theraineysisters knitting and so much more

December 30, 2013

From Sally — Happiness

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 2:15 pm

I had a lovely Christmas, and I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season as well. I’d like to share one bit of happiness from Christmas morning.

I opened a package from my son. Lo and behold — inside the package were two skeins of yarn. Beautiful yarn. Luscious yarn.

The yellow yarn is Pashmina, a mix of merino, cashmere, and silk that I love and have blogged about before. The color is Candlewick.

The blue yarn is Madelinetosh’s Pure Silk Lace. The color name, appropriately, is Happiness.

I love both yarns, especially that blue. If I had seen it in a store, it would have come home with me. Sterling bought the yarn at Happy Knits in Portland. (I don’t know the store, but I plan to find it next time I’m in town.) The fact that he bought it in Portland — he’s a student at Reed College there — means he took the time out of finals to go Christmas shopping. For me. Talk about happiness!

I asked him whether he had picked the yarn out himself or had help. His answer? By himself. “I just looked for the most expensive yarn.” He knows me too well.

I have a queue a mile long, but something out of that silk had to jump to the head of the line. I’ve just started a shawl I’ve liked for a long time: Tiong Bahru from Asa Tricosa. It is already providing great happiness.

P.S. Michael asked what the yarn is sitting on. It is called a “Yarn Buddy.” It’s from Sun Valley Fibers in Wisconsin. They are beautiful in person and each one is slightly different depending upon the wood. They’re really great for a fiddly yarn like pure silk that tends to fall apart after it’s been wound. I just leave the yarn on mine and knit; it rotates like a lazy Susan. Sue and I nicknamed these “Yarn Marleys” because they could drag after you like Marley’s chains. Sun Valley sells beautiful yarn also.

December 26, 2013

From Susan — Still More to Go!

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 10:49 am

Ho, Ho, Ho, everyone!  I had a fantastic day yesterday shared with family.  We went to my niece’s for dinner last night .  I brought a relish tray and the following, inspired by Sister Surly.  The Grinch Who Stole Christmas Mini Fruit Kabobs!!

So easy to make and quite tasty, too!  In case you can’t see them: a green grape, capped with banana slice, strawberry (with the stem trimmed off), and a mini marshmallow!!  My toothpicks were too short for some of the larger berries which is why some are “topless!”

Our Christmas event is tomorrow night so today and tomorrow are a frenzy.  However, I will not miss my Thursday night knitting group!

December 25, 2013

From Both of Us — Merry Christmas!

Filed under: Updates — Both Sisters @ 10:24 am

Hope your day is special in whatever way you choose.

Happy Holidays from Susan and Sally, The Rainey Sisters!

December 20, 2013

From Susan – Can You Stand Another Niebling?

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 10:11 am

How are the rest of you holding up this holiday season?  I just realized today that I will be competing in every store on the busiest days of the year.  I should have planned ahead better.  🙁  I have downsized every aspect of the holiday this year: decorating, baking, menus, etc.  But it is still a lot of work.

As I look out the window, a large flock of large turkeys is making its way through the new fallen snow — looking for crab apples and bird food.  One just leaped onto the roof right outside the window!!!

Not a great picture!!

Speaking of doilies 🙂 I finished one a while back but forgot to post about it.  I thought about it this week because it had to be moved in order to decorate the house.

It is called Frosted Ferns, which makes no sense.  It has oak leaves and acorns.  What do frosted ferns have to do with it?

The pattern is free, and the thread (size 10) was leftover from another doily, so it was a freebie!  I forgot to take an unblocked picture and really wish I had.  It looked H I D E O U S.  Uggglllyyy.  I was worried it wouldn’t turn out, but starch and pins did the trick!!  I will be one of those old ladies with every surface covered in doilies.

Well, I am going to go back to my seasonal preparations.  First on my list: make a list!!!

PS (in response to Pru): The finished diameter is 29 inches.


December 15, 2013

From Susan – Knitworthy

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 3:44 pm

Can knitworthiness be measured merely by the likelihood of knitting for someone else because they deserve it*, or can we also include the act of appreciating one’s knitting?  Case in point.  Look at my sweet old Molly lounging with a pillow I made years ago from a UFO:

She looks so perfect next to the aran cables!!  And my daughter has already proven to be knitworthy many times over.  We met for lunch on Friday and she appeared wearing the Hitofude I just finished as well as the Sweet Dreams shawlette I made her last year.  She wears that shawl every day!! 🙂

Yep.  Two very knitworthy girls!!

*ETA: Anyone you knit for must appreciate it in order to be deemed knitworthy.  However, in Molly’s case, I did not knit it for her, but she seemed to appreciate it anyway — and therefore gets points in my book!!

December 11, 2013

From Sally — Gauging Interest

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 7:33 pm

Gauge. Boring, but essential.

