Friday, November 30, 2007

With You or Wich You

Hi Knitters,
Have you heard the song Clumsy by Fergie? Those of you with teenagers might know what I'm talking about. If not, let me fill you in. This is a song about falling in love where the singer is supposed to be saying, "with you" but repeats the line, "I'm so in love wich you," with emphasis on the "ch," over and over at the end. I think this is so funny. My 14-year-old loves this song. Oh, to be a teen. The funny thing (or not) is that I can't get this song out of my head. I guess that makes it a hit?

How does this tie in with scarf knitting you ask? Well, I'll tell you. The entire time I've been knitting on this scarf the song Clumsy has been running through my head non-stop. Yes, it's true, go ahead and laugh (at me). I would. Actually, it's a pretty cute song with a bouncy beat so it's not too bad.

Let me tell you a bit about this project. It is the hourglass scarf from Knitting New Scarves by Lynne Barr. This is a fantastic book filled with crazy, unique scarf patterns. I have several earmarked for this winter. I started with the hourglass scarf because I had this Koigu Kersti just waiting to become a scarf. Plus I had some really old Koigu 2 ply in butter yellow that worked perfectly for the accent color.
The cinching segment is so fun. You divide the stitches on 2 double-pointed needles and then you do a slip stitch sequence in the round in 2x2 rib using the two different colors. The dpns are several sizes smaller for this part and it really pulls the scarf in for a dramatic effect. The good thing is that you are knitting in the round and this keeps the scarf looking great from both sides, always a plus. The ribbed scarf section is knitted with two strands of the Koigu Kersti held together on fairly large needles. Talk about squishy, it feels so good.
You know when I started knitting this I was feeling kind of tired and I thought I would make up my own cinching technique instead of reading and learning Barr's new techniques. This was my mistake. I had to pull back and read and learn her ways. Her wording and descriptions are unusual but it actually didn't take me more than a second to figure it out. You can do it too.
It is always worthwhile to learn a new technique here and there. That's what keeps you growing and inspired. I am inspired by Lynne Barr. She is pushing the envelope, twisting and turning stitches, working from new directions. I should pay attention to this no matter how tired I am.
Okay, one more time, "I'm so in love wich you."
best, susie
p.s. I've heard a recent rumor that you're not supposed to post works in progress (wip) pictures on your blog, only finished projects. What? I love the wips on people's blogs and I have no problem seeing projects along the way, that's fun. Keep posting what you are working on, knitters, I want to see how you're doing on things.
p.p.s. I have to tell you that I didn't know that there is a fantastic giveaway going on for a Kristin Knits book launch celebration. You can enter on Kristin's blog through December 10th to win 20 balls of her yarn, Julia, in assorted colors. Enter quick, that is some prize. Good luck.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Boy, Does Kristin Knit

Hi Knitters,
As you've already guessed this post is devoted to my love of Kristin Nicholas. First, I have to make a brief mention of another topic near and dear to my heart, my son. Sixteen years ago today I had my first child. In some ways it seems like an entire lifetime ago, things were so different back then. I was in my third year of teaching middle school and my husband was in his third year of law school. I think we moved six times in those three years. We had a whole lot of nothing but it was one of those blurry, wonderful periods of my life where hard work, no sleep and youthful adventures were what we lived on. I always wanted to be a mother, I couldn't imagine what else I would do in my life. My own mother was the best mother I have ever seen, really too good to be true in every category. I am very lucky in that sense. When you grow up with a parent who embraces motherhood wholeheartedly like that it is all you can see and hope for in your own future. Having my first son was the best thing that has ever happened to me, besides marrying my husband. This baby became and remains the center of our universe. He is a sweet, family-oriented, kind, considerate, mature homebody (which I love). He sticks by my side through thick and thin, plus we laugh a lot. When I was touring I think he may have missed me more than anybody. He is my good friend and I love him. Happy 16th birthday, Evan.

Now on to this beautiful, scrumptious book by the one and only Kristin Nicholas. Kristin Knits was just recently released and it one book I was anxiously waiting to get my hands on. I bought it site unseen and I am not disappointed one bit. Just get a look at the cover, gorgeous, and that picture of Kristin is the best. Let me backtrack a bit, Kristin Nicholas is one of the reasons I wanted to start writing knitting books. When her book Kids' Knitting first came out, I just loved everything about it. The natural photography, the simple, clear patterns, the colorful style of the designs and of course, Kristin's original illustrations. With this book in my hand I started thinking maybe I could do this, too. Kristin inspired me then and she inspires me even more now.

