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October 8, 2014

From Sally — Fall Blooms

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 3:13 pm

I haven’t been knitting much lately; I certainly haven’t been whipping out the finished projects the way Susan has.  I do, finally, have two projects to show for my time.  Because I don’t post as often as my sister, I’ll show you one today and one later to stretch them out.

First, up — my Song of the Sea Cowl. The pattern, by Louise Zass-Bangham, is very simple but still has lots of visual interest. The yarn is Sojourn by Miss Babs. It is 65% cashmere and 35% silk. Need I say more? It is wonderfully soft, even more so after blocking. The color is Lady Bug. Although I envisioned making this cowl in a more neutral color, by the time I found the Sojourn at Fibre Spaces Miss Babs Trunk Show, it had been picked over. (That’s putting it mildly — this yarn was flying out of the store and for good reason.)

I do love pink and it’s so cheerful.

Speaking of cheerful, we created a little garden path for our beloved Thor. He insisted on cutting through this part of the garden, mowing down anything planted in his path. We surrendered. When I went out today, look what had bloomed next to his stone! One of my fall bulbs. I think it means he approves.

October 3, 2014

From Susan — Can’t Get Enough

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 10:59 am

I adore my Scatness Tunic!  I loved knitting it and after yesterday, I adore wearing it!  Yay!  Because I had so much yarn left over, I decided to make a matching cowl.

I could go in many different directions, but then I realized that what I love about Scatness is the corrugated ribbing, the fair isle band, and of course the buttons.  I did not want to cover all that up with a cowl.  So, I decided to incorporate all of my favorite elements into the design.

The cowl is a plain rectangle, and when I went to wear it, it looked weird in the front.  So I twisted it fully once and then snapped it.  Voila.  A faux moebius (a fauxbious! …Heidi) was born.

I wore the tunic and cowl to work yesterday.  A friend I’ve known for more than twenty years said it was the cutest thing I had ever made and was her favorite of all my sweaters! :)

September 28, 2014

From Susan — Scatness is Finito

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 11:08 am

We are experiencing a weekend that cannot be matched.  It is “fall” but really feels like perfect summer weather.  It is a gift.  The Yarnery and Darn Knit Anyway are hosting a fall fiber event this afternoon at a farm, which sounds like a great way to knit and enjoy the outdoors!

I finally put in the time to finish up my Scatness Tunic.  The knitting had been done for a few weeks but the finishing work remained.  There is a tremendous amount of finishing to this project…and it is not your standard seaming, etc.  You make buttons (which I had already done), add a fabric or ribbon facing to the front bands, and sew on snaps.  I had to be in the mood to do it!

I enjoyed making this very much.  The yarn is scrumptious: Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift.  The pattern was well written, but like many current patterns, the armhole depth seems skimpy to me and is too late to fix. :(

I did the Wheelhouse buttons as described in the book.  I used one inch plastic rings which I knew would show through, so I first covered them with yarn held double and a standard buttonhole stitch:

The buttons are lightweight and super cute!!

I searched high and low for the right braided ribbon, and finding none resorted to fabric.  I had finished the steeks my usual way (twice, but don’t ask!) but at the last minute decided to tuck them under the fabric lining.  I used nylon snaps as suggested in the pattern.  Not sure what I think of them but I am also not sure what would have been better.

I am just finishing up a Scatness Cowl based on the tunic pattern, which I will share later when it’s done.  All in all, a great project and done in time for Rhinebeck!  Woo Hoo!!  :)

September 17, 2014

From Both of Us — Hmmm

Filed under: Updates — Both Sisters @ 11:10 pm

Susan wrote a brief post about her recent and unexpected trip last weekend to DC to visit Surly.  The post and the comments associated with it have mysteriously disappeared!!  Hmmm. What happened there?

To recap: Susan had a brainstorm last Wednesday to fly out for a short visit, leaving on Friday and returning on Monday (then straight to work ::groan::)!  Friday evening we visited Fibre Space — they were having a special yarn showing with Miss Babs.  We initially were lukewarm to the idea, citing fatigue (laziness) and no need for new yarn (stash overload).  We decided to go anyway and of course succumbed to the wonder that is the marriage of fiber and color!

Hmmm.  Is anyone surprised?

Sally’s purchases:

Sweet Georgia merino silk lace (50% merino, 50% silk) in the color ginger as well as Miss Babs Tarte 4-ply fingering yarn (75% super wash merino, 15% nylon, 10% tencel) in the color Biker Chick…yes, Biker Chick!

