Thursday, October 20, 2016

Snowflakes and Apples

Hi, Knitters,
I hope you are all having a good week. The fall weather has been on the warm side this year and we have been enjoying it as much as possible. We can't take the warmer weather for granted around here as winter is right around the corner.

I want to thank you for the support for the Mitten Knitting Season pattern sale I had over the last week. It was a hit and so I hope to see lots of your Waiting for Winter Mittens all over the place, stacks and stacks of them. My daughter gifted the mittens I knitted for her cross country sister at the last meet. I didn't hear much about it so I hope she likes them. And I have to say that if I don't hear anything about a gift, knitted or not, I never worry about it. It doesn't bother me at all not knowing if the person likes it because the fun for me is making the gift. After that I let it go. Although it is added fun if you do hear that the gift is enjoyed, of course.

Now, you may be wondering why I have the photo of a hat I designed in 2014 as the first photo. Yesterday or the day before that I noticed that my hat pattern, Split Back Snowflake, was getting some attention on Ravelry. It was rising back up in the Hot Right Now Patterns on Ravelry. Sometimes these things happen and I assume it's been mentioned somewhere or someone is knitting it and posting about it but I didn't know what was up this time.

I posted the original photo of my niece wearing the hat on my Instagram and people started letting me know that Staci Perry of Very Pink Knits had been posting about knitting her own Split Back Snowflake Hat. Staci is a prolific knitter, designer and knitting teacher and she has a very popular YouTube Channel called VeryPink Knits, where she does loads of tutorials and tutorial-style projects. You should definitely check her out. Thank you, Staci, for knitting the hat! 

Here is the back of the hat and thus the reason for the pattern title. The cable-rib brim is worked flat and then it is joined to begin working in the round for a short ribbed section and then moves into the colorwork section of the hat. When the hat is worn it should be tipped back a bit which makes the flat section hug the back of the neck (perfect for a low ponytail, too!) and the split creates earflaps to boot. There are so many good things about this hat. It is perfect for a new-to colorwork and new-to cable knitter because the patterns are simple and a hat is small with small sections of each. The hat also provides good variety for interest and moves quickly on the worsted weight yarn.

If the split back detail is not for you there is a more traditional option in the pattern, too.

The photos above show the traditional brim with a simple 1 by 1 rib to turn up or to wear down for a slouchier fit.

With two skeins each of two contrasting colors of Quince & Co. Owl you can get two hats including the pom poms. Three skeins of Owl will get you one hat, either version.

Anyway, it's been fun to revisit the Split Back Snowflake Hat pattern. My niece is the model and she is just so darn cute. 

Now for another subject, apples and apple picking. For the last ten years that I've been writing this blog I have talked about my love for apple picking and pumpkin picking in the fall. It has been a longstanding autumn tradition for us to head out and pick those apples. We like trying all sorts of kinds of apples and I am always fascinated by the variety and tastes and textures.

This year we focused on Northern Spy, Jonagold and Cortland for our picking. My son and his wife, and one of my daughters joined us so it was a small group by our standards but we had a blast and the weather was gorgeous.

I love how the rows of apple trees look so unassuming but when you get in there and look the apples are everywhere. We had the best weather. Oh, and I just remembered that as we were walking out of the rows of trees I ran into my buddy Jaala Spiro of Knit Circus with her kids. That was fun.

The apples this year were big, gigantic even. Some of the apples we picked were the largest I've ever seen.

In 2010 I posted about making applesauce in the oven and I shared my No Recipe Baked Applesauce recipe. Click here if you want to read about it!  I use this guide every time I bake applesauce and it never fails. In the old post it was fun to see TC playing her French horn in the background and my then newly remodeled kitchen. Seems like a long time ago. 

 Married life agrees with them!

I've made apple crisp and applesauce and I've eaten a lot of apples for snacks over the last week or two. I love it all. I've also blended a generous amount of cinnamon into plain cream cheese and added raisins for dipping with sliced apples. It's all so good and delicious.

I can't think of a better way to celebrate autumn each year. 

