Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bennan is Two

There have been some requests for Bennan photos.  So here they are.

Life is really hard for the little guy

Getting a tan is exhausting work

Bennan and the Yarn Widower like to play in the pool

But they also like to chill out

and have deep conversations (Bennan does most of the talking).

Still quite flexible

Happy birthday, Bennan.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day - Composting

I'm not much of a gardener but I compost.  It's very satisfying to take kitchen scraps, shredded newspaper and the contents of my dryer's lint screen (yes! lint is compostable) and somehow magically turn it all into rich loamy dirt.
It's almost as amazing as watching seedlings grow.  Mother Nature - she's so crafty.

Compost is good stuff - it dramatically improves soil quality not just in nutrients but also in pH, structure and water absorbing abilities.  And it isn't just for vegetable gardening.  I use it to top off my potted plants, enrich the soil around my trees, bushes and other landscaping plants.

Bromeliads love compost too.

But mainly I compost because it cuts down on the volume of trash that gets trucked to the landfill.  Along with recycling, composting has drastically reduced the amount of trash our little household generates on a weekly basis.  Less trash means less fuel used by the garbage trucks and the landfill bulldozers.  And of course, less trash to occupy our already burgeoning landfills.  (Florida is so flat that if you see any kind of hillock, you're probably looking at an old landfill).

Twin composting bins

You can buy all sorts of compost bins but after doing a little internet research, I made my own with a plastic garbage can and a drill.  Not only was it one of the most inexpensive options out there, it meant that I could easily move the bin in case of a hurricane warning.  Compost pile as hurricane projectile is just not a good idea.   I made two so that after I filled one, I could invert the contents into the second bin thus giving me access to the finished compost at the bottom of the heap.

newspaper, onion skins, egg shells, etc.

It's not pretty but it works.  People always ask me about the odor.  I keep the bins right next to our patio door for easy access.  The lid helps contain any smells and insect activity.  As long as I keep the contents well balanced (brown vs. green) and keep out any meat and dairy, no one ever seems to notice.  Although once one of our neighbors asked the Yarn Widower why on earth his wife was rolling a garbage can around the yard. (For aeration of course!)

fruit salad for the compost bin

Indoors, I keep a compost pail for random kitchen scraps.  I always line it with shredded newspaper so that it's easy to empty out later.  I got mine for $15 at my local Homegoods store.  It comes with a replaceable carbon filter in the lid.

Composting Resources:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Every Spring, as I transition from knitting cozy warm sweaters to much lighter fare, I have a period of relative inactivity.  I have a few projects on the needles but nothing that demands my constant attention.  So things tend to stagnate/hibernate for a bit.  That's where I'm at right now.

All I can say is, thank goodness for my knitting buddies.  I can rest assured in the knowledge that they will see me through.  At least once a week I know I will be among them and laugh and be inspired. 

No matter what, I always make sure I have some straight stockinette to take to knitting night.  Every now and then someone shows up without any knitting.  This is always a bit weird to me.  Perhaps they have forgotten it at home or they brought the knitting but not the pattern.  Once at a DC Stitch n' Bitch,  one of the women came straight from work and had forgotten to pack her knitting that morning.  She sat amongst us in a state of mild agitation - she left early.  Itchy fingers. 

For a while there was a man who would routinely show up at knitting without any knitting.  That was really weird.  And somewhat awkward.  Once I gently suggested that he should bring his knitting because after all, we are a knitting group.  He stopped coming soon after.

My point?  Oh right.  My point is that despite my knitting malaise, I always have at least one project to take to knitting night.  I have faith that if I just keep at it, my knitting mojo will return to me once again.  Hopefully soon.  I'm running out of stuff to blog about.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My Husband is a Luthier

Yarn Widower built himself a guitar.  From scratch.  For real.

Guitar Innards

A little over a year ago, Yarn Widower started to play the guitar.  He bought a clunker from some dude on Craigslist and started messing around with it.  He replaced the strings, shaved down the saddle and the nut (they determine how high the strings sit off the frets) and started to think about upgrading to a nicer guitar.  He did a little research and stumbled upon this guy who built his own guitar in his kitchen

Now ever since I started knitting, Yarn Widower has complained that knitting distracts me from my one true love: him.  "Not so,"  I say, "See, I can knit and talk to you at the same time.  But not right now; I'm counting."  What's a Yarn Widower to do with all his spare time while I am busy counting out my stitches?

While he golfs on a weekly basis and enjoys going to the driving range, his creative side yearned to make something.  There's something so viscerally satisfying about making stuff.  I get that and I bet most of you do as well.  Thus, my Yarn Widower started to build his own guitar.

Guitar-Shaped Box

In about a year, he built this lovely thing - inlaid trim and hand-polished wood that glows.  Recently he put on the strings and began to play it.  It sounds like a real guitar!

Now he can practice playing his new guitar while I knit.  Yes, it's pretty awesome to have live acoustic accompaniment while knitting - I'm a lucky girl.

Check out his photo stream...

Monday, April 11, 2011


I have a couple of projects going on right now but nothing ready for presentation.  And then I remembered that I had some gift knitting to report on.  Actually two gifts that have since been given. 

model: Yarn Widower

Pattern: Koolhaas by Jared Flood

Yarn: Rowan RYC Cashsoft Aran  (57% Merino, 33% Microfiber, 10% Cashmere)
1.5 skeins or approx 143 yards in Colorway SH 014

Needle size: US 6 & 8

Rem Koolhaas is a Dutch architect whose geometric designs are brilliantly displayed in the Seattle Public Library, the inspiration for this hat.

This is a classic pattern.  One that can be appropriate for men and women.  Before starting, I learned how to cable without a cable needle and found this video very helpful.  This is a great technique for small cables - I think of it as simply re-ordering the stitches on your left needle prior to knitting or purling them. 

A lot of cables

Makes for a fun knit.  So  I made another one.

model:  me!

Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Royal Silk Merino (51% silk, 49% merino)
1.25 skeins or approx. 140 yards in colorway 0003

Needle size: US 6 & 8

Actually, I think my friend Ida models this one much better:

model: Ida Akiko Rock