Tuesday, November 29, 2011

One of my favorite parts of being a designer is seeing all of your FOs pop up.   I love seeing how you modify the patterns, what yarns you use, how you style your knits.  I am absolutely inspired by the fun you have shooting (or look like you are having!), and how happy most of you look modeling all your hard work.   I admit I have a hard time not hitting the "fave button" every time I see one of you in your  knits out there on the web, but I try to keep it to only 2 or 3 a day.

I also try to take the time to check whatever comments you guys make.  Since the rest of the world is seeing your thoughts on my patterns, I may as well know what's being said, right?  But, thanks to the amazing reach of the web, not all of you are in my part of the world, and not all of you comment in English!

Enter Google Translate.  This is a beautiful thing, but it has a really hard time with Russian.  I'm  not sure why, since it does a lovely job with German and French and most the Scandanavian languages, but Russian is always amusing.  So... this weekend, Kaveshicka's White Swan popped up in my FO list.  She's from Altai, Russia.  

Her Allegheny is really gorgeous - those pics could have come right out of a Vogue magazine, and she had a few things to say, so I cut and pasted right into Google translate and found out the following things:

1.  She caught this big chunk of undyed yarn in her reel.   (while fishing?)
2.  All the spokes are connected by gum in the top half of the dress
3.  The gain on the skirt is made of rubber bands. 

As long as it doesn't claim she's been knitting on her pet schnauzer or working in smoked meat, I guess we're OK.    
Do check out her dress though, it's AMAZING!


Less amazing is my finished  Sweater that has no name.   I'm getting there, just haven't decided.

All this guy needs is some blocking, a few days of pattern writing, and an hour with Caro's camera.  My goal with this was to create a muffin top hiding pullover.   Yes, that was my actual goal.   

Post Halloween/Thanksgiving, I can attest to the power of the design.  The muffin top has arrived in full form, and the clever ribbing placement and needle tricks hide it just in time.  I may not be able to write it up in time for this year's muffin top knitting, but it should be ready to go by late Jan or early Feb.  And you can all knit it in time for next year's holiday gut needs - or the late winter pudge, either way.   It'll be a handy sweater to have around, don't you think?  I may need to do a cardigan with the same magical properties.

In addition to creating gut Spanx out of wool, I have been playing with flowers for St. Germain.   Pretty, right?

And lastly,  the latest on Mint Julep -

All this guy is waiting on is the final edit, but my tech editor went into labor this week!  (the nerve, right?)  She knew about the baby beforehand, so I had plenty of time to figure things out. 

(She's not from the TV show where the all the mothers sudden realize they're having a baby.... and they're totally surprised.   Which completely perplexes me.  Even if they're that stupid, their friends and family don't see it?  No one says anything? )  Anyways...

Whether I actually did figure things out ahead of time is another story.  And if any of the the three tech editors that got my emails this AM are reading, they may be chuckling right now.  Ahem,

So, I'm thinking next week instead of this one. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Holiday Punch:

one bottle of orange flavored seltzer
3/4 gallon of cider
3/4 bottle of cranberry flavored vodka
about 6 oz of St Germain
6-8 drops of orange bitters
ice cubes

floating orange slices and cranberries…….


That's all for now, hope all of my US friends had a great holiday.  

And Barbara Thompson,  thank you again :-)   We were definitely thinking of you on Thursday!

Monday, November 21, 2011

I plan on finishing the arms and ribbing on this over the weekend.    Perfect guest entertaining knitting.  
As  for the non knitting, dinner is in the works.  I am debating trifle or no trifle, as my new cake dish/trifle bowl beckons from the shelf above, and a great recipe in this weekend's paper tempts me.   Never having had it before, it might be a hit, or could just be way too much unappreciated work while everyone chooses pie.  

I may debate dessert, but the drinks are all set.

