theraineysisters knitting and so much more

March 27, 2012

From Both of Us — And the Winners Are . . .

Filed under: Updates — Both Sisters @ 9:38 pm

We were surprised and gratified by the number of responses to this year’s survey and contest: over 800 of you took the time to answer. Thank you so very much. We are still sifting through and analyzing the responses, and we’ll share what we learn in a future post.

In the meantime, we want to announce the winners of this year’s Bloggiversary Contest:

1. Buffalo Wool

Our winner is: Emily W.

2. Brooklyn Tweed Loft

Our winner is: Sherry N.

3. Fino Alpaca with a Twist

Our winner is: “The Patricia”

Emails have gone out to each of the winners — we didn’t have a mailing address for each winner, so if you are named please check your mail and get back to us. Congratulations!

If you didn’t win, please know you are winners in our eyes and better luck next year!

March 25, 2012

From Susan — Well I’ll Be

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 6:14 pm

In my last post, I mentioned that my orange and gray yarns did not have sufficient contrast to work for the stranded pattern I was doing…when to everyone’s eye, it looked like there was plenty of contrast. SuCar described a technique for checking this out. You take a photo and then change it to black and white to see the actual contrast. I gave it a try:

Color photo on left; same photo in black and white on the right

Amazing, isn’t it? The orange just vanishes. And in the actual colorwork, this really played out. Thanks for the tip, SuCar!!

PS – don’t forget that tomorrow is the last day to submit your survey and to put your name in the running for our prize giveaway!!

March 23, 2012

From Susan — Friday, Friday, Friday!!

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 3:16 pm

Yay! The start of my weekend, since I work 4 days a week. First off, thanks to all of you who have responded ‘in droves’ to our survey — very interesting comments!! We will certainly share our findings and also try to incorporate some of your ideas and suggestions.

I started off the day today with a therapeutic massage for my wrist and things felt “different” — in a good way. I think progress is being made.

Progress or not, I have been doing a little bit of knitting. As Sally mentioned in a previous post, we are both knitting Taiga — a bulky-weight vest with a gorgeous accent of stranded knitting.

As I said, I chose my colors poorly. They went together quite well on the face of things, but the stranding did not show up at all…not enough contrast between the two colors. Unfortunately, I did not take a picture of the original colorwork (doh!) but the colors are below:

Taiga and Yarn

You can see that the colors are kind of cute together. I chose the orange because it matched some of the slubs in the grey tweedy yarn. The choice of orange was a bit “out of the box” for me — funky and fun and not like other things I have.

Well. I crawled back into my box!! After seeing Sally’s DARLING version with the pale green and dark purple, I had to jump on board. The purple is fantastic and I am very pleased. It killed me to rip out my colorwork because my knitting time is so limited and RE-knitting is absurd, but it had to be done.

The pattern has you do the stranding back and forth, which I did the first time around. Annoying but okay. But, no way was I going through that again, so I added a steek for the new color. To add the steek I ended at the end of a RS row, cast on 8 sts and then knit around again. I then added the purple and started the chart. When I finished the chart, I cast off the steek and kept going with the purple. Easy peasy.

Some knitters suffer from “steek anxiety.” I never suffered this ailment. Cutting my knitting never bothered me — even Alice St@rmore told me she had never seen anyone cut their first steek with such glee! I think the reason I am not bothered by cutting the steek is that it marks the next stage in the project — if you don’t cut it, you can’t finish it.

For the steek averse among you, I chronicled my steek surgery in photos (the color is very true in these photos):

Steek Close Up

At the machine

Starting to Cut


All done!!

I often place something hard, like a book or cutting board, underneath the steek so I don’t cut the wrong thing (like strands from the other side of the knitting!). I didn’t really need it here because of how short the steek was and easy to see, etc. The book is Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle Knitting — a true classic!!

I kept going and finished the front pockets and am now doing the bottom half of the vest. This is supposed to be a quick knit in bulky yarn, but it doesn’t FEEL quick! It is not as easy for me to knit with bulky, chunky, tweedy yarn and large needles.

This project is really cute, though, and actually fits so far. I know people thought they couldn’t wear the bulky knits, calling themselves too “fluffy,” but I am not the smallest cherub in the choir by a long shot and it looks okay. I don’t feel like it makes me look any bigger than other knits.

Progress so far…

I still have to take it slow on the knitting, but should get this done soon. Maybe I can find a vest that knits itself!


Enjoy your weekend and your knitting!!

PS to Renee who said, “The skein of orange yarn looks like there should have been enough contrast next to the gray.” I agree! It looked like it should work. It just didn’t. I think the super tweediness of the gray overwhelmed the orange. It needed a solid, dark color.

March 20, 2012

From Both of Us — It’s That Time of Year Again

Filed under: Updates — Sally @ 12:19 pm


It’s hard to believe, but we’ve been writing this blog for six years. As we often do when our bloggiversary approaches, we’ve spent time reflecting on our knitting and blogging. There have been interesting changes in the knitting world over the past six years: Ravelry (which didn’t exist when we started and now has over 2 million members), a big shift to downloadable patterns, more online resources, and of course new yarns and tools.

