Archive for the 'Sister Act' Category

Happy Belated Birthday, Sis!

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

A week ago Sunday was Ellen’s 40th birthday, which I missed here on the blog because I was co-chaperoning 11 teenagers for three days 200 miles away from home.  Yes, I wanted to stick a pin in my eye.

Anyhoo, please join me in wishing Ellen a very, very happy belated birthday.

Happy Birthday, Sis!  I love you!

So much to celebrate!

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

Sarah and I would like to thank all of our wonderful readers for a great first year in the blogosphere! A year ago today—when we were still figuring out just how the devil to post photos and every post took four hours to complete—we had no inkling how much sheer fun this enterprise would be, much less that it would allow us to connect meaningfully to old friends and make so many great new ones.

Like most of the best things in life, its full merits emerged gradually.

Now we’re as happy as a dog systematically killing the newly-sprouted grass by rolling on her back in the same spot every day. (Photo courtesy of the Incomparable Kate.)

We’d just like to express our gratitude to the readers who have been with us through all the knitting errors, knitting ennui, and knitting ecstasy, all the personal ups and downs, all the good luck and the bad.

To that end, we are announcing a little contest. The prize will be a cone of the same yarn from which Sarah knit the Handsome Triangle:
Ellen says: I would have included a picture of the actual cone you will receive—which is well over 2000 yards, I believe, and is a cashmere-wool blend—but you know me! I packed it already…

Here’s what you gotta do: using whatever information you can find on the blog, plus your good sense and intuition, leave a comment on this post with your guess as to the number of people who will be at:
1. Ellen’s wedding
2. Ellen’s first wedding reception in CA
3. Ellen’s second wedding reception in MA

You may also speculate regarding Ellen’s wedding gown style and when Sarah will finish Rumple, but these extras are not required for the contest.

Whoever is closest to the actual numbers for all three nuptial events will win the coveted hot pink prize. The prize will be awarded after Ellen’s second wedding reception (once all the returns are in, as it were) and will be shipped out to the lucky winner in mid-July.

Good luck! And thanks for a great year!

Love means never having to say you’re sorry for rubbing your head vigorously in something odiferous. (Caption and photo courtesy of the Incomparable Kate. Thank you, Kate!)

Let them eat cake

Friday, April 6th, 2007

Well.  What Ellen failed to mention yesterday is that she has engaged yours truly to come out to Boston for the east coast party and bake wedding cake(s).  And supervise the preparation of the other food, too.

Uh, Ellen?  180 guests?  Lord have mercy.  I was really thinking I’d be baking for about 60.  That just goes to show the truth of the obnoxiously smarmy saying about “assume!”

OK.  We can do this.  We have the technology.  Despite the fact that all my baking pans and equipment are in NW Missouri, and the party is taking place in the greater Boston area.

We just need to figure out what kind of cakes we’re talking about here.

How about a small, tiered, square white cake with vanilla buttercream, like so?

square wedding cake

Or perhaps a flourless chocolate cake? 

flourless chocolate cake                                    (As an aside, these are really, really delicious.  Like mainlining chocolate.  Hook up the IV, girls!)

Maybe a chocolate cake with chocolate truffle filling and chocolate buttercream?

chocolate cake                                      I believe this particular cake had fresh raspberries embedded in the truffle filling.

Or its fraternal twin, a white cake with white chocolate truffle filling and white chocolate buttercream?

white chocolate cake                                            This cake had sliced strawberries in the center.

Or we could go with cheesecake–always a popular choice.

cheesecake                                        Seen here fraternizing with the bad-boy flourless chocolate cakes.

How about lemon cake?  That’s nice and summery-seeming.

lemon cake                                    (Although in actuality about as light as a lead balloon.)

Or, (not pictured), carrot cake?

I realize that all these white-ish cakes look very much the same on the outside, but inside the differences are vast.  Vast, I tell you!

And what’s the plan for all the other food?  Remember Mom’s birthday party a couple years ago, Ellen?  Are you thinking of something like that?  Let’s see, we had hot artichoke dip with bruschetta for dipping, hummus with pita bread, baked Brie en croute with crackers, a vegetable array, fresh fruit, Sarah’s famous pasta salad, cake, and maybe something else that I’m forgetting.

Oh, and, as much as I like the ideas for plants in the backyard that others have suggested in the comments, with 180 guests you may find yourself needing every square inch of yard space.  Pack ’em in!  I myself really believe that, with lots of good food and (heaven knows) booze, no one will notice the yard.  But perhaps that’s just because I am a terrible gardener but a pretty good cook.

