Thursday, November 28, 2013

Holiday Sale Brownie Knits Patterns!

Looking for some fast projects to knit or crochet up for holiday gifts? Check out the Brownie Knits Ravelry shop from 11/29 to 12/3 for 25% off ALL Brownie Knits patterns purchased via Ravelry. No coupon code to enter, your discount will automatically be applied during these dates.





Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Christmas Cross Stitch

I think I'm in love! Just finished up this Christmas sampler on the day before Thanksgiving. It was planned to take all of 2014 and have it ready next year, but it was just too much fun to put it down. Don't you love the red and teal color combo?


The pattern is from Lizzie Kate as is the Jingles Flip It series. You can work them as single small cross stitch pieces or as one big sampler. (If you go the sampler route, there is a free PDF download on their site for some additional stitching areas to put the sampler together.)


I framed this myself to save on money. The frame is from Hobby Lobby and was 50% off. It ended up being the perfect size! Lucky...



The modifications were mostly in the colors. I bought a lighter linen than called for so the white didn't show up as well as I wanted. So, some of the large white sections I switched to red, pink, or teal. In the continuing spirit of using up craft supplies in 2013, many of the colors were leftovers from some other cross stitch projects.

 



Here is a bit closer shot of the beads and buttons included with the pattern. They provide more than you are instructed to use so at the end of the project I scattered the remaining white "snow" beads around the sampler. I can't wait to hang this up year after year. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday Share: Spectral Cowl/Scarf

We are super spoiled in Indiana to have a fantastic shop in Fort Wayne that stocks only sock yarn. It is a beautiful store in an old fire house. Earlier in November (maybe it was actually October), we drove up to just get out of town for a bit. I seized on the opportunity to head to Simply Socks and get yarn for a Spectral. From the moment I saw this pattern (thanks Carol for the link) I wanted to make one. It just looked like something I would wear and it would slide right into my wardrobe. 


I finished it, blocked it the next day, and then wore it out the next two days. Yes, it is a keeper! The designer did a great job with her instructions and it is a pretty easy repeat to get in your head so you can knit away. It was an attention keeper because you get so excited to finish one color and start the next one.


Here it is folded up so that you can see the color changes. I used Cascade Heritage for the two darkest colors, Lorna's Laces for the medium gray, Miss Babs for the variegated, and Heritage again for the center color. Mine measures a bit deeper than the pattern, but I'm happy with that. I used a US 3 needle.

I loved making and wearing this so much that the girls and I are going to do a mini-KAL using this pattern. With knitter friends in two locations in Indiana and one in Ohio (and all with busy lives), we all knit the same item every now and then and exchange emails as we go. It's a great excuse to chat with your friends and make something for yourself. I'll be making my next Spectral from stash sock yarn so I'll have to see what I come up with...it might use fewer color changes or it might be WILD!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Favorite Fridays: Clips

As mentioned last week, food has been a major concentration in our house as our diet has completely changed. One of the restrictions now is no gluten, which means we now have about six alternative flours in the pantry so we can make meals and breads at home. I love a cute and crafty touch around the house and these clips from My Craft Place are favorites in our kitchen. I had a set of six from last year that have somehow left my kitchen over time...ummmm. (Are the dogs taking them? Where did they go?) Well, now all the flours and vegetable chips can be held closed and fresh with this colorful set.

Photo by My Craft Place Etsy Shop


I hope that you will check out her shop and get some clips for yourself. They would make great stocking stuffers!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Brownie Knits Wednesday: Arthur Sack a New Pattern from Brownie Knits

Remember the super cute little man from the Ethan & Grace Sack pattern photos? Well, get ready for some more of his cuteness. I couldn't not name a pattern after him when he was such a great little model and his parents gave him a great name. So, please meet The Arthur Sack. This pattern is available for purchase on Craftsy, Ravelry, and Etsy and can be reached via BrownieKnits.com, as well. It is $2.99.

The Arthur Sack

This snuggly and stripy sack is perfect to wrap up little ones. It is both cozy and pleasing to the eye. Knitted in the round out of worsted weight yarn, it is a great weight for fall and winter newborns. The pattern provides directions for a three-color sack, but you could also put together leftover worsted weight yarn for a unique Arthur sack! 

