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

Archive for the ‘Dr. Yarn’

Episode 65 — It’s a Squid. Really.

HI, ALL – sorry the blog hasn’t been updated for quite some time. We’re having some technical issues paired with lives so full we haven’t had time to connect with the support team. We hope to resolve this sometime soon.? In the meantime, check our discussion group at Ravelry.com for links to the more recent episodes.?

Thanks, The TwinSet

In which we discuss how short was the interval between this and the last episode (and yet in which we manage to create almost an hour of audio), jumping the broom, work interfering with knitting, and the fact that Squishy the Squid truly is a squid (and not what others have intimated). Plus, we have another visit from Dr. Yarn!

Listen here: Episode 65 — It’s a Squid. Really.

Episode 64 — What Day Is It?

In which we discuss Ellen’s travels to Sweden for World Water Week (there was no wave pool or water slides), apple trees, quick visits with New York daughters, winning state fair entries, squid knitting, and have a short visit with Dr. Yarn and an essay on “Why We Farm.”

Episode 52 — Five Years in the Making!

In which we discuss how good it is to be back, trips to Ohio to be with family, catching up at work, Sanibel Island get-aways, judgmental spinning, animal husbandry, rivers of birds and finishing a masterpiece!

And though these certainly don’t qualify as full-blown show notes, the registration form for the TwinSet Summer Camp (July 10-12, 2015 in Darlington, MD) is HERE.

Thanks to listeners, old and new, for joining us!

Patterns of Our Lives:

Both of us appreciated the time we spent together as a family, and we appreciated the support we received in the messages from listeners.

Ellen did quite a bit of tech editing – two hats, Annika and Constance, and some mittens called? Checks and Balances by Laura Ricketts.? Laura writes a nice pattern. ? You should check them out!? She also edited another pattern for Mary Lou Egan, The Pine Point hat, also available on Ravelry.

Jan has been fencing things in, including her tax papers. She reports that Valor is being a gentleman and helping the ewes get their share of hay.? Between farm work, judging fiber samples that are due soon, and a heavy workload, the time has spun by for her.

Ellen and Wilson took a midwinter escape to Sanibel Island and Ft Myers, Florida.? Highlights included alligators, manatees, cottonmouths, Florida fighting conches, and much, much more.? She highly recommends (as she did last year) a visit to the Ding Darling National Wildlife Reserve.? The 6 Mile Cypress Slough Preserve and Manatee Park are also high on her list.

Finely or Finally Knit

Ellen finished her Bohus Reproduction, Many Moments of Grace, which is the design Rimfrost by Annika Malmstrom-Baldini!? She used US size 0 needles and 5 years. The hunt for tiny clasps was challenging, but solved by using necklace clasps.Thanks to a tip from turbogal aka Lisa, she used a fine nylon thread to hold the neck of the clasps in place without being seen.

Jan shared that her Bohus reproduction, Fog Lights, only placed 2nd in the Pennsylvania Farm Show.? She said the winning piece was nice, but she couldn’t see how it outshone her sweater.? Perhaps the judges didn’t believe Jan actually knit her gorgeous sweater.

Ellen zipped along on Zip-Line and got a second sweater off the needles.? It follows the Elizabeth Zimmerman approach to a mock saddle shoulder sweater (see Knitting without Tears for the technique).? Ellen will create a design from this prototype, taking into account that the fabric needs to be denser (Jean Frost would agree that jackets should use a firm fabric.)

Jan created some dense fabric with a pair of a pair of felted Felfs. One pair for Jan, one for Dale.? The yarn, Schoppel Reggae Ombre, is pure wool in an Aran weight that felts very nicely.? She will soon be knitting Felfs out of Patons Classic Wool Roving which also felts very nicely.

Jan knit a pair of simple toe up socks with Patons Classic Wool Superwash DK — done in 41 hours elapsed time. She cast on Saturday evening in the bar with sibs in Ohio, and finished them on the drive home Monday morning.

On the Runway

Jan is got back to her Tilde vest, out of the Ewetopia from Frogtree Yarns and is making good progress.

And Ellen continues the work on the socks she is working up? for Modeknit Yarns out of ModeSock.? The pattern is well underway, but she wants to knit one more sock as a sample of another size. And that is all.

Bitten by our Knittin’

Zip-line bit Ellen in the form of mis-crossed cables.? Happily, heavy worsted weight yarn reknits quickly.

Grafting her hems in place on her Bohus reproduction nearly drove Ellen around the bend.? Lots of experiments (and lots of ripping out) ended up with a nice smooth hem.

Her socks managed to bite her, too.? She didn’t count the stitches for her heel flap correctly, so the heel flap also needed to be reknit.

Ready to Wear

Already mentioned above – Ellen called out the recent patterns she tech edited.

Negative Space.

It isn’t trite, it’s true.? Every stitch of knitting and every word of comfort add up to comfort.

Design Principles

Jan says you need to organize yourself to design. She didn’t do that last year, at least not the part about organizing herself to translate the knitted objects into a pattern.? Schedule time, arrange the space, arrange your tools, and make it a priority objective. If it isn’t a priority, that’s ok, but don’t expect it to happen.

5 Minute Interview

Dr. Yarn tells us about animal husbandry.? We can not recommend you reference this in any school projects.

360 Degrees

Bits of color! Ellen spun 1 oz skeins of Abstract Fibers BFL in several various colorways to share with friends who attended the Knitajourney Midwinter Retreat.? Even if she couldn’t be there, it was nice to know her yarn was.

Jan did finish her spinning samples.? She can’t honestly be enthusiastic about spinning Suri, as pretty as it is once it is spun up.? She will decline to spin Suri samples in the future.

Fiber Jargon

Felici – pronounced fah-lee’-chee.


Ellen is enjoying the Yoga Studio app on her iPad as it lets her choose 10, 15, 30, and 60 minute routines.? Jan loves unrollme.com, a website to control inbox email clutter, and she put out some praise for Signature Needles customer service.

Jan enjoyed her Solar Christmas Lights – they charge during the day, burn till the battery is out overnight, and recharge the next day.

Fun Fur

Giant pipe cleaner alpaca and sheep.? Note, that is giant pipe cleaners, not giant alpaca and sheep.

Slick Trick

Ellen used the same fine nylon thread that she used on the closures on her Bohus reproduction sweater for invisibly sewing the zipper into Zip-Line. ? The stuff is so fine you can barely feel it, let alone see it! But it is tough and slightly stretchy so she is using it with confidence. One note – she wouldn’t use it for buttons as the single point of stress might be enough to cause the thread to cut into fiber.

