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.
In which we celebrate the milestone that is episode 50, discuss NYC trips, trip ups with deer, podcaster visits and prank calls, Wilson’s continuing mastery of the chess world, precision dancing viewed at Radio City Music Hall with Jenny and light up swizzle sticks (!), pulling it together when your gauge is all over the place and a special outtake for your holiday merriment….oh, and turbogal.
In which we discuss filling up our bellies at Thanksgiving, podcast endings and podcaster beginnings, cabbages and kings (well, not kings), fine dining in NYC and nights on the town in DC, visitors and the proper pie ratio, new members of the farm family and a bit of farm animal photography!
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 Snowdrop 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:
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Something’s up. Not only did we get an episode from the podcast up (with show notes!), but I’m blogging for the second time in a week AND launching a second pattern, to boot! Something is in the air. Maybe it is the snow that is coming down as I write this that is both in the air and inspiring me to send warm wooly wear out to the world.
The Little Tent Stitch I used for the pattern not only reminded me so much of a series of colorful darts filling a quiver, it ended my hunt for the perfect pattern for a variegated sock yarn. “Darts”, “quiver”, “ended my hunt” - get it? Diana, goddess of the hunt, seemed to need a pair of these socks.
Yarn floats carried across the fabric both highlight the color changes and subdue any unwanted pooling or flashing. This is a simple pattern with complex effects.
Knit on US Size 1 (2.25 mm) needles out of Modeknit ModeSock, these have a firm enough fabric to wear nicely. The wool/bamboo/nylon blend of ModeSock is great. The wool (60%) provides warmth, the bamboo (30%) drape and luster, and the nylon (10%) is just enough for some strength without squeak.
The pattern is available on Ravelry (you don’t have to be a Ravelry member to click through to the pattern) or you can get it free with purchase of ModeSock. Please, if you want to try this yarn, do get the pattern that way - I want Annie Modesitt, co-owner of Modeknit Yarn, to come back to me with more requests to design in this great yarn!
The purported reason for this blog post is to publicize the availability of my newly released pattern set, Paving Mitts and Cowl. The real reason is to share my lovely model (and elder daughter) with you all.
Tunisian crochet in the round creates beautiful colorwork. Working in two colors, one tonal and one variegated, creates an effect of tiny colorful pavers laid in even rows. I was inspired to design these after a class in Tunisian crochet entranced me, but existing mitt designs didn’t have a shaped thumb gusset. These do. And the cowl is shaped, too, designed to dip down and cover the throat and keep that little gap where your coat is open nice and warm.
The mitts are a small enough project that experimenting with color combinations is possible - heck, Lisa says it takes her all of 6 hours to work an entire pair! (Caution - your mileage may vary. They don’t call her turbogal for nothin’!)
Note that working these, as for any Tunisian crochet pattern in the round, calls for a double ended crochet hook. I used a size H with fingering weight yarn for mine, but others have used a size up for the hook and various weight yarns. It’s easy to experiment and do a bit of the cuff and try it on for gauge. Yarns shown include Claudia Handpaint Addiction and The Yarns of Rhichard Devrieze Peppino.
Did I mention that these are super fun to work?
Video tutorials, including several I prepared to teach the needed techniques for the Paving Mitts pattern, are listed in the pattern.
Oh, as long as I’m showing off my beautiful (and very talented) eldest daughter, here’s a link to a story about the restaurant at which my equally beautiful and talented younger daughter works - with a photo of her in action.
Yes, I’m insufferable, but since they are your nieces, you have to be supportive.
P.S. Thanks to Lisa, Cindi, and Vicki for test crocheting!
In which much is out of date, but still interesting…to me anyway. And probably Ellen. Hopefully to you. Sorry!
Thanks to listeners, old and new, for joining us!
We kick off this episode with acknowledgement that by the time it was posted, it was out of date. Consider it a history lesson and enjoy.
Patterns of Our Lives:
Ellen is proud of a the MN Senior Chess Champion - her husband! That was about all she had for Patterns of our Lives, but Jan had plenty.
Dale and Jan got away to Virginia Beach for a mini-break before Jan started her new job. They rented a very nice suite in a nice hotel - and then invited a bunch of friends to join them. I don’t think they really understand the concept of an intimate weekend away, but hey, whatever floats their boat. Rumor has it that Fisherman’s Platters were eaten.
Returning from the beach, Jan headed north to the Knitting Pipeline retreat, chauffeuring two VIP’s, Louise of Caithness Craft Collective and Zelia, her mum. Of course, when you are traveling with Jan, you fit time in to tour Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and visit an alpaca farm (Jan’s). I think there was some knitting in there, too. The retreat sounds like it was a blast, lots of yarn, lots of food, lots of talk and fun and learning courtesy of fellow retreat-goers and also Susan B Anderson, artist-in-residence for the retreat. If you want to check it out, check out #KPMaine on Instagram. You will be able to follow the story of Sylvia and Flavio Sylvio.
