Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Blog Posts Are About YOU!

Are you knitting or crocheting something fun and want to be share it with other passionate fiber artists? Maybe you have ventured out into another needlecraft, like sewing or cross stitching. Or maybe you are a independent designer or indie yarn dyer. Well, I would like to make my every other Friday blog posts all about YOU!

Over the course of the last six months it has been a great joy to get to know so many talented fiber artists via the Brownie Knits 2015 Block Blanket-Along and the BrownieKnits YouTube video podcast. The immense amount of talent that is out there is overwhelming and should be shared! Let's make this blog space a place to come every other Friday and be inspired by each other. If you would like to write a guest blog post, be interviewed by me, or let me use some of your project photos and information on a post, please contact me at or in Ravelry message as BrownieKnits.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Outside Office

One of the nice things about working from home is that the home "office" can be wherever! Sometimes that means working outside. Whenever the weather is nice, I spend morning and early afternoon working on the back deck. I pop on my headphones to listen to a podcast, grab my knitting needles, and enjoy the lovely green of the outdoors while designing.

It is hard to believe when we moved into our house that there was NOTHING in this back yard. We planted all of these trees, built the fence and deck together, and put in some minimal landscaping and grass. Fast forward 13 years and! 

This was supposed to be a dwarf pear tree. It was supposed to stay small. It arrived as a stick and now it is taller than our house and has not produced a single pear. Who knows what it really is, but it provides great shade and has a lovely rustle sound when it blows.

The pansies have since been replaced with summer flowers, but they were beautiful while they lasted.

This lovely engraved stone lives next to one of our trees. It was a gift from a friend and has one of Patrick's poems on it.

Those large bushes in the background are lovingly named after our friends because they were planted when I hosted a bridal shower in the back yard. So, Carol and Sam (the bushes) are getting bigger every year.

The hostas under the center tree are the newest additions. Hopefully, they take in this spot now that there is so much shade. Before this tree grew large enough, EVERYTHING we tried under there just burned up. Even the full sun, low water plants. So far, the hostas are doing great.

Kennedy loves hanging out in her yard.

A much better view than I had from my corporate job years ago!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Swap for All Seasons 2015

One of the fun things that I signed up for in 2015 is the Swap for All Seasons swap group in Ravelry. Four times a year (i.e. once a season), we put together a swap package for our assigned swap partner and exchange our packages. I was lucky enough to get assigned to Hanna, who lives in Finland. It has been great fun getting to know her and learn a bit about her culture. One of the rules for this particular swap group is that each package must include a handmade item. I love that you get to create something for each other. How fun! It has also been enjoyable to swap some indie crafters for swap items. Here are some photos and info about our spring and summer packages!

Spring swap package I sent to Hanna! I went with a golf theme because she likes to collect golf balls with logos on them. Having grown up in French Lick around the golf courses, a friend of mine helped me get a ball from the Pete Dye course that was across from my house growing up. (FYI: The Senior PGA was recently held there.) 

For the yarn component, Hanna wanted to try some of the fun US sock yarns. Well, there is nothing better than Dancing Dog Dyeworks!

This little golf-themed project bag is from Prairie Bag Works and you can find her on Etsy here.

The fun little golf ball stitch markers with a golf bag are from Jill's Handmade Stuff and you can find her on Etsy here. (I LOVE her stitch marker sets that come with holders, too. She also has jewelry in her shop.) The knitted hat is made using Anzula's For Better or Worsted (currently my favorite worsted weight yarn) and the pattern is Greystone by Melissa Thomson. It was a fantastic knit!


Here is the lovely package that I received from Hanna for my spring package. She already knows me well with all that red! The napkins are long gone as we enjoyed using them each night at dinner. The hair products and yummy candy is also all gone! Hanna made the jeweled shawl pin and even twisted the wire for the heart portion of the shawl pin. The little pen cozy is adorable, isn't it? 

The yarn is a lovely lace weight from Knitlob's Lair from Finland. Isn't it beautiful? 

And this perfect little handmade bag!

For the summer package that I sent to Hanna, I wanted something bright and cheerful! I made her this project bag with fabric that reminded me of a crocheted project she was working on. I stuffed it full of some yarn, fiber, and other goodies. I tossed in some Pop Rocks for her two boys to try out. 

