Monday, March 31, 2008

Flying Needles

Hi Knitters,
There has been a serious flurry of knitting around here over the past couple of days and I mean serious. I got a call late in the week from Candi Jensen, author/tv producer extraordinaire, who requested a project from me for her pbs tv show Knit and Crochet Today. They need these samples in hurry (a matter of days) so I fired up my needles immediately. Who wouldn't? They are doing a show dedicated to baby knit and crochet projects. I haven't had a chance to watch this show yet because we don't get it here in Madison but apparently it has been picked up like crazy in most major cities. They have been asked to produce a large number of new shows so that is great news for the knit and crochet community.

Anyway, the projects I made for the show will become available for free on the Knit and Crochet Today website after the show airs. I will keep you posted when the patterns become available. It was fun to revert back to hat knitting this weekend. I still love it hundreds and hundreds of hats later.

On to answer a few questions that were sent to me over the last couple of weeks. I lumped some of the questions together that had a similar theme or request.

Question #1: Where can I get the errata or corrections for Itty-Bitty Hats? (I can't believe how many requests I got for this. I really had no idea.)
Answer: Yay! I posted the errata page last week on my blog and I will keep it available on my left sidebar under "more favorites." Sorry for the brief time that it was unavailable while I have re-adjusted my online stuff. The book, Itty-Bitty Hats, is in its third printing and for the second and third printings the corrections are already in the book so you won't need this page if you have one of the later editions.

Question #2: What is the topic of your next book?
Answer: Toys, toys and more toys. I am doing a complete collection of knitted toys and I am in love once again. I have less than half (that's being generous) of the projects completed and let me tell you I am getting a bit nervous about that. It's going to be a fun and beautiful book and I am not holding back one bit. I am trying to stick to strictly knitting and not add any crochet. So far I have been able to keep true to this. What do you all think of that? Do you think I should add a little crochet in there? I'd love to hear. Now is the time to chime in if you have strong feelings about this topic.

Question #3: When are you coming back to NYC? (Seriously, 3 people asked me this. I thought that was a lot :) I love that.)
Answer: I want to come back soon, any day or time. I will be in NYC this summer for a family vacation, not to work, so that doesn't really count, right? My publisher knows how much I loved coming to this great, exciting city so hopefully they will schedule me again soon, soon, soon. I will definitely keep you posted.

That's enough for now on the questions. Thanks again and keep them coming if you'd like. I will plug through a few more later in the week.

I will be attending the Lexington Book Festival in May at Joseph Beth Booksellers. I will post more about this as soon as I get the details. Yay, I love going to Lexington. This will be my fourth visit to this beautiful city.

Jaime is getting the trunk show for Itty-Bitty Nursery set up and I am sending her the projects for the tour very soon. I can't wait for this to start up!

Take care, Knitters. It is a gloomy, dark, rainy Monday here is Madison. I know spring is coming and this rain will help wash away the remaining remnants of winter.
best, susie

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Itty-Bitty Hats Corrections

Hi Knitters,
I've made some fixes to the reprints of Itty-Bitty Hats. Depending on which printing you have (there have been 4 so far, and counting!), your copy may not have the following corrections:

Seed Stitch
p. 33
In the Round:
Round 2: Purl 1 stitch, knit 1 stitch.

Little Pumpkin
p. 84
Switch to Tope.
Knit all rounds until stem measures 1 1/2 inches. Purl 1 round. (Finish as stated.)

Upside-Down Daisy
p. 86
Petals (make 5 for the 3 smallest sizes, make 6 for the 2 largest sizes):
Row 10: purl 2 stitches together, purl 1 stitch, purl 2 stitches together. 3 stitches remain. Bind off.

Olive You!
p. 120
Row 8: Purl 2 stitches together, purl 7 stitches, purl 2 stitches. 9 stitches remain.

p. 149
The newborn size is not included in the pattern. Under size, it should read 0-6 months (6-12 months, 1-2 years, 2 years and up).

