theraineysisters knitting and so much more

August 25, 2017

From Susan — Little Darcy Goes to the Fair

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 11:07 am

Oh, that Little Darcy — what a jetsetter!!  He seems to pop up everywhere!!

Little Darcy on display at the Minnesota State Fair!!  I entered Darcy in the “doll” category: Lot 724 — Doll, portrait, single or pair, face & costume representing an individual, living or dead (recognizable or accompanied by a photo of individual).  OMG!  They also have a fictional character category, but I wanted to include a picture!  So it is Colin Firth playing Darcy.  H I L A R I O U S.  When I took him in, I could not stop laughing and seeing him in the case made my life!  Plus, he won a second place ribbon.  Wowie!  If you are looking for Little Darcy, he is located in the main sewing case about halfway down – on the bottom ledge.

Okay.  Let’s talk about the fair.  The weather was spectacular, so the opening day crowds were HUGE.  I didn’t eat as much as usual, but pigged out later at Panera’s! 😉  I did manage to eat fried cheese curds and Big, Fat Bacon!!!

Creative Activities
Friend Kim blew away all the competition and earned her second sweepstakes in a row:

Kim’s Kauni EQ Damask Afghan

Kim used Kauni EQ yarn and the Damask pattern.  The two are a perfect marriage!  She used A. Starm0re’s checkerboard border, building the yarn herself to get long enough color changes to go all the way around the afghan.  An incredible amount of work!!  The exciting part was that her afghan was displayed right IN the main entrance in a glass case — you had to look at it or you would walk right into it!!  Her afghan is truly a showstopper.

Straight back and to the right was my latest (last?) Niebling:

Gloxiniaeflora by Herbert Niebling

This is the second time I have knit this particular Niebling.  The first was in 2012.  It is a dog to knit, so don’t expect a third!!

Funky Grandpa and my Circlet Shrug both got blue ribbons.  Could not get a good picture of Circlet!

Funky Grandpa

My biggest thrill was that my Plaid Squared Bag got a blue ribbon and a special award from Lila and Claudine’s!  It is my own design so it has a special place in my heart.

Plaid Squared, designed by Susan Rainey

Osmanthus got a second place ribbon, which I was thrilled about.  Shawls are usually a pretty competitive lot:

Osmanthus Shawl

I entered a bunch of hats and won two ribbons — Lolo by Brooklyn Tweed (in Carol Sunday 5-ply yarn) took 3rd, and the Dala Hat I made John last winter got 5th place:

Lolo Hat by Jared Flood – not a picture from the fair!

Dala Hat

This year I qualified as a senior ::groan::, so I entered a sweater that would have been in the same category as Funky Grandpa (plain cardigan).  You can only enter one item per category.  Fading Lines took a blue ribbon and the senior sweepstakes:

Good friend Bonnie won the Penelope Knitter’s Award for her Twisted Stitches gloves.

Bonnie Esplie’s Twisted Stitches Gloves

Bonnie won a lot of ribbons this year, as did another knitting friend, Kris King.  Her name is on almost every item displayed in the “blue ribbon” case!!

And we cannot forget Pronto, the Minnesota Knitter’s Guild Yarn Bombed Stallion, on the ramp leading to the Grandstand!!  I got to help sew him together, but others did much more work that can be believed!!  Kathy Lewinski knocked it out of the park!

PS to Pru: Thank you for the nice comments, and as much as I would love to take credit for inventing invisible stranding, I only came up with the name, a hat pattern, and a few twists and techniques!!

September 26, 2016

From Both of Us — Little Darcy Goes to Washington

Filed under: Updates — Both Sisters @ 5:57 pm

When asked about the purpose of Susan’s trip to DC – Sally responded with a somewhat noncommittal reply.  Now you will get the full scoop!  (The working title of this post was “I plead the Firth!” but some of us did not agree … 😉 ).

Of course there was the usual knitting, shopping and eating! 😉  But the main purpose had to do with the timing.  THE SHIRT was to be on display at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC.  We saw the refurbished Capitol gleaming in the sun as we headed to the Folger – absolutely breathtaking.

The Folger exhibition is titled Will & Jane: Shakespeare, Austen, and the Cult of Celebrity and runs into November.  Yes.  They brought in the actual shirt:

THE SHIRT was magnificent:

Incredible details and amazing tailoring.  Little Darcy LOVED it!!

