Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Creative Connection

Hi Knitters,
Thank you for all of the warm wishes and positive thoughts. You are a good, supportive and kind bunch.

I am very excited and honored to be included with a fantastic group of teachers for the upcoming Creative Connection Event in St. Paul. The event takes place from September 15th to 17th and Vogue Knitting is sponsoring one day at the event.

To specifically see the line-up for the Vogue Knitting day click here! You'll find Shannon Oakey, Drew Emborsky, Kristin Nicholas, Trisha Malcolm, Iris Schreier, Gale Zucker, Annie Modesitt, Amy Detjen, Chris Bylsma, Melanie Falick, Carol Sulcoski, Rosemary Drysdale, Josh Bennett, and more...

I am teaching a Toy Knitting Workshop. We are making the mouse from Spud & Chloë at the Farm and learning and refining a ton of toy knitting techniques along the way.

I am speaking as part of a panel on Thursday, September 15th afternoon as well. I can't find that on the site but I will share more on this later.

Here is the schedule for the two workshops I am teaching:

TIME: 8:00 am - 11:00 am

TIME: 2:30 pm - 5:30 pm

During the class I will be conducting loads of small group demonstrations on specific toy-making techniques. It is a fun, happy and active class! You will walk out with a finished knit mouse and a lot of new tricks and tips up your sleeve for toy knitting.

Also, I am happy to sign any of your Itty-Bitty books and Spud & Chloë at the Farm books so be sure to bring them along.
As always, my generous company, Spud & Chloë/Blue Sky Alpacas, is providing every student with some wonderful gifts just for coming to the class. They never disappoint and make the class really special with their generosity.

I always throw in some fun giveaways, too. The gifts and the giveaways add so much excitement to the class. I love it.

Please let me know if you are coming to join me. I added The Creative Connection Event link to the top of the sidebar so you can easily visit the site anytime.
best, susie

Friday, July 22, 2011

Weekend Knitting

Hi Knitters,
I have a winner for the Knit Noro book, Megan or Sugarlaneknits on Ravelry! Congratulations to Megan and thank you to everyone for entering. I already have another book picked out for the next giveaway so be sure to try your luck next time.
It has been a long week around here. My dearest, sweetest friend lost her long and hard battle with cancer this week.

I miss her already.

Knitting will help carry me through and occupy my mind just as it always has in the past during difficult times.

I'll share more specifics about my weekend knitting in the photos when I get back on my feet. Today I have had the wind knocked right out of me.
best, susie

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Noro for-o Milestone

Edited to Add on July 22nd 2011: The giveaway for Knit Noro is now closed. No more entries are being taken. Thanks to all who entered.
Hi Knitters,
The heat has been overwhelming in our neck of the woods the past few days. It's more of the humidity combined with the heat that is so suffocating. Last night our neighborhood pool had its water ballet show and it went fine but I have to admit it was hard to sit outside for hours in that sauna. It's the type of weather where you start to sweat the minute you walk out the door and it never stops. Tomorrow is supposed to be the worst of it with the heat index at around 115 degrees and record setting humidity. I am always interested in the weather because we have such extremes in Wisconsin. It keeps you on your toes.

Now that the water ballet show, which all four of my kids were involved in, is over I am moving on to the All-City Swim Meet that our pool is hosting in a little over a week. It is going to be a very intense couple of weeks and our family's workload has already been and is going to be incredible. The meet involves a dozen area pools and thousands of swimmers and families. It is immense. Wish us luck. It is all good fun.

Now for the business of the day. If you are wondering what the milestone is that I referred to in the title of this post, I am talking about the fact that this is my 700th post! That's a lot of writing and photos and knitting adventures and life lived in one spot. I am celebrating post number 700 with a fantastic book giveaway.

Knit Noro is a new book by Sixth & Spring Books and it is a major winner. It is a compilation pattern book with a talented gathering of designers using the most beautiful Noro yarns. Really, I can't say enough good things about Knit Noro.

I have been a longtime fan of Noro yarns. I love the stripes, bright and subdued colors combined in unusual ways, the rustic quality of their yarns and pretty much everything about it. I hear people say they occasionally have to pick a twig out of their yarn while they are knitting and they don't like it. I love that. I love a rustic and colorful yarn. Yum.

