Tuesday, October 16, 2018

So, last year I found myself in the Sawkill Yarn booth, smelling all her fantastic soaps and I couldn't help but grab a couple skeins of her gorgeous dark gray yarn. . It's a mix of a number of fleeces, and it's the stuff rustic yarn dreams are made of.

This year, it's my sweater,  Widow's Kiss (I'm going with a spooky Halloween name this year!)

Since it's heathery and sheepy and rustic, it needed some bold cables.


These cables don't get lost in yarn.  And they are much easier than they look - with hidden 2x2 rib in there on more than a few rows.

I kept things pretty simple with this design, allowing the texture to be the focus.  Sleeves are stockinette and the rib detail is subtle.  A purled section under each arm allows you to modify easily if desired. 

And the neckline just organically comes out of the cable panel.

The fit is loose and short, but easy to alter.  Test knits will start popping up in the next few days and you can see! 

In the meantime, I'll be packing this to wear Saturday at Rhinebeck and hoping for cool weather!  Sunday I've got my Fernet Branca - and both days I'll have a flask.

If you are looking to say hello, I will be signing my Field Guide in the author area on Saturday between 11-11:30am - or just find me on the fairgrounds...

If you're wondering why a Widow's Kiss is, I figured the deep color and drama of this, coupled with pre - Halloween timing means we can have a spooky drink name. 

Widow's Kiss 

1 oz apple brandy or calvados
.5 oz benedictine
.25 oz dry vermouth
.25 yellow chartreuse
1 dash of peychauds bitters

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a coupe. Garnish with 1-2 dark cherries on a toothpick.
I found it was a little sweet, so added a shot of lemon juice as well!  Enjoy!! :)

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

I wanted to do a little something fun as we head into Rhinebeck this year and I'm looking back at ALL the knits I'd designed for this in the past, noticing that a few of them have a theme.

There's a lot of Jill Draper in there. For me, her yarn and her business really do epitomize the idea of New York Farm yarn. She's sourcing, spinning, and dyeing right there in the valley, and she makes such an effort to support ALL the farms in the area.

And as of this year, she's been doing it for 10 years!

Time to celebrate a little.

So from now until Oct 31, the Ravelry code JDMS10 will get you 20% off any of my previously self published Jill Draper designs. 

If you won't be at the fair, she has a fantastic new website chock full of yarn right now, plus some great stockists out in the world, including Tolt Yarn and Wool, A Verb For Keeping Warm, and Brooklyn General Store.  If you will be at the Fair, I'll see  you at the Open House!

And since you may buy yarn at the fair and THEN wonder what to do with it, the code is good till Oct 31.  She'll restock once more after she gets back.

And then I'll be working on my NEXT design in JDMS....

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The first leaves are changing around here and I'm dying to start wearing the sweaters piled up on my chair in the office already, so it's high time to launch the first of them, Fernet Branca.

Ever since Fog Cutter, back in June of 2017, this has been a go-to sweater shape for me.  I just love the flattering, wearable fit of a drop shoulder pullover.  And now that my good friend Ellen has taken pity on my non-sewing self and has made me a few samples of her own Odacier sewing patterns out of fabric that I purchased (Oh jeez, it is SO much fun to buy fabric!) to go with my sweaters, the shirt tails you'll see peeking out from beneath my sweaters are officially my favorite way to style my pullovers. 

Fernet Branca features a simple bold texture on both front and back, bookended by cables along the sides.  I worked the back panel just a little differently than I did the front, adding a central spine and changing the cables just a little as well, to keep things interesting. 

I then designed the sweater with reversible neckline shaping, allowing you to choose which side you want to be the front or back, depending on your mood.  Collar edging is minimal, so as not to take away from the other textures going on.

My favorite detail might be the sides though.  Those ribs and cables really come together beautifully.

And the shoulders. 

