Friday, October 20, 2017

RHINEBECK 2017 - My Saturday Sweater, Rye & Rum Punch!

Wandering around the bluffs in Scotland last summer, Jill Draper mentioned to me that she was going to be doing a little partnership with Rachel Atkinson of Daughter of a Shepherd yarns, starting with Rhinebeck this year.  Now, if you aren't familiar with both of these guys, you may not realize how fantastic a match this is, but let me tell you it's a good thing we weren't on the edge of a bluff when Jill told me, because I literally lost my footing I was so excited!

Both of these women are incredible voices in the world of wool and in keeping farming and farmers and sheep doing what they've been doing for years.  They know fiber and they know animals, and they value the people who work so hard to make yarn available to us. And, of course both of them make fantastic, beautiful yarn.

So, to celebrate this partnership, Kirsten Kapur and I each set about designing something that would feature a combination of both fibers.  Kirsten, of course, is known for gorgeous shawl designs that showcase color and texture, and I'm a sweater fan.  You can find out more about Kirsten's Targhidean  (shown on the left below) on Raverly, and I'll share a little more of the story behind Rye &Rum Punch here. 

I chose to pair Jill's Mohonk with Rachel's DK weight yarn.  While playing with the yarns to see what they may want to do together, I was smitten by the way Jill's colors shine in the dark shades of Rachel's Hebridean fiber. Every single color was gorgeous against that deep brown.  Honestly, the hardest part of designing this sweater was trying to choose only two colors for my contrast colorwork.  But I did, and I love how the simple tone on tone shading of the pinks adds a sophisticated feel to the sweater.

The inspiration behind the design was the classic LL Bean Norwegian sweater I owned back in high school, a simple navy pullover with small white flecks all over the body and sleeves.  When designing Rye & Rum Punch, I wanted a more feminine feel, so I added a more modern shape, an open neckline, and some detail along the sides and raglan seams.  I also chose to create a few solid color sections on the body and sleeves, then added deep ribbings to the cuffs and hem. And thanks to these design elements, altering length or width of your sweater won't affect the colorwork panels at all!  I do love how it updated the original, and think this is an extremely wearable sweater for my wardrobe!.  I see it with an off-white shirt tail peeking out the bottom, and a bit of the collar showing at top.

Remembering how hard it was to choose my colors, I made sure to give you a little flexibility if you want to play with your colors as well.  These motifs are simple and versatile, so you can swap and use Jill's yarn as the background and Rachel's as the accent color, or you can choose one of Jill's vareigated colorways instead of matching single skeins, letting the dye job do the striping for you. You can also play with more or fewer accent colors, add more or less "stripes" into the colorwork sequence as needed, or work the colorwork panel to a different depth - and notes on all of that are in the pattern.

All the important information is on the Ravelry page, and the pattern is for sale both there and here in the Patterns section of the blog for $7.00.

Over the weekend, both Jill's and Rachel's yarns will be available at Jill Draper's Open House on Saturday night in Kingston NY.  

If you are not at Rhinebeck or missed RSVPing to the Open House, Jill and Rachel's online shops will re-stock AFTER the festival and I will post everywhere when they are ready and back up for business.  

This weekend, the shops are closed because those two women are quite busy offline!

(However, Loop London may just have 25 skeins of the DOAS DK listed on their website at the time I'm typing this blog post, if you are in the UK.)

If you are thinking of substituting yarn, you want a nice, wooly DK weight fiber.  Gauge is 22 sts /28 rows per 4"/10cm in stockinette, based on final, blocked fabric.


As for actual Rye & Rum Punch, Jill will be making up a batch for the Open House --

The following recipe is supposed to serve 20 people, so I don't really have any reason to make some for myself right now - I'll get a photo on Saturday, I promise.

2 quarts of Rye Whiskey
1 pint Jamaican rum
1 fresh pineapple, sliced in small chunks
6 sliced oranges
4 quarts of club soda
sugar to taste

Mix Rye, and Rum and add sliced pineapple. Add orange slices as well and then pour club soda in slowly to retain carbonation.  Add sugar to taste and serve over ice cubes in punch cups!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Some yarn is just meant to be shared.  And that's what my latest pattern, Blended Scotch, is all about.