Miss Babs Gradient set, 5 small skeins of Yummy 2-ply Toes (100% super wash merino) in the Pegasus color way.  The five colors are from light to dark:  Baham,  Matar, Enif, Markab, and Pegasus

Susan only bought one item: one of the gradient sets from Miss Babs.  She couldn’t figure out why it was called Onion:

With all the other colorways named for constellations and stars, could it be ORION??

Miss Babs Gradient set, 5 small skeins of Yummy 2-ply Toes (100% super wash merino) in the Orion color way.  The five colors are from light to dark:  Rigel,  Mintaka, Bellatrix, Betelgeuse, and Orion (colors captured best in 2nd picture)

Sally’s last purchase is also her current project.  It is truly butter soft.

Miss Babs Sojourn 2-ply (65% cashmere, 35% silk) in the color Lady Bug

The pattern is a gorgeous cowl, called Song of the Sea.  Susan is going to use her Orion gradient to make one.

We ate, we laughed, we watched movies (with handsome leading men :) ) and did some knitting.  Wow.  Good times!

September 7, 2014

From Susan — A Bird in the Hand

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 11:20 am

Friend Kim and I picked up our state fair entries last Wednesday.  The comments were thin, and many said, “Keen competition in this lot.”  From what I have read elsewhere, this was a very common comment!!

I also had a chance to take some better pics of my Nightingale sweater.   As I stated before, I cannot take credit for the concept, just its execution.  Jettshin is the creative inspiration and Vintage Purls’ Nightingale socks the catalyst.  This was a saga many years in the making!

I favorited Jettshin’s Nightingale Cardigan almost five years ago (along with over 8,300 others!).  I loved everything about it – especially the colors.  It percolated in my brain for four years.  I kept coming back to it, trying to shape the concept into something that I could knit for myself.  I sought out the yarn over many months – and even toyed with the idea of having it specially dyed for me.  I finally purchased six very well matched skeins of Malabrigo Sock in Ochre, very close to her gold background color.

The blue was elusive.  I bought a gorgeous blue from Sweet Fibers. Too blue. Too dark.  No purple in it.  (Some of you may recognize this as the yarn I am using for my daughter’s second Hito).  Then I bought some Malabrigo Sock in Abril. Too purple.  I finally had the brainstorm to try to find the Purple Soldier Fly that Jettshin had used and found some for sale on Ravelry.  Yay!   Yarn in hand.

Time to start the planning!  Jettshin is a tiny person and her interpretation of the sweater very fitted.  I knew mine would need to be bigger.  Lots bigger.  Positioning the repeats and getting them to fit perfectly around was a challenge, and it took a lot of pondering to get it worked out in my mind.  I then recharted the Vintage Purls charts into Excel so I could manipulate them, and rework them as needed.  I wanted the motifs to end logically, and not have “heads and tails” in awkward places.

I finally cast on in October of last year.  I puttered around with it in between other projects, and was very naïve about the amount of work I had taken on!

Broke every rule with my stranding!  Some floats are carried over 15 sts or more!   There was just too much contrast between the yarn colors – every catch showed.  Otherwise the body of the sweater went well, just very slowly!

I added a beaded lattice to the hem (as well as the cuffs and shawl collar).

I finally started on the sleeves and things stopped going smoothly for a variety of reasons, but I persevered.  My husband would respond to every barrier/frustration with, “Why don’t you just put it away?”  “Are you out of your mind??!!??  If I put it away it will never get done and I would rather cut it up and throw it in the trash than ‘put it away!’”

Am I the only knitter that ever feels that way??  I kept going just so it would not be hanging over my head any more.  I had to get this off my plate.

The other difficult search (which we all know is a pain!!) was for buttons.  I ultimately landed on Czech glass buttons with a blue glaze and floral motif (Susan Clarke GL-689).  I used loops for the buttonholes.

So the saga is complete.  Finito.  Put to bed.              I wonder what will strike next. ;)

September 3, 2014

From Susan — Say Goodbye…

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 1:56 pm

…to the fair!  Last day at the fair (Labor Day) with my girls!

September 1, 2014

From Susan — “Ready when you are, CB…”*

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 11:31 am

“Cut!!”  Yep, ready to cut that steek!  I used my new sewing machine to stitch the steek and it worked like a dream!

My Scatness Tunic is progressing nicely.  I have been off for a few days and have been doing some knitting.  Most people enjoy the great outdoors while on vacay.  ;)

I hope the little sucker fits.  We shall see.

This picture shows the colors of the yarn and the crunchy yarny goodness of Shetland wool!  There is a lot of finishing to this project but my goal of being done in time for Rhinebeck seems within reach.

Enjoy the last throes of summer.  :(

PS – The neck and front bands are done.  Just need to do the I-cord bind off and general finishing work!!