Fashion Forecast for 2015

Ellen heads to Madrona and will be meeting her oldest daughter there!? And she has signed up for Yarnover class with Susan B Anderson and Myrna Stahman.? Susan is sticking around for StevenBe’s FiberFest, so maybe Ellen will take more than one class in April with her.

It isn’t too early to think about summer.? And with summer comes TwinSet Summer Camp!? July 10-12, 2015.? Registration form can be found here:


Registration fee of $265 ($240 if registration postmarked prior to April 30) includes:
?A real bed for Friday and Saturday night! ?With back-pampering Tempurpedic mattresses!
?Meals served family style in the camp lodge, Friday supper through Sunday brunch. Special diets are well-looked after, please note requirements on registration form.
?Lots of camp activities, like knitting by the river, knitting by the swimming pool, hiking into the woods to knit, singing campfire songs while knitting, making and eating s’mores (no knitting!), and more. ?We hope to have some vendors, and we’ll schedule one knitting/craft class, but the name of the game for the weekend is relax in the woods, let someone else do the cooking, and knit and enjoy each other!

We hope to see you there.

Enjoy the show!

Episode 51 — Don’t Call Me Shirley!

In which we discuss things. ?And for which there are no outtakes due to an incomplete edit. ?I explain the very sad reason why in the introduction.

Thanks to listeners, old and new, for joining us!

Patterns of Our Lives:

It seem that colds are making the rounds – if last episode you tracked voices by thinking “It is Ellen Jan that has the deep husky cold-voice”, note that this episode it is Jan Ellen.? Sheesh, this is getting dumb.

The weather in Minnesota has also been cold — well below 0F — giving Ellen a chance to deep freeze her stash.? She stored her favorite bins of yarn out on the deck for a few days, hoping to kill off any possible infestations.

Lots of holiday travel and events took place in the lives of both twins.? Writing this in March, Ellen has to admit she isn’t finding it of enough compelling interest to mention it.? Suffice it to say that lots of visits, lovely Solstice celebrations and Christmas celebrations, with the highlight of handmade hats for Jan’s entire family — made by her daughter!? Jan got a late Christmas gift by taking ownership of the car that replaced the one the deer crash totaled.

On the farm, Valor is in his glory as the ewes have now joined him in his pasture.? Saber the guard llama does not approve.

turbogal AKA Lisa and Ellen had a fun evening at StevenBe’s masquerade birthday party.? Steven’s great knitting paired with vintage garments from two local shops — Restyle and Autumn’s Vintage.

Finely or Finally Knit

Jan finished the hat she was working on in the last episode and is very pleased with it. It is a tam style with a? 9-point floral motif. She says she need to come up with a name for it and get pictures posted. Ellen can confirm this, there is not project page for this.? It is not unique in this feature.

She has also finished up a Hitchhiker by Martina Behm out of Schoppel Crazy Zauberball Starke 6.? Classic yarn, classic pattern.

Ellen knit a hat, too! She called it the 23 hour hat because that is how long it was from cast on to bind off. She’d picked up some glittery nail polish with purples and greens and silver sparkles in it for a holiday gift for my niece and on a whim walked into the big box craft store next door to see if there might matching yarn. Red Heart Boutique Midnight in the colorway Serenade was perfect, especially given that it was near bulky weight. Her niece chose the Nola Cloche by Hilary Smith Callis for the pattern, and it was a fun and simple hat to knit.

The big finish for the episode was Jan’s FOG LIGHTS!!?Fog Lights is her variation on a Bohus reproduction sweater (Jan has made some color modifications to the original design of the Green Mist pullover by Kerstin Olson).? Needles: 1.5mm.? Yarn: laceweight merino:angora from Solsilke (now retired).? She isn’t going to wear it right away so she can enter it in the Farm Show — the PA version of a state fair.

On the Runway

Ellen continues work on her Bohus Reproduction, Many Moments of Grace, which is the design Rimfrost by Annika Malmstrom-Baldini.? Finishing it seems close.

Ellen is all done with Scotch Tango, her? Shirley Paden Design-along 4? Fair Isle design, except for figuring out how she wants to handle the raw edges of the steeks and blocking.?? With this project about done, she is turning her attention to the rest of the Master Knitter Level 3 program and along with turbogal, aka Lisa, has been laying out a plan for tackling that.

And Ellen continues the work on the socks she is working up? for Modeknit Yarns out of ModeSock.? The pattern is well underway, but she wants to knit one more sock as a sample of another size.

Jan is ready to get back to her Tilde vest, out of the Ewetopia from Frogtree Yarns.

Bitten by our Knittin’:

Jan didn’t get bit.? Ellen maybe did.? She was moving so fast through her Scotch Tango that she forgot to change colors and had several episodes of frogging.
What Would Susan Ask?

If you limited yourself to designing one type of thing, what would you design?? For Ellen it is gloves – so many designs, so much to learn.? Some of the designers she admires include Julia Mueller, the Rainey Sisters and Regina Satta.? And Jan would knit sweaters, with the same thinking.? Except that she would be a cheater-cheat-cheaty and design sweaters with attached hats, attached mittens, attached pants…

Note that Julia Mueller of Laris Designs has made her glove patterns available for free rather than deal with the convoluted Euorpean VAT situation.

Design Principles

Jan says you need to organize yourself to design. She didn’t do that last year, at least not the part about organizing herself to translate the knitted objects into a pattern.? Schedule time, arrange the space, arrange your tools, and make it a priority objective. If it isn’t a priority, that’s ok, but don’t expect it to happen.

5 Minute Interview

Dr. Yarn tells us about great pets for knitter.

360 Degrees

Ellen spent a good bit of time fighting with a felted braid.? She found that moving from a fat singles (she’d like to develop the skill to spin fat singles so she can experiment with the yarns in Sarah Anderson’s The Spinner’s Book of Yarn Designs) to a thin singles made it much easier – fewer fibers are easier to pull from the felted fiber and less likely to do so in clumps.

Fiber Jargon

Tailspun yarn – yarn spun so that curly locks are embedded at their cut ends into the yarn, leaving the curls to fall free from the strand.


Jan enjoyed her Solar Christmas Lights – they charge during the day, burn till the battery is out overnight, and recharge the next day.

Fun Fur

Pocket Sulu! A holiday ornament of Lt Sulu of Star Trek, purportedly from George Takei, #pocketsulu traveled to the Christmas holidays with Ellen. He has appeared in a number of Instagram photos exploring the holiday landscape, and you can expect to see him join in more fun in the future.

