Sunday, December 26, 2010

One last pattern -- Sidecar Mittens

I've been working on these since Carol asked me to make a pattern for the 2011 Mitten KAL. She gave me plenty of notice, asking back around the time of the 2010 Mitten KAL. I may have swatched this last spring, and my little swatch waited patiently all through the summer and fall, finally getting knit and edited and published, just in time for the this year's NaKnitMitMo.

Honestly, I was very happy for the excuse to design these since I had this shade of Koigu in a bag next to the deep purple skeins of wool forever -- and really, really wanted to knit them into something together. I just had no idea what to make them into, and the idea of splitting them up seemed so wrong. (I'm guessing you all have bags like this in your stash -- sometimes they just look so much prettier in storage when they're matched up nicely.)


Anyways, as most of you may have realized, I tend towards the bigger needles, and so it was the koigu keeping both the yarns in the bag. In the end, this pattern is a sneaky way to get some gorgeous delicate yarn on my hands without having to knit an entire pair of mittens on #2 needles. (Saying sneaky is much better than saying lazy.)

The DK layer uses about 100-125 yds of a solid merino wool on #6 needles. These are knit from one skein of Jo Sharp DK Wool, which may be tough to find, but there are tons of other DK wools that would make fine subs.

The underlayer uses about 50 yds leftover from a skein of Koigu KPPM Painters Pallete, and it was knit on #2 needles. It would be simple to substitute almost any other delicate yarn for this, and instructions are included on how.

I wrote the pattern up in two sizes - small (7" wrist) and large (8" wrist). It has been posted on Raverly for $3, or can be purchased on the sidebar above. And they're easy to get done before January's over, so you'll have time for lots of NaKnitMitMo projects besides these..


The Sidecar you drink is a new fave around here. I figure it's an appropriate name since the delicate yarn is definitely hitching a ride on the DK.

1/2 oz cointreau
2 oz cognac
1 oz lemon juice

Pour ingredients into a shaker about half full of ice.
Shake well and strain into sugar rimmed glass.
Garnish with sliced orange.


Before I close out 2010, however, I just want to thank all you for a truly amazing year.

It's been such a joy to see you knitting up the things I imagine in my attic, and I have loved every minute of it. Thank you so much for allowing me to do what I love, and for all the support and encouragement you have given me along the way. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have fallen into such a wonderful community of women - both my online and my real life knitting peeps -- and it's a little crazy when I realize I have two pointy sticks to thank for bringing all of you into my world, and then again for how you and the knitting have all changed my world so dramatically. Thank you so much!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Instead of wine charms, these are cute little sucky people that you stick ON the glass!

I was powerless against them.

Maybe it was the fact that I was At The Mall on the Sunday before Christmas with nothing to buy and I really did feel that I had to need something, right?

I was only there since Maya and her buddy wanted to go, and I figured it wouldn't be at all annoying to be in the crowded shops if I didn't actually have to get anything done. I wasn't interested in the football game at home, and Zoe was busy, so I took a gamble. I looked at sweaters, checked out boots, kind of earmarked a few jackets I might want when they're trying to give them away in a month, and spent over an hour in Sur La Table. Where they even made me a little cappucino with shaved chocolate on top, under the premise that I just might be in the market for a $600 coffee maker. I looooooove Sur La Table.

Hence the little wine guys. I may have bought a few packages.

Then I came home, and in the mood for some instant gratification, took out those dusty #13s.

The #13s are pretty awesome too. This might be done by tonight!

Friday, December 17, 2010

This is my latest collaboration with Sarah, The Plucky Knitter. We wanted to come up with something for when you have a little less than a whole sweater's worth of yarn (or time) on hand. To be honest, I was glad for the excuse since the image of a cowl and boots and a capelet had stayed high on my list of Must Haves ever since she taunted me with this blog post in August.

And now we can all have them!

This was knit out of Plucky's gorgeous MCN Lite, in Peep Toes.

There are three sizes: S (32-36) 700 yds, M (38-42) 950 yds, and L (44-50) 1200 yds.

Gauge = 5 sts, 7 rows per 1" on #7 needles, lightly blocked.

The PDF is available for $6, either on the sidebar here or Ravelry, with the rest of the details.


More important for right now, while you're surfing the interwebs between holiday lunch and your Christmas shopping at work, though, are the photos and design details right?


Some fun with ribbing.

A cross between a turtleneck and a cowl, slouchy and open but not too big.

A big flowy cable balancing out the simpler lines of the ribbing and drawing the eye to the center.
(It's the same on the front and the back).

A short, more flattering length near the elbow, so your waist shows below.

And a little flare, keeping things from drawing in under the bust, and making that waist look even smaller underneath. Plus a little last bit of ribbing detail.

I'm thinking the flare and the length keep those hands and arms free for a drink ;-)

And burbon was the clear winner in the burbon vs. rum question last night.

