theraineysisters knitting and so much more

August 31, 2007

From Susan — Hemlock Ring-a-Ling

Filed under: Hemlock Ring,Uncategorized — lv2knit @ 12:13 am

I thought it was time to update the progress of the Hemlock Ring.  It is a very fun project — and basically mindless knitting once you get past the center floral motif.  You just do one pattern row (standard feather & fan) once every five rounds.  The rest of the time is straight knitting.

Hemlock8-30-07.jpg picture by lv2knit

With ~15 rounds to go, mine is 38″ diameter — Brooklyn Tweed said his ended up being about 48″.  And of course you can keep on going and make it larger.

The pattern is adapted from the Hemlock Ring Doily Pattern found here with some other vintage doilies.  It would be really cool to knit some of these as actual doilies with the tiny thread that our grandmas used to use.  Or knit this one into a flipping gorgeous shawl:

DanishDoily.jpg picture by lv2knit

What an intriguing way to link to the past.

Tonight was knit night and of course I enjoyed meeting up with the peeps.  [M, thank you for the very sweet note :)].  Two weeks ago, AuntieAnn was in town visiting friends.  She brought them with her to Panera’s and joined our group for the evening.  What nice people knitters are!  From left to right, here are Lisa, Nancy and Ann:

LisaNancyandAuntiAnn.jpg picture by lv2knit

They fit right into the group.  Come back any time!

Several people commented on the fact that they love The Big Book of Knitting which validated my purchase — thanks for your “reviews.”  I think I may do that spiral binding thing for this one. I still have my sock book in the car. I drag it everywhere but forget to get it bound.  Maybe if I drag TWO books around I’ll remember.

Now I must knit!!

PS:  From Susan to Marina: do they scare you cuz they’re ugly or cuz they look hard to do? If it’s the latter, they really aren’t hard: Set up row: do a double yarnover; next row: drop 1st YO, [(k1, p1)x4, k1] in the second YO to create 9 sts.

PS2: I forgot to mention that I am still on the first ball of yarn!!  I will tap into the second fairly soon.

PS3: EeeeK!  I just used my infamous formula for figuring out how much shawl I have knitted and I am only 62% done!  THAT is very depressing ;).  I thought I’d be blocking this by the weekend!

Response to Carol: The How Much Shawl Have I Knitted So Far? formula is a link in our side bar.  All it does is compare the area that you’ve knitted so far to the total area of the finished shawl — in a percentage format.  Sally notes that it under-reports your progress because it is based on an unblocked area whereas the finished measurements are usually blocked measurements.  So, even though I may actually be closer to 70% — I still have a long way to go. 🙂

PS4 (3-12-2014) — Katja actually knit the gorgeous doily with the violin as a shawl or large wrap:

Beautiful — thank you for sharing!! ?

August 29, 2007

From Susan — Three Unexpected Delights

Filed under: Plisse — lv2knit @ 10:37 pm

I left work today with no expectations to speak of.  Just meeting up with a knitting friend for coffee and then home.  I had a lovely time at the Yarnery waiting for my peep, and then a lovely dinner with said peep.  That constitutes Delight #1.

Delight #2: Aforementioned peep told me about a knitting book “must have.”  We rushed back to the Yarnery and I bought:

BigBookofKnitting.jpg picture by lv2knit

I’m sure many of you have seen it, but it was new to me.  It has some very helpful knitting tips and those were gleaned with a very cursory glance, so I look forward to exploring it in more depth.

Delight #3: My Hanne Falkenberg Plisse kit was waiting for me when I got home! 

PlisseKit.jpg picture by lv2knit

Was this the color I would have chosen if I could see them all?  Who knows!?  But I do know that the color is very lovely — it should go with jeans and khakis (I think), and so will be versatile.  Much needed addition to the fall/winter wardrobe — maybe not THIS fall/winter but… :)  I’m not the fastest knitter and I have a few things in queue but this one will jump to the front of the line pretty soon.

What a day brightener!  And I needed one, believe me.  I want to finish up the Hemlock Ring (it’s growing each day) and of course, the Kauni will be perfect for fall.  So, off I go to do my daily knitting chores!!

