Friday, August 26, 2011

Lace Designers x 2

Hi Knitters,
First things first, emxlenie (rav id) won the Super End of Summer Giveaway. Congratulations to Emilene and thank you to everyone who entered. There are more giveaways coming up so stay tuned to enter again.

Second on my list is to tell you about my friend, Laura Nelkin's, Craftsy Online Class. I get to offer you a 50% off deal for her Mastering Lace Shawls online class! I am really excited about this. Laura is the queen of lace. She is a prolific lace designer, her shawls are gorgeous and her beaded knitting is extraordinary. Check out how she added lace to this baby project.

Here is the trailer for her class:

I thought Laura's lace class was the perfect tie-in to another up and coming designer, Christina Wall, because she loves to knit and design with lace, too.

That brings me to the third thing on my list, the opportunity to share a fun designer with you. Her name is Christina Wall and I have met her a couple of times at TNNA. Her sister is the felt flower designer from the giveaway. When I met Christina in June she was wearing an adorable cardigan (shown above) and shawl knit in Spud & Chloë yarns and she really caught my eye. Plus, both of the sisters were excited and sweet and just plain cute and fun together. I loved that about them. They both had such enthusiasm for knitting and for Spud & Chloë. I thought you might enjoy seeing some of Christina's patterns today.

Click here to find out about Christina's Ginger Leaves Shawlette! This pattern is quite popular on Ravelry.
Here is a back view of the Ginger Leaves Shawlette. Isn't it elegant and sweet?
I love Christina's lace work. Click here to see the Woodland Spring Shawlette on Ravelry! This appears to be Christina's most popular design with being in almost 500 queues, over 1,000 favorites and over 60 finished projects. Christina is really taking off as a designer which is so fun to see.Here is the lucky thing for you. Christina is hosting a giveaway for the Adrift Shawlette (shown above) which takes 2 hanks of Spud & Chloë Fine which is 456 yards of fingering weight yarn. I think the Adrift Shawlette would be gorgeous in one color, too. I love it. All you need to do is pop over to her blog and leave a comment. She also is offering a 15% off coupon for ALL of her patterns. She has cardigans, cowls, scarves and more shawls.

Click here to go to Christina's blog to enter to win the pattern for the Adrift Shawlette. Let's show Christina some love! I'm going to enter right now.

So two lace designers for the price of one blog post today. Lace knitting is hotter than ever. I have another book giveaway for Wendy Johnson's new lace book coming up for you, too. Lace is everywhere.

Off to the weekend. I hope you all get to spend some time knitting and enjoying your loved ones over the next couple of days. I know I will.
best, susie

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Super End of Summer Giveaway

Edited to Add on Aug. 26th, 2011: The giveaway is now closed and no further entries are being taken. Thanks to all who entered.

Hi Knitters,
I've gathered some wonderful goodies for you today for my Super End of Summer Giveaway. To start, there is a new book out by the wonderful Larissa Brown. Larissa is also the author of a favorite book of mine called, Knitalong. Her new book is, My Grandmother's Knitting.

It is more than a knitting pattern book because Larissa persuaded (happily I'm sure) some of the top knitwear designers around to share their family histories involving knitting. My Grandmother's Knitting is exactly the kind of book I adore. I want to hear the story of how Wendy Bernard learned to knit from her Grandma Shorty and how Meg Swansen was so strongly influenced by her smart and clever mother, Elizabeth Zimmermann. The book is simply a satisfying treat.
The book is divided into two sections. The first section is Family Stories. Here is a list of all of the knitters' stories included: Wendy Bernard, Pam Allen, Meg Swansen, Ysolda Teague, Jessica Marshall Forbes, Kay Gardiner, Joan McGowan-Michael, Kristin Spurkland, Teva Durham, Jared Flood, Norah Gaughan, Anne Hanson, Leigh Radford, Chrissy Gardiner, Adrian Bizilia, Kirsten Kapur and Emily Johnson.

