Sunday, March 29, 2015

Ep 14: The Warmth of Summer--it's coming!

“What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” 
 --John Steinbeck 

The Two Ewes are having their first Knit-AlongJoin us in knitting summer items over the next three months.  For details, check out our Ravelry group.

In this episode we give updates on our Promise-ewe-ous Knitting Challenge. Some the of the projects are finished, some are taking their own sweet time, and we've added some new projects to the challenge.

Kelly has finished her 2015 Yarniacs Love the Yarn You Have challenge.  Most of Kelly's challenge was to use coned yarn and she ended up using about 9,666 yards!  Finished items include a New Born Vertebrae (a free pattern by Kelly Brooker), 6 woven dishtowels using the Interweave Design Collection 18, Treasury of Dishtowels, and a woven cotton baby blanket.  
Marsha finished the pieces for her Featherweight Cardigan (Design by Hannah Fettig, Custom Fit Version from the Amy Herzog website.)  They are blocking now.  She continues work on her Pismo Beach and Tricolor Socks.

Pismo Beach Socks

Tricolor Socks
She completed Persephone Cowl in Persephone Handpaints from Universal Yarns. This is yarn she bought in Portland on the Rose City Yarn Crawl.

Persephone Cowl

She started a new project she is calling Wisteria Shawl. The pattern by the designer Lisa Mutch and is called Eidolon. She is using silk fingering weight yarn from Picket Fence Fiber Studio.
Wisteria Shawl

Marsha started a cardigan called Juno and is using Silky Victoria from Blue Moon Fiber Arts.  She bought the yarn at Twisted also as part of the Rose City Yarn Crawl.

Telling you about the finished weaving projects got Kelly thinking about wet finishing in weaving and how it might apply to new weavers and also to knitting. It might be especially useful for those of us who will be using cotton or linen for our Warmth of Summer KAL projects.

Some of the resources she mentions are:
Laura Fry's blog and the Craftsy blog post she wrote about "Magic in the Water."
A Knitty Spin article about finishing handspun yarn.

To illustrate the difference that wet finishing can make, here are some before and after pictures of the two recent cotton/linen projects:
Top is before, bottom is after.
And here are some before and after photos of samples/swatches from a wool blanket that I made about 7 years ago.  The first shows all four samples, the following pictures show the four stages two at a time:
Left to right, from no finishing to max felting

The two least agitated-top none, bottom little.
Top is little, bottom is moderate.
Top is moderate, bottom is maximum.

Check out this episode!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Ep 13: Live From Portland!

Kelly and Marsha met up in Portland, Oregon for the Rose City Yarn Crawl from March 5-8. Can you believe there are fifteen yarn shops in the Portland area? We didn't have time to visit each shop but sure gave it a try. In this episode we share our experience of the yarn crawl and hold off discussing project updates until the next episode. It was so much fun to put this podcast together while we were actually in the same room!

Here are the shops we visited.

Close Knit, Dublin Bay Knitting Co., For Yarn's Sake, Happy Knits, Knit Purl, Knitting Bee, The Naked Sheep Knit Shop, Pearl Fiber Arts, and Twisted. All the shops were great and the crawl was very well organized and fun. We also enjoyed some delicious Portland food, wine, beer, coffee, and chocolate. However, no Voodoo Donuts for us, and here is why...

Quite the crowd waiting to get VooDoo Donuts!
We met three very interesting indie dyers from the Portland area.  Alexandra, from Alexandra's Crafts spoke with us about the yarn dyed with a shibori technique she that she was debuting at Pearl Fiber Arts.  Next, we met Sarah of Bumblebirch at Close Knit, where she was having a trunk show.  Her beautiful tonal yarn also jumped into our shopping basket!  At the Yarn Party at Happy Knits, we met Stephania of Three Fates Yarns.  She was also having a trunk show with lots of sample projects from her beautiful yarns.

Portland was in full bloom!
 Kelly scored 1200 yards of naturally dyed linen on sale from one of her new favorite suppliers, Sincere Sheep.
 Here is the pile of yarn we ended up with.  We were quite restrained, really.  It helped that Kelly had to fly on to San Antonio with just one suitcase.
Kelly's purchases.
Marsha's purchases.

We got brave and wore name tags.
Marsha and Kelly smiling after a
successful crawl.
We must have been overcome with yarn fumes, because we didn't take very many pictures, and none show us in all our knitwear, but here are a couple more.

Relaxing with wine after a full day of crawling.

Baby "Tangle" at Twisted. So adorable.
Since Portland is such a hip city and the people all have a great sense of style, the Two Ewes have decided to start working toward their own West Coast version of Advanced Style.  We have a few years before we are old enough, so we have time to perfect our more relaxed version of the Advanced Style "look!"

The trip was great.  The bottom line...plan a Portland get-away with your favorite yarn loving friends!  Rose City Yarn Crawl will be back again next March, but you don't have to wait that long!

Check out this episode!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Ep 12: Let the Yarn Season Begin!

Check out this episode!

Our podcast is a week late because the Two Ewes have been so busy. Kelly attended Stitches West in Santa Clara, California last weekend. Since next weekend we will be at the Rose City Yarn Crawl, it actually made sense to skip a week and start back now on our every two weeks schedule.

In the time since the last episode, Kelly has finished two small projects.  The Spectrum Hat, using the Sock Head Hat pattern by Kelly McClure, is now finished.  It was cast on as a last minute knitting project for a professional development day.  Also cast on as a last minute "take-along" project are the Spring Dishcloths. They are in slip stitch patterns inspired by the Slip Stitch Dishtowels pattern on the PurlBee blog

Kelly continues to work on the dishtowels that she is weaving as a way to use up coned yarn stash for the Yarniacs Podcast 2015Q1 Stash Down Challenge.  The dishtowels and the dishcloths are both using stash yarn.  She is also working on a Newborn Vertebrae (pattern by Kelly Brooker) that was cast on at the last minute for take-along knitting for Stitches West.  You will note several themes here:  the name Kelly, the use of coned stash yarn, and the last minute cast on of a take-along project!

Marsha has been busy working on her five projects. She finished her Double Scoop Shawl and absolutely loves it. Thank you Ash Alberg for designing such a beautiful shawl.  She designs and blogs under the name Sun Flower Knit.

Marsha's completed Double Scoop Shawl.

Marsha continues to knit on her Pismo beach socks.  She also picked up her Custom Fit Featherweight Cardigan again and finished the back, the first front, and cast on for the second front.

She spun more more for her son's red, white and blue socks. Marsha spent a fun afternoon dyeing the yarn and has started knitting the socks. Here are some pictures of the yarn since it is so much fun to see how the yarn changes in each stage.

Skein stage.

Ball stage.

Knitted stage

And then Marsha got this text from Kelly's husband Robert. Marsha couldn't stop laughing and this is proof she is not a REAL football fan since the name connection never crossed her mind!

Kelly tells about her fun at Stitches West, including the Yarniacs and 2 Knit Lit Chicks podcast meet-up and purchases of yarn and fiber.  Some of the great vendors from which she purchased goodies:  Sincere Sheep, Abstract Fiber, Western Sky Knits, Yarn Barn, and Webs.  

 She also made a sample with a punch needle rug hook at the Wooly Walkers booth and was so thrilled with the process that she now has a new hobby!
Isn't this cute!