The Sweatshop of Love Blog

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December, 2010

27 Birthday Giveaways!

Today is my 27th birthday! I’m not a crazy birthday person, but I do like a good birthday cake and an excuse to eat a lot of good food, which is what I’ll be doing all day. Minneapolis is due a huge ice/sleet/freezing rain/snow storm today, and along with being new in town and not knowing a lot of people, we are staying in tonight with Carson Daily and Dick Clark for the first time since I turned 18.

Am I disappointed? Hell no. Today’s menu includes soysage pancakes, lobster, goat cheese empanadas, and, of course, birthday cake with sprinkles. We’ve got wine and champagne AND beers, and cake. Best birthday ever? It just might be.

Also adding to the fun is my birthday giveaway! I’m giving away 27 items because it’s my birthday and I can do whatever I want!

Giveaway #1: 20 Patterns!

I’m giving away 20 patterns throughout the day on twitter, so be sure you are following me on twitter for your chance to win. I’ll be asking for retweets and feedback and dropping patterns like it’s hot. Any and all patterns will be up for grabs and the winner’s choice.

Giveaway #2: 5 Ebooks!

I’m giving away 5 of my complete knitting pattern ebooks on facebook! Winners will choose from either my Summer Tour or my Hello Winter! ebooks. Be sure you are a fan of The Sweatshop on facebook and check for information on how to win an ebook there.

Giveaway #3: 2 Etsy Items!

I’m giving away two items from my etsy shop here on the blog! Leave a comment here on this blog post about which item you’d like and I’ll announce two winners on Monday. Chose a finished knit or a knit kit! Whatever you want is yours. You’ve got till Sunday night to enter!

So there you have it! 27 ways for me to spread some birthday cheer. If you want some more Sweatshop in your life be sure to keep your eye on twitter and facebook today, and leave a comment here on the blog about what you want from my Etsy shop.

And happy new year!

2010 Year in Review

In a lot of ways 2010 was the best and worst year of my life. I hate it when, at this time of year, people complain that this year was THE WORST YEAR OF MY LIFE! It’s just so damn dramatic. I think every passing year should be the best year of your life. If it’s not, you are doing something wrong.

Every year is a new 365 days to make your life better, make it more like what you want it to be. A new chance to wipe the slate clean and restart making yourself the person you want to be.

That being said, I lost one of the most important people in my life in 2010. I’m afraid that in the future I will always remember 2010 as the year my grandpa died, and despite all the amazing things that happened this year, that will be the first thing that pops into my head. 2010 = DEAD PAPA.

Which is just not fair to 2010. Because holy shit what an amazing year, right?

Business has never been better. I’ve taught more students, had more full classes, gotten more press, and sold more than any other year.

I traveled more than I’ve ever traveled before!

Me and PT in the Great North West!

To Portland!

Tara and Katie at the Brewers Game!

To Milwaukee!

Bagels, of course, in NYC!

To New York City. For a. Month!

Canoli in Boston!

To Boston!

Mini Donuts at the Minnesota State Fair!

To Minnesota and the Minnesota State Fair!

And our little family had a wedding

Adam and Emily Got Married!

… and, OF COURSE, got Baby Nolan.

Me and Nolan

So 2010 was a banner year in pretty much every way. I’m so lucky to be able to work mostly for myself, travel at will all over the country, and spend a ton of time with my amazing family and friends.

The Sweatshop of Love has never been better! I started selling knit kits and patterns this year for the first time. I went to and was successful at the Renegade Craft Fair this summer. Blog subscribers and readers increased a TON. It’s all been fantastic.

So, 2010. You are going to get a bad wrap. There is nothing I can do about that. But you did do a lot to make it up to me, and for that I’m super grateful.

If last year at this time someone told me that I’d be spending 2011 splitting my time between Chicago and Minneapolis my brain would have exploded. You just never know what the world is going to bring you.

But here I am. Healthy and happy. My friends and family are all healthy and happy. I want for nothing and am excited about the future. 2011 will be my best year ever, just like 2010 was (save Papa).

And I sincerely hope that 2011 is your best year ever, too. Let’s hit this bitch.

Announcing Two Selfish Knitting Knit Alongs!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas! I made it home without a hitch, despite all my calling for the travel day from hell, and am enjoying a few days in Michigan with the family before flying back to Minneapolis on Wednesday.

How were your gifts received?! I was overjoyed with the response to my amigurumis! Everyone loved them and thought they were so funny and awesome. Allyson win!

Ok, now down to business! I’m SO excited to announce two Winter Knit Alongs! We’ve all been knitting gifts for months, so it’s time to knit for ourselves!

Sweater #1: The Two Boyfriends Cardigan

The Two Boyfriends Cardigan

This cardigan is from my Hello Winter Ebook of knitting patterns. It’s on the simpler side – top down cardigan with no major shaping or stitch patterns. This would be great for a knitter with only a few sweaters under her belt, or for a knitter who needs a break from hard core, complicated knitting patterns.

Knit in Knit Picks Merino Style, this sweater is, of course, an affordable knit. You’ll need 4 (5, 6, 6, 7) skeins of your main color, pictured in Fedora, and 3 (3, 4, 4, 5) skeins of each contrasting color, pictured in Moss and Dusk. You can use any DK weight yarn, though! Or bump it up to worsted an just make sure to check your gauge to get the right size.

Sweater #2: Beatnik

Beatnik!

Published in this past fall’s knitty, Beatnik has been on the minds of a ton of my students since it was published. I talked about it back in October as a future must knit. And the future is now, because this is the sweater I will be knitting along with everyone. I’m SO excited!

The sweater calls for a wool-free recycled yarn, Berroco Remix, which is beautiful but I’m going to use the Knit Picks City Tweed DK that I absolutely fell in LOVE with when I used it for my Bergen Street Cardigan. It’s a DK weight and the sweater calls for worsted, but I think it will be fine.

