theraineysisters knitting and so much more

February 28, 2010

From Susan — My Own “Olympian”

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 8:42 pm

The Olympics are wrapping up today and I feel like I have experienced them first hand.  My hubby is a cross country skier and participated in the Birkebeiner Ski Race yesterday, and he rocked it…for an old man, that is!

The Birkie is not about winning, but about doing your best.  John came in ~one minute over his best time ever (and this was his 27th Birkie!).  John will be 60 next year.   So, he beat all but one of his times since he started in his thirties.  Wow.

OK, enough about him 😉 .  I had decided NOT to participate in the Ravelympics this year, for reasons already described.  Well, I went to knitting on Thursday and two, count them TWO, of my knitting peeps had knitted up the Olympic Reindeer Hat

The hat was patterned after the ones worn by the US Olympians when they entered the Opening Ceremonies.  I had originally started it right after the Olympics started and decided it was the most annoying pattern on earth and dumped it straight away.  But after seeing the cute hats at knitting group, I thought, “Hmmm.  Could I get this done by Saturday morning so John could wear it after the Birkie?”  All I had finished so far was the lining of the foldover band.  I got home at 8 pm, had to pack, etc., etc., but stayed up knitting the ^&&***^%% thing instead.  I worked on it in the car all the way up to Hayward, WI, and did indeed get it done.  He wore it to pick up his bib on Friday night. 

Olympic Reindeer Hat, Cascade 220, US Size 6 Needles

So, here are the details:

I worked the hat using intarsia-in-the-round (suggested by Jimmy in knitting group).  Annoying.  Annoying Squared.  No.  Make that ‘Annoying Raised to the Tenth Power.’  After I knitted the hat, I went back and used duplicate stitch for the antlers…remember, time was a huge factor!…though I did knit the legs intarsia style as I went along.

John loved the hat and asked if I was going to put a flag decal on it.  I said sure, I can put it right…uh oh.  Why isn’t the knitted band centered to the reindeer motif?????  Yep.  Rookie mistake!  I noticed that the band was 4 sts off.  If I added a decal, it would be even more noticeable.  It completely bugged me. 

Had to cut it up:

The top photo does indeed show that it is now centered…after cutting, reknitting some rows, and grafting.  This project was annoying in so many ways!  But it is done, and I consider it at least worthy of a spot on the Olympic roster, if not the podium 😉 .

February 23, 2010

From Sally — Will I Make It to the Podium?

Filed under: Val — surly @ 7:02 pm

Cue the Olympic theme.

Yes, I’m doing the Ravelympics this year — somehow I’ve always missed it before. For those who don’t know, the Ravelympics is a speed event.  You cast on a project during the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics and try to complete it by the time the games end.   My current medal chances?  Cautiously optimistic.

I decided to knit a jacket/cardigan that caught my eye a number of years ago.  It’s called Val, and it’s an Elsebeth Lavold design.  It’s not a particularly popular pattern from what I can tell — on Ravelry, mine is the sole project.  I’m not sure why.  I like it.

It’s a short jacket, one button, with cabled front bands that turn into a collar.  The sleeves are also cabled.  I’m making mine by holding two yarns together:  Rowan’s Kidsilk Haze in Hurricane and Miss Babs Yummy Monochrome Sport & Sock Yarn in Denim.  I’ve made a few slight changes to the pattern.  I’ve lengthened it a little bit and omitted the one by one ribbing at the bottom in favor of a hem.  I’ve finished both fronts and the back and will cast on the first sleeve tonight.

Here’s what it looks like after crudely basting the side seams and basting down the collar. I used extra blurring on the pictures because they are definitely not medal worthy. The second photo is probably most true to color.

Close up of the button I plan on using:

Wish me luck!

PS from Susan — Good luck, Surly!  It is beautiful.

I for one decided against the Ravelympics this year.  Four years ago I did “medal” by finishing Rogue in 12 days.  I WORE my sweater proudly before the end of the Olympics at the Birkebeiner Ski Race in Hayward, WI.  It felt like a mini-Olympics being at the largest cross country ski race in North America.  But this time around, I just could not suffer through something with a deadline.  Too many knitting deadlines of late — knitting ain’t much fun if you are always trying to beat the clock.

February 19, 2010

From Susan — A Small FO from Moi!

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 4:30 pm

In general, my projects of late have been pretty small scale.  I have not made a sweater since my Lacy Cardigan last summer.  I used to be all about the sweater, and now I can’t get past mini-projects.  Surly has been cranking out FOs like hotcakes, so I feel the need to play catch up!