Let them eat cake!

Happy Birthday, big sis!

Friday, March 30th, 2007

Today is Ellen’s hmmhmmth birthday.  Happy Birthday, sis!  May this day and all your days be filled with happiness, fulfillment, love, and lots and lots of beautiful yarn.



Fall Challenge winners announced!

Saturday, November 11th, 2006

The KnitSisters, in a rare moment together, enjoying one another’s company,

chowing down on some Mexican food,

relishing a Midwestern specialty, the bottomless cup of Pepsi-Cola,
Good! And good for you!

and enjoying treasured moments with family:

Since we’re together and able to confer, we have tablulated the votes for our contest entrants and it looks like Deb has come out ahead, but only by a nose. We have to say, though, that this was a very close contest, almost too close to call.

Both designs were beautiful, each in its own way. To give each of the winners some choice in her prize, we have decided to award the handspun in the following manner: Deb will have first choice among the three kinds of yarn and then Diane will be able to pick from the remaining two.

Once again, here is the choice of prizes:
The cabled yarn.

tufted yarn
The tufted and shiny yarn.

purple wool/mohair
The wool-mohair yarn.

Last but not least, honorable mentions go to Lorinda and Monica, for explaining a very bad translation from the Russian that contained the unusual word “besom.” See this post for more on that and for their clever responses.

Deb and Diane, be in touch with Sarah with your choices and your contact information.

Congratulations to our winners! Happy knitting and designing to all!

Fall Challenge entries

Wednesday, November 1st, 2006

We have two official entries for the Knit Sister Fall 2006 Challenge and Contest!

And they are:

Deb’s orange sweater, shown here beautifully modelled by Deb herself.  She’s included a lovely little leaf pattern in the deep bottom ribbing.

Deb's orange sweater 

And Diane’s leaf patterned yoke sweater, made completely out of handspun.

leaf sweater 

Both are gorgeous, I think, and well-deserving of prizes!  And fortunately, since we have only two entries, both knitters will receive handspun from yours truly.

What we need from you, loyal readers of the blog, is your vote as to first and second place.  So leave us a comment or send us an email and let us know which sweater you’d place in first.  It’s a hard decision, isn’t it? 

I myself would put them both in first, for different reasons.  So I’m no help to you at all.  What about you, Ellen?  How will you weigh in on this momentous decision?

Cast your vote today and stay tuned….

Knit Sisters Extend Deadline: Knitters Rejoice

Monday, October 16th, 2006

Ellen and I had a chat over the weekend and decided that, seeing as how neither one of us has finished our own submission for the leaf-themed Fall Challenge, we wanted to extend the deadline for submissions.

So we are pushing back the deadline until October 31.  Yippee!  (And there was great rejoicing throughout the land!)

Because, after all, it is still fall.

fall leaves

So, knitters, when you get your designs finished, send a pictures (or pictures) along to one of us at:

ellen at knitsisters dot com   OR

sarah at knitsisters dot com  OR

pastryknits at cs dot com

I thought I would take this opportunity to entice you by picturing the handspun yarn that I have picked out to offer as prizes.

First prize:

cabled yarn                             The cabled yarn (100% wool)

Second prize:

tufted yarn                                                         The tufted yarn (75% superwash wool, 25% rayon, approximately)

Third prize:

purple wool/mohair                                                    The purple wool and mohair 2-ply (60% wool, 40% mohair, approximately)

Sisters’ Choice Award:

handpaint wool/mohair                                The skein of handpainted wool and mohair 2-ply (60% mohair, 40% wool, approximately)

So, Deb, you have a couple more weeks!  I can’t wait to see the shrug/sweater!

Labor day hiatus

Monday, September 4th, 2006

KnitSisters will be closed today in observance of the Labor Day holiday.

We’re plumb tuckered out from all that knitting, spinning, and skunk chasing.

But we’ll be back tomorrow with more fun and high jinks as Ellen attempts to design a small item of knitwear with a leaf motif in honor of the Fall 2006 KnitSisters Design Contest…and learns the true meaning of “total incompetence.”

Tune in Tuesday for this heartwarming (and heartbreaking) epic adventure in the fiber arts.

One woman. Ninety bazillion knitting books. Two beautiful skeins of her sister’s handspun. Minimal math skills. No vision.

The odds are long and the path is rocky. Can she succeed, or will this merely become an irresistible opportunity for her vastly more talented sister to mock her? We’ll find out when KnitSisters returns!

