Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Want to win some yarn and do a good thing at the same time?

Then read on.

My good friend Carol is running in the Vermont City Marathon as part of a relay team on Memorial Day Weekend with Norma Miller, Lisa McGuire, and Adrienne Martini.   (Norma was one of the first bloggers to knit one of my sweaters, back in 2008.  She knit an amazing red Golden Vintage Cardigan, rocked it, and wore it to New Hampshire Sheep and Wool and I saw it.  It was one of the first times I'd ever seen anybody wearing one of my designs out in the world, and she totally made my day, so I will always love her.)

But I digress....  My good friend Carol also has one of the most impressive collections of yarn I've ever seen, so she's decided to do a little destashing while raising money for children's cancer research.

If you sponsor her team, you are entered to win some of the lovely yarn above.  Below is a list of what you see in the pic, and we may add to the pot if this goes well.   I have a more than a few skeins that need homes, but my camera is elsewhere right now, so let's just say there's more where this came from.

Rowan All Seasons Cotton (8 skeins), color 191
Rowan Wool Cotton: 3 skeins color 956 (chocolate) and 2 skeins #958 (blue)
Debbie Bliss Pure Silk (2 skeins), color 27012
Sirdar Baby Bamboo (4 skeins), color 138
Black Bunny Fibers (1), color Blue x2 bulky 100% blue-faced Leicester
Black Bunny Fibers (1), color Blue Spruce  bulky 100% Falkland wool
Black Bunny Fibers (1), color Tardy Sage  sock 70% merino/30% silk
Socks that Rock (1), color Tanzanite  medium weight
Classic Elite Fresco (4 skeins), color 5328
Plucky Knitter (2 skeins) Primo Worsted in a gorgeous pink

Every $10 donation gets one chance to win one of these listed batches --  so $20 means your name is entered twice, and $30 means you get 3 entries, and so on.  

 I forgot to add a little timing:
Donations can be made anytime from now until the end of Memorial Day, Monday, May 26, 2014.  The drawing will be on Tuesday, May 27, 2014.

You can donate directly here:

Just email Carol your receipt afterwards at so she has your info.

Have fun :)  

Monday, May 19, 2014

The EnKa Fair comes to my town for one weekend every May, and the whole town gets involved.  The carnies come to town to set up and run the rides, but the EnKa ladies recruit volunteers to do everything else - so if you know an EnKa lady, or if you have kids - you're pretty much tethered to the thing from the moment it starts until the rides get broken down on Sunday AM.

It's actually awesome.  The Ferris Wheel appears early in the week, and the level of excitement in the kids is palpable as the rest of the rides are assembled along the street between the high school and library.  The only problem this year was the Friday night forecast, which called for rain.   Lots of rain.

And that stopped nobody.

It also made for some amazing raingear ensembles on those who arrived in denial.  This dude donned a garbage bag and a head towel while trapped at the controls of his ride.   He was unfazed.

We were fazed though, and had to change a few plans. Our pre-fair barbeque shifted from backyard to the covered front porch, umbrellas and raincoats came with us, and we huddled under any tree or awning we could find while the kids went on ride after ride.  Even though it sounds a little sucky, and we ended up completely wet, it was fun. 

I was lucky enough to be volunteering in the games area under a tent from 9-11 pm, but unlucky enough to go on the Ferris Wheel and get stuck on top during a windy downpour. 

Saturday, the weather turned sunny again and the rest of the fair was gorgeous.  The kids were let loose, I found presents for my brooch-loving buddies at the Rummage Tent, bought some cocktail and knitting books at the Book Tent,  managed a little color on my arms, and ate fried dough. 

However, all of the fair activity did cut into my knitting time over the weekend, so the sweater remains unfinished.  I tried to make up for it yesterday but ended up on a hike so that didn't help either.  But late on Sunday night, I picked up the project and made a bit of progress.  I'm loving the construction on this yoke, and am almost to the neckline.  The seams are just so neat and tidy....

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I always love when other designers do this, so I figured you guys might like to see a little of the story behind what I've got on my needles today, yes?  Also, it's a little cold out there and I really should go running, so typing a blog post may buy me just enough time that the sun comes out then I and can be happy and warm when I go.  

This latest sweater began because of this image:

To be honest, I really don't even like the sweater above.  It's way too busy.  The different lace panels compete with each other and the seam lace is a little sloppy to me.  Really, there's completely too much lace overall.  To quote Maya, the whole thing tries too hard.  Plus, from a designer's point of view, writing up the math and charts on this would suck.   However, something about the image made me want to save it and put it in my IDEA file a while back, and I did keep pausing on it this spring.   The thought of a lacy pullover - loose and easy and lightweight, kind of cozy, a colored tank showing through the lace, a split hem.... was something I couldn't shake.

