Sunday, December 30, 2007

One for All Hat

Hi Knitters,
I am excited to offer you the pattern for the One for All Hat! I chose the name due to the fact that this hat fits me, my 14-year-old son and my 8 and 11-year-old daughters. You could make it in one color and leave off the pom-poms for a simple man's hat or stripe or color block and add pom-poms for a more feminine version. This is a very quick and fun knit, perfect for a first-time cable project. There is an optional lining knit right into the hat.
Yarn: Rowan Cocoon for the hat; RYC Cashsoft for the lining which is optional
Needles: US size 10 sixteen-inch circular needles and a set of 4 double-pointed needles or size needed to obtain gauge.
Gauge: 4 stitches per inch

Click on the buy now button below to order. I will send the pattern in pdf file form to you via email.
Have fun!
best, susie

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Waiting Room

Hi Knitters,
I have the pattern for this new hat all set to go. I just need my son to set it up for me. He is in a basketball tournament this weekend so time is scarce. Waiting, waiting for a spare moment. My daughter is waiting to get her hands permanently on this hat and I keep telling her not until I have the pattern all finished. More waiting.
I started this scarf so long ago. It is a crocheted ripple stitch I found here. The yarn is some super old Jo Sharp wool. I think it is beautiful but to be honest I got really tired of working on it. Yesterday I was trying to clean out my studio a bit and I decided to no longer work on the ripple scarf. For awhile I toyed with making it into some sort of bag which could have worked.
As I was folding the scarf into different shapes I decided to take the easy route. I crocheted the ends together to make a neck warmer. This is a good solution when you want to try a scarf pattern out but you quickly grow tired of working on it. I should see if I have any other half-finished scarves around. I bet I do! I have a couple of manufactured neck warmers I wear all of the time while I am out walking and running. It will be fun to have a handmade one.
Now there is something exciting going on in the Itty-Bitty Knits group on ravelry. Teresa, the woman who started the group and is the moderator, is organizing a fantastic charity knit-a-long (kal) that is being run through the Itty-Bitty Knits group. I think baby and preemie hats are the knitting of choice for the kal. If I understand it correctly, each month there is a different host. The host of the charity kal gets to choose where the knitted hats get sent for that month. There are hospitals, shelters and many other organizations being suggested so far. If you are at all interested please check this one out. I love the way it is being run and it will help a lot of different geographical areas and different needs. It is being called the Charity Knit-a-Long.
Teresa is doing a great job of organizing everything. She has gotten a super response so far and she also pulled together a lot of information on the ravelry group page concerning sizing and so forth. I think some of the knitters are using the patterns in the Itty-Bitty books but they are open to any style of knitting as well. I hope I got all of that right. Let me know if not!
I'll be back with my pattern soon, fingers crossed.
Have a safe and warm Saturday. It is my husband's birthday today! I just bought a big ice cream cake from Dairy Queen for tonight. See how exciting my life is? It's too much.
best, susie

Thursday, December 27, 2007

New Hat Pattern!

Hi Knitters,
I love this new hat I just took off my needles. It is wonderful to wear and warm and the yarn is beautiful. I tried the new Rowan Cocoon which is a wool/mohair blend. I will write up the pattern, hopefully tomorrow and make it available for purchase. This is a quick, quick knit on US size 10 needles.
The sweet treat is that I threw in some RYC Cashsoft to add a punch of color on top and extra warmth on the inside. I knitted a quick liner right onto the hat with this super soft luscious yarn. Rowan yarn rarely lets you down. I simply love this new hat. My girls are already fighting over it.
You know when you have a little lipstick on your teeth and you wish someone would have told you? Well, that's the case here (look close), too funny. You can't expect your 16-year-old son to help you out with something like that, right? I will have a better picture for the pattern I promise. That makes me laugh.
The hat also fits my daughters who are 8 and 11 years-old and I think it could be an attractive man hat as well minus the poms, versatile all the way.
Anyway, stay tuned if you are interested. I hope to get this up quickly. I have to come up with a name, too.
Take care, knitters.
best, susie

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Pom Tree Demonstration

Hi Knitters,
Today I am adding pom-poms on my scarf and we made a video while I did it. My son has been gone so much with school and sports that we haven't had much time to shoot these video tutorials. I am glad we got one done today. The Pom Tree is a great invention and you can order your own here. This link is on my sidebar as well.

