Wednesday

Baby Envelope

by Joanna
This is the opening illustration for our new children's book, Freddie's Blanket.  My husband Eric did an amazing job of capturing the feel I wanted for this new story, and this first illustration might just be my favorite one of them all.  He carefully studied my knitting pattern design, the Baby Envelope, while creating this drawing, and I just love the beauty of this simple moment.

The Baby Envelope is one of five new knitting patterns included in our new knitting picture book.  My only regret is that I didn't come up with this pattern sooner- when our three children were still babies!  The Baby Envelope is uniquely designed with one extra wide flap which can be tucked under and around the sleeping babe. 
Simple and sweet.

Thursday

Cozy Toes

by Phoebe
This year we are celebrating Christmas at our home in Colorado.  Mother's handknit and felted slippers were a big hit with the children a few years ago and are back by popular request.  Felting is really neat, because when you start you have something jumbly and messy looking like this:
And after you felt (or "full") the slippers in hot water they look very tidy like this:
Lots of little toes will be nice and cozy this winter! 
We hope you are having fun crafting, baking, and creating for the holidays this year-
Merry Christmas from all of us at Slate Falls Press!

Friday

Childhood's Inspiration

by Joanna
When we first discussed what the cover of Freddie's Blanket should look like, Eric knew exactly what he wanted- a little boy pretending to be a knight using pots and pans and a wooden spoon for his helmet, sword, and shield.  And, since we don't have an art director, a publicist, an editor, or a publishing house guiding our creative decisions, and we can do whatever we want, that's what we did.  I think it turned out to be really fun and creative.  As soon as my father-in-law (the sneaky signwriter) saw the cover when we put it up on Amazon last week, he emailed me this photo:

"Beach Warriors, 1978?"
Eric is on the left, with the wooden spoon and the pot lid.  His younger brother Chris is holding his own!  The boys spent time in the summer "down the shore" (if you are from New Jersey you know what that is) at Grandma's bungalow and made their own fun and adventures out of Grandma's kitchen stuff.  I just love how my husband was able to recreate a very vivid childhood memory on the pages of our new book.  He really outdid himself on the artwork on this one- you won't be disappointed!

Wednesday

Emma and Phoebe in North Carolina

Emma's grandmother knit her a lovely Phoebe Mouse for her recent birthday.  I love the sweet look on her face as she is opening her gift!

Emma lives on a North Carolina farm with a farmyard of horses, cows, goats, chicken, dogs and (sometimes) pigs.  Louise, who lovingly made her this cute doll, has four grandchildren and one more on the way!  I think Emma will have a lot of fun with Phoebe in her big happy family!

Saturday

Serendipity Yarn and Gifts ~Buena Vista, CO

by Phoebe
Last weekend we had a fantastic time at Serendipity Yarn and Gifts in Buena Vista, CO.  If you are in the gorgeous Collegiate Peaks area of Colorado, you simply must visit this amazing yarn shop!

Here I am with my new travel companion, May, and another sweet Phoebe from the shop.  I have to confess I am a little jealous of the Beatrix Potter mouse buttons on her jacket!

Baby Jake was our first visitor.  Can you see how his clever mama has bundled him into her jacket?  What a cutie!

Sweet Penny is going to be a big sister this year, just like in my story.  How perfect!  Did I mention this yarn shop also has toys?  Yup.  It's just that kind of place.

Lily was another young guest at the book signing.  She was being such a good mama to her little baby... it was nice to meet her, too! 

This event was scheduled during Buena Vista's "Chocolate Walk"... so if yarn, knitting, storybooks, toys, babies, and happiness weren't enough, there was plentiful chocolate to be had by all.  I look forward to coming back when Freddie's Blanket is out!

Thank you, Serendipity, for the hospitality (and for special ordering that Classic Elite yarn for my mom).  Thank you to the readers and knitters who came from near and far to join us for a fun day!

Monday

Fringe~ Salida, CO

by Phoebe
*fabric*yarn*gifts*... the sign says it all!
Fringe is nestled in the artistic mountain town of Salida, CO, and is located in an 1890's general shop.  The original store shelves are brimming with (you guessed it!) yarn, fabric, and gifts.