The colors are finally changing around here and it never gets old. The photo above was taken with my phone and I can't believe how good it turned out. My husband was with me on a hike and I told him how the landscape looked just like a painting. Then later when I looked at the photo I had taken it really looked like a painting in the photo. Sometimes it is hard to capture what you see in a photo. This time it worked.

The photo above was taken on my run in the late afternoon yesterday.  It was a pretty good view.

Right before I ended my run and headed home I stopped to take one last photo. You know, having a phone with a camera is one of the best things ever. I really enjoy being able to capture moments in time so randomly. (This makes me sound old but when you don't have a cell phone until you are in your mid-forties you can understand that it seems pretty wonderful.)

Have a great rest of your week, dear Knitters. I'll be back soon with more.
xo ~ susan

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

'Tis Mitten Knitting Season

Hi, Knitters,
Mitten knitting season is now upon us. It never fails that as October rolls around and the air begins to cool I feel the need to knit mittens. This urge hasn't changed for decades. Last fall I devoted a week in October not only for mitten knitting but for adding sizes to my original Waiting for Winter Mittens & Fingerless Mitts pattern. And I also made a new pattern for baby and kid-size mittens called, Little Waiting for Winter Mittens & Fingerless Mitts.

For this fall of 2016 I am celebrating mitten knitting season in a couple of ways. First, I had both the Waiting for Winter and the Little Waiting for Winter patterns refreshed with a new and more concise pattern design. It is easier to read, has fewer pages and I've added some new photos. It's a bit of a makeover if you will. The actual patterns are exactly the same, no changes there.

The second way I am celebrating is by offering a big pattern discount for both of the Waiting for Winter mitten patterns big and little, and for my Half Pint Mittens bookmark/ornament pattern. For your convenience the discount prices are set for you on the pattern pages so no coupon code is necessary. 

It's a Mitten Sale!

Here are the links to the patterns for more information or to purchase, all discount prices are set:

The sale prices will go for one week starting today, October 12, 2016 through the end of the day on October 19, 2016. You can get the entire set of three mitten patterns in sizes for the entire family (10 sizes of mittens in all) plus the tiny bookmark or ornament pattern for $7.00! 

Half Pint Mittens are made with fingering weight yarn. These make the perfect bookmark with the string resting in between the pages or the perfect ornament with the string draped over your Christmas tree branch. 

My latest mitten knitting this week was from a gift skein of yarn from The Lemonade Shop. It's her worsted weight yarn, 100% superwash wool, in the Pinwheel colorway. This pair is a gift for a 14-year-old friend of my daughter's on her cross country team. I think they are going to be perfect for the cooler running weather ahead. 

The mitten blockers were purchased from Burning Impressions on Etsy! Mine are the medium size and I simply adore having these mitten blockers.

Here are some fun photos from the new pattern design!

These are striped using two balls of Noro Kureyon.

Yarn used here is Noro Kureyon. 

Yarn is Noro Kureyon, two balls striped. 

A stack of old and new Waiting for Winter Mittens

Waiting for Winter Mittens in Fresh Isle Fibers worsted singles Watermelon yarn

I hope you are able to enjoy the new pattern design for the Waiting for Winter mitten set and that you can take advantage of the discounted pattern prices this week. I am loving the fall season already and I am really anxious for the cooler months ahead. 

I have so much new and exciting stuff in store over the next couple of months. There is some big news brewing around these parts and I'll be filling you in very soon over the next few weeks. I hope you'll be as excited about it as I am! 

Much love to you all.
xo ~ susan

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Episode 26: Knit City

Hi, Knitters,
I have a new podcast episode up on YouTube. I looked back and it has been at least three months since I last recorded and that seems about right. The last three months have been the craziest months of my life. Hopefully I can get back to recording with a little less time in between now that things have settled a bit.

Here are the links to find me all over the interwebs:
My Ravelry group, Itty-Bitty Knits~ come join us!

Here are the links for the things I talked about:

I'm wearing the Louise cardigan knit in Quince & Co. Osprey in the same colors as in the pattern. 

