Thursday, August 10, 2017


My latest design, Boston Flip, is a hat design created in a soft, natural chunky yarn.  It features a bold motif, and is otherwise a simple knit, meant to be done twice, with the colors flipped.


These hats were designed as a gift to my daughter Maya and her best friend Olivia.  In a few weeks they will both be off to different colleges, and as a mom and a knitter there was really only one way to properly send them off.  

I of course, have tons to say and impart to the girls and can only do that by overthinking every single element of the design, right? 




I started with the yarn. Traditional. A soft wool, in gorgeous natural colors from a company that respects the farms and breeds of Yorkshire.  Baa ram ewe's Dovestone Chunky was perfect, and Maya smelled it the moment I got home from Pomfest with these skeins.  They know the role of the sheepy yarn.  It's important.

And the feel of the design?  Still traditional, but not. Strong and bold and unique. Both of these guys have always swam a little upstream, out of the current - and often right into it.  Both girls love their history and tradition and are unafraid to challenge it, think about it and decide how it should be re-interpreted for a changing world. Hence a bold, strong motif that felt traditional but was actually not pulled off an existing chart. It's perhaps Icelandic, but perhaps not.   



And in the motif are layers.  A sturdy bottom arch that maybe even looks like a house. I think this one represents the stuff we've added to each child as parents - the rules, the lessons, the patience (or not), years of arguing and teaching and living with them. Showing them what we could as they grew up - that's the foundation we've created. The second arch is still sturdy and fits right into that bottom one - that's all the stuff they've done themselves - the friends they chose, the music and the writing and the schoolwork, the adventures they had and the things they've experienced and the people they've changed and been changed by so far. 

Then, there's that top portion - the taller, open arch.  That's the future.  It  has solid walls and a roof, but there's room inside for whatever comes next, and it's held up by those bottom layers. 



So yep, I overthought everything.  But it still feels right, and even thought it's a complex backstory, it's a simple hat.  Nice thick yarn, some fun stranded colorwork and a simple crown.

Two skeins (130 yds each) will get you two S or M hats, each the reverse of the other.  If knitting two in the largest size, you may want some extra yarn. I have included notes in the pattern about how to modify for depth or width - as well as ideas on using a worsted or bulky gauge.  Here you can see I've knit the white one to be just a little slouchier than the brown version. I think it works both ways..

The pattern is available on Ravelry HERE for $6.50, and is on the patterns section of this website as well, just click PATTERNS on the bar at top.... 

The drink?



Well the "flip" part is pretty self explanatory, right?  White with brown, brown with white.

But the Boston part is because that's where these two have wandered around for the past 7 or 8 years.  Somerville, Cambridge, JP, Boston, North Shore, Arlington, Winchester, and Lexington. Parks and museums and the T and the city and the suburbs. It seemed appropriate.

A flip is s smooth, creamy drink - it's a small, sweet way to end the night, and it involves an egg. That's what adds the creaminess, so it's first shaken without ice, then ice is added before you pour.

In a shaker without ice:

2 oz maderia
2 oz bourbon
1 fresh egg (both yolk and white)
.5 simple syrup

shake without ice until frothy, add ice to shaker, shake again briefly and pour into coupe glass. Add nutmeg.


Thursday, August 03, 2017


Whoa, guys!  This summer is just flying by.  But before it's gone, I wanted to share some of my travels with you.  I was so incredibly excited to go all the way out to the Shetland Islands this June, on one of Gudrun Johsnton and MaryJane Mucklestone's wonderful Shetland Adventures.

The chance to go to the islands with Gudrun and Mary Jane would have been a bucket list item in the first place, but the chance to be there with a group of fellow industry people was seriously a once in a lifetime trip.

My travel buddy from beginning to end was fellow designer and one of my best friends, Amy Christoffers.  She's up in Vermont and I'm down in Boston, so we booked our tix online via phone call ("Three seats left on this one. OK, when I say go, click on it!") and met up at Logan Airport the day of our flight, only to find out that our tickets had been changed from Edinburgh to Glasgow.

So we rolled with that and ended up seeing an extra city on both the front and back ends.

Here's Amy on the ferry:


We arrived in Edinburgh with a day and a night to play and explore, and took full advantage.


