Thursday, August 29, 2013

Salty ~ A Handspun Hoodie Tale

(photo by Loop on Etsy)

Hi, Knitters,
Quite a few months back I spun up a gorgeous Loop Bullseye Bump called Salty. When you spin one of these bumps, you simply pull from the middle and the colors flow from one to the next. Salty went from light gray to lime to neon green to dark olive to olive green. This bump is such a great combination of colors. 

The singles.

The Navajo plied singles in action.

The finished yarn washed and dried!

I got 242 beautiful yards of a worsted weight. The hardest thing about finishing one of these gradient handspun skeins is figuring out what to do with it. Gradients don't work for every pattern. I let it sit for awhile and I thought about it. I have knit with my handpun a lot, shawls, socks, mittens, scarves, fingerless mitts, hats, toys, etc. I've done it all.... all but a sweater. 

Click here to see the shawl I knit with another Loop bump! It's prettier than I even remember. I gave this shawl to my sister.

Obviously, 242 yards isn't going to be enough for a sweater so I started looking for something to combine the handspun skein with. I looked through my stash and fell upon a large amount of black Cascade 220 that I've had for probably over 10 years at this point. I'm not even sure why I have this black yarn or if I bought it or if it was given to me. I realized that the black would set off every color in the gradient Loop yarn and set it off nicely.

I wound up the handspun skein and the black wool, too. Gradients always look so cool when you wind them up. I love that.

My next task was trying to find a pattern. I didn't want to make up my own so I started searching through Ravelry. I had purchased the Bonne Marie Burns Basic Chic Hoodie awhile back and I started thinking this was the perfect choice to incorporate my handspun.

Click here for the Basic Chic Hoodie pattern on Ravelry! (Don't buy it yet! You'll see why at the end.)

I love everything about this very simple, basic pattern. It gave me all of the numbers I needed to get started and since it is such a well-written and straight-forward pattern I could easily change a few things to get exactly what I wanted in my version of the hoodie.

This raglan hoodie pattern is so good and pretty (there is a lace panel option included in the pattern, too!). You could just knit straight from the pattern and get a gorgeous garment but I wanted to change a few things to make it my own. I made the smallest size.
Here is a list of the things I changed:
- worked at a slightly different gauge (smaller)
- added waist shaping
- changed the number of sts cast on under the sleeves (fewer)
- changed the sleeve decreases (did a rapid decrease right away to get rid of extra fabric under the arms and then continued on a bit differently than the pattern suggests)
- changed the length of the body and sleeves
- changed the buttonhole number 
- picked up a different number of stitches for the button bands and hood edging
- used kitchener stitch to close up the top seam of the hood to give a smoother finish (instead of 3-needle bind-off)
- added the stripes!

I love the little pockets with buttons on the ribbing at the bottom edge of the body. That is genius.

So here is the making of the Salty Hoodie!

I wanted to start with the gray stripes at the top toward my face as olive green is not a good color for me but gray is fine. I didn't have any kind of a plan for the striping so I just did the stripes however it came to me at the time.

By the way, that's my new Jennie the Potter little red bicycle mug! It even has a basket and a tree on the other side. It is a bit smaller than my original sheep mug and I like the size even better. She's my fave. Click here for Jennie's Etsy shop!

My family took a car trip out to Colorado earlier in August so this is where I got most of the body done. I added the pockets at the top of the ribbing with the buttonholes. I had ordered custom black wooden buttons at SSK from Deerfield Creations and I was excited to use as many as I could on the hoodie.

One sleeve in the bag!

Second sleeve almost finished! 

As far as the sleeves go, I had a vision of them looking like I was wearing a fitted long-sleeve black t-shirt under the stripey short sleeve cardi. Since the striping went down over the shoulder at the top of the arm I thought this could really work. If you look at the photos of the original pattern you can see that there is a much more relaxed sleeve, especially at the underarm so I made an effort to tighten this area up. I cast on fewer stitches under the arm when you separate the sleeves from the body stitches. Then as I picked up the arm stitches to work down on the sleeve I immediately got rid of more of the extra fabric by rapidly decreasing more of the underarm stitches. I learned this trick from Wendy Bernard (the queen of the top-down sweater). 

