Sunday, September 29, 2013

Share Sunday: A Beige Mamie and Art Class

As has been the way of late, most of my knitting and crochet right now is kept under wraps until patterns are released. But, as you can see with Mamie and Gillian, they are steadily making their way to real patterns! While making Mamie, I decided to make one for a holiday gift. I hope the recipient will like it and I don't believe she reads the blog so it was safe to share.

I've also been working on a cross stitch sampler and attended September art class. 

Not that you need this, but the top one is the instructor art and the bottom one is mine. I found this one to be the hardest one I've ever done. I did, however, like my one pink background leaf. I'll never be a famous water color artist, that's for sure. But, it really relaxes me and it is good to stretch into creativity outside of the fiber arts. I find it then inspires me for new pattern designs. 

And I just thought this was cool and wanted to share...I caught Blue sleeping on his leaf AND he had started building a bubble nest. This is supposed to mean that they are ready to mate and happy with their environment. It is the second nest he has built. Happy little Blue!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Favorite Friday: Summer Wrap Up and Fall/Winter Fun

This Favorite Friday is a little different. As we come to the end of summer and start of fall, I thought it was a good time to recap. At the beginning of summer we set up a list of things to do over the summer. It really helped us to plan some fun things and we enjoyed looking at the list and picking what to do each weekend. We...
  • Played lots of board and card games, although mostly earlier in the summer. We became Carcassonne and Scopa addicts.
  • Read lots of books and magazines. I think we both came out of the summer ahead of schedule for our GoodReads challenge.
  • I knitted a Pop Spots shawl and a sweater as part of a knit-along with a friend.
  • Skipped the area pool in favor of going to a friends lake house for the day.
  • Lunched at our favorite restaurant twice.
  • Spent some time with family.
  • Hit a Reds game.
  • Attended conferences (me for knitting and Patrick for sci-fi writing).
  • Saw several movies (although less than a normal summer.
  • Rocked out at the Bruno Mars concert! (That night and sitting on the beach on my birthday in May will always be how I remember summer 2013.)
We had so much fun with the list that we decided to put together one for fall/winter. Here's our plan. Do you plan something like this? Share in the comments in case I missed something fun we should add! 

This is the pumpkin from our garden. He is currently decorating my desk with a little turkey full of candy corn and peanuts.
  • Visit the pumpkin patch (and we might get to do this with my brother, SIL, and nephew R!)
  • Starbase Indy (for PK)
  • Complete a Craftsy class a month (for me :)
  • Participate in a celtic cable sweater KAL with friends in October
  • Attend an IU game
  • Go to the First Lady exhibit at the Harrison home
  • Take art classes (and PK will get to go with me in November and December!)
  • Have a snowball fight
  • Build a snowman
  • Learn how to do hairpin lace
  • Read lots and lots of books and magazines
  • Plan outside decorations for Christmas together (as the old ones were purged due to nastiness in the great garage clean up of summer 2013)
  • Watch Doctor Who together
  • Watch all the Oscar films together before the awards

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Brownie Knits Wednesday: Mamie...a new crochet hat pattern!

So excited to announce a new CROCHET pattern from Brownie Knits! Meet Mamie!!! Available for purchase at any of these links for $2.99: Brownie Knits Etsy shopBrownie Knits Craftsy store, & the Brownie Knits Ravelry store.

Mamie is a crocheted hat in a cloche style that can be decorated with a beautiful button, vintage pin, or sassy curled flower. Crocheted out of a lofty alpaca, it is super soft and feels great against your skin. The perfect combination of cozy, stylish, and fun, Mamie will become one of your favorite hats to make, wear, and give to others. The hat is worked from the bottom up and works up in a flash with the thick yarn and large hook! 

