theraineysisters knitting and so much more

June 26, 2011

From Susan — Socks? Me?? Are you kidding???

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 11:36 am

Some loyal readers may have noticed over the years that we do not feature a lot of sock projects on our blog.  Sally and I do knit socks, but it is a rare occurrence and I personally have not knit a pair in years.  I prefer almost anything over socks.  I know there are knitters out there who love to knit socks, but they probably aren’t readers 😉 !!  I do L-O-V-E sock yarn, which is why I am such a fan of the cute shawlette.

So, to get me to pick up the sock banner, I have to be inspired.  The new Knitty just came out and there are three sock patterns that I liked: Chasing Snakes, Lingerie, and Double Heelix.  Double Heelix not only caught my eye because they are fun and cute, BUT were rated “Extra Spicy.”   Hmmm, a challenge!!  (I would link to Knitty, but the links did not work — ??). 

I loved the green and teal color combo so much I rushed to The Yarnery and cleaned them out of Malabrigo Sock Yarn in Solis (blue-green) and Lettuce (mono-tonal soft, acid green).  The colors are very nice together. 

The pattern calls for Judy’s Magic Cast On — a technique I recently learned in order to make Acanthus.  It is easy once you figure it out, but it was hard for me to figure out!  I did manage but…

The socks start with the Double Heelix heel.  It is the challenging part.  After the heel is done, it is pretty smooth sailing.  I am not yet done with Sock #1, but so far, so good.  They are a great fit!  Jeny Staiman gives you three sizes, but I needed a larger size.  I have a high arch, which means my diagonal foot measurement (as described in the pattern) was bigger than the largest size.  It was easy to make size adjustments by following the guidelines given for the other sizes.  Jeny does an unusual short row toe, but I just did my standard toe shaping.

The blue is actually the foot being started (I should have turned this the other way!)

Jeny also created a YouTube video that shows how to do the heelix, which is very helpful.  Thank goodness I am making these because now I have a portable project!!

PS: I received a comment from Jeny (the designer) asking me to include more details about my modifications to enlarge the sock.  I am happy to oblige!

To enlarge: I did 11 cycles and ended up with 36 sts.  Cast on 44 across arch for 80 sts. Decreased to 72 to complete the foot and the cuff.  When I get to the ribbing, I may increase back to 80 and go down to 2.25 mm dpns (they are the size I have!).

Ravelry Link to my Heelixified Socks

PS2: To our loyal readers who also knit socks — I was kidding that sock knitters would not read our blog!  Notice that there is a 😉 with that statement?  Sock knitters are everywhere.  But my point was, if you go to a blog looking for socks, you are going to be disappointed at The Rainey Sisters.  If you come looking for sweaters, lace, cables, beading, and general all around knitting-related gibberish, then you are in the right place.  And all are very welcome!! 🙂

June 21, 2011

From Susan — All Over Now

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 12:13 pm

I am back to work.  Back to not knitting all day.  Back to s-l-o-w progress on my WIPs.  So sad!  And yes, I do want cheese and crackers with my whine!

Work was okay, but I was so sore yesterday.  I collapsed into my little nest.  I cannot get up the energy to work on my boring Summer Solstice Cardigan, even on the day of its namesake.

For my four weeks off, I am four for four lace projects.  I finished the fourth on Sunday, on my very last official day off.  It is yet another stunning design by Romi Hill, called Fiori di Sole.  I knit it out of 100% Mulberry Silk Laceweight, hand dyed by Miss Babs in lovely tonal shades of raspberry, cranberry, and pink lemonade.  I added a smattering of beads, which were probably unnecessary except to add annoyance to the knitting process.  When it was finished, blocked and drying, I was amazed again at how wonderful knitting is: a fifth of a mile of silk thread becomes an elaborate, beautiful web.

Le sigh.  Back to the grind.

PS: I have not knit a single stitch since I started back to work!  I knew I would slow down, but did not expect to stop in my tracks!!

June 17, 2011

From Sally — Is It a Handkerchief or a Shawl? That is the question . . .

Filed under: Crown Prince Shawl — surly @ 3:24 pm

While Susan rips through project after project, I am very slowly knitting what I fear will turn out to be a handkerchief rather than a shawl.  My Crown Prince shawl seems tiny.  Tiny.  I know it is only half-finished.  I know it will have an additional border going all the way around.  I know it isn’t blocked and should stretch.  But, and this bears repeating, it’s tiny.

Off to do some more knitting. I’m sure my sister will have another finished project within the next day or so.

P.S. To be clear, I am only halfway through the main portion of the shawl (before the border). So it will definitely be larger than it is, but I am not convinced it will be the large square shawl I was envisioning when I started out.

June 15, 2011

From Sally — It’s That Time of Year Again

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 9:05 am

“The old believe everything; the middle aged suspect everything; the young know everything.” Oscar Wilde.

Today is my big sister’s birthday; she knows everything.  And I never lie!



