Thursday, December 30, 2010

Knit Those Mitts!

Edited to add on Jan. 3, 2011: The giveaway is now closed. No further entries are being taken. Thanks for entering and there will be another giveaway very soon.

Hi Knitters,
Well, those clever knitters at Vogue Knitting have done it again. They have compiled their best mitten and glove patterns in one spot. Vogue Knitting Mittens & Gloves is a wonderful collection of beautiful, fun, glamorous, practical knits to warm your hands. I am a mitten and glove girl all the way so to have all of my favorite patterns in one lovely book is a treasure to me.

Sometimes I read a review where someone will complain about patterns being republished from a magazine into a collection book like this one. Not me! I LOVE to have these collection books because all of my favorites are now in one simple place. I can't tell you how many times I earmark a pattern in a magazine and then I can't find the magazine with the pattern when I am actually ready to cast on. It is funny because a lot of the mittens gathered in this book are the exact mittens I have loved and wanted to knit from past issues of the Vogue Knitting.

For example, those cover mittens I have loved since they came out in the mitten issue of VK. I even have 3 skeins of Manos in a blush-y pink waiting for me to make these exact mittens. Now that I have this book in front of me I am going to whip these up!

Anyway, you will love this book to no end. Mittens and gloves are one of my favorite projects. They are little and practical and just plain fun!

Here are some of my favorites from the collection:
Rainy Day Finger Gloves are so sweet and fun.
Here are some really simple hand warmers. The book offers a huge range of projects from extremely simple to very complex which is a big bonus. There is something for everyone.
I love these gloves with just enough stitch detail to add a little interest but keeping the project fast and still simple.
There are charts, written line instructions, embroidery directions, clear patterns and schematics. These embroidered mitts are from one of my favorites, Kristin Nicholas. I still hope she is writing a mitten book! Please!
These are so gorgeous. Everything about them is perfect, the design, the colors, the picot edging. This pair is called Hugs and Kisses, designed by the extraordinary Tanis Gray, another of my favorites.
I remember this color block set from awhile ago. This is so fun and the mittens are glorious! I really want to make these, too. Yes to those.
And who can forget the cover shot from the VK mitten issue? Not me. Jared Floods' fantastic stitch work mittens are the best! I remember getting this magazine in the mail and just going crazy over these mittens. I am so happy to have this pattern in a book now. Thank you Vogue Knitting!
There are mittens that could be worn by kids and adults and everyone in between.

If you would like a copy of Vogue Knitting Mittens & Gloves please leave a comment on this blog post. Leave only one comment, please, and leave your email address or your Ravelry name so I can get in touch if you win. I will randomly select a winner in a few short days!

Good luck and I'll see you soon with a winner at hand!
best, susie

Monday, December 27, 2010


Hi Knitters,
Whew. That was fun and loads of work. My dishwasher has never run so many times in one day. Here's to a marvelous weekend and to the start of a fresh new week.

Last fall I ordered a couple of balls of Zauberball from my friends. I think it is about the most fun striping sock yarn around. I love this colorway so much. I don't know the color number but my friends will. Give them a call and they can send you some, too:


I am making the Baktus Scarf (pattern link) using one ball and my scale to measure when I get to the halfway point. Click here for the Ravelry project page for the Strikkelise Baktus Scarf. I am at about 60 grams right now and at 50 grams I will start decreasing. This was the perfect project to have by my side over the holiday. There is no thinking or even much looking needed. Knit, knit, knit with an occasional yarn over for the increase.
I also purchased the new Shetland Trader book by Gudrun Johnston. I immediately cast on my Springree Road handspun to make the Norie hat. It is a beautiful pattern. I knew that the handspun was a little heavier weight than the dk weight used in the pattern and that I didn't have enough yardage so I modified the pattern to accommodate the yarn. I took out one of the increases and one of the repeats and modified the decreases for the top. I ended up using every last inch of the 160 yard skein, literally. I love the outcome and I feel pretty good having whipped up a new hat for myself amidst the chaos of the weekend. By the way, this is the perfect first time lace project. There are bands of a simple lace pattern intermingled with stockinette and a purl round here and there. Great fun.

