Interview with Susan B. Anderson, Author of Spud & Chloë at the Farm
  

When I was asked to take part in this blog tour, I was thrilled. Spud & Chloë  at the Farm is one of those whimsical books that is entertaining in a multitude of ways: you can learn how to make a collection of farm animals and farm props such as: a picket fence, bales of hay and ever-so- dainty baskets! Anderson also shares a story about an irresistible sheep named Spud, his quirky owner Chloë,  and a host of other farm yard animals. You can read this story out loud to the children in your life while you knit and share these refreshingly simple-to-make projects. Take a look at this quick video preview of the book here.

So read on to get a little glimpse inside the mind of Susan B. Anderson, and the inspiration behind her new book, and a chance to win a free copy all thanks for Artisan Books!

Kara: What was the inspiration behind wanting to make a book of small knitted toys, specifically farm animals?

Susan: The inspiration for Spud & Chloë at the Farm came from the idea of Spud and Chloë having a series of adventures together. I had a list of ideas for stories and settings but a farm adventure seemed like the best place to start for the two main characters.

Kara: Small projects like these really take on a life all their own. Why do you prefer to design small items and not garments?

Brown Cow

Susan: I like to design and knit all kinds of things including garments but I seem to gravitate toward small projects and accessories the most. I think toy knitting and baby knitting are two of the most fun categories to work in for many reasons. Toys especially are timeless and don’t follow any trends, they appeal to all age categories (adults seem to like them the most), the worry of fit and size is not there and toys are always a challenging, fast and happy subject to knit.

Kara: Why did you choose to work with Spud & Chloë yarns? Is it the fiber content, easy care? Color variety?

Susan: I started designing for Spud & Chloë before it was released on the market in 2009. I had always been a fan of Blue Sky Alpacas (the sister company of Spud & Chloë) but when I tried the Spud & Chloë yarns I fell in love. The yarns are all natural fibers and they are machine washable which is perfect for the projects I enjoy creating. The colors are fun and beautiful, perfect for adults and children. The entire concept behind the line is very inspiring.

Kara: My two year old son London loves the read-aloud story in the back. What a clever idea to incorporate the characters in a fun and interactive way to tell the story to your child. Would you say this was your idea behind wanting to include the story?

Susan: When my third book, Itty-Bitty Toys, was released I was surprised at how many knitters told me that their kids were reading the book. The kids were placing orders from the book like it was a catalog. I loved that interactive aspect of the toy book. With Spud & Chloë we decided that we had the perfect opportunity to include a children’s story along with the projects. You can knit the characters and the farm to go along with the storyline. I love the concept of kids being involved in the knitting book.

Kara: Now I’d like to ask a bit about your background: How did you get your start in the design world? Have you designed for magazines, or strictly focused on books and independent designs? Why did you choose the route you did?


Susan: I started designing baby hats about 12 years ago for my kids’ nursery school silent auctions. The hats would get a great reaction. My knitted hats were then sold in a local children’s boutique and that’s when I started writing patterns, too. I had always wanted to write a book so eventually I sent a few patterns and a sample hat to Artisan Books. Within a couple of weeks they contacted me and wanted to do a baby hat book with me. This book became Itty-Bitty Hats. I am still working with Artisan Books today and have just started my fifth book with them. I have done a little work with magazines here and there but my main focus has been on my books and my own online pattern shops on Ravelry and my through my blog. My route just kind of happened the way it did naturally. Now I spend a lot of my time writing, photographing and designing for the Spud & Chloë blog called Spud says! as well.

Kara: What is a typical “day at the office” for you?

Susan: I get up very early before the suns comes up and work for several hours before my family gets up and the busyness of the begins. During the day I knit, write, take photos, answer emails, update and check in on my Ravelry groups and then I knit some more. I work until my kids get home from school and then my focus is on my family.

Kara: When it comes to color and design, how do you decide what color stories to use? Do you sketch your designs first, or just jump right into swatching, and allow the yarn to dictate what happens?


Barnyard Cat



Susan: The color selection process varies for me. Sometimes I see a color and a project idea comes to me and then other times I have a project in mind and look for a certain color to go with the project. My design process varies as well. There are times when I sketch everything out ahead of time and make pattern notes before I start. There are other times when I dive right into the knitting without sketching. I probably shouldn’t say this but I am not a dedicated swatcher. I often dive right into the knitting and measure my gauge after I am a few inches in.

