Thursday, May 29, 2014

Kool-Aid Dyeing Yarn

Remember those pictures of our yarn dyeing session I promised? Here it is! Here you can see that we put down a plastic tablecloth to protect my antique ice cream table. It is hard to see, but there is Saran wrap laid out under the yarn. We soaked the yarn in water and a dash of dish liquid before we painted it. 


You can see the "ketchup" bottles in the picture. You can get these for a buck at most grocery stores. We used between 4-10 packets, depending on the color and how dark we wanted to color and then filled the bottles with tap water.


Carol LOVES blue and wears turquoise a lot, so it was natural for her to gravitate to the berry Kool-Aid. You can see in the picture that we used a paper towel as our tester to see what the various colors combined would do.


Yummy break! Carol brought up this cake for my birthday and it was so so so so good! We enjoyed our treat after cooking the yarn for 2 minutes at a time in the microwave until the water runs clear. Be sure to then leave the yarn to cool in the wrap. I left mine overnight and then rinsed it and hung it inside to dry.


This is Christina's dyed yarn on the needles. Isn't it awesome!?! She did such a great job with her colors and it is creating a super fun zig zag pattern. The only explanation I have for this is that when she did it, she did sort of zig zag on the colors and would then pat them in.


This is my yarn ball. The tequila sunrise colors worked and my desire to have an overall red with white, yellow, and orange splashes here and there totally worked. I've been knitting this up as a shrug and will share that in a future post. 


Here is Carol's finished skein, which is just gorgeous. If it goes missing, she might check my yarn stash! I think I might have to dye one this color...reminds me of the beach.


Friday, May 23, 2014

Knitter Gifts

After our little Kool-Aid dyeing adventure, we popped down for some cake, tea/milk, and some gifts. I was super blessed with thoughtful and kind friends who brought a little joy into my day with some pretty packages. I thought I'd share a few of the knitting-related items here in case you are in search of some fun kits and gadgets.


This is such a cool necklace and knitter tool! Wear it as jewelry, but wait...those are stitch markers on the bottom clip. How fun is that? I've already been putting this to good use while working on a new design.  A quick online search found them available on Goodsmiths.


You can unhook the bottom portion if you want.


And the stitch markers click on with a clip, too.


I've already stuffed full the project bag and part of the space is holding this little know knits kit to make a fun bracelet. (Do you see a little pattern emerging? : ) )


Some sparkle...speaking of sparkle in yarns, it was all over the place at TNNA! I'll be writing up a blog post soon about the trade show and market. There are some fun things on the way this fall!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Birthdays and Kool-Aid

This past Saturday was my birthday. It doesn't feel quite right to say I celebrated it, but I did force myself to keep the plans I had made. I've come to realize that a lot of dealing with grief means faking your way through the day and looking back on everything later to realize it is all a bit of fog. No matter how present you thought you were at the time. So, off for some pedis we went, then a yummy lunch, followed by some yarn dyeing with Kool-Aid.


Here is my skein using cherry red, orange, and yellow lemonade. I was going for a tequila sunrise look, but with more red and less yellow. I put the red on first and left some sections white. Then, I put on the orange and then finished with the yellow. Overall, it turned out pretty well. I'm excited to ball it up and then figure out the right project. (I'm tentatively planning some sort of spring/summer neckwear, but you never know.) 


The yarn base is Cascade Heritage in white. It is a 75% superwash merino and 25% nylon blend. We wet the wool in water and dish liquid and then laid it out on saran wrap. Using plastic ketchup bottles (the old-style picnic types), we mixed the packets of Kool-Aid with water and applied the colors. For the red, I only used 4 packets. However, I used 5 for the orange and 5 for the yellow. You can use fewer packets for a less intense color and more for a richer/deeper shade. Then, wrapped loosely in the saran wrap, you cook it in the microwave for 2 minutes at a time until the water runs clear. Let it cool in the wrap and then rinse the yarn out. NO color came off of my yarn when I rinsed it or hung it to dry. You want to hang it dry out of the sunlight.

It felt really good to be creative again so I'm giving myself permission to try and start working on my designs and projects again. Sometimes, you just have to get your mind occupied. I've asked the other ladies to send me photos of their yarn to share on the blog. All three were very different and showed off a bit of our personalities. I still have plenty of packets left, so I'll be digging out any cream/white yarn from my stash to dye. The upside of using Kool-Aid is that it smells really good and you don't have to worry about all the harsh chemicals. Yes, you are a little limited on your colors, but I plan to look up the color wheel to refresh all those yellow+blue=green combos!

After our little adventure, we settled in for some yummy cake and a few gifts. Several of those were knit-based, of course! So, tune in later for a little look at those fun items.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Eva Neckerchief: A New Brownie Knits Crochet Pattern

Please meet our newest Brownie Knits crochet pattern the Eva Neckerchief! Eva is the perfect accessory for all seasons. Crocheted from side to side in an easy to remember repeat, you will love making Eva as much as you enjoy wearing the neckerchief. The applied picot edge adds the perfect amount of femininity. Eva looks equally elegant and stylish crocheted in a solid/semi-solid yarn as it does in a painted or variegated yarn. Take advantage of all the amazing fingering weight yarns that are available and make an Eva for you and all of your friends!


Pattern is available for purchase for $2.99 via Craftsy, Etsy, Ravelry, and BrownieKnits.com.
If you do not crochet and would like to order a made Eva Neckerchief, you can contact us at brownieknits@yahoo.com or via our Etsy shop.

Materials:
375 yards (343 meters) of fingering weight yarn
Sample knit out of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Mansfield's Garden Party
Other good yarn options: Berroco Sox, Knit Picks Hawthorne, Madelinetosh Tosh Sock, Malabrigo Sock

Hook:
US G/6 (4.25mm)

Gauge:
5 sts / 3.75 rows over hdc = 1 inch


Sizing:
Length: 52 inches
Depth: 9.25 inches at center point
Measurements are approximate and depend on how much you stretch during blocking.


Notions:
Scissors
Split stitch marker
Tape measure
Tapestry needle

Friday, May 16, 2014

Seasons of Life

Where to begin...this blog was set up to support my Brownie Knits & Crochets patterns and business. But, it has always been a blog that shares in my daily life because that so influences my work. It is both a business and personal space. For that reason, I've shared in the successes of patterns and the struggles of battling a rare cancer. One of my dear friends talks about the seasons of life. How you go along and then it all changes, sometimes for the good and sometimes for the not so good. A little over a week ago, my mother passed away. It was a shock and continues to be a daily struggle to accept and figure out this new season. I've been slowly forcing my way back to normal daily actions that just don't feel normal and blogging is one of those things.


Figuring out how to go about in the world without sadness, anger, tears, and guilt is hard. I'm told repeatedly from people that it is all normal and I suppose it is all a part of the grief. I find comfort in walking by this bookshelf that I moved downstairs and put all the plants on from the celebration of life. It also holds some of my mom's plants and her high school photo. I'll be honest that these things and other arrangements were spread about my home and that was just overwhelming. I had to put things in one spot to visit when I need, but not have it in my face all the time. Cruel timing also meant that Mother's Day, my mom's birthday, and my birthday all fell within the days/week after her death. I've always been someone who finds comfort in crafting and reading. Those have been tough things for me to do right now. I easily drop my focus. I have found comfort in caring for my plants and planting a lily garden out back. 

So, I hope to write this difficult entry and then return this blog to my knitting and crochet work. That's what mom would want me to do in this new season.