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

Episode 20 — Quickly Recorded, Slowly Published

Episode 20 — Quickly Recorded, Slowly Published is finally available!

In which we discuss population changes on the farm and in the backyard, barn raising, post pounding, fireworks on the Stone Arch Bridge, turkey escapees, awkward teenage birds, grizzlypig shenanigans, cherries for pie, vegetables for pickles, an expectant mother, good progress on many projects, how helpful it is to actually read directions, hiding decreases in ribbing, knitting cues, pitting tools and many, many contests.  And be sure to note the “summer25″ discount code on Goodstuff’s Ravelry downloads!

On the Runway - Jan is working up an interesting construction in her Summer Turban, a cure cap for a friend with cancer.  It is out of a soft cotton and will be reminiscent of a head wrap when finished.  There are still some interesting challenges for her to overcome - including whether or not she has enough yarn!  She has also been hard at work on her Cornish Dormouse tea cozy for the Caithness Craft Collective swap.

Ellen keeps up a knitting blitz, working on the edge of Bambinoo, a self-designed baby blanket out of Be Sweet Bamboo and adding another module or two to Wired, her version of a Domino Muffler by Vivian Hoxbro out of Habu silk/stainless steel yarn.  Also on her needles, Forever in the Forest, out of Misti Alpaca lace weight and based on the Forest Path Stole by Faina M. Letoutchaia, which Jan says can’t be counted as truly out of hibernation until she works on it 3 episodes in a row.  Tune in next time to hear its status!

Good progress was reported by Ellen on her Blue Moons cardigan, knit out of hand-spun, hand-dyed yarn using the Veronik Avery Forestry Cardigan pattern.  Her mods include moving the short rows from the edge of the collar to earlier in the collar band, creating a neck stand.  Work continues apace on Musing, her Shirley Paden Design Along 3 project.  You can follow the process in the We Love Shirley Paden  Ravelry group. As always, as she recorded, she worked on Rimfrost, aka Many Moments of Grace.

Both Jan and Ellen were Bitten by their Knittin’.  Jan realized she was playing too much with her steek edging on her  Eek! a Steek! top down Icelandic sweater in Lett Lopi.  It’s the project for  Ragga Eirikstotter’s Craftsy class. The  edging got a bit frayed, but was nicely tucked in during the final finishing, so no worries.  Ellen learned that one must not cut off an end until one has woven it in.  Duplicate stitch to the rescue, in this case.  Ellen’s troubles continued with enthusiastic knitting carrying her ahead on  Black Spruce, her version of the Sarah Punderson design, Adirondack, in Cascade Venezia (silk/wool).  Because the rows are listed in the pattern out of order (grouped by what you are doing, not by number), but she failed to notice this, some frogging was necessary.  And because she wasn’t paying attention to what the right side of her garment would be when worn, the rib at the point of increase for the collar had to be inverted on her  Blue Moons cardigan, so that the knit side would be on the front instead of the purl side.  Happily she didn’t have to frog all of her neck band progress - just the one rib!

Both twins had plenty of projects to discuss in Finely, or Finally Finished projects.  Jan finished that  Eek! a Steek! top down Icelandic sweater and is very pleased with it.  She may be even more pleased that she was able to present a friend with a wonderful wedding gift, the Cowgirl Wedding Shawl,  her knit of the Robin Ulrich pattern, Brandywine Falls.  Ellen grafted the toes of her socks in the Monkey pattern, which she is calling Saki.  Nothin’ like socks out of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock, Lightweight, in this case.  She aslo finished two shawlettes - Sashay, the sized-down version of Jan’s design, Swagger, knit in Ellen’s handspun Coopwort, and   Alison Jeppson Hyde’s Bigfoot Shawl, out of more handspun (Jacob this time, hence the name Wrapped in Jacob, inviting Jan’s innuendo).  In a moment (barely more than that!) of whimsy, Ellen knit one little baby sock out of some leftover cashmere yarn.  There wasn’t enough for two, but the little sock made a nice swatch.

