Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Best Laid Plans of Mice


Hi, Knitters,
You know how the saying goes.... " the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry."

I even looked it up to make sure I was saying the quote correctly and here's what I found. 

Etymology

Shortened form of “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”, translated from Scots “The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men, / Gang aft agley,” from To A Mouse, On Turning Her Up In Her Nest With The Plough by Robert Burns (text and reading of poem).
I have had the best laid plans to get a podcast and giveaway and my new Sheep pattern up this week but instead the week has been riddled with repairs to necessary household items. Two cars, a refrigerator door, and two burners on the stove all broke down at about the same time. We've had maintenence and repair people in the house a lot. Why does everything collapse at once? No one will ever know.

Today I need to pack and prepare for my teaching travels and I didn't realize that my husband had scheduled a new and super duper high-speed internet installation which involved workers inside and outside of my house from early this morning to well into the afternoon. I had to be home for all of that and it was difficult to get any work done. And we had our wonderful daughter returning from college (the only fun new thing on the list!) all amongst the usual hustle and bustle.

None of that repair stuff is exciting or particularly interesting, it's only time-consuming. So the best laid plans of this knitter have gone awry.

Early tomorrow morning I'm off to Fibre Space in Alexandria, Virginia to have a fun weekend of teaching. The rest of my day is going to be filled with packing and organizing for my travels!

Next week, I should be clear and free to execute all of the fun plans I have laid. The finished Sheep pattern has been photographed, tech edited and graphically designed for polish and it is ready to publish. That will be out next week.

I have a super functional and beautifully handmade tote bag to give away from Shop Louleigh on Etsy. It is a brand new design she is offering and you will love it. And I have so much to share as far as fun yarns, projects, patterns, podcast and book recommendations, etc.! The list goes on and on.

The piles are piling.

So, I hope all of your repairs are under control. I am hoping we are in the clear for a moment or two when I get back. I'm off to teach knitting to wonderful knitters in Virginia and all is looking up!

Next week I have BIG plans for this blog! I hope you'll join me.
xo ~ susan
p.s. The sock yarn is a Watermelon Matching Socks Set Gradient from Knit Circus. The needles are Signature Needle Arts double-pointed needles, US size 1/2.25mm, 6-inch length. The pattern is my free pattern, How I Make My Socks.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Swedish Dubbelmossa, Watermelon Socks & Prom?


Hi, Knitters,
Spring is one of my favorite seasons for so many reasons. The school year is ending which makes the kids happy. The trees are bursting with leaves and blossoms and the grass is getting greener than green. The warming temperatures and end of the school year events add to the spring excitement. It is inspiring and energizing to say the least. I'm diving into the season full-force which includes embarking on a serious deep cleaning and de-cluttering of neglected drawers, closets and corners of my house. 

Earlier in the season I went through my closet and dresser drawers and I got rid of so much stuff. I reorganized and folded and hung everything in order. I have kept it up really well, too. I always have good intentions to be organized but when things get hectic it is the first thing to go by the wayside for me. So last week I devoted hours and hours to cleaning out my tiny home studio. I pulled out every cubby, drawer, bin, basket, and bookshelf. And I completely reorganized my needles. Needle organization is an ongoing battle for everyone I am sure. 

When I am traveling and teaching and I have new design deadlines things can get a little disorganized and cluttered. I try not to worry about it when it is happening because I think it's part of the creative process for me. I immerse myself in the project at hand and in doing so I become a bit oblivious to daily organizing duties. I always have faith that I will get back to it when time allows, and I always do eventually.

Anyway, my little knitting studio feels wonderful and fresh and clean now. Mainly, it makes me feel lighter and happier and it makes working a lot more enjoyable like a heavy weight has been lifted off my needles. I have found so many fun knitted things from the past as I've sorted.

Click here and here to go down memory lane with me. I'm amazed at how well these things have held up.


Now onto some knitting. When I was at Yarnover in Minneapolis a couple of weeks ago the keynote speaker was Meg Swansen. I have seen Meg speak one other time and it is very possible that she is my favorite. I love that she is so articulate and funny and smart. I love that she always has interesting and new to me knitting information. I love that her mother is Elizabeth Zimmermann. I love the way she talks about her family and her home, a renovated one-room schoolhouse, located in small town Wisconsin. She is charming, endearing, fun and simply interesting. If you get the chance to hear Meg speak or take a class or attend Knitting Camp over the summer I highly recommend it. In fact, it should almost be a requirement.


