Friday, February 25, 2011

A Fun Mess

Edited to Add: The book giveaway contest is now closed, March 1, 2011! No further entries are being taken!!

Hi Knitters,
I have piles and stacks and boxes and bins and shelves and cubbies..... and they are all filled to the brim. Here is a quick run down of my knitty mess.

Above is a sock yarn designed by my buddy, Kristin Nicholas. I got this two years ago from Kristin at TNNA and have just started some socks. It is called Best Foot Forward in the Berry Cobbler colorway. The yarn is a treat and the colors are definitely all Kristin. As I knit I keep the ball band up so I can see it as it has Kristin's artwork and signature right there. I love that.
TC has been busy knitting preemie hats for a charity knit on the Itty-Bitty Knits group on Ravelry. She is pretty excited about it. She has one more on the needles.
There is that second Zauberball sock from The Wool Cabin.
I have piles of finished projects. Here we have the Spud & Chloë Fine striped socks I've mentioned several times before (no pattern is available!). The finished Zauberball sock, and my latest top-down baby cardi that will be available as a free pattern on Spud says! any day now.
Loads of Blue Sky Alpacas Royal (it's way better than cashmere) and Spud & Chloë Outer. I'm not complaining.
There are several boxes and envelopes of goods from my publisher, Artisan Books, to give to the students in my Spud & Chloë at the Farm class this weekend.

Hey, I put the project photos up for Spud & Chloë at the Farm on Ravelry if you'd like to see a little bit of what's inside. Click here to see the projects!
This box is huge and it is stuffed full of goodies from Spud & Chloë and Blue Sky to pass out at the class. I love giving fun things away so this will make me very happy.
Speaking of which...
I am giving away two books today. The first book is Cowl Girls by Cathy Carron and the publisher is Sixth & Spring. This is a great little book full of cowls of all sorts, big, small, short, tall, long, cabled, colorwork, stitch patterns, hoods, wraps, chunky, etc.
This is actually Cathy's daughter modeling. That's cool. She has modeled for Quince & Co., too.
Great photography and lots of good, quick and doable projects equals a fun book to own.
I have been a fan of Cathy's work for a long time. She is often published in Vogue Knitting and lots of other knitting magazines.

Now hang on...
I have a second book to win today as well!

This second book, Entrelac, by Rosemary Drysdale is another winner. I listened to Rosemary on Marly's Yarnthing podcast awhile back. Rosemary is just wonderful. (I just saw Cathy Carron was on there, too. Click here.)
This book shares entrelac stitch patterns like I have never seen before. It is just beautiful and well-done. What a resource.
Have you ever seen anything like this? I haven't.
There are gorgeous entrelac patterns, too. They are graceful and beautiful.
There are garments, scarves, bags, vests, wraps, and much more. It is an incredible collection.
I mean look at this leaf entrelac pattern. The book is a keepsake for your stitch library at the least and at the most you will love making the patterns, too. It's a good one.

Okay, here's how we are playing today! There will be two winners, one per book. Leave one comment on this blog post (please do not email me, you have to get on the blog and leave a comment). In your comment please leave me the following information:
- your rav id or email
-which book you would prefer either Entrelac or Cowlgirls or if you don't care which one you win!

I will pick the winners in a couple of days.

Have fun! Good luck!
Into the weekend I run.
best, susie

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

News and Shamrocks

Hi Knitters,
I just got word from my publisher that Spud & Chloë at the Farm is being released much earlier than expected! It will be available by the end of March. Instead of months it will be a matter of weeks. I will be getting the projects up on Ravelry as soon as I get a chance so you can check everything out.

I have gotten quite a few emails and a few comments from knitters who are interested in knitting the entire book of 13 projects so I am thinking about hosting a knitalong later this spring to do just that. All of the projects together really make a fantastic farm set so this would be fun.

The Barn Cat, above, is one of the patterns in the new book. The photography for the book was shot by the always wonderful Liz Banfield who also photographed the Itty-Bitty series.

My class at Stitcher's Crossing this coming Sunday is full and even has a long waiting list. I even have knitters traveling from other states to attend. Isn't that something. Thank you to everyone who has shown interest. I will take photos at the class and share next week. The best thing is that I got a huge box of goodies dropped on my doorstep from Spud & Chloë/Blue Sky Alpacas to share with the students in the class! What a generous and fun company. That is one of my favorite things about them.

