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Twins bound by a love of knitting talk about knitting and more.

Archive for March, 2009


Sleeping in Seattle

Dear Ellen,

dscn1209.JPGThis week took me to Redmond, Washington for the MicroSoft Navy-Marine Corps Symposium.  It was a very good gig…lots of good information on which we can base some of our planning and some good insights for the team.  I was glad I went, but not so glad that I ended up having to stay an extra day.  The Colorado airports were all closed down due to the “big storm!” (must be said with “!” intact) and our flights out of Seattle were cancelled.  You can see what it did to our little neighborhood.  Dale says the dogs loved it.

We made the most of it.  The “we” is me and one of my colleagues (and long-time friend) Marty.  (A “Martha-Marty” as opposed to a “Martin-Marty.”)  After waiting an hour or so to finally see a customer service agent we got rebooked for a very early morning itinerary that would take us to Sacramento and then on to Denver.  (Marty’s husband volunteered to drive to Denver to pick us up, so I was very willing to let United off the hook and get us that far. )  We scored hotel rooms (Thank you, Marriott Gold Card status!), took a lovely long walk through the surrounds during which we stopped for a great dinner and then retired to our rooms.  I was not unwinding very well, so decided that knitting was in order.

dscn1216.JPGI proceeded to finish my Clapotis, including weaving in ends.  This was good, but it left me with nothing for the airplane.  Oh well, it gave me a chance to do all the puzzles in the “USA Today” that was left at my door.   I had plenty of time as the previous days delays spilled over and all the routes serving smaller cities in the west seemed to be tangled.  By the time we got home I was exhausted and thoughts of blocking were very distant.  I got down to it on Saturday as you can see…and today I have a wonderful shawl/scarf.

dscn1221.JPGdscn1224.JPGdscn1217.JPGI love the way it drapes…and it’s happy being a lacey shawl or gathered into a neck scarf.  The dress I have on is one I’m considering for Karen’s wedding.  I think the two work well together…as long as I lose another 5 pounds by then!  dscn1227.JPGAs usual, Dale had to be a model too.  His nose was cold so we wrapped him up as if the Clapotis were a hijab.  It is cute, but really not very good for concealment.

Not much else to report…I’m home this week and am so very relieved that I don’t have to live from a suitcase.

Love, Jan

Knitting Day, A to Z

Hey, Jan,

3.jpgI wish you could have been with me today to enjoy my knitting surprise as knitted at in yesterday’s post.  Here she is - Susette, aka unionpearl of Knitting Letters A to Z.  If anyone wants a heady dose of colorwork artistry and scholarly research on a wide variety of topics, with an emphasis on knitting and typography, this site is a must read.  Her posts on Bohus knitting are especially good.  Yes, that is her Gray Mist.  Hauntingly beautiful.  The Alice Starmore Rona hiding behind it wasn’t bad, either.

110.jpgWe had a hoot.  I picked her up at the airport and we drove straightaway to the Yarn Garage, haunt of the charming and exuberant Stephen Berg, the Glitter Knitter.  This guy is so cool.  He knows his stuff, stocks an incredible range of interesting yarn, including several from charitable yarn companies. 41.jpg After a tour of his store, with lots of stories and laughs (the sweater he is holding up is knit from old cassette tapes, Rolling Stones, in case you were wondering), I found it in my heart to donate enhance my stash generously with this lovely bamboo from Be Sweet who helps disadvantaged South African women get high school training through their business.

We had walleye for lunch.  You can’t come to Minnesota without having walleye, you know.  We visited the Yarnery next, a very different store but every bit as enjoyable.  Think classic knitting, shetlands and Fair Isles.

And then on to the real classics, the Bohus sweaters at the ASI.  You know, you could still see the exhibit if you come this week - they extended the exhibit until 4/5.  Just sayin’.  Susette was such a wonderful companion, enjoying what I knew and with a huge store of knowledge that she could share with me.

