Friday, February 26, 2010

Alana's Toy Share

Hi Knitters,
A favorite knitter/blogger/podcaster/designer/photographer, Alana Dakos, has been toy knitting her way through the Ravelympics. She gave me permission to use her beautiful photos of the toys she has made from Itty-Bitty Toys. Alana does exquisite work and I love following her many, many talents.

Take a look with me!
Gorgeous and sweet...
Wrapped up like a burrito (that's a quote from Alana:). Yum.

This is the Wrap Me Up Puppy from Itty-Bitty Toys. Click here for the pattern information.
Little Lamb is next on the ticket. Here is the pattern information for the Lamb. This pattern is now available for free in a couple of places (click on the link to find out where).
Alana is the mother of an adorable little sweetheart who reaps the benefits of her fantastic knitting. I am begging you to go listen to this quick audio of her daughter's reaction to the Egg to Bluebird toy Alana made her from Itty-Bitty Toys.

Please go listen, you won't regret it. It is so sincere and sweet. The link is right below:

Alana's blog link is here. You'll find her podcast information and her original pattern information on her sidebar. She has some of the cleanest, most beautiful patterns for purchase that I've ever seen. She is a real talent. She has patterns for kids and adults. Her blog is a treat, like a big piece of chocolate cake.

Recently, Alana started designing for Spud & Chloë, too. I am thrilled about this. She is really good. Check out her first design for Spud & Chloë called, The Li'l Man Vest. It's the best.

Here is the link for Alana's Ravelry Group (which I am a member), Never Not Knitting. She has quite a following, well-deserved.

Thanks, Alana, for letting me share your terrific work. You are a joy.
best, susie

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Best Friends Forever

Hi Knitters,
There are two silly and clever bloggers out there who had a good time with their knitted giraffes from Itty-Bitty Toys. I got such a kick out of their sense of humor that I asked permission to share some of their photos with you. Please hop over to their blogs to check out their knitting and other posts, too, you won't regret it. Laurelena writes the Tangled blog. Her friend Kris writes the Knifty Red blog. They are both wonderful blogs filled with excellent knitting!

Thank you both for letting me share your fun!

The giraffe friends visited a local yarn shop, Nana's Knitting Shop, and turned that place upside down. The visit started with a little quiet time and reading (an excellent book choice I might add:).
Aren't they sweet? Why is it that two of something always looks cuter than one? More to look at I guess.
Then the friends started getting a little more rambunctious when they decided to climb the yarn cubbies.
That's a long stretch even for a giraffe.
Phew! Made it.
Snuggle bugs.
Those are some good hugging arms.
That's love if I've ever seen it. What a day to remember.

Thanks again to Laurelena and Kris for letting me share. You and your giraffes made my day!
best, susie
p.s. For another dose of cuteness take a look at what Kristin Nicholas has been up to on her farm. This blew me away. Kristin is incredible. I am definitely ordering a set of her new postcards or you can get her newest downloadable pattern.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Hi Knitters,
Last night was the culmination of a long high school swim season for both of my boys. The State Swim Meet was last Saturday. We hosted the end of year Team/Family potluck at our house. This was my front entryway after I created a path to walk through. Before I made the path it was just a sea of shoes straight up to the door. There were over 100 people filling our house to the brim.

The boys never seem to mind when it is crowded. They huddle around each other and sit on the floor. My son is the one in the black sitting on the couch. He sat with his friend's legs draped over him for almost the entire night. I love how there are six boys looking at the tiny screen in the one boy's hands. These boys are so funny. I just love watching them and hearing them laugh.
One family spent hours pulling together a dvd of the season's highlights. Everyone gathered to watch. We had two huge screens set up for the viewing. It was really fun. This is a great group of people to be around. Everyone helps out and pitches in.
Our team finished as the state champion runner-up! They were seated third going into the meet so this was a fantastic finish. It was the most exciting swim meet I have ever seen and I have been watching swim meets for over 30 years so that says something. The boys are amazing and fun. I feel so honored to have the chance to be involved with them in a tiny way.

I am a tired cookie this morning but it is a good tired. In a couple of weeks we will be planning the final team banquet with the other captain's parents. There is still more work to be done but we are almost at the end.

