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.