Friday, May 29, 2009

Another pair of mitts - and these might be my fave of the bunch. Maya, my little hand model, agreed. She's already put her order in for a couple of her own.

They're Axel Mitts by Blue Garter, and I used two skeins of Elann Peruvian Highland Wool from my stash to make 'em. You might recognize this from Maya's all time favorite hat. Working with a bulky gauge was awesome. I cast on late in the morning and was done with both mitts after a karate class and some evening TV.

Aren't they cool? I love the 2x2 rib on the hand, 1x1 rib on the thumb.

Anyways, off to work on my next design for fall. This time I'm going to be ahead of the curve.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

well, kind of?

It's the cream colored tweed. It's so awesome, I need a whole bag full.
Too bad I can't channel Jared's finesse with the camera.

Or his committment to the pattern. Notice how the design gets simpler with each pair. All lace, a little lace, and yep, stockinette. Next, a few buttons from upstairs.

And maybe one more pair with cables. These are fun - and I do have a few more teachers.
In the background I'm working on a lace scarf, hoping to have something to show soon. Not so instantly gratifying as these puppies, huh?

Sorry -- been raining, so no cocktails. Red Wine.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

It was a good, long weekend out here. I figure it's our reward for sucking it up through the New England Spring.

So, we spent a summery day in the city with friends. This is the newly completed Greenway in downtown Boston. It used to be an ugly elevated highway. Then it was an ugly ever-changing construction site. And now it's gorgeous.

Now, it's a big long series of parks right near the waterfront. Each block is different - with paths or fountains or rocks or sculptures to walk on. Different trees or gardens or benches too. It's fun to see how it changes with each part.

And it runs right past the Aquarium - where you can visit the seals outside for free. (If your parents are too cheap to go inside)

It also goes right past the Barking Crab, where you can get two pitchers with lunch. Two pitchers of Hefeweisen with lemons. And you sit on picnic tables eating fried seafood on the patio. That would be my friend Peter walking behind the girls. It was his first time there and I'm thinking he liked it.

We also were invited to barbeque on the water with some other friends at their new beach house. Of course, they forecasted thunderstorms - which arrived just in time. So much for the beach part of the day. But honestly, a torrential downpour from a beach house is pretty cool - and look what we got to see afterwards --- I never get to see a whole rainbow, end to end. Kind of amazing.

and yes, this IS the view from inside the house of the marsh leading to the ocean.
Also kind of amazing.

I did bring my teacher gift mitts and worked on them while we sat on the porch with our cocktails, but they all look pretty stupid right now without their thumbs, so I'll thumb them up later today and maybe, just maybe I'll have knitting to share again soon.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How about these buttons? I've been waiting to use them on something. Navy blue, with an etched edge and little engraved and painted flowers on the centers.

This really has been one of my favorite knits ever. I don't know if it was the yarn (DB Cashmerino DK - so so so soft) or the pattern (Norah G., what could be bad?) or the fact that I wasn't making it up as I went along that did it. Either way, I completely enjoyed knitting this sweater, from beginning to end. Even when I realized that I was done seaming and had made a ridiculous mistake along the button band - look - I decreased at the first hole and and then increased back again at the second! ugh. What was I doing???

Instead of frogging the SEAMED sweater and reknitting, I centered the buttons to cover the blip. (After I took the photo) It worked out pretty well - a knitter will know, but no one else will notice. I wasn't planning to wear this buttoned anyways, so it's not a big deal that they cover the holes and are for show only. However, I do have to find a third -- I think there needs to be a little balance below the boob line here.

Another bad pic. Sorry. That thing over my crotch is not a feather I'm wearing in my zipper or - as has been pointed out to me by my a very polite and considerate friend, my dick. I don't have one. The mirror is engraved. And I'm poorly situated.

You can see I did change the fit of the sweater a little. After trying it on at Yarns in the Farms' Twist Trunk Show, I realized (was told in no uncertain terms) it was way baggier than would look good on me, and too long. My version is a little shorter, tighter through the body and has much narrower sleeves. Which works great for me, but made the math a little fun.

Unfortunately it's going to be 80 degrees out today. So, I'll show it to my knitting students this morning and then pack it away until fall. Sigh. (Hey, maybe they'll take a better photo...)


Before I begin my next design project, here's what's going on the needles now. A few pairs of mitts - on the left are Cafe Au Lait Mitts and on the right, a made up pair with a little lace chevrons around the cuff. In a cream colored Rowan Tweed. I love how the lace looks in the rustic tweed - am feeling like Jared Flood all the sudden.

These are going to be gifts - I think I'll plow through a bunch of single stash-skeins and make a few pairs this week so I have them on hand when needed!

It's a good way to play with lace patterns as I think of what to do on the next project.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

There was a lot going on.

