Friday, June 29, 2012

A drink for you.   
Anyone who was at the Craftsy party at Mouton on Saturday night knows, these are good.  

 It called a Greyhound, and it contains gin and pink grapefruit juice.  Either fizzy pink grapefruit soda or the good old fashioned juice works just fine.  Or juice and seltzer if you want to adjust your sweetness level.   It's like a bit of heaven in a glass, and you can add lime or mint if you're feeling ambitious, but even without the extras, the drink is easy, tasty and oh, so summery!  


The other fab drink from the Craftsy party was a Moscow Mule.   I don't have a pic and have not made one yet, but everyone who did was pretty happy.  And, if you follow that link, you'll see that Oprah likes them too, and has kindly provided us with her version.  You can make it in any old glass if you don't have the special mug, and it's also a great summer treat.  

Give em a shot and tell me what you think!  

Thursday, June 28, 2012

My recap of  last weekend's National NeedleArts Association's convention in Columbus Ohio?  I have to admit, I'm not even sure how to describe it in a blog post. On the surface, it's amazing enough - an entire convention full of all the gorgeous yarns and accessories you'll be seeing in your local yarn shops next year.  All in one place, right?   Life's complete right there. 

But add in all the generous and talented people that make the yarn, take a healthy dose of the very accomplished, funny and creative women who have created this world for us, and then round it out with many of the talented designers who are adding great things to our community every day.   For me, it was a chance to connect all of our dots, and really put some perspective on what I'm doing and how lucky I am to be doing it with these people.  And it's been said before, but to meet the internet faces -  how happy was I to put a face to Roxanne at Zen and Katie at Blue Sky,  and to the Yarniad,  Hilary, with whom I have practically written email novels over the last few years but never seen in person?   So many others, and every one was fabulous.

 Honestly, so many of us in the indie designer community work from home and don't get the chance to really meet other people who do the same thing we do, so it's such a treat to say hi and compare notes and rifle through yarn with A Person Who Gets What You DO, you have no idea.   And, yes, to have a drink or two doesn't suck either! 

But how about pics, right?  

This is North Market, which is where everyone at TNNA goes back and forth to all day, so they can get ice cream at Jeni's.   Jeni's might be the most amazing ice cream ever.  I had some on 3 out of our 4 days there. And since the question everyone asks is, "What flavor?"...

Whiskey Pecan, Lemon Blueberry, Garden Mint, Lavender Berry, Vanilla, Salted Caramel, and Milk Chocolate.
that sounds like more than 3, but they let you mix flavors.  really.

This is how you can tell who's a knitter when we are off the showroom floor.  See the herd of mixed Namaste bags on the carpet?  When it's 90 degrees, we aren't wearing our knits, so you gotta go by the bags if you're wondering.

(the knitters are: Heather Dixon, Stitchy Mc.YarnPants, Caro Sheridan, RChrispy, and Amy Herzog)

 Random pic:  what Stitchy came up with when the flight was delayed... cocktail jellybeans. 

And the parade of yarns -

 from Blue Sky, some gorgeous Spud and Chloe Outer, and a lovely orange shade of Melange.....

 Anzula's yarn was new to me, and I might be a little hooked.  They have some beautiful bases I'd not seen before, and the colors on these are heathered and delicate.  The blue is their Sebastian, a mix of seacell and merino (!!) and the 3 others are their Dreamy, a silk, cashmere, merino mix.  There was another with milk in the base, how cool is that?  But a girl has to show a little restraint, and the folks at the booth were already more than generous with all of us!  I may buy a skein of the milky one when I DO see it in a shop.

These are a little mix of three yarns which I am excited about - some Dream in Color Classy, a bit of IndigoDragonfly, which Kim was kind enough to remember I was admiring at Rhinebeck last year (it's such a great green!), and a skein of Harrisville Tweed.  All gorgeous in both color and fiber.  Mmmm. 