You all may remember my friend, the Wine Fairy?  I had lunch with his wife this week and it seems we knitters aren't the only ones who decide to periodically destash.    I now have an entire medley of rums and vodkas to play with, some of which are pretty amazing (and a few that are somewhat questionable).  

I'm especially excited by the cranberry, raspberry and spiced pear vodkas.    

 I see more martini experiments, as soon as I get my new martini glasses.  

I'm not entirely sure what to do with the flavored rums, but I'll put those away till summer, when weird freshman girl flavors might just seem appropriate in things like daquiris and milkshakes.  

For now, let's get back to the fall flavored vodkas - just in time for Thanksgiving, because you need something to make, right?

 This one is going to be our pre-turkey cocktail.  Pretty light, a nice cran-orange flavor and just enough kick to get everyone settled in and socializing, right?

Cranberry-Orange Pre-Turkey Cocktail

 2 oz Cranberry flavored vodka 
1 dash of orange bitters
2 oz cranberry juice
orange flavored seltzer  or ginger ale to top it off (both worked well)

over ice


If you prefer something festive and not berry flavored,  the St. Germain comes in handy again.

It's great with white wine and a twist of lemon.    Really easy too.  Just add 1 oz of St Germain to a nice dry white and serve.
I added ice, but that's only if you want to.  



Friday, November 18, 2011

 I guess that's what I do all the time, but the title seemed especially appropriate for where I am this morning.  


Those of you in my Ravelry group know I'm looking at red tweeds and trying to find the perfect one for a sweater coat idea I've got sketched out.  I've gotten some great suggestions, and the stray skein pile is growing!   It doesn't help that I have to walk past the yarn shop to do just about anything in town.  

So far, my favorite shade is the dark red Peruvia Quick (not exactly a tweed, but so exactly the right color).   I have more on the way, but for now this partial pile of my red collection looked so pretty next to the pillow there that I had to take the shot.   If you have a favorite red tweed suggestion, I'd love to hear it!  Aran or bulky weight.  (Because, really, who has the time for a DK or sport weight sweater during the holidays?)

The other thing I've been playing with (This was not this morning, but last night.) is St. Germain.

 The store is right near the place where I got my hair cut yesterday, so how could I not walk in?  I was powerless once I saw the cool bottle and read the story about old men gathering flowers in sacks, which they transport on bicycle to be made into elderberry blossom liquor.  It really does taste a little like flowers!  Plus, there is an amazing website full of recipes, which all seem very appropriate and celebratory for the upcoming season.  (Besides, I have a new pullover in need of a name and St. Germain might just do the trick.)

Last night, we started with the  St. Germain Gimlet.   So good we may have each had 2.  Or 3.  

(They are very small in these glasses.  I need proper martini glasses for Hanukkah, just in case anyone, ahem,  is reading.. Vintage, ebay)

Anyways, I digress..

St. Germain Gimlet

In a shaker, pour equal parts gin (They specifically say Plymouth and we had it.) and St Germain.  1.5 oz per drink was what I used.
4-6 ice cubes
3 drops angrostura bitters per drink
squeeze 2 lime slices per drink
Shake and pour. 

It's sweet and sour and herbal all at once. 


In other news, we should be all set for Thanksgiving. 

This is last month, but these guys keep wandering around the yard next door.  Think these two will feed 18?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

    The latest photos that were on my camera, for your viewing enjoyment...

A properly installed owl bottle opener on the kitchen wall.  A few hits and misses here, but we finally found the stud so it WONT get ripped back out of the  plaster again.   Lucky for me, the actual owl hides the holes..  Only one Tiki Head seems to care.

Pile of knits for a shoot with Caro.

And if I can just finish knitting this, I'll add it to the pile before tomorrow.  Hmm.  Anyone taking bets?

This is the best hidden Williams Sonoma secret ever.  This awesome, thousand pound, glass cake stand is only $30 -  and it turns into a giant bowl!   I know it weighs a thousand pounds since I carried the damn thing around the mall.   Craig pointed out it's also a giant wine glass.  Funny, that.

