twinset.us

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

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!

Episode 22 — Otter Nonsense

In which we discuss zoological explorations, tomatoes coming out of our ears, pedicures for alpaca, holographic Kelly Clarkson, biking to work, state fair entries, making a sweater in 2 years, fiber preparations, yertles (fiber turtles), and a meetup in Seattle.

Thanks to Dr. Gemma and Mary for their nice comments on Swagger on their respective pod- and videocasts, Cogknitive and The Knitting Dish!  (Both are worth a listen, regardless of their support of Jan’s pattern.)

In Patterns of our Lives, Jan stayed crazy busy, with guests, produce processing, new sheds (thanks, Dale!), and even a concert at which she got to see a holographic Kelly Clarkson. Jason Aldean was the headliner, but she liked the opener, Jake Owen.  Ellen hasn’t heard of either, and wouldn’t have recognized Kelly.  She is living in the music world of the 70’s and 80’s (thank you, MTV, for getting me through those long colicky nights…).

Ellen and Wilson visited the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley.  They had a wonderful day of ogling otters, taking notice of tigers, and beholding butterflies.  They got some biking in, some kayaking, and Ellen got lots of entries in to the MN State Fair.

Jan is moving several projects that she cast on previously - another  version of her design, Swagger, this time out of two skeins of St. Charles’ Luna, a kid mohair/silk laceweight that will show how versatile the pattern really is.  Her tip - weight both skeins and start with the lightest (they may vary by a few grams), and make the end of that skein the center of the scarf/shawl.  You’ll most certainly have enough yarn to finish in that case!   Siesta, a T-shirt by Carol Feller, got some attention, too.  And though she intended to, she hasn’t actually yet cast on for Misty Morning, her version of Paula Emons-Fuessle’s Lullaby Rain Shawl.  Something about a yarn selection problem…  She does have another version of her Summer Turban well underway.
Ellen has many WIPs but was fairly focused this week, getting the most work done on Blue Moons (see later!).   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.  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, and Black Spruce, her version of the Sarah Punderson design, Adirondack, in Cascade Venezia (silk/wool).  She found her Bohus sweater,  Rimfrost, aka Many Moments of Grace, and worked on the sleeves during the recording of this episode.

The knitting seems to have been kind of hungry.  Ellen described adding buttonholes to a ribbed band after the fact in her Blue Moons cardigan and also how to fix a mis-crossed cable (or at least make it appear to be fixed).  She also got to fix the edge of her Black Spruce shawl - once again, worked the wrong edge stitch!

Jan’s biggest knitting issues were more yarn issues, causing her to frog her start to a project with her bulky handspun because she realized the color just wasn’t right for near her face; instead of a hat, it will be mittens. She did have to frog back a bit to fix a mis-crossed cable on the edge of her Siesta sweater.

After doing all the fixes on her Blue Moons cardigan, knit out of hand-spun, hand-dyed yarn using the Veronik Avery Forestry Cardigan pattern, Ellen is delighted to report that she finished it just in time for entry into the MN State Fair.   Jan didn’t have any Finely or Finally Finished Objects, but she is close on her next Swagger.

360 Degrees: Ellen reported the finishing of one more yertle (the little turtle shaped (or yurt-shaped) cops of singles that one gets off a Turkish spindle).  She is spinning fiber from Susan’s Spinning Bunny, a BFL roving dyed in the Sled Dog colorway. Jan dyed some handspun - using onion skins and alum plus cream of tartar and got a gorgeous antique gold that even Dale admired.

In a reprise on spinning terms, Ellen did some research and found an Abby Franquemont article from Spin-Off that should be helpful in understanding the differences between top, roving, sliver and more.

Fun Fur - or should we say Fun fur all!  Ellen’s Fun Fur is her rediscovery of the humor in Mathnet, a skit from the Square One TV math education show of the 80’s.  Highly recommended, educational for the kids and hilarious for the parents.  The episode which so tickled her was the pilot, The Problem of the Missing Baseball.

Jan described the Slick Trick of using a green scrubby to deflect the rinse water from a garment or skein of yarn so as to prevent any chance of felting.  Ellen’s contribution to this segment was the crossing of the last stitch in the shoulder with the first stitch in the neckline bind off so as to prevent any gapping at that corner.

Already Wieners - Lakchi won the depiller challenge and promises to report back on her findings.  Congratulations!

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.

Both twins share a Fashion Forecast - a trip to Seattle for a Bohus workshop with Susanna Hansson! Meet-up details on the the Twinset Designs Ravelry group.

Enjoy the show!

Episode 21 — Hello, Violet!

