Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Charity Projects

I commited to a few charity knitting/crochet projects recently, so I wanted to start knocking those out so that I can keep on track with all the other things that are planned (i.e. Sasha skirt, my nephew's blanket, my own designs, knitting for the etsy store). I have a really bad habit of commiting to WAY too much and then I feel overwhelmed. However, I have a hard time saying No to a charity request or to made-for-hire garments. So...

For our Relay for Life team, we decided to create some smaller items that we can sell on site during the event. Although I don't think I am going to be able to join the team due to other commitments that weekend, I did want to contribute. I made up three of these crochet scrubbers for the group. Wow. I did all three in about 90 minutes--and that was with changing out the laundry! I have a feeling that I will be making up some of these for my own home.

 
US Hook: H
Yarn: Sugar & Cream White
1 scrubber
Mods: I only did 6 rounds instead of 7


 
US Hook: H
Yarn: Peaches & Cream
Pattern: Suzies Scrubber
No mods on this one. LOVED making these.


 
Back side of the scrubber.

 
One in a blue tone.

 

After I finish up my Ravelympics and made-for-hire garments, I'll be knitting up some charity baby garments. Hmmm.....maybe a few hats or a blanket... What do you like to knit and crochet for charity?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Basket Weave Crochet Blanket

As part of the saga of the lost luggage, I didn't get to work on my Bolero for the Ravelympics. So, I started the variegated Gina Shawl and when I got back home, I also started on this crochet baby afghan for a little one whose mommy is afraid a beloved blanket might disappear or wear out!

 
Pattern: Basket Weave Baby Afghan (can be found free in Ravelry)
Hook: US H
Yarn: 7 skeins of Fantasy Dark Horse in Baby Blue

I am often asked if you can get various looks in crochet like you can in knitting. For example, can you cable? Absolutely!!!! You can achieve lots of different looks with crochet. It just so happens that lots of crochet patterns stick to the basic single and double crochet so in our minds eye when we think crochet we think of one type of look. But you can do all kinds of things. This basket weave look, for example, is all double crochets, but it is how you place them. Many knitters might look at this and have a tough time deciding if there isn't a knit stitch in there. All those little Vs are created by double crocheting through the back loops. 

If you dabble in crochet and haven't ventured out into some of these techniques, you should totally go for it. The great thing about crochet is that you can turn any stitch pattern into a dishcloth that you finish up in an hour or two. Go grab those hooks and give it a try!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Jewelry

I'm a real sucker for picking up trinkets while on vacation. Since there were not yarn stores on the islands, I settled on some baskets (one in bag form) and lots of shell jewelry. It was pretty inexpensive, so it was easy to get a little more than I realized! They will be lots of fun to wear when the weather warms up.

 
This is my favorite piece. It was from a local market and made out of natural coral.

 
A little basket that is currently holding my shells. Over time, I'm sure it will become a yarn bowl!

 
Conch jewelry. Most of it I picked up at the conch farm that was in recovery from the storms. I thought it was a good way to show support for a local disaster recovery and still come away with some great items that I will always associate with the memories.

 
Some coconut earrings to remind me of our time in the hammocks.
Also from a local lady who makes them.

 
Finally, Patrick bought these for me. I just loved the design and color. 
I think I'll wear these this week since they can travel throughout all of the seasons.

All in all, including the items I picked up for some friends, I didn't spend much at all, but brought home a ton. Not more than you would spend on a few balls of yarn, but I'll always have the memories to associate with them. Those are the things I like best about buying jewelry on vacation. That and they are little pieces of both the art and culture of the region.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Gina Shawl in Variegated

I am a solid or tweed girl. I just don't use variegated very much. Handpainted, yes. Colors and lots of changes, not very me. However, as I design more, I am trying to branch out and be open to seeing how designs perform in these other options. I picked up this sock skein of Prism yarn to give it a go in the Gina Shawl. It was a lot of fun to see how the colors were lining up. This particular yarn has very short color runs, so I didn't have to worry too much about it pooling up on me.

US needle 9
Yarn: Prism Saki Sock

This was some more of my island knitting and I continued to work on it on the way back home. It helped to keep me calm on the plane and it aided in going from 70/80 degrees to 15. Bright and sunny!