Anyway, when Meg was speaking Anne Berk, a fellow instructor (check out her new book, Annetarsia, it's pretty brilliant!), shared some of her finished Meg Swansen designs. The one that really caught my eye was her Swedish Dubbelmossa. Anne and I walked back to our rooms together later that night and I got to check out her fantastic hat much more closely. I was fascinated and wanted to cast one on for myself immediately!




I used a US size 2/3mm 16-inch circular and dpns to knit the hat. You start with a provisional cast on, I used the crochet version. Click here for my video tutorial on the provisional cast on!

I worked on the blue lining and the colorwork simultaneously which was fun. If I had a few minutes for mindless knitting I worked on the blue end and if I had time to sit and concentrate I worked on the stranded knitting which requires reading the charts. I just kept alternating like this until it was finished. The first photo is an in-progress shot of working from both ends. I used two circular needles, one for each end of the hat.


Dubbel means double and mossa means cap so Dubbelmossa is a doubled-hat. It is worked from the provisional cast-on out on both ends in a tube. The lining end, the blue side in this case, is much shorter in length to accommodate for the turned up brim or cuff. The cuffed part of the hat is actually four layers so it is a very warm hat. 


The lining end is punched in and tucked inside of the colorwork end. The shot of blue is like a hidden surprise inside. I love that.


The decreases at the top are worked every round which makes for a pointy top. If you wanted a smoother or rounder top you could work a knit round in between the decrease rounds. I like the stripy point, it's cute.


The hat has quite a snug fit. When I was knitting I worried that it would be too big in circumference but when it is layered and the brim is folded up it takes up the extra fabric. 



Thank you to the beautiful Miss Molly for modeling for me. She is marrying my son this coming July so the excitement is building. We are so lucky to have Molly in our family.

I recommend the Dubbelmossa pattern. It is not difficult, very straightforward, really you are just reading simple charts. It is a great way to practice stranded colorwork. 


While at Yarnover I finished the Come What May (the colorway name) socks I started a long time ago. The yarn is from Knit Circus and it is the Matching Gradient Stripes Socks Set. The photo was taken in the very early morning in my hotel room. 





Since I finished the socks while at Yarnover and Knit Circus was at the market I couldn't resist picking up the Watermelon Gradient Matching Socks Set. Here is my progress on the first sock. It's a beauty and very seasonal.

And for another annual spring event....


Prom!

I had to share the lovely TC in her prom dress. I adore the two-piece dress she wore to her first prom last weekend. The full skirt even has generous pockets. The dress fit like a glove and when she had her heels on the length was perfect.

She had a wonderful time and it was a great success.

A quick update on a couple of things. I am going to be teaching at Fibre Space in Alexandria, Virginia, from May 19-21, 2016. There are few spaces left in a couple of classes (Egg to Owl and the Build a Toy have spots remaining), the rest are sold out, thank you for that. If you are in the area I'd love to see you!  Click here to see my class offerings!

The last thing is that my Creativebug class filming had to be postponed due to some scheduling conflicts at the company. So I was not in San Francisco last week shooting workshops, instead I was home cleaning, such a glamorous life I lead. I will keep you posted when I get that back on the books, I don't think I can squeeze it in until next fall so it will be not be for quite awhile.

I will be getting the new Sheep pattern up and available in my Ravelry pattern shop by the end of this week. I shared the new Sheep on my last podcast episode. Hopefully I will get a new podcast up this week with a super fun giveaway for you. Stay tuned.

Have a great start to your week, Knitters. I missed you last week. I'll be back soon with more....
xo ~ susan

Friday, April 29, 2016

Flora

Photo from Making by Carrie Bostick Hoge
Hi, Knitters,
First things first, the winner of the Little Skein project bag is..... mwbbas (rav username)! Congratulations. I have contacted the winner and Anne Vally to get in touch via pm. I'm hosting another fantastic giveaway next week so stay tuned.