71.jpg81.jpgHere are the Magically Loopy socks.  I think they do look better on and in decent light, but I think I’m pretty convinced that the two socks on one circ just isn’t my bag.

And a note to those who want to try knitting from sock flats, like Flat Feet from Conjoined Creations, beware that the 112.jpgkinkiness of the yarn as you unravel and immediately knit it makes loose knitting even looser.  Go down a needle size and maybe you won’t have to add extra decreases on the foot when you realize it is really pretty loose in the heel (don’t ask how I know).  The result is an odd shape which I fear may slip down into my shoes.  I suppose had I only one sock knit to the gusset, I might have frogged, but with two over half done and kinky yarn to unravel to boot, I just couldn’t face it so will live with the result.  The colors are cheerful, at any rate.

Despite these sock travails, I am seriously considering Sock Summit.  It’s just so much fun to hang with passionate knitters, as Susette’s visit certainly proved.

Love,

E

City of Roses

Hey, Jan,

17.jpgI hope you’re home safe by now.  We had a little traveling, too, but for fun.  We headed to Portland for a 4-day weekend.  It had long been on our list of travel hopes and with the added attraction that we could meet Brandon’s parents before the wedding, we finally overcame inertia and got out there.

Both the in-laws and the city were great.  Wes and Kris were charming and generous, treating us to a lovely dinner on Friday and a beautiful drive up the Columbia Gorge on Saturday (I wanted to say gorgeous, there.  Aren’t you proud of my restraint?)

24.jpg10.jpg221.jpg91.jpgIn between times, we walked all over the city and saw the sights.   It is such a fun, richly textured city - cool crocheted portraits at a coffee house (artist = Jo Hamilton), goodies at the Portland Street Market, flowers actually in bloom, and surprise! friends from Minneapolis.

4.jpg5.jpg141.jpgOf course, I toured some local yarn stores.  We have Knit Knot, Dublin Bay Knitting Co., and Knit Purl.  All delightful, and yes, I have souvenirs from all of them.  I was amazed to have 3 such excellent shops within walking distance of each other, and I know there was a fourth that was just across the river.  Another sign of how cool Portland is.

111.jpg20.jpgdscn0194.JPGThere was lots of wildlife.  We saw a bear.

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7.jpg8.jpgWe hiked across the Mill Ends Park.  It is for real, the smallest city park ever.  24″ diameter.  Though small, it still holds many hazards.

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19.jpg16.jpgFrom our hotel we could see a mountain in the distance (notable mostly because this was the half hour in the weekend that was clear enough to see it) and the Purdue pep band and cheer squad up close.  Who knew Portland was hosting a first round of the NCAA tournament?

231.jpg18.jpg241.jpgAnd yes, some knitting got done, there and at home in the week following.  Here, in quick succession, are Magically Loopy (I’ll do a detailed post on that after I get them blocked), progress on Blue Roses (but boy, my next 8 skeins of yarn better arrive at the LYS soon), and a new helmet liner just starting out.

Sorry this was so long, but I had to get it all in as tomorrow I have a special knitting surprise arriving in the morning, and I’ll want to focus on that next time I write!

Love,

Ellen

Paradise Lost

Dear Ellen,

dscn1192.JPGIt’s easier to bear knitting disasters when in paradise…or at least with a  “Blue Hawaii” in your hand.  I suffered grim loss on our trip to Hawaii…having left the project bag with my German Stockings on the airplane when we de-planed.  (You should always take it seriously when they say look around for any personal items…I didn’t.)  I never even took a picture of it, poor stocking.  It’s not a tremendous loss of quantity of knitting…only about 6 inches on one leg…and the needles were Hiya circulars (inexpensive ones to try the socks on circs method).  But, I did lose the Wollmeise out of which I was knitting them and, as you can guess, am not having great luck replacing it.  I did leave the second skein at home…maybe a pair of regular socks will now be it’s future.