Reversible Stripes and Dots
p. 123
Dot Pattern:
Round 2: Cast on 2 stitches using the backward-loop method, knit 6 stitches. Repeat to the end of the round.
p. 124
Round 11: Knit 3 stitches, cast on 2 stitches using the backward-loop method, knit 3 stitches. Repeat to the end of the round.

Birthday Cake:
p. 130
Repeat rounds 2-6 until the hat measures...

Chocolate Blues:
p. 136
Next row: Bind off 23 (24, 25, 27) stitches, knit 11 (15, 19, 21) stitches, bind off 23 (24, 25, 27) stitches.

Marshmallow Bonnet
p. 140
Bind off 23 (24, 25, 27) stitches, knit 11 (15, 19, 21) stitches, bind off 23 (24, 25, 27) stitches.

p. 149
Round 1: Knit 4 (5, 6, 7) stitches, yarn over, knit 2 stitches together, knit 1 stitch, yarn over, knit 2 stitches together. Repeat to the end of the round. Knit any remaining stitches.
Round 5: Knit 1 (2, 3, 4) stitch(es), yarn over, knit 2 stitches together, knit 1 stitch, yarn over, knit 2 stitches together, knit 3 stitches. Repeat to the end of the round. Knit any remaining stitches.

p. 160
Carrot Nose:
Row 2: ...,knit 5 stitches,...
Row 4: ...,knit 3 stitches,...
Row 6: ...,knit 1 stitch,...

Happy hat knitting!
best, susie

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Oops, I Did It Again...

...I played with some socks.
Hi Knitters,
Well, this is one messed up post. First, I accidentally hit enter and published this post before I wrote anything. Sorry about that if anyone received a blank entry, hopefully not. Secondly, I have deleted photos and re-uploaded photos all accidentally and not in the correct order. It just hasn't gone well. I can never figure out how to reorganize the order of the photos in a post after they have been uploaded. I am just getting my fingers working again after returning from a spring break trip with my family. Hang in there with me.

I know, I know, I just wrote about having a big drawer filled with hand knit socks that I don't wear and feeling like I simply don't need any more. But what's a girl to do with a large sock yarn stash and a vacation on the horizon? I love knitting socks and I love the sock yarn that I own and thus I know I will continue to knit socks. When I was packing my knitting for the trip I couldn't think of an easier more convenient project to stuff in my bag.

I literally cram my partially knitted sock, dpns and all, and yarn ball into my pocket everywhere I go, beach, restaurants, car rides, mini golf, etc. I know it isn't a flattering silhouette but who really cares. That's how I finished this lovely pair of simple ribbed socks. They flew off my needles lickety split and there is even some beach sand knitted right in.

The yarn is from Knitting Sunshine and it is the Weasley Wizard Wheezes (Harry Potter inspired) colorway. This is the first time I have knitted with Dani's yarn and I truly loved it. The colors are bright and snappy and the yarn is smooth and delightful. I think she is having a shop update today so head on over. This yarn gets a big thumb's up from me.
Here's the crazy crew I vacationed with for the past week. This is one funny group of kids, each is funnier than the next. They provide hours of free entertainment. The kids range from 4 to 20 years-old and the ones who aren't mine belong to one of my brothers and my sister (the one who knits with Cecily Tyson and Bette Midler, remember her?). There is one friend mixed in for good measure. We had a good time and the kids had a ball being together.

Three of the boys made a couple of videos while we were there and I thought you might enjoy one of them. It was made on my son's cell phone and I laugh every time I watch it. The star of the video is my nephew and he is 10 years-old. The video is short and is titled, Basketball Master. I thought you might get a kick out of it.

On to a bit of business, I have had a great pouring in of questions that I need to sort through. Thank you, thank you. I just got back yesterday and I need a moment to get organized. I will get the answers and errata pages coming to you shortly.