Kara: The facial expressions on your characters are so precious! My favorites are the Farm Dog and Barnyard Cat. I love how you use the simplest stitches to create the cutest little mouth or eyes. It certainly is an art form in itself!  Can you share how you magically bring your characters to life with just the right expression?

Susan: The face of a toy is the most important part. It is make or break in my opinion. I don’t often need to re-knit things but I will work on the face embroidery over and over until I get it just right. With a few little straight stitches the entire mood of the toy comes to life, whether it is sleepy, happy, wise, friendly, serious or funny. Face-making definitely becomes easier with practice.

Kara: Can you tell us about any new projects on the burner? Any new books coming down the road? I love your blog, can you tell me about the kinds of patterns you offer, and how knitters can find out more info about you?

Susan: I have a lot of projects in the works like more books, magazine projects, adding patterns to my online pattern shop and the Spud says! blog. I have a wide variety of patterns available for free and for purchase that include scarves, washcloths, hats, toys, mittens, socks, sweaters and blankets. You can check out my blogs at: susanbanderson.blogspot.com and spudandchloe.com/blog.

Thanks again Susan for such an insightful interview! If you would like to get a copy of the book, you can get it soon on Annie’s Attic, or you can find out more here.

And now for the contest! Out of all the cast of characters in the book, send a comment to this post explaining which one(s) you plan to make and what attracted you to them. PLEASE don’t forget to tell me who you are when you leave a comment, and how I can reach you! Your name will be entered in a drawing to receive your very own copy of this book, courtesy of Artisan Books.

The contest starts today and ends tomorrow, 4/30 at midnight.

97 Responses to Interview with Susan B. Anderson, Author of Spud & Chloë at the Farm

  1. dendiane says:

    I love all the animals but would love to knit the black sheep. So cute!

  2. Georgie says:

    What DON'T I plan to make from this book?? I especially like Chloe, the chicks and the mouse, but the whole thing is adorable! I love "Itty Bitty Toys" and have anxiously been waiting for this book. Thanks for the article!
    Georgianna Schuttauf
    schuttauf@aol.com

  3. Eva(darcher5@neo.rr.com) says:

    I think the barnyard cat is adorable; and I would love to make that. I'm sure my daughther will have quite a few requests.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I am in love with Spud! He is adorable and even seems to have a facial expression that looks like he is up to mischief. I am planning to make him for my Mom. She has been a collector of sheep for many years – figurines, stuffed animals, etc. A handmade sheep as cute as Spud will be a great addition to her collection.
    Angela Crone
    angelacronemd@insightbb.com

  5. GayleT says:

    I would make the barnyard cat, only in the colors of my 6 cats( that live in the house!) vtgayle from Ravelry

  6. Anonymous says:

    I have seen this book and LOVE it! I plan to make everything for my nephews (and Spud and Cloe for me too!) They live on a farm and would love these toys and the story too!
    ~Shera Van Goor
    shera@triton.net

  7. napavlydeb says:

    I adore Chloë and will probably make her first as I have a 2 yr old granddaughter who will love her to pieces. But then the barn & animals would need to be knit up to have a proper set! I have knit many things out of your Itty Bitty Series since my granddaughter was born, every one a joy to knit and always receive many compliments from everyone who sees her in them. Lovely article and very entertaining, thank you for the opportunity to win this beautiful book.
    Debbie Taylor
    dat@napanet.net

  8. Lise (knitlise on Ravelry) says:

    I would make Spud because like my granddaughter says: " they give grandma the yarn she needs to knit" and all the others since we are learning Old McDonald had a farm.

  9. Vicki Lou says:

    All the critters are so cute, but the first one I would make would be the barnyard cat – it looks just like the cat my daughter had when she was little. Then I would just work through the book!

  10. Anonymous says:

    I would make the barnyard cat because my daughter has this crazy obsession with cats and can't seem to get enough of all things cats.

