Monday, August 30, 2010

I suggest doing this.

Our nectarines are about to go - at their sweetest, and yes, smushiest, so by tomorrow no one's going to touch them in the fruit basket. I sliced them and tossed the pieces in my tallest glass. Poured beer over, and added two ice cubes. I used a medium bodied beer (Sam Adams Boston Ale) so it has a little of its own flavor and won't get too sweet. And oh yes, it hits the spot.

I was hoping (am still...) for a blueberry ale at the pub we have our knitnight at, but the emails have already begun and I think the No's have it tonight. So, hedging my bets here, I decided to have one at home. If the Yes's chime in, I'll join, but it is absolutely past beer thirty, and there's about 8 kids in my yard running around, and this is going down oh so nicely. I really, really, really recommend it as a use for that about-to-go summer fruit.

If there were blueberries in the fridge, I'd have done that, but necessity IS the mother of invention, isn't it?

For those of you looking at the knitting, I've got this. Still working on the unplanned, figure-it-out as you go project. And I do like it. It's going to be a long, open cardigan with a big floppy collar and deep closure bands. No buttons, so can I call them that? Closure band. Hmmm. I can pin it if I want, or wear it open, or belt it. I'm picturing it with skinny jeans (it'll cover my ass, so I can wear them!) boots, and some kind of a V necked top.

All I have left to figure out are the sleeves. Am thinking longish short sleeves, with a deep folded cuff. Yes? No? This is the back, because as I mentioned before, I seem to have a leaning. Patterns on either side of the cardigan closure, and a repeat on the back. On a shorter cardigan, it draws attention UP from the tush. On this one, it's just fun.

And speaking of fun, a finished winebag!

All I need is the good bottle of Shiraz to replace the cheapo stand in I've been using.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sometimes you need to, right? When that paper winebag from CVS just won't do.

And this is fun. It's lazy and easy and it doesn't matter what color I'll do next or how thick the stripe is. I'm deciding as I go, dipping into the stash bits bag and seeing what comes up.
I can drink while I do it - just not from the same bottle.

I can't drink this bottle anyways. It's a thank you for my friend who does my Ravelry ads. She's amused by the whole idea of yarnbombing, and I've been paying her in knitting and booze related barter each time she whips up a batch of jpegs. Having just finished the ads for Shiraz, what better to give than a yarnbombed bottle of the same?

Now if only I could crochet, she'd be getting THIS.

It's from Knitting It Old School, and it's awesome. Isn't it?? So is the book. 41 knitting, crochet and sewing patterns - seriously, 41. In one book. Pick it up, you'll love it. The sweater designs are modern takes on vintage styles & themes, and the text, photos and chapters are organized to make the whole thing a fun read, whether you plan to knit a particular pattern or not. It's a trip down memory lane, but presented so you want to make the stuff and wear it in 2010.

(or 2011 if you have a long queue)

To go with it, I took out my Grandma's bottle of Drambuie. It's from 1963, so it seemed absolutely appropriate.

1 oz drambuie
2 oz burbon
one long orange peel
shot of lemon juice
maraschino cherry and a teeny bit of the cherry juice
3 ice cubes
fill the remainder of the glass with club soda

It's sort of a Rusty Nail, but not exactly. It felt very "Honey I'm Home" and I should have been wearing a full skirt, high heels, my pointiest bra, and St Moritz, by Snowden Becker. (Except note that I'd be making the drink for ME, not my suit-wearing womanizing adguy husband. And it's hard to find a pointy bra these days, since they all come rounded and padded up already.)

and PS, Craig, you wear shorts, I know.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My first pattern for the fall!
Say hi to Shiraz.

I know a wine variety is not an actual cocktail, but it seems appropriate for cooler weather to have a glass of red again, and the color of this yarn just is very Red Wine. Deep, smooth red wine.

This cardigan is due in no small part, to my friend Amy's Fit to Flatter series, something that has kept my knitting friends chatting for the past few months. We've been evaluating what we each look good in, and how to modify the designs we love for our shapes so that they work the best they can on us. We are knitters, after all, and we should be able to make things perfect if we're creating the thing from scratch, yes??

