Monday, November 25, 2013

Introducing my latest collaboration with the Plucky Knitter -  Brandied Cherry!

Brandied Cherry is my version of the classic drop shoulder sweater, and it's cozy and soft and loose and cabled.  I wanted to lose some of the boxiness that's often associated with this type of construction and make something a little different, a bit more feminine, and a lot more detailed than the usual suspects.  

So, a varied mix of cables and ribs ensures that the sweater will skim your curves just a bit, while remaining loose and easy.  A repeat of slender cables and single ribs plays off of more complex motifs featured on the front, back, and sleeves -- centering the focus and keeping your knitting interesting.  It's still a loose sweater, but the vertical details are defined as they fall on your body and they create some lovely, flattering lines.


A modified drop shoulder adds a little extra shaping, and a deeply curved ballet neckline is another feminine touch. 

Seaming is simple, since you are working with mostly straight lines and the ribs allow you to see your edges clearly.  As always, there are places where you can modify your sweater for side shaping, length, width, or even a different neckline depth, and I've pointed them out in the instructions. 

Lastly, the Plucky Cozy is just perfect in this. I may be deeply in love with this stuff - and in the chicken-egg way of things, the yarn came first this time.  I saw it and loved it and had to knit with it.  

Cozy is a decadent mix of baby camel and merino that's unlike almost any other yarn I've used.  With some kind of plucky magic, Sarah has created a fiber that looks thick and substantial but feels surprisingly light and delicate.  A dream to knit with.  Again, I'm a bit biased, but I am a FAN.  

But, there's more than one amazing Plucky yarn out there. So we had a sample knit up in Primo Aran as well.  The Aran is also gorgeous in the cables and lovely to wear.


For anybody paying attention, that means I have TWO of these.  But it's a good thing we knit the second one up, because although the two sweaters are spot on for gauge lying flat -- when worn, they fit differently.  The lightness of the Cozy makes for very little drape, and allows for extra ease.  In Primo (and many other yarns), you don't want that ease.  Be sure to read the notes for the type of yarn you choose when picking your size and you will be all set, either way.

By the way, I love them both :)

For those of you with yarn in hand, the pattern is available for $6.50 on the Pattern Page here at the blog, or you can find it on Ravelry.   Test knits and more details can be seen on the Rav page.

For those of you who want to get your hands on a sweaters worth of Plucky Cozy or Primo Aran to knit yours in,  Sarah is having an update on Tuesday November 26th at 8pm EST, on the Plucky Knitter Blog.  More information can be found on the Plucky Knitter blog or in the Plucky Ravelry group if you are unsure how these updates go.

If you purchase a kit, you are buying a sweaters worth of either Cozy or Primo Aran, custom dyed in one of these gorgeous colorways, just for you!  You'll also receive a coupon code via email (about 24-48 hours after the update) that will allow you to purchase your Brandied Cherry pattern from Ravelry for the special kit price of $4.00.

Note that the yarn is dyed just for you, and takes a little time.  It will ship around January 6th.  The update will be live as long as inventory remains and Sarah works hard to have as much yarn as possible on hand!  A few important sweater details are below, and the rest of the info can be found on the Ravelry page.


Yarn:  The Plucky Knitter Cozy, 260 yds per skein, 110 grams per skein.  Primo Aran, 200 yds per skein, 110 grams per skein.  1250(1350,1450,1550,1650) (1750,1850,1950,2050) yards

Needles: US#8/5mm and US#7/4.5mm needles.

Sizing:  35(37,41,43,47)(49,53,55,59)” Size based on final blocked fabric laid flat.  Sweater shown with approx. 7” of ease in Cozy.  If using Primo Aran, pick a size with about 4" of ease.

Gauge:  Width of 7 stitch repeat of the single cable/twisted rib repeat in pattern = 1.5”, 7 rows per 1”.  Gauge calculated after blocking.


And of course, there's a drink! Luxardo Cherry Liqueur seems about right for this sweater. 

To be honest, my favorite way to have this stuff is over ice cream, but in the spirit of the knitting - cocktail blog, below are two different ways to use it in a proper drink.   

One's cool and lemony and refreshing:


1.5 oz of gin
2 tsp of cherry liqueur
.5 oz lemon juice
1 tsp creme de violette

Shake gin, liqueur and lemon juice in jigger with ice.  Strain into martini glass and add creme de violette, garnish with lemon twist. 

And the other is a little deeper and smoother:


2 oz dark rum
.5 oz cherry liqueur
2 shakes of orange bitters

Add ingredients to glass and stir with 1 ice cube.  Garnish with orange twist. 


Thursday, November 21, 2013

I figure it's about time I added some booze back into the rotation around here, so I've been trolling the internets for a few holiday recipes to share before the time is upon us.  One of my favorite things to do when I have a big family dinner is to start with a big bowl of punch.  And I love using my knitting universe-provided punch bowl ;) 

Thanks again Barbara!  (In creating that link and finding the picture, it was fun to look back at the old blog post.  We were moving into this house and my kitchen was in the works, and my office was still paneled, and a bathtub is visible back there, living in my living room as it did all summer.  Plus, it looks like I was working on Vodka Gimlet....)

Anyways, this recipe comes from Martha Stewart.  It's surprisingly easy, really pretty and promises to make for a fun family dinner.   I have pirated her photo, complete with  Smoked Trout Toasts - but I plan on making just the beverage.  Feel free to google the Trout Toasts if you are in the mood.

