theraineysisters knitting and so much more

November 30, 2008

From Susan — Something Worked!

Filed under: Back Story,Knitting Tips — lv2knit @ 1:04 pm

When something works, it is an amazing thing, so I thought I would share such an experience.  I don’t know about you, but over the years I have struggled with how to organize my myriad of knitting needles.  Because I like to knit upstairs with other humanoids, a lot of my knitting paraphernalia has migrated to the family room.  This has created aggravation for everyone!

I used to store all my knitting needles, etc. in one large box.  Each size needle had its own labelled zip-lock bag.  This meant that every time I finished using a needle, I would have to hunt for its bag, and place it into the bag.  Do you think this ever happened?  No.  SO, every so often, I would spread the mess out on the floor and “organize” my needles — trying to sort them and place them into their respective bags.  This task was so daunting that it happened very rarely.  It always looked like a knitting bomb went off in our family room.

I knew something had to change — and it did, and it works!  I went to JoAnn Fabrics in search of some kind of drawer system.  My plan was to have a drawer for every 2-3 needles sizes.  I ended up with 4 sizes per drawer:

This drawer system is made for scrapbooking.  The drawers slide out and have an attached, snap on lid.  I thought I would be completely annoyed by the lid, but I love it.  I also wasn’t sure at first how I would like to mix the needles together, but the way I did it works out wonderfully — as I start a new project, I grab the drawer with the likely suspects.  All the needle lengths are there and the next size up or down for swatching.  When I am done using a needle, I just need to put it into the right drawer, which takes a second, vs trying to find one particular baggie.  Because it is so easy, I actually do it!!  Yay!

Every drawer has a needle sizer, so I never have to look for one.  I have one drawer for dpns, and one for all of my random accessories:


The Altoid tins hold pins

The cart rolls out of sight into a closet.   I’m sure many of you developed your own great system far sooner than I, but I am a little slow on the uptake.  All I know is that my system is working, my family room is in control, and I no longer have to listen to people complain about the knitting mess.  Woo Hoo!

I can also share another very small FO.  I made a pair of Fetching Glovelets for my niece for Christmas using less than one skein of Cascade Dolce yarn, Color 959.   These knit up very quickly of course, and make a cute gift:

I’m making another pair in dark blue Dolce and trimmed in silver gray silk for my youngest daughter — last year I made her a pair in butter-soft cashmere, but now she wants her school colors.  Okay, anything you say, Princess! 😉

November 27, 2008

From Susan and Sally — Happy Thanksgiving!!

Filed under: Back Story — Both Sisters @ 10:51 am

Even in these troubled times, we have much to be thankful for.  Please enjoy this day with family and friends.  And, please, even if you HATE IT, please oh please, go shopping tomorrow!  Neither of us enjoys shopping on Black Friday, but by venturing out tomorrow, you will help turn the tide of the economic slump by showing confidence in the future.

PS to Deepa: You struck a chord with “craptastic!”  We love the whole “-tastic” thing and crack ourselves up with new words.

November 24, 2008

From Susan — The Ripple Effect

Filed under: Completed Projects — lv2knit @ 8:25 pm

I guess you could say I like things that create waves!  Bad pun.  Here is my latest (and very small calibre) FO.  It is the “Ripple Me This” felted bag from Knitters Fall 2008.   There has not been much in Knitters lately (like the last 10 years :( ) that has inspired me to pick up the needles, but I thought this bag was kind of cute.  I made this one for a class sample and used stash (aka leftover) yarn:


Nature Spun Worsted in Hurricane Seas and Limestone (2 skeins each)

The bag switches colors:


In the above picture, the two sides are shown sewn together before felting.  It is amazing how much knitting it takes to make even a small bag.  I’ve been working on it for the past week.

And during blocking:

It is a fun little project and it is a nice shape for a tote, so I would give it a thumbs up for stash busting and gifting.  I still need to actually sew the handles on so technically it isn’t quite done, but I will call it a [nearly] FO and close enough.

