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

Archive for May, 2013

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In which I wonder where Ellen spent the money she was given for singing lessons, Ellen delves into algebra to solve the classic math problem “Gigi’s Socks”, we discuss much (much, much, much) activity in the patterns of our lives (multiple fiber festivals included!!), trips to Minnesota and NYC, visits with daughters, fine dining, farm lessons and lessons learned (Sorry, Chicks!), the value of a good shearer and many knitting nibbles, and we chat with the mothers of Steven Berg and Stephen West.? Phew!!

In On the Runway, Ellen continues her socks in the Monkey pattern, which she is calling Saki, and is making good progress on her Blue Moons cardigan, based on the Veronik Avery Forestry Cardigan.? Musing, her design her Shirley Paden Design Along 3 project? got a lot of attetion, including some SKY KNITTING (all caps, it’s what we’re going to call airplane knitting from now on, you heard it here first).? You can follow the process in the We Love Shirley Paden? Ravelry group. As always, as she recorded, she worked on Rimfrost, aka Many Moments of Grace.

Jan worked on her Death Spiral shawl (Spiral Shawl design by Erica Gunn) and her Percasocks.? She got going on a project kit for the Malbrigo Linen Stitch Scarf soon after buying it at Yarnover.

In Bitten by Your Knittin’, Ellen was seriously nibbled by numerous projects.? It took her 3 tries to get the length of the foot right for her first half of Saki, she miscrossed a cable in Musing which required dropping back 8+ stitches about 10 rows (traveling stitches, sigh), and the bumpy and lovely Shibui sock in which she was trying to knit a lace swatch for her Master Knitter Level II resubmission just didn’t work out – too much texture to show off the lace. Jan fought a battle with the simple but stealthy linen stitch scarf – the cast on directions suggested holding two strands together, but perhaps could have been more clear that you only do that for the cast on row (or perhaps Jan might have been a bit sleepy and interpretation may have been more clear). She overshot the pattern for Death Spiral and ended up with too many stitches.? Instead of frogging her fine yarn, she is simply redesigning the edging.

In Finely or Finally Finished Items, Ellen finished her Souvenir of Fiber Fest, but not in time to wear it in front of the designer of the pattern who taught at Yarnover (Souvenir: A Blended Intarsia Project by Susan Newhall).? It required over-dyeing in a dove grey to soften the contrast to a point that suited Ellen.? Jan finished that linen stitch scarf.? You can see her results on her project page for Malibrigo Madness.? She also finished a teeny tiny Lett Lopi mitten based on the class she took with Ragga Eiriksdottir.? It will become a Christmas tree ornament.? The Ohio River Ebb Tide cowl that she finished during her weekend in Minnesota will become a neck ornament.? This project was based on the Susan B Anthony Ebb Cowl.

During Design Principles, Jan discussed the value of getting second opinions to both stimulate ideas and to catch glitches.

In 360 degrees, not much spinning got done, except for the drum on Susan Hensel’s motorized drum carder in her booth, Sue’s Luxury Fibers, at Yarnover.? Ellen carded up 3 art batts – a bit of a stretch for her, but good clean fun.? Jan reported that she has a big drum carder of her own on the way – a Big Tom from Fancy Kitty.

In Fashion Forecast, Ellen is in training for the Tour d’ Cure.? She and Wilson are signed up to do 45 miles, not such a big deal considering that their team captain who has Type I diabetes is signed up to do 100!? No pressure, honestly, but if you donate to diabetes research anyway and would like to designate some to go towards making Ellen feel guilty enought to actually ride those 45 miles, you can do so at her fundraising page.

Jan’s forecast involves? preparing for the SAFONA Fiber Frolic which will feature Melanie Gall of the Savvy Girls!

Enjoy the episode!

Cherry blossoms in summer…

Dear Jan,

We have become very bad bloggers.? We are maybe pretty good podcasters*, but our blogging has really dried up.? I feel bad for the folks who read blogs but don’t do the podcast thing, and I also like to have a bit of writing, not just audio of our lives.? Still, to try to catch up at this point would make for an interminable post.? Instead, I’m going to pick one thing at a time and post about it, and maybe much of what has happened in recent weeks will get recorded, and maybe it won’t.? I doubt anyone will miss the “gee, it’s hard to believe it isn’t spring yet in Minnesota posts”, so I’ll skip right past those and get into summertime cherry blossoms.


Yes, we went straight from winter snow one week to temps in the 90’s the next, and it sure prompted my North Star cherry to bloom quickly.? I had some blooms of my own to hang on it – my Umeshu stole, my version of the Hanami stole by Melanie Gibbons.? The stole represents cherry blossoms falling from one end of the stole to the other – the geometric lace reminds me of garden fencing.? I used Knit Pick’s hand dyed Shimmer lace weight yarn (70:30 alpaca:silk) on size 3.25 mm needles.? The yarn was a tonal of plum colors, hence the name “Umeshu” which means plum in Japanese.

img_4703.jpgThough the color was pleasing, I found the tonal was really more of a stripey and was disappointed at how the lace pattern was obscured.? It really bugged me, so I decided I had nothing to lose by tossing it in the dye pot.


I used Cushing’s Perfection Acid Dyes in burgundy and white vinegar as a mordant.? The dye exhausted pretty thoroughly, but boy did I have to rinse and rinse to clear the alpaca/silk of the dye.? After the first few rinses resulted in continued bleeding, I retreated and reheated with vinegar solution and rinsed and rinsed again, using some woolwash to help free up loose dye.? Finally, about 9 rounds later, I was reasonably satisfied that the dye wouldn’t immediately transfer onto my skin when I wore the stole.


No doubt, it was worth the trouble.? If you look very closely, you can see the ghost of the stripes, which just makes it more interesting and rich.


The beaded cast on reminds me of dew drops.


I modified the pattern by making it one multiple wider than called for and adding some length.? And instead of going to the perfect lace grid on the ends, I repeated the more organic random grid several more times and am very happy I did so.? Finally, I made the ruffle more ruffly by doing a triple increase in each stitch and then finishing with some garter stitch (which is wider than stockinette) before binding off.? You can see the details in my notes on my Ravelry page.

It felt so good to get this piece which I started back in 2009 off the needles that I may have to go UFO diving again soon.? Hey, at least it didn’t take me 4 years to write about it!



*and even the podcasting has gotten slowed up in the rush of spring, but a new episode should be up soon!