October 25, 2014

From Both of Us — Orange, Orange, Orange

Filed under: Updates — Both Sisters @ 1:34 pm

Orange was a strong thematic element last weekend at Rhinebeck!  It seems impossible that just a week ago today at 9:00 a.m. we were entering the Dutchess County Fairgrounds to experience the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, New York.

Susan arrived in Washington, DC last week Thursday and was soon whisked off to the Bourbon Steak House at the Four Seasons Hotel.  They served the best iceberg wedge salad she have ever had, and the poor thing dreams about it every day!!

Friday morning we headed to Rhinebeck, following a crazy, circuitous route that defied logic.  GPS, what were you thinking??!!  We chose to travel up the east side of the Hudson so we could get the lay of the land before the “big day.”  The river and fall foliage were spectacular.  We drove through Hyde Park, the home of the Roosevelts.  And easily found the fairgrounds.  We ate in Rhinebeck and discovered a local specialty: crispy artichoke hearts.  Delish!!!

Our accommodations were quite luxurious ;) :

Saturday morning we headed to the festival in time to wait in line with hundreds of other excited fiber enthusiasts.  We had not done any homework: we did not know the layout of the grounds or anything about the vendors.  We like to go with the flow!!  The venue was wonderful: the buildings seem new and clean, the grounds were covered in colorful fall trees, etc.

The first building we entered was packed with people.  You had to fight your way into some of the stalls.  It was wild.  Noni from Noni Knits was there and had a full array of purses and the findings to complete the bags.  We may have dropped a dollar or two!

One thing we both wanted: apple cider donuts!

OMG!!  The best!!  Cannot be described.

Susan’s other obsession was Maple Sugar Cotton Candy.  She had heard about it and really wanted to try it!

It looked exactly like the most beautiful fleece in the world: creamy colored and just like cotton batting.  Melted in your mouth and not very sweet.  It was worth a trip back!!

We shopped and shopped.  Susan found this stunning felted bag:

Julia Hilbrandt Felted Bags

Sally loved these bags, too but couldn’t find exactly what she wanted…decided she could order one later.  Julia makes many cute styles.

It was fun to see so many people that share your love of wool and knitting.  Susan wore her Scatness Tunic and cowl as planned and enjoyed wearing it.  Sally wore her Creature Comforts Cardi and wrapped up in her Mary Tudor Wrap because the weather was a bit unpredictable.

We dragged ourselves exhausted and broke into town to dine at The Terrapin (for more crispy artichokes).  We were a little early for our reservations, so we shopped “a bit.”  Well Sally found the bag o’her dreams in a little shop across from the Terrapin:

Now Susan thinks hers looks like a piece o’crap!!  Sally’s is a truly stunning bag!

Sundays at the festival are much less frenetic and far less crowded.  We spent a couple of hours revisiting spots (okay, the donut shop and cotton candy stand), and bought more yarn (lots more yarn).  And ate more crispy artichokes.

That evening we were relaxing in the hotel café, minding our own business, knitting and munching when a woman swooped by and invited us to a “post-Rhinebeck” yarn tasting event being held in our hotel 3 seconds from where we were sitting!  Anne Hanson had her line of Bare Naked Wool and a few other yarns for sale.  We thought we were done and all our yarn money spent.  Nope.

Monday and Tuesday
Monday and Tuesday were travel days, getting back to reality.

Here is the yarn that Susan bought (Sally will share her great buys in a later post — she is travelling at the moment):

Harrisville Watershed – Penstock: a lightly spun worsted in a very dark, almost back, deeply colored wool.  Purchased for Rowe (which she actually started last night!).  Susan bought a ton of this for a sweater coat.

Shalimar Yarns Paulie — Orange is the New Black!!  Found this yarn at the Anne Hanson event: could not resist this color (it added to the orange theme!!).  Both of us snagged a skein.

Miss Babs Yowza in French Marigold — MORE orange yarn!  A gorgeous coppery tone, perhaps for Thorntower.  Miss Babs’ booth was crazy busy on both days.  You could not even get to the yarns: people had to hand them back to you to look at!!

We love apple cider donuts, maple sugar cotton candy and crispy artichokes.  We both really enjoyed the trip to Rhinebeck.  The travel time and expense make it not as attractive an option as the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival (an hour’s drive from Sally’s home), but we would probably go back.  Just not every year!!

October 22, 2014

From Sally — Fall Leaves

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 11:37 am

As promised, I’m sharing a new FO: Sprig, designed by Alana Dakos. This was my first use of a Plucky Knitter yarn. I used Bello Worsted, which is 55% merino and 45% cashmere and is just as luscious as it sounds. My color is called Skies of November — very appropriate for this time of year.

This is a fast and easy knit, and I loved all of the little details, especially the buttons at the elbow. (I added a few beads for extra pop.) The sleeves hit just below the elbow, which I find a very flattering length.

My only modification was to do a rolled stockinette hem instead of the garter stitch hem called for in the pattern.

Addendum from Susan — Sally and I just got back from Rhinebeck.  We spent money like drunken knitters (even though we were sober!!).  At least sober while we shopped!  It was fun and interesting and we will share more in the days to come.  Sally’s Sprig is darling and fits like a glove!

