Monday, April 25, 2011

After the long white stretch that was this winter, it's soooo nice to look out the back deck and see the little bright green leaves again. And I'm particularly appreciative of these leaves since it's the last spring I'll be watching them come out. The treehouse view from this deck has been one of my favorite things about this spot - and although the new place has a deck and its own batch of trees, I know I won't own a lovely view again for a while. Which is fine, since I'll be so busy painting and sanding and peeling wallpaper that I won't have time to sit and look at it anyways, right? Am soooo dreading that wallpaper job...

But back to the other colors in my world, which are related to the accessory projects.

Although I wouldn't want a sweater in bubblegum pink or yellow or bright magenta, it's fun to think about little projects in these colors. Putting this lovely yellow on my hands won't make my face look all dead and pale - and the light pink won't make my hair look too orangey in contrast. Amazing. But now I have to figure out gloves that I like.

And it turns out, it's harder than I thought to come up with things that I like for gloves, but I'm plugging away, so don't worry. The yellow and pink are keeping me invested in the idea. And it's an opportunity to use those stitch patterns I've tagged in the past that just won't work on a sweater. But, as I said, it's taking a little time to make it work in a way that I can get behind - maybe it's just that I'm not used to thinking in these small little wrist sized spaces.

I'm hoping to figure it out though, and have a few ready by July for easy, portable knitting on the go. So stay tuned and we'll see how it goes.

For full body wear, here's a preview of what's knitting up in Plucky Primo.

Because gray matches everything, and looks good on everyone. In a sweater size.


For drinks, I have two new bottles I've been playing with over break.

Of all the different flavored vodka brands, I find I keep coming back to the Absolut. A good balance of having the essence of what it's supposed to, without being too fake or sweet tasting.

The Gray Goose is also good, but a bit more pricey, and I do have new kitchen to pay for, so I'm going to stay with the midrange option here. (still not going super cheap, but there's a 36" stove in my future and that puppy is going to cost more than a few bucks.)

The pear is amazing in a pear soda like this one.

2 oz pear vodka
1-2 oz pear nectar
club soda
slice of lemon, and a shot of lemon juice
ice cubes

And the grapefruit makes the perfect grapefruit vodka tonic

2 oz grapefruit vodka
tonic water
slice of lime and shot of lime juice
(also good with orange or lemon)
ice cubes


In other news, the Madeline Tosh Lovers Group on Ravelry is having a Dark and Stormy KAL as part of MadMay2011, for anyone who's interested in knitting and would like a little company.

As part of the festivities, from now until May 15th, if you enter the code MadMayKAL when you purchase Dark and Stormy, you get 20% off of the pattern!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My realtor eventually figured out that I was a knitter. It might have been the parade of crazy sweaters and knitted accessories she saw me wearing in Jan and Feb, or the project I picked up in the Coldwell Banker office as soon as we had a few minutes, OR the fact that Realtors are supposed to be sizing up their clients and figuring out who we are. I'm going to go with reasons #1 or #2, since I don't think the other is too hidden.

Either way, by the time I gave her one of my cards, she definitely had me pegged. And she had a good idea that I was maybe a little more involved - obsessed? - with this whole thing than the average crafter, so she mentioned that she had a friend who also did a bunch of stuff with yarn on the internet. A friend who was also very "involved" in the knitting world. She offered to pass a card on and maybe put us in touch. And who am I to say no to a potential new knitting friend? Anyways, she did pass that card on and her buddy gave me a buzz a little while back.

Turns out that friend is the woman who runs Tilli Thomas!

Tilli Thomas of the beautiful light blue merino on top, and the gorgeous beaded silk on bottom. They have been wound and sitting in my office for a bit, and I've been looking at them, wondering what they want to be, but nothing seemed to fit yet. Beautiful as these are, I never do seem to work with delicate yarns, and a sweater wasn't coming to me.

Until yesterday, that is!

I went to a party and had a conversation with someone else from the yarn world. In a room full of people, the knitters do seem to congregate in one corner, right? Her advice to me = accessories! They're more affordable to knit yarnwise, take less time to make, and people love them. Plus, this is someone who knows her accessories, so who am I to argue? I fell asleep pondering different ideas, and when I woke up this AM, I walked into the office and started right in. Two hours later, I know what these two guys need to be.

(I am still pajama-ed, without coffee or my teeth brushed, and my kids have had the TV on since 8, but oh-how-productive I am, right?)

It could to be a very cool thing. ;-) and I'm excited to start swatching to see if it works out. (But I may make that coffee first.) All it took was a nudge from another knitter - who happened to be in the same place as me yesterday - and my little yarn stars are all lined up again.


I also know what my next cocktail purchase needs to be, thanks to the same party!

I need a good vintage punch bowl.

Yesterday's party had a lovely punch, with sherbert floating on top and I really do need to be able to make the same. It was super tasty and very festive.


I did a little search this morning and see a pretty milk glass punch bowl set on Ebay that's $29, but it's only 12" across and that seems a little small. Is is weird that a foot wide bowl seems too small? I'm afraid my expectations may be a little off - as this isn't bag lined, garbage can all-you-can drink kind of punch from college.