Jan and Ellen are both part of the Team Captain roster for theTour de Fleece Team Sasquatch group (for podcasters and podcast-listeners). They wisely chose achievable goals - Jan’s is to spin 15 minutes a day, and Ellen’s is just to spin at all every day!  So far, so good!  Ellen will be taking a spindle on her upcoming vacation so she can continue her progress.  Jan is also using a spindle - and in another TM (twin moment) they realize they are both using Jenkin’s Lark Turkish Spindles.  You can investigate the wonder of Turkish Spindles on the Jenkin’s website, but consider yourself warned, you may need to buy one!

Ellen’s Embellishment for the week is the Norpro Deluxe Cherry Stoner.  If you need to pit cherries, you need one of these!

Ellen’s Slick Trick was to use a simple hang tag attached to one’s project for notes on pattern details that you’d normally have to drag out the pattern to check - maybe the frequency of decreases, or a simple lace pattern or whatever.  And she noted that the Slick Trick from last episode - moving the slipping of stitches in an Eye of Partridge or Slipped Rib heel flap to the purl side - was also mentioned in the a recent episode of The Lost Geek podcast.

Shawl we dance?

Dear Jan,

It seems that I shawl knit nothing but things to adorn my shoulders lately.  Why in the last few weeks alone, three shawls have come off my needles.

First was my version of Steven West’s Pogona, which I call Herbstetology.  Yes, I know our readers will be fascinated by the etymology of this name.  I will indulge them…

Pogona is the genus of a group of lizards.  Herpetology is the  study of lizards and other reptiles.  Herbst is German for autumn.  My Pogona is knit out of the Rambouillet roving that our friend Erica dyed to represent the autumnal glory of Rhinebeck.  Really, it’s quite obvious, isn’t it?

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The more mundane details - knit out of my 2-ply handspun, semi-worsted spun, 600+ yards out of about 4 oz of fiber, so a lace weight.  I knit it on US size 3 needles, if my memory serves.  So much fun knitting this fabric - it was lightweight and soft and will be a joy to wear.  I added several extra sets of increases to increase the flounce factor.

Next off the needles - my version of your very own pattern, Swagger  (Readers, coming soon to a Ravelry store near you!).  Mine is smaller, not as long or wide, more of a Sashay, really, which is what I named it.  More handspun, this some Coopworth batts spun woolen and chain plyed to about a heavy worsted weight.  I really enjoyed knitting with this yarn.  It was supple rather than soft, lively and strong but also obedient. The pattern, need I say, was great, too.  Very intuitive - after one repeat of the cute little swag and I was off script. And it was sweet that the design let me use all but about 5 g of this yarn.  Well done, Sister!

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The only thing it lacked was more length - even making the scarf quite a bit narrower than your version, it was not going to give me tails long enough to comfortably wrap around my neck.  So I added a buttonhole at one end, and now I have a shawl/scarf/cowl that I can wear three ways!

The last shawl off my needles is one I’d been wanting to knit a long time - Alison Jeppson Hyde’s Bigfoot Shawl out of her Wrapped in Comfort book, sadly now out of print (but check Alison’s blog, SpinDyeKnit - she can help you find a copy).  Alison’s shawls are shaped like a bagel with a wedge cut out so that they sit and stay on one’s neck, even if knit a bit shallow because one runs out of handspun.

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Yep, more handspun, this out of  Jacob fiber.  Jacobs are those crazy looking sheep with 2 and sometimes 3 sets of horns going every which way.  I had some tan and some chocolate brown, so spun one 2-ply yarn with both plies tan, one with both in brown, and one a marled yarn with a ply of each color.  I then knit pure tan, mixed, pure chocolate from neck to bottom edge and am very pleased with the flow of the color.  I call it Wrapped in Jacob.

It also pleased me to realize that the shawl you had knit from Alison’s book, Ann’s Big Heart, was also the Bigfoot.   Twin moment!  (And I admit to being pleased that the gradient that my hair is becoming matched the shawl really well!)

So what’s on my needles now?  Really, do you have to ask?

Love,

Ellen

Episode 19 — Knit Everything!

In which we discuss (at length! — it’s been 4 weeks after all!) knitting to the end of the skein, starting many projects, the big straw harvest of 2013, living through loss of internet and barely living through a knock out virus, animal population explosions at the farm, many visitors and visits to Rhode Island and DC, lots of contests, reinforced selvedges, motivational spinning with the tour de fleece and a featured designer.

