Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Brownie Knits Wednesday: Spotlight on What A Slouch!?!

Are you starting to look for gift ideas for those knit-worthy recipients in your life? We are not all that far out from the holiday season! Can you believe it? What a Slouch is a unisex Brownie Knits hat pattern that is stylish for all the teenagers and adults in your life. AND, it is a great stashbuster project, too!


What A Slouch Pattern is available for purchase here and on Knit Picks for $1.99!
Not a knitter, but want a slouch hat? Email us at brownieknits@yahoo.com!

Knitted from the bottom up and in the round, this fun hat is available in Adult S/M and Adult L/XL with optional 9.5 or 10.5 inches in depth. The pattern walks you through the stripe changes and how to make a slouchier hat, if you prefer. (Hat can also be knitted out of a solid or semi-solid color without the stripes.)

Because this hat is meant to be slouchy, it is all knit on the same size needle. The first 1.5 inches forms the rolled brim. You can wear the hat further down to cover your ears or set back on the head. And, the best part, it is a unisex hat so you can make them for guys or girls!


MATERIALS

205 (225) yards (188/206 meters) of worsted weight yarn
Blue & Cream sample is knitted out of Berroco Vintage (217 yards/198 meters; 52% acrylic, 40% wool, 8% nylon)
Green & Cream sample is knitted out of Knit Picks Swish Worsted (110 yards/101 meters; 100% merino)
Green & Brown sample is knitted out of Dream in Color Classy (250 yards/229 meters; 100% superwash merino)



GAUGE

4.5 sts / 6 rounds over St st = 1 inch

NEEDLES

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

NOTIONS

Scissors
Stitch marker
Tapestry needle


SIZING

Adult S/M (Adult L/XL)
Finished Circumference: 20 (22.5) inches
To Fit: 20-21 (22.5-23.5) inches

Depth: 9.5 (10) inches

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Quick Tip Tuesday: Switching Between Stitches

Recently a beginning knitter sent me a query about switching between knit and purl in the same row. The act can be a little bit tricky, so I thought I'd attempt to clarify it here...


When you finish a knit stitch, your yarn is BEHIND your work...
but if you want to work a purl stitch next, you need to move it to be in FRONT of your work...


The trick is to move the yarn to the front BETWEEN the needles.
It is very easy to accidentally lay the work to the front OVER the needle and this will create a hole in your work (an unintentional yarn over, if you will).


Now you are ready to purl with the yarn in the front...


After you purl a stitch your yarn is in FRONT of you work...
but if you want to work a knit stitch you need to move the yarn BEHIND your work.


You then move the yarn to the back BETWEEN the needle tips again.

It can be a bit frustrating in the beginning to take these pauses in the work flow, but don't worry. You will get faster and faster with practice. If you have any questions or suggestions for a Quick Tip Tuesday post, please feel free to send them to me at BrownieKnits@yahoo.com. Knit on!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Share Sunday: A Pumpkin Patch Visit

Last weekend we had a fun visit with my brother, SIL, and nephew R. It was a bit tricky with the rain on Saturday morning, but we were able to head to the pumpkin patch when the clouds broke in the afternoon. We took them to a little farm where we venture each fall.


Our annual self portrait on the hay ride...I was able to get the patch in the picture this year! BTW, that is the Tressie Cowl from Brownie Knits. I was VERY happy to have it on as it was pretty cold that day! I also had on my Ravi sweater...happy to break out the knits!


Of course, we made them get in the three pigs head stand. 
My SIL plans to show this one to R's girlfriends when he is older! 


This little dude was a funny guy...


When we got home (after a side trip for ice cream because it's NEVER too cold for ice cream), I pulled out some stickers and Mr. Potato Head parts that I bought for R to decorate his baby pumpkins. Patrick drilled some holes into the one pumpkin and then R stuck on his faces/ears/hands on both sides. R really enjoyed it and it was much easier for him to participate versus actually carving one. He also seemed to enjoy putting Cars stickers all over his second pumpkin. I would highly recommend these approaches for young children. (The Mr. Potato Head was an idea I came across on Pinterest.)


His faces cracked me up!

We have our adult pumpkins still to carve so hopefully we get to it before Halloween!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Autumnal Wreath a New FREE Brownie Knits Pattern!

