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

Archive for December, 2013


Episode 30 — We Believe!


In which we discuss the return of the light (and the owls), ice lanterns, the great Weaver’s Guild of Minnesota fiber estate sale, finally receiving processed fiber from the spring shearing, Christmas visits, what’s in Ellen’s pocketses, the best Christmas card ever,  seeing Santa Claus, publication of Ellen’s pattern “Bitsy Baby Beanies”, successful design modifications and a winner of the Swagger DALKAL, some knitting and spinning and Ellen endures Jan’s singing.

“Come Enhance My Yarn Stash Tonight”
Lyrics (c) Jan Hamby — Free use for non-commercial and personal uses.  Rights to publication reserved.
Instrumental background from the Helen Kane audio recording found in the U.S. National Archives licensed under the Creative Commons. 

Santa Baby, slip some cashmere under the tree, For me.
I’ve been an awfully good girl, Santa baby,
so come enhance my yarn stash tonight.

Santa baby, some signature convertibles too,
Size 2.
I’ll wait up for you dear,
Santa baby, so come enhance my yarn stash tonight.

Think of all the things that I might’ve knit,
Hats and scarves and sweaters and fingerless mitts,
Next year I could reduce my queue,
And maybe you’ll find, you’re knitworthy too,

Santa baby, I wanna Schacht,
And really that’s not a lot,
Been an angel all year,
Santa baby, so come enhance my yarn stash tonight.

Santa honey, there’s one thing I really do need,
The deed
To a local yarn store,
Santa honey, so come enhance my yarn stash tonight.

Santa cutie, fill my stocking with some rolags,
And project bags   .
Skeins of handpainted too,
Santa cutie, come enhance my yarn stash tonight.

Come and trim my Christmas tree,
With lots of pretty stitch markers bought just for me,
I really do believe in you,
Let’s see if you believe in me too,

Santa baby, forgot to mention one little thing,
Roving.
I don’t mean wandering round,
Santa baby, so come enhance my yarn stash tonight.,
so come enhance my yarn stash tonight.,
Yarn stash, tonight.

Ellen reported on the stupendous estate sale held at the Weaver’s Guild of MN.  She didn’t buy much, but she did bring home a gorgeous supported Tibetan spindle made by Spindlewood Co.  She baked the few skeins of yarn she bought in her oven warming drawer (temps above 140-160F for several hours will ensure that no clothes moths survive).

Jan brought home fiber from Gurdy Run Farm and Woolen Mill – alpaca from her own alpaca’s fleeces.

Lots of cookie baking going on, including cookies that Ellen’s daughter Jenny created for Red Rooster Harlem.  Ellen’s other daughter, Karen’s, first authorship  on magnesium sulfate and cerebral palsy prevention in pregnancy wasn’t as recent as Ellen had thought – but Ellen is still proud.

Jan tries to convince Santa, Baby to enhance her yarn stash right around minute 15:15.

In On the Runway, Ellen worked on her Forever in the Forest stole and Jan had Dale’s linen stitch scarf as monogamous knitting.

Ellen finished up Chunkeanie, a reverse stockinette beanie by Wooly Wormhead, knit in Kashmir Aran. Also out of Kashmir Aran, she knit up Entrechat by Lisa Chernery.  She used the Knitters Pride Karbonz dpns in size 8, liked the feel of these needles but found them noisy and clinky. And she finally finished her Fat Soled Felfs.  The double weight soles felted a bit less than the single weight uppers, resulting in very pointy toes and heels – very elvish.  And very good fitting! These were out of Ewetopia, and it felted beautifully.  She dried her Felfs in her warming drawer!

Ellen got a pattern up for sale in 2013!  Bitsy Baby Beanies is a quick stockinette beanie with a wide ribbed edge and simple to execute 4-point decrease.  Listen to the episode to find the code for a free copy through January.

After discussing the design principles used in creating Bitsy Baby Beanies, we challenge our listeners to give thought to their design for 2014.

Jan finished up her cabled yarn, and Ellen added a few more bobbins of CorriedaleX singles to her collection.  She reported 19 bobbins (but a later count gave 20) with over a pound of fiber left.  Spindling on a Kuchulu (Jenkins Spindles) during conference calls gave her about 250 yards of fine laceweight yarn in the last few months, and she also continued spinning on her Lark for a heavier weight yarn.

Both twins agree – a niddy noddy is a useful tool for spinners and knitters alike.

Jan loves her embellishment for the week – the Brother P-Touch label maker.

Ellen discovered that dishcloths made out of Bernat Tizzy is a great way to find a scrubby in a sink of dirty dishwater.

