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June 3, 2015

From Susan — I’m a Wanderer

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 7:58 am

Last weekend I did a little field trip with a couple of fellow knitting enthusiasts to check out two new shops in the southern metro (we live more north by northwest, so we don’t get that way very often).

The shops were both wonderful.  We first stopped at Unwind in Burnsville. So cute, very well stocked and the owner (?) extremely welcoming and helpful.

Next up: The Twisted Loop, located in the Prior Lake Library. Again, the shop was beautiful, well stocked and the staff could not have been nicer.

We went to lunch at The Artisan Bistro because that is the place that everyone mentioned whenever we asked where we should eat.  They were absolutely correct!! I had Mahi Mahi tacos and they were fabulous.

So, what did I buy.  Not much and too much.  I have been looking for yarn for a shawl called Strandwanderer for months.  You need yarn dyed in sections with specific spacing.  Friend Kim is my “yarn whisperer” so I texted her a picture and asked, “Will this work?”

The good news: yes.  :)   The bad news: Buy two.  :(

Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock in Boheme

The reason the yarn is so specific is the way the shawl is knit.  When you knit with these hand dyed yarns, as the item gets wider (like a shawl) the pooling continually changes.  With this pattern, you knit plain rows that do that, but you also knit sideways sections with a fixed number of sts.  The sideway sections pool identically throughout the piece because the stitch count never varies.

What you should see are little repeating boxes in the sideway sections.  I have the little repeating boxes.  What I don’t have is a color that I like.  The brown-pink combo just isn’t doing it for me!  Oh well.  I may continue my quest for the perfect yarn for this project.

PS to my Commenters: Wollmeise is the yarn used in the pattern itself, but it is not always easy to come by nor easy to judge the colors from a picture.  I did try that route but thought I would be better off seeing the yarn in person.  Maybe my mistake!!

PS to Kathy: according to the pattern I am about 22% done, not even close to being finished!!  This project is a slog on size 2 needles, and all the sideways rows are much slower than normal rows.  I don’t know when I will get this thing done.  I may make it smaller and just use one skein.

May 26, 2015

From Sally: It’s About Time

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 4:48 pm

I love poetry. (I know — this isn’t a poetry blog, but I will make a connection.) One poem I’ve always been fond of is Calmly We Walk Through this April Day by Delmore Schwartz. I especially love the last few lines:

May memory restore again and again
The smallest color of the smallest day:
Time is the school in which we learn,
Time is the fire in which we burn.

Which brings me to my latest project, Timetable, designed by Andrea Sanchez. It was published in the Spring 2015 issue of Interweave. It’s a clever design. The pattern that follows the raglan lines on the front continues down the side and then, through short rows, wraps to the back for a shirt tail hem. (It’s then grafted in the middle.)

It was a fun knit, if a little slow. There is an error in the pattern, which affects the number of repeats one does across the back. You get to do fewer — the numbers and directions work out if you just realize that you do 1 or 2 fewer repeats. The designer is aware of the problem, so I suspect that there will be an errata available in the future.

I knit this out of Hazel Knits Entice, which is a merino/cashmere/nylon blend fingering weight. Very nice to work with. The color I chose is Cinnabar, a glowing ember of a color. Timetable. Red. You see how I’m linking this to the poem, right?

My sweater fits me perfectly — always a nice surprise. I wore it today with some kick ass red sandals and black linen cropped pants and felt very stylish. Don’t disabuse me.

May 16, 2015

From Susan — Ain’t Much

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 11:05 am

My knitting has been a series of little fluff projects lately.  Sometimes you need a break from the big, overwhelming, never ended slogs!!

This necklace is called Knotty Knitted Necklace.  Mine was knit in the Schachenmayr Couture yarn I bought at Yarnover.  It only took about half the skein.  I made one for Sally but a huge portion of the yarn had no seed pearls.  Looked naked, but I kept knitting anyway.  I doubt anyone will notice.  I have actually worn it already and it is cute for a summer accessory!

Remember Monkey Face?  I made a Teddy Bear version for a work friend.  Her son is expecting a baby boy at the end of summer.  I made a smaller size (obviously!!) for a newborn.

I am excited that I will be out tonight with family celebrating my nephew’s graduation from law school.  He still needs to pass the bar, but I know he will.  Great kid with a bright future!!

