Thursday, June 30, 2011

As the workers plug away at our new house, we're nomadding around as housesitters to a few close friends. I've got a whole House of Cards setup where we move house to house while each family goes on vacation this summer, with a few guest rooms sprinkled in between. Here we are on the first stop of our Tour, and these friends are in Finland. Over here, I'm learning the genius of Swedish design. I've been to Ikea, of course. But I've never actually LIVED with a ton of Ikea items. Besides the amazing Ikea laundry system that has me wowed - it's a double netted basket, one half white and one half dark, which is absolutely perfect and even fun to put stuff in, there's this little beauty.

This crazy thing lives on the counter of Suvi's kitchen, and I'm sure most of you have already figured out what it does. It took me a sec to make the transition from War of the Worlds to Limes, but as soon as we unpacked the tequila last night, we gave it a spin. This thing rocks! It's a better system than my JuiceMaster, since it only has one part to wash afterwards, and no assembly required. Ikea is brilliant, I tell you.

Do you have a favorite thing from Ikea that makes your life better? Will I need it in my new house?? Do tell, as I'm getting a little hooked here and keep leafing through the catalog. There is SO much I must have.


In the spirit of the Ikea house, we kept our drinks simple as well:

juice of one lime, 2 oz tequila, a splash of simple syrup, and 4 oz club soda went into Craig's glass.
Mine had an added splash of tangerine-orange in it, which was nice.
We added 3 ice cubes each.

It was a good end to a hot and sunny day.

And just look at what else turned up! My portable little swatch in the Ball and Skein Berkshire was in my beach chair. I discovered it yesterday when I set my chair up at the small beach near our house, and felt a needle in my back. Owww. Anyways, I'm psyched to see that it still exists and hasn't been buried in toilet and faucet boxes, and I can pick it back up tomorrow when we head off to the sand again.

The rest of today involves Lowe's, HomeGoods, and a side trip to Target.

And tonight, a little knitting. I finally get to check out Gather Here's Pints and Purls!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Both literally and figuratively. Cleaning out my absolutely empty house for the last time, I found a whole batch of missing darning and cable needles under sofas and things, and I actually lost count of the amount of stitch markers lurking under rugs and hidden in corners in the house. But I have a nice new collection of notions now, and they're tucked away in my Splityarn notions bag. I also found $6.71, a thousand Polly Pocket shoes and the ball to Mouse Trap - about which we were very happy.

It's been a whirlwind few weeks where I couldn't really sit long enough to knit more than a row or two -- and when I did, my mind just turned to All The Things I needed to be doing instead. Yesterday, however, I had a day to relax, and it felt soooooo good to start a project again. The closing is in 45 minutes and I'm here in my PJs, coffee brewing and knitting waiting, since I don't even have to be there. It's kind of nice to be done.

The project is going to be a cardigan for fall. I'm in the mood for something long and slouchy, and I need some stockinette for the beach, so that's where it's going. The soothing yarn is making me very happy so far. I'm knitting with Fibre Company's Canopy, which is soft and beautiful and feels like buttah on the fingers. I'm also working in pieces for a change, as I think this type of sweater will work better with seams, so the small pieces are an exercise in instant gratification. Am halfway up a side already, and the detail is on the bottom, so I even have the pretty part done.

Next to that pile of cardigan is Ysolda's Little Red in the City, which arrived a few days ago. I cannot say enough about this book, except that you all need to own it. She's covered everything in here - from small tips on technique to a big section on getting the perfect fit for your body. She goes into detail about construction and fit and explains how to meld the two in a very clear and easily understandable manner. There's tons of photos, tips, how tos, and charming little details that only she would think of. I know it may sound cliche, but she's really created a must have tool for any knitter, and it deserves a spot next to EZ on my shelf, once I have a shelf again. Plus, the patterns are also gorgeous as well, and she's included a batch of them, with just the right balance of delicate detail and classic styling. Am really loving it.

Am not loving this as much.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A lightweight shell with some vintage details, a gorgeous color, AND the portrait neckline I've been dying to make for a few seasons worth of Madmen already. Once I saw the deep purple Silky Wool, I knew had to combine the retro feel of the shell with the modern color and texture of the light silk fiber.

It's knit from the top down, and the details are simple, yet flattering.

The cable in the center of the body creates an subtle empire line between the bust and the waist, and can be moved up or down to flatter your shape . Pleats and a simple lace detail below the cable bring the eye in for a centered, vertical line down the torso, and have the added bonus of hiding a little tummy. Pleats above the cable are a feminine detail drawing attention up to towards the bust, but the loose fit and the dramatic neckline balance the focus across the entire area, keeping it tasteful and flattering for any size of chest.

As always, there are instructions to change the length or width as you need. Notes on the cable placement will help you put the cross and pleats at the best spot for your shape. It's written to fit like you see here - enough room for a little drape, but still fitted enough to show waist shaping. Longer length could flatter a bigger bust, but I like it at the hip with the pencil skirt here.... and that's how I always pictured this photo shoot -- Channeling Christina Hendricks. Sorta.

