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Archive for the ‘Destashing’


Episode 62 — Just Adorable!

In which we give a recap of TwinSet Summer Camp 2015, reaching 1,000 members, the shenanigans of the lamb Squirrel, a Seattle trip including visits to Tolt and So Much Yarn (and Starbucks!), knits for Vlad and being underwater with our knitting.

Knitted Creations

Dear Ellen,

foggy-coast1.JPGWhile Marie and Heidi were here, Marie’s interest in knitting seemed to pick up again.  We made a trip to the Lancaster Yarn Shop and picked up the yarn to knit the Origami Pullover.  This was prompted by our friend Heidi’s willingness to let us all try on her Origami — doesn’t it look great on Marie?  Reminds me of Audrey Hepburn in a funny way.  That’s 68 inches of K1P1 ribbing in the main body piece — slog knitting at it’s best.  The fact that this piece is just two rectangles cleverly pieced together made Marie feel very confident about her ability to make it. She was less confident in how quickly she could make it.  I agreed that if she knit the smaller of the two rectangles (about 1/3 of the knitting), that I would knit the large one.  We picked out some lovely 100% alpaca in a charcoal gray, a color she can wear at work and we cast on that night.  Progress is being made….I’ll keep you posted.

creation-shawl-1.jpgA far faster knit is this little fluffy shawl.  I made it from the limited time Rowan Creation yarn.  It took about an hour to knit up and will be a nice little donation scarf for our workplace charity silent auction.  It’s fun to wear too!

dsc03997-1.JPGI finished one other item — the Rocky Coast Cardigan that I’m calling Foggy Coast.  It’s going to take a long time to dry — that wool really soaked up the water.  It christened my studio sink and blocking area.  I look forward to many more knits making their way through that sink and onto that table.

Well, I’m going to run…I’ve got some ribbing to knit!

Love, Jan

I’d Spring Back if I Had Any Snap Left in My Elastic

Dear Ellen,

dsc02440.JPGdsc02446.JPGdsc02424.JPGI can’t believe that spring is here.  I know you can’t either.  Of course, the fact that you still have massive piles of snow probably affects your view of things, but down here we have robins, daffodils and lots of mud.  The tree buds are swelling and some of the cherry trees are actually blooming.  The think I hate about spring being here is the loss of an hour this weekend.  I was tired enough without trying to manage the day without that hour.  And I had to drag myself out of bed before I was ready in hopes of going to be on EST vice DST.  If I don’t 4:45 AM will feel like 3:45 AM House tomorrow and that would not be a good way to start the work week.

dsc02425.JPGI’m pleased to report that we will now be able to tell the direction of the wind at Fair Winds.  Our weathervane went on the turret this week.  Only problem is you have to subtract about 65 degrees or so from the heading as they failed to correctly align the directionals.  Oh well!  This one is easily fixed…and can actually be used as a learning point for when our inlaid wood medallion goes into our floor — something that cannot be easily fixed!  With this error, I think dsc02429.JPGdsc02436.JPGdsc02428.JPGthey’ll be extra careful to have the compass out when they put the medallion in!  We now also have interior trim through much of the house and garage doors…it all adds to a more complete looking house.  I am so eager to see it when the rest of the window trim goes on and the landscaping gets started!

dsc02450.JPGdsc02451.JPGdsc02452.JPGI have finished a bit on knitting this week…not really that much volume, but hats do go quickly.  Yes, I’m working on another hat for Warm Hats Not Hot Heads, but the ones I finished this week were for an charity effort for Haiti where it is surprisingly cold at night.  These three will head off to join others to make the journey to help those still trying to recover form the earthquake last year…makes my concern for those in New Zealand and Japan even more acute when I realize how far from recovery Haiti still is.  I’ll be watching for an opportunity to help the kiwis and Japanese too.

dsc02448.JPGThe more complex project I’ve been working on is my Primula Shawl.  (Sorry, still no project page…in fact, I’m about 10 project pages behind at this point!)  I’ve added some extra rows of patterning to the project to use up the yarn and I’m pretty darned pleased with it for a first complex shawlette pattern.  I do have some real tweaking to do.  I want the ends to wrap more to the front like a faroese shawl, so just a bit of adjustment.  I love the color — the color for ovarian cancer awareness.  You may remember that Ann’s Hat was designed and knit for a friend with ovarian cancer.  (That pattern is up to 54 projects and is in 67 queues!)  This shawl is for her as she continues the fight.  All that’s left is the bind off and blocking.