This pattern comes from the love I have for our community and a desire to do something to honor the connection we have with our knitting friends. Thanks to the internet, many of us live in different states and have very different lives from our knitting besties, which makes us get creative about our adventures. For the past 10+ years, my fiber people have become some of my closest friends and I can't even put into words how much I value the conversations and travels, and shared knitting and fantastic experiences we've had over the years. 

SO...  When I was up in New Hampshire visiting Ellen Mason, who is one of my favorite knitting people, we went down into her magical studio and she pulled out this gorgeous yarn she'd been working on with Tammy White, who is one of her favorite knitting people.

The two of them had paired Ellen's Doc Mason Wool with Tammy's Wing and a Prayer Farm fiber to create these beautiful skeins, and of course they made adorable labels and named it The Happiest Yarn.  (If you do not know those two, they are the Happiest People.)  Not only did they create beautiful skeins of the natural gray and white, but they decided to make up bags of 12 mini skeins in various hand dyed colors. There are 5 natural shades by Tammy, 5 gorgeous brights by Ellen, and a
mini each of the gray and white, all intended for a little colorwork.

I went home with a skein each of the naturals, and a bag of minis.

That's a LOT of yarn. More than one knitter is going to get to.

But I had just been in Shetland on Gudrun and MaryJane's Grand Shetland Adventure, so I had both friends and colorwork on my mind. I had been obsessed by stranded mitts the whole time, and the idea of sharing this bag of happy yarn plus making some Shetland style mitts was one that seemed TOO perfect. I was also thinking of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, where a few friends in faraway places had a pair of jeans that they shared by sending the pants and notes of their adventures to one another. Pardon the phrase "sisterhood" if your knitting circle is mixed gender - that's where the phrase came from, and it just illustrates the sharing part of this project too perfectly to not use it.. 

I created Blended Scotch, a mitt pattern that I feel is fairly straightforward, but easily modified if you're a bit more adventurous.  The colorwork is done in two sections, with plenty of straight stockinette between. The mitt has instructions for modifying either length or width, and you can omit the fingers if you want a simpler project.  For a more challenging knit, you can easily add an allover peerie pattern to the solid sections, add a motif or two in between these, or play with the charts to add more colors!  The idea is that this pattern can work for either a novice or more experienced knitter, and it can be knit in whichever colors in that big bag shout the loudest.  I wanted something that worked for all the possible levels of knitter within a bunch of friends.

We ended up with a mix of colors, 4 small and one large size pair, and one fingerless version.  These three used a solid gray background, and the fingerless pair are at the right. 

So here's the plan as I see it:

1.  Gather 4 friends, so you have 5 in your Sisterhood.  You can have less people knitting, but if you have more than 5, the 6th knitter will need to get creative about using more than one MC for the background, perhaps a different color wrist or section between the motifs....

2.  Purchase the yarn (info below on where to find it).  Each knitter should please purchase their own PDF copy of the Blended Scotch pattern, which will go in their Ravelry library. (This yarn is meant for sharing. Knitting patterns are NOT meant for sharing, and they really do pay my bills.)

3. Decide who knits first, second, third, etc, and make sure you have everyone's addresses!  The first knitter will begin with 1 skein of white, 1 skein of gray, and the bag of minis.  Each of you will choose your colors, knit a pair of mitts and send the remaining yarn onto the other knitters.

4.  As you knit, keep track of how much you use of each color. Make a card with your usage to send on with the yarn so the next knitter will know exactly how much is left of each color that remains.

5. When done with your mitts, each friend sends the remaining yarn plus the usage info (and maybe treats) onto the next knitter until you each have a pair of mitts!  There is plenty of yardage in the box for more than 5 pairs of mitts if you get creative about color usage, so the last knitter gets to keep the leftovers as a consolation for being last.  They can probably make a few more pairs of stripes or mixed color combos....

6.  (optional) Everyone meet somewhere to photograph your hands all together!!

There's one thing more I need to share, so nobody is disappointed.  The Happiest Yarn is available in limited quantities. Right now,  Ellen and Tammy have about 20 kits on hand, and they can make up about 20 more after they return from Rhinebeck if the demand is there. After that, we have to wait until June for more fiber. 