Lemonade Shop  worsted in the Pinwheel colorway

Cable Sourcebook by Norah Gaughan

Within ~ the new book by Jane Richmond and Shannon Cook

Signature Needle Arts ~ I always buy the 6-inch length dpns

Knit Circus Yarns ~ My socks are knit in the Twister Stripes colorway. I got the 100 gram set.

The Loopy Ewe Sock Blockers

Marigold Jen on Etsy,  Ghost Walk and Lazy Days sock colorways

River City Yarns ~ Adam and Eve and Epic Yarn

That should do it! I hope you enjoy the fun links and the video.

Have a great weekend, friends!
xo ~ susan

Monday, October 03, 2016

Butterfly & Cocoon ~ Making Issue 2: Fauna

Hi, Knitters,
I am sitting in the airport in Vancouver with a bit of time to kill so I thought I would write a brief post about my latest pattern release. I am proud to announce that the next issue of Carrie Bostick Hoge's Making Magazine is now available for pre-order. 

Click here to find out more about Making Magazine Issue 2: Fauna! Issue 1 sold out quickly, you can pre-order a copy. The magazine has seventeen knitting patterns but there is so much more like sewing, embroidery, baking and more.

My new design that is in the magazine is called Butterfly and Cocoon. The pattern is only available in the print magazine at this time. In March the pattern will be available for download in my Ravelry pattern shop.

The other knit designers include Melanie Berg, Norah Gaughan, Carrie Bostick Hoge, Karen Templer, Ashley Yousling, Mary Jane Mucklestone, Carol Sunday, Cal Patch, Jenny Gordy, Bristol Ivy, Cecily Glowik-McDonald and Beatrice Dahlen. 

It's quite a line up. 

Photo by Carrie Bostick Hoge

Here is my introduction to the pattern:

Late summer into early fall is a completely magical time here in Wisconsin. On my daily hikes through the prairies with grasses towering over my head, and around nearby ponds surrounded by milkweed, the terrain is intoxicating. These natural habitats offer a huge variety of fauna-watching including wild turkeys, deer, chipmunks, herons, cranes, birds galore and my favorite, the butterflies. Oh the butterflies! To see their beautiful, airy wings flitting about in abundance from plant to plant has added so much to my daily excursions. Each walk in the fading heat of the season is a heady experience.

Butterfly and Cocoon is a knitted tribute to these beautiful, delicate creatures. The sweet Butterfly and Cocoon are both worked seamlessly from the bottom-up, picking up stitches for the wings and antennae after the body is knitted. This makes for a slick and fun knit. Children will love to tuck the winged friend into its very own cocoon for a rest or nap and take it out again when it’s time to fly! The loop on the top of the cocoon hood is perfect for hanging on a hook, backpack or most definitely on a little finger for toting along on adventures in the wild. 

Photo by Carrie Bostick Hoge


October 2016

Sport / 5 ply (12 wpi) ?

6 stitches = 1 inch
in stockinette stitch

US 3 - 3.25 mm
US 5 - 3.75 mm

200 yards (183 m)

5½" tall
Finished measurements
5½” (14 cm) tall
Chickadee by Quince & Co.
(100% American wool; 50 grams / 181 yards)
• 1 skein each (only small amounts of each color are used) in the following color ways:
Sample 1: Kumlien’s Gull (A), Egret (B), Shell (C), Split Pea (D)
Sample 2: Clay (A), Chanterelle (B), Aleutian (C), Honey (D)
Sample 3: Iceland (A), Petal (B), Lupine (C), Pomegranate (D)
50 yards (46 meters) or less of each color in sport weight yarn
• Tapestry needle
• Removable stitch markers
• Fiberfill
• Safety eyes, size 4.5 mm (see Notes)
• Black embroidery floss
• Waste yarn
6½ sts = 1” (2.5 cm) in stockinette stitch with smaller needles
6 sts = 1” (2.5 cm) in stockinette stitch with larger needles
Butterfly is worked in the round from the bottom up and stuffed as you go. Face detail, wings, and antennae are added after. Cocoon is worked from the bottom up in the round, then bound off at beginning of hood and continued in garter stitch. Top of hood is grafted, with stitches kept live at center of hood to make I-cord loop.
Warning: Safety eyes are considered a choking hazard for young children and infants. Embroider eyes if this is a concern.

