Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Finally finished!

I've finally finished Demi! It took me a long time but only because I was out of the country!

I'm pretty happy with the results. It seems to add a built of bulk, but it is winter so I'm not going to worry too much. The buttons on the shoulder came out a bit crooked but that can be fixed. And the sleeves blocked out pretty evenly so that is nice.

I am now about six inches into the back of "Hey, Teach!" using Rowan's Wool Cotton. I love the yarn and it's going very quickly and I am happy! More pictures later, tomorrow is Christmas Eve! Kudos to my sister for the above pictures. She came out in the cold with me in her pajamas so yay Muffin.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I'm back!

I have returned from London. It was amazing as I am sure you can imagine. There are many, many pictures over on my Flickr from England and also my travels on the Continent. Click the picture below of the Thames to take you there.

Not surprisingly, knitting was not a frequent occurrence while abroad. I was able to knit Ysolda's Gretel during many hours in a coach. I'm blaming my car sickness for the messed up cables, but otherwise I am happy with it. It is large and it keeps my head warm and it smells like sheep when it gets wet. Which happens a lot in London.

I also finished one sleeve of Demi. Then I promptly forgot what needle size I used when I knit the second one at home. That is why this crappy picture exists. I have managed to block it to the size it should be, but it is still not perfect. Now I just have the finishing which I'm not looking forward to. Soon it will be a real sweater!

Yesterday I knit this up for my aunt for Christmas. It's Ysolda's Urchin beret. I used Lion Brand Chunky which is at least soft for being acrylic. The pattern was easy once you got the hang of it and it was nice not having to knit in the round and decrease all the time.

Bonus photo: I just got this dress today from Anthropologie for $20! I had a gift card so all I paid for was tax. I am in a lot of love with it.

I bought a large amount of Rowan on sale while I was in York so that is what going to be knit up next. It was cheap even with the exchange rate! Glorious! I am thinking "Hey Teach" from the last Knitty and/or Ysolda's Liesl. Can you tell I love her? I even visited K1 in Edinborough! I just turned a corner and its blue storefront came shining out from the rain.

Finally I would like to say a word about my beautiful Lady E. I attended I Knit Day 2008 put on by I Knit London and the Yarn Harlot was there and it was a lot of fun until my Lady E was stolen. It was in my lap during a lecture and it fell to the floor without my noticing and when I came back, literally 20 seconds later, it was gone. I asked loads of people for help and the I Knit guys were really awesome but it never turned up. So curses on whoever took my scarf at a knitting convention of all places. I would have happily given you the money from my wallet instead.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

One quick litle thing...

Hey guys! I'm actually leaving for London today, but I just wanted to show off my last little project. A co-worker of mine from the library is having a baby and although I cannot attend the baby shower, I wanted to give her a little something so I whipped this up. It's a kitty baby bonnet made from this pattern from Hello Yarn.

I made the mistake of not adjusting for my gauge and my yarn so the knitting was a bit tight, especially with this particular mystery yarn. But I think it turned out cute and it will definitely be warm and everything.

I haven't decided what I'm going to do about blogging from the UK, but I will let you guys know when I do if anyone is interested in reading about my adventures. I am considering making a new blog, but I am such a terrible blogger that I know I won't keep up with it as I should. We'll see.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Wow it has been a while. But wasn't I good about consistently posting every week this summer? I am proud of myself. I only haven't been updating lately because I haven't been knitting. Isn't that terrible? I have yet to finish Demi and I leave in two days and unless some absolute magic happens, I am not going to have it finished. Here is my progress on the first sleeve. The front and back are done, but I still have the rest of this and the second sleeve to go.

So instead of actually working on it, I decided to spend all afternoon making a tote bag!

I am in such love. It only took me four hours and I think it looks really nice! The buttons were a pain, but all the sewing went super smoothly. I even made a pocket!

I needed a bag to take with me to England that was book bag sized, not just a purse. I had already made two tote bags whose sizes were completely failures, but this one was perfect.

And check out my pretty backyard! I love sunflowers. When I was a kid, my mom planted sunflowers around this dirt patch and we had this incredible sunflower fort to play in. They grew to be eight feet tall or something ridiculous. And then my brother and his friend hacked them all down in some mock battle of some kind. Ah, little brothers.

So yeah, if you didn't catch that, I am leaving in two days to spend the semester in London. I am terribly excited, but I am pretty sure the time for knitting will be slim. But if anyone has any good yarn store recommendations from across the pond, please let me know!

Finally, I want to plug my friend Joel's Etsy page. He just listed an iPod sleeve that he has sewn. They're really cool, very low key, but still good protection. They would be a great gift for a guy especially. And I'm sure if you had any custom needs, he would be more than willing to comply. He does a lot of custom messenger bags out of his blog.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Just to let you guys know, I have finally uploaded a ton of pictures from my Alaskan cruise vacation from last year. So please take a look around. I also have uploaded pictures from the Renaissance Faire and a John Green book signing event, if any of those things interest you. Having a pro account is fun!