Around Brownie Knits we have been super busy this late summer and fall writing new patterns and building BrownieKnits.com. While I was knitting swatches and design samples...and testing...and editing....and all the other things that go into the process, I would work on a fall wreath for our home as some "fun" knitting.

After I had it all completed, I showed some pictures to some knitter friends who asked for the pattern and encouraged me to turn this "for fun" project into a Brownie Knits pattern. After giving it some thought, I decided to release it as a FREEBIE from the new BrownieKnits.com site! I hope you enjoy making up one for your home, too. It is a great little decoration to hang on the door or wall for your Thanksgiving feast.

AUTUMNAL WREATH (CLICK HERE FOR LINK TO FREE PATTERN PAGE)


MATERIALS

Wreath: 220 yards (202 meters) of worsted weight yarn for the wreath
Leaves: 110 yards (101 meters) of worsted weight 100% wool for leaves (5 different colors used in the sample)
Wreath sample knit out of Knit Picks Swish Worsted in color Camel Heather (110 yards/101 meters; 100% superwash merino)
Leaf samples knit out of 1 skein each of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in colors Cranberry, Currant, Rooibos Heather, and Semolina (110 yards/101 meters; 100% wool)

Another good yarn option: Cascade 220 (220 yards/202 meters; 100% wool)



GAUGE

4.5 sts / 6.5 rows over St st = 1 inch

NEEDLES

US 7 (4.5mm) circulars or straights
US 10.5 (6.5mm) circulars or straights
or size needed to get gauge


NOTIONS

14-inch foam wreath that is round and green; sold in most floral sections of craft shops
Miscellaneous decorations from the craft shop; pumpkins/corn/sparkly items!
Scissors
Sewing pins or a hot glue gun
Tapestry needle 

SIZING

Wreath size is 14 inches


Friday, October 18, 2013

Cute Dogs Fall 2013


There has been a lot of this going on...and on...and on... 
They do really love each other and they love their sleep.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Brownie Knits Wednesday: Customer Feature

Check out these fantastic finished Choo Choo Train Blankets from a Brownie Knits customer in the UK! She did a great job!!!



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Fall Bulbs and Lots of Stitching

I keep reminding myself that it is October. We've enjoyed some higher than normal temperatures and our previously dormant grass (from lack of rain) is full and green again. Today, finally, it feels more like fall and I'm working with a window open and a fall candle burning. In the world of crafting, I have been seriously addicted to cross stitch as of late. BUT, I am holding myself in check and only doing a few projects so I will not be putting any stitching things on my holiday list of wants. Must. Not. Go. Crazy! After finishing up the Halloween stitch project, I ordered and completed this funny little Thanksgiving one.


Isn't he hilarious!?! In case it is hard to read online, his little sign says Dry Turkey and the button is an olive. I changed the glass and sign background from white to burgundy and green because the linen I ordered was lighter than I expected. I also used leftover colors from the Halloween cross stitch instead of ordering all new threads for this project. After the 31st, he will go into the black frame that the little pumpkins are in right now.

After finishing up the Thanksgiving one, I decided to embark on a larger project for Christmas and it honestly might not get done until Christmas 2014! It is a sampler from Lizzie Kate that is actually 12 little Jingles together. I fell in love with the non-traditional holiday colors. Here it is in progress.


The picture shows two completed Jingles and a third that is 50% done. I've found that I really like to work words the most. Is that odd or normal for cross stitchers? When this holiday cross stitch is out of the hoop I'll be moving to a HUGE one that I couldn't resist as my big art project for 2013/2014. It's beautiful and I hope I have the patience to complete it all.


I figure that this will be the cross stitch that I hang up for the spring and summer seasons. Between the holiday cross stitch and this one, I should be set for cross stitch projects until January 2015!

When not stitching, doing the paperwork for new knit/crochet designs, or taking photos, I have done some work around the house. There were the satisfying (cleaning out the master closet and reorganizing so that I can see what we REALLY have to wear) and the will-be-satisfying in the long run (planting bulbs). Every winter I see the posts from overseas bloggers with their snowdrops and I long to have those coming up in our snow-covered lawn. Well, this fall I did it. I planted a bunch of snowdrops out front along with a bunch more tulip bulbs to fill in between the ones we already have.