I love the weight and drape of the Silky Wool for this, and the colors it comes in are amazing, but if you needed to sub yarn, I'd suggest a light mix with some silk or linen in it. Nothing too heavy, as the pull could affect the cable over time. A smoother yarn will give you a different look, but could also work . I suggest a solid color or you'd lose the lace detail below.

The pattern is available on Ravelry or on the sidebar to the left for $6.50.
Some specifics are below, and the rest of the information can be found here.

Yarn: Elesebeth Lavold Silky Wool, Color 63. 750(800,850,900,950,1000,1050,1100,1150,1200) yds

Sizes: 32-50

Gauge: 5.5 sts, 7.5 Rows in 1" in stockinette, on #6/4mm needles. Lightly blocked


On the drink, there's a good reason I went with a Gibson this time, and it tied my sweater directly back to Joan Harris and the other office women of the 1960s, trying to keep up with the groping, drunken admen of their day! Often I try to find a drink that ties into the color or the mood of the sweater, but this time, it was the story that did it.

A Gibson Martini is a martini with cocktail onions on a toothpick, instead of the more popular olive or lemon zest. Seems it was a trick to order a Gibson from the bartender, and the glass would arrive full of water instead of gin or vodka and vermouth. But since the cocktail onions were a less common garnish, it was easy to tell which was yours. Nobody except the bartender knew you were pacing yoruself and you'd manage to stay sober while the rest of the office drank on without you!

A very important skill back then, I'm thinking.


The pictures are courtesy of my friend Caro Sheridan (Copyright 2011 Splityarn), who's so good that she can even find the perfect spot with the perfect light in my bomb-hit-it-semi-packed house for a photo shoot! A little re-arranging of stuffed animals, curtains, and piles of boxes and it looks just like a studio, right?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Last week's moving list included boxing up all our random food stuff. Trust me when I say there was a great deal of head scratching over various purchase decisions. In the end, a bag was sent to the food pantry, and I'm not so sure the items inside the bag qualify as pantry staples, but someone can have an awesome array of "not your average" dinners in the near future, or mix it up on a few of their usual menu choices. Either way, the cabinets were emptied.

And there were definitely a few hidden treasures! This frozen can of Fuzzy Navel mix, in the middle of the hot, hot spell we had last week, was one of these treasures. I split it with the girls, and managed to finish up a bottle of rum with a bit left at the bottom at the same time. I've gotta say, these premade cans are super SWEET. Lots of extra water and a few limes were necessary, but once they were added, it worked. I'd forgotten how good a fuzzy navel is - that orange-peach- and rum combo is hard to beat.

When not packing, I'm doing a lot of swatching.

For now, though, the process is kind of fluid and nothing seems to want to stick. I'm switching yarns and patterns and motifs with each new swatch, so I'll save details for later on when they all settle back into something.

I am loving the gorgeous squishy, pumpkin orange yarn in the front - it's Breckenridge, from Ball and Skein, which I picked up at NH Sheep and Wool this year. I have some of her other yarns home here, tagged for a scarf that I have yet to knit, and her colors are gorgeous. I promise my next photo of the project will do the skein justice, but the light today is not cooperating, so trust me when I say it's really deep pumpkin and very rich. I am thinking I'll make some kind of long cowl with it, but fear I have a few more swatches to go before I rest. The other yarns on the table include Cascade 220, Valley Yarns Berkshire, Berroco Blackstone Tweed and Fiber Company Canopy. Swatch, swatch, swatch.

I'm afraid the problem with the swatching might have something to do with my focus on cabinets and countertops and tile. So, here's the latest. The bottom piece here is my new bathroom floor - a travertine stone version of the traditional black and white basketweave. (Since I have a dark haired husband, I want no white floors in our bathroom. ) The top bits are kitchen cabinet and countertop samples - which did not photograph true to color at all, and will look nothing like this when installed. But they're on the desk next to me so a photo had to be taken, right? Hopefully by my next post, I'll have a swatch to show instead!

Friday, June 03, 2011

Now that things are getting moved out and boxed up, I started accumulating a few NEW things. Because really, I need more crap to haul into my friend Laura's minivan and drive to Winchester.

Given the sheer amount of crap already owned, these treasures had to be real bargains.


Three bucks for apples in a basket.

I love this. Craig doesn't understand. He will want it hidden. I will want it in the kitchen. We'll see what happens.

TWO bucks for tree and house in the distance. On a giant gold background.
I could not love this more. Craig does understand this one and it will hang in the dining room without argument.

And best of all, $30 for awesome yarn storage - It's a barristers bookshelf.

I'll finally be able to SEE my yarn! However it will remain in its trunk till we settle in and construction ends. Yesterday, I had to spend a few hours over at the new digs, waiting for a delivery (see the box in the corner of the living room in the first pic? That's my big white FARMERS SINK!!) so, anyways, I got my desk-y corner set up. With temporary desk and temporary chair. In my lovely paneled office room.

And now it's ready -and just in case I want to put a skein or 2 in there on another day I'm waiting for something, I can.

Or I could just bring a cocktail and the knitting outside....