108 (216) yards (99, 198 meters) in a bulky weight yarn 
Samples are crocheted out of Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky (108 yards/99 meters; 100% alpaca) in color 565 (cream) and 572 (red)

2.5 sts / 3.25 rounds over sc = 1 inch

Size N/P 15 (10.00mm) or size needed to get gauge

Button or vintage pin (optional)
Row counter (optional)
Split stitch marker
Tapestry needle

Adult S/M (Adult L/XL) 
Finished Circumference: 19 (21) inches 
To fit: 19-21 (21-23) inches
Depth 6 (6.5)

The Mamie hat and name was inspired by my Great Great Aunt Mamie. I only met her one time when we traveled to Alabama when I was about six. At the time, Aunt Mamie was much later in her life, but I have always imagined her as a teen in the Roaring Twenties wearing all of the wonderful dresses and hats of the time. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Quick Tip Tuesday: Yarn Management

You love the yarns that come in hanks of skeins, but hate having to wind them into a ball. You are knitting along with your yarn ball and it collapses on itself or produces yarn barf. The tangled mess of string is driving you nuts, slowing you down, and making you scream. Sound familiar? If you knit or crochet, you've probably run into this issue. It used to frustrate me WAY more than it does now. What's different? Along the way a yarnie co-worker who was a master spinner taught me how to wind a center-pull ball on my thumb!

Yarn barf!

Locate one end...

Put the end over your thumb...right or left (whatever makes you comfortable)

Wind some yarn around the thumb...

After you have a bit built up, rotate the ball on your thumb and wind some more...

Keep repeating those actions until you have it all done!

You will be SHOCKED how fast you can get lots of yarn under control this way. I did that HUGE ball on my thumb. I was mid-project and wanted to get a better handle on how much yarn I had left. I simply put the working yarn (attached to my sweater) on my thumb and re-wound into a new ball. I use this winding technique for new skeins and when my yarn collapses mid-project. Every time I think I'm so glad that she taught me one day at the shop while we were eating scones!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Share Sunday: Upcycled Desk and a Gray Flossie

As mentioned in an earlier post, I was in the bad habit of hunching over a computer on the couch. Well, no more! I have a fully functioning command central for Brownie Knits now. Check out this adorable desk and chair that was refurbished by The Painted Cottage.

When I stopped in the shop she had the chair already done and I explained the size of desk I needed. On the spot she was able to show me a couple of options and I settled on the one here. At the time it was a used up piece of furniture, but it was easy to see the vision of what it could be. She repaired the woodwork that was scratched on the bottom legs, painted it to match my chair, covered up where the old hardware was, and installed the new handle that I picked out. Isn't it adorable? I'm just so in love with it and have already logged many hours here.

I love how the old wood comes through in spots. The inside of the desk is stamped with Mengel, which seems to be a 1940s-1950s brand. It is just the right size to hold my favorite lamp, a little flower/candle/photo, and my laptop. Just to my right is a window, where I get loads of sun and a nice flow of air when the window is open.

When not working away on the computer, I've been knitting up a storm. I finished up this custom hat last week for an Etsy client. I fell in love with the colorway.

For the knitters:
Pattern: Flossie Hat by Brownie Knits
Needle: 6 (4mm) and 7 (4.5mm) 16 or 20 inch circulars & 7 (4.5mm) DPNs
Notions: Scissors, stitch marker, tapestry needle
Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Tonal in Thunderhead

For the non-knitters: You can custom order a Flossie Hat from the Brownie Knits Etsy shop. Send us a convo in Etsy or an email at I will send you a link to the optional colors and you will want to select a size (adult small/medium fits 19-20 inches; adult large/extra large 21-22 inches). Hat is $30.00 USD, plus $5.80 for shipping in the continental US. (Additional option of selected pin is subject to various prices.)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Favorite Friday: Stitch Markers

As promised earlier this week, here are some links to FANTASTIC stitch markers on Etsy:

  • The Queen of stitch markers: WeeOnes. I have her sunflower markers, shocking I know! They are wonderful and all of her work is full of detail.
  • Then there is Bead Passion! Oh is eye candy while you knit.
  • I can't overlook the little yorkies at Designs by Tami. Kiki would never forgive me.