    Patricia Stampe
    pstampe@mymts.net

  11. Adelle says:

    I would definitely make the sheep for a couple of reasons. First of all let me say I would make her a white sheep with a black face which I think is totally adorable. My reasons for a sheep? Well I love them first of all, but I have wanted, since I was a kid, to have a sheep farm, complete with collies like my grandfather grew up on. I also was born in the year of the sheep. Lastly, but not least for me as a knitter, I have a real love for wool – it is my favorite fiber to knit and to wear. All things considered I would have to knit a small flock of sheep.
    I can be reached at adelletilton (at) gmail (dot) com.

  12. Vicky C says:

    I would have to make the barn yard cat and Spud of course and maybe a few chickens and perhaps just one cow.

    Vicky
    vcorrao@sbcglobal.net

  13. Susan says:

    I would make the barnyard cat first. My daughter has an orange tabby with white feet and she would love it.
    gintersusan@yahoo.com

  14. Anonymous says:

    The first one I would knit would be the Barnyard Cat. His facial expression and paws just made me smile.
    Karen
    karen6292@hotmail.com

  15. Helene says:

    I would definitely make Spud because I am enthralled with sheep, all things wool, and knitting! I would also make the brown cow because my daughter, although raised in New York City, became an expert milker on a dairy farm in Vermont…the cow would be for her!
    Helene Young
    hyoung@bioluminagroup.com

  16. asg156 says:

    I don't know if I can choose a single one for a favorite! I love the mouse and chicks, but cats are always great too.

    Amanda
    gernera@penn.com

  17. yarn elf says:

    They are all cute, but have a dear friend whose husband has cancer and had a stroke a few months ago, as sheep is her thing-she spins and weaves have to do the black and white sheep to make her day a little better

  18. Anonymous says:

    The first two I'd like to knit are Spud and the barnyard cat. My daughter and I both love these animals.

    ritaknitting at hotmail dot com

    having trouble posting sorry if this comes through twice

  19. Marnie says:

    I would love to make everything in this book for my little nephew and niece who live on a farm. They would love it to bits, as would their mom (and auntie).
    marnier@uniserve.com

  20. MrsAA says:

    I would like to knit Chloe and Spud. I also like the cat. I have Itty Bitty Toys book and just love it. I know that this new book will just as awesome.

    a.angus@q.com

  21. Anonymous says:

    The sheep, sheep, sheep!!! I just love all the cute animals, though. They are really well designed!

  22. danaj says:

    I love Spud… a sheep would be so much fun. But, really, what wouldn't I love to knit from this book!

  23. danaj says:

    I love Spud, a sheep would be so cute. But, really, what wouldn't I knit from this book?!

  24. Anonymous says:

    I love the cat! My kids love cats so much and would love me to make them one!
    jessicakuntz@embarqmail.com

  25. jennette says:

    I am such the kitty-gal, that I will definitely make the "barnyard cat" after Spud! I've seen the Spud & Chloe books in the bookstore and always love leafing through them.

    Jennette Sison
    jdsison27@yahoo.com

  26. Ann R.J. H. says:

    I am fascinated with the conceptof the whole book. I know I would enjoy making the characters and reading the story to my great niece. I would find it hard to pick out any favourites as I would be making them all but Spud would be my first project.

  27. Anonymous says:

    My name is Christin. I would love to make all the characters for Christmas gifts for my 4 nieces and nephews, but I would start with the cat, since my daughter is in love with them, but can't have one due to my son's allergies. Lovely book.

  28. Anonymous says:

    The barnyard cat would be my first! Would love to do this for my "adult" children as they just lost their barnyard pet. What a neat memory this could be. I would like the little mouse.

    Kristie Spotts
    spotts@mchsi.com

  29. Remembrances says:

    First I would knit the Barnyard Cat – I rescue cats and this one is just TOO cute! I also love the sheep on the cover of the book. Thank you for the opportunity to win the book! Karin khsds2 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  30. Anonymous says:

    I agree with the others, it is so hard to choose just one! But if I must choose only one it would be Chloe, because she reminds me of my daughter when she was little, followed by the barnyard cat.

    Cynthia Martin
    cinmar11@hotmail.com

  31. Idaira says:

    I LOVE so muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuch :p the brown cow! look at that face! so adorable!
    idaira.hdz(@)gmail.com
    Thank you!!!

