Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Debbie Bliss Strikes Again

Hi Knitters,
Reading this brief "about the author" blurb about Debbie Bliss sort of sums it up:

"Debbie Bliss has been designing knitwear for more than two decades. She is the best-selling author of more than 30 books on knitting design and has her own line of luxurious yarns which are sold worldwide. She designed a line for Baby Gap and a line of little boys' wear for Marks & Spencer. She lives with her husband and daughter in London."

Debbie is a constant source of inspiration for anyone who enjoys baby knitting (and adult knitting and home decor knitting and toy knitting, etc). She has a signature style that is easily recognizable. Her newest book, Design It, Knit It, Babies, takes you on a journey through the design process. She shares tips and tricks, sizing, shaping, embellishments and she includes 18 incredibly sweet designs to put your skills to the test.
The book is a hardcover with a concealed spiral inside which is everyone's favorite. Debbie sprinkles swatches and sketches and texture on the pages. She offers patterns for different basic garment shapes and hats and mittens, too.
Different styles of pockets and zippers and edgings are included throughout. I love the pocket with the stripey inside. Sweet surprises are always good.
I love all of these edgings. Yummy. Debbie is the queen of simple but adorable details. She has a whimsical style at times but it is always subdued and tasteful.
The photography is always exquisite and inviting in all of Debbie's books and this one is no exception.
There is knitter's graph paper and blank templates that you can photocopy and use. The blank templates come in several different sweater styles. The book really gently pushes you to come up with your own designs while using Debbie's tried and true patterns as the base for your work.
The ballerina wrap sweater is a a Debbie Bliss classic. Love. Love. Love. Knit one of these from Debbie for The Collector when she was a toddler. It had tiny flowers all over it that I duplicate stitched on.
And who doesn't love a garter stitch cardigan?

If you would like a copy of this fantastic baby knitting treasure please leave a comment on this post! I will take entries over the next several days. Please leave one comment only and also leave some sort of identifying email address, ravelry id or something so I can easily get in touch if you win. I will need your mailing address to send on to the lovely Tara at Sixth & Spring Publishing so she can send you your book! I will randomly select a winner very soon!

Let the entries begin!
best, susie

Monday, July 26, 2010

Summer Lovin'

Hi Knitters,
First off, I was interviewed for the Math 4 Knitters podcast espisode 30 and it is now up.

Math 4 Knitters is also available on itunes.

We popped TC's garden stone out of the mold. She is pleased. The stars glow in the dark so we spent some time in the bathroom with the door closed for an exclusive star-viewing. TC has been a busy girl this summer.
Her swim team had a tie-dying gathering yesterday. Before we went to the gathering we looked up folding techniques to try. Here is the link for the tie dye folding!
She got a good variety of designs. After these are washed the colors always fade significantly. It is fun to see them all bright and in the sun.
As we view the tie dyed shirts I have some other fun things to share. I just posted a fun little free pattern called, Butterflies, on Spud says!

It is a very sweet and fast little project to say the least. About half an hour after I posted the pattern someone on Ravelry had already posted a finished Butterfly Ring. She said it took her 20 minutes from beginning to end. Now her daughter won't take it off! Love that! What a perfect summer surprise.
This next link has nothing to do with anything but I stumbled across it and it just made me laugh. Take a look here at The Pioneer Woman's blog for a good laugh! I hope you find it funny, too.
Next, I ran across about the best looking porch I have ever seen. The mosaic table and rag rug are two of my all-time favorite items in general and then to have them on a front porch? Heaven. Take a look here to feel all cozy and summer-y!
I love these bags and fabric buckets found on the Bubbles and Boo shop! Oh, those are so great.
By the way, The Collector took all of the photos of the shirts and then even surprised me with the rubber band pile after they were removed from the dyed shirts. The funny thing is that when she took my camera outside to take some photos I thought to myself, I hope she takes a photo of the rubber band pile. Sure enough she did!

I have some books to share with you and to give away to you. I have to get going on that. That will be the next thing up for sure. I have a copy of Debbie Bliss: design it, knit it babies to review and giveaway. Check back if you are interested in entering on the next blog post.

