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

Episode 29 — Hats a Lot of Knitting!


In which we discuss* our Thanksgiving celebration, knitwear on fire, alpaca with trench-o-phobia, cold and snowy weather, planning to make the most of your knitting time, shades of colors, crispy duck skin and foregone conclusions for the outcome of the Army-Navy game.  (Navy will win, in case you are wondering!)

Thanksgiving has come and gone, but when your turkey was 42 lbs, you just don’t forget it very quickly.  Jan and Ellen relate the fun of family and food and more food…and more food.

After getting home, Ellen and Wilson caught Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Ellen ogled the knitwear. The first scene in particular featured a fabulous cowly-shawly thing.  Click on the link - a picture definitely tells more than these words.

Jan is happy to have water in her barn even if the alpaca weren’t so happy about the trenching needed to run the lines.

In Ellen’s knit group, Carrie (aka prjstartercarrie) finished up her version of StevenBe’s Mermaid Shawl.

We get a little competitive over who has donated more to Community Links International (an environmental, service-learning, immersion, volunteer, and international educational organization supported by the good folks at Frog Tree Alpaca) through Goodsearch.  You can join the competition by registering on the site (it’s free, and every internet search you make throws another penny in the till).

In On the Runway, Ellen worked on her Forever in the Forest stole and gave her  Great Dayne sweater some attention, too.

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 also worked on a scarf for Dale.

Ellen knit lots and lots of hats - using Kashmir Aran and the Purl Soho pattern, Thank You Hat - Simple Rib, for two of them, doing another one in Sirdar Click Chunky with Wool in yet-to-be-published hat design by Mary Lou Egan, and knitting a preemie hat and a baby hat with remnants of that Kashmir Aran and a pattern of her own device.

Jan finished up Stroll, another Swagger version - this one out of her own handspun of Finnsheep fiber, with a lower increase rate to let it have very long “arms” that can be tied around her in the fashion of a working shawl.

And Ellen has finished the knitting of her double-soled Felfs despite a false start… or two.

In the new segment, Ready to Wear, Jan announced that her Stream Bed Lace Shoulder Stole pattern is now available for purchase.

Stephen Robbins of Pelindaba Lavender was our guest for the Five Minute Interview at about minute 28:30 or so.

Jan and Ellen discuss the various types of colorways -variegated, ombres, and tonal.  Examples of these yarns include Morehouse Farms Merino Variegated Morehouse Merino 2-ply (variegated),  Berocco Ultra Alpaca Tonal (tonal), and Wooltopia Ombre Gradients (Ombre).

Check out the details of PineSlayerDee’s latest slick trick (or at least the latest one on which we have reported) - felting in a dryer - at her post on Ravelry.

Don’t forget to get a chance at winning a skein of Blacker Yarns wool!  Make a comment in the Twinset Designs Ravelry group thread for the Blacker Yarns contest - tell us what yarns you like, and for a bonus entry, comment on something interesting you learned on their website in a separate post. (edited 1/5/14 - Contest is now closed.) Ann aka anarch on Ravelry already was a winner of the Stitchmaps contest.*And all in less than an hour!

Bad blogger, good fix…

Dear Jan,

I believe it has been about 3 months since I promised a bit of a photo tutorial on how to fix a cable long after the sweater is finished. Sorry it has taken so long, but better late than never, eh?

Here is the cable - missing its cross, but only discovered about 15 inches later.  Sure, you could have dropped down and cabled them all again, and I could have, too, but I don’t know that my marriage would have survived the aggravation that would accompany such a maneuver.  Instead, how about just hiding the mistake?

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First step - pick up a row of stitches the width of the cable immediately above the last correct cross.  Pick these up through the sweater - put the needle right through the center of the stitch and draw a loop up from yarn held below the sweater.

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Now knit the proper number of rows until you’d normally cross the cable.  You’ll form a little flap.  You can use the working yarn that you used to form the loops - just pull an end up through the fabric from the back.  It won’t take much to do this fix, just a foot or so of yarn.

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When you get to the row where you’d normally cross the cable, go ahead and cross it.

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Now, neatly and tidily, graft the flap right into place, matching rows.

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Weave in the end, and it will take more than a casual observer to ever find this fix.