Really, it's for Maya, so she has someplace to put all the things she bakes that I should not eat.

Spiced Pear vodka makes a great martini.  With a little lemon bitters and floating cranberry.  The cranberry is just pretty.

Creme de Cassis does not make a good martini.  Nothing floating in it would change that.

And a day in the city with the girls will yield a slew of goofy pictures.

And then, if I'm lucky, I'll get a couple of good ones.

 Off to get my hair cut now and then back to knit on that purple thing.   I may take a while though.  My new haircut joint is next to the yarn shop.  Turns out everything in this town is right near the yarn shop....
Edited to add:  Came back from haircut with a skein of Peruvia Quick and a bottle of St. Germain.  

Thursday, November 10, 2011

That Sarah has done it again.  Not too bubblegummy - a little gray in there, and the perfect balance of pale vs pastel.   You've seen the project squnched up on the table in my last few posts, but this shot really shows the yarn.   The pattern will follow right after Thanksgiving, but in the meantime I'm just loving this way too much not to share. 

And by the way, I may have a little addiction problem with scarves and cowls and wraps this year.  Warning you now.

PS - I actually took this picture with my crappy camera.  Totally a fluke.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

She actually didn't ask ME, I just popped into the Twitter feed at the right moment.   

She was looking for some fall themed drink recipes, since she's bored of her go to cocktail these days.  And  I had literally just unfolded this article I was saving for Thanksgiving cocktails, so how could I leave a girl in the lurch?

After sending her an email , it dawned on me that maybe you'd ALL be interested in a few drink recipes!

So, without further ado:

Fall Themed Drinks

These are just burbon ones.  I'll do another booze another day!

1Apple Sidecar (makes 2)  Not your basic ingredients, but sounds interesting.

4 oz calvados
3 oz apple cider
4 tsp amaretto
1 tsp lemon juice

Fill the  shaker halfway with ice and add Calvados, cider amaretto and lemon.  Shake and divide, adding lemon twist to each glass.

2.  Kir Normand  - easy but fancy, again might require a trip to the store.

2 tsp creme de cassis or cassis liquor
1 glass of hard apple cider

Pour apple cider into champagne flute (see, fancy?) and add cassis. Stir

3. Stone Fence -maybe a bit boring, but sounds tasty to me

2 oz burbon
5 oz apple cider
3 drops bitters
orange twist

In old fashioned glass, add ice.  Pour burbon and cider over and stir bitters in gently to blend

4. Rhett Butler (I didn't make the name up)  This is the one I was about to make since I have the ingredients!

2 oz burbon
4 oz cranberry juice
.5 oz lemon juice
lemon peel
(i'm also going to add the bitters now that I love it so)

In old fashioned glass, pour the burbon over ice.  Add cranberry, lemon juice (and bitters) and stir.  Add lemon peel to glass. 

Any of these sound good to you guys or do you have a fave to add? 

Monday, November 07, 2011

I know I mentioned to you guys a while back about how we have to go to the dump in my new town.  And I may have alluded to the Swap Shop there, where people leave any stuff they might consider useful to others?  

Well, I've been finding lots of stuff that's useful to me and I thought it was time to share a few -especially since I managed to find this amazing book this weekend and cannot wait to try out some of the fantastic recpies inside! They had me at the celery olive sticks on the cover, but inside are some seriously awesome party snacks.

I am so worth that holiday invite now, and yes, you want me in your Rhinebeck house next year -  
just look what I can bring!


Seriously, Pickle-salami cornucopia, Stuffed mushroom caps, Smoky meat balls, Hot pepper pecans, Asparagus stuffed eggs,  Clam dip, Ham puffs...  The Seventies were the age of the appetizer, I tell you.   Trust me when I say there's so much more.   

Besides trolling the dump for cookbooks, I also found this perfect coffee table for the upstairs guest room/kids hangout space.

