theraineysisters knitting and so much more

April 29, 2010

From Sally — It’s a Bolero, It’s a Shrug, It’s (not) a Cardigan?

Filed under: Oak Leaf Cardigan — surly @ 1:52 pm

I know I promised to show off the yarn I bought in Minnesota last week, but instead I’m going to show you my finished Creature Comforts Cardigan. Pictures first, and then I’ll share a few thoughts on this pattern. (Warning: It’s not Lucy’s best style — it does need a model with arms but I didn’t have one.)

This project is the Creature Comforts Cardigan from Madelinetosh. I knit it out of Madelinetosh Worsted (now renamed Madelinetosh DK) in the color Toast. That is slightly lighter gauge than the yarn called for, but I compensated by knitting a larger size.

I have mixed feelings about this project. I love the large leaf pattern that goes up the back, and I love the yarn. But it’s described as an oversized cardigan, and mine is definitely not. It’s difficult, when you’re knitting this, to figure out exactly how large it’s going to be due to the way it’s constructed. So although it was thirty or so inches long and forty plus inches wide without the ribbing (which I added at the end), it’s definitely not oversized or long on me. Based on gauge, the size I ended up with was supposed to be a generous fit on someone with a 38-42 inch chest, and I am a mere 34.

So I am disappointed in the fit because it’s not what I was expecting or what I wanted. It’s still wearable; it looks nice. But it’s more like a long shrug than a cardigan and I wanted a cardigan.

I initially made the built in pockets, but because of the way the sweater fit, the pockets seemed ridiculous and unusable. With the help of my sister the grafting queen, I excised them. Therefore, I wouldn’t recommend doing the pockets if you make this. You might be better off adding one at the end (and the pattern provides directions on how to do that).

Bottom line: If you love the leaf pattern and want an oversized cardigan, knit a traditional cardigan with this motif running up the back. If you want something a bit more unusual, then you’ll probably be happy with this. But you might want to knit a size larger than you normally would.

ETA: A quick reminder for those of you in the mid-Atlantic region — this weekend is the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival at the Howard County fairgrounds.

It’s a wonderful event with lots and lots of luscious yarn to look at (and buy). And the weather should be lovely.

April 23, 2010

From Susan — It’s Just Been a Knitmare

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 8:50 pm

A Knitmare on Elm Street, that is!  When Surly and I were at Yarnover, Sally picked up a darling project bag at Darn.Knit.Anyway’s booth.  I wanted it…I wanted it bad.  But Sally snagged the really cute one, so I moped.  However, thanks to Google and Etsy, we found the maker of these creepy-funny project bags.  She is Laura from Slipped Stitch Studios and sells a lot of great items on Etsy.

As Laura describes this now out-of-stock Michael Miller fabric:

Do you enjoy horror and knitting? This bag has a bit of both!

Please be aware that this pattern includes some rather disturbing fiber-related images….

Fido gets your WIP, a shawl massacre!

Mr. Meowington unravels your cashmere- hundreds (of yards) slain!

Hubby couldn’t find chopsticks…so he uses your $40 artisan needles for lunch utensils!! THE HORROR!

….Not to mention, and I think we have all been there…picking up a supposedly “Quick and Easy Pattern” and expiring whilst casting on!

This funny pattern by Michael Miller is a “must-have” for any knitter with a wicked sense of humor!

So go ahead and show your knitter pride!

And let’s not forget the grumpy kid forced to wear ill-fitting handknits!

Our favorite image is of course the skeleton who dies in a vain attempt at knitting, so when I ordered my bag, I asked in the comments if the picture of Mr. Skeleton was complete and intact.  She answered within 3 seconds and said it was right there, front and center! 

I am extremely pleased with the bag.  It is very well made, fully lined,  with a number of small pockets inside. 

I also acquired some absolutely stunning yarn:

On the left from Briar Rose Fibers: Sea Pearl, laceweight,50% merino, 50% tencel, 800 yds/219 gms (I’m not sure what my color is because there is no color # given on the skein); purchased at Yarnover.

On the right from Artyarns: Silk Rhapsody, 50% silk, 50% kid mohair, 260 yds/100 gms, color #137 ( a gorgeous champagne!) — a gift from Surly purchased at Lila and Claudine’s.  This is the same yarn we both used for our Topsy Turvy Moebius.

I am sure Surly will have some nice things to share in the upcoming days!!

ETA from Surly: Yes, I will. In an upcoming post I’ll share the yarn I bought and my most recent knitmare finished object.

