Thursday, April 24, 2014

Episode 6 ~ travel, socks, kits & a book giveaway!



Hi, Knitters,
I have a new video episode for you today! For email subscribers, you can click here to view directly on YouTube.

I talk about these things today so here are the links:

Hitchhiker Shawl by Martina Behm

Dianne of Kentucky Sheep Dreams ~ a great blog about farming, knitting, spinning, cooking! Dianne gifted me the roving in the autumnal colors when I first started spinning several years ago. 

Shalom Cardigan by Megan McFarlane, I knit this in Cascade 128.

Hundertwasser Werk Opal Sock Yarn I found it on Ebay! Werk 956 and Glitter Werk 625.
This was a gift from Joanna Johnson of Slate Falls Press.

Vincent Van Gogh Opal Sock Yarn ~ I found it on Ebay! Starry Night colorway

Regia Super Jacquard Sock Yarn (I found it on Etsy!) in the Kolibri colorway

Knitting Gifts for Baby by Mel Clark (click here for the Ravelry page to see all of the 26 projects, and click here for Amazon) Leave a comment to enter to win a copy!



I am having a giveaway to win a copy of Knitting Gifts for Baby so please leave one comment on this blog post and include your email or your Ravelry ID so I can get in touch if you win. You don't need to watch the video to enter, simply leave a comment. You will love this book! I'll be back soon to randomly select a winner.

Mel Clark's blog, Slip, Slip, Knit (I'm not sure what's going on with this blog.... I can't seem to get it to open. It is slipslipknit.com, hopefully it is just temporary, please check back. )

Leftie Shawl by Martina Behm

Color Affection Shawl by Veera Valimaki

Miss Babs Leftie Kit


That's all! Don't forget to leave a comment to enter to win a copy of Knitting Gifts for Baby by Mel Clark. This is one of my favorite baby knitting books, one of the best I have seen recently!

My podcast is Susan B. Anderson on iTunes (click here for the iTunes link), and I am also posting my videos on my YouTube Channel if you prefer to subscribe there. Or you can just follow along on my blog.

I'll be back soon with more.

Good luck on the book giveaway and let the comments begin!
best, susie
p.s. I compressed the video for download but I think I didn't do it quite right. I'll work on that and try to fix it. Sorry for any inconvenience, I am still learning how to do this stuff. You can still download the video but it is taking a long time. I'll try to get that time shorter.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Sunshine & 2 More for the Drawer!



Hi, Knitters,
My family has been enjoying some warm sunshine and beach time together this past week. I have been knitting a little bit here and there but mainly we are just hanging out together, walking, swimming, reading, running on the beach and eating!


This one has a real love for the beach and hot weather.


I grabbed a couple of almost finished pairs of socks to bring on the trip with me. I want to keep adding to my sock drawers as much as possible and I have been off my regular pace lately. Click here to read about The Drawer. 

These finished socks are knit in Opal Vincent Van Gogh in the Starry Night color way (this line has been discontinued). I love this Opal sock yarn and the Van Gogh prints. The stitch pattern I used is in the free Hermione Everyday Socks pattern (click here!) but I used my regular How I Make My Socks recipe. It was fun and simple and a bit of a change of scenery. I most often knit easy stockinette stitch socks but every once in awhile it is good to throw a purl stitch in here and there.


 These fit great and I am excited to have another pair finished for The Drawer and off the needles. I have so many pairs of partially finished socks. I need to work on getting more socks done.


 I finished a second pair to add to my sock drawers. I have shared these before in progress.


This pair is knit in the Regia Super Jacquard sock yarn in the Kolibri color way. I think this can be found on Etsy if you search for it. I'm not sure if it is still available.


 Buddies on the beach.


The lovely Joanna Johnson of Slate Falls Press knit a pair of socks in this Opal color way and posted a photo of them. I asked her about the yarn and she gifted me a ball! What a surprise. Thank you Joanna! I love the yarn, it is so whimsical and different.

I never am quite sure what the name and numbers mean on the Opal bands so here is what I see:
Opal in Variation nach Hundertwassers Werk 956 Seeschlange. Farbe 1436  Partie 178.

I hope this helps if you are interested. I don't know where Joanna purchased the yarn.


Here is the start. I love the colorful little band of checkers.


And I love the black lines randomly placed.


 Here I am on the heel flap. I did 6-inch cuffs. Sometimes I do 7-inch cuffs but not usually longer than that. Those are 6-inch Signature Needles double-pointed needles, US size 1, 2.25 mm.


As I was rearranging the stitches for the start of the heel I noticed I had dropped a stitch quite a few rounds back. I hooked it on my stitch marker to hold it until I could fix it.