In which we discuss the birth of Violet…other stuff too, but really, Violet is what was important. (Okay, we also discuss beach vacations, 90th birthday parties, chickens to the freezer, knitting polygamy, making iced tea more delicious, a few knitting nibbles, what to do with 80 yards of bulky handspun, roving, top, batt and sliver (oh, my!) and have a delightful visit by Dr. Yarn.)

Along with the age of majority (21 episodes), we hit the nice round number of 500 members in our Ravelry group.  Thanks to all for joining in the fun!

In Patterns of our Lives, Ellen reported on a relaxing week at the beach after which she came back to a new job.  Jan, as a good big sister, willingly answered Ellen’s request for advice on how to settle in and start to add value.  In a nutshell, she said to open up your ears to people inside and outside of your new organization so you can get the full picture of what is working well and what might be improved.

Jan had a much less relaxing but more exciting time, welcoming many to the farm to celebrate her MIL’s 90th birthday, moving turkeys around, butchering the broiler chickens, and most important - welcoming their newly born cria, Fair Wind’s Shrinking Violet!

Ellen has many projects on the runway.   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.  She is well into the front bands on her Blue Moons cardigan, knit out of hand-spun, hand-dyed yarn using the Veronik Avery Forestry Cardigan pattern.  She is going to have to figure out buttons very soon.  Double breasted?  Toggle and loop as Jan used in her Manly cardigan?  Check in next episode and find out.

Jan has been casting on new projects - another  version of her design, Swagger, this time out of commercial yarn.  It may not have actually been cast on at the time this episode was recorded!  She did cast on for Siesta, a T-shirt by Carol Feller. And she is working on another shawl which she is calling Misty Morning, her version of Paula Emons-Fuessle’s Lullaby Rain Shawl.

Ellen’s runway show continued with additional work on the edge of Bambinoo, a self-designed baby blanket out of Be Sweet Bamboo. 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, and Black Spruce, her version of the Sarah Punderson design, Adirondack, in Cascade Venezia (silk/wool).  She couldn’t work on her Bohus sweater,  Rimfrost, aka Many Moments of Grace, because it seems to have gone missing (no foul play is suspected, just foul housekeeping).

The knittin’ was nibblin’ more than biting - Ellen had to tink back to correct a few stitches gone awry in her lace and Jan had some computer issues, but no major frogging took place in the last few weeks.  For Ellen, no finishing took place either, so Jan took a  solo turn for the Finely or Finally Knit segment.

She reworked her Summer Turban, a cure cap for a friend with cancer, to correct for size and to make sure she had enough yarn to finish.  It is out of a soft cotton and will be reminiscent of a head wrap when finished.    She has also finished her Cornish Dormouse tea cozy for the Caithness Craft Collective swap.

Both twins are keeping to their Tour de Fleece goals.  Jan says the cops from Turkish spindles remind her of Mongolian yurts; Ellen says they look like turtles.  From henceforth, they shall be called yurtles, at least where the Twinset is concerned.

In Fiber Jargon, Ellen attempts to decipher the difference between top, roving, and sliver, but admits more research is needed to get the details straight on sliver.  Dr. Yarn would not need to do this research, he would know.  You can enjoy some of his wisdom in this episode’s 5 Minute Interview.

As an Embellishment, Jan recommends that we all check out, wait, what was that again? Oh, yes, Lumosity.  A friend of ours attests to its helpfulness at building brain power; Jan attests to how much fun it is.  Ellen shared her Fun Fur enjoyed on her beach vacation - iced tea laced with Limoncello.  For a less sweet version, Jan recommends Limoncini.  Or something like that - Ellen does not speak Italian, but she is typing up the show notes!

Jan’s Slick Trick is to wash hand-knit socks in a wool wash like Soak or Eucalan that doesn’t require rinsing, hence eliminating one cycle of agitation and therefore one more chance to felt those socks.

Several of our listeners got to learn that They May Already Be Weiners!  yrallee, sewingmomy, and desz72 all won Brenda Castiel patterns, and anniepins won a copy of History on Two Needles.

The twins will try to get one more episode in before they head west to Seattle for a Bohus knitting retreat with Susanna Hansson and a group of their knitting friends.   Jan will then be heading to Magical Alpacas in Ohio for a fiber judging course.

Enjoy the show!

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?

0707-blog2-1.jpg

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!

0707-blog-1.jpg

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.

0707-blog1-1.jpg

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.

img_4858.jpg

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.

img_4840.jpg

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.

img_4845.jpg

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.

img_4813.jpg

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.

img_4812.jpg

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.

img_4820.jpg

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.

img_4822.jpg

The beaded cast on reminds me of dew drops.

img_4824.jpg

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!