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Archive for June, 2008


Quick Catch Up

Dear Ellen,

Finally, I post…It’s really time for me to be heading to bed, and I still have to put away the stuff on it. I am down to 7 boxes in the bedroom though…and 3 in the bathroom, plus about 10 in my office. Really not bad for having received our belongings this past week. We do have quite a few boxes in the garage, but we had sorted those out for storage before we left Virginia. They’ll get put into storage and we’ll get them back when we move from here.

No knitting since we left the hotel…but here are the photos I promised last weekend. baby-surprise-and-cap.jpgFirst, the Baby Surprise with its buttons on! I realize I’m violating Baby Surprise protocol by actually completing it by adding buttons within days of finishing the knitting, but these were perfect and I had to see how they’d look. Then I had to figure out what to do with almost a full ball of the “Amaizing” yarn leftover. I decided to make up a little hat. It’s knit in the round from the bottom up. The first 8 rounds are done in baby-cap-with-chin-strap.jpgreverse stockinette to get them to curl up and then the rest of the hat in garter stitch. After about 2 1/2 inches of stitches I used your decrease with the line of knit stitches sandwiched between left and right leaning decreases on the knit rows of the garter stitch. After I finished the basic hat I picked up stitches around 3/4 of the diameter just at the point where the reverse stockinette turns to garter. I knit back and forth decreasing at the front edge for a few rows and then added some more ear flap shaping using short rows. I knit the first 5 stitches on the last row and then bound off till I reached the last 5 stitches. These I knit back and forth in garter till I had enough for a little chin strap and then joined with the live stitches from the beginning with a basic kitchener stitch. I’m really pleased with it. I didn’t keep great notes, but if I have time, I’ll go back and see if I can recreate the pattern.

puff-ball-giant.JPGdazzle-daisy.JPGI also have a few more photos from our final dog walks at the hotel. (Don’t worry, Max and Ruby will still get dog walks in the mornings, but it’ll be in a groomed neighborhood setting, white-poppy-thistle-v4.JPGso I don’t expect to see the range of flora. I should have made Ruby stand next to the puff ball. It’s the lovely large yellow daisy-like flower gone to seed. And it’s ENORMOUS. I’d say it’s about the size of a small grapefruit (or REALLY big orange). I was amazed. I was also impressed by the poppy thistle (as I’m referring to it.) I’ve not seen anything like it. The flower looks every bit like a white poppy, but it is at the top of what had previously appeared to be an ordinary thistle. Are poppies and thistles related? The bees like them regardless of their lineage.

sunflowers-on-the-way.JPG scruffy-orange-flowers.JPGTumble Weed I was tickled to see sunflowers raising their heads up to the sky. And these orange flowers made me smile with their riot of color.  Last, but not least, it wouldn’t be Colorado without a bit of tumbleweed.

Okay, now I really do need to get that bed cleared off!

Love, Jan

Cuter than kittens

Hi, Jan,

55.jpgYou’re a grandauntie! Venkat and Vani have had a baby girl, born 4 weeks early last April 16. They are catching up with sending pictures and here Neha is in all her cuteness. Too bad you just left the east coast – they live in the DC area and you could probably get some primo baby holding in. We get to see her on the 11th, when we fly into Dulles on our way to a WV family vacation.

115.jpg27.jpgOther new life, a little bit younger but perhaps growing faster – the Oaxacan bean field project. I was right – I do have two kinds of beans. The mahogany beans are definitely pole beans, and the golden ones are bush. See for yourself.  Those internodal distances do not lie.

46.jpg Growing more slowly, but equally gratifying (compared to the beans, not to Neha), is DITF. We now have color!

This post must remain short as I have a wedding to assist in the planning of, a job to transition out of, and a trip to pack for. Do you suppose the language police will now imprison me for ending three phrases with prepositions? If so, I will bring my knitting to jail with me and appreciate the quiet.

Love,

Ellen

37.jpgP.S. From the garden. Whatever way you pronounce their name, clematis are totally fab.

Stick a fork in ’em. The ribs are done.

Hey,

Does this expression bug you, too? I mean, technically, don’t you stick the fork in to find out if something is done?

Regardless, the ribs, AKA Kalbi, are finally sewn up and done. Other than maybe a last minute add. But the pattern as written is done and I proclaim it finished.

45.jpg36.jpgThe sweater lying flat is kind of narrow, but it is all 1×1 rib so has enough stretch to give where it needs to and hug where it needs to. I think that may be why Wilson liked it.

The sweater was knit with Anny Blatt Baby merino and Kidsilk Haze held together for the body. The inset and sleeves are KSH alone. With the mohair and the merino it is so squishy and soft – as much fun to squeeze as it was to knit (Wilson – take note!)

