Sunday, September 30, 2012

Button and Pin Finds

My planned October Brownie Knits design is a hat that will incorporate a pin as an option. Off I went to search for vintage pins for some pre-sold hats. We love living down the road from a huge antique market! These will be pins for sale on the Brownie Knits Etsy shop in October and November (on made hats). If you would like to pre-claim one, please send us a convo in Etsy. I can send you a preview of the designed hat and some color options.

(The square one is already claimed by me!)

While looking for these I stumbled on some vintage buttons for some other active projects. I wish they still made such fun buttons as they used to make. Although, every week I see the button wall on Project Runway at Mood and long to go check it out!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Knitting on the Needles

Between photography and art classes, I've been working right along on my knitting projects and some new designs. I can't reveal the designs just yet, so I thought I'd post a picture of my two sweaters.

Both sweaters have been divided for the sleeves. After the cold snap this past weekend (and getting to wear my Central Park Hoodie for the first time), I'm ready to get these two done and added to my options to wear. Knit faster!!!! My hope was to have them both done by (gulp) the end of September. We shall see how that works out. First priority is to finish up a pattern for September release and a hat order. Will finish those up and then have my sweaters as car knitting for an upcoming trip. Nice. Mindless. Knitting. Don't you just love those moments?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sunflower Wreath Pattern

JUST under the wire, here is the new Brownie Knits pattern for September. It is 100% crocheted. You can purchase the pattern for $2.99 in Ravelry, Craftsy, or at the Brownie Knits Etsy store. I hope you enjoy this new pattern and if you need any assistance, please use the contact info listed on the pattern. 

This crocheted wreath is perfect to jazz up your house for fall or if you just love sunflowers! The cheerful flowers and lovely leaves bring nature to your door. Express your own creativity by your color selection and how you arrange the foliage. A super fun project to make.

This one is hanging on our front door!

Materials:Wreath: 217 yards of worsted weight yarnSunflower center: 20-40 yards of worsted weight yarn and 20 yards of novelty yarn (optional)Sunflower petal: 200 yards of worsted weight yarnLeaves: 17 yards EACH of two different green worsted weight yarns14 each foam wreathSize US H crochet hookTapestry needleScissors

Gauge: 4 sts/ 3 rows over HDC = 1 inch (gauge is only critical for wreath foam covering)

Skills: Adventurous Beginner to Intermediate

Uses the following stitches: Chain, Single Crochet, Double Crochet, Half Double Crochet, and Slip Stitch. (All terms are US crochet terminology.) 

A video link is provided in the pattern to offer further assistance in seaming the flowers.

Yarns used in the first photo are Dream in Color Classy and Berroco Vintage. Yarns used in the second photo are Knit Picks Wool of the Andes and Knit Picks Reverie.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Camera "Training"

After our camera class, we decided to put some of our new found knowledge to use before we forgot it all. We went for a long walk in our local park and played with all the different settings and options our camera provides. It brought back things I learned so long ago at IU and all of Patrick's photography skills. He used to shoot all manual and develop his own film.

Playing with depth of field...

Connecting our camera class with some photo content ideas...

Liked this shot...

Experimenting with the macro lens with Kennedy as a model...

We invested in the macro lens specifically for product shots.
I think it will give a great close up of the knitting and improve my pattern shots. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

September's Cute Dog Pictures

A little blurry, but it was too cute to pass up. Riley often looks super relaxed in his old age.

Tolerating his little sister sleeping on his butt.

And, she seems to think that my Beekeeper's Quilt puffs are her personal size pillows.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Knitter's Block

The past few weeks have found me feeling a bit out of sorts. This always seems to happen during the change of the seasons. I have horrible fall allergies and despise winter weather, so despite the fact that I do like autumn, I feel physically run down and mentally uninspired. I've been distracted from designing and creating my own "original" works, so I've been knitting from other people's patterns a lot. I was feeling all down about this when my SIL pointed out that it is similar to a writer's block. Best way to  get over that? Keep I'm going to use my knitting from patterns and not designing as a "keep on keeping on" type of approach.

In the meantime, I'm reminding myself that fall and winter also means college basketball! Football, nah, not my thing. Baseball, I'm happy to attend with Patrick as it makes him so happy and I don't dislike it. Basketball, specifically college basketball, is my sport of choice. IU calendar is marked on my iPhone and I'm already plotting where we will watch various games. AND, what should arrive in the mail yesterday? This rather large brown box was broken down and taped around the contents. Patrick hands it to me with a big smile on his face. After cutting away the tape, I discovered this IU flower out of old license plates. This will be hanging on our front door throughout the basketball season (minus maybe December for the Christmas season).

