Monday, August 31, 2009

S. Lk. Michigan Dr.

Hi Knitters,
I have to share the incredible house we stayed at for a few days last week. I was completely smitten with every inch of this home. I was going to apologize for having too many photos in this post but it would not be sincere. I am inspired when I look at the photos of our getaway location. So no apologies, just enjoy.
The name of the house is Eco House. The architect designed every aspect of the house with an ecologically sound influence and purpose, including the materials used and air flow for example. The red and white exterior represents the traditional Wisconsin barns that you often see when driving through the countryside.
The shape is fantastic.
In the early mornings when I was the only one awake I would sip on hot coffee, sit in this red chair and knit. I started reading the book, Coop by Michael Perry and I listened to Amy Grant read her entire book, Mosaic. Both authors are interesting and vibrant story tellers. Yes to both on my behalf.
There wasn't internet access or phone reception or many tv channels. The Collector brought her DVD set of the Brady Bunch series that the kids watched early in the morning. You can see Alice sprawled out on the Brady astroturf on the screen. That crazy Alice.

I loved every lamp, rug, wall color. Guess what? There was Filmy Green on the walls all over the house. That gave me a thrill.
The house was very open. It was loft-like but still with doors and walls. There were three of these windows that overlooked the main room. They weren't really closed off due to open space around the leaf etched glass. They swiveled open at by pushing either side of the window which the kids loved. It was something like Laugh In with all of the featured players replaced by my kids. They would open up the windows and sing or say something silly or ask a question. It made me laugh every time.
Sleepy boys.
The Collector in her signature pose with Mr. Brady in the background. Whenever I tell The Collector I am taking a picture this is the pose she strikes. It shows her zest for life that she feels this stance represents her mood so often.

Long and lonely beaches without another soul in sight were only steps from our front door.
Look familiar?
I have such a thing for trees and branches.  I couldn't resist these huge tall vases with barren branches stuck in. (The taller vase was only knocked over once:)
The textiles sprinkled throughout the house were exquisitely selected, every couch, pillow, comforter and rug.
There was wonderful texture everywhere your eyes would fall.
More yes.
A big huge yes! The Collector and I jumped up and down and clapped at the sight of this bathroom mirror. I want one, please.
Do you see the Laugh In windows? Under the stairway was my little reading and knitting nook.
We enjoyed eating together around a big table again. My 15-year-old cooked two meals completely on his own for us. As a younger boy he cooked all of the time and gathered quite a collection of cookbooks. He always said he wanted to be a chef when he grew up and I thought that it really might happen. In recent years he has been busy with sports and studies so he hasn't cooked very much. Suddenly he has been interested again. He made a deluxe taco bar one night that required lots of chopping and organizing and coordinating. He warmed the shells in the oven and served with a towel over them to keep the warmth. The other night he made chicken carbonara that featured sauteed red and yellow peppers, mushrooms and onions. Yum. The other kids helped out a little but he was the definitely the head chef. It was excellent. 5 stars from mom.
There were so many quiet, peaceful spots tucked about the house. It made you sigh and long for time.
I love the metal wall sculpture and the barn red highlights sprinkled throughout the house. Note to self: deep red and shades of green and khaki and gray and black and white = one good color mix.
The wall colors were all soothing. These closet doors slid open on the exposed black tracks above the doors. They were smooth as silk.
I enjoyed this comfy spot over looking the pathways in the front yard. In front of this chaise there is a fireplace. Could you imagine sitting here with a good book on a cold fall or winter day with a fire burning? Yes.
The counter tops were all concrete, which is the best. I love concrete inside and out of homes, anytime. This one is flecked with green bits. The kitchen counter tops are concrete as well.
The Collector still wears her adorned flip flops I made a couple of years ago. I can't believe they still fit. Here is how you make some fun loopy flip flops for your little girl. The rug is awesome, the best colors and shapes.
Perfect paths for running races were naturally cleared all around the house.
This book sat on the large bulky wood coffee table in the main room.
I skimmed through it and found the Eco House as a featured house. It was interesting reading about the Chicago based architect, Nathan Kipnis, and all of the thought and detail that went into his design.
The stair railing had these heavy wire strings that of course the kids (and my husband) plucked like guitar strings. They actually sounded like a bass guitar. Funny.
The pendent lights were green but the scrambled eggs my husband made were not.
Four seats, four kids.
The kitchen was spectacular with every appliance being top notch.
I have that same red tea pot at home. The stones on the wall were our favorite. In fact, we loved the pebble tile on the backsplash so much we are considering doing the same for our kitchen. I have a pebble tile sample in my hands right now. It was so full of earthiness and nature and interest and texture. Love it. I am still considering options for tile right now. This is a strong contender.
Door County, Wisconsin is full of beauty and rich natural settings and skinny country roads.
But the best part of Door County and staying at the Eco House for me was spending time with this lovable bunch. Who could ask for more than that? 

