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

Archive for September, 2013


Episode 24 — Orange is the New Black

In which we discuss the new Knitty, lakes that aren’t lakes, really great spinning wheels, black…err…um…orange cats, more tomatoes, a Swagger KAL, the Ricefield Collective, lack of yarn, failure to read patterns, getting from design ideas to actual written patterns, a prize weiner and busy days ahead.

Ellen and Betsy (aka Bevil on Ravelry) made a trek to Wisconsin and visited Black Cat Farmstead, purveyors of antique spinning wheels, handspun and spinning fiber, and other lovely things like jewelry and soap.  They enjoyed a gorgeous drive through rolling farm country and along the side of Lake Pepin, which is actually a very wide spot in the Mississippi River.

Jan stayed home and processed the harvest – lavender and tomatoes mostly.  Once she gets her fiber sales going, you might get a little lavender sachet in your package, should you buy some!  The farm continues to grow – Jan has bought yet another alpaca, Chena, another female so you can count on the herd continuing to grow.

Ellen is working on the Harmonia’s Rings cowl by Sivia Harding.  She’s knitting it out of Berroco Vintage, a washable wool:synthetic blend, which creates a problem.  The directions for washing say to turn the garment inside out, but this garment is a mobius ring, so how is this possible? (heh!)

She is also continuing work on her  Forever in the Forest stole, out of Misti Alpaca lace weight and based on the Forest Path Stole by Faina M. Letoutchaia.  And she reports that the fabric of her Grey Mountains (Mountain Peaks, a Bohus reproduction) hat (kit from SOLsilke) is luscious knit at the fine gauge of a size 0 needle.

Jan is also knitting a Bohus almost-reproduction.  It would be, except she has swapped out some colors to bring it more to her taste.  Her Fog Lights sweater is coming along nicely; the original design is the Green Mist pullover by Kerstin Olson.  She is also working on another misty project – Misty Morning, her version of Paula Emons-Fuessle’s Lullaby Rain shawl.  It may have stalled a bit due to an error in the lace several rows back and some philosophical pondering of whether she needs more yarn.

It seems Jan isn’t wondering if she has enough of that bulky handspun (which we’ve been discussing for a few episodes now) to knit mittens – she certainly doesn’t.  But enough is enough and she has converted to knitting fingerless mitts, for which there was enough yarn, without a single full gram to spare.

Ellen has finely and finally finished Musing, her Shirley Paden Design Along 3 project.  It was knit out of Classic Elite Soft Linen, a warm, dense yarn, so despite being short-sleeved, it will likely be a winter sweater.  Watch for a pattern to come out of this one!

Jan and Ellen discuss various approaches to design in the Design Principles section.  Books that they find useful include Knit Notes: Explore * Design * Create and also Shirley Paden’s Knitwear Design Workshop.

For a new design challenge, we introduce our first knit-along (KAL), and pair it with a design-along (DAL).  We’ll be doing a DAL-KAL based on Jan’s pattern, Swagger.  More details to come!

In 360 degrees, Ellen talks about how great her wheel is – her new Great Wheel, that is, which was the result of her trip to Black Cat Farmstead.  She hopes a walking wheel will increase the amount of exercise she gets!  Jan got some spinning done – 8 ounces of 50% alpaca/50% wool w/ Blue Magic (angellina) in the Under the Sea colorway from Gurdy Run Woolen Mill ,  a bit of Columbia on the gorgeous painted jasper whorl drop spindle that was a gift from dear friend, Heidi, and she is preparing spin off entries for Dorito and Dipper – not for them to spin, but of their fleeces!

Jan’s embellishment this episode is the Terrace Cowl from the Ricefield Collective.

Ellen used her Slick Trick for the episode in finishing her Musing sweater – when picking up stitches for a band or whatever, use a needle two sizes smaller so that the connection is crisp.  Jan’s ST is to use a smaller needle when executing Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy bind off to get a bound edge that is stretchy but doesn’t flare.

Jaxie985 won the Design Elements contest that ran all summer – congratulations!

Enjoy the show!

Episode 23 — Second Sock Syndrome

In which we discuss our Seattle trip for the fabulous Bohus knitting workshop, the weather, fair food, prizes for knitting everywhere, camelid fiber grading workshops, capturing domestic and wild life, Bohus knitting and reknitting, share a negative space essay about returning home, and learn some more fiber jargon and another slick trick.

We are thrilled that so many of you have chosen to listen, and even more thrilled when we get to meet you in person.  Thanks, Holly and Kathy, for joining us in Seattle to knit and chat a bit!

