Thursday, March 28, 2013

As promised, one more sweater before I start thinking about spring.    Sambuca is my second colorwork design this year, but to be honest, it was finished long before the Bartender Mitts were begun.  Sweaters just take a bit longer to get out into the world.

Sambuca gives you the beauty of colorwork without worrying about a tangled mess of ends or any fear of steeking, since it features a simple motif that uses only 2 colors at a time, and has a great deal of basic stockinette.  With a feminine neckline, a loose fit, and a little shaping in back, it has just enough detail keep things interesting, and makes a perfect first stranded sweater project.   

As always with my sweaters, this is a design that you can play with in terms of fit, and instructions contain the info you'll need to do so.  Length and width can be modified for your shape - and you can pick your color scheme based on what you want to accent on your body  - a darker background/lighter detail keeps the bust from being the focus and draws the eye to the waist, while darker detail on a lighter background will create a visual waistline and create more of an hourglass shape up top and at the hip.   You can also move the actual motif up or down as you prefer so it hits at the right spot on your body, and you can choose to omit the rear shaping if you like a straight back.

 Knit in Valley Yarns Stockbridge, from WEBS, which I think this is a perfect year round sweater yarn.   Stockbridge is a wool/alpaca mix that creates a warm but light fabric with just the right amount of drape for a delicate, slouchy fit. It's not heavy, but it's warm enough to make a difference.  Worsted weight, knit in up on #7s, this took no time!   Plus, Stockbridge comes in a ton of gorgeous colors and sells for the low, low price of about $4.50 per skein.  That makes it easy to justify, right?    

Finally, some detail shots.  The motif is repeated on the sleeves, and I added a little ribbed panel just below the actual neckline for fun.

And my favorite pic of the short row shaping from the side.  I love how this adds to the slouchy feel.

These photos thanks to Amanda Johnston - we shot these after the girls had wandered off with their Manhattan Hats on.


Sambuca is available on Ravelry for $6.50 or on the sidebar to the left.
Some details are below and the rest of the info is listed here


Yarn:  Valley Yarns Stockbridge, 109 yds per skein.  800(900,1000,1100,1200,1300)(1400,1500,1600,1700,1800) yds main color, plus 50-75 yards each of three contrast colors.  Shown in Dark Gray, Light Gray, Kiwi, and Willow Green.  

Sizes:  Finished bust measurement:  36(38.5,40.75,43.25,45.5,48)(50.5,52.75,55.25,57.25,60)"  For a fit like mine, choose the size that gives you about 4" of ease, based on your actual bust/

Gauge:  5 sts/7 rows = 1"  Based on a blocked, stockinette swatch.  

Needles:  US#7/4.5mm circulars for body, DPNS for sleeves.

Notions:  Waste yarn or stitch holders, darning needle.


As for Sambuca itself, I found this on Pinterest, and it's called an Orange Dream:

  • 4 ice cream scoops Edy's® Orange Cream Sherbet & Light Ice Cream (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup club soda, chilled
  • 2-3 tablespoons sambuca
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh orange peel
  • minced fresh orange peel
Divide ice cream between 2 chilled stemmed glasses.  Combine club soda, sambuca, orange juice and 1 teaspoon minced orange peel; pour over ice cream.  Garnish with additional minced orange peel.
Amount:  2 servings


Sounds like dessert, right?

Friday, March 22, 2013

 I don't feel the least bit guilty getting ready to publish this next week.  

You can see I'm still bit by the colorwork bug, but only going in ankle-deep as of yet, so this motif remains nice and simple.  Steeks still scare me, since I have yet to take Mary Jane Mucklestone's class, which I know I keep saying I will.  I promise more colorwork in the fall, and really hope to manage the class before then, and you'll definitely see that learning curve once I do, right?


Besides working on Sambuca (which is the name of that sweater above), I've been fighting with this design for the past few weeks.  

 It's a cardigan idea in a really lovely shade of buttery yellow worsted merino by Spirited Fibers, called Mimosa.   And I didn't even have to figure out the drink for it - their yarns are already named after cocktails!  A match made in heaven, right?  Check them out.   Unfortunately, the design itself is foiling my plans at every turn.  I love everything about it, but it's just not coming together as it should, and the more I revisit it, the less it seems to work out.  
In my previous career as an advertising exec, I always doubted my creative teams when they'd come up to me after a while in development - usually just before deadline - with the phrases:  "We just don't have it yet." or "It's not working."  After which they'd take a break for a beer at the bar across the street, and I'd have to call the client.

