Monday, July 28, 2008

A Fine Book

Hi Knitters,
Oh, what a book. A Fine Fleece, Knitting with Handspun Yarns, by Lisa Lloyd, is a book I have to share with you. I happened upon it at B&N one day and was immediately enamored. If you don't spin, which I don't, it doesn't make any difference. Lisa smartly knitted double samples for every project, one out of handspun and the other out of easily available commercial yarns. So smart. Don't let the title scare you off. The foreward in the book is written by Clara Parkes and the photography is exquisite.
What attracted me most in the book are the sweaters. These are my kind of sweaters for sure. The designs are classic, gorgeous, cable-y, tweedy, textured and comfy looking. The variety of sweaters is fantastic including drop shoulder, saddle shoulder, inset shoulder, cardigans and vests. I really could knit every sweater in here, every page being better than the last. The work is breath-taking.
I want to curl up and wear all of them. There are five chapters, how to use the book, the world of handspinning, light and shadow: studies in contrast, the forest and the trees: scale and perspective and conceptual stitches and emotive design. I counted 26 designs total and each is a winner. That is rare.
The book has a couple sock patterns and the commercial yarn used is Lorna's Laces. I have a couple of skeins of Lorna's sock yarn in green. These socks could be pretty for that yarn I am thinking.
How about a beautiful lacey scarf? These are so lovely and airy.
As are these.
There are a couple of adorable vest patterns, each of which I would love to make and wear. I have been thinking about vests a lot lately. I have never knitted a vest that I can remember. That seems strange. I think these are so cute and I love them worn with short sleeves.

Well, I would cast on a sweater or vest or two today but I already have three sweaters on the needles as I write. I need some big blocks of time to get those done first. Maybe after my book is done I can take on some larger scale projects. I am dreaming about it. Go check this book out, I highly recommend it.
My daughters did some easy mosaic pots yesterday. They filled my mosaic longing for me. We had a Klutz kit for making bottle cap designs by putting a circle of paper in the center and adding a trinket and then pouring a glaze into the cap for a clear acrylic seal. They are pretty cool and I love all of the Klutz craft kits. After they made the bottle caps we were trying to think of something to do with them. I pulled out a couple of terra cotta pots, mastic and some tiny tiles and they went to town.
Crafting of any sort reveals personality traits. I can tell in an instant who did what here. I always think that is so funny. The left pot will be planted with a cactus and the right pot is a gum holder. Imagine that.

Congratulations to brooklyn tweed for this. How exciting and well-deserved and I am totally making those. The cover is a big deal.

One more thing, my daughter, who is 9, had an exciting swim meet last weekend. She had a tooth that was very loose. During her race while she was swimming her tooth actually fell out. She had to swim four lengths of the pool. While swimming she tucked the tooth in her cheek and still had it at the end of the race. That may be a first in some book. We got a good chuckle out of that.

Okay, I'm off to work.
best, susie

Friday, July 25, 2008


Hi Knitters,
This post is scattered in topics so hang with me. I took some shots in my studio this morning because that is where I have been spending the majority of my time these past few weeks. These are the walls and things I look at while I am working. It isn't boring to say the least.

I have much to share today so I am going to dive right in. I realized that after I received several questions about the link to the Anne scarf that the reason some people may be having difficulty getting to the pattern is because it was linked through ravelry. Here is the designer's blog and here is another link to the pattern. I hope that makes it easier. Thanks to the kind knitters who responded with the links. Love that.

Knitty sent out an email this morning with a few surprise patterns. I think this pattern is beautiful and if I had time I would make that right now. I think it is light-weight, flattering and versatile. Well done.

I have so many thoughts running through my head lately and I have much I want to accomplish. Most of my thoughts center around things I want to make. I am having a huge urge to do some mosaic work. I am missing doing that as it has been awhile. I also want to do some sewing. My sister brought over a machine for me that she had at her house and it is all set up in my studio ready to go. Unfortunately my work load has been so much that I haven't had the chance to figure it out and put it to use. I will soon. The other thing is that I have several old sweaters that I felted and I am dying to make something out of them and then needle felt designs all over. I am thinking pin cushions or small bags, little things. More to come and I hope soon.
I have been listening to a few things. I downloaded the Mama Mia! soundtrack and it is so good. Meryl Streep can really belt it out. I recommend it especially for all of you sloggers out there. This music will put a bounce in your step. I can't wait to see the movie. I also love that Amanda Seyfried, who is in Mama Mia!, but who I first saw in Big Love. She has a great voice, too. Big Love is an HBO series that I have rented and it is a fun watch, great to knit by. I think there are two seasons out right now. It is a little risque at times but the story line is wonderful and twisty.
See those hats on the stands? Remember a long time ago I shared my old ski hat from the 70's when I was talking about my love of rainbows? I made a modern day replica and it turned great. This winter hat is a winner by my standards. I knitted it in Manos wool and I will make the pattern available as soon as I get to it. It has been finished for forever and a day.

