Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Fruits of Summer


Hi, Knitters,
The summer is going a little too quickly around here. But one thing I really look forward to is the ripening of our backyard garden. We have a good-sized garden in a sunny spot that is fenced in to keep out the rabbits. We have two raised beds and I think this year we finally have it down. The plants are spread out and supported nicely and this is paying off. Our trouble has always been overplanting. 

This year we have a couple of kinds of peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, a big variety of tomatoes from cherry to Roma to heirloom, and tons of basil. My favorites are the tomatoes. I love tomatoes and once this season hits I can eat a tomato sliced up with salt and pepper for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner. It is a highlight of summer. 

The shining stars this summer are the heirloom tomatoes. These are the best we've grown. I love the taste, the look, and the color of these heirlooms. I love the folds and gathers at the top, kind of looks like a knit hat. 

Anyway, I hope you are having success if you garden or maybe if you get to hit a farmers' market or two this summer.


One other fun thing about August is hiking in our neighborhood conservancy. The paths become enveloped in tall grasses, way above my head, and the masses of flowers are beyond belief. No photo can capture what it's really like. The colors and sounds are so beautiful. Hiking in August is something I look forward to every year and with the rainfall this summer, everything is in its prime.


I started a couple of fun projects this past week. One project I am especially excited about is a pattern that's not released yet but it is coming soon. I cast on and started a red cardigan with pockets and a fun textured stitch pattern. I will keep you posted. I think wearing a red cardigan this fall and winter is going to make me really happy. 



The other project I started and finished is this gorgeous Erland hat. Tanis Gray is the designer and she wrote the pattern for Barrett Wool Co. I love this kind of hat that is simply casting on and following a chart for the entire hat. Erland is one of my favorite knits ever.

In the photo above, that's Tanis' sample hat and on the right is my version of Erland.


I finished it up in one day and here it is blocking. I modified the original Erland pattern a little bit but not much. I knit the hat on a US size 7 needle at 5 stitches per inch. I added some corrugated ribbing for extra length to cover my ears. And because I was knitting at a bigger gauge I took out one of the repeats, so instead of four repeats I only did three repeats. 

I misjudged the length a tiny bit. After Erland dried I realized that I should have only done one-inch of corrugated ribbing instead of two-inches. So I tucked the cast on edge under and whipstitched it to the inside of the Latvian braid so the brim is doubled, which I love. 

Now the hat is perfect and the fit is fantastic. When you only do three repeats instead of four repeats of the chart the top of the hat becomes slightly pointed. I blocked out the point as much as possible and when the hat is worn there is no visible point. 

Anyway, I love this hat. I feel like it is a tiny piece of art. Thank you to Tanis for such a rewarding design. I haven't had this much fun knitting a hat in awhile. 





I finished writing up all sorts of good tutorials and updates on the Gigi Cardigan. It has been really fun to walk through a typical modification series for a simple top-down cardigan.


There is a lot of good information for sweater knitters here!

Okay, friends, thank you for the Smooth Operator Socks pattern love. The discount has been extended through the weekend. No code is necessary for the discount on the pattern. 


Love to you and yours.
xo ~ susan

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Smooth Operator Socks Anniversary Celebration!


Hi, Knitters,
I'm checking in on this lovely Sunday. I hope you are well. We are having a little cooler weather for August which is really pleasant. Today is supposed to be in the mid-70s for a high. I like it. I have been knitting up a storm and I have some fun things coming out this fall so I am looking forward to that. I'll keep you posted if you are interested.

Today, I am celebrating the one year anniversary of my Smooth Operator Socks pattern which was published last summer. This sock pattern/tutorial has become my most popular pattern of all time. In order to make the first anniversary a little special I made some additions to the pattern and I discounted the price.

The Smooth Operator Socks pattern is on sale for $3.50 from Aug. 5-12, 2017! No code is necessary. The pattern will return to the regular price of $5.00 on Aug.13, 2017.



So I've added a couple of new things. 

The first is a new additional tutorial has been added to the Variation Notes at the end of the Smooth Operator Socks pattern. The new tutorial is called No Waste Yarn Afterthought Heel and it takes you step-by-step through how to cut directly into the sock to make the opening for the afterthought heel. It's an even simpler way of adding in an afterthought heel with less fuss.