Then we met up with everyone for a train ride to Aberdeen, where we boarded a giant Viking-themed overnight ferry to the most remote and beautiful inn I'll probably ever have the chance to stay at, Burrastow House:


That's the view from the short hike out the front door.   You wind along the water and hop that stone fence, and then shimmy past a little stream at the beach edge if it's high tide, trying to keep your feet dry.  Once you crest the hill, it's just sheep and grass and cliffs and water to explore.  This is pretty much what we did every night (photo taken after 10pm,  and yes, it's still light out!).  We only got lost once, when we cut inland - otherwise, following the water was a great way to get back.


See all the white bits on the ground?  Those are either bog cotton or little fluffs of wool that naturally snag or fall off the sheep.  See the bigger white bits in the distance?  Sheep.


They roam every grassy inch of the islands. Seriously. They Are Everywhere.


We roamed the islands in 3 little red cars.  I feel like we were everywhere too.


Some of us got souvenirs in Lerwick - at the Jameison's shop on the main street.


But shopping was not the main goal.

We visited Oliver Henry, the famous wool man of Jameison and Smith, toured the Jameison's factory, went to Uradale Farm and ate homemade blueberry cake, studied Hazel Tindall's beautiful fair isle designs, Anne Eunson's lace, and Ella Gordon's vintage sweater collection.  We sailed on a boat, and hoisted sails while dressed in giant orange outfits. We got lost a few times on the road, spent time in the Unst Lace Museum, the Shetland Textile museum, and got a peek into the textile archives in the larger Shetland Island museum in Lerwick.  We sampled local beers and whisky, and ate gorgeous 3 course meals every night.  We hiked to cliffs and puffins and hidden beaches, and collected tufts of wool in our pockets for Bristol to spin into yarn.  We looked for Orcas and never found them, even though the Facebook Orca page said they were nearby.  Some of us found and visited the town of Twat, because that's funny and we are never too old for funny.

Those photos are all on my Instagram feed, @theacolman - as there are WAY too many to put here.

When we weren't out doing All Those Things, we were here.  Around this table knitting and talking, maybe braiding some hair or having a drink, and just spending time together.  And it was really fantastic.



When it was over, we all boarded the ferry again for one more overnight adventure on the Viking boat, and some of us parted ways in Aberdeen.  The rest of us boarded the train to Edinburgh for another few days.  Amy and I spent those in a charming airbnb next to the Castle. We had a great dinner in Ysolda's hood with the remaining travelers and did a bit more exploring.

I took photos of an upcoming sweater design Amy has in a future Knitty (am I allowed to say that?) the next morning. She had been working on it for most the trip, blocked it in our little kitchen, and we decided to wander the stone alleys around the castle with coffees and the camera the morning before we left.  Pretty perfect.

Lastly, we spent one day in our surprise destination of Glasgow, sampling beers and narrowly missing Amy's life goal of going to the Remy Mackintosh house, which was closed on Mondays.  Who even  knew it was a Monday?  We did see the outside, and walked up to the door of the attached museum, but not the same. Instead, beers.  Then it was time to head home.

So many thank yous to Gudrun and Mary Jane for organizing this trip and taking us.  It was an incredible experience, and if any of you get the chance to head out there, bring your cozy clothes, some sturdy hiking shoes, your knitting needles, and a camera.  You'll love it.  

Maybe you'll even catch the orcas.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Hi guys!  I'm just back from Scotland and London and have a little something to share before I flip the laundry.   I do promise to share my photos and blog properly about the two trips, but for now my thoughts are still jumbled and the photos are not downloaded, so tune back in later for all the travel stuff.  Suffice to say that both trips were fantastic!

In the meantime, a new design - Desert Sunrise.


Rounding out the 2017 BabyCocktails Summer Collection - with Honey Vodka and Fog Cutter - Desert Sunrise is a simple pullover with some really beautiful colorwork detail.


