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

Archive for September, 2010


What a great colorway…

Hey, Jan,

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I’m home from the trip up North and fully saturated with color.  The maples outdid themselves, but the setting of lake and conifer enhance the show.  A nip of frost in the morning, and suddenly I’ve stopped fighting the advent of fall and am happy to settle in and knit.

8.jpgAnd knit, we did.  Most of the folks at the retreat made it to the feather and fan portion of the Hemlock Ring throw, and all were impressed by how it blocks out from chunky octopus-looking  thing into airy wonderfulness.  I was impressed by how quickly you can pin one of these out for blocking if you make everyone in the class help with the stretching!

61.jpg71.jpgAlso impressive, and colorful, are the sculptures that Anna Shallman makes out of natural objects with seed beads embedded in beeswax painted on their surface.  Here is her latest big project – a bison skull.

I did some severe stash enhancement in some interesting colors (this retreat was officially exempt from my current knitting group’s stash-busting effort) which will seep into the blog over coming weeks.  Ditto on the finished projects – I got a few things done but need to get some photos taken.  But for now, all that color has worn me out and it is time for bed.

Love,

Ellen

I’m gone, baby, gone…

Dear Jan,

I’m gone for a long weekend, leading the Hemmie workshop with my buddies and relaxing and knitting in the Northwoods.  And finally working on a project out of my handspun!

Love,

E

Hard to believe…

Dear Jan,

27.jpgI find it hard to believe that I am really finished knitting the forest of leaves that edge my Hemmie.

Or that it will actually block flat.

Or that I wasn’t under gunpoint when I chose these colors.

16.jpgOr that we spoil our cats this ridiculously.  Wilson is standing under the lamp so the kitties can swat the light cord.

Disbelievingly yours,

Ellen

Guess Who Will Soon Have Handspun?

Dear Ellen,

my-prize-handspun.jpgPsych!  Yes, I’ll soon have some handspun, in fact, this handspun, but the only thing I had to do with its creation was entering a raffle for the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation.  So much awesomeness…and that’s not all.  The prize also includes 2 skeins of Brooks Farm Four Play, a skein of STR Lightweight and a baby blanket kit from Morehouse Farms.  SWEET!  And since I just signed on to Cold Sheep till Sock Summit 2011, I can’t buy yarn for a while (except for gift projects which will be started immediately) so that makes this score even more fun!  (I do have a lingering bid on an e-Bay auction…if I win that, it’s also exempted because it was initiated before the commitment.  Anyway, just wanted to share my glee!

Love, Jan

For Some Reason I’m Craving Pudding Pops

Dear Ellen,

dsc01052.JPGallthreehonorees.jpgDespite an incredibly busy and tiring week, Dale and I made the effort to attend the Navy Memorial’s 2010 Lone Sailor Awards Dinner.  It was SO worthwhile!  The honorees were all incredible…Lanier Phillips broke ground by becoming the first African-American sonar technician in the U.S. Navy — and one of the first blacks to break out of the mess steward field.  He spoke eloquently about the racism he faced and the people who helped him elevate himself above it.  Eddie Lebaron served with dsc01064.JPGdistinction in the worst battles of the Korean War and continues his service today with philanthropy made possible by his success in the NFL and in business.  Dr. Bill Cosby was a Hospital Corpsman with the Marines and at Bethesda Naval Hospital and had made a major impact on education.  All gave credit to the lessons they learned in the Navy and the expressed pride in having served.  They were eloquent and inspiring and, yes, Bill Cosby was very, very funny! 

Love, Jan

Yardage…

Dear Jan,

26.jpg35.jpgThough the Sisu retreat fast approaches and I need to have my Hemlock finished as a class sampler, I couldn’t resist some spinning this week.  I filled my bobbins once more with Nora (the Targhee cross) and plied up another two skeins of 3-ply.  I now have about 1,000 yards of something between a heavy fingering and sport weight.  There are 8 more batts – somewhere between 600 and 800 yards – so I am hoping to squeak a sweater’s-worth out.  If it comes up short I may have to start in on the black batts from Nora and do a two color pattern.

15.jpgHaving sufficient yardage for an entire gray sweater is an uncertainty right now.  Having sufficient yardage to complete the Hemmie edging in green leaves is a certainty – as in I certainly do not have sufficient.  That little clot of yarn in the upper right is all that remains.  Oh, well, some purple leaves certainly aren’t going to disrupt a calm visual pattern.

I am 11/16ths of the way through the edge.  Onward…

Love,

Ellen

The show-off is shown up…

…by her knitting.

Dear Jan,

I am the last of our group to finish my Hemlock Ring blanket, by which I mean, of course, that I’m not even close to done.  The workshop we are leading is in 10 days, so I’m on a serious deadline.  It’s even interfering with my spinning!

You can imagine how aggravated I am with myself that I have taken two giant steps backward.  Just put me in the same group with Hamlet.  Here is how my ambition got me into trouble.

