Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Or maybe just  new to me, but I hadn't heard of aged gin until a few weeks ago when a friend forwarded me an email.  And then another friend forwarded me an article.  And then Craig forwarded me the same article (everybody is so helpful around here).  So I figured I'd better get some.

I had to order a bottle and wait a week because my closest shops didn't have any, but I'm telling you it was worth it. 

It's gin, but better - deeper and smoother and just - better.  I'm not even sure how to properly explain how, but it just IS.  I literally opened the bottle when I got it and smelled it and had to have a sip right out of the bottle, right there in the shop.  Which is maybe not so classy, but everybody was OK with it and I did ask first if it was legal and alright to do so.  The guys were so OK with it that they each had a taste (in actual glasses because I'm the probably the only one allowed to drink out of my own bottle).  

And then the one guy who orders their stuff went straight back to the computer to get more in. 


I picked this brand out of the 5 that my shop could get because it seemed like the simplest marriage of gin and barrel.  Distillers are playing with all sorts of flavors and woods, so if you go searching for a bottle near you, read the label and description or any reviews carefully - some are going to be more floral or vanilla or have added spice in them.  This one does not.  It's coriander and lemon and orange and juniper - all things I like in my regular gin.

I've only begun playing with it - so far, a dash of orange or lemon bitters, paired with a slice of same is kind of perfect.   It also makes a really good martini.  And last night, it made an amazing gin and tonic - with rhubarb bitters, and lemon.

I'm told to try a Negroni next.  If you guys have other suggestions, tell me in the comments!

Also, I do kind of love the deep pumpkin/amber color of this stuff in the bottle, so I'll be on the lookout for some perfectly shaded Aged Gin sweater this fall...   I think this one may deserve a pattern down the road,  maybe something Grandpa Cardigan-y?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Nina, who made an English Rose, poured it into a beautiful little glass and decorated it with an actual rose. Going above and beyond always gets a nod, right?

It's rained all day and night over here, and the snow is quickly disappearing, so there will be more spring drinks in our futures, and opportunities for virtual cheers.

Happy Friday!!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

It's the second day in a row here where the temps are above freezing, the sun is out, and no new snow is falling onto the existing piles covering my grass, so I'm going to call it.  This is Spring.

It's been a long stretch if you live anywhere up in New England, but I've got to be honest and say that last month was a lot easier on me than it was on my non-knitting friends, because while they sat bored and trapped in their homes, the extra few weeks were a little gift to me - of guilt-free bonus knitting time.  Which I have used wisely. 


All that snow also became a bit of an excuse to do some online shopping too, so I'm prepping for Fall already.  I've got a sweater's worth of 13 Mile from Tolt, another in O-Wool Classic Worsted, and this little pile of lovelies -  including Julie Asselin, Jill Draper, Nice&Knit and a new obsession of mine, Lakes Yarn and Fiber

I'm getting my spring cocktails in order - I have already stocked up on the basics and I've been told about a new thing called Aged Gin - yes, gin aged in a wooden barrel - which I have on special order at my local liquor store.  There is spring cardigan in testing and a shawl on the needles -- plus, you already know I have used the time to set up some summer travel.

And now that the sun is out, I can finally venture out and move around. 

Knitting is a sedentary sport, my friends - and my winter activities are not in line with my summer expectations.  I do have this crazy exercise bike setup in the basement where I can knit and exercise at the same time, but the idea of knitting down there and staring at the water system/ boiler setup in the cold unheated basement pales against the option of leather sofa, fireplace and TV every time.

Anyways, my shawl project awaits and I plan to walk down to the lake to work on it.  I hope you are  enjoying the change of season as well - make yourself a gin and tonic (or your favorite springy drink) to celebrate tonight!

If you do so, post it on Instagram with the hashtag #babycocktails and I'll send somebody a free PDF of their choice.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Has anybody noticed a bit of a British tone to a few of my projects and Instagrams this year? 

Continuing the theme, there's a BabyCocktails feature and interview on the LoveKnitting blog today - they chose me as their Indie Designer of the Week, and we had a little chat.

You can read the interview here if you are so inclined.

Stay tuned for more on a few designs in the works using some gorgeous UK yarns, plus information on a shop visit to YAK in Brighton this July!!

Friday, March 13, 2015

I really am a sucker for cables.  And when they're knit in a nice, round worsted like this beautiful Equus from Shalimar Yarns,  I just can't stop.  So my new Cognac hat pattern contains two designs, based on the same cable.   Because I just loved the mix of texture and flow on this one.

This version has a nice deep brim and a fitted cap shape:

The other features a little slouch and a pom:

And since this was a special design for Shalimarch,  the Ravelry code "Shalimarch2015" will get you $1 off the pattern price on Rav until the 31st!

All the other information and the test knits can be seen on the pattern page, here.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Thanks so much for the amazing response to my last accessory patterns!  I had so much fun with Tiki and Hudson Bay and if you'll just humor me with one more, I'll have cables for you in a day or two.

Knit in Shalimar Yarns Equus for Shalimarch.

And then I move onto lightweight cardigans and shawls for a bit.....

Monday, March 09, 2015

It was only a matter of time before I did a Tiki Collection, right?

I'm a little surprised that it took me almost 5 years to get around to it, but The BabyCocktails Tiki Collection went live last Thursday.  I've designed  a series of accessories, using beautiful yarns in vibrant colors and paired them with motifs featuring bold textures and lines.  It's my knitterly translation of the dense, gorgeous patterns and foliage I think of when I visualize anything Polynesian.

The person to thank for the actual collection is Courtney over at Kelbourne Woolens, and the yarn that deserves the credit is Canopy Worsted, in a beautiful tropical blue called Tanager.   Last summer, at the Squam Marketplace I was completely distracted by the skeins of Canopy in the Kelbourne Woolens booth.  I remembered how much I loved working with Canopy when I designed Drambuie a few years back and I had to have some more.  It has a gorgeous drape and great stitch definition and it's soooo soft that as soon as you pick up a skein, you're pretty much in.  So, I was looking at some of the darker colors and thinking cables, but this perfect pale blue kept catching my eye.

My problem was that I couldn't think of a drink for it.  (Yes, that is the kind of decisions that guides my yarn buying habits)  But Courtney was oh-so-helpful and immediately said Scorpion Bowl.  And at that very minute, I knew I had an excuse to get any gorgeous color I wanted.  Because Tiki Drinks can be any color you want.  I also knew I had an excuse to go on Ebay and get awesome tiki mugs, which didn't make all the pics, but you'll see them in a few.

I used a variety of yarns this time - choosing only those that came in gorgeous colors - Green Mt Spinnery MewesicBerroco Ultra Alpaca, Skeinny Dipping Journey Worsted, Julie Asselin Leiszu DK and Plucky Knitter Snug Worsted.   And at one skein of each for most of the designs (the cowl can take 1, 2, or 3 depending on the size you choose) you can use these projects as an excuse to try a new yarn or get a great color you may not want an entire sweater in.  

The Collection is for sale as an e-book for $16 - and your download includes a sheet of all 6 drink recipes in addition to the PDFs - or you can purchase any of the patterns individually for $5.   All of the information and the test knits are up on Ravelry.

I figure this is the perfect way to see the end of this ridiculous winter out.  I may still need a hat, but it's going to be bright and happy and colorful, right? 

And by next month, I hope I'm wearing it with a jean jacket instead of my parka.