Monday, August 18, 2014

Hudson Bay Socks

Hi, Knitters,
Yesterday I got a bit of a start on the cuff of my self-titled Hudson Bay Socks out of the Fishknits Yarn, Canadiana. I am pretty excited about the look of the sock so far. What a nice knit. The yarn is wonderful and the dyeing is top-notch. I purchased this yarn a little while ago so I am happy to finally get it going.

Needles: US size 1/2.25mm dpns, 6-inch length, by Signature Needle Arts
Project Bag: Little Skein on Etsy
Pattern: My free How I Make My Socks recipe

If you don't know what a Hudson Bay wool blanket looks like click here to find out!

Ever since I posted this skein on Instagram a few days ago Fishknits has been having a great run on the Canadiana Strong Heart sock yarn. Skein after skein is flying out of the shop. I gave Jo Dee Fish, the owner, a heads up that I would be posting more about her fabulous and fun sock yarn on my blog this week. Jo Dee said she would be dyeing up a bunch more of this unique colorway in case any more of you are interested.

Here is the information and history from Fishknits Yarn on Etsy about Canadiana:

This yarn is available for special order only. It can take up to 3 weeks until it is shipped.

A Fishtastic yarn called Canadiana made with our Strong Heart base: 
20 rows Natural
8 rows Deep Blue
6 rows Natural
8 rows Golden Yellow
6 rows Natural
8 rows Deep Red
6 rows Natural
8 rows Deep Green
~240 rows Natural
8 rows Deep Green
6 rows Natural
8 rows Deep Red
6 rows Natural
8 rows Golden Yellow
6 rows Natural
8 rows Deep Blue
20 rows Natural

Designed to look like the famous Hudson Bay blankets, indigenous to Canada;-) Each skein is dyed so that the knitter can knit a pair of natural colored socks with a stripe of Deep Blue, Golden Yellow, Deep Red, and Deep Green, just like the blankets, with a narrower stripe of natural between each stripe. It has been dyed with the stripes occurring at each end of the skein, with lots and lots of natural colored yarn in between. If you divide the skein in half you will two equal balls, one for each sock:-)

This colorway was designed and originally sold by Everything Old Crafts, here on Etsy. She has graciously given me the rights to sell this awesome colorway. We can all thank her for this awesome colorway.

Strong Heart: 80% Superwash Merino, 20% Nylon 2-ply high twist. 400 yards, 100 grams. The two plies in this yarn plump together making this yarn is so soft. It includes a touch of nylon which makes it very strong, perfect for socks, mittens, hats.

The test sock was a plain vanilla sock pattern knit on US 1 needles over 64 stitches. Your stitch size may be different than mine so the stripes may be slightly narrower or wider than mine.

~400 yds, 100 grams
7-8 stitches = 1 inch on US 1-3

Well, there you go! I divided the skein in two 50 gram balls. I am knitting the socks from the cuff down so I have to rewind the second ball so the striped section is at the beginning of the ball and not tucked away inside. If you are knitting toe-up socks you will need to have the stripes at the inside of the ball if you are hand-winding. I will definitely make the pair match this time. With the bold stripes it will be very easy to do.

The first sock seems to be zooming right along! I need a little fun and mindless project on the side right about now. I hope your Monday is going well and that your week is off to a good start.
xo ~ susan

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Patchwork Finale

Hi, Knitters,
I have thoroughly enjoyed knitting my Quaere Fibre socks in the Patchwork colorway. They are finished. Hooray! These socks boast a 10-color stripe repeat. I think this is one of my most favorite pair of hand knit socks to date. The yarn is wonderful, both the dyeing and the base. The yarn is a 2-ply and has a slight texture. I want to knit more socks with Quaere sock yarn for sure.

The Patchwork colorway (Note: I had around a 400 yard skein, some of the skeins are 600 yards) is made up of 10 1/4" stripes of the following colors when knit at 8"/64sts on a US1:
Dark Purple
Grass Green
Light Blue

This yarn incorporates all the goodness of a 2 ply with the strength of nylon. It is super soft and has a round, cabled appearance. 

I see that the Quaere shop has this colorway up for pre-order now and again. You could contact the Janel, the owner, and ask if you are interested in the yarn.

I have posted about this pair of socks quite a bit in all states of finishing, here are some of the links to see the socks in progress:

I used my Signature Needles dpns, 6 -inch length, US size 1/2.25mm and my free How I make my socks pattern. The cuff is 6-inches long and I did 12 rounds of 2x2 rib. 

Have a lovely weekend.
xo ~ susan

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Worth it.

