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February 23, 2014

From Susan — Another Boo Boo

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 5:22 pm

As all of you must know by now, I absolutely adore the Sweet Dreams Shawlette from Boo Knits.  I have now made four of them and have many more to go (I need one myself!!!).  My eldest daughter loves her shawls so much she wears them every day to work, so she needed another color!  I dragged out some stash Madelinetosh Light in color Baltic and whipped up another of these babies:

This shawl is stunningly beautiful and is an easy, quick knit.  What more do you need?  The only problem is the cast on.  Boo uses the shortest garter tab cast on I have ever seen.  She has you knit 3 rows of garter to create the tab.  As is true with most crescent shaped shawls, you end up with a hump at the center back of the shawl.  For some people, this is very pronounced.  It can be blocked out a little bit but not completely.

Sweet Dreams shown for illustration

With each one of these I have experimented with a different approach to the cast on to eliminate or at least reduce the hump.  The last one I made (in Shiny Penny) was the closest I got (until now :) ), but was too tight across the center:

See the little pucker at the center top?  The top edge has absolutely no give.  It could possibly be the yarn (50% silk), but I suspect not.  It LOOKS okay, but Laura asked for something with more give and a shallower silhouette.

You can see in the top picture of the Baltic Dreams version, there is no pucker – the top edge is relaxed, the hump is greatly reduced.  There is a small area at the starting tail that needs a little work while blocking, but it’s not too bad.  My Sweet Dreams Cast On was born!  I ended up with 37 sts instead of 7.  This will work for many of Boo Knits’ designs but not many others in this exact form.  The concept might work for other crescent shawls, but you would need to experiment with it to get it to mimic the rest of the shawl edge.

In addition, I just returned from the Birkie.  It was bitter cold, windy with lots of new snow — a very tough ski for my birthday boy!!  Plus, John had been sick all week.  So, not his best race.  I again missed his finish because I slipped into the bakery at just the wrong moment!  That makes three years in a row!  Aaaarrrggghhh!  Maybe next year?? ;)

February 17, 2014

From Susan – Surprise, Surprise

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 7:44 pm

Birthday Update

Last fall I asked Nora (Sally’s daughter) if she would be up for surprising her mom on her birthday – she jumped at it!  We both flew in on Saturday afternoon and met at the DC airport.  A prearranged car dropped us off at Sally’s house.  Nora phoned her mom at the same time I started banging on the front door.  She couldn’t figure out why Matt wouldn’t open the %$%^^& door!

Sally was stunned!  She never saw it coming!  Nora deserves an academy award for her portrayal of “dog-walking daughter” when her pooch, Enzo, had already been with friends for two days!!  Matt never let on, and we kept it from other family members who might inadvertently spill the beans.

Sally had hoped that Nora might show up for her birthday, but by late afternoon Saturday (when Matt had never made an excuse to “run an errand” so he could pick Nora up at the airport), she had resigned herself.  We really fooled her.  And it is HARD to fool Sally.  She knew right away that Bruce Willis was dead in The Sixth Sense …she ruins every suspenseful movie she goes to!

That evening Matt took us to a spectacular restaurant for a feast fit for royalty, so it was a really fun day!!  I am now back in snowy Minnesota.  Whoopie! :)

February 15, 2014

From Susan to Surly – Happy Birthday!!

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 12:55 am

Today is one of those special days.  It not only is Surly’s birthday (“Happy Birthday!!”) — it is one of those “special, special” birthdays.  A milestone birthday.  These need to be ignored!  They cause people to engage in endless soul searching and hand wringing about why they aren’t where they thought they should be at this stage in life.

Well, Sally doesn’t need to embark on this exercise in hand wringing.  She is just who she should be.  Sally is smart, talented and leads an enviable life.  She has a great family, lovely home and the perfect sister hobby.   She exercises and eats right.  What more could anyone ask for?

So, Sally, as you look back over the past cough – er – cough decades, reflect on the fact that you really do have a wonderful life!

Surly is the little one…

So let’s celebrate a life well led and a bright future ahead!!

Love from your Big Sister

February 14, 2014

From Both of Us — Happy Valentine’s Day

Filed under: Updates — Both Sisters @ 8:39 am

We have used this before, but it is such a classic!!   Have a fun, romantic day with someone you love.  OR, have a fun day with a “just-a-friend!” 

