Wednesday, November 29, 2017

These After Midnight Mitts are more pattern in my colorways with WEBS and Manos del Uruguay.  It's been fun to think about what kind of pattern showcases each yarn the best with these, and I am pretty happy with my choice for Smoky.

The lines of this motif highlight the deep grays so beautifully, and they make for a wonderfully squishy fabric, which is kind of perfect and satisfying on your hands on a cold morning...

I also like how the lines of the pattern allow me to play at the ribbings

And around the thumb.

The mitts are a super quick knit - and the pattern itself is extremely simple, just knits and purls!  I've included notes on how to modify these for both length or width. 

A few test knits, and all the rest of the info is on the Ravelry page, where the PDF is available for $6.50.  It's also on the "hands" section of the blog here.

And an After Midnight IS a cocktail --

1 oz bourbon
.5 oz amaretto
.5 oz creme de cacao

Shake those 3 ingredients with ice and strain into a short glass with 1 oz of cream in it.  Stir.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Just reknit in a pale gray - and re-released with my new layout, cleaner commentary, and updated measurements!  From now until Friday night, the code More Mango will get you $2 off the pattern!  And if you already purchased this on Ravelry and hadn't gotten around to making one, the new version will come from Ravelry and can be added your library.

I loved this sweater on Maya.  The yarn, the texture, and the simple cable.  And I'd always wanted one of my own. But mine would be big and slouchy and the palest of grays.

But you know, it's a time thing...  And a yarn thing, because I'm now in the habit of only buying what I'm going to design with, and why design a different bulky sweater because I really wanted THIS one?  No changes - same texture, same details.  Hence, the wait.  If it isn't a new design, it doesn't often get on the needles. That's one of the hard things about designing for a living, as opposed to doing it just for fun.  The fun knits get pushed down the pipeline.

But not always, apparently! Sometimes you can justify them. 

I had this conversation about old patterns I was updating and the few of them that I wanted to make again with the lovely Ella over at  LoveKnitting, and we got to talking about my dream bulky sweater.  And about a week later two beautiful 478-yard skeins of Cascade Ecological Wool showed up in my mailbox in the perfect pale-as-a-whisper heathered gray (#8017, if you are wondering), so I figured it was time.   

The Ecological Wool was exactly what I had in mind - it's light and lofty to wear and has the exact heather I wanted, plus it's this pale, pale natural gray that almost looks cream in some light.  I still love the bright orange version,  knit in WEBS Valley Yarn Berkshire Bulky, but that was Maya's dream sweater - big and bright and bold.  My fantasy sweater is a little earthy, natural and lighter feeling.

Unfortunately, it also fits my daughter Zoe - who is almost exactly my size.....

So, if you're so inclined, the pattern is all ready and waiting on Ravelry.  And there's that discount if you don't already own it -  plus both WEBS and LoveKnitting have both yarns in stock!

The Berkshire Bulky at WEBS is here

The Cascade Ecological Wool at Love Knitting is here

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A few things I found on the internet, while looking to see what I wanted to make for my table this year.  I'm always the host, and my crowd varies from about 18-26 people, depending on who's in  town each year and how many of their parents are here.  It's a mixed group of family and friends, often with my friends' family joining in so there are always new faces, and I kind of love starting off with a big bowl or pot of something to share...

If you're celebrating this weekend, have a great Holiday and enjoy! 

Here are a few links I found this year that sounded especially good:

Pear Sangria  (I'm leaning towards this one this year...)

Bourbon Spiked Hot Apple Cider (and I think this one would be good hot or cold)

Champagne Punch with Ginger, Lemon and Sage 
(I'd suggest leaving the ice ring out and putting cubes on the side so that things don't get all watered down)

Friday, November 17, 2017

Rusty Nail was a sweater I cast on to calm my nerves last Spring, as I watched things in the US start to tilt out of whack.  I didn't have the concentration for complex lace or cables, and I needed some soft, soothing yarn in a stockinette-heavy design for a change so that I could think while knitting.

I purposely went to a Gather Here, a local yarn shop owned by a fantastic activist woman I know and respect and I purposely chose yarn from the Fibre Company/Kelbourne Woolens to support other strong, successful women in our industry that I believe in.

Instead of doing a hat for charity this time, I'm donating $1 of each purchase of Rusty Nail from now until 2018 to Emily's List, a fantastic organization that's working hard to get progressive women all over the US to run for office. 

When I sat down to knit this, the soft merino-masham-mohair fiber and the lovely simple stitches were exactly what I needed to focus on.  It was cozy and satisfying and had just enough detail that I could work on it without messing up if my mind wandered. (Which by the way, makes this the perfect knit to work on over holiday travels....)

Although Rusty Nail IS simple to knit, it does have a few design elements to keep you engaged -- it's an open cardigan with subtle A-line shaping, and short rows dip the body down to create a longer back than front.

Once arms are joined to body, the yoke shaping is worked seamlessly to the top.  It includes a subtle saddle shoulder at the very end, which creates a lovely line for seaming the down the collar ends, and makes for a better fit. 

