theraineysisters knitting and so much more

November 29, 2006

From Susan — Sock Monkeys are Ba-a-a-a-a-ck

Filed under: Back Story,Sock Monkey Dresses — lv2knit @ 10:48 pm

The StarTribune (local big city paper) featured an article today about Cutting Edge Crafters: people for whom crafting is an outlet for their [“out there”] individuality.  If you go to the StarTribune website they have an audio/slide show where Rebecca Yaker talks about Sock monkeys.  I will apologize in advance for bringing up this old, tired topic, but I could not resist when I saw the paper this morning!!

I want to thank the commenters about gauge, size, etc.  Lorraine mentioned that people have different purl and knit gaugeS — the knit stitch is actually smaller than the purl stitch.  This is very evident in some people’s knitting.  If you don’t knit the purl st tighter, it will show up in your knitted fabric. 

I had to work very hard to compensate for the large purl sts that occurred at the beginning of the wrong side row of my stockinette.  In fact, I avoided stockinette for years because I did not like the way mine looked.  You would think that just tightening the sts would do it, but in fact that made the problem worse.  By pulling tightly at the beginning of the purl ROW, the last few KNIT sts were pulled up too tight, so the purl sts became even larger to “fill in” the space.  The tighter I pulled, the worse it got.  I finally figured out how to get rid of the problem — I purl the first 4-5 sts of the WS row using just the very tip of the knitting needle, without pulling too much at the start of the row.  For the rest of the row I do purl more firmly.  It works for me!

We were discussing this in a recent knitting class and a couple of the more recent converts to knitting had never heard of this before.  They started knitting tighter on the purl side and the improvement was absolutely amazing. 

I must go knit (and purl — firmly).

 

 

November 28, 2006

From Susan — Size Does Matter

Filed under: Back Story — lv2knit @ 11:03 pm

Michelle asked, “Now, how did you get so good at gauging your size?”  This is always an issue, Michelle!  It is art, science, trial and error.  I have it down a bit better after decades of knitting.  For years, Sally was the recipient of Trial #1 — my sweaters were always too small/short etc.  She is 7″ shorter than me so anything too small would usually fit her.  When I’d make it again, I would figure what went wrong and fix it.  I do not recommend knitting everything twice to get it to fit!  I can barely finish things the first time around. 

Over the years I’ve learned a few things:

Do a gauge swatch — it really does help to at least get in the ball park.  AND check it again once you actually start the project — gauge can change.  You can block something a tad bigger, but not smaller.

Take your initial measurements from a sweater that fits the way you want the new one to fit (similar styling and weight of yarn)

Learn how to adjust after the fact — don’t be afraid to rip it out and reknit.  If the sleeve is too long/short, fix it.  It takes some time to get it right, but you’ll enjoy it for a lifetime.  Baste the sweater together first so the adjustments can be done before it is totally finished.

I had a friend years ago who was knitting a sweater in the round.  It looked awfully small, so I measured it: 36″ total circumference for a worsted weight sweater.  I told her it was way too small, but she thought since she wore a size 36 bra, it would fit.  I was wearing a sweater that was 40″ around (as I said, this was years ago!) so I let her try it on — it was skin tight.  I told her she had two options: rip it out and start over or finish it as is and never wear it.  Would you rather spend all that time and have something or spend the time and not have anything to show for it?

Don’t be afraid of cutting and grafting — yes it is scary at first, but I have saved many projects this way (right, Surly?). — some styles need to be shorter and you don’t know it until it is finished.

I made Sally’s husband a sweater a few years ago.  Sally measured multiple sweaters that he wore often to estimate the size.  It was my design and I made it exactly to her specifications.  It was 3″ too long.  It just didn’t look right.  So, I performed one of my surgical procedures and removed the excess.  I don’t think the the length problem could have been avoided.

I have had my share of disasters along the way, but fewer and fewer as I have come to know the fit and style that work for me — though there are some sweaters I made for the sheer joy of the knitting [the thrill of the hunt, so to speak], knowing that I would never wear them because the style is not “me.” 

It’s tough to spend so much time, effort and money on something and not have it turn out as expected — anyone else have tips or stories to share?

From Susan — Red Anya Returns!

Filed under: Anya,Current Projects,Updates — lv2knit @ 1:45 am

I have some knitting mojo back!  I forced myself back into my Anya sweater, having gotten to a part on the front requiring a small amount of brain power.  I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.  Almost every knitter gets stuck when thinking or calculating becomes involved.  It’s not that I only want to do mindless knitting — I would go crazy doing nothing but straight stockinette or garter and nothing else.  BUT, when I need to stop and figure something out, it can put the brakes on a project and even be fatal.

In case you forgot what Anya looks like, (mine has raglan shaping):

image

Because I am very committed to wearing this bad boy, I pushed onward.  After ten minutes of calculating, the front did not take very long to finish.  So, I got to start the sleeves — and I love them!  I love the little ruffle-like edge at the bottom.  I did have to do some figuring because I am adjusting the size, but was so inspired that it did not slow me down.  I really love the yarn and hope to be wearing this in the next week or two.

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Very fun knitting.  I wish I had more time to knit.  This is such a busy time of year — fun, but crazy!!

November 26, 2006

From Susan — Post Holiday Un-Blues

Filed under: Back Story — lv2knit @ 10:34 am

I had a great holiday: no cooking to speak of and certainly no cleaning, though yesterday I had to shovel out my yarn “room” (large closet) out of necessity!!  My oldest daughter, Laura, got a job on Wednesday and started Saturday, so she is on Cloud Nine, which puts all of us right up there with her – if you know what I mean (no teen angst for miles :)). 

