A Very Yarn-y Wedding

My apologies if you also read my wedding blog.. but this was too knitting related to not post here also!

After many emails back and forth with Lindsey, we’ve decided on the following yarn related projects for my wedding:

My Veil:

Yes, I’m going to try and knit my veil. I’ve ordered the yarn, but it’s on back order, so it’ll come in a few weeks. I had fallen in love with Handmaiden Lace Silk in their “Ivory” colorway – a gorgeous natural blend of beiges, creams, ivories, and whites. Really subtle and really gorgeous – and also really expensive.

I knew I wanted some silk or shiny blend in their, to give it a beautiful glow, but I didn’t want to go broke either. I find WEBS has a yarn – a merino/tencel blend – that is light, shimmery, and beautiful. And it comes in cones! Perfect for huge lace projects! Plus, I’ll have extra yarn – so I won’t have to rip out my swatches to use. This will work out well for me because we’re going to experiment with dying the yarn to get that lovely hand-dyed look that the Handmaiden had. Lace dying party!

I’m planning on knitting a square or circular shawl, and then folding it over about a third (so there will be a bottom layer that is longer than the top layer, and a straight edge to gather onto the comb), and attaching it under my hair (I’m going to wear my hair up).

Shetland Tea Shawl - Current Top Contender

Shetland Tea Shawl - Current Top Contender

And, if in the end, it doesn’t work out? I’ll have a beautiful lace shawl, and we’ll by a veil. That’s why I’m starting it a little under 600 days out!

My Shrug:

As I mentioned, I’m going to remove the sash that came with my dress (a taupe that David’s Bridal likes to call “Latte”) and replacing it with a mint green sash. I knew I either wanted the shrug to match perfectly, or coordinate very well. When looking for yarn for the veil, I found this lovely gray/green (“Peridot”) colorway of Handmaiden Great Big Sea that looked great with the champagne color of my dress, and also had some of that mint green in there. It was different enough that it didn’t clash with the sash, but enough of the same that it didn’t look too crazy or out there.

I couldn’t quite get the color right in these photos – the bottom is most accurate for the dress and purse, and the top is best for the yarn.. the yarn is not that dark or grey as it looks. That little purse is another wedding project I completed a few weeks ago, and is made using the same fabric as the sash for my dress will be.

I spent a long time emailing patterns back and forth with Lindsey, and decided on the Posh Wedding Shrug. I love the length, it’s really easy to knit, and the lace pattern is just lovely. I’m undecided about adding the ribbon thread through the cuffs, but we’ll see. I also love the picot edging. I’ve finished one of the sleeves, and am almost done with the second – then I’ll graft them together, and knit the picot edging! Exciting!

Posh Wedding Shrug

Posh Wedding Shrug

Posh Wedding Shrug Back

Posh Wedding Shrug Back

I don’t plan to wear this the entire time – I probably won’t wear it for the ceremony, but will put it on later (in case it’s cold at all), and will have some photos taken with it as well.

The Chuppah:

Reason number 143 that Lindsey is so awesome: she offered to knit our chuppah. She said she had been intending to knit us an afghan as a wedding gift, and a chuppah really isn’t too far from that. This means a lot to me because I made the quilt that Ben & Lindsey were married under at their wedding this past summer (which reminds me that I have to finish the quilt for them!). I had to talk Dan into the chuppah, but he’s warming up to it slowly. I think it’s a beautiful wedding element.

Best Lady Wraps:

I’m still planning to knit the Best Ladies wraps, as their gift for being a part of our wedding.

I need to get knitting!

Other places to find me…

Hello, my poor neglected little knitting blog.

I am always knitting, but I guess I’m just not chronically it as obsessively as I used to.  Part of it is working 9:00am to 6:00pm – it’s always dark when I want to take photos.

So – if you would like updates on what is going on in my knitting and non-knitting life – here are two other places to find me, blog-wise.  Because it’s always a great idea, when you’re not concentrating on one blog enough, to start two more.

The first is my Celebrant blog.

I’ll be back, don’t worry.  I can never stay away from here for too long… no one else lets me talk about yarn this much.  Unless I’m talking to Lindsey.

A sad day for the sweater.

Something sad happened this morning.

I was getting ready for work, and decided, since it was one of those cold sunny spring days, that it may be the last opportunity to wear my Cascade Yoke sweater this season.  I hadn’t worn it since mid-January, and it had been sitting, patiently, on a closet shelf ever since.

I pulled it on, and immediately sensed it.

It’s too big.

I knew it was going to happen.  I knit the sweater in late September of 2007.  Since then, I’ve lost a little over 50 pounds.

