Thursday, March 31, 2011

Something New

Hi Knitters,
I am working on a new toy project design/pattern scheduled for June 2011 release (the location of where the pattern will be available is secret right now) using Spud & Chloë Sweater in the following colors, Firefly, Chipmunk, Firecracker, Rootbeer and Splash. Oh, and there's a little bit of Ice Cream, too, but it's not in the photo.

Any guesses what it will be?
best, susie

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Banana Pancakes

Hi Knitters,
First off, congratulations to kimatthecreek (rav id) for winning the spectacular Hannah Fettig giveaway prizes! Thank you all for entering. There will be more very soon.

Here is the winning comment:
Blogger Kim said...

Refreshing patterns! I imagine myself in the cowl. Thanks! kimatthecreek

March 26, 2011

I mentioned before that I have been rummaging around in my stash lately. I found this gorgeous hank of Fleece Artist Nova Socks 100% merino wool I picked up somewhere or other. I really can't remember where I bought this one. I think it is incredibly pretty. Every time I hit that little stretch of pink I smile. The colorway is called Seashore which is a perfect name. It is so soft and squishy which is a change from the Kureyon Sock Yarn I made my previous shawl in. It's a nice contrast.

I am once again making the Demeter's Shawlette by the lovely LaLa. It is a free pattern and I recommend it highly. Laura (LaLa) is part of the fantastic video podcast along with Leslie I keep talking about, The Knit Girllls. Leslie has a shawl pattern called, Make it Work, which I am planning to knit up very soon as well. They are both talented and fun. Be sure to check it out as they are very inspiring.

Now to leave you with some bunny making while listening to Banana Pancakes by Jack Johnson (my favorite of the moment). Even if you don't want to see me whipping up a bunny hat in two minutes you should listen to this awesome song. The pattern is called, Bunny Hat and Blankie.

In real-time the hat took me 45 minutes to crochet from start to finish including weaving in ends and tying the bows. I made it a little smaller and used only 1 hank of Spud & Chloë Outer.

The right side of the video is cut off slightly (I can't seem to get that figured out). If you'd like to see the entire screen click here to watch the video on youtube.
best, susie

Friday, March 25, 2011

Here's to Hannah

Edited to add on March 29th, 2011: The giveaway contest is now closed. No more entries are being taken at this time.

Hi Knitters,
First, I have to tell you that I instigated this giveaway. Some (not all) giveaways I host I do as a favor or I am asked by a publisher to promote their newest book. I feel so strongly about this talented young designer that I initially contacted Hannah to see if she would mind if I did a feature on her here on the blog. She then offered to provide a fantastic giveaway to include with my post. So with that being said, here it goes.

I have loved Hannah Fettig's designs for forever. She is incredibly talented with her knitting in both a serious and a playful way which isn't always a common element. Her book caught my eye as she burst onto the scene a few years ago. Hannah's book is titled, Closely Knit, and it is a comprehensive collection of patterns for all of the needs, people and places in your life including women, men, kids, babies, home decor, sweaters, accessories, toys.... It is a great book with clever patterns and it is worth your while to add this one to your library.

Hannah's blog is beautifully done with constant knitting inspiration, new patterns for download (check out her sidebar with downloadable patterns), and an insight into her designing life. I love popping over to Knitbot and I always leave feeling happy and wanting to knit. She is joyful. I love that. I would literally like to knit every one of Hannah's patterns if I had the time.

Some of her sweater patterns are the most popular sweaters on Ravelry with thousands of finished projects being posted. She has had great success and popularity with her cleverly constructed, clean lined, stylish but yet practical garments. Every one of her designs is something I would wear everyday. That is a rare find in a designer. Take a look at this and this and this and this and this! I love them all and more. Plus, she is one of the few truly successful indie designers out there. We should all be supporting that movement.

Aren't these absolutely gorgeous and fun? I am in love with these patterns and the yarn is some of the most luxurious and lovely fiber around from the Fibre Company.

Here is the giveaway being offered today from Hannah (look at the first photo):

To celebrate the release of my Woodland Accessories patterns, I’m pleased to offer the following giveaway:

- print and digital copies of all 3 designs

- 2 skeins of Canopy Fingering in River Dolphin and Obsidian to make the Swallow Cowl

- a knitbot project bag

Can you believe it? We are so lucky to have this offer today.

To enter, please leave one comment on this post that includes your Ravelry id or an email so I can contact you to get your mailing address. Please do not email me to enter. In a few days I will be selecting one winner.

