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

Archive for the ‘Finished Projects’

Episode 63 — Still Crazy After All These Years

In which we discuss a fun new craft-a-long with Mastering the Knits, how California’s drought is really all of ours, anniversaries (36 for Jan and 35 for Ellen), ?crazy highjinx at minor league baseball games (did I mention cowboy monkeys?), boondoggles to Lake Tahoe for frozen toes, some fun finished objects, a review of “A Knitter’s Gallery of Mitred Squares – 45 Unique Designs in color, Texture, and Lace” by Jill Begelow Suttell and Jane Bigelow, and Jan’s new pattern and at the begining of which Jan gets to congratulate the Knitmores on new baby Rex!

Episode 60 — Father’s Day Surprise Visits

In which we take forever to actually start the show, are visited by two delightful guests, and discuss new babies, knitting for new babies, surprise father’s day visits on the farm, snack foods and cat discipline.

Episode 52 — Five Years in the Making!

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

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

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

Patterns of Our Lives:

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

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

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

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

Finely or Finally Knit

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

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

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

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

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

On the Runway

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

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

Bitten by our Knittin’

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

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

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

Ready to Wear

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

Negative Space.

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

Design Principles

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

5 Minute Interview

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

360 Degrees

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

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

Fiber Jargon

Felici – pronounced fah-lee’-chee.


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

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

Fun Fur

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

Slick Trick

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

Fashion Forecast for 2015

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

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


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

We hope to see you there.

Enjoy the show!

Episode 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.


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!

An incredible autumn…

Dear Jan,

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.

Lost in the woods…

Dear Jan,

It took nearly a decade to knit.? I think it deserves some exposure on the blog.

I’m talking, of course, about my version of the wonderful Forest Path Stole by Faina Letoutchaia, from Interweave Knits, Summer 2003.


I knit mine in Misti Alpaca laceweight, most of which was a gift from daughter Karen.? Most, not all, because I lost the start of this project while visiting Niagara Falls on our 25th wedding anniversary trip.? Unhappy loss, but happily I had only brought a ball or two along on the road so this stole has lots of gift yarn love in it, plus another ball or so to supplement.


Were I to knit this again, I would have started out with needles like Addi Turbo Lace circulars. The blunt bamboo circulars I was using are probably much of the reason I both hated working the nupps in the lily-of-the-valley motifs and also put it down not to pick it up again for about 7 years.? I might have worked it in a lighter color, too, making it easier on the eyes to work the detail.? That said, this late summer, deep in the shade green is right down my alley and so will get a lot of use in my wardrobe.


Of course, now that it is back home from the state fair (where it won a 3rd place ribbon!), the temperatures have gone up and I likely won’t want to wear it for a while. I’m pretty sure, though, that? I’ll be able to wear it before we hit that decade mark.



Episode 44 — Back At It!!

In which we thank our camp supporters, have a great time chatting about the success that was TwinSet Summer Camp, discuss making play out of work on the Snake River, being surprised by San Antonio yarn shops, shared birthdays and harmonious gifts, taking daughters to birthday dinners, welcoming Heidi back from the trail, various knitting bites (including a real doozy for Ellen and the recurring theme of ignoring pattern instructions), spinning many yards of yarn and using many wheel ratios, inspiration from Abby Franquemont, the Lost Geek Challenge Along and some other stuff.

Yes, it’s a LONG episode — enough for 3 half hour runs or for Louise to clean all the toilets in Mey.

Patterns of Our Lives:

It was wonderful taking a break, and it is wonderful being back.? Before jumping in, a special thanks to the vendors who supported TwinSet Summer Camp.

Straightfork Farm Alpacas – Cathy Moore creates gorgeous yarns from her own alpaca and sheep fleeces, blending in wool and dyeing them to delightful colorways.? You can buy them for yourself at her website.

A Riot of Color – Susan Eiseman Levitan dyes yarns and rovings that are truly, a riot of color.? Visit her Etsy shop!

DesignKnit – Erica Gunn designs, dyes, and more.? Visit her blog to find out when her life will allow her to get back to fulfilling our fiber dreams.

Fair Winds Farm – I’d link to an Etsy store, if one existed.? Jan will be selling yarns, fibers, and alpaca clothing when it does open, and you can bet we’ll let you know about it.

