In which we offer condolences to the “Car Talk family”, start a new contest for a Boston Jen design, congratulate Wilson for his “Top 100” chess status, Marie’s debut in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade*, Gale Woods Farm, Jan’s new job, Buddhist housekeeping, NYC visits to daughter’s restaurants (well, restaurants at which daughters play key roles) knitting retreats that bring healing, new playwrites and playing in parks, Dr. Yarn’s anger management techniques, Spinzilla and designing for flow, and try to catch up on many other aspects of life!
*Update! Marie will not be a Christmas tree — instead she will be a pirate, a treasure chest or a shark devouring a person as one of the wire walkers for the “Pirate’s Booty” balloon. She hopes she gets to be a shark!
Thanks to listeners, old and new, for joining us!
And thanks to BostonJen for sharing her lovely new shawl, Aila Grace, with us, including a free pattern for one of our lucky listeners. (Note: contest has closed.) Check out Down Cellar Studio, BostonJen’s own podcast for more knitting and other fun.
Patterns of Our Lives:
Ellen remains proud of the MN Senior Chess Champion – her husband – who is now also on the list of top 100 US chess players over age 50! She’s also proud of her daughter whose photo was featured in a recent review of the NYC restaurant, Dirty French, at which she works.
While her family pursued indoors activities, Ellen stood outside and nearly froze her ears off. Maybe that’s what happened to the sheepdogs at the Star of the North Sheep Dog trials held at Gale Woods Farm. These were held on a huge pasture with rolling hills – lots of terrain for the dogs and sheep to roam. It was a really windy day and the wind was just blowing the trainers’ voices back at them and the dogs simply couldn’t hear them. By the way, Gale Woods Farm is our local working farm that is also a metro park. It is such a resource for families, and more and more so for fiber artists. Check out their Ravelry group. They just introduced their new yarn – Farm Rainbow, a worsted weight Finnsheep/Corriedale blend, hand-dyed by our friend Wendy J Johnson.
While Ellen stood in the wind tunnel, Jan drank from the fire hose at her new job. She reports that she is getting to share lots of new ideas as the university is undergoing lots of change right now – perfect time to make an impact.
The comfort of knitting played a big role while Jan undertook her new job, and as she said goodbye to a dear friend. She took solace in retreating with Cat Bordhi on San Juan Island, receiving support from all the retreat goers and the nature that surrounded them.
Ellen continues to amaze all with the state of her housekeeping – when a basket of hats and scarves fell on her head from the hall closet, she was forced to clean off the shelf – and then found her Large Swan Bohus Reproduction cap that she missed all last winter. You just don’t know whether something is good or bad while you are going through it. At least that is what we think the Buddha would say.
In between watching dogs and a tiny bit of housework, Ellen had the pleasure of tech editing another pattern from Mari Tobita – this one the Snowdrop Capelet. This sweet capelet, with cables that run from the hem to the collar, a few bobbles that vine off from the cables, and a nice foldover collar to keep one’s neck warm is being used for a KAL at Blizzard Yarn & Fiber in Vancouver, WA. The other pattern of Mari’s that Ellen edited back in August, the Kikyo shawlette, has also been published. It is a shawlette, starting at one point and growing into an assymmetric lace wrap with a sawtooth edge. Both of these patterns are both charted and written out – the best of both worlds.
How do you make a great cherry pie? The way they do in Door County, Wisconsin, where Ellen & Wilson and friends spent several days eating several versions of said pie – The best was the last – over 3 pounds of cherries per pie, they said, and I believe them. To make the pie, they line a big bowl with the top crust, put the cherries in, then invert the pie pan (already lined with the bottom crust) on top and then flip the whole thin over after crimping the edges together. The fruit pies stood 2 inches above the rims!
The fun doesn’t stop – Ellen filled another fun with visits from the wild and crazy chess players and then a visit from Karen and Brandon. The latter included an evening at Mixed Blood Theater to see Collossal, a great play by Andrew Hinderaker, a promising young playwright who also happens to be a good friend of Brandon’s. And Karen finished up the weekend playing with Frances, the Folding Golding. She is a natural – she was worsted spinning a gorgeous yarn immediately, and this only her second session with a spinning wheel. Ellen is very proud.
The most recent weekend saw Ellen and friends Betsy and Alison perusing the wares at the Upper Midwest Fiber Festival. Some of those wares left the festival in our bags, including a knitting sheath which Ellen is inordinately excited about as she believes she will now be such a speed knitter she will be able to finish a Bohus sweater in less than 5 years.
