Tuesday 23 June 2009

Happy Birthday to me!

So it's that time of year again. I'm last year + 1.
I had a great day yestersday, once I'd left work! I hate working on my birthday. Still, I'm off today and I'm test driving more cars, so it's ok.

First up, some lace progress! I know, lace. But I was dying to try it properly so I cast on for this pattern from Victorian Lace Today.

This was how much I had done the other day - the first chart completed.

This is how much I had done this morning. It's a really easy two row pattern repeat and I'm enjoying it! It doesn't look like much now, as always with lace it needs blocking to bring out the true beauty of the pattern. The yarn is Knit Picks Shimmer (Baby Alpaca and Silk). The colour is Stained Glass.

So, shall we get onto birthday pressies? I thought you would want to!
Check out the birthday card John got me:

I don't know if you can read the front, but it says "Surely you can take a little ribbing on your birthday" and on the inside it says "And don't call me Shirley"
Best knitty birthday card ever. He's the best!

Of course there was some stash enhancement too ;)
I don't know what this yarn is. It looks like laceweight and looks like it has mohair in it, but there's no label on it. I know John bought it in Marias Garn in Stockholm but that's it. Does anyone have any ideas what it is?
Isn't it yum?

He also got me a skein of this:

It's hand dyed Fargkraft yarn, Palsblend in Tulpan colourway. Ravelry says it's laceweight, but to me it feels like sockweight yarn.

Amn't I lucky? He's such a pet.
We went to see Bill Bailey last night. He's so funny! I had a great time. Alice stayed the night with Johns brother & his wife so it's really quiet here in the house this morning.
So, another birthday done. I had a great time and it was great to take my mind off things with my Mam & Dad.

Friday 19 June 2009


TGIF. That's all I can say really. My week has been one of highs and lows. Mam was offically diagnosed with severe dementia today. I spent yesterday in the office sobbing at my desk in front of everyone I'm so overcome with the stress and worry of it all. I felt like such a fool. Took the day off work today to be there when the Dr. came to the house, even though I don't have any leave to take. Dunno what I'm going to do for the rest of the year!

Plus, after the Dr. had left, Mam went for me bald headed and accused me of trying to put her in a home. As if. She had me in floods of tears, God love her. I know she was just scared. Still, I have to look at the positives of it all, at least now I can hopefully get some help for them both. A home help would mean so much to them. Fingers crossed the health board will stump up.

In knitty news, an FO!

Pattern: Sunshine by Cookie A from Sock Innovation
Yarn: Pagewood Farms Chugiak hand dyed sock yarn in Rainbow Sherbet
Needles: 2.5mm
Aren't they fab? I finished them about 15 minutes ago and ran out to the garden between showers to get a nice photo with the daisies before lawn mower mad hubby probably cuts the lawn when he gets home.
These socks mean a lot to me. Started during a fantastically relaxing bank holiday weekend that had fabulous weather, and the return of my sock mojo.

So, now I need a new project!
Here's my thoughts so far:
1. A pair of socks for Alice, unsure what pattern yet
2. Noro striped scarf
3. The colourwork sweater I purchased the Shetland for
4. The Cold Mountain Stole from the latest knitty
5. A pair of socks for my Dad that would end up being a very belated Fathers Day pressie, again unsure what pattern
6. Any one of the fabulous lace patterns from Victorian Lace Today
7. Very Berry Shirt for Alice

My initial thought are to cast on two. One pair of socks (probably the ones for my Dad) and one larger project. I'm itching to try lace but my previous attempts have not gone well. Maybe a swallowtail shawl to start (again)? What would you guys recommend as a first attempt lace pattern knit in laceweight yarn?