But mostly the yarn!! Fernet Branca was my excuse to finally play with Green Mountain Spinnery's Weekend Wool.  I'd been circling it for a while, taking my time with the color choice and what sweater it wanted to be.  Once I swatched this shade (Pine Warbler) in this texture and cable though, I was done.  (Although I may not be. Expect me to have this stuff on my needles again someday...)

Green Mountain Spinnery wanted to give you a little extra incentive to try the yarn yourself, so the code Fernet will get you 15% off your purchase of Weekend Wool on the Green Mountain Spinnery Website....  

Test knits will be popping up on Ravelry in the next day or so, and more information and details is on the pattern page.  The pattern is available as a PDF for $7.00 both there and on the Pullovers section of the blog.

As for Fernet Branca, the drink?  If you have not given this amaro a try, you should!  It's herbal and  bitter and bright, with a little depth - and it adds a subtle "something" to almost any cocktail, but it's kind of an acquired taste, so be warned. After a few tries, you could be hooked.

I like to throw an ounce into a Gin and Tonic in summer, and add it to my bourbon drinks in winter.  It goes really well with anything orange, lots of people love it in cola, and it's a beautiful bottle to boot! Below are a few suggestions if you are in the mood to give it a try:



Enjoy :)

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Did you see this yet?  I'm beyond excited to announce that I've finally done a thing in print! 

If you aren't familar with Mason Dixon Knitting's Field Guides, they are fun little booklets, each created around a theme.  For this one, I was asked to design a few fun, quick, and addictive holiday knits, plus a cocktail!  (of course) Each of the patterns are sized so you can knit them for any of your family members, and the color options are pretty endless.  Kay and Ann make it easy for you, and have both yarn and book available in their shop. 

I was able to pair each of my designs with a yarn that I love, and I chose fibers from small companies run by women that I admire, such as Jill Draper - her gorgeous Windham yarn was the inspiration behind the first pattern here, the Appleseed Mitts.  I just love how Jill does color - her subtle shifts in saturation are spot on, and these were designed to showcase that.  Stockinette, paired with a simple twisted purl cable, and a little detail at the wrist. 

 I couldn't keep it totally simple - there's a little detail in that cable, and in the way it creates the rib.

The Slip Stitch Cap features bold color pairing because that's what Karida Collin's Neighborhood Fibers yarns are all about.  Her Studio Chunky is a thick, satisfying yarn to work with, and this textured cap is quick and squishy and super fun to work. I think this one is the most addictive of the bunch, and my not-small pile of color combo swatches can attest to that!  

Because more color pairing is always needed, I added another hat to the mix.  This time in Shalimar Yarn's Enzo Aran.  Kristi's yarns come in these beautiful sophisticated shades that I just love, and with a little stranded colorwork, they kind of work for anyone in your family.  Plus, long stretches of stockinette with only a few rounds of color mean they fly off the needles too...

And last, but not at all least is THIS COWL.  The Chalice cowl was designed for my dear friend Julie Asselin's new single ply bulky yarn, Douillet. It's soft and gorgeous and bulky, so lots of squishy garter goes into this cowl, which can be knit to a variety of lengths.  But the fun part is the reversible, bold cable (because cowls tend to flip and you need both sides to be pretty!).  Not only is the cable fun to work, but I placed it diagonally on the fabric, which adds this lovely scoop to the edge and makes it just a little more interesting to work. 

Anyways, that's just a little taste of what's in the book - there's definitely more fun in there, paired with Kay and Ann's wit and wisdom.  Additional photos and some test knits are out on Ravelry if you'd like to see what a few of these look like on people or in other colors!

I'm just so excited about the whole thing :))

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

So, let's begin the Fall with something quick and satisfying before I begin rolling out the sweaters! I always love squishy, deep cabled hats with cozy folded brims, but I never wanted to design one that would have made you purchase two skeins.

Then.... along came Susan B Anderson and her Barrett Wool Home, which is just what I'd been waiting for!  The generous yardage in Barrett Wool's skeins is enough to do EXACTLY what I've been wanting to do, and it's such gorgeous, round, satisfying yarn that I was be completely hooked.