My shirt!!

It looked like they had taken the shirt right off him, and let it dry as is.  Wow.  😉  Wow.

They had a beautiful exhibit of personal items of Jane Austen’s (including her famous ring and hand written notes), as well as memorabilia from the film:

Jane Bennett’s Wedding Bonnet

The trip was also timely because Bridget Jones’s Baby is now showing.  We re-watched the first two BJD films in preparation before heading to the theater.

Little Darcy, Susan, and Sally loved it!!  Six thumbs up!  Thank goodness the script made Bridget smarter and more likeable than she was in the second film.  Of course, time has taken its toll on all the characters.  Colin Firth said in an interview on Live with Kelly! that in the next BJD movie he would rip the tubes out of his arms, jump off his bath chair, and chase Bridget down using a walker!

Little Darcy also just had to re-watch his favorite BBC miniseries:

Oh, Mr. Darcy indeed!!

Little Darcy had all sorts of fun over the weekend:

Dining Out, Eating Caper Berries

He has long had a fondness for Caper Berry Gravy, aka green gunge (“Just stir it, Una!!”):

Little Darcy enjoyed a movie on AmazonPrime:

Tom Hanks looks perturbed with Little Darcy and P&P in general!

He also enjoyed watching the Vikings beat the Carolina Panthers (“Go, Vikes!!”):

And helping Sally with her latest knitting project:

All in all a very satisfying weekend.  Our yarn purchases (not that many 😉 ) will be revealed in time!!

Little Darcy says goodbye to our lovely capital:

PS — Can’t believe we forgot to mention running into Mary Lou Egan, a colleague of Susan’s from The Yarnery!!  It was such a wonderful surprise!!  She (along with co-authors Gale Zucker and Kristen Kapur) were at Fibre Space promoting their new book, Drop-Dead Easy Knits.  They had the entire trunk show on display and were doing workshops.  So great to see Mary Lou!!  Susan is a long time admirer.

PS2 from Susan to Nadine:  Little Darcy cuter than Mr. Darcy??!!  It is a sacrilege!  Or a compliment…don’t know which.  I am conflicted!! 😉

July 21, 2017

From Susan — Moo?

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 5:16 pm

Hi, all!  Back from Camp, exhausted and still reeling from all that I saw and learned!  The show and tell projects were beautiful.  It is amazing to be in the same room for 3 full days with such talented people.  Meg [Swansen] is ever the perfect hostess: welcoming, warm, and hangs on every word like they are gold.  She makes everyone feel relevant, talented, and smart.  Amy [Detjen] is hilarious: she makes everyone feel loud, inappropriate, and unruly.  In a good way!!  It is a great combination!

Little Darcy had a great time and is shown here with his new hairdo standing next to my meager purchases:

The bag.  Oh yes, the darling bag with the sheep that thinks it’s a cow (or vice versa!).  Those adorable (yet slightly disturbing) spotted lips…I bought the bag and the rusty orange yarn from Jeanette and George of Sun Valley Fibers.  They go to Yarnover as well as Knitting Camp.  I fell in love with the spotted little face of Sunshine.  You can see Latte to Sunshine’s left.  Susie is hiding in this picture.  They are all sheep belonging to Jeanette and George!! 🙂

The gradient is from KnitCircus: Trampoline, color Mischief Managed (100% merino, 440 yds/100 gms).  The color spoke to me, what can I say!!??!!

We stay at the Holiday Inn Conference Center in Marshfield, WI.  They treated us really well this year, including a lovely welcome reception!

But the highlight of the weekend for me was Culver’s on Sunday night.  They had a promotion going where Turtle Sundaes were $1!!!!  ONE BUCKEROO!!!  I substituted SALTED CARAMEL on mine.  OMG!!!  I mean, seriously, it was the best thing that happened to me all weekend!

This year’s contest theme was “At the Museum.”  I went very “literal,” unlike many other campers (I have no imagination!).  I took a beaded amulet that I had made and photoshopped it onto a picture of Nefertiti.  I then went on and on about Nefertiti and how I had recreated an exact replica of the amulet necklace she wore in her iconic statue, blah-blah-blah, right down to the pressed glass ornamentation.  Friend Kim jumped up with her laptop and called bullsh!t, and said there wasn’t a necklace on the original statue – that she had proof on her laptop!  (All preplanned.)  Amy Detjen said she did notice that my picture seemed to be photoshopped, to which I objected to Kim’s FAKE NEWS!!

