Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Morning, Noon and Night

Hi Knitters,
The knitting frenzy is continuing right on over here. The Collector wakes up early in the morning and starts her knitting....
... and continues right on into the late night. Things to note in this photo: TC wearing the original Chocolate Blues bonnet from Itty-Bitty Hats (they dug out my collection of hats from the book), the finished sock on our neighbor's leg, and how closely TC snuggles in next to her knitting buddy on the couch when there is plenty of room to spread out. Our neighbor is the most patient of the patient, thank goodness. TC practically sits on her. When they are knitting together they say, "We are one," and hold up their pinky fingers to touch. Then they laugh. Life is good.

That is another friend/neighbor-sister sketching in our huge coffee table sketchbook. These neighbor friends have a family of six girls so my girls are lucky to have them nearby. They have had more fun together over the years.

I stumbled up to bed at 11pm and left the knitters in my living room. They put me to shame. I have let TC live it up a little as school starts soon. I will be so sad when school starts.
I finished the Eclipse Hat for Peachy while sitting with the knitting girls. She loves it. Peachy has been knitting, too, as she started a lovely little baby hat of her own. She is on high school swim team right now and doesn't have much time between practice and sleeping. She joins in when she can.
This is one easy hat. I think I have enough yarn for another.
TC has learned how to purl, stitch in a fleece lining with needle and thread, use double-pointed needles and she is currently doing the single crochet. She lined her pumpkin hat with a pumpkin colored fleece.
She is so proud of her creations. What is better than that?
She made a modified football themed hat.
TC donated 6 hats to the Elizabeth House last Saturday. She was so excited to attend the knitting group she goes to with our neighbors to hand over her hats. She made 3 boy hats and 3 girl hats just to be fair and square. Elizabeth House is a place where mothers who are having a rough time can stay for awhile and receive support, classes and a general boost to get back on track. TC can't believe how lucky she is to get to give her hats to actual babies. I love that she has no problem giving away her creations like that. There is no thought to it at all.
She walks around with her knitting setting it down everywhere she goes. That's our piano bench that has to be cleared off in order to play. She has a hat and a pair of booties on the needles right now. Her fingers are always flying. She has taken to wearing yarn around her ankle, too. You can see it a little in the shot above.
Our sweet neighbor has finished one sock and has not taken her one sock off since she finished it days ago. I see her walking down the sidewalk in her Birki's with the one sock on, the other foot is bare. I can't stop smiling about it. She is on her second heel already so it won't be long until that toe comes around.
Who wouldn't wear that one sock all of the time? I would. And how's that for a first sock? Pretty impressive in my eyes. This girl is a smart cookie and a natural born knitter. I tell her something and she remembers and immediately knows what to do. I don't even write anything down for her. It is incredible to see.

The girls came home from the church knitting group with a batch of knitted and crocheted donated squares to make up a blanket. They are now spread out on my living room floor. They are working on putting the blanket together with crochet edgings and seams. I'll share photos of this later. It is too good to be true.

The knitting girls have made the end of my summer just about the best thing ever. Having their company is a blessing I don't take for granted.
best, susie

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Good Golly

Hi Knitters,
Miss Molly is so proud of her first hat. I taught her to knit one night when I had a gaggle of girls sitting in my living room knitting. She decided to join in. I quickly grabbed some needles and let her pick out her hat color. She caught on incredibly fast and worked on it non-stop, even knitting in bed. I love that. With all of her hard work she finished it up in a short couple of days.

Isn't she cute? She is pretty pleased with the result of her first project.
I added the ears for her and found some brown silk ribbon to top it off. The yarn is Blue Sky Worsted Cotton in the color called Aloe. I think the color of the ribbon and the yarn together are so sophisticated. The pattern is the Bunny Tail hat in Itty-Bitty Hats.
It's so fun to see success on the first try. I immediately cast on her second hat and she is off!