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That fixed the cable, but I’m not sure it will fix my blogging frequency.  We’ll see.

Love,

Ellen

Episode 28 — Podcasting Across the Pond


In which we abandon our usual format to welcome a fellow podcaster to the microphone. You’ll have to listen to find out who it is! And in which we discuss what’s going on on both sides of the Atlantic, a bit more about ourselves, and of course, our knitting.

Special guest - Louise from Caithness Craft Collective!

In the Patterns of our Life/Wots e Craic section, Louise describes the long process of making bunting for school decorations…with the help of the children.  No children were harmed in the production of the bunting.  Jan told about the flight south (to the basement freezer) of her flock of turkeys.  Ellen told of a fun evening eating cupcakes with Bevil and then laughing through a Franklin Habit lecture on Victorian craft oddity.

Louise is knitting on a Harry Potter scarf in the Gryffindor colorway. Ellen is working on Felfs and finds that if one is going to get fancy with Felfs, stitch markers are in order. She is making the sole double weight by using Susan Newhall’s Blended Intarsia technique. Jan  worked on her Fog Lights sweater; the original design is the Green Mist pullover by Kerstin Olson.

Ellen reported on some SKY KNITTING - finishing a little hat based on the pattern Grateful out of Louisa Harding Kashmir Aran.  Jan continued working on Stroll, another Swagger version - this one out of her own handspun of Finnsheep fiber, with a lower increase rate to let it have very long “arms” that can be tied around her in the fashion of a working shawl.

Ellen was Bitten by her Knittin’ again when she worked on her Forever in the Forest stole. She is blaming the poor lighting on the airplane. Louise has an Owls sweater in progress, but as it has nibbled her (the decreases got out of order), it is in time out. Her mum had been bitten by knittin’ a mitten, rather, a fingerless glove, in which the fingers got a bit long.

In a fairly long MeMeMeYouYouYou section, the ladies chat about their careers, their dogs, and even the Great Scottish Tapestry.

Louise’s Fun Fur was yellow acrylic yarn for some Despicable Me minion hats.  Jan’s was a punny novel by Michael Shepherd, Easy Street.

We Purloined Purloined - the Knitmore Girls podcast segment - by purloining High Note, Low Note from Paula of the Knitting Pipeline.

We close out the show with a discussion of haggis.  ‘Nuff said.

Episode 27 — Knock, Knock…


In which we extend our thoughts and prayers to those affected by storms near and far, and in which we discuss nasty colds, prolonged podcasting absence, rapid Master Knitter responses and successes, the end of an era in which Solveig reigned in the world of Bohus, responsible use of GPS and liquor, Finnsheep, the Knitting Pipeline Maine Retreat, visiting with dear friends, Blacker Yarns, designing colorwork mitts and more!!

Wow, this is another long episode.  Getting sick gets in the way of all sorts of things - we are glad Jan is feeling more like her spunky self!

You can help all the communities affected by the tornadoes and typhoons by donating what you can to relief organizations, including for tornado relief at Crossroads United Methodist Church.  And in the line of supporting good causes, don’t forget to check out The Art of Felfs, and consider buying it to support cancer research.

Jan and Ellen’s family grew by leaps and bounds - sister, niece and grandniece added to the gang as the Knitmore Girls joined the family.

The news that Solveig Gustafson is retiring from dyeing the reproduction yarns for the Bohus Stickning reproductions hit the knitting world hard.  Cherish those kits if you have them!  Don’t worry, Susanna Hansson will still be teaching her wonderful Bohus Stickning class.  And Kimmet Croft offers a heavier gauge yarn for many of the designs.

Ellen celebrated her completion of the Master Knitter Level II course.  (Lisa will be done any day now!)

Ellen did more than knit these last few weeks - she sewed, too!  Holiday napkins and also a knitting project bag, nicely lined and zipped.  Tutorial here and here.

Jan’s family continues to grow even more - by one cat as Heidi and Marie move to an apartment that only allows two cats and they need to leave one behind with Jan and Dale and in the spring by 4 or 5 Finnsheep.  The contract on the lamb purchase is signed and Jan gets the pick of the litter.

Jan took a trip east to her buddy Heidi’s where she lolled about Iron Horse Yarns to celebrate her successful navigation without a real map.  Putting one’s trust in a GPS takes faith.

