theraineysisters knitting and so much more

January 30, 2007

From Susan — Quickie Update

Filed under: Oregon Cardigan — lv2knit @ 8:31 am

It is minus 18 windchill this morning — brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I’ll be wearing my long johns today! 

Sleeve island seems like a temperate getaway.  I am actually finding it a pleasant respite.  Who knew?  I have done 1.5 inches out of 21.5 inches, so I have a L-O-O-O-O-N-G way to go, but I’m enjoying it.  The good thing about top down sleeves is that they just keep getting get smaller!

Tonight I teach a class, so very little knitting will get done.  Tomorrow night I’m out with the girls.  Thursday is “knit night,” though not that much knitting takes place (too much talking and eating!).  So, my knitting time will be severely curtailed until the weekend.  Stay warm, my Minnesota friends! 🙂

January 28, 2007

From Susan — I Thought This Day Would Never Come

Filed under: Current Projects,Oregon Cardigan,Updates — lv2knit @ 7:20 pm

Marina, I never thought I would say this: the body of my Oregon Cardigan is done!!  I have been slaving on Oregon all weekend so I could get to this point.  I kept thinking, “Gee, I’m so close.  If I just knit a little bit longer….”   The minutes became hours, and the hours days.  But, I am at the shoulder grafting stage and almost ready for Sleeve Island.  I’m okay with that — it indicates progress!  Woo Hoo.  I wish this picture showed the true colors.


Now, I don’t have a sour grapes attitude, but really!  How fair is it that Marina does three blue stripes to the armhole, while I had to do four.  And how fair is it that Marina did six blue stripes to the shoulder and I had to knit past seven?  I’m not complaining, just saying.  It should be noted that one “stripe” represents a mere 24 rounds!

MarinaOregon.jpgMarina’s Oregon before Sleeves

Marina is a fabulous knitter and I hope a good sport — just jealous, M!!! 😉

I did watch a number of movies in front of a roaring fire, but did not get out much.  It was extremely cold today and I’m not that used to it.  Our winter has been pretty mild, so I am wimpy about the cold.

I may take a break from knitting tonight after grafting the shoulders.  Whew!

PS — the grafting is done and looks “okay.”


Grafting “head to head” will always be a half stitch off — there’s no getting around it.  I like how the partial trees form a spider’s web!

PSS — picked up the sleeve.  I am officially ensconced on Sleeve Island!  Thanks for the words of encouragement, Surly! 🙂

January 27, 2007

From Susan — Tip Enhancement

Filed under: Knitting Tips — lv2knit @ 1:44 pm

Auntie Ann commented on my post about using a smaller needle to pick up a row/round of sts before ripping out.  She makes a lot of socks and therefore doesn’t really have a knitting needle two sizes smaller, so she uses a small tapestry needle with waste yarn to pick up the sts below the mistake before ripping out.  I often use a tapestry needle with waste yarn as a st holder, but I don’t think I have used it for fixing mistakes on small gauge projects.  Thanks for the tip enhancement, Auntie Ann! 

January 25, 2007

From Sally — Berry Cluster Pullover & Stash Enhancement

One reason I wanted to finish my Bohus Blue Shimmer is that I needed to start playing with my Royal Alpaca. Somehow, I keep getting shipments of it from The Tangled Skein in St. Peter. I don’t know WHO could have been placing orders for additional skeins on my behalf. It’s a mystery.

After Susan posted about her Berry Cluster Pullover, I was reminded how much I wanted to knit that. As I may have mentioned, I have yarn in my stash — the actual yarn called for — to knit it. But I kept picturing it in my Royal Alpaca. So the question became: Cameo (the dusty pink) or Spanish Leather? I chose the Spanish Leather. The color is not real true in these photos. Although it’s a brown yarn, it has almost a pink undertone to it. It’s very pretty. And it feels like butter. I just started it a few days ago and will finish the back this evening.