I came in 5th overall and won a FABULOUS prize – Knit Picks Interchangeable Needle Set:

There were scads of gorgeous and creative entries, but Jane’s Sudoku Blanket blew me away!

Already excited for next year!!

PS to pt: Here are the only other pictures I took – they are not the full representation or the best photos!!

PS to Pru: the fair isle cardigan is Holly’s own design, though I believe she based the motifs on something she found already published.  The colorway and sweater design is her own.


July 13, 2017

From Susan — Ready, Set, Go!!

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 12:06 pm

Ah, today I am getting ready to leave for Meg Swansen’s Knitting Camp with friend, Kim.  Sally cannot go this year.  But Little Darcy is coming with us!  He has to get ready, too:

Little Darcy‘s hair needed a reset after I sprayed him down at Camp last year!!

January 1, 2017

From Both of Us — Happy New Year and Happy New Venture

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 10:06 am

We’d like to announce an exciting new adventure for The Rainey Sisters and (we hope) for our readers.  For the new year, we are launching our own group on Ravelry:   The Rainey Sisters.

No, we’re not abandoning the blog!  However, blogging can be a bit one-sided and we don’t always post as frequently as we could or should.  We hope our new Ravelry group will be a place for more casual conversation and dialogue.  We want you to ask questions, post about your own projects, discuss patterns and yarns, and share tips and techniques.

We frequently hold off posting here until a project is finished — in our group, we’ll post more informal updates about what we’re working on.  We see the group as our home away from home and we’d like to invite you to come on in to knit and chat together.

To celebrate the launch, we are having a special give-away!!  All members of our new Ravelry group will be eligible to win – except for Susan and Sally 🙁

The prize is a wonderful book called Drop-Dead Easy Knits.  Susan received a copy to peruse prior to our giveaway (you may recall that we ran into the authors when Little Darcy Went to Washington!).  The book is W O N D E R F U L – 29 fabulous designs.  Drop-Dead Easy does NOT mean boring or plain.  Here is a stunning shawl:

Abide by Kirsten Kapur

Want simple, quick and stylish”??  try this cowl made with two skeins of Malabrigo Rasta:

Portillo Cowl by Gale Zucker

Who doesn’t adore a cute toy?

Bear in a Bunny Suit by Susan B. Anderson

And simple can mean elegant, classy and gorgeous!

Keynote Pullover by Mary Lou Egan

All you need to do to enter is scoot on over to Ravelry and join our group.  The winner will be announced on January 15, 2017.

PS (January 2) — We are thrilled with the response from our readers!  Over 275 members so far!!  You rock!!!

October 30, 2016

From Susan — Mes Amis

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 12:19 pm

I am sitting here freezing.  The cold part of fall has crept in!

Ahhhhhhhhhhh.  Mes Amis.  My Amigurumis!!  I decided to embark on crocheting some small little friends for my knit- and crochet-worthy daughter.  Let’s be frank here.  I do not consider myself a crocheter!!  But I soldiered on.

For my first attempt, I chose Molang, the Fat Rabbit, because Laura has a picture of Molang on her phone:

It turned out pretty cute!

She loved it!  So much so that she decided that she wanted to learn how to crochet 🙂 to make her own amigurumi 🙂 .  Okay, let’s give it a go!

We went to a crochet class and brought little Molang with us.  My first red flag was when the teacher said, “Gee, I wish I could make those!”  Huh??  It was still a fun class, but I must say that it is a long journey from bulky crocheted blob to making tiny little toys. 🙁

My next foray was a much bigger challenge and maybe a bit over my head: The Chinese New Year Monkey.  These can turn out quite large so I opted for fingering weight yarn.

A lot of weird finishing and putsing but I think he turned out pretty cute, too.  Laura will see him tonight for the first time.

I learned a lot making these, but I’m not sure I want to part with Mes Amis!!  You know I love my toys!!

Even Little Darcy hates to say goodbye!

Weird image…very weird!

Sally actually revisited The SHIRT this weekend while attending Sense and Sensibility at the Folger.  The SHIRT still looked great and was attracting an enthusiastic crowd!

PS: Baby Monkey needed a pacifier!