My body doesn’t change shape rapidly when I lose weight.  It just happens one morning, when I pull on a pair of pants, and all of a sudden realize that I didn’t need to unbotton the fly to get them on.  Or I put on a button up shirt that I always have to wear a camisole under, because the bottom few buttons don’t close, and realize that I’ve buttoned it all the way.  It’s always a surprise, and usually a pleasant one (other than the pants – I desperately need new pants).

But the sweater – well, the sweater was sad.

I had measured myself and custom designed it for my body.  There were short rows along the bust line, and waist shaping.  Now, the bottom flares out, obviously too big for my hips and belly.  The short rows bunch under my arms.

The shaping, which made it such an elegant, well-fitting sweater in October, excludes it from becoming a comfy, over sized sweater, as the fabric falls in odd places on my body.

I mean, that didn’t stop me from wearing it today.  But this may be the last time.

I’ve been on a not well-enforced sweater moratorium since September.  I didn’t really follow it.  I did try not to make large yarn purchases intended for sweaters, as I knew I was losing weight and didn’t want to be sad when I couldn’t wear them.

But now I guess I’ll enforce it.  No more sweaters knit for myself until September 2008.  I figure by then I’ll have reached a very doable goal for myself – or at least be so chomping at the bit to start knitting garments again that I won’t be able to stop myself.

It’s still a sad day for me – this sweater was easily the most wearable sweater I’ve ever knit.  Elegant, comfortable, and well-fitting.  Well, I guess I’ll fold it up carefully and put it in the closet for now.

I guess this just means I have to knit more lace.  Oh, well.

Yarn suggestions please!  I have 300 yards of Manos Silk Blend – it’s a DK weight in those lovely Manos colors.  I’ve been swatching and trying endlessly to figure out what it will be, but all of the patterns seem to 150 yards of yarn or 500.  What can I make with only 300 yards?  I’m trying to see how long I can go without buying yarn…

What does this yarn want to be?

I got a pile of Rich Chocolate Malabrigo Worsted through a swap.  I’m not a big brown person, so normally this isn’t a color I would buy, and I think I’m having trouble seeing past the color.  What does this want to be?   It’s eight skeins.  More than enough for a sweater!  Lovely Malabrigo sweater…

The periwinkle in the back is enough Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock to make Jeanie.  I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this, but I’m currently studying to become a Celebrant, a trained ceremony expert and an ordained non-denominational minister.  My goal is to start my own business in the late Spring of 2008.  I will write and officiate original wedding ceremonies that reflect the beliefs, needs, values, cultural background, and personality of the couples.  I’m really excited!

For my graduation in May, we have been asked to bring a symbol that speaks to who we are as a Celebrant and as a person, something that is evocative of us and the journey we are about to embark on, as well as the path that has lead us here.  I am choosing to knit this shawl as a symbol of myself and my choice to become a Celebrant.  There’s a lot more to the choice, and I’ll write about that when I’ve finished the shawl.  But first I need to wind all of that yarn!

Oh, and if you are in New Jersey, and planning on getting married or know someone who is, and needs an officiant, let me know!  I’ll have a website up sometime in April with more information.

Cabled Progress, a Meme, and Happy New Year!

And it’s cloudy out and the sunshine is doing something funny.

And this is what happens to a beautifully cabled pullover.

DSCN2373
Weird, huh? I feel like my camera’s messing with me.

DSCN2374
Cabled close-up.

Anyway, the pullover is coming along remarkably well. A few nights ago, I cast on the underarm stitches and joined the whole thing to be worked in the round (you can see a bit of them in the top picture – they’re worked in seed stitch). Hurray for no more purling of wrong sides! Woohoo!

I like the density of the flanking cables, combined with the negative purl space of the center cable. I think it sets it off nicely.

It’s fun to knit, and easy to pick up and put down, so it’s been making a lot of progress.

Lindsey tagged me for a meme, and I’m not that into tagging people, but I will share 7 facts about me here, some random, some weird.

001. I can never remember how to spell “definitely,” and I usually mangle it so badly that spell-check won’t recognize it, so I when I plan to use it in a sentence in writing, I usually just take it out. No one misses it. It’s kind of an extraneous word.

002. I once ate an entire bottle of ketchup (with a platter of chicken fingers) at a diner when I was in high school. I really like it. Oddly enough, every guy I’ve ever dated has not liked ketchup.

003. Sometimes, it freaks me out how large a part of my life the color green has become.

004. I have very strong opinions about certain stuff, but I’m not the best debater and I don’t like to alienate people, so I don’t often share them. Like, I think any woman who does not consider herself a feminist should take a Women’s Study class or read read this and change their mind. I won’t get started on religion. [See? Look, I alienated you].

