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 29, 2008

From Sally — Crime and Punishment

Filed under: Butterfly — surly @ 6:17 pm

Sometimes knitting can feel like a chore, especially if you’re no longer enthused about a project, it’s not turning out the way you’d like, or it’s simply boring to knit. So imagine being forced to knit sweaters for strangers.

Criminal gran gets knitting punishment

An 89-year-old grandmother who went on a tyre-wrecking spree in her street has been ordered to knit jumpers for her victims.

Heidi Kohl, from western Germany, was arrested after one neighbour spotted her slashing the tyres on a car. She later confessed that she had resorted to drastic measures after becoming “fed up” with so many drivers parking in her neighbourhood.

Kohl was initially told that she would be fined for her behaviour, but authorities came up with the more unusual punishment after the woman claimed she would be unable to pay.

A spokeswoman confirmed: “When she’s knitted the sweaters, then the matter will be over for us.”

Kohl is believed to have wrecked 50 tyres in total. Prosecutors have said that she will not offend again as she has since been moved to a retirement home.

At her age, that could be a life sentence!

My own knitting isn’t going along quite that poorly. I’m almost finished with the first sleeve of Butterfly. No photos because it just wasn’t photographing well today for whatever reason. I must confess, though, that I’m a little bit bored with it. (Warden! Let me outta here!) So, I’m also working on some small projects — the fall just seems like a good time to knit socks and gloves.

My hand model husband is out of town on business, so my sleeve board is filling in. (I have a secret passion. I love to iron. I love all of the accoutrements of ironing.)

But I digress.

Here is the first of a pair of fingerless gloves for men I’m working on. I’ve knit it out of Jaeger’s Extra Fine Merino in charcoal grey. That yarn usually knits to 5.5 stitches to the inch on a 3.75 or 4.0 millimeter (U.S. 5 or 6). I knit it down to 7 stitches to the inch on a 2.5 millimeter. That’s one of my favorite yarns; I have lots of it in my stash. Sadly, Jaeger decided to get out of the hand knitting yarn business, so I won’t be able to continue to buy it.

Just a simple little project so I have something portable to work on.

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 21, 2008

From Susan — A Teensy Post

Filed under: Presto Chango — lv2knit @ 7:32 pm

A couple of you asked me about the baby sweater I made.  It is called Presto Chango because you can button a new front on it at any time.  Very cute idea and the pattern is free!   I made some changes which are chronicled in our blog: primarily I thought there were too many bulky seams for a baby sweater.  The seams could easily be engineered out, so I did.

I am nearing the finish line on the Aran Wrap!  It is so heavy that it better be really, really, warm!  I am looking for some toggles to use as buttons.  I am going to use the natural holes created when making cables as the buttonholes.  I thought it would be nice to be able to hold the thing closed in a wind storm.

Speaking of storms, someone said something today that struck me as profound in this time of economic and social upheaval:

“Don’t wait for the storm to blow over — start dancing in the rain.” 

It sounds a little bit Pollyanna, but there is an element of truth to it.  Just don’t forget your umbrella…and pray there isn’t any lightning!

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 13, 2008

From Susan — A Brief Post and a Recipe for Nirvana

Filed under: Homage,Presto Chango — lv2knit @ 11:22 pm

Hi, remember me?  I’m Susan Rainey of The Rainey Sisters.  I share a blog with my sister, Sally.  We love to knit, talk about knitting, and share our passion for knitting with each other and our cyber-friends.  You would not know it from my recent lack of blogging, so I thought I would clue you in!

Fall is hitting us hard this evening — it may get down to 38 degrees tonight!  Fall means wearing sweaters so let’s get out there and crank out a few sweaters, peeps!

Do you recall this lovely vintage garment?  It was knit by my mom many years ago.  I am trying to re-create the pattern.  I started this little fantasy project last year, but the sucker was too big.  Off it went into the “some day” bin.  Well, I dragged it back out recently.  It is a great mindless project — at least the basic stockinette part.  Not so mindless when I have to figure out the shaping and raglans, but that is down the road a piece.

MomsMohair.jpg Mom\'s Dressy Mohair Sweater picture by lv2knit

I am using Rowan Kidsilk Aura (75% kid mohair, 25% silk; 82 yds/25 gms).  It is the chunky version of Kidsilk Haze and it is fabulous!  Tres cher, aussi.  The color here is not accurate — it has a creamy beige undertone — a pinkish warmth.  I love it, love it, love it.  it needs to be knit at a fairly loose gauge to take advantage of its loft.  When knit too firmly, this color (Ivory 750) looks dirty.

This is probably closer to the true color:

I also want to share a gift with you.  I called my folks the other day and Dad was making homemade onion rings — my gawd, that sounded fantastic!  He sent me the recipe, and I tried them out.  These onion rings are the best I have ever had in my entire life.  They are truly daydream worthy!  I do not do a lot of frying and they make a total mess of your kitchen, but every once in a while, don’t we deserve a sinfully decadent experience?  Dad says this batter works great on seafood, too.  M-m-m-m-m-m-m 😉 !

Sonny Bryan’s Onion Rings

October 9, 2008

From Sally — Just a Quick Note

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 12:51 pm

A few of you asked about the pattern for the red socks that I mentioned in my post yesterday:

That is the Lace Cuff Anklet pattern from Hand Jive Knits (maker of Nature’s Palette yarns). They do not sell their patterns directly, but if you google you can find it (and others) easily online.

For those of you who liked the buttons I’m using on Butterfly: They aren’t sewn on yet. I just pinned them in place to get an idea of how they’d look. They’re handmade glass buttons I purchased years ago.

October 8, 2008

From Sally — Seeing Red

Filed under: Butterfly — surly @ 1:58 pm

Red is my favorite color. I’m drawn to it always. A pair of shoes. A dress. A shock of hair.

Perhaps even a few skeins of yarn.

I love to knit red socks.

Red gloves:

I could knit with nothing but the red yarn in my stash and be busy for a very long time.

Right now I’m working on Hanne Falkenberg’s Butterfly. In red. You knit with three shades of reddish yarn to produce one deep color. I had started this sweater a long time ago, but had stopped because the yarns were not labeled as to color and I wasn’t sure I was using them in the right order. I decided it didn’t matter what the directions said, but it did matter what I liked. So I started it over about two weeks ago to see if I preferred a different way of using the yarn. These were my two “swatches”:

Although it’s a bit difficult to see in that photograph, one is brighter with a more poppy-like color dominating. The other is darker, and that is the one I decided to keep knitting.

I’ve now finished the back, one front, and part of the other front. Here it is in progress:

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!).

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