theraineysisters knitting and so much more

May 17, 2011

From Susan — It Ain’t a Snow Cardigan

Filed under: Braided Glory — lv2knit @ 11:22 pm

But then again, what is?  Sally’s spectacular start on her beautiful cardigan, admired by many, is a tough act to follow!  I have been working on a small entrant into the FO pile: a Braided Glory Capelet. 

In way of a recap: my good friend Kim and her mother, Sharon, are both wonderful knitters.  Sharon accompanied Kim to Yarnover wearing the aforementioned Braided Glory, knit out of Berocco Bamboo Bonsai in a lovely sage green.  She was stalked, lurked upon, pawed and in all ways accosted because of the shawl!  She told Kim she might have to take it off to get some respite from the legion of curious and impressed knitters!  I was one of the first to assault poor Sharon and ended up buying the pattern the very next day. 

The pattern is very cute and creative, but there were a few things I wanted to change: first off, it is not charted.  ::groan::  So, off I went to chart the thing out.  There were several other construction details that I modified.  I also decided it would be a fun class project so I got yarn from Amazing Threads to knit a sample: Nashua Creative Focus Linen.  It knits up beautifully at worsted gauge, and has a very summery feel to it.  Very nice color range, also.  I chose Caribbean for the class sample:

The color is darker than it looks here, and more teal.  This was fun to make and even more fun to tinker with.   It stays right on your shoulders.  I am already well on my way making another — I will reveal that one when it is done.  It is in a rich, more autumnal, colorway.

So, my knitting project is less dramatic, less impressive, but maybe more fun??  😉  And best yet…done!

PS1: Rachel asked, “Susan, I just purchased the pattern and it calls for a size 8 needle. You used 5, 6, and 7. Can you tell me where you changed for the different sizes.  Thank you.”

I started the back on a US Size 7 and thought it looked fine.  When I transitioned to the two fronts, it looked sloppy on 7’s so I went down to a US 6.  When I knit the “fingers” I changed to Size 5 dpns.  I wanted them to be very firm and not stretchy.

PS2: I do not plan on sharing the charts because it is not my design, and I do not want to infringe on copyright.

April 18, 2011

From Susan — Nieblings for Two

Filed under: Lotus Flower,Updates — lv2knit @ 7:51 am

If one Niebling is good, aren’t two even better?  I made my first Niebling table covering (doily??) a couple of years ago.  It was knit out of laceweight alpaca — not a very practical doily.  I had it in mind to knit another, and I finally did.  I chose Lotus Flower, because I thought it was very beautiful.   The pattern is readily available on Ravelry by Doilyhead.   I used Aunt Lydia Crochet Cotton Size 10.  Cheap stuff you can buy at Joann Fabrics.  After reading this discussion, I probably would have chosen differently…but, it is too late now and it seemed to have worked out fine. 


Lotus Flower by Herbert Niebling, Aunt Lydia Crochet Cotton ~1200 yards, US 1(2.25 mm) Needles

I did need to starch it, which was traumatic to think about but easy to do.  I had to starch it:  after just wet blocking, it became a limp rag that did not hold its shape properly.  I immersed it in a 50-50 solution of Sta-Flo liquid starch and water and then pinned it out on a piece of styrofoam insulation.  This worked out great…getting the insulation to my car was a comedy of errors, but that is a different story!!  Don’t attempt this feat on the windiest day of the year!

Believe it or not, this was my “take-along” knitting project!  The even rounds were straight knitting of up to 1200 sts.  The pattern rounds were often simple repetitions that were easy to follow because the pattern is so pictorial.  Still, it took a couple of months to complete.

Lotus Flower Overall Grade: A

Pattern: A — nice “starter” Niebling
Yarn: A — though there are probably higher quality choices out there
Finished Size: 40 inches in diameter

All in all, I am very pleased and highly recommend this pattern.  I am without a knitting project!  I just finished a Holden Shawlette, which I will post later…but now my needles are bare!  I have a few ideas, but the project has not revealed itself to me.  Hmmmm…

PS to Surly: NO, it will NOT fit into your suitcase!

PS2: I did need to join a second ball and also join within the first ball because it had a knot tying more length onto the ball.  I spit spliced it.

