Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.

New Publication: CraftSanity Magazine!

Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood of CraftSanity has published her first magazine!

This image belongs to CraftSanity and is from the Etsy site. Now, go buy a copy!

Jennifer and many contributors offer a variety of recipes and crafty projects in this inaugural issue. You can order the ‘zine on Etsy in the print or PDF format.

I’ve followed Jennifer for a couple years now on CraftSanity and encourage you to check out her new product. I’m sure it’s wonderful! (I haven’t gotten a copy yet, but plan to.)


Canning tomatoes and sweater update

This weekend I canned 7 quarts of diced tomatoes and 3 pints of salsa, loaded with peppers — jalapenos, a few cayenne, banana peppers (sweet and hot) and some green pepper.

 (All photos by E.A. Seagraves. Do not use without permission.)

One quart didn’t get quite full of tomatoes, so I topped it off with water.

I also finished my sweater! I still need to wash it and block it before I wear it.

The collar is supposed to be stitched together in the front, but I didn’t like it. So I clipped it and decided to let it hang.

The sweater is “Tanglewood Pullover” by Beryl Hiatt and Linden Phelps from the book “Handknit Style II.”

Chris and I also picked out some fabric for some other Christmas present projects and I started crocheting other gifts last night. Here’s the fabric we picked out (not sure why the photo is uploading sideways):

We picked the fabric up from Mountain Plain Fabrics in Hillsville, Va.. It mostly carries quilting material so the selection isn’t that varied as far as fashion fabrics go, but the fabric they do have is beautiful and the staff is incredibly helpful.

I can’t wait to stitch this fabric up and present them at Christmas!
Here are the knitting book and preserving book for the projects above. I highly recommend both. The sweaters are superb and the Ball canning book is full of useful tips and recipes.


Some alpaca yarn for Christmas gifts

I bought two skeins of yarn and a crochet scarf pattern at Peaceful Alpaca Farm, Fancy Gap, Va. See pictures and read about my visit here.

I can’t wait to see how the scarves come out!

Here’s some crochet and knitting patterns that feature alpaca fiber here:


Angry Chicken’s emailorder and flowers

It’s finally here! Amy Karol of Angry Chicken has posted eMailorder #11 — Potions and Concoctions — and it’s ready for downloading.

Amy had asked her blog readers if we wanted a compilation of all her various homemade remedies and goodies. I’ve been looking forward to it for a bit now, especially the lip balm, deodorant and the shampoo recipes.

In Amy’s description, here’s what you can find in this new download: Mullein Oil, Shampoo and Detangler, Facial Oil, Eye Compress, Herbal Toner, Vapor Rub, Facial Cleanser, Bugs Don’t Like Me Balm, Favorite Tea, Hair Spray, Lip Balm, Baby Bottom Spray, Plantain Poultice for Stings, Magic Tooth Cleaning Solution, Deodorant, and Elderflower Cough Syrup

I’ll report back as I give ’em a try.

You can find the eMailorder here. You can buy it using PayPal.

Also, check out this crocheted magnet Nannie made me. My grandma is one of the crafty ladies that retaught me how to crochet when I picked up the hook again a couple years ago.

Ain’t it cute? Spring’s on the way, folks!

I may make my own copy and post the pattern here for y’all so you can make your own.

Nannie created this cutie using one a friend gave her many years ago as a copy. Her flower magnet has been on her frig for years and she thought she’d copy it and give some away.

New Feature: Where to shop

Some colorful yarn found at What’s Needlin’ Ewe, a yarn shop in Mount Airy, N.C./ All photos by E.A. Seagraves

Go check out my feature on What’s Needlin’ Ewe, a Mount Airy, N.C., yarn shop owned by mother and daughter duo, Sharon and Natalie Johnson, on my blog Small Travels and Musings.

Where to Shop: What’s Needlin’ Ewe

Some colorful yarn found at What’s Needlin’ Ewe, a yarn shop in Mount Airy, N.C./ All photos by E.A. Seagraves

Mount Airy, N.C. is a destination for many folks, especially those wanting to see the city the fictional town of Mayberry, made famous in “The Andy Griffith Show,” was supposedly modeled after.

One of my favorite places to visit is What’s Needlin’ Ewe, owned by mother and daughter duo, Sharon and Natalie Johnson, natives of Mount Airy.

Sharon Johnson adjusts some yarn in a suitcase she found at a thrift store and had refurbished.