Jan had that faith, and made her way up to Maine where she enjoyed the Knitting Pipeline Retreat with stops at Saco River Farms and Saco River Dyehouse, Tess Yarns,  connections to knitters like Hannah Fettig and Pam Allen, and I understand they all ate Magic Cake.  It seems that if you town is named Portland, you are in a fabulous fiber city.  And that was without even mentioning the wonderful knitters Jan enjoyed at the retreat.  If you want a taste of how wonderful they were, check out woolybear368’s videocast.  She was the perfect roommate for Jan.

Both of us had lots on the runway.  Jan is working on Stroll, another Swagger version - this one out of her own handspun of Finnsheep fiber, with a lower increase rate to let it have very long “arms” that can be tied around her in the fashion of a working shawl.  She’s also working on a linen stitch scarf for Dale.   Jan also worked on her Fog Lights sweater; the original design is the Green Mist pullover by Kerstin Olson.  And of course, Jan is working on some more Felfs.  Ellen is also doing Felfs, making the sole double weight by using Susan Newhall’s Blended Intarsia technique. She is using Frog Tree Ewetopia, a 50:50 merino:superwash merino blend (great for felting!).

Ellen made great progress on her  Great Dayne sweater and it is becoming a real sweater - now with sleeves!  She has developed an I-cord edging that includes the lacy cable from the raglan seams.   She is well on her way to finishing her Tunisian crochet mitts and hopes to have a pattern out soon. Her friend Cammy brought a blending board to knit group, and Ellen blended, spun and then knit a little holiday ornament.

Forever in the Forest is got a bit more attention from Ellen as well.

Ellen was bitten by her knittin’ when she failed to follow her own design intentions while working on her self-designed colorwork mitts out of Blacker Yarns Pure Teeswater DK and Pure Dark Wensleydale.  She finished an adult hat using the pattern Grateful out of Louisa Harding Kashmir Aran which is a merino, microfiber, cashmere chain-structure yarn that is machine washable.  With the remnants she designed a little preemie or tiny newborn hat, which she calls Grateful for Babies.  She also knit a tiny bag out of a swatch kit for the Scilla Bohus design.  It fits her cell phone perfectly.

In the new design element, Swatcha Doin’?, Jan and Ellen review the yarns Ellen with which is knitting her colorwork mitt design. Both are DK weight, worsted spun, in 50 g skeins that are 119 yds in length.  Lustrous, haloed, and supple and strong - both twins enjoyed the yarns a lot.  Ellen, as mentioned, is designing a colorwork mitt of the two, they worked so well together.  The Blacker Yarns website is a delight and so full of information - go check it out right now!

For a bit of Negative Space, Ellen shared the value of untangling one’s projects as well as one’s life - freeing up space for knitting.

In Design Principles, Ellen discussed the principles she is following in the design of her colorwork mitts - everything from yarn choice to techniques used for what is to be a simple knit and how to adapt for varying gauges by stitch pattern.

There is other designing going on in the DALKAL - the Design-Along, Knit-Along of Swagger.  Check out the Ravelry group for details on this contest for a skein of Wollmeise!

Check out the Knitting Daily post on the Shirley Paden Design-Along to see a photo and the process Ellen finished in creating her SPDAL3 sweater.

Ellen has been very busy with her spinning - much more of her CorriedaleX on her Louet Victoria, a BFL roving on her great wheel, Cat (Catherine the Great…Wheel), and some more BFL on her Turkish Spindle.   Jan has been spinning Corriedale, too, in brilliant greens.  She did these on her Kromski wheel and plans to ply them and then cable those plies.  Fiber Jargon for the week is “liquor”, aka the dyebath.

Ellen is enjoying her new water oven, the Sous Vide Supreme Demi.  Jan is thinking her turkeys will weigh out to 14-24 lbs, probably too big for this.

In Fun Fur, Ellen exclaimed with joy over her Blue Moon’s Fiber Arts Rockin’ Whorl club delivery.  She forgot she’d joined the club! Jan’s FF is Words with Friends, an app for smartphones that let you play word games with friends.