  32. Renwoman62 says:

    I too find it difficult to pick just one but, if I had to it would be Spud – he's just so cute. I reality I would like to knit all of them and give them to my good friend's two boys as a gift. I know they would just love them. Roberta P.
    rennaisancewomanarts (at) hotmail (dot) com

  33. Anonymous says:

    Wow; i'd have to pick the barn-yard cat. His colors and expressions are price-less. I've always had cats–from growing up to now and our daughter now has 3 of her own!
    peggy c njreaders@aol.com

  34. Anonymous says:

    I totally need to make the hen and her chicks, they are sooo cute.

    katk@earthlink.net

    Thanks a bunch, it looks like a fun book.

  35. patsy says:

    I like the hen and chicks and the barnyard cat. patsycoats@bellsouth.net

  36. Robyn says:

    I guess barnyard cat and the sheep-can't have too many kitty heads and anything sheep is for me

  37. Phyllis wandpsinclair@centurytel.net says:

    Spud would be my choice. Spud reminds me of the sheep we raised when I wss young

  38. Karanmarie54 says:

    Hi,
    I just love all of the characters in the "Spud and Chloe" book. Chloe is so cute and I would love to add additional clothes to her and create a beautiful addition to my granddaughter's bedroom collection of delightful toys. Love Spud and also the Brown Cow and the chicks..karanmarie54@gmail.com P.S. Thanks for the quick response to my inquiry.

  39. Mrs. Bruno says:

    I can just see my 2 year old grandaughter, Ellia, with the sheep under her arm trying to manage her day with her special friend! Next would be the chicken for the other arm!! Thanks for more joy to share. I cannot tell you how many 'flower petal hats I have made from Itty Bitty Hats!

  40. Ginny Weaver says:

    I would make a sheep first. I have loved sheep since I was a child and my Dad took me to a sheep farm every spring to see the lambs. I have since collected my own flock and enjoy making new additions.

    Ginny
    ginnyweaver@hotmail.com

  41. kvhawker says:

    I have been wanting this book! Two of my granddaughters want to learn to knit, they are 9 and 10. I think we will find just the right animals for each of them in the barnyard. For me, I want to make the lamb. I have made felted lambs that were very cute, but I love the wooly lamb and think it will be a great addition to our darling animals!

  42. Cheryl says:

    I would start out with the
    barnyard cat.What attracted
    me to the cat was the cute feet
    and the striped pattern.
    Thank you for the chance to win.

  43. Anonymous says:

    My grandmother is stuck in bed, and I knit and crochet "friends" to keep her company. She grew up on a farm and loves to be out doors. So I think the Chicken and chicks would be a perfect addition to Grandma's collection. And I would make the Barnyard cat for myself, as I love cats. As for what attracted me to the characters, I'm always looking for new toy patterns to create.

    Stephanie Barrow
    mkymse68@verizon.net

  44. Susie says:

    I love the brown cow and the barnyard cat! I live on a farm with a young son with autism. He would absolutely love these!

  45. mutton says:

    I want to knit Spud! I love sheep (hence my Ravelry name) and this one is just adorable. I loved Itty Bitty Toys, not just for the patterns but because of the construction of the book itself which makes it so much easier to use.

  46. Anonymous says:

    First, the barnyard cat, because he looks like the cat we have. Then the hen and chicks. They are adorable!
    pixilated person@yahoo.com

  47. Anonymous says:

    Spud would be my first choice! I am from the Yorkshire Pennines and sheep were everywhere when I was growing up so I am particularly fond of them now especially as I rarely see any in Florida!

  48. Idle Hands says:

    Barnyard Cat seems to be one of the most popular characters! I love cats and my cats love to snuggle with me. My daughter would love all of these toys, so I think I would like to make a set for her, starting with Spud.

  49. Amy says:

    Those chicks just kill me. My girls however would want Chloe and all her accessories. Thanks for the giveaway, this book is amazing!

  50. Bina T. Knits says:

    All of the animals are adorable, I love spud and the unique way his wool is done, and his little bow tie too :)!

  51. {jennie} says:

    My son has put in an order for the chicken, barn, sheep, bales of hay…… He was so cute looking through the book. I'll start on Spud for the Ravelry KAL that Susan is starting, though.