Ellen’s slick trick was the slipped stitch edge in the Entrechat sweater by Lisa Chernery.  Instead of the way Ellen had originally learned, Lisa had the knitter slip the last stitch of a row and knit the first.  Jan’s trick makes linen stitch easier to knit.  She simply always works from the knit side, doing this either by clipping her yarn with about a 6″ end at the end of the row and sliding (on a circular needle) back to the start of the row to work the next row.  The tails at either end make a ready made fringe.  For working in the round, steek stitches can be added that can then be unraveled to create fringe after the steek is cut.

In the DALKAL, woolybear368 aka Mary, from Massachusetts, won for her Keyhole Swagger.  She converted a buttonhole scarf out of a bulky yarn.

Better blogger, even better buttonhole…

Dear Jan,

I know you find it shocking that I am actually posting to the blog two weeks in a row.  Considering that I have a strong closure impulse, and to really close out on the story of my Blue Moons cardigan I needed to live up to my promise for a tutorial on dropping back to add buttonholes, you shouldn’t be all that surprised.  (Of course, given my recent history of posting, I guess maybe you should be!)

Recall that I had knit Blue Moons, my version of the Veronik Avery Forestry cardigan,  with a lot of dithering about whether I wanted buttons or not.  I’d actually knit most of the front band when I did an about face and decided I wanted to use buttons and buttonholes for a double-breasted jacket.  That front band went from bottom right, around a very deep shawl collar, and down to the lower left – long rows that I’d need to frog and re-knit in order to knit those buttonholes in the right places.   With only 8 rows to drop back (unlike for the missed cable cross in my previous post), I preferred to wrangle dropped stitches than slog through all that knitting again.

I used the buttonhole described in a Knitting Daily tutorial for 2×2 ribbing.  After marking the stitch to the right of the buttonhole, I dropped back the 4 columns required. I had all the stitches for the band on a long circular and had adjusted the needle opening to be right at the buttonhole before I started, so I could use the left needle tip to hold onto those 4 lives stitches.

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Starting on the right side of the work, I used the first long bar of yarn (be careful – don’t pick them up out of the original order in which they were knit) to work an SSK in the first two stitches, then a double yarnover, then K2tog.  It still looks like 4 stitches, but the middle two are that double yarnover.

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After flipping the sweater over so I now had the wrong side facing me, I picked up the next loose bar (again, careful about the order!) and purled two stitches together, did another double yarnover, and then did a slip slip purl.  Yes, this left my double yarnover from the first row dangling.  Flipping the sweater again,  I now worked one knit stitch, (following the ribbing pattern), a knit stitch into the first yarnover (catching the dangling yarn), and a purl stitch into the second yarn over (again, catch that dangler) and end with a knit one.

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From here on out I just worked in pattern to use up the other dropped bars of yarn.  It worked out really slick, and a side benefit was it let me get the entire buttonhole worked in one concentrated space of time rather than having long stretches of band knitting in between steps.
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It didn’t keep me from having long spans of time between blog posts, but maybe I’ve reversed that trend.

Love,

Ellen

Episode 29 — Hats a Lot of Knitting!


In which we discuss* our Thanksgiving celebration, knitwear on fire, alpaca with trench-o-phobia, cold and snowy weather, planning to make the most of your knitting time, shades of colors, crispy duck skin and foregone conclusions for the outcome of the Army-Navy game.  (Navy will win, in case you are wondering!)

Thanksgiving has come and gone, but when your turkey was 42 lbs, you just don’t forget it very quickly.  Jan and Ellen relate the fun of family and food and more food…and more food.

After getting home, Ellen and Wilson caught Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Ellen ogled the knitwear. The first scene in particular featured a fabulous cowly-shawly thing.  Click on the link – a picture definitely tells more than these words.

Jan is happy to have water in her barn even if the alpaca weren’t so happy about the trenching needed to run the lines.

In Ellen’s knit group, Carrie (aka prjstartercarrie) finished up her version of StevenBe’s Mermaid Shawl.

We get a little competitive over who has donated more to Community Links International (an environmental, service-learning, immersion, volunteer, and international educational organization supported by the good folks at Frog Tree Alpaca) through Goodsearch.  You can join the competition by registering on the site (it’s free, and every internet search you make throws another penny in the till).

In On the Runway, Ellen worked on her Forever in the Forest stole and gave her  Great Dayne sweater some attention, too.

Jan  worked on her Fog Lights sweater; the original design is the Green Mist pullover by Kerstin Olson.  She is working on another pair of Hugs and Kisses Socks and promises a pattern, if she can figure out a name, and also worked on a scarf for Dale.

