Saturday, November 28, 2009

Do You Think Buttons Are a Pain in the "Butt"on?

Do you have issues with buttons? Issues with buttonholes? But yet, you love buttons? I feel your pain. However, there are solutions out there. I recently completed my Shalom Cardigan, which had one large button at the top. I did a simple bind off and on the next row cast on buttonhole. When I washed the sweater, the buttonhole grew. This is common with washing and with time. Fret not. Here's what you can do...

Single crochet around the buttonhole. This will take up space and make the opening smaller.
Problem one fixed!

The second issue that comes up a lot with buttons is the droopy "butt"on. (Ha!) This is especially an issue when you use the very stylish larger and heavier buttons. Step 1: Collect buttons when you see ones you like or ones that are on sale--even if you don't love them.

This is my button jar. Although it contains a lot of cool buttons I love, it also
contains some boring buttons. Thus, Step 2:

Sew a boring button to the back of your heavy button. No more saggy button!

The other handy dandy thing about have a wide button selection is that you can layer boring buttons on top of each other to create an interesting button. The other great thing about buttons, they make cheap stocking stuffers!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Wii Active

I can't say enough about how much the Wii has helped in my weight loss. I dropped 36 pounds while eating right (but reasonably), drinking lots of water, and working out on the Wii Fit. I can't imagine what my total number of hoops would be! However, I started to get a little bored with it. I switched over last week to the Wii Active 30 day Challenge. Wow. Kicking. My. Butt. You work out 20 or so minutes each day and the activities vary. You use a resistance band for some things.

My hope is that I can work out throughout the holidays on this more intense game and NOT gain any and maybe continue the weight loss during the holidays. If the pain throughout my body is any indication, I'll be just fine. I won't be able to move to put the food in my mouth!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! I'm so excited to get to spend mine this year with my mommy, brother/sister-in-law, aunt/uncle, cousins, and my DH. We will be making the trek down to French Lick. (Okay, stop laughing. Yes, that is the name of the town, and get your mind out of the gutter. I've heard all the jokes.)

I thought for today that I would post you some pictures of just a few of the things I'm thankful for in my life AND I'm also posting a recipe. This is my aunt Christine's recipe, but I'm sure a lot of people out there call it Grandma fill in the blank's recipe because it is a common one. They are always my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner and we make them every year, whether we go to my family's get together or not.

My little Kiki who keeps me company and is so loving.

My mommy. (That's Kaitlyn who is almost grown up already!)

Mr. Aidan--I call this his mischief picture.

Little man Jack who joined our family this year. So darn cute!

I'm thankful for laughing and this pix of Aidan makes me do just that.

The person I'm most thankful to have in my life. My PK!

Mr. Riley who sits with me every night when daddy comes
home--just to make sure mommy still feels special.

My knitting...oh how grateful I am that I found my passion.

Of course, there are so many other people in my life for which I am thankful, but these are a few. All the friends I have, the customers who make every day special, my publishing family, my extended family, my inherited family from PK...the list is long and I'm so lucky!

The Yeast Roll Recipe
Cooking time: 15-20 minutes
Preheat oven: 400
Serves: 20 rolls

Dissolve: 2 cups warm water and 2 packages of dry yeast
Add: 1/2 cup sugar; 2 t salt; 1/4 cup soft lard or oil; 2 eggs; 6 1/2 to 7 cups of flour

Mix well--kneed until smooth and elastic on floured surface. Place in greased bowl (covered) in fridge for 2 hours up to overnight. Will double in size. Take out and punch down. Make into rolls or loaves. Let rise in warm place until double (about 1 hour or more). Bake at 400 degrees (for rolls: 15-20 minutes; for loaves: 30-45 minutes).

Note: If house is too cool for bread to rise the second time, heat oven to 200. Turn off and place formed rolls in oven. They will get BIG. Recipe can be cut in half and still work well.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Brownie Knits Is Live on Ravelry!

I have launched my patterns for sale on Ravelry! So excited. You can now purchase The Kitchen Sink Blanket pattern and So Soft Baby Sweater at Stitches & Scones or online at I'm so excited!!!!! It makes me want to design more.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Shalom Cardigan

My Shalom is done! Woo Hoo!!!! This was an incredibly fast knit. The yoke takes the longest to do because you knit or purl through the back loops. After that section, it is lots of stockinette, but in thicker yarn, so it moves pretty fast. I knit most of the body on Saturday afternoon at the store from 1-3. Really, seriously, it goes fast!