Here is the latest of my mini-projects: the Damson Shawlette by Ysolda Teague.  It is made with one skein of sock yarn (Malabrigo Sock is called for in the pattern).  Surly generously shared the remains of the yarn she used for her Swallowtail.  It is beautiful yarn — a rich mix of all the best of the fall colors.  BUT, the skein starts off with slightly less yardage than Malabrigo Sock, and Sally had to dip into the skein she sent me, so I worried a bit about yardage.  I shortened my Damson 6 rows and then did a crocheted chain bind off instead of the multi-row bind off shown in the pattern in hopes of having enough yarn.  I also added openwork as discovered in this Ravelry project by Linda Butkus.  I don’t know if this variation requires more or less yarn, but I DO know that I ended up with only one gram of yarn when I was done.  One.  Uno.

I like it.  It’s pretty.  I’m not sure when I’ll wear it, but it is a beautiful way to use up one skein of gorgeous sock yarn without having to knit socks 😉 !

PS: Barb asked, “Looked on Ravelry but no sign of how Linda did the insert, just lovely pics–did you contact her for instructions or figure it out yourself?”

I figured it out myself by looking at Linda’s version and then revising the chart.

February 18, 2010

From Susan — The Link is Up

Filed under: Surrounded — lv2knit @ 3:22 pm

Thanks to everyone for the kind words about my pattern.  I really treasure and appreciate the support of our readers!!  

The link to my KnitPicks pattern is up and here it is!

Surrounded Afghan and Lap Robe — KnitPicks

February 15, 2010

From Susan — Surrounded!

Filed under: Surrounded — lv2knit @ 10:52 pm

Hello!  Now that I am back from the virtual dead, it’s time to post!  And I do have some news to share.

Last fall, I came up with an idea for an afghan, charity square, scarf — really anything square or rectangular — that would be edged in built-in i-cord.  Built in from start to finish, so that when the project was done, it was done.  I submitted the design to Knitty — they did not outright reject me, but rather placed me “on hold” for a possible future issue.  Okay.  I can wait (she taps toe impatiently). 

Surly suggested that I check out KnitPicks to see if they accepted design submissions, since I had used their Swish Bulky yarn for the prototype.   Talk about crazy timing!  KnitPicks had just started an Independent Designer Partnership.  And the rest as they say is history! 

Introducing my new design, the Surrounded Afghan and Lap Robe:

Surrounded Afghan in KnitPicks Swish Bulky, Color Adobo (now unavailable)

The design is available immediately on Ravelry and will be on KnitPicks by this Thursday.  If Sally and I can figure it out, it will also be available for purchase here as well.  The price?  A measley $1.99.  That’s right — not even 2 bucks!

Unfortunately, the color I used had been discontinued SO I needed to re-knit the design. I decided to make the Lap Robe in Swish Worsted so I could actually test knit both items.  They take the same amount of knitting, but the sizes are different: 30×42 inches (lap robe), 40×52 inches (afghan).

Surrounded Lap Robe in Clematis Heather Worsted

The Lap Robe would also serve as a baby blanket if the color was right…

Surrounded Baby Blanket in Bok Choy Worsted

Sally made this for her son for Christmas and served as a test knitter for me.  Yes, this is the afghan she was secretly working on!!  She could not share it at the time.  Well, her son LOVES it — he will not take it off.  Honest.  He wanders the house with his crutches and the afghan draped around him like a cape:

Isn’t he adorable?

And the other gorgeous child of my sissy, shown here “knitting” on it to “help” Sally finish:

And here is my daughter modelling the afghan:

This has really been a family affair!  We are all surrounded by Surrounded!

PS: Who is the worst sister ever? 

C’est moi!  I forgot Surly’s birthday yesterday!  Because I had already sent her present (the crocheted “sugar” bowl), I had mentally checked it as ‘done.’  Au contraire, Forgetful One!!  I am so, so sorry!  Will you forgive me??

In the spirit of not forgetting birthdays: Happy Birthday, Jena!  You are the sweetest, most beautiful 15-year-old ever!

PS2: Several of you asked to see the reverse side — it is not reversible, but this is the back of a sample I knit in Pastaza (I have not gotten my afghans back yet from KnitPicks):

February 13, 2010

From Susan — Out of the Desert…

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 5:03 pm

…and into an oasis!  I have been off the grid for over a week now, experiencing pervasive and ongoing computer issues.  I am now back on line and LOVING IT!  New high speed internet (that finally works as promised), new computer with 4 times the memory of the old one, and new printer (because the old was not compatible with Windows 7).  I feel free as a bird, light as a feather, etc. etc.  It is great to have joined the 21st century at long last!

February 11, 2010

From Sally — My Blue Period

Filed under: Refined Raglan — surly @ 5:24 pm

I’m feeling blue. It’s not just our long winter in which I am measuring out my life in shovelfuls of snow. I’ve become seriously enamored of some blue yarns.

First is this lovely Lima by Rowan Yarns in the colorway Amazon:

I seriously adore this yarn. The color is hard to capture; it reminds me of Broad Bay’s color Atlantic for those of you familiar with that line of yarns. It’s flecked with little hints of brighter blue and subtle purple. It’s also incredibly soft. When my husband felt it he looked me in the eyes and said, “This feels expensive.” He was right.