Of course, I’m already mentally looking ahead to my next project or projects. I have several head starts I’d like to revisit: Mermaid, Lismore, and my Feather and Fan shawl. But I was also tempted into buying some yarn today. My friend Jennifer and I met for lunch today. Before we enjoyed our Burmese food (which I had never had before), we visited a brand new yarn shop in Hyattsville, MD. It just opened Tuesday. A Tangled Skein is a lovely store and the owners are delightful. (If the name sounds familiar, it’s true. There is The Tangled Skein in St. Peter, MN — the source of all of my lovely Royal Alpaca — and A Tangled Skein in Hyattsville.) There is no website up yet for A Tangled Skein, but there should be one shortly.

I bought — hmmm, this is embarrassing — more alpaca. My new yarn is Ultra Alpaca by Berroco. It’s a 50% alpaca 50% wool blend. It knits at 5 stitches to the inch and comes in 100 gram skeins of 215 yards. I bought this with the Eris zippered cardigan from The Girl from Auntie in mind. I even bought some Wildfoote sock yarn from Brown Sheep (color Mistletoe) to match.

Can you tell I have a thing for blueish-green? ‘Cause I do. I also bought a new sock book from Interweave, Favorite Socks, which is a compilation of many of their sock patterns from back issues. I have ALL of Interweave’s back issues, but I couldn’t resist. It’s nice to have them all in one place.

January 24, 2007

From Susan — A Knitting Tip

Filed under: Knitting Tips,Oregon Cardigan — lv2knit @ 12:32 am

I discovered that I had made a bit of a tactical error with Oregon and therefore had to rip back a few rounds.  It’s not a big deal if you know the “secret.”

I was teaching a class on fair isle and one of the students made a mistake several inches back.  She un-knit every stitch — several hundred per round — round after round!!!!  It took her hours and hours.  When I told her the secret to ripping out fair isle, I don’t know if she wanted to slug me or hug me!  I’m sure many of you have used this technique before, but if not, you may find it useful.

Take a circular needle ~2 sizes smaller than the one you are using and pick up the sts through a row/round that is easy to follow.  I am showing it on Rona because it is so darned easy to see.  On Oregon, I chose the last round before a color change.  Starting at the center steek (or beg of rnd), pick up all the sts* in that round.  Then pull out the needle (Note: here I mean the needle you are actually knitting with, not the one you used to pick up the sts) and unzip the sts.  Be careful to untangle the yarn as you go if you want to reuse it.  Sometimes it is worth going back a couple of extra rounds if it makes following a stitch line easier.


I use this technique on regular knitting as well.  You just need to make sure you are following the stitch line carefully.  It is the technique I use for shortening sweaters.

So now I’m back a few rounds but happier!

Looking at Rona so close up leads to comparisons with Oregon.  The new A*ice S*ar*more yarns are much nubbier and therefore do not yield as smooth and even a fabric.  The gauge is bigger, too (28 sts/inch vs 30).  Overall, it has a coarser, thicker appearance.  I hope it improves with blocking!

PS (to Marina) — I do not transfer the sts to the “real” needle — I just start knitting with the larger sized needle on the next round.

* Also, I should add some detail about “picking up” the sts: working from right to left, insert the tip of the needle into the right half of the st as if to purl.

Thank you for your comments and questions!

January 22, 2007

From Susan — Poor Little Moebius

Filed under: Knitting Tips,Oregon Cardigan — lv2knit @ 12:53 am

I took the finished Lace Tam to Amazing Threads in Maple Grove to drop it off and pick up Sally’s Moebius Lace Scarf.  It looked so pretty up on the wall, I took a picture.  I felt so bad for poor dejected little moebius that I wanted to take it out to dinner — fatten it up a bit. 


My moebius may still get done, but for now I have moved on.  Maybe this spring when the pretty color of the KSH and the warming temps re-ignite my moebial inspiration.

RE: the Lace Moebius (Fibertrends pattern AC39).  Since I did not get a chance to share this tip with the class, I will share it with others who may be thinking of making this scarf.  It involves the cast on.  I know many of you use the Cat Bordhi cast on method for doing moebius projects of all sorts, and it would probably work here as well.  However, the pattern comes with its own instructions and the buyer of the pattern may not have the Cat B. book OR the desire to use her cast on method.  Click this link to read about my tip under Knitting Tips. 

I worked on Oregon quite a bit and am now at the NECK SHAPING.  Progress – slow, but sure.  The original Oregon is a v-neck cardi, but I am doing something a bit different with standard neck shaping. 