I received the latest issue of Interweave Knits and there are a couple of sweaters (Chesapeake and Magic City Henley specifically) that are perfect for the Invisible Stranding technique I describe in my It’s Not About the Hat pattern.  It would make them turn out beautifully!!

May 6, 2015

From Susan — Color Blind

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 7:59 am

Hi, Folks!  Happy Spring.  Spring in Minnesota is a magical time, as we exit our caves and blink into the sunlight.

I did immediately dive into my Ponchini and finished it.  The pattern had some quirks, but I followed it as written.  I was sent on a mission to StevenBe’s by my blog partner (aka, Surly) and decided to drag my ponchini-in-progress along to compare it to the original.

You may remember that I fell in love with the original (spotted at Yarnover) because of the color.  Jeremy selected my yarn for me as I repeated, “I want it to look exactly like this one.”  I have witnesses!!

It doesn’t.  Not at all.  I am not faulting Jeremy (I love Jeremy!), but I am disappointed.

Mine is also sewn opposite which reverses the color scheme.  I sewed it the same way and tried it on.  I must be “right sided” or something, but I needed to have the longer side to the right, not the left.  I had to rip out the seam and do it over!

And thanks to all for your positive reception to my It’s Not About the Hat pattern!  Mwah!!


PS – Some of you asked about gauge.  I am sure I probably knit tighter than the original…plus, it is not hanging free so you can’t see the light showing through.

See?  Less “solid” than you think!!

April 26, 2015

From Susan — King Tut’s Tomb

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 5:50 pm

When Carter and Herbert discovered the entrance to King Tut’s Tomb in the Valley of the Kings (1922), they knew they had unearthed something important that had to be shared with the world.  They didn’t build or invent the tomb, only uncovered it for the rest of the world to appreciate.

That’s how I felt when I discovered a new knitting technique that I call Invisible Stranding…only on a smaller scale.  Okay, a much smaller scale.  Okay, the analogy is overwrought and ridiculous.  BUT, I felt really excited about it and wanted to share it with the world.  Okay, the knitting world.

Invisible Stranding allows you to carry yarn across any number of stitches without catching the floats.  Catching floats creates a visible pucker in your knitting and often allows the other color to show through.  Invisible Stranding eliminates these problems and leaves the knitting smooth.

I was particularly interested in this method because of the Dale of Norway sweater I have been working on for the past few years :( .  The carries on some rounds were greater than 30 sts and that was a problem.  Everything I tried looked awful.  But then I used this technique and it worked perfectly.  No dimples, no puckers, no color showing through.

In order to share my discovery, I needed a vehicle, so I decided to design a hat pattern.  Hats are small projects.  :)  I used worsted weight yarn.  :)   And only two colors.  :)   My goal was to focus on the technique, not get side tracked with other design elements.  Plus, Malabrigo Merino Worsted feels like cashmere.  :)

The result is my It’s Not About the Hat Pattern which is available on Ravelry.

It’s Not About the Hat

The pattern comes in 5 sizes, and both standard and slouchy fit.  I charted the color motif and also wrote it out line by line.  There are YouTube video tutorials for all aspects of the technique.

The following video is an introduction to the technique.

So this is what I have been working on the last few weeks!  It feels good to get it off my plate and out into the world!  :)

Response to question from PurrlGurrl: PurrlGurrl asked if a newbie to fair isle/stranded knitting could attempt this project.  I agree with what Sally said about it being for people who are already familiar with stranded knitting.  No attempt is made to walk the knitter through stranded knitting.  It is only meant to introduce people to an advanced, additional  approach to the knitter’s toolbox.

BUT, that said, there is nothing stopping someone from trying it!!  There are multiple youtube videos that demonstrate the entire process start to finish!

April 25, 2015

From Susan — Yarnover

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 7:48 pm

Today was Yarnover — the one-day knitting extravaganza hosted by the Minnesota Knitters Guild.  I have been a member of the committee the last few years, but after last year’s event, I opted to take my leave.  So today I went as a civilian.  Loved it!!

I shopped like a drunken sailor.  We saw a knitting bag that said, “My Drinking Group has a Knitting Problem.”  I think my knitting group has a shopping problem!!

