Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Hi Knitters,
I love to stitch. I would like to find the time to do a lot more of it. Quite awhile ago I bought a bunch of wool felt bundles from here. I haven't had time to dive into this beautiful felt until this morning. I wanted to make a simple cover for one of my tape measures just for the pure fun of it.
I used the bottom of my Yoplait yogurt as a pattern to cut out the circles. I cut a 3/4 inch strip to run along the side of the tape measure, leaving an opening for the tape measure to pull out. I grabbed a few colors of embroidery floss. With no plan in mind I just started stitching. Circles flew off my needle.
I whipstitched around the edges to hold the pieces together. I used a button that recently fell off of my peacoat for a pattern for the felt button on the end of the tape measure. I used backstitch to make the circles. Backstitch is so good.

That's that! What a fun little, simple project to start my day. Sometimes I need a quick break-y break to rejuvenate my knitting. I always feel refreshed after making something that's not knitting for a bit.

You should make one or two of these. I am definitely making a few more and giving them away as gifts. 

Happy Tuesday! It's raining and cold here but I am determined to get the most out of this day anyway. It will all have to be from the in-of-doors:)
best, susie

Monday, March 30, 2009

My Baby's Baby Doll

Hi Knitters,
Good Monday morning to you all. I have had some requests to see the Baby Slouch on a baby. Unfortunately, I don't have a real baby around to be my model. I wish. I do have a neighbor with a 6 month old baby and I'll see if I can get a quick photo with the hat on her at some point. In the meantime, The Collector has this very realistic newborn baby doll. I don't usually like it when people photo their hats on dolls but this one actually looked pretty cute so I thought I'd share.
I made my hat in the 0-6 month size and it it a generous hat on this teeny tiny newborn-sized head. It would easily fit for many months to come on a real baby. It's even cuter on a baby head than I had imagined.
The Collector is a baby lover extraordinaire. She simply loves babies and everything about babies. She has quite a collection of baby dolls. This one is particularly cute. The doll's name is Madison and she is looking pretty hip in the ol' slouch hat.
So there you go, there's the slouch hat on an "actual baby."
This is The Collector's fourth completed hat. She went to a knitting club on Saturday at the church by our house. I didn't know she was doing this but she took her other 3 hats and donated them to the group which then distributes hats and blankets to various charities and hospitals in the area. I thought that was so great, she just quietly took her work and gave it away. I only wish I had taken a few pictures of her first knitted baby hat ever before it was gone. Oh, well.

This hat was knit in the round on US size 8 sixteen inch circulars and then I did a quick 3-needle bind off across the top for her. She used the pom-tree to make the tassels. The yarn is Encore Colorspun and she thinks it looks like a sunset.

Okay, Knitters, let's all have a great week! I'll be back soon with a bunch of fun links to share with you.
best, susie

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Baby Slouch Pattern

Hi Knitters,
Added later: look at these posts to see the hat on a newborn size doll and a real live baby!

Baby Slouch...because every baby needs to be hip! is here for the taking. Here is some information you may like to know:
Yarn: Crystal Palace Mini Mochi (sample is knit in color #101) 1 ball, 195 yards.
Mini Mochi is a sock/fingering weight yarn. 
Any sock weight yarn will work great. Use up your extra sock yarn with this project.

Note about the yarn amount: I made the sample in the smallest size and I had a generous amount of yarn leftover. I am assuming one ball will be enough for all sizes, however, the largest size might possibly need 2 balls. When someone knits up a Baby Slouch in the largest size, please let me know if you made it with one or two balls. I think it will be close either way.
Sizes: 0-6 mths (6-12 mths, toddler, child)
This is a stretchy, snug fitting hat with up to and even a little over 2 inches of negative ease. The sizes in inches are as follows: 13.5 (14.75, 16, 17.25).
Needles: US size 3 sixteen-inch and a set of 4 double-pointed needles or size to obtain gauge.
Gauge: 6.5 stitches per inch in stockinette
Skill level: easy, easy!
Skills needed:
working in the round with circular and double-pointed needles (or magic loop if you prefer)
cast on
knit stitch
purl stitch
k2tog (knit 2 stitches together)
m1 (make one)
Although the gauge is on the finer side this hat is so simple in construction that it is a total no-brainer, so easy and relatively quick. This is a good beginner project using only a few easy techniques.