It worked perfectly!

Above I have now added the hood, finished the sleeve and have finished the button bands and hood edging. The stitch markers hanging there are letting me know where I placed the buttonholes and where the buttons should go to match up.

Unblocked but still beautiful!

As I worked down the body I decided to switch out the striping around the top of the waist so that the handspun became the focal point, not the black Cascade 220. It was a smart move. The colors show up beautifully and it is cool how the gradient nature of the handspun shines through. I used almost every last bit of the 242 yards. I just have a teeny-tiny bit of a ball of the handspun remaining.

Blocking the day away! It took forever to dry.

As the cardi was blocking I received my custom black wood-turned buttons from Deerfield Creations. I don't know what it is exactly but I am in love with these buttons! They are so perfect and smooth and just beautiful. I can't believe Lori (whom I met and ordered from at SSK -- she's adorable to boot!) made these buttons. How does she do it? That is some kind of magic. I even love the card she stitched the buttons on for presentation. I saved it. I purchased a couple of other things from her as well at SSK and I'll share with you at a later date.

Click here for Lori's Deerfield Creations Etsy shop!

As soon as my cardigan was dry I started stitching on my Deerfield Creations buttons. I couldn't wait! 

I stitched and sewed and tied off the 10 buttons like a fiend......

..... only to see this after I took this photo and posted it to Instagram. Do you see it? 

The stripes are not lining up by about 2 or 3 rows! I'm no perfectionist but this had to be fixed.

I snipped those stinkers right off and started again!

I got it right this time around. Yay! Those stripes are perfect.

Here is the final cardigan as it stands. I love the fit, the feel, the use of the handpun, the hood, the fitted body and sleeves, the little pockets with buttons, and the gorgeous hand-crafted buttons, and most of all the lined up stripes (ha!).

I highly recommend Bonne Marie Burns pattern for the Basic Chic Hoodie. You could knit it as is or use it as a spring-board for making up your own creation. This is the perfect pattern for customizing. I must have mentioned somewhere that I used this pattern because Bonne Marie contacted me and has offered you a fantastic deal on her pattern!  

It looks just as good from the back. Hooray!

Bonne Marie is offering you a 20% off discount code when purchasing her pattern over the next week!! I am letting her know that I posted this today, August 29th, 2013, and the discount will be available through next Thursday, Sept. 5th! Thank you, Bonne Marie.

The discount code is:  stripes

Click here for the link for the Basic Chic Hoodie! (You don't have to belong to Ravelry to purchase here.) Enter in the discount code at the time of purchase. I highly recommend this pattern and it is one that everyone should own!

Click here to see all of Bonne Marie Burns patterns on Ravelry! She is a wonderful designer and pattern writer and after enjoying the Basic Chic Hoodie so much I think I will be knitting more of her patterns. Thank you, Bonne Marie for the discount code for my readers and for your beautiful work. 

I hope you enjoyed this handspun hoodie tale as much as I enjoyed the making of it.

I'll be back soon with more finished projects to share.
best, susie

Monday, August 26, 2013

Winners, A Thaw Retreat, & Mel Clark!

(Sun Valley Fibers yarns photo provided by Sun Valley Fibers)

Hi, Knitters,
We need to start off the week with a few announcements. The winner of the Windy Prairie Designs notions pouch is hishandmail (rav id) Dianna! Congrats to Dianna. I think Jane of Windy Prairie has more notebook covers in the works. She released a few more over the last few days and they were snatched up immediately. Keep checking back for the Lorax bag, too.

The winners of the 4,000 Members Strong Itty-Bitty Knits Rav Group/Fiber Hooligan/Craftsy giveaway are:
Berryqueen (rav id) - Free Craftsy Class! Either Wee Ones or the Not-So-Itty-Bitty Giraffe workshops!
KittyKatz (rav id) - yarn of choice!
dayartist (rav id) - yarn of choice!
lakchi (rav id) - yarn of choice!