The fiber is the Melted Popsicle colorway from Woolly Jen and you can find her Etsy store here. Isn't it perfect for summer? The yarn is from River's Edge Fiber Arts.

I crocheted up one of my Eva's Neckerchiefs for Hanna using some Pagewood Farm's Denali. It matches her new glasses so well and looks fantastic on her! (I just love her haircut with it, too!)

Her hubby enjoys Sudoku and is busily working the puzzles. I am a total Sudoku addict and play it on my tablet every day.

This is the awesome package that Hanna sent me for summer! The soap has such a fresh and pleasant scent and I have it in my newly organized (more on that later) kitchen. The little garter fingerless mittens were knitted by one of her friends out of a Noro yarn. Don't you just love the comfort of garter stitch? The tea...oh...the...tea! It is delicious! They are different sorts of flavors than a normal tea and my favorite is the ice cream. Yummy. She's already promised to replenish my supply in the fall package!

More yarns from Finland!!! Teetee Elegant in a lace weight...

...and Nalle Taika in a sport. Can't wait to turn this one into socks in August!

Hanna made me these crown-themed markers and they are gorgeous. One of them is living on my True Friend sweater and the other is going to become a zipper pull for a bag that I plan to sew up using my leftover fabric from the bag I made for Hanna. 

One of the fun things about this year-long swap is that you get to constantly be on the lookout for items for the next package. I have an autumn-theme already in development and can't wait to kit it together. Do you participate in knitting and crochet swaps? What is your favorite thing to send or receive?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Brownie Knits Episode 18: Knits, Crocheted Socks, & Travel!

Welcome to episode 18 of the BrownieKnits video podcast! In this episode, there is a little bit of chat, some knitting, crocheted socks, and some travel stories. Grab some knitting or crochet and join me for a bit!

Finished Object:

Desert Vista Dyeworks Viso Socks in Top Gun colorway

Works in Progress:

True Friend sweater by Veera Valimaki out of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Dahlia and Smokestack

Ultimate Crochet Socks by Dorothy Hardy out of custom-dyed Knit Picks Bare Fingering

Other mentions:

Ohio Valley Natural Fibers (

Seriel podcast

Undisclosed podcast

Criminal podcast

Bag upcycled by FeltedFlowerShop on Etsy.

Parisian and Italian fabrics shown were both found on

Finish yarns: Teetee Elegant and Novita Nalle Taika

Ask the Podcaster shout outs:




Many thanks to Hurja-Hanna for the amazing swap package and KnittingDogz for the gifted True Friend pattern.

Register for the Mystery Giveaway (July 2015) on the Brownie Knits board!!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A Tour of Socks and a Crocheted Sock-Along!

At the beginning of the year, one full day was devoted to organizing my yarn stash. During that epic experience, yarns that were the most appealing were placed into the 2015 project basket. A lot of the skeins were fingering weight sock yarn and the adventure of making a pair of socks a month started. Here is a little tour of the journey so far.

January - City Girl

Yarn: Turtlepurl Striped Turtle Toes in City Girl
Needle: US 1 (2.25mm)
Method: 64 sts; Magic Loop; garter stitch heel; cuff down

February - Gingerbread Houses

Yarn: Dancing Dog Dyeworks Twist Sock in Gingerbread Houses
Needle: US 1 (2.25mm)
Method: 64 sts; Magic Loop; Fish Lips Kiss heel; cuff down

March - Nano

Yarn: Turtlepurl Striped Turtle Toes in Nano
Needle: US 1 (2.25mm)
Method: 64 sts; Magic Loop; Fish Lips Kiss heel; cuff down

IU Basketball Socks - 2014/2015 Season

Yarn: Yarn Hollow Bitty in Chili Red and Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Antler
Needle: US 2 (2.75mm)
Method: 64 sts; Magic Loop; toe up with afterthought heel
Knitted in red for 8 rows when the team won and cream when they lost.