I haven't gotten started on the online class project yet but I am planning on tackling that this spring. I think online classes would be a good fit for me (especially since I got a better camera and a tripod recently). I'll keep you posted. I received a lot of good links and places to get started from my buddy Betz White who already teaches online classes. You should check out her offerings. Thanks to Betz for her help. Now I just need to find the time to dig in.
Okay, with St. Patrick's Day coming up quick here I thought I would pull up my pattern for the Shamrock Washcloth to share today. What a perfect little gift for your Irish or Irish-loving friends and family. Add a bar of soap and a ribbon to tie it up and off you go!

This pattern is only available in my Ravelry Pattern Store at this time. You don't have to be a member of Ravelry to purchase patterns from any designer's Ravelry pattern shop which is a good thing to know.

This version is in Sugar n Cream cotton. The others are in Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille. Both are fun and squishy.
You could whipstitch two shamrocks together and stuff with fiberfill for a super cute pillow, too. I need to do that. I love seasonal knits that are simple and little and fun!

Have a good Wednesday, Knitters.
best, susie

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sit and Spin Saturday

Hi Knitters,
I have ahead of me one of the busiest weekends on the books. I want to quickly share some spinning progress I have made recently. Above is 300 yards of worsted weight spun from two braids of Springtree Road fiber.
I am making a Taiyo Reversible Scarf out of my freshly spun yarn.
I am getting better. I am trying to be tighter with my plying but not too tight. I was plying too loosely but over spun isn't good either. It is a work in progress.
Here I have 170 yards of worsted weight from another Springtree Road roving.
It is a beautiful medley of greens.
The Starving Artist Hat is a free pattern by Laura Linneman of the Knit Girllls video podcast. I was watching my friend Suzanne's video podcast (she is adorable, please go watch!) and followed a link she had on her sidebar to the Knit Girllls video podcast and I have been watching ever since. They have 46 episodes so it will take me awhile to catch up to speed. I started at episode number one. I love them and they are fantastic knitters. It's Laura and Leslie talking about knitting, reviews, yarn and spinning. Go watch if you have a chance!

Here is the Knit Girlls ravelry group link! I just joined. See you there.
I didn't have quite the yardage for the beret style of the Starving Artist so I had to cut down on the decrease rounds. I think I had 90 yards and the pattern required 104 yards. It is really a sweet little beret in the end and it was a super fun and quick knit.
I love the purl side of my uneven handspun and this hat features the purl side. It's a perfect combination.

I have so much to share and will hopefully have more time in the coming week to really blast out some posts and possibly a giveaway if I am lucky.

To the weekend!
best, susie

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Meeting Miss Meg

Hi Knitters,
I had an experience last night that I have to tell you about.

First though I have to tell a really quick and funny related story before I dive in. I swear the weirdest things happen to me. I was recently contacted by a Milwaukee yarn shop that was working with the Brewers baseball organization to organize the upcoming Stitch-n-Pitch event for this coming summer. The yarn shop asked if I would be interested in throwing out the opening pitch for this game. I said sure! My family thought that was about the funniest thing ever. Anyway, I hadn't thought much about it or heard anything about it since then but just last week I was contacted and told that another knitter was given the opportunity as other names were put on the list for consideration.

Meg Swansen was nominated to throw out the first pitch at the Stitch-n-Pitch Brewers game! I had to laugh. I had no idea Meg's name was in consideration along with mine and I would have withdrawn my name immediately had I known. Seriously. The fact that my name was even in the same hat with Meg is just plain funny. I would have easily picked Meg over me any day of the week, hands down! I don't know if she has accepted or not but I love that she is possibly going to throw out the first pitch so much. That is beyond excellent and I hope that lots of you are able to attend if she does in fact throw out the first pitch. The game is on June 21st, 2011.

And then a mere week later this happened....
Meg Swansen actually adjusted one of her ma's unpublished hat designs while it was sitting on my head. (See about the weird things happening?)

In the photo next to me is the one and only Meg Swansen. Meg was the featured speaker at the always wonderful Madison Knitters' Guild. The guild hosted their monthly meeting last night and once again it was standing room only. Hundreds of knitters filled the large banquet room to the brim. This group of dedicated knitters is like none other. Really. I know this for a fact. Last night the meeting with Meg Swansen was nothing short of magical.