PS3: Bonnie asked about spit splicing and how it works on non-wool fibers.  I “spit splice” all kinds of yarn, but that doesn’t mean that I felt them together: I thin out each end, overlap and suck on the yarn — very appealing in public!!  I do this with almost every yarn I use.  If the ends are difficult to blend, I let them hang to the inside and then I sometimes weave them in or just cut them.  I had absolutely no trouble with the crochet cotton at all and the ends were completely smooth and the transition invisible.  I make sure I overlap the ends over several sts and never when a YO is involved.  In this pattern there were long stockinette areas where I could easily splice my thread.

April 14, 2011

From Sally — A Finished Object!

Filed under: Asterope — surly @ 12:24 pm

I feel as if I have been doing lots of knitting with little to show for it, so I am very pleased to have finished my Asterope shawl.  I use the word “my” loosely because I knit this for a friend.  Come to think of it, once I give it away I won’t have anything to show for this knitting, either.   Oh, well!  As I said in an earlier post, Asterope was designed by Romi Hill, and is one of the shawls in her 7 Small Shawls to Knit book.  I made mine my friend’s out of Madelinetosh Merino Light (420 yards to 100 grams) in the Tart colorway. It took about one and a half skeins for the larger of the two sizes.

I find it difficult to photograph shawls, and it is especially difficult to capture the rich red/black of this color. But here are a couple of photographs to give you an idea of what it looks like before it is sent on its merry way.

April 5, 2011

From Sally — We All Make Mistakes

Filed under: Asterope,Spring Snow Cardigan,Updates — surly @ 9:35 pm

I make my share of mistakes while knitting. Sometimes I misunderstand directions. Sometimes I miscount. Sometimes I think I’m smarter than I really am. And sometimes I get caught up watching Jeremy Irons in The Borgias and just don’t pay attention.

For example, the other day I randomly threw a p2tog into my pink Japanese cardigan. (I can’t even blame Jeremy for that one.) I figured it out four or five rows later when my stitch count was off. I came to the end of a section of traveling stitches and instead of two purl stitches remaining, I only had one. It wasn’t difficult to fix that mistake — the hard part was finding it. I looked and looked at both sides of my knitting until I realized it wasn’t a dropped stitch, but a “gee what was I thinking” decrease. I dropped down a few rows, undid the p2tog, and laddered back up, adjusting the tension of the surrounding stitches to have enough yarn for the stitch that had been decreased on the rows above the mistake. Here are a couple photographs of the fix.

That wasn’t so hard, now was it?

I’m also working on a lace shawl — a gift for a dear friend. It’s a beautiful but relatively simple pattern (more on it at the end of this post). That’s where Jeremy Irons comes in. I was working on the shawl the other night. I glanced down at the pattern repeat, memorized it, knit that row, and kept going while Jeremy did things modern Popes just.do.not.do. In the light of day, I noticed something wrong. The pattern has lines of stitches that converge. Left leaning decreases (sk2p — slip 1, k2tog, pass the slipped stitch over) are paired with right leaning decreases (k3tog). I know this. I had already done these decreases on other rows. This time, however, I did the left leaning decrease across the entire row, and by the time I noticed I was five rows along in the pattern. Rut roh. The mistake is shown below.

So, to fix it I was going to have to drop back, and then recreate the intervening rows. (Did I mention there were fifteen repeats of this mistake?) The key part of the five rows (from where I was down to the mistake):

1. Current row (RS): yo, k3tog, yo
2. (WS): purl back
3. (RS): yo, k2tog
4. (WS): purl back
5. Mistake row (RS): yo, k3tog, yo (instead of yo, sk2p, yo)

I chose to work the next wrong side row and correct as I went along. I worked to each mistake, turned the knitting so that the right side was facing, and dropped down to the mistake. I only dropped down those stitches that I absolutely had to. Because I was correcting just a few stitches, I didn’t pin out the running threads to keep track of them — instead, I used a different wooden (non-slippery) needle for each row. After fixing the mistake a dozen times, I had it down to a science. It suddenly occurred to me that I should try to demonstrate what I was doing for the blog. That was harder than I thought it would be, even with a tripod. But here it is. (Disclaimer: I hate my voice, and I know this is not going to win for best documentary short at next year’s Oscars.)

Here is a close up of the repair.

Whew! That was one of those mistakes that I could have left — it didn’t change the stitch count. I obviously kept going without noticing it. I am making it for someone who doesn’t knit, and so I doubt she would have noticed. But the overall effect of the pattern would have been diminished.

