Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Vogue Knitting Live Recap

Hi Knitters,
Well, I've been home for a few days now and trying to catch up or at least pick up where I left off. Vogue Knitting Live was nothing short of spectacular. The classes, the market, the dinners, the fashion shows, the raffles and giveaways... all of it was incredible. Vogue Knitting has such a history and you could feel it all around you at the event.
The event was at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles. It was a beautiful hotel and the space accommodated the thousands of knitters very comfortably.
I only took photos in one of my classes. I had great and enthusiastic toy knitters. Every class was different and that's what makes teaching so much fun. I had quite a few knitters finish their projects. We made mice from Spud & Chloƫ at the Farm for the most part although some other animals were made along the way.
This class was particularly quick with their knitting. I did in-class demonstrations for small groups throughout the classes. That was fun.
Hard at work on their mousies....
I had all levels of knitters, some even trying to remember how to knit in the round from scratch. It all worked out fine in the end. I hope there were new techniques learned by all.
I had sisters, friends, mothers and daughters, even an 8 week old baby attended one of my classes. She was beautiful. See that cute woman in the green top in the photo above? That's Stefanie, one of my good friends on the Itty-Bitty Knits forum. Here is her blog. She is a talented knitter and new designer. Stefanie is Kepanie on ravelry. She is a good one. I loved meeting her in person.
The hotel was a well-run establishment. I enjoyed my stay there and even had one chance to workout at the fitness club. That was a treat. There was a spectacular pool in the back of the hotel, too.
Vogue is one with style for sure.
There was some sort of knit flower contest going on with Nicky Epstein's beautiful flower book. I loved looking at the flowers people made.
That's me getting ready for my class. Yes, I'm the one with the heels.

This is the marketplace which was packed full and thriving the entire weekend. I saw a ton of yarn and accessories and needles flying out of the shops. It was a fun and spirited atmosphere in there.
More on this later but that's the gorgeous Vickie Howell on the cover of the Knit Simple Holiday Issue 2011, and right to her left on the cover in the small photo is my latest project for Knit Simple! I did a fairy story for the magazine. I'll share more on that later but I will say that the Knit Simple team did a fantastic job!! There's going to be a huge giveaway coming up shortly for this one. Stay tuned...

It was fun that the magazine was released at this event and that I got to see it for the first time with my friend Stefanie by my side.
This lovely woman and teacher came to my last class and she brought four of her knit toys from Spud & Chloƫ at the Farm. Her enthusiasm was contagious. Thanks for bringing the toys and sharing with me. I loved it and your toys are so wonderful.
My hotel view looking to the right....
and to the left....
and straight ahead. It was a busy stretch.
The ongoing fashion shows were so much fun to watch. To see trends and different garments and accessories was so inspiring. The Vogue staff worked so hard all weekend and beyond. I couldn't get over how upbeat and positive they were. They did a great job and deserve so much credit. What a huge undertaking and then do to it with such style and success. Wow.
The gala dinner on Saturday night was a highlight for me. I have admired Kaffe Fassett for over 20 years. He was the speaker for the evening. I own almost all of his books. There might be a quilting book of his I don't own but I have have all of his knitting and mosaic books. I love them all. After seeing him speak I will have to go get his quilting book as well, the one I don't have.

Kaffe presented an color-filled slide show of his work and his inspiration which is really the world in front of him. The detail and scope of his handwork makes me swoon. He lives in a world without technology and email. He does handwork and stitching and art to fill his time. It is a life I aspire to live. There are occasional days when I long to live without technology (but I never really could - I would miss you all too much for one).

Kaffe impressed me with his small detail work on his sweaters and quilts. He had one enormous quilt that had tiny rectangles that were all hand stitched together. I mean each small piece was maybe a few inches. I will never forget it. I have a lot of his fabrics and I loved to see how they were made. He hand paints all of the designs which makes them richer and more interesting.

