Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sorry for the silence, it's been a busy week. The first two weeks of school are nothing, and it's always the third when they get moving with who needs what. Shoes, cupcakes, volunteering, all the forms, and then the load of homework begins.

On the upside, I now have an Amazing Pumpkin Cupcake recipe, with a lemon zest cream cheese frosting. They were the first tray to empty at last night's bake sale. But I think Maya may have pushed extra hard on them, so the results could've been a little rigged.


Back to the Trunk Show, for those of you wondering. I did manage to croak out my speech, and it worked out just fine. There were 20-something people there, a tables' worth of knits to play with, and another table of Dark and Stormies for drinking.

The unexpected bonus was the buy one, get one free sale!

For me, one of the best parts was watching everyone put on the knits. At first, I have to say it was a little strange. I mean, they're my sweaters, you know, the ones in my closet, that I wear.. But I got over that weirdness in a few minutes, as it was so great to see how everyone looked in them, and what was flattering to each person.

I brought this one and it was the best one to watch. Everyone had a different way of wearing it - and it looked great on all of them, so yes, it will get written up eventually. Modeling it above is Ann, of Weaverknits, who stopped in. For those of you who don't know her stuff, she has some very cool ideas, knows how to add a new slant to a traditonal element, and has written some beautiful patterns. She also just published her own book, Craft Work Knit. Worth checking out!

She just flipped the edge up on the cardigan and pinned it, and voila, it looked amazing. So, we had it up, we had it down, we had it open, we had it over a shoulder, we pinned it at the top, and we pinned it down at the waist. I'm going to need a drink with a lot of different recipe options to represent this guy.

But in the meantime, I have to get knitting!

Rhinebeck is only a few weeks away!

Will I meet any of you there??

Friday, September 24, 2010

I am very far behind on the booze around here, due to various and sundry annoying illnesses. And because someone up there hates me, my latest affliction is laryngitis. Yep, I can't talk today. Keep in mind: I am giving A Talk tomorrow in Milton. Where I'm supposed to BE talking.

That brings me to the first drink up there. Fall is coming, and winter too. And someone else will have a sore throat besides me. So see that bottle of American Honey? It's burbon with Honey in it already. So smooth and tasty. Pour that in a cup of tea and add a slice of lemon before bed. It's like a hot toddy all premade in a bottle. In the interest of full disclosure, this was the stuff I had in my flask at Rhinebeck last year - it was WAY good added into that $1 cup of hot cider.

Anyways, I'm going to have one of those tonight before bed, and I'm spending the entire day alone, so I keep my trap shut and I'm going to hope for the best tomorrow. Or I'm going to whisper loudly at the trunk show and hope the sweaters and the drinking distract everyone from the fact that I'm just not that entertaining when I can't speak.

The second thing up there is the bottle of Post Road Pumpkin Ale. I know there are a lot of pumpkin ales on the shelf, but trust me. This is the good one. Buy it when you see it, because it will be gone the next time you hit the store. It's not too sweet and it's perfectly pumpkiny.

The third option is an easy cocktail - and it's orange to match the changing leaves. (Cute, huh?)
My friend Ann made this for me and I loved it, so I can't take credit for the idea. However, I sure can share it! You need the San Pellegrino Aranciata orange beverage. It's NOT orange soda. I repeat - DO NOT USE ORANGE SODA. I think Orangina would work too, but if you can find this stuff, get it. You need a less sweet orange bubbly beverage. It's a half glass kind of thing, but if you need a full glass, just double the amts.

1 oz tequila
1/2 can of Aranciata
1 shot of lime juice or 1/2 sliced lime

It's so good! Kind of like an orangey, bubbly margarita. But not so icy and summery.


As for the knitting in front of the bottles, it's the second part of my pre-Rhinebeck Stashdown. This big batch of tweed needs to go too before I can purchase.

The project is not ready to share yet, but think tweedy sweatercoat, with a cool collar, a little lace, and some big ass buttons. Although I still could change my mind on some of that.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I know we all manage stash differently, but I've always had a very limited budget and a teeny storage spot. It ALL has to fit in one trunk. Which can be a challenge if you're talking sweater quantities of worsteds and arans, right?

So I keep it moving, and my rule with festival yarn is that the old stuff has to get knit up before I'm clear to buy new. And hey, Rhinebeck = Oct 17! So here you go. One bag down.
I do love those #9 needles. It was quick, mindless TV knitting (thanks to Buffy and the vamps)

Drapey, soft, creamy, fluffy aran alpaca. I figured it would be perfect in one of those big slouchy sweaters I keep seeing in the stores. Except I'm way short, and a bit curvy, so alot of them are overwhelming on my frame. I tried to made this one custom to compensate -- The tips go down to my mid thigh exactly, the fronts aren't huge down MY front, the width got nipped in at the back, and I added short sleeves. And although I do think this is about as good as unstructured is going to get on me, I think I like it better with a little structure!

Just look how cool that pins in! I love how the tips line up off kilter.

It still does work this way, the length is good and the fronts actually drape as they should, but I'm going to bet I wear it the other way more often than not.

