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

Archive for April, 2012


Don’t get testy with me!

Dear Jan,

I told you I was a bona fide test knitter some time ago; now I can reveal the test knit!  It is the Woman’s Cardigan from the new book WearWithAll, published by a group of active knitting and designing friends from one of my LYS’s.  Edited for clarity: the pattern for this sweater is not my design, I simply test knit it as part of the editing process of the book.  My sweater doesn’t appear in photos in the book, but may go on any trunk shows in the next few months.

Knitting this sweater in just 4 weeks on size 3 needles (the pattern calls for 4’s, I’m a loose knitter (not in THAT way!) was surprisingly fun.  Who’d have thought miles of stockinette in a fine gauge would be lovely.  The secret - gorgeous yarn (Kidsilk Haze).  Hmm, reminds me of knitting Bohus sweaters!  Another secret - a simple, elegant design and pattern.

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I’m very happy with the way it turned out.  When it returns home to me after touring with the book, I will really enjoy wearing it.

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You can read the story of the rest of the book here, and we will do our best to get our hands on a copy of the book this weekend.

This weekend!  And it starts tomorrow, really, when I pick you up after work.  Sure, we both have to work the rest of the week, but I suspect it will be a much more interesting week than recent ones, for me, anyway.

Love,

Ellen

Spring ephemera…

Dear Jan,

One doesn’t typically think of Ohio being a state with tremendous natural beauty, but if you’ve ever spent a spring weekend in the southeastern part of the state, your mental images will shift from corn fields and steel mills to rocky cliffs and wildflowers.  Hocking Hills State Park, just outside of Logan, is the epicenter of the lovely, and Helen, Neil, and Leila joined us there last weekend.

The beauty of the park ranges from delicate wildflowers…

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…to magnificent rock formations.

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The light feels liquid as it flows into the gorges, lighting up the ferns and mosses…

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…and falling on well-loved faces.

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I  found this shot of sisters laughing together to be especially beautiful.

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So wonderful, so quickly gone.

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At least you will be replacing it in just a couple of days!

Love,

Ellen

It could have been worsted…

Dear Jan,

I believe that sometimes the body just takes over and tells you to slow down.  I woke up this morning feeling a bit of malaise which grew to a lot of malaise, coupled with some minor chills and lack of interest in food.  Coupled with a dank and rainy day, no real agenda, and a companionable cat, I had no choice but to go back to bed, from which I’ve just gotten up at 5:30 pm.

If this wave of minor illness had hit me during the week I likely would have muscled through it.  If it had hit next weekend, your visit and all the yarny activities would not have been as much fun.  And if it had been beautiful outside, I would have felt a bit more guilty at burrowing under the covers.  It certainly could have been worsted worse.

The brown merino from the Wool Gatherings sampler pack not only could have been (and, in fact, was) worsted, it could have been (and, indeed, also was) woolen.  I spun it up both ways, directly from the top for true worsted and after carding some rolags for true woolen.

Here is the top on the left and the rolags on the right.  The fiber was nicely prepared and spun easily, but I was surprised to find dark and light kemp fibers in a merino.  You can spot one of the dark fibers in the picture of the top.  Perhaps the natural colored merinos are not as uniform as the white ones.

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And the resulting yarn from left to right - woolen 3-ply, worsted 3-ply, woolen 2-ply, and worsted 2-ply.  Note how the fluffy woolen yarn actually looks lighter in color because it is so airy.

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I won’t move on to another breed from this set until you catch up with Jocelyn and me.  Maybe you want to select the next one?  I’m skipping the Lincoln Longwool, which Joce has already done, as I gifted that fiber to a friend.

