theraineysisters knitting and so much more

October 17, 2007

From Sally — Mermaid Finished

Filed under: Sally's Mermaid — surly @ 12:34 pm

I’ve had very little time to knit the past four or five days, but I did manage to finish the second sleeve of Mermaid and finally finish this project. I’ve even worn it. Indeed, I probably shouldn’t have photographed it after it wadding it up and letting it sit in my car for two days, but such is life. (I could have given it a light steam, but I had so little time to post I didn’t. My bad.)

This is one of those garments that looks best while it is being worn because of the way it moves and drapes. Half-naked Lucy just doesn’t give the same effect. Nevertheless, here is my completed Mermaid.

August 14, 2007

From Sally — A Mermaid Resurfaces

Filed under: Sally's Mermaid — surly @ 5:01 pm

We really do need to stop the bad puns.

I just came back from a jaunt to North Carolina where it was a bazillion degrees. Instead of bringing Silver Belle with me, I brought my half-finished Mermaid sleeve. I knew I wouldn’t have a lot of time to knit and I wouldn’t want to haul a large piece of knitting around with me anyway. So I finished the sleeve. One more to go unless I decide to be really trendy.

Here is the finished sleeve before seaming. One one side there are live stitches on one side and on the other a provisional cast-on.

In this photo, I’ve removed the provisional cast-on and placed the now live stitches on a second needle.

This is the beginning of working a three-needle bind off of the seam.

Here’s the wrong side (the inside of the sleeve) once the seam is completed.

The right side of the seam:

The sleeve with a view of the blue detail:

I couldn’t resist pulling the sleeve on. Eeek. It looked really short. I quickly and crudely basted it into the jacket; the sleeve fits perfectly into the armhole opening and the sleeve length is fine. Whew.

Scroll alert:

While I was in NC, I went to a couple of Clay Aiken concerts. I was playing around with black and white photographs. If you are interested, here is one.

I also played around with taking some bootleg concert video. The one that I really liked is of Lover All Alone, which he co-wrote with David Foster. I won’t embed it here, but if you’d like to see the video, click here.

July 9, 2007

From Sally — Mermaid Update and Random Acts (of Kindness and otherwise)

Filed under: Sally's Mermaid — surly @ 4:12 pm

I’m back from Texas (a little more on that later). I didn’t get a lot of knitting done while I was gone: half of one Mermaid sleeve. For all you liberal arts majors out there, that means I’ve still got one-and-a-half sleeves left to knit. Maybe a one-sleeved jacket would be dramatic and stylish? No, I didn’t think so, either. Here is the half-sleeve in all of its glory.

I’ve held it up to my arm in a very scientific fashion and I think it’s long enough, which is nice since I can’t add length to it the way one can with a traditional sleeve. The blue on the “cast on” side is my provisional cast on (done from leftover Koigu). When the sleeve is finished, I’ll do a three-needle bind-off so I have no seam. Hanne Falkenberg does it slightly differently, but I think my way will be easier.

The next photograph is a gift of beautiful handspun yarn I received from someone I’ve never met. She’s a fellow Clay Aiken fan who likes to spin. She’d seen some photographs of my knitting and wondered if I would like some handspun yarn. Yes, yes, yes I said. It’s really lovely yarn, too. I’m not sure the photo does it justice. The darker brown yarn has interesting flecks of color in it, including bits of turquoise. I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with yet, but I think I could get a really nice hat or some lovely gloves or glovelets. She wants to work on spinning some fine laceweight yarn which I’ve “generously” offered to take off her hands.

One of my other hobbies, in addition to writing and knitting, is concert photography. I was in Texas for the two opening shows of Clay Aiken’s tour and had a lot of fun hearing him perform and taking pictures under very different and trying light conditions. Here are four shots. The first two are from the Frisco concert, which was outside at night just before fireworks on the Fourth of July. The second two are indoors with stage lighting. (I’m giving you small versions of the photos to help lower the eye rolling quotient.)

Finally, speaking of Clay Aiken and spinning I’ve been following the story of the incident involving his flight from Houston to Tulsa as it gets more and more attention. I first heard about it from friends of friends who were actually on the same plane as he was. This was a smaller plane with no separate first class — steerage all the way. He apparently fell asleep and his foot ended up on the armrest of some woman in the row ahead of him. She tried to get him to move his foot; I don’t blame her. He slept through it. She then started yelling at him and hit him in the chest (not a great idea). That woke him up. Yelling may have ensued. As the story spreads across the Internet, it is morphing like the old game of telephone. I think by the time it’s all over with, the report will be that he was dragged away by the FBI for attacking her with a shoe. Don’t they have anything better to report? (At least it’s not more Paris Hilton.)

I’m going to go work on my baby blanket now. (I keep saying that, don’t I?)

June 28, 2007

From Susan — On Mermaid and DFS

Filed under: Sally's Mermaid,Updates — lv2knit @ 10:58 pm

I’ve been trying to get this done quickly — it’s a smaller project that I will wear often, so I’m trying to stay focused all the way to the finish line.


