Thursday, May 31, 2012

Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago!

Hi Knitters,
This week is flying by so fast. I have lots to share on the knitting front but first I want to be sure to get this information out there about Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago this fall. I will be at the event teaching a couple of different classes and I hope to see lots of you there.

I am only teaching on Sunday, October 28th, because I have family obligations with my kids on the other days of the event. Since Chicago is pretty close to Madison I can make it down and back in one day without much trouble at all so that works out great.

I will be teaching two different classes on Sunday, one for a fantastic one-piece seamless toy I have designed just for the event (the pattern will include variations for three different animals - it's super fun and cute!) and the other class is for a top-down baby cardigan. I am providing the patterns for the projects in both classes when you get to class, just bring your yarn and needles and off we will go. There will be lots of skill-building and technique demonstrations, plus we will just have a good time knitting together for a few hours.

It should be loads of fun and I hope to see you on that October Sunday in fabulous Chicago! I am really looking forward to it. The registration opens very soon. Oh, and if you get a chance, let me know if you are able to join me for a class or two. I love hearing from you ahead of time.

Click here for the Vogue Knitting Live website for descriptions and registration!

I am putting the VKLive link and logo on my sidebar if you need to check back at a later date so you can always find it there. I am hoping to be teaching at Vogue Knitting Live in New York in January 2013, too, if all works out okay, not sure yet. I'll keep you posted on that.

I'll be back tomorrow with a post filled with knitterly goodness old and new! See you then.
best, susie

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Mornings with Jennie

Hi Knitters,
It is a dark and stormy Saturday morning. My house is full and everyone is asleep but me. It is my favorite time of day. It's so quiet. A little knitting with a little coffee in my favorite mug is the best start to any day. Our plans were to head down to the square for the farmers market this morning but unless the skies clear up that won't be the case. I wonder what you are doing on this long weekend?

This morning I randomly selected a winner for a copy of Knitting Everyday Finery by Mel Clark. The winner is..... IK2 (rav id) or Beth White from Collierville, TN. Congratulations! I have messaged Beth to get her mailing address. Thanks to everyone for entering. I'll have another giveaway very soon.

In case you are interested, the mug in the photo is one of the best things I have ever purchased. I have had this mug for awhile now. I make sure it is clean and good to go every morning so I can enjoy my coffee in this particular mug. It is made by the famous Jennie the Potter. She is located in Minneapolis and she attends a lot of the major knitting festivals and events. Jennie makes specialized mugs and things for these events and I've heard that they sell out immediately after the doors open.

I ordered my mug from Jennie on her etsy shop. It really is the best mug I have ever owned. I love the shape, the size, the handle, the heft, the glaze, the indentations, the sheep, the ball of yarn with the knitting needles on the other side. I also love her buttons and bowls. She is an amazing talent. Someday I will own more of her fantastic work.

Here are the links to Jennie the Potter:
Jennie's feature on
Jennie's website
Jennie's Etsy shop

Have a wonderful holiday weekend with your friends and family.
best, susie

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Knitting Everyday Finery ~ Book Giveaway!

Edited to add on May 26th, 2012: The giveaway is now closed! Thanks for entering and a winner has been selected. No further entries are being accepted.

Hi Knitters,
Today I have a wonderful opportunity for you. I am giving away a copy of the lovely Mel Clark's newest book. I have been a longtime follower of Mel and her knitting designs and blog. Her blog is wonderful and I highly suggest you take the time to check it out if you haven't yet. Mel writes an informative, knitterly and lifestyle blog with gorgeous photographs included. It is a treat.

Click here for Mel's blog, Slip Slip Knit.

Mel also wrote another book you may be familiar with called, Knit 2 Together, which was written with Tracey Ullman. You may get a kick out of the book review I wrote for Knit 2 Together back in 2007. Click here to see my review.

Now onto this new beautiful book, Knitting Everyday Finery. The projects really speak for themselves. Mel Clark is a stylish, comfortable, clever designer. I just love the way she knits, writes and puts things together. Her knits are right up my alley and I think you will love them, too.

