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

Archive for September, 2009


Guess what, Ellen?? We are approaching our 2nd anniversary in just a few days (the 30th)!? To commemorate, I am unilaterally deciding that a contest is in order.? (I am seizing the opportunity of your trip out of town to take control.)

Contest rules — It’s easy-peasy.? Just post a comment to this post.? We’d love to hear from all of you — lurkers and commenters alike.? It can be a simple “Congratulations on 2 years!” or some comment about what you’ve enjoyed, learned, laughed at, been inspired by as you’ve read along with us.? I’ll use a random number generator to choose the winner and will contact you by private message so I can find out how to have your prize delivered.? Comments by either Ellen or me will not be included in the contest.? Comments must be posted by midnight September 30, 2009 Eastern Time.? Don’t worry if your post doesn’t show right away.? If you’re a first time poster, your comment will be in line for approval and will get time stamped for the time you submitted, not for when it makes its way to the site.

Prizes are VERY awesome — includes some hand-dyed superwash sock yarn in a happy fiesta of colors and 5 balls of Classic Elite La Gran Mohair in both deep teal blue and deep olive.? Some extra surprises will be thrown in as well.

Good Luck!


Tomayto, tomahto…

119.jpgHowever you say it, do these really look like September tomato plants?? I can’t believe all the blooms we’ve gotten in the last couple weeks of summery weather, all in September, after the July/August that was more like April/May.


27.jpgNow this looks like September knitting (and October and November and…) – swatches for my next Bohus sweater, Rimfrost.? I’m calling her Many Moments of Grace, after the time it will take to knit her and one of the most famous owners of the original sweater, Princess Grace of Monaco.

I’ve swatched on US 0 and US 1 needles (2.0 and 2.5 mm, left and right in the photo above), and I’m having a hard time deciding which way to go.? The gauge in the pattern is much closer to the 1 (8.25 st/inch vs. the 8 st/inch I got), but the 0 gives such a lovely fabric at 9 st/inch.? I’m thinking I may just knit a larger size and let the gauge make it smaller.

And I’m also thinking of replacing the ribbing with a picot hem, or just a plain hem, like I used in my Blue Shimmerish hat.? I welcome thoughts about what you would do.

You have the weekend to gather them, as I’ll be off-line in the Great North Woods at a knitting retreat.? Have a great weekend!



Easy as ABC…

Dear Jan,

36.jpgI spent the entire day designing my Golden Gansey.? (I don’t really like that name, but it was the best I could do at the moment of entering it into Ravelry.? Watch for a change.)? I suppose it says something good that I looked up and discovered? that 4 hours had passed (me not noticing that lunchtime came and went – serious flow here!).? It also says something a little bad that it took me so long to figure it out.? Those darn motifs kept being just one or two stitches too long or too wide.? I think I ended up with something fairly decent, though, and it is all printed out, In Color, so I am set for portable knitting.

44.jpgThe somewhat easier part was moving on to the knitting, getting going on the bottom of the plain section and knitting in my initials.? No, I don’t knit that fast – I had already knit the welts last month.? Somewhat easier, because at one point I had a brain cramp, thinking I was at my false seam and noticing I hadn’t maintained the seed stitch properly.? I dropped the stitches down, carefully reknit that one column, then knit along happily, till I figured out that I had just maimed the vertical on my letter “E”.? Sigh.? It is now back the way it was, not too worse for wear, though we’ll have to do a bit of adjustment of tension during the blocking.? (Is it hubris to already be speaking of blocking?? Do I make up for it by already being worried about having enough yarn?)

Time for bed – the work that pays the bills comes up in just a few hours.? Sigh.



Life is what happens when you don’t have time to post.

Dear Ellen,

Sorry I’ve been so absent…but I’ve been very pleased to live vicariously through your knitterly activities.? My life borders on insanity of late.? (Not that insanity is all that unfamiliar for me, but it’s been particularly intense.)? It’s the working Saturday’s that throws off the entire rhythm I had established in Colorado.? It’s just enough to throw off the weekend so that if I have anything else planned I begin the week already behind.? I’m happy to say that I am just now surfacing after three weeks of it.? I didn’t work yesterday and I believe I’m far enough ahead of the game that I can dedicate a few moments here before bedtime in about 15 minutes.? (Yeah, I’m surfacing, but just barely.)

