theraineysisters knitting and so much more

February 27, 2009

From Susan — The Promise of Spring…

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 1:38 pm

…is nowhere to be found in Minnesota!

March Snow by you.

We got quite a bit of snow yesterday (during evening rush hour, thank you) and the wind chill today is -14 degrees.  Spring may be coming up on the calendar but it sure looks a long way off from my window!

To seek spring, I’ve turned to my knitting.  Sally’s Ode to Joy is so joyful and bursting with beautiful spring-like colors, that somewhere along the line I decided to exchange my autumnal colorway to Sally’s Cape Cod.   Candace was very accommodating.  I started this a couple of weeks ago. 

Ode to Joy by you.

It is a slow knit.  Sally described this in detail, but to recap — you are always knitting with three tiny strands of yarn.  The color change is created by changing out one strand at a time to the next color in sequence: 1-1-1 changes to 1-1-2, then 1-2-2, and so on.  It is difficult to knit without looking because you must be certain that you don’t miss any strands as you are knitting.  It is knit on 3.25 mm needles.  The novelty of changing the colors wears off quickly, long before you are done.  BUT, after seeing Sally’s lovely sweater and the desire to wear it this spring, I will plod on.

Heaven save me from Ravelry!  Again, I have been sucked in, but gladly.  I just received a package from Needle Arts Book Store.  If you order the Peacock Feathers Stole pattern (the triangular shawl converted to a rectangular stole) and two balls of Exquisite, you receive an additional ball of yarn.  I wanted four balls, so by buying the pattern, I actually saved money, kind of (shopping logic is great I tell you!). 

Exquisite completely lives up to its name.  It is gorgeous: 50% mulberry silk and 50% merino wool, laceweight, 500 m to 50 gms ($8.50/skein). 

Exquisite in Slate Bue by you.
Exquisite Yarn in Slate Blue

It has the luster of silk and is incredibly soft.  The color is amazing.  I think it is much higher quality than Zephyr Merino and Silk, which I have used and loved for lace shawls.  This is nicer.

I’m off today and no one is home — yay!  — but I am doing laundry and cleaning bathrooms — boo!  

Off I go to the salt mines, but may get a little fun stuff done, too!

AND, go read Yarn Harlot!  Been there, done that…over and over again!

Check this out from Moosie:
Exquisite is 50/50 merino wool/mulberry silk. Zephyr is 50/50 merino wool/tussah silk. Two different types of silk with different characteristics. Tussah is from the Antheraea pernyi moth’s cocoon while mulberry is from the bombyx mori moth’s cocoon. Tussah worms feed on oak leaves while bombyx worms dine on mulberry tree, gives a lot more info about silk in all it’s different forms.

In response to Wendy who asked, “As always, you gals are an inspiration!  I’ll be interested to hear if there was much yarn left over.  Dare I ask what size you’re knitting?”

The Ode to Joy Kit comes in 2 sizes: small and medium/large.  Sally made the small size and had some yarn left over.  I am making the medium and will need to lengthen the sleeves.  Usually I make the jumbo size in everything.  In this case, however, I decided to make it to fit a bit smaller and cropped like it was designed — it would have taken way more yarn and a lot of refiguring of the pattern to remake it into a larger sweater.  I will make a dress or two to go with it and wear it to work.  When I make a sweater to wear with pants, I make it huge to get to where it needs to go…but this will be a very short jacket on me.

February 25, 2009

From Susan — Our Male Counterparts

Filed under: Back Story — lv2knit @ 11:13 pm

One of our regular readers, Kyle, is conducting a survey about knitters who happen to be men.   Let’s face it: they are outnumbered.   Kyle wants to learn more about the men who knit and about women’s attitudes toward male knitters.  So, the survey is open to both genders.  If you are interested, please click the survey link and join in!

Kyle William Dot Com by you.

February 22, 2009

From Sally — Ode to Spring

Filed under: Sally's Ode to Joy — surly @ 4:34 pm

It’s windy and cold here today. We even had a passing snow flurry this morning. So it’s a perfect day to turn one’s thoughts to spring, especially if long stretches of knitting tiny black stitches has become wearing.

That being said, I finally finished my Ode to Joy cardigan. The knitting of this piece was finished months ago. I just hadn’t been able to force myself to do the final finishing, especially weaving in ends and sewing on buttons. I hate sewing on buttons for some reason. I even batted my eyelashes at my sister in January and tried to get her to do it for me. It didn’t work. Yesterday, I wove in the ends. This morning, I tackled the buttons. (There were only three. How much whining does it take to sew on three buttons? Apparently lots.)

There was one legitimate issue with sewing on these buttons, in addition to the many issues that always come up (proper placement, deciding whether the shank is long enough, etc.). They are square buttons, and my intention had been to place them so that they “sat” on the sweater as squares instead of being turned so that they look like diamonds. The problem was that the way the shank was affixed to the button made that very difficult.

