Monday, September 29, 2014

Playing with Art

When my hands aren't occupied by wool as of late, they've been busy painting. After taking watercolor art class for the past few years, I decided to add an acrylic class to the mix. So, now I escape the house two mornings a month for art classes. It is great to have a hobby to turn to that isn't your hobby job! We really are blessed in our little city to have these art classes offered through our public library and our parks and recreation department. (If you live in Hamilton County IN, the watercolor class is at the Westfield Library and the acrylic class is with Marilyn at the Westfield Parks and Recreation building.)

In acrylic class, we painted this heart-shaped box with acrylic paint that was more watery and a sponge, brushes, and a dowel rod. I was terrified while I was painting the bouquet, especially when at one point it looked like a spider, but it turned out great! I'm excited to try this technique at home on some gift boxes for Christmas this year.

Here is my acrylic mum painting...loved how the shading came out and the mums were fun to do with paper towels.

LOVE this month's fall-themed watercolor painting. My pumpkins are a bit wonky, but the trees were fun to paint. We used a palette knife to get the bark effect on the birch trees and then used acrylic paint and paper towels for the leaves. We also used salt to get the texture in the grass at the bottom. I added in some red/purple trees in the background. I can feel myself getting more comfortable with making changes or figuring out how to fix something and add in shading for a more realistic look. I was SO adverse to adding dark shading the first year and a half of painting! But, it really does make a big difference.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Madras Plaid Socking in Swish

The Madras Plaid Stocking has hit the Knit Picks website! You can purchase the pattern and all the materials needed to knit up a stocking from Knit Picks. I knitted up a sample out of Knit Picks Swish Worsted. For this pattern, I changed up the needle size to be a US 8 needle. This provides a bit more drape to the stocking and allows for the stretch so you can really stuff the stocking full of goodies!

Colors used: White, Black, and Hollyberry
1 ball for the first 2 colors and 2 for the Hollyberry

There are so many colors of Swish available that you can customize the stocking to fit your holiday decorations. For a smaller version of the stocking you can use thinner yarn and drop your needle size.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Delphia in Blues

The Delphia Cowl has hit the Knit Picks website! You can purchase the pattern and all the materials needed to knit up a cowl from Knit Picks. I knitted up two samples out of Knit Picks Swish Worsted. Swish is a GREAT yarn that I like to use for blankets and cowls. It is soft and cozy and washes very well. There are many color options available, so I took advantage of this and knitted up one in blues.

2 balls each in White, Dusk, and Twilight

The cowl looks great on guys and girls!

2 balls each of White, Black, and Garnet Heather

US needles size 7 (two pairs) 16- or 20-inch circulars are used. You will also needle 2 stitch markers, scissors, and a tapestry needle. I just love how these samples turned out. The Swish blocked SO well and performed so nicely in the stranding work. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wool Gathering Adventures

This past Saturday, we loaded up the Jeep with James our chauffeur, aka Patrick, and headed to the Wool Gathering in Yellow Springs, OH. Christina (of A Knitter's Life) and I were tucked in the back seat talking and knitting away during the trip and I don't think I even looked out the window until we were there. It's crazy how the two of us can talk for hours about all things yarn, knitting, designing, and podcasts. We just don't stop! As we were driving over, we received a text that Carol was going to meet us at the festival!!! Woohoo!!! I'm always super excited whenever our schedules all work out.

The gang! (I look like a crazy bag lady!)I I love this picture of us because we all look so happy. It makes me think years from now that I will look back at it and clearly remember the fun day.

I absolutely loved this rug and all the colors. How fantastic! I tried my hand at rug hooking years ago and have my cherished little pumpkin rug to show for it. Ultimately, as much as I love and appreciate the look of rug hooking, I found myself wanting to get back to knitting and crocheting whenever I sat down to hook. There was also this "little" felted horse that was adorable! Somebody has some patience.

Despite all the glorious yarn, most people seemed to be buying up these baskets. Aren't they great? I love that each one really shows off our personality, too. After we met up with Carol at the event, we had an amazing time walking around and shopping and then we ventured into town for something good to eat. We found a local cafe and 50% of us had a great main dish and 50% didn't. (I really enjoyed my organic vegetable sandwich!) 100% of us loved our deserts!!! The carrot cake was a special hit because two of us felt a little loopy after eating it. It did take a really long time to get our food! Just what did they put in there? Poor Patrick managed to get a few words in here and there, but the three of us ladies really do talk non-stop when we are together.

My haul...

