Thursday, January 22, 2015

SBA Shawl Knitalong Starts Now! Shawl Discount, too.

Hi, Knitters!
I am so excited to get this SBA Shawl Knitalong kicked off! There are some different rules that really benefit you and add to your chances of winning a prize. Be sure to read through thoroughly. You don't need to be a member of the Itty-Bitty Knits group (my Ravelry group) to enter but we'd sure love to have you join in over there.

Click here for the discussion and sharing and helping thread on my Ravelry Group, Itty-Bitty Knits! This is the thread where you officially join the SBA Shawl Knitalong and chat, post photos, get help, and have fun! Set up your project pages and tag SBASHAWLKAL please! I will post your name on a list and will be drawing for random prizes along the way from this thread.

Click here for the finished SBA Shawl Knitalong thread! Here is where you post photos of finished shawls and link your project page. Please no chatter on here, only finished shawls.

Here is how it is going to work:

The SBA Shawl Knitalong is starting today, January 22, 2015 and ending March 1, 2015. This knitalong is different than some other knitalongs you may have done in the past so be sure to read through the rules (they benefit you, the knitter!).
Included in the SBA Shawl Knitalong are the following 7 shawl patterns (click to find the patterns):
Yowza Weigh It Shawl
Yowza Weigh It Shawl 2
50 Row Shawlette
Prairie Ridge Shawl
Quaker Ridge Shawlette
Drawing Nigh (Not included in the discount code as I don't own the rights to the pattern, Quince & Co. does.)
Here are the rules:
~ You can enter any of the my shawl patterns listed you have knit in the past or have just started. There isn’t a starting date.
~ You do have to have a finished shawl by the deadline in order to be eligible for prizes.
~ You can enter to win prizes more than once, one time for each shawl you have knitted in the past or are currently knitting. The more entries you have, the more chances you have to win one of the amazing prizes I have lined up! You won’t believe the stuff I already have as prizes. I may jump in and give random prizes along the way. You never know.
~ You need to enter the SBA shawl you are working on or have already finished in the Finished SBA Shawl KAL Thread with a photo and a project page before the deadline in order to win a prize.
Please tag your project pages!!!
The tag for the project pages is: SBASHAWLKAL
Is there more?
Yes! All of these shawl patterns with the exception of Drawing Nigh (I don’t own Drawing Nigh ~ Quince & Co. does) are now available for 20% off through next Friday, January 30, 2015!
The discount code is: SBASHAWLKAL

You don't need to join in the Knitalong to use the discount code. It is there for everyone.
The dates of the SBA Shawl Knitalong are from today, Jan. 22, 2015 through March 1, 2015! Finish as many shawls as you can. Post your already finished SBA Shawls! I want this to be a celebration of ALL of these fun shawls I have designed and that you have knit!
Let me know if I’ve forgotten anything!
Let’s chat, share, ask questions and help each other. Please feel free to jump in and answer questions even if they are addressed to me. I LOVE that.
Love you all!
p.s. Please introduce yourselves on here and let us know which shawl you are working on currently and what finished shawls you have entered. I am going to try my best to make a list of all participants. I will be drawing for random prizes along the way so you will want to be on this list! Please keep me posted if you have joined and I missed you.
p.p.s If I get the Yowza Weigh It Shawl 3 done soon I will add it to the discount and the list of included shawls. I just haven’t had the time to finish it but I will be on a mission to do so!!

This shawl is owned by Quince & Co. so Drawing Nigh is not included in the 20% off discount code. You can purchase this pattern through Ravelry or Quince & Co.

Let me know if you are joining in! Be sure to head over to the Ravelry threads linked above and check in and post your progress. I suspect we are going to have loads of fun together over the next month.

Don't forget to use the discount code for 20% off the 6 different shawl patterns if interested. The code is: SBASHAWLKAL. The sale goes now until Jan. 30, 2015.

xo ~ susan

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Madison Knitters' Guild Knit In and Knitting Galore!