The second thing I've added is a recipe for adding the beautiful heart motif to your Smooth Operator Socks over on the Barrett Wool Co. Journal. There is a chart and there are general instructions to help you do this. I love the look of these heart-filled socks. The heart instructions do not include the full sock pattern. 


The yarn in the photos is Barrett Wool Co. Home Fingering Weight in the Red Flannel colorway. One skein is plenty for an adult-size pair of socks. 



The Heart motif will work on any type of yarn, solid, striped, tonal or gradient. 


Have fun if you partake in the Smooth Operator Socks pattern discount or if you add hearts to your next pair of SOSocks. Keep me posted.

We have re-stocked handmade faux-fur pom-poms in the Mercantile and we got some new colors! If you order a skein of Home Worsted Weight or Wisconsin Woolen Spun Worsted Weight we will kit-it-up for you to make an Entwined Hat kit. Let us know on your order if this is something you would like us to do.


Okay, Friends, have a super Sunday. I will be back soon with more. I hope you are having a fantastic day.

xo ~ susan

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Meet Gigi!

Photo provided by designer Devin Ventre

Hi, Knitters,
I hope you are having a wonderful weekend. We went to the Madison Farmers' Market yesterday morning and it was fantastic as always. For dinner last night we used the produce we purchased to make tofu spring rolls. We have done this a couple of times now and although it's a lot of work we kind of have it down now where everyone has a certain job to make it go faster. I also made a rhubarb crisp for dessert and I just love that tart taste. Anyway, it was all so delicious that I'm still thinking about it as you can tell.

Yesterday we released a new cardigan kit over on Barrett Wool Co called the Gigi Cardigan Kit. You can read all about the background of this cardigan and kit on the BWC Journal by clicking right here. We are so excited about this charming short-sleeved cardigan which is knit up in our Wisconsin Woolen Spun Worsted yarn. The pattern and design are by new designer Devin Ventre. Devin has been so much fun to work with on this collaboration.


We have five colorways from which to choose and custom artisan Black Walnut buttons to add if you like. These buttons are really special and are made by my favorite button maker, Jeff Wilson of Wooly Moss Roots

Read all about the buttons right here! It has been quite a process to get these buttons and they are exquisite. 

photo provided by Devin Ventre

Devin knit her Gigi in the Rain Shower colorway. I love the little details like the reverse stockinette on the shoulder and sleeve. 

Photo provided by Devin Ventre

The pocket is reverse stockinette stitch, too. 

Devin knit her Gigi in size 34 and my Gigi (below) is knit in size 38. Positive ease is written into the pattern so make sure you check out the finished measurements when determining your size.


Here is my Gigi worked up in the Sherwood colorway! I love it so much. I am already wearing it this summer. It is the perfect layering garment for all seasons. I am planning on wearing my Gigi with jeans and t-shirts both long and short sleeve, skirts, and over dresses. It can be dressed up and casual. This is one versatile garment. 

I made quite a few fun modifications and I am going to be blogging about those all week, including tutorials, over on the Barrett Wool Co. Journal if you'd like to follow along. 


I love sewing on buttons. It means things are almost finished. The buttons for the kit are simply amazing. They are handmade in Mapleton, Oregon, and honestly, they are the perfect finishing touch. 


This is the Sherwood colorway and it is an interesting color. It is teal but it is dyed over a darker wool so there is a heathered look to it that is hard to capture in photos. The Wisconsin Woolen Spun yarn is incredible to knit with on so many levels. The finished sweater is as light as air. 

Gigi is the perfect sweater for beginning sweater knitters or experienced knitters wanting to relax. The pattern is clear and concise. I worked my sweater on a US size 8 for the body and a US size 7 for the edgings. It goes really fast!


The Black Walnut buttons might be my favorite part of the kit. 


I have been wearing my Gigi everyday since it's been finished. Devin Ventre did such a wonderful job with this design and pattern. Congratulations, Devin!


Photo provided by Devin Ventre

I think this is my favorite photo from Devin. She knit a Gigi for her mother and it looks so cute. She used the Penny colorway and the cardigan is worked up in a size 42. It's a wonderful color for her.

