Monday, July 28, 2014

New and Fun ~ a giveaway, too!


Hi, Knitters,
I have a few new-to-me products to share with you today and stay tuned for a cool giveaway opportunity. The first items on my list are from a new-to-me dyer, Sheepish Creations on Etsy. I happened upon this shop due to an Instagram photo I saw that showed some stunning handspun yarn. After a tiny bit of investigating I found the Etsy shop and the exact colorway of the yarn. I can't remember who took that initial photo of the handspun (anyone remember?) but the fiber was called Little House on the Prairie. Well, right there I was pretty much sold. I quickly added the Little House on the Prairie 4 oz. of merino fiber to my cart.

The shop is run by Robin and Pam Bates from North Carolina. They do great work.

I continued to look around the shop for bit. There are other things like undyed fiber, dryer ball kits, ribbon, dyes, and more. It is a fun shop alright. I ran across some Wensleydale fiber and I have been wanting to try spinning some new fibers. This seemed the perfect fit.

The photo above and the first photo are the beautiful Wensleydale 4 oz. braid. The colorway is Prairie Field, which once again, grabbed me instantly. It is an interesting fiber, slightly crimped and not super soft but I like that sometimes. Plus, I'm all about the prairie in every way possible be it Little House or the actual prairies and meadows I hike on nearly everyday.

Here is the information from Sheepish Creations about this gorgeous braid of Wensleydale:

Prairie Field - Wensleydale Wool Roving (Top) - Handpainted Spinning or Felting Fiber - 4 ounces

For those of you who enjoy spinning, here's 100% lovely Wensleydale fiber. This is soft, lofty, and has a long staple, so it's fabulous for all skill levels. This is processed as combed top, although is often incorrectly referred to as roving. I spin this fiber myself, and I love the lofty and unique yarn that I can achieve so easily.

Have fun trying out a less-common type of wool. Sure to be a pleasure to spin!

Above is the 4 oz. Merino braid from Sheepish Creations called Little House on the Prairie. I love the white clouds, blue sky, brown trees and ground and of course the green. It's prairie colors all the way. Here is what Sheepish Creations had to say about this braid:

Little House on Prairie - Merino Roving (Top) - Handpainted Spinning or Felting Fiber - 4 ounces

For those of you who enjoy spinning, here's 100% lovely Merino fiber. This is super-amazingly soft, lofty, and drafts like butter! Some merino is hard for beginners, but this stuff is perfect for both beginners as well as advanced spinners looking for something lusciously soft. This is processed as combed top, although is often incorrectly referred to as roving.

Sure to be a pleasure to spin!

I'm pretty excited about spinning up both of these fantastic fibers! I'll keep you posted. Sheepish Creations has excellent customer service, too. I had some correspondence with the owner and she was extremely helpful and responsive. It looks like they have a lot of followers and a lot of sales already so this shop isn't new to everyone, it is a popular one to say the least.

Speaking of popular, the always innovative Signature Needles Arts has come up with a 100% cotton Blocking Cloth with built in 1-inch squares. You can wash it, throw it down anywhere, protect floors and beds while blocking and use the grid to make sure your measurements are accurate. When you are done simply fold it up and put it away. I think it is a great concept. 

Thanks to the kind folks at Signature for sending me a Blocking Cloth of my own to use and use over and over again. It's very smart.

How about this adorable hand-painted knitting gnome? I love it! My friend jenb69 (rav id) sent me two wonderful painted canvas bags that her friend Linda (redhotart - rav id) makes and sells on her Etsy shop called, Red Hot Art by Linda. I love them so much and I think you would, too. Thank you for the sweet gift!

Not all of her bags are knitting related and I love those bags, too. Linda lives in Florida so she has a great beach theme to her shop. Linda is kind and helpful and she loves requests so I know she would love to hear from you if you have something in mind. 

Linda has recently joined my Ravelry Group, Itty-Bitty Knits and it is so much fun to see her jumping in and talking to everyone. She started a thread for bag suggestions on our forum so you could also chat with her there.

