Monday, November 29, 2010

The perfect stuff to work on over a busy weekend. Accessories!

These mitts have been percolating in the background for a long time. I wanted an excuse to use leftover sock bits - and when I saw the Koigu next to the DK in my stash, I had to combine the two. The project was quick and easy and very stashbusty. I did the border before the guests arrived, as that piece takes a bit of attention, and managed the mitten hands on autopilot while a thousand other things were going on last week!

I am planning on writing these up and posting the pattern when NaKnitMitMo begins in January, so if you like them and you have bits of sock yarn that match a stray skein of DK in your stash, stay tuned and the pattern will follow.


The other project I managed to knit up between turkey and potatoes and games of Scrabble this weekend was Shoormal, from the Shetland Trader Book One. I've been dying to own one of these since Rhinebeck, and my book arrived just in time. Gudrun has put out an entire collection of gorgeous patterns, but this was the project custom made for an easy weekend of knitting!

A simple repeat, soft bulky yarn. and some immediate gratification. I finished in two days and have not stopped wearing it since! I have plans to knit more from this book, but have a few other things to tend to first. Am about to write up the mittens and one other sweater project this week, and must get ready for Hanukkah in TWO days!

Honey cookies, latkes, polishing the menorah, and a brisket. oy.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Very appropriate pilgrim beer, made in Plymouth MA. (It's after noon, right?)

And TWO kinds of stuffing, because one just isn't enough.

Hope you are having a great holiday!


Which I made while boiling water for second batch of polenta. First ended up face down on the floor. Big crash. Swear word yelled. People came in to see what fuckup had occured, hoping it wasn't turkey. My daughter sat there, looked at the polenta -coated floor, then back up up at me, and said "I'm SOO bored, Mom". Seriously.

That's what 11 looks like, oh friends with little girls. Oh yes. She then went back to the fireplace to read while we stood there dumbfounded. So, yeah, Diana and Carol and Erin - and the rest of you with adorable little daughters, make one of these:

1.5 oz calvados apple brandy
5ish oz cranberry juice
2 oz soda
squeeze lemon
add ice cubes

It'll go well with the New Round of Fried Polenta Squares with Apple and Sausage.

Maybe tomorrow I'll make Maya scrub the kitchen floor, just for fun :-)

Monday, November 22, 2010

My bottle of Campari was a waste of $30.

It's the right color for the capelet I was working on, but there is nothing I can mix with this to make it yummy. No - thing. I am officially giving up and going back to the pomegranate and cranberry route for the project. And if any of you peeps who know me and live nearby DO like Campari, just let me know and you can have my poor unloved bottle for your own.

On a WAAAY more positive note, the holidays aren't even here yet and I'm getting fabulous treats in the mail! I got two packages in two days. And we all know few things are more fun than treats in the mail, right?

First, this lovely bag from Jen at YarnPlayCafe, which I WON on her blog. I never win anything, so I'm totally basking in the glory of being the Winner. It's an awesome bag - made of a heavy canvas. It's the perfect size, and a really great brown color. I know my next project will be traveling around in this puppy. If you like it, she's got lots more in her shop..... they say all different knitterly things, and they come in a few colors -- in case you're wondering.

The second treat I came home to was this box of Skinny Cotton from Blue Sky Alpacas. The color is called birch, and it's an amazing deep rich shade of cream. Is it weird to say deep and rich and cream in the same description and not be talking about food? Maybe, but it is, and the soft cotton is absolutely perfect for a summer top idea I'm playing around with lately. It's just the tiniest bit sheeny, and a little rustic, and very soft.

I can hardly wait to get going on it, although it's crazy to be working on summer when I'm also brining a turkey and making cranberry sauce, isn't it? The cold weather hasn't even really arrived over here in Massachusetts. So, in the meantime, I have a deep, rich cream WINTER cardigan on the way. The testers are all done and it's about ready to go.

This is called Egg Nog, and it'll be up just in time for Hanukkah, sometime next week.
(See - blue and white photos = Hanukkah!)

I'm working on a few different Hanukkah Egg Nog Recipes and I might post one each night, if I can come up with 8. Just don't have it with the brisket, because that wouldn't be kosher. Instead, save it to drink with the kugel and the latkes and the honey cookies, or maybe just on it's own as a snack while you watch all the Holiday TV Specials.

Friday, November 19, 2010

I'm no seamstress. Paying attention might help, you think?

With wear, my little twisted toggles had stretched out a little, and poor Mulled Cider wasn't looking as fastened as it had in the beginning, so I made new ones on smaller needles, to see if they wouldn't prove a bit more resilient in their obviously stressful job of holding the cardigan shut. An experiment that should lead to a more fabulous pattern for you guys. And one that should have been pretty easy to do properly.