Here are my sister Melissa and my friend Steph who agreed that, yes, it would be fun to spend Saturday at Macy's and see the 15 women who got their Clinton Kelley makeovers and maybe, just maybe meet the man himself.

I really wouldn't have put this shot up there, except that when I took the photo, they both made comments about how I'd be slapping them up on my knitting blog, So yep, here you are. And don't you look pretty? Guess which one's my sis.

Anyways, we were pretty surprised when we realized that about 600 other people had the same idea. Really, over 600. Maybe even more. Checking things out a few hours before showtime, we see the line snaking OUT of Macys and DOWN the mall. Crazy. It made us rethink the cocktail idea, which was a little sad, but necessary. If we wanted to be in front.

In front we were. As in In Front of all the other standing people. But it was a great spot. In fact, we were in such a good place that the chick in front of us (here with the gray tee shirt and bad sports bra lines) is who he finds to bring up on stage.

Poor thing. But hilarious. I think she had fun too, even though he pretty much ripped her head to toe. First comment out of his mouth is whether she's ever had a professional bra fitting. (I'm betting she has by now.) But you know, she showed up wearing the sports bra, the kinda short tank top, the velour pantsuit with the jacket tied around her waist AND the strappy heeled sandals. We thought she may have been a plant - but she wasn't.

Then there was some fabulous hair. Sadly, this might be my favorite photo of the day. We agreed this is the ultimate mullet -- the business in the front, the party in the back. Or as my sister put it, out of business in the front, party in the back. (That little braid keeps a going.. and a going - it's quite the look)

And, there was a fabulous bargain - A $335 dress for... wait for it... $34. And then 20% more off because my Macy's card had expired and needed to be redone. so $28!!

Plus, if you spent $100, you got a free copy of Clinton's book - to be signed. So this little dress coupled with my friend Steph's dress got us a free book. And since it was one of the last books, we missed the long line and I did meet the man himself. Which was also fabulous. We did not get to chat about knits. Actually, I forgot all about wearing my green sweater. We talked about buying clothes at thrift stores. So sorry.

In fact, it was a pretty knitless day - except this got posted so now this is finished and available for download. It's the orignial cardigan I made for Maya that eventually led to the adult version - or my Nantucket Red, and it's now available on Ravelry and on the sidebar here.

Do you guys think you'd want to buy both together - like a Mother/Daughter deal if I made a "package" option that would save a few bucks for the two? Or am I living back in the 70s and no one does that anymore?


Now I'm about to finish up Kingscot and make some button decisions!

Friday, May 15, 2009

But not exactly there. My dining room table is finally clear after three days of computer, measuring tape, papers and Nantucket Red. 5 patterns are out there in the wild being knit, and the comments from the original test knitter are back and incorporated.

So stay tuned and I'll be putting that puppy up on Ravelry just as soon as I can!

Also so so so so close, but not there is Kingscot.

I cannot tell you how much I love this sweater. I want an entire stash of DB Cashmerino. Although that opinion might just change once this baby begins to pill. ...

A neckline to finish up and buttons to pick. I have a new batch coming from Ebay, so I'm waiting for those before I make any rash decisions. Another tin full of someone's lifetime sewing stash, which I love. For $10. It pays to do the midnight auction, while the other bidders snooze. :-)

I also have a second sleeve cap to do and attach, but I've photographed so cleverly you didn't know that by looking, did you? Well, maybe you can, so hey.

I find that doing one complete sleeve first and finishing up an entire side before doing the second cap saves me the agony when they don't fit. Luckily this one did. Sleeve caps are my downfall -- both in pattern writing and in knitting. They just don't like me - even when the math is perfect, or I've followed a pattern exactly, the sleeve cap just doesn't always cooperate. Happens often.

But I've adapted (Like the Borg...).

Anyways, after sleeves and before our dinner plans, we're looking at a couple of these. Too tired to decide on our own, we pulled a card from the deck. Handy.

Havana Cocktail

.75 oz rum
dash lemon juice (in the Juice O matic)
1.25 oz pineapple juice

I might add something to tone down the pineapple. We'll see.

Tomorrow I'm going to see Clinton Kelley from TLC's What Not To Wear, so tune back in later this weekend. I'm thinking of wearing my most flattering summer knit - Josephine - on the off chance I get to tell him I KNIT MY OWN SWEATERS. And they don't all belong in the can.

Just to show him some handknits are worth keeping. If it was winter, I'd have knit up Shalom for the occasion, since Stacy has the exact sweater.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

You guys cannot imagine my surprise when I checked Ravelry today to see if anyone had anything to say about the Nantucket Red I'd added to my pattern page yesterday. Holy Shit!

I added it early because I'm offering up patterns and vintage buttons on Claudia's Blog as prizes for her MS Ride and I figured I should at least have the page up in case she posted and people wanted to get more information. I really didn't expect much of a response - first off, since I'm not exactly a known quantity out there in the knitting world and secondly, since the pattern's not even there yet, but you guys are amazing.

