theraineysisters knitting and so much more

December 31, 2008

From Both of Us — Happy New Year

Filed under: Updates — Both Sisters @ 7:52 pm

Have a beautiful and Happy Knit Year!

December 28, 2008

From The Rainey Sisters — Wrapping Up Another Year of Knitting

Filed under: Completed Projects,Sweetheart Glovelets — Both Sisters @ 2:35 pm

From Both
It’s been a great year, but too short — where did 2008 go?  The holidays have been crazy busy, but have afforded a bit of knitting time as well.  Here are some updates…

From Sally
Susan has had a more productive holiday knitting season than I have.  My ambitious plans to knit many many pairs of gloves were dashed when my de Quervain’s started to act up again.  I think it was knitting a pair of gloves for my son out of some sock yarn that is 50% cotton and 50% wool.  My hands have never liked knitting with cotton, which is why I rarely use cotton yarn.  Knitting on tiny needles with a deadline was just.not.good.  His were the only gloves I was able to finish before Christmas.  I’m back to sleeping in my splints.  The good news is that knitting with wool yarn doesn’t seem to be bothering me.  To be on the safe side, though, I’m limiting the amount of time I spend knitting.  I don’t want to have to give it up entirely for several months as I had to earlier this year.

As for the gloves I knit for my son — he likes them!  He wanted something colorful and a bit wild.  He picked the yarn out himself (from my vast stash).  (I’m giving you multiple photos to make up for only having one project. Pathetic, n’est-ce pas?).  Without further ado:


Is it just me or do his gloves look like they belong to a sock monkey?  Susan says, yes!

Here’s one shot of the gloves I’m making for my daughter. I’m using Mountain Colors Bearfoot in Chocolate. It’s a deep, lovely brown but difficult to photograph. The pattern is Knotty Gloves by Julia Mueller. In a rare act of conformity, I only made one change to the pattern.

As written, when you get to the top of the hand you’re supposed to start with the index finger and then work your way to the little finger. Because the little finger typically sits slightly lower on the hand than the other fingers, I did the little finger first. Then I knit three plain rounds before doing the other fingers. I just find gloves fit better if I account for little finger’s position.

From Susan
I did some gift knitting and am happy to report modest success.  Remember the Fetching Glovelets for lil daughter in school colors?

She LOVED them — I mean loved them big time!  Woo Hoo!  A home run with these.  She said they are the best thing I ever made for her!  And she wants a pair of Fetching Glovelets for her best friend.  Feels pretty good.  I also gave my SIL and niece a pair and they loved them, too.

Jena picked out yarn — cheap yarn from my stash, so I whipped up the pair for her little friend last evening (these are such a quick knit!):

Bernat Denim Style and US 7 needles

I made a pair of glovelets for my older daughter, also.  Her reaction was difficult to gauge — I think she liked them (?).  They are a hybrid of the Sweetheart Glovelets from The Rainey Sisters and the Plum Blossom Gloves from Joanna Ryan.  They are knit from one skein of Misti Alpaca Worsted (!?!!) on size 2.25 mm needles.  They are soft as butter.

Black is impossible to see!

Here are the original gloves, which I plan on making some time in the New Year:

Plum Blossom Gloves by Joanna Ryan

I also have been working on another “Ripple Me This” bag from Fall 2008 Knitters as a class sample.  I love the colors for this bag.  I used Ella Rae Toast and Ecru (2 skeins each).  The yarn is that natural sheep color that reminds me of the sweaters from Peru.

I made the rippled handles this time and thought they turned out pretty cute:

Ella Rae felts with a boucle appearance which I find attractive.  When this lil sucker dries, I’ll sew on the handles.  I had absolutely no yarn leftover! 

Another pic with handles!

PS from Susan — one of the most unusual gifts I received this year was a copy of the 1978 movie, Halloween with Jamie Lee Curtis.  Notable for the KNIT-tastic scene where she stabs Mike Myers with a knitting needle in the neck!  My kind of heroine!

That’s it from us.  We hope to get in a lot more knitting before the New Year!

December 24, 2008

From Susan — Merry Christmas!!

Filed under: Back Story — lv2knit @ 8:17 pm

Merry Christmas to all!

