Monday 27 December 2010

Wipdown No. 1

I'm off to a good start on my WipDown. Wip No. 1 complete!
I'm calling this my Myrtle Leaf Shawl (abridged) as I made it shorter and left out the border.
Embarrassingly, I started this on February 12 this year. For shame, for shame.

It measures 52" long and 15" wide. Plenty long for a scarf I think!
Here's a close-up of the stitch pattern:

Isn't it pretty? I know it's hard to see on the blocking board, I promise to take some nicer action shots once it's dry.
Blocking this took ages, almost an hour. It's definitely worth it, though, lace seems to emerge from a woolly cocoon when you stretch the living daylights out of it and pin it. Thank goodness for my lace blocking kit!

I love it. I'm really pleased I went back to it and finished it. Now the dilemma, do I keep it, or gift it?

Pattern: Myrtle Leaf Shawl from Victorian Lace Today (Ravlink)
Yarn: Unknown Laceweight yarn that hubby bought me in Maria's Garn in Stockholm, Sweden in May 2009. I think there was 100g in the skein, and I've about 18-20g left. I'm pretty sure it's a wool/mohair mix, it certainly feels like it.
Needles: 3.75mm KnitPicks Options

For my next trick, I shall attempt to complete the Summit Shawl. Can I do it? (Bob the Builder voice required here) YES, I CAN! (hopefully)

Good knitting!

Sunday 26 December 2010


Merry Christmas everyone! I hope Santa brought what you wanted. I did very well, I think. I got the anniversary edition of EZs Almanac, the EZ Knitting Glossary DVD, Knitting Pattern- a-day calendar for 2011, Epic Mickey on the Wii, Lord Alan Sugar's autobiography and Stephen Frys latest autobiography installment. A fantastic haul.
John loves his jumper and Alice was thrilled with her Santa goodies and her Snowball Scarf.

We had a great day yesterday. My brother surprised Mam & Dad and came up yesterday morning for a few days. It was lovely to have the whole family round the table for dinner.
I also brought Alice to midnight mass on Christmas Eve for the first time this year, just so she could see Grandad and his choir for their biggest performance of the year. It was beautiful.

Last night, while I was digesting my enormous dinner beautifully cooked by hubby, I got to thinking. Wouldn't it be great if I could finish all my wips and have a clean knitty slate to start 2011 with? I mentioned this on Twitter and a few others agreed. So, it looks like there's going to be a group effort to clear the decks for the New Year.
I cast on a pair of Spiral Boot Socks on Christmas Eve, here's my progress so far:

These are being done toe-up so I can try as I go, as I need to make them wider in the leg for my chubby stumps.
I'm not going to include these in the wip-down ( I know, making excuses straight away) as they are new & shiny & I know I'm going to want to knit them.

So, I have 3 projects to get done. My Myrtle Leaf lace shawl, my Summit Shawl and a cardigan for Alice.
Here's the first one, the Myrtle Leaf Shawl. This has hibernated since the Ravelympics (gasp) as I lost the will to continue on the border. I got stuck. I hadn't made it the recommended length in the pattern as I was running out of yarn, so I didn't know how to turn the corners on the border. With the result that it languished.
Looking at it this morning, I think I can get away without the border. What do you think?

The border is on the right. It looks fine without it, doesn't it? I'm going to rip out the border and continue on until I run out of yarn. It's going to be a scarf instead of a shawl. Still looks good though, huh?

Right, I have 5 days do finish 3 wips. Can I do it? The clock is ticking....

Good knitting!

Wednesday 22 December 2010

Done and Dusted

It's done! It's finally done! And with 3 days to spare.
I'm really happy with this jumper, I think it's the best Christmas jumper I've made for hubby yet. It fits him really well (no boobies!):

Pattern: Square Dance (my own design!) but using EZs Seamless Raglan Sweater for guidance
Yarn: Grey Acrylic DK (hubbys choice)
Needles: 3.5mm & 4mm KnitPicks options

Here's a gratuitous Christmas shot. He didn't have it on for long, just to see if it fit ok. Then I whipped it off until Christmas Day!

