Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Ellison Bay


Hi Knitters,
I finished a beautiful shawl this past weekend. It was one of the loveliest knits I can remember. As soon as I cast on the Ellison Bay shawl I was hooked. The shawl is designed and written by Paula Emons-Fuessle of the Knitting Pipeline podcast and retreats. She is one of my favorite shawl designers and her patterns have such a way with intuition, logic and simple beauty. I am working my way through all of her shawl patterns. I have knit 5 of Paula's shawl designs so far. Up next will be Gill's Rock, Wild Goose, Cave Point and Balsam Hollow to name a few. I have my work set out for me (happily) but I really do enjoy Paula's designs, pattern writing style and aesthetic as a designer. Plus I end up wearing her shawl designs all of the time when they are finished.




So I love to do a little in-progress montage when I finish a project. It reminds me of all of the travels and times I worked on a project. In the first photo I was at the airport. I had just started Ellison Bay before I set out for Nashville and the SSK retreat. 


I worked on the shawl at the retreat a little bit but I ended up ripping back a lot of what I accomplished. Even though this shawl is incredibly simple I made a few errors due to being tired and chatting while knitting, basically not paying attention. I didn't mind a bit about ripping back a few rows here and there, it was fun knitting and it was easy to fix. Really, the pattern could not be any easier and clearer and the problem was my exhaustion after teaching all day and then knitting on the shawl. Being tired + knitting = mistakes and ripping back. Every time.

The yarn is Quince & Co. Chickadee in the Bird's Egg colorway. I did use all three skeins and I maybe had about half of the third skein left at the end. I did Paula's exact size and directions in the pattern. I love this yarn and color so much. I used US size 6, 32-inch circular needles to knit the shawl. I used the Rosewood needles from Knitter's Pride and they were lovely.  Click here to see the interchangeable needle set called Symfonie Rose!


That's my skirt in the photo above from Craft South in Nashville. It's called the Rising Sun Patched Skirt (I know I'll be asked about it). Craft South was selling the finished skirt to order on the website but the page was taken down soon after I posted about it last week. I don't know anything more about it and I don't think there is a pattern for the skirt. Sorry about that. 


The border on Ellison Bay is a really fun mock-cable rib. This stitch pattern is so simple and pretty. After working the border which is a four row repeat, I feel like making socks and a hat with this same stitch pattern repeat. It's very clever and pretty. 

I worked on the shawl while editing the third pass of my latest book manuscript called Kids' Knitting Workshop. There has been a completely new cover design since I last mentioned the book (I love it!). It is going to be a good solid book with loads of instruction for brand new knitters with the focus being on learning to knit in the round as a starting point. The book is up for pre-order now and is set to be released on December 1st, 2015, just in time for the holidays.

Click here to see more about my new book and the new cover! I'm really proud of this new book. I'm almost done after two years of hard work. That's a good feeling.

I also sewed on my machine and embroidered some quick wool felt penguins for TC's little swim buddies. I had the wool felt on hand so that was good. Each older swimmer on the swim team is assigned a couple of little buddies on the team. TC has two little girls, Mona age 10, and Sydney age 5. I cut out and stuffed and sewed the wool felt penguins with loops at the top to place on key-rings so they can hang the penguins on their swim bags. I embroidered the eyes and their names as a finishing touch. 

They turned out super cute! The final meet of the summer is this weekend so TC will gift the penguins to the girls along with a little candy as an end of season gift. I hope they like them. Oh, and I just made up and sketched the pattern on a piece of paper to cut out. It was so easy and a nice diversion.


Last weekend I went to Devil's Lake twice to do some hiking. After we hiked the bluffs we swam in the lake and I got to sit and knit on Ellison Bay for a bit. You can see my husband and daughter standing in the lake in the photo. 

I am excited because we are going to Door County coming up soon in August and the Ellison Bay shawl and many of Paula's shawls are named for locations in Door County, Wisconsin. Door County is one of my favorite places on earth so it is extra-good that Paula loves it, too, and names her shawls for Door County spots. 

I am going to film a podcast from Door County and I'll talk about SSK and other knitterly things while we are there. That should be fun.