Hi, Knitters,
I have been working up a storm lately. And by working I mean knitting and writing. I finished the lovely shawl I talked about in my last podcast episode. I am pretty much crazy over it. It is long, long, long. Long enough to wrap around yourself in so many different ways. More to come on this one soon.

After I cast the one shawl off I immediately hand-wound a new skein of yarn and cast on the next shawl I am working on for a different little company. I already had a plan in my head but I have started and restarted this one many times at this point to get it exactly right. I like to design and create news things directly on the needles with only a sketchy loose plan in mind before I start. This means that I'll usually have to start several times before I figure things out to my liking.

The photos today are of this new shawl design in progress. The photos are in black and white because it is an exclusive colorway dyed up by a dreamy (and hard to get your hands on) independent yarn company. It is all very hush-hush and downright fun. I think most of you, or at least I hope, will be very excited when all is revealed. I suggested the color and it turned out better than I could have imagined.

So I sit and knit and write notes in pencil in my hand-bound notebook and sip ice water and snack now and again, and get up and stretch my hands, arms and legs. And then I repeat for hours on end. It takes stamina.

I get asked a lot how I find time to get things done. To finish the last shawl I awoke at 2am the other night and started the coffee pot and began working to get it done. I worked straight through the next day with only a few breaks. Sometimes I have to resort to this type of schedule with the way my life is right now. I only get little tiny bits of broken up time throughout the day to get my work done. At times you simply need a long chunk of time to accomplish something big.

It was worth it.

I am feeling quite confident this next shawl design is going to rock. It's really all about numbers when designing. Numbers mean everything. 

My love to you all. I hope your week is less work-filled than mine. I don't have much personal knitting to show due to the heavy workload but I wouldn't want it any other way. I love what I get to do. The other work I am doing at the same time as the shawl knitting is writing a new book. I have a gigantic deadline due to my publisher on August 21st. I am starting to see another 2am rising time or two on the near horizon.

On top of all of the work right now, it's such a busy and somewhat bittersweet season for families with kids, isn't it? Summer's over, the kids get a grade older, changes come, a few things remain the same, new locations are found, and adjustments are made over time. In the end everything works out as it should. 

And life goes on. We are lucky that way.

I'll be back soon with more....
xo ~ susan

Monday, August 11, 2014

Northwoods Version: Susan B. Anderson Podcast Episode 9

Hi, Knitters,
Yesterday I uploaded the wrong file (it was waaaay too big) for the iTunes/podcatcher watchers out there. Please delete the episode and upload again. I apologize for any inconvenience. It is corrected now. If you are interested in watching/subscribing through iTunes click here for more information.

For email subscribers you can watch the video right here on YouTube: click here!

Now for the blog post!

I am back from vacation with my family. Last week we spent some fantastic family-time in northern Wisconsin in a not-so-rustic log cabin nestled on a lake called Lower Twin Lakes near Hayward, Wisconsin. The weather was beautiful, the setting was gorgeous, the lake was smooth, the mosquitoes were  aggressive, the food was very northern Wisconsin-like, and fun was had by all.

One morning I took the camera down to the pier and filmed a podcast for about 20 minutes. Listed below are the links for the things I talk about in the episode.

Miss Molly's Projects:
Louise Cardigan by Carrie Bostick Hoge
Osprey yarn by Quince & Co.
Knitter's Pride interchangeable wooden needles
Knit Picks Felici sock yarn in the Spooky colorway (yarn is discontinued)
Signature Needles US size 2 dpns, 6-inch

My projects:
Upcoming shawl design:
Infinite Twist Helix yarn in the Clear Water colorway
Signature Needles, 24-inch circular US 7s

Quaere Fibres socks in the Patchwork colorway
Signature Needles US size 1 dpns, 6-inch

A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg
Delancey by Molly Wizenberg
How to Catch a Frog by Heather Ross

Scoop by Jeff Miller
West's Hayward Dairy

Here are some photos from the trip for you to enjoy!

Tipped canoe!

It feels good to go away and then good to be home! Back to work for me and back to sports and school for the kids. There are lots of getting ready for school type things going on right now, lots of hustle and bustle.

I hope you are all having a wonderful August.

I'll be back soon with more.
xo, susan

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Teaching Schedule

Hi, Knitters,
This post will be linked on the sidebar of my blog for future reference. I will update it often.

