Monday, December 11, 2017


The weather was just too beautiful this weekend NOT to give Craig his first Hanukkah present a few days early - and go for a hike in it - and make him model the thing.  That's the problem with getting handknits around here, you don't just get the present, you have to do a little work for it as well.

This is Laphroaig, the exact scarf he'd been hinting at.


But he was happy to play in the snow, and I think he does like his new scarf.  See?  Seriously, this is my favorite photo ever right now. This is how everyone should look when we give them something we've knit.  That's some wooly joy right there.


He doesn't ask for much in the hand knit department, but when he does I find I'm a little powerless to say no.  He's always been incredibly supportive of this crazy job I've chosen, and even when the strange or social elements of it have him raise an eyebrow --- you HAVE to go to Scotland with your friends?? - he's never once questioned me or not pitched in to make something happen. 


So yes, when he said he wanted a classic scarf that he could wear to work or to play on the weekend, and it should be exactly this size and it should be soft and warm and just a little rustic as well, I ignored all the other deadlines and cast on.

4 skeins of SHELTER later, this really took no time and was a totally enjoyable break from the cables I also have on the needles!

Of course I wrote it up.  And it's on Ravelry here.  Since it was such a quick knit, and a relatively easy pattern to write as well, I've priced it at only $5 for the PDF.


And I may have made Craig another gift as well, but there's 8 days of Hanukkah.  I'll post that one later this week...

Thursday, December 07, 2017


Introducing Earl Grey Martini


This was totally inspired by the beautiful, intricate shawls I saw this summer in Scotland.  Knit out of delicate, teeny tiny yarn in crazy detail, the traditional shawls of the Shetland Islands are stunning confectionary creations.  But when knit in gray and brown heather, they also manage to feel a little rustic, which I just loved.


(Image from the archives, Shetland Museum Lerwick)

But I know myself.  I'm never putting teeny tiny yarn on my needles, and I don't have the patience to work a thousand lace rows on both the WS and RS of a piece.  And I also love the garter lines of the hap shawls, and figured I'd try to combine some strong garter lines with some delicate lace lines and see what happened.


(Image from The Shetland Trader, Gudrun Johnston)

I was going for a shawl that would be all of these things (because why not, right?)  Rustic, delicate and simple at the same time, knit in a gorgeous wool that was big enough that I'd stay interested.  I chose Ramble by Kettle Yarns, in a deep gray with just a hint of green to it.  Ramble is a fingering yarn. So, yeah - it's close to lace but not exactly. It's a little heftier and can be knit on #6s, which is a bit more approachable for someone like me...

I took some time, swatched a lot, sketched things and finally ended up here, with Earl Grey Martini: 


A little lace - feminine, but still geometric enough to follow easily and bold enough to be distinct, combined with lots of garter stitch, which is short rowed for a deep V at center.  I love the strong lines and the delicate edging, and this combination offered just enough complexity to keep me involved, but not overwhelmed.


The sizing is long and the shawl is deep enough at center, but not huge. I wanted something that could be worn indoors or under a jacket, in addition to being a cozy piece. And yes, I've included notes on adjusting for either length or depth in the PDF.

And I am in love with this Ramble yarn from Kettle Yarn Co, which combines Romney with Shetland wool in a lovely, round, heathered fingering yarn.  It knit up beautifully and the texture of both the garter and the lace is distinct and rustic.

All the information and more photos are up on Ravelry and the PDF is available for $7.00 either there or on the blog, in the patterns section.

As for an Earl Grey Martini,  I found this to be the best one -  although I leave off the sugar rim.
Scroll down, as she's chatty - but the recipe is simple and tasty, and I love the froth the egg whites add!

http://www.oliviascuisine.com/earl-grey-martini/