If any of you have punch bowls and tips to share, I'm all ears. Deep vs wide? Cups vs. using your own? Ladle tips? Glass vs crystal?


And PS, how do you feel about accessory patterns? Want a few?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Which doesn't actually rhyme, but is kind of close. Sorta.

First, as promised, something vodka-y to enjoy if you're having the same sunshine and warm weather we are. The beer was kind of a cop out in the cocktail department, so I do feel I owe you an actual recipe for posting an actual design this week.

And thanks for the great response to said design! I cannot wait to start to see all of your sweaters getting knit up and shown off on Ravelry before long. In one day, more than 200 of you jumped on the bandwagon with needles at the ready! Which is just amazing to me. Seriously, seriously so. I'll be watching for your pics to start popping up!

In the meantime, here's something to enjoy while you knit.

It doesn't have a name, so I'm going to go with Polar Fizz. (see, Polar soda? and fizzy.)

2 oz vodka
3/4 of a glass of the Orange Dry (a little less sweet than actual orange soda)
2-3 shots of orange bitters
lime juice/sliced lime
ice cubes

Next, the scary chick.

The owner of our new home-to-be loves her holiday decorations and makes a little montage on the kitchen table for each occasion. When we first saw the place, it was hearts and bunnies for Valentines Day. Next visit, it was the still life of little bears in green shirts drinking beer for St. Patrick's Day. And yesterday when we went over, it seems that Easter is almost here and some New Animals are partying on the kitchen table.

Hilarious. Except one of them is scary.

See? Kinda reminds me of the chick from the vintage knits book. Am thinking it's the Same Chick and he's going to pop up in new places all year long.

Hmmmm. Those eyebrows are not friendly.

And PS, again,(Grrrrr) Blogger is not giving me any contact info for your comments! I do love hearing from you and I read every comment and I ill try to find you on Rav to reply if I can.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

This one is #2 in the Moody Broody Series! After Dark and Stormy, Sarah and I decided to work on a moody gray for spring. Something that would bring to mind a beach - on one of those not-yet-there days before the weather is warm enough to swim, when the blue of the sky and the waves hasn't reached the deep hue of summer yet. A little bit of cloudy sky and whitecap waves without the bright sun.

Is she good or what? Perfect pre-beach gray.

So, I went off with my yarn to design something to wear ON the imaginary beach on a pre-season day. I was thinking picnic and folding chairs and maybe a book and some Kadima. Maybe a few blankets - and most definitely a lunch with beers, sandwiches and chips.

And when we bring beers to the beach, we go with cans.

Hence the Narragansett. It's perfect beach beer.

But you probably want to know about the sweater?
It's worked top down, with a nice wide boatneck. It has slim 3/4 length sleeves and a fitted shape through the body that gives it a bit of a vintage vibe when paired with the neckline. Classic and easy. I wanted this to be something simple enough to throw on for a frisbee game, but with enough detail that it could get dressed up a little - and be fun to knit!

The deep twisted rib on the edges really complements the subtle shading in the yarn, and the slipped stitch cable works beautifully popping out from the ribs. I have the cable continuing down the arm, a little hidden - but still visible - once the raglan increases end. It's a fun detail, and keeps the sleeves from getting too boring, right?

Eyelets provide the yoke shaping, and a little bonus ventilation, in case the sun comes out.

Down on the hip, I added another little run of the cable, which brings a bit of attention to an hourglass shape, since it appears just as the hip slopes back out. I also love the way this works with the bottom ribbing.

As with all my patterns, there are directions to modify this to suit your figure. It's easy to knit for any length you want, and any shaping requirements you have. It's written for a nice fit across the bust without any extra ease and then it's meant to slope in subtly for the waist, without hugging anything. Since you need movement to catch that frisbee, yes?

When knit in a yarn like this Merino Lite, with a little memory, the fit allows for a nice comfy sweater. I recommend a merino or merino mix (ahem, Plucky Merino Lite, Primo Worsted or MCN Lite are perfect). The mix really suits the fit and has the right stretch for the ribbing and neckline to expand and lie nicely. I, of course, love the look of the Plucky too, and think the subtle variation of handdyed yarn is perfect in this pattern.

If you do choose a cotton, find one with a fiber mix for some stretch. 100% cotton or linen won't perform as well in keeping the neckline shape, and the pullover can get too slouchy. (Although some testers used a crochet edge with their cotton and found that worked). I'd also stay away from a busy yarn, with a lot of variation or color, since the details would get lost.

I will post the actual PDF this Wednesay morning, April 13th.

The timing is to allow Sarah enough time to get the Plucky offering ready- and to give those of you planning to order from her a little advance notice. She is working on sweater quantities in a few of her lovely colorways (in addition to this Narragansett Gray!!!). The yarns will be available for order, along with the pattern, for a package price. Specifics for the update will be on her blog, so check in there for more information. I'm sure there will be future updates, if anyone misses the yarn boat on this one.


For those of you with yarn in hand, I'll be selling PDFs of the pattern here on my blog along the sidebar to the left, and on Ravelry for $6.50. And I've promised to wait till Weds as well.