Finely or Finally Knit
Both twins had finished projects – Ellen worked up a pair of Norgie mittens following the recipe from Jan Bilden shared at the Sisu Lost in the Woods retreat. She knit them on size 1.5 needles – 2.50 mm, and used was Kenzie by Skacel (50/25/10/10/5 merino/nylon/alpaca/angora/silk and Strikkegarn from Rauma, a harder 100% wool yarn.
Jan Frogged some items – by which we mean she knit some things out of Frogtree Yarns.
The first, a gorgeous cowl out of Frog Tree Pediboo (80% washable merino and 20% bamboo) in a moebius construction with reversible “Just So” cables from “Versatildes” cable patterns. She also knit a Mini-Felf out of Frog Tree Ewetopia — to help promote “The Art of Felfs“, Cat Bordhi’s book whose sales go entirely to support cancer research.
Ellen also finished her Crazy Vanilla Socks out of Schoppelwolle Crazy Zauberball sock yarn, worked on size 0 needles in a plain stockinette stitch and a Cat Bordhi Sweet Tomato Heel (not to mention the tubular cast on).
On the Runway
Jan has many projects on the needles, but these are the ones that got attention:
- socks in an interesting rib pattern in a Navy blue and gold colorway
- mittens in Dream in Color Smooshy leftovers,
- a Prickly Pear scarf out of Berocco Folio (85% alpaca, 15% rayon) to get a yardage count in a single yarn,
- a sparkly stole for an upcoming formal event — Stream Bed Lace Shoulder Stole out of Art Yarns Mohair Splash Beaded 74% Mohair and 26% Silk — a midnight blue,
- and most knit of all — a Versatilde vest in Frog Tree Ewetopia, one of the medium length vests with the substitution of a modefied Donegal cable pattern for the river.
Even with all those projects, Ellen was still unable to find project pages for any of them. Sigh.
Ellen was a little more focused, making progress on her Shirley Paden Design-along 4 Fair Isle design, a cropped length, truncated front sweater out of Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift. Because it is a bit like a bolero yet done in Fair Isle with steeks, she is calling it Scotch Tango. She is also working on a new sock design for Modeknit Yarns out of ModeSock.
Bitten by our Knittin’:
Most of Ellen’s mishaps were nibbles, but nibbles in Fair Isle lead to some pretty detailed reworking. Jan had to really frog – about 25 rows of cables that got misaligned while knitting in a dark airplane cabin.
Ready to Wear:
Jan’s Prickly Pear pattern that she designed for the Yarn Barn in San Antonia for their 2014 Hill Country Yarn Crawl received rave reviews from the yarn crawlers. She’s finishing up the formal pattern and getting feedback from test knitters, so we should see it in 2015!
Ellen discusses how she aligned the Fair Isle patterns on her DAL4 sweater so they would flow over the shoulder without a mismatch at the seam. She used careful planning and a well placed side panel to allow some flexibility in placement. Jan reflected on a similar process for her Tilde vest – placing the cables and angling them for effect, not just letting them fall where they may.
Both twins appreciate the new Cat Bordhi book, Versatildes – a New Landscape for Knitters. As true for so many of Cat’s books, this one inspires knitters to create their own designs, but also provides plenty of guidance and even specific patterns along the way. Highly recommended.
5 Minute Interview
Dr. Yarn shares his tips on using knitting as an anger management tool.
Ellen has finished the Spinning Bunny BFL in the Sled Dog colorway! The singles were all spun on spindles and the plying was done on Frances. She estimates something like 1350 yards of DK weight 2-ply. That is a lot of spindling!
Jan turned in over a mile of yarn in her maiden entry in Spinzilla. She spun two skeins — the beautiful tonal sky blue batt that she bought from Desigknit at TwinSet Summer camp, merino — and a polwarth silk blend from Port Fiber in Maine in the Serengeti colorway — burnt orange, golden sand, sage greens and other colors of the savannah.
Ellen’s – state parks, in particular Peninsula State Park in Wisconsin.
Jan’s – Pool noodles. Listen to the episode if you are curious.
Jan’s – Pool noodles again. Listen to the episode if you are curious.Slick Trick
When transferring the spun yarn from bobbin to niddy-noddy, stand clear across the room and keep tension on the yarn as you wind it. This allows the twist to even out across the stretch of yarn that was held taut – to get twist to travel, you do need to put tension on the yarn, and the longer you can stretch the yarn from bobbin to your hands as you wind the niddy noddy, the more you can create an even twist.
You may already be a Wiener!
The oldest finished project in the Cleaning off the Needles KAL was annarch’s Clapotis – started in 2006! And the winner of Mystic Shawls was Heather01851. Congrats!
Lots of personal stuff – but as for knitting, keep your own calendar clear for TwinSet Summer Camp 2015 – July 10-12 in Darlington, MD.
Enjoy the show!