After I finished the heel flap and heel turn I worked the dropped stitch back up to the needle and it's as good as new. I am hoping to get this one sock finished up on the trip. Maybe it will happen, maybe not.

I hope you are all doing well. It feels good to have a brief break with my family. I will be back to the grind as usual next week. I am traveling to the Dayton Ohio Knitting Guild Retreat to teach all weekend as soon as I get back.

Take care and have a good holiday if you celebrate this weekend.
best, susie

Monday, April 14, 2014

Winner and a Project from the Past!


Hi, Knitters,
Thank you to everyone who entered to win a copy of From Mama, With Love. The winner is.....

BostonJen (rav id)! Congratulations to you.  I'll have another giveaway very soon.

Last spring while on vacation with my family I started the shawl in the photo. It is the Pop Spots Shawl by JuJu Vail. It is a really fun knit and I am so close to being done. I am making a size in between the large and small. The stitch pattern is quite simple and fun to knit. You are only working one color in each row so it is like doing stripes.

I am now on the applied lace edging and that is going very slowly. We'll see how much I get done. I'd love to have and wear this shawl so that is motivating. I am knitting it in two Madelinetosh fingering weight yarns on US size 5 needles. The red is Tosh Sock in Tart and the teal is Madelinetosh Feather in Tidal Basin. I don't recommend the Feather base for the spots because it was a bit sticky when you have to drop down. It sure is pretty though!

Last week was a race against the clock. I designed and finished and photographed a new Opal sock yarn toy for Unicorn Books. My deadline was last Friday and by Friday afternoon I had it all in the can. Long hours and fast knitting was about all I could do. I still have to write up the pattern in good form. 

The new toy is like the Sock Yarn Bunny and the Little Dragon that I did for Unicorn in the past couple of years. Both have been enormous hits and I even teach workshops on these two designs. The new toy has loads of fun and different techniques in the pattern and is again completely seamless and is super interesting to knit. This one uses sock yarn on US size 1s. It is perfect for using up those leftovers. It is going to be released at TNNA in the Unicorn Booth, which is early this year in May. I'll give you all of the details very soon and maybe a sneak peek after I get permission.

I am enjoying my girls this week as they have their spring break from school. I have been knitting a lot so I'll post a few progress pics this week. I have finished up two pairs of socks and started a new pair. I've started another new shawl design for a cool project ahead, and I am considering casting on a Leftie by Martina Behm. I got a kit for this from Miss Babs awhile ago..... so much fun to be had! How can we stand it?

I'll be back soon with more. Have a great start to your week. What are you knitting? I'd love to hear about it.
best, susie

Friday, April 11, 2014

From Mama, With Love ~ a sweet giveaway!

(cover image from From Mama, With Love)

Hi, Knitters,
My friend Tanis Gray sent me a copy of her new ebook, From Mama, With Love to share with you. I couldn't wait! I saw that The Knit Girllls reviewed it this week, too. Leslie and Laura did a very thorough job, sharing most of the projects and talking about the electronic format of the book. 


I am so impressed with this collection of 15 beautiful knit designs to wrap around your young children. I was trying to think of how to best describe this book but no one does it better than Tanis herself. The following is the description of Tanis' newest creation in her own words from her blog, and it's perfect:

"I had an idea many, many months ago to put out an ebook of baby knits as a group project among friends, including myself, Kate Gagnon Osborn, Connie Chang Chinchio, Melissa LaBarre and Margaux Hufnagel. The knitting design world is a small one, with most of us being female, many of us mothers and many of us friends. I so admire these women… Working moms, wives, creative minds, yarn lovers… These are my people and I love them fiercely.

The idea was rather simple – we’d each design 3 garments, have our children be our inspiration and models and gather these 15 designs together in an ebook. We all work in the knitting field, whether we’re running a yarn company and taking care of our daughter (Kate), designing feverishly while awaiting the birth of our second daughter (Melissa), designing while flying across the country for work and missing our daughter and son (Connie), designing while chasing after our son (Margaux) or designing late into the night while editing knitting books and making knitting class lesson plans while my son sleeps across the hall (me). I have spent time with all these incredible, talented, wonderful women in real life and having us all work on one big project like this together in the virtual world was an example of mom power. This book is a labor of love for our children, for each other and for ourselves as mothers."
(photo from From Mama, With Love)

The designs in the book are for both boys and girls, some are unisex. There are hats, sweaters, vests, blankets, and a boppy cover. I think it is a stellar collection! I would love to make so many of these projects. The talent of these mamas is clear and apparent. 

Click here to see all 15 designs!  The sizes range from baby up to 10 years old in some patterns.