 Already painted yellow - in the perfect size and shape for their little Uggs to rest on while they watch Cupcake Wars.


 And downstairs in the entry hall, we've had a few storage/coat hanging issues, since there is that big grate on the floor which we can't put anything on top of.  But this shelf is kind of perfect.  It's exactly the size and shape we needed, and it's painted iron, so it can take a few coats.   (And no, we still have not painted this part of the house - the mint green will disappear in time.)

 See?  And the price was right.   If you think about it, I'm trading my trash for the treasures above. There's more, but I'll wait until their respective areas are done and they are in use before sharing the next batch of finds.   I've been told my enthusiasm will be greatly lessened in the middle of winter, but for now, I am still loving my dump.

This weekend, we also got Zoe's room finished up with a few curtains and an IKEA rug - all which were actually purchased at a store.  She's very happy about her cozy new digs.  But not happy enough to actually make her bed.   

Besides the home improvement, last week's snow made me realize I needed some gloves pronto.   I seem to have lost my sidecar mittens in the move, which bums me out greatly - but undaunted, I have cast on for a new pair before the next storm.   These aren't sidecars, but will be something else.  However, I do have another skein to make sidecars when I'm done here -  I just need to decide which scrap skein of sock yarn matches the deep blue, and I can cast on.

And I don't have a new drink to share yet - besides the martinis, we hung out with the Wine Fairy this weekend, and when with the Wine Fairy, you're drinking wine.   Which is good, but lacks any kind of share-able recipe. 

I'll have another soon.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Both drinks and knitting. It's like I never moved, right?

 Who knew I'd be a martini fan?  For so long I've turned my nose up at the drink.   Always though it was a bit boring.   After today, though, I'm on a new tangent.   This was GOOD.  Granted it was a girly Orange Martini, but everyone needs a gateway, right?

   I'd made it earlier today,  as I often do - with no intention of drinking it then.   Sometimes I make them specifically so I can blog about it while I have time.  I have a teeny sip and put the fixins away till dinner time.  However, one sip just wasn't enough this time.  

In the spirit of full disclosure, this drink came upstairs with me for my shower.  (Cold drink, hot shower = heaven, by the way.  I found this out with post running beers in college)  Anyways,  I know that rings all kinds of warning bells, but it was about timing and waste -- I had to get going in order to meet a friend who was on her way over, and it would have been all melty and warm by the time I was done otherwise.  That shaken quality doesn't keep.  Martinis have to be sipped.  And that Absolut isn't cheap, you know...  Anyways, it's good, so give it a try.  But maybe do it when you have a half hour to kill and can drink it in one spot.   

My plan is to try a different flavor next Friday, but maybe bail on the shower piece of the plan.

Orange Martini

2 oz orange vodka
1 oz vermouth
two shakes of orange bitters
drop of cointreau
orange rind and a tiny bit of actual orange

In other fall related news, look at the gorgeous tree right outside my office window in the yard.  It went from this color to bright orange, to a little red tings,  and then the storm kind of killed it back to a dull orangey brown. But either way, it's beautiful, and it makes me super happy while I sit here at my desk.   Another reason to love this new house :-)

While sitting in the office admiring my tree, I have been catching up on more than just drinks.  There are two new BabyCocktails sweaters out there in the test knitting world (yay!  that feels so good after a long couple of months in limbo, I gotta say) .  

And another  in Quince and Co's Osprey.

I am hoping to get these to you sometime in November.  Which I'd better do, before the stuff in this pile is ready to go and my 18 guests come down for Thanksgiving weekend and the rest of the holidays get underway.  

 There's Plucky (the pink) in here - some Classic Elite Vista (gray - from my new LYS!!), some more Quince and Co (dark blue), and Miss Babs (tealier blue)  from Rhinebeck.  Before long, I am hoping it all turns into a wrap, some gloves, a turtleneck and a cardigan.   Hoping, right?  I guess it all depends on the martinis :-)

Have a good weekend!