Lastly, a bit more Anzula in a fuzzy alpaca, and some Shibui in deep, deep green.  I cannot wait to begin swatching with all of this! 

Plus, I may have gotten a new bag.  Because one wasn't enough.

And I'm getting on ANOTHER plane in a day or so, so this will be the perfect travel and knitting bag for a jaunt out to California.  Where again,  I won't be wearing any knits, but can be recognized by a fellow knitter by my Namaste!


And for anyone wondering,  I plan to release Planter's Punch within the next two weeks.  It's just about there...

Monday, June 18, 2012

This week promises to be a busy one, so I'm getting a post out early and then moving onto packing and planning for TNNA.  While I'm there, I've made a plan to spend a little time with Caro, so that when I return, this will be ready to publish for you guys.  The test knitters have finished, and the document is edited, and I'm finalizing now, so all I'll need are Caro's lovely photos.  

Which will not be on my dressmaker's dummy, with my Grandma's leopard collar hanging down the neck. 

The sweater is called Planter's Punch, and it's knit out of Blue Sky Alpaca's Skinny Cotton .  You  know how I love my Blue Sky yarns, and their red is a lovely deep shade, perfect for a summer tan.   It's a tan I don't quite have yet, but I'm counting on having it soon.


Also coming up, but a bit later this year, are these.

These lovely skeins are by Dani, of Sunshine Yarns.  Dani was getting her business off the ground when she was a member of the Knitsmiths with me a few years ago.  We met on Sunday afternoons in the basement of a local bookstore, and the women there were great - all ages and all kinds of knitters.  This was my first knitting group, my entree into all things blog and internet-knitting related, and probably one of the main reasons I ended up in this world.

Dani left Boston to live in Colorado, where she can hike and raise chickens and dye yarn to her heart's content.  Back then, if she was experimenting, or if she had some good stuff on hand on a Sunday, she'd bring in skeins for us to see, and sometimes we'd be able to purchase 'em hot off the dyepots.  I still remember a beautiful purple colorway she came up with,  named for Dana, who was another member of the group. ( Dana knit one sock for a very long time, so it was important she have a color she loved).   Over the years, Sunshine Yarns has continued to grow, and she now offers yarn, rovings and club memberships on her site.   We've been tossing emails back and forth for a little while, and the timing is finally perfect for a little collaboration, so I'm looking forward to playing with these skeins. 

I think it'll be cool to do something with some color variation in it, where I don't stick to a solid or semi solid to see the details.   This time, I  am thinking of bold textures and cozy accessories.  It should be fun.


And as always, I figure I should leave you with a drink.

I was given a giant pot of  herbs this weekend as a little gift (which I LOVE!  I highly suggest giving one to somebody if you need a little gift idea).  Using said pot of herbs as a jumping off point,  I decided to try a Lemon Sage Martini.  

2 oz vodka
1 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 sage leaves, smushed a little in your fingers
1 oz vermouth
2-3 drops of lemon bitters

Put the ingredients in a jigger with ice and shake.  

Pour and add a bit of lemon zest.   Drink while ice cold!


These were great - going to do Orange Basil next. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

While Zoe knits dilligently in the background on her blue and yellow change purse,  I have been working too.   Above is my second collaboration with Roxanne of Zen Yarn Garden.  She's named this colorway Blood Orange, but the drink next to it was a basic gin and tonic with lime.  Because what else do you drink on the deck, in Maine, after kayaking? 

Once I got home, I started working on the theme.

Unfortunately, I'm leaning towards Ruby Red Grapefruit here, on color but not the right fruit exactly.  But the bottle does match the skein, so hey.  And it tastes good.

This was a Grapefruit Vodka Tonic - with fresh squeezed red grapefruit juice, ruby red vodka, grapefruit bitters and tonic.   We made a couple of these before going off to chaperone the 8th grade dance.   In our new town, they have the 7th grade parents do the chaperoning, since the kids don't want their real parents near them at the dance.   Which totally makes sense.

