theraineysisters knitting and so much more

July 27, 2012

From Susan — Sincerest Form of Flattery…

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 7:09 pm

…imitation!!

Sally just shared her beautiful Vitamin D so I thought I would also share mine.  “Imitation” is defined loosely: we used the same pattern – Vitamin D by Heidi Kirrmaier – and the same type of yarn – Madelinetosh Merino Light – but the results are very different.

My “D” is striped and long and has long sleeves.  Some of you may recall that I bought some MadTosh at Yarnover:

The colors are Worn Denim and Grove.  I loved the Worn Denim and tried to find 4 skeins so I could knit a Vitamin D – alas, they only had three so I opted for the skeins shown, thinking I might make a 2-color shawl or something.

I found more Worn Denim on Webs, so I ordered 4 and asked them to match them as closely as possible.  The color was NOTHING like the Worn Denim I already had — nothing.  It was much lighter, more variegated and had beige and green tones in it.  I loved it, but it was not the dark denim I expected.  Three of the skeins matched really well and the 4th was too light and much more beige.

I knew I needed at least 4 skeins to make it the way I wanted.  I first tried alternating the lighter skein with one of the “medium” skeins.  It looked very striped.  So.  I decided to start knitting with the three matching medium skeins and hope for inspiration.

Stripes kind of stuck with me, but I did not want it to look unplanned — or like I had run out of yarn and threw in stripes out of desperation (we’ve all been there)!  I decided the darkest skein would look nice striped with the lighter shade.  But the green made it all “pop,” so I ultimately used all of the variations.

The top strip in the picture is actually the body color — the ‘medium’ Worn Denim shade.  Then comes Grove (the green stripe).  Next is the dark Worn Denim — I then used the lightest skein (the oddball) so that the contrast would be the greatest.

I also opted to twist my yarnover increases in the bottom section because I thought there would be way too much going on with the holes every which way in the striping.  I haven’t truly blocked it yet either, but I may not bother.  A light steaming is all I did and that may be enough.

All told I used 4.5 skeins = 1890 yards!  A lot of knitting.  But really worth it.  This one I will wear all the time!!

Grade
Pattern: A+
Yarn: has to be reduced for aggravation!! B+
Fit: A+
Utility: A+

Overall: A+

Addendum — I am watching the Big O-Games opening program and enjoying it immensely…great knitting backdrop!

July 24, 2012

From Sally — Take Your Vitamins

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 4:29 pm

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted. I’ve been working on my daughter’s wedding invitations — a labor of love (in more ways than one). But it has taken up much of my attention.

I realized this morning, though, that I had never shown what I knit with my Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in the Midnight Pass colorway. You may recall that is the same yarn and color that Susan used to knit her beautiful Daydreams in Lace. I made a smaller, simpler project: Vitamin D, designed by Heidi Kirrmaier.

As Susan said, Midnight Pass is a difficult color to photograph; the color is very intense but seems to fade in front of the camera. Vitamin D is one of those sweaters that looks better on a body than on a mannequin. (It needs arms.) My daughter tried it on when she was here visiting, and it looked so fabulous on her (especially over her aqua tank dress) that I tried to make her take it home. Sadly, I didn’t think to take any pictures, so you are stuck looking at my Vitamin D on Lucy.

It looks cuter on. I promise! Meanwhile, I am within a few rows of finishing the body of my Whiteness of the Whale cardigan, so I will share photos of that in a few days. I also just bought some yarn to make my own Daydreams in Lace. Inspired by Susan, I decided to go for a bold color instead of the gray I had been contemplating. My choice: Dye for Yarn’s fingering weight (75% merino superwash, 25% silk; 400 meters to 100 grams) in Love Is Poison. The visit to their Etsy shop is worth it for the color names alone.

PS from Susan — Penny asked about MY Vitamin D — it will be revealed shortly!!

