Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Anyone who's knit Woven or seen my Facebook shot will know what I'm talking about.

For the rest of you, it's a new hat pattern!

It's a slouchy beret, with simple smocked detailing, knit in a soft bulky yarn.
A row of eyelets lives just above the brim, almost hidden, but not exactly.

I though of putting a pom pom on it, but wasn't sure.

Can we still wear Pom Poms after 40? I know the whole miniskirt thing is off limits, and my sister tells me to stay away from Forever 21 (although, for the life of me, I just CAN'T), but a pom pom? They seem pretty harmless, but I'm hesitating. Do I have to be done with those too? What's your feeling - yay or nay?

Tell me, as I'll be writing this guy up this morning.

Hanging out in the sink here - it was the best light in the house today.

The whole thing was kind of a surprise, as I hadn't planned on making a beret at all.

I just loved this skein of Cascade 128 Superwash when I saw it in Purl last month and I couldn't leave it there. My sister in law loved the deep red, and once I picked them up, there was no putting them down. (So, I've actually made two berets, but the other is walking around NYC by now on Lisa's head...) The smocking was a surprise too - I decided I've seen enough cabled berets and tons of plain ones, but what hadn't I seen? Smocking. And I'm working on another little smocking project, so I have it on the brain. (so to speak, right?)

So here you go, a Blackberry Surprise.

PS - want to see something adorable for a little girl? Click here.

Monday, February 22, 2010

First, I crossed the finish line and brought in some silver (read down for that).

Then we drank the glogg (photographed above).

For those of you who don't know what glogg is, follow that little link. Our backyard neighbor and buddy, Lisa, makes a mean batch of glogg every year (one of the many reasons we love her) . She messes with the recipe from time to time but it's always a cinnamonny - spicy mulled wine concoction. Gifted in a cool bottle at the back door sometime around the holidays. It's a cocktail I won't try to make, since I get delivery, but I've linked to the recipe for all of you. It's really good, and perfect celebratory drink for say... finishing the third version of a cardigan.

Next, I'm hoping you aren't bored to tears by this third chapter in my Calvados story. I promise this is the last one for a while. I'm already working on the pattern and will maintain radio silence on the topic after today, while it's written and tested.

So here it is. The yarn color is pretty true in the photos, and the drapier aran tweed with a bit of silk in it was the perfect call. And look! It seems I've finally learned to take a good button shot. Turns out my camera has a little zoom-y focus-y option. Who knew?

These textured gray babies came from the tin at school that I was allowed to dig into a while back. I was allowed a second shot at it the week before vacation and found enough to make a whole set.

Thank you, Mrs T. :-)

I made a few more changes as I went into the final turns. I messed with the shaping to give it a more of an A line. I also lowered the neckline a bit in front, and feel it made the collar a little more comfortable and a little more flattering, since you get a little more space under the chin.

Finally, I added this little baby onto the back.

I like that little guy. And it allowed me to play with a few more buttons.

So, there we have it. I'm happy to say I won't need to knit it a 4th time!

In other news, I went back into some of my old patterns (Cabled, Woven, Alene's Wrap) and gave them a read through for the first time in a few years. I made a few revisions and updates and have reposted new and improved versions. Although there weren't mistakes in the directions, they definitely needed a little attention. Now they are better organized and easier to follow, and they look a little prettier too. I'm a little embarrassed that I'd left them out there so long as they were. ahem. sorry about that.


Anyways, I did a little exercise this AM and went directly online. (you know how that goes?) Must get moving towards the shower immediately, as I'm offending myself.

Friday, February 19, 2010

It's kind of amazing the amount of knitting that can get done when you work in Aran weight yarn, isn't it? I haven't had big chunks of time this week (well, except for that glorious Playstation Day...) but look how far we've come on the new and improved Calvados!

Just some sleeve caps, some ends to weave, and a little surprise on the back. Will totally be able to sport this puppy next week in Maine. Without looking like the walking dead.

In addition to the Calvados, I've gotten organized on some of the other FOs and UFOs in the "Deal With" pile - in between snow and skating and errands and friends. I also wrote up my very first official submission somewhere, and I've even made my first online WEBS yarn purchase in order to finish the chunky purple guy on top. Strangely enough, Cascade 128 Heathers is an elusive yarn. Who knew? It's awesome stuff. Just can't find it around here.

It looks like I'm entering back into a purple phase - there's one more cardigan in the works upstairs who also lives near in same area on the color wheel. (In fact, there's a few things upstairs, but I'm allowed to still ingore some things, right?) The color theme is largely due to the fact that I've dug into stash to work on the next few projects, but it makes me happy regardless of the reason. My stash definitely leans towards the purples.