The 8th grade parents do all the planning and setup (It was a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Theme this year), and we just swoop in for the actual event.  They return afterwards to clean it all up.  It's kind of an amazing deal for the chaperones  - as long as you like the music, which I do.   However,  I'm afraid that volunteering this year means I'm sucked in for the real deal next year.    

Anyways, it was a highly entertaining night, and the kids were absolutely adorable, even though they would hate hearing it, because adorable is pretty much the last thing they were going for.   They showed up straight from graduation -  in their sundresses and wedgie shoes (the girls) and button downs and khakis (the boys).   The parents get split up all over the place, and try to look nonchalant.

I was signed up for Dance Floor duty during and Raffle at the front door when they arrive.   This is social anthropology at its best.  It was particularly amusing when the one girl who was teary early in the night got the guy by the last dance.  I'm not sure how bummed would she be if she knew that we were following her soap opera as it unfolded.   But we were rooting for her :-) 

And they left holding hands, so she may not have cared.  Remember that?  So fun.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Turns out she was designing.   
And she plans on making her own design, not having it made for her.

Day 1 of summer vacation is rainy, so this is kind of perfect.   Am thinking she'll be done by Day 5.  She's pretty determined. 

And then someday, Zoe, my whole stash will be yours....

Monday, June 11, 2012

This was on my desk this morning.   

I'm not yet sure if she's asking or designing. 

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

I'm so, so excited to tell you that my patterns are now available wholesale, through Deep South Fibers!   This has been in the works for a while, and if you are one of the yarn shops who have been emailing me about LYS sales, thanks much for getting me off my duff to do it.  It feels very professional and grown up to expand from my internet base, and now when I show up at TNNA in a couple of weeks, I'll have something to talk about, although I warn you that I still might ramble on about nothing out of sheer nervousness.   I do tend to do that.  A bit.

Anyways, in celebration, I made a drink.  Surprised?

It's really an effort to use up some of the more random bottles in my liquor cabinet - so I had  Zoe pull one out from the bottom shelf, which is where the less-loved bottles live.  She chose Apricot Brandy (My second grader is picking my booze - earning me the Parent of the Year award, I know.  I tend to think it's  like cooking and this is a recipe challenge.)   So anyways, with Apricot Brandy, what does one make?

A Claridge.  
I found it a little sweet, so I put it back in the jigger with a tad more gin, a little lime juice and a bit of lime zest.  It's good. Gotta admit, I'm halfway through it and feeling it already, and I never feel it.  This is a one-drink drink.  Although it could be because we have not had dinner yet and lunch was around 11am.

Anyways, I digress.  You need a recipe:

  • 2 1/4 ounce gin
  • 2 1/4 ounce dry vermouth
  • 3/4 ounce apricot brandy
  • 3/4 ounce Cointreau 
Put ingredients in jigger with ice, shake, and pour.  I do suggest the lime juice as well.

If you are wondering what that blue yarn is all about, I'm experimenting with shawl and cowl ideas on Plucky Primo Sport.  The colorway is Poppycock.  It's a deep bluish gray with tones of deeper gray in it.  I love the little leafy pattern I've chosen, but need to figure out how best to decrease it.  Am not there yet, but hoping to get it all charted before next week when SCHOOL is OUT.    Yep, OUT.  June 12 is our last day.

 In terms of planning for the impending non-free time, I have three more designs charted and figured out, so all that remains is to knit.  We are off to San Francisco and Los Angeles later this summer, and I will have many days in a beach chair.  We aren't so camp heavy, so I do have to remain checked in.  But if this works, all I have to do is k-n-i-t.  

Am thinking it's some sort of summer plan. If you have a better one, I totally want to hear it!  Or if you want to meet on a beach on the North Shore some day, you just let me know...  I'll bring the thermos!