Saturday, July 31, 2010

Amigurumi

Recently I have gotten addicted to crocheting animals. I found a few good books/booklets on the topic of amigurumi and located a lot of free ones in Ravelry. I crocheted up a few Wesley the elephants and then made up a ballerina elephant from one of the books. I know a lot of people like to knit up animals and toys, but I find the process of crocheting them to be more enjoyable. They go super fast and I find it very easy to seam them together without issue.


These books are both great and full of wonderful patterns. I've found most of the animals make up in an afternoon. Perfect for a baby gift or as a "bow" on the outside of a wrapped present.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hats Hats Hats

I've been a bit absent from the blog as of late because I've been busy knitting hats for the etsy store for the fall/winter session and working on some designs. Here are some pictures and info about the items I've been knitting up. I will have a few new designs for sale as soon as they are done test knitting!

"Fall"ing for Candy Corn
Knit out of Vintage Chunky yarn
Pattern available from Brownie Knits soon
Made hats hats also available soon
To place a custom order, pop me an email at brownieknits@yahoo.com.

Little Witch
Knit out of Vintage worsted
Halloween ribbon
Pattern available from Brownie Knits soon
Made for sale hats also available in the coming weeks.
To place a custom order, pop me an email at brownieknits@yahoo.com.

 Flower button hat.
I will have a series of made for sale button theme hats launching this fall. Have a particular theme that you like and need it in a certain size? Feel free to make a special request. All buttons are knitted into the fabric. Current themes include: flowers, sports, fall leaves, Halloween, Christmas, and lady bugs. Color of yarn can also be customized on special order hats.

Rose Hat
In addition to launching the button theme hats in the fall etsy store, I will also be launching hats with felted flower buttons on them. Hats will be washable and the felted flower pins can be removed so that you can use it on other garments when the hat no longer fits. Flower type and hat color can also be customized.

Very excited to get the fall line ready to launch--complete with some new patterns and lots of made garments.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Summer TV

If I had life to do over again, I think I would have embraced my love for television viewing more and gone into telecommunications in some shape or form. I LOVE to watch TV and it fits so well with knitting and crochet. Every year, I would get through May finales and then blech until September. I never ever understood the lack of programming in the summer. I mean, all these families are at home, it is too hot to be outside, everybody is on each other's last nerve, and they have nothing to watch but reruns. It always seemed like a good market to hit.

Well, somebody finally went for it because there are all kinds of summer shows now. Ahhhhhh.....something to Tivo and watch while I knit. Here's my review of some new programs.

The Closer: Of course, this is a returning series that is sometimes shown in the summer. Brenda Lee and the wonky cast of detectives serve up a good detective story each week. A perfect mix of drama and humor, but a little heavier on the drama side than some other shows to follow...

Good Guys: This show is also a detective show, but is heavy on the humor side. On several occasions I have laughed until I cried at the antics of Dan Stark. Yes, that is a Hanks in the role of Jack, but this show is all about Dan and Bradley Whitford pulls it off. Just what you need on a Monday night.

Lie to Me: Also a returning show. This group of investigators are all about deception detection. A little predictable for my taste, but a good filler show. I do enjoy the application of real-life expressions that are shown when the "tick" is shown on a character to give away the lie. I often wonder if one of the celebrities is sitting there watching the show and, bam, they see themselves on the screen being accused of lying.

Rizzoli and Isles: Finally, a female-centric double lead. The show reminds me of reading a series of female detective novels. Good stories and you can already start to connect to the characters. The addition of Donnie Wahlberg adds a nice little extra spice.

Covert Affairs: I mean Alias 2.0. Sometimes I have to look up to make sure that it isn't Jennifer Garner on the screen. Did she watch Alias and intentionally try to sound and act like Jennifer? Her facial expressions, phrasing, everything... The original Alias was better and had a more serious tone to it. Covert Affairs is lacking the overarching mystical mystery of Alias, but there is more to be shown here. Worth a continued look to see what develops.

