twinset.us

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

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!

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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love,

Ellen

Episode 19 — Knit Everything!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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