The buttons kept wanting to turn. I finally relented and just placed them as they insisted.

Lucy wants to know whether from the back she looks like a linebacker. (I told her no; don’t shatter her dream):

A Few Ending Points:

1. I’m trying to decide whether I will ever wear this without buttoning the buttons. If not, I may lightly baste the button band down to keep it from gapping slightly. (One tip: if you ever do that, sew it down where the outside edge of the band with the buttons sewn to it meets the inside edge of the buttonhole band. That way, the visible outer edge on top will look as if its been buttoned and not sewn.)

2. I had talked about lengthening the sweater considerably, but I didn’t. I made the lower band deeper and I blocked it somewhat longer. If you wanted to make this significantly longer, and wanted to keep the color shading, I figured out how. The problem was that I was past the point when I could have done so by the time I figured it out.

If you look at the back of the sweater, you’ll see that the pieces making it up are the same “height” as the matching front pieces but are twice as wide. That was done by casting on twice as many stitches, but doing two lines of decreases (forming the decorative triangle). If I had thought ahead, I could have started the front by making a third piece (which would have been the first piece I knitted). I would have cast on the same number of stitches, but done the two lines of decreases, roughly figuring out the color transitions on the fly. My basic front pieces are 8″ long; that would have given me a 4″ piece — plenty of extra length. On the back, I would have had to do four lines of decreases (creating two decorative triangles on the bottom piece).

All of that assumes I would have had enough extra yarn AND that the new triangle and double triangle pieces would still have looked cute. Who knows? I’ve probably lost you all by now anyway.

Someone asked me recently about my Little Assistant. He’s been visiting me since mid-November. I’ve become insanely attached to him and will blubber like a baby when he leaves, which will be soon. He’s taking a nap next to me right now.

February 20, 2009

From Susan — Stealth Knitting for Family!

Filed under: Back Story,Completed Projects — lv2knit @ 5:15 pm

Sally’s daughter Nora is the proud recipient of the original Baby Elefante!  She whined expressed so much enthusiasm about the original that it only seems fitting that she is his new buddy. The chocolate orange was a bonus; Sally hunted high and low for chocolate oranges at Christmas and came up empty-handed. I found them at the convenience store near my house. Go figure.

Nora and Elefante by you.

ETA from Sally: Tomorrow I shall reveal a Finished Object!!! I know — it’s been a long time since I had one.

February 16, 2009

From Susan — Blah!

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 7:49 pm

Sometimes the best laid plans go awry.  This second Sunburst Beaded Bag is a disappointment — it is so blah!  And I had such high hopes!

Sunburst II by you.

The center circles were gorgeous when they were laying there on their own, but look completely non-descript in the bag.  It also goes with NOTHING*!  Oh well…. 🙂

* PS to Nancy — I never even though of black!  Oh wait, I don’t have anything black.  Never mind!

PS2 — now I feel bad after reading everyone’s comments.  And, really, I wasn’t fishing for compliments, but appreciate them all the same!

February 15, 2009

From Susan — Sisters Apart

Filed under: Back Story — lv2knit @ 10:22 am

It is on days like this that it’s hardest to live so far away from my sister.  I really wish I could say this in person:

Happy BD2 by you.

If I was there, I would take you shopping and then out to lunch.  We could go to Blackwater Salt for shrimp pasta or to Le Pain Quotidien for a fabulous salad and dessert.  Or maybe just grab an egg sandwich at Praline’s and head to as many yarn shops as we could fit into a day.  Or you would take me because I cannot drive in DC!

Sally wrote about how well I took care of her when she was here for the Bohus Exhibit, but she takes care of me, too.  She listens to my ongoing work sagas (allowing me to go on and on about things she does not care about or understand), and when I call her sad and depressed, she spoils me.  Rotten.  I mean it!

She is such a good friend to me and sometimes is the only one who understands me.  I don’t know what I would do without her.

So, Surly, please enjoy your special day.  If I was there, I would make you a Cockeyed Cake to enjoy with coffee AND some shortbread cookies to nibble with tea.  And we would sit and admire your Bohus and sort through your fabulous stash looking for inspiration.

It would be a really fun day shared with my little sis.

Candles by you.


February 14, 2009

From Both of Us — Happy Valentine’s Day!

Filed under: Updates — Both Sisters @ 12:45 am

Rainey Day Valentine by you.
PS from Susan: Scroll down to see Surly’s Bohus update if you have not yet done so!!

February 13, 2009

From Sally — Bohus Update

Filed under: Large Lace Collar — surly @ 1:01 pm

I love my Bohus. I really do. Even so, I was getting a little tired of knitting the body and the single sleeve I started. The cure: baking.