Are all of you ready for Thanksgiving?  I love Thanksgiving because all I do is drive one hour and fifteen minutes each way and then eat, eat, eat.   My beloved FIL still does the cooking even though he is 86 years old.  I love him dearly.  Wishing the best of holidays to you and yours!!

PS to Ellen, and others:  The cleaning is the worst!  However, it’s better than when my husband and I were “newly weds” (1st 5-6 years) when we would be running around so much at the last minute that 9 times out of ten he opened the door with a towel wrapped around his waist — I am not kidding!  And, we were often so late for weddings that half the time we walked in with the bride and her father, with people muttering, who the hell are those two? 

Ironically, I just received an issue of Knitters yesterday — I thought my subscription had lapsed, so when it arrived I was surprised, but I also felt a small pang of guilt since I have every single issue.  Maybe this was a sign.  So, I thought, I’ll give it one more chance.  If this issue has anything good, I’ll renew.                                       Sorry — no go :( .

November 19, 2008

From Susan — A Brief Shawl Update

Filed under: Wrapped in Care — lv2knit @ 9:54 pm

Shawls must reproduce like bunnies out there in knitting land because I was deluged by shawls at last night’s Minnesota Knitters Guild meeting!  “Deluged” implies an overwhelming flood — maybe it would be more accurate to say I was accosted by several shawl-bearing knitters armed with finished shawls for the Wrapped in Care Project.  AND I received four more free kits from Patsy that her knitting peeps put together.   The kits were quickly dispersed and so the circle continues. 

I feel so proud to be a knitter!

November 16, 2008

From Susan — More Snow in the Forecast

Filed under: Winter Wonderland Shawl,Wrapped in Care — lv2knit @ 2:48 pm

More snow, but just a flake at a time!  I’ve been knitting on my snowflakes a bit here and there, with a somewhat stealth project in between.

This flake was a little more fun to do because there was a lot going on.   My hexies are smaller than they are supposed to be, so this may end up a scarf!

I am finding quite a few errors in the pattern, and no errata published.  I contacted them and asked about a particularly problematic omission and received information — with another error.  Okay, it is a tricky pattern and not a lot of people have made it.  However, there are  lot of mistakes, so be forewarned.  Many of the errors will become fixable once you are familiar with the pattern.   But if you like your numbers “clean,” this may not be the pattern for you!  If you decide to forge ahead, make a copy of the pattern and take notes as you go.  Most of the snowflakes are made twice, so the second one should be easier.

Wrapped in Care
I’d like to put in another plug for the Wrapped in Care Project.  We are still receiving shawls from around the country and closer to home, as well.  My Thursday knitting peeps continue to dazzle me with their generosity!  Here is a recent donation from Cathy, an Alix’s Prayer Shawl:

I took the liberty of sending a shawl directly to someone who shared her story in our company newsletter.  She knew from tests during her pregnancy that her baby would not survive.  In cases like that, the baby still must be carried to full term.  She knew her growing pregnancy would prompt questions and caring comments, and she did not want to have to explain her story to everyone who said, “When are you due?”  So, she enlisted the help of her co-workers to get the word out.  Her co-workers also hosted a baby shower and gave her keepstakes of the baby and items to help preserve memories (like a kit to make a plaster handprint of the baby).  Her baby died in utero one week before the due date. 

Most women don’t have that kind of preparation time and go into their childbirth with hope and joy.  The shawls cannot lessen the pain but at least can show support and caring from an anonymous friend.  We have had close to 50 shawls donated so far.  Thank you for all of your efforts!!

November 11, 2008

From Sally — Biding My Time

Filed under: Back Story,Updates — surly @ 2:06 pm

I’ve got a small case of the knitting doldrums. I don’t know what I want to work on. It’s not that I don’t have projects to work on because I do. I could finish Butterfly. I could work on one of a number of unfinished fair isles (looks askance at Marina’s enviable stack of finished ones). I could start my new Bohus. I could finish my Damask Kauni. My Niebling. My Eris. Or my own Snowflake shawl.

