Friday, May 30, 2008


Hi Knitters,
You know how all of those savvy bloggers take self-portraits while they are wearing their fantastic knitted garments? A lot of times I really like those pictures in the bathroom mirror because I think they are so real-looking and kinda cute. Well, I have two funny stories to share about the haircut I got yesterday so I tried to take a quick picture of myself in the mirror so you could see what I was talking about. This technique is not as easy as you might think, notice the crossed-eyes above...

...the side-winder glance...

...or the "Oh, I hurt my back" pose I actually created myself. I went to this young woman to get my hair did (that's a joke). She couldn't have been any nicer, but when I told her I wanted some bangs cut it seemed like she didn't know quite what to do. I ended up with a wispy strand of hair that was cut to hang down over my right eye and end at my cheekbone. Um, that's just not going to work for me I actually need to use my right eye on occasion. I talked to her and asked if she would cut a little more and a little more but it just wasn't going to happen. I knew exactly what I had to do when I got home. I pulled out some sharp scissors and went to town on my bangs. I cut and cut and cut. I like my new haircut, if I do say so myself. So after 2 1/2 hours and over $100 (that price included a highlight) I had to cut my own hair to get it right. Crazy, right?

Okay, one more quick story about my hair. My daughter had a friend over after school today. When her mom picked her up I was chatting away with her and she loved my haircut, which was sweet. Then she said, "Wow, your haircut is very becoming, you look like you have a job or something." That is too funny, I can't stop laughing about that reaction. I told my husband and he said he wasn't sure if that was compliment or not. Maybe I looked unemployable before? I love her and she is really sweet and only meant the best but that was just too funny not to share. I went to a friend's retirement party last night and she didn't even recognize me when I walked into the party. I guess I better work on this a bit. You take a shower,  get a haircut you give yourself, put on a little make-up and it's a whole new world out there. Too good.

I finished the first trekking xxl #134 pedi sock and I love this colorway. How cute is that? It is fresh and light and breezy. I hope to cast on the second right away. I have had a heavy, heavy load of work knitting I have been tackling this week so I don't have a lot to share.

Melissa asked me to make sure I mentioned that SewBendy is actually run by her friend Jenn from Columbus along with herself. I am loving that little bag and I am thinking about ordering a couple more. There are some super cute new bags up, too.

Last of all, I hope to get my son to sit down with me to get the Bumble Bee hat up for purchase this weekend. Lofty, I know. Check back soon if you are interested.

I'll probably pop in this weekend sometime. Have a good one, dear Knitters.
best, susie

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

SewBendy and Morgan Mary

Hi Knitters,
I got this little bag in the mail today. Boy, did that arrive quickly, I just ordered it on Saturday. It is beautifully handmade by Melissa Kinney of SewBendy. She is in Austin. I fell in love with the Amy Butler fabric and the sweet small size of the bag. I've always got a thing for that bigger loop that fits through the small loop. It's clever every time. Zip on over and pick one up quick, there are only a few left.

I am aching to learn how to machine sew. I know very little about sewing on a machine but I have done a lot of hand-sewing. I enjoy sewing by hand tremendously but sometimes I think how much faster it would be to use a sewing machine. Seeing this bag has nearly pushed me over into signing up for a class and getting a sewing machine in my house. I think it must be done and soon. Forget all of that other stuff I should be doing, sometimes a girl's gotta sew!

The late afternoon sun was streaming through my studio window and it highlighted the new pedi sock I just started. It feels good to be back to stripes after my pooling woes. I will definitely add the pom-pom on this pair. The yarn is Trekking XXL #134 and it is the most delicious summery blend of colors, perfect for Memorial Day weekend.

The SewBendy bag is the perfect size for a small project like a sock (don't forget the cozy for your yarn). The pocket is a good thing, too. Thanks Melissa for this treat of a bag. I'll use it all summer I am sure.

We went to my sister's house on Memorial Day to celebrate my niece's high school graduation. To say time flies puts it mildly. What a glorious day for a party. This was my son's fourth sandwich, he had a total of five. That makes my stomach hurt. My sister rented a soft-serve ice cream machine along with a keg of ice cold rootbeer for top of the line rootbeer floats. This was by far the hit of the party for the kids and adults. I need to file this idea away for future use.

My sister lives in a hundred year old house on the lake here in Madison. It is the best house for a party I have ever seen. There is space to spread out, loads to do, places for the kids to hide, room to eat, everything you could ever want. The hostess is really what makes a party and my sister is definitely the hostess with the mostest in my book. She does an excellent job. Brava.

