Saturday, September 29, 2012

Wicklow Cloche at last

Introducing the Wicklow Cloche, a stylish (you rock it your own way) cloche hat with a wide brim, and attached I-cord braid-and-bow option and fitted cabled detail that fits everyone and lo-and-behold suits everyone too. It's a miracle hat!

This design has been lurking for a couple of years, waiting for the perfect yarn, perfect hat outcome. After 30+ versions, it turns out that every yarn is perfect for this hat and every version suits someone, big or little.

I'm really happy to say that the pattern is now available as a kit in The Constant Knitter and will be in my Ravelry shop shortly. 

The pattern is being released for the wonderful Artesano Aran yarn (I'm a big fan of this yarn, see here) but it has been knit in many other yarns, e.g. Debbie Bliss Fez (sadly now discontinued), Rowan Lima and Artesano Alpaca DK (both thankfully still available and ohhhh sooo divine). Instructions are given in the pattern for all these variations.

So to the lovely Serena in The Yarn Room Ashford, Co Wicklow, who asked one day 'How many of these hats are you going to knit, Nic?' the answer is 'As many as it takes, hon. As many as it takes.'

Monday, August 6, 2012

Big Sister Bag

Published at last after some unforseen delays at the publishers. This is the project referred to on this post, almost exactly one year ago.

Everybody needs a big sister to help to carry their load. If you haven't got one of your own, then this might help.

Big Sister Bag from Tangled, designed, knit and felted by myself.

And many thanks to my very own big sister H for the inspiration!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Rest in Peace Maeve Binchy

Farewell to lovely Maeve, a wonderful woman, a great writer and a unique human being.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Puss Cat IX

So how did it get to be June already? 

Everything is fine Chez Nic, I just haven't had a minute.

Don't worry, there has been knitting. And some knitting news to share too.


I'll just wrap up Puss Cat's adventures. 
Final pages next post. (Click to embiggen.)

Final episodes next post.


There's a knitting theme here too.

Just you wait. 


It'll be worth it.

Thank you for your patience!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Puss Cat VIII

Sorry! Been busy!

Soon they came to Rabbit's house and they found Rabbit asleep in a hammock in the garden.

"Wake up, Rabbit!" sang Red Robin. "Puss Cat has lost her washing. Have you seen it please?"

"No," said Rabbit, "I have not seen it."

But when Rabbit hopped out of the hammock, Puss Cat said.

"Oh, Rabbit, that is my towel! Where did you find it?"

"Why, Puss Cat," said Rabbit, "I bought it from Goose. Goose had an apron, two pairs of mittens and a towel for sale. I gave Goose a sack of green grass. I did not know the things belonged to Puss Cat!"

"Follow me," sang Red Robin, "and I will take you to Goose's house."

So Puss Cat and Hen and Pig and Rabbit followed little Red Robin.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Puss Cat VII

Soon they came to Pig's house.

"Good morning, Pig!" sang Red Robin. "Puss Cat has lost her washing. Have you seen it?"

"No," said Pig, "I have not seen it."

But when Pig trotted out of his house, Puss Cat said.

"Oh Pig, you are wearing my mittens, Where did you find them?"

"Why, Puss Cat" said Pig. "I bought them from Rabbit. Rabbit had an apron and two pairs of mittens for sale. I gave Rabbit a fresh lettuce."

"Follow me," sang Red Robin, "and I will take you to Rabbit's house."

So they followed little Red Robin.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mittens of Moone

The High Cross at Moone has fascinated me ever since I was a child.
Unlike many celtic carvings where you have to squint to see the details of the carvings the images carved in this cross are delightfully clear.

The 12 Apostles.

Twelve monk-like figures. Apostles, obviously.

The loaves and fishes.

Without a doubt. With a knife and fork, apparantly (no, not really).

And even the Flight into Egypt is pretty clear. A man leads a donkey carrying another figure holding a much smaller figure. Yup, I have no problem accepting this interpretation.

The images on the cross work so well graphically too.

I mean look at those Apostles. They have such character.

These guys have always been central to my plans for this design. It took quite a while before I got them to appear sufficiently stocky and lined up together in a way that reflected the original.

