Friday, January 30, 2015

New Socks, New Yarn and Knits to Be

Hi, Knitters,
It's been a busy week, right? Well, I have several announcements to start off. The winner of the vest and cowl patterns from Folly's Cove is..... JillShoke on Ravelry. Congratulations to Jill! I have sent an email to Julia Farwell-Clay, the designer, and she will be sending along your patterns.

I am excited to be wearing my latest handknit socks fresh off the needles. I am calling these my Brach's Sundae Socks in tribute to the coconut, chocolate, and pink layered candy that I haven't had in forever but miss when I look at my new socks. I love these so much. Apparently the yarn is discontinued but just in case you can find it somewhere it is the Trekking XXL in color #126. I can't remember where I purchased the Trekking as it was so long ago.

The next bit of news is that I have selected the first prize winner from the 169 participants (the list is on the first post in the thread) for the SBA Shawl Knitalong. Click here to see the thread or to join in. It's not too late to join in or enter any of your past already knit SBA shawls in the knitalong.

The first prize is a doozy. I am sending off 800 yards of the sport weight Helix yarn by Infinite Twist in the Hooker's Green colorway. Helix is the yarn that I knit the Hayward shawl in and it is a beautiful 100% merino wool. The greens in this colorway are inspiring and even prettier in person. 

The winner of 800 yards of Helix is.... NDAkkatie! Congratulations.

Cate Carter of Infinite Twist has kits available for the Hayward shawl and many other great knits, too.

I am so in love with this sweet 100% Maine wool from Nash Island that I picked up at a pop-up shop in NYC a couple of weeks ago. It is Starcroft Tide in a creamy white and two shades of blue. I met the yarn-creator and dyer Jani at the shop, too, and it was quite a treat. 

I will be talking a lot more about this yarn and my upcoming color work hat design so I will leave it at that today. I hand wound this lovely, sticky, earthy, gorgeously natural wool and I could feel the history behind it running through my fingers. 

Anyway, more to come on this project soon.

We are off into the weekend at full speed ahead. I will be working much of the weekend. Deadlines are deadly and I have many that need tending.

One last thing, I have heard from a couple of people with concerns about the price changes on a couple of my patterns with the misunderstanding that I am raising the prices on all of my patterns. This is not the case at all. In regards to this I am only referring to 4 specific patterns. Two of these patterns will have the price raised $1 and $2 and the other two patterns are actually having the price lowered by $1 apiece. The patterns are being reworked so a distributor can sell the printed patterns in local yarn shops nationwide and beyond. The distributor needs price consistency for the patterns and that's the only reason the price is changing for these 4 patterns. The fifth pattern is the Little Owl that is actually a brand new pattern for my Ravelry pattern shop.

I hope that helps to clear up any concerns. It is a pretty minor change and mostly for the better. 

By the way, thanks for the votes for the Craftsy Instructor's Blog Award. I haven't heard the official results yet but I appreciate the support regardless of the outcome.

Have a great weekend. Don't work too much like me.
xo ~ susan

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Folly's Cove and Much More

copyright of Classic Elite

Hi, Knitters,
I have a fun review for you today. Julia Farwell-Clay has created a beautiful new collection in book and digital form for for Classic Elite Yarns. It is so pretty and fun and varied. There are 11 patterns in the book that include a hat, shawl, a sweater, cardigans, a dress, a skirt, a scarf and a short sleeve pullover. Everything is photographed beautifully and Julia is a very talented pattern writer and designer.

The collection is available as an ebook, individual patterns for download and as a printed book.

Click here to see all of Julia Farwell-Clay's designs on Ravelry. She designed the Hiro Sweater amongst other well-known designs.

This week is the blog tour for Folly's Cove. Here are some things you should know about the blog tour:
1. For this week, all patterns, both individually and the entire ebook, are 10% off on all Ravelry purchases for any Folly's Cove item using the coupon code: FFC10

2. I will draw a winner for the patterns Iarrobino Butterfly Cowl and Vest which are pictured below. Please leave a comment on this post to enter to win these two digital colorwork patterns.

