twinset.us

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

Archive for October, 2012


Do I sound like Ross Perot?

Best wishes to all on the east coast for a quick and safe storm recovery.  I encourage all to donate to your favorite relief agency.  Ravelry members may want to participate in the Subway Knitter fund raising event found here. The Subway Knitter podcasts from Brooklyn, where Jan’s daughter and her wife live and , and where my daughter lived before moving to Manhattan.  Said daughter is in upper Manhattan and stayed dry through the storm and feels very fortunate.

Dear Jan,

I know you’ve heard it, that giant sucking sound when you are knitting.  It happens all the time when you are knitting cables – they really suck up the fabric.  I have just added a cabled panel to the plain stockinette back of a cardigan, so I have data to back this up (no flip charts, sorry).

img_3658.jpg

I knit up two swatches – one in the specified stockinette gauge and one in the cable pattern I wanted to add.  In this photo I’ve marked off 16 stitches on each.  Quite a difference, eh?

To convert the pattern,  I counted the stitches in my cable pattern and calculated how many inches that would convert to, based on my cable gauge.  I then calculated how many inches that would have been if I’d stuck with stockinette stitch.  The difference is the amount of stockinette stitch I need to add back to keep the width of the garment as designed.

For an example (I made these numbers up for ease of demonstration):

  • Cable gauge is 3.5 sts/inch.  Stockinette gauge is 5 sts/inch.
  • Cable panel is 28 stitches wide.  28 sts divided by 3.5 sts/inch = 8 inches.
  • 8 inches of stockinette would have been 8 inches times 5 sts/inch = 40 sts.
  • 40 sts minus 28 sts = 12 additional sts need to be cast on to keep the same width.

img_3659.jpg

My actual pattern specified casting on 114 sts.  Based on my actual numbers, I cast on 134.  The cable sucked up 20 extra stitches!  (Did you hear it?)

If you were doing this for a full garment panel, you could just multiply the cable gauge times the width of the panel and get the proper number of stitches for the garment.

Row gauge can change, too so if your pattern specifies how many rows to knit before executing some maneuver, you will want to convert those in a similar manner.  In my case, I am knitting to specified lengths so can blissfully ignore row gauge.*

img_3628.jpg

While I was occupied knitting swatches, the season seems to be sneaking up on me.  The Thanksgiving cactus prepares to bloom!

And I prepare to go to bed!  I hope you’re having a wonderful retreat out in Washington.

Love,

Ellen

*Can one ever blissfully ignore any gauge?  I may regret being so bold.

Don’t forget that cables also use a lot more yarn.  Plan accordingly.

Episode 4 Rhinebeck Review!

Episode 4 Rhinebeck Review (Click HERE to listen!)

img_3624.jpg

In which we fondly recall the great fun we had at Rhinebeck including  workshops with Abby Franquemont and Jane Woodhouse (spindling and dyeing  respectively), shopping the vendor market, dreaming about future  flocks, fleece acquisition, meeting listeners, connecting with friends  and eating maple flavored cotton candy (that looked like roving!).  We  also chat about upcoming projects, design aspects to our SPAKAL  (Spin-a-Long Knit-A-Long with the Knitmore Girls) sweaters and Ellen’s obsession with all things Shetland.

Touch and Go

Dear Ellen,

1-dsc05939.JPGI’m just about recovered from the fantastic time we had at Rhinebeck and now need to get packed for my next trip.  I’m not complaining, not one bit!  I’m really just relieved that I was able to have several down days between the two…not sure I could have gone straight from one to the next as the fibromyalgia cum compression fracture had my back screaming and my body aching the first part of this week.  Before I get out the suitcase (didn’t need one for Rhinebeck since I drove there), I thought I’d throw up a few of my own Rhinebeck photos and some others.  Here’s my version of the sheepy photo op.

1-rhinebeck.jpgI had a great time in Jane Woodhouse’s class on natural dyeing.  It was helpful to me to walk through the entire process — a quick review of everything needed to get started.  Saves me all that book reading, you know.  It will be a bit before I put it to use…maybe even the new year as the end of the year seems pretty full already!

