Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Whenever I show these to anybody, their faces light up and they can't help but smile.  Duck Feet Baby Booties.  C'mon, they're freaking adorable!

Pattern: Duck by Jeny Staiman in Knitty Spring/Summer 2010
Knitty is an awesome online knitting magazine that features free patterns

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in colorway 340001 light yellow
1 skein (137 yards per 50g skein)

Needles: US 2

I had some previous experience with sock knitting (casting on for toe up, knitting in the round, turning the heel, etc) but never anything duck related.  This pattern taught me a few new tricks: Turkish Cast-on, Applied I-Cord and a new stretchy bind off.  Jeny's pattern is written beautifully.  Everything is straightforward and thoroughly explained.  I also loved that she had so many pictures to illustrate the various techniques and even provided links for further explanation.  All-in-all, a fun pattern to knit. 

For the toes, I kept getting gaps at the beginning of each cast-on row.  After a few tries, I found that casting on an extra loop and then knitting it with its neighbor tightened it up enough so that it no longer gapped.  Here's a close-up view of the toes.

My only other modification was to knit the applied i-cord along the side toes in one continuous cord (i.e. I started from one side toe, worked my way around back and then just continued to the other side toe).  This gave me two less ends to weave in.  (There are a lot of ends to weave in unfortunately).

 But look how cute.  

 For those who like to stand unsupported, Jeny has a toddler version available on her blog: Curious Knitter

They stay on pretty well - even on active crawlers.

Model:  Caden Violet (9 months) courtesy of Pat's Kids Modeling Agency, Inc.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Happy Earth Day!


Previously, I posted about a greener way to wrap gifts.

In honor of Mothers everywhere, EWrapz is currently offering a 40% discount on all single eWrapz from now until May 9.  Wrap your mother's day gift in an eWrapz and encourage your mom to reuse it when she gets a gift for you.  It may very well become a wonderful tradition between you and your mom.

Discount code: "yarnwidow1" gets you 40% off all single eWrapz items (3 and 6 packs are excluded from this offer).
You can purchase as many single items as you like and receive the discount on all of them.  Just keep in mind that this discount code is only good for one transaction per IP address.
Good from now until May 9, 2010.

For a limited time, eWrapz is also offering free shipping.  With 40% off and no shipping costs, that's a considerable savings.  Try them out - I think you'll really like them.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Puppy Update

Bennan has now been with us for a little over 5 weeks.  He is a great (if somewhat needy) companion.  Right now he has brought me 4 toys and is whining softly in a beseeching yet charming manner.  Please play with me...

He is teaching me how to incorporate yoga into my daily life.

And that the anticipation of something can be just as good as the actual thing

Can we please play now?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Ballerina Cardi

One of Pat's grandkids is Ella St. Onge of Bridgeport, Connecticut.  For her second birthday, Ella came to Florida to celebrate with Grandma, Gramps, and various other relations.  I had met her only once before (when she was about 16 months) but we had bonded instantly.  She is, after all, a very charming young lady with discerning tastes.  I knew that any knitted gift would have to reflect her ladylike yet slightly sassy demeanor.

Behold, Ella's Ballerina Cardi

Pattern: Bow-Tied Bolero by Debbie Bliss from her book, Special Knits
but it's also available for free from here.

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino (55% merino, 33% microfibre, 12% cashmere)
137 yards per each 50 g ball
I used 3.5 balls for size 12-18 months (I can't remember why I sized down but I'm glad I did because the fit was just perfect).

Needle: US 6

Modifications:  I made the ties a lot shorter as I didn't want her tripping on them.  Since the gauge was 6.25 stitches to the inch, I figured that if I wanted the ties plus fronts to be a total of 12 inches, then I would cast on 75 stitches (instead of the 105 stitches that the pattern recommends for the 12-18 month size).

Ella put it on immediately and wore it for the momentous cake cutting ceremony.  I was quite honored to have such a fine up-and-comer wearing my knitwear.

The paparazzi instantly took notice and pursued her (and her handsome male companion) to the playground.

Ella and John (aka Grandpa)

Check out the fashion forward footwear!  Gold gladiator sandals - so on trend for spring!

Overall, I think everyone was happy with it.  I was happy: it was a fun knit (and quick too - love that about kiddy-wear).  Ella's mom and dad were happy: machine washable (yay!) but not dryer friendly (oh well, that's the price one pays for handknits). 

And what did Ella think?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

LYS Miami Style Part 3

When we got to the Knitting Garden, we were delighted to see some familiar faces.

Faith and Rebecca, our friends from the Boca group

The Knitting Garden is Caryn's favorite LYS.  I can see why - it's everything a knitting shop should be: clean, bright, well organized and staffed by incredibly charming people.  Annie is the shop owner and she was very happy to see us.

Annie hard at work

Her yarns are generally organized by fiber content and weight.  She has a nice selection of premium yarns including Rowan, Malabrigo, Dream in Color and Lorna's Laces in a variety of colorways all neatly marked. Yarn Heaven.

