theraineysisters knitting and so much more

June 2, 2009

From Sally — The Cathedral of Learning

Filed under: Cathedral — surly @ 11:41 am

Knitting is a learning experience. What I learned from my most recent project:

1. I like knitting with pure cashmere. (I think I already suspected that.)

2. No matter how many times I measure, it will always be too short (except when it’s too long, but that’s a different story).

3. When I debate whether or not to add an extra repeat for length, the default answer should be “yes.”

4. When I don’t knit the extra repeat for length, angst and desperate measures are sure to follow.

5. Lucy is useful for sewing in set-in sleeves.

As you may have guessed by now, I finished my Cathedral sweater, but it was somewhat shorter than I find wearable. I had used a provisional cast on because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do at the bottom (the pattern called for a few simple rows of garter stitch). Unfortunately, I didn’t absolutely decide it was too short until I had put it together. I considered knitting another repeat and then grafting it onto the bottom, but decided (wisely, I think) that it was beyond my grafting skills to do so with this particular pattern. So my choices were to have it be too short (not a viable option), reknit the entire sweater after taking it apart (uh, no thanks), or try to be creative.

In the end, I added a motif that mirrored part of the upper patterning. Is it perfect? No. Is it long enough? Yes. Just. Would it have been easier to knit another repeat? Undoubtedly.

With my lovely daughter as a model, here is Cathedral. (She’s taller and thinner than I am, so it doesn’t fit me exactly the same way. But hey — she’s much more photogenic!)

And here’s Lucy helping:

Pattern notes: This sweater is from a Japanese pattern book: Couture Knit #13. It, and other Japanese pattern books, are available to purchase online at Needle Arts Bookshop. I knit it in Jaeger Cashmina on U.S. 2.5 (3 mm) needles.

April 30, 2009

From Sally — Do You Feel a Change in the Force?

Filed under: Cathedral — surly @ 10:42 am

There’s a whisper on the night-wind, there’s a star agleam to guide us . . .

Yes, the rumors are true: The Rainey Sisters are about to be together again. Susan arrives tomorrow for a Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival extravaganza. We plan to hit the Festival early Saturday morning and shop and gawk until we drop. We also hope to stop by the Ravelry meet up, and we’d love to meet some of you. Most of the time, though, we’ll be fingering yarn and dreaming up projects we’ll never have a chance to knit. It’s our speciality. So while you’re wandering the fairgrounds, keep an eye out for our infamous RaineySisters tote bag (because chances are you might not recognize us from our slightly dated trademark photograph).

In knitting news, I’ve finished the first sleeve of my Cathedral sweater and started the second. Before I got too far with the second sleeve, I wanted to baste the first one into the sweater to decide whether the sleeve cap needed any alterations. I always dread seaming on reverse stockinette or garter stitch; I am not always pleased with the results. This time, I was ecstatic. Here’s the side seam:

I know!

The sleeve basted in nicely, and the fit is really cute. Here’s a quickie shot:

I’m actually getting excited about finishing this sweater! Let’s hope I don’t get too distracted by Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival purchases.

April 16, 2009

From Sally — A Quick Update/Random Thoughts

Filed under: Cathedral — surly @ 5:38 pm

My camellias are in bloom, but yesterday it was so chilly I needed a fire.

Today, however, the weather is glorious, and I keep dreaming up spring/summer knitting projects. I’m making progress on my Cathedral sweater, though, so I don’t want to stop. I finished the front and started the first sleeve. Lucy thinks she might need a camisole to wear under this sweater; I think she should worry about getting a pair of knickers first.


It’s not very exciting to look at a neckless sweater, is it?

I adore this Malabrigo Solis that my loving sister gave me. I haven’t decided what to do with it — mayhaps some socks? I can’t get the color to pop in these photographs the way it does in person.

P.S. — A graduation congratulations to my niece Laura!

PS2 from Susan — Laura did indeed have her graduation celebration this evening — she completed her training at the Aveda Institute.  One more hurdle to go in the form of her written exam and then (please!!!) off to find a job.

