Thursday, September 25, 2008

Persimmons on the Brain

Hi Knitters,
Do you know about Persimmons? What got me thinking about persimmons and what they are started with my knitting. I was knitting with Julia and when I went to write down the color I thought it would say Pumpkin on the label. Instead it said Persimmon. I realized that I didn't exactly know what a persimmon is, I mean I know it is a fruit but I've never eaten any. This was about a month ago.  Then I received my Country Living, October 2008 issue and saw the feature article on the persimmon. I thought that was perfect and fitting.

Here is a little information about persimmons. They are a bright orange fruit with dark glossy green leaves and they grow on trees that look similar to an apple tree of sorts. Apparently the trees are easy to grow, not fussy and have few requirements as far as trees go. The fruit is delicious and sweet and can be dried for decorating purposes. When ripe the fruit should feel like a ripe tomato. There are two types of persimmons, American (native to the United States) and Asian.

Maybe you know all of this but I sure didn't. The reason I haven't heard much about persimmons is because they are very uncommon in American gardens. I am just not familiar with this fruit but I love the color. Anyway, thought you might find that as interesting as I did. You know about my thing for all things orange. I started gathering up my favorite orange yarns in my studio this morning and you know, I have quite a collection going. Here are some of my favorite orange yarns.
This pile of goodness makes me think about sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie and pumpkin spice lattes (yes, they are back at Starbucks). I have a quick, funny story that involves pumpkins in a "round" about way. 

When I was pregnant with my first baby I just couldn't believe how round I got, everywhere, not only my tummy. I literally looked like a pumpkin with little pumpkin legs. Well, my husband and I went out for frozen yogurt one night, it was fall and they had fall themed flavors. I, of course being a pumpkin lover, ordered a pumpkin shake. Right after I said it I knew. I looked at my husband and we just burst out laughing and we couldn't stop. I was a pumpkin ordering a pumpkin. I have no shame. We still laugh about that one. It just struck us funny.
All of my pumpkin love was fanned by the arrival of this beauty in the mail a couple of weeks ago. Dani dyed up some gorgeous pumpkin yarn that I had to have. Isn't that the best pumpkin yarn ever? The hues of golds, deep and light oranges and rusts all swirled together. Yum, yum. I think I will make something other than socks with it. I need to see that color out front. It will probably become a scarf of some sort or maybe a hat or gloves or mitts.
It's delish with whip cream. You should get some.
I had to share a pumpkin sweater for my parting shot. I made this sweater many years ago in Rowan Cork from a Rowan pattern booklet. They no longer make Cork, which is a shame. It is a super light-weight chunky yarn, kind of like a chain. I loved this corrugated pattern with the leather ties at the neck. It still looks and feels pretty good and I think I will leave it on for awhile this morning. It's in the 40's now but getting up to 77 this aft, best weather ever.

See, I still look a little like a pumpkin only a slightly smaller one now.

Okay, happy Friday, Knitters.
best, susie
p.s. Thank you Kay Martin for the beautiful note and the hand-painted book mark by Lorraine Ortner -Blake. Your thoughtfulness touched me. Here is the quote Lorraine wrote in calligraphy on my book mark:
-if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. Henry David Thoreau.
I love it. Even a pumpkin can dream....

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Hi Knitters,
Okay, I hope you don't mind sloppy seconds. The new winner of the Knitting Daily DVDs, as selected by the random number generator early this morning, is:

oiyi said...
I have been wondering about that series. I just got a portable DVD player so it would be nice to watch it after the baby is asleep. You always have the best give aways!
Sept. 16, 2008

Oiyi, yay! I am glad you came up as a winner. I will happily send your prize. You have to contact me by Thursday, Sept. 25th and give me your mailing address. My email is on the sidebar.  I am sorry to Mary for missing out but I have to follow through with the guidelines I set.

See those mangled looking apples above? The Collector brought those into the house the other day, not sure where they are from exactly. She is calling them Witch Apples. I love that. I am also not sure what we are supposed to be doing with them. Witch Apples...that's good.

