theraineysisters knitting and so much more

October 17, 2016

From Sally — Loft-y Ambitions

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 12:41 pm

I have a love/dislike relationship with Brooklyn Tweed’s Loft yarn.  I love the colors and many of the patterns designed for it.  But the yarn itself is very fragile — it must be hand wound and even then it can break if given a sharp tug.  Sometimes, it can feel as if you’re knitting with dryer lint.  (Sorry, Jared!)  Over the years, I’ve bought numerous skeins of Loft and started many projects.  But I’ve rarely finished them.  One exception:  my Foxhall Gloves, which looked great but did not wear well.

However, I’ve just finished knitting Boardwalk, designed by Heidi Kirrmaier, and I’m quite pleased with it.  The color I chose is Nest.  I started this sweater ages ago.  I knit it almost to the armhole and set it aside.  When I came back to it, I decided I had knit it too tightly.  The fabric was too dense and I was worried the finished vest would be too small.  I ripped it back to the welted hems and then went up a needle size (from a 2.75 mm to a 3.25).  This time, I kept going until it was finished.  Yay!

This felt like a slow project (possibly because I knit much of it twice), but once you get past the armhole it’s fun.  The mitered front is very clever and the directions are well written.  The yarn itself blocked out beautifully and has a nice drape.  I am inspired to go back to some of my earlier Loft projects now that I’ve finished this one.

October 12, 2016

From Susan – Now That’s Big!

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 8:03 am

I saw a shawl pattern recently and just loved it: Lehigh by Melanie Berg.  Bought the yarn and the book, Malabrigo Book 10 (Rios)…waited two weeks for the yarn.  :(  Started the shawl straight away before I headed to DC to visit Surly.

It takes 4 skeins of Rios Plomo and two of Arco Iris (I got the Plomo at The Yarnery and the other from Love Knitting).  I ran out of the Plomo and just kind of finished it up at that point.  Thank goodness.  The finished size is 120 inches across.  I said that to Sally and she goes, “That’s TEN FEET!”  Wow.  She is right!

Susan’s Lehigh Shawl

This shows the wrong side:

I added tassels to the back and both ends.  This side edge picture shows my use of No End Stripes:

I don’t have a picture of the entire shawl, nor have I figured out how to wear it! 😉  But I expect to look exactly like this: 😉

I was and still am disappointed in the color of my Arco Iris.  The picture shows a lot of yellow and spring green (more like this person’s shawl on Ravelry), but my color is more pink and orange — and generally duller.

All I know is, this ten-foot sucker will be warm this winter!!!

October 6, 2016

From Susan — Wander Back

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 2:26 pm

Hi, all!  Fall is here and I am loving it!  Minnesota has been showcased to the nation and beyond recently with the Ryder Cup and other major sporting events.  The weather has been stunning and everything is a lush green, with just a hint of fall colors emerging.  Here I captured a double rainbow from our front window:

As promised, I am revisiting some of my State Fair entries that I had not posted prior to the fair.

The Ridge Hat captured my attention because of its elaborate cabling…and the fact that it is knit in worsted weight (which I hoped meant a quick knit).

I knit it out of mystery yarn – probably Madtosh DK (KW – do you recognize it?).  I love how the cables completely change up as you near the crown.  It received a 3rd place ribbon which was very nice!

The second thing I want to share is my Strandwanderer Shawl.  Some of you may remember a prior attempt.  I have bought lots of yarn in the past in order to make this intriguing shawl.  The color changes have to be of a specific type and spacing for it to work.

I found Yarn Love Mr. Darcy in the Rainbow River Rock colorway last April at Yarnover.  My “yarn whisperer” Kim thought it would work.  I bought two skeins so it would not be skimpy.  Later I looked at the receipt and realized I had spent $78!!  Ouch!!

The shawl was part of my Camp contest entry – I started my presentation talking about the shawl (Mr. Darcy yarn)…blah, blah, blah!  Then I threw the shawl aside and showed Little Darcy instead.  Though I threw the shawl aside as if it was nothing, that is not the way I feel about it — I LOVE this shawl!

It was kind of tedious to knit but I adore it.  The yarn is gorgeous and it worked perfectly to create the small, repeating boxes that represent the unique feature of this pattern.  The boxes are created by binding off most of the sts across the shawl using 3 garter sts.  This creates regular color repeats.  The boxes alternate with rows of garter, where the pooling changes as the scarf widens.  Brilliant!  I knit this right down to the last 3 grams of yarn.

That’s it for now!

September 26, 2016

From Both of Us — Little Darcy Goes to Washington

Filed under: Updates — Both Sisters @ 5:57 pm

When asked about the purpose of Susan’s trip to DC – Sally responded with a somewhat noncommittal reply.  Now you will get the full scoop!  (The working title of this post was “I plead the Firth!” but some of us did not agree … 😉 ).

