In which we discuss trips to Ohio, visits with siblings, fiber processing workshops, the secret to drum carding, poncho-mania, knitting and saunaing in the north woods, prize winning knitting, the size of Wilson’s head, the size of Ellen’s head, Jan’s loss of brain cells, dizzes and punis, safety to dye for, and the good fortune to be heading to Cat Bordhi’s Fall Retreat.
Thanks to those who leave iTunes reviews and star ratings - we really appreciate it. And Jan appreciates the wonderful swap package that pgknittingnurse sent her as part of the Caithness Craft Collective coaster swap. (We love you, Louise!).
Jan’s grand-kitty, Monkey, has come to live with her, along with Marie, Jan’s daughter. Marie’s wife, Heidi, will be joining the farm soon while the young ladies hunt up their own place. As if that weren’t enough, Jan bought four more alpaca - three from Ohio, one from the Lancaster area - and ended up with five. One was pregnant! Billy, aka Sweet William, is an adorable lamb, I mean, cria. She also reported on the fiber prep class which she took in Ohio - washing, carding, dyeing and more. Look for some beautiful fiber to come from her (soon we hope!).
Two drum carding lessons that Jan passed on - don’t pull back on the fiber as it enters the drum or it will wrap right around the licker drum, and when pulling fiber off the drum to form a roving, get the diz close to the drum to hold the fiber together.
And because Jan was in Ohio when Ellen was also in the state for work, all 5 of the biological children of our mom were able to get together. Too bad we couldn’t connect with our other sisters, Beth and Patty, too, or brother, Brent.
Ellen has been processing tomatoes and okra from the garden she adopted. She also fit a quick tech edit into her schedule for the Finitio Scarf by Mary Lou Egan. Poncho-mania hit the Twin Cities at Lisa’s - several of Ellen’s knitting friends joined Lisa to hand-loom the fabric for the Easy Folded Poncho (not the Modern Poncho, as we said in the episode) from Churchmouse Yarns and Teas. Ellen’s poncho is out of a cashmere/angora/merino/silk tweed ordered from Colourmart.
Ellen reported on the fun of the Sisu Lost in the Woods retreat (which included a quick poncho looming!). This trip up north marks the start of autumn in Minnesota for Ellen - winter won’t be far behind. She was excited to report seeing an OTTER in the wild! Fair season started and finished nicely for Jan - she entered 7 items and received 6 ribbons in the West Lampeter Community Fair, including a second sock syndrome ribbon (2nd place on her socks!).
Jan continued working on Misty Morning, her version of Paula Emons-Fuessle’s Lullaby Rain shawl. Jan resolved her yarn issues by ordering two more balls of yarn. Jan is also working on her Fog Lights sweater; the original design is the Green Mist pullover by Kerstin Olson, Jan has substituted some different colors and is getting great results. She is likely going to finish the sleeves first, then she can make the body as long as possible with the remaining yarn.
The Great Dayne sweater is back in Ellen’s hands after a few months rest. She’s improvising fingerless mitts (not sleeveless, though it will be that) out of Tunisian Crochet. Ellen finished one Harmonia’s Rings cowl by Sivia Harding, out of Berroco Vintage, a washable wool:synthetic blend and is well into a second, this one out of Berroco Ultra Alpaca.
Jan got bitten by her knittin’ when she was at Dale’s 35th anniversary of his graduation from West Point - luckily she caught a dropped stitch before it got too far away. It was a few rows back and she simply laddered it up to the correct row.
Ellen had a similar incident with her Grey Mountains (Mountain Peaks, a Bohus reproduction) hat (kit from SOLsilke) and also knit the geometric design twice because of an error the first time, then knit the following stripes a second time for the same reason. Her version of Sarah Punderson’s Adirondack, Black Spruce, caused some issues when she accidentally inserted the short row wedges that shape the shawl on the wrong side. Ellen did finish both of these projects despite the issues. She also finished a little mobius cowl from a skein of handspun yarn that was a gradient from yellow to blue.
Jan finished a scarf, Monet’s Argyle, where the yarn did the colorwork for her and resulted in an argyle pattern through deliberate pooling of color. Artful Color, Mindful Knits is the book which guided her in this project.
For a new design challenge, we introduce our first knit-along (KAL), and pair it with a design-along (DAL). We’ll be doing a DAL-KAL based on Jan’s pattern, Swagger. Two threads are up in the Twinset Designs Ravelry group - one for chatter, one for finished projects. If you add your own design variation to the project, you get two entries! The big prize is a skein of Wollmeise Twin, an 80:20 merino:nylon sock yarn - an appropriate prize.
In 360 degrees, Ellen has been spinning a bit with her Jenkins Kuchulu, a very small (and cute!) Turkish spindle while on conference calls and has gone to the other extreme by working with her Great Wheel on different fiber preps. Suffice it to say that some work better than others. Her medium sized wheel, her Louet Victoria, was just right for spinning up some more of her CorriedaleX that has been in the works.
Jan plyed up the alpaca/merino/stellina that the spun last week and also skeined and washed some yarn from Finnsheep. She also spun up a little art batt from her fiber processing workshop, and also finished up the last bit of her Into the Whirled batt and will soon get it plyed up.
Jan challenges us to investigate Stitch Maps, JC Briar’s new approach to charting without a grid, resulting in a depiction of what the knitting will actually look like. Go take a look at the web site and we’ll be discussing this again soon!
Ellen’s slick trick is a way to eliminate ends in Fair Isle knitting. It works for feltable yarns - figure out how much yarn is needed for about 5 sts. When you come to the end of a color, stop 5 sts before the end of the color and break the yarn off with 2x the length you determined that you’d need for those 5 sts. Lay this across the new yarn and fold it back on itself, then fold the new yarn back on itself. Adjust so the intersection is exactly at the point that gives just enough the length needed to knit those last stitches. Felt the join together by dampening it and rubbing it together between your palms (if working with a non-feltable yarn, you might try a Russian join).
It will be a slick trick if Ellen gets the show notes up before she has to pack for the Cat Bordhi retreat which she and Jan are attending in mid-October.
Don’t knit like my sister!