PS from Susan — we just got John’s official picture from the Birkie (I did not get any action shots):

April 19, 2010

From Susan — No Lyin’, I’m Cryin’

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 11:58 pm

Sally left today after a whirlwind weekend.  I mean, a crazy busy, out-of-control weekend!  Sally put up with all of my cranky moods and as she left said, “I’m your sister…I will just forget all about it.” That’s why I’m cryin’ in my brewski!   Miss my sis!

We did have a lot of fun in between all of the nervous break downs and speeding tickets! 

Thursday, April 15
I picked Surly up at the airport and made a quick stop at The Yarnery.  Sally bought yarn.

Then we went to my knitting group.  Beth shared her beautiful Boxes Drape Vest from Swing-Swagger-Drape so we could try it on and admire it yet again…everyone wants one! 

Here’s mine so far:


Boxes Drape Vest in Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted, Color #709 Hermosa

Friday, April 16
We tried to cram a week into one day!  We went to Lila and Claudine’s as our first stop.

L&C is a fantastic shop — you really need to get there just to see it.  They describe it as Alice going down the rabbit hole and it is the truth.  Plus, the people are super nice.  We hung out with Kirsten and other notables and had a great time.  Sally bought yarn.

Then off to Darn.Knit.Anyway in Stillwater, MN.  Again, a great shop with wonderful staff.  Susan bought yarn (but it doesn’t count because it was just an extra skein for my Boxes vest :) )!! 

We needed to pick up stuff for Yarnover and then we stopped by Hopkins High School to do some set up.

Saturday, April 17
YARNOVER ARRIVES!!  Up before dawn and off to the races!  Great day.  Everything went very well.  We saw a lot of knitting friends, both old and new.  We both bought yarn.

That evening we were able to dine with knitting royalty.  We sat next to Jared Flood, Beth Brown-Reinsel, Cookie A., and Romi Hill.  Let me just say that Jared is adorable…absolutely adorable!  I also got to schmooz a little with Meg Swansen — I shared some of the rave reviews I had heard about her classes.  She was thrilled and so humble!  It was a wonderful way to end the day.

Sunday, April 18
We spent the day with family…but somehow managed to find another knitting store!  We visited the lovely Tangled Skein  in St. Peter and resisted the urge to buy more yarn.  I know.  It’s hard to believe!

Monday, April 19
We returned the rental stuff for Yarnover, had a great breakfast and then hit a couple more yarn shops: Borealis must have the best selection of sock yarn in the city.  And then back to the Yarnery.  Sally bought yarn. 

If you happen to be keeping score, Surly bought WAY more yarn than I did. 

April 15, 2010

From Susan — Shifts Again The Force

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 10:17 am

Surly will be landing here in the Twin Cities this afternoon — yay!  She is going to be my sidekick at this year’s MKG Yarnover Event (I am on the planning committee). 

We have a very busy weekend planned — stop and say hi if you see us at Hopkins HS on Saturday!!

April 13, 2010

From Susan — Just for Fun!

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 10:07 am

As you may have noticed over the years, my knitting tends to the conservative, traditional, whatever boring word you want to choose!  But I got inspired by this cute little sweater and decided to go wild!  It is the Kaleidoscope Yoke by Kate Himmelberg in the book Simple Style

The design calls for yarn that comes in both a multi-color version and coordinating solid.  I chose a yarn that was heavier than called for, Mochi Plus Intense Rainbow and Intense Red:


Kaleidoscope Yoke by Kate Himmelberg

I knit a smaller size to get the larger size I needed.  The VERY simple construction allows for size adaptation easily. 

The yarn is soft and pretty, but did not knit up very smoothly/evenly.  When knitting stockinette in the round, you should end up with very nice, even knitting.  This was very rough looking and desperately in need of blocking.  I wetblocked it and it grew to ginormous (sp?) proportions.  H-U-G-E!!!  Eeeeek!

So, I decided to do the unthinkable: I put it in the dryer!  And it worked.  It brought it down to the original size again.  The rough knitting is still there but at least it fits!

There are two things I would have done differently: first, I would have knit the entire thing on a US 7 instead of an 8.  I think the knitting would have looked much better.  Secondly, I would have switched to the solid red earlier so the multi-colored section ended above the boobs instead of under — more like the picture.  The color transition occurs right before you start the sleeves, which for most “larger” people or those who do not want tight armholes, means the stripes are under the bustline.  Too late for me, but maybe not for you!

Also, I did do some sleeve shaping.  The pattern has you pick up for the sleeves and just keep on knitting.  They looked way too baggy for my taste.  I ended the shaping a couple of inches above the wrist to get a little bit of flair.

Kaleidoscope Yoke by Kate Himmelberg

Overall Grade: B+
Yarn: A for color and softness, D for knitting quality
Pattern: Very easy and cute, with some changes
Fit: A (!)
Yarn Required: Multi = 6, Solid = 8
Needles: US 8 (should have used 7’s)

All in all, I am happy with this one — quick knit project (2 weeks).

