Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Hi Knitters,
Indulge me a bit, if you can. I have a few more fall pictures. I love it when I pick up my camera and there are pictures on it that my son took. He took the first few shots I am posting. Here is one of our pumpkins waiting to be carved. Tomorrow is the day for that. My kids don't have school on Thursday and Friday of this week. I always look forward to the October break.
Our neighbor sets up a graveyard and scattered creepy characters in his front yard. The Collector has made some new friends apparently. Oh I have to tell you about the brown hoodie with the sherpa. I rarely shop for clothes, not for me or the kids. The Collector wears a ton of hand-me-downs from my generous sister who does like to shop. She gets the cutest stuff from my sister's girls. She does a way better job than I would anyway.

Anyway, new clothes were really needed around here for everyone. Those legs are growing. I have been busy with work stuff so I had a catalog that came from Mini-Boden. I ordered a few items for The Collector that we picked out together and everything is a big success. I recommend this company, all of the clothes are fantastic, cute, fun and high quality. Most importantly, The Collector loves them. I will be a repeat customer. Check it out if you are looking for easy, successful shopping for your kids.
Pumpkin carving and raking are in order over the next couple of days. We have lots of big trees in our yard and it is a ton of work in the fall. The kids love raking and jumping in the piles.

Oh, I have so much to share I can't even remember it all. I made this applesauce (it is excellent) and I am making these pumpkin seeds after we carve. Now I just saw Betz's new book is up for pre-order. Wow, what a cover, I am so excited for this one. What a fun surprise for the day.
Now on to some pattern indulgence. I have to order this pattern and make these right away. I have a thing for two separates that become one. I think it is clever every time. The flower mittens are in the Webs' catalog and are designed by Kirsten Hipsky. Good work, Kirsten. You can get the pattern here.  The mittens use bulky yarn and 10.5 dpns. I'm definitely knitting these mittens when I get a break from work. The Plum Blossom Mittens would make a perfect and fast gift.
How cute is this pin cushion? I think it is so sweet. Talk about a perfect gift, nothing is better than a pear pin cushion in my book. You can get the pattern here. I can't wait to whip some of these up. The pattern includes a pear, a tomato, an apple and a strawberry. I love them all but the pear is my favorite.
My fall Knitscene has been permanently creased and opened to this page. What a great sweater. It is called the Nubby Cardigan and is designed by Deborah Newton.  The sample is knit in Nashua Handknits Natural Ecologie Wool. Gorgeous and snuggly and I want to knit one. I wouldn't knit it in yellow but I have nothing better in mind yet.

I have plans, people. My lists are growing fast. I know I am dreaming.
Here is another one I have to make and another one you might have to make.
Have a good Wednesday, Knitters.
best, susie

Friday, October 24, 2008


Hi Knitters,
Every Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas I pull out stacks of my kids' seasonal artwork I have saved throughout the years. I plaster these works of art all over my front entryway, covering every inch in the holiday spirit. I love seeing things they made at school and home year after year.
The Collector made this paper bag pumpkin when she was 3 at nursery school. We laugh about her pumpkin every single year. She thinks it is so funny. I tell her that she was completely serious and proud of her jack-o-lantern art. I will always set this out, forever.
Teeth seems to be the theme here. I have many versions of jack-o-lanterns and witches and haunted houses.
The skeleton painting is about 3 feet long, my oldest son painted it about 12 years ago. I love the million lines on the pumpkin above and you can't find better sketching of a witch race on broomsticks.
I especially like the creeping skeleton with big eyeballs and the spider moon.
And who wouldn't want to swing on a tree that hovers over a graveyard? Scary.

Halloween is coming soon and we are busy getting ready, well, mainly we have been eating lots of candy corn but we try.