My daughters bounced the day away on the lakeside trampoline.

This is the view from the third floor balcony into her yard. Those are star balloons in the high school colors. I just about died when I saw those because my sister called me from her car and said she might pick up a few balloons for the party. When I saw the two-story high string of balloons I thought she had lost her mind but they were from the graduation ceremony. They were going to be thrown out so my sister snagged them for her party.

Congratulations to Morgan. I am proud to be her aunt. She is a fun, kind, giving, hard-working young woman with many talents. That is the best kind.

I hope you all had a good long weekend. Now it's back to business, the business of knitting.
best, susie

Saturday, May 24, 2008

I Love...

Hi Knitters,
Things I love...

I love this cozy. The other day I was running (or slogging: slow + jog = slog) and listening to stash and burn, one of the podcasts I love. Jenny mentioned a small box to hold a ball of yarn, there must be a hole for the yarn to come out or something. This keeps the yarn clean and together in your bag. Then I started thinking about the pear apple (minneola) cozy and how perfect it would be to wrap around yarn in your bag. Sure enough it works like a charm. This may be my favorite use for this so far. Yep, yarn ball cozy. That's sknitches yarn.

Hey, this is the perfect teacher gift for this time of year. You may want to whip a few of these up, I am. I saw this and it actually brought a tear to my eye. I am sappy like that. I was so sad when my kids finished preschool.
I love that the pooling stopped when I alternated strands from the divided skein. Good save. Love the pedi socks, too. That's tofutsies yarn.

I love my new birkies. Yes, I can wear socks and sandals. I am from Madison, for goodness sakes, the place of origin for socks and sandals. Really. I do shave my legs though. I can't go quite that far.

I love my hello yarn. Oh, do I love...

I love the hello yarn goodies that came with my yarn. The little sheep button, the free sock pattern, the personalized card, the tags, I love it all.
I love water balloons in my backyard.
Good knitting.
Good long weekend.
best, susie
p.s. Really do listen to the Stash and Burn podcast. Jenny and Nicole are smart, cute, funny, interesting, true knitters and they stick to topic. I look forward to their podcast to no end. I always listen right away when a new one pops up.
p.p.s. I have played around with the thought of doing my own knitting podcast. I think I might love doing that. Maybe someday I could squeeze it in. Crazy.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Too Pool for School

Hi Knitters,
I wish I wasn't too pool for school but apparently I am. I lovelovelove variegated yarns in the skein. I dislikedislikedislike pooling (the puddling of the colors, in case you don't know) of any sort. It just bothers me and truly I can't live with it. When I look at projects that others have knitted with pooling, I feel like the end product has been ruined.

So here is my pooling history of late. On the left I knitted a glove out of this sock yarn and on the end of the cuff you can see that it started pooling. I quickly wound the skein into two balls and alternated, which solved the problem. Next, I started a sock, mostly to try out this yarn and because I am in love with this colorway called tuscan. Sure enough I immediately started having wretched pooling issues. I divided the skein again but this time the pooling didn't resolve itself. It stopped me dead in my tracks. I will be ripping this out. Yesterday, I cast on with this yarn to make a quick pair of pedi socks because I need to catch my breath for a second. Once again, the pooling has arisen. I didn't notice until I got to the foot because with anklets the pooling didn't show on the short cuff or the heel flap. I divided the skein again, however I am suddenly feeling like sticking to good old semi-solid, striping or straight out solid yarns. I am beaten down for the moment by the pooling. Wretched is right.

Granny square update: 76
Last update: 57

Okay, I did make some squares, along with my knitting that pools, for a little palette cleansing. I can't get enough. Let me tell you what I have in mind for this. I am determined to make 180 squares. There I said it, it is written in stone now. I think this would make a great big-sized blanket. It will take me a long time and I am okay with that.

I learned a couple of things while listening to the Ready, Set, Knit podcast yesterday. I learned that you should use a crochet hook 2 sizes smaller than you were working with when making a crocheted edging. This I didn't know, did you? I am going to do a double-crochet edging when I am done and for the corners I am planning to dc 3, chain 1, dc 3 in each corner. You know I am reporting this here so I can simply remember these tips somehow. If I scratched them down in one of my sketchbooks this information may be lost forever.

Is anyone joining me on this venture? I've heard from quite a few granny square fiends out there and some granny dreamers. The addiction will be tough to shake. I mean look at what a quick, sweet baby blanket that would be, too good.

Thanks for the super responses on the ladybug and sweet pea hat patterns. I love that people get as excited as I do about these little projects. Up next, the bumble bee hat. I just finished knitting up the sample. Aren't they sweet together?