Thanks for looking at my photo album with me today.
best, susie

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Winning Ticket

Hi Knitters,
I'm back and back at it! Hope you all had a good week. The weekend has come and strangely enough it feels very fall-like around these parts. It is cool and gray. I had a fantastic trip, can't say enough about it. We stayed in an incredible house which I am going to share the details of in my next post. I was so inspired by this house and I think you might be too.

I want to simply share the winning comment this morning to close up the Super-Duper Giveaway. I fired up the random number generator and the winning comment is:

Anonymous Laura Macfarlane said...


I love your blog. I heard you interviewed on Craftsanity a while back and went to your blog from there. You have inspired me to take up knitting and I absolutely love it. i appreciate your energy for life - family creating, exercise, etc. Thanks for all you do.

Laura M. from the San Francisco Bay Area
August 22, 2009
Yay and congratulations to Laura! You have two days, which means through Monday, August 31st to contact me. My email is on the sidebar. You need to send me your mailing address so I can ship off your package of winnings next week.
It's good to be back home although my home is not the most inviting place right now. In fact, it is downright gross around here. I will share some photos of the progress being made with the renovation in an upcoming post. It has gone well and on schedule with only a few bumps here and there. However, I see no end in sight yet which is a little distressing.
I see the areas in the house coming together which is wonderful but then I see the loads of displaced stuff in boxes and books and furniture and artwork for the walls and my entire kitchen packed in hampers in my is a long, messy road ahead.
best, susie

Monday, August 24, 2009

She's Gone

Hi Knitters,
Here's the thing, I am leaving for a few days. I don't know if I will have internet access where I am going. Still continue to enter in my Super-Duper Giveaway because it isn't closed and it won't be closed until this weekend. Keep those entries coming in! If the entries are not posted right away they all will be posted when I get to it. No worries there, Knitters. I've got you covered.

Here's the other thing, when I am on vacation without internet access I can't send out pattern orders immediately. If you order a pattern from my shop over the next few days I will send it out to you as soon as possible when I return. I personally send out all orders via email. I really like doing it this way because people often write me notes and requests and then I can keep track of the orders and respond to people. However, this means that if I am gone the patterns do not get sent out immediately. You will have your pattern in your inbox by this weekend, I promise. No worries there either, Knitters. 

That's enough about that: ) 

One more thing, I have had several questions about the Flower Cardigan from Itty-Bitty Nursery over the last couple of days, which seems a little funny. I have been having an extremely busy last couple of days including a huge knitting project deadline which I just completed and mailed off today. I haven't had time to look up the pattern to refresh my memory and then to figure out the answers yet. I will do this on my return as well. In the meantime Ravelry is a great place to ask questions and to get answers. My Ravelry group is Itty-Bitty Knits. You may want to ask over there to see if someone can help if you can't wait.
Ahhhhhh. I will be doing lots of this.
And lots of that.

I'll be back before you know it. I'll miss you.
best, susie

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Super-Duper Giveaway!

Hi Knitters,
I'm cleaning out big time. Which means if you want to win a big bunch of yarn you are in luck. I am throwing in a sweet little handmade apron in a 4-5 year-old size. I bought this for The Collector and she only wore it once or twice. It has been folded up in a drawer for years so it needs a good press. It is in perfect condition. The Collector isn't much of an apron girl and I'm not either. The apron has two buttons in the back. It is completely adorable and vintage looking and some little girl out there would just love it. It would make a great art smock, too.
Okay, here is the yarn that I will happily pack up and send to you when you win:
3 skeins of Tahki Cotton Classic in light blue (already wound full skeins)
2 skeins of Tahki Cotton Classic in off white (already wound full skeins)
4 skeins of Tahki Cotton Classic in white (already wound full skeins)
1 skein of Tahki Cotton Classic in red (already wound full skein)
2 skeins of Rowan All Seasons Cotton in Lemon (really pretty yellow)
2 skeins of Rowan All Seasons Cotton in Orange Creamsicle  variegated
1 skein of Rowan All Seasons Cotton in Denim variegated
1 skein Classic Elite Provence in purple
1 skein Classic Elite Provence in blue (already wound full skein)
2 skeins Tahki Cotton Classic Tweedy Cotton in multi blue, red and yellow
1 skein Tahki Cotton Classic Tweedy Cotton in multi purple, green and pink
1 skein Noro Sukara (gorgeous!!)
1 skein Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in Georgetown #152 (gorgeous!!)
1 skein Cascade Luna 100% Peruvian Cotton in yellow

Yep, all of that is included. That's enough yarn for a whole lot of baby hats or for anything you feel like. I need to clear out and I hope you can help.

