Apr 25, 2010

Mr. Hoppity Pants becomes a bunny

Adachi's most complex knitting project to date: A big foot bunny she has named "Mr. Hoppity Pants". She completed all the knitting; I did the seaming, and both girls helped me with the stuffing.

Mr Hoppity Pants - Parts

Mr Hoppity Pants - Assembly

Mr Hoppity Pants - Face

Mr Hoppity Pants - Finished!

Mr Hoppity Pants - Finished!

Another successful Munchkin Creation

Mar 6, 2010

Yoo Hoo! Spring!

When I took the time to look around, I found some pretty uplifting signs that Spring will, in fact, come again. A couple nice reminders were right outside of my front door:

Hidden Nest

Hidden Nest

Camo Grasshopper

Camo Grasshopper

I feel encouraged by this natural reassurance that the creatures will come out again soon enough to celebrate the return of warm weather and renewal along with us. I have to say though, the weather here has been quite chilly (in the 30s this week!), and it has been a wonderful excuse to put my woolly wardrobe to use.

Jan 23, 2010

Ten Things

I was inspired by the openness and honesty of this photo and meme posted by Sharon; and you know what they say about imitation and flattery...

Photo credit goes to my munchkins (who would never say it's weird that mommy wants pictures of herself all sweaty after a run)

10Things Mosaic

I've parted ways with 18 pounds since this time last year. Yay!

1. I dream almost every night; more nightmares than I'd like, but also some very revealing scenarios.

2. In the last 10 years, I have given up 3 of my very favorite things for the sake of better health - dairy (except butter), chocolate, and wine. It still stings a little, but they are slowly being replaced by an addiction to daily exercise.

3. I worry constantly about being a good mother. Mine is awesome, and she set a high standard.

4. I'm becoming less sociable as I get older, and I'm OK with that. Some of you reading this are saying "Um...yeah, right."

5. I have 2 herniated discs. Most of the time I pretend that I don't so that I can continue doing what I want to do, not what my body tries to tell me I should be doing.

6. Good music with a strong bass line makes me ridiculously cheerful.

7. I'm convinced I married the only man on earth patient enough to put up with me. I feed him well though, and I think that's a fair trade.

8. I knit.

9. I believe I have experienced what is known as a "Runner's High". I want more.

10. I spend oodles of my downtime hours lurking on Facebook, Ravelry, and Flickr. These are easily my favorite online hangouts, and I don't think this will change anytime soon.

Jan 9, 2010

New Habits

I'm going to use this space to start documenting the new habits I've been developing latetly. That way when I forget my productive path, I can look back here and remind myself that sometimes I have great ideas and they pan out well, and they work for the greater good.

Recent New Habit - Project Packs

I've started using my umpteen hours on Ravelry for more of the organizational benefit for which I originally signed up. I can spend hours on that site browsing patterns, people's projects, and the forums. Unfortunately, that doesn't directly increase the amount of actual knitting that I get done - go figure! I'm not making any commitments to stop being a Ravelry junkie, but I am trying to spend a bit of time each visit doing something that does contribute toward my larger goals. One of those goals is to pair patterns and projects more often, and plan ahead for things to knit. This is meant to accomplish 2 things primarily - (1) use my stash since I have gone Cold Sheep this year, and (2) reduce the amount of pattern hunting and replace it with more pattern making. Enter Project Packs...

Project Pack - LB Cowl

The filtering feature in Ravelry's project pages that allows me to see the yarns that are already in my stash and have been used for a project is GENIUS. It's like most of the thinking has been done. All that's left is for me to make a nice crisp copy of the pattern and put it in a Ziploc Bag with the selected yarn. When I finish a project, or when startitis hits, these are like ready-made solution kits! Don't get me started on how this has re-shaped my thinking about the many "one ball wonders" I own - OY!

Now...I don't want to become an environmental hazard with too many print outs and plastic either , so I'm doing something similar electronically. When I find a project on Ravelry and see some good options in my stash for making it, I will use my stash page to store links in the Yarn's notes section under "Project Ideas". In this format, when I'm browsing my stash online (and I do that alot now, it's like virtual shopping without any effort or additional expense), I can see what I had in mind for many of the yarns; the potential is intoxicating!