I thought this combination of yarn and design would be the perfect thing to finish up my summer with and bridge the gap as the weather turns cool this September.  It's knit in Magpie Fiber's new Solstice yarn, a stunning mix of Domestic merino and cotton, plus silk.  The combination gives the yarn a rustic, soft and airy hand, that's round and lovely and feels great against your skin, and Dami has dyed up such a beautiful collection of colors that you won't be able to choose just one.  Which is why I ended up with colorwork!  You can see the gorgeous kits she's made up right here.  Shown below is one of them - called Too Shy.  She has a few others paired and they are all stunning!



I know I will be wearing this with a tank underneath and a pair of cutoffs  --  actually, the same tank and cutoffs that Gabriella's borrowed to wear in the pics -- when the first cool evenings begin.



Desert Sunrise is knit from the bottom up, with most the attention paid early on.  Sleeves and body are joined at the underarm, and the yoke is knit seamlessly to the top, with just a few short rows to add neckline shaping.  All the wonderful stockinette makes for some peaceful knitting, and again - this fiber is just dreamy on the needles.  

All the details are on Ravelry and the pattern is available for $7.  But since it IS July and I know a sweater may be asking a lot of you all right now, the code DesertSunrise will get you $1 off until July 22.

And yes, there is a cocktail called a Desert Sunrise --  the original is a little too sweet for me, so I've created a variation, but the cool thing about one of these is the ombre effect that you get when you add the grenadine at the end.  I thought it quite appropriate that at colorwork sweater have a colorwork cocktail....

Fill a highball glass with crushed ice.  Pour the following over ice and stir gently.

2 oz vodka
2 oz orange juice
2 oz pineapple juice
1 oz fresh lemon juice
1 dash lemon bitters

Then slowly pour a splash of grenadine syrup over the drink, top with a sliced orange or pineapple and a cherry and serve!  





  • Enjoy!!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Fog Cutter --  this one is a striking, but simple summer sweater that's just perfect for a cool day at the beach.  And it was just a bit foggy the day we decided to visit, so this design got named for an all time classic/traditional Tiki drink -- A Fog Cutter!

And I know I'm asking a lot for you guys to think about knitting in June, so the Ravelry code SummerSweater will get you $1 off the pattern until this Friday, perhaps as the little nudge that a summer knit might require? 

Or maybe photos are a better nudge --


Either way, Fog Cutter is all about this beautiful and striking panel on the front. Cables, lace, and texture combine in a motif that reminds me of little waves and tiny stones, kind of undulating back and forth.  The addition of the texture in those cables creates such a great contrast, and the edging as it hits the body is nice and sharp. (and yes, it's easier than you think it would be!)



Besides the cable panel, details such as a split hem, a ribbed yoke and distinct seams draw the eye, and then the rest of the garment is all easy reverse stockinette.  Although seamed, the lines are straight and the finishing is simple.


The sweater is knit in O-Wool's beautiful Balance yarn, a mix of organic cotton and merino that's got the perfect amount of ply and crispness for a polished but casual vibe, and it shows a pattern beautifully.  I chose the Natural as I wanted a true basic piece, but I think this would work in any of her colors - and some of them even have a little heather, which would be stunning.  (Agate, Igneous, and Jade - I'm looking at you guys....)


Gabriella is wearing my sweater with about 5" of ease and a high hip length, but this is easy to modify for depth or width and notes are included in the pattern.  I suggest about 4-5" positive ease for a fit as shown.  All the details and the PDF can be found here (don't forget your SummerSweater code this week!).

And as for a Fog Cutter?  According to tiki bars everywhere and the internet, it's really all about the glassware and accessories, so have a little fun.



1.5 oz light rum
.5 oz brandy
.5 oz gin
1 oz orange juice
3 tbs lemon juice
1.5 tsps of orgeat
1 tsp sweet sherry (amontillado works great)

Shake all ingredients except the sherry with ice in a shaker.  Strain over ice into a tall glass and then top with the sherry!  And then add your choice of umbrella, stirrer, slice of fruit, feathers or whatever's handy...


Thursday, June 01, 2017


Introducing Honey Vodka!

You all know how much I love Jill Draper's Mohonk yarn, which I used in my Edradour design.  It's light and airy and rustic and soft and I really do reach for it ALL WINTER LONG.


