Who Wants Coffee?

It’s time for my first giveaway in honor of the #CaribouKnits hashtag!

In case you are wondering, “What IS this #CaribouKnits I’ve been reading so much about?”
I direct you to my previous blog post where I discuss it at length.

So now the FUN part begins!

Amy's Blend 2013 - CoffeeI’m an oddball, I like my coffee like I like my men (pale and smooth). I know it’s fashionable to love coffee that’s VERY strong, and if you’re into that, more power to you! But I like a mellow-er blend of coffee (when I DO drink coffee – the strong, strong brews that have been widely available have made me appreciate a nice cup of tea on a more regular basis!)

And THAT is what’s delicious about Amy’s Blend. It’s rich and firm, but it’s not overpowering. It’s mild, but it has an opinion. I really love it, and I’m not generally a big coffee drinker (love the stuff, but it affects my digestion poorly…)

Just leave a comment below telling me about someone you love who you’d dearly wish to have a cup of coffee with, and I will pick a name at random and you will WIN the pound of Amy’s Blend – VERY delicious!

NOTE: If you’ve used the hashtag #CaribouKnits at least 4 times, you can enter this!  And I have a counter going (see the list to the right?) so I can tell!

And if you HAVEN’T used it 4 times? Well, GO USE IT!  You can click on the birdie button at the top of this post and add the hashtag 4 times and you’re done!


Pumpkin Spice (it’s not just a flavor anymore!)

“My favorite flavor, color and Spice girl is Pumpkin*”

I made this simple comment on Twitter, and a wealth of Namaste goodness wafted my way!


Cute! But it’s not pumpkin spice…

So NOW, my favorite flavor, color, Spice Girl AND Namaste bag are PUMPKIN SPICE!

The folks at Namaste do an amazing job with their products! I’ve loved them for years (ever since I used their glass needles in my knitting with wire book, “Twist & Loop”) but their bags are OUT of this world!

I’m not generally a “purse” woman. All the excitement over spending several hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on a bag has totally escaped me.

Perfect for biking, and it's MINE!

Compact, perfect for biking, but NOT pumpkin spice!

But then I’m more practical
than is probably good for me.

For over a year I’ve pretty much just carried my Steven B ‘newsboy’ shoulder tote as a purse & catch all, and I’ve done so proudly.

I only grab a ‘nice’ bag when I’m meeting friends, and my nice bags of choice are always Namaste!

For the record, I’m also a woman who does NOT squeal at shoes – I hardly ever wear a heel, and when I do it’s low and comfortable – I don’t think I’ll ever ‘get’ the thrill of modern ‘foot binding’ which makes it hard to walk, screws up your back and joints, and costs hundreds of dollars for a simple pair of heels – but we’ll leave that for another blog post…

Namaste Bag Travels Well!

My Olive (not pumpkin spice) Namaste Bag Travels Well in ROME!

Aside from their gorgeous style, Namaste bags are usefully and thoughtfully assembled with SO MANY wonderful little pockets (for balls of yarn, of course!)

I love that the bags are made from Vegan Leather — no animals harmed in the making of a Namaste bag!

I travel with them (they’re TERRIFIC for airline trips — there’re always pockets for passport, wallet, boarding pass, etc.) and they hold up like steel.

I stuff these bags full of everything they can hold, I strap them on the back of my bike, I tie them onto my luggage and drag them through every airport, and they continue to look amazing year after year!

Why am I going on about these bags? Well, I have a tiny little change-purse from Namaste and I’d love to gift it to one of you!  It arrived out of the blue along with a small purse for me (that Pumpkin Spice joke on Twitter really paid off!) and I figured it would be good karma to share the Namaste wealth!

Adorable L'il Pumpkin!

Adorable L’il Pumpkin!
The Peter Tork of this blog post.

Just leave a comment below about your most useful bag. 

Not your most expensive, or even most beautiful bag, but the one that you automatically pick up if you’re off for a full and busy day.

What is it that makes your most useful bag your ‘go-to’ carry?

Leave your comment, and I’ll pick one at random and contact you to send you this adorable little change purse!  This will be short, I’ll pick a winner on Saturday (tomorrow), so get your comments in!

