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June 13, 2014

From Susan — A Summer Knitalong!

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 11:19 am

As Sally mentioned, I stumbled onto the Window to my Soul summer cardigan and thought it looked both cute and flattering.  I, too, had some Madelinetosh in stash, BUT it is also in the color Cousteau.  I just thought that was too matchy matchy!!  Plus, I have 6 very consistent skeins and saw me making something bigger with it.

So, off to the Yarnery for me!  I purchased some Neighborhood Fiber Co. Rustic Fingering in the color Gwynn Oak.  Oh my.  This color is OVER THE TOP and I love it!!

And here is the best part: I don’t care.  I don’t care that my increases look like crap, I don’t care that the yarn is stripey, I don’t care if the skeins match perfectly.  It is FREEING!   I can just knit a long without a care in the world, especially since Surly shared her smocking tip!

I also have an FO.  I made a small shawlette out of the Shiny Penny (Grinning Gargoyle Seda Sock) that I bought at Yarnover this spring.  The pattern is called Cinnamon Stone by verybusymonkey.  I loved the ornate center wedge:

It was fun to knit and finished up quickly.  Again, kind of an autumnal look for this time of year, but…

Hope you are enjoying spring/summer so far.  Our weather has alternated between gorgeous and torrential downpours.  All better than polar vortex!!

June 5, 2014

From Sally — New Tricks for an Old Surly

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 2:41 pm

First of all, thank you to everyone who commented about Thor. All of your comments were very much appreciated; we still miss him (and think we hear him) every day.

As for knitting, it’s not been great. I worked for weeks on a long cardigan and now I don’t think I like it. I am not even going to show photos of it. Maybe later, when I’ve had time to think about it.

In the meantime, Susan I suggested I try a pattern she’d seen, Window to My Soul, designed by Joji Locatelli. I loved it, and I thought that my Madelinetosh Pashmina in the color Cousteau would be perfect. Not only that, but I have what may be perfect buttons, purchased a few years ago at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. (The pattern calls for more buttons than I have, but I would compensate by only placing buttons on the bodice portion of the sweater.) This photo is a little dark; it was hard to capture the color of this yarn.

As you can sort of see from my photo (and from the pattern page if you clicked the pattern link), one of the design features of this sweater is a smocking stitch. I’ve always liked how smocking looks, but it’s a bit of a pain to do. You slip stitches onto a cable needle and wrap your working yarn around those stitches, and then work them. But wait — someone figured out how to do smocking without a cable needle. It’s brilliant.

I’m not sure who figured it out first, but there are several youtube videos that show the technique. Here are two of them:

Video One
Video Two

It’s one of the things I love about knitting — there is always something new to learn.

Somewhere, an old dog is laughing at me.

May 30, 2014

From Susan — Still in Love

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 9:26 am

I must be, because I keep coming back to my favorite shawl pattern, but this time I made one for me.  Yay!  I bought some gorgeous, spring green yarn last year at Yarnover and got to it this week (#6 in photo below).

Looking at this picture makes me think I have a lot of potential projects ahead of me!  Anyway, I made another Sweet Dreams Shawl (are you shocked…no).  The difference is that this one is for me…my first ever Sweet Dreams shawl!!!

I started another shawl that is a bit challenging to get off the ground.  I have a new goal in life: make more shawls than anyone in their right mind should ever own.  I am well on my way!!

PS to Robby: Robby mentioned the cost of the Sweet Dreams pattern.  It is pricey because it is only available as part of the In Love Collection, which costs about $15 (aaarrrggghhh!).  I, too, balked at the price but dove in anyway.  Some of her other designs are quite similar and cost less: Out of Darkness is only $5 and is very similar.  The only difference is that it is done in laceweight instead of fingering.  You would need to take out 2-3 repeats to stay within one skein of sock yarn.  Quite Continental is also $5 and uses fingering weight.  It has a different look but similar pointy edge at the hem.

May 25, 2014

From Susan — The Post(wo)man Always Rings Twice

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 8:29 am

You know you buy too much yarn when…

This note is attached to your mail:

“Susan, What is your favorite local shop to buy yarn?  My mom is here for a visit – would like to visit a shop.  Thanks!”


