Thursday, March 09, 2017

Angostura is the new design I referred to in my last post, and it's my attempt to attend the Edinburgh Yarn Festival in spirit -- if not in person, this week.

If you're lucky enough to attend, be sure to stop by the Blacker Yarns booth and squish some of their lovely Classic DK, the yarn this was designed for. While there, you might get to say hello to Sonja and see her beautiful test knit! If you are just walking around EYF, there's a chance you'll see a couple other test knits wandering the aisles of the Corn Exchange as well, but me?  I'll be here in Massachusetts.

Last year I was lucky enough to make the trip.  If was fantastic. I had many must-see people and yarns, knowing my time in the UK was limited, but after hearing about Blacker Yarns on the Pompom Podcast for months, I just had to go see them in person. I wandered into the Blacker booth more than a few times (also because it was conveniently located near the podcast lounge, snacks, and ladies rooms...) to check out their wares. I was not disappointed, as they had a huge, beautiful booth stocked with baskets and shelves of UK sourced fibers in some gorgeous colors. I bought a few skeins to play with, had a few conversations, came home, swatched a bunch of things, exchanged more emails, chose Blacker Classic DK in Dark Red, and happily played with these cables for a while..

Fast forward one year, and my sister and I have a cozy, versatile pullover to play with on a snowy day.

Angostura is a classic sweater, showcasing this intricate, eye-catching cable that I started playing around with and just loved working. Originally, this was more of a detailed Aran-inspired design, but I found these cables really shine when they are the focus of a fabric, as opposed to nestled among other textures.  I was also happy to design around some simple stockinette, which is really satisfying and beautiful in the Blacker Classic. It's got a subtle heather, a rustic hand, and a nice, even ply.  Plus it's the perfect weight for everyday wear.

Knit from the bottom up with saddle shoulder shaping, the sweater is actually pretty simple.  Sleeves are knit separately and joined at armholes, and the subtle A-line silhouette allows for ease in the body, but is a bit more fitted through the yoke. Both the construction and the amount of stockinette make for easy modifications if desired. You guys know me, so you won't be surprised that the cables are easier than they look.

I just love the fit of saddle shoulders and the clean lines that the yoke shaping creates.

But mostly, it's the way it all comes together at the back that makes me happy.

The Angostura pattern is available on Ravelry for $7.00, as well as on the purchase page of the blog here.  All the specific details, more photographs, and the test knits will be on the Ravelry page. (test knits may take a day or so to show up, so check back in a few hours!)

And for those of you who keep track of my pattern names....  you already know that bitters are one of my favorite things to add to a basic drink, and I find that Angostura bitters are a really wonderful, versatile ingredient. They don't have a instantly recognizable flavor of orange or lemon or anything, but as a herbal mix, they are more of a subtle, but noticeable way to spice up a classic drink - kind of like these cables!

Angostura bitters began (if you want the story) in the way that many cocktail ingredients did - as an herbal medical cure for soldiers suffering from stomach maladies.  In the 1820s, Dr Johann Siegert had come from Germany to Venezuela to serve as the Surgeon General for the armies of Simon Bolivar, and this was his solution to some of the discomfort the men were having. He was living in the town of Angostura (hence the name) and by the 1850s, cocktails had come into vogue and he was importing the tincture to England, the US and the Carribbean.  By the 1870s, they had a factory in Trinidad and through the 1900s, although other recipes and tinctures didn't survive the series of regulations, prohibition, wars and changes in the marketplace, this one dodged all the bullets and is one of the more recognizable staples in a bar today.

A few of my favorite ways to enjoy them:

- make a Manhattan
- add a few drops a Gin and Tonic
- just add a few shakes plain seltzer water and lemon