Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Fair-isle gloves and mittens are really some of the most beautiful knitted objects. It doesn't matter if they are modern designs, like those from designer SpillyJane, or the more traditional designs, like those from the lovely book Selbuvotter, I think that they're all stunning. These feeling are only strengthened on the rare occasion that I make a pair myself.

Part of the reason that such mittens are so wonderful is the Shetland wool that they're traditionally made from. Shetland has a reputation for felting if you so much as look at it crossly, but this allows the stranding to hold together and will eventually cause the gloves to felt in the shape of the wearer's hands. The Shetland used for these particular gloves was the wonderful Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift.

Dare I say that my favorite part of working with this yarn is how beautifully it spit splices? Spit splicing my preferred joining technique when the yarn allows it. It leaves no tails to weave in and makes me feel like I'm doing a little magic with only my saliva (or water, if that's the way you roll). Spit splicing is right next to turning a heel on my knitting favorites list, it's just that magical.

While there is something incredible about fair-isle gloves, they really are a lot of work. These gloves for example, which are pattern Annemor #8 from the aforementioned Selbuvotter book, where quite fiddly in the the fingers. All this leads me to the conclusion that I'm not going to become a die-hard fair-isle knitter, but I won't say no to future fair isle projects either--as long as they are mittens and not gloves.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I'm currently laid up with a cold, so the knitting I was hoping to show off today is not quite done. Instead, I'm sharing some inspiration with you in the form of journals.

I've recently fallen in love with the idea of collecting random doodles, design ideas, and snippets of poetry in journals. Part of this inspiration comes from reading the beautifully drawn travel journal 'French Milk' and part from my desire to draw decently. As my organized nature wants to have a journal for each separate purpose, I've amassed a small collection of them over the past few months.

One of the first journals in my collection was the butterfly journal which became my 'happiness journal'. This little book is filled with lists of things I love, descriptions of moments that made me happy, and inspiring quotes and poems. For example, I have a page dedicated to reasons why I love Autumn and these two pages (below) record a favorite poem, Litany by Billy Collins. Happiness indeed.

One of the appeals of journals (and the reason I have so many) is that they come in different forms. I'm particularly happy to have found a set of Jill Bliss mini-journals at Target recently which are filled with graph paper. These are probably all destined to become design journals as I've already started filling one with design ides for an upcoming enameling class.

Finally, I can't talk about journals without mentioning the classic Moleskine. I really like unlined Moleskines as their heavy-weight paper is perfect for doodling in pen. My big Moleskine journal is filled with my attempts to create Celtic knots and I think some of the smaller ones will be filled with random sketches.

One or two of these journals will probably end up my purse for sketching and notes on-the-go. Hopefully with a little practice and encouragement, all of this journaling will result in greater creativity!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

On Top

I'm proud to present my very first quilt top:

Not too bad for my first attempt, huh? The design is my own, though I was inspired by a couple modern quilts that I've seen around the internet, and I tried to make everything simple to cut and piece together. This was mostly achieved by having the column widths at 1/2, 1/4, and 1/8 the width of a normal bolt of quilting fabric. Simple math always wins, especially for the first project using a new technique.

Now that I'm done with the quilt top, I really have no idea what to do from here. Fortunately, the wonderful folks at my local quilt shop were more than happy to help me calculate how much fabric I need for the backing and give me tips for how to assemble the quilt. And then they sold me a small fortune in fabric (why is is that I always fall in love with the most expensive prints?).

Now that the top is done, I think I'm going to take a break from quilting for a while and get back to knitting. There has been a sad lack of knitted finished object on the blog recently which I hope to remedy next week!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011


I'm totally addicted to the internet and it doesn't help when I discover awesome websites like Pinterest. Pinterest lets users to create mood boards and share them with friends. It's not really a crafting website but between the customizable board themes and a lot of crafty friends, I've found Pinterest to be an endless source of artistic inspiration.

Pinterest boards can be populated with photos from blogs, Flickr, Ravelry, or wherever else you like to hang out on the internet. When you find a photo you like, you simply click on the Pinterest-provided button in your browser, choose the board you're pinning to, provide a short description, and the photo goes up. Couldn't be simpler.

Beyond organizing your ideas on a given theme, the real strength of Pinterest is in sharing your pins and seeing all of your contact's pins. It's amazing to see the types of photos that inspire each person, from the quotes they choose to pin to the clothing or hairstyle photos they add to their boards. Some of the most inspiring things I've seen on Pinterest come from my contacts' pins (below).

The other Pinterest feature that I really like is being able to search photo descriptions across all users, like in the search I did below for 'terrarium'. If I have an idea in my head, I always find it helpful to see similar things that others have done. And believe me, all of these great terrarium photos are really fueling my creative inklings.

Finally, I should put in the disclaimer that Pinterest is a relatively new site, so it has a waiting list. You can either sign up for the waiting list (my wait on the list was about a week and a half) or a friend with a Pinterest account can send you an invite. I hope this small barrier to getting onto Pinterest will not keep you from enjoying this wonderful resource.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

English Breakfast Tea Socks

I'm delighted to announce a new pattern, the English Breakfast Tea Socks! This pattern is the first in a 'Tea Time' themed series of patterns. The goal of the series is to explore tea time in all of its forms (afternoon tea, the morning cuppa, how tea-drinking varies by season, etc.). This first pattern represents the warmth and joy that the first few sips of tea bring to my day.

My inspiration for designing these socks was quiet mornings in wintertime, when no one else in the house is up yet. Armed with a sweater, a pair of wool socks, and a cup of strong black tea, I can enjoy a peaceful moment all to myself. In the half-light of a winter morning, this really is bliss.

The socks themselves echo this simple idea of tea time with a simple knit-purl stitch pattern. They are worked in KnitPicks Stroll (formerly Essential) on size 2 needles and are sized woman's medium. I've both written out and charted the stitch pattern, which is mirror-imaged between the right and left sock.

In addition to the pattern, all offerings in the Tea Time series will come with tips on brewing tea and a bonus recipe. This particular pattern offers tips for brewing these socks' namesake tea and a recipe for cherry granola, which is one of my favorite ways to start the day (besides the obvious cuppa).

You can purchase the pattern through Ravelry, as well as find more information there, or you can purchase it directly with this link for $5.

Questions? Contact me at brineydeepdesigns_at_gmail_dot_com!