PS to all of my blog friends:  I luv ya!!  A big cyber-hug to every one of you who commented yesterday.  🙂



August 28, 2007

From Susan — An Open Letter to ???????

Filed under: Back Story — lv2knit @ 5:20 pm

I received an anonymous letter in the mail this week, and it troubled me a great deal.  Though couched in a certain amount of flattery, the letter writer’s purpose was to discourage me from entering my knitting in the fair.  His/her reasoning was that as a “professional” I should consider myself ineligible to participate and that to continue to enter my knitting would be unfair and unethical.

I would prefer to respond directly to the individual by letter or phone.  Unfortunately, because she (I’ll stick to “she,” though I don’t know the writer’s gender) did not provide her name, I will address the letter through this blog, the only public voice I have.  What troubled me most about the letter was that it felt like a personal attack, which I feel was based on inaccurate information and false assumptions.  

First of all, I am not a professional knitter by any stretch of the imagination.  I work full time in a large metropolitan hospital, managing the staff education department.  Knitting is my hobby.

In my forty plus years of knitting, I have been published twice for my knitting designs.  Both cases resulted from contests held for NON-professional knitters.  

The first was a contest for Knitters Magazine in 1999.  Previous afghans had been designed by professional knitting designers.  This was different: they held an open contest for their readers to submit aran afghan squares.   My design was selected along with 23 others.  I did win the contest, which was one of the highlights of my knitting life.  The booklet containing all 24 squares is still in publication; I receive no “royalties” or income from its publication. 

The second instance was also a contest.  In 2000, the editors of what is now Simply Shetland contacted knitting shops that distributed their yarn and asked them to solicit designs from their customers.  My design for Rosemary’s Song was accepted.  Again, I was ecstatic — until I heard that the factory that made the yarn (Dunedin) burned down.  Bummer.  Years later, the design was reworked in different yarn and published in Simply Shetland 2 (2005).  I was asked if I could also design a hat because they needed a small project as a filler piece.  I designed the Aubrey Cap.   Again, I receive no royalties or income from sales of the book.

In 2006, I submitted a couple of designs to Simply Shetland, and they were rejected.  I reworked one of those designs, the Lace Tam, and submitted it to a knitting magazine, along with a couple of other ideas, and they also were rejected.   Hmmm – I do not fare as well against “professional knitting designers.”  Because the tam was already knitted up and the pattern written, I thought I could put it on my blog as a pattern for sale.  The volume of sales is a mere trickle.   Most patterns on our blog are free. 

I have never worked in a knitting store, and I do not sell my handknits.  No one would pay me what they are worth in terms of my investment in time and materials!
If the above describes a professional knitter, then heaven help us!  I would be living on the streets, sleeping on my piles of UFOs, if I had to rely on the paltry “earnings” I have made from my design “career!”  It would be wonderful to be able to make a living as a knitting designer, but I just do not have the time (or apparently the talent).  I find far too many exciting projects designed by others to take the time to design my own, though inspiration may strike in the future — who knows?

I do teach knitting classes.  I started teaching classes as a way to find and connect with other knitters and to share my passion for knitting.  This was before my Thursday knitting peeps and blog came about.  I love to teach knitting, but I do it to support my yarn habit, not my family!  It is totally unreliable as a source of income — I don’t have the time to teach very often, and the classes are cancelled on a fairly regular basis.  

Teaching a few knitting classes does not make me ineligible to participate in the fair.  I know several people who regularly teach classes and enter items in the state fair.  I know people who work in knitting stores, teach and write/sell patterns, many of whom enter items in the fair.   This type of income is called “hobby income” for a reason.  Many people support their expensive hobbies with a little pin money.  It is clearly not my means of livelihood.  When I claim this on my tax form, my accountant just shakes his head and laughs because the amount is well, laughable.

I know I won a lot of ribbons this year — no one was more surprised than I.  One of the main things the judges look at is technical expertise.  I have learned a lot from the judges’ comments over the years.  I work really hard to perfect my knitting technique, through a great deal of trial and error, and continue to learn and refine my craft.  When do you get “there?”  I dunno — I’m certainly not there yet, mes amies.  There’s a lot to learn and new heights to reach.

