Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Hi guys!  I'm just back from Scotland and London and have a little something to share before I flip the laundry.   I do promise to share my photos and blog properly about the two trips, but for now my thoughts are still jumbled and the photos are not downloaded, so tune back in later for all the travel stuff.  Suffice to say that both trips were fantastic!

In the meantime, a new design - Desert Sunrise.

Rounding out the 2017 BabyCocktails Summer Collection - with Honey Vodka and Fog Cutter - Desert Sunrise is a simple pullover with some really beautiful colorwork detail.

I thought this combination of yarn and design would be the perfect thing to finish up my summer with and bridge the gap as the weather turns cool this September.  It's knit in Magpie Fiber's new Solstice yarn, a stunning mix of Domestic merino and cotton, plus silk.  The combination gives the yarn a rustic, soft and airy hand, that's round and lovely and feels great against your skin, and Dami has dyed up such a beautiful collection of colors that you won't be able to choose just one.  Which is why I ended up with colorwork!  You can see the gorgeous kits she's made up right here.  Shown below is one of them - called Too Shy.  She has a few others paired and they are all stunning!

I know I will be wearing this with a tank underneath and a pair of cutoffs  --  actually, the same tank and cutoffs that Gabriella's borrowed to wear in the pics -- when the first cool evenings begin.

Desert Sunrise is knit from the bottom up, with most the attention paid early on.  Sleeves and body are joined at the underarm, and the yoke is knit seamlessly to the top, with just a few short rows to add neckline shaping.  All the wonderful stockinette makes for some peaceful knitting, and again - this fiber is just dreamy on the needles.  

All the details are on Ravelry and the pattern is available for $7.  But since it IS July and I know a sweater may be asking a lot of you all right now, the code DesertSunrise will get you $1 off until July 22.

And yes, there is a cocktail called a Desert Sunrise --  the original is a little too sweet for me, so I've created a variation, but the cool thing about one of these is the ombre effect that you get when you add the grenadine at the end.  I thought it quite appropriate that at colorwork sweater have a colorwork cocktail....

Fill a highball glass with crushed ice.  Pour the following over ice and stir gently.

2 oz vodka
2 oz orange juice
2 oz pineapple juice
1 oz fresh lemon juice
1 dash lemon bitters

Then slowly pour a splash of grenadine syrup over the drink, top with a sliced orange or pineapple and a cherry and serve!  

  • Enjoy!!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Fog Cutter --  this one is a striking, but simple summer sweater that's just perfect for a cool day at the beach.  And it was just a bit foggy the day we decided to visit, so this design got named for an all time classic/traditional Tiki drink -- A Fog Cutter!

And I know I'm asking a lot for you guys to think about knitting in June, so the Ravelry code SummerSweater will get you $1 off the pattern until this Friday, perhaps as the little nudge that a summer knit might require? 

Or maybe photos are a better nudge --

Either way, Fog Cutter is all about this beautiful and striking panel on the front. Cables, lace, and texture combine in a motif that reminds me of little waves and tiny stones, kind of undulating back and forth.  The addition of the texture in those cables creates such a great contrast, and the edging as it hits the body is nice and sharp. (and yes, it's easier than you think it would be!)

Besides the cable panel, details such as a split hem, a ribbed yoke and distinct seams draw the eye, and then the rest of the garment is all easy reverse stockinette.  Although seamed, the lines are straight and the finishing is simple.

The sweater is knit in O-Wool's beautiful Balance yarn, a mix of organic cotton and merino that's got the perfect amount of ply and crispness for a polished but casual vibe, and it shows a pattern beautifully.  I chose the Natural as I wanted a true basic piece, but I think this would work in any of her colors - and some of them even have a little heather, which would be stunning.  (Agate, Igneous, and Jade - I'm looking at you guys....)

Gabriella is wearing my sweater with about 5" of ease and a high hip length, but this is easy to modify for depth or width and notes are included in the pattern.  I suggest about 4-5" positive ease for a fit as shown.  All the details and the PDF can be found here (don't forget your SummerSweater code this week!).

And as for a Fog Cutter?  According to tiki bars everywhere and the internet, it's really all about the glassware and accessories, so have a little fun.