October 6, 2016

From Susan — Wander Back

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 2:26 pm

Hi, all!  Fall is here and I am loving it!  Minnesota has been showcased to the nation and beyond recently with the Ryder Cup and other major sporting events.  The weather has been stunning and everything is a lush green, with just a hint of fall colors emerging.  Here I captured a double rainbow from our front window:

As promised, I am revisiting some of my State Fair entries that I had not posted prior to the fair.

The Ridge Hat captured my attention because of its elaborate cabling…and the fact that it is knit in worsted weight (which I hoped meant a quick knit).

I knit it out of mystery yarn – probably Madtosh DK (KW – do you recognize it?).  I love how the cables completely change up as you near the crown.  It received a 3rd place ribbon which was very nice!

The second thing I want to share is my Strandwanderer Shawl.  Some of you may remember a prior attempt.  I have bought lots of yarn in the past in order to make this intriguing shawl.  The color changes have to be of a specific type and spacing for it to work.

I found Yarn Love Mr. Darcy in the Rainbow River Rock colorway last April at Yarnover.  My “yarn whisperer” Kim thought it would work.  I bought two skeins so it would not be skimpy.  Later I looked at the receipt and realized I had spent $78!!  Ouch!!

The shawl was part of my Camp contest entry – I started my presentation talking about the shawl (Mr. Darcy yarn)…blah, blah, blah!  Then I threw the shawl aside and showed Little Darcy instead.  Though I threw the shawl aside as if it was nothing, that is not the way I feel about it — I LOVE this shawl!

It was kind of tedious to knit but I adore it.  The yarn is gorgeous and it worked perfectly to create the small, repeating boxes that represent the unique feature of this pattern.  The boxes are created by binding off most of the sts across the shawl using 3 garter sts.  This creates regular color repeats.  The boxes alternate with rows of garter, where the pooling changes as the scarf widens.  Brilliant!  I knit this right down to the last 3 grams of yarn.

That’s it for now!

July 21, 2016

From Sally — Shopping Camp, I Mean Knitting Camp

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 11:33 am

Here is my Camp recap:  I bought a lot of yarn.  The end.

Unlike Susan, I didn’t participate in the camp knitting contest.  How could I compete with Mr. Darcy, not to mention the fabulous Girl with the Pearl Earring shadow panel?  (I’ve always wanted to knit one of those pieces of shadow art; I own several of the patterns but haven’t made the commitment yet.)  Instead, I chose to contribute to the economy.

It started at The Yarnery, where I dropped a ton of money on some Shibui Linen and Twig.  (Not pictured below.  That will come in a later post.)  I hadn’t even made it to camp.  Or Wisconsin.  Oops.

My one non-shopping activity at Knitting Camp was participating in Show & Tell.  The only problem was I had nothing to show when I got there.  I felt as if much of my knitting in the past year has been pretty boring and since I only brought two suitcases (not a light traveler) how much knitting could I be expected to have on hand?  I stayed up until 2 or 3 in the morning the day of Show & Tell finishing a shawl.  The quickie block I attempted hasn’t held up well.  Here’s a little preview.  I’ll post more photos once I’ve had time to reblock it.  The name of the pattern is Paradise Apples by Alla Borisova.  The yarn is Dye for Yarn’s merino silk fingering in the color Love Is Poison.  The color is more intense than it looks here.

On to the shopping!  Like Susan, I bought the yarn to make Helsinki by Janine Bajus (although I’m using a different background color).  Then I went wild at Sun Valley:  four skeins of Dust in the Wind (gray), 2 skeins of Coral, and one skein each of Antler (white) and Twilight (blue).  Their Painted Desert gradient kit called to me.  Twice.  (Hey, I didn’t know what I wanted to make out of it and I just hate worrying about having enough yarn.)  Finally, I picked up some beautiful silk lace weight from Lost City Knits in the color Silver Bells.  Whew.  That’s a lot of knitting in my future!


July 15, 2016

From Susan — Camp in Review

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 11:51 am

Sally, Kim, and I came back from Meg Swansen’s Knitting Camp 2.75 on Monday.  I can’t speak for them, but upon returning from Camp I felt completely unplugged!  Dragged about for days.