What an impressive group of knitters and authors and designers and storytellers.

Each family story is better than the next. The stories shed light on the generational aspect and personal history that everyone's knitting contains. Today's influential designers share their talents with us because of their grandmother's or mother's or father's or some other beloved relative's knitting.

I love family stories in general and when they involve knitting it is all the better to me.

In the second section of the book, each of the knitters listed above, and a few more, then offer a pattern inspired in some way from their family story. It could be a project directly from their knitting loved one or something inspired by, modernized and updated. The patterns include everything from scarves, gloves, a cardigan, a colorwork sweater, a cowl, a shrug, a cape, a pillow, hats, socks, a shawlette, mitts, slippers, a dishcloth and blankets. The variety is wonderful. All levels of knitting skills are included.

Here are a few patterns I love. The Storm Cloud Shawlette, by Hanna Breetz, is a simple and sweet little knit.
The always popular Ysolda Teague offers up these gorgeous little Fiddlers' Mitts.
I just love this simple scarf that is a striped tube by Rodger P. Murray. I want to make one of these this winter.
These mittens are knit starting at the top of the thumb and then the top of the mitten and all worked on double-pointed needles. I can't wait to try these out.

Well, it is a lovely book that I think many of you would enjoy and use. I am happy to be able to offer you a chance to win a copy of My Grandmother's Knitting today but there is still more....
I also want to offer you a chance to win a beautiful repurposed felt flower pin. This one is mine and was given to me at TNNA from Heather R. LeFebevre. I think it is so well-made and sweet. I love the name, Reincarnations, very clever.

Heather has generously offered to give a flower of choice from her Etsy shop to the winner of this giveaway. You get to pick your favorite which is such a treat.

But wait, there's still more...

I've decided to throw my latest and only handspun yarn of this summer into the gift pot! I recently finished spinning this Cloudlover Polwarth hand painted roving called Wild Bunch. It turned out great. The finished yarn has lavender, purple, bright green, blue and even a dab of pink in spots. It is gorgeous.

Click here to see the Cloudlover shop! I'd like to have one of everything, please.

Back to my handspun yarn, the larger hank is a 2-ply, about a sport/dk weight, 264 yards which is plenty for a cowl, mitts, or a hat or two.

The tiny hank is a Navajo plied sampler that is about 28 yards.
The Wild Bunch yarn was soaked in the Amy Butler Soak Wash. I can't stop squishing it and smelling it because it is just so darn yummy. There are some thick and thin spots, it's far from perfect, but I think this yarn could make a very cute project for one of you and you'll know that I spun from my heart when you cross those imperfections.

Okay, leave one comment, and one only, on this blog post to enter to win a copy of My Grandmother's Knitting, a terrific felt flower from Heather's shop and a hank of my handspun yarn. If you enter please leave me an email address or Ravelry id/name where I can reach you if you win. I will then contact you to get your mailing address. I will pick a winner via a random number generator in a few short days.

Good luck with the Super End of Summer Giveaway!

Let the comments begin.
best, susie

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dill Pickled

Hi Knitters,
My 17 year-old son loves a good challenge and this one involves our garden cucumber harvest and his love of dill pickles. He studied how-tos and recipes, drove to the grocery shop and bought the jars and seasoning and went to town. Below is a pictorial post so you can see his pickling work in progress. He cut slices and spears. Why not live it up?