I really have a hankerin’ for something new.  I have a couple of ideas in mind.  I am torn because on the one hand, you can only make progress when you stick to one thing, but on the other hand, you get bored and enjoy your knitting less.  It is a dilemma.  Knitting is a hobby and my passion and is supposed to be done for enjoyment.  When it becomes boring and drudgery — that does NOT sound enjoyable to moi!  However, I also REALLY enjoy the feeling of accomplishment when I finish something.  Therein lies the dilemma. 

Note to self: don’t think about it too much or your head will implode.

January 21, 2007

From Susan — The Green Berets

Sally’s gorgeous Bohus was very fun to read about — it is so nice to see things actually get finished every once in a while!  I am going to have to drag out some oldies pretty soon — you know, my “head start” projects as Sally calls them.  And it obviously worked out for her with Blue Shimmer.

My knitting has been somewhat sparse the last few days, though I have been knitting a couple of Lace Tams from my Lace Tam pattern.   One of them was for me.  I thought the tam would be pretty out of Tahki Jolie in color 5016 (key lime green).  It is made out of 70% French Angora, 30% merino and is amazing and soft and gorgeous.  I had seen some at Needlework Unlimited and was reminded that I had a few leftover balls in my paltry, uninspiring stash*.  I don’t get to NU very often because it’s kind of a trek, but I always stop when I’m in the neighborhood.


The sweater I originally made (the hemline is shown in the above picture, which is truer to the actual color than the picture below) is the Berry Cluster Pullover from Knitting on the Edge by Nicky Epstein.  Many of you have seen/purchased one or more books from this series of embellishments.  They are really quite wonderful references.  I won my copy at Knit Out a couple of years ago and was thrilled.


I absolutely fell head over heels for this sweater, so my sweater is identical to the one pictured (I can’t get a good picture of mine and have no intention of MODELLING it!).  I made no changes to it — same yarn & color, same neck treatment, same pearls.  Do I look like the picture when I wear it?  Uh, that would be a “no”!   I rarely wear this sweater for two other reasons: I have nothing to go with it and it sheds like crazy!!  But it was a labor of love, and I love to look at it and touch it and sometimes that’s enough.  I have several sweaters like that — I made them for the sheer love of the project without the intention of wearing them.

The other tam I made was for Amazing Threads as a shop sample.  The yarn is Sublime which I described in an earlier post.  It knitted up beautifully!


You can see how different the tams look depending on the yarn that is used.  Sublime has great stitch definition.  Both hats worked and both fit so I am happy with them.  This yarn would be great for something special but I’m not sure what at the moment.  I just know it is really nice to knit.

PS — Sally asked why the tams are darker in the center — it is because I scanned them and they cannot lie flat on the scanner plate due to the “embellishment” on the top.  The Jolie tam has a little i-cord knot on top which looks very light because it is pressed against the glass.  In reality, both are a consistent color throughout.  Thanks for the chance to clarify, Surly!

*definition of paltry, uninspiring stash: a collection of yarn you cannot count on for a new knitting project: not enough variety, quality or yardage for anything you would really want to knit.  That is why you will never hear of me joining the “Knit from Your Stash 2007” movement — I would be left empty handed and bare needled! 😉


January 20, 2007

From Sally — The Blue Shimmer Is Finished

Filed under: Blue Shimmer,Knitting Tips — surly @ 11:43 am

I’m wearing it as I type this post. It’s a cold, windy day here in Washington, D.C. and the Blue Shimmer is soft, cozy, and warm. It looks beautiful, too, although my sad attempt to take some photographs of it this morning won’t show it off to best advantage.

I’m even going to violate my usual role of no modeling because the way that these Bohus/yoke sweaters drape so nicely over the shoulders is an essential part of the look and fit, and you just can’t see that when they are on a hanger or lying flat. My daughter/model is not home and I just didn’t think I could talk my 15-year-old son into slipping it on, even if he is still half-asleep. (*Takes deep breath as she prepares for self-humiliation.) So, without further ado, here are some photos:

I’ll work up to the modeling gradually by starting with my hand.

Lying flat, which doesn’t show it off but allows you to see the color I added at the hem of the sleeves and body. (The pattern called for ribbing.)