Second things second, I am teaching at the Fibre Space in Alexandria, Virginia, from May 19-21, 2016. I am teaching 5 workshops and there are still a few openings in a few classes, some are sold out. I would love to see you at the shop! I am teaching Build a Toy, Shawl Shapes, Egg to Owl, Seamless Dolls (Mary, Millie, & Morgan), and Fair Isle Fingerless Mitts


Third things third, I am excited to announce that I will be teaching at Knit City in Vancouver, Oct. 1-2, 2016! The teacher line-up has just been announced, click here for more information in the Knit City Ravelry group. The teachers include Clara Parkes, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, Andrea Rangel, Ysolda Teague, Lucy Neatby, Kate Atherley, me, and many more! The classes are being announced in May and the registration is in July. Click here for the knitsocial website for more information

Now for some Flora! Quite a long time ago Carrie Bostick Hoge contacted me about a new magazine idea she was working on. She asked if I would contribute projects to the first two issues. The theme of the first issue is Flora. Carrie basically left it open but wanted something with flowers from me for her magazine pages. Well, I couldn't say no to Carrie as I am an admirer of her beautiful work. I loved being involved in her premier Making issue.


Click here for the Flower Fairy & Leaf Sprite page on Ravelry!

Click here for Making Magazine! Carrie is offering a 20% discount for subscribers through May 10th. The first print issue is coming out in May and the second issue is coming out next fall 2016!

Click here to see all of the knit projects from Making Issue 1/Flora! The magazine includes handwork, embroidery, needle-felting, journaling, recipes, sewing, beautiful photography, inspiring text and more!

I came up with this sweet little set. I am so pleased with how it turned out. Here is the introduction I wrote about my inspiration and a little about the construction of the little flower & leaf set:

When I hear the word flora my mind goes straight to flowers and leaves and my youngest daughter, some of my most favorite things. When my daughter was a little girl she began her love affair with flowers and fairies. We collected fairies of all sorts, made handcrafted fairies, had fairy gardens in our yard and there were even fairy houses behind the couches and chairs in our living room. She and her neighbor friend had collected bark, moss, sticks and rocks to make elaborate and clever miniature fairy furniture. It was such a sweet and imaginative time and I loved every minute of it.
With the flora theme in mind I decided to pay homage to the Flower Fairies and Leaf Sprites that my daughter played with in her childhood. The knitted flower and leaf pockets or little beds, and the fairy and sprite are all worked entirely in one piece, no seaming to be found. The flower and leaf become the perfect places to tuck in the little knitted characters for sleep or for the perfect hiding places.
I hope this sweet pattern sparks the imagination of fairy-lovers everywhere!
This knitting pattern is from the first issue of the print publication Making.
The individual pattern will be available in my Ravelry pattern shop six months after the release of the magazine. 

The Flower Fairy & Leaf Sprite set is knit in Quince & Co. Chickadee which is a sport weight yarn. I knit on US size 4 double-pointed needles. Every piece is knit completely seamlessly and in the round. It is an enjoyable knit.

The pattern will be released as an individual download in my Ravelry pattern shop six months after the release of the magazine.

Here is some pattern information:
Finished measurements 

Flower: 41⁄2" [11.5 cm] wide and 6" [15 cm] tall Leaf: 31⁄4" [9 cm] wide and 4 1⁄2" [11.5 cm] tall, without stem
Sprite and Fairy: 3" [7.5 cm] tall

Yarn
Chickadee by Quince & Co. (100% American Wool; 50 grams / 181 yards [166 meters])
One skein in each:
Flower:
Pomegranate (for center color) and Shell (for petals)

Fairy: Split Pea (for body and stem), Petal (for head), Frank’s Plum (for hat), and Egret (for wings) 
Leaf: Split Pea (for leaf) and Twig (for stem) Sprite: Aleutian (for body), Chanterelle (for head), Honey (for hat), and Egret (for wings)
OR
25 yards [23 meters] or less of each color in sport weight yarn
Needles
• One set double-pointed needles (dpns) in
US size 4 [3.5 mm]
Or size to obtain gauge
Notions
• Locking stitch markers • Tapestry needle
• Fiber ll
Gauge
24 sts and 40 rnds = 4" [10 cm] in stockinette stitch, after blocking. 

The little hats are removable. They look like little acorns.


 The Leaf Sprite is so sweet in the lovely Chickadee colors.


The Flower Fairy and Leaf Sprite both have little tiny wings on their backs.


I hope you'll take advantage of Carrie's 20% off for the first two print issues of Making that is good through May 10, 2016! Click here to find out more. I have seen the first issue and I promise that you won't be disappointed. I want to make everything in the issue! The sweaters and cardigans, hat, shawl, cowl, baby bonnet, the embroidery and sewing and recipes are all so well done. The entire issue is inspiring.