You may be wondering what yarn you are winning? The answer is the one and only fantastic Sun Valley Fibers (click here for the website!). I love this local to me yarn company. Jeanette, the talented dyer and all-around good person, is always incredibly generous. Jeanette and George, her husband, run a local farm along with other jobs and their dyeing company. They are busy folks.

The three winners can each pick any one skein in-stock from the Sun Valley Fibers online shop OR they can make a custom order! Can you believe how good that is? This yarn is beautiful. Thank you so, so much Sun Valley! 

One more thing about Sun Valley Fibers is that I am teaching at the upcoming retreat, the Sun Valley Fibers January Thaw Retreat 2014. The retreat is taking place in Barneveld, Wisconsin, not far from Madison, on January 23-26, 2014. It is filling up fast, it's about 2/3 full right now. It is going to be super fun. I hope you can make it and that I get to spend some time with you all as we drink hot chocolate and knit the day away.

Click here for more information on the Sun Valley Fibers January Thaw Retreat! 

On another note, thank you for the kind and wonderful response to my interview on the Fiber Hooligan podcast. I have done a lot of interviews but I have never had so many people contact me after the show came out. Thank you! I had fun talking to Benjamin on the Fiber Hooligan and it is fun to know that people have enjoyed listening.

(photo and knitting by Mel Clark of Slip, Slip, Knit)

Now onto the blog tour for Topsy-Turvy! I love Mel Clark and I am so honored that she is participating in the blog tour for my newest book, Topsy-Turvy Inside-Out Knit Toys. Mel is hosting a giveaway on her latest blog post about the book. She also knit up a couple of the reversible toys from the book, Egg to Penguin and Squirrel to Hedgehog! 

Mel's toys are adorable. Please hop over to her blog called, Slip, Slip, Knit.  Mel's blog has been a long-standing favorite of mine. Her blog has been forever linked on my sidebar under Favorites. Mel's writing, knitting and photography are inspiring and fun. You will love her blog, I am sure. Mel has written some of my favorite knitting books, too. Click here to see Mel's books! Plus, I think she is just a really cool person in general. Click here to see Mel's designs on Ravelry. You'll want to knit them all!

Please hop over and give Mel some love and read her review! And please enter the giveaway for my book, Topsy-Turvy, too!

Here are all of the dates for the Topsy-Turvy blog tour:
Yarn on the House just finished her blog tour review post and video! Check it out here!
August 26 - Mel @ South Seas Knitting on her blog
August 30: Katie Puza @ Craftsy
September 5: Jaala Spiro @KnitCircus
September 10: Wendy Bernard @Knitandtonic
September 17: Paula Emons-Fuessle @ Knitting Pipeline
September 24: Dianne McDonald @
September 30: Angela Tong @

All of these wonderful bloggers have been hand-selected by my publisher and me. I am thrilled this lovely group said yes to participating in the blog tour because they are all inspiring websites/knitters/bloggers/podcasters/dyers/farmers, etc.  My hope is that you will all go visit these websites and let them know you came by. 

Thank you to everyone participating in the blog tour. Please let me know when your posts are up so I can let everyone know about you all over the internets.

I'll be back soon with a few top-notch finished items! I can't wait to share them with you.
best, susie
p.s. My publisher told me that Topsy-Turvy is my best-selling book (at this time in the release) so far! That's so exciting. Thank you for the support.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Here (the blog) and There (Ravelry) Giveaways!

(Windy Prairie Designs journal covers plus my own sewing piles)
Hi, Knitters,
I had so much fun on the Fiber Hooligan show last Monday. If you didn't get the chance to listen live you can listen right here by clicking on the play button below or through iTunes (I subscribe to this show) or on the Fiber Hooligan site (click here!).

Here is the show:

Benjamin Levisay is a generous host to say the least. I am so impressed by him. He is gracious and kind to the core. Benjamin gave out a copy of my book, Topsy-Turvy Inside Out Knit Toys and 3 of my Craftsy classes to callers. He then surprised a caller by giving him a subscription to his lovely magazine, Knitter's. After that he offered to give me another one of my Craftsy classes to giveaway for free in my Ravelry group, Itty-Bitty Knits, because we recently reached over 4,000 members in the group. I am throwing in a few more prizes for several more winners for the Ravelry giveaway. I will be throwing in few fun yarn-y type things.