Click here for the Itty-Bitty Knits group and bag thread! Linda's photo on Rav is adorable, she is standing next to her hanging painted bags.

Both sides of the bags are painted, which I love. The attention to detail is wonderful and the quality of the canvas is excellent. It is sturdy and still pretty soft as far as canvas goes. I think with wear and tear it will soften up even more. 

I love bags like this to put smaller project bags in when I am out and about. It is a great beach or pool bag, too, or a market bag. It is pretty large and can hold a lot.

Linda has offered to give a hand-painted bag away as a prize to one of you! Thank you, Linda. Please leave a comment on this post and I will randomly select a winner in a couple of days. Please leave your email or Ravelry ID in your comment to win a tote bag. I will then put the winner in touch with Linda to discuss your new bag. 

This is a great shop to check out! Hop on over to Red Hot Art by Linda on Etsy!

A little while ago I was sent this really interesting skein of yarn by LanaMundi Yarns and sold by the  Feel Good Yarn Co.

If you are like me and you spend time outside in the cold weather you will love this yarn. The Silver Spun has silver in it and therefore it is conductive and therapeutic. Knit it into the fingertips of your gloves or mittens and you can use your phone or iPad without removing your gloves or mittens. This is such a cool concept and I can't wait to give it a try. Are you with me on this? 

Here is what the Feel Good Yarn Co has to say on their website about the benefits of silver in a yarn:

The silver content in SilverSpun makes it therapeutic and conductive. Silver inhibits the growth of odor causing bacteria, has excellent thermal properties, is nontoxic and is perfect for those suffering from diabetes, arthritis and sensitive skin. Silver is also an excellent conductive agent thus allowing smartphone or tablet touch screen use while wearing gloves knit from the yarn. The silver is permanently adhered to the yarn and will not wash out.

One last thing before I leave you today, I was so happy to be included in the Twinset Designs Podcast's Living Doll Knitalong. The group used my doll pattern, Mary, Millie & Morgan, as a template to create dolls that resembled someone loved or important to the knitter. Many made the dolls resemble a beloved child. But one fancy and talented member of the group knit her dolls to resemble Jan and Ellen, the actual twins of the Twinset Designs Podcast. Jan and Ellen have an adorable photo of themselves as toddlers in bonnets and plaid dresses and it is just charming. Turbogrrl on Instagram or Turbogal on Ravelry, is the creator and knitter of these fantastic dolls and she is sending them all over the globe (literally!) on a Flat Stanley type tour. I was honored to be included so I brought the girls out on my evening hike and took some photos. How much fun is that? I love everything about the doll tour and the Twinset Designs Podcast. I never miss an episode! Oh, and if you are on Instagram the hashtag to check out where these dolls are traveling is: #twinsettour

Well, I hope you found something new-to-you in this post. Let me know! It's always fun to see different products that are available to us as knitters. 

Don't forget to leave a comment to enter to win a tote bag!! Good luck and let the comments begin. I'll be back soon with a winner and much more. I hope your week is off to a good start.
best, susie

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Through the Eyes

(all photos provided by b. b. anderson)

Hi, Knitters,
I meant to post these photos my son took when we were in Seattle last spring for Vogue Knitting Live but I lost track of them. I found them while sifting through emails which, by the way, I am still trying to catch up on from my horrendous computer issues. The only good thing about going through old emails is that I have stumbled onto a few things that I had forgotten about. My son loves photography and it is really fun to see his take on a city via photos.

For today I will leave you with these wordless photos of Seattle taken through the eyes of my son. I hope you enjoy his view as much as I do. The photos were taken on a film camera and then developed later. 

These photos brought back some really good memories..... what a trip and what a beautiful city.

I hope you are all off to a good start to your week. I am doing tons of work knitting and work knitting only right now. I'll be back soon to share some of my top-notch knitting finds as of late! I'm looking forward to it.
best, susie

Friday, July 18, 2014

Weekend Knitting

Hi, Knitters,

I am excited to announce that I am teaching at Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago on Sunday, Oct. 26th, 2014. I am only going to be there that one day, not for the whole weekend. I am teaching a morning and an afternoon class and I am doing a one-hour lecture at noon! I hope to see you in my classes or lecture or all three! 