The book, Shetland Trader (click here to see all of the patterns on Ravelry), has 10 fantastic patterns and I love them all. I have a feeling you might love them, too. You can order an e-book or a printed copy. I plan on making a few more items. Good job, Gudrun!

I am thinking about a giveaway for later in the week. Be sure to check back if you are interested.
best, susie

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Wishes to You

Hi Knitters,
I have been baking pies all morning. I just popped the last one in the fridge to keep until tomorrow. I have much more cooking to go today but I wanted to stop briefly and wish you all a happy and home-y holiday weekend.

With great appreciation for you, dear knitters, thank you for adding such depth and fun to my days.
best, susie

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Hi Knitters,
I am wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday season that includes staying warm, eating well, loving your friends and family, and hopefully, knitting your hearts out.
best, susie
p.s. Jump over here and enter a great giveaway from my friend, Dianne, of Sheep Dreams!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Hat for Little Man

Hi Knitters,
My nephew received a really cool hand-me-down jacket from my other nephew not too long ago. This jacket is perfect for him. It has a spider on the logo and many hidden pockets inside and on the sleeve. He is in heaven. He definitely needed a new hat to match.
I had some black Cascade 220 sitting around. I pulled the perfect matching orange and bright white from my Blue Sky Worsted Cotton stash for a couple small stripes. I whipped his hat up in a day.

On a sidenote, it is so funny but I had this idea for a pattern called, Man Hat, because I have been making so many simple hats for men lately. Then I was on the Ravelry main pattern page the other day and in the most popular projects is a hat called? You guessed it. Man Hat. I thought that was funny. Someone definitely beat me to it. That is a good hat if you are interested. I think it is ribbed. I need to get the pattern written up in proper form for my man hat and then come up with a different name. I have made four hats for big and little men so far this winter and I'm sure I'll do a few more. They are so fast and fun and appreciated.

Another sidenote, I am planning on whipping up a few more placemats this afternoon (fingers crossed once again) so I will take photos as I go. I am sorry for the delay on this tutorial as various knitting deadlines have gotten in the way. I've had a few requests.
He is a fun little guy. I lined the inside with a store-bought headband that I purchased at Jo-Ann's for a buck. I found a bunch of these in the bins by the check out aisle. I am going to use these again to line hats. This headband is gray and looks so smart. It is brutally cold around here and a little extra warmth is always welcome.
He loved his hat so much and I loved giving it to him. The excitement was high. He's a cute one with a lot of energy and personality! This little man provides loads of entertainment at our family gatherings. See that twinkle in his eye?

Have a super Wednesday everyone.
best, susie

Monday, December 13, 2010


Hi Knitters,
My Peachy is a true lover of the winter holiday season. She always has been the one to do the advent calendar and to conduct a running countdown to Christmas in various places in the house. Peachy isn't always a crafty one but when she saw a show where bread dough ornaments were made she latched onto the idea of making her own personalized ornaments.

The best part of this project, besides the fact that they are super-cute, is that Peachy did the entire project from start to finish on her own. Other than buying her some acrylic paints, cookie cutters, ribbon and glossy Mod Podge for finishing, I didn't do one single thing on this project. She even cleaned up the mess. She was on an ornament making mission and is very proud of her finished product.
Peachy made a list of recipients including friends, teachers and family. She kept a checklist of names as she worked. The photos I have are not all of the ornaments as she has already given some away. I think she made around 50 ornaments and it took her many, many hours. She would turn on some Christmas music to help set the scene while she worked. I love to see her so involved in gift making by hand. She was really swept away.

She wrote every person's name with a black Sharpie on each ornament which is a sweet touch. After the ornaments had completely dried Peachy brushed on a coat of glossy Mod Podge which gave them the perfect finish. She left the back of the ornaments plain but also gave the backs a coat of Mod Podge. This gives the ornaments a shiny protective coat.

Even the youngest of children could do much of this fun project on their own. Older kids can just take it and run on their own. It is so easy.

I posted a new free pattern on Spud says! this morning. If you are in need of a super quick and cute pattern for the holidays this is the ticket.

