twinset.us

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

Episode 54 — Just Ducky!!


In which we discuss connecting with old friends and friends of our daughter/niece, the Iditarod and Iknitarod, cold, snow, trips to the theater and to the emergency room, an interview with Sherill Roi who encourages us to spin 15 in 15, and a review of the book, “Solefull Socks”.

#Findyourreason by 5pm Central Time on March 17, 2015 (USA)

My reason - StevenBe is more than The Glitter Knitter(TM).  He is creative support, helping those in his store, in his classes, heck, just in his presence, branch out and be all they can, create all they can, feel great about what they’ve done.  He shares his inspiration so that we can share our talents with the community — the knitting community, the charity community (check out the StevenBe Creative Community Foundation!) He makes us laugh, at ourselves, at life, and with joy.

If that isn’t a reality show worth funding, I don’t know what is.  So why don’t you check out the promo above and then check out the Kickstarter campaign that can make a reality show featuring Steven a, well, a reality.  Even if you have just a buck or two to add to the pot, you’ll be telling Steven you appreciate his positive and creative approach to knitting and life.

Cheers,

Ellen

Episode 53 — The Forecast is Babies!!

In which we discuss the cold weather, many babies on the way to knit for and to love, the coming onslaught of mud and (happily) mud sales, knittingless needles, Madrona, water and spirits.

And in which we announce a chance to receive a free Craftsy Continental Knitting class from Lorilee Beltman (see the forum thread titled, “Why do you want to learn to knit faster?”), a 50% off sale on the same class, and a special for us promotion from Signature Needle Arts.  Use the code TWINST5OFF when you check out online and receive $5 off any $25 purchase!!  (Good through March 16, 2015 at Signature Needle Arts)

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

Patterns of Our Lives:

Lots of activity for both twins -including another cold for Ellen.  This is getting ridiculous.

Ellen spent a wonderful long weekend at the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat in Tacoma, WA with her older daughter and several long-time knitting buddies.  She only took one class - a supported spindling class from Galina Khmeliva (more in 360 Degrees).  Her fortune in hanging out and knitting with Judy Becker of Judy’s Magic Cast On, Betty Salpekur of Soleful Socks, and Lorilee Beltman, Knitting Enabler has led to some giveaways for listeners, starting with a Craftsy class on Continental Knitting taught by Lorilee. And no matter who wins the giveaway,  all can have purchase the class at a 50% discount. Just use this link to go to craftsy.com and sign up!

After getting home from the Pacific Northwest, Ellen headed for the south, all the way to Mexico where she is working to develop plans to improve watershed health in Guanajuato state.

While Ellen sought to save the world, Jan bottled gin at the Manatawney Still Works. But that’s not all she did.  She also bottled vodka.  Still (pun intended), she found the Odd Fellows Gin and San Pellegrino Limonata to be the right pairing for a hot bath.

Finely or Finally Knit

Yes, it is true.  Ellen had nothing on the needles for well over 12 hours after finishing her design for Modeknit yarns out of ModeSock. She knit a small and two medium socks, but that doesn’t really explain why it took more than 3 times the usual time for her to finish socks.  Hmmm.

Jan finished up a little Happy Bath face cloth.  It’s something.

Jan shared more info on her Bohus reproduction results in the PA Farm show.  Fog Lights, only placed 2nd and had the comment that the button band was a bit wavy.  Jan admits this is so, but still feels it should have been a first relative to the garment that won.  Someone else who entered a knit stole had the comment “this is not knitting, it is crochet”.  The stole was knitted, but did have a crocheted edge.  It suggests that the skill set of the judge wasn’t knitting-oriented.

On the Runway

Jan is nearly finished with her Tilde vest, out of the Ewetopia from Frogtree Yarns and is going backwards - more in a later segment.

Ellen is knitting for some of the many babies who are on the way in her life.  Several close friends are due starting in June, so she has a Bunny Bomber hat knit up and just waiting for the embroidery to finish it. It was knit from Swans Island Organic Washable DK. Watch this space for more baby items soon.

Ellen is also working on a simple stole.  The pattern name: Stole.  Yep, that simple.  Theresa Gaffey’s design is simple but delightful by virtue of understated color work, simple stripes in gorgeous colors, Ellen’s out of Rach-Al-Paca Suri alpaca.

Another pair of socks is on the needles for Ellen, her own design, Bunny Socks, so named for being knit in Bunny Hop by Crystal Palace.

Bitten by our Knittin’

This week Jan plays all alone.  She notes that the opposite side of a vest should be reversed, right? Well, she figured that out after she had completed both of the fins at the beginning of the second half of the Tilde Vest. It is ripped out and has been started over.