I have to give one last mention to two of the sweetest, funniest, sisters and knitters that I was so lucky to spend time with last weekend. These vivacious women are the sisters who own The Wool Cabin in Salt Lake City. I was so happy to see them and lunch with them and dine with them. They made my weekend all the better! These two make me laugh so hard. They are just plain fun and funny. I've known them since 2007? I think that's correct. Thank you, Suzette and Alison, for spending time with me and for lunch! I loved it. Also, hi to Patricia in Utah once again! We really should meet in person someday soon.

I'm speaking at the Madison Knitters Guild meeting on October 10th. I hope to see you there if you can make it.
best, susie

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Catching Up

Hi Knitters,
I have a few things to catch you up with. First off, another hank of yarn has been spun. I actually started this one months ago. It is the beautiful Fiber Optic Yarns roving I purchased at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival back in May.

The roving was 4 ounces of an 80% merino and 20% silk. The stunning colorway is Gold-Fuschia Layered Gradient. I spun up a hank with 224 yards in about a light worsted weight. Although it isn't all that even so in some spots it is a sport weight. The colors are so rich and interesting and that's what attracted me to the roving. I love the way the gold plays out, too.
It is a gradient roving starting with a vibrant red and gradually moving into a brilliant fuschia. I am thinking about a hat or a cowl for this one. I think that either of these projects will show off the yarn at its best. I'll keep you posted.
I wanted to keep the gradient colors together so I spun the singles and then Navajo plied. This keeps the colors together. I did much better this time with the Navajo plying. In an earlier skein I overspun when using this technique. Thanks to the advice of a kindly spinner on Ravelry I slowed my speed way down when plying and this seemed to help a lot. This is a very balanced hank of yarn, not perfect by any means, but it hangs straighter than straight. That's progress.

Now my neglected once again wheel has some yummy Sunshine Yarns superwash wool roving sitting and waiting to be finished. This is the Phoenix Song colorway and I think it is pretty brilliant with gray, white, orange, gold, red, blue and yellows sprinkled throughout. There is something very sweet about the way it is spinning up. I can't wait to see how it turns out.
I saw this sock yarn last fall and didn't get it. This year I snagged a hank of Vesper Sock Yarn in the Candy Corn colorway. It is self-striping and I can't wait to dive in and have some Halloween-inspired socks to wear. I'm a big fan of the candy corn, the kind you eat.

It is not easy to get this yarn as it flies out of the shop as soon as it is listed. If you want some for yourself you have to be on your toes. Click here for the Vesper Sock Yarn shop.

I wrote about the Sew Bendy bags a long, long time ago. The Etsy shop is on my blog sidebar. I use and love these little bags literally every day. I keep my small projects in them and I have a lot of small projects going at the same time and all of the time. I have also given these bags to my daughters and my sister. I can't recommend them enough.

This is TC's favorite Sew Bendy bag, the sweet pea one. She is knitting on her Be Sweet cotton stripes hat right now amongst other things.

Here are TC's latest knitting accomplishments. She finished her long in the making baby blanket out of Plymouth Heaven (click here to see the Heaven yarn). She bought her Heaven yarn at Stitchers Crossing. TC even ran out at one point and biked up to Stitchers to buy another ball or two. She absolutely loves this garter stitch baby blanket. She was going to donate it to her knitting group but I see that it hasn't left the house quite yet. I think she is having a hard time letting it go. We'll see what happens. She donates so much that it wouldn't be so bad for her to keep a little something.

I think I may have mentioned the Chunky Mochi Baby Hat she finished this summer. It is on her shoulder in the photo. TC picked out this yarn on our Door County trip. She is always attracted to the Chunky Mochi yarn and has another hat on the needles in a different colorway called Baby Face.

Last but not least, Miss Molly has finished another sock and is on the foot of the second sock. This is her first pair of fingering weight socks and she is moving right along. The sock yarn is called Shamrockin' and it is another hank of Vesper Sock Yarn. This yarn is interesting in that the colors change dramatically depending on the light.