The finished and sealed jars are now sitting on a shelf in our pantry for at least two weeks before we can crack one open to try our first homegrown dill pickles.

best, susie
p.s. I am pulling together a fun giveaway that I will post in a couple of days. There will be multiple prizes so be sure to check back to enter.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fiber Fiesta

Hi Knitters,
I haven't even touched my wheel since early June when I had just started spinning this Cloudlover Polwarth. Over the last couple of days I snuck in a moment here and there and at night to finish up the 4 oz. braid.
I was a little disappointed that I didn't get a a bit more yardage. I did a 2-ply at maybe a sport weight and got 264 yards in the hank above.
The colorway is called Wild Bunch and I really love it. It looked very different in the braid before being spun. By the way, I used a sample of Amy Butler's signature Soak when I washed the yarn and it smells so good you wouldn't believe it. I think this is my favorite Soak scent. I don't know if it is still available so I will have to look that up and get a big jug if it is still around.
I had a small amount of singles left on one bobbin when I was done with the other bobbin so I Navajo plied the leftover. I got a tiny 28 yard hank of probably a DK weight or so. You know, I over spin the twist when I ply using the Navajo technique. It did block out with the soaking and hanging with a light weight. I have to fiddle with this to figure out what I am doing wrong.
Here is my Door County Cherry sock. I bought a hank of Tosh Light Merino in this pinkish/reddish/purple-y and brown in spots color. I immediately named them my Door County Cherry socks because cherries are the claim to fame for Door County if you didn't know. I bought the yarn at Spin of Door County. They had lots of colorways at the shop.
That slight variation in the color holds my interest even though the contrasts are small. Madelinetosh is just a yummy, delicious yarn in every weight.
Here is the start of my second sock. I've had to set it aside since the trip due to other work knitting. I'll finish soon I hope.
Okay, here we are again with this beauty of a sock. I started this several years ago and I just finished the toe yesterday. I don't know what it is about this Watermelon Stripe sock but I couldn't seem to finish it for some reason.
The yarn is from Sunshine Yarn and it most likely isn't available any longer. There are wonderful new selections though. I love Dani's yarn. It is cute, right? I should immediately cast on the second sock, right? I didn't.
Here is another pair I started years ago. I finished the first sock at least three years ago. I have no idea why I didn't start the second sock right away. It is Vesper Striping Sock Yarn (I am a huge fan) and I own several more colorways of this hand-dyed yarn.
I finished up the Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn socks. The color number is S258. I love them. I knit them on US size 1 needles and they are dense, dense, dense.
Here is another hank of yarn I have been sitting on for a year or two. It is Sanguine Gryphon's Bugga sock yarn in the Yellow Dung Fly (not sure what that is but it sounds kind of gross) colorway. It is 20% cashmere and 70% wool and 10% nylon. It is a smooshy delight. I am doing a simple rib with cables running down the sides of the cuff, not sure yet whether I will continue the cables on the sides of the foot or not. We'll see how I feel after the heel.
I love the Bugga yarn and will collect more in the future.
Well, I am working away on my sock collection for the upcoming winter season. TC dipped into my handknit socks last winter and I don't mind that but if I'm sharing I definitely could use some new pairs. These socks were finished by knitting a round here and there and in the car or at a swim meet. This is proof that you can make some progress a little at a time.
TC picked out a ball of Mochi Chunky in Door County to make a baby hat. She made this over a few days.
I loved it because she made the entire thing herself including the double-pointed needles and the I-cord on top. Many times she likes me to do the top for her but she can actually do it herself. It's a very sweet hat. She will donate this to her knitting group that does charity knitting for local charities.
Late last night I started spinning some Fiber Optic Fiber that is 80% merino and 20% silk. It is one I picked up at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival last May and the colorway is Gold-Fuschia Layered Gradient.
It starts with one color and slowly moves to several other colors to the other end. I am trying to spin it straight through, not dividing it at all. I will then Navajo ply it so the gradient color transitions stay intact. My only worry is not to overspin the plying. It could be really cool in the end and I am thinking about some kind of shawl with the yarn. Wish me luck.

Okay, it is getting late and I am very sleepy so I think I won't go back and put all of the links in tonight. If you are interested in any of the yarns or fiber you can always google the names of the yarn or fiber and shops and sites will pop up for you that way. If I get a chance I'll come back in and put the links in later.

I'll be back soon with a fun giveaway for you. I hope you are having fiber fiestas, too, Knitters.