And in the upper yoke and end of your knitting, the two cables that run up each front are shaped down to meet around the back neck in two points for a lovely, unexpected join.  I wear my hair up a  lot, so this makes me happy. Rusty Nail is exactly the kind of sweater I love to knit - simple and classic, with just a little tweak that makes it special.

Because it is so simple, modifications are easy.  Notes are included in the pattern for adjusting the length or width of your sweater, and I also added instructions for making long sleeves instead of 3/4.
If you prefer to omit the short row shaping, that's also easy - and if you'd rather work your cable panels to meet without tapering into a point, you can do that too!  Plus, there are photos and instructions in the pattern for finishing so you can get the same lovely lines!

All the details, the test knits and the PDF pattern can be found on Ravelry for $7. 

As for a Rusty Nail cocktail, it was the color of the yarn that made me choose this cocktail - a half/half split of Scotch and Drambuie. You pour the Scotch first and float the Drambuie on top - in an old fashioned glass over ice.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Two different patterns, Rum Daisy and Hot the Top have been at the center of my desk this past week or so!   They do look pretty good together, don't they?

Rum Daisy is an old favorite of mine - I designed this in Jill Draper's Esopus yarn a few years back and have worn it tons since. However, Esopus is no longer available.  But you know what is?  MOHONK LIGHT!  And I really, really love Mohonk - so we decided to revisit the pattern and see how it looked if reknit in a new yarn, and I'm kind of in love.  I've been slowly updating some of my older patterns into my new format, so it seemed the perfect time to give Rum Daisy a little overhaul. New pics, new yarn, new format.  Right?

I even bought 2 skeins of this to knit myself one when I have time...  (The blue shawl belongs to Jill and Mindy, who knit it and is the lovely model up above!).  To coincide with the relaunch of the pattern in the new yarn, Jill just updated her ETSY shop with almost 30 new colors of the Mohonk Light and they are all stunning.  But this orangey-red really spoke to me.... 

And just in case any of you would like to do the same, the pattern has a discount code until 11/17 - RUMD2 will get you $2 off!  

Now, the second pattern up there - Hot The Top - is named in honor of my Grandma Edie.   Some of you that follow me on IG and may know that she just passed away this October.  She was a wonderful woman and a fantastic Grandma - and nothing made her happier than entertaining people in her kitchen.

If you'd ever sat around her table and had a cup of coffee or tea, she'd eventually get up and go to the stove and come back with the kettle, offering to "hot the top" of your cup.  I was knitting this during her funeral weekend, and when my stepfather reminded me of this story, I knew that had to be the name of the cowl.

She also loved doing things for others - and as a knitter, I know we are entering GIFT KNITTING season.  Hot the Top is the perfect gift knitting pattern.  It's fast and simple, easy to customize for depth or width, and super versatile for almost anyone to wear.

The pattern was designed to showcase Julie Asselin's gorgeous Nurtured yarn - so the bold lace allows the rustic quality of the yarn, and the subtle shifts in color to really shine.  It's lacy and rustic and not too delicate.  Mostly, it's big and cozy. And because it was designed for a yarn with some vareigation in color and a rustic hand, you can sub almost anything you have at  home if you want!

BUT if you want to try Julie's beautiful yarn, the code 10off will get you 10% off in her Etsy shop - link -

All the details are on Ravelry for both Rum Daisy and Hot the Top, and they are also for sale on the Neck section of the blog.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

So, there's a project we've been working on in the background for a few months now and if you get the WEBS Catalog, you may already know about it.

Steve and Kathy asked me last spring if I'd be interested in designing a BabyCocktails-inspired collection of colors in their Valley Yarns Superwash DK, which is a gorgeous merino yarn, hand dyed by the women of Manos del Uruguay.  I'm a huge fan of Manos, a women's cooperative that's done so much good for their community in Uruguay, and I do love Steve and Kathy of WEBS, so this sounded like fun.

We came up with 6 colors - Shaken, With A Cherry, Herbal, Bittersweet, Smoky and Citrus.  (I'll let you guess which is which in the photo above).   And as the winter/spring goes on, I'll be releasing patterns that feature the yarn, trying to hit each and every color!  You can only find the yarn at WEBS (here's a link to the page)

The first of these patterns are these two hats! 

Perfectly timed if you are about to begin your holiday knitting...

Deauville is a lace beanie, featuring a dense herringbone motif.  I wanted something bold but feminine, with lace, strong lines, and a soft color. 

It's an easy knit, but the lace is so pronounced that it almost reads as textural, and in this lovely pale blue, I think it's a modern take on a fitted, 70s style beanie. 

The brim plays off the lace lines to create Vs along the transition from ribbing to body, and the hat crown kind of swirls around as it decreases.

Cadiz features stranded colorwork in an intricate pattern that reminds me of stained glass.

It's easy to follow once established, and I just love how the borders of the medallion shape work when used for the crown shaping.

I have always wanted to pair deep red and pale blue in colorwork, and definitely had this design in mind when I was picking my WEBS colors....

Both hats can be found on my Ravelry page and will be in the patterns section of the website here. 

The yarn, as mentioned before, is exclusive to WEBS, and can be found here. 

Enjoy!  And there will be more coming as the year goes on.....