Thursday, June 25, 2009


getting there.

The mitt on top is another gift. Matches the stashy hat.
I won't say anything more about the cardigan yet, since just by showing this kind of fuzzy, sort of crappy photo I'm breaking about 100 indie knit designer rules about secrecy on Patterns In Progress.

There's rumors of a sunny day today. Rumors, mind you. Still wet and gray out, but a hint of brightness in the sky and nothing falling from above. We're going to live dangerously. My sister's on her way over and we're off to the beach.

I'll let you know how this brainstorm works out.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A while back I went over to the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival and saw a number of faces I recognize from this little screen here. It was a blast. And one of those little faces was Claudia's. She likes orange, knits beautiful things, and every year, she rides her bike a waaaaay long distance to raise money for MS and has an related contest on her blog.

She's been doing the MS bike ride here in MA for the past I-dont-know-how-many years and to benefit the National MS Society, and for the same amount of years, she does an amazing giveaway. I'm not just saying so. Look at the prizes. She's got stuff I (you) (we all) want.

So anyways, we got to talking at the Fair there and I offered to put up a few prize packages to add to this fabulous previously mentioned Prize Basket. I've been completely wrapped up in Life lately, but I just popped over to her blog and saw that the race is this weekend, the basket is loaded, and the time to donate is dwindling.

Check it out and give the girl a little support - after all, the way it's going, she's going to be pedaling in more, yes RAIN, the poor thing.

5 Winners will get one of my patterns plus a pack of vintage buttons in the color of their choice. For those of you that don't know, I have a collection of thousands of vintage buttons - all sizes, shapes and kinds - and I'll do my best to pick what you might use or want out of 'em. Other winners will be walking away with yarn, books, kits, some gorgeous FOs. bags, stitch markers, and even woofy slippers!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I'm all done with brown cables as of this afternoon - am going to do a few small cables on the wrists and still have to do sleeves and a collar, but anything requiring a chart or any complicated thought was all done, so a drink was in order.

In an effort to use what's ready in the kitchen that has no home, I made what was basically a batch of Kitchen Sink Sangria. Two half drank bottles of red that were hanging around on the counter, a half gone Sprite, some seltzer, ginger ale, lime juice and the tired fruits with the bruises in the basket.

You can do this too - waste not, want not, right?

The leftover wine and fruit are cut up and combined and get to sit in the fridge for a few hours. Add any fizzy ingredients you have lying around and taste for what's needed. Too sweet? Add lime juice or lemon. Not sweet enough? A little apple or other juice. Pretty foolproof. It's always pretty good - and perfect for a summer afternoon.

But it was not good enough for the man. He came home with a jones for a Margarita, and honestly never even tasted it. First, he made Maya one with no booze. I'm pretty sure it's Limeade, ice and OJ. Here she is with her drink - I liked this shot - he's on the grill in back and she's cracking up.

I think it has something to do with the fart silly putty Zoe has not stopped playing with since it came home from some party a few days ago. It farts pretty loud - and she's a pro at sneaking around with it to surprise people. Way fun.

Don't you wish your kids had some?

Anyways, C. then decides to make himself an extra special margarita - some secret version. And my poor sangria is shelved for another day. See that on top? It's mint from the garden. He made a Lime - MINT margarita. With Cointreau and OJ in it. It's amazing.

I knew there was a reason I married this man.

Someone's getting lucky tonight. If I can wrangle that recipe outta him, I'll share it.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

It's Murphy's Law - and a lack of a real live technical editor, perhaps - but I really should have caught my half saved edits on this poor shoulder, so apologies all around.

The PDF has been changed, but if any of you have an early version, you may scratch your head as you reach the shoulder decrease on the top of the back piece on your N. Red.

Making some last minute edits to the left shoulder, it seems I pressed "save" a bit too early and gave all of you TWO row 3s, and a few resulting wonky directions. They're easy to fix, and a few of you have already knit right past them without comment, so they won't give you a 3rd arm or anything, but the pattern should make sense the revs. are simple to explain here.


1. There's only one Row 3. Make the second one into Row 4 and go from there with the numbers. You have 7 total rows, not 6. Evens are WS, Odds are RS.

2. This means you repeat rows 6&7, not rows 5&6.

4. On Row 5 (which is now Row 6), you purl to the last 3, not the last 4.

3. Row 6 (which is now Row 7) is a knit row.

Again, sorry, sorry, sorry. Still getting my sea legs on these things.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I do -- I teared up when I saw it at the library today. Sap. But a selective (self involved, perhaps?) sap. No, I didn't cry at Zoe's sing along graduation from nursery school yesterday, but show me an old book I loved from my own little childhood and waaah.