Though the alcohol definitely helped, the fact that Dale helped me find a little yarn shop to buy replacement yarn was probably more effective.  And I do still have the pattern, so when I’m over my mourning I can recommence.  I wonder what other folks do when they lose a project.  Do they try to recreate the lost project?  Do they simply mourn and move on to other projects?  These questions may be akin to that of, “When your dog dies, do you run out and get a new puppy?”  (Readers, I’d be interested in hearing about your lost projects and what you did about them…if you are as absent-minded as me, that is.)  To help the recovery, Dale has also agreed to let me get a kitten…a thought that makes me feel much better.  Maybe the real lesson about comfort is to seek out small animals.

dscn1127.JPGdscn1140.JPGI did bring a second project with me — the Clapotis that I’m making out of Handmaiden Sea Silk.  It’s coming along very well and I loved knitting it in the sunshine.  I thought it looked pretty cool spread out on my leg.  (That’s the wrong side showing.)  I have 1-2 repeats left and then the decrease section so it should be done soon.  I plan on wearing it at one of the wedding functions…not sure it goes with the dress I have planned for the wedding itself, but we’ll see.

dscn1142.JPGdscn1128.JPGOverall, the Hawaii trip was fabulous.  We only had 4 days to ourselves, but we took full advantage of them.  I did a lot of resting and we didn’t feel compelled to go anywhere or do any tourist objectives since we had been in Hawaii just 2 years ago and checked all the boxes then.  We did walk about Waikiki window shopping all the high end dscn1139.JPGdscn1167.JPGstores and what-not.  And I got my picture taken with a movie star.   One day we drove around the island and managed to score a table at sunset at Jameson’s, the best sunset viewing restaurant on the island…very romantic.  Normally you have to have reservations days ahead of time.  Our kharma must have been doing well for us to just walk up and score an outside table with a perfect view.

I don’t think I had time to say before, but we really had a good time with Jenny.  She truly impressed Uncle Dale when she ordered Guiness at the Irish Pub at which we had dinner.  jenny-visit-3-9-09-at-jack-quinns.jpgAs you can see, we did have fun.  I was thoroughly impressed with the dress she is knitting…just stunning with great yarn choices and Jenny’s amazing craftsmanship.  I hope she’ll come back for a longer visit so we can connect more.  It was nice to have her exclusively to ourselves and to have full focus on her.  I love her personality and outlook…she’s the kind of spirit that influences people to be better people.

If I’m going to have any time to work on that Clapotis, I’d better go — many, many chores on which to catch up before bedtime tonight!

Love, Jan

Post-post-edit to let you know:  Yes, I did register with the airlines lost and found…in both Denver and Honolulu.  The nice lady in Denver tried to pretend that sometimes these things do show up.

While you are in the land of Spam…

Dear Jan,

While you relax with the Spam-eaters, I’m keeping up with the spam on our site.  It is certainly getting more courteous, often thanking us for our excellent site.  And at times, it is eerily aware of our content.  Case in point, from this morning…

Hi dude twinset.us ! Good job guys! twinset.us On this site it is possible to find the anxiety menopause. I have found it!

Yep, this dude has us cold.

23.jpgOn the knitting front, the jury is still out on two socks on one circular needle as an enjoyable technique.  I do like how I am certain that I am making two identical socks.  It is pretty nice on the heel flaps - back and forth, no adjusting loops of needle, but of course that could be done on straights.  I’ve gotten better at the loops in the round.   It might go better when I hit the stockinette foot.  So maybe the case will be thrown out of court instead of giving this technique a guilty verdict.

15.jpgWe’ve done a lot of wedding stuff this week, or at least Karen and Brandon have.  Flowers (you are going to be recruited for centerpiece arrangement, I think), cake, engagement photos (sneak peek here, scroll down), and checking that the veil plan will work.  Here is a mockup of what I think the edge will be.  The green wire will be covered, the seed pearls will be real, not plastic, and also sewn to the ribbon, and the veil will be easily removed from the wire at the reception for use as shawl.