You may know, I love color in a way that it often rules my life. I notice color, it overwhelms me at times. Kristin is all about color, crazy color, mixed color, stripes, dots, swirls, embroidered knits, flowers, checks! She is my kind of girl. If you want to learn about color you have to get this book. She provides insight into what inspires her color selections and you'll usually see that most of her inspiration comes from nature. She lives on a working farm in New England. This setting is glorious. I've enjoyed her blog so much that it is a permanent link on my sidebar. I am very selective about what I link to on my sidebar. I only link to blogs that are beautiful, clean, heartwarming and informative. Kristin's blog is one of my favorite places to visit. Her book gives this same warm, homey feeling.

When I read a knitting book and I actually read knitting books, patterns and all, my favorite thing is to get a personal feeling about the writer. I want to know all of that behind the scenes stuff like what inspired this design, what was she thinking, how did she learn that technique, basically how did this come to be. I don't know if that's normal, but I would like to peer into every designer's sketchbook if I could. That beginning idea is the meat, the filling, the basis for every design. Kristin sprinkles little snip-its of her "yarn journey" throughout the book. For example, she talks about her grandmother, her first attempt at knitting, her background in color exploration and much more. Each pattern has a background introduction. This is the stuff I love and it makes the book more of an experience. There is an instructional section at the back filled with Kristin's beautiful, clear illustrations, including terrific step-by-step instructions on how to put a zipper into a finished sweater. This alone is worth the purchase of the book. She also has this as a tutorial on her blog (you gotta check out her blog!).
Let's get a brief look at some of the patterns you will find in here. The book is divided into sections as follows: sensational scarves, colorful hats (see above photo, aren't those great hats?), cozy socks, marvelous mittens and gloves, stunning sweaters, and back to the basics. The photographer, Kevin Kennefick, does a spectacular job. The photography is outstanding. It is fresh, clear, well-shot to show the projects, and natural. The models are wonderfully wholesome and fun to look at. You feel like they are people you know.
The entire book has a natural, homey feel. Much of the photography takes place outside, where Kristin clearly like to be. One thing of note is that all of the patterns are knitted out of Kristin's own yarn line, Julia, which is distributed from Westminster Fibers. I think I own at least one ball of every color of this yarn. It is beautiful, lush and rich in color. I love how these patterns show off the versatility of her yarn. The other thing is if you don't want to use Julia (it is a mohair, wool blend) it is a worsted weight yarn. The sky is the limit for substitution!
Just look at these sweaters...I can't get enough. I want to knit everything in here. I only wish I had the time to do that but I will pick and choose many projects for sure. I read awhile ago, or maybe it was a podcast interview with Kristin, where she said she didn't like knitting scarves by width. She gets too bored and the project seems too long that way. She likes to knit scarves the long way. Well, she held true to this statement because the scarves are knit the long way in the book and they are wonderful.
The sock patterns are really great. They are all colorful, playful and cozy looking. I can just feel the squish of these socks. I love padding around my house in handknit socks in the winter and these make me want to cast on immediately.
Anyway, if you are looking for a new book to gather some gift knitting inspiration, look no further. The gift knitting potential in here is staggering. There are lots of quick projects that could be whipped up in a jiffy. There are also some big projects, like the afghan, that may take a couple of years to finish. There is something for everybody in Kristin Knits.
Kristin has so much knowledge from her vast experience in the knitting world, take advantage. She was the former creative director for Classic Elite Yarns and has been in the industry for over 20 years. There aren't that many knitters who can say that.
Well, I guess you catch my drift!
best, susie
p.s. Thanks for all of the pattern orders, knitters. I am overwhelmed and I appreciate your support.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Rosebud Cardigan Pattern

Hi Knitters,
It's finally ready, the Rosebud Cardigan pattern! I am so glad to be able to offer this sweet cardigan to you. I have received more requests for this pattern than anything else I have ever designed. The bear on page 81 in Itty-Bitty Hats was sent to the photographer as kind of an afterthought to be used as background material. The response to the bear in the rosebud cardigan has been a huge surprise to me. I have been promising this pattern for months and it is finally here. I love it that knitters quickly express what they are interested in knitting, it helps to know. Here are the details:

To fit a medium-sized teddy bear or an 18-inch doll or an American Girl doll

2 skeins Rowan Handknit Cotton in Black
Small amounts of Tahki Cotton Classic for the rosebuds and leaves (the exact colors are listed in the pattern in detail)