For crocheters I am longing to get these markers from TJBdesigns. Aren't they awesome?

What are your favorite stitch markers? Do you use them for specific projects?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Brownie Knits Wednesday: Meet Gillian!!! NEW PATTERN

Excitement is an understatement! Jumping out of my skin to share this pattern with you all is more like it. Gillian is a pattern that has been floating around in my head for a little over a year. After finally sitting down and putting it all together, I'm just in love with this pattern and I hope you will be, too!

Available for purchase at any of these links for $3.99: Brownie Knits Etsy shop, Brownie Knits Craftsy store, & the Brownie Knits Ravelry store.

Gillian is a 1920s-inspired hat that features a picot-edge brim and an oversized knit bow. It is finished off with a sparkling pin or button. As fun as Gillian is to wear, she is even more fun to make as you get to explore a special double knitting technique for the bow. The entire bow process is documented step-by-step with instructions and picture tutorials, so it is a snap to make and fold into shape.  

150 (200) yards (167/183 meters) of worsted weight yarn for the hat; 60 yards (55 meters) of worsted weight yarn for the bow 
Cream sample knitted out of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Superwash in colors 26326 and 26337 (110 yards/101 meters; 100% superwash wool) 
Black sample knitted out of Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage in colors Graphite and Midnight Pass (200 yards/183 meters; 100% superwash merino wool) 

Note: Midnight Pass is a special colorway only available at A Good Yarn in Sarasota, Florida, and can be purchased on their website: 

5 sts / 6.5 rounds over St st = 1 inch

US 7 (4.5mm) 16" or 20" circular 
US 7 (4.5mm) DPNs 
or size needed to get gauge 

Button or pin (optional) 
Stitch marker 
Tapestry needle 
The buttons used in the samples are from Hobby Lobby's Sew-ology button line. 

Adult S/M (Adult L/XL) 
Finished Circumference: 18 (20) inches 
To Fit: 18-20 (20-22) inches 
Depth: 6 (6.5) inches 

Note: The cream sample is an Adult S/M worked to a depth of 6 inches to cover the ears. For an XS head, you can knit to a shorter depth, if you prefer. Conversely, you can knit a deeper hat for more coverage, as well. 

Special thanks to Patrick for photography and Kennedy for helping to model! She gets paid in treats!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Quick Tip Tuesday: Stitch Markers

As beginning knitters and crocheters, many people look at stitch markers as a foreign and scary object. In fact, they are a beginners (and experienced) best friends! They are easy to use (I promise), help you to keep your place, help you to remember when to do different stitches, and are pretty.

These are may favorites from my collection over the years. Adds a little humor to the knitting project! I also like them because they are the snag free sort with the rounded wire. (Do you know the movie?)

For knitters: We use closed stitch markers, for the most part. They go all the way around the needle so that they don't fall off. Lots of times patterns will tell you to "place marker" or use pm as an abbreviation. This is done a lot when you are knitting in the round or there is a specific action happening at the stitch marker location that the designer wants you to note. All place marker means is put the marker on your needle, as shown in this photo.

Then, when you come to the marker in your knitting the pattern will instruct you to "slip marker" or slm. You simply move it from one needle to the next as shown here. See? Not so scary. Now the good part, the stitch markers help you to remember what to do. For instance, for all of my hats, it tells you that you are moving on to the next round. In round knitting, you don't come to the end of a row to show you that you have completed all the stitches. The stitch marker helps you to know when you have completed them all. In some cases, like What a Slouch, it also tells you after so many rounds of a color that this is the location where you need to add in a new color. In the Ella Sack, there are three stitch markers used. One tells you where your new round begins and ends and the other two set off the section where you will work the cable chart.