Whatever. By next week, they'll love it just as much.
Anyways if you didn't grow up in the 70s and therefore may already have your kids making Flibbers and Screechers and the orange with the cloves in it named Sweet Pete, then you just think I'm nuts. But, you should totally give this a look.

It took about 5 minutes to make our Flibbers.

Which is (only) a little less time than I spent adding some vintage buttons to these puppies.

Just before wrapping them up for giving, I decided they were a bit plain, so I trotted up to the attic and went through my button stash for a little bling.

And ta da.

Some mother of pearl buttons with a little silver bead in the center - and leftover cream tweed stars for them to live on. The teacher loved them.

The other knitting, I can't show just yet. Many more brown cables...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Here's my latest favorite project, and it looks so nice on my orange naugahyde chair, doesn't it?

Merino aran in cables. Can you see it's an open braid down the center and some babycables for accents? The cable design has been fun to think about, and the construction of this guy is also more interesting to figure out than my previous cardigan patterns - so i'm feeling kind of smaht (that's Boston smart, for those of you scratching your heads) this morning. Since I did figure it out - so, woo hoo.

It's a little more than normal knitting addictive, in fact. I did manage to go out a few times in the past 72, but most of my home hours this weekend were with this guy. All this progress is the up side to another few rainy summer days - ugh. But really, I'm doubly glad to get a lot done, since I only have TWO more completely kid free school day mornings - oh shit.

Also done - just in time for those two days left -
- some more teacher mitts. I found another stray skein of Rowan DK tweed floating around and decided a berry and cable pattern might be fun to play with. The berries are hard to photograph with my limited talent, but they're a little arrow of 3 inside each V cable. I just might keep going with the mitts as gifts for my Danish family for next month!

The rum was a gift, and the label looked so pretty with the yarn, I had to take a photo. And yep, I was mocked. We made more Nantucket Reds with the pomegranate juice - they're kind of addicting. Did any of you give them a shot? Let me know what you thought.

I think they're tasty -- I'm a little bit hooked. It's the pom juice. Fruity but not sweet.

As for the REAL Nantucket Red, almost 50 of you got the pattern last week - I can't wait to see the pics start showing up! . :-)

Friday, June 12, 2009

I really didn't think this was going to be my first FO of the summer, but that tells you something about the weather this week. It's been awesome to curl up on the sofa with yarn and cables these past few days. It's so dark and cloudy, I can't take a good photo, but these at least give you an idea of the thing and mean I can put it away in the sweater bag after I post about it.

This pic shows you my modified fit. I haven't blocked it yet, so am guessing I can get another inch or so in length if I want, and a little more ease. But I kind of like the way it fits right now.
(Maya's mirror needs a little cleaning, huh? Not sure what the hell that stuff is actually. Did she spit on it? Or toss milk? methinks she gets Windex when she returns from school today)

I loved the design when I first saw it, and have been waiting for the perfect yarn to knit it in. Lucky for me, this Chamonix was literally dropped in my lap (or bag) by Carol, who had begun a vest in it and decided to bail.

The pattern is only written in an XS and is made a lot smaller than my body calls for,with a snug button at the bust, and a very short midsection. It's knit top down, kind of, so this makes for an easy mod to the fit. You start with the shoulders and then knit the neckline - this allowed me to check as I went and I could lengthen the top section to just under where my boobs droop to these days.

Then when I picked up for the bottom, I added stitches all around to make it less snug. You pick up just below the last set of horizontal lines, so you can easily just add a couple here and there.

Adding the new stitches meant playing with the cables a little and adding new ones, but the original pattern gave me a good starting point for how these guys might work out. At the bottom, you also add a whole new set of smaller cables and ribs. They line up nicely along the back, don't they?

This little ribbing also added a kind of flare at the bottom, which is great for hiding the muffintop.

Below you can see the other bit of ribbing I added under the arms, also helpful for muffinlike body part hiding. It was easier than figuring out more cables, and it allowed me to continue two knit stitches along the armholes so I can make nice looking sleeves when I want, without picking up off the cables. The existing cable kind of creates a little cap, but I'm not sure if a short sleeve would be better. I think it might.

Sorry some of the pics are fuzzy - that's what I get on a cloudy day.
I should also pull my jeans up, huh? That's not so pretty.

