Hope you were able to enjoy this long weekend, the harbinger of summer. It is one of those odd holidays because it is based on sadness, but is celebrated with picnics and water sports. I feel conflicted because I have personal reasons for honoring this day.
So, enjoy the beautiful weekend. Enjoy the rite of spring and summer. And honor the sacrifice of our service men and women, and the families they left behind.
This project certainly has a life of its own! Over ten years old and going strong, with almost 1,000 projects in Ravelry. I am speaking of The Great American Aran Afghan. Knitters Magazine teamed up with Plymouth Encore in 1999 and sponsored a design contest for afghan squares with aran elements. I continue to receive questions about the project and where to obtain the pattern, so I thought I would provide one more update here.
The original squares rolled out four per issue over six issues of Knitters — this took well over a year. My winning sweater square came out in the last [7th] issue. SO, if you had a subscription back then, you have the patterns. They also pulled all the squares into a book which is readily available on-line and at many yarn shops. There have been numerous knitalongs at various knitting stores — in fact, The Yarnery has one going on now if I’m not mistaken. This project is a great learning experience and you end up with an heirloom.
Great American Aran Afghan in Cascade 220
If you are interested in tackling this challenging and rewarding project, I suggest joining the GAAA Ravelry Group. They share their frustrations and learnings, so it’s like a do-it-yourself knitalong.
I love pink, as I’ve said here before. I collect pink yarn in all shades but I often just pile it up and admire it. In a surprise move, however, I’ve actually started a bright pink summer project from the summer issue of Interweave Knits. It is the Counterpane Blouse designed by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark. I loved the color — pink! — so I’m using the exact yarn called for: Louet’s Euroflax Sport (100% linen) in Crabapple.
Here is where I am in the project at the moment:
It’s not a difficult pattern, but I’m not sure what I think about working with this yarn. I tend to shy away from cottons and linens because I prefer wool and because cotton in particular is not as easy on my hands. This particular yarn feels like unwaxed dental floss when you work with it. It’s also difficult, at least for me, to achieve uniformity in stitch size and appearance, which tends to drive me a little crazy.
Everyone tells me, however, that linen yarn really softens up and has a wonderful drape the more it is washed and worn. I can tell that it has softened up just from being worked with and from having been lightly steamed. So I am cautiously optimistic, and I really like the design.
I’m not sure when I’ll finish it, however, because I’m also working on a bit of a stealth project. It’s not a total secret but I can’t really show photos of it in progress. Fibre Space — a wonderful yarn store in Alexandria, Virginia that I’ve mentioned in the past — asked me to design a baby blanket for their Bundles of Joy club. Subscribers receive the yarn and exclusive pattern for four different baby projects. The blanket features a color that was custom dyed just for the club. I’ve done all of the design work, but I’m still knitting the model. I’ll share it here when I can. They still have spots in the club if you’re interested.
As many of you already know, our blog has been hit hard by a hacker/virus/whatever! My own computer became riddled with disease and caused me no end of despair.
Sally is the “man behind the curtain” here at The Rainey Sisters and spent HOURS working on the problem, both with our host-site geeks and through trial and error.
It appears that the problem has been remedied, at least for the time being. These viruses are pesky and determined, so we can’t make any guarantees! We are sorry if this caused you any problems and hope things settle down.
Not a lot going on — a stealth project and little more — so I thought I would share some of the designs I have saved in my “favorites” file in Ravelry. I LOVE the fact that you can ‘favorite’ both patterns and specific renditions of patterns for future reference. It makes Rav worthwhile even if you do not want to catalog all of your WIPs and FOs or your yarn stash.
Here are a few that I have favorited recently:
Panda Silk DK Fan Shawl (free pattern) — it looks crocheted, but isn’t!
Ormolu by Barbara Gregory and offered in The Twist Collective — mosaic knitting which is not my favorite but the design is stunning…
Alexandria by Connie Chang Chinchio — classic and beautiful
Norwegian Rose Socks by Wendy Johnson of WendyKnits — nice if you like to knit socks!
