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Archive for May, 2015


Episode 58 — Things are Going Swimmingly


In which we discuss gift bearing alpaca, four more little lambs and precocious ram lambs, downsizing stuff to make it possible to close drawers, but maybe not so much as to fit in tiny houses and other fun stuff.

Thanks to listeners, old and new, for joining us!  Consider joining us at TwinSet Summer Camp, too. It’s going to be great fun, and there is still plenty of room to join us in July, the 10-12th to be exact.  The registration form can be found here. Please consider coming for a relaxing weekend of knitting in the woods (and enjoying great camp food. No lie, the chef at this camp really is good!).

In the amusing and useful category, check out the Ravelry group thread in which RobinV actually applies one of our slick tricks with great success.

Patterns of Our Lives:

Ellen has been inspired by the movie Tiny: A Story About Living Small to try to downsize her stuff enough for a future move to a smaller house. Or at least enough to be able to close all of her drawers. Jan’s life is expanding, though, to include yet more sweet lambikins. (Hey, don’t mock me, you try to look at the pictures she is posting on Instagram without calling them “lambikins”.) The four newcomers are all ewe lambs. I can’t imagine how many lambs will be on the farm next year!

Jan also made some quick work trips, and she has a “special project” at work that is eating her life.  So…

Finely or Finally Knit

…Ellen is the only one with a major finished object this week.  Her Abria cardigan, designed by Bonne Marie Burns, is delighting her.  She knit it out of StraightFork Farm 60:40 huacayo:wool, on size 5 Signature circulars and the fabric is lush and drapey and wonderful.

Jan did finish another baby hat — this one intended for someone special who will arrive this fall (yup, Jan’s grandnephew (and Ellen’s grandson)). She used Tunisian crochet in-the-round and worked it up in no time.

And there is still time for you to finely finish a baby hat — get a soft, washable hat to Kiley by the end of May and mention our podcast and you will be entered in a contest for a skein of Wollmeise (in addition to the drawing that everyone is entered into).  Full info on her Ravelry page where she is Minipurlgirl.

On the Runway

Ellen enjoyed her classes with Myrna Stahman and Susan B Anderson at Yarnover and is making progress on the class projects, a Shetland lace scarf out of Jamieson’s Ultra and a funny kitty-cat based on Susan’s Build-a-Toy Workshop. By the way, check out Susan’s upcoming book, Kid’s Knitting Workshop. We think it would be fun for new adult knitters, too.

Jan is well into the second sleeve on her Making Waves cardigan in gorgeous yarn she scored at Maryland Sheep & Wool – Bijou Basin’s Seraphim. But she’s got a ways to go to finish, as she hasn’t done the body yet.

The baby Norwegian sweater, Geilo, a Dale of Norway design, has gotten some of Ellen’s attention, too, and she is well into the body.

Bitten by our Knittin’

Ellen ended up knitting the decreases in her sweater sleeves as though she were knitting a smaller size. It really didn’t affect the final outcome much, so she is calling it a feature. A dropped stitch in the body of her baby Norwegian sweater was not a feature, it was a mistake, but it is laddered back up and is under control.

Jan had lots of dropped stitches as her double-pointed needles kept falling out of her sleeves in that slippery angora Seraphim yarn. She’s got a slick trick to solve that though, so read on!

Design Principles

A mistake is a feature if you can reasonably assert that a designer might have chosen to do it that way and you might choose to keep it.  But some mistakes are just that, mistakes, and need to be corrected.

360 Degrees

Ellen let loose of her desire to control her yarn and spun up some art batts into wildly textured and soft yarn – alpaca, silk, and angora made for slubby but beautiful stuff. The angora was actually angora goat, Ellen thinks, because there is some very mohair-looking fiber but not really any bunny-looking fiber.

Fiber Jargon

Jan discusses range or territory wool and why yarn from small producers may cost more.

Embellishments

Ellen is unduly thrilled to have a new vacuum cleaner. Well, maybe not unduly. Her prior vacuum was about 25 years old after all.  Jan was thrilled at being bombed by her daughter and daughter-in-law.  They gave her bath bombs, like scented Fizzies for her tub.

Fun Fur

Abracadabra! yarn by HiKoo changes color from cream to bright pink and purple when you go out in the sun. Ellen got hers from StevenBe (I’m sure they would do mail order). She sees fun designs in her future. Jan sees more fun petting lamb’s fur in her future.

Slick Trick

Ellen loves Myrna Stahman’s trick for adding tails to simple ring stitch markers. The thin crochet cotton weaves in and out of your project as you knit, so if you accidentally slip the marker off your needle, it can’t go far. And Jan likes thick rubber bands for holding the stitches on her sleeves together, causing them to grip the needle just a bit tighter so the needles doesn’t slip out as easily.  She finds that if she slips a rubber band around the sleeve an inch or so below the live stitches, it gathers them together on the needle and makes it less likely that the needle will go slip sliding away.
You May Already be a Wiener

We’ll draw a winner for our contest for Lara Neel‘s Craftsy Class, Socks My Way next episode. And if you can’t wait to take the class, take advantage of the 50% off code Lara has graciously shared with us (click class link).

Fashion Forecast for 2015

Ellen is looking forward to the Zombie Knitpocalypse, even though she has figured out that she’ll have to come home early because of another conflict. She’ll miss the market, so maybe she can still fit into a smaller house. And both twins have plans for summer…

…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 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!

