theraineysisters knitting and so much more

October 31, 2008

From Susan — Keeping My Promise

Filed under: Aran Wrap Cardigan — lv2knit @ 1:09 pm

In this time of campaign promises, here is one promise I promised myself I would keep.  I promised to post some pictures of me actually wearing my completed Aran Wrap.  I rarely pose for the blog in my FOs, but I made an exception in this case.  The Aran Wrap, with its unique construction, is one of those projects that could go either way: funky or weird, edgy or ridiculous, fashion forward or fashion faux pas.  I will let you be the judge, but I did feel that simply tossing the wrap onto Lettie would not tell the true story.

Here goes:

So don’t say I didn’t keep my campaign promises 🙂 — and we will soon be able to see who else keeps theirs.

P.S. from Sally:

My daughter and her boyfriend were into the Halloween spirit this year and carved these nice pumpkins.

And they put my poor little assistant into a costume.

So wrong, but so cute.

October 25, 2008

From Susan — The Wrap is a Wrap

Filed under: Aran Wrap Cardigan — lv2knit @ 1:41 pm

My Aran Wrap is finally done!  Woo Hoo!  It needs to finish drying, which will take several days: heavy yarn, very damp, multiple layers due to sleeves.  I promise that I will have someone take actual photos of me wearing the behemoth — without a bubble butt picture if I can help it 😉 .  When I have tried it on it fits like the pictures on Angela’s blog, though I am not 5′ tall and tres petite!

Here she is being blocked:

Yes, the Aran Wrap is a great big rectangle with sleeves, so why doesn’t it look like a great big rectangle with sleeves?  I’m not sure if my theory will work, but I was thinking that if I brought in the bottom edge, it might flair less over the derriere.   I wove a piece of waste yarn through the bottom edge to draw it in.

This was very difficult to block because it is such a strange garment and therefore does not follow standard sizing conventions.  I know how big I want normal sweaters to be, but this is different.   When wet, it was quite malleable — I could have made it much longer, much wider, whatever — but I really didn’t know what I wanted it to do!  I will have to wait and try it on and then decide if it needs adjustments.

Now, I have to check my queue for the next fun project.  I have an idea, but only time will tell!

PS in response to Alison’s question, “Now that you are finished, is there any other yarn you would have selected, I guess what I’m asking is the weight of the yarn. Do you feel like the heaviness of the sweater is needed to support the cables or would you have used a much lighter yarn.” 

The sweater is heavy, but not too heavy when it is on.  Like many coats/jackets, they do have some weight to them.  If you were to knit this in lighter yarn at the same gauge, it would be too loosely knit to hold the shape and provide ample stucture.  The yarn Sally and I chose actually had much more yardage per gm than the yarn used in Vogue, so we already substituted a lighter yarn — heaven knows how heavy the prototype is!

October 18, 2008

From Susan — Progress is Being Made!

Filed under: Aran Wrap Cardigan — lv2knit @ 10:46 am

To all of the naysayers (and you know who you are!), I am making some headway on the Aran Wrap.  It may be finished this week.  I don’t know what the deal was with those $##@@%^%^ sleeves, but it took 5 weeks for me to get them done 🙁 .  The peplum has 300 sts and seems like it is going faster:

I tried the lil sucker on and it seems to be working.  It fits just like the picture on Angela’s blog and should be a cute and warm fall/winter jacket.  I will probably need to do 3-3.5 repeats of the peplum instead of 2.5, in order to get to my derriere.  I picked up 16 fewer sts than called for so it would be symmetrical — the larger size has an exact number of repeats whereas the smaller size has an additional half repeat thrown in so the first cable is worked once more at the end of the row.  This creates the symmetry.  I maybe should have ADDED 16 sts, but too late now!  I am getting excited to get it done, which means it may actually happen!  Woo Hoo!

I know the Yarn Harlot does not need me linking to her to enlist readers ( 😉 ) but I am going to link to her post today called A Coffee Story.  I laughed out loud! 

The leaves are peaking right now so it is beautiful here.

PS to Alison: Here are some pictures from my morning walk with doggie to the river lot:

Our bench on the Mississippi

Views from the bench:

Walking home:

October 4, 2008

From Susan — One Point Three

Filed under: Aran Wrap Cardigan — lv2knit @ 12:40 pm

Sleeves that is!  This is a typical case of “the bloom being off the rose.”  When I started the Aran Wrap, I was involved, engaged, enthused, etc.  Now I am bored, resentful, unsure.  This happens with almost every project, because knitting is too slow to finish anything while you are still interested. 

