theraineysisters knitting and so much more

February 29, 2012

From Susan — It’s About Time!

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 8:53 am

Winter finally reared its head in Minnesota!



It really does look blue outside right now. We have an official “snow day” for Jena’s school. No snow day for me though. I am NOT going to attempt it!

An update:


February 26, 2012

From Susan — Back from the Birkie

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 5:42 pm

Another Birkie under our belts: 29th finish for John! And what a finish it was. It was one of his best races. He looked great at the Finish Line — ready to keep skiing!

Birkie 004

Far better than last year when it was so cold that people were pulled off with frost bite. The weather was perfect and John’s skis were fast.

Next year John will get a new bib color to denote his 30th race in Year 40 of the Birkie.

I, of course, was naughty. I kept knitting with my pain. Today I am going to take a break…though watching the “world famous award show that gives out little gold statues” (no trademark infractions here!!) without knitting will be very hard to do!!

February 24, 2012

From Susan — Birkie Fever

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 10:46 am

It is that time of year again — The Birkebeiner Ski Race!! We head up every year and stay at the No-Tell Motel, so John can ski 30 miles in 3 hours. Whew! I’m already exhausted! 😉

I am bringing along my new copy of Principles of Knitting:


I have not even cracked it open yet…I am savoring the moment and will open it when the time is right. Or when I am bored to death in the car. Whichever comes first!

I am also bringing some knitting, though I am experiencing increasing pain in my right wrist. I have been wearing an immobilizer, and it doesn’t seem to aggravate it too much to knit, but the pain is worsening. Red flag! Stop knitting! It is very hard to listen to those voices in my head.

I will reveal the project when I get a little bit more done. I am over the top in love with the yarn, and the pattern is suited, but “out there.” It will certainly be an eye popper, but perhaps not in a good way. It may be a poor marriage of yarn and design, but whatever. It’s only knitting!!

February 19, 2012

From Both of Us — Simply Deceptive

Filed under: Updates — Both Sisters @ 4:57 pm

We are in love with a new pattern. It is called Friday Again, designed by fallmasche on Ravelry.

It makes use of the new (to us) method of “contiguous sleeve” design. With this method, set in sleeves are added as you go in a seamless, top-down sweater. (It is similar to the more widely known method described in Barbara Walker’s Knitting from the Top Down, but it differs in a few important respects.) The sleeve cap is created with an ingenious method of frequent increases along the shoulder line. The resulting fit is fantastic.

Susan’s Friday
Friday Good

Yes, it’s me again!! I hate pictures of myself, but this design has to be seen on the wearer to appreciate the fit. I combined several sizes into one to get a perfect fit. I also added a little edge to the neckline, but it probably was unnecessary.

Friday 012

I used Berocco Ultra Alpaca Light in color Blueberry Crush. Gorgeous color. Gorgeous yarn. So delectably soft!! I love the finished result and plan on making a summery version as well.

Sally’s Friday

I had been looking for a pattern for some yarn since I bought it months ago. The yarn is Silky DK by Viola, a blend of silk and merino. The color: Nosferatu. I absolutely could not resist it.

This photo shows the sweater in progress before I divided for the sleeves. You can see how the sleeve and cap are created by the increases.

A few photos of it on Lucy:

Finally, a rare photo of me. I wore this when my daughter and I went out to dinner in Boulder for my birthday. This is a picture she took on her cell phone, so excuse the quality (and the model). Susan made me post it!

I love this sweater and I love the yarn with one caveat. It seems to want to pill. I may just need to cast on another Friday Again in a different yarn so I can throw it on no matter what day the calendar says it is.


We called this post “Simply Deceptive” instead of “Deceptively Simple,” which had been our first choice. The pattern has such a look of ease about it: stockinette in the round with a slip-stitch detail. What could be easier? However, the method is a bit different and fallmasche’s instructions might be difficult for some knitters to decipher in spots because instead of a more typical “narrative” form, much of the directions are provided in a table format. We called each other several times to double check our numbers. Others have sailed through it, and the technique is not difficult. We both recommend the pattern highly.

PS from Susan — where is the snow indeed!?! Last year we had over 60 inches by now and this year about 15. It is supposed to snow this week, however. Ugh for the commute time but great in other ways!

PS2 from Susan: Nancy asked what I did to the neckline: I picked up sts (stitch for stitch) from the WS through the cast on row and then bound off loosely as to knit (again, from the WS side row — I was working in the round).

PS3 from Susan: Sivani asked, “How did you find the back neck and its fit? Does the pattern include increases at the back neck and if so, did you follow the pattern or find that you had to make adjustments?” Short row shaping is done at the very beginning of the sweater to raise the back neck. It fits quite well, but it is straight across. I think it would be rather complicated to create a dip in the back neck if that is your preference. I’m sure it can be done, but it would be hard for me to wrap my brain around it!

February 15, 2012

From Susan — Happy Birthday

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 1:32 am


Yes, we have seen this picture before. But today the focus is on the little one. My little sister, Sally. Not that much younger, especially over the span of a lifetime, but I am still the big sister.

Regular readers already know how I feel about Sally. She is my best friend. Truly. I am not just saying that because it’s her birthday! I know that a lot of people envy our friendship, not having a close sister in their lives. So, I do value this relationship beyond words. She knows everything there is to know and yet still puts up with me. I do push that envelope from time to time!!