I think I might write up the pattern for this and of course the sooper seekrit vest I made Dad over the Christmas holidays.

Speaking of holidays, mine came early! We had another belt of snow, almost as soon as the previous one had melted. I think we had more this time too. It snowed for 14 hrs straight yesterday so I left work early and we headed home. Good job too! The previous night it took hubby 4 1/2 hrs to travel home from work, a distance of 14km. Shocking. This country just falls apart when it snows.
So, schools were closed today and we worked from home. I was due to start my holidays tomorrow anyway, so yay! I'm off now until January 10. So excited! I plan to do lots of crafty things.

Here's a few snowy pics I took this evening:

The depth of snow on the back of my car. Bear in mind this is nearest the front door, so it wasn't the deepest snow! I love the sparkles on the roof.

This is the path outside my back door. I reckon there's about 6" of snow.

This beauty (among many others) is hanging from my gutter right over the back door. I've watched it grow all day. It's fairly impressive! I think it's gorgeous.

I also put out food and water for the poor birds. They must have been starving, they landed and started eating & drinking straight away! Although the water didn't last long before it froze over.

So now I can start my new project! Remember I said I'd love some knee high socks? Well Tara had a great idea, make legwarmers instead! I think I might expand on that cleverness and do some boot toppers, so it looks like I've amazingly fabulous hand knit knee high socks on, but they're not! Muhahaha.

Think I can finish them by Christmas Day? Nah. Me either, but it'll be fun to try.

Good knitting!

Monday 20 December 2010

Plodding along nicely

After my previous frustration, I'm in a very positive spot at the moment. Things are progressing swimmingly on my Sqaure Dance jumper.

I'm about half way through the raglan decreases:

I'm very pleased with how the pattern on the sleeves has melded into the body. Here's a close-up of the raglan decreases, if you can make them out:

Hopefully the neck won't be too wide at the end, I've a feeling it might. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it I guess!

Only 4 more days to get it finished, looks like it's going to be another last minute finish!

Not helped at all by my burning desire to cast on for a pair of these: Spiral Boot Socks (Ravlink). I have the same pink Reynolds Soft Sea Wool in my stash for ages specially for these. My desire now is coz of the faboolous knee high boots I got in the States recently. I desperately want to wear them on Christmas Day, but I know deep down I've no chance in hell of getting them done!

Ah well. Back to the jumper I go!

Good Knitting!

Wednesday 15 December 2010



I finished the sleeves of the square dance jumper and joined them to the body. I painstainkingly counted the stitches to make sure they were evenly balanced. Or so I thought...

Fail. I have 50 more stitches on the front than the back. AAAAAH.
I've knit about an inch of 330 stitches that I now have to rip back. AAAAAH.
I'll have to make sure I don't drop any stitches and get the sleeves back onto the other needles to join them again. AAAAAH.
I have a week to get this finished. AAAAAH.

I think a stiff drink is in order.

Oops, I almost forgot to mention, the hospice craft sale was on last weekend, and they raised €5,500! Well done to all involved!

Friday 10 December 2010

Happy Happy Happy


Dad got the all clear today. What they thought was the cancer back was scar tissue from his hernia operations. I'm so happy, I could dance!

Thursday 9 December 2010

Hospice Goodies and a slip up

I know, I know, I'm posting far too much. I seem to be very chatty this week.

I had to post this though. Feast you eyes upon the loveliness!

The super wonderful SheKnitUpThatBall made these gorgeous cowls for the Hospice fair this weekend. I collected them today from ThisIsKnit on my lunch break.
Now, fair warning, these pictures in NO way do these works of fabulousness justice. You really should head over to her blog to see better ones.

First up, Wham Bam Thank You Lamb:

I love this one, so soft and cozy!

Next up, the Collar Cowl:

This pattern was made up out of her head. She's so clever!

Thirdly we have, Leaving On The Edge:

I think this one is probably my favourite. I'll have to get some bulky yarn and make one for myself.

Lastly we have Here Comes Treble:

This one drapes beautifully. And the colour is much nicer than this burnt out photo, it's a gorgeous mossy green.

Thanks so much, R! I know they're going to sell like hotcakes!

