theraineysisters knitting and so much more

April 1, 2011

From Susan — Could I Be Cuter??

Filed under: Back Story — lv2knit @ 3:07 pm

No.  Not possible.  Judge for yourself  — from the cover of Dale Baby Book NR 229:

And matching booties:

Another garter stitch set below — I would wear the jacket!

There are many more darling outfits in this book, with many for boys, too, but I tend to gravitate to the girlie stuff!  I have no one in mind for the projects in this book, so I may have to go on the hunt for babies…no, darling daughters — no grandbabies yet!

Old FO:
This has been done for a while, but I have not gotten around to posting about it.  I thought of it today because I bought yarn for yet another ruffle scarf — what is my problem?  I will have a flirty ascot for every outfit I own ;). 

This is the Cha Cha scarf in the rusty colorway.  Love it of course, but do I need a third?  Doubtful.  Very doubtful…

December 21, 2010

From Susan — Good Morning, PF!

Filed under: Back Story — lv2knit @ 11:29 pm

Good morning!  Just sharing a virtual cup of coffee with a very nice friend.   Great seeing you last night at the knitters’ guild meeting — and great seeing many other friends!!

It was the MKG annual charity fundraiser and holiday party.  I had one of the best cookies I have ever eaten: Pistachio-Orange Cookies.  This recipe won this year’s StarTribune Cookie Contest.   I guess they are quite expensive to make because you need raw, shelled pistachios (not roasted and salted!), which are tres cher and hard to find.  Worth it.  VERY worth it!

December 19, 2010

From Susan — The Count Down has Begun!!

Filed under: Back Story — lv2knit @ 5:50 pm

Are you as crazed as I am trying to get ready for the holidays?  We are in high gear around here.  Yesterday (our anniversary as you recall — thank you for the well wishes!), we spent the entire day trying to get our tree to stay upright!  The elder daughter woke us up with, “The tree fell over.”  Okay.  So there was water everywhere.  The tree stand we have — which is fairly new BTW — is gar-bawge.  The entire day we were checking the tree to see if it was still straight.  The answer was always, no.  We had to re-straighten it multiple times throughout the day, and this morning as well. 

I did do some holiday knitting which I could not capture well in a photo.  I used one skein of Fiesta La Boheme (which is two yarns held together: boucle and mohair) in the color Wild Oak and made this cowl.  The free pattern is from Knitomatic and is the Long Missoni Moebius Cowl.  I started it yesterday in-between the tree fiascos.  The colors just cannot be captured.  The yarn is stunning.  S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G.  BadAmy made the same cowl with identical yarn — her pics are a little better.

I cast on 120 sts instead of 150 —  the pattern says it can be wrapped around the neck twice, but to me, one wrap seemed sufficient:

It will stretch a little with wear.  I have more of this yarn and will start another of these today…for me!  I will cast on 100 and not make it wrappable — just a cowlish scarf to go under my coat.  Too pretty to give away, so I need another!

December 18, 2010

From Susan — Time Flies

Filed under: Back Story — lv2knit @ 11:06 am

You’ve heard of 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later…how about 28 Years Later??


Date unknown, but more recent!

Yep, John and I have been married 28 years as of today!  He is a wonderful man, and I am extremely lucky.  We were married in a small ceremony at the Landmark Center in St. Paul.   The eyeglasses sure give away the era, don’t they?  And I am wearing a handknit mohair sweater — I was never one for the big meringue wedding dresses! 

I love you, John!!  Thanks for sticking with me all these years!

November 4, 2010

From Sally — So Many Ways to Be Surly

Filed under: Back Story,Raglan Turtleneck — surly @ 2:46 pm

I received a surprise present in the mail yesterday from my big sister. Well, I knew I was getting something — Susan couldn’t resist telling me that much. But I had no idea what it was until I opened the box. I should warn you that it is not knitting related except in the most tangential way (which I will explain in a moment). I should also explain that one of my many nicknames is “Surly.” The reasons for this are lost in the mists of time. (That’s my story at least.) But it’s true. The nickname mostly has to do with our little brother but we’ll leave it at that.

Anyway my sister found some items with my “name” on them and she sent them to me.

I had coffee this morning in my mug. Apparently, Surly is a well-known microbrewery, but not being a beer drinker I’d never heard of them. They had obviously, however, heard of me.

Thanks, Susan! (Oh: the tangential knitting connection is that surly is my username on Ravelry.)

As for knitting, I’ve been juggling three projects: the blue husband turtleneck (the sweater is blue, not the husband), Eala Bhan, and a new project that I’ll talk about next time. Millie asked the following questions about the turtleneck:

Which of the pictures of the yarn is closest to the true color? The skeins of yarn look quite dark while the started-sweater has a lighter color with more depth. Both that color and the pattern look very nice, and I am waiting anxiously to see how the rest of the sweater works up.

I’m having a hard time getting this color to show up accurately in my photos. It’s close to a very dark denim blue — l don’t think I’ve quite captured it yet to be honest.