Click here for my Craftsy classes, Not So Itty-Bitty Giraffe and Wee Ones!
Click here for my Itty-Bitty Knits Group on Ravelry! Please come join us.
Click here to enter for the Craftsy class giveaway in my Ravelry group! You have to be a member of the group to enter for the giveaway since it's in honor of the group.

Please come and enter the Craftsy class and yarn-y prize giveaway on my Itty-Bitty Knits group. I'd love to see you over there. Please remember that for the Craftsy class and yarn-y prize giveaway you have to enter on the Ravelry thread, not on this blog post.

Moving on to a second giveaway opportunity for you today, I am shining a light on another Etsy shop that I heard about through the wonderful Knit Girllls video podcast (where I find out about many cool knitting products). The Etsy shop is called, Windy Prairie Designs, and the designer is a Wisconsin woman named, Jane Tanner. She lives near Madison as a matter of fact.

Click here for the Windy Prairie Designs Etsy shop! This is a shop I favorited on Etsy.

What caught my eye on the Knit Girllls podcast was Laura's composition notebook cover. I love composition notebooks and I always have a stack of them on hand. I went over to check out Jane's shop and I fell in love with all of her offerings. I promptly ordered several notebook covers for myself and one for my sister for a gift. My sister loves to write so I knew she would like this. I gave it to her for her birthday this summer and she loves it.

Above you can see the three composition book covers I own and use daily. All three notebooks are packed full of ideas and handwritten patterns and a few inspiration pictures and assignment/job notes. A couple of reasons I love the composition notebook covers are because composition books are inexpensive and you can pick them up pretty much anywhere, drug stores, Target, Walmart, JoAnn's,Walgreens, CVS, etc. When you fill up your book it is easy to replace with a new one. Plus, what's not to love about composition notebooks? My dear friend who I lost a couple of years ago was three of my kids' teacher and she used composition notebooks with them to record their thoughts and writings. I have all of those saved in a special spot and they remind me of her in the sweetest way.

The journal covers are lined with flaps for the covers. They stay in place nicely and are washable.

I also purchased the Dr. Seuss knitting fabric project bag from Jane's etsy shop. It is perfect!

There is a zipper, it is lined in a cream cotton fabric, and there is a ribbon loop on the side for carrying.

I have a sock project stored in my bag but it is big enough to hold a couple of balls of yarn and a shawl, cowl or slightly larger project. I just love it and it has been filled with projects and in use since it arrived. It is one of my favorites by far.

Click here to see all of the Windy Prairie Designs in the shop! Go look! There are so many cute things!

(photo provided by Jane Tanner of Windy Prairie Designs)

I had written Jane through Etsy to tell her how much I love her journal covers and project bag and she generously offered one of her padded pouches for a giveaway here on my blog. For this prize you enter right here by leaving a comment on this blog post!

Here is Jane's note to me:

Hi Susan-

Thanks for the opportunity to do a Windy Prairie Designs giveaway with you on your blog. I'd like to give away a large padded notions pouch in the Green Leaves pattern. 

Here's a description:
This zippered padded pouch large enough to hold several circular knitting needles and a set of double point needles for your project on the go. I especially like this bag when working on projects that require several needles like blankets or sweaters (dpns and circulars). 

This is also a great size for storing other crafting materials and notions. It could be used as a pencil case or can hold 8 markers. The pouch is 9 inches wide x 5 inches tall.

(photo provided by Jane Tanner of Windy Prairie Designs)

This fabric is adorable and fresh. This is the same fabric I ordered my sister's journal cover in and I love it. The padded pouch is a perfect addition to hold odds and ends in your project bag or by your side at home. Jane's workmanship is excellent.

Please leave one comment on this post that includes your Rav ID or email address so I can contact you if you win. Please be patient for the comment to post, I have to approve all comments and sometimes that takes a bit of time. Please don't post the same comment many times. 