The shelves boast bolt after bolt of fabric from some of the best designers out there: Alexander Henry, Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner, Heather Bailey, Kaffe Fasset, Joel Dewberry, Michael Miller... Fringe does not disappoint!

Here I am with some of the pretty thread and buttons.  If you have been following along our journey, you know that we love buttons (and sewing!) here in the Slate Falls Studio!

We were warmly welcomed by a great group at the shop, including...
Kylie, and avid reader and eager crafter!

And Lily, who is very eager to have a Phoebe doll of her own!

This is handsome Wyatt, who has a big sister named Phoebe.  Of course we signed a book for Phoebe!  Wyatt's mom is looking for a children's book with a character named Wyatt, does anyone have any suggestions?

Fringe has got it all.  From the moment you enter Penny's shop you just know you are in a special creative place!  Case in point, we had an interesting "first" this particular evening- someone learned to knit during the book signing!  In the cozy knitting lounge, patient hands showed Maureen how to knit:

And she picked it up like an old friend!  Thanks, Maureen, for making this a very memorable book signing!  Thanks, Fringe, for the great evening!


Wednesday

Color Proofing

by Phoebe
It is hard to believe we are reviewing the color proofs for our second book already.  Here you see three different versions of one of Father's illustrations.  One is from our studio printer, and two are from our book printer.  We need to compare these with the original illustrations from Father's studio and make sure the colors match.  This is the very last step before we have the book printed.  If we like the way they look, Mother will sign an important paper and mail it to the book printer, who will then start the presses.  Before long, Freddie's Blanket will be on the truck to our studios!

Saturday

Cast On Magazine

by Phoebe
Winter 2010. 
Great gloves, Bavarian Traveling Stitches, Olympic Hats, Ruffles, Machine Knitting, and... Phoebe's Sweater!   Check out page 6 in the book reviews.  How does it make me feel to be reviewed alongside Nicky Epstein, Maria Erlbacher, and Judy Sumner?  Thankful.  Extremely thankful.  Who knew that I, a humble little knitted mouse, would end up here? 

Monday

LambShoppe

by Phoebe
This is Morgen, a brand new friend I met at the LambShoppe in Denver.  An aspiring knitter, Morgen had a great time playing with the knits in the trunk show... trying on Phoebe's Sweater, making sure I had mine on too, and dressing and undressing Freddie Platypus.

We had a great time at the LambShoppe, which, we decided, is very much like the candy shop from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, except that the shelves are stocked with yarn, not candy.
They certainly have shelves and shelves of yarn here.  And I have never been to a shop with quite so many people sitting and knitting- it was great! 

Our youngest visitor was Maddie, whose knitting mama was already looking for the perfect yarn to knit a Phoebe's Sweater for her next fall.  She and May got along just fine!

In addition to being a busy shop full of knitting knitters, I have yet to see such a dog-friendly yarn shop.  Friendly and well-behaved pups streamed through the shop all afternoon, and, they even have a book at the shop (called, of course, Dogs) featuring the LambShoppe's favorite dog.  I just love the flying fur!
We had a great time sharing our book and our knits with the knitters and readers at the LambShoppe this weekend...

Thank you for having us!

Thursday

And the winner is....

Stephanie~ who wrote, "What a beautiful book! Thanks for introducing us to it! I would love to win!"  Congratulations, Stephanie!  Thank you all for the kind comments about Mandy's new book.  She is giving away a copy of Phoebe's Sweater this week on her blog if you want to check it out!  I wanted to share a photo of one of Mandy's other designs, published as a single pattern called "i heart you"- this has been a favorite pattern of ours for some time now.  Happy Knitting!


Tuesday

Meet May

by Phoebe
Meet my new friend, May.  She is making her debut this winter in our new storybook, Freddie's Blanket, and will be on the road with me this winter.  Mother and Father are busy in their studios this very second putting finishing touches on this new book... I can't wait to show it to you!  The illustrations are coming along so well...


...and there are four new knitting patterns to accompany the story!

This is our wonderful photographer, Christa, holding her nephew, one of our models for the knitting patterns.  We love that this book is truly a family affair!