As for drinks, I owe you all many. I've had a bout with Vertigo and trust me, the LAST think I needed was a drink. (way dizzy enough, for about a month!) But I've moved on to the common cold now, and the beverages will commence again.

It's almost time for my favorite fall treat - Post Road Pumpkin Beer!

Friday, September 17, 2010

I wanted to post pics today of these gorgeous brown and gray tweeds I found yesterday when I went down to Milton to scout out Snow Goose yarns, but the rain is falling and the light is crappy and all I'm getting is lame, colorless blob photos, so that'll have to wait. In the meantime, the swatches will grow, so maybe the pictures will end up that much more interesting in the end?

More importantly, anyways, is the reason I drove down to Milton yesterday.

We're doing a Cocktail Trunk Show there next Saturday Sept 25, at 4pm!

I'm going to bring over a bunch of my knits (published and upcoming), print out a few patterns, and talk a bit. And the Snow Goose gals are going to make a few of the drinks that go with my patterns! I've never done this before, but I'm thinking it sounds like a fun way to wind down a Saturday afternoon.

The shop is great - off my beaten path, so I'd never been before. It's a cozy spot upstairs in the Milton Marketplace. Absolutely packed with great yarns, with a great pattern and magazine selection to boot. I came out of there with a beautiful Rowan colorway I'd never seen before, and a hank of Harrisville Designs Tweed, which I'd never actually seen in person, but have heard about for ages. It's good stuff. (I'll share when the weather allows.)

Anyways, I would love to meet some of you in person, and of course I'm always a sucker for a chance to share cocktail, so maybe if anyone's free, you'd want to stop by?

Directions are here. It's easy to find - right off 93 South, just a little below the city.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Remember those purple skeins I had of the MCN Lite? I couldn't ignore them, so I started knitting with a vague idea in my head a couple of weeks ago. I had this in mind, from J Crew - I just loved the big folded back collar.

Completely not on the list of to-dos, this guy kind of took over, and everything else got shoved to the backseat. But the bright side of the obsessive knitting impulse is that I had a new sweater to wear on the first sweater day of the fall yesterday.

Since Maya came home from school early with some vague malady, and the plans for the day were scratched, I put her to work as a temporary photographer. Never mind the argument about how many fuzzy photos you're going to take before you realize you should change the setting. It all worked out in the end. I think I'm biting my lip here just so I don't say something that'll send the rest of the morning to hell. And the lighting? Dark above, light below. She'll tell you it was intentional. (She'll also insist that this is absolutely, perfectly focused) To be honest, I kind of like the weird quality to this shot, intentional or not. And you can see the collar just fine.

so yeah, maybe she was right? ahem

Mmmmm. Fall sweater.

I've promised myself I am not going to start designing all in one yarn all the time, so rest assured, there is a tweed coming up next, and the alpaca cardigan, and also another tweed sort of sweater coat in the works, but yes, this will get written up and yes, there are also the other Plucky patterns in the queue.

In the meantime, I need to think about purple drinks that aren't too sweet.


And, so I don't leave you hanging - when I went to the thrift store the other day, I didn't find a single vintage glass but I DID find something ultimately much more entertaining.

Whenever they want something from now on, they have to wear them. Zoe's fine with it, Maya is way less enthusiastic.

Totally worth $1.59 each, don't you think?

Friday, September 10, 2010

is a beautiful thing! Thank you, Namaste, for making this giant, awesome, perfectly deep red, messenger-style knitting bag. It has about 10,000 pockets and compartments and is way deeper than you'd think. I can hide a child in here (or a bottle), should the need arise. But for now, it's carting around a pile of creamy white alpaca from NH S&W.
Before I move on to the alpaca (which I will), I first have to say Thank You and WOW for the response to my Shiraz and Dark and Stormy designs!

I am so so so floored by all the great feedback and by the number of you who jumped to buy the patterns in such a short time. It's been a crazy few weeks around here, and if I haven't responded to an email or comment, I'm sorry. Every time I pulled up the internet, my list of emails and messages was unbelievable! But I am so happy and so humbled by your support and I can't wait to see your WIPs start popping up on Ravelry. I really hope you guys will like knitting these as much as I liked designing them.

Maybe I'll see one or two in the wild at Rhinebeck??


So, now comes the hard part - what to do next, right?

Here's where I am so far. The stitch pattern is something I played with on a quilt square recently and fell in love with. It's kind of a cable, and kind of a smock, and is done with a YO and ribbing, as you knit. I love it in this creamy, soft alpaca and am using it as the accent on, yep, yet another cardigan. Although I got this yarn from a fair, it knits at exactly at the same gauge as Berroco's Ultra Alpaca, so I can translate into a knittable pattern pretty easily. The cardigan is my attempt at "drapey and flowy, but not overwhelming" - as I'm short and curvy and need a little fit with my drape and flow. So far, so good, but I'm only down the shoulders. However, I have high hopes. Because, in the drawing, it looks great. (Also in the drawing, I lost 10 lbs, grew 5", and have long shapely legs. Because it's MY drawing and I can do that. )

Lastly on the upcoming design front, Sarah (thepluckyknitter) and I have been talking lots and planning more combined pattern and yarn projects. Another cardigan has already been knit and is getting written up for late fall release. Also, for people with smaller quantities of yarn or a tighter budget, we're working on a smaller project - still clothing, but less yarn.