Click here to see the book projects on Ravelry in one spot! The shawl on the cover is beautiful, it is called, Mrs. Lovechild, which Mel explains in the introduction. Each project has a brief story introduction which I love to read. The yarns Mel uses in the book are readily available. She is the former owner of a yarn shop and knows how yarn accessibility helps a knitter out.

This is the Everyday Cardigan knit in Cascade 220. I see this one is already quite popular on Ravelry.

The Daisy Dachshund is one of my favorites. It can be knit as a toy or as a pencil case with a lining and  zipper. Either way it is adorable. The construction is quite clever as well and the instructions are well-written and clear. This is Cascade 220 as well.

These striped hoodies, called the Family Hood, are cute, fun and practical. The hood comes in sizes for kids through adults. One for everyone and Cascade 220 is the yarn of choice. Doesn't everyone have Cascade 220 in their stash? I sure do. This book is perfect for Cascade lovers.

I love this reversible hat called, H@T. It is made in Koigu and this is the best part...

The inside is as good as the outside. I think this is a winner.

I love a whisper of a scarf made in Rowan Kidsilk Haze. How could you not? This one is called Lulu and it is gorgeous. I love this model, too.

Last but not least, Mel included these fantastic tights in this collection. I really love these tights. They are called, Tangerine Tights, for obvious reasons. They are made in Koigu Premium Merino. I simply adore tights..... TC would look so great in these tights.

This is a terrific knitting book by a smart, lovely, seasoned and talented designer. I am a big Mel Clark fan. You don't want to miss any of her work and especially this collection. The book includes, hats, mittens, gloves, fingerless mitts, scarves, a shawl, cowl, a croissant bag, a tam, beret, slippers, shorts, socks and tights and even more!

Click here to see the book on amazon! 

To enter to win a copy of Knitting Everyday Finery, please leave one comment that includes your rav id or email address on this blog post. I will randomly select a winner in a day or two. I will then contact the winner to gather a mailing address and send it to Mel Clark herself. She will then get you your book!

Good luck and let the comments begin!
best, susie

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Patchwork Progress

Hi Knitters,
I finished my first pair of Patchwork Socks a couple of days ago. Make no bones about it, they are pretty darn fun and cute. These literally flew off the needles because the switching of the yarns is insanely motivating for some reason. I think partly because you have no idea how they will look in the end so that makes it more exciting along the way.

I have always loved the mismatched sock, mitten, glove... but these kind of take the cake.

I finished on a day where the temperature was over 90 degrees and humid but I wore them for a little while despite the heat. How could I resist?

I have cast on for my next pair using only Noro sock yarns in different colorways and these will be quite a different looking pair as I am using a different stripe sequence. I will tell you more about the new sock later once I get it going more.

The Patchwork Sockalong is going like gangbusters on my Ravelry group. I think we have close to 100 Patchwork Sockalong-ers at this time and the thread has over well over 1,000 posts so far. This is incredible to me. Thank you to everyone for so wholeheartedly joining in!

I have just been emailing a few of my favorite sock yarn-y people and have already lined up some amazing prizes for the drawing at the end of the sockalong. People are generous. Much more on this exciting news to come.

Here are the links:
Itty-Bitty Knits
How I make my socks (free pattern I am using)
The Patchwork Sockalong thread
My Patchwork Socks project page

I have a new book giveaway coming up next so be sure to keep your eye out.
best, susie

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Day with Liz

Hi Knitters,
I want to share my beautiful surroundings from yesterday with you. I am so excited that in my next book we are including photographed tutorials which is wonderful. The tutorials will be actual photos of my hands doing the techniques. I'm definitely not a hand model but I know the knitters won't mind the images of my hardworking hands in the shots. It will give the book a more personal touch and mostly, I think these tutorials will be incredibly helpful. We had quite a successful day of shooting!

