theraineysisters knitting and so much more

May 19, 2016

From Susan — Sincerest Form of Flattery

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 8:46 am

I loved Sally’s Waiting for Rain shawl – it is so unique and the color so stunning.  So I decided that I wanted one, too!

While out visiting the “Surly One” we made a quick stop at Fibre Space.  They were carrying a special order of “big wheels” in a variety of yarns.  Hazel Knits Artisan Sock Big Wheels carry a whopping ~800 yards at a $48 price.  I chose Quill, which has an overall gray cast with hints of brown and blue.  Very pretty.  Just not as pretty as Sally’s Sedge green :( .


Susan’s Waiting for Rain, Hazel Knits Artisan Sock, Color Quill

It is done.  I really like it — love the size and the shape for wearability.  Not yet convinced about the color!!

PS to Janet from Susan — Jean Moss Knitting Tour

Wasn’t that just a wonderful experience??  It was a highlight of Sally’s and my knitting life to dine with Alice that evening before her class!  I probably am the one who mentioned the author – it was Monica Ferris.  She did come to my knitting group several times, but I doubt that she wrote about me per se.  She did use the unusual name of a fellow knitter as one of her characters, and also tapped into our expertise for general knitting knowledge!!  She has not appeared in years but is welcome back any time!!

May 15, 2016

From Susan — Heard ya!

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 6:58 pm

Several people have asked if I could enlarge the Crescent Swallowtail.  I always do what I am told :) so I did write up some notes on how to make the crescent larger.  I think the math is good, but you know knitters can’t count (just ask anyone who has cast on 397 sts and see if they can come up with the same number twice!!).

Enlarging the Crescent Swallowtail 5-15-2016

PLEASE let me know if you find any glaring errors or suggestions.  I will (as with the crescent pattern) keep my Ravelry page updated.  After people have made some bigger Swallowtails and I feel the information is solid, I will add the notes pages to the regular pattern so everything is in one place.

There are now two Crescent Swallowtails on Ravelry that were knit by people other than moi — yay!!  Now let’s get some bigger ones out there.

PS – I cannot give you yarn estimates.  I can only share the yardages I used when knitting my shawls.  The good news is that as others knit this version of the Swallowtail, more information will become available.  Thanks, all!!

PS to Deborah:  My first shawls were triangles as that was the prevailing shape at the time.   The problem with them is that as you make the shawl wider to increase the width between points (to fit better), the back just keeps getting longer and longer without adding “value”.  With crescents, the length is being added to the endpoints, making them easier to wear because they are long enough to tie in the front, or wrap around the neck.  Their gentle curve hugs the shoulders.  If they are really long and narrow they can be worn like a scarf.  Very versatile and easy to wear!

May 9, 2016

From Sally — Chance of Showers

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 6:42 pm

The weather in the Washington, DC area has been pretty miserable lately.  We’ve had 13 straight days of rain and there’s more in the forecast. Lots more. Oy. Susan flew in for the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. We had fun, even though it was a bit of a Maryland Sheep & Mud Festival. We’ll clue you in on our (modest) purchases as they are knit up. Susan did get this shot of a cute little lamb that had just had a bottle and was falling asleep.

My latest project couldn’t have been more appropriately named: Waiting for Rain designed by Sylvia Bo Bilvia.

Waiting for Rain inserts short row lace panels into an otherwise ordinary garter stitch crescent shawl. It’s lovely in its simplicity. The construction is ingenious. The knitting is easy. What’s not to like?

I knit mine out of Entice, a fingering weight blend of merino, cashmere, and nylon from Hazel Knits. The color is Sedge.



I love the color. I also noticed it went perfectly in my Library. So perfectly that I went back to Fibre Space in Alexandria, Virginia and bought a couple of “big wheel” skeins of Cadence, a worsted weight superwash merino. (The big wheels hold a generous 600 yards each.) I plan to knit a nice sized throw to keep me warm this winter.