My friend hasn't been feeling well for the past week or so. My whole family just loves this woman, she has touched our lives in so many ways. My daughter has been working away on these pretty tissue paper flowers for her. She is so proud of them that she wanted me to share them with you. I will drop them on her doorstep later today. I hope it will cheer her up.

On a different note, my sister bought this really different, and really cute scarf yarn on our trip to New York last fall. When we were on our spring break trip she pulled it out and we were trying to remember how to do the crazy technique for correctly knitting with it. The kind and lovely yarn shop owner had given us a brief demonstration on the unique technique used here. I kind of remembered but not exactly until, lo and behold, I ran across this tutorial for this same yarn. Yay! I love this blog, by the way, she is really a talented knitter.

I'm off to start on my next work project...

Move and shake it, Knitters.
best, susie

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Ladybug Hat Pattern

Hi Knitters,
Here is the hat pattern for the Ladybug hat. I originally knitted and designed this hat for Itty-Bitty Hats and it was included in the book at one point. However, due to space and photography issues it was eventually taken out of the book. Now I am glad to have this pattern available for you here on my blog.

All of the patterns I offer for purchase through my blog are not included in my books and can't be purchased anywhere else. The patterns are exclusive to my blog, just in case you were wondering if they were in other places.

Here is a little information you might like to know before purchasing the pattern:
Sizes: 0-24 months (the largest size can fit an older size child, too)
Yarn: Tahki Cotton Classic (108 yards per skein), 1 skein each of Red #3488 and Black #3002 or you can substitute another worsted weight yarn
Needles: US size 7 sixteen-inch circular needles and a set of 4, US size 7 double-pointed needles or the size to obtain the correct gauge
Gauge: 5 stitches per inch in stockinette stitch
The hat is a quick and easy pattern with the dots and the antennae added on after the knitting of the hat is completed.
This is the perfect hat for a spring or summer baby or any time of year baby for that matter.
If you'd like to purchase the pattern click on the "buy now" button below. I will email you the pdf file of the pattern after getting notification of your purchase. The price is $5.50.
Hope you enjoy.
best, susie

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Ladybug's A-Coming

Hi Knitters,
I finished re-knitting this adorable ladybug hat and now I have made a few improvements on my original ladybug pattern. I tweaked it a bit to make it even better. That often happens when you come back to something you made a long time ago.
The hat is knitted in red only and the spots and antennae are added on after the fact. This is a super quick knit and an instant winner for any spring or summer baby near you!
My son assures me he can get this pattern up either later today or tomorrow. It will be available for purchase right here. I am excited to get this to you.
Next up, the bumble bee hat is coming. Can't you just see a pair of twins or two siblings in the bee and ladybug hats together?
Have a super Saturday knitters. Now off to touch up that pattern I go...
best, susie

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I Knit Here...and here...and there

Hi Knitters,
I had a comment the other day where I was asked, along with everyone else who reads this, where I knit. Where do you knit? I really would love to know.

When I am at home and I need to be surrounded by all of my knitting stuff or I am concentrating on pattern writing, I knit in my studio. Don't think it is glamorous in my studio because it is nothing of the sort. It is a small room at the front of my house and honestly it is a disaster right now, serious disaster. I still love it because even amongst the clutteriest clutter imaginable I have done a lot of creating, writing, conjuring, contemplating, attempting and mostly knitting. I feel good in that room and somehow things seem to happen in there.

I have this big, comfy chair and I stick my cable needles, yarn needles and stitch markers right in the arm of the chair. I love that, so close and handy. Also, I stick my scissors and ruler in the crevice of the seat cushion. It's okay, that's my knitting chair. The little basket hanging by the window holds my stitch holders. I get good light from the window and my Ott light is always there for extra lighting if need be.

Right in front of my chair is this fun foot rest that never rests my feet but it sure holds my stuff well. I just took this picture without moving a thing. That is one busy foot rest, not very restful at all really. I love it in the studio, a tiny spot to call my own, to create and work. Now if only I could clean it out but I think there is something to the chaos in there that spurs me on somehow. Is that weird?

I knit mostly in my studio at home but really I knit all over the place.

This morning I sat in the living room and listened to my little sweetheart read chapter after chapter of this fantastic book while I knitted away the minutes. This knitting project is for the holiday issue of this magazine. I am pretty excited about it. The project is almost completed and then I just have to sit and type in the pattern. I am hoping to mail it off tomorrow.

