Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Milk Cow Pattern is Now Available!

Hi Knitters,
This is just a quick post to let you know I have now put the pattern for the Milk Cow in my Ravelry Pattern Shop!

Click here for the Ravelry project page for the Milk Cow pattern!

The pattern was originally published in Knit Circus Holiday Gifts Issue 2011 and now the rights have reverted back to me so I am able to sell the pattern to you.

This cow is adorable and comes with an udder option. I think it is funny that I designed another cow and I got complaints that there wasn't an udder. This time I made sure to include all parts.

Milk Cow is available only in my Ravelry Pattern Store and the price is $4.50! Click on the button if you are interested in finding out more:

That's it for today. I will be back to share a sweater project I finished awhile ago but never shared. It is a fun one.
best, susie

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Sunday Sort of Thing

Hi Knitters,
First off, thank you for the Another Flower Headband love! I can't believe how many patterns I have sold already in a couple of days. I debated even publishing the pattern and I am so glad I did and that  people are enjoying it.

Today is a lazy kind of Sunday and I just walked around and took a few shots of what's going on around my house as far as crafts go.

Above is a fun toy I am working on for my upcoming book. I have been knitting up a storm lately and honestly, I am having more fun than ever.

I have made good progress on the shawl design I am working on but this project has taken a backseat for the moment. I can't wait to wear it so I want to finish soon. The yarn is Madeline Tosh Pashmina. The feel of the fabric is divine. I can't wait to block this one out to get the full effect. It is a very simple half-circle shawl that is fun to knit.

I take pottery pieces from around my house to set my yarn cakes in and on as I work. It doesn't have to be a yarn bowl specifically to hold the yarn and keep it clean. I have all kinds of pottery pieces that I've collected through the years and it is a fun way to use and enjoy them. The yarn above is Quince & Co. Lark in Glacier. Isn't it pretty?

A couple of years ago I ordered two embroidered pillow kits from Kristin Nicholas. Click here for her shop! I don't know if she is still selling these kits. They are so much fun and I miss my stitching! I am definitely doing more stitching in this year ahead.

Here is the first pillow I finished some time ago. It is a family favorite and has held up quite well. The two pillows will look so cute together. Can't wait to finish this one, too.

Lastly, this gorgeous fiber is sitting on my window seat. I haven't been spinning much due to a lack of time. I am eyeing these batts as my next spinning adventure. They are from one of my faves, Dyeabolical. These particular batts (there are 3 in the package) are 4.19 ounces total and the content is wool, tussah silk, bamboo and firestar (which is the shiny stuff). I am up for a new adventure! Maybe later today I will squeeze in a little spinning time.

I'll keep you posted on my progress on all of these Sunday projects.

Thank you all for joining me on this spot and through subscription emails and blog readers, etc. I have been overwhelmed lately by the kindness and generosity of the fine group of knitters gathering here. My blog stats and pattern sales have been way up lately and I simply want to express my appreciation and gratitude to you all.

Happy Sunday!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Another Flower Headband - New Pattern

Hi Knitters,
Well, after years of seeing these adorable flower headbands all over the place and having my daughters request that I a make them one, I finally sat down and designed one myself. It is not an earthshaking design and I didn't reinvent the wheel, but I did try to spice up my version with some fun techniques that may be new to some of you (if not that's all the better). I threw in some detailed instructions for short rows and a sewn bind off and a few different sizes for the headband and a completely customizable flower.

There you have it! My girls are in love with these headbands. Peachy likes the natural version and TC likes the colorful Noro version. Go figure.

Here is what you will need:
120 yards of chunky weight yarn (samples in Rowan British Sheep Breeds - leftover from the Owls sweater, and Noro Kochoran)
US size 10 needles, 6mm, 16-inch circular and 24-inch circular (the longer needles are optional but make things easier) or the size to obtain gauge
Gauge is 3.75 stitches per inch in stockinette stitch.

And you'll need about one afternoon or evening to make a beautiful headband! It is a fast and furious and simple project.

A little front angle for you....

The Noro Kochoran version...

TC wanted a lining for extra warmth so I found a headband that I purchased at Jo Ann's for $1.00 in a matching shade of pink. I see these cheap-o headbands all over, even in drugstores and grocery stores. I took a matching thread and stitched it in leaving enough give so that it stretches nicely.

One note, TC wanted a bigger flower so I added a 10 petal layer to her finished version. This version has a smaller flower.