Jan followed the retreat with a full week of naval conferencing and finishing up the Prickly Pear pattern that she designed for the Yarn Barn in San Antonia for their 2014 Hill Country Yarn Crawl. She is not resting at all before starting her new job - which is Chancellor of one of the 5 colleges that comprise the National Defense University.
Ellen had some yarn fun this month, too. Part of that was her autumn pilgrimage to the Sisu Lost in the Woods Knitting Retreat on Burntside Lake just outside of Ely, MN. The project for the retreat was Norwegian mittens, guided by Jan Bilden. Many colorful mittens got their start that weekend.
Ellen got to spend an afternoon with Jim Pietkowicz and Cat Bordhi, following their class at StevenBe. Ellen noted that valuing brick and mortar LYS’s is important - enjoy those Etsy shops, but don’t forget your local yarn purveyors.
Finely or Finally Knit:
With so much time between recordings, some knitting got done!
Flavio Sylvio, the Portuguese bunny, was one of the projects Jan finished. He was made of leftovers from Prickly Pear, a hooded scarf that Jan designed (see above). She used picture lace to suggest prickly pear cacti, perfect for a Texas yarn crawl. Jan hopes to publish the pattern in the near future.
Jan also knit a pair of mittens for the charity drive associated with the Knitting Pipeline retreat. Of course, none of these projects actually have project pages on Ravelry, or we’d link to them for your viewing pleasure.
Ellen also finished a few items. She finished her Wild Apple tam (#wildappleaday on Instagram) which she started in Sweden (so appropriate to knit Bohus patterns in Sweden!) out of merino/angora yarn from Solsilke (no longer available, but Angoragarnet is beginning to supply kits). It still needs blocking, after which you will undoubtedly hear about it again!
She also finished #11 Eyelet Cowl by Cathy Carron out of her handspun, an MCN blend from Rain City Fiber Arts. A super simple eyelet cowl in a cushy handspun yarn - it was a pleasure to knit.
Jan finished her assymetrical socks, too.
On the Runway, Jan reports that Fog Lights (the original design is the Green Mist pullover by Kerstin Olson), is making great progress with just bands remaining. Likewise, Ellen is almost ready to start the bands for her Bohus reproduction (Many Moments of Grace, a reproduction of the Rimfrost design).
Ellen is also working on Norgie mittens - started in the Sisu retreat class taught by Jan Bilden. Her mittens are out of Kenzie from Skacel, 50%, 25%, 10% angora, 10% alpaca, 5% silk noils for a crimson red, as well as a nice hard Norwegian yarn, Rauma Strikke-garn in deep sky blue. Jan has knit boot socks out of Kenzie, so it promises to stand up to wear and so isn’t as odd of a pairing with the Rauma.
Ellen 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).
Bitten by our Knittin’:
Once again, Ellen learns that you should at least read the pattern before going your own way. She had to frog the crown of her tam when she discovered that she wasn’t following the prescribed decrease rate.
And once again, Jan learned that you shouldn’t knit lace late at night and while drinking, leading to some frogging in the final knit of Prickly Pear. And she bit her knitting, clipping the fabric by accident when trying to remove waste yarn. She also misplaced one of Flavio’s arm during the knitting, the first time she knit her bunny, anyway.
Be sure to check out Cat Bordhi’s new book, Versatildes - a New Landscape for Knitters. And the new Frog Tree yarn, Llambrosia. I checked with Jim Petkiewicz of Frog Tree Yarn and the pronunciation is as we suggested - think llama, not lamb.
Ready to Wear:
Jan offered some of her farm wares at the Knitting Pipeline retreat and reports they were well received. She has replenished her inventories as she received her order from 84 Alpacas has arrived - yarn in various weights, plus roving both pin-drafted and not. She hopes to be offering it sometime soon. We are likely to all fight over the 3-ply DK weight out of the cria fleeces.
Ellen received detailed notes and feedback on her Shirley Paden Design-along 4 Fair Isle design. Shirley suggests a 3-needle bind off for a stronger shoulder seam, rather than the mock Kitchener seam Ellen had suggested. She has also suggested some changes to the armhole shaping, so Ellen is giving that some thought.
Jan asks about whether a thumb on a mitten should carry the pattern to match the hand. Ellen says, it depends. Really, it needs to be suited to the mitten.
Jan and Ellen review Laura Rickett’s, Beauties from the Far North - Swedish Sami Knitted Mittens, available for $20 on Ravelry. The book has 8 mittens - and in a flash contest - you have a chance to win a copy of the book. Check our Ravelry group for a chance to win - we will close the thread when we record the next time (which will be two episodes from this one, as we did record this morning and this episode was posted late last night - somehow that doesn’t seem very fair). Here is the TwinSet Technical Review(TM) of this book:
1) Good overview for each pattern — CHECK.
2) Written Instructions — Yes - full descriptions of how to knit these, stitches and materials, but charts are used for color.
3) Charted Instructions — See #2.
