Friday, 25 November 2011

Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire...

Jack Frost slurping at my Irish Coffee...

I don't know about you, but I sometimes feel that barmen are a little furtive when making an Irish Coffee... whether it's to make sure no-one sees their super-secret method of making it, or to make sure no-one sees their panic in trying to make sure the coffee and cream stay separated, who's to tell?  What I can say is that I am a fan of their end product!  I'm also a fan of the 'Baby Guinness' which in fact has nothing to do with Guinness at all, but is in fact a portion of coffee liqueur poured in to a shot glass then topped with a layer of Irish cream liqueur!  I happily class that as an Irish Coffee, too!

Inspired by warm cabled jerseys, roaring pub fireplaces on a frosty evening, and a snifter of Irish whiskey, this is a cream-liqueur-cuff-down, heel-flapped sock, with a coffee-bean cable leg, cosy enough to stave off the harshest of Winter chills!

Unlike the traditional bottom-up method of making an Irish Coffee, we start at the top with an Irish cream liqueur cabled cuff:

The cuff* is actually knit flat from a provisional cast-on, then the edges are grafted together (I used kitchener stitch) after the stitches for the ribbing section are picked up along the edge.  It sounds complicated, but it isn't at all, and makes for a very cool-looking (or should that be 'warm-looking') cuff.

Then follows the toasty coffee-bean cable leg... Truly delicious - I love how this yarn* pools in a way to create different flavour beans!  

And talking of beans - they come in a righ variety of colours!  Check out the Wikipedia page on Coffee roasting for some fabulous examples from greens and yellows to almost black!  Plus the coffee berry itself is a delicious pinky-red colour!

The heel-flap is actually a simple 'double' Eye of Partridge with the main and contrasting colours alternating every 2 rows.  I affectionately call this my Curdled Heel-Flap, because it looks like my attempts at making Irish Coffees for myself.  (I can never get them to layer like the professionals - they either mix for plain a boozy coffee, or separate completely, looking not unlike the example below!) You could, however, claim that the heel-flap represents the sugar grains you need to add to keep the layers separate!

The foot continues the with Coffee-Bean cable, then moves on to a plain toe.  A deliciously warm way to keep your tootsies cosy this Winter!

You can buy this warm and boozy sock pattern for $4.00 (€3.00, £2.58, A$4.12, 
¥310) by clicking on this link:

and you can find the Ravelry pattern page HERE.

Go on!  You know you want to! ;-)

*BBKnits Prima Superwash Merino Nylon in colourway 'Innocence'
**Zitron Trekking XXL colourway 420

Thursday, 3 November 2011

If You Like Piña Coladas...

...then you'll love my new pattern: The imaginatively named (wait for it) Piña Colada Socks!

piña colada socks by yours truly
You can't have a sock theme of cocktails without including the infamous Piña Colada! Starting with a liberal splash of rum, add generous quantities of pineapple juice and cream of coconut, then you *must* finish with the most famous drinks garnish of all: the cocktail umbrella! 
The Piña Colada sock is a cocktail-umbrella-cuffed, heel-flapped, pineapple-legged sock, with a toe that continues the pineapple design! Worked from the top down, this sock is almost good enough to slurp through a bendy straw!
I found this yarn (Zitron 'Trekking XXL' in Peaches and Cream) in my local wool shop last Summer and knew immediately that this pattern was going to be the result (give or take a few false starts and lots of tweaks). 

I wanted to create a pseudo-pineapple pattern that echoed the wonderful thick rind of the fruit - somewhat rhombus shaped, but with shading in each half of the diamond to give more depth. The result was a really lovely texture, which was still quite stretchy, given that there are a lot of twisted stitches involved!

The heel-flap uses the wonderful Eye of Partridge.  I was tempted to try an continue the larger diamond leg pattern in the heel-flap, but in the end the E-of-P was just the ticket, as it has its own diamond pattern already built in - a shoe-in!

For a final flourish, I had to add something fabulous and bright. And kitschy.  The cocktail umbrella ticked all those boxes, so I went back to the drawing board and added the Cocktail Umbrella Cuff to the design.  The first one I made used a coordinating colour (Beyond Basic Knits 'Superwash Sock' in Love Struck - the same lovely yarn I used for the Strawberry Mojito socks), but the second went off in a slightly more garish route, (BBKnits 'Superwash Sock' in Color me Happy - the same yarn I used for my Gin and Tonic socks) but I thought bright and gaudy clash was appropriate, as I can safely say that I've never seen an understated cocktail umbrella in my life!

With such a cool cuff, I had to finish the sock with a wee bit of flair, too, so I continued the pineapple pattern down to the toe - I do like seeing a pattern worked the entire length of the sock, I must admit!

This little beauty of a pattern can be yours for the excellently small price of $3.50 (or, and here we go with the current rates of exchange: €2.53 or £2.21 or ₪12.77 or 270 or A$3.43.)  A bargain in any currency!

(You can click HERE for the Ravelry pattern page for more details and buying options - and you don't have to be a member of Ravelry to look at, or indeed buy, any of my patterns!)

(Please excuse the massive differences in lighting/colours on the photos - my camera dislikes certain times of day/low level lighting.)

Mair Bloag Weejits

Footerin' Aboot

Footerin' Aboot
Heh! I'm so funny!

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