In which much is out of date, but still interesting…to me anyway. And probably Ellen. Hopefully to you. Sorry!
Thanks to listeners, old and new, for joining us!
We kick off this episode with acknowledgement that by the time it was posted, it was out of date. Consider it a history lesson and enjoy.
Patterns of Our Lives:
Ellen is proud of a the MN Senior Chess Champion – her husband! That was about all she had for Patterns of our Lives, but Jan had plenty.
Dale and Jan got away to Virginia Beach for a mini-break before Jan started her new job. They rented a very nice suite in a nice hotel – and then invited a bunch of friends to join them. I don’t think they really understand the concept of an intimate weekend away, but hey, whatever floats their boat. Rumor has it that Fisherman’s Platters were eaten.
Returning from the beach, Jan headed north to the Knitting Pipeline retreat, chauffeuring two VIP’s, Louise of Caithness Craft Collective and Zelia, her mum. Of course, when you are traveling with Jan, you fit time in to tour Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and visit an alpaca farm (Jan’s). I think there was some knitting in there, too. The retreat sounds like it was a blast, lots of yarn, lots of food, lots of talk and fun and learning courtesy of fellow retreat-goers and also Susan B Anderson, artist-in-residence for the retreat. If you want to check it out, check out #KPMaine on Instagram. You will be able to follow the story of Sylvia and Flavio Sylvio.
Jan followed the retreat with a full week of naval conferencing and finishing up the Prickly Pear pattern that she designed for the Yarn Barn in San Antonia for their 2014 Hill Country Yarn Crawl. She is not resting at all before starting her new job – which is Chancellor of one of the 5 colleges that comprise the National Defense University.
Ellen had some yarn fun this month, too. Part of that was her autumn pilgrimage to the Sisu Lost in the Woods Knitting Retreat on Burntside Lake just outside of Ely, MN. The project for the retreat was Norwegian mittens, guided by Jan Bilden. Many colorful mittens got their start that weekend.
Ellen got to spend an afternoon with Jim Pietkowicz and Cat Bordhi, following their class at StevenBe. Ellen noted that valuing brick and mortar LYS’s is important – enjoy those Etsy shops, but don’t forget your local yarn purveyors.
Finely or Finally Knit:
With so much time between recordings, some knitting got done!
Flavio Sylvio, the Portuguese bunny, was one of the projects Jan finished. He was made of leftovers from Prickly Pear, a hooded scarf that Jan designed (see above). She used picture lace to suggest prickly pear cacti, perfect for a Texas yarn crawl. Jan hopes to publish the pattern in the near future.
Jan also knit a pair of mittens for the charity drive associated with the Knitting Pipeline retreat. Of course, none of these projects actually have project pages on Ravelry, or we’d link to them for your viewing pleasure.
Ellen also finished a few items. She finished her Wild Apple tam (#wildappleaday on Instagram) which she started in Sweden (so appropriate to knit Bohus patterns in Sweden!) out of merino/angora yarn from Solsilke (no longer available, but Angoragarnet is beginning to supply kits). It still needs blocking, after which you will undoubtedly hear about it again!
She also finished #11 Eyelet Cowl by Cathy Carron out of her handspun, an MCN blend from Rain City Fiber Arts. A super simple eyelet cowl in a cushy handspun yarn – it was a pleasure to knit.
Jan finished her assymetrical socks, too.
On the Runway, Jan reports that Fog Lights (the original design is the Green Mist pullover by Kerstin Olson), is making great progress with just bands remaining. Likewise, Ellen is almost ready to start the bands for her Bohus reproduction (Many Moments of Grace, a reproduction of the Rimfrost design).
Ellen is also working on Norgie mittens – started in the Sisu retreat class taught by Jan Bilden. Her mittens are out of Kenzie from Skacel, 50%, 25%, 10% angora, 10% alpaca, 5% silk noils for a crimson red, as well as a nice hard Norwegian yarn, Rauma Strikke-garn in deep sky blue. Jan has knit boot socks out of Kenzie, so it promises to stand up to wear and so isn’t as odd of a pairing with the Rauma.
Ellen got some progress in on her Crazy Vanilla Socks out of Schoppelwolle Crazy Zauberball sock yarn, worked on size 0 needles in a plain stockinette stitch and a Cat Bordhi Sweet Tomato Heel (not to mention the tubular cast on).
Bitten by our Knittin’:
Once again, Ellen learns that you should at least read the pattern before going your own way. She had to frog the crown of her tam when she discovered that she wasn’t following the prescribed decrease rate.