Luiza by Jane Araujo — very pretty and downloadable for $5
This just proves how dangerous it is to explore Ravelry!! I have no idea if I will ever get to any of these projects, but it is food for thought!
Pack it in, it’s done!
It actually fits perfectly without the two extra sets of boxes, so it would have been HUGE with them! I steam blocked it, but plan on wetblocking it to gain some softness and drape. When I wear it, it stands out from the body and looks too stiff.
I’m pleased with it overall and glad to have this box wrapped up! Groan!
Sally can be a sweet and generous lil thing as evidenced by the fact that she bought me a present at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. That place is a tough go if you do not want to spend money — Sally resisted many of the temptations, but not this one.
She bought me a necklace kit from Just Our Yarn and also got one for herself. The kit is called “Just Your Necklace.” I think it is a pretty recent addition to their line up as it does not show up on their website or on the website of its designer, Betsy Hershberg of StudioB Knits.
The kit provides everything you need except the knitting needles (I did substitute a different clasp). I used a US size 2 and 1. The base yarn is Aziza, which is tinier-than-laceweight tencel. The kit has generous lengths of the yarn wound on spools because it takes far less than a skein of two different colors, and includes two different sizes of beads.
The kits were flying off the shelves at the Just Our Yarn booth. I had to grab two before the hoarders got them! Susan, as usual, finished hers ahead of me and has been patiently waiting to post until I managed to knit mine. I knit it one and a half times because I kept changing my mind about which color to have as the focus. Susan adds: I also knit parts of mine twice because it looked sloppy with the size 2 on the tubular part.
Lucy’s wondering if it makes her look naked and headless. Yes, Lucy, it does.
It’s a quick knit, but a little fussy in parts.
PS: Sally and I received a message from Betsy Hershberg, the designer of our beaded necklaces:
“I am the designer of this necklace and I’m so glad you both enjoyed knitting it! And you both did a fabulous job – both with the knitting AND the picture taking. Just wanted to let you know that the kits are now available (as of 6/8/10) on the Just Our Yarn website: www.justouryarn.com. I admit that we didn’t anticipate the immediate popularity of the kit, but lots of gorgeous color ways are now available online. There is also a direct link to the kit on my website at www.studiobknits.com. Thanks so much for the great post! Much appreciated.”
I have been working on my Boxes Drape Vest for the past few weeks — it is a LOT of knitting! But my goal is to finish it before embarking on anything new, so I plod onward.
Lettie agreed to try it on for me and the saucy minx was bra-less! Jeez, Lettie, cover up that boob!
And from the back:
I tried it on, too, and I think it will fit. I wanted to have the “racer-back” look of the original (see picture below) because it looked so fantastic on my friend Beth. This sounds good in theory, but presented a few issues. The armhole opening is quite small and since the opening orients more to the back (making the back narrow and racer-like) the fronts bunch at the front armhole. I made my armholes wider, putting the extra space BEFORE the armhole placement in the pattern. I added 12 rows to the opening. Mayhaps too much, though it still presses against my arm in the front a little bit. It made the armhole opening a little large for my taste. I added 4 rows of 2×2 ribbing around the armhole opening (not in the original pattern) and it did help. Blocking the center back a little wider will also help.
Another issue is that I am running out of yarn. I bought 6 skeins of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd’s Worsted, color Hermosa — it was all they had. I found one more skein and thought, “Woo Hoo! I can add an extra set of boxes to make it longer!” Wrong, over-confident one! At the center back, I had used up all of the 4th skein of 7. That means I would need 8 to complete it as is. So, I will knit with my 3 remaining skeins until I run out of yarn. Then I will cut off the first half, more or less splitting the difference, add some length to side 2 to make them equal, and then reknit the ribbing on side 1. It will involve a little extra work, but after trying it on, it is too long now anyway. What a maroon!