We feel like we’re in Hawaii these days - it will be in the 50’s today and is expected to hit 60F tomorrow.  No beach, but we’re smiling.

Love,

Ellen

P.S.  Edited to add - Eryka is running a very funny contest on her site.

Double dogs, double daisies

Hi, Jan,

12.jpgThe return of extreme cold is somewhat disappointing (60 days and counting to a garden wedding), but it did give us the gift of both sun AND moon dogs.  I missed the lunar ones, but caught this picture of the sundogs on my cell phone.  The moon dog picture is from our local news site.

21.jpgI’m making slow progress on the wedding cardigan, but did finish the second row of daisy chain.  One more of those to go (but I’m not sure the cuffs don’t have any - I’ll face that later).

Thanks for giving Jenny a fun time.  My ladies like having a double mom sometimes.

Love,

Ellen

Knitter’s Best Friend

Dear Ellen,

dscn1105.JPGdscn1111.JPGdscn1106.JPGI finished my Bright Lights scarf, the 2nd 2-row Noro striped scarf that I’ve done.  Dale was off playing, but Max eagerly stepped up to model.  Isn’t he quite the fashionable dog?  I actually think it looks better on him!  Of course, I imagine with a ski jacket it will make a better appearance than with a workout tee.  Ruby tried modeling too, but she wasn’t quite as much of a natural.

dscn1100.JPGThe weather today is gorgeous — sunny and the radiant is warm, but it’s windy and the warmth blows away quickly.  Yesterday we had on-and-off flurries.  I tried to catch one of them from my office window by playing with the exposure setting on my camera.  You get the idea.

I have some straightening to do in the off chance that Jenny’s car is fixed quickly and she does decide to visit this week.  Gotta go!

Love, Jan

One step forward, one step back

Hi, Jan,

11.jpgI’ve conquered the counting of lace motifs. The birch leaves are charming, to me at least.  It’s too bad they are on the opposite side of the work from the faces of the daisies in the daisy chain.

Sigh.

Love from your distracted sister,

Ellen

P.S.  I’ve already planned the solve - it is NOT to frog back the leaves.  I am going to wait until I’ve finished the piece, then will simply clip the wrap thread and pull it out, simultaneously adding a new one with needle and yarn.  It’s actually a fairly simple construction so I’m confident this will work.  It will also make sewing the seams seem less tedious in comparison.

Now on to the next 1,000…

Quick update - we’ve hit 1,000 and 1,001 comments!  Lucky winners Pawdua and Wendy O’C will receive some Twin Set goodies, and you all get some Twin Set love.  Thanks for the nice comments and encouragement over many knitting challenges, and mostly thanks for being an added incentive to get things posted.  This blog has been a wonderful adventure for Jan and me, and you are an important part of it.

Love,

Ellen

P.S.  Pawdua’s comment almost got sent to the spam pile - you can hardly blame me, can you?  Made me laugh out loud when I realized it was legit!

A god guide

Dear Jan,

Some of the comments we get are quite flattering.  Just this morning there was one that started…

“Your writing style is quite a god guide for me…”

 Lest we get swell-headed, I should point out the blogger’s name was Commercial Auto Insurance.  I guess it beats the comments we get from our good friend who posts so often, Free Viagra On-line.

 http://us.st12.yimg.com/us.st.yimg.com/I/yhst-48963422145556_2045_18973486For those of you who might be wondering, no, we aren’t counting the spam comments on our way to 1000 (and 1001!).  And we won’t comment on each other’s posts until we hit those lucky numbers.  But we encourage you to post a comment - number 1000 wins the new Mason-Dixon book, Knitting Outside the Lines, and 1001 will win a copy of Wendy J. Johnson and Susanna Hansson’s Bohus Stickning - Radiant Knits: An Enchanting Obsession.

It won’t be long now!

Ellen