The photography in the book is spectacular and features each design clearly. There are gloves, scarves, shawls, sweaters, vests, tunics, colorwork, hats, blankets... etc. There are large, medium and small projects. It is a feast of Noro goodness. I long to make the majority of the projects in this book and I will definitely do some of the smaller projects very soon like the scarves and hats. I am planning on a vest and cardigan as well.
I love this reversible cable scarf in Taiyo.
I think this cardigan is adorable and I think it would be incredibly quick to work up. It looks comfortable, stylish and you could wear it with just about anything.
I have a ball of Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn just waiting to become these. I love the lacy pattern with the gradual striping. It's so good.
What a stunning blanket. I mean... nothing more needs to be said about the combination of the yarn and pattern. It is perfection. Wouldn't you love to have this in your house? I would.
This shawl is made by alternating two different colorways of Noro Kureyon. I have so many single balls of different colorways of the Kureyon that I am definitely making this one. It could be a good gift, too. You need 6 balls total. I easily have that for sure.
It's all just so pretty and unique and lovely. The vests are wonderful in here.
I also think doing colorwork in the striping yarn is fantastic. You get such a great effect with less effort. Who doesn't want that?
I wouldn't wear the belt but I would wear this long vest with everything I own. The pockets are an added benefit. I could use a garment like this in my wardrobe. I don't have anything like it.

There really are so many more lovely, practical, wearable, fun and stylish projects in this book. I highly recommend this one. If you love Noro there is no doubt that you will love this book!

If you would like a copy for your home knitting library leave a comment on this blog post. Please leave only one comment. Don't forget to leave your email or your Ravelry ID so I can get in touch if you win. I will be back to randomly select a winner in a couple of days. Good luck if you enter.

Here's to 700 more blog posts, Knitters. Thank you for the support, love and fun we have shared along the way.

best, susie

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fiber to Baby Sweater

Hi Knitters,
A couple months ago I shared some fiber from Maine Woods Fiber that was sent to me through a swap I joined on the Itty-Bitty Knits group on Ravelry. The generous Rae Lynne sent me this fiber to spin in the Hyacinths colorway.
I divided the fiber into three sections and spun onto three bobbins.
I plied the bobbins to make a three-ply hank of dk weight yarn.
I think there was maybe close to 200 yards in the hank.
I spun a tiny hank of two-ply with the leftovers on the bobbins. After I finished spinning I decided to surprise Rae Lynne and send the finished handspun right back to her.
To my delight Rae Lynne knitted the handspun yarn into this adorable baby sweater.

Read about the sweater right here!

The whole thing was so much fun from the swap to the spinning to the surprising and finally to seeing the finished baby sweater. I thought you might enjoy this fiber adventure, too. Thanks to Rae Lynne for sharing this with me.

Now to finish up I have a few links for you:

Happy Wednesday! I hope your summer knitting is going well this year.
best, susie

Friday, July 08, 2011

Concerts on the Square

Hi Knitters,
I want to share another Madison phenomenon with you that I haven't talked about before. Every Wednesday evening during the summers, for the past 28 years, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra plays a free concert on the Capitol Square in downtown Madison. It is amazing and I hadn't been for awhile. For years we used to pack up a big picnic and all the kids and meet my sister and mom for the concerts pretty much every week during the summers. Then with all of the kids and activities I guess it just got too busy. I am glad I got to go again as it reminded me of the fun we used to have.

Anyway, this past Wednesday my husband got an invitation from some work friends to sit at a table right up next to the orchestra and capitol building to watch the concert. We started the night out at my husband's friend's chic condominium that is right off the square and overlooks beautiful Lake Monona. This condo was super modern and sleek inside and it was huge. Their patio wrapped around the building. It was gorgeous inside and out.
This is the view from their patio. It was the most perfect night weather-wise. There was a cool refreshing breeze, not humid and sunny. It was as close to perfect as you can get. After visiting there for a bit we walked up to the square for dinner and the concert.Here was our table at the concert. We were about the third or fourth row back from the orchestra. You can see the music director, Andrew Sewell, in his white coat, above the crowd. We know him a tiny bit as he lives in our neighborhood. He and his family moved from New Zealand to Madison many years ago. He is always the friendliest guy when we see him. It was fun to get to see Andrew in action at the concert. He sort of dances with the music as he directs. It's very dramatic.
The Capitol is impressive as always.
As we were walking up to our table and people weren't sitting down yet all you could see were the picnic blankets spread out on the lawn. It looked like a patchwork blanket. I wish I could have gotten a photo of that. It was so colorful and happy. Here everyone is sitting down to enjoy the concert.
During one part of the concert the orchestra played a tribute to the armed services. They called members of each division to stand up to be recognizes during their specific branch's song. It was moving. There also was a featured bluegrass band called, Above the Town. They are incredibly talented musicians and they really got the crowd going.
That's my husband in the red shirt. We had a catered meal that our hosts had won at a silent auction to support a domestic abuse fundraiser. I loved that the money for our meal went to a good cause. That was cool.
I loved the stream of the wait staff filing out of the building. You can't see it clearly but they were carrying these big trays filled with the most delicious looking desserts. The line just went on and on.
The orchestra sits right under those banners on the building. This is the view as you are walking up toward the Capitol steps.
I never tire of our beautiful downtown square. It is such a vibrant downtown. People flock to events and support the local restaurants and shops. That says so much about a city.One last shot of the picnicking crowd....
I hope you get a chance to get out and enjoy your cities this summer.
best, susie
p.s. I want to give a quick shout out to Patricia Christensen and her Salt Lake City knitting group, Chicks with Sticks! Hellooooooo!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Is it Tuesday already?