Ready to Wear

Ellen has called her socks, being knit off a pattern she designed 7 years ago, Eating Crow, as she has found so many mistakes in the pattern.  As of the writing of these show notes, the pattern, Bunny Socks, is updated and back on-line.  It’s a free pattern, toe-up and very fitted, for DK weight yarn, a quick knit.

Jan is excited that Fair Winds Farm will be represented at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, May 2-3.  Flying Fibers wants to display Dale’s woodworking in their booth at the festival! They will be in Barn 5, booth 18, at least according to the vendor list on-line.

What Would Susan Ask?

Who would benefit from learning to knit?  Jan and Ellen suggest that rather than one particular person, certain groups of people would benefit.  Join in the conversation on our Ravelry group with your thoughts.

Design Principles

Knitting for babies takes a different perspective than knitting for adults.  In addition to considering the baby, consider the adults that will be taking care of the garments. And consider the climate - is it a wool climate or a cotton climate?  Listen to the episode for more ideas.

360 Degrees

Jan finished plying the samples of alpaca that she was tasked with judging; the plying may be a bit tight due to the tight deadline.

Ellen really enjoyed the class in Russian supported spindling taught by Galina Khmeliva and has taken her advice to heart - Spin, spin, spin!  Baabonnybelle,who leads the 15 minute a day spinning effort on Instagram (#spin15in15), heartily endorses this approach.

Embellishments

Ellen finds Craftsy Classes to be a great embellishment, though they don’t replace a live teacher who can take one look at what one is doing wrong and correct it.  That said, check out the 50% off class in the opening remarks of these show notes.
Fun Fur

StevenBe the reality show.  Support the Kickstarter campaign to make it a reality (deadline March 16).

Slick Trick

Instant chatelaine — use the lanyard leftover from a meeting name tag to hold your scissors while you are weaving in ends.  You won’t have to look for where you set them down each time you need to clip a yarn.

You May Already be a Weiner

Watch the Ravelry group for threads to giveaway one of Lorilee’s Craftsy classes and in the future, a copy of Judy’s book Beyond Toes or Betty’s Book Soleful Socks.  The Craftsy class giveaway runs until we record next, mid-March.

Fashion Forecast for 2015

Ellen  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:

https://app.box.com/files/0/f/0/1/f_26386300459

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 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.

Embellishments

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:

https://app.box.com/files/0/f/0/1/f_26386300459

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.

Embellishment

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:

https://app.box.com/files/0/f/0/1/f_26386300459

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 50 — turbogal, AKA Lisa

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.

Thanks to listeners, old and new, for joining us!  We are excited to share our 50th episode with you.  I wonder how long it will take us to get to Episode 100.

Patterns of Our Lives:

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

Jan could have used her cold to disguise her voice when she played a prank call on Ellen.  Instead she used Melanie of The Savvy Girls.  It is clear who the responsible and kind sisters are from these podcasts, eh?

Jan and Dale met a stranger - with the grill of their car.  Unfortunately, said stranger, a deer that jumped in front of their car, didn’t survive the exchange, nor did their car.  Fortunately, the Subaru Forester protected Jan and Dale and they didn’t even get a bruise.

Ellen had a much more enjoyable meet-up with knitter friends from the Knitajourney Midwinter Retreat including turbogal AKA Lisa.  (Lisa is turbogrrl on Instagram) And Jenny, Ellen’s daughter, had a nice meet-up when Jan visited New York City with a group of International Fellows from National Defense University.

Wilson continues his chess achievements - winning the Minnesota Master/Expert championship and bringing home a trophy about a meter tall. And his rating is even higher - the highest its been in his life and higher than he thought he’d achieve - which is really wonderful for him and makes Ellen so happy.

Finely or Finally Knit

Jan has finished several small items - a pet bed for Ruby, a very knit-worthy dog.  She also finished her socks out of Opal’s Van Gogh Sock Yarn in the colorway Cafe Terrace at Night.  One last item - a HappyBath(TM) washcloth out of an unknown cotton yarn.  Don’t bother going to her project page to look at them.  She is further behind in getting project pages done than Ellen is in getting show notes done!

Ellen seams to be done with Scotch Tango, her  Shirley Paden Design-along 4  Fair Isle design (actually, still needs to do the seaming).  She’s contemplating how to handle the raw edges on the steeks (update: they are already felting into place, so she is not going to bind them off at all!)

On the Runway

Jan is very close to finishing Fog Lights 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).  She is also working up a self-designed hat.

And Ellen is now turning her attention to the socks she is working up  for Modeknit Yarns out of ModeSock.