I did stop entering my knitting for a few years, but the fair was just not as fun to visit.  So I started entering again.  Sometimes I have a good year and, just as often, a not-as-good year.  Each year, different things are entered by an array of extremely talented people.  It is always fun to see which projects get the ribbons.  It’s like opening presents at Christmas for me.   It is a fun and exciting time, no matter where the ribbons fall.

I’m sorry to bend your ears for this long.  I had a lot to say and no one specific to say it to.  I do feel blessed that I have been able to find a meaningful outlet for my creativity and to feel successful at a hobby I truly love.

I know many of you support me and I appreciate that support more than you know.  I do not want that support to be directed against the anonymous sender of the letter.  I will assume her intentions were honorable, though misinformed.  So please refrain from making comments against her.  I also do not assume that I will have changed the writer’s mind, but I hope I gave her something to think about. 

…And, please consider signing your name next time.


August 26, 2007

From Sally — Lucy Models Silver Belle

Filed under: Knitting Tips,Silver Belle — surly @ 6:34 pm

I finished the right sleeve and yoke of my Silver Belle. I was very concerned that it would be wa-a-a-a-a-a-y too large, so I crudely basted it together and tried it on.

It fit! The sleeve was even the correct length. I still have a few concerns.

1. It’s a very heavy sweater because the yarn itself is so heavy, especially with all of the cabling. There’s no shoulder seam to give additional support, so I am hoping that when I pick up and knit the collar it will feel as if it has more shape and structure.

2. Am I just way too old to wear this?

3. Will it be flattering? The neck will end up being fairly low.

4. Am I just way too old to wear this?

5. Is there a reason there are no photographs of the back of this sweater in the magazine or the download?

6. Are there no photographs of the back because I’m too old to wear this?

Wear what you are asking. Here are the photos. This one shows the front (and a lot of Lucy, that little trollop).

Here is the back. The middle two 4-stitch cross cables are on holders; they will go up the back with the two yoke halves being seamed there.

Looking at this, you may be wondering why I was so concerned about the size. Well, in this photograph I’ve unpinned the left half of the peplum. Look how far it goes around Lucy without being stretched in any way. Imagine how big it was when both halves were able to do that.

Sewing the peplum draws it in magically without looking puckered or gathered. This means one could play around a lot with the sizing. The Medium, which I am making, is supposed to be 36″ buttoned. It would be easy to adapt the Medium peplum to a size in between the Medium and the Large by adding a little length to the yoke between the sleeve and the neck shaping and then sewing it to fit. For example, if you wanted to make it 38″ around, you would add 1/2 an inch to the yoke before beginning the neck shaping. (It’s only 1/2 an inch because if you do that on the right and left, you add an inch to the fronts and an inch to the backs, giving a total of 2 extra inches.)

For something completely different, look at the luscious Zephyr Wool-Silk lace weight that arrived in the mail yesterday. (Who could have done this to me? I have no enemies.) It’s Cinnabar. I’m debating between two shawls for this yarn.

From Susan:

Many of you are rightly interested in the new design from Ruth Sorensen (to find the pattern, click on ‘Strikning’, ‘Patterns for Sale’, and then on the British flag):

LeafCardigan.jpg picture by lv2knit

Michelle has started a knitalong for this beautiful cardigan and I told her I would help advertise.  Here is the link.  I would join up in a minute, but I can’t take on any more projects right now.  I’m ::blub::blub:: drowning!

August 25, 2007

From Susan — Sucked into the Vortex

Filed under: Hemlock Ring,Uncategorized — lv2knit @ 10:46 pm

Man! I didn’t even see it coming!  Flashing lights or a siren would be helpful ;)!  I was sucked into the vortex so quickly that resistance was futile — and I had no way to call out for help!  That’s my excuse anyway.  So this is a quick view to show how the obsessed knitters of the world spend their afternoons!

Hemlock8-26-07.jpg picture by lv2knit

And this also explains why I have not opened the Cat Bordhi sock book ;). I don’t know why this struck such a chord with me but I do think the pictures of Jared sipping coffee with the Hemlock draped so beautifully on his lap may have had something to do with it.  It also made me want a cuppa.  On to the F&F portion.

From Susan — Happy Birthday to You….

