Thursday, May 30, 2013

Vacation Recap II: Yarn Stuff

Despite the fact that our vacation was a hot and sunny one, I still had to fit some yarn time in there. In the evenings in the hotel room, I would unwind with some Daisy Wreath knitting. The day before we left for Florida, I received a lot of orders and queries. So, some simple garter stitch was perfect for unwinding and it was fulfilling some orders.

One of my favorite yarn shops is in Sarasota, Fl -- A Good Yarn. They have a great selection, everybody is always super nice and knowledgable, and they have an entire line of yarn that is dyed just for their shop. Their PurlDiver collection is based on photos taken in the Sarasota area and then various yarn dyers create a yarn colorway based on the photographs. They are BEAUTIFUL! I went in with a list, which included "GET SOMETHING UNIQUE." One of the colorways I wanted was out of stock, so that is on order and will have to wait for later this year. (Which is like a special little bonus months away!)

The Octopus Garden (pictured above) is from Three Irish Girls. It is screaming at me to knit into a shawl or a shrug.

The Sweet Georgia colorway is Starfish. Not sure what it grow up to be. It was just so pretty.

This blue is my favorite (Midnight Pass). I have sweater quantities from last year that will be knitted into a sweater in July as part of KAL. This sock weight version will become a Pop Spots Shawl.

When we arrived at my SIL's, I was welcomed with a birthday sign from the kids and this little gift of a yardage counter. It had been on my wishlist for a long time, so I was super excited. I've had it just over a week an used it twice already. It is a great little tool for checking yardage on scrap yarn when I am designing. I'm hoping it will help my pattern yardage be more exact.

While we were visiting family, Patrick and I snuck out during a rainy day to Raging Wool in Sunrise, FL. I found a good deal on some yarn to make for-purchase Beachbands and this skein of wool. Of course, it wasn't until I got home that I realized how alike this one and the Starfish are. The Frolicking yarn will most likely end up with some other teal yarns in a crocheted block blanket.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Vacation Recap I: Beach Days

We are back home after a two-and-a-half-week vacation. It was glorious and we had such a great time. I'm glad I took SO many pictures so that I can remember all that we did. For the first week, we spent a LARGE amount of time on the beach and reading. It was fabulous and I'm ready to do it again! Of course, we don't have lots of "beach" photos because we were relaxing, but here are some favs during our outings.

Whenever we go down, we always go out on a dolphin boat one day. Zipping along the gulf is relaxing and it feels great to be out in the open water. A little group of three dolphins came up to play around for us. Such beautiful creatures.

This tree is on a little island made from shells. Years ago, we had our picture taken in front of it. We were sad to see that it had not survived the storms over the in-between years. (We got a chuckle when we realized that Patrick had on the same clothes both trips!)

The old photo

I love how much he loves his silk summer shirts. Such a cutie!

Being was super windy that night.

Of course, we had to read while on the beach! The first week I read Case Histories by Kate Atkinson. I enjoyed it a great deal, but I did find that it took me a day to get into the book. I attribute this mostly to the fact that pretty far in you are still meeting new characters and getting to care about them. This was one of my Goodreads reading group books, so I was happy that I got to read a new-to-me author. Not sure that I would read additional ones in this series, but I did find out that there is a TV series that covers this book and two others with this detective. I do believe I will be looking those up to watch while I'm knitting. If you are an avid mystery reader, it is a must read, imo.

The second half of the week, I started reading The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. I'm still finishing that one up, but I am enjoying it. A nice break from all the mysteries that I read. I also started The Inferno by Dan Brown during the second week of vacation. Should be wrapping both of these novels up this week. Patrick also enjoyed the unplugged time of reading hard copy books on the sandy beach. Have any good books on your summer reading list?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Knit and Bead Bracelet

Just before we left for vacation, I received a little birthday gift from a great friend. I was in the midst of a stressful week of getting everything ready for the trunk show, updating my Etsy store to the new digital download program (woohoo!!!!), and packing for vacation. I decided to string the beads on the yarn to center myself and relax. After the trunk show was mailed out, my reward was knitting this little bracelet up. A fast and cute project that you can wear in the summer when your other knits are tucked away.

The kit is the Beaded Elegance Bracelet by Beth Todd. It came with the yarn, beads, clasp, pattern, and the threader for the beads. I have a fairly small wrist, but I still knitted to the 5 inches instructed.

There was plenty left over if you wanted to make it longer.

 Isn't it fun? I love that it is pretty but understated. The total knitting time was about an hour...took me about that long to thread all the beads first! A fun, fast, and functional little knit. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Brownie Knits (Sorta) Turned 2 in April!

I started Brownie Knits in a very slow way years and years ago. It started small with a single beginning knitting pattern and then turned into teaching at the LYS. Over time, it became clear that I enjoyed the creative and artistic side of it all the most. Then, in April 2011 there was an opportunity to take a leap of faith and leave my corporate job. Shaking and excited, I left my "real job" to design more, edit other designer's patterns, test knit, sell garments on Etsy, and pursue my dream. I consider that to be the "official" start of Brownie Knits. (I will never forget how old it is because my niece was born the week before I left my publishing job!)

For the past few months, I've been putting together a Brownie Knits trunk show for some interested shops. As I stood in the family room with all the garments before me and patterns/business cards/price sheets/invoices piled up, I damn near cried. It isn't often in life that you can pause and literally see your years of hard work right there in front of you. I had to take some pictures to commemorate the moment. (Don't worry. No big head here. I was quickly snapped back to reality when the dog threw up in front of me. But it was nice while it lasted.)

All boxed up and headed to a store!