As we head into this busy family-filled weekend I have a couple of fun projects to work on. I am winding up three hanks of Quince & Co. Finch in the Winesap colorway to begin working on Paula Emons-Fuessle's beautiful shawl pattern called Gill's Rock. I'm going to use US size 6, 32-inch circulars to knit the shawl. This should be a good fit. I am anxious to get going.

Links for you:

Let me know if you are knitting any of Paula's shawls this summer. I have heard that many of you are and that's so much fun. Paula's patterns are so crystal clear, it makes for very relaxing and enjoyable knitting. 

The Gill's Rock pattern calls for two skeins of Finch, which is a fingering weight, but I have three skeins sitting in my stash. I think I will make it bigger or maybe add a slight ruffle or something to use up the yarn. The Winesap colorway is the most beautiful shade of red I have seen. It is near perfection with just the right amount of brightness and depth. I love the color red so much, especially when it is just right.

I have finished one of my sister's birthday socks. She has tiny and narrow feet, US women's size 5. I started the cuff with 60 stitches and then continued decreasing on the gusset to 56 stitches for the foot. I want her to try the finished sock on before I get started on the second sock. I have my fingers crossed that it will fit. 

The yarn is Madtosh Sock and I think it is incredibly beautiful. I really love it and it is kind of a nice break from all of the stripy and patterned socks I have been knitting lately. The first sock seemed to fly off my needles so quickly and easily. I believe this is the Baltic colorway but I can't find the tag. I purchased this skein at Knitty City in NYC on a book tour when my sister was with me a few years ago so that makes it extra good!

The project bag is from LoveSockWool and it is a good one. Click here for LoveSockWool on Etsy! 

Have a super weekend. What are you going to knit this weekend? Make it something fun!
best, susie

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Summer of Paula ~ Hyla Brook

Hi, Knitters,
Well, I'm back after an unexpected leave of absence. I am having troublesome technology issues that involve a complete meltdown of my laptop and the permanent loss of years of data. There were failed back-ups and computer insides. Anyway, that's all that will be said about that. It's sad and upsetting to lose work that can't be retrieved but I always try my best to keep things in perspective and move on. 

On to happier topics, I have randomly selected a winner for the Dropcloth Sampler Subscription from the last blog post. And the winner is....... Anni! Congratulations to Anni! I have already contacted both Rebecca Ringquist and Anni to pass on the good news.

I mentioned in my last video podcast that I am having an unofficially official self-proclaimed Summer of Paula. I am talking about my friend and knitting cohort Paula Emons-Fuessle, host of the wildly popular Knitting Pipeline podcast. I am definitely following through with the Paula theme so far. Any of you are free to join in with me if you are interested. Here are the two simple things that The Summer of Paula includes:

1. Knitting as many Paula Emons-Fuessle shawls as you can squeeze in. I have now knit four of Paula's shawls and I have three more to go before I can say I am caught up. I know I won't finish her shawl patterns this summer but I will just keep working at it as the season changes to the fall.

2. Listening to Paula's fantastic audio podcast, The Knitting Pipeline, starting from Episode 1 and working my way back up to the current episode. I spend a lot of time outside running and hiking. Each day when I am out doing these activities I listen to at least a couple of back episodes. There are 177 Episodes and I am up to Episode 36. 

Repeat 1 and 2 until you are caught up!

Now, I have to say that the Knitting Pipeline is a podcast that over the years I have gone back to listen to older episodes again and again. It is the ONLY podcast where I repeatedly listen to old episodes. I have never done repeat listening in an organized way as I am doing now. It is really fun.