Miss Molly loves green and she loves being Irish so this yarn was meant to be on her feet. I love sharing her knitting progress. Last fall she was a complete beginner, this fall she is knitting socks on US size 2 double-pointed needles. Pretty impressive.

I am off for Vogue Knitting Live in Los Angeles in a couple of days. I hope to see some of you there and I know I will see some of you in my classes. I am really excited to go but I'll be even more excited once I finish organizing and packing.

Take care and I'm planning on posting from California so stay tuned.
best, susie

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Day at Pope Farm Park

Hi Knitters,
Last week TC, my husband and I spent some time hiking at a new to us and nearby park, Pope Farm Park. We found a stunning and long rock wall, just past their prime sunflower fields, a gully beyond our imaginations, a spillway, fairy hiding spots and homes, signs of fall, long grass that felt like cushions under our feet, magical clouds.... and all just a few minutes from our front door.

We've already returned once more and TC has requested Pope Farm Park as a future picnic spot. I'm with her.


I hope you have a fall-filled weekend. I can never get enough of all this season has to offer.
best, susie

Monday, September 12, 2011

She has a way....

(photo by Alana Dakos)
Hi Knitters,
That Alana Dakos has a way with her knits whether it's her own design or someone else's design. I was reading her blog the other day and she had the sweetest post up about her little girl starting school. Click here to read her post.

I was so happy to see that she knit up the apple pattern in my Itty-Bitty Toys book as a first day of school teacher gift. What a cute and perfect idea.

(photo by Alana Dakos)

Doesn't it look like you could just take a big bite? Yum.

Alana and Hannah Fettig have a new book coming out very soon. It is up for pre-order right now at If you pre-order you get gorgeous patterns available for immediate download. You can check out all of the patterns on the site, too. I can't wait to get my copy as it looks like a really good collection.
best, susie
p.s. Thanks to Alana for giving me permission to share her beautiful photographs today.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Fall Flavored Handspun

Hi Knitters,
I am leaving you this week with a new hank of fall flavored handspun finished a few days ago. I tell you this fall-like weather is a dream for drying handspun outside. No humidity and a light crisp breeze makes for some fast drying time.
This alpaca/fine wool blend is a gift from my Kentucky fiber friend, Dianne of Sheep Dreams. She lives on Tanglewood Farm in Versailles, Kentucky and she is a fiber talent to be reckoned with. Dianne sent me a few 4 oz. bags of this beautiful roving with shades of green and rusty reds. It is the perfect fall spinning. I still have one bag left. I used the first 4 oz. bag up right after I started spinning and I spun that into a beginner's thick and thin yarn, which I love.
My second attempt to spin this fiber was fairly successful. I got a whopping 582 yards out of a tiny bit over 4 ounces of roving. I actually weighed the finished hank when I was done spinning because I couldn't believe the amount of yardage I had in the end. It's all true!
The singles spun so quickly and finely. I did a simple 2-ply and I think with the alpaca/wool blend and the yardage this will have to be a shawl of some sort. It is a fingering weight yarn. My other thought is to spin up the other 4 oz. bag and see what my total yards would be with both bags.
With the unspun roving included I might even have enough for some kind of fingering weight cardigan (like this one that takes 800-1000 yards) when I am done. That could be fun.

I am leaving you today with links to my knitting podcast playlist read directly off my iPod and in alphabetical order (I LOVE them all and have recently added some new ones to the list):

All of these podcasts are available through iTunes. I want to send out a huge thank you to all of the dedicated podcasters for their time and hard work. They keep me company on a daily basis while I work, knit and exercise. I am so happy every time I see a new episode pop up and if there isn't a new episode to listen to I often listen to old episodes over and over.

Have a great weekend, Knitters. See you bright and early next week. I did a fantastic nature hike with TC that I will share next week.
best, susie
p.s. I am starting a caridgan knitalong later this month. Click here for the details. Next week, I am adding more larger cardigan sizes than are available in the original pattern if you are interested.