Grandma McColgan & Susan

From Susan: Thanks to all for the birthday greetings!

June 13, 2011

From Susan — All Lace, All the Time

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 11:29 pm

As I mentioned previously, I wound thousands and thousands, millions and millions, of yards of yarn to keep me occupied during my recovery phase.  A lot of it was laceweight, but much of it was not.  But I have really been focusing my efforts on the lace. Plain stockinette is too boring when your lifestyle is super boring!!  Three lace FOs and one lace WIP later…

Sally and I happily jumped on The Sanguine Gryphon Gaia Lace band wagon when she revealed a huge new batch of her signature colors.  We surmised she was preparing for the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, where she had a booth (Sally said you couldn’t fight your way in!).  The color Lobstrosity (yes, a crazy name) is an intense blue-green that is absolutely STUNNING.  We bought a skein for each of us, lemmings that we are, running off the cliff in search of rare and beautiful yarns!

Both of us thought something in leaves.  Something knit side to side perhaps.  I thought, beads — just a touch.  Sally found a beautiful, vintage-looking pattern: Acanthus (available on Ravelry for $1.99 — perfect!).  I started out calling it, “I Can’t Knit This.”  The charts do not line up logically so you can’t tell where you are.  After a few repeats, you start to get the hang of it, so I ended up finishing it in a few days.

My finished Acanthus:

It is small.  The finished size just goes around the shoulders and is only 14-15 inches wide at the widest point.  But it is a lovely accent piece.

I am also working on a larger shawl in 100% silk: Mulberry Silk from Miss Babs, color Smooch (I would link to it, but I don’t think she makes it any more):

The shawl in question is again from Romi Hill, Fiori di Sole.  I knew I wanted to make this one and knew the pink was “the” yarn for it.  Others who have made it ended up with H-U-G-E shawls so I thought I would make mine a little smaller.  With my gauge, I am not going to be able to get away with that and will need to knit the 5th repeat of Chart E after all.  Darn!  I finished the 4th repeat and would have been able to move on.   Oh well, more knitting for me!  I start back to work next week so knitting all the live long day will soon be over. 🙁

PS: Stashdragon said, “The Acanthus shawl and Lobstrosity (!) yarn are a perfect pair.  Well played.”  I should have mentioned that Sangrine Gryphon Gaia Lace was the yarn used to make the prototype for Acanthus.

June 10, 2011

From Both of Us — Like Lemmings!

Filed under: Updates — Both Sisters @ 5:59 pm

We are so bad!  We were skyping and paging through the latest issue of Vogue, and S-H-O-P-P-I-N-G.  We kept seeing things we liked and then going on line to check them out.

Case in point: these lil cuties by Star Light Clay on page 11:

We couldn’t hit “add to cart” fast enough! 😉 They were sold in pairs (lucky for us) and we bought them in color jade.

Who knew thumbing through a magazine could be so expensive!!??

PS: “You do realize that by sharing these you are perpetuating the problem for the rest of us!”  Yes, we do — that’s the definition of enabling!!

June 7, 2011

From Susan — On Second Thought…

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 2:15 pm

As I mentioned, I finished a couple of smaller projects during the first couple of weeks of my convalescence (which is going along nicely). Fylleryd and Taygete. Taygete is another wonderful design by Romi Hill.  She is a shawl genius.  I loved knitting Taygete and L-O-V-E the yarn and colors that I used: Madeline Tosh Merino Light in Wood Violet and Magenta (420 0r 440? yds per 100 grams, 1 skein of each color).

Being a lazy sort, I decided to forego the tedious knitted picot bind off described in the pattern and opted to do my crocheted version instead.  This worked very well for me with the Braided Glory capelets and Holden Shawlette I recently finished.

Finished and blocked…wait, on second thought, no.  I decided that a) I liked the heavier, twisted, corded, scallopy look of the real bind off and b) the side edge of the lace panel really needed more sts/picots to give it the proper length (IMHO).  Without the additional sts it caused the edge to curve — and I prefer a pointier point.  So, I ripped it out and redid it.

The irony is, my knitting peeps loved it the way it was — three are making identical Taygetes!  But, I kept thinking about it and it bugged me.  And what do I have to do all day long anyway?

Wimpy Loops:

Curved Point:

Blocking Yet Again!!

Compare — old on left, new on right

The point is actually much pointier than it appears in the photo above. 

I love the edging — it really does have the ropey look I wanted.  I still wish I could capture the deep purple and periwinkle of the colorway, but alas, I cannot.  The above scan is probably the closest.  I am so happy with this shawl now, so I guess it was well worth the extra effort.

Two of my latest WIPs are also lace knitting.  What has gotten into me??

June 6, 2011

From Susan — Dear Nuppy

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 2:01 pm

Dear Nuppy,
Any advice for working nupps?  When I worked mine, the yarn broke in a few places.


