Friday, March 30, 2012

Time to catch up a bit here, if you'll bear with me.

  It's been a "busy" (you can airquote that) week, and I've resorted to the cocktail version of microwave dinner.  Not that I ever claim to be a cocktail purist, but generally I do go through the steps to make the stuff.   This week, I'm loving the powder.  And honestly, if I'm being true to the 1960s nature of the MadMen season premiere, or the generation who put whisky sour on my radar,  they were pretty fond of their Jello and Spam shortcuts, so the Bar Tenders Instant is actually very appropriate.

I really love how the box says "New Look! Same Great Taste" even though the look was new in 1974.  Anyways, I suggest you pick up a box or two and keep em in the cabinet. Some busy night, you'll totally thank me. 
As for pattern news, I've been in a bit of happy shock over your response to Vodka Lemonade!    I want to put a big Thank You out there to all of you for your comments and kind words and enthusiasm (70 projects on Rav already??) and for the crazy-amazing fact that you had my pattern in the top 5 on Ravelry's What's Hot page for almost a week!   I  know, since I may have checked once or twice.

I have to admit that I spent most the week a bit distracted, checking the stats again and again, and this in no small way added to my need of powdered cocktails.  But now that the pattern is launched and being knit, I'm just looking forward to seeing all of your projects and to the ability to stay away from the screen for hours at a time again.  (uh huh..)

During my week of distraction, I did finish another shawl pattern.  I've been knocking a few of these out in the background this winter, under the premise that I'm researching different methods of shawl construction and design - with the plan of a Plucky project this summer.   In reality, I'm becoming a little obsessed with these patterns and can't wait to do a few more to help me decide...

This time it was Kirsten Kapur's Snow Drops and Snap Peas, a design I loved the moment it came out, but hadn't gotten around to actually making until now.  I think it's the perfect balance between feminine and not so fussy, and it was a great pattern to memorize for TV knitting.  Under that, on my dressform here, is Gudrun's Aestlight, another amazing pattern which I find I wear a lot, and Classic Elite's Highland Fling.  Each scarf is a different shape and uses different techniques, so I'm slowly figuring out what I want to do for my own.  But I do think a few more of these will be necessary before I decide.  

Scarf and shawl knitters,  here's where you can help a girl out and put in your two cents towards a future project.   Tell me what you guys love about your favorite ones - texture, great lace, interesting construction, the perfect size... whatever it is, I'd love to know.

The yarn I used for Snap Peas is Ball and Skein's Sophia, which I got at the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool festival a year ago.  They will be there again - and in VT and CT and ME, so if you see them at a festival, be sure to check their yarns out - the colors are just beautiful.  And they look perfect in a shawl like these!!

Way before I get to finishing up any scarf designs though, Charleston Tea is on deck and the test knitters are nearing their button bands.  In my "busy" (airquotes again) week, I'd forgotten to send them the button band directions, so am getting that done right now.  As you can tell.

Anyways, Mid April is what I'm thinking, and I've begun coordinating with ThePluckyKnitter so there could, maybe, probably be kits.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

 I had so much fun reading these, and you guys are all hilarious, but there was one comment that we (myself and the other judges I dragged in to this)  kept coming back to.

 This one managed to be both clever AND morbid, with a little butt humor and some pop culture tossed in for good measure. 

Dad: "Darn-it, Son! Just when I thought this day couldn't get any worse! Our loss to the Smothers Brothers, your Mother's colonoscopy in the morning (bowel prep in glass), & now Tin-Man is on the phone wanting to know if you know where in the heck Scarecrow is!!!"

Congrats Debbie!  PM me your address and I'll pop your yarn in the mail.

I have a cocktail to add later today, so check back in the afternoon :-)

Monday, March 26, 2012

 When I wasn't checking Vodka Lemonade's status on Ravelry last week, I was out on the back deck working on a few Fall projects.  

And research on new sweaters usually means a few hours with my pile of vintage magazines, looking for the perfect cable or stitch pattern or neckline.   I'm always amused at the inexplicable photo setups - with the crazy expressions and the out of place props,  but the photo below was particularly weird.  Even for a 1960s knitting magazine.

