Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pattern Samples: Flowers of Fall Hat Pattern

The last few weeks I have been knitting and crocheting TONS. My goal this time around is to knit/crochet samples of all of my patterns. Somewhere along the path I have published 17 Brownie Knits patterns! Many of my designs are created because I need a gift or it is custom-designed so that I can sell the made garments. Of course, that means that (unlike most designers who keep their initial design sample) I no longer have possession of all the sample garments. So, I've been on a mission to knit and crochet samples of all my patterns.

Flowers of Fall Hats
This pattern is available for $5.00 USD  buy it now

This is a knitted hat sized from newborn to adult. The sunflower and mum options are both included in the one pattern and use basic crochet techniques. For the samples shown here, I used size 6 and 7 needles and an H hook. The gauge is 5 stitches to an inch.

The yarn used in the sample hats is all Berroco Vintage except for a touch of a novelty yarn for the middle of the sunflower, which is optional. (You can make the center with just the flat worsted yarn.) All of my yarn was from stash yarn, so I can add another 325 yards to my knit my stash total! That puts me at 890 yards of stash used.

If you are not a knitter or crocheter and would like a Flowers of Fall hat, please feel free to convo us on the Etsy shop for a made hat in the desired size and color you need.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Cowboy Cowl in Action

Finally got around to blocking and taking pictures of the Cowboy Cowl in action. It was much warmer than I anticipated, which worked out well in the 20-30 degree weather. I did find that I kept removing it when I would eat meals. Felt a little too much like a bib!

Since making this little guy, I talked Carol into making one and her colorway is BEAUTIFUL. Can't wait to see her finished cowl and maybe she will let me post a picture for all of you to see. This pattern was a great one to fill in the gaps between some other projects. It is a great finished item to carry you into spring.

2 skeins of MadTosh in Malachite from stash

Monday, January 28, 2013

Yummy Soap

During a recent trip out of town I came across this handmade soap that smelled wonderful. It can be rather difficult for us to find scented items (candles, soaps, lotions) that don't toss my allergies into full tilt. I smelled these 4 or 5 times as I made my way around the shop, trying to determine if I would be good to go. I settled on these leftover scents from the holidays and now I'm wishing I had bought more!

I am in love with the Country Christmas that is being used up in our downstairs bath. I had planned to put the Peppermint in the upstairs bath, but I might hang onto it and use it downstairs after the first bar is done. In addition to smelling great, they leave my winter hands hydrated and soft. It looks like you can get the soap online as well, here. So nice to get a hand-crafted soap for the same price I would pay to fill up our liquid soap! Yummy!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

January Art Class

This month's art class brought a little color into our winter world. Sadly, Patrick was back to work and couldn't join me in class any longer. So, off I went to class...

This month we had to draw the sketch 100% ourselves. OH MY. I am not an artist, but I managed to sketch out the little bird and scene. The instructor helped me with the beak as I kept making it too big. In general, I was pretty happy with the final result. The top pine cone could look better, but the rest isn't too bad! Of course, there was a guy who hadn't painted before and his was amazing.

I forced myself to put in more dark shading this time. I'm always a bit hesitant to add that last bit in, but as the instructor finally taught me, it gives the painting the needed depth and contrast. Isn't the little twine she had us glue on cute?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility...

Over our holiday celebration/visit with my SIL and her family, I realized how excited nephew J was by super heros. He decided the character each of us was to play and his eyes got big with the excitement of fantasy. I thought back to how much nephew A had enjoyed his Spiderman afghan...using it as a blanket, but also as a cape and web. Off I went to the yarn shop to gather up the yarn in red, blue, and black to make one for J's birthday.

Hook: H
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash (1 skein of black, 3 or red, 4 of blue)
Mods: I didn't do as many rounds in pattern due to yarn limits.
I crocheted it in under a week!

I hope that he has lots of adventures!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Year of 40

As I started out 2013 I looked to the future and what the year might hold. The anticipation of things I want to accomplish, fun to be had, and the surprises waiting in each month of the year. In addition to these events, I am also coming to terms with the big 4-0. GULP. I've had a few moments already of, "Where did the time go?" and "Am I half done?!?" But, those are pretty rare and I really wanted to come up with something that will be a celebration for myself instead of a pity party. After mulling it over for a few weeks I realized that the other idea I'd been giving thought to would marry up nicely with the 4-0. The idea of wanting to give back in some way. 2013 as I celebrate making it 40 years on the planet, I'm going to try and knit/crochet 40 hats for charity. Who knows if each hat will be dedicated to a year or a memory, but that is the goal. A review of what I've learned, where I've been, who I've become, and (via the charity hats) what I want to become in the next 40.