1.5 oz light rum
.5 oz brandy
.5 oz gin
1 oz orange juice
3 tbs lemon juice
1.5 tsps of orgeat
1 tsp sweet sherry (amontillado works great)

Shake all ingredients except the sherry with ice in a shaker.  Strain over ice into a tall glass and then top with the sherry!  And then add your choice of umbrella, stirrer, slice of fruit, feathers or whatever's handy...

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Introducing Honey Vodka!

You all know how much I love Jill Draper's Mohonk yarn, which I used in my Edradour design.  It's light and airy and rustic and soft and I really do reach for it ALL WINTER LONG.

So when Jill texted me to say she was working on a fingering weight version of Mohonk, and would I want to play with a couple of skeins....?   Why, yes I would.  I totally jumped on the chance to design a summer accessory that I'd reach for just as much.  Something open and airy that would add just a little warmth to a summer night or cloudy day....

I like my summer knitting to be pretty easygoing, so I went with a cowl (as opposed to a shawl) for a little less knitting, a lighter garment, and more importantly - some immediate gratification.  Honey Vodka takes just one skein of Mohonk Light, and knits up in no time.

I chose a simple, bold lace motif with stockinette "ribs" that would show off the subtle texture and color shifts in the yarn.  It's one of those patterns that gets in your head easily and it makes for some soothing, satisfying porch knitting.  It's easy to modify for length or width, and I've added notes on how to do so in the pattern.

I've also made sure that if you want to alter your cowl, you don't have to worry about ending on a specific row.  Before finishing up, you switch to a smaller section of accent lace and ribbing, and can knit to your desired length as needed.  I used only one skein for my cowl, but I do think this would be a lovely 2-skein project and could wrap double around your neck or be worn nice and long.

I chose this beautiful neutral shade, which Jill called Sand.  It matches pretty much everything in my summer wardrobe of tee shirts and faded denim and feels just so effortlessly summery to me.

However, you know Jill dyed up a whole rainbow of gorgeous shades that you can choose from - check them out here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/jilldrapermakesstuff?ref=l2-shopheader-name

The pattern is up on Ravelry for $6.00 right HERE and will be on the blog as well!

I hope you guys like this one and can spend a few leisurely hours knitting away on your porch soon.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Because two patterns in one week are always better than one, right?

You may have noticed the gorgeous, colorful images popping up everywhere for Pompom Quarterly's 5th Anniversary Issue.  I've loved this magazine from the beginning - every issue has felt so bright and fresh and charming, just like the lovely people behind it.

I have been lucky enough to work with them before - I had a tunic named Olivette  in a previous issue and I've been interviewed on the Pomcast - and to be honest, I will work with Pompom again pretty much anytime, anywhere.

So when I got an email earlier this year asking if I'd be willing to design for this special issue, I was absolutely honored to say yes!!  My shawl design is only one of 16 stunning creations in this thing - which is full all kinds of projects from a group of fantastic designers, covering the spectrum from sweaters to socks and from complex to quite simple.

I was pinged to add a shawl, and decided to do a big rectangular wrap - something bold and lacy.  The final product reminded me of a Spanish Flamenco dancer, and I imagined one of those gatherings with musicians and a dancer flipping her skirt about, so I've gone with Sevilla as my celebratory drink name.

And yes, since this is supposed to be a party issue, I do have a cocktail recipe - with two versions!
I'm a fan of the frothy, so I prefer No. 2.

Sevilla No. 1 

Pour equal parts dark rum and sweet vermouth.
Add 1 twist orange peel.

Stir well with ice and strain into glass.

Sevilla No. 2

Pour equal parts dark rum and port.
Add 1 egg white.
Add a half teaspoon powdered sugar.
I also like to add a touch of lemon juice to keep this one from getting too sweet.

Shake well in jigger with ice and strain into glass.

And since these guys don't do anything halfway, stay tuned for more info on Pomfest - the big birthday celebration in London this July. It's going to be a great weekend, with yarn shop knit nights, a big party, a marketplace, and a whole lineup of crafty speakers and designers from the issue (such as myself) doing things throughout the weekend...

I'm thinking some kind of cocktail/knitting chat.  We are looking into if I'm allowed to share ;)

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Remember when I lost myself in some Malabrigo Twist this winter?  (if not, see this post)

I had bought some beautiful yarn, found a satisfying texture, and was trying to just find my mojo again - without the pressure of being a knitwear designer.