Hi Knitters,
That was a weekend to remember, right? Here's what is going on at my house that I can share. I have a lot of behind the scenes knitting going on for books and projects that I can't share, but that will come later.

I quickly whipped up two baby hats for our neighborhood pool's upcoming silent auction. It is a yearly fundraiser where all of the money goes toward pool improvements and defraying membership costs. I am on the committee running the silent auction this year so I hope we can raise lots of money for our lovely little pool which has brought our family so much fun, happiness and activity throughout the years.

I thought about designing a couple of new hats for the auction but I don't really have time for that right now. Instead I pulled out my trusty Itty-Bitty Hats and went for a couple of tried and true crowd pleasers. I knit the Upside Down Daisy and the Cotton Stria Stripes hats. Both are knit in Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Cotton. This cotton is incredible. It is vibrant, soft and easy to work with. Hands down this is my favorite cotton yarn.
I am especially pleased with the stripey hat in greens, cream and the lightest gray I have ever seen. It is such a clean, fresh little hat. I wanted to offer something for both a boy and girl so everyone is included. Hopefully these hats will get some bids. You never know.

Anyway, it is fun to revisit my old book every once in awhile. I have such a flood of memories when I knit something from the original Itty-Bitty book. It makes me feel good because after I make one of the hats from here I stop and think, yes, these are still really cute baby hats. They are fun, fast and satisfying in the best way. I miss my baby hat knitting.
I have not spun for weeks. I keep looking longingly at my wheel with some Cloudlover roving started on it but I just haven't had the chance. Most of the knitting I have been doing is for work or on the go knitting which is usually plain stockinette socks. Maybe this week I will steal a moment or two for spinning. Here's to hoping...
Our garden is making good progress. We have harvested some handfuls of tiny red tomatoes, onions, strawberries and green peppers so far. This patch of a garden has already brought so much joy in such a small amount of time. The empty spot by the hose and stray water balloons has carrots that are just popping up. I think TC planted something else in this spot that maybe didn't take very well.
Here on my front stoop is a remnant from my son's firework extravaganza for the 4th. He actually built a wooden box with holes in it to hold his fireworks for lighting. He worked really hard on this. He is crazy for fireworks and it worries me a little (or a lot). Everyone has seemed to survive without injury this year so that is good.
I finished my second pair of handspun socks. I used Dyeabolical roving to spin into fingering weight yarn. I knit up this pair of simple stockinette socks working a round or two here and there over the past few weeks. It's amazing how just knitting a few rounds at a time will eventually get you to the end of a project. Here's proof.
I haven't blocked them yet. They are a bit lumpy and bumpy but I have to say I kind of like them just as they are for now. Rustic and homemade is my kind of sock (and life).
The feel of a pair of snug handpun socks on your feet is like nothing I can describe exactly.
It is sooooo good! See, that doesn't really describe the complete comfort, sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, happiness, love, beauty, amazement.... that wearing handspun yarn brings. In all their imperfection they are perfect to me.

Learning how to spin has been a wonderful addition to my life. I highly recommend it if you haven't tried it yet. Spinning has enhanced my knitting in new and exciting ways.
While watching the new episode of The Knit Girlls very early this morning I finished up a Noro Silk Garden (purchased here) stockinette sock. I absolutely love it. The Knit Girllls are involved in a very cool charity project right now. They are helping their knitting friend raise thousands of dollars for the Make a Wish Foundation. Click here to find out more information! Oh, and when I looked to gather these links I saw the Knit Girllls have three new tutorials up as well. I'll be watching these later. They have wonderful tutorials so be sure to check them all out.

Wow, so much to knit and make and so little time, right? Aren't we lucky to live a life full of creation and possibilities? I think so.

What are you knitting this week?
best, susie
p.s. Sam Boice and Bree Miller are having a kickstarter for their new yarn line, The Wool Dispensary. If you are interested and want to help two talented young indie dyers and knitters then click right here for more information.
p.p.s. I am completely enamored with Paula of the Knitting Pipeline Podcast. I am listening my way through all 49 episodes starting with #1. I think I am up to number 29 but I have listened to the recent last few episodes as well. She is wonderful! There is something so warm and charming about her. You will fall in love, too. I love how she gives a strong opinion about something and then comes back in the following episode and apologizes for it. That makes me smile.