PS to Cathy — I will give her a list, of course!  I get asked this from time to time and in this case, I am focusing on shops that are close by.  The Minnesota Knitters Guild also has yarn store directory so I will include that as well!

May 21, 2014

From Susan — Where Did THAT Come From?

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 9:16 am

I think I must go into a trance sometimes.  The other day the mail arrived and lo and behold, there was a familiar bag from my favorite online yarn supplier, Webs.  Really.  Hmmm.  I did not remember ordering yarn from Webs or anyone else!  Has this ever happened to you??

I had fallen down the Ravelry rabbit hole and saw a project I wanted to make, ordered yarn and none of it registered in my memory bank.  Wow.  Scary stuff!

Once I opened the yarn, it came back to me in a flash!  (Thank goodness…).  I had seen Ojo de Dios from a recent Interweave Knits (Winter 2014) and for some reason wanted to make it.  The yarn used is Plymouth Yarns Gina.  The original colorway (color #5, Sunset) was pretty, but I opted for a darker, richer option (#2).  I finished it in pretty short order - it was fun to knit!  The pattern calls for 6 skeins, but I wish I had bought 7.  When knitting the triangles, I pulled some skeins apart.  The garter stitch area took a lot more yarn than I thought it would so I had to splice yarn in from the destroyed skeins!

I used a cable cast on for the triangles and was very pleased with how the pick up edges look (easier to see in the close up below).  Hard to tell where one triangle ends the other begins.  I pictured doing a provisional cast on for all of the 17 triangles and decided it would be way too much work — good call!

I do have to question my sanity, though.  Of course there is the memory issue, but also have to ask myself, why such an autumnal project when spring is getting ready to burst forth?  The mystery of my inner knitter continues to elude me :) .

PS – another memory lapse surfaced at work today.  Should I worry? :(

May 16, 2014

From Sally — Spring Color (and a sad goodbye)

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 3:02 pm

Hello!  I’ve been missing in action and letting Susan carry the burden of blogging.  I’ve just had nothing interesting to write about.  I’ve been mired in a long, slow project that doesn’t seem to want to end.  I like the project; I am just tired of it.

Now, to the rescue, some beautiful yarns have tempted me to stray.  (And those who know me know that I am easily tempted.)

Last week, I was in a bookstore with my Writing Group.  When we finished up, I perused the magazine section and came across a publication I hadn’t seen before: Knit Wear, published by Interweave. I liked three or four of the patterns right away and so I bought it (the Spring 2014 issue).

Knit Wear is an interesting “occasional” publication. Although I was able to purchase an individual issue at a newsstand, it doesn’t look as if one can subscribe and have hard copies mailed out. (The subscription card that fell out as I read the magazine was for Interweave Knits.) On the other hand, one can purchase copies digitally — so even though I missed the first few issues, they are available for purchase and download. (A few can still be purchased as hard copies.)

Anyway, one of the patterns I liked is Bristol Ivy’s Folded Lace Tank, knit out of Manos del Uruguay’s alpaca/cotton blend yarn Serena. I “folded” immediately and bought Serena in the color “Flamingo.” This is a difficult color to capture. It’s not coral but it’s not pink, either. This is the closest I could get, but in real life the color is softer and just a tad more orange. (And yet it’s not orange.)

The yarn is incredibly soft. I’ve cast on and knit about four inches. I absolutely love this yarn.

One other pattern that I liked is the Ruched Yoke Sweater designed by Carol Feller. I will probably modify it somewhat (possibly ditching the kangaroo pockets and making it a little less flared at the hem). It was knit out of Madelinetosh Pashmina, which is a favorite yarn of mine. I immediately went out and purchased it in Cousteau, a colorway I have long wanted. Again, this is an impossible color to capture. It is so rich it almost glows in real life.

I can’t wait to knit this one up.

P.S. It is with great sadness that I tell you that Thor (aka Thor the Wonder Puppy) is gone. He was the canine love of my life. Thor was a beautiful, gentle dog with a quirky almost human personality. He has appeared on the blog in occasional photographs. He is greatly missed.