A lovely yarn donation from Barbara of Eggy Johnson Yarns.? At this point I don’t have a link, but if I get one, I’ll let you know.

A cloud of vicuna-alpaca? fiber from Bob at Cloud Hollow Alpaca, compliments of jaxie95, our very own Linda.? I really had to work hard not to hide this.

And a special, special thanks to Modeknit Yarns who provided a ball of either their Modeknit Modewerk or Modesock for every camper, not to mention a beautiful mini-skein set of Modeknit Fingering in the Midwife Speaking colorway as a door prize – gorgeous!? Check? out their other beautiful yarns on their website, Modeknit Yarn.? I can personally vouch for Modesock and for Modewerk – loved knitting both of them.

And thanks to Laura (77threads on Ravelry) who arranged a destash charity drive that benefited the S.D. Ireland Cancer Fund and Community Links International.

TwinSet Summer Camp was a huge hit, even if the audio quality of the play back wasn’t perfect.? It still brought back great memories.? The TwinSet toddlers had a great time, too.? And so did all the Bruce’s.? (Here is the Monty Python skit that was the source of our nicknames.)

Ellen went fly fishing – for work!? She was learning about the geology of the Upper Snake River Basin in Idaho and floating down the river is a great way to do it.? Jan traveled to San Antonio to celebrate the retirement of a friend.? She visited vineyards and then made sure and bought plenty of yarn to pad it in her luggage on the way home.? The yarn came from The Yarn Barn,? Unravelled, and Yarnivore, where she enjoyed the Wall o’ Cascade 220.

Both twins got amazing birthday gifts from their husbands – Ellen received a Folding Golding spinning wheel, and Jan received the four lambs we discussed last episode.? Ellen then went to New York City to visit her daughter who has moved to a new restaurant, working front of house once it opens.? Since it wasn’t open yet, the family dined for Jenny’s birthday dinner at Kajitsu for a wonderful fine dining experience of vegan Japanese.? Equally delicious were the dumplings at Prosperity Dumplings.

Jan’s daughter-in-law is back off the Appalachian Trail, having finished about half of it this year.? She’ll return and finish the rest in a future season.

Finely or Finally Knit:

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

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

On the Runway:

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

Jan is also working some very colorful socks out of Fluormania – wildly neon! And in other wild knitting – stainless steel/merino as a fiber – she is knitting a scarf she is calling Steely Cables.? Can you find a picture (or even a project entry) of it on Ravelry?? I can’t!

Jan will work next on her Death Spiral shawl, she promises.

Bitten by our Knittin’:

Ellen tells how she knit most of a sleeve on a 00 needle instead of a US size 0 (1.75 mm vs 2.0, for those playing at home), and it cost her 15,000 stitches, give or take.

Jan’s brain wasn’t playing nicely with math and she wasn’t able to get her decreases right on a hat – until she checked the number of decreases she actually needed.? No 15,000 stitches worth!

Some dirty dishcloths tripped Jan up once or twice.? Again, not to the tune of 15,000 stitches!

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

Design Challenge

The Shirley Paden Design-Along 4 has started.? Jan didn’t get a sketch submitted, and admits that she is relieved.? Ellen sketched her design on the back of a hotel notepad and took an iphone picture of it to get hers in!? You can follow the fun at the Shirley Paden Ravelry Group.? The group has posted swatches – you’ll be amazed at how different people interpret the same design inspiration.

And as part of the Lost Geek Challenge-along, the TwinSet campers learned all about tablet weaving and dyeing, as well as other skills, like using a bead and head pin Looper.

Linda discussed lichen dyeing and sends us to a 44 Clovers for a reference to this simple and gorgeous dye source.

Design Aesthetic

The twins enjoyed Dishcloth Diva Knits On!? available for $14.95 in print or electronically via Ravelry for $9.95, published by Cooperative Press.? Deb Buckingham, The Dishcloth Diva, brings us new patterns and new fibers – using her designs for a throw when worked up in wool.? We note that the wool fiber information could be fact-checked, but that didn’t take away from the great designs. Cooperative Press provided us with the review copy of the book.

