theraineysisters knitting and so much more

July 31, 2010

From Susan — An Update

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 2:26 pm

There are many reasons not to like housework — too numerous to list.  But I think I have come up with a new one.  Last evening as I was emptying the dishwasher, I put a coffee cup in the left side of the cupboard, which pushed another cup out of the right side of the cupboard: a very heavy, white porcelain mug.  It hit the counter and broke, and then proceeded to the floor.  A large chunk of it hit me above my heel, right at the location of the Achilles Tendon.  It bled like crazy and hurt like hell.  The gash is the shape of an inverted “V” with each leg ~1 inch long.   I could see white behind the flap of skin and presumed that the shard was still embedded in my ankle.  No.  It was my tendon (when I heard that I about passed out!!).  They stitched me up, but I am in pain and limping. 

We have put off our little cookout until tomorrow.  And no, Jena (youngest daughter), I did not do this to ruin your life.  Though, as we all know, everything I do is done in order to ruin her life! 😉

PS: I love Sivani’s idea of convalescence yarn!!

July 30, 2010

From Susan — Whisper

Filed under: Whisper — lv2knit @ 9:18 am

That’s not a command, it’s the name of the project I am working on…an old one at that!  I have wanted to make Rowan’s Whisper Cardigan by Kim Hargreaves since it came out years ago.  I love designs that are “classic with a twist” and this fits that description to a tee. 

The original was knit in Rowan Calmer.  I bought the same yarn and color and proceeded to start.  But, I quickly learned that I hate knitting with Calmer (sorry, Calmer fans!).  I tried this in several other yarns over the years and none seemed to work.  Surly gave me a bunch of Jaeger Extra Fine Merino and it seems to be the best match:

The knitting looks rough here (and in person) so I pray that the miracle of blocking improves it.  But it is very nice yarn.  The irony is, I made the Baby Cables and Big Ones, Too (another great example of ‘classic with a twist’!) and could have used this yarn — the identical yarn and color used by the designer!

What had stopped me from progressing on this sweater were the cardigan fronts.  There are knit facings that are folded back.  The buttonholes are therefore knit twice: once for the real front and once for the facing.  Because the facing is picked up along the edge, that knitting is going in the opposite direction…so on the fronts you space the buttonholes with rows and on the facings with stitches.  Then you are supposed to just button through both holes.  That issue and the problem with the bottom corners of the fronts has plagued me.  I could not continue with this project until I came up with a solution.  I finally devised a plan, which I will share when the sweater is done (and after seeing if it actually works!).

Hope your summer is going great!  It seems to be moving too quickly, as is always the case.  I will be entertaining my family tomorrow so today consists of my two least favorite things: cleaning and shopping!

July 23, 2010

From Sally — Mountains of Yarn

Filed under: Back Story — surly @ 8:00 am

I’m in Asheville, North Carolina this weekend for sightseeing and a concert.  The mountains are beautiful here, the Biltmore estate is like visiting Versailles, and Asheville itself is a great town.  I’ve had some GREAT meals (I highly recommend Early Girl for breakfast and Cucina 24 if you’re in the mood for Italian), and didn’t even have to look hard to find two wonderful yarn stores.

First, though, I have always had a thing for oversize novelty objects.  I also love to iron — I was in heaven the other day as I ironed my Eiffel Tower sheets while watching the Tour de France coverage.  So you can imagine the thrill when I rounded a corner in Asheville and discovered:

Isn’t it beautiful?  Okay.  On to the yarn stores.  The first store I found was in the Grove Arcade, which is a wonderful old building decorated with stone carvings.   [Side note:  The Grove Arcade was built by E.W. Grove, who made his fortune selling patent medicines.  An ad for one of them promised that it “Makes children and adults as fat as pigs.”  Is that supposed to be a good thing?  But I digress.]  North Carolina Home Crafts features handspun yarns from local farms, along with handmade fiber art — felted hats, dolls, quilts, scarves, etc.  It was a really fun store to browse around in and they have some lovely yarns.

Next on my list — and conveniently next to Early Girl and the giant iron — was Purl’s.  Purl’s is a more traditional yarn store.  They had a great selection of luscious yarns.

But best of all they had this:

His name is Merino and he is adorable.  The wouldn’t let me take him home, though — imagine that!

July 19, 2010

From Sally — Lookie What I Got!!!

Filed under: Back Story — surly @ 11:44 pm

My sister sent me an unexpected gift that combined my love of reading and my love of fiber.  Isn’t it just gorgeous?

I don’t know how Susan was able to get the color changes to work out so perfectly. It’s mesmerizing. I don’t know how she was able to part with it. I think it may just be too pretty to hide in a book, but I hate to not use it. So we’ll see.