P.S. Let me add one little note. I wore my new shawl when I picked Susan up from the airport. As we were driving home, I glanced down and saw a mistake. What??!!?? I hadn’t seen it while I was knitting. I hadn’t seen it when it was blocked. But suddenly there it was — a stitch that I had screwed up so it looked like there was a small spot of stockinette in the midst of the garter. Aargh.

The mistake was near the bind off, but at the “wrong” end. I could easily fix it, but I’d have to rip out the tedious bind off. My other choice (besides ignoring it, which is NOT a Rainey Sister option) was to cut the yarn at the point of the mistake, drop back, fix it, and then ladder back to the bind off. I could do it. I’ve done worse. But luckily for me, Dr. Susan was in the house. I had a mild case of the vapors while she got out the scissors. A few minutes later, all was well. Thanks, Sis!

PS from Susan — Sally (and hubby) were great hosts and I had such a fun weekend despite the rain.  I liked Sally’s shawl so much I bought yarn for one of my own.  It seemed like a fast knit, but that is not the case!  My return flight had “issues” and was delayed almost three hours.  :(  You never want to see men digging around in your plane’s engine…

PS2 to NewJerseyLaura:  I did not do a duplicate stitch because I did not want ends woven into the body of the shawl.  I cut the bind off (which was heading from right to left) where the arrow is pointing.  I unraveled the picot to the right of the arrow.  I picked out the sts to the picot to the left of the arrow.  I dropped down to the mistake, fixed it and laddered up.  Then I spliced in more yarn and bound off, starting with the picot I had unravelled and ending at picot #2 — where I did my best to mimic the path of the yarn I had cut.   There were two ends to weave in, and I wove them into picot #2.  Picot #2 is now a little fatty, but in the scheme of things, far less noticeable!!

May 3, 2016

From Susan — Oops

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 9:30 pm

Mistakes were made.  Mathematical issues revealed.   Fingers were pointed.  Tears were shed.

Crescent Swallowtail Corrected.

Unfortunately, probably not the last of it.  :(

PS — Karen asked about the dimensions and I should have included this before.

My original triangular shawl (which has “snapped back” and should be reblocked!) is 50 inches across the top, 21 inches deep at the center spine and 32 inches along the side (angular) edges.

Light Blue Crescent: 48″ at the top edge, 84″ at the outside edge, 11-1/2″ deep
Orange Crescent: 52″ at the top edge, 88″ at the outside edge, 13-1/2″ deep
Dark Blue Crescent: 54″ at the top edge, 90″ at the outside edge, 12-1/2″ deep

The difference in sizes relates to yarn weight.  Some sock yarns are heavier than others.  My original Swallowtail took much more yarn than any of these, but is smaller because I knit it tighter all the way through (never switching needles), and the depth at the spine takes up all the yarn.  Triangular shawls get longer and longer at the center spine and just not that wide at the top.

One of my goals is to write up some notes about making the shawl larger.  I want to make a bigger version in a gorgeous raspberry from my newly enhanced  stash, and I will definitely share my experience!!

April 29, 2016

From Susan — LOVE My Phiaro!!

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 2:01 pm

Phiaro is finito and I L O V E it.

The drape and feel of the fabric is amazing.  I am really looking forward to wearing this.  Lots of bang for the knitting time you put in!!  Thanks to Mary and my other lemmings for dragging me happily over the cliff!!

April 27, 2016

From Susan — Tubular!

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 10:35 am

What is on my needles right now?  A couple of things, but my mindless, soon-to-be finished WIP is a rendition of Phiaro.  This is the latest in my knitting group’s many “lemming” projects.  We run off the knitting cliff arm in arm!  I bought the yarn at Lakeside Yarns during Shop Hop on April 9 as did a couple of others.  The rest took the leap at Yarnover last weekend!!

We are knitting our wraps out of Rowan Purelife Revive.  My colors (from top to bottom) are Jade, Flint, Grit, Pumice, and Granite.

