Friday, February 27, 2009

Itty Bitty Podcast #3

Hi Knitters,
I am excited to say that I uploaded my third installment in the Itty Bitty Podcast. For this episode I bring you along as I open my Addi Turbo Click needle set for the first time.

The link for the podcast is here where you can listen on your computer or download to your ipod or what have you. It will pop up some time very soon on itunes under the title Itty Bitty Podcast. Episode #3 is about 25 minutes long.
You can hear me describe how incredibly simple this lovely set of needles is to set up for the very first time. I think I am in love with this system so far. I'll keep you posted as I start to knit with the needles.
Then I briefly talk about 3 new yarns I recently picked up and my plans for knitting with these luscious yarns. From left to right:
Knit One Crochet Too Ty-Dy Socks #1689 Butter Blue
Rowan Colourscape Chunky by Kaffe Fassett #435 Ghost
Mountain Colors River Twist #021845 Firehole River

Everything in this podcast and post, needle set and yarn, was purchased at the beautiful Madison knit shop, Lakeside Fibers.
Now off on a brief tangent, my sons' swim team won the state swim title last weekend and it was so much fun to watch. This group of boys worked so hard to achieve their title, it was inspiring to see. At the beginning of the season they were thought to be the underdogs, not expecting to win at all. During the state meet they only won one individual event but still came up with enough points to win the meet due to the depth of their small group. 

I know this isn't a great shot but the swimmers were honored last night at the high school basketball game and I am proud of all of them. My son is the third bald-headed swimmer in the line, you have a pretty clear picture of his ear. Anyway, this is part of the reason it has been so busy around here but now the swim season is over. It was a thrill and an honor for our family to be a teeny-tiny part of this good-hearted group of boys. I think high school kids are incredible.
I'm going to leave you with this amazingly colorful shot that a Michigan blog reader sent me. Her name is Wendy Taylor. She recently went on a trip to Guatemala. She said this was the local version of a yarn shop. Muy Bien! Thanks for sharing this shot with us, Wendy, I feel like diving in.

Okay, off into the weekend, sweet Knitters. I hope you are well and that your needles are treating you with kindness.
best, susie

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Bunny and Chick Pattern

Hi Knitters,
I am so excited to offer these Easter Friends as a pattern for you. They are just perfect for an Easter basket or to stick in a pocket. The Bunny and Chick are fun knitted toys for any time of the year but especially for the spring season. 

I have to tell you that my intention for this pattern is to get people started knitting simple toys. These two stuffed toys are made in the simplest form possible. They are both made from garter stitch squares, the most basic beginner starting point. You have to sew a seam or an ear, but garter stitch in incredibly forgiving to seam, so don't worry about it. The Bunny and Chick couldn't be easier to knit but they look sweet and not beginner-ish in the end. I love that.

In the pattern I refer to the number of ridges on the knit fabric. When you are working in garter stitch, where you knit every row, a ridge forms on the fabric. Each ridge is equal to two knit rows. 
Here is some information you may want to know:
finished measurements: 4 inches tall (not including bunny ears)
yarn used for Chick: Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille, 1 skein each in Yellow #3646 and Mango #2230
yarn used for Bunny: Lily Sugar-n-Cream, 1 skein each in White #18001 and Rose Pink #18046
*Note: Any worsted weight yarn will work fine for both toys.
needles: US size 6 or size to obtain gauge
gauge: 4 stitches per inch in the cotton chenille, 5.5 stitches per inch in the Sugar-n-Cream  
skill level: Easy, Easy, Easiest! Beginner friendly!
skills needed:
cast on
knit stitch
knit 2 stitches together
bind off
whipstitch for seams
I love that in the Yellow Cotton Chenille the seam disappears on the back. I stuffed them with polyester fiberfill, you only need a couple of handfuls.
I hope you enjoy these two lovable little friends.

If you are interested in purchasing the pattern for the Bunny and Chick, both toys are included in this one pattern, then click on the "Buy Now" button below. The pattern is $4.00 and I will email it to you in pdf form. Please allow a little time for me to email the pattern to you.