Rookie Blue: I affectionately call this show Grey's for Cops around our house. You get the idea. Central character with lots of others around her that each have their own hang ups and plot twists. Two men of interest for Meredith...or whatever her name is. She is even complete with a damaged parent who used to be a cop too. Not sure which McMan I want her to go for just yet...

Boston Medical: Reality show set in, you guessed it, hospitals in Boston. Each week I say I'm not going to watch and then I do. There is one intern who is the poster child for an insensitive arrogant doctor. If only he didn't overshadow all the other good doctors and nurses on the show.

Rescue Me: I LOVE this show. The dialogue is just so great and the acting is wonderful. I will miss it SO much when it is over. Every week there are so many great lines that I swear I will remember and use. Then, I forget them or I chicken out of saying them!

Big Brother: My summer guilty pleasure. Yes, I know. Total brain crap, but I like it.

Mad Men: DON DRAPER! Need I say more? I needn't, but there is so much more to the show than just him. All the characters are fabulous. My one request...bring back SAL!

Eureka: I'm not typically a sci-fi girl, but my hubby has converted me somewhat. He's done such a good job that I even watch some that he doesn't. This clever little show is formulaic, but it works and I always get a laugh and feel like I'm hanging out with old friends. If I got to live in a TV show this would be my second choice. The first? Star's Hollow, of course? I speak Gilmore!

Persons Unknown: I'm hooked on this one. I don't think it is going to end up where I originally thought, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Haven: 2 thumbs down. I'll watch anything, but yawn.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

iPad

I resisted the temptation to get an iPad...well, for a few months anyway. I finally gave in after hearing from colleague after colleague about the wonders of it. I do have to say that I also LOVE it. I got myself a nice (cheap) red cover for it that can also convert into a stand for video viewing.

An unexpected side effect came out of buying the iPad. All of the sudden, I started avidly reading again. As a kid, through high school and college, and into my publishing career, I would read constantly. During the summers growing up in such a small town, I would spend from morning to late at night reading book after book. Reading was an activity that I had in common with my mom, aunt, great aunt, and grandmother. They were always swapping books and going to the library. When I started knitting so much, my reading fell way off and eventually became almost non-existent.

Then, I bought my iPad. I found myself browsing online books and really getting drawn into books again. The reading experience on the iPad is great, IMO. The fact that you can use Kindle, B&N, or iBooks is great. You aren't limited by any one device/company. You can shop around for the best price. I read a few books on it, which then pushed me to start reading those on my physical shelf, and all of the sudden my old reading habits are back! Now...that hasn't been great for my knitting time, but I'll get to that in the next few posts. I get asked a lot about reading outside on the iPad. I don't have any issues. I turn the brightness all the way up and it is fine.

I use iAnnotate for my patterns. I can load up a PDF of a pattern into this app and then I can mark it up with notes and such. For example, I am re-knitting a February Lady Sweater and I have it on my iPad.


I happened to purchase the PDF version of The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design by Shannon Okey. I am able to highlight important parts that I want to refer back to later. (On a side note: If you are someone interested in getting into knit design in any way--designing, editing, setting up a knit business--this is a fantastic reference. There is SO much in here that until now has just been word of mouth or each person re-inventing the wheel and all the pain that goes with that. Having a background in publishing, I also found it to be a great perspective on working with editors and the entire process of publishing content in any form for public consumption.)


 I wanted to include a picture of a picture to show how well it displays visuals in documents. What better example than that of Christina and her new Ginger Leaves pattern available at Knit Picks. All you Classic Cable fans should run over and grab up this pattern!

As you can see, I've incorporated my own knitting take on using the iPad, but I think that is the absolute beauty of the device. Whatever your interest is, you can make iPad work for you. I have ALL of my music on it, videos for viewing on the plane, books, photos, notes, and full access all the time to any website, including Ravelry and all of my stash inventory and patterns.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Florida Scrapbook

As mentioned a few months ago, I don't scrapbook as intensely as a lot of people. I tend to only do it right after a trip--right away or it never gets done. So, after we got back from Florida I grabbed a 12 x 12 book and decided to try and use up as much of my scrapbook stuff as possible before buying more. I didn't do too bad with that goal, either. I used up bunches of paper and mats, all of my various glue/tape/etc, and lots of other scrappy things. Another book or two and I might use up all my stash.