So when Jill texted me to say she was working on a fingering weight version of Mohonk, and would I want to play with a couple of skeins....?   Why, yes I would.  I totally jumped on the chance to design a summer accessory that I'd reach for just as much.  Something open and airy that would add just a little warmth to a summer night or cloudy day....

I like my summer knitting to be pretty easygoing, so I went with a cowl (as opposed to a shawl) for a little less knitting, a lighter garment, and more importantly - some immediate gratification.  Honey Vodka takes just one skein of Mohonk Light, and knits up in no time.


I chose a simple, bold lace motif with stockinette "ribs" that would show off the subtle texture and color shifts in the yarn.  It's one of those patterns that gets in your head easily and it makes for some soothing, satisfying porch knitting.  It's easy to modify for length or width, and I've added notes on how to do so in the pattern.

I've also made sure that if you want to alter your cowl, you don't have to worry about ending on a specific row.  Before finishing up, you switch to a smaller section of accent lace and ribbing, and can knit to your desired length as needed.  I used only one skein for my cowl, but I do think this would be a lovely 2-skein project and could wrap double around your neck or be worn nice and long.



I chose this beautiful neutral shade, which Jill called Sand.  It matches pretty much everything in my summer wardrobe of tee shirts and faded denim and feels just so effortlessly summery to me.

However, you know Jill dyed up a whole rainbow of gorgeous shades that you can choose from - check them out here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/jilldrapermakesstuff?ref=l2-shopheader-name

The pattern is up on Ravelry for $6.00 right HERE and will be on the blog as well!

I hope you guys like this one and can spend a few leisurely hours knitting away on your porch soon.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Because two patterns in one week are always better than one, right?

You may have noticed the gorgeous, colorful images popping up everywhere for Pompom Quarterly's 5th Anniversary Issue.  I've loved this magazine from the beginning - every issue has felt so bright and fresh and charming, just like the lovely people behind it.


I have been lucky enough to work with them before - I had a tunic named Olivette  in a previous issue and I've been interviewed on the Pomcast - and to be honest, I will work with Pompom again pretty much anytime, anywhere.

So when I got an email earlier this year asking if I'd be willing to design for this special issue, I was absolutely honored to say yes!!  My shawl design is only one of 16 stunning creations in this thing - which is full all kinds of projects from a group of fantastic designers, covering the spectrum from sweaters to socks and from complex to quite simple.


I was pinged to add a shawl, and decided to do a big rectangular wrap - something bold and lacy.  The final product reminded me of a Spanish Flamenco dancer, and I imagined one of those gatherings with musicians and a dancer flipping her skirt about, so I've gone with Sevilla as my celebratory drink name.



And yes, since this is supposed to be a party issue, I do have a cocktail recipe - with two versions!
I'm a fan of the frothy, so I prefer No. 2.

Sevilla No. 1 

Pour equal parts dark rum and sweet vermouth.
Add 1 twist orange peel.

Stir well with ice and strain into glass.

Sevilla No. 2

Pour equal parts dark rum and port.
Add 1 egg white.
Add a half teaspoon powdered sugar.
I also like to add a touch of lemon juice to keep this one from getting too sweet.

Shake well in jigger with ice and strain into glass.


And since these guys don't do anything halfway, stay tuned for more info on Pomfest - the big birthday celebration in London this July. It's going to be a great weekend, with yarn shop knit nights, a big party, a marketplace, and a whole lineup of crafty speakers and designers from the issue (such as myself) doing things throughout the weekend...

I'm thinking some kind of cocktail/knitting chat.  We are looking into if I'm allowed to share ;)




Wednesday, May 03, 2017


Remember when I lost myself in some Malabrigo Twist this winter?  (if not, see this post)


I had bought some beautiful yarn, found a satisfying texture, and was trying to just find my mojo again - without the pressure of being a knitwear designer.

Well, the sweater I knit did what I needed it to - it gave me some wonderful, stress-free knitting time. And when it was all finished, instead of just wearing it, you know I went straight to writing it up and turning that non-work into some professional knitting once more, so here's Oaxacan Rose. 


But I'm glad I did - because this combination of some gorgeous yarn (Malabrigo Twist, which you can find tons of -- like 22 colors of - at WEBS) and some soothing texture is something everyone needs once in a while.  And the resulting sweater is one of those garments you kind of LOVE wearing.  It's easy and soft and goes with almost anything.