Hi, Knitters,
The classes and registration information is up for the Madison Knitters' Guild Knit In! I am teaching on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 21 and 22, 2015 at the Alliant Energy Center (or the Coliseum for the old-school Madisonians) in Madison. There are so many great teachers and a fantastic marketplace. The prices are very reasonable for the classes, many places I teach charge double or even triple the class fees being charged at the Knit In. Some of the teachers include Patty Lyons, Joanna Johnson, Sheryl Thies and Annie Modesitt. There are many others instructors with interesting and fun class offerings.

I'm off to New York City in a few days to teach at Vogue Knitting Live. I can't wait. In addition to teaching on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I am speaking on a panel discussion at noon on Sunday. The panel is being led by Trisha Malcolm the editor of Vogue Knitting. And on Saturday night I am doing a book signing at the Knitty City booth #710 in the marketplace at 5pm!

A couple of my classes have been sold out but this keeps coming and going so I think numbers are still shuffling about. If a class is sold out be sure to request the class you are interested in. Sometimes I can change the numbers to allow more in the class if they aren't already too high. It's worth contacting the people at Vogue to check.

It's going to be a jam-packed weekend of fun. Click here to find out more about VKLive in NYC!

I am also teaching at Vogue Knitting Live in Pasadena, California in April! 

Now for the socks in the photo above. I finished these last week and I love them. The yarn is from ColoringBookYarns on Etsy and the colorway is BMO. The heels are knit in Opal Solids in Black. These were really fun to knit. The yarn is wonderful.

Needles: US size 1 dpns
Sock blockers: From

To make the heel flap a different color I leave the Main Color attached and start knitting the heel flap with the Contrast Color. I work the heel flap and turn with the Contrast Color and cut the yarn. Then I go back to where I left off with the Main Color and continue on picking up the gusset stitches. It works well to not break up the striping pattern on the rest of the sock and if you are concerned about not having enough yarn it gives a little more leeway.

As for an in-progress knitting update, I finished the first sock in the most fantastic rainbow gradient I've ever seen. The yarn is called Rainbow Gradient and it comes in the Gradients Matching Socks Sets by KnitCircus. It is truly beautiful and I love that the two yarn cakes are exactly the same so my socks will match perfectly without having to do any extra work.

US size 1 dpns

I knit an 8-inch cuff in hopes that I would reach all of the colors and it worked. I could have gone with a 9-inch cuff. I wear a 7.5 US women's shoe size. 

I started a pair of Broken Seed Stitch Socks yesterday. The pattern is free on Ravelry.

I am knitting them out of some really old Koigu that I purchased at Purl Soho maybe 8 years ago when I was in NYC on an early book tour. I lost the label so that's all I know about it. The contrast is a tan color in the Opal Solid Series. The combination is a good one. 

I don't like pooling at all so the contrast color and stitch pattern is a good mask for variegated yarns that pool. You can see that the rusty color is pooling but it actually looks kind of cool using this pattern. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Lastly, I finally got started on a shawl project I am collaborating on with Jaala Spiro, the dyeing genius at Knit Circus Yarns. I am using the Come What May Gradient that comes in a 600 yard skein. I can't tell you how much fun this is to knit. I have a good start with a little easy lace and we'll see where this takes me. I have lots of ideas about how the shawl will grow from here.

Click here to see this skein on Knit Circus Yarns on Etsy!

I'm not sure when the new pattern is going to be released but I am hoping in the next couple months. I'll post about it when it is available.

Have a great Sunday! It's all about the Packers around here today (not for me so much but for other members of the family).
xo ~ susan

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Badge of Love: Darning

Hi, Knitters,
First, the winner of the Fab Funky Fibres Autumn Rainbow self-striping yarn is.....

Cori or irocknits on Ravelry!! By the way check out Cori's photo in Instagram of the 9 sweaters she finished for Christmas gifts this year. It is pretty incredible. Click here to see!

Congratulations to Cori! Thank you to Elaine of Fab Funky Fibres for the skein of gorgeous yarn to give to one of you. Thank you for the enormous response to the giveaway. I will have another one very soon. 

One more quick news-type thing, in February I am teaching at the Madison Knitting Guild event called Knit In! Click here to see the class options and to get more information. It is open to everyone! I'll talk more about this soon with more details but register early if you want to get in. My classes were huge and filled quickly last time I taught at this fun event. 