Pom-poms are really a hot trend again. I am seeing them everywhere and really big poms too! It is very fun. The scarf I am adding pom-poms to is a Teva Durham design I knitted awhile ago from here. I used a double strand of Elsbeth Lavold's Silky Wool. It is a lovely scarf.

best, susie

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Hi Knitters,
Sing along: I've got joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.
Down in my heart, down in my heart!
I finished and although it doesn't look just like the picture it is good enough for me. I used the advice of many emails and a few comments and put it all together to get this. Thank you crocheters, I appreciate your direction. Pretty cute and joyful, no?
About 3-4 years ago my daughter wrote me a mother's day card and it said, "Everyday your body feels joy." That may have been the best thing I have ever read. I was so happy she felt that way about me, what a good thing to feel.
I dug this kit out of my studio today, another Japanese kit I ordered quite awhile ago from here. It is made from thread basically. I don't have a small enough crochet hook so I will have to get one today. The ball looks like my crocheted cherry so I will just use that pattern. I think it is a darling little coin purse. The chart in the instructions doesn't look so confusing this time around. It is a rectangle folded in half.
I heard from so many fans of Sunny's Laboratory. I even got an email from Sunny herself. She is very sweet and interesting. It turns out Sunny moved to L.A. from Japan a few years ago where she knits, she mosaics (her house, I mean the outside of her house, fantastic!), she blogs and she mothers. What a nice new connection, I love it. Even if you don't read Japanese her pictures are fun to look at.
Pure joy!
Ahhh, wonderful Saturday. Feel some joy in your body today.
best, susie

Friday, December 21, 2007

Question, Question on Make, Make

Hi Knitters,
Today I should be saying, "Hi Crocheters." I have a question for any crochet experts out there. I am having a difficult time understanding the translated English instructions for the crochet part of this kit. It is a Japanese kit.
I have the bottom assembled and I get the gist of the crochet roof of the house but let me give you an example of the written instruction. I love to crochet but I have never come across instructions like these before.
You start with a ring for the top point of the roof and and you have 4 single crochets in the ring. The whole roof is single crochet. So it goes like this:
Row 1: 4
Row 2: 6+2
Row 3: 8+2
Row 4: 10+2
...and so on. There is also a diagram provided with lots of x's and rounds in a tiny circle. It is confusing to me. I understand you are increasing in each row but is there a logic to it or do you just throw in 2 extra stitches as you go? I am thinking that's what you do.
If you get a quick moment, let me know what you think. I was considering making up my own knitted roof, that would be the easy way out. It is turning out pretty cute, I really like the house so far. I think I will stick with the single crocheted roof and not knit it.
Crocheters to the rescue! (please?)
best, susie
*Look at this. I wonder what it says...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Collector's Items

Hi Knitters,
Well, today I want to share some of the wonderful finds I collected this fall on my travels. I first saw this beautiful bag in a Vogue Knitting feature on fun new items. The magazine had a much larger version in the photo but it was in the same colorway. I fell in love with it immediately. It is made by a company called Be Sweet. The bags are made in Africa through a coop. I got my bag here. Jackie special ordered it for me and it took about 6 weeks to come in, well worth the wait.
It is a heavy fabric so I am glad I ordered the smaller version. It is like that punch needlework but with chunkier fabric. It is sweetly lined in a green check fabric and has an inside pocket. I have tucked a couple balls of Rowan's new Cocoon yarn in here to carry with me. I am designing a new women's hat with this. Hopefully I will finish that up soon and will have a new pattern available for you.
Finally I photographed the beautiful yarn Dani dyed in honor of Itty-Bitty Nursery, it matches the cover. She calls it Itty Nursery and she over-dyed pink with a blue to create all of the lavender/blue goodness. I love it and can't wait to knit up a quick pair of socks with this soft, squishy yarn. Please check out her shop where she has fantastic yarns. Every colorway is unique and wonderful. Plus Dani is as nice in person as she is talented in knitting and dying, this is a good place to lend support. She has good, positive energy.
Here is my other skein of Sunshine Yarns that is called Fiesta. This yarn was inspired by Dani's friend Alison who knitted the Manos Cotton Stria hat in itty-bitty hats. Dani liked the colors so much she made a colorway out of it. Dani also told me that Kate Gilbert bought a skein of this at a yarn festival this fall. That's kind of fun to know.
At Purl I bought a few small items. I bought this beautiful, warm pink Koigu for starts. What a great color, mm-mm-good. The other item is the Turbo Needlegauge by Skacel. This is my second one of these. I use this handy tool so often, probably several times a week. I have needles flying everywhere around here so I am constantly trying to figure out what is what. I use a lot of dpns and they have a way of straying. There is also a 2-inch ruler on the top of it. Handy, handy!
Check out this sweet kit I picked up at Purl as well. It is a crochet kit by Make Make. It is a tiny purse with a zipper in the back. I love it. This is a Japanese kit and when I bought it the shop person had to dig around in the back for the English directions. I can't wait to make make this one!
In Michigan I went to the this great new-ish shop called City Knitting. The owner, Lorilee Beltman, is adorable and friendly. This is a shop that is warm and welcoming, more like a hang out atmosphere. Lorilee generously gave me this hot selling t-shirt designed by her shop. Look closely and you will see the clever design. Great shirt, great shop! You can order these online I think or give them a call.
That's all for today!
best, susie
p.s. I am so excited to see that a group for Itty-Bitty has been started on ravelry. I just joined myself a couple of days ago and this morning I wrote my first ever reply to a discussion forum, pretty exciting for me (I'm a simple girl). The group's name is Itty-Bitty Knits and the members are so nice! Thank you.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Appletini for Two (feet that is)