3. There are lots of cool stops on the Folly's Cove blog tour. After my stop is Indigo Dragonfly. Other stops include Kristin Nicholas, Kay Gardiner of Mason-Dixon Knitting, and Talitha Kuomi. These all include fun giveaways and reviews.

4. At the end of the week, check into the Classic Elite Blog for a chance to win yarn for the project of your choice from the book. Click here for more information.

copyright of Classic Elite

Above is the Iarrobino Butterfly Vest that is part of the giveaway for one lucky winner along with....

copyright of Classic Elite

Leave a comment to enter to win these patterns. One winner will win both of these patterns. Please leave your Ravelry username or email in your comment.

 copyright of Classic Elite

My personal favorite from the book is the Meteori Shawl. It is really a lovely piece. Thanks, Julia and Classic Elite, for the book, the discount code, and the opportunity for one of my readers to win the patterns.

Now for a couple of miscellaneous knitting-related topics.

Here is Ida B. Knitting, an Opal Sock Yarn Bunny that travels to and from various Itty-Bitty Knitters'  (my Ravelry group) homes and events just like Flat Stanley. I had to share this photo from Carrie or cstein on Ravelry. Carrie took my class at VK Live in NYC and she brought Ida along for the ride. Thanks for bringing Ida and for making the effort to come to class. I love seeing you, Carrie.

The SBA Shawl Knitalong is in full-swing. There are already 77 finished shawls posted (remember you can post past knits) and there are almost 130 shawl knitters joined in the Knitalong. If you are at all interested you may want to sign up by the end of the week (although you can join anytime through March 1st). I will be drawing for the first prize from the participant sign up list in a few days and the first prize is HUGE and really good. I have a bunch of fantastic prizes already lined up and I am gathering more as we go. Don't miss out.

Don't forget that through Friday, Jan. 30th I have a 20% off discount code: SBASHAWLWKAL

Included in the SBA Shawl Knitalong and the discount code are the following shawl patterns: 
Yowza Weigh It Shawl 
Yowza Weigh It Shawl 2 
50 Row Shawlette 
Prairie Ridge Shawl 
Quaker Ridge Shawlette 
Drawing Nigh (not included in the discount code because Quince owns this pattern)

In other sheepy news, I am in the process of re-fluffing several of my patterns which will become available as updated downloadable pdfs through Ravelry but also as high-quality printed patterns for local yarn shops to carry wholesale. Many more details are coming soon and I am super-excited to share more with you.

In the meantime I have been re-knitting, rewriting and photographing the new samples for these patterns. There is a graphic design team working on the patterns, too.

I am telling you this because.....

..... the prices are going to be changed on several selected patterns, some will be slightly higher and some will be slightly lower. This has to be done for consistency purposes. I am really excited about this new venture and as I said more information will be coming soon.

The pattern called Lamb from Scratch, in the photo above, is one of the patterns that is going to have the price raised slightly. I originally knit this up in my very first handspun yarn several years ago. I was so thrilled with my uneven lumpy handspun yarn that I created a sheep pattern in honor of it. 

The older, more homespun, original version of the pattern is still available for $4 on Ravelry for a short while longer. I want to give you fair warning that the price change will be happening in the near future.

When the new version is available I'll send out the update to everyone who has already purchased the pattern in the past.

The newer and fancier version will be $6. I am not sure exactly when this will be changing but probably in the next few weeks. Grab it now if interested and you don't mind the older scruffier version (the pattern is the same as for the newly knit sheep in the photos here).

The new version of the pattern will be called Sweet Sheep and the samples are knit in the wonderful Solitude Wool Romney 2-ply Aran weight. It is a cute, simple sheep pattern.

One last quick thing. I was surprised to see that I am nominated for the Best Craftsy Knitting Instructor's Blog Award for 2015. Thank you for the honor if you were one of the nominee voters.