Have a good start to your week! We are sure loving our summer in this neck of the woods.
best, susie

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sweet Bunny

Hi Knitters,
I ran across this adorable photo of the Bunny Tail hat (there are 745 versions posted on Ravelry right here) from Itty-Bitty Hats the other day right here. I had to share it with you. It was knit by Melissa. Here is Melissa's blog. The yarn she used is Berroco Vintage (Mocha).

Here is what Melissa wrote to me about the photo:

My good friend Elizabeth did the photography, the baby is her niece, Cara. She was less than a week old and about 6 lbs. When I knit the hat for her she wasn’t born yet, so I knit the normal 0-3 months size, it ended up being quite big, but she looked very sweet. Elizabeth always takes really great photos of my knits for me.
That's all today! The photo made me smile and I thought it might do the same for you.
best, susie

Monday, July 19, 2010

Art Rocks

Hi Knitters,
The Collector and I finally had some time yesterday to do a couple quick craft projects. She worked and worked. It felt so good to see her in the creative mode.
She mixed cement...
placed glow in the dark stars...
smoothed with a popsicle stick...
added glitter-filled glass... waited a couple of hours for the cement to harden and signed off.


Her peaceful garden stone will take several days to dry and will then be placed in her fairy garden.
Every year I look at this little mosaic terra cotta pot I made to see what else has fallen off. Joy has become Jo but there is still some good and interesting stuff to look at. I like it more the older it gets. Can you see the teeny tiny ceramic spoon hiding in there? On the other side there is a blue glass turtle still hanging on.

I really want to make some more of these.
Next, The Collector had come home from the neighbor's carrying a rock with a heart on it. She wanted to make more. She gathered up some more rocks from our yard. If they could stand upright it was a score so we tested them all. Only a few stood up on their own. I pulled out a bunch of Sharpies and it looks like I need a new set of these. I pick them up every once in a while but they wear out and get lost.
We brought the rocks inside, it was so hot and humid. We snacked on our favorite pretzels, HK Anderson's Peanut Butter Filled Nuggets. They are the best. Have you tried these? We buy our jug o pretzels at Costco if you are interested.
She pursed her lips in concentration...
she placed my bird rock in a tiny hummingbird nest she found a couple of months ago...
she drew ladybugs and clouds and hearts...
and I did, too....we decided this rock was shaped like a little bird...
she took a gardening scooper and dug up some moss in the back yard... she knew right where to look...
my sister stopped in and joined us to create her musical notes rock... TC placed the rocks on the moss...
we packed a few up in a gift bag and dropped it off on our neighbor's doorstep as a gift and the rest are now on our coffee table to enjoy.

Love this little crafty girl!

This morning I spotted another rock craft that I'd like to try. Here is the link to that! How about that?

Hope you all have a good start to the week.

best, susie

Friday, July 16, 2010

Made From Scratch

Hi Knitters,
I am measuring, calculating, knitting, trying on, reading various sweater formulas, measuring again, estimating....

Well, you get it. I am working on a top-down raglan from scratch. I considered doing a knitalong on Spud says! but then I thought since it is my first try it might be better to just go it alone. I wouldn't want to be responsible for making anyone rip out a sweater's worth of knitting.
I will share what I find out in the end. This is going to be the simplest of sweaters. Nothing fancy at all just straight forward and plain. In the end I always like and wear the simplest sweaters so that's my goal.

Maybe/Possibly if I like the end product I'll knit another one and we can do a knitalong together in steps. Let me know if you'd be interested in something like that. I keep hearing from people who have never made a sweater before and are nervous about it. This would be a perfect first step.

I have some fun and twisty ideas to go along with the sweater that I might just try. They are all in my head and I should write them down before I forget.
So far, so good! It is looking like a sweater. I have lots of notes written in my sketchbook. The yarn is Grape Jelly Spud & Chloë Sweater. I love this color so much, it is really deep and rich. I have no idea how many skeins it will take. I am still on my first skein.

There is something exciting about starting from scratch on any design. You never know what might happen...

