theraineysisters knitting and so much more

July 31, 2009

From Sally — Christmas in July

Filed under: Vivian Cardigan — surly @ 3:31 pm

I’ve been suffering a bit from the knitting malaise mixed with indecision and confusion. Some days I can’t think of one thing I’d like to work on. Other days, I have so many projects I want to start that I can’t choose among them. So, I decided to work on some Christmas knitting. That gives me a deadline, but the deadline is so comfortably off in the distance that I won’t feel guilty putting it aside when true inspiration strikes.

First up? A sweater for my daughter (who has been temporarily banned from reading this blog so that I could have something to post about). Nora, if you are reading, stop. Now. Thank you.

The project I selected for Nora is Vivian designed by Ysolda Teague and available through the Twist Collective website. It’s a fitted, heavily cabled hoodie.

It looks like something she’d wear, although the sizing has been the big issue for me. She’s small and she likes her clothes to be fairly close fitting. Moreover, I was using a finer gauge yarn than the pattern called for. Therefore, I decreased the size of the peplum-type bottom by taking out a few strategic stitches and plan to knit the size 34 above the peplum. I want it to end up being closer to the size 32 (giving me some negative ease), and I think this will work with the gauge differential. Otherwise, blocking will be our friend.

Other than those size-related issues, the only changes I’m making is that I have reversed the twist on a few of the cables to make the knitting more mindless for me. I’ve seen a few Ravelry posts indicating that I might need to adjust the size of the hood, but that’s not something I am going to worry about yet. What I like about this design is that the waist shaping is integrated into the flow of the cables. I also like that the yoke is knit in one piece.

I am using Berocco’s Vintage Wool, which is a washable wool containing some acrylic. That is so atypical for me; I’m pretty much a natural fibers knitter. But this yarn is very soft against the skin and I loved the color. It knits like wool (except for the inability to splice the way I usually do), but she won’t have to be as careful with it in washing. I’m happy thus far with my choice. I haven’t made all that much progress, but then again — it’s only July.

July 25, 2009

From Susan — Out of Hiding

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 8:54 pm

I am peeping out from my front door to say HI and share a small-scale FO that took a long time to finish.  I have been off work all week and so you would think I would have gotten a lot done — au contraire, mes amies!!  I have spent most of my week driving!  Just random driving back and forth, from here to there, taking people hither and yon. 

I did finish my Swirl Scarf.  I absolutely love the scarf and love the yarn I used 🙂 .  It goes very well with my winter coat, and I’ll use it a lot in this harsh climate of ours:

Swirl Full Scarf by you.

Swirl Close Up by you.

Pattern: Swirl Shawl, from Jojoland — I made the scarf instead of the shawl
Yarn: Acero in three colors (one skein of each), by Brooks Farms (420 yds/100 gms, 60% Superwash Wool, 20% silk, 20% viscose
Needles: US 5 dpns
Finished Size: 9″ by 63″

Pros and Cons:
Overall Grade: A-

The pattern: as mentioned in a previous post, I thought there was something amiss with the pattern, so I made a minor change in the hexes.  However, I did end up with a more angular motif because I played up the hexagonal aspect rather than rounding it out.  There is a lot of knitting involved with this project and it is very putsy, but I did weave in my ends along the way and blocked it as I went along, too.  After every set of three swirls, I steamed the three just completed.  It made it easier to pick up the next set of hexes.  No sewing together at the end!

The yarn: gorgeous yarn; great to work with; love it, love it, love it! (Tell us what you really think!).

The scarf: I love this scarf and will use it a lot!

As for the blog, Sally and I are doing some secret knitting and may not have as much to write about in the coming weeks.  We will keep you posted!!  😉

July 23, 2009

From Susan — Still on Staycation!

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 10:59 am

Not much going on here in the northland!  But, I feel a little brave.  Tuesday night at ~7 pm as I was just heading out the door for the evening, my younger daughter asked if we would host a pasta party for her soccer team after their game the following afternoon.  Hmmm.  Many questions came to mind: how many girls would be coming; would the parents be included; how much food would I need; who would shovel clean the house; how do you keep pasta hot for a crowd????  Etc.  I do not do a lot of parties at my house, so entertaining is always a dilemma.  But, I thought about it and asked myself: do you want to be the mom who says no or the mom whos says yes??  So, I said YES!!