Today I have a video tutorial on darning for you. I am no expert but I have occasionally darned holes in socks and I get asked about repairing worn holes in socks so I thought I'd share.

My future daughter-in-law, Miss Molly, knit these adorable socks a couple of year ago. Last week she sadly told me that both socks suddenly had holes on the bottom of the heels. It's kind of funny how they wore out exactly at the same time and in the same spot but they did! I told her to bring them to me and I would try to darn the holes for her.

A few quick things about the video. Warp and weft were the weaving terms I couldn't remember. Also, the yarn has become slightly felted from washing and wearing so you can see the I struggle a bit to get the needle through the stitches. Be patient if your sock is slightly felted and use a sharper or finer needle to make it easier.

Make sure not to pull any of the strands too tight while darning. Pulling too tight will distort the natural shape of the sock. The darning egg comes in handy for keeping the fabric as it would be while wearing the sock but it isn't necessary. You could use a small ball, a tomato pincushion, or something else rounded. Remember those EOS lip balms I recently talked about.... two purposes in one!

If you can't see the video for email subscribers click here to view the video on YouTube!

The sock yarn used for the socks in the video is Vesper by Knitterly Things (one of my favorites) in the Shamrockin' colorway. The pattern used for the socks is How I Make My Socks found both on Ravelry and my blog.

A couple of more quick thoughts or options on darning for you:
1.  If you notice that the yarn is getting very worn and thin in a certain spot on your sock but it hasn't broken through to create a hole yet you can darn over the top of the threadbare spot using this same technique before it breaks open. This is called surface darning.
2. For this same kind of wearing thin of the fiber but not a hole quite yet you can duplicate stitch over the threadbare stitches to reinforce them before the worn spot becomes a hole.
3. If the darned spot is on the bottom of the foot do not use any knots and try to weave in the ends so as not to create any unwanted ridges in the fabric.

My final thoughts on darning are to just do it! You can see that my darning isn't perfect but it works just fine to extend the life of the beloved handknit socks. The darned spot will wear in so that it will feel undetectable to the foot after awhile in my experience.

I've shown you in the video how I have darned my own socks through the years and this technique works really well for me. There are lots of other ways to darn socks. I remembered reading an article by Kate Gilbert of Twist Collective awhile back and when I searched it popped right up. Kate created a great tutorial showing several different darning techniques. It is extremely helpful and clear.

Click here to read Kate Gilbert's tutorial post called Darn It All!

I love a darned spot on any sort of knitwear. It is a badge of LOVE. A darned spot is something to be cherished. There is a charm to a darned sock, mitten, or even sweater elbows. I prefer to darn my socks in different colored yarn to remind me how much I have worn and loved them.

Back in 2013 I did a blog post sharing the darning of a pair of handspun socks. Click here to revisit the post and to see the darned socks!

Please let me know if you have any darning tips or techniques that you've used to repair your knit items. I'd love to hear about it.

Have a great Sunday and start to your week, dear Knitters.
xo ~ susan

Monday, December 29, 2014

Fab Funky Fibres Giveaway!

Hi, Knitters,
I hope you have all had a good holiday season so far. It has been busy and full around here. Along with hosting Christmas for my side of the family we've had a birthday leftover lunch for my niece and a Packer-viewing game crew just left. We have had lots and lots of family and friends at our house over the past week and I love every minute of it. It's been a lot of cooking, baking, talking and eating. My husband's birthday is tomorrow and then New Year's Eve, my son's girlfriend is coming to visit for a few days... and so it continues. 

And in two weeks Vogue Knitting Live in New York City! Come see me! I can't wait to teach at this event. It is one of my favorites.

We have taken down all of the Christmas decorations and tree (the needles were collapsing in piles on the floor every time someone walked by) but I snapped a few photos before they were stored away for next year. 

Hope your days were merry and bright..... 

Now for some socks.

Do you remember these stripey socks I knitted a couple of years ago? I used to have this photo on the header for my blog. The yarn is in the colorway called 15 Color Rainbow and it is from an Etsy shop called Fab Funky Fibres. The colors are saturated and the stripes are clean and crisp. Elaine does one of the best dye work jobs I've seen. She lives in England. The skeins are a bit pricey but worth every penny in my opinion. Each of her striping skeins is about $38 plus shipping.