You have to take a look at Jaime's blog for some sticky summer fun! I want to make some this weekend. She's a fun girl with recipes. Can't beat that.

Yesterday I baked sugar cookies and peanut butter cookies. The kids were so excited and so was I. We had the air conditioning on so I took advantage and fired up the ovens. I miss baking when I don't do it for awhile.

Have a good summer weekend everyone!
best, susie

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Hi Knitters,
I have been one happy and busy knitter. I really thought I would launch into a bunch of other crafts this summer but I have absolutely fallen in love with my knitting all over again. I literally can't get enough. So I will keep going with what is giving me so much fulfillment. I have been toting my rooster bag all over town, high and low and just around my house wherever I end up sitting.

I know I will get asked about the tote so here goes:
I sewed the Rooster Tote last winter.
I made up the pattern on the fly.
I bought 2 rooster kitchen towels at William Sonoma at Christmas time for the outside of the tote.
The red fabric is from Spool.
The natural cotton for the lining is from Jo Ann's.
I emptied it out this morning and I thought I would do a quick show and tell.
On the bottom of the bag is the sock I started knitting while I was on tour last fall. Don't you love how the ball of yarn looks hand-wound? It is wound in color sections. I just like looking at the ball while I work. It is awesome.
The free pattern for the sock is right here! I modified by doing the foot in stockinette stitch. I am at the toe! The yarn is called Zauberball and I bought mine at The Wool Cabin. Call them and they'll send you a ball, too. Here's their phone number and tell the ladies that Susan says hello:


Next up, I have the Citron packed up in my Sew Bendy bag (these are the best little project bags for sale on etsy) so the lace yarn doesn't get tangled.
I bought 2 skeins of the Malabrigo Lace yarn in the Sealing Wax colorway right here at the Sow's Ear. They had a lot of colors when I was there. Give them a call and they'll send you some, too:
Phone: (608) 848-2755
Spud & Chloë in Grape Jelly (it's new!) is simply a gorgeous colorway. I mean just look at that yummy yarn. I am in the midst of doing lots of research and experimentation.
I'll keep you posted on the progress and talk more specifically later... I am having so much fun with this. You can buy your own Grape Jelly right here! You will have your yarn in a couple of days.
I am making good progress with my Slinky Ribs sweater. It looks teeny tiny because of the ribbing but when you stretch it out it measures right on the mark. Love it.
The yarn is an oatmeal color in Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool which I have had in my stash for many years. I have a lot of this yarn stashed in a couple of different colors for some reason.

I have become obsessed with knitwear designer, Jane Richmond! She is insanely good and I have purchased a few of her patterns. You have to check her out. She'll knock your socks off. Plus she makes a gorgeous model to boot! I will share more about her projects when I start knitting them up.

Gotta run out the door!
best, susie

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Room with a View

Hi Knitters,
I don't have a room with a view so I'm sharing my view in a room today. It is filled with work and computer time and knitting and a new tiny project for the Spud & Chloë blog in the works. When TC saw the sweet delicate little butterflies she gasped. She immediately tried the rings on. I want to make a bunch more in different colorways. I love knitting little things like that. Coming soon.....

I have been working away on my Citron shawl. I'll take pictures soon to share. Maybe even tomorrow. Lace weight is a new thing for me. I am using the Malabrigo Lace and I really like it.

I have also been working away on Slinky Ribs. I like this one, too, and will share that progress as well. I have moved on to the fronts and those are going pretty quickly. The construction of this pattern is really different for me. It keeps me anxiously waiting to see how it is going to come together and that is fun. For the sleeves you need 3 different colored stitch markers. This sounds complicated to me but I am not going to judge until I try it! It probably is going to be pretty simple in the end.

Both of those projects are fun but neither one is fast! Slooooow as molasses to be exact.

I have a few new favorites to share, a couple of these projects I am making for my teenage daughter who is in love with the Twilight series:
DIY Ruffles Ruffles are still all of the rage around here.
Coquille Shawl from Knitty
Mustard Scarf! I love mustard and I love this scarf!
I have a big bag of Summer Tweed from a long time ago and I am going to make Summer Storm with it.