360 Degrees

Tour de Fleece spinning went well.? Ellen worked on the Spinning Bunny top in colorway Sled Dog and hit her goal of spinning every day, even if only for a few seconds.? Jan is knocking it out of the park with over 1800 yds of 4-ply alpaca, spun from a spin-drafted roving from Sherri at Morro Fleece Works. She spun enough for Mishka, Julie Weisenberg’s great sweater, which she plans to knit for the Knitmore Girls Spin along, Knit along (SPAKAL).

And to top off Tour de Fleece, we have an interview with Abby Franquemont on the importance of spinning to our cultural and industrial histories.? As Abby says, “one way or another, it’s all about yarn.”

Ellen’s new wheel is called Frances, because she is the “quietest thing in the room”, like Frances the Badger is in the Russell Hoban (illustrations by Garth Williams) classic, Bedtime for Frances.?? “Frances stood by Father’s side of the bed very quietly, right near his head. ?She was so quiet that she was the quietest thing in the room. ?She was so quiet that Father woke up all of a sudden, with his eyes wide open.”

Fiber Jargon

Whorl ratios – which the Folding Golding has in spades.? The whorl ratio is like the gear ratio on a bicycle – a higher ratio means that for one turn of the wheel, the flyer turns more times than for a low ratio.? For instance, an 8:1 ratio means the flyer turns 8 times for one turn of the wheel.

Ellen’s embellishment was radish greens for eatin’!? Just saute’ them in butter (wash them first!).? Jan is searching an embellishment – a drip-free coffee pot.? What is it with coffee pot designers? (note: since this episode aired, listeners solved this one!)

Slick Tricks:

Jan is modifying her afterthought heel slick trick from a few episodes back. She is going to try to knit a shorter waste flap on her afterthought heels and use a dpn to make it taught instead of her fat fingers (Jan’s words).? Thanks, Gigi, for the push to improve this and reduce the amount of waste yarn knitting Jan will be doing.

Ellen’s slick trick is to use a slip knot to attach a leader to the bobbin – then doing a second slip knot in the opposite direction.? This prevent slippage in either direction so you can start spinning either way.? She learned this one from Judith McKenzie.

You May Already be a Wiener!

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

And, we are hosting a

Cleaning off the Needles KAL/CAL!? Your project must be a WIP as of July 10, 2014 and must be off the needles by midnight of the Autumnal Equinox, 22 September. There will be prizes, including stitch markers donated by lotsofhermies and a project bag and yarn just like the ones from TwinSet Sumer Camp. We’ll start a thread for both chat and FOs.

Fashion Forecast

Ellen continues to lead a learn-along for her Paving Mitts pattern at StevenBe.? Jan is looking forward to chauffeuring Louise and her mom to the Knitting Pipeline Maine Retreat in late September.

The twins are going on a tour – the TwinSet Living Doll Tour!? Check out the thread in the Twinset Designs Ravelry group for info on how you can have the toddler twin dolls visit you!

Enjoy the show!

Episode 43 — We Can Haz Math Skillz!!

In which we discuss the kindness of Susan B. Anderson, the TwinSet Dolls World Tour, quiet Independence Days, an abundance and a dearth of cherries, biting off more than one should chew, a new to Dale sailboat, drinking rum punch (possibly to excess), the arrival on the farm of Hedy, Ada, Grete and Grace, and Ellen’s compulsion to calculate.

Patterns of Our Lives:

The twins are going on a tour – the TwinSet Living Doll Tour!? Check out the thread in the Twinset Designs Ravelry group for info on how you can have the toddler twin dolls visit you!

Jan reports on a fiber festival at Flying Fibers.? Ellen failed to post show notes in time for you to learn about it in time for you to attend, but if you’d care to read about it as a history lesson, HERE is the link.

Jan has been processing cherries, Ellen has been a tiny bit relieved that her tree didn’t bear much this year (weird winter?) so she doesn’t have to.? Luckily she had a backup in storage, as she bap-bap-bapped until she actually broke her Norpro cherry stoner.? Maybe she learned something from this experience.

Jan taught a class on two-at-a-time, toe-up, magic loop socks.? She reports that this class with more than one or two concepts in a class, you need to plan more than two or three hours.? Maybe she learned something from this experience.