That book is good, too, A Job for Wittilda. I love seasonal picture books, they really set the mood around the house. It's about a little witch trying to earn some extra cash to feed her cats so she tries out different occupations. Chaos ensues and it's very funny.
I just knitted up a Pear Apple Cozy for my daughter to bring to school each day. She loves an apple a day but not a Witch Apple:  ) What a great little cozy to throw in a backpack every day, so much better than using a baggie. I think I've made about a dozen pear apple cozies so far. They are a great gift.  Don't forget the cozy is a perfect yarn cake holder, too.

Our neighbor was over playing and drew those beautiful butterflies in our community sketch book. Excellent.
Do any of you have this toy set? It's a good one and I recommend it highly. Plus it's on sale on that link. I wish I had gotten it on sale but we've had it for quite awhile now.
It has magnets so the scoops stick to the scooper and cone. You can stack 3 scoops pretty easily. This is a clever, clever set. Grandmas everywhere need this one. I want to make a knitted version.

Along those lines, look at this one. I looove that pattern and I have to make a few of those at some point. Good work, Marcie.

Okay, off to work I go. Knit, knit, knit, stuff, stuff, stuff, sew, sew, sew.....sigh.
best, susie

Monday, September 22, 2008

Oh Snap!

Hi Knitters,
Snapdragons that is. My daughter just came in from our neighbors yard wearing these purple snapdragon earrings. That is a new one for me. I have always loved snapdragons but I have never planted any. Gotta put that on my list.

Snap to it, Mary! Mary from Holland, MI, where are you? You have until tomorrow morning when I get up, which is awfully early, to contact me about the DVDs from Knitting Daily. If I don't hear from Mary I will be picking a new winner tomorrow. Stay tuned....
I have been knitting so hard these past couple of weeks. It has been a bit rough. Deadlines can zap the fun right out of things sometimes. Don't get me wrong, the projects are loads of fun, it's the hardcore knitting that is difficult. I still have a ton to complete this week and next. My fingers can't possibly work any faster.

Okay here are some things I am thinking about:

Oh, and I have to say that I just watched a really great movie while I was knitting, of course. It is called, Then She Found Me. It stars Helen Hunt, Colin Firth, Matthew Broderick and Bette Midler.  First things first, I love Helen Hunt. She is so naturally good and believable. My favorite thing about Helen Hunt? Her face that hasn't been artificially altered in any way and she remains glorious and beautiful and refreshing. We don't get to see women age naturally in movies very often any more. Now when you see a woman in her mid-forties looking her age it is something you notice. I love it for obvious reasons and I couldn't take my eyes off her. It is a sweet movie about betrayal and love. The entire cast is wonderful.

That's my two cents on a few things. Mary, Mary, I am waiting on you...
best, susie 

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Friday Night Special

Hi Knitters,
My son picked the winner last night, which was Friday, and here is the winning post:  

mary said...
Hi Susan,
I met you last winter in Holland Michigan at Tree House books and have read your blogs ever since and passed them on to friends.  I've been recently laid off from the builder I work for and would love to watch something educational and entertaining.
Sept. 17, 2008

Yay for Mary! Now you have until Monday, Sept. 22nd to email me your mailing address. My email is on the sidebar. Thank you to everyone for entering the contest. I am glad to send the DVDs on to another knitter to enjoy.

Now for some knitting stuff. My girls' piano teacher loaned me this sweet knitting booklet her mom found. Thank you for sharing, Amy, you are a love. It is from 1953 and is a Coats & Clark publication. I love this kind of stuff, old stuff, so much and I thought you might get a kick out of it, too. Above is the matching mom and baby bed jacket. Did people really wear bed jackets in the 50's? It's funny because that's exactly how I looked when I had a new baby in bed with me. The resemblance is uncanny. How did that happen?
I have a few things to share with you amongst the Red Heart baby yarn ad. Isn't that a great page? Okay, what happened to the Knitting Friends site? Does anyone know? I took the link off of my sidebar because it never worked when you clicked on it. I miss that site because I used to jump around to different blogs from there. I loved it. I hope it comes back or gets fixed or is it just me?
How good are these patterns? I love the whole matching hat/scarf, sweater, mitten set for boys and girls. Everyone was so pulled together back then, all shiny and perfect. 