I resisted it the first time I saw it, but when I came across it a second time I couldn’t. And didn’t.

So what did I make out of it? A sleeper pattern from the Winter 2006 issue of Interweave: Refined Raglan designed by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark. I hadn’t really noticed that design when I read that issue back in the day, but I came across it while playing around on Ravelry a few weeks ago.

I made a few modifications. I did more of a funnel neck, added short rows, and opted for rolled hems at the cuffs and bottom instead of the folded hem called for in the pattern. I wanted a casual, comfortable sweater that was really wearable. I’m pretty happy with it, too. The pictures aren’t great but they were the best I could muster after hours of shoveling.

My next two projects, including what I’m going to knit for the Ravelympics, are also blue. More about those later.

February 8, 2010

From Sally — Snow Day (After Day After Day)

Filed under: Back Story — surly @ 2:23 pm

I know you’ve all been dying to know whether my half of the Rainey sisters survived the weekend storm that hit Washington, D.C. (And yes, for those who have asked — I live in the city itself.) The answer is yes, but it was quite a storm. On Saturday, when it was snowing its hardest, I remembered this stanza from Wallace Stevens’s Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird:

It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbirds sat in the cedar-limbs.

Here are some photos I took of our yard, car, etc. That’s my husband shoveling — he was supposed to be bicycling in Tucson this week but his flight has been repeatedly cancelled and pushed back. He’s hoping to leave tomorrow.

1. Care to dine al fresco?

2. Believe it or not, that’s bamboo in the center of the picture. It’s so weighted down by the snow that you can’t tell.

3. This used to be our car.

4. Shoveling.

5. Shoveled.

6. Thor the Wonder Puppy

7. The snow covered our walkway lights. The lighting reminds me of a Maxfield Parrish painting.

Le sigh. We’re supposed to be hit with another 5 inches or more tomorrow evening. Fortunately, I’ve got the essentials: food, wine, and enough yarn.

February 4, 2010

From Both of Us — Something ‘Sweet’

Last year, we designed a simple but very “heartfelt” glovelet pattern as a gift to our readers.  Because the time of year is again upon us, we felt like reminding all of you about our free Sweetheart Glovelet pattern in time for some Valentine’s Day knitting.

Sweetheart Glovelet
Sally’s Sweetheart Glovelets

Sweetheart Glovelets
Susan’s Sweetheart Glovelets

Where are YOUR Sweetheart Glovelets??

February 1, 2010

From Sally — Popularity Contest

Filed under: Back Story,Sally's Swallowtail — surly @ 7:52 pm

Some patterns become extremely popular among knitters. The contrary knitter in me (there’s a reason my Ravelry nickname is surly) sometimes skips over those patterns for no other reason than their popularity. “Does the world really need another X Project?” I ask myself. Other times, there’s no denying the appeal of a project no matter how hard I might initially resist. Thus, I come to Evelyn Clark’s Swallowtail Shawl.

This is a very popular shawl pattern; on Ravelry alone, there are 6166 Swallowtail projects as of the writing of this post. It’s easy to see why. It’s beautiful. It’s simple. It’s free. And it’s fast. On a Friday, I bought yarn (more about that later). On a Saturday afternoon, I cast on. By Wednesday, I had a beautiful Swallowtail shawl — and it was even blocked. Who could ask for more?

I love it. And it goes beautifully with my Baby Cables sweater.

As for the yarn, I love it, too. It’s Neighborhood Fiber Company’s Studio Sock yarn in the colorway Cooper Circle. I saw it, and I had to own it.

I tried to knit my Swallowtail in just one skein, but when I got to the bind off row I saw this:

Yep — I only had three grams so I had to dip into the second skein. The remainder of it is going to my sister in the hopes that she can whip up something nice out of it. Otherwise, I’ll have matching socks for my shawl.

Where did I purchase this lovely yarn? At my new favorite yarn shop in the DC area: Fibre Space in Alexandria, Virginia. It’s a wonderful shop. Danielle, the owner, is friendly and helpful. Veronica, her lovely chief enabler, already recognizes my voice on the phone. (Is that a bad thing? Please say no.) They carry wonderful yarns from many smaller suppliers and a few larger ones. They’ll even call you when a yarn you’ve been lusting after arrives in the shop. (Don’t ask how I know this. Please.) They have a great frequent buyer program (gulp), big windows, Italian greyhounds, and — get this — a “Ravelry computer” for shoppers. Yes — it’s true. You can log onto Ravelry from the shop and browse for patterns, check how much yarn something takes, show off a project. It’s a great idea.

I definitely recommend stopping in at Fibre Space if you are in the area. Odds are surprisingly high that I might be there. What?

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