Off to the weekend.
best, susie
p.s. On the topic of kids and art, I have to get these and these. I found this tip from her, I adore her work and simple style and she is expecting her fourth child. Brave. Do you have her book? I don't yet but I need to check it out.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Little Waves

Hi Knitters,
I had so many emails and questions about my new Clapotis that I thought I would share my old Clapotis with you. If you look at the pattern link on Knitty, you can see that I used the same colorway of Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb called Bittersweet. It has a bit of orange in it and you know I like that. It is a bright, happy colorway and it looks great with my black peacoat. 
You know what's kind of funny is that when I have it laying out like that I can see some pooling action of the colors. I usually can't stand pooling but in this case when I am wearing it I don't notice it at all. Kate Gilbert named it after the French word for little waves. Her intention was that the purl side was the right side of the wrap and the dropped stitches gave the appearance of little waves running down.
The way I twist it up around my neck makes the right and wrong side a non-issue. This is exactly how I wear my Clapotis. I double wrap it with a tie at the front. It's cold and windy where I live and this is the perfect warm yet stylish wrap wrap for me.

I had a couple of questions about the Lion and Lamb yarn and how well it stands up. I made mine several years ago and it still looks like new to me and I have worn it a ton. It has traveled with me all over and I have not been gentle at all. There is no pilling to speak of, which was one of the concerns.

Look here (ravelry link) to see over 8,000 posted versions on ravelry, about 670 pages. Unbelievable. There are 4,000 more in queues.  Guess I'm not the only one.

Kristin has a new shop and it looks good. There are some great holiday gift ideas here.

Here is another scarf I love. I have Malabrigo just sitting around. Gotta add this pattern to my list.

One last note, I have had several requests for information about my friend, Dianne's, handspun. She emailed me today and said that she is hoping to open up an online shop to sell her beautiful handmade yarns. I'll keep you posted but only after I order first: )
Take care, Knitters.
best, susie

Monday, October 20, 2008

In the Loop

Hi Knitters,
Good Monday morning to you all. A few months back I was contacted on Ravelry by Katie, a student and staff member at the Loop Yarn Shop in Milwaukee. The Loop was hosting the Itty-Bitty Nursery trunk show in October and she wanted to see if I would come for a visit while the trunk show was at her shop. Considering Milwaukee is only about an hour and a half away from my house in Madison I said sure. I am so glad I went. 

What a wonderful yarn shop. I especially noticed the sleek, stylishly customized layout of the shop. The owner, Katelyn, designed the shop and had many of the display pieces custom built and you can really tell. I was impressed, plus I have a huge thing for concrete floors. I love them, I guess it is the contrast of the cool concrete with the warm yarn and knits. It looks great together.
The shop's walls are almost all floor to ceiling windows and best of all right next door is an Alterra coffee shop. Alterra is the best coffee shop around and it fits perfectly with the Loop. The shop has knitted samples in every corner, window and shelf. Everything is displayed beautifully. I brought some extra hats, toys and sweaters from Itty-Bitty Nursery, Itty-Bitty Hats and samples from my blog.
Here is Katie and the fantastic cake she made for me. It was so cute, it even had my name on it, and everyone loved eating a piece, especially my kids. My whole family came along to the event and they had a great time at the shop and in Milwaukee. Isn't Katie cute? She is enthusiastic, warm and friendly and welcoming. She is a senior in college in textile design and will be heading off to spend the second semester in Peru visiting and studying fabric and knit manufacturing and design companies. Katie has a bright future and I hope she keeps me posted along the way.
Katelyn had these large storage/display units made for her shop and they are an incredible asset. Even the height is perfect and they allow easy access to display items, yarn, books, tools, etc. The other side held Habu yarn in open-top pullout drawers. That was fun to see.
One of these large islands was dedicated to the Itty-Bitty Nursery trunk show. I was happy to see that all of the items are looking fresh and well-kept and really like brand new. With all of the traveling the samples are doing I thought they might look a little worse for wear. Thank you to all of the previous yarn shops that have hosted the show for taking good care of the samples.
I couldn't get a great shot of the display due to the sunlight coming in the huge windows but you can get the picture. There were levels and access and books. It looked better than I could ever have imagined.
The tea set seems to be one of the biggest hits. The kids all love it and one of the staff members, who has 5 kids, Joan, now has to make the set for her girls after they saw it in person. I think she was only planning on making a few pieces but now she is in for all of it. Her kids and husband came to shop and they were so cute and friendly.