Mmmm. Deep violet alpaca mixed with an eggplant Kathmandu Tweed. Doesn't get any softer than that, does it? Once I finish up experimenting with the Calvados, I think my cassis and blackberry brandies might get a little attention in the drink department for this guy.

Or I'll be trying something totally new to go purple with, since I've been waiting for this place to open in nearby Davis Square and it looks like they have. The Boston Shaker. Cocktail Nirvana.


PS. Craig was messing with me. It's his idea of a good time. He never actually DID ask his client from France how to pronounce Calvados, but just sent me on a little tangent there and had fun listening to me blather on. I can now go back to saying Cal VA dos until I am set right. Any French blog readers out there?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Am I the only one who can't get Blades of Glory out of my head when I read about Plushenko?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The day didn't look so promising earlier, but now it's looking good.

We're getting snow, first of all. And I know the rest of the East Coast might not understand why this is good news to us, but we've been wanting some of the fluffy stuff up here. Sleds have sat listless and snowpants are itching to go outside. As are the kids who own them.

Second of all, I have new CDs to knit to. They're both awesome.

Thirdly, I added up the math on my pattern sales for Haiti and will be writing an additional $360 check to Doctors Without Borders this week. Just for comparison's sake, I sold around $700 in patterns TOTAL in 2009. You guys bought about that amount in 4 weeks this year! So thanks, thanks, thanks. I'm very happy to be able to add to the greater effort this way.

And finally, the pediatrician says we'll live thru our early morning ear infection and still manage to get to see Percy Jackson and the Olympians at 1:30 today as planned. After Percy, I'm getting back to my Olympic project. (see the theme there?) A project I have gotten lots of time to work on, since I bought Craig a Playstation 3 for Valentine's Day. He spent all day yesterday with the girls playing something called Little Big Planet.

Who knew the Playstation was a gift for me too?? I'm a genius. Yes I am.

They played and I knit ALL DAY. Not exaggerating. All Day.

So here's my Olympic status.

A back, one big front and half of the smaller front all knit up. I'm leaving the gold behind and going for the dark gray. The Kathmandu Aran was a great call. It's much more drapey and better suited for both my coloring and the pattern. I even have cool buttons waiting in the wings that will do the gray justice. Unfortunately a sweater did get hurt in the reknitting of this pattern, but it was one that saw very little airtime, so I'm not feeling too bad about it.

Instead I'm happy the yarn will have a second life, and given the awesome charity hit to my knitting budget, this was a necessary sacrifice. (The deal around here is that I fund my little design career out of the money it brings in.)

The other thing I'm looking forward to later today?

More experiments with this stuff. Craig did ask his French client and you pronounce it Cal-va-DOS. Which only adds to the Spanish thing in my opinion. Now we just draw out the SSSSSSS.

(and that purple thing? You'll see that later.)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

But I did.

Cast on for an Olympic project. I'm not sure what event I'd qualify for, and I never did take the time to check for one, so I'm on my own little team off in the Vancouver wilderness, so to speak. Knitting this Hmmm (Calvados) One More Time.

Third's a charm, right?

It happened yesterday when Carol came over. I knew it all along really, but I ignored the voice in my head that kept saying, "You look like ass in yelllows". I knew it way back when in the shop. Really, I did. But I ignored. It was soooo pretty, and it was on sale.

I kept telling the voice that the yarn is more of a butterscotch, really. And the cardigan does look good in butterscotch. Problem is that I don't. And Carol confirmed. Not a color I should really ever wear. The cardigan's fine. Carol also confirmed. She tried it on. She even offered to join my little posse of test knitters. The shape and stuff, that's all good. But, either I need serious makeup and hair dye, or I need to rethink.

To top it off, that Jameisons? Really lovely, but still not the soft drape I crave on this. It'll photograph nicely, and it'll look great in my headless photos, and the kinks are all worked out, but ladies and gents, I'm going in One More Time. And I'm going to get it over with fast. Olympic fast.

This time out of Kathmandu Aran Tweed in a dark gray. With teal flecks.
Soft and drapey. Blue and gray. Stormy Calvados? (since I still want to say Calvados and I still want to make a few drinks out of the stuff...)

We're about to get in the car right now, so I see two hours of Olympic Quality Time ahead.
I still plan on wearing that baby at SPA, yes I do. I just won't look quite as living dead in the gray as I would in the butterscotch.

PS. My Haiti patterns are still up - and 60% is going to help for two more days!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow day or no, there was knitting to finish up today. So finish I did.