Dear Karin,
That sounds absolutely horrifying!  There is advice for knitting nupps from many reliable sources.  Here are a couple of suggestions.

A nupp is made by making multiple sts in one st (k1, YO, k1, YO, k1 = 5 st nupp; rep YO, k1 for 7 st nupp) and then purling the 5 (7) sts tog on the wrong side.  Most people recommend doing the “Yo, k1’s” loosely so they are easier to purl on the next row.  It is  also helpful to use sharp-tipped needles such as Addi Lace needles. 

Another trick — ex. is for 7-st nupp — is to slip the 1st 3 or 4 sts of the nupp as to purl, purl the rem nupp sts, and then pass the slipped sts over.  I did this a lot on my Fylleryd…it allows you to count each st and make sure you have caught all the nupp loops AND not the st or YO before or after the nupp (a common problem). 

It may also help to be a “thrower” if purling is a more difficult technique for you based on your knitting method…though this would involve too big a switch for most!! 

If your yarn is breaking, it may mean that the loops are too tight and you are attempting to push the knitting needle through all the loops at once.  Try loosening your k1, YO’s AND the slip st/passover technique.  Hope these tips are useful.  

Happy nupping!

Dear Nuppy

Donna D recommends using a crochet hook and it looks really easy!

June 5, 2011

From Susan — Human Again

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 12:42 pm

I just took my first shower in ~2 weeks (stitches came out on Friday).  Man, did that feel good!!  Our upstairs shower broke 4 years ago — I told hubby he had to get it fixed by May 22…and that is the day it got done!

June 2, 2011

From Both of Us — Nuppified

Filed under: Crown Prince Shawl,Updates — Both Sisters @ 1:01 pm

Nuppified (rhymes with stupified): to be overcome by the desire to knit nupps; the act of knitting nupps; an incurable form of insanity

We have both been nuppified.  We are either in the process of or shortly finished with nupp-filled projects.

From Susan
In my convalescence, I have been focusing on smaller projects and have finished two of them.  I will share the second one first!  I stumbled upon a really lovely pattern on Ravelry (another freebie no less!) and thought it would be perfect for the gorgeous yarn given to me by sister, Sally, as a nice little present: Spirit Trail Fiberworks’ Atropos — 100% Bombyx Silk Laceweight, 550 yds/50 gm, Color “Dance the Orange.”  A stunning semi-solid orange that looks like the brightest color that copper can be.  This was one of Sally’s treasures from Maryland Sheep and Wool — she snagged a skein for each of us.

The yardage was enough for something smallish.  The pattern I chose was Fylleryd by Mia Rinde.  It has the advantage of being adjustable to any size, plus I liked that it had nupps.

I can’t get great photos and I should not have blocked it (too much time off the couch!).  I worked four repeats of the petit pattern and two of the blueberry — the third set of nupps is in the final chart.  All of 3 grms of yarn remained — whew!  I was sweating those last few rows!

From Sally
I’ve always had a special interest in Estonia because one of my close childhood friends was of Estonian descent.  Every Saturday, she and her sister  attended Estonian school to learn the language and culture.  Anne taught me several words in Estonian, which I still remember all these years later:  ema (mother), isa (father), and nupp (pain in the ass button).  I was casting around (knitting pun, please groan in unison) for something to knit out of the Atropos I had bought for myself.  Susan suggested the Crown Prince Shawl from Knitted Lace of Estonia by Nancy Bush. I had somehow missed this book when it first came out, but I bought it immediately and started knitting. Here is a photo of the shawl from the book.

Now, nupps have the reputation of being a bit of a pain in the button. They’re not difficult, but they can be fiddly; it is easy to miss a nupp loop when you are purling them together and it is also easy to accidentally catch the next stitch while reducing the nupp loops. But they are a hallmark of Estonian knitting and the effect can be lovely as the Crown Prince shawl shows.

Here is a photograph of the yarn I am using: Atropos in the shade Dragon’s Blood. (I just couldn’t resist the color even though I have so much red lace weight yarn in my stash.) The coppery orange skein tossed in is the same color Susan used for her Fylleryd.

From Susan: Sally’s picture captures the orange beautifully

And here is a photo of my Crown Prince in progress. It’s pretty tiny so far. I think I have more of a Baron or Duke than a Prince right now.

So you can see we are well into our nupps and demonstrating lots of sisterly cross pollination of knitting projects!

Stash Reduction Sale!!!

Susan’s Thursdays at 4 Knitting Group is hosting a stash busting sale this Saturday from 9a-4p.  All items are a third to half off and there are some fantastic yarns from which to choose!  If you are interested in the details, leave a comment requesting information and Susan will email you with the information.

PS: Yes, nuppification is very contagious!

PS2: Patricia mentioned two fabulous shawl patterns: the ever popular Swallowtail by Evelyn Clark and the Percy Shawl by Sanna Kalkman.  We have both made the Swallowtail and the Percy is stunning — must be added to queue!

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