Slick Trick

When cutting the end of an end woven in, fray it rather than clipping it sharply off.? The frayed edge will stick to the fabric and be less likely to unravel.? This tip was shared in a knitting class taught by Annie Modesitt.

Fashion Forecast for 2015

The twins shared their goals for the coming year.? For Ellen, it mostly involves eating more beans.? She believes in achievable goals.? Her theme is to knit fresh, and she intends to keep clearing off her needles so she can do just that.? Jan’s main goal is to continue clearing space in her life, physical space at first, but mental space as a result.? And she hopes to schedule the time to write up those patterns.

It isn’t too early to think about summer.? And with summer comes TwinSet Summer Camp!? July 10-12, 2015.? Registration form can be found here:


Registration fee of $265 ($240 if registration postmarked prior to April 30) includes:
?A real bed for Friday and Saturday night! ?With back-pampering Tempurpedic mattresses!
?Meals served family style in the camp lodge, Friday supper through Sunday brunch. Special diets are well-looked after, please note requirements on registration form.
?Lots of camp activities, like knitting by the river, knitting by the swimming pool, hiking into the woods to knit, singing campfire songs while knitting, making and eating s’mores (no knitting!), and more. ?We hope to have some vendors, and we’ll schedule one knitting/craft class, but the name of the game for the weekend is relax in the woods, let someone else do the cooking, and knit and enjoy each other!

We hope to see you there.

Enjoy the show!

Episode 48 — Catch Me Up If You Can

In which we offer condolences to the “Car Talk family”, start a new contest for a Boston Jen design, congratulate Wilson for his “Top 100” chess status, Marie’s debut in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade*, Gale Woods Farm, Jan’s new job, Buddhist housekeeping, NYC visits to daughter’s restaurants (well, restaurants at which daughters play key roles) knitting retreats that bring healing, new playwrites and playing in parks, Dr. Yarn’s anger management techniques, Spinzilla and designing for flow, and try to catch up on many other aspects of life!

*Update! ?Marie will not be a Christmas tree — instead she will be a pirate, a treasure chest or a shark devouring a person as one of the wire walkers for the “Pirate’s Booty” balloon. ?She hopes she gets to be a shark!

Thanks to listeners, old and new, for joining us!

And thanks to BostonJen for sharing her lovely new shawl, Aila Grace, with us, including a free pattern for one of our lucky listeners.? (Note: contest has closed.) Check out Down Cellar Studio, BostonJen’s own podcast for more knitting and other fun.

Patterns of Our Lives:

Ellen remains proud of the MN Senior Chess Champion – her husband – who is now also on the list of top 100 US chess players over age 50! ? She’s also proud of her daughter whose photo was featured in a recent review of the NYC restaurant, Dirty French, at which she works.

While her family pursued indoors activities, Ellen stood outside and nearly froze her ears off.? Maybe that’s what happened to the sheepdogs at the Star of the North Sheep Dog trials held at Gale Woods Farm. These were held on a huge pasture with rolling hills – lots of terrain for the dogs and sheep to roam. It was a really windy day and the wind was just blowing the trainers’ voices back at them and the dogs simply couldn’t hear them. By the way, Gale Woods Farm is our local working farm that is also a metro park. It is such a resource for families, and more and more so for fiber artists. Check out their Ravelry group.? They just introduced their new yarn – Farm Rainbow, a worsted weight Finnsheep/Corriedale blend, hand-dyed by our friend Wendy J Johnson.

While Ellen stood in the wind tunnel, Jan drank from the fire hose at her new job.? She reports that she is getting to share lots of new ideas as the university is undergoing lots of change right now – perfect time to make an impact.

The comfort of knitting played a big role while Jan undertook her new job, and as she said goodbye to a dear friend.? She took solace in retreating with Cat Bordhi on San Juan Island, receiving support from all the retreat goers and the nature that surrounded them.

Ellen continues to amaze all with the state of her housekeeping – when a basket of hats and scarves fell on her head from the hall closet, she was forced to clean off the shelf – and then found her Large Swan Bohus Reproduction cap that she missed all last winter. You just don’t know whether something is good or bad while you are going through it. At least that is what we think the Buddha would say.

In between watching dogs and a tiny bit of housework, Ellen had the pleasure of tech editing another pattern from Mari Tobita – this one the สล็อตออนไลน์ กับเว็บ Heng555Snowdrop Capelet. ? This sweet capelet, with cables that run from the hem to the collar, a few bobbles that vine off from the cables, and a nice foldover collar to keep one’s neck warm is being used for a KAL at Blizzard Yarn & Fiber in Vancouver, WA.? The other pattern of Mari’s that Ellen edited back in August, the Kikyo shawlette, has also been published.? It is a shawlette, starting at one point and growing into an assymmetric lace wrap with a sawtooth edge. Both of these patterns are both charted and written out – the best of both worlds.

How do you make a great cherry pie?? The way they do in Door County, Wisconsin, where Ellen & Wilson and friends spent several days eating several versions of said pie –? The best was the last – over 3 pounds of cherries per pie, they said, and I believe them. To make the pie, they line a big bowl with the top crust, put the cherries in, then invert the pie pan (already lined with the bottom crust) on top and then flip the whole thin over after crimping the edges together. The fruit pies stood 2 inches above the rims!

The fun doesn’t stop – Ellen filled another fun with visits from the wild and crazy chess players and then a visit from Karen and Brandon. The latter included an evening at Mixed Blood Theater to see Collossal, a great play by Andrew Hinderaker, a promising young playwright who also happens to be a good friend of Brandon’s. And Karen finished up the weekend playing with Frances, the Folding Golding. She is a natural – she was worsted spinning a gorgeous yarn immediately, and this only her second session with a spinning wheel. Ellen is very proud.

The most recent weekend saw Ellen and friends Betsy and Alison perusing the wares at the Upper Midwest Fiber Festival. Some of those wares left the festival in our bags, including a knitting sheath which Ellen is inordinately excited about as she believes she will now be such a speed knitter she will be able to finish a Bohus sweater in less than 5 years.

Finely or Finally Knit

Both twins had finished projects – Ellen worked up a pair of Norgie mittens following the recipe from Jan Bilden shared at the Sisu Lost in the Woods retreat. She knit them on size 1.5 needles – 2.50 mm, and used was Kenzie by Skacel (50/25/10/10/5 merino/nylon/alpaca/angora/silk and Strikkegarn from Rauma, a harder 100% wool yarn.

Jan Frogged some items – by which we mean she knit some things out of Frogtree Yarns.

