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Archive for November, 2013


Episode 27 — Knock, Knock…


In which we extend our thoughts and prayers to those affected by storms near and far, and in which we discuss nasty colds, prolonged podcasting absence, rapid Master Knitter responses and successes, the end of an era in which Solveig reigned in the world of Bohus, responsible use of GPS and liquor, Finnsheep, the Knitting Pipeline Maine Retreat, visiting with dear friends, Blacker Yarns, designing colorwork mitts and more!!

Wow, this is another long episode.  Getting sick gets in the way of all sorts of things – we are glad Jan is feeling more like her spunky self!

You can help all the communities affected by the tornadoes and typhoons by donating what you can to relief organizations, including for tornado relief at Crossroads United Methodist Church.  And in the line of supporting good causes, don’t forget to check out The Art of Felfs, and consider buying it to support cancer research.

Jan and Ellen’s family grew by leaps and bounds – sister, niece and grandniece added to the gang as the Knitmore Girls joined the family.

The news that Solveig Gustafson is retiring from dyeing the reproduction yarns for the Bohus Stickning reproductions hit the knitting world hard.  Cherish those kits if you have them!  Don’t worry, Susanna Hansson will still be teaching her wonderful Bohus Stickning class.  And Kimmet Croft offers a heavier gauge yarn for many of the designs.

Ellen celebrated her completion of the Master Knitter Level II course.  (Lisa will be done any day now!)

Ellen did more than knit these last few weeks – she sewed, too!  Holiday napkins and also a knitting project bag, nicely lined and zipped.  Tutorial here and here.

Jan’s family continues to grow even more – by one cat as Heidi and Marie move to an apartment that only allows two cats and they need to leave one behind with Jan and Dale and in the spring by 4 or 5 Finnsheep.  The contract on the lamb purchase is signed and Jan gets the pick of the litter.

Jan took a trip east to her buddy Heidi’s where she lolled about Iron Horse Yarns to celebrate her successful navigation without a real map.  Putting one’s trust in a GPS takes faith.

Jan had that faith, and made her way up to Maine where she enjoyed the Knitting Pipeline Retreat with stops at Saco River Farms and Saco River Dyehouse, Tess Yarns,  connections to knitters like Hannah Fettig and Pam Allen, and I understand they all ate Magic Cake.  It seems that if you town is named Portland, you are in a fabulous fiber city.  And that was without even mentioning the wonderful knitters Jan enjoyed at the retreat.  If you want a taste of how wonderful they were, check out woolybear368’s videocast.  She was the perfect roommate for Jan.

Both of us had lots on the runway.  Jan is working on Stroll, another Swagger version – this one out of her own handspun of Finnsheep fiber, with a lower increase rate to let it have very long “arms” that can be tied around her in the fashion of a working shawl.  She’s also working on a linen stitch scarf for Dale.   Jan also worked on her Fog Lights sweater; the original design is the Green Mist pullover by Kerstin Olson.  And of course, Jan is working on some more Felfs.  Ellen is also doing Felfs, making the sole double weight by using Susan Newhall’s Blended Intarsia technique. She is using Frog Tree Ewetopia, a 50:50 merino:superwash merino blend (great for felting!).

Ellen made great progress on her  Great Dayne sweater and it is becoming a real sweater – now with sleeves!  She has developed an I-cord edging that includes the lacy cable from the raglan seams.   She is well on her way to finishing her Tunisian crochet mitts and hopes to have a pattern out soon. Her friend Cammy brought a blending board to knit group, and Ellen blended, spun and then knit a little holiday ornament.

Forever in the Forest is got a bit more attention from Ellen as well.

Ellen was bitten by her knittin’ when she failed to follow her own design intentions while working on her self-designed colorwork mitts out of Blacker Yarns Pure Teeswater DK and Pure Dark Wensleydale.  She finished an adult hat using the pattern Grateful out of Louisa Harding Kashmir Aran which is a merino, microfiber, cashmere chain-structure yarn that is machine washable.  With the remnants she designed a little preemie or tiny newborn hat, which she calls Grateful for Babies.  She also knit a tiny bag out of a swatch kit for the Scilla Bohus design.  It fits her cell phone perfectly.

In the new design element, Swatcha Doin’?, Jan and Ellen review the yarns Ellen with which is knitting her colorwork mitt design. Both are DK weight, worsted spun, in 50 g skeins that are 119 yds in length.  Lustrous, haloed, and supple and strong – both twins enjoyed the yarns a lot.  Ellen, as mentioned, is designing a colorwork mitt of the two, they worked so well together.  The Blacker Yarns website is a delight and so full of information – go check it out right now!

For a bit of Negative Space, Ellen shared the value of untangling one’s projects as well as one’s life – freeing up space for knitting.

In Design Principles, Ellen discussed the principles she is following in the design of her colorwork mitts – everything from yarn choice to techniques used for what is to be a simple knit and how to adapt for varying gauges by stitch pattern.

