Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Weekend of Work

This past weekend felt like the first official step of preparing our house to put it on the market in the spring. I am not someone who likes change all that much, but I'm getting used to it with everything that has adjusted in just the last 6 months. As I was standing in Lowe's to select new light and door fixtures, I had a mini anxiety attack that we are taking these steps. That lasted about 30 seconds before I thought and said out loud in the middle of the store, "How do you pick these things out?" I realized that on the one hand when you are making house updates to sell your house it is different than your own style. On the other hand, I want to make sure I like it too since I have to live with it for a little bit and I have to trust that what looks appealing to me could be appealing to others, as well.

When we moved into our house we discovered that the previous owner (the owner who had it built), had low-cost fixtures and appliances put in throughout. Over the years we've updated lots and lots (all the appliances, in fact). After talking to my MIL a few weeks back about how light fixtures can date a house, I started really really hating all the gold-colored pieces everywhere (always disliked them, but now they REALLY bugged me). So, while Patrick worked on Friday, I spent a few hours at the hardware store and then came home to install the doorknobs and some front yard work. Sunday I installed the rest of the doorknobs and started on the hinges. Patrick went about installing all the new light fixtures. Now, this was all an investment, but I have to say that it was not nearly as expensive as I thought it would be and it LOOKS like it cost a heck of a lot more. Wow, the difference is unbelievable!

Old ugly gold with tarnish on lots of them. Yuck.

New brushed metal...easier to clean and more current, too.

Of course, all these updated and bright lights show how much we need to paint and replace the 10+ year carpet! Good thing that was already planned. :) While PK is working this week, I'll be coordinating with our contractor to get the downstairs ceiling painted and installing the rest of the hinges.

Went with nickel and a brushed white theme for the lights. Patrick was so great to install ALL inside and outside lights on his day off from work. He's so patient and such a hard worker!

Updated doors...

Updated outside lights with complete glass coverage so...
NO MORE birds nesting at in our open bottom lights!!!!

I am so glad that this portion is done. I managed to cut both of my thumbs in the exact same spots, slammed my foot into the closet door while trying to avoid our dog, and cut up my wrist (looks like a cat attacked me). While none of this really relates to knitting directly, I did tell PK at one point that putting the fixtures on was not all that different than following a knitting pattern. He looked at me and chuckled...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pickin' the Pumpkins 2011

This past Saturday, we ventured out to Russell Farms to the pumpkin patch. Because of a sinus migraine, we didn't get them carved that night as planned, which means more to do this week...  BUT, before said migraine took complete hold we did manage a hay ride, a corn maze, and a scarecrow pose.


One of my new favorite photos of us...
and I got to wear my Shalom cardigan for the first time this season.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Seaming Knits on the Sewing Machine

I knew a knitter who hated seaming a sweater via traditional finishing methods that she just tossed them on the sewing machine and seamed them with thread. This always amazed me. How didn't it just rip the knitting? How did it move the knitting along? How do you keep the seam even? Is it strong enough? And on and on my doubts went. At the root of every question really hid my fear of the sewing machine.

I've been taking some online sewing courses and I started using my sewing machine to stitch in my Brownie Knits labels on my hand knits. A few nights back, I announced to Patrick (liked he really cared!) that the next project I knit flat would be the one I tried to seam on the machine. The next day, I came across a Baby Surprise sweater that I knitted years ago.

A short history of this sweater...

  • I originally purchased the yarn before my now 8-year-old nephew was born. I planned to make a neutral colored sweater for him/her. That was the beginning of my knitting career and I quickly became sidetracked and he was 4-years-old when I found the yarn again.
  • When my SIL was pregnant with my nephew Jack, I knitted it up thinking it J was a girl. I was 100% confident. Well, what do I know? 
  • So...I then needed a purpose for the sweater. I wrote up some class materials and decided to teach it at my LYS. I did that for several years. I left the top of the arms unseamed so that students could practice on it. 
  • Cut to last year when I was in a clean out mood for my yarn studio. I got rid of the partial ball of yarn thinking there wasn't enough to do anything with it. Forgetting that I still needed to seam the arms of the Baby Surprise sample.
You can see where this is headed, right? I tried to find a yarn in my stash that matched well enough, but that didn't work out. I thought, why not try this on the sewing machine? It is the right size for Ella to wear it during this fall/winter.

I threaded the machine, pinned the right sides of the sweater together, and went for it. It turned out okay, but I did learn a few things...
  1. Do not use a foot that has any little pieces sticking out that can get caught in knitting. I switched from my standard A foot to a quilting foot and that worked MUCH better.
  2. Go slow... really slow...
  3. I need to figure out how to be more consistent on how far in the seam is. You can see that my seam shifted drastically. Given that this is a baby sweater out of garter with lots of room in the arm, I didn't worry about it and left it. However, for an adult sweater out of St st, I would want a consistent 1 stitch seam.

Verdict: I WILL be giving this a try. If I can make the seam consistent, it will be much faster than traditional finishing. AND, the seam was super strong. This little sweater that started a journey some 8 years ago is now headed up to Ella.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Knitting Stitch Book

I had the pleasure of helping out on a book that was just released. My copy came in the mail this week and I was all giddy to flip through the book and dream of projects to design. It is a gorgeous book that will come in handy for anybody who wants to design their own projects. Super simple to follow instructions and charts and great pictures of the finished samples.

Knitting Stitches Visual Encyclopedia and Sharon Turner
You can pick up a copy from Amazon right now!

Having a background in publishing, I am used to seeing my name in a book. BUT, this still made me all excited because it was a knitting book and I loved working on the project.

This was my favorite swatch that I knitted.

So this summer when I kept saying I couldn't really post about all that was going on, I was knitting on this project, some stuff for my Knit Picks patterns, and some Christmas gifts. Thanks for sticking with me through my non-crafting posts during those weeks!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sunflower Girl!