There is so much knitting in this episode we barely have room for everything else.  Luckily, pixels are free so the show notes don’t have to be shortened.

Ellen confesses to embracing Susan Dolph’s take on the Permaculture principle of diversity to a ridiculous extent - she is knitting everything.  First up - Musing, her Shirley Paden Design Along 3 project.  You can follow the process in the We Love Shirley Paden  Ravelry group. Ellen continued her socks in the Monkey pattern, which she is calling Saki, during the recording of this podcast and finished the last two with just a bit of yarn to spare.  They aren’t done until they are grafted at the toes.  She continued working on her Blue Moons cardigan, knit out of hand-spun, hand-dyed yarn using the Veronik Avery Forestry Cardigan pattern.

Even some long hibernating projects got attention - Bambinoo, a self-designed baby blanket out of Be Sweet Bamboo; Wired, her version of a Domino Muffler by Vivian Hoxbro out of Habu silk/stainless steel yarn; Zip Line, another self-designed pattern for a zipped cardigan; Great Dayne, yet another original, a top down raglan based on Brenda Dayne’s top down raglan class, and the most ancient project of all, Forever in the Forest, out of Misti Alpaca lace weight and based on the Forest Path Stole by Faina M. Letoutchaia, which she started on her 25th wedding anniversary trip.  She has now been married well over 30 years.

As if knitting on all of her extant projects weren’t enough, Ellen suffered a bout of startosis, getting going on Black Spruce, her’s version of the Sarah Punderson design, Adirondack, in Cascade Venezia (silk/wool) saw a bit of attention, and Sashay, the sized-down version of Jan’s design, Swagger, knit in Ellen’s handspun Coopworth.

And in a twin moment, she cast on for Alison Jeppson Hyde’s Bigfoot Shawl, out of more handspun (Jacob this time, hence the name Wrapped in Jacob, despite Jan’s innuendo), and discovered while recording that Jan’s shawl, Ann’s Big Heart, knit from the same book, Wrapped in Comfort, was also a Bigfoot!
As always, as she recorded, she worked on Rimfrost, aka Many Moments of Grace, despite its misadventures in the next segment.

Jan also got some knitting in.  She is well on her way to finishing Eek! a Steek!, a top down Icelandic sweater in Lett Lopi.  It’s the project for  Ragga Eirikstotter’s Craftsy class. She is enjoying her knit of the Robin Ulrich pattern, Brandywine Falls, which she is knitting as a wedding gift for a friend.  She is also knitting a tea cozy for the Caithness Craft Collective swap and continues her generosity with a self-designed Cure Cap for a friend who is fighting cancer.

Both twins had finished objects!  Ellen, still amused by her project name, finished her version of Stephen West’s Pogona, known on her project page as Herbstetology.  And Jan finished her  version of Swagger in a shawl width, using Wollmeise Lacegarn in Campari Picolo ; the project is called Orange You Pretty.  Both of these projects were for the Fat Squirrel Speaks podcast Orange-along.

And, on another happy note, Jan took enough baths to finish her Happy  Bath Towel out of Sugar ‘n’ Cream.  She only knit on it while in the bath tub.

The featured designer for this episode was Brenda Castiel.  Check out her patterns on Ravelry! Through the end of August, use the code summer25 to get a 25% discount on her patterns in her Ravelry download store.

Jan and Ellen are participating in the Tour de Fleece.  They wisely chose achievable goals - Jan’s is to spin 15 minutes a day, and Ellen’s is just to spin at all every day!  Check out their progress on the Team Sasquatch group (for podcasters and podcast-listeners).  Ellen admitted to purchasing a new fleece.  It is impossible for her to resist the beautiful fiber from Peeper Hollow Farm.  She bought a grey Romney ram fleece - stunning!

During Design Principles, Jan interviews Annie Modesitt who shares her design inspirations.  We have a contest for a copy of her book, History on Two Needles, in action on the Twinset Designs Ravelry group.