While you wait, enjoy this scary movie trailer!

*Actually, my favorite flavor, color, Spice Girl,  Namaste bag
AND movie trailer is Butternut Squash, but for poetic reasons I’ll stick with “Pumpkin”


I’m more excited about it than I can say, but if you are on twitter use the hashtag #CaribouKnits and you’ll be a jump ahead of everyone else in my NEXT giveaway!

And The Winner IS…

Screen Shot 2013-09-20 at 6.39.51 PMMaak!  Congratulations!  I grabbed your comment at random, and here are your words of wisdom for everyone to enjoy!

Thanks to everyone for playing – I love these giveaways, and I’m trying to figure ways to make them more interesting and do them more often!  Stay tuned!

Also, I sent out my first email newsletter in over 6 months this week. If you missed it, you can see it here.

And if you’d like to sign up for my mailing lists, click here!

There was a terrible cyber mishap whereby my email account was deleted, and thus I lost my thousands of recipients. I’m slowly building it back up – one name at a time!



Sock It To Me! And Win A Book!

So, are you ready for some stunning sock artistry as the Fall weather arrives..?

I’m a newish sock convert. I’d knit socks in the past, and I wholeheartedly embraced the sock movement.

Personally, I feel sock knitters have done more with their passion and skill
to raise the level of our craft than any other specific group of knitters!

BFK_coverBut I never wore socks much.

You see, my family is rooted in West Virginia. We’ve lived in that incredibly beautiful state for over 300 years (long before it was WV, or even VA!)

And, whether it’s my own personal preference, or a cultural phenomenon, I like walking around barefoot.

But, as I age, this is changing. My toes grow cold, and in the past year I’ve come to admire the warmth of a great pair of socks.

Unfortunately, I have HUGE feet, so making a pair for myself is
akin to a smaller woman making a simple shrug.

But a book has graced my doorstep by an insanely talented up-and-coming knittress & designer, Andi Smith.  Watch this woman!


Easy to Follow Techniques!

Andi Smith
Available through Cooperative Press

12 patterns + more than 50 pages of
step-by-step guidance on adapting socks to your feet
132 pages

In Big Foot Knits, Andi Smith walks us through the process of fitting a sock perfectly to your own foot (be it supersized or teensy-tiny!) 



Andi covers the basics, shaping the foot and leg of a sock, heels, toes, and using measurement and gauges in the way the sock god intended.

All of this is priceless information, very well presented and easy to follow.

That in itself is a wonderful thing, but the true joy of this book are the beautiful sock designs.

 Two of my favorite designs are Gaia (a long clog-friendly style) and Eidothea (a sweet, lacy short sock with an adorable picot cuff.)

This is a wonderful book – and if you purchase the paperback copy you’ll receive the pdf file for the single price of $26.95 (pdf only is $16.95)

Buy a copy as a gift, keep the pdf for yourself!



If you’ve been casting about for a good, solid sock book with great designs and a comprehensive, easy to follow technical section, this is your book! (Well, actually it’s Andi’s book but you can buy a copy.)

If you, like myself, have a friend you’ve shepherded through the learn-to-knit process, this book along with a ball of beautiful sock yarn might be the best holiday gift you can give!  How many gifts can offer beauty, education AND hours of pleasure?


Would you like your own pdf copy of this great book?

Leave a message below telling me what your favorite sock yarn is.  If you’re unschooled in sock yarns, make one up (seriously, there are so many yarns out there now who is going to know the difference?)  I will randomly pick a comment and you’ll receive a pdf copy of the book, deposited by the Cooperative Press elves into your Ravelry library (or emailed to you if you aren’t on Ravelry*) and then YOU can start knitting up socks with grace & aplomb!

I’ll pick a winner on this Friday, 9/20 – stay tuned!

*Seriously? You’re not on Ravelry? Check it out!  If you’re a knitter or crocheter, this is a wonderful resource with SO many facets that it’s silly not to be involved!

Winner! And A Techie Meltdown!

So we have a winner for Theressa Silver’s book, Hat Couture – and that winner is KATE!  She was chosen at random and has been alerted via raven email, so CONGRATULATIONS to Kate, may you enjoy making many hats for a long, long time!