Have fun, Knitters, a little Easter/Springtime love is just around the corner. Up next, Easter Egg Washcloths!
best, susie

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Little Easter Knits

Hi Knitters,
I love this time of year, it's all hopeful and light. I am not usually a pastel lover but just looking at these pastel cotton chenille cupcakes makes me feel very inspired. These yarn balls are like spun sugar. I want to dive in and stay. So with pastels and Easter and spring in mind, I have been whipping up a sweet bunch of little knits. I am giving you a peek at my new bunny, little chick and my Easter egg washcloth. I will be making more washcloths in a mini-egg size, too. That egg above is fresh off the needles, still warm. It is about 10 by 10 inches, including the edging. The mini-eggs will be more like 6 by 6 inches or so, that's in my mind, I haven't actually made one yet: ) See how I plan like that? It's very official-like.
I hope to get a few new patterns up for you over the next week or so. These two little Easter friends are so incredibly easy. They are garter stitch squares basically, the only skill other than the knit stitch is to knit 2 stitches together. I figure if someone can knit a stitch, they can knit 2 stitches together, right? 

Anyway, these are the perfect quick Easter toys and any beginner can do these and I mean that. You couldn't get an easier toy pattern than this. It is basic, basic. Cast on, knit, bind off. Sew seam (very easy and garter stitch is incredibly forgiving). They stand about 4 inches tall, the bunny with the ears is maybe 5 1/2 inches. The bunny is made in Sugar-n-Cream and the chick is made in Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille. Get ready if you are interested! I used size 6 needles.

I have more Easter-y things planned, I have to see how fast I can get things to fly off my needles. This season is really fun to knit for. It all feels so fresh and new.
Speaking of fresh and new, look at this! My dear blog reader and ravelry friend, Peggy, had a brand new baby girl last week. She is gorgeous and you must be so proud, Peggy. She is incredible. Congratulations. This new little sweetheart is wearing the hat from the Layette Set in Itty-Bitty Nursery. The hat is perfect just like her. Peggy also knitted the Ruffle Blanket from that same layette set and she says it is the perfect size. I love that simple blanket. That is good to hear and thanks for sharing. I am glad you are doing well. That's hard work having a baby. Phew!

Take care and I'll be back soon with little goodies for you and another yarn giveaway. This giveaway will be a little different from the last.
best, susie
p.s. I am going to make this pattern and look at this fantastic accomplishment! Oh and I just noticed she made the Dotty Chicken, too. Excellent knitting. That is such a fun chicken and it's easy, too. I wish I could understand what is being said there but the pictures tell a lot. Both the tea set and the chicken are in Itty-Bitty Nursery

Monday, February 16, 2009

Shamrock Yarn Winner and some other fun stuff

Hi Knitters,
Today's the day to find out who won the Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille, 2 skeins, to make the Shamrock Washcloth. The winner is:

Judy Resop!

Congratulations, Judy! I will email Susan Druding, the owner of Crystal Palace Yarns, your mailing address and she will send off your yarn. That was easy, right? Thank you all for entering and purchasing the pattern. There is still plenty of time to knit up some fun Shamrocks before St. Patrick's Day, a full month actually. There are going to be more yarn giveaways coming up so stay tuned.

Now, maybe you noticed the shamrock soap on the washcloth above. I was thrilled to find this soap here. It has a minty fresh scent and it looks so cute with the washcloth. The store has an online shop with full delivery service if you are interested.
The Collector has been busy at work on her fairy notebook. This is an ongoing project. She is determined to fill the entire notebook with her fairy drawings. She comes up with her own original fairy designs, complete with fairy garb and names. It is so fun. Let's take a peek inside to see a few of her creations.
Fairy Clarice, love her crown.
Fairy Oliva, love her hair.
Fairy Autumn, love her pumpkin colored dress.