Carrie Bostick Hoge is a creative force in our industry with so many talents. Her photography style and design style is one of the best I have ever experienced. It draws you in and makes you want to stay.


The Branches and Buds Pullover by Carrie Bostick Hoge is jumping on my needles! I can't wait to get started on this gorgeous, clever design. Carrie knows how to make a simple design with just a bit of detail to make it stand out. The Branches and Buds Pullover is a perfect example of simplicity with a little twist. The pullover is worked in Quince & Co. Chickadee as well. Maybe use the Chickadee for the Flower Fairy & Leaf Sprite for the buds on this sweater ~ the perfect yarn combination. 

I'll be back soon with more! Have a great weekend, friends.
xo ~ susan

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Episode 24 ~ Sheep Heid, Pattern Sale & Little Skein!


photo from littleskein.com
Hi, Knitters,
I have a new podcast episode up on YouTube. Click here for Episode 24!
I'd love to see you around the interwebs.



I have two quick and important announcements: 

~ I am running a huge Spring Pattern Sale of 40% off my entire Ravelry Pattern Shop, including eBooks, from today, April 20th to the end of the day on Monday, April 25, 2016! 


To get the discount please use the code: SPRING2016

~ The second announcement is that I am giving away one of those adorable Little Skein original fabric project bags today! The bag is called, Create, and it is wonderful. 

Thank you to Anne Vally for the fun opportunity! To enter to win the project bag please leave one comment on this blog post. Please include your email or Ravelry username so I can get in touch if you win. Please be patient for your comment to appear, it takes awhile for it to show up on the blog comments. I'll randomly select a winner early next week!

Now for some links for the things I talked about in the podcast:
Sheep Heid by Kate Davies
Kate Davies Designs website
Schoolhouse Press sells Jamieson Spindrift
Miss Babs Yowza
Fringe Supply Co. Field Bag
KnitCircus Gradient Stripes Matching Socks Set in Come What May
Yarnover 2016
Crofthoose Hat
Signature Needle Arts dpns

Here is the top of the Sheep Heid hat before blocking! It's phenomenal.

You can see my pile of ends after only a couple of inches!

The Knit Circus Gradient Stripes socks are beautiful! 

Thanks for joining me today. Good luck if you enter the win the project bag from Little Skein.
I'll be back next week to randomly select a winner.
xo ~ susan

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Knits of the Week



Hi, Knitters,
I'm popping in with the winners of the giveaway for two kits from Never Not Knitting for my designs, Little Owl and Squirrel and Acorns.

The winners are..... laurasimo and simbaswing (both rav usernames)!! Congratulations.

Both winners have been contacted via Ravelry. Thanks for entering and for the kind comments, I really appreciate it. I will host another giveaway very soon.

The perfect seasonal quote in my notebook says:
"The grass grew green again and the woods were full of wildflowers." ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

Now for the socks. I finished the second sock early this morning. The yarn is the only sock yarn I have knit twice. I gave the first pair away and vowed to find the yarn to knit another pair to keep. 


I found the yarn again and have had it for a couple of years. The other day I saw it sitting on a shelf and decided to finally cast on. I wasn't disappointed! The color lived up to my memory and beyond. I love these socks. 

Yarn: Opal Schafpate III color #5096 (Unfortunately, I don't know where to purchase this yarn at this point.)
Pattern: How I Make My Socks - my free pattern
Sock Blockers: from theloopyewe.com


This week I also revived an old project that was cast on at least a couple of years ago. The hat pattern is Sheep Heid by Kate Davies. I am using Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift in the same colors as the pattern uses, the naturals. It is beautiful and fun. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

I have so much work to do and I am sure you are all busy, too, so I won't keep you long today.

I also hope to get outside to enjoy the warming weather this pretty spring week and of course, to visit the wildflowers in the woods near my house. I hope you get to do the same.
xo ~ susan 

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Episode 23 ~ Sock Mania


Hi, Knitters,
It's great to back! I have a new podcast episode and a super cute giveaway, too. Be sure to leave a comment on the blog post to win a kit from Never Not Knitting for the Squirrel and Acorns or the Little Owl.

Click here for the direct link to YouTube for watching Episode 23.