I tried the new Wool Soap from Twig & Horn for washing and blocking Ellison Bay. Have you heard of Twig & Horn yet? It is the new sister company from Quince & Co. I can't wait to see this new site unfold. So far I have purchased the Lemongrass Wool Soap and the Wool Project Tote in blue. The products are American-made and beautiful. I have been using the wool project tote non-stop. I love it so much. I am thinking about doing some embroidery on it... I think that would be really cute.


The Wool Soap with Lanolin was simple to use. The directions are on the bottle and Twig & Horn has also published a How to Wash Your Wool Garments with their soap tutorial on the site. It is a great tutorial.


The main difference is that you have to give your garment a rinse after soaking which is easy. My shawl smells and feels so good after using the Wool Soap. It is so soft and conditioned. I just love it. I want to get a bottle of every scent..... Yes to that!

I love the squished up look of a shawl before you block. You can see the unique construction clearly in the photo above. There are 6 yarn over increase points and the body of the shawl is worked in garter stitch before the mock-rib border.  You can see that the increases stop when you start the border, you just work that section straight.


I blocked the shawl using only 2 pins on my blocking boards. It was so simple and easy to block this shawl. I use Julie Weisenberger's Knitter's Block blocking boards and I highly recommend them. I have the larger set in the blue carrying case.

I pulled the ends as far as they could reach to get a little extra length and then I just smoothed out the rest of the shawl to lay nice and flat and to open up the yarn overs a little bit. I love how wool will do what you ask of it as far as shape. I really wanted the top edge to be a smooth line even though it wasn't knit that way and it stretched right out and stayed. It's a miracle every time.





I've already worn my Ellison Bay shawl. I couldn't wait to throw it on. It is the perfect topper over your summer dresses and I can't wait until the fall to throw this over my shoulders and around my neck as the weather cools off. Also, I hear it's supposed to be chilly in Door County in August. You can bet Ellison Bay is coming along in my suitcase.

Shawl success is always a good feeling. Have you knit any shawls this summer? I'd love to hear about it.

The ceramic necklace I'm wearing was a gift from my friend Kriste last fall. I love this sweet little necklace. It is handmade in the UK by jolucksted on Etsy. Click here for the Etsy shop!

I'll be back soon with more summer knitting to share. I hope you are all doing well.
xo ~ susan

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Louise Cardigan



Hi, Knitters,
I am still on a sweater kick. I have completed three sweaters this summer and I am pretty far on a fourth. I am feeling good about updating and adding to my handknit fall and winter wardrobe for the cold weather season that's approaching. It has been so much fun and really refreshing knitting these garments over the last few months. My knitting feels a bit rejuvenated and my love for our craft has grown even stronger if that's possible.


The latest cardigan I finished is called Louise.


Here is some information you might like to know:


Yarn: Quince & Co. Osprey (considered an Aran weight yarn) in Kumlien's Gull, Honey and Belize

Needles: US size 9 and 10, 32 inch circulars; US size 9 and 10 dpns

Cardigan Size: 35 3/4-inch bust size

Buttons: Six 1-inch golden wood buttons from Wooly Moss Roots on Etsy (my favorite button shop - highly recommended!)


Modifications:
~ ribbed edge on bottom of the body is knit on the US size 9 needles instead of the recommended US size 10
~ lengthened the body
~ took out the waist shaping
~ shortened the sleeve length
~ Instead of binding off under the arms/sleeves and seaming, I left the stitches live and used the kitchener stitch to graft the sleeves and body together.
~ added patch pockets to both fronts (picked up and knit onto the body, sides of pockets stitched down)
~ added one additional button and buttonhole


The cardigan is knit from the bottom up. Once you reach the underarms, you place stitches on both sides on scrap yarn or bind off as the pattern has you do where the sleeves will be lined up and placed. Set the body aside. Knit both of the sleeves up to the underarm. Place the underarm stitches on scrap yarn or bind off as directed in the pattern.

Join the body and sleeves together and work the raglan yoke. Bind off to make the front neckline lower and slightly scooped. Bind off at neck edge. Graft or seam the stitches under the arms together.


