Thursday, November 29, 2012

Basketball Fun and Lots of Mittens

Around our house there are really two sports seasons that get attention...baseball and college basketball. Our first "unofficial" date and the first time that we held hands (oh la la) was watching a NCAA game. When we decided not to move to Florida this year, we agreed that we would make sure we went to a few IU games. We were super lucky to get tickets to the IU/UNC game. After Patrick's day of work, we headed down for the night. I loved seeing PK in Assembly Hall!!!





Of course, I've been working on orders over the past, well, three months really. The last week and a half, I knitted these seven pairs of mittens. They are headed to lots of lucky ladies and should be nice and cozy. All were knitted on US 7/8 needles and are out of Farmhouse Lumpy Bumpy. Super happy to have gotten them completed so I can concentrate on some fun knitting over the next couple of weeks.  How is your holiday knitting?


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Alpaca Blanket is Finished!

It's DoNe!!! Back in September, I found this lovely alpaca at the Gettysburg Farmer's Market. Having just visited with Carol, who was knitting the alpaca ombre blanket, I grabbed up various colors and planned to wait to cast on until November. I made it a little bit into October before I couldn't stand it and casted on. Between the projects I've been knitting for Brownie Knits orders, I would spend a little time each night knitting on this project.


Every time I would work on the alpaca blanket there would be a yorkie snuggled under it. This day, it was Riley, but Kiki was never far behind.




I have a fair amount of the cream left over that I am hoping to knit into a cowl and a pillow cover. It was just so great, I couldn't resist saving some of it for other projects. It is SO super warm. Even if you sit on it for a few seconds, it warms up your bottom!


Pattern: Our of Last Minute Knitted Gifts
Needle: US 10
Yarn: Julie's Alpaca yarn in various colors (sportweight)
Mods: I only did 1/2 the stitch count and 2/3 length because I didn't have the same yardage.



And, oh, I put out the Holly and the Ivy shawl as my table centerpiece for the holidays. The light did a number on the color in this picture as it is a real true red. It looks so sweet with the candles on it. Ready for our feast on the 25th. Might have to host a little get together before then, too!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Vintage Find

This past weekend, I got to spend Saturday morning with a good friend. We ventured to the Indie Vintage Marketplace and then to sit and knit and talk and knit and talk and knit and talk! We never run out of things to discuss. At the marketplace, we walked up and saw this piece. The price was nice and low, so it came home with me to live in the family room. Isn't it cute as a button? It is hard to tell in the picture, but the artwork is actually pretty large. It measures 31Wx22H! Every time I look at it, it makes me smile. After the Christmas season, when the decorations go away and my Unique Sheep blanket comes back out, it will go perfectly!



The three-dimensional aspect of it is, of course, something that I love in home decor yarn pieces. Stitched on burlap with what looks like worsted weight or embroidery yarn. Maybe sometime in the future I'll try to make coasters or something that would match.




Little lady bugs in there...


There are even some crocheted elements on there.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Another turkey day has come and gone and I don't think we will soon forget this one. It had a bit of a different flavor this year... There was the traditional family get together on my side of the family. R, of course, was the center of all attention with his cute "Cheese!" posing for the camera. I think for years to come he will be reminded how he carried around his Nemo fish and refused to put it down.



On actual Thanksgiving Day, PK and I participated in the Drumstick Dash. If you live in the Indy area or will be here for Thanksgiving, this is a fantastic event. The enrollment fee goes to the local charity that helps feed those who would otherwise go without. This year had over 15,000 walkers/runners. We did the 4.6 mile walk and the weather really was great for November in Indiana. 



Everybody was in such good spirits and it really felt like a thankful feeling was all around us. After our walk, we ventured home to a seafood feast, a nap, and putting up the tree/decor. 


It was so yummy!!!! Shrimp, salad, clam chowder, oysters, and crab legs...oh my. We could easily eat seafood most nights of the week. If only we didn't live in a land-locked state. We even relaxed so much on Thursday that we braved some shopping mid-morning on Black Friday. It was after all the madness had died down and we got that waffle maker we just had to have (ha ha). But, we did cross several gifts off the list. Now, it is back to work for me as I knit on mitten and bootie orders. Knit on!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Brownie Knits Etsy Shop Holiday Sale!

Check us out at www.etsy.com/shop/brownieknits! We have lots of "fast" patterns that would help you to create a handmade gift for all the people on your holiday list. One of my favorites is the What a Slouch hat...perfect for the gals and guys in your life.

Enter the coupon code BKHAPPYHOLIDAYS2012 to receive 10% of your entire order. (All patterns are delivered electronically to your email account, so there is no shipping cost.) You can also use the 10% coupon on any custom handmade orders--have us do the knitting and crocheting. Happy Shopping!