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday 17 June 2009

Wonderful Wednesday

Phew! So much has happened since last Sunday morning!
We went out on Sunday afternoon and Alice bought herself a new bike with her communion money. It's gorgeous. If I were a bit smaller I'd being going for a ride on it!
John has bought a new-ish car - a 2007 Dodge Caliber 2.0 Diesel. It's seriously yum. He got a great deal on it too.
I'm lusting after a brand new Chrysler Sebring Sedan or a Mercedes E Class 2005. The Chrysler is sex on wheels and really highly specced too. Decisions! And no, we haven't won the lottery!

I'm so glad I came home from work today. Work has sucked the big one for the last few days, so much so that I'm seriously considering requesting a transfer to get away from my boss. :(
Anyway, when I got home today look what awaited me!
Not one, but two parcels!
The first one was my Wollmeise:

It's always wrapped beautifully in its own Wollmeise bag. Inside was:

3 skeins of superwash Merino! From top to bottom, Clementine, Sonne & Safran. And a packet of Haribo jellies. I'm fondling as we speak.

The second parcel was my Jamieson & Smith Shetland Wool:
I'm so excited to get knitting on my first colourwork sweater from Knitting Around!
They also included a pattern for a lovely sweater. So nice! I love getting surprise extras in parcels!

The lowdown of the Shetland:
I got 10 balls of the grey, two each of the blues and cream and one of the mysterious green on the top left. I can't wait to get started! Don't the colours look great together?
This is definitely IT for my stash for the forseeable. I actually think i may go to Florida this year and *gasp* not buy anything. I have so much yarn it's obscene. Really.
Work thunders along on my Sunshine sock now it's the only project I have on the go. I'm about halfway down the second foot so I should be finito by the weekend!
Last night I got a great surprise too. One of my best pals is a landscape gardener and he arrived up with a plant for me. A Calla Lily that a customer wanted thrown out of their garden. It's a huge fully mature plant.

I know a lot of people think lillies = death, but this has to be my favourite flower. I had these in my wedding bouquet many moons ago. I keep looking out of my front window at the plant and sighing. love love love!

Sunday 14 June 2009


Morning everyone. It's just after 7am here and I'm up. On a Sunday morning. Not happy. Insomnia sucks.

But, I do have an FO!
My February Lady Sweater. In all it's still-slightly-damp-but-I'm-wearing-it-to-WWKIP-anyway-glory

I love the buttons. These were some of the ones I bought at Ravelry Day last week.

The back:

A close up of the gull stitch pattern. So easy to remember which makes for a very easy knit.

Yesterday was WWKIP day and I had a great time.
Here are some pics:
In the morning we knit on the balcony of the Powerscourt Shopping Centre, location of that fine yarn establishment, This is Knit:

It was lovely sitting there and knitting, although it got a bit hot later on when the sun was shining through the glass roof. I cooked for a little while in it.
This Is Knit had a prize draw for people who spent over €20 in the shop, so of course I had to go in "just for a look". I bought a gorgeous book, Victorian Lace Today, which hopefully will get me knitting lace properly. I also got a skein of this:

Wendy Happy in Aries. They released a different colour for every star sign except mine (Cancer). Boo. So I bought Alice's colour instead to make her a nice pair of socks.

So I was entered into the prize draw. Later in the day the girls from the shop came in to us at the balcony for the draw. They passed round the cup with the names in it and each person picked out a winner. I picked out my own name much to my shock. I couldn't believe it!

My prize? A copy of the Yarn Harlots book, Stephanie Pearl McPhee Casts Off. I'm looking forward to reading it!

Afterwards we headed off to our second location, St. Stephens Green right in the middle of the city. I love this green and often come here at lunch time for a breath of air and some peace away from my crappy job.

We set up picnic blankets and foldaway chairs and got straight down to the knitting.

The weather was perfect. Nice sun, light cool breeze. Perfect.

And we had a brass band to entertain us! They were terrific, and made the day even better.

I had such fun meeting up with people I had only known on Ravelry and we chatted away for ages.

Bioniclaura was spinning with a drop spindle. She's seriously good at this, btw. She showed me how to do it and let me have a go. It was great fun, but I don't think I'll be giving up my day job anytime soon, my spun yarn was very lumpy!