Of course there was the usual knitting, shopping and eating! 😉  But the main purpose had to do with the timing.  THE SHIRT was to be on display at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC.  We saw the refurbished Capitol gleaming in the sun as we headed to the Folger – absolutely breathtaking.

The Folger exhibition is titled Will & Jane: Shakespeare, Austen, and the Cult of Celebrity and runs into November.  Yes.  They brought in the actual shirt:

THE SHIRT was magnificent:

Incredible details and amazing tailoring.  Little Darcy LOVED it!!

My shirt!!

It looked like they had taken the shirt right off him, and let it dry as is.  Wow.  😉  Wow.

They had a beautiful exhibit of personal items of Jane Austen’s (including her famous ring and hand written notes), as well as memorabilia from the film:

Jane Bennett’s Wedding Bonnet

The trip was also timely because Bridget Jones’s Baby is now showing.  We re-watched the first two BJD films in preparation before heading to the theater.

Little Darcy, Susan, and Sally loved it!!  Six thumbs up!  Thank goodness the script made Bridget smarter and more likeable than she was in the second film.  Of course, time has taken its toll on all the characters.  Colin Firth said in an interview on Live with Kelly! that in the next BJD movie he would rip the tubes out of his arms, jump off his bath chair, and chase Bridget down using a walker!

Little Darcy also just had to re-watch his favorite BBC miniseries:

Oh, Mr. Darcy indeed!!

Little Darcy had all sorts of fun over the weekend:

Dining Out, Eating Caper Berries

He has long had a fondness for Caper Berry Gravy, aka green gunge (“Just stir it, Una!!”):

Little Darcy enjoyed a movie on AmazonPrime:

Tom Hanks looks perturbed with Little Darcy and P&P in general!

He also enjoyed watching the Vikings beat the Carolina Panthers (“Go, Vikes!!”):

And helping Sally with her latest knitting project:

All in all a very satisfying weekend.  Our yarn purchases (not that many 😉 ) will be revealed in time!!

Little Darcy says goodbye to our lovely capital:

PS — Can’t believe we forgot to mention running into Mary Lou Egan, a colleague of Susan’s from The Yarnery!!  It was such a wonderful surprise!!  She (along with co-authors Gale Zucker and Kristen Kapur) were at Fibre Space promoting their new book, Drop-Dead Easy Knits.  They had the entire trunk show on display and were doing workshops.  So great to see Mary Lou!!  Susan is a long time admirer.

PS2 from Susan to Nadine:  Little Darcy cuter than Mr. Darcy??!!  It is a sacrilege!  Or a compliment…don’t know which.  I am conflicted!! 😉

September 17, 2016

From Susan — I Think I Cancan

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 4:57 pm

The first kiss of fall fills the air and means that summer is over.  It is a wistful time, but a pleasant one.

A friend recently asked me if I could fix the cast on for the French Cancan Shawl, which has a definite hump like many other crescent shawls.  I seem to have become the unofficial “hump whisperer.”  Please do not put that on my headstone!!

The French Cancan does not use the same rate or method for the increases that I have used in other shawls, so I had to build the cast on from scratch.  It isn’t perfect but I think it is an improvement.  A link to the cast on for this shawl is here.

I decided I needed to make the shawl to test it.  :)  I started out with fingering weight yarn and completed the entire body.  I found the braided edging (which takes 2 rows per stitch to complete = 800 rows for mine) too daunting, so I started over with worsted weight yarn.  Cheater!!  😉

I used very well aged yarn from my stash – Mulberry Silk from Horstia left over from my Viking Turid sweater.  Beautiful 50-50 silk and merino yarn.

I added some short rows and other mods to the corners so they would look pointed and not lopped off.  Here is my French Cancan blocking:

Blocking shows reduced hump!!

Lettie likes everything French!!

Corner Detail

So there is my French Cancan.  I hope to wear it when I visit Surly next week.

September 14, 2016

From Susan — OMG, My Mother Goose Hat is “Famous!”

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 7:51 am

My Mother Goose hat is featured on the main Ravelry page!  Thanks, Bonnie, for alerting me to this news!  My little hidden hat is getting its day in the sun after all!!  :)

September 9, 2016

From Susan — It’s a Two-Fer!!

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 1:16 pm

Sally is in Colorado selflessly tending to her DD’s medical needs and helping cheer her up.  She really appreciates that many of you responded to the question she posed about the mystery knitting needles!!

I picked up my stuff from the fair on Wednesday.  There are several items that I had not yet posted on the blog or Ravelry.  One is the hat that no one saw!  Literally.  No.  One.  It was better hidden than [insert your favorite insulting political comment here].