SantaMantel005.jpg picture by lv2knit

Thanks to all of you for your wonderful suggestions for Maureen — she will cast on December 26!

December 21, 2008

From Susan — Let’s Help Maureen with Ideas!

Filed under: Back Story — lv2knit @ 11:34 pm

We received this request from a loyal reader, Maureen:

“I’m a devoted reader of your blog and hope you can help me since although I knit, I don’t have a blog site. Would you please be kind enough to ask your readers for some suggestions…my good friend was just diagnosed with a very aggressive form of breast cancer and I would like to knit for her. Any ideas for a soft but warm yarn for hats for sleeping and going outside for medical appointments (we live in New England)? I also want to make a warm and easy to care for prayer shawl (I’m not a big lover of Lion Brand Homespun even though it meets the criteria). Knitters are always so generous with their time…I know it’s the busiest time of the year, but I need to cast on A.S.A.P.”

I know our knowledgeable readers can come up with some great ideas.  One idea for a Chemo Cap is the Shedir Hat designed by The Girl From Auntie (aka Jenna Wilson) for Breast Cancer Awareness Month (scroll past the Booby Scarf!) — it is a free pattern from  It is made with one skein of Rowan Calmer and many knitters have made this one.

The Pi Topper is another free pattern designed by Corey Laflamme specifically for chemo patients because of her own personal journey.

There are a ton of prayer shawl patterns with a few linked to my Wrapped in Care posts.   There are many lovely and easy care yarns other than Lion Brand Homespun.

I found a really cute cashmere scarf (free pattern) that would be a great warm up and incredibly soft called the Ruffle Fluff Scarf by Amy Swenson.  It could be made of other soft yarn as well.

Let’s give Maureen some ideas — STAT!  She has some knitting to do!

December 17, 2008

From Susan — Neither rain nor snow, nor sleet…

Filed under: Back Story — lv2knit @ 9:16 pm

…nor dark of night shall stay these knitters from their holiday gathering.  It’s true!  Knitters rock!  Last night was the December Minnesota Knitters Guild meeting, and it is a special one at that.  We do a silent auction to benfit the charitable work of the guild and bring treats to share in a festive, holiday atmosphere.  Enter bad weather!  The streets were gridlocked and people could not get anywhere in the snow.  About 15 minutes before the meeting was supposed to start, a handful of us were sitting and knitting and wondering if the meeting was a “go.” 

We decided to go into the large meeting room, set up a couple of tables and eat the cookies people brought.  All of a sudden, hordes of knitters appeared out of nowhere!  We ended up with about 60 people, a very successful auction and tons of yummy food.

cookies.gif CHRISTMAS image by Shltie

December 13, 2008

From Susan — The Day the Knitting Stood Still

Filed under: Back Story — lv2knit @ 9:14 pm

Okay.  I finally made time to see the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008).  I’ll share my “review” with this proviso: I am an atypical movie viewer.  I like a lot of movies that the critics do not like, and I hate many well-loved movies (case in point, “Sound of Music” ).  My review is meant to enlighten only and not meant to influence you in any way to spend your hard earned dollars!

There were MANY things I loved — I mean, really loved — about this movie.  I loved the premise (which differs from the original), I loved the beginning, I loved Kathy Bates.  Keanu was as wooden as Pinocchio, but it worked for me.  I just wanted more.  They would take the story line as far as ‘B’ and I wished they had gone to ‘G’ at least — they did spend time with some of the characters and let things unfold, which I like in a movie (the Spider-Man movies are great at that).  John Hamm and Kathy Bates basically had cameo parts (John for sure).  Some plot changes from the original worked for me and others did not.  They did leave in a signature scene, but it was better in the original (I won’t give away which one).  The special effects were not overblown, as they were in “I Am Legend” (really bad “CGI” zombies!).  I would see it again, and I will buy the DVD.  But many of you would probably be disappointed — esp of you love the original and/or go with high expectations.