Six minus two equals four lambies who came home in the back of Jan’s Subaru to live at Fair Winds Farm.? Ada Lovelace (world’s first computer programmer), Grete Hermann (established algebra used in computer logic), Hedy Lamar? (developed algorithms used in frequency hopping) and Grace Hopper (mother of COBOL and the term “computer bug”) — her own little STEM cell — are all gamboling about on the pastures.? Her own Fair Isle sweater on the hoof, given the range of colors.? Maybe we’ve all learned something from this experience.

Dale has his own fun – a 16 foot Hobie Cat sailboat.? He has the experience and the learning.

Etsy store?? Is Jan really going to get it open?? She says she will do it and Ellen said she’d get the show notes up before she does.? (As I type, I wonder if I will click publish before she activates, because she hasn’t opened it yet!)

Time for Ellen to jump in with something – she went to a luau at a friend of Wilson’s.? That’s really about it – work, exercise, knit.? Hey, that sounds OK!

Finely or Finally Knit:

Ellen finished and blocked? a wrap which she used to practice lever knitting (Wrapsody in Be Fabulous by Steven Berg), which she learned in Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s class.? She comments that superwash yarn (Modewerk Fingering) really stretches long and wide and drapey.

Jan finished her Holbrook Shawl in The Uncommon Thread Silky Merino Fingering in the Zitouni colorway.? Zitouni means “My olive” in Arabic. She used size US 5 needles and about 1 1/2 100gram skeins for somewhere around 600 meters. She aggressively blocked it.? (I’m sure she enjoyed that.)

Jan has also worked up Sweet Baby James — a new design. It is top down and incorporates a fascine braid for a faux saddle shoulder. She also use an i-cord cast on that forms a nice little collar before joining to work in the round. It is named for her soon to be born great nephew.

Apparently, Jan hasn’t slept recently as she also finished 2 pair of baby booties and a baby hat. One pair will go with the little sweater to Florida for James.

On the Runway:

Ellen is down to three WIPS – her Bohus reproduction named Many Moments of Grace, a reproduction of the Rimfrost design, a pair of socks, a hat, and another sweater (that hasn’t seen any work for quite a while). She’s focused on Rimfrost and has finished 9/16 of a sleeve.? We won’t bore you with what fraction of a sweater that is.

Jan is working on her Greek Key patterned hat to thank the hero in her lost item story from last episode, working in alpaca yarn.?? Another hat is on the needles, this one out of Wensleydale handspun, and she also has unearthed her Death Spiral shawl, her version of Erica Gunn’s Spiral Shawl, which she is knitting out of? Touch Yarns Mohair Merino.

Bitten by our Knittin’:

Ellen admits she has knit something like 1.2 sleeves, not 9/16, truth be told.? She decided the sleeve was really too large of a circumference, so she frogged back to the underarm and added a gusset to sharply decrease the sleeve.? And in frogging Wrapsody, she found two dropped stitches.? It took 60 rows to drop down to one of them, but it was a successful endeavor.

Jan’s knitting was well-behaved.

360 Degrees

Both twins have started their Tour de Fleece spinning.? Ellen is still working on the Spinning Bunny top in colorway Sled Dog.? Working with a Golding spindle has really sped up her rate of production.? Maybe she’ll finish that fiber yet!

Jan is spinning alpaca on her Kromski Sonata.? She plans to spin enough for Mishka, Julie Weisenberg’s great sweater.

Fiber Jargon:

A fibershed is a regional textile supply chain.? Kind of like Jan’s backyard.

Ellen’s Embellishment is the FitBit – great for inter-marital competition. It is sad to open up one’s dashboard after a day when one forgot to wear the Fitbit and see ZERO steps.? Jan embellishes her Fitbit by using the app, MyFitnessPal.

Slick Tricks:

For afterthought heels Jan suggests knitting a flap with that waste yarn before you continue on with the working yarn of your project. It will give you something to use to put tension on the sock stitches making it far easier to put them on needles before you remove the waste yarn.

You May Already be a Wiener!

We are hosting a
Cleaning off the Needles KAL/CAL!? Your project must be a WIP as of July 10, 2014 and must be off the needles by midnight of the Autumnal Equinox, 22 September. There will be prizes. We’ll start a thread for both chat and FOs.

Fashion Forecast

Ellen is doing some travel for work and then comes home to lead a learn-along for her Paving Mitts pattern at StevenBe.And don’t forget…TwinSet Summer Camp!

Enjoy the show!