Bitten by our Knittin’:

The problem with doing your own design is you can’t blame someone else when the design doesn’t work out.  Ellen carefully planned where the sleeve ends on her Fair Isle sweater, but should have given some thought to how the design got started at the wrist.  Result - several inches of design frogged after she realized the color pattern wasn’t matching the body color patterning.  She had only accounted for 4 of the at least 5 dimensions that this pattern design included.

Jan found that riding buses to and from NYC gives you lots of knitting time, and it is also great for generating dropped stitches.

What Would Susan Ask?

If you were asked to limit yourself to knitting one type of thing for a year, what type of thing would you knit?  For Jan — socks, because they are her comfort knitting.  For Ellen — gloves in all their variations, so she’d never stop learning.

Design Challenge

A sweater many years in the making makes for many gauges. Ellen, Lisa (AKA Turbogal), and another friend all pitched in to help a new knitter get a long-in-the-making sweater back on track.   A good steam blocking of the wool/mohair blend knit pieces allowed them to get the slightly out of gauge front to match the back and sleeves to match each other.  They used a trick Ellen often uses - layering the top right on the back made sure they were the same length. (Width isn’t as crucial because your front probably isn’t the same width as your back.)  After a cool-down, the pieces were well-behaved, reasonably matching, and ready for seaming.

360 Degrees

The twin-spun two-ply (Ellen spun one ply, Jan the other) worked out well when Jan got it plied up.  Ellen is disgruntled that Jan won’t share half the yarn with her.

Embellishments - Jan swears by the Gmail unsubscribe function.  Let Gmail handle the hassle.

Fun Fur Feathers

Jan has added to her collection of rubber duckies with Bild the Great, a Viking ducky, and a Statue of Liberty ducky.

Slick Trick

See above - stacking sleeves on top of each other when blocking to make sure they are identical.  And if you knit a “super sleeve” - a tube that is both sleeves joined by steeks at the ends, it is super easy to block.  Simply stretch the sleeves on two dowels and get perfectly blocked, perfectly identical sleeves.

You May Already be a Weiner!

Lucky winner of Aila Grace by BostonJen is strid8!  And check out allaboutyarn’s Etsy store to see what made Ellen drool.

Fashion Forecast

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:

https://app.box.com/s/6mxe5y8p8m0q51d4qhlwuifqjqi1g7cv

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 49 — Full Bellies


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!

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

Patterns of Our Lives:

Ellen and Jan enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner together - it didn’t include any of the homemade sauerkraut that Ellen has been making in her basement, but it did include lots of pie.  Jan’s work is going very well and so has the associated social life.  Jan enjoyed wearing her sparkly handknit shoulder stole to the National Defense University Gala.  Kind of like prom for the middle-aged, eh?

Jan has a new llama named Saber to guard her ewes, and Ellen has several new inches of snow.  Besides the frozen water, Ellen reported on water in general and her proud attendance in Chicago at The Nature Conservancy Global Water Summit where General Mills’ (her employer) water stewardship work, much of it part of Ellen’s responsibility, was highlighted.

Jan says no water has broken in the alpaca herd - no cria has shown up at Dahlia’s side and Jan is starting to suspect she really isn’t pregnant.  Dahlia, that is, not Jan.

Finely or Finally Knit

Ellen had no finished items, but Jan did finish the stole mentioned above - one of her Streambed Shoulder Stoles knit out of  Art Yarns Mohair Splash Beaded 74% Mohair and 26% Silk in midnight blue.   She also needle-felted a little chickadee to decorate a future holiday gift.

On the Runway

Ellen took advantage of #SKYKNITTING on the way to Chicago and then to Thanksgiving to make great progress on Scotch Tango, her  Shirley Paden Design-along 4  Fair Isle design.  She is working her sleeves flat but in the round - she is working both sleeves at once, joining them at the edges with a steek so she doesn’t have to work fair isle from the non-public side.  She continues to work on a new sock design for Modeknit Yarns out of ModeSock.

Jan has continued work on her socks out of Opal’s Van Gogh Sock Yarn in the colorway Cafe Terrace at Night.  Ruby, her little dog, will appreciate the new dog bed that Jan has started and made great progress on.  And even with all those projects, Ellen was still unable to find project pages for any of them.  Sigh.

Karen, Ellen’s daughter, was nearing the finish of her own Green Mist Bohus reproduction sweater, and this is motivating Jan to get going on her Fog Lights (Janhas made some color modifications to the original design of the Green Mist pullover by Kerstin Olson).

Bitten by our Knittin’:

Ellen swapped techniques in the middle of the corrugated ribbing for her Scotch Tango and the resulting change in tension means she is needing to adjust some of the stitches by giving them a tug with the tip of her needle all the way around the band.