US size 7 needles
US size 7 double-pointed needles
US size 4 double-pointed needles
The cardigan fits perfectly on my daughter's American Girl doll, too.
This teddy bear I purchased from a Michael's Craft store years ago. He still looks good as new. Well, knitters, have fun with this and I hope to see some pictures of your Rosebud Cardigans. The pattern is available for purchase, just click on the buy now button below.
best, susie

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Surefire Hat

Hi Knitters,
The pattern for the Surefire Hat is available now! With design input from my son I think we created the perfect teenager hat. The Surefire Hat has it all for both warmth and style. As soon as my other son saw the first hat he just had to have one of his own. Repeat knitting at its best.

Just click on the buy now button and it will be sent to you in a pdf file via email. Here is a quick description:

Size: Average adult-size head, 21-23 inches. Don't forget that many little kids (as young as 2 or 3 years old) may already have a head this size, it's always best to measure if possible.

Yarn: Tahki Donegal Tweed Homespun (183 yards/skein), 1 skein of each color #852, #854, #848, #833 if you want the stripes like mine. If you want a solid hat 1 skein of the Donegal Tweed will make it!

Needles: US size 8 sixteen-inch circular needles and a set of 4 US size 8 double-pointed needles or the size to obtain gauge.

Crochet Hook
: (for the edging only) 5mm

Gauge: 4 1/2 stitches per inch

I hope your kids love this hat as much as mine do! You'll get plenty of requests for more, I am sure.
best, susie

Surefire Hat

Hi Knitters,
Well, you know you have something good when as soon as you finish you get a request for another one. That's exactly what happened with this hat design I knitted this past week for my teenagers. It's a sure-fire hat! I made the dark brown ear-flapped hat first for my oldest son. He is a swimmer for the high school team and his coach requires the boys to wear hats outside at all times. I, of course, love this requirement.
Immediately upon the completion of hat #1 my other son wanted the same hat. Some slight arguing ensued about not having the exact same hat which is understandable. My oldest son had a big part in the planning, color selection and design of his hat. I quickly came up with the idea to use the same colors, only place them in a different pattern. I'm smart like that sometimes (just kidding, any fool could figure that out).
The hats are a big success, thus the name Surefire Hat. The definition of surefire is: certain to get successful or expected results. This hat is fast and easy. I used Tahki Donegal Tweed and US size 8 needles for a quick, quick knit. I lined them both in gray fleece for extra warmth, gotta have that in this neck of the woods.I have a new tool in my repertoire. It is called the incredible rope maker. Move over pom-tree there's a new love in town. I will do a demo of this one soon. It is slick and I got it here. I made the long ties with this and again, love. The best part of this is that you need two people to make the rope (for the twisting part), although I am certain I could manage on my own, but my daughter just loves to join in. The ropes are easy to make and they look so professional, impressive invention. I'm just saying you may want to get one and get one quick! I am seeing endless possibilities.
I am almost hesitant to say this but I am going to make available some down loadable patterns for purchase from my blog and this hat and the teddy bear sweater (remember that?) are the first two patterns in line. I'll tell you what, we had a couple of months of trying to get the paypal system in place but I finally think it is set. What happened is that we missed a deadline for a response because we went on vacation. We had to start from scratch with the process but since paypal already had some of our info. in the system it wouldn't let us continue. After multiple lengthy phone calls, faxes (including a few lost faxes), computer time, etc. I think we are cleared to go. I will attempt to get these patterns written and available very soon. This puts the pressure on which is good. I will continue to add free patterns to the blog as well. I think that makes things more fun.
Here is another project I had buried in a long line of dream knits. I finally got the chance to start working on it. I mentioned my quest to get the yarn for this pattern way last spring. I looked high and low to find a shop that had enough Rowan Scottish Tweed DK to complete this project as it takes about 21 balls. I finally found it from here, what great service and selection. This is my kind of yarn. I have such a thing for simple cables in luscious tweed. Then again who doesn't? I can never get enough. The pattern is the Cabled Blanket Coat by Sarah Dallas in the Scottish Inspirations book, filled with many more great designs. The cabled coat is the perfect pattern in my eyes. Ooh La La! I can't wait to wrap up in this sweater next to the fire with a hot cocoa in hand. Maybe I'll even get extra marshmallows. It is good to dream big...
best, susie
p.s. You can now subscribe to my blog (see sidebar). My son worked on getting the RSS feed in place and it is now working. There are two different ways to subscribe although I think most knitters are doing it through the email entry at the top of the sidebar.
p.p.s. Check out this for more fun information on the top 100 knitting blogs. It is official, I am now addicted to this site. I am reading some of the most fun, interesting, inventive knitting blogs ever due to knitting friends.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Black Sheep Knitting

