Monday, February 23, 2015

Episode 12 ~ Socks, Sock Yarn & the Unfinished

Hi, Knitters,
I have a new podcast episode today! Click here for the direct link to YouTube to watch. You can subscribe to my YouTube Channel or you can watch or subscribe on iTunes, too. Click here for iTunes.

I have a bit of a hand issue that I discuss in the video so I am trying to rest it for a few days. Therefore, I am not going to type up all of the show notes today but everything mentioned in the video will be mentioned again on the blog later or has been mentioned before. 

Thanks for watching and I'll be back soon with more.
xo ~ susan

p.s. I have the best blog readers! Willfulmina on Ravelry and Instagram wrote out and linked every single thing I mentioned on the podcast and sent it to me. Thank you Kate! So here are the shownotes from Willfulmina:
Episide 12: Socks, Sock Yarn & the Unfinished

FabFunkyFibres in "I Believe in the Impossible" and "The Cosmopolitan"
Regina 4-Ply Design Line by Arne & Carlos in Fall Night Color 03655

Friday, February 20, 2015

New Pattern ~ Little Owl and much more!

Hi Knitters,
I have a brand new downloadable pattern for you up on Ravelry today! Little Owl is available for purchase. You don't have to be a member of Ravelry to purchase patterns.

I want to share a discount code for the new Little Owl pattern today since it is a brand new Ravelry download. The discount will be good from Feb. 20-27th, 2015.

The discount code for $1.00 off is: OWL

Little Owl is a 4 1/2-inch tall seamless, bottom-up toy, knit in worsted weight yarn. The wings and feet are picked up and knit onto the body. The eyes are felt and I used a quarter to trace around to get the circle. It is a quick knit and perfect for using up leftover worsted weight yarn, less than 100 yards is needed.

I also want to start today off with my new exciting news. I have been added to Alana Dakos' (of the Never Not Knitting podcast and designing fame) selected designers for her NNK Press printing and distribution company. NNK Press is a really innovative wholesale printed pattern line for yarn shops. Alana hand-selects and curates the patterns she carries along with her own patterns and books like Botanical Knits and then markets them to local yarn shops all over the country and beyond. Other pattern lines she is now carrying besides my patterns are from some recognizable favorites like Quince & Co., Maddermade's Carrie Bostick-Hoge and Hannah Fettig's Knitbot. I am thrilled to be included to say the least.

I have worked hard for the past few months on getting these five patterns whipped into shape for NNK Press and I am proud of how great they turned out. We will be adding more patterns to the print line as time goes on.
The coolest thing about the printed patterns, besides the crystal clear lay-out and photography, is that every pattern has a scratch off code that allows the buyer to get the downloadable pdf pattern on Ravelry. This is genius! If you purchase the printed pattern you are also automatically getting the digital pdf on Ravelry. 

I am so excited to finally have 5 patterns currently available from NNK Press in beautiful, high quality printed form for yarn shops to purchase and carry in their shops. If you are a shop owner and are interested in carrying my patterns or any of the patterns discussed please check out NNK Press to find out more. 

Alana and NNK Press are at Stitches West market this weekend in booths #1039 and #1041. If you are attending please pop in to see all of Alana's offerings.

The following are the other patterns that have been added to Alana's NNK Press pattern line, all are available for purchase on Ravelry through my pattern shop as well:

I love this back view of the Milk Cow!

This pattern includes the Elephant, Bunny and Hippo and the sweater! 

Here's the whole NNK Press bunch together. These toys are all in a trunk show at the NNK booth (#1039 and #1041) at Stitches West right now!

Alana sent me these fun photos from her Stitches West booth going on right now! The patterns are available for purchase at the NNK booth.

Here's another photo from Alana from her booth at Stitches West.

Enjoy the discount code: OWL for $1.00 off the purchase price for my new Little Owl pattern on Ravelry!

Have a great weekend. I am teaching all weekend at the Madison Knit In. I am so excited to see my students right here in my hometown. I am doing a book signing at lunch one of the days (not sure which yet). I love being able to go home after a long day of teaching to be with my family and sleep in my own bed. What a treat!
xo ~ susan
p.s. Here's a little behind the scenes look into our photo shoot. It's a pretty fancy set-up.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

New Mittens, New Thumbs

Hi, Knitters,
Do you remember these stripey Noro Kureyon mittens I was knitting last fall? I knit and Knit and KNIT mittens for a couple of months starting last September. Honestly, I can't remember how many mittens I knitted, some went to charity and lots were gifts. Well, I gave every last mitten away and there were no stripey mittens left in my house.

Miss Molly has a stripey pair I knit for her and she wears them every single day. Quite awhile ago, I was talking to her about her mitten love and she said her sister and mom wear their stripey mittens I knit for them a lot, too. That makes me feel good.