February 6, 2014

From Sally — Happiness is a Blue Shawl

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 5:01 pm

Susan said last week that we both had finished projects to share, which was true. I apologize that it’s taken me so long to get back to you with mine. I kept waiting for a nice day to take photos. Ha! I’d still be waiting; this feels like a long winter. Rather than keep you waiting any longer, I’m going to share not one but two projects, hoping that quantity will make up for the not-so-great photos.

First up is my Tiong Bahru from Asa Tricosa. You may recall that my son gave me some beautiful yarn for Christmas, including one skein of Madelinetosh’s Pure Silk Lace in a sky blue color called Happiness. I couldn’t wait to start knitting with it.

Here are some pictures, starting with one before it was blocked. (I always like seeing the difference between blocked and unblocked lace.)

Blocked, but without having woven in the ends:


The second finished object I have is yet another Sweet Dreams shawl by Boo Knits. I knit this for a friend as a hostess gift (she had invited me to stay with her for a weekend). Sadly, in my panic to pack, I forgot to bring it with me! My sweet husband overnighted the shawl, but by the time it came we didn’t have time for me to take photos of her wearing it. So, the only pictures I have are some quick shots I took just after blocking it. The yarn I used is Smooshy with Cashmere by Dream in Color. The color is Sundown Orchid.

January 27, 2014

From Susan — Imitation, the Sincerest Form of Flattery

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 3:51 pm

Sally and I both have FO’s to share and fought over who would get to post first — YOU LOSE!  It’s me!  ;)

I did just get back from my trip – cut short by impending snow.  It took me 5-1/2 hours to get there and I figured snowfall would make it an even longer drive home.  My goal was to finish at least one project and I got close.  I finished it at home on Saturday and Sunday.

When I received Tudor Roses in the mail, I was immediately struck by Elizabeth of York, the reimagined.  It looked like a tapestry to me…richly woven fabric, careworn over time.  I thought, “Hey, it’s a short vest!  How long could it take?!?”

Answer: A long time!  It was a slow-moving project to be sure.  When I started it, I thought it looked like a muddled mess.  I truly considered throwing in the towel.  The two colors (Red Deer and Mountain Hare) are very close — one solid red, and one heathered salmon with reddish tones.  The pattern took a while to emerge and until it did, I was unimpressed.  My first realization that it had hope was when my husband walked in and commented on how beautiful it was.  From a distance, the pattern is more clear and is really stunning.

Here is my Elizabeth finished:

I made some modifications.  The most significant is the profile.  Let’s be honest – I have no waist.  The original Elizabeth has a very small, fitted waistline and then increases to the bust.  I made mine straight:

The black outline is the original shape while the red lines show my alterations.  I cut in more for the armholes and made them deeper based on how I prefer my vests to fit.  I think there was a mistake on the button bands in the pattern, so I improvised using the other bands as a guide.  I tried every buttonhole in the book and could not get them to look right, so I kind of made up a buttonhole.  And believe it or not, I had to go up at least 2 needle sizes to get Alice’s gauge!  It still ended up a tad small but blocking did help.

For you steek lovers, here are the before and after shots of cutting:

Before cutting

After cutting

Now that it’s done I can say that it was well worth it!


January 23, 2014

From Susan — What do you do when it is -40 windchill?

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 12:09 pm

Again?  Really? C’mon!!

I am going to drive 4-1/2 hours to get to Deer Valley Lodge in Barneveld, Wisconsin!  All by my lonesome.  Why?  I am asking myself that very question.  I don’t even want to go out to my car, much less load it up!!  But, I decided to attend the first ever Sun Valley Fibers Knitting Retreat.  I am sure they knew that January was a dicey time to hold such an event, but what the heck.

I have packed a lot of knitting and a lot of warm weather gear – mostly sweaters! :)   I hope to have several FOs done by the end of the weekend and to weigh 15 more pounds.  The second goal is a sure thing!!

Almost packed!!!