Other times I sit in the family room and watch a movie and knit with the kids. Everyday I knit in the car when I am waiting for or picking up the kids from school and their activities or in waiting rooms for various appointments. I really have no shame when it comes to dragging my knitting around. I am respectful about not knitting if I think it will be distracting to others, though. Also, I won't pull it out if I don't feel like talking about what I am working on because inevitably someone will ask and that's okay. Outdoor knitting is always fun, too.

If you feel up to it, please share your favorite knitting spot, I'd love to know.

This morning I saw my daughter's feet and I had to take a shot. These little legs are getting ready for a day of sunshine and learning and some good old-fashioned fun. This girl has a good time. (The other night in the tub she had to scrub her knees really hard to get the dirt off.) This morning she told me she is going to write a story about a purple paper clip. That's too good. Don't you remember when the world was your oyster like that? I do.

A little leftover rose from Mother's Day is fading fast, still hanging on to its beauty.

Look what I snagged (and this) early, early this morning. Happy day.

Back to work for me. Now where am I going to knit today....

best, susie

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Hook and a Cook(ie)

Hi Knitters,
Granny Square Update: 57
I know that isn't impressive since my last count was 52 but I shared anyway. I have had to slow down a bit due to other more pressing projects at hand. I will carry on though.
I wanted to share a couple of books with you today and both are crochet books I have acquired recently. The first is Lacy Crochet, Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts. Talk about beautiful little projects. There are things like doilies, placemats, a coin purse, adornments, booties, flowers, etc. All tiny, sweet projects done with fine yarn and small hooks. Love it all.
Just look at these booties, adorable. I love the rustic, simple photography as well.
I don't usually like any kind of knit or crocheted jewelry but I do like these pieces. They are so refined and lovely. I would wear either proudly. Now if I could just figure out the instructions, that is my challenge. Anyway, I recommend this one.
Okay, here is my other new crochet book. I think I mentioned this one briefly before. Lucinda Guy, one of my favorites, has a new crochet for kids book out and it is a winner. There are clothes, toys, blankets, hats, shoes, a complete collection ready to make. Her style is flawless, classic but always with a twist of fun. She loves her appliques and embellishments as much as I do and she does it well. Her partner in life and art does all of these fantastical illustrations.
How wonderful is this blanket? It is called the Bon-Bon Blanket and is made by placing a series of smaller circles next to larger circles and then crocheting on an edging. Lucinda uses all Rowan yarns so all of you Rowan lovers, me included, can revel in this feature. All of Lucinda's books are a happy, upbeat source of kids designs of all sorts. Definitely check her books out if you are looking for some new ideas for kids 2-5 years old.

There is such a sense of humor throughout Lucinda's books, you'll fall in love I am sure.

I got this book for Mother's Day from the kids. I am a major cookie baker and I love trying different recipes but my kids' favorite? Chocolate chip cookies, the recipe right off the back of the chocolate chip package. Go figure. Maybe I'll win them over with a few choices from here.

These are banana chocolate chunk. Maybe that'll work.

You know, I am not adding links right now because there is something weird going on with my computer this morning. I have been thrown off-line about a dozen times while I have been writing this post, frustrating...I will add them later when I figure out what is going on here.
*the links have been added:)*

Hope you had a nice weekend, Knitters. It is a glorious Monday.

best, susie

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Hi Knitters,
Just a quick note tonight. My husband took my kids out to shop for me for mother's day tomorrow. Who knows what that will bring. It makes me laugh to think of my husband leading four kids around the mall looking for random gifts, too good. A shopper he isn't.

On mother's day I always feel like I should be doing something for my kids instead of the other way around. I am simply happy to have them in my life and that's all there is to it. I hope you all have a good mother's day.

Hats off to moms everywhere.
M*ore than enough love and laughter to share
O*verjoyed to be around family
M*ade the world a better place

