theraineysisters knitting and so much more

March 28, 2017

From Sally — A Bird in the Hand . . .

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 1:26 pm

I have nothing grand to share — nothing that will compare with Susan’s last two project posts.  But it’s not a competition, right?

I’m almost finished with a sweater.  I would be wearing that sweater today if I hadn’t been sidetracked by a lovely hat that reminded me of a favorite poem:  Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird by Wallace Stevens.  My favorite stanza is the last (although I love them all).

It was evening all afternoon.   
It was snowing   
And it was going to snow.   
The blackbird sat   
In the cedar-limbs.

My hat has fourteen birds, not thirteen.  Close enough.

The pattern is Passerine designed by Erica Heusser.  I knit it out of two shades of Tosh Merino Light, which I had in my stash:  Well Water and Composition Book Grey.  I love the tonality and the mood the two colors created.  (I only wish the Well Water hadn’t gotten so very thin in a few spots.)

I made a few modifications.  The pattern tells you to cast on with your contrast color and then, on the first row, start 1 x 1 twisted rib using the main color.  I knit one row plain in the main color before starting the ribbing.  The reason for this was to avoid purl bumps in the contrast color — you get a sharper, cleaner line.  The row of plain knit disappears once you start the ribbing.

Next, I used Susan’s invisible stranding technique from her It’s Not About the Hat pattern. One advantage of having Susan as a sister is that she even drew out the extra stitch lines for me.  Thanks, sis!  I also used Susan’s shaping from her free One Day Hat pattern.  I wanted a closer fitting type hat rather than the slouchier look in the original pattern.

As for photos, well, it’s hard to take a picture of a hat on yourself!  So I have one not so great photo.  I’m traveling to meet up with friends tomorrow.  If I can persuade one of them to act as a model, I might be able to get some better pictures.

March 19, 2017

From Susan — A Rose by Any Other Name

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 2:04 pm

I just finished a beautiful shawl called Osmanthus that is so delicate and pretty — and the color of rose petals.  Knit in Grinning Gargoyle’s MCS Fingering, color Petals (70% Wool – Merino, 20% Silk, 10% Goat – Cashmere goat), it is very soft and luxurious.  The color is almost solid with a slight peachy cast, and periodic flecks of darker pink.  Grinning Gargoyle brings her stunning yarns to Yarnover every year and we make a DASH for her booth!  The colors are spectacular.  I have used her yarn often in the past.

There are pink seed beads through the lower half or so.  Here it is blocking:

It is really huge, and took about 825 yards!  I hope it’s not too big!! 😉

I think it will be a really nice shawl to wear in the spring and in summer with air conditioning.  It screams summer wedding to be honest!  I will for sure take it with me to Washington, DC when I go in May to visit Surly and attend the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival!!

March 11, 2017

From Susan — Worth the Wait

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 2:02 pm

I am coming up on my second anniversary — as of March 15, it will be two years since I started this sweater!!  Yay!!  Yay for finishing!!  The sweater is Fading Lines, and it is done.  It is  Joji Locatelli design in Pigeonroof Gradient Sock Yarn.

I had high hopes when I started this project.  I got off to a quick start on tiny yarn and tiny needles, but it was too long and clung to my derriere in a very unflattering way.  I set it aside.  Last fall I dragged it out again, made some adjustments, finished up through the collar and again put it aside.  I decided that it would be a great spring sweater so I dragged it out once more…but could not find the pattern (with all of my notes), which was with the bag of yarn.  I found some yarn, but not all of it.  I had purchased one extra skein of the background color as insurance, but it didn’t look the same.  Did not have the same speckly tonality of the rest.  I knew that knitting the sleeves with that yarn would be very noticeable.

I combed the entire house multiple times and never found anything more than the “bad” skein and a couple of very small balls of “good” yarn.  Last week I stumbled onto the pattern: alone, not in a bag, and without the oodles of yarn needed to knit the sleeves. 🙁  Uh oh.  So, I decided to use the small nerds of “good” yarn as long as I could and then switch to the not-so-good yarn.  It worked!  I got all the way to the garter cuffs in the matching yarn, and so just switched out at the cuffs.  Whew!

My Grade:

Pattern: A
Yarn: A, the gradient colors are strikingly beautiful
Fit: A+ (!!!)
Overall Score: A+

Fit is everything and this fits me the best of almost any sweater I have ever made!  I L O V E it! 😉  Sorry, I could not get any good pictures.

March 7, 2017

From Susan — If you don’t like the weather now…

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 8:50 am

…wait five minutes!  Last night, tornadoes and hail.  This morning, snow on the ground.

March 5, 2017

From Susan — Don’t Jog My Mellow

Filed under: Updates — lv2knit @ 6:20 pm

Mary Sue asked me about the jogless stripes method that I referenced when speaking about my Breathing Space.  I was going to wait and describe it when I posted my finished project, but my project has hit a speed bump.  🙁  So, I decided to share it now because I was asked!!