I soaked and blocked the cardigan at this point to make the collar and button bands easier to pick up. This makes the fronts roll less and makes it a little easier to figure out where to place the buttons. 


Pick up and work the ribbed collar. Pick up and work the garter stitch button band and buttonhole band. I like to knit the button band first and place stitch markers where I want the buttons. I figure out how many stitches I want in between the buttons and the distance for the buttons to be placed from the top and bottom edges of the front.

I picked up and added the two patch pockets. The pockets are 5-inch squares including 1-inch of rib at the top. The pockets are set 7 or 8 stitches over from the button bands and 3 rows up from the bottom rib.

Once the button bands and collar are in place I steamed those sections and the pockets before I sewed on the buttons.


Stitch on the buttons across from the buttonholes. I used light blue thread and a sewing needle.



I highly recommend this pattern. Louise is simple, easy, cute and wearable. It is easy enough for a first time cardigan knitter. With the heavier weight yarn and larger needles it works up in a flash. 

Carrie Bostick Hoge is a master of creating incredibly easy but entertaining knitwear. Her use of color in Louise is part of what drew me in. The color choices I used are the same colors Carrie used in the pattern and sample. Carrie gets all of the credit for the colors. I love that Honey gold color but it isn't the best color for me to wear all over. By limiting the Honey color to the cuffs and making them bold and wide I get to enjoy wearing the color without having it right by my face. It's perfect. 


And if you are interested in my skirt, it is called the Rising Sun Patched Skirt. I just purchased it last weekend while I was in Nashville. I found one skirt like this on the racks at the new retail and workshop space called Craftsouth. The skirt is sewn by one of my longtime favorite fabric designers/sewing artists/pattern designers/illustrators, Anna Maria Horner. My skirt is a size small and it fits great. 

Anna Maria also has classes on Creativebug. I have taken her Whole Cloth Quilt Class online at Creativebug and it was wonderful. She is charming and talented. I have also purchased a lot of her fabrics through the years and many of my quilted placemats are sewn using her beautiful fabrics. 

Click here to visit the Craftsouth website! This is Anna Maria's new retail and teaching space. It is so much fun in the shop. Make sure to visit if you are in Nashville. They have gorgeous yarns, too!

Click here to visit Anna Maria Horner's blog! (one of my favorite blogs of all time!)


I'll be back soon with the SSK 2015 review! I've been busy doing lots of book editing this week and the time has slipped by too quickly. 

Have a good weekend. July is almost over and that's a little hard to believe.
xo ~ susan

Monday, July 20, 2015

Egg to Owl Reversible Toy Pattern ~ Introductory Sale Price!


video

Hi, Knitters,
I am back from SSK or the Super Summer Knitogether in Nashville and it was a wonderful time. I am going to fill you in on the details later this week! I am still recovering from the fun and getting reorganized from the retreat. 

Today I am releasing a brand new toy pattern! The 15 second video above shows how the new toy works. I am so excited to introduce you to my newest reversible toy pattern called Egg to Owl Reversible Toy. It is almost completely seamless, the head is stitched onto the body but other than that everything else is picked up and knit on.


I am having an introductory sale price on the pattern starting today, July 20, 2015 and ending on July 27, 2015, for $1.00 off the regular price. Today through next Monday the price of the pattern is $4.00. Starting July 27th the pattern will be listed at the regular price of $5.00. No code is necessary, it is listed at the sale price on Ravelry for the week.



Here is some information you might like to know:

Egg to Owl Reversible Toy




Knitting

July 2015

Worsted weight wool - other fiber content could be used (50 yards each of 2 contrasting colors for the Owl, 20 yards for the feet and beak; 50 yds for the Egg)

Worsted / 10 ply (9 wpi) ?