I don't usually design simple basics - and for that reason alone, I often avoid vareigated yarns.  But I've got to tell you, I am in love with this Twist.  It's soft, round, gorgeous fiber and watching the colors shift on my needles was mesmerizing.  The combination of gray and lavender and gold here in Zinc made me so incredibly happy.  And, I found that a little texture and some simple details were enough to keep me totally enthralled.

Oaxacan Rose is a wear-everywhere pullover - what my friend Erin calls a "sweatshirt sweater".  A cable, some detail at the seam, and a couple of other small bits keep the knitting interesting and the final garment polished.



I hope you all like it!  More details and the test knits can be found on Ravelry here, and the sweater is also listed on the pullover page of the blog for $7.00. As always, there are notes and commentary in the PDF about how to modify this for your shape if desired, and you can find me on Ravelry if you need any advice about sizing and yarn choices or as you knit....

If you do decide to cast on, know that the KAL is still going on in my BabyCocktails group - and finishing by May 15 doesn't matter.  If you want to join in for camraderie and prizes and chatter, just add your project and your voice to the thread!!

As for the drink, it's one of my favorites -  I can't take credit.  They make it at Deep Ellum, a spot right near the Cradles to Crayons warehouse I volunteer at each Wednesday.  I don't know the exact recipe but it's a combination of mezcal, grapefruit liquor, lemon, grapefruit juice, and peychaud's bitters.  And it's fantastic.



Friday, April 07, 2017


Hey guys, I've just started a new KAL over in my Ravelry group this week.  It's from 4/3 - 5/12, as there will be prizes, special discounts, a few drinks, a bit of conversation and lots of support and encouragement from your fellow knitters while you knit any BabyCocktails project want!

My KALs are low pressure - no hard start or finish dates, and all I require is that you participate on the group chat and share your WIP photos. Prizes are announced and awarded periodically, and all projects that are linked to the pattern page with images on the thread are eligible to win.

I've just announced the first two prizes, to be awarded this weekend -- on 4/9.

The first is a skein of Ellen Mason's Doc Mason's Wool, which is sourced from her family farm! Ellen is a good friend of mine and does everything with intention and love and care and this gorgeous farm yarn is no exception.  Along with the yarn, the winner can also pick one of my hat patterns to go with the skein - and I've included some lovely notecards and one of my favorite bottle opener keychains.


The second prize was donated by Vemo, one of the lovely BabyCocktails knitters, and a lovely person who I've come to know over the years.  She is moving to a new condo and needed to destash a few of the extra skeins she'd bought for various BC projects in the past, so she's donated a couple lovelies. This one is a gorgeous deep green from Victoria over at Eden Cottage Yarns - in her lovely Oakworth DK.  I've added a notebook and one more keychain to this skein as well, and the winner can also pick a pattern to go with the skein,



And starting today, a special discount! Through 4/14.

For those of you who like a little hat knitting, the code WH-AprilKAL will get you $1 off my Whiskey Highball pattern right here, and the lovely folks at The Yarn Collective have mirrored that discount with 15% off the Bloomsbury DK I used to make this.  The Bloomsbury DK comes in a variety of gorgeous colors, and the link to purchase is right here. 



Next up, more YOTH yarn is in transit, and I have a discount on both that gorgeous Father yarn and The Vodka Collection patterns when it arrives!

So I hope you'll join in - the link to the KAL is right here....

Friday, March 24, 2017


The next shipment of yarn is ALMOST ready....

I don't know about you guys, but I'm counting down to that Father Yarn from my friends at YOTH, and I'm also so happy that they thought ahead to order more when the collection came out, because you guys did scoop up the first batch pretty quickly!

But more is just about ready, and if you are lucky enough to be going to Vogue Knitting Live in Vegas this weekend, Veronika had some mailed straight to the show, so there WILL be a limited amount of Father on hand in their booth. For the rest of us, the big shipment is coming late next week and will be up on the website by 4/5 - plus shipping out to shops that carry it at the same time.

In all the colors. Yes.

So... just another week or so!  And I've been prepping for a KAL in my BabyCocktails group on Ravelry, starting on 4/3.