Now, about that book manuscript that's due today....

Have a good Monday, Knitters.
best, susie

Friday, February 19, 2010

Wordless Crazy Hair Day Tutorial

Hi Knitters,
TC has crazy hair day at school. This is what we came up with!

There you have it!

The blue ice art piece from the last post is in Family Fun magazine. It may be on their site. I got a lot of questions about how to make one. TC made it at Girl Scouts so I don't have much more information than that for you. It was frozen in a tin pie plate with a cup set in for the center hole. There were colored ice cubes set in. That's all I know. It is still a beautiful sight hanging on our tree.

Good Friday to you all:)
best, susie

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I Purled My Knit

Hi Knitters,
Do you see it there on the rib? I do and I'm leaving it in. That's how I roll sometimes. I think it is funny. I am sure it was dark when I did that.
My son's Track Jacket is in the works again. I started it last summer and finished the back and fronts only to find out it was too small even with additional length added. I reluctantly ripped it out. That's just a whole lot of brown stockinette stitch to rip out. I let it stew around for a bit but realized there wasn't any other good solution.

The yarn is Spud & Chloë Sweater in the Chipmunk colorway. It is gorgeous.
Here is attempt number two, size XL with added length in the body and arms. He is a long-john with very broad shoulders. This second version is my Ravelympics project for Team Itty-Bitty Knits. I am not trying to be negative but I highly doubt I'll finish within the time frame. I have too much going on to believe I will finish but I am trying to get as far as I can. Every minute I am not doing "work" knitting or writing I am trying to work on the Track Jacket. I have to say it is kind of fun to be working on a big huge sweater when all I've been doing lately are little knitted things. The Ravelympics are definitely giving me a kick start in getting this project done. That is a good thing. I'll just do the best I can.
TC went to her Girl Scout meeting at a friend's house last week and made this wonderful sun-catcher blue icicle making thing. It is colored ice that was in an aluminum pie tin. Today is the first icicle I've seen. I can't wait for her to see it after school.
I love it.
best, susie

Monday, February 15, 2010

Quick Share

Hi Knitters,
I have a quick share for you this morning. Peachy has finally knitted up enough squares for a baby blanket. Since her squares are all different sizes she relinquished the stitching together duty to me. She has been going to a knitting club at the church across the street from our house with our neighbors. The group does tons of charity knitting on an ongoing basis. They donate to all kinds of charity groups. We don't go to the church so it is nice that they welcome my girls so readily. The group meets once a month and they serve hot chocolate and cookies. I think there is a lot of eating and hot chocolate drinking involved, maybe more so than knitting but that's what is so fun.
Anyway, Peachy has been collecting her squares in a box in her room and she finally pulled them all out. We put them all out on the table and I think those are the sweetest squares I have ever seen. Can't you just see all of the hard work that went into those squares?

I'll show you the finished blankie when I get it stitched together.
This past weekend was a full one. My son had the high school sectional swim meet on Saturday. He is so fun to watch. Can you pick out my son on the podium? Look closely, I bet you can find an identifying something....

The only reason I am showing you this photo is because I thought you all would appreciate how much I love to see my son wear his Surefire Hat (ravelry link, purchase the pattern). He NEVER takes it off! I am not kidding. Now do you see him? The reason the podium is so crowded is because this award was for the medley relay. The woman in blue would not get out of the way... grrrrr. Down in front!

Then right after the meet this same son invited the team over to our house for a couple of hours. Which is great. There were about 15 swimmers over eating, drinking and goofing around. They are a good bunch.

This same son went to the mid-winter dance that night and, of course, invited the group of 14 kids and their parents over to our house to take pre-dance photos. I don't even know how many people were there. It was a wonderful group of kids and parents. My son's date's mother told my son it was the first time she had seen him without his hat. See? Then when they were leaving for dinner my son threw on his Surefire Hat and went out the door in his tie and dress pants. So funny.

After everyone left, my husband looked at me with glazed eyes and said, "I am burned out." I seconded that motion.

Just to fill you in on my week ahead, on Friday we are hosting the swim team for a potato/pasta dinner. On Saturday it is the state swim meet and then there is an after-state dinner at a Chinese restaurant. On Sunday we are hosting the Team/Family potluck at our house. The team has 33 swimmers and each swimmer will have multiple people attending this event. How many do we think we can squeeze into our little house? We'll find out this weekend!!

