Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Black Tea for Maya, and a 7Up for Zoe.   Done in plenty of time before they need them.

Even on a hot summer day, both were willing to don them for pics.  They started out cute and cooperative.  Showing some sisterly love..

And it went downhill from there.  I eventually decided to go with the general craziness. 

Yep.  The big one was still trying here, the little one was far gone.

And in need of discipline.  It's a good thing school starts soon.  They might even miss each other.

 She gave in to the dark side as well.  I have multiple photo choices with tongues out, eyes crossed, and other generally lovely expressions.  

But I kind of like this....

Monday, August 19, 2013

I know I left off a specific drink recipe when I launched my collection a couple of days ago - I felt like I already had a ton of information to pack into one blog post, and thought I would space the drinks out for you.  So - never fear,  I DO have drinks up my sleeve. 

Like this one, which features a soda you may have never seen before, called Chinotto.   It has a distinct flavor, kind of like cola and kind of like orange, but really not like either.  To be honest, I'm not sure I  would be drinking the stuff straight too often, but as soon as I tried it I knew it would make a really interesting cocktail, and it did.  We tried it with a little gin and a bit of orange, and then we - my friend Emily and I - were only bummed we didn't have a few more of these little bottles.   I will fix that soon.

Chinotto Cocktail

2 oz gin
squeeze of tangerine, slice
shot of orange bitters

Pour gin in a tall glass over ice.  Squeeze a slice of tangerine over the ice and add a couple shakes of orange bitters.  Mix. Pour Chinotto to fill glass. 

As for the knitted mixers,  Zoe has been dying for her own 7Up hat ever since she saw the original.  I happened to have a skein of Primo in Headboard lying around, and it's absolutely perfect. It's going to match Zoe's backpack, and she's been trying it on happily every time I put it down, so I think she will be all set.  

You can see her coming in to check on my progress in the photo.   She's a harsh taskmaster, that one. 

Maya is dying for a Black Tea, and she wants it in this gorgeous pale green yarn from Sandra of Duck Duck Wool.  She's been eyeing it in my pile for a few days now.   The color is called Wear Your Mittens, and it's a perfect ice green.  I'm psyched to see how Black Tea will look in such a cool, bright color, and I think it will look great against her dark hair.  Sandra is one of my usual test knitters who has branched out into a bit of dyeing and a few of us are quietly acquiring a bit of stash in her soft, vivid skeins.  Mmmmm.  I've even got a few to design something with later this fall!  

So anyways, these two hats are about ready to go with me to NYC for a few days - along with a sleeve in Plucky Cozy.  It's like a vacation when I knit without writing :)  When I get back, I'll add another drink or two to the list.   Have a good week!

Friday, August 16, 2013

I am happy to announce my first e-book!  With A Splash Of... is a collection of 7 accessory patterns, designed with some of my favorite Plucky Knitter yarns.  I think this is the perfect way to kick off the fall - a few instant gratification projects that will be ready in plenty of time for cooler weather and changing leaves.

Accessories were so much fun to think about for me, and I had no problems coming up with sketch after sketch for these designs!  Sarah's soft cozy yarns were just the thing - and I decided on a range of sport, worsted and aran weight yarns.  The hardest part may have been choosing colors from Plucky's amazing range of gorgeousness.   But these shades of delicate gray and soft cream and pale blue, mixed with the occasional pop of orange and red are just what I see as the weather cools and the days remain gorgeous.   The combination reminds me of the first days of Fall, when the leaves just start to change and you have to look for those few bright ones in the trees.

I seriously can't wait to wear these while I'm walking around looking for those leaves this year!   There are 4 different hat patterns:  Black Tea, 7 Up, Cherry Soda/Orange Soda, and Cream.  Black Tea and Cherry Soda/Orange Soda are both classic slouchy hats, while Cream is more of a beanie, and 7 Up can be worn either way.  