We’d like to understand a little bit more about how our blog fits into your knitting world as we go forward. To that end, we’ve written a (brief) survey that we invite our readers to fill out. Responses will be anonymous. We’ll share any interesting findings and comments in a later post.

To reward you for responding, we’ll give out three prizes. Details on how to fill out the survey follow the descriptions of the bribes prizes.

Prize #1

Buffalo Wool. One reader will receive 120 grams (approximately 440 yards) of this luscious yarn (90% Bison, 10% nylon).

Prize #2

Brooklyn Tweed’s Loft. One reader will receive two skeins in the color “Longjohns” (100% wool; 275 yards per 50 gram skein).

Prize #3

Fino Alpaca with a Twist. One reader will receive two skeins in the color “Champagne” (70% Baby Alpaca, 30% silk; 875 yards per 100 gram skein). That’s enough yarn to make a shawl identical to Sally’s Forest Path Stole.

How to Fill Out the Survey and Enter the Contest

It’s easy. Just click here and fill out the survey. Instructions on how to enter are at the very end of the survey. The survey and contest are open through midnight Monday, March 26th. Prize winners will be announced on Tuesday, March 27th. (You have the option to enter for any or all of the prizes.)

Thank you for participating and, as always, thank you for reading!

March 15, 2012

From Sally — (Almost) Instant Gratification

Filed under: Taiga — surly @ 4:31 pm

It was an unusually warm winter in our nation’s capital, and it is looking to be an unusually early spring as well. A few adventurous blossoms have appeared on my Yoshino cherry trees. My daffodils are in full bloom. My peonies are coming up. The camellia that fills one of my yarn room windows is in full flower.

Camellia blossoms

So what in the world was I thinking last week when I started a project using bulky (yes, bulky — I never knit in that gauge) wool/mohair/angora? I mean really. What was I thinking? In my defense, my sister made me do it.

The pattern is a cute, short sleeved cardigan designed by Svetlana Volkova called Taiga. I thought it would be perfect for chilly spring nights. If there were going to be any. Which ain’t happening. So I may not wear this until fall. The yarn I am using is Blackstone Tweed Chunky (65% wool, 25% mohair, 10% angora). It’s heavy. Very heavy. I am so unused to knitting with large size needles; they felt like tree trunks. (U.S. 10)

It’s not quite finished. I need to knit the sleeves, finish the bands, sew down the pocket linings, and add the toggle closures. It desperately needs to be blocked, both for fit and to even out the stitches. Despite everything, I think it’s cute. And if we get a sudden cold snap that sends my flowers into sudden hibernation, I’ll be prepared.

From Susan — I, too, have this on the needles! But we know my knitting time is limited. I also rue my color choice. I am almost done with the colorwork and it is woefully lacking in contrast. I THOUGHT it would work, but it doesn’t. So, I ordered yarn much like Sally’s purple and I will have to reknit the stranded portion.

March 12, 2012

From Susan — Mini Update

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 7:52 am

Thanks to everyone for your support!! It does make my banishment to ‘non-knitters island’ a little bit easier!

I went to a massage therapist recommended by friend Mary and will go again several times this week. I did do a small amount of knitting and stopped any time there was a flare up of pain. I am going to back off that a bit for the rest of the week.

That is a tall order because Sally and I found a super cute, quick knit project and I am dying to work on it! She will share hers soon because she is almost finished, as would I be…never mind.

March 6, 2012

From Susan — Say Goodnight

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 11:55 pm

…to my knitting. I have not been knitting the last few days because of my wrist pain. I could keep “soldiering” on but I know in the long run that would be a mistake. I may [heaven forbid] go to a doctor. I just hate having to do that!! So, I won’t be updating any projects in the near future. Yes, I am bummed. Big time.

March 3, 2012

From Susan — What was I thinking?

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 1:10 pm

I keep knitting, but continue to second guess myself on this project! It could end up beautiful or pitiful…only time will tell. It is a lot of knitting, too, which means my “return on investment” could be terribly in the red. However, I keep telling myself it is only knitting, not a cure for cancer, so the outcome is not that important in the big scheme of things.

The project: Daydreams in Lace from Knitters 100th Issue (yes, I said Knitters!):


Yes, I see myself as a 100-pound flower child from 1971. Do you have a problem with that?

The yarn: Madelinetosh Light in color Midnight Pass. I would show a picture of the color but it is impossible to capture. I mean IMPOSSIBLE! But picture the most intense turquoise/aqua in the world and you will have it. You need sunglasses to look at it directly.

This is my progress so far:


Believe it or not, it actually fits when I tried it on. Lettie is not thrilled:



Again, even as I look at these photos, I keep wondering…what the beeboop am I thinking??!! I forced Sally to buy some of this yarn as well…she will share her project in due time!!

From Sally

Susan is right — her photos do NOT capture the color. It is the most intense turquoise I’ve ever seen. It is a much bolder color than either of us usually knits with, but I like it.

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