Hi Knitters,
I finished these up yesterday. Aren't they good? The yarn is from my all-time favorite indie dyer, Jessie, of yarntini fame. If you haven't tried her yarn you are missing out. It is fabulous in so many ways.
The yarn quality is squishy and good. The colors are clear and crisp and beautifully planned out. I always love stripes. I never, ever tire of a good stripe pattern. Every time I got to the pink stripe, it made me happy. Simple pleasures rule.
I started these socks while I was on tour so they carry many, many good memories. I knitted on US size 2 dpns and cast on 64 stitches and worked in k3, p1 rib for the cuff and the top of the foot. I use the most basic sock pattern that is permanently seared into my brain. The one with the heel flap and basic toe decrease. You can find this pattern in lots of places. The book, Getting Started Knitting Socks, by the fantastic Ann Budd, is an excellent book for all sock knitters, not just beginners. This basic sock pattern is in here. Another great sock knitting book that has a ton to offer all levels of sock knitters and edited by Ann Budd (she is my hero!) is Interweave Knits Favorite Socks.
My model was getting ready for school and I made her stop to put on the finished socks. There is something about 8-year-old legs and feet that are so much cuter than 43-year-old legs and feet, not hard to figure. Now she wants them for herself but they are going to someone special so neither of us will get them. That's okay because I still have a few skeins left from my yarntini acquisition this past fall so I'll make her a pair for herself! That appletini colorway is going to be hard to beat.

By the way, I am working on a really fun project right now for Parents magazine and it doesn't involve knitting. Can you believe that? The project does involve my other favorite topic, children. I'll fill you in with more details later. It is pretty darn fun and a little strange to be working on a project without knitting. Parents is a great magazine, I have loved it for years so I am happy to be working for them.

Have a wonderful Friday.

best, susie

p.s. If you are looking for the Alan Dart gnome pattern be sure to look at the comments from the last post to get a link for that. Thanks to Lisa in Colorado for sending that along. Trish also sent this link for the gnome pattern in the Bumper Book. Thanks to Trish. Try these out if you are searching. I didn't check if these are the same links. Thanks for helping out. You readers are the best, so generous.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Blizzard Shmizzard