Have a great week, Knitters. We are covered in a big blanket of beautiful white snow and the sun is shining so bright. I especially love the snow-coated trees. It is a magical time.
best, susie

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Hot Cocoa Days

Hi Knitters,
I have started the ritual of hot chocolate and cookies with my girls again after school. I fire up the tea kettle before they get home and I try my best to have homemade cookies of some sort ready. Some days it might be a muffin or banana bread but most usually cookies. We've decided we like the mini-marshmallows the best. I don't know what it is about hot cocoa but as we sip we get to chatting. It is so hot that it takes time to drink and it makes for this nice little break time in the day that we can spend together. I love this time so much. The stories about school are the best.

I have a funny story to share. Yesterday, my son appeared home at lunch. He ate his lunch while we casually chatted. Then after he ate he said, "Oh yeah, I need a treat for my 5th hour class," which was in about an hour. I wonder why he ate his lunch before telling me. It makes me laugh that he truly thinks nothing of this. He thinks I can come up with something really great and homemade and instantly. I told him I wish he would give me a little more time. He said he was sorry and that he totally forgot. What am I going to do?

I started scrounging through my cupboards looking for anything that said "treat." There was nothing. I did have a caramel brownie mix, two boxes. I had only two eggs in the fridge. Fortunately, each box called for only one egg. What are the odds? I beat that batter up so fast it would make your eyes spin. I whipped the brownie-filled pan in the oven. He went back to school for 4th hour and as he left he said, "Oh, you have to be at the doors right on time to meet me because I only have a couple of minutes to switch classes." Of course, he said thank you with a big hug and an I love you which always works for me. The pressure was on.

The brownies needed to bake for about 40 minutes and could have used a couple more minutes in the oven but I pulled them out anyway. I had cleared a space in my freezer, no small feat, and threw the pan in to cool it down as much as possible. About five minutes later I pulled the pan out and cut the brownies into squares, he needed treats for 30 so I did a 6 by 5 cut.

Did you know if you cut brownies with a plastic knife that it will cut so smoothly? If you use your silverware knife the brownies clump and stick to the knife making it difficult to cut. My sister taught me this trick and it really works. I may have mentioned this before but I love this trick. We always have some plastic utensils around from potlucks and gatherings. Give it a try next time.

On with the saga...

I frantically covered the still warm pan with foil and tossed a big batch of napkins in a baggie and added two plastic knives for serving. I threw the whole thing in my car and burned up to school. Time was ticking. As I pulled up my son was just walking out the door.

He came over to the car, opened the door, leaned in, smiled the best smile ever and said, "Thanks, Ma." I said, "No problem." I wiped the sweat from my brow and drove back home.

I love that boy.
best, susie

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The One

Hi Knitters,
Well, each year I adore gathering everyone up in their warmest knits and coats and driving to a nearby Christmas tree farm to cut our family tree. This year was particularly wonderful because the first snowfall had just happened so there was a fresh coat of white sparkly and crunchy snow at the farm.
What a crew. We looked for what seemed like an extra-long time this year to find the perfect tree. In the end we picked a tree that seemed to somehow balloon in width when unleashed in our tiny living room. It is a laughably fat tree for the space but we love it anyway.
It was a gorgeous day at the farm.
My husband is always the saw-man. See that hat? It is knit in the brand new Spud & Chloƫ Sweater colorway called, Barn (it will be available very soon). It is the perfect bright red and my husband, being the Badger that he is, picked it for his new hat.There was much debate and discussion about the tree selection. The problem is that once you leave a tree you are never able to find it again. We found that out in a hurry.
The trees were covered in such a heavy wet snow which made every branch bend with the weight.
It could not have been better out there.
My sons wore their Surefire Hats. I know I say it every year but these are their all-time favorite hats. They have worn only this hat since I have made them which is now years ago. I made a third hat because one time my son couldn't find his Surefire hat only to find it again later. It is good to have a spare anyway.

It makes me happy to see my teenage boys loving something handknit.

Peachy is wearing the Bella's (Twilight) Eclipse Hat I made for her. Click here for the pattern information.

TC is wearing the Stripey Stocking Hat from Itty-Bitty Hats. It is the largest size in the book and it fits her just fine. Here is the Ravelry Project page link. Here is the book link. This is her favorite hat and just like the boys it has been her favorite for many, many years.