The construction is interesting, as we have already mentioned.  There are a series of short rows to create a sleeve cap.  Around 24 short rows!  Over moss, garter, twisted sts, reverse stockinette.  It is not pretty!  My short rows look like crap, to be perfectly honest.  The instructions are brief to non-existent, so you are pretty much on your own.

The length of my sleeves appears to be correct.  The beauty of the top-down knitting of the sleeves is that I can add an inch or two if necessary once it is done.  The center back section is SHORT!  It comes down to my brastrap in back — in Angela’s blog pictures, it goes to her waist.  Then you pick up and knit the peplum, which is 9.5 inches.  Even with aggressive blocking, I do not see how that will ever come close to covering my bubble butt ample rear end (note to readers: my butt looks like the one in Sally’s picture with the planter, only I bring my own planter!).  You can knit the peplum longer, but then the sides also get WAY longer.  Thank goodness I a) bought a ton of yarn, and b) am almost 6 feet tall so the sides will not be dragging on the ground!

So the Aran Wrap is simmering ever so slowly on the back burner.  My knitting is in a funk due to forces beyond my control (i.e., life) and fall is in the air.  It is beautiful in Minnesota in the fall.  We are right across the street from the Mississippi River and so I’ll share a picture of the park across the way once the leaves get really pretty.  In the meantime, here is a picture of our giant crab apple tree.  It is a variety that holds its fruit through the winter, and it is laden with apples right now.

PS in Response to Karen’s question about omitting the short rows in the sleeve: I think you could do the sleeves without the short rows.  The underarm will be bulkier and you may need to lengthen the sleeve to make up for the additional pattern repeat in the sleeve cap.  This also means adjusting the decreases.  I thought about doing this myself but thought I was proficient enough with my short rows to manage it — au contraire, Over Confident One!  BUT once the first sleeve was done, I figured I might as well continue on and the shoulders do fit me at the shoulder line without a drop, so it probably fits better with a cap for me.  In any case, I could not face re-knitting the sleeve and having to knit THREE sleeves for this thing.  That is what has kept me from finishing my tailored Mitered Cardigan (but let’s not dwell on the past!).

September 17, 2008

From Susan — Lettie’s Big Day

Filed under: Aran Wrap Cardigan,Icarus Shawl — lv2knit @ 9:50 pm

Lettie — my headless alter ego — is used to hanging out alone every day, gazing out of the window as the world passes her by.  Not today, though!  Today, Lettie got to get out, see the world, meet new people, hold her head -oops- never mind!

Lettie was a lovely addition to the silent auction.  What a show stopper!  My shawl did about as I expected — it sold for $100, which was the low end of what I hoped it would bring in, but certainly not embarassing.  With the economy taking a nosedive, I know people are spending cautiously.  I met the woman who bought Icarus, and she was thrilled and knew she had gotten a bargain.  She will wear the shawl to a wedding over a black dress. 

“Isn’t this the same old picture she keeps showing of her $##$%% Icarus??”
“No, it just looks the same.  The background is different!”
“Oh, yeah, I guess I didn’t notice — are we finally done with this thing?”

Last night was the September Knitters Guild meeting.  What a fabulous evening!  We had at least 100 people if not more.  The room was packed.  There were probably about 20 (?) people who brought their items to show and share.  I was the MC and runway model (not), though I did walk the displays up and down the aisle so everyone could get a closer look.   It’s always great fun to hear what the judges have to say — we hiss and boo in all the right places.  We oooh and aaah in all the right places.  The knitting was inspiring and the knitters gracious and generous in their appreciation of everyone’s efforts. 

I received 5-6 shawls for the Wrapped in Care program and gave away two more free shawl kits.  Thanks, Shelley’s Mom, for donating the yarn!!  I ran into Dee today and she still cannot believe the generosity of knitters.  She has been giving the shawls away and they truly are appreciated.

Aran Wrap Cardigan

In response to Madeleine: Yes, we did not bind off and cast on for the armholes.  We left the sts live on the first half of the opening and did a provisional cast on the second half of the opening.  It is a half st off on the half with the provisional cast on.  It is only noticeable where there is a transition from knit to purl or vice versa.  It is there, and it is slightly noticeable, but we thought from previous experience that it would be okay.



PS to Astrid: congratulations on your many wins!  Woo Hoo!  I just keep my ribbons, but don’t really display them.  I have a small corkboard in my itty bitty sewing room that I used to pin them on, but now I just keep them in a basket.

September 15, 2008

From Sally — Finished. Finally.