After this conversation, which was a couple of months ago, TC told me that she would really like a pair of stripey mittens. I told her I would knit her some. Time passed, the weather got colder, no mittens were knit. I felt bad.

Last Sunday I decided that today was the day and early in the morning I cast on a pair of stripey Waiting for Winter Mittens for old TC. By the afternoon I had finished the mittens and TC was a very happy girl. Those are her hands in the first photo. Now she's happily wearing them to school this week and it's a good thing because we are having an arctic blast as they say.

I talked all about this stripey version of the Waiting for Winter Mittens on this blog post.

The Noro Kureyon yarn I am using is being recycled from this decade-old project that I pulled apart last fall. Click here to see the old project. And here is all of the yarn I saved.

I Instagrammed about the mittens here, here, and here if you are interested.  

Since TC's mittens were knit out of recycled yarn that was really quite old they definitely needed a wash and a block. The yarn was a little kinked up while I was knitting. 

I love Soakwash for my woolens. Click here to find out more about Soak.

Now the mittens are so soft and they smell great.

On to the other mitten story. Miss Molly's mittens have worn through at the inside of the thumb. This thumb in the photo is threadbare but the other thumb had completely worn out and there was a gigantic hole. The mittens wore out here because Miss Molly had been doing a ton of driving last semester and she thinks the steering wheel was the culprit.

I decided to cut off the thumbs and rip them back to the held stitches from the thumb gusset and put the stitches back on the needles and knit brand new thumbs on both mittens. I pulled out a ball of the recycled Noro Kureyon and began the new thumbs.

I quickly got the stitches back on the needles and knit....

.... and knit...

.... and knit until I had a brand new thumb!

Good as new.

Miss Molly has given the new thumbs on her Waiting for Winter Mittens an official thumb's up.

And with new mittens and the new thumbs I bid you adieu.

Later this week I'll be back with some new socks and some big news. The big news is the reason many of my knitting plans for new and revised patterns have been pushed aside. 

Until then....
xo ~ susan
p.s. I always knit the Waiting for Winter Mittens and Fingerless Mitts on my Dyakraft Darn Pretty Needles double-pointed needles for some reason. I like these dpns a lot, they are warm, smooth and they have a nice point, perfect for mitten knitting. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day

Hi, Knitters,

Wishing you all a Happy Valentine's Day
from my house 
to yours.

xo ~ susan

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

100% Wild Maine Wool ~ Starcroft

Hi, Knitters,
Before I get into today's topic I want to make sure to let you know that I am coming to Pasadena, California in April, 2015 to teach at Vogue Knitting Live. If you are thinking about coming to this event the registration is already up for classes, lectures and more. If you are able, try to register early because what happens is that pretty early on classes will get cut and I mean a lot of classes get cut. One fell swoop! Then the classes being offered fill up and I often have students tell me they wanted to get into classes but they weren't being offered any longer or they were sold out. So early registration helps everyone involved.

I am teaching and speaking on the following topics (I've linked the project information.):
Friday, April 17th: 
Seamless Knit Doll Workshop: Mary, Millie & Morgan ~ click here! Oh, and look at these fun in class photos and write up of this class from one of my students: ChemKnits!
Sock Yarn Fox in a Vest ~ click here!

Saturday, April 18th:
Little Dragon ~ click here! Or you can make the mini-version, too.
3 Wee Sheep ~ This pattern isn't available yet, workshop only. There is a photo with the class information on the VK Live website.
Lecture (1 hour): Sheep, Moneys, Bunnies ~ Toy Knitting for All

Sunday, April 19th:
Build a Toy Workshop ~ Check out the VK Live website for more info.!
Sock Yarn Bunny ~ click here! Or you can make the mini-version, too.

For all of the toy classes we cover so much technique, tips, demonstrations, guidance, individual and small group attention, and discussion. Each class has a different project focus that has different and unique construction and techniques used. Some projects have seamless construction, some have seaming. I really try to pack in as much fun and useful information into all of the classes as possible.

I hope to see you there! 

Okay, let's chat for a minute about the pop-up shop I visited in NYC a few weeks ago. First, a pop-up shop is just that, a shop that pops up in a space for a short while and then it is gone. I found out about the shop through Gale Zucker, the photographer/knitter. You may know Gale from her blog, books she has photographed, or her teaching. You can find out more about Gale by clicking right here. She was helping to set up a Starcroft pop-up shop in NYC on the weekend of Vogue Knitting Live. Gale was working with Kirsten Kapur, another lovely fiber-designer talent, click here to find out about Kirsten! These two lovely ladies picked me up at the hotel and brought me to the Starcroft shop. What a treat.

