theraineysisters knitting and so much more

June 29, 2007

From Susan — Her Laceness

Filed under: Back Story — lv2knit @ 5:35 pm

Thank you for the nice comments about the Diamond Fantasy Shawl.  I am really enjoying it and it is not too much “laceness” to take along. 

One of my best friends is having a birthday tomorrow — here is the card I am giving her:

Inside: …but we’re still pretty hot!!

I about choked when I saw this in the store — can you guess which one I am??  2funny4words!

Sally and I were just conversing about stashes and how yarn can morph into something less than desireable over time (“What was I thinking?”).  There are classics that we could never part with and others that do not improve with time.  Stash clean up, Aisle 10! 😉


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 25, 2007

From Susan — Sorry to Step!!

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 11:58 pm

Sorry to step on your post, Surly, but I have a new project to introduce and a great pattern. I can’t wait to see the picture of your Mermaid tomorrow!

First, though, I want to thank all of you for your wonderful comments about the Peacock Shawl. I felt very warmed by your generous and thoughtful praise.

Back to the present!! My next small project is the Diamond Fantasy Shawl/Scarf by Sivia Harding. Many of you are familiar with this pattern, but it is fairly new to me. I was looking for something for some handpainted silk that Sally generously willed to me from her stash (and I did offer it back to her when she was here — honest!!).


The yarn is 100% handpainted silk in teal and lavendar/purple; approx. yardage is 450 yds.; worsted to heavy DK in weight. I am using a US 10 needle. The pattern calls for fingering weight yarn, but says sport will also work. Sivia thought the heavier silk would work fine — perhaps yielding a medium sized shawl. I love the yarn and the pattern. I like the fact that the edging is built in as you go. This pattern reminds me of the Hemp for Knitting Ponchette I made last year, but a little dressier.

Sivia does not follow pattern writing convention completely — i.e, her charts are kind of different, but you can certainly figure it out. She includes written and charted versions.

I was supposed to be working on Kauni, but knitting is my hobby and I do it for fun — and this seemed more fun at the moment!

From Sally — I’m ba-a-a-ack

Filed under: Uncategorized — surly @ 8:47 pm

I was going to post some shots of my Mermaid — finished but for the sleeves. However, the i-cord bind off is taking me longer than expected and so I’ve basically got nothing.

I just didn’t want anyone to think I’d dropped off the face of the planet and disappeared. So, tomorrow I will have a long (or at least longer) post with pictures. In the meantime, just continue to drool over Susan’s Peacock Shawl.

June 23, 2007

From Susan — I’m Proud as a You-Know-What!

Filed under: Peacock Shawl -- Susan's — lv2knit @ 9:22 am

I am done with the Peacock Feathers Shawl — and it’s shawl-tastic! ;)  I finished the knitting several days ago but had not found a “block” of time to actually finish it.  

I am so in love with this project.  Sally said she felt like an alchemist or fairy having created her magical Peacock, and I would love to plagiarize her every word.  But if I can’t steal her words, I will say instead that I feel like Rumpelstiltskin — I have turned straw into gold.  It was merino and silk “straw,” but you get the idea!  I cannot believe that anyone can do what I just did (and obviously many others before me).  

I have never aspired to knitting these ultra-fine laceweight shawls — why would anyone spend their time on something so impractical?  Something that takes so long to make?  Several years ago a very well-known knitter and expert on cobweb weight shetland shawls (aka wedding ring shawls) was the keynote speaker at Yarnover (unfortunately I do not recall her name).  I was duly impressed with the knitting and the beauty of the shawls, but thought I would never, ever consider that type of knitting.  Never say never — not that this is in the league of those in terms of complexity or effort or skill (though the design surpasses them in elegance and beauty), but to me it feels like it! 

I feel like Rocky jumping up and down at the top of the steps!  Doo-doo-doo..doo-doo-doo…

So, let’s look at the blocking of Peacock.  How did I get from this, Peacock in its crumpled state:


To this:


First, I started by soaking the shawl in water for 30 minutes.  While that was going on, I set up my floor.  I obviously used old, crappy-looking sheets as a base! 

