Monday, March 24, 2008

Chic Knits for Stylish Babies-Review

I'm up to my ears in secret knitting projects lately, which are fun but do not make for good blogging. I was forced to admit defeat on the size 12 birthday socks, which were gifted to Bryan like this:
Sock and a half
The good news is that finished one fit him perfectly. The Retro Rib in this pattern is actually really nice, but the socks have to be on the foot in order for the stitch pattern to truly take shape. I'll get an action shot once that second monster is finally finished.

Since I can't talk on the blog about my second secret project (even though I am DYING to talk about it and get opinions), I figured I'd share some pictures and thoughts about this new book I found at Joann (and purchased with a 50% off coupon, natch).

Chic Knits for Stylish Babies
by Patricia Wagner- Amazon's got it for $13.97.

I just love the patterns in this book- and there are so many of them (65 to be exact). They are arranged into little wardrobes with lots of coordinating pieces.

The "English Style" set
"English Style"

I'm not sure how big I am on dressing a baby head to toe in knitwear, but I love the idea that you can pick a few pieces and have a nice little set to give at a shower. I have my eye on that little heart sweater and matching booties as a gift for a coworker who is having a little girl.

Rompers! That one on the left has llamas all over it. Babies love llamas, right?

I also like that there are pieces that I haven't seen in other pattern books, like the rompers. There are also dresses, overalls, and these super cute cargo-type pants:

"Double Vision"

Finally, I really like the way they've used color. There are lots of bright colors, which I love, but I also like how they've used little splashes of bright colors in just the right places, like on this navy sweater that zips along the raglan seam:

Blue & Green outfit

Some of the reviews on Amazon complain that all the patterns are for babies one year and younger, but I guess I don't have a problem with that. There are plenty of other books for hip toddler clothes- it's nice to have something different for the little ones. Another complaint is that many of the patterns are made with fingering weight yarn, but can't you just use worsted weight and figure they'll fit into it eventually? That's what I'm thinking, at least.

Basically, this book makes me want to cover every baby I know with super-chic, brightly colored knitted goodness. Lucky for me, I have lots of adorable little ones in my life who are totally worth it.

Lily's close up

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Ball Winder Winner!

We have a winner to the ball winder giveaway! I used an extremely complex scientific method to choose the winner...I wrote the names off all the people who entered on slips of paper and had my husband pick one.

Bryan picking winner

After closing his eyes and throwing out each individual paper one by one, there was one paper left and Bryan declared it the winner:

Ball winder winner

Veronika, you are the winner! I don't have any contact information for you, though. Leave another comment letting me know how to get in touch with you or email it to me directly and I will get the ball winder out to you ASAP.

Thanks so much to everyone for your comments- I feel much better about the whole situation.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


I just finished one of those crack knits- you know the ones. The ones that you think about all day at work, longing to get home to be able to finish. The ones that call to you from the other room as you are trying to fall asleep, begging you to come back and fix the color pattern mistake that made you finally call it quits at 1:00 am. Oh, how I loved knitting these mittens.

Herringbone mittens

Pattern: Herringbone Mittens, a free pattern from the hugely talented Elliphantom
Needles: Size 4 DPNS for the ribbing, size 6 DPNs for the rest
Yarn: Good old Patons Classic Wool Merino
Modifications: no poms

My mitten love is kind of unexpected, actually. I always see cute mitten patterns, but I never considered making them because I could never really get the point of mittens. I mean, aren't your fingers kind of necessary? I was schooled by my friend Kerry, who lives in a place where it is regularly double digits below zero. Kerry says that when it gets that cold, gloves just don't cut it. As a reward for giving me an excuse to knit mittens, Kerry is getting these for her birthday.

I think the other aspect of these bad boys that contributed to my adoration is the stranding. Man was that FUN! I messed up the pattern on the first mitten 3 times and had to rip back half a glove, but each time I felt secretly happy, because it meant I got to do it again. I'm already jonesing to make another set of mittens for my friend Sara in Chicago...I'm thinking maybe those Bird in Hand ones.

In other news, I got a large, gorgeous umbrella swift this week. I used a 50% coupon at, so it was a bit more affordable. I cannot tell you how much I love this thing- it's so much higher quality than I expect from Joann. I'm using it with my new ball winder and am having way too much fun making yarn cakes out of everything in sight.

New swift & ball winder

Which reminds me...don't forget about the ball winder I'm giving away! In my last post, I told you all about how I ended up with an extra ball winder. If you need one, leave a comment in my last post. I will randomly pick someone from the comments and send them my old ball winder FOR FREE! No shipping or anything, people!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Do you need a ball winder?

My birthday was last week and I got to do some celebrating with my family when I went up to Cincinnati for another job interview. I am lucky because even though no one else in my family knits, they are all super supportive of my obsession. My brother-in-law is the cutest- he has found out all kinds of things about knitting (like he knows that heels on socks require a series of short rows) and he even goes into yarn stores by himself to pick out gifts for me. So for my birthday he went to Knit On, a yarn store in Bellevue, KY, and picked out some lovely gifts.

Rio de la Plata Sock Yarn in Sparkling Grape
Rio de la Plata sock yarn in Grape

Peruvian Tweed- 100% Superfine Alpaca
Peruvian Tweed Alpaca

He also got me a ball winder, not knowing that I already had one. Luckily, he had talked to the salesperson when he bought it and she told him that I could take it back for store credit. So we all went to Knit On so that we could exchange the ball winder for yarn.

Here's where the trouble started. As soon as we walked in, the salesperson said that we could not exchange the ball winder, even for store credit and even with a receipt. Jason explained that he had spoken to the salesperson and was assured that an exchange would be no problem. The woman finally agreed to do the exchange. We started looking around the store to find yarn (and I was getting pretty excited because they did have a really nice selection) when the woman came back and told us that she could not exchange the ball winder because it was "all dirty".

Huh? All dirty? I had just opened the present the night before and hadn't even taken the ball winder out of the box. What the heck was she talking about? Well it turned out that one side of the box had something on it- flecks of dirt or something. The BOX- not the ball winder itself. And honestly, the box was not "all dirty", look for yourself:

The offending box

See those spots on one side of the box? I swear to you that this is the reason that the woman refused to exchange the gift for store credit. It's really a shame because everyone loses in this situation. I lose because I get no new yarn, my sister and brother in law lose because they went to so much trouble to pick out something nice for me and it didn't work out, and the store loses because they will no longer have our business (which between myself and my family ends up being quite a chunk of change).

I found myself getting kind of upset with all of this losing, so I decided that there needed to be a winner in this situation. And the winner is going to be one of you! Leave a comment if you need a ball winder or know someone who needs a ball winder. Make sure you leave your email, website, or some other way to contact you. I will randomly pick from all the commenters one week from today and send my old ball winder to you for absolutely free- I'll even pay to ship it to you.

Here's to winning!