theraineysisters knitting and so much more

October 29, 2010

From Susan — My Knitting Peeps Made Me Do It!

Filed under: EZ Green Sweater,Wrapped in Care — lv2knit @ 2:51 pm

Beep…Beep…Beep!!  That’s the sound of my EZ Green Sweater backing up!  My peeps decided I needed to start my sleeve over, and when the peeps speak, I listen. 

I had a nagging doubt about my sleeve.  I did not cut in as drastically as the original design, so the shoulder extension on the upper edge of my sleeve had to start much sooner than the original — the red line below shows where my shoulder was compared to the original.  I was not terribly concerned, but concerned enough to ask my peeps about it at knitting last night.  I did a striptease (no music!) and tried on the EZ.   They said to rip it.  No questions.  Just rip it. 

Picture from Original Pattern

Okay.  So I got home last night and ripped it out, started over, moved the pick up line about 6 sts east.  Badda boom.  Badda bing.  I am certain that the sleeve will now be tres dolmany but I am okay with that.  Progress shots to follow.

On occasion, a few of the peeps and I decide to also get together informally at another watering hole…everywhere we go, we pretty much take over the place!

Lest you believe that we do nothing but knit for ourselves, here is proof that we also give, give, give in the form of knitting!

Winters can get awfully cold in Minnesota and everyone deserves a hat or scarf made with loving care.  We tried to use nice yarns hat we ourselves would wear and make a selection of many styles to fit a variety of ages.  I hope the recipients know that we were knitting especially for them!

October 26, 2010

From Susan — Green Sleeves

Filed under: EZ Green Sweater — lv2knit @ 10:02 pm

I am so glad I decided to re-embark on this project.  I really am enjoying it, though each stitch makes me feel a tad guilty about Eala Bhan 🙁 .  Oh, well, EB will get done, too.

The sleeves are the coolest feature of this sweater.  They are described as “dolmans.”  In my earlier post about this sweater, I said the following,

“The sleeves are described as dolmans, but I think a more accurate description is a modified drop shoulder with an underarm gusset.  The appearance is that of a dolman, but it really isn’t.  EZ was brilliant.  As you knit the sweater, you “cut out” a huge chunk at the armholes, but then add it back in (gray section in illustration below):

This is interesting.  There are many projects now listed on Ravelry and many of them have the appearance of a true dolman.   I tried on my sleeve and it fit perfectly — like a normal (non-dolman) sleeve, just as I predicted in my earlier description above.  I do not know why, but I do like it!!

My sleeve so far:

I could not get a good picture to save my life, so this is scanned…thus I could not get the whole sweater

It looks just like the original and fits beautifully.  I am happy so far.  I also am not shaping the sleeve as dramatically as was done in the original — it gets too skinny too fast for most people.  I followed the pattern’s shaping until all of the gusset sts were decreased away and then I started doing “regular” sleeve shaping.  That is why on my sleeve the bottom edge of my sleeve slants down — it would be straight across and be getting skinnier without the added sts.

“Regular” they are not.   Normally on a top down sleeve, you would decrease 2 sts every “x” rounds/rows to get the stitch count desired.  Because you decrease 2 sts at the top of the sleeve every other round, you must INCREASE along the [what would usually be] the underarm seam line in order NOT to decrease the stitch count.  So, for every 6 rounds, I increase every other row twice, and then do not increase on one of the rounds, thus resulting in 2 sts decreased every 6 rounds.  It’s all very backward and confusing!   My brain hurts.  After ten sets of these I will switch to every 8 row decreases (or “un-increases” as the case may be!).  At least that is the plan, though it could change if the numbers indicate.

PS from Susan: I tried this on again before I went to bed last night.  I thought, “What if I’m wrong?  What if it fits wonky and I am delusional?”  It fits.  Looks good!   I probably could have started my sleeves with the every 8 round decreases though.  EZ was decreasing 2 sts every other round, so I thought I was safe with every 6.  The sleeve fits and is about 3/4 of the way to my elbow.  I may keep going and possibly rip back a bit if it gets too small too soon.

