theraineysisters knitting and so much more

September 30, 2008

From Susan — Knit Out 2008

Filed under: Back Story — lv2knit @ 10:19 pm

Hi, everyone!  It has been a while, but we are still here.  My work life is hell, my home life busy, my knitting languishing, BUT I did get to Knit Out last Sunday at Brookdale Mall.  Ahh, what can I say about Brookdale?  It appears to be on its last legs!  Stores have closed, food vendors have disappeared, but lots of knitters showed up and we had a ball.

Here you see Shelley, Michele and Paula, waiting to answer questions at the Knitting Experts table — and there were some!  Several people brought their troublesome knitting projects along and sought advice.  Our three experts could handle anything!

A lot of people hung around, knitting and chatting. 

That’s what my knitting trio did: Mary, Emily and I sat and knitted and showed people what knitting is all about.  We each brought projects to show off the diversity that is knitting: lace, fair isle, beadwork, cables.  A lot of people stopped by our table to gawk and talk.  There were many familiar faces and some new friends, too.

Guild volunteers were also set up to teach people to knit.  The display was very cute (sorry, no picture) with stacks of lovely colored yarn, each skein with a set of needles.  They were given to new knitters for free with their lesson so they could continue at home.  This little knitter-to-be was adorable:

She worried me because she was eating Cheetos the whole time she was there — non stop!  You know what ‘Cheetos fingers’ look like: bright orange paste!  She was sweet and darling, but did not speak English so we couldn’t tell her not to touch the knitting (the aforementioned lace, beadwork, fair isle etc.!!!!).  She never did, so my worries were unfounded, but that has never stopped me from worrying before! 😉

Now, if you are a woman of a certain age, you feel the loss of a great actor and beautiful man.  In his day, Paul Newman was George Clooney and Brad Pitt rolled into one, and then some!  OMG!  Paul used to visit Minnesota regularly to race at the Brainerd Speedway.  My former boss met him and has a picture with him, his arm draped around her shoulders.   ::Swoon::

Paul Newman

I am slowly working on the second sleeve to my Aran Wrap.  Then I tackle the peplum.  Fall is here and I am into my sweaters, so I better get going!

P.S. From Sally:

Here’s a photo of Mr. Newman that I am rather fond of.

September 24, 2008

From Susan — We Got Nuthin’

Filed under: Back Story — lv2knit @ 1:40 pm

And what do we do when we got nuthin’?  Dredge up the past, of course! 

Last week at knitting night I was talking to Kim about the Best of Knitters Jackets for Work and Play  that Cathy had brought with her.  In it is a jacket made from Cynthia Helene Kid Mohair.  It brought back a rush of memories about probably my favorite project of all time: The Arch Motifs sweater designed by Sandy Black.  Sally and I fell in love with this pattern in the early 90s, originally knit in Rowan Kid Silk (not Kidsilk Haze, not Kidsilk Aura, but the original Kid Silk, with nothing added to the title).  

From this book:

I made it my mission to make this sweater.  One draw back.  In its original yarn, it would cost $300 — and that was 15 years ago — whew!  A lot to chew on.  Sally took the plunge and knit hers in the original yarn.  I made mine out of Cynthia Helene Kid Mohair, color Mink.  I did use Kid Silk for the bobbles:


I loved every stitch, every bobble, every scroll, every minute of making this sweater.  It was a labor of love from start to finish and then some.  Even looking at it now, I feel the same rush of “I think I love you” welling up in the background! 

But every love story has its dark side….this sweater is LONG. 

Even on me.  It overwhelms the wearer, even a 5’10” wearer!  It is a one size fits few, so you can imagine this behemoth on Sally’s petite frame!  (“Sally, I know you’re in there somewhere, call out so we can find you!”).  It feels somewhat dated, too, like an 80’s fashion statement.

I have considered shortening it by removing a full repeat of bobbles (windows?) or removing the gorgeous scrolled hem.  But somehow I have not been able to bring myself to do it.

It is one of those sweaters that you make for the sheer joy of the knitting, but not necessarily the wearing.  I may try to wear it again this winter — it is as warm as it is long!  But, if not, I’ll just wax nostalgic now and again.

From Sally: Help — I’ve put on this sweater and I can’t get out!

I loved making the Arches sweater. I loved every stitch. I remember when and where we found the pattern. I remember hoping that if I made it, I’d look like the model. Ah, delusions.

I have worn it a few times, but not in years. As Susan said, it’s long — and I’m not tall. But it’s also 50″ around, truly a one-size-fits-none. It’s down to my knees and I think two of me could wear it. But the pattern is so lovely. I’ll never regret making it even though I can’t imagine ever wearing it.

