Saturday 28 August 2010

Icelandic Pi Shawl

Cross posted from KnittingElizabeth:

Ok, here I go with my first new KnittingElizabeth project.

It took me a while to decide on which one to start, there are so many EZ projects I want to make!
I have wanted to make a Pi Shawl for a while, though. And I had bought this yarn specially for it, so I decided now was the time.

I'm using Ístex Plotulopi Unspun Icelandic yarn, with two strands held together. This gave me a gauge of 3 sts to 1" using 4.5mm needles. I'm using my Addi Clicks for this.

Off I went, and to be honest, it's been flying along:

I think it looks great:

I've used a little over half of my first wheel (I have 3) and I'm up to 288 sts.

I decided to use the "Three Lace Patterns For Shawl" directions from Knitters Almanac, just to add a bit of interest.
I plan to use this as a lap blanket for snuggling up on the sofa watching tv (and knitting of course) during the winter.

The only thing I'll say about the yarn is that IT SHEDS. I mean lots of hairs. It's like I have my old dog back at home with me. My advice is to not wear black while knitting with it!

So that's my first Knitting Elizabeth project, I hope to have some more progress to report soon.

Good knitting!

Thursday 26 August 2010

Gnomes done!

Yup, I've finished the gnomes. All in all a fairly quick knit! Just goes to show what you can do when you really like the pattern.

Here's the back:

And the front:

Cuteness overload.
Pattern: Gnome Mittens by SpillyJane
Yarn: Knit Picks Palette, various colours from stash
Needles: 2.75mm Harmony dpns

No mods, although if I were to make them again I think I'd jiggle the pattern a bit to avoid the ridiculously long 7 stitch floats. I'd change the decrease method at the top too, as it's unusual and I think I prefer standard ssk & k2tog decreases. Also I'd make the thumb larger as it is very narrow.

So Alice has nabbed them for school. They're too big, but she loves them so what the hey. I had figured she'd rob them anyway. Plus she's great for showing off "Mammys knitting" so you never know, I might gain some kudos. :)

A lot has been happening over the last day or so. A couple of us Dublin knitters were talking about our mutual love & adoration for EZ recently. We ruminated on how great it would be if we had a blog for knitting EZ patterns and unventions. Well, last night, sheknitupthatball took the initiative and created a blog for just that!
It's called KnittingElizabeth and so far there's 5 of us set up to contribute. My good self, sheknitupthatball, teaandcakes, Currantine and Léan. A few others have been invited too, so it looks like it's going to be a fun project!
I couldn't wait to get started so last night I wrote a catch up post on the blog of all the EZ things I've made so far, along with much gushing about how much I love her. Check it out!

So, now that the gnome mittens are done, I'm going to selectively ignore the other WIPS that are crying with loneliness & neglect in the basket beside me and cast on a new EZ project.

I'm going to attempt the Pi shawl again. Remember I said I wanted to make one as a lap blanket for snuggling on the sofa watching tv in winter? I even bought yarn specially for it:

The real McCoy, unspun Icelandic just like EZ and Meg used for theirs.
I can't wait to get started! Although I think this may be a longish project as it is a large item, I know it's going to be fun. I'll be blogging about it here as well as on Knitting Elizabeth.

So that's yer lot!

Good knitting!

Monday 23 August 2010

Half knit gnome

I can't quite believe this is my last week off before I go back to work. Time has absolutely flown. All my plans to get things done seem to have come to naught!
Still, I had a lovely rest and we got a few things done round the house.

Like this:

Something happened on Saturday and we bought this gas BBQ. Hubby has always wanted a good BBQ but this baby is rather large! It's fab though. We ate "al fresco"on Sat night and yesterday