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

Archive for March, 2015


Episode 54 — Just Ducky!!


In which we discuss connecting with old friends and friends of our daughter/niece, the Iditarod and Iknitarod, cold, snow, trips to the theater and to the emergency room, an interview with Sherill Roi who encourages us to spin 15 in 15, and a review of the book, “Solefull Socks”.

Thanks to listeners, old and new, for joining us!

Patterns of Our Lives:

Both twins are enjoying melting snow – especially as Ellen watches the Iknitarod where the mushers and dogs are dealing with -40F!!!  That kind of weather would make anyone howl. Jan is looking forward to moving out of mud season. Ellen is looking forward to TwinSet Summer Camp in July, the 10-12th to be exact.  The registration form can be found here.

Ellen headed to California for work on water stewardship. She is just about done with the colds that have been plaguing her.  They didn’t keep her from tech editing another pattern for Mary Lou Egan.

Jan has been just ducky – every since her husband, who had resisted having ducks on the farm, fell for the cute little ducklings that were for sale at the farm store.  Four adorable Khaki Campbell ducks are living in Jan’s basement and will soon move out to the duck palace Dale will be constructing. It brought up memories, hard memories, of being pushed to eat duck eggs as children.  We hoped that we could hatch out more ducks, but we only had one duck, so odds of the resulting eggs being fertile were quite low.  Quite low indeed.

Check out Dale’s woodwork at Maryland Sheep & Wool.  Especially since Dale has suffered for his art, in the form of a trip to the emergency rooms as Dale learned not to wear loose-fitting clothing while working with his lathe.

And that lathe can keep running through a power outage as Jan is celebrating a new generator.  Not so much for the lathe, as for keeping water flowing to the animals.

Finely or Finally Knit

Ellen finished a bun and crow – her project, Eating Crow, is a pair of socks knit from her own design, Bunny Socks.  She called it Eating Crow because she found so many problems with this old pattern.  She’s cleaned it up and reposted it – it’s free, so enjoy now that she has improved the pattern.  The bun is the Bun Ellen has knit for one of the many babies to come this summer.  It’s in Swan’s Island organic washable DK – wonderfully soft yarn for babies.

Jan also did a baby bonnet – Béguin de Printemps, a very cute and fast little baby bonnet by Lili Comme Tout. She used Skinny Bugga in the Acmon Blue colorway which is a lovely gray lavender depending on the light. It is superwash MCN, a pleasure to knit with and perfect for a baby. Jan’s project is called Dean of Grandbabies.  It is for the grandbaby of one of her college deans.

Jan finished with her Tilde vest, out of the Ewetopia from Frogtree Yarns and called it Vice Versatile, as she decided to leave the shifted rib on the back of one side – kind of vice versa except not quite. Yes, this is the second project for which Jan has a project page, which pleases Ellen a great deal.

On the Runway

Jan has finished some things, and she finds her existing WIPs are cold. She is working on the reknit of her Top Stitch Mittens and writing the pattern as she goes.  But otherwise, not much else is going since she finished up the bonnet and the vest.

Ellen continues work on a simple stole.  The pattern name: Stole.  Yep, that simple.  Theresa Gaffey’s design is simple but delightful by virtue of understated color work, simple stripes in gorgeous colors, Ellen’s out of Rach-Al-Paca Suri alpaca in lustrous colors ranging from deep orange through creams and on to greens and blues.

Ellen’s other work in progress is for the Iknitarod, a project knit during the running of the Iditarod sled dog race.  She cast on a Baby Sweater on Two Needles by Elizabeth Zimmerman (aka February Baby Sweater), calling hers March into February.  Knit on sock yarn, Ellen added another round of increases so it wouldn’t be a preemie sweater.  That means a lot more stitches, and a bit of an effort to finish before the Red Lantern (the last musher to finish the race).  It is out of Sea Star Handpaints Super Foot in Sea Glass Blues.