I love the Hemlocks I’ve seen knit up.  Susan‘s and Jared‘s and now Lisa, Annie, and Karen’s – all great.  But the cast off?  Not only did I hear my gang curse it for its tedium, all those little loops just looked like finger catchers to me.  Then I saw the leaves that line Saroyan and knew I’d found My Edging.  Sure, it would take more time, but the leaves would call back the botanical center of the throw, and if I knit off one live stitch per row it would go along at a goodly pace.

Fast forward to Sunday.  I’m cruising, almost 7/8’s of the way around the circle and tickled enough to ask the gang to give it a good stretch so we can all admire it.  And I saw the doubt pass over the faces and knew that I was in trouble.

The edge just didn’t stretch enough. Even a test wet blocking didn’t solve it, one wants a blanket to approach flatness, really.

33.jpg42.jpg51.jpgOff came the edging, by dropping the stitch that knit it onto the live stitches of the throw.  Crochet it back on with a slip stitch, this time at two rows of edging per stitch of throw.  Bonus – a faggot-like connection that looks planned and can be recreated by throwing in some yarnovers between the throw and the edging.

All great, except that now instead of being 7/8’s of the way through the throw, I’m 7/16’s of the way.  Yikes.  No time for resting.

14.jpg25.jpg34.jpgUnless you’re a kidden.  Both of them found their way into my shawl on Saturday, first Selkie, then Poison, crawling into the tied up ends so that they had a nice hammock for snoozing.  I don’t know how they can rest so peacefully with deadlines looming.

I hope you meet all your deadlines this week.

Love,

Ellen

Wh-Who-Who-WHOOOOO!!!!

Dear Ellen,

dsc01040.JPGdsc01041.JPGAs soon as we were off work on Friday we jumped in the car and headed north to Fair Winds.  Turns out if you can be moving out by 5 PM you can have a tent set up by 8 PM and be sleeping to the lullaby of the forest by 10 PM.  Soloist was a very vocal owl.  He/she was loud and persistent and must not sleep much because I heard him as we set up camp, while drifting off to sleep and throughout much of the day on Saturday.  Our dsc01032.JPGdsc01035.JPGdsc01036.JPGpicnic area is now picnic-able and the area of woods that will be the backdrop of our great room windows is cleared of the heavy brush.  We have plenty more to do and we’re loving every bit.  As usual, Max and Ruby had a rough time of it.  Max had to have much ear scratching and Ruby wore herself out giving rides to grasshoppers.

I took your encouragement seriously and spent part of the weekend working on a design for submission to Knitty.  We’ll see if it is finished in time, but I made good progress, so am hopeful.  Dale really likes it, but not the color.  I may have to find an alternate yarn to knit it up in for a male version and then the pattern could show both.  It is more snack knitting, but of a complex nature.  I do have one item I can dsc01048.JPGdsc01050.JPGdsc01042.JPGdsc01043.JPGshow — I finished the Crescent Beach Shawlette and got it blocked.  I’m very pleased with it as a light shoulder warmer or pop of color with a jacket.  It’s small enough that it’s a very quick knit and interesting enough that it’s a fun knit. 

Sure wish I could stay home and knit, but alas, my work week beckons.

Love, Jan

Dr. Yarn is doggin’ it…

Dear Jan,

Lest you think that Dr. Yarn has gotten lazy, never fear.  Rather, he is educating us on the use of dog fur in knitting.  Knitter’s best friend?

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This came from an alert reader in Idaho.
Q. Is knitting with dog hair gross or not?
A. Knitting with dog hair is a wholesome interest in recycling and saving the environment.  It has been done for years on the Shetland Islands where the Shetland sheepdogs thrive. These dogs have long hair. One should not use short hair dogs like the pointers for knitting (besides, knitting needles are pointy enough, you don’t need additional pointers).

If you do not live on the Shetland Islands, you can still pick up hair from your clothing, furniture, carpet, and the vacuum cleaner bag.
A little known fact is that scientists are secretly developing long hair into several new breeds of dogs. The smart money is betting on this dog hair knitting catching on and taking off within ten years. A stock market play is Dog Hair International (DHI on the New York Stock Exchange and currently selling for $26.17). Some analysts have targeted it for $100—so you see there are big bucks to be made.

Of course some analysts –ones who don’t really understand the knitting subculture—think that this play will itself be a dog and advise hedging on a household appliance company that has a new vacuum coming on line next year, one that is especially designed to pick up dog hair, pulverize it, package it and then sell it as stuffing for a brand of knitted doggie beds. If this catches on, many amateur knitters may find employment in knitting factories like in old New England days. A good stock market play in this venture is Pooches Outraged Over Plastic (ticker sign on the NYSE is POOP).
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As always, thank you for your erudite question.

Dr. Yarn

Show your (Shear) Spirit…

Dear Jan,

You can show your Shear Spirit by entering Gale’s contest with her book, Shear Spirit, as a prize.  Those in the Twin Cities can do so by signing up for the September 25-26th weekend workshop she is giving at the Yarnery and a local historical farm.  I’m lusting after this workshop, but will be up north that weekend.

Cheers,

Ellen