Friday, October 23, 2015

Introducing my Stillhouse Vest.

I kind of  love this cable.  And I really kind of love Brooklyn Tweed's new yarn, Quarry.  So you can imagine how happy I was to have the chance to play with both before the yarn was even out in the world! 

I was working on the design in a different yarn originally, and I was happy.  Until I met my friend Bristol at the beach and she was working on something in Quarry, which I hadn't seen before.  I went home and looked at my project and decided an email was in order.  And the folks at BT were nice enough to let me buy a secret, ahead-of-time SQ.  

It had to wait until Quarry was released, and then I had Rhinebeck in the works, so the project was rush-rush and then wait-wait to publish.  But I'm home and organized (kind of) and ready to go now.
I wanted to balance the bulky yarn with a flattering silhouette, so the vest is short and the bold lines are vertical.  The shape is simple, and I think that it looks kind of perfect with skinny jeans and the sleeves and tails of a blouse underneath -
I had a little fun with the cable lines.

And the seam.

It's a quick, easy project and a great excuse to get your hands on some brand new yarn!

All the details are on Ravelry.  The PDF is available for $7.00, either there or in the pattern section of this blog.  Due to the fact that this one happened before the yarn was out in the world, I only have a couple of test knits this time, so be sure to post yours when you finish up ;) 
One was knit in Quarry, which Glenna bought the day it went live so she could finish in time - the other was done by Tanis of Tanis Fiber Arts, in her Gray Label Chunky - and it's a very different look than the tweedy one I had in mind, but I kind of love it.   Both are up on Ravelry (or will be shortly), so take a look!

The name of this pattern comes from the  Van Brunt Stillhouse - a distillery I visited when I was in Brooklyn last spring.  The location and vibe of the place, plus the fact that they made some amazing spirits - in an old warehouse in a historic section of Brooklyn?  It seems pretty perfect for a Brooklyn Tweed project. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

As always, it was about spending time with good friends - meeting a few for the first time in person (Joji!), catching up with the ones that I don't get to see often, and getting a whole weekend in a house with my semi-local New England friends, away from family and other distractions.  I loved meeting all of you who took the time to say hi --  and it's always a thrill to see my sweaters and hats and cowls walking around the Fair or on display - thank you to everyone who brought something of mine to the Festival -- you have no idea how happy it makes me to see you in your knits!

The weather was perfect for wool and hot cider, and the Hudson Valley was gorgeous.   I doctored things up for a few of you, and the bourbon-Cointreau-orange bitters concoction was a tasty addition.

Erin wore Bonnie's Dobbs Ferry and kind of effortlessly pulled together the perfect combo to wear with it. The hat and purple bag, plus her hair with these greens.... 

Laura generously shared her Halloween-themed Canadian Coffin Crisps with a smile -- and maybe a new ring on that finger....

Jill Draper was WAY too busy at Saturday's Open Studio for any photos, but I caught her on Sunday in the Soak booth for a quick pic.  I had a great time  meeting you guys at the event and was able to help more than a few knitters pick out Rockwell combos for their Dobbs Ferries before heading back across the bridge. 

And I had a few moments to peruse the rest of Jill's yarns and have started to plan something new, in perhaps ..... Windham this time.

More people pics are on Instagram, but I'm thinking I should share some of what came home with me, right?.  (there is more...)

Julie Asselin delivered a SQ of her new Nurtured yarn to me in person, and I cannot WAIT to get going on this.  I am telling myself I have to write the 2 sweaters I am currently working on first.  But then....

I've been wanting to try Brooke's Sincere Sheep yarn for a while - and this raspberry cormo was beautiful.  Amy Christoffers had shown me an upcoming Berroco shawl design in a similar color, and I think I was channeling my desire for that piece when I pulled this off the hook.  I may need to make Amy's as well - keep your eye out for it, because it's going to be a stunner. 

As always, Barbara's Foxfire yarn is gorgeous - I thought I was done for the day when I found myself in her booth.  But this is a silk and cormo blend that I could not leave there.

Lastly, a bit more Cormo from my favorite ladies at Foxhill Farm. I see a future shawl out of these lovelies.  You have no idea how happy I was to arrive on Saturday morning and see a crowd and a long line in the booth when I got there.  Alice ran out of yarn for Buck's Hat before Saturday was out and had a great show, thanks to all your enthusiasm for her fiber!  I am getting a list of the other events they will be at this year and promise to share the schedule as soon as I can.  I know they plan on going to the MA Sheep and Wool festival in early November, and the Wayland Farmer's Market in MA in February.  I'll get the dates and details soon.

I also have some new O-Wool - which I pretty much traded with Jocelyn for the original Paloma sample.  She looked so great in it that I couldn't bear to bring it home, and I'll have a whole new O-wool project for myself in a few months, so I think we both won. But a photo of my new yarn will have to wait - the light is tough on blues and greens today.

Also not photographed are a few skeins from the Neighborhood Fiber Company, but it's a dark day and I can't capture those colors properly - but they are worth capturing, so you'll have to wait to see them.  I think all of these may end up in some kind of  Festival-themed accessory project as the year goes on, but we'll see...

Anyways,  it's definitely time to get back to work and (snif) put this year's festival behind me.  If you went, I hope you had a great weekend too!!