Episode 42 — Cleaning Off the Needles

In which?we discuss pre-summer vacation (for some of us), 3 blind mice sightings, multiple LYS visits to include the wall of Cascade (Natural Stitches in Pittsburgh, PA and Fibre Space in Alexandria, VA), the PA Women Veterans Symposium, family gatherings, nature hikes wherein all appendages are retained, achieving apprentice grader and sorcerer status, losing one’s car keys and the kindness of strangers who are now true friends and our living dolls.

Patterns of Our Lives:

Ellen and Wilson took a tour through some of the eastern States – spending time in West Virginia with Wilson’s parents, stopping in Athen’s Ohio (Ee-yow, Bobcats! Sock it to’em!), visiting Jan’s and Ellen’s mom in Marietta (and crossed paths with Jan while there), and then took the family to Washington, DC and then on to the Shenandoah Valley.? Highlights included a double sighting of Pileated Woodpeckers (Wilson’s uncle says when someone comes to him, a known avid birder, to tell him about the really weird bird they saw, his instant reply is “Pileated Woodpecker”), visits to the Heritage Farm Museum, and visits to the Smithsonian, seeing sights including Julia Child’s kitchen and the ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz”.? Best part was all of the family who gathered, and this included another intersection with Jan when she and Dale were visiting the Dulles airport annex of the Air & Space Museum to attend an anniversary dinner of the American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association. That intersection included a visit to Fiber Space, Jan’s favorite Alexandria LYS.

Jan came to Pittsburgh for the symposium she has been planning, visited the knitting community found at Natural Stitches along with their wall of Cascade 220 AND several listeners(!), visited Jan’s and Ellen’s mom in Marietta (and crossed paths with Ellen while there), and reports that her PA Dept of Military and Veterans Affairs symposium went very well – its purpose, to bring together women veterans throughout Pennsylvania to help them understand their status as veterans and to what benefits they are entitled.? She and Dale then visited? the Dulles airport annex of the Air & Space Museum to attend an anniversary dinner of the American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association, which ended up allowing another intersection with Ellen. That intersection included a visit to Fiber Space, Jan’s favorite Alexandria LYS.

While Ellen continued vacationing (driving the Skyline Drive – GORGEOUS! and yum, blackberry cobbler at the Big Meadows wayside), Jan went back to the farm to get a cutting of hay in, manage her chicklets (the little cockerels are getting quite, um, cocky), and then got on the road again to Ohio for another class in fiber grading and sorting at Magical Farms.? She is now an apprentice grader sorter. We are all so proud.

Both twins admit to losing and then finding items under embarrassing circumstances.? I’m not writing about it here – you’ll have to listen to it on the episode.? That said – we can’t recommend enough that you take your fiber to 84 Alpacas Mill to process any fleeces you have.? These folks are incredibly kind and generous.? And if you lose your keys, check your vehicle’s roof.? (Or down the side of your chair.)

Finely or Finally Knit:

Forever in the Forest is STILL just a block away from being finished.? But she did finish the second of a second pair of socks in her own design (Diana’s Quiver) out of ModeKnit Yarns ModeSock.? She hopes the pattern will be available soon. She also finished a pair of baby bootees which she used to practice her newly acquired Portuguese knitting skills.

And Chef Jenny is all knit up! Her chef’s jacket is gusseted under the arms and even buttons, for real.

Jan was a finishing fool.? She completed her? version of Carol Feller’s Siesta sweater, Reposo, in Louisa Harding Grace Silk & Wool? and also finished her little Marie doll.? Her glasses are removable as is her purse, such nice detail!? Jan needs to protect her from her grown daughter, Marie’s, sticky fingers.? It seems she wants to bring her effigy home to live with her.

Jan also finished a new pair of socks? in Zitron Trekking 75/25 superwash/polyamide, colorway 006, a barber-poling mix of blues, lime and purple.??? They are staggered all over in a cable pattern.? She is thinking of calling the pattern (when it comes out – hah!) Snake Socks.? Watch for them, but don’t hold your breathe.? And she finished her Faux Argyle hood, which she is using as a class sample for her Controlling Your Colors class.