Filed under: Aran Wrap Cardigan — surly @ 11:20 am

My Aran Wrap Cardigan is finally completely finished. I thought I had finished it several days ago, but decided the sleeves were a tiny bit too short. I hate feeling as if I need to tug my sleeves down all the time, so I sighed heavily and then added a couple of inches. It was the right thing to do.

It’s very hot and muggy in our nation’s capital today; it’s definitely not the right weather for throwing on my Aran Wrap Cardigan and wandering around town. I did try to take some photographs of myself wearing it, despite the heat, but none of them turned out. Trust me. (Not the fault of the sweater; it’s just hard to get decent photographs of yourself even with a tripod — especially after the “bubble ass incident.”) If I ever get a competent assistant in the house, I’ll post some that show how it fits. In the meantime, here are the requisite sweater-on-a-flat-surface shots (the color is very true in these):

And a closer look at how the large cable flows across the back and sleeves:

I’ve now turned back to one of my other one-armed wonder sweaters: Ode to Joy. I hope to have that finished within a few days.

September 9, 2008

From Susan — Laggin’ and Draggin’

Filed under: Aran Wrap Cardigan — lv2knit @ 11:28 pm

I finally finished the large rectangle portion of the Aran Wrap — as Sally forges on to the finish line!  Oh well, there is nothing I can do but keep on pluggin’.

Here is my Wrap, draped ever so elegantly over the back of my couch:

Yes, it looks enormous!  But it isn’t — it fits perfectly!  The shoulders are the proper width apart.  The back seems short, though, so I may need to add a repeat (more knitting for moi 🙁 ) to the peplum and I already know I’ll be adding to the sleeves.  But I do not want this to look skimpy and too short.  Too short in this case will highlight one’s derriere and we know what that looks like 😉 .

It is a really brilliant design.  I hope it looks good when it is done!  I am still excited with this project and will knit both sleeves before tackling the peplum so they are not the last phase.

I am re-visiting a project from the not too distant past — I will post more once it starts to get somewhere.  I need something as a take-along and the Aran Wrap ain’t it!

September 5, 2008

From Sally — It’s a Wrap (almost)

Filed under: Aran Wrap Cardigan — surly @ 11:24 am

I’m finished with the Aran Wrap Cardigan except for the dreaded last sleeve, which is often my downfall.  I do plan to pick it up today.  If I don’t, it’s liable to accidentally slip into my infamous languish pile along with so many other one-armed sweaters.  

Here are some photos of its current progress.

I will also need to block it. I think my base rectangular piece is a little too narrow; I want to block it wider so that I get more length in the back. So far, however, I am fairly pleased with how it’s turning out. I think it will be a great sweater to throw on in cool weather instead of a light jacket.

P.S. OMG! I just read Elise’s comment, and she’s right — the angle of this photograph, and the inadvertent inclusion of a flower pot, makes it look as if I have an enormous bubble-shaped ass. I have never laughed so hard in my life. I thought about pulling the photo, but then thought that everyone else probably needs a good laugh, too.

August 25, 2008

From Sally — A Pattern of Deception?

Filed under: Aran Wrap Cardigan — Tags: — surly @ 4:58 pm

The Olympics have ended, but I must confess that I didn’t finish my “Olympic project.” The Aran Wrap Cardigan is still tooling along, but it’s a lot of knitting. I have finished the main rectangular piece, so I have the peplum and sleeves left. Here is the obligatory photo; you can see that I have already picked up for the first sleeve and have started the short rows for the sleeve cap.

I know. It’s a bit hard to see because I was trying to squeeze a full view into one photograph. Here is a close up of part of the pattern. I think this shows the color fairly accurately, at least on my monitor. Hmmm. I think I would say that the color falls somewhere in between this photo and the one above.

This sweater, as mentioned earlier in our blog, is in the current issue of Vogue Knitting. Sort of. I say sort of because although charts are needed in order to knit this design, the charts are not in the magazine. Instead, you must either go to Vogue’s website and download them or send a self-addressed stamped envelope requesting the charts.

I understand why Vogue is doing this. At least I think I do. They want to drive visitors to their website. They also want to reduce publishing costs by reducing the number of editorial pages in the magazine. Vogue isn’t alone in this thinking. Other magazines, such as Interweave, have also offered pattern instructions online. As a consumer/magazine purchaser, this bothers me.