Until then, Happy Labor Day! Don’t lift a finger now, y’hear?

Knit Sisters Fall Challenge and Contest

Thursday, August 10th, 2006

Ellen and I, after much deliberation and soul-searching, are pleased to announce the Fall 2006 Knit Sisters Challenge and Contest!

In honor of the upcoming change of seasons (and believe me, that change cannot come soon enough for me) we would like to invite all our blog readers to design a knitted item with a leaf motif.

fall leaves 

(This is the glory that is the maple tree in my front yard–last year.)

Here’s the scoop:

1.  The challenge starts now and will end October 15, 2006.

2.  Any knitted item that incorporates a leaf motif is fair game.  This includes anything from the largest sweater to the smallest cravat or wristlets.

3.  Any technique may be used:  lace, intarsia, stranded, cables, brocade, etc., as long as the end motif is recognizable as a leaf.

4.  Send us a photo of your item by Sunday, October 15, 2006, and we will post all the photos in a gallery on the blog.

5.  On October 16, 2006, we will open the floor to voting for your favorite knitted leaf item.  Send us an email or post a comment with your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place choices.  We’ll leave the voting open for 2 weeks, or until October 29, 2006.

6.  There will be prizes (!!!) for at least the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishers.  I will be giving handspun yarn to the winners; there may be other prizes as well.  (We’re leaving that door open for now.)

I will be working on my new design Blue Bamboo

 blue bamboo leaf detail

during this time, although it will not be included in the voting, for obvious reasons.  Ellen promises me that she will come up with something….

Need ideas for sources for leaf patterns and motifs?  Here are a few of my favorites:

1.  Any of the Barbara Walker Treasuries

2.  Nicky Epstein’s Knitting on the Edge, Knitting Over the Edge, and the brand-new Knitting Beyond the Edge

3.  1000 Great Knitting Motifs by Luise Roberts

4.  Latvian Dreams by Joyce Williams

There are many, many more, of course.  Harmony Guides, Fair Isle books, lace knitting books, etc., etc. 

If you have questions, feel free to email me or leave a comment and I will get back to you.  Have fun!  May your flying needles create a cool breeze in these hot times!

All about the Knit Sisters

Monday, June 12th, 2006

I’m Ellen.

And I’m Sarah.

And we’re the Knit Sisters! Welcome to our blog. For several months now, we have been concerned about apparent dearth of knitting blogs written by sisters, or what we call “The Sister Gap.” So we’ve taken it upon ourselves to fill this obvious need. What, you may ask, qualifies us to render this service?

Oh, let us count the ways…

1. We are actual, biological sisters. Although we hasten to add that we consider all knitters our metaphysical and spiritual sisters and brothers!

2. Those of you with children may feel heartened to know that now that we are 35 and 38 years old (respectively), we’ve finally stopped quarrelling and are ready to launch a joint project.

3. We knit. We’ve pretty much always knit, having been born, remarkably, with stitch markers and tiny balls of superwash wool in our little fists. This was all the more astonishing given the fact that our mother DOES NOT KNIT. She claims that she is unable to knit. But more on this highly suspicious claim elsewhere…

4. Sarah spins. Ellen does not. Yet Ellen beholds Sarah’s spinning with appropriate awe and wonder. Ellen also frequently scores major, major stash-enhancing handspun from her sister. She is exceptionally grateful and wonders what she did so right in a previous life to get this lucky.

5. Location. Location. Location. Sarah lives in Missouri and Ellen lives in Massachusetts, so we’re kind of like regional correspondents on knitting and spinning. Or something like that.

6. In spite of the fact that cats are the accepted mainstay domestic animal of knitters, we are dog people. We live in households with cats, so occasionally one will whizz by, entangling itself in our yarn, but we do not as a rule have truck with cats.

No, we feel that dogs are infinitely better knitting companions. You may have heard of “emotional support dogs”? These are highly trained “knitting support dogs”:


and Shelley:

7. We like to write and talk about knitting.

8. We like to write and talk to each other about knitting.

9. We feel it’s time that others got in on this conversation.

10. And as they used to say at the beginning of every episode of The Six Million Dollar Man (we know y’all remember this, too), “We have the technology!” We’ve got computers, we’ve got digital cameras, and we’ve got Alex, Ellen’s fiancé, who generously designed this site and is standing by to bail us out whenever we get in over our heads. Technologically speaking. Thank you, Alex!