Hopefully my luck will be better next time I post. It's good to be home.
best, susie

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Back Soon

Hi Knitters,
Just a quick post to let you know I will be gone for a little bit. Still email your questions or post comments to me. I am loving all of the fun questions I am gathering, should make for some good posts. Thanks and keep them coming.

For the questions I am getting that individual need response, I will try to get back to you as soon as possible on my return. I am getting quite a build up so please be patient.

As far as the errata page for Itty-Bitty Hats I am hearing from lots of folks that you have noticed that has closed (where the errata pdf was previously available). I will get that errata page posted and llinked on my blog and I am gathering the errata from Itty-Bitty Nursery to link as well. I will do this as soon as I get time. 

The Itty-Bitty Hats errata only applies to the first printing of the book. Subsequent printings should be okay!

Thanks for your responses and your patience.
I'll be back soon.
best, susie

Friday, March 14, 2008

Got a Question?

Hi Knitters,
I am finishing up the week here with a Yarntini glove that I am really enjoying. I have been questioning the number of pairs of handknit socks I have and how many more I could possibly need? To be honest, I don't wear them all that much. I have a few favorites and that's about it. I decided to try out some different types of projects using sock yarn. I am starting out with this glove. I think it will be great to have a pair of light-weight gloves to wear this spring on those remaining chilly days.

The yarn is the fabulous colorway that Jesse created for me called, Itty-Bitty Susan. Isn't that funny? It is so beautiful and spring-like and sweet. I don't know if Jesse has this colorway available for purchase but she should, it is too pretty.

I noticed quickly when I started on the cuff that it was pooling a bit (see it there on the bottom of the cuff?). I then divided and rewound the ball into two balls and alternated strands every two to 3 rounds for the hand and cuff of the glove. This resolved the pooling beautifully. I didn't need to alternate strands on the fingers or thumb and a wonderful stripey pattern emerged on its own. I couldn't have planned it better if I tried.
I'm loving the glove project so far. Can't wait to start the second. I will post more about the pattern source and the project in general when I finish the second glove.

I have this idea for the blog. I was reading Sarah's blog and she opened up a question line for awhile to her readers. I thought that was so great. I have people email questions to me almost every day about various patterns, yarns, blog entries, etc. I thought it would be fun to encourage the readers of this blog to go ahead and shoot me a question that I will post about. I don't have any guidelines, really, but just make it fun, clean, funny, interesting or just plain silly.

Is there something I haven't talked about that you're dying to know? Be sure to include your blog address if you'd like me to share it, and put "question" in the subject spot for the email so it doesn't get accidentally missed.

I'll try to answer as many questions as I can within reason and at my own discretion. I won't promise to answer every question due to time constraints but I will do my darndest. Email me here with those questions!

My email is always on the sidebar, too. I love hearing from knitters and I'd love to hear from you!

Have a beautiful week.

best, susie

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Good Eggs

Hi Knitters,
Don't you just love this magazine? I got this April 2008 issue of Parents in the mail yesterday.
These egg cozies are my design! I am so excited to be a contributor to this issue of Parents magazine. I have been working with them on several projects over the last 4 or 5 months, some of it involves knitting and some does not. It is all about kids, crafting and playing though. Here is the first project. Can you tell what the egg cozies are made out of?
That's right, the toe of a baby sock. Doesn't everyone have old baby socks or single kid socks around? I do and I thought what a perfect size to fit right over the top of an egg. The directions to make these are included in the magazine and there are couple of other fun egg crafts included in here, too. All of the stuff added on is just simple craft supplies you can get anywhere. I got such a kick out of seeing my name and project in this mag. I have read Parents ever since I had babies of my own. It is a staple.
Here are the little cozies in my studio before flying off to their photo shoot. If you make any of these egg cozies be sure to let me know. I would love to see them!

