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

Archive for July, 2009


Shhhh!

Hey, Jan,

We’ve been awfully quiet lately.  I’ve been out of contact in the Colorado Rockies.  What’s your excuse?  Oh, yeah, protecting our freedom and all that. My bad.

I’m in quick turnaround mode to Europe, so this will be brief.  That and I broke my camera so no knitting pictures.  I do have vacation shots courtesy of Marty, so I’ll end with a couple of those.

I did a lot of knitting on vacation - finished a sock, swatched for a gansey, started said gansey (original design), started a second onesy (I’m calling it Onesy Twosy), and am well into a gansey-inspired hat.  Pictures someday…

Rocky Mountain National Park was fabulous.  I’ll write a real post about it when I return from this work trip, which will likely have little worth reporting here.  The schedule is so tight that I doubt I’d have time to take a picture even if I had a working camera (yay! we’re going to Italy!  boo! we’re spending less than 12 hours there. you get the picture…)

21.jpg16.jpgAnyway,  the scenery and flora and fauna were wonderful the last week.  I kept my knitting at hand.  Here I am working on the onesy at 10,080 feet while looking out at this lovely lake.

I hope you are well.  It sounds like your current schedule is much like my trip will be.  Remember to breathe.

Love,

Ellen

Happy foot

Dear Jan,

We went to see Away We Go yesterday afternoon and were so proud of our own parenting skills afterwards.   Yes, we know the cautionary tale parents in the movie were exaggerated (oh, please, I hope so), but we left feeling good about ourselves, especially as Jenny saw fit to see it with us.  I take that as an indication that we didn’t scar her so deeply as a child that she needs to avoid us as much as possible.  It didn’t hurt that Maya Rudolph and Jim Krasinski were so darned charming.  And Dave Eggers’ humor and quirkiness ran through it - he is so amusing and often pretty deep, too.

5.jpgI knit through it, and got clear to the end of my heel flap.  A few more rows up the leg in the evening and this morning, and I can see that this sock may get done this month.  As amusing as this one was, I think the second won’t be far behind.

I guess you have just a little ways yourself before you finish your trip to DC.  I hope the land in Pennsylvania checked out fine and the rest of the trip is safe and easy.

Love,

Ellen

All gussetted up…

Hi, Jan,

We got the weekend off to a great start with a nice longish but not killer bike ride and a great dinner of grilled salmon and fresh raspberries - and I am having so much fun working on ‘brainless’ now that I have the gauge and needles that fit the sock.

2.jpgI can’t stress enough what a lesson this was for me.  Sheer cast-on-adrenaline had taken me to slightly past the toe when I was working on the size 0 metal needles.  But my fingers hurt and the yarn squeaked and split and it was, honestly, painful to knit.  I gave it a few days rest that extended to six weeks.  And now, in the 5 days since knit group where I frogged that start and changed to size 1 bamboo dpns, I have a sock complete to the gusset.

3.jpg4.jpgThis yarn, Three Irish Girls Adorn sock yarn in colorway Aiden, that I loved in the skein and then disliked on the needle, is now so much fun to watch as it knits up.  Look at the different patterns on the two gussets!  And the striping in the stockinette is charming and changes to pooled stripes during the gusset pattern.  Never a dull moment.

11.jpgI must be channeling the yarn this week as on a walk through a wetland near our house a few days back I was compelled to photograph the blooming cattails (female flowers on top - wild!).   Colorway look familiar?

So, to review - listen to your knitting!  If it isn’t fun, something’s wrong - change it!  If the yarn squeaks, something’s wrong - change it!  If your fingers hurt, something’s wrong - change it!.  Knitting is supposed to be a pleasure.  When it isn’t, take the time to figure out why and… change it!

I hope your change of location is going totally right and no one is squeaking about hurt fingers.

Love,

Ellen

Summer knit night

Hi, Jan,

12.jpgWe had knitting group last night at one of our favorite summer gathering places - Annie A’s back porch.  Here Annie celebrates the great finished objects of the night with rousing cowbell spirit.  Or maybe she is showing her jubilation at the lovely swim several of the knitters had in Lake Minnetonka before the needles were pulled out.

81.jpgAmong the FO’s, we have the first completed Sideways Spencer by Annie Modesitt to be finished in the group KAL.  Lisa fit hers to a T, though I’m only showing you the back so you can appreciate the lovely texture.  She reports this to be a very fun knit, which is true of Annie M patterns.  They are written for knitters, not for people who just want a certain sweater. Speaking of Annie, if you have a picture of an interesting knit hat, please check her blog for info on how to submit it for consideration for a book of hat inspirations.  Deadline is July 15.

91.jpgChristina also showed lovely texture on her  Cardigan for Arwen by Kate Gilbert.  This is lovely, and Christina looks lovely in it, too.

I played the role of mature knitter (so often it seems to be my role!) and frogged the brainless socks I was doing because I figured out that 1) the gauge was too small for the yarn - socks should not feel like boards;  2) I had failed to note that the pattern (which certainly isn’t mindless, if in fact it is brainless) mentioned up front that all stitches in the cable are twisted, and 3) the size 0 metal, square cross-section needles were hurting my hands - I wanted to knit these on different needles.  Three strikes and out it went.