April 8, 2009

From Sally — In Vogue?

Filed under: Cathedral,Knitting Tips — surly @ 10:27 am

My mind tends to wander when I knit — often to the next “must have” project. So, when the new issue of Vogue Knitting hit my mailbox, I was excited to flip through it.

Hmmm. Mayhaps a trip to ye olde magazine shoppe is in order. It looks a bit worse for wear. I can’t even read most of the first half.

In the meantime, I’m plugging away on Cathedral. I should have done something slightly differently on the back, which I sort of knew at the time but did nothing about. Le sigh. I have “fixed” it for the front, however. What was my mistake?

Many Japanese patterns that have waist shaping do all of the shaping on one row. Instead of graduated decreases, all stitches will be removed by doing staggered decreases across a row. Later, the stitches will be added back by doing “make ones” in one row. Now, the problem with doing a lot of “make ones” in one row is that each time you increase, you are shortening, and therefore tightening up, the running thread that runs between the stitches. That’s fine if you are doing a few increases here and there. Doing multiple increases on the same row can look a bit off.

In my sweater, I needed to decrease and then increase 20 stitches in the shaping rows. This was charted to be accomplished on the five-stitch reverse stockinette panels that separate the two different patterns. On the decrease row, those five stitches go down to three. On the increase row, you make one, purl three, make one to go back to five. When I did that on the back, you can see where the increases occurred. (In the photo, the double pointed needle points to the line to help you see it better.)

When you look at the piece as a whole, it’s not that noticeable but it bothers me. So, when I did the increases for the front, I changed my technique. On the wrong side row before the increase row, I inserted a yarnover in the middle of each set of three stitches. I did that to increase the amount of running thread I had to work with when I came back to do the increases. On the increase row itself, I worked to the three reverse stockinette stitches. I slipped the first one to the right hand needle so I could “reach” the yarnover. I let the yarnover drop off the needle, and then manipulated the extra yarn so it was spread out over the three stitches. I placed the slipped stitch back on the left hand needle, and then worked the increases. (I hope I am making sense.)

Here is what the increases look like on the front. It’s a bit harder to see b/c the piece is still on the needle, but once it’s finished and blocked there should be no line at all.

March 28, 2009

From Sally — Hoarding Treasures

Filed under: Cathedral — surly @ 6:18 pm

I have a fairly good-sized yarn stash.  It’s not as large as the stashes of some knitters I know (I’m looking at you, Marsha), but it’s large enough that I could knit for many years without ever needing to buy more.  I will buy more, however; I fall in love easily.  Some yarn in my stash is so precious that I’m almost afraid to knit with it.  What if it’s not the absolutely perfect yarn for that project and the yarn is wasted?  What if the yarn, adored sometimes for years, isn’t as wonderful as I thought once I start knitting with it?  Could I stand the disappointment?  So my twenty skeins of pale pink Mulberry Silk wait patiently in a cubby, as do six skeins of handpainted silk that make me think of Egyptian Pharaohs, countless skeins of gorgeous Koigu, and a few other prizes.  

Along with those yarns, I’ve been carefully guarding 17 skeins of Jaeger Cashmina in a beautiful cinnamon brown crossed with bronze.  I bought it in Scotland, at the John Lewis department store in Edinburgh.  I had no idea what I was going to do with it.  I bought every skein they had in that color and dye lot.  Each skein came in its own little museum box.


See?  How could you not love it?   

In the past year or so, my grip on all of these yarns has loosened a bit.  I’ve come to realize that while it’s fine to keep some yarns just for admiring or loving, life is short and it’s a bit senseless to deprive oneself of knitting joy.  So, the Cashmina has come out to play. I found another Japanese pattern that I loved, and I decided that the Cashmina is perfect for it. It’s from the Let’s Knit Series 13. Here is the photo from the book.

I wanted to start it when I was supposed to be finishing my Bohus. I did let myself swatch, but managed to restrain myself until the Bohus was off the needles.

I finished the back this morning.

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