There has been so much crazy all day and late night knitting around here. I have a group of girls sitting in my living room chatting away and knitting at all hours of the day these past few days. I keep saying I have my own knitting group meeting daily at my house. It is really fun and I am not sure what exactly spurred on the flurry of knitting but I'll take it!

I'll be back shortly to share the rest of the success! These girls are on knitting fire.
best, susie

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Knit Explosion

Hi Knitters,
We've got a knitting explosion of sorts over here lately. Loads and loads of knitting has been going on over the last few days. Yesterday I found myself surrounded by girls and their knitting. TC has been going nuts with her hat knitting. Our neighbor has been going crazy on her sock knitting. My son's girlfriend learned to knit last night. I started her on a baby hat. Boy, did she catch on fast. I keep giving away my addi turbo circs and my dpns so I will need to replace all of those very soon. I give away yarn, too. I have too much anyway and I just love to see these young girls knitting away. It gives me great joy.

I am doing a ton of knitting and I have been loving the good company. Okay, above is the stripe-y top-down raglan I am knitting for TC over on the Spud says! blog. I am having a huge raglan knitalong over there. Please join me over at Spud says! to join in or to follow along. It is very casual. We are off to a great start. I have the first 2 parts of the custom fit "recipe" posted so far.

Click here for the Ravelry Top-Down Knitalong Project Page.
Here is the chair in my living room right now. I know, it's a mess. I am cleaning it up today. Even I can't take it. You can't see the entire scene of books, knitting magazines, needles, pencils, calculators, post-its, yarn labels, glasses, yarn scraps, scissors, yarn bags, etc. It is bad.

The tweedy hat is the Bella's Eclipse Hat (free pattern) that I am working up for Peachy. She is very excited about it and closely watching my progress.
Now for a TC knitting update. Over the last four days (not kidding) she has knitted three hats and has a fourth hat on the needles. Something has lit a fire under her and I like it. The hat above is knit in a Crystal Palace Yarn called Puffin. It is an stretchy tape-like yarn that has a super soft suede-like feeling to it. TC loves it and asked me to make a flower to add. I knitted that little flower up in a jiffy and stitched it on. It's a very sweet and tiny newborn-size hat.
She made this one out of some pink heathered Encore that we bought at Stitchers Crossing. She finished it late one night. When I came downstairs in the morning I found the hat on the hat stand and sitting on my chair. I couldn't stop smiling. What a sweet way to wake up.
This last completed hat is made out of one ball (48 yards) of Crystal Palace Chunky Mochi in the Baby Face colorway. TC is so crazy about this hat. She just loves this yarn and this hat. She made this entire hat in a couple of hours at most, start to finish.

I am seeing if TC would like to put out a mini-collection of her own baby hat patterns (with my help of course). She already has another hat on the needles so maybe when that one is done we'll pull together her body of work in pattern form. She says she just might be interested. Wouldn't that be fun? We'll see where the wind takes her...
Lastly, I have some new cloth designs going for the next installment of the Summer Camp Series. The next set is all based on a simple rib pattern with variations. Isn't that the best blue ever? It is sort of like a fresh burst of cool air. The color is called Glacier. Perfection. That is the Blue Sky Skinny Cotton.

That's it for now.
best, susie

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Stitched by Hand

Hi Knitters,
I always laugh about the things I didn't think of before having four kids. Things like trying to keep groceries in the house, massive amounts of laundry, the number of forms you will be filling out (especially at the beginning of the school year) and the number of basic appointments you will be in charge of making, keeping track of and then taking the kids to. In the past few weeks I have had about a half-dozen doctor appointments and five dentist appointments.

All of this pain and suffering is far outweighed by everything positive having a larger family brings to our life. But still. I know this is magnified by the fact that I am not good at keeping a calendar. I'm just not. I try my best. I only messed up on one appointment this summer by showing up a little late and that's not too bad for me.