Bitten by our Knittin’

Jan’s vest really chewed her up.  A straightforward, simple pattern is a recipe for not paying attention.  She dropped back and crossed cables, dropped back and re-crossed cables the right way, harvested yarn from the back tails of the vest and finally ended with about 18″ of yarn.  She even had to seam the sweater with another yarn.  She loves the project, but admits it was a lesson in the perils of hubris.

Ellen had to replace the bunny’s face on the front of her little hat, but that was easily done and worked out quite well.

Design Principle

Jan extolled the value of prototyping – with the knitter in mind.  Stitch acrobatics that the designer enjoys might not make the most approachable pattern for a knitter off the street.  And a simpler pattern is easier to describe.  Her advice – simplify the design to the critical elements.  And prototype to be sure it all makes sense.  Sometimes that can be done with knitting, sometimes with paper, a la’ Erica Gunn.

Design Aesthetic

Ellen reviewed Betty Slpekar’s Soleful Socks, “the very best book on knitted footwear in the world” according to Cat Bordhi. That may be true, or may be close to true, but the book is definitely wonderful and presents a great new approach to creating socks.

5 Minute Interview

We are joined by Sherril Roi, aka Baabonnybelle on Instagram or Ravelry, who shares with us her thoughts on daily spinning and what you don’t have to do with your handspun.

360 Degrees

Ellen has spun on many different spindles in the last few weeks – spindles are great for traveling.  She’s focused on spinning some baby camel on a supported Russian spindle. She is considering applying some cop winding advice from an industrial spinning site – to evenly wind on for one layer and then run a widely spaced strand back to the beginning to create a separating layer before winding on the next even layer. Jan has signed on for some more alpaca samples – none of them being suri alpaca, which she doesn’t enjoy spinning.

Fiber Jargon

Jan shares huarizo, not chorizo (yum – we wish she’d shared some of that!).   This term refers to an alpaca-llama hybrid, which is a fiber classification that may have no connection to an actual animal.  The fiber is measured at 32 micron per  The Inca Group Classification system.

Embellishments

Ellen loves the new Dansko’s and also loves that Dansko is a B Corp!

Jan recommends
“The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

Fun Fur

Ellen enjoys matching project bags and wonders if there will ever be a project bag perfect for #pocketsulu. FrontRangeBags is offering some Star Trek bags on her Etsy shop – maybe she’ll do some Lt Sulu fabric someday.

Slick Trick

Avoiding second sock syndrome – a tip Ellen stole off the Iknitarod board, posted by smokeyblue, proprietress of the Spinning Bunny. “I have second sock syndrome so I suggest doing the Leap Frog Method which works really well for me. Get one sock started through the toe increases. Then with a second set of circs, do the same to the second sock, only take this one up to the gussets. Then pick up the first sock , take it up to and through the gussets, etc etc etc.”

Jan’s slick trick is to duplicate stitch over worn spots on your socks BEFORE it breaks through and needs darning. Simple, and slick.

You May Already be a Wiener

Watch the Ravelry group for a thread to give away a copy of Judy’s book Beyond Toes or Betty’s Book Soleful Socks.

Fashion Forecast for 2015

Ellen  has signed up for Yarnover class with Susan B Anderson and Myrna Stahman.  Susan is sticking around for StevenBe’s FiberFest, so maybe Ellen will take more than one class in April with her.

It isn’t too early to think about summer.  And with summer comes TwinSet Summer Camp!  July 10-12, 2015.  Registration form can be found here:

https://app.box.com/files/0/f/0/1/f_26386300459

Registration fee of $265 ($240 if registration postmarked prior to April 30) includes:
A real bed for Friday and Saturday night!  With back-pampering Tempurpedic mattresses!
Meals served family style in the camp lodge, Friday supper through Sunday brunch. Special diets are well-looked after, please note requirements on registration form.
Lots of camp activities, like knitting by the river, knitting by the swimming pool, hiking into the woods to knit, singing campfire songs while knitting, making and eating s’mores (no knitting!), and more.  We hope to have some vendors, and we’ll schedule one knitting/craft class, but the name of the game for the weekend is relax in the woods, let someone else do the cooking, and knit and enjoy each other!