Ellen shared a review of the Lilly Brush(TM) sweater de-piller as her Embellishment.  In her opinion, it edged out the Gleener(TM), but both have their strengths.  A set of one of each is offered up in a contest running through July for listeners who are willing to  commit to reviewing them if they win - check out the details on the Twinset Designs Ravelry Group.

Jan extolled the virtues of Kookaburra Power - an all purpose cleaner she is loving using around the house.  For Ellen to love it, she’d have to do housework…

Jan and Ellen both find all the KAL’s to be quite a challenge, so they have created a Design Challenge instead of a KAL for the listeners of Twinset Design.  Take a project you are already knitting and share a favorite design element in the Twinset Designs Ravelry group. At the end of the summer, we’ll choose a winner of the effort, but we’ll all be winners after we read all these insights.

Two other contests are taking place at the Twinset Designs Ravelry group - one for a copy of Annie Modesitt’s History on Two Needles will close mid-July.  The other is for one of our featured designer’s patterns.  It will run through mid-July, as well.

Episode 18 — Making Hay While the Sun Shines!!

In which we discuss bird spotting, the mechanics of making hay, exercise options (totally!), motivation for riding, garden prospects, possible new neighbors, grand-dog sitting, the wisdom of dyeing hair while engaged in fine hand knitting, two cases of startosis, knitting on the needles, no knitting off the needles, making batts and making yarn, a listener design challenge, design principles a la Annie Modesitt, Sarah Punderson’s designs, reflections on Fiber Fest by some of our favorite knitterati, bags from swag, and a contest!

Thanks to Sarah Punderson for the Adirondack pattern.  Sarah shows up later in the show notes - read on!

Jan did not say “feeding nannies to tuna fish”.  She said “feeding mayonaisse to tuna fish”.  (A reference to “Night Shift” a 1982 movie starring Michael Keaton, Henry Winkler, and Shelley Long) Just in case you were wondering. You are correct, she did say that Swagger is being test knit and the pattern should be available soon.

In On the Runway, Jan reports working on a top down Icelandic sweater in Lett Lopi.  It’s her first attempt at steeking - good thing she has Ragga Eirikstotter’s Craftsy class to guide her through.  She is also working on another version of Swagger in a shawl width, using Wollmeise Lacegarn in Campari Picolo for the Fat Squirrel Speaks podcast Orange-along; the project is called Orange You Pretty.

Jan continues work on her Death Spiral shawl (Spiral Shawl design by Erica Gunn) and her Percasocks.  She is going mum on the latter as she may be submitting the design for publication.  She is willing to talk about the Happy Bath Towel out of Sugar ‘n’ Cream.

Ellen has finished all the pieces for her Blue Moons cardigan, based on the Veronik Avery Forestry Cardigan.  Next comes seaming and then picking up stitches for the large ribbed shawl collar still to be knit. She cast on Pogona, and amused herself no end by calling it Herbstetology.  Read the project notes for more on that (you likely won’t find it nearly so amusing, but she doesn’t care).  This is knit from her handspun at a finer gauge than the pattern calls so it has many, many more stitches than the pattern describes and will be quite the process to knit.  Ellen continues her socks in the Monkey pattern, which she is calling Saki, and has made great progress thanks to many waiting rooms. Musing, her Shirley Paden Design Along 3 project  got a lot of attention, including some SKY KNITTING.  You can follow the process in the We Love Shirley Paden  Ravelry group. As always, as she recorded, she worked on Rimfrost, aka Many Moments of Grace, despite its misadventures in the next segment.

In Bitten by Your Knittin’, Ellen was bitten by her Master Knitter II resubmission, using too big a needle for the lace swatch, and also by Rimfrost when she knit the sleeve quite a bit larger than her arm required.  Happily, she did not dye her sweater with Punky Colors blue while trying the sweater on for fit.

In 360 degrees, Ellen described the lace 2-ply she spun worsted from a DesigKnit Rambouillet roving dyed in autumn colors.  She is also spinning a Corriedale cross fleece in woolen fashion.  Jan loves her Big Tom from Fancy Kitty and is carding a BFL lambsfleece.  In her enthusiasm to get going, Jan reported several rookie mistakes - not skirting her fleece thoroughly before washing and running a light colored fleece through the drum carder - the first batts through a new carder pick up excess  machining oils and a darker fleece wouldn’t have shown it as much.