Craftsy has been very good to me over the last few years and although I don't promote my classes too often on my blog I do appreciate everything Craftsy has provided for crafters in general and knitters. It is a great new and innovative platform for learning and teaching.

Now the voting is on through midnight on Wed. Jan. 28th, 2015 (tomorrow) to select the winner of this and many other great categories. 

I'll be back soon to share some sock and shawl knitting progress.

Don't forget to leave a comment to win the vest and cowl pattern.
xo ~ susan

Thursday, January 22, 2015

SBA Shawl Knitalong Starts Now! Shawl Discount, too.

Hi, Knitters!
I am so excited to get this SBA Shawl Knitalong kicked off! There are some different rules that really benefit you and add to your chances of winning a prize. Be sure to read through thoroughly. You don't need to be a member of the Itty-Bitty Knits group (my Ravelry group) to enter but we'd sure love to have you join in over there.

Click here for the discussion and sharing and helping thread on my Ravelry Group, Itty-Bitty Knits! This is the thread where you officially join the SBA Shawl Knitalong and chat, post photos, get help, and have fun! Set up your project pages and tag SBASHAWLKAL please! I will post your name on a list and will be drawing for random prizes along the way from this thread.

Click here for the finished SBA Shawl Knitalong thread! Here is where you post photos of finished shawls and link your project page. Please no chatter on here, only finished shawls.

Here is how it is going to work:

The SBA Shawl Knitalong is starting today, January 22, 2015 and ending March 1, 2015. This knitalong is different than some other knitalongs you may have done in the past so be sure to read through the rules (they benefit you, the knitter!).
Included in the SBA Shawl Knitalong are the following 7 shawl patterns (click to find the patterns):
Yowza Weigh It Shawl
Yowza Weigh It Shawl 2
50 Row Shawlette
Prairie Ridge Shawl
Quaker Ridge Shawlette
Drawing Nigh (Not included in the discount code as I don't own the rights to the pattern, Quince & Co. does.)
Here are the rules:
~ You can enter any of the my shawl patterns listed you have knit in the past or have just started. There isn’t a starting date.
~ You do have to have a finished shawl by the deadline in order to be eligible for prizes.
~ You can enter to win prizes more than once, one time for each shawl you have knitted in the past or are currently knitting. The more entries you have, the more chances you have to win one of the amazing prizes I have lined up! You won’t believe the stuff I already have as prizes. I may jump in and give random prizes along the way. You never know.
~ You need to enter the SBA shawl you are working on or have already finished in the Finished SBA Shawl KAL Thread with a photo and a project page before the deadline in order to win a prize.
Please tag your project pages!!!
The tag for the project pages is: SBASHAWLKAL
Is there more?
Yes! All of these shawl patterns with the exception of Drawing Nigh (I don’t own Drawing Nigh ~ Quince & Co. does) are now available for 20% off through next Friday, January 30, 2015!
The discount code is: SBASHAWLKAL

You don't need to join in the Knitalong to use the discount code. It is there for everyone.
The dates of the SBA Shawl Knitalong are from today, Jan. 22, 2015 through March 1, 2015! Finish as many shawls as you can. Post your already finished SBA Shawls! I want this to be a celebration of ALL of these fun shawls I have designed and that you have knit!
Let me know if I’ve forgotten anything!
Let’s chat, share, ask questions and help each other. Please feel free to jump in and answer questions even if they are addressed to me. I LOVE that.
Love you all!
p.s. Please introduce yourselves on here and let us know which shawl you are working on currently and what finished shawls you have entered. I am going to try my best to make a list of all participants. I will be drawing for random prizes along the way so you will want to be on this list! Please keep me posted if you have joined and I missed you.
p.p.s If I get the Yowza Weigh It Shawl 3 done soon I will add it to the discount and the list of included shawls. I just haven’t had the time to finish it but I will be on a mission to do so!!