5.5 stitches = 1 inch in stockinette stitch

US 5 - 3.75 mm

200 yards (183 m)

Owl ~ 5-inches tall
This pattern is available for $4.00 USD  buy it now
On Sale for $1.00 off starting July 20, 2015 and ending July 27, 2015! For one week the pattern is set at $4.00 (no code necessary) and on July 27th the pattern will be at the regular price of $5.00! Enjoy!
Click here to see a video showing how the Egg to Owl Reversible Toy works on my Instagram: https://instagram.com/p/4CvkrwhU2d/?taken-by=susanbanderson
The Egg to Owl is an adorable reversible toy that starts as an egg and when turned inside out becomes a sweet little owl. You start by knitting the egg that has an opening on the side. After picking up the stitches around the opening the Owl’s body is knit from the bottom-up. The head is worked separately and is stitched to the top of the body. This is the only seam in the entire the toy.
The ears, wings and feet are picked up and knit on to the toy. Safety eyes are used for the sample but are optional. Embroidered eyes would work fine as well. I suggest using the spiderweb embroidery technique to create round eyes. Here is a link to my favorite video tutorial by Kristin Nicholas for this technique: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LADmLY7Ukq4
Other materials needed:
A small amount of fiberfill
Detachable stitch markers
9mm safety eyes (optional)
Ruler or tape measure


Here is how the reversible toy works step-by-step. You start with the egg.


The underside of the egg has an opening. 


You turn the egg inside out and stuff the body of the owl with the egg.... 


.... and you end up with this adorable little owl!

~Enjoy!~


I hope you are all having a wonderful summer! It has been a summer full of knitting for me so far and I hope that continues.

I'll be back soon with a podcast and post about my adventures at SSK if you are interested.

xo ~ susan

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Perfect Retreat Shawl ~ Pattern Release Sale!


Hi, Knitters,
I have a new shawl pattern releasing today and I am offering a $2.00 discount! It is on sale starting today for $4.00 and ending when I get back from SSK on July 19th, 2015. On July 20, 2015, the shawl will be $6.00. There is no code needed, the price has already been lowered for you!


I am super excited about it. Jeanette from Sun Valley Fibers and I are both going to the SSK Retreat this coming week in Nashville, TN. Jeanette is vending and I am teaching (I have developed two brand new workshops debuting at SSK!). Jeanette asked me quite awhile ago if I would design a shawl out of her exclusive SSK colorway called Labyrinth. Jeanette's farm is local to me and she works right in Madison so she just drops yarn off on my doorstep on her way to work. It is a pretty good deal and I love working with another Madison fiberista.

There is a labyrinth at the center where we are staying in Nashville thus the fitting color name. The yarn is SunValley's MCN (merino/cashmere/nylon) fingering weight yarn and it is a delight! I could not get over the mossy green combined with a golden hue. The yarn glows in the most subtle and beautiful way. It is mystifying. I don't know how she did it but the effect is stunning. I don't know if the colorway is available for everyone after the retreat but I'll find out and let you know.  Or you could ask Jeanette directly: Click here to contact Jeanette of Sun Valley Fibers! Updated to add: Jeanette let me know that she does have the color Labyrinth available in her shop and you can get it dyed to order on any of her bases. It is a beautiful color. 

The Perfect Retreat Shawl is big and squishy and just the right size to wrap around your shoulders or neck. 



My son and I headed out to my favorite nearby nature conservancy to take photos of the shawl and it was just a beautiful day in the woods. There was almost a hazy quality to the air, an after rainfall-type feel. The setting reminded me of many of the retreats I have been on where nature and landscape play a major role in the mood of the retreat. 

The shawl is written in two sizes, 1-skein and 2-skein. I am wearing the 2-skein size and it is generous and cozy.


Here is some pattern information you might like to know and the reason for the name of the shawl:

