Friday, October 31, 2014

As promised,  a couple of cocktails for Halloween!

The first is a Pisco Punch - which is the drink  that my new hat pattern is named after.   As most of you know, I do try to tie the cocktail to the project in some way, shape or form - so this time, I decided to work the San Francisco angle.  Since my trip to San Francisco was my perfect excuse to contact Verb in the first place, and both the shop and the yarn used were based in the Bay Area, it makes perfect sense to tie the whole thing back to the city!  So I looked through my books and  Googled "historic San Francisco cocktails" and found this one.

And the story behind the Pisco Punch?  It's a cocktail originally made by a Scot named Duncan Nicol, who introduced it in the 1890s when he was bartender at the Bank Exchange Bar in downtown, bustling Old San Francisco.  Plus - fun fact - the bar was located in the Montgomery Block, which was the only building left standing downtown after the 1906 earthquake and fire.  The TransAmerica Pyramid is there now, as the building was demolished in 1959. 

Duncan never told a soul the actual recipe, so people have been trying to recreate it ever since his death in the 1920s.   What they do know is that it involved pineapple gum syrup, pisco, citrus, and water.  After reading a whole bunch of versions, I'm leaving out the water.  I find no purpose for it besides diluting the good stuff.  And pineapple gum syrup is hard to find, so a bit of pineapple juice, plus a dash of simple syrup seems to do the trick. 

Pisco Punch

2 oz pisco
2 oz pineapple juice
.5 oz simple syrup
1 oz lemon juice

In a cocktail shaker, combine all ingredients and shake.   Pour into shallow champagne or martini glass to serve.  


And one more -- this is something fun and seasonal that we've been making around here:

Cider-Ginger-Bourbon Cocktail

4 oz fresh apple cider
4 oz ginger ale
2 oz bourbon
1 oz lemon fresh lemon juice
slice lemon/slice apple
crushed ice.

Pour all ingredients over crushed ice in short glass.  Garnish with lemon and apple on rim of glass.

This one goes down kind of easy - so watch it.  

That's it for now - Happy Halloween!!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

I went to Rhinebeck, came home, left for a weekend back in New Jersey, came home, and am now on my way back out to San Francisco!  It's turning out to be a nomadic few months over here.

So it makes total sense that my next pattern is tied to said travels, yes?

Pisco Punch is a fun and easy textured hat, designed specifically for A Verb For Keeping Warm's gorgeous Pioneer yarn.  The 100% organic wool is great stuff, dyed in-house and locally sourced.  My skein band lists the farmer, the farm, the year of the flock, and the year it was milled.  Amazing.

Balancing late Fall timing with the fact that I had one skein in stash, I went for a pre-holiday hat design.  Something easy and quick enough to use as a gift or wear yourself as the weather turns...

The organic wool is gorgeous itself, but when you use it in a texture that has both positive and negative spaces, it just works.  It's round and rustic and soft and almost pops in this motif.  I swatched and was in love.  The hat features a double ribbed brim that plays off the texture a bit more, and a simple gathered purl crown for a third layer.  All of the motifs are simple, so it's perfect TV knitting.

The design can be easily modified for depth or width if desired, and instructions are in the pattern if you want to do so.  All the details are on Ravelry - where you can purchase the PDF for $4.00.  

If you don't know about AVKW,  it's one of the most inspirational shops out there. I'm pinching myself that I get to do an event there...   Kristine has her toe in a few crafts - so she carries carry fiber, yarn, and fabrics dyed into gorgeous shades of everything right there in their own studio, with natural ingredients. They even have their own educational dye garden.  In addition, they also carry tons of other great yarns, fabrics and materials - including Plucky!

So, yeah - when I realized we were off to San Francisco, and I realized that my sister's house is about a mile away from AVKW, I sent an email to see if maybe there couldn't be some kind of a visit.  And there can!  I went for something casual and easy since it's supposed to be a vacation trip, but I was not going to pass up the chance to stop in and say hello!   Details are below if any of you are local --  I'll be there with a bunch of my designs, Kristine just updated the supply of Pioneer,  and Sarah has sent over a new box of Plucky to have available as well --- sounds like a great couple of hours to me!

I owe you a story and a recipe for Pisco Punch, the cocktail - and I have a special Halloween drink, but this will get waaaayyyy toooo long - so I'll be back tomorrow with a new post on those -- stay tuned!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Coming back from Rhinebeck is always a bit of a let down - but it helps if you have another trip to look forward to!   I've started packing for San Francisco in two weeks, and I'm finding some long lost knits (Hello Irish Coffee) to accompany me.  I have already sent a box of other things over to A Verb For Keeping Warm so they'll have plenty of my samples on hand when I visit on Thurs, Nov 6.  Am hoping to see a few of you there!   In addition to the trunk show, there's also a small pattern in the works for the occasion, but that one will remain a bit of surprise for now....

In the meantime I put off a small, annoying procedure for when I knew I had about 14 days of downtime.  I spent most of yesterday on the sofa here, surrounded by Plucky and Eden Cottage and TV, while Zoe made me muffins.  (not bad, right?)

And when the painkillers wore off, I knew just what to do.   That's bourbon, Calvados and lemon.  It totally cures what ails you.   And the yarn helps too, at least I think so....

While I'm still off my feet, Melissa and I are going to take a short trip down to see my grandparents (It involves a lot more sitting, so perfect timing, right?)  I've packed flip flops, more Tylenol, the bourbon and Calvados, plus the Plucky and my Eden Cottage Yarn.  If that runs out, there's also some Jill Draper in the bag -- I'm extra prepared.