I have temporarily popped through the knitting bubble. I have already returned safe and sound to the inside again, knitting away, no worries. Those cozies would be cute knitted, right?
best, susie

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Step by Step Gloves

Hi Knitters,
I had no idea that a lot of knitters are intimidated by gloves. I guess it is all of the fingers. I want to show you how simple gloves really are if you just break it down into steps. I know that cable pattern is pretty complicated but you could always do stockinette stitch instead.

You start by knitting a tube just like the one above. I always knit things like this in the round on my double-pointed needles. The blue yarn is the scrap yarn to hold the stitches for the fingers and the thumb hole. I love the way Robin Melanson did this thumb hole by knitting with scrap yarn where the thumb should be placed.
Then on the top of the tube you place each finger of active stitches on scrap yarn. You take, for example, 5 stitches from the back of the hand and 5 stitches from the palm of the hand to create a 10 stitch finger.
Here you can see the 4 finger holes all set to knit.
You just go finger by finger placing the stitches on your double-pointed needles and knitting as long as fits over your fingers. It is easy to custom size gloves because you can try them on as you go.
Now I have the fingers finished and really those work up in a jiffy because the number of stitches is so small. So I placed the thumb hole stitches on my dpns and then I will remove the scrap yarn. Next I redistribute the stitches on 3 dpns and knit up the thumb.
Here they are! I love how these turned out. I talked about these gloves extensively here. They are lovely gloves and they fit and feel like a dream. Now I won't embarrass the kids since I have a finished pair.
I took this shot while I was photographing the gloves. My daughter is so funny. She basically never takes off her stripey stocking hat (the pattern is in itty-bitty hats) I made her about 3 or more years ago. She adores this hat and even wears it to bed on many a night. A lot of times she can't find her hat in the morning and it ends up being in her rumpled bed. I keep wanting to replace that felted pom-pom but I don't even ask her about it. I know she will say no. It is hat love. Big time.

Now go make some gloves!
best, susie

Friday, March 07, 2008

I Have a Yarn Thing

Hi Knitters,
Have you seen this new book by Robin Melanson called Knitting New Mittens & Gloves? It's a winner for sure. When I saw it at Barnes and Noble I had one of those moments. I stopped cold when I saw the Welig gloves, the last pattern in the book. You know the kind of moment where you have to run home and immediately start a project before you even get your coat off. That's what this was for me. I love that feeling beyond description.

Welig is an Old English name for willow. Perfect. The yarn is Julia (mine are in the color Geranium) which the pattern calls for. I am knitting on US size 7 dpns instead of the suggested US size 6. For some reason I can't stand tight fitting gloves so I always make sure they will be loose enough for my liking. These fit just right.
I got one glove done yesterday and this morning I got the second one started. My daughter laughed at me when I took her to school because I slapped on my right glove to drive her. She gave me a, "Mooooooom." We giggled. That glove is making me happy, nothing wrong with that. That's why I have to finish the other one right away. I can't be the one glove wonder or I will cause embarrassment for the kids.

I wish you could feel this glove on your hand, it is squishy and exquisite. Don't you love the way the cables run straight up the index and pinkie fingers? And those bobbles are excellent, love 'em. Robin has a very clever pattern here including the thumb technique using scrap yarn which I haven't done before. There is one cable twist that uses 2 cables needles at a time which I haven't done before either. Fun, fun, fun. That's what I say to myself as I learn something new like that. Bravo, Robin!
I ordered yarn yesterday for a couple more of the projects that I adore. Can't wait and I will surely be sharing those as I go along. The lace arm things on the front cover, although pretty and interesting, don't represent the many practical and beautiful projects on the inside pages. There are some really great patterns in here.

Oh my gosh, I have to share this. When I just looked up the link for this book on amazon there was a review that commented on the tiny print in the book. I have really good eyesight, and I always have, but for this book I have had to turn on a bright lamp and wear low grade reading glasses to read the text and chart. I was feeling kind of like my time had come but now when I look at the book it does have teeny tiny, light print. It's all about space when it comes to books. Phew, I may have just narrowly escaped a life with reading glasses for a little while longer.
Other exciting news is that the wonderful Marly of the Yarn Thing podcast has just uploaded an interview I did with her a couple of weeks ago. She is cute and full of life and love for all things knit and crochet. She is an exclamation point and I love that. It was fun to chat with her. Check it out if you get the chance.