I also learned how to make stitch markers! Teaandcakes very kindly brought along all the bits required and showed me how. I made three and I am hooked. I can't wait to get the gear and get going!

A busy knitty day yesterday but a very enjoyable one. I knit my second Sunshine sock all day. I'm at the heel now, so I hope to have it finished soon.

And I just realised that next Sunday is Fathers Day. So, there goes my plan of making my Dad a pair of socks. Aww.

Wednesday 10 June 2009

It's blocking!

I can't believe it, it's finally blocking:
I really hope it fits once blocked. I got gauge, measured really seriously, but once finished it was a tad small. I put that down to the lace pattern. So, I've stretched it a bit for blocking hoping desperately that it will fit for WWKIP day on Sat. If it doesn't, this will be the 3rd thing I've made for myself that doesn't fit my immense frame. So, fingers crossed!
Other than that, I've finished the 1st Sunshine sock:
Crappy pic I know, but the light sucked when I took it.
I've loads more stuff going on; but no time to blog it tonight. Will update you all later!

Sunday 7 June 2009

Exhausted but happy

Well I made it home in one piece. I am so tired! It was about 1am when I got home yesterday, after the 4am start the previous day.

But it was totally worth it!
Here's some pics. It lashed rain all day but it didn't dampen our spirits!
A selection of stalls:
This is about half the stalls that were there. There was another section beside these guys:
Poor wet alpacas. If there was room in my bag the cream guy would have been coming home with me. Too cute.
I found the Jamieson & Smith stall and I ordered enough yarn to make myself a colourwork sweater. The girl at the stall said it would be more than enough, but I wasn't taking chances in running out. Anyway, they took the order and said they would post it for free so I've no eye candy to show! The best bit? I got it all for £28. I was in shock. That's nothing! An entire sweaters worth of Shetland for that??? I should have bought two.
That's all the yarn I bought. I'm really proud of that considering I molested everything else there more than once!
I did buy some absolutely gorgeous buttons that I'll show next post as tbh I'm too tired to go setting the whole thing up for a photo.
Luchtime was the part I was really excited about. The Meg Swansen talk. EZ and Meg have been such an inspiration to me. They really have enabled me to broaden my knitting horizons. The talk was great. She read extracts from The Opinionated Knitter which were very entertaining and she then did a Q & A session which lasted until all Q's had been answered.
Then she did a book signing. I bought a copy of her book Handknitting which she very graciously signed for me and posed for a picture:
I really need to fix my red eye in Photoshop. I've an awful red eye problem in nearly all my photos. Maybe it's because there's nothing behind there to absorb the light lol.
The two classes with Jared were fantastic! He's such a good teacher, really natural and concise (and funny too!) I learned loads and enjoyed every minute.
After the classes he had a great chat with us Irish girls. There were 5 of us in his afternoon class! And he imparted a snippet of gossip to me! A couple of years ago he was in Dublin on holidays and was in a pub called the Cobblestone. Guess what pattern was designed there over a pint!
For some reason I'm very proud of that.
He posed for a picture with me afterwards:
After which one of the girls mumbled "So is he going to replace your picture of Rob Lowe on Ravelry"? Too funny, but no. Well, maybe!
Afterwards we all retired to the pub, of course. A really lovely place called Browns where Jo the amazing organiser and Jared and other volunteers also retired to. So there was a big gang of us there!
We had some lovely dinner and a few jars before leaving for the train to the airport.
While there one of the girls, teaandcakes (thanks for the lift from the airport), decided to try out here steeking skillz we learned at the afternoon class:
Ooh the tension. We had a drumroll!
And success! To wild applause.
I must admit to being incredibly tired last night and still today even with a magnificent lie in. But it was totally worth it and I really hope to go again next year.
In other news, I scored an update at the Wollmiese shop on Thursday. God knows what I was doing even looking the day before the Ravelry event, but there you have it. I scored three skeins of sock yarn. Maybe I can pretend to hubby I got them at Ravelry day if they come at the same time as the shetland??? Doubtful.