I've gone with a mix of lace and cables and stockinette in the collection, and tried to create a range of projects that will appeal to a variety of knitters.   None of these are very difficult, and all of them require 1-3 skeins of yarn, so they are easy on the pocketbook too.  Where appropriate, there are instructions for modifying things to different sizes or yarns.  

In addition to thinking about heads, I had a little fun with necks and hands.  Tonic Water is a big, soft lace cowl with a pop of color, Soda Water is a huge cozy cabled scarf, and Chamomile is a pair of delicate mitts featuring a flower that's fun to work and kind of addictive (ask me how I know..).


Specific information about each of these designs can be found on the Ravelry pattern pages ( use the links above).  Sorry, with different yarns and gauges for each, it's a bit too much info to list out!

The patterns are available only as part of  the "With A Splash Of" e-book until November, when I will make them available for individual sale as well.

The e-book can be purchased either here or on Ravelry for $21.00. 

I hope you guys have as much fun knitting these as I have had designing them!  They are quick and fun and -  like the mixers they are named for do in a cocktail - will top off an outfit with just the thing it needs!  

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Almost end of summer, yes?  I've got a couple of weeks left over here, and have been chugging along on a project in Shalimar Yarn's lovely Enzo Worsted.   It's a really simple design, but when you do something simple, it turns out that the littlest bits can make a big impact.

So there has been a bit of re-knitting around here.  My sleeves no longer look like this.   Well, maybe a little bit, but not exactly.  The balance is all different now.   It's funny how a small change alters the whole feel of the thing, but it does.  The details that seem so sublte, actually are not.  

So, yes, this piece has had a few revisits, it's not looking like it did in the beginning at all. (and may benefit from a little blocking, dontcha think?)

Plus, in the new lesson dept, I've found that I REALLY hate tinking back from the cast on row.  That no longer looks like it did a few weeks back either.   But in the end, the new details are just about right.  Balance is back, fit is good.  Design on the fly, this one. 

And I AM - no matter what - sticking with this.   There will be no revisit of the entire yoke, thankfully.  

With all that reknitting, I'm thinking summer's a great time for a lot of stockinette, don't you agree?  I'm not usually a stockinette girl, but I see it's got some value here.  And it's going to make a really great basic once this guy is all figured out and written.  Not quite there yet, though.

As long as I have you, I probably owe you a drink!  Something summery, too.  Yesterday was Craig's last day in the office for the forseeable future, so we needed a little something to mark the occasion..  And really, what better excuse for a tequila buffet than getting laid off?

The two best combos were:

1. lemonade, sliced limes and tangerine, and tequila over ice.
2. The grapefruit italian soda, lime, triple sec and tequila over ice.

We only tried a few, since I had to drop him off at the airport at 6am this morning.  He's off to Los Angeles for a family wedding, and the girls and I get a ladies only weekend here at home. :)   

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

So, I've done a little revamp of one of my first – and favorite -  BabyCocktails/Plucky sweaters!


In cozy Primo Aran this time. With longer sleeves and a shorter body, this versatile cardigan is a classic fall staple that will fly off the needles in no time.  The same great details as the original – a reversible collar that can be worn folded back or draped inward, a casual shape that can be pinned shut or worn open, and a distinct but simple lace panel on both the fronts and back.   It’s a quick, seamless knit that you’ll end up reaching for again and again.

The pattern has been updated to include both worsted and aran numbers, plus it now has directions for both body and sleeve lengths. AND.... all 1,362 of you who have purchased the original version through Ravelry over the past few years will automatically receive an email from Ravelry to download the updated version into their library.  Think of it as a bonus for using Ravelry!

Anybody who didn't purchase the original through Ravelry can buy the updated version for $6.50 now.

And for those of you who are wondering about such things, a few details are below. 

Yardage is listed below for each version as shown, and below that is what to calculate if you want to mix and match your options:

Worsted:  The Plucky Knitter Primo Worsted

1100(1200,1300,1400,1500)(1600,1700,1800,1900,2000)yds as pictured.  (long length, short sleeves)

Add 200(200,225,250,250)(275,275,275,275,300) yds for long sleeves.