January 15, 2014

From Susan – From the Ridiculous to the Sublime

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 8:36 pm

Yes.  The beard was ridiculous and tacky and embarrassing.  But today I will redeem myself!  Another Sweet Dreams from Boo Knits!  I love this pattern and will definitely make more (at least two or three more for sure).

At last year’s Yarnover, I bought a skein of Seda Sock in color Shiny Penny by The Grinning Gargoyle.  What a stunning color!  Copper and butterscotch and gold.  It shimmers because of the 50-50 blend of silk and merino.  My tres knitworthy daughter celebrated her birthday last week so I thought another scarf would be perfect.  She wears her black Sweet Dreams CONSTANTLY.

I presented this to her at dinner the other evening with family.  Lots of oohs and awwws.  Yay!  Plus she wore it to work and got many compliments.  A winner.

I made this in a weekend with 300 yards of fingering weight yarn.  It really felt great to see some fast results!  Blocking is easy because you just pin the long point.  LOTS of bang for the knitting buck!!

January 6, 2014

From Susan — How we keep warm in -40 degree windchill….

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 4:54 pm

We grow long beards!  And if we can’t grow ‘em, we “knit” ‘em.   Oh my.  So embarrassing.

Can you believe this?  I am completely mortified and yet somehow proud!  Do you realize the engineering skill that is required when attaching 500 yards worth of weight to a handknit hat???

Posing as an axe murderer….

I know you are asking yourselves, “Why oh why would she waste her valuable knitting time on this ridiculous project?”  One of my best friends asked me to make this for her son.  I responded emphatically, “Buy one.  Seriously.  I will not make this for him.  BUY IT!”  She said it would make him so happy and he really wanted me to make it, blah, blah, blah!  This is a friend who would throw herself in front of a bus for me, so I agreed to do it.

Whoa.  What a challenge it was.  But, it fits and when it is on it is quite comfortable.  So, I guess the effort wasn’t a total waste.  All that is lost is my dignity!!

PS – If you want the pattern for this creation, NO!  Not going to spend another minute even thinking about it!!

Signed, The Bearded Lady!

PS2: My friend loved it and now it is on its way to see what the true recipient thinks.

PS3: The recipient LOVED it, too!  Yay!

PS4: Though it may appear otherwise, any resemblance of this hat/beard to a real person living or dead is purely coincidental and is not meant as an homage to any racist, anti-gay reality show faux-lebrities that may have been in the news lately!! ;)

PS5 – the sweater I am wearing is from Interweave Knits Winter 2003: Moorish Patterned Pullover by Norah Gaughan.  I believe I knitted it out of Peruvia???

Carl and Pup in Beard Hat

December 30, 2013

From Sally — Happiness

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 2:15 pm

I had a lovely Christmas, and I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season as well. I’d like to share one bit of happiness from Christmas morning.

I opened a package from my son. Lo and behold — inside the package were two skeins of yarn. Beautiful yarn. Luscious yarn.

The yellow yarn is Pashmina, a mix of merino, cashmere, and silk that I love and have blogged about before. The color is Candlewick.

The blue yarn is Madelinetosh’s Pure Silk Lace. The color name, appropriately, is Happiness.

I love both yarns, especially that blue. If I had seen it in a store, it would have come home with me. Sterling bought the yarn at Happy Knits in Portland. (I don’t know the store, but I plan to find it next time I’m in town.) The fact that he bought it in Portland — he’s a student at Reed College there — means he took the time out of finals to go Christmas shopping. For me. Talk about happiness!

I asked him whether he had picked the yarn out himself or had help. His answer? By himself. “I just looked for the most expensive yarn.” He knows me too well.

I have a queue a mile long, but something out of that silk had to jump to the head of the line. I’ve just started a shawl I’ve liked for a long time: Tiong Bahru from Asa Tricosa. It is already providing great happiness.

P.S. Michael asked what the yarn is sitting on. It is called a “Yarn Buddy.” It’s from Sun Valley Fibers in Wisconsin. They are beautiful in person and each one is slightly different depending upon the wood. They’re really great for a fiddly yarn like pure silk that tends to fall apart after it’s been wound. I just leave the yarn on mine and knit; it rotates like a lazy Susan. Sue and I nicknamed these “Yarn Marleys” because they could drag after you like Marley’s chains. Sun Valley sells beautiful yarn also.

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