Wednesday, August 31, 2011

First, just a little bit o kitchen. Things are not done, but they are done enough to cook and eat and hang.

Furniture is placed in rooms again -- thanks to my friend Suvi, who is just Type A enough to understand that I really wanted it DONE and did not want to wait for either the weekend or a night when Craig came home before 9pm to haul this stuff around. She helped me move the things out of their piles and into rooms when picking Zoe up for a playdate. Thanks to her, we now have a table and chairs in the dining room and sofas and a TV in the living room.

See? It felt really good to sit on our stuff again. I have knit in all of these seating spots in the last two days.

And put flowers on the table. Ahhhh.

Today both my kids are in school for a full 3 hours. I'm not entirely sure why school districts feel the need to "ease" them back into the routine, since I really don't need to be "eased" out of mine and have a lot of painting and unpacking and knitting that could be getting done. But, a break is a break, and I plan to spend mine doing this little update, going off to buy paint for later in the week, and going to the dump.

Yep, the dump. In our new town, there is no trash pickup. You load up your car and bring your crap on down. One day I'll blog properly about this whole adventure, as it does deserve a proper description, but for now just know that the dump has a silver lining in the form of a swap shop. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! It's actually just a big tent where you put anything someone might want, and there are more than a few sketchy items in it, but when it's good, it's good. Really good :-)

But, even better than the swap shop ...... is my new punch bowl!

I've been wanting to tell you all about this since the beginning of summer, but the bowl was properly packed and safely tucked away, so I couldn't show it off. Some of you may remember that I was looking for one last spring and had miserable luck on Ebay finding something - which really means that I was too cheap and kept getting outbid. BUT, right about when I gave up, I got an email from a lovely reader named Barbara, who had this amazingly cool bowl, and she thought I could get more use out of it than she currently did! ( there are way more cups, don't worry. These are for showing you.)

Seriously, I like this one better than any of the others I'd bid on. The swirls and the orange glass are kind of unusual and look awesome when the light hits them. She was kind enough to pack it up and ship it off to our new house, and it's now unpacked and awaiting gobs of sherbert and champagne and cider and rum. I think I have a week or so before I can manage it, but I'm DYIN G to use this puppy.
The beauty of the blogosphere, right? Thanks again Barbara, I love, love, love it.


Other news from around the blogosphere that's kind of exciting is that Sandy (Spikeysandy on Ravelry), of Spirit Lake, Idaho won a BLUE RIBBON at her State Fair for her Dark and Stormy!! Really!!! How cool is that? She knit it out of Mad Tosh MCN in Cousteau, and it really is gorgeous. The lady deserves a drink, right?

Yay Sandy!

I'll save my knitting news for later on, as the dump and paint store beckons, and maybe I'll swing by that yarn shop again now that I am showered and without children....

Friday, August 26, 2011

I'm up at 6am so I can write a post before the house gets invaded by men and tools and sawdust again.

though, I'm up at 6am so I can make coffee on my New Stove that was hooked up yesterday where I can finally boil water for the first time this summer. I can walk around my kitchen without a bra, in my Jersey Freeze tee shirt and my flamingo jammie bottoms before The Guys show up. And the computer is here, so I figured I could say hi while doing so. To be honest, I don't suppose the men would even care or notice if I did walk around this way, since it's not much of a departure from the thousand year old "It's Salsa" tee shirt and paint-spattered shorts they usually see me in. However, I have to draw the line somewhere, as I'm an example for two growing daughters, and dabble in clothing design. And, one of the workmen is kind of cute. Maya actually says 2 are cute, but she can walk around in her jammies and it's not so scary.

It's been a long time since I puttered around my kitchen half awake. It feels good. Unfortunately, we have to get out One More Time this weekend and live at a friends' overnight, but after that, I plan on never leaving. Except for Rhinebeck. And maybe SPA this year, or even TNNA. We'll see. As this place shapes up, I realize I'm going to love it. The girls have made friends and Zoe has learned to ride her bike, and we are getting settled and finding our way around. We also hooked up the TV two days ago, and that makes it feel homey too.

I have found my knitting, and am working my way down a sleeve. This is big progress. For much of the summer, I worked on a cardigan, and when the cardigan was done, I decided that the yarn and the construction were all wrong. So, I am working my way through the same cardigan a second time - in teeny spurts when I have a surface to sit on and an area free of plaster and dust. However, round 2 is top down and knit in Ultra Alpaca, which is always a crowd pleaser, and it goes rather quickly. I try not to think of all the wasted time spent on version 1. I'm thinking a few more Seinfeld Reruns at 11pm and I should have the sleeves done - which means I need to set up a desk to write on next...