Amazing. In one day. Faves and queues and comments galore. I'm floored. And now I'm scared. So, of course I'm second guessing all my math and going through it again and figuring the whole pattern out one more time as I read the file - before I even hear back from my test knitters with the final tally of stuff.

Because this time I may not start out with one or two patterns out in the wild - easy to call back and get to if there's a problem. This time I may have a few more, so I'm going to stay home and do some math this week. And double check it. And then maybe do that one more time.

And honestly, the first 5 of you who really want to get knitting and promise to get going right away can have a free copy as soon as I finish just so I know where those first knitters are in CASE I do miss something. Murphy's Law and all.

So, while I bask in this newfound amazement/success/pressure, this cool little lace scarf will have to wait. It is pretty and lacey - and fun to work on. But no.

And Kingscot, well, her arms just might get finished anyways when my math-addled brain screams out for some stockinette and TV.

Because my head's going to be deep in this puppy for a few more days.

PS - Did I remember to say Thank You?
Because it's really been an amazing feeling to see all of this kind feedback and feel the pattern love. It's such positive reinforcement, and it's so so so appreciated. I'm like Sally Field at the Golden Globes. You like it? You really like it? I knew I liked it, but somehow it's sooooo much cooler now that you all like it too!

Thank You!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Just back from NH Sheep and Wool, which was a great day. As always, it was a mellow and low key festival. Easy in, easy parking, easy shopping. And snacks. Sheep, alpacas, bunnies and the like. Lots of gorgeous yarn, of which I took home two bunches - 400 yds of cashmere in a deep blue and 700 yds of alpaca sport in a lovely deep gray. You can see I'm still thinking about lace.

And for the first time, I met blogpeople in person!
That was so fun. I won't drop a whole bunch of names here, but it was great to say hi and see the faces I've been seeing online for a while now in person. Of course, they had no idea who I was, but hey, that's OK. I knew all about them.. Seems the line between stalker and fellow blogger is a thin one, huh?

It was then pointed out to me (by my dates) that I never put any photos of my face on this here blog. ( Which then so obviously explained the lack of people stalking me around the fair, right?) I blame Maya's mirror often, but look what happened when Kris and Emily tried to take a bunch of good photos of me in my Nantucket Red for the upcoming pattern sheet.

No face. Yep, and again. No face. Lots of shots of the sweater. Front, back, sides, seams, lace. And other various parts of my head without features. Seems I so didn't want to look at the camera. But I never do. My photo albums are full of shots like this.

I think Kris may have a shot of my actual face, but for now, I'm still a mystery to you all.

But look here instead, as a more important mystery question did get answered since I last blogged. Craig had a little minor surgery on Friday and we were looking for something to spice up the codeine mix a bit, so we decided to give the Michealada a shot - wrong hot sauce and all.

And what did it taste like?

Well, it tasted like beer with hot sauce and Worstershire in it.
And yeah, that's not good.

But we're improvising folks around here, so enter the Juice o Matic. And a few oranges. That helped, but it still needed a tweak. So we used some apple juice too. And then salted the glass rim once more. And wouldn't you know, it wasn't half bad.

It wasn't amazing or anything, and I'm not suggesting you whip up a batch for your next shindig, but for some reason I wanted to finish it up. It took a few sips to get there, but it had something that made you want to keep going after you got past those first few. I don't know if it was the sweet edge or the salt rimmed glass or the hot sauce, but the combo finally did the trick.

It's not exactly Great, But it's maybe like coffee? First sip, huh. Not sure. Second sip, OK. Maybe. Then third sip, hell, I just might drink the whole cup.

Next time I want a beer cocktail, I'm going back to a shandy, but I'm glad we tried this puppy. I just might have one again someday.

And if you're looking for a conversation starter at your next barbeque, you can dare someone to whip one up and give it a try themselves - but add that OJ and apple juice, or have it on hand.

Friday, May 08, 2009

I was all ready to tell you about the crazy beer cocktail we made for our, not so much 5 but, 7 de Mayo dinner last night, but while the enchiladas were cooking, we realized a few things about the drink recipe article I'd pulled from the Wall Street Journal and the drink never materialized.

Now I knew the Michelada sounded a little scary - it's described as a "quirky quaff" with an "odd and off putting assemblage of ingredients", and the reporter admitted it's not exactly spreading like wildfire in the States, but I figured after a couple of beers, it might seem like a good idea, right? Conversation starter, challenge, whatever.

Here it is.


12 oz beer

1 oz fresh lime juice

2 dashes Worcestershire sauce

2 dashes Mexican hot sauce (e.g., Cholula)

Combine ingredients over ice in a salt-rimmed highball glass and stir. Avoid watering down the beer with too much ice or small cubes that melt quickly. Most Michelada fans make the drink with either a blond Mexican beer or a darker one such as Negra Modelo. I prefer the drink with Shiner Bock from Texas.