I'm so happy that as Brownie Knits celebrates 2 years, we are branching out on some exciting adventures. Be sure to check in soon for details on an upcoming trunk show and special class. I would love to see blog readers in person!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Books, books, much to read

I've been addicted to reading this year and even set a reading challenge in Goodreads. My goal is 20 books this year. Thus far, I've read:

The Big Sleep
Defending Jacob
The Inner Circle
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
Cover Her Face
Reconstructing Amelia
Dark Places
Sharp Objects
Six Years

I'm reading a bunch right now:

Whose Body
Case Histories
The Interestings

Have you read any good books lately? Do share!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The BIG Photo Project

I started "the photo project" last year and then became too overwhelmed by all the work. So, this year (allow five months in) I have picked it back again. What is the project? I wanted to scan in old photos and get rid of the paper copies (unless they are special and have great meaning). So many of my photos don't get enjoyed because they are shoved in a box. Why not scan them in and use them on the e-frames? Of course, I will still have all my special hard copy albums and scrapbooks.

Here are a few of the treasures that I have uncovered so far! There are FAR more entertaining pictures, but I decided not to embarrass friends and family, especially college photos!

I believe this was my birthday party at the end of 3rd grade.

Oh the times we had at 585 at IU!

Cousins in Papaw's chair...

The ONLY Little 500 picture I am willing to share! The banner for the mini 500 team.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Birthday SALE!

Does anybody else think of the line from Steel Magnolias on your birthday? You know the one...

"Honey, time marches on and eventually you realize it is marchin' across your face." 

Yep, it does. But, you can't change it and all you can do is embrace the birthday and celebrate with vigor! So, in honor of my zero birthday year I am having a 40% pattern sale at the Brownie Knits Ravelry store. That's right ALL of my patterns are 40% from May 17th to June 1st. This is exclusive to the Ravelry store and does not apply to Craftsy, Etsy, or Knit Picks. So, hop on over, load up your cart, and use coupon code 40ISGREAT to receive your discount.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Free Short Story from My PK

A guest post from my hubby...

"Safarka's Butterflies": A Free Short Story

When a stranger pawns a mysterious object, Ton Nax encounters a world of dreams that are not his. Could they be a portal to someone else's experience? As Ton uncovers the truth, the reality is even more terrifying than he thought.

A short story set in the Inspector Pierce universe.

Get this short story for free by paying with a Tweet or Facebook Like. Just click here to "pay" or here to "pay."

This ebook is only available from May 7th to June 7th.

Also, if you sign up for my newsletter, I'll send you the free download link as well.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


I am often asked about how I got so lucky to find a guy like Patrick. Other ladies will comment on how well he treats people or how supportive he is. My answer is that he learned it all from his father. My father-in-law is one of the kindest men I've ever known and a wonderful man, father, grandfather, and father-in-law. He had a milestone birthday toward the end of April. The "kids" planned out a surprise party for him for a week later so that my SIL and nephew could fly in from Florida. With Ron sent out on some errands, we all snuck in to the house and decorated it with a Purdue theme. (Yes, this IU girl was assigned to get the decorations! VERY funny Kanouse clan!)

If you are in the market for college-themed decorations, I found these online at Party City. They have balloons, tablecloths, plates, napkins, cups, streamers, and tattoos. When he arrived at the house, the boys were hiding in the pantry and the adults were hiding in the party room. We didn't anticipate early enough that he might enter via the kitchen so he peeked around that door and saw me on the floor. He told me later he was wondering what I was possibly doing. We all yelled surprise and he was pretty shocked!

Being a supportive Hoosier daughter-in-law.

Grandpa with the boys...

Despite the fact that it was 70 degrees and May 5th, there was a snowball fight. Grandpa had frozen them from the last snowfall of the winter so that his grandsons (especially Jack who lives in Florida but LOVES snow) could have some fun. 

Jack also made a cold bath for the birds...

This just cracked me up!

When I'm his age, I hope I get to enjoy some fun gifts, a cold drink, family, and a funny card! He looks like he is enjoying himself, doesn't he?!?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Playing with Burlap and Yarn

Last fall I found this treasure during an adventure to a vintage festival. Ever since then I have wanted to try out crocheting, knitting, or embroidering on burlap. I picked up a roll of "banner" burlap thinking I might make a table runner or something.

The inspiration...

After thinking it over for a bit, I realized I really don't need another table runner and I really wouldn't be into the burlap on my dining room table every day. However, I could use some coasters in the family room where this art hangs.

I found this at Hobby Lobby. Download their app and you can use a 40% off coupon.

I cut a snip of the method of measurement was making sure it was wide enough for a glass bottom with about an inch extra all the way around. I then used the first coaster to measure and cut the others.

Be sure to cut a straight line...this will help prevent raveling.

Then I made some crocheted flowers. I would recommend using either an acrylic yarn or a machine washable wool so that you don't get that wet wool smell when condensation runs onto the flower. My other recommendation is to make sure that your flower center is mostly even to house the glass bottom. Start your petals further out. For this reason, I think the flatness of knitting would also be great for this project.  I hope you have fun playing around and making some burlap coasters!

Yarn in sample: Knit Picks Brava Worsted

Hook: US H

Leave really long tails to whipstitch the flower onto the burlap.

You could use any flower design you like. I make this layered flower a ton for different projects (headbands, blankets, etc). I've seen various versions of the pattern in multiple books, patterns, and blogs. Pick one you like the most or wing it! I am planning to work up some sunflower burlap coasters for fall. Sunflowers? Me? Shocking, I know. :) Until fall, these lovely little guys will be soaking up condensation off our ice water glasses.