I have listened to several audiobooks while working away the hours. I always buy and download through itunes but I linked here through amazon. Here are a few recommendations if you are interested:

The Devil Wears Prada-one of my favorite movies and the audiobook reader is the best voice I have ever heard on an audiobook. The book is quite different than the movie. I like them both.

Julie and Julia-I have always loved Julia Child and her persona. The author, Julie Powell, reads the audiobook and is good. She is a blogger who has made it big. There is a little too much cursing for my taste but I still loved it.

Remember Me?-funny, light book, very English, the reader is excellent. I listened to this mainly while out walking or running. It wasn't hard to follow. Quite a bit of cursing again in here. Why do they always have to do it? I don't get it.

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim-so funny it makes you ache. David Sedaris, the author and reader has the best voice ever. No one else could read for his audiobooks. His dry sarcasm is hard to get over. He takes his life experiences and replays them in a funny but sometimes sad way. Too good for words. I listened to this on the planes while I was on tour and I would have to try to not laugh out loud. Not as much cursing in here if I remember correctly. Love that.
The other good thing happening right now is that Project Runway 5 just started airing on Bravo. I can't get enough of this show, the making, the sewing, the pressure, the designs, the critiques, the crazy people, Tim Gunn. You know who is the funniest of all? Michael Kors. His one liners are easy to miss but he is beyond witty. I love his references to old tv shows. I love it all and you should watch it if you can, you'll be hooked. The seasons are also out on dvd.

I haven't heard anything from the Itty-Bitty Nursery trunk show shops so I assume it is going well. Otherwise I am sure I would hear something.

The Itty-Bitty Nursery trunk show tour has moved on to:

Knit One

Stacey Wettstein

2721 Murray Avenue

Pittsburgh, PA 15217


Arrive: July 24

Depart: August 5

Here is their site. I visited the site for a bit this morning and boy, do they sound like a fun group. I even watched their video clip on youtube on their Maryland Sheep and Wool festival trip, very sweet. Pop on over for a visit to the shop if you are in the area.

I have two quick patterns that I just found and love here and here. I have to get these and make them.

Last but not least, when I plug in my camera I never know what I might find. My daughter won this enormous frog at some pizza place by earning tickets with her friends. The frog is supposed to travel to the friends' homes but somehow we have been stuck with it.

Well, my 14-year-old son and his friend have found a new best friend it seems. They are sweet to keep the frog company with....
...wagon rides...
(I love the look on his face, my son's face not the frog. Look, he's wearing his socks outside without shoes and then I wonder why the socks are always ruined. Evidence.)
...grilling out...
...and a little computer time. What does the frog do on the computer?
He looks at frogs. Too much.

Do you have teenagers? They are so funny, I love it.
Off into the weekend we go, Knitters.
best, susie

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Little Red Wagon

Hi Knitters,
I am making the pattern for the Little Red Wagon hat available for purchase today. Here is some information you might want to know:

Size: 0-24 months
Manos Cotton Stria, 1 skein each in #210 turquoise and #217 red (or a small amount of red for the wagon) and a small amount of black for the wheels and handle (I used Rowan Handknit Cotton for this).
US size 6 set of 5 double-pointed needles and 16 inch circular needles or the size needed to obtain gauge.
Gauge: 5 stitches per inch

If you are interested just click on the Buy Now button at the bottom of this post. I will send the pattern to you via email with an attached pdf file. The pattern cost is $5.50.
best, susie

Monday, July 21, 2008

Baggin' It

Hi Knitters,
I can't for the life of me get my son to sit and get my Little Wagon Hat loaded up and ready to go. I am now hoping that toward the end of the week we will find a moment. Thanks for the kind response on the new pattern. It's coming soon, I promise.