The point of this silly saga is that I started the hand-stitched head scarf kit from Purl to have a tiny project to tote along with me to some of these appointments last week. The instructions are in here: Alabama Stitch Book. I had so much fun with this little project that I am thinking about ordering this bag kit. I want it to have longer handles though. What do you think?
The knots are part of the design which I love. I always enjoy that handmade, not so perfect, element to anything I make or that someone else makes. The knots add such a richness and element of whimsy. After I stitched around the stenciled on pattern I had to start cutting away. This made me hesitate a little. Cutting is so permanent.
Guess what? I loved the cutting out part. I know it isn't perfect but who cares. I really got into it and discovered that this is one addicting project. I didn't want it to end and immediately started to think about what else I could make using the reverse applique technique.
I am sure you have already guessed who is now the owner of the head scarf. Um, yeah. I cut out the last applique and there she stood ready to put it on. Fantastic.

(We are making something for TC's fairy garden. We saved a stump from our tree removal last year. She is going to mosaic the top of the stump to make a little and colorful seat to place in her garden area. She sanded and primed the seat. Next she will place the tiles with mastic, then grout and seal. I'll keep you posted. TC is into it!)
TC absolutely LOVES the Alabama Stitch bandana. I mean truly loves.
Take it away little one. It's yours.
best, susie

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Noteworthy News

Hi Knitters,
I have some things to share that are noteworthy!

First off, please jump over to Ve's blog and check out the video interview that I did through Skype. There is a major Spud & Chloƫ giveaway going on over there, too. Don't miss out.

Click here to see the interview and enter the giveaway! Just scroll down a little bit to see the videos and the giveaway information.

Be sure to check out the new fall issue of Knit Circus. The patterns are better than ever and there is a feature article on Amanda Soule of Soule Mama. It is a wonderful issue, can't say enough good things about it. Really, just look at that cover shot. It's adorable.

The creator of Knit Circus is a hardworking Madison mom who is lovely and fun. I admire Jaala so much for her dedication and I'd love to see her knitting venture do well. Mwah! to Jaala Spiro.

On another topic, I opened a Ravelry pattern shop to sell my online patterns. I am pretty excited about this. This is another easy way to purchase and store my online patterns! My original shop is staying open as well so you can still order over there.

Here is the link to my brand new Ravelry Pattern Store! I will get a link up on my sidebar for this shop and you don't have to be a member to order through Ravelry.

Thanks so much for all of the Summer Camp Cloths pattern purchases. I am overwhelmed by the love. Thank you.
What do I do when I am under a bit of stress? Start a new project of course! I've had this kit for awhile but only pulled it out yesterday.

Here is the link for the kit! You have to own the book for directions.

Here is the link for the book, Alabama Stitch Book!
I love to hand-stitch so this is the perfect little project for me. You stitch around all of the stenciled shapes using the running stitch and with a sturdy brown button/craft thread held doubled. The knots are on the right side and are a part of the design which makes it even easier. When your stitching is complete you take a sharp and pointy pair of embroidery scissors and cut the inside of the stencil away leaving a small border inside of the stitching. Simple as that. It is called reverse applique.
Isn't it wonderful? Purl has the yellow version in kit form as well but I like the contrast of the blue and white. TC already has dibs on this project. She loves a good head scarf. She keeps standing next to me to watch while I stitch. I'll give you a progress report on this one when I am done. It is going to be fast.

What I really want to stitch is the swing skirt! It gives me a chill every time I see it. Must. Make. I will order a custom kit at some point very soon. The entire Alabama Chanin site is wonderful and inspiring. Don't miss it.

Click here to see the skirt and kit!
Okay, one last thing. I am starting an Easy Top-Down Raglan Knitalong on Monday, Aug. 23, 2010 on Spud says! I'd love for you to join in if you have any interest in knitting a sweater for yourself or for someone near and dear.