If you miss out on these and cannot wait, you can absolutely substitute yarn. I suggest Jameison of Shetland DK.   It's beautiful Scottish yarn, available in over 100 colors and it's right on gauge. Jameison's is one of the mills keeping the traditions and yarns of the Shetland Islands alive, so you can definitely feel good about purchasing yarn from them - and they fit into the whole community and friendship theme because the only way most of us (if any of us) get to visit them is when traveling to Shetland with knitting friends.

For each pair of mitts, estimate about 80(90) yds/75(85)m of a MC, about 25 yds/23m of each of 3 ACs, and about 10 yards of a fourth AC. You may use a little less of those ACs, but I estimated high so you won't run out when grabbing a short leftover bit!

Gauge is 24 sts/32 rnds per 4"/10cm in stockinette, based on final, blocked fabric.


You can purchase The Happiest Yarn at the New York Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck this weekend at the Battenkill Fibers booth, while quantities last.

After the fair, any available kits will be in Ellen's Esty Shop:

You can find Jameison's DK here:

Or here, at some of their stockists :

The Blended Scotch pattern is available here on my blog and also on Ravelry for $6 per copy. More details and photos will be on the pattern page.

A huge thanks to Sandy Aldridge, Melissa Hunter, Julie Van Cott, and Jody Batchelor Campbell, who were the Sisterhood of these beautiful mitts.  A wonderful bunch of smart, funny, amazing women I've known for years through this knitting world.  I hope you all enjoy this as much as we did.  xo

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

You know when you have a cheap, crappy sweater that you love but maybe you're a little sheepish about the fact that you love it?  Because we're knitters.  We should know better, right?

Well, that's what happened here.

I had a Forever 21 tunic that I'd bought at a thrift shop, and it was intended to be my house sweater.  Loose, plain, sleeveless and dark gray - there was nothing special about it, but I figured it would do the job and when I had to leave the house, it was way better than my dancing frogs tee shirt or Craig's big gray sweatshirt that I have a habit of stealing.

The thing is, I was not prepared to love the thing.  It was the perfect shape, hid everything that needed to be hid, and just begged for some plaid tails to peek out (I wear lots of plaid tail shirts).  It was loose and effortless and it actually did look pretty good with almost everything, so I started wearing it out.

And once that happened, I had to knit a better one.

Fast forward to last year's NH Sheep and Wool festival, during which it rained cats and dogs. I had on my yellow raincoat and the Forever 21 under it because it was the right weight, and sleeveless and warm but not too much.  And  then there was a conversation in the Green Mountain Spinnery booth and a handful of Alpaca Elegance  went home with me.

Cranberry Gose! 

I used the dimensions of the original, adding detail and real wool and some thought in the shaping.  I wanted to play with a little gansey patterning, which shows up beautifully in the subtle heather of the yarn here, but I really did keep a lot of the stockinette.  That makes for easy knitting and easy mods for both width and length.

The gansey detail is added in staggered columns for a subtle dip at center, and then shoulders are shaped with short rows, which makes a beautiful V in the diamonds along the seams.  You only have a few rows of pattern, but it's fun to play with them a little, right?

I added a split hem, a lot of stockinette, and a funnel neck (pattern has notes for turtle, funnel, cowl or crew options!)  As the test knitters add their photos, you'll be able to see a few of these...

All the details, plus the test knit photos will be up on the Ravelry page.  

The pattern is $7.00 for the PDF, but until Rhinebeck, the Ravelry code Cranberry will get you $1 off! 

Cranberry Gose isn't a cocktail, but a kind of beer.  Gose is a style of sour beer, popular right now and it comes in all kinds of flavors - including Cranberry. It's one of those things you are not sure you like, but then you take a few more sips and you're hooked!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Introducing THREE new patterns for Fall!  These feature my favorite things - texture, cables, and dramatic color.  They are squishy and satisfying and I do hope you guys like them.

The first one, Nor'easter has been a long time in the making.  If you're reading this blog, then you are probably already familiar with my Dark and Stormy -- right?  Well, that is a favorite of mine, but I've always wanted to go back and give it another spin. I love the deep shawl collar and slouchy fit of that cardigan, but it was the dark gray and the bold cables that made it special to me, and I knew I could add those to a whole different type of slouchy cardigan.  (and then my girl could radiate some attitude while wearing it, yes? She wasn't actually angry, this was her Blue Steel.)