dsc02454.JPGHere’s a picture of the Blue Spiral Cowl that I knit from stash yarn using the pattern Spiraluscious.  Glad I had listened to The Knit Wits podcast where Princess Carin the Knit had problems with that one extra stitch.  I have to admit that if I hadn’t been watching for the problem spot, I probably would have done the same thing.  The way the pattern is written, it’s easy to misinterpret it so that you think you are to increase a stitch each time you do row 16.  Reading it very deliberately you realize you are only supposed to do that the LAST TIME you knit row 16.  Technically, it’s written correctly, but I do think it warrants a bit more clarity for those of us who have exhausted a few too many brain cells.

dsc02449.JPGI still think of my cabled socks and the Sweater from Down Under as WIPs, but they are rapidly heading towards UFO status if I don’t get back to them soon.  I have the sweater ready to join me downstairs so I can match cabling down the sleeves while I work on them.  The socks come and go to PA with us in their nice little project bag.  At least they know I’m thinking of them.

51btz-3nbll_sl500_aa300_.jpgI want to close with a book review.  When I saw a dog that looked so much like Ruby on the cover, I couldn’t resist buying a copy of  Knit Your Own Dog:  Easy to Follow Patterns for 25 Pedigree Pooches by Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne.  It is such a great little book!  I want to start taking pictures of all the dogs I know so I can recreate them in yarn.  The book doesn’t walk you through the process of “matching” your actual dog’s coloration to their patterns, but really, it’s just a matter of modifying the color patterns, the actual body patterns don’t have to change.  The author’s have their own knitwear business in London and they export completed garments as well as writing some great patterns.  They have two earlier books centered on pet accessories.  These gals obviously both love their pets and they know them very, very well.  I love that the patterns are extremely realistic and as the authors point out, the patterns include “details specific to each breed.”  They look to be clearly written, achievable for an intermediate knitter (there is fair isle, intarsia and shaping at a very fine gauge) who also knows how to manipulate fabric with a sewing needle.  I love them!  There are patterns for terriers, working dogs, sporting dogs, hounds and non-sporting.  I can’t decide which is my favorite, but I’m partial to the terriers of course,  and the corgi and the westie crack me up.  I’m dying to cast on — but it will require some planning as I’ll need to break my yarn diet to do it.  (Though there is that clause about buying yarn for gift knitting!)  The introduction ends with the encouragement to “Stitch your bitch.”  When I first skimmed it, I thought it said, “Stitch, you bitch.”  And I wondered, how did they know?

Love, Jan

Getting the Most from a Surplus

Dear Ellen,

dsc02358.JPGOne thing the Warm Hats, Not Hot Heads campaign has done for me is to allow me to make a pretty good dent in my yarn surplus.  As any economist will tell you, that is important to help stave off recessionary factors.  As I will tell you, it’s important to allow me to head off to Sock Summit this summer with plenty of room in my stash for additional purchases.  All eight of my hats came out of stash.  I’m pretty pleased with that.  And I’m pleased with my latest two contributions.  dsc02355.JPGdsc02351.JPGI cast on the first one Saturday morning while up in Pennsylvania.  It’s out of Classic Elite Moss and was a very fast knit.  I bound off while watching Despicable Me with Dale that evening.  I cast on the last one Sunday morning and finished it tonight.  It’s Classic Elite Kumara in a pretty aquamarine.  I made up the lace pattern as I went.  It would’ve been a faster knit, but some of that lace was trial and error.  I’ll put all eight hats in the mail the very first thing in the morning.

dsc02348.JPGdsc02340.JPGOur trip to PA included, of course, a stop at the building site.  It may not seem to have changed much to the casual observer, but check out that soffit, those corbels, the window trim!  dsc02341.JPGdsc02338.JPGAnd inside the mud-work has transformed raw dry-wall into beautifully shaped arches and corners to define our living spaces.  (AND a laundry chute!!)  dsc02345.JPGdsc02337.JPGWe had hoped to see copper roofing on the porch, but the machine to install it didn’t get delivered.  It is now scheduled for this Wednesday.  Our wells are held up too.  The drill truck was having trouble moving around and bracing itself in the slippery red clay mud.  Ironic that too much water is preventing us from finding water.

dsc02359.JPGEnroute to PA I worked on finishing my Spiraluscious.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t successful thanks to a shortfall of about 10 yards of yarn.  I should have been a bit more circumspect in needle selection.  The pattern calls for size 3s, but I chose to go with 4s as my yarn choice was a bit bulkier than the fingering weight called for.  (Okay, a lot bulkier — I’d call it a light worsted.)  I also should have taken the pattern at its word regards yardage.  My choice had 3 yards shy of the yardage called for.  (Okay, so one shouldn’t convince oneself that they always add a buffer to yarn requirements.)  I ran out of yarn 3 edge repeats from the end of the project.  I thought about ripping back and eliminating some of the last repeat of the body pattern, but instead got on Ravelry and went looking for people with the same yarn in their stash.  Hurrah for Ravelry!  I found someone with a remnant left over from a project they had knit and PM’d her.  She said she would be more than happy to send her remaining 21 yards in my direction.  Knitters are wonderful!  Of course, with the success of the WHNHH campaign, you already knew that!