Talk to you soon!
best, susie

Friday, July 09, 2010

Skirts, Anyone?

Hi Knitters,
The 4th of July has come and gone. We celebrated at my sister's house with a feast and a family gathering. The girls had flags painted on their nails. Their friend, who is only 13, did the nail designs for them. She is like having a salon next door. She does hair, make-up and nails for the girls at the drop of the hat. I keep telling her that some day we will all be coming to her salon.
My sister called me the other day to tell me that there is a new store on Monroe Street in Madison. She told me that there is a rack of skirts on the sidewalk and that they looked incredibly cute. I couldn't pass that up so I popped in and was happy to see that the owner is none other than Orangy Porangy! That's right, she's opened her own shop right here in town.
Her shop is called Zip-Dang, Handmade Menagerie and Vintage Boutique. She has handmade skirts out of vintage and other fabrics, t-shirts, paper goods, vintage plate sets, artwork, eyeglasses, necklaces, magnets, bags, cool flea market home furnishings.... It is all gorgeous and handmade and fun. For the knitters out there, it is right next to the Knitting Tree! You could pop in both shops in no time at all.

My sister and I burst out laughing when we both showed up wearing our new Orangy Porangy Opal style skirts (which you can also order online) for the 4th of July gathering.
For the blog for the shop and website click here! One interesting and knitterly side note is that Debbie Stoller loves these skirts. She has featured them in Bust magazine and has worn an Opal skirt on tv before for interviews. The skirts have also been worn on Jimmy Fallon's late night show by the bassist, Kim Coletta, for Jawbox. It's all on the blog if you are interested. There is a famous scientist sporting the skirts around, too. It's an interesting mix:)

I am holding a second skirt that is owned by my sister. She looked so cute in her skirt she had to have a second. My skirt is summery so I'll have to get a couple more for fall and winter wearing. It will be the perfect excuse to pop back in the shop. Plus, Zip-Dang may be my new shop for gift shopping. There is a little something for any occasion and I love to shop at locally owned stores.
You can see the colors better here. I'm a total skirt girl. I live in skirts and these are quickly becoming my favorites! I love that Orangy Porangy is Madison based. The creator and her husband live right down the street from the shop. They have a shop set up at the Saturday morning farmers markets, too, right at the top of State Street on the square. Monroe Street, where the shop is located, is such a great neighborhood-y area. There is something for everyone on this fun eating and shopping street. Some of our favorite local restaurants (Pizza Bruta, Pasqual's and more) are just a few blocks away from Zip-Dang and the famous local custard shop, Michael's, is right across the street. For our anniversary my husband and I rented a canoe at Knickerbocker, also right across the street from Zip-Dang, for an hour and enjoyed a paddle around Lake Wingra. There is so much to do down there. Trader Joe's is right in the middle of the action, too. If you are in town don't miss out on Monroe Street.

I'll end the week with a few more fun things to look at!

I'm making this sweater from the new issue of Knitty, Mythos in Madelinetosh Sock in Tart! Here is the designer's blog post about the sweater. I think this is my favorite pattern in the bunch this time around on Knitty. There are lots of other interesting patterns as well. I think the construction of Mythos is what sold me right away. You make two halves and kitchener them together down the back. I love doing the kitchener stitch for some weird reason and I've never done it down the back of a sweater before.

Quince & Co. is a new yarn and pattern company. It is gorgeous! It's Pam Allen and Carrie Bostick Hoge so I would expect nothing less than the exquisite yarn and pattern line being offered. Congrats to all involved!

Carrie's blog is fantastic and fun. This is a new find for me.

I am making this sweater after seeing Amanda's gorgeous review and yarn recommendation. This should go fast on size 13 needles.

I like this big comfy cardigan, too! I would love an entire sweater in Manos wool. Wouldn't you?

Finally, my new free pattern is up on Spud says! It is a simple and quick pillow called Cush. It's perfect for your couch or for your child's bed or a sleepover pillow to pack in an overnight bag! You can whip this one up in no time at all.

Have a good Friday and weekend everyone. The weather is so beautiful today. The humidity has vanished.
best, susie