Because Melissa's driving - so that's feet on the dashboard and 5 hours of knitting - each way.  I could run out.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Having just returned from my 6th Rhinebeck, I can't manage to do much this morning but go through the photos!  I always come back from the festival a little overwhelmed and a lot inspired, and entirely grateful to ALL of you who make me look good with your beautiful sweaters and support my designs and allow me to do this thing that I get to call a job.  And you know it doesn't feel like a job at all, especially on a gorgeous fall day - being with old friends, saying hello to new ones, touching the yarn, drinking the cider, seeing your sweaters.....  To everybody that I got to meet and to those of you who I only saw across the Fair, thank you so much. You have no idea the joy and surprise it gives me to see a peek of one of my cables or a familiar collar across the field.  I wish I had a photo of every one of you to add here!  XO 

For many of us design-folk, Rhinebeck is also a time to connect with the industry people who we don't get to see in our usual travels (from kitchen to living room and back).  A few stolen moments with one of my all time favorite yarn people - Sarah Dimond, who you may just know as Plucky - was an absolute treat.  The added bonus of Hayley back there made it even better.

A chance to connect with a few of my new favorite yarn people was also amazing.  I managed to finish my Ommegang tunic in Bare Naked Wool's Stone Soup DK and it was worn on Sunday (phew!).  So, with sweater as an excuse, I got to MEET the amazing Ann Hanson and chat about doing more projects in her gorgeous fibers.  Thanks to Bristol Ivy and a few cups of coffee, photos were taken - so I can share a pic with those of you who didn't make it to NY.

In other New Favorite Yarn People news, I am chugging along on my collaboration with the charming Jill Draper of JillDraper Makes Stuff, and I managed to squeeze my way into that busy booth to pick some colors of her beautiful Rockwell yarn for a sweater design I've sketched up.   Gorgeous combo, yes??  I can't wait to get going on it!

Buttons are always bought - and I picked up more of my favorite stitch markers from Jennie the Potter  - you need these, you do.  Poor Jennie was so hoarse by Sunday that she could barely speak.  One hard working potter, she is.   This year's mugs were a hit - as always.   But I am dying over the little silver pendants she added to the repetoire this season.   I am wearing one right now - but since I am unshowered and in pjs, no photo yet.  

These pretty tweeds from Harrisville and Green Mt. Spinnery will become hats.  Just look at the colors in them - I envision cables in blue and lace in purple. 

And Jocelyn's showstopping O-Wool Legacy yarn will be a shawl. I also love Jocelyn, but if you've made Paloma or Margarita, you already knew that.  Great yarn, great colors, great company.

All of the above plus three nights in a charming farmhouse with 6 of my friends and an adorable baby? I'm good.  And maybe a little tired.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

I'm working my way down my second Rhinebeck sweater for this year's festival.  Because I'm crazy, I started it a little more than a week ago, and I've decided it's going to be tunic length.  

So I can't really chat. 

For those of you who are wondering -- the yarn is from Knitspot/Anne Hanson's new line of  BareNakedWool - it's the Stone Soup DK, and it's gorgeous stuff.  The Knitspot folks will be in Kingston on Sunday this year for their Rhinebeck Afterparty so my plan is to be there, with this guy on.  

I have a bit of knitting to do.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Bridget from California who loves knitting hats and mittens and small shawls.

(bbatting on ravelry)

I sent  you a PM so we can get your winnings off to you :)

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

First, the little news since you guys will forget all about it once you start thinking contest! For those of you who wanted to purchase the hats from One Scotch, One Bourbon, and One Beer separately, they are now available as individual PDFs on Ravelry.  

The bigger news is that I have a pattern in  Tanis Gray's new collection from Interweave - 3 Skeins or Less, Fresh Knitted Accessories!   I don't get to do a lot of traditional publishing, so it's a huge thrill to have been asked, and so much fun to open the pages of an actual book and see my name on a page!  Along with other amazing names like Kirsten Kapur, Ann Weaver, Susan B. Anderson and Tanis herself....

My Mixed Berries Hat, below, is one of 26 patterns in the book - which features projects that you can knit with those 1-3 stray skeins you have in stash (or that you can buy yarn for without breaking the bank!)  The collection is a great mix of techniques, yarns, and projects - so you are bound to find something you'll want to make - or have been dying to try - or have yarn for already.

Mixed Berries was a fun knit.  For this design, I used Manos Silk Blend yarn and paired it with a stranded colorwork motif that lends itself beautifully to a little textured detail around the ribbing.  Quick and easy.  Plus, I love playing with the colors...

Picking only 5 shots from the collection for this post was hard to do, but below is a small sampling of the projects in the book.  Clockwise from the top are Fania Goberstein's Twigs BoleroMarjan Hammink's A Case of Lace Socks, Margaux Hufnagel's Spraying Waves Cowl, Susanna IC's Carmilla Shawl, and Ann Weaver's Annular Mitts.   There are many more -  including moe cowls, shawls, mitts, hats, a shrug, and a tank top.

As for the contest, I have a bit of a yarn purchasing problem, so while I was playing with color ideas for the hat, I may have bought a few combinations of the Manos....  So now I have these three skeins, PLUS a copy of the book to give away.

In the comments on this post, tell me what your favorite small project is to knit and you'll be entered to win the yarn and book below.   I'll pick a name from the comments on Friday Oct 3 - and be sure to include your email or Rav name, because if I can't find you - I won't go looking.   Good luck!