1. What happens if I don’t download or request a chart now?

There are ten patterns in the current Vogue that require a trip to the web or the post office. I don’t know about you, but I keep my knitting magazines and often turn to back issues for ideas, inspiration, and patterns. So if one of these doesn’t strike my fancy until three years from now, will the chart still be there? Ask someone who wants to make Sunrise Circle from Interweave. It’s no longer there. If you purchased the Sunrise Circle issue of Interweave in part because you liked that pattern, but didn’t get around to downloading the instructions until now, you in effect paid for something you didn’t receive. I don’t feel that I can count on those downloads being available in perpetuity or until my stash runs out (which will be never).  Edited to add: The Sunrise Circle Pattern is now available for purchase directly from Kate Gilbert on her website ($6).

2. What if I’m on vacation and don’t have my computer?

When I purchase a knitting magazine, I expect to have everything I need to know in order to knit one of the designs right inside, waiting for me. It’s compact and portable.

3. What if I’m someone who doesn’t go online?

Anyone who knows me knows that my laptop and I are surgically attached. But not every knitter is computer literate. So there’s that self-addressed stamped envelope option. I wonder how long that takes? I’m sorry, but I suspect it’s several weeks. By that time, my inspiration might be long gone. I’m fickle. And, again, what happens when I send that envelope five years from now?

What’s the upside?

Well, if the instructions or charts are downloadable, they must be more detailed, right? That was true for Sunrise Circle (and I think was one valid reason the directions were not printed in Interweave). But the charts for the Aran Wrap Cardigan are pretty standard and that is all you get online — there’s not even a schematic (online or in print). Moreover, some of the directions for this project are a bit skimpy, which I suspect (based on comments Angela Hahn has made at her own blog) is due to Vogue’s editing. More detailed instructions for the short rows, for example, might have helped justify slipping some of the content on to the web.

In other words, I’m very wary about this new trend, and I recommend downloading the instructions, charts, etc. for any pattern you see in a magazine that you might even be vaguely interested in.

PS from Susan — I am only just past the second armhole on my Aran Wrap! 🙁

August 11, 2008

From The Rainey Sisters — A Mini-Knitalong

Filed under: Aran Wrap Cardigan — Both Sisters @ 3:00 pm

This is a mini-knitalong because there are just the two of us in it, but the project itself is not mini — not by a long shot.  We are making the Aran Wrap Cardigan from the Fall 2008 Vogue Knitting (Design #30 by Angela Hahn):

We both liked how it looked in Vogue, but a photograph of the back we found at Angela’s blog completely sold us on this project (pictures included with Angela’s permission):

Another of the front and how it would look if someone (“Not me,” lamented Susan!) had a waist:

This picture shows the construction:

We both love this!  The unusual construction is appealing, but also cause for angst, so we were happy to find Angela’s blog for more photos, construction details, errata and helpful tips.  (We recommend making a visit there — after you finish reading here, of course.) She provided a list of yarns to try as an alternative to the very heavy and very pricey yarn that was used for the Vogue version (Trendsetter Journey, 55 yds/50 gm — ~$300).  One of her suggestions was Peruvia, which Susan had used to make a Hemlock Ring and Rudy, her stuffed and felted reindeer.  It is beautiful yarn — so the quest began!  Instead of spending $300, it is more like $80-100.  Much better for our price range! (Note: we don’t mind spending money on yarn, but when there is a beautiful yarn that will work as well or better than the original and costs half as much — why not?)

The quest was short:  Susan chose Chipotle (#7114) and Sally decided on Bing Cherry (# 7151).  You start knitting with the large rectangle. It is about 24×45 (58) inches.  It’s a lot of knitting, but you are making the fronts, back, and collar all at once. 

The sleeves are picked up and knit down, as is the bottom peplum.  It is possible to use the no-cable needle technique for the travelling sts, though it easier to do the Coin Cable and Reversible Ribbed Cable with a cable needle.

Here is our progress so far:

Susan’s Aran Wrap (scanned to show true color);

And to show progress (the actual yarn is not this red — at all!):

Into the third repeat — Susan is making the larger size and will have to do three more repeats of the pattern to complete the large rectangle 🙁 .  The disadvantage of being “The Big One!”

Sally’s Aran Wrap:

Sally’s yarn, which is red, looks less red than Susan’s in this photo. It’s really not as dark as it looks here.

The true color is similar to Manos del Uruguay Color M, also known as Bing Cherry. It’s a deep, rich red flecked with dark. This yarn is also wonderful to knit with. We really wanted to shy away from the recommended yarn because the designer kept saying how heavy it was, and that brought back bad memories for Sally of her Silver Belle.

P.S. from Sally:

My little assistant is visiting (although he returns home to Colorado tomorrow). He still loves his Cats-and-Mice blanket.

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