I think she has close to 50 fairies drawn out so far. I love the ongoing project that has been continuing on for almost a year now. She doesn't lose any steam on her fairy love. It grows bigger and bigger. She is saving her money and doing chores for money to buy an enormous outdoor fairy house. It is a long-term goal for sure. What's really cute is that her little neighbor friend is saving with her to buy it together. Her friend came over last night with her wallet and they spread out their money and counted it. They have a long way to go but I can see their little heads churning with the possibilities. It's so sweet.
I don't lose any steam on my rainbow love either. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. I continue on and on with rainbows everywhere I turn. I used some of the Noro Kureyon sock yarn in my upcoming book but I hadn't knit any socks with it yet. I had this ball just sitting around and I grabbed it this weekend to start a pair of simple stockinette stitch socks. I went to a long swim meet on Saturday and I thought I would knit my way through the meet. However, I did not knit one stitch during the meet. It was extremely hot and crowded and mainly it was extremely exciting to watch. I also just love watching those kids on the high school team swim. They are all amazing. Both of my boys are on the team.

Anyhoo, I stitched away at other times during the weekend and I have to say, the Noro sock yarn is fantastic. I always love the Noro striping, can't ever get enough. It is a fingering weight, I am using a US size 2 needle at about 7 stitches per inch. It is working up in a nice dense fabric, perfect for socks. I have read varying reviews on this yarn but I love it and will use it again. It's just plain fun. I can't wait to wear these socks.

I bought my yarn here and it is #182 and they have a lot in stock right now. One ball has 420 meters, plenty for a pair of socks. I did a 64 stitch cast on, k2, p2 rib for 8 rounds and then did a 6-inch stockinette stitch cuff before starting the heel flap. (I know someone will write me and ask so I thought I would just include it here: )
I was straightening up my front entryway this morning, don't even ask. We have a tornado in there every day. I can't keep up. We don't even have enough room for all of the kids' stuff so I can't get mad at them about it. We do our best with what we've got.

While straightening up I gathered this cool stack of 6 handknit hats and I thought you might like to see it. I think I have knit easily over a dozen hats, maybe even 2 dozen, over the last couple of years just for the family. There is always a big stack to chose from by the door. The kids even loan them out to friends as they head out the door to play or sled. I love that.

Okay, Monday Knitters, let's make it a good week ahead. Knit on. I'll be back soon.
best, susie

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Little More Love

Hi Knitters,
I am sending a little more love your way today and a lot more love your way tomorrow.
Happy Valentine's Day, sweet Knitters.
best, susie

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Little Love

Hi Knitters,
Here's a little love being sent to you.
best, susie

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I Glove You

Hi Knitters,
And I should say hi to Crafters as well today. I received my March issue of Parents magazine yesterday. I am lucky enough to have a project in the issue. I took some stretchy dime store gloves from my house, the ones that no longer had a match. Cut the fingers off and made some simple finger puppets with crafty bits that most crafters have in their homes already.
I love the boys on the pages, it's good to see. Boys like crafts, too! There is a bunny, a pig and a red and blue bird shown but there are so many more you could make. It's a good craft even for little kids. Grab a little glue, some feathers, a few pipe cleaners and some google eyes and a couple gloves and you're off!
A lot more coming soon....

Have a good Wednesday, Knitters.
best, susie
p.s. The Shamrock Washcloth yarn giveaway contest is still going strong! Thank you!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Shamrock Washcloth Pattern

Hi Knitters,
The new Shamrock Washcloth is up and available for purchase. It is the perfect little St. Patrick's Day gift. The two in the photo above are knit in Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille. They are extra squishy and soft, perfect for a child or baby washcloth.
The Shamrock washcloth above is knit up in Sugar-n-Cream cotton. This one is sturdy enough for the kitchen.
Pattern information:
Finished size:
10 inches by 10 inches
Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille in Pistachio #1208 and Fern #4043 (the 1rst and 3rd photos) any shades of green will work great!
Sugar-n-Cream Cotton in Hot Green #18712 and Key Lime Pie #19713 (the 2nd photo) any shades of green or variegated will work great!
US size 6 for the Cotton Chenille
US size 7 for the Sugar-n-Cream
4 stitches per inch in stockinette stitch
Skills needed:
cast on
knit stitch
pick up stitches along an edge (This is the only additional skill required above the skills needed to make the Sweetheart Washcloth and I will do a demonstration of this soon for anyone interested)
Crochet edging is optional and uses a chain, single crochet and slip stitch.
Easy if you know how to do the skills listed above! 

The construction is simple. You knit the stem and the center top leaf. Then you pick up stitches along the right and left sides of the stem to knit the other two leaves the same as the first. It's repetitive. That's it! You can do it!

