theraineysisters knitting and so much more

April 30, 2009

From Sally — Do You Feel a Change in the Force?

Filed under: Cathedral — surly @ 10:42 am

There’s a whisper on the night-wind, there’s a star agleam to guide us . . .

Yes, the rumors are true: The Rainey Sisters are about to be together again. Susan arrives tomorrow for a Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival extravaganza. We plan to hit the Festival early Saturday morning and shop and gawk until we drop. We also hope to stop by the Ravelry meet up, and we’d love to meet some of you. Most of the time, though, we’ll be fingering yarn and dreaming up projects we’ll never have a chance to knit. It’s our speciality. So while you’re wandering the fairgrounds, keep an eye out for our infamous RaineySisters tote bag (because chances are you might not recognize us from our slightly dated trademark photograph).

In knitting news, I’ve finished the first sleeve of my Cathedral sweater and started the second. Before I got too far with the second sleeve, I wanted to baste the first one into the sweater to decide whether the sleeve cap needed any alterations. I always dread seaming on reverse stockinette or garter stitch; I am not always pleased with the results. This time, I was ecstatic. Here’s the side seam:

I know!

The sleeve basted in nicely, and the fit is really cute. Here’s a quickie shot:

I’m actually getting excited about finishing this sweater! Let’s hope I don’t get too distracted by Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival purchases.

April 27, 2009

From Susan — What I Do When I’m Not Knitting

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 9:50 am

I started knitting because I enjoy it, but also to make sweaters with long enough sleeves.  It’s also the reason I started sewing (plus, I had the crazy idea that I would save money! Okay, that didn’t work!).  I still sew from time to time, and I still buy clothes with sleeves that are too short.  I can’t always do too much about that, but decided to try with a recent purchase.

I went to Amazing Threads a few weeks ago and Tina (darling, petite little Tina) was wearing a really cute shirt.  She graciously let me read the tag but could not remember the exact store name, which was out of state.  Enter “google.”  I found Country Ewe, which sells the same line of shirts.  Looking at the website, I doubt I would have bought one, but I had seen Tina’s and knew it was really nice.  They are wonderful white cotton — I actually think they are made with flour sack fabric — with lace embellishments.  I ordered a shirt just like Tina’s and was very pleased with it.  It does not look as cute as it did on her, but it fit fine except for the sleeves.  Cotton is very easy to sew, so I thought I could tackle an alteration. 

If you know anything about whites or blacks, you know they are very hard to match.  I found white cotton fabric that was actually pretty close, though I knew it would not have the same “crinkle” effect of the original.  So I decided I needed camoflage.  I bought white cotton lace to cover the sleeve extension.

Here are the steps:

Too Short by you.
Original Cuff

Too Late Now! by you.
Cuff disembodied: too late to turn back now!!

Partway Done by you.
Extension added — the basting thread marked the original cuff line and came in very handy

Finished Cuff by you.
Lace sewn in place

Blouse by you.
Blouse back in one piece!!

Phew!  I really liked the shirt before, and now I love it!  It no longer has that skimpy feel.  Yay!

And Ode to Joy is dry:

Ode to Joy Vest Front by you.

Ode to Joy Vest Back by you.

It fits perfectly, too, so now I have two FOs in my corner, which have been few and far between lately!  🙂

And now for some fun facts about Minnesota — you know we take the State Fair seriously, but there’s something else that makes Minnesotans Minnesotans: hotdish!  You may call it a casserole (?), but here a one-pan meal is called a ‘hotdish.’  And people take it VERY seriously.  Cream of mushroom soup is a mainstay ingredient 99% of the time.  They had a contest this weekend that has been going on for years and growing in popularity.  Here is my favorite quote from the StarTribune:

When a 20-something waitress who finished as the runner-up to Vaughn in a previous cookoff muttered, “Next year, I’m going to take you down,” the 75-year-old Vaughn, a block club leader who has lived in Holland [a Minneapolis neighborhood] for 36 years, shot back, “Bring it on.”

Bring it on!!  Woo Hoo!  I may have to make Tator Tot Hotdish tonight!

April 26, 2009

From Susan — Q: When is a Sweater NOT a Sweater??

Filed under: Susan's Ode to Joy Vest — lv2knit @ 10:22 am

A: When it turns into a vest! 