1-dsc05865.JPGThe fall colors were stunning…my favorite foliage picture is this one with the contrast of the black and golden yellow in this maple.  Our little maple we planted this past spring is decked out in a gorgeous crimson.  I’d love to plant one like this right next to it.

1-dsc05910.JPGThe podcaster meetup was great fun…you’re right — we need to come up with our own uniform for such events.  I am liking the idea of slacks and twin sets with pearls and penny loafers.  What do you think?

1-dsc05889.JPGFleece acquisition was so much better with the likes of experts like Deb, you and Erica.  I would have done it on my own, but would have been crossing my fingers while faking my way through picking out the ideal fleece!

1-dsc05915.JPGHeidi and I were walking along when I “squee’ed” — she thought I was reacting to a gorgeous sweater that had just gone by, but I had actually just made a Stephen West sighting.  He was, as always, so gracious and sweet and pasted a smile on his face while grudgingly smiled broadly while posing for a photo with me.

1-dsc05944.JPGHere are my Flat Feet socks that I finished at the cabins.  My project page has a photo that shows the sock blank in the background of one of the socks in progress.  This blank was pre-dyed, but I do have another in natural.  I expect it will benefit from some of what I learned this last week!

Gotta go finish publishing Episode 4…then on to packing!

Love, Jan

Pretty wooly…

Dear Jan,

img_3436.jpg

It was pretty wooly and pretty fun to spend the weekend at the Duchess County Sheep and Wool Festival (aka Rhinebeck!) with you.

rhinebeck-2012.jpg

I enjoyed my day in the woods nearby while you took your natural dyeing class.  The color was so intense I was pretty sure I picked up some natural dye myself.

img_3401.jpg

All Day Spindling  with Abby Franquemont was not as colorful but equally amusing and far more educational.  Abby knows spinning on a molecular level and spending the day with her deepened my knowledge, and my appreciation, of spindle spinning tremendously.  Yours, too, I bet.  Readers – if you ever have a chance to spindle with Abby, grab it with both hands.  Oh, maybe just one hand so you can hold your fiber in the other.

img_3410.jpg

Karen took a class in wheel spinning – her first ever.  And look at her first yarn!  I am a proud mama.

img_3455.jpg

The market was great fun.  I won’t bore our readers with my acquisitions (spindle! Fair Isle kit! anti-terrorist cashmere!*  3 fleeces!), but I have to mention the incredibly silky smooth and powerful action of the Folding Golding wheel.  I loved my test drive.  I may have to start saving pennies (lots of pennies).

img_3601.jpg

But Rhinebeck is really about the sheep and the fleece.  I could look at Lincoln Longwool curls all day.

rhinebeck-20121.jpg

And at the many breeds on display.

img_3624.jpg

Well, maybe not all of them.

Love,

Ellen

* To quote the ball band, Still River Mill sells a cashmere yarn that “is a first result of a program by USAID to promote Afghan economy as a prevention to terrorism.  USAID trained more than 200,000 goat herders on the value of cashmere and proper harvesting methods. Prior to the training, many goat herders had no idea that cashmere is such a valuable crop.”

Guess who’s coming to the wedding?

1-at-the-altar-001.jpg

.

Episode 3  is available!  In which we chat about the wedding, the setting, the bride’s beauty, the folks who helped make it happen, and our very special guests who grazed their way through the ceremony.  We also chatted about Noro Kureyon, various knitting accomplishments, a hat for Wilson and our anticipation of attending the Dutchess County Sheep and Wool Festival (aka Rhinebeck!).

Jenny and the magic skirt…

Dear Jan,

I have failed you.  Amidst all the glory of Allen and Libby’s wedding, I seem to have only gotten photos on my little camera of Jenny’s magic skirt.  I guess with two photographers running all over the place, I just plain got lazy.  Or snapped blurry photos on my iPhone.