The really irksome thing about the experience had absolutely nothing to do with the film itself.  First, I paid $10 for an afternoon matinee.  I was shocked, as was the woman in front of me — where is the afternoon discount??  Rip off.  Then, I sat in the theater with my $10 small soda and small popcorn to watch no less than 30 minutes of commercials.  Not previews of upcoming movies — there were some previews, but they were few and far between.  These were full-blown, unending, regular, “as-seen-on-TV” commercials that went on and on, non-stop for at least a half hour.  There you are, trapped, nowhere to hide, watching this parade of drivel.  I just sat there getting angrier and angrier!  By the time the movie started, I could barely remember why I was there!  Susan’s blood pressure starts to rise as she re-lives the horror!

Susan settles down…….Anyway, on a scale from 1-5, I would give it a 3.75.  Most would give it maybe a 3.  Worth an afternoon of knitting — for me, yes.

PS: My sincerest apologies to Becca!  Please don’t hate me because I do not like the Sound of Music!  I know it is an aberration and evidence of my dominant male movie gene!

PS2: In the interest of balanced reporting, I’ll share Irv’s take on the movie, “The new version is AWFUL! I hated it from beginning to end. Don’t waste your time or money. Kathy Bates must have really needed the money to do this. It is by far the worst performance she has ever given. And I’m a big fan of hers. Reeves’ performance is laughable at best. If you go, don’t say I didn’t warn ya.”

Irv, tell us how you really feel! 😉

December 12, 2008

From Susan — Down to One Cough!

Filed under: Back Story — lv2knit @ 11:37 am

I do feel a bit better — thanks to all for your well wishes! 

My mom always said if we were too sick to go to school [work], then we were too sick to go to the party.  So yesterday I dragged my sorry, snotty, coughy self into work so I would not have to miss my ‘Thursdays at Four’ soiree.   And it was WELL WORTH IT. 

Mary is the hostess with the mostest and has opened her home the last few years.  She is the warmest hostess and waits on us hand and foot — which we feel guilty about and love at the same time.

We ate, we talked, we knitted, we laughed, we ate, we ate…okay, you get the idea!  We also had a gift exchange and look what I got!!  I love him!

He is supposed to be a pincushion, but no pins are going into my lil baby.  He will join Santa this year on the Santa mantel.

I am making progress on the Baby Cables and may get done with the body today.  However, I also have to go to see “The Day the Earth Stood Still” today at some point.  

I am a sc-fi fan, a fan of the original movie, AND I love Keanu Reeves (after all, he is ‘The One’).   I know, I’m a nerd .

December 10, 2008

From Susan — Cough, Cough

Filed under: Baby Cables and Big Ones too — lv2knit @ 11:29 am

I am home sick for the second day.  Ugh!    I hate being sick, and I hate the guilt of missing work and getting so far behind!  My knitting is suffering, too, because I slept so much yesterday! 

But being home this morning allowed me to see a lovely sight that I usually miss: the dawning of the day:

The streak of red across the sky was actually much more intense.  And, you can see that we are getting a white Christmas this year!

And here is our small attempt at getting into the holiday spirit:

I have been knitting a bit here and there, though this project seems to be moving slowly.



It’s a simple project and now I am just knitting in the round — Oh well.  It will get done when it gets done. 

Tomorrow evening is our annual knitting group Christmas party — an event I cannot miss!  So I am counting on being back to work tomorrow and trying to figure out what to bring.  Great friends, great food, and all knitting related. 

December 7, 2008

From Susan and Sally — Where art thou, Short Rows?

Filed under: Baby Cables and Big Ones too,Knitting Tips — Both Sisters @ 6:15 pm

We had a couple of questions about our Baby Cables project.  Alison asked about the position of our short row shaping, and Deirdre wanted to know more about the neck sizing.  Here goes!

First, why did we add short rows — the pattern does not call for them and the sweater looks great, so why bother?  When trying on the yoke during construction, the back neck clearly wanted to ride at least an inch higher than the front.  We were concerned that this would cause the sweater to pull up in back.  Short rows in a top down sweater need to be added before the split is made for the sleeves to add length to the back neck — adding short rows after the break for the sleeves will add length to the back body.  We wanted to complete the garter stitch section before doing the short rows so they would not disrupt the ridges. 

This diagram shows the placement of the short row turns.  We used Japanese Short Rows, which are described very well by NonaKnits.