* Cecil B. DeMille “Ready when you are” storyscroll down

August 28, 2014

From Susan — Not All About Knitting

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 1:54 pm

My knitting peeps are what you could call the good news, better news.  We share, we laugh, we knit.  We also share a love of all things crafty.  Friend Kathy came in wearing a gorgeous peyote bracelet that looked like it was made with liquid silver and cobalt.  S T U N N I N G is the only way to describe it.  The lemmings – er – our knitting group glommed on and insisted that she share the pattern (Split Pea by Fusionbeads), technique, etc., which she and her sister graciously did.

Kim and I worked on little else while at knitting camp this year.  We both finished our silver stunners shortly thereafter and continued with our new obsession:

The picture cannot capture the shimmer of the top bracelet.  The little rosebud cutie helped me learn to read charts.

Kim alerted me to the Julie Ann Smith sock monkey bracelet pattern (which seems disabled at the moment?) and the rest is history.  These bracelets are going through my knitting group like wild fire!

I am done with beading for the time being, though.  It is really hard on my neck – it feels like someone stabbed me with an icepick.

PS1 — thanks, everyone, for your nice comments on my state fair entries!  It means a lot to me.

PS2 – Several people asked me about the beads I used for the silver bracelet. The bracelet pattern is called Sweet Pea and is free from Fusion Beads — I added one extra line of beads so that the blue “dot” would not touch the 2-bead edging. This changed it to odd count peyote. The beads are Myuki Delicas, #11 seed beads. Colors are Trans Silver Lined Crystal (DB0041) and Iris Blue/Dk Blue (0006) from

Nice to hear that others like the bracelet, too!

August 24, 2014

From Susan — A State [Fair] of Shock

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 10:14 am

Knitting peep Kim and I always attend the first day of the Minnesota State Fair (this past Thursday), and this year was no different.  The day started with torrential rain, thunder and lightning (!).  As I prepared to leave the house, I honestly thought we were nuts.  However, by the time we got there, the rain had stopped and the weather was wonderful.

We timed it perfectly to be at the Creative Activities Center right as they opened the doors.  It is always fun to see everyone’s entries.  I must admit that I had the shock of my life.

When we entered the building, there was my Nightingale sweater, front and center wearing a sweepstakes ribbon!  I have not yet posted about this project — keeping it under wraps since last October when I first cast on.  It was a “holy grail” project, years in the planning/months in the knitting, and will get a post of its own when I pick it up from the fair (I forgot to take good pictures before I took it in!).

Next, Kim and I hunted for my Frosted Ferns — and discovered that it too had won the sweepstakes.  Wow.  I was stunned.

Elizabeth of York and my Raspberry Beret also took blue ribbons. I was surprised that my little hat did so well!  And E of Y was so much work that I was really pleased it scored a blue.  I also entered some other items:

Maestro in the upper right corner took 5th place – it looks like someone took it off, wadded it up and threw it onto a pile of other sweaters.  Actually, it looks like my bedroom! Moving clockwise, my Ojo de Dios scarf took 2nd, and last was my Sweet-o-fude with a 3rd. I was very happy that they got ribbons.

It was very exciting to see that both Kim and Jimmy won ribbons for their creations.  Kim made this gorgeous Christmas stocking for her new grandson, so it has very special meaning.  Many of you will recognize Jimmy’s world famous DNA Sweater, which took 2nd place!  Yay, peeps!!

What an amazing year.  It is humbling and gratifying to get recognition for something that you love to do!!

PS – a friend alerted me to the fact that my sweater was shown on the local news in a story about the weirdest* contests at the fair.  I think I should be insulted! ;)   You be the judge! My sweater is on for a mere flash at about the one minute mark.


*They DID say weirdest, but now it says unique.  I think they got grief for it and changed it!

August 20, 2014

From Sally — I’m Back!

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 4:25 pm

I’m back from several weeks in Colorado and I finally have a finished project to share.  This is one of those projects that should be photographed on a person instead of Lucy (shhhh — don’t tell her).  It’s cute and fits me well. But I have no one around who can snap a photo so I apologize in advance for the quality of the pictures.

I showed you the beginning of this project back in June. It is Window to My Soul, designed by Joji Locatelli. If you want to make it, don’t worry. It isn’t that slow a sweater to knit; I’ve been working on other projects (knitting and non-knitting) so it took me longer than it should have. The yarn is Madelinetosh Pashmina in the color Coustea. The color is almost impossible to capture. It’s much more vibrant and striking than it looks in these photos. The buttons are by the Glass Pens company. I bought them a number of years ago at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival and have been waiting for the right project for them.

I made no modifications to this pattern other than deepening the armhole slightly and lengthening the bodice by an inch or two.

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