I ran across a couple of cute hat patterns for you to see here and here. These are ravelry links so if you haven't signed up for ravelry you really need to do it. Even if you just use it as a resource it is more than worth it, a million times over. There is a fun group of Itty Bitty Knits knitters over there and they are a smart, nice group. There is a constant sharing of projects and ideas and support on this group. It is a positive collection of knitters. I just started a thread on the discussion page for people to ask me questions or just to say hi. I have been checking it frequently so I can respond in a quick manner. Please join if you are at all interested. I'd love to see you over there.
See that boy on the rocking horse? My brother's hair used to look like that every single day when he was growing up. In fact, it still does, it's pretty impressive.

I received the sweetest email from Alice Hyche the other day just as I was finishing a bunny tail with her pom-pom tool, no kidding. Seriously, you have to check her out. She is the creator of the Pom Tree, one of my favorite tools and the link to order is always on my sidebar. I did a video demo of the pom tree here, if you are interested. I guess she has gotten lots of orders that have come through this blog and she recently has had some trouble with PayPal. Well, I asked if I could share her email, that's easier:
Dear Susan,
I am enjoying your posts every day I think your knitting skills are much to be admired. I check every day on the utube how to make a pompom to see how many hits it has gotten. I'm so impressed. My pay pal way of taking orders has been out of order for several months, someone took my password and no one could order the pom tree. Several of your knitters tried to order and could not get through pay pal, so they scrolled down on the web site, called me first and filled out an order blank, sent a check and I mailed them a pom tree by return mail. All, to my pleasure, have been very pleased with my product. I always ask them where they heard about the pom tree and they happily tell me they saw it on your blog. I have gotten orders from 18 states, of course it has only been from one or two people, but isn't it wonderful for you to know how widespread your blog contacts are. Thank you very much for your kindness in telling needlecrafters about my pom tree. Please let them know they can now order through pay pal. I am an 82 year old retired public school teacher trying to keep my mind active by working with my crochet and my pom tree. Both are a major part of my mission projects.
Thanks again, and my your business always be blessed. You are one of my favorite online people. Keep on blessing everyone with your knitting skills.
Alice Hyche

Now Knitters, I can only hope I make it to 82 years old, and I can only hope I am as creative and active as Alice. I think it is wonderful to send support her way. If you are interested in ordering the Pom Tree, please order through her. It is very reasonably priced and her husband makes the Pom Trees for her. How sweet is that? She is a wonderful example for us.
My Sweet Bee turned 15 years old yesterday. How can that be true? It makes me proud, happy and a little sad at the same time. I am lucky to be his mom.

Knit on.
best, susie
p.s. Here are a couple more cool links.  Triple love them both.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Passing the Gravy

Hi Knitters,
I've been working away the hours and watching movies and tv as I go. Here is one dvd set that I have watched all the way through and I thought you might be interested in it. Knittingdaily tv is a series put together by the talented fiber geniuses at Interweave, Eunny Jang, Kim Werker, and Liz Gipson and the show host, Shay Pendray. 

The set has 4 dvds and has over 5 hours of knitting/crocheting/weaving packed shows. There are featured designers including Michele Rose Orne, Leigh Radford, Wendy Bernard, Louisa Harding and Robin Melanson to name a few. I enjoyed seeing these talented designers actually talking and knitting and alive, very fun. There is so much information included in the series that you are sure to learn something new by watching. It is well done.

Anyway, this is a short and sweet entry to say I am passing the gravy on to you! I've already watched all of the shows and I don't think I will watch them again. I thought maybe one of you would like to watch these fantastic knitters in action. Here's what you need to do:

Write me a comment on this post and not an anonymous comment. Leave your name or your blogging name or some sort of identifying element.

That's it. I'm having another giveaway! 

I'm not saying when the contest is over so get your comment in quick. I will announce the winner, which will be randomly selected, on my next post. The winner will then need to contact me within a couple of days via email to send me their mailing address. If I don't hear from the winner I will select a new one. Please keep the entries to U.S. and Canada mailing addresses to keep shipping costs down.

Go for it, Knitters. You will love watching these shows as much as I did.
best, susie

Friday, September 12, 2008

Yup, He's Mine

Hi Knitters,
Well, most of you guessed the elephant and I thought you might. However, there are so many projects on that page that I potentially could have designed that I thought it might make you stop and consider a few others. Thanks for the guesses.