Yarn: Cascade Eco Wool
I used 1.25 skeins for this size.
US Needle: 10
Notions: 1 Button; 2 stitch markers, tapestry needle
Pattern: Shalom Cardigan (free in Ravelry)

The pattern is written for 32-34" bust. I rewrote this one to fit a 38-40" bust. If you sign up for the class, I'll help you adjust the pattern for your size. Thanks to Meghan for this great pattern. Here is a link to her blog:

I also adjusted the pattern to have more conventional arm openings and although I worked the number of rows indicated in the pattern, my row gauge was tighter so it still came out the right length to fit my petite torso.

A note about the button:
I found this antique button at Tender Buttons in NYC several years ago.
It has been waiting around for just the right project. I just love the little shells on it.
The cardigan really reminded me of nature and I thought the button was perfect.

Class times:
Saturday, January 9th & 23rd from 1-3
Wednesday, January 6th & 20th from 1-3
Class fee is $30; Cascade Eco retails for $15/skein 1-2 skeins for most sizes;
yarn must be purchased at S&S if taking the class.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dogs and Knitting

It seems wherever I go that the dogs of the house like to sit with me while I knit. I was working on my Shalom the other day and looked over to see that in her sleep Kiki stretched out and was holding the ball of yarn.

That's a pretty heavy ball of Cascade Eco Wool for a 5 pound dog!

During a recent overnight at Tonia's house, Annabelle joined me on the couch. (Her head is larger than Kiki's entire body.) Her eyes in these pictures cracked me up. To make a long story short, I had busted her with some yarn and needles earlier that night. I think this was her pleading look. Of course, it worked.

Now, do I encourage the dog snuggle? Of course. As a matter of fact, I just purchased a higher quality snuggie for Kennedy and I to use while knitting on the cold winter nights. She's no dummy. She curled right up on it. I do have to fight to knit with the yarn--it really ISN'T a pillow, Kennedy.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New Blog!!!!!

I started a new blog for my friend Nancy. She is a great cook and people are always asking her to share her recipes. I am a bad cook who can use a computer! So...she will provide the recipes and I will take care of the blogging. I hope you enjoy it too! Cooking with Nan is located at

Friday, November 20, 2009

Red Kitchen Sink

It is so exciting to hear people talk about making The Kitchen Sink Blanket. I have had several knitters in lately who are on their second, third, or even fourth one! The pattern really does work up fast for a blanket. Sue came in the other day and mapped out one in red. She was lucky I didn't grab the yarn from her for myself! It will look so fantastic all knitted up...

I've had multiple (like at least 7) requests for a crochet version of this pattern. So, drum roll please, I have selected the yarn and mapped out my ideas. I plan to design it in DK to worsted weights of soft yarns. A must is avoiding it feeling too heavy and thick. I'll be working on it over the next month or so and will post pictures of the progress and when post notification when the pattern is ready for purchase. Thanks again to all of you for your support!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Spidey Scarf

As most of you are aware, my nephew is a huge Spiderman fan. When we were talking about the Spiderman-inspired items he wanted me to make him for Christmas, he also asked for a scarf to wear with his "normal" coat. (Note that the normal means, not during play dress up as Spiderman. Kid cracks me up.) I foolishly asked what colors he wanted his scarf to be. Duh, red and blue.

A few weeks after this conversation, Christina and Lin dyed some yarn for our store. They dyed some based on our shop owners children. Cavan's choices were blue and red. The skein of sock yarn in Cavan's Colors was perfect to fill Aidan's request. I initially planned to do a St st scarf with garter around it and then in the St st area, I would purl on the right side whenever I hit a red patch. I casted on and immediately didn't like the purl on red portion. Because of the weight of the yarn, it just didn't provide the desired effect. I went further and realized that I didn't put enough garter on the outside edges to prevent the dreaded curling from St st. By this point, I just wanted the darn thing knocked out so that I can move ahead to some other class and gift knits. So, I ended up making the first garter scarf I can ever remember making. When I first learned to knit, I started with St st. It was a pretty boring knit, but it was also a fast one. I started it on Wednesday and finished it up on Thursday afternoon.