 It's from the aptly named  "A Collection of Aran Sweaters in Fleischer's Bear Brand Botany Yarns", which sold for a whopping 60 cents in 1965.  (Someone may have been paid to come up with that.)

Mom, Dad, and Son all have the same exact sweater on, and Dad wears his with the waist ribbing cuffed upwards. (Did the stylist figure nobody would notice?)   He's holding the phone, covering the receiver and yelling at Son.  Son is smirking at Dad and sucking on one of those long hay-like grasses you find in a field.  Perfectly coiffed Mom gets a chair and drink.  Behind them on the wall hang leather straps and stirrups and a kerosene lamp. 

I'm in the mood for comments, so if you have a good story for what's going on or a great caption for the photo above, be sure to tell me below.   I'm particularly confused by the grass, and the straw seems out of place in that turkish coffee glass.  It's all just a bit too oddly combined, right?


 I'll let this go until Wednesday night, and the best one will win a skein of Plucky Rustic in Fly The Concord.
 It looks like this:

picture slurped off the Plucky website...

Have fun :-)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Vodka Lemonade is a springy cardigan with a vintage vibe.  Seed stitch and lace details add texture and a feminine touch, and the classic styling ensures that it will go with jeans and a tank just as easily as it would compliment a sundress.  

Photos by Caro Sheridan, Copyright 2012, Splityarn

Since it's top down, the pattern is easy to modify for your shape.  You can play with the width, length, waist shaping or the sleeves without changing the design.  And if you prefer to wear your cardigans closed, there's plenty of room in the seed stitch panels for a few buttons.

This idea began with the seed stitch.  I wanted to play with ribs in my seeds and loved the way these lines pop out of the texture on both the reversible collar and the raglan seams.  The YOs just made it springy.

And then a bit of lace.

   The yarn is Serenity DK, from Zen Yarn Garden. It's a soft merino cashmere mix, and it comes in some really lovely colors.  The stitch definition is great, it was a joy to work with, and the weight is perfect for a delicate cardigan like this one.

 The Lemon Twist is a very distinct yellow, with a perfect balance between edgy and pretty.  It's the hint of gray throughout that keeps it from being too girly and gives it a modern feel.   There are a whole slew of different colorways available as part of  the Vodka Lemonade pattern kit on the Zen site. (Check out the blood orange.  It's amazing!)  Kits are available by size, and will include both yarn and a copy of the pattern.


For those of you with yarn in hand, Vodka Lemonade is available on Ravelry for $6.50 or on the sidebar above, and details are below. 

Yarn:  Zen Yarn Garden Serenity DK, Lemon Twist.  250 yds per skein.  
Sizes:  32(34,36,38,40,42,44,46,48,50,52)
Yardage: 750(800,850,900,950,1000,1050,1100,1150,1200,1250,1300,1350) yds
Needles:  US#5/3.75mm.  Long circs for the body and short circs or DPNs for the sleeves
Gauge:  5.5 st, 8 rows, per 1".  Swatch is stockinette, lightly blocked. 


For those of you who are thirsty, make a Vodka Lemonade to go with your knitting!

(I don't have a photo this time, since the girls drank the last of the lemonade before I got to put it in a pretty glass. It's been warm and sunny here, so I should have seen that one coming, even though I warned them to stay away from it.)

4  oz of lemonade or San Pellegrino Limonata (if you like bubbles, which I do!)
2 oz of vodka
 Peychaud's bitters
Pour the vodka and lemonade over ice in a glass
Add 2 shakes of the bitters. 
Stir and drink!

Happy Knitting!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

 That I can feel it!  

This week has included knitting on the porch and drinks in the sunshine.  Next week will include this vintage lacy cardigan.  Perfect for throwing over a tank or sundress while you wait for the temps to catch up with your mood.

Photo by Caro Sheridan, copyright Splityarn.


After that,  maybe a lightweight hoodie?  Comes in handy if you like to stay on the beach after the sun goes down.