If you would like to purchase the Shamrock Washcloth Pattern please click on the "Buy Now" button below. The cost is $3.50. Please allow a little time for me to email the pdf file of the pattern to you. I try to get to all orders as quickly as possible: )

If you like the Shamrock Washcloth pattern you may also like the Sweetheart Washcloth.
best, susie

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Weaver Girl's Hat and a New Shamrock

Hi Knitters,
I asked The Collector if I could take a picture of her in a hat I just knitted. She said sure and then when she posed for the picture she grabbed her weaving project. She said she wanted to share her weaving with all of you: ) I thought that was sweet. She is taking an art class at the Madison Fine Arts Center on Monroe St. This is her latest project. Next week her teacher is showing her how to take it off of the cardboard and string it on a stick from a tree. I'll have to find a prominent place to hang it.

I think it is funny that her teacher sent her home with some fun fur to finish but instead she goes in my studio and picks my most expensive mohair and Colinette Point 5 to add to her weaving. Of course I can't say no.
Anyway, this super cool hat is made from a fantastic yarn called, Cilantro. Just happens to be the name of my favorite dressing from Trader Joe's. I will wear the hat while I eat my cilantro salad. The yarn is from Sunshine Yarns and it is dreamy. Dani sent me a few skeins out of the blue a couple weeks ago. I know, that's three gifts in the mail. I must have done something good lately: ) You know, if you are a Harry Potter fan you have to check out Dani's Harry Potter inspired yarns. I have some of her Harry Potter striping sock yarn and it is fantastic.

I modified the Felicity pattern again for this hat and I added a strand of Kidsilk Haze for a little mohair goodness. I love that I have knitted a big stack of hats this winter and last and my girls have such good choices to wear to school everyday. We all share and switch. It is fun. You should try it. I love seeing them walk off to school in their knits. 
Here is the Shamrock Washcloth knit in the Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille. This one is knit on size 6 needles. It is the same gauge at 4 stitches per inch but it came out a wee touch smaller than the Sugar-n-Cream shamrock. I think the chenille just knits up differently. I think for the Sugar-n-Cream I would use a 7 needle next time instead of the 8's. I will write all up in the pattern. 
My husband and I were laughing about the Irish Springs soap commercials from when we were kids. Remember that? The Irish Springs commercial when the man would cut the bar of soap with his jack knife so you could see that the green stripes went all of the way through the bar. Also, was the man showering outside by the springs? That is so funny to think about. We didn't think they made Irish Springs soap any longer but my son said he saw someone on swim team with it the other day. Who knew? Maybe a bar to go along with your Shamrock Washcloth?
Left is Sugar-n-Cream, right is Cotton Chenille. I have to say, if you can splurge a little, the cotton chenille feels so good and squishy, it may be worth the few extra dollars. You could get two out of two skeins. Now I just have to get my son to help me get the pattern up and available for you. I may have to tie him down. I am going to sit with him this time and figure out how to do this myself. That would be good, right?

Knitters, I have to get back to my pattern writing. This was a fun break.
best, susie

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Thermis, Little Gifts and a Shamrock

Hi Knitters,
Checking in here. Well, here is my first Thermis. I thoroughly enjoyed this pattern. It is clearly written and I learned a couple new things. I did the Thermal or Waffle stitch for the first time. I like this stitch and will use it again. It would make a good scarf because it's reversible. I also did the sewn bind off for the first time. It is fine but I am not sure it is necessary. The regular old bind off would do fine, too, but it was fun to try something new. I would use the sewn bind off again. Supposedly it is stretchier than a regular bind off.
The buttons are a gift from a wonderful blog reader who sent The Collector the most fantastic little tin filled with fun little trinket buttons. How sweet is that? The buttons are from Anne in Minnesota. Thank you for the gift, The Collector is in love with the buttons. The buttons on my Thermis are vintage Jack and Jill. They are awesome. I snuck them out of the tin and it didn't go unnoticed. I got seriously quizzed about my actions. However, there are two more of the same remaining in the tin. The other thing is that she has systematically taken most of my button collection and added it to her button collection. I thought it was fair for me to use two for the neck warmer. She seemed to agree in the end. Two collectors in one family can be tricky.
Okay, let me tell you a few observations I have about Thermis. I knitted it out of the suggested yarn, Patons Classic Wool, bought at Joann's. It is a fine, sturdy wool. That's it. There is nothing really remarkable about it. It is okay. Another worsted would work just as fine and maybe a softer worsted would be good. I've seen some done in Malabrigo on ravelry which is really soft.

