Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Keeping Your Martinis Dry

cocktail umbrella shawlette by yours truly
madelinetosh tosh sock in 'grapefruit'

I'd like to introduce something to you that I've been working on for a while...  The Cocktail Umbrella Shawlette.  

In keeping with my main alcoholic beverages theme (yes, I am indeed that clever... or fortunate that that I have a one-track mind) this shawlette is a celebration in little shawl form of that ubiquitous little paper drink accessory you find shading all your favourite exotic cocktails.  (I have to admit to liking them on non-exotic cocktails, too...  I find, for example, a cocktail umbrella balanced on the top of a pint of Guinness rather endearing, in a beauty and the beast kind of way...  But I digress.)  

Of those non-edible garnished for your alcoholic beverage of choice, none can come higher in the estimation of all (i.e. me) than the festive cocktail umbrella.  It adds fun and frivolity to the most austere of drinks (and now I'm picturing a traditional spot of sherry in an old-fashioned sherry glass, adorned with a bright paper umbrella...  I digress again.) and nothing else says 'this booze is FUN' any better than this little paper firework!

The Cocktail Umbrella Shawlette is made from the lace edging upward, and the body of the shawl is worked using short rows to give it that classic crescent shape. Adapted from my Piña Colada Socks and initially inspired by Barbara Walker's parasol lace, this shawlette is the perfect companion to watching the sun go down whilst sipping on your favourite cocktail!

So inspired was I by this little bit of yarny engineering, that I went straight on to make another one...  It took 4 days.  I may or may not have been obsessed.

april showers version
zagroda sock in 'gray'

  424 little stitches, 6 rows in,
finished lace swirl,
short rows take shape, nearly done.

Considering this is my first attempt at putting a little shawl together, I have to say I'm pretty pleased with the results!  You must, if you have the time, take a peek at the other versions of this shawlette you can find on the pattern page (which I'll link to in a bit) as the colours my testers have chosen to make this are truly reminiscent of cocktail umbrellas - they look so festive and happy!

And because I am so proud of this little cracker, I'm offering it for €3 ($3.87, £2.55) until the end of June 2013 to all-comers, then will put it up to the actual price of €4 ($5.16, £3.40) after the month is up!  You can't say I'm not good to you! :)

You can find the Ravelry pattern page HERE, or if you want to cut out the middle man, you can click on the button below which will take you straight to paypal.  All mod cons here, you know!

To make this shawl you need: size 3.5.mm (US 4) and size 3.25 (US 3) circular or straight needles, 380 - 400 yards of fingering-weight yarn, strong thread or similar for lifelines (optional but recommended), and around 20 stitch markers.  The size is roughly 75" wingspan by 15" depth but it depends on how rigorously and aggressively you block it.  I blocked both of mine to create scallops on the top edge, but it's just as simple (if not more simple) to block it straight.  I liked the added tension on the lace created by the scallops, but YMMV!

(you can click on any of these photos for a larger look-see!)

Friday, 24 May 2013

A Shot In The Dark

b-52 sock by yours truly
schachenmayr nomotta regia uni solid 4-ply in
'borke', 'natur' and 'jaffa'
I believe it's about time a classic shot drink was immortalised in sock form, and the B-52 is perfect for the job!  Basically a layered shot cocktail comprising of coffee liqueur, Irish cream liqueur, and an orange liqueur, this little devil should, when prepared properly, separate into 3 distinct layers.  The B-52 Sock has layers, too - 3 cabled layers of stylised coffee beans, Irish knots, and orange segments running in nearly worked striped from a toe-up cast-on, up the foot and onto the leg, with an afterthought heel and round toe.

the top layer - orange liqueur - stylised  orange segments
the middle layer - irish cream liqueur - a simple irish knot
the bottom layer - coffee liqueur - stylised coffee bean
The cuff gives you two options - the first gives you a ribbed cuff that carries the pretty cabled separator up to the top, and the second is inspired by the Flaming B-52, where the top layer of the shot is ignited.  (If you wanted to truly make a Flaming B-52, you could add blue to the mix, as the flame burns blue!)  Both are equally suitable to be the top to such cute socks!

Of course, you don't need to stich to these three colours - there are many variations of the B-52 to inspire your colour choice, including (and here I quote Mr Wikipedia):

B-51: a B52 with hazlenut liqueur rather than orange liqueur.
B-52 with Bomb Bay Doors: A B52 with Bombay gin.
B-52 in the Desert, or a B-52 with a Mexican Tailgunner: a B-52 with tequila rather than Irish cream.
B-52 with a Full Payload: a B-52 with a 4th layer of hazelnut liqueur and a 5th layer of rum lit on fire.
B-52: a B52 with Sambuca rather than Irish cream.
B-54 - a B-52 with almond liqueur in place of orange liqueur.
B-55: a B-52 with absinthe rather than orange liqueur - also know as the B-52 Gunship
B57: a B-52 with peppermint schnapps instead of Irish cream..

And if that's all too much, then how about one colour throughout?  One of my testers made the whole sock in one colour, which adds a real wow factor to the cable designs themselves!  So really, the options are endless!

You can see all the other versions HERE, which links to the main pattern page on Ravelry, or alternatively you buy it by clicking on the button below which takes you straight to paypal!

And the price?  You can get this gorgeousness for only €3 (£2.57, $3.88).  Go on!  You know you need to!

Mair Bloag Weejits

Footerin' Aboot

Footerin' Aboot
Heh! I'm so funny!

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