Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Thanks for all the comments on that last post!  I'm happy to see that you guys are still out there, given the lack of reasons to come back and read lately.   In the spirit of trying to fix that though, a little update on what's on the needles as we coast into vacation over here.  It turns out I've been working with a theme, and I didn't even realize it. 

Did you ever go shopping and when you got home, saw that all the the things you bought were striped?  Or seem to fall in the same color palate?  Well, I went into my office and realized that many of the yarn groupings and projects were mixed colors.  I'm having a little trouble committing to just one at a time. It's not a bad thing, but it's definitely a thing.

This project is the one I just finished.  It's knit in 3 colors - Blueberry Sour, Miniature Lilacs and Princess Phone - in Plucky Primo Worsted. It was my atttempt at a little free-form colorwork.  I had picked a motif and brought the yarn along over Thanksgiving to see where it went, so I could practice the proper way to do stranded colorwork (learning the RIGHT finger positions and such, thank you Mary Jane Mucklestone!).  And this is where it went.

Currently on the needles is the project below -  in Plucky Primo Aran.  It's a combination of Gris and Medieval, and it's going to eventually be a two-color cardigan.    The pattern there is unblocked, so you can't really tell if it's lace or cables or both, and I'm going to keep it under wraps for now.   But I love these two grays together.  

Up next are these three skeins on my chair.   They are a combination of Jill Draper's Hudson in a gorgeous pale blue and purple, and they are about to be knit into a textured, ribbed motif that I love in a sweater of Zoe's.  I just have to figure out how I want to work it and then how I want to use it in a big, chunky cowl.  I'm kind of psyched to play with this, and have been ever since she bought that  little sweater.   Always fun to see where the inspiration comes from...

There's more, but I have much to do and want to leave you with a drink recipe.  Staying with my theme of mixing things, this is a sangria recipe I found on a blog called Pretty Plain Jane's.  She called it a Fall Sangria, but I think it's pretty perfect mid winter too.   (This is her photo, since it's much nicer than mine...)

2 apples (honeycrisp) chopped up into slices.  She peeled hers.  I didn't.
750 ml bottle of chardonnay
1/2 cup of peach brandy
1/4 cup honey
2 oranges, 1 quartered
1 lemon, sliced
1 lime sliced
2 cinnamon sticks
2 slices of ginger - each about the size of a quarter 
3 whole cloves
2 tblspoons sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
club soda

In a pitcher, combine the chardonnay,brandy and honey.  Mix.  Add all fruir except 1 apple and 1 orange (save those for now).  Add cinammon sticks, ginger and clove. Refrigerate overnight.

Next day, strain liquid into pitcher and add the second apple.   On a small plate, combine cinnamon sugar and rim glasses.

Place rimmed glasses on table with remaining chopped apple and orange, bucket of ice and soda water.   To serve, add ice to each glass, pour sangria mixture in, and top with club soda.  Garnish with the a little of the second chopped apple and orange when you are done.   


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Again, there has been a bit of blog silence around  here.   But you get busy and something has got to give, right?  Apparently it's the blog.  I promise it's not the actual knitting - that keeps going at a steady hum in the background.  

In fact, I've knit the sweater below twice in the last month or so.  Picked up the needles with a vague plan and paid the price again.  Old dog, old tricks.

I bought this gorgeous alpaca - merino - silk single ply at the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool last year, because I just had to.  It's called Lyra, and is from Ball and Skein.   And it's soooo cool.

Ball and Skein is always one of my favorite festival booths, and Judy always has really wonderful stuff, but this yarn was just so different - it's soft and hazy and almost ethereal.  I had to grab some, though I had no idea what I wanted to do with it.  The important word there is "some"-  since I bought  just UNDER a sweater's worth, in a color that no longer exists.   (Think, Thea!!)

Looking at it this fall, I decided it needed to be a "going out" sweater, so I sketched and cast on and began.  Then, as I got halfway up the project and realized I was going to run out of yarn, I sheepishly called Judy.  She sent me an actual sweater's worth in an actual colorway and I began again.

Honestly, I love knitting with this yarn so much that knitting two (ok, almost two) sweaters was kind of OK with me.  I'm writing the pattern up now, with hopes to release it just before Slater Mill's Knitting Weekend in mid January, since Judy will be there with me, and I'm betting she'll have some Lyra on hand.  So, even without a plan, it still worked out, but that was my bad.  Designer should know better.

And that's not the only re-knit around here.   See that blue cardigan, folded on the floor in the corner there?  I was not so far through this one when we decided to redirect the yarn choice there as well.  Instead of bright blues, I'm now looking at Primo Aran in some of Sarah's gorgeous Plucky grays.  Much more versatile.  And going on the needles next.  Both projects worked out fine and maybe they even needed to evolve as they did, but...

As I work through these two, plus the various swatches and piles in my office I AM thinking about making a real plan for next year.  A list of sorts, spaced out over the months. Balancing different types of yarn and knits so I can work a variety of designs and can plan on the colors/yarns/quantities beforehand.  It's hard, when the process is so organic and things either do or don't gel together, but maybe I can shop and plan a little more effectively if my chalkboard goes farther than the few upcoming things on the needles and drawn in the sketchpad.  It's worth a try, right?

I do have some fun ideas in mind and have started a whiteboard with some new directions on it -- a few projects for the men in our lives, and a couple of things for the kids. Another e-book or two.  I may lay off on the summer sweaters in favor of more accessories since I am LOVING making those up and have a small pile on the desk already that need writing. 

These are just thoughts though, and I'm doing it all for you guys, so... now is a good time for any of you with requests to hop in.

Is there something you're dying to knit next year?  Something you have been hoping I'd do?  There's a thread in my Ravelry group where we've done this before, but how about a little blog conversation about what's next?  What do you want to knit, what do you want to see, what haven't you tried, what have you been LOOKING for and not finding?  Links, comments, suggestions, all of it are welcome!

Talk to me, people - I'm all ears!