Tuesday, July 22, 2014

So, this is where I went with that lace design I blogged about a little while back. 

Amaro is a simple pullover that could be worn all year, but I was definitely thinking of late summer when I knit this.  It's perfect for a cool evening after a day of swimming.  I love it with a bright tank (peeking through the lace) and shorts for when when the sun goes down and the wind picks up. 

I was in the mood for some easy stitching this spring, and wanted simple lines, some stockinette, and a rhythmic lace detail.  So the knitting on this is as easygoing as the sweater.

It's got an easy fit, a split hem, and an open, flattering neckline.  The saddle shoulders are a great detail for this kind of sweater and fun to do.   Plus, the classic shape flatters a variety of figures and can be worn with a fitted or loose silhouette.  Instructions on adjusting for length and adding shaping are included in the pattern.  

I wanted to play with construction a bit, so this seamless saddle shoulder is based on Elizabeth Zimmermann’s percentage system, but modified just a bit.  Knit in Shalimar Yarn’s Breathless DK, the fabric has a touch of sheen and a soft easy drape – plus, it’s warm and light and perfect for a cool summer evening.  I love this yarn - it's distinct in the stitches, a perfect weight to wear with almost anything, and the combination of merino, cashmere, and silk makes for a soft and luxurious knit.  Plus, she's got over 50 colors, all of them gorgeous -- this deep purple is Byzantium.

There will be a special Shalimar Amaro update this Wednesday, July 23 at 12 Noon, EST if you would like to purchase a kit.  The kit will contain a sweater's worth of custom dyed Breathless DK, and you will receive a code with your pattern confirmation that will allow you to download the pattern from Ravelry for the kit price of $4.  The Shalimar Amaro webpage is HERE, and will go live on Wednesday when the update is scheduled.

If you have yarn on hand already, the pattern alone is for sale on Ravelry for $7, and will be found in the Patterns section of my blog as well.  All the information, plus more photos and test knits are on the Amaro pattern page on Ravelry, but a few details are below:

Sizes:  30.75(33,35,37.5,39.5,41.5,43.75)(46,48.75,50.25,52.5, 54.75)” Finished bust size. 

For a fit as shown, pick the size that would give you about 3" of ease at bust.  As I said above, this style could easily be worn with more or less ease for a different silhouette.

Yardage:  1050(1100,1150,1200,1250, 300,1350)(1400,1450,1500,1550,1650,1750) yds needed.

Gauge:  5.5 stitches/7 rows per 1".  Gauge based on finished, stockinette fabric.

Needles:  US#5/3.75mm and US#4/3.5mm needles or size to get gauge.

As for a drink to go with this one,  I have been playing with different Amaros for a few months now. 
I did a blog post with some of my thoughts a little while back, and I've been playing with my bottle of Fernet ever since.

But, since it's summer, let's go with an easy Fernet and Cola.

Pour your favorite - Coke or Pepsi - over ice in a tall glass.
Add about 2-3 oz of Fernet Branca (or another amaro if you prefer).
Throw in a slice of lemon and enjoy!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

As summer gets underway, there are days when the last thing I want on my lap is an entire sweater.   But a hat?  That's just perfect for late summer knitting.

The Algonquin Hat is a simple beanie with just a touch of slouch.  The combination of texture and colors is striking, but easy to do.  It's also a little addictive. After knitting this first one, I found myself mixing colors for another, so I added a Sport Weight version to the pattern.

While knitting the second one, I played around with the detail to connect the ribbing to texture -  because slipped stitches are really fun to play with.  It's a small addition, but I love it.  Overall, this is a very simple design - all about the texture and the color.  For some relaxing, easy summer knitting.

As always, the Plucky is a dream to work with.  Both Primo and Bello are soft, with great stitch definition and the perfect amount of drape for this kind of hat.  Plus, let's be honest - this is ALL about the color mixing. And you just can't beat Plucky for gorgeous color  - look how that blue glows.   

