Friday, January 29, 2010

This is not for Maya.

It's for Isabel. Every day Isabel shows up in our kitchen at 8:45 for the walk to school. And every day Isabel shows up, she has no hat. No matter how cold, no hat. So I finally asked, and it turns out she doesn't own a hat. (!!!!!!, to a knitter) I think it was lost, and when asked why she didn't get a new one, she said , "My Mom doesn't want to go over to LL Bean for a new one." (Also, !!!, to a knitter.)

How long could I let this go on without offering? About this long, apparently. I put it out there last week. She was happy to request a blue hat. With stars of some kind.

Since it's about a zillion degrees below zero today and I was invited out this morning to a coffee with friends, it was the day to do it. A good chat, a few muffins, a little clatch of ladies who I love and ... two hours = one hat. We'll walk it over tomorrow. When it warms up to 10 degrees.


The second thing I made was dinner. Other friends are coming, and that zillion degrees thing makes it a perfect day for stew. The colors were pretty and I already had the camera in hand, so hey, you get to see it too. Maya thinks this is stupid. I'm not sure she's wrong, but still, I got it in the camera and I kind of like the picture.

So here's my Cider Chicken and Vegetable stew - it gets a little cream before serving, and we have really tasty white bread rolls that you bake up at the last minute. My house smells good. Really good.

For dessert, I got butter cookies at Trader Joe's to dip in burbon.
Since the girlscout ones aren't here yet.

I'm thinking this was a productive day.

And PS - karen, I did like the single malt idea! That might be right.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I'm done messing with it.

Before spring comes and you forget all about that little white lacy tunic number in favor of tanks and floaty tees, I managed to take one final look at the pattern and post it up on Ravelry.

All the info is there on yarn requirements and such. The sizes go from a 32/34 up to a 40/42, and the pattern is written with 2-3 inches of ease throughout. The larger sizes have a little additonal ease, since I am not fond of stretched lace bits, and I don't imagine you are either. But this is the beauty of top down, and there's lots of opportunity in the pattern to customize for a roomier or snuggier fit, as you prefer.

It's knit in DK tweed, mostly on #6s, with a gauge of 5 st per inch, 7 rows. And, it takes from 900 yds for the smallest to 1200 yds for the largest size. I picked the Jo Sharp because I felt the soft tweed and the silk gives the sweater a little drape and is the weight I love, but I think it's a design that's able to work in a variety of yarns from the DK buffet.

I'm having a little crisis of conscience not adding it to the Haiti list, but there are a few things around here that need to be paid. Rest assured though. The quick math tells me that the other patterns that sold so far for this --- wait for it --- equal half what I sold all last year! And they'll remain on the list until Feb 14, continuing to grow the tally.


SO, business aside and keeping with tradition around here, I owe you a drink recipe, don't I?

Traditional White Russian
1 oz coffee liqueur (Kaluha)
2 oz vodka
milk or cream
Pour coffee liqueur and vodka into old fashioned glass over ice and fill with milk or cream.

Maybe two. Since you all waited so long. (Font colors! who knew?)

Hugely Decadent White Russian
1 oz kaluha
1 oz brandy or cognac
2 oz milk
small scoop of vanilla ice cream
chocolate syrup

Pour the kaluha and brandy or cognac in a glass and add the milk. Add small scoop of ice cream and drizzle chocolate syrup on top. It's best if the ice cream begins to melt a little and you can stir it around.


Moving on to the next thing, we're in the middle of discussion about what this should be.
I'm leaning towards Southern Comfort. But I think that's because I like the stuff, not because it suits the yarn exactly.

It's really a ginger-y color, Calvados? maybe. Drambuie?
I think I'll have to do a pour test and see. But suggestions are always welcome!

I love this tweed. Not so sure it's my color exactly, but I sure do love it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My koigu gloves are finally out of their WIP bag, where they've spent the last I Don't Know How many months. In the end, I did manage to knit both thumbs a little webbed and learned a valuable lesson about being too cocky to knit from a pattern. Sometimes I should. But in the meantime, these look just groovy (when I keep my digits together) and gave me a use for some stash buttons, so I'm happy with them and just might wear them later today.