Hi Knitters,
Can you imagine my delight when I walked in the door at Black Sheep Knitting in Needham, MA and Dani Frisbie was sitting at the back table having lunch. Do you know her? She is the talented force behind sunshine yarns and the blog knitting sunshine. She is currently working on her new online shop which should be up and running in a matter of weeks. She has spectacular monthly yarn clubs including a fantastic Harry Potter themed club. Dani works at the shop in Needham and it was great to get to know her a little in person. I linked her blog awhile ago on my sidebar because I think she is such a talented knitter. The photos of her work are so inspiring and she is constantly turning out projects, one better than the last. I have bought some of her yarn in the past from her etsy shop and it is so beautiful. She gifted me with a yarn she dyed that matched the cover of itty bitty nursery. She started with pink and overdyed with blue which made for a rich lavender and pink blend. I will be showing all of my wonderful yarn-y things I collected on a later post. Thank you Dani, for the yarn and for being such a gracious host. Keep me posted on your new online shop! Everyone let's get behind Dani and support her, she is a wonderful, kind-hearted talent!
This beautiful shop just got better and better. Here is another member of the knitsmiths knitting group. It's the one and only Alison Hansel of the blue blog and Charmed Knits fame. Her book has done so well and deservedly so! I own it, of course, and every pattern is pure fun. She kindly recommended Black Sheep Knitting to me as a good tour stop and she was right. Alison brought her three kids along to the shop and that baby girl is simply adorable. She wore her upside down daisy hat to boot. It was great to meet Alison, such a talented and inspiring knitter and recently seamstress! I have been a fan for a long time. I printed out her stripey vest from knitty ages ago, I still want to make that one. I just love meeting the knitters I admire from afar. It seems surreal.
Here is my next celebrity meeting. Take a good hard look at this beautiful woman then take a look at the pure joy on my face. I couldn't believe my eyes. I reviewed one of her books months ago you may recall. This is Barbara Delinsky who has written more books than I can count but who recently wrote Family Tree. I have some strong feelings about this book. I absolutely loved it. I read it last spring on a trip to Florida with my family. It was a difficult time for my family due to a horrible loss we had just suffered. I was dazed and in a fog. I found myself melting into this book in a way I haven't experienced very often. Family Tree provided a wonderful distraction for me at a time when I needed to fill the time in my head. It is a beautiful book and I highly recommend it. The most pleasant surprise about this book is that knitting is a major storyline and it also takes place part of the time in my hometown of Madison. I felt like there was a reason I was drawn to this book in the book store. I didn't even read the inside flap, I just grabbed it and went. Isn't that weird how things happen sometimes? It makes you wonder. I have inherited stacks of Barbara's books recently and I can't wait to read them. Barbara is a huge knitter and is a fan of itty-bitty hats. She pointed out many of the hats she has already knitted for her grandchildren. I loved meeting her more than I can say. I was dying while I was signing her books, just feeling like it wasn't really true. What a fun moment.
The people at this shop just kept coming and coming. One great story after another. This is Judy and she was the cutest thing. She not long ago had spinal surgery. She was unable to move for months. During her recovery she would take a pain killer and then she knew she had a couple of hours where she could manage to knit. Itty-bitty hats helped her get through her recovery without losing her mind (that's a quote!). How I love this story. Doesn't she look great?
This is one of the shop owners, Susan, playing with a little sweetheart. Susan was so nice, helpful, happy and fun. They all are like this. I would go to this well-stocked shop all of the time if I lived here. Black Sheep Knitting felt like stepping into a warm, welcoming home.
I wanted you to see this knitted set from itty-bitty nursery by one of the workers at Black Sheep (I think it was Melissa who knitted it, but I am not 100% sure). Isn't that cute? I love it in the purple manos cotton stria. Dani is knitting one in a muted blue-ish color, it is gorgeous. I hope I get to see the finished project. It is good to see people using differently colors.
This is Lisa and boy is she fun. She is great to chat with and she had so many good stories. My sister loved her too. Lisa is a knitter anyone would love to hang out with. She was knitting a pink and brown hat that was to die for. She hung around and made our time so much fun. Thanks for coming Lisa! Isn't that baby cute peeking over Dani's shoulder?
My sister and I got a major kick out of Sophie (the cutest thing ever!), the official store mascot. Okay, she played with the cupcake tea set for a loooong time and we loved it. She poured tea...
she added lumps...
and she stirred her cup with a golden teaspoon. You know what is interesting-you have to make sure to knit the little things when you are making a set like this. Sophie played with the sugar cubes only for about 20 minutes. She lined them up, put them in the sugar bowl and then lined them up again. She was adorable and this confirms my belief that it is all in the details. The lumps make the set!
Oh, you thought it couldn't get any better than Sophie? Well, just look at this bundle. Too incredibly cute for words, Dani's not too bad either. Also, get a look at Dani's shawl. That is made out of her fantastic hand-dyed yarn. It is spectacular, her talent is astounding.
Here is Debbie the other owner. She is terrific. Black Sheep Knitting has supplies bursting out everywhere you turn. The customers have a home here as I heard they have a different knitting group every single night of the week at the shop. It is the place to be for knitters in this area and beyond. They have such a huge selection of top of the line yarns, you can find anything you're looking for in this one spot.
Dani knitted all of these itty-bitties and they are strung up behind the cash register. What a great surprise. Thanks to everyone for this wonderful event. I appreciate all of your efforts. I enjoyed every minute and your shop provided some of my most memorable moments of the tour. I hope to come back sometime soon!

