Friday, May 22, 2015

He sends me links like this all the time.   This was today's email, waiting for me when I came home from my run.

I cannot WAIT to make some of these!!

I think Watermelon, Mint Tequila may have to be first.

14 Boozy Popsicles to Make This Summer

Thursday, May 21, 2015

I'm so very proud to announce that I'm one of the four designers that Sundara chose to work with this year for her upcoming Petals Collection. I had been dying to work with her yarn ever since I saw a few skeins in a class I taught a while back, and now I really get the chance to do so!

The other three designers are Joji Locatelli, Veera Valimaki, and Kirsten Kapur, and I could NOT be more honored to be part of that list (or more terrified because, let's be honest - those ladies know their stuff!)

Each of the four of us is creating a design in Sundara's gorgeous Silky Cashmere base, and we got to work directly with her to create the custom colorways of our dreams.  It's been so much fun to think about color-design, as opposed to just design-design, and I could not be more excited about working with this amazing yarn, in my dream colorway, on this project, with these ladies. 

So, some details:

The Petals Collection - Cashmere Edition.
There will be four mailings, each including 2 skeins of silky cashmere yarn.  The color of the yarn will be the color developed for each designer and the pattern is included. Kirsten Kapur’s amazing design will be the first mailing in July and you can see the sneak peek of her design in the photo above.....

More details are on the Sundara website, so click here to find out more and sign up!!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Wow guys, I can't thank you enough for the amazing response to Dubonnet and the London Mitts!

I'm so very glad that you liked the patterns and are excited about the KAL.  I'm working on the next London Calling pattern right now.  In fact, I think I may have figured out what it needs to be this morning, in my favorite coffee shop, with my favorite muse's approval.   This yarn is The Uncommon Thread's Posh DK, in a colorway I spell wrong every time - Columnimbus.  It's a gorgeous gray-blue and I am having a hell of a time finding the perfect thing to use it in because I am committed to a generous dose of garter here.  I just LOVE this stuff in garter.

But I'm blathering on and I've still left you with two patterns and no drinks on a Friday afternoon.  Which is not very sporting of me, I admit.  Bad show, old girl.  (In my head, that phrase sounds vaguely British, but I'm not sure if it works when typed out without the proper accent...)

Must fix the situation.

The inspiration behind the Dubonnet sweater name was that Dubonnet and gin is Queen Elizabeth's drink of choice, which seemed very appropriate for our London and British and gin-ny theme.

It's said that the Queen  has one of these before lunch every day:

2oz Dubonnet
1oz gin  (London Dry is the recommended type)
Lemon twist/slice

Mix with ice in a shaker, and pour into a chilled glass.  Garnish with the twist or slice.

Fun fact:  Dubonnet was invented in the 1840s by Joseph Dubonnet in response to a competition in which the French Government was hoping to find a way to get French Legionnaires in North Africa to drink quinine, which fought malaria.  I have to be honest, I'm not sure I'm a fan.  Malaria is definitely worse, but I think I like my quinine in a gin and tonic a little better.  Regardless of my thoughts on the Dubonnet itself,  I am quite fond of the sweater. :)

Never fear though, we have TWO patterns.

The London Mitts were named after the very appropriately named London Cocktail, which I liked much better.  (Sorry, your Majesty...)

2 oz gin
2 dashes orange bitters
1/2 tsp simple syrup
1/2 tsp maraschino liqueur

Pour the gin, orange bitters, simple syrup and maraschino liqueur into a mixing glass half-filled with cracked ice. Stir well, and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel, and serve.  (and sorry, this is a pic I lifted from the interwebs - the lighting was bad when we made ours!)

There's no fancy story behind the London cocktail, but it's good. Now you have both drinks and patterns, and maybe you even have yarn in hand?

Enjoy your weekend!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

In about 8 weeks I get on a plane to visit Amsterdam, Belgium, England, Finland, Estonia, and Iceland and I could not be more excited!!!  I've used this trip as an excuse to branch out and work with some really lovely people over there across the pond, and you'll be hearing more about some of them soon.  For now, we'll focus on England  - because in anticipation of my visit to the UK, I have two new patterns and I'm kicking off a KAL. 

From now until July 10th, just pop into my Ravelry group and join in on the London Calling thread with any BabyCocktails pattern you may be working on, old or new.  There will be another Uncommon Thread design coming soon, some great prizes, some secret discounts and a bunch of drink recipes (actually a drink recipe contest...) Plus more details on what's happening as the KAL goes on, and the info on my BabyCocktails trunk show and cocktail party at YAK in Brighton on July 11th. 

Today, what's going on are these new patterns, designed especially for the KAL:

With the coupon code London Calling, you get 20% off both of them on Ravelry until May 29. 

Dubonnet is a cardigan designed in Eden Cottage Yarns' Oakworth DK, which I think is the perfect lightweight sweater yarn - it has a subtle rustic quality to the fiber, but this 100% NZ Polwarth Wool knits up into the loveliest soft and delicate fabric, with just the teeniest bit of sheen to it.   Victoria's color sense is amazing - she does these subtle, sophisticated pastels that I'm in love with.  And this pale green (Coppice) is no exception.

I was going for an easy vintage feel with the design - think of it as a cousin to Vodka Gimlet or Vodka Lemonade.  The sweater is a little modern, but still feminine.  It has some lovely details that keep the knitting interesting, but it's simple enough to modify as you go.  You can have a little fun with color in that pocket, and once it's done, it's an easy, flattering, versatile piece to work into your wardrobe.

