Saturday, December 27, 2014

Ep 8: Pre and Post Christmas Wrap

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This episode includes a little time travel since Marsha recorded before Christmas and Kelly wasn't able to record until after Christmas.

Kelly finishes her Gala Tunic and wears it for Christmas Eve at her mother's!  Made especially to go with her cool shoes, the tunic turned out exactly as she had hoped.

Once she had finished the tunic, Kelly started casting on new projects.  The first new project was the Another Door Opens shawl.  The pattern was kindly given by Sara of the Yarns at Yin Hoo podcast and a second was donated as a prize for the #knittedmemories contest (see below).

The second new project is a knitted doily called Frosted Ferns designed by Herbert Niebling.  The chart is a little intimidating, but the pattern that has been in the queue since last January and it's exciting to be starting this challenge.

Finally, Kelly is going to make Opus the Octopus.  The yarn has been ordered and then it will be dyed into an octopus color of orange with some purple.  Stay tuned for the start of this project!

In this episode Marsha talks about her new laptop and how now that she and Kelly are blogging and podcasting she has had to "bite the bullet" and upgrade to a new phone and laptop. Can this be written off as a business expense? :-)

I love all things Apple!
On Marsha's needles are her Merisocks, Featherweight Cardigan, and the socks she planned to make for her son with the first yarn she made on her new spinning wheel. The socks, however, will be "frogged" and become a hat.

Marsha turned the heel on her
second Merisock.

Making progress on the Featherweight Cardigan.

Ben's socks with Marsha's first hand spun.

Marsha shares her thoughts on the fit of her recently completed Custom Fit St. John Cardigan. While she loves the way the hemmed edge lays around her hips, she is not a fan of the way the hemmed edge makes the cuffs flare. This is not a problem with the pattern because this is the cuff that she selected with ordering the pattern. Another issue with the fit is the sleeves do not have increases but are straight so they are a fitted at the bicep but loose at the cuff. She will keep this in mind with future patterns made with Custom Fit.

Marsha hasn't been able to spin because she has been waiting for the fiber she ordered to arrived. It finally arrived and she is excited to begin dyeing and spinning. She loves to see how the dyed fiber changes as it is spun, plied, and knitted. Who doesn't love this?!

Fiber cache ready for playtime!
She just bought two books for spinning instruction and inspiration. They are The Spinner's Book of Yarn Designs: Techniques for Creating 80 Yarns by Sarah Anderson and The Whole Craft of Spinning: From the Raw Material to the Finished Yarn by Carol Kroll. Buying books is as much fun as buying yarn and fiber.

And finally, there is still time to enter a contest for a skein of Kelly's hand spun yarn or the Another Door Opens shawl pattern by Sara Bauer. Post a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #knittedmemories and you'll be entered into the contest. Hurry up and post! You don't want to miss out! Here is another #knittedmemories from Marsha...the sweater she made for her son when he was a baby. He only wore the hat a couple of times because his head was so big!

Friday, December 12, 2014

#KnittedMemories Instagram Contest

If you are here for podcast, scroll down to the previous post.

The Two Ewes are having an Instagram contest. Post pictures of knitted or crocheted items that hold special memories for you. Tell us a little about the memory and use the hashtag #knittedmemories. Since it is an Instagram contest you need not be a member of the group to play. You can enter as many times as you want. Join in the fun! Share your #knittedmemories with the Instagram world!

We have prizes!
Instagram posts with this hashtag will be randomly selected for prizes in the mid-January podcast episode.

Prize #1
Handspun by me (Kelly).  450 yards, 4 ounces of BFL silk.  I call this colorway Electric Sherbet.  The fiber is dyed by Wool Gatherings.
It's really this vibrant!

Prize # 2
Another Door Opens shawl pattern by Sara Bauer (aka Sarapomegranate of the Yarns at Yin Hoo podcast).  Sara has generously donated a copy of this beautifully elegant shawl pattern inspired by memories of a Gingko tree.
copyright Sara Bauer

 Now go post your #knittedmemories on Instagram :-)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Ep. 7: #KnittedMemories

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Kelly talks about the Family Circle Cabled, Hooded Sweater that Aunt Betty made for her in 1977.  Complicated cables, full-length sleeves and an enormous 1x1 rib hood all done between Thanksgiving and Christmas really spell love!  Also, can you believe that the pattern information can be found online and that there are current project pages for this sweater in Ravelry?  So cool!