Here are some close up photos of the Arches and the Scroll Pattern at the neck:

It’s beautiful.

September 17, 2008

From Susan — Lettie’s Big Day

Filed under: Aran Wrap Cardigan,Icarus Shawl — lv2knit @ 9:50 pm

Lettie — my headless alter ego — is used to hanging out alone every day, gazing out of the window as the world passes her by.  Not today, though!  Today, Lettie got to get out, see the world, meet new people, hold her head -oops- never mind!

Lettie was a lovely addition to the silent auction.  What a show stopper!  My shawl did about as I expected — it sold for $100, which was the low end of what I hoped it would bring in, but certainly not embarassing.  With the economy taking a nosedive, I know people are spending cautiously.  I met the woman who bought Icarus, and she was thrilled and knew she had gotten a bargain.  She will wear the shawl to a wedding over a black dress. 

“Isn’t this the same old picture she keeps showing of her $##$%% Icarus??”
“No, it just looks the same.  The background is different!”
“Oh, yeah, I guess I didn’t notice — are we finally done with this thing?”

Last night was the September Knitters Guild meeting.  What a fabulous evening!  We had at least 100 people if not more.  The room was packed.  There were probably about 20 (?) people who brought their items to show and share.  I was the MC and runway model (not), though I did walk the displays up and down the aisle so everyone could get a closer look.   It’s always great fun to hear what the judges have to say — we hiss and boo in all the right places.  We oooh and aaah in all the right places.  The knitting was inspiring and the knitters gracious and generous in their appreciation of everyone’s efforts. 

I received 5-6 shawls for the Wrapped in Care program and gave away two more free shawl kits.  Thanks, Shelley’s Mom, for donating the yarn!!  I ran into Dee today and she still cannot believe the generosity of knitters.  She has been giving the shawls away and they truly are appreciated.

Aran Wrap Cardigan

In response to Madeleine: Yes, we did not bind off and cast on for the armholes.  We left the sts live on the first half of the opening and did a provisional cast on the second half of the opening.  It is a half st off on the half with the provisional cast on.  It is only noticeable where there is a transition from knit to purl or vice versa.  It is there, and it is slightly noticeable, but we thought from previous experience that it would be okay.



PS to Astrid: congratulations on your many wins!  Woo Hoo!  I just keep my ribbons, but don’t really display them.  I have a small corkboard in my itty bitty sewing room that I used to pin them on, but now I just keep them in a basket.

September 15, 2008

From Sally — Finished. Finally.

Filed under: Aran Wrap Cardigan — surly @ 11:20 am

My Aran Wrap Cardigan is finally completely finished. I thought I had finished it several days ago, but decided the sleeves were a tiny bit too short. I hate feeling as if I need to tug my sleeves down all the time, so I sighed heavily and then added a couple of inches. It was the right thing to do.

It’s very hot and muggy in our nation’s capital today; it’s definitely not the right weather for throwing on my Aran Wrap Cardigan and wandering around town. I did try to take some photographs of myself wearing it, despite the heat, but none of them turned out. Trust me. (Not the fault of the sweater; it’s just hard to get decent photographs of yourself even with a tripod — especially after the “bubble ass incident.”) If I ever get a competent assistant in the house, I’ll post some that show how it fits. In the meantime, here are the requisite sweater-on-a-flat-surface shots (the color is very true in these):

And a closer look at how the large cable flows across the back and sleeves:

I’ve now turned back to one of my other one-armed wonder sweaters: Ode to Joy. I hope to have that finished within a few days.

September 9, 2008

From Susan — Laggin’ and Draggin’

Filed under: Aran Wrap Cardigan — lv2knit @ 11:28 pm

I finally finished the large rectangle portion of the Aran Wrap — as Sally forges on to the finish line!  Oh well, there is nothing I can do but keep on pluggin’.

Here is my Wrap, draped ever so elegantly over the back of my couch:

Yes, it looks enormous!  But it isn’t — it fits perfectly!  The shoulders are the proper width apart.  The back seems short, though, so I may need to add a repeat (more knitting for moi 🙁 ) to the peplum and I already know I’ll be adding to the sleeves.  But I do not want this to look skimpy and too short.  Too short in this case will highlight one’s derriere and we know what that looks like 😉 .

It is a really brilliant design.  I hope it looks good when it is done!  I am still excited with this project and will knit both sleeves before tackling the peplum so they are not the last phase.

I am re-visiting a project from the not too distant past — I will post more once it starts to get somewhere.  I need something as a take-along and the Aran Wrap ain’t it!

September 5, 2008

From Sally — It’s a Wrap (almost)

Filed under: Aran Wrap Cardigan — surly @ 11:24 am

I’m finished with the Aran Wrap Cardigan except for the dreaded last sleeve, which is often my downfall.  I do plan to pick it up today.  If I don’t, it’s liable to accidentally slip into my infamous languish pile along with so many other one-armed sweaters.  