I have been working on organizing and knitting step-outs (partially knit projects for technique demonstrations) for a couple of months now. On Thursday I flew to Minneapolis to spend time with my favorite photographer extraordinaire, Liz Banfield.

Liz has photographed all five of my books and I hope we get to do more together in the future. She is a talented and imaginative photographer. Plus, she really has a way with photographing babies and kids which has been perfect for my books. I was happy to finally get to spend some time together in person, not just through emails and phone calls. What a treat, even though it was a long day of hard work. It was fun to get to see her in action with her camera.

Click here for Liz Banfield's website and be sure to look at her portfolio, you'll recognize lots of stuff in there.

I knew her studio would be beautiful and bright. Everything looked so fresh and light. Liz has a way with things, from people, to texture, to color, to textiles, and basically all aspects of design in general. She has an eye that is enviable.

Liz even had yummy snacks to keep us going throughout the day. It all looked so good. We had a delicious lunch brought in. I had haddock with pickled beets and watercress and it was perfect and small, and there was a salad on the side with the lightest, kind of tart, dressing that I am still thinking about. It was a needed break in the day.

Now, I'll let you quietly take a look around.....

And finally, here is the fabulous Liz. Her children have been included in the photographs for all three of the Itty-Bitty books, with her son appearing on the cover of Itty-Bitty Toys with the giraffe. This next book is going to be the best one yet, at least that's what you always hope for.

Thanks to Liz and her lovely assistant Heather for the jam-packed day of good hard work and great company. 

I'll be back soon with a Patchwork Sockalong update! I can't even believe the number of people joining in (it's not too late to join). We might be getting close to 80 people (?) knitting patchwork socks together at this time. I thought I might get a dozen or so. 
Go figure.
best, susie

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Patchwork Sockalong!

Hi Knitters,
Well, I am brimming with ideas about having this scrappy sockalong. I posted here about the socks I am knitting right now. This post also includes ideas and links for different ways to put together a pair of socks using your leftover sock yarn. It seems there is a lot of interest in this fun project which is always fun to see. There were many, many name ideas for these socks. Here are some of the name ideas you all came up with and they are all so good. Thank you, everyone!

Timeline Socks
Patchwork Socks
Memory Walk Socks
Scrappy Socks
Nostalgia Socks
Reminisce Socks
Time Warp Socks
Auld Lang Socks
Reflection Socks
Flashback Socks
Hold Dear Socks
Cotton Candy Socks
Storybrooke Socks
Daydreaming Socks
Time Traveler Socks

Any of these would be perfect but I think I will be using the simple name, Patchwork Socks, offered by Idiosyncraticeye in the last post's comments. Thank you. I love her ideas behind the word patchwork. Here is her post:

 idiosyncraticeye said...
I'm thinking of something along the lines of 'patchwork' because quilts traditionally are all about memories, saved scraps of fabrics from this or from that and also because of the sense of community involved in such works, something shared.

But memory patch sounds like a computer update.

May 11, 2012

As you can see, I am almost done with my second Patchwork sock. I used my pattern, How I Make My Socks, (click here for the pattern). I started with the 12 rounds of rib, then I switched the yarn and started the stockinette cuff where I switched colors every 10 rounds. I worked to about 6 1/2 inches from the cast on edge for the cuff and then switched the yarn for the heel flap and turning the heel. Then I went back to switching the yarn every 10 rounds for the foot. I switched again and finished the toe in one yarn.

I have a video tutorial on my Youtube Channel for how I weave in ends when I switch yarns. With socks I weave through around 8 purl bumps on the inside and I leave a little longer end when trimming. Everything else is the same.

Click here for the tutorial on weaving in ends!

Here is the group of yarns I used to complete my Patchwork Socks. The yarn on the far left is a special one. I knit the original pair of socks on my first book tour for Itty-Bitty Hats and I used a photo of the socks for the very first blog post I ever wrote. Click here to see the first post ever! Isn't that funny?Making these socks have really brought me back to some different times.