May 11, 2014

From Susan — Happy Mother’s Day!

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 8:44 am

…to all the moms out there.

I wanted to share a picture of the gorgeous flowers my husband bought me for Mother’s Day.  From Target.  Yes, TARGET!!  We were running errands on Friday and saw these roses on display in kind of cute vases.  This color caught my eye.  Ever since, we have been mesmerized by the stunning color.  They are the most beautiful roses I have ever seen.

Enjoy your day, everyone.  It is sunny and beautiful here — at least so far!  ;)

Already cloudy :(

May 8, 2014

From Susan — Call it Done

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 7:45 am

My splash of color is finished and turned out like it was supposed to.  Whether or not it is a masterpiece is not up for debate.  It’s not.  But, it does seem like something I will wear often this summer, AND is in a popular color for the season!

Maderia in Berroco Linus

I did omit the asymmetry at the neckline and also did a crochet edge around the raw edges at the armholes and neckline.  This was to both improve the appearance and to stabilize the garment.

This seemed like it took forever to knit even though it is simple.  I broke into my 6th skein so I am glad I purchased that “insurance policy!” ;)   Enjoy your weekend, peeps!!

May 2, 2014

From Susan — Swap

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 9:36 am

For YEARS every sweater I made was too small for me.  But as luck would have it (not lucky for me), they always seemed to fit ma petite soeur (my little sister).  Tres petite soeur.  Sally is 5′ 4″ and I am 5′ 10″.  So, I would make a sweater.  It would not fit.  I would give it to Surly.  I would reknit the sweater.  It would fit.  Not very efficient!!

I learned a lot as I went along and eventually my sweaters would usually fit on the first try (unless my weight fluctuation threw me a curve, but that’s another issue entirely!).  However, I recently wore a sweater to work (Alexandria Cardigan by Connie Chang) that was just too small.  Too tight.  Sleeves WAY too short.  One more for Sally!!

As luck would have it (lucky for me), Sally had recently finished a wrap called Claire de Lune by Carol Sunday.   When she tried it on, it overwhelmed her petite frame.

The idea of a swap was born.  Sally brought her Claire de Lune with her and we exchanged our ill fitting projects.  I really lucked out!  Her Claire de Lune is fabulous.

Knit out of Classic Elite Firefly (75% rayon, 25% linen, 155 yds to 50 gms, color 7706 Linum), it looks like linen and has wonderful drape. I loved wearing it to Yarnover!!  The lace pattern is gorgeous and can be dressed up or down.

I really enjoyed wearing something I did not knit myself.  What a treat!!

April 24, 2014

From Susan — Love & Marriage

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 8:40 am

First, you fall madly in love and then in an ideal world, marriage follows (::gag::).  BUT, this is what happened to me in my knitting life!!

Any semi-regular reader knows that there are two recent designs that I am completely smitten with: Sweet Dreams Shawlette from Boo Knits and Hitofude by Hiroko Fukatsu.

Well, I was toying with the idea of knitting another Hito in a different lace pattern when the lightning bolt struck: Sweet Dreams and Hito both have 12-stitch repeats!  Kaboom!  I almost fell to the ground when it hit me!

So, as simple as it seems to substitute lace pattern B for lace pattern A, there was the problem of the skirt.  The Hito skirt is enlarged by adding plain sts to the lace panels.  If I did that to Sweet Dreams, the final points at the hem would be farther apart and odd.

My solution was to add pattern repeats to each front edge and incorporate the lace pattern as I went along.  I could not follow BooKnits’ chart because she increases 3 sts every 2 rows per side and I wanted to increase 1 st every 4 rows on each side.  This was the part that took the longest — graphing out the lace pattern for the new rate of increase.  I also increased needle sizes as I knit the skirt.  And believe me — there was fudging along the way!!

My Sweet-o-fude:

I used Madelinetosh Merino light in Well Water and barely cracked into the 4th skein.  Like I said, I changed up needles sizes, using a US 5-6-7-8-9.  Once the charting was done, the knitting was pretty straight forward.  I love this spring-summer cardi! Emoji

What can I say?  It is a marriage made in heaven!! ;)

PS – Surly arrives today!   :)

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