I hope that you will join me in the adventure in whatever way you see fit, whether that is knitting or crocheting your own items for charity, volunteering your time at a local charity, or simply reading along with the blog. Of course, this project also gives me a chance to dig into all those great hat patterns I've been stashing away for years AND use up some of that stash yarn, too!

Got a great hat pattern you think should be part of The Year of 40? Share it with us in the Comments section.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cowboy Cowl

One of my goals this year is to knit up my stash yarn. After seeing the Cowboy Cowl pattern in a FaceBook feed, I went searching in my yarn bin for something that would work. After uncovering this malachite green Madelinetosh Tosh DK, I sat down with my size 7 needles and knitted this cowl up.

These pictures will have to do for now. Hopefully, we can take a photo of the cowl being worn later this week. It is a cowl at the top that features the buttons on the back to keep it on and closed. Below the cowl is a kerchief that comes down the front to cover your chest.

The buttons have a small flower detail on them and they were also from my button stash. Another free project! And, I used up 390 yards, which brings my total stash yardage used for 2013 to 565.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Downton Abbey Knit Along

When I saw that Jimmy Beans Wool was going to have a Downton Abbey knit-along and a special Christmas at Downton yarn, I had to sign up. Well, first I sent the email out to my knitter friends and then rushed to get my own skein! Good thing I did, too. They got a huge response and I'm not surprised. The color way is great and every single friend that I sent the email to signed up and ordered a skein! Here is my project so far...

Pattern: Free on Jimmy Beans Wool blog
Needles: 3 mm
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Sportmate in Christmas at Downton
This is with clues 1 and 2 knitted.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Christmas Wrap Up

This past weekend we had our final Christmas celebration. All the gifts have now been exchanged and the decorations put away. Time to share some fun photos of the kids!

Christmas #1 was with nephew A. I didn't do a great job of photos that day, but I did get this one of the stocking goodies. I can't believe he is already 9! During Christmas #4, we sat and watched the IU game together and talked some basketball. It was so cool to be able to hang out and chat with him. He is such a respectful young man and is so very thoughtful. He's come a long way since opening presents a tiny paper at a time and jumping on the box!

Christmas #2 was with nephew R. Here he is with Santa's postcard telling him that he made the Nice list. Although still a little young to comprehend the postcard, he showed a lot of interest in it when we said Santa!

Okay, so these two pictures aren't of the nephews and niece, but I thought I'd share them as they are two of my favorite photos from the day. Catching my brother in mid-chuckle at his son and Hank giving Patrick an expressive doggie look.

Christmas #4 (yes, I skipped #3 because that was already posted earlier) was with nephew J and niece E. J is very serious when opening gifts. Such a concentrated face! And, I think he is teaching his sister...

All of the boys received non-knitted gifts this year, for the most part. J received board games from us and I thought I'd share because they were so cute and different. They were the Wiggly Cow and the Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game.

E received her farm that I knitted this past summer. It was worth all the pieces and time to watch her grab each animal out of the box and stocking and carry them around. She was pretty convinced for a long time that the cow was a puppy. In the end, we got her to moo.

She had her own ideas about how to play with her gifts...surfing them and using the barn as a chair!

My favorite photo of the day! She just looks so adorable here.

Then she ran over to Hulk and made him smash...for a brief moment I thought she might put him in the barn. From a knitting standpoint, I found the Spud and Chloe farm to be a satisfying gift to make and give. Hopefully, E and J will get hours of enjoyment out of it. If you are looking for a project to knit up for the kids in your life, I highly recommend it. From talking to other knitters and in my own experience, kids really really love the hand-knitted animals. Our working theory is that it looks different to them and maybe that makes them more interesting.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Deep Water Sweater

Just under the wire for 2012, I finished up my Deep Water sweater. This sweater was made from stash yarn that was in the Plymouth eco line years ago. I made an Ingenue sweater out of the brown and bought a bunch of the gray to knit something. When I saw this pattern on the booklet cover, I knew exactly what stash yarn I wanted to use. It is a fantastic yarn that knits up great and wears well. It is an alpaca and silk blend in a worsted weight. (I can even say that Ingenue accidentally got put through the wash with the normal darks and came out fine, although I don't recommend this adventure!)

Sorry for the sun spots, but it was REALLY bright that day with all the snow and we could barely see to take the photos. I debated for a long time on whether to make full length sleeves or not because I knew how warm the yarn would be. I ended up going full length after trying it on with a three-quarter sleeve. It looked odd and really needed the length. I did, however, modify the sleeves a bit. I picked up two more stitches under each arm than in the pattern and I did ZERO decreases. This created a less fitted sleeve with a bit of a bell cuff. So happy I did this to get the extra room and movement. I also custom knitted them to my short arm length.

Yarn: Plymouth Earth Mainland
Needle: US 7
Pattern: Deep Water by Cecily Glowik MacDonald (in her book Deep Water)
Notions: Two black leather buttons on the outside and a clear button on the inside.

