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August, 2011

Giveaway! 10 Secrets of the LaidBack Knitters

Vicki Stiefel (KnittingNews, LaidBackKnitter) emailed me a couple weeks ago to see if I’d like a copy of her new book, 10 Secrets of the LaidBack Knitters, a book she wrote with Lisa Souza (LisaKnit). It took me approximately 24 seconds to respond affirmatively. Naturally this book was on my to-read so I wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity to get it dropped right on my doorstep!

10 Secrets of the LaidBack Knitters

10 Secrets of the LaidBack Knitter is about KNITTING. It’s about knitting for the love of knitting and for the love of yarn. Vicki and Lisa spend a lot of time talking about your relationship with knitting, from the yarn to the finished product, and how it’s not really about the finished product at all.

There is a lot of fiber talk in the book. They go through the different fibers that make different yarns, how those fibers work alone and blended together, and how they work with your finished knit. I’m not a fiber-y knitter. I LOVE knitting and for me the yarn is secondary to the actual joy of moving stitch to stitch, so I learned a lot from these chapters. It’s good to know, as both a designer and a knitter, how your yarn is going to work for you.

Very Cute Patterns

On top of working through all 10 secrets to laid back knitting Vicki and Lisa offer up, there are tons of patterns exemplifying these secrets, like Vicki’s pattern Amber Waves scarf, which is pretty easy to love!

Prospero Hoodie

And this adorable baby hoodie, Prospero Hoodie, by Justine Turner. You can see the line up of patterns included in the book on the 10 Secrets of the LaidBack Knitters site and here on ravelry. And while the patterns are obviously very beautiful, the sweaters aren’t my style. And why would they be? As laid back about knitting as I feel, I need a serious challenge or I lose interest, and that just is not Vicki and Lisa’s philosophy. Enjoy the yarn. Enjoy the experience. Stop stressing, lean back, and ENJOY. I don’t think I truly enjoy things unless I’m fighting them.


But since reading 10 Secrets of the LaidBack Knitters, I’ve tried to calm down a little bit, however hard that is to do with knitting deadlines looming and classes to teach. I can identify that slowing down and enjoying the things I love is a good thing! I’d like to turn this book into a series! Next up? 10 Secrets of the LaidBack Baker. Quickly followed by 10 Secrets of the LaidBack Baseball Fan and 10 Secrets of the LaidBack Fantasy Football Enthusiast. I’d love a guide to holistic biking. Although I can’t exactly incorporate all of these 10 secrets into my knitting life immediately, I read them. I absorbed them. And someday soon I’ll get to them. And I’ll be a better knitter for it.

This sounds like a book you want to get your hands on, right?! Well today is your lucky day! For a chance to win a copy of 10 Secrets of the LaidBack Knitter:

  1. Leave a comment on this post!
  2. For an extra entry, tweet this: “Run over to @sweatshopoflove for a chance to win a copy of 10 Secrets of the LaidBack Knitter!”, come back and leave another comment telling me you did.
  3. For an extra entry, share this post on G+, come back and leave another comment telling me you did.
  4. For an extra entry, share this post on Facebook, come back and leave another comment telling me you did.

That is four chances to win! This contest closes Sunday, August 28th at midnight. Good luck!

Three New Lion Brand Yarn Free Hat Patterns!

The best part of Renegade Brooklyn in June was meeting the friends from twitter, facebook, blog readers, and the blogs I read that I have never met before. One of these people was Jess from the Lion Brand Yarn twitter account. Despite having over 10,000 twitter followers, she knew who I was and, naturally, we chatted about yarn and knitting. That meeting lead to her asking me to design a couple patterns for the Lion Brand Yarn YarnPlay newsletter, which came out Monday.

Entrelac Beret

First up was an entrelac beret I’ve been wanting to knit forever! Styled here by Lion Brand, it’s more of a winter hat – flopsy, warm, and totally cute.