Another quick thing, I have been asked quite a few times about the picture at the top of my blog. That is the Cupcake hat and the Garden Mice both patterns from Itty-Bitty Nursery. My older daughter took this picture at Lakeside Fibers last fall on a book signing stop. The photo is slightly distorted to fit in the designated spot but I kind of like it like that. Thanks for asking.

I had a productive week last week. I finished up another book project and I started another project I am designing for Blue Sky Alpacas. They are a fun yarn company, I am getting the feeling. They are letting me loose and I love that. It is a toy project, on the big side in size, and that is always a good thing. Also this morning I sent off a couple of project ideas to Parents magazine. We'll see what comes of that.
I am working on another Anne scarf in Lorna's Laces Worsted wool and it is a pretty lovely yarn, incredibly soft. I had a couple questions about getting the pattern. It is by MK Carroll and I just followed the link off of hello yarn. Other than that I don't know much more about where to purchase it.
Now on to some excellent bags I am enjoying. The sunflower bag is another cute one I purchased from the sweet ladies at SewBendy. I know I have said it before but I can't tell you how much I am enjoying these little wrist-let bags. They are just perfect for projects like this scarf, for example. SewBendy is really onto something good here and if you have any inkling or you need a gift idea for someone, go to it. You won't be disappointed. You know I have even had a couple of husbands of knitters email me asking for gift suggestions and this is my new go-to-gift. That's kind of cute about the husbands, right? Every time I am out and about with these bags I get asked about where I got them. That is a tell-tale sign.

Oh my goodness, I just looked at the SewBendy shop and they have some new bags up. I love the aviary bag and the French trellis bag. If you don't buy those I may have to:) Go quick.
Here is another fabulous gift idea for yourself or for someone else. These are new canvas printed bags from Kristin Nicholas. Not only is she a fantastic fiber artist she is also one of my favorite painters. There are many styles that you can view here. Not all of the designs are knitting related, although some are definitely for the knitter. Along with the bags she has printed mugs. I hope she sells her prints at some point (hint, hint, Kristin). I would love to get a couple to hang on my walls.
The bags are printed on the front and back. The paintings are colorful and gorgeous just like everything Kristin does.
I am forever an admirer of Kristin and I hope to get new people to follow her fantastic artistic career. You know what the best thing about Kristin is? She is as kind and giving with her talent and knowledge as you could ever hope. I have only known her personally for a brief while but I have been a long-time fan and meeting her has only solidified my loyalty. She has generously offered advice to me at least a couple of times. That is hard to find in this business because I don't know anybody else in the knitting industry and with her years of experience to boot. She is a rarity.

I hope she sells a ton of bags and mugs because her artwork deserves to be spread around and enjoyed. I am keeping a couple extra bags on hand for gifts and I am using a couple myself, of course.

Best of all, both of these bags types are easy on the pocketbook which is always nice.
Monday, Monday, Knitters.
best, susie

Friday, July 18, 2008


Hi Knitters,
I have been doing some cleaning out lately. I know I have written that more than once or twice but it is an ongoing battle. Our house is not big and there are a lot of big people with big stuff living here. Thus the problem lives on. I just came across this oil pastel portrait my youngest daughter made in art class and I love it. I think I will get it framed eventually. I love her sense of color, anything goes. She is so proud of her artwork and that makes it fun to enjoy with her. She told me it is an abstract.
I found this picture I made in art class when I was not much older than my daughter. I don't remember much about making it but somehow it reminds me of my daughter's portrait. The colors overlap quite a bit and also with the black lines separating the segments of color. My mom saved this artwork of mine. I kind of like this one and I am glad she saved it. I guess you could say I am proud of it.
My mom also saved this painting I did probably in the late 70's. I think it is so perfect for that time. Everyone wore Izod shirts, the stripey kind with the white collar. I think the assignment was to make an object using the letters of the object. I don't think this was too creative on my part but it's kind of funny. I still like it. There may be a smidgen of pride in this one, possibly.
This piece of art is another one of mine that my mom saved. Note the ever-going rainbow theme. This piece has a story behind it. I was in third grade and I remember whipping this up very fast right at the end of class. There was no rhyme or reason behind it. I handed it in to the teacher and left the room. The next time I came back to her class she pulled me aside and told me she had selected my bird picture to be displayed at the state capitol building. I was the only one selected. She handed me a sheet that I later gave to my mom. There was an actual luncheon/event surrounding the art exhibit and we were invited to attend.