Every once in a while I hop over to Fab Funky Fibres to see what's cooking with her yarn. Elaine has a yarn colorway with 23 different striping colors that I purchased. It is called, I Believe in the Impossible. It's the skein on the left in the photo above. Elaine sent me a note saying that she sent along an extra skein called Autumn Rainbow to give to one of my blog readers. 

Thank you, Elaine! You are very generous.

The 23 different colored striping yarn is extraordinarily beautiful in the skein but when you see it knit up...

(photo from Fab Funky Fibres, I Believe in the Impossible)

... it is exciting! I can't wait to dig in! Elaine added contrasting cuffs, heels and toes. You wouldn't have to but it is pretty this way.

Directly above in the photo is the skein one of you luckies will win!
From Elaine of Fab Funky Fibres:
Autumn Rainbow a little taste of Autumn Colours knits into 6 rows of knitting per colour depending on your tension for a fab and funky fusion of colour:
75% Superwash Merino 
25% Nylon
4 ply Superwash

Autumn Rainbow is a 100 gram/464 yard skein of fingering weight yarn. I counted and I think this giveaway skein has about 15 different colored stripes.
 (photo from Fab Funky Fibres)

Here is what Autumn Rainbow looks like knit up! Stunning! The knitter that gets this skein is going to have so much fun.

To enter to win the skein of Autumn Rainbow striping sock yarn from Fab Funky Fibres, please leave one comment on this blog post. Be patient for your comment to appear and only click post one time. There is a delay in posting to the blog post. In your comment you must leave either your email address or your Ravelry ID or username so I can contact you if you win. 

I will be back in a couple of short days to randomly select a winner. 

Good luck and let the comments begin!
xo ~ susan

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Early on the Eve

Hi, Knitters,
I awoke very early on this Christmas Eve morning to finish the toe of the last of the socks to be gifted tomorrow. Much coffee has already been had and I am pleased as punch to finish the pair. These are going to a family member who requested only a pair of handknit socks from me. 

The wish is granted. 

The yarn is Patons Kroy Socks in the Singin' the Blues colorway. It's unanimous that everyone around here loves the stripes and colors. I've had two more requests for this same yarn and more socks. I'll need a quick breather and then maybe I can come back to it again. It's definitely a good unisex colorway.

I'm so excited for Christmas this year. It all feels so good and happy. Having my grown kids home and tucked in their beds makes me feel whole and content. There is so much excitement and change going on in all of their lives and it is fun to see who they are becoming as young adults. I looked across the dinner table filled with our mostly adult children and asked my husband, "Can you believe we did this?" 

We are all enveloped in home and love. 

I hope love surrounds you this holiday season and for the rest of the new year to come. Thank you for sharing so much with me, sweet Knitters.

See you on the other side.....
xo ~ susan

Friday, December 19, 2014

Gonna do some knitting....

Hi, Knitters,
I'm in full-swing Christmas-mode right now. Are you in your holiday-mode, too? 

Time is short. 
Knitting is long. 
Sunlight is none. 

It is very difficult to take good photos when every day is gray and foggy. It is dark, dark, dark all day long. I miss the sunshine. Today I did my best with the trusty camera and I want to share some of what I have been working on.

I am not going to link everything today to save some time. Please google for the links if you are interested in anything I have mentioned in the post. Thank you for understanding.

Well, I am so happy to have finished the Tinsel Socks. I used Desert Vista Dyeworks Holiday Stripes mismatched on purpose half-skein set and carried the sock yarn with a glitter-y thread of tinsel from Kreinik Thread. The socks sparkle and shimmer like no tomorrow. 

The shoes are Birkenstocks in the Bern style and they are wool. 
The socks are so elf-like. I truly love them.

For my son I have completed a pair of smart looking Kristin Nicholas Regia Garden Effects socks.

Heels and toes are in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock.

The Regia will hold up so well and they look really cool. I am excited to give these to him.