Knitting will return shortly, but I must warn that I've kind of hit a road block when it comes to knitting the sleeves of Demi. I just can't bring myself to pick it up, even though I am leaving in LESS THAN THREE WEEKS. Ahhh.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Somebody likes alpaca...

So the rest of my family was gone this weekend, leaving me alone with the animals.

This is my dog, Tessa. Sometimes she looks really sad. Sometimes she is scared of thunderstorms and so she crawls into bed with me at 7:30 in the morning.

And this is my cat Winnie, called Soups for short (long story). After baking another batch of granola this weekend, I climbed the stairs to see her carefully avoiding eye contact. She completely ignored the attention I disposed upon her and soon I would learn why.

Dun dun dun! That is the beginning of my Gretel beret. Usually it lives in a plastic bag in my room, but someone (see image above) decided that my new alpaca would be a nice toy.

The silly cat had dragged it out of its bag, around my dresser, and into the hallway. Stinker.

I don't think I've ever showed pictures of my dresser before. For most of my life, I have been entranced by Europe and I've picked up many books from booksales, mainly on France and England. Well I decided to put all those pictures to good use and I decoupaged them onto my dresser. I really, really loved how it turned out. Someday I'll get some awesome drawer pulls from Anthropologie or something, but for now, I love this thing.

Two bonus shots for you all today:

This is my mom's antique spinning well silhouetted against our front window. It's a really neat piece, it has definitely gone on the "Things I Want Once You're Dead" list, as morbid as that is.

The second shot is of the tshirt that I made for the boy for his birthday. I think I have mentioned that he sews, and he once talked about having a shirt with stitches running all over it, so this was my interpretation. I copied the sewing machine off some image online and embroided it and then used the sewing machine to stitch out the rest of the design. There are a couple mess ups and once place where I forgot to secure the thread, but I think it is cool. I did not spend much time on it so that's as good as it was going to get.

Did I say there'd be progress shots of Demi last time? Well there will be next time! I'm almost done with the front!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

This is not so much a knitting post...

So if you weren't aware, I am spending the fall semester in London. I leave in a month and so preparations are really starting to take up my time and focus. I am still working on the Demi sweater though, I'm a couple inches into the front now. But I keep having to redo rows because I'm not paying attention. There are so many different things to keep track of with that pattern! I am going to love it when it is finished though.

Check out these shoes! I bought them because I wanted cute walking shoes to tramp around London in, not gym shoes. They were only $50 at the Naturalizer and I am so pleased. Now I just need to finish my Pomatomus socks to wear with them.
But the biggest news of all is that I bought a new camera! It's a Canon Rebel XT and I am so excited. I usually use a Canon Powershot A520, but my sister has the Rebel and I was quite envious. And I'm going to Europe, I want the best pictures I can get. Here are a couple pictures that I took while out with my friend Hannah.

But this is what really has been taking up my time. For the past few years we've fostered kittens. When they come in from the wild or other places, we keep them in our house until we can find someone to adopt them. It's a great arrangement because we always have kittens and we never keep them long enough to become cats. But this time, we have puppies. Three of them actually, Bingley, Rigby, and Paco. This is a picture of Paco with my brother's shoe that he dragged out from the house. They are cute, but a lot of work and a constant reminder that I am a cat person!

I should have some progress shots next time. Oh oh and I also finally succumbed and bought a Flickr Pro account! So all my old projects should show up now. And I am not limited by space or anything so that is awesome.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Fiber fair!!

So today my friend Hannah and I drove up to Crystal Lake for the Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Fair and it was amazing! We had never been to any fair, so this was definitely an experience for us. I was on a yarn high for most of the day. There were rooms and rooms of wool all for the buying. At one of the first booths we came to, we were introduced to needle felting. I knew about regular felting, but for some reason, I had completely missed out on having any idea what needle felting was. This booth had a table where you could create your own felt keychains. Mine isn't very good, probably because I was distracted by the hole I put in my finger with those sharp needles. But Hannah was hooked and throughout the day we kept seeing amazing pieces of art done with needle felting, so she ended up buying some supplies for that.

Here are a few shots of yarn that I was able to get. Being outside was excellent for lighting. I should've kept my camera out more, but alas, I needed both hands to touch!

Highlight of the day was definitely seeing this yarn monster. An alpaca! Is it not the cutest thing you've ever seen? They made the most adorable little noises as well. I told Hannah that if she took care of the alpacas, I would spin her yarn for her in our hypothetical yarn farm.

This sign amused me only because Brooks is my last name.

It was a very hard decision to pick something to come home with. At first I was considering some hand painted yarn from Briar Rose Fibers, but then I decided on some alpaca from Enchanted Meadows. This large hank has almost four hundred yards of blueberry colored alpaca and I paid about 30 bucks for it. I have already decided to make Ysolda's Gretel beret with it, and perhaps some mittens. I wanted to make some fair isle Norweigan style mittens, and maybe I still will, but I would like a matching hat/mittens set.