See how the head is not symmetrical? and one shoulder is higher than the other? I really wanted to reflect these characteristics in the final design. And to avoid creating a little robot figure also.

I was very happy with how it worked out in the end.

Of course, the overall design took some time to develop and lots of fussy detail had to be refined out of it. As usual I threw all my ideas at it at once.

At one time I had trailing brambles and meadow grasses but despite many happy hours of charting fun many of these details proved to be unworkable once the swatching began.

Note to self: Start the knitting earlier in the process for gawd's sakes. How many times do I have to learn this? My desktop is littered with carefully detailed and
completely unworkable charts. Maybe I should do cross stitch instead?)

My original plan was to use a light grey and a dark grey for the granite, making the mitten itself like 3-dimensional carved stone (Oh I am nothing if not ambitious my friends) but while the result was wonderfully earthy and textured, the finer details of the motifs were completely obliterated. The beautifully blended browns and greys just did not have have enough contrast with each other.
Some of the brighter notes in the colour range did show up wonderfully against the granite and oatmeal/neutral backgrounds, the vibrant pink and spring green for instance, and it was this that led me to the final selection of colours.

When I decided to knit the fish in that beautiful blue the whole thing suddenly came together. (Thanks Lucy!)

Those fish released the design from its earthbound granite beginnings and made it fly. (If you can handle a flying granite fish metaphor that is.)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Only 4 knitting days to go!

There are only a few short knitting days left before the St Patrick's Day Celebration opens again. (Rav link here if you have one.)

No details are available but I am using about 6 of these lovely colours. Fabulous.

I am really happy with how my project is going but that doesn't mean that it is finished. Oh no indeed.

All other non-essential tasks have been abandoned.

See you on the other side.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Full Of Mice

Like many longtime knitters I am a bit poly-craftual.

Altho' knitting is my big obsession first love, other crafts tend to seep in at the edges over time, especially thread and fibre based ones.

Paper crafts, not so much, tho' I do appreciate those skills in others and have been known to dabble a little.

Embroidery? Now that's different. That definitely does it for me.

Recently, while looking for something else altogether, I came across this.

It's an embroidered Owl Scissor Case with forest animals...

...and a sweet little poem...

The diet of the Owl
is not for delicate digestions
He goes out on a limb
to hoot unanswerable questions.
And just because he winks like men
who utter sage advice
We think him full of wisdom,
when he's only full of mice.

Full of mice eh? There's an interesting variation on bulls**t.

Anyhow, this Owl Scissor Case is a perfect combination of embroidery and vintage, and I love it.
Hmmm. I think I feel a new Ravatar coming on.

The original designer of this Owl Scissor Case is Elizabeth Talledo and you'll find a kit here (the one shown here has been modified) and lots of other lovely things besides.

Tempted. Definitely.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What shall be made of Wooll onely

Oh Wow.

Lookit this...

This text is from the 1699 Wool Act by William III of England (a.k.a. Billy the Kid), and refers to the laws against exporting the fleece products of wool items from the shores of England in order to protect the industry.

Such products are referred to in the Act as...

'Wooll Wooll-fells Shortlings Mortlings Wooll-flocks Worstead-Bays or Woollen Yarne Cloth Serge Bays Kerseys Says Frizes Druggets Cloth-Serges Shalloon'

S'poetry, innit?

Hop on over and check out this fantastic blog.

Irish Historical Textiles: What shall be made of Wooll onely

Be ye warned however, you may be gone some time.

Bring sandwiches.


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Puss Cat VI

"I gave Pig a sack of acorns."

"Follow me," sang Red Robin, "and I will take you to Pig's house. He will tell us where he found the apron."

So Puss Cat and Hen followed Little Red Robin.

Soon they come to Pig's house.

"Good morning Pig!" sand Red Robin. "Puss Cat has lost her washing. Have you seen it?"

"No." said Pig. "I have not seen it."

But when Pig trotted out of his house Puss Cat said.

"Oh Pig, you are wearing my mittens! Where did you find them?"


Monday, February 27, 2012

Puss Cat V

"Follow me," sang little Red Robin, "and I will take you to Hen's house. Hen is very good at finding things. Perhaps she has found your washing!"

