Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Fresh and Fun

Hi Knitters,
I am in the midst of editing the pages of my book this week. The deadlines are still lingering about for me. Photography has been taking place over the last week, so that is exciting but there is still so much to be done. This morning, while shuffling book pages back and forth, I did squeeze in some yarn winding while taking a short break. 

I started the Piper's Journey Shawl, by Paula Emons-Fuessle of the Knitting Pipeline. It is a hard one to put down partly due to the squishy Quince & Co. Chickadee dk weight yarn and partly due to the quick, simple and clear pattern. Working with the Iceland heathery gray, 100% wool is a treat. There is such bounce to the garter stitch fabric. It appears that this will be a fairly quick and addictive knit. I'll keep you posted.

I am trying out some new needles, US size 6, 4mm, that were gifted to me. I'll tell you more about that later with a complete review.

I love seeing that raglan increase line develop as you work from the neckline down on a top-down cardigan. I keep picking this up for a couple of quick rows and putting it back down to do my other work. As the rows get longer and longer it isn't such a fast moment to complete two rows. Once I get past the armholes I suspect it will move very quickly. What an easy, easy cardigan pattern. This would be a perfect first cardigan pattern for a new sweater knitter. Ribbing and stockinette and you are done!

Click here for more information about the Calligraphy Cardigan, by Hannah Fettig.

A new handcrafted item recently added to the wicker table, next to my comfy studio chair, is the mosaic coaster my son made for me. I just love it so much. Every time I set my hot coffee mug or my big glass of ice water down on it I stop to admire it for a moment.

Can you see what it is? It is a piece of buttered toast made from cuts of glass. I love how he made the pat of butter melt out, too. I make this particular son toast every single morning, sometimes four slices at a time, so it is a fitting gift between us. I am a sucker for anything my kids make. Can't get enough.

In staying with the fresh and fun theme, I was sent an enormous stuffed to the brim box of some of the yummiest, squishiest yarn around in a fantastic assortment of weights and colors! I can't believe my good fortune lately. It was just sent for fun. I now have a huge project planned using this yarn because it is so compelling. I will hopefully get a chance soon to start sharing progress on this one! It is just so tempting right now, I seriously may have to move it out of my eyesight until I get these pages edited.

You should have seen TC and me opening the box of yarn. We were ridiculous with the squeals and ooohing and aaahing. It was pretty funny and I am glad to have a partner in yarn crime around here. I'll tell you more about this later. 

So now it is back to work for me.... I am leaving you today with an incredibly cute and funny and knitterly video put out by Webs (one of my favorite yarn shops). I am sure many of you have seen it already but it is worth putting up to be certain you don't miss it. One of the main points of appeal is the star of the video. I think her name is Emma and she is simply adorable, likable and funny. The whole thing is spot on. Well done to Webs!

If you are interested in all of the knits Emma is wearing in the video, click here for the blog post with all of the project information. 

I keep this blog G-rated so I hope you don't mind the curse word (sort of) in the title. There isn't any cursing of any sort in the actual video, it is completely family friendly.

best, susie

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Day Trip

Hi Knitters,
I was on the road yesterday. We left early and we got back home late. 

Amongst other things, I knit 7-inches of a two-by-two rib collar and an inch or so of the shoulders. This is the start of Hannah Fettig's Calligraphy Cardigan. I am excited to get started on this project. I bought the Madelinetosh dk in the Thunderstorm colorway almost a year ago. Can you believe that color? I love the black and blue together. It is gorgeous. 

I am using my Signature Needles in US size 6, 4mm, 24-inch circulars. The needles and yarn are so good together. What a pleasure. I think this cardigan will quickly become a favorite. Have any of you made this cardigan? I'd love to hear about it. 

I received my order of Quince & Co's Chickadee a few days ago. It is three hanks in the Iceland colorway, a lovely heather gray. Quince & Co makes such affordable wool yarns. At under $7 a hank for 181 yards each, this is a steal compared to other yarns. I love that. I am making the Piper's Journey shawl as soon as I get a chance. I can't wait.