Photo by Carrie Bostick Hoge

This is one of my all-time favorite toy designs. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it.

The following photos are my early shots of the Butterfly and Cocoon. 

I was so excited about the finished design that I had to quickly knit up two more versions!

The beautiful Quince & Co. Chickadee yarn never fails. It's so beautiful. Finding four colors to combine is so easy with the Quince colorways. 

Love the hood with the loop for hooking on a little finger.

The entire project is knit from the bottom-up and in one piece. The wings and antennae are picked up and knit on to the body. 

Going home is always a good feeling. I'll be back soon with more.
xo ~ susan

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Autumnal Odds and Ends

Hi, Knitters,
First things first, the winner of a copy of Drop Dead Easy Knits and two skeins of Quince & Co. Owl is....

thissandiknits on Ravelry!

Congratulations to Sandy. I've contacted Sandy via Ravelry to gather her mailing address and her Quince & Co. Owl color choices. All is set to go. 

Thank you to Kirsten Kapur, Mary Lou Egan and Gale Zucker for the book to give away and to Quince for playing along as well. I'll have another giveaway very soon!

Now for a few odds and ends.  

I am so excited about the fall issue of Vogue Knitting Magazine. You have to get your hands on this issue. I love and want to knit almost every project in the magazine, plus there are great articles with loads of information, tips, and beautiful photos. It is an issue mainly devoted to Fair Isle knitting and what design could be better to grace the cover than from the talented colorwork genius Mary Jane Mucklestone. Mary Jane is so deserving and I just honestly feel thrilled for her. I hope you all get to take a class someday from Mary Jane and meet her in person. She is interesting, smart, and fun and full of life. She has an article in the magazine about Fair Isle Knitting tips. And that hat on the cover is flying onto my needles. I am in love with this sweet little pointy hat. I have an old stash of Rowan Felted Tweed DK as you can see in the photo above. The hat on the cover is made in the same yarn. Now I just need to figure out my colors. 

Click here for Mary Jane Mucklestone's website! Her world travels are amazing to follow.

Click here for Vogue Knitting Magazine! Really, go get this issue!

The magazine is in a new format and size. It is just stunning and exciting. There are lots of other designs by fantastic knitters that aren't colorwork, as well. The runaway hit seems to be the sweater from another favorite designer of mine, Nora Gaughan

There is something for everyone. I'll keep you posted on my hat progress. I'm casting on today.

I have revamped my Build a Toy Workshop handouts for my upcoming classes this weekend at Knit City in Vancouver and for other upcoming venues. I am super excited about it. This is one of my favorite classes to teach because it lets the students take over as the designer with lots of guidance. I can't believe some of the fun knit toys that have come out this workshop. The photo shows just a few of the options you can make with the patterns provided in class.

Click here for Knit City in Vancouver! Oct. 1-2, 2016. There are still a few spaces left in two of my classes. I hope to see you there. I have a book signing on Sunday morning in the market at 9:00am, too. 

Click here for Vogue Knitting Live in Minneapolis! November 4-6, 2016, registration is open. 

I've finished the purple-themed socks I had been working on for awhile. They were a gift for my sister-in-law.

The Opal yarn is discontinued but you can still find it on if you look it up.

Yarn info:

Opal Sweet & Spicy 2, color number 8615. Cuffs, heels, and toes in Opal Solid in color 5186. 

Here is the finished pair. My sister-in-law received them in the mail the other day and she said she cried when she opened the package. She tried them right on and said that the fit is perfect! Now that makes you feel pretty good and appreciated I'd say. She is a teacher and she told me she couldn't wait to show everyone at her school. That's about the cutest thing I've ever heard. 

I used my new sock pattern called Smooth Operator Socks. 

For this pair I used the No-Kitchener stitch toe and heel option, and the single line decrease option. Both of these options are included in the addendum to the pattern.