Well, the sweater I knit did what I needed it to - it gave me some wonderful, stress-free knitting time. And when it was all finished, instead of just wearing it, you know I went straight to writing it up and turning that non-work into some professional knitting once more, so here's Oaxacan Rose. 

But I'm glad I did - because this combination of some gorgeous yarn (Malabrigo Twist, which you can find tons of -- like 22 colors of - at WEBS) and some soothing texture is something everyone needs once in a while.  And the resulting sweater is one of those garments you kind of LOVE wearing.  It's easy and soft and goes with almost anything.

I don't usually design simple basics - and for that reason alone, I often avoid vareigated yarns.  But I've got to tell you, I am in love with this Twist.  It's soft, round, gorgeous fiber and watching the colors shift on my needles was mesmerizing.  The combination of gray and lavender and gold here in Zinc made me so incredibly happy.  And, I found that a little texture and some simple details were enough to keep me totally enthralled.

Oaxacan Rose is a wear-everywhere pullover - what my friend Erin calls a "sweatshirt sweater".  A cable, some detail at the seam, and a couple of other small bits keep the knitting interesting and the final garment polished.

I hope you all like it!  More details and the test knits can be found on Ravelry here, and the sweater is also listed on the pullover page of the blog for $7.00. As always, there are notes and commentary in the PDF about how to modify this for your shape if desired, and you can find me on Ravelry if you need any advice about sizing and yarn choices or as you knit....

If you do decide to cast on, know that the KAL is still going on in my BabyCocktails group - and finishing by May 15 doesn't matter.  If you want to join in for camraderie and prizes and chatter, just add your project and your voice to the thread!!

As for the drink, it's one of my favorites -  I can't take credit.  They make it at Deep Ellum, a spot right near the Cradles to Crayons warehouse I volunteer at each Wednesday.  I don't know the exact recipe but it's a combination of mezcal, grapefruit liquor, lemon, grapefruit juice, and peychaud's bitters.  And it's fantastic.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Hey guys, I've just started a new KAL over in my Ravelry group this week.  It's from 4/3 - 5/12, as there will be prizes, special discounts, a few drinks, a bit of conversation and lots of support and encouragement from your fellow knitters while you knit any BabyCocktails project want!

My KALs are low pressure - no hard start or finish dates, and all I require is that you participate on the group chat and share your WIP photos. Prizes are announced and awarded periodically, and all projects that are linked to the pattern page with images on the thread are eligible to win.

I've just announced the first two prizes, to be awarded this weekend -- on 4/9.

The first is a skein of Ellen Mason's Doc Mason's Wool, which is sourced from her family farm! Ellen is a good friend of mine and does everything with intention and love and care and this gorgeous farm yarn is no exception.  Along with the yarn, the winner can also pick one of my hat patterns to go with the skein - and I've included some lovely notecards and one of my favorite bottle opener keychains.

The second prize was donated by Vemo, one of the lovely BabyCocktails knitters, and a lovely person who I've come to know over the years.  She is moving to a new condo and needed to destash a few of the extra skeins she'd bought for various BC projects in the past, so she's donated a couple lovelies. This one is a gorgeous deep green from Victoria over at Eden Cottage Yarns - in her lovely Oakworth DK.  I've added a notebook and one more keychain to this skein as well, and the winner can also pick a pattern to go with the skein,

And starting today, a special discount! Through 4/14.

For those of you who like a little hat knitting, the code WH-AprilKAL will get you $1 off my Whiskey Highball pattern right here, and the lovely folks at The Yarn Collective have mirrored that discount with 15% off the Bloomsbury DK I used to make this.  The Bloomsbury DK comes in a variety of gorgeous colors, and the link to purchase is right here. 

Next up, more YOTH yarn is in transit, and I have a discount on both that gorgeous Father yarn and The Vodka Collection patterns when it arrives!

So I hope you'll join in - the link to the KAL is right here....

Friday, March 24, 2017

The next shipment of yarn is ALMOST ready....

I don't know about you guys, but I'm counting down to that Father Yarn from my friends at YOTH, and I'm also so happy that they thought ahead to order more when the collection came out, because you guys did scoop up the first batch pretty quickly!