Filed under: Back Story,Updates — lv2knit @ 5:18 pm

This weekend marks the 35th birthday of The Yarnery!  Woo Hoo!

Yarnery.jpg picture by lv2knit

They celebrated with a bit of fanfare.  Kim and I heard the word “freebie” and dashed right over!  I did take part in a small amount of stash enhancement.  I am not one to buy for the sake of buying; I do have specific projects in mind.

Purchases.jpg picture by lv2knit

The red is Cascade 220 in Ruby (color #9404) for the Chinese Lace Pullover.  As I said before, I see it in Chinese lacquer red and this is it.  This yarn is heavier than what is called for, which I will take advantage of by knitting a slightly smaller size (?).  We’ll see once the swatching begins*.  (The book I purchased just to have).

That darned Brooklyn Tweed dude sucked me into this! 

Hemlock.jpg picture by lv2knit

It’s a huge doily, turned into a feather and fan throw.  I could not help myself!  It is made using the very heavy weight Cascade Eco Wool and size 10-1/2 needles.  BT’s color is taupier than mine, which is more of an oatmeal shade (color#8016).  There were several colors that I liked so it was hard to choose.

We also received a free gift with purchase :):

FreeGift.jpg picture by lv2knit

Very cute thrummed mittens.  These should be fun to knit once winter draws nigh. 

So now the guilts are starting to set in.  It is very tempting to start one of these new projects.  I do have two whips in process, so I really should work on those… 😉

I still have 0% voice.  It was so funny on Thursday at Panera’s.  I went up to the counter to order.  My knitting peep, Linda, was at the counter already and spoke up for me, “She can’t talk.”  The guy says, “Oh, that’s no problem.  I know sign,” and starts doing sign language!  Linda and I just stared at the dude.  “She can’t TALK — but she CAN hear!!”  Jeez, we laughed!

And that brings me full circle to last Thursday’s post.  I really appreciate all of your kind words and encouragement.  Sharing this blog with Sally has helped me strive with my knitting and has exposed me to too many new projects, many great ideas and wonderful uber-cyber-friends.    

* I started swatching 🙁 — I’m so naughty!

August 23, 2007

From Susan — The Minnesota State Fair is HERE

OMG — check out this Big Guy from the Minnesota State Fair:

WhattaBoar.jpg picture by lv2knit

I’ll try not to boar you any longer!  I just had to go to the Fair today, come rain or shine (it was VERY rainy 🙁 ) and despite the fact that I was sick.  I had entered multiple knitted items in the fair and needed wanted to know how they did.  Attending on the first day is a ritual for me.

Okay.  I am just going to spill it, and you can decide for yourself if I am as big a pig as my friend here, but I entered ten things in the fair. They all received ribbons: 6 first place, 3 second place and 1 third. I also won the Sweepstakes. 

So, what did I enter?  Here are two items: My silk Diamond Fantasy Shawl and Camilla Gloves:

DFSandGloves.jpg picture by lv2knit
I entered the gloves last year and got 2nd place.  If you do not get a blue ribbon, you can re-enter the item. I should have quit while I was ahead ;).  I was extremely pleased that the shawl won something because I did not expect it at all.

I also put in the little lace top from Vogue Knitting that I made for my youngest daughter:

VogueLaceTop.jpg picture by lv2knit
She won’t even wear it, but at least it got a ribbon!

Next are a pair of socks I made right before the fair.  I wasn’t sure that they would win anything because so many very talented people knit socks…lots and lots of socks — they did get second place even though you can’t see the ribbon:

Socks.jpg picture by lv2knit
The pattern is from “More Sensational Socks” and they are knitted with Fortissima Socka Bamboo in Color 07 Ocean.

I also threw in one of my Lace Tams for the heck of it and was stunned it got a BLUE ribbon:

LaceTam.jpg picture by lv2knit
It is knit in Rowan Silk Wool DK.

I finally got the zipper sewn into Eris and it received a blue ribbon:

EriswithRibbon.jpg picture by lv2knitEris.jpg picture by lv2knit
I struggled mightily with the zipper pulls.  I cut off the ones that came with the zipper — perhaps an OOPS! — and then made 457 attempts at “pretty” zipper pulls.  It was crazy. I finally ended up using some beads I already had and attached them with wire wrapping.