By the way, are the people at Vogue hitting it out of the ball park or what? These last couple of issues of all of their magazines have been some of the best I have ever seen. I want to knit almost every project on that preview page, not kidding. Wow, congrats to them is due.

The pattern is now available in KnitSimple holiday issue 2008. I guess subscribers already have their issues but I heard it will be out on newsstands at the end of the month. I think it is so smart to get those holiday issues out early so people can get to work.
It's funny because when I look at him in the magazine shot he looks kind of different than I remembered. I think it is the angle of the photo makes him look longer and skinnier or something. My husband even said, "I thought your elephant was fatter." I loved that. Maybe he just looks more relaxed in my home rather than in a photo studio. Maybe he's been dieting since I saw him last. The pressure, the pressure...
The elephant is a simple guy to make, no seaming at all. He is 10-inches tall sitting down. Here are some of the things you may want to know if you are planning to make one:

Moda Dea superwash wool in worsted weight (Any worsted weight will do in cotton or wool. Look to your stash.)

US size 5 double-pointed needles, set of 4

Polyfill stuffing
Poly-pellets (optional)
Tape measure or ruler
Stitch markers
Yarn needle
Black embroidery floss or black yarn for the eyes
My daughter suggested the light blue tusks so I had to throw them in.
So I thought you all might be interested in the process of knitting for a magazine. I had met Tanis Gray, one of the editors and designer extraordinaire for Vogue Knitting, a couple of times before and she emailed me to see if I would make a toy for an upcoming issue. I, of course, said sure. Then I waited for her to give me some details and to decide on the yarn they wanted me to use.

When she wrote back she told me they were doing a whole blue-inspired gift knitting section in the Knitsimple holiday issue. They wanted me to knit a blue teddy bear. I thought maybe we would want to do a different animal. Although I'm not opposed to doing bears, I just thought it might add a fun twist to do something a little less traditional. Bears are done so often. So Tanis suggested I send in some sketches of what I was thinking about.

I looked through my old photos, this was back in May 2008, and I found the actual sketches that I sent in to Tanis. I drew out four options in about 15 minutes, photographed them and sent them to Tanis (I couldn't get my scanner to work). What I want you to see is how quick these sketches were drawn and that's really all of the information they needed. Sometimes they need swatches, too, I am sure.

It is just so do-able and I want you to consider submitting if you are interested in that kind of thing. Really, you should do it. You never know what project will click with the editors.
I made four options and gave a brief written description of the construction ideas I had for the toys. You can see that the elephant sketch is the one they chose and you can see that the sketch really looks like the finished elephant.

Here are the other options I sent:
I always love a good knitted bunny.
This was their second choice for the magazine, the option #2 bear. This one had a one-piece head and body construction, and then the separate arms and legs.
Anyway, I thought you might get a kick out of seeing the quick sketches I sent and then the one they selected for me to make.

Next, I just waited for the yarn to arrive to get to work on the project. I had about 3 weeks to get it done and back to them including the finished sample and the written pattern.

It's a good, easy and fast project and I hope to see some finished blue elephants on ravelry soon or send me pictures and I can post some here.

Back to work for me, dear Knitters. Is it Friday already, again? I asked that last week but it seemed even faster this week.

I'll be back soon.
best, susie

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Hey, this is fun!

Hi Knitters,
Aren't those beautiful Japanese Lanterns? My daughter's teacher grew them in her garden this summer. My daughter brought a bunch of the knitted Acorns a la Betz to school for her the other day and this is what she sent us in return. Lucky trade. 
I am officially a freak for orange. I love that pumpkin shade of orange any day of the week. I can't ever get enough. Japanese Lanterns, that's my first fun item to share.

My next fun item to share is this.  Scroll down and look at the projects. Which design do you think is mine? I'd love to see if you can tell just from the pictures. That's pretty fun to see after my cover project debacle.  It's a good pic, too.

Write in a guess in the comments if you're inclined. I wrote about the project briefly and vaguely awhile ago. I will have more on that particular project coming soon. I took some of my own photos I will share. Is that magazine out on the stands already, does anyone know? I didn't see a date on the site.

More fun ahead:

I have to make these, I want just one pair of those (dpns of, course) and I simply love her style. Plus I just looked and she's talking about quinces. Love.

I figured out the photo posting thing so that's pretty fun, too.