This is Paula's first design and it was so fun to see it shoot to the top of the hot patterns on Ravelry when it was released. I really enjoyed witnessing that as Paula, of the Knitting Pipeline, is one of my favorites. Click here for her blog and podcast information. 

She is hosting a knitalong for the Piper's Journey on her Ravelry group if you are interested. Click here for the Knitting Pipeline Ravelry group.

Well, here's my boy soon to be in college. This one wants to go away and I'm not surprised by this as he has an adventurous soul. He keeps telling me about all of the crazy things he wants to do like deep water diving to the bottom of the ocean without any equipment (did you know people do this?) and running in a 100 mile marathon. This makes the trip to Minneapolis seem pretty mild. 

We were at the University of Minnesota campus yesterday. We'll see what happens. I'm just trying to keep everyone safe at this point.

Did you start any new projects this weekend, Knitters?
Take care everyone.
best, susie

Thursday, February 23, 2012

In the Wild

Hi Knitters,
I have to share the photos my son's girlfriend, Miss Molly, sent to show me her finished Another Flower Headband in action. It's fun to see one of your designs in the wild! My son took these photos of her with his phone.

She was so cute when I put this pattern up for purchase. She immediately wanted to make one for herself. Her brother and my other son are on the same high school swim team so I met her at a swim meet with the pattern, yarn and needles for the headband. That's still the left over yarn from my Owls cardigan. 

She started knitting right away at the meet. By the end of the week she had finished the entire thing. I helped her stitch the flower on the side and gave it a good wash and blocking. Since she's down on campus walking around for much of the day I stitched in a stretchy store-bought headband on the inside to keep her ears extra warm.

Miss Molly has told me that she has gotten lots and lots of compliments on her new handknit headband. I love it that she loves it so much and that she made it! She is a determined young knitter and when she wants to make something, she just does it. That's such a good personality trait to have.

Plus, isn't she just cute? I love the old campus buildings in the background, too.

Click here for more information on the Another Flower Headband pattern.

The winner of Tanis Gray's Capitol Knits is ashestoashes (rav id) or Jennifer! Congratulations to Jennifer! Thank you to everyone who entered. I'll do another review and giveaway very soon.

I'm working on a new design to help use up your left over sock yarn (of which I have tons)! It's pretty darn cute. More on that one later.
best, susie

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Capitol Knits ~ Review and Giveaway!

Edited to add on Feb. 23rd: The giveaway is closed and entries are no longer being taken! Thanks to everyone who entered.

Hi Knitters,
I am happy to be able to share a book review and giveaway opportunity with you today. I was surprised recently to see a project or two by Tanis Gray pop onto the Top 20 patterns on Ravelry. I knew she had just published Knit Local through Sixth & Spring but I didn't know she had another self-published book in the works, Capitol Knits. I quickly starting looking around for more information.

The book is all Tanis and all Washington, D.C., which is a great combination.
Click here for Tanis' website! Be sure to click on "Covers" on the top menu bar to see all of Tanis' covers from books and magazines, very impressive! I bet you'll recognize a few.
Click here to see all of the projects in Capitol Knits!
Click here to see Tanis' book on Amazon!

The book is thoughtful and informative not only about how to knit the projects but with facts about D.C.'s urban forest, various locations and history, and about taking inspiration from the environment and history around you. Capitol Knits is a salute to Washington, D.C. in a sweet and honorable way. All in all, I find this a charming and enticing small publication.

Tanis Gray  has been a long-time favorite of mine in the knitting world. She has worked in various careers but I first came to know her as an editor for Vogue Knitting and their other magazine publications. She is a smart, clever and super talented designer. She produces knit garments and accessories at lightning quick speed. Her patterns are always interesting, tasteful, and fun.

Here are some of my favorites from Capitol Knits, including the cover shot above which is the Capitol Shawl. There are 12 projects in the book including mitts, hats, a scarf, shawls, and cardigans.