Here is a close up of the yoke.

And finally, my self-portrait.

Pretty artsy, eh? What can I say? I was the only one here besides aforementioned half-asleep son so I had to take the photo myself.

I’d like to add one additional comment about knitting Bohus sweaters. In the book, Poems of Color, the directions suggest using a US 3 for the unpatterned parts of the sweater (sleeves and body), a US 2 for the patterned area (the yoke), and a US 1 for the ribbing (which I didn’t knit). In my experience, the needle sizes suggested for the patterning and the plain knitting should be reversed. The reason is that most knitters will find that their plain stockinette knitting is “looser” than the fair isle-type patterning called for with the yoke. If that is true for you, and you use a larger size needle for the plain area, the problem will be compounded and your sweater will tend to balloon out when you hit the body.

Therefore, I knit the yoke on a US 3 and switched to a US 2 for the body and sleeves. For me, the results were perfect in terms of gauge. From my quick glance at the directions in my new Swedish kit for the Large Collar, it looks as if those directions use the same needle for the yoke and body (with a smaller needle for their ribbing). Again, I will adjust and go up a needle size on the color work. Those directions have you split the sweater after the yoke, so that the body and sleeves are not knit in the round but back and forth. That can also affect gauge. I plan, when I eventually get to that sweater, to knit it in the traditional Bohus way: completely in the round.

My Blue Shimmer has no seams. None. Once you finish the knitting, there is minimal finishing work and the sweater itself fits wonderfully and is very comfortable. I personally see no benefit to adding seams, although everyone’s view is different. Here is one last photo, showing the underarm of the Blue Shimmer so that you can see what I mean by no seams.

January 19, 2007

From Susan — Where were my peeps???

Filed under: Back Story — lv2knit @ 1:19 am

I stopped by Panera Bread per my usual Thursday evening routine to spend quality time with my favorite knitting peeps — PEEPS PLURAL!  I found one peep — PEEP SINGULAR!  Emily was sitting alone, peepless, noshing on a lovely lil meal, when I arrived.  Not that I can’t enjoy knitting with one peep – I certainly did enjoy the time spent with Emily, but where were the other peeps?  Eventually Ellie, Deb and Kris arrived to make a full table, but we are used to needing 3-4 tables strung together to hold everyone.  It was just a bit odd for a non-snowy regular old Thursday not to have a few more knitters in attendance.  Occasionally in the summer when people are “up north” we have small groups, but we have been having 10 or more regulars.  Maybe next week.

Re: Grey’s Anatomy — I think of it as television heroin.  I’m hooked and I need another fix the minute the show ends.   

Re: the resume — there’s more:

  • she liked her job at the marina but they kept docking her pay
  • she got fired from her job at the haunted house because she made too many boo boos

I’ll try to stop now 😉

January 18, 2007

From Susan — Potpourri

Filed under: Back Story,Sunrise Circle Jacket — lv2knit @ 8:34 am

In my work life, I am the manager of a small, staff education department.  One of my duties is the hiring and the firing, so in the course of those duties I have the “opportunity” to read resumes.  Here’s one that I just could not believe — this woman was a total job-hopper and shared not only the multitude of jobs she had held in the past, but also her reasons for leaving:

  • her stint in pool maintenance was cut short because it was too draining
  • she worked for Minute Maid orange juice, but got canned because she could not concentrate
  • she left Midas Muffler because she found the work too exhausting
  • she left her job as a commercial fisherman because she could not live on the net income

Okay, so I will not quit my day job for comedy!!!  😉 😉 😉

On a knitting-related note, I am very excited because last evening I bought some fabric (a batik rayon) to make something to go with my Sunrise Circle:


I finished this sweater months ago and have not been able to wear it because my wardrobe is so pathetic (we have touched on my “shabby chic without the chic” wardrobe in previous posts).  My Moebius Scarf class, scheduled to start this Saturday is a NO GO ( 🙁 ) so that leaves me with a free day on my hands ( 🙂 ).  I hope to be wearing this puppy by next week — woo hoo!!

Tonight is Thursdays at 4 [knitting group] AND Grey’s Anatomy (Dr. McDreamy, I’m all yours!) — so it is a good day!


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