If you are interested in purchasing the pattern please click on the "Buy Now" button below. The pattern is $4.50 and will come your way via email with an attached pdf. Please allow a bit of time for me to email you the pattern.

Thanks, Knitters, and I can't wait to see your Baby Slouches. 
Slouch away!
best, susie

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sketch & Slouch

Hi Knitters,
The Collector painted this egg for the season. I love the over-sized egg, the metallic paint stripes and the one lonely egg.
Well, here it is. That's my next book, right there, held in those two sketchbooks. There are over 40 projects with the patterns completely written out on the pages inside. That's over 2 years worth of work handwritten onto those pages.
I have such a love for sketchbooks. Through the years I have become somewhat particular about the types of sketchbooks I use. I have a new one going but I am not happy with it so I have been on the look-out for something new. Two weeks ago The Collector and I went down to State Street to bum around and look in the shops. We had to pop into one of our favorites, Anthology. We spent a lot of time in this shop. It is one of those stores where the more you dig, the more you find. We love that. The Collector's egg and paints were purchased at Anthology.

Way in the back of the store, kind of tucked away, I discovered these:
These are the coolest sketchbooks I have ever owned. Let me tell you about them. They are vintage 1968 books that have been altered into sketchbooks. The binding has been cut off and replaced with a spiral, which I love in a sketchbook. Then some of the pages from the original book are left intact but are interspersed with blank pages for your own writing, sketching, etc. There were about 6 different books to choose from and I had a tough time making a decision about which I would like to buy.
Being the self-titled Queen of Chicken and a forever fan of old cookbooks, the Family Circle Great Chicken Recipes seemed a good choice. How can you resist the chicken recipe photos with the weirdest coloration ever. Fluorescent chicken, anyone?
Then I decided the book for "beginning beginners" had to be my second choice. The insert about the journal has some interesting information. The journals are handmade, all from recycled books. Each journal has 75 sheets of acid free blank paper and are made by "artists and book lovers who believe in sustainable business practices."
The books are a little banged up which makes it even more fun. Can't wait to fill up the blank pages with my next knitting ideas, patterns, sketches, watercolors, tear sheets, lengths of yarn and yarn labels. A fresh sketchbook is a pretty good thing in my book.
I finally found the chance to finish up a new design. Here's introducing Baby Slouch. I have had so much fun this winter knitting adult slouch hats, I think I made at least four or five different versions. Awhile ago I started thinking how fun it would be to have a baby/child version of the slouch hat. And here it is!

I made mine in Mini Mochi, color #101, which is a fingering weight/sock weight yarn. You can use any sock weight yarn to make Baby Slouch. You need 1 skein, 195 yards. I worked on US size 3 needles at 6.5 stitches per inch in stockinette stitch. 

The pattern for Baby Slouch will be available in a few days if you are interested. It is sized for newborn to child. More details coming soon.

Off to pack lunches and brush hair for school. Got to make sure everyone is slicked up and packed up before heading out the door.

Have a good Tuesday, sweet Knitters.
best, susie

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Girl Scout Knitting Part 3

Hi Knitters,
Well, I had my last group of girl scouts over yesterday. They were a wonderful group of girls eager to knit and learn.
The Collector is well into her fourth hat and she is proud of her knitting accomplishments. Her adorable friend has knitted before but not in the round so I helped her just a little with that concept. She caught on really fast.
She is very excited to make her first hat.
This girl is a returning knitter from the first meeting. Boy, is she doing well. She is almost ready to decide what type of hat top she would like. It is fun to see her enthusiasm and her ability to carry on with her knitting when she gets home.
This scout did a great job and was patient with her learning. Each stitch took some thought but she kept plugging away until it became much easier.
You can't tell from the photos but this group spent much of their time singing, some solos, some group songs. They were so funny. Some of their songs were even made up from scratch. They were up and down a bit and did some coloring in the big sketchbook on the table. They had a good time together, silly fun with a little knitting thrown in the mix. All's good.