More later,

Ellen

Not Just Kidding Around

Dear Ellen,

april-20121.jpgI’m bushed!  We’ve managed to cram 3 days into 2 again.  I should sleep well tonight!

dsc04510.JPGThe pups took it a little easier.  Max lolled about on the porch.

dsc04515.JPGRuby found a nice cool spot in the shade of the wall.  All the while I was working in the garden which I am happy to say is all in except for some plants that are yet to be…the seeds are planted in a seed starter.  They should be ready for planting by June.

dsc04492.JPGDale was preparing the ground for receipt of his new gazebo.  Never let your husband go to a mud sale alone.  Yes, these two facts are related.  It will be delivered on this coming Saturday.  Once in place we’ll decide if we want to paint it or just stain it.  The plan is to surround it with rose bushes and put flowering vines at the base of each pillar.  Should be lovely come wedding time.

dsc04512.JPGAnother new home builder took residence next door.  This little black capped chickadee has a nest inside the birdhouse that Chris and Jim gave us for Christmas.

dsc04503.JPGI also accomplished a few things in the knitting world.  The Aloha Onesie is finally done — though I still need to wrap it and get it on its way to Hawaii.

dsc04504.JPGI think I found the perfect buttons for the blue and white cotton yarn.

dsc04505.JPGAnd the snaps at the crotch worked well too.  I redid many parts of this, so it ended up taking far longer than I expected, but I’m glad I took the time.  Next time I do the pattern (which I do like a lot), I’ll be armed with the modifications I made…if I actually put them in my project page instead of just counting on remembering them.

lemony-dishcloth.jpgI also knocked out a quick dishcloth.  (We really needed one!)  It’s a simple eyelet pattern broken up by garter ridges.  The ridges are in yellow and the pattern in a color called creamsicle.  I was amused that they gave 3 different languages for yellow on the ballband, only two for creamsicle.  The first in english and the second — who knows, it said creamsicle too, but was Italicized.  Do you think they think Italian might just be italics?  Take a look at the lower left corner.  I have noticed that using the Neatby bind off method tends to cause the bind off to lean forwards.  It makes sense given the method.  I’ve also noticed that when using it to bind off in purl it leans backwards.  So, I decide to try to alternate knit and purl bind offs to see what would happen.  The 3 stitches on the right were all bound off knitwise.  The 3 stitches on the left were bound off alternating knitwise and purlwise.  I like the way they line up right on the edge and now that I’ve tried this on a dishcloth will do it on other projects too!

dsc04483.JPGLast, I’ve got 4 ounces of a wonderful suri alpaca/merino/silk blend waiting patiently on a bobbin.  It’s waiting for me to spin the other 8 ounces that I have.  Dale is working on making me a bobbin winder for use with weaving bobbins.  He also came home from the mud sale with 3 old sewing machines so he can use the motors and presser foot controllers.  Should be slick.

dsc04495.JPGI’m going to sign off now — still too many things to do before bed!  No kidding!

Love, Jan

Things I Like…

Dear Ellen,

Although I did not have a 3 lb. mile chocolate rabbit for Easter, the day was filled with many of my favorite things.

april-2012.jpgAs you’ve likely noted, I’ve been on a birdwatching bent of late, and I was treated to a good deal of entertainment by our feathered friends.  The cardinal was particularly stunning. 

fooling-around.JPGI finished up the fronts to Fooling Around on April Fool’s Day.  I decided to get them and the back to blocking while I work on the sleeves.  I’m hoping to have this sweater ready in time for Yarnover.  If I keep having to tink and rip, that may be a problem.  It’s really not a difficult pattern, but I seem to be knitting with half a brain as of late.

dsc04484.JPGA recent addition to my repertoire is roasted seaweed.  I have really become fond of kale chips and when I tried these I realized they were easily as tasty, just as healthy, and completely free of risk that I might be making kale charcoal.  (Yes, the curse of the burnt rolls seems to extend to kale chips, at least in my case.)  At 60 calories in an entire package, these fit in my diet plans very nicely.  They are a bit high in sodium, but my blood pressure is low, my consumption of water is high, and I don’t eat a whole package in one seating.

And my favoritest thing of all?  Well, you could have guessed it, I’m sure.

dsc04478.JPGLove, Jan

Nuts! No Bunnies for Easter.

collages3.jpg…but plenty of squirrels.  I hope you notice that we are a full service squirrel restaurant, ensuring plenty to drink with those dry seeds.  I have now installed new squirrel baffles, we’ll see if they’re actually baffled by them.

April Fool’s?

Dear Jan,

img_1065.JPGI was absolutely gob-smacked when I spotted this today as I was doing spring yardwork.  Apple blossoms showing color on April 1 in Minnesota?

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While these are still in bloom?

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That seems as rare as a white scilla suddenly showing up in the flower bed.

No foolin’.

Love,

Ellen