But more is just about ready, and if you are lucky enough to be going to Vogue Knitting Live in Vegas this weekend, Veronika had some mailed straight to the show, so there WILL be a limited amount of Father on hand in their booth. For the rest of us, the big shipment is coming late next week and will be up on the website by 4/5 - plus shipping out to shops that carry it at the same time.

In all the colors. Yes.

So... just another week or so!  And I've been prepping for a KAL in my BabyCocktails group on Ravelry, starting on 4/3.

The Vodka Collection thread already has a bunch of chatter in it,  and people have started thinking about yarn choices and which sweater they want to make, and what sizing mods they may have in mind, so if you've been waiting to cast on (or have recently cast on), feel free to join in.

For now though, a little commentary on the inspiration behind  With A Twist!

This one is kind of special to me, not only because I love the squishy texture and the cozy collar.

The idea for all those cables came from a kinda cool place (at least I think so) and a vintage sweater that's pretty special to me.  Below is said sweater. It's a really old, ginormous, cashmere turtleneck that used to belong to my Pop. I'm lucky enough to have a few of his sweaters, and I love them all. And even though they are HUGE (he was well over 6 feet tall and broad, and if you know me you know I'm not.) I wear them, because they are warm and cozy and because they were his,

But something about the texture on this one always sticks in my head. I have a love hate relationship with this design. I love the contrast and the slipped stitches - the motifs are really simple and beautiful -- but I hate hate hate the transitions between them. It's not a handknit, so this was something that was manufactured back in the 50s and maybe that's how the machines had to do it, but man, those transitions BUG me.  Bumpy, uneven.... distracting, right?

It's funny the things you start to see as a knitter, but it's just so very sloppy,
I see this sweater now and my head goes immediately to the ways they could have made this neater. A rib, a slipped stitch, a border element on the actual motifs?  But as I said, I love the overall idea. The big and small versions of the same stitch next to each other in vertical stripes, I do like that. 


I did it my way.  Really, that made me feel so much better! It's almost like I fixed it.

Anyways, that's a little Friday diversion, right?  

 I hope you all have a great weekend, and if you have been waiting to get any one of the  Vodka Collection sweaters on the needles, check into the Ravelry group and say hi, and maybe join in once the KAL begins on April 3!  

 me and Pop, a couple of years ago. not sweater weather that day.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Whiskey Highball also kind of came out of last year's Edinburgh Yarn Festival.  It's a collaborative project I've been working on with the folks at LoveKnitting, featuring  Bloomsbury DK yarn from The Yarn Collective in some gorgeous custom colors by Carol Feller.  Did I lose you with that sentence?

I met Carol last year, literally standing on the sidewalk in front of my door as I walked out of my flat to catch the bus to the Yarn Festival!  It was one of those amazing moments when you go to a big yarn gathering and you know you may see some of your design heroes, but then there they are.  And when you live in the US and travel to Scotland, and there's this face that you have been seeing on your computer for years and she's right there, it's kind of amazing. I don't think I got used to it at all.  

But Carol was warm and wonderful (in addition to all the talent) and we hit it off enough to continue emailing a bit, and when she asked if I'd be interested in working with her new colors of this yarn and launching a pattern with LoveKnitting, I absolutely said yes! 

A little about the hat though....  As soon as I saw the generous yardage in one skein, I knew it was time to design a cap with fat, satisfying cables AND a deep cuffed brim. I always want to do that, and I always run out of yardage with one skein and wish I'd bought two.

But not this time - and Whiskey Highball is exactly what I wanted - a deep, cozy hat that's actually long enough to cover everything I want it to (and in today's blizzard, it may be today's shoveling choice in a few hours.)

These bold cables pair with the slipped stitch detail nicely. In the crown shaping, when the cables narrow and cross inwards to taper off, the ribs work their way towards each other, creating lovely
curved lines that frame the tip of each cable in a delicate "star" at the top of the hat.

The Bloomsbury DK is soft and round and dyed in Carol's beautiful semi-solid shades, so the bold cables and slipped stitches were chosen to showcase both the yarn and the subtle color shifts without getting lost.  I also think that with the right color, this could be a great unisex design - depending on the colorway chosen.  You can see how the mood of the hat changes between the Moss and the Surf, both beautiful - but one deep and moody, the other bright and vibrant.