During Design Principles, Jan interviews Annie Modesitt who shares her design inspirations.  We have a contest for a copy of her book, History on Two Needles, in action on the Twinset Designs Ravelry group.

Jan and Ellen both find all the KAL’s to be quite a challenge, so they have created a Design Challenge instead of a KAL for the listeners of Twinset Design.  Take a project you are already knitting and share a favorite design element in the Twinset Designs Ravelry group. At the end of the summer, we’ll choose a winner of the effort, but we’ll all be winners after we read all these insights.

 Sarah Punderson, a designer for Plymouth Yarns and an independent designer as well, is our Featured Designer.   Check out her designs on Ravelry!

Jan presented a 5 Minute Designer Montage with Steven Berg, Stephen West, Ragga Eirikstotter, and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.

In Embellishments, Jan and Ellen discuss bags they received in their Fiber Fest swag bag, highlighting the small Atenti knitting bags and Della Q’s Rosemary bag.

Ellen may be attending the Zombie Knitpocalypse in late June.  Nothing is certain yet, but maybe for a day if life isn’t too crazy.

Jan reports that the SAFONA Fiber Frolic which will feature Melanie Gall of the Savvy Girls is being delayed until the fall.

Enjoy the episode!

Scratching an itch…

Dear Jan,

Ever since WestKnits Book One came out, I’ve been itching to knit Pogona.  The interesting construction with multiple increase points (not just another triangular shawl), the organic way it curved around the neck with just enough ruffle for flow and not so much to be girly, and the wearability of a shawlette for work or play - I knew this shawl was for me.  And when I got my Rhinebeck braid of Rambouillet (dyed by Erica at DesigKnit) spun up into a lace weight yarn, I knew I had the right yarn, too.

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Erica captured the color of autumn foliage perfectly.  I actually toned down the saturation in this photo - it is that gorgeous!

My only problem is that the gauge is much finer than that for which Stephen West designed the shawl, so what should be a super fast knit is more of a slow but enjoyable process.  I’m using a smaller needle and have a lot more stitches, but the fabric is fine and dreamy - even better to allow the fabric to drape.

Here is some more brilliant color I’ve enjoyed of late, a Baltimore Oriole (first I’ve seen, ever!).  He would go well with the shawl.

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And for a bit more color, in case that wasn’t enough, we got our first-of-the-year ruby-throated hummingbird to the feeder.

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And that reminds me - I need to go refill that feeder!

Love,

Ellen

Episode 17 — I Just Flew in from Minnesota and Boy, are My Arms Tired!

In which I wonder where Ellen spent the money she was given for singing lessons, Ellen delves into algebra to solve the classic math problem “Gigi’s Socks”, we discuss much (much, much, much) activity in the patterns of our lives (multiple fiber festivals included!!), trips to Minnesota and NYC, visits with daughters, fine dining, farm lessons and lessons learned (Sorry, Chicks!), the value of a good shearer and many knitting nibbles, and we chat with the mothers of Steven Berg and Stephen West.  Phew!!

In On the Runway, Ellen continues her socks in the Monkey pattern, which she is calling Saki, and is making good progress on her Blue Moons cardigan, based on the Veronik Avery Forestry Cardigan.  Musing, her design her Shirley Paden Design Along 3 project  got a lot of attetion, including some SKY KNITTING (all caps, it’s what we’re going to call airplane knitting from now on, you heard it here first).  You can follow the process in the We Love Shirley Paden  Ravelry group. As always, as she recorded, she worked on Rimfrost, aka Many Moments of Grace.

Jan worked on her Death Spiral shawl (Spiral Shawl design by Erica Gunn) and her Percasocks.  She got going on a project kit for the Malbrigo Linen Stitch Scarf soon after buying it at Yarnover.