I’m going to knit the 36″ size, which calls for 1296 yards. I’m going to order 12 skeins of the City Tweed DK in Romance, which comes to $51.48 and qualifies for free shipping! This is 1476 yards, so I’ll have some wiggle room in case I have to knit a larger size to get the right gauge. This will also the most expensive sweater I’ve ever knit myself, so I better not mess it up.

How This is Going To Work

I’ve broken both of these sweaters down to 8 parts, and each part will be each week’s goal. Every Monday I’ll post progress pictures and reveal the next section of sweater to knit for the week. In 8 weeks you should have a sweater! I think this will be a ton of fun and this pace will be really doable for even the busiest knitter.

So email me or comment here to get on the knit along mailing list! Let me know what sweater you’ll be knitting! I’ll be sending out emails with updates every Monday, along with my knit along blog posts. You’ll be able to email me your updates, comment on the knit along blog posts, and tweet your updates using #solknitalong.

What’s first?! GET YARN! We will be starting two weeks from today, Monday January 10th, so you’ve got time to order yarn or go out and buy yarn and have your needles ready for our first week of knitting.

This is going to be so fun! I can’t wait to knit a long with all of you. So start shopping for yarn and get ready to knit on January 10th!

FO: Bergen Street Cardigan

I’m going to preface this post by saying, ‘MOM! You are not getting this sweater!’ It is my Christmas present to myself and I’m going to love it forever.

It’s important because, while yes, somehow my Bergen Street Cardigan turned out a little large, I still love it. I STILL LOVE IT!

Ohh Cute Cardi!

But, yeah it’s kind of big. Big in a nice cozy way, but still big. The pattern is sized XS – 31″ bust and S – 35″ bust. I’m about 36″, but I figured with a cardigan it would stretch a little and be fine.

Loooong, Sleeves and Body

Thank goodness I didn’t go up a size because this guy is looong. The sleeves are really long, and the body of the sweater hits about 2 inches under my butt. I can’t imagine how knitting the XS size would have made much of a difference. It fits great around me, and it’s not like I’d skip a stripe with the smaller size.

Intarsia Back Striping

One of the selling points of the sweater pattern for me was the back striping, done intarsia style with the sleeve and shoulder shaping. It annoyed me, because I hate all intarsia, but I sucked it up and made it happen and I love it.

Armhole stripe?

Somehow I got this stripe in my armhole, which I don’t think should be there. There was a mistake I found near where the armhole rejoining happened. Pattern said end on color B when I certainly should have been changing to color A to match the sleeve striping. Who knows?! But yes, random armhole stripe.

Bergen Street Velma

Overall, the pattern was written really no-bullshit, which I’m all about, and it was easy to follow and simple and a really nice break from my holiday knitting. The Christmas knitting season isn’t the Christmas knitting season unless I have a selfish breakdown and knit myself a sweater!

So, Merry Christmas to me! The yarn, Knit Picks City Tweed DK in plum wine and snowshoe, is fantastic and I already have plans to use it again. I highly recommend the pattern, just watch out for the whole armhole color thing, and buy it from Knit Picks instead of on Ravelry and save yourself $2.

If you are reading this sometime between the hours of 6:15am and 10pm I’m on my CHRISTMASEVETRAVELDAYFROMHELL – somewhere between Minneapolis and Allendale, MI on either a Megabus, sitting in Union Station, or on an Amtrak. But I’ve got my new cardigan and my secret present for my mom so I’m all good. Follow my tribulations on twitter.

Everyone have a very Merry Christmas and remember: selfish knitting officially starts Monday, and I’m announcing two selfish knitting sweater knit-alongs! It’s going to be sweet!

Pattern: Bergen Street Cardigan by Alexis Winslow

Needles: Size 6 and size 7 circular needles and straight needles (for sleeves)

Yarn: Knit Picks City Tweed DK in Snowshoe and Plumb Wine

Ravelry Project Page

Hot DAMN I Knit a Lot This Holiday Season!

Maybe it’s just because I’ve already carried all of this stuff from Chicago to Minneapolis, and I’m gearing up to carry most of it from Minneapolis home to Allendale tomorrow, but I had a hunch that I did a lot of knitting this season.

Most Everything!

I took a few pictures in Chicago before I wrapped and packed these up. That is pretty much everything.

The Amigurumis!

From left to right, a flamingo for my grandma (four flamingos in all), Adamgurumi for my brother, Adam (naturally), a Twin Cities Headband for my friend Colleen in Adamgurumi’s lap, Emilygurumi for my sister in law, a blackberry Hello Sailor Knot Necklace for my roommate Elizabeth, Matthewgurumi for my brother, and another flamingo.

And to the right...

A sweater for PT and another flamingo.

To the right and over the top!

To the left of PT’s sweater is Rachel’s Two Boyfriend Cardigan, and my mom’s Granny Bomber Jacket.

And to the left!

The Baby Nolan corner! Baby Nolan’s snowsuit and matching ear flap hat.

Not pictured here are Dadgurumi and BabyNolangurumi, because I finished them up here in Minnesota.

AND I’ve got one surprise gift for my mom to finish! I won’t get a chance to post it until after Christmas because I’m saving him for my 13 hour CHRISTMASEVETRAVELDAYFROMHELL, so stay tuned. It’s a DOZY. And I’ll need all the distraction I can get to keep from stabbing people in the Megabus and Amtrak. Seriously.

One of the best things about having a blog is you get to look back on your past project, and it sure looks like I knit a lot for last Christmas, but not nearly as much as I did this year. I don’t like where this is going. 2011 is already making me nervous.

I hope you all had a successful holiday knitting seasons as well!