April 10, 2010

From Susan — It’s Ba-a-a–ck!

Filed under: Tea Leaves — lv2knit @ 12:39 pm

Here is another picture of my Tea Leaves, showing the buttons and the color a bit more accurately:

This picture shows detail from the back:

The color is nearly impossible to capture!  I did make a small change to the ruching in the yoke: I added 2 rows of stockinette to the second line of ruching, and 4 to the third line.  It seemed way too skimpy as written and would not have come down over the shoulders, which I liked.  I also did a crocheted slip st through the cast on row to firm it up — I got carried away and cinched it up too much and may redo it.

Per custom, I took this FO to my Thursday knitting group — it looked great on Kim and great on Mary!  The sleeves fit them perfectly which confirmed to me that they are ~2 inches too short.  Will I go back and fix them?  Not sure!

April 7, 2010

From Sally — Spring into Fall

Filed under: Oak Leaf Cardigan — surly @ 12:16 pm

It’s beautiful in Washington, DC right now. We’ve had a run of gorgeous weather and my yard is in full bloom: cherry trees, daffodils, tulips, camellias, and more. For example:

Naturally, therefore, I’m working on a cardigan whose color and design screams fall, not spring. It’s the Creature Comforts Cardigan from Madelinetosh. The only link I could find is on Ravelry, so here are some photographs of how it is supposed to look for those of you who don’t belong.

I’m knitting mine out of Madelinetosh Worsted (now renamed Madelinetosh DK) in the color Toast. My gauge is therefore a bit lighter, so I’m knitting a larger size. It’s an easy knit — just a big rectangle that you then seam to create the shape. I started with a provisional cast on so that instead of seaming the ribbing, I’ll knit it all at the same time in the round when the sweater’s finished. It’s going slowly, but here’s where I am thus far. The color is very true in these photographs.

You couldn’t ask for more mindless knitting, and I think I’ll wear it to death when it’s finished. Or at least I will come fall.

ETA: Cindy asked: “The comments on Ravelry about this pattern sound like the pattern is full of mistakes. A couple people had to take the whole thing apart and gave up. I wonder if you found it to be difficult to follow.”

I believe that the pattern has been updated; the one I am using is labeled Version 2. I haven’t found any mistakes in the pattern I’m using. One caveat is that I have barely referred to the directions b/c the pattern to me was pretty straightforward. Moreover, I am using the chart for the leaf pattern, not the written directions. So there could be mistakes in those directions that I haven’t noticed; the chart is error free as far as I can tell.

PS from Susan: I am sick with jealousy over Sally’s beautiful flowers!!  They are absolutely gorgeous.  Last night our water heater died so I had to coif with ice cold water today… :(  That is all. :)

April 5, 2010

From Susan — A Long Wait for a [boring] FO

Filed under: Tea Leaves — lv2knit @ 7:15 pm

Hope you had a great holiday.  We spent a lovely day with my husband’s family.  John’s dad is not doing very well and is currently in a nursing home.  My FIL is one of my favorite people and it is hard to see him suffer.  He was able to spend the afternoon at home, which we were all very happy about.  He is frail and may not make it to the next holiday so it was special for everyone. 

On a knitting note:
I realize that not every project can be a masterpiece.  This one falls into the ‘non-masterpiece’ category.  But, it is done and therefore deserves the recognition of a fait accomplis.

Here is my Tea Leaves Cardigan — nothing left to do but let the puppy dry and sew on the buttons.


Tea Leaves Cardigan in Madelinetosh Worsted, Color Kale

Overall Grade: C+
Yarn: C+ (hand-dyed yarns are lovely, but very annoying to work with…pooling, mismatched skeins, etc.)
Yarn Softness: A (it became VERY soft when I wet it for blocking — some would say, too soft :( )
Pattern: B+ (the designer places the buttonholes on the left front, which I changed)
The Fit: ?? (it needs to dry); I think mine will look like it is too big

I was discouraged and almost gave up on this one, but somewhere along the line I decided to finish this as just something to wear — a nice, over-sized cardi that you can throw on to go to the store or walk the dog.   I decided to put buttons along the entire buttonband (instead of just two at the top) and will perhaps put up another picture once they are actually on the sweater.

April 2, 2010

From Both of Us: Happy Easter

Filed under: Updates — Both Sisters @ 8:10 pm

Easter peeps…

Knitters stand out in a crowd!

Our diorama is cute, but nothing like these!  Hope you have a Happy Easter or special Passover with family and friends.

PS: GinkgoKnits is right — there is a knitter in the world famous Peep Show:

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