So here we go if you want to join in!

1. The Patchwork Sockalong starts now and will last through the last day of June, which is June 30th. It's okay if you already started and you can join in any time!

2. All you have to do to join in is knit a pair of socks or even one sock, any pattern you use is fine, and use only your leftover sock yarn from other projects. I am using my How I Make My Socks free pattern to make my socks, switching yarns every 10 rounds.

3. You have to post a photo of the scraps you are using and a photo of ONE finished sock to the Patchwork Sockalong thread in my Ravelry group (see link below) to qualify for prize drawings on July 1st. I will be gathering prizes for lots of winners but we will all win with our original Patchwork Socks that use up our sock yarn leftovers. Be sure to read the next guideline!

Click here for the Patchwork Sockalong thread in my Itty-Bitty Knits Ravelry Group!

Note: If you want to participate and you don't belong to Ravelry just send me your photos and I will post it in the thread so you are entered in the drawings. My email is on the blog sidebar. Please only do this if you are not a member of Ravelry (I know there are a few of you out there!).

4. Anyone who finishes a complete pair of socks (that means 2 socks) and posts a photo of them on the Ravelry thread by June 30th will get to select any one pattern from my Ravelry pattern shop as a gift from me in addition to being entered in the drawings for prizes.

I will have some fun surprises along the way and I will post about the prizes I gather for the drawings along the way!!!

Please feel free to comment on here and also on the Ravelry thread. I am planning on knitting more Patchwork Socks trying some different techniques so I will keep posting on the blog about my progress over the next few weeks.

I hope you join in! We will have some patchwork-y fun together.
best, susie

Friday, May 11, 2012

Knitting Down Memory Lane

Hi Knitters,
How cute is that crazy stripey sock? I love everything about it. When switching the yarns while working I can't help but to remember where I was, what I was knitting with the yarn, which trip I was taking, what season it was, who I gave the finished socks to...

Well, you get it. It's like taking a stroll down memory lane. These socks are telling a story, like a little piece of personal history, and it is making me fall in love with them even more. I didn't expect that.

Are you gathering your scraps, your odds and ends, your bits and pieces,  your own personal yarn story? I am having a lot of fun ideas for this sort of sockalong. I'll tell you exactly how I am making mine and I will most likely do a few different versions.

If you have a good idea for naming these scrappy socks please chime in. Here are some of my ideas: stroll socks, scrapbook socks, memory lane socks, scrappy socks, story socks, slow cooker socks (because it takes years to gather the yarn)... I'm not sure yet.

I'll be back soon with more.

Happy weekend and in case I'm not back before, I am wishing you all a happy mother's day.
best, susie

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Something's Brewing

Hi Knitters,
Remember when I said I had been cleaning out my knitting studio? One thing I came across while sorting was a lot of left over sock yarn odds and ends. It's a pretty sure bet that many of you have this same situation.

Well, after stewing around on this idea for months and enviously looking at these examples.... 

Did you look at those incredible socks? Yup, that's what I'm doing.

I gathered my quickly increasing pile of sock yarn oddballs, blindly grabbed a skein, cast on, and now it will begin....

What do you say? If you want to join me in conquering the fingering weight yarn piles around you, gather your odds and ends of sock yarn and meet me back here!
best, susie

Monday, May 07, 2012

Weekend Car Knitting

Hi Knitters,
All pertinent details mentioned in this post will be linked at the bottom.

I have randomly selected a winner for Wendy Bernard's Custom Knits Accessories. I have pm'd Laura on Ravelry. Congratulations! Thank you for entering everyone and I will host another giveaway very soon. I still have that enormous stack of books just waiting for review.... it's a fun problem to have. Here is the winning comment:

Blogger Laura said...
I would love a great reference book like that! So nice to have starting points to create your own patterns. :)
Ravelry: lauraarual
May 03, 2012

I have been cleaning out my studio lately or I should say digging out. I try so hard to keep organized but a knitting life is a clutter-filled life. Knitterly tools, books, magazines, patterns and mainly yarn start piling up and there is no way around it.  As I was de-cluttering I did find this bag I sewed a couple of years ago.