Click here to see the first informational post about materials for the knitalong!
That old TC grabbed my sweater fresh off the needles and threw it on. I am not making it up. I hadn't even blocked it yet and had barely snipped the last woven in end. It looks so good on her, although big, that I made her pose for a few photos. The sweater is sized for an adult. For the knitalong I am making another version in TC-size. I will measure as I go. She is an average 11-year-old size.

There isn't an official sign-up or anything. It is all casual and fun. I have already heard from loads of knitters who are joining in to knit their first sweater with us. What an honor.

The biggest news is that I have a special guest expert lined up. It is the one and only top-down sweater queen, Wendy Bernard of Knit and Tonic and Custom Knits fame!!! I am so excited about this. In fact right now she is in Denver filming a top-down sweater instructional video for Interweave. How about that? She is going to help answer questions and give tips and tricks along the way.

best, susie

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Summer Camp Cloth Series Pattern!

Hi Knitters,
I am so excited to offer the first installment of the Summer Camp Cloth Series as a pdf pattern available for purchase in my online pattern shop, Shop Susan B. Anderson.

The cloths are worked up in Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Cotton. This is a beautiful, crisp cotton that will wear well with hard or light use. Skinny Cotton is 100% organically grown cotton which is always appealing. The set is squishy and gorgeous and a bit luxe.

The cloths are worked on US size 5 needles at 5 stitches per inch. Exact gauge is not hugely important for the cloths just be sure to measure the width of your cloth so you can make a square with the length if that is what you are intending to do.
The cloths measure to be squares between 7 1/4 to 8-inches. This is such a perfect size. The set or even one or two cloths make a wonderful homey but sophisticated handmade gift.
Click here to see photos of all 4 of the squares. The pattern includes photos of the right and wrong side of each of the cloths.
4 patterns in one! Hooray!

If you are interested in purchasing the Summer Camp Cloth Series please note that I personally send out all orders from my online pattern shop via email. All patterns are sent as downloadable pdf files. At times there is a slight delay because of this personal service but I always try to be as speedy as possible. Please be patient.

Here is a general link for my online pattern shop! My son made the shop for me so it is a little quirky but I love it because he created it. The View Cart is a little difficult to see but becomes highlighted when you click on it. The View Cart button is in the upper right hand corner.

Have fun with your cloths!
best, susie
p.s. I already have 3 orders and I haven't even finished posting this yet. You are the best! Thank you.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Summer Camp Cloth Series Preview

Hi Knitters,
I've just returned from my Northwoods excursion. We snuck away for a long weekend in northern Wisconsin which is always a treat. We stayed at this funny little "resort" that from the minute we arrived I felt as though I had stepped back in time. This spot was stuck, in a good way, somewhere in the 1950's or '60's or maybe even the '70's. It was a throw back to when all was good and simple and when a yearly visit to summer camp was a given. I really felt like I was returning to my childhood days at my grandparents' cabin in the quaint little location of Nisswa, Minnesota. It was all a little dated and rustic but always good old-fashioned fun.
Before we left I threw a bunch of hand-wound balls of Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Cotton in my knitting bag with no real intentions. At one point the rest of the family took off from the boat house in a little fishing boat for the afternoon. Peachy and I took the joined wooden seats with the table in between. Peachy read her novel and I pulled out my Skinny Cotton and started to knit a square. That's right, a little square. Love on the lake over-took me.

Now, you know I like a good, solid knit washcloth or dishcloth. The Skinny Cotton is a treat and a half, to say the least. It is perfection for any kind of cloth and if you want stitch definition, Skinny is your girl. Well, I couldn't stop with the cloths and I couldn't stop thinking about being at summer camp.

Thus my new cloth series begins, entitled...

Summer Camp Cloth Series!
I have the first 4 cloths in the series finished! By the way, I call them cloths because they could be washcloths for you or a sweet baby or child, or dishcloths to use in your kitchen sink, or dusting cloths to gently dust your home furnishings. I use them for all of these things.

