theraineysisters knitting and so much more

June 15, 2016

From Sally — Special Bulletin

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 8:38 am

I’m interrupting our regularly (or should I say irregularly) scheduled blogging for a special announcement:


Happy Birthday to my big sister!!!!


Susan is my best friend, my mentor, my therapist, my partner in crime.  Happy Birthday!  

June 10, 2016

From Susan — Still Here

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 1:19 pm

Barely!  My knitting is in a slump and the weather will feel like 100 degrees this weekend!  Just thought I would stop in and acknowledge the fact that we have not posted in a while.

I just started a summer vest called Gisele – I’m making it out of Louet KidLin (color Colorado Spruce) from Sally’s cast off stash :) .  I saw one in person and the pictures in the pattern do not do it justice!!

The pattern has three “tails” that hang down on both sides and the center back (here is a side panel view):



I did not want the tail hanging down the back :( , so I eliminated the center back triangle:

The yarn is nice to knit with, though unfortunately it has been discontinued.  This feels like a slow knit, but it is decreasing so I hope it speeds up!!

PS to Samina — When I start knitting undies, you have my permission to confiscate my stash!  I would be bringing shame and disgrace to the knitting universe!

PS2: This thing is not growing AT ALL!  And in the interest of full disclosure, the color in the above pictures is actually prettier than it is IRL. :(

May 29, 2016

From Sally — Spring Awakening

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 4:13 pm

It’s shawl season.  Not that there’s a particular season for shawls, but periodically — out of boredom, frustration with fit, yarn lust — I get into the mood to knit nothing but shawls.  I’ve knit three of them in the last few weeks.  The first was Waiting for Rain. This is the second, which I finished a couple of weeks ago. I’ll about post my third one (also finished!) next time.

This shawl is Newfoundland, designed by Anne-Lise Maigaard. If you aren’t familiar with her patterns, she has designed a number of lovely shawls, several of which are in my queue. I liked the shallow crescent shape of Newfoundland as well as the “squared off” ends. It’s knit from the bottom up so you cast on all the stitches at once. (In other words, it starts off slowly.)

The yarn I used is Cashsilk Lace from Sweet Georgia Yarns (55% silk, 45% cashmere; 400 yards in a 50 gram skein). The color, Seagrass, was a custom dye for Knit Purl in Portland, Oregon. I purchased it to make a Forest Path stole, but the color changes that are so subtle in the skein did not look good in that pattern. Forest Path is built from entrelac blocks and the color became too blocky. It worked well for Newfoundland, though. I did put in the beads (there are very few of them in the pattern) but I think they sort of disappear in most light.

In a surprise turn of events, I also tackled a sewing project. I rarely sew. Rarely means that the last time I sewed something it was a poodle skirt for my now 30 year-old daughter’s 8th grade play. I bought myself a brand new sewing machine months ago and hadn’t taken it out of the box. When Susan was here for the Sheep & Wool Festival, I got inspired and bought some fabric. Here is the top I made. It ain’t couture, but it fits!

ETA: The sewing pattern I used is called the Wiksten Tank. It can be a dress or a top; I changed the length to be sort of in between so I’d have a summer tunic.

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!! :)

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