(And that snowstorm? Kind of a disappointment around here. I know it would have been a blizzard if our school had a full day, but instead, they got out at 11:30, with no snow on the ground or in the sky. So, we all came home, found out skating was cancelled too, and watched it drizzle outside for the rest of the day.)

But while everyone ran around the house with Zoe's new Zhu Zhu pet, I worked steadily on the ends and seams for this guy. Too bad I didn't fold it better, but you get the idea.

Ta Da!

It's Round 2 of my "Hmm" endeavor, and I do like the tweed much better than the simple merino. I think I'm going to call this one Calvados, since it's a drink I've been dying to try and this'll give me the excuse to buy a bottle. The tweed is the right color. Also, it's also a word I like saying - makes me feel a little like Ricardo Montalban, even though his accent is Spanish and the drink is from Normandy. In France. But say it. See, weird, huh? Even my husband agrees. It wants to be a Spanish word. He (the husband) says he's going to have his French client say it to me over the phone and we'll see how it sounds. I'm afraid we've already spent too much time on the topic, but, hey. I'm eagerly awaiting the phone call.

(And is the booze a business expense if I'm writing up the pattern? Methinks maybe.)

For once, I dug into the button stash and came out with something very different from the vintage collection. These are actually gold colored metal buttons with a faded white paint that accentuates the textured swirly design on them. Pretty perfect with the Calvados colored yarn. (see?) I have one button left, for a little detail I still want to figure out for the back. In the meantime, I can wear this guy around without said detail added.


I tried to take a couple of photos of it on me, but you can see I seriously lack Caro's talents. And I'm back in Zoe's room again, with the shitty lighting and the dirty mirror, which never works out well. I didn't think my hand was shaky, but my camera will not focus without a flash in her room. It refuses. Maybe it wants me to keep the mystery alive for a while longer?

I guess it wins for now.

In the meantime I'll practice saying Calvados without sounding too much like Mr Roarke.

And yes, I will be looking for test knitters. Aran weight yarn. Tweed or a vareigated. Fiber with a little drape is nice. 4.5st per inch on #8s, blocked. About 1200 yds for a 34/size 6. Probably 1400-1500 for the bigger sizes. It won't be written for a few more weeks -- the timeline for knitting is Mar-April-Mayish, done in June. I'll firm up those dates soon.

Now back to some COLOR. My next projects are purple, green and blue. And two of them are going to be accessories in The Plucky Knitter's amazing handdyed yarns, which I can't wait to get my little hands (and my needles) into!

Monday, February 08, 2010

First the hat stack.

I bought three skeins of this amazing Solstice yarn last week - it's a cotton/wool mix, and it comes in some lovely colors. Now, I am knitting 3 baby hats of various sizes - to be stacked in one another and gifted with a bow around all three. Genius, huh?

Like a terducken of yarn. The Newborn, inside the 3-6 mos, inside the 6-12 mos. I'm pretty happy with this little project, and it's great mindless knitting.

Here are the first two, unstacked. Once blocked, you'll see little purled ducks on the blue one and little purled stars on the orange one. I think the bigger one might be striped, but I haven't decided yet. It'll use the navy blue for the brim, no matter what, so the rainbow stacking effect is as cool as it can be.

It was a good thing I had mindless knitting this weekend, since we were very busy with preparations for Zoe's big Penguin Party. Here's an action shot with a few of them around the table. Do you like those penguin masks? They sure did.

(I think they all looked like little Mexican wrestlers.)

Check out the cake - which took us most of Sat morning to create. Turns out black sprinkles makes kid's mouths purple. Who knew? But the purple lips looked even more awesome with the penguin masks. 6 year olds can rock anything.

Here you can see the whole effect. Zoe had stapled little party hats to each mask with the kids' names on them. Which made them even cooler.

See? Mexican wrestler. With a birthday hat, eating cake.

After the party, I took the kids down the block for a little ice skating on our local pond. I guess the sun was behind Maya and I here, but that didn't stop my photographer from capturing the moment.

A good weekend all around! Hope yours was fun too.

Friday, February 05, 2010

You are soooo going to thank me for this one.

Pour a little of your favorite burbon in a glass and dip butter or shortbread cookies into it.

The smoother the whiskey, the tastier it'll be. Craig knows that, and he knew the girlscout cookies had arrived, so look at what he got me for my birthday! It's called Black Maple Hill and it's premium small batch Kentucky burbon. Which is kind of like microbrewed beer, but different, right? The cookies don't have to be the girlscout ones -- Trader Joes' makes pretty good thin ones that work as well, and I've had others in the past. Really, any butter/shortbread cookie should do the trick.

That bottle next to the burbon? That's Ron Zacapa Rum, which is also pretty awesome for dipping cookies in. Don't try this with normal cheap rum. You want dark and you want a little fancier than the, let's say.... the Captain might be.