Counting tripped Ellen up, too, or rather not counting - she didn’t decrease the foot of her sock to the proper number and had to tear back a chunk of the foot and rework it.   Tip to listeners - just because you designed the sock doesn’t mean you can ignore the pattern.

Jan wasn’t pleased with the rate of increases on the large gauge dog bed (2 sts/inch!) to create a circle and she needed to pull back and reknit.  At that gauge, it probably didn’t take much more than 5 minutes to reknit, so I’m not sure it is even worth mentioning here.

Ready to Wear:

Ellen introduced the Diana’s Quiver socks - Modeknit Yarns ModeSock, a 60:30:10 merino/bamboo/nylon in wonderful colorways - lots of tonals and near tonals as well as variegated yarns. The pattern is designed for this sort of subtle colorplay - with floats on the surface to create both texture and flickers of a solid color dispersed across the dappled background. Two sizes - a 64 st and a 72st sock on US size 1 needles (2.25 mm). One skein will make the pair. She is selling the pattern on Ravelry, but if you’d like a copy for free, order some ModeSock and let Annie know you’d like the pattern.

She notes that there is another sock pattern out there that uses the little tent stitch - and the sock looks quite similar to hers though she had a very different inspiration. Ellen’s sock does handle the ribbing and the gusset differently, and the details of the heels and toes differ. She just wanted to be up front and acknowledge this pattern, though she didn’t know it existed until she received a comment on the blog that the reader was knitting a very similar sock.

Negative Space

Ellen’s essay, “Bigger on the Inside”, has since been mentioned on the Knit.Theory podcast Episode 31 in the Literary.Theory section (around 32.30 in the recording).  Check out Ammie’s lovely videocast if you’d enjoy seeing lots of knitting and do some thinking as well.  Ammie promises a quiz show theme for 2015, which should be lots of fun.  Thanks for the mention, Ammie!

360 Degrees

Besides finishing a braid up for Jan, Ellen has been spinning up some of her own batts on Catherine the Great Wheel.  That wheel spins so fast that even with lace weight yarn, progress is fast.  She spun from the fold, which prevents locking up of the fiber because the twist has moved back into the fiber mass.  For a photo tutorial, check out Abby’s Flickr display.   She also plied and plied and finally finished off a two-ply laceweight - 1,268 yards!  This was out of Fiber Optic gradient braids of merino:silk - fun to spin and promises to be fun to knit.

Jan mentioned the fun of bringing an old spinning wheel back to spinning condition while Ellen visited.  It was like a puzzle, given that there were more than one spinning wheel.

Fiber Jargon - telekiknitting: from The Knitting Dish’s husband.  When you are so tired that you don’t have energy to actually knit, so you just knit in your mind.  Try it - it really can calm you down or help you be patient when you can’t actually hold knitting in your hand.  (Check out The Knitting Dish - even more enjoyable than telekiknitting).

Embellishments - Ellen’s is a double-pointed needle WIP holder handcrafted by Dale of Fair Winds Farm (yes, that would be Jan’s husband).  Jan’s embellishment is her goody box from the Savvy Girls Swapetition courtesy of crouchingcheese on Ravelry.  What a bounty - everything from brooches, candy, teapots and even hedgehogs (in the form of a teapot cozy)!

Fun Fur

Check out #FeministPrincessBride.  Feminist! Feminist! Feminist!

Slick Trick

The backward loop is a very low bulk cast on. It works well over a few stitches - but when you cast on more than 5 or 6 stitches, it just isn’t snug enough. You probably noticed that as you knit the first round by the time you got to the last stitch of the cast on you probably had a big loop of extra yarn — and a hole in the underarm. One way to resolve this is to cast on a few stitches less than specified - maybe one less for every 5 or 6 stitches called for. Then, as you knit the first round, as you get that extra loopiness, just use it to make a cast on stitch to replace the one you didn’t cast on originally.

You May Already be a Weiner!

hotknitter will have hot hands after winning Laura Rickett’s most excellent ebook of Sami mitten patterns,  Beauties From the Far North - Swedish Sami Knitted Mittens.

Have fun storming the Patriarchy!  (And 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 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:

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.

Embellishments

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!

What’s going on?

Dear Jan,

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 pattern for this post is my Diana’s Quiver sock pattern, designed for Modeknit Yarn.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Love,

Ellen

And don’t miss the younger daughter…

Dear Jan,

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.

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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.

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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’!)

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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.

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Did I mention that these are super fun to work?

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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.

Love,

Ellen

P.S. Thanks to Lisa, Cindi, and Vicki for test crocheting!

Paving Mitts Tutorials ONE, TWO, THREE - from twinsetellen’s YouTube Channel