Camp was great.  I loved seeing my favorite Campers (P, L, H, J, L, B, D, S, etc…you know who you are!!) and listening to Meg wax poetic about knitting.  Amy Detjen was particularly delightful this year. 🙂

I went a little bonkers with my shopping:

The Complete Surprise by Cully Swansen (Meg’s son) takes EZ’s Baby Surprise Jacket to a whole new level.  As one of the few knitters who has never made a BSJ, I hope to do so with the inspiration of this book!  Cully described some details about the book and is presenting in other venues as well.

1 – an array of beauties from Sun Valley Fibers (from left to right: Calligraphy, Coral, Wedgewood, Maverick, Antler, and Cobblestone) in a variety of fibers – I just picked pretty colors!!

2 – sweater quantity in Jamieson Spindrift to make Helsinki by Janine Bajus, a fellow Camper.

Speaking of fellow Campers, we were honored to attend Camp with the extremely talented and prolific designer, Carol Sunday of Sunday Knits.  She was so unassuming and understated she really kept her light under a bushel!!  She had a shawl with her that will be coming out very soon.  I quickly ordered the yarn (her Angelic 5-ply in Moth) and will be starting it ASAP.  S T U N N I N G!!  She had several beautiful designs on her needles so we have much to look forward to!

One of the highlights of Camp is the annual contest.  This year’s theme was “Kniterature: Favorite Book or Movie Character.”  Kim and I both entered.  Kim’s entry was hilarious — she knit a sheep and placed duct tape over its mouth…”Do you hear anything?  Do you hear anything?”  Silence of the Lambs!

The winner was Jane, with a stunning shadow knit of Girl with a Pearl Earring:

Second place was Mary, with a full tilt rendition of The Cat in the Hat:

She goes all out!!  My entry took third.  Those who know me accept the fact that I have a full-blown yet well-founded obsession with Colin Firth, especially in his signature role of Fitzwilliam Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, BBC version, 1995:

The above collage was part of my presentation.  In addition, I made a knitted replica of Darcy, with a little handmade shirt:

He is about ten inches tall – the exact size as Darcy in the poster!  The final touch was that I sprayed his shirt with water — because it is all about the wet shirt!!  😉

The look of horror on the faces of my husband and daughter during the creative process gave me pause, but that did not stop me!!  🙂  John is a little worried about the increased competition in the house!

Sally will share her Camp experiences soon.  She bought a ton of yarn and has some beautiful FOs to share.

PS to Pam — About the hair:  The hair was a lot of work!  In the pattern you start at the top of the head with the hair color and then switch to the face color – it looks like a skull cap.  After you finish the body, you go back and duplicate stitch the part in the hair and all the hair on the back and sides.  By then it looked like the middle picture.  To get the “Firth-Darcy” curls, I soaked yarn in starch and then wrapped it around large knitting needles until dry.  I layered kinked yarn over the entire head and then layered loose curls in the front and along the hair line at the nape.  The picture on the right shows the hair at its best.  It started to droop over time and after I sprayed him a couple of times with water!!


July 27, 2007

From Susan — Kwik Kauni Update

Filed under: Susan's Kauni Cardigan — lv2knit @ 10:00 am

I went to Pat’s last evening for knit night and had a great time: we shopped, we ate, we laughed — but not much knitting.  Oh well!

My good friend Kim (the friend who gave me “Lettie,” my alter ego) brought her Kauni Cardigan in progress.  She pulled it out of the bag and everyone gasped and started to say, “It’s so much prettier than Susan’s!!” but stopped short and said, “It’s so ::mumble::mumble:: nice -er- different than -er- Susan’s.”  But, I was thinking the SAME THING — it IS much prettier than mine!!

Kim’s is much richer, earthier and darker looking.  It looks like completely different yarn.  I was shocked.  We compared our balls of yarn AND THE COLORS ARE IDENTICAL!!  What gives?  She has her colors paired up differently and it makes the colors look completely different.  I am stunned, shocked, etc.  She has only knitted about 6-8” so she has not cycled through the entire color wheel yet, but I am a little bit bummed about this turn of events. 

BUT, it’s too late for moi.  I’m not changing a thing (can’t) and I will just have to like my lil Kauni, “just the way you are” (a shout out to Mark Darcy — I love you as much as the original Mr. Darcy ;)).

I will start the sleeves this weekend and also try to work on the neckline. 

 PS — I’ll try to get a picture of Kim’s Kauni at some point for comparison’s sake.

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