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February 4, 2015

From Susan — Diamonds Aren’t Forever

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 12:49 am

We had an annoying little snow today, causing me a 2 hour plus drive home.  Comes with the territory.  Did not enjoy it.

And then I took the dog out last night one more time before going to bed.  Billions of diamonds had been tossed across the snow.  That sparkling snow you only see in movies or on Christmas cards.  It was breathtaking.  I tried to capture the firefly in a bottle, but this very short-lived miracle of nature will be gone quickly.

February 2, 2015

From Susan — Looking Back to Move Forward

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 9:44 pm

I am in the knitting doldrums and patiently ::yeah, sure:: waiting for some yarn deliveries (“Um, John, you may notice a few packages arriving in the next few days…” :) ).  So, when I am impatiently waiting for the next project, I usually drag out some musty old thing that I stopped working on because it was boring or problematic.

Or two musty old things.  One is my Window to My Soul (I admit that I do not understand the name of this one).   It is cute and should be fun to wear next spring and summer, but I am at the point where I am knitting acres of stockinette and getting nowhere.  Plus, there are the sleeves to do as well.

Sally finished hers and it turned out so great, that I am inspired to keep going.  It is mindless, so I drag it around with me.

The other musty, old thing is really old.   A really old thing.  I first mentioned this in September 2009.  It is Dale of Norway 10903.  I have started this multiple times for multiple reasons, but I must really want the darned thing because I keep coming back and giving it another go.  Maybe this is the year to be done with it!!  Yay!!

The problem with working on these two projects is that when my new yarn arrives, I will want to drop them like hot potatoes.  But I kind of hate doing that, especially when 10903 has been waiting for 6 years.

So maybe my new yarn purchases will have to sit in wait until they become old and musty to get any attention! ;)

January 24, 2015

From Susan — Good Grades

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 9:40 am

Grades as in “gradient.”  Grades as in school.  Add the two together and you get my latest FO: Song of the Sea!!  My youngest daughter just started back to school (YAY!) and I wanted to reward her good efforts.  She loves cowls, which she calls infinity scarves, so she and I rummaged through my stash for yarn.  Well darn it if the lil dickens doesn’t have fabulous taste…talk about the good news, bad news!  She selected my Miss Babs Yummy Two Toes Gradient Set in color Orion.  Uh, I wanted that!!  Oh, well.

Sally had made Song of the Sea in another Miss Babs yarn we purchased together last fall.  I loved how hers turned out.  I knit the thing rather quickly and before blocking asked Jena to show me one of her infinity scarves so I could compare length.  The one I had knit was 20 inches too short!!!  TWENTY INCHES.  It was 40-something instead of 60!!!!!

I blocked that thing to within an inch of its life with chains and pulleys, and got it to 62 inches.  It did snap back about 6 inches, so now it is 56 inches.  The colors are stunning and I think it turned out:

Song of the Sea, The Long and Short of It

Jena loved it.  Loved.  It.  That’s the good news! ;)

PS – the designer of this cowl just released a pattern for a shawl version and actually mentions the identical yarn that I used — it is called Siren Song and has the same stitch patterns.

January 16, 2015

From Sally — Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 2:28 pm

Winter’s here and I needed a new hat. Luckily for me, I apparently had planned ahead (ooh, that’s a potentially very bad pun that I hadn’t even intended). When Susan and I were at Rhinebeck, I purchased yarn, pattern, and buttons for Scotty designed by Anne Hanson.

The yarn is Anne’s Better Breakfast Fingering in the Muesli colorway, which is a brownish gray or a grayish brown depending upon the light. What’s wonderful about this yarn, a blend of merino and alpaca, is that the alpaca has been “dehaired.” The result is extreme softness. It feels wonderful.

The only modification I made in knitting was to add an i-cord knot on the top as a finishing touch.