April - Neon Beach

Yarn: Regia Fluormania Color in Neon Beach
Needle: US 1 (2.25mm)
Method: 64 sts; Magic Loop; Fish Lips Kiss heel; cuff down

May - Chorange

Yarn: Knit Picks Fingering dyed by me with Cherry and Orange Kool-Aid
Needle: US 1 (2.25mm)
Method: 64 sts; Magic Loop; Fish Lips Kiss heel; cuff down

There will be some cozy feet in this house next winter! It just might call for a clearing out of store-bought socks to make room for #operationsockdrawer. (FYI: If you are on Instagram, do give a search for that #. The various socks people are making are tremendous!) The June socks are just off the needles and I will share those in the podcast episode 18. The July socks are going to be a bit of a cheat!!! They just might be started in June because they are too exciting to resist. So, what's the deal? Well...

I will be using this pretty in pink skein of yarn that my dear friend Christina of A Knitter's Life dyed for me. To make it even more special, I am going to (gulp) crochet the socks instead of knit them. Well, I can't take on that challenge alone so if any of you want to join in our Crocheted Sock-Along, hop over to and join in the fun on the Brownie Knits group. We will be crocheting our socks throughout June and July of 2015. We are sharing links to pattern suggestions, the yarn we have selected, and just generally helping each other along the way. Cheers to cozy feet!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Blogging from the Midwest: A Tour of a Farmer's Market

It feels like I should have a line here in a movie voice that says..."I'm baaaaaaaaackkkkk!!!" My long hiatus wasn't planned and sort of happened a bit by accident, really. After starting the podcast, writing the blog each week became a little daunting. After writing for over five years, a little break was in order, but now I'm back and refreshed and ready to share, chat, and write. Grab a snack and some knitting or crochet and join me in this space where I will post blog posts on the weeks when I don't release a podcast. 

Summer weather has arrived here in the Midwestern US and after years of spending money on trying to grow our own vegetables and failing miserably, we decided to turn the garden into a grilling station. Great call because it is already getting a lot of use! AND, we are getting great fresh veggies each week at our local farmer's market. Every Saturday morning, we head over with Kiki to the market. She LOVES going and somehow wakes up knowing that it is "FM" day. (Yes, we can't say Farmer's Market without her going insane with excitement.) 

One of my favorite things about this little market are the explosions of color at every stand. This artistic little stand is packed full of fresh veggies and flowers. 

The fresh-picked Indiana strawberries are AMAZING. We enjoyed these with some cheese and wine will watching the Belmont. Don't they just look delicious?!?

Crate after crate at this local farm stand...can't wait for their fresh corn to be ready for grilling!

The lovely flowers are just gorgeous. When my pansies are done for the spring, I'll be looking over these beauties to plant. Do you have a local outdoor market where you live? What items do they have in your area of the world? Feel free to comment on the blog or to pop over to the Brownie Knits board on and chat about the blog posts.

I did want to call out this stand specifically because it was adorable! The artist is Artfully Dished Up and you can find her on Facebook at this link. By clicking on the Events tab, you can see her schedule for upcoming shows. The hanging plate decorations were so clever and I absolutely fell in love with her teapot and cup sets. 

You can't get the one on the far left because...

I snagged it for my yard!

Kennedy has her own favorite stand...homemade dog treats! I hope you enjoyed a little tour of our local market. I can't wait to hear and see what you have in your part of the world.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Brownie Knits Episode 17: Blocks, Socks, Sheep, and Sewing!

Welcome to episode 17 of the BrownieKnits video podcast!!! I hope that you will join me for a sit and knit/crochet. In this episode, block 6 of the Brownie Knits 2015 Block Blanket-Along is discussed and then we delve into lots of chat about knitting, painting, sewing, and life.

Finished Objects:

Kool-Aid dyed socks

Pillowcases (sewing)

Acrylic painting


Desert Vista Dyeworks Viso in Top Gun colorway

Sheep painting!

Other mentions and shout outs:




Disascraftwork Podcast

Don't forget to register in the Brownie Knits Ravelry group Mystery Giveaway thread to win a copy of See Also Murder by Larry D. Sweazy and some lovely blood red Plymouth Happy Feet sock yarn!!! Also, there is a thread open in the Brownie Knits Ravelry group for anybody who wants to join in the crocheted sock along for June and July 2015.

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