Kelly also talks about her cherished Christmas Sweaters. These are hand-knit, but they are commercially hand-knit, rather than made for her by a relative. Back in 1988 she and her husband were just starting out and didn't have a lot.  The idea of an expensive sweater that could only be worn one month out of the year seemed like total luxury.  To have two of them--unimaginable extravagance!  One is a cardigan and the other is a button-front vest.  Although the rest of the world may call them "Ugly Christmas Sweaters," and make fun of them, Kelly will continue to wear hers proudly!  In fact, she believes hers to be a highlight of her holiday wardrobe--well made, timelessly designed, and still fashion-forward!
Proof that I wear these, here I am on my way to work last year!

Beads, bows, glitter, and some fuzzy angora yarn, too!

Marsha reminisces about the sweater her mother made for her when she was in college. She also talks about her first knitting project ever, a sweater she made for herself. She discusses her second project, a sweater for her father, and why she cannot part with it. She plans to repurpose the yarn and make an afghan called Garter Squish by Stephen West.

Marsha talks about finishing her St. John Cardigan and planning her for her next project, Hannah Fettig's Featherweight Cardigan but using the Amy Herzog Custom Fit version of the sweater.

The St. John Cardigan is finished.

Featherweight Cardigan

In Episode 6 Marsha talked about her excitement of getting her first spinning wheel, a Lil' Herbie. In this episode she talks about the fun she has been having playing with Herbie. She talks about experimenting with dyeing the finished yarn and dyeing rovings. She spun the dyed roving after recording but has included pictures here. Check out her Ravelry page for more pics of the process.

Marsha's first yarn
Marsha's second yarn

The Two Ewes are having an Instagram Contest!  Take a photo of your knitted or crocheted memories and use the hashtag #knittedmemories.  You needn't be a group member to win, but we'd love to have you in the Two Ewes Ravelry group.  Photos will be selected at random from the hashtagged photos and prizes will be awarded in mid-January.  Join in the fun!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Ep. 6: Here's to New Advent-ewes!

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Marsha talks about her progress on her St. John Cardigan. She completed the first of her Merry Socks and cast on for the second sock.
First Merry Sock made with Punta
Yarns Merisock Hand Painted.
She is close to completing her St. John Cardigan and her needles can never be idle. Really, can anyone's? She talks about swatching with Hope 55 from Valkyrie Yarns & Fibers for her next project in her queue, the Featherweight Cardigan.

Valkyrie Yarns & Fibers Hope 55.
Kelly talks about her progress on the Gala tunic.  One side is done and the second side has been started.  No sleeves, so the end is near!  She hopes she looks this cute in the finished project ;-)

And then Marsha's reveals her BIG surprise! A Lil' Herbie spinning wheel. She discusses why she wanted a spinning wheel, why she wanted a Lil' Herbie, how she found it, and what it means to her.

Lil' Herbie safely strapped in
for the ride home.

Repaired, cleaned, waxed,
lubricated and ready to spin!

Signature, date, and number made. So cool!

Marsha's first yarn!

Yarn made with the merino fleece that
came with Lil' Herbie.

Kelly and Ben spinning on her Lil' Herbie.
Ben today. 

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and Marsha, of course, talks about food. But, surprise, not Thanksgiving food! She made a Butterscotch Cream Roll Up (oops, she says caramel in the podcast) from her absolute favorite cake cookbook, Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson the owner of Baker & Spice. Marsha got to visit the bakery on her recent trip to Portland Oregon.

Butterscotch Cream Roll Up.

"Mecca" :-)

Kelly talks about her sourdough starter.  This "pet" has been around almost a year now and is much less demanding than she originally thought.  The sourdough recipes that she uses the most are:
Rustic Sourdough bread from Instructables
Sourdough Pizza dough from Breadtopia
Pancakes from Yumarama
Biscuits from King Arthur flour

The website she liked the most when she was learning about sourdough starter was Sourdough Home with no-nonsense instructions.

Marsha talked about the college days so forgive them if they wax nostalgic and show a few pictures from the 80s of life at North Hall, Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington!

Kelly celebrating snow in front of North Hall.  Note the be discussed in future episode!

Robert makes Thanksgiving preparations in the North Hall (ex-hospital) kitchen. 