You can see from the substitute drink photo below, we didn't make them. Cause if we did, I'd have made Christopher pose for a photo with his.

(Free PR! He has a cool radio show here in Boston on Thursday AMs)

Anyways, I'm not sure exactly how it came to be that we didn't. But instead, we read on and realized two important things that may have led to the decision to shine on them.

1. A lot of people think this drink sucks - including the reporter.

2. I only had cajun hot sauce. That's taking something questionable and making it worse.

In retrospect, those two things shouldn't have stopped us. But whatever, they did. Maybe it was the arrival of Craig or the kids or the finishing up of the dinner. Instead, we used the Juice O Matic and put lime juice in our Dos Eques and had a great dinner. But the idea of these was too good not to share, and I still plan on getting some Mexican hot sauce and trying them another time. If you're game C and S?

The pic above is of a whole different drink I'd photographed earlier in the week. It did not suck, in fact it was so good, we went out and bought mint plants and are now growing our own supply on the patio for future drinks. It's sort of a Caprihina.

Better than a Michelada

Fresh squeezed lime juice

Muddled mint leaves



Like a Mojito but without the rum. I'm thinking so far, we've gotten our $4 out of the juicer.


In knitting news, I am not done with this.

So I will be in New Hampshire tomorrow wearing this.

Come say hi! I've never been anywhere to meet fellow bloggers and hope to see some of you in person tomorrow....

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Check this out! Just in time for summer, we found this puppy at a Rummage Sale yesterday. 4 bucks. It's awesome. Like a 1950s studebaker, but with serious possibilities.

I'm not so sure it's going to be a bargain in the long run, since we had to walk over to the farm stand and drop $20 on juicable fruits when we got home.

However, once we started the cocktails, it was all worth it. Can you see how cloudy these are? All the good stuff floating around in there made the best gin and tonics ever. We used the fresh lime and orange juice, and unfortunately finished up the gin by sundown.

The girls mixed their OJ and lime squeezes with pineapple juice.

Tomorrow I'm thinking something with rum, lemon and sugar.

In the meantime, the nice weather means my knitting's taken a little hit. Only some progress here in the photo below, since we've been gardening and walking and outside - I'm too afraid to take my Cashmerino on the road, knowing how it's a little fragile.

But I've got some big plans, and am still loving Kingscot. I have a few more cabled ambitions in the wings - including Fireside, about which I'm becoming pretty obsessed, and the tied cabled number I want to create before fall. First, a little more work on Kingscot, but it's been so fun, I'm almost bummed to be going up the second side already. Lucky for me, I have a bunch of aran just waiting to be cabled.

On the other side of the spectrum is my new obsession -- I'm falling in love with the idea of lace. Big lace wraps in repeating patterns. My old friend Gabriella has some beautiful designs that have been popping around in my psyche for a few years - Rosa, Catalina and the one at the bottom with the little flowers are my faves.

And, recently I am loving almost all of Ann Hanson's rectangle creations. This started up again, in fact, because of her design in Twist this past fall, for which I even bought yarn (albiet in the wrong color - I realized THAT a day too late. I should have held out for the brown. But we had drinks, champagne even -and they'd made snacks - of which I'd eaten way more than my polite share - especially of the powder sugar dusted thingys -- and it was the Twist trunk show, and the store didn't have brown, and the shop owners were just so nice, and I was there with some heavy enablers... how could I leave with a thanks and no bag?? So I got purple. And that's just wrong for that wrap. I mean, gnarled oakwoods, for chrissake -- oakwoods. Not in purple.)

But now Anne just came up with a new thing called Trevi. And Trevi might just look good in a hazy purple. More airy, less nature-y.

SO, in anticipation of this big batch of lace knitting which may or may not ever materialize - as fun as it is to plan, I decided to see if I even have the patience to knit with fingering yarns -- on a small scale. I've had this light blue kicking around in my stash for a bit, so I've cast on.

It's so soft and beautiful - a laceweight alpaca. So far, I find I may have the chops for it. I think I'll need a more involving repeat than the K2tog, YO I began with here, but if this makes me want more complicated patterns, then the whole plan could work.

Perhaps I'll be coming home from NH Sheep and Wool with a batch of deep gray laceweight.
At least that's what I'm thinking right now.

Friday, May 01, 2009

For those of you who have been asking, the new larger sized Golden Vintage Cardigan Pattern is ready to go in two sizes -- 40/42 and 44/46. Proven and tested and ready to email out.

My lovely knitter for the 48/50 had a little delay, but I imagine that one's going to follow soon and I'll post here when I add it to the PDF.

Happy knitting!