The pattern is called Mother Goose Hat and to me it screamed invisible stranding!!  The last pattern row has one white stitch and the rest blue!  The technique worked beautifully.

I think it’s pretty cute!!  The hat received a 5th place ribbon at the fair which means I received a $0 award.  Yep.  Not even a buck!!

And to Gretchen — you will have to wait until next year to get a picture with Babe!!

PS in response to Amy:  I will bring my stuff and judges’ sheets to the fair, but you are only allowed to talk about five entries.  :)

PPS to Angela:  I wasn’t complaining about 5th place (maybe about the $0!! 😉 )!  I feel like getting any ribbon at our fair is recognition.  The competition in Minnesota is fierce!

September 2, 2016

From Sally — Do You Recognize This Needle?

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 1:32 pm

I was just swatching for a project and one of the needles I grabbed is a favorite of mine.  Unfortunately, I have absolutely no idea what the brand is, whether it’s still being made, or whether it’s been changed.  I have several of these needles in different sizes but nary a package in sight.

Here are two photos.  As you can see, the cord is black.  It’s also extremely flexible.  The tips are sort of between being pointy and blunt, and the surface itself has a nice feel.  Not too grabby, not too slick.  The needle size is “engraved” on the tip (you may not be able to read it in the photo).  Finally, the cord itself flattens out slightly just before it attaches to the tip.

If these are still being made I want to buy more.  I thought I’d reach out to our readers to see if anyone knows about these mystery needles.

ETA: Thanks everyone — the consensus seems to be Inox. I knew our readers wouldn’t let us down. And thanks for the information on where to find replacements.



August 31, 2016

From Susan — It’s Déjà Vu all Over Again

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 10:48 pm

It was back to the fair for me on Tuesday – this time with DD and DH!!  We visit very different parts of the fair than when I go with Kim, so it is worth a second trip.  The weather was superb and, because school has started for many kids, there weren’t big crowds.  Yay!

Here, Laura and I share a cuppa Joe!!

And who would believe that nestled between the Food Building and Pork Chop on a Stick is an oasis of serenity and beauty!

Yes, this idyllic resting spot is located right in front of the Horticulture Building and has lots of shaded seating!

The best thing I ate on Tuesday was Bacon on a Stick from Big Fat Bacon.  Yes.  That is what they serve…big, fat bacon.  And it was d e l i c i o u s!

We had a ton of fun but I was so tired I didn’t think I could make it back to the car!  Now, we have to wait a whole ‘nother year!!

PS to Anya: Your husband has excellent taste!

August 26, 2016

From Susan — FAIR-ly Certain

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 10:44 am

I am fairly certain that I will never have a nicer day at the fair!  The weather was S P E C T A C U L A R.  Could not be better.

My knitting peep, Kim, and I always hit the fair the first day and trot right over to the Creative Activities Building to see how our entries fared.  I had high hopes for Kim because she entered an amazing afghan.  And there it was in the main case:

We went bonkers!!  It was so exciting to see her beautiful blanket festooned with ribbons.  It is the Elephants Blanket by Alice Starmore.  When we could tear our eyes away from the glory of it all, we saw more:

Right above her afghan was her submarine sweater and above it my Newsom Sweater, both with blue ribbons!  Yay!  (I don’t think I got a single good picture of my Newsom).  Close by was Kim’s adorable Lilleput Sweater, which also walked away with a blue ribbon.

You kind of have to hunt around for everything — the good news is that they included people’s names on all the items that won ribbons!!  Really nice addition!

We went around the corner and there was my latest Niebling Doily:

It was displayed so beautifully I was really pleased!  It is in the main case with the needlework and quilting.

I also entered a sweater I just finished, Carol Sunday’s Milkweed Pullover (the color in the top two pics is the truest):

My other Carol Sunday entry, Dancing with Bears, also got a blue ribbon:

I entered a slurry of hats and another sweater that received ribbons:

Except for Woodfords, none of these are on Ravelry yet.  I will come back and describe them later in more detail.  :)  If you try to find my Mother Goose Hat at the fair, good luck!  It is so far back it is almost in the next county building!!

We were overwhelmed and had to celebrate with fair food.  We were devastatingly disappointed in the corn dogs from our “favorite” location, kitty corner from Creative Activities!  Mine was cold, with uncooked batter around the dog.  Kim’s was only slightly better and not at all up to par!  Ugh!!

And the price went up, too! Now $4 (this picture is from several years ago).

After the fair we immediately went to our Thursday Knitting Group.  Peep Kathy brought in a baby hat that is crazy adorable — Little Frankie Stein:

I got home exhausted but happy after a wonderful day at the fair.

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