Tuesday, December 29, 2009
It's been a difficult year around here. Bad stuff happens to lots of people.
Noting new about that. But some good stuff happens too. And frankly, for me, lots of that has to do with knitting in general and you guys in particular.
So thanks. Everyone.
Back to normal schedule shortly.
ETA: HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Intoducing the sleeveless vest 'Catriona' by Debbie Bliss. Isn't it lovely? It's knit in DB Rialto, of which more anon.
Importand disclaimer: Understand this. I DID NOT KNIT THIS!! I just wanted to show it off for someone and this is merely the forum in which it is displayed.
This is knit by my 83 year old friend M for another friend of ours, D.
I'm not saying that this was an easy knit for M by any means but it was a huge success. It was interesting to see how a...ahem...mature knitter of many years like M coped with the modern style of knitting pattern. She found it difficult to follow and felt that it lacked information and clarity. No surprise there.
She was also amazed that there was a combination of knit and purl stitches on the uneven rows, which in traditional Aran knitting are purl only. This creates the garter stitch insets inside the cable design. However, it didn't take long for her to get into the swing of it, and off she went.
There were a few miscrossed cables which had to be fixed, but otherwise, while I know she struggled with the stitch pattern instructions it was reasonably straightforward. Until it came to the blocking.
Jeez people, the blocking gave me heart failures! I had preached the gospel of blocking to M with all the fervour of a fundamentalist convert and extolled how it would straighten out the cabes and smooth out the fabric....etc...etc....and I offered to block it for her. OMG. The pieces grew from 21 inches to 28 inches in length when wet and I really quaked in my boots. The fact that it turned the colour of wet pastry dough didn't help, as it grew and grew in my hands.
Where's my pastry rolling pin? Yikes!
I gotta tell ya folks, I freaked out. I lost my cool. I took the drastic step (prematurely as it turned out) of unpicking the shoulder cast offs and ripping back 5 inches on each piece. It was still way too long, but I didn't have the courage to rip further. Then I seamed it up and (again trying to be helpful) picked up the stitches for the collar. It all seemed ok. Phew.
Then I showed it to M. Curses, she spotted right away how the collar was now far too short for the deep and lovely 'V' of the design. And besides, now that it was fully dry, it had shrunk back to a reasonable length. Sigh. Poor M shook her head sadly at my youthful and impetuous folly and took it away. She ripped out everything I had done and knitted back in 3 inches or so. The seams were fine, the collar was fine, and you can see from the pics that it worked out nicely in the end.
The only real downside was that M lost a little of the trust she had in my ability to navigate her through the choppy waters of modern knitting designs. That was a pity. I lost some of that trust in myself I admit. Certainly, I'll try and remember this project before I go hacking at something before it's fully dry.
Oh yes, and there's me nerves. They were shot for quite a while.
(Jeez. For a short post, this one sure grew - like Rialto!)
PS: I do feel a little badly that I have left you in absolute suspense since this post. As usual, things have been slightly delayed by the intervention of reality. Bummer. Never mind. Let me just say one word.
I'm sure you can work out the rest.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Take some goddamn NOTES, ok?
I'm just sayin'.
Self. Don't make me say it again.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Can't be good. Unless you're busy knittin' too.
Lots going on and some knitting to show you. With any luck a new pattern.
Soon my pretties, soon.
In the meantime...for those of us who are stuck in the wind and rain.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
...when you spill pasta sauce on your best white shirt and your first thought is 'Thank goodness it didn't hit my knitting', while your knitting is in your lap at the time.
Don't bother to deny it.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Some time ago, as part of a different conversation altogether, my very good friend Siobhan requested an Ashford Cowl. Actually, t'was me who offered as I recall.
(You know that wild impulse to cover your friends in your knitting if they will only allow it!)
In pink. She said. Please.
This is fuchsia.
Hot Pink it is.
For a Hot Pink Momma.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
I have recently returned to the Miss Potter pattern* as a prelude to self-publishing it in Ravelry.