A cute little pumpkin needle felting kit to whip up this week.

A basket full of projects I need to complete this week! Lots of work to do, but I have my cute basket to keep me company. It was such an amazing day that was full of joy, friendship, and wool. The location was adorable, as well. Maybe we will have to make this event our yearly fall festival trip!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hello, Autumn!

Fall is in the air in our part of the country and colors are starting to pop up around the trees. My favorites are the deep purples and reds, but I'm partial to the brilliant orange/reds, as well. We are slowly changing the house stuff over to our autumn decorations and plates. Saying goodbye until next year to our summer plastic plates full of color. As I pulled out my decorations this year, I was surprised to find my Autumnal Wreath. How I completely forgot about making it, I have no idea, but it was a pleasant surprise. Fall is always inspiring to me for knitting and crochet designs. I thought I'd share a few here in case you are looking for some fall crafting! You can download the free patterns or buy the for purchase ones from under the Patterns, View all Patterns tab.

Sunflower Scarf
100% crocheted!

Autumnal Wreath

"Fall"ing Candy Corn Hat (size newborn to child)

Flowers of Fall Hat (size newborn to adult); has sunflower and mum options.
Hat is knitted and flowers are crocheted.

Sunflower Wreath
100% crocheted!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Trends in Plaid

Over the last few weekends we went out and about on Saturday to take a break from work and get out into the world. (When you both work at home all day during the week, you NEED some outside interaction on the weekends!) We've both been absolutely slammed with work (Patrick writing 2 books, teaching 2 classes at a local collage, and working his day job and me working on new designs, test knitting/crocheting, and tech editing.) It is good to be so busy and to be busy with NORMAL things, not dealing with doctors and such. 

As we were doing a little shopping, it was more than apparent that plaid is the "in" thing this fall/winter. Wow. I was super excited to see this trend. I've always loved plaids (maybe it is being a teen/early 20s during the grunge era). Whatever it is, give me a good plaid. I've also been knitting up some plaids in my new Delphia Cowl design and the Madras Plaid Stocking pattern! I had to be a good girl while we were shopping and only purchased two plaid scarfs. One for fall and one for winter. That's fair, right? The real point of the shopping was to find brown boots, which I did. I must admit that I didn't anticipate wearing these items SO soon. But, they have already been in regular rotation because fall weather hit Indiana early. (Although it is supposed to be in the 80s this weekend.)

The following weekend, we spent Saturday at the Irish Festival in Indy. I failed to take photos of all the gorgeous tartans, but they were all over the place with loads and loads of kilts. Are you all watching Outlander? If so, there is another way to get plaid and knitting obsessed. Who doesn't want one of Claire's cozy chunky cowls? If I can ever get to it with all the other work ahead of me, I have some yarn that I think would knit up great in a chunky garter stitch cowl. It might even end up on the Brownie Knits Etsy store as a made item! 

After looking at all the plaids and talking about Irish and Scottish stuff, our conversation led to my maiden name probably being of Scottish decent. It never occurred to me before to think of heritage on that side. (I was not brought up around my bio paternal family and have always thought of the Brown part of my name as being just mine.) Well, what do you know! Scottish! So, I'm a mix of Scottish, Spanish, and Cherokee Indian. I guess that explains the dark hair.

The Modern Tartan for the Broun Clan, which is a Sept of Clan Macmillan.

I did manage some photos of the sheep dog herding demos at the Irish festival!

Check out how intense this dog was! She was on the job, much to the sheep's dismay.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Madras Plaid Stocking: New Pattern from Brownie Knits

Please meet the Madras Plaid Stocking! I'm plaid mad over here and couldn't resist pairing that up with a holiday stocking. I hope you like it and have fun knitting one. (As always, if you are not a knitter and want a stocking, email me at to order a custom-made stocking.) Patterns can be purchased on Craftsy, Ravelry, and Etsy for $3.99.

Christmas and plaid pair up to offer a classy holiday decoration in the Madras Plaid Stocking. This generous-sized stocking is knitted in the round using a stranded charted pattern. The i-cord top gives the stocking a top finishing and the stitches are picked up from the cord and worked down in pattern. Making the heel flap, heel turn, and toe is a snap in the featured one-color areas of the stocking. You will love making a Madras Plaid Stocking for your loved ones and it makes the perfect addition to your holiday celebrations and d├ęcor.