Yardage and specifics are already up on my Ravelry Designer page.

Some basics are below:

Sizes: 32-50

Yardage: 800 (850,900,950, 1000,1100,1200,1300,1400,1500) yds

Yarn: Plucky Knitter Primo Worsted, Merino Lite, or MCN Lite in Narragansett Gray

Gauge: 4 st, 6 rows per 1" in stockinette, 4.5" per 1" in twisted rib. On #8/5mm needles


Since this sweater is named for a can of beer, I don't have a cocktail recipe for you this time!

Just make sure the can is cold and you're on a beach with a bag of chips nearby. Let's just call that a low maintenance recipe, shall we? Next up, I'll be drinking something with vodka.
For those of you who asked.

And the pictures? Taken on one COLD day at Reveah beach where the sky may have been blue but so were my fingers. My daughters, who came along hoping for a sunny afternoon at the beach and some ice cream, tried to make the best of a disappointing pre-summer day where the Banana Boat was still closed for the season and nobody wanted freezing ice cream anyways.

They huddled under the picnic blanket we brought, reading books and hiding from the wind, while Caro and I tried to convince ourselves that it wasn't that cold out. But it was. You may be able to see goosebumps on my arms if you look closely.

So yep, those pics are by the talented and lovely Caro Sheridan, as always.
Copyright 2011 Splityarn!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Almost time for a beer on the beach, right?

If you're looking to score a sweater's worth of Plucky Yarn to knit this with, she's having an update tomorrow, Sunday April 10. Just in time! (Details are on Ravelry for yarn and yardage).

Check it out .

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

At least in my house, I'm seeing that a little nudge might be necessary to get the spring knitting in full swing.

Even though my new patterns are in the works, I'm getting ready to wear a few of my old favorites as soon as the sun starts to shine.

In case any of you are in the mood to do the same, Nantucket Red, Cherry Vanilla, and the Golden Vintage Cardigan will all be 30% off for the rest of April.

And if you're pulling out the cotton yarn, you might want a springy cocktail to play with as well.

With the potential for some sunshine, my mind has turned back towards my all time favorite summer drink, the Gin & Tonic. You already heard about the apple and cilantro version I made a few days ago, but we've rummaged around the cupboards and made up a few more combinations, and so far, it's hard to find a bad one if you have some form of the following:

2 oz gin
A savory herb that's not mint (muddle a teeny bit)
A sliced fruit
citrus or another fun thing
and tonic

Here are the combos that have our seal of approval so far:

sliced lemon, majoram, and orange bitters
sliced cucumber, and dill
sliced orange, basil and orange bitters
sliced orange, majoram, and orange bitters
sliced orange, cilantro and orange bitters
sliced apple, cilantro and lemon

I've run out of fruit and herbs for now, but I'm thinking pear and grapefruit could also be kind of tasty, and plan on stocking back up at the store later today. Any other ideas are welcome! Like the patterns, I"m offering mods to the cocktails :-) Find the one that fits you best.

And for GlennaC, up in Canada, I will try a few vodka tonic combos as well.
Thinking pear is the way to go there, right?

Sunday, April 03, 2011

It's finally shaping up to look a little like spring around here. Plants are peeking out of the ground, I've worn flip flops twice, and I changed my comforter last night from the ginormous hugely fluffy one to a less ginourmous, moderately puffy one. Things have that slightly greener tinge about them, and the trees have the purple glow they get before the buds.

I know new things are right around the corner - Don' t you have that "just hang on" feeling too?

Sometimes a new toy makes the waiting go a little quicker though. See what my Mom got me for my birthday? It's my very own dressmaker dummy! She's pinnable and roughly my size, so now when I want to see if something works, I don't have to crane my neck around in Maya's mirror anymore, while standing on a milk crate.

I know you are all sad not to see more bad pictures of half my body in the pink and orange room, face covered by the camera, and legs cut off below, but look how much better this is going to be:


The light's great up in my office, too, where she lives. Way better than Maya's room - so there's a chance that, overall, the WIP photo quality around here could go up in the next few months. And then I move the whole operation to the lovely paneled space you saw a few posts back.

You can also tell it's almost spring because that up there is a delicate little cotton garment that she's modeling for me. It's just about done, right on time for the last bits of snow to melt off the front yard this afternoon. I have some neckline details that need tending to, and a bit of writing ahead, but there's light at the end of that particular tunnel too.

While the snow was melting, I worked that neckline with a Gin and Tonic nearby. This time it got a little sliced apple and muddled cilantro, which was very refreshing and tasty. Not as crisp as the summer version - that was a G&T with cucumber and dill - but I'll call this a spring version and recommend it highly. A little sweeter and the cilantro adds a bit of tang.

Give it a try!

Before I sign off, I'll also show you a couple of skeins from my latest batch of Plucky, which arrived in the mail last week. I am dying to get going with this stuff! It's Plucky Primo, in Barely Birch. This is an amazing shade of gray - it almost has a shine to it, but there's no actual sheen. It's all in the colors that she picked. Genius, she is. I have an idea what these want to be, but will finish up the spring designs first.

If I can wait..