But, um... yeah. The button's over there, isn't it? All is well now, and the new toggles are twisted, in the proper spots, & sewed down. And because I live in a land of mockery, I've spent the last 24 hours reminded by my lovely family that I'm the same woman who ironed the table and knit the fronts backwards to begin with.

However, some things DO go as planned and I manage to stay engaged the whole time.

I used 6 skeins of my 8, and the SHELTER project is all done and ready to get written. Look for this one in late Jan/early Feb. For now, a little teaser is all you get, sorry! I am not so sure what kind of drink light blue tweed calls for, but I have time to figure it out, right?

So, for the next few weeks, I'm going to go on an accessory binge. Besides mittens, I am excited about making a Shoormal, from the Shetland Trader. (and YAY, as I'll be following a pattern, instead of writing one.) I have been dying for one ever since Julia wore hers around Rhinebeck. Two bags of bulky yarn are in the wings for that - and a choice will be made between solid deep gray or a Rowan tweed with blues and grays and a bit o yellow.

Plus, my entire family picked out hat yarn in July for their winter hats, which I have not yet touched. Today, as Zoe's hat slid up her head because it was too small, and Maya turned her nose up at all the stripey ones from last year (guessing that trend's so over?) I remembered the little pack of skeins we bought. Ooops. But the holidays will be a good time for some small projects, perfect little spurts of commitment between other things, right?

On that Calvados drink idea from my last post, no. Did not work out.

Instead, I ended up with ginger ale, dark rum and a slice of lime on ice.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

So why does my kitchen island look like this?

I'm pretty happy down here today. Completely spread out, too. In this pile are 3 projects, two notebooks, calculator, and a pile of stitch dictionaries.

Pandora's hooked up to the stereo on like 11, and I'm thinking I might need to run out to buy a Sarah Bareilles CD later today. We have an Amy Winehouse station set and playing -- and it keeps rotating all these amazing artists in that I'm just loving. A half pop, half 40s kind of sound. In fact, I have a little row of new music titles for my Hanukkah list (ahem, Craig) running on the side of the sketch pad, thanks to this very Pandora station.

Coffee's nearby, the light's good, and I'll have to come back down in an hour for lunch anyways, right? Staying put. And, thanks to the current setup, I'm almost done with this.

I did have a few false starts and stops, but this time it's going to stick. And now, I can vouch for the frogging and reknitting properties of the SHELTER. (yep, SHELTER in all CAPS - which is total marketing genius on their part) This stuff''s a dream. All I have left is a little ribbing down below and the sleeves, and then I just might miss the stuff and have to get a little more. Or a lot.

But before I get to knit more tweed, I have this project in the wings, to be picked up next.

It's a mix of DK weight merino and sock yarn. Something I was asked to do LAST YEAR, an am finally getting back around to. It's due in Jan, so I'm thinking I'll slide in just under the wire.

As for drinks, it's been a quiet week. There's been red wine, a few gin and tonics, and a couple of those whiskey drinks from my new book. Dinner with friends a few times and a busy weekend mucks up the experimental booze works, doesn't it?

Tonight might be a good night to try something different tonight. I'm thinking of mixing the Calvados with a little cider and lemon juice. Maybe something else. Will let you know if it's worth sharing!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

That I finally put the cranberry cape to bed. Done, edged and bound off after about 10 different alternate edgings bit the big one. However, sometimes it's worth waiting for Mr. Right. This twisted rib did the trick - different enough from the other ribbings, but similar enough to meld right in. I'll spend the next few days writing, there will be a little testing, and you'll see it again around the Holidays.

Also in the spirit of finishing things, that's my Aestlight up there. You might not recognize it as it's missing the beautiful knitted edging Gudrun intended, but this poor little WIP has spent almost a year in the cabinet and I've come to terms with the amount of time I currently have to work on other knits. After binding off the cape, I figured a quick finish would mean that the poor scarf could be worn right away (and it is, right now). So although it's not done as it should be, it still has the gorgeous lace insert, and I do love it.

Behind the knits up there, you might also notice my new vintage cocktail book. This one's hilarious, and I was introduced to it while picking Zoe up from a playdate. (How much do I love my little community?) It's the Esquire Cocktail Book, a perfect 1950s guide to everything drinky. History, entertaining tips, amazing illustrations and recipes.


Friday, November 05, 2010

Check these two out. I imagine they have English accents.

One of them has a crazy long pipe in his hand, and is leaning on the bar behind him. They both have overactive cowlicks and are wearing houndstooth suits. There's an actual wall behind them, with wood paneled squares and it has a horse painting on one side and 3 mugs on hooks hanging on the other. I get the distinct impression they're either in a Gentleman's Club or on some Estate after a day with the hounds.

What do you think they're saying?? in their accents, of course.