The first, a gorgeous cowl out of Frog Tree Pediboo (80% washable merino and 20% bamboo) in a moebius construction with reversible “Just So” cables from “Versatildes” cable patterns.? She also knit a Mini-Felf out of Frog Tree Ewetopia — to help promote “The Art of Felfs“, Cat Bordhi’s book whose sales go entirely to support cancer research.??

Ellen also finished her Crazy Vanilla Socks out of Schoppelwolle Crazy Zauberball sock yarn, worked on size 0 needles in a plain stockinette stitch and a Cat Bordhi Sweet Tomato Heel (not to mention the tubular cast on).

On the Runway

Jan has many projects on the needles, but these are the ones that got attention:

  • socks in an interesting rib pattern in a Navy blue and gold colorway
  • mittens in Dream in Color Smooshy leftovers,
  • a Prickly Pear scarf out of Berocco Folio (85% alpaca, 15% rayon) to get a yardage count in a single yarn,
  • a sparkly stole for an upcoming formal event — Stream Bed Lace Shoulder Stole out of Art Yarns Mohair Splash Beaded 74% Mohair and 26% Silk — a midnight blue,?
  • and most knit of all — a Versatilde vest in Frog Tree Ewetopia, one of the medium length vests with the substitution of a modefied Donegal cable pattern for the river.?

Even with all those projects, Ellen was still unable to find project pages for any of them.? Sigh.

Ellen was a little more focused, making progress on her? Shirley Paden Design-along 4? Fair Isle design, a cropped length, truncated front sweater out of Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift.? Because it is a bit like a bolero yet done in Fair Isle with steeks, she is calling it Scotch Tango. She is also working on a new sock design for Modeknit Yarns out of ModeSock.

Bitten by our Knittin’:

Most of Ellen’s mishaps were nibbles, but nibbles in Fair Isle lead to some pretty detailed reworking.? Jan had to really frog – about 25 rows of cables that got misaligned while knitting in a dark airplane cabin.

Ready to Wear:

Ellen introduced the Paving Cowl, partner to her Tunisian crochet-in-the-round Paving Mitts.? Patterns for both are available on Ravelry at $3 each or $5 for the set.

Jan’s Prickly Pear pattern that she designed for the Yarn Barn in San Antonia for their 2014 Hill Country Yarn Crawl received rave reviews from the yarn crawlers.? She’s finishing up the formal pattern and getting feedback from test knitters, so we should see it in 2015!

Design Principles

Ellen discusses how she aligned the Fair Isle patterns on her DAL4 sweater so they would flow over the shoulder without a mismatch at the seam.? She used careful planning and a well placed side panel to allow some flexibility in placement.? Jan reflected on a similar process for her Tilde vest – placing the cables and angling them for effect, not just letting them fall where they may.

Design Aesthetic

Both twins appreciate the new Cat Bordhi book, Versatildes – a New Landscape for Knitters. As true for so many of Cat’s books, this one inspires knitters to create their own designs, but also provides plenty of guidance and even specific patterns along the way.? Highly recommended.

5 Minute Interview

Dr. Yarn shares his tips on using knitting as an anger management tool.

360 Degrees

Ellen has finished the Spinning Bunny BFL in the Sled Dog colorway!? The singles were all spun on spindles and the plying was done on Frances.? She estimates something like 1350 yards of DK weight 2-ply.? That is a lot of spindling!

Jan turned in over a mile of yarn in her maiden entry in Spinzilla.? She spun two skeins — the beautiful tonal sky blue batt that she bought from Desigknit at TwinSet Summer camp, merino — and a polwarth silk blend from Port Fiber in Maine in the Serengeti colorway — burnt orange, golden sand, sage greens and other colors of the savannah.


Ellen’s – state parks, in particular Peninsula State Park in Wisconsin.

Jan’s – Pool noodles.? Listen to the episode if you are curious.

Fun Fur

Jan’s – Pool noodles again.? Listen to the episode if you are curious.Slick Trick

When transferring the spun yarn from bobbin to niddy-noddy, stand clear across the room and keep tension on the yarn as you wind it. This allows the twist to even out across the stretch of yarn that was held taut – to get twist to travel, you do need to put tension on the yarn, and the longer you can stretch the yarn from bobbin to your hands as you wind the niddy noddy, the more you can create an even twist.

You may already be a Wiener!

The oldest finished project in the Cleaning off the Needles KAL was annarch’s Clapotis – started in 2006!? And the winner of Mystic Shawls was Heather01851.? Congrats!

Fashion Forecast

Lots of personal stuff – but as for knitting, keep your own calendar clear for TwinSet Summer Camp 2015 – July 10-12 in Darlington, MD.

Enjoy the show!

Episode 45 — You Say Potato

?In which we struggle with our pronunciations, sip coffee from drip free mugs, observing wild life at work and at home, avoidance of camnesia, home grown peaches, traveling for business, tech editing for nice designers, overdone bike rides, learning along, mouse melons aka cucamelons aka Mexican Sour gherkins, pickling pots of pickled peppers, projects cleaned off the needles, managing to avoid being bitten by our knittin’, discuss the value of discipline and accurate measurements, enjoy a visit from Dr. Yarn, practical fractals, and some other fun stuff!

Patterns of Our Lives:

Jan is very happy with her new coffee maker, a Cuisinart which does not drip, no matter how you pronounce it.

Dale is getting involved in the fiber education – he and Jan took a course on Fiber as a Business.? Of course, an Etsy shop would help with that concept.? Regardless, they both enjoyed the classes, especially learning from Tara Swiger.? And Jan loved giving the owner of 84 Alpacas with the thanks-for-finding-my-keys hat.

Ellen has been having fun watching wildlife at work – a fox and a juvenile ferruginous hawk (a special sighting! thanks, Paula, for the identification).? He had feathered legs – wearing sox?? like the fox?

Wilson got involved with the nature on a kayak outing on Lake Nokomis. And the Minnesotans grabbed a chance at a nice 20+ mile bike ride, trying to hold onto summer even though the light is definitely changing and the days are getting shorter.

All play and no work makes Ellen a poor lady, but happily she’s had a bit more fibery work, tech editing a pattern by one of her favorite designers, Mari Tobita.? You’ll hear more about it when the pattern becomes available.

Finely or Finally Knit:

Jan finished up her Greek Keys hat out of alpaca – the thanks for the finding of lost keys.? She’s also finished the Shifting Ribs Toque, her own design, out of Wensleydale that she spun some time ago.? Of course, there are no photos of these on Ravelry, so they may be mythical.

Ellen finished her Bloodroot Hat.? She likes the size and shape, but her colorwork design didn’t really make her blood flow.? It will be a great design swatch – for future and better designs.