Love, Jan

The First Rule of Fight Club

dsc01163.JPG  Dear Ellen,

This is about a week old, suffered while in Brussels.  Yes, the story behind it is indeed embarassing.  No, the story behind it does not involve alcohol.  ‘Nuff said.

The remainder of the Brussels trip was too fast.  I landed Sunday, had all day meetings Monday, and flew out on Tuesday morning.  dsc01146.JPGdsc01153.JPGdsc01160.JPGdsc01149.JPG“Blink!” And it was gone.  I did have a great view from my hotel room — same hotel as usual, but I’m usually in a room looking over the back alley — and we did go walking out on Sunday night for dinner.  I almost didn’t bring my camera, but am pleased that I did.  I only took about a half dozen shots, but they were good ones.  I think the shot of Saint Catherine’s Church at night is my favorite.  Camera will travel with me this week as I head for Philadelphia and “Vision 2020” where I’m one of two delegates from Virginia.  This is one trip I’m really looking forward to!

dsc01161.JPGdsc01162.JPGOn the Brussels trip I finished my Tangled Vines socks.  I will write up the pattern for them, hopefully tonight, but we’ll see.  It is Sunday and almost 5:30PM already, so it may have to wait till next week.   I enjoyed knitting these and I like the fabric.  Some lace socks seem to have too flimsy delicate of a fabric, but these are lacey looking and still feel like they aren’t one thread-snap away from unraveling.  I designed them for a high instep with average ankle thickness and find that they fit very nicely.  The pattern will have both written and charted instructions for the lace stitch, the traveling vines pattern in Walker.  I had to work out the chart myself and managed to get past a challenge that others seemed to have with it (I did some web searching to see if it had already been done) by shifting the pattern a few stitches so that the decreases all fall within the bounds of the repeat.  That makes it very workable for a sock pattern and eliminated the fiddliness of shifting stitches around needles when worked on dpn’s.

dsc01165.JPGI solved another knitting problem this weekend as I finally pulled my Kniestrüpmfe out of the drawer and sat down with a needle and elastic thread to work some extra elasticity into the ribbing at the top of the cuffs.  I simply turned them inside out and then ran the needle through the backs of the purl stitches (all right, all right, I do know that the back of a purl stitch is a knit stitch!) around the sock.  I knotted the ends securely and then trimmed them close.  This was repeated about 15 times on each sock to form parallel rounds from the bottom of the ribbed section to the very edge of the cuff.  I love how it turned out.  It’s invisible from the right side (the picture is of the wrong side) and when I put the socks on they feel snug, but not tight.  I’ll be able to wear these with no fear that they’ll fall down.  Now to find a corduroy skirt to wear with them!

dsc01167.JPGdsc01170.JPGMy last knitting report is on Baby’s First Angora, a new pattern of mine (still in pencil notations, but which will be converted for upload soon!) for simple, but luxurious accessories for the 3-6 month old.  (I’ll make a version for the 0-3 month old as well, but haven’t done so yet.)  These are fun to knit as they finish so quickly and take such a small amount of yarn.  These are of Phildar Phil’Angora 70 — it took 30 wopping grams of it for the entire set.  I only wish that I had a real baby to try them out on!!

Breathe deeply…another week is heading our way!

Love, Jan

What’s Nupp?

Dear Ellen,

dsc00863.JPGI loved your little froggy visitor and had to show you a toady friend I discovered on our  last trip to Fair Winds.  I helped him escape Ruby out of harm’s way.

.

dsc00997.JPGWe made it back to the farm this weekend as well.  And we spent our first night on our property!  Dale was resistant at first, but I think if you were to ask him now, he’d claim it was his idea.  We had a wonderful time.  dsc00996.JPGdsc00999.JPGWe stopped by the mercantile (I love that our future county has a mercantile) and picked up a pair of bib overalls for Dale so he can avoid constantly having to pull up his jeans.  He loved them…I may have a struggle to keep them on the farm!  We got a lot of work done both days and spent a delicious night by the fire listening to the insects, looking at the stars and roasting marshmallows.  dsc01009.JPGdsc01010.JPGHere Dale is searching for an honest man ridiculing my baby Coleman lantern.  However, I proved that by using it, it is possible to knit by the campfire, though I ended up correcting a few issues the next day.  We will be camping again soon…Dale went out and bought another sleeping bag and a blow-up queen-sized airbed at the sale at Sport’s Authority today — a sure sing that he’s hooked.  A portable camp toilet is on my wish list, though I managed in the woods just fine.