And if all that yarn wasn't tasty enough, I leave you with my first homemade granola bars! Although not as healthy as it could be, it was quite delicious. I pulled off a few recipes from the internet and just ignored the ingredients that I didn't have in the house. The recipe called for a ton of chocolate chips, but instead I substituted most of the chocolate chips for dried cherries, crasins, and peanuts. Quite delicious!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Last post: 10 days ago. Not good.

It is halfway through July. Isn't that insane? I leave for London in 43 days. I've had some homework to do so unfortunately that's been taking up some of my time. Not nearly enough as it should however.

My crafting project lineup looks like this at the moment:

Duck skirt. I bought this skirt a few years ago at Goodwill with every intention of reconning it. Finally getting around to it now. It was originally a very full, very pleated skirt that was too small for me in the waist, unless it was worn directly under the bust. I liked the duck pattern though and I wanted to make it wearable somehow. My plan is to use a skirt that I have from Anthropologie as a model in making a kind of bubble skirt. There's a waistband (which I increased by a third), a middle section, and then a lower section that is ruffled and folded so that the crease forms the bottom. So far, it is going okay... I have no confidence in my clothes constructing abilities so I am basically just winging it. Today I worked until I got stuck trying to make darts by the waist. I really want a skirt that is wintery so I can wear it with my tights and boots, so hopefully this will be it.

However, my main project at the moment is Demi from Rowan's Vintage Knits. I'm working on the back at the moment, almost ready to start the armhole decreased. It took me a while to get a hang of all the cables, but now I know the pattern pretty much by heart. The fact that the chart repeats at two different speeds does not terrify me now.

I made a few mistakes as you can tell by some of the messy cables. I'm not going to worry about it. I am not a perfectionist in knitting at all, I'm not sure why that is. Actually, I'm exactly sure why that is. I hate doing things twice. If I don't catch a mistake for a while, there's no way I'm frogging and fixing it. But at least the bobbles have turned out nicely. I think they're cute!

I also have another tshirt embroidery project that I'm working on for boy. But that's a secret. I leave you with a picture I took in a neighboring town where I went to watch my boy in a parade. Good stuff.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

I've been sewing!

Well I've been using the sewing machine quite a bit lately. I'd like to think that I'm getting better, but I don't know if that's accurate. But I used the sewing machine to sew Hannah's bag and I think it looks decent! I basically just sewed a couple of rectangles together so it wasn't very difficult.

I really like the lining though, it's leftover fabric from the curtains in our den. I was a little concerned about the strap matching the bag, but I think it looks okay. Luckily from this photo, you cannot tell that I did not cut or sew a straight line whatsoever in making the strap. And sewing the lining to the bag was a bit difficult, the yarn kept getting caught on the foot of the sewing machine and whatnot.

Now this is a tote bag that I made all by myself. It is the second tote bag that's been made for boy and I's supposed tote bag making business. The dimensions are kind of silly because I didn't know what I was doing. It's probably not good enough to sell, but I think the design is cute. I'm proud of myself anyway.

And here's the cheesecake I made last week! It was a recipe from Cooking Light magazine and it apparently their best cheesecake. I enjoyed it. It was kind of an all night affair though and I don't have that much patience for baking.

At the moment I'm a couple inches into Demi. It's officially become difficult with this insane chart and cables every other stitch. I'm not good with charts, I prefer to have directions written out for me. It's too easy to lose your place when you have like 400 little boxes in one chart. It took me like two hours to knit like 5 rows. But I'm sure I will improve. And besides this is the back, mistakes will be okay.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


As promised, I have pictures from my week with my sister's camera. Of course the minute I go to import them, her camera decides it doesn't like my computer or the other way around, so getting these up was a bit of an effort.

Here are all 18 granny squares that I finished crocheting for Hannah's bag.

And here they are blocking.
They look so nice all lined up like that. They would make a nice blanket I think. But in this life they shall be a bag. I am unsure what the strap will look like though. I am thinking about braiding i-cords or something? I was also planning on single crocheting the seams together. Suggestions? This is one of my first completely self-designed projects so I don't really know what I am doing.

Last night, while watching Into the Wild (which was quite excellent) I knitted up this swatch for Demi. Can you tell it isn't four inches? More like 3.5. Which would make sense since I used US7s for this swatch and the pattern called for US8s. My personal tension seems to differ from most others, but I guess not with this yarn. And luckily, using Ravelry, I just found out that I do have US8s circs and I was thinking I might not. I just have to find them... Still the swatch looks very nice in my opinion. It is Cascade 220 if you couldn't tell. I am curious to see what it will look like as most of the projects on Ravelry were done with a tweed and this is more of a heather.

Last thursday was the library book sale of the next town over and I picked up some awesome stuff. I got a bag full of Victoria magazines for free! Cannot beat that for sure. I haven't gone through them thoroughly, but I know I will love them.

I also got 33 books for $39. I live for used book sales okay. Look at all these great titles and most of them are in really good condition. I bought so many that I had to bring up another bookcase to my room bringing the grand total of bookcases in my room to 6. Although to be fair, one bookcase hold my stash.

I've got some more pictures that I will reserve for later posts, perhaps with an "abandoned projects" theme. So happy end-of-June everyone! Summer is halfway over!