Good luck! Don't miss out on this one, it is really special. Thank you to Hannah for offering the very generous prizes for you. Let the comments begin!

best, susie

p.s. I posted a new video on youtube last night. I will post more about it later here and on Spud says! but click here if you want a sneak peek!

p.p.s. Please read this post from Kristin Nicholas and consider.... Kristin's honesty is so refreshing.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Knitterly Spring Cleaning

Hi Knitters,
After decades of knitting a person tends to pick up a skein here and a hank there... I have been digging around in my house and I am unearthing quite a few forgotten finds.

Above I have two hanks of Bugga! sock yarn in golden tones plus a cake of Be Sweet Bubble Ball in the African Autumn colorway. The Bubble Ball I picked up at a Madison Knitters Guild meeting a long while ago. I like these all together somehow but I think one skein will become a shawl that maybe incorporates the felt balls and the other will become a pair of socks.
The Koigu above I picked up on my first book tour when I stopped in Purl in 2006. I made a pair of socks out of the variegated Koigu on that trip and then didn't like the way they fit. I ripped them out and the yarn has sat ever since. The pink I picked up somewhere else along that tour, possibly Minneapolis, and a bit of it ended up in the Hippo from Itty-Bitty Toys. The two are kind of pretty together.
I have had a long love of Sunshine Yarns (in the photo above). I have knit with it a lot and I have also gathered a lot along the way. Dani (the dyer and owner) is masterful with color. I have met her in person which makes you love her yarn even more. She is a gem.
I have gathered more Koigu and on the end is some Artyarns in the greens and blues. These were all at the bottom of a small basket and totally forgotten about. What gorgeous colors. I now keep these in a glass jar in my studio so I can see them.
This is my handspun all wound and ready to cast on. I am planning on making this shawl with it. The pattern is printed and the needles are even at the ready. Hopefully someday soon it will happen.

Here are some more fibery things I am thinking about today:
Craftsanity Magazine Issue 2 in print or pdf versions (someone you know may be in this issue)
This new book (only I can't sew in a straight line)
I love this entirely Cosy etsy shop - I'd like all of it, please.
This is my spinning goal (my heart floats when I see these:)

Lastly, the Beans for Brains Scholarship Program is still taking submissions. They are offering six $3,000 scholarships and it is open until April 1rst. Click here to find out more about it. Here is more about it:
The Beans for Brains scholarship is a merit-based scholarship open to all students attending an accredited institution in the fall of 2011. Applicants must know how to knit or crochet, must provide an original pattern or a photo of a recent project, and must be ok with us publishing their photo in future media ventures. We heartily encourage our customers attending school, or their children/grandchildren to apply. The scholarship is open to undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students in any course of study.
Okay, I have to include a short bit on TC's crafting corner here. She took an old, worn out and way too small pair of jeans and cut out the back pockets to make two small pocket purses. She took some other old clothes and made appliques for embellishments. I think she saw this in an issue of Family Fun, which is one of her favorites magazines for gathering crafting ideas. We highly recommend this magazine. She took her new pocket purse to the movies to hold her money last weekend. It was really cute.
I ordered TC a ball of the Be Sweet Bambino Taffy cotton yarn as a surprise. I knew she would absolutely love it and I was right. She cast on immediately for a new baby hat. She wants it to have a long stocking top to get through all of the colors.

You know what's extra cool about this yarn is that on the label is an adorable baby hat pattern written by Tanis Gray (one of my faves). Oh my gosh, I just read that she has a baby on the way. Congratulations to Tanis!
Finally, TC took an old pajama top and cut off the sleeves (this may have been in Family Fun, too). I helped her with my sewing machine to stitch the bottom of the shirt together and to reattach the arms as straps. Now she has a new bag to hold her Be Sweet Taffy hat.

There is so much cool stuff to see and do. What a wonderful world.
best, susie

Friday, March 18, 2011

Bowled Over

Hi Knitters,
First things first, there is a giveaway going on right now over on Sheep Dreams for the Spud & Chloë at the Farm book and the yarn to make Spud and Chloë! All you have to do to enter is leave a comment. Dianne is one of the organizers for the Kentucky Sheep & Fiber Festival where I am having a workshop and a book signing. Also, Dianne lives on a farm where they raise sheep and loads of other animals. She has a lamb-cam set up in her barn for lambing season. Dianne is one busy woman.

Here are the links to all of this good stuff:

Sheep Dreams Spud & Chloë giveaway! Click here and enter! Good luck to you all:)

Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival (May 20-22nd)! You can sign up for my class or stop by the book signing to say hello!

