Book Review~ Sockupied

Four years ago I walked into Interweave's offices in Loveland, Colorado, to interview for a job. It was for the role as an assistant editor on a groundbreaking new eMag, Sockupied. The interactive eMag was in its infancy, and it was quite a thrill to work alongside the editor, Anne Merrow, developing ideas for reviews, articles, interactive features and yarn concepts. 

Edited by Anne Merrow
Interweave/F+W; $24.99

 photo courtesy of Interweave
Frost Feather Stockings by Deborah Newton

What is truly unique about this book is that it is a direct inverse of what is the general pattern in publishing today. While many books are being converted to digital formats, it is rare to see a digital product convert to a traditional printed book. With a strong design aesthetic, incredible patterns and the inclusion of the industry's top sock designers, Sockupied hits it out of the park with this unique digital-to-print transformation. 

  photo courtesy of Interweave
Oak + Acorn Socks by Spillyjane

I admit I might be personally biased in my love for this book- the personal connections are strong- reviewing submissions, ordering yarns, following up with designers, seeing the finished designs as they arrive in the office- you can't *not* feel connected to the patterns.

  photo courtesy of Interweave
Speed Bump Socks by Deb Barnhill

That being said, the sock knitter in me is completely taken by the strength of the twenty patterns in this collection. Each pattern has a unique quality that draws me in- an unusual technique, use of color, stitch pattern, or "a-ha!" design element.

  photo courtesy of Interweave
Our Paths Cross Socks by Lorilee Beltman

My absolute favorite pattern in the book is Our Paths Cross by Lorilee Beltman. The designer uses an interesting vertical stranding technique to create a wandering diagonal pattern that hints heavily at argyle. I remember being intrigued by this submission as it came into the office, and cannot wait to get started on a pair of my own.

My socks will be very similar to Lorilee's original design- using a simple gray as the background color and contrasting colors of bright teal and sunny yellow.

To see all of the patterns from Sockupied visit the source page here on Ravelry. Which pair do you want to cast on first?

A review copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher.


Green Gables Knits Instagram Gallery~ Anne's Sweater

by Joanna

Time for another Green Gables Knits Instagram Gallery post! This is the third Anne's Sweater I have knit. (1st one- for the book, 2nd one- for me, 3rd one- for my mom's birthday!) I used the yarn as called for in the pattern, Brown Sheep Company Lanaloft Sport, in the colorway Buoyant Blue. I worked the sweater in a size 42" from a one-pound cone of yarn, and was pleased to see that I only needed one more skein to finish the sweater.

Confession- this was supposed to be mom's birthday present last fall, then her Christmas present. Alas, the sweater sat in a small laundry basket in my studio all summer, sad and sleeveless. I determined to finish it for her THIS fall for her birthday, and was able to deliver it to her in person. It fit her perfectly!

In other Anne's Sweater news... I just cast on a 4th Anne's Sweater for our teenage daughter. I am knitting it as a part of Little Skein in the Big Wool's #annealong. (Click here to read about this awesome knit along!)

My goal when I designed Anne's Sweater was to create an easy and wearable cardigan that I would make for me, my mom, or my daughter, and that we would all love and enjoy. So far I have had success with two of three generations... I will keep you posted on how this one works out for Laurel!


Freddie's Blanket- perfectly suited for a custom nursery!

by Joanna

It is always fun to see what people decide to make from the knitting patterns in our storybooks. This recent version of Freddie's Blanket really caught my attention!

When I teach the Freddie's Blanket knitting class, I enjoy sharing with my students about color and what a versatile pattern it is. It is such a great stitch for creating a custom color story to match home decor, especially, as in this case, for a new baby's nursery.

