. I don't know how old I was when I made this but doesn't it resemble the shape of Elefante? I couldn't believe it.
6. Bubbles that smell like chocolate. I blow the bubbles while my daughter tries to eat them.
7. A big stack of books waiting to be read.
8. A chill in the air.
9. Pumpkin spice lattes are back at Starbucks. J'adore.
10. My invitation to Ravelry arrived yesterday! To my delight there are a lot of knitters working on and posting photos of itty-bitty things. Yay! I am under susanbanderson if you want to look me up but I haven't even started working on that yet. It looks a bit daunting to me. I need to spend some time figuring the whole thing out. I looked up my friends peaknit and knitterella right away. As always they have great knitterly stuff to share.
I hope you are all enjoying some end of summer pleasures on this holiday weekend.
best, susie
p.s. Do you have any topics for quick tutorials you want me to put on video? I have list but I will happily add more. Let me know.