Now on to planning a large group meeting, I am thinking maybe at Lakeside Fibers. I'll have to call over there and see what they think about that. We'll see.
Have a good weekend, Knitters. It is beautiful weather here in Madison, very spring-like indeed!
best, susie

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Few Good Knit Mags

Hi Knitters,
Have you seen this new-ish knit magazine? It is of special interest to me because it is a Madison-based production and it is quite impressive. Knit Circus is now in its 5th issue, which is the one pictured above. I love the cover, I'm assuming it is shot in Madison because where else do people eat and enjoy ice cream like that in the dead of winter? The sweater is called the Kate Cardigan and it is designed by Elizabeth Morrison. It's very cute.
Elizabeth also designed this vest. There is a good mix of patterns offered in Knitcircus, something for just about everyone, along with product reviews, book reviews and even a couple of recipes for ham sandwiches and blonde brownies. I think the recipes are kind of fun.
There are accessory patterns, too. These beautiful handwarmers are designed by Jaala Spiro, who is the publisher and editor in chief of Knitcircus. She also had a clever pattern in Knitty recently, take a look at Tatiana. Those are some pretty cool mitts.
These sweet Baby Janes are a cute baby gift.
There are lots of hat patterns. I like all of these patterns and I think I might make a couple of these sometime soon. The upper left hat has one big cable and is made in Malabrigo. This one is first on my list.

Knitcircus is a great small-sized magazine that is packed with loads of patterns and information. Plus it is fun to see all of the local advertising.
Vogue Knitting's latest cover simply takes my breath away. I think it is stunning. The bulky weight wrap is designed by Tanis Gray and the yarn is Blue Sky Alpacas bulky. What a perfect combination, pattern and yarn. Gorgeous. This one pattern makes the issue. I will make some form of the cover wrap.
Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine has a new issue out. It is a wonderful magazine, big and beautiful. The patterns are really good. There is a section on white with many household accessories included. I love seeing loads of white. It always looks fresh and clean.
There is a red, white and blue section that includes this little stripey dress. This is one of my favorite patterns in the magazine. The best part is the red piping around the edges. It is perfect Debbie Bliss and there is so much more.
Here are three good mags with lots to offer. I am happy there are magazines to have and to hold these days. It would be a sad day without print copies of knitting magazines, I think. It seems like I keep hearing about various magazines folding and it makes me worry. One of our local newspapers went out of daily print as of late and now our other daily paper has shrunk the size of the pages so they are skinnier. It feels and looks strange but it is clearly a sign of the times. 

Print media is so important to me and maybe to you, too.

Have a good Thursday, Knitters.
best, susie

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Have you ever?

Hi Knitters,
I ran across this youtube video of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee knitting and it is fascinating. One time a couple of years ago I was in Lexington for a book convention and Stephanie was there. My friend, Dianne, took all of the knitters out to lunch and I sat across the table from Stephanie and watched her knit over lunch. I had never seen anyone knit in this style and I was mesmerized. Take a look:

I thought you might enjoy watching her knit. I thought I was fast-ish but compared to her I knit in slow motion. I wish I could knit like this, I would get so much done.

Okay, a couple of other quick things for you here. I bought this beautiful pattern and I can't wait to knit this up. I want to support Kate Gilbert's exciting and innovative new online magazine and I plan on buying more patterns from here in the future. Check it out, this issue has some fun baby and toy projects to boot.

Every time I go to read Kristin's blog I feel like linking her newest post here. I know I bring her blog up a lot but it is worth repeating. She does all of this online work from a dial-up connection. That is dedication. If you don't read her blog yet, you should add it to your list. It is really good. Plain and simple. Here are a few gems as of late:
If you are interested in flowers, color, design, nature, New England, sheep farming, kittens, dogs, cooking, family life on a farm, patterns, books, crafts, recipes, funny stories, etc. visit this blog. Kristin is a treat. There, I said it again. (psssst, she is having a few big daily giveaways going on right now.)