Go big or go home (with your flower that is).

Now, I want you to know that there are pages of similar projects on Ravelry like this one. There are even many free versions of headbands with flowers. You may want to check these out.

I am making this pattern available for an extra-low price of $2.50.

And for this price you get:
3 sizes:  small child (large child, teen/adult); 16-inch (18-inch, 20-inch) circumference (remember to have 1-2 inches of negative ease when selecting a size)
Technique instructions
A customizable revamped flower pattern (similar to the felted flower in Itty-Bitty Hats) - it is only 3 rows per petal layer!
An instructional video for the flower - remember this one?

And a whole lot of fun, I hope! I made three of these and had the pattern completely memorized including the flower. It is that simple. It's my new go-to gift.

Click here for the Ravelry project page link!

I forgot how much I love making these flowers!

For some other cool flowers to embellish your headband check out this pattern by Kristin Nicholas.

The button-free headband gets narrower in the back of the neck for comfort. This project is a great way to use up leftovers from other projects. You could stripe yarns and use different yarns for the flower, too. Mix it up!

The pattern is in my Ravelry Pattern Store and I am putting it up in the new Craftsy.com pattern store as well (I'll let you know when it's available over there). Yarn shop owners, by the way, I have made my Ravelry Pattern Shop patterns available for wholesale if you are interested in that. I think you have to be a pre-approved shop but definitely check into it if that is something you'd like to do.

Here is the Ravelry button to click to purchase the pattern for Another Flower Headband, if you are interested:

I'll be back with my Milk Cow pattern from Knit Circus. The rights have reverted back to me so I can sell the pattern in my shop now.

Also, a couple of you left comments about a Pinterest invite but you didn't leave your email. I need your email address to invite you.

Take care, sweet Knitters, and keep those ears warm!
best, susie

Monday, January 23, 2012

And Now....

Hi Knitters,
Ahhhhhh.... and now my Owls is even better and much more comfortable and wearable.
Red oval buttons from the Sow's Ear.
Succinct and clear sewing machine steeking instructions from, Color by Kristin, by Kristin Nicholas.
Tiny sentimental antique eye buttons moved discreetly to an owl on the back, had to keep those.
best, susie

Friday, January 20, 2012

One Last Hoot and Link Time

Hi Knitters,
Well, my Owls pullover, designed by Kate Davies, is finally dry and I have been wearing it ever since. It smells so good from the Soak wool wash I used. While it was blocking TC and I were discussing the buttons and she knelt down put her face right in the wool and took a deep sniff. She told me it smelled really good. That made me smile. She's a wool-girl.

The blocking didn't change the appearance much but it softened the fabric a little and it just feels cleaner and fresher. It was much needed.

As promised, here are the details for my version of Owls.

Needles: US size 10 and 10.5, 24-inch circulars and dpns - for the sleeves
The pattern recommends a 32-inch but I didn't have any problem knitting the entire body and yoke on the 24-inch circs.

Size: Size 4 in the pattern (38-inch bust)
Usually I make a 36-inch bust size but Kate describes the sweater as a very fitted pullover and I really didn't want a super tight chunky weight sweater. I wanted to be able to layer underneath. Even though I went up a size, it really did turn out as quite a fitted sweater and I was right on gauge and used the suggested yarn.

Yarn: Rowan Purelife British Sheep Breeds Chunky (100% British wool), 120 yards per skein (I used the better part of 6 skeins.) in the Steel Grey Suffolk colorway

Length of body to underarms: 17.5-inches

Length of arms from underarm to bind off at wrist: 17-inches

There you have it. I followed the pattern as is! If you make an Owls please let me know and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

I have to talk for a moment about Pinterest. I am having so much fun over there. I have discovered and tried lots of new recipes, found new sewing patterns and crafty inspiration, learned about new products, and especially enjoyed the huge numbers of knitters on Pinterest.

Click here to check out my boards on Pinterest! Please feel free to follow me if you'd like (you can follow all boards or select the ones you are interested in). I'd love to see you over there.

It is still relatively new as a site so you need an invite to join but then you are a member right away. There is no waiting. If you need an invite let me know and leave your email in a comment on this post. I will happily send you an invite. I am a little busy over the next few days but I will add you as soon as I get a chance.