There is other designing going on in the DALKAL – the Design-Along, Knit-Along of Swagger.  Check out the Ravelry group for details on this contest for a skein of Wollmeise!

Check out the Knitting Daily post on the Shirley Paden Design-Along to see a photo and the process Ellen finished in creating her SPDAL3 sweater.

Ellen has been very busy with her spinning – much more of her CorriedaleX on her Louet Victoria, a BFL roving on her great wheel, Cat (Catherine the Great…Wheel), and some more BFL on her Turkish Spindle.   Jan has been spinning Corriedale, too, in brilliant greens.  She did these on her Kromski wheel and plans to ply them and then cable those plies.  Fiber Jargon for the week is “liquor”, aka the dyebath.

Ellen is enjoying her new water oven, the Sous Vide Supreme Demi.  Jan is thinking her turkeys will weigh out to 14-24 lbs, probably too big for this.

In Fun Fur, Ellen exclaimed with joy over her Blue Moon’s Fiber Arts Rockin’ Whorl club delivery.  She forgot she’d joined the club! Jan’s FF is Words with Friends, an app for smartphones that let you play word games with friends.

Jan’s Slick Trick saves you from having to figure out where to pick up stitches in a thumb for a mitt.  In the first row after casting to create the thumb, instead of just knitting in the newly cast on stitches, kfb in each. On the next round, separate the stitches and put the purl stitches on one needle, ready to knit the thumb, and the others on the needle that is knitting the hand of the mitt.   You are all ready to knit the thumb!

And you are ready to gain a chance at winning a skein of Blacker Yarns wool!  Make a comment in the Twinset Designs Ravelry group thread for the Blacker Yarns contest – tell us what yarns you like, and for a bonus entry, comment on something interesting you learned on their website in a separate post.

The Stitch Maps contest continues – check out the contest thread quickly, as it is due to close the end of November which technically, already took place.

Thanksgiving will find Ellen and Jan together and recording with a virtual guest for the next podcast.  Tune in and find out who it is!

Cheers,

Ellen and Jan

Bohus Baby…

Dear Jan,

Once upon a time there was a woman married to a kind hearted man.  The woman knew what she wanted most for a special gift –  a Bohus sweater.  The kind hearted man wanted to please that woman, beyond her wildest expectations, so he gave her not just a Bohus sweater, but the matching hat.  Such was her delight to receive Den Grönsiska* in a matching set that some time later she had her portrait made with her firstborn while wearing the lovely garments. 

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The woman loved many people, including family and friends, and later in life she in turn gave the hat to a friend.  Even later, that friend knew someone who would cherish that hat just as much as the woman, and they gave it to my dear friend, Susanna, who shared story and hat with me during my recent visit.

And that is the story of how I got to hold and admire this hat myself, quite some time ago now, but still fresh in my memory.  Bohus magic.

Love,

Ellen

*Green Finch

Never bored with Bohus…

Dear Jan,

As you are well aware, the knitting world saw another bit of history this month.  On November 2, Solveig Gustafson announced that several of the Bohus reproduction kits which she has meticulously created in collaboration with the Bohusläns Museum, would no longer be available.  In short order, the list of available kits grew shorter and shorter as word spread (much of the spreading occurring on the Ravelry Bohus group) that she had decided to enter a more relaxed period of life with time for other creative pursuits.  And then the museum had to start marking its stock of Solveig’s kits as unavailable, too, as Bohus devotees swamped their website in search of one more lovely kit.  At the time I write this post, every kit except Mountain Peaks on Solveig’s site is now unavailable, and I believe the museum is also out of stock.

Many in the Bohus-loving portion of the knitting world  are wishing they’d ordered a kit or two more when they first fell in love with them.  Many are being philosophical about it, appreciating the great effort Solveig and her husband made to create the kits even as they wish they had just one more in stash. And the English speakers are also appreciating the translations by Susanna Hansson.  Susanna will continue to teach her Bohus class, and well worth it, it is, for the history and inspiration and chance to see the Bohus Stickning originals in her collection.

Here is one of those originals, which I had the opportunity to photograph on a trip in 2013.

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This is a design that was new to me – Cornflower.   Susanna had not just the sweater, but also a hat and scarf.  This design is in 100% wool, so the design stands out crisply.

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And for something to really blow your mind – Bohus bits.  The original Bohus designer who shared them with Susanna just whacked pieces off for her.  THAT, my dear, is true friendship.

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For those of you who would like to indulge in even more Bohus beauty, check out my Flickr set for lots more beauty shots and some pics of a modern reproduction of Red Edge (Susan Newhall’s work) laid next to the authentic garment, showing the amazing job by Solveig in dyeing the new yarns.  You’ll also find a Lemon and a Blue Light, plus shots of a special hat.

Yes, I did feel a bit faint playing with these beautiful originals.  And with the end of an era of Solveig’s dyeing, I feel a bit fainter.  Thank you, Solveig, for the wonderful pleasure of working with these wonderful garments.  I am so glad I am several kits ahead in my stash and have many hours of Bohus knitting in front of me.

Love,

Ellen