Evieandlily on Ravelry recently finished this adorable version of Freddie's Blanket, including the custom pom pom garland for an extra bit of pizzaz. When I saw the blanket next to the photos of the nursery (gray and yellow! zebra! Boston Terrier! polka dots and elephants!) I swooned a bit. Then I quickly emailed Julie to see if she would be willing to let me share her photos with you and she was very sweet to oblige! I just love seeing a wee one welcomed into the world with such care and affection. It's why we do what we do here at Slate Falls Press!

Happy Stitching, everyone!


Picture Book Illustration: Animal Characters, Eric's new Craftsy Class

We are delighted to announce Eric's brand new Craftsy Class: Picture Book Illustration: Animal Characters! Eric was busy at work in his studio all summer getting his samples and coursework prepared for this new class, and we are so excited to finally be able to share the news with you!

Here is the description of the class from Craftsy:

"Join illustrator Eric Johnson and master the art of animal character design from start to finish! Learn how to conceptualize and develop an endearing, realistic character using thumbnail sketches, and add expressive human characteristics with Eric's expert tips. Create a captivating visual narrative as you explore a variety of poses, props and settings, and refine perspective, scale and balance for a lifelike composition. From the celebrated ink-and-watercolor style of Randolph Caldecott to a layered approach that incorporates colored pencils, you'll learn how to bring your work to life with charm and whimsy."

We hope this piques your interest! One more thing... we are offering you a special rate of 50% off so you can purchase the class for just $19.99. Click the link below to take advantage of this special offer for our readers!


Book Review and Giveaway~ Kung Fu Knits by Elizabeth Green Musselman

If you are at all familiar with our work here at Slate Falls Press, you know we are huge fans of "two in one" combination knitting books. Therefore, we were really pleased to have been asked to host a giveaway for Elizabeth Green Musselman's new book, Kung Fu Knits. As a mom of two boys, 10 and six years old, this is right up our alley! Knitting + comics + martial arts = superfun imaginative knits!

Kung Fu Knits includes six knitting patterns with full-color photos, clear instructions and schematics along with an awesome illustrated comic story kids are sure to enjoy. I am sure my boys will want a set of nunchucks and throwing stars after seeing this! We love how perfectly the story, drawings, photos, and patterns unite together in this playful book!

Vital Stats:
71 pages
Available as a paperback, digital download, or both
Individual patterns will be available next fall
Publisher: Cooperative Press

Digital download: $9.95
Paperback: $15.95 (comes with the digital download if purchased through Cooperative Press)

Where available:
Currently available on the Cooperative Press website (http://cooperativepress.com) and on Ravelry (as digital download only: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/kung-fu-knits/patterns)

Awesome video trailer:

Pattern Sale!
Elizabeth is offering a coupon code on my other patterns to your readers/viewers. From now until the end of November, the coupon codekfklaunch will take 15% off all of my self-published patterns (http://www.ravelry.com/stores/dark-matter-knits

Be sure to visit the rest of the reviews on Elizabeth's blog tour!
22 September | Mixed Martial Arts & Crafts blog | http://www.mixedmartialartsandcrafts.com
24 September | Fibretown podcast | http://fibretown.blogspot.com
28 September | Must Stash podcast | http://muststashpodcast.com
29 September | Through the Back Loops blog | http://throughthebackloops.wordpress.com
2 October | Through the Looking Glass blog | http://noirbettie.com/blog/
5 October | The Knitgirllls podcast | http://theknitgirllls.com
10 October | Makewise Designs blog | http://makewisedesigns.com
15 October | Sunset Cat Designs blog | http://www.sunsetcat.com/blog/
17 October | Joeli's Kitchen podcast | http://www.joeliskitchen.com/the-podcast/
22 October | Slate Falls Press blog | http://www.slatefallspressbooks.com
3 November | Wattsolak blog | http://wattsolak.com

Comments are now closed. Congrats to rosyretro for winning!
Book Giveaway!
To enter the giveaway for a digital copy of Kung Fu Knits, please leave a comment on this post and tell us your Ravelry username and the name of your favorite comic book hero! Giveaway entries will close on October 30 at midnight MT.