For now I think I'm going to pack this away. A sleeve decision can be made in the fall and the button added along the bust. I have enough yarn to add either actual short sleeves or caps, but am not sure which to go with, or if they should be ribbed, cabled, or plain. (suggestions??)

And I'm dying to get moving on the dark brown cabled project I've been working on the math for. Since it's raining again today, I think I'll get pretty far -- I've already done some charts and begun a front side, so I'm ready to go.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

is the perfect weather to get going on some aran merino cables for a fall sweater. I'm loving this open braided one, and have been playing with what will go well next to it. The chocolate Debbie Bliss merino is amazing, I only wish they hadn't discontinued it! Am thinking Karabella Aurora 8 may be the way to go for a sub. We'll see. Mine is going to be made out of this stuff, since it's too gorgeous to remain in the stash any longer.

I'm also plugging away on the bulky chamonix Star Crossed Love Cardigan. It's fluffy, easy and quick moving -perfect to work on during Family Guy.

Monday, June 08, 2009

With a lot of help and feedback in the past few weeks from my first few finishers, I'm feeling like the rest of you'll all be able to knit a cardigan with the correct number of arms etc., so this puppy's done. It's available for purchase either here on the sidebar or on Ravelry.

If you are on Ravelry, check out Kym's finished dark gray number, which she posted yesterday. I know the others will surface soon so you can see them too :-) I already have and I like them.


Anyways, to match the cardigan, above is a Nantucket Red drink which I think is perfect for summer. It's a little different -fruity and tart and just a little sweet at the same time.


In a shaker, mix the following (measurements are for 2 drinks)

Pomegranate juice - about 6oz
One lime. Squeeze and then put the slices in the shaker.
White Rum - 4 oz
6 ice cubes

shake and pour into glasses

Add Sprite (any lemon/lime soda would work) - about 6 oz
Add sliced strawberries - 4 or 5 big ones

You can add the sprite a little at a time, to gauge your tart vs. sweetness.


Lastly, a shot of the pattern I wrote up today after posting Nantucket Red.

These are the Blueberry Mitts.

The name was Zoe's idea since we were eating blueberries and they match.
I'll wait a week or so and post these guys too.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Look what I got for $5!

Enough vintage glass stirrers to keep me amused all summer. 5 huge flowers, 6 palm trees, 4 bunches of seagrass, 3 tropical fish and 8 drinks. We'd been noticing the poor flamingos are always in high demand around here, so this is a much needed addition to my little vintage cocktail collection.

The tiki heads were already mine, although not legally. I stuffed them in my bag after a night at a cheesy Polynesian joint called Kowloon, out in Saugus. Awesome place - thatched decor, tropical thunderstorm, floating band, fountains, plastic palm trees, etc. The floating band might be a memory from the Tonga Room (one of the best happy hours in SF!) which I'm now assigning over here, but hey.

My memories of Kowloon are, shall we say, hazy, so I'm not so surprised. I also only went there the one time - unlike Tonga, which I frequented often - again, great Happy Hour.

In addition to the tikis, I got some pineapple and coconut shaped cups and, amazingly, the entire scorpion bowl. I have no idea how I got all that crap out the door without being caught, but apparently I did. Young and drunk can make you quite capable.

The rest of the spoils were split amongst the group of us in the parking lot, and these guys have been with me ever since. Occasionally I visit the coconuts in Charlestown.

So, look. Some palm trees and seagrass.

mixed drinks.

giant flowers.

And I have some friends coming over tonight for caprihinas. Perfect.

For those of you who may want to know about the knitting next to the tiki heads, those are one more pair of mitts with a gull lace pattern on them. I wanted to experiment with the lace for something else and loved how it looked in DK tweed on mitts. So, that pattern's being written up and will appear on the sidebar in a few weeks.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Trashy iced tea mix.

Anyone know a good cocktail that uses this stuff? I have such vivid memories of my Mom drinking it in the 70s, and I've grown up to love it too. Only in summer, and only from the big round can with the plastic top. Lots of ice. Her other drink was Tab, but I don't ever see that in the store - do they make it anymore?

Summer does not mean sweater vests knit out of bulky yarn, but I'm ignoring that until I finish this guy. Luckily it's not too hot around here yet, and the Chamonix is lovely, so I don't want to put it down. It's pretty light for a bulky - not too drapey or heavy.

And as the pile on my knees has begun to make some sense (see below), this pattern is pretty habit forming. I'm thinking it might be turning out OK. I've made a number of mods to the pattern, but for a change I'm keeping track and will add them to my Ravelry details if anyone wants to see them.