Then I cast on a brand new pair. I am using the Twister Stripes colorway from Knit Circus Yarns. I got the 100 gram set, the yarn comes in two matching cakes. I made the cuff 9-inches long in total and I made a 3-inch ribbed cuff to turn down. Next time I will try their smaller size socks sets. They have a medium-size that would be the perfect amount of yarn.

The sock pattern is again my Smooth Operator Socks pattern. For the heel I pulled the yarn from the other end of the yarn cake, I pulled from the outside. This works out so well because then you are using the last color of the gradient stripes for the heel. The challenge is to get to use all of the yarn and colors when you are working from an incredibly fun gradient yarn like Knit Circus. This makes it certain that you will reach the end color.

For this sock I used the Smooth Operator Socks original heel and toe decrease, with the rounder Kitchener Stitch toe and heel. The rounded toe and heel Kitchener Stitch option is found in the pattern addendum.

I bet you all have a lot of autumnal knitting odds and ends going on, too. It's that time of year and I am really happy about that. I am getting back into teaching again which feels good. I hadn't taught since last May before the Knit Circus Retreat. I really love to teach knitting workshops and it's good to have lots of venues on my schedule for the fall, winter and spring seasons ahead.

I'll be back soon. I'll try to remember to take lots of photos while I'm in Vancouver. I'll have lots to share next week. I'm already planning.
xo ~ susan

Friday, September 23, 2016

Drop Dead Easy Knits ~ Quince & Co. Owl Giveaway!

Hi, Knitters,
Last week a new and exciting knitting book was released, Drop Dead Easy Knits, by Gale Zucker, Mary Lou Eagen and Kirsten Kapur. I am fortunate enough to have a pattern included in the book, Bear in a Bunny Suit. I have a little story on how this came to be.

A couple of years ago Gale Zucker, who I first met at the SSK retreat in Nashville, asked if I wanted to get together at Vogue Knitting Live in NYC. I said sure! I love Gale and so does everyone else; she's a good soul. Well, to that meet-up Gale brought along Kirsten Kapur, who I didn't know personally but of course I know and love her knitting. We chatted for a bit at the hotel and then they took me on an adventure weaving through the city to a pop-up yarn shop for Starcroft yarn and fiber (this is amazing yarn with an even better story behind it). 

I had the best time ever. I just loved that night, it was warm and cozy and magical. The beautiful sheep-y wool fumes and the knitting talent in that tiny shop was overwhelming. I stayed an hour or two. Right before I left to go back to the hotel Kay Gardiner of Mason-Dixon Knitting walked in the shop and I briefly got to meet her which was great. Gale Zucker is the common thread here for me and possibly everyone else at that event. Gale likes to bring people together. She is kind and friendly and interested in others. When I was at SSK she arranged a dinner with Ann Shayne, the other half of Mason-Dixon Knitting, and that was another treasured memory I have due to Gale. Really my dream is to get to work with Gale someday on some sort of project and hopefully that will happen.   

Kirsten Kapur, who is a native New Yorker, helped me catch a cab to get me back to the hotel. While we walked a block or two to get to a good cab-catching spot Kirsten asked me if I would design something for their new book. Gale and Kirsten were going to ask me earlier in the night but the night sort of swept away quickly on us. I said yes to the book project offer, Kirsten flagged down a cab for me and I jumped in. That was that.

A short while later they got in touch with more details about the book and I started dreaming up my project for the now named book, Drop Dead Easy Knits. The projects are supposed to be fairly easy and doable, that is the point. I like that in any project and those are usually the most inviting projects to me so it's a good fit. 

Click here to see all of the projects in the book on Ravelry! There are patterns for sweaters, blankets, shawls, mitts, cowls, a scarf, and hats to name a few. It has great variety. 

For my project I had always wanted to knit a little bear in a bunny suit and I thought Drop Dead Easy Knits might be a good place for it. My youngest daughter had a little stuffed bear dressed in a pink bunny suit when she was little and I saved it thinking I'd love to knit one of my own someday. I finally had the chance. I was excited to dig in and create this new and fun knit toy.