The pockets may be my favorite detail.  And the lace...

All the information and links to purchase Dubonnet are located on the pattern page.  You can find Victoria's yarn at Yarn Culture in the US, or you can go to her website to pre-order skeins in any color you want.  And until 5/29, the code DUBONNET12052015 will get you free international shipping.

For those of you looking for a smaller project, I also designed these London Mitts:

I'd been dying to try The Uncommon Thread yarns for a while, as a few of my designer friends had sung its praises to me in the past.  The Lush Worsted was a perfect introduction into Ce's world of vibrant colors and perfect grays.  And at only one skein, the mitts were a gateway project to another cowl soon - and later this fall, a sweater.

I really do love having a small accessory to work on when the weather gets warm, and these are the best kind of portable knit for my lap.  The Lush looks gorgeous in stockinette, and a simple lace cable was the perfect accent for these.

The color is Ripe Plum, and it's a beautifully vareigated shade of dusty purple.  Seriously, these are a gateway drug - quick, easy and fun.  You can find Ce's yarns at retailers worldwide, or you can pre-order in the color of your dreams on her website.

More information and links to purchase the London Mitts are on here on Ravelry.

I wanted to try to provide a range of projects for the KAL, so the mitts take only one skein and the sweater is a bit more of a project.  Coming next is something in the middle.

I do have cocktail recipes for you, but I've gone on long enough for one blog post.  I'll save them for tomorrow.  Enjoy!  I hope you like these new designs. 

Saturday, May 09, 2015

So, last night was one of those gorgeous end-of days in spring when the sun was still out, the air was cooling off and everybody seemed to be out on the porch.  

I ended up on a new porch, with a some women who I didn't know well enough to whip out a camera phone on, so the photo above is not mine but it looks exactly like the drink I was offered. 

I was between soccer pickup and dropoff, and had just deposited my older daughter at a friend's house a town away, so I needed something a little less potent and easy to sip slowly, due to the remaining trips in the car with multiple kids.  My friend Aimee offered me a Campari and Soda, with the comment that I'd definitely not be tossing it back fast.  (Campari also has a lower alcohol content, so it's a good choice when you are trying to take it slow.)

She was right.  And I like bitter, so I think it's kind of perfect, but the consensus on the porch was split between fans and critics.  They all did agree that it's tart and refreshing and definitely something that warrants a sip at a time.  Plus, fun fact I found today on wikipedia - when Campari was first made in Italy in the 1860s, it was colored with carmine dye, and the red in the dye came from crushed cochineal - our favorite yarn dyeing bug!  They've changed that - but it was a surprisingly recent change, made in 2006. 

So yes, Campari has a bitter edge to it - and if you serve it with soda and lemon, it's even more pronounced.  You can make a Negroni by adding gin, or you can try to inject a little sweetness with a bit of sugar, some reisling or I've heard of trying it with a dash of Southern Comfort (not sure about that one).  I think I may do a little more experimenting.

But the classic way to have it is this:

2 oz Campari
.5 oz fresh lemon juice/orange juice
lemon peel/orange peel
 pour over ice and add soda water.

What do you think?

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

By now you all know that I'm really in this for the people, right?

And last weekend, I got to spend a glorious spring weekend in NYC with a whole bunch of them.  This time, I was surrounded by a mixed bag of crafters - this bunch of gorgeous, multi-talented artists who do everything from singing to writing to painting, to sewing and crocheting, and even a bit of leatherwork.  Plus there's the knitting, yes.

The lovely Cal Patch was teaching a sewing class over at Brooklyn General, and it was the perfect excuse for a few of us who are pretty used to talking thru the keyboards to gather for the weekend and chat in person. I can't tell you how nice it was to meet some of these ladies in real life!  Amy LouBeverly and Ellen (ok, I dkd already know Ellen in real life...) are amazing fiber artists who blog and teach as well as make, and you all know Kirsten Kapur, who sews AND designs gorgeous knitting patterns as Through the Loops.  She just released her beautiful shawl book featuring photos of her charming daughter Sophie, who also came out for a night with her mom's friends.

We're at a whiskey distillery in the group photo, way out in Red Hook, doing a bit of happy hour tasting.  Up my alley.  But there was also fabric shopping and city wandering and dinner and bad TV and beers in a tent under the Brooklyn Bridge and the discussion of many things related to the business of making. 

While they took their sewing class, I had an entire Saturday to wander around Manhattan in the sunshine.  I'm a huge NYC fan and I'm not often there with no plan or company, so that was a complete gift.  Every angle, every building, and every corner downtown or in Brooklyn is a potential photo shoot.  These steps....

But I was without anything to shoot. 

Instead, I had a surprise visit with Laura Nelkin - who was passing thru and met me uptown at the NY Public Library. (btw, if you've never wandered around IN the public library, I absolutely recommend it.  Gorgeous building, lots of history, and some great exhibits in there....)

We did a bit of button and book shopping in the garment district... and we found a copy of Laura's book (Knockout Knits) in the Japanese bookstore near Times Square.  Always fun to see that! :)  Then we realized it was beer thirty and managed to fit a drink in.  They were beautiful little blackberry vodka things, and we totally forgot to take photos.  Which means that we were having fun instead.

I'm home again in Boston, turning my attention back to the next pattern releases and my summer trip, but after a weekend surrounded by such inspiring and creative women who not only knit, but bead and sew and write and paint and teach, I'm feeling like I could branch out a bit, too.

There could be a sewing machine in my future....