I also purchased and downloaded the fiddlehead mittens pattern by Adrian Bizilia. I ordered the yarn for these yesterday, too. Yesterday was not a good day for the old wallet I'd say. I am knitting the tweedy option with the Rowan Scottish Tweed DK weight. I am forever a sucker for tweed. The inside of the mitt is knit in Blue Sky Alpaca's Brushed Suri in the colorway called fudgesicle. Yum, yum. I had to order from three different online shops to get all of the yarns and colors. Persistence pays off sometimes, my friends.

Okay, Knitters, you have a great weekend if I don't pop on here before it's over. I'm going to try my best to keep warm around here.

Knit on.
best, susie

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Au Pair

Hi Knitters,
Get it? Au pair, oh pair! I'm on a roll. These socks have been languishing in an almost finished state for quite some time now. Finally, I sat down and forced myself to knit one last 12 round repeat and then finish the toe. The yarn is the always wonderful yarntini in pumpkin spice.
My exclusive model has smaller feet than the socks are sized for, which would be my size 7 1/2's. They are a bit baggy on her petite feet, they fit me just right. My feet used to be a perfect size 7 up until I had my fourth child. Then my poor feet couldn't take it any more and had to go up a half size. It was worth it!
This is a fun, easy pattern and it works well with the self-striping sock yarns. I may even do this one again for some easy repeat knitting.
Have a good Thursday, Knitters.
best, susie

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

I Gotta Pair

Hi Knitters,
I finally have a pair of completed Vesper socks. That was a long time coming. I finished a single Sweet Water Vesper stockinette sock last summer and the second sock has not even been started. The reason for this is beyond me.
This particular colorway is called Knit and Tonic, I am assuming to pay homage to the wonderful Wendy and her fantastic blog. I like this colorway enormously and I don't have any socks that are similar.
I thought to push that basketball out of the picture but as it is a permanent fixture in my living room I decided to just leave it there. This is the way my house is all of the time, a little messy and heavily lived in. If you can't beat'em, join'em!

Ah, sweet Vesper. My daughter is the foot model for these shots but the socks are now on my feet. Wool socks are still in need around here. My husband, aka the weatherman, has just informed me over breakfast that this Saturday morning we will wake to the balmy temperature of 7 below. I know you are all jealous of that.

I have a few more new and fun personal projects on the needles I hope to finish up and share over the next week. Of course, I will probably be casting on a new sock or two...

best, susie

Monday, March 03, 2008

It's Aboot Time

Hi Knitters,
Don't you just want to sink your cold feet into these topped off boots? I do and I can now that I made Kristin Nicholas' Boot Toppers for myself.
These boot toppers are ingenious. Why didn't I think of that? They even make my old beat-up boots look kind of cute. What a quick and easy project that is especially great for a beginner fair isle starter. The pattern is found in Kristin Knits which you can order directly from her blog.
After seeing Kristin's samples in Minneapolis a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to show like she did how a bit of simple duplicate stitch can change the look of your project dramatically. The teal ring of stitches around the diamonds literally took minutes to add and the drama factor goes way up. Love that embroidery!
I knitted these on US size 7 dpns and I used Kristin's own yarn, Julia. I adore this yarn, it is rich and lush. I used different colors than in the book samples. The cool thing is that with the color range that Julia offers you can basically combine any shades and come up with a beautiful project. It is made easy for you.
The ribbed section slips right into your boot and then you fold the fair isle section over the top. My daughter wants a pair for her Ugg boots. The Uggs have a much larger opening at the top. I will go up to a US size 9 when I make some for her.
Happy feet!
best, susie