Click here for! It looks like the site is under construction but check back.

There is Gale and Jani Estelle, the owner of Starcroft, through the front window. I have to admit to not knowing much about Starcroft or Jani. However, when I started hearing about Nash Island, off of Maine, the sheep, the journey and efforts Jani makes every year to harvest the wool, then process and dye it, I did remember Gale telling me about being involved in the shearing process along with Mary Jane Mucklestone and Ysolda Teague one year. I believe that Gale has been there three times to help with the shearing now. She loves it and has described the hard work involved. 

photographed and owned by Gale Zucker
This photo is one of the postcards that is available. Information is below.

photo from Gale Zucker

Left to right: Gale, Ellen Mason, Jani Estelle, Mary Jane Mucklestone, Ysolda

photo from Gale Zucker

Here we are back in the NYC pop-up shop. It was incredible, the yarn, the atmosphere, Gale's beautiful photography..... the company!

Kay Gardiner popped in right before I had to leave so I was thrilled to meet her in person. I have long admired her blog and books and knitting. Gale is friends with Kay because she photographed the first Mason-Dixon Knitting book I believe. Gale is one to support and maintain friendships and foster new friendships. I really feel this about her and I love that.

The Starcroft samples were extraordinary. What a perfect yarn for color work. I wish I could have stayed at the shop longer but I had dinner plans with my Artisan Book (my publisher) buddies of the past, my former publicist Jaime and my beloved former editor, Trent. We had so much fun together. The shop and the dinner with old friends made this a night to remember.

Here is what I selected from the shop. Three lovely skeins of Starcroft Nash Island 100% Wild Maine Wool in the Tide weight, which is DK. The colors are from left to right: Barnacle, Clear Skies and Cove.

I believe you can purchase the yarn here if you'd like some for yourself.

I also picked up a dozen GORGEOUS postcards of Nash Island photographed by Gale Zucker. You will want a set of these I promise. Click here to find out more.

I hand-wound the skeins and the yarn seemed prettier than ever. It kind of glows with natural beauty.

I began a hat and after a couple of false starts things moved along quickly.

The yarn softened as I worked. There is such a purity and calmness to the yarn.

Here is my finished hat! Fits like a glove. Feels like a million bucks.

I did a simple single round striping on the top. It is quite beautiful.

After the blocking the yarn fluffed up and softened even further. I have been wearing it non-stop!

I will write up the pattern soon. This is a simple color work pattern that would be a good first Fair Isle project. I really love this hat, there is so much history, hard work and natural beauty in the wool.

Here are the postcards I purchased from Gale at the Starcroft shop in NYC! I love this set of postcards to no end. I've already sent one off but I am telling you they are like a little pack of art. I don't know if I can part with any more of them. I think I will somehow frame them and hang them up in my house.

You can order a set of these postcards from Gale. What a perfect gift for any knitter or sheep lover or nature lover or Maine lover..... etc. I will probably be ordering more soon.

I can't possibly do the Starcroft and Jani Estelle story justice. It is a story of sheep, fiber, dedication, hard work, perseverance, forces of nature, love and more. 

To find out more of the story please watch the video from Fiber Trek (a great fiber podcast you should check out). Click here for the direct link to the Fiber Trek podcast. In Episode 1, Sarah of Fiber Trek takes you directly to Nash Island and interviews Jani of Starcroft and Mary Jane Mucklestone the color work master of our times. You'll learn so much about sheep, fiber, processing, dying, Jani and more from this video podcast.

Anyway, what a fun time I've had learning about Starcroft through my friend Gale and many others. Thanks for coming along today.
xo ~ susan

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Yarn Share

Hi, Knitters,
This week is flying by and before it's over I want to share some super cool yarns I have been collecting. Some of the skeins I have purchased and some have been sent to me to review and try out. I am excited about all of it and I think you might be, too. I can't wait to get to dreaming, winding and knitting. I might do some designing with a few of these pretties, maybe new sock or shawl designs and others may become simple How I Make My Socks.

Let's get right to the yarn. Click over, look around and share some yarn-y love on these hardworking indie dyers' websites and shops. 

Above is the TurtlePurl Yarns, Striped Turtle Toes in the Trenchcoat colorway, fingering weight, 460 yards. The two skeins are self-striping. Both strands were dyed together so the socks will be perfectly matched when started from the same end of the skein. I LOVE that fact.

I love the camel color with the black, cream and red. What a classic combination. That's my mom's scarf sitting under the yarn. Soon I will have socks to match this beloved scarf that's a Burberry inspired fabric and super soft and cuddly. I ordered this sock set awhile ago.