What it is
What’s Needlin’ Ewe is a new yarn shop, celebrating its sixth month anniversary this Sunday. Happy anniversary, Sharon and Natalie!
The walls of the shop are lined with fluffy yarn balls of color and needles. Some of the yarns are so soft, you’d want to fill a bathtub full and climb in.
A couch and a table with chairs make a comfortable place for knitting gab sessions and classes.
On my visit for the interview, several spinners sat in a far corner. Not only does Natalie knit and crochet, she spins and dyes yarn. “I don’t know how to weave, but I want to learn,” she said. The shop recently hosted the Spin Off Fiber Guild of Winston-Salem.
Sharon is a knitter. “I can crochet, but it’s not my cup of tea.” She’s been knitting since a neighbor taught her how when she was 12.
Although Sharon taught Natalie some of the basics, Natalie is mostly self-taught and started dabbling in fiber arts when she was 10.
Natalie Johnson and son, Parker, 11 months, do a little spinning.
The Back Story
“This was on our bucket list,” Sharon said when asked how What’s Needlin’ Ewe got started.
“I knew we had talked about it, but I didn’t think it would be something we’d actually do,” Natalie said. She was 9 months pregnant last March when they decided to open the store.
“I sat down and said, ‘Let’s do it and stop talking about it,'” Sharon said. They researched yarn shops “from here to Colorado” picking out the elements of each shop that they liked.
Knit-N-Purl of Myrtle Beach, S.C., became their inspiration and model. “I said, ‘This is it,'” Sharon recalled when she first walked into the store. “We felt welcome. It was homey. We walked in at 5:55 p.m. and the store closes at 6 p.m. But they said for us to come on in.”
The Johnsons credit the South Carolina business with providing a lot of advice and tips on their business plan. “They’re very open and wonderful people,” Sharon said.
With their own shop, Sharon and Natalie strive to create a welcoming atmosphere where knitters of all levels can feel free to come in, sit and knit.
Sharon admits their customer base is not what they expected. “We thought we’d get people already knitting, but we found more of our audience is people who didn’t know anything.
“Some (people) come in here and don’t know what a knitting needle is, but want to look around,” Sharon said. “They say, ‘It’s so pretty in here.'”
Because of this, the yarn shop’s first advanced knitters classes didn’t draw any participates. So they went back to the drawing board and offered more beginners classes.
Since then, Sharon said they’ve built up a good group of core customers to whom they’ve taught most of their basic skills. Natalie said that core group is 30-40 people.
“We’ve been accused of classes being social time, but that’s not our fault,” Sharon said, laughing.
Plymouth Yarns are some of the products found at What’s Needlin’ Ewe.
What you can find here
Yarns: Fibra Natura, Berroco, Great Adirondack, Brown Sheep Company, Cascade, Plymouth, ArtYarns
Needles: Addi, Crystal Palace, Kollage square needles, Lantern Moon
Classes: beginners, advanced, sit and knit sessions, socks, spinning
From the Blue Ridge Parkway, head south on U.S. 52 from the Milepost 199.5 in Fancy Gap. Follow the signs to downtown Mount Airy. The store is located at 411 N. Main St., next to Leon’s Burger Express.
From the south, travel U.S. 52 North to Mount Airy. Follow the signs to downtown.
From the north, take Interstate 77 south to Mount Airy/N.C. 89. Follow the signs to downtown.
Here’s a map if you need some visual help.

Other places you can them
Besides the shop’s Web site, you can join the What’s Needlin’ Ewe group on Ravelry here.
Natalie can also be found at Knit Fit Knitting and Handpainted Socks.
Natalie also cohosts the Knitting in the Round podcast with Leslie Shelor, owner of Greenberry House, a yarn shop in Meadows of Dan, Va.
Know of any businesses, interesting people or places near the Blue Ridge Mountains and Parkway? If so, post a comment below or send me information for future feature possibilities.

Merry (Belated) Christmas!

I’m finished! The shawl for my mother-in-law is ready to be dropped in the mailbox.
The shawl was knitted from yarn my mother-in-law already had on hand. Her mother gave it to her years ago — the date on the yarn is 1977!
My mother-in-law has held on to the yarn, hoping to find a way to use it. She’d tried to crochet with it, and so did I, but the yarn was too difficult to pick up stitches. So I knitted it with circular needles instead.
I hope I can get this belated Christmas gift — and a note — in the mail tomorrow.