Right now it is only available as an ebook for $24.95. In six months the individual patterns will be available by each designer and you will no longer be able to purchase it as an ebook.


(photo from From Mama, With Love)

The photos were taken by each designer and their kids were the models. That's Tanis' adorable son above. I love that because you can feel the love in the photos. It makes the collection more personal.

Tanis Gray is a genius at curating knit design collections. I have many of her books, maybe all of them, where she gathers talented designers to work under a certain theme. She does a fantastic job and From Mama, With Love is another example of her outstanding work in the knitting world.

(photo from From Mama, With Love)

One of my longtime favorite designers is Melissa LaBarre. I have knit many of her sweaters for myself and I love them. She is a talented designer. The hat above is called Sid Scrappy Hat and I think she captured the perfect photo of her gorgeous daughter wearing her new hat. It is so simple and sweet and I just love everything about it.  

(photo from From Mama, With Love)

The thing is that I like every pattern in the book. I could have gone through and shared each one. I am only showing a few of my favorites but each design in the book is wonderful. There are charts, clearly written patterns, good photos, an index to click on to get to the specific pattern, etc. There is a feeling or mood in the pages that is hard to describe. It's moms knitting for their loves and you get a sense of that love and devotion when looking through the book. 

The Viviane Cardigan (above) is another Melissa LaBarre design that would knit up in a snap in a DK weight yarn. It's top-down, one piece and it is cute! The size range for this pattern is baby to 2 years old.

Luckily I get to offer a copy to one lucky winner today! Please leave one comment including either your email address or your Ravelry ID. This is one of the best baby/child collections I have seen in a long time! You will love it. Please only leave one comment and be patient for your comment to appear. It takes awhile. I'll be back in a few days to randomly select a winner.

Good luck and let the comments begin!
best, susie

Monday, April 07, 2014

Fibre Space ~ Day 3!


Hi, Knitters,
I'm back home again and guess what? It's almost 60 degrees and sunny outside. I'll take it. I hope you all had a good weekend. I ended up yesterday meeting my brother and a couple members of his family for a wonderful brunch at a lovely restaurant by the water. Then he dropped me off at the shop to get ready for my afternoon String-a-Long Toy Workshop. I love these fun little characters and I am sending them off shortly to get them together as a published pattern. 

So the story of my Fibre Space experience continues for one last day......


The photo above is the hat that Greg (knittingdaddy - rav id) started in class on Saturday. Greg told me that the Fair Isle Workshop was a little out of his element and he wasn't looking forward to it as much as the toy workshops over the weekend. Then on Sunday he showed up with this almost completed hat that was just beautifully worked. He has fallen in love with two-handed color work! He even designed his own chart for the top layer of the hat. The Fair Isle Hat class turned out to be his favorite workshop of the weekend and he took all three. This kind of successful report makes me so happy. Way to go, Greg!

Greg has a great knitting blog called, Knitting Daddy, that you might be interested in. Be sure to read his "about" page, his knitting story is a touching one to say the least. Click here for Greg's blog!


On Sunday I had another wonderful class. Three or four people who had signed up for the class didn't show up so there was a little more room to spare.


Everyone worked so hard and many nearly finished their toy!


These are the String-a-Long characters, a mouse, monkey and frog. I love the pink mouse waiting to be a part of my technique demonstration. 

No mice were hurt, harmed or injured in any way during this workshop.

I assure you.


After class I quickly packed up, thanked everybody I could thank, hugged my dear students, signed a few last books, and ran out the door. My ride had arrived, it was Tanis Gray, the wonderful and talented knitter friend of mine who I have known for many years now.  


I was excited that she brought her adorable son along. He was so good and well behaved, I was  impressed. We went to get a bite to eat and chat for a little bit before I had to go to the airport. 


We tried to get all three of us in the photo. It sort of worked. Thank you to Tanis for the company and ride to catch my plane.

I have more to talk about involving a Tanis project later this week! You'll love it.


This is an interesting doll. Trudy, who works at Fibre Space, was telling me about a topsy-turvy doll she had as a child in the 1940s. I thought it might be the little red riding hood doll but she said it was not. Her doll was blonde on one side and brunette on the other. (Sound familiar in a sisterly kind of way?) 

I asked her if she would bring it in on Saturday so I could see the doll. And she did!


Can you believe this wonderful doll is nearly 70 years old? I adore both sides and I love it that Trudy had saved her doll for all of these years. The hair has kind of withered away but you could still see the colors. The fabrics are so sweet and I always love ric-rac (is this spelled correctly?).

The dolls were interesting because they were flat. I have seen this flat shape in other older toys and I always wonder about the reason for it. Maybe it was just the style then.