Laura is coming to my work in another couple of weeks to do the Annual Employee Craft show.  We did it last year and had a blast.  She makes beautiful jewelry, and this year we are making scarves.  She went to work yesterday and her new boss bought two scarves and two full sets of jewelry (necklace, bracelet, and earrings!) — see Paragraph I, subsection B to ascertain reaction of said daughter.  Woo Hoo!!  This is money coming from a source other than moi!!!!   Je suis sur le Nuage Neuf, aussi.

Because of all of the above activities, I have not been working too much on my regular knitting.  I am hoping to get back to it very soon.  I want/need to finish Red Anya — I am on the front raglan shaping, so just have the sleeves.  I have finished both sleeves up to the raglan shaping on the Woman’s Continental, so just have the finishing on that — the finishing is significant, but it is “where the fun resides” on that project. 

PS — Teen Knit Night: the newbiest knitter of the group finished her first scarf and is starting another.  Ain’t life grand!?!

November 22, 2006

From Susan — The Red Hat

Filed under: Back Story,Current Projects,Updates — lv2knit @ 2:24 pm

Since I have nothing of current interest to share, I thought I would share something of less than current interest.  This is a hat and scarf I designed earlier in the year.  I submitted it to a well-known knitting magazine and it was [reluctantly — or so they say] rejected.  I still love the design and wearing the tam:

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The above sample was knitted in Debbie Bliss Alpaca and Silk DK, which I absolutely love.  It is SO-O-O-O-O soft!!!!!

Sally was one of my test knitters and made the following out of hand-dyed merino (she will need to add info on the yarn). Note from Sally: I used Kersti, which is the DK weight yarn made by the Koigu ladies who bring you all of that lovely KPPM yarn. This yarn has a bit of a “cable twist” to it.

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And the flip side:

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If people are interested, I can sell the pattern, but it will take a bit for me to set up a sales process.  It is a fun little project and gift.

As for me, I am going to make Hamantaschen to take to Grandpa’s tomorrow.  It is a good excuse to eat more of those scrumptious goodies. 

Here is wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I am so thankful for the support I have received from all of you with my knitting endeavors and dilemmas over the past few months.  THANK YOU!!! :)

November 20, 2006

From Susan — Teen Knit Night

Filed under: Back Story — lv2knit @ 12:53 pm

My Teen Knit Night was a total success.  We ate popcorn, knitted on scarves and watched increasingly “scary” movies (John Tucker Must Die –> Practical Magic –> Silent Hill).  It was a ton of fun.   

Michelle would like an update on knitting on planes.  Have any of you travelled by plane real recently?  The last time I flew, they were absolute stinkers about knitting. 

November 19, 2006

From Sally — Feather and Fan Shawl Update

Filed under: Feather and Fan Shawl — Sally @ 6:29 pm

I’m home nursing a cold, watching the Vikings lose, missing a knitting get-together so I don’t infect others, and working on my mindless project of choice: the Feather and Fan Shawl. It’s such a nice easy lace project. One row of patterning that doesn’t even require a chart followed by three rows of straight stockinette. Since each row has 800+ stitches, we are talking mindless zen knitting at its best. This project is even fairly portable, so I’ve been carrying it around when I go to appointments or know I have to wait somewhere.

It is, however, a slow project. I probably have around 50 or so rows left and I’m not sure when I’ll finish it. I am enjoying working on it. Here is what it looked like a little while ago.

And here it is today. I changed it over to a longer needle and took a photograph while it was on both needles and therefore not so scrunched up.

The color is a bit more true in the top photograph. It still is hard to get an idea of the size. The needle I was on was 40″ and the one I’m transferring it to is 60″ if that helps.

November 18, 2006

From Susan — An Update on the Sweater Request

Filed under: Current Projects,Updates — lv2knit @ 5:20 pm

RECAP: My daughter’s friend asked me (through Laura) to knit her a sweater from the recent Vogue Knitting.  I did tell Laura today that I would not be making her a sweater.  She seemed okay with that answer. 

Instead, we are having a knit night at our house this evening.  Movies, snacking and knitting.  Laura and I shopped for yarn for both of the friends that are coming over and will help them with their scarves.  That seemed like a fun compromise.

As far as MY knitting goes, it isn’t.  I have not been getting much done lately.  Too much going on and not enough energy to go around.  Tonight I won’t get too much done because Laura’s friends are a bit needy and I do want to help them. 

IF I make any progress on anything, I’ll post more and some pictures.  I’m just in a lull at the moment.  Ever have those days??

November 15, 2006

From Susan — Where are we??

Filed under: Current Projects,Updates — lv2knit @ 10:34 pm

Where are we??  Why have we fallen off the face of the knitting earth?  Just busy, that’s all.  PLUS, Sally and I are doing a mini knitalong that we do not want to share until we figure out if it works.  So, we have both been knitting a bit on it but do not have anything we want to divulge until success (or defeat?) is declared.  It is an unusal project that will either be remarkably cool or be a total flop.  The jury is still out.  We will spill all the beans once the jury is in.

Knitting News

Julia Roberts To Star in Knitting Film 

Julia Roberts will star in the big screen family drama “The Friday Night Knitting Club.” The star has been an avid knitter for years and regularly indulges in her hobby during down time on film sets. Roberts will also produce the project through her Red Om production company.  

The film is based on Kate Jacobs’ upcoming novel and centers on a single mother who juggles the demands of running a Manhattan, New York knitting store with raising her spirited teen daughter. Her regular customers gather once a week to work on their latest projects and chat, but when a tragedy occurs, the customers realize they’ve created more than just a knitting club. 

 

November 13, 2006

From Susan — A Quick Update

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 1:13 am

As I said, I finished the lace mitts for my daughter.  She is a person of VERY few words, so she “thanked me” by putting them on immediately while she did homework on the computer.  I guess she likes them! 

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