theraineysisters knitting and so much more

August 30, 2008

From Susan — Fair Well

Filed under: Back Story,Lyra by Niebling — lv2knit @ 10:55 pm

The state fair is winding down and I had yet to visit with hubby, so we went yesterday — a perfect day weatherwise.  I ate the best thing I’ve ever had there: a huge skewer (a stick, of course) of smoked salmon served with crackers that had cream cheese and chutney.  Whoa!  I could eat that anytime!

I finally found the sweepstakes winner for the “regular” knitting category and this year’s recipient of the Thursdays at Four Award.  We give out a $20 giftcard to Panera’s and invite the winner to visit our knitting group.   

State fair Friday 018 by you.

This is a very traditional shawl knit with cobweb weight yarn.  Quite lovely!  I also checked out Lyra to see if it had been flopped over to its proper position, and yes it had.  I don’t know if others could tell the difference, but it looked better to me. 

Lyra by you.
Old View:
Lyra by you.

While hanging around the table linen case, I got to talking to a very nice woman and found out that she had won the sweepstakes for hardanger:

State fair Friday 008 by you.

It was breathtaking.  The work involved is inbelieveable. 

Now, let’s go from the sublime to the ridiculous…the knitters guild supported a display of knitted and crocheted state fair icons.  Shelley Monitor knitted a Corn Dog (or is it a Pronto Pup?  Hmmm, I always get those mixed up! 😉 ).  Sorry for the poor photo quality:

State fair Friday 012 by you.

And I always have a picture of the prize winning boar, but this will have to do instead:

State fair Friday 015 by you.
The boar is the purple one!!

So ends another summer.  School starts Tuesday.  The Republicans are swarming.  I’m off next week because the Republicans are swarming very close to where I work! 

Hope your holiday is fun filled, and the weather summer-tastic!

August 25, 2008

From Sally — A Pattern of Deception?

Filed under: Aran Wrap Cardigan — Tags: — surly @ 4:58 pm

The Olympics have ended, but I must confess that I didn’t finish my “Olympic project.” The Aran Wrap Cardigan is still tooling along, but it’s a lot of knitting. I have finished the main rectangular piece, so I have the peplum and sleeves left. Here is the obligatory photo; you can see that I have already picked up for the first sleeve and have started the short rows for the sleeve cap.

I know. It’s a bit hard to see because I was trying to squeeze a full view into one photograph. Here is a close up of part of the pattern. I think this shows the color fairly accurately, at least on my monitor. Hmmm. I think I would say that the color falls somewhere in between this photo and the one above.

This sweater, as mentioned earlier in our blog, is in the current issue of Vogue Knitting. Sort of. I say sort of because although charts are needed in order to knit this design, the charts are not in the magazine. Instead, you must either go to Vogue’s website and download them or send a self-addressed stamped envelope requesting the charts.

I understand why Vogue is doing this. At least I think I do. They want to drive visitors to their website. They also want to reduce publishing costs by reducing the number of editorial pages in the magazine. Vogue isn’t alone in this thinking. Other magazines, such as Interweave, have also offered pattern instructions online. As a consumer/magazine purchaser, this bothers me.

1. What happens if I don’t download or request a chart now?

There are ten patterns in the current Vogue that require a trip to the web or the post office. I don’t know about you, but I keep my knitting magazines and often turn to back issues for ideas, inspiration, and patterns. So if one of these doesn’t strike my fancy until three years from now, will the chart still be there? Ask someone who wants to make Sunrise Circle from Interweave. It’s no longer there. If you purchased the Sunrise Circle issue of Interweave in part because you liked that pattern, but didn’t get around to downloading the instructions until now, you in effect paid for something you didn’t receive. I don’t feel that I can count on those downloads being available in perpetuity or until my stash runs out (which will be never).  Edited to add: The Sunrise Circle Pattern is now available for purchase directly from Kate Gilbert on her website ($6).