In Bitten by Your Knittin’, Ellen was seriously nibbled by numerous projects.  It took her 3 tries to get the length of the foot right for her first half of Saki, she miscrossed a cable in Musing which required dropping back 8+ stitches about 10 rows (traveling stitches, sigh), and the bumpy and lovely Shibui sock in which she was trying to knit a lace swatch for her Master Knitter Level II resubmission just didn’t work out - too much texture to show off the lace. Jan fought a battle with the simple but stealthy linen stitch scarf - the cast on directions suggested holding two strands together, but perhaps could have been more clear that you only do that for the cast on row (or perhaps Jan might have been a bit sleepy and interpretation may have been more clear). She overshot the pattern for Death Spiral and ended up with too many stitches.  Instead of frogging her fine yarn, she is simply redesigning the edging.

In Finely or Finally Finished Items, Ellen finished her Souvenir of Fiber Fest, but not in time to wear it in front of the designer of the pattern who taught at Yarnover (Souvenir: A Blended Intarsia Project by Susan Newhall).  It required over-dyeing in a dove grey to soften the contrast to a point that suited Ellen.  Jan finished that linen stitch scarf.  You can see her results on her project page for Malibrigo Madness.  She also finished a teeny tiny Lett Lopi mitten based on the class she took with Ragga Eiriksdottir.  It will become a Christmas tree ornament.  The Ohio River Ebb Tide cowl that she finished during her weekend in Minnesota will become a neck ornament.  This project was based on the Susan B Anthony Ebb Cowl.

During Design Principles, Jan discussed the value of getting second opinions to both stimulate ideas and to catch glitches.

In 360 degrees, not much spinning got done, except for the drum on Susan Hensel’s motorized drum carder in her booth, Sue’s Luxury Fibers, at Yarnover.  Ellen carded up 3 art batts - a bit of a stretch for her, but good clean fun.  Jan reported that she has a big drum carder of her own on the way - a Big Tom from Fancy Kitty.

In Fashion Forecast, Ellen is in training for the Tour d’ Cure.  She and Wilson are signed up to do 45 miles, not such a big deal considering that their team captain who has Type I diabetes is signed up to do 100!  No pressure, honestly, but if you donate to diabetes research anyway and would like to designate some to go towards making Ellen feel guilty enought to actually ride those 45 miles, you can do so at her fundraising page.

Jan’s forecast involves  preparing for the SAFONA Fiber Frolic which will feature Melanie Gall of the Savvy Girls!

Enjoy the episode!

Cherry blossoms in summer…

Dear Jan,

We have become very bad bloggers.  We are maybe pretty good podcasters*, but our blogging has really dried up.  I feel bad for the folks who read blogs but don’t do the podcast thing, and I also like to have a bit of writing, not just audio of our lives.  Still, to try to catch up at this point would make for an interminable post.  Instead, I’m going to pick one thing at a time and post about it, and maybe much of what has happened in recent weeks will get recorded, and maybe it won’t.  I doubt anyone will miss the “gee, it’s hard to believe it isn’t spring yet in Minnesota posts”, so I’ll skip right past those and get into summertime cherry blossoms.

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Yes, we went straight from winter snow one week to temps in the 90’s the next, and it sure prompted my North Star cherry to bloom quickly.  I had some blooms of my own to hang on it - my Umeshu stole, my version of the Hanami stole by Melanie Gibbons.  The stole represents cherry blossoms falling from one end of the stole to the other - the geometric lace reminds me of garden fencing.  I used Knit Pick’s hand dyed Shimmer lace weight yarn (70:30 alpaca:silk) on size 3.25 mm needles.  The yarn was a tonal of plum colors, hence the name “Umeshu” which means plum in Japanese.

img_4703.jpgThough the color was pleasing, I found the tonal was really more of a stripey and was disappointed at how the lace pattern was obscured.  It really bugged me, so I decided I had nothing to lose by tossing it in the dye pot.

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I used Cushing’s Perfection Acid Dyes in burgundy and white vinegar as a mordant.  The dye exhausted pretty thoroughly, but boy did I have to rinse and rinse to clear the alpaca/silk of the dye.  After the first few rinses resulted in continued bleeding, I retreated and reheated with vinegar solution and rinsed and rinsed again, using some woolwash to help free up loose dye.  Finally, about 9 rounds later, I was reasonably satisfied that the dye wouldn’t immediately transfer onto my skin when I wore the stole.