54.jpgIt was surprisingly difficult to make a smooth transition between the merino/KSH sides and the insets, which left gaps in the edges of the inset. I at least partially overcame that by running a slip stitch chain up each edge. I wish now that I had made sure to match the color progression on the edge, but that is a minor point.

I did the side seams in mattress stitch, but found that painful for the airy sleeves so simply ran another slipstitch chain along their seams.64.jpg73.jpg

The one add I am considering is to crochet some little loops to be added to the center of the lower edge of the sleeve, to be fit over my middle finger. This would pull the sleeves down into a point which would mimic the v-neck. It would also improve the shoulder fit – the ribbing really pulls the shoulders in, thereby making the sleeves pull above my wrists and leaves a little poof at the shoulder point.

Just to remind you, I started Kalbi on our Korea trip. It was so named after the Suwon specialty of barbequed ribs, a fitting match for this very ribby sweater.

Now Wilson and I are going for a nice long bike ride. I hope your Sunday is lovely!

Love,

Ellen

Bun voyage! …or bye, bye, Bunny Socks

Hi, Jan,

Wilson and I watched “This Film is Not Yet Rated” last night. It is so reassuring to know that one group of mostly white, mostly late-middle-aged, totally secret (until this film) and very highly paid people get to determine that the sight of Maria Bello’s pubic hair for about 1/2 second in “The Cooler” deserves an NC-17 rating but you can shoot as many people as you want as long as you don’t show blood and still get a PG-13 (countless movies) And don’t even think that violence towards women would hurt your rating, unless you show their pubic hair. Perhaps the slimiest part of the whole thing is that oddly enough, independent movies get NC-17’s far more often than studio films, and the reasons many of them get NC-17’s as cited by the MPAA (the rating people) often don’t cause studio films to receive that same rating. Oddly enough, the appeals board is staffed almost entirely by studio employees. Hmmm…

They claim the system is in place so the government doesn’t end up instituting censorship, but what results is, if not de facto censorship, at least blackmail. If your movie gets and NC-17, the major distributors won’t touch it. So, I’m going to write my local theaters and tell them I’m planning to watch more movies at home because of the obviously biased rating system. I doubt that will do much, but I’m sure writing the MPAA would do nothing.

114.jpgOn a more cheerful note, here are finished Bunny Socks! The yarn, Bunny Hop, is an angora (8%), nylon ( 42%), microfiber acrylic (50%). That angora makes the yarn soft and natural feeling, and I’m hoping the synthetics mean they will wear well. I knit them on US 2’s in my own pattern, which someday maybe I’ll post to the site. For those who are curious, the cuff is in cloverleaf rib, from Barbara Walker’s “A Treasury of Knitting Patterns”. The sock cinches in at the ankle (note the unusually narrow heel flap) but then quickly loosens so that it stays up on my thin ankles but doesn’t cut off circulation in my thicker calves.

26.jpg35.jpgHere, too, is a shot of my elongated vertical eyelet buttonhole as executed on US00’s at the start of DITF. The angora in the SOLsilke yarn makes taking close up a bit challenging, but I think you get the idea that this truly will be an unobtrusive buttonhole. The other shot shows you how far I’ve gotten in a cumulative 1:50 of knitting.

It is a gorgeous day here in MN – warm but low humidity, beautiful blue sky and green, green leaves against it as seen through my office window. From which is right where I’ll see most of the day, as I still have a ton of transition work to do as I leave my current role at work and head to the next. At least it is a Saturday and I’m allowed to take knitting breaks.

Love,

Ellen

Bohus buttonhole tutorial

Dear Jan,

I know you’ve come to expect at least a bad pun in the title, but this is serious business. It can’t be all fun and games like yesterday. (But let me pause to thank everyone on their nice wishes!)

As you know, I’ve started my Forest Darkness cardigan, Deep into the Forest. Well, I got one cm into it and the instructions said “make buttonhole”. OK, I know how to make buttonholes of various sorts, but which buttonhole would suit a Bohus in which I was trying to be true to the spirit of the originals?

113.jpg(here is a lame picture of DITF in progress, just to add a visual in a very text dense post)

I posted to the Ravelry Bohus group. Despite 4oo members, many have not made a full sweater and of those, even fewer have done a cardigan. I didn’t get a confident answer. So I went to the source – I emailed Susanna Hansson.

What a gem! She replied almost immediately with a detailed answer. Here is what she said.

Susanna Hansson inspected her authentic cardigans and an ancient, original Bohus instruction sheet (one they gave the knitters). She discovered that the buttonholes were made over 3 stitches (i.e. 3 stitches were bound off), three stitches in from the outer edge. On the next row, 3 stitches were cast on, with no particular cast-on mentioned.