October 14, 2014

From Susan — Nice Combo!

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 10:20 pm

Wow! Who knew?  I got dressed to go to work today and was going to wear my Maestro Jacket.  It needed a little pop, so I pulled out my Oro Azteca Kinetic Cowl. It looked pretty good! The gradient section from yellow to gray matched the color of the jacket perfectly and added a big color boost.

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The other old thing I want to share is my Scatness. The nylon (plastic) snaps really bothered me. I thought they looked cheap and distracting. I used black metal snaps on my cowl and liked them much better. So I replaced the snaps on my tunic and also moved the buttons to the other side. I understand why Kate put them on the left side, but it bugged me.

 photo ba55c5b3-351f-4317-9384-0c990689cb8f.jpg

So old is new again! Well, not that old! :)

PS – I leave tomorrow for DC to start the Rhinebeck adventure!!

October 8, 2014

From Sally — Fall Blooms

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 3:13 pm

I haven’t been knitting much lately; I certainly haven’t been whipping out the finished projects the way Susan has.  I do, finally, have two projects to show for my time.  Because I don’t post as often as my sister, I’ll show you one today and one later to stretch them out.

First, up — my Song of the Sea Cowl. The pattern, by Louise Zass-Bangham, is very simple but still has lots of visual interest. The yarn is Sojourn by Miss Babs. It is 65% cashmere and 35% silk. Need I say more? It is wonderfully soft, even more so after blocking. The color is Lady Bug. Although I envisioned making this cowl in a more neutral color, by the time I found the Sojourn at Fibre Spaces Miss Babs Trunk Show, it had been picked over. (That’s putting it mildly — this yarn was flying out of the store and for good reason.)

I do love pink and it’s so cheerful.

Speaking of cheerful, we created a little garden path for our beloved Thor. He insisted on cutting through this part of the garden, mowing down anything planted in his path. We surrendered. When I went out today, look what had bloomed next to his stone! One of my fall bulbs. I think it means he approves.

October 3, 2014

From Susan — Can’t Get Enough

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 10:59 am

I adore my Scatness Tunic!  I loved knitting it and after yesterday, I adore wearing it!  Yay!  Because I had so much yarn left over, I decided to make a matching cowl.

I could go in many different directions, but then I realized that what I love about Scatness is the corrugated ribbing, the fair isle band, and of course the buttons.  I did not want to cover all that up with a cowl.  So, I decided to incorporate all of my favorite elements into the design.

The cowl is a plain rectangle, and when I went to wear it, it looked weird in the front.  So I twisted it fully once and then snapped it.  Voila.  A faux moebius (a fauxbious! …Heidi) was born.

I wore the tunic and cowl to work yesterday.  A friend I’ve known for more than twenty years said it was the cutest thing I had ever made and was her favorite of all my sweaters! :)

September 28, 2014

From Susan — Scatness is Finito

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 11:08 am

We are experiencing a weekend that cannot be matched.  It is “fall” but really feels like perfect summer weather.  It is a gift.  The Yarnery and Darn Knit Anyway are hosting a fall fiber event this afternoon at a farm, which sounds like a great way to knit and enjoy the outdoors!

I finally put in the time to finish up my Scatness Tunic.  The knitting had been done for a few weeks but the finishing work remained.  There is a tremendous amount of finishing to this project…and it is not your standard seaming, etc.  You make buttons (which I had already done), add a fabric or ribbon facing to the front bands, and sew on snaps.  I had to be in the mood to do it!

I enjoyed making this very much.  The yarn is scrumptious: Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift.  The pattern was well written, but like many current patterns, the armhole depth seems skimpy to me and is too late to fix. :(

I did the Wheelhouse buttons as described in the book.  I used one inch plastic rings which I knew would show through, so I first covered them with yarn held double and a standard buttonhole stitch:

The buttons are lightweight and super cute!!

I searched high and low for the right braided ribbon, and finding none resorted to fabric.  I had finished the steeks my usual way (twice, but don’t ask!) but at the last minute decided to tuck them under the fabric lining.  I used nylon snaps as suggested in the pattern.  Not sure what I think of them but I am also not sure what would have been better.

I am just finishing up a Scatness Cowl based on the tunic pattern, which I will share later when it’s done.  All in all, a great project and done in time for Rhinebeck!  Woo Hoo!!  :)

September 17, 2014

From Both of Us — Hmmm

Filed under: Updates — Both Sisters @ 11:10 pm

Susan wrote a brief post about her recent and unexpected trip last weekend to DC to visit Surly.  The post and the comments associated with it have mysteriously disappeared!!  Hmmm. What happened there?

To recap: Susan had a brainstorm last Wednesday to fly out for a short visit, leaving on Friday and returning on Monday (then straight to work ::groan::)!  Friday evening we visited Fibre Space — they were having a special yarn showing with Miss Babs.  We initially were lukewarm to the idea, citing fatigue (laziness) and no need for new yarn (stash overload).  We decided to go anyway and of course succumbed to the wonder that is the marriage of fiber and color!

Hmmm.  Is anyone surprised?