On another note, my oldest son had a birthday recently. He is nineteen which is hard to believe. We had a great family celebration for him that included Thanksgiving leftovers. Perfect! He is our buddy and we are so lucky and thankful to have him close to home. Our time together is even more precious now that he is at college. He pops in and out and we love the time he is in. We are looking forward to a long winter break with him under our roof again.
TC has made two more hats for charity. Here is a Christmas themed hat with a little glitz. She uses yarn she picks out from the church charity group. She really loves this one.
This is her second hat to donate. She made the poms to look like little ears. It is tiny and sweet. TC and that charity knitting.... she is on fire.

That's it for now. Have a good end to the week everyone.
best, susie

Monday, December 06, 2010

Lamb from Scratch - Pattern Available!

Hi Knitters,
I am so happy to share my new pattern for this adorable little lamb named, Lamb from Scratch. I knit the lamb up in my own handspun but I recommend several easily accessible commercial yarns that could be successfully used instead. This makes the pattern available to everyone regardless of whether or not you spin your own yarn.

Here is some information you might like to know:
Finished measurements: 5-inches tall, 3½-inches wide
Yarn: I used my own handspun in the sample, which is a bulky weight yarn and the sample used a very small amount, under 100 yards.
Commercial yarn recommendations:
Rowan Purelife Renew – 1 skein
Tahki Donegal Tweed – 1 skein
Rowan Purelife British Sheep Breeds Chunky Undyed – 1 skein
Note: Any chunky/bulky weight yarn will work well.
Needles: US size 7 double-point needles, set of 4 or size to obtain gauge (exact gauge is not important but close is best)
Gauge: 4 stitches per inch in stockinette stitch (exact gauge is not important but close is best)
Yarn needle
Stitch markers
Ruler or tape measure
Poly-pellets (optional AND considered a choking hazard for young children and babies)
Black embroidery floss

You can order the pattern from either place, it doesn't make a difference to me. Some like to have the pattern in their Ravelry library for storage and an immediate download. If you order from my personal shop, please be patient. I personally send out all of the patterns via email with an attached pdf file which I really like doing. Sometimes (although rarely) I am not at my computer, I may be with my family, sleeping, etc. I usually get the patterns out very quickly, if not immediately. I try my best to be very prompt.

Thanks if you choose to order! I'll be back soon with some very fun craft projects, weekend activities and more knitting. I have a few placemats to finish up this week so I am hoping to get the tutorial for the quilted placemats up very soon.
best, susie

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Mmmm, Yarn

Hi Knitters,
I have a winner for the Baby Blueprint Crochet book. It's Elizabeth. Congrats! Please contact me to give me your mailing address so Interweave can send out your new book! Here is the winning comment:

Blogger elizabeth said...

DARLING! Can't decide if my favorite is the blanket or the socks, so maybe I'll just have to make both. :

rav id: scrappygolden
December 03, 2010

Okay, no one warned me about spinning. That wasn't nice. I am not even good at it and it's all I want to do right now. I have work knitting obligations coming out of my eyeballs and all I dream of doing is sitting and spinning. Oy. I am tearing myself away....
I am knitting up this fantastic bias-knit scarf on US size 15 needles in the blue-green yarn I spun a couple of weeks ago. Knitting on the bias is cool to me for some reason. I really like it. The yarn is so soft. I love all of the little bumps and blips in the yarn. It is awesome. I have more yarn to share coming up so stay tuned.
Did you know that if you hold two strands of Crystal Palace Mini Mochi together you not only get a worsted weight yarn, you get the most fabulous tweedy-looking fabric ever? TC is still on fire with her knitting for now. She whipped up this fabulous little baby set over a couple of days last week. She worked on a US size 7 needle. The pattern for the booties is free. The hat is just a simple baby hat from Itty-Bitty Hats (which has just gone into its 6th printing by the way!). Both patterns literally could not be any easier.

Then she took it one step further.
She painted a little paper circle box to place her knitted gems.
She is donating the whole thing to her knitting charity group at a neighborhood church. It's incredible to watch her. She is so free about the whole thing. It is no big deal to her as she really thinks nothing of it. The thought of a baby wearing her items is all she needs.
Cool stuff.

Okay, I have a couple of new patterns out.