Materials: 
175 yards (161 meters) of worsted weight yarn for main color 
125 yards (115 meters) of worsted weight yarn for secondary color 
75 yards (69 meters) of worsted weight yarn for contrasting color 
Sample knit out of Dream in Color Classy in colors Tea Party and Blue Lagoon (250 yards/229 meters; 100% superwash merino) & Berroco Vintage in color Mushroom 5104 (217 yards/198 meters; 52% acrylic, 40% wool, 8% nylon) 

Gauge: 
4.5 sts / 6 rounds over St st = 1 inch 

Needles: 
US 7 (4.5mm) 16-inch circulars 
US 7 (4.5mm) DPNs 
or size needed to get gauge 



Notions: 
Scissors 
Stitch marker 
Tapestry needle 



Sizing: 
0 to 6 months, depending on size of baby 
Ribbed areas measure 12 inches around and body measures 20.5 inches around after blocking. (Note: The sacks have a larger stretched circumference to fit over baby.) 
Length measures 19 inches; IF YOU WANT TO MAKE A LONGER SACK, THE INSTRUCTIONS ARE INCLUDED TO DO SO. HOWEVER, YOU WILL NEED ADDITIONAL YARDAGE.


According to his mommy, Arthur loves his sack and wears it during his day naps. As he is growing, she is also able to tuck it under his arms and have it cover his belly and legs while he snuggles. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Share Sundays: Gift Decor and a Spectral Scarf

We had a dusting of snow this past week and I snapped a few photos of our backyard with the colorful trees against the light snow. So pretty...



Go Hoosiers!

Last weekend we ventured out to look for some new outside Christmas decorations. Our old ones had served us well for 12 years but it was determined during the great garage clean out of 2013 that they were really not in good shape. So, off we went to look around. I got all inspired and in the holiday mood and decided to whip up some ornaments to put on the outside of packages this year.


My plan is to use my random white yarns, some muslin my Gram gave me a few years ago, and these $1 wreath forms to make mini-wreaths that can be hung on the tree as ornaments. I'm hoping I can attach a pretty letter of some sort to them and they will serve as package gift tags. I'll be using the Churchmouse wreath as the base pattern.

Most of my knitting time recently has been knitting a Spectral scarf (pattern by Debbi Stone). I got addicted to the thing!


Isn't it beautiful? I decided on a gray theme because it will go with more outfits. It is all sock weight yarn...Cascade Heritage, Miss Babs, Lorna's Laces. Just a little more to go before it can blocked and worn!!! I also managed to swatch for the Portulaca Cardigan by Carol Feller. I signed up for this class on Craftsy.


I think I'll be lucky to have this done by NEXT winter. But, it will be pretty when it is done. I better get going on some holiday gifts first!!!



Friday, November 15, 2013

Favorite Fridays: Muffins and a Yummy Treat

Okay, so this has nothing to do with yarn. Oh well!!! Around our house, food has been a big focus over the last month. I have had to move to a lactose free, caffeine free, and mostly gluten-free diet. Not to mention that there is a list of foods a mile long I've been told not to touch. It hasn't been the easiest thing to find foods that I can eat, enjoy, and offer some nutrition. (Said list of no-no foods includes lots of vegetables, unlike most restrictions handed down.) Most would enjoy being told to limit veggies, but I've missed them and I'm gradually trying out the ones on the approved list. Anyway, blah blah blah...why is this a post? Well...

We did discover these yummy recipes (via Pinterest)! Given all the limitations, a yummy treat with a veggie or a fruit in it is a magical find.


Frosted Zucchini Bread Muffins by MIH (Mommy I'm Hungry)
We modified the recipe to be gluten free by using gluten free all purpose flour.


One bit of warning that it does make a BUNCH of muffins...we had enough for 19 muffins! Oh my!


Banana Cream Caramel Dessert by Glorious Treats
(photo is from their site...we ate ours too fast for a photo!)
We modified it by using soy milk.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Brownie Knits Wednesday: Expanded Brownie Knits on Knit Picks

Check it out! You can now purchase our Tressie, Starband, and Gillian Hat patterns via the Knit Picks website. What is great about this option? You can purchase the pattern AND yarn, needles, and notions all in one spot. They make it super easy to load up the cart. All three of these projects make great holiday gifts. They all knit up very fast. Tressie and Starband are one size fits all and Gillian offers two sizes for the hat portion. Tressie and Starband only require one ball of yarn and Gillian isn't much more than that, either!








Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Quick Tip Tuesday: Craftsy Classes

One of the great things about today's technology is the plethora of knitting and crochet patterns, tutorials, and blogs that are at our fingertips. One of the BEST and most convenient platforms out there, imo, is Craftsy.com. You can do many things on Craftsy (like find loads of free and for purchase patterns), but you can also take fully developed video classes that you get unlimited access to forever. It isn't just for knitting and crochet. There are all sorts of crafts offered via the site. It is free to sign up for the site and then you pay for classes and patterns (although a fair amount are offered for free). Don't be put off if you think a class fee is too much because they run fantastic discounts all the time. Be sure to like them on Facebook or join the Knitting Club/Crocheting Club/Sewing Club/etc on FB for even more deals.


I have all my patterns on Craftsy for purchase. They are SOOOO great about supporting independent designers. They take ZERO money from pattern sales. That's right...the designer gets all the money (minus PayPal). If you are an indie designer, it is a great forum.



Here is a snapshot of Knitting classes, but there are tons of them. Any technique you can think of and lots of project based ones, too. You get to view the videos that are lots of explanation and step-by-step, download PDFs of class documents, take notes, and ask the instructor questions.



So many cute patterns to explore! Have fun getting lost in the possibilities on Craftsy.com!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Favorite Friday: Gadgets

A few weeks ago someone asked me what the best gadgets for a knitter/crocheter were. Of course, I offered up stitch markers...such an addiction to collect them! Then I thought if I took stitch markers, needles, hooks, and yarn out of the mix, what would my favorite gadgets be?


Blocking board


Yarn meter


Yarn scale

If you are searching for a gift idea for the yarnie in your life (especially one who likes to design or do their own thing), these gadgets are super useful.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Brownie Knits Wednesday: Ethan & Grace Sacks a NEW Pattern!!!

Are you ready for some super cuteness!?! Brownie Knits is releasing our newest pattern and it is actually two designs in one pattern! This pattern is available for purchase on Craftsy, Ravelry, and Etsy and can be reached via BrownieKnits.com, as well. It is $4.99.

The Ethan & The Grace Sacks

Want to keep your little ones cozy in warm in the fall and winter months? These sacks are perfect for a sleepy snuggle! And, there are two different designs in the pattern!
The Ethan Sack: This fun number is open on both ends for easy use when diaper changing. The gorgeous cable down the center front adds just the right touch of classic knitting. Knit out of a semi-solid or solid to show off the cable, it is a toasty warm sack that will keep your little one cozy in winter. The Ethan Sack can be worn under the arms or with the arms in the sack.

 The cabled sack is Ethan...


The Grace Sack: This little cutie is knit in the round and starts with a section of ribbing. The stockinette section in the middle shows the beauty of variegated or painted yarns. The bottom of the sleep sack is decreased in to form a bag bottom. Grady is made to be worn under the arms or with the arms in the sack.


The solid sack with the closed bottom is Grace...


Materials: 
The Ethan Sack: 300 yards (275 meters) of worsted weight yarn 
Blue sample knit out of Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage in color Well Water (200 yards/182 meters; 100% superwash merino) 
Yellow sample knit out of Knit Picks Brava Worsted in color Canary (218 yards/200 meters; 100% premium acrylic) 
The Grace Sack: 300 yards (275 meters) of worsted weight yarn 
Sample knitted out of Knit Picks Swish Tonal in color Canopy (220 yards/202 meters; 100% superwash merino) 
Other good yarn options: Berroco Vintage, Dream in Color Classy, Knit Picks Comfy Worsted 




Gauge: 
4.5 / 6.5 rounds over St st on larger needles = 1 inch 

Needles: 
US 6 (4mm) 16'' or 20'' circulars 
US 7 (4.5mm) 16'' or 20'' circulars 
US 7 (4.5mm) DPNs (for Grace) 
or size needed to get gauge


Notions: 
Cable needle (for Ethan) 
Scissors 
1 stitch marker (for Grace) 
3 stitch markers (for Ethan) 
Tapestry needle 