Make the most of it, Knitters, it goes by fast.
best, susie

Thursday, May 08, 2008

After My Heart

Hi Knitters,
I know right away when a book cover has a pair of red mary jane's (mine are Dansko) on it that my heart will skip a beat. Remember this one? This book has become my new love, I drag it everywhere I go just in case I can steal a quick minute to read. The cover has a glossy swirl texture over the top that I keep patting gently, kinda like a pet. The best thing about Apples for Jam, A Colorful Cookbook by Tessa Kiros is that it was a surprise that arrived at my door from one of the sweetest people ever. Who gets a gift from their book publicist's mother? That would be me. I know.
Jaime's (my book publicist who I grow to love more everyday) mom, Sue, thought I might enjoy this cookbook and so she just picked up and sent it to me. Not to get too gushy but I don't get many gifts like that, basically never, so when I do get a sweet out-of-the-blue type gift it means the world to me. The book is like no other cookbook I have ever seen. It is a piece of art, a joyous romp about life and eating and living and children and eating some more.
The chapters are organized by color: red, orange, yellow, pink, green, gold, white, brown, monochrome, stripes and multicolor. Is this right up my alley or what? The recipes are straight forward and relatively simple using easy ingredients, many that you might already have in your pantry or fridge. There are recipes for simple soups, lasagna, desserts galore, even a play-dough for the kids. I am definitely going to start cooking from here as soon as I get over the swooning. I am falling in love fast and hard. Tessa has two other cookbooks I may be bringing home soon. Thanks for this beautiful gift, Sue, and thanks Tessa, brilliant. I am enjoying it to no end.
This is another book that is after my heart. I have been knitting a bit on the Strata layered glove set. The yarn is heaven, Blue Sky Alpacas Brushed Suri in whipped cream (love that) and the Alpaca Silk in brick, sapphire and slate. What a pleasure to knit with. I am making all of the versions of these gloves, fingerless, full gloves, and the short-fingered type. Layers are good.
Okay, I have a few more things to share. Remember in the last post I mentioned Frederick, the children's book? Well, that same day I took my daughter to the doctor (turns out she's fine) and lo and behold when we got to the examination room I looked in the magazine rack and there was the book Frederick. I thought that was weird, I hadn't seen that actual book since I was a child. If that was a sign I clearly don't know what it meant...
I almost went back to my last post to throw this link in for you to look at because I forgot it. I couldn't stop thinking about it. It really made me laugh. Okay before you look let me tell you the only reason I even know what a palliate is. Think Project Runway + Santino Rice (season 2) + gold palliates + Iman red carpet challenge. I love stuff like this so much. Okay, now look. Isn't that excellent and I love that she had it on backwards. 1967 rules.
Here is another one for you to look at that is just plain gorgeous. There is nothing more to say on that. I dream of being there in person someday.
This is one more beautiful knit that I have to knit myself sometime soon. I dream of knitting this project.
I read this book to my daughters last night for a bedtime story. I keep begging them to let me read it again and again. They hesitantly agree. Is that wrong? It is my current favorite children's book. We spend a lot of time devoted to picture books and there are just a few that capture me like this. The pictures in here remind me of roving... Hey I just saw it's on bargain price right now on amazon, 50% off. I am telling you it is a wonderful book, flat out funny and creative.
Did I wear you out today, Knitters? I hope not.
best. susie

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Comfort Yarn

Hi Knitters,
Look what I am knitting with right now. It's Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Dyed and Organic Grown Cotton. It is so wonderful I can't describe it, perfect for knitted toys. I have already knitted a couple toys on US size 3 needles at 6 stitches per inch in stockinette. This yarn, in its delicious array of colors, feels like homey goodness to me. It is like comfort food only it's yarn. Calorie free, my friends, calorie free.
Hey, speaking of comfort yarn, take a look at this! (How's that for a smooth transition?) This is the new book from Kate Jacobs, you'll remember her last book. I have Comfort Food on pre-release preview from her publisher, G.P. Putnam's Sons, a member of Penguin Group. I guess they contacted me because I reviewed Kate's first book a long time ago and really liked it. This new book is about the life of a tv chef and I am sure she has another hit on her hands. Food and yarn have a lot in common. It is all about the passion.

Although I received this copy several weeks ago I am afraid I am being the slowest reader on earth. I am only about half-way through and so far it is so very good. I have no excuse other than I am just one tired knitter/reader who keeps falling asleep. Sometimes when I am in design mode I have a hard time concentrating on anything else.

Anyway, as soon as I finish I am going to do a full review and Kate's publicist has offered a blog interview with Kate. I thought that might be really fun. Friday Night Knitting Club has been bought for movie making by Julia Roberts and Kate has been calling in to knitting groups all across the country (world?) while promoting FNKC. I thought I would see if any of you want to chime in with a question for Kate. Please comment or email me if you have anything you want to ask her. I know I have lots I could talk about with her. Her ride has been exciting to say the least. Write me your questions if you'd like, I'd love it and I am sure she would, too.
My daughter brought this home from school the other day and it flooded me with memories. Remember Frederick? I owned this book as a child and I adore the artwork. I always remember the stones. I especially love the tail going off the edge of the page on my daughter's piece. Way to not be held in by borders.

best, susie
p.s. I am such a dork, I guess Comfort Food is being released today so I am not ahead of anyone on this but I am still going to do it. I am truly not cool enough to be ahead of the times on anything. That is so funny and perfect.