dscn1930.JPGdscn1931.JPGEvent-wise, I’ve traveled and given speeches and been on panels, I’ve hosted two sets of company (hosted would be a euphemism for pointing out the refrigerator and towels and then either leaving the house or going to bed), been to a Redskins football game, been to a new knitting group (YAY!), turned in several course assignments, played in the directorate golf tournament, been to the doctor and some other stuff. ?? On one of the trips I was briefly in San Diego…but long enough to go to a Padres game with Martha.? There she is picking me up from the air port.? There I am having the souvenir beer and hot dog that I promised Dale.

dscn1961.JPGdscn1962.JPGI did finish one of the Fractured Fairy Tale socks on the trip to San Diego.? (I actually had to work on the plane trip out…the nerve of the Joint Staff to expect that!!)? I love the squishy-ness of the stitch pattern and the sock feels great on my foot. I needed some predominantly red socks…think I’ll wear these LOTS!? Of course, that presupposed that I will finish the other.? I have gotten through the toe, but work on it was interrupted by Hat Wars.

I have no business signing up for things like Hat Wars.? It just makes no sense.? Not only do I not have the time, but why gamble on getting something you don’t care for in return for hours of knitting?? Not that I think I am that superior of a knitter, but I do know I’m pretty good AND I know that others may not be as discriminating in their yarn selections.? Heck, I might just not care for the colorway!? Yet, I continue to be sucked in…why?…why?….WHY????? Oh wait, there’s that blood lust thing.? Never mind, my bad.

My target’s dossier said she liked red. The advance info said we’d need a worsted weight. I had Dream in Color “Classy” in the “In Vino Veritas” colorway on my TLE wish list because it looked so rich when I saw it during one of Sheri’s sneak ups. Now I had a reason to try it. Let me just say, fabulous! And superwash to boot.? I chose to use the Isotopes pattern from knotions.com for my weapon design and as soon as I got home from work Friday got going with cast-on. I didn’t do too much that night because I was tired…and had some frogging in the mix. I got through the 1” of K2P2 ribbing no problem, but immediately made mistakes in the first pattern repeat. I did catch it before finishing the first 8 rows, but decided that recovering from that error would be enough for my obviously toasted brain.? (This is not the easy to fix error to which I refer in my comment on one of your recent posts.)

dscn1963.JPGdscn1972.JPGSaturday I took my weapon with me to the Arlington United Methodist Church to join up with a few ladies starting a new knitting group. (Saturday afternoons nearby and no long established cliques…sounded like a good idea to me.) I only felt a little guilty for bringing a weapon into a church. Okay, not at all. I got moving right along and had mastered the pattern by the time I got home. (The group was nice too – tiny, but promising.)? That evening I found myself one pattern repeat and decreases shy of finishing. I knew mail wasn’t delivered on Sundays, so counted myself safe enough to wait till today to finish. Today I did…on my way to, during and on the way home from the Redskins home opener.

I love the hat – very squishy…seems to be a quality I’m after in most everything lately. I did one extra pattern repeat more than called for to account for a deep “pull down.” My target’s ear to ear measurement is the same as mine, so I used myself as a measuring stick. The pattern was fairly easy, despite my misstep. That was all me, not the pattern. And it’s a good unisex pattern. We had a 12 year old boy and 19 year old young man at the house Saturday night and they both said they’d love a hat like that without any prompting. I’d call that a pretty solid endorsement.

So now, let’s mourn pore Donja’s demise. The hat is in the mail.

Love, Jan

A new knitting genre is born!

26.jpgI give you… toe socks!

35.jpg Details: The sample sized socks Cat Bordhi uses to teach her Sky Sock architecture in her book, New Pathways for Sock Knitters.? I used ShibuiKnits sock yarn and size 0 (US) dpns.

43.jpgInteresting heel – one more variation of wrapping and turning. The twist introduced into the wrapped knit stitch seems to be correct – it results in a nice flat lying stitch when the wrap is then picked up later. And the addition of knitting two stitches plus a wrap together at the start of the first post heel round (or is it really the final heel round, at any rate, the first round where instep stitches are involved after the heel) makes for a very tight join – no holes.

I’m looking forward to knitting these in a size that will fit a bit more of my foot.



P.S.? Here’s a mneumonic for Cat’s left leaning and right leaning increases – the Left leaning increase lifts the Lowest of the stitches one would lift to increase (the grandmother, as Cat calls it), hence the one two stitches below the one you just knit. The RIGHT leaning increase lifts the stitch RIGHT below the stitch on the needle (Cat’s daughter stitch), hence the stitch right below the first stitch on the left needle.


There, got that taken care of.


Your matey.