And of course it went off without a hitch!  I had enough food for 50…though only 9 girls attended.  They all seemed to have fun, and it wasn’t all that much work.

Spaghetti by you.

Next time, I won’t need to be brave!!! 

PS — The girl hiding in the picture is my little hostess!

July 17, 2009

From Susan — Summer Time

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 11:10 am

It may BE summer in Minnesota, but it sure doesn’t feel like it!  It is in the 50’s today!!  Hubby needed a coat to take out the dog this morning…brrrrr.

I am taking the next week off, so will hang out and lead a life of leisure for the next few days.  Yay!   I went to see the new Harry Potter movie last night and LOVED it!!  Did any of you catch the knitting reference?  I about leapt out of my chair!

Sally and I are doing some stealth knitting, and I am plugging away on my Swirl Scarf. 

Swirl by you.

Scarves are boring to post about — they look the same, just longer!   There are now 14 strips completed as opposed to the 5 shown above.  I’ll end up with 19 or 22 at the end.   That’s all for now 🙂 !

July 12, 2009

From Susan — Bedecked and Bejewelled Am I

Filed under: Lacy Cardigan,Updates — lv2knit @ 7:47 pm

 Look at the pretty markers sent to me by a very sweet and generous reader:

Markers by you.

Prissy (aka Merry Gay) sent these to me after seeing my little chain markers.  She makes these for fun, and shared them with me.  They are too pretty for knitting and beg to be worn as earrings! 🙂

I have also been laboring on my Lacy Cardigan…stick a fork in it, thank goodness!

Lacy Cardigan by you.
Lacy Cardigan by Ann E. Smith for Blue Sky Alpacas
Yarn: Sublime Aran (11 skeins), Color #15 Clipper, Needles US 8 and US 6; crocheted edging
The color is very true in these pictures

Lacy Cardigan by you.

Pro’s and Con’s of this project:

The yarn: soft as butter but unforgiving in stitch quality; not spliceable
The pattern: very nicely written; easy, quick knit (16 days); not seen everywhere so it seems more unique; unavailable (?)
The buttons: cheapies from my stash — a replacement may be necessary!!
The edging: got me to learn how to crochet
The fit: perfect; sleeves are just the way I like them with a little flare over the hand
Modifications: very few; I decided I did not want to waste any brain power so resisted the urge to go overboard on mods

Overall grade: B- to C+ (marked down for stitch quality — part me, part the yarn…the picture doesn’t show how uneven some areas are)

Will I wear it?  All the time!  It is soft, fits perfectly and is a good color to go with my summer clothes.  All in all, I am happy I made it so I could remove the curse of this yarn (a dozen false starts!!).  A finished object!  Yay!!  🙂

July 9, 2009

From Sally — Slow Moving River

Filed under: River Run Shawl — surly @ 10:41 am

I’ve been working on my River Run Shawl, but progress has slowed considerably. One reason is that my elbow has been bothering me for some reason so I’m not doing much knitting (or gardening or bicycling or . . . .). The other reason is that I’ve finished the body of the shawl and moved on to the edging, where progress seems glacial.

This is a knitted-on edging that uses up the live stitches of the shawl. It takes two rows to bind off one live stitch and each row has about thirty stitches. Throw in the beads (the edging will use about 850 beads) and you can understand why it’s slow. (Thank goodness I only have 424 stitches in total to get rid of, but that’s still over 800 rows.)

As is the case with most lace before it’s blocked, my shawl isn’t very photogenic. It’s also tricky to get any accurate shots of the color. The sheen of both the yarn and the beads seems to disappear. Here are some not great shots to give you an idea. The shawl looks distressingly tiny in these photos, but I’m hoping it will block out to the appropriate size.

Here’s how much (or little) of the border I’ve managed to finish:

The requisite artsy shot to try to show the yarn and beads in detail:

I know. Not very exciting. Well, then, how about this? Inspired by my sister, I knit my very first dishrag.

My husband was horrified when I picked it up and started cleaning with it. He couldn’t believe I’d do that to a piece of hand knitting.