Now to my meltdown.

I’ve had an email list for, oh, 12 years.  I don’t advertise it a lot (I guess I should…) but it was pretty big, over 5K.

Each month money was automatically deducted from my bank account for my web hosting / email marketing, and it worked well.  But then about 6 months ago I began the changeover from my bank to a local credit union.

All’s been going well, but I KNEW that something would fall through the cracks as I moved my various accounts over.  And that thing was the monthly $19 email marketing fee, much to my chagrin.

I didn’t send out an email blast this past month, which is a shame because then I would have caught this within the 30-day information retrieval window.  As it is, I was 5 days late when I discovered this today, and that means I’ve not only lost my entire library of images, logos, book covers, and past email blasts, I’ve ALSO lost all of my subscribers.

So, if you used to get  my email newsletter – or if you’d like to start getting it – please signup here.

I promise I’ll never sell, giveaway, trade or reveal any of your information, and I further promise to NOT inundate you with emails.  I don’t send a lot, usually when I have something to say.

I’m looking at this as a sort of silver lining as I’ve needed to clean out the list for a long time, and now I can require that folks tell me what state they’re in when they sign up (useful for letting folks know when I’m in town for teaching gigs!)

Also, please share with your friends if you feel THEY’D like to be on the list! I’ve lost my only way to get in touch with some folks on my list, and that makes me very sad.

Hat Couture

It’s widely known that I love hats, and ANY book that brings more folks to the hat-loving fold is absolutely dandy with me!

Screen Shot 2013-03-21 at 3.28.59 PM Cooperative Press is releasing a new book, Hat Couture, by Theressa Silver, which contains 13 hat patterns, all worked up in Cascade wool yarn.

I interviewed Theressa about her upcoming book and her designs process, here is the text of our chat:

What is it about hats that compelled you to put together this collection of patterns.

I’ve always loved hats, but the idea for making fancy knit hats came about 3 years ago when a knitter friend asked me to join her in a retail gallery show.  She makes purses and suggested I could make hats.

Since this was a fairly upscale place, I wanted to make something that was more than just knit caps.  I had a lot of fun playing around with shape, structure, and embellishment and came up with a collection of hats for the show that became the inspiration for the book.

Was there a certain technique or point of view about hats that you would like to share with your readers?

I’m having a blast playing with structural, 3-dimensional shapes.  I create them by choosing yarns with lots of body and then knitting them at a very tight gauge.

Making knit objects that stand up on their own is really cool!  I like knitting things that make you do a double-take.  I mean, who expects a knit top hat?

What is your millinery background?

None, other than looking at a lot of hats.  I do have a sewing background, but really I taught myself by trial and error.

I’d love to take a millinery course and learn some of the tricks of the trade.

What millinery techniques are used in the book?

Shaping the hats during the blocking process has quite a bit in common with shaping a traditional millinery hat over a hat block.

I also used buckram to create a frame for one of the hats.  But mostly it’s about capturing the feel of classical millinery in the shapes and decorations of the hats more than actually trying to transfer techniques.

Screen Shot 2013-03-21 at 3.33.13 PMWhat is it that you consider has raised your knit hats to a ‘couture‘ level?

Each one is lovingly hand made, that’s “couture,” right?

Seriously, I wanted to distinguish my hats from the more typically casual knit hats.  I love a good slouchy beret or cozy beanie and wear a lot of them, but these are special, more elegant.

I encourage the knitter to indulge in lavish materials for the embellishments.  It’s about taking the knit hat to the next level.

Do you have plans for any future books?

Screen Shot 2013-03-21 at 3.33.47 PM

Theressa Silver

I have a couple of ideas, but nothing for sure yet.  There will be a piece coming out in Knit Edge Magazine Issue 3 discussing this knitting tight technique and applying it to the construction of knit bowls.

I’d like to curate a group book next.  I like the idea of blending many artistic visions into a coherent whole.


If you enjoy creating unusual knit hats, I feel that you’d really enjoy this book!  I’m giving away an ecopy [pdf] of Hat Couture to a lucky [random] reader who leaves a comment answering the following question:

Have you ever worn a hat specifically for an Easter Parade, and if not, would you?