I am just not sure what I want to work on, although I do have some Christmas knitting to start. While I wait for inspiration or interest to hit, I’ve finished two small projects. The first is the cabled fingerless mitts that I posted about a little while ago. Here they are being modeled by my husband, who now expects royalties — or perhaps a pair of gloves with actual fingers.

Next I decided to tackle one of my long lost sock orphans. I’m notorious for knitting one sock or one glove and then moving on. Indeed, here is a photo from one of our earliest blogs showing some of my abandoned socks and gloves.

The light blue sock is the one who now has a mate. They are the Embossed Leaves socks from Interweave, designed by Mona Schmidt. I knit them out of light blue Koigu. Here’s a photo of both of them, modeled by “Anonymous.” They haven’t even been blocked or dressed. They went immediately from the needles to my Anonymous’s feet.

So, now what? I think I’ll go sit in a corner and wait for inspiration to hit.

November 8, 2008

From Susan — Seems Too Early

Filed under: Winter Wonderland Shawl — lv2knit @ 12:16 pm

Seems too early for Christmas trees in the stores and for snowmen in the news, but both are events witnessed by me recently — it snowed here yesterday!  What happened to fall?  I guess it is November and blah-blah-blah, but it seems like time is passing at a staggering clip.

I had a knitting goal in mind for this fall, but I think it has already passed me by!  I started the Winter Wonderland Shawl a few years back and always meant to complete it before the “first snowfall” of the “next” year (whenever the bee-boop THAT means!).  So, after finishing the Aran Wrap — and the temps still being very mild — I pulled out the Winter Wonderland (aka Snowflake) Shawl to give it a go.  

I am using the exact yarn called for in the pattern: Suri Alpaca Elegance (1 skein) and Glimmer (3 skeins).  US size 6 dpns are used.

It is a much more time consuming piece of knitting than it might appear.  The snowflakes can be knit fairly quickly, but the snowy backgrounds are slow going for me.  They are awkward and take much more time than their simplicity would indicate.

Here is a graphic that shows the layout of the shawl — the dotted line on the bottom indicates where I may add one more snowflake:

The shawl is made by knitting 13 individual snowflakes, knitting a background around each, and then grafting them together.  A border is added around the perimeter at the very end.

Here are some of the 13 snowflakes being blocked:

And a snowflake with the background:

All 13 snowflakes are finished, and I think I have 4 snowflakes completely done.  It is a fun project, but again I must ask myself: does everything you make have to be weird?  Can’t you knit a plain old something for a change?  This could be another of those projects from hell that never reaches its full potential!

Because the holidays are looming, I thought I would revisit a super fun project that I made last year to get you into the holiday knitting mood:

This is Rudy the Reindeer and he is really fun to make!  The pattern can be purchased from Amazing Threads and takes worsted weight yarn. 

PS — I’m sorry I got on my political soapbox this week on the blog.  We have always tried to steer clear of controversial topics — we won’t even go near the “pickers vs throwers” debate 😉 !!  I do believe this, however: whatever your political leanings and no matter who you voted for, it serves no one for the new president to fail.  The price is too high for all of us, so I hope people are supportive and rally for the success of our country.  I am now stepping off my soapbox to go knit on some more of those $##$%& snowflakes!  Or do laundry!

November 5, 2008

From Susan — Congratulations, President Elect Obama

Filed under: Back Story — lv2knit @ 10:35 pm

It has been a long two years of campaigning and everyone is sick to death of it, but now that it’s over, it seems all worthwhile.

At 10 pm, when they announced Barack Obama’s victory, I cried with joy and relief.  Then I ran outside, lit some fireworks and screamed like a banshee!   A little ‘oops’ moment for moi when I realized I was way too close to my hubby’s car, the house and the lawn. 

After all that suspense and agony and the dirty politics, it felt like a cleansing moment.  

I am hopeful for the future once again.  He is brilliant and has a vision — and obviously can make things happen.  But let’s give the man some time.  He has so far to go to repair what has been done. 

GO-BAMA!!

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