Hi Knitters,
Madison is in the grips of yet another blizzard today with a layer of ice already coating the roads. Every school district in southern Wisconsin is closed, including all Madison private schools but guess what lucky kids have school today? That's right, mine. My sad kids trudged through the blizzard to school today because the Madison public schools are open for business. I know people think Wisconsin is all farms but truthfully we are city people. Madison schools rarely shut down due to snow because they are city schools where most of the kids live in the neighborhood where the schools are located. If not they ride the bus a short distance. I was really wishing for a snow day with my kids. I am worse than they are.
The snowbank outside my front door is probably 3-4 feet at this point. This is the kind of snow I grew up with, mountains of snow.
I just pulled out my Alan Dart Yuletide Gnome from Simply Knitting's Bumper Book of Patterns. I have had a lot of people write me to ask where to get this book and I am sorry to say I have no idea. I kind of forgot about him. He looks at home out there.
I started this Noro Silk Garden striping scarf last night. I love it. What is it about that striping yarn that always gets me? There are tons of these scarves out in blogland right now. I am following brooklyn tweed's free pattern. Fun, fun. (Hey Renee, we make at least two of the Scott's Bakery gingerbread houses every year! It is the best kit ever.)
I finished these up yesterday. What a quick, fun project. These will be wrapped and under the tree for a certain someone.
Here is one more fun holiday tip for you. I am a nut for seasonal children's literature. More than a dozen years ago I was at a friend's house and she had a decorative sleigh that she filled with Christmas books. I loved this idea and began my own tradition for the seasons. I bought this antique box right after I first got married and with every season change I pull out collections of seasonal books and put them in this box. Even my older kids love this tradition. My winter collection of books has gotten so large over the years that I fill a few boxes around the house. I do this for winter/Christmas, fall/Halloween, spring/easter, and summer. It keeps the kids loving the books because it is like they are new again every year.

The lovely Stacie sent me this link for a mini-mitten pattern. This one is good because it gives instruction for different gauges of yarn. Thank you!

I hope you are all safe and warm on this Tuesday.

best, susie

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Right on Target

Hi Knitters,
I woke up this morning and quickly knitted a Target Wave Mitten from Nora Gaughan's beautiful book Knitting Nature. I used Cascade 220 and knitted on US size 5 and 7 needles. I made the largest size and it fits my 8 year old perfectly.
This is how I feel about Target Wave Mittens! On to mitten number 2...
best, susie
p.s. Did you notice that the Utopia Hat, which is an adult size pattern, fits both of my daughter's who are 8 and 11 years old? Most adult size hat patterns will fit most children's heads. It's a good thing to know! You don't always need a pattern for a child size hat for even pretty young children. This opens up a ton of patterns that will work for kids. Most kids have adult size heads.
p.p.s. I added the badge for Knitting Friends on my sidebar. It is fun to see what is happening out there in knitting blogland. I get such a kick when my blog makes the list! This site gets you to read all kinds of blogs that you normally wouldn't visit. When you click on the badge it takes you to the top 15 blogs of the day but make sure you visit the community page (click on community at the top of the page) to see the top 100 blogs of the day. Knitting Friends is a great new resource for knitters! I know I have mentioned this before but I think it is worth another mention.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Utopia Hat Alert

Hi Knitters,
I started this yesterday evening and look what I already have this morning. The pattern is called the Utopia Hat designed by S.M. Kahn and it is a free pattern found here. It is a wonderful pattern.
I knitted on US size 8 sixteen inch circular needles and dpns. The yarn is some fun stuff I picked up in New York a couple of springs ago at Seaport Yarn. It is Lobster Pot Yarn which is hand dyed in a lobster pot and hung to dry in the salt air of Cape Cod (this is straight off the label). That sounds good to me! The colors of this yarn are vibrant and rich, it is a mohair/wool blend. The colorway I used is called Lobster Boil (don't you love that?) and it is a rich coral color. It is a worsted weight yarn. You can also buy this yarn here.
If you decide to knit this hat let me give you a couple of pointers. I had read somewhere else that the hat is a little short but I didn't listen. I don't enjoy a hat that won't cover your ears and sit low on your brow. Well, it's true, this hat came out too short even after I added a half-inch before the cable pattern started. I had to fix mine by picking up on the cast on edge and knitting 2 solid inches to make a turned up brim to remedy the shortness. It looks cute but let me suggest another solution.
I would work in the k1, p1 rib for 1 inch at the start. Then instead of 3 repeats of both the lower half cable pattern and the upper half cable pattern I would do 4 repeats of each. This should add enough length to make it a comfortable length hat. I never know if people like a shorter hat or if it is an error in the pattern or if it is just the way hats fit different people. Who knows, but this is one element I always check. If a hat is too short in the end it simply won't be worn.
I think I will add a fleece lining and possibly a small pom or tassel on a string (or two). I'll keep you posted.
I think I will knit this one again for sure. The Utopia Hat is fast, easy and great looking. It is a fantastic looking cable pattern. Good work, S.M. Kahn.
Happy Saturday!
best, susie
p.s. Check this out. Dani is a knitting wonder. Oh yeah, I have to show you the yarn she dyed for me.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Quickly Now