January 11, 2015

From Susan — Ground Hog Day

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 3:54 pm

I do live in my own version of that great movie — I have made this darn shawl so many times that I feel I am reliving the same knitting over and over!  In this case, it really is a complete redo!  Daughter Laura lost her black Sweet Dreams and demanded asked for another.  Since her birthday was Friday, I thought I should comply. :)

I have sought to eliminate the “hump” on these crescent shawls and was very close with my last one (since edited with my new instructions!).  Maybe 80% there.  So with this one, I went even further and I think I solved it.

The problem is with the garter tab cast on.  It is typically way too short.  You could just lengthen the garter strip, but then the top edge of the shawl would not look like the rest of the edges.  For this shawl, I used a 49-stitch garter tab instead of the 7-stitch in the original pattern, which is described in detail on my Ravelry project page.  98% hump free!!

My goal is to come up with a similar cast on for non-BooKnits shawls — regular “k2, YO” type shawls.  When I do, you will read about it here!

PS – Just to clarify, Dear Readers.  I am still using a garter tab cast on — it just happens to be super long.  The purpose of the extra length is essentially to cut off the center top of the shawl where the hump is and start the shawl itself below the hump.  The red line in the diagram shows the original garter tab cast on; the aqua dotted line is where I start the shawl.

January 4, 2015

From Susan — Both Last and First

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 4:32 pm

My last FO of 2014 is the first to be blogged about in 2015!  I finished my Roosevelt Cardigan at the end of December, amidst the merriment and hubbub of the holidays.

It was a satisfying knit, with really nice yarn purchased at Rhinebeck this past October. I used Harrisville WATERshed, in color Penstock. I love it. Love, love, love it. It is wooly wool with rich tonal qualities that felt great to knit.  A perfect substitute for Shelter (spun at the same mill) or Jamieson’s Shetland Heather Aran (a yarn by any other name, and I mean ANY other name — it has had many!!).

This sweater started out as Rowe…and part of me wishes I had finished this elaborate, cabled coat.  But, it had “issues” (for the way I wanted it) and I did not feel like fixing the issues.  So, I embarked on a different design.  Roosevelt has many projects on Ravelry that were beautifully completed.

Roosevelt Cardigan

The show-stopping feature of this design is the pocket treatment:

I bound off the back neck with I-cord so the strong line at the fronts would continue around the back neck:

Then I edged the shawl collar with I-cord to add weight to the collar and match the strong lines throughout.

My thinking was to create an over-sized boyfriend sweater, but alas, I do not seem able to carry off the part of the cute girlfriend!  However, it is a very wearable sweater out of beautiful yarn, that fits as I expected.  Yay!!

PS — Several of you have asked about the collar and if it is deeper than the original.

It may be: the way I did the collar was to only do my short row wraps in the “p2″ sts of the k2, p2 rib, which was every 4 sts.  This changed the number of short rows (the original had more short rows), by 5 = 10 rows of knitting.  After the shawl collar short rows were completed, I continued the ribbing for 3 inches instead of 2.  This would have deepened the collar at the same time, but probably back to the original width.  I bound off with I-cord which also added a small amount of width.

January 2, 2015

From Susan — The Other Susan

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 11:55 am

I love that my friend Susan (The Other Susan) had a crafty side to her years ago.  It has since waned, but she did make needlepoint stockings for her kids when they were small.  Both are now in their thirties and this particular stocking had seen better days.  She asked me if I could do some repairs.  The original kit came with a felt back which had become a mere shard with age and abuse.

I bought some waleless corduroy in a matching red, and a Christmasy print for a lining.   However, the needlepoint was way too stiff to seam in a normal way, so I thought I would try bias tape.

I made my own tape using the method I described earlier this year.  I thought it would be harder with the corduroy but it worked pretty well because the fabric was so thin.  It was a bit difficult to sew around the stocking, but it looks okay from the right side – the back is a little funky!

Could not resist adding a pom pom ;) !!

I tapped into the most self indulgent gift that Santa ever dropped at my door: my new tower of threads!!  Santa thought that it went perfectly with my new sewing machine, and I guess I have to agree.  It seems like complete and absolute overkill, but I will ALWAYS have the thread of my dreams without a trip to the store.