Okay, a couple of business notes. I have had a ton of emails asking about this scarf, I am not kidding, a lot of email. This scarf, worn by the lovely Jaime (right) and the tired, worn-out Susie (left), was purchased at Knitty City. It is a Tara Handknits product handmade by a women's Cooperative in Nepal. There are several colorways available. It is called the "tiny circle crochet scarf flower." It was $42.00. I hope that helps. I think they only had a couple left when we were there but give them a buzz if you want one! I have to say I have been wearing it out and about here and I have gotten a lot of compliments on it. Maybe we should all just make one ourselves, too. It would be easy.

The last thing is a site I have been enjoying and want to pass on. It is called knitting friends. It highlights the most popular blogs for the day, week and month. I have been going to it regularly to keep up with the comings and goings of the knitting world. This site has directed me to a lot of new blogs that I otherwise would never read. It is really fun and a bit addictive. Check it out.

Okay, there will not be more tour stuff for a long time now. It's just me at home with my yarn and needles and kids. I will not torture you with any more pictures of me for as long as humanly possible. I am sorry about that but other people were taking all of the pictures therefore I was in all of them. If you knew how much I hate being in pictures, truly, I avoid it at all costs, you would laugh at this situation.

Bye for now knitter friends.

best, susie

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Meet Me at Penn Station

Hi Knitters,
Back for another installment! This time it's Philly all the way. Let me digress for one moment about Saturday night. My sister and I jumped in a cab on the way to our hotel from Knitty City and we had an interesting cab driver. Apparently, he and his girlfriend were not getting along because he suddenly called her on speaker phone right in the middle of a friendly chat with us. Her name was Lisa. He would say in a slow, methodic voice, "Lisa, did you listen to my message?" She would say no. He repeated the question many times and Lisa would go silent. Then he said slowly, "Do. Not. Make. Me. Suffer. I am too old to suffer." Can we say awkward? It was weird all around. He got kind of creepy there. My sister and I kept saying, "Do not make me suffer," for the rest of the trip. He also balked at the tip I gave him which was plenty generous. If there is one thing I am it is a generous tipper. You can put that on my tombstone. I had had enough of him for sure.