One of my habits on trips has become grabbing tickets, brochures, and such to use in the scrapbook. I don't like to journal too much in my books, so the printed materials help to tell the story. They also allow me to use up my boring plain papers because they add the visual interest. I also like using all the various sizes of photos. Digital cameras and at-home photo printers are so great for that stuff...

In this spread, I used the hand-made cards from my MIL and Aunt Dory. They both make such beautiful cards.

Now...to get that dog scrapbook worked on at some point in the next 5 years...I think I started it about 5 years ago, so 10 is a nice round number!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Beaded Shawlette

Karla brought in her finished Beaded Shawlette for all of us to see. I taught this class (using Judy Pascale's excellent pattern) several years ago. It has been great to see all the different bead and yarn combinations over the years. It can be a pretty intense project on the beaded rows, but those who stuck with it really loved the end results. Karla's is beautiful!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Vacation Swap Package Received

I received my Knitter's Holiday vacation swap package this past week. Angel did such a great job. She "took" me to Alaska, where she currently lives. It was so fun to see the items that she found and to learn more about the culture of Alaska.

  • Ulu knife: according to the packaging this is a knife that has been a tool used by Alaskans for more than 5000 years. It is used to skin meat, vegetables, herbs, and thread. The shape of the Ulu is curved and the blade rocks to cut quickly.
  • An Alaskan Treasure Purse: Cherry Tree Hill Fingering Alpaca yarn with a pattern. Super cute.
  • Stitch markers made by an artist in Alaska
  • A book centered in Alaska
  • A trivet by an Alaskan artist
  • herbal teas
 Treasure purse

Stitch markers with my favorite type of attachment. They don't get stuck on your knitting at all!

The next swap (set for August/September) is the theme of women who inspire you. Who inspires you?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Anniversary Celebration

Part of our trip to Florida included a celebration of our anniversary. We spent the day at the beach, out on a boat, and then back to the beach for a sunset picnic. It was a really nice day--full of good company (i.e. PK), good food, and a beautiful sunset.

Dolphin watching on the boat...

Sunset on the beach. The necklaces were my gift to PK this year. I found them (handmade) on etsy from Manta Wave. So happy with them! If you are looking for jewelry that guys will like to wear, this is the place to go. They are also waterproof.

My romantic poet husband wrote me a poem and put it into a frame he made. I'm so lucky!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Beach Bums

Patrick and I have discovered that we really, really, really like hanging out in warm weather climates at the beach. We escaped the land-locked state of Indiana and went south to Florida for a bit. We spent tons of time on the beach and in the water.

I've also developed a new habit of taking part in daring activities on vacation--well, daring for me anyway. In Turks I rode a horse for the first time. This time, I went parasailing! It was a lot of fun. I freakin' hate to fly and I am a terrible swimmer, but I got up there anyway and enjoyed it. I wasn't planning on doing this, but PK sprung it on me when I thought we were getting him a ticket. The next thing I knew, I was up in the air!


We spent one day at Seaworld. Let me tell you, this place has changed a lot since the late 70s! It is HUGE now. We signed up for a special Dolphin Spotlight tour. I would highly recommend this as the one splurge if you go to the park. It was absolutely worth it. After going backstage at the show and learning some different things about the dolphins, you get to train them. We worked with 3 3-year-olds: Chole, Lagos, and Alea. They stayed pretty focused for kids and worked really hard. One of their moms was working next to us and she came over and nudged her baby at one point.



We also got to pet Bella the Boy penguin, a shark, and a sting ray. The dolphin felt like a peeled, boiled egg. The sting ray was slimy and the shark was sort of scaly and rough. The penguin had some coarse and thick feathers. I really enjoyed how interactive the adventures were. I could have done without the unbearable heat that day. We recouped the next day with some time on the beach and in the water.


We also snuck in a visit to my Aunt Dory and Uncle Robert. It was so good to see them and share some laughs and stories. Sadly, I didn't remember to break out the camera!

So, I've been missing in Florida and not knitting or crocheting all that much. Time to get back to it!