I laid out an outline of the finished shawl dimensions in string (you can barely see it in the photo).  I did this because Sally said it was a hassle to line up the sides, keep them straight, and measure to make sure everything was even.  Once my perimeter was set, I never had to measure at all, which saved a lot of time and effort.  When I flopped the wet blob of knitting onto the floor, it appeared to me that there was NO WAY I could get it to the given dimensions.  It seemed absolutely impossible! 

Here you see the first step in the pinning process — each feather’s eye is pinned at its longest point:


Then I just kept pinning:


In this picture, you can see my “chalk line”:




I don’t have a dancing daughter to model the finished shawl, but I do like this picture.

Sally said I am her inspiration, but obviously she is mine as well.  I had this pattern for years but may never have tackled it had it not been for her.  To say I am thrilled with the results is the understatement of the century! 

PS — if you see any mistakes, please feel free to keep it to yourself!  It’s too late!  🙂

PPS — to Michelle: it took me 6 weeks from start to finish, though I could have wrapped it up faster.  I did not knit exclusively on Peacock and I ripped back a couple of times.  Regarding Kidsilk Haze: I’ll defer that answer to Sally, as she has knitted shawls with both Zepher and KSH and can probably comment on substituting one for the other.

From Sally — I’m averting my gaze from the bad puns and just looking at the beautiful shawl. I think you could substitute KSH and it would be beautiful, but you might lose a little bit of the definition of the feathers. On the other hand, you’d get a feathery look from the yarn. I don’t find that KSH stretches as much during blocking, though — Zephyr Wool & Silk really blocks out a lot. So, if you substitute KSH, you might want to use a size larger needle than you would normally for this project so that your shawl doesn’t end up being too small.

June 22, 2007

From Susan — The Elusive Kauni

Filed under: Susan's Kauni Cardigan — lv2knit @ 7:28 am

I have not had much to post about this week because of my busy and ::cough:: exciting lifestyle, so this will be brief.

I have not forsaken Kauni — that said, then where is it?  I have been trying to capture and tame the elusive Gauge.  You all know that wily creature!  A squirmy lil dickens that hides in the shadows, peeks out ever so briefly, only to sink back into the darkness before you can make out its true nature.

I did cast on and then thought the sweater was going to be too small.  It looked like I was getting 30 sts/4″ which seemed ridiculous (that is true fair isle gauge, my friends).  I am knitting with heavier yarn on a size 5.  SO, I did as I was told by my lil knittin’ sister and knitted back and forth in stockinette st to check my gauge.  It is really more like 25 sts/4″.  The pattern says 24 sts/4″, while the ball band says 23 sts/4″.  The pattern appears to be inaccurate because all of the calculations given only work if the gauge is 23 sts/4″.  I had calculated my cast on using my original “gauge” of 26 sts/4″ — so I have too many sts.  Whew.  If you stayed awake through that boring bit, I applaud you or pity you!!  So now I am going to start over.  Pictures will be forthcoming if I can ever get the project started ;)!!

At the knitters guild meeting we heard about a fun opportunity from Three Kittens Yarn Shoppe:

Kruise with Karabella and 3 Kittens

Join us on Saturday, June 30th, for a trip on a Padelford riverboat along with Berta Karapetyan, yarn store owner, Karabella Yarns founder, and author of the new book “Runway Knits.”  The 3-hour boat trip will include a short lecture by Berta, a fashion show of garments from her new book, and lots of time to knit and enjoy stitching and visiting with other knitters.  This is a perfect opportunity to have an afternoon out with your knitting friends!  The boat will leave at 1 pm and return around 4 pm.  Cost is $30 for 3K Club members or $40 for non-members.  Come sail away with us!

My knitting group peeps and I are planning on going — what a fun summer blast!

June 20, 2007

From Susan — You’re Stuck with Me

Filed under: Back Story — lv2knit @ 7:47 am

At least for the time being.  Sally is off gettin’ book learnin’, so I’ll be your blogging hostess for the week — feel free to add something, Surly!

Last evening was the Knitters Guild meeting which I described in Sunday’s post.  We had a HUGE turn out which kind of surprised me because it was only advertised on the MKG website.  There had to be 100 people there, including two of my favorite knitting peeps, Kim and Mary (hi!).  Being a VP of the Knitters Guild is a highly glamorous position (I have the bruises to prove it): setting up the chairs and tables, hauling the boxes of books, etc.  But it was a great event.  I thought Amy was a wonderful speaker.  She spent most of her presentation describing the characteristics of many non-wool fibers and it was QUITE interesting.  Her slides were fabulous, and as a person who uses PowerPoint daily on the job, I was notably impressed!