The way I see it, the Grandpa sweater is timeless and classic, but there are different proportions and details to play with.  Nor'easter still features a sophisticated, beautifully deep gray in some bold, eye-catching cables on back, but otherwise it's a totally different kind of cardigan from the original.

I've added length and a subtle A-line fit to the cardigan, so there's a little extra room down below, and this one works with a long shirt or a pair of jeans that require a little length at back. (ahem)  I worked a saddle shoulder for a more tailored fit and I've added a split shawl collar for something different. Afterthought pockets (so much of an afterthought that I hadn't put them on when Maya posed for me... photos of the pockets are on Ravelry) were added because POCKETS.

And lastly, I just love the way the cable melts into the body of the sweater. I may have my favorites among the changes, but overall this cardigan is the perfect slouchier, longer thing I wanted to wear this year. Yes,  I do have a cocktail recipe for you,  but it will follow in a few days.

And when thinking about my wardrobe this Fall, it wasn't only a new sweater.

Negroni was the second thing I wanted to wear - a big, cozy cowl with eye catching texture and rich color that could be left long or wrapped double around my neck.  This one features a bobble motif that looks almost crocheted. (which I also love because maybe people will think I know how to crochet as well..)  I paired the texture with some single ribs and a big statement cable.  The knitting is easy and the needles are BIG, so Negroni is a super quick, satisfying project. And I'm in love with this color for Fall. Plus I love Negronis.  Win win.

But really, you have to try Glazed Pecan, in madelinetosh Vintage. It's a deep cinnamon shade that's deep and rich and really pops in the texture.  This color for Fall is just so beautiful.

And lastly is Mojito, a simple hat design with a couple of cool things going on.  It's a classic cabled beanie designed to feature one almost-hidden detail. The accent stripe weaves in and out of the cable feet between the ribbing and body of the hat!  It was a fun little detail to work, and it matches the pompom, because I'm always powerless not to match colors when facing a wall of handdyed yarn. The greenish blue of Madelinetosh's Translation pairs nicely with the pale blue of Memory for this one. I also think Nassau Blue or Baltic may do the trick for the deep green....  There are so many colors to choose from, and I'm guessing most of you have a skein or a leftover you'd want to pair with something fun and new?

The idea here was to just pair two sizes of complimentary cable twists to show off the round, squishy yarn and then work in an accent color to really show off the highlights in the handdyed shades. The accent stripe kind of evolved as I worked it, and then I also played a little with the staggered ribbing below the cables, using the stripe at the transition. It's quite easy - perfect TV knitting.  And once done, you can reverse the colors and make a second hat!

More details, photographs, and the PDFs for all 3 patterns can be found on my Ravelry page, and on the blog pages here.

WEBS has all these colors, including Composition Book Grey, in stock and will order more should they run out -- And they always discount Vintage so if your order is at least $60, you get 20% off, and if  you order is at least $120, you get 25% off!

And now I can feel like I've properly entered the Fall season....

Thursday, August 24, 2017

You guys remember I promised I'd release a few patterns over the course of the year to benefit charities I believe in?  Here's #3.

$2 of each purchase of Mamie Taylor will go to the Malala Fund through Sept 6.

I dropped my own girl off at school this week, and my mind has been on the importance of giving young women every chance we can. For girls across the world, education isn't a given, and the benefits of self-worth and confidence that come with it are also kept from them.  I love everything Malala has done and said to help girls across the globe, and I am inspired by her bravery and drive.  In the hopes that we can add something to her efforts to bring opportunity and education to girls everywhere, I decided this would be the next charity.  

So far, Dami and I wrote a great check to Women of Tomorrow with Rob Roy in order to help at risk teen girls in Miami, Philadephis and Detroit get to college.  And with London Fog, I was able to give a few hundred dollars to Cradles to Crayons, a local organization I volunteer at each Wednesday that provides needy kids across MA with clothing, school supplies and other items they need to thrive and wouldn't otherwise have.  

Mamie Taylor is an intricately cabled hat that's WAY easier than it looks, knit in lovely Gilliatt wool from De Rerum Natura. The diamond motif is completely addictive, and has gorgeous high and lows that show up perfectly in a yarn with just a little something to it. I used this gorgeous heathered wool but a tweed, another heather, or a semi solid would also work beautifully.

The cables are both charted and written, and it's my firm belief that a hat is the perfect place to play with something a little more detailed - you only have to pay attention for a short while, it won't add bulk anywhere you don't like, and there's minimal shaping.