I also want to weigh in on the Mermaid/soft yarn discussion.  I found that my Mermaid softened up a bit when wet blocked, but I agree with Barb Outside Boston: garments can be TOO soft.  I have used some great, soft yarns, but they don’t hold their shape and sometimes pill.  That’s what I like about real shetland wool.  It keeps its shape and wears like iron.  I always wear something underneath so what difference does it make?  I love the feel of real wool.  Now that’s not to say that I don’t like merino or Cascade 220.  They are real wool and soft, so they are great to work with and wear.  But I still love that shetland wool, my friends!!

June 27, 2007

From Sally — Mermaid

Filed under: Knitting Tips,Sally's Mermaid — surly @ 5:42 pm

As promised (threatened?), here are a few progress shots of my Hanne Falkenberg Mermaid. I’m finished with the body and I’ll start the sleeves as soon as I have a chance. (That might not be until I finish the Widdicombe Fair baby blanket; that baby’s arrival is getting closer and closer.)

I’m not sure what I think of this project yet, although it looks better in person than it does in my crappy photographs. It started to rain just after I got Lucy nice and comfortable on the bench so I had to flee to the indoors before I could get some better shots.

Here’s the front (I would have positioned the lapel better if I had had the time):

Here’s a shot of the back:

The garment feels a bit “stiff,” and it doesn’t have a nice drape to it. I’m hoping that wet blocking will soften the yarn and let it relax. We’ll see.

Like Susan, I made a couple of changes to this pattern. You are supposed to knit the i-cord edge for the left side, then pick up stitches into the i-cord and start knitting. Instead, I did a provisional cast on so that I could knit the right and left lapel/collar in one piece and not have any seam up the middle of the back neck. In other words, I had live stitches on both the right and left side and worked the i-cord on those. That turned out nicely. The one issue is that when knitting an applied i-cord in a contrast color, the original color (white in this case) sometimes pops through. To avoid that, the easiest solution is to knit one row in the contrast color before binding off in the i-cord. I couldn’t do that here, though, because the entire jacket is knit in garter stitch AND the collar/lapel folds back on itself. If I had knit a row in blue, there would be obvious “bumps” of blue and white at the edge of the i-cord when the collar was folded back. It would look like the color transitions on the inside of the jacket:

Wrong side:

Susan reminded me of a technique we learned at Meg Swansen’s knitting camp. It was invented by Joyce Williams and can be found on page 18 of Sweaters from Camp. Let’s assume you are doing a three-stitch i-cord bind off. Normally, you would have your live stitches on the left needle and then cast on three stitches. Then you would knit 2 and then SSK (slip two stitches one at a time as if to knit — the second stitch being slipped would be one of the live stitches from the garment — then knit the two slipped stitches together through the back loops). When faced with wanting to make sure that the color of the live garment stitches doesn’t show through, you do this variation: Knit 2, slip one, yarn over, knit one (this is a stitch from the garment, in my case white), then pass the slipped stitch and the stitch produced by the yarn over over the knit stitch. It’s a bit futsy (the yarn over can be tricky to get your needle under), but it definitely helps hide the color.

Here is a close up of the i-cord bind off.

The jury is out on how Mermaid will turn out. I’m still undecided.

June 10, 2007

From Sally — What in the World Am I Knitting Next?

Filed under: Cap Shawl,Sally's Mermaid — surly @ 12:25 pm

I know you’re all dying to know. First, let me thank you for all of your kind comments on the Cap Shawl and on my daughter, who modeled it for me. It is a beautiful shawl and it is an easy pattern. Really — it is. As I said when I first posted about it, the only thing that might be tricky for a beginning lace knitter is getting started. Once you have some stitches on the needle, the pattern is easy to knit and remember. The border is not difficult either; it’s just slow.

One other note: because Kidsilk Haze is difficult to rip out (the mohair in it acts like velcro), you might want a smoother yarn if you are a newbie.

Oh! And thanks Deirdre for the compliment on my garden. I should have taken pictures a week ago when the primrose and peonies were still in bloom. I’m in a bit of a flower lull at the moment.

So, what am I up to now? Well, I do have to finish the baby blanket (Widdicombe Fair, aka the Carousel Baby Blanket redux). I put it down to finish the Cap Shawl and that baby is due in July which, if I can count correctly, is coming up soon.

I have also picked up one of my *coughgeezhowmanyofthesedoIhavelyingaround?cough* unfinished head start projects: Hanne Falkenberg’s Mermaid. I was actually pretty far on this one when I got seduced by something else:

I started it with a provisional cast on (on the left side of the photo); when I get to the collar on the right side I’ll pick up stitches around the neck and the live stitches waiting on the left side and knit it all in one piece so I don’t have a seam in the middle of the neck. I’m not sure why Hanna didn’t write this pattern that way because she has done that on some of her other designs. Not that I have a cupboard full of unknit Hanne Falkenberg kits or anything.

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