Sizing: 
0 to 6 months, depending on size of baby 
Ribbed areas measure 12 inches around and body measures 19 to 20 inches around after blocking. 
(Note: The sacks have a larger stretched circumference on baby.) 
Length measures 19-20 inches; IF YOU WANT TO MAKE EITHER OF THESE LONGER, THE INSTRUCTIONS ARE INCLUDED TO DO 
SO. HOWEVER, YOU WILL NEED ADDITIONAL YARDAGE


A super special thank you to my little model who was PERFECT while we changed him and moved him about. And, to his momma who graciously let me invade her baby time one morning and get in some good baby snuggles of my own!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Quick Tip Tuesday: Picking Up Stitches for the Colvin Hat

Years ago I wrote up a free SUPER BULKY hat pattern named The Colvin Hat and put it up for free in Ravelry. When writing the pattern, I had several goals:

  • Use up a some of the thickest yarn I'd ever seen that was in my stash and do make the hat out of one ball.
  • Write the pattern in such a way that I could use it to teach beginning "ish" knitters how to cast on, bind off, count rows, pick up stitches, and work on double points for decreasing.


I recently received a question from a knitter about the picking up stitches portion so I thought I'd use this week's post as a tutorial. (Please note that the images for this tutorial do NOT actually show a Colvin hat being made, but instead a project I had laying around. But, the steps are all there.)


The pattern instructs you how to knit the bottom garter stitch brim. After you bind off your stitches, you are supposed to overlap the first 4 and last 4 stitches of the brim and then pick up the stitches THROUGH both layers for these 4 stitches. (See the above photo for an example of the overlap.)


To picks up the stitch through both layers, insert your needle through the edges of the front and back overlapping sections.


Wrap the yarn around the needle as if to knit and then bring the stitch through your insertion point in the back, shown in the following photo...


...and continue to then bring the wrapped yarn through the front overlap, as follows:


Now you have a new picked up stitch on your needle! Repeat these 3 more times for the overlapping area and then move on to picking the rest of the stitches through only one layer. As you get more and more stitches on your needle it will start to look like this...


Eventually, you will have all the stitches on your needle and it will complete a circle and you will then knit up the body of the hat. 

A side note about the yarn for this hat. It calls for Plymouth Encore Mega, which I believe is no longer made. It is SOOOOOOOO so thick. You really have to get 2 stitches to an inch and about 1.5 rows to get the pattern to come out right. If you use thinner yarn, the hat will result in a much smaller hat. Many knitters have gotten by with a still thick yarn, but have had to add extra rows for depth. It is on my "list of things to do" to re-release this pattern using a yarn that is still in production. I just have to find the time!!!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Share Sunday: Reading & Cross Stitch

I do this silly little thing when I am done with a reading session. I take the number of pages minus what I've read and divide by the number of days I'd like to take to finish the book. I've done this as long as I can remember. A few weeks back my hubby saw me click out the numbers on my iPad mini and asked what I was doing. I explained my ritual and felt myself blush. He quizzically asked why and I had no answer. Nor do I remember how I started the ritual. As the days ticked by and I continued figuring out my math problems I pondered the why with each number. Was it the simple competitive nature of challenging myself? Did it develop during the days of having scheduled library days in childhood? Was it a leftover echo of being an editor with so many manuscripts to edit and move along to the next stage? I suppose in a way it is all of those things, but as I read along it kept feeling like there was more to it. But what could it be?

These two love it when Patrick and I curl up and read!

Then, it hit me...I want to know how long I get to hang out with the characters. How long do I get to be in their world? When do I get to dive into another world? Somewhere along this path to analyzing my reading habits I also found myself smiling as I remembered how I read through all of the children and young adult books at the small Milton Public library where I grew up. How my grandmother led me to the grown up area and pointed me to Agatha Christie novels and how she would check out one and I would get another and sometimes we would swap if they weren't yet due back. I remember all the Sundays when we lived in the country and my mom and aunt would read while sunbathing in the back yard. We would each have a towel on which to lay and Casey Kasem or Rick Dees would be counting down the weekly top 40 on the boombox. They would read a mystery or romance novel and I made my way through all the possible endings to each Encyclopedia Brown book. Reading so much as a child set me on the path that eventually led to meeting my husband and, in a roundabout way, to starting Brownie Knits. I'm so forever grateful for that library!

So, when not reading or designing this past week, I was working a bit on my Christmas cross stitch sampler. It is coming along and maybe I will get it done for this holiday season!