The Union Station Infinity Cowl is a gorgeous understated colorwork project made in Brooklyn Tweed's Shelter. I love this project and the yarn, a winning combination.

I have the yarn set to go to whip up this Library of Congress Hat that is made in Madelinetosh Chunky. I love the twists and turns in this one, such movement. This will be a fast and fun knit.

I love this cable and lace cardigan called, The Lincoln Cardigan. The sample is made in Red Barn Yarn Plied Worsted. This would be a well-loved garment in my wardrobe. I see making one of these in my future.

I love a good scarf and this is a good one. I love the colors, the stripes in different directions and the lace border that pulls it all together. The Constitution Hall Scarf is made in Viola Silky DK.

I think this little shawlette, The National Gallery Shawl, is incredibly sweet. There are two versions shown in the book. The shawl above is made in Knit Collage Stargazer Silk & Sequins (see the sparkle?) and the other is made in KFI Lustrous Extrafine Merino DK.

One thing you can be certain of is that as a former yarn editor for Vogue, Tanis has selected the best yarns to suit each of her designs. This woman has had an incredible access to every yarn available under the sun for years. She knows her stuff. I love to see which yarns she has paired with the projects.

I am so excited to offer you a chance to win a signed copy of Capitol Knits! Please leave one comment on this blog post. Please include your email or your Ravelry ID so I can easily get in touch if you win. I will then collect your mailing address to pass on to Tanis so she can send you your book!

I pulled out this 2007 photo of the first time I met Tanis when I was on a book tour for Itty-Bitty Nursery. This photo was taken (by Jaime Harder Caldwell, my former publicist) at the Vogue offices in NYC (from left to right, Faith Hale, Tanis Gray and yours truly). We are holding the knit tea set from my book. They were both so fun and down to earth. I felt an instant connection with Tanis from that point on. She is an honest, funny, no-nonsense kind of person plus she is a genius knitter. I like all of that about her. We have stayed in touch through different venues ever since.

If you like this book and you don't win I recommend picking up your own copy. I want to make every project in this book and that doesn't happen often.

Tanis recently had a book signing/trunk show at Fibre Space in VA. Click here to see their review of Capitol Knits!
Also, check out this class Tanis is teaching (she's a fantastic instructor) at Fibre Space this Sunday:

Fair Isle Design and Tricks with Tanis Gray

Sunday, February 26, 3 to 6 p.m.

If you’re looking to take your Fair Isle knitting to the next level, this is the class for you! Whether you want to combination knit, learn to color knit with both yarns in one hand Continental or English style, or knit without tangling your yarn, all levels are welcome. We’ll also design our own mittens and begin using techniques we learn in class as well as cover the history of Fair Isle knitting.  Many people dislike Fair Isle because they don’t know the tricks…you’ll be addicted after taking this class.
Take care and good luck! Let the comments begin!
best, susie

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Hi Knitters,
So I looked up how to say finished in different languages and thought the Japanese version was particularly beautiful. When I translated the Japanese version back to English it said, "Fixed in it." I like that version in English, too. I am fixed in it with the Opal socks!

I am happy to say that I have finished the Opal Schafpate III - der Wanderschäfer #5096 socks. I love the way this yarn striped up with the speckling, stripes and colors. They are so fresh looking and different. I have decided to give this pair away to my sister-in-law.

I made her a pair of stockinette socks a couple of years ago. It was funny because I never heard much of anything about them. I gave them to my brother to give to her so I didn't actually hand the gift over directly. I really didn't even know if she liked or wore them. Then about a year later she casually mentioned that the handknit socks were her favorite socks she had ever owned. I was thrilled to hear this. She just loved, wore and washed them constantly. Then this winter she sadly mentioned that her well-loved socks now had holes. I knew I had to knit her a new pair. These will be perfect.

With my new found love of Opal sock yarn, I quickly snagged another ball from the Sow's Ear a couple of weeks ago. It is in the Opal Vincent Van Gogh collection. They put his painting the colors are inspired by on the label along with a photo of the finished sock so you can see the patterning. I think it is more fun to not see the patterning beforehand and just dive in and be surprised. I like the colors in this new ball a lot.