Announcing Knitting Kits for May Platypus!

by Joanna

We are pleased to announce our brand-new knitting kits! Today we are featuring our kit for May Platypus, the adorable doll from our book Freddie's Blanket

 Each kit contains the required yarn for your very own May Platypus doll: Brown Sheep Company Serendipity Tweed in three colors. Also included are the notions: 100% wool felt eyes, embroidery thread, and ribbon, along with a stationery set of four blank cards featuring a beautiful illustration from the book.

Additionally, the digital pattern PDF for May will be delivered to customers via email. Our favorite part? Everything comes in this winsome Goodnight Moon knitting bunny project bag. We love these bags! They are based on Jeni's pattern, and are the perfect size for small to medium sized projects: toys, socks, kids garments, shawls, and accessories!

Visit the kit section of our Etsy store here to view our new kits! We will be featuring our new kits on the blog here throughout the week. Happy Stitching!


Book Review~ Everyday Lace by Heather Zoppetti

This week I am pleased to bring you a review of Heather Zoppetti's new book, Everyday Lace. I first met Heather a few years ago at TNNA, the yarn industry's trade show for retailers, manufacturers, publishers and designers. From the time I met her, I have been deeply impressed by Heather's artistry, passion and aesthetic. Heather and I were also able to visit together "after hours" last winter at the filming of Knitting Daily season 13. I have been eagerly waiting since then to see her new book and I was not disappointed!

all photos courtesy of Interweave

Why Lace?
Heather has a wonderful intuitive sense of how to employ the unique qualities of handknit lace. Whether for drape, texture, accent, or structure, Heather inserts the perfect stitch pattern for each design's silhouette and form. 

What to Love
I love that this book is organized into three categories: Warm, Transitional, and Cold. As a Colorado girl, I love the variety of seasonal knits, and the way Heather has created a truly year-round collection of knits. I am not a "foul-weather" knitter- I love making and wearing handknits year-round; my favorite part of Everyday Lace is that the patterns are exactly that- perfect for every day of the year!

Another side note: the book was photographed at the Loveland Feed and Grain, which is located in historic downtown Loveland, just blocks from my neighborhood, so I especially enjoyed the great photography in this collection!

What to Knit
With five accessories, two pairs of socks, and 11 garments including cardigans, pullovers, and vests, Everyday Lace offers up a wonderfully curated collection of handknits perfect for a variety of fibers, styles, and skill levels. 

Vital Stats
Everyday Lace
By Heather Zoppetti
Interweave/F+W; $24.99
142 pages
18 projects

To learn more about Heather and her work, please visit her website here:

A review copy of this book was provided to me by Interweave/F+W


Spinzilla~ The Godzilla of Fiber

by Joanna

I was recently honored to be a guest blogger at the Spin-Off blog. The topic of my post? Spinzilla! Are you in? I have been hoarding curating a collection of fiber all year to prepare for this year's competition. I will be blogging all about it in October, and sharing lots of spinning photos on my Instagram, find me as joannajohnson if you want to join in the fun!

photo courtesy of Fancy Tiger Crafts

In the meantime, you can head over to the Spin-Off blog to read about my Spinzilla adventures last year with Team Fancy Tiger. I wonder... will they return for a second win and retain the Golden Niddy Noddy? I can't wait to find out!