I have this first sock completed past the heel and gusset and onto the foot. This pair is a gift for Christmas day. 

The yarn is Patons Kroy Socks in the Singin' the Blues colorway. I kinda love it a lot.

Will I get the pair done for Christmas? Time will tell.

I have recently picked this back up in my hands, the Rainbow Gradient sock set by KnitCircus.

Yeah. These are going to be really good. I have knit an 8-inch cuff so that all of the colors will be reached by the time I get to the toe. I hope it works. I think it will.

The needles are Signature Needle Arts dpns, 6-inch length. I always order 5 needles.

12 Holiday placemats are completed! I have way more than 12 people coming for Christmas dinner but it's a good start for this year anyway. 

I may have some more non-holiday fabric placemat sewing in the works for gifts. I am hoping to get it all done in time.

I used the rag quilt technique with batting. There are videos on YouTube showing how to do this.

My husband brought home an Ugly Christmas Sweater DIY Kit from work. It was some sort of gag gift. Old TC had to make it. She designed the lay out, I glued. See all of those little glitter ornaments and jingle bells next to the Santa? Those still need to be sewn on. I will do this later today. I'm pretty sure this will get wrapped up and given to someone on Christmas morning.

Yesterday my husband took the day off from work to go Christmas shopping with me. We actually got a lot done and it was fun having him with me. He's a good guy, neither of us are great shoppers but we muddle through somehow.

I'm going to leave you today with a short song called Knitting. 

"On a farm, in a barn, feeling lonely but I've got some yarn..... 

I'm gonna do some knitting.

I need to do some knitting."

Knitters always have company and that is good.
xo, susan

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tinsel Socks

Hi, Knitters,
Things are getting busier around here these past few days. My college kids are coming home for their winter breaks from school so there is extra hustle and bustle going on. I am trying my best to avoid going to any sort of mall and I think I might win the battle this year. There is no snow on the ground and it has been gray, foggy and raining. It's so strange. 

I have finished exactly one dozen holiday-themed rag quilt placemats as of yesterday. I'm feeling pretty good about it. I am hosting our big extended family for Christmas dinner this year so I can't wait to set these new placemats out on the tables. That will be festive and fun. 

I started knitting a pair of Christmas socks a few days ago. I think it was last year when I purchased a set of two 50 gram sock skeins that were for a mismatched pair on purpose kind of thing. The set is from Desert Vista Dyeworks. This shop has so many great colorways and striping sock yarns. Be sure to check it out.

The set of skeins I purchased is called Holiday Stripes. You can see the skeins before I wound it all up by clicking right here.

So I had this idea about making some Tinsel Socks by adding holiday colored glitter thread to the Holiday Stripes yarn. I was recently sent a box filled with Kreinik glitter threads and reflective thread that can be added to knitting or other things or embroidered, etc. Click here for Kreinik threads! Thank you to Kreinik for the generous gift.

The thread I'm using is called Twist and it doesn't change the gauge at all for knitting when carried along with your yarn. I have been asked if it is scratchy and the answer is no. The thread is not scratchy at all but it does change the texture of the knit fabric slightly. It is remarkably still soft considering the addition of a metallic thread.

The socks are knitting up super mismatched, unexpectedly so! The white is different and the green is very different. The lengths of the stripes are different, too. I love it all. I am using green Kreinik Twist on one cuff and foot and then switching to the other skein with red Kreinik glitter thread on the heel and toe. Then I am reversing this for the other sock. One sock is mainly green tinsel and the other is mainly red tinsel.

It has been a super fun Christmas-y project. Tinsel Socks! And to make it even more fun I have been carrying around the Christmas sock project in a Santa project bag from LoveSockWool on Etsy. It's really cute all around.

I am using Signature Needle Arts dpns in size US 1 (6-inch needles). I am using my own free sock pattern called How I Make My Socks.

The socks are so sparkly. It is very hard to capture the amount of glimmer and sparkle on camera. My daughters both love these socks so much. TC is just waiting to wear them. Maybe you still have time to knit some Tinsel Socks for someone special? Or is it too late? 

Or maybe for next year!

I hope you are surviving the holiday rush, dear Knitters. I love this time of year.

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