October 24, 2010

From Susan — Bringin’ Another One Back

Filed under: EZ Green Sweater — lv2knit @ 11:03 am

Sometimes you toss a project onto the heap that deserves to be there and sometimes you are hasty.   I think  I tossed my EZ Green Cardigan a little too soon.  A couple of my knitting peeps are taking a class and making this sweater.  I stumbled upon mine yesterday and thought, “Hmmm.  It’s not so bad.”  Can this sweater be saved??

I started this project so motivated and excited to be knitting this vintage homage to Elizabeth Zimmermann.  All I have left to do are the sleeves and the final finishing.  I think I’ll give it a go.  The sleeves are stockinette in the round — mindless TV knitting.

My Eala Bhan  is not forsaken!  I am past the armhole shaping and speeding along on the back.  “Speeding along” of course is a relative term!!

To Connie:  I think Yvonne is teaching the class at Amazing Threads.  I’m not taking he class, though — just revisiting the project!

To Nancy:  The “basting” thread you see is actually there to mark the foldline of the center front and the pick up line for sts around the armhole.  The sweater is knit in the round with steeks even though it is one color, so there are extra sts at the edges — when you knit flat you would just pick up sts with a one-stitch selvedge so a thread would not be needed.

October 20, 2010

From Sally — Gimme Shelter

Filed under: Raglan Turtleneck — surly @ 2:22 pm

My poor sister has been bearing the blogging burden while I’ve been traveling.  Sadly, I haven’t done much knitting but I do have a new project in the works, which I’ll share today.

I am still working on Eala Bhan, but I wanted something that was a faster knit and required a bit less concentration.  Enter my husband.  Despite having received a lovely sweater last Christmas, he began dropping hints about wanting a blue turtleneck.  It was sad.  He even hounded my sister to knit one for him.  Then, in a great coming together of needs and wants, Jared Flood’s new line of yarn, Shelter, hit the stores. I could buy new yarn with no guilt whatsoever.  So I did.

Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter is a lovely new yarn.  It’s worsted weight and the wool comes from sheep raised in Wyoming.  The yarn itself is spun in the historic mill town of Harrisville, New Hampshire.  At first glance, this is a very traditional looking yarn, but the depth of color and softness are wonderful surprises.  There were two blues to choose from:  Faded Quilt or Almanac.  My husband chose Almanac.

I played around and swatched a bit before deciding on a traditional raglan (worked completely in the round) with vertical lines of garter to add texture.  I’ve barely started, but even so I can see this grow as I knit with it, unlike Eala Bhan.

Note: A reader asked: “I have been swatching with Shelter too. It says it works for size 7,8, or 9 needles. Which one did you end up using? My gauge is right with the 8 but it feels rather loose for worsted weight. My button jar color is great.” I tend to go down a needle size on most yarns. I swatched on both a 6 and a 7. I thought the 7 felt a little loose, but that’s the gauge my husband liked better and so that’s the needle I used. I wet blocked the swatches, and there was a nice “bloom” to the yarn that made it feel tighter. I liked the swatch done on the 7 much better after I blocked it. So, if you haven’t soaked your swatch, you might do that to see which you prefer.

PS from Susan: “He even hounded my sister to knit one for him.” It’s true. Every time I spoke to him on the phone, he asked how I was doing on his blue turtleneck. No way, Mattie! I don’t feel like knitting for my own husband, why would I knit for someone else’s!!!

October 15, 2010

From Susan — So It’s the Weekend; Sew What??

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 10:38 am

I usually knit in my spare time.  It is portable and I derive both pleasure and knitted garments from it.  Yay.   I used to sew much more than I knit, but those days passed many years ago when I decided that knitting allowed me to spend more ‘creative’ time with my family (instead of being sequestered in my sewing room!).   This weekend I have to bust out the sewing machine again.  I have no clothes to wear.  At all.  It is more than simply embarrassing.