 
I think it will be a great spring and summer wrap with a little tank and a skirt.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Junior Olympic Events

While on vacation, I worked on crocheting some items for the Ravelympics. I had originally planned to make two baby bibs for Baby Klunk. However, when I got stranded without my knitting in the lost luggage, I had to make the best of my two skeins of Tahki Cotton Classic and crochet hook. I made a baby bib.

I originally started with the So-Simple Baby Bib pattern. However, I didn't like how it was turning out, so I changed it up and did my own thing. I basically SC into the DC and DC in the SC on every row, edged it with a SC and then did a DC with SC edge neckband. 

Then I made a granny square washcloth for the baby to go with his bib. I teach this in beginning crochet, so I can do it in my sleep. I made this one when I was super angry about the delays and bags.

Then I used the leftover yarn to make a baby hat. No pattern, just my own eyeball.
I must say that this hat is VERY inspired by the islands. The top reminded me of the waves.
The overall shape of the hat is very much like the crocheted ones on the island.
It is like a little Marley hat for the baby!

Ended up with a cute little set of items for the baby. I'm thinking that this will be a cute decorative piece on the outside of the package. Haven't decided yet. His big gifts will be the two blankets. Only one left to finish up and I am all ready for his arrival in June. Then I'll just have to whip up his stocking to go with Aidan and Jack's knitted stockings.

While I was unpacking, I put the hat onto Kiki's head as a joke. We couldn't help but take a few pix.

 
  
This made me laugh!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Turks & Caicos Part III

This was our final morning on the island. As I am writing this back at home, I'm tired, exhausted, cold, and just not all that great in terms of how I feel. Not a single health issue on the island. We landed in Indiana and I got a headache almost immediately. I think my body is trying to tell me something!

 
The beautiful trees and the wonderful breeze...


A lovely island flower. I might print and frame this one for my yarn room.


Drawing on the beach. We heard a conversation at one of the lunches that was hysterical about writing in the sand. Two couples with thick British accents were at the table next to us. They had two little girls and a little boy named James. Well, I was watching the kids play. James was off writing in the sand when Emma and Lucy ran up and walked through his work. He freaked out and knocked over their sandle castle. The girls ran up to the parents to rat out poor James. First, the adults said, "Well, he's a boy and that's what boys do." They then summoned poor James for a talk as the girls got to go play. He tried so hard to tell them that the girls were not being truthful. Alas, he still got in trouble. I felt so bad for the little booger. He dutifully apologized to the girls and went further down the beach to begin his writing all over again as the girls threw sand in the water.


A banana pina colada covered in sand on the ousdie.



It's a darn good thing I didn't discover this drink earlier on the island. I still had more alcohol in these four days than I usually do in 2 years--no joke! I discovered a love for Brandy Alexandars. Yummy. The island Belly Warmer was nice on the chilly nights. I should also mention that we had a lot of fun watching the winter Olympics with the locals. They were peppering us with questions about the various sports and were amazed at the women's downhill. They really loved it, but all admitted that they wouldn't last at all in those climates. One night when it was about 70, one of the ladies asked me if I was cold. I just laughed and said, it is 10 at home. I'm fine! 


Our last picture on the island. I am so grateful to Patrick that he did this for me. I know how lucky I am to be so loved by such a great man. Love you, PK! Remember, we did see that property for sale. I think I could knit and crochet baskets and hats instead of sweaters and be just fine!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Turks & Caicos Part II

Yesterday was a full and fun day on the island. It was unusually cool here, but even that was a good 70+ degrees. The belongers (that's what the islanders are called) were constantly saying it was cold. We just laughed in our bathing suits and shorts. Our blood is thick right now!!!

We started off the day at the conch farm. This little establishment was hit hard by Ike a few years ago and is still in the rebuilding stage. It was a good little outing on a cloudy day. We learned that the female conch in the wild releases 500,000 eggs and only 1 survive into maturity (4 years of age to start reproducing). This farm keeps 25%. They had a HUGE mound of shells out back.

 
This is Sally. She is a "trained" conch who comes out for visitors.


It was nice and cozy in the jacuzzi. Maybe we should install one of these at the house!


I really wanted to do something on the island that I hadn't done before. When it was so chilly in the water, we settled on the horseback riding on the beach. I was good with it until we arrived at the site. Then, I started feeling all queasy inside. I didn't hesitate to take the hat when offered. 