What I find is that it is even better when you go back for the second, third or fourth time. Paula is funny, you have to listen closely to her side remarks, she slips them in. She is also smart, informative and interesting on all sorts of topics. There is so much that I have forgotten in these old episodes.... bb guns in a closet (her son's), Paula's likening herself to squirrels going splat after falling and jumping right up and running away (I loved this so much I had to stop and laugh on my run), Paula's sincere love of basil, her lime-basil butter recipe (I'm making it today), a salmon rub recipe (coming up this weekend at my house), pattern discussions and recommendations, quotes, crows remembering human faces (I guess it's true! I told my kids this and they were creeped out.), nature information of all sorts, book recommendations - both knitting and non-knitting (I have read so many fiction books at Paula's advice and have loved them all), and much more. Paula's the real deal and you are missing out if you don't follow along with her. 

I especially love hearing Paula read Elizabeth Zimmermann's old letters to her. Boy, could that Elizabeth write, even in casual correspondence. It's amazing to hear her personality come through the written words. Her descriptions and tone set a scene like no one else. It really makes me sad to think that letter writing is such a lost art. No one is going to pull up old emails to read years later. Listening to these letters from Elizabeth makes me want to do some letter writing.... and to read Elizabeth's books again, I have them all.

I know I'll be writing more about The Summer of Paula. Let me know if you are joining in somehow. I'd love to hear about it.

Here are some Paula related links for you to check out:

Now for my first finished Paula shawl of the summer. This shawl is called Hyla Brook. It is fast, fun and simple. I added a beaded bind off just like the one in my shawl pattern the Quaker Ridge Shawlette. I love the beads on a ruffled edge. It adds just the right amount of weight to the shawl. I wore my new Hyla Brook all day yesterday as it was chilly around here, strange as it is for July.

Here is the information about my Hyla Brook:
Yarn: Quince & Co. Finch in the Storm colorway I added a couple of repeats so I ran out of yarn on the bind off. I added in some other Quince Finch I had to complete the bind off. It isn't exactly the same shade, it is one of the heathered grays, but you can't see it at all.

US size 6 needles, 32-inch circulars

Size 6 beads, clear with a silver lining, applied using a flosser (There are YouTube videos on how to do this.) I applied the beads to every other stitch on the bind off. It was really fun and I love the finished effect.

I love the yarn, it is light as air. The wool blocks out beautifully and easily. I used 2 pins to block the shawl. It was so simple.  Paula has video tutorials on blocking shawls just like this one, and much more. 

(photo by Kelsey Kobik for Quince & Co.)

Paula's newest shawl was released through Quince & Co. last week. It is called Sister Bay which is a location in Door County Wisconsin. I love it that Paula loves Door County as it is one of my favorite Wisconsin spots, too.

Paula is hosting a Sister Bay Knitalong right now. It is not too late to join. Click here for more information.

Click here to find out more about the pattern Sister Bay!

I love this shawl so much. It is very wearable. I love the two colors in the design but I have 5 skeins of Chickadee from Quince & Co. sitting in my stash in the Nasturtium color way. I can't remember why I purchased it. It is enough to make the larger size of Sister Bay. I may just do this shawl in one color. I think it would be a perfect use of the yarn I already have! Even better.

Okay, so I'm back here blogging away. I hope you are back, too! Summer love and kisses to you all. I'll be back soon with more.
best, susie
p.s. Did you all see this pattern collection by one of my faves? I am crazy for all of it.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Dropcloth Love & Subscription Giveaway!

Hi, Knitters,
First, the success of my newest pattern release is worth mentioning. Thank you for the wonderful, positive response to the Flower in an Hour pattern and coupon code, which is FLOWER for $1.00 off going through July 15th. The response has been quite amazing and as always, I really appreciate the support. Hundreds of Flower in an Hour patterns have flown out of my pattern shop over the last few days and just to show how quick it is to knit up there are already some finished projects on Ravelry.

Now for today's news at hand. Rebecca Ringquist, the talented embroidery artist, Etsy shop owner, and teacher, contacted me to offer a super fun giveaway opportunity for all of you. You may remember my embroidery obsession from last summer which involved Rebecca's Creativebug online classes and her sampler. I took her classes and stitched her original sampler and made a circular needle case. It is one of the best things I have ever made, not kidding.

Click here to see Rebecca's online classes on Creativebug! I highly recommend her classes as I have taken and own several of them.

