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Archive for April, 2013


Episode 16 — Thunder Snow!


Cover Art by Martin Austermuhle

In which Ellen sings and is repetitive and in which we discuss Yarnover and Fiber Fest, a great review from Jasmin & Gigi, Thunder Snow!, quick trips to Ohio, Spring springing…and not, farm stuff, mouse melons, love blankets, snow and the frozen north, blended colors and intarsia, when eagerness overwhelms instinct, yarn to dye for, figure irregularities, the magic bullet and Yarnover and Fiber Fest.

Jan shared information about the Yarn-a-go-go effort to support victims of the bombing at the Boston Marathon.  You can find more info about helping knit Love Blankets here.
In On the Runway, Ellen continues her socks in the Monkey pattern, which she is calling Saki.  She has a HO - a half object aka one sock.  She also has one full sleeve and much of a second, as well as the fronts and the back, of her Blue Moons cardigan, based on the Veronik Avery Forestry Cardigan.  In a moment of insanity, she thought she’d whip up a shawl for Yarnover, just days away as this was recorded, and started Souvenir of Fiber Fest, a blended intarsia shawl from Susan Newhall’s Souvenir pattern.  As always, as she recorded, she worked on Rimfrost, aka Many Moments of Grace.

Jan is preparing for Minnesota weather at Yarnover by knitting up Ohio River Ebb tide, her version of Susan B. Anthony’s Ebb cowl.  She is developing a classroom project to teach the techniques in her Tiffany Capelet design - a potholder!  She continues on her Death Spiral shawl (design by Erica Gunn) and her Percasocks.  Someday perhaps she will start a project page for them to which we can link.  :-)

In Bitten by Your Knittin’, both Ellen and Jan struggled with thinking they knew what they were doing.  Jan’s potholder gave her fits as she worked to figure out the best yarn for it, letting her eagerness start with the wrong yarn and having to come back to the old standby for this sort of thing - Sugar & Cream.  Ellen learned that the signal that all was not well in her knitting of Souvenir was the words, “It’s great to get to the point where you really know what you are doing” coming out of her mouth.

In Finely or Finally Finished Items, Ellen finally finely finished Umeshu by over-dyeing the striated yarn that was camouflaging the lace.  You can read of her misadventures with bleeding dye at her blog post on the subject.  (Jan reported back later that she learned from some dyers at Maryland Sheep & Wool that overheating silk can cause it to not hold dye as well - maybe this was Ellen’s problem.)

During Design Principles, Ellen discussed how she appreciated the feedback she got from Shirley Paden during her on-line meeting to discuss her Shirley Paden Design Along 3 project.  You can follow the process in the We Love Shirley Paden  Ravelry group.   Jan shared more information from her set of vintage design books, citing Overcoming Irregularities in Figure, Woman’s Institute Library of Dressmaking, (c) 1925.  She will report back later on whether Amy Herzog’s Fit to Flatter suggests similar advice.

In Design Principles, Ellen again thanked Shirley Paden for the enormous effort she is giving to the Shirley Pade.

In 360 degrees, Ellen has finished the singles of her Rhinebeck foliage colored Rambouillet, dyed by Erica of DesigKnit.  The colors are marvelous, if not really suited for spring spinning.

Jan shared an Embellishment (or was it Fun Fur?) - her Magic Bullet Blender with Drinking Goblets.  As seen on TV!

While there will be plenty of fun in April, the big events for Jan and Ellen both are Yarnover (April 27), and Steven Berg’s Fiber Fest April 25-29.

Yarnover looms on the horizon, but Shepherd’s Harvest isn’t far beyond that.  If you can’t meet up with Ellen in April, you can find her at SH in May, for sure.

Enjoy the episode!

Hitting Restart

Dear Ellen,

My participation in this blog of late seems to be limited only to putting up new episodes of the podcast.  While that in and of itself is a healthy contribution, it seems I’ve not written anything about antics on the farm or within our family for way to long.  As time drags out it is becoming apparent that the massive “catch up” blog post is becoming more and more overwhelming.  So much so that I’ll never do it.  Therefore I am declaring a restart!  I will provide below a photo montage of many things that are happening or have happened in the last three months without much care about chronology or detail.  Once that’s done, then that’s it…the past is behind me.  And maybe my next post will be more manageable!

Love, Jan

2-imag0352.jpg I made gorgeous yarn.

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It became Swagger, an almost published design.

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1-marie-knits-001.jpgMarie not only modeled for me, but she also got bitten by the knitting bug.  (So proud!)

1-img_0690.JPGI designed the perfect gauntlets with which to feed chickens.

1-fiber-factor.jpgI entered designs in the Fiber Factor competition, but will have to try again next year.

1-imag0435-001.jpg Dorito took up tweeting as doritothealpaca.  He seems unable to use capital letters because of his two-toedness.

1-imag0431.jpg The other alpaca are unimpressed.  (Fun to peek over your mom!)

1-imag0392.jpg We got our farm name established legally…and physically.

1-imag0202-001.jpg I scored an amazing quilt at the Bart Township Mud Sale.  (For cheap!)

1-imag0381.jpgCharlie (Allen and Libby’s dog) met the gang…they were alert, but when they figured out that she’d run off if they challenged her, they went back to grazing.

1-imag0488.jpgWe toured a robotic dairy farm where cows choose when to be milked (and queue up nicely for it) and go to the self-service back scratchers whenever they like.

1-imag0528.jpgI finished the second version of my Entrelac Capelet pattern…minus the closure as I can’t seem to lay my hands on that stupid clasp!

1-dsc06547.JPGDale built the gang a little mountain so they can play king of the hill.  (Amelia is hoping neither of the boys will put the other’s eye out.)

6-_sc06481.JPGWe had a visitor to the farm from a 5th grade class in Illinois.  She liked the chickens but could not figure out how to lay an egg.

1-dsc06507-002.JPGNew babies came home to live with us for eight weeks.  Then they’ll live with our frozen food.  Very cute now…good thing they won’t stay cute long and that there are so many I won’t be able to name them. (I did help the the one on his back regain his footing…at a day old he couldn’t handle it himself.)

1-_sc06471-001.JPGWe made a boomerang trip to help mom celebrate her 90th birthday.

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We are thrilled to see everything on the farm wake up with the arrival of spring.

1-imag0419-1.jpgExcept for Ruby that is.

And with that, that’s it!

Episode 15 — A Little Fuzzy

In which we sound a little fuzzy.  I don’t know why.  I spent extra time trying to level, equalize, invert and noise remove, but to no avail.  I think the issue is in our gain settings, but that can’t be fixed till next go. I finally decided I’d better just publish it or you would never get the chance to revel in the glory that is our wisdom laugh at us.

And also in which we discuss my Fiber Factor fail, flocks of birds, travels to NYC, Ellen’s dull and uninteresting life, makeup and stash enhancement, prodigal knitters, a visit by Louise from Scotland, finding your niche, robotic farms, a possible triplet, frogging phobia, being bitten by a monkey, knitting phases as they wax and wane, found spinning time, multi-craftual (but not promiscuous) designers, self-effacing and debunked slick tricks, stitch marker swaps and future meetups.

1-ssk-slick-trick.jpg For your ease of viewing pleasure.  Note that as time has passed the K2Togtbl is more pronounced as the resulting stitch wants to twist to the right and this stands the stitch a bit on edge.  It doesn’t lie flat in this worsted weight yarn.

Episode 14 — OWN IT!!


In which we own our discussions about growlers, baked moths, ground hog seers, signs of spring, soon-to-be-geldings, barns to be built, tweeting alpaca, transforming errors into brilliant (if unexpected) design features, cross training for knitters, glittering galleries, design alongs and design challenges, a promising designer and a blending of batts.

In Patterns of our Lives, Ellen recounts the happy trip on the bus to Dave’s Brew Farm.  Jan is getting estimates for barns for the herd.  She is also on the planning committee for the SAFONA Fiber Frolic which will happen in June - The Savvy Girls will be featured guests!

Instructions for a fine recipe of Baked Moth are here.

Jan is twitter-pated that Dorito the Alpaca now has a Twitter account.

Cutting it close, Jan got her entry in for The Fiber Factor.  (Added post-publication of podcast - no, she didn’t get in, but it should still be fun to watch.)

Ellen’s Fiber Fusion sweater was included in the Third Place Gallery exhibit featuring Steven Berg, the Glitter Knitter, of StevenBe Workshop.

In the What Would Susan Ask design element, we discussed what crafts we combine with knitting.

In On the Runway, Ellen is juggling projects - her Great Dayne top-down raglan from her class at Madrona;  Umeshu, her version of Melanie Gibbons’ Hanami Stole;  socks in the Monkey pattern which she is calling Saki and she has started swatching for the Shirley Paden DAL3.  As she recorded, she worked on Rimfrost, aka Many Moments of Grace.

Jan is making a second version of her capelet design.  The pattern is now named Tiffany Capelet.  She continues on her Death Spiral shawl (design by Erica Gunn).

In Bitten by Your Knittin’, Ellen reported that using similar sized cable needles as the project needles to hold stitches and then taking a break from knitting that project can lead to some unfortunate knitting.

In Finely or Finally Finished Items, Ellen finished her Fiber Fusion sweater in time for it to be displayed at the Third Place Gallery.  Jan finished Swagger, a new shawl that uses up every yard of the yarn she spun from her Fiber Optic gradient roving.

Ellen is participating in the Shirley Paden Design Along 3, which you can follow in the We Love Shirley Paden  Ravelry group.   Jan extolled her find of a vintage design set of books from Dogstar Books (for the Sirius Reader).

In Design Principles, Ellen discussed the value of a large swatch, especially when working with cables, to plan pattern flow.

In 360 degrees, Ellen played with color by spinning tri-color batts of Coopworth fiber which she created in a class with Carol Wagner of Hidden Valley Woolen Mills at last year’s Shepherd’s Harvest.

Our Featured Designer is madmum, aka Louise.  Her blog is Knitting for Sanity.

While there will be plenty of fun in April, the big events for Jan and Ellen both are Yarnover (April 27), and Steven Berg’s Fiber Fest April 25-29.  If you are going to the Yarnover teacher dinner, stop by the bar at about 7:00 pm and say hi (we’re not going to the dinner), and if you are coming to Yarnover, we’ll be meeting up at 8:30 a.m. in the commons area at Yarnover.

Yarnover looms on the horizon, but Shepherd’s Harvest isn’t far beyond that.  If you can’t meet up with Ellen in April, you can find her at SH in May, for sure.

Enjoy the episode!