But you have to admit, the magic skirt was pretty cool.

jenny-magic-skirt.jpg

Swipe from right to left (as worn), sequins flip and skirt turns blue.  Swipe left to right, and she is pretty in pink.

Totally amused me.

See you tomorrow…AT RHINEBECK!!!

Love,

Ellen

P.S. To alert readers, yes, I know, Rhinebeck-as-in-the-Duchess-County-Sheep-And-Wool-Festival doesn’t actually start until Thursday,  but I’m counting arriving at the cabins we are renting as being at Rhinebeck.  You can dock me a few points on that, and I won’t even care.

Wedding Countdown

Dear Ellen,

The last few weeks have been a blur — podcast recording, podcast editing, wedding organizing, wedding supply buying, wedding contract verifying…and on and on.  Nonetheless, I did finish a few knits and managed to fit in some recreation as well.

5-hiya-brooke.JPGFirst off my needles was my Hiya, Brooke! shawl, the Hyla Brook pattern by Paula Emons-Fuessle.  I made the two sides mirror-image vice as in the pattern, so I was changing gears at the spine on each lace row.  The pattern (which is just lovely and a very fun, fast knit by the way) doesn’t do the mirror image.  If you start a lace row with “YO, K2tog”, then you continue from the spine with the same “YO, K2tog”.  That means that as you go out from the spine on one side you have your eyelet a stitch away from the spine whereas on the other side the eyelet is right next to the spine.  This really isn’t noticeable to the casual observer.  But I’m all about the symmetry, so I made sure that each time I hit the spine I reversed the order of the YO’s and the K2tog’s.   I like the result.

1-on-dress-form.jpgI also moved the closure that was bothering me on Fooling Around, the Devonshire pattern by Pam Powers, and have blocked out the additional bit of lace that is knit after piecing the sweater together.   (This is just the continuation of the front edging around the back of the collar.)  The geometry of this sweater makes it very easy to wear.  The collar lies neatly against your upper back and neck and with the closure in the right place (an scant half inch above the apex of the bustline) it hangs without a perceived need to keep pulling it closed.  I’ve had that problem with other single closure sweaters.  And I need a sweater I can keep open — especially when my own personal summers decide to kick in!  You’ll see this sweater at Rhinebeck for sure — it’s very, very light, but just perfectly cozy warm.  I think it’s the possum in the Kauri yarn.  I bought this yarn while on a work trip to New Zealand — with this pattern in mind.  Take note — perhaps the first time I’ve bought yarn for a specific pattern, put it in my stash and then years later actually knit that pattern.  Until now it has only been when casting on immediately that I have been true to my yarn/pattern matchings.

1-september-2012-003.jpg2-dsc05721.JPGOur playtime was mostly at the West Lampeter Agricultural Fair.  It also was another opportunity for gratuitous ego boosting as I entered seven knitted items and came home with seven ribbons (and also a ribbon for my dilly garlic squash pickles at the SOLANCO Fair!).  I mentioned on the podcast that I won first prize for three — all designs of my own.  I need to get busy on publishing those!  Dale enjoyed riding the practice roping calf.   We both enjoyed watching the ducklings at play (<= video link!) on the water-slide set up by Rohrer Seed Company.  I wanted to take some ducklings home, you would have too.

1-dsc05708.JPGThe fairs both had many adorable goats and Dale is on the verge of readiness for goat acquisition.  One of the farmers assured him that goats will do just fine with only a run-in shelter in our climate.  So, after the wedding we’ve got fencing going in and we’ll be looking for some pygmies…preferably pygmy angoras, but we’re not averse to having a mix.  Dale spotted this guy trying to drive his owner’s tractor — the thought that they could be trained to help with plowing, etc., may have been what clinched his decision that we should move forward.

1-september-2012-004.jpgThe next week will be fully focused on wedding preparations.  Lots yet to do, including the seating chart.  With some of our guests, the results of our decision making could be interesting!

Love, Jan

Bye, Baby Bunting…

Dear Jan,

It was so nice to say goodbye to our Twin Baby Bunting sweaters this last week and say hello to the newest members of our clan, our grandniece and grandnephew, Lyla and Caden.

twin-baby-buntings.jpg

Despite Julie’s protests to the contrary, from the time I spent with them, these two seem like the perfect babies that never cry, only snuggle.  That their brother and sister are so proud and adoring only reinforces this notion.  (Well, G and A did allow that there might be some crying involved.)

img_9842.jpg

I got my sweater done on the airplane on the way to the visit.  Luckily, hotels come with sinks and plenty of towels for blocking.

img_9828.jpg

For our readers, the pattern was Sweet Bunting by Laura Chau. She calls for a dk weight yarn, we used Lion Brand Baby Wool, a worsted, which necessitated some adjustments to pattern such as casting on for size 3 months but knitting to lengths stated for 6 months.  Overall, an easy knit, though I did have to tear out my yoke after neglecting to note that you had altered the colorwork design to create a better scale for this weight yarn.  I want to knit the sweater again at the proper weight yarn.  The only thing I’ll change are the short rows – the method Ms. Chau specifies is like that for turning a heel and I’d like to use a more invisible one.

img_9833.jpg

L & C’s mom, J, was thrilled. Our sister, J, was amused to hear we had both started and not finished sweaters for her baby back when we were teens, but she didn’t consider these sweaters to have met the obligation.  She still thinks we need to knit niece J a sweater.  Hmm, maybe a shawl?

With the sweater done, I turned to the second of my Sockesan! socks out of Noro Kureyon Sock.  Here is the first.

img_9844.jpg

While I know you don’t care for the way this yarn kinks back on itself incessantly, I am more than willing to put up with its cantankerous ways when it gives me fabric like this. Knit at fine gauge, the energy in the yarn creates even stitches and simple stockinette lets the colors shine.

img_9845.jpg

It will make a nice wooly feeling sock. Nothing you’d want to wrap a baby in, but my foot will like it just fine.

See you soon – get that wedding prep done!

Love,

Ellen

Really? You like us?!?

TwinSet Designs, the Podcast!

Episode 2 You Like Us, You Really Like Us! is now available over on the podcast page.

Welcome and thanks to listeners (you’re all new at this point!) and new Ravelry Group members…we are gobsmacked by the incredibly positive response that Episode 1 received…you really do like us!

Knitting and Spinning Catch Up

Dear Ellen,

My needles have been a clickin’ and my spindle and wheel have been a spinnin’ — one reason my blog posts had fallen behind.  Here’s a quick run down of the fiber activities from the summer.

1-4-star-scarf.jpgI knit a scarf that I called my Four Star Scarf as an appreciation gift for Chief of Naval Operations Greenert’s willingness to preside and speak at my retirement.  Navy blue and gold, of course.

1-fooling-around1.jpgFooling Around is almost complete.  You can see some of my mattress stitching mastery in this collage.  The sweater is fully pieced now, but I need to attach the hook and eye closure and get some modeled shots.  Soon.

1-dsc05665.JPGHiya, Brooke! is named for a grad school classmate of mine.   It’s the Hyla Brook shawl pattern by Paula Emons-Fuessle, Prairiepiper of the Knitting Pipeline podcast.  A very relaxing and enjoyable pattern that turns out a most wearable shawlette.  I really like Paula’s patterns, having also knitted Piper’s Journey and admitting I just bought her newest pattern, Ellison Bay.  One thing I love is the background she gives about her inspiration for each.  Hyla Brook is inspired by the hyla, the European tree frog, and a brook named for it’s population thereof.  The lace pattern is called hyla lace and you can just imagine the little peepers all in a row.  I modified mine slightly from Paula’s pattern so that the lace would be symmetrical mirror images from the spine. It’s not blocked yet in this pattern, but will be soon.  You can see an end waiting to be woven in…you wouldn’t have any experience in loose ends would you?  (Heh!)