I took a plain canvas tote from JoAnn's and did some creative stitching and applique on it with my sewing machine. Then I made it reversible by making another pieced fabric layer for the bag. I added onto the straps to make them into shoulder straps, and I added two pockets as well. I love how the canvas tote makes the bag super sturdy. It is far from perfect but it's cute and it feels brand new since I forgot about it. I love a handmade project bag.

On Saturday we went to a swimming banquet in the Milwaukee area for my son so of course I had to load up my newly found bag with a couple of easy car knitting projects. I pulled out my Calligraphy Cardigan by Hannah Fettig. I am knitting this in Tosh DK in the Thunderstorm colorway on my Signature Needles, US size 6, 24-inch circulars.

I have in front of me a long stretch of 16-inches of stockinette stitch followed by 4-inches of rib. I did a couple of inches of stockinette below the armholes going back and forth. All of a sudden I realized that I should just add a steek so I could whip through this long stretch much faster. I added 6 stitches in between the fronts, attached it to work in the round. Now, off I go knitting around and around. I added a good couple of inches in the car before I ran out of yarn. I accidentally left a freshly wound cake of Thunderstorm sitting at home as I ran out the door. Frustrating.

After running out of the yarn for my sweater knitting I pulled out my trusty sock. You all remember this one. I added an inch or two on the foot. It's coming along to be just as beautiful as the first sock.

This weekend a surprise came in the mail. You know you're a lucky girl when you get a package from your knitting friend, Kristin Nicholas. I briefly mentioned her new sock yarn line, Garden Effects with Regia, a short while ago. Next thing I know I have two balls in the #3306 Holiday colorway in my mailbox. How good is that? Look at her cute postcard, too. You can buy them on her site. Gotta love that Kristin, she is the best. Can't wait to start a pair of socks with her gorgeous new yarn. Thank you, Kristin!

Okay, that's it for a small update on this fine May morning. Here's to hoping you are all well and knitting away this week!

Here are today's links:
Calligraphy Cardigan
Hannah Fettig
Tosh DK yarn
Signature Needles 
Cakewalk Yarns (My socks are the Cherry Blossom sock yarn.)
How I make my socks free pattern
Kristin Nicholas
Garden Effects Regia sock yarn

Now you can find everything you're interested in!
best, susie

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Custom Knits Accessories Review and Giveaway!

Edited to Add on May 7th: The giveaway is now over and no new entries are being accepted. Thanks to everyone for entering. A winner has been randomly selected.

Hi Knitters,
This is my favorite new book. Really, it is much more than that. It is one of my all-time favorite books. Wendy Bernard, the author of Custom Knits, Custom Knits 2 and now Custom Knits Accessories, has possibly written the perfect book. You can pretty much find out anything you might like to know about how to knit shawls, stoles, scarves, hats, berets, mittens, gloves, socks, and leg warmers right inside this book! 

It is so jam-packed with information about yarns, measurements, formulas for making up your own designs, different styles of each item and more. This is a book that should be in every knitter's library. It is that good. I love Wendy's simple, straightforward explanations of construction. It speaks to me so clearly. She makes everything seem easy and doable and therefore it is. Her Custom Knits and Custom Knits 2 books are staples in my knitting studio. I refer to them all of the time for information.

I reviewed the book in two videos that you see below. Please read below the videos to see how you can win a copy for yourself and for all of the links in this post!

I promise you will love and use this book for years to come. I can't say enough good things about it.

Please leave one comment on this post to enter to win a copy of Custom Accessories by Wendy Bernard. I will be back in a short bit to randomly select a winner. Please leave your email or ravelry id so I can get in touch with you if you win. I will gather your mailing address and pass it on to the publisher to send out your book.

Good luck and let the comments begin!
best, susie