How's that for a hint? Any guesses? Stay tuned!

Anyways, after a week of computer mornings this week, I'm off with a friend today. We're hitting a favorite thrift shop and having lunch - so maybe I'll have new cocktail glasses to share in my next post!

Here's hoping.

Friday, September 03, 2010

How appropriate is this timing?? The clouds have rolled in and the thunder is rumbling in the distance this morning. Kismet, maybe?

Align Center
This cardigan is my latest collaboration with the Plucky Knitter. Sarah (that's her) called me a while back and we talked about adding a pattern to one of her Classic club offerings. For those of you who don't know the Classics Club, it's her monthly yarn club in which she comes up with a theme from an old movie and designs a color around it. She hints, but you don't know what you're getting until she sends the skeins and people begin posting in the spoiler thread discussion group! There's much speculation, based on the scene or movie poster Sarah uses as a hint.

This time, she wanted to do a sweater quantity club offering, with a pattern (this is where I come in...) enclosed. The theme was Moody and Broody and Grey, and the inspiration was the kind of cardigans worn by iconic movie actors from the 1940s or 50s. Think about Jimmy Stewart, Fred Astaire - home from work, with a martini and a pipe and pressed pants. "Or.." she said, "You can also imagine the sweater on your Grandpa, years later. And you want to wear it because it's cozy and amazing and comfy!"

So with an image in my mind of Fred Astaire in his classic shawl collared cardigan, and of my Grandpa Irving (these two do NOT always go together), I began playing with motifs in the yarn. The deep gray has an edgy, urban vibe to it, so I found myself thinking classic, but city. Granite. Very 1940s Manhattan. Think art deco building and go with me here.... yes?

I used 3" of ease through the body, so it's not fitted, but it skims your curves, and I designed the length so it would hit just where your jeans do - between the hip and waist. It's knit from the top down though, so you can alter either the length or width for your needs (you can see the lengths the test knitters used on Ravelry, once they all post). I've also included a modification note about how to get a little extra ease in the bust area.

The motifs I used are intended to showcase the yarn, so they're geometric and simple, but a little bit different than the usual cables, and I think that in the gray, they have that edgy feel.

I also had a little fun with the details.

The big snuggly collar is where I went back to Grandpa's sweater. The heavy soft merino yarn is perfect for this, and the generous fold makes me want to wear it and sit in an easy chair.

And if I was to sit in an easy chair and kick back and watch the rain fall in my cardigan today, I'd have a Dark and Stormy, wouldn't I?

2 oz dark rum
8 oz Goslings ginger beer
one lime, squeezed in and sliced on top
Add ice cubes.

For those of you who want the specifics, they are on Ravelry, but here are some basics:

Sizing 32-50

Yarn: Plucky Knitter Merino Worsted 6(6,7,7,7,7,8,8,8,9) skeins. 215 yds per skein
or Plucky MCN Lite 6(6,7,7,7,7,8,8,8,8) skeins - 230 yds per skein.

Gauge: 5 st, 7 rows per 1" in stockinette. blocked lightly.

The actual Moody Broody Club signups will go live tonight, (Sept 8) at 8pm. Sarah's whipping up sweater quantities of deep gray Merino Worsted, which will be shipped along with a hard copy of the pattern. Spots are limited, but there will be a second club offering in a few weeks.

For those of you who want to purchase the pattern alone, it's on the sidebar here and it's also available on Ravelry for $6.50!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Are the fat fashion magazines at Walgreens!

I was at the store yesterday getting some necessary back to school items for me - (a box of hair dye for those roots and some deep conditioner for the beachy ends.) The mags are good. And the perfect diversion on a 95 degree day you aren't going to make it to the beach again. I got home around 3 from about a thousand errands, turned on the AC, got a delivery from the wine fairy (Thanks Roy!) and poured myself a glass.

A few things from the mags are worth mentioning. I'm loving these notched collars.

I'm also strangely drawn to the clog boots. Any thoughts on those? I love the tall boots they're wearing in every other photo, but I'm too short to wear them. Already owning the Fryes, and not wanting big heels since I walk everwhere, I don't have a lot of other options. Unless you guys know of some? Mid calf, with a mid heel, not slutty. Not cowboy. Am torn on biker, since the Fryes are pretty close in look and I have those. Discuss. Suggestions are welcome!

While I ponder the boots, I'm playing with this new stitch pattern. The green is a quilt square for a friend, and the white is Festival Alpaca I have from NHS&W. My rule is that I have to use my old festival wool before the next one, so this has to be knit up before Rhinebeck!

Maybe it'll get a notched collar? I'm thinking however, of one of those flowy cardigans with the drapey front. Alpaca drapes so nicely and this stuff is so soft! Not sure that's notched collar material. That collar lends itself to a more tailored look -- at least that's what I think.

And for those of you wondering what's coming before October, the Moody Broody Gray Club design is almost ready. Am guessing within the next week or two!