  In my current career, I finally understand.  Because sometimes it just doesn't come when you want it to, and you can't really force the solution, because when it comes to you it does, and when it doesn't come it just doesn't.  So after doggedly knitting this almost to the end, I'm admitting temporary defeat.  I'm walking away for a little while, and it's in a timeout. And after all these years, it's my turn to have the beer - but in an unfair twist of fate, it's also still my turn to make the call.   Oh well.   At least the yarn people are so much more understanding than my old Got Milk client!


Instead, I started a very soothing project - a second Cassis.   Because there's nothing like going back and following some actual directions to ease the annoyed, pattern-writing mind.   I made this Cassis with long sleeves, and  I shortened the overall length of the sweater, since I don't need two of the same thing in my wardrobe.

A sweater's worth of Plucky Primo Aran in Oatmeal was as good as actual therapy, and now I have a new idea on the needles.  It's a spring/summer pullover in Plucky Sweater, in a color called Karat Stix.  Super Easy and Bright Red.  

BTW -  I am in the process now of  working on the Aran numbers and will do something with this in the next few months. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

  Introducing Bartender's Choice

These are a great excuse to use up some gorgeous half skeins of  Primo Sport you have lying around.  Or, maybe a great excuse to buy a few new skeins in colors you have been dying to use together?   It's your choice...   (Hence the name.)

After spending a few hours in the Plucky Knitter booth at Vogue Knitting Live, I just had to start pairing skeins together, and by the end of the day, I knew a colorwork Plucky pattern was next in the works.   

The combos were so fun to play with -- for the  yellow mitts, I wanted to use a tone-on-tone effect, so 2 of the 3 colors have yellow in the base.  The purple mitts have more of a distinct contrast between the hand and wrist colors but still have a little tone-on-tone within the diamond motif.   I'm not sure which I like better, or if I need to do a third pair, using the leftover yellow and light blue together now.  I guess we'll find out when summer comes and I need a smaller project for the beach, right?

Anyways, these are a great basic stranded project - the tops and bottoms of the mitts are simple stockinette, and the diamond and oval motif is only 27 rounds deep.  A small commitment, yes?  I love how the detail is both bold and delicate at the same time, and it creates so many different ways to transition between the wrist and hand color.   Plus, the motif is mostly worked 2 colors at a time, with only a few rounds of 3 at a time in the center.   Again, a good introduction to both.

I have designed the mitts with fit in mind, so the forearm portion is a bit wider than the hand and wrist section, and you can easily adjust your stitch counts within the stockinette portions to customize things for your own hands.   You can also knit these with a shorter arm section if you prefer - or if you find you have a little less yarn than you'd hoped in your leftover skein.

The pattern is available on the sidebar at the left, or on Ravelry for $5.50.  
Some details are below and the rest are on the Ravelry page. 

Yarn:  3 skeins Plucky Knitter Primo Sport (about 100yds for wrist and hand colors, 50yds of the diamond accent color)
 Jazz Age, Message in a Bottle and Wintry Mix (purple mitt)  Princess Phone, Wintry Mix and Rapunzel (yellow mitt)

Needles:  US#4/3.5mm needles, or size to get gauge.  Circulars for magic loop or DPNs.

Gauge:  6 sts/8 rows per 1" in stockinette, after blocking.

Size:  Width at arm = 8.25", width at wrist/hand = 7.75".   Length = 11.25" from top to bottom.


 Lastly, for the drink, I sometimes do walk into a bar and ask the bartender to surprise me.    

And the last time I asked,  I got a gin and tangerine drink that I loved.   I can't take credit for the recipe below  (I found it online), but it reminds me of this awesome bartender's choice drink and it's easy to make in your own kitchen.

Tangerine gimlet

2 ounces Hendrick's gin
1.5 ounces tangerine juice
1.5 ounces lime juice
Tangerine peel

Combine the gin, tangerine and lime juices in a jigger with ice, shake and strain into a chilled glass.
Add a twist of tangerine peel.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Bartender's Choice

Stranded fair isle mitts, designed in Plucky Knitter Primo Sport.  
An excuse to play with colors.