I signed a lot of books, the shop sold a lot of books and yarn while I was there and they did a great job getting people into the shop. It was a beautiful fall day so I wasn't sure what the turn out would be but it was amazingly good. There was a steady stream of enthusiastic knitters and crocheters and I loved meeting all of them.
We had a raffle for 2 hat kits, 2 Itty-Bitty books and 6 Itty-Bitty Nursery tape measures. Katie put all of the entries in the Rosebud Wreath hat and we all got to pull out the winning names. That was fun. Some of the winners were still in the shop at the time of the drawing. It is fun to see someone win in person.
At the end of the day, Katie gave me a gift that I adore. She is an avid reader of this blog and she had seen some of my mosaic work. The mosaic fruit I did quite awhile ago inspired her to do some of her own mosaic work. She made me a pair of mosaic knitting needles, size 50! I love them and I appreciate the thoughtful work that went into this gift. I will cherish them, Katie. Thank you for making the entire day a treat.
Left to right: Katie, me, Patricia and Katelyn.
Patricia is Katelyn's mom and I really enjoyed her. She is a prolific knitter and crocheter and has had patterns published in both of the the first two One-Skein Wonder books. She had a crocheted hat and a wonderful caterpillar toy published and I think there is a wrap in there, too. Patricia owns an apple farm, is a former teacher and current teacher educator and she and her family have lived and taught in many different countries around the world. What a wonderful, smart, lovely woman with so much to offer. I always love the mother/daughter teams.

The Loop Yarn Shop is a treat and a stop that is a must for Milwaukee knitters and visiting knitters. Thanks for a fun Sunday and for letting my family mill about in your store, they had good time, too.
best, susie

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Catching Up

Hi Knitters,
I am just checking in briefly today. I had a very short reprieve, literally a couple of days, from deadline knitting so I pulled out a couple of projects I had started awhile ago. I have sung the praises of the Clapotis, written by the fabulous Kate Gilbert, many times. It is the absolute best scarf/wrap I have ever made. Last winter I wore my first Clapotis to death so I decided I would make another one.
I think I will love this new version just as much. I am knitting on US size 8 needles and using Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb (50% wool, 50% Silk) in the Tuscany #403 colorway and I can't remember where I bought it. You need 4 skeins. It is a pricey project but well worth it in my eyes. Triple love it. I still have a long way to go before finishing but I love that there is no rush.
My Opal sock project is making way. You know what's interesting is that the long red stripe is actually two different colors. In a certain light you can see the ever so slight variation. I do wonder why they stuck those two close shades together. I think it would have been better to spread them out a bit. Oh well, still love the colorway #1702. 