I picked Owl yarn by Quince & Co. as the yarn for my bear. Two skeins of Owl is all you need and you could easily get two bears out of the two skeins.  The bear is a fast knit on a worsted weight yarn on US size 5 needles. 

The hood can be taken off or can be pulled up. I love a toy that has something to do and the hood with ears provides the "to-do" in this toy.

The toy is constructed almost completely seamlessly from the bottom up. The only stitching together is for attaching the head to the body which only takes a minute. With easy increasing and decreasing the bear body and head come together quickly.

The hood, ears on the bear and hood, arms and legs are all picked up and knit directly onto the toy so there are no separate parts to stitch together. I used safety eyes but you could easily embroider eyes as well. 

The Quince & Co. Owl is such a great yarn for toy knitting. The alpaca halo and heather-y look of the yarn gives the toy a cozy, old-fashioned look, sort of warm and comforting. 

Anyway, it's a cute and quick knit. Bear in a Bunny Suit is the perfect project for the gift-knitting season that is now upon us.

Click here to see more information about the Bear in a Bunny Suit!

There are so many projects in Drop Dead Knits that I would like to knit myself and I think you'll feel the same way, too. As a matter of fact I just looked up the book on Amazon and it is already the #1 bestselling knitting book! Congratulations to Gale, Mary and Kirsten! That's so exciting.

I am giving away one copy of the book today. I also contacted Quince & Co. to see if they would want to give away two skeins of Owl to knit the Bear in a Bunny Suit and they said yes! So the winner of the giveaway will get to choose two skeins of Owl in any of the available colors along with winning a copy of Drop Dead Easy Knits

To enter to win please leave one comment on this blog post that includes your Ravelry username or an email address so I can contact you if you win. Please be patient for your comment to appear and only click on the Publish button one time. There is a delay before you will see your comment. 

I'll be back next week with a randomly selected winner. Have a wonderful weekend ahead. I'll be back soon with more. Oh, and here is a super cute video from the authors:

xo ~ susan

Friday, September 16, 2016

How to Make a Memory Book

Hi, Knitters,
First and foremost, the winner for the MrsBrownsBags and the Rhinebeck Sweater Weather sock yarn from Nomadic Yarns is......

DCKnitdiva (rav username)!! Evelyn, congratulations! 

Evelyn and Nomadic Yarns have been contacted to exchange information and all should be set. Thank you for the enormous response to the giveaway. That makes it all the more fun. I'll host another one very soon. 

Now for today's topic at hand. Last summer my son got married to his high school sweetheart who we just adore. I wanted to make a small memory book for them that wouldn't take up an enormous amount of space but would be filled to the brim with snippets from their wedding. During the entire lead up to the wedding day I started saving things like shower invitations, save the date cards, printed out (!) photos, old and favorite recipes handwritten on recipe cards, etc. Any little thing that would fit on the pages of the book I saved.

I had the kids (when I say kids I mean my son and his wife) pick out the guest book they wanted for their wedding. I loved the book they picked. 

I began making the book cover by cutting out the fabric. I just made it up as I went along. I picked out a beautiful natural linen for the outside and the inside fabric is a natural cotton.  I opened the book at the center and laid it flat on top of the fabric. Then I took a few measurements for the length and width of the rectangle I would need to cut out. For the flaps on each end to hold the book cover I added 2 extra inches onto the horizontal length of the rectangle. 

Then all the way around each side of the opened book I added on 1/4-inch for the seam allowance. 

Basically just open the book, lay it flat, cut out a rectangle to fit the opened book cover adding on extra length for the flaps on each end and for seam allowance. Super simple! Use your book as the pattern template.

I cut out the fabric with a rotary cutter. I set aside the cotton inside fabric and figured out where the front of the book would be on the linen. I put my embroidery hoop on the fabric and pulled out some embroidery floss and dove into the stitching. I loved every minute of it, this is my favorite part.

On the front I embroidered some flowers, buds and grasses and their names and wedding date. I just did this free-hand. For writing things out taking really tiny back stitches works the best for me. That way you can make the curves easily on the letters. 