The other thing that suffers with my knitting is cleaning (ugh squared!).  I am committed to doing a little of that this weekend, too.  B-O-R-I-N-G!!!!

So, this weekend I plan on sewing and cleaning and not getting much knitting done — though I will still knit on my frequent breaks! 😉

Hour One: One bathroom cleaned and our bed linens in wash.  Motivation already gone.  Checked out fabric stash.  Fabric options are there, but no thread or other notions.  Run to store will interfere with continuity plan for day.  See golden opportunity fading.  Making more coffee to think.

Hour Three:  Drank coffee; made list.  Back from store with 80% success ratio.  Is it too early to take a movie/knitting break?  OK, even I know the answer to that one…will at least set up my cutting area. 🙁

Hour…??:  It’s hopeless.   I started cutting out one of my items.  Younger DD called for ride.  Came home and sat at computer.  Can’t seem to find my way back to my cutting table.  I need a break.

Day 2
I did finish cutting out Item #1.  I am trying to decide if I should sew Item #1 first or cut out Item #2 and then start sewing.

Decision Made: Cut first, sew second!

Hour 3: Cutting done; one more trip to the fabric store 🙁 and now I will begin.  I am not coming up except for coffee until something is accomplished!

Day 3
One item done except for the hemming.  I will work on the second to the hem and then sit with a good movie to do the handwork.  The Mad Men finale is on tonight 🙁 so no knitting or sewing then!

Second item done but for the hemming as well.  Now to the TV for the handwork!!

Sunday night: all three items are done with 2 minutes to spare!!  The third item has been marinating for two years an only needed to be hemmed.   Three hems in one day — yuck!

Day 4
In the light of a new day, I don’t think I like any of the items I made over the weekend and may have to do some tweaking.  🙁

Day 5
I am wearing one of my new outfits today and actually got a compliment — mostly because it is new and not something I have worn every third day for the past 15 years!  Woo Hoo!

October 11, 2010

From Susan — Eala Boo Boo

Filed under: Eala Bhan — lv2knit @ 11:38 pm

Bummer!  What mistake usually happens when you are doing multiple cables that cross in different directions?  You guessed it: I mis-crossed a cable.  Thank goodness it never got on the cover of an international knitting magazine! 😉

I have been very careful (or so I thought) as I have been working on my Eala Bahn.  Part of it is because the yarn is so small you really don’t want to rip it out.  I found the mis-crossed cable when I was at the same point 8 rows later and went, “Rut Roh!!”  So I had to drop down and fix it.  Ish.

Many of you may think of Sally and me as interchangeable knitters, but we are not.  Our overall skill level, interests and taste are very similar, but we do differ.  There are things that I do better and there are things that Surly does better.  Sally is really good at dropping down and fixing her knitting.  It can be rows and rows back and she seems to magically accomplish this feat.

Sally’s Feather and Fan Shawl from A Gathering of Lace.  Sally discovered that she had left out numerous yarnovers several rows back — with hundreds of stitches on the needle, she did not want to rip it out.  So, she dropped down and spit-spliced additional length into the rows before “re-knitting” the problem area.   Okay, fine.  Show off!!        She has done many other equally amazing things like that.

Like I said, I simply mis-crossed a cable 8 rows back.  It should not be that big of a deal to fix.  I was able to do it, but it:

a- it was a PITA
b-it looks like $#*&^^%
c-I was actually pitted out!  Or maybe it was just another hot flash…who knows? 

In my haste to fix the major boo boo on the exact center back of my Eala Bhan, I neglected to take pictures before or during…but here are the after shots:

This picture shows exactly where the mistake was:

It’s sloppier where I fixed it, but I hope with blocking it isn’t noticeable.

I think part of the reason I made the mistake is because I am cabling without a needle.   When you do cables that way, you kind of do the cabling backwards.  What I mean is, for a 2×2 left crossing cable, the directions would normally tell you to place 2 sts on cable needle, hold to FRONT, k2, k2 from cable needle — left crossing cable.  But instead I take the point of my right needle and go BEHIND the first 2 sts, so I can slip the next 2 onto the RH needle. The 1st 2 sts slide off the LH needle and then get put back back onto the left needle.  Even though I have been cabling sans needle for years, I think my reptilian brain still cables the old way!