Ellen continued teaching the Paving Mitts class at StevenBe’s.? They are a great class of students, especially as they put up with her first shot at this class.? Jan has her own learn-along going – she is teaching her son, Allen, to knit!? Ellen will no longer be able to lord it over her sister for having 100% knitting offspring, but she’s happy that Allen has jumped in and of course, that Marie continues to develop her expertise.

This summer has? been a poor one for tomatoes in Minnesota, but it’s been a bumper year for pickled peppers from the farm share (recipe from the Ball Blue Book).? And in Pennsylvania, Jan is growing teensy weensy watermelons.? (Actually, they are cucamelons!)

Finely or Finally Knit

Ellen created a new cowl using the Tunisian simple stitch in the round – just like the Paving Mitts.? The pattern for the creatively named Paving Cowl will be up soon.? The cowl is designed to cover the lower part of the throat and upper chest as well as keep one’s neck warm.

Jan proudly announces that her Death Spiral shawl is off the needles!? She does not plan to knit another item so detailed in gossamer weight yarn any time soon.? As a bit of a contrast for work input, she also finished up some tiny washcloths for face washing or even for use as washable cosmetic puffs.

On the Runway:

Ellen got a lot of sleeve knit on her Bohus reproduction (Many Moments of Grace, a reproduction of the Rimfrost design), and reports that the sleeves now seem to be the same size. She got some progress in on her Crazy Vanilla Socks out of Schoppelwolle Crazy Zauberball sock yarn, worked on size 0 needles in a plain stockinette stitch and a Cat Bordhi Sweet Tomato Heel (not to mention the tubular cast on).

Jan is continues working on some very colorful socks out of Fluormania – wildly neon!

Bitten by our Knittin’:

No significant chomps this episode, but we had to share a quote from one of our favorite people (and designers):


I don’t frog unless I really need to, but when I do, it’s a relief. — Alison Hyde

In Ready to Wear, Ellen announces the availability of the rest of her videos for techniques for the Paving Mitts pattern in Tunisian Crochet.? You can find them on YouTube – Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Design Challenge

The Shirley Paden Design-along 4 is continuing well.? Truth in advertising, or at least in measurement, was assured by doing the measurement with a friend, Lisa (turbogal on Ravelry).
5 Minute Interview

A special treat this week – Dr. Yarn talks about spinning dog and cat.? He gives us a moment of paws (thanks,Knitallthestuff for that pun!)

360 Degrees

It wasn’t dog or cat, but Ellen has had fun with a top from Abstract Fibers in the? Chocolate Rainbow colorway in 50:50 silk merino.? She is spinning it as a fractal, what a potato chippy way of spinning. The first third pulls you through because you want to get to the next color, then the next third is broken into two bites so each one seems to whiz by, then the last third is 4 morsels. The yarn that resulted is so colorful – and actually, because she was working with a rainbow, is inspiring as a source of color studies because she have so many different combinations in one yarn.? Dare we say, it’s fractally impossible not to enjoy this spinning method?!

Fiber Jargon

Ewe Hogg!? No, not an insult, it simply means a young female sheep between weaning and first shearing, and the source of the term “hogget fleece”, which is the result of shearing a ewe hogg.


Jan is enjoying the Kindle Unlimited option from Amazon.

Fun Fur

Ellen has taken a liking to mutton jerky which she purchased at Ingebretson‘s (while playing with Laura Ricketts who was in town to teach on Sami knitting).? Jan’s lambs had better watch out!? (Luckily, she loves fleece, too, so I think those lambies are safe.)

Jan’s Fun Fur is donut peaches!

Slick Tricks:

Doing her swatching for a Fair Isle sweater in the Shirley Paden DAL4, Ellen developed a way to work as though she is knitting in the round without leaving a long strand across the back of the fabric and still keep reasonably long lengths to the yarn in case she needs to frog the swatch to use the yarn.? (Otherwise, she’d just cut the ends.)

Use double pointed needles or circs – whatever needle you will use for the project – and figure out how long a piece of yarn you need to work your row. Double it, then start knitting your row in the middle of that yarn. When finished with that row, slide the stitches back to the other end of the needle and pick up the yarn aagin where you started it
You can now knit a second row. This gives you a smooth edge on the right side of your swatch, a fringe on the other, and yarn strands that are twice as long as if you were breaking them every row.

You May Already be a Wiener!

Just mention on the forum thread which of the new Dishcloth Diva designs you’d like to knit.?? Check them out on Ravelry, tell us which one you’d knit first in our forum, and you will be entered into a competition for an e-copy of the book donated by Cooperative Press.

And, we are hosting a

Cleaning off the Needles KAL/CAL!? Your project must be a WIP as of July 10, 2014 and must be off the needles by midnight of the Autumnal Equinox, 22 September. There will be prizes, including stitch markers donated by lotsofhermies and a project bag and yarn just like the ones from TwinSet Sumer Camp AND a pattern up to $7 value donated by DCAlaneknits. Check out the thread on our Ravelry group.

Fashion Forecast

Ellen continues to lead a learn-along for her Paving Mitts pattern at StevenBe.? She will have a knitting weekend up north with a few friends, but has to head to Sweden for work right when Wisconsin Sheep and Wool happens – so once again, not this year.? Jan is looking forward to chauffeuring Louise and her mom to the Knitting Pipeline Maine Retreat in late September.? They will visit Boston, Philly, and even Fair Winds Farm.

Don’t forget the? TwinSet Living Doll Tour!? Check out the thread in the Twinset Designs Ravelry group for info on how you can have the toddler twin dolls visit you!

Enjoy the show!

Episode 39 — The Wolf Closest to the Sleigh

In which we discuss the craziness that has been our lives in the last month, fiber classes, fiber judging, birdies at our feeders, finally seeing signs of spring in Minnesota, Yarnover and Fiber Fest, visiting family and friends, healthy animals, paying taxes, wearing jelly beans and harvesting golf balls.

Patterns of Our Lives:

It turns out that when you let a month slip past between recording sessions, one’s life patterns get pretty complicated. Jan in particular has been crazy busy.? Not that we’re? saying that her past is checkered, but it is highly patterned!? We slipped in some microphone time right in the middle of the Yarnover/StevenBe Fiber Fest weekend for Ellen and Jan’s schedule of volunteer duty at the MAPACA weekend show – and we amazed each other with how much had happened since we last spoke.

Ellen saw two snowstorms, despite the suggestion of the calendar that spring should have arrived in Minneapolis.? At least when the snow melted, the grass was green.? And at least she doesn’t live in Duluth, where they got 28″ compared to the mere 16″ in the Twin Cities.? Luckily, she records from the bedroom in the basement and was covered in warm fleece – 16 samples of rare breed samples that she got washed up while snowbound.? She recommends Synthrapol as an excellent fleece scour – low sudsing and boy, does it get that fleece clean.