Thank you so much Jane of Windy Prairie and Benjamin Levisay and Craftsy. I have lots of thanks to give today. Most of all thank you to all of YOU! I appreciate you and your generous support and for all of the Ravelry Itty-Bitty Knitters (as we call ourselves over there), I truly love and enjoy you all.

It's been a good week already.

Good luck and let the entries begin!

best, susie

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Fiber Hooligan Podcast & SSK Photos

(photo by Gale Zucker)

Hi, Knitters,
I'm popping in briefly this Sunday morning to let you know that I will be interviewed live on the Fiber Hooligan Podcast tomorrow morning. The show starts at 11am Central Time and it lasts an hour. You can have a reminder sent to you before the show starts and you can call in during the show to ask questions! The show is hosted by Benjamin Levisay of Knitter's Magazine, XRX Books, and Stitches Events fame. I am so honored to get to be a part of his podcast.

If you can't tune in live you can listen anytime at your own convenience. Benjamin already has so many great episodes and interviews in the archives. The Fiber Hooligan is one of my new favorite podcasts. I have been listening from the start and subscribe through iTunes. Since I was already a fan and follower I was thrilled to be asked to join in the show.

Here are all of the links you'll need:

The phone number to call in is: (718) 664-9655

The Fiber Hooligan Ravelry Group! I'm a member, come join me over on the forum.

Also, Benjamin is giving away a copy of my new book Topsy-Turvy Inside-Out Knit Toys AND 3 of my Craftsy Classes for free!!!! Click here and here to see my class offerings on Craftsy.

Anyway, I am looking forward to chatting about all things fiber and knitting and I hope you'll join me!

(photo by Gale Zucker)

Now, to explain these fantastic photos. While I was at SSK in July I was fortunate to get to spend some time with the fabulous photographer/teacher, Gale Zucker. Click here for Gale's photography website and blog! Gale had a fantastic post about SSK that included photos of Scarritt-Bennett and the instructors and attendees. Gale even attended my last class of the event and took some photos, which I really appreciated. She was just fun to have around in class, too.

I asked Gale if I could share her photos on my blog and she said, "Sure!" So here they are. Thank you to Gale.

The first photo is during my Fair Isle Hat class. The students learned how to do a corrugated rib, left and right-leaning Latvian Braids, how to do two-handed colorwork along with many tips and tricks in between.

The next photo above is a small version of the following photo.....

(photo by Gale Zucker)

The hands belong to fellow instructor Amy Christoffers and me. This really happened and Gale caught the moment on camera. I had just hand-wound a ball of Desert Vista Dyeworks self-striping sock yarn in the Tiki Bar colorway. As we were waiting to go to dinner at Ann Shayne's house I was telling Amy about the socks I was casting on that night, Amy wanted to get a closer look so I handed it over. 

Click here to order the Tiki Bar sock yarn. You'll love it. I got a good part of the cuff done on the sock at Ann's house so the sock will be a great memento of that night.

(photo by Gale Zucker)

These are some of my class demonstration samples. All of the yarn is Quince & Co. Lark which is the perfect wool for colorwork. I love this messy photo. There is so much work accomplished in the three-hour class and the photo reminds me of how much fun it is to teach. This may be my favorite class in my repertoire.

(photo by Gale Zucker)

During class I have always have my students gather around me to look over my shoulder while I sit at the teacher table. This is where I do technique demonstrations and in this class there are many. This Fair Isle class was an especially fun and studious group. We had a good time together.

(photo by Gale Zucker)

One of my students had this beautiful shawl made from her handspun. I asked her if I could try it on. Isn't it pretty? I don't know if you'll remember but I want to knit a shawl that I can cross in the front and then tie behind my back. This one worked perfectly like this. I think I'll end up knitting something simple like this with the garter stitch and long length.

Anyway, thank you for indulging me with these photos. These are some great memories for me and I want to have a good record of the SSK event and of the excellent knitters I got to hang out and knit with. 

Thank you to both Gale and Benjamin today!

Hopefully some of you will pop in tomorrow for The Fiber Hooligan podcast.
best, susie
p.s. Thank you for all of the How I Make Worsted Weight Socks and How I Make My Socks love. The worsted weight sock recipe climbed all the way to #4 on the Ravelry Hot Right Now Patterns. I thought that was fun and kind of funny at the same time. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

How I Make Worsted Weight Socks!