Yardage: 217 yards/198 meters of worsted weight yarn A (Crimson), 110 yards/101 meters of worsted weight yarn for both B (Cast Iron) and C (Snow Day) colors

One sample knit out of Berroco Vintage in colors Crimson (5154), Cast Iron (5145), and Snow Day (5100)

One sample knit out of Knit Picks Swish Worsted in colors Hollyberry (2 balls), Black (1 ball), and White (1 ball)

217 yards for Main Color (red in samples) 
110 yards for each of color B and C (white and black in samples)

Level: Intermediate to Advanced

20.5-inch circumference x 20-inch depth from top to toe. Measurements are approximate and are dependent on how aggressively you block the stocking.

US 8 (5mm) 24-inch circulars
US 8 (5mm) DPNs in a longer length or a second US 8 (5mm) 24-inch circular
or size needed to get gauge

2 stitch markers (one should be distinct from the
Tape measure
Tapestry needle

4.5 sts / 5.25 rounds over Stockinette Stitch = 1 inch

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Bit of Brownie Knits Bunting

I dropped off the blogging front for a little bit, but I was B-U-S-Y! I've been knitting and crocheting at least 10 hours a day (sometimes 12+)! So, that means now that I have a little time to breathe, I have lots to share with all of you!!!

First up is this little bunting that I knitted up. I'm toying with the idea of a YouTube-based podcast. (Not certain if I'm comfortable in front of the camera, but we shall see.) Anyway, if I'm going to start a podcast, I wanted a Brownie Knits banner. Thus, the bunting was born. Although I didn't initially intend to release this as a pattern, I was asked by a few people for instructions. So, in this blog post you will get "guidelines" for knitting the bunting.

Yarn: For 12 flags, two i-cord hangers, and 12 i-cord letters, I used 1 skein each of Berroco Vintage
Needle: US 6 (4mm) circulars or straights and DPNs (for i-cord), use a needle smaller than normal for your yarn weight to give a firm fabric.
Notions: 2 buttons per flag, scissors, tapestry needle, thread for buttons, sewing needle that fits through buttons

BO = bind off
CO = cast on
K, k = knit
K2tog = knit 2 sts together
P, p = purl
P3tog = purl 3 sts together
pm = place marker
RS = right side
slm = slip marker
SSK = slip 1 knitwise, slip 1 purlwise, knit these 2 sts together (I like to slip them differently to get a flat stitch.)
WS = wrong side

CO 30 sts using the long-tail cast on.
K 6 rows. (Creates 3 garter st bumps on the RS of work.)
Row 1 (WS): K3, pm, P24, pm, K3.
Row 2 (RS): K, slm as you come to them.
Row 3: K3, slm, P24, slm, K3.
Row 4: K3, SSK, K20, K2tog, K3.
Row 5: K3, P22, K3.
Row 6: K.

Row 7: K3, P to last 3 sts, K3.
Row 8: K3, SSK, K to last 5 sts, K2tog, K3.
Row 9: K3, P to last 3 sts, K3.
Row 10: K.
Row 11: K3, P to last 3 sts, K3.

Repeat rows 7-11 until there are only 10 sts on the needle.

Next RS row: K3, SSK, K2tog, K3.
WS: K3, P2, K3.
RS: K3, K2, K3.
WS: K3, P2, K3.
RS: K3, K2tog, K3.
WS: K2, P3tog, K2.
RS: K1, K3tog, K1.
WS: P3tog

Cut tail and weave in ends.

I-cord Hangers:
CO 6 sts with DPNs, being sure to leave a long enough tail to seam the end of the i-cord closed. K in i-cord until the cord is desired length to fit behind the bunting triangles. BO and weave in tails on both ends to close up any gaps on the ends. Using a tapestry needle and a cut long piece of matching yarn, sew the bunting to the i-cord. Then sew on the buttons to each triangle with thread and a sewing needle.

Note: I didn't leave extra i-cord on my ends, but instead seamed the triangles to the very edge of the i-cord. If you want, you could leave it longer for use when hanging the bunting.

I-cord Letters:
CO 6 sts with DPNs, being sure to leave a long enough tail for sewing the letters to the triangles. K in i-cord until the cord reaches the length you need to make your letter. This is not very scientific. I simply knitted along and tried to shape it as I went and when it was the size and shape I wanted, I BO leaving another long tail. I then sewed the letters using a tapestry needle and the two tails. You can easily hide your stitching inside the "tube" of the i-cord. For some letters, I found making several smaller i-cords and shaping those to form a letter to be a bit easier.

I hope you enjoy making some bunting for your special events or for an everyday decoration!