The Sow's Ear has a big shelf dedicated to Opal sock yarn if you are interested. It was hard to choose they all look so enticing. I've decided that I am going to try to have a pair of Opal socks on the needles at all times this year. That should be a fun and fairly easy challenge.

After I finished the Opal socks, I took the empty needles and immediately cast on to start the ribbing on an exciting new indie dyed sock yarn that I'll tell you more about later. To me the most exciting part of finishing a pair of socks is deciding what to cast on next. This new pair is going to be bright, colorful and fun.

Oh, and the mug from the last post? Starbucks. I bought it a few years ago during the holiday season and haven't seen them since.

Happy Sunday, Knitters. Have a good start to the week coming up, too.
best, susie

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Today's Sweet Treat

Hi Knitters,
I thought I'd share the sweet reward I treated myself to this afternoon for conquering a brutal knitting schedule over the past couple of weeks. I am working on a whole new crop of projects that I am so truly excited about. I just have some detail work left on a few projects. I will be staying up late tonight until I finish, no choice there. Bunches of knitted things must be shipped off tomorrow!

I am feeling such joy through my knitting lately. I hope you are, too.
best, susie
p.s. The cookies and hot chocolate were sooooo good!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cashmere, Buttonholes and More Socks

Hi Knitters,
Happy Valentine's Day! I don't have any heart knitting for you today, but I do have an excellent project in a Valentine-y red. It'll have to do this year.

Every once in a while you see a pattern that you know you have to make and that you have to start immediately. The Purlbee's Two-Color Cowl struck me like this for some reason. 

I like to dabble in crochet every once in a while. This cowl was the perfect counter to the knitting and designing I have been doing lately for my book stuff. I had this Trauco, Araucania 100% cashmere lace weight, just sitting around but I never knew what to make with it until I saw this pattern. 

I pulled out my trusty US D/3-3.25mm crochet hook that I wasn't even sure I had, and got to work. I just chained until I had about 22 inches and joined to work in the round. I ended up with fewer stitches than the pattern calls for but I figured it would be fine and it was. This is an easy and well written pattern. You need to know how to chain, slip stitch, single crochet and double crochet. Those are very basic crochet skills and I love the end result.

I can't believe how light and airy this cowl is, it feels like butter. I finished my Two-Color Cowl Sunday night. In the morning, I soaked it in Celebration Soak Wash for about 20 minutes. I squeezed out the excess water and laid it flat to dry. It smells so good. 

It dried in no time at all. By the end of the afternoon the cowl was completely dry. I wore it for the rest of the day and night. I love the tonal variation of the yarn as it adds interest to the fabric. Also, I made my cowl about 13-inches in length instead of the 16-inches suggested in the pattern. That is plenty long for me.

Anyway, I deem this project a huge success, good enough to use a skein of cashmere. This is the first time I have worked with 100% cashmere so that was fun and new. If you are a beginning crocheter the Two-Color Cowl would be a perfect project for you. It's so simple and fast.

I love the Purlbee, don't you?

On a different note, while I was waiting for my new cowl to dry, I was wearing my Owls cardigan. I have been meaning to tighten up the buttonholes a bit as they were a little too big for the buttons I selected and kept coming undone while I was wearing the cardigan. This was the perfect chance to get this done. I often end up tightening knit buttonholes after I make a cardigan so the buttons stay buttoned.

I used a matching gray thread and sewing needle to do this. On the wrong side of the buttonhole I take a few stitches to close up the hole a bit. Before tying off the thread and cutting, I always try to pull the button through the hole to make sure that I haven't made it too small. If it's a good fit I tie a couple of knots and pull the end through a few stitches and cut the thread. It is completely invisible and secure.

I wore the Owls cardigan for the rest of the day along with my new cowl. The buttons now stay closed which makes me happy! What an easy and effective fix.