Marsha tries on her birthday present.  The perfect 80s sweatshirt!

Kelly and Marsha in 1983.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Ep. 5: What's Under the Kilt? Kilt Hose of Course!

Kelly began making socks almost from the beginning of her knitting career.  With the help of free patterns on the late nineties version of Knitting Pattern Central, her first pair were a pair of men's socks for her husband.  Also helpful were the tons of hand-me-down needles that she was given from friends and colleagues who discovered that she played with yarn.  Disregard for gauge, devil-may-care yarn choices, and the "if you fit 'em, you get 'em" method of determining size and recipient were the hallmarks of her early sock knitting.

The hat made out of the first Cotswold fleece--the same yarn that was used for my first socks.

Most recent socks for the husband.  These fit much better than the first ones!
Kicking back in hand-spun, Hermione's Everyday socks

What's in my sock drawer!

These baby socks have gone to a good home

The empty sock jar! 

Marsha knit sweaters first, and took a more rational approach to sock knitting: taking a class, using sock yarn, and creating socks that fit her feet well.

Fast-forwarding to the present, they both have full sock drawers, and both ended up as fairly traditional sock knitters--preferring DPNs, top down, heel flap and gusset, simple patterning (if any).  Kelly often gets pattern inspiration from her first sock pattern book, Socks, Socks, Socks, the 1998 publication of contest winners from Knitters Magazine.  Marsha uses the recipe that she got from the sock class and loves the self-patterning Heart and Sole yarns. For Marsha socks are a very relaxing project and because of this she make the same two socks patterns over and over so she doesn't have to keep referring to the pattern. Another way of looking at it is she doesn't have to think too much!

In the podcast she incorrectly stated the basic sock pattern she uses. It is actually Knit to Fit Ankle or Calf Socks by Nancy Lindberg. The ribbed socks are Globe Trotter Socks by Jodie St. Clair.

The first socks she ever made in a sock class are the bottom socks in the photo. The orange socks, second from the top, are her most recent socks. The very top socks are Turkish Bed Socks by Churchmouse Yarns.

Marsha's socks.
Currently she is making socks using Punta Yarns Merisock Hand Painted.

Marsha's sock-on-the-needles she is calling Merry Sock.

And finally, Marsha talks about Sarah Core's oh-so-much-fun Mini Mania Scarf that she made with sock yarn leftovers.

Bonus Interview!!!
Marsha interviews her brother Mark Failor and their good friend Gary Clark about kilt hose, the socks traditionally worn with a kilt.
Here are Gary (left) and Mark (right) the night of our conversation and at an event last summer. Handsome men!


Here are two books that are great resources on how to wear a kilt. Scottish National Dress and Tartan by Stuart Reid and So You're Going to Wear a Kilt! by J. Charles Thompson.

Mathew A.C. Newsome is a excellent source for kilts and accessories. My brother's jacket was made by Mr. Newsome.

Of course Ravelry is a terrific source for kilt hose patterns but there is also a wonderful little book written by Lady Veronica Gainford titled, Designs for Knitting Kilt Hose and Knickerbocker Stockings.

Mr. Newsome also refers us to a free kilt hose pattern designed by John Anderson that Marsha thinks is very handsome.

Here is a picture of the some of the hose that we talked about.

In honor of all things Scottish, Marsha is including a recipe for Tipsy Laird that she makes when her family celebrated Burns' Night. She makes a pound cake to replace trifle sponges since they are not available here.

And finally, in honor of Marsha's late father Frank we offer his favorite kilt joke:

A kilted Scotsman was walking down a country path after finishing off a large amount of whisky at a local pub. He felt quite sleepy and decided to nap against a tree.
As he slept, two female tourists heard his loud snoring. When they found him, one said, "I've always wondered what a Scotsman wears under his kilt."
She boldly walked over to the sleeper, raised his kilt, and saw that he wore nothing at all. Her friend said, "Well, the mystery is solved! Let's thank him for sharing!"
She took off her pretty blue hair ribbon and gently tied it around the Scotsman's endowment. A while later, the Scotsman was awakened by the call of nature. He raised his kilt and was bewildered at the sight of the neatly tied blue ribbon. He stared for a minute, then said, "I don't know where y'been laddie... but it's nice ta see you won firrrst prrrize!"

Check out this episode!