Here are some of my upcoming workshops for the fall season:

September 11-14, 2014 ~ The Fall Fling by The Loopy Ewe  in Fort Collins, Colorado

September 21-25, 2014 ~ The Knitting Pipeline Maine Retreat in Kennebunk, Maine

October 11-12, 2014 ~ WEBS, America's Yarn Store in Northampton, Massachusetts 

Oct. 26th, 2014 ~ Vogue Knitting Live at the Palmer House in Chicago, Illinois

November 6-9, 2014 ~ Knitter's Review Retreat in Canandaigua, New York

January 22-24, 2015 ~ Sun Valley January Thaw in Madison, Wisconsin

July 2015 ~ Super Summer Knitogether or SSK in Nashville, Tennessee 

There are more teaching dates on my calendar but I think these are the only dates formally announced at this time. I will come back and add more to the list as it grows and changes. I am already getting bookings for 2016 if you can believe that. It seems so far away.

I've been working on a new workshop that will debut at The Loopy Ewe Fall Fling. It is a design your Fair Isle Mitts class. This is the first sample set I have worked up for the class.

I am teaching tons of technique and tips for achieving stunning two-handed two strand knitting within these fingerless mitts but I want my students to delve into a little designing themselves. I am giving the students a bare-bones plain fingerless mitt pattern/recipe in three sizes, and then I am providing loads of options for colorwork charts to plug in, and different cuff ideas to boot. Every mitt will most likely be different than the next, sometimes even in the same pair. 

Sounds like good fun to me!

The class will include instruction and tips on Latvian Braids, corrugated rib, reading colorwork charts, floats and how they work best, weaving in ends, blocking, adding in new colors, catching or weaving in floats as you work over long repeats, and more.

The fun thing is that students can design their mitts with as many colors and patterns as their heart desires or they can go the more subtle path and use only two colors and one stitch pattern for the entire mitt. It's the student's choice. Anything goes!

I am on to making a more subdued pair of matching mitts next for a different type of sample. Though in my heart my favorite is always the mismatched colorful route. Knitting with lots of color like this is always fun and entertaining and cute to wear. 

The yarn I used in these mitts is Quince & Co. Lark. It is a worsted weight wool knit at 5 stitches per inch on US size 7 double-pointed needles. I have a big bag of left overs from various projects so I just keep pulling out random colors and putting them together. It's like a grab bag of color.

For this particular Fair Isle Mitt Workshop the students can work on double-pointed needles as I do, or they can work on circular needles using the Magic Loop technique or some other variation. However, the main requirement is that students are completely self-sufficient at whatever technique they are using for working in the round on a small number of stitches. These classes are not the place to learn how to knit in the round on dpns or how to do Magic Loop, we start out assuming these skills are already mastered. For all of my toy-knitting workshops I prefer that students are able to work on double-pointed needles as the patterns are written specifically for dpns. 

Let me know if you are able to join me at any of these venues. Many of the retreats fill up very quickly and are already closed with waiting lists but it's always worth checking into if you are interested. The bigger venues sometimes have spaces left often right up to when the class starts.

Hope to see you in class.
xo ~ susan

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Little Penguins Take the Cake

Hi, Knitters,
I randomly picked a winner for the Red Hot Art hand-painted canvas tote bag by Linda

The winner is..... introvert ~ rav id or Faith!

Faith is from Green Bay, Wisconsin which might be the direct opposite of Florida where Linda lives. I love that. I've passed on all of the information to both parties to arrange the bag exchange. Thank you to Linda for the opportunity and congratulations to Faith. I will host another giveaway very soon.

Now for today I'd like to share a quick little project that I made for my daughters' little swim buddies. Our summer pool's mascot is a penguin. Each summer the kids on the swim team are assigned a buddy or two for the summer season. The buddies are called Little Penguins. My daughters each have two Little Penguins this summer, four in total, and all are girls. The Little Penguins exchange support, cards, candy and friendship throughout the summer at the swim meets. 

Last year for the final big meet, the Madison All-City Swim and Dive Meet, I sewed up some adorable fleece penguin stuffies for the buddies (photo above is from last summer of 2013). This year I did something a little different. 

I happened to have some wool felt in team colors that I had picked up on a sale quite awhile ago. I knew I wanted to make some sort of penguins using the felt. I washed and dried the felt in my washing machine and dryer a couple of months ago so it was all ready to go.

Yesterday I ended up stitching these adorable tiny penguins for the little girls. The penguins are about 2.5-inches tall, a little over 3-inches including the loops. I sewed in a grosgrain ribbon loop at the top of each one because I am going to pick up some key chains or loose-leaf rings today so they can hook the penguins on their swim bags if they'd like. They would also make cute ornaments for the Christmas tree in the winter season. 

The penguins turned out really great! I am very pleased. The Little Penguins will receive these along with a bit of candy and a homemade sign for good luck tonight at the team's spaghetti dinner.