You knit a tube, cut it at the beginning of the round and then drop sts to create an openwork wrap with braided fringe — very cute and summery.  Some people do a combination of ktbl and purl sts.  Ugh.  I think they do that when using slippery yarn.  This yarn is anything but slippery!!  It is like knitting with sand paper!   The shop sample was just knit in the round and it seemed to work fine, plus it is M I N D L E S S knitting.  I am on the last color and have about 20 rounds to go before the bind off /dropped sts finale…yay!!  I will add a picture of the finished stole when it is done — hopefully SOON.

Just a word about Yarnover.  I thoroughly enjoyed it!  The dinner Friday night was fantastic – really delicious food and a presentation by none other than knitting royalty: Meg Swansen.   She shared wonderful stories about her life and how she became the knitting icon that she is today.

I did not sign up for classes this year but shopped in the vendor market – found some beautiful things which will be shared when their time is at hand.  😉  Some people had complaints about the venue, especially parking and accessibility.  There are always complaints about the venue.  Different venue, different complaints!  I know from having been on the committee that they try so hard to make it a perfect day and really take concerns to heart.  I know they will do their best to make improvements for next year.

PS – I did finish this yesterday except for the “finishing”!  I dropped all the sts and started the braided fringe.  Whoa.  Slow going there!!  I did 15 out of 50 and had to call it for the night!

April 13, 2016

From Susan — The Elusive Crescent Swallowtail

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 8:01 am

The Crescent Swallowtail – this has been a goal of mine for a while now.  I wanted to convert the triangular shape of the beloved Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark (over 11,000 Ravelry projects!!) to the crescent shape that I now prefer for shawls.

How hard could it be?  :)  Harder than I first thought!

The difference between a triangular shaped shawl and a crescent is the rate of the increases.  A standard triangular shawl increases 4 stitches every two rows.  A typical crescent increases at a rate of 6 stitches every two rows.  I figured I would just use Excel to chart it all out and voilà!  My math skills started out a bit sketchy, but it all worked out in the end!  I also increased needle sizes along the way to enlarge the outer circumference.

I knitted up three samples to verify the accuracy of the charts.  I created two different styles and two different bind offs.  You can mix and match to create the look you want.

 Standard Option
This option uses all the elements of the original shawl: Budding Lace to start, Lily of the Valley nupps, and standard lace edging with original bind off.

Lv2knit’s Crescent Swallowtail


Blue Crescent Swallowtail out of Hazel Knits Entice, Color Twilight

Stockinette/Picot Option
I substituted stockinette for the Budding Lace pattern and added a picot bind off.  They are the same shape — I just laid them out differently for photos!!


Crescent Swallowtail in Shalimar Paulie (color: Orange is the New Black)


No hump cast on!


Picot Edging (this photo looks washed out!)

I wrote my mods up in pattern format so anyone and everyone can re-knit this shawl if they wish.  I recommend that you go to my Ravelry page to always be sure you have the most up-to-date version…I already made one correction and others may follow!!  I have one more on the needles and maybe more in my future…I’m loving this shawl!


Enjoy your own Swallowtail!!

PS to Janet: I did not share my spreadsheet and do not plan on it – it is kind of a mess!

PS2 — I finished my third Crescent Swallowtail!  Done in Malabrigo Sock (Impressionist Sky).  I did the standard version with the picot bind off (I think it’s my fave):

PS3 to Tina: I will admit to being a shameless enabler!! :)

April 6, 2016

From Susan — Endless Knitting

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 11:17 pm

There are so many fabulous striped shawls and scarves available now, aren’t there??!  They are so popular and fun to knit.

A new person to our knitting group was working on a striped shawl that had a background color with periodic stripes of a contrasting color.  I showed her how to start the new color without an end to weave in and said, “You can avoid an end when you start the color, but there will be always be an end to weave in when you stop it.”  That bugged me!  Why does there need to be an end at the end??

So, I came up with a way to eliminate the pesky ends in striped shawls and scarves.  The only end I couldn’t get rid of was the bind off!

This is a small sample that shows the way it looks, with no ends as you knit along.  Is the [right] edge perfect?  No, but if there were a bunch of ends woven in it would look a lot worse!