On the Runway:

As always, Ellen continues work on her Bohus reproduction named Many Moments of Grace, a reproduction of the Rimfrost design. She is quite proud of how the sleeves are going (note: pride goeth before a fall – as these show notes were written several weeks after the recording, we know of what we speak). And, she is working on a wrap which she used to practice lever knitting (Wrapsody in Be Fabulous by Steven Berg), which she learned in Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s class.

Jan is working on a Greek Key patterned hat to thank the hero in her lost item story.?? She is also working on the Holbrook Shawl in the yarn, The Uncommon Thread Silky Merino Fingering, which she purchased at Fiber Space with Ellen’s encouragement.

Is it possible that the twins could really and truly Clean Off their Needles???? They sound like they are making a bit of a commitment to do so…

Bitten by our Knittin’:

Ellen re-finished her Forever in the Forest stole.? After nine years, she had learned a lot about how to use a long-tail cast on as an elastic edge, but she started the stole before she learned all that and so, the sewn bind off was much stretchier than the cast on edge at the other side of the stole. So, she picked up one leg of each st in the first row of the stole and then very carefully snipped and unravelled the cast on edge. She then used what were now the equivalent of live stitches on the needle to do an equivalent sewn bind off and now both edges are truly identical in stretch and appearance.

She also did a lot of repair work for knitting bitten by dogs and cats – executing a detailed and pretty darned good repair to a major gash in the Cowl for George Bailey she had knit for her sister-in-law, if she does say so herself.? This entailed knitting a new lace panel and weaving each and every row into the undamaged portion of the cowl.? She also repaired a friend’s mitten after stealing a bit of yarn from the inside of the mitten cuff facing so the repair wouldn’t be visible.

Jan barely had any issues – nibbles on the I-cord edge of Reposo, pulling out the i-cord edge after working about 15 inches and working it from the other side of the garment, which she liked better.? And it seems that working lace late at night remains a bad idea, as she had to correct some mistakes in the working of the edging on the Holbrook shawl.

Fiber Jargon:

Jan talked about guard hairs – primary hair, sbobet ฟรี เครดิต ล่าสุดkemp, and gare.? Primary and secondary hairs are simply hairs coming from a primary or secondary follicle.? This doesn’t determine whether the hair is fine or stiff – medulation (being hollow) does.? Hollowness makes it rigid.? Guard hairs are fibers that support the softer fibers and protect them from the elements, kemp shows up mixed in with the fleece and is flat and coarse, and gare is quite similar, but is more associated with particular regions of the animal’s body. Jan points out again that the feeling of fineness is more related to the consistency of the fibers one to the next than specifically to the diameter of the fiber. If two samples are equally consistent, then the smaller diameter fiber will likely feel finer, too.? But if one sample is consistent and the other, though having finer diameters of fibers, is inconsistent, the former sample may feel softer and finer.

Slick Tricks:

Jan’s slick trick is to substitute another yarn or binding off and save a bit of yarn if you are running short and playing Yarn Chicken.? Ellen’s trick is to reduce the bulk when cinching the remaining stitches on a hat crown or a finger-tip by using the tip of a needle to tighten each stitch on the yarn cinch before tightening the loop.

You May Already be a Wiener!

Congratulations, Gayle, on her selection as winner of the Living Doll KAL.

For Jan, The Fashion Forecast is exciting but not as crazy as some weeks.? She will be adding some sheep to the farm soon – 4 new lambies!? Ellen is doing some travel for work and then comes home to lead a learn-along for her Paving Mitts pattern at StevenBe.

And don’t forget…TwinSet Summer Camp!

The first TwinSet Summer Camp is a go – from July 11-13 near Havre de Grace, Maryland. It will be smashing, with camp songs and crafts and swimming and hiking and you don’t have to do any of that if you’d rather knit!? Sunday afternoon we will all visit the farm which is less than an hour from camp.? Information is on the retreat page at the? Twinset Designs Ravelry group.

Enjoy the show!

Episode 39 — The Wolf Closest to the Sleigh

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

Patterns of Our Lives:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Phew, can we get to the knitting now?

On the Runway:

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

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

Bitten by our Knittin’:

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

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

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

Finely or Finally Knit:

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

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

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

Ready to Wear:

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

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

5 Minute Interview:

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

360 Degrees:

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

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

Fiber Jargon:

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

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


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

Fun Fur:

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

Slick Tricks:

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

You May Already be a Wiener!

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy the show!