You know what I did? I forgot the item I wanted to purchase most. I had been thinking about it all weekend. After class, I quickly purchased the handmade darning egg I had set aside before class. I had been so busy packing up and Tanis was already waiting for me that I literally hustled out the door.

After I left the shop, I realized that the only other thing I really wanted to purchase was a couple of braids of the Sliver from Imperial Ranch. Oh, I am so bummed that I forgot to grab those before I left. I think I will call the shop and order a couple over the phone. Yes, that will happen this week..


Here is a close-up on the tag if you are interested in the origins of my new darning egg. It is so beautiful! I shouldn't say I can't wait to use it because that would mean I have a hole in my hand knit sock but....

I can't wait to use it. 


And to finish off, Paula, this one's for you!

Thank you Fibre Space for one of the best career weekends I've ever had! Thank you to the lovely students who came and worked so hard and were cheerful, supportive and fun! I love you all.

One more guess what? Danielle and I are already talking about when I can come back! More to come on that.

best, susie

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Fibre Space ~ Day 2!



Hi, Knitters,
Yesterday was simply an excellent day at Fibre Space. This shop is amazing. It is bustling and fun and cool. The staff is wonderful and helpful and smart. I had two jam-packed classes, full to the brim. In the morning Ann Weaver was teaching a sweater class at the same time I was teaching the Build a Toy workshop and it was the start of the local Yarn Crawl. The lines at the register were never-ending. It was a banner day for the shop. 


Fibre Space is clearly doing something right. The Old Town Alexandria setting is so charming and old. I love the teaching set up. There are open windows between the teaching room and the shop so you really feel like you are part of the action. 


See that swift in the window between the classroom and shop? That thing never stopped the entire day. I am surprised to see it resting in the photo above. That swift is hooked up to an electric ball winder.

I am so impressed with the owner, Danielle, and her staff. These are some hard working people. If people have images of owning a yarn shop and sitting around and knitting all day they should come to Fibre Space. The staff here never sits down or even stops for a second. They are helping people with their knitting, selecting patterns and yarn with customers, chatting, checking people out with their purchases, cleaning, helping me set up for my workshops, and more.... and they do it all with a smile. 

The first two photos are from my morning class. What enthusiastic toy knitters I had! We had a lot of fun together and the time went so fast. At the beginning of my workshops I always feel like I have so much time but all of a sudden at the end there is so much I want to squeeze in before the students leave me.

The following photos are from my afternoon workshop, Fair Isle Hat. This workshop has become one of my most popular classes wherever I teach. It fills up quickly and sells out it seems wherever I go. I love that because I love color work and I love teaching color work.





My classes pretty much rocked. I had students from past teaching venues show up, which I love, I had students with all levels of experience. Everyone succeeded and hopefully learned a thing or two and seemed to have good time on top of it.

I really love teaching knitting. That's what it boils down to.


Here is the sample table before my Fair Isle Class. I left the toys out just for fun.

Below are photos of my students' work in the color work class. I have to brag for them. They all learned and tried new things. Some were quite nervous at the start but they dug in and really went with the techniques at hand.

Look at these wonderful hats! This was only half way through the class. Much more progress was made by the end of class. A couple of students almost finished their hats. The photos below show some corrugated rib and a left-leaning Latvian Braid.














There were more, I didn't get photos of every hat in the class. Aren't those hats wonderful and inspiring? Thank you, students, for a fantastic day!


This is my beloved Melanie (maashrink on rav). I loved meeting her in person.


We have a thread in our Itty-Bitty Knits forum group on Ravelry called, Itty-Bitty Meet Ups. These meet-ups occur with members from all over the world. We always take photos and share them with our group and then everyone comments. On the left is Greg, knittingdaddy on rav, and Melanie, maashrink on rav. It was so lovely to spend time together in person.

Please come and join our fun-loving group on Ravelry, Itty-Bitty Knits!


One last note, I posted a photo of this sliver fiber for spinning yesterday on Instagram and Facebook, and asked if anyone knew what is was. I got a great response, even Amy Detjen and Clara Parkes responded and said I should get one.

Oh darn, I guess I'll have to bring a braid home with me now.

I'll take more photos from today! I have one more toy-themed workshop this afternoon. I can't wait.

There are not enough stars around for me to give Fibre Space a high enough review on all fronts. I suggest supporting this shop in every way we are able. It is a super vibrant community-based shop that is successful for all of the right reasons.

Click here for Fibre Space!

I'll be back soon with more. I hope you are having a nice weekend, everyone.
best, susie
p.s. I had about a 10 minute break at lunch to walk around in a t-shirt and skirt and soak in some sunshine. It felt so good to be outside without a coat, it just added to my great weekend.