While I was in This Is Knit, I had a lovely chat with D and J. I've forgotten how nice it is to have a chat with knitty people. I loved it, and wish I could have stayed longer.
Alas, I had an accident while I was there. Things fell into my bag. Fell, I tells ya!
The first item to slip was a set of 4mm dpns. I did need these for the sleeves of hubbys jumper, so I suppose I can get away with that. They're KnitPicks Harmony dpns, yum.

Then this happened. I saw them and it was colour love at first sight.

Spud & Chloe sweater in the most gorgeous, spring like, two fingers to wintry darkness shades of yellow and turquoise. How could I leave them there? I think I'll make a hat, maybe, or a scarf? Hmm. All I know is it'll be nice to knit with to chase away the winter fugness.

Dads hospital appointment is tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed I'm just panicking and it's not bad news.

Good knitting!

Wednesday 8 December 2010

Ssssh, it's secret stash!

It's just you and me, right? No one else need know. Keep it to yourself, I don't want hubby finding out, but here's the "additional" sock yarn I asked my knitting group buddy to grab for me on Monday.

Fair isle-type blue:

Some Fair isle type reds:

I'm presuming this is fair isle type too as it's the same name, but it doesn't quite look it. This is nice icy blues & greys:

Then there's the self-striping. This one was really hard to photo, it seemed to suck the light, but it's very nice shades of brown with the odd little blue bit in, just for fun:

Finally, this one is blacks and greys. My Dads name is written all over this one!:

That's 10 pairs of socks worth of yarn for €25. Bargain! Although I might use some of it for a shawl. We'll see.

Just don't tell hubby!

Good knitting!

Monday 6 December 2010

Rip, and repeat

I was reminded of every shampoo bottle I've ever owned with this post title. Wash hair, rinse & repeat. Except in this case, it's knit sleeve, rip and repeat.
I got as far as 14 out of 18 inches done on this bugger when I decided I didn't like it and my chart was all wrong. The joys of making up your own designs. Anyway I looked & looked and consulted Twitter about it and finally admitted to myself that I should rip it back. If I didn't, I knew I'd look at it every time hubby wore it and hate myself.
So, rrrrrip I went!

This is the second effort. I'm almost back to where I was, so I've lost about 2 or 3 days knitting time on the jumper. I'm much happier.

While I was recovering from the upset of ripping, I decided a bit of instant gratification was in order.

An hour and a half later, I had a second Snowball Scarf. Can't get more instant than that! I loved the finished result of Alice's scarf so much I decided to knit one for two of my nieces for Christmas. They're 18 and 21. They'll like them, won't they? The other one I have is a kind of mottled beige & brown colour. You'll see it this weekend I'd say.

Also to cheer myself up after the sleeve-tastrophe, a little stash enhancement was in order.
Lidl had wool today, so I sent hubby in to get some for me:

This is a kind of russet colour, I think it's lovely.

This one is kind of camouflaged coloured.
It's 80% wool, 20% polyamide and €4.99 for the pack of 4 balls. That's enough for two pairs of socks! Excellent value.
Wasn't hubby great to get it for me?
Now all I have to do is find a way to tell him that one of the ladies in the knitting group also kindly got me 4 packs of other colours this morning. Oops. ;)

The other day hubby & Alice decided it was time to make a snowman with the mounds of snow in the garden. Here's the result:

He's all kitted out with handknits! A basketweave hat I made that's so big, it'd only fit, well, a snowman and a scarf I made ages ago. They had great fun making him. Although I think he looks like he's squatting. In preparation for? Use your imagination.

Alice also wanted to make a snow angel:

Spot the handknits in action - she has my Norwegian hat on, the wedge scarf and the gnome mittens (which are missing here).
She was so funny! She was squealing it was freezing cold, and wasn't pressing down hard enough with her arms to scrape the snow away. Although in her defence, the snow was so frozen it was more like crusty ice. Anyway, she gave it her best, and here's the result:

You can see she was really trying to press down, look at her butt mark in the snow! Too funny.
While they were having fun in the cold snow, I was in the warm kitchen making this:

Mmmm. Tea brack. The best thing in the world for breakfast. With butter. :)

Good knitting!