The Perfect Retreat Shawl was designed for the Super Summer Knitogether or SSK Retreat so with the retreat knitting-theme specifically in mind I designed this shawl.
After the simple set-up rows, the body of the shawl is mindless garter stitch with a two-row repeat, one simple increase row and one knit row. After 99 rows of garter stitch you are ready to add some simple lace to the edge.
The shawl is designed to start the 6 set-up rows at home, head off to the retreat. Then you are set to relax and knit garter stitch to your heart’s content. By the time you get home you’ll be ready to add the final lace edging. While working on the lace you can remember the fun and friends from the retreat.
Another fun idea would be to start the Perfect Retreat Shawl with a yarn you have in your stash. Work the body of the shawl at the retreat. Then purchase a coordinating skein of fingering weight yarn at the retreat to use for the lace sections when you get home. You will instantly have created a memory shawl from your retreat!
The Perfect Retreat Shawl is actually just as perfect for non-retreat knitting, relaxing at home, travel, watching your kids’ sports or activities, waiting for appointments or for the water to boil while cooking pasta for dinner, etc. It’s a perfect shawl for your everyday life knitting.
Finished measurements after blocking:
1 skein shawl: 50-inch wingspan, 24-inch depth
2 skein shawl: 63-inch wingspan, 31-inch depth
Yarn: Sun Valley Fibers, 75% Merino, 15% Cashmere, 10% Nylon, 400 yards, fingering weight, 1 or 2 skeins in Labyrinth for selected size
Yarn amount notes:
The 1 Skein size will use most all of 400 yards.
The 2 Skein size finished shawl weighs 199 grams.
The Sun Valley MCN skeins are generous and only go by yardage, not weight. For the 2 Skein shawl I did have 37 grams left over from the second skein.
Needles: US size 6/4mm, 32-inch circular or size to obtain gauge
Gauge: 5.5 stitches per inch in stockinette stitch before blocking
Materials:
Stitch markers
Yarn needle
Optional: Blocking wires and pins







I hope you enjoy this new shawl pattern! One or two skeins of fingering weight is all you need. The Perfect Retreat Shawl is full of simple, mindless knitting with a simple lace pattern pattern to finish things off. It's an enjoyable knit suitable for beginners.

Thanks for the support, as always. I hope you are able to knit and retreat a little bit this summer even if it is only to your back yard.
xo ~ susan

Monday, July 06, 2015

Solja ~ es terminado!


Hi, Knitters,
The winner of the Shoplouleigh project bag is......

flogigknits on Ravelry! Congratulations to Florence. I have contacted both Leigh and Florence to let them know. Thanks for entering and I'll host another giveaway very soon.

As you can see I finished the Solja sweater by Anna Maltz. The pattern for Solja is found in a couple of places. Click here for Solja in Pom Pom Magazine (information via Ravelry) and click here for the individual pattern on Ravelry. I have the Pom Pom magazine and there are other things in here that I might knit. It is a good magazine.

I love my new sweater. It is knit from the bottom up starting with the body. The body is set aside and then the sleeves are knit and joined to the body. Then the yoke is knit with colorwork and decreases and it is finished with corrugated rib to match the cuffs on the sleeves and bottom border of the body. I made the second size, 37.5-inch bust measurement. It is supposed to have a couple of inches of positive ease and I am happy to report that it does. The fit is perfect. 

The photos of me in the sweater were taken by my son at dusk inside my house. The lighting wasn't the best but somehow I kind of like how they turned out. They look sort of grainy and vintage-y and it suits the sweater. 


So would I recommend this pattern? Yes. However, I had to finagle a bit on my own accord here and there so it is a cautious yes if you are a beginning sweater knitter. 

Here are the things I modified on my Solja:
1. I lengthened the body by adding an extra repeat of the lace chart. I like the length of body.

2. I significantly shortened the sleeves and frankly they are still a tiny bit too long after blocking. The pattern has only one sleeve length for all of the sizes. The length is 22-inches. I usually wear a 17 to 18-inch sleeve in my sweaters. Since there is a lace pattern and increasing going on, including adding in repeats as the increased number matches the chart repeat, I had to think about this one. On the underside of the arms the increases are are done in stockinette stitch. It wasn't hard to modify but it might be challenging for a beginner. The lace repeat has to end and match up to where you left off on the body because when you join back in you carry on in the chart.

3. I didn't bind off at the underarm on the sleeves and body. I kept the stitches live and used the kitchener stitch to join them after knitting for a bit on the yoke. I like to clean everything up as I go including weaving in ends and grafting under the arms. I never bind off under the arms and on the body for bottom up sweaters, I prefer to graft instead of a traditional seam.