I do variations on splicing to eliminate the ends.  I spit splice almost every fiber I knit with.  Superwash, singles, cotton, etc.  There have been very few times over the years when I have been unable to successfully splice my yarn.  One annoying exception is some of the beautiful hand painted yarns that we love.  Sometimes the color does not penetrate all the way through, so the inside is white.  When you split off the plies, the white can show.  Then you might get the barber pole effect.

I splice when I add a new ball of yarn, add a new color, and sometimes when I cast on, but I don’t use it all the time — there are times when I want an end.

Regular splicing works when joining in a new ball of yarn in the round and the Russian Join for color changes, but the starting and ending of the new color that I demonstrate is not really meant for working in the round.  It would leave a hole in your knitting, plus you have a place to hide the ends on the inside. But it is another technique to have in your toolbox!

I taught this as a Pop Up a the Yarnery last weekend and 40 people showed up, so I decided to put together a YouTube video so others could check it out.  It is too long and I tend to ramble (and hate hearing my voice!!), but it does show the different techniques.  In the video I use water to moisten the yarn, but in real life I usually suck on the ends!  I wanted to look more refined and classy in the video!! :)

There is a picture of a written chart that may be hard to see.  Click here for a pdf copy: Minimizing Ends in Knitting.

And thanks to Gretchen for the timely information about YouTube videos!!

PS to Celeste re: Pop Up class — we held two separate sessions with about 20 people per.  I did demos on the “end the color” technique for 4-5 people at a time with them standing behind me.  It worked!

PS2 to o-stephanephanie:  O-stephanephanie asked about this technique in fair isle.  Fair isle is knit in the round, so I don’t use the half Russian join.  What I do to eliminate ends in a pullover or on the sleeves would be to either do a standard splice (as I do when just changing to a new ball in a project) if the color change flows from one to the other.  If the color change is abrupt, I would do a standard Russian join.  I show what this looks like in this post.  And as the post states, I didn’t even bother with a Russian join on the underside of the sleeves – I just spliced.

PS3 to Jennie – Jennie mentioned my assurance that by twisting the yarn as you go that these methods work with all yarns.  I can only guarantee that this works for me!!  I have been doing this for years with all kinds of yarn, so I know it works, but everyone is different and you may be knitting with yarn I have never tried.  So, be aware that objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear!!!

April 4, 2016

From Sally — Beep, Beep

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 12:35 am

As Susan mentioned earlier, I have been traveling.  My husband and I drove from Washington, DC (just as our cherry trees were flowering) to the Grand Canyon.  We stayed there a few days, hiking and enjoying the jaw dropping views.  It was very cold — we were caught in several snow squalls and had to buy extra cold weather gear.  It was worth it!

IMG_3179

IMG_3170

After leaving the Grand Canyon, we drove down to Tucson for a little vacation with my daughter and her husband. My son and his girlfriend will join us in a few days.

I’d been promised that I would see a road runner while we’re in Tucson. Finally, this morning, I saw two of them. I took a not great video of one of them. I blame the quality of the video on Wile E. Coyote. I bought my camera from Acme, his favorite purveyor of goods.

Beep beep!! I warned you it was crappy video! (And I personally hate how youtube then plugs a bunch of random videos after you watch the one I’ve embedded, but I don’t know how to get rid of that.)

As for knitting, I’ve been working on a couple of projects and hope to have something finished to show you all when I get home.

March 27, 2016

From Susan — Happy Easter!!

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 10:44 am

Sally is travelling but I am sure she would wish the same.

Have you seen these yet, floating about the internet??

Are they not the cutest?  They have sausage inside so they are truly Piggies in a Blanket.  My daughter showed me a youtube video on how to make them but I could not find it.  I improvised with Pillsbury Grand biscuits, and sausage links (casings removed , rolled into balls and baked).  You brush them with egg wash.  The girl has whole cloves for eyes and the boy has peppercorns.


From the back

Anyway, they are awfully darn cute — I almost hate to eat them!!

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