These are the latest addition to my vintage glassware collection, and they're even more special because they were a gift from Stitchy McYarnpants, who knows her kitsch!

The content around here has been a little heavy on the yarn and light on the cocktails, so I figured it's a perfect day to take a break from knitting photos and add a Martini recipe to the mix, for no reason other than that's what these glasses are calling for.


2.5 oz gin or vodka
.5 dry veromouth
1 green olive or a lemon twist
dash of bitters

You can make a martini stirred - add the ingredients into a glass with ice, stir and strain into your glass.

or shaken -add the ingredients into a jigger with ice, shake, and strain.

You can make a gibson by replacing the olive with a cocktail onion.

A perfect martini has equal parts dry and sweet vermouth.

And a dirty martini has a bit of olive brine poured into it.

Have a great weekend and let me know your martini preference!
(I like gin, with the lemon peel and olive, a little dirty)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Here's one I didn't plan.

But sometimes good things happen when you aren't paying attention, right? I saw the Essie colorway while working on Dark & Stormy, and figured I could probably buy a batch if I asked nicely (taking full advantage of my working relationship with Sarah to cut in line, right?)

Anyways, my ploy worked and a few weeks later, 6 skeins of this stuff arrived on my doorstep. The yarn arrived early in summer, while I was busy with Collins and Shiraz and had just a little more to do on the Dark & Stormy, so I put it into the stash.

By late summer my fingers were twitching for the yarn, but I had only a vague idea what I wanted. A long cardigan with a uninterrupted collar - something that would fold back seamlessly, regardless of where you folded it.

I just began knitting and the cardigan kind of evolved as I went. I think I needed something simple and soothing after the triple play of Shiraz, Collins and Dark & Stormy. It was perfect and I totally loved the break from the more complex cardigans! Plus, it was summer - and an easy drinking knit was much appreciated on those hot days.

Anyways, towards the end, I knew I'd be writing it up. It's super easy, extremely versatile , and works in a variety of worsted weight yarns.

You can pin the fronts closed anywhere along the bands - high or low - depending on your outfit, taste or whim. You can wear it open, like I tend to do, or you can take a cool belt and wrap it around the middle. No matter what you do with it, the collar falls and drapes perfectly forwards or backwards and looks great.

I added the lace columns down the front to keep the lines long and flattering, and to draw the eye inwards towards the center. On the back, a similar panel begins just below the arms and does the same thing. The lace is a simple repeat, and it looks great in yarn with some subtle detail to it. On a long panel, I think it just lightens things up a bit to have holes!

Since it's knit from the top down, you can easily customize things for your taste. It would work at almost any length, and sleeves could be short or long. The fit is meant to be generous in front, for a good drape when open and a nice overlap when pinned. Through the shoulders and sleeves, it's more fitted, and the back is a little loose, but still straight.

The pattern is written in sizes 32-50.

Yardage requirements:
1100(1200,1300,1400,1500,1600,1700,1800,1900,2000) yards of worsted weight merino.

on #7s, 5 stitches and 7 rows per 1" in stockinette, lightly blocked.

More info is on Ravelry, right here.

And of course, there's a drink to go with it.

This one's a little lighter than the actual purple of the sweater, because in order to get things THAT purple, you'd be drinking blackberry syrup. Creme de Cassis is a bit sweet and heavy, but the vermouth, lime and champagne balance it pretty nicely. It's a little sweet, a little bubbly and a little sour. Kind of a tidbit drink.

I was thinking this could be a good Thanskgiving cocktail for when everyone arrives and is milling around the cheese and crackers? Kind of fun and festive and a little different, maybe.

Cassis Tidbit

1 oz creme de cassis
2 oz dry vermouth

pour the creme and vermouth in a short glass over ice

Add about 4-5 oz of champagne.
Add 1-2 slices of lime (squeeze the juice in)

anyways, enjoy!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Although we still have a little baggie of those vampire teeth ice cubes in the fridge and our glow in the dark zombie flamingos are hanging out in the garden, October's over.

Both Rhinebeck and Halloween have been successfully put to bed - but not completely, until I put the official pics up so the family members and faraway friends of mine who lurk here can see what the gals were this year. (Hi, Alene or Cassie or Steph!)

Zoe, above, was a sorcerer.

And Maya is still in her zombie phase.

Both had a blast, and now I'm trying to ignore the chocolate. Luckily, my office is in the attic, and the bags are down in the kitchen, so any trips from the third floor to the first require actual effort.

Effort better spent on this, yes?

A little preview of the progress so far on the capelet. I still have a little ways to go on this guy, but he's chugging along now that I've chosen an actual direction and stuck with it. Amazing how that happens, right? This will be some kind of cranberry drink, and I think it'll be timed right between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

A Hanukkah cocktail anyone?