It's already up there as part of an early Yarn Forward magazine. By coincidence I was also asked by a beloved family member to make a pair for her birthday. You want knitting? Then by golly you shall have knitting!
This pair are made from just over 1 ball of Artesano Alpaca DK and are won-der-fully soft.PS: She just phoned to say that she loves them and can she have a scarf for Christmas. Oh joy!
* A friend of mine is test knitting the pattern before I send it out there. The memoryof the error in the published version are still painful to me!
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Simplicity itself, but as yer man Leonardo da Vinci said (yes really) “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” And so it proves.
Here's the early morning dragged-into-the-wet-garden-during-breakfast-almost-smile. Poor child.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
I've just stumbled across the latest Twist Collective Winter collection. I like Twist Collective a lot and love looking through their new patterns. The designs, layouts, photography and styling are second to none.
Rarely however do I buy patterns online from any website. Partly due to the potential difficulty of sourcing the same yarn, and partly because many patterns really do work best on a more slender frame than that of my full figured delights.
Mostly however it's because I prefer to hold the pattern or book in my hands and to squish the yarn at the same time. This is the double espresso of inspiration that more usually intices me to part with cash.
And besides, I really do not have time to knit a whole garment. Honestly. I have so many other things to knit urgently that I don't see an actual garment sized item getting finished this century.
You might guess that I am leading up to something.
As always, there are lovely things in the new issue. Some of those hats are very enticing. This bag and this sweater are very appealing indeed.
However. It was when this jacket (designed by Carol Sunday) swam before me that I parted company with my reason. I felt myself rushing backwards at speed and there was a sudden wind rushing in my ears.
Isn't. It. Just. Divine?
Divine I tell you. I'm not mad about reverse stocking stitch as it happens, but perhaps it can be inverse reversed. Or perhaps the yarn will be fine enough to get past the issue. However, I am mad about William Morris, who is the quoted source of inspiration for this design. Plus, I'm happy that the shaping, the v-neck and the wide collar will suit me.
I still don't have time to make it, but by golly I'm gonna have it!
It's even enough to make me bypass the cookie jar for a while. And that's saying something.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Some time ago, the talented designer Alana of NeverNotKnitting suggested that I tell the story of the Joseph Knitting on her popular podcast 'NeverNotKnitting'.
You'll find the Tale of the Jolly Green Giant over here. The story is around min 12:35 secs in, but do check out the whole podcast. Alana provides detailed yarn and pattern reviews, describes her latest patterns and her knitting thoughts. Her designs are really great and she is an absolute professional with her presentation and layouts.
Oh and by the way, it isn't me singing in the story title segment, but isn't it fun that people think that it is? (Until afterwards of course). It's a lady called Wren Ross, and it's a great song choice for the story.
More reveals in a while. Back to scheduled programming now.
Do not adjust your set.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
We covered lots of types of stitches, which was fab, but also dipped into how to use different kinds of materials and how to unleash inspiration.
Now, that's worth a mess of potage right there.
And yes, I did get some inspiration for my felted bag. More details later when I have pictures. I can't in all conscience witter on about it while leaving you completely in the dark, so to speak. I do have some standards.
PLUS I also finally delivered material to a podcast that I was invited to contribute to. Let you know when it's up and about.
PLUS this afternoon there was a whole new knitting project conceived, knitted and gifted in the space of 6 hours. That was fun. No pictures unfortunately, but I'll make another one exactly the same very soon and get pictures of that.
PLUS, and most importantly of all, I made some crucial moves towards a very exciting venture which I've been working on for a long time.
What did I say about having standards about not leaving you in suspense? They must be around here somewhere, I had them just last week.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Announcing more knitting classes, this time in the Cork area.
SMA Parish Hall, Wilton, Cork
Price: €30 per class or €50 for both classes (plus materials).
Carol Feller: Finishing Touches
Sue Cullen: Knitting Socks from the Top Down
Classes run mornings and afternoons, so why not do both if you can?