Christopher Robin Pullover

A. A Milne’s witty and tenderly crafted stories have become a part of our family treasury of favorite stories. The various animal characters, with their distinct personalities, quirks, and foibles, are both endearing and unforgettable. As we watch our children grow up, as we hear from our readers who have created the knitted and sewn storybook characters from our books, and as I reflect on the magic of the world of Winnie-the-Pooh, I see how the real life of a children’s book plays out in the imagination of the child. It is in the fertile mind of a little boy that a homely collection of odd stuffed animals becomes a world of fun, adventure, challenge, and delight.
Pattern Overview
Inspired by the beloved Winnie-the-Pooh stories, the Christopher Robin pullover is a sweater created from very simple shapes and techniques. Inspired by the stylish play clothes of the 1940′s, this square neck pullover is the perfect no-fuss three-season sweater for outdoor play. Worked in Amy Butler’s beautiful Belle Organic Aran, which is a soft blend of 50% organic cotton and 50% organic wool, it is an all-natural fiber that is a pleasure to knit with and easy to care for. The sweater is created from just two pieces- a front and a back- and seamed together with a simple single crochet stitch. If you are a beginning knitter and have never made anything more complicated than a scarf, this would be a wonderful first sweater for you to try. The back of the sweater is a simple T shape, and the front is exactly the same as the back except for the square cutaway neckline.

For more information on this pattern please visit our Ravelry page:


Teaching the Timber Mittens at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

by Joanna

I recently had the pleasure of teaching a Buff Knitting class at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. This was done as a part of their Stitches in Time Series. If you are local to the area and interested in fiber arts, I encourage you to look into this great series. Earlier this summer I took a class on natural dyeing and it was incredible! The teaching space is beautiful, the instructors were a wealth of knowledge, all materials were included, and at $25 per class you simply can't go wrong!

Here you see the materials table for my knitting class. I first became interested in Buff Knitting about three years ago. While visiting family on the east coast, my mother and sister and I started looking through an old issue of Adirondack Life magazine that had an in-depth article on this unique regional technique. After some time of reading, research and swatching, I was asked to write an article for Knitting Traditions magazine about Buff Knitting in the Adirondack High Peaks Country. 

The Fort Collins Museum reached out to Interweave this winter to set up a historic knitting class for their stitches series, which is how I was invited to teach. After working with a variety of yarns, needles, and stitches, I developed my interpretation of the Buff Mitten into the sample you see above, called the Timber Mitten. In this pattern, I combine a respect for the traditional natural or "buff" colored wooly mitten, along with a more modern stitching style that requires working with just one strand of yarn at a time. The Timber Mitten pattern is now available for sale in my Ravlery shop in case you are interested in trying your hand at it. The pattern includes written instructions, a colorwork chart and an instructional video on working the loop stitch.

To create a buff mitten, you knit a loopy stitch mitten and then cut the loops. The cut loops are then "shagged" to create a thick and warm carpet like mitten, which was perfect for the loggers and teamsters of the north country to wear while working long hours outdoors in the winter. I am looking forward to wearing my mittens this winter on my long walks around the lake!


52 Timeless Toys to Knit, book review and giveaway!

Today I am pleased to share a new book review with you, 52 Timeless Toys to Knit by Chris de Longpre. You may be familiar with Chris's design work through her business, Knitting at Knoon. I first met Chris at TNNA several years ago, and was really impressed by her classic patterns for children and families. (Her book, Timeless Knits for Kids, is a "must have" pattern book for boys and girls of all ages.)

Chris's newest book, (which is beautifully self-published, by the way), contains dozens of patterns for beautiful knitted toys. My favorite part of this collection is that the toys are all categorized by their habitat, which makes it also a great learning book for children, too. You can knit a crocodile from Down Under, an armadillo from the Southwest, a zebra from the Serengeti, and a clown fish from the Reef. My children love studying nature and animals, and I can say with certainty that this book has not left out any child's favorite animal! To view all of the patterns in the book, you can visit the Ravelry pattern page here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/52-timeless-toys-to-knit/patterns

A fun little side note for me is that Chris very graciously asked me to blurb this book for her, which I was honored to do. My first job in the publishing business as working as an intern, helping the marketing manager acquire blurbs for a series of paperbacks. Never would I have imagined at that time that I would one day be writing a blurb of my own!

Onto the GIVEAWAY!

Now, the fun part! Chris has generously offered to give a copy of her newest book to one lucky winner. To enter, simply comment on this post and include the name of your favorite animal along with your website, blog, Ravelry name, or email address so we can contact you. 