dsc01021.JPGdsc01020.JPGdsc01018-1.JPGThe knitting I was doing is the Annis Shawlette from Knitty.com.  I’m calling it my Crescent Beach Shawlette because the pattern has a lovely crescent shape to it and the colorway is Ocean Memories which brings back college memories of visiting the ocean at Crescent Beach, FL when I was a student at UF.  Man, I’m flying through this pattern!  LOTS of fun once you get the first few rows out of the way.  And this was my first experience with nupps, so I had a bit of dsc01023.JPGexperimenting and learning to do.  For instance, I found that you can’t be too inattentive when you are completing the nupps.  The first stage is easy, in same loop *K1, YO* three times, K1 so you end up with 7 live stitches in one loop.  Coming back on the purl side you purl all 7 loops together.  dsc01024.JPG(Thank goodness for pointy tipped lace needles!)  My issue was that I tended to either realize I was at the nupp a loop too late (I kept trying to purl the first loop of the nupp as its own stitch) or I managed to drop a loop during the operation.  In my defense, remember that this was knitting by the campfire!  No worries though, I corrected my occasional dropped loop or extra stitch in the daylight by dropping back a row to redo or as is seen in the photos, by doing a bit dsc01025.JPGof stitch collection after the fact.  Very easy — I just found a bit of the same color repeat from the end of the ball, wove it in to catch at the back of the nupp, brought the needle to the front at the top of the nupp where the loops are collected on the single purl stitch, caught the loose loop and returned dsc01026.JPGthe needle back through the same hole pulling the top of the loop through to the back and then securing the yarn end.  All better. I only have 15 or so rows to go and it’s all easy stockinette short rows.  These introduce the nice crescent curve to this shawl.  A fun knit and fast.

dsc01017.JPGMaking progress on my Hsssssy Fit Mitts too…they’re Stephen West’s Diamondback Mitts.  I’m making them for a friend’s brother — he’s been just great helping with challenges her family has had and works outside in all weather, so thought they’d be a nice way to show him some appreciation.  I love the pattern, but am thinking I’d reverse the rows of main color so that the cabled stitches are in the second row vice the first row of main color rows.  As it is now, the cable stitch is worked over some already stretched stitches as they’ve been slipped over the contrasting color.  The look is fine, it works fine, I’m just curious to see if the stitches look a little more even that way.  I’ll have to see.

dsc01027.JPGdsc01028.JPGTGIF is temporarily finished.  I say temporarily as I think that in about 30 minutes I’ll be downstairs ripping out half of the shawl collar/button band.  STUPID mistake on my part regards buttonhole placement.  The distance of the lower buttonhole from the bottom edge is way out of proportion with the width of the button band itself.  I knew it and yet decided it wouldn’t matter much and pressed ahead to include sewing on buttons.  And I decided I needed four buttons — which places the top button a little too high to let the shawl collar open like it wants to.  dsc01030.JPGOnce again, I should have trusted my instincts when the warning in my head popped up in the first place.  After living with it for about a week and a half, I know I have to go back and do it right — three buttons, better placement…and maybe a different bind-off.  I may not get back to it for a few weeks though…I’m trying to stay on task with Single Skein September knitting.

It will be another crazy week at the Pentagon.  Luckily only 4 days thanks to the holiday!  Hope you had a great Labor Day and have a great week.

Love, Jan

Snacks and Chips

Dear Ellen,

dsc00991.JPGThanks for pointing me at the Knitmore Girls for their preemie/newborn hat design contest.  I was in dire need of snack knitting with a challenge, so the design contest was a perfect context.  I poured through the Japanese stitch pattern book, 250 Couture Knit Stitch Patterns by Hitomi Shida and dsc00969.JPGdsc00966.JPGfound a few intriguing patterns that worked out to make what I think is a pretty cute little pattern.  I knit one up in leftover elann Superwash Chunky and one in some leftover dsc00973.JPGTempted Hand Painted Good Grrl.  Since I made them with scraps I’m calling them my Scrap Babies. The two different yarn weights yielded two different sizes — one that will fit a newborn and one that will fit a preemie.  I stayed up late last night to get the pattern finished and entered.  Then I saw your note about how they had extended the deadline.  I’ve downloaded the podcasts, but I guess I should start listening to it if I want this kind of information while it actually helps.