The center line shows the position of the change in colors.  It is jogless, but can be seen because it protrudes slightly.  This is because I twisted the yarns together on each row to avoid gaps.  That has really nothing to do with the jog per se but more to do with carrying the colors up the rounds and leaving holes between changes.  I think some of that will block out (I have not blocked this yet).  And to be honest, I don’t care about the vertical line now that the jogs are gone!  Woo Hoo! 😉

The original pattern has the color changes occurring on the longer of the two sides.  I did not like any of the usual techniques for jogless stripes when I started the sweater, so I completely changed the construction so my joins would take place on the short side (too complicated to describe now).  After I finished the short rows that create the angles of the sweater, and got to the short side to start working the stripes in the round, I tried every jogless technique I could think of.  They were all horrible looking, until I found The Icelandic Knitter’s Jogless Join!  And that is the technique I used for the stripes.  It works really well.

In a nutshell, you knit to the end of your round with Color A.  Do not remove EOR marker.  Place the last Color A stitch back on the left needle and knit it again with Color B (this step is kind of awkward).  Knit Color B round as you normally would, but knit the last stitch in round by lifting the Color A stitch from the end of the Color A round and knit it together with the extra Color B stitch.  She shows pictures of this.  Many people do this step with the first stitch of the round, but I think this works better.


March 3, 2017

From Sally — Christmas in March

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 1:02 pm

As promised (or was that threatened), I’m posting today about a sweater I knit my son for “Christmas.”  Let me be honest here — he asked for a sweater several years ago.  I said yes because he is extremely knit worthy.  He appreciates and wears everything I’ve ever made for him.  This project, however, had trouble coming together.

I first started it with some lovely cashmere from Carol Sunday.  I love her yarn, but the pattern he helped me choose (NOT one of hers) had issues.  Moreover, I didn’t care for it all that much.  I started it over once and then it slowly migrated to the abandoned pile.  The guilt remained.

This past September, I purchased different yarn and found a new pattern.  The yarn is Cumbria by the Fibre Company in the colorway Appleby Castle.  It’s a blend of Merino, Masham (a breed of sheep I was unfamiliar with), and Mohair.  (Susan used the fingering weight version for her Leap Year cardigan.)  I chose a pattern called Fantomas, which featured knit in sleeves and shoulder saddles with a zip up neck and small stand up collar.

It started out great.  I told Sterling I was knitting him a sweater when I saw him in October (in part because I needed to re-measure him after all this time).  “Is that still happening?” he asked.  Oh, the guilt.  But there was a snag.  He liked the yarn.  He liked the pattern.  More specifically, he liked it except for the zip up neck which is what I liked about it!

Back to the drawing board.  Sort of.  I had knit the body and sleeves to the armhole, joined them, and started some of the sleeve cap shaping.  (This pattern uses knit in saddle shoulder shaping very similar to Elizabeth Zimmerman’s.)  I took the whole thing apart and removed some body length because it looked too long when I made him try it on.  (I hope I don’t come to regret this decision but the overall body length of 30 inches specified in the pattern seemed awfully long.)  Then I rejoined it and plotted out how to rewrite the pattern to give him the crew neck he wanted.

Using Actual Gauge Graph Paper, I first drew out all of the sleeve and saddle shaping called for the in the original pattern and marked where I would have split the neck for the zipper.  Then I measured some of my husband’s crew necks and looked at some other sweater patterns to determine a basic depth and width for a standard men’s crew neck.  I roughly sketched out on my graph paper where I should take off center neck stitches etc. and hoped for the best.

I didn’t think it was working when I was starting the saddle decreases at the top of the shoulder.  However, because there was so little knitting left at that point, I decided to keep going.  If it didn’t work, I’d get a better idea of what was wrong if I actually finished.  That was the right decision because it did work.  I tried a couple of different neckline treatments, finally settling on a 1 x 1 rib in knit & seed stitch to complement the stitch pattern on the sleeve, and I had the saddle stitches flow into the neckband.

I was so excited to throw it in the mail that I took very few photos.  My husband is my reluctant model.  He and my son are close in size  but it should fit Sterling a little better.  I hope the length is right; I’m waiting to hear that he’s received it.  Sorry for the skimpy photographs, but I was very excited to get this off the needles and out to Portland, Oregon.


March 1, 2017

From Sally — Better Late Than Never?

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 12:12 pm

I’m posting two finished projects over the next few days.  One is a vest, I finished some time ago.  I shared it in our Ravelry Group, but neglected to share it here.  The second project is a Christmas gift for my son.  He asked me to knit him a sweater several Christmases ago.  I finally put it in the mail yesterday.  (Such a bad mother.)

First up:  Nancy’s Vest, another design by Carol Sunday.  I used her 3-ply Angelic yarn in the color Smoke.  I absolutely love the drape and feel of the fabric produced by this yarn.  I definitely need to knit a full sweater out of it — so soft and cozy.

I made very few modifications to this.  I used a slightly different tubular cast on than Carol’s.  My other change was to the back neck.  The button bands of the vest are knit as you go; then the band is extended across the back and grafted.  Instead of grafting the neckband at the center of the back, I knit one side longer and grafted it at the shoulder so it would be less noticeable.  (Because you’re off half a stitch, I knew the purl stitches wouldn’t line up perfectly.)

The tubular cast on:

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