Does anyone besides me remember the Irving Berlin song about sisters? I’ve updated the lyrics.

Woe to the knitter
Who comes between me and my sister
But lord help the sister
Who comes between me and my yarn.

Somehow, I don’t think it is going to zoom to the top of the charts.


PS from Susan: Asked by Sara about the pattern.  The bookmark pattern is here.  It takes #8 perle coton (which I have a ton of!) and a 1.25 mm hook. 

July 13, 2010

From Susan — Just Peachy

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 11:18 pm

What more could a knitter want than another Swallowtail Shawl??  I loved my first (in Malabrigo Sock, color Solis) so much I decided to make one more.  I got the yarn last year as  a result of the 2009 Sock Summit.  People could vote on different hand-dyed sock yarns from a variety of sources.  I fell for Georgia Peach (at least, I think that was the name!) by Three Irish Girls.  I liked it so much that I ordered a skein.  It took months.  So long, in fact, that I totally forgot about it.  It was like a little surprise package when it arrived!!

I couldn’t think of a good project for it until the last couple of weeks when I needed a second Swallowtail as a shop sample.  The colourway isn’t typical for me, but it is in my “warm, summer palette.” 

I used US 6 needles as called for.  With my first, I used a US 4 and added 5 repeats of the Budding Lace Chart.  They ended up the identical size.  The peach one is looser — and not quite as nice, in my HO. 

As luck would have it, Sharon from the Three Irish Girls will be here next weekend at Darn.Knit {Anyway} in Stillwater.  I didn’t realize until today that Sharon was conducting a workshop.  I teach that day myself so I wouldn’t be able to attend, but I may stop by to see if there is any yarn to buy look at.

July 6, 2010

From Susan — Out of the Ashes…

Filed under: Alexandria,Updates — lv2knit @ 6:54 pm

…arises the Phoenix! Okay, too much!  But this one was truly in the trash heap and pulled out by a thread –groan– at the last moment.  I had counted the “ten count” down to zero, and then it raised its head for one more round-double groan!  Anyway, I did finally finish my Alexandria Cardigan. It was traumatic at worst and rewarding at best.

Alexandria Cardigan in Shepherd’s Wool, 5 skeins, US 5 and 6 needles

1- the sleeve change (see below) 
2- i-cord bind off on neckline
3- reverse stockinette at hem of sleeves (#2&3 mods were done to reduce the number of different finishes on the edges)
4- I did my neck decreases right at the edges instead of in a few sts so there would not be a distinct decrease line formed, and I did not bind off the back neck sts

The sleeve picture below shows how I did a faux seam at the underarm.

The blue arrow indicates where the underarm bind off was supposed to occur.  I did not bind off the underarm sts but rather placed them (both front and back sts) onto a holder and then knit them when I picked up the sleeve cap sts. I continued the faux seam down the sleeve and did my decreases thus: knit to one st before faux seam st, slip 2 sts tog as to knit, k1, pass the two slipped sts over the st just worked (central double dec).  I do like the clean line and the uninterrupted “seam.”

Project Grade:
Pattern: A (once I got the drift  )
Yarn: A+
Fit: A++

I love it.  I L-O-V-E it!   It fits like a dream.  It is cashmere soft.  I am so glad I did not listen to my inner [pouty] child and instead let a voice of reason speak to me.   Whew!

July 3, 2010

From Sally — String Theory

Filed under: Counterpane Blouse — surly @ 6:22 pm

Hello. Remember me? The other Rainey Sister? I haven’t posted much lately, for which I apologize. I haven’t been doing all that much knitting, and the major piece of knitting I was doing can’t be shared yet. But I do have a finished object to share: my Counterpane Blouse.

As you may remember, I was knitting it out of the specified yarn, Louet’s Euroflax Sport (100% linen). I was even knitting it in the Crabapple color way, just as it was shown in Interweave. (Hey, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?) Well, I will say again that I didn’t enjoy knitting with this yarn. I likened it to unwaxed dental floss. Twine or string if I was being kind. I’m used to my knitting looking fairly decent as I work on it, and I was dismayed at how horrible this looked while being knit. Many of you assured me, however, that it would soften and improve with washing and blocking and as usual you were right. The difference in drape and feel is pretty astonishing. So, I am much happier with this project than I was in the middle of it. I think it will be cute over jeans or cropped linen pants. (Lucy, as usual, eschews the pants.)

What else have I been doing today? Baking Monkey Bread for my son. I make a rich butter dough in my bread machine. After the first rising, I cut the dough into chunks, coat them in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar, and toss them into my Monkey Bread mold to rise again. Then, just before baking, I pour a mixture of melted butter and brown sugar over the dough.

It’s a very low calorie food — for me — since he’s already eaten most of it. Ah, to have the metabolism of an 18-year-old boy.

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