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

Archive for July, 2011

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Dear Ellen,

dscf1503.JPGYou were right…Sock Summit is absolutely fantastic.


dscf1488.JPGdscf1485.JPGYesterday was a good time, yarn crawling through Portland and gaining fortification at VooDoo Donuts.




dscf1514.JPGdscf1494.JPGdscf1506.JPGBut today was fantastic.? My class with Cat Bordhi was fascinating.? She is genius…and she helped us see stitch patterns in a whole new way.? Like her socks, she soars.? Six hours with her went by in a flash and then we were all exhausted.

dscf1516.JPGdscf1520.JPGIt was fun seeing Stephanie Pearl McPhee and she was great at the opening reception.? And need I mention the shopping?? We all sure got a great haul.? And I appreciate thatPortland has many larger than life objects for our amusement.

Love, Jan

Meeting some new muscles…

20110718_160846-1.jpgHi! Though certainly not as graceful as the dune grasses, I limbered up at a yoga class this morning. ?Karen foun one at the local Y and inspired several of us to go. ?Wave jumping in the surf later in the day means I won’t know what to blame when I wake up sore tomorrow. (I guess it beats being sore from carrying moving boxes…) ?Love, E

Color me chilled…

Hey, Dude,20110717_140655-1.jpgIt doesn’t take long for the sound of surf, the warmth of southern sun, the sensory soothing of ocean colors and the joy of being with people you’ve known and loved for decades to take one’s mind far from the challenges of daily life. ?The spinner that Neil is flying from our deck announces our delight at this situation to the entire beach. ?I hope you are finding equal delight in Fair Winds. — E

A soft landing…

20110716_181731-1.jpgHi, Jan. I’m posting from W’s tablet &haven’t figured out how to get the blog to accept it’s formatting. ?In a setting like OBX, I guess that isn’t such a hard life. ?I hope your life isn’t too hard either.Love,Ellen

A hard start…

20110715_230849-1.jpgHi, Jan,You are working hard at your move; W & I had a bit of ahard start to our week of ease. ?No complaints, really, though our lovely seafood dinner turned into a stop at Mickey D’s and a convenience store for refreshing beverages.Tomorrow we make it to the beach – like I said no complaints.Don’t work too hard!Love,Ellen

Cat trap and cat nap…

Dear Jan,

Where did the weekend go?

Into trapping cats…


I deny being trapped…

12.jpgSome sock yarn got finished up.? Indigo dyed Corriedale from a class I took at Shepherd’s harvest, blended with nylon.? The Corriedale was really too long to card comfortably but the nylon was much shorter so the combing kept separating the two instead of blending them, but I think it turned out ok.

101.jpg Stitchmarkers got made for the Sock Summit 2011 stitch marker swap – Deb’s (on the right) represent the Aurora Borealis, mine are the waters and fish of our 10,000+ lakes, and Karen’s are the North Star against a violet sky (or a blueberry with a dew drop).

61.jpg As always on the weekend, naps are taken.

And suddenly it is time to go back to work.

Have a great week – at the end of this one, I head to the beaches of North Carolina.? If I survive all that has to get done before leaving!



A Winner Among Us!

We have a winner!? Linda, of the spinit blog, posted the 3,000th comment and will be receiving the WestKnits book as soon as she provides her?snail mail.? Congratulations, Linda!

(So sorry, Stashmuffin!? Stay tuned though — we’ll be having more contests in the future!)

For play…four day?

Dear Jan,

Lest our readers think I’ve broken our mostly family friendly policies,? I encourage careful checking of the spelling in the post title.? Still, I admit, Wilson and I did have a lot of fun for four days.? We had Monday off for the 4th and the corporate poobahs deemed that the 5th should be a holiday, too.? We don’t know why, but we sure aren’t arguing.

1.jpgSaturday was kind of a laze around day.? I did get my little Shetland fleece skirted and scoured.? This photo show the fleece prescouring.? I just love those little lambie curls at the tips – a telltale sign that this was the first shearing for this sheep.

