theraineysisters knitting and so much more

June 30, 2006

From Susan — Where Are We?

Filed under: Uncategorized — surly @ 12:46 am

Sally and I are travelling together. Don’t be jealous — we’re in downtown Omaha visiting our parents. Because we live in different cities, the trip has been a hodge podge of plane and car travel — LOTS of time in the car!! We did manage to make a couple of short visits to yarn shops — we DO have our priorities! I wish we had some good pics to share, but it has been quite a grueling trip and we have not had much down time. We’ll try to share some pictures or stories later.

Deb, thanks for calling from knitting group!!

June 27, 2006

From Susan — Per Your Request, Wendy

Filed under: Uncategorized — lv2knit @ 6:31 pm

Wendy in VA asked if I would post a picture of the dress I made — even if it was only on a hanger.  Wendy is a very loyal visitor and commenter, so of course I had to comply.  Here it is, looking a bit limp and unfilled out.


I love the bell shaped cuff the best.  And close up:


You may recognize this as the fabric I bought to make a skirt to go with the Rowan Summer Tweed cardigan of a month or so ago.  It does not go with that sweater at all!  In the store I thought it worked, but it doesn’t.  I bought about 6 yds for some reason, so I had enough to make just about anything.   It is actually a dress under the jacket even though it looks like a skirt.   It will do fine for a one day event, and I can probably wear the dress to work sometime.  

June 26, 2006

From Susan — Missing in Action

Filed under: Uncategorized — surly @ 9:07 pm

Where have I been?  I have been sewing!  My own version of a sweat shop!  The woman who received the knitted wedding bag is getting married next weekend and I had to have something to wear.   Most people shop in stores, but I “have issues” shopping off the rack.  I will not dwell on my abnormal height or the fact that I am no longer a young school girl, but I find the fashions of today less than flattering.  I made a floral cotton-print suit and it is acceptable.  It has kept me from my knitting for a few days, so I’m going through a bit of withdrawal — but that will soon change.   More about that on Wednesday or Thursday…..

June 23, 2006

From Sally — How Many Shawls Are Enough?

Filed under: Feather and Fan Shawl,Knitting Tips — Sally @ 2:26 pm

I do have a recent thing about shawls and shawl knitting. I’ve already started yet another one. My latest project is the Feather and Fan Shawl from Meg Swansen’s A Gathering of Lace. This particular pattern was designed by Eugen Beugler. Here is a photograph of the shawl as seen in the book.

As you can see, it’s a circular shawl. You start knitting it from the center out. I’ve gotten just past the point where I could transfer the knitting to a circular needle.

I hear you muttering. “What the hell is she doing knitting yet another grey shawl? Is she nuts?” Don’t answer that. In my defense, this is yarn from my stash. Well, it’s yarn that was put in my stash recently during the yarn store close out sale. It’s the same yarn used in the book, a rarity for me, and it was very inexpensive. It’s Jamieson & Smith’s laceweight yarn and it’s surprisingly nice to work with.

It’s a relatively simple pattern once you get going — when I get to the main part of the shawl, there is patterning on every fourth row only. In other words, there will be three rounds of plain knitting, which makes this a portable and relatively mindless project. I am doing a slight variation of the shawl that is described in the book without, unfortunately, a good photograph to show you. In my variation, every third patterned segment on the main part of the shawl will be an eyelet cable pattern instead of the classic feather and fan.

The only tricky part of this shawl (and this is true of any of the square or round shawls knit from the center out) is getting started. I think I must be the least dexterous person on the planet — I have trouble getting a circle started on four needles when I only have two stitches on each needle. It’s fussy and futzy and annoying. Here is my method for anyone interested.

1. Circular cast on

You don’t have to use a special circular cast on, but I have found that it looks slightly nicer at the end. So I use the famous Emily Ocker cast on method. Here is a link to what I think is a good explanation (with good photographs) of how to do it.

Circular Cast On

Casting on doesn’t solve the problem of how to start knitting in the round on double pointed needles. I’ve tried everything from trying to arrange them on a table to throwing them at the wall after they get twisted and I get frustrated. (I don’t have a problem with socks or anything else that has a fair number of stitches. The difficulty comes from having so few stitches to work with when you are starting a shawl.) I’ve also tried the knitting with two circular needles method, but found that to be a bit clumsy and awkward with so few stitches as well.

So, I use the Magic Loop method.

2. Magic Loop Knitting

Magic Loop knitting is not something you necessarily want to do a lot of, but it works really well for starting a circular or square shawl. I knit using this method until I have enough stitches (after the increases that are a normal part of the shawl pattern) that I can distribute 8-10 stitches on each needle. I meant to take some photographs of this shawl at this stage and right after the transfer to the double pointed needles, but I got caught up in the knitting and forgot. Oops. However, I did find this handy video you can watch of how to do Magic Loop Knitting. It’s very clear; if you haven’t done it before I think this video is a great reference. If you search around on this site, she has videos on other techniques as well so you may want to bookmark it.