Amaretto Bourbon Punch


5 cups of seltzer
4 cups of bourbon
2 cups of lemon juice (about 16 lemons, thanks Martha)
2 cups of sparkling apple juice
1 cup simple syrup (I'd go with about 3/4 though and add if you want more sweet)
3/4 cup amaretto
ice cubes
lemon slices and maraschino cherries for garnish


Combine seltzer, bourbon, apple and lemon juices, simple syrup and amaretto in a giant punch bowl. Add ice.   Garnish with lemon slices and cherries.

She's added a rim of sugar as well, but it wasn't included in the main recipe page.  I think you could leave that off for a big dinner - esp since you may be having appetizers while sipping this one.


I have a few more recipes I've pulled and will share them as the days go by (and add them to the recipe page).  Things on the blog have been a bit quiet, maybe some cocktails are what's needed? 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

a little later in December.

(sorry, but short blog posts are better than nothing, right?)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Next Week.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I find that hats are a little like potato chips, and it's really hard to stop with just one - so when The Plucky Knitter sent me a two skeins of her Primo Worsted in this gorgeous pink called Plie, I immediately knew it was time for a double hat pattern.

2 Glasses of Pink Zin - Kinda perfect  as we roll into November - two gifts for the giving.  If you're Jewish, there's still time to eke these babies out before Thanksgivmukkah and for those of you who celebrate the rest of the holidays, you still have weeks ahead of you -- so you can make two for gifts and one for your own head.

In coming up with the designs, the lovely pink not only dictated the name of the pattern, but the look and feel of the hats as well.  They had to be delicate and a little feminine.

The First Glass is a cozy cabled hat that can be worn deep and flat with a little slouch, or if you want, you can fold the brim up and wear it as a more traditional cap.

The cables are intricate and varied, and the crown is fun to work.  I used the twisted ribs as "seams" that the other stitches eventually disappear into.

The Second Glass plays with the slipped stitch motif I used in my Silver Gin Fizz, but this time the slipped stitches are used sparingly, in a delicate offset pattern.   This hat has a narrower brim and a slouchier fit than its cabled sister, and this one is very easy to modify for size, since the repeat is a simple 3-st repeat.

My favorite detail in the second hat is the crown decrease, where the last slipped stitch disappears, leaving just the single ribs to meet in the center.

The 2 Glasses of Pink Zin pattern is available for $6.50.  You can find it on my pattern page here or or go straight to Ravelry to download it.  Some of the details are below and the rest of them are on the Ravelry page.

Yarn:  2 skeins Plucky Knitter Primo Worsted, shown in Plie.  Each hat uses about 175 yards.

Needles/Notions:  US #5/3.25mm and US#7/4.5mm 16" circular needles and DPNs in larger size for crown.  Darning needle and stitch marker. 

Size:  to fit around a 20" head. 

Gauge:  5 sts/7 rows per 1" in stockinette, blocked.  Specific gauges for each motif  are in pattern.

And thank you to Maya and Hannah, who was a really good sport even though this was so NOT what she came over to our place to do this weekend.  :)

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

She had me with Bashful, but then she introduced Plie.

I'm such a goner.

You'll see more of these next week.  

Sunday, November 03, 2013

A day at the outdoor sculpture museum with some friends and their babies and a bunch of knitwear 

is going to mean some photos.

Maya was dying for me to take these so that she could actually have the sweater that I made for her.  And she couldn't have it until the photos were taken, so she was super cooperative at the museum and worked it like a professional.  Now her job is done and her sweater is her own and she's off with her buddies wearing it again today. 

And she kind of rocks it, so although you guys know I'm usually just teasing you with shots that don't show a thing before I get the sweaters finished,  I don't mind ONE BIT if you see these while I'm still writing.  The yarn, since a few of you have asked is Valley Yarns Berkshire Bulky from WEBS.

And btw -- there are a few details that you can't see in these shots, so I still have some secrets.

In addition to Maya's sweater and Black Tea hat, this design got some photo love at the museum.

My friend Margaux - who you guys probably know as Tentenknits - made this colorblock beauty, called the Kendi sweater. She'd already wore it to Rhinebeck, but it was in need of a proper photoshoot. 

And we thought it would look pretty cool with this neon installation on the roofdeck atrium.

It was kind of like a human carwash.  She has a whole bunch of photos, so stay tuned and I'm sure they will pop up soon on her blog.  Except the ones with the dancing.  The fringe makes you think disco, it does.  But she may decide to keep those to herself...

Besides that, it was a weekend full of pumpkin beers that needed post-Halloween finishing and a few of these.  These are good - and worth trying!

I don't think they have a name, since we kind of made them up.  They may exist somewhere, but we invented them based on what was in the cupboard.  It's a ginger-lemon-bourbon thing that turned out REALLY well on Friday when my friend Cristina stopped by.   She's the one that introduced me to the good ginger liquor that's in it, so it was fitting that she was my tester :) 

2 oz bourbon
1.5 oz Domaine de Canton ginger liquor
2 shakes lemon bitters
slice of lemon, and a good squeeze of juice
lemon seltzer

Put the bourbon, ginger liquor, bitters, lemon juice and slice in glass and stir around. 
Add 3 ice cubes
Fill with about 4 oz of lemon seltzer.

And that purple stuff next to the drink?  That's a single ply DK from Ball and Skein called Lyra.  It's an alpaca, merino and silk mix and it's just beautifully dyed in a thousand vareigated shades of purple.  I don't usually play with yarn like this, but I am loving it.

You will see more of this soon -- after I finish writing up Maya's sweater... first things first, yes?

Hope you guys had a good weekend too!

And PS - It's November, and as promised, the With A Splash Of designs are now all available as single downloads on Ravelry for those of you who did not want to purchase the whole collection.  All 7 designs are now also listed as single PDFs for $6.00.   And the collection is still available as well if you do want them all for $21.00.  Happy Holiday Knitting!!