Ready for stuffing into the stocking...
US Needle: 6
Yarn: Cavan's Colors fingering weight
(This was a hand dye from Kramer.)
Cast on 30 and knit to desired length and bind off.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Checking In

I went a little blog AWOL for the last few days. I had lots of work to knock out and I would get home/done with work, and collapse into sleep early. Have I said how much I hate changing time? My body never ever adjusts during the winter. Here's what has been going on...

Jack Jack
We received these pictures from Meg of Jack playing with the Penguin I got him this summer. He is moving around a lot now and the Penguin moves with him. Such a cute little man...

I am SO pleased to say that my Saturday classes have started to pick back up again. Over the past few weeks, I've taught so many people how to knit and what a great group of ladies! Welcome to the world of knitting Heather, Cadin (hope I spelled that close to right), Tammy, Amy, Amy, Megan, Jackie, and Mandy. All of you are doing a great job and I loved seeing you start to get "hooked" by this craft. I loved hearing how 8-year-old Cadin was telling her daddy all about knitting!

The Shalom class for January is almost full (I think there is 1 spot left). If you haven't signed up, get in now. The You Rock Vest is also filling up and the sample is in the shop for viewing. Again, I'm thrilled that people are excited about these classes. I am knitting away on my Shalom to get it in the store. Also working on Patrick's sleeves for his Briar Rose sweater and Aidan's Spiderman scarf. I hope, hope, hope to have these three things completed by 12/1 so that I can start some new things--and that list is LONG!

Well, that's all for the moment...I'll get some blog posts put together for later this week so stay tuned.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Kitchen Sink Blanket in Nature Colors

The new shop sample for my The Kitchen Sink Blanket pattern is done! The poor thing--I kept neglecting it to knit other things. Not because I don't enjoy the pattern (obviously, since I wrote it), but because I kept putting pressure on myself to get some holiday knits done, or class knits, or baby gifts, etc. It kept staring at me from the basket. I was not feeling well earlier this week and as a I sat on the couch feeling sorry for myself, I picked up the blanket and started back on it. I was 50% finished at that point. After a few afternoons of knitting, it was done. I think it is beautiful! The color combinations for this version were much more bold and a little on the crazy side.

I "shopped" for the yarn for this one the way that I encourage customers who make the blanket. I went to my stash and pulled out yarns that went together (full skeins, partial, whatever). I laid those out and figured out what other yarns I needed to add. Like most customers, the one I needed to add was the main yarn, because it requires the most yardage. I also wanted to add the lace section yarn because the yarns from my stash were all a little flat. After picking up a few skeins of each of these yarns, I was set.

Needle: US 11
Main: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted Multi
Lace: Diakeito Diacouture Silklame
Others: Encore in two colors; Lorna's Laces bouclé
Notions: 2 stitch markers

Pattern available at Stitches & Scones

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

You Rock Vest

Every 3 months I troll around the web, Ravelry, people's projects, vendor web sites, and my books in search of new ideas for classes. For January/February classes I really wanted to create a class that would be easy enough for beginners to take it as a second or third class, but could have a twist that would challenge more advanced knitters. Of course, it also needs to be cute and attractive!

I remembered seeing the Ribbed Vest from Plymouth, which is a simple long rectangle knitted in two different ribs. After looking in Ravelry at this pattern's popularity, I went about shopping one weekend. I saw these types of vests at retail stores and then saw two at a yarn shop. That was it--a sign. I thought, at worst, I make it up and have it to wear... Thus came the You Rock Vest class (named such in Ravelry by other knitters).

So you can see from the description and the picture that the knit is simple enough for beginners, but what's the twist for more experienced knitters? Well, if you are a continental knitter, I will teach you how to Norwegian Purl. This type of purl is often found to be most useful when working in rib because it allows you to keep the working yarn behind (as if to knit) the entire row. Just learning how to continental knit? This is a great practice project!

Ribbed Vest pattern at S&S: $4.00
Yarn: 440 yards of Super Bulky (Baby Alpaca Grande Hand Dye used here)
You could also hold Worsted doubled (880 yards)
Needle size: US 11 (I used a 10 given my gauge)
I will also show you in the class how to increase the fit size. If you want to make a larger size vest, you would need more yardage.
Class times: Wednesdays 1/13 and 1/27 1-3 OR
Saturdays 2/6 and 2/13 1-3 (This one is filling up, so get registered now!)