I embroidered on the back of the book, too. My friend and book editor sent a card with the sweetest quote and I am officially stealing it to use from now on. His card said, May your life be full of "moons and Junes and Ferris wheels." Do you know where that came from? I did but I had to tell the kids. It is a lyric from Joni Mitchell's song Both Sides Now. On the back of the book I stitched the sentence with a couple of different words but it's mainly the same.  It's a little hard to capture in the photo for some reason but it's clear as day in person.

I just love those words so much. 

After the embroidery was set I placed the inside fabric and the embroidered cover right sides together and sewed them together with my sewing machine leaving an opening to turn it right side out. I hand-stitched the opening closed then. I pressed the seams and pushed out the corners and got it looking nice and crisp. I added a gray binding around the edges for an extra detail, I think it looks good. I used the machine to attach the binding on one side and then hand-stitched it down on the other side, just like you would for a quilt. You wouldn't need the binding though, it looks good without it, too.

Next I folded over the flaps on both ends and hand-stitched those in place on the top and the bottom. The photo above shows the inside of the cover with the flaps stitched down. The front and back covers are inserted into the flaps to hold the fabric cover on the book. Think of it like a book jacket with the flaps sewn down at the top and bottom.

Here is a little tour of the inside of the book. I smudged out phone numbers and addresses and last names for privacy so if you see a little blur you'll understand.

I finished up the cover and put in some photos on the pages but then brought the book to the wedding to have the guests sign in. It's funny what happened. First people were signing the book with their names and addresses but by the end people were signing in with notes to the couple. I loved that so much because they already had the guests' addresses so notes and wishes seemed a lot more meaningful.

After the wedding I began putting the book together with everything I had collected.

Part of the fun was not being too neat and tidy about things. I pulled out my collection of washi tape and started taping everything down that I could find. There is so much cute washi tape on Amazon, I could really go crazy. Click here for a really cute set, for example! I am nuts over washi tape and I use it every chance I get.

I was touched that they used a bunch of my little sketches of leaves, acorns, and twigs on their invitations and other things. That was really a sweet touch. 

I layered cards and had things that could flip up to show something else underneath. There are cards hanging over the edges of the pages at times. Art books are just fun. There are no rules, stack, tape, write on the pages, throw in photos, tags, funny stories, heartfelt notes, a napkin, a leaf, a flower, etc. Anything goes! 

The pages became jam-packed with memories. I wrote a letter to the couple and put it in a sealed envelope in the book to read later. They still haven't read it and I suggested maybe waiting a year or two, space it out a bit. I like that idea.

The last thing I added was a button and a loop to close the book and hold the contents tight. You have to actually squeeze the covers to get the loop over the button. When the button loop is undone the book is kind of like a Jack-in-the-Box, it springs open and the pages explode. I used a smooth wood button that is engraved with a twig, I have a whole set of these for a cardigan, but I don't know where I purchased them. For the loop I hand-stitched a strand of hemp cord to the back. I made an over-hand knot with the ends of the cord to make the loop. I used sturdy thread and just let the knots show on the back. Again, there is nothing too neat and tidy about the book.

I made another book that was similar for my niece who got married just a few weeks later. Click here to see my niece's book! I packed this book chock full of shower cards, photos, notes, written messages from family and bridesmaids, invitations, etc. I used a blank book for this one. I love the little blank books from Bare Books. They are inexpensive, just the right size and have the perfect number of pages. They are not overwhelming to fill. Highly recommend. Click here for Bare Books.

I have to tell you that I could just sit and make these books all day long. I have the best time doing it but I didn't know if others would love it as much as I do. Well, my answer came when Molly politely asked about the book and I hadn't quite finished it yet. She spurred me on to get it done. When I finished it she came over to visit and I gave it to her. I was so touched that she immediately and quietly sat down at the kitchen table and slowly poured over each and every single page in that book. She drank it in. I could see how much she loved it as she ran her hands over the pages and smiled and giggled at the photos and notes. It was touching.

Honestly, I don't know if I've ever had something I've made received in a better way. 

That felt really good.

Love to you all. I'll be back soon with more.
xo ~ susan