And once again, Jan learned that you shouldn’t knit lace late at night and while drinking, leading to some frogging in the final knit of Prickly Pear. And she bit her knitting, clipping the fabric by accident when trying to remove waste yarn. She also misplaced one of Flavio’s arm during the knitting, the first time she knit her bunny, anyway.
Be sure to check out Cat Bordhi’s new book, Versatildes – a New Landscape for Knitters. And the new Frog Tree yarn, Llambrosia. I checked with Jim Petkiewicz of Frog Tree Yarn and the pronunciation is as we suggested – think llama, not lamb.
Ready to Wear:
Jan offered some of her farm wares at the Knitting Pipeline retreat and reports they were well received. She has replenished her inventories as she received her order from 84 Alpacas has arrived – yarn in various weights, plus roving both pin-drafted and not. She hopes to be offering it sometime soon. We are likely to all fight over the 3-ply DK weight out of the cria fleeces.
Ellen received detailed notes and feedback on her Shirley Paden Design-along 4 Fair Isle design. Shirley suggests a 3-needle bind off for a stronger shoulder seam, rather than the mock Kitchener seam Ellen had suggested. She has also suggested some changes to the armhole shaping, so Ellen is giving that some thought.
Jan asks about whether a thumb on a mitten should carry the pattern to match the hand. Ellen says, it depends. Really, it needs to be suited to the mitten.
Jan and Ellen review Laura Rickett’s, Beauties from the Far North – Swedish Sami Knitted Mittens, available for $20 on Ravelry. The book has 8 mittens – and in a flash contest – you have a chance to win a copy of the book. Check our Ravelry group for a chance to win – we will close the thread when we record the next time (which will be two episodes from this one, as we did record this morning and this episode was posted late last night – somehow that doesn’t seem very fair). Here is the TwinSet Technical Review(TM) of this book:
1) Good overview for each pattern — CHECK.
2) Written Instructions — Yes – full descriptions of how to knit these, stitches and materials, but charts are used for color.
3) Charted Instructions — See #2.
4) Words of caution/Tips/Tricks — Notes and special techniques are embedded in the pattern.
5) Photography Styling — Very nice. Includes caribou hides and horns.
6) Photography Clarity — Very clear, several shots of each mitten.
This is a super book of super designs for super colorful mittens. We recommend you take a look, you’ll enjoy both the designs and the history of the Sami culture.
Ellen described working with an MCN blend from Rain City Fiber Arts. She spun the singles with a woolen draw, working hard to keep them fat and puffy, and the resulting yarn is nice and puffy. A fast, fun spin.
She also gave Valor a bath – Valor’s fleece, that is. He is the Fair Winds Farm ram, and his fleece is gorgeous. Ellen recommends Synthrapol, available at Dharma Trading Company, for a low-sudsing, highly effective wash. She trimmed the tips from the fleece, removing the sun bleached ends and thereby making sure that the dark fleece that Valor produces will still be dark when carded and spun. She also drum-carded a fleece from Rhinebeck from a few years ago – lots of fiber fun and future spinning to come.
Jan is enjoying her Kindle Unlimited investment – for her, it is paying off! Ellen mentioned an embellishment that Wilson found – a fitness tracker for cats. They are called KitBits. (April Fool’s in October!)
Ellen’s fun fur is reading blogs – and she is going to start reading other’s blogs again and posting to the TwinSet blog, too.
Diane (knotjusthats on Ravelry) shared the slick trick she learned in a pattern for making an enclosed edge when picking up a button band. When picking up the band from the front, work a smooth cotton yarn into the loops formed on the back of the band as you pick up the stitches. Now you have clearly marked the stitches to use when picking up the backing band of fabric.
You may already be a Wiener!
Many winners in our Cleaning off the Needles KAL – but you were all winners, with so many wonderful projects! Winners and prizes listed below – please be sure and connect with twinsetellen on Ravelry to figure out how to get your prize! And THANK YOU to our donors, lotsofhermies, DCAlaneknits, Cat Bordhi, and Fair Winds Farm.
Grand Prize (TS summer camp project bag) — cperrine (Cindi) — Toothless
LOH (lotsofhermies) Stitch Markers –Knotjusthats (Diane) — Fuscia Fantasy hat
LOH Stitch markers — AZknitwit — Market Bag
LOH Stitch Markers — Prairiegl (Leah) Plum Tree Slouch
Versatildes — camanoah (Judy) — Sockhead hat
DCAlaneknites pattern donation — Oldest project
Jan will of course start her new job, but also a trip to the NW for a Cat Bordhi knitting retreat.
Ellen actually got a knitting retreat application in on time. She is planning to attend the Zombie Knitpocalypse next year.
And both twins plan to figure out how to get out episodes a bit more frequently!
Enjoy the show!