Also, while my cowl was drying and I had my basin and Soak out, I quickly washed a pair of handknit socks I made a couple of years ago. This is one pair that has been borrowed by my Peachy (and never returned). I believe it is Noro Kureyon Sock Yarn (do they still make this yarn?). I used my simple sock pattern, click here if you missed it.

I don't wash these socks in the machine because this is a single ply wool and I think they would felt. It is so easy to handwash wool and then it always smells so good when you are done. I actually kind of enjoy handwashing my woolens. These particular socks have been worn and washed a lot and they are holding up very well.

That's it for today. I am thinking about another book giveaway soon. I feel like I haven't done one in a while.

Have a super Tuesday.
best, susie

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Quiet Sunday Project

Hi Knitters,
Here is a short viewing of what I am doing this lovely and quiet February Sunday. It involves fingering weight cashmere and a crochet hook.

Click here to see the project I am making.

Have a happy Sunday, everyone. I hope you get some quiet time, too.
best, susie

Thursday, February 09, 2012

How I Make My Socks

(photo ~ my handspun fingering weight yarn from Dyeabolical superwash wool roving, sock blockers from The Loopy Ewe)

Hi Knitters,
Oh my goodness, you all make me smile and laugh. Last I looked there were well over 30 comments on the Super Sock Update post. Well, if you double that number that's about how many emails I have received asking specific questions about my socks. I have to smile again because while I am writing this I am getting more emails popping up with questions about socks.

Anyway, instead of trying to respond individually to dozens of emails I am writing this post packed full with information about the stockinette stitch socks I always have on my needles. I always use double-pointed needles (dpns), too, I don't magic loop or two at a time, I do plain and simple dpns only!

If you want information about other techniques like magic loop or other circular needle techniques you will have to go elsewhere to find it, like youtube or do a google search or look for some good books.

Here it goes! Also, because I know I will get asked, I am not making a pdf for How I Make My Socks. Feel free to copy and paste the text from this blog post in your word program and make a pdf or simply print it out from there if you'd like. This is just a simple write up of my version of stockinette socks.

I put this up in Ravelry if you want to favorite it there. Click here for the Ravelry project page for How I Make My Socks.

How I Make My Socks
Written by, Susan B. Anderson

Sock/fingering weight yarn
US size 1 double-pointed needles (set of 4)
Yarn needle
Tape measure or ruler

I don't worry much about this although I don't recommend not worrying about it. I simply use fingering or sock weight yarn and US size 1 dpns. My gauge varies between 7-8 stitches per inch in stockinette depending on the yarn I use.

Cast on 64 stitches. I use a long-tail cast on (click here for my video tutorial on this cast on). Join to work in the round.
Rnds 1-12: (k2, p2) repeat to the end of the round.
(Sometimes I forget to stop ribbing and then I have more like 15 or 16 rounds of rib, I just match it on the second sock.)
Continue in stockinette stitch (knit all stitches on every round) for 6 inches. This is my cuff length preference. You can make your cuff shorter or longer as you see fit.

Heel Flap:
Divide the stitches as follows:
Needle 1: 32 sts (Needle 1 becomes the heel flap)
Needles 2 and 3: 16 sts each
Work back and forth only on Needle 1 for the heel flap.
Row 1: (slip 1 stitch as if to purl, k1) repeat to the end of Needle 1
Row 2: slip 1 stitch as if to purl, purl to the end of Needle 1
Repeat rows 1 and 2, fifteen more times (16 times total). If you count you will have 16 columns of slipped stitches on your heel flap.
Repeat Row 1 one more time.