Or not, since it's like 50 degrees out all of the sudden. Maybe I'll have to wait a day or so.

Here's a Star Crossed Beret, out of my NY-purchased Bulky Alpaca. I knit this up yesterday while getting my mojo back after the long weekend. It was rainy and the fire was on, so a hat on #10s seemed about perfect. And I love this yarn. I want to make more things out of it - and soon, because I'll miss this guy in a few days. He's a gift and will leave home later today. I can only pet it for a couple more hours. :-(

Bulky Alpaca. wow. Where has it been all my life?

So, those are two small things that have been nagging at me to get knit, out of the what? I'm feeling a little overwhelmed currently - - a lot of things in the hopper, and while I usually work on one (maybe 2) projects at at time, I've currently got needles dipped into about 7. Some with deadlines, even. Oy. It's all good stuff, and I'm dying to be working on all of it, hence the fact the needles aren't singularly committed, but it's alot to have strewn around the place. So, it definitely feels good to get these guys out there so I can concentrate on some of the other projects again.

like this...

The next big project to leave home. My friend Amy was one of the many testers on White Russian, and she came by this morning to show me her lovely FO -

and to get some buttons :-) she's no fool.

She worked hers up in the Jo Sharp DK Tweed, and decided to add some long sleeves. Her tweed was a mocha color, with flecks of orange and red in it, so she totally dug these red buttons. It fit her just fine and she looked adorable in it, but she was camera shy, therefore, you get lovely table pics instead of modeled shots. I think you still get the idea.

And now I have enough finished test knitters that I will give the pattern one more look tonight and post the puppy tomorrow.

And then get back onto the aforementioned items strewn about the place.

Monday, January 25, 2010


I'd been threatening for ages to get on that Bolt Bus and go, and finally I did it. Took off early on Friday AM and returned late last night. So easy.

I fit all kinds of stuff into my 2.5 days, starting out Friday down in Brooklyn and ending up on the Upper West Side by Sunday, visiting old and new friends, seeing some family, surprising my mom for her birthday, and hitting a few restaurants, bars and yarn shops.

I'd never even been in Brooklyn before (which is crazy for a girl who lived in NJ and spent a good half her weekends in the city..) but I loved it. I kept imagining Hopper paintings everywhere I looked. We walked around a bit, from one shop to another - and Brooklyn General might be my favorite yarn store EVER. Something about those wooden shelves and the creaky floor, maybe? It just has this atmosphere. And yes, tons of yarn.

We stopped in at La Casita, Purl, and Downtown Yarns too - also great shops. Cute and friendly, with gorgeous displays. Above are the spoils. It's all hat fixins. That Cascade 128 Superwash is some soft, bulky goodness.

Anyways, I have much to do. My husband can watch the kids and manage a good deal of chaos, but he doesn't do the other stuff, so piles of laundry and etc. await.


PS. Must do the math later and tell you guys where I am, but the pattern sales have continued steadily, and I came home to many more purchase comfirmations. A nice check to Haiti will be coming soon.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sometimes you just have to make a job worthwhile in order to do it. This should do the trick. One batch here is for an old sweater you guys may have forgotten by now.

The other will be one version of my "hmmm". There's a second version in the works as well for that one -- with completely different yarn. You'll see.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Hi All,

As many of you already know, I added Short Lucky to the list of patterns for Haiti, and in just a few days I've been amazed at the response! A $100 check has already been added to our family's original donation, thanks to you guys.

I had originally put Short Lucky up because it's the new pattern in my world, and as these things go around here, the other patterns have been taking a big backseat to their baby sibling.

However, I see some KAL groups are talking about Nantucket Red and Golden Vintage for this spring, so they're all going up. (The only one that won't go to Haiti is Alene's Wrap, since 100% of that has always gone to FINCA.)

60%, $3 per pattern goes to make a difference. Keep it up!

Monday, January 18, 2010

A little time to make decisions. I did play with a whole bunch of colors and shapes, but in the end, I chose a neutral colored button so I can wear any kind of shirt underneath. These have cool intertwined snakey things on them though - kind of like the cables they live in.