Sounds like a great day. Have fun!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Saturday 14th November.
This time I've signed up for the Embroidery class with Lucinda Jacob. I've a number of felted items which I'd like to embellish, including the felted bag from the last PUYN.
This time I'll get photos.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
This fabulous mohair yarn is from the Cushendale Mills in Co Kilkenny, and available from there and from The Yarn Room, Ashford, Co. Wicklow. (This is the yarn I got so excited about in this post.)
Double frill version in Poppy & Wine
Single frill version in Glacier & Sage
Knit it double or single stranded, with one frill or two. It’s an eye-catcher, whichever you choose. These versions are both knit double stranded. The red/orange version has a frill in each colour, the blue/green version has a single double stranded frill.
The pattern is under final revision and will be available on Ravelry and at TYR in the next day or so.
Just LOOK at the colours over here!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Almost (but not quite) too tired to knit. Definitely too tired for housework.
New project and new pattern coming very soon. With pictures, I promise.
If you're in the vicinity, come on down to the opening party at The Yarn Room on Saturday afternoon...starting at 5pm.
S'gonna be fun!
Friday, October 2, 2009
Are there enough enthusiastic CAPS and EXCLAMATION MARKS in the title!!!? D'ya think?
Seriously tho', I'm having a really tough time these days with work stuff and deadlines and stuff going on in general, no biggie, BUT I was lucky enough to spend yesterday morning with a motley crew of Wicklow Knitters and members of the general population at my LYS.
While I was there, I was not only entertained, as always, by the chat and high humour, but also inspired, by a wonderful triangular shawl by Irene, to consider a sort of elliptical scarf, with a subtle frill and some short rows (knitted in my latest yarn love Cushendale Mohair Boucle - yes, I know it sounds unlikely, but this boucle is just different, OK?).
Annnyheeew....I swatched in several lovely colours, decided on 2 strands of different colours, started the project yesterday, pondered it all evening, changed the shaping several times, knit it all this morning, and took it to the shop late this afternoon for consultation, finishing and binding off. And in that short time people, I made a really lovely drapey scarf/wrap thingy, (if I say so myself - which I do) that just rings all my bells.
(Plus it must be said, over the same time period, I prepared several work presentations, chaired a tricky school Parent Association AGM, balanced the needs of the staff-and-parent school community and negotiated World Peace in My Little World. Little Ms Ban Ki-Moon, that's me.)OK, so the frill could be a little frillier, but the dimensions and colour combo are just perfect for what I had in my head. Besides, I'm not such a frou frou lady that frills are what I depend upon. I've got dimples and a cheeky grin for that.
My point is, however, that over the past 2 days there took place one of those really pure yarn experiences whereby:
Yarn People + Yarn + Inspiration + Knitting = Joy & Happiness
And chief among them let it be said, are the Yarn People. Every now and then, in the midst of the chaos and cacophony of life, there chimes a pure note that rings true and sounds out for a long time. I'm just sayin'. It's been a nice few days.
Not only that, but I came away a few hours later with MORE yarn, MORE colours, and MORE inspiration for a modified version which I hope will become a pattern to put this yarn on the map. People, this yarn is fabulous. Just LOOK at the richness of those colours. Just LOOK! With your EYES!
Sorry. That too much? Watch this space.
PICTURES!? No, of course I haven't any project pictures. Silly question! I'm moving faster than the speed of light these days. Off on a work trip in the morning (guess which knitting is going in my suitcase? plus this crochet item) and I haven't even looked for my clothes, let alone packed them, or fed the children and laid out the necessary clothes and supplies to keep them going in the interim.
You'll just have to do what I'm doing and hold your breath.
I'll be back.
(Edited to add link to Cushendale Wrap Pattern.)
Thursday, October 1, 2009
And about how this can be a bad thing for achieving deadlines etc.She confessed that when she has to concentrate on getting some work done, she puts her knitting into her husband's car so that she has no access to it during the day.