So that's the update from inside the house -- from outside, though, is a bit of news that anyone living in the greater Winchester area just might want to know about. (Lean in, ladies....)

Outside my house, only a few blocks away, right between the two wine and liquor shops in town, a friend of mine is involved in OPENING A YARN SHOP. The space is big. Plus, this friend knows what she is doing. I have already had my nose plastered against the glass, bottle of wine in hand, a few times. My hopes that I'd be invited in to unpack and have a few drinks have not been realized yet, but I'm sure it's only because my timing has been off and they have not been taking things out of the giant boxes on the floor when I happened to swing by. Or maybe they were in the back or something.

Maybe they didn't recognize me, hair in a thousand clips, covered in green spatters, with my dirty salsa tee shirt and painty shorts, clutching my booze, and ignoring the two children behind me - who were probably bored and arguing at the time. Because, really, who would pass up that kind of a good time, had they been there?

Anyways, I had hopes of sweater and house photos, but the camera is somewhere that is not here, and I only have a few minutes left of braless, tee-shirted joy before I need to make myself presentable.

Thanks for sticking with me over this long and knit-less summer, I promise that things will begin getting back to normal next week - and that the designs are still in the works for fall. I'll blog again soon with pictures of yarn and home, and maybe I'll Kinnear the yarn shop window for you - that'll really make them want to invite me in, right?

(PS. how cool is it that Kinnearing is in wikipedia with S.P.M's photo next to it?)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hi guys, as promised, a little update on kits for Vodka Gimlet!

Signups will go live on The Plucky Knitter's blog at 9am Eastern tomorrow (Friday, Aug 19) and they will remain open until Sunday, the 21st, or until the spots have sold out. Each kit will contain a hard copy of the pattern, and the Primo Worsted to knit the Gimlet in your size. You just choose your colorway and size.

The signup page will have all the information about exact quantities and prices.
You can get to it by clicking right here.


In addition to the Barely Birch that I used and loved, she's got a whole batch of colors in the wings.

Here are a few of them!


Fly The Concord

All Spruced Up

Gorgeous, right? There are more colorways too, these are just a teaser! Besides the colors, I seriously love this yarn. The merino and cashmere mix is spot on - soft and just a a bit drapey, and the weight is absolutely perfect for all-the-time wear.

The purchased kits will begin shipping on Sept 19, which gives you just enough time to finish what's on your needles and get any Back to School responsibilities or Fall shopping out of the way first!


Monday, August 15, 2011

My latest pattern, Vodka Gimlet, is a shawl collared cardigan, knit from the top down.

It's traveled with me this summer from house to house, and has been crazy patient as I did and didn't have internet access or the ability to think and write. The original late spring release date is long past, and the poor sweater has been moved from bag to box to bag, and the notes on it were in about 4 different notebooks (maybe a coloring book too) and 6 cocktail napkins. Let's just say it hasn't been a normal few months around here, but we're coming out the other end soon!


I wanted this to be an easy piece, without buttons or closures, that could be worn open and loose and still be flattering. I think it's the perfect summer-into-fall piece (originally spring-into-summer, but hey) that can go with shorts or over a sundress, and then make its way into jeans and boots season.

Although you can't tell here, I'm wearing it with a pair of cutoff shorts and flip flops...

In designing it, I went with a classic cardigan shape. I used a shawl collar, but made it long and narrow, so the vertical line would be delicate and keep the focus on the waist detail. This shallow collar depth allows it to be worn folded back, standing up, or lying flat, and the slipped stitch edging is reversible to allow it either way.

A similar slipped stitch detail on the body accents the waist and keeps the open silhouette from getting boxy. It is easily placed higher or lower, depending where you want your visual waist to fall.

The cardigan is meant to be worn open without the fronts actually meeting, so is written with little ease. This way, it still skims your shape and manages to be flattering, while remaining loose and comfortable. Buttons or closures could easily be added, and the shape would be quite fitted (see Tante J's, with her shawl pin!) -- of course, you can add some extra ease in if you want buttons AND a loose shape.

For sleeves, I went with deep ribbing. Cozy and fold-back able.

The yarn I used is the Plucky Knitter's Primo Worsted, in Barely Birch. It's a soft, cozy mix of cashmere and merino, with just the right balance of drape and heft for a seasonal bridge. The subtle hand dyed color is amazing in a slipped stitch, and works perfectly in the design - as always, kudos to Sarah for making Perfect Yarn!!

The pattern alone is $6.50 and available for purchase now as a PDF pattern download here on the sidebar or on my Ravelry page.

It will also be available through the Plucky Knitter, as a kit, with both yarn and pattern. Pricing and timing and such will follow, and I'll link to her page when she posts the information.