Let’s survey the damage…

  1. Forget Me Not Shawl Kit from The Grinning Gargoyle — a cute little triangular neck piece in deep purples and grays.  The sale clerk was wearing one, so I had to buy it.
  2. Seda Sock (a perennial favorite) in a color not unlike my Window to my Soul which I was wearing at the time called Cayenne
  3. In the what were you thinking category – I bought TWO skeins of StevenBe’s Shop Hop Special Colorway.  Yarn is called Hedgehog Sock in the Peacock Tease colorway.  No idea yet what this will be…
  4. Schachenmayr Select Couture Cotton with tiny seed pearls — for a little necklace-type thingie to wear to work.
  5. After that it was kind of a blur.  Everything went dark and I saw stars.  Woke up with $165 worth of yarn.  Felt woosy.  Had to go sit down.  I bought the exact yarn to make this:

The yarn and colors were absolutely stunning.  I really liked it.  So, It ended up in my bag.  It takes 3 hanks of Alchemy Silken Straw (100% silk, colors  Borealis, Pony Up, and Radiant Orchid) and 2 of Haiku (40% silk 60% mohair, colors Pony Up and Radiant Orchid).

The greens and purples called me.  They must have also dialed the phone to Surly, because she made me go back and buy her the identical yarn!!  That’s why you “see double” in the picture above.  The only difference is I bought Dragon instead of Pony Up for the green.

I have to say that I truly enjoyed just hanging out and shopping with my peeps, and not worrying about the rooms and signage and coffee and lunch.  What a treat!!  It was wonderful seeing all my knitting friends.  Lori looked especially stunning in her orange shoes and sweater!!

I have also decided to get crackin’ on my Alchemy treasure trove instead of working on other projects that are looming.  I need a break into “shiny new.”


April 21, 2015

From Susan — Knitting for No One, But Who Cares???

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 12:09 am

This may not be for anyone in particular but that never stopped me before!  When I see something cute that I want to knit, I knit it.  Nuff said.

Last Thursday at knitting group, a couple of people were knitting these: DMCs Top This! Hats.  OMG…these things are adorable!!

Kim and I ordered them immediately via my phone from Webs.  It looks like they just restocked — they have a huge supply!  We both bought the monkey and Kim got a Unicorn, which is absolutely adorable!

My Little Cutie Patootie

Anyway, they could not be cuter…plus reasonably priced, and a quick knit to boot.  Great gift to have on hand!!

April 17, 2015

From Susan — Wore It, Love It

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 8:47 am

It always amazes me when things actually work! I wore my new dress and my Window to my Soul sweater to work the other day and a- the dress fit and was COMFORTABLE and 2- the sweater looked cute.  Yay!!

Laura wore her blue Hitofude today so I grabbed a couple of pics as she headed to her car. Proof that she wears my knitting!!

April 13, 2015

From Sally — Once in a Blue Moon

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 2:10 pm

That’s about how often I post lately, for which I apologize.  I’ve been knitting quite a bit but everything I’m working on is slow.  Plus, as is my nature, I often work on so many different projects at a time that it takes even longer for me to finish something.

So here is a project I finished quite a few weeks ago but didn’t post about because it’s difficult to photograph due to its short, “bat wing” shape. It looks cute on, but not so cute on my mannequin. I wore it quite a bit when I was in New York recently for a fun girls’ weekend.

The sweater is Eastbound, designed by Courtney Kelley for Interweave Knits. I used the yarn called for in the pattern: Fibre Company’s Organik. It’s a blend of merino, baby alpaca, and silk. Yes, it’s nice but as is the case with many soft, single ply yarns I expect it will pill. The color I chose is Solstice.

As I said, hard to photograph but easy to wear. (I’ll distract you first with my cherry blossoms.)

April 7, 2015

From Susan — Post Part II

Filed under: Updates — Both Sisters @ 10:46 pm

Thanks to everyone with their comments about fabric stores.  I did get to Crafty Planet and it has a ton of nice fabrics.  Mostly prints, and a decent yarn selection.  I could not decide on anything but I will definitely go back.  The cute logo says it all!

We Missed It

Our bloggiversary.  On March 20 it was our 9th anniversary.  We talked about doing something to commemorate it, but time flew by and nothing happened.  So, thank you all for reading our blog these past nine years!!!

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