The pattern includes directions for Sport and Worsted weight yarn, and instructions are included to modify for width or depth, should you want to alter the size or play with an entirely different weight of yarn.  The pattern is for sale in the pattern section of this blog or on Ravelry for $5.00.

As written, the hat will fit around a 20" head.

All the details are on the Ravelry page, but I've added the yardage below:

Worsted - 150 yds total (100 yds background, 50 yds accent)
shown in Bello - Flannel with a Malt Whiskey accent

Sport - 225 yds total (150 yds background, 75 yds accent)
shown in Primo Sport - Betrothed with a Narragansett accent

For a drink, I'm going with the Algonquin because it features pineapple juice, and this texture really reminds me of a pineapple.  However, the drink is actually an old school New York cocktail named for a group of writers and actors, known as the Algonquin Round Table, that used to meet at the beautiful old Algonquin hotel for lunch.


2 oz of rye whiskey
3/4 oz of dry vermouth
3/4 oz of pineapple juice

Combine ingredients with ice and shake.
Strain into a chilled "coupe" (A coupe is a smaller kind of martini or champagne glass - this drink really is just a delicate little sipping kind of thing.  But it's tasty...)

And I really do love this motif, so expect a few more projects to feature it, later on this Fall.....

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

I'll be here:

The girls are at sleepaway and Craig is off shooting television commercials of NFL players, so Melissa and I are going to Cape Cod for a couple of days before picking Zoe up at camp.  I bribed a few friends of mine (after a few drinks) to help me put the kayaks on the car at about 10 pm last night (I will recheck those carefully this morning before driving off...).    I remembered the beach chair, a book, my knitting, and even my bike helmet.   The trip was originally a romantic getaway for Craig and I, but those pesky NFL players moved the date on his trip and Melissa was available to step in and spend a few days at the beach with me.

She is going to earn her keep, since I've packed a bag full of new designs that need photos!  But there's a full cooler for when we arrive, bikes at our disposal, boats on the car (hopefully) and a little bed and breakfast with gray shingles and big hydrangeas that we'll be calling home tonight. 

So next week, expect a pattern release with some kind of summery background.  Here's hoping for a little breeze, as wearing woolies in summer can be a chore for my poor, underpaid model.

Friday, July 04, 2014

For my friends here in the US, Happy Fourth of July! Just in case you are wondering what to do with your friends tonight, here's an idea I've been playing with:  Bourbon Sangria.  I love sangrias and I love bourbon and I have an excess of peaches in the kitchen right now, so this organically became a thing around here over the last few nights.  It's easy to put together if you are with friends and want something you can whip up in a pitcher and just have ready to serve.

As I said, I happen to have peaches on hand.  But you could easily make a thousand different versions of this by substituting the fruit, herb, and citrus mix that's available in your pantry.  Depending on what you have, you can accent the bourbon with the liquor that's also on hand so that it's not too harsh.  The sweet is a nice touch - Cointreau, Cassis, Cherry, or Ginger would go with many different fruit flavors....

But here's what I've tried so far:


Fill pitcher about 1/4 full with bourbon
Add 3-4 peaches, cut into cubes. They should be a little ripe and soft -  hard ones do not work.
Add 6-8 basil leaves, and rub them between fingers to release the oils as you drop them in.
Add 4 oz of Cointreau
Add 8 shakes of lemon bitters.

Fill pitcher about 1/4 full with bourbon
Add 3-4 peaches, cut into cubes.  They should be a little ripe and soft -  hard ones do not work.
Add 6-8 mint leaves,  and rub them between your fingers to release the oils as you drop them in.
Add 8 shakes of orange bitters.
Add 4 oz of Domain de Canton (ginger)

With either, let mixture sit for a few hours, stirring occasionally. Smush the leaves with spoon when you feel like it.  We will call this a lazy form of muddling.

Just before guests arrive, add equal parts ginger ale and soda water so that pitcher is now half full.   Pour into glasses of ice and garnish each with a sprig of basil/mint and make sure everybody gets a little fruit in their glass.  (If you prefer and are drinking right away, ice can go into pitcher, but I find things get diluted.)

 Happy Fourth!