Saturday, May 27, 2017

For the Love of Shawl Knitting

Hi, Knitters,
I hope you have a wonderful weekend full of knitting ahead. I know I do amongst other things. I'm starting my Saturday morning out very early with a bit of quiet shawl knitting and a mug of coffee. As you can see I am on the home stretch of my Sonora shawl. I am so in love with this shawl. It is the simplest pattern, a two-row repeat, and one of those rows is knit only. Then every once in a while you add in the garter slip stitch pattern which is so much fun. It's a perfect springtime knit.

Anyway, I am closing in on the final garter lace border and honestly, I'll be sad when it's over. But then I'll get wear it so that is the good part.

Pattern: Sonora by Kirsten Kapur for Barrett Wool Co. (available for purchase on either Ravelry or Barrett Wool Co.)

Yarn: Barrett Wool Co. Home Fingering Weight in Pepin (Main Color ~ 2 skeins) and Ellie Gray (Contrast Color ~ 1 skein)

And I want to let you know that over on Barrett Wool Co. we are celebrating Memorial Day Weekend with a Free U.S. only Shipping offer for any purchase over $25! 
The code to use at checkout is: GRATITUDE

Click here to visit Barrett Wool Co.! Most of the yarn, both lines, are in stock right now and there are a few kits available for order as well, the Wildflowers Cap Kit, Sheep! Kit, and the Flower Fairy & Leaf Sprite Kit. Take advantage of the free US shipping and enjoy!

Earlier this week I literally took almost everything out of my tiny studio to organize and get ahold of the situation. When I am super busy things tend to build up and get messy. I spent a few days reorganizing, getting rid of tons of stuff (so much stuff!) and cleaning. It was an overwhelming process and it was not fun. But what is fun is the final result. I made room for a very nice work table which I have never had before in my studio. It is small but kind of perfect. I now have my sewing machine tucked neatly underneath, too. Before I had to take over the kitchen table if I wanted to sew. 

I even have a new chair on order that will be arriving next week. It feels so light and airy in here now and hopefully, I can be more productive. That's the plan anyway. Spring is such a good time to refresh and clean out your home even if it is only one room. 

Once all of the pieces are in place I will share some photos of my tiny studio space with you if you are interested.

Early last night I went for a run and the day was definitely running out but it was just so pretty outside. It had rained earlier in the day, which you can see on the grass. The lighting was kind of golden and it made me happy to be out in the world. I feel so much gratitude and inspiration when I am in the out of doors. 

I'm planning on being out a lot this weekend and I hope you can get out there, too!

I'll be back with more next week. Thanks for spending a moment with me today.
xo ~ susan

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Wildflowers Cap & A Good Retreat

Hi, Knitters,
I hope you are all having a good week. I am finally home for a stretch here and that feels wonderful. I want to mention a couple of things today. Last night over on Barrett Wool Co. we released our newest kit for the fantastic Mary Jane Mucklestone's Wildflowers Cap. This pattern originally appeared in Making Magazine No. 1 / Flora. I can't say enough about this super fun, simple and fast hat. It is addicting and it makes the perfect quick summer knit. 

There are lots of pattern options and a few different colorways for the kits. You can purchase the kit without a pattern if you already have it, or with a Ravelry download code, or with the Making Magazine that includes the pattern and much more. Each of these options has a different price.

The Wildflowers Cap Kit includes either our Wisconsin Woolen Spun or Home Worsted Weight. The kit in the first photo includes the Wisconsin Woolen Spun in Rainshower and Sherwood. Our yarns are the perfect match with this Maine wildflowers inspired design. I love Mary Jane Mucklestone's designs and she is one of the most wonderful knitters of our time. She is talent and personality all rolled into one of the best people around.

The kit above includes Wisconsin Woolen Spun Worsted in Rainshower and Hazelnut. I love the look of this one so much. 

The Wildflowers Cap Kit above includes our Home Worsted Weight in Peppercorn and Picket Fence. The hat above was photographed and knit by @kellythecarelesscat on Instagram. Thank you, Kelly, for permission to use your beautiful hat and photo!!

And enjoy! You will love the yarns, the pattern, and Mary Jane!

Last weekend I had the privilege of teaching so many wonderful students at the Good Retreat in Orlando, Florida. The retreat was hosted by A Good Yarn which is in Sarasota, Florida. While I was there I did some knitting on my Sonora Shawl and I started my second Wildflowers Cap

The Sonora Shawl is really one of my favorite knits ever. The design is by Kirsten Kapur and I am using Home Fingering Weight in Pepin and Ellie Gray. It is all garter stitch goodness from start to finish! 

I also did some stitching on my Satin Stitch Sampler by Dropcloth on Etsy.  I am loving Flower Thread lately. It is such a treat. 

For the retreat we stayed at the enormous and magnificent Rosen Shingle Creek Resort. It was lovely. The classes were so much fun, I just loved the students. We really just stayed in the resort the entire time and had meals together, too. I loved spending time with Ann Budd, Romi Hill, Clara Parkes and of course, the best event planner around, Cindy Hallam. We laughed a lot.