I would like to spark a discussion on this – how do other knitters determine what gauge a particular yarn will work up based on information on the yardage. I go more on yardage than on the suggested needle size on a label. I looked at Shelter and when I see that that 50 gm ball of wool is 140 yds, I immediately translate that into 280 yds in a 100 gm ball of wool but to me a worsted weight 100 gm ball would normally be in the range of 210, 220, or 223, depending on whether it was Plymouth Galway, Cascade 220, or Patons Classic Merino. For me these work up well at 5 sts per inch. . . . It seems to me that 280 yds in a 100 gm skein would probably work up at a dk gauge. How do other knitters look at yardage and use it to determine how much yarn to buy and what gauge will the yarn work up at?

I also generally go by yardage per weight rather than suggested needle size, especially if I am trying to use a different yarn than a pattern calls for. But it definitely is trial and error. Some fibers are heavier than others and so you will automatically get lower yardage per skein. The Shelter yarn that I am using for this project has a certain lightness and loft to it, which means that it knits up “bigger” than its yardage might suggest. Another example would be Jaeger’s Chamonix yarn. It has 119 yards per 50 gram skein but it knits up at 14 stitches per four inches. It’s very light for its bulk. Cotton, on the other hand, is often heavier than wool. When in doubt, I swatch even though I hate swatching.

The other day, while knitting and watching TV, I somehow purled two stitches in a row on the husband sweater. That was a mistake, which I’ve marked with the tip of a tapestry needle. I know it’s hard to see, but basically I purled where I should have knitted.

Fortunately, it wasn’t all that far back. I quickly laddered my way down and then back up. It just goes to show that even the simplest pattern requires occasional moments of attention.

September 24, 2010

From Both of Us — Drowning in New Yarn!

Filed under: Back Story,Eala Bhan — Both Sisters @ 1:46 pm

Lost Weekend
We weren’t drinking, but we were knitting…and eating…and watching an eclectic assortment of Colin Firth movies.   And we do mean eclectic and we do mean Colin Firth — all Colin, most of the time ;).  Let’s just say that Mr. Darcy has a checkered film past — some good, some only watchable for the close ups.

When we could pry ourselves away from the DVDs we checked out the local yarn stores.  We started off at Fibre Space (and returned later to the scene of the crime) and hit many a store after that.  On Monday, having run out of films, we made a quick trip to Mount Vernon to stroll through the gorgeous scenery and learn more about our first president.  Susan had been there before but said it felt new again.  That’s what happens when you have no memory!

On one of our visits to Fibre Space, the store was hosting a trunk show for the glorious hand dyed yarns of Miss Babs.  This picture shows us with “Miss Babs herself.  She allowed us to drape her in her wares — I think it is because we helped her reach her retirement goal!!

Here’s Susan’s yarn (Sally bought the Smooch colored silk for Susan as a belated birthday present 🙂 ).  The yarn on the left is called Tierno, Baby Alpaca and Silk, in the color ‘Beach Glass.’  The pink is100% mulberry silk in laceweight (1250 yards!).

Sally’s yarn from Miss Babs was also (big surprise) a color from the pink family.  It’s silk lace weight in the color Shiraz.

Sally also picked up a sweater’s worth of a fingering weight yarn called Canopy (alpaca, merino, and bamboo) in Sarsaparilla (with accent colors in Canopy and some other yarns) for a project she’s wanted to undertake for a long time.  More on that once it’s been started, but here’s a preview of the yarn colors.

We checked out a great new shop called Looped Yarn Works just off Dupont Circle.  This bright, airy, cutely decorated shop has cozy nooks in which to knit and lots of very nice yarn!  Sally took a few photos with her iPhone, most of which were blurry, but here’s one.

On Sunday we made an emergency needle run to Knit and Stitch — in Bethesda, MD.   The people could not have been nicer.  When we got there we noticed a treasure trove of Hanne Falkenberg kits.   Upon further inspection, we realized that they had a Hanne F. trunk show in progress!!  Woo Hoo!   We were able to try on several great designs: Gloria and Plisse to name a couple.   The Gloria Jacket is one of the most flattering designs we have seen.  It looked good on both of us even with our size disparity.

Before the weekend started, we each received our copies of the new (and improved?) Aran Knitting, AND yarn for the newest design straight from the source herself.

Now, back to knitting!

August 30, 2010

From Sally — Letting Go

Filed under: Back Story,Luiza — surly @ 3:24 pm

As Susan mentioned the other day, I just took my baby to college.  (Fortunately, he doesn’t read our blog so I can call him my baby without his knowing.)  We are now officially a bi-coastal family:  Sterling is ensconced at Reed College in Portland, Oregon and we, of course, are in Washington, DC.  It was much harder to leave him than I had expected.  I know that we’ll adjust and if he is happy, we will be, too.  Perhaps what is hard is the feeling that there may never be a coming home to DC to stay.  Nora loves Colorado and I suspect that Sterling will feel very much at home on the west coast.  We’ll see.