One more thing, my book manuscript is due on Monday, February 22nd. That's right. That's what I said. Why, oh why?

Well, let's see how I hold up this week. Say a little prayer for me. Okay, lunch packing duty is calling my name. Have a good Monday everyone.
best, susie

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hi Knitters,
Here's wishing you sweet love on Valentine's Day!
best, susie
p.s. The photo is from my first Valentine's Day with this blog in February, 2007.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Big New Tour Dates!

Hi Knitters,
I need to get my remaining tour dates up and out there because they are quickly approaching. Before I dive into that I have to tell you a funny story. Yesterday I was picking up my daughter after school. I pulled up behind another minivan on the side of the street to wait for her. I was looking down and knitting but when I glanced up the mom parked in front of me had rolled down her window and was simply holding her knitting (the Watermelon Hat) out of her open window so I could see it. I laughed, nodded and gave her a thumb's up. I don't know why but I found that whole thing so amusing. No words were spoken just a quick showing of her hat on the needles out the car window and all was understood. Our kids got in their respective vans and we drove off. That silent exchange spoke volumes to me...

Amy, you made my day!

The photos in the post today are of the Matryoshka Dolls or Russian Nesting Dolls from Itty-Bitty Toys.

Okay, to the business at hand! I am heading out on tour once again for a few final dates for Itty-Bitty Toys. I am speaking, teaching, greeting and meeting and signing books starting again in March.
Here are the dates and places I will be over the next month or so:

Dayton, Ohio!
EVENT DATE: Thursday, March 4, 2010
LOCATION: Books & Co. (the original store) at 350 E. Stroop Road, Dayton, Ohio 45429
SPECIFICS: Author talk about ITTY-BITTY TOYS and trunk show; Q&A; casual “meet and greet” and book signing.
EVENT/BOOKSIGNING DATE: Thursday, March 4, 2010
LOCATION: Books & Co. (the new store) at 4453 Walnut Street, Dayton, OH 45440
SPECIFICS: Trunk show with a casual “meet & greet” book signing.

Chicago, Illinois!
EVENT/BOOKSIGNING DATE: Friday, March 5, 2010
LOCATION: nina: a well-knit shop, 1655 West Division Street, Chicago, Illinois 60622
SPECIFICS: This will be a casual “meet & greet” book signing and trunk show.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin!
Greater Milwaukee Knitters Guild
Tuesday, March 9th @ 7PM
Itty-Bitty author talk and trunk show sharing and a casual meet and greet/book signing.

Philadelphia, PA!
EVENT/BOOKSIGNING DATE: Thursday, March 11, 2010
LOCATION: Loop, 1914 South Street, Philadelphia PA 19146
SPECIFICS: The format is being discussed right now to accommodate as many knitters as possible and I'll clarify asap!

New York, NY!
EVENT/BOOKSIGNING DATE: Saturday, March 13th 2010
LOCATION: Knitty City, 208 West 79th St., New York, NY 10024
SPECIFICS: This will be a casual “meet & greet” book signing.
I am so excited about these upcoming events. I will post these on my sidebar as well for future reference. I will dig up the links at that time, too.

Hope to see and meet as many of you as possible. My wonderful sister is coming with me to Philadelphia and NYC so that will make things extra terrific. If you are planning on coming to any of these events please feel free to drop me a comment or email to let me know if you'd like. I've already heard from lots of people who are going to try and make it. Thank you ahead of time!! It is also nice to let the shops or book stores know you are attending but it isn't necessary at all. All of these events are very casual and drop-in or open-house style gatherings.

Have a great weekend. The Knitting Olympics or Ravelympics are starting tonight and I am joining in for the first time. I am on the Itty-Bitty Knits team. I'll tell you more about that later. If you are participating, I wish you good luck.
best, susie

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Winner for 60 Quick Knits!

Hi Knitters,
Wow, there is a lot of interest in 60 Quick Knits! How fun! I have randomly selected a winner. Here is the winning comment:

Blogger Laura said...