Hey! Rebecca's having a 20% off sale now through July 9th, 2014 with the coupon code MICHIGANSUMMER. Take advantage of this huge sale if you are able. The prices are really reasonable anyway and with the 20% off it is a great deal.

For today, Rebecca has offered one of you the chance to win a 3-month subscription plus a Plaid sampler! That's FIVE beautiful little colorful samplers!

Aren't these so beautiful? I love the little size of these club samplers. I am paid subscriber to Rebecca's sampler club. I think this is my second sampler club with Dropcloth. She is right on top of things, sends out orders on time and I am never disappointed with the product. It is all delightful just like Rebecca.

Click here for Dropcloth on Etsy!

If you watch the "getting to know you" video on Creativebug you can easily see that she is incredibly likable and has that perfect personality to be a really patient and effective instructor. She goes at the perfect pace for any sort of learner or level of experience. I am an experienced embroiderer, all self-taught, and I learned so much from my online classes with Rebecca. My embroidery improved leaps and bounds last summer and the credit goes to these Creativebug classes and Rebecca's top-notch instruction. I am grateful for this fact.

However, you could be a complete beginner and have huge success with Rebecca's Creativebug online classes. I encourage you to do this if you are interested in embroidery and don't know where to start. She tells you exactly what materials you'll need, too, and she doesn't overdo it. You could get started pretty inexpensively.

With my Color Burst Samplers, the same ones for the prize today, I am going to put them in hoops like this and hang them in my house but you could do all kinds of things with the finished samplers like add them to quilts, bags, pillows, etc. All of this would be so good!

To win the 3-month Color Burst Sampler Club subscription plus the Plaid Sampler (click here to see more information) please only one comment including your contact information ~ rav id or email. Please leave only one comment and be patient for your comment to appear as it has to be approved.

Good luck and definitely send Rebecca some love! She is just adorable, talented, fun, kind and generous. I really like and admire her and I think you would, too. Don't forget to use her 20% off sale using the code: MICHIGANSUMMER  if you are going to purchase anything from her shop.

I'll be back in a few days with a randomly selected winner.

Let the Dropcloth Sampler giveaway comments begin!
best, susie
p.s. Did you know that there are hand-dyers of embroidery threads just like indie yarn dyers? I found this out last summer and here is one of my favorite Etsy shops, Dyed Fiber. Her stuff is so good and pretty and fun to stitch. It's wonderful.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Flower in an Hour ~ New Baby Hat Pattern!

Hi, Knitters,
I have a sweet new baby hat to share with you today. A couple of years ago I whipped up the pink tonal hat with a flower for TC's band teacher who was having a baby girl at any moment. She just loved the hat so much. I scratched down the notes for how to make the hat in my sketchbook but never got around to writing it out to share with all of you. Today is finally the day.

To celebrate this long awaited (on my part) release of Flower in an Hour I am having a Happy July sale! The hat pattern is regularly priced at $5.00 and I am offering a $1.00 off discount code from today, July 1st through the end of the day on July 15th, 2014.

The discount code is: FLOWER

Enjoy the sale!

Here are some pattern details you might like to know (click here to go to the Ravelry page):

Flower in an Hour


July 2014

Bulky / 12 ply (7 wpi) ?

3.5 stitches = 1 inch in stockinette stitch

US 10 - 6.0 mm
US 8 - 5.0 mm

140 - 180 yards (128 - 165 m)

0 to 6 months (6-12 months, 1-2 years) ~ the largest size will most likely fit older children
This pattern is available for $5.00 USD  buy it now
July 1st through July 15th, 2014, Flower in an Hour is on sale for $1.00 off with the use of the coupon code: FLOWER
Flower in an Hour is a super quick, fun and relatively simple baby hat with a very easy lace pattern for just a few rounds, and an adorable flower for added cuteness. This is the perfect project for super fast baby gift knitting and it will make you the hit of any baby shower!
The pattern is written for 3 sizes (0 months to 2 years ~ the largest size will most likely fit older children) and it is written out for two weights of yarn, both Bulky and Aran weight with two different gauges.
Bulky gauge is 3.5 sts per inch.
Aran gauge is 4.5 sts per inch.
This gives you lots of options for speedy baby gift knitting. In the photos the dark pink hat is the Lorna’s Laces Bulky weight yarn and the speckled hat is the Duck Duck Wool Aran yarn.
Flower in an Hour is titled so because of the small size of the project, the heavier weight yarns and bigger needles, plus the simplicity of the design all make this an incredibly quick knit. And, of course, it is a cute rhyming name for a baby hat.
That said, it may take you a bit longer than an hour to make but hopefully not too much longer!