Anyway, enjoy the Gigi Cardigan Kit if you get one. I'll have lots of tips and tricks for you along the way while you're knitting. As always, let me know if you have any questions or if we can be of any help over on Barrett Wool Co.

Much love to you all and happy Sunday!

xo ~ susan

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Clover Hat ~New Free Pattern!


Hi, Knitters,
I have a new free pattern that was released yesterday! It is called Clover which is the perfect name for the hat. It was named by Kate Peyton Lynch or @redrover189 on Instagram! I had a little naming suggestion thread going over on my Instagram feed. Thank you for the help, Kate! That was a fun thread to read and thank you to everyone for all of the suggestions. I think there were well over 100!

Anyway, back to the Clover hat. The hat pattern includes two sizes, baby-size and adult-size. The hat is worked in Barrett Wool Co. Home Worsted Weight yarn on US size 7 needles or size 4.5mm. 

One skein of Home Worsted is enough to make one adult and one baby hat, so two hats out of one skein! It's pretty perfect. It is also a great project to try out Home Worsted if you haven't tried it yet. 




The color in the photo is Bluff, which is one of our most popular colorways. 


The baby size hat is sized to fit about a 0-6 month old. The colorway in the sample is Grassland and it is so perfectly paired with a Priscilla (the prettiest pink) or Bluff (the beautiful blue) pom-pom. 


The adult-size hat will fit about a 19-22 inch circumference head measurement. This means an older child, teen and adult could easily fit this hat. That's the beautiful Miss Molly modeling for these photos.

The handmade faux-fur pom-pom is available in the BWC Mercantile! There are a couple of colors left right now and we have tons on order and some new colors to boot.
Click here to check out the poms!

Anyway, it's a fun knit and you can read all about it on Ravelry or on the BWC Journal! 

Have fun if you knit one and be sure to post on Instagram or Ravelry and let me know so I can see your Clover creations.

Also, we released a really fun Limited Edition Kit yesterday. 


We introduced a Limited Edition Gradient Twist Mitten Kit yesterday over on Barrett Wool Co. It uses my original Waiting for Winter Mitten pattern which many of you might already own. You can purchase the kit with or without the pattern in case you don't need it.


The Gradient Twist Mitten Kit includes a cake of our Wisconsin Woolen Spun Worsted dyed in a marled gradient and a cake of Birch for striping. There are four different gradient color choices that you can see below in the photo. 

I provided How-To instructions for striping your mittens like mine. 


You can see the four color choices above. Reds, purples, greens and blues are the options!

These are the coziest, sweetest and most fun mittens to knit. I want to make a lot more pairs but I'll restrain myself because once this gradient yarn is gone it is truly gone. I don't know what it is about mitten knitting that I love so much exactly but it is one of the most satisfying projects around. It's quick and easy and the end results are useful and cute. That kind of sums it up.


Have a super Sunday, friends. I hope you are all enjoying your summer knitting and hopefully, you are starting to gear up for the fall knitting season already. I know I am! Fall is really high season for knitting and it is right around the corner.

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

Monday, July 10, 2017

Minnesota 52 Giveaway!

photo by Gale Zucker

ETA: The winner has been randomly selected. The winner of the ebook is Teachermom on Rav! She has already been gifted the ebook from Megan and Cori! Thanks for the fun everyone and I'll host another giveaway soon. 

Hi, Knitters,
I'm popping in quickly today to let you know about an Instagram giveaway I am hosting. The prize is an ebook copy of the new book Minnesota 52 written by Megan Williams and Cori Eichelberger. Megan is half of the Stockinette Zombies podcast that I'm sure many of you know already. Cori is Megan's good friend and a top-notch knitter to boot. 

The book has socks, a shawl, hats, colorwork projects, multiple sweaters, cowls, mittens and more. There are fun little stories and a delicious recipe for granola bars. I know how good these are because I already made a batch. 

The photography was done by the wonderfully talented Gale Zucker. 



To enter to win a copy of the book, hop over to my Instagram account and leave a comment over there! Click here to leave a comment to enter.

Please do not enter here if possible. If you don't have access to Instagram please leave a comment here and I'll include you in the pot for the random drawing. 