My Peacock Shawl did very well and I was surprised and very pleased about that.  I know a lot of people knit fabulous shawls so I knew the competition would be tough:

PeacockShawl.jpg picture by lv2knit

The Modular Tote also did well:

ModularTote.jpg picture by lv2knit

Another total surprise was Ballerina.  I finished Ballerina last year but did not have a category to put it into, so I entered it this year in the plain knitting cardigan category.

Ballerina.jpg picture by lv2knit
You can see it also won the knitter’s Guild Award, but I have no idea how that is determined.  And I’m not sure what it means either! 

When I got into the building I started looking for my things and could not find Oregon anywhere.  It was not in any of the main knitting cases.  Sometimes they place knitting in odd places as part of a theme (i.e., Norwegian Sweaters with rosemaling, etc.), so I started searching high and low. I found Oregon between two gorgeous quilts:

OregonSweepstakes.jpg picture by lv2knit
Oregon surpassed all my expectations.  I was hoping it would do well because it was such a thorn in my side for so long and was so darned much work!!  I was beside myself!  It was thrilling to see those ribbons, I must admit.

I was equally thrilled to see that my dear friend, Kim, won a blue ribbon for her gorgeous Cats and Mice mini-afghan:

KimsBlankie.jpg picture by lv2knit
When I got there, the little cats were standing on their heads, so I asked them to flip it around — and they did!  I knew this darling blankie would do well.  I’m so proud of Kim.  It is an Alice or Jade (?) Starmore design.

I’m also VERY proud of my friend Linda who won second place for her cookies. 

LGsCookies.jpg picture by lv2knit 
She is a great cook and very deserving!  The only bummer was that my other friend did not get a ribbon for her ethnic bread, but she will try again next year.

Now, could I do a state fair post and leave out the infamous Sock Monkeys — au contraire, mes amies!  Our lil sock monkey fiend friend has been hard at work all year exploiting perfecting the sock monkey concept:

SockMonkeyChair.jpg picture by lv2knit
And perhaps more practical for you:

SockMonkeyHat.jpg picture by lv2knit

All in all a great time — until I got laryngitis.  I mentioned that I was sick and it did go into my chest/throat.  I hope this bout is shorter than last time (a full week!). 

I’m sure by now you are thoroughly bored, but are you as boared as this 1200 pounder?

Boar.jpg picture by lv2knit

And I know what you are thinking — yes, they are HUGE!!

August 22, 2007

From Sally — No Longer Just a Sleeve and That’s No Yoke

Filed under: Knitting Tips,Silver Belle — surly @ 1:26 pm

Does the fact that I am now shunning myself help? I thought not.

I finished the sleeve on my Silver Belle and have just started the yoke. The pattern tells you to cast on stitches for the front at the beginning of one row, work across, and then cast on the stitches for the back of the yoke at the beginning of the next row. Instead, I did a provisional cast on of the front stitches, worked across the sleeve, and then did a provisional cast on for the back at the end of the same row. (I also made sure that I started the yoke in sync with the cables on the sleeve; I wanted to make sure I was crossing all of the four-stitch cables on the same row.)

I did that because I wanted both the front and the back yoke to start on the same row. I also wanted to be able to do a three-needle bind off for the side seam there (using the live stitches after getting rid of the provisional cast on once I’m all finished with the knitting). It makes a cleaner, less bulky seam which I thought would be useful because this is relatively heavy yarn. (I’m using, in answer to some questions asked earlier, Debbie Bliss’s Cashmerino Aran to knit this. It was the yarn called for by the pattern and I even had it in my stash.)

I use a crocheted provisional cast on in which you crochet the stitches directly onto your needle with waste yarn. Here’s a poor photograph — it’s hard to take a picture with one hand while doing something.

Eunny Jang has some good directions for how to do it here; she even has photographs that are in focus. Imagine that! Scroll down to Invisible Crochet Cast On I. When using this technique for a provisional cast on, you use a nice smooth waste yarn and then start knitting with the project yarn.

Here is the sleeve with the crocheted provisional cast on stitches waiting to be knit. (In order to use the provisional cast on here, I have to break the yarn and start with new yarn at the beginning of the yoke.)