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Art Day

Today we had a date day. With some extra days off work to take, we planned what turned out to be a day full of art. PK went with me to the monthly watercolor class. He enjoyed himself and he ended up liking my piece more and I liked his more!


I left the geese off and my barn looks a bit childish, but I like the rest of the piece. Patrick did such a good job with his shadows!

After art class, we went out to lunch and had a YUMMY butternut squash soup and a lobster/brie sandwich. Oh my...wonderful! After walking around for a bit, we ventured back home and started working on these Christmas ornaments. It is a project that I found on Pinterest and instantly thought of my hubby and nephews. I already had the frosted bulbs, so we only had to purchase the paint. 




We colored the inside of all the bulbs with paint. After they are dry, we will print out different super hero logos and place them as stickers on the front. The original post was all super hero logos, but we plan to have a few cars ornaments and a girl-themed one, too. I was feeling bad that I hadn't thought to buy a non-boy color for E when I looked in the Batman grey that had some Spiderman red draining into it. I thought, mix it and see what color it turns. I got this lovely purple/pink shade that also has some marble effect to it. Perfect! Now to get those super hero finger puppets started while this dry...

Monday, November 12, 2012

Reading...

At the beginning of 2011 my hubby and I decided to put together a list of mystery books that we would both read and then discuss. Our own little book club of sorts. Like most resolutions, I did well at the beginning of that year and then fell off. Recently, I got spoiled with an iPad mini. Now, ereaders at our house are in abundance due to Patrick's authoring of The Nook Book. While I liked my iPad 2 for surfing the web and such, I would get uncomfortable reading books on it because I couldn't curl up with it like a smaller print book. Enter, the iPad mini! I LOVE that thing. It goes with me everywhere and is great for book reading, magazine reading, and all my craft patterns. I've even been taking it with me to the gym. Walking for an hour or two can give you lots of good reading time! And reading time can be a challenge for me because I'm usually knitting/crocheting if I'm sitting.

Here is our list (bold indicates already read; italic indicates in the middle of it now):
  1. The Alienist by Caleb Carr
  2.  The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John LeCarre
  3.  Moonlight Mile by Dennis LeHane
  4.  The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
  5.  The Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy O’Toole
  6.  Roseanna by Per Wahloo and Maj Sjowall
  7.  The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
  8.  The Sherlockian by Graham Moore
  9.  Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon
  10.  Our Man in Havana by Graham Green
  11.  Witness for the Prosecution by Agatha Christie
  12.  The Innocence of Father Brown by G.K. Chesteron
  13.  A Is for Alibi by Sue Grafton
  14. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
  15. Secret History by Donna Tartt
  16. The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad
  17. Anatomy of a Murder by Robert Traver
  18. Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers
  19. Cathedral by Nelson DeMille
  20. Ratking by Michael Dibkin
  21. The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie
  22. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  23. The GIrl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
  24. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
  25. The Peril at End House by Agatha Christie
  26. Cover Her Face by P.D. James
  27. Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell
  28. Don’t Look Back by Karin Fossum
  29. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
  30. Expert in Murder by Nicola Upson
  31. Angel with Two Faces by Nicola Upson
  32. The Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer
  33. Murther and Walking Spirits by Robertson Davies
  34. The Mysterious Affair at Syles by Agatha Christie
  35. The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie
  36. Fatale by Jean-Patrick Manchette
  37. Genesis Secret by Tom Knox
  38. Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household
  39. Lock 14 by George Simenon
See any good mysteries missing from the list? Send along the titles and if we haven't already read them, they might make the list!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Dog Scarves

One of the fun things about Brownie Knits is that I get custom requests and from there get to create designs and items I might not otherwise try out. Last week, I received a request for some dog scarves for some large dogs. Over the years, I knitted several dog sweaters for my little dogs who shiver through the winter. After thinking about how the scarf would fit the dog, getting it on and off, and making sure it would stay on, I went for a keyhole scarf out of simple garter stitch. This way, it has lots of spring and can stretch over the dogs head if necessary. The keyhole keeps the scarf in position and makes it harder for the dog to remove the scarf while still being loose enough to be safe.


I forced Mr. Riley to model the large and extra large dog scarves. (He is more of a small/medium little guy, but was happy to play along for treats. Notice no Kennedy. She headed for the hills when she realized she would have to perform to get a treat. What a diva.)


These were knitted out of Berroco Vintage and Cascade 220 Superwash. Both knitted up as worsted weight on a US 7. I started them on Sunday and finished them all up on election day. Great cold weather and election watching knitting.


If you need a scarf for your furry friends, convo us at the Etsy store with a size and color and we can custom create one for your four-legged friend. Sizes go from XS to XL and are priced from $10-$20.