Looks like a great book and what a great yarn that is, too. Thanks for hosting this!
Congratulations to Laura! Laura did leave her email so I will get in touch or she can email me to provide a mailing address or maybe we'll do both. You have until Saturday, Feb. 13th to contact me. If not by then I will select a new winner. Remember that the book is yet to be released so there will be a slight delay in getting your book.

I am anxiously awaiting my copy of the book, too. It seems like it will be a good one to have on hand.
I found some photos of the hat so now I know I made it last August. Good thing for my photos or many things would be forgotten.

One more thing, I just posted a new free pattern on Spud says!, which is my other blog. The new free pattern is for a earflap hat made in Outer. The Collector designed it herself. She named it TC's Cozy Hat.

Have fun!
best, susie

Monday, February 08, 2010

Win a Copy of 60 Quick Knits!

Photo by Jack Deutsch

Edited Feb. 10, 2010: The contest is now closed! Thank you to everyone who entered.

Hi Knitters,
I was just reminded about this hat I knitted for the upcoming book, 60 Quick Knits! I honestly can't even remember when I made this project but it was probably last summer. Tanis Gray emailed me to say she had someone bail on her for this Sixth & Spring book project. She was in need of some sort of child's hat and she needed it in a hurry. Tanis called the right girl! I was sent 3 gorgeous colors of Cascade 220 with the freedom to create whatever I wanted as long as it was a hat. Every project in the book is made in Cascade 220. It is a great book concept: 20 hats, 20 scarves, 20 mittens! The book includes fun and quick little projects that are all very affordable due to the yarn. Sounds good to me.

I made this fun little bobble band slouchy hat in a quick day or two, wrote up the pattern and whisked it straight back to NYC. Then I promptly forgot all about it. About a week ago I received this gorgeous photo of the hat. What a nice surprise. I love the shot. The hat is playful and versatile and just plain fun.

Now the book is going to be released very soon. Pre-orders are being taken here. It will be available in March I am guessing. Here is the information on the press release:

In 60 Quick Knits today’s top knitwear designers come together to create an irresistible collection of
hats, scarves and mittens—all in the popular yarn Cascade 220. Its a stunning volume with all new
projects and something for everyone, from an adorable monkey-face hat or a dazzling mosaic pattern
scarf to a classic muffler or Fair Isle flower mittens.
A wide range of simple, enjoyable and beautiful
projects attests to the versatility
of Cascade 220. Create:
More than 35 noted knitwear designers have
contributed creations, along with their own
personal knitting tips. Designers include:
8 Susan Anderson
8 Amy Bahrt
8 Cathy Carron
8 Tanis Gray
8 Debbie O’Neill
8 Jean Suzuki
8 Lois Young, and more!
8 Classically chic garments, such as a cabled scarf and
faux-houndstooth mittens.
8 Playful accessories, from bunny mittens for children
to a funky diagonal stripe hat.
8 Modern adornments, like a menswear-inspired neck
wrap or an updated pillbox hat.
8 Gorgeous colorwork designs, including Scandinavian-
style mittens and a drop-stitch cap.

Here is the exciting part, Tara, the publicist for Soho Publishing, has generously offered one of you a free copy of 60 Quick Knits! I can't let this chance pass you by. This looks like it will be a fun, useful book and I want you to have the chance to win a copy.

Please leave a comment on this post to win! Leave only one comment with an identifying something or other like your name, location, a link, an email (this would be extra great and easy for me!), etc. I will pick a random winner in a day or two or three, just whenever I get time and it looks like entries are slowing down. The winner will need to contact me after the announcement to provide a mailing address. I will pass this information on to the lovely Tara and she will send out the book as soon as it is available. You will be one of the first to get a copy!! How fun is that?

Okay, go for it!!!
Happy Monday to you all.
best, susie

Friday, February 05, 2010

Our Day Off

Hi Knitters,
I didn't really have a day off but my daughter did so I kind of did, too. Remember Peachy? I don't write about her much on here because she doesn't want me to but today she said it was okay. She is 13 years-old and she is the only one of my kids with a day off from school today. All week she kept counting down to Friday plus she kept telling me she wanted to spend the whole day with me. I have so much work to do but how could anyone resist a girl like Peachy. It's impossible.