I love a shop with lots of Koigu

Manos del Uruguay - mucho yardage

Lovely garment samples for inspiration

Carolyn indulging in some heavy yarn petting.

Charity ponders some wool

"I'll just get one of everything."

Michelle, Kerrilyn, Carolyn, Faith and Rebecca engaging in communal yarn molestation...

as Caryn and Helen look on.  
Don't worry, Helen, no yarn was harmed in the process.

Not only is the yarn browsing top notch, but this is also a place that invites you to sit down and stay a while.  Annie has a table in back for classes and whatnot (there's a flat screen TV for movie nights on Mondays).  In addition, she has a little seating area which we commandeered.  Comfy chairs in a yarn shop - Knitting Garden has it all.

Really, what more is there left to say?  

The End.

The Knitting Garden
2716 Ponce de Leon Blvd. 
Coral Gables, Florida 33134

Monday, April 5, 2010

LYS Miami Part 2

After browsing Anneke's, we were hungry.  Time to feed.

We descended en masse upon Chocolate Fashion in Coral Gables, a tiny bakery cafe within walking distance of our next target, the Knitting Garden.  Despite arriving in the midst of the lunch crowd, they were able to seat us almost immediately.  The food was delicious - freshly made sandwiches and salads were perfect for lunch.  Of course we had to have dessert.  Tarts for the tarts!

 Caryn had a mini eclair and a teeny tiny fruit tart

Carolyn attacked her petite pear tart with characteristic gusto

Helen chose a delectable key lime pielet topped with meringue

Kerrilyn and her lemon tartlet

Holly, what did you have?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Charity and Michelle with their ironclad willpower refrained from the sugary feeding frenzy

But not me.   I couldn't pass up the miniature eclairs.  Yum.

Chocolate Fashion
248 Andalusia Ave
Coral Gables, Fl 33134

Our charming server Alexandre, flanked by Kerrilyn and Helen
Next up: The Knitting Garden

Road Trip! LYS Miami Style Part 1

The knitters/crocheters of Boca Raton are a snazzy bunch.  This weekend Caryn organized a road trip.  Eight of us in two cars with visions of yarn candy dancing in our minds.

First stop: Anneke's Needleworks of Miami Florida.  Tucked away amidst an office park/ warehouse area, Anneke's is a colorful smorgasbord of yarn and needlepoint supplies. The selection is broad and many of the major yarn companies are represented here (Rowan, Debbie Bliss, Lamb's Pride, etc.)  There's three separate rooms with yarn loosely organized by fiber content and brand.  The decor is eclectic Florida.

Charity expertly picking her way through a table display 
while Kerrilyn ponders the flamingo in the pink sweater

The Great Wall of Noro

There's yarn in bins...

And yarn in baskets.

Yarn everywhere.  The only thing missing was the prices.  Since nothing was labeled, all possible purchases had to be run by Anneke herself.  While this system may work for some people, I don't like it.  It makes me feel uncomfortable like when I have to ask the waiter how much something is on the menu.  I just prefer to avoid those kinds of situations.

But Anneke was very gracious and despite being busy, she patiently answered all of our questions.

Anneke winding a skein.

Anneke's Needleworks
7440 SW 50th Terrace #107
Miami, Florida 33155

Next on our list: Lunch

Friday, April 2, 2010


Phyllotaxis is a botanical term that refers to the arrangement of leaves on a stem.  This simple definition belies the intricacy and impossible beauty of the actual thing. It's the Fibonacci sequence in visual form.  It's proof positive that geeky nerd math can be absolutely lovely.


It's also the inspiration for one of Norah Gaughan's sweater designs from her book Knitting Nature.

Pattern: Phyllo Yoked Sweater by Norah Gaughan

Yarn: Rowan Calmer (75% cotton; 25% microfiber)
Colorway Lucky
7.5 balls used for a size small

Needles: US 9

This was a relatively quick knit since most of it is in stockinette with the yoke being the only tricky part. Cables and yarnovers - it was fun to watch the pattern emerge row by row.

I love Norah Gaughan's designs.  She has a unique eye and creates lovely garments. This is one of my favorite sweaters to wear.  I love the yoke detail and the bell sleeves are a nice touch.  My only modification was to extend the yoke a bit so that the neck was a bit tighter than what the pattern called for. I wanted more of a crewneck than a boatneck.

I ended up using the recommended yarn - Rowan Calmer.  It's a great choice for this sweater since the yarn is relatively lightweight and has a "sproinginess" to it that I've never seen in any other cotton blend.  It may be one of my favorite yarns to date and after finishing this sweater, I immediately stockpiled some discontinued colors that I found on sale. It wears great too. I've washed it twice now in the delicate cycle and let it air dry.  No noticeable shrinkage or pilling. 

Just the perfect thing for enjoying a spring day.