theraineysisters knitting and so much more

June 30, 2009

From Susan — He has a what??

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 9:45 pm

Darling daughter – DD – and I were watching TV this weekend and someone made a reference to Freud.  So, DD asked me, “Who’s Freud?”  I said he was the father of modern psychology. 

DD: “What’s his whole name?”

Me: “Sigmund Freud.”

She paused.

DD: “I thought Sigmund Freud had a tiger act in Vegas.”

Me (choking): “I think you mean Sigfried and Roy!!”

DD: “Whatever — it’s the same thing!”

Yep — I gotta see Freud’s tiger act the next time I’m in Vegas!!

June 26, 2009

From Susan — Whiskey Nightcap

Filed under: Whiskey Tunic — lv2knit @ 10:44 am

Well, I put this bad boy to bed last night at midnight.  My Whiskey Tunic is blocking for the second time: 

Whiskey 013 by you.

I worked on the crocheted edgings Wednesday evening without success.  The edge just did not look very good and took quite a bit of fiddling.  Even though I am a newbie crocheter, I have done single crochet edgings many times before, so I don’t think it was my technique.   I finally decided to throw in the hook and opted for a simple garter edge — I really liked the idea of the very plain bodice contrasted with the more elaborate skirt and wanted to retain that look: 

Whiskey 014 by you.

Whiskey 021 by you.

When I got it finished and tried it on, I was in shock and awe: it fit.  Yes, indeed, it fit.  Just like it was supposed to!  I didn’t really expect it, as my batting average has been low of late.  I re-blocked it because it was a tad too long (aarrgghh!  I did not need the 10th repeat!) and to smooth out the bodice from adding the edges.  It is the length I THOUGHT I wanted it to be, so I have no one to blame but myself. 

But, it’s done and I am happy with the result!  If I decide that it’s too long once I start wearing it, I’ll remove the skirt, rip back a repeat and graft it back to the bodice. 

I thought this seemed like it took forever, but when you think about it, it’s a lot of knitting even without sleeves.  I had 288 sts until I got to the bodice, and it is worked at a gauge requiring Size 4-5 needles. 

This final picture shows the side “seam.” 

Whiskey 023 by you.
The color here is terrible!

There is no visible jog or disruption of the pattern — yay!  That’s because there is a purl stitch that runs up the entire piece at that point.  Another reason to opt for in-the-round construction.

What’s up next?  A cotton dishcloth for someone at work.  This person has never shown any interest in my knitting whatsoever — which is fine, no one is obligated to care about my hobby.  But when I mentioned that I had just learned to crochet, she went absolutely crazy with excitement (I’ve never seen her so enthused) and asked if I could make her a dishcloth!  She had just tried a cotton dishcloth at a relative’s house and raved about how wonderful they are!!!  I said, “I can knit those, ya know.”  So, I am knitting her a Grandma’s Favorite Dishcloth!  Whoopee!!!!

PS: Here’s the dishcloth, mistake and all!  A mainstay in a knitter’s repertoire and my favorite dishcloth to use —

Dishcloth by you.

The pattern for Grandma’s Favorite Dishcloth (I used a size 8 needle, but a 6 or 7 is recommended; and I used Sugar and Cream yarn):

Cast on 4 sts.  knit 2 rows.
k2, YO, knit to end of row.  Repeat this row until you have 44-48 sts (mine is 48).
k2, YO, k2tog, knit to end of row.  Repeat once more.
k1, k2tog, YO, k2tog, knit to end of row.  Repeat this row until 4 sts remain.  Knit 1 row.  Bind off.

Finished size ~ 8-9 inches square.  That’s it.

June 21, 2009

From Susan — Shall We Get Back to Knitting?

Filed under: Whiskey Tunic — lv2knit @ 12:22 pm

The best laid plans as they say…I thought I would need 9 repeats of the little leafy doo-dads on my Whiskey (aka Sweetheart) Tunic, but I ended up doing 10.  It is still too short, BUT I am confidant (XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX crossed fingers and toes!) that blocking will give me the length and width needed.  I think I’ll be fine.  I don’t want the bodice sloppy loose, so I hope my strategy is correct.

Whiskey Tunic 002 by you.