2. What if I’m on vacation and don’t have my computer?

When I purchase a knitting magazine, I expect to have everything I need to know in order to knit one of the designs right inside, waiting for me. It’s compact and portable.

3. What if I’m someone who doesn’t go online?

Anyone who knows me knows that my laptop and I are surgically attached. But not every knitter is computer literate. So there’s that self-addressed stamped envelope option. I wonder how long that takes? I’m sorry, but I suspect it’s several weeks. By that time, my inspiration might be long gone. I’m fickle. And, again, what happens when I send that envelope five years from now?

What’s the upside?

Well, if the instructions or charts are downloadable, they must be more detailed, right? That was true for Sunrise Circle (and I think was one valid reason the directions were not printed in Interweave). But the charts for the Aran Wrap Cardigan are pretty standard and that is all you get online — there’s not even a schematic (online or in print). Moreover, some of the directions for this project are a bit skimpy, which I suspect (based on comments Angela Hahn has made at her own blog) is due to Vogue’s editing. More detailed instructions for the short rows, for example, might have helped justify slipping some of the content on to the web.

In other words, I’m very wary about this new trend, and I recommend downloading the instructions, charts, etc. for any pattern you see in a magazine that you might even be vaguely interested in.

PS from Susan — I am only just past the second armhole on my Aran Wrap! 🙁

August 21, 2008

From Susan — Why We Save Our Presents for Christmas Morning

Filed under: Back Story — lv2knit @ 4:35 pm

There are two kinds of Christmas people: the ones who open their presents on Christmas Eve and the ones who wait until Christmas morning.  We were Christmas morning people. One year, we decided to honor the other tradition and we opened all of our gifts on Christmas Eve.  The next morning, I was so disappointed: where was everything? Somehow, I had expected presents to be “re-stocked” and that there would be more gifts to unwrap. But of course there were no extra presents. My husband comes from Christmas Eve people, but I refuse to let their tradition taint our home!

What does that have to do with August and the Minnesota State Fair?  Well, yesterday I wrote that the anticipation of wondering if your knitting got a ribbon made it all the more fun.  The state fair posts the results on-line.  A few years ago, the results were available the NIGHT BEFORE the fair opened!  I read the results — I knew how my stuff did before I got there.  Bummer!!  It was not as much fun.  But the temptation was too much for me! 

Well, this morning, the results were up before I left for the fair.  So I could have read them before I left. I DID read about the baking results because my friend entered some cookies and bars — she won a ribbon, BTW:

Linda's Bars3 by you.
The ones with the pink ribbon are hers!

But for my stuff, I knew better than to read about it ahead of time, and I was glad I waited.  I walked in through the back way and right in front of me was this:

Lyra by you.

I just burst into tears!  I was so expecting it to be overlooked. It was entered in the “Table Linens” category and up against very lacy and lovely crochet and tatting. I did not know what to expect, so I was very, very pleased!

PS — Twinsetellen commented that she went to the fair and saw Lyra and wondered why it was displayed with the purl side up (i.e, wrong side up)!  I looked at a close up photo that I took and sure enough, they are displaying the wrong side.  I wondered why it looked “rougher” to me than I remembered! I’ll need to mention this to the fair people when I go back.  Jeesh!  My eyesight needs a tune up…

Around the corner I found my Roslin Hoodie:

Roslin2 by you.
Can you believe the mannequin?  Such a dramatic pose! 😉 

Again, I was very pleased to see that it did so well.  Off in another case was my Mystic Waters Shawl:

MWS by you.

Yes, a second place — which thrilled me especially when I saw how it looked hung up like an old dishrag.  I think this shawl would show better in a richer, more vibrant color, but too late now!  So, those are my results this year.

The big thrill was seeing Kim’s sweater, decked out in all of its child-sized glory:

Kim's Sweater1 by you.
Again, why does it look like it was made for infant Quasimodo?