Turn the Heel:
p2tog - purl 2 stitches together
k2tog - knit 2 stitches together

Now, continue to work back and forth on Needle 1 only. You’ve just completed a right side row. Turn and work back on a wrong side row as follows:
Row 1: slip 1 stitch as if to purl, purl 17 stitches, p2tog, purl 1 stitch, turn to go work back in the other direction.
Row 2: slip 1 stitch as if to purl, knit 5 stitches, k2tog, knit 1 stitch, turn to work back in the other direction.
Row 3:  slip 1 stitch as if to purl, purl to 1 stitch before the gap (look and you’ll see the gap where you turned on the row before), p2tog, p1, turn to work back in the other direction.
Row 4: slip 1 stitch as if to purl, knit to 1 stitch before the gap, k2tog, k1, turn to work back in the other direction.
Repeat rows 3 and 4 until all of the stitches have been worked. Your last row should be a row 4 so you are at the end of a knit row. On the last 2 rows you work, you will end the rows with a p2tog and a k2tog.
You will have 18 stitches remaining on Needle 1.

Continue on with the working yarn to pick up stitches going down the side of the heel flap using the free dpn to pick up the stitches.
Pick up 16 stitches, (pick up one stitch in each of the slipped stitches).

Now place all of the stitches on Needle 3 onto Needle 2. Needle 2 now has 32 stitches. Knit across Needle 2, which is now the top of the foot on your sock.

Continue on with the working yarn to pick up 16 stitches going up the other side of the heel flap, picking up 1 stitch in each of the slipped stitches. This is Needle 3.

Continue working onto the same needle (Needle 3) and knit 9 stitches from the heel turn. Place the remaining 9 stitches onto what is now Needle 1.

New stitch count:
Needle 1: 25 stitches
Needle 2: 32 stitches
Needle 3: 25 stitches

Decrease rounds for the gusset:
Rnd 1:
knit all stitches
Rnd 2:
Needle 1: knit to the last 3 stitches, k2tog, knit 1 stitch
Needle 2: knit
Needle 3: knit 1 stitch, ssk, knit to the end of the needle
ssk – slip 2 stitches separately as if to knit, knit the slipped stitches together through the back loops

Repeat rounds 1 and 2 until there are 16 stitches on each of Needles 1 and 3, and 32 stitches still remain on Needle 2.

Knit every round until the foot measures (from the back of the heel to the stitches on the needles) 2-inches shorter than your desired total foot length. 
For example, my foot measures 9 1/2 inches from the back of my heel to the end of my toes. I work my foot to 7 1/2 inches before I start the toe decreases. My shoe size is a US women's 7.5, I wear a 38 in Birkenstocks. I have a 9-inch foot circumference at the ball of my foot.

Rnd 1: knit all stitches
Rnd 2:
Needle 1: knit to the last 3 stitches, k2tog, knit 1 stitch
Needle 2: knit 1 stitch, ssk, knit to the last 3 stitches, k2tog, knit 1 stitch
Needle 3: k1, ssk, knit to the end of the needle
Repeat rounds 1 and 2 until you have 6 stitches remaining on Needles 1 and 3, and 12 stitches on Needle 2.
Now knit the 6 stitches from Needle 1 onto Needle 3. You now have 2 needles with 12 stitches each.
Cut the yarn leaving a 10 inch end. Place the end on a yarn needle. Use the Kitchener stitch to close the toe. 

I have an instructional video tutorial on the Kitchener stitch to close the end of a toe. Click here for the video.

There you have it! I am not going to individually respond to email questions and instead I am offering this post of sock-filled information.

I have had a few people ask about the cuff falling down while wearing the socks. I don't have this problem but my suggestions would be to either decrease the number of stitches for the ribbed section of the cuff (make it a multiple of 4 if using a k2, p2 rib) or decrease the size needle you are using to work the ribbed section of the cuff (or do both a smaller number of stitches and a smaller needle size) in order to achieve a more customized fit.

Added later: By chance I happened upon this today to help with cuffs staying up! Click here.

Here are the books I constantly recommend to people for basic sock instruction and know-how:
Knitting Rules  - Stephanie Pearl McPhee (pg. 131) - a sketchy recipe for socks that I really enjoy and a generally great book on knitting!
Getting Started Knitting Socks - Ann Budd - The best ever and most informative sock knitting basics book, extremely thorough, lots of options, etc. Highly recommend!!!
The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns - Ann Budd - This book contains a basic stockinette stitch sock with heel flap and gusset in 5 different gauges. You'll have everything at your fingertips for this same type of sock starting on page 48. Plus, this book is a must have for basic patterns of all sorts!