I can never get enough of Craig Rosenfeld (photo above) though. He is the owner of Loop in beautiful Philadelphia. Early Sunday morning we jumped the train leaving from Penn Station for the hour long ride to Philly. The train was a pleasure to ride. It was empty, clean and quiet. We arrived at Loop early and so we walked down the street and had a yummy breakfast at a quaint little restaurant with a Spanish twist. When we finished Craig had opened his door and off we went. Loop is a fantastic shop and the customers just love it there. What's not to love? He opened Loop as an online shop in 2004 and did so well that he opened the storefront in 2005. Craig is friendly, smart, really funny and an accomplished knitter. He had us laughing a lot while we were there.
We set up the trunk show and it was a casual open house style event. I love those the best. People just come and go and chat and look and buy yarn and books. It is so much fun. As soon as the shop officially opened there was a constant stream of business. It was downright crowded. Loop has a strong following and deservedly so. Above is Melissa and look, her sweet son is clutching itty-bitty hats as he slept on her shoulder, so cute. He is wearing the turtle hat without the turtles, she hadn't made them yet. Just look at the elegant shop in the background. The displays are so clean and fresh and stylish.
A lot of the photos are a little dark due to the morning light shining through the big front windows, but the store is anything but dark inside. The natural lighting was fantastic. I love the way Craig simply placed a line of hooks in several spots on the walls and hung rainbows of yarn. This creates a stunning visual display, very clever. Loop has a distinct style to say the least.
Craig even winds your yarn with a smile. They had one of those electric ball winders and I want one! This is a slick tool. Unfortunately, it costs over $300 so I will most likely not own one anytime soon but it's fun to dream. He sold tons of yarn and books while I was there and this winder never stopped going. There were also 2 classes starting the minute my signing was over. They have a great class schedule. Loop is teaching one hour mini-classes on all sorts of topics. They are inexpensive and not a big commitment. Craig said these are really popular so you should check this out if you are in the area. The classes being taught when we were there were mittens on dpns and the knit stitch.
This sweet woman (right) drove from quite a distance away with her daughter and stayed almost the entire time I was there. She was so cute and excited about itty bitty things. I loved meeting her. She made her daughter drive because she is a nervous driver. What a good daughter.
Loop had comfy couches and a big back table. The accomodations are inviting and sleek at the same time, not an easy thing to achieve. One thing I loved was a big basket filled with crocheted granny squares made out of Malabrigo. They were gorgeous squares. I have to make some. He had the wound yarn in the basket along with finished squares and it just looked so inviting. If I hadn't been "working" I would have sat right down to make a few myself.
Sorry about the dark-ish photos, but the woman on the right is wearing her first finished sweater and it was beautiful. It was knit out from the center back in a circle with the sleeves picked up and knit in the round as well, no seams. She is expecting her first baby and was so interested in baby knitting. It was such a kind, interested group.
Here is a bright, sunny shot for you. Look at that fantastic shop, the knitters aren't bad either. There are mannequins all over the shop wearing sweaters, vests and accessories. What a seller the knitted samples are. I don't have a picture but I am going to be making this in the near future. It is so cute. Craig also had a free pattern for fingerless gloves made out of Koigu Kersti and I bought a few skeins to make those up. I will share all of that later.
Here is Craig with his wonderful staff. These young women were so fun and helpful. What a treat. Really, you just have to go to this shop or visit online. I couldn't recommend it any higher.
This beautiful young mom, Nicole, drove two hours with her husband to come to Loop to see me. Let me tell you why this is special. See that pretty baby named Maeve? She is the youngest of eight children, yes eight. The oldest is ten, yes ten. Twins? No. My uncle has eight children that include three sets of twins and two singles. They had eight kids under 5-years-old. I haven't found anyone to beat that stat, but Nicole may be even with the no twins factor. Anyway, it was great to meet her and her husband and the beautiful Maeve. If you want a fun twist to the rosebud hat from itty-bitty hats take a look at Maeve's hat. Nicole knitted it in chocolate brown and pink. She only made 3 rosebuds and a couple of leaves. This hat is incredibly cute and the colors are spot on. What a great, creative twist. I love to see people make patterns their own like this!

It was a great day at Loop. Thanks to Craig and his trusty staff for making a pleasant, fun time for us. I would love to come back any time!
best, susie
p.s. Next up Black Sheep Knitting! Do I have some stories to tell you that may just include a few more celebrities...
p.p.s. I have heard from a couple of readers that the elefante link didn't work for them. I don't know the reason because it works for me every time. It is linked to Adobe Reader so maybe that has something to do with it on different computers. I also put the pattern in complete form in a post here so you could print it out this way. Thanks for the interest.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

NYC + Knitting=Love

Hi Knitters,
Where to begin, where to begin? I can hardly contain myself when I think about this portion of my tour. I flew in to New York City in the early morning hours of last Friday. It was a beautiful flight and that scenic descent into the airport is breathtaking. I have actually only been to NYC one other time with my husband for a few short days when he had a business trip. We had a great time just running around the city. I relied on him heavily to shuttle me around the city to see all of the sights and restaurants.

This time I relied on my beloved Jaime Harder, publicist extraordinaire (pictured above on the right). She is a treat and a half I'll tell you. I can't say enough about this beautiful, warm, sweet, smart, friendly, capable young woman. She is a catch on any level. I just love her and she is fantastic to work with. I have never worked with a more charming soul. Jaime is a calming force in the constant battle of demanding chaos that is the publishing world. She handles herself with grace, poise and most importantly, a wonderful sense of humor. We laugh every single time we talk. There is so much to laugh about you wouldn't believe it.