Ellen knit lots and lots of hats – using Kashmir Aran and the Purl Soho pattern, Thank You Hat – Simple Rib, for two of them, doing another one in Sirdar Click Chunky with Wool in yet-to-be-published hat design by Mary Lou Egan, and knitting a preemie hat and a baby hat with remnants of that Kashmir Aran and a pattern of her own device.

Jan finished up 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.

And Ellen has finished the knitting of her double-soled Felfs despite a false start… or two.

In the new segment, Ready to Wear, Jan announced that her Stream Bed Lace Shoulder Stole pattern is now available for purchase.

Stephen Robbins of Pelindaba Lavender was our guest for the Five Minute Interview at about minute 28:30 or so.

Jan and Ellen discuss the various types of colorways -variegated, ombres, and tonal.  Examples of these yarns include Morehouse Farms Merino Variegated Morehouse Merino 2-ply (variegated),  Berocco Ultra Alpaca Tonal (tonal), and Wooltopia Ombre Gradients (Ombre).

Check out the details of PineSlayerDee’s latest slick trick (or at least the latest one on which we have reported) – felting in a dryer – at her post on Ravelry.

Don’t forget to get 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. (edited 1/5/14 – Contest is now closed.) Ann aka anarch on Ravelry already was a winner of the Stitchmaps contest.*And all in less than an hour!

Bad blogger, good fix…

Dear Jan,

I believe it has been about 3 months since I promised a bit of a photo tutorial on how to fix a cable long after the sweater is finished. Sorry it has taken so long, but better late than never, eh?

Here is the cable – missing its cross, but only discovered about 15 inches later.  Sure, you could have dropped down and cabled them all again, and I could have, too, but I don’t know that my marriage would have survived the aggravation that would accompany such a maneuver.  Instead, how about just hiding the mistake?

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First step – pick up a row of stitches the width of the cable immediately above the last correct cross.  Pick these up through the sweater – put the needle right through the center of the stitch and draw a loop up from yarn held below the sweater.

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Now knit the proper number of rows until you’d normally cross the cable.  You’ll form a little flap.  You can use the working yarn that you used to form the loops – just pull an end up through the fabric from the back.  It won’t take much to do this fix, just a foot or so of yarn.

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When you get to the row where you’d normally cross the cable, go ahead and cross it.

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Now, neatly and tidily, graft the flap right into place, matching rows.

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Weave in the end, and it will take more than a casual observer to ever find this fix.

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That fixed the cable, but I’m not sure it will fix my blogging frequency.  We’ll see.

Love,

Ellen

Episode 28 — Podcasting Across the Pond


In which we abandon our usual format to welcome a fellow podcaster to the microphone. You’ll have to listen to find out who it is! And in which we discuss what’s going on on both sides of the Atlantic, a bit more about ourselves, and of course, our knitting.

Special guest – Louise from Caithness Craft Collective!

In the Patterns of our Life/Wots e Craic section, Louise describes the long process of making bunting for school decorations…with the help of the children.  No children were harmed in the production of the bunting.  Jan told about the flight south (to the basement freezer) of her flock of turkeys.  Ellen told of a fun evening eating cupcakes with Bevil and then laughing through a Franklin Habit lecture on Victorian craft oddity.

Louise is knitting on a Harry Potter scarf in the Gryffindor colorway. Ellen is working on Felfs and finds that if one is going to get fancy with Felfs, stitch markers are in order. She is making the sole double weight by using Susan Newhall’s Blended Intarsia technique. Jan  worked on her Fog Lights sweater; the original design is the Green Mist pullover by Kerstin Olson.

Ellen reported on some SKY KNITTING – finishing a little hat based on the pattern Grateful out of Louisa Harding Kashmir Aran.  Jan continued 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.

Ellen was Bitten by her Knittin’ again when she worked on her Forever in the Forest stole. She is blaming the poor lighting on the airplane. Louise has an Owls sweater in progress, but as it has nibbled her (the decreases got out of order), it is in time out. Her mum had been bitten by knittin’ a mitten, rather, a fingerless glove, in which the fingers got a bit long.

In a fairly long MeMeMeYouYouYou section, the ladies chat about their careers, their dogs, and even the Great Scottish Tapestry.

Louise’s Fun Fur was yellow acrylic yarn for some Despicable Me minion hats.  Jan’s was a punny novel by Michael Shepherd, Easy Street.

We Purloined Purloined – the Knitmore Girls podcast segment – by purloining High Note, Low Note from Paula of the Knitting Pipeline.

We close out the show with a discussion of haggis.  ‘Nuff said.