This shawl is owned by Quince & Co. so Drawing Nigh is not included in the 20% off discount code. You can purchase this pattern through Ravelry or Quince & Co.

Let me know if you are joining in! Be sure to head over to the Ravelry threads linked above and check in and post your progress. I suspect we are going to have loads of fun together over the next month.

Don't forget to use the discount code for 20% off the 6 different shawl patterns if interested. The code is: SBASHAWLKAL. The sale goes now until Jan. 30, 2015.

xo ~ susan

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Madison Knitters' Guild Knit In and Knitting Galore!

Hi, Knitters,
The classes and registration information is up for the Madison Knitters' Guild Knit In! I am teaching on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 21 and 22, 2015 at the Alliant Energy Center (or the Coliseum for the old-school Madisonians) in Madison. There are so many great teachers and a fantastic marketplace. The prices are very reasonable for the classes, many places I teach charge double or even triple the class fees being charged at the Knit In. Some of the teachers include Patty Lyons, Joanna Johnson, Sheryl Thies and Annie Modesitt. There are many others instructors with interesting and fun class offerings.

I'm off to New York City in a few days to teach at Vogue Knitting Live. I can't wait. In addition to teaching on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I am speaking on a panel discussion at noon on Sunday. The panel is being led by Trisha Malcolm the editor of Vogue Knitting. And on Saturday night I am doing a book signing at the Knitty City booth #710 in the marketplace at 5pm!

A couple of my classes have been sold out but this keeps coming and going so I think numbers are still shuffling about. If a class is sold out be sure to request the class you are interested in. Sometimes I can change the numbers to allow more in the class if they aren't already too high. It's worth contacting the people at Vogue to check.

It's going to be a jam-packed weekend of fun. Click here to find out more about VKLive in NYC!

I am also teaching at Vogue Knitting Live in Pasadena, California in April! 

Now for the socks in the photo above. I finished these last week and I love them. The yarn is from ColoringBookYarns on Etsy and the colorway is BMO. The heels are knit in Opal Solids in Black. These were really fun to knit. The yarn is wonderful.

Needles: US size 1 dpns
Sock blockers: From

To make the heel flap a different color I leave the Main Color attached and start knitting the heel flap with the Contrast Color. I work the heel flap and turn with the Contrast Color and cut the yarn. Then I go back to where I left off with the Main Color and continue on picking up the gusset stitches. It works well to not break up the striping pattern on the rest of the sock and if you are concerned about not having enough yarn it gives a little more leeway.

As for an in-progress knitting update, I finished the first sock in the most fantastic rainbow gradient I've ever seen. The yarn is called Rainbow Gradient and it comes in the Gradients Matching Socks Sets by KnitCircus. It is truly beautiful and I love that the two yarn cakes are exactly the same so my socks will match perfectly without having to do any extra work.

US size 1 dpns

I knit an 8-inch cuff in hopes that I would reach all of the colors and it worked. I could have gone with a 9-inch cuff. I wear a 7.5 US women's shoe size. 

I started a pair of Broken Seed Stitch Socks yesterday. The pattern is free on Ravelry.

I am knitting them out of some really old Koigu that I purchased at Purl Soho maybe 8 years ago when I was in NYC on an early book tour. I lost the label so that's all I know about it. The contrast is a tan color in the Opal Solid Series. The combination is a good one. 

I don't like pooling at all so the contrast color and stitch pattern is a good mask for variegated yarns that pool. You can see that the rusty color is pooling but it actually looks kind of cool using this pattern. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Lastly, I finally got started on a shawl project I am collaborating on with Jaala Spiro, the dyeing genius at Knit Circus Yarns. I am using the Come What May Gradient that comes in a 600 yard skein. I can't tell you how much fun this is to knit. I have a good start with a little easy lace and we'll see where this takes me. I have lots of ideas about how the shawl will grow from here.

Click here to see this skein on Knit Circus Yarns on Etsy!