Okay, now onto my lovely new yarn bowl. I am dying to share this talented potter with you. Julie Knowles Pottery is the Etsy shop where I purchased this flower design yarn bowl. I love it so much and it is making me really happy while I knit. I highly recommend Julie's shop.
Here is the link:
I am blown away by the beauty and charm of this sweet yarn bowl. It is so exquisite in every way. To hold it is to really feel the handmade heft and quality of this piece of art.
I keep switching out the yarn I place in the bowl because I have so many projects going. The yarn bowl has held up to four different yarns a day lately.A piece like this at your side makes knitting even more fun if that's possible.

Below is a short and chatty spinning video for you today. I propped my camera up on the arm of the couch so it isn't the best but that's okay.

The video is cut off here on the blog, for a full screen viewing click here to go to Youtube to watch me spin.

Enjoy the spinning and thanks for keeping me company, everyone. I sure do appreciate you all.
best, susie

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bunny Knitting Season

(photo by Liz Banfield)
Hi Knitters,
I've been known to knit a bunny or two in my day. I thought I would pull together a bunny laden post to celebrate the coming of spring this year. I'm not sure why I have the knit bunny love but I am sure that I will knit many more in the future.

Above is the Chubby Bunny from Itty-Bitty Nursery. This was the first toy I ever designed and I have been smitten with toy knitting ever since. (photo by Liz Banfield)
Yarn ~ Rowan Handknit Cotton
Here is a Bunny Tail made by a young and new knitter friend of ours, Miss Molly. This one is made in Blue Sky Worsted Cotton and it is beautiful.
Rabbit ~ free pattern on Spud & Chloë's Spud says! (my other blog)
The surprise inside? A tennis ball.
Pattern feature: These two toys are made entirely out of garter stitch squares. It's the perfect beginner project.
Oh, Bunny! Washcloth ~ available in my online pattern shop and my Ravelry pattern shop
Bunny Hat and Blankie ~ Spud & Chloë printed pattern line, available in local yarn shops and online yarn shops. Check here for the pattern.
Yarn ~ Spud & Chloë Outer
This entire set is crochet and can literally be whipped up in a day or two. I had so much fun making this in the super bulky machine washable Outer and with a big crochet hook. It is simple and fast. It's a winner for any baby shower or baby gift, I guarantee it.
The tail is optional but always a cute touch.
At the same time I made the bunny hat and blankie I was working on the Woodland Bunny for the Holiday Issue of Knit Simple 2010.
Woodland Bunny ~ pattern in Knit Simple 2010 (#39 bunny in the magazine)
Yarn ~ Spud & Chloë SweaterThis is one of the sweetest bunnies I have ever made.
He sits so quietly in your hands, too. What a good bunny.
I made this awesome tall bunny for Blue Sky Alpacas printed pattern line a little while ago. I just love this long legged bunny in a carrot sweater. The yarn (handspun cotton) is no longer available but Blue Sky Skinny Cotton would be a great substitute.

Hop ~ pattern in Blue Sky Alpacas printed pattern line sold in local yarn shops and online yarn shops. Click here to purchase and see the pattern.

Pattern feature ~ Hop is worked in one piece from the tip of the paws all the way to the tips of the ears. If you don't like seaming this one is for you.
Hop is a gentleman and a scholar (at least in my mind).
Bunny ~ pattern in Itty-Bitty Toys
This Bunny is the first toy I knit for Itty-Bitty Toys.
I love the Bunny's paunch. I stuffed the tummy so it is all round and chubby.
He's just as cute from the back. Pom pom bunny tails are the best.

I have two more bunny patterns, click here and here.

Each of these bunnies hold memories for me. I can remember all kinds of events going on in my life as I knit every one of them. Knitting is funny like that. Every project tells a story.

"Hoppy" bunny knitting to you all this spring.
best, susie
p.s. I have three upcoming giveaways. One on Spud says! for a fantastic Spud & Chloë at the Farm giveaway you won't want to miss, another right here on this blog for a surprise featured designer's patterns and some luxury yarns and finally, another book giveaway for some cookie goodness. Stay tuned.....

Monday, March 14, 2011

Demeter's Shawlette

Hi Knitters,
Meet my new favorite neckwear. I have become slightly shawl-obsessed over the last few weeks.

In honor of my new interest I knit up a shawlette this weekend in Noro Kureyon Sock Yarn. I've had this ball of earthy yarn for several years and I just ran across it again last week. Let me tell you, I love this yarn but it had 5 knots in it. 5. That's a lot of knots. I was lucky because the knots all came in the middle of a color and didn't jump to a new color which would have created an unnatural progression in the striping pattern.