I'll leave you with a few fun recipe links I've found on Pinterest. I have cooked entire meals from Pinterest links which has been really fun. Check these out:
One Pot Macaroni and Cheese recipe
Yummy no-bake cookies
Crockpot chicken and noodle soup
Snickerdoodle muffins
The bark that changed everything (Watch out, this is addicting and the kids love it!)

Off into the weekend we go! I have a couple of new patterns that will be available for purchase through my Ravelry Pattern Shop next week. I haven't had the time to update my shop much at all so I am looking forward to doing more of that. I am working on the cutest women's winter accessory right now that I am so excited about.

Take care.
best, susie

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Owls Blocking Day and Button Eyes

Hi Knitters,
Blocking day has come again and this is actually the second day of blocking. The Rowan British Sheep Breeds is a heavy wool and it really soaked up that water yesterday. I put a fan on it yesterday, too, and it is still damp today. Maybe by tomorrow it will be dry. 

I will be wearing it tomorrow if it is ready! I'll share one more photo of me in the finished and blocked and buttoned pullover.

By the way, when I dumped the water out of the basin where I was washing the sweater, the water was quite dirty with a small amount of brown sediment at the bottom of the basin. This is a truly rustic wool and I absolutely love it. I never mind picking twigs out of my yarn as I work. I have no idea why I am so drawn to natural wools and tweeds like this. Yum.

You can see the button choices here. TC helped me place them on the owls. She loves helping me make choices about things like this. 

After much deliberation, I have to say that this is my favorite.... 

...the single owl and the tiny white button eyes and off-center to the left. It's just enough.  

I've already stitched these two button eyes on with some matching gray thread. I found the buttons in an old button tin that my dear friend gave me after her mom passed away many years ago. I think her mom, Bernice, was around 90 years old. What a treasured gift. The two buttons I picked are not an exact match and they are slightly yellowed around the edges. I imagine they are really quite old which I love. Antique buttons kind of go with this sweater.

I love these buttons even more now that my friend is gone. She was a huge bird lover, too. It will be a sweet reminder of her and it made me feel good to stitch these particular buttons to the owl. 

There is both back shaping and a little side shaping on Owls. You can see the back shaping clearly here. I have only done side shaping before so this was new to me. I kind of like it. Waist and back shaping are always optional if you want a looser fitting sweater. 

I'll give more details and information (like size, gauge, tips, needles used, etc.) on my final post about Owls in a day or two. I've heard from a lot of knitters planning to start their own Owls sweater. It is a good choice.

Also, I have received lots of questions about my blocking boards since the Citron blocking day post. Mine are the original Knitter's Block by Cocoknits (click here for her website). I love them and I have the largest size set. It comes with the carrying bag and the set includes blocking pins, as well. Check it out if you are interested.

best, susie

Monday, January 16, 2012

Hoot Off the Needles

Hi Knitters,
Owls, by Kate Davies, is off the needles with grafted stitches under the arms and only one end yet to weave in on the neck. I couldn't wait to throw it on and check it out. 

I already love my Owls. I think with a good blocking it is going to fit perfectly and relax the stitches a little. I can't recommend this pattern enough. It is well-written and has a large size range, there is even a kids version called Owlet

This is the perfect bottom up, easy-peasy cable, seamless yoked sweater for a first time sweater knitter. If you are considering tackling a sweater this winter or year this is a good one! Big needles, big yarn, knitting in the round, minimal shaping.... all of this makes for a fast and fun knit.

I filled up my Soak basin with cold water and added the sudsy Soak Wash in the Sola scent, squished the sweater around a bit and let it sit for almost 30 minutes. I gently squeezed out the excess water and rolled it in a towel to get as much water out of the wool as possible.

I now have it drying flat on my blocking boards, no pins. I'll get a photo later to share. I need to get a fan blowing on it to speed up the drying a bit.

I dug out these tiny blue buttons that I am going to sew to only one owl, off-center and on the front. I bought these buttons a long time ago at Purlsoho.  I'll see how it looks once the sweater is dry before I decide for certain. I have some clearer blue buttons that I may consider, too.

I'll keep you posted on the Owls progress as I finish up these final steps. I'm off to a busy week with lots of work knitting and deadlines looming. I have to put down the personal fun knitting for a short bit and focus on work knitting, which is also fun but different.

Have a great start to your week, Knitters. What are you knitting this fine week in January?
best, susie

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Fun

Hi Knitters,
I am on the second sleeve of my Owls sweater. I have the cuff completed so far. I finished the body and the first sleeve this week. I love the Rowan British Sheep Breeds yarn. It's delicious and full of character and depth. This yarn seems to have layers of color and it kind of tells a story in itself.