Here are a couple of pictures of his first encounter with the Pacific (at Cannon Beach).

Finally, a last shot just before I left town (then back to knitting, I swear):

Le sigh.

I’m also “letting go” of my most recent knitting project, which is a shawl I knit specifically for charity. The charity is The National Inclusion Project. The shawl is Luiza, designed by Jane Araujo. Mine will be auctioned in October as part of the Project’s Champions Gala.

I had trouble getting good photographs of this shawl — not just the color but the beauty of the lace work. But here are a few. (The last shot is probably the most true to color.)


After blocking:

I knit this shawl using Merino Silk Lace fromSweet Georgia Yarns in the Blackberry colorway. I loved the yarn and I loved knitting this shawl. Once I figured out the method to the charts and translated a few idiosyncratic uses of terminology, it was a simple and quick knit. The pattern, including the border, was easy to memorize and just flowed very naturally. I plan to knit another for myself.

It’s a somewhat smaller shawl than I usually knit (the finished dimensions of mine are 30″ deep and 60″ across). It’s easy to enlarge, but alas I had only one skein of yarn. The original was designed for fingering weight; I used lace weight. I added additional pattern repeats (16 flowers total on each side), but would have added more if I’d had a second skein.

I hope Luiza finds a good home, and I hope that Sterling will be happy in his new one.

July 23, 2010

From Sally — Mountains of Yarn

Filed under: Back Story — surly @ 8:00 am

I’m in Asheville, North Carolina this weekend for sightseeing and a concert.  The mountains are beautiful here, the Biltmore estate is like visiting Versailles, and Asheville itself is a great town.  I’ve had some GREAT meals (I highly recommend Early Girl for breakfast and Cucina 24 if you’re in the mood for Italian), and didn’t even have to look hard to find two wonderful yarn stores.

First, though, I have always had a thing for oversize novelty objects.  I also love to iron — I was in heaven the other day as I ironed my Eiffel Tower sheets while watching the Tour de France coverage.  So you can imagine the thrill when I rounded a corner in Asheville and discovered:

Isn’t it beautiful?  Okay.  On to the yarn stores.  The first store I found was in the Grove Arcade, which is a wonderful old building decorated with stone carvings.   [Side note:  The Grove Arcade was built by E.W. Grove, who made his fortune selling patent medicines.  An ad for one of them promised that it “Makes children and adults as fat as pigs.”  Is that supposed to be a good thing?  But I digress.]  North Carolina Home Crafts features handspun yarns from local farms, along with handmade fiber art — felted hats, dolls, quilts, scarves, etc.  It was a really fun store to browse around in and they have some lovely yarns.

Next on my list — and conveniently next to Early Girl and the giant iron — was Purl’s.  Purl’s is a more traditional yarn store.  They had a great selection of luscious yarns.

But best of all they had this:

His name is Merino and he is adorable.  The wouldn’t let me take him home, though — imagine that!

July 19, 2010

From Sally — Lookie What I Got!!!

Filed under: Back Story — surly @ 11:44 pm

My sister sent me an unexpected gift that combined my love of reading and my love of fiber.  Isn’t it just gorgeous?

I don’t know how Susan was able to get the color changes to work out so perfectly. It’s mesmerizing. I don’t know how she was able to part with it. I think it may just be too pretty to hide in a book, but I hate to not use it. So we’ll see.

Does anyone besides me remember the Irving Berlin song about sisters? I’ve updated the lyrics.

Woe to the knitter
Who comes between me and my sister
But lord help the sister
Who comes between me and my yarn.

Somehow, I don’t think it is going to zoom to the top of the charts.


PS from Susan: Asked by Sara about the pattern.  The bookmark pattern is here.  It takes #8 perle coton (which I have a ton of!) and a 1.25 mm hook. 

June 15, 2010

From Sally — Wishing My Sister a Happy Birthday!

Filed under: Back Story,Counterpane Blouse — surly @ 9:24 am


Yes, my big sister celebrates her birthday today!  Susan has always been my guardian angel and protector, my confidante, my best friend, and my favorite knitter.

Please join me in wishing her the happiest of birthdays. I wish we were off on some fabulous knitting jaunt together today, but we aren’t, Blanche.

As for knitting, I have had very little time to knit lately, and the time I have had has been devoted to my stealth knitting. I have managed to pick up my Counterpane Blouse here and there. This is a simple, quick knit. I should have finished it by now, but I haven’t. I like what I’ve got so far, and once it’s washed and blocked so that the yarn softens and the stitches even out, I think I’ll be happy with it. Here are some not-so-great progress shots.

PS From Susan — Thanks for the lovely birthday wishes (and on the right day!!).  I received this card from Dad:


Uh, thanks?!?

The Counterpane is looking great.  I’ll update people on my Alexandria fiasco soon.

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