The pink tonal yarn is the soft, squishy super wash wool bulky weight called Lorna's Laces Shepherd Bulky in the Lincoln Park Zoo colorway! One skein is all you need.

The speckled white hat is the super soft gorgeous Merino/Cashmere/Nylon blend by Duck Duck Wool in the Art Smock colorway. This is the aran weight version of the hat!

Hey, there are pre-orders available right now for Art Smock Aran! One skein is all you need.

The hat is such a quick, fun knit that you will be done in a flash and you will have the BEST baby gift in your hands and all handmade with love.

Even the top of the hat is sweet-looking in the Duck Duck Wool Aran yarn.

One skein of either of these yarn options will work fine. They are both generous in yardage.

Enjoy the new baby hat pattern! 

Don't forget to use the coupon code FLOWER at checkout for $1.00 off the regular price through July 15th!

Love to you all. Thanks for all of the kind wishes and thoughts for my son and our anniversary, and for sharing your own milestones with me. That's what it's all about around here, community.
best, susie

Monday, June 30, 2014

News of the Big Kind

Hi, Knitters,
The winners of the two prizes, a copy of the book Up Down All Around, and the steamer (thank you very much!) filled with Infinite Twist mini-cakes of yarn, are..... 

Grannyslove (rav id) ~ won the book!

WordLily (rav id) ~ won the yarn!

Congratulations to both of you. I have contacted the winners via Ravelry. I have stacks of books and other things to review and giveaway so there will be more and soon. 

Well, the last few weeks have been some of the fullest of my life. There has been lots of big news around here, some life-changing. In between graduation for Peachy, college road-trips, graduation party hosting, party attending, TC's birthday, swim meets, loads of yarn, knitting, deadlines, new ventures, and some fireworks, we had some even bigger news. This is the kind of news that tops everything.

Our oldest son got engaged to our Miss Molly!

We are thrilled and blessed by this good news. We love Miss Molly! I might have to change her name to Mrs. Molly after the wedding. I'm sure there will be more to come and share on these two beautiful young people as they start their new life together as an engaged and eventually a young married couple. What a fun and exciting time ahead for all of us.

The other bit of big news is that tomorrow I am celebrating my 25th wedding anniversary with my beloved husband. It seems hard to believe. To look back at our lives and all that's happened and changed and then to see, thank goodness, that so much has stayed the same is all pretty amazing and a bit overwhelming at the same time. It's been a lot of living packed into the last 25 years. The saying that life works in mysterious ways is definitely true. Time works in mysterious ways, sometimes it flies by, sometimes it is like slow-motion. To look around and see all of our children, now young adults, surrounding my husband and me seems nothing short of a miracle. 

There have been many milestones this year for the Anderson family and it all seems to have been crammed into a couple of short months. Isn't that how life goes sometimes? I have said this so many times but I'll say it again. When your kids are little you think things will be so much calmer and easier when they get older. The exact opposite happens. When your kids get older it is busier, bigger, more out of your control, more fun, more difficult, happier, sadder, more serious, more uncertain, more exciting, more emotional.... just more and more of everything. I love all of it and I wouldn't change a thing. Okay, well, maybe I'd change a couple of things, but for the most part I wouldn't change a thing.

Have a lovely week ahead. We have Peachy's birthday this week, the day after the Fourth of July, and she's 18 years old people! When did that happen? This falls into the time flying by category. Why stop now with all of the action around here? 

If it were quiet and calm we wouldn't know what to do with ourselves.  

Here's to some exciting times ahead! I hope you'll join me.

best, susie