July 16, 2012

From Susan — Back from Camp

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 11:34 pm

I’m ba-a-a-a-a-a-ck!!  And not sure how or where to begin.  It seemed like a very different experience to me this year.  An emotional roller coaster.  Of course, there was the sheer bliss of reacquainting oneself with friends made last year, and the unbridled joy of being immersed in HOURS of knitting every day.  But there was also a somber mood that hung over this year’s Camp for several reasons.

Last year we lost Joyce Williams and her presence was felt at every turn.

Joyce

The contest this year was “Knitting under the Influence” and it evoked many touching stories (many about Joyce) and the important people who shaped our [knitting] lives, as did the annual “show-and-tell.”

R. moved us with a story about how much she misses her homeland.  S. is a very talented local knitter whose work is exquisite.   I was geared up to see her beautiful work, but instead she told us that health issues had intervened and she lost her knitting mojo.  Completely.  And so it went.

But it was not all sad!!

G. told about his father’s farm and how he is knitting socks for his dad with handspun yarn from the descendants of his own favorite ram (he even had a picture of himself as a child riding on its back!). The winning contest entry was the cutest vest ever — a portrait of Elvis in shadow knitting. WOW — and quite subtle 😉 .

The knitting was truly inspirational and we laughed ourselves silly over dinners and late night knitting.  We forged some lasting friendships and bonded like sisters!  I am already looking forward to Camp next year.

I bought a very tiny amount of yarn (really!) from Jeannette and George of Sun Valley Fibers, which will reveal itself in due time.  And an FO will be revealed this week that I absolutely love.

Kim and I also discovered these — Brigid was wearing them.  Dansko patent leather clogs in a style called Funky Knit.  We both bought a pair on our way home — could not drive to Schuler Shoes fast enough!!  All knitters must own these…

A Final Thought
While at Camp, Kim and I found out that a dear friend from our knitting group, MM, lost her husband quite suddenly while travelling.  We are heartsick and in shock for M. and her family.  M. is one of my favorite people — she loves and supports me in all ways and I am so sad.  M. is one of the pillars of our group and was there from the beginning.  This news weighed heavily on Kim and me, and I really appreciated the comfort that being with the other Campers provided.

M. you are in my thoughts!!

July 11, 2012

From Susan — I’m Off to Camp

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 7:29 pm

Tomorrow morning I will embark with friend Kim on our second annual Meg Swansen’s Knitting Camp – yay!!

It is such a fun trip — Kim is a great travelling companion!  It is all knitting, all the time (except when we’re eating!).  What could be better?  More to report later…

July 6, 2012

From Sally — Beached Whale

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 1:20 pm

First, the good news: I have my power back, and we really didn’t suffer as much as some of our neighbors. It is still very hot here in our nation’s capital — it may get up to 105 tomorrow — so I truly feel for those whose electricity is still out. It was a freak storm. Dead calm, and then winds up to 60 or more mph followed by the most incredible lightning I’ve ever seen. But enough of that.

You may remember that in June I got excited about knitting The Whiteness of the Whale, a design by Ann Weaver. My plan was to knit it out of the new linen yarn from Shibui Knits. As I noted in a prior post, the yarn is (in their words) “fine linen strands in a chain ply structure.”

I started knitting. It was a bit tricky because I wanted to convert the pattern into a contiguous pattern (knit from the top down with set-in sleeves knit simultaneously). In other words, I had to think. I started it once, made some calculations, re-started. Yes! It was working! I knit merrily along. And then disaster. Instead of yarn, I had thread.

This went on for several yards. It destroyed my confidence in the yarn, and so with heavy heart it was back to the drawing board. Le sigh.

My new yarn is Astral Bath’s Vesper (70 % Bluefaced Leicester/20 % Silk/10 % Cashmere; 440 yards per 100 grams) in the color Circe, which is a sharp, acid green. (Side note: I was already well underway with my new Whale when Susan finished her Daydreams in Lace. It looks so nice in a bold color that I sort of wished I had saved this yarn for that project. But too late; I didn’t want to start over. Again.)