When trying to achieve “proper”gauge, I have usually found that it’s more important to focus on the stitch gauge than the row gauge if I’m having having trouble getting both to match what’s called for in a pattern. That’s because patterns will often tell you to work a piece until it measures a certain number of inches or centimeters. (Even in that case, though, you should keep track of how many rows you worked so that you can make a corresponding piece such as a front the same number of rows if seaming.) However, with some patterns row gauge is critical.

I have long wanted to knit Alice Starmore’s Margaret Tudor. It first appeared in her original Tudor Roses book, and it has been slightly reworked in the revised edition (which is a must have). Seeing it again rekindled my desire to knit it. This is a complex sweater with many pieces and although there are several sizes, they are all the same length in part because of the length of some of the vertical repeats. It would be difficult to shorten without ruining the overall effect of the design.

The yarn called for is Scottish Fleet, a fine and tightly plied gansey type wool. I bought enough to make the sweater years ago and I knit the first panel. My gauge was way off, especially my row gauge. The sweater would have become a long tunic on me at that gauge, which wasn’t the look I was going for. I am a better, more experienced knitter now. My knitting has also become tighter over the years. So I pulled out some of my Scottish Fleet and tried again to get gauge. I simply can’t. I would have to go down so many needle sizes that it would be too hard on my hands. Despite my best efforts, I cannot knit this sweater out of the yarn called for, even though I would have liked to for many reasons. It’s lovely yarn and my strong preference is to support this designer by using her yarns. (I’ve made up for my temporary disloyalty by buying up enough of her yarn for other designs to keep me busy for much of next year. Stay tuned.)

The quest for a substitute began. I did a lot of swatching from yarns I had in my stash, and I finally settled on Madelinetosh Pashmina in the color Antler. It’s a beautiful yarn although it’s not a perfect solution. I won’t have as firm a fabric. That may become an issue, especially when I want to sew on all of the buttons. (I bought the buttons called for in the original Tudor Roses book and still have them.)

Here are two panels side by side, one in the original green Scottish Fleet and the other in the Pashmina. As you can see, I hadn’t even finished five repeats in the green and it is far longer than the fully completed panel in the cream. The new piece is the length it should be. Note that they look similar in length here, but there are a different number of repeats.

This is a project I will keep in my basket and work on in spurts depending upon my mood, so I don’t expect to finish it any time soon. Hey — I’ve been waiting for over a decade so what is the hurry?

December 5, 2013

From Susan – Brief Hito Update

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 11:38 pm

Daughter Laura stopped by tonight (to drop off her dog so we could “baby” sit) and tried on her Hito.  Too small.  I should have made the small instead of the XS.  I will re-block it and it should be fine.

She and new hubby are spending their first anniversary in Florida where the temps are in the 80’s vs here, where the temp will not hit double digits.  Smart girl.

PS – I was able to block it to the next size so it should work well for her. 🙂

PS2: Update to the update — the reblocked Hito fits her perfectly.  She loves it.  And Happy Anniversary to her and hubby!  Today is one year of marriage!

December 1, 2013

From Both of Us — Hito Fever

Filed under: Updates — Both Sisters @ 1:52 pm

From Susan
It is has been a Hito frenzy Chez Susan.  I have been knitting Hitofudes for the past 5-6 weeks!  I finished mine about 10 days ago and started one for my daughter immediately – finished it last night.

Half.  50%.  That is how much knitting it took to complete Laura’s in a size XS compared to mine.  It isn’t fair!  I could get twice as much knitting done at half the price if I was half my size!!  🙂 My Hito took 350 gms and Laura’s took 175 gms.  Yep.  Not fair.

Here is my Hitofude:

I did a lot of extra knitting – added 5 repeats!  I wanted it longer.  When I blocked it, it was ginormous!  So, I had to re-block it and actually put it into the dryer.  Egads!

Here are the two Hitos:

I used Tosh Merino Light for both: mine is Composition Book Grey and Laura’s is Tart.  Two great colors!  Sally has better pictures because she has access to a beautiful model.  I will have Laura try hers on at some point and will add a better photo.

From Sally
Well, it is true that I have a beautiful model, but I don’t think my pictures are any better.  (In fact, I’m pretty sure they are not.)

I also used Tosh Merino Light for my Hitofude.  My color is Tern, which is a more brown gray than Susan’s.  Because I am in between Susan and Laura in size, I used about 2 1/3 skeins.  I made a few small modifications to the pattern.  I wanted additional length, but not additional flare or width on the fronts.  So when I got to the peplum or skirt I did four plain repeats of the pattern (no increases).  Then I did a set of increases over the entire sweater, not just in the front sections as directed by the pattern.  I incorporated that set of increases into the pattern work, which meant one additional eyelet in each subsequent pattern and a ten row repeat (instead of eight rows).  After that, I followed her increases (front only and increased stitches becoming plain stockinette stitches).

My model is beautiful but she was feeling camera shy:

From Susan, In Conclusion
So you can tell we really like this design!  I may even make another, though a break is in order!!

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