Jan’s Slick Trick saves you from having to figure out where to pick up stitches in a thumb for a mitt.  In the first row after casting to create the thumb, instead of just knitting in the newly cast on stitches, kfb in each. On the next round, separate the stitches and put the purl stitches on one needle, ready to knit the thumb, and the others on the needle that is knitting the hand of the mitt.   You are all ready to knit the thumb!

And you are ready to gain a chance at winning a skein of Blacker Yarns wool!  Make a comment in the Twinset Designs Ravelry group thread for the Blacker Yarns contest - tell us what yarns you like, and for a bonus entry, comment on something interesting you learned on their website in a separate post.

The Stitch Maps contest continues - check out the contest thread quickly, as it is due to close the end of November which technically, already took place.

Thanksgiving will find Ellen and Jan together and recording with a virtual guest for the next podcast.  Tune in and find out who it is!

Cheers,

Ellen and Jan

Bohus Baby…

Dear Jan,

Once upon a time there was a woman married to a kind hearted man.  The woman knew what she wanted most for a special gift -  a Bohus sweater.  The kind hearted man wanted to please that woman, beyond her wildest expectations, so he gave her not just a Bohus sweater, but the matching hat.  Such was her delight to receive Den Grönsiska* in a matching set that some time later she had her portrait made with her firstborn while wearing the lovely garments. 

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The woman loved many people, including family and friends, and later in life she in turn gave the hat to a friend.  Even later, that friend knew someone who would cherish that hat just as much as the woman, and they gave it to my dear friend, Susanna, who shared story and hat with me during my recent visit.

And that is the story of how I got to hold and admire this hat myself, quite some time ago now, but still fresh in my memory.  Bohus magic.

Love,

Ellen

*Green Finch

Never bored with Bohus…

Dear Jan,

As you are well aware, the knitting world saw another bit of history this month.  On November 2, Solveig Gustafson announced that several of the Bohus reproduction kits which she has meticulously created in collaboration with the Bohusläns Museum, would no longer be available.  In short order, the list of available kits grew shorter and shorter as word spread (much of the spreading occurring on the Ravelry Bohus group) that she had decided to enter a more relaxed period of life with time for other creative pursuits.  And then the museum had to start marking its stock of Solveig’s kits as unavailable, too, as Bohus devotees swamped their website in search of one more lovely kit.  At the time I write this post, every kit except Mountain Peaks on Solveig’s site is now unavailable, and I believe the museum is also out of stock.

Many in the Bohus-loving portion of the knitting world  are wishing they’d ordered a kit or two more when they first fell in love with them.  Many are being philosophical about it, appreciating the great effort Solveig and her husband made to create the kits even as they wish they had just one more in stash. And the English speakers are also appreciating the translations by Susanna Hansson.  Susanna will continue to teach her Bohus class, and well worth it, it is, for the history and inspiration and chance to see the Bohus Stickning originals in her collection.

Here is one of those originals, which I had the opportunity to photograph on a trip in 2013.

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This is a design that was new to me - Cornflower.   Susanna had not just the sweater, but also a hat and scarf.  This design is in 100% wool, so the design stands out crisply.

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And for something to really blow your mind - Bohus bits.  The original Bohus designer who shared them with Susanna just whacked pieces off for her.  THAT, my dear, is true friendship.

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For those of you who would like to indulge in even more Bohus beauty, check out my Flickr set for lots more beauty shots and some pics of a modern reproduction of Red Edge (Susan Newhall’s work) laid next to the authentic garment, showing the amazing job by Solveig in dyeing the new yarns.  You’ll also find a Lemon and a Blue Light, plus shots of a special hat.

Yes, I did feel a bit faint playing with these beautiful originals.  And with the end of an era of Solveig’s dyeing, I feel a bit fainter.  Thank you, Solveig, for the wonderful pleasure of working with these wonderful garments.  I am so glad I am several kits ahead in my stash and have many hours of Bohus knitting in front of me.

Love,

Ellen

Episode 26 — More Felfs, Less Chemo!!

In which we discuss the Cat Bordhi Fall knitting Retreat, Frog Tree Yarns, the impressive research of David Krag (who with the help of knitters will eliminate the need for chemotherapy for many cancer patients!!!), Yoda and Red Roosters, Master Knitter II Submission madness and wild and crazy chess players, aquaknitting, The House of Jerky, super food, dressing like twins, the designer Melinda VerMeer (she does not have a pearl earring) and how knitters can do great good in the world.  (More Felfs!  Less Chemo!)