So, I wanted to create a design versatile enough that it would flatter a number of different body types - and I wanted to construct it in a way that would allow knitters the freedom to play with it for their own specific needs. Without re-inventing the wheel (or the pattern), so to speak. I wanted mods on this to be easy.

So, this is knit top down, and you can adjust the length or width as you need. You can create short sleeves or long, or 3/4 ones. The textured hourglass in the center draws the eye in towards your waist, and visually creates a proportional, feminine shape. Button placement can also mix it up nicely, as it affects where and how the closure nips in.

I wrote the pattern with buttons only in the center, for the hourglass effect. That said, you can put them anywhere. They can just close the top, "February Lady" style, they can run the entire length of the cardigan for a traditional fit, or they can begin in the center and go down to the bottom, leaving the top open. Each option gives the hourglass a different feel, and flatters a different body type.

You can see I've already made two versions for myself. The details remain the same, but the fit and the silhouette are a little different. The first (darker) one is knit in Berroco Vintage, the other (lighter) in Cascade 220.

The Cascade version is knit as the pattern is written - hip length, a bit fitted, buttons in the center to create a nice long V above and below the waist. The Berocco one is a variation on the theme - I went shorter and added ease in the body. (specific mods are here - and you'll see, it's easy. You don't have to veer off the pattern to do it!)

On both of mine, I kept the buttons at the center, as that's what works best on me.
Once my test knitters post their pics on Rav, you will see a few button variations!

Details are on Ravelry, but here are a few:

Yarn: Cascade 220, Berocco Vintage Wool, 850-1700 yds
Needles: US6/4mm and US7/4.5mm
Sizes: 32,34,36,38,40,42,44,46,48, and 50 (2" ease in pattern)

Gauge: 4.5 sts, 7 rows per inch on #7s


So that's Shiraz. I hope you guys have some fun with it!


All those awesome pics? Copyright 2010 Splityarn. Big thanks.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I don't know if anyone will remember that last year, we got an all expense paid trip to the Harbor Islands for a day of fun, and it happened through Ravelry? I go to know the lovely Carrie, Maya met a new buddy in the batch of kids, and we all had a great day out in Boston Harbor. Photos were taken and we signed some forms about usage. Well, fast forward a year, and my kids had bragging rights last night while we were out in the city with a few friends.

At first, the other kids didn't believe them, but the proof was kind of indisputable.

As for me, I'm going to stay un-famous for a bit. (The photos of me must have hit the editing room floor - and since I don't even look like my kids, you'll notice they subbed in alternate "parents" to ooh and aaah over the crabby things here.)

Instead, I'm doing a little knitting.

I started this one because the yarn wouldn't let me work on anything else. It's soft, dark purple and has cashmere in it. Plucky Knitter. I had to do it. But honestly, I have been working on it with the vaguest of plans in my head. Like no plan, really. It started with a photo from the latest J. Crew catalog, but once it got on the needles, you'd be hard pressed to believe me on that. Except maybe for the neckline.

So far, it's got a few elements that I'm finding I gravitate towards -- or should I say, it's been pointed out to me that I do? 1. It's a cardigan, 2. It has a simple vertical detail along the closure

and 3. There's some kind of a repeat of the detail on the back.
(I think I don't like the boring expanse of knitting on the back of a sweater without something - as I haven't planned this out on some of the other cardigans that also got this!)

I am truly enjoying the exercise of knitting with no real goal in mind, no deadline, no agenda, no directions that need to be followed. I have a few ideas for the band that will actually serve as a button/closure thing and I am undecided about length, border and sleeves. And that feels kind of nice - since I can make those decisions when I get there.

It's a stress free way to ease into fall knitting - I highly recommend it.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I think it's better.

Yes, it's one day later and I'm back in my yard with my purple Essie on my lap and another pitcher of frozen minty melon goodness in front of me. Really, I did leave the house for a while today and wandered around the world, but here I am again. I could explain my lack of new ideas by saying it's taking a while for me to download and restart after my trip to NJ, which is true, but really, we still had half a melon in the fridge and were in the mood.