As already mentioned, my Ode to Joy was a total flop as a sweater.  I believe we can attribute it to a) a gauge problem (?), and/or b) an “I’ve-gotten-bigger-and-have-no-idea-why” problem .  But let’s not dwell on the negative!! 

Anyhoo, the sweater was a disaster, but I was unwilling to let the sweater beat me.  I was also unwilling to re-knit any part of it.  I’ve played way too many rounds of THAT game!  So I removed the offending sleeve and converted it into a cropped vest.  It turned out okay…still tiny but kind of cute:

Ode to Joy Vest by you.

It is still quite damp — when it dries I’ll put it on Lettie for a test drive.  It gained some size with blocking.  When wet, this was the softest, limpest thing I have ever seen!  I really didn’t know if I could shape it properly, but it seems to be okay.  I plan on taking it with me next weekend to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival to look for closures.  I did not make buttonholes — I will do something with clasps or maybe frog closures (?) and have the front bands simply meet in the center.

Finally finished.

April 23, 2009

From Susan — Summer’s Here

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 9:06 pm

At least for today!  It was 85 degrees in Minnesota , though the forcast calls for a major change by tomorrow!

It’s also time for Summer Knits…as seen in the latest IK, which was in my mailbox when I got home from my knitting group:

IK Summer 2009 by you.

I am usually underwhelmed by summer knitting designs but there were some cute things in this issue.  I love this felted bag, but how many bags do I need (don’t answer that):

IK Summer 2009 001 by you.

It sure looks like something that might work with leftover Kauni — let the Kauni do the work and use a few solids to tie it together.  Hmmm.  Maybe I could use one more bag! 😉

PS — Surly’s assessment (Your bags have bags.  So I say “No.”) seems a bit harsh!

April 19, 2009

From Susan — A Fantastic Day was Had by All

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 11:34 am

Yesterday was the Minnesota Knitters Guild Yarnover event.  Wow.  That is all I can say.  It was a great day.  I am on the planning committee, and so it is always a nerve wracking wait to get to the big event.  This year was extremely well organized thanks to the committee and our wonderful volunteers, and a slate of teachers that rival any knitting event in the country. 

I got to meet Romi Hill in person (finally) — yay!  I dined with Romi, friend Kerry PalmSharon Winsauer (designer of the Heere be Dragone Shawl), Susanna Hannson, Sally Melville, Ginger Luters, with many other notables at other tables — including the wild and crazy Lily Chin!  It was a who’s who of knitting geniuses.  The Vendor Market was stocked with gorgeous yarns and fun knitting supplies to tempt the most jaded knitter.  My dogs were very tired when I got home, but less so than last year.  Thanks to all for a wonderful event that seemed to surpass everyone’s expectations. 

So, all of that inspiration and where does it leave me?  Waiting to be inspired.  My mojo took a bus to Cincinnati.  It is not from lack of trying.  I have had more false starts in the last month than anyone would dare to believe.  Pathetic little attempts at “stash busting.” 

Sally and I now have a running joke about my Cascade Dolce and my Sublime Aran — I’ll mention a project and Sally will say, “I wonder if Dolce would work,” and then she cackles with an evil glee at how clever she is .   Truth be known, I cackle right along with her because it has gotten to the point of being ridiculous.  I have swatched and reswatched.  Nothing is clicking.  Even going to the Vendor Market yesterday did not help.

Both Dolce and Sublime are gorgeous yarns, so I am not placing the blame there…I just can’t get a project to take root.  Even my Ode to Joy has encountered a terminal illness that has required amputation.  The problem was with the fit — it didn’t.  At all.  No hope.  So, I decided to convert my Ode to Joy jacket into a vest.  When I got home from Yarnover last night, I surgically removed the completely finished sleeve.  Let’s hope the patient can be saved!! 

So, I am going to try to salvage Ode to Joy, continue swatching (!), and hope that when I hit the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival in (less than) two weeks with Surly, I am overcome with inspiration!

April 16, 2009

From Sally — A Quick Update/Random Thoughts

Filed under: Cathedral — surly @ 5:38 pm

My camellias are in bloom, but yesterday it was so chilly I needed a fire.

Today, however, the weather is glorious, and I keep dreaming up spring/summer knitting projects. I’m making progress on my Cathedral sweater, though, so I don’t want to stop. I finished the front and started the first sleeve. Lucy thinks she might need a camisole to wear under this sweater; I think she should worry about getting a pair of knickers first.