Wow, this is a long episode.  If nothing else, listen to some good folks doing good work - we have an interview with Jim Petkiewicz from Frog Tree Yarn at 59:00, Cat Bordhi and her “More Felfs, Less Chemo!” initiative at 1:08:25, and the lovely designer Melinda VerMeer at 45:25 minutes in.  The rest is Jan and me blethering on about our knitting and lives and maybe we toss a wee bit of useful information in, too, as detailed below.

Thanks, Jay and Judy, for the sweet iTunes review!  It has earned you an invitation to the farm, I think.  And thanks, Sandra, for the Bernat Tizzy dishcloths - a simple garter square, but simply delightful and useful.

In Patterns of our Lives, we didn’t mean to turn you all pea green with envy at the fun we’ve been having, but we did have a lot of fun between the Cat Bordhi Fall Retreat in Friday Harbor, Washington, our Seattle dinner with Paula and Marty, touring at the Pike Place Market and Underground Seattle, a score of Hazelknits Divine in the wild (accompanied by meeting Hazelknits and her dye partner in person!).   Once home, Ellen stayed up late with Lisa getting their Master Knitter Level II resubmissions done, and then stayed up some more with some wild chess players.  They plyed her with New Glarus Brewing Co. Moon Man No Coast Ale.   Jan welcomed Heidi, her daughter-in-law to the farm while she and Marie find a new place to live in the area, and she welcomed the alien Yoda, I mean Yoda, to the farm to play mascot goat to the alpacas.

Ellen admitted to trying Scotch - and liking it.  Louise of Caithness Craft Collective is chuckling about this one.

While on San Juan Island for Cat’s retreat, Jan and Ellen visited Pelindaba Lavender Farm, Island Wools, and the House of Jerky and were visited by Lopez Island Fibers.  Wools that Jan and Ellen enjoyed knitting with included Frog Tree Ewetopia, a 50:50 merino:superwash merino blend (great for felting!) and Lion Brand LB Collection Pure Wool.  Jan was working on a triple-twist mobius felted bowl and a tea cozy in the latter yarn, Ellen worked on felfs out of the Ewetopia.

Jan worked 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 hopes to finish it by January, but not sure it will be January 2014 or 2015.  Ellen made great progress on her  Great Dayne sweater and it is becoming a real sweater!  She hopes to get it finished soon and written up into an actual pattern.

Another project Jan got going during the retreat is another Swagger version - this one out of her own handspun of Finnsheep fiber, with a lower increase rate to let it have very long “arms” that can be tied around her in the fashion of a working shawl.  Both Jan and Ellen started Felfs! and finished, them, too, during the retreat itself.

Ellen had another bout of knitting everything.   She finished one more (her fourth) Harmonia’s Rings cowl by Sivia Harding, this one out of leftovers from prior cowls knit in Berocco Ultra Alpaca. She finished, as in decided to end, her work on the Domino Muffler by Vivian Hoxbro which she was knitting out of Habu Textiles merino/stainless laceweight.  The colors weren’t working, it was futsy working with a doubled strand - time to move on to better horizons. Nothing wrong with the pattern, just with the particular rendition Ellen was trying.

Forever in the Forest is really truly becoming a stole and got a bit more attention.  Also getting a bit, a small bit, of attention, were her self-designed fingerless mitts (not sleeveless, though it will be that) out of Tunisian Crochet.  She did make good progress on her Chain Mail gloves.  Not so much progress on the spinning, but her BFL fiber she brought did get a daily yard or two twisted out of it.

Ellen’s take on Kelly William’s Strib Hat did get good attention in the form of SKY KNITTING.  All but the last crown decreases were finished on the airplane, and those were finished during the drive to the island.  This hat will be donated to StevenBe’s Hats for the Homeless campaign.

Jan’s SKY KNITTING was the comletion of her version of the Lullaby Rain shawl by Paula Emons-Fuessle , which she calls Misty Morning.

And Ellen did finish one more project - the second poncho from Poncho-mania night at Lisa’s.  With two identical ponchos, the twins had a great time amusing the islanders by dressing somewhat identically for the first time in decades.