And here are Susan’s short rows:

Deirdre asked about the size of the neck opening.  It is relatively large – and somewhat like a boatneck fit.   Susan made hers smaller relative to the size of the pattern by casting on the smallest number of sts and then adjusting the increases accordingly.  Some people like the openness of the neck and would not need to adjust.  By casting on in increments of 8 sts, you can adjust the neck opening as desired as long as you account for the difference in your increases.

From Susan: I did not get as far as I wanted to yesterday and today looks unlikely as well!  Bummer, but chores and holiday activities are cutting into my knitting time!

From Sally:  I am doing some stealth holiday knitting, but still hope to get the second sleeve finished in the next few days.

ETA: Jane asked about our doing short rows on the front. Just to clarify, the short rows are adding length to the back. The “x”s on the front show where the short rows ended — where the turns occur. The short rows are knit completely across the back but only partway across the front as indicated.  We hope the revised diagram is more helpful and descriptive.  Obviously, it only makes sense when you are working from the pattern.

December 5, 2008

From Susan and Sally — Fun with Baby

Filed under: Baby Cables and Big Ones too — Both Sisters @ 6:11 pm

We are having fun with Baby Cables and Big Ones Too from Ravelry!  Susan has to take the credit for finding this gem of a pattern, but Sally jumped right in and has almost completed hers.  It helped that she already had the exact yarn called for in the pattern (Jaeger Extra Fine Merino — a discontinued yarn; she had several colors to choose from, no less 😉 ).  Susan struggled to find just the right yarn and actually ended up knitting the entire yoke twice.

The designer of this creative and elegant pullover is Suvi from Finland.  The pattern sells for $6 on Ravelry and may be available via her blog (?).  The instructions are in English.

About the Sweater
The sweater is knit from the top down in the round. There are no seams. The yoke is done in garter and changes to stockinette for the body and sleeves. The sleeves are also knit in the round and have some garter stitch as well.

We did change a little bit of the pattern. Suvi instructs you to do the increases by using the backward loop cast on method on the purl rounds of the garter stitch yoke. We did our increases on the knit rounds of the garter because it is less visible. We also added some short rows to lower the front neckline in relation to the back.  Susan also added 2 sts to the sleeve WITH the cable to account for the compression on that sleeve vs the non-cabled sleeve (and then decreased 2 sts once the cable was complete).   There are no other accommodations for cables made in the pattern.

A word about the lowly “backward loop” increase method. Both of us have found uses for this lowly and unappreciated “make one” method recently. It is the increase of choice for garter stitch because it is virtually invisible when done on the right side of the garter fabric. It also works well when you need to make a lot of increases across a relatively small number of stitches: it does not draw yarn length from the nearby stitches, which can cause puckering. Who knew? This is an increase that people typically write off as the ugly stepchild, but it really does have some great uses.

Sally’s Baby Cables
This is a relatively fast knit. I started knitting it a few days before Thanksgiving, and only have one sleeve left to knit. I could have made it in light grey, but I have 20 skeins of Extra Fine Merino in that color and decided to save it for something that required more yarn. So, you ask, what color did I use? Well, if you are a long time reader of this blog you can probably make a good guess: red. It’s Jaeger’s EF Merino in Shade 920. Here are some shots of its progress from “necklace” to almost sweater. (The first photo is very true to color.)

When I was at the point shown in the above photo, I decided it was too large in the body. It’s hard to tell in that picture, but trust me. When I tried it on, it looked like an A-line sweater despite the waist decreases I had done. So I ripped it back to the bottom of the cable that extends into the stockinette, accelerated my decreases, and added a few more. It fits me (and Lucy) much better now).

Susan’s Baby Cables
After a false start with stash yarn (don’t ask!), I started over with a beautiful shade of Cascade 220.  The weight called for is DK (5.5 sts/in) but Cascade 220 worsted can be knit at a tighter gauge, especially the Heathers which run a bit lighter weight.

I could not get a good picture — the color cannot be captured — but here is a better shot of the yarn:

Cascade 220 Heathers, Color #4009

I am not as far along as Surly, but I hope to make some progress this weekend.  There are people on Ravelry who finished this in 5 days!  Not me, I’m afraid 🙁 .  Also, my sweater will not end up as shaped as Sally’s — I may even keep a straight profile.  We will see when we get there!

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