I had planned that the 200 bulbs would be enough for the front and the back garden. Ummm....I always forget that the front areas are bigger than I think. All 200 got planted in the front and I will put in bulbs next fall in the back. Cutting back those yellowing HUGE hostas was enough for one planting season for me!

On a side note: I typically have been trying to follow a schedule of the Quick Tip Tuesdays, Brownie Knits Wednesdays, Friday Favorites, and Share Sundays. However, I've come to the realization that with everything life brings along, that is an overly aggressive schedule. Plus, I miss out on my blogs that are just because. So, going forward, every few weeks will just be free flowing. Ahhhh.... freedom!


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Share Sunday: Finished and Framed Cross Stitch

This week has been full of not so fun (cleaning, laundry, and more cleaning), working (a photo shoot and some new pattern plans), and cross stitching. My Jacks in the Box Halloween cross stitch is all finished and framed on the mantle. I really like how it turned out.


Now to find time for some fun knitting...

Friday, October 11, 2013

Favorite Friday: Knitting Patterns I Love

Do you have a pattern that you knit over and over again? For this round of Favorite Friday, I thought I'd list off my go-to knitting patterns. Ones that I love to make, wear, and give. Please share your favorites in the comments. I'd love to add some new ones to my list!



  • Football hat from Itty Bitty Hats by Susan B. Anderson
  • Stripey Stocking hat from Itty Bitty Hats by Susan B. Anderson (modeled by nephew J in this photo)
  • Shalom Cardigan by Meghan McFarlane
  • February Lady Sweater by Pamela Wynne (while not the best picture of my Shalom, the following is my favorite picture...being silly one Halloween)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Brownie Knits Wednesday: Tressie Cowl Pattern!!! NEW!!!

Tressie has arrived!!! The latest addition to our Brownie Knits collection is this fun cowl that is perfect for fall and winter. Tressie is a cowl knitted in the round that is just perfect for keeping your neck cozy. Unlike a scarf, Tressie will always remain in place and is ever so stylish. The cowl features a spiral pattern in the center section with seed stitch on the top and bottom. It is 100% reversible, so you can wear Tressie straight up or turned down. Style the cowl with your coat or as an accessory with your favorite sweater. It is available for $2.99 from our Craftsy, Etsy, & Ravelry stores. (You can also purchase it via our BrownieKnits.com site.) If you would like to order a made one, they are $30.00 and can be ordered via the Brownie Knits Etsy shop. Send us a convo with your color preference.)


200 yards (183 meters) of dk or light worsted weight yarn 


Brown and cream samples knit out of Knit Picks Swish Tonal Worsted in colors Kindling and Pearlescent (220 yards/201 meters; 100% superwash merino wool) 


Blue sample knit out of Madelinetosh Tosh DK in color Bloomsbury (225 yards/206 meters; 100% superwash merino wool) 


Gauge: 
5 sts / 7 rounds over St st = 1 inch 

Needle: 
US 6 (4mm) or US 7 (4.5mm) 16-inch circular 
or size needed to get gauge 

Notions: 
Scissors 
Stitch marker 
Tapestry needle

Sizing: 
One size fits most 
Finished Circumference: 20 inches 
To Fit (over head size): 18-24 inches 
Depth: 9 inches 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Quick Tip Tuesday: Washing Wool

Do you own a wool sweater? Whether store bought or handmade, a wool sweater requires a little more than tossing it in the wash with your other clothes. Most knitters and crocheters refer to the act of washing and drying to shape as blocking. A few weeks ago during our epic consignment store find day, I was trying on a Burberry sweater that was in my size and marked down. Armed with an additional $25.00 coupon, I was ready to jump for joy at the luck. I went back to the dressing room and put it on. It was just a tad snug so I pulled the tag to check the content...WOOL! Woohoo! Why was I so excited by this? I knew from years of washing and blocking merino wool that I could handwash this sweater in a soap specifically for wool and then pin it to the size I wanted for drying. If you aren't a crafter, here is a step-by-step of how to block wool:


Get a soap that is meant for wools...my favorite is Eucalan and a knitter friend also likes Soak. (Nothing against Woolite, but I was told when I started knitting to avoid it so I have.) With Eucalan, you do not have to rinse the garments. It also comes in a variety of scents, including NO scent, which is great if you have a sensitive nose.


For sweaters, I fold the sweater into a little square with the sleeves tucked between the layers. Folding the sweater in this way will help to limit the garment from stretching out with the weight of the water. 