Both twins have been seeing lots of birds at their feeders (Ellen’s juncoes needed? snow shoes as they foraged on the ground during one of those storms, sinking in up to their bellies).? Jan has heard and seen evidence of pileated woodpeckers in her woods – that is a serious bird.

Another serious bird, Jan’s broody hen, is brooding golf balls no more.? It turns out that a little airing of her behind by being kept in a wire cage for a couple of days cooled her down and got her interested in hanging out with her barnyard buddies once more.

Yoda is blowing his down coat, and Jan is picking it up off the fence-line as it turns out to be quite soft.? Who knew Yoda was a cashmere goat?? (Editors note: any goat can produce cashmere – it simply refers to the fineness of the undercoat.)? Jan does know that Finnsheep will make a great addition to the farm and is eagerly anticipating the arrival of her reserved ewe lambs.? If only Valor, her ram, knew about the impending arrival, he’d be eagerly anticipating them, too, but he will have to be patient!? Jan is making her final choices and may end up with one grey, one white, one black, and one brown – a spinner’s dream.

Easter Sunday was warm and sunny in Minnesota and Ellen and Wilson went walking in the woods, their way of recognizing the season of rebirth.? Ellen wore jelly beans – socks that were cranked by her buddy, Lisa, in Knit Picks Felici sock yarn in the colorway, Jelly Bean.? Jan had family in for a fitting dinner – leg of lamb.? Hmmm, more anticipating of a flock of sheep on the farm!

Jan also had a house party of 8 total for a weekend of good food, good drink, and amazement that friends who met almost 25 years ago all looked exactly as they did when they all taught at the West Point U.S. Military Academy.?? Maybe if you drink enough…

She’s also been spinning more alpaca samples, hosting other guests, working on a conference for women veterans, and teaching knitting classes at Flying Fibers.?? And making Ellen feel like a lazy lout, but actually, Ellen is OK with that.

Jan took part in an alpaca handling clinic with Marty McGee Bennett, the alpaca whisperer, from the sound of it.? She then acted as? judging scribe at the MAPACA (mid-atlantic alpaca association) Jubilee.? We may need to send Jan some earplugs to keep her brains from oozing out of her ears – how can one head absorb all that new knowledge without something giving?

Phew, can we get to the knitting now?

On the Runway:

Ellen continues on Forever in the Forest and is well into tier 19 of about 21.? She is also working on the second of a second pair of socks in her own design out of ModeKnit Yarns ModeSock.? She hopes the pattern will be available soon.? And she knit on Many Moments of Grace, her reproduction of the Bohus Stickning design, Rimfrost while recording the show. She returned to her Chain Mail gloves.? The first is done, with all the gussets that Ellen loves (on the thumb, between the fingers).? She will carefully knit the second according to her notes and write up the pattern at the same time (at least that is what she intends).? And this being Yarnover/Fiber Fest weekend, she has a class project going now, too – a colorwork hat designed in a great class with Mary Scott Huff, stand up comic and colorwork designer.

In between all of her activity, Jan has been continuing to work on Reposo, her version of Carol Feller’s Siesta sweater in Louisa Harding Grace Silk & Wool.? She has also gotten a new pair of socks started in Zitron Trekking 75/25 superwash/polyamide, colorway 006, a barber-poling mix of blues, lime and purple.? Jan reports that the? Karbonz 1.5s she is knitting them with aren’t her favorites as she does not like the the join between tip and shaft of the needle. She won’t be using them after these socks.? She’s doing the socks in a staggered all over cable pattern, toe up as she is wont to do. (Ellen loving some archaic English here.)

Bitten by our Knittin’:

Ellen discovered, make that re-discovered, that lace knitting goes much better during the day when one is alert than at night when one is drowsy.? She discovered, make that re-discovered, this by knitting lace when it was night and she was drowsy.? Perhaps you figured that out?? At any rate, she notes that when knitting entrelac, if you fail to do the joining stitch at the edge of your module, you don’t get a coherent piece, you get little flaps.

Ellen also knit a cowl-sized swatch, which later became a gaiter-sized gaiter, the appropriate sized project for the amount of yarn which she had.? As she knit the “swatch” while practicing ergonomic walking knitting in Carson Demer’s Fiber Fest class on that topic, she wasn’t really discouraged.? (Carson Demers – a physical therapist who doesn’t tell you to stop knitting because your knitting is hurting you.? Instead, he helps you knit with less damage to your body and hunts for other things in your life for you to change.? Because he knows not knitting will hurt even more!)

Jan learned that if one doesn’t knit much, the chance to be bitten by it is slim.

Finely or Finally Knit:

Ellen finished one more pair of her Paving Mitts.? This one is named Paved in Gold and is worked in The Yarns of Rhichard Devrieze? Peppino.

And that gaiter-sized gaiter – also finished, in less than a day thanks to bulky yarn (Sirdar Click Chunky) and not that much of it.? Because of the limited yarn, Ellen worked her chosen pattern, Mary Lou Egan’s Miss Gulch without the edging and with a much shorter cast-on and with a shorter pattern repeat.? It’s a small Gulch, so she has called it Gully.

Jan knit a potholder.? That’s nice, Jan.

Ready to Wear:

The Paving Mitts pattern is published!? Thanks to test crocheters, Cindi (cperrine) and Vicky (vicksbear) who made beautiful samples and helped me improve the pattern.? And to unofficial test crocheter Lisa (turbogal), who has made two pair of the mitts already.

The pattern is in Tunisian crochet simple stitch in the round, a natural for fingerless mitts. Worked in two colors, one tonal and one variegated, an effect of tiny colorful pavers laid in even rows is created. A perfect project for using up leftover sock yarn!? It requires a double ended hook. The pattern includes useful links to techniques needed to complete mitts including Tunisian crochet techniques and crab stitch or reverse single crochet.

5 Minute Interview:

Dr. Yarn returns.? We aren’t sure about his advice on substituting yarns…it just doesn’t jive with all that we’ve been told by other experts.? Wait, what am I saying?? I mean, it’s Dr. Yarn, it must be right.? Right?

360 Degrees:

Ellen continues to spin her top top from All For the Love of Yarn in 80:20 merino:silk in the colorway Greek Mythology.? Spinning a sock yarn with laceweight plies does take time.? She is in her final ounce of four, then for some plying fun.? This just might not be a simple 4-ply!