Also, there is a great little tutorial by Mary Jane Mucklestone (click here) on how to sew up holes like the ones you might get when picking up stitches on the sides of the gussets. She is using mittens as her example but it could be used for socks as well. There are lots of tips and tricks available about different techniques to close up these holes so you might want to do a search for those.

Enjoy! I hope I have answered all of your questions.
best, susie

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Super Sock Update

Hi Knitters,
I adore handknit stockinette stitch socks. There isn't much better when it comes to knitting projects and usefulness. My girls also adore handknit stockinette stitch socks. In fact, I have an entire dresser drawer designated for handknit socks only. My girls have found my drawer of handknit treasures and they have been making it their own this past fall and winter. I don't mind sharing but honestly, I really need to make more socks. Instead of making socks for my feet only I am now providing socks for all three of us. I can't blame them for enjoying handknit socks, they are simply the best.

With this in mind, I have been working on lots and lots of socks lately. I like having several (or more) socks on the needles at the same time. I keep them in small project bags (click here for my favorite bags) that are always loaded up with a small scissors, a tape measure, and a yarn needle. I love knitting socks because that's all you need and you are set for hours of fun. The project is small and portable and easy! But you probably already know all of that so let's get on to my current sock rundown.

Above is the the hard-to-get Watermelon Striping yarn from Freshisle Fibers being worked on Signature Needles dpns in US size 1. This first sock of the pair has been to several swim meets with me. The yarn is a single ply and it is a heavy fingering weight so it is not an easy knit on the US size 1 needles but I am determined to make the fabric as dense as possible so they will last longer.

I haven't made much progress on the Unisono sock I shared last week. I've just started a bit of the heel flap. The needles are Knit Picks dpns in US size 3.

This is the second sock for my beloved new pair of Opal socks. I bought the yarn here. I am knitting these socks on US size 1 dpns from Knit Picks. I have turned the heel and I am decreasing for the gusset. I will have this one finished in no time. This sock came with me to the swim meet last weekend where I made great progress.

This is the second sock of the Candy Corn Vesper Self-Striping sock yarn. I love these and they came to Vogue Knitting Live with me last fall. After Halloween came and went I kind of set these aside to work on other socks. I will get them done for next fall for sure!

The needles are Blackthorn US size 1 dpns. The needles are really unusual and I like them. They are not as slick as metal but they are very sharp which I love.

An assortment of sock knitting is always a good thing. If you have lots of choices going you always have something that will strike your fancy at any moment.

Are you knitting socks right now? I'd love to hear about it!

As a quick side note, TC finished another hat just the other day. She is obsessed with the Crystal Palace Mochi yarn series. She has knit hats and booties from all of the weights of the Mochi yarn. This particular hat is made out of the Chunky Mochi yarn on US size 9 needles. TC is donating this hat to a local knitting group that donates baby hats and blankets to various organizations throughout the year. I think they are meeting this weekend so she is excited to have something to donate when she goes off to knit.

The pattern for this single skein hat for the Chunky Mochi yarn is available by clicking here and is called the Chunky Mochi Baby Hat. TC actually designed this hat and I wrote up the pattern for her. It is an adorable quick knit that would be an excellent baby gift.

Okay, Knitters, I'm off to knit, knit, knit! I have so many projects going for books and other pattern stuff. There is never enough time in the day. I hope you are all doing well.
best, susie

Saturday, February 04, 2012

The Effortless Cardigan

Hi Knitters,
Here is a little (but kind of big) cardigan I finished up late last fall. For some reason I haven't shared it with you yet. 