So Puss Cat followed little Red Robin and soon they came to Hen's house.

But when Hen hopped out of her house, Puss Cat said.

"Oh Hen, that is my apron! Where did you find it?"

"Why, Puss Cat," said Hen. "I bought it from Pig. He had an apron for sale and I thought it would be a good idea to keep my egg in the pocket."


Friday, February 24, 2012

Puss Cat IV

The was nothing on the line except the pegs and little Red Robin.

"Oh dear, oh dear!" said Puss Cat.

"Someone has taken my washing. Who can it be?"

"Mew mew!" cried the kittens.

"Someone has taken our washing. Who can it be?"

(Ah ha! A crime. Getting more interesting now, eh?)


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Puss Cat III

One evening, after the kittens were in bed, Puss Cat said,

"I have so much washing that I think I will do it tonight before I go to bed."

So she made a huge bowl of soap suds and washed

an apron

two pairs of mittens

a towel

a scarf

a ribbon

and a pair of socks!

She hung the washing on the line and then she went to bed and slept all night.

In the morning she went into the garden, and what do you think she saw?

(Oh the suspense. I love that little washing line.)


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Monday, February 20, 2012

Puss Cat II

Here are Puss Cat's three kittens.

(I love these illustrations. Just lookit those little kitten tummies.)

Puss Cat had three kittens who were always tearing their clothes and leaving dirty paw-marks on the floor.

Puss Cat had to work very hard to look after the kittens and to keep her house clean and tidy.

She swept the floor.

She cooked the dinner.

She mended the kitten's clothes.

She polished the furniture.

(Yeah I get it. Puss Cat did housework.
Stick around, it gets more interesting.)


Puss Cat I

Puss Cat

Written and illustrated by Mollie Clarke

(click images to enlarge)

(inside cover)

Once upon a time there was a good mother cat.

Her name was Puss Cat.

Here is Puss Cat.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Something Special

I'd like to introduce you to something special.

This is Puss Cat.

Puss Cat and myself go waaaay back.

I'm going to show you her story.

And yes.

There will be knitting.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

St Bridget's Day


A quick tally of WIPs and stuff currently on the needles gives me 2 overdue gifts to finish, 3 hats, 3 hairbands and 3 mittens to knit and a pattern to

So what do I do?

Clearly the only thing to do is to start another project.

Happy St Bridget's Day. Last week marks the start of the St Patrick's Day Celebration competition on Ravelry. Every year I tell myself I have no time to enter and every year without fail I cannot resist.

This year I accepted early on that I would enter (thereby saving time and demonstrating new levels of age wisdom) and I am hoping to knit something that I failed to get off the page and onto the needles 3 years ago and haven't attempted since.

I'm gonna start from scratch and see what happens.


2010 entry

2011 entry & 3rd prize winner. Yay

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Forget the X-Factor and Dancing on Ice.

Let's harnass the voting power of knitters.

Make your vote count by voting in the Doodle4Google 2012 schools competition and win a **10,000 EUR technology grant** for the winning school.

And if you'd like to support my daughter Maeve, (5 years old, Senior Infants, St Saviour's NS, Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow) then click on this link.

Vote for Maeve.

The theme of this year's competition is 'I wish...'.

Here is Maeve's wish.

I wish the fun times would never end. I wish I could wear a Santa hat in Summer, a witch's hat in Spring, see butterflies and colourful flowers in Winter and green trees in Autumn. If the fun times never ended the world would be a happier place.

Please pass it on. The school could REALLY do with those computers.

(And afterwards she said with a knowing smile. 'Mummy I know what your wish would be. KNITTING!')

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

It's Snowing

Yup, it's snowing! Here are some sample flakes.

Please excuse the blurry pictures. I am reduced to uploading images from my ancient phone. It'll really be a snowstorm when they're blocked.

Don't worry. THIS is more like what I'm after...

Check out Attic 24 for the pattern and tutorial.

And THIS is what I got.

A great quick and easy Christmas gift.

Pictures courtesy of H (again).

Now. Seriously. Where IS that darn camera!?