We'll talk soon.
best, susie

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Old Switcheroo

Hi Knitters,
Last night I was looking on amazon at the new knitting books coming out this fall and winter. As I was scrolling down I noticed this. Look closely.

Now, remember this? I actually laughed when I saw the new version. That will teach me to jump the gun. There are no bunnies on the cover, the old switcheroo. It was fun while it lasted. When I saw the cover in the Storey catalog it occurred to me that it might get switched later. That happens all of the time as the publishers try to decide on cover photos. It is so important to have a good cover. Que sera, sera...

Last week I had a nice long chat with Trent Duffy, the managing editor at Artisan Books, and we discussed deadlines and content for the book I am working on. Needless to say, I have some challenging but fair deadlines ahead of me over the next couple of months. Hang in there with me as posting time may be slim or maybe posting time will be a necessary break from the hard work ahead. That could be the case. Wish me luck on getting this thing ready to roll.

The toy book is set to be released for the fall 2009. That sounds far away but the printing and editing process alone can take at least 6-8 months plus we still have photography to start, oh, and there is the manuscript to start as well, that little old thing.

I still am on a quest for cool patterns to work on after I get the book projects done, which is only a matter of weeks. Here are a few:
wavy gravy (I made this before in Koigu Kersti and gave it away, it was awesome.)
(scroll down for the translation)

It's a rainy and cool Monday here in Madison. It feels like fall already. Oh and by the way, no photos today because I am working off of my new MacBook that I got last Friday. I don't know how to load up photos yet. I am loving it and for once I won't have to fight to get computer time while I am trying to write my book. We'll see how long I can keep it to myself. Odds are against me for sure.

Pictures next time.
best, susie

Friday, September 05, 2008

Chicken Scratches

Hi Knitters,
As I was cleaning through my bookshelves yesterday I ran across this beautiful, well-written article by Carma Wadley for the Deseret News in Salt Lake City. Carma kindly sent me a copy of the paper. This was from Nov. 12, 2007 and was photographed when I visited The Wool Cabin last fall for my book tour. That was one of my favorite stops ever, by the way. The reason I am bringing this up again? Well, I fondly glanced over the article and the lovely photos taken at the shop when I noticed something on the page....
...someone, who shall remain nameless, scribbled their math problem right on the top photo. That is hilarious to me. I really am laughing at how funny that is. Here your mom has this great article in a big newspaper and it is used as scrap paper for math. The scene is set, you are doing your homework and you can't find a scrap of paper to save your life so you scratch out, in pen, how many cans of soda 6 people would get if there were 8 sodas (4 would get 1 can and 2 would get 2 cans, fyi) directly on the top photo of your mom's article, not a hesitation involved. And scene. That's too good.

I actually didn't see the chicken scratches when I put the article away. I guess that teaches me that anything left on the counter is fair game for a quick math problem. I probably left it out thinking someone might enjoy looking at the article. I was mistaken.
On to the knitting, I am working on this lovely and simple two row scarf pattern. I saw this free stitch pattern for a scarf somewhere and scratched it down on a scrap (yes, I found a real, empty scrap of paper), and I wrote the name Merci scarf on the top. I have no recollection of where I found the pattern and I googled the Merci Scarf and didn't come up with anything. Does anyone remember seeing this somewhere? Let me know, otherwise I will write out the two rows for you if I don't find a link. It is fun, easy to memorize and it gives a crisp stitch pattern that doesn't roll at the edges and looks great from both sides. Keep me posted if you know anything.

*added later, thanks for the comment, Leslie. The Merci Scarf is here.
I couldn't let this hat get away. It's a beauty. I already started in some super old Donegal Tweed in a golden hue. It is an excellent pattern.
Across the street I found these hairy acorn caps scattered all over the ground. I love how there are so many types of acorns with different tops. I picked up as many as I could carry in my hands and we are pretty excited about the fact that there is a double and a triple header in the bunch. My daughter made these up last night to add to our collection of felty acorns. The knitted Acorns a la Betz already were given to a teacher to start out the fall season. I'll have to make some more.

Have you seen this new site? Check it out for some great, free patterns. I already printed this one out. La-la-love it.

Take care, Knitters. Is it really Friday already? Can't be true.
best, susie