Specifics about the design are below:

Sizes: 32-50

Yardage: 1100,1150,1200,1250,1300,1350,1400,1450,1500,1550 yds
Yarn: Plucky Knitter Primo Worsted, in Barely Birch. 200yds per skein.

Gauge: 5 sts, 7 rows per 1" on US7/4.5mm needles. Or needle to get gauge. (Lightly blocked, stockinette)

Specifics about how to make a Vodka Gimlet, can be found here.

(once I can unpack, I'll have my own recipes and pics in my own glasses again!!
Nobody wants to see cocktails in a plastic, disposable cup, and I can't bring myself to make 'em. )

All the lovely pics were taken by Caro Sheridan, Copyright 2011 Splityarn.


Tuesday, August 09, 2011

It's a good thing that we have THIS done, since my sister and her kids came to stay with us last weekend. We still have no kitchen, guest room or even a downstairs sofa space to speak of, but.... a few bedrooms with furniture shoved to the side, a working bathroom, a great porch, and a lot of beer made for a great visit with the Jordans, who live entirely too far away from Massachusetts. (Annie you agree, I'm sure!)

We took them to the Farmer's Market on Saturday AM, and who was there but my old friend and former Knitsmith, Johanna! She was in a booth, selling handmade slippers! She began making these for her little girl, Kaya, back when I still made the trek down to Brookline each Sunday for knitting, and in the few years since, she's turned her talent into a full fledged business -- Kaya'sKloset. She makes the slippers by hand (with a little help), in her home and then she sells them locally through a few shops, and at fairs and bazaars like the Winchester Farmer's Market. Fun to see her and to see how well the slipper biz was going! Check 'em out.

With all the dust and stuff on our floors, these will come in super handy. And they have polka dots.


Johanna wasn't the only Friend to surface this week...

Life always happens this way - when it rains, it pours. Right? I've spent the last few weeks like a hermit, running errands, picking tile, doing laundry a town away, and trying to get ahead of Life in Transition over here. I have more to paint and do this week than humanly possible, and I am sooo in need of a better coffee system than currently available around here.

(Yet, I'm blogging. Figure that out! Ahem. The primer needs to dry so I can do the next coat, actually. And the marble guys are here so I can't finish yet. So, this is a perfectly excusable use of time.)


Anyways, back to this week. I had my guests and I saw Johanna. And two minutes ago, during the marble guy conversation, unbeknownst to you, my old across the street neighbor just stopped by to visit!

But before that unexpected break, I already had another Old Friend to add to the week's list:

I got an email from Steve Elkins of WEBS, who is an old friend of mine from college. Being the clueless wonder that I am, all this knitting time, and all those trips to Northampton and I never did put 2 + 2 together that Steve Elkins, of Steve and Kathy Elkins, was actually the same guy I knew in college. Really. Until earlier this year, when another friend asked me if I ever ran into him in "The Yarn World". In The Yarn World? Last I knew he was working for a beer distributor, out of school and living with a few of the other guys I used to hang out with. But the other friend said he'd been running "Some Giant Yarn Shop" and all of the sudden I realized it! To my credit, we didn't always call each other by our given names in college, since it was the age of last names and nicknames and such. I'm not sure Steve wants his nickname shared (it's nothing bad!), but he wasn't always "Steve" in my head! Anyways, we've been back in email touch for a bit, but seems he's here for a few days. So, yes, I plan on seeing Steve this week at some point. (maybe he likes to paint...)


I have plans to see ThePluckyKnitter this weekend, as she's in town for a wedding, and we have much planning to do..

Tonight we're having dinner with two of our oldest friends, who used to work in San Francisco with Craig and I in the old days. They're on the East Coast for a family trip and will swing by for beers on the porch/and go out to dinner today.

(really, I am NOT making this up)

My group of high school friends who live in the Boston area and do a semi annual kind of dinner thing just emailed for a Sunday evening plan. Which of course, not having a kitchen, I'm all over. (Love the dinner invites this summer!)

and seriously, I've seen nobody for weeks, prior to this! I might have to brush the paint out of my hair today.


Appropriately, I'm also knitting with Ultra Alpaca. It's kind of like my best old yarn friend.

(the blue pile, next to the computer)

For those of you who care, here's what the marble guys have done:

in my someday shower, we have a little shelf!
and in my someday bathroom, here's a vanity in need of faucets and drawers.

Off to work now.
Vodka Gimlet is back at the tech editor for a final run through, and will be ready REALLY soon.

Friday, August 05, 2011

We finally have service in our new house -- we may not have a kitchen, a surface without piles of equipment and dust, or a room not piled high with boxes, but this bit of installation news means that next week I can finish up Gimlet (which you may recognize from the current Rav ads) and get the patten onto the internets for you. Stay tuned....