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No doubt, it was worth the trouble.  If you look very closely, you can see the ghost of the stripes, which just makes it more interesting and rich.

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The beaded cast on reminds me of dew drops.

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I modified the pattern by making it one multiple wider than called for and adding some length.  And instead of going to the perfect lace grid on the ends, I repeated the more organic random grid several more times and am very happy I did so.  Finally, I made the ruffle more ruffly by doing a triple increase in each stitch and then finishing with some garter stitch (which is wider than stockinette) before binding off.  You can see the details in my notes on my Ravelry page.

It felt so good to get this piece which I started back in 2009 off the needles that I may have to go UFO diving again soon.  Hey, at least it didn’t take me 4 years to write about it!

Love,

Ellen

*and even the podcasting has gotten slowed up in the rush of spring, but a new episode should be up soon!

Episode 16 — Thunder Snow!


Cover Art by Martin Austermuhle

In which Ellen sings and is repetitive and in which we discuss Yarnover and Fiber Fest, a great review from Jasmin & Gigi, Thunder Snow!, quick trips to Ohio, Spring springing…and not, farm stuff, mouse melons, love blankets, snow and the frozen north, blended colors and intarsia, when eagerness overwhelms instinct, yarn to dye for, figure irregularities, the magic bullet and Yarnover and Fiber Fest.

Jan shared information about the Yarn-a-go-go effort to support victims of the bombing at the Boston Marathon.  You can find more info about helping knit Love Blankets here.
In On the Runway, Ellen continues her socks in the Monkey pattern, which she is calling Saki.  She has a HO - a half object aka one sock.  She also has one full sleeve and much of a second, as well as the fronts and the back, of her Blue Moons cardigan, based on the Veronik Avery Forestry Cardigan.  In a moment of insanity, she thought she’d whip up a shawl for Yarnover, just days away as this was recorded, and started Souvenir of Fiber Fest, a blended intarsia shawl from Susan Newhall’s Souvenir pattern.  As always, as she recorded, she worked on Rimfrost, aka Many Moments of Grace.

Jan is preparing for Minnesota weather at Yarnover by knitting up Ohio River Ebb tide, her version of Susan B. Anthony’s Ebb cowl.  She is developing a classroom project to teach the techniques in her Tiffany Capelet design - a potholder!  She continues on her Death Spiral shawl (design by Erica Gunn) and her Percasocks.  Someday perhaps she will start a project page for them to which we can link.  :-)

In Bitten by Your Knittin’, both Ellen and Jan struggled with thinking they knew what they were doing.  Jan’s potholder gave her fits as she worked to figure out the best yarn for it, letting her eagerness start with the wrong yarn and having to come back to the old standby for this sort of thing - Sugar & Cream.  Ellen learned that the signal that all was not well in her knitting of Souvenir was the words, “It’s great to get to the point where you really know what you are doing” coming out of her mouth.

In Finely or Finally Finished Items, Ellen finally finely finished Umeshu by over-dyeing the striated yarn that was camouflaging the lace.  You can read of her misadventures with bleeding dye at her blog post on the subject.  (Jan reported back later that she learned from some dyers at Maryland Sheep & Wool that overheating silk can cause it to not hold dye as well - maybe this was Ellen’s problem.)

During Design Principles, Ellen discussed how she appreciated the feedback she got from Shirley Paden during her on-line meeting to discuss her Shirley Paden Design Along 3 project.  You can follow the process in the We Love Shirley Paden  Ravelry group.   Jan shared more information from her set of vintage design books, citing Overcoming Irregularities in Figure, Woman’s Institute Library of Dressmaking, (c) 1925.  She will report back later on whether Amy Herzog’s Fit to Flatter suggests similar advice.

In Design Principles, Ellen again thanked Shirley Paden for the enormous effort she is giving to the Shirley Pade.

In 360 degrees, Ellen has finished the singles of her Rhinebeck foliage colored Rambouillet, dyed by Erica of DesigKnit.  The colors are marvelous, if not really suited for spring spinning.

Jan shared an Embellishment (or was it Fun Fur?) - her Magic Bullet Blender with Drinking Goblets.  As seen on TV!

