In which we discuss our good fortune at Christmastime and in the opening days of 2014, Valor the Ram, a strategy for giving, the great alpaca drop of 2014, getting back to work on some big knitting projects, our review of 2013 and our goals for 2014, how to take stock and why you should eat more beans.
(Be sure to listen to the outtakes if you want to understand the title!)
Happy New Year to old and new listeners. If you don’t get enough of us on the podcast, find us on Twitter and Instagram as, you guessed it, twinsetjan and twinsetellen.
There were lots of holiday doings for both Jan and Ellen, but we’ll just hit a couple of notable things from the last week.
Ellen and Wilson spent a long evening working out their charitable giving for the year of 2013. Just in time, too, as they finished up on December 30! Here is their strategy:
- We choose a few themes that mean a lot to us. Generally we focus on the environment, arts and education, human justice and aid, and fair politics.
- We choose highly rated charities working in these areas by geography - local, national, and global. Charity Navigator is one site we use for research on the efficiency and integrity of charities we are considering.
- We narrow down to just a few in each theme/geography, the fewer the better, with the goal of giving larger sums to fewer charities. This lets more of our dollars get used for program work and less on administrivia.
- We avoid giving to charities that waste our dollars with dozens of mailings during the year, or gifts of notecards, nickels, stamps, etc.
Jan and Dale made a trip to Syracuse and brought home a new member of the family - Valor, a Finnsheep Ram! He rode home in Dale’s Dodge Ram and is friendly as all get out.
In On the Runway, Ellen worked on her Forever in the Forest stole out of Misti Alpaca lace weight and based on the Forest Path Stole by Faina M. Letoutchaia. 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 she’s working on a hat featuring Jagger Spun 100% wool and an eye of partridge pattern. She’s calling it Surface Tension and promises a pattern soon. Ellen is also working on a Martina Behm pattern, Lintilla in Rohrspatz & Wollmeise 100% Merino Superwash in the colorway Skarabäus, which is brilliant clear and limpid blues and greens with streaks of yellow, hence the name of her shawl, Limpid.
Jan and Ellen were both Bitten by their Knittin’. (And Ellen was bitten by her Kitten - Selkie enjoys playing in roving, and played with one of Ellen’s holiday gifts. Let’s just say that alpaca will be used for blending, not for spinning right from the bump…) Ellen’s knitting troubles focused around her lack of focus, at least when coming to the edge of her Lintilla shawl. One edge is k2tog, one is kfb - suffice it to say that though they look very different, Ellen mixed them up and then didn’t notice for several rows more than once. Jan couldn’t quite get the sewn bind off for Dale’s scarf to look just the way she wanted.
You can still get a free copy of Ellen’s Bitsy Baby Beanies , a quick stockinette beanie for preemies and newborns. Listen to the episode to find the code for a free copy through January, or PM Ellen on Ravelry (she’s twinsetellen).
Ellen added a few more bobbins of CorriedaleX singles to her collection. She reported 25 at last count with about a half pound of fiber left.
In Design Principles, Ellen discussed the principles she is following in the design of socks out of a variegated yarn - primarily focused on looking for a stitch pattern that will highlight the color changes while obscuring pooling and has a manageable stitch multiple to allow easy sizing. She is looking hard at stitch patterns that carry the working yarn on top of the fabric at intervals, like linen stitch, but would like to find one that is easier to work.
Our Design Challenge for the episode is to consider 2014 intentions. Jan sums hers up with an intention to be appreciative, and Ellen twisted that just slightly with an overall intention to be grateful. Both of us intend to knit and design and spin…and laugh.
Ellen has been spinning a bunch more of that CorriedaleX fleece from Rhinebeck a couple of years back. She’s up to 25 bobbins with about a half pound of fiber left. Jan will be doing a bunch of spinning as she takes on judging the entries in the Sunshine State Alpaca Expo, with her results due by February 8th! In either case, pigtails, our Yarn Jargon for the week, will likely appear. Pigtails are when an energetic bit of singles (or a plyed yarn) doubles back on itself in a little twist. Depending on your intention for the yarn, they may be desirable (as in art yarn), or at least a sign of lots of energy for creating a tightly twisted yarn, like a sock yarn. Just ease them out during plying to release the energy into where you want it to be.
Jan’s Embellishment for the week is Heifer International. Ellen’s is the iPhone Ravelry app - Yarma. She uses it to add stash and project pictures without having to download them from her camera. Zombie Alpacas (We want to eat your grains!) showed up on a gift for Jan and she considers them to be Fun Fur.
The episode’s slick trick is a simple one, but still slick. Instead of hanging one of those stitchmarker row counters off your needle, throwing it out of balance and letting it get in the way, why not just pin it to your project? It’s there when you need it and keeps the knitting comfortable. Thanks, turbogal, for that tip!
The contest to win some Blacker Yarns wool has closed and we have a winner! Holity, aka Terri from IL, was our randomly drawn winner of a skein each of Blacker Yarns Pure Teeswater DK and Pure Dark Wensleydale.
Ellen will be heading to the Knitajourney Midwinter Fiber Retreat in mid-January, and by the time these notes go up, Jan will have been to the PA state farm show and starting to pack for Tina’s Fiber Retreat in late January. It’s only 8 months till the MN State Fair!