Here is proof that my future as a photo-journalist is in serious jeopardy (she’s waving at me):




The picture I took of Amy herself is so blurry she cannot be recognized!  All in all it was great fun and a good excuse to hang out with a hundred of my favorite people.


June 19, 2007

From Susan — Lace Style

Filed under: Lace Style Cardigan — lv2knit @ 5:30 pm

I have been out of touch with the world the last few days!  Between soccer, work, and life in general I just have not had the time to write — or anything of interest to write about!

I have also been a bit neglectful of some of my knitting projects of late.  This was brought to my attention by Astrid who commented a couple of days ago about the Lace Style Cardigan.  She had to make a few corrections/changes to the pattern and was thoughtful enough to share them with me.  She did not want me to struggle as she had when and if I got back to this project.  Here are her comments:

A belated Happy Birthday, Susan. What a great present [Plisse]. With that and the Kauni, I don’t blame you for being distracted. When (if?) you do get back to the Lace Style cardigan, I have some comments. (Mine is currently being blocked and awaiting final assembly.) First, there is a mistake in the pattern. Also, the collar could use some revising. The mistake is on the armhole shaping for the left and right fronts. Actually, I spent some time figuring out the pattern repeats so that I could work the fronts and back as one piece up to the armholes because I hate seaming. But that is irrelevant. When you get to the armhole shaping for the fronts, after the initial bindoff, the pattern says to decrease 1 st at each end of row 3 times. It should really be decrease 1 st at armhole side 3 times, as is obvious from the resulting stitch count. I was also not pleased with the way the collar came out when I followed the directions to resume the partial feather and fan pattern, so I changed it and worked the entire 18 collar sts in garter stitch. I also thought it looked better with the 3-needle bindoff at the center back of the collar on the public side rather than on the under side of the collar.

Astrid was also kind enough to share a photograph and allow me to share it with all of you:


What a wonderful, comfy summer cardigan!  I am re-inspired, My Peeps!  But I just started some other small things and the other big thing and the other big thing needs to be ordered…aaargggggggggghhhh!!  Too little time! 😉

June 17, 2007

From Susan — The Whirlwind!!

Filed under: Back Story,Plisse — lv2knit @ 3:04 pm

Thanks to all for your wonderful birthday wishes.  I have been let out of the salt mines long enough to post — actually Sally left this a.m., so any slave labor I endure will be strictly self inflicted!  BUT, let this be said: Sally never subjects me to any tasks that I do not agree to willingly, so I bring it all on myself ;). 

Sally and I spent the weekend visiting yarn shoppes, knitting, sewing, eating, knitting, talking, watching movies, knitting, and eating.  We are an exciting lil duo! 

For my birthday, Sally said she would order this for me. 




Yes, another Hanne!  A new and beautiful Hanne.  I am thrilled!  I just need to decide on a color from her palette of 72 colors — ugh!  That is tough!  I am thinking of making it in the same color as the Peacock Shawl – I love the color and I really won’t be wearing the shawl that often.  Let’s face it, it’s not the most practical garment in the universe.  But Plisse certainly is!  I can see it being easily worn with jeans or skirt.

So, I am still alive and older and wiser.  By leaps and bounds I’m sure, though I am waiting for the “wiser” to present itself!  I am off to finish Peacock and cook a real dinner for my hubby in honor of his special day. 

Happy Father’s Day to our dad on this day.

PS to all of you in the Twin Cities.  This Tuesday evening (June 19, 7-9 pm) is the Minnesota Knitters’ Guild regular meeting.  Our program is a presentation by guest speaker: Amy R. Singer of  She will do a book signing of her book, No Sheep for You and I’m sure talk about many things knitted.  We will have copies of the book on sale for 25% off the cover price = $17 instead of $22.95.  Stop by and meet Amy.

PPS — I just crocheted off the Peacock Shawl.  It is a crumpled up mess, but it is done.  And after all the rip backs, etc., it was very nice to have my stitch count work out perfectly the first time — no problems!  The bind off is done in clusters of three sts so I was worried that I would get to the end and it would be off.  I will block this in the next day or two, but may need to buy a massive number of pins first.  Obviously, film at 8.

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress