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

Archive for August, 2010


Colors of Nature

Dear Ellen,

dsc00831.JPGdsc00868.JPGLast week I shared some beautiful blues from Fair Winds.  This week we have sunny orange, red and feathery white.  I also found a gal with the most silky golden hair.  Plenty of yellow, dsc00875.JPGdsc00874.JPGdsc00873.JPGdsc00876.JPGgreens and browns, and lacy whites were around to inspire as well.  Also a view of what an aunt must see when strolling through a lawn.  (Max, Ruby and I took a trek through the corn.)

It was a very tough week with some announcements that will radically change my directorate — whether I agree or not, I’ll find a way to support.  The part I am most disgruntled with is the lack of communication that there was between the decision makers and those of us charged with leading the affected groups.  I’m thankful we went to the farm today where I was able to forget it for a while.  Just being in nature was calming.  (Chopping and burning helped too!)

dsc00877.JPGdsc00878.JPGAnd I finished the knitting of sock number two of my Tropical Gorillas.  You can see I’ve got my chimney in place so I can do Lucy’s magic graft tomorrow and have a great new pair of socks.  That makes me smile.

Love, Jan

I need to staple my camera to my arm…

Dear Jan,

I had such a lovely evening at Steven Be’s tonight.  I can not provide photographic evidence of same, as my camera spent a lovely evening at home.  I do hope that perhaps Mary will post a picture or two of the evening – yes! I got to meet Mary of the Knitting on the Top of the World Knit-a-thon.  She is delightful, so very personable, as was all of her knitting crew who also came to the wine and cheese party at Steven’s.   I got to try on her Londonderry Rose Coat.  It was stinkin’ fabulous.

No, I can’t let myself get too envious.  Karen did give me the book and I could knit my own.  But it is so easy to enjoy the vicarious thrill of watching Mary knit these up.  I highly recommend you go check out her work.

I’m taking vacation tomorrow, so maybe we’ll manage a post or two in the next couple of days, perhaps even with pictures???

Love,

Ellen

Oh, Spam…You Do Amuse Me So!

Dear Ellen,

Our spammers are ever so clever.  An online gambling site must have thought it would fool us with the following post.

“How is it that just anybody can write a blog and get as popular as this? Its not like youve said anything incredibly impressive –more like youve painted a pretty picture over an issue that you know nothing about! I dont want to sound mean, here. But do you really think that you can get away with adding some pretty pictures and not really say anything?”

Should I criticize the spelling and rash claims? ……..I think I’ll laugh instead.

Love, Jan

Perpetual Motion

Dear Ellen,

dsc00802.JPGdsc00826.JPGTimes like the last several weeks make me cherish my knitting. More and more it serves as a means to slow myself down just a bit so that I can process all the activity going on in my life.  And lately that has been a LOT of activity including two trips to three different places (St. Louis, Fayetteville — where I stayed at the Very VIP quarters on post — complete with kitchen staff — and Tampa), weekend visitors 3 weekends in a row, a mid-week visitor, and multiple work crises (some real, some concocted).  While I haven’t been able to knit as much as I’d like to, I have done quite a bit — and I seem to be gaining speed, so I do have some progress on two projects and a new project well underway.

dsc00861.JPGdsc00827.JPGdsc00828.JPGTropical Gorillas are about 75% done, having rounded the heel and picked up the gusset on sock  number two.  TGIF is blocked and ready for seaming thanks to Ruby’s fine assistance.  All that remains once seamed will be the extra large button bands and shall collar — picked up along the entire front edge and worked in ribbing.  dsc00858.JPGAnd I cast on Woodland Vines, my version of Ysolda Teague’s Vine Yoke Cardigan in very woodland colors — the Briar Rose yarn I bought at Yarnover (remember?).  I have to say, it is putting the completion of the others at risk because it is such a fun project to knit.  The construction design is brilliant. It is knit side to side in mostly garter with some patterning at the yoke and hem to keep you interested.  And you knit the sleeves as you go round with short row raglans.  It’s crazy I tell you, crazy!  And it knits pretty quickly, so even if the others stall, I should be back to them soon.

dsc00792.JPGSeveral of our visitors were our children.  Allen was here a few weekends ago and I took Allen in to work with me…we snuck a picture outside the Pentagon.  He was down for some interviews and I had fun showing him around and showing him off.   Marie and Heidi were here this weekend…and guess what!  Marie has picked up knitting again!  dsc00862.JPGShe’s working on a cute little baby bonnet and doing pretty well for having not picked up a needle for about 2 and 1/2 years! Hearing she wanted to try knitting again was almost as good as if she had said she was working on a different kind of baby project.  Not really that close, but still.

dsc00852.JPGdsc00834.JPGdsc00831.JPGWe did make it up to Fair Winds yesterday while the girls create-your-own-range-google-chrome-7202010-34933-pmbmp.jpgdsc00853.JPGslept in.  We cleared brush, burned brush, watched fuzzy caterpillars, were amazed by the height of the corn, mused over the possible additions for our future kitchen (wouldn’t that be a GREAT stove!!), and had our eye caught by the colors of the surrounds.  I personally found it very reassuring to know that 24 hours a day we can acquire live bait via vending machine down at the local grocery.  Almost as good as a vend-o-mat for those late night munchies, I should imagine!  We decided we would go a different way for our end of trip treat and headed over to Maplehof’s for ice cream before heading back.

dsc00829.JPGWe’re hoping for a quiet week.  I’d be happy to have an empty guest room for a few days at this point.  Plus we’d love to avoid the excitement nature sent our way this past Tuesday when hurricane force winds hit very suddenly.  We had some minor damage to the townhouse in which we’re living, but the neighborhood was hit much harder.  We lost some really beautiful trees.  The one in the photo (and several others nearby) caused the George  Washington Parkway to be closed for quite a bit until it could be cut up and moved off the road.  Fortunately, no one near us was hurt.  I hope your week is filled with good fortune too!

Love, Jan

Mixing it up…

Dear Jan,

31.jpgIt may not interest you as much as the birds interest the kiddens, but here is what I did with those silk singles I spun up last week.

11.jpgSingles, spun in laceweight from hand dyed silk hankies rom River’s Edge Weaving Studio…

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21.jpg…plus singles spun at  light fingering to fingering weight from Frabjous Fibers hand dyed merino top in colorway Potash…

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51.jpg…yields a wonderful blend of gray and blues/purples/fuschias.  It jazzes up the grays, tones down the neon of the silk, and results in a wonderful slightly beaded fingering to heavy fingering weight yarn, 220 yards of it.  (For those keeping track, that is about 220 yards of single from 0.3 oz of silk hankies!).

41.jpgGray, of course, goes well with so many colors.

Love,

Ellen

Hanky panky…

Dear Jan,

9.jpgI don’t mean the kind that these two get into, though we have plenty of that.

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6.jpgI’m referring to spinning silk hankies, which I tried for the first time this week.  There’s a good article on it in Knitty; I concur with everything Amy said, especially about the hankies being gossamer thin.

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1.jpgIt’s a simple thing to poke your fingers through the middle of a hanky and stretch it out into a long loop.  You can draft it in this manner until you get it all stretched to the end thickness you desire, or you can leave it a bit thick and draft some more as you spin.  I tried both, liked both, but the kitties liked the longer loop better so I stuck with a shorter one.

2.jpg4.jpg5.jpgJust break the loop (if it is hard to draft or to break the loop, move your hands further apart, even 18 inches or so, to let the long silk fibers slip past each other)  and start spinning as with any pencil roving.  As you continue to draft, you may see the fiber bunching up in the fiber supply hand – not a problem, as you just grab the far end and tug and voila! everything goes smooth again.

3.jpg7.jpgGiven that there are short and long fibers in the imperfect silkworm cocoons that go into hankies, the resulting yarn is textured with little slubs and bits that don’t spin out perfectly evenly.  But they have all the luster you’d expect in silk, and I’m sure they are going to work for my purposes.

What’s that you ask?

8.jpgHere’s a hint…

To be continued…

Love,

Ellen