Sally’s purchases:

Sweet Georgia merino silk lace (50% merino, 50% silk) in the color ginger as well as Miss Babs Tarte 4-ply fingering yarn (75% super wash merino, 15% nylon, 10% tencel) in the color Biker Chick…yes, Biker Chick!

Miss Babs Gradient set, 5 small skeins of Yummy 2-ply Toes (100% super wash merino) in the Pegasus color way.  The five colors are from light to dark:  Baham,  Matar, Enif, Markab, and Pegasus

Susan only bought one item: one of the gradient sets from Miss Babs.  She couldn’t figure out why it was called Onion:

With all the other colorways named for constellations and stars, could it be ORION??

Miss Babs Gradient set, 5 small skeins of Yummy 2-ply Toes (100% super wash merino) in the Orion color way.  The five colors are from light to dark:  Rigel,  Mintaka, Bellatrix, Betelgeuse, and Orion (colors captured best in 2nd picture)

Sally’s last purchase is also her current project.  It is truly butter soft.

Miss Babs Sojourn 2-ply (65% cashmere, 35% silk) in the color Lady Bug

The pattern is a gorgeous cowl, called Song of the Sea.  Susan is going to use her Orion gradient to make one.

We ate, we laughed, we watched movies (with handsome leading men :) ) and did some knitting.  Wow.  Good times!

September 7, 2014

From Susan — A Bird in the Hand

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 11:20 am

Friend Kim and I picked up our state fair entries last Wednesday.  The comments were thin, and many said, “Keen competition in this lot.”  From what I have read elsewhere, this was a very common comment!!

I also had a chance to take some better pics of my Nightingale sweater.   As I stated before, I cannot take credit for the concept, just its execution.  Jettshin is the creative inspiration and Vintage Purls’ Nightingale socks the catalyst.  This was a saga many years in the making!

I favorited Jettshin’s Nightingale Cardigan almost five years ago (along with over 8,300 others!).  I loved everything about it – especially the colors.  It percolated in my brain for four years.  I kept coming back to it, trying to shape the concept into something that I could knit for myself.  I sought out the yarn over many months – and even toyed with the idea of having it specially dyed for me.  I finally purchased six very well matched skeins of Malabrigo Sock in Ochre, very close to her gold background color.

The blue was elusive.  I bought a gorgeous blue from Sweet Fibers. Too blue. Too dark.  No purple in it.  (Some of you may recognize this as the yarn I am using for my daughter’s second Hito).  Then I bought some Malabrigo Sock in Abril. Too purple.  I finally had the brainstorm to try to find the Purple Soldier Fly that Jettshin had used and found some for sale on Ravelry.  Yay!   Yarn in hand.

Time to start the planning!  Jettshin is a tiny person and her interpretation of the sweater very fitted.  I knew mine would need to be bigger.  Lots bigger.  Positioning the repeats and getting them to fit perfectly around was a challenge, and it took a lot of pondering to get it worked out in my mind.  I then recharted the Vintage Purls charts into Excel so I could manipulate them, and rework them as needed.  I wanted the motifs to end logically, and not have “heads and tails” in awkward places.

I finally cast on in October of last year.  I puttered around with it in between other projects, and was very naïve about the amount of work I had taken on!

Broke every rule with my stranding!  Some floats are carried over 15 sts or more!   There was just too much contrast between the yarn colors – every catch showed.  Otherwise the body of the sweater went well, just very slowly!

I added a beaded lattice to the hem (as well as the cuffs and shawl collar).

I finally started on the sleeves and things stopped going smoothly for a variety of reasons, but I persevered.  My husband would respond to every barrier/frustration with, “Why don’t you just put it away?”  “Are you out of your mind??!!??  If I put it away it will never get done and I would rather cut it up and throw it in the trash than ‘put it away!’”

Am I the only knitter that ever feels that way??  I kept going just so it would not be hanging over my head any more.  I had to get this off my plate.

The other difficult search (which we all know is a pain!!) was for buttons.  I ultimately landed on Czech glass buttons with a blue glaze and floral motif (Susan Clarke GL-689).  I used loops for the buttonholes.

So the saga is complete.  Finito.  Put to bed.              I wonder what will strike next. ;)

September 3, 2014

From Susan — Say Goodbye…

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 1:56 pm

…to the fair!  Last day at the fair (Labor Day) with my girls!

September 1, 2014

From Susan — “Ready when you are, CB…”*

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 11:31 am

“Cut!!”  Yep, ready to cut that steek!  I used my new sewing machine to stitch the steek and it worked like a dream!

My Scatness Tunic is progressing nicely.  I have been off for a few days and have been doing some knitting.  Most people enjoy the great outdoors while on vacay.  ;)

I hope the little sucker fits.  We shall see.

This picture shows the colors of the yarn and the crunchy yarny goodness of Shetland wool!  There is a lot of finishing to this project but my goal of being done in time for Rhinebeck seems within reach.

Enjoy the last throes of summer.  :(

PS – The neck and front bands are done.  Just need to do the I-cord bind off and general finishing work!!

* Cecil B. DeMille “Ready when you are” storyscroll down

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