Susanna says, “I find it very challenging to make this type of buttonhole sufficiently small and tidy. Since the buttons are small, the buttonholes need to be small as well. One option is to make them over 2 stitches instead of 3, and this is what Solveig (Solveig Gustafson of SOLSilke) generally uses in her cardigans, though she thinks the YO buttonhole would be a good option, as well.”

Susanna supposes that the original buttonholes were chosen because they offer a defined edge (the tailoring/haute couture influence), though they were never meant to be reinforced, and possibly because the Bohuses were not familiar with the YO buttonhole.

Susanna confessed that she almost always use the YO buttonhole, even for Bohus garments, so perhaps is not a 100% purist. To her the YO buttonhole is much more unobtrusive, which is what buttonholes should be in knitwear, in her opinion. She said that many of the buttonholes in her vintage Bohus cardigans are quite stretched out and ugly. There is, of course, no way of knowing if they would have been had they been done differently.

One technique which Susanna shared with me to lengthen the buttonhole vertically if a simple YO is too small, is to make the YO button hole as usual for rows 1 and 2 of the buttonhole, then purl directly into it on row 3, thereby ‘hoisting’ it up one more row. Below are instructions of this method and even a slightly more elongated method, in which you do a double YO and knit or purl into the buttonhole according to your rib pattern for rows 3 & 4.

Here are my detailed directions for the YO buttonhole and a vertical YO buttonhole as Susanna describes, and even an elongated vertical buttonhole. I knit all three in a swatch of DK weight yarn and got lengths of 6 mm, 8 mm, and 10-12 mm respectively. I adapted these directions from the pithier directions that Susanna shared with me from a book by Carmen Michelson and Mary-Ann Davis, “The Knitter’s Guide to Sweater Design“. If it has one technique this useful in it, I think it must have more. I may need a copy.

Knit these buttonholes in 1×1 rib. The button band should be an odd number of stitches (which means for my Bohus cardigan which specifies a 10 row band, I may make the outer one a selvedge and slip it for a smooth edge. One more minor inconsistency, I suppose, with tradition. At this rate, I’ll be adding bust darts before you know it! (Just kidding.)) On the right side, the first stitch should be a knit stitch and the center stitch of the band should be a purl stitch.

YO or Eyelet Buttonhole
Row 1 of buttonhole (always start on right side): Knit to the center stitch. YO. K2 together and complete band in pattern. Turn.
Row 2, knit across in pattern for rib, knitting in YO and continue to end of row. Buttonhole finished.

Vertical YO or Vertical Eyelet Buttonhole.
Row 1 and 2, as for YO Buttonhole.
Row 3: Knit in pattern to center stitch. Purl into the buttonhole instead of the stitch on the left needle and continue in pattern, slipping stitch you would have purled off the needle without knitting or purling into it.

112.jpg25.jpg Here is a picture of the buttonhole right after I’ve purled into it as stated in row 3, and the next picture is right after I’ve dropped the stitch that would have been purled if I hadn’t already purled in the buttonhole. Sorry for the blur.

Elongated YO or Vertical Eyelet Buttonhole.
Row 1: Knit to center stitch. YO twice. K2 together and finish row in rib pattern.
Row 2 and 3: as for Vertical YO Buttonhole.
Row 4: Knit to center stitch. Knit into buttonhole, and as for prior role, slip center stitch from left needle off needle and continue row in pattern.

111.jpg24.jpgHere is a shot of all 3 buttonholes. Even if the difference in length isn’t obvious, the shape difference should be, with the eyelet version being pretty round and the elongate version really looking slitlike. The second picture is the wrong side. Unless you like the kind of twisted look and want to use it as a design element, make sure you work the buttonhole from the right side.

Well, that’s enough excitement for today.

Love,

Ellen

He’s bona fide!

Dear Jan,

110.jpgWe got a wonderful present on Karen’s birthday – a promise of a son-in-law! Yes, Karen and Brandon are officially engaged. I am embarrassed that this is the fastest picture I could put my hands on of K with B (and so might Karen be). I wonder if this is similar to what the wedding garb to come.

I hope to get some knitting content on tomorrow, but really would you have paid any attention at all to it tonight amidst this excitement?

Love,

Ellen

P.S. The engagement truly was on her birthday, the 18th. The posting time must be eastern, because it is still the 18th here.

Shawl we dance?

Hi, Jan,

53.jpg23.jpg44.jpg34.jpgTonight was shawl night at the MN Knitters Guild. There were tables and tables of shawly goodness. I haven’t been very involved with the MKG, but I couldn’t miss the chance to see shawls like Luminaria in person, and besides, it was a chance to spend another evening with Kathy. I adore the lace shawls, yet one that drew my heart in as much as any other was one that I would wear daily from about November 1 to February 28 – Eryka‘s own design out of Lopi wool. I would use it as a wrap around my coat collar. I would be warm.