14.jpgI got the toe going again and must admit that this yarn, which I had decried for being squeaky and splitty, behaves much more nicely when knit on needles it likes.  I am so glad I frogged - I lost 10% of a pair of socks and gained the enjoyment of knitting 100% of a pair, plus redeemed a nice yarn to boot.

131.jpgA final finished object - Hannah (Annie M’s Hannah) whipped out a cotton loop potholder.  Yes, she is nibbling it here - it is just that tasty looking.

Good luck with the packing.  Make sure you set some knitting out of the movers’ way.  It would be tragic if you had to go buy materials for travel projects.

Love,

Ellen

One month onesy…

Hi, Jan,

9.jpgYou’ve been far more productive than I of late, but I finally have a couple of finished objects to show.  The Shibui onesy turned out pretty cute, I think, though I wonder if the bloomers really need to be as big as the pattern claims.  Given that they are knit, I’m thinking they could be scaled back a bit.  I’ll wait and see how this fits an actual baby before I knit it again.  It took me almost exactly one month and about 2.2 skeins of Shibui sock yarn.  Needles - US 1 and 3.  The pattern is published by Shibui.

This was a fun knit - a simple top-down pattern, plenty of stockinette to make it a good carry-around project and yet some interesting construction bits, too.  A bit fussy to finish - lots of button bands, leg bands, collar, but it all went well enough.  Next time I think I will try to remember to do some increases in the back of the collar and to bind it off very loosely - it wants to flip up a bit - but as it will be on the back of a baby who is likely spending a lot of time lying down, I don’t think I’ll fret over this one.  The yarn is very enjoyable to knit - springy, cohesive, great colors.  Not as wonderful as Claudia hand-paint, but very nice indeed.

8.jpgFinishing this one up inspired me to search my button box for buttons to finish off the long-languishing Elizabeth Zimmermann baby surprise jacket that I started (and finished knitting) probably about 2 years ago.  Gee, that felt good to have done!  I’m not 100% delighted with the yarn, which was an acrylic blend I acquired at some time or other, but it is nice to have a handknit baby item available for gifting and I think the white buttons freshen it up nicely.

7.jpgThe garden has been more productive than me - cherries by the gallon, and look at how gorgeous the raspberries are.

1.jpgAnd not as gorgeous as the raspberries, but also something that makes me happy - Wilson wearing the new Chuck Taylor All-Star hightops that Jenny got him for Father’s Day.  Aren’t they cute (J & W, I mean, though the shoes are, too)?

Not as cute as your bear, perhaps, but still pretty cute.

Love,

Ellen

Happy Birthday, America!

Dear Ellen,

I hope you have some fun things planned for today to celebrate our nation’s birthday.  I’m thinking more along the lines of cool adult beverages and fireworks as opposed to the bike parades in which we participated as kids.  Though, I have to admit, I’d get a bit of a charge out of riding around the neighborhood with crepe paper decorations and a playing card wedged in my spokes.  Enough of the Air Force guys on this base already think I’m a bit weird.  I wouldn’t mind screwing with them a bit more before I leave.

Later I’m heading over to Bill and Cecelia Hyland’s.  Bill was my second boss in the Navy and it’s great fun that we reconnected here.  They always ask about you — they remember when you and Karen visited.  It will be fairly low key which is fine by me.

dscn1738.JPGLast night I celebrated by knitting a red, white and blue sweater for a little teddy bear to give my secretary as a farewell.  She has a nice collection of Americana bears…but none with handmade knitwear.  I can now say I’ve knit a top down sweater.

Americana Bear says, “Happy Fourth of July!”

Remember where you leave your hot sparkler wires!  Love, Jan

Timing is Everything

Dear Ellen,

photo2.jpgHow cool is this — I was finishing the Sargasso Sea Shell at exactly the same time that Crackerjack was pulling into her slip!  I don’t have the exact time she finished flemishing the mooring lines, but I do know that they were at that activity while I was weaving in ends.  Not that I’m superstitious, but her voyage turned out well and my shell turned out well too!

I improvised the pattern and I love it.  I didn’t take any notes, but this is super-bulky knitting and I can do dscn1727.JPGa knitting post-mortem to write it up.  And I will…with some modifications.  I want the neck line to be a bit lower and the shoulders to be a bit wider.  I’ll also change the hemline.  I did a narrow 1X1 ribbing (with a ribbed cast-on) on smaller needles and when I was done I found I didn’t like the way it hung at all.  I solved the immediate problem by turning it under and hemming the garment.  The next one will have something different…maybe a turned pico hem.  I’ll think about it.

dscn1725.JPGAs is, I love it…it has a bit of a halter top feel to it and it fits well and I think is flattering.  I deliberately added extra grace for my sizeable hip measurement and only added a bit more room on the front vice shaping both back and front.  The back fits nice and snugly that way and I don’t feel like the fabric is pulled too tightly across my chest.  I love the cable embellishment…next one is likely to have the cable starting lower or running all the way to the hem.  Another feature for me to think about.

This will be a fantastic little top for the rest of the summer.  The fabric is thick, but very cool.  The combination of silk, cotton and rayon feels wonderful.  And I feel like it camouflages bulges nicely — remember how I always wanted to wear a sweatshirt…year round?  This is so much more sophisticated!

Gotta get back to packing!

Love, Jan