This morning my knitting buddy Jaala Spiro came over for tea, hot chocolate and baked treats and lots of knitting, of course.  We had so much fun chatting and knitting away. The time flew. It was a good way to end the week.

I want to give you a quick update on TC's fleece blanket. These are the squares from the corners of those tied fleece blankets she has saved up over the past couple of years. She sewed them with the machine into columns. Then I helped her sew the columns together with the machine. It was a little tricky because the seams became quite thick and a little difficult to get through the machine.

We went to JoAnn's and picked up a piece of a pretty blue fleece (with a 50% off coupon!) for the backing of the quilted top. Isn't it adorable? TC is so proud of it.

She trimmed the edges with my pinking shears. It is so thick and soft. We love the way it turned out. 

We have it all wrapped up and ready to give to a baby she helps take care of over at my sister's house every week. She is so excited to give the blanket to him. He is almost a year old so it is perfect. She will see him in a few days. 

Have a great weekend, Knitters!
best, susie 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Russian Join ~ Video Tutorial

Hi Knitters,
I have a quick video tutorial on how to do a Russian join when you are attaching a new ball of yarn to your project. I have been using this technique recently on both my current project, Owls, and my last sweater, Agnes. It is a slick technique and then you don't have to weave in ends later.

One thing to note is that you could dampen the joined section with warm water and roll it in your hands to felt the fiber together a bit. I didn't do that but it would secure the ends a little more. I did felt the ends like this on the Agnes sweater which I made with Quince & Co.'s Puffin. It is a single ply yarn and felted very easily.

Either way it works great and I hope you enjoy!

For all of my video tutorials on youtube (I have 42 tutorials now!) click here.
best, susie

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Winter Break Excursion

Hi Knitters,
Last week my sister and I took some of our kids to the new Madison Children's Museum which is located downtown and right off the square.  I forgot my camera so these photos were taken with my phone so the quality isn't great. We had been to the old location of the Children's Museum a long time ago but the new building is so much better. I am glad we got to see it.

I loved looking at all of the creative and decorative pieces around the museum. This is a curved bench with book spines as the  back rest. Clever!

There were lots of extras sprinkled throughout the museum like this set of old hairdryers. My favorite was when three boys sat in the seats and pulled the dryers down over their heads and chatted away like a bunch of ladies at the salon.

There are interesting climbing structures and a suspended gigantic hamster wheel that the kids can go in and run so it turns. My nephew tried the hamster wheel. TC and her cousin climbed to the top of this structure. 

The museum has a lot of making or craft areas. There was a weaving area with bits and pieces of string to make a cooperative woven piece of art that is then left as a display. TC and Peachy worked on this for a bit.

Here is one of the finished weavings that turned out well. There was also a shadow room where you stand on a wall and pose (we all crammed into the room at the same time) and a flash lights up the room. When you step away from the wall your image is left on the wall. That was fun.

Throughout the building there were artistic touches like these mosaic columns. TC's class at school made a bunch of these bottle caps that were then used in the mosaics. She loved seeing them. I love the way the museum used community-made art. By the way, the old fridges were sealed closed for safety. This hallway led to a big kitchen area.

I love the way they used the different color grout.

The little artistic touches and lots of details made for interesting things to look at everywhere you turned.

This art station had baskets with items found in nature like pine cones, leaves and twigs. They had glue dots to put your design together. We tried this for awhile but it was pretty picked over. Cute idea though! There was another art area with various paper materials to create, too. There was a painting room with traditional paints and paper ready to go but we didn't go in that one. 

Right next to this creative nature counter there was a huge window with buckets of paint in front of it. You could just dip right in and paint on the window. I painted some big flowers and TC painted some little flowers. 

My nephew loves to build things so he made this huge tower. First he built himself inside without a way to get out so he had to redesign with the lower section so he had an escape route. There is also a Lego room that looked like fun but there was group meeting in there so we didn't go in.

After the museum we all went out for an early dinner at The Old Fashioned which is directly on the capitol square. I recommend this restaurant. It is a good one to take the whole family and it has a great view of the gorgeous capitol square and building right out the windows. It is usually super crowded but since it was early we got right in.

It was a fun excursion and I thought you might enjoy it, too!
best, susie