I used the suggested needle size of 6 and the gauge was fine but felt small to me. I am making a second Thermis in gray and this time I am using a size 7 needle. I felt like I kept wondering why the 6's the whole time. I could see no reason for it. The 7's feel more comfortable and the gauge will be fine. Either size is fine, whatever works best for you in the end.

Lastly, I found the thing to be a bit too long. On the second go I am shortening the rib section by maybe 5-7 rows, can't remember exactly. I could have shortened it more I think.

That's my take on it. I haven't worn it yet, I keep thinking I might give it to someone with a longer neck: ) I like it and would recommend the pattern.
Kristin Nicholas sent me an email awhile ago asking for my address. She told me she had a surprise to send me. I sent my address and I remember being curious about what in the world she would send. Then I forgot about it just like I forget most other things. A short while later I received a little package and note from Kristin. Inside was a stack of her beautiful postcards. I tossed them down on my luggage label table for the photo. See if you can pick out her cards. Some are of her fantastic Farm filled with sheep others are her colorful artwork and her beautiful yarn, Julia. BTW, Julia would make a squishy, lush Thermis, I may use that next.
I love them so much that I have the urge to save them forever. Luckily she sent me two copies of each so I have a spare. I can't recommend Kristin's blog and shop highly enough. Her life on the farm is fascinating, her textile designs are admirable and her photography is breathtaking.
I am egg and egg cup obsessed. I have a small collection of egg cups of my own so seeing the beautiful Julia yarn in the egg cups and the egg carton is just too much. Aren't they great?
Order a set for yourself here. Kristin's shop is impressive it includes her books, printed totes and mugs with her own artwork (I have ordered her totes and gave them for gifts), pdf stitchery patterns and the postcards. Great Valentine's gift ideas for anyone are in this shop.

Thank you, dear Kristin, you inspire me. You'll never know how your little act of kindness touched me.
Surprise! I am washcloth obsessed now. Irish knitters behold and those who long to be Irish as well, this is my new St. Patrick's Day Shamrock washcloth. I am part Irish so I always look forward to wearing the green on St. Patty's Day. The pattern for the Shamrock washcloth is coming soon. I have to find a moment when my son is available to help so probably in a day or two or three. He's a busy guy.

I did this washcloth or dishcloth in Lily's Sugar-n-Cream the shamrock in #18712 Hot Green (not a good name for a color in my opinion), and #19713 Key Lime Pie (food names are always good) for the edging. I knitted on size 8 needles at about 4 stitches per inch. Size H crochet hook for the edging. If you are planning on making one, get your supplies ready now.
It is 10 inches by 10 inches. I'll give more details when I post the pattern. I am making another Shamrock in the Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille in shades of solid green. I will share this one when I am done. I love the squishy chenille for a baby/child washcloth. You can't beat it. 

I am loving the cheap, quick little projects lately.  A good washcloth/dishcloth provides just that. It couldn't be more fun and satisfying.

Have a good Wednesday, Knitters.
best, susie

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Crochet Girl

Hi Knitters,
Yesterday, The Collector asked if she could crochet some granny squares. Oh yeah. That would be great so she could help me finish my granny square blanket that's been languishing in a box. I'm always thinking about that blanket. It would be really fun if she could contribute some squares. I see she's got her "good morning hair" going in these shots. I love that scruffly morning hair.

This morning I said I would teach her granny squares but she had to learn a few basic crochet things first. She sat right beside my chair in my studio and I taught her to chain and single crochet. This was my view of her from my chair.
She picked some Manos Cotton Stria and a hook out of my box of hooks. It was slow going at first, a real struggle, but I reminded her that she just needed to practice. Pretty soon she started getting the hang of it, really in a matter of minutes.
Work, work, work.
Hmmm, hmmm.
Before I knew it she asked me to tie her self-crocheted necklace around her neck.



best, susie