Hi, Knitters,
Are you interested in whipping up some squishy thick warm socks for the upcoming fall and winter seasons? If yes, I have the perfect recipe for your own worsted weight sock making projects.

Here are the numbers for making my version of worsted weight socks! Use the following numbers in conjunction with the How I Make My Socks pattern (click here for the original pattern and click here for the project page on Ravelry). 

The socks are made exactly the same way as the original "How I Make My Socks" sock pattern only using different numbers. Simply plug in the numbers I have provided below to make the worsted weight version.

Yarn: Worsted weight  ~ I used 120 yards of worsted weight yarn per sock. My socks have 7-inch cuffs and fit my US 7.5 shoe size, which is about a 9.5 inch foot from the toe to the back of the heel. To be safe I recommend having between 250 to 300 yards of worsted available depending on the size and cuff length you will make.

* The yarn in the photo is Cakewalk Yarns Worsted Weight in the Brooklyn colorway. Rose's Etsy shop is now closed. I am getting lots of questions about when she is reopening. I don't know anything about it other than that she moved to a new state over the summer and had to close her shop due to the move. I don't know if or when she will reopen. Click here for the Etsy shop.

Needles: US size 4 dpns (set of 4) or size to get gauge

Gauge: 6 sts per inch in stockinette stitch

Use the original sock pattern and plug in these numbers:
Cast on 44 sts.
Knit rib cuff and leg to your liking. I do 12 rounds of k2, p2 rib and then continue in stockinette stitch until the cuff measures 7-inches from the cast on edge.

Heel Flap:
Work the heel flap over 22 stitches on Needle 1. Divide 11 sts on each of Needles 2 and 3. 

Work the slip 1, k1 heel flap (slip 1, purl to end on wrong side) for 24 rows. You will see 12 slipped stitches on the right side of the fabric. Work one more right side row.  End with a right side row.

Heel Turn:
Next row: purl 13, p2tog, p1, turn.
Next row: slip 1, k5, k2tog, k1, turn.
Continue as in the original pattern until all of the stitches have been worked. End with a right side row.

Pick up 12 sts on each side of the heel flap and working across the 22 sts on the top of the foot. Knit 7 sts from the heel onto Needle 3 and place the remaining 7 sts on Needle 1. 

Work the same as the original pattern until you have 44 sts remaining.

Work even until the foot measures 1 1/2 inches short of your desired finished length.

Work the toe the same as in the original pattern only decrease to 20 sts before placing the stitches on 2 dpns (remember to knit across Needle 1, to place the bottom side of the sock - 10 stitches - on Needle 3).

You will now have 10 stitches on 2 needles. Cut the yarn and use the Kitchener stitch to close the end of the toe.

Weave in your ends, slip the sock on your foot and most of all enjoy your squishy new socks!!!

I am making a lot more pairs of worsted weight socks. I have a Madtosh Vintage version and a Quince and Co. Patchwork Lark version coming up. I'll keep you posted.

Hey, before I sign off I want to let you know that a blog tour for my latest book, Topsy-Turvy Inside-Out Knit Toys has just begun! Please hop on over to Yarn on the House to see the cutest book review around written by my buddy Veronika. She has made the Top-Down Seamless Petticoat Dolls and she even made an adorable video of her daughter showing off the dolls. It is wonderful and Veronika is a very talented toy knitter as you will see. You can even win a copy of my book through her blog.

Click here to see Veronika's review and video and to enter the giveaway for Topsy-Turvy!

I'll be back with the complete schedule for the blog tour coming up next. There are some exciting stops scheduled along the way.

Most of all have fun with your worsted weight socks!
best, susie

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Two more for The Drawer ~ Sock Report

Hi, Knitters,
I'm back home and recovering from our week in Colorado. By recovering I mean doing laundry and cleaning mainly. You all know how that goes. We had a great trip. While on vacation I got quite a bit of knitting done, mostly on socks. 

Today I'll give you a quick rundown on the Sock Report progress. 