All the info for Whiskey Highball and the PDFs can be found either on LoveKnitting or on Ravelry for $5.  and you can find the yarn on LoveKnitting 

And that lovely model is my Maya.  Teenagers with good hair who like to look down make for great hat pics!  (She was quite willing as long as lunch was involved.)

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  


Friday, March 03, 2017

This time last year, I was winging my way across the Atlantic with my good friend Ellen, who is always a great fiber travel buddy (especially when Sonya joins in and we may or may not have a beer with lunch). We had an incredible time eating, drinking, exploring and getting lost in the city and an even better time at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival with friends from both sides of the pond.

This year the festival isn't in the cards for me, as it's my last chance to see my older daughter strut her stuff with her acapella group, and I may or may not have a different special trip planned to the UK later on in the year.  But I just can't ignore the whole thing, because it's a really, really special event full of gorgeous yarn, inspiring knits, talented people - and super cool accents.

One of the most wonderful things about being a designer is that I go to these things FOR WORK. Heading to Edinburgh or Squam or NYC means that I spend time with others in the industry that I could, yes, ordinarily talk to online. And okay, many of them I already know from emails and Ravelry. But the in-person conversations are different and we all live in various far-flung cities and towns and there's a different energy when you put us in a Corn Exchange full of yarn.

Although my family mocks me a little bit about "business meetings" that occur in pubs and bars, or on the dock at Squam, or while exploring the streets of a city, or even when sitting on the floor in groups scattered around a hotel lobby late at night, with bourbons in hand -- we really DO get things going when we hang out and meet in person. Creative people, maybe need some creative environs in which to collaborate.

And as a person without an office space, I also want to point out that a table in a bar or a restaurant or a day on the beach, or even a hike on a craggy bluff in Scotland makes for a pretty inspirational discussion venue.  It's also way less weird than inviting co-workers to talk about upcoming projects in your living room, although that's happened too.

Anyways, my trip to EYF has led to a number of discussions about future projects and yarns and I do have a bunch of design-intended skeins and things in my office here.  But two of those conversations I had last March have already led to a couple of projects you'll see next week.

I'm not entirely sure I am allowed to share an image of the second one, so I'll just show you a bit of the first one - a sweater I've just finished up in Blacker Yarns Classic British Wool. I spent a bit of time in that booth on both days of the Festival, falling in love with all their wooly, heathery,UK fibers and the gorgeous colors of the skeins and knits displayed all around.

Fast forward one year, and - voila!  Keep your eyes out for Angostura, coming next week.

The plan is for Tuesday.

So if you are on your way to the Festival, you can do a little planning before the marketplace opens...

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

With the flurry of preparation and activity around my Vodka Collection, things did pile up a little. I'm still going thru the emails and the to do list from before Stitches....

And as I went down that inbox, there were a few messages from friends near and far who are using their needles to fight disease and injustice and generally help make the world a little easier for others. As always, I am impressed with the generosity of both time and spirit in our community, and the designs in these collections really are stunning - from folks like Joji, and Ysolda, and Bristol Ivy and Kirsten Kapur.  Click on the links and you'll see.

First was Sight Is Life, a collection of 7 beautiful accessory patterns, including 4 shawls, 2 hats, an adorable pair of socks and a mystery project. The proceeds from this collection go to a doctor who's been working to bring healthcare to people in the Congo.  Proceeds help the eye center there, and your pattern purchase will restore and improve sight for people in one of the poorest regions of the world. The knits are beautiful and the project was curated and coordinated by Kristina Vilimaite (animaknits on Ravelry)

Then, there was Heart on My Sleeve, a sweater collection curated by Tin Can Knits -- half of which (Emily)  I met last year at EYF and she's just as lovely in person as through the internet.  The collection features 8 yoked sweater designs, sized from child to adult - again, by some of your favorite designers. This one is fun, since each designer brings her own personality to the sweater - and they are all a bit different, featuring colorwork to texture to lace around the yoke. It's also unique, as so many of the patterns can be knit for your entire family.  The collection was put together to help the fight against Malaria, and so far they've managed to raise a few thousand dollars!

Back to my inbox now, and I can check these off my list of things I wanted to share with you guys. Check them out!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Introducing The Vodka Collection,
a collaboration between myself and the lovely people over at YOTH yarns...  