Sally has many things going for her, and I hope she realizes it. She is very humble about her gifts!! So my gift to her (besides the package that already arrived!) is to say:

Hey, Surly! You’re pretty cool! Even for a little sister. And Happy Birthday!!

February 14, 2012

From Both of Us — Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Filed under: Updates — Both Sisters @ 8:07 am

valentines day

February 11, 2012

From Both of Us — Valentine’s Day

Filed under: Updates — Both Sisters @ 12:34 pm

Do you realize that you still have time to knit a pair of Sweetheart Glovelets in time to wear on Valentine’s Day (free pattern link on right side bar!!)?

Sweetheart Glovelets

February 10, 2012

From Susan — I’m Bummed

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 11:09 pm

I posted earlier this morning and the server lost it! I will attempt to recreate it, but a bit of my mojo is gone!

The project I wanted to share is one I was introduced to last summer at Meg Swansen’s Knitters Camp. I met the lovely, and very talented, Cheryl Oberle. You may know her from her book, Folk Vests, and a number of other publications. She wore one of her new designs, a vest called Nazo. It was knit from her own yarn, called Dancing Colors, in a gorgeous red->purple combination. Though sportweight, she knit it quite loosely at 5 sts/inch, which gave it a light, airy feel. I tried it on, loved it, and bought her yarn for the project.

I started out with a lot of enthusiasm, which unfortunately waned (that never happens 😉 ). Last fall I was between projects, and picked it up again.

Here is my Nazo Vest:

Nazo warm

Nazo frnt close up

Nazo Back Neck

I used a twisted cord to tie the fronts together and added a knitted band at the bottom. Other than that, I made very few modifications. It is a nice addition to my work wardrobe. Thanks, Cheryl!!

February 2, 2012

From Both of Us — Twin Moons

Filed under: Updates — Both Sisters @ 2:13 pm

From Susan
The hits just keep on comin’!! Sally and I don’t make EVERYthing that the other one knits, but pretty close. We both can get very caught up in the other’s enthusiasm for a project. Sometimes they pan out and sometimes they do not. This one is a hit.

We are both huge fans of Heidi Kirrmaier (aka Pipibird on Ravelry). She designed Summer Solstice, my favorite “go to” sweater du jour. Her designs are simple with flare — fabulous! There is always a little something unusual to add that je ne sais quoi to the design.

So, my latest Pipibird project is Harvest Moon, a seamless, topdown cardigan with a twist. The yoke is done sideways in garter stitch, the pockets are a complete jigsaw puzzle, and the pocket trims are duplicates of the cute neckline:

Harvest Moon Close Up

Yes. I am in the picture. Shocking, I know!! The reason is that Lettie (please don’t tell her I said this!) is not a great model for things that require arms. There. I said it out loud. But I will deny it if pressed!!

The yarn is Tosh Chunky in Byzantine — purchased for a failed attempt at a different pattern. The yarn is pretty but too heavy for this design. I knew it at the time, but I figured since I am the size of a normal person put in a copier at 110%, if I used larger yarn and knit a size medium, it would look the same on me as a normal sweater looks on a normal sized person. Okay, the logic is dodgey, but I did it anyway.

The color of the yarn is beautiful, but only skin deep. Like it is painted onto the outside layer. This means that splices look like candy canes and when you weave in ends, the results are awful. Plus, there is variation across skeins. People often switch off between skeins for hand-dyed yarns, but I just let the chips fall!! I do like the sweater but I recommend using a lighter weight yarn — there are many projects on Ravelry with wonderful results that you can peruse for inspiration.

As I said, we often get swept up into each other’s projects, so here is the update on Sally’s Moon.

From Sally

As Susan said, Heidi Kirrmaier is another designers whose patterns are interesting, fun, and reliable. Harvest Moon is fun to knit because of the way it is constructed. As Susan said, it’s a bit like knitting a puzzle.

My own Harvest Moon is not quite finished. I think it is in the “Waxing Gibbous Moon phase” right now. The body is completed, but I have just barely started one sleeve. It fits well, but as Susan said it’s hard to keep on a mannequin like Lucy because of her “arm issue.” The yarn I am using is the right gauge, but it’s a dense, heavy yarn due to its fiber content. Because I am always cold, I think it will be fine for me. It’s Alpaca and Silk Aran by Debbie Bliss in a smokey gray. I love the button I found for it (found in my button stash of all places!). It’s mother of pearl, and the shine on it makes it hard to get a good photograph.

So here is my rumpled unfinished Harvest Moon. This is what I call “raw” knitting: unblocked, and not even steamed. It will look much better when it’s actually finished.

PS from Susan to Amy re: the neck and shoulders — I did several things to tighten up the neck. I, too, noticed that some of the sweaters looked like they were going to fall off. I did go down a needle size on the collar section so that the neck would be firmer (and I followed the directions as written for the size I made). It fit fine, but after blocking, it looked a bit too large, so I did some “editing.” I used a crochet hook and pulled up the running thread between the collar and the built-in i-cord on the neck edge and created a chain: pulling up each enlarged i-cord loop and creating a new chain link …all the way around. At the end I sewed it down. This tightened up the neckline which brought the whole thing up. When I get a chance, I’ll share a picture of the inside.

As promised, the inside of the collar:

Harvest Moon Inside Collar

The red circle shows the line of “new stitches” created with a crochet hook — pulling up the running thread between the garter sts and the first i-cord stitch. I just pulled up and through the previous stitch all the way around and then tacked the last stitch down with sewing thread.

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