 4. Most importantly, I added four short rows to the back of the neck. I have learned my lesson on this one. If knit as is in the pattern you will have a high and straight across neckline across the front of your neck. I have had other sweaters with the straight across neckline and I end up not wearing them at all. It really bothers me to have a high front neck. So I added the short rows to raise the back of the neckline up, making more of a scoop in the front. 
I did the short rows on the cream only rounds in the top of the yoke. I put two short rows in between the tan flowers and brown flowers and then two more short rows in between the brown flowers and the neck border. If you want to learn about short rows at the back of the neck pull out your Elizabeth Zimmermann books like Knitting Around, Knitting Without Tears and Knitting Workshop and look up the EPS formula.  Most all modern in the round, bottom-up sweaters with a yoke are based on this system/formula that was unvented by the one and only so many years ago. Elizabeth always included short rows in her necklines and at the lower back to alleviate any fit issues. It is a simple way to solve a problem in handknit sweaters using this bottom up formula.

Please click here to see Carol Sunday's genius short row technique and explanation and video tutorial! I am using this technique called Sunday Short Rows from now on and was introduced to it by Gudrun Johnston in the Ambrosia cardigan I recently completed. 

5. Instead of having colorwork rounds that included trapping or weaving in floats using three different colors at a time, I opted to leave out the flower center color changes. I knit those stitches in the cream color and then duplicate stitched them on after the fact. I am very pleased with the results and it really didn't take very long. I had to weave in ends but I don't really mind doing that kind of finishing work. 


I used Quince & Co. Lark for the corrugated rib edgings and for the yoke colorwork. The colors I used are Twig, Honey, Egret, Bark and Dogwood. The lace body and sleeves is Brown Sheep Nature Spun worsted in Grey Heather N03W. These yarns really worked out well. The colors for the yoke are spot on. The sweater is quite economical and I used up stash yarns. Yay for that!

I used US size 7 needles throughout the sweater. The double-pointed needles in the photo are from Signature Needle Arts


It's funny how small the sweater looks when still in pieces. It is actually a good sized garment. The lace pattern was really simple and easy to do. Even a beginner could master the lace here.


The debate over colors for the yoke went on for quite awhile before I settled on this winning combination. I think the pink Dogwood color really sets off the heather grey lace of the body and sleeves and the creamy golds and browns of the yoke. 




You can try on a bottom up sweater as you are working. I do it all of the time. I wrapped the ends of my needles with rubber bands so the stitches wouldn't fall off when I was trying it on. It worked fine.


The colorwork involved a lot of trapping or weaving in floats and colors along the wrong side as you go. This is due to the bigger flower motifs. The bumpy fabric smoothed out beautifully with blocking. The band of brown that separates the lace from the colorwork is actually alternating knit stitches of honey and twig. It is subtle but I really like it. 



I soaked the garment in Soakwash for about 20 minutes using lukewarm water. I squeezed out the excess water by stepping on the sweater while it was rolled up in clean towels. Then I spread out the sweater on my blocking mats. I gave a good stretch to the yoke and the lace to get the wool to relax and show off the stitches better. I'm very pleased with the blocking.


The fit is extremely relaxed which I always love. Also, I love the roomy sleeves so much. I'd say I have 2 or 3 inches of positive ease over the entire sweater after the blocking. It's so comfortable. The sleeves grew a little too much but it's totally wearable and I really don't mind. I am talking about only maybe a half inch to an inch too long. I will probably like this length in the winter months. 

I will wear this with skirts and jeans in the colder months. It is really perfect in every way. Yay! It feels so good to get some new sweaters ready for my fall and winter wardrobe. It's very exciting and sweater knitting is definitely making me happy right now.

I am almost done with the body of Louise, my next cardigan. Oh, is this one fun. I am plotting and planning my button selection right now. I checked in with my favorite Wooly Moss Roots on Etsy to see if they could make something good for me. They said yes. I'll keep you posted.

I'll be back soon with more. I hope you are all having a good July and that you are finding time to knit in between all of the summer festivities.
xo ~ susan

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Good Stuff & a Shoplouleigh Giveaway!


Hi, Knitters,
I am blocking the beautiful Solja sweater by Anna Maltz. It is taking quite awhile to dry on these warm summer days. I am happy to say it fits great and I will admit to trying it on repeatedly while it's still damp. I can't resist. I kitchener stitched the underarms together and wove in all of the ends while I was working so all that's left to do is finish duplicate stitching the flower centers on the first and second rows of flowers. I think I will use pink centers on the middle row of flowers and honey centers on the top row of flowers. That should be good.