I am just about down to the waist. The conversion to contiguous worked well. I love the color, although I have never had as much rowing as I am having with this project. Is it me or the yarn? No idea. I do hope it blocks out.

The color in those photos is fairly true, although I think the yarn may have a bit more of a yellow cast to it. It’s very soft, and despite being a hand dye, the skeins are indistinguishable.

So far so good.

July 1, 2012

From Susan — Daydreaming

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 5:06 pm

Sally was planning on writing a post, but got waylaid from having no power and being surrounded by chaos!  She is in the heart of the storm that struck the east coast this weekend.  They are struggling with record heat and no wi fi!!  Ouch!

So blogging is left to me.  I did just finish a project.  One that I have been working on for months.  Partly because of the scale of the project and partly because of yarn “issues.”  Yes.  Handpaints.  The yarns we love to buy and then love to hate.  My Daydreams in Lace is knit out of my “crack du jour” Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in color Midnight Pass — a color that truly eludes capture.

Here is my finished Daydreams.  An amazing feat because it actually fits.  You know how much I hate being photographed, but here I am – bad hair day and all – to prove that it is possible to knit something that fits.  I was worried because it is an unusual garment.  But because it was knit from the top down, I did feel pretty confidant all the way along.  The pattern calls for laceweight and Tosh is heavier, but I did see that some other knitters had used this yarn and their projects were gorgeous, so I forged ahead.

My Mods:
First, I cast on provisionally.  I knew I did not like the 1×1 ribbed neckline, but did not know what I would end up doing.  I finally decided on a 3-row reverse stockinette roll (4 rows with bind off) — after adding about 4 sts per repeat to keep the opening size large enough.

Next, I increased my needle size as I worked the body of the garment: from a US 4 at the yoke, to a 5 and then to a 6 to give it an A-line shape.  On the sleeves I reversed the sizing, going from the Size 4 to a 3 then a 2.

I added the bottom border from the Percy Shawl (free pattern!) after seeing Catherine’s project on Ravelry.  The sleeves were finished in a modified feather and fan of my own devising.

About the yarn: a stunning color, to be sure.  EVERYONE who sees it says, “Wow!  I love that color!”  And it is true.  But as we know, there is variation among these handpainted skeins.  The first three skeins were dead on…very little variation.  I finished the entire body with those three skeins.  Then on to the sleeves.

As I started knitting, I could tell the color was very pale and washed out.  Bummer.  So, I started knitting with my 5th skein to see what would happen: very noticeable line.  As luck would have it, Sally was arriving for Yarnover, so she brought the remaining yarn she had from a project yet to be named :) .  I made her buy it because the color was so beautiful!  The color in her skein seemed much more tonally varied: the dark was darker, the light lighter.  I contacted A Good Yarn in Sarasota to see if they had any more, thinking I could buy a few skeins and see which one matched the best.  They had a new batch (? would it even remotely match the old?) but only give store credit for returns.  Hmmm.  Bummer.  So, I used Sally’s partial skein to transition from the body to the sleeves and then finished the sleeves with my darker skein.  Overall, I think it is hard to see the difference.

So, monkeying around with the different skeins slowed me down a bit.  Plus, I think I did too much knitting.  It is hard to tell how much additional length you’ll get from blocking lace.  I did a LOT more knitting than called for in the pattern (I am the big one after all), but maybe too much.

Grade for Daydreams in Lace = A+
Pattern: A+ (and free besides!) — apparently there is errata but maybe not for my size
Yarn: A (it would get an A+ except for the trials described above!)
Buttons: A+ — Irridescent blue glass – stunning
Fit: A- (I am never 100% sold on how things look on me!!)

I may knit this again in a very different color, and make it shorter — more like a regular sweater length.  I really enjoyed making this.  If you have any interest in it, I say, go for it!!

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