Here I am on Rapido. When I said I had no riding experience and they said I would be on a horse named Rapido, I thought I had misheard. I said, "Excuse me, Rapido?" The entire group, including the three little girls who were experienced riders, had a huge laugh. He was a good horse, except for his farting (SO LOUD that it startled the horse in front of me), snacking on the leaves (had to pull on those reins), and he would shake his head when he wasn't happy with my hold. He trained me more than I handled him. He knew what he was doing and went right along. It was so much fun that I might try some riding at home. I am a little, okay a lot, tender today. Should be a fun plane ride home this afternoon!

 
PK on Pilgrim. He was a pretty tall horse. Far less farting from this guy, well, at least from the horse! I don't know what Patrick was doing. :)


Gigi (the dog) ran with us for the entire 90 minutes. She clearly loves all of the horses.


Patrick was quote, "I am a flip flop convert."




The dress that PK bought me. Love it!


Kisses for Turks & Caicos...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Turks & Caicos

We are having a storm here in the islands right now, so I thought I'd use the opporutnity to check email, FB, and blog a little! I think I am a techie addict. Not to mention that they lost our luggage for days and I was about to go nuts without all of my knitting. I had crochet for the plane, but I really needed my needles!!!!! I plan to knit and watch the Olympics tonight after we eat on the beach. With the storm, most things are being postponed.

Here are a few pictures of what we have been doing thus far. I'm sure I'll post a lot more in the next week, but it's a start.

 
 
We LOVE the coconut hammocks! Our favorite spot at the resort...

We went on an island excursion via boat and saw a whale...

Went to Iguana island and saw, well, iguana...

 
 
We swam in the ocean...

Ate conch (pronouned konk)...

Including the "worm" which is known as the island Viagra. Well, PK ate that...

And so did this little kid, who I might add, puked the entire first part of the boat trip!
Poor little guy stuck in there and when he asked to eat the worm, we all got a good laugh!

 
 Happy to be away from snow!!!!!!!


Monday, February 15, 2010

Customer Projects

Prior to jetting off, I was hired to make some items. (Disclaimer: Please note that I DID rewrite the hat pattern to be my own--different gauge, different yarn, stitch count, ear construction--so that I could make them for sale.)

 
A little bear hat for a baby named Noah who arrived a few days ago!
Love to make this pattern. It knits up (in the newborn size) in about 90 minutes.
I typically use Dream in Color Classy for this, but I was out of the color I needed.
I substituted Vintage and LOVE it. I think I might use that for these in the future.
US Needle size 6



Had a desperate mother who had lost some beloved crochet blankets!
She dropped off a sample of one that the kids love. I figured out the stitch and made up the two pink ones. Will have two more blue to do when the yarn arrives.
Yarn: 2 balls of Oh My!
Hook: K
This is a pattern that I ended up writing up for my own use so that I can sell made blankets on my Etsy site.

 
In addition to the blue small blankets, I will be crocheting a basketweave baby afghan when I get back. I settled on Fantasy Dark Horse due to the washable factor and the softness.

I will be launching a lot of made garments on my Etsy store this fall. However, if you need something custom made, please feel free to email me at brownieknits@yaho.com!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dog Days of Winter

I am off having some warm weather fun this week! Turks and Caicos -- can I get a woop, woop?!? I have the best husband ever! He surprised me with this trip. I mean SURPRISED! I kept saying, "No we're not!" As I'm writing this, it is 7 degrees here and 85 on the island. I can't wait to be hot!

Now, being the planner that I am, I freaked out and started getting everything together in just a few days. Due to my weight loss in the last year, I had a grand total of 3 outfits for warm weather. Grabbed a few things from the stores and then moved on to planning my knitting, of course! I'll be working on crocheted baby bibs on the plane to the islands. I figure I should be able to get at least, if not both, done on the outbound trip.

 
I ordered these late one night in a winter shopping depression. I'm not the only one who does this, am I? You know. It's late, it's cold, it's never going to end and you need a pick me up. 
Cart, click, purchase! I was happy when they arrived prior to the trip. I'll be watching these on my laptop on the flights to and from. I can't wait to learn, learn, learn more tricks and techniques.

I'll also be knitting on my Ravelympics items. Lots of beach knitting time for me. The dogs will be back in Indiana in the cold. They are so over it too. I caught this series of pictures a few days ago. Kennedy decided to venture beyond her cleared path. Not far, but far enough to literaly fall into the snow. Poor little thing. She gave me a look at the end that said she was down with this stuff!