My mom picked me up from school before lunch that special day and we drove down to the capitol building. On the way down to the exhibit I confessed to my mom that I didn't even like the picture that was being shown. I told her that it wasn't very good and that I made it in a matter of minutes as an afterthought. I was only in third grade but I knew this picture wasn't my best work at all, not even close. My mom and I giggled about it in the car. We had no idea what to expect when we got there. It turned out to be a bigger deal than we had guessed.

We ate lunch in a room and then we were escorted to the exhibit where we had to stand by our artwork on display. My mom and I quietly laughed together when we saw my picture. It was a sweet and funny moment. I was the youngest of four kids in my family and in some respects I was kind of old for my age. I knew the tongue hanging out on the sun wasn't the best and I knew the proportion was all off with the bird. I know for certain that I didn't like the bird's feet hanging down. My mom laughed with me at that. The whole thing seemed so messy and uninspired. I didn't feel proud of my work that day. I remember talking about these points with my mom. She was the best, so supportive and funny, just the best. She made you feel good in any situation.
The best part was that Wisconsin Governor Patrick Lucey (1976) attended the exhibit and came around to each child's display to look at the artwork and to meet everyone individually. My mom really liked that and we shook his hand. She was a great follower of politics, sports and the news of all sorts so it was fun for her to meet the governor. She saved the letter that we were given at the exhibit. It's kind of a sweet note. I am so glad she saved this stuff. I will continue to save it simply because she did.

If only my artwork could have been better that day but actually it didn't matter one bit. I had so much fun with my mom and that's really what I remember most of all. She was so fun and funny and great to be around. I was proud of her that day and every day. I was proud that I got to be by her side. It's a good memory to have.

Anyway, all of this was spurred on by my cleaning and finding and then this magazine.
I grabbed this on the news stand today. I was leafing through when I saw a brief one-page story that I was asked to contribute to awhile back. I honestly had forgotten about it. See that story on the cover, "Mom and Me: Sharing a Passion for Knitting."
I was asked to think of something my mother taught me about knitting. My mom taught me everything but not knitting. I sent in this quote anyway:

"My mother wasn't a knitter, but she was a fantastic seamstress. Her work was always perfection, every last thread snipped and crease pressed. She passed on to me a deep sense of pride in my own handmade creations. Being proud of what you do or make will take you far in life."

I didn't know if this quote would get in the article because my mom didn't knit. But there it is and she was right.

My only wish is that the quote could be in the present tense.

Be proud of what you do, Knitters, I am.
best, susie

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

and the winner is...

Hi Knitters,
This is the winning comment:
Blogger coffeechris said...

A ginormous giveaway - how generous. Love your blog visit all the time. I hope this is my lucky number. Thanks so much, Susan

July 12, 2008

Yay! Congratulations!

Coffeechris, you need to email me by Friday to let me know your mailing address. My email is on the sidebar, just click. I hope to hear from you very soon and all of this fun swag will be coming your way. Enjoy your lucky day.
Now for the rest of you, my most sincere thanks for taking the time to enter and for the loving comments you gave me. I am sending all that love right back to you. You are the generous ones for sharing your time and stories with me. Thank you.
Back to my real blog life now, I just finished a second Anne scarf. This time I used Blue Sky Alpacas cotton in tulip, which is a crispy white. It is gorgeous and soft.
These scarves are already off to my mother-daughter friends who I love. The reason I wanted to make this pattern for them is that their mother/grandma loved Queen Anne's Lace, which is the lace pattern used in the scarf. She has passed away several years ago and they miss her terribly. I was thinking about all three of them as I worked, sending positive thoughts their way.

I love how you can intertwine meaning and energy into your knitting and crocheting projects. That's really the purpose of it all, right?

What a fun week, Knitters.
best, susie

Friday, July 11, 2008

Come and Get It (a humongous giveaway!)

Hi Knitters,
I am doing a major clean out of my studio. I have too much stuff and not enough space. So here it goes, I am having a major, humongous, giant giveaway for some lucky reader. My house is pet-free and smoke-free for anyone concerned.