We hope to see you there.

Enjoy the show!

#Findyourreason by 5pm Central Time on March 17, 2015 (USA)

My reason – StevenBe is more than The Glitter Knitter(TM).  He is creative support, helping those in his store, in his classes, heck, just in his presence, branch out and be all they can, create all they can, feel great about what they’ve done.  He shares his inspiration so that we can share our talents with the community — the knitting community, the charity community (check out the StevenBe Creative Community Foundation!) He makes us laugh, at ourselves, at life, and with joy.

If that isn’t a reality show worth funding, I don’t know what is.  So why don’t you check out the promo above and then check out the Kickstarter campaign that can make a reality show featuring Steven a, well, a reality.  Even if you have just a buck or two to add to the pot, you’ll be telling Steven you appreciate his positive and creative approach to knitting and life.

Cheers,

Ellen

Episode 53 — The Forecast is Babies!!

In which we discuss the cold weather, many babies on the way to knit for and to love, the coming onslaught of mud and (happily) mud sales, knittingless needles, Madrona, water and spirits.

And in which we announce a chance to receive a free Craftsy Continental Knitting class from Lorilee Beltman (see the forum thread titled, “Why do you want to learn to knit faster?”), a 50% off sale on the same class, and a special for us promotion from Signature Needle Arts.  Use the code TWINST5OFF when you check out online and receive $5 off any $25 purchase!!  (Good through March 16, 2015 at Signature Needle Arts)

Thanks to listeners, old and new, for joining us!

Patterns of Our Lives:

Lots of activity for both twins -including another cold for Ellen.  This is getting ridiculous.

Ellen spent a wonderful long weekend at the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat in Tacoma, WA with her older daughter and several long-time knitting buddies.  She only took one class – a supported spindling class from Galina Khmeliva (more in 360 Degrees).  Her fortune in hanging out and knitting with Judy Becker of Judy’s Magic Cast On, Betty Salpekur of Soleful Socks, and Lorilee Beltman, Knitting Enabler has led to some giveaways for listeners, starting with a Craftsy class on Continental Knitting taught by Lorilee. And no matter who wins the giveaway,  all can have purchase the class at a 50% discount. Just use this link to go to craftsy.com and sign up!

After getting home from the Pacific Northwest, Ellen headed for the south, all the way to Mexico where she is working to develop plans to improve watershed health in Guanajuato state.

While Ellen sought to save the world, Jan bottled gin at the Manatawney Still Works. But that’s not all she did.  She also bottled vodka.  Still (pun intended), she found the Odd Fellows Gin and San Pellegrino Limonata to be the right pairing for a hot bath.

Finely or Finally Knit

Yes, it is true.  Ellen had nothing on the needles for well over 12 hours after finishing her design for Modeknit yarns out of ModeSock. She knit a small and two medium socks, but that doesn’t really explain why it took more than 3 times the usual time for her to finish socks.  Hmmm.

Jan finished up a little Happy Bath face cloth.  It’s something.

Jan shared more info on her Bohus reproduction results in the PA Farm show.  Fog Lights, only placed 2nd and had the comment that the button band was a bit wavy.  Jan admits this is so, but still feels it should have been a first relative to the garment that won.  Someone else who entered a knit stole had the comment “this is not knitting, it is crochet”.  The stole was knitted, but did have a crocheted edge.  It suggests that the skill set of the judge wasn’t knitting-oriented.

On the Runway

Jan is nearly finished with her Tilde vest, out of the Ewetopia from Frogtree Yarns and is going backwards – more in a later segment.

Ellen is knitting for some of the many babies who are on the way in her life.  Several close friends are due starting in June, so she has a Bunny Bomber hat knit up and just waiting for the embroidery to finish it. It was knit from Swans Island Organic Washable DK. Watch this space for more baby items soon.