July 5, 2009

From Susan — On the Blocks: A Quick Update

Filed under: Lacy Cardigan — lv2knit @ 11:25 am

The sweater back/fronts are drying as we speak.  The first sleeve is 6″ so far.  This is a quick knit and I am very glad for that!!  Maybe I’ll be sewing it together next weekend (??).

Lacy Cardigan 003 by you.

One thing I like about photographing my blocked items is that I can see the shaping better and then make adjustments — I’m off to even up my scallops!!

PS from yesterday’s post:

Nancy provided a link to a charitable organization that accepts knitted and crocheted afghan squares for the people of Pine Ridge — the poorest community in America. 

Ravelry group Afghan Squares for Pine Ridge Reservation

July 4, 2009

From Susan — FO or Project Avoidance?

Filed under: Crocheting,Updates — lv2knit @ 11:29 am

Answer: Both!

If you read my last post, you know I am not enamored with my lastest knitting project, though I am working on it bit by slow bit.  But I have also been puttering on other very small things to break up the monotony. 

My latest small, stupid, time-wasting project is another dishcloth.  I wanted to practice my treble crochet and beef up my supply of cotton dishcloths.  I made mine much smaller than called for, but was still worried about running out of yarn.  Enter my new favorite toy:

Scale by you.
Digital Scale from KnitPicks

I LOVE this scale!!  I use it almost every day.  It has changed my life — okay, greatly improved my life.  It allows you to estimate how much yarn you have used and how much is left over:

Weighing In by you.

I weighed the part I had completed and the amount of yarn left over and knew I had enough to complete my square:

Crochet Dishcloth by you.

The scale did not lie!!  It is also great for mailing packages, which is so easy to do from home, but only if you know the weight of the package (duh).

And of course:

Happy 4th of July! The American Flag in Fireworks by BL1961.

Happy 4th of July!!  Enjoy the holiday with family and friends!!

July 3, 2009

From Susan — This Week in Knitting

Filed under: Crocheting,Lacy Cardigan — lv2knit @ 10:17 am

I have been doing some summer time knitting.  I started a sweater last Friday and it is going pretty fast, but I do not like it. 

I named it “Last Chance” on Ravelry because it is the last chance I am giving this yarn.  The yarn (Sublime Aran, Color Clipper) appears ideal on paper: 75% merino, 20% silk and 5% cashmere, in a perfect denim blue to go with my work wardrobe (my pathetic work wardrobe, but I digress!), in a gauge of 18 sts/4 inches.   This spring/summer I started no less than ten different projects attempting to use this yarn from my stash.  It is the reason my knitting stalled for months.  I kept trying to make something out of this beautiful $#$%^^&*(*&^ yarn!

So, I decided to start the Lacy Cardigan for which I learned to crochet and is knit to a gauge of —- 18 sts/ 4 inches:

Lacy Cardigan by you.

As I said, it is knitting up fairly quickly, but I do not like the way it looks.  I am hoping for a miracle.

Lacy Cardigan 002 by you.
The color here is completely wrong!  The real color is deeper, richer, more denim than bright.

A person on Ravelry who made this said that she thought hers looked terrible until it was done…a glimmer of hope!!  So, I knit on.  I will toss out this yarn rather than admit to another false start!!

Speaking of Crocheting
I have been trying a little bit of crocheting to gain experience.  I am making the Cockleshells Scarf by Theresa Gaffey —  a simple scarf done in fingering weight yarn using double crochet only.   The original is made in an alpaca sock yarn that is soft as butter.  Mine is not as soft but has beautiful color:

Cockleshells 002 by you.

Thank goodness for Kim in my knitting group!  She made this scarf too in the original yarn — and it turned out to be gorgeous.  She helped me with my edges because her edge was much nicer.  Unfortunately, I did not take a “before” picture so you are seeing the improved version!  Still looks uneven, yes?  You should have seen it before!  I don’t know if I’ll ever become a true crochet head, but it is a nice change from knitting.  I also knitted me up one of those dang dishcloths because I had some really pretty ocean-colored Sugar and Cream (Sugar and Cream Stripes, Color 21143).

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