Meg Swansen is a knitting legend and she is the daughter of the revered and legendary Elizabeth Zimmermann. Meg has this phenomenal pedigree plus she is a knitting force of nature all on her own. What a combination. To hear her speak was one of the biggest treats I have ever had. Her dexterity with the English language was wonderful. Her vocabulary and word usage is charming and articulate. Her speaking voice, intelligence and her obvious love of her "ma" and of knitting was nothing less than mesmerizing. My face hurt from smiling and my ears and eyes were tired from trying to soak up her every last word and knitted sample. It was simply a wonderful experience.

Much to my surprise, I got asked to jump up on stage with Meg to model an Elizabeth Zimmermann garter stitch hat that will be featured in an upcoming Schoolhouse Press book. Who would say no to that? A kind knitter grabbed my camera while I was on the stage next to Meg and took these photos for me. When I returned to my seat she told me I looked really proud while I was up there. That made me laugh. I was like a little kid selected from the audience to help out. Actually I was more honored than proud. I couldn't believe my good fortune.

This new book, with the hat, is full of unpublished patterns from Elizabeth all solely using garter stitch. I can't wait! The title of the new book from Elizabeth was, Knit One, Purl None, (as EZ despised the purl stitch) but Meg likes the more inclusive or positive, Knit One, Knit All. It is coming out in May 2011. You can pre-order Knit One, Knit All and check out Schoolhouse Press's other new books by clicking right here. Recognize that hat on the cover of the book? I am ordering my copy today and I am ordering a bunch of other stuff, too, including the dvds. Here is Meg's description of the new book quoted from her site:

"In 2011, Schoolhouse Press is looking forward to the publication of Knit One, Knit All--a book of Elizabeth Zimmermann's Garter Stitch Designs. It has been a thrilling process to comb EZs journals and archives for previously unpublished designs and to put together a book of little known or unknown patterns."

Meg had a large suitcase filled with samples. She would pull out the samples one at a time and talk about the construction and features of each piece. She modeled the gorgeous cardigan above which featured a clever construction, a lovely cable down the sleeve, I-cord finishing and hidden button loops and an overall elegance. I want to make this one for sure. I would wear that thing right out!

Meg talked about how she likes to challenge herself to not break the wool at all as she is knitting a garment, one thread continuously throughout the garment. She also talked about Elizabeth's afterthought pocket technique. I have seen the afterthought pocket used but I didn't know EZ had "unvented" this technique as well as countless others. I loved hearing that.

Amy Detjen (who knit the purple cardigan on Meg above) joined Meg on stage to help her out. Amy and Meg are quite a team and have been for a long time. Amy is funny, smart and beloved. The crowd loves her. On top of that she is an extremely talented knitter. Here is a description of her on the Schoolhouse Press site:

Amy Detjen is one of Meg’s invaluable teaching assistants at Knitting Camp. Here’s what she says about herself:

Although I’ve had designs published in “A Gathering of Lace” and “Sweaters from Camp”, I don’t actually think of myself as a designer, but as a technician. I love to teach and talk and write about knitting most of all, as shown by my past experience as the moderator of the Knit List and Knit U (7 years combined). I love to teach, especially tips and tricks that I’ve learned over my 18 years at Meg Swansen’s Knitting Camp.

Now about the Knitting Camp. Meg asked who in the audience had been to Knitting Camp. A large number of people raised their hands. Then she asked who hadn't been to camp but would like to go. An even larger number of people raised their hands, including me. I would love to attend Knitting Camp someday and I plan on making that happen in the future. What a treat that would be. I think you can get in but it can be difficult and there is a waiting list. At least that is what I've heard. People really do get in though so don't shy away from applying to go if you are interested. It would be a dream come true to attend.

In the photo above you can see my friend Sara McGregor, the one holding the books. She has been going to camp for 15 years and even attended with her mother for a time. Sara knows Meg and introduced me for which I am grateful. Thank you, Sara, and thanks for saving me a seat.

Meg took so much time to answer questions, extra time. She was so earnest and charming when answering question after question. What a role model. I can't say enough good things about her. She is elegant, beautiful, down-to-earth and funny. Her keen sense of humor about knitting and everything else was apparent throughout the night.