You can find these on Etsy and it looks like they can do custom ones for various interests. On a funny side note, the Etsy seller's relative was college roomies with one of our family members. Small world!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Cameras and Shawls

During this past week, we went to our "new camera owner" class. The intent was to teach you all that your new investment can provide. We crammed in the room with way too many other people and settled in for about 2.5 hours. Immediately, I was struck by how spoiled I've become with the lack of meetings in my life. During my days at a corporate job, it was routine...meeting after meeting...and you adjusted your expectations to what was going to be accomplished or how a session would go. It was clear from the get go that annoyance was on the menu. People, you are grown ups. Show the hell up on time and respect the 40 other people in the room. We had to hear the same lecture over and over! We spent a great deal of time on some basic things I really don't think buyers of such a user-intense camera should have to be told (like charge your battery). It really detracted from the time dedicated to defining the parts of the camera, menu options, when best to use settings, etc. Those things were either not discussed or zoomed over in the last 10 minutes. Now, the class was free and I did learn a few things from it. There was a lot of information to absorb and I CLEARLY need practice with the camera based on my shawl photos below. Ugh--tried using the manual settings versus auto. The first 8 shots that I thought were great were all out of focus. So, I'm glad I took the class, I plan to practice until I am well-adapted to the camera, and I am SO glad I don't have to sit in endless meetings anymore!!!!!

I also added in this shawl to my week of knitting. The pattern is a free one from Berroco named The Miami Beach shawl. It is written as a warm climate shawl knitted out of cotton. However, I keep knitting them out of MadTosh in a DK or worsted weight (DK shown here). It works out great for a warmer shawl and the stitch pattern and flow of the shawl is a joy to make.

This shawl is off to the new owner. It was knitted as a "prayer" shawl. If you are a knitter or crocheter and you come across those times in life when someone you care about is having a rough go of it, I have found making them a shawl to be of comfort. When I say comfort, there is the joy and love that you hope the recipient gets out of it, but it is also a selfish comfort. I have a horrible time expressing my thoughts and feelings to people during life's hardest moments. I sort of shut off and don't know what to say or how to cope. But, you can knit or crochet them something and think about them and it makes you feel better, too, knowing you are spending time putting a positive vibe out to the universe.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Obsessed with British TV

Downton Abbey, Doc Martin, Luther, Vera, and on and on...I've become obsessed with shows from across the pond. I can't stand to sit and knit without music or tv and and I can't stand to watch tv without knitting (unless I'm super tired). Looking to get the most out of our $8.00/month Netflix fee, I started watching British shows. From there, the recommendations started flying in from all my knitter friends. You see, it seems that lots of US knitters are obsessed with the character-driven and less violent shows from our British friends.

So, here is a collection of the shows people have recommended. It will take me years to get through them all! The good thing is that many are in Netflix streaming and our local library has a large lot of them, too.

  • Downton Abbey -- You might live under a rock if you haven't heard the ramble about this one. Previous seasons are on Netflix streaming and new episodes are on PBS (although not fast enough!)
  • Doc Martin -- I fell in LOVE with this show. I'm a huge Gilmore Girls fan and this cast of characters gave me a similar feeling. Netflix streaming is up to date and I think new ones air here on PBS.
  • Murder in Suburbia -- Only 12 episodes but it features one of the actors from Doc Martin and I enjoyed the humor they injected into a murder mystery series.
  • Luther -- Much darker, but oh so good. (Deserves that Emmy nod for sure.)
  • Vera -- Also a bit darker
  • Ballykissangel -- I'm watching this one now. Feels right to watch it while knitting a sweater designed by an Irish knitter. Even have some cups of Irish tea while watching it...
  • Kingdom -- The other one I have going at the moment. Entertaining and his assistant is a cutie!
  • Zen
  • Inspector Lewis
  • Inspector Lynley
  • Midsommer Murders
  • Rosemary & Thyme
  • Prime Suspect
  • Wallander
  • Lovejoy
  • Case Histories
  • Rebus
  • Monarch of the Glen
  • Daniel Deronda
  • Wives & Daughters
  • The Way We Live Now
  • A Touch of Frost
  • The Last Detective
Of course, there are some other sci-fi ones that I catch with DH. Primary at the moment is Doctor Who.  I hope you catch a few of these treasures and if you have any to share not listed, give us a shout!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Project Updates

For the past week I've been working on a bundle of projects, including Ravi, Deep Water, Beekeeper's Quilt, and the Flowers of Fall Wreath. I try to work on each of them a little bit every day to keep up momentum. My goal is to get the yokes on both sweaters done by the 15th so that (hopefully) the last two weeks of September will be mindless knitting of the body section.