My Hipster Styling

I took some pictures of it before sending it to Lion Brand and wore it back on my head a little more, making it super flopsy and more of a hipster hat. … whatever that means.

Amazing Yarn!

The main yarn here is Lion Brand Wool Ease Worsted and the contrasting color is Lion Brand Amazing, which I’ve never used before this. It truly lives up to it’s name! It’s verigated, but with S L O W changing colors, so when you are working the entrelac, you’ve got quite a few blocks per color, so it makes the entrelac look even more interesting. I loved it.

Kinda Pretty, Right?

You can see the beautiful Amazing yarn work it’s magic in this shot of the back of the hat. Cool, right?!

Pattern: Lion Brand Yarn (ME!) Entrelac Beret

Yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease in Indigo and Lion Brand Amazing in Glacier Bay

Needles: 16″ size 9 circular, size 9 DPNs

Ravelry Pattern Page

Striped Stocking Cap

I also came up with a striped crocheted hat pattern to be unisex. Lion Bran styled the stocking cap version of the pattern here on a girl. I think it’s really hard to come up with a pattern that both boys and girls will like and wear, and since I’m not a stocking cap or beanie wearer, I just wrote a simple, fast, fun to crochet pattern.

Beanie Version!

I asked PT to model for me! Here you’ve got the beanie version of the hat pattern. I like a versatile pattern, and my pattern tells you were to stop in the stripe pattern for a beanie sized hat AND a stocking cap hat.

Stocking Cap Version!

And here is the longer, stocking cap hat – long enough for you to flip up. I think it’s a great, simple, versatile pattern you could knit for pretty much anyone!

Stocking Cap and Beanie!

The yarn I used, Lion Brand Tweed Stripes, is really fun! Just like Amazing, Tweed Stripes has a really slow variegation so it looks like each stripe in the hat is a different color, especially with the contrasting color – Wild Fire. It’s squishy and soft and I need a million Chunky Cabled Cowls in this beautiful yarn!

Pattern: Lion Brand Yarn (ME!) Striped Beanie and Stocking Cap

Yarn: Lion Brand Tweed Stripes in Tundra and Wild Fire

Hook: Size J

Ravelry Pattern Page

Chicago Class Schedule: Let’s Get Our Knit and Crochet On!

We’ve been celebrating our love of selfish knitting since January but as you know, with the end of summer comes the beginning of gift knitting. I’m not going to say the C word just yet, but DECEMBER, and all that DECEMBER brings, is only a few months away.

So it’s time to start queuing our selfish knitting and start planning gifts. But that can be fun too, right?! I’ve got some super fun project classes scheduled this fall that are quick to make, easy travel projects, and all make fantastic gifts.

As ever, email me at allyson(at)thesweatshopoflove(dot)com to sign up for these classes, to ask any questions, and get materials lists.

Let’s make the transition into fall as easy as we can! With wool in our laps and needles in our hands.


Holiday Present Prep: It’s that time of year again! Time to start planning the hand knit presents everyone is getting this season. And not only planning, but starting and finishing them! Signing up for this class gets you one class per week over the course of ten weeks. We’ll write a list of everything you want to knit and make a knitting plan for how you can get it all finished by Thanksgiving. Holiday Present Prep starts Thursday, September 15th or Sunday, September 18th. Holiday Present Prep continues every Thursday night 7-9 and Sunday morning 10-12 until Thursday, November 17th or Sunday, November 20st. One class per week for 10 weeks costs $95. Email me at allyson [at] thesweatshopoflove [dot] com if you have any questions or to sign up for this class!