I am on the back section now.  I did make a few minor changes to the pattern: I knit it in the round; I did not do the side decreases but rather shaped it by changing needles from a 6 to a 5 and then a 4; I lengthened the bodice so the stockinette starts beneath the bust line instead of right at the bust (at least I hope it does!); and I added the purl row before the stockinette to look like the finished project (this step is not written in the directions).  Here is the original Sweetheart Tunic:

IMG_2660 by YarnThing.

I hope to be done with this by next week — again, XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX!!!!!  I will be able to use my newbie crocheting skills around the neck and armhole edges.

PS — it was lovely to hear from so many tatters.  I may have to give that another try — after this project is done, of course!

June 19, 2009

From Susan — Tatting is SO Yesterday*!

Filed under: Crocheting — lv2knit @ 1:55 pm

Needles suggested that next up for me would be tatting — but I’ve been tatting for many years. 

I used to work in the fabric and needlework department of a now defunct department store — very dangerous for my paycheck even then!!  An older woman came in to buy tatting shuttles so she could teach her grand daughters how to do it.  I had never heard of tatting or shuttles, so she pulled out a little baggie filled with lace.  I couldn’t believe my eyes!  I was enthralled.  So, I brought home a DMC tatting book, shuttles and thread and learned from the pictures.   I actually had to learn twice: I just couldn’t believe that the knots were made with the left hand…so I learned with my right, unlearned, and then had to do it the correct way.  Bummer.  :(

I was 18 at the time, so no one I knew tatted — I never saw anyone else do it until relatively recently!  I can’t tat much any more because it bothers my “tennis” [knitter’s] elbow!

Here is the only really large project I ever made.  It is a two-piece collar set that I gave my mom years ago.  I have made a lot of tatted snowflakes as gifts and actually helped finance part of my very modest wedding by selling the snowflakes for $3 each. 

tatting by you.

I really enjoyed being linked to the past with this old form of lacework.  I believe that crocheting was first invented to connect tatted motifs (at least I read that somewhere!!).

PS: Kristin is a teen tatter, too!  Woo Hoo!!

PS to Surly:  Tatting is the least practical thing that I know how to do — you will well survive without it!!

* The title is SUPPOSED to mean that tatting happened yesterday for me (as in “in the past”) but it is NOT supposed to mean that it is passe!  I’m sorry if it was perceived that way.  I love tatting — and have included it in previous blog posts.  I truly admire people who are able to do really intricate tatting.

June 17, 2009

From Susan — A Cro(t)chety Old Lady

Filed under: Crocheting,Updates — lv2knit @ 9:44 am

Now that we have firmly established my advancing age (thank you all for the birthday greetings!!), I will describe how I officially became a crotchety old lady. 

“Crotchety” refers to someone given to odd notions, whims and grouchiness, and the term “crotchet” denotes a small hook.   I have never been a crocheter and never planned on becoming one.  This is not to diminish crocheting in any way, it’s just that I’ve got enough on my [knitting] plate without adding a whole new line of crazy!  BUT, there are some knitting patterns that require a bit of crocheting and on occasion (damn that Ravelry!) I will stumble upon something very cute done in crochet (see below!). 

Case in point: my dollar pattern:

Lacy Cardigan by you.

I bought this pattern for a buck during the recent Shop Hop and love it.  I already have the perfect yarn and was excited to think about starting it…but then noticed that the cute scallops at the bottom are created using crochet.  Oh, the horror.  

Luckily, while in Duluth this past weekend for daughter’s soccer tournament, I happened to stop in one of the local yarn shops — Yarn Harbor (I had to do SOMETHING in-between games!!).   What could I buy in this very cute and well-stocked store??  I saw this and thought I should give it a chance:

Crochet Book by you.
Learn to Crochet in Just One Day

I told the clerk that I would be back for a refund if the title proved wrong…it didn’t!  No refund necessary!  I did indeed learn the fundamentals of crochet in one day — or actually one afternoon.  Just the basics to be sure, and I’m not saying I could make anything, but I did learn how to single, double, and triple crochet, slip stitch, and half double crochet.   When I got home and read the Lacy Cardigan pattern, I understood all of it except for reverse single crochet — after checking YouTube, I found out how to do this last necessary stitch. 

Here is my very novice swatch. 