Not long ago I did a sock report (click here) where I shared 8 pairs of socks that were in progress. That may seem like a lot (well, it is I guess) but it doesn't bother me at all to have this many socks on the needles at the same time. I just grab a sock in progress to throw in my bag as I head out the door and it is fun to have a little variety at the ready. I never tire of knitting stockinette socks. 

I am happy to report that last week I finished up two pairs of those in progress socks. Ahhhh! New socks! Is there anything better in the knitting world than a brand new pair of handknit socks? I think not.

I use my own sock recipe which I have written out in detail (it's free!) in a blog post called, How I make my socks (click here to see the post and click here to see the pattern on Ravelry). Lately I've been doing a longer cuff, around 7-inches, mainly to use up more yarn. I have so much leftover sock yarn accumulating. More Patchwork Socks will be coming soon! In fact, I am planning a pair of Opal Vincent Van Gogh Patchwork Socks using up all of the leftovers from this line of yarn. Those will be a treat. I'll keep you posted.

Have you seen this new line coming from Opal called Le Petit Prince? I'm crazy for it. Check it out!

I will be collecting all of the new colorways in this line for sure. Maybe you'll join me?

Yarn: Vincent Van Gogh Opal Sock Yarn in the Bridge colorway (discontinued line and getting very hard to find)

Up next, Starry Night Vincent Van Gogh Opal sock yarn. I vowed to always have a pair of Opal socks on the needles for 2013 and probably beyond. That's an easy goal to keep. I think I still have maybe four more Van Gogh colorways to work through.

Yarn: Cakewalk Yarns Worsted Weight Yarn in the Brooklyn colorway (click here for the Etsy shop!)
Needles: US size 4 dpns

Coming soon I will write out the numbers for the worsted weight sock using the basic How I make my socks recipe. I've got all of the numbers written out in a sketchbook I just need to write them out for you. Maybe I'll get to that later this week. The pair used about 240 yards (120 yards per sock) if you want to knit a pair for yourself.

I will wear these thicker socks with my clogs in the winter, also for outdoor winter ice skating and inside my hiking boots for hikes and snowshoeing. They will be so good. I will be making more worsted weight socks for sure! They are incredibly squishy.

Left sock: Desert Vista Dyeworks in the Tiki Bar colorway (try this yarn!!!) Click here for the shop.
Right sock: HDYarns in the Dynamics colorway (try this one, too!!!) Click here for the shop.
Needles for both: US size 1 dpns

These are both first socks for the pair. One more of each to go.

Right sock: Knitterly Things Wee Skeins (4 mini-skeins) in Halloween colorways. This sock I am piecing together like a Patchwork Sock. Click here for the Knitterly Things shop - go quick she has some Halloween colors in her shop right now!

Needles: US size 1 dpns
This is the first sock of the pair. I have a start on the cuff of the second sock for the Wee Skeins.

So I have two more finished pairs to add to the sock drawer(s)! That's pretty exciting. What is it about socks, even simple stockinette socks, that holds my attention like nothing else? Sock knitting is like breathing to me. I can't live without it.

How about you?

I will leave you today with a view of my garden harvest from yesterday. Zucchini bread, several loaves, are going in the oven later today. I made a chopped cucumber-tomato-onion salad with a touch of Italian dressing to go with dinner last night. The cherry tomatoes? I snack on those all day long. Not shown is a good sized bowl of green beans picked yesterday and we have loads of peppers ready to be picked, too.

Backyard gardens are the best.

Have a good start to your week! I'll be back soon with more.
best, susie

Monday, August 05, 2013

Impromptu Vacay

Hi, Knitters,
Thank you for the wonderful response to the Talking Clay shawl pin giveaway! How exciting for Nancy to get such positive feedback for her new venture. Within the last few days Nancy has sold well over 100 shawl pins and I've heard there are some shops placing wholesale orders! 

I have randomly selected a winner for the Talking Sheep pin. Susan (nuts4crafting - rav id) won the shawl pin!! 

Here is the winning comment:

 Anonymous said...
These pins are wonderful! Thanks for introducing them to us, and giving us the chance to win one. :-)

Susan (nuts4crafting on Rav)
August 05, 2013

Congrats to Susan. Thanks to everyone for entering. 

