Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.

FO: Green Spring Shrug

I weaved in the tails of the Green Spring Shrug in time to wear it during my final course exam for Normal Body Systems 1 (NBS 1) Friday.

Green Spring Shrug front

I, at first, didn’t like how the shrug looked on me. It seemed like it would look better on someone of a taller stature. After wearing it all day Friday, I’ve changed my mind. I love it!

Here’s a shot of the back:

Green Spring Shrug back

My new sewing room!

I’m looking forward to sewing in my new craft space!

Louis sewing room View 2

Louis sewing room View 1

It would be better, though, with different flooring. Carpet traps a lot of dirt and isn’t a great option for people with dust mite allergies and other respiratory problems. Maybe one day we can save up a little money to replace it. That may be awhile since I’ll be in school for 4 more years!

The new space, like the former one, is in the basement. This basement has less windows than our old one, but I should be able to sew more comfortably with track lighting, more controlled temperatures and less water. The old space limited my sewing time because of the lighting, temperature and, occasionally, dampness.

The former sewing spot in Va. We had dissembled the table for easier transport.

The former sewing spot in Va. We dissembled the table for easier transport.

With lots of windows, the former basement let in a lot of sunshine, but in the summer, the hours between 3-5 p.m. were unbearable because the sun would heat up the space. And at night, I didn’t have very much lighting. I often had to use a floor lamp positioned directly over my head to thread the needle.

In the winter, it wasn’t uncommon for the basement to be too cold to stay down there very long. The last few years, however, have been a little better since we added more insulation around the basement perimeter.

Then, like many basements, there was the occasional water during rain. It wasn’t too much of an issue, especially after Chris water sealed the walls and placed a French drain at the south wall, but water was still common during a period of rain. The new home has a sump pump and has already been water sealed, so dampness doesn’t appear to be an issue.

The first projects I plan to complete are a dress I started 3 years ago — before I returned to school — and design and make a wristlet to hold my iPhone, keys and id. The dress only needs a collar and a hem. Before the move, it had been draped over the ironing board for more than a year. I am anxious to complete it so I can wear it in this Kentucky heat!

Cooking (and baking) gets faster

One big plus to moving from 2500-feet above sea level to 466 feet? Cooking and baking are faster!

The first two loaves I’ve baked have been much browner than I’d like. Here’s a prosciutto loaf I made with hard salami.

Salami loaf

And I baked the bread for the minimum recommended time.

Last night I tried cutting the time down by five minutes. I think that did the trick.

Cheddar Loaf

This is a cheddar loaf. I haven’t cut into this gorgeous bread yet. I’m dreaming of toasting it and slathering it with mayo for a extra special egg sandwich. Or maybe making the ultimate grilled cheese and dipping it in spicy tomato soup. Mmmmm!

The prosciutto loaf, by the way, is also a new one. It was tasty and is more versatile than you might think. I spread a knock-off brand of Nutella on it a couple of mornings. It wasn’t bad. The loaf dried out a little sooner than I would have liked, but I think that’s due to the over-baking.

Both recipes, of course, came from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Bread Bible.


Oatmeal Poppy Seed Bread

I’ve never heard of oatmeal poppy seed bread, but it sounded promising.

Oatmeal Poppy SeedBread

Oatmeal Poppy Seed Bread

This recipe is from Bill Neal’s Biscuits, Spoonbread, and Sweet Potato Pie, which I’ve written about here, here and here. I bought this book at Mabry Mill a few years ago and have enjoyed reading the history of various recipes and learning from Neal’s tips.

Neal created this bread recipe from different old Southern recipes. I think it works nicely.

Sliced oatmeal bread

I don’t usually make loaves with more wheat than bread flour. This recipe has a ratio of 3:1:1 of wheat, bread flour and oatmeal. Surprisingly, this bread doesn’t crumble as I thought it would. I meant to put in a tablespoon of additional wheat gluten, which is supposed to hold loaves together more, but forgot. Seems like I didn’t need to.

The bread makes delicious sandwiches and, I bet, would make great French toast.



Green Spring Shrug

I’m making the Pimlico Shrug pattern found in Knit2Together, a book by Tracey Ullman and Mel Clark. I’m using Brown Sheep Company’s Simplicity Tweed in ST12 Water Lily Leaves, which I bought at What’s Needlin’ Ewe in Mount Airy, N.C. a couple of years ago.

Green Pimlico Shrug

This yarn was selected for this cardigan pattern, but it turns out the yarn is way too big. Last year, I bought a bunch of yarn at the Knit and Crochet Show in Charlotte to make the Pimlico Shrug, but all of the skeins are too small.

Luckily, the Brown Sheep Company yarn works perfectly for the shrug though I was missing a couple of skeins. I ordered 2 skeins from Creative Yarns of Georgia. The new skeins aren’t from the same dye lot, but I think the colors match well enough for me to use them. Creative Yarns was the only place I could find online that still has Water Lily Leaves in stock.

My stash of Water Lily Leaves is from Dye Lot 003. The Creative Yarn skeins are from Dye Lot 005.

My stash of Water Lily Leaves is from Dye Lot 003. The Creative Yarn skeins are from Dye Lot 005.

While at the Knit and Crochet Show, my sister found Yarn Pro, an iPhone app that’ll help you find suitable substitute yarn for your projects. You plug in the yard/meters and oz/grams of the yarn called for in the pattern and the measurements of the yarn you’d like to use and the app will tell you whether it’s a good idea to use the yarn. The app also helps you compare your gauge to the pattern’s gauge and allows you to compare needle sizes.

The Brown Sheep Yarn happens to be a little thicker than what’s called for in the Pimlico Shrug pattern, but it’s suitable enough to use as a substitute. So far the app’s paid for itself by eliminating some frustration!

A nice note

Yesterday I received a nice note from the Meals on Wheels program director of my hometown in North Carolina. I sent several cards to the program and another here in Virginia several weeks ago.

One of the seniors who received a card told the director (with punctuation corrected), “I’m very appreciative that someone thought to give me a Valentine Card. It has been so long since I have received one and for it to be homemade adds a special touch. It warms my heart.” I’m glad someone appreciated the cards!

Making cards for seniors and others in the community is something Crafters for Christ has done for the past couple of years. Sometimes when you do something, you never hear or see the impact. It’s nice once in awhile to see you actually made a difference in someone else’s life.

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Valentine’s Day Cards

I forgot to share this with you! I made several of these cards for a project with Crafters for Christ last month, as well as some extras. I used the Cricut Mini to cut out the shapes. What do you think?

2014 Valetine's Day Cards


I know you may find them a little cloying, but I like them. Most went to our church’s college students. You should have seen the beautiful ones other Crafters made. I minister with a creative bunch of ladies!

I also made several for senior citizens. I hope they brought joy to whomever received them!