Here are a few of my favorite projects in the book:

photo by Gale Zucker

photo by Gale Zucker

photo by Gale Zucker

There is something for everyone in Minnesota 52 and the book has a happy fun outlook on knitting which I love.


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

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Mitten Kit Giveaway & a few works in progress


Hi, Knitters,
Happy Saturday to you all. I want to let you know about a giveaway I'm hosting over on the Barrett Wool Co. Journal. We are giving away one of our Three Color Mitten Kits to a lucky winner. You need to enter over on the Journal, not here. 


It's super easy to enter. The kit is worth $44.00 and it's a perfect time of year to knit mittens. Knit your mittens in July and you'll be all set for the fall season!

Good luck if you enter. I'll select a winner in a few days.


I'm finishing up a couple of hats. This one will be a free pattern and I'm pretty excited about it. The yarn is one skein of Home Worsted Weight in the Bluff colorway. The hat in the photo is an adult size and I'm blocking a baby size version right now. It's pretty cute.



I am working away on a really sweet top-down short-sleeved cardigan and I decided to try out a knotted steek for the body of the sweater. I am going to be posting a full tutorial on this technique soon so watch for that if you are interested. It is a super easy technique that takes away most all of the bulk associated with the other steeking techniques I have tried.

More on this soon! 



And I finished the first sock in the Bergere de France Goomy 50 sock yarn. I can't remember where I purchased this yarn but I'm sure if you google the name it will pop up for you. 

I used my Smooth Operator Socks pattern and I love the look it gives the sock. I'll be casting on the second sock today. 

Have a great weekend, friends. I hope you are doing well and that your knitting is coming along swimmingly.
xo ~ susan

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Happy 4th & Free Shipping on BWC!


Hi, Knitters,
Happy 4th of July to those celebrating! Looks like a beautiful day out there in the neighborhood. I hope you all get outside in the fresh air and don't forget to bring your knitting. We have a cookout and some fireworks planned so I'm looking forward to that!

And I wanted to let you know that over on Barrett Wool Co. we are offering FREE (US only) shipping starting today, July 4th and ending at the end of the day CST on July 5th, 2017! Simply use the code FOURTH at checkout for the discount. 

Enjoy and definitely take advantage if interested. We have some kits available and loads of beautiful wool and the mercantile has scissors, cards, magazines, gift cards, etc. 


Click here to see the Wisconsin Woolen Spun! The colors of the worsted weight in the photo are Jam, Birch, and Harbor. 


I want to thank you for the fantastic response to the Entwined Hat Kits! It has been so much fun packing up these kits because it's always interesting to see what color combination of the pom-pom and yarn people have selected. There are still lots of poms left and of course lots of yarn choices. Have fun mixing and matching your own kit.


Have a super day and rest of the week. I'll be back soon with more.
xo ~ susan

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Entwined Hat & a new cardigan!


Hi, Knitters,
I can't believe it's already Saturday. And I can't believe that today is my 28th wedding anniversary. It seems impossible and yet when I look back at all that has happened in the last 28 years it is entirely possible. Does that make sense? We have a fun dinner reservation for tonight and I love our gift to each other this year. It is a state park pass. Simple as that. We are embarking on a challenge together. We are set to take 60 specific hikes in our area and many involve state parks thus the pass is needed. I'm going to tell you more about this adventure later as it is really fun. We have done three hikes so far and we have a long way to go. 

Anway, I hope you are all doing well! Yesterday I released a new hat pattern. It is called Entwined. See how the cable meanders back and forth? It overlaps in the center and it looks WAY more complicated than it really is, which is always the best thing in knitting. The hat is sized to fit an average adult head, 20-23-inches in circumference. It would also fit a teen. The finished circumference is 19-inches but the hat has incredible stretch so it is kind of a perfect fit.

We have beautiful kits for Entwined on Barrett Wool Co. that include the fantastic handmade faux-fur pom-pom.  We have five cool color choices for the poms and loads of color choices for the Wisconsin Woolen Spun Worsted yarn. You get to mix-and-match your own kit!

Click here to see more about the Entwined Kits! All of the hat details, yarn, size, needles, etc. are here, too. The kit includes a Ravelry download code for the pattern.