Dec 30, 2009


The time has come again...

The sun is setting on another year...

My theme for 2010: "Begin as you mean to go on...".

Nov 29, 2009

Project Parade

Even though the writing here has been slow, the knitting continues!

I have recently joined some of the other members in the Stash and Burn Podcast group on Ravelry in an adventure we're calling "Going Cold Sheep" - like going cold turkey, but with yarn. This was an idea that one of the members brought to the group as a way to suggest more mindful use of, and less random buying of yarn. Essentially, a yarn diet - though that word is really not welcome chez BrownBerry for any "lifestyle" type activity.

Those of us who have made the cold sheep pledge (and recited the Cold Sheep Serenity Prayer) have chosen a time period within which we won't buy any yarn. My commitment began on September 1, 2009 and will end on September 1, 2010. Yep. One year...no new yarn. Except....and of course there must be exceptions - all good habits must make room for moderation. My buying exceptions include yarn for my Etsy store items, yarn bought as a souvenir (2 trips max), yarn that is traded for stash or gifted to me without solicitation, and yarn for gifts that require specific yarn (due to allergies, or recipient's choice).

So far, I'm 3 months successful - I've been shopping from my PYS (Personal Yarn Shop) in the guest room, and working project to project. Here's what has come off the needles recently:

2 Thorpe Hats (and a partridge in a pear tree!):

Thorpe in Handspun BFL

This Thorpe was done in a thick-and-thin handspun gifted to me by my knit buddy Suse. I didn't realize that I would be such an instant fan of handspun yarn, but there is something about yarn in its near-to-original state that I really enjoy. The smell, the feel, the thought that someone put so much effort into making yarn that I can then convert into something cute and useful. A joy! Of course, without the benefit of the standard yarn ball band, I have no idea how many yards this used up, but I was thrilled to find just the right pattern to compliment it. I made the largest size (22") on size 9 needles, and then hand felted it in a sink full of hot water to make it more dense and snug. The burgundy trim is Kraemer's Mauch Chunky yarn in the color Bing Cherry.

My other Thorpe is done in 2 colors of Plymouth Encore (wool/acrylic blend):


This stash yarn is about as old as my knitting journey (5 years +), and is still one that I enjoy using for different types of projects. The pattern calls for a bulky yarn, so I used this held double throughout, and though I wasn't sure about the thickness at first, I know from experience that this will soften with washing. I made it as a gift for a friend who's mom recently passed away, and I felt very fortunate to be able to give it to him in person shortly after hearing about his loss. It was a late birthday gift that turned out to be right on time. I used size 9 needles for the body of this one as well, but I switched to size 7's for the garter stitch brim to pull it in a bit more. Top down hats are really ideal for getting better sizing. I would definitely knit this again - thank you Kristin Kapur!

And finally, my latest favorite FO:

Hypoteneuse, by Anne Hanson

Hypoteneuse Shawl

Hypoteneuse Shawl

I knit the garter borders on each end on size 7 needles and the body in size 9. This pattern is so rhythmic. Like all lace, you get this nifty sense of accomplishment every time you complete a repeat, and it wasn't long before the formula "clicked" and I no longer needed to refer to my pattern print out. I'll admit I don't buy patterns often, and this is only the 2nd shawl I have knit from a paid pattern, but just like the last time - it turned out exactly the way I had hoped, and I was ready to cast on for another one as soon as I finished! The yarn is Patons Classic Merino in Plum Heather - so perfectly named. I've raved about my love for Patons Classic before - it's durable, non-splitty, the colors are rich and come in a very useful variety. I find it knits up true to ball band gauge for me in most cases, and gains a significant drape when blocked.

Next in line - some cheerfully bright golf club covers from a pattern by my friend Sarah. Though the recipient bought this yarn, I still consider it stash and part of my cold sheep tally. I encourage you to join us if you want to start your new year a bit lighter in the yarn department!