I need to pay a lot more attention.

PS — Thanks for all of your nice comments about the new deck.  That is the good news.  The bad news is that we are going to need much bigger buns nicer (= expensive!!) deck furniture!!

October 10, 2010

From Susan — Deck the Halls

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 10:11 am

This post will have absolutely nothing to do with knitting.  BUT, it is similar to knitting in that it involves creativity that is a long time in the making!

In 2005, my hubby (John) decided that our deck was too small and so he was going to extend it slightly.  Once into the project, he realized that the original deck had completely gone to dry rot — the entire deck needed to be replaced!!  Rut roh!  He was very gung ho and got the main (flat) part of the deck done in no time (I’m being facetious).  John always does excellent work, but at a snail’s pace.   However, the deck railing was not to be.   Some progress shots:

Expansion Phase

The DH at Work

In 2007, fate stepped in and John suffered a significant health issue.  This prevented him from working on the deck for another 3 years…which brings us to 5 years without a usable deck.  Without railing, you felt like you were sitting in an empty parking lot!  This summer he decided to tackle the deck again in earnest.  There is still much to be done, but he is making great headway! 


Yay, John!!

October 7, 2010

From Susan — Like Watching Paint Dry!

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 8:56 pm

Both Sally and I are still laboring away on our respective Eala Bhans — and personally, I am loving it!  I love the feel of the wooly yarn on my fingertips and I love watching the design slowly emerge.  But progress is measured in tenths of inches.  I have spent two evenings trying to get one inch done.

I also have another project going — simpler for group knitting and in front of certain TV programs (Mad Men, I’m talkin’ about YOU).   I am using the gorgeous alpaca and silk yarn I bought while I was visiting Surly.  

The pattern is called Ophicleide (huh??  WTF??) .  I have no idea what it means, how to pronounce it, or what the heck it has to do with knitting!  I do like the beautiful stitchwork in the yoke and the fact that after the fun knitting on the yoke, it is plain stockinette.  There are two sleeve options, and I will be going for 3/4 length.  Here is my progress thus far:

So, quite a way to go.  It will be more of a spring sweater, so I am in no rush.   The yarn is absolutely butter soft and much prettier in person than you can tell here.  I only got through about half a row tonight at knitting group!!

Now that I am home, back to Eala Bhan!!!

PS: Kathy provides us with the definition of Ophicleide: a vintage brass horn:

I still have no idea what it has to do with knitting!

October 2, 2010

From Both of Us — Bhan, Eala Bhan

Filed under: Eala Bhan — Both Sisters @ 10:21 am

You know, like “Bond, James Bond.”  Oh, never mind… 🙂

We’ve both been working steadily on our Eala Bhan cardigans — the new sweater in Alice Starmore’s revised Aran Knitting.  Both of us are using the yarn called for: Hebridean 2-Ply (Susan in Lapwing and Surly in Clover).  We’re working steadily, but slowly.  This is a lovely, but slow knit.  It’s on tiny yarn with compressed stitch and row gauge (27 stitches and 40 rows over 4 inches) and much cabling.  Just to make sure we finish it as slowly as possible, we both decided to knit the body in one piece.   (Well, the real reason for that decision is our mutual dislike of reverse stockinette seams; the glacial progress is just an added plus.)

Here are some obligatory progress shots (and we use the term ‘progress’ loosely):

Susan’s Eala Bhan in Lapwing

Sally’s Eala Bhan in Clover (color not very true)

Should we start a pool on when we’ll finish?

PS — what is the meaning of Eala Bhan?  It is usually translated as White Swan, depending on who you ask.  The pronunciation is supposed to be something like: yella waan.  We call it “Eela Bahn” cuz we’re not Gaelic!

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