dsc00962.JPGdsc00953.JPGI did some other snack knitting too.  Katie’s Sparkly Scarf is finished and I hope to get my act together enough to put it in the mail by the weekend.  This was a really fun knit.  I ran out of yarn too quickly, but there was  enough for the purpose.  This is one of those scarves that you start at the center back with a provisional cast on and knit to one end and then go back to the center and knit out to the other end so that you can have nicely matching ends, a good design feature for this pattern.  dsc00952.JPGInstead of doing a provisional cast on I did Jenny’s Magic cast on and just put one half on a stitch holder and then knit the first half from the other side.  Then I moved the reserved stitches back to a needle and did the other half.  It looked a little short when I was done, but thanks to the miracle of wet blocking (during which it reminded me of a planaria) it grew to a nice length for an accessory scarf.  I wouldn’t count on it much for actual warmth.

It’s Single Skein September — I haven’t started anything yet, but have ideas for socks (thanks to all the great patterns from Hitomi) and I have at least 2 pairs of mitts for Christmas presents.  I’ll get moving on those tomorrow.

Love, Jan

Calzinetti di Pasqua

Dear Ellen,

dscn2714.JPGThe Anklets of Easter have arrived!  I grabbed two balls of SWTC Karaoke on my way out the door to the airport for my trip to Rome and NATO’s Network Enabled Capabilities Conference.  (I am determined to make an effort to knit from stash this year…this trip I forced myself to find something there.)  With those and my size “large 2” dpns, I managed to whip out a pair of cute anklets.  I cast on just after boarding the flight out of Dulles and I bound off on the ride home from Dulles to our townhouse.  With Easter around the corner and the fact they were made on a trip to Italy, I couldn’t help but give them an Italian name.  Calzini are socks…these are really just anklets, so I used the diminutive form and am assuming the translation is close enough.

dscn2587.JPGThe were a fast knit, but a bit hard on the hands as the yarn is really more suited for larger needles.  I wanted a very firm, cushioney fabric to make these suitable for wearing with tennis shoes, so went for the smaller needle size.  They’re toe-up with Judy’s magic cast on and Jeny’s surprisingly stretchy bind off.  Ribbed lace is the motif, I imagine seeing bunny ears in the pattern.When I grabbed the Karaoke, I hadn’t checked on how well (or badly — depending on perspective) Karaoke felts, so this may have been a bad choice.  Coincidentally I was listening to an old Stash and Burn podcast on the plane where they talked about how easily and well it does felt.  In theory these are Mom’s birthday present, so I’ll have to make sure she knows how to wash them or she’ll have toddler socks on her hands.

Speaking of presents…July is not that far around the corner…what size are your feet?  I think 8 1/2?  And do you like loose or snug socks?  Of course, I have no intention to knit socks for you — just wanting to make you think I might be.  🙂

Love, Jan

Destashing to REALLY Feel Good About

Dear Ellen,

22045_257524264614_176391009614_3390808_5316169_s.jpgJessie X writes in her blog about her friend Sherri and Sherri’s efforts to bring smiles to the faces of kids suffering from cancer.  Sherri works through Hair Flair for Hope and the National Children’s Medical Center where she brings wigs of her creation (made of wild, fun-fun-fun yarn) and holds workshops to help others do the same and workshops directly with the kids.  (If you’re on Facebook you can check out Hair Flair for Hope here.)

hair-flair-for-hope-girl.jpgSherri is still committed to this effort and still needs yarn.  I have some in my stash that was just waiting for this opportunity to tell me what it wanted to be and I’ll be sending it to her directly!  If you want to help support this work Sherri would be very grateful.  Here are her guidelines…“I need yarns of all types and textures.  With the exception of a few colors (gray, white, cream, pastels and non-vibrant blues) I can use it!  Bold colors (purples, reds, greens, oranges, bright pinks), fun yarn (glittery, variegated colors, etc…) and natural colors (browns, tans, burgundies, rusts, purples) are most useful and in shorter supply.  Partial skeins or unmatched dye lots are welcome!  My only request is that the yarn be either bulky yarns, novelty yarns, or super fantastic other yarns.  I am fully stocked on acrylic worsted weight yarns.”

Yarn can be mailed directly to her at:

Sherri Sosslau
PO Box 7660
Washington, DC  20044-7660

Do note the bit where she already has plenty acrylic worsted weight yarn — what she really needs is the stuff we bought because it so amused us at the time — or that came as part of that yarn lot on eBay that had the couple of skeins you really were after — or that your friend gave you because, “You knit, right?  I bet you could use this!”  This is a great way to lighten the stash and feel really good about it.  And USPS flat rate boxes are good around the whole country!

Love, Jan