In fact, I'm always just a little sad when I finish something like this, so I decided to work a second one, in De Rerum's great, classic gray for more of a traditional look and feel.  I left the pom off the second one for some extra contrast between the two.

More details are on the Ravelry page, and the hat is also available on the patterns section of the blog here.

And the recipe is below. Mamie herself was an actress and opera singer in the early 20th century - I was leaning towards a drink named for a great female educator, but wouldn't you guess there wasn't one?  So, this time I just liked the name.  Maybe next time I'll make up a drink for the theme I have in mind....

Mamie Taylor
Fill a tall glass with ice cubes, and one slice of lemon or lime.
Over the ice and lemon, pour 2 oz gin or scotch whiskey.
Pour ginger ale to top.  Stir and serve.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

My latest design, Boston Flip, is a hat design created in a soft, natural chunky yarn.  It features a bold motif, and is otherwise a simple knit, meant to be done twice, with the colors flipped.

These hats were designed as a gift to my daughter Maya and her best friend Olivia.  In a few weeks they will both be off to different colleges, and as a mom and a knitter there was really only one way to properly send them off.  

I of course, have tons to say and impart to the girls and can only do that by overthinking every single element of the design, right? 

I started with the yarn. Traditional. A soft wool, in gorgeous natural colors from a company that respects the farms and breeds of Yorkshire.  Baa ram ewe's Dovestone Chunky was perfect, and Maya smelled it the moment I got home from Pomfest with these skeins.  They know the role of the sheepy yarn.  It's important.

And the feel of the design?  Still traditional, but not. Strong and bold and unique. Both of these guys have always swam a little upstream, out of the current - and often right into it.  Both girls love their history and tradition and are unafraid to challenge it, think about it and decide how it should be re-interpreted for a changing world. Hence a bold, strong motif that felt traditional but was actually not pulled off an existing chart. It's perhaps Icelandic, but perhaps not.   

And in the motif are layers.  A sturdy bottom arch that maybe even looks like a house. I think this one represents the stuff we've added to each child as parents - the rules, the lessons, the patience (or not), years of arguing and teaching and living with them. Showing them what we could as they grew up - that's the foundation we've created. The second arch is still sturdy and fits right into that bottom one - that's all the stuff they've done themselves - the friends they chose, the music and the writing and the schoolwork, the adventures they had and the things they've experienced and the people they've changed and been changed by so far. 

Then, there's that top portion - the taller, open arch.  That's the future.  It  has solid walls and a roof, but there's room inside for whatever comes next, and it's held up by those bottom layers. 

So yep, I overthought everything.  But it still feels right, and even thought it's a complex backstory, it's a simple hat.  Nice thick yarn, some fun stranded colorwork and a simple crown.

Two skeins (130 yds each) will get you two S or M hats, each the reverse of the other.  If knitting two in the largest size, you may want some extra yarn. I have included notes in the pattern about how to modify for depth or width - as well as ideas on using a worsted or bulky gauge.  Here you can see I've knit the white one to be just a little slouchier than the brown version. I think it works both ways..

The pattern is available on Ravelry HERE for $6.50, and is on the patterns section of this website as well, just click PATTERNS on the bar at top.... 

The drink?

Well the "flip" part is pretty self explanatory, right?  White with brown, brown with white.

But the Boston part is because that's where these two have wandered around for the past 7 or 8 years.  Somerville, Cambridge, JP, Boston, North Shore, Arlington, Winchester, and Lexington. Parks and museums and the T and the city and the suburbs. It seemed appropriate.

A flip is s smooth, creamy drink - it's a small, sweet way to end the night, and it involves an egg. That's what adds the creaminess, so it's first shaken without ice, then ice is added before you pour.

In a shaker without ice:

2 oz maderia
2 oz bourbon
1 fresh egg (both yolk and white)
.5 simple syrup

shake without ice until frothy, add ice to shaker, shake again briefly and pour into coupe glass. Add nutmeg.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Whoa, guys!  This summer is just flying by.  But before it's gone, I wanted to share some of my travels with you.  I was so incredibly excited to go all the way out to the Shetland Islands this June, on one of Gudrun Johsnton and MaryJane Mucklestone's wonderful Shetland Adventures.