Beginner Knitting: Learn to knit early so you can knit some presents for your friends and family this season! Sign up for this beginner knitting class and learn how to cast on, bind off, and knit and purl. One two hour class on either Tuesday September 13th from 7-9pm or Wednesday October 5th from 7-9pm. $25

Beginner Crochet: This is a great opportunity to learn the basics of crocheting! In this class we will learn to make a chain, single, half double, double, and treble crochet stitches, and how to crochet in the round. Use these skills in Mary Jane Slippers and Aaahh Real Monster’s Krumm Toilet Paper Cozy classes. One two hour class on either Tuesday September 27th from 7-9pm or Wednesday October 12th from 7-9pm. $25

Hipster Tea Pot Cozy

Hipster Tea Pot Cozy: If you are going to make one of the most cliched knitting and crochet projects ever, you might as well make it as hilarious as possible, right?! In this two part class we’ll be talking striping, shaping, using wire or pipe cleaners, attaching pockets, and duplicate stitching. This tea pot cozy is sure to make an amazing gift (or look great in your own kitchen!). Hipster Tea Pot Cozy is two parts: Part 1 on Monday, September 19th and Part 2 on Monday, September 26th, both from 7-9pm. $40

Baby Sheeps!

Sheep Yoke Baby Sweater: Not for the knitting faint of heart, this class is tackling a charted colorwork yolk, including stranded and intarsia colorwork! We’ll be starting at the neckline and following a chart to increase out for shoulders, working stranded flowers, garter stitch intarsia sheep, and a stranded checkerboard stripe before separating for the sleeves. But Jen Little at Looking Glass Knit’s Sheep Yoke Baby Sweater pattern is worth it, don’t you think? Sheep Yoke Baby Sweater is two parts: Part 1 on Tuesday, October 4th and Part 2 on Tuesday, October 11th, both from 7-9pm. $40

Hot Stripes Hanging Dish Towel

Hot Stripes Hanging Dish Towel: In this fun beginner project you’ll learn four different stitch patterns, and in the end you’ll have a one of the most ridiculous knitted kitchen gifts ever – a hanging dish towel, perfect for hanging over your oven door. These also make hilariously fantastic gifts. This Hot Stripes Hanging Dish Towel class is one night, on Wednesday, September 21st from 7-9pm. $25 – but take both Hot Stripes Hanging Dish Towel and Hot (Diagonal) Stripes Dish Cloth for $40!

Hot (Diagonal) Stripes Dishcloth

Hot (Diagonal) Stripes Dishcloth: Worked corner to corner, this dish cloth has a lot going on. Learn how to follow shaping directions while working stitch patterns and striping at the same time. Dish cloths make fantastic gifts, and when they’re this hot they’re sure to be displayed and used by everyone! This Hot (Diagonal) Stripes Dishcloth class is one night, on Monday, October 17th from 7-9pm. $25 – but take both Hot (Diagonal) Stripes Dishcloth and Hot Stripes Hanging Dish Towel for $40!

Mary Jane Slippers

Mary Jane Slippers: These slippers are fast, adorable, and guaranteed to make all the ladies on your holiday list really happy! Crocheted in one piece and finished with a single crochet border, learn magic ring, crocheting in the round, crocheting straight, crochet edge, changing colors, and we’ll even throw in a fabric covered button tutorial! Mary Jane Slippers are a perfect project for the beginner crocheter. Mary Jane Slippers by Lisa Gutierrez at GoodKnits is a two part class: Part 1 on Wednesday, October 19th and Part 2 on Wednesday, October 26th, both classes are 7-9pm. $40

Aaahh!! Real Mosters Krumm Toilet Paper Cozy

Aaahh!!! Real Monsters Krumm Toilet Paper Cozy: If you’re going to make a toilet paper cozy, you might as well make the most amazing toilet paper cozy ever, right? Help your bathroom celebrate the 90s with this hilarious Nickelodeon cartoon character sitting on your toilet. Learn crochet pattern reading, seaming, assembly, back stitching, and armpit hair! Aaahh!!! Real Monsters Krumm Toilet Paper Cozy class is two parts: Part 1 on Wednesday, November 9th and Part 2 on Wednesday, November 16th, both classes from 7-9pm. $40