May is named after a wonderful Australian author named May Gibbs. We are captivated by her characters, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, and have fallen for them just like we have fallen for our new knitted friends, the platypodes (this is the proper pluralization of platypus, in case you were wondering).

Welcome to the Slate Falls Press family, May!

Thursday

Book Giveaway~ The Red Collection by Mandy Powers


Thank you, this giveaway has ended.
We are happy to announce we are giving away a signed copy of The Red Collection by Mandy Powers!  This is a great new indie-published knitting pattern book and we have simply fallen in love with the dynamic patterns for knitted accessories worked in a simple color palette of black, white, gray, and red.  The photography is awesome, the color charts are clear and easy to read, and the book includes a great tutorial on how to block your hand knits.  Congratulations to Mandy for publishing her collection of knitting patterns on her own like this- we are seeing so many interesting self-published knitting books this year!

Ziggity Hat

Holly Jean Mittens

Drifty Hat
(this is my favorite!)

To enter, please leave a comment on today's post- a winner will be randomly selected a week from today!
Thank you, Mandy, for providing a signed copy of your book to one of our lucky readers!  The giveaway also includes the digital pattern pack so you can store all of the patterns digitally in your ravelry library!

Sunday

Hill Top Jacket ~Joanna Johnson

The Hill Top Jacket, named in honor of Beatrix Potter’s farm, is a “grown-up” version of Phoebe’s Sweater, the girl’s pattern from our children’s knitting book of the same name. After dozens and dozens of requests for a women’s version of this sweater, we are happy to offer the Hill Top Jacket for sale in nine sizes ranging from 29”-62”. The Hill Top Jacket is a seamless garment knit from the hem up in a bulky weight wool.
As a special feature of this pattern, the pdf includes stationary (drawn by Father) of an English Sheepdog overlooking a flock of sheep on a hillside. Of course the dog is wearing a handknit sweater! You may print as many of the illustrated cards as you like for your personal use. We decided to do this after many requests for stationary of Father’s artwork, and hope you enjoy this addition to the knitting pattern’s features.
Teresa, who models the jacket, is a modern day Beatrix Potter. She has raised sheep since she was given a pair of orphan lambs at the tender age of 12. An avid spinner and knitter, Teresa has helped students at a local high school log over 10,000 hours knitting hats for charity, and is currently writing a chapter book about a favorite family horse, that is, when she is not caring for her flock of Registered Rambouillet sheep!
The Hill Top Jacket is available for purchase here online in PDF format.

Prints of Eric's illustration are available here in our Etsy shop.
Thanks for reading!

Saturday

~Fancy Tiger Crafts

by Phoebe
My first trip to Fancy Tiger Crafts was so much fun!  This is a very special shop that carries knitting, sewing, and crafting supplies for the savvy crafter.  I have been looking forward to this for weeks!

This is a wall of yarn that makes you go "mmmmm...." 
Mmmmmalabrigo.... Mmmmmadelinetosh......
The color palette of the yarns was simply stunning!

Mother (pictured here) and I met a fabulous group of kids at the book signing...
Here you see a creative pair- one is a writer and the other is an artist.  Maybe they will write a children's book together someday!

This sweet baby girl liked me a lot.  She is fortunate to have a knitting mama- maybe she will knit her a Phoebe doll someday!

Something that made this night really special is that my little cousin came to the book signing!  He was such a good little boy at the book signing and had a nice time visiting with Freddie Platypus... I hope we can come back to Fancy Tiger when Freddie's book is done!

I had a great time meeting Anya, who was born in Russia, and loves to swim, ski, and ice skate. 

Mira made a special trip to the shop with her mother (who is a talented seamstress) to have her copy of Phoebe's Sweater inscribed.

She also had a fun time playing with Freddie's sister May and her handknit doll clothes.

Zoe and her grandmother came into the shop for a book, too, and while they were there, they picked out some pretty purple yarn for Zoe's very own sweater.  What a nice grandma she has!

Thank you Jaime and Amber, for hosting our book signing at your fabulous shop!

Thank you Fancy Tiger and your friendly, helpful staff, for welcoming us this week!