Subtract 225(250,275,275,275)(300,300,300,300,325) yds for shorter length. 

Aran:  The Plucky Knitter Primo Aran 

900(1000,1100,1200,1300)(1400,1500, 1600,1700,1800)yds as pictured.  (long sleeve, short length)

Subtract 150(175,200,200,200)(225,225,225,225,250)yds for short sleeves.

Add 175(225,225,225,225) (250,250,250,250, 275)yds for longer length.  

Needles:  US #7/4.5mm & US #8/5mm.  US #8/5mm & US#9/5.5mm   
Sizing:   Sized to fit, based on bust size:  32(34,36,38,40)(42,44,46,48,50)  
Gauge:  5 st, 7 rows per 1” on #7s.  5 sts, 7 rows per 1” on #8s.  Blocked stockinette swatch.


Of course, Sarah and I have done a little coordinating.   ;)

If you don't have a sweater's worth of Primo Aran lying around, you'll be able to get yourself a sweater's quantity of it at the next Plucky update this Sunday evening, August 11th at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.  Details will be on the Plucky Blog.

Aran will be one of the many bases available in a whole array of gorgeous Plucky Colors.

Monday, August 05, 2013

New yarn, new length, new sleeves.   But it's still Cassis -  one of my first - and one of my favorite Plucky designs.

The original pattern has been updated to include both worsted and aran weights, both long and short sleeves, and both long or hip length.  If you bought the original pattern through Ravelry, you'll be getting the update automatically.

And if not, the all-inclusive version will be available for purchase later this week.

Sarah is working on having some Primo Aran on hand first. 

Saturday, August 03, 2013

It just means summer to me.   I am pretty sure I've blogged about it during previous summers, but I love this stuff, and the crappier it is, the better it is.   There isn't an ingredient in here that's actually found in nature, and if I ate a spoonful of it straight, one of my eyes would screw shut and my teeth would vibrate for a good few minutes.  But when it's really hot out and I am dying for something sweet and summery, it's all I can think about taking out of the cabinet.  By August, it's got weird clumps from the wet scoop and I don't want to look at it, but come next June, it's time to buy another. If you are in the market, just grab the biggest cheapest can you see and it will be perfect.

The question this time was what to mix it with.  Ibisco (the bottle at right)  is a hisbiscus liqueur that the liquor store guy found for me.  He's figured out this whole BabyCocktails thing and likes to help me out with fun bottles of stuff that may lend itself to new sweaters.  (which in itself is a little hilarious, but kind of awesome, and I do have a Blue Sky Alpacas sweater this fall that's going go perfectly with this, so he scored with this one.)  Ibisco is a little like a St. Germain or a Cointreau, but it's not as sweet, and the hibiscus is kind of springy, if that makes sense.  It's good.

I'd paired my Ibisco with gin and grapefruit already, but the tea requires I make an entire pitcher.  So, when few friends stopped by last night I decided to set it up and we had a little taste test.  I made a hibiscus iced tea buffet with either bourbon or vodka, and the vodka won by a large margin.   We decided that bourbon is meant for real iced tea, with actual tea flavor.  With that in mind, you can probably make this with bourbon if you like, but substitute the crappy tea for some of the real stuff.   For all you vodka fans, the crappy mix tea is just right, since vodka goes really well with actual sugar flavor.
The recipe is below:

Sweet Tea Cocktail

2 oz of vodka
.5 oz of fresh lemon juice
.5 oz of Ibisco (or a whole oz, having made this a few times now...)
2 shakes of lemon bitters
lemon wedges
Pitcher of Ice Tea

The way to do this is to make the giant pitcher of iced tea, and get your ingredients out.  Pour the vodka, lemon juice, and Ibisco into a tall glass.  Add the lemon bitters and a lemon wedge to each and stir.   Add ice cubes.  Pour tea into glass over ice and stir again.  Enjoy!  We had these on the back deck after a day at a friend's boat club and it was kind of perfect.