In the photo above, I was taken with Meg when a knitter came and sat next to her with a question about her knitting right before the program began. Meg kindly took her project in her lap and intently listened and looked to find the problem. Before long she was ripping back the garment for the knitter to get to the perfect spot to start again. She told the knitter exactly how to proceed and the woman looked like she felt so good about it. It was a comforting moment to watch.
Meg happily signed books and chatted with the knitters as they approached her seat before the meeting. She was just lovely.
Here Meg is holding up the Heart Hat Elizabeth actually knitted. The back of the hat, which is bonnet style, is actually a heart. It is adorable. Meg talked about how clever the construction is and how the shaping of the brim makes the hat fit so well. Meg referred to her ma as a sculptor throughout the night.

Well, it was a moment in time, the world stood still, and I can't stop thinking about it. If you ever get the chance to hear Meg speak, run! She says that she isn't a keynote speaker so I don't know how often she does this kind of thing.

It was an inspiring evening. I am heading to my bookshelves today today to pull out and pour over all of my Elizabeth Zimmermann and Meg Swansen books. I feel like starting from page 1 and plowing through from scratch.
best, susie

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine Wishes

Hi Knitters,
I went way back on my blog to Valentine's Day 2007 to grab this photo of mine. I still like it!

Happy Valentine's Day, Knitters! I hope you have a great day filled with love.
best, susie

Friday, February 11, 2011

Class with Spud

Hi Knitters,
Into the weekend we go! I want to let you know that my class for Feb. 27th at Stitcher's Crossing is filling up very quickly. Thank you for the great response and for all of my knitting friends who are far away... thanks for letting me know you are out there. I would love to teach some online classes and since you've expressed so much interest you've spurred me on to find out more about it.

I've been hearing a lot about several well-known knitters out there holding online classes and I need to get up to speed on that. Somehow you pay a class fee and you are given a password so only the class members can see the instructional videos, have access to patterns and class information and handouts to print out. You can plan times to chat online for questions and support. Do you already know all about this? Let me know if you have any good information or tips for me to get started in this direction. It could be a really fun thing for the future.

Back to my in person class...

The class is $30 which I forgot to state in the last post. There are only a few remaining spots open. I just got off the phone with the shop owner. I will definitely be bringing some Spud & Chloë goodies to share with the class.

I can't wait to meet everyone. Please note that I am not teaching basic skills for this class because it is going to be a pretty large group. You should have the basics down if you sign up (knitting in the round on dpns, casting on, kniting, purling, binding off). I am there to help and speed is not important at all so don't worry about anything. There is a supply list at the shop.

I am excited about the class because I haven't taught for quite awhile. Should be good fun just to hang out and knit together for a couple of hours on a sleepy February Sunday.

Moving on.... I received a first copy of Spud & Chloë at the Farm on my doorstep this week. It never gets old to see your book in book form for the first time. It is really a charming little book. I am going to talk way more about it in detail and officially preview the book on my Spud says! blog. Please be sure to check in over there or subscribe if you'd like. That way you won't miss anything.

So today is just another teaser and mainly for the upcoming class!
I have to give you one tiny sneaky-peek. Spud is definitely the superstar of the book. There is no doubt about that. He is my favorite character in the bunch, although I love them all. I feel like he is the driving force.
Here is another photo of the mouse we are making in the class. You might be able to get more than one done in the class time. We'll have to see how much knitting we get done in between the chatting and sharing and looking through my book pages. Now I will even have the actual book to bring along which will really be a sneak peek.

The good thing is that when you get a hank of the Sweater yarn to knit several mice you'll still have plenty left over to use it for other projects. Don't worry about using it up. I overlap the colors throughout the book.
The farm mice are part of a little project pairing with the Barn Cat. This new cat of mine is a good one. The paws are the best. Notice that the mouse can sit up or go flat to the ground. I like that feature.
Whiskers, whiskers, whiskers.
Why are knitted toys so cute from the back?
Have a great weekend, Knitters. I'll see you next week right here.
best, susie

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Come Knit With Me!

Hi Knitters,
I have a new book coming out soon called, Spud & Chloë at the Farm! I am really proud and excited about this one. I think it has some of the best toys I have ever designed. It is a knitting book with a fun cartoon story as an added bonus. The book contains 13 fun and fresh farm-y projects and it is a steal!

The main reason I am bringing this up right now is that I am hosting a knitting circle with fun tips and tricks included while we knit a mouse or maybe even mice from my new book. The book doesn't even come out until April 21rst but I am bringing a preview pattern (for the mice) for you, a fun book preview brochure for you to take home (not usually available to the public), and the galleys from the book for you to check out! Plus, you can pre-order a signed book if you are in the class. I will sign it for you when the book comes into the shop and before you pick it up or have it sent.