In other knitting news, my Nantucket Red test knitters are finally getting to the finish - at least a few are..., and coupled with the original comments, I'm feeling good about the pattern's readiness for the world at large. I have already added the current batch of edits and am pretty confident it will be posted within the week. So, stay tuned, and thanks for your patience!

I've also started drawings and math on three design projects for fall. (3 since at least one is bound to be an unmitigated failure and I don't know yet which. I'm playing the odds.) After a trip to WEBS this weekend, I'm thinking I'll be casting on for at least one of 'em. We'll see which I find the yarn for.

I've promised myself I'll stay ahead of the timeline this summer and get something posted in time for early fall knitting. We'll see about that too, since 4 weeks in Denmark this summer might put a little damper on the knitting time. We're off to visit family and looking forward to a nice long trip far away during the hot hot days of July and Aug. I think we might actually have timed it to miss the entire greenhead season! Kind of a bonus.

But more importantly, what are the chances any of you know a good LYS near Copenhagen??

Monday, June 01, 2009

I'm having fun with this new project, the Star Crossed Cardigan. It's a knockoff of an Anthropologie sweater that I found on Ravelry a while back. I waited for a while to make it since I never had bulky yarn in the stash, but I was recently gifted an abandoned UFO sweater out of some lovely Jaeger Chamonix and am all frogged and ready.

Unfortunately, I'm not one to read through an entire pattern before I begin (because I insist on being stubborn and stupid, even after paying the price a number of times...) , so I was a little confused by these two guys and sent myself down a fun path.

Proof that a little information is a bad thing, I'd heard the sweater knits way tiny (the author has only published it in an XS so far) so I'd gone on, and armed with that tip and my spidey sense - I assumed they were two fronts. Two very small fronts. Kind of alarmingly small, in fact at about 3" ea. But, knowing I'd been forewarned, I added a whole bunch of extra ribs on my two "segments" and was resizing happily for a while. Messed with the cables this way and that, worked the ribs a few ways too. Frogged and restarted. Again, a few times. But at 26 stitches across, it's really easy to do, isn't it?

Turns out they're the front shoulders, which you connect onto the back rectangle at the shoulders and then knit down towards the waist. Funky, but brilliant. So I re frogged the frogged fronts and decided to follow directions somewhat. (I still added a few stitches and a K2 on the shoulder edges so it will seam up nicely.)

The sweater itself has a wide horizontal cabled collar, so you pick up around the inside of this shoulder/back piece and knit the collar horizontally on the body. Then once you finish the collar and have the entire width on the front, you'll pick up all stitches around the bottom and continue your way down -- or I assume, since, yep, even as I type how stubborn and stupid I am, I've only glanced down the coming pages...

But this is the beauty of bulky yarn. Even with a whole few sets of fits and starts, the stuff makes you look productive. I have honestly spent about 2 hours all weekend with needles - and this yarn just makes me look good. I may be hooked -- or I may just eat my words when the sweater's done and I put it on and finally remember why we don't actually wear bulky yarn. But this is sleeveless and a vest, (as opposed to the sleeved vests?) so I'm thinking it just might not pad me up. We'll see. Perhaps I will lose much weight this summer and need to knit up Twinkle's entire line?

Anyways, instead of knitting, we were entertaining around here - and that means BBQ ribs - which is good news for all of you, since this just might be the BEST drink I've ever made.

No really. The best. Mint and Melon. See those green bits?

Craig spent most of Sat afternoon on this (Mmmmmmm). I think Craig really wanted me to post that - he even turned the ribs so they would look their "best" for the camera.

Anyways, I was whipping up a test batch of something refreshing and cold and that uses the herbs in my new and exciting little herb garden - and I actually was so happy with it I ran across the street and made my neighbor try some. She's not a big drinker and she thinks I'm nuts anyways, but she obliged and gave me all the nods and encouragement I needed to whip up another batch. And when my company showed up (one of whom is an ex bartender) I was extra sure - this one's good.

I figure I needed a win after the Michealada, right? Anyways, recipe below.

Minty Melon Drink

you get about 4 , so plan accordingly!

one half honeydew melon, cut up in pieces
a good handful of mint leaves, also cut up in pieces
one 16 oz bottle of sprite
juice of one lime
white rum (1.5 oz per drink)
vodka (fill up that extra .5 oz)
6 or 7 ice cubes

it all goes in the blender. Keep a stirrer on hand, since it seperates in the glass.