I'm not sure when the new pattern is going to be released but I am hoping in the next couple months. I'll post about it when it is available.

Have a great Sunday! It's all about the Packers around here today (not for me so much but for other members of the family).
xo ~ susan

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Badge of Love: Darning

Hi, Knitters,
First, the winner of the Fab Funky Fibres Autumn Rainbow self-striping yarn is.....

Cori or irocknits on Ravelry!! By the way check out Cori's photo in Instagram of the 9 sweaters she finished for Christmas gifts this year. It is pretty incredible. Click here to see!

Congratulations to Cori! Thank you to Elaine of Fab Funky Fibres for the skein of gorgeous yarn to give to one of you. Thank you for the enormous response to the giveaway. I will have another one very soon. 

One more quick news-type thing, in February I am teaching at the Madison Knitting Guild event called Knit In! Click here to see the class options and to get more information. It is open to everyone! I'll talk more about this soon with more details but register early if you want to get in. My classes were huge and filled quickly last time I taught at this fun event. 

Today I have a video tutorial on darning for you. I am no expert but I have occasionally darned holes in socks and I get asked about repairing worn holes in socks so I thought I'd share.

My future daughter-in-law, Miss Molly, knit these adorable socks a couple of year ago. Last week she sadly told me that both socks suddenly had holes on the bottom of the heels. It's kind of funny how they wore out exactly at the same time and in the same spot but they did! I told her to bring them to me and I would try to darn the holes for her.

A few quick things about the video. Warp and weft were the weaving terms I couldn't remember. Also, the yarn has become slightly felted from washing and wearing so you can see the I struggle a bit to get the needle through the stitches. Be patient if your sock is slightly felted and use a sharper or finer needle to make it easier.

Make sure not to pull any of the strands too tight while darning. Pulling too tight will distort the natural shape of the sock. The darning egg comes in handy for keeping the fabric as it would be while wearing the sock but it isn't necessary. You could use a small ball, a tomato pincushion, or something else rounded. Remember those EOS lip balms I recently talked about.... two purposes in one!

If you can't see the video for email subscribers click here to view the video on YouTube!

The sock yarn used for the socks in the video is Vesper by Knitterly Things (one of my favorites) in the Shamrockin' colorway. The pattern used for the socks is How I Make My Socks found both on Ravelry and my blog.

A couple of more quick thoughts or options on darning for you:
1.  If you notice that the yarn is getting very worn and thin in a certain spot on your sock but it hasn't broken through to create a hole yet you can darn over the top of the threadbare spot using this same technique before it breaks open. This is called surface darning.
2. For this same kind of wearing thin of the fiber but not a hole quite yet you can duplicate stitch over the threadbare stitches to reinforce them before the worn spot becomes a hole.
3. If the darned spot is on the bottom of the foot do not use any knots and try to weave in the ends so as not to create any unwanted ridges in the fabric.

My final thoughts on darning are to just do it! You can see that my darning isn't perfect but it works just fine to extend the life of the beloved handknit socks. The darned spot will wear in so that it will feel undetectable to the foot after awhile in my experience.

I've shown you in the video how I have darned my own socks through the years and this technique works really well for me. There are lots of other ways to darn socks. I remembered reading an article by Kate Gilbert of Twist Collective awhile back and when I searched it popped right up. Kate created a great tutorial showing several different darning techniques. It is extremely helpful and clear.

Click here to read Kate Gilbert's tutorial post called Darn It All!

I love a darned spot on any sort of knitwear. It is a badge of LOVE. A darned spot is something to be cherished. There is a charm to a darned sock, mitten, or even sweater elbows. I prefer to darn my socks in different colored yarn to remind me how much I have worn and loved them.

Back in 2013 I did a blog post sharing the darning of a pair of handspun socks. Click here to revisit the post and to see the darned socks!

Please let me know if you have any darning tips or techniques that you've used to repair your knit items. I'd love to hear about it.

Have a great Sunday and start to your week, dear Knitters.
xo ~ susan