Friday 5 June 2009

So excited!

I'm all ready to go to UK Ravelry Day tomorrow. A 4am start awaits and a post midnight return. I'll be knackered but happy I hope.

My first time travelling abroad alone so I'm quite nervous, but there's a fellow knitter on the same flights so I'll have some company.

I'm doing two workshops with Jared Flood (brooklyntweed) - Design your own aran and Seamless Yoke Sweater and also going to a talk by the legend that is Meg Swansen!

Best of all? I've £120 stg to spend and there's a stall from the shetland islands there! Proper fair isle sweater here I come!

Wednesday 3 June 2009

I love socks

I love knitting socks, even when it's too warm to wear them!

They're so portable, the gratification is fairly instant, and they can be as complex or simple as you want. The range of yarns for socks is so spectacular that you can create some real beauties.

The pleasure continues long after they're knit too; every time I wear them I have an extra spring in my step, knowing I can still wear business clothes to work but I can have my funky hand creations displayed at the same time.

Take these ones for example:

Isn't it a beauty so far? I'm madly in love with them. I knit the whole of the leg on Monday and the rest last night at SnB. I love the colours of the yarn too, really vibrant and happy colours. Just what I need right now.

So. It's official. My sock mojo has returned and we are enjoying a passionate love affair. Steamy, even.

Oh and a happy note too. On my pc at home I have the weather here in Dublin and in Orlando displayed on my desktop. Yesterday the two were the same temperature! 25C. For some reason (duh) that made me insanely happy. I spent the rest of the day in a lovely dreamland imagining I was in Orlando.

Wish me luck for tomorrow, I've the doctors appt with Mam tomorrow morning and the public health nurse is coming in the afternoon to assess Mam & Dad for a home help.

Monday 1 June 2009

Blissful Bank Holiday

Wow. I can't believe I'm in Ireland. The weather this bank holiday weekend has been absolutely stunning. Scorching hot all day, not a cloud in the sky. I've been up since the crack of dawn every day. It's too hot to sleep in the bed and I don't want to miss any of this gorgeous weather.

I sent hubby out on Saturday to "buy me a gazebo" for the garden so we could sit out more comfortably. (I keep thinking of Monty Pythons Holy Grail here - "Build me a shrubbery!")
Anyway, this is what he came back with:

Not a great photo I know, but it's early in the morning and I didn't want to wake anyone up opening the back door. It's a great gazebo, lovely and cool inside and the nets keep out the flies. I have sat out here all weekend.

Maybe this is what has spurred me on to complete some knitty stuff. I proudly present, finished Jaywalkers!
Pattern: Jaywalker Socks by Grumperina
Yarn: Plymouth Sockotta
Needles: 2.5mm dpns.

Can you believe I've finished them? I cast these on last Dec 30th! Longest WIP ever for me. But, I had enough yarn to finish them. I was so sure I was going to run out. Look how close it was:

I tell you I'll never knit with this yarn again. Horrible horrible. It was so sticky! It stuck to itself in big knots, stuck to the needles, stuck to the cast on tail all the time. It was such a pain to use. I'm not mad about the pattern either, I had to make the first sock twice as it came out so big, and the finished ones are quite tight round my cankles. Still, they're done!

Work on the February Lady Sweater continues merrily. I'm almost finished the first sleeve. It's hard going now as the garment is quite big and really warm on my lap in this weather. It's going to be gorgeous though. I just know it.

Anyway, today I am casting on for my first pair of socks from Sock Innovation. So excited! I've joined the Sock Innovation group on Ravelry and the pattern for this month is Sunshine. Very appropriate too!

Pic is taken from the Interweave Website. Hope that's ok!
So, I've decided to use this yarn for it:

It's Pagewood Farm Chugiak in Rainbow Sherbet. Really sunny colours, don't you think?
So that's your lot. I'm off to sit out in the sun!