Ellen is also working on a simple stole.  The pattern name: Stole.  Yep, that simple.  Theresa Gaffey’s design is simple but delightful by virtue of understated color work, simple stripes in gorgeous colors, Ellen’s out of Rach-Al-Paca Suri alpaca.

Another pair of socks is on the needles for Ellen, her own design, Bunny Socks, so named for being knit in Bunny Hop by Crystal Palace.

Bitten by our Knittin’

This week Jan plays all alone.  She notes that the opposite side of a vest should be reversed, right? Well, she figured that out after she had completed both of the fins at the beginning of the second half of the Tilde Vest. It is ripped out and has been started over.

Ready to Wear

Ellen has called her socks, being knit off a pattern she designed 7 years ago, Eating Crow, as she has found so many mistakes in the pattern.  As of the writing of these show notes, the pattern, Bunny Socks, is updated and back on-line.  It’s a free pattern, toe-up and very fitted, for DK weight yarn, a quick knit.

Jan is excited that Fair Winds Farm will be represented at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, May 2-3.  Flying Fibers wants to display Dale’s woodworking in their booth at the festival! They will be in Barn 5, booth 18, at least according to the vendor list on-line.

What Would Susan Ask?

Who would benefit from learning to knit?  Jan and Ellen suggest that rather than one particular person, certain groups of people would benefit.  Join in the conversation on our Ravelry group with your thoughts.

Design Principles

Knitting for babies takes a different perspective than knitting for adults.  In addition to considering the baby, consider the adults that will be taking care of the garments. And consider the climate – is it a wool climate or a cotton climate?  Listen to the episode for more ideas.

360 Degrees

Jan finished plying the samples of alpaca that she was tasked with judging; the plying may be a bit tight due to the tight deadline.

Ellen really enjoyed the class in Russian supported spindling taught by Galina Khmeliva and has taken her advice to heart – Spin, spin, spin!  Baabonnybelle,who leads the 15 minute a day spinning effort on Instagram (#spin15in15), heartily endorses this approach.

Embellishments

Ellen finds Craftsy Classes to be a great embellishment, though they don’t replace a live teacher who can take one look at what one is doing wrong and correct it.  That said, check out the 50% off class in the opening remarks of these show notes.
Fun Fur

StevenBe the reality show.  Support the Kickstarter campaign to make it a reality (deadline March 16).

Slick Trick

Instant chatelaine — use the lanyard leftover from a meeting name tag to hold your scissors while you are weaving in ends.  You won’t have to look for where you set them down each time you need to clip a yarn.

You May Already be a Weiner

Watch the Ravelry group for threads to giveaway one of Lorilee’s Craftsy classes and in the future, a copy of Judy’s book Beyond Toes or Betty’s Book Soleful Socks.  The Craftsy class giveaway runs until we record next, mid-March.

Fashion Forecast for 2015

Ellen  has signed up for Yarnover class with Susan B Anderson and Myrna Stahman.  Susan is sticking around for StevenBe’s FiberFest, so maybe Ellen will take more than one class in April with her.

It isn’t too early to think about summer.  And with summer comes TwinSet Summer Camp!  July 10-12, 2015.  Registration form can be found here:

https://app.box.com/files/0/f/0/1/f_26386300459

Registration fee of $265 ($240 if registration postmarked prior to April 30) includes:
A real bed for Friday and Saturday night!  With back-pampering Tempurpedic mattresses!
Meals served family style in the camp lodge, Friday supper through Sunday brunch. Special diets are well-looked after, please note requirements on registration form.
Lots of camp activities, like knitting by the river, knitting by the swimming pool, hiking into the woods to knit, singing campfire songs while knitting, making and eating s’mores (no knitting!), and more.  We hope to have some vendors, and we’ll schedule one knitting/craft class, but the name of the game for the weekend is relax in the woods, let someone else do the cooking, and knit and enjoy each other!

We hope to see you there.

Enjoy the show!