I got the question of why the cables only exist on one side of the button band and not the other, and since it may get asked again, I'll answer here. With two sides of cable, and an off center band, the extra bulk over one boob was a little disturbing. C on one side, D on the other. This solution cut the bulk and evened things back up, so to speak. Since it's supposed to be worn buttoned, you'll never see it. And no, I didn't see that one coming, so I can't take any credit - it was reknit after we noticed. After someone looking at ME noticed.

Snow also means a lot of progress on new things. This is a deep purple alpaca, with vivid blue heather/fibers in it. On #9s, so you can understand the progress. Very light and soft and lovely to work with. It's going to be a gathered floaty thing, so it's perfect. I'm not usually a knitter of gathered floaty things, so this is a fun departure. We'll see how it goes.

Behind it is a very old bottle of Old Grand Dad, appropriately from my own old grand dad -- Grandpa Irving. He'd be happy to know it didn't go to waste.

It's pretty good with a little pear nectar, some soda water, bitters and lemon juice. And perfect for a snowy afternoon in front of the fire. Zoe made me add the swords, but they won't stay properly in the floaty pears or balance on the glasses. I think she wants them for a Polly Pocket sword fight once I give up.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Is how I feel about this next project.

I actually love the details and how the thing worked out, but want to to play with yarns a little more before it's ready for the Big Time. I love this Jaeger, but in the end, I think some oomph is needed. Can you see how the taupe is a little flat? Maybe even if I had made it in a brighter solid, I'd be feeling the love. The taupe is lovely, but in the end, it might need something a little busier. Or bright accessories? What do you think?

You can totally tell I haven't committed by the simple fact that there has been no button selection. I don't even have the urge. Pretty telling, don't you think? Usually I hear that siren song long before the knitting is even ready.

In the meantime, I'm going to call this guy a Prototype and put him on a Fall schedule, which will give me plenty of time to play around until it feels right.

Instead I've picked up a different packet off my desk and have begun a new swatch. After this, I'm going to play with texture and a bright color!


And hey, let me say THANKS so much for all the commentary on the Short Lucky and White Russian! Hugely fun. Can't wait to see them on your needles.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I spent a few hours in Everett today with the oh-so-talented Caro of Splityarn, her kitties, and her camera. I went over with the intent of a little visit to hang out and take some shots of the White Russian (really, it's coming soon), but I brought this puppy along for the ride since I never was happy with the photos I had taken in my own backyard.

Yes, it was 20 degrees out, and yes I was cold, but look how much fun we were having! I'm smiling in almost all the photos in which I have a face :-). No small feat when it's freezing and you're without jacket, gloves or hat. Smart gals that we are, we ran inside to warm up as necessary, and some hot coffee also did the trick.

And now, yay! - I have gorgeous photos. Where you can really see the sweater - the Ultra Alpaca is so perfect in a simple texture, and whatever magic Caro used captured it perfectly. I'll need to make her cocktails soon. (C - I'm sure you'll check in and read this, so know I will!)

Here are the shots:

The whole cardigan. I am either a Breck girl or a Farrah wannabee.

The back - and look, I wore Good Jeans for the occasion.
(I got them at the rummage sale back in Oct.)

A little texture detail - the heathered alpaca I love soooo much.

Since the tie isn't attched, we did one with it up top

and one tied below.

One more shot of the neckline, while I look off in the distance...

All these shots are Copyright 2010 splityarn.

Next, I'll play with the White Russian pics!
I might make myself a drink before I do.

and feed my kids.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Instead of adding the leftover green from the Midori scarf to stash, I took out a few other Cascade leftovers and decided to use them up. Maya said stripes.

So stripes it is. She looks like a skater dude here. Zoe on the other hand, looks Amazed.
Wonder what she was thinking.

In cocktails, we had Grand Marnier last night straight up, on the rocks. Thanks to Grandma, we have two bottles in the cabinet now and those fat bottles take up some valuable real estate. Ours had just the two glasses left in it, so we killed it.

Did you know they made a cheaper version? Yellow Label. That's what Grandma bought. We're trying it next. And if it we can tell the difference, we'll save it for ice cream.