The acorn soap was freshly sliced off the block for me last week at The Soap Opera on State Street in downtown Madison. Peachy goes crazy in this shop smelling everything she can get her hands on. It is really funny. She dabbed different lotions in spots going all the way from her wrist to her shoulder. Then she would ask me to smell a certain little spot on her arm. Love her. You can order soap from them online or over the phone. It is a cool local shop.
As we hiked, boated, ran and biked I took note of all of the names of the places around our resort. Boy, are the names ever interesting in the Northwoods. All of the cloths in this series are named after some of my favorites spots at and near our family summer camp.

Here's to introducing:
Lake Minocqua...
Bearskin Trail...
Kawaga Trestle...
and lastly, Northwood Pines.

All of the cloths look fantastic from the front and back and could also be knit in different gauges and yarns. They all would make fantastic scarves by extending the length. That would be super easy and fun.

All 4 of these cloth designs are going to be bundled up and put into one handy pdf pattern for you to purchase in my online pattern shop, if interested, in the very near future. I'll let you know as soon as the pattern is available. I am hoping in a day or two.

Click here to see my online pattern shop! Please note that I am previewing the Summer Camp Cloth Series today and will have the pattern available very soon. I will have a second set available coming quickly after the first goes up for purchase.
best, susie

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Hey, Neighbor

Hi Knitters,
We're back from a quick three day weekend getaway up north. I have some knitted surprises I whipped up while riding in the car and sitting by the lake. I'll share as soon as I get them written up.

Peachy's friend, and our neighbor, is quite the crafty artist. She is always making something or other. She crochets and knits and has many other crafty skills. I always enjoy seeing what she is up to. The other day she was over and she started asking me about what she would need to knit some socks. I hesitated for a minute and asked if she wanted some of my sock yarn and needles. Her face lit up and I knew the answer.
We went in my studio where I have more sock yarn than I'll ever knit. I picked up this wonderful self-striping Opal called, Feeling, Farbe #1701, Partie #2. I don't know what those numbers mean exactly but those are the numbers on the label if you are interested. One is the colorway number and the other is the dye lot.

I bought this skein when I was working on Itty-Bitty Toys for the sock yarn toy chapter. I love the colorway and now that I see it being worked up I love it even more. I might have to find another skein for myself. She worked and worked the night away. In fact, the girls were all sitting in a darkened room watching The Princess and the Frog. When I peeked in to make sure everyone was okay there she sat knitting in the dark on her sock. Pretty impressive. I was tickled.
The next day she came over and had about 4 or 5 inches completed on the cuff. She likes a long cuff so I don't know how long she'll go with it. The funny thing was that she showed me a Bunny hat she had knitted from Itty-Bitty Hats. It is adorable but I noticed that she was twisting her stitches somehow when I looked at her knitted fabric.
Do you see that? Since she learned how to crochet first she automatically held the yarn in her left hand. This is good because she taught herself how to knit continental style with no problem. Instead of having the yarn go under the needle and through the loop she was wrapping the yarn over the needle and then under the needle and then through the loop. This is like you would do with a crochet hook. I just helped her for a few seconds to correct her knit stitch and she took off! Her knitting is perfection now with a great and even gauge. It was fun to see.

I'm sure she'll be back soon with the finished cuff and wanting to learn how to do the heel. Her family was in Chicago this past weekend so I know she was in the car riding along. I'll keep you posted on her progress. She's a cute one.
She was also wearing this Starburst wrapper headband. She made a gum wrapper chain with Starburst wrappers and then glued them on a plastic headband with craft glue. I love it!!

I'll be back soon with some trip photos. In the meantime I just saw this gorgeous cardigan on Ravelry by Cecily Glowik MacDonald, it is called Candelia. Here is the link! I love this one so much. A cardigan made from sock yarn is the best.
best, susie