Here is the sleeve with the beginning of the yoke. Not much to see yet.

Finally, a close up of the front stitches and the provisional cast on.

August 19, 2007

From Susan — My Klowny Kauni

Filed under: Susan's Kauni Cardigan — lv2knit @ 2:01 pm

I have been knitting on the sleeve a bit. I think what is going to happen is that one sleeve will be all blue and red, while the other will be yellow/orange and green. Each sleeve will match up with a different part of the sweater. I will cut quite a colorful figure in my new sweater.

Sleeve8-19-07002.jpg picture by lv2knit

I’ve also been trying to knit on the garter stitch squares of the Modular Purse while reading Harry Potter. I’m only on Book 3 (The Prisoner of Azkaban) and, since reading takes away from knitting, I’m attempting to do both at once. The only trouble is positioning the book properly.

It is a very dark and dreary day here today. The news is full of stories about flooding in southeastern Minnesota. My DH is from there and his dad still lives down there. Their old house surely flooded because it did so 12 years ago during that year’s “100 Year Flood.” This time the flooding is much worse.

PS — Now I’m on Book #4!  Woo Hoo!  However, as you all know, they get LOTS longer from this point on!  And my knitting is not growing very quickly either.

PS2 to Connie — I know that Stephanie (aka Yarn Harlot) said she is going to match up her Kauni Sleeves and I say, “Go for it!”  However, I intentionally do not want mine to match.  I like the look of different sleeves.

PS3 — My hubby’s family is not in the flood area now — their old neighborhood was just on the news and it got hit quite hard.

ps4: The Harry Potter audiobooks are over $50 each AND the copies at the library are back ordered for months.  I had already thought of audiobooks since I have a long commute every day, but the $$$$$$$$$$ just did not seem worth it.  I’ve been reading fairly consistently, but a part of me does not want them to end… 🙁

August 18, 2007

From Susan — Does Susan Knit Anymore?

Filed under: Modular Purse — lv2knit @ 8:55 am

The answer: not much, apparently!  I have not been doing enough knitting to brag post about so Sally has been doing the heavy lifting.  I have done a little knitting on the Modular Purse I am working on for my class at Amazing Threads.  Here is part of the first large square:

FirstSquare.jpg picture by lv2knit

I did it differently this time and it is much improved.  I started with a provisional cast on and then joined the last small square to the first using a ssk (slip last st of the row you are working, slip corresponding provisional stitch and join like a[n] ssk). 

SquareJoin.jpg picture by lv2knit

In the original pattern, you do a knitted cast on and then seam the last square to the first.  It was bulky and unattractive (at least mine was!).  This join is seamless and when you’re done, you’re done!

I was very enthused about knitting the purse WHILE making the large Modular Tote.  However, it is not so enthralling now.  I’m not really in the mood, and I have many other things I would prefer to be working on.  Like this:

plisse.jpg picture by lv2knit

As mentioned in a previous post, Sally said she would get this for me for my birthday — I just could not pick a color.  Yesterday, I asked her to go on line with me and help me pick one out.  We pulled up the color cards and BOTH of us said immediately, “Color 98 jumps out at me.”  It’s called Lagoon:

ColorCard2.jpg picture by lv2knit

Since I really don’t care which color it is, just that it’s pretty, I ordered #98 on the the spot.  Thank you, Surly!!

Surly & I also ordered and received enough Rowan Calmer in off white for both of us to knit Whisper:

whisperpattern.jpg picture by lv2knit

This is a summer sweater so it will have to wait until Spring.  And, of course there is the Chinese Lace Pullover which I plan on making next in Cascade 220 in a Chinese lacquer red.

I am also working very slowly on my Kauni sleeve.  Nothing to show there as yet but soon — ???? ;)  So, I’m not making any progress on anything but I sure have BIG PLANS for the future! ;)  Am I biting off more then I can chew — but, of course!

PS to Marina: You are CORRECT!  I do have the Large Lace Collar kit from Sweden — that will come after Chinese Lace Pullover and will be my fall knitting project.

PS2 to Elizabeth: The jacket is a Hanne Falkenberg design called Plisse.  I purchased the kit from Cucumberpatch.  Sorry I did not include the details :).


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