Thursday, October 13, 2016


OH WAIT - I keep forgetting to tell all of you that I'm signing books, patterns, bottles or whatever else you bring me - and just saying hi if you stop by - over in the book area for PomPom on Saturday.  My time is 2-4pm.  Come say hello!!

Now onto the blog post -----------------------------------------

Thanks for all the sweater love on Stone Fence! I'm so glad that you guys like it, and I will be sure to fill you in on where to find Empire after the Fair if you can't make it over to Rhinebeck this weekend for Jill Draper's Open Studio.

But you know I needed to do a few more designs, right?  One sweater wasn't going to be enough, and I love working with those creamy white and heathery gray, beautiful, sheepy skeins so very much!


The past few years, I've been lucky enough to work with FoxHill Farm's Cormo, which is just stunning. But this year I had a couple of other skeins in mind to mix things up and maybe direct you to yet another fabulous farm or two.... (You should still be stopping in and getting a few skeins of that FoxHill Cormo by the way. You can knit up a Buck's Hat or a Daisy's Hat or a Polka Knot Hat -- or maybe a Beekman Tavern?)  Or you can just sniff it and give it a squeeze and say hi to Alice.



But for those of you looking for something new to pet, my next design is a hat called Boilermaker.

I met Amy and Scott of Ross Farm Heritage Breeds this summer - they work from a historic barn in PA, and travel all around looking to add rare and specific sheep breeds to their flock. It's all about saving these breeds and continuing to make these fibers available to us, and each skein has the name of the sheep whose fleece was used right on the label.  The varied range of heathered grays was stunning and when I sat in that booth, I just could not decide.  So I got two.  And I used them together.



Hence the name.  A Boilermaker is when you decide to have both a shot of whiskey AND a beer, and this hat is for when you decide to have both the light and the dark gray.   All the details are on the Ravelry page, here.



My second new design is Brandy Alexander, a cowl in Catskill Farm's Saxon Merino. Dominique and Eugene own a farm pretty close to Rhinebeck and they raise Saxon Merino sheep, imported from Australia.  This yarn is so beautiful that I touched it and wanted it around my neck immediately. Dominique also hand dyes her yarn in gorgeous shades, but this creamy white was just perfect.  You can often find Catskill Merino yarn at the popular Union Square Farmer's Market in NYC on a sunny weekend, btw.   More details on this design can be found here.

The name Brandy Alexander is a nod to the creamy white, incredibly cozy and decadent yarn.  A Brandy Alexander contains brandy, creme de menthe and steamed milk.

3/4 oz brandy
3/4 oz creme de menthe
4 oz steamed milk
Pour ingredients in a heated mug and top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

Right?

In the hopes that you may come and check one of these farms out,  I've created a Ravelry code.  Until Tuesday 10/18, the code "farms" will get you 20% off either of these.   If you can't make it to Rhinebeck, maybe there's a farm near you or a farmer's market that sells local wool that you might just fall in love with....   

Because many farm yarns and unique and individual, I've added notes about how to modify both for either slight differences in gauge or to work for a different gauge all together.  There is much more leeway when working the cowl, but there are still ways to tweak the hat design!

Enjoy and Happy Happy Rhinebeck weekend! xo


Tuesday, October 11, 2016


Introducing Stone Fence, worked in Jill Draper's Empire yarn, for this year's Sheep & Wool Festival.



I'd always wanted to play with one of Jill's giant Empire yarn babies!!  You've seen the photos online, right?  Those giant, gorgeous, rustic skeins of Rambouillet that she dyes up into hundreds of shades of happiness?  Last spring she sent me a truly stunning skein in this deep green, tinged with a bit of gray, I saw it and immdediately knew it was bound to be my Rhinebeck sweater this year.




Rhinebeck always means cozy, classic sweaters to me, so this is a spin on a traditional Fisherman sweater design. With that type of sweater in mind, I wanted a to use simple textures and bold motifs that would really highlight both the shades of color Jill has created here and the cozy, round fiber of the Rambouillet wool that the Empire is made from. It allows those bits of texture and the highs and lows of the dye really stand out without competing with the lines of the design.  Plus, with easy lace and 2/2 cables, the knitting is easy and quick on #9 needles. Super satisfying!

  


Test knits, more photos and all the details are here on Ravelry, and the PDF pattern is available for $7 as well on the Ravelry page. It will be on the blog soon as well. It's easy to modify the pattern for length or width and notes are included in the file on doing so.

Jill has tons of Empire all ready for her Open House on Saturday of Rhinebeck weekend.  Not only has she dyed up a rainbow of giant yarnbabies, but she's got a whole bunch of small 213 yd skeins for those of you who want to purchase sweater quantites in smaller skeins.

I'll keep you up to date with what inventory remains after the weekend and will be available either in Jill's shop or in yarn stores that carry JDMS yarns. Right now, she's concentrating on the Open House, so there's not much in the shop today - but there will be again soon!



And lastly, you may be wondering two things --

First, is Stone Fence actually a cocktail name or did I cop out here?  I know it doesn't sound like one but, yes it is!

In Colonial times, travelers wandering the New England countryside would stop in pubs and taverns for a pick me up and  rest and an hour or so near the fire and this was a popular thing to order.  A Stone Fence is combines two popular Colonial beverages that we still love today - hard cider and whiskey or rum.  I thought this was the perfect combination for a Rhinebeck cocktail!  Plus I loved the nod to the history of the region and the fact that the cables lining the lace panels kind of serve as "stone fences" in the sweater.

My take on this is below:

4 oz of hard cider
1.5 oz of bourbon/rum or rye
dash of lemon or orange (or really almost any) bitters

Second, that model may look a little familiar as she also modeled the Grayhound Shawl a while back. She's my good friend Gabriella, who is beautiful and also about my size.  My sister got married this weekend and she's been just a bit too busy to do any modeling in the past couple of weeks. You will see Melissa again soon, but you may also see Gabriella again because she's also a pretty good time.