Leave me a comment on this blog post and say hi, tell me something good, tell me something funny, whatever comes to mind. Leave some sort of identifying information like a name, location, link, email address (it's up to you). Please do not email me to enter, you need to leave a comment. I am not sure when I will end this contest. Next week is spotty for me, I will be in and out and my work load is never-ending. I am just opening the contest up and then I will end it when I get a chance. I am leaving it at that. Leave only one comment, please. 

I will randomly select a winner with a number generator. I will post the winner on my next blog post. The winner will have 2 days after I post to contact me with their mailing address. If I don't hear from the winner after 2 days I will select a new winner and then I will post it on the blog.

That's all. Have fun! Go for it!
best, susie
p.s. more to come...this is hardly scratching the surface.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Meeting Allegra

Hi Knitters,
Yesterday I had the opportunity to hang out with Allegra Wermuth for an hour or two at Lakeside Fibers.  Allegra had contacted me awhile ago about getting together during her time in Madison this week. She is from Colorado but is visiting family here. I was glad to meet her.

As I walked in the door of the shop I spotted a new issue of Yarn Forward. I picked it up to page through as I waited for Allegra to arrive. She got a little lost on the way but she made it after a call to the shop to get directions. Anyway, I was flipping through the pages and lo and behold there was a feature on Allegra's new site called Petite Purls. I was so excited and I wondered if she had seen the page yet.

Anyway, when she arrived at Lakeside the first thing I asked her was if she had seen the page on her site in the magazine. She hadn't seen it yet and she was thrilled about it. It was fun to get to share that moment with her. It is huge publicity for her new site. Petite Purls is a brand new online magazine that offers free knitting patterns for kids and babies. It is very well done. Sort of like Knitty for the kid/baby crowd. The first issue was released this summer. Be sure to check it out if you get a chance. It is a good place to submit for publishing if you are interested in designing and pattern writing. Allegra founded the site with Brandy aka Pixie Purls.

Allegra's daughter is beautiful and so good. She was a busy little one year old but no trouble at all. I was impressed and glad I got to meet her, too. It is always fun to meet a knitter on the move and that's exactly what Allegra is! Watch out Knitting World!

By the way, check out Allegra's Boheme free pattern. It's a good one.

Bye for now!
best, susie

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

An All-Purpose Skirt

Hi Knitters,
Since The Collector slept, once again, in her new skirt I sewed about a week ago, I had her stand still for a quick snapshot when she woke up this morning. How convenient is that being dressed for the day just by crawling out of bed? Oh to be a kid...

The skirt is a good all-purpose skirt because you can wear it, sleep in it, play (hard) in it and you could even dress it up if the occasion ever arose, which it usually doesn't around these parts. The pattern for the skirt is by Indygo Junction and it is called, Girly Gored Skirt IJ829. I bought the pattern and fabric here. The size range is for 2-10 year olds but it is generous sizing and could be easily modified for even bigger sizes. You really go by measurements.

The Collector picked out 4 different cotton fabrics all by herself. You don't need much of any one print. She especially likes the panel (look above) on the right front with the dotted swirls. It's called Fairy Dust. Of course.
The skirt has an elastic waist which I could have cinched in a bit more before stitching it closed but it's okay for now. I'll probably open up the seam and fix that when I get a chance. The flair at the bottom makes for good swirling action. (Don't you love that ratty hair? I do.) What a simple, well-written pattern. This is my first sewn garment. I am pretty pleased if I do say so myself:)

I love the sewing so much. I am becoming slightly obsessed I'm afraid. I am longing to finish the quilt I started last month. I am so close to being done. The renovation and work have sidelined me for the time being.
As soon as this house project is done, that old quilt project is coming out in full force. In fact, I saw this quilt project yesterday and am nearly having a heart attack about it. That quilt is making me long to finish my first quilt and make another one just like this and fast. I love the quilted lines and how they are not exactly measured and straight. That is my kind of quilting.

Here is the new dusty unfinished wood floor in the kitchen. The wood really warms the room up. My girls are having fun with this big empty room for the moment. Along with their neighbor friends yesterday and well into the night, the kitchen became a stage. There was dancing and costume and pageantry galore. It was pretty funny stuff and it literally went on for hours. The littlest neighbor, who is 6, started calling at 7:30 a.m. this morning to restart the action with my girls again this morning. They were game but had to move the "show" outside because of the construction.
After I took the other kitchen shot I then turned to my right and saw this lonely sight. This pretty much sums the kitchen situation up, a lone toaster oven set up on a gardening bench. I need not say more.

Have a super-duper Tuesday, Knitters. I have loads of knitting work to do, a doctor's appointment for my ongoing rotten and painful heel issue (plantar fasciitis). Ouch! And last but not least, I am meeting up with Allegra Wermuth, who is in town, and who is one of the founders of Petite Purls. That should be fun.

One last thing, this new free pattern should be up and available for download in a couple of days if you are interested.

Bleh, that's it!
best, susie