Friday, October 09, 2015

I'm thinking I'll never be able to get enough of either.  You already know about my Beekman Tavern sweater, which I did for Ysolda's Rhinebeck Book a couple of years ago.  It was designed in a yarn that's perhaps one of my favorite yarns ever.  First, because it's gorgeous and squishy and simply wonderful to work with. 

But just as importantly, I love everything about Foxhill Farm Cormo because of Alice and Sue, who run the farm and create the yarn and sit in the booth when you come and see them at one of the many Fiber Festivals they travel to every year.

These guys are about the farm and the yarn -- which is made with love and commitment and time and effort.  They'll tell you sheep names and talk about the different fleeces in the flock, and how they cover their sheep (I always imagine little plaid jackets..) to protect the fiber throughout the year.  But you won't find them online and you won't see them at TNNA, and they don't have a distribution system to get their product into shops across the country.  And to me, that's the heart and soul of the Fiber Festival.  It's what makes it different than the rest of the yarny world.  It's the place to celebrate the tradition and work behind our yarns, to find things we can't get other places and to see what people still make and bring to market themselves -- as opposed to the other - oh so convenient and internet-y side of the business that we spend the rest of our lives involved in.

But I'll use a little technology to spread the word about the farm.

I decided to focus on hats - because single skein projects are the perfect way to sample something new.  And my goal with this project was to give you a reason to try this yarn if you're off to Rhinebeck next week - or any other festival later on.... 

I had one leftover skein of worsted from Beekman - so I got a skein of Aran and one of  Bulky and decided I'd design a project in each for a pre-Rhinebeck release.  Then, no matter what weight you fall in love with, you can grab a skein and knit it up.  

Above is Buck's Hat in Aran, and below is Daisy's Hat in Worsted.  Buck's Hat is named for Buck, who gives his darker fleece to create the silvery gray in the Aran wool.  Daisy's Hat was knit from my remaining skein of  the worsted, and I imagine Daisy to be a classic white sheep about half  Buck's size.  I could be wrong, but I get to say whatever I want when I name my projects.

To make this a bit more fun, I got my friend Ellen Mason involved -- because she does wonderful things and loves traditional farm yarn.  Also because I was visiting her for the weekend and had the yarn in my bag and once she started squeezing the bulky, it really just became hers.

Check out the design she created below -- the adorable Polka Knot Hat.

All three designs are available on Ravelry for $4 each.
Buck's Hat
Daisy's Hat
Polka Knot Hat
More details and photos are on each of the pattern pages.

I have a drink called a Daisy and Buck that I'll post later - because I want to share it with a friend tonight, and right now I still have a few hours of seaming ahead of me.


So if you're at Rhinebeck next weekend - or any other Fiber Festival this year, keep your eyes out for Alice and Sue and Foxhill Farm.  Get yourself a skein or two (in any weight!).  I promise you won't be sorry - but I can't guarantee you won't want a sweater's worth next year... 

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Thank you for such a great response to the Dobbs Ferry Rhinebeck Sweater! Both Jill and I are so happy that you liked the design and have been scooping up the Rockwell - there will be lots more at Rhinebeck, don't worry - and if Jill's shop looks a bit bare right now, know that a few of her retailers also carry Rockwell, plus a bunch was headed to Hidden River, in Philly last week and should arrive on the shelves any moment.  There's a thread in my Ravelry group with lots of color discussion and we'll be doing a KAL in November for this sweater.

Anyways, the post had gotten a little long so the other day so I'd figured I would do a separate one for the drink - especially since it's a got a short story. 

I have this great vintage cocktail book that's full of weird tales and stories behind the drinks -  it's called the Esquire Drink Book.  It's edited by Frederic Birmingham and was published in 1956.  I found it on ebay (the best place to shop for old stuff) and it's one of my favorite things, ever. 

It's full of weird bits of 1950s wisdom, phrases, and illustrations - some vaguely inappropriate and sexist, which makes them even better - plus little stories like this one behind the drinks.... 

(I'm copying verbatim from the book below -)

The Dobbs:

"In the village of Dobbs Ferry, New York - not far from where the very first cocktail in all history (that's another story - involving a rooster, a barmaid and some colonists) was served, Dick Cavellero runs a spot - Dick's Cabin - which draws people from the whole countryside for drinks and dinner, to the despair of country club managers and gaudier places.  But Dick has a special after dinner drink of his one and one with a story. 

First the story:  Seems some local satrap was afflicted by hiccups, and had them for 5 days.  He was, in fact dangerously ill.  He had put his head in a paper bag, drunk a glass of water upside down, been said BOO to, and had interviewed a platoon of psychiatrists and doctors.  But he was still all hics and cups.  DC had the answer - in a glass.   Tres simple and very delicious. Pour white crème de menthe over crushed ice in a broad flange cocktail glass until near full (by capillary action).  Then, flirt across the ice several dashes of Fernet Blanca.

You guessed it. Cured his hiccups, probably because his host chilled the glass and the drink so acutely (and so astutely) that it partially anesthetized his throat and forced him to sip slowly"

:)  I chose the drink mainly because it was a local NY town - and that goes really well with Jill's commitment to local farms, but it's a bonus to be able to use my book! 


For those of you going to Rhinebeck, you know Jill is having an Open Studio on Saturday night in Kingston, right? You can touch all the yarns and play with color combos, and I'll bet there to weigh in with all kinds of unsolicited advice.   Details are here.

And I have one more surprise for Rhinebeck up my sleeve - something in Fox Hill Farm's gorgeous Cormos....  Details on these soon!