3-hoof-jam.JPGHoof Jam is my own pattern made from the Alisha Goes Around Marmalade (of Ponies) fingering weight in the Landscape colorway that you gifted me at Christmas.  The pattern is toe up with ribbed horseshoe cables along the outside of the cuffs and eye of partridge heels.  (How could I not use horseshoe cables when knitting with Marmalade of Ponies???)  A sock pattern like this, that has a nice stretch of stockinette with only a short stretch of patterning each round is a nice balance between challenging and boring.  It’s very knittable during social settings and even with adult beverages!  After the wedding this will be one of the patterns that makes it up onto Ravelry for sale.

1-dsc05240.JPGLazy Sunrise, knit from Kauni Effektgarn is a cleverly assymetric shawl in the Lazy Katy pattern by Birgit Freyer that really shows this yarn off well.  It was a pretty darned fast knit too.  Either that or I just couldn’t put it down as watching the colorway work through it’s gradients was so much fun.

2-dsc05562.JPGI finished up a few mitts — the Mrs. Beeton mitts by Brenda Dayne.  (Mine are called Fancy Pants for my Wrists.)

3-dsc05567.JPGAnd I finished the my Beady Ayes mitts based on the Opposites Attract Heavily Beaded Cuff Pattern by Susanna Hansson that I started in the class we took from Susanna at Yarnover.  I couldn’t leave well enough alone and felt compelled to add a bit of ruffle and some eyelet edging to Susanna’s basic pattern.  I still have other mitts in the works — those Bohus mitts for which you gave me the yarn and pattern several years ago.

dsc04139.JPGOri-mommy has been in the works.  I’ve finished my piece — the large rectangle, and Marie is making good progress on her piece — the smaller rectangle.  She hopes to be done by the wedding so she can leave it with me for seaming together and blocking.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

1-dsc05647.JPGIteration number two of the Sunny Day at Sea Hat, Mittens and Stripey Neck Gaiter is complete.  A few more modifications and I’ll work on getting this set put together as a pattern.

1-twinboybunting.jpg Twin Boy Bunting was sent off to you for your use in completing your Twin Girl Bunting.  I’m so glad to hear from you that you finished yours (despite my efforts to sabotage my accidental mistake in not providing notes on the color chart) and that Julie loved them!

6-dsc05496.JPG  Summer Skies Tank was finished in time for autumn to kick in.  That’s okay as I need to lose a few more pounds before it would look great on me.  Right now it looks good, but great would be so much better!

1-file0_medium21.jpg Sitting and waiting for me to return to it is Death Spiral.  It will be some great travel knitting for post-wedding events.  Right now it needs to be patient while I finish up the wedding knitting!

1-dsc05792.JPGCountry Gentlewoman is done except for closures and sleeves.  Here it’s drying, having just soaked for about 15 minutes in, well, Soak, of course.  I wanted to wet block the body so I’d be extremely confident about closure placement and sleeve length.   I still have 12 days, so I feel like I’m in good shape.  It fits well, and looks great with the palazzo pants I’ll be wearing…no mother-of-the-groom dress for me!

1-file0_medium22.jpgAnd finally, the Valentine Ring Bearer’s Pillow still has half a backing and the side edging to complete.  I am going to have it done this week so Libby can help add the blue and gold ribbons (her colors) to make it more festive for the wedding.  Those will come right off after the big day and the pillow will be a nice addition to their bedroom decor.

1-dsc05492-001.JPGAs for spinning, my big summer achievement is 1900 yards of DK weight Wensleydale 2 ply.  I love, love, love it.  And have plans for it to become the Larch cardigan.  You’ll see it at Rhinebeck (in process!) for sure!  I also have a nice little yurt of natural colored finn on my lark spindle.  I’m going to chain ply it — hopefully about 100 yards worth for dyeing in my natural dyeing class at Rhinebeck.

That’s all I’m covering right now — believe it or not, there are a few other projects for which I have yet to create Ravelry pages.  At least this clears my backlog of posting, so now maybe I can keep up a bit better.  I’ll try!

Love, Jan