And this sparkly drink seems perfect for a pre-holiday dinner or a cocktail party, doesn't it?

2 oz burbon
1 oz drambuie (cointreau or triple sec could work here too)
fill remainder of glass with Martinelli's sparkling apple cranberry juice.
Add slice of lime and squeeze the juice in
ice cubes

Or a little less sweet:

2 oz burbon
1 oz drambuie (cointreau or triple sec)
rest of the glass:
2 parts cranberry juice
1 part ginger ale
Add slice of lime, squeeze the juice in
ice cubes

My holiday theme is complete - Enjoy!

(PS - Edwidge, I totally thought of you while taking my drink photos....)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thank you so much for all of your suggestions for the light blue tweed design. I have written 'em down and will definitely take some time to try the drinks you all suggested in the next few weeks. Luckily, I have time to play and think and sample while the test knitters knit.

In the meantime, other drink research has moved to the top of the to do list.

These are the two top contending recipes for the Cranberry Capelet. We're debating between a burbon or a dark rum option, and both are pretty different from one another, so it's one of those "depends what you like" scenarios where the jury's split down the middle. Once Craig shows up at home tonight (or if I bribe a friend or two to ignore their children around dinnertime), a decision will be made and I will share the winner AND the pattern with you guys tomorrow.

In other non-committal, pre-holiday news is this scary little pile of swatches.

It's looking like a crazy spaghetti yarn fest, and I'm afraid it's going to get worse before it gets better. I'm not loving anything yet, and this is only a teeny bit of the swatchhpile tha's been growing around here. I'll blame it partially on a scattered attention span as the rest of the holiday festivities approach. Or the fact that I own way too many stitch dictionaries and can't pick a favorite, but so far, nothing seems to want to Grow Up Into A Sweater.

Am thinking I need a chunky hat or something in the background, just so I can have a bit of gratification -- all this partial progress kind of sucks!!

However, I should be a little more lenient. We're through Hanukkah, the Winter Concert (Maya was a soloist in the Select Chorus :-)), a much-loved weekend visitor, Craig's office party, our first middle school dance, coupled with report cards and school conferences -- which meant like a hundred half days between the two kids --- and one weekend of holiday party fun.

Next up are two sets of auditions for two different plays, the 1st grade holiday party, another weekend of parties and dinners, the beginning of school vacation, and a trip down to NJ.

But we just found out we'll be home on Christmas Eve, instead of away as planned.

I'm thinking that means some Chinese food and some actual knitting progress - or an extra 5 swatches for the pile. We'll see how it goes.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Around here, the pattern prep doesn't end with the knitting and the writing and the pics.

Everything needs a drink, right? And really, I do try and find something that kind of fits each pattern - at least something that feels to me like if fits with the pattern.

Some designs lend themselves quite nicely to a theme, like this little cranberry Plucky project, which after a false Campari-themed start, was easy to peg. It's coming to you later this week with a festive cranberry holiday cocktail. Very timely and matchy, so that one was easy.

Others are a little tougher.

"Tougher" being solely about the difficulty of the drink match and in NO way a reflection on my feelings for the sweater below, as I love love love this one. It's coming after the New Year. And that's all I'll say about it for now ;- Except that it's in sore need of a drink/name.

Seriously, what's wintery and warm and somehow fits this guy?

Coffee, hot chocolate, cozy fireplace-y stuff, right? I've spent an entire week throwing names and recipes together around here to no avail. Mint has been vetoed, because I've been told it's too green. Bombay Sapphire, too summery. Blueberry not it. Anything cold really not tweedy enough. (Because, apparently, drinks can be tweedy.) And I have to agree with the peanut gallery. So, I'm leaning towards coffee combinations.

On the bright side, complete indecision allowed for a little inventory taking on the liquor situation. This shot shows part of the re-org. It turns out we have quite the random array of crap in the cabinet. Seriously, how often do I need the watermelon schnapps? Log Cabin maple liqueur? That scary flavored Malibu rum? But whenever I do decide I need it, it's all there. Including lots of my Grandpa Irving's collection of untouched 1956 faves, inherited last year.

But still, nothing that matches tweed. Amazing.


In the meantime, I've cast on for another holiday project. I'm three rows into Hawthorne, from Twist. Am thinking there's something to these wrappy shawl/scarves, as I've been wearing my Aestlight tons, tucked into the collar of my winter coat. I figure Hawthorne will take me through a little holiday travel and a few days with the family - and I'll be able to rotate TWO little shawly things into my winter wardrobe.


The sweater shots are Caro's. She came by last week, and I have lots!
Copyright 2010 Splityarn.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Last night I went to a fancy party in Boston, and had to wait at the bar for my husband to come and gather me up so I didn't walk into the room of people all alone. (As I am a shy one at heart.)

I sat down and ordered a sidecar, which is not a drink I usually have. But I had just suggested to my friend Danielle that she should try one, and it only seemed fitting that I take my own advice, right?