Wild Dandelion is just what I had in mind.  Round, fat cables in alternating columns are placed around the hat.  These are squishy and dense and gorgeous, with a dense cable cross separating each round section.  I placed them in alternating rows, so the round section of one cable sits in the curve of the other, adding to the allover cabled feel of the hat.  They aren't difficult at all to work, and of course I found them a little bit addictive...

Crown shaping is designed to add to the squishiness of the hat - each cable is ended in a twist, and then the purls remaining are aggressively shaped away as you hit the center.

 All the details are on Ravelry, and Wild Dandelion is available THERE for $6.50  or in the Head section of the blog here.  Barrett Wool can be found HERE, and Susan will be putting together some charming kits in just a few days...

As for a drink, there really IS a Wild Dandelion! I was given a sweet cocktail guide called Forager's Cocktails as a gift a little while back, and this just seemed kind of perfect for this hat.

.25 oz ginger syrup (or Domaine de Canton)
.2 oz reposado tequila
1 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
2 dandelion greens

Muddle greens and ginger liquor/syrup in shaker first.  Then add ice, tequila, and orange juice.  Shake for about 20-30 seconds and pour into a short glass with more ice cubes. Garnish with orange wheel and one more long dandelion green.


Friday, August 24, 2018

As many of you know, I've been dipping my toe back into some old favorites and giving them a little spa day. 

And Chocolate Stout, one of my most-worn and favorite cardigans is the latest one up!

As with the others, if you already bought Chocolate Stout via Ravelry, you will get an email to download the new version for free.  If you didn't, the code MORE STOUT will get you 50% off the pattern until 8/31/18.

This has always been one of my favorites. Easily memorized allover cables, a comfy fit, generous ribbing, POCKETS, and some cool detail under the arms make for a super fun knit - and it's such a wardrobe staple all winter. 

You'll notice that in addition to a new layout and a few additional stitch counts, text edits and a revised cable chart (with written instructions) - Chocolate Stout really needed some beautiful new photos.

Thank you Misa ;)

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Hi Everyone! 

Wow, it's been a little stretch between pattern releases around here. You know the drill. Distracted. Hot. Summer. Travels. Family.  But that's all about to change as we move into Fall, isn't it??

For now, I'll just start the season with a great transitional piece, Herbsaint! A loose, slouchy tee that can easily go from cool summer nights (oh, how I am waiting for a cool summer ANYTHING) to the crisp days of Fall...

It's named Herbsaint, after the Absinthe-like liqueur created in New Orleans in the 1930s.  The delicate nature of the cables, plus the soft green color both seemed to work well with the name, and I kind of love how it sounds... 

Herbsaint, the sweater, features delicate and unexpected cables, paired with simple ribs and  combined with side-to-side construction.  The overall silhouette is easy and relaxed, and the sweater also features short sleeves and an open neckline. 

Shoulder shaping at the top - and some optional shaping at the lower back - play around with the ribs a little.

I had fun with the construction, working the top half of the sweater in two panels - each worked from sleeve to sleeve.  Once the upper panels were completed and seamed together, I picked up stitches around the bottom edge and worked the stockinette portion of the sweater downwards, in the round. This makes modifying for length super easy, but altering the top for width or depth is also simple and instructions are included in the PDF, as always.

Herbsaint is knit in baa ram ewe's new Winterburn DK, which adds the perfect heather, a touch of sheen, and a lovely drape to the fabric.  I love how this pops in the cables, and gives the whole sweater a crisp, but delicate feel.  It's a gorgeous yarn, and super satisfying on the needles.

From now until Aug 31, if you purchase Winterburn DK in the baa ram ewe shop, you can use the code HERBSAINT to get 10% off 4 skeins or more, so it's a great time to try it out .  Just sayin'.  

ALL the information, plus more photos and test knits, can be found on the Ravelry page.   The PDF can be purchased there or on the Pullovers section of the blog!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Remember the Oban hat?  I released this before the holidays, along with Glenfidditch. Both of these were fun, satisfying knits that got a lot of wear over the winter, but there was something special about this Oban combination of yarn and cable, and I really, really wanted to continue knitting with it.