It's a pretty fun dessert to serve when friends come for dinner, since it's like a fondue, where you all have to DO something. We like to pour a few dipping glasses and put them in the middle of the table so everyone can compare what they do and don't like.

And there's also been knitting in the past few days.

Between stealth trips to the cupboard to steal Thin Mints, I've been getting work done on Round 2 of this cabled number. Turns out I like the tweed much better in the design. It gives it some texture and the whole cardigan seems lighter, maybe a little less dense. (for lack of a better word -- but you know what I mean, right?)

I'm hoping to get it done in the next couple of weeks. There's a trip planned up to Maine for NETA's SPA Weekend and I'm a-going with a few friends. I'm hoping to be wearing this guy while eating what's been described - in a long and detailed email chain - as "the best bacon ever" - from the breakfast buffet. In the evening, maybe I'll wear it while having a drink or 2 as well with dinner, which hasn't been described at all. But I'm sure we'll have it. Maybe 3. Considering there are 8 of us in a townhouse thingy? Maybe 4.

Thanks so much for all the birthday wishes! I don't think I've ever gotten that many comments before in my entire blogging "career" :-) And comments always make me happy.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


Yesterday a good friend of mine informed me that 42 is a way cool birthday to have.

(I thought it was cool enough because I got flowers delivered)

She used to own a science fiction and mystery bookstore, and according to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 42 is the "Answer" to the ultimate question. Then in the book, they aren't so sure what the question is, which I found kind of funny. However, legions of sci fi folks have ignored that little issue, and the fact that the author himself said he picked it randomly, to give the number all kinds of cool status. Spiritual, magic, laden-with-meaning kind of status. And since I'm 42 today, I'll go with it.

It's also the number of teeth in a dog's mouth, the amount of hours that Shakespeare had Juliet sleep for after taking her potion, and the number of Chapters in Catch 22.

Plus, in the X Files, it was Mulder's address. I loved the X Files.

Coincidentally, it's the number of stitches I have cast on for this.
Spooky music goes here.


I'm looking forward to a good day -- I've started by making my coffee with cocoa and cinnamon and real cream in it. Like a cocktail, but not. Then I'm meeting my friend Amy, who designs some gorgeous sweaters (look!) for a little LYS trip and lunch. There's some big secret dinner that the girls have planned for me later, and I know cake will be involved.

And as for the year ahead, my plans for 42 involve many more patterns. A few are already in some sort of written or swatched form, and I'm beginning to really play with yarn weights and options. I feel like I"m getting the hang of this thing and plan on having some fun with it as the year goes on. You'll see things with options, and I'm playing with funky details.

This is also the year I'm going to use the gorgeous yarns. You'll see.

Monday, February 01, 2010

This is totally the week to multitask.

Craig's out of town for a few days, Zoe's birthday is this weekend, and I went to pick these up this morning. About a thousand boxes of girl scout cookies. Now in my house. I honestly think the boxes are kind of pretty, but I know I have to deal with them in a few hours. For now, this is what my entire downstairs looks like. We grouped them against all the available walls. Later today we'll sort them by cookie type and then divvy them up for each girl so they can be taken away, but for now, I got me some piles.

My knitting projects only extend the theme.

This might be related to the fact that Craig's gone and won't care that the dining room table is full of yarn and books and stuff, but I'm thinking my projects are pretty happy all thrown together in a lump. Or a pile. I keep taking different things out and working on them as the inspiration hits, so the order might change, but the general disarray stays. Since Sat.

In my head, it all makes sense. Am working first on the orange, second, the green in the bag (hidden from your view...) then the purple, then maybe on the hat that came out of the first two, and the sweater can remain below for now. The sweater isn't going anywhere till fall. The rest might have actual uses in a few weeks.

And those smaller things won't take as long, so I get them of the way first, right?

But maybe the REAL reason the yarn is in a giant pile is that I spent yesterday out with a friend at our favorite thrift shop, and today I kind of did the same thing with my sister. Instead of organizing any of the projects above. We picked up the cookies, dumped them in the house and then we got right back into the car - since she needed help with her stuff for the consignment shop and Goodwill at Davis Square.

What's that saying - you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours? She helped carry my shit and then I helped carry hers. Perfect. And we followed that up with some Tacos Lupitas.

None of this has helped with the piles, (nor does this current act of blogging in my remaining half hour of quiet) but it did add to my vintage cocktail collection. And I always love when that happens -- Silver Polka Dot Highballs. Aren't they awesome?

And that odd one has a script "M".
For Maya. $1.49 worth of happiness right there.