Entrelac Beret

Entrelac Beret: This slouchy hat is a showstopper! A thick ribbed band makes it comfortable and warm, and all that entrelac goodness is too hot for words. Learn entrelac in the round, changing colors within entrelac, and a TON of picking up stitches. Whether this hat turns into a gift or is meant for your own head, I know you’ll love knitting it as much as wearing it. Entrelac Beret is two parts: Part 1 on Tuesday, October 25th and Part 2 on Tuesday, November 1st, both classes are 7-9pm. $40

Group Knitting and Crochet: Come get help starting a project, finishing a project, picking a project, picking materials, or learning something new! These classes are here for you to make up class time with, including missed Holiday Present Prep classes and any project classes you can’t make. 2 hours, $15

Monday October 10, 7-9pm

Tuesday October 18, 7-9pm

Wednesday November 2, 7-9pm

Tuesday November 15, 7-9pm

Tuesday December 6, 7-9pm

Thursday December 8, 7-9pm

Finishing School: Need help getting those presents finished? Of course you do! No matter how early we get started we are always scrambling in December. Use these classes to seam, zipper, stuff, button, duplicate stitch, or embroider your hand knit and crocheted presents to make sure they are done in time for your holiday parties. (Good for knitting time, too!) 2 hours, only $5 or FREE if you are in Holiday Present Prep!

Tuesday December 13, 7-9pm

Wednesday December 14, 7-9pm

Thursday December 15, 7-9pm

One on One Classes: Is there something you are interested in knitting that you don’t see listed here? Pick a project or a new skill and email me to set up a one on one class! I generally schedule classes weekday nights 7-9pm and weekend days in two hour blocks between 10am-4pm. Send me a few dates and times that work for you. I will match our schedules, pick a time that works for both of us, and give you a class outline. One on one classes are $20 per hour; most classes are two hours long.

Knitting Book Club: Our first knitting book club of the fall will be meeting Monday, October 3rd, and we’ll have a vote for that book in early September. If you are interested in joining the book club, send me an email. Please don’t come with knitting questions as I won’t be teaching anything (so the book club can be free of course), just come to knit and chat about our book!

Summer Knit Along FOs! Part Two

Our KAL ended a couple weeks ago and there were a few knitters who finished on time. Naturally there were some knitters that ran a little behind! We’ve been following their progress on on our KAL forums and now we’re ready to show of the next round!

Katie's Make Up Your Mind!

Stefanie's The Loop Entrelac Tank!

Emily's The Loop Entrelac Tank!

Gillian's The Loop Entrelac Tank

Kiley's The Loop Entrelac Tank

Sonia's Make Up Your Mind!

Everyone did such an amazing job! And something tells me there is going to be a part three with even more finished sweaters.

And another KAL is in the works! We’re going to vote in a few weeks. If you’ve got suggestions for big wooly sweaters shoot them my way.

FO: Mary Jane Slippers

I’ve had these on my to crochet list forever.

Mary Jane Slippers

If I knew they’d take me only 4 hours to put together I probably wouldn’t have waited like 10 years to finally make myself a pair!

Cute Slips!

I used Lisa Gutierrez’s Mary Jane Slippers crochet pattern, and it was very straight forward and easy. The pattern itself, however, is all in this blog post, full of step by step pictures, which I’m sure are very helpful if you are a beginner. They are pretty annoying, though, if you want to copy the instructions to your phone so you don’t have to be in front of your computer crocheting. There is a printer friendly version, but it refers to the pictures for some of the instruction, so there is no way around it.

Cute Feet

Never the less, these slippers turned out great! I’ll be wearing the crap out of them once it starts getting chilly, and teaching them this fall! These are fantastic gifts since they are so freaking fast to work up. And throw a couple fabric covered buttons on these bad boys and you’re set to go!

Pattern: Lisa Gutierrez’s Mary Jane Slippers

Yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease Worsted in Gray and Pink

Hook: Size G

Ravelry Project Page