Many times as beginners we will feel like we have to be told by the pattern designer whether or not to use stitch markers. I would recommend that if they say to use one you do, indeed, use it there. However, if you think that adding in stitch markers in other spots will help you remember to do an action, go for it! You can add in as many as you like! When I'm working shawls and there is a set number of stitches to repeat, I will put one after every repeat. Maybe this is overkill, but it helps me to count each section to make sure I didn't miss any yarn overs or decreases. I'd rather slip the markers than have to take out rows of lace.

For crocheters, all of the above applies to us, too. The one exception is that we use stitch markers that can open and close so that they latch IN or ONTO our work instead of sitting on the hook/needle. I will admit that there just aren't as many pretty marker options for us. But, my favorites tend to me the thick plastic ones anyway. The one point of note that I would make for crocheters (at least in my experience) is to move the dang thing up to the next stitch row right after you work it. I can't tell you how many times I got full of myself and thought I could just do a little bit before I paused and moved the marker up. Ummmmm....only to end up questioning if I got it right and then pulling the work out.

Tune in for Friday Favorites to get some links to great Etsy shops that sell wonderful stitch markers!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Share Sunday: Flower Pillow

As the business has grown I've been working more and more on my computer...on the couch...hunched over. B. A. D!!!! I finally found a solution to this issue with an (upcycled) cute little desk and chair. Of course, this meant that I needed a fun pillow to sit on at said desk. Right? And who hasn't wanted to make one of the crocheted flower pillows? Off to the yarn stash we go!

Isn't it adorable?!?
Pattern: Blooming Flower Pillow (tutorial on Attic24, but original pattern done at Two Butterflies)
Yarn: Three Irish Girls Adorn sock yarn from Holly Jolly kit
Hook: US G... I used a larger hook than you normally would for fingering to get more loft.
Notions: pillow cushion, scissors, tapestry needle

I worked the top cover under it cover the top half of the pillow fancy measuring here!

I did the same for the back. Worked flat in all dcs through both loops.

Top and bottom joined with a sc around.

It looks right at home with the yellow chair!

So, I used 400 yards of stash yarn and I recycled the pillow cushion that I ripped out of an old pillow earlier this year. (It was a decorative pillow that no longer matched our bedding when we upgraded.) So, this project was $0, imo! This brings my total used stash yarn for 2012 to 14,581 yards. I'm really hoping to knock out three more sweaters from stash this fall to jump that number even higher!

Stay tuned for pictures of the desk and chair and info on where you can get great upcycled furniture in the Indy area.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Favorite Friday: Yarn Part III

Here it is...the last Favorite post discussing yarn. What to put for Part III has been on my mind for weeks now. One last final pick, well, I wanted to go old school to a yarn that I loved from the first week I started knitting: Karabella Aurora 8 (98 yards; 100% merino;18 sts = 4 inches; recommended needle size: 7-8). I wanted to say that, but then I realized I haven't worked with it years. Then I thought I should be sure to mention Dream in Color and Cascade 220 because they are such great work-horse yarns. After so much thinking and changing my mind I settled with Unique Sheep.

I was introduced to Unique Sheep by a fellow crocheter. We signed up for the Crochet Block of the Month club a few years back. I finished mine up during a road trip to FL in 2011 and it was a pleasure to make and to view. I believe all the yarns are of fingering weight, but there may be a sport in there. I just love how soft and colorful all of their yarns are. They have many online clubs for you to select from and they are all tempting. They also sell through many retail shops. (For those in Indiana, try Simply Socks. For those in Ohio/Kentucky, check out Knitwits yarn shop.)

When searching for photos to put in this post, I found poor Kiki as a Bumble Bee for Halloween. She took great comfort in sitting on the Unique Sheep afghan while I tortured her with sitting for photos!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Brownie Knits Wednesday: Spotlight on Choo Choo Train Blanket

This super fun blanket uses lace techniques to create the choo choo trains. Pattern includes written instructions for setting up each section and trains are charted. The blanket is worked from the bottom up and is addictive! A great size for a baby or toddler blanket. A perfect throw for a child’s room or a train collector’s room.