I was sent these two beautiful skeins by a new-ish yarn shop on Etsy, Red Sock Blue Sock Yarn. The dyer, Ashley, lives in Ontario, Canada and her yarns are just gorgeous. I have to say that I liked her colors and yarns on the Etsy shop but I was blown away by the depth and vibrancy of Twilight (left) and the subtle tones of Steel Blue on the right when I saw them in person. Steel Blue is BFL Sock yarn, fingering weight, 435 yards. I love BFL sock yarn and I can't wait to dig into this one. The Twilight yarn is the Basic Sock 75% Merino, 25% Nylon, 460 yards of fingering weight. I just love this variegated colorway. 

Thank you, Ashley for the lovely skeins! You have beautiful yarns.

Click here for Red Sock Blue Sock Yarns on Etsy! Tell Ashley I say hello if you order from her.

Pagewood Farm has beautifully dyed wools. This one is the Chugiak base, which is 100% super wash wool, 450 yards of fingering weight, in the Army Girl colorway. I want to make socks with this skein.  I love it so much. The yarn has a very tight twist and I love the olive green with the flecks of red, blue, darker green, brown, and lighter shades of green. It is stunning. 

I purchased this skein right here at Webs! There are so many other beautiful colorways. I really like the MapleLeaf colorway.

I think I shared this skein before. It is Caterpillargreen yarn and honestly I am afraid to crack this one open. It is so extraordinarily beautiful in the skein. It kind of takes my breath away. This skein is called Concrete and Tulips. It is an MCN blend, 405 yards of fingering weight. It feels like butter. I will be making socks with this in the very near future when I get my nerve up to wind and knit with this yarn. There is something about it that I can't describe. It's kind of incredible.

Click here to see the Caterpillargreen Yarns in Classic Stripes. These are some of the most unique striping patterns I have ever seen. I love how you can see the striping patterns run under the photo of the skeined yarn, so clever. I think there are pre-orders and then it takes awhile to get the yarn. It is well worth the wait. 

Well much to my surprise.....

these new Caterpillargreen Shawl Stripes skeins showed up at my door. Thank you, Cat (the dyer)! I had to sit down for a minute. These are the most stunning skeins. There is no filter on the photos you are seeing. It is that good. The heft and squish and the subtle rich colors are too much to take. This unique take on striping yarn specifically for shawl knitting takes striping sock yarn on a new and fresh journey. 

Click here for the Caterpillargreen Shawl Stripes skeins! These skeins are XL, MCN fingering weight, 170 grams, 548 yards. They are squishy, soft, and the colors are simply stunning. The skein on the left is called, g biv (as in ROY G BIV without the ROY, which is again very clever), and the skein on the right is called, Concrete and Tulips, more of my favorite things.

The smart cookies at Caterpillargreen have figured out how to keep the stripes even when knitting triangular shawls. You know when you are knitting a shawl with striping yarn how the stripes start out really wide and then as you increase stitches your stripes get skinnier and skinnier. Caterpillar green has solved this issue for you and me.

Just look at this:

I want this shawl. I want to knit this shawl, wear this shawl, gift this shawl, be this shawl. Okay maybe not BE this shawl but you get the picture. I want to knit something just like this sample. It's really cool and stylish and it's a striping yarn concept I haven't seen anywhere else. Amazing.

Thank you for the lovely yarn Caterpillargreen Yarns! I will put it to good use and share away. Great work.

I've talked about Quaere Fibre on Etsy before. I knit her striping Patchwork socks and the yarn is simply magnificent. Click here to see them! After those socks, I ordered both of the skeins in the photo above. The Sunset skein on the left is a wonderful 85% super wash Merino, 15% NEP Nylon blend. I love a tweedy sock yarn.  I can't wait to knit this up into some squishy tweedy socks. I have no idea what the variegation will do but I am anxious to find out. I'll keep you posted.

The skein on the right is a Super Sock skein, 150 grams, 600 yards of deep rich navy blue with splashes of bright yellow, orange and a lighter blue. It is Starry Night meets Doctor Who, thusly named Vincent and the Doctor. I LOVE this colorway and it will become a shawl at some point. Yes. This will make the coolest garter stitch shawl of some sort. I want to start this right away.

Well, today I was going to post about my new color work hat knit out of Starcroft yarns but I was waiting for a couple of things to fall into place first so I went with the Yarn Share today. So next up will be Starcroft yarns, my new Starcroft color work hat, Gale Zucker's fantastic sheepy postcards photographed on Nash Island where the Starcroft sheep live (I have a cool set of these), and a quick view into the Starcroft Pop Up Shop I visited when I was in NYC a couple of weeks ago. It was a super fun night.

All that and more coming up next. Love ya, knitters.
xo ~ susan