For those interested, here is some general information about it:
Size: Medium (will discuss this more later in the post), 38.5 inch bust
Needles: US size 9
Yarn: Miss Babs Yowza-Whatta Skein! in the Black Watch colorway (purchased at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival last May 2011)

This is the first time I've used Miss Babs yarn after hearing about it for years. Well, my conclusion is that it is fantastic. Yowza skeins are gigantic at 560 yards per skein (love that) and suggests a 4-5 stitches per inch gauge on US 6-8 needles. It is 100% superwash merino and knits up as light as air. I really enjoyed working with this yarn and I love the colorway, so much depth.

Miss Babs helped me match the skeins at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival, inside a hot and steamy tent, by holding them under a light. She did a great job because they were a perfect match. She was wonderful and very helpful. I purchased 3 hanks of the Yowza and I have a lot leftover so I will be working something up with the rest of this gorgeous yarn. It's too good to leave sitting on a shelf.

I love Hannah Fettig. I've reviewed her work, written about her, hosted giveaways for her and generally gushed about her in the past. Click here for her fun blog! She is as clever and cute as they get. Hannah is the queen of creating drape in knit fabric and for her modern and very wearable designs. Her designs are usually with clean, simple lines which makes them perfect for longevity and practicality.

The Effortless Cardigan has an unusual structure. It is a top-down seamless cardigan that continues to increase out in the front to create the long draping front pieces. I love this feature. The cardigan requires a lot of knitting and a lot of stockinette. The knitting goes fast as you are working on a large needle for the yarn (a US size 9 for a worsted weight). This is a signature design move for Hannah as working on a bigger gauge than usual for the yarn is how she creates the drapey fabrics in many of her garments.

I wasn't kidding when I said that this is a lot of knitting for a cardigan. This is my Effortless cardigan stretched out and it looks like a gigantic rectangle basically. Pretty clever stuff by Hannah, and one of the most fantastic patterns around. Hannah is a genius at writing simple, clear patterns. This is an easy, easy knit and really fun, too.

My only regret is that I made it a little too big. If it was more snug-fitting in the shoulders and arms I think it would sit better and wouldn't shift around so much. I feel like I have to adjust the cardigan on my shoulders a lot when I wear it. It pulls forward due to the weight of the fronts making it rise up in the back. That is my error, not anything to do with the pattern. I had a lot of yardage to use up with the Yowza so I went ahead and made it in the medium size, which is a 38.5- inch, I usually make a 36-inch bust sweater/cardigan size.  The next size down was a 34.5-inch bust which would have been much better with only an inch and a half of negative ease which would have held the garment in place better.

I still love the Effortless Cardigan even with the size and wear it all of the time. It is just one cozy, comfy garment.

Next up from Hannah, I am making her Calligraphy Cardigan in madeline tosh dk that I purchased at Nina's in Chicago on a tour trip last spring. I'll share as I go!

I managed to sneak in a tiny bit of spinning . I am making a pretty thick and rustic yarn out of the Dyeabolical mini-batts. Here is the first half of my singles. I am hoping to make a fun hat out of the yarn when it is done. The colors are so spring-like and refreshing. The batt is a firestar, wool and silk blend.

I joined a knitalong for mittens. Click here to see more and possibly join, too!

I started listening to and enjoyed a new podcast this week, Knitting Brooklyn, on the recommendation of the lovely Miss Paula (Knitting Pipeline). Click here to find out about Knitting Brooklyn.

Well, I am off to one busy, busy weekend with my family! Have a good weekend, Knitters, and I know you are all busy as well. I'd love to hear about what you are up to.
best, susie

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Unisono is in the House

Hi Knitters,
I just had to quickly share this good looking yarn cake with you. I started that sock last night with the Unisono yarn. It is a sport weight yarn and I am using US size 3 (3.25mm) dpns. I love how it is making bold stripes with flecks of brown. The colors are such an interesting combination, kind of unexpected.

I bought the yarn at Spin of Door County last summer. It only has 300 meters so I am unsure of how far that will take me. I made a slightly shorter cuff then usual just to be on the safe side.

Boy does a sport weight sock ever work up fast. I need to do more of this. Cast on 48 stitches and go!

Until tomorrow...
best, susie