I took the photo above from my hotel room window.

The highlight for me was the most informative and fun speech by Clara Parkes to end the retreat. She is a delightful and smart speaker. She knows her topic (which is wool!) so well. It was the perfect end to a successful retreat. 

Have a good rest of your week, Knitters. I'll be back soon with more.
xo ~ susan

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Comings and Goings

Hi, Knitters,
I hope you are all doing well as we move into the late spring and early summer months ahead. It has been busy in this neck of the woods, as I'm sure it is for you as well. Spring always seems to move at a fast pace at home and in the knitting world.

I am working away on my Sonoma Shawl by Kirsten Kapur. I can't say enough good and complimentary things about this pattern and shawl. I have knit and designed so many shawls but I can honestly say this one ranks at the top of the list for me for lots of reasons. 

Here are some of those reasons:
1. It's so simple but yet interesting. Sonoma holds my attention.

2. It appears to be difficult and complicated but it's not. Sonoma looks like stranded colorwork but you are switching colors every 2 rows and using only one color at a time in every row in the patterned sections.

3. I love the slip stitch pattern to no end. This is the first time I have worked a charted slip stitch pattern (and all in garter stitch) and all I want to do now is explore more of these slip stitch patterns. It is really fun.

4. The squishy gorgeous yarn is perfect for the pattern. Home Fingering Weight is squishy 100% American Wool and it is the perfect match for the design. It is fun to match two contrasting colors.

5. Sometimes a nice solid yarn for a garment or accessory can be understated, elegant and beautiful. Although I love brightly speckled and multi-colored yarn, too, I don't necessarily want to wear it all of the time. Variety is good!

6. I can't wait to wear this shawl in every season. The simple, clean lines and neutral colors make the shawl very versatile.

7. It is big and cozy. 

8. The entire shawl is garter stitch, not one purl stitch to be found! Even the lace is garter stitch. That is fun and fast.

The Sonora shawl takes 3 skeins of Home Fingering Weight, two skeins in a main color and one skein in a contrast color. I picked a lot of color combination options to look at, if you are interested click right here.

If you post any photos of the Sonora shawl be sure to tag the photo with #sonorakal so I can find it. I am picking prize winners from this hashtag over the next month. I have already selected the first winner of a fun prize and I am sending it out to her today. Her name is Mary and she is @mamachachacita (love the name) on Instagram. Here are a couple of photos of her Sonoma shawl knit in Home Fingering Weight in Snowy Pine (a light mint color) and Marmalade (a warm pumpkin orange):

Photo by @mamachachacita

You can see how beautiful and squishy the garter stitch is in this photo. I love it! Even the lace border is in garter stitch and it is stunning. I love how the lace border becomes a more saturated section of the contrast color. It is genius.

photo by @mamachachacita

The Snowy Pine main color paired with the Marmalade contrast color is one of my favorite combinations. Well done, Mary! I hope you enjoy your prize and thanks for posting. 

The next quick thing I want to share with you today is that over on Barrett Wool Co. in the Mercantile we are having a bundle sale. If you purchase any combination of scissors, cards and stitch marker tins for $18 or over you get 20% off by using the code: BUNDLE. Magazines are not included. 

The discount code is good through Friday, May 19th, 2017.

So I spent the entire last week in Denver, Colorado, filming a new and long class. It was a ton of work but it is always so much fun as well. The crew and staff at Craftsy are fun, talented and supportive. I enjoyed every minute of it. The new class comes out at the end of June so I'll have more details for you at that time.

While I was filming everything came to a sudden stop as Craftsy was at that very moment purchased by NBC Universal. The NBC executives were all in Denver to close the deal and I even got to meet some of them as they toured through the studio as I was filming my class. That was fun.

This is a very big deal for the company, huge stuff. The mood was so elevated and happy and excited. I am really happy for them all because I think they work so hard with long hours and with sometimes limited resources. They all strive to put out a great product. 

This will certainly mean even bigger and better things are coming for us through in the future. It is really exciting times over there. 

I just filmed my fourth class with Craftsy. If interested, links for the first three are here with a 50% off discount (these are affiliate links):

The photo above is my view from the hotel. Colorado is one beautiful state. 

I'm leaving for Orlando, Florida tomorrow after only a few short days at home. I'm teaching at the Good Yarn Retreat along with Ann Budd and Romi Hill. That sounds like some great company. Oh, and of course, Clara Parkes is the featured speaker! I love Clara.

Here are a few more upcoming dates: 

I'm going to film with Vickie Howell for her new show, The Knit Show at the end of July!

I'm teaching at the first Signature Needle Arts Retreat in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, next Oct. 13-15th, 2017, and there are still openings available! I am teaching with Ann Budd, Romi Hill and Kate Atherley. Good group! Click here to find out more.

I've updated the rest of my upcoming teaching schedule on the sidebar of this blog if you ever want to see my where I'm headed. It's not totally complete and I can't talk about some of the dates yet until the places are ready but most of it is up there.

I'll see you back here on the other side. Have a great week ahead.
xo ~ susan