19.jpgWilson received a nice Father’s Day gift from Jenny. Isn’t he a regular guy? We are relieved that Karen hasn’t sent one yet as we are late on sending her birthday gifts. I ordered some things a bit ago and they have yet to arrive here, so I am afraid we are going to be quite late.

It truly is a big night here – it is wet dog food night. On Wednesdays and Saturdays Judit gets her estrogen pill. Rather than struggling to pill her, we just bury it in wet food and she never even notices it. I am thinking that after spending the evening with 100 wildly avid knitting women, I could probably just let her sniff me thoroughly and she’d get enough hormonal stimulation to last until Saturday. Actually, I’d better stick with the pill. I’d hate for her to OD.

I hope you, too, are having a stimulating week.

Love,

E

Baby Surprise for Father’s Day…and Playing in Bear Creek Dog Park

Dear Ellen,

pict0002.JPGWell, the EZ Baby Surprise is almost finished! I have a few more threads to weave in and then I need to wait for our household goods to see if I need to buy buttons and then it’s done. Very, very clever and I’ll probably make another one in the not too distant future. I love the feel of the fabric in the “Amaizing” 100% corn yarn that I used. It’s very squishy and per one of the ladies yesterday, it launders incredibly well (both machine wash and dry). I’m pleased with the results…not sure what I’ll do with it, but Marie and Heidi are starting to talk seriously about when they want to start their family, so who knows? (No, I am not nagging them…Marie volunteered this info!) Kind of a fitting to finish a baby sweater on Father’s Day, don’t you think?

pict0048.JPGruby-in-the-grass.JPGpict0052.JPGWe also spent some time in the great outdoors. Colorado Springs is incredibly blessed with some amazing pict0054.JPGparks and trails. One of them focuses on serving our canine community. It is Bear Creek Dog Park just about 6 miles from where we will be living. It’s fabulous — over 25 acres fenced in with trails and Bear Creek running through. The dogs absolutely love it there and we’ve indulged them by taking them twice this weekend. (Dale took them yesterday while I KIP’d.) Ruby hangs out with us wherever we wander. Max stays fairly close, but in this park it’s a pict0035.JPGpict0014.JPGgiven that dogs are going to romp and run and stray a bit, so no one minds. For Max the best part is the creek itself. Until yesterday he had never seen a body of water and he is fascinated — especially with splashes. He has learned that he can make the water splash and then he tries to bite it. He barks at it too. If you want to see a video, check out my Picasa Web Album where I have a short video posted. Max was pretty tired, pict0061.JPGbut very satisfied when he headed for home. If you look closely, you can see Ruby’s ear peeking up from underneath the hatch cover. She got underneath it herself, but then Max blocked her in. I’m not sure if that grin on his face is entirely about the hike. It may be about trapping Ruby as well!

I sure hope you and Wilson enjoyed Father’s Day as much as we did!

Love, Jan

MN KIP

Hi, Jan,

18.jpgWe, too, had a nice Worldwide Knit in Public Day. Lots of laughs, new knitters to meet, and a lovely sunny morning. Kathy came along with me (see her in the cute hat on the right?), 33.jpg22.jpgJudy brought her friend Darius, who got his first knitting lesson (check out his photography here).

63.jpg43.jpgShelley gave birth to the second biggest ball of yarn in MN (if you count the world’s largest ball of twine as the first). Actually, Sharon brought that along. She apologized for yarn shopping at a mega-craft store, but we are egalitarian in our tastes and consider yarn sold anywhere a good thing. Besides, wouldn’t you buy one of these if you saw it?

52.jpgIt was a special treat to meet the funny and sharp Eryka of Spare Room Knits. She lives in the next ‘burb over, actually where I work, so we are hoping she will join in on some of our other knitting outings.

72.jpgOn the way home we crossed paths with the St. Louis Park Parktacular parade. Gives me ideas for next year – can’t you see a troop of synchronized knitters? (I wonder what you could knit if you turned those stilts into needles?)

Hey, we got through a post without any bad bean puns. I’ll have to work extra hard on it next time.

Love,

Ellen

Colorado Springs KIPs

Hi Ellen!

betty-kips.JPGkip-2.JPGkip-1.JPGA very quick post to show evidence of KIP’ing in Colorado Springs.  A group met up at Bancroft park in Old Colorado City and we had a most enjoyable time.  The weather was spectacular and we were right next to the farmer’s market, so that was fun too.

I got to know some of the area knitters, got some good leads on other groups that meet in the evening or weekends and some leads on a few UU churches.  All in all a good time and good fun.  You can see a bit of the EZ Baby Surprise that I’m working on the corner of the more vertical of the pictures.  I think I may be screwing something up, but I’ll press on to the end and then decide if I need to go back.  I’m pretty sure I followed EZ’s directions well, but the diagonal on the front panels isn’t a continuous line.  Is the disjunction right?

Love, Jan