Jan spun up alpaca samples she was judging for the MAPACA Jubiliee show, and despite the crush to get them done, found it very rewarding to be able to compare? the spinning scores to the scores which the actual fleeces earned in the show.

Fiber Jargon:

Ellen discussed what a quilted fleece is, and Jan explained why it is a defect in fleeces to be commercially processed.? This? excessive quilted appearance to the fleece (where the dark fibers are shorter than the white or vice versa), occurring after the first shearing, is something a hand spinner can deal with by separating the colors, but in a commercial process, the disparate fiber lengths would result in a lower quality product or lower yield.? Ellen found the term in an article on Jacob sheep by Alison Pacuska in the 2nd issue of Ply magazine.

All the talk of quilts reminded Jan of the term, cotting, which refers to the matting together of a fleece during growth, such that it sticks firmly together and becomes difficult to process.


Jan provided the embellishment for the week – the amazing ceramic work of Charan Sachar at Creative with Clay. He is a clay artisan who has recently learned to knit and is very clever. His homemade swift is very ingenious and very inexpensive. And his pottery — oh my, it is fantastic. His patterns are inspired by Indian textiles and embroidery as well as the henna tattoo tradition. His process if really cool — www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4v2JcZ1g18 — like decorating a cake, but it’s clay. Jan bought one of his cheese/butter holders to use as a notions tray on my end table and he’s pondering how he would make his version of a yarn bowl. Beautiful colors and textured patterns, check him out at his blog and his Etsy shop. Through May 21st using the code TWINSET will get you a 15% discount on beautiful ceramic art.? (If TWINSET doesn’t work, try TwinSet.)

Fun Fur:

Ellen fell prey to i-device gaming this time – 2048 is fun to play for a bit, but it may be time for her to delete it.

Slick Tricks:

This one stolen shamelessly from a recent KnitSpot newsletter – using oatmeal canisters or bread crumb or potato chip cans to hold the ends of a cowl open and prevent creases during blocking.? Jan suggested that if one wanted the cowl stretched, one could suspend it from a short length of pipe and weight it with a water bottle.

You May Already be a Wiener!

Both Jan and Ellen admit to a lack of focus on their dolls for the Living Doll KAL.? Jan’s version of her daughter, Marie, does have a head now.? Ellen’s dolls at least have yarn chosen for them.? Check out the สล็อตออนไลน์ กับเว็บ Heng555Twinset Designs Ravelry group where we are creating little living dolls from Mary, Millie, and Morgan.? the KAL will end with the Summer Solstice, and the prize will be a Susan B. Anderson pattern (single pattern) of the winner’s choice along with a copy of the Pam Allen book, Scarf Style.

The Fashion Forecast is for continuation of fiber season.? For Ellen, this means Shepherd’s Harvest.? For Jan, it means continuing her crazy schedule – she will be teaching a couple of classes at Flying Fibers

  • May 15 — Toe Up Socks, using her Fast Baby Booties pattern (a freebie!) (the pattern, not the class)
  • May 22 — Control Your Colors, working with variegated yarn for planned color pooling

She’ll also be attending (and hopefully showing little alpaca in) the PAOBA (Pennsylvania Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association) show on 9-11 May at the York County Fairgrounds; and she’ll be having Shearing Day at Fair Winds Farms on May 27.? Then June 6-8 she’ll be in Pittsburgh for the PA Women Veterans Seminar.

The first TwinSet Summer Camp is a go – from July 11-13 near Havre de Grace, Maryland. It will be smashing, with camp songs and crafts and swimming and hiking and you don’t have to do any of that if you’d rather knit!? Sunday afternoon we will all visit the farm which is less than an hour from camp.? Information is on the retreat page at the? Twinset Designs Ravelry group. We are still finalizing cost details, so no registration form yet, but watch this space for it!

Enjoy the show!

Episode 36 — Spring Forward!

In which we discuss the continuing cold weather, alpaca escapades, animal visitors, renewed work on UFOs, extreme knitting repair, four and a half miles of singles, improving the likelihood that a yarn substitution will be successful, the wonderful designs of Aurélie Colas, stick on pockets, Iditaknitting, and in which we enjoy a visit from Dr. Yarn.

Spring still hasn’t made it to MN, despite springing forward into daylight savings time.? Jan continued her grant proposal consulting work and rewarded herself with a little quiet knitting time…enjoying it until she noticed a herd of deer near the house.? And until she realized they were alpaca, not deer.? Turns out if you want to keep alpaca in the paddock, you need to close the gate.? Luckily, a mad dash and some barking dogs warded the alpaca away from the busy road and Jan was able to convince them to go back up the driveway around the traffic circle and right back into the pasture.

Suddenly the chicken’s are egg laying factories – Jan is getting about 8 eggs a day!

Ellen feels better about MN weather by keeping track of the Iditarod.? And the house finches are back and the gold finches are golding up, so maybe the weather will feel a lot better in the near future.

Jan has returned to Reposo, her version of Carol Feller’s Siesta sweater.? She is enjoying the Louisa Harding Grace Silk & Wool she is working it up in.? She has cast on for a new pair of socks in Wisdom Yarn’s Saki Bamboo.? She is also working on another pair of Felfs.

Ellen has all of her UFO’s on the runway – 7 in total.? Forever in the Forest, a new pair of ModeSock socks, Bambinoo, Many Moments of Grace, a self-designed sweater and some gloves.

Limpid, which is Ellen’s version of Martina Behm’s Lintilla, bit her, but she bit back.? Using a daredevil approach to fixing an error back in the knitting and around a corner, as well.? She dropped the joining stitches between the edge and the body of the shawlette so that she could then drop back to fix an errant stitch in the body.? It worked – how satisfying!? And the shawl is finished and posted on Ravelry.

Jan had some tinking to do, but nothing as heart-stopping as the Lintilla fix.

Or amputating fingers.? Ellen found that she had misplaced the pinky finger – didn’t have it on the edge of the glove and had to frog back and reposition the needles.

Jan again is running out of yarn for a pair of Felfs for Allen.? She just can’t find that other skein she was sure she had.

In Finely or Finally Knit, Jan has finished the knitting on Marie’s Felfs (if being clown-feet size is finished.? they still need to be fulled.)? Her big finish is her Oxen Soxen. Yes, she has a name for the pattern.? No pattern yet, but at least there is a name.

In addition to Limpid, Ellen has finished some fingerless mitts out of Claudia Handpaint.? She has creatively named the project, Tunisian Mitts.? The pattern is well on its way, and with luck, will soon be test knit.

Jan has been working on lots of different things for the Etsy shop, but she doesn’t quite have any Ready to Wear quite yet.? Shall we take up a pool and bet on when she will actually open shop?