I keep this project in my car and I only knit on it while I am waiting places for my kids. I never take my SewBendy bag out of the car. That way I know I will always have some knitting to work on while I wait. That's my Amy Butler fabric SewBendy bag. Check it out if you'd like, they have a few new bags on their etsy shop. I love my SewBendy bags so much. You should get one or put it on your Christmas list or give one to a knitter you love. I know I keep saying that but it's true. I have added their shop to my sidebar "favorites" so you can easily get to their shop any time.
I am amazed at the amount of knitting I can get done in little spurts of time. I have one whole sock done and a good start on the second. Those minutes add up to a lot of knitting.
I had a sweet surprise arrive in the mail the other day. My friend, Dianne, who lives on a farm near Lexington, KY, is so talented. We share a love of all things fall and pumpkin orange. She sent me two of the most beautiful skeins of her handspun yarn in, what else, pumpkin. I couldn't believe my eyes when I opened the box. It made me cry to think of her thoughtfulness and her generosity. I really can't believe my good fortune on this one. You should read her blog where she shares her daily life on the farm with her sheep and loads of other animals. She also shares recipes, knitting, spinning, dying, the list goes on and on. I love her charming, upbeat and practical style.
This huge fantastic pumpkin skein is 230 yards of a chunkier weight yarn. It reminds me of a Malabrigo or Manos yarn. It is thick and thin and soft and squishy. I can't wait to whip up something luscious with this, probably a scarf of some sort. I want to show this one off.
Also included was this skein of 135 yards of a slightly heavier worsted weight yarn. Maybe a hat with this would be just right. Her tag is adorable, the yarn is called, Sheep Dreams and her farm is called, Tanglewood Farm. The catch line is "home grown - hand dyed - handspun yarn from the farm." Perfect. Lovely. Appreciated.
The Collector picked out this pumpkin from the farm the other day. That's my kind of pumpkin, all interesting and colorful and imperfect. She found a bright orange one, too, but she liked this one even better. It's kind of spooky, right?

Okay, knitters, I am off for a quick run before my kids get home from school. This tired knitter needs some fresh air. Enough is enough.
best, susie

Monday, October 13, 2008

One More Fall Day

Hi Knitters,
Yesterday we headed out to a local pumpkin and apple farm to pick our fall goodies. It felt more like summer than fall it was so warm. What a beautiful day.
The pumpkins were picked over and many were rotten and gushy. It's been unseasonably warm lately and I guess that can be tough on the pumpkins. We found only a few that were good enough to keep. That's a shame. I saw lots of good pumpkins at the grocery store but that's never quite as fun. I'll need to pick up a few more later this week.
My husband is a good pumpkin picker and apple picker. His height and strength come in handy on the farm. Plus he is good all-around entertainment for everyone. He always has some child sitting on his shoulders trying to reach the highest apples.
She found a keeper. Even though the stem was gone the pumpkin was still in great shape.
The hay bales were prime jumping ground. That's my nephew following behind The Collector.
The apples were gorgeous and we filled a great big bag with a variety of types to bring home. 
The Collector found an enormous apple on the ground and she carried it around for a long, long time. She was very proud. She also fed another apple to a huge horse and loved it.
We love it when the apples still have the stem and leaves attached.
The colors were amazing. The sun was shining and the air smelled of apples. 
Just look at that vibrant red, so shiny and bright. I can't get enough of it.
I can't get enough of these not so little apples either. 

Now to pull out my favorite apple recipes. It will be an apple-filled week.
best, susie
p.s. Look at this and then this. I love her.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Feelin' Groovy

Hi Knitters,
Remember the words to that song.... slow down, you move too fast....

I gathered up The Collector after school and took her for a hike in a gorgeous nature conservancy that is only a few blocks away from our house. In this conservancy you can find everything from ponds, prairies, secret forest paths, private quiet benches, woods, wild flowers, a hidden old-fashioned playground with an ancient teeter-totter with tires sticking out of the ground to break the impact, to meandering paths. We love it there and spend lots of time hiking around, we know it like the back of our hands. It was a fall day to remember.

The Collector had a grand time...
...the sky sparkled...
...the wind blew....
...The Collector ran...
...bees buzzed... vines climbed...
...leaves turned, trees decayed...
...The Collector sprung into action...
...wheat grass enveloped us...
...the colors amazed us... leaves peeked from a sea of green...
...The Collector danced...
...trees grew sideways...
...wild flowers lined the pathway...
...a feather was gently held by the grass ...
...yellow flowers were gazed upon...
...The Collector sang songs and found an enormous brown leaf....
...summer ended....
...The Collector found a treasure trove of Witch Apples...
...then she spotted a Witch Apple that landed in the crook of a branch....
...feelin' groovy.
I am sending the joy of fall to you today, dear Knitters. Enjoy.
best, susie