This is an exclusive class offering! At this time I don't have any further plans to teach or host anything like this on my calendar. I would absolutely love it if you would join me! I may even try to bring some extra goodies to share from Spud & Chloë (I am pretty sure I can swing that:).

Here is my official invite to my knitting circle/class/workshop:
Where: Stitcher's Crossing
6122 Mineral Point Road
Madison, WI 53717

When: Sunday, February 27th, 2011
Time: 12-2:00pm

Phone: 608 232 1500

Oh, and be sure to bring your Itty-Bitty books or purchase them at the shop if you'd like me to sign those as well.

Call or email or stop in the shop to sign up and save a spot and to get a supply list. I know some knitters are already signed up so call soon!! The class is only a couple weeks away so there isn't much time.

I hope to see you there. Stay tuned for lots more previews from Spud & Chloë at the Farm, too.
best, susie

Friday, February 04, 2011

Quick Hearts to Knit

Hi Knitters,
Over the years I have knit many different hearts in all shapes and sizes. I love Valentine's Day. It is simple, the colors are fresh and clean and sweet, and mostly it makes me feel like spring is just around the corner. I thought I should pull out some of the hearts I have knitted before Valentine's Day arrives. Here are a few fun and speedy heart-themed projects you may want to consider for this time of year.

Above is the Spud & Chloë Heart Tape Measure from last year. This whips up in no time at all. Click here for the free pattern!
Heart on a String is another free pattern I did for Spud & Chloë last year. I held two strands of Spud & Chloë Sweater together for the hat and a single strand for the string and heart. This project knits up quickly on big needles.
Click here for the pattern for Heart on a String!
The Sweetheart Hat is still one of my favorites. This has been one of the bestsellers from my online pattern shop over the last couple of years. Any worsted cotton or wool will do.
The Sweetheart Washcloth is another pattern that remains a big hit in my online pattern shops. It is so simple and fun. You can whip up a set of these in a heartbeat.

Remember that if you order a pattern from Shop Susan B. Anderson I personally send out the pdf patterns via email. This means it is not an automated response and there may be a slight delay. I try to be as speedy as possible so please be patient. The Ravelry pattern shop is an immediate and automated response. Either way to order is fine!

Happy heart knitting for one of my favorite times of the year!

best, susie

Tuesday, February 01, 2011


Hi Knitters,
Y is for this yarn I love.
A is for the lovely Ana who sent me this green beauty from her shop! (click here)
R is for Ana's Ravelry page!

N is for my never-ending appreciation!

Thanks to Ana for sharing her cashmere/superwash merino/nylon Cashmere Sock Party yarn with me. It is a gorgeously generous skein with 438 yards of green squishy goodness. I wish you could all give it a squeeze. It's that good. I will knit it up very, very soon and share. Love the little bag Ana sent, too. She has other yarns available as well.

Check out Art-by-Ana and give her some love!
Here is a 94 yard hank of Sunshine Yarns Winter Song plied with Frabjous Fibers Cottage Garden roving. It looks like candy and I kind of love it. A lot. It will become a hat for sure. Maybe a crocheted hat even.
I have about 350 yards or so of the Cottage Garden (the two hanks on the bottom) spun up. I think I might knit the shawl called, Handspun Delight Shawlette by Susanne Visch, with it. What do you think? Click here to see the pattern!
I've been spending many hours at the orthodontist office lately and I knit up this scarf while I was sitting and waiting. I knit with the giant hank of Winter Song I spun. I had a lot of trouble with breaking while I was spinning this and I also had trouble getting anything even going at all but I love it anyway. These problems are totally due to my skill level, not the roving at all. Sunshine Yarns Roving is wonderful. I need to become way more wonderful at spinning to do it justice. I will keep on trying.
Anyway, the My So Called Scarf pattern was the perfect pattern for my lumpy bumpy yarn. The woven look of the fabric highlights the texture of the yarn in the best way. I love it and the colors are lovely. Click here for the free pattern for this scarf. You should make one of these, it is a fun stitch pattern.

Hey, we are having a winter blizzard warning tonight. I got to the grocery store this afternoon to make sure our bare cupboards were full before the snow hits. Hoping for a snow day for school and work tomorrow with the family. I love it when everything comes to a halt and we are all stuck together at home for a day. It's like a mini-vacation in the middle of the week.

I hope you are all warm and safe.
best, susie