4.jpg3.jpg5.jpg6.jpgSunday we took off on the Grand Rounds – a tour through many of the parks and lakes in the city of Minneapolis.? We saw a bunny as big as a bear, gorgeous butterfly weed, Minnehaha Falls, and? even got a few stitches of knitting in when we stopped for lunch.? We did something over 35 miles – not the entire rounds, as we had an evening event to get home for.? We met Becky and Michael for dinner at Spoonriver and then a play at the Guthrie – and then poured ourselves into bed!

9.jpg10.jpgSunday we hiked at the MN Landscape Arboretum with Gary and Sharon – and several wild friends.

11.jpgAnd today I spent the entire day drum carding half of one of the Columbia fleeces I bought last fall.? I am so glad I sent one out for processing – this is just half of the fleece I saved to do here, and it took me all day.? The transformation is always exhilarating, but my arms are sore!

2.jpg7.jpgWilson’s arms are sore, too, he had to hold Poison so much this weekend, and Selkie seems as sleepy as I am.? So off to bed. Thankfully it is only a two and a half day week!

I hope yours is going well,



Don’t be a Blockhead

Dear Ellen,

In an earlier post I shared my favored method for blocking lace — put it on the wires dry, then give it a soak and stretch it out to all it’s glory. ?I have found this approach to be very fast, very effective and very fun! ?Here’s how it went for my?Campanula Variation:

dsc03104.JPGdsc03107.JPGFirst, thread blocking wires through the edges of the scarf. ?Sometimes I thread through the bumps on the edges of the garter stitch border, but this time I chose to catch the purl bumps of the edge stitch of the border. ?Truth be told, this is actually the bar between the 1st and 2nd stitches, because half a stitch is tied up in the very edge.

dsc03106.JPGdsc03109.JPGI thread wires on one side of the scarf and then go back and do the other side. ?This process goes pretty quickly — the dry yarn is far more slippery than yarn that has been soaked. ?The wires slide right through the stitches and with a bit of practice you can slide through 5-6 stitches at a time. ?When you’ve got the wires all in, be sure you’ve slid them in far enough to allow for a healthy extension beyond the knitted article.

dsc03111.JPGdsc03112.JPGdsc03113.JPGOnce you’ve got your wires in, your piece needs to be readied for soaking. ?Simply fold one side over the other being careful to keep the stitches on the wires. ?Make sure a few inches of wire extends from the fold. ?Gather this end of all the wires in one hand and push the scarf into a wad at that end of the wires.

dsc03108.JPGdsc03114.JPGdsc03115.JPGNow it’s time for a Soak. Submerge the bunched up scarf into a nice deep sink of lukewarm water and your favorite fiber wash. ?(You don’t have to add the fiber wash, but I feel it does a good job of helping any remnants of dye to release and it encourages the most softness out of your yarn.) ?Make sure the piece is below water level. ?Be careful not to accidentally push it off the ends of the wires. ?You need to fill the sink near capacity to make it as easy as possible.

dsc03117.JPGdsc03118.JPGdsc03119.JPGAfter about 10-15 minutes, carefully lift your sodden item from its bath. ?To remove a good bit of the moisture, gently stretch it out along the wires and then place it on a thick towel so that the item is still folded and the wires are parallel. ?You can roll up the towel in alignment with the wires and then press out the excess water. ?(Some stand on their knitting — I find you can just press down on it on the sink top.)

dsc03121.JPGdsc03128.JPGHere’s where the miraculous part comes in…unroll the towel, transport the item to your blocking board, open the fold to extend the item and stretch it out and pin it. ?Again, be careful to mind where the ends of your wires are — you want to keep the item threaded on them. ?I pinned this scarf out in 110 seconds from the time I unrolled the towel. ?That’s less than 2 minutes!! ?Awesome! ?This method sure saves you sore knees and sore backs! ?(Note the full picture looks a bit distorted because I took it with the panorama setting on my camera — kind of hard to stay steady when you are so pleased with the outcome of your work!)

dsc03131.JPGThe end product (the next day) is one very lovely, beautifully blocked scarf. ?I do have to weave in one end, but that’ll only take a jiffy — just like the blocking! ?I’ve used this method for triangular shawls as well, with the same easy-peasy process and fabu results. ?Give it a try!

Love, Jan

P.S. We’re really, really close to 3,000! ?Surely this post or the next!