Friday 3 December 2010

Snow and other things

We've had rather a lot of snow here recently. This was the back garden yesterday morning:

A good 3 or 4 more inches fell yesterday, with the result that schools were closed and I have been working from home yesterday & today, in what I affectionately call my Pyjama Office.
All joking aside though, it couldn't have come at a worse time. The budget is on Tuesday, and it's normally all hands on deck at work. I haven't been slacking (too much) at home!

The snow also meant that almost all of the Dublin knitting meet ups were cancelled, so we used our intitiative and had a Twitter virtual knit night last night, #twitknit. It was great fun! There were times I couldn't keep up with all the tweets. We even trended in Ireland! The power of knitters, heh. Here's a link to the projects we were working on. We tagged them with twitknit on Ravelry.

I've finished the body of hubbys Square Dance jumper:

Looks grand, I think. I'm on the sleeve now:

Magic Loop on the sleeves is driving me nuts. I really should get a set of 4mm dpns. As you can see, I stretched it onto the smallest circular I have as soon as I could. Looks a bit like a witches hat or a chimney I think!

At the knitting group last week, we made tags for the knitted items we had made. Remember I said I was really keen for the knitters to get credit for their work? Anyway, so nice were they, I was also asked to make 200 more tags by the lady organising the fair for the rest of the items! Jeez, like I've gazillions of time. I swear I feel like I've organised this thing myself. Anyway, it is for a good cause, so somehow I managed to make the 200. By hand. We had a cutter for them last week, but it's not mine, so I used one of the tags made last week as a template and cut these 200 by hand. Ouch. Then I stamped them. Double ouch.

They look nice though, don't they?

I wrote the name of the knitter in the box, and the name of the project, what fibre its made of & washing instructions above it. I love them.

It's been an eventful week otherwise, too. Remember Dad had another colonoscopy & CT scan a couple of weeks ago? Yeah, well we never got the results, so I rang the hospital on Wednesday to see what the results were. I spoke to the Consultants secretary, who told me that they had been sent to Dad's GP. Now Dad's GP is shocking at communication so I asked her to tell me. She read me the GP letter which said the colonoscopy was fine. I said, "What about the CT scan?" She had no idea what I was talking about, said she'd check & ring me back. She rang back about 10 mins later & said she spoke to the Consultant who had seen them and said they were "discussing Dads case at an MDT next Fri and would we come and see him straight afterwards". Huh? What's an MDT? I asked her and she said something about a large team meeting to decide where they would go from here with his care. HUH? That's all she'd tell me.
Now I'm worried sick that his cancer is back, and they're deciding whether to treat or not. I know I'm probably exaggerating, but that's what I do when not armed with the facts. Plus, why would the whole team need to meet to "decide where to go from here" if there was nothing wrong? Of course, I lied to Dad and told him it was just a check up. I don't want him worrying too. One of us is enough. Please let it be ok, I dread to think what will happen if its not. A whole week to wait too. Gah!

Thursday 25 November 2010

Instant FO Goodness

I love instant gratification. There's nothing like casting on a new project, and casting it off in the same evening! I reckon this scarf took about an hour to do. Can't beat that, right?

The yarn is Sirdar Snowball. It's a slub yarn, with string in between the slubs. Knit it on 8mm needles and it looks great! Dead easy.

There's no pattern for it, just CO 5 stitches and stocking stitch. This is for Alice as part of her Christmas present. She's wanted a "snowball scarf" for ages now. So I've officially finished my first knitted Christmas present! Go me!

In other knitted present news, here's the progress so far on hubbys jumper. I'm calling this Square Dance, as the pattern is squares, and I'm original like that :)

This is based on a jumper he saw in a Van Heusen store in Orlando that I took a picture of on my phone.

I think it looks ok so far, don't you? I've yet to decide how to do the yoke and sleeves, as I want the pattern to continue up without shaping if I can, but it's acrylic so I believe I can't steek it. I may end up splitting the front and back once I reach the armholes. I don't want to, but so far it's all I've got. We'll see how I feel once I get there :)

Here's a close up of the pattern:

The hospice craft fair will be on the weekend of Dec 11 & 12 in the Blanchardstown Centre. We spent knit night last Tuesday cutting, stamping and labelling all of the items we had so far. Not a bad haul from one group I must say

Good knitting!