Magic Loop Knitting

Scroll slightly down. The Magic Loop technique is listed under Small Diameter Circular Knitting (along with other techniques). All you have to do is click on the video icon and the video should start automatically.

June 22, 2006

From Susan — Mini Update

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 7:49 am

The Wedding Ring Purses are complete.  Ballerina is nearing the finish line.  And all I can say about Sally’s Icarus Shawl is WOW!!

Wedding Ring Purses

June 21, 2006

From Sally — Icarus Shawl Completed

Filed under: Icarus Shawl — Sally @ 5:54 pm

It is finished — blocked and already dry! It is a beautiful pattern and the finished shawl feels light as air. Without further ado, here are some photographs of my Icarus.

Being cast off:

Being blocked:

Here it is being modeled (somewhat reluctantly) by my daughter in the garden:

We were having trouble taking good photographs because we had a “helper”:

Here are several closeups of the “point” of the shawl. The first was taken before it was blocked.

The second two were taken after blocking.

One reason I was drawn to this particular shawl, besides how striking it looked in Interweave Knits, was my long fascination with the myth of Icarus. As part of the feel free to scroll portion of the blog (now that you’ve seen the photographs of my finished piece), I’d like to share one of my favorite poems. It’s called Musee des Beaux Arts, by W. H. Auden. It was inspired by Breughel’s painting of Icarus falling into the sea (you can just barely see his legs in the water).

“Fall of Icarus” by Breughel

About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters; how well, they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.
In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

June 20, 2006

From Sally — Icarus Shawl update

Filed under: Icarus Shawl — Sally @ 11:43 pm

I’m finished. Sort of.

I’ve finished all of the knitting and have just started to cast off. It’s late, and casting off will take a long time. I think I’m going to go to bed and not worry about it until tomorrow. Otherwise, I’ll be up half the night (especially since I wouldn’t be able to resist the temptation of starting to block it).

I’ll post pictures tomorrow of it once it’s partway off the needle, as well as pre- and post-blocking.

From Susan — Sunrise Oval Jacket

Filed under: Sunrise Circle Jacket,Updates — lv2knit @ 6:32 am

I have been too busy to get my Sunrise blocked, but I thought I would share some pictures of it anyway.  It is such a cool pattern, and I enjoyed making it very much.  I love things that are a little different — classic yet unique — and this certainly qualifies. 


Here is the “oval”:


Here are some detail pictures:



Left front


I also spent some time on Ballerina.  I recommend that if you make this jacket, you keep some notes or something.  My two sides are not what I would call perfectly symmetrical.  It’s not something you can see really, but I did need to fudge to get the numbers to work out, and I have no idea why.  The stitch count is the same, so either Hanne designed it with the sides a bit off, or I am a bit off.  Don’t answer that!


I am still toiling on my scarf and the wedding ring purses will be done this evening — pictures of them tomorrow…

June 17, 2006

From Susan — A Multi-Tasking Update

Filed under: Sunrise Circle Jacket,Updates — lv2knit @ 9:41 am

As Sally was quick to point out, I had a birthday.  I left work early and spent my afternoon lurking in yarn stores.  I stopped by Borealis – in St. Paul – and asked them if I could hang around and knit.  They were very pleasant about it.  There is a scarf in the shop that I have loved since I first saw it.  It is a simple feather and fan pattern made with Cherry Tree Hill sock-weight merino in the color African Gray.  It has every color in the rainbow, predominantly purple and orange (!).  What on earth will THAT go with?  I bought the $22 skein, which actually makes TWO scarves (one for me, and yarn for Sally) and threw it in with my Sunrise Circle Jacket – it is perfect with it!  I think it will actually go with a lot of stuff because it has so many colors in it.  Here is the start of the scarf:


I also did finish the Sunrise Jacket.  I think it turned out.  I will need to get the buttons (there’s no rush, so I’m going to be picky), but I think it fits and looks good.  I am going to block it one more time for good luck.

Laura wants me to line her felted purse and include a zippered pocket.  Here is the lining she chose:

Purse Lining

For my birthday, my two girls got me some very nice gifts.  The toiletries came in the cutest knitting bag!  I was more excited about the bag than the lovely lotions etc.  It is absolutely perfect for small projects and right now I have 3 going; beaded purse, wedding ring bag, and scarf.  All three will travel in the new bag for

varietal knitting!


From Sally — Icarus Shawl update

Filed under: Icarus Shawl — Sally @ 7:13 am

I’ve just started the fourth, and final, lace chart on the Icarus Shawl. It’s difficult to see the pattern in these photographs because the lace is not yet blocked and because of the fuzziness of the Kidsilk Haze (before blocking). It’s interesting how different the color looks in these two pictures. One was taken with a flash and one was taken in natural lighting. The true color of the yarn is somewhere in between. The fourth lace chart has more rows than the others and, with 500 stitches or so per row, it’s slow even though the lace pattern itself is relatively simple. I should, however, find the time to finish it within the next few days.

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