  52. Susie says:

    I plan to knit Spud first. He's so cute and his fur looks like a fun challenge. Then probably the barnyard cat, but who knows, I'm leaving it up to my granddaughter to pick the next animal! ;-)

  53. Marilyn says:

    I would knit Spud first. He is the cutest thing I have ever seen.

  54. TroyJennene says:

    I love them all, but of course if I had to choose a special character I would say the cow. My kitchen is done in 'early cow' and the cow would have a great home on our 'funnyfarm ranch' (what we call our place). would love to win. I am doing a knit-along this upcoming week and giving birth to Spud-fun, fun, fun . . . .

  55. glongley says:

    I love the Lamb so cute I think that is want I will make.

  56. Judi A. says:

    First and foremost I would make the kitty-kat. So love the striping, and as mentioned in the interview, the face is the cutest thing ever! After that, anything goes. :-)

    Zowmom on Ravelry

  57. Anonymous says:

    There are so many patterns in the book I would knit. I have been reading and hearing of this book for some time, and have almost hit the "buy button" on more than one occasion. If I am not lucky enough to win a copy, then I know I will purchase it in the future; and knit the sheep for a knitting friend, the chicken for a another, and the orange cat for myself, in memory of my Punkin. ShirleeClaire@aol.com in Ripley, NY

  58. bestbookihavenotread says:

    I need to make the cat! I've never made anything besides clothing and purses so I welcome a new project.

  59. Reneelynn says:

    I love the cat. It's sooo cute. I would however probably do the sheep first with Susan's knit-a-long. I also think that the mice are cute.

    r.lang@live.com

  60. Robin says:

    I love the barnyard cat. The one in the book reminds me of my cat growing up.
    dieborl on Ravelry

  61. Hapi2Run says:

    I can't wait to make Spud. He's just adorable, and I think the technique used to make his curly coat will be fun and to learn and useful for other projects.

  62. Joe W. says:

    What a wonderful collection. I knit alot of Alan Dart toys and would love to try your patterns as well. I would like to knit the entire collection and donate to my son's elementary school auction. Congratulations on a wonderful book! Lou Ann Martin, Oregon

  63. Sparks says:

    I would love to make the mice, my daughter just turned one yesterday and she is as quiet as a mouse! I think she and her two year old sister would love to play with all the farm animals!

  64. Anonymous says:

    I have a friend who owns a gift shop called Black Sheep Gifts, and she carries some of my knitted creations and other handmade items from local artisans. I would love to make the sheep, in white and black perhaps? I think they would make a lovely addition to her lovely shop! I've been looking for patterns, so I can't wait to get your book.
    suzamunchkin@yahoo.com

  65. mountain girl says:

    Both my daughter and I have red hair, so we would be sure to make Chloe, among many of the others, I'm sure!
    mia@pocoleon.com

  66. Anonymous says:

    I like the pig. My husband grew up on a farm and it would be fun to create a knit one.

  67. Anonymous says:

    Love them all. The chicken and chicks are so cute. Love the barn too! I'd probably make all of them.
    fiberlooney@yahoo.com

  68. Anonymous says:

    I'm planning on making the black sheep. I live on a farm and we have sheep. One of mine resembles this one, so it will be fun to make this one!!

    Ashley Spraker
    ashleyandabagail@gmail.com

  69. Peggy says:

    I love the whole farm! My favorite is the Barn Cat, though, because he reminds me of my sister Eileen's cat Seamus, who is my favorite cat-person in the world!

  70. Peggy says:

    I love the whole farmyard, but the cat is my favorite. He reminds me of my favorite cat in the world-my sister Eileen's beautiful Seamus.

  71. jennie in MN says:

    I'd definitely make Spud! I love sheep!
    jennie50000@hotmail.com

  72. Michelle says:

    I would do the barn cat. It reminds me of the cat we had when I was a kid. All the patterns are lovely though.

  73. hangin' on by a thread says:

    I want to knit them all, I have a 15 month old that loves the toys I knit. I would start with the barn cat….love cats :)
    Raverlry ID knitgirl72

  74. kathleen says:

    My friend bought me this book and I would love to return the favor!

  75. Anonymous says:

    They are all adorable, but first I would knit Spud, as I love all things sheep!