868 yards of worsted weight yarn
Berroco Vintage in color Blue Note or Knit Picks Swish Worsted are great options.

4 sts/6.25 rows to inch in St st

US 9 29'' or 32'' circular
OR size needed to get gauge; a needle with a pointed tip
will help you with the lace techniques

4 stitch markers; Row counter

32''W x 40''H (fully blocked)

This afghan is knitted with a garter stitch border around the top, bottom, and sides of the blanket. The center panel of the blanket is divided into 3 areas that alternate between St st and trains.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Quick Tip Tuesday: Shopping for Buttons and Sewing by Hand

If you have read the blog for very long you know that I am not a seamstress. It actually drives me crazy when people refer to knitting and crochet as sewing. I mean, if you are one and not the other you know just how different they are. It would be like calling a basketball player a baseball player. They are both sports but you can be good in one and stink at the other! But I digress...

So, every now and then I do need to sew a button onto a knitted or crocheted piece. For years (like six!) I used the same needle to sew on all my buttons. It was perfect...the eye was a great size for threading cotton thread or worsted yarn and it fit into almost all buttons. It was like the magic needle...until it broke. I was actually sad to see it go away in the trash bin. What was I going to do? I tried loads of other needles I had upstairs for cross stitch and those were a bust. So, during my hubby's venture to a conference and my walking up and down the aisles at the craft store I stumbled upon this set for $2.99:

50 needles of all sizes of eyes and lengths

It is a great buy for the price and you will be set for all your button sewing needs. I've also fallen in love with their buttons. Great prices for some very vintage looking buttons. 

Sneak peek! Here is a Sew-ology button on an upcoming new crochet hat design I have coming out in a few weeks. Love the sparkle!!!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Share Sunday: Slipper Bottoms

I've been knitting and crocheting my fingertips off, but when it came time to blog for Share Sunday I didn't have much I could SHARE! (Hang tight as all of those secrets will be revealed in the coming weeks and months.) But, I did happen to sew suede bottoms on my Malabrigo slippers...

Don't they look professional? I'm all set for fall temps when they arrive. I will also note that these little things really do work much better than the grip puffy paint. Yes, it required sitting down with a needle and thread and sewing them on, which is something I hate with a passion. But, it wasn't all that painful and the matching thread came with the bottoms. They are by Fiber Trends and I found them online. (A request has been put in by my hubby for a pair of these so I have some gray slipper bottoms ready and waiting!)

Friday, September 6, 2013

Favorite Friday: Yarn Part II

Last week I talked about the lovely yarn that is Madelinetosh. As I said last time, I couldn't pick just one favorite yarn! Since I went with the higher priced stuff last week, I thought I'd offer up a more economical (but still awesome) option. I am truly amazed by the quality of yarn that Knit Picks provides with some of the lowest prices in the business. They have a wide range, ship fast, and have lots of great colors. So, which one yarn at Knit Picks would I suggest if you wanted to try it out? There are many good ones (Wool of the Andes, Stroll Tonal Worsted, Swish Worsted), but I LOVE Stroll Hand-Painted Sock.

I have used this yarn OFTEN for my baby sacks. It has great stitch definition, is a pleasure to knit up, and holds up SO well to all the washing. Here is a link to the yarn on Knit Picks.

 75% Superwash Merino Wool, 25% Nylon
 7 - 8 sts = 1" on #1 - 3 needles (2.25mm-3.25mm)
 21 – 32 sc = 4'' on B - E hooks (2.25mm-3.5mm)
 Machine wash gentle, tumble dry low

I also offer up Knit Picks as an option because so many people do not have local yarn stores in their neighborhoods. Thanks to the web, you don't have to miss out! The other huge positive about Knit Picks for me is how supportive they are of Independent Designers. They have an excellent program to promote designers and sell their yarn. Check 'em out!