FYI, the Oban & Glenfidditch discount code GIFTHATS is still valid! 
Buy both of them together and get $3.00 off. 

So, knowing I needed to continue with this idea, I contacted Anne Hanson over at Bare Naked Wools and got myself a bit more of her beautiful Confection Worsted, a gorgeous, round yarn made of 100% Corriedale Wool. Soon, I was playing with these cables again, and it was exactly what I wanted!

Before long, The Oban Sweater was finished.  I've been wearing it all winter while writing and test knitting and it may be my favorite sweater ever.

Simple shaping and restrained details really allow the cables to shine.  It's a drop sleeve pullover, with honeycomb cables and ribs as accent.  The honeycomb accented the cables beautifully and the ribs allow for easy modifications to width, plus they make seaming a breeze.

A bold hem balances the delicate neckline out nicely.

And voila.  It's a fun knit and a great wardrobe staple. I've worn mine so much that it has a small coffee spill on it and many of you who've seen me over the winter already know it well.

But don't take my word for it. There are a ton of test knits! (Give them a day or so to get their projects posted)  You can see a variety of yarn substitutes and sizes on the pattern page, and one tester made a beautifully fitted version.  The knits and all the details are on Ravelry, and the pattern can be bought either there or on the Sweater page of the blog here for $7.00.

And if you are so inclined, enjoy a glass of Oban while you're knitting!  Once you've memorized the cables, a drink shouldn't be a problem at all.....

Monday, May 21, 2018

This is WATER, the latest in a series of designs I’ve put out that uses my needles and my voice to try and fix what I can out in the world.
ALL the proceeds from Water  will go to Flint Michigan, where they are on year 4 without clean water, due to lead in the pipes and the inaction of the authorities to fix the problem.
There’s a fantastic 11 year old little girl there named Mari Copeny, who also goes by the name LittleMissFlint. She’s done more as an activist in the past 4 years than most of us will do in a lifetime. Google her and you'll be amazed. She's adorable and focused and tireless, and with the support of her family she is making a difference.

Mari has made speeches, met with politicians, has social media presence, and uses her voice and rising profile to raise awareness and funds for the people in Flint. She’s raised money for water bottles as well as things that make life for the kids in her community (where 60% live in poverty) better - backpacks and movie tickets and books.
As the media circus in the US intensifies, I want Mari and the people fo Flint to know that their town isn’t forgotten, and do what we can. I want to keep encouraging this kid to fight and speak and I want to show her it's working.  Even if the problem isn't fixed, her efforts are working and we hear her, right? 
So all my proceeds are going to this Go Fund Me that raises $$ for bottles and backpacks. In addition, North Light Fibers is donating my design fee, and my lovely tech editor Sandy has asked me to donate her tech editing fee.
The hat itself is my favorite kind of design - some fun cables.  These combine open cables and twists, and feature a bit of texture, which really pops in the gorgeous teal of the yarn.   The yarn is Atlantic Worsted, from North Light Fibers, and this color is Teal Inlet.    The crown of the hat is worked with a combination of decreases and cables that makes a striking pattern that reminds me of large drops of water, an added bonus to the theme of things here...   The yarn is a soft and round Merino from the Falkland Islands, and one skein is all you need. 
All the information is on the Ravelry page, and the PDF is $7.00 there or on the "head" section of the patterns page here on the blog. 
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE THESE IMAGES AND THE STORY on your social media, with your friends, or at your knitting shop. I’m not trying to make any cash myself off this one - but the more you spread the word, the more we help this kid help her community. xo

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Cynar came to be because I kept walking into the North Light Fibers booth at yarn festivals and conventions and could not stop playing with the skeins of Water Street Cashmere DK.  A colorwork hat would justify not one, but two skeins, so....