It’s not very exciting to look at a neckless sweater, is it?

I adore this Malabrigo Solis that my loving sister gave me. I haven’t decided what to do with it — mayhaps some socks? I can’t get the color to pop in these photographs the way it does in person.

P.S. — A graduation congratulations to my niece Laura!

PS2 from Susan — Laura did indeed have her graduation celebration this evening — she completed her training at the Aveda Institute.  One more hurdle to go in the form of her written exam and then (please!!!) off to find a job.

April 13, 2009

From Susan — PS to Peeps!

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 7:33 pm

Surly did not think the cheesy peep diorama was created by moi, so I must clarify for our readers.  I did indeed put together the “line o’ peeps,” and I knit the little project that the pink peep is holding.  What a gripping life I do lead!

April 11, 2009

From Susan — Love My Peeps

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 7:47 pm

Knitting peeps are my favorite!!

Knitting Peeps 002 by you.

Happy Easter to one and all!!

April 8, 2009

From Sally — In Vogue?

Filed under: Cathedral,Knitting Tips — surly @ 10:27 am

My mind tends to wander when I knit — often to the next “must have” project. So, when the new issue of Vogue Knitting hit my mailbox, I was excited to flip through it.

Hmmm. Mayhaps a trip to ye olde magazine shoppe is in order. It looks a bit worse for wear. I can’t even read most of the first half.

In the meantime, I’m plugging away on Cathedral. I should have done something slightly differently on the back, which I sort of knew at the time but did nothing about. Le sigh. I have “fixed” it for the front, however. What was my mistake?

Many Japanese patterns that have waist shaping do all of the shaping on one row. Instead of graduated decreases, all stitches will be removed by doing staggered decreases across a row. Later, the stitches will be added back by doing “make ones” in one row. Now, the problem with doing a lot of “make ones” in one row is that each time you increase, you are shortening, and therefore tightening up, the running thread that runs between the stitches. That’s fine if you are doing a few increases here and there. Doing multiple increases on the same row can look a bit off.

In my sweater, I needed to decrease and then increase 20 stitches in the shaping rows. This was charted to be accomplished on the five-stitch reverse stockinette panels that separate the two different patterns. On the decrease row, those five stitches go down to three. On the increase row, you make one, purl three, make one to go back to five. When I did that on the back, you can see where the increases occurred. (In the photo, the double pointed needle points to the line to help you see it better.)

When you look at the piece as a whole, it’s not that noticeable but it bothers me. So, when I did the increases for the front, I changed my technique. On the wrong side row before the increase row, I inserted a yarnover in the middle of each set of three stitches. I did that to increase the amount of running thread I had to work with when I came back to do the increases. On the increase row itself, I worked to the three reverse stockinette stitches. I slipped the first one to the right hand needle so I could “reach” the yarnover. I let the yarnover drop off the needle, and then manipulated the extra yarn so it was spread out over the three stitches. I placed the slipped stitch back on the left hand needle, and then worked the increases. (I hope I am making sense.)

Here is what the increases look like on the front. It’s a bit harder to see b/c the piece is still on the needle, but once it’s finished and blocked there should be no line at all.

April 5, 2009

From Susan — If I Found a Genie in a Bottle

Filed under: Back Story — lv2knit @ 9:13 am

My first wish would be that any knitting project I am interested in would take one day, and one day only, to knit.  In that way, I might possibly be able to experience ALL of the fun projects that I find on Ravelry, in books, in my knitting group or LYS.   It is extremely frustrating to be confined by the limits of time. 

Case in point.

Sock Innovations by you. 

This book arrived a couple of days ago — it is a very nice book.  Fun read, cute patterns, etc.  There are several socks both Sally and I would like to make, but I am currently trapped by Ode to Joy.  And I do mean trapped.  The never ending sleeve scenario has bogged me down.  My arms are inhumanly long — or so it seems when you are knitting to cover them up. 

I did find some fabric for a summer frock — not perfect (it’s a little “out there”) but certainly workable for one of the two I would like to have on hand to wear with my OtJ this summer:

Ode to Joy with Fabric by you.

My next choice will definitely be more subdued.  I’m thinking solid linen or cotton.  Ahhh, another quest!

Now, back to the Genie: my second wish would follow this “WTF?” moment this morning:

Spring Snow by you.

Wish #2 — no snow in April, May, June, July, August, September, or October!!

And, my third wish is none of your beeswax!

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