Subscribe on YouTube ~ susanbanderson
My Instagram ~ susanbanderson

Here are the links:

I'm wearing Owls by Kate Davies











Crofthoose Hat by Ella Gordon

Croft House by Julia Marsh







Fibre Space ~ my upcoming workshops in May 2016, Alexandria, Virginia.
Links for more information on the classes:

photo from Never Not Knitting

Today's giveaway is for the kits, either the Squirrel with Acorns or the Little Owl. I showed these in detail on the podcast. You get all of the yarn, the stuffing, embroidery floss and best of all, a code for the downloadable pattern on Ravelry! 

I will randomly select two winners, one for each kit, from the comments on this post in a few days.

To enter to win please leave one comment on this post that includes your Ravelry username or an email address so I can contact you if you win. 

Good luck if you enter to win! Thanks for watching.
xo ~ susan

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

New Craftsy Class ~ My First Toe-Up Socks!


Hi, Knitters,
First, the giveaway for my new Craftsy sock class is over, the winner was selected by Craftsy and I have contacted the winner via email with the link to receive the class! Thanks to Craftsy for the class. In one day we had close to 800 entries to win so that was remarkable. Thank you for the interest.

Now for today's news.

Today is an exciting day. I have a brand new Craftsy class has launched, My First Toe-Up Socks! It's really here!



This is my third Craftsy Class. You may or may not remember my other two classes (these are 50% off links for these two classes, too!):


and


All of the links to the class are provided to me by Craftsy and they are affiliate links. I get a small credit when you go through the links provided on my blog for Craftsy. Thank you if you click through here. I appreciate it.

All of the photos in the post have been provided by Craftsy. Here is the video trailer for the class:

video

I am so excited to be back with Craftsy once again. The toe-up sock class was a pleasure to prepare and a pleasure to film. It was hard and thorough work but I loved it. I researched and experimented and knit numerous toe-up sock using different techniques until I decided on the final version of the sock I would teach for the class. It was fun and exhilarating to dive into one subject so wholeheartedly. I really enjoyed the entire process. 

I am usually a cuff-down sock knitter so for me to switch directions of the sock construction and think about a "first-time" toe-up sock knitter was pretty easy for me. My goal for this class was to gather and to teach the simplest and most effective techniques, in my opinion, for knitting toe-up socks. I think it worked out well. 


The rainbow yarn in the title card is from Quaere Fibre.


Required skills: 
A skill prerequisite for the class is that the knitter has a general knowledge of the knit and purl stitches and is comfortable working in the round on either Magic Loop or on double-pointed needles. This is important! I go over these methods of working in the round but I am assuming the student already has a prior grasp on the concepts. 

Techniques and information covered in the class:
~ Both double-pointed needles and Magic Loop techniques are included

~ Pattern sizes include 2 weights of yarn and 3 sizes for each weight: 
          Worsted Weight socks in Small (Medium, Large)
           Fingering Weight socks in Small (Medium, Large)

~ Foot measuring to pick the correct size

~ Judy's Magic Cast-On with simple tips for memorizing

~ Afterthought Heel waste yarn placement with a twist

~ Texture and cuff alternatives, adding different yarns/colors, and how to make matching socks with striping or patterning yarns

~ Russian Bind-Off in pattern for a stretchy finish

~ Picking up stitches and working the Afterthought Heel (and how to close the gaps at the the top of the heel!), with a method for making a deeper and better fitting heel using this technique

Six detailed lessons are provided. The pace is comfortable and informative, intended for true first-timers, but it is chock-full of information for experienced knitters as well.  


I had a great time filming at Craftsy. It has changed so much since I was there in 2011. The company is at a new building with at least 5 studios filming at the same time. The building is fun and bubbling with creativity. When I filmed five years ago the small studio was about 100 degrees due to the burning hot lights. This time the temperature was so comfortable. I dressed thinking it was going to be so hot under the lights but it turns out I could have worn my handknits. If there is a next time I will dress for the more comfortable temps.

Here are some photos from the class!


I knit the worsted weight sample socks in the Craftsy yarn, Cloudborn. It's a superwash merino. I believe Craftsy has kits available for the class.


The sock above was knit in different colors to show the parts of the sock, a sock map! I refer to the sock map sock throughout the class.





I hope you enjoy the new class and maybe the old classes, too! Let me know if you decide to partake. 


Enjoy!
xo ~ susan