If you're wondering what to do for Father's day - perhaps the guy in your life needs a simple and luxurious hat?  And there's plenty of time to knit one up - it's super satisfying in this yarn, and totally portable (plus easy to hide!)

Designed also to coincide with the North Light Fiber annual retreat, at which I will be teaching this weekend with my buddy Bristol Ivy,  Cynar is a simple colorwork hat that allows the beauty of the yarn to shine.

I wanted to pair one of the tweedy shades with a solid, and these two together made me so happy, as the rich shade of the Charcoal really allows the hidden flecks in the Santolina to show up. 

A bold colorwork pattern from Andrea Rangel's Alterknits was modified a little to work on the hat, and the medallions on the crown make a lovely design.  It's a quick knit, easily followed and easily modified if you want a shallower or deeper cap. 

And Craig is now hooked on cashmere. 

The pattern is available on both Ravelry and in the Head section of the blog!

And Cynar is a fantastic addition to either a Manhattan or throw a little into a glass of Coke, with ice and lemon.....

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Introducing Armagnac -- with a discount code.  The Ravelry code "springcocktails" will get you $1 off the pattern until 5/12 - and once Jill Draper re-opens and restocks after MDSW on 5/8, the same code will get you free shipping from her Etsy Shop! 

I bought two skeins of Jill Draper's Mohonk Light in this gorgeous minty green on a whim this winter, and as soon as I touched them, I knew they were not going to sit in stash long.  In fact, I went back online about a week later and bought two more skeins in this deep rust color, which I figured was going to match everything I own.

I was right. 

I was in the midst of numerous deadlines and other projects, and this became my relaxation knit.  Something to work on mindlessly without the stress of having to finish, or the parameters of a publication.  The design itself became a simple, soothing knit as I worked on it just to make myself happy for a change - no voices, no guidelines, no deadlines in my head.

Three lace columns, a lot of garter stitch.  Easy to keep track of.  And no sizing to worry about. 

Once I finished, I was super happy.  This is my perfect shawl size, my perfect amount of detail, and the perfect weight.  For the last few cold and dreary months, this thing has NOT left my neck!

I ended up sending the second skeins to my friend Sandy, who knit the green sample for me, and it's even more beautiful in the mint!  Both of these will be at Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this weekend, in Jill Draper's booth - since the yarn I fell for is her Mohonk Light. It's a fingering weight cormo, it's light and lofty, just a tiny bit rustic, and soft as can be. 

She has tons of it dyed up and ready to go at the festival, and will be restocking her Etsy shop for online sales on 5/8 when she's back home.  So if you are lucky enough to be in MD, stop by and squish everything - and if not, check back in on Tuesday -  and don't forget that discount code...

All the details and the PDF can be found on the Ravelry page or the "neck" section of the blog.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Introducing Ouzo.  I designed this for a Magpie Fibers trunk show this weekend - if you are in the Portland ME area, come say hello at KnitWit on Saturday, 4/21 between 1-3. I'll be there with my new sweater and some friends - designers Bristol Ivy and Beatrice Perron, plus Dami of Magpie Fibers. We will be there with a load of her gorgeous yarns, including Solstice which is what I used here -  it's fantastic yarn, light and lofty and just a little bit rustic.  Listed as a DK, but knits up beautifully at worsted weight, on #7 needles for a nice, quick knit.

But back to the sweater -

Dami asked if I'd like to be part of the trunk show and do a design and I absolutely said yes! I love this yarn, having already designed Desert Sunrise with it about a year ago.

I knew exactly what I wanted.  Because I wanted to own this outfit.  Really - including the clogs (you can see those on the Rav page) and the jeans and the tank top.  It's going to be my go-to summer outfit for porch drinks once the snow stops falling.

I'd been seeing these long, (it's a little longer on me - I'm shorter than my friend Gabriella by a few inches...) flattering summer cardigans in magazines and Pinterest lately and had an idea in my head that I really needed one.  With a little lace. Textured, gorgeous lace.

And some pockets. 