I think this sweater will be worn on super cold days and nights and with a top under it that can become the featured attraction if necessary! A great project that used up about 1300 yards of yarn.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Frozen January

Our view this month has been mostly this...

which has meant Riley has mostly been doing this...

 and Patrick has been enjoying these holiday gifts...

Sunday, January 6, 2013

One Person's Mistake Is Another Person's Craft Project

One of the gifts that PK got me for Christmas was a t-shirt with my favorite Sheldon quote from The Big Bang Theory.

"Oh, What Fresh Hell Is This?"

We were sent the wrong size and when we went to return it, they told us to keep the old one for free and they would send a replacement. Well, this opportunity couldn't go to waste, right? Needing to hem some jeans that Santa got me, I was already planning a session at the sewing machine. So...

This shirt...

was cut into a rectangular shape front and back...

and turned into this pillow!

Isn't he a cute little guy? The stuffing was and thread was already on hand, so I consider this project to be FREE! Patrick took one look at it in the family room and declared that he had officially converted me to geekdom.

Friday, January 4, 2013

2013 3, Me 0

So far, this year is kicking my butt. Although I didn't feel well on New Year's Eve, I went to bed early and woke up a little better. Thinking everything was fine and feeling guilty for missing midnight, we ventured out to a lunch on New Year's Day. Big mistake, apparently. I've been under the weather ever since. Things are starting to look a little better, but I hate to say that as the last time I did it got worse again!

On the upside, I've been able to work on some of those goals for 2013. Not the way you want to drop your Christmas weight, but it is more than gone! I've been resting, reading, and knitting. Almost done with The Big Sleep. An entertaining read and easy to see why it is on all the great mystery/thriller book lists. When I've felt more energetic, I've been knitting on the Beekeeper's Quilt that got put aside last year while I knitted on orders, designs, gifts, and sweaters.

Total so far is 86 full-sized and 15 half-sized honeycombs. This is a "use up my stash" project. I decided to keep track of how many yards of stash yarn I use up in 2013. Knitted up a ball of Koigu (175 yards) yesterday. Right now, I'm knitted my way through a skein of MadTosh. What better yarn medicine when you don't feel well!?! It will either be a beautiful quilt or ugly as heck. It WILL be warm! I've also knitted enough of these that they started showing up in baskets and shelves around the house. They've all been rounded up and stored in a nice basket in the guest room. I was surprised to see how full the basket was already. Still lots more to go to get a quilt that will cover the four of us on the couch.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Goal for 2013

Yes, I know. I am one of those people that sits down every January 1st to decide what to work on over the next 12 months. Is it some arbitrary date that we all set to do this task? Yeah, sure. But, if it motivates you to accomplish even one small thing you want to do in your life, I'm all for it! Over the years, I have tried to learn not to fret over the weight thing as much. Don't get me wrong, I still have it as a goal and it takes up lots of my energy, but there is SO much more I want to be and do than worry about my size.

1. Work on and finish up scanning in all the old photos. So nice to be able to load up tons of photos to the electronic frames or your desktop display and see them more than once a year when you take out the photo album.

2. In 2012 I designed and released 4 new knitting patterns and 1 crochet pattern. I would like to match those stats in 2013 and (this is a big one) work on patterns for a knitting book I have in my head. Maybe, someday, I could have enough of it mapped out to pitch the book to a publisher and get it out to the world.

3. Keep using up that stash yarn! To help aid in this project, the beekeeper's quilt and my crocheted granny square afghan should knock out lots of the fingering weight yarns. I would also LOVE to create a Brownie Knits design that uses up leftovers from other projects of any yarn weight. Hmmmm...perhaps one of those new designs?

4. Do things that make me happy...we spend so much of our lives worrying over things. During the last three years, I feel like I've transformed my life a lot to focus on the happy. Life has totally changed because I got fed up and took control. The key, for me, is to stay constantly aware of negative influences and just cut them off or (at least) put them as a low priority.

5. Try new crafts and activities...even if I am not good at the task but enjoy it. In 2012, I started taking water color art classes. Am I good, imo? Not at all, but I love the escape, the challenge, and the learning. I've signed up for more water color classes and an acrylic art class in January. Searching for an embroidery class so that I can do that lovely sampler I bought back in 2011. Not to mention that the Knit and Crochet Show is in Indy this summer. Woohoo!!! A local to me knitting conference!

6. Continue working on the weight/exercise/eating/health goals. Sign up for and complete at least 2 5K walks in 2013. Also, work on loving the body I'm currently in and taking care of myself. Remembering that life is too short to feel so down over looks. This is not an easy one for me, but I don't really think it is for most people.

Hope you have a happy 2013 full of all the things you love! Happy New Year!