The Vodka Collection thread already has a bunch of chatter in it,  and people have started thinking about yarn choices and which sweater they want to make, and what sizing mods they may have in mind, so if you've been waiting to cast on (or have recently cast on), feel free to join in.


For now though, a little commentary on the inspiration behind  With A Twist!

This one is kind of special to me, not only because I love the squishy texture and the cozy collar.

The idea for all those cables came from a kinda cool place (at least I think so) and a vintage sweater that's pretty special to me.  Below is said sweater. It's a really old, ginormous, cashmere turtleneck that used to belong to my Pop. I'm lucky enough to have a few of his sweaters, and I love them all. And even though they are HUGE (he was well over 6 feet tall and broad, and if you know me you know I'm not.) I wear them, because they are warm and cozy and because they were his,

But something about the texture on this one always sticks in my head. I have a love hate relationship with this design. I love the contrast and the slipped stitches - the motifs are really simple and beautiful -- but I hate hate hate the transitions between them. It's not a handknit, so this was something that was manufactured back in the 50s and maybe that's how the machines had to do it, but man, those transitions BUG me.  Bumpy, uneven.... distracting, right?


It's funny the things you start to see as a knitter, but it's just so very sloppy,
I see this sweater now and my head goes immediately to the ways they could have made this neater. A rib, a slipped stitch, a border element on the actual motifs?  But as I said, I love the overall idea. The big and small versions of the same stitch next to each other in vertical stripes, I do like that. 

so... 


I did it my way.  Really, that made me feel so much better! It's almost like I fixed it.

Anyways, that's a little Friday diversion, right?  

 I hope you all have a great weekend, and if you have been waiting to get any one of the  Vodka Collection sweaters on the needles, check into the Ravelry group and say hi, and maybe join in once the KAL begins on April 3!  


 me and Pop, a couple of years ago. not sweater weather that day.



Tuesday, March 14, 2017


Whiskey Highball also kind of came out of last year's Edinburgh Yarn Festival.  It's a collaborative project I've been working on with the folks at LoveKnitting, featuring  Bloomsbury DK yarn from The Yarn Collective in some gorgeous custom colors by Carol Feller.  Did I lose you with that sentence?


I met Carol last year, literally standing on the sidewalk in front of my door as I walked out of my flat to catch the bus to the Yarn Festival!  It was one of those amazing moments when you go to a big yarn gathering and you know you may see some of your design heroes, but then there they are.  And when you live in the US and travel to Scotland, and there's this face that you have been seeing on your computer for years and she's right there, it's kind of amazing. I don't think I got used to it at all.  

But Carol was warm and wonderful (in addition to all the talent) and we hit it off enough to continue emailing a bit, and when she asked if I'd be interested in working with her new colors of this yarn and launching a pattern with LoveKnitting, I absolutely said yes! 


A little about the hat though....  As soon as I saw the generous yardage in one skein, I knew it was time to design a cap with fat, satisfying cables AND a deep cuffed brim. I always want to do that, and I always run out of yardage with one skein and wish I'd bought two.

But not this time - and Whiskey Highball is exactly what I wanted - a deep, cozy hat that's actually long enough to cover everything I want it to (and in today's blizzard, it may be today's shoveling choice in a few hours.)


These bold cables pair with the slipped stitch detail nicely. In the crown shaping, when the cables narrow and cross inwards to taper off, the ribs work their way towards each other, creating lovely
curved lines that frame the tip of each cable in a delicate "star" at the top of the hat.


The Bloomsbury DK is soft and round and dyed in Carol's beautiful semi-solid shades, so the bold cables and slipped stitches were chosen to showcase both the yarn and the subtle color shifts without getting lost.  I also think that with the right color, this could be a great unisex design - depending on the colorway chosen.  You can see how the mood of the hat changes between the Moss and the Surf, both beautiful - but one deep and moody, the other bright and vibrant.

All the info for Whiskey Highball and the PDFs can be found either on LoveKnitting or on Ravelry for $5.  and you can find the yarn on LoveKnitting 

And that lovely model is my Maya.  Teenagers with good hair who like to look down make for great hat pics!  (She was quite willing as long as lunch was involved.)