Before we left for lunch I got to meet with Ann Bramson, the publisher of Artisan Books. I have such deep respect and admiration for her. Her comments and guidance mean so much to me. When she talks to me I take her words to heart. It is hard to describe the experience of meeting with Ann. She has the sweetest, warmest face. We went into an empty office and I pulled out my beast of a suitcase containing my trunk show. Inside I had a few projects from a new book idea I have going. I was seated on the floor due to wrangling with my dreaded suitcase and Ann was seated on a chair right next to me. Jaime was seated on the floor with me which I loved. The projects were a hit! Ann loved them and it made me feel so good. I am proud to announce that the next book is officially on! That is some big news and it means there is a lot of work ahead for me. I am very happy about all of this. I'll keep you posted on all of this as it comes to fruition.

Jaime spent the first two days in the city with me. She took me out to lunch with a couple of others from Artisan. It was delicious food but we had to get it wrapped up to go so we could get over to SoHo Publishing for an afternoon meeting. We jumped in a cab and scurried over to the Vogue Knitting offices. SoHo Publishing houses many magazines like Vogue Knitting, Knit Simple, Knit.1, Adorn, and Crochet Today. They also publish books under the Sixth & Spring imprint. Anyway, it is an impressive knitting gathering of talent in one building.
Jaime and I met with Faith (left) and Tanis Gray (middle). They work on the magazines for the SoHo group. They are wonderful and friendly and so down to earth. I brought some samples from itty-bitty nursery and from my next book to share with them. They loved the projects! We had a fun chat and it looks like I may have the opportunity to do some work for them in the near future. I just have to figure out how to fit all of this into my crazy schedule. I will keep you posted on this as well. I haven't done any magazine work thus far and I think it would be a fun thing to work on for the future.