After the trip, Jan did finish her tri-fold bowl, her Bohus reproduction and has more Felf’s in the work.  Ellen focused on her Great Dayne sweater and also finished one of her Tunisian mitts.

Jan did get bitten by her knitting.  By her own pattern!  While trying to SKY KNIT during her red eye flight, she smocked an edge far too soon and then worked for another two hours before she realized it.   All she can say is “drat”.   She also decided to frog the design she was working on for the Percasocks and sent the yarn to Florida, in a sense.

Jan also finished a design for the Streambed Lace Shoulder Stole.  Look for a pattern soon!

Melinda VerMeer doesn’t just talk about putting out patterns, she actually publishes.  She recently had Nympholidaea published in Knitty, and she has many other lovely designs available.  Twinset Designs can get a 25% discount on Melinda’s patterns through November using the coupon code, twinset.

Jim Petkiewicz of Frog Tree Yarn shared his story - about the development of their yarns, about the not-for-profit status of Frog Tree and the good they do, and how knitters can share in doing that good.  One way is to register on Goodsearch and shop through Goodshop, selecting the Community Links International charity to receive the pennies that do add up with every click at no additional cost to the searcher or shopper.

Cat Bordhi explained how her new ebook, The Art of Felfs, will support research into targeted cancer therapy - without chemo!  Go buy the book.  Not only are Felfs adorable and fun to knit, you’re doing it for everyone you love.  More Felfs, Less Chemo!

In 360 degrees, Jan got busy upon getting home from the Retreat with a bundle of alpaca fiber samples to wash and spin.  She is evaluating alpaca fiber samples for the Spin Off competition at an upcoming Alpaca Association show.  She got to see quite an array of samples and put a lot of work into it, but hopes handling this variety of fiber will just help her own fiber knowledge development.

Ellen has been spinning more of her CorriedaleX fleece on her Louet Victoria, as well as spinning a roving on Catherine the Great Wheel, using the walking spinning as a cool down after running.  She’s been spinning the CorriedaleX with a long draw and the great wheel spinning is working best, at least with combed top, spun from the fold.

Jan told us more about a previously mentioned Embellishment - Stitch-maps.com.   And one of our listeners has a chance to win a basic subscription to Stitch-maps, courtesy of JC Briar, creator of Stitch-maps.  Just post a comment on the contest thread in our Ravelry group, telling us which of the stitch patterns on the site is your favorite.  Or favorites, if you can’t pick just one.

Ellen’s Fun Fur - Trader Joe’s Pretzel Buns.  (Stop snickering, Jan.)  Jan’s Fun Fur was bunny races.  See the Bunny Hop here.

In Slick Trick’s, Ellen shared a brilliant idea by Dee, also known as PineSlayerDee, which was shared on Ravelry here.  Dee’s No-Twist Circular Knitting Cast On Method creates a little collar which lets you hold your circular cast-on in proper alignment for joining the needles with absolutely no chance of introducing a twist.  Brilliant!

Hurry and sign up for the Carolina Fiber Frolic - all retreat, just relaxed knitting.  Mention Twinset Designs for early registration pricing.  But hurry, the retreat is coming up Nov. 8-10.

Jan’s Fashion Forecast is to see several of our listeners at the Knitting Pipeline Maine Retreat.  Ellen is jealous, but she’ll comfort herself by visiting the Fall Fiber Festival in Hopkins, MN.

Don’t forget our design challenge, 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.

Don’t knit like my sister!

Enjoy the show!

Episode 25 — Three + One = Five

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 described the meaning of the fiber term, diz, a device used to draw a roving from a comb or drum carder.  Ellen discussed punis - a fiber prep form for spinning.

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!

Episode 24 — Orange is the New Black

In which we discuss the new Knitty, lakes that aren’t lakes, really great spinning wheels, black…err…um…orange cats, more tomatoes, a Swagger KAL, the Ricefield Collective, lack of yarn, failure to read patterns, getting from design ideas to actual written patterns, a prize weiner and busy days ahead.

Ellen and Betsy (aka Bevil on Ravelry) made a trek to Wisconsin and visited Black Cat Farmstead, purveyors of antique spinning wheels, handspun and spinning fiber, and other lovely things like jewelry and soap.  They enjoyed a gorgeous drive through rolling farm country and along the side of Lake Pepin, which is actually a very wide spot in the Mississippi River.