Saturday 20 November 2010

Yarn Stores Galore!

So I said I'd blog about my yarn store visits on my recent holiday. Well here you go!
I uploaded them in the wrong order, so we're going with last store visited first. Oh well!

The last store I visited was Knitch in Atlanta, Georgia. Hubby took the pictures in this shop, so they're MUCH nicer than the rest :)

I was super excited to go to this store because of BrooklynTweed's SHELTER yarn. I made a bee line for the shelf it was on!

Their store display was absolutely gorgeous. Everything was beautifully laid out, and there was loads of space and light.

Their samples were lovely too, here's some felted bags they had on a shelf. I could have spent hours wandering round it, just looking at everything.

The colours they had together were really striking, here's a display of Colinette Jitterbug. Really vibrant!

At the back of the store they had a really nice area for classes & knitting groups. A huge table right under a window, and a blackboard announcing upcoming events etc.

Everything was really thoughtfully arranged.

This had to be the best thing of all though. Chicken Run! Apparently one of the customers made it. Isn't it brilliant? It sat on a shelf by the till.

So that was Knitch! Next up is Four Purls in WinterHaven, Florida.

This was a lovely store that was a bit hidden away. It took a couple of drives around the block to find it!

This store was a flying visit when I was trying to buy a replacement dpn for my Everglades Socks. I can't remember the name of the owner, but she was a really lovely person who tried her best to help me. There was also an impromptu knitting group going on, so I was a bit sneaky taking my pictures. I only took pictures of alcoved areas of the shop, and not the main floor area.

She had a great selection of yarn, the biggest brand was Cascade. She had a lot of Italian yarns too.

I liked this shop and would have liked to spend more time there, but alas it wasn't to be. If I go back next year, I'll definitely go for a longer poke around.

My last store for you is my favourite, Sip & Knit in Maitland, Florida. this store is about an hours drive from the house we stay in, in Orlando. Doni the owner is just lovely. She remembers me every year, and I was greeted with a big hug when we arrived. Alice loves to play with her dog Tucker too.

Look at the sheep outside the door. Isn't it the best? I wish I could have one of those :)

Inside the store is a treasure trove. It's like a converted house, so you walk down hallways to find more rooms filled to the brim with lovely yarn, notions and patterns. I could spend all day (and all my money) here.
This is the main room of the store. *sigh* yarn heaven. She has lots of brands of yarn, and some really exotic stuff too. This is where hubby got me my Qiviut for Christmas last year.

This is the back room of the store, where I probably get most excited. It's the sock yarn room. Squee! Look at all the sock yarn! And the cutie sheep on the top shelf. Aww!

She also had Della Q bags, and lots of notions. This room is the notions and pattern room. I could sit here for hours going through all the books and magazines, not to mention the button jars! This store is a must-visit for me every time. I can't wait to go back!

Other random yarny/crafty spottings were made too. On Hallowe'en we went to Celebration for lunch on our way to Disneyworld and there was a farmers/craft market on. It was brill!

There were the most amazing looking vegetables, fruit and cakes there. We got some delicious organic Orange Blossom Honey, hand candied fruit (NOM) and of course some sweet stuff. This stall was all about gingerbread and it was good, let me tell you.

Although I was a bit distracted looking at all the lovely hand sewn aprons, oven mitts, tablecoths etc. I have a soft spot for gingham.

Then we found this stall. I'd forgotten all about this one, we've seen it before. The stall holder is usually knitting socks when we arrive, but not today. She was mainly selling quilts.

Although, if I'm honest, I don't think they're "proper" quilts per se. They don't look like the designs were made from fabric shapes, more like a sheet of pre printed fabric that was then wadded and sewn to look like it was quilted.

They were still pretty though.

So there you have it! My yarn store adventures from my holidays. Writing this post has given me a real longing to go back. Fingers crossed!

Good knitting!