While there will be plenty of fun in April, the big events for Jan and Ellen both are Yarnover (April 27), and Steven Berg’s Fiber Fest April 25-29.

Yarnover looms on the horizon, but Shepherd’s Harvest isn’t far beyond that.  If you can’t meet up with Ellen in April, you can find her at SH in May, for sure.

Enjoy the episode!

Hitting Restart

Dear Ellen,

My participation in this blog of late seems to be limited only to putting up new episodes of the podcast.  While that in and of itself is a healthy contribution, it seems I’ve not written anything about antics on the farm or within our family for way to long.  As time drags out it is becoming apparent that the massive “catch up” blog post is becoming more and more overwhelming.  So much so that I’ll never do it.  Therefore I am declaring a restart!  I will provide below a photo montage of many things that are happening or have happened in the last three months without much care about chronology or detail.  Once that’s done, then that’s it…the past is behind me.  And maybe my next post will be more manageable!

Love, Jan

2-imag0352.jpg I made gorgeous yarn.

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It became Swagger, an almost published design.

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1-marie-knits-001.jpgMarie not only modeled for me, but she also got bitten by the knitting bug.  (So proud!)

1-img_0690.JPGI designed the perfect gauntlets with which to feed chickens.

1-fiber-factor.jpgI entered designs in the Fiber Factor competition, but will have to try again next year.

1-imag0435-001.jpg Dorito took up tweeting as doritothealpaca.  He seems unable to use capital letters because of his two-toedness.

1-imag0431.jpg The other alpaca are unimpressed.  (Fun to peek over your mom!)

1-imag0392.jpg We got our farm name established legally…and physically.

1-imag0202-001.jpg I scored an amazing quilt at the Bart Township Mud Sale.  (For cheap!)

1-imag0381.jpgCharlie (Allen and Libby’s dog) met the gang…they were alert, but when they figured out that she’d run off if they challenged her, they went back to grazing.

1-imag0488.jpgWe toured a robotic dairy farm where cows choose when to be milked (and queue up nicely for it) and go to the self-service back scratchers whenever they like.

1-imag0528.jpgI finished the second version of my Entrelac Capelet pattern…minus the closure as I can’t seem to lay my hands on that stupid clasp!

1-dsc06547.JPGDale built the gang a little mountain so they can play king of the hill.  (Amelia is hoping neither of the boys will put the other’s eye out.)

6-_sc06481.JPGWe had a visitor to the farm from a 5th grade class in Illinois.  She liked the chickens but could not figure out how to lay an egg.

1-dsc06507-002.JPGNew babies came home to live with us for eight weeks.  Then they’ll live with our frozen food.  Very cute now…good thing they won’t stay cute long and that there are so many I won’t be able to name them. (I did help the the one on his back regain his footing…at a day old he couldn’t handle it himself.)

1-_sc06471-001.JPGWe made a boomerang trip to help mom celebrate her 90th birthday.

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We are thrilled to see everything on the farm wake up with the arrival of spring.

1-imag0419-1.jpgExcept for Ruby that is.

And with that, that’s it!

Episode 15 — A Little Fuzzy

In which we sound a little fuzzy.  I don’t know why.  I spent extra time trying to level, equalize, invert and noise remove, but to no avail.  I think the issue is in our gain settings, but that can’t be fixed till next go. I finally decided I’d better just publish it or you would never get the chance to revel in the glory that is our wisdom laugh at us.

And also in which we discuss my Fiber Factor fail, flocks of birds, travels to NYC, Ellen’s dull and uninteresting life, makeup and stash enhancement, prodigal knitters, a visit by Louise from Scotland, finding your niche, robotic farms, a possible triplet, frogging phobia, being bitten by a monkey, knitting phases as they wax and wane, found spinning time, multi-craftual (but not promiscuous) designers, self-effacing and debunked slick tricks, stitch marker swaps and future meetups.

1-ssk-slick-trick.jpg For your ease of viewing pleasure.  Note that as time has passed the K2Togtbl is more pronounced as the resulting stitch wants to twist to the right and this stands the stitch a bit on edge.  It doesn’t lie flat in this worsted weight yarn.