Of course, I'd have to put the whole stash and needle supply into the car as well, but I like the idea so I share it with you here.
Make of it what you will my lovelies.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
I realise that the blog is a bit light these past few weeks. All's well here over in Nic-land. Just a bit swamped by work and other commitments for the next month or so.
To tide yiz over, here's some of my favourite Dorothy Parker.
Four be the things I am wiser to know:
Idleness, sorrow, a friend, and a foe.
Four be the things I'd been better without:
Love, curiosity, freckles, and doubt.
Three be the things I shall never attain:
Envy, content, and sufficient champagne.
Three be the things I shall have till I die:
Laughter and hope and a sock in the eye.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Very very soft and smooshy.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I'm so delighted at the response the pattern has received on Ravelry. I also received a number of compliments on the layout of the pattern. I worked really hard at writing the pattern and presenting it clearly, so naturally this pleases me.
I'm not boasting honest. It's just a cowl. But since you're here, I thought you'd like to see it.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Pretty nice, eh?
That's not the gutted part.
I'm crushed because I've been thinking about a design for something very similar to this for weeks now. Weeks, I tell you. WEEKS!
My idea was more along the lines of something in a lighter Manos silk yarn, or maybe the wool blend weight...but seriously I'm really disappointed. I was waiting to get some other things off my list.
Thing is, if I pursued my idea now I'd really feel like I was copying the Riverbanks pattern in some way, or at the very least that it was no longer an original idea.
Still, I'd like to make mine anyway and see how it compares.
As I've said before, in similar circumstances. She who hesitates is lost!
All kudos to the designer of course. It's lovely.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Click here for a class schedule. Come along and get hooked!
Next Friday 18th Sept, we'll be in the Yarn Room in Ashford, Co Wicklow having a go at making this lovely hat, just one of Irene's original designs.
Can't help feeling that I'm in on the ground floor of a crochet revolution!
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Given that I have a very busy Life Job with home and family AND a Paying Job with work and deadlines and colleagues etc AND given the struggles with commuting, shopping and housework, it turns out that I can only say that:
It went great.
I really enjoyed the class. There was a very broad range of ages and abilities, but I'm pleased to say that the young beginners left with a good grasp of knit, purl, cast on and cast off, and the slightly older beginners added stocking stitch, moss stitch, rib and cables to that list. The returning adult knitters remembered all about it and got all inspired to encourage their young ones and to embark on projects for themselves.
Altogether a happy and productive morning.
Which is not to say that I'm not delighted to have only half that number booked into the class this Saturday. Be nice to have a slightly easier day.
I may be a knittin' fool but I'm no fool*.
* well I am actually, but that's for another day!
Saturday, September 5, 2009
We have 4 children, 2 Mums and a Granny booked in for today. They'll be a mixture of complete beginners, learned-10-years-ago-at-school and returning knitters, so it'll be an interesting morning.
With any luck, they'll go home with a little more than the basic skills and inspired to dive into their first project (or first project for years). It's so good to be a part of sewing that seed for knitting (yes AND crochet Irene).
I've got my knit samples, my class notes, my quiver of needles (well, in fact Stephanie will have needles in the shop, but my quiver* makes me feel 'armed and ready for action') and my enthusiasm.
Think that'll do it?
So this morning I'm excited (and a little bit nervous).
Wish me luck!
*This is a massive needle roll that my Mum made me containing several generations of needles. It's very impressive when it's rolled out. People gasp. Really. And when it's rolled up it's really like a quiver. It's quite impressive, I'll get pictures.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
I don’t actually crochet at all (I've a feeling this is about to change), but I was able to pick up this fantastic technique in a few hours. Tunisian Crochet makes a firm textured fabric with endless potential for amazing colourwork.
This was my 1st class at The Yarn Room and it was a great experience, a lovely bright airy room, excellent tea and teaching. Oh yes and it was good fun too. What more could you ask?
As they would say in traditional Oirish folklore: Crochet agus craic*.