The Entwined hat individual pattern is available on Ravelry, too. The pattern is set at an introductory discount through Monday, July 3, 2017, for $3.50. No code is needed. On July 4, 2017, the price will be set at $5.00. Enjoy the discount if interested. 


If you haven't tried the Wisconsin Woolen Spun yarns yet you are really missing out. It is an experience like none other. I can't say enough about this beautiful, squishy and light as air yarn. It is out of this world. 


Here are a few more photos of Entwined: 


I love the fit of this hat so much. We have those Bulky Mitten Kits available in the shop, too! 


The kit includes a full skein of the Wisconsin Woolen Spun Worsted and handmade faux-fur pom, both in your colors of choice, a tin of stitch markers, a hand-stamped cotton project bag, and the Ravelry download code for the pattern. That way the pattern will be stored right in your Ravelry pattern library.


The faux-fur pom-poms are my favorite part of the kits! They are really fantastic.

Now onto another quick subject.


I am working away on a new cardigan. It is short-sleeved and kind of open in the front. It is knit in Wisconsin Woolen Spun Worsted and I am loving it. It is super simple and we are going to have cardigan kits coming up soon. The pattern is by a guest designer which is super fun. I think you are going to really like this one.

The book is really good, too. I am about halfway through. It is called The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman. I recommend it. 

The kits are flying out of the shop as I am writing this so if you are interested hop on over! Have a super day and I'll be back here soon with more. 
xo ~ susan

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Startup Library Knitting on Craftsy & ZK Retreat 2017


Hi, Knitters,
I am so proud and excited to announce my newest Craftsy class today called Startup Library Knitting! Craftsy has started a new class series that are truly for the beginner. There are Startup Library classes in sewing, baking, watercolors, weaving, cake decorating, embroidery, and now knitting. Last May I spent a week at the Craftsy studio filming this new class.

I am offering a 50% off affiliate link to anyone interested in giving the class a try. 


I know that many of you already know how to knit or you probably wouldn't be reading this blog. But many of you, I'm sure, get asked to teach or teach others how to knit. If you are looking for a resource to recommend to new knitters or you want to get ideas for teaching new knitters this class will be a great resource. I really start from scratch and it is divided up so you can click on specific techniques for a quick view or refresher. 

video

Click on play to see the preview trailer for the Startup Library Knitting class!

It's like a dictionary for new knitters. You can quickly and easily look up any technique at a glance. I also have included three easy starter projects and patterns in the class, a pair of fingerless mitts, a textured cowl and a stripey hat. All of these are packed with important techniques for a new knitter to learn. 


After taking this class the new knitter will truly be ready to move on to other and more advanced projects. After viewing the class yesterday I can truly say that it is really well done and well organized. 



For another topic today, last weekend Barrett Wool Co. traveled to Rochester, Minnesota to vend for the first time. Megan and Amy, of the Stockinette Zombies podcast, were hosting their 5th annual Zombie Knitpocalypse Retreat. There were 200 attendees. It's a well-run and fun retreat that I can highly recommend. I started the weekend on Friday night as the guest speaker which was really fun.  

Then early Saturday morning we set up our Barrett Wool Co. booth for the first time. We had such a good time and we learned so much from this experience. It was a great place to start because the market was open for two hours in the morning just for retreat attendees and then there was a closed lunch break and then the market re-opened and included free admission for the public for two hours in the afternoon. 

It was fast and furious! Our booth was absolutely swamped the entire time. People were incredibly enthusiastic about Barrett Wool Co. yarns and seeing them in person for the first time. We had all 16 colors of our Home Collection yarns and a lot of our Wisconsin Woolen Spun yarns. It all flew off the shelves. 


My business partner and son, Evan, and his wife, Molly (formerly known as Miss Molly) were there checking people out and packaging up purchases in our signature printed bags. They did a great job and were so happy with the event. It was fun to have them with me. It was really a whirlwind of the best kind!


We brought along some Branches & Buds sweater kits in our Wisconsin Woolen Spun yarns and a few of them didn't sell so they are back up and available in the shop. These go really quickly so if you are interested hop on over and snag one for yourself. 