This time:

In a blender, put half a honeydew, chopped up
12-15 mint leaves
about 8 ice cubes
juice of one lime, squeezed in
3 oz midori
6 oz vodka

The midori and vodka combo beat the rum - in our opinion. You tasted more of the melon and mint, without the rum competing.

Do your own taste test and tell me what you think!

Friday, August 13, 2010

After a week away, there was much laundry and catching up to do today. Followed by this.

It had been a crazy and busy vacation, full of grandmas and grandpas and old friends and New York City. (I have more to share on the Grandmas later.) It was a good week, but getting back home felt great. We were wiped, and the downtime on the patio was much needed.

As were these Minty Melon Things.

In a blender:
Put half a honeydew melon, cut in pieces.
Toss in a handful of mint leaves.
Add the juice of one lime - squeeze it in there.
Toss in 5-6 ice cubes
Add 6-8 oz of rum.

Blend and Pour. I set the blender on the "froth" setting for a sec and they got extra fluffy. My friend Lisa was not a fan of the fluff, but I thought it was kind of fun.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

of leftovers. I left this little gift on the Wine Fairy's stairs yesterday.


And I owe you the drink recipe from the Lime Rickey Scarf, yes?

Lime Rickey Recipe

2 oz of gin
Equal parts lime juice and simple syrup - about an oz of each
3 dashes of bitters
Fill remainder of glass with club soda 6-8 oz and a few ice cubes
Garnish with a lime slice - and if you want, chop and toss in a bit of mint


Moving here about 10 years ago, I'd never even heard of a Rickey. But you can't live in Massachusetts for long without running into the Raspberry Lime Rickey at your local Brigham's or summer ice cream joint. Since trying my first one, I've had Cherry Lime Rickeys, Strawberry Lime Rickeys and Raspberry Lime Rickeys all over New England. Usually they're super sweet fizzy things - a mix of limeade and soda water -- with some sort of added sweet pink juice.
And they're pretty great on a hot day.

But strangely enough, I never do see them anywhere else. Do you?

What's your favorite local cool-off summer drink? (and would it be good if I added booze?)

Monday, August 02, 2010

It's time, isn't it?
And I figure accessories are the way to ease into it.

So here's Lime Rickey! Something cool, super soft, and simple to follow, worked in two pieces, so you only have HALF the yarn on your lap as you knit through these last summer days.

I wanted a scarf that would really stand out in a jacket this fall, and, playing with ruffles, I was looking for something that would be funky instead of feminine. The angled ribs have just the effect I wanted, and flare out on either side in an angled V towards the center.

This was my second design project with The Plucky Knitter, and it's worked in two skeins (450 yds) of her gorgeous Merino Alpaca Silk Worsted in Sassy. The subtle color changes are perfect for the ribs and the soft silk and alpaca feels amazing wrapped up around my neck.

My original prototype was worked in Classic Elite Renaissance from my stash. It's old stuff. I doubled the skeins and knit this up on 10s, so it's a bit thicker than the green version. I had about 600 yds doubled, so this equals around 300 yds of chunky yarn. I love this color. The texture of the yarn is a bit less drapey, a bit less soft than the Plucky.

But it still works, and I know you will go through your stashes, so here you see the pattern in a chunkier yarn. The beauty of the scarf is that gauge isn't exactly a problem, right? Again, the color is subtle and doesn't overpower the ribs, and there's a little heather going on.

If you aren't a scarf kind of knitter, there's also the Curacao Cowl.

Also free, also good lap knitting, and another statement piece to begin now and wear in a few months! It has a lot of detail to it, but is much simpler to knit than it looks. This is the other project I designed for Sarah's yarns and it takes two skeins (430 yds) of the Plucky Knitter's Merino Worsted. Again, I loved how the subtle color changes pick up the detail, and the yarn is squooshy and soft and does a lovely wrap around your neck. Stable enough not to flop over, but soft enough to feel woofy.

Happy August!

I've said waaaaay too much already. I'll save the Lime Rickey recipes for my next post.

And PS - All these lovely photos are Copyright 2010 Splityarn.