*translation: Crochet and fun
Saturday, August 22, 2009
The dictionary defines the term 'diaphanous' as meaning 'delicately hazy'. I think that kinda sums it up really.
This is Wisp, and it has greatly progressed from the first post about it waaayyy back in May. It didn't help of course that it was mislaid for a few months, but even so, where has the time gone? (Seriously. Where?)
I know it looks tremendously long, but it's amazing what you can achieve by standing up close. It's almost 10 repeats done, with 5 to go, and it's 3.5 ft long. It'll be just perfect at 5 ft or so, and blocking will probably add more length.
I love wide long scarves, but let's face it, they're a big commitment, so it's a bonus that this has knitted up surprisingly quickly. It's not without it's mistakes of course, (a couple of mis-wrapped yarnovers and a clumpy bit of yarn that I should have cut out at the time, and as for the 1st lace panel, shsssh! Let's not go there!), but since I've decided to keep this for myself, I'm not too bothered by them.
There's something about the stacked yarnovers and the intervals of garter stitch strips that really makes this design sing. Even when it's all bunched up, it has a lovely honeycomb appearance.
I can't wait to block it.
And oh yes, the sun does shine in Ireland.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Image from Spud & Chloe
Hmmmm. As some of you know, I don't do socks. Really I don't. But they've always intrigued me. Kinda like other things that I don't do, like scuba diving and time travel.
This is an upcoming pattern from Spud & Chloe. It might just be enough to light the sock fire in me. And I just need another pattern obsession now, don't I?
It's small, simple and I'd like an excuse to try this yarn. Now...what are my chances of getting Little Monkey to wear handknit socks?
Hmmmmm....I'll get back to you.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Over the weekend I was a guest on the Never Not Knitting podcast, my very first online broadcast. I told the story of the Joseph Knitting. It's been quite a thrill.
I'm ready for my closeup now.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
It had been going along so well and then I had an unlikely fit of tidying up and it vanished out of all human sight. I really thought it was gone for good, but there it was, in a bag of building blocks and old jigsaws.
It's good timing, because we are about to embark on a nationwide tour of cousins involving at least 2 stopovers over 4 or 5 days.
Wisp is just the kind of knitting that you need for that sort of trip. Straightforward and familiar, so you can knit while chatting to people without recourse to the pattern.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
It's Artesano Nicole, by Azize Stirling in Manos Del Uruguay Silk Blend. It doesn't appear to be on Ravelry, but you'll find the pattern reference on this page.
I think it's also available at The Yarn Room, or they could get hold of it I guess, so if anyone wants it, (ahem, paging FibrePirateKniter!) just let me know and I'll gladly get you a copy.
No offence to Artesano, but I think L's Nicole is far superiour to the pattern photo. Maybe she should get a modelling contract!
On another note, things will be a bit quiet around the blog for the next few weeks. Recently, I was shushing Little Monkey (for the 100th time) so I could do something on the computer and she sighed deeply and flounced* out of the room saying...
'Sometimes I think that computer is more important than ME!'
Yikes! So...until school is back, for the next few weeks the computer will be put away for daylight hours at least. Sigh! I'm sure I'll manage to sneak a peek!
* and boy is she the Mistress of the Flounce
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Fabulous isn't it!
* or shouldn't that be Manos from Heaven?
Friday, July 17, 2009
Lucky us. Can't wait.
I may or may not get the chance to drop in here to say hi. I'm planning for beach knitting of course, but right now I'm trying to pack. I should learn from previous years that I should pack the knitting first...!!
Normal blog schedule resumes at the end of the month. In the meantime, happy knitting and I hope you and yours stay well, safe and happy.
Monday, July 13, 2009
The next version will be slightly more flared at the collar edge and more scalloped at the neck edge. And then I'll put the pattern up on Ravelry. Or at least that's the plan.
My knitting mates felt that it was better to omit the actual 'berries' from the Berry Cluster Stitch so as not to create too much tension between motifs. I'm going to add some to the pattern version tho', just as an option.