BTW, You might notice a few things getting revised and changed around in my online world. I'm doing a little administrative rehash here, so bear with me. The actual patterns are fine and I''m not revising the instructions or taking anything down for good. If you go to download something that's missing, I'm probably just working on it. Feel free to let me know and I'll get it back up as soon as I can!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

These are basic rainbow Koigu mitts knit from stash, without a pattern. Apparently this one was knit with a webbed thumb. It's what happens when you knit over Christmas and you're hanging out and talking and you've had a few eggnogs with burbon. You keep going and going and going with the thumb increases, then you put the thumbs on a holder and keep knitting up, and before you know it, you're at the fingers and the thumb is crazyfat and ridiculous, and it begins about halfway up your real thumb. And although the night was fun and the conversation great, you pull out the knitting the next day and see the glove is definitely wonky.

But, since you're already on the fingers, there's no way you want to go back and do all of that crap again, so you finish up the fingers and put the gloves on and hold your thumb under your hand just a little, like this and it looks Just Fine.

My knitting group was entirely amused by this last week, but I'm thinking that's actually a benefit here. Entertainment. And the other glove might get a good thumb so I'll only have to tuck this one under.

So, I'm going to go with these as an example of when it's just fine to leave the knitting imperfect. I'm neither gifting nor publishing these babies.

I'm going to put cool buttons on the cuffs and wear 'em. One webbed thumb and all.


However, the more I knit, the more I realize there are some projects that should be perfect. The problem is the time it takes to make these things so. Or maybe the commitment to the idea that these things need to be so and you should rethink, rip and redo. A commitment I seem to have lacked in the past and hope to work on in 2010.

With that in mind, here's MY Golden Vintage Cardigan.

By knitting this, I learned the lessons that made all your sweaters fit so well. I realized I needed to move the armpits up a bit, make the back narrower, and make the sleeves a little tighter throughout the upper arm. Thanks to this sweater, all these tweaks are in the pattern. Thanks to my inabiltiy to frog and reknit, they never made it into MY little garment.

So, my poor sweater lies in my closet. Gold and Lonely. And, here and now, in this quasi public forum (I just may have more than 10 readers now), I'm telling you: it will be done. This winter. Soon. I will definitely fix it and then I will wear it. Because this is one sweater that really should be perfect.


And to prove it can be done, here's my White Russian.

Again, I learned from the mistakes I made while experimenting, but I didn't fix them on the actual sweater. The pattern has the perfect proportions. But MY sweater had a shortish neck and sleeves that were both too long and too wide.

A sad testament to my laziness about frogging anything finished, I was actually wearing it around (since October). And every time I wore it, I'd adjust the neck and fold up the sleeves and feel a little sheepish for not making the damn thing perfect.

(see, cozy neck perfect sleeve)

So, Ta Da -- last week, I took the sweater, frogged back the arms and fixed the neck, according to the pattern. Now it's awesome. I done did fixed it. And I can wear it happily.


Lastly, here's one that just may end up perfect to begin with.

It damn well better be, since I've rethought, rewritten and reknit parts of it continually over the past few weeks. And each time I have learned a lesson and re-figured the pattern, I've frogged the fucker and reknit according to the lesson learned.

I do have a little more to do, but I'm getting there. And I'll be happy wearing it from the beginning. Amazing. This makes me an old dog who's officially learned a new trick.

Maybe I'll wear it with my new Webbed Glove(s)?

Thursday, January 07, 2010

I've had this for a while, and to be honest, I've been a little scared the few times I've worn it. Definitely not drinking the red wine or eating the brownies. The sweater was a gift my Grandma Pearl gave to my mother when she first met my father, way back when. It's cashmere and mink, lined in lace, and feels like a million bucks on your back.

There's something special about a soft furry collar up around your neck and cashmere on your arms. Makes you feel like Grace Kelly. Even if you have jeans and boots on the bottom half.

And I'm completely powerless around buttons like these, which shouldn't surprise any of you.

But even though I own the cardigan, I'm pretty aware of the fact that it's one of a few items I'm really caretaking, to pass on down to my daughters someday with the story and photos. It's not exactly mine and I am very mindful of that every time I choose to wear it.

But I do love it. So much.