One of my favorite things about designing is seeing pictures of projects that other people make. I fell in love with these pictures from jules138.blogspot.com. Doesn't the hat look fantastic!?! I think she not only did a great job with the hat, but also with the photos. Do you have a Brownie Knits design project finished up? I'd love to see pictures. You can email them to brownieknits@yahoo.com!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Baby Booties

These cute little baby booties were knitted up as a custom order for a customer. Don't you love them? I tried to pick a color that worked for both the little girl and little boy. They are underweight, so the sizing was adjusted to fit them and grow with them.

Knitted on US 1s with Koigu KPPPM

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New Hair Pins Available on the Etsy Store

This past weekend I took a day and made up some more hair accessories. These were all made from vintage buttons and vintage clip-on earrings that I found at an antique market in Hanover, Pennsylvania. I especially love the flower ones. Well, I love them all! You can purchase them from the Brownie Knits Etsy site. They make great gifts for birthdays, holidays, or a just because gift! Or, get one for yourself to spice up an outfit.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Red Shawl

UPDATE: The red shawl is SOLD. However, if you would like one in a different color or my own creation of colors, let me know and we can whip one up!

This shawl is available on the Etsy site. Don't you love it? Clearly my love of red yarns led me to this creation. Only one is available and due to the yarn combination, it is a one of a kind. Want one like it in a different color? Message me and we can make one up for you.

Click here for Etsy site link.
This beautiful handknitted shawl is the perfect accessory to keep you warm and stylish. It can be worn in a variety of ways and measures 15 inches deep, 56 inches along the shaped top, and 73 inches along the bottom. The upper portion is shaped to keep it on your shoulders. Made with coordinated wools of different forms, the texture adds lots of interest to the garment. The deep red color is perfect for any day, the holidays, and Valentine's Day.

Care for garment is dry clean or handwash in tepid water and lay flat to dry.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


We are running a sale on the Etsy site on our women's winter hats. Click here to see what's available. Most are this 2 button style. They are machine washable and nice and warm for those upcoming winter days. Excellent holiday gifts!!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Button and Fabric Ad

When I was visiting my dad, grandmother, and the rest of the family, we took 30 minutes to look around an antique market in Hanover. I found this button/fabric ad for $2.00 and thought it would be kinda cool framed in my craft studio. It is from Life Magazine in 1957. The text talks about how the company's fabric will not shrink, but only buttons are pictured.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Envelope Pillow with French Seams

One of the things I've been working on lately is a Craftsy sewing class. I wanted to take the class to improve my ever-lacking sewing skills. I'm pleased to say that it seems to be doing the trick! I hemmed a punch of jeans a few weeks back and they all were the same length and fit! The class for beginners on Craftsy is instructed by Diana Rupp and uses her book Sew Everything Workshop book. After listening to the basic videos, you dive into your first project: The Envelope Pillow with French Seams.

The class pillow is 20x20, but I only had an 18x18 form so that it the size I made. The pillow used a cotton fabric on the front and muslin on the backside. The back closure teaches hemming and then you sew the 4 sides of the pillow together using a french seam technique (which provides a finished inside seam). In addition to these techniques, you lean a lot about measuring, cutting ironing, setting up your workspace, and understanding instructions.

I'm pretty happy with it...it has 0% extra space (i.e. the cover is 18x18 and so is the form). The next time I make it, I will probably add a 1/2 inch around. I think my pillow form is fluffier than the one in the instructional videos. Next up will be a skirt for myself, which is covered in the Sewing Studio class. After that, I plan to sew up most of the projects in the book to get more and more experience.

If you are interested in enrolling, you can do so at www.Craftsy.com. In addition to sewing classes, they also offer knitting and crochet. Keep an eye on the prices because they seem to run discounts and deals often.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ella's Flowers of Spring Hat

Here is Ella modeling her Flowers of Spring Hat. She is just a cutie!

Pattern: Flowers of Spring Hat from Brownie Knits
Yarn: Jeanne DK
Needle: US 4/5 (but you probably will need 5/6 for same gauge)
Hook: F for flower
Pattern can be purchased from my Etsy site or Ravelry store.

I also have a few made ones for sale on the Etsy store and can complete custom hats, too. Hats can have as many or as few flowers as you desire and in the colors you select. Sizing is from newborn to large adult.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Unique Sheep August Block

I managed to fall behind on my crochet block of the month club during the late summer. I had so many other commitments and projects to work on. So, when PK was on a business trip, I dedicated a day to getting caught up. I like the color combo for the August block. It will look great in the finished blanket against my melon-colored sofa.

Yarn: Unique Sheep Luxe
Hook: C
I really enjoyed the middle section. So pretty. Clearly, they need blocking in a BAD way.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fall Goodies

Fall is a love/hate relationship for me. My worst allergies are in the autumn months and it also means that dreaded winter is not far off. (PK gets a chuckle at my, "Everything just die already" comments as I pray for a hard frost to kill the allergins. It's usually followed by, "I wish it were summer already.")

BUT...on good allergy days, I do have some fall favorites. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, so I like to dress up my "kids". Last year Riley was a banana split and Kennedy was a bundle of grapes. When the kids come to our house, they love to see the dogs dressed up. Kids LOVE Kiki and she patiently lets them pet her. We also enjoy a trip to the pumpkin patch and carving our pumpkins and being creative. That's on the agenda in a few weeks.

This past weekend we tried out a recipe that is sure to be a new fall tradition. OMG...these cookies were phenomenal! Found on Pinterest.com and linked out to the recipe...click here. They are super moist and yummy yummy. We used fat free cream cheese and splenda to cut back on calories where possible. They would be fabulous for all those pitch ins!