    Karen
    angelmum53@yahoo.com

  76. Madame says:

    I love the little sheep and would start with that (Spud), but I would love to knit the whole set for my little ones.

  77. Marta says:

    I think I will start with the piggy : )It's super cute and I would eventually like to knit the whole farm for my now 1 year old. He loves knitted toys (probably because he can suck on them) and I hope to finish by the time he shows an interest in actually playing with them! Thank you for this great contest! martunja_sam@yahoo.com

  78. tothfamily25 says:

    ooh I love them all, but will probably go for the barn cat first or the knot along

  79. Cheryl says:

    I would like to start with the barnyard cat.
    His cute paws attracted me,
    Thank you.

  80. Anonymous says:

    I think I will start with the pig. Very excited about this book! marta.samokishyn@yahoo.com

  81. Anonymous says:

    What adorable and unique designs! It never ceases to amaze me how some one can have the sheer artistic skills needed to be able to actually create your own patterns, and ones that look so beautiful too!
    I would love to try the Barn Cat, he reminds me of King, my own cat I sadly lost to Feline HIV. Thank you for sharing your ideas and gorgeous designs.
    cindyhorse@hotmail.com

  82. annemarie says:

    lOVE THE CUTE CAT!!

  83. susan says:

    Oh my gosh……the sheep, of course. Spud is right up there on the cuteness scale with Shaun the Sheep! My house is full of sheep, and I have set my sights on Spud…..he must join my menagerie! Of course my grandkids will have to have all of them, I'm sure!
    mkriggs@suddenlink.net

  84. tothfamily25 says:

    Love em the cat gets my first kknot pick

  85. Kirsten says:

    I would start out with the barn first and than add all the animals. A great idea for my nieces birthday gift coming up.
    Kirsten ~ kfitzel@gmail.com

  86. Andrea@That'll Do Farm says:

    I would make the barn and then move on to the little chicks. Then the shep. Then the dog. Then . . . I could go on and on. Everything is way too cute!

  87. Charyl (Knitto04@gmail.com) says:

    How to choose….such decisions! Asked my 6 year g'daughter and she said the barnyard cat so…..that's my choice ~ would love to surprise her! What a wonderful give away! Thank you!

  88. stephigordon says:

    I have to vote for the barnyard cat. We have a crazy kitten named Max and our four year old daughter is in love with him. I can only imagine his mischieveous ways on a farm! Thanks! Stephanie stephi_gordon@yahoo.com

  89. Anonymous says:

    I agree, decisions, decisions! I'd love to knit Spud, love sheep, for many reasons, most particularly their wonderful wool! I also love the cute, little mice. You can find me in Ravelry as treblemaker aka Kim :)

  90. Carol says:

    I would love a chance to win this book! I would make the kitty cat (barnyard cat) for my girls. We have two "real cats" and my little girls often meow around the house – they love kitties!
    Thanks
    Carol (fromthehipdesigns@gmail.com)

  91. Laura T says:

    I love Farm Dog! Hopefully not too late to enter into this fun give-a-way! Barn yard cat is my 2nd choice. I love the book and would love to win a copy!
    Laura T
    lauratawney7@gmail.com

  92. mhchong says:

    I would start with Spud first, then Chloe next. I'd love to win this book so I can get started. Thanks for the giveaway.
    mhchong@aol.com

  93. mauismuti says:

    There's nothing better than my dog at my feet…she's hardly a farm dog but in her honor I would choose the dog first! My two sons have asked me to knit a dozen baby chicks for them, I'm not sure if that's a dozen to share or a dozen EACH!
    mauismuti on ravelry.com

  94. Karey says:

    My current choice would be spud, cause he is so cute and cuddly, but there are so many great choices, I may have to try them all :). Thanks for the giveaway.

    karclockATgmailDOTcom

  95. SLucy says:

    I would make all of them because they are all so cute. Some of the patterns out there make the animals look lame but not these, they look perfect.
    hypersky5 at hotmail dot com

  96. Mary says:

    I would definitely do spud first. I've never knitted items like this but I know my 8-year old would love spud to snuggle with at night time.

  97. michele says:

    The animals are so sweet and beautiful. I would like to try to learn to knit these.

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