So my wheels started spinning when a new box of fur hats and collars came my way last week from my Grandma Edie's house, which she's moving out of. Nestled among the weird critters with eyes and legs still attached - that's so wrong. And, eew. (Why is it different if you chop the legs and heads and tails off??) But the girls are having SO much fun with those. Used To Be Live stuffed animals. Kind of gross, and pretty funny. The eyes are especially spooky and everyone jumped back when a tail fell off. Extra gross.

Anyways, nestled in the box were these.

And I have jeweled buttons. And yarn. And ideas on a v neck cardigan with a deep babycables ribbing for the waist that would begin where the collars end and babycable wrists with a little picot edge and then I'd have a furry sweater I'm not scared of.
Is it wrong to make a cardigan for the fur collars? So not PC? Or is it OK, since like the cardigan (or the coats, ahem) they were pre-owned and inherited? Hmm.

Either way, first I do have to finish up this puppy, which has been re-drawn and re-knit a few times over the past couple weeks. I think the changes were good and I only have a little more to go. Side two had me stumped, but I think I'm back in the driver's seat now. I still love the heavy aran yarn and the deep kaluha color. And in the spirit of being a perfectionist in 2010, I'm very proud of myself for ripping and redrawing and reknitting.

Lastly, there's something else I inherited from Grandma's house. My sister and her boyfriend showed up last week with the contents of their liquor cabinet. Some bottles have tax stamps still on them with dates like 1957 and 1963, and the labels are awesome.

However, a lot of it wasn't meant to be open for over 30/40/50 years (really, what is?) so in the interest of avoiding all kinds of trouble, we looked at the labels, sniffed, and then poured those down the drain.

Leftover was about a case of fun stuff, some of which isn't even made anymore, and I'll be pulling it out to share as I figure out what to do with it.

This I knew what to do with. It's Akvavit, a Danish liquor. It's a little like gin or vodka, but has a more herbal taste and smell to it. We had it in the house when I was growing up since my Aunt and Uncle would bring it over from Denmark when they visited. Apparently they brought Grandma some too. So, last night, I mixed this:

2 oz Akvavit
2 oz pear nectar (leftover from new years...)
2 lime slices squeezed in
one half can of tonic

And then I sat on the sofa and read The Lightning Thief, and didn't knit a stitch.
It was that good. (the book, not the drink. Although the drink was good too.)

Monday, January 04, 2010

With #1, a happy child.

Does she look sick to you? Yeah, not so much, huh? She missed school today. Woke up with a myriad of complaints and a bloody nose (poor thing) on top of it. And then.... she was just fine. Could it be the Magic Scarf ?

That leads me to #2, a brand new free pattern on Ravelry,

And #3, a drink. (more on that below)

The scarf is based on something we saw in a catalog before the holidays. It was so simple and easy to figure out that I just couldn't put down the $50 for it. Besides, it didn't come in this fabulous jade green that Maya loves so much.

So I picked up two skeins of Cascade, ripped the page out of the catalog and did a little fast math. Spent some time knitting it over the holidays, as it's a great pattern to pay only half attention to. And? Ta da. I'm calling it Maya's Midori, due to the amazing color of both the yarn and the booze - and the fact that she likes the way the the Midori smells.

(Is it wrong that she knows how the Midori smells?) It does smell good.

The pattern is written for an adult size, although I knit if for her. I just knit a few inches less to make up for the fact that she's about 4 feet 10 inches tall.

Which gives me enough leftover to play with hat ideas. And we have a few.


As for the drink, it's hard to make Midori anything but Way Too Sweet. Unless you add a lot of lime juice. So I did.

Maya's Midori
(Is it also bad to name a drink after your kid?)

1 part Midori
2 parts white rum
1 part lime juice
2 parts soda water or seltzer

Shake up in a jigger and pour. Add a cherry.


As for all the other thoughts on starting 2010 right, I've been working on them, and for once I really do have a plan. I figure you care about the part that's related to the knitting.

I've created an office upstairs to organize all my fibery endeavors, and I'm about to realistically go through what's left of my stash for what I will and will not ever use. I've already organized all my books and magazines, my notions and my pattern notes. I even put up a bulletin board and created a flowchart for the future "pipeline" of patterns underway. The calculator will live upstairs.

And then, (as you can see) I'm about to become a perfectionist (stop laughing).