4) Words of caution/Tips/Tricks — Notes and special techniques are embedded in the pattern.
5) Photography Styling — Very nice. Includes caribou hides and horns.
6) Photography Clarity — Very clear, several shots of each mitten.
This is a super book of super designs for super colorful mittens. We recommend you take a look, you’ll enjoy both the designs and the history of the Sami culture.
Ellen described working with an MCN blend from Rain City Fiber Arts. She spun the singles with a woolen draw, working hard to keep them fat and puffy, and the resulting yarn is nice and puffy. A fast, fun spin.
She also gave Valor a bath - Valor’s fleece, that is. He is the Fair Winds Farm ram, and his fleece is gorgeous. Ellen recommends Synthrapol, available at Dharma Trading Company, for a low-sudsing, highly effective wash. She trimmed the tips from the fleece, removing the sun bleached ends and thereby making sure that the dark fleece that Valor produces will still be dark when carded and spun. She also drum-carded a fleece from Rhinebeck from a few years ago - lots of fiber fun and future spinning to come.
Jan is enjoying her Kindle Unlimited investment - for her, it is paying off! Ellen mentioned an embellishment that Wilson found - a fitness tracker for cats. They are called KitBits. (April Fool’s in October!)
Ellen’s fun fur is reading blogs - and she is going to start reading other’s blogs again and posting to the TwinSet blog, too.
Diane (knotjusthats on Ravelry) shared the slick trick she learned in a pattern for making an enclosed edge when picking up a button band. When picking up the band from the front, work a smooth cotton yarn into the loops formed on the back of the band as you pick up the stitches. Now you have clearly marked the stitches to use when picking up the backing band of fabric.
You may already be a Wiener!
Many winners in our Cleaning off the Needles KAL - but you were all winners, with so many wonderful projects! Winners and prizes listed below - please be sure and connect with twinsetellen on Ravelry to figure out how to get your prize! And THANK YOU to our donors, lotsofhermies, DCAlaneknits, Cat Bordhi, and Fair Winds Farm.
Grand Prize (TS summer camp project bag) — cperrine (Cindi) — Toothless
LOH (lotsofhermies) Stitch Markers –Knotjusthats (Diane) — Fuscia Fantasy hat
LOH Stitch markers — AZknitwit — Market Bag
LOH Stitch Markers — Prairiegl (Leah) Plum Tree Slouch
Versatildes — camanoah (Judy) — Sockhead hat
DCAlaneknites pattern donation — Oldest project
Jan will of course start her new job, but also a trip to the NW for a Cat Bordhi knitting retreat.
Ellen actually got a knitting retreat application in on time. She is planning to attend the Zombie Knitpocalypse next year.
And both twins plan to figure out how to get out episodes a bit more frequently!
Enjoy the show!
This autumn has been one of the most gorgeous in memory here in Minnesota. After a cool start, we’ve had many warm and sunny days. The cool, wet summer may have been worth it, setting us up for intense fall color. When I had the chance to do some colorwork at the Sisu Lost in the Woods retreat up near Ely, MN in late September, I had to follow my muse. My color choice - the gorgeous crimson maples against the autumnal deep blue sky.
The project was Norwegian mittens, led by the talented and prolific Jan Bilden. You got a peak at these a couple of posts ago - here they are in detail. We chose cuffs and mitten backs….
…and we chose mitten palms….
….and mitten thumbs.
I know I’ll be glad of these this winter, both for the warm wool and the warm memories.
P.S. Yarns were Rauma Strikkegarn 3-ply and Kenzie by Hikoo by Skacel. Knit on US 1.5 dpns. Pattern improvised.
I believe I promised photos of the repair work I did on my Cowl for George Bailey (Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s Pretty Thing, knit of handspun (mine!) bison, though not by the light of the moon). Here they are. Brace yourself.
First the damage. A cat knocked the cowl to the floor, and a dog had a play with it for all of maybe 7 seconds.
First thing I did was to delineate the damage - basting lines of slick cotton thread to show where in the lace panel the teeth of that saucy dog had cut, and the same thread to trace an undamaged row above the gaping hole. It would have been impossible to follow the path of the lace without that pink guideline.
Happily, the damage was limited to one repeat of the lace motif - I could actually knit a piece to graft right in to the body of the cowl. I cast on at the bottom - it just seemed too complicated to try to graft top and bottom - and I knit across each row leaving a long tail on either end.
Then came a bit of crazy - I grafted the top of that replacement bit to the top of the opening….
…and duplicate stitched the ends into the abutting portions of the cowl. Here we see it with the right side completed (except for trimming ends) and the left side yet to be done.
From the front, it was starting to look pretty good.
From the back, you can see the ends and the damaged flaps - I trimmed these away fairly close. Because this yarn is very fuzzy and sticky, this technique worked incredibly well. The halo covered a lot of the transitions, and except with your fingers, you really couldn’t tell there was a lot more yarn where I wove in the ends.
I hate to brag (really, I do), but I am pretty darned impressed with the result.