This was such a fast knit! I made it in a few afternoons...a perfect project to whip up for yourself when we are in the dead of winter, and the alpaca will keep you nice and toasty.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Spiderman Socks

I started on the plans for Aidan's Christmas gifts. First up, Spiderman socks. I decided to go with a solid red worsted weight sock so that they are more boot like. The plan was to either duplicate stitch or crochet chain the web onto the socks. I didn't feel like working the web into the knit--can get the sock knitted faster that way!

The knitted sock, pre web.
Encore Worsted in red.
US #6 Needles
Casted on 40 stitches and then worked 8 rows in rib; switched to St st
Followed another pattern as a guide for the heel and such. Any basic pattern would do the trick.

The sock, post web.

I hope he likes them. I made them to fit my foot because his current shoes measure 1 inch smaller than mine. (I have small feet and Aidan is really tall for his age. It actually made it really convenient!) Now, on to the hands. I have the sweatpants ready to go for the bottoms...progress.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Patrick, my loving husband, just had another poem published in the Monongahela Review. Check it out!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Knitting Pure & Simple and ChicKnits

I just love patterns from these two design groups. I find myself buying them over and over again (and sometimes the same pattern on accident!). During a recent outing to a yarn store, I found some patterns to add to my collection.

Knitting Pure & Simple has a fantastic collection of top-down sweater patterns.
I really appreciate the sizing options that they offer--we all are different shapes, after all.
If you take a top-down sweater class from me, we utilize these patterns a great deal. They are great beginner sweaters even though they might look complex. (You can also use any of Christina's Classic Cable Knits patterns that we have at the store.)

The awesome thing about ChicKnits is how modern and stylish the patterns are.

I picked up this Malabrigo to make the Knitting Pure & Simple Cowl sweater (shown above).
I got it home and realized how MUCH it looks like Patrick's Briar Rose sweater. Oh well...

If you don't have any patterns from these designers, stop what you are doing and RUN to get at least one. You will be happy that you did. (In our recent poll of the Knit Along group, these designers were the group favorites!)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

More Silly Dog Pictures

Mr. Riley

She's a little ham...

This actually sparked this impromptu photo session. I looked up from taking yarn pictures for Ravelry and this was in my camera lens. Cracked me up that they were just looking at each other.

Monday, November 2, 2009

New Classed Added for January - March

Woo Hoo!!! Added new classes for the beginning of next year. There are also still spots open for most of the classes left for 2009 (over to the right on the blog).


Shalom Cardigan (how to resize included) / Wednesdays 1/6 & 1/20; 1 - 3 pm $30 Gina Kanouse

Beginning Knitting / Saturdays 1/9 & 1/16; 9:30 - 11:30 am $30 Gina Kanouse

Shalom Cardigan (how to resize included) / Saturdays 1/9 & 1/23; 1 - 3 pm $30 Gina Kanouse

Baby Alpaca Grande Vest / Wednesdays 1/13 & 1/27; 1 - 3 pm $30 Gina Kanouse

Top-Down Sweaters / Saturdays 1/16 & 1/30; 1 - 3 pm $30 Gina Kanouse

Beginning Crochet / Saturdays 1/23 & 1/30; 9:30 - 11:30 am $30 Gina Kanouse


Bramblewood Vest (cables/charts) / Wednesdays 2/3 & 2/27; 1 - 3 pm $30 Gina Kanouse

Crochet Afghan for Beginners / Saturdays 2/6 & 2/13; 9:30 - 11:30 am $30 Gina Kanouse

Baby Alpaca Grande Vest / Saturdays 2/6 & 2/13 1 - 3 pm $30 Gina Kanouse

Top-Down Sweaters / Wednesdays 2/10 & 2/24 1 - 3 pm $30 Gina Kanouse

Beginning Knitting / Saturdays 2/20 & 2/27; 9:30 - 11:30 am $30 Gina Kanouse

Bramblewood Vest (cables/charts) / Saturdays 2/20 & 2/27 1 - 3 pm $30 Gina Kanouse


Beginning Knitting / Saturdays 3/6 & 3/13; 9:30 - 11:30 am $30 Gina Kanouse

Felted Bags & Felted Flowers / Saturdays 3/6 & 3/13; 1 - 3 pm $30 Gina Kanouse