Click here for information about my new baby crochet pattern from Spud says! printed pattern line. Come on and crochet with me! This bunny hat can be worked up in an hour (I am not kidding!) using single crochet. The blanket is gorgeous and uses only single and double crochet. You could have this whole set done in a day, no joke.

I think I am going to make a video of me crocheting this adorable bunny hat to show you how easy it is. I am not usually a big crochet person but sometimes it is just plain fun to try something new. This pattern is not quite out yet but very soon and will be available in printed form only at local yarn shops and online yarn shops.

I'm off to get the Lamb from Scratch pattern written up and available for you. I am always running a few days behind it seems. Have a good weekend. Are any of you Christmas people getting your tree this weekend? We are. I always look forward to this time of year.
best, susie

Thursday, December 02, 2010

She's Got a Way With Crochet

Edited to add on Dec. 4th, 2010: The contest for BBC is closed! No more entries are being taken. Thanks to everyone for entering.

Hi Knitters (and hopefully crocheters today),
I am thrilled to be included on Robyn Chachula's official blog tour for her new book called, Baby Blueprint Crochet. I met Robyn briefly one time at TNNA in the green (hotel) room for Knit and Crochet Now. She was pregnant and adorable and oh so friendly and helpful as she was working for the show at that time. I am sure Robyn wouldn't remember meeting me but I was clearly impressed with her.

Here's my two cents on Robyn. Robyn is one the cutest people in this industry, hands-down, she is smart, friendly, cheerful, uber-talented and fun. Robyn is one of the crochet experts on the PBS show Knit and Crochet Now and I love watching her segments. Her personality shines right through and it is just a joy to watch her in her crochet element. She is an expert on visual crochet or crochet using symbols and charts and her teaching and explaining of the charted crochet makes it seem incredibly easy.

Check out these fantastic links, sites, interviews, project and books to learn more about Robyn:
Robyn on Ravelry! (check out all of her designs)
Robyn's interview on Marly's podcast, Yarn Thing! This is a great interview and a fun listen.

All in all this young woman and mother is a pleasant talent. She has style, personality, smarts, serious teaching chops and the dedication needed to pull together a fantastic book like this. I love to crochet and looking at her book and reading the instructional section (which is crystal clear and easy), makes me want to delve into crochet even more.

The book is beautifully crafted and the projects are beyond charming to say the least. Here are a few of my favorites although I love all of the projects in the book.
I mean.... what more needs to be said about these boots? Maybe just that they are made in Spud & Chloƫ Fine which totally rocks. I love these little boots. I would be so proud if I made these.
I so want to make this blanket. I find it completely sweet and inviting. Every baby should have this blanket in my opinion.
Crocheted baby socks? Why not? Aren't these squishy looking? I bet these little socks work up at the speed of lightening.
Okay, you all know I have a thing for anything "pea pod" but really, look at these Pea Pod Sliders!!! I don't even know what to say. They are awesome and so charming. Robyn, you are on fire with these designs!
I think crocheting a few of these little bibs would make one of the best baby gifts ever. You would be the hit of any baby shower.

Again, Robyn's specialty is visual crochet. She breaks things down to make it super easy. She teaches you step by step how to read the charts and symbols. She makes it easy! This book has the best instructional crochet section I have ever seen. Honestly.

You have to get this book if you have any interest in learning to crochet or if you already know how to crochet. It is a great resource. There are lots and lots of sweaters, dresses, an elephant mobile (incredibly cute!), a robot toy, a diaper cover, cardigans, vests, a hat or two, colorwork, striping.... I am sure there is more.

I don't know if I am supposed to offer a giveaway with this book but I am going to anyway. I'll take care of the details later. That's how much I like this one. If you would like a copy of Baby Blueprint Crochet please leave a comment on this blog post. Do not email me to enter, please, and also leave your Ravelry Id or your email address so I can get in touch. Only enter one time, please.

I will pick a winner very quickly this time because I have a lot to get up on my blog. I am so backlogged with stuff to get up on here, running behind schedule as always. I will pick a winner later tomorrow or Saturday at the latest so be sure to check back.

Interweave is making more and more fantastic crafting books! I am a big huge fan. Thanks for letting me talk about Robyn's new crochet book.
best, susie