The Vodka Collection started with a conversation about what we add to a basic sweater when knitting. Each of us likes to knit what makes us happy, dictated by our skill level, our overall style, our preferred techniques, or even our mood on a particular day.  You guys already know that knitting to me is about enjoying the making - as much as the wearing - of the final sweater.  So, with this project, I wanted to take one sweater shape and explore some different ways to work with it, looking at how the knitting experience changes when different elements are added to classic sweater shapes. My goal here was to try and incorporate versions of a sweater to fit each of those knitting moods into a small collection.

So, I took one of my all time favorite sweater shapes - the classic V-Neck Cardigan, and designed 4 sweaters to try and cover that spectrum.  I tried to make them all more approachable for you guys, so choosing would be less about skill and more about what you felt like knitting and wearing. With that in mind, I used stitch patterns and techniques that weren't particularly difficult, and then played with construction and details to elevate the amount of attention each project would require. 

Vodka Straight Up is for when you want to knit something soothing and simple. You want to feel the needles moving, but be able to chat and think and let your mind wander. It's a wardrobe basic that can be worn as easily as it's knit, featuring lots of stockinette with a few garter details in the ribbing and along the fronts. It's knit seamlessly from the top down, and can be customized easily in a variety of ways for fit or design. The pattern contains two options if you'd like to add stripes -  either textured (shown above) or colorwork (shown below).  And if you have something else in mind, it's super easy to add your own details to the body instead.

Vodka On the Rocks is for when you want to pay just a little more attention. This is the kind of sweater I flatten out and look at as I work, because it makes me happy as the fabric evolves and the designs become more distinct.

Here, I've added overall texture to the body and sleeves and incorporated some bold accent cables on front and back of a seamless raglan. It's knit from the bottom up, with sleeves worked separately and joined at the yoke.  Both the cables and the ribbing are simple enough to become rhythmic over time, but they keep you just a little more engaged as you work, and the overall combination of texture and cable makes for a cardigan that's a bit more dramatic than just basic. You can still modify things pretty easily if you want, but there are a few more things to keep track of.

Vodka With A Twist is for when you want to think about what's on your needles and let your mind really get into the project. This is the kind of knitting that I can lose myself in, get obsessed with, and most often use the "just one more row" excuse during.  It's rainy day and snowstorm knitting, when you have a soft chair and a little time to devote to your work. 

It's also the statement cardigan of the collection, knit with panels of honeycomb cables in contrasting sizes for some deep, gorgeous texture. As I said earlier, honeycomb cables themselves aren't too challenging, but here they keep you busy, since you are repeating them throughout the row. Set in pockets, a generously shaped shawl collar, and seamed construction have also been incorporated into the sweater, and it's the details throughout make this one kind of special. When finished, it's a super satisfying, head-turner of a knit. 

So that's where I ended up. Simple to detailed, social knitting to involved thought, and basic to more unique wardrobe pieces. All four of them are wearable, classic cardigans. My hope is that one of them might just speak to you, and that you'll really enjoy the time you spend making it!

I also know that the yarn we put on our needles dictates so much of our knitting joy, and you know there's a reason I chose YOTH's Father yarn for this collection. Besides feeling good about where it comes from and who's behind it, and having stunning colors to choose from, this stuff is wonderful to work with. Made from domestic Rambouillet, it's a beautiful, versatile, solid worsted weight yarn in a weight that kind of flies off the needles.  The fiber is soft, and round, and wooly and it's pretty fantastic no matter what you do with it.

And, because we know how much you already love this yarn, and because we've learned your buying habits with my previous YOTH designs, Veronika already has a new supply at the mill, shipping in a few weeks. I'll keep you updated on actual delivery dates, but don't worry if you have your heart set on a specific color and it runs low once we launch these. More is on the way!

The Vodka Collection is available for $19.00 on Ravelry, or you can purchase the single patterns for $7.00 each.  All the information, test knits, and lots more photos are on the Ravelry pattern pages.  


The other exciting thing about this collection should be obvious as you look at the photos. We wanted to put something together that came from both YOTH and BabyCocktails, so the collection was beautifully shot and styled and put together under the careful eye of Veronika, who has some stellar taste!  Some huge thank yous to Kathy Cadigan for the gorgeous photography, to Veronika for the coordination,styling and photo shoot work, to the beautiful Jenny who modeled these, and Marc - Veronika's husband - who designed and worked on the actual pattern layout.  


all images @Kathy Cadigan