Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Perfect Dog Jackets

I have a number of felted and hand-knit dog jackets available for puppies and small dogs. Email me at jil@minnowknits.com if you are interested. Prices are very reasonable, and the felted jackets are really great for keeping your pooch dry and comfortable…and are stylish and chic, to boot!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Holiday Gifts

Now that we are out of our gardens it is time to review our yarn stash, and make plans for all those charming holiday gifts. Hats and mitts and socks and scarves, weekend knits and spare time knits…all to be stashed away for the holiday gift giving celebrations. My trademark QuickKnits are perfect for instant gratification, too!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Planting the Tulips

Years ago we lost a huge tree in our yard in an ice storm and it made a beautiful sunny spot for a flower garden. Every year we plant 800 tulip, daffodil and hyacinth bulbs, to the great delight of our neighbors. It is a gorgeous display, worth all the garden work!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Perfect Knitting Kit

I do a lot of teaching and always recommend The Perfect Knitting Kit to my student. Here's how to make yours!

The Perfect Knitting Kit starts with a small, clear zippered case, such as those you would find in the cosmetics department. It is absolutely perfect to hold all your knitting basics and because it is clear you can peek inside to find that elusive tool that has dropped to the bottom. Having a portable kit in this manner allows you to switch it out to work with whatever current project you are knitting. My personal kit case is from Agnes B, discovered on a trip to Paris; try to find a case that gives you pleasure, as it will become the backbone of your knitting life.

Here are my recommendations for the right items to include in your kit:

  • A pair of small, very sharp scissors; make sure you dedicate them for yarn only!
  • Yarn needles - I prefer the Japanese Chibi needles with bent tips that come in little plastic cases that are easy to spot in your kit, and are available everywhere now
  • A retractable measuring tape; mine is in the shape of a sheep, and there are many other adorable variations now on the market.
  • Yarn T-pins and yarn safety pins are essential for pinning and marking.
  • Long and short stitch holders; the elegant coated metal English Aeros are always in my case. There are also plastic Japanese versions that open at either end which work very well
  • Stitch markers; split-rings are good as they are easily moved or removed, much better than the closed rings.
  • Cable needles; I recommend straight cable needles, including size 3, 6 and 10 US, in bamboo or wood.
  • A small calculator – essential!
  • Point protectors, both large and small; these clever items keep your work on the needles, and they protect your knitting from stray needles.      
  • A needle size and gauge ruler, which you will use constantly. And for those of you with an iphone there is an APP for needle sizing!
  • Two crochet hooks, 1 small, 1 large, perhaps a D and a K.
  • The so-called “Dentist Tool”, with one crochet hook end and one smooth pointed end, an unusual and invaluable tool, and probably my favorite accessory! You can find this tool on the web at www.patternworks.com.
  • A pen and small notebook, for notations, row counting and those quick to sprout design ideas. If you have an idea and don’t jot it down it can often disappear!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


As a lifelong designer and admirer of fashion, I was delighted to receive a copy of The Gospel According to Coco Chanel, Life Lessons from the World’s Most Elegant Woman by Karen Karbo, published by skirt!  Chanel was a fashion legacy who continues to inspire women all over the world. This book is a funny and stylish take on Coco Chanel, full of relevant life lessons for modern women. Enjoy!