theraineysisters knitting and so much more

December 1, 2010

From Sally — Needing Some Shelter

Filed under: Raglan Turtleneck — surly @ 1:48 pm

It’s December 1st and we were under a tornado warning earlier today.  Say what?  It’s been windy and rainy and the temperature has dropped twenty degrees since I woke up this morning.   In other words, a perfect day to stay home and knit.  I’ve gone back to my husband’s Shelter sweater because Christmas is fast approaching and — please sit down before continuing — my 19-year-old son just asked me to knit him a sweater for Christmas.  And he spontaneously told me that all his friends “love” the gloves I made him two years ago.

The slightest suggestion that someone actually wants any of my knitting sends me straight to a yarn store, so as soon as I finish my husband’s turtleneck, I’ll try to start and finish my son’s before the holidays.

In the meantime, back to doing raglan shaping.  Why — even after having gotten rid of 90+ stitches — do the rows still go so slowly?  Here are some progress shots.

November 4, 2010

From Sally — So Many Ways to Be Surly

Filed under: Back Story,Raglan Turtleneck — surly @ 2:46 pm

I received a surprise present in the mail yesterday from my big sister. Well, I knew I was getting something — Susan couldn’t resist telling me that much. But I had no idea what it was until I opened the box. I should warn you that it is not knitting related except in the most tangential way (which I will explain in a moment). I should also explain that one of my many nicknames is “Surly.” The reasons for this are lost in the mists of time. (That’s my story at least.) But it’s true. The nickname mostly has to do with our little brother but we’ll leave it at that.

Anyway my sister found some items with my “name” on them and she sent them to me.

I had coffee this morning in my mug. Apparently, Surly is a well-known microbrewery, but not being a beer drinker I’d never heard of them. They had obviously, however, heard of me.

Thanks, Susan! (Oh: the tangential knitting connection is that surly is my username on Ravelry.)

As for knitting, I’ve been juggling three projects: the blue husband turtleneck (the sweater is blue, not the husband), Eala Bhan, and a new project that I’ll talk about next time. Millie asked the following questions about the turtleneck:

Which of the pictures of the yarn is closest to the true color? The skeins of yarn look quite dark while the started-sweater has a lighter color with more depth. Both that color and the pattern look very nice, and I am waiting anxiously to see how the rest of the sweater works up.

I’m having a hard time getting this color to show up accurately in my photos. It’s close to a very dark denim blue — l don’t think I’ve quite captured it yet to be honest.

I would like to spark a discussion on this – how do other knitters determine what gauge a particular yarn will work up based on information on the yardage. I go more on yardage than on the suggested needle size on a label. I looked at Shelter and when I see that that 50 gm ball of wool is 140 yds, I immediately translate that into 280 yds in a 100 gm ball of wool but to me a worsted weight 100 gm ball would normally be in the range of 210, 220, or 223, depending on whether it was Plymouth Galway, Cascade 220, or Patons Classic Merino. For me these work up well at 5 sts per inch. . . . It seems to me that 280 yds in a 100 gm skein would probably work up at a dk gauge. How do other knitters look at yardage and use it to determine how much yarn to buy and what gauge will the yarn work up at?

I also generally go by yardage per weight rather than suggested needle size, especially if I am trying to use a different yarn than a pattern calls for. But it definitely is trial and error. Some fibers are heavier than others and so you will automatically get lower yardage per skein. The Shelter yarn that I am using for this project has a certain lightness and loft to it, which means that it knits up “bigger” than its yardage might suggest. Another example would be Jaeger’s Chamonix yarn. It has 119 yards per 50 gram skein but it knits up at 14 stitches per four inches. It’s very light for its bulk. Cotton, on the other hand, is often heavier than wool. When in doubt, I swatch even though I hate swatching.

The other day, while knitting and watching TV, I somehow purled two stitches in a row on the husband sweater. That was a mistake, which I’ve marked with the tip of a tapestry needle. I know it’s hard to see, but basically I purled where I should have knitted.

Fortunately, it wasn’t all that far back. I quickly laddered my way down and then back up. It just goes to show that even the simplest pattern requires occasional moments of attention.

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!!!

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