I'm using the Japanese Short Row method but with bobby pins. I really like how little extra yarn it uses. I think I'll be using this method for short row projects from now on! Much easier and nicer looking than the traditional wrap and turn and then pick them up later method.

Almost done with the yoke! A few more wedges to go and then it will be time to pick up stitches.

Loving the Mossay color. The lace section is pretty tight right now, but I think it will block out to a pretty section. I keep seeing me wearing this sweater on our yearly outing to get pumpkins. But, if it is too cold that day, I can turn to Deep Water...

Here is Deep Water in all her glory. She is a few repeats from the divide for sleeves section. A simple top-down knit and it is so REFRESHING after completing two pieced sweaters, the pieced animal farm, and the pieced block blankets. This sweater is so nice and soft out of the eco alpaca. The front is full on both fronts so it should be extra warm. If our winter is like last year, it will be worn as a jacket. And, I just love seed stitch. It was one of the first stitches I learned and I love the routine of it and the finished look--so simple and yet so classic.

I went on a button search for these two sweaters on Friday. First up was in my button stash. Well, that is getting to be pretty sad. I suppose that means I've done a good job of using up what I had. There just wasn't anything I liked with these knits. Off I went to the antique shop down the road. There are two booths that regularly stock vintage buttons for cheap cheap. Alas, nothing this time to my liking. Nothing online I liked. Ugh...thank goodness for Hancock Fabrics. I found these buttons that I think will be perfect.

It is hard to see, but these green buttons are sort of pearlized. They pop with the green of Ravi. The black buttons are for Deep Water and should allow me to wear it with all sorts of outfits (a consideration in case it must be said jacket)!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Desk for PK

Patrick spends tons of time in his upstairs office while he does his Pearson work, teaches remotely for IUPUI, and writes his technology and sci-fi books. After looking for a long time at potential desks, we finally both verbalized that we couldn't find what we had in mind because he really wanted something artistic. A friend of ours who lives overseas has two pieces of furniture that he found in art galleries. They both incorporate upcycled items.

So, Patrick sketched up a desk with some ideas of what the various items would be. It includes making a lamp "person" on one corner, a non-conventional drawer, a raised storage system (maybe a birdhouse?), metal legs cemented in boots, etc. You get the idea. Off we went to some local antique stores to see what we could find.

One of the items we were looking for was an old phone for the face of the lamp person. Found it AND it is already wired for the light!!!

This hand-carved wooden fire hydrant (even the chain is carved wood) is hollow in the middle. It will become the body of the lamp.

This little guy will be on there in some fashion. Too bright and fun to pass up.

I picked up this little hot pad holder for the kitchen. Thought it was a cute item.

We are already having lots of fun being artistic together. So much fun to let you imagination run wild. Hopefully, we will find the rest of the items over the next few weeks so that the assembly can be done in September/October and moved in before the winter months take hold. If you are local to us and have any metal pipes or aged wood you need to get rid of, let us know! This is just too much fun!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Finished Charlie Brown Socks

Yesterday I wrapped up PK's winter socks. As blogged previously, I used the sock pattern from the book Knits Men Want. I was able to get them knitted in three short sessions. Don't you love worsted weight yarn!?! As I knitted them I commented to Patrick that they reminded me of Charlie Brown. Thus, they have been coined The Charlie Brown Socks in our household.

US 7 needles
Plymouth Merino Worsted yarn
Mods: I added the stripes at the top and knitted all of the toe section in brown, as well.
Despite the yardage outlined in the pattern, I used less than 400 for a size 11 shoe size at 5 sts per inch as the gauge. Must figure out what to do with that 1.75 skeins of leftover pumpkin yarn.

They have already been test worn. I also noticed that while I never really struggled with kitchener stitch in the past, my toe section on these socks is fantastic after all the kitchener stitches I'm doing on the Beekeeper's Quilt puffs!