That's all for this morning. I have lots of knitting to get done today plus it's really sunny and warm outside. I want to get out there and enjoy this weather before it is gone again.
best, susie
p.s. I am mailing out the Blue Sky yarn and my knit birdy today.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Girl Scout Knitting Part 2

Hi Knitters,
With a table filled with variegated and rainbow choices to make, two more Girl Scout knitting gatherings have occurred in my living room. I can't tell you how much the girls love to choose the yarn for their project. The baby hats continue to be a hit as an initial knitting project for the girls. They love it.
This little sweetheart came on a day after school by herself due to some schedule conflicts. She is already a fast and furious knitter so there wasn't much for me to teach. The hat is her first time knitting in the round on circular needles so she learned a little something new. She is already adept with her needles for sure.
Work, work, stitch, stitch...
The little stitchers are so cute and deliberate.
This was the next meeting later in the week. The Collector has finished 3 hats now, even working several rounds on double-pointed needles to finish this hat off. I will share some photos of her finished creations soon.
In this group there were a couple of girls who already knew how to knit. This adorable knitter has made hats before and her mom knits. This was an easy task for her, no problem.
This Girl Scout's mom knits, too, and she had recently learned to knit back and forth. The knitting in the round was new for her but she caught on extremely fast. Many people have written me to see what pattern and yarn and needles I am using with the girls. The pattern is from Itty-Bitty Hats, just the Simple Baby Cap pattern. They are knitting a longish tube to either gather at the top, seam across or I will help finish with double-pointed needles. It will be their choice. These options are all in the book. Then we will add something fun to top off the hat to make it extra-special.

I cast on 64 stitches on Clover US size 8, sixteen inch circular needles, marked the first stitch with a marker, and knitted a couple rounds to get them started. Casting on will come later with the next project. I want them just to learn the knit stitch to start. This seems to be a good strategy. Keeping things simple and fun is a smart way to begin.
The capped little friend above was my only brand new knitter in the group. Boy, did she catch on fast, nearly no help needed from me. I was pretty amazed at the speed with which she picked things up. She's a smart cookie.
Think and work and stitch and wrap...
I love The Collector walking around the room with her knitting in tow. She was visiting the troop-mates and helping when needed.
Those little hands knitting are too good. I could watch all day. Ah, just look.
Chit and chat.
Knitting with friends can't be beat. They were a happy, fun group to have over, such good friends to each other. This group included loads of laughter and silliness. There was a lot of up and down and quick changing topics of conversation. 

I eat it up. The sillier, the better for me.
I love how little girls like to sit so close to each other. It's very sweet. This has been a wonderful, fulfilling project for me so far and the girls seem to be enjoying it, too. 

How lucky am I? You know what? You all could do this same project in your communities even if you don't have a girl scout of your own. If you are interested you should think about it.

One more meeting to go at the end of the week. Then the small groups will be done and I will begin to plan our large group meeting. That should be really fun. I know a couple of girls are ready to finish up their hats from the first meeting. 

I am wishing a good week to knitters of all ages out there. Hopefully you'll find a little time to get some knitting in this week.
best, susie

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Bluest Sky

Hi Knitters,
I've selected four recipients for the skeins of Blue Sky Cotton. I am truly overwhelmed by the number of emails I received from willing knitters. It would take me a long time to count. I wish I had enough yarn to send some to each and every one of you. I hope Lucinda can feel the support and love knitters are giving her just through their thoughts and wishes. It's real and it's astounding.

Lucinda was so happy about the Blue Sky Cotton giveaway that she asked for 6 names to send some of her yarn, too. I randomly grabbed 6 emails and sent them off to her. Six more of you will be getting cotton from Lucinda to knit birds. Through this yarn we will be able to send her 30 finished birdies. How wonderful is that?

My heart is full because of you, the sweetest knitting birds on earth. Your willingness to help is beyond the bluest sky.

Can you guess what The Collector is in the photo?

That's right, she's a dpn. She learned to use dpns this morning to top off her latest hat. She did a couple rounds and I did a couple of rounds. As I was finishing the last round I looked up and she was doing a dance that ended in this pose. She told me she was a dpn. With my camera right next to me I snapped a quick shot so you could join her in this knitterly accomplishment. That's some serious pride.

Have a good weekend, Knitters, it is a beautiful day in Madison with the bluest skies of all. I will be back soon with my latest Girl Scout knitting meeting including lots and lots of fun photos.
best, susie