Thousands of calories later, I still was faced with knitting the rest of my Bohus. Wait! I had an inspiration — I could break it up by turning my attention to the neck. That solution was calorie-free and would also give me a better idea of how the sweater would hang, making it easier to determine the sleeve length. I wanted something that would be soft and cozy looking, but that would also evoke (in spirit if not in detail) some of the motifs of the color work on the yoke. After a few false starts, this is what I came up with (it’s a Japanese stitch pattern):

I plan to do the same stitch (in black) at the wrists. I may also use it at the hem, but I haven’t quite decided on that yet.

In the meantime, as most of you know tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. We won’t be going out because our son (17 years old) comes home tomorrow night from a two-week school trip to Greece and Italy. His flight is conveniently scheduled to arrive at 8:00 p.m. Therefore, we are having a nice romantic dinner at home tonight. Very near my home is an absolutely wonderful French bakery called Praline. They have the best croissants I’ve ever tasted, and I lived in France back in the day. I stopped there this morning to see if there was a small Valentine-y treat I could pick up. I came home with this:

It’s pistachio with chocolate ganache. Kill me now. Death by excessive calorie consumption. Just after I took that photo, these beautiful flowers were delivered for me.

Awww. Aren’t they pretty?

February 9, 2009

From Susan — RU Nutz??!!

Filed under: Completed Projects,Updates — lv2knit @ 8:36 am

In a word, yes.  I must admit that some of my projects baffle even me for logic.  This project is interesting and beautiful but was quite difficult.  It is small enough that I did not suffer long, but I did suffer…are you feeling any sympathy for me?  Darn!

Sun Burst by you.
Sunburst Beaded Bag, pattern by Janet Hoxie of SewUnique
Size 0000 needles and No. 8 Perle Coton, Size = 3″ across

The picture cannot possibly capture the deep teal-green irridescence of the beads.

I would recommend this project if a) you have already done some bead knitting and 2) you have really good eyesight and/or really good lighting.  I can vouch for “a” but “2” was a stretch, as I have neither!  I had to bring out my Ott light, readers, and a seeing eye dog to finish this puppy.  All in all, I really love it and would make another.  I think the next one will be easier because of my newly acquired neck pain experience!  This truly is extreme knitting. 

February 7, 2009

From Both of Us — Gee, Thanks!

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 6:47 pm

Dianna nominated us for the Kreativ Blogger Award — another “made up” award like the Oscars!  We thank you and our mother thanks you! Now off to look for gowns for the red carpet (and we promise that they won’t be sock monkey dresses. Maybe.).


Here is what we are supposed to do, and the rules for our nominees:

1.  Copy the award to your site — check
2.  Link to the person from whom you received the award — check
3.  Nominate 7 other bloggers — hmmm, that part’s hard
4.  Link to the award recipients on your blog — easy, once Number 3 is done
5.  Leave a message on the blogs you nominate — okay, can do

It is so difficult to list one’s favorite blogs.  Someone gets left out.  Someone’s feelings get hurt.  So, we will list some blogs and hope that no one feels like we don’t like them.  We like a lot of people and a lot of bloggers!!

These are some of the blogs that touch us or teach us or inspire us.

Things Soo Likes — Soo is an incredibly gifted knitter and the sole inspiration for Susan’s Lyra.  She knits some of the most gorgeous lace there is and also owns up to some crazy mistakes!

Twin Set Ellen — Ellen and Jan are sisters (twins — duh) that share a blog and share their knitting over a great distance.  Blogging keeps them connected and enhances their friendship.  We certainly can relate.  Susan also knows Ellen personally as a fellow guild member and likes her a lot!

Rosemary-Go-Round — Romi’s Monday Musings are a favorite way to start the week.  Romi is a really talented designer, jewelry maker, and published author.  She will be teaching at Yarnover on April 18 so we’ll get to meet her in person and hang out for a few hours!  That may be the royal ‘we’ as Sally may not be at Yarnover this year. 

WendyKnits — Wendy’s blog was Susan’s first introduction to blogs and therefore set the bar pretty high.  Wendy is a prolific and talented knitter so there are RESULTS posted and not just false starts and UFOs.  Plus, we have met and dined with Wendy so she isn’t just a mega-blogger, she is a real person!!

Knititude — Angela Hahn is another talented knitting designer that we both admire.  We knitted her Aran Wrap from Vogue last year and have bought other patterns as well.  Her blog has some lovely patterns to buy and drool over!

Knitting Elegance KAL — We don’t visit this site often, but it is nice knowing it is there!  This blog features Japanese knitting, which we both love, and shows some wonderful finished works.  Worth a visit for inspiration if nothing else.

Ravelry — Yes, we know that Ravelry is not a blog, but to be honest, it sure feels like one!  It is a place to see great projects, watch people’s knitting progress, and connect with other knitters on the Forum Section or in groups with people of similar interest.  If you are not a part of Ravelry, go sign up today.

As we review the above list, it makes us appreciate the blogging community as a place to connect with others and learn a lot about knitting and its infinite potential.  Thanks to all who inspire and delight!

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