I decided to try to make a little something to see if I could read a simple pattern.  Here is my rendition of the Fan Bookmark, a popular free pattern on Ravelry:

Crochet Bookmark 001 by you.
Fan Bookmark, Size 1.25 mm hook, DMC Perle Coton #8

Crochet Bookmark cropped by you.
Close Up View

I’m sure that “real” crocheters will find many errors, but I am pretty proud of my lil bookmark!  So, it is official:  I am crotchety!!!

June 15, 2009

From Sally — It’s Someone’s Birthday . . .

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 9:01 am

Many years ago (I won’t reveal the exact number), our mother — a young widow — married for the second time. Susan was about four; I was two-and-a-half. We wore matching dresses made by our grandmother. Susan was going to be a flower girl, but I was deemed too young for such an honor. My sister, however, refused to go down the aisle without me.

It’s been that way ever since. Despite living 1000 miles apart, we’re inseparable. My husband doesn’t ask “if” I’ve talked to my sister on any particular day — he asks if we’ve talked “yet.”

So once again:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY BIG SISTER!!!!!

PS from Susan:  Thank you to everyone for the lovely birthday wishes, and I am also thankful for having such a great sister.  I think I speak for us both when I say we know we are lucky to have each other!

June 13, 2009

From Sally — A River Runs Through It

Filed under: Knitting Tips,River Run Shawl — Tags: , , — surly @ 11:48 am

For some reason, I like to knit shawls in the summer. Maybe it’s because the yarn feels lighter in my lap than a heavy wool sweater does. In one of our recent posts, I showed a picture of this yarn and accompanying beads:

Today I’ll show what I’m working on. Some of you guessed this was destined to become an Aeolian Shawl, which is a very pretty shawl from Knitty. But that’s not what I’m making. At least not yet. I’m currently knitting the River Run shawl from a kit I bought at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival from Just Our Yarn. (I can’t find a photograph of the finished shawl to show you, so you’ll have to wait.)

Lace in progress never looks all that great, but here’s a photo anyway:

The photograph doesn’t really do justice to the richness of the yarn’s color or to its beautiful silk-like sheen. It really is gorgeous yarn. It’s Almaza, which is tencel, not silk. The idea of knitting with tencel gave me pause — but I couldn’t resist the color. It’s a bit tricky to work with. It’s very slippery, and I don’t think it will have much stretch in blocking so I’m knitting it a little more loosely than I ordinarily would so that the openness of the lace pattern will be knitted in rather than blocked out (if that makes sense).

It’s a fairly simple and easy lace pattern because it’s repetitious and very regular. I don’t need any markers to show pattern repeats because of the regularity and because the beads themselves serve as markers.

Simplicity doesn’t mean one can’t make mistakes, though. Somehow, I frakked up one of my yarnovers. See the odd-looking shape in the middle?

Now, I kept noticing it and thinking I’d “deal” with it later. Finally, I realized that it wasn’t going to go away. By that time, I had knitted another 40+ rows. It was late at night and so of course that seemed the perfect time to rip back forty rows. Was I tired? Check. Was it dark? Check. Had I had at least one glass of wine? Check. Yes — the perfect time to rip back forty rows of lace.

After I ripped it back, I had a few moments of panic. It wasn’t quite as easy to ladder back up the yarnovers as I assumed it would be. I felt like Bones in that one Star Trek episode in which he’s transplanting Spock’s brain and forgets how everything is connected partway through. Fortunately, the shawl and I both survived.

It still looks slightly funky, but I’ll even out the yarnovers when I block it. Whew.

June 10, 2009

From Susan — Is It Anal Retentive or Anal-Retentive?

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 8:25 pm

Answer: It depends!  I am anal retentive and you are an anal-retentive person, but I digress!  More later…

I do, if nothing else, enjoy multi-tasking and that is certainly true with my knitting.  I started a project recently after being inspired at every turn by the Swirl Shawl.  Sally and I saw this often at Maryland Sheep and Wool, and it is in any shop that carries JoJoland Melody Yarn.  

It is gorgeous in the aforementioned yarn.  BUT, Sally and I stumbled onto this beautiful yarn at MSWF: Brooks Farm Acero — 420 yds/4 oz., 60% superwash wool, 20% silk, 20% viscose, in colors that are absolutely stunning!!  I was planning on making the Triple S Shawl that they had on display, but decided to switch gears and make the Swirl Scarf instead for two reasons: with the Triple S, you start with an Emily Ocker cast on and then work out, joining all the completed squares with a 3-needle bind off (annoying!!).  With the Swirl Shawl or Scarf, you cast on/pick up all the sts and work to the middle and attach the swirls as you go.  I am also weaving in my ends as I go, so when it’s done, it’s done!  I am very happy with my choice.