Deadline to register is June 30.

We hope to see you there.

Enjoy the show!

Episode 57 — Heaven Knows


In which we discuss a dinner for more than two in DC, visits from dear friends (military friends and podcaster friends!), a fun speaking engagement, a visit to DC by Karen, getting the Full Monty, biking around mother nature, Yarnover, Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, and baby lambs (!!!!), and in which Ellen’s geeks out.

Thanks to stalwart listeners, old and new, for joining us!  TwinSet Summer Camp has hit a critical mass of campers to be great fun, but there is still plenty of room to join us in July, the 10-12th to be exact.  The registration form can be found here. Please consider coming for a relaxing weekend of knitting in the woods (and enjoying great camp food. No lie, the chef at this camp really is good!).

Listeners, please note there is still a need for small bits of handspun for the “Welcoming the Stranger” art installation in Portland. The weaving is being called “Abraham’s Tent” and you can find more information from welcomingthestrangerart@gmail.com OR on Facebook: Welcoming the Stranger Art OR Ravelry. Abraham’s Tent Donations will be accepted till July 2015. 

Patterns of Our Lives:

The twins got together for a short visit while Ellen attended a sustainability conference in Washington, DC. Short, but sweet. And Ellen visited the fishing cats at the National Zoo, too. She enjoyed seeing them wake up and stretch. Jan was busy enjoying seeing Fulton Theater production of the Full Monty, including a little unintended fully full monty peek!

Ellen enjoyed her classes with Myrna Stahman and Susan B Anderson at Yarnover. And Jan is enjoying the growth of her flock as two ram lambs have made their way into the world.

Jan also enjoyed Maryland Sheep and Wool, especially a visit from The Savvy Girls that came with it.

Finely or Finally Knit

Ellen finished her simply stole.  The pattern name: Stole.  In nine stripes of Rach-Al-Paca Suri alpaca in lustrous colors ranging from deep orange through creams and on to greens and blues, it simply pleases her.

And Jan finally finished Felfs out of Paton’s Classic Wool Roving for her son.  She also worked up a little baby hat for Kiley (aka MiniPurlGirl) and her project to raise awareness about Shaken Baby Syndrome. Get a hat to Kiley by the end of May and mention our podcast and you will be entered in a contest for a skein of Wollmeise (in addition to the drawing that everyone is entered into).

On the Runway

Jan continues working on prototype validation of the Tangled Vines Socks out of Pediboo from Frog Tree Yarns, an 80/20 merino/bamboo blend in colorway 1164 light teal, a semi-solid. She reports that the dropped stitch that caused her to frog last episode was a blessing in disguise as she cast on with slightly larger needles and is enjoying a more relaxed knit.

She is also working on Making Waves in gorgeous yarn she scored at Maryland Sheep & Wool – Bijou Basin’s Seraphim.

Ellen is working on Abria, a Bonne Marie Burnes or Chic Knit pattern, knitting it out of StraightFork Farm 60:40 huacayo:wool, on size 5 Signature circulars.  She’s on to the 3/4 length sleeves and hopes to finish the sweater just in time for heavy air-conditioning season.

Ellen is almost to the body on the baby Norwegian sweater, Geilo, from Dale of Norway.

Bitten by our Knittin’

Ellen’s is pretending that in her final stripe on her stole that she didn’t accidentally convert the 8×8 ribbing to 7×9 in one spot. You’ll never notice, right?

Jan reports that the thumb on one of her mitts for which the fit didn’t seem quite right, was actually just fine after blocking.

Ready to Wear

One of our group members, knittingdaddy, is proud to launch a new pattern, the Scrappy Sock Yarn Preemie Hat, that benefits the Family Support Network of Central Carolina. Check it out and support a good cause!

Design Principles

Swatch. Just do it and reap the benefits.

5 Minute Interview

Starring the The Savvy Girls!

360 Degrees

Other than a bit of conference call spinning on her mini Turkish spindle, Ellen hasn’t gotten much spinning done in all the activity of the last weeks. She did carry a spindle around one night.

Fiber Jargon

Ellen discusses the phase change behavior of Outlast(R) technology which is showing up in yarns like Mrs. Crosby Loves to Play Train Case.

Embellishments

Birding season is in swing, and Ellen is enjoying both eBird and Merlin.  Jan was reminded how much she likes iBird Backyard Plus3.

Fun Fur

Ellen and W are cracking up at old episodes of Star Trek. And Jan is enjoying the cute little llama that the Savvy Girls brought her from Maryland Sheep and Wool!

Slick Trick

Ellen suggests that one starts out to finish – when you know you will need to pick up stitches along a cast on edge, make the first row a plain knit row even if the pattern is lacy. It will be much easier to pick those stitches up.

Jan suggests using a Channel Island Cast-on followed by a row of k1,p1 ribbing to start Tunisian Crochet in the round. She likes not having to pick up stitches in a slip stitch chain, which can be fiddly.

You May Already be a Wiener

LauraKnitsPA won Judy Becker’s book Beyond Toes. But don’t despair, a new contest for Lara Neel‘s Craftsy Class, Socks My Way has started. And if you can’t wait to take the class, take advantage of the 50% off code Lara has graciously shared with us.

Fashion Forecast for 2015

Ellen  has plans to attend Shepherd’s Harvest. Jan has plans to dash to San Diego and back. And both twins have plans for 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!

**************