theraineysisters knitting and so much more

September 30, 2011

From Susan — The Staff of Life

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 3:48 pm

Bread is supposed to be the staff of life.  For me, knitting is the staff of life.  So, the combination of the two seems pretty fitting! 

I finally finished what should have been a “quickie” knitting project, but it seemed to drag on forever.  Add the fact that I am not thrilled with the outcome, and you can be sure this will not be added to my Top Ten Favorite Knitting Projects.  The project in question is my Bread Basket Liner

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the pattern — it is really cute and is nicely written.  I think the problem was with my yarn choice.  I was trying to use yarn from my stash (::cough:: cheap ::cough::) — my denim Riveting leftovers.  I had to knit the thing 20 inches square so it would shrink to 17-18″.  That is a lot of extra knitting for no real good reason.  Plus, the yarn just doesn’t look that good for this purpose.  I think a cotton-linen washable mix would be better.

I took the shopping advice of a reader and bought the Tree of Life Bread Basket and Warmer from SERRV.  I got three: two for gifts and one for moi.  They are wonderful — a little more than I had planned on spending (::cough:: cheap ::cough::), but really high quality.

I may or may not knit a liner for the gifts: a nice linen or damask napkin would work, too.  I may save my knitting for more rewarding projects, although I just might try different yarn and make another for me, to see if I like it better.

September 26, 2011

From Sally — The End of Summer

Filed under: Sally's Summer Solstice,Updates — surly @ 1:12 pm

Summer is over, and just as it wrapped up I finished my Summer Solstice cardigan (design by Heidi Kirrmaier).  Loyal readers may recall that Susan finished one recently and really loves it.  I don’t think mine will be quite the “all rounder” (™ Bridget Jones’s Diary) that Susan’s is because mine is in a less neutral color.  But I do like it very much. One thing I loved about knitting it was that once you bind off, you’re done. There is virtually no finishing.

The yarn I used is Acadia by the Fibre Company. Acadia is a blend of merino, baby alpaca, and silk. The color I chose — so appropriate for this design — is Summersweet. The yarn felt very springy when I was working with it, but it relaxed and really softened when it was blocked. The finished sweater has a lovely drape and feel to it (hard to tell from my not great photographs). I would definitely use this yarn again which is good since I bought a lot of it in another color — Granite. (Hey, what can I say? It was on sale.) The last photo is probably the truest to color.

September 23, 2011

From Susan — Tea with Rowan

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 10:28 pm

Tonight I attended the launch of a new partnership between Amazing Threads and Rowan Yarns and Westminster Fibres.  AT will carry a huge selection of their yarns and patterns. 

Each of us received a copy of the following Rowan Magazine and other goodies:

They served lovely teas, scones, mini-sandwiches and beautiful yarn.  The shop was jammed floor to ceiling with fall’s fibre bounty and a lot of knitters.  I did have to bring a little something home!  I bought three skeins of Madeline Tosh DK in Alazarin: a rich combination of warm autumn colors to make a Ponchette Shawlette.  It’s another design that has worked its way through my entire knitting group.

Speaking of my knitting group…we went through a name change.  We used to call ourselves “Thursdays at 4.”  Descriptive but a bit blah.  Our new name is “Penelope Knitters.”

Our group is named for Penelope, the wife of Odysseus.  Penelope was faithful to her husband during his twenty-year quest by using her wits.  Believing that Odysseus would return to her, she told would-be suitors that she would not marry until she finished the funeral shroud of her father-in-law.  She would weave all day and then undo her work throughout the night, thus thwarting their advances.

At our Thursday knitting group, we often find that we knit all evening and then go home and rip it all out!  We cannot always talk and knit at the same time!  Penelope seems to represent our group pretty well!

                                                                        Penelope at Her Loom

September 21, 2011

From Susan — Night at the Guild

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 12:42 am

Tonight was the Minnesota Knitters Guild meeting where knitters share their state fair entries, the judges’ comments and background tidbits.  I had a great time tonight and enjoyed myself completely.  I met some of our readers, too, which was really nice!!

My favorite story involved a “helpful spouse.”  The knitter in question could not get to the fair to drop off her entries due to her crazy schedule.  DH stepped up to the plate and volunteered to do it for her.  Upon his return, I imagine the exchange went something like this:

Hubby: “Hi, Honey.  I dropped off all four of your items at the fairgrounds.”
Knitter: “Uh…four?  I only had three things to enter this year!”

Hubby took an unfinished afghany thing in — ends not woven in, fringe only partly done, and not something she would have entered anyway! They actually wrote some nice things about it… too funny.

We saw some beautiful things, and of course added way too many things to our “must knit” lists.  Afterward we got to fondle and drool over the wondrous knitting. 

My kind of evening!

September 18, 2011

From Susan — Going Headlong into Nowhere

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 3:14 pm

Hi, fellow knitters! I have been doing a lot of knitting but because I am “multi-tasking” (i.e., suffering from startitis), I have little to show for it.