I can’t wait to read your comments – and good luck!  I’ll declare a winner by Tuesday, 3/26/13.

Knit Edge Magazine

If you’re interested in reading about Theressa’s tight-knitting technique in Knit Edge magazine, a new online-only magazine brought to you by Cooperative Press, you can get $2 off a subscription by using the code “modeknitsilver” when you subscribe.

Home & Gone Again!

I got home last evening, answered emails and kissed the family (not in that order) and slept the sleep of the dead.

Today Gerry and I have to run down to the Mayo for more testing for him, meeting with his doc, and then I should be home this evening for a longer blog post.

But before I run out the door, the WINNER of the History on Two Needles book is [drumroll…]

P  A  M  E  L  A  !
I’m sorry I missed your kickstarter campaign; I would have helped!
I was a professional costumer for years and years, so I love many eras.
Right now I am a bit obsessed with Erte, so I will say the late ‘teens.

Pamela’s been notified separately, the book will be shipped out to her, and life will continue for us all!

And now, off to Rochester!

I LIVE For Days Like This!

Nothing special – nobody’s birthday, nothing very interesting happening, but it just seems like it will be a good, hard working day.  My horoscope agrees!

Virgo’s Horoscope (Aug 23 – Sep 22)
by Rick Levine
Friday, February 15, 2013 – You’re operating within your intellectual comfort zone today and you are confident because you know how to apply your expertise. Your belief that you’re being useful is your idea of heaven, because you know exactly what you’re doing and you feel empowered by your contribution. Make the most of this positive time by working hard and being productive.

Louet Yarn

Louet Yarn

Yarn is arriving thick and fast for several designs I’ve recently sold. This waiting period after submitting designs is the hardest part – all of the second guessing is exhausting!

Did I send the right design to the right editor? Would Editor X have reacted better to Design Q than Editor Y seems to have responded?

Mad Tosh!

Mad Tosh!

I’m still waiting to hear from a few editors, and it’s scary to agree to take on every piece of work that comes my way (what if I overbook myself?) and scarier to turn it down (what if I never sell another design?) 

Yes, these are silly but real fears, the fears of every free lancer. As one independent contractor once said, “When you free lance, every day is a work day, and every day is a weekend.”

Another once told me, “The worst thing about going free lance is you’re afraid to turn down work – ever!”

IMG_0012But, fears aside, today is a WORK day!


I’ve ordered enough books to fulfill my Kickstarter contributor obligations, and those will be the FIRST books to send out! There are upwards of 200 books to ship, so this will take a bit of time (especially as next week is full with 2 teaching dates and a trip to California for Stitches West – just for booksignings, not classes)

But I’ll do it!  We have a long weekend coming, up and two strong children! We also have a Chinese exchange student coming for the weekend (via a program at Hannah’s school) but it just seems wrong to put her to work. At least the first day.

St Paul Snow Beauty

St Paul Snow Beauty

Well – we were TOLD to treat her
like one of our own kids…

Seriously, though, we have some great activities planned for this weekend for Angelina – snow tubing, a visit to the Mill City Museum, a walk through our winter wonderland of Minnehaha Park, the Mall of America.  Just stuff, hopefully it will be fun for her!

I had received books a few weeks ago, but unfortunately they had the wrong cover (the source of the mix-up is unclear, but it was obvious we  couldn’t use those books…) so there’s been a bit of delay in getting these out, and I am SO happy to finally see them in person.


If you purchase a copy of History On Two Needles, you’ll ALSO get the ebook (which comes as a pdf file and is just BEAUTIFUL – I have it on my ipad and I just gaze at it for hours…) 

And, as always, the patterns are available individually if only one or two of them pique your interest.

Now – who would like a free book?  Yep, you guessed it, leave a comment below and I’ll choose one person at random and ship them the book.

In your comment, tell me which historical era is your favorite – I love to know those sorts of things!  I’ll announce and contact the winner when I get back from Stitches (Tues, 2/26) and the book will ship shortly after that!  Good luck!