Here Molly is modeling the gorgeous Branches & Buds sweater! It is a winner, both fun to knit and even better to wear.

I'll be back soon with more, Knitters. I hope you are all doing well.
xo, susan

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

New Strata Hat + Winner!

photo courtesy of Vogue Knitting Magazine

Hi, Knitters,
I selected a winner for the skein of Wollmeise yarn! The winner is.....

Laurie Taylor or pgngrl (rav name)! 

Congratulations! I've contacted Laurie and I will get her skein right out in the mail. I will have another giveaway soon so check back. Thanks to everyone who took the time to enter to win. 

Now, today Vogue Knitting Magazine Early Fall 2017 is being sent out to subscribers today. The magazine will be available in retail stores on July 11, 2017. I am so excited that I have a design, Strata Hat, and an interview in this issue. The photography of my hat design is so beautiful. It is such a thrill for me to be included in this issue. I have read and loved this magazine for decades now. I remember way back when some of my first sweaters were knit from the Very Easy, Very Vogue magazine patterns. 



Click here to find out more about upcoming Vogue Knitting Live events!  I won't be in Seattle this fall as I'm teaching in Edmonton, Canada that same weekend. But I will be at Vogue Knitting Live in NYC in January, 2018. 


The Strata Hat is knit in one skein of Barrett Wool Co. Home Fingering Weight in the Wishing Well colorway. The yarn provides crisp stitch definition to play up all of the textured stitch patterns on the two side panels of the hat. The hat is worked from the bottom-up with a 1 by 1 twisted rib brim. The two textured stitch panels are separated by stockinette stitch sections.

The mitered earflaps are optional as they are picked up and added on after the hat is complete. I love the earflaps as they add so much texture and interest to the look of the hat. The entire hat is a fun and simple knit using only the knit and purl stitch. 

The Strata Hat is definitely unisex, too. 



There are so many great designs and designers in Vogue Knitting Early Fall 2017 including Kaffe Fassett, Norah Gaughan, Yoko Hatta, Kristen Tendyke, Sarah Hatton, Louisa Harding and many more. It's quite an impressive collection. 

Anyway, have a fantastic week ahead. I am teaching at KnitCircus on this coming Saturday, June 17. I think there are still a few spots left so if you are in the area come join in the fun. Then we move on to Father's Day, right after that it is my daughter's birthday, then I am speaking and vending at the Stockinette Zombie's retreat in Rochester, Minnesota! The busy-ness continues.

There is so much to look forward to for the rest of June. I know you are all busy, too, but let's remember to find the time to knit!

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

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Butterfly & Cocoon Kits!


Hi, Knitters,
Happy Sunday to you all! I am still taking entries to win the skein of Wollmeise yarn. 
Click here to enter. I will pick a winner in a couple of days!

I want to quickly let you know that I have a new kit available on Barrett Wool Co. They went up on Friday in the shop and they sold out really fast. We have just added a few more in the shop so if you want one act fast because there aren't that many left.



This pattern of mine originally appeared in Making Magazine No. 2 / Fauna, which is such a beautiful magazine. We sell all three issues of Making Magazine in the Mercantile on BWC. So if you purchase the kit you have options for the pattern: no pattern (if you already own it) included, or a Ravelry download code included, or the Making Magazine included.  


A little about the toys. Both the cocoon and butterfly is knit seamlessly from the bottom up. The original samples were knit in a sport weight yarn. The new samples are worked up in Home Fingering Weight, which is a heavier fingering weight yarn. I went down one needle size from what is recommended in the pattern. I knit the cocoons on a US 4 and the butterflies on a US 2. 


This worked out beautifully and the toys look and feel just wonderful. 


  • 25-gram skeins in the following colors of Home Fingering Weight: Ellie Gray, Wood Violet, Grassland, Priscilla, Field, Marmalade, Bluff and Picket Fence. Enough yarn is included to knit at least 3 butterflies and cocoons.
  • Three pairs of 6mm black safety eyes with plastic washers.
  • Black Pearl cotton for mouth and optional eye embroidery.
  • Tin of 20 colorful stitch markers.
  • Packaged in a hand-stamped cotton bag.
Okay, knitters, have a beautiful Sunday. I'll be back with much more soon....
xo, susan