I am reminded of the part in The Trouble with Angels (a true classic from my youth!!), where the Mother Superior tells Rachel she can “keep the box of lovely threads” after winning the sewing contest (with lots of help).  I wish I could have found the right clip!  This ends just before the scene I am referring to – you see the $10 bill tucked into the winning dress.

January 1, 2015

From Both of Us — Ring it In!!

Filed under: Updates — Both Sisters @ 12:46 am

Happy New Year, everyone! 

Be safe, healthy and happy in 2015!

December 28, 2014

From Sally — Paris Is Always a Good Idea

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 11:19 am

Anyone who knows me well knows that I have a thing for Paris and the Eiffel Tower. So when I saw a pattern for Paris mittens featuring the Eiffel Tower, I had to make them. I decided that they’d make a perfect Christmas gift for my daughter, who lives in snowy Colorado. Her now husband proposed to her at the Eiffel Tower several years ago.

I experimented with several yarn combinations for the mittens, finally settling on Classic Elite Fresco in cream and a mystery yarn from a period when I was doing a lot of glove designing. I am fairly certain that the mystery yarn is Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere, but I don’t know the color name. It’s a gray with lavender overtones. The last photo — with Nora wearing the mittens — is the truest in showing the color.

I love the mittens, especially the bi-plane that pulls the Paris banner, but they were a pain to knit. That’s on me; I don’t like knitting fair isle on double points. I do like the results, though! (A fun design by Andrea Arbour with just a few modifications by yours truly.) The glass desk ornament in the first two photos was a Christmas gift from Nora this year — how fitting that we “exchanged” Eiffel Towers.

December 24, 2014

From Susan — Down to the Wire!

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 11:00 am

Ack!  My Christmas knitting is down to the very last possible moment!  I was knitting a sweater for my great niece (great in so many ways!!), and put off the sleeves for way too long.  You know.  Sleeve syndrome.  Then my dad suggested that I knit a hat for his girlfriend.  Yes, they are in their 80′s and he has a “girlfriend.”  This was on Sunday night while I was still knitting furiously to finish a sleeve!!

So here are my last minute gifts, all ready to wrap:

The Sweater

Erika insisted on red for the color.  I used Berroco Vintage in color 5150 (4 skeins).  The pattern is Peachick Eyes — a child’s version of Justyna Lorkowska’s adult cardigan Peacock Eyes.  I was using worsted instead of fingering weight yarn (!!) so I used the stitch counts for the size 2 version and lengths for the size 12.  I had Erika’s measurements and now can only hope it fits!!  I also substituted garter for the 1×1 ribbing.

The Hat
I thought if I used really big yarn and a simple hat I could knit it in one night and wetblock it in time for Christmas day.  I had to wake up at 5 am on Tuesday to finish it, soak it and block it before leaving for work so it would dry in time!

I used my own One Day Hat pattern and held two yarns together.  I used Maulbeerseide Schurwolle (a dk weight merino and silk blend) and held it with Kidsilk Aura (like Kidsilk Haze only heavier).

It took a bit longer to knit because I wanted longer ribbing to fold double.  The pom pom is adjustable and removable but I thought looked cuter as a gift.  It will be super warm!!

Are the rest of you ready??  Tick tock!!!

In today’s paper they had an article with people sharing special ornaments and their meaning to their families.  I thought, wow – how could I have missed that opportunity!!  So, I will share the story of the little blue chicken here.  When John  and I got married it was a week before Christmas (as you know from Sally’s post!).  So it was not until the following year we started collecting ornaments for our first real Christmas together.

We went to an international boutique on the West Bank called the Global Village  (thanks, Susan, for providing the name!!) and bought a bunch of brass and fabric ornaments from India.  One was a tiny blue chicken, about an inch tall.   The little blue chicken was a riot.  So tiny you could never find it on a tree!  As a joke, we placed it at the top instead of a star or angel.  Even though it started as a joke, we have done it every year since.  The Little Blue Chicken stands big and proud atop the tree.  A light is strategically placed beneath, casting a large chicken shadow on the ceiling above.

We love our little blue chicken.  Emoji

Another addendum — here is Santa’s Helper in her new sweater!!

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