In which we discuss the ever continuing winter (in the frigid north), being inspired by new spinners at Gale Wood Farm, bringing home ribbons from the AOA show, the danger of loose dogs, chess party animals, putting the best edge on a garter stitch baby blanket, swatching for socks, colors to dye for, and getting gauge in the worst possible way.
Spring still hasn’t made it to MN, despite being a tease and offering up one warm day that lured Ellen out to
run jog walk quickly for 2.5 miles. The finches in Ellen’s neighborhood are golding despite the temperatures, and Jan’s spring continues apace. She is getting the opportunity to see the occasional tundra swan along with the Canada geese that are flying north over her fields (probably heading to Minnesota to poop on Ellen’s lawn).
Ellen continued the family tradition of converting young men/boys into spinners - she snared one at the Gale Woods Farm spring shearing during which she ran a spinning demo. Jan pondered whether the right alpaca was allowed to become a young man - Dipper, a gelding, won a 1st in the Nationals fiber competition, while Dorito, current herd sire, only placed 6th and is showing signs of developing guard hairs in more areas of his fleece.
Of even greater concern to Jan is a large black dog haunting the chicken coop. She takes this seriously, and the dog and its owners had better do so, too. While she doesn’t want to take drastic action, she will protect her livestock.
Jan hasn’t been napping - she has been continuing to work on Reposo, her version of Carol Feller’s Siesta sweater in Louisa Harding Grace Silk & Wool. She is well into the second of a new pair of socks in Wisdom Yarn’s Saki Bamboo.
Ellen kept all of her UFO’s on the runway. Forever in the Forest, a new pair of ModeSock socks, Bambinoo, (a self-designed baby blanket out of Be Sweet Bamboo), Chain Mail gloves, and her Bohus reproduction named Many Moments of Grace.
The 6th UFO on Ellen’s project page bit her really hard. (One could say the bite was so hard it needed stitches, but that belongs in a later design element.) After reknitting the shoulders of Zipline, a sweater she is designing to use handspun from her stash, she was able to try it on. It is apparent she forgot to plan appropriate ease, and now all that is left of the sweater is two sleeves and some hanks of frogged yarn which is washed and ready to rewind into cakes. Jan’s Bitten by her Knittin’ was much more of the nibble category - some tinks on Reposo and a continued search for yarn to supply her Felfs in progress. And some challenges in designing an afterthought heel into a lace pattern, but she thinks she has digested that sufficiently.
Jan continues to tease us about the Etsy shop, blaming a camera battery for her lack of posting. She promises she will be ready by next episode. Ellen thinks it is a pie crust promise - easily made, easily broken. She’ll happily eat humble pie if she’s wrong.
In Negative Space, Jan assures us that sometimes quitting is winning. That is a relief!
One of our favorite Design Principles is to swatch, swatch, swatch. Ellen shares her approach to swatching for socks - casting on a sock cuff just big enough to hold two different swatch patterns and working one pattern on one half the stitches and the other on the other half. One can continue with this tube, changing patterns as desired, and getting accurate in-the-round gauge with highly efficient use of knitting time and yarn.
Ellen used Cushing’s Perfection Acid dyes with citric acid to aid fixing the color to overdye several of the skeins of CorriedaleX handspun which she finished plying a few weeks back. She followed the procedure in Wendy J. Johnson’s Yarn Works, and work it did, just perfectly. The bobbin dyeing experiment was interesting, but as the dye simply didn’t penetrate far into the bobbin, it probably won’t be repeated.
She is spinning on, this time with a gorgeous top from All For the Love of Yarn in 80:20 merino:silk in the colorway Greek Mythology. The current plan is to spin a 4-ply self-striping sock yarn. She split the top end to end in 4 long strips. It is slow going at the lace weight needed for the singles to end up with a 4-ply sock yarn, but the colors are highly amusing.
Ellen Embellished her kitchen with a Wüsthof whetstone . After learning from a Youtube video, she did a stellar job of sharpening her knives, then she embellished her thumb with half a dozen stitches. (Gauge was 8 sts/inch, by the way.)
For a bit of Slick Trick advice, Ellen suggests that when working with splitty yarn, think of your needle as pushing open a curtain rather than spearing a fish as you put it through the next stitch. Leading with the side of the needle rather than the tip will lessen the frequency of splitting the yarn.
Check out the Living Doll KAL on the TwinSet Designs Ravelry group. We’re creating little living dolls from Mary, Millie, and Morgan. Jan is going to work up her daughter as a 4 year-old fashionista, Ellen is going to create her gang as adults, mostly because tiny surgical scrubs will be so amusing to knit. Not to mention chef’s toques.
The Fashion Forecast is for fiber season. For Ellen, this includes includes the Minnesota Yarn Shop Hop (April 10-13), Yarnover (April 26), and the same weekend, StevenBe’s FiberFest. Jan will be teaching classes at Flying Fibers - April 17 she teaches an introduction to entrelac class using the pattern she has long promised us and May 21 will offer a class on working with variegated yarn for planned color pooling.
Saving what may be the best for last, we announce the serious exploration of July 9-13 for the first TwinSet Summer Camp. If there is interest, we may be scampering through the woods near Havre de Grace, Maryland with lots of fiber friends. Interested? Let us know on the Twinset Designs Ravelry group.
Time to go spin - enjoy the show!