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

Archive for April, 2010


Bargain: 98c/yard for fine Coopworth 2-ply

Dear Jan,

28.jpgLet’s play a game.  A game where we keep track of how much yarn we’ve spun and how much it cost us per yard to spin it, based on the cost of Skylark divided by the yardage.  The more I spin, the more the cost will go down.  I am not going to include the cost of fiber - this is the manufacturing cost, not the ingredient cost.  This could be the basis of a future contest (predict the day when it actually costs Ellen less to spin yarn than it does to buy it! - hourly wage NOT included), but for now, it is just to amuse myself.

39.jpgMy first batch on the new wheel, natural Coopworth, woolen spun with a long draw, is making me pretty happy.  It also made me understand why I need to keep my day job rather than trying to keep life and limb together with a handspinning business.  If I added in cost of time, that yarn would be too spendy for anyone to buy.  I started spinning Tuesday night and rarely took a pause until I got it plied late last night.

47.jpgI did fit in finishing up that little twisted stitch hat.  I attribute that to the fact that it is hard to fit a wheel into the front passenger seat of a Prius, at least if you plan to use the long draw.

Rebecca inquires as to whether we would like to join her in pursuit of the TKGA Master Knitter program.  I must admit, it has been itching at me again.  I finished the first level years ago and started the second level (does finishing one book report count as starting?), and just recently was thinking I should get back to it.  What do you think?  ‘Cause we need to add a few things to our plates, don’t we?  Are there other readers who might be interested in playing along?  I’m not committing quite yet, just seeking opinions.

Love,

Ellen

May-December Knitting

Dear Ellen,

dscn2867.JPGI am bound-off bound and determined to finish Not So Naive before it gets too hot.  It will then relax till it cools down again and I can wear it, but I’ll be so pleased knowing it’s finished.   I’ve finished the body and started a sleeve. The sleeves promise me they will move along quickly. Once they’re finished, I’ll need to do a careful blocking. The fit is PERFECT right now and I don’t want any stretching going on. What I do want is for the edge for the hem at the bottom (and the edges that will be for the sleeve cuffs) to lie flat and not curl. I was wondering how this would work for this pattern and I do see curlage, but minimal, so blocking may be enough. If not, I’ve got an idea for doing a rolled hem that has some stretch to it, but will be just enough to pull the edge to the underside.

dscn2868.JPGI’ve also cast on for a spring knit…and will hopefully move this one along in time to get some good wear out of it this year.  The pattern is the Reversible Tank from Mother-Daughter Knits and the yarn is Willow from Brooks Farm, a 70% wool, 30% bamboo blend that feels very light and airy.   It’s a soft buttery yellow that knits up like, well, like buttah!  So that’s what I’m calling it, Like Buttah.  I have two balls of the yarn and did the clever trick of doing the cast on (a long tail variation) with one strand running from each ball.  No worries about too much or too little yarn allowance for the tail.  With 176 stitches to cast on, that pleased me to no end.  (Get it, to no end?…I crack myself up!)

I saw 8 bullfrogs while out on my run today.  Actually during the cooling down afterwards…so nice to have the bike trail along the Potomac so close to our house.  It helps me keep up the discipline to go running when the path is so enchanting.

Another busy week…travel to California leaving Monday evening and returning Thursday evening.  Next weekend I hope to make it to Maryland Sheep and Wool for at least one half day.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Love, Jan

Checking for hanging chads…

…but we have a winner.  Let me confirm my count with Jan and we’ll announce the lucky commenter very soon!

Update:

We can now announce that Marion had comment #2000, discounting any comments from Jan or myself from the time I announced the contest.  Thank you all for playing along.  Watch for more fun in the future.

THANKS for joining in the fun of the contest, but mostly thanks for reading the blog and all the supportive comments - on our knitting and our lives.

Cheers,

Ellen

One project done, another cast on…

Dear Jan,

38.jpgYes, I have been spending a lot of time in front of Skylark, spinning away.  But knitting hasn’t ground to a complete halt.  I finished the first of two helmet liners I’m committed to knitting for our work knitting group donation to the troops in Iraq/Afghanistan.  (We donate 100 each year through our veterans group.)

46.jpgI finished weaving the ends in on said liner while Roxanne (of Ravelry’s Ask a Knitter column) got us started on a traveling and twisted stitch class.    Here she is demonstrating some of the techniques.

56.jpgFor this class, given at our employee club knitting retreat (one day in the corporate cafeteria, not as mind-boggling as Yarnover but a nice knitting day with nice people), Roxanne designed a sweet little baby cap.  Mine is about halfway done, would have been finished, I think, if Skylark hadn’t come to the retreat with me. She promises to write it up and offer it for sale on Ravelry soon.  It is a nice pattern, well thought out and a good foray into twisted stitches.

113.jpgThankfully, it rained all day.   If the weather had been nice, I might have felt compelled to go home early and garden.  Despite lack of help from me, the garden is flourishing -  among the flowers coming into bloom, Karen’s wedding violas have come back to remind us of last May.

Tomorrow is supposed to be nicer.  Skylark may have to spend the afternoon on her own.

Love,

Ellen

Just sayin’…

…we haven’t hit 2000 comments quite yet.

And there are no rules against commenting again (though 10 or 30 in a row would be somewhat poor form, really).

Knitterly Goodness

Dear Ellen,

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Hard to believe my Minnesota knitting extravaganza is already feeling like a dream.  But I know I was there.  I have this picture of you sitting next to me during one of Lucy Neatby’s classes.

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And I have all this swag and yarn market loot on the guest room bed.

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Swag.

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Yarn market loot.

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Yarny goodness close up.

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So much to knit and so little time.  Thank goodness I’m not also obsessed by spinning.

Love, Jan

Jenny got it…but here’s a new contest for you!

My wheel is a Louet.  Alli (or Alli McWheel) could be a nickname for Allouette.  But a lovelier interpretation would be the French translation of allouette - skylark.

Because Jenny already owns the prize I was going to send, I am sending her something else.  This leaves the other prize up for grabs.  It will go to the person who posts comment number 2000 (not counting any comments Jan or I leave from now until we hit it).   It could come quickly, so say “hi! right away!

112.jpgSaid prize, by the way, is a copy of Wendy J Johnson and Susanna Hansson’s Radiant Knits booklet, which has wonderful photos and great content about Bohus knitting.

Good luck, and thanks for stopping by!

Ellen

Guess who came home with me tonight?

27.jpgWell, Jan, I actually have to admit that Franklin Habit didn’t come all the way home with me, but I did give him a ride back to his hotel.  He is just as charming one-on-one as he is as speaker, and just as erudite.  His talk on historical knitting patterns for the MN Knitters’ Guild was amusing and full of good, below-the-surface stuff.  I love me a knitting lecture with intellectual content AND laughs.  I recommend reading his Knitty.com column (Stitches in Time) for a taste of it.  Best line, in reference to his translation of some of the arcane patterns he features in his columns: “My eyes bleed so yours don’t have to.”

37.jpgHere is who really came home with me - a brand, new Louet Victoria.  Her name is Skylark.  In a contest to celebrate her homecoming, I will send a small prize to the first commenter who can figure out why her name is Skylark.  Hint: When I first considered this reason, the name  Allie McWheel came to mind.  I’m glad I realized Skylark fit the same mold, as I really don’t want to see those dancing babies every time I sit down to spin.  Bygones.

111.jpgI don’t know if my new pair of socks will make much progress, as enthralled as I am with spinning.  But as even as Skylark packs, I suppose there are places where it just isn’t appropriate to set her up and spin, so maybe some knitting will continue to get done.

Love,

Ellen

P.S.  People continue to ask me to send greetings to you.  You’ll have to get back here soon!

The wheel is in…

…but the store is closed until tomorrow.

(Long night ahead…)

Is it really over?

Dear Jan,

55.jpgI can’t believe you are home already and that the fun that was Yarnover and Hop, Stitch and a Jump is over.  The closing party at StevenBe’s is still rocking, but I just walked in the door because I do have to make an appearance at work tomorrow.  I did not leave until I finished the second of the charity hats to be turned in from Steven’s Yarnover kits.  (Steven announced to the whole room that you had finished the first.  Should we make this a tradition?)

110.jpgLucy was great again this morning, wasn’t she?  (And much smaller, or how would Karen be able to hold her up in the air?) Don’t forget to use the improved ssk she showed us - slip as if to knit, slip as if to knit, and then use the left hand needle to dig into the fronts of the stitches and knit them together.  It is so much smoother than slipping the needles back point-to-point onto the left hand needle to knit them together.

26.jpgCookie’s class was like recess - playing with yarn and coming up with all sorts of crazy stitches.  Rebecca commented to me tonight on how fun she had playing with us.  It did seem to stimulate creative juices.  Her idea on using double knit to make bands that come out of your knitting was awesome, and your looped cables with my build of threading them with I-cord needs to find its home in a design someday.

I’m sorry you missed this evening, which was in some ways a high point of the four days for me.  Looking out across the room and realizing we’d made connections with most of the knitters in it was happy, happy, happy for me.  I won’t start naming names, for fear of leaving someone out (and everyone was special in their own way), but there were so many lovely conversations tonight.  The duck confit wasn’t bad either.

36.jpgSteven was in top form, talking about his vision for the workshop and the neighborhood. No one’s eyes were dry, least of all his, when he lauded his mother, Krista, for making his knitting life possible.  I am so thrilled to be connected to his efforts at building the neighborhood.  (I think I’ve signed up to teach knitting bilingually on Knit In Public Day.  How do you say say yarnover in Spanish?)

45.jpgBut even Steven had the scene stolen from him by Karen’s grandaughter.  She beamed wearing her star and moon sweater that her grandma knit for her.  (It glows in the dark!)  So much love in that knitting.

So much love in that room.  Get back here so we can go see Steven and the gang soon.

Love,

Ellen