To start things off I am giving up my Mousie, Mousie which is a Lucinda Guy design that I knitted in Yarntini's Vintage colorway, which is hard to get. It is adorable in every way. I love this mouse but I have too many knitted toys right now. She needs a new home.
Next up I am throwing in three fabulous books. Why would I part with these favorites? I have double copies of all three. The Collection II, Simple and Elegant is one of my all-time favorite cookbooks, I use it to death. This copy has never been used because I received two copies for Christmas and I only use the other one. The recipes are written by Madison residents and they are all good and easy. You'll love it.

The Book of Yarn is another fantastic book by Clara Parkes. I had already bought a copy and then I met Clara at TNNA and she signed a book for me so of course I had to take it. This copy was gently read by me at home and I only dog-eared one page (I just checked). I love to dog-ear and I know I shouldn't do it. This book is a treasure-filled exploration of yarn and has 40 wonderful patterns to boot.

Easy Knits for Little Kids by Catherine Tough, who is a designer for Rowan, is a great little book with kid-friendly patterns. See those tiger booties on the cover? Those are folded square style booties like the page 81 booties (free pattern on my sidebar) in Itty-Bitty Hats. There are super cute patterns throughout the book. I have no idea why or how I got two copies of this one.
Okay, I am throwing in tons of yarn for the lucky winner. This bunch includes Knit Picks Memories in, right to left, Redwood Forest, Smores and Hawaii, two skeins of each and it is sock yarn. The sock yarn on the far left is called Simple Stripes by Knit Picks, two balls. All beautiful, all in pristine condition just waiting to be knit by you, hopefully.
I am including two Amy Butler pattern cards for sewing. Going down the right side is a sheep tape measure from Simply Knitting, a tin of hot cinnamon tea (never been opened) and some knitter's hand balm from the Potter Craft booth at TNNA (never been opened).
Here is a bit more yarn for you. Knit Picks sock yarn called Parade, and Knit Picks Simple Stripes, two skeins of each of those. The center yarn is Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn and it looks like berries. All never been used and in perfect condition.
Shi Bui yarn is really making a splash lately. I got this free ball of Shi Bui Sock at TNNA. It is a full ball and it is a glorious rainbow...and I'm throwing it in.
Here is something really great I want to give to you. I am sending off 16 balls of Classic Elite's Zelda in the banana colorway, which is muted and luscious. It is a soft, thick and thin yarn of 70% wool/30% linen, 75 yards per ball. It is knitted at 3 1/2 - 4 1/2 stitches per inch on US 7-9 needles. It is a sweater's worth of yarn for sure and it is in perfect condition.
I am including this Classic Elite pattern booklet for Zelda that contains patterns for all four of the sweaters on the cover. They are all classic styles and quite lovely. I was going to knit the bottom right hand sweater. It has a beautiful cable running up the front and an A-line shape. I just never have gotten around to it.
Last but not least, I am sending off this brand-new Jordana Paige messenger bag. It has never been used, not once. I bought it one to two years ago and it just isn't right for me. It is a great bag with tons of pockets inside designed for knitters, zipper enclosures and pattern a slot and much more. It holds a ton of stuff, it's like it expands as you fill it.
All of Jordana's bags are a treat with great attention to detail.
I am stuffing it full and sending it off to one lucky winner. If you don't want something I have included just pass it along to someone else or donate it to a local charity. I was going to donate a bunch of this stuff but then I thought I would share the love with you first, dear Knitters.

Okay, so here are the rules:
1. Make a comment to this post. I prefer comments instead of emails please, that got a little too crazy to keep track of last time. You can just say hi but be sure to leave your name or your blogger name or something identifying. Please don't leave anonymous comments and please don't comment more than once (I know sometimes that is an accident).

2. Due to the size and weight of the giveaway the shipping costs are going to be quite high. Therefore I am limiting the entries to mailing addresses in the United States and Canada. Sorry worldwide friends but I need groceries around here:)

3. Leave your comment by Tuesday, July 15th, 12:00am, midnight, to be eligible to win.

4. I will select a winner using a random number generator and will post the winning comment on Wednesday, July 16th. The winner will then need to contact me by the end of the week (Friday, July 18th) to send me their mailing address. If the winner hasn't contacted me by Friday, I will select a new winner.

I think that should do it.

Good luck, Knitters. I am so excited to see who wins this one.

If you don't win I have more and very different stuff to giveaway soon.
best, susie