Jan stayed home and processed the harvest - lavender and tomatoes mostly.  Once she gets her fiber sales going, you might get a little lavender sachet in your package, should you buy some!  The farm continues to grow - Jan has bought yet another alpaca, Chena, another female so you can count on the herd continuing to grow.

Ellen is working on the Harmonia’s Rings cowl by Sivia Harding.  She’s knitting it out of Berroco Vintage, a washable wool:synthetic blend, which creates a problem.  The directions for washing say to turn the garment inside out, but this garment is a mobius ring, so how is this possible? (heh!)

She is also continuing work on her  Forever in the Forest stole, out of Misti Alpaca lace weight and based on the Forest Path Stole by Faina M. Letoutchaia.  And she reports that the fabric of her Grey Mountains (Mountain Peaks, a Bohus reproduction) hat (kit from SOLsilke) is luscious knit at the fine gauge of a size 0 needle.

Jan is also knitting a Bohus almost-reproduction.  It would be, except she has swapped out some colors to bring it more to her taste.  Her Fog Lights sweater is coming along nicely; the original design is the Green Mist pullover by Kerstin Olson.  She is also working on another misty project - Misty Morning, her version of Paula Emons-Fuessle’s Lullaby Rain shawl.  It may have stalled a bit due to an error in the lace several rows back and some philosophical pondering of whether she needs more yarn.

It seems Jan isn’t wondering if she has enough of that bulky handspun (which we’ve been discussing for a few episodes now) to knit mittens - she certainly doesn’t.  But enough is enough and she has converted to knitting fingerless mitts, for which there was enough yarn, without a single full gram to spare.

Ellen has finely and finally finished Musing, her Shirley Paden Design Along 3 project.  It was knit out of Classic Elite Soft Linen, a warm, dense yarn, so despite being short-sleeved, it will likely be a winter sweater.  Watch for a pattern to come out of this one!

Jan and Ellen discuss various approaches to design in the Design Principles section.  Books that they find useful include Knit Notes: Explore * Design * Create and also Shirley Paden’s Knitwear Design Workshop.

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.  More details to come!

In 360 degrees, Ellen talks about how great her wheel is - her new Great Wheel, that is, which was the result of her trip to Black Cat Farmstead.  She hopes a walking wheel will increase the amount of exercise she gets!  Jan got some spinning done - 8 ounces of 50% alpaca/50% wool w/ Blue Magic (angellina) in the Under the Sea colorway from Gurdy Run Woolen Mill ,  a bit of Columbia on the gorgeous painted jasper whorl drop spindle that was a gift from dear friend, Heidi, and she is preparing spin off entries for Dorito and Dipper - not for them to spin, but of their fleeces!

Jan’s embellishment this episode is the Terrace Cowl from the Ricefield Collective.

Ellen used her Slick Trick for the episode in finishing her Musing sweater - when picking up stitches for a band or whatever, use a needle two sizes smaller so that the connection is crisp.  Jan’s ST is to use a smaller needle when executing Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy bind off to get a bound edge that is stretchy but doesn’t flare.

Jaxie985 won the Design Elements contest that ran all summer - congratulations!

Enjoy the show!

Episode 23 — Second Sock Syndrome

In which we discuss our Seattle trip for the fabulous Bohus knitting workshop, the weather, fair food, prizes for knitting everywhere, camelid fiber grading workshops, capturing domestic and wild life, Bohus knitting and reknitting, share a negative space essay about returning home, and learn some more fiber jargon and another slick trick.

We are thrilled that so many of you have chosen to listen, and even more thrilled when we get to meet you in person.  Thanks, Holly and Kathy, for joining us in Seattle to knit and chat a bit!

Seattle was the focus of the Patterns of our Lives for the last few weeks - we both attended a special workshop with Susanna Hansson on the history and techniques of Bohus Stickning, the couture house that produced fabulous and precious sweaters in the mid-decades of the 20th century.  Susanna is a fabulous teacher, and the custom workshop for our small group was fabulous.  Thank you, Susanna!   And thank you to Paula and Marty, Ellen’s SIL and BIL, who hosted the twins for an interlude after the workshop in their gorgeous lake home.