Friday, March 09, 2012

meant a day off yesterday.  The temps reached a gorgeous sixty something here in Boston, and the Newbury Street cafes had their tables set up, so when I friend said she was up for a day walking around the city,  I hopped in the car.   Perfect day for  for a bloody mary and lobster salad lunch!  The sun felt great -  I even have a one-hour V neck triangle tan to show for it.  

Still in limbo today, I signed up for yoga class on Monday, have an appointment for a manicure/pedicure in another hour, and got my hair cut and dyed back up yesterday (waaaaaaay overdue).  Seems I could look a lot better in general if I ran out of yarn more often.

This guy was the culprit.  But I'm pretty happy with my perfectly slouchy, not-pointy hood even if it did eat an entire skein of yarn.   I thought about making it smaller, but nope.  It's going to make me so happy some windy day at the beach this summer.  More yarn is on the way, so it'll get finished soon.

In the meantime, I started another project - before I turn to something really dangerous, like shoe shopping.

More legwarmer ideas have me thinking about All The Boots that were on Sale in town....  

Sunday, March 04, 2012

This pattern came to be after spending a few days with The Plucky Knitter herself, her sister Hayley, and their friend Christine.  All three of us are huge boot fans, and the need for legwarmers was hard to deny.    

 The legwarmers feature an intricate medallion design meant to peek out of the top of your boots.  The medallions end in cables, which continue down the calf and end in ribbing.  This is a super quick and easy project and the legwarmers are a great accessory that easily gives a bit of style to a simple jeans, boots and jacket outfit.   They'd also be pretty cozy snuggled up on the sofa over leggings.

The yarn is Plucky's Primo Sport, in Bisque, which matches brown leather kind of perfectly.   The pattern gives you options for making shorter boot "dickies"using only 1 skein --- or with 2 skeins, you can make either calf length under-boot legwarmers like these, or a long. slouchier version.  They are easy to modify for any length, and there's also notes on altering the width as you like.

 The moment snow fell last week, I grabbed Maya and took these photos on our back deck during the few moments we actually had something pretty on the ground.  I'm a little afraid she's after my boots now, but it was a good thing I did it - as the snow was mostly gone the next day and the yard was full of footsteps!

Although Caro was at work and the snow would not wait, her pointers about how to photograph your knits came in super handy!

 The pattern is available for $4.50 on the sidebar above or on Ravelry
All the details are here, but a few of them are below.

Yarn:  The Plucky Knitter Primo Sport in Bisque (1-2 skeins)
Needles:  US#4/4.25mm
Gauge:  7sts, 9-10 rows per 1", in stockinette, lightly blocked
  Width:  11(13)" around top,  9(11)" around ankle.
 Length:  varied


As for the Vernors Cocktail,   it comes straight from Sarah and Hayley.   I've been hearing about this particular soda from the knitters on the Plucky Forum for months, and to be honest, I've been dying to try it!  It's not exactly ginger ale, but a ginger soda - it has a little bite,  a hint of vanilla and a special little surprise if you sniff it (achoo!). 

Cream Soda with a Kick

1.5 oz vanilla vodka
6 oz Vernors
ice cubes (which were not necessary in the snow)


Drink this one with a little toast to Debra Kooistra  (1954-2012).

Saturday, March 03, 2012

 Last night, Craig was invited out with a few of his new ManFriends in town, so I decided a couple of the wives with children old enough to fend for themselves could be coaxed into a cocktail or two.  Turns out I was right.

 It did require a little explanation when I took my camera out for this shot.  I always forget how weird it is that I take pictures of bottles and glasses and cocktails while hanging out around the table.   Until I see the looks on other peoples' faces, that is.    I have a very explain-o type of career. 


But it's worth it, right?  And everyone liked these little concoctions.
2 oz of gin
half a can of San Pellagrino Limonata soda
splash of St Germain
2-3 drops of lemon bitters
ice and lemon slice


Next, a 6 pack of Vernors has arrived in the mail, and it's time to play with this in preparation for my next pattern. 


A callout to all my midwest Plucky friends who have been recommending the stuff.  Definitely not your basic gingerale!