Well, if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you may have gathered that I am on a last minute vacation with my family, very impromptu. Everyone is together and we are enjoying each other so much before the summer ends. I can't get enough of these kids. I'm soaking them up.

I will see you when I get back. If you want to see where I am and some vacation knitting over the next week or so hop on over to my Instagram. I love posting photos there.

best, susie

Friday, August 02, 2013

Talking Clay ~ Shawl & Scarf Pins ~ Giveaway!

Hi, Knitters,
All of the photos today have been provided by Nancy Walker of Talking Clay.

I have a special surprise for you today. When I was in Seattle at Vogue Knitting Live, I had a lovely, young, bright knitter in one of my classes named Amanda. I noticed in class that Amanda is a very talented knitter, very quick. Later in the marketplace Amanda stopped by my book signing with her equally beautiful mother, Nancy. We chatted for a bit and I couldn't stop staring at the unique pin Nancy had gathering up her sweater. Let me see if I can describe how this looked.

Nancy had on a brown, handknit boxy-style sweater, drapey stockinette and simple. She had artistically gathered up a bit of the excess fabric in the front and had run a shawl pin through the gathers to hold it in place. I just loved the look of it. I asked her about the pin she had used and she took out and unrolled a fabric holder that contained a bunch of these pins. She explained that she is a potter and that she was starting up an Etsy shop to sell her shawl pins. 

When I saw that fabric unroll to expose her exquisite pins my heart kind of stopped. These pins are charming, elegant, sweetly humorous, simple and stunning all at the same time. I love the white clay with the copper rippling wire. The combination is simple perfection. I asked right away if I could purchase one of the pins she had with her. When she said yes I was thrilled. The Rooster Pin I bought was the only thing I came home with from VK Live in Seattle. Nothing could really top it. I asked Nancy if she would stay in touch with me to let me know when her Etsy shop opened up and if I could feature her artistic pins on my blog. Now that is happening!

By the way, I wasn't alone when I fell in love with the now named Talking Clay pins. None other than Trisha Malcolm of Vogue Knitting Live and the Vogue Knitting magazine empire loves the pins just as much as I do. Talking Clay shawl pins are being featured in the issue of Vogue Knitting magazine being released September 2nd! If you want one of these pins I would get one now before the rush comes on in September!

Click here for the Talking Clay Etsy Shop! Attention shop owners: Nancy does wholesale orders!!!

The front side (seen in the first photo) of the Talking Clay pin is more of a picture of something like a sheep, rooster, angel, rabbit, stork or fox (currently in the shop). The backside of the pin, shown above, is the knit side of stockinette stitch. I love it. 

The design of the pin makes it versatile. It can be worn decoratively or to hold a shawl or sweater in place. Above in the photo is the lovely Amanda, Nancy's talented daughter.

Here you can see the front and back and the rippling wire coming out of the bottom. The pins kind of look like floating balloons with the strings trailing behind. 

Here's one of the best parts. The pins have a message imprinted on the side. These say, "K2P2" and Knit Me. Other messages include, Be Patient, Rise and Shine, Be Ready, Be Clever, Take Care...... and so on. I enjoy a little surprise like this on the side. It is an added detail to make the pin even more special. 

Today I get to offer you the opportunity to win one of the new sheep Talking Clay pins! Isn't it cute?

This pin you could win says, "Knit Me" on the side and has the knitting on the back! Please leave a comment on this blog post to enter to win. Leave only one comment please and be patient (as the pin recommends) for your comment to show up on the blog. I have to approve all comments to prevent spam and that takes some time if I am not at my computer. Also, it is a must to leave either your Ravelry id or an email address so I can get in touch with you if you win.

Good luck if you enter and I know you will love these pins. If you can't wait to get one, jump over now and snap one up for yourself. I have the rooster pin and Nancy is generously sending me one of her beautiful house-shaped pins as a gift. I can't wait! Click here to see all of Nancy's pin designs which include owls and houses in addition to the rounded pins featured on this post.  

Good luck and let the comments begin!
best, susie