The chance to go to the islands with Gudrun and Mary Jane would have been a bucket list item in the first place, but the chance to be there with a group of fellow industry people was seriously a once in a lifetime trip.

My travel buddy from beginning to end was fellow designer and one of my best friends, Amy Christoffers.  She's up in Vermont and I'm down in Boston, so we booked our tix online via phone call ("Three seats left on this one. OK, when I say go, click on it!") and met up at Logan Airport the day of our flight, only to find out that our tickets had been changed from Edinburgh to Glasgow.

So we rolled with that and ended up seeing an extra city on both the front and back ends.

Here's Amy on the ferry:

We arrived in Edinburgh with a day and a night to play and explore, and took full advantage.

Then we met up with everyone for a train ride to Aberdeen, where we boarded a giant Viking-themed overnight ferry to the most remote and beautiful inn I'll probably ever have the chance to stay at, Burrastow House:

That's the view from the short hike out the front door.   You wind along the water and hop that stone fence, and then shimmy past a little stream at the beach edge if it's high tide, trying to keep your feet dry.  Once you crest the hill, it's just sheep and grass and cliffs and water to explore.  This is pretty much what we did every night (photo taken after 10pm,  and yes, it's still light out!).  We only got lost once, when we cut inland - otherwise, following the water was a great way to get back.

See all the white bits on the ground?  Those are either bog cotton or little fluffs of wool that naturally snag or fall off the sheep.  See the bigger white bits in the distance?  Sheep.

They roam every grassy inch of the islands. Seriously. They Are Everywhere.

We roamed the islands in 3 little red cars.  I feel like we were everywhere too.

Some of us got souvenirs in Lerwick - at the Jameison's shop on the main street.

But shopping was not the main goal.

We visited Oliver Henry, the famous wool man of Jameison and Smith, toured the Jameison's factory, went to Uradale Farm and ate homemade blueberry cake, studied Hazel Tindall's beautiful fair isle designs, Anne Eunson's lace, and Ella Gordon's vintage sweater collection.  We sailed on a boat, and hoisted sails while dressed in giant orange outfits. We got lost a few times on the road, spent time in the Unst Lace Museum, the Shetland Textile museum, and got a peek into the textile archives in the larger Shetland Island museum in Lerwick.  We sampled local beers and whisky, and ate gorgeous 3 course meals every night.  We hiked to cliffs and puffins and hidden beaches, and collected tufts of wool in our pockets for Bristol to spin into yarn.  We looked for Orcas and never found them, even though the Facebook Orca page said they were nearby.  Some of us found and visited the town of Twat, because that's funny and we are never too old for funny.

Those photos are all on my Instagram feed, @theacolman - as there are WAY too many to put here.

When we weren't out doing All Those Things, we were here.  Around this table knitting and talking, maybe braiding some hair or having a drink, and just spending time together.  And it was really fantastic.

When it was over, we all boarded the ferry again for one more overnight adventure on the Viking boat, and some of us parted ways in Aberdeen.  The rest of us boarded the train to Edinburgh for another few days.  Amy and I spent those in a charming airbnb next to the Castle. We had a great dinner in Ysolda's hood with the remaining travelers and did a bit more exploring.

I took photos of an upcoming sweater design Amy has in a future Knitty (am I allowed to say that?) the next morning. She had been working on it for most the trip, blocked it in our little kitchen, and we decided to wander the stone alleys around the castle with coffees and the camera the morning before we left.  Pretty perfect.

Lastly, we spent one day in our surprise destination of Glasgow, sampling beers and narrowly missing Amy's life goal of going to the Remy Mackintosh house, which was closed on Mondays.  Who even  knew it was a Monday?  We did see the outside, and walked up to the door of the attached museum, but not the same. Instead, beers.  Then it was time to head home.

So many thank yous to Gudrun and Mary Jane for organizing this trip and taking us.  It was an incredible experience, and if any of you get the chance to head out there, bring your cozy clothes, some sturdy hiking shoes, your knitting needles, and a camera.  You'll love it.  

Maybe you'll even catch the orcas.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Hi guys!  I'm just back from Scotland and London and have a little something to share before I flip the laundry.   I do promise to share my photos and blog properly about the two trips, but for now my thoughts are still jumbled and the photos are not downloaded, so tune back in later for all the travel stuff.  Suffice to say that both trips were fantastic!