Seattle was the focus of the Patterns of our Lives for the last few weeks – we both attended a special workshop with Susanna Hansson on the history and techniques of Bohus Stickning, the couture house that produced fabulous and precious sweaters in the mid-decades of the 20th century.  Susanna is a fabulous teacher, and the custom workshop for our small group was fabulous.  Thank you, Susanna!   And thank you to Paula and Marty, Ellen’s SIL and BIL, who hosted the twins for an interlude after the workshop in their gorgeous lake home.

Bohus sweaters weren’t all that were showing up in the Patterns of Our Lives.   Jan turned around from her Seattle trip and headed to Ohio and Magical Farms, the largest alpaca ranch in the country, for a fiber grading workshop.  Ellen (along with Lisa and friends) hit the State Fair and ate her way through to the Creative Activities barn, where they both enjoyed seeing some winning garments, including three second places in the various sock categories. Congratulations to Bevil, Jennifer, and any other listeners who won ribbons at the state fair or in their county or regional fairs.

Jan is done with her garden, or at least all the work of putting up the harvest.  And she is done with the groundhog that took up an abode under her porch – thanks to Dale and his Hav-a-hart trap.  Ellen is just getting into the gardening spirit after adopting a friend’s garden that would have gone unharvested while the friend is out of state this fall.

On the Runway features a Bohus reproduction sweater that Jan started in Seattle – her version of Green Mist which she is calling Fog Lights.  She has swapped out several of the colors to move the design from the original misty version to one that is more vivid and is loving knitting it.  Jan’s version of  Siesta, a T-shirt by Carol Feller, is taking a reposo, but she made some headway on her version of Paula Emons-Fuessle’s Lullaby Rain Shawl which she is knitting out of Knit Picks Galileo, 50/50 merino bamboo in the Sand colorway.  She is also working up a coaster for the Caithness Craft Collective swap.  No details about it until it is in the hands of her swapmate, pgknittingnurse, also known as Andrea.

Ellen said she had less on the runway, but actually had 6 knitting projects going.  All of her recent work on n Musing, her Shirley Paden Design Along 3 project, seems to have clouded her mind.  Other projects that saw the light of day included her Master Knitter Level 2 resubmission,    Forever in the Forest, out of Misti Alpaca lace weight and based on the Forest Path Stole by Faina M. Letoutchaia, and her Bohus sweater,  Rimfrost, aka Many Moments of Grace. She continues to work on a gloves-design-in-progress and cast on a new project, too – Gray Mountains, a hat in the Mountain Peaks Bohus design in the gray colorway.  The yarn is a fine fingering 100% wool yarn – 170 sts on size 0 (US) around the head!  Another new Bohus project for Ellen – a tiny pouch in progress from the Scilla design swatch kit which she received as part of the workshop.

Bohus knitting is featured in the Bitten by My Knittin’ design element, too.  Ellen came to the bitter conclusion that her experimental top down sleeve caps on her Rimfrost cardigan were just not working and frogged the both sleeves back to the armholes.  The yoke tension is also looking a little iffy.  Jan admitted that she didn’t read the pattern thoroughly and jumped ahead to splitting the sleeves and body off from the yoke on her Bohus pullover and had to frog back to correct abnormally short armholes.

Jan has completed her version of her design, Swagger, out of St. Charles’ Luna, a kid mohair/silk laceweight.  Promenade, her project, is being used as a shop model at Flying Fibers.

In the design element, Design Challenge, Ellen thanks Arlen of the Lost Geek podcast for the suggestion to look at the Simpleknits blog for ideas to knit from 1-285 yards of yarn.  Jan has a new design challenge – what sweater pattern would be great for a stylish, athletic young man?

360 Degrees: Ellen reported the finishing of one more yertle from Susan’s Spinning Bunny, a BFL roving dyed in the Sled Dog colorway. Jan’s life kept her spinning enough that she didn’t need any more from a wheel or spindle!

In Fiber Jargon, we discussed combing, carding, and gilling.  No, there was no fishing involved.

For a Slick Trick to avoid forgetting that second decrease in rows where you “decrease one st on each end”, Ellen suggests clipping a st marker in place at the end of the row as soon as you do that first decrease.  When you hit the marker, it reminds you to do the second decrease.

The Fashion Forecast is for a northwoods knitting retreat for Ellen at the Lost in the Woods Knitting Retreat hosted by Sisu Designs.  This one is full, but a second retreat is being offered later in the fall if you are interested.  Jan is returning to Magical Farms for a fiber processing weekend, and both twins will be going to Friday Harbor in October for a Cat Bordhi retreat.  Sounds like a good autumn, doesn’t it?!

There is still one contest running to close out the Twinset Summer – a Design Challenge instead of a KAL for the listeners of Twinset Design.  Take a project you are already knitting and share a favorite design element in the Twinset Designs Ravelry group.  Contest will close soon after the first of September.

Enjoy the show!