It was kind of amazing. (if you haven't yet, Danielle... tonight.)

First, it's served in a sugar rimmed martini glass, with it's own little mini jigger of extra (like a milkshake in a soda shop!)

Second, it's the perfect mix of totally different ingredients that work together, sweet and sour - and a little smooth to boot.

And third, there exists a completely random, but good, instructional video of Rachel Maddow telling you how to make one

Lastly, it's NOT eggnog.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Introducing Egg Nog. This cardigan is all about options.
It's the perfect Hanukkah pattern, because you can wear it 8 different ways!

Flowy and open, pinned high in front, pinned low, up on the shoulder, across the body, belted, pinned to lie flat or pinned to drape down. I brought it to a trunk show a while back and had the best time watching the other knitters play with it! We had a whole room of women - all ages and sizes - and each one had a new way to wear this cardigan that suited them.

Here's my go-to. Side pin, little overlap below.

Being short and curvy, this minimizes the extra fabric, still giving me a little drape, and keeps the line nice and high.


Pinning it on the side with a little overlap also keeps things kind of structured.
And gives me a lovely V neck for the smocky edge.


For a little variation on the theme, it's still pinned high here for the boatneck effect, but the drapey bit is pinned so it remains loose and visible.


Even looser, (and admittedly not my most flattering option), a pin in the center front, making a cool V shape. This looked awesome on someone else, with a tall, straight figure and a smaller bust. I still love how it looks, but maybe not so much on me. I need a little more waist.

Am guessing you've got the idea on the options. Check out my test knitters' project pages once they all post and see some more options. I love Abby's belted pics!


Meanwile, I'll move on to specifics:

It's knit from the top down, with a smocked detail along the edges. This detail either serves as a neckline border or lines the cardigan fronts, depending on what you're doing with it.

And although the ends are long, the cardigan itself is cropped, with a little shaping in the body to keep things balanced and to let your waist and figure peek out below. Anyone curvy or busty will appreciate this proportion -- it keeps the flowy fabric from being overwhelming, even when it's worn open or pinned to drape freely.

The pattern is written for Berroco's Ultra Alpaca, one of my all time favorite yarns. It's soft and warm without being too heavy, comes in amazing colors, and has the perfect amount of drape for all the things you want this guy to do. Plus, I'm betting about half of you have it in stash already!

It's written in 4 sizes from S (32-26) to XL (50-52) and takes 800-1100 yds of yarn.

Gauge and other specifics are on the Ravelry page.


Instead of boring you with the specifics here I'll move on to the drink.

Just like the cardigan, there are a ton of ways to have your Egg Nog.
(See my theme? I am so proud.)

Here's Hanukkah Egg Nog Recipe #1.
I do have 8, so keep checking back for the rest :-)

#1 - Cider Apple Nog

2 oz Calvados apple brandy
1 oz apple cider
6 oz egg nog
sprinkle of nutmeg


#2 - Orangey Rum Nog

2 oz of dark rum
1 oz of an orange mix juice - we had a gallon of Paul Newman's Orange Mango Tango
6 oz of egg nog
shot of lemon juice
passed on the nutmeg


#3 Baltimore Egg Nog
(this is from my Esquire Drink Book, and adapted down for a single serving)

1 oz dark rum
1 oz apricot or peach brandy
6 oz of egg nog
sprinkle of nutmeg
(am thinking this one will be very sweet, so also two shots of lemon juice)

#4 Russian Egg Nog

1 oz vodka
1 oz coffee liqueur
2 oz egg nog

#5 Breakfast Egg Nog
(yep,that's what it's called. And it's for a punch quantity. Go figure)

32 oz egg nog
10 oz Apricot Brandy
2.5 oz Triple Sec
sprinkle with egg nog

You better invite friends over for this one. And make French toast.

....which reminds me that my stepmother in law makes Egg Nog French Toast.
Pour a little nog in with the eggs and cinnamon for dipping the bread in.
It's awesome with the maple syrup.

I'm still unsure about the punch for breakfast with it.


#6 Nashville Style

I am sooo running out of recipes here.

.5 oz dark rum
.5 oz brandy
1 oz burbon
fill remainder of cup with egg nog
top with nutmeg and add one clove.

They say to serve this as dessert!
#7 Mixed Brandy Egg Nog

this one has to be made as a punch, as it has so many things in it!

1 pint of dark rum
1/2 pint of peach brandy
1/2 pint of apple brandy
1/5 a bottle of cognac
2 tbs of lemon juice

Add 3 gallons of egg nog, or as much or adjust to your preferred strength :-)


Thanks to a suggestion from JeanEldred!

1 oz amaretto
1 oz vodka
fill remainder of mug with egg nog
top with nutmeg

(why are they ALL topped with nutmeg?)

I will have no more eggnog till next year.


PS. As always, these photos are by the lovely and talented Caro Sheridan, and copyrighted 2010 Splityarn.