She made a beautiful Dale of Norway sweater that turned out just perfect — note The Yarnery award!  Kim was there so we hung out and looked around at all the displays.  We were both disappointed when fellow Thursdays at Four knitting peep, Ellie, did not win a ribbon for her darling child’s sweater:

Ellie's Sweater by you.

I fell in love with this petit point Christmas Stocking:

Stocking Petit Point by you.

The judges must have, too, because it was bedecked with ribbons and awards.

After perusing the displays, I checked out the Knitters Guild event outside the Education Building:

Glitter Knitter1 by you.
Knitting Squares at the Fair

I also wanted to see Kris King’s felted bag on display at the Fine Arts exhibit — it is where the real artwork is displayed (painting, sculpture, photography).  OMG, her bag is gorgeous:

Kris King by you.

Wow! Felting as an artform.  Way to go, Kris!  It is absolutely stunning.

So long for today, State Fair — I’ll be back with DH in tow!

State Fair by you.

PS — an answer to a question:  “What exactly is the Sweep Stakes award?” The sweepstakes is awarded by comparing all the blue ribbon winners in the category and then selecting the best of the blue ribbon winners.  It is a thrill and an honor because it is the best of the best!

From Susan — I Respectfully Decline

Filed under: Back Story — lv2knit @ 12:01 am

Last year, at just about this time, some of you may recall that I received an anonymous letter “asking” me to stop entering my knitting in the Minnesota State Fair.  Today’s blog title is my response to that request.

I did enter a few items this year and now wait in anticipation for the “big reveal” tomorrow, as are so many others.  I think that’s the biggest reason to enter: the torture of waiting!  I didn’t enter as many things as last year, because I didn’t consider them “fair worthy.”  It sure seemed like I didn’t get much knitting done this year, but when I perused the blog, I found more than I had remembered:

Icarus Shawl
Adamas Shawl
Alix Shawl
Mystic Waters Shawl
Roslin Hoodie
Saartje’s Booties
Merci Scarf
Lopi Cardigan
Kauni Cardigan
Rudy the Felted Reindeer
Sweetheart Glovelets
Fetching Glovelets
Hemlock Ring Throws x 4
Felted Modular Purse

Started, but…not finished
Roseleaves Tunic
Mitered Cardigan
Hanne Falkenberg Plisse

That’s a really good reason for having a blog: you can look back on your projects and their ongoing progress.  I can’t rely on my memory for this stuff!

There are some fun Knitters Guild activities going on at the fair tomorrow, and I am meeting some of my peeps at the Creative Activities Building early in the a.m.  I’ll do an update with pictures tomorrow!

August 14, 2008

From Susan — Icarus Takes Flight

Filed under: Knitting Tips,Susan's Icarus Shawl — lv2knit @ 9:43 pm

Icarus Shawl on Lettie Front by you.

My Icarus Shawl is done.  I chose it for its beauty and simplicity, but its very simplicity made it a little boring to knit! I did have some fun adding beads a la Mimknits, except I used a crochet hook instead of fishing line.  Mim says that there is a risk of dropping a stitch and having the shawl unravel, but that is really not the case here.  If the bead is placed above a YO, which these are, the stitch cannot unravel.  It will stop at the yarnover and not go further.  I had no trouble using the crochet technique.

There are to my knowledge three ways to add beads while knitting.  Two require that you thread the beads onto your working yarn ahead of time, and one is done by pulling the stitch through the bead as you go.  These pics show the differences:

The following two methods require pre-threading the beads:

Bead placement occurs between two sts.  The fan effect is created by slipping an increasing number of beads in-between.  Beads are placed on both WS and RS rows —

 amuletbag091006.jpg picture by lv2knit
This pattern is available free: Beaded Amulet Bag Pattern

The next method is also done with slipped beads, but the bead is placed in front of the stitch, replacing the stitch so to speak.  The stitch is slipped as to purl with yarn in front, with the bead positioned on the short strand in front of the stitch:

WeddingPurse007.jpg Wedding Purse picture by lv2knit
This pattern is available free: Beaded Wedding Purse

The last method is the one that Mimknits described above — pulling a stitch through the bead as you go.  Here is a picture of the beads and crochet hook that I used for Icarus.  I think my beads could have been quite a bit larger to have more visual impact:

Anyone who has knit lace knows that blocking creates a miracle.  It transforms the lace from a blob to a thing of ethereal and breathtaking beauty.  While knitting lace, it is such an ugly duckling, I throw it on the floor, let the dog lay on it, roll it up and throw it in a corner…but once blocked, I treat it with such reverence!  It becomes a delicate crystal vase that must be carried and handled gingerly — at least for a while!

Here is pre-blocked Icarus:

Icarus Shawl pre-block by you.

The magic of Icarus lies not only in the expected miracle of lace blocking.  There is an intrinsic quality in this pattern that is not apparent as you are knitting it. The routine and repetitive pattern rows become something much, much more in the blocking.  Intricate shapes appear that were not there as you were knitting — really, they weren’t!  For this reason, I highly recommend this pattern for someone’s first lace shawl.  You get a lot of bang for your knitting buck!

Icarus being blocked:

Icarus Shawl lower by you.

The feathers really become feathers!  And now the shawl is something to love!

Icarus Shawl with Peacock by you.

Sally wrote about her Icarus and included a wonderful poem (scroll down to read the poem).  So, now both Rainey Sisters have completed their mandatory Icarus Shawls. 😉

From Both Sisters — Lost in (Cyber-) Space

Filed under: Back Story — Both Sisters @ 7:18 am

That was scary!  We were off the grid for the whole day yesterday, but we are back and glad to be here!  We’ll do a real post tomorrow — an FO revealed!

August 11, 2008

From The Rainey Sisters — A Mini-Knitalong

Filed under: Aran Wrap Cardigan — Both Sisters @ 3:00 pm

This is a mini-knitalong because there are just the two of us in it, but the project itself is not mini — not by a long shot.  We are making the Aran Wrap Cardigan from the Fall 2008 Vogue Knitting (Design #30 by Angela Hahn):

We both liked how it looked in Vogue, but a photograph of the back we found at Angela’s blog completely sold us on this project (pictures included with Angela’s permission):

Another of the front and how it would look if someone (“Not me,” lamented Susan!) had a waist:

This picture shows the construction:

We both love this!  The unusual construction is appealing, but also cause for angst, so we were happy to find Angela’s blog for more photos, construction details, errata and helpful tips.  (We recommend making a visit there — after you finish reading here, of course.) She provided a list of yarns to try as an alternative to the very heavy and very pricey yarn that was used for the Vogue version (Trendsetter Journey, 55 yds/50 gm — ~$300).  One of her suggestions was Peruvia, which Susan had used to make a Hemlock Ring and Rudy, her stuffed and felted reindeer.  It is beautiful yarn — so the quest began!  Instead of spending $300, it is more like $80-100.  Much better for our price range! (Note: we don’t mind spending money on yarn, but when there is a beautiful yarn that will work as well or better than the original and costs half as much — why not?)

The quest was short:  Susan chose Chipotle (#7114) and Sally decided on Bing Cherry (# 7151).  You start knitting with the large rectangle. It is about 24×45 (58) inches.  It’s a lot of knitting, but you are making the fronts, back, and collar all at once. 

The sleeves are picked up and knit down, as is the bottom peplum.  It is possible to use the no-cable needle technique for the travelling sts, though it easier to do the Coin Cable and Reversible Ribbed Cable with a cable needle.

Here is our progress so far:

Susan’s Aran Wrap (scanned to show true color);

And to show progress (the actual yarn is not this red — at all!):

Into the third repeat — Susan is making the larger size and will have to do three more repeats of the pattern to complete the large rectangle 🙁 .  The disadvantage of being “The Big One!”