Submerge the sweater in a sink full of water, not hot or cold, and a cap of Eucalan for 10-20 minutes.


Drain the water and then roll the sweater in towels to absorb some of the water. I usually roll them in 2-3 different towels until the sweater isn't wildly dripping any longer. (For the demo photos I needed to block one of my baby sacks, but the concept is the same for all wool garments.)


With your wet sweater (and wet wool is stinky, btw), you now want to place your sweater in a place were you can spread it out to the size you want. I have a nifty blocking board with measurements on it and T pins. However, you can put down towels on your floor and put the sweater on it, too. I would recommend that you invest a few bucks in some non-rusting pins. Pin one side of your sweater down and then stretch it to the desired width and length, pinning it down as you go. Merino wool will typically let you adjust it about 2 inches. You do have to go through this process each time you wash your sweater, but it really helps with sizing and to lengthen the life of your garment.


In addition to cleaning your garments and getting the size you need, the other positives are that it softens the wool and evens out the stitches (i.e. makes them blossom).


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Share Sunday: Appreciating Other Artists

We live in an area of Indiana that is full of artists of all sorts. Last weekend, we ventured to the neighboring town for an art festival. I fully admit that I went there for one thing...


This teapot!!! I have several vases and tea cups from this pottery artist, but I've been looking at this teapot for the last few years. As we are heading into tea weather, I was focused in on getting this little guy to get us through fall and winter. Isn't he adorable?


The artist is Blue Moon Pottery and here is her card.


I REALLY was only going to get the teapot. I mean, I debated it for two years before buying it. I really, really was only going to get the teapot. (You see where this is going, right? :) ) My husband spotted this at a watercolor artist booth and wasn't going to let me leave without a print!


This will go up on the wall downstairs after the holidays. In our house the seasonal decorations are fall, Christmas, and IU basketball! Having tried my hand at watercolors, I am even more impressed at the level of small detail in the work. The artist is Trudy Robertson and she had lots of Indiana college, sports, and town pieces.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Favorite Friday: A Second, Third, Fourth Hobby

So this week has been WAY off in terms of providing tips, favorites, and shares. It is a direct reflection of how off my entire life has been for the last week and a half. I ended up with an end of summer cough for a few nights and then had a full week of just not feeling well at all and was not motivated in the least. Instead of beating myself up about not knitting or designing this week and not keeping up on the blog I decided to relax and let my body and mind recover.

This week I thought I would share the importance of having hobbies that are not your day job. I learned very fast after turning knitting/crochet into my work that you need another outlet that is just for you. For me, that is cross stitch, reading, and taking a monthly art class. As I've felt ill over the past few days I turned to cross stitch. Truth be told, it had been AGES since I worked on a cross stitch project. It felt so good to get lost in the counting and stitching.


I made this to hang up at Christmas time. The pattern is Peace Tree by Little House Needleworks and the kit includes the pattern, button, and silk thread. I loved that it was all white and I'll be blocking and framing it before the snow hits this winter.


I finished the Peace Tree pattern so fast that I decided to go back to the shop and get a Halloween one that I liked. (I promised myself that I would ONLY invest in one cross stitch project at a time.) This cute little number is Jacks in the Box by Bent Creek. It comes with the pattern only. I had lots of fun picking out the threads and seeing the little pumpkins develop.


During Carol's visit several weeks back, we hit up three of our local consignment shops. At the last one I found this little bag and one exactly like in a turquoise. Perfect! Red for me and turquoise for Carol. I originally was going to use as a knitting/crochet notions bag. However, it easily holds my entire cross stitch project. Isn't it bright and colorful?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

BrownieKnits.com!!!

For the last three months we've been busy behind the scenes building a website for Brownie Knits. I am SO excited that it went live this week!!! I hope that you all check it out and I'd love to know what you think. The site address is brownieknits.com and you can buy Brownie Knits knit and crochet patterns from the site. You can also use the contact sections to get in touch with us about instruction, wholesale information, and custom-made items.


In addition to the new website, we also revamped our logo to include the site address and include Crochets in our company name. I so love to crochet as well as knit.

I have to pause for a moment and give credit to my PK. He worked so many hours on the site and was incredibly patient as I would ask him to try different looks and options. He did such a great job and, as always, is such a great supporter of my endeavors.