Hi Knitters,
Oh I wish I could remember where I first saw these tiny mittens. Ugh. I simply can't find the link even after googling. Sorry about that. I somehow ended up looking at these a few days ago and I didn't print out the pattern. I just made mine up based on what I saw. There is a free pattern somewhere out there. Let me know if you know the link to this pattern. I made the three pairs above with sock yarn scraps. It always feels good to use up those little ends. I knitted on US size 1 dpns. The mittens are a little less than 2 inches in length.
These are pretty cute mittens. I will give them away, maybe for teacher gifts. I need to make a few more pairs. What a fun and sweet and quick project. Perfect for this time of year.
I also finished up the hourglass scarf from Lynne Barr's Knitting New Scarves and I love it. I have talked about the unusual techniques used throughout this book a couple of times and I have received some requests to do tutorials on these techniques. I have a better idea though. There is a knitalong for this book going on here. I have never joined a knitalong before but this one is tempting me. This is the place to go if you have questions or if you want to show off your finished scarf. Maybe if you request video or pictoral tutorials over at the knitalong Lynne Barr herself will oblige! You never know. There are a lot of finished scarves already posted so be sure to take a peek.
Koigu Kerstie is such a treat to knit, squishy, yummy yarn. I made a few modifications from the original pattern. I made mine a bit wider and I shortened the length between the hourglass shaping. I also made mine quite a bit longer than suggested. I think many of the scarf lengths in the book are on the shorter side. That's the good thing about making your own! You can make it however wide and long you'd like. This was a quick, quick, quick knit!
I started on the boa scarf from this same book where you knit through the middle of one piece, passing the stitches to the other side before knitting the rest of the piece. It is a pretty fun technique. You have to knit lots and lots of these X's and you string them along as you go. We'll see how far I get.
Knit on!
best, susie
Note: Thanks Diane (that was quick) for the pattern link for the mini-mittens. Now that I look, her mittens have a better thumb. Cute pattern!

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Hi Knitters,

Winter is upon us in Madison today. There are blizzard conditions whipping around our city. We made it to the Christmas tree farm despite the snowy conditions. On the way there I realized that everyone was wearing a handknit hat. It gave me a good feeling, I can't help myself. From left to right we've got a center square, a surefire hat, a stripey stocking hat, and another surefire hat. What a goofy group of kids, they are so funny. By the way, my son on the high school swim team is getting requests for me to make more surefire hats from his friends. Right now I am acting like I didn't hear this. Do you think it will just go away?
Remember this little gem from Knitty? I made two of these last winter and just a few days ago I stitched in fleece linings in both of them. It makes the hats so much warmer, such an easy trick. The kids love it and then you never have to worry about anyone itching. By the way, this hat was knit in the beautiful Kristin Nicholas yarn, Julia, I was just talking about. Remember to enter here to win a boatload of this yarn. The other hat I knitted like this is in Cascade 220. I just realized that this is another example of repeat knitting. I may be the queen of this.
We found a beauty. It was strange but the trees seemed so picked over and it is still early in the season. Wonder why? I think the snowy day added so much to the tree cutting adventure. It felt like we were in a snow globe. I actually brought along a big blanket and wrapped it around myself as we tromped along. The kids couldn't believe it when I pulled that blanket out but I didn't care. I get sooo cold and that extra layer helped keep me warm. I didn't even get that cold. I am definitely doing that again even if it did cause some embarrassment. Sorry kids.
Look at the effort here. This is my husband sawing away. He really cut this one down quickly. It seemed like he had just started and then it fell right over.
My little sweets sat with a tiny tree while we were waiting. The tree is now all decorated and beautiful but my house is an enormous mess. All of the decoration boxes were pulled out of the basement before I was ready. You know how you need to organize, clean and put things away before the decorations come out? Moms you know what I am talking about. Well, I haven't done any of that prep work yet. There is a lot of enthusiasm going on around here but I still feel like it is too early. Am I crazy or just in denial? Maybe a little of both. I've got to get my Christmas spirit revved up!

Hey, check out this adorable snowman hat I saw here. What a cute hat, I love it. Also, if you are looking for a quick knitted ornament remember my free pattern for the santa baby hat ornament that I did for the craftsanity podcast last year. This makes a great little gift and it is a quick and easy knit.

That's all for now. Have a peaceful night.

best, susie