As for the shawl pattern, it is Romi Hill’s Asterope, from her book Seven Small Shawls to Knit. The photograph below is from the book (I hope Romi doesn’t mind!).

The Asterope pattern is very clear, as are the charts. I cannot blame Romi for my mistake. I blame you, Jeremy.

March 2, 2011

From Sally — Is Red the New Black Green?

Filed under: Cobblestone Pullover for Sterling — surly @ 1:07 pm

My son arrived on our doorstep (well, really at the airport but you know what I mean) on Friday.  He was — and this was not a surprise — wearing it.  The green sweater I made him for Christmas.  The one he wears virtually non-stop.  Be still my heart.

I gifted him with his new red sweater, and I can only hope he wears it half as much.  I didn’t see much of him — he was here for a conference, not a family visit, and I was out of town one of the nights he was home.  But just before he headed back to the airport, I was allowed to take a few quick shots of him in his new finery.  They’re not the best shots, and he asked me to obscure his face. But voila:



February 10, 2011

From Sally — Redding Up the House

Filed under: Cobblestone Pullover for Sterling,Updates — surly @ 4:29 pm

If you’re from Pittsburgh, you know that means I’ve been doing a lot of cleaning.  And I have been.  I wish you could all tour my newly organized walk-in closet.  But given my love for the color red, it also means I’ve been knitting with a luscious new (for me) red yarn.

The yarn is Fiberphile’s Super Squish Worsted in the colorway Turkey Hill. This yarn is glorious; I love the color and the feel.  I’m not always a fan of  superwash, even superwash merino.  I just couldn’t resist the color, and in this case being a superwash is an advantage.  The sweater emerging from my needles is another one for my son.  Remember how I knit him a green sweater for Christmas?  Remember how I said he wears it constantly?  Even his roommate found his way to our blog, where he said:

As Sterling’s roommate I see him wear this sweater literally every day. It’s a great sweater and it’s clear he loves it very much. I am astounded at kmkat*. He is a really smart kid and cares alot about the sweater. I am sure he washes it correctly.

Comment by RealizingCollectiveLiberationThroughYarn

(*Kmkat had dared express concern about inadvertent felting in the washing machine.)

Because I needed a mindless and fairly quick project (before Sterling is hazed for wearing the same sweater day after day), I chose Jared Flood’s Cobblestone Pullover. I haven’t made as much progress as I would have liked due to some stealth knitting and the aforementioned cleaning.  Nevertheless, I’ve got the body up to the yoke and about half of the first sleeve. I hope to finish it off before the end of the month. Wish me luck!

ETA: I’m not from Pittsburgh, but when I was in college I had several dear friends who were and picked up some of their expressions.

February 4, 2011

From Both of Us — It’s That Time Again

Filed under: Sweetheart Glovelets — Both Sisters @ 4:02 pm

In 2009, we designed a simple but very “heartfelt” glovelet pattern as a gift to our readers.  Because the time of year is again upon us, we felt like reminding all of you about our free Sweetheart Glovelet pattern in time for some Valentine’s Day knitting.

Sweetheart Glovelet
Sally’s Sweetheart Glovelets

Sweetheart Glovelets
Susan’s Sweetheart Glovelets — the tam shown is our free Lace Tam pattern

Where are YOUR Sweetheart Glovelets??

And an update from Susan

I DID wear my Vogue #25 today!!  Last evening I took it to knitting group to show Ellie, who had expressed an interest in making the pattern.  She tried it on over her sweater and I liked it!  I decided to try it out at my Friday knitting group and thought it was almost cute.

Janetc asked why I changed the direction of the front bands.  I knit the fronts and back together as one piece and did not want to have to figure out buttonhole placement right out of the chute, so I cheated and did the buttonbands afterward.

PS: Ellie took my picture at knitting on Friday and asked why I cut my head off.  I told her I would and because of that, was not really posing for a head shot.  I hate pictures of myself.  I am very unphotogenic.  But for Ellie, here is the original:

If I could just lose the double chin!!

January 12, 2011

From Sally — Sleeping Baby’s Castle Blanket Pattern Now Available!

Filed under: Sleeping Baby's Castle Blanket,Updates — surly @ 1:05 pm

Last summer, I designed a baby blanket for Fibre Space in Alexandria.  When I showed the finished design here, many of you liked the pattern and wanted to knit it.  I am happy to announce that it is now available for purchase.