Bohus sweaters weren’t all that were showing up in the Patterns of Our Lives.   Jan turned around from her Seattle trip and headed to Ohio and Magical Farms, the largest alpaca ranch in the country, for a fiber grading workshop.  Ellen (along with Lisa and friends) hit the State Fair and ate her way through to the Creative Activities barn, where they both enjoyed seeing some winning garments, including three second places in the various sock categories. Congratulations to Bevil, Jennifer, and any other listeners who won ribbons at the state fair or in their county or regional fairs.

Jan is done with her garden, or at least all the work of putting up the harvest.  And she is done with the groundhog that took up an abode under her porch - thanks to Dale and his Hav-a-hart trap.  Ellen is just getting into the gardening spirit after adopting a friend’s garden that would have gone unharvested while the friend is out of state this fall.

On the Runway features a Bohus reproduction sweater that Jan started in Seattle - her version of Green Mist which she is calling Fog Lights.  She has swapped out several of the colors to move the design from the original misty version to one that is more vivid and is loving knitting it.  Jan’s version of  Siesta, a T-shirt by Carol Feller, is taking a reposo, but she made some headway on her version of Paula Emons-Fuessle’s Lullaby Rain Shawl which she is knitting out of Knit Picks Galileo, 50/50 merino bamboo in the Sand colorway.  She is also working up a coaster for the Caithness Craft Collective swap.  No details about it until it is in the hands of her swapmate, pgknittingnurse, also known as Andrea.

Ellen said she had less on the runway, but actually had 6 knitting projects going.  All of her recent work on n Musing, her Shirley Paden Design Along 3 project, seems to have clouded her mind.  Other projects that saw the light of day included her Master Knitter Level 2 resubmission,    Forever in the Forest, out of Misti Alpaca lace weight and based on the Forest Path Stole by Faina M. Letoutchaia, and her Bohus sweater,  Rimfrost, aka Many Moments of Grace. She continues to work on a gloves-design-in-progress and cast on a new project, too - Gray Mountains, a hat in the Mountain Peaks Bohus design in the gray colorway.  The yarn is a fine fingering 100% wool yarn - 170 sts on size 0 (US) around the head!  Another new Bohus project for Ellen - a tiny pouch in progress from the Scilla design swatch kit which she received as part of the workshop.

Bohus knitting is featured in the Bitten by My Knittin’ design element, too.  Ellen came to the bitter conclusion that her experimental top down sleeve caps on her Rimfrost cardigan were just not working and frogged the both sleeves back to the armholes.  The yoke tension is also looking a little iffy.  Jan admitted that she didn’t read the pattern thoroughly and jumped ahead to splitting the sleeves and body off from the yoke on her Bohus pullover and had to frog back to correct abnormally short armholes.

Jan has completed her version of her design, Swagger, out of St. Charles’ Luna, a kid mohair/silk laceweight.  Promenade, her project, is being used as a shop model at Flying Fibers.

In the design element, Design Challenge, Ellen thanks Arlen of the Lost Geek podcast for the suggestion to look at the Simpleknits blog for ideas to knit from 1-285 yards of yarn.  Jan has a new design challenge - what sweater pattern would be great for a stylish, athletic young man?

360 Degrees: Ellen reported the finishing of one more yertle from Susan’s Spinning Bunny, a BFL roving dyed in the Sled Dog colorway. Jan’s life kept her spinning enough that she didn’t need any more from a wheel or spindle!

In Fiber Jargon, we discussed combing, carding, and gilling.  No, there was no fishing involved.

For a Slick Trick to avoid forgetting that second decrease in rows where you “decrease one st on each end”, Ellen suggests clipping a st marker in place at the end of the row as soon as you do that first decrease.  When you hit the marker, it reminds you to do the second decrease.

The Fashion Forecast is for a northwoods knitting retreat for Ellen at the Lost in the Woods Knitting Retreat hosted by Sisu Designs.  This one is full, but a second retreat is being offered later in the fall if you are interested.  Jan is returning to Magical Farms for a fiber processing weekend, and both twins will be going to Friday Harbor in October for a Cat Bordhi retreat.  Sounds like a good autumn, doesn’t it?!

There is still one contest running to close out the Twinset Summer - 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.  Contest will close soon after the first of September.

Enjoy the show!