I am using three colors: brown (with a hint of purple), greenish brown, and bluish brown.  I do not have the labels so I cannot be more specific and none of the colors on their website look like mine — sorry!

Swirl 013 by you.
The Finished scarf will be approx 9″ by 72″

I wish you could actually see how beautiful this yarn is and touch it — the viscose gives it a lineny feel, the silk gives it sheen, the wool gives it depth, and it is very soft against the skin.  Pictures absolutely do not do it justice.  

So, why the question about being anal retentive?  I think I must be!!!  At least about my knitting!

When I swatched my first swirl to see if the yarn would work, the swirl formed a lovely, natural hexagon.  BUT, when I started the second swirl — which is picked up between the green dots on the picture below — the points did not align.   As written, each pattern repeat starts with a YO at each of the 6 points of the hex, but the points actually form 3 sts back (see picture below).  In other words, the points of the hexes do not align in the pattern as written. 

So, I moved the start of the round 3 sts so the points line up — point to point — on all of my hexes.  Does it make a difference?  I’m not sure, except I know I could not continue with it without “fixing” it.   Thus, I am an anal-retentive knitter.  See details below

Picture3 by you.

I love this project, highly recommend the pattern (with my “correction”), and highly recommend either the Melody or Acero.  Fun, fun, fun!!!

My notes:
If you own the pattern, this will make sense!!

Follow pattern as written until you get to Round 3.

Round 3: k3 additional sts past end of round on last needle (23 sts now on this dpn). Transfer 3 sts from needle 2 to needle 1, and 3 sts from needle 3 to needle 2. All dpns now have 20 sts again and beg of round has shifted 3 sts to the left.  Starting from the new beg of round, work remaining pattern rows as written.

June 8, 2009

From Susan — More Whiskey, Anyone?

Filed under: Sweetheart Tunic,Updates — lv2knit @ 9:24 pm

I could sure use a belt!!  Actually, that may not improve my knitting situation much, so never mind!  I have been puttering along on my Whiskey Tunic — making some progress at a drunken snail’s pace:

Whiskey by you.

The Sweetheart Tunic pattern calls for seven repeats of the leaf motif.  I’ve finished seven and am heading for nine: for more length because of my height and because I’d prefer it a bit longer.  I really love this yarn — Reynolds Whiskey.  It is “real” wool but feels a bit softer.  It has very rich color variation and great stitch definition for a lightweight yarn. 

Like all knitting, progress is slow.  I adapted the pattern to be worked in the round and when I get done I’ll be happy I did, though it is a slog doing the front and back together.

PS: Welcome Kym to the blogosphere!!

June 6, 2009

From Sally — To Cap It All Off

Filed under: Shedir — surly @ 7:53 am

First of all, thank you for the outpouring of kind comments on my Cathedral sweater and on my beautiful daughter. No, she didn’t want to keep the sweater. As cute as it looked on her, it’s not her taste. At all. When I finally get a chance to wear it myself, I’ll try to pretend it looks as nice on me as it does on her.

Before she left to go back to the wilds of Colorado, I was able to persuade her to do one more modeling job for me. I knit a Shedir hat for a dear friend.

The pattern calls for Rowan’s Calmer yarn, which I actually used — so unusual for me. I purchased the yarn at Personal Threads Boutique in Omaha (which Susan and I wrote about recently). Shedir is meant to be a one-skein project, but I needed part of a second ball. From perusing Ravelry, that’s a fairly common occurrence. So, if this hat interests you, pick up a second skein. (I was glad I did.) Another solution would be to knit four instead of five repeats of the main pattern, but that could result in a hat that is too small.

I liked the pattern, but knitting with cotton is always hard on my hands. Fortunately, Calmer has much more stretch than most cottons and cotton blends. I did the cabling without a cable needle. If I make it again, I think I’ll switch the right and left twists. There are far more left twists, and I find them less fun to do.

Next up for me: lace weight and beads.

Stay tuned.

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