Close up of the central castle panel:

Shown in cream:

Susan’s version:

The green blanket was knit out of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted; the cream blanket was made with Cascade’s 220 Superwash.   Susan’s was knit out of Plymouth’s Worsted Merino Superwash.

Quick facts about the pattern:

Size: Approximately 32 by 40 inches after blocking.

Gauge: 18 stitches and 28 rows over four inches.

Yarn Requirements: You will need approximately 1100 yards of worsted weight yarn. (Each of my blankets used slightly less than that, but I prefer to give a quantity that allows for gauge differences as well as swatching.)

Instructions: Provided in both chart and row-by-row format.  Two versions of the pattern are included; the bonus version omits the central castle panel.

Cost: $5.00

How to Purchase:

Sleeping Baby’s Castle is available through Ravelry .  Whether or not you are a Ravelry member, you can purchase the pattern by clicking the link below.  You will be taken directly to a purchase page; after purchase, you will receive a link to download the PDF of the pattern.

Edited to add: A couple of readers have asked about the difficulty level of this pattern.  That’s hard for me to answer because perceived difficulty is so variable.  On Ravelry, there are about 9 or 10 Castle Blankets that weren’t knitted by me or by Susan.  (The design was initially available as a kit at a local yarn store, Fibre Space, and those projects were knit from the kits sold there.)

I can’t  know what the level of expertise of each of those knitters was, but the average difficulty rating given by them was between easy and medium.  I don’t know if that helps.  The pattern has a lot of repetition, and is very pictorial, so my sense is that it looks more complicated than it is.  But each knitter is different.

December 30, 2010

From Sally — Christmas Wrap Up

Filed under: X Marks the Spot Pullover — surly @ 3:31 pm

When last I posted, I was feverishly trying to knit a sweater for my son before Christmas.  I didn’t quite make it; I was a sleeve short.  But happily, I finished it before the New Year and before he goes back to Portland for college.  Most important, he said — and I quote — “I like it.”  What more could I ask?

I was asked how I repaired the mistake I had made while knitting the body (see post here and scroll down). What I did, as you can see from the photos below, was to isolate the area with the mistake and then unravel those stitches down to the row where I had made an error. Each loose line of yarn you see represents one row of unraveled knitting. I then “reknit” each of the rows to get back to where I had been. It’s the same thing you would do if you had made a mistake with one stitch. Unfortunately, my error spanned several stitches and required me to re-create traveling stitches because of the cable that I had to undo. So it was more complicated than doing the same thing on plain knitting, but the principle is the same.

I also knit a hat as a Christmas gift for my daughter.  The pattern is called Let It Snow; it was published in Twist Collective.  I knit it out of Elsebeth Lavold’s Angora, which I had in my stash.  (I still have enough in my stash to knit about ten more.)  The hat is adorable, and I loved the bit of fuzziness from the angora yarn.  Here are some progress shots featuring a model who shall rename nameless.

Finally, here’s a photograph of my daughter wearing it.   Out in public!  Spontaneously!  Again, what more could I ask?

December 15, 2010

From Sally — Christmas Countdown

Filed under: X Marks the Spot Pullover — surly @ 11:16 am

As our regular readers may remember, my son actually asked for a sweater for Christmas. Well, what with my other Christmas knitting and whatnot, I finally got the yarn in hand and started his sweater a few days ago. The “whatnot” included trying to settle on a color (green) and style, which required many back-and-forth text messages and emails. He sometimes takes days to respond and his answers were not always as specific as I had hoped. Here’s a record of my lack of progress thus far.

1. Work out the design and how the ribbing would flow into it.

I chose to knit his sweater out of City Tweed Heavyweight from Knitpicks because it’s soft and warm, and I thought it would be good in the chill damp of Portland in winter. Bonus: I used this yarn for a sweater for my husband last year, and therefore could use his sweater as a giant gauge swatch.

2.  Start knitting.  Realize I am not that crazy about it.  Glance at calendar; press forward.

3.   Notice stupid mistake twelve rows back.  (Note to self:  must actually look at knitting occasionally.)  Fix mistake.

4.  Keep plugging away.  He comes home late Friday night; I am hoping to be on the sleeves by then.

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