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Cute Dog Pictures for November

Okay...these were taken in October, but on Halloween. Thought I'd share our turtle and bee with you. They LOVE Halloween, sort of. They aren't so keen on us dressing them up, but they know what it means. Lots of people coming to the door and giving them attention. And, several rounds of trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood have come to expect the costumes. I think my favorite is still the year when they were grapes and a banana split.





Monday, November 5, 2012

Sunflower Wreath Hints: Part III, Wreath

You know the saying of good, better, best? This ran through my mind as I was shopping for foam core wreaths for the Sunflower Wreath project. There are a variety of options out there. While any of them will work for the wreath project, there are levels of goodness...


  1. Good: green foam that are flat on one or both sides. Although I like the green option and even the flat on one side for ease of hanging, I would rather go with a different option than use the green but flat on both sides. You really need the round edge on the front.
  2. Better: white foam and round. While green is hidden easier, I'd rather go with the white if it meant getting the roundness. I've made several with white and it really doesn't come through unless you are an inch away and looking for it.
  3. Best: green foam and round. 



Here is the back side of the finished wreath where I seamed it closed with a single crochet finish.

It appears that those of us in the US are lucky when it comes to foam wreaths. They are readily available at all of the big box craft stores. Although I do find that Michael's is the best about having the green and round ones in stock. Typically, you can find them in the floral area.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sunflower Wreath Hints: Part II, Sewing the Flowers

In addition to the video link provided in the Sunflower Wreath pattern, I thought I'd include a small picture tutorial here. The biggest thing to remember is that the flowers are three-dimensional and don't have to be perfect. Have fun with it!


At some point, you will have a mess of leaves, petals, and centers!


Here is a center after it has been made.


Roll up the center on the side...a different way of using your crochet and it creates depth!


Using the long tails, you will weave the center closed. Bury the ends in the piece and trim.



Next up, you will seam the petals to the center. You bring up the yarn in the center...


And take it back down very close...this keeps the petal yarn buried in the center brown, but it also secures the petal to the center.


You continue going up and down through the center and the petals, grabbing all the layers as you go. 


With the remaining tails, you can then sew the flower to a pin, hat, wreath, or headband. 
(Brownie Knits offers a 100% crocheted pattern named Walking On Sunshine Headbands on our Ravelry, Etsy, and Craftsy stores. It includes instruction for making a headband, sunflowers, mums, and roses. Sizes cover newborn to adult.)


All finished! The more petals you make, the fuller the flower. This little guy is only 30 petals, but is just the right size for a newborn hat.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sunflower Wreath Hints: Part I, Yarn

With the Sunflower Wreath coming out in Inspired Crochet, I thought I would put a few posts up to welcome those who are making the wreath. A few helpful side notes for the project, if you will.


The first photo in the pattern used Berroco Vintage for the wreath and Dream in Color Classy for the other portions. This one (featured later in the pattern) is all Knit Picks yarns, mostly Wool of the Andes Worsted. As I started to think of other yarn options that people could use, I wanted to consider various price points and blends.


These are three yarn options for the sunflower petal portion. You can go with an orange range or a yellow one. Both are great, so it is really a personal preference. On the higher-priced side you have Dream in Color Classy Gold Experience (on the left of this photo). Although a little more expensive, it is one of my favorite yarns and one skein will get you around 8 sunflowers. So, you could make a wreath and then use your leftovers to make 3 sunflower hats! (Brownie Knits offers the Flowers of Fall pattern on our Etsy, Ravelry, and Craftsy sites that includes a knitted hat and a crocheted sunflower and mum.)

The middle orange yarn is Fleece Artist River in Pumpkin. When I saw the colorway, I had to order a skein to make up some wreaths for sell on our Etsy store. The beautiful deep oranges and lighter areas are really beautiful and are true to the nature of living flowers.

My favorite yellow to use in Berroco Vintage in Sunny. This is a fantastic work horse yarn that is reasonably priced. I LOVE it for baby/child items and household decor. It washes so well and the stitch definition is great in knit and crochet.


For the wreath yarn, I have made them with Vintage and Dream in Color. I am, admittedly, a yarn snob. If I can afford the good stuff, that is what I like to use. BUT, I also like to hang on to our money! So, if I see that other crafters are really into a lower-priced yarn, I'll give it a go. For years, I've watched I Love This Yarn by Hobby Lobby show up on yarn polls. I picked up a skein of it to make a wreath. I tend to judge yarn on three main things: feel during working, finished look, performance in made garment. For this project, I wasn't so concerned about the performance of the yarn given that it is a decor piece that doesn't get washed or worn. The yarn is super soft and came in the color I needed. It crocheted up nicely and has a good crocheted stitch definition. Overall, a great working yarn for decor pieces. I probably will not use it for knitting, though. And, being acrylic, I would personally avoid it for blankets/sweaters/etc. But, for decoration, what a great buy!

Hope these yarn options have given you some ideas and options for selecting materials for your Sunflower Wreath!