Sally’s Aran Wrap:

Sally’s yarn, which is red, looks less red than Susan’s in this photo. It’s really not as dark as it looks here.

The true color is similar to Manos del Uruguay Color M, also known as Bing Cherry. It’s a deep, rich red flecked with dark. This yarn is also wonderful to knit with. We really wanted to shy away from the recommended yarn because the designer kept saying how heavy it was, and that brought back bad memories for Sally of her Silver Belle.

P.S. from Sally:

My little assistant is visiting (although he returns home to Colorado tomorrow). He still loves his Cats-and-Mice blanket.

August 8, 2008

From Sally — Premature Blocking

Filed under: Paisley Long Shawl — surly @ 9:01 am

I’ve been nervous about my Paisley Shawl. Despite reader assurances that it “blocks long,” I had a few doubts. For one thing, when I finished the first half of the shawl it was 27 inches wide and only 18 or 19 inches long. When finished, the shawl is supposed to be about 77 inches long and 29 inches wide. I’ve knit a lot of shawls and I know how much lace blocks, but the proportions seemed odd to me. So, I did a “partial block” or “block as you go.” I briefly soaked what I had knit and then did a quickie block. (As you may recall, this shawl is started in the middle on a provisional cast on; I bound off the finished half but left the provisional cast on in place when I did this block.)


It will work. Here is the partial shawl on Lucy (yes, I know — she needs some clothes. Susan keeps telling me that.)

When I finish knitting the entire thing, I’ll do a more exacting block of the entire piece. At least I now know that the knitting is not in vain.

I’ve already undone the provisional cast on and placed the shawl back on the needles so I can knit the other half:

It’s going to look very odd as I continue knitting. One half will be blocked and the other half will be a shriveled mess.

In the meantime, Susan and I are both getting very excited about our fall projects. More on that soon.

August 7, 2008

From Susan — Thumbs Up!

Filed under: Back Story — lv2knit @ 8:22 am

Well, I wore my new outfit yesterday, shawl and all!  My immediate work peeps said nothing 🙁 but others raved.  One woman asked me if I had received a lot of compliments on my beautiful outfit :).  So the verdict is a thumbs up!

I will finish Icarus TONIGHT (or maybe tomorrow 😉 ).  I’ll post pics at that time.  It takes a little time to do that and I am supposed to be heading to work right now.  Tonight is Thursday, so you know where I’ll be — join us at Panera’s if you can!

August 3, 2008

From Susan — All Sewed Up

Filed under: Back Story — lv2knit @ 9:29 pm

I do like that about sewing: start in the morning and done by evening!  I made another of my ‘work dresses’ today.  I bought the fabric to go with a shawl that I have had for several years* that went with NOTHING I owned.  The color looked brownish next to pink and pink next to brown.  It languished — I would take it out every once in a while and wish again that I had something to wear it with.

So, I finally dragged the lil sucker around with me and found the perfect fabric:

Dress by you.

It is white, lineny fabric with embroidery in the exact matching color and 30% off to boot!  I made the dress today and the rest is history:

Dress 004 by you.

Yes, I do realize that all my work dresses look pretty much the same 🙂 . 

When I tried it on with the shawl, it seemed a bit dressy for work, but no matter.  I will either wear it and hope that I do not experience another “lose the pants” moment (“Lady, lose the shawl!”), or save it for dressier occasions (though my social life is rather bereft of such occasions at the moment!).  In any case, I really like the dress — my daughters both said they liked it without prompting — and I like looking at it with the shawl.  So there!

Knitting is progressing well — I am on the 3rd chart out of 4 for my Icarus Shawl.  Chart 4 has 24 rows and then there are 4 finishing rows, so I have about 30+ rows total left to do.  I’m thinking of adding a few beads to the bind off row to add a little bit of pizazz.  Maybe it’s gilding the lily — I’ll have to see.  I’ll post a picture later — maybe when it’s done if it goes quickly.

* in answer to PainterWoman, this is a purchased shawl and is not knit

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