The best thing about the Noro is how the colors change gradually. I love how you are knitting along and then you start seeing little flecks of the upcoming stripe color. It never get old. So yes to the yarn, no to the knots. I'd use it again in a heartbeat.
I used the wonderful Laura Linneman's (of the Knit Girllls video podcast) Demeter's Shawlette pattern. Click here to see the free pattern for Demeter's Shawlette. Laura's pattern calls for a beaded edge but I chose to work 6 rows in garter stitch and bind off. I considered adding beads but the simplicity of the project is really what appealed to me most so I opted out.
My Demeter's Shawl blocked out to be about 60 inches long and 23 inches top to bottom on the center line. It is a nice size. Perfect.

I also recently knit up the Baktus shawl out of Zauberball. The Baktus is another good and simple shawl pattern. There is something so quick and fun about using up an entire ball of sock yarn and also ending up with a gorgeous lightweight knitted piece to wear around your neck. I love that.

Oh, I have to give you notice that I am teaching at the Kentucky Fiber Festival (lol. I just clicked on the link and there I was! I didn't even know this was up.) This will be my first sheep and wool and fiber festival ever and I get to see my friend Dianne who I have known for a few years now. She is a good one and she is also running the festival along with many, many others. I will be in good hands. Dianne is hosting a Spud & Chloë at the Farm book and Spud & Chloë yarn giveaway which I will let you know about as soon as it is up.

Also, later this week I am hosting a really wonderful giveaway that I am very happy about. Be sure to check back for that.
best, susie

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Spud & Chloë at the Farm is here!

(photo by Liz Banfield)

Hi Knitters,
Yesterday my new book became available! That's an exciting day. Your local yarns shops, book shops and the bigger chain book stores and online booksellers have books either available or on the way right now. Thanks to everyone who pre-ordered and thanks to those who are picking up a copy now that it is available.

Click here to see the Mother Hen and Chicks project in the photo.

(photo by Liz Banfield)

The Mother Hen and Chicks project is one of my favorites in the book. The mama hen lifts up and nests the little chicks right underneath her feathers. Her body is like a hat, it is hollow inside. The eggshells are removable, too. This little chicken set has a lot of interactive options which I love. I love a toy that does something.

I have a lot of people who want to knit the entire Spud & Chloë at the Farm set. I think a knit-a-long for the book is in store. I'll keep you posted if you'd like to join in.

Here is the Spud & Chloë yarn requirement to make every project (there are 13!) in the book:
Color # Hanks

Toast 3
Firecracker 3
Splash 2
Ice Cream 7
Root Beer 3
Watermelon 1
Firefly 2
Pollen 2

The following 3 colors are for the buckets and only a small amount is needed:
Grass 1
Popsicle 1
Moonlight 1

Fine (piglets):
Tutu 1
Sassafras 1

Outer (hay bales):
Cornsilk 2

Okay, back to some TC crafting news. TC is bringing back the old gum wrapper chains! She is using printed paper cut in strips instead of gum wrappers. I used to love this craft in the old days when gum came in sticks with the paper wrapper over the foil wrapper. Now it is hard to find gum packaged like this. My favorites were Double Mint, Juicy Fruit and the best ever, Fruit Stripe Gum (was there a zebra involved in this brand?). Do you remember buying gum just to get the wrappers? I do.

TC has made lots of bracelets like this. Our crafty neighbor makes these chains out of Starburst wrappers. I think I shared a headband she made with her Starburst chains.

Click here to see a video on how to make a wrapper chain.
TC also has been covering these boxes with decorative paper and flowers. The box we purchased at Joann's. Inside the box 6 tiny cylinders nested. TC covered those, too.
I think the flowers and paper are from an American Girl paper set. The box is going to be used for a gift and the cylinders are housing some of my notions like yarn needles and stitch holders.
What a cheerful little project. I don't even know how she did it because I didn't watch her as she worked. It sure is neat and tidy though. I know I saw some glue and scissors were involved.
Here is another friendship bracelet TC made for a friend. She chose rainbow colors for this one.

I finished those Spud & Chloë stripey socks I started awhile ago. I will post more about them on the Spud says! blog but I wanted to share them with you, too. I am not writing up a pattern for these because they were inspired by a pair of socks knit by someone else.

Anyway, I love the end result and so does TC. I started knitting more socks because TC has been raiding my handknit sock collection this past winter but now she has her eye on these, too. It may be a lost cause.

By the way, someone's legs are quickly getting longer....

I love the heel gusset and the mismatched toes. What a great pair of socks and what fabulous yarn (Spud & Chloë Fine).

I've been doing a tiny bit of spinning but not much. I really need more hours in the day, don't you? I think that is every knitter's wish.
best, susie