But what to do about the lace was floating out there.  I didn't want it to be complex, or too plain, or just like the other lace pullovers I see, and I really needed a motif to inspire me. Something distinct, but easy to play with.  I found it by accident while I was looking for cable patterns to match with this gorgeous green tweed below. (It's The Plucky Knitter's new Scholar base, in Technicolor Teal.  And this swatch is the Scholar cable that I decided on, by the way.  It goes on the needles next - for an early Fall release.)

While putting a thousand stickies on cables, I came across this lovely repeat, below.   Which to be honest, is NOTHING like the original sweater.   But it said summer lace pullover to me.  And this yarn that I had waiting in stash was saying the same thing.

The yarn is Shalimar's Breathless DK, which is a really lovely merino with a hint of silk and cashmere added.  Back when I designed Bailey's Irish Cream, my sister claimed the original sweater as her own, and Kristi at Shalimar was such a sweetheart that she sent me a second sweater's worth to reknit Bailey's for me.   This is that sweater's worth - in a gorgeous deep purple called Byzantium, because of course I never got around to knitting another sweater for me.  I have half a sleeve on the needles. 

And soon, I'll need to frog that sleeve to finish this.  I'm playing with bottom up construction here, a little assymetry, and the overall lace repeat which is hidden a little in the shot above (sorry, not on purpose!).  I'm designing a sweater that is pretty much nothing like the image of the white one.  But it is lacy and it is a pullover and it does have a nice, summery fit. 

I'm at the yoke now, and playing with a modified saddle shoulder based on Elizabeth Zimmerman's, but with my own ideas about fit and seamless construction incorporated into it.   My hope is that by next week, I'll be done with the knitting and onto the writing.  However, experiments don't always go as planned the first run through, so I may have a few yokes ahead of me before I am happy.  We'll see.

No matter what, I promise you a sweater based on that white thing, that's nothing at all like the white thing.   But without that image, this wouldn't have gotten started.   Funny, right?

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

When five very talented knitters all have little ones around the same time and start talking to each other, very cool things get knit up.

And since Margaux HufnagelTanis GrayConnie Chang ChinchioKate Gagnon Osborn, and Melissa LaBarre are not only talented kntters, but amazing designers - they didn't stop at the knitting. They decided to combine all of their gorgeous ideas in a collection to share with the rest of us!

From Mama, With Love is that collaboration.  Each designer contributed 3 different knits they designed with their own child in mind, used their kids as models, and took their own photos - resulting in a collection that I think is extra fun, because it celebrates the personality and style of each of these ladies - and their beautiful children.

My first inclination was to match the kid to the mom.  (Right?)

Margaux's sense of humor shines through in James' Ferris Vest (an homage to the 80s movie) and Connie's talent with detail is apparent in the adorable flounce on the Velvet Hoodie.   I definitely see Kate's spot-on vintage sense in her daughter's perfect ski sweater.  Melissa brings her love of mixing garter with lace to a sweet little cardigan for Stella.  And Tanis's way with modern classic design shines right through in this Callum Vest, accented with an amazing little man hat.

You can mix and match the sweaters above with the accessories below - and since you've seen the faces, you'll know which pattern goes with which designer already :)

So much fun.  More information about the individual designs and how to purchase the whole collection can be found here:

And since my business name came from the 4-6pm drinks my friends and I used to have while my babies were about this big, how about a cocktail to go with the collection?  I whipped a few of these up last night while adding strawberries to the table,  and REALLY liked it.

It does need a name, but for now, let's just say..... FOR Mama, With Love

3 oz bourbon  (I'm generous, 2 doesn't cut it)
.5 oz agave syrup
.5 fresh lemon juice
sliced strawberry
soda water

In a jigger, combine about 3-4 ice cubes with bourbon, agave, lemon and about half a strawberry.  Shake for about 30 seconds and pour into smallish glass.   Add a splash of soda water and a proper slice of strawberry.  You can adjust the bourbon/soda/lemon as you need to.  Enjoy!

I also think this would be good if I added a leaf of basil into the jigger, but did not get to try that yesterday, since I was whisked away soon after this photo to buy patio furniture.

Furniture shopping is, by the way, so much more fun after a drink or two.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Congrats to Katbetty and MLES.  Please send me a PM with your addresses and I will pop your bags in the mail early next week!

Everybody else, happy weekend, I hope the knitting world has a great time at TNNA.  I'm sorry to miss it this year, but my husband is spending two days at NFL headquarters (he's happy as a pig in shit, I tell you) right now, and he's supposed to jet off to Amsterdam tomorrow for a week, so it was tough timing for a knitting trip as well.  

Instead, I'll hang around here and swatch for Fall.  I began yesterday and it's making me very happy.

Maybe I'll also have some tequila drinks, in honor of Cinqo de Mayo, a margarita or ...  

These Palomas look tasty and kind of perfect (and the image was handy in my drink file) --