It was funny at my event at Knitty City the next day, Adina Klein, the editor in chief of Vogue Knitting sent one of the SoHo Publishing staff members, Jane, to have me autograph my books for their library. Jane told me that while I was at the office Adina wanted to meet me but was meeting with Nicki Epstein and couldn't get away. See I love that stuff. That's good stuff. Autographing books to Adina, Nicki in the next room...that's excellent. I'm just a little knitter from Madison for goodness sakes.
Jaime whisked me off to Purl. I signed some books they had in stock and of course Jaime and I shopped a little. I think I will have to do a separate post about the goodies I have collected while out on the road these past weeks. I dragged home some pretty fun finds. See that guy in the green shirt? His job was to wind yarn for customers and he was winding and winding and winding the entire time we were there, skein after skein. It was really busy the whole time we were in there. I told Jaime that I didn't want that job anytime soon! What a charming spot, a thrill to see again. By the way, the Purlbee did a feature on Itty-Bitty Nursery a couple of weeks ago. This is a great blog to keep up with if you haven't checked it out before.
This is Purl Patchwork which is just down the block a bit from Purl. It is the fabric store sister to Purl. Wow, is this a fun spot. There is even a little elephant in the window from Joelle Hoverson's new book Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts. You all know Joelle's first book Last Minute Knitted Gifts one of my all-time favorite books. It is wonderful to see her shops in person to say the least. After visiting these shops we headed back to Artisan to pick up my suitcase/beast and I got in a cab headed to my hotel. It was a swift hour-long journey where the traffic moved about an inch at a time. I honestly even loved that. I got to look at the people and buildings and just absorb it all. Oooph, was I tired. I crawled to my room, pulled out the lunch I didn't eat earlier and ate a quiet meal in my room. I had such a feeling of excitement from the happenings of the day that it felt good to have some peace to let everything sink in.
The next morning I headed out for a brief walk with my husband...what? Okay, just kidding. Do you know who this is? I'll give you a hint: supermodel and NFL superstar. Yes it is. They walked right by me, really next to me for a ways. Then I looked over and realized I was walking next to Gisele Bundchen and on her arm was the one and only Tom Brady. A lady next me started shouting to her friend, "That's frickin' Gisele!" They started chasing them down and then I quickly snapped this blurry shot because I thought that my boys might get a kick out of me seeing Tom Brady up close like that. I thought it might start getting crazy for them as people recognized them. I know the picture is blurry but can you see how skinny Gisele's legs are? They are like toothpicks, literally. You could knit with them if she pointed her toes. Pretty funny stuff, right?
My hotel was right down from Times Square and just off of Central Park. What a spot! I loved just walking around. It is all so exciting for me just to be there. I met Jaime for lunch and then the best thing happened, my sister, Dawn, arrived. We met her back at the hotel and boy was I happy to see her. She is a wonderful sister, so fun and smart. We always have fun together.
This is where the story gets really good. Jaime took us around to a couple of knit shops to sign books. We ended up here at Annie and Co. This is a fairly new shop in town and it was spectacular. We fell in love with this shop. One of the workers went to school at the UW in Madison and although she said she didn't study much, she had fond memories of our city. All three of us shopped everywhere we went. While Dawn and Jaime were shopping and I was signing books, I happened to notice a small woman knitting quietly in a comfy looking chair. She looked so happy knitting away there that I looked closer. All of a sudden I realized I was looking into the face of Cicely Tyson, one of my all-time favorite actors. My mother loved Cicely and often talked about her and her movies. We especially loved her in Roots, when I was a middle-schooler. I remember my mom talking about her from the time I was a young child. I had just recently watched Winn Dixie with my girls where I fell in love with Cicely all over again. Well, to make a long story short (I already blew that), I quietly told Dawn about Cicely and she looked like her knees were going to buckle. When I was telling Dawn this news, her back was to the door and you are not going to believe who walked in....
Bette Midler.
Bette Midler.
Bette Midler.
Here is the beautiful shop and the front door....
And here is the one and only Bette Midler talking it up with Cicely Tyson! We are right there. We love Bette Midler. She is really one of our favorites. We had her albums and nearly wore them out. We watched her concerts on HBO when we were teenagers. We watched her sing Johnny Carson off the air. I thought Dawn was going to have a heart attack. Really, she had to sit down. Jaime and I laughed so hard at her. It was so cute and sweet, her reaction. We had to get going to the Knitty City for my event and my sister just looked into my face and said, "I don't think I can leave right now." I loved that. We left Dawn behind and she quietly melted into a chair at Annie and Co. to knit with her friends Bette and Cicely.
This is Dawn playing it cool with her knitting. Eventually the shop worker invited her over to sit right next to Cicely where they conversed about literature, Oprah's school for girls in Africa (Cicely joined Oprah for the opening event), the topic of obesity and how it has affected different families. There was a group of women at the table knitting the whole time we were there. Bette didn't stay too long, but it was long enough. Bette is working on a needlepoint stocking. Annie and Co. has a needlepoint store up one floor and Bette was headed there. I was so happy for my sister to get that opportunity, a once in a lifetime experience. Isn't that cool? My sister was laughing because at one point the needlepoint store workers came downstairs and yelled at the knitters at the table, "Traitors!" They were their former customers who are now knitting. Too funny.
Jaime and I could not stop laughing about Dawn ditching me for her celebrity knitting friends. I don't blame her one bit. I had a great time at the Knitty City. What wonderful hosts Phyllis and Pearl were! The knitters were wonderful and smart and curious. We had a nice time chatting and I signed lots of books. I met lots of wonderful New York knitters and they are a fun group.
People kind of came and went and some stayed the entire time I was there and even sat right next to me the whole time. I loved it. These are some warm, kind knitters. They envelope you with their genuine interest. I really enjoyed all of them. Thank you Knitty City, I hope I can come back again. It was a pleasure and a treat. This shop is one you cannot miss if you are heading to New York. They have great space and great materials. Just look at that wall of books! The yarn is a spectacular blend of just about anything you could ever want. The staff was the best, they could not have been any nicer.
I have to make a special mention of this sweetheart, Leah. She made a special effort to visit me at the shop and has corresponded with me off and on for awhile. Getting to meet knitters on the road like this is an experience I will never forget. Thanks, Leah, and let's keep in touch even after you leave the big city! It was great to meet you.
My sister showed up just after the event was over. Jaime and I thought that was so funny. Every time the door opened we both turned to see if it was Dawn and it never was. She rode a bus all over the city to get to the shop. She is a hoot!
Jaime, thank you! Jaime and I bought matching crocheted scarves from Knitty City (see the first picture) to commemorate the wonderful day! Actually she bought her's first and I just copied her. Ha! It was fun, it was real, it was real fun. I will never forget it.
Now I have to run and watch the first episode of Project Runway. I am an addict to this show. We will discuss later and, "Make it work!"
best, susie