Right away in the morning Peachy asked if I would play Monopoly with her. Recently we got the new version of the game with a really cool calculator and credit cards. You can add and subtract and transfer money on this calculator. Peachy loves it and has to be in charge every time. This new version makes Monopoly so much more fun because it moves a lot faster without all of the paper money set up and counting as you go. I love the new electronic upgrade here. Genius.

A little later we went to the Scrapbook Superstore where she picked out stickers and paper and blank cards. She loves to make homemade cards with sweet little notes. I love her cards. She had never been to this store before and she was so fun to watch. She walked up and down every aisle looking carefully at all of the choices. She loved it. She is never greedy either. She only picks out a few things. I never have to tell her how much to pick out because it is never very much. She is content with so little.

Next we went to a swim shop so she could get a couple of new suits for swim team. Those suits start to disintegrate from all of the chlorine. She was in great need. She felt really good about that. Right near the swim shop is one of my favorite local restaurants, Villa Dolce. This means sweet house in Italian, we asked our waitress. This teeny tiny spot makes me so happy. We had lemonades, carrot bisque with a crunchy cheese bread on the side and yummy salads. Peachy loves a good salad ever since she was a little girl. As we were leaving we spotted a brand new bakery right next door, Bloom Bake Shop. We popped in to take a look.
Bloom Bake Shop, on Parmenter in Middleton, is really interesting and adorable. Take a look at their site to read about the pieces they gathered to put in their shop, all recycled, reused, locally made and it looks like it is straight out of a movie. Their boxes are biodegradable with ribbon made out of recycled plastic bottles. Their ingredients are seasonal and locally and organically grown. Little did we know that the bakery had opened its doors for the first time only a couple of hours before we walked through the door. It was packed full of customers but Peachy thought we were the only non-related customers, I agreed. She is funny how she notices things. The owner was the cutest thing. She was bubbling with excitement as she told us all about her shop. She was so proud. This is a little shop on a mission.

When Peachy and I got home we got the tea pot fired up and made some hot chocolate to go with our Bloom Bake Shop cupcakes. If you look at the menu on the site you'll see how cute the choices of cupcakes are. We each got the Be Silly cupcake which is banana chocolate chip with cream cheese frosting. Oh, was it delicious. Really. Can't stop thinking about it type of delicious. We picked up a Be Decadent chocolate cupcake with blue frosting for TC. We couldn't leave her out. That wouldn't be right.
Peachy also got a hair cut at Cost Cutters and then I gave her a blow dry and flat iron treatment at home. She loved it so much. We asked about the getting her hair styled at the shop but it would have added about $45 to the cost. That seemed a little steep for a 13-year-old.

We continued our Monopoly game along with The Collector because she came home from school by this time. Monopoly is a looooong game so we eventually called it quits. It was really fun. It was a busy and full day of activity. Peachy asked me what was my favorite part of our day off. Being with her. Easy.
My son is swimming in his last high school swim meet tomorrow. He is a senior so this is his last year. Last night he came home with a mohawk with a star cut out in the back all done by a team mate. Tonight he will come home completely bald. It is sad to think his swimming will be coming to an end but he is so happy that it makes it all feel okay.

There is a lot going on around here right now. I will probably end up working tonight and off and on all weekend to make up for my day off but it was worth it. I love my Peachy. She gets her braces off on Monday, too. Another count down has been going on for that event. This is big time stuff.

On another subject, Knit Circus Magazine just came out with their first online magazine. It looks fantastic! This is a Madison based magazine and I met the editor Jaala at the Madison Knitters Guild meeting. She is wonderful.

Click here to check out the new Knit Circus online magazine. The articles and recipes are free and the patterns are for purchase. It is a lot like Twist Collective. Knit Circus is well-done and the patterns are fantastic. I love the new online version just as much if not more than the paper version.

I've gotten a lot of questions about the pattern or how I made the kitchen towel bags. I honestly didn't use a pattern but to learn how to make a basic bag I love and recommend the book, Sew What Bags by Lexie Barnes. There is a basic tote kind of like the versions I made. I added a rounded gusset at the bottom so the bags would stand. The width of the bags I made was determined by the towel size. I like a longer and thinner handle so I made my extra long, about 28 inches or so and about 1/2 to 1-inch wide.

Have a good weekend everyone!
best, susie