Our sister, bab65, asked about yarn substitution and whether she could simply knit a larger size to account for a tigher gauge in her yarn.? We discussed swatching for gauge and for fabric characteristics, considering the amount of ease in the design to assess how close the calculations need to be, and in fitted garments, to consider the most critical dimensions to match.

Here is an example of checking to see if changing sizes will account for a different gauge in a new yarn.

Gauge in the pattern with specified yarn:? 20 sts/4 in (5 st/in)

Gauge in the new yarn 22 sts/4in (5.5 st/in)

Let’s say FINISHED circumference at chest for small is 36″ and for medium is 40″, to fit a person who measures 32″ for the small and 36″ for the medium.

For the small, one would need 36*5=180 sts in the specified yarn and 36*6=216 st in the alternative yarn to go around the chest in the finished size of 36″.

For the medium, one would need 40*5.5=220 sts in the specified yarn to create? the finished size of 40″.

220 sts is really, pretty darn close to 216 sts especially in a sweater with 4″ positive ease.? It is not quite another inch added on.? The alternative yarn will probably work just knit at the size M to create a size S sweater.? If the alternative yarn were of a gauge that didn’t come so close to matching the stitch count in another size, you would want to do more calculations and adjust the pattern – or find another yarn.

Aurelie Colas, aka spinnygonzalez, is our Featured Designer this episode.? Check out her wonderful geometric and whimsical patterns, including Strips of Stripes, Christmas Scot-ing, and Sheepy Draughts and a Wolf, Too.? Check out these and other wonderful designs.? By the way, we said Aurelie is Scottish, but actually while she lives in Scotland, she is actually French.

If you listen to no other portion of this episode, do make time to hear some wisdom from Dr. Yarn, right around minute 40:00.? He tells us why there are so many breeds of sheep.? You can believe it, ’cause it is straight from Dr. Yarn.

In 360 degrees, Ellen was sucked right through the orifice and spun up all of the Enchanted Knoll top in merino:silk we mentioned last episode.? What looked like a mottled top resulted in rather clear color breaks once spun up.? Ellen split it in two and spun it worsted, then plyed the two together.? Surprisingly, the colors stayed clear and the yarn is going to be self-striping.? Ellen also finished up her CorriedaleX plying and has something like 2400 yds of light worsted to worsted weight yarn to play with.

Jan is Embellishing her life with Post-It Note Pockets.? What a great idea!

Ellen’s Fun Fur is Iditaknitting.? She-did-a-knitting on 6 projects!? As the mushers in the Iditarod cleared each of the checkpoints in the race (there are about 2 dozen), Ellen switched to a new project.? As a result, she is now back in gear on all of her UFO’s.

Check out the Living Doll KAL on the TwinSet Designs Ravelry group.? We’re creating little living dolls from Mary, Millie, and Morgan.
Ellen’s Fashion Forecast includes? a sheep shearing day on March 15 at Gale Woods Farm, Yarnover (April 26), and the same weekend, StevenBe’s FiberFest.? Jan will be teaching classes at Flying Fibers – March 20 she teaches toe-up socks and April 17 she teaches an introduction to entrelac class using the pattern she has long promised us.

In the meantime, 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!

I hope Dr. Yarn gives me a filing extension…

Dear Jan,

Lest you think Dr. Yarn let us down, let me set the record straight.? He delivered his column per our contract well before January ended; indeed, he shared a draft with me over the holidays.

I let him, and his readers, down by not getting it edited and published.? I hope the quality of his insights which I now share will assuage some of the frustration I’m sure you have been feeling.




This question just came in from a reader from Virginia.
Q. What is this I hear about a special tax on knitting?
A. I’m sorry to say that what you heard is true. I was invited to a closed-door, by-partisan* hearing in Washington on the Fourth of July, of all times. Our Congress is so desperate to balance the budget that some members are considering taxing anything they can get away with.

tax-forms.jpgA five percent tax on yarn patterns, a ten percent tax on needles, and a fifteen percent tax on domestic yarn were discussed. Imported yarn would be taxed at twenty percent!? (Note the use of passive voice, a true indicator that someone is trying to get away with something.)

Devastating to knitters who depend on travel knitting to stay calm on extended trip, it was suggested that our country levy a tax on any yarn that left the country. To make it worse, if you knitted something while on vacation overseas, there would be a value-added tax when you returned to this country! (Though this would depend on the choice of pattern – some decrease the value of the yarn they are knit in, we must admit.)

I am not naming names, but the idea to start an annual tax on one’s yarn inventory could seriously impact several of my readers**. Such a tax would undoubtedly hurt the economy – conscientious knitters would reduce yarn inventory thus causing a slow down in yarn sales.

One senator suggested a simple but disturbing approach. ? He proposed adding check-off boxes to each 1040 income tax form that ask if you — never knit, — only occasionally knit, or — were a Knitter with a capital K. This would result in a zero, five percent, or fifteen percent additional tax, respectively, on page 2, line 44, of your adjusted taxable income.

I soon realized that these legislators were completely out-of-touch.? During Q&A I asked for a show of hands of the members of Congress who have actually knitted. Not a hand went up!

Think about that. It makes you wonder what kind of people we are sending to Washington, doesn’t it? . I encourage you to subscribe to our new publication, Knitter’s Voice. We will keep you posted on who is on our list to vote out of office in 2012. We love single issue politics here (really, who doesn’t?), and anyone who doesn’t want to? tax the rich but is perfectly willing to tax poor knitters will make that list.

Thank you for your timely question,

Dr. Yarn

*This is not a typo.? I am not referring to a hearing held by both parties; rather, to a hearing held behind closed doors to get it by any objections of partisans of knitting.? Yes, I agree, quite the nefarious strategy.

** Tax tip in case this is enacted: Hide your inventory in the trunk of several Cadillacs, or perhaps knit some pullover V-neck vests out of it and avoid some of the taxation.


img_0815.JPGP.S. One extension I won’t get is to the end of the Iknitarod – the fiber challenge to complete a significant project during the course of the great sled dog race, the Iditarod.? I’ve cast on for the vest I am required to knit for the Master Knitter Level II certification program.? Believe it or not, though my stash is large enough to trigger my immediate subscription? for Knitter’s Voice, as I sure can’t afford that stash tax, I did not own enough of the “smooth, light-colored, non-heathered ” yarn required. I ran out and got some nice simple Cascade 220 in a periwinkle that I hope is light enough.? It is definitely smooth and non-heathered.

img_0800.JPGPoison is smooth, non-heathered, but definitely not light colored. ??