I DID finish two Hats for the Homeless and delivered them to Ingebretsen’s on Lake Street. They had a nice pile collected of vary gaudy colorful hats bearing large pom poms.  Hmmm.  I am such a “doobie” that I made two black wool hats — one a Quincy and another from my One Day Hat pattern.  No pom poms.  No color.   Boring, but that is what they said we should make!

I am also making some Christmas gifts.  I found a pattern on Ravelry for these Classic Bread Basket Liners and thought that with a cute basket and terra cotta bread warmer, it would be a nice gift.  I am using my leftover denim yarn (Riveting) because it is washable, but I think a cotton/linen blend would be even better.  I realized that the baskets I bought are not the best choice, so now the hunt begins…Where 

The Bread Basket Liner is a really fun knit and actually looks like woven fabric.  I will share a picture when it is done.  Hope you are enjoying the cooler weather — fall has definitely landed in Minnesota!

PS: purlgin mentioned a site called SERRV that sells fair trade handmade items from international artisans.  I bought three of these baskets and warmers!  They look perfect!  One is for me…

September 9, 2011

From Sally — Rain, rain, go away . . .

Filed under: Forest Path Stole — surly @ 11:35 am

We have had nonstop rain here in Washington, DC for what seems like forever.  I know that other areas are suffering from fires and drought, so I shouldn’t complain.  But that never stopped me before.  One side effect of the rain is increased difficulty in taking good photographs of finished knitting; it is so gloomy out that adequate lighting is a problem.  Le sigh.

I did finally finish my Forest Path stole, and I love it.  

(Sadly, it’s not truly mine; I knit it for charity and have to mail it off to be auctioned.)  To recap, the Forest Path, designed by Faina M. Letoutchaia, first appeared in the Summer 2003 issue of Interweave Knits. I had wanted to make it for a very long time. It was fun and relatively fast to make.

I used Fino Alpaca with a Twist, which is a lace weight blend of alpaca and silk, in the color “Champagne” (a warm ivory). I made several modifications. First, I narrowed the shawl and shortened it. The original has 23 tiers of entrelac lace panels; for this charity project I knit 17. (I’ll probably do 19 when I knit it again for myself.) The tiers in the original alternate between four and five lace panels as you work your way up; my version has three and four. Even with those changes, my finished shawl blocked out to 70 inches by 26 inches, which I think is a generous size for a stole. When I reknit it, I will keep my width.

The other major change I made was to the edging. As written, the stole is bordered by seed stitch. You work base, side, and top triangles of seed stitch as you knit the shawl and then add a seed stitch border to the sides, which you sew to the stole. (The bottom and top seed stitch strips are done before and after the base and top triangles respectively.) This didn’t appeal to me because I didn’t like sewing the border to my Crown Prince shawl, and I find that much seed stitch a bit boring and tedious to knit. More important, my reading at Ravelry had made me a bit leery about the border. [Side note re Ravelry: This is one of the strengths of Ravelry as a knitting resource. By skimming through finished projects, you can learn a lot about what does and does not work in a pattern before you knit it.] A number of knitters who made the shawl felt that they couldn’t block it as much as they wanted to because the border wasn’t as willing to stretch as the lace panel center. Therefore, I added a lace leaf border based on a motif in Victorian Lace Today. It was slo-o-o-ow, but I was very pleased with how it turned out.

So here, without further ado, is my first Forest Path. A second, that I will keep for myself, is definitely in my future.

September 4, 2011

From Susan — Parents of Invention

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 11:58 am

If necessity is the mother of invention, then sheer laziness must be the father!  I have always found that my ingenuity is spurred on by work avoidance.   This recent instance is one of my lazier better examples.

I just finished two Damson Shawlettes — one for a shop sample and one for the annual charity auction at my work. 

My original Damson, plus the two new, unblocked ones

For some reason, I thought it made sense to block them at the same time.  After all, I have two pieces of styrofoam for blocking and lots of pins.  The first one went okay — putzy and boring, but okay.  Then I started the second one.  I had run out of steam and it wasn’t shaping up very well.  I thought of just setting it aside for another day, but it was wet and I wanted it to be done

Then the ‘lazy lightbulb’ Light bulbwent on!!  The Damsons were made of the same type of yarn, same number of repeats, same size.  Would it work to just double them up and put the second Damson over the first and use the pins as pegs?  It worked like a charm and took a tenth of the time:

Here you can see the two stacked up:

Here are the Damson Twins after blocking:

Damson Modified in Malabrigo Sock “Abril”

Damson Modified in Malabrigo Sock “Rayon Vert”

As you can see, I used the open mesh modification for my Double Damsons, which I prefer.  I love this pattern and LOVE the mesh version.  I stopped a few rows early because of fear that I would run out of yarn, but I do think I could have gone the distance — I have a fair amount of yarn left over.  Ravelry Project Page.

So, this was a great and successful blocking solution 🙂 with very little application in other situations 🙁 .

PS: Rox mentioned a couple of possible applications: You could block sleeves this way, couldn’t you?  And maybe the back and front of a sweater, too? 

I always use blocking wires instead of pins to block sleeves and sweater pieces, but this might help those of you who use pins.  It will take longer to dry, but it might be worth it (?).

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