005. I had wanted to learn to knit for years before I actually learned, but couldn’t find anyone to teach me.

006. Before my fifteen birthday, I had been on a plane too many times to count. Since then, I’ve been on a plane four times. And one of those was two weeks ago.

007. I like to be very cold when I sleep. I have a fan in the bedroom I use year round. This drives my boyfriend a little crazy. It’s ok – he likes to sleep with the TV on, and this drives me a little crazy.

I’m heading up to Boston for the New Year, so you won’t hear from me till then. Have a safe and happy one!

Homemade Coffee Liqueur!

Be warned: there is no knitting in this post!

Dan and I decided to make homemade coffee liqueur (like Kahlua or Tia Maria) for holiday presents this year. An assortment of our friends and family will be receiving these bottles. I’m really impressed with how the liqueur came out – the coffee really mellowed out, as did the vodka, and it’s really sweet without being overpowering and very tasty. So if you’re wondering if it’s worth the effort to make instead of picking up a bottle of Kahlua: yes. Totally.

Coffee Liqueur

Our estimated costs, total, were $75. That breaks down to $6.25 per bottle – and we have 1.5 quarts left over! But no more bottles. [The bottles were from Sunburst Bottle Company – the labels are from MyOwnLabels]

Edited to answer some questions:  We used Gordon’s Vodka, which was pretty inexpensive at $15 for 1.5 liters at the warehouse club.   I had intended to use a better quality vodka, but was low on cash that day.  It doesn’t taste like we used cheap vodka – I wouldn’t recommend, say, Leed’s, but it doesn’t have to be top-shelf.

The same goes for the coffee.  I used instant coffee [Nescafe to be exact] – partly because I’m not a coffee drinker and thus did not have any coffee grounds or a coffee maker at hand, and partly because I realized I COULD make some cold-brew coffee and use that instead of instant AFTER I had purchased the instant coffee.’

Both of these slightly cheaper, less quality ingredients made for a very bitter drink right after it was mixed.  The coffee flavor was very predominant, as was the sting of the vodka.  As it sat and aged for a few weeks, it mellowed considerably, and the flavor expanded, as well as became less bitter.

The moral of the story?  Use top shelf ingredients if you want.  Figure out the ratios to use real, brewed coffee, spend a few extra bucks on espresso – but I didn’t, and my liqueur is still amazingly delicious, and much better than any coffee liqueur I’ve ever had off the shelf. 

As for how to drink it?  How not to!  I found it much more palatable straight up than Kahlua, and it would be fabulous in any cocktails that call for Kahlua or Tia Maria.  I think it would be delicious over ice cream, or used as a coffee flavor in baking.  Mmmm..

Coffee Liqueur
The leftovers. For us!

Here’s my recipe (which I doubled).

JD Blumriel Coffee Liqueur

1 & 1/4 cups instant coffee
1 lb brown sugar + 1/2 cup white sugar

6 cups of water

6 cups of vodka 

2 vanilla beans (or vanilla extract, but I don’t know the equivalent)

Yields: 120 oz

In a large pot, heat the water and sugar until sugar is fully dissolved. Take off heat and add coffee. Stir until coffee is dissolved. Allow to cool.
In a even larger pot or large jar, combine your cooled coffee/sugar syrup with the vodka. Split the vanilla beans in half and add. Seal tightly, and place in cool, dark place to mature for as long as you can stand it (a month is good). The vodka bite will mellow, the coffee flavor will expand, and the vanilla will come out.
Pour into bottles, removing vanilla beans*, if you used them. Give to people you like, or drink it yourself.

*You could probably dry off the beans and soak them in some vodka to make home-made vanilla extract when you’re done with them in this recipe.

 

Coffee Liqueur
A close-up of the labels. MyOwnLabels has a bunch of different patterns and templates to choose from – this was one of the “beer” ones, I believe. The name is our initials, and a portmanteau of our last names.

 

Hurray!

My Ravelry Scarf Exchange Scarf is done and will be mailed tomorrow!

[It’s my favorite feather & fan on US6s with ArtYarns Regal Silk. Really lovely yarn, nice and drapey scarf.]

I started the vest for my stepfather (can I finish it in 10 days? We’ll see!).

I have a four day weekend!

I’m going to begin working on Lindsey & Ben’s wedding quilt tomorrow!

I’ve begun working on my non-knitting holiday presents too – there’s a very large pot filled with vodka, sugar, and coffee sitting in a cabinet under my kitchen counter! Dan and I are making home-made coffee liqueur for holiday gifts this year. I have some vanilla beans and bottles and labels coming, but for now? My giant soup pot is full of liquor.