Comments are now closed, thank you!


Literary Knits on Knitting Daily with Vickie Howell!

The Literary Knits episode is sure to inspire those of you who love knitting and lit like I do! The episode features Green Gables Knits, Jane Austen Knits, Literary Knits, and a book review roundup of more bookish knits! Visit here to learn more about the episode, and here to learn more about the entire season!

This past February I flew from my home studio in Colorado to Ohio to tape a segment for season 13 of Knitting Daily with Vickie Howell. This was a great experience for me- Vickie is an incredible host, and I met a wonderful group of guests. 

Here are a few behind the scenes shots from my time at the studio.

live feed in Green room

my workspace backstage

my favorite corner of the set

The new season is starting to air across the country… check your local PBS listings to find the new season. Our local station in Denver hasn't started airing the new season yet, but I will be sure to post when it does this coming fall!!


by Joanna

Earlier this month I received some absolutely gorgeous gradient hand-dyed sock yarn from the very talented Jaala Sprio over at Knitcircus. The photo does not do it justice- it is just stunning. I have been knitting socks for about 10 years, and very avidly of late. I think I knit myself seven pairs of socks this winter alone.

So… I have decided to try my hand at designed a few sock patterns. I have this yarn to work with, plus some beautiful hand dyed yarn from a Colorado indie dyer I recently met, so stay tuned. Socks are coming, hopefully in time for fall knitting!

Yoga socks for the dance teacher!

by Joanna

Yes, it is another handmade gift post. I suppose I am on a roll! I wanted to knit up a little something for our daughter's dance teacher, and thought that a simple pair of yoga socks would be perfect. I confess I had a hard time parting with these sweet socks, they are just like a cozy little hug for your feet.

I used scraps of Paton's Kroy sock yarn, and made a pair of yoga socks from about 110 yards of yarn. You could easily get a pair of these socks from one 50 gram ball.

I simply cast on 48 stitches, worked 3-4 inches in k2 p2 ribbing, then shaped the heel by binding off 24, working 24, casting on 24, working 24, and continuing merrily on my way for another 3-4 inches. I have a feeling I will be making a lot of these in years to come… they were so much fun to make, are super comfy to wear, and will fit pretty much anyone!

Teacher Gift- The School Bus Scarf!

by Joanna

Lately I have really enjoyed making handmade gifts again. That is one of the trickiest things about taking up pattern writing as a profession-- sometimes you lose out on the joy of creating handmade gifts just for fun. Not me! People appreciate hand made gifts too much to skip out on it!

I found this adorable crochet pattern from Crochet Me, it is a free pattern which you can find here:

I used some Red Heart yarn from the stash and happily cast on, making a few changes like using white instead of gray for the center of the wheels. My crochet skills are very limited, but I had no issues with this project at all, it went very quickly!

The best part? I think the thank you note I got from our son's teacher was the nicest thank you note I have ever received! What a great way to end the school year.

Sewing again! A nifty retro apron

by Joanna

I have been in a sewing "desert" for a long while… I haven't stitched a single stitch on my machine in over a year! Last spring I cut out a dress (the Clara dress) for myself and it is still sitting folded up on my desk. I decided it was high time I got sewing again. And what inspires like a birthday for my sweet little niece!

Determined to make this a pure stash project, I found about 5/8 of a yard of this adorable retro zoo-themed fabric in my stash, and decided to use some red or yellow floral as a contrast. I have been organizing, purging, and cataloging my sewing patterns on pinterest, which is working out amazingly well, and quickly found this vintage pinafore pattern. Converting it to an apron was a breeze!

I created the pattern mostly as written… just adding a snap closure at the upper back instead of a zipper, and adding prefinished eyelet trim to the armhole edges. Zing! What a fun little project this was! 

Our niece loves to play kitchen and dress up. I hope she enjoys wearing it as much as I enjoyed making it!