Good night. I'm crawling into bed to dream about more knitting and spinning.....
best, susie

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Spin of Door County

Hi Knitters,
When we were in Door County last week I discovered a fantastic knit shop. It is called Spin and it is owned by Terry. She is an energetic, fun yarn shop owner. She actually owns the old bank building in Sturgeon Bay where she opened Spin about five years ago. It is a gorgeous building inside and out and Terry has created one of the most charming and inviting knit shops I have ever seen. I am not exaggerating. I love it at Spin.
There is room after room chock full of top of the line yarns and accessories and books and magazines. The selection is so good and widespread. The shop was bustling with knitters the entire time we were there on several different occasions and days. I was impressed with how busy it was. That is a good sign. Spin is doing something right.
There is an upstairs where knitting groups meet with enough room to have multiple groups meeting at the same time. It is unusual to have several comfortable and spacious rooms in a knit shop but Spin has it!
Even the hallways are bubbling over with yarn. I love the detail on the windows. The building is really, really beautiful and nostalgic. I love this setting. These stairs lead up to the big lounging/teaching/knitting group rooms.
The other thing that impressed me was the amount of samples that were knit up in the shop. It was incredible. Sweaters, shawls, toys, baby items, mittens, blankets, scarves, vests, hats... you name, they had it.
TC and I had so much fun here. When my husband took my fisherman son off to fish at a pier nearby, TC and I hung out at a big table on the main floor and knitted for an hour or so. Terry has a bowl of candy on the table at all times so we helped ourselves to Jolly Ranchers and Starburst and knit away. Good times.

As we sat we met a few local knitters and watched people trickle in and out of the shop. There is such a sense of community happening at Spin. There were so many happy knitters coming in and out and people buying sweater amounts of yarn. Terry told me they have open knitting time in the morning one day a week and then one night a week and they get a large group for both of these times. She has lots of groups that meet at her shop as well.

TC told me she wished I worked there. I thought that was a big compliment.

I'll share TC's and my Door County knitting in the next post.
That is TC standing by the table we sat at one afternoon. She picked out some Noro Kochoron #81 for a scarf, mitten and hat set she wants to make. I am sure I will pitch in on this project (and maybe steal it to wear sometimes when we are done). This yarn is spectacular and has a little angora added.

Terry has a brand new site and she told me that very soon they will be selling all of their yarn and everything else online so check back for that if you are interested. For now you can stop by or give them a call and they will send your order right out.

On a final side note, we stopped by the home of the Green Bay Packers on the way back to Madison. They were having a family day and scrimmage type thing so Lambeau was overtaken with enthusiastic Packer fans.

We had lunch at the stadium at a restaurant called, Curly's. (I know you are all jealous right now. lol.) All of the menu items had tricky football-Packer-referencing names. As we were having lunch the new recruits walked through the restaurant with their families and into a private room. My husband and sons were very excited about this.
Now, I want you to get a feel for what I go through with this whole thing. We had to stand in a large hallway for a long time while each new recruit had photographs taken with their families and we watched.

The guy on the left (above) in the white t-shirt was the number one draft pick for the Packers. I don't remember his name. His stature was impressive. Just to check, my husband casually walked by the new Packer while my oldest son took a photo to see who was taller/bigger. That's my husband in the gray t-shirt and baseball cap on the right. I have to say that they are pretty similar in size. The kids all laughed so hard when my husband was "casually" walking by. He was so awkward and obvious. Do you see that blonde lady in the Packer shirt looking at him?

I live with a goofy crew no doubt.
Here we all are on the big steps to the stadium. My husband explained to us why Lambeau is the perfect football stadium design. I was mesmerized (just kidding). I have zero interest in the Packers or football but if it makes my boys happy, I'm right there with them. It is harmless fun.

We had a good time and it was funny to see the crazy-devoted Packer fans in person. These people are Packer nuts! Wow, there is a whole world out there that is all Packers all of the time.

Have a good Friday, Knitters.
best, susie