And the bottom of the cardigan would have a lot of ease so that when I wanted to wrap the fronts around me, I could.  But not so much ease that it wouldn't also just be lovely worn open and slouchy.

All the details for this one are on the Ravelry page - and it's available for $7.00 either there or on the blog under Cardigans. 

As for a cocktail?  I hadn't had much Ouzo before this week, but I may have a new favorite cocktail to go with my new favorite sweater.

1 oz vodka
1 oz ouzo
1 packet of sour mix (I like the BarTenders Friend)
2 oz water cold water
.5 oz fresh lemon juice

Shake the above ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Pour over ice in a highball glass and add about 1-2 oz of club soda. Garnish with a lemon slice. 

Depending on the sour mix you use, it may be a little sweet - feel free to add more water, club soda or lemon juice to balance.

Enjoy! Both sweater and cocktail...

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Flor de Jerez!

This one was designed to show off the subtle differences in a hand dyed yarn -- such as the Valley Yarn DK, dyed by Manos shown here.  (That's Bittersweet, one of the 6 colors I created for WEBS)!  This is the latest design in a series of patterns I've worked on this winter for this yarn.

I was going for a balance of both delicate and cozy, and wanted to play with different textures to really highlight the shades of apricot and pumpkin in this colorway. The sweater is actually quite simple to knit, but the combination is pretty striking.

A deep, shallow neckline gives it a nice modern-but-retro feel, and the hem is subtly shaped by the gauge difference between garter and cable panels.

I had a whole bunch of test knitters on this one, and was happily surprised at how it looked great on everyone - and worked in a variety of yarns.  It's easy to modify for depth or width, and although I like it with about 4" of ease for a loose fit, it also works with a more fitted silhouette.

Flor de Jerez is knit seamlessly from the bottom up - sleeves are knit separately and joined at the yoke, and a few short rows shape the neckline. Cables are both written and charted.

You can find all the info, purchase the PDF and see the test knits HERE.

The PDF is also for sale in the patterns section of the blog for $7.00.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Introducing Long Island Iced Tea, a Grandpa Vest I didn't even plan to make, but now that I own it, I am in love with this - and can't believe I lasted so long without a cardigan vest!  What was I thinking?

As you might guess, this yarn was intended to be a long sleeved sweater. I was working on it and for some reason, I just stalled before adding the sleeves.  I knew it was the next step, and I fully planned on knitting them, but instead, I kept wearing the unfinished vest around the house -  over a flannel, over a tee, over a casual dress -- it just worked with everything. 

Gabriella also gave it a whirl, with a simpler shirt - and since she's taller than my sister and me, she wears it with a little less length.  Still looks good.

Who am I to argue, right?  It wanted to be a vest and it's pretty perfect this way. A little slouch, some cozy pockets, a lot of simple ribbed knitting and - another bonus - it was done in no time.

The texture of the ribbing allows the beautiful shades in the hand dyed yarn to really shine, and the oversized fit really lets the drape in the MCN add to the slouchy feel of the piece.  This is one of those times that the yarn + pattern combo is fantastic! 

Melissa Thompson of Sweet Fiber yarns does some incredible shades - and they are all available for pre-order on her website:  https://www.shop.sweetfiberyarns.com/products/cashmerino-worsted-dyed-to-order   Mine is knit in the tea leaves colorway - a gorgeous mix of greens with hints of brown and pale blue thrown in - hence the pattern name!  ;)

All the details, plus a few test knits are up on Ravelry and the pattern is for sale both here on the blog and there for $7.00.


And a Long Island Iced Tea is a classic cocktail -- a  mix of 4 spirits in one powerful drink!  I'm not entirely sure who came up with this or why, and if they actually thought it tasted like iced tea, but it's a fun thing to try (and please do so in moderation...)

Add the below ingredients into a highball glass full of ice and stir gently.

Equal parts vodka, rum, gin, tequila (1 oz ea)
2 oz lemon juice/1 oz simple syrup or a packet sour mix
2-4 oz of cola

Garnish with a lemon twist or wheel.