In the meantime, a new design - Desert Sunrise.

Rounding out the 2017 BabyCocktails Summer Collection - with Honey Vodka and Fog Cutter - Desert Sunrise is a simple pullover with some really beautiful colorwork detail.

I thought this combination of yarn and design would be the perfect thing to finish up my summer with and bridge the gap as the weather turns cool this September.  It's knit in Magpie Fiber's new Solstice yarn, a stunning mix of Domestic merino and cotton, plus silk.  The combination gives the yarn a rustic, soft and airy hand, that's round and lovely and feels great against your skin, and Dami has dyed up such a beautiful collection of colors that you won't be able to choose just one.  Which is why I ended up with colorwork!  You can see the gorgeous kits she's made up right here.  Shown below is one of them - called Too Shy.  She has a few others paired and they are all stunning!

I know I will be wearing this with a tank underneath and a pair of cutoffs  --  actually, the same tank and cutoffs that Gabriella's borrowed to wear in the pics -- when the first cool evenings begin.

Desert Sunrise is knit from the bottom up, with most the attention paid early on.  Sleeves and body are joined at the underarm, and the yoke is knit seamlessly to the top, with just a few short rows to add neckline shaping.  All the wonderful stockinette makes for some peaceful knitting, and again - this fiber is just dreamy on the needles.  

All the details are on Ravelry and the pattern is available for $7.  But since it IS July and I know a sweater may be asking a lot of you all right now, the code DesertSunrise will get you $1 off until July 22.

And yes, there is a cocktail called a Desert Sunrise --  the original is a little too sweet for me, so I've created a variation, but the cool thing about one of these is the ombre effect that you get when you add the grenadine at the end.  I thought it quite appropriate that at colorwork sweater have a colorwork cocktail....

Fill a highball glass with crushed ice.  Pour the following over ice and stir gently.

2 oz vodka
2 oz orange juice
2 oz pineapple juice
1 oz fresh lemon juice
1 dash lemon bitters

Then slowly pour a splash of grenadine syrup over the drink, top with a sliced orange or pineapple and a cherry and serve!  

  • Enjoy!!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Fog Cutter --  this one is a striking, but simple summer sweater that's just perfect for a cool day at the beach.  And it was just a bit foggy the day we decided to visit, so this design got named for an all time classic/traditional Tiki drink -- A Fog Cutter!

And I know I'm asking a lot for you guys to think about knitting in June, so the Ravelry code SummerSweater will get you $1 off the pattern until this Friday, perhaps as the little nudge that a summer knit might require? 

Or maybe photos are a better nudge --

Either way, Fog Cutter is all about this beautiful and striking panel on the front. Cables, lace, and texture combine in a motif that reminds me of little waves and tiny stones, kind of undulating back and forth.  The addition of the texture in those cables creates such a great contrast, and the edging as it hits the body is nice and sharp. (and yes, it's easier than you think it would be!)

Besides the cable panel, details such as a split hem, a ribbed yoke and distinct seams draw the eye, and then the rest of the garment is all easy reverse stockinette.  Although seamed, the lines are straight and the finishing is simple.

The sweater is knit in O-Wool's beautiful Balance yarn, a mix of organic cotton and merino that's got the perfect amount of ply and crispness for a polished but casual vibe, and it shows a pattern beautifully.  I chose the Natural as I wanted a true basic piece, but I think this would work in any of her colors - and some of them even have a little heather, which would be stunning.  (Agate, Igneous, and Jade - I'm looking at you guys....)

Gabriella is wearing my sweater with about 5" of ease and a high hip length, but this is easy to modify for depth or width and notes are included in the pattern.  I suggest about 4-5" positive ease for a fit as shown.  All the details and the PDF can be found here (don't forget your SummerSweater code this week!).

And as for a Fog Cutter?  According to tiki bars everywhere and the internet, it's really all about the glassware and accessories, so have a little fun.

1.5 oz light rum
.5 oz brandy
.5 oz gin
1 oz orange juice
3 tbs lemon juice
1.5 tsps of orgeat
1 tsp sweet sherry (amontillado works great)

Shake all ingredients except the sherry with ice in a shaker.  Strain over ice into a tall glass and then top with the sherry!  And then add your choice of umbrella, stirrer, slice of fruit, feathers or whatever's handy...