A little bit o’ knit…

Hi, Jan,

118.jpgMarie calls these snacks – the little tiny projects that fill a craving but don’t take long to accomplish. This one was extra fun because it is for a good cause.? Our work knitting group will auction off hand-knit items to benefit breast cancer research, and this will be one of the items in the auction.

Details – A2G2 (All American Girl Gansey), sized for an American Girl doll, out of Rowan Designer DK Wool, just barely over one skein (53 g).? Anyone have a pattern for 47 g of DK weight wool?? The pattern is from Rambling Ridge Designs.

I’m going to leave this post snack-sized, too.



Perfectly safe. Nothing to worry about.

Dear Jan,

I am on jury duty these two weeks, occasionally having to spend a day at the county courthouse and going through their rituals.? One of those rituals is the security screen before you head to the courtrooms.? The juror manager had announced to us that weapons were not allowed in the courtroom and that knitting needles were weapons and she would keep our weapons safe in the jury assembly room for us.? She was perfectly clear, but I had to ask the guard doing the bag searches whether or not my 5″ bamboo dpns were truly weapons.? He looked at them and let me take them through, snorting, “A pencil is more dangerous”.

Exactly!? How many times have you made that argument, to a fellow knitter if not to a TSA or other security agent?? It was so gratifying to hear it from a uniformed officer.

117.jpgAnd it made for great progress on ‘brainless’.? I’m well into the cuff and am hoping to have a pair to wear to court next week.



Letting go can be easy…

Hi, Jan,

I’m still playing this game of multiple projects (A2G2, Umeshu, brainless, Golden Gansey) and making real progress on most.? Not that it has gone without any challenges.

116.jpgUmeshu (plum wine), my version of the very popular Hanami by Melanie Gibbons, is so called because the lilac handpaint (Knit Picks Shimmer, 70/30 alpaca/silk) I’m using is more reminiscent of plum blossoms than cherry.? I managed to pick up an extra stitch in one of the repeats this morning (no, I hadn’t had too much umeshu), so I thought I’d create a quick tutorial on how to amend this particular issue.

25.jpgHere is what the few stitches after a marker should look like –

34.jpgHere is what they look like in the repeat with one too many stitch – do you see it?? Yep, I accidentally put a yarnover before AND after a decrease.? It was only supposed to be after the decrease.? Frogging back two rows in sticky alpaca yarn isn’t my idea of fun, and this can be fixed much more easily with virtually no chance it will be detectable in the finished garment.

42.jpg53.jpgSlip the stitches to the right of the extra yarnover to the right needle to get them out of the way.? Remove the extra stitch – the one that comes right out of the yarnover.? Drop it and let it unravel.? Replace the stitches you moved in the first step, and knit on.

63.jpgAlready it is hard to tell the difference between the challenged repeat and one that was knit correctly to begin with, but in a finished blocked shawl, I am pretty sure no one will be able to find it.

I’m also pretty sure you’ll be able to find me here, knitting away.



P.S. Cricket – honest, this wasn’t staged for you.? It’s Real Lace Perils all the way!

Cycling been berry, berry good to me!

Hi, Jan,

Wilson and I managed to get another nice ride in today, this time at a local park with a 6 mile loop.? We did the first loop at 15 mph.? It felt good, with a few nice hills to test ourselves and then zip down the other side.

72.jpg92.jpg102.jpg115.jpg122.jpgWe split up for the second loop.? Wilson did it at 17.7 mph, pretty good considering the heavy hybrids we ride, but I took considerably longer, stopping for photos all along the way.? It is a good year for berries.? There should be some happy wildlife.

132.jpg141.jpgThe berries cried out to be knit up – in particular, I’m thinking that black-blue against scarlet Virginia creeper would be a wonderful combination for a patterned mitten.? But the asters were crying out that autumn was really here, and the coneflowers stated in no uncertain terms that summer was gone.

151.jpgGone long enough from the blog that you may have thought they were over, here is a sighting of my second ‘brainless’ sock. I got past the gusset at the monthly Drunken Knit Night (lace not recommended) at Merlin’s Rest, a wonderful pub with a sense of humor.? I am starting to believe I just might finish these one day!

I hope your transition to fall is going well, though I suspect you won’t really be feeling it for another month or so.? Virginia summers linger much longer than Minnesota summers, even when we actually have one*.



P.S.? You know what they say about MN – 3 months of good ice fishing, 9 months of bad ice fishing.? It was just about exactly true this summer, when it was so cold in July and August that my standard tomatoes actually stopped blooming.