Here are some photos of its current progress.

I will also need to block it. I think my base rectangular piece is a little too narrow; I want to block it wider so that I get more length in the back. So far, however, I am fairly pleased with how it’s turning out. I think it will be a great sweater to throw on in cool weather instead of a light jacket.

P.S. OMG! I just read Elise’s comment, and she’s right — the angle of this photograph, and the inadvertent inclusion of a flower pot, makes it look as if I have an enormous bubble-shaped ass. I have never laughed so hard in my life. I thought about pulling the photo, but then thought that everyone else probably needs a good laugh, too.

September 4, 2008

From Susan — “It’s not you, it’s me.”

Filed under: Presto Chango — lv2knit @ 9:15 am

OMG!  It’s true!  We’ve all heard this ‘excuse’ at one time or another — from some “bad boy” that we hoped to lasso and tame against all odds.  But what if the odds were against it from conception?  Hmmm….gives one a little pause, n’est-ce pas?

A recent StarTribune included an article from the Washington Post called, “Gene in Men Linked to Marital Discord.”  A study of 1,000 hetereosexual couples and the presence of a gene variant (called an allele) were linked to marital discord.  Men with one or two copies of the allele were more likely to experience marital discord and divorce — 40% of all men fall into this category.  Men without the allele were more likly to be devoted and loyal.  This is all beyond my scientific capabilities, but I can sure name some men with the ‘bad boy’ gene!!

Presto Chango:
I finished the second “boyish” panel of the Presto Chango.  I think it turned out okay.  The yarn is very nice, but I like yarn that knits like yarn – not string.  It has the hand of soft cotton, which I am not fond of knitting.  But it is nice and soft – and easy care – for a baby.

The cabled panel was taken directly from the Aubrey Cap (from Simply Shetland 2), stitch for stitch.  No thinking involved!

I am now working in earnest on the Aran Wrap and still loving this project.  I will never catch Surly, but then again, I have to knit a lot more! 🙁

September 2, 2008

From Susan — FOs to Avoid FOs?

Filed under: Back Story,Current Projects,Presto Chango — lv2knit @ 4:17 pm

I am definitely exhibiting avoidance behavior!  I started two small projects in the past couple of days.  I’m not sure if I am avoiding the Aran Wrap Cardigan or the immediate comparison of my slow progress to Sally’s. 

I wanted to make a sweater for a co-worker who is expecting in November.  I was thinking of making the Baby Peapod from Interweave but I had it confused with “Presto Chango.”  I like the idea of this sweater because you can make the front panel however you want so it will work for either a boy or a girl.  We know my work peep is expecting a boy, but I made the standard lacey panel to be ready for Baby #2 if it’s a girl AND to gauge the panel’s size.  I’ll make a more boyish, cabled panel also.  But what was I thinking with white ??

I adapted this pattern to avoid seams.   I have nothing against seams per se, but they are bulky in worsted weight yarn on a baby’s small sweater. 

Presto Chango in Berroco Comfort (2 skeins), Size 7 needles

My adaptations:
Cast on the stitch count for the full back and both sleeves using a provisional cast on. Work to the neck opening and add a ball of yarn to work the top of both fronts at once. Once the sleeves are done, place sleeve sts on four separate lengths of waste yarn: right sleeve front, right sleeve back, left sleeve front, left sleeve back. Now join the fronts and the back: knit across left front, back, right front. Knit back and forth across these three sections until proper length; decrease per directions before switching to seed stitch at bottom border. Graft sleeves together or use a 3-needle bind off — I grafted mine.

One More State Fair Story
I got a phone call from a man stating he was a Minnesota state fair official.  He said he needed to verify that “Lyra” was crocheted.  I told him it was knitted, not crocheted.  He said my ribbons would be confiscated because it was not crocheting.  I told him that the lot specifically included knitting, tatting, and crocheting, to which he responded, “Oh, then that’s okay.  That means you will also win a bottle of wine!”  Huh??!!  WTF?  A bottle of wine??  Then he said, “You can pick it up at _______’s [my neighbor’s] house.”   Man, he got me on that one!  Whew!  Anyway, he delivered a lovely bottle of wine and homemade bread to my house — I think to make up for the heart attack he gave me!   So, I made the Winecozy from for my crazy neighbor!

I used some yarn I had on hand.  I think it looks better in the picture than it does in person!

Another excuse to use my pom pon maker!!!

I’ll make the cabled baby panel tonight and then I’ll work on the Aran Wrap in earnest — and, have a better excuse for being so far behind Surly ! 😉

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