I'll do an entire blog post about Solja when it is truly done and maybe even a podcast so many more details will come on this one. I did do quite a bit of modifying along the way and I'll let you know about that soon. Anyway, I loved knitting Solja to no end and I think I will love wearing it as well.


I have a wonderful giveaway opportunity for you today. The generous Leigh from Driffield, England, is offering one lucky winner their bag of choice from her Etsy Shop called Shoplouleigh!

I have purchased two of Leigh's bags and can highly recommend them. They have quickly become some of my favorite project bags. Leigh uses a heavy cotton canvas or linen fabric that is sturdy and high quality. I love the natural overtones and the simple prints she selects. The drawstring bag construction is top-notch with an eye for details. The bag sits up nicely and the top can be rolled down to create a nice opening while working. 


Leigh adds a wristband on the side in a pretty contrasting print and I like the simple white lining. But best of all....


There are three pockets on the inside! I miss pockets in my project bags and most of the smaller bags I have don't include pockets. Leigh uses a contrast linen fabric for the three-part pocket. I love this so much.

Leigh of Shoplouleigh on Etsy has offered the opportunity for one winner to receive a bag of choice from her shop! I see she only has a few bags up on her shop right now but I am sure she will work with you to select the bag of your choice. Check out the sold section of her shop to see some of her other bags.

To enter to win please leave a comment on this blog post. Please only leave one comment, be patient for your comment to appear and only click on Publish one time. Please include your Ravelry username or your email address so Leigh can get in touch with you if you win!


Another quick thing I am working on is switching out any worn out, fraying grosgrain ribbon or cord drawstrings on some of my all-time favorite and heavily used project bags. I am hard on my project bags, they travel with me and are thrown in cars, larger bags and crammed in all sorts of corners around the house. Some of them need a little freshening up. I am switching out the frayed ribbon and cording with twill printed measuring tape. I am turning both of the ends down about a 1/4 inch and sewing them down on my sewing machine so they won't fray.


I can't take credit for this super clever idea. A little less than a year ago I was really impressed by a beautiful little project bag that Helen of Curious Handmade had sewn. She used a natural and wide woven measuring tape as a drawstring and I never forgot what a charming touch this was to her project bag.

Click here to see Helen's project bag with a measuring tape drawstring! You can even see that I left a comment on Helen's bag at that time. I loved it then and I love it now. I don't believe Helen sells her bags, I think this was a gift for someone. 

I love the wider natural woven measuring tape more than the one I used. I wonder where she got hers? If you know of a good source please let me know!

My absolute favorite drawstrings are made of fabric like the ones Knit Spin Farm does on all of her bags and Lowland Originals does on some of her bags, for example. I know this takes extra work but it is a really nice finishing touch.

I know that Dianne of Suburban Stitcher on Etsy (and I love her podcast) actually sells bags with the measuring tape drawstrings. Check out Dianne's Etsy shop right here!


One last thing, I cast on for the Louise cardigan by Carrie Bostick Hoge. I am using Quince & Co. Osprey in the Belize, Kumlien's Gull and Honey colorways. I am using size 9 and 10 US needles. Those are Signature needles in the photo. I think this is going to be a very quick knit with the aran weight yarn on bigger needles. It's kind of exciting to start a new sweater. It never gets old.

Well, don't forget to leave a comment for a Shoplouleigh project bag of your choice! Good luck if you enter. I'll randomly select a winner and I will announce it in a few short days.

It is my 26th wedding anniversary this week. Time flies when you're having fun, as they say. It's also my daughter's 19th birthday this weekend and of course, it's the Fourth of July! So much to celebrate in so little time. I'm sure we'll find a way to have fun together. That never seems to be a problem.

Let the comments begin!
xo ~ susan
p.s. I put a new header on my blog that is a photo of my new shawl design that will be released right after the SSK Retreat that ends on July 18th. It is a fun knit and I can't wait to share it with you.