I made an extra penguin for our neighbor even though she isn't an official Little Penguin of ours she is on the team and she is like a little sister to TC. They remain good buds. I made our neighbor the fleece penguin stuffed toy from last summer and she brings it along with her to every single meet this season. How could I resist not giving her another penguin to love? She is so sweet and I can't believe she is already 11 years old.

I thought a little personalizing would go a long way with this bunch of girls so I took some red thread and stitched their names in tiny letters on the white bellies. It added a bit of charm.

The penguins are all hand-stitched but after the first one the rest really didn't take me that long. I got it figured out very fast and off I went. I think they are a lovable bunch. Plus the hand-stitching was such a nice break from the book knitting I have been powering through as of late. It was a needed break.

You know, there is something about a hand-stitched or sewn wool felt toy..... there is such a charm-factor to them and they feel really good to hold in your hand. I highly recommend making some if you haven't before.

Here's where I found the pattern for the tiny felt penguins, the book Sew Quick, Sew Cute by Fiona Goble. What a fantastic book. Good job, Fiona!

I can't remember if I purchased this book or if it was sent to me by the publisher. The publisher is Ivy Press and Adams Media and it was released in the spring of 2014 so it is a new one. I am pretty sure I purchased the book. The book is really good and chock-full of easy, simple beginner sewing projects. I love this type of distraction from my knitting every once in awhile and I really do enjoy hand-sewing projects. I can do it for hours on end very easily. It makes me happy, content and completely absorbed. 

When I was paging through the book a few months ago I made a mental note that there were some sweet little felt penguins to stitch. I am amazed that I actually remembered these when it came time to get this final penguin gift of the season together. 

The penguins are part of the Antarctic Play Set which is pretty adorable and fun with all of the pieces. I love how the white felt has a little tent or snowbank built in for a penguin to take shelter. That is clever and playful. 

Here are some of the other projects that interest me for future sewing endeavors:

I love this fabric box. I may not even add the handles but just keep it as a simple box for storing goodies.

I have linen fabric and lots of fabric scraps for appliqu├ęs and this pattern looks so simple and easy. There's nothing much to it. This is definitely on my to-do list.

I've always wanted to make a little girl's dress like this one. I love the "shirring" at the top and I think it would be loads of fun to try and learn this technique. 

I've always wanted to make my own tomato pincushions! These are perfect and easy.

A little flower-shaped play mat would be super fun to sew as a baby gift. Sew Quick, Sew Cute has projects for babies, children, and adults, the home, cozies, a garland, an ornament, stuffed toys, a skirt, sachets, pajama pants, an Advent calendar, and more. There are 30 simple, speedy projects, just as the book cover states, and for any level of sewer there are some sweet ideas in this book. This would be a good teaching or learning book as well. There are time estimates given in hours for each project as well as the pattern pieces (some have to be enlarged), and well-written step-by-step instructions. I found the book clear and simple to follow. 

One thing I enjoyed about making this project yesterday is that when I spread all of the materials out on my kitchen table to work on the penguins, TC then pulled out her scrap paper, markers, glitter, notebooks full of handwritten motivational sayings, scissors and glue. She made her Little Penguin good luck signs at the same time. We sat most of the day together at the kitchen table chatting and crafting (except for a quick and needed cupcake run to the Bloom Bake Shop). I loved yesterday so much.

Awhile back TC told me she really loves it when I sew in the kitchen. This touched me for some reason. When I sew with my mom's old 1970s sewing machine I inherited I set it up right on the kitchen table and go to town. I remember as a child when my mom was sewing up a storm on this same sewing machine. I loved it when my mom was sewing just like TC does. There was something very comforting about my mom and her sewing. It made me feel safe and loved and her creativity and talent was exciting to be around. Although I am most certainly not a talented sewer like my mom, maybe this same feeling has transferred to TC. I like to think my mom has had a hand in this. 

Anyway, I wanted to share a little piece of my home life with you today. The rest of the week will be very busy attending the All-City Swim Meet, starting tomorrow. This is a city-wide event that takes place over three days and involves thousands and thousands of swimmers and families. It is a gigantic event that I participated in as a youngster growing up in Madison and that we have been participating in for over 15 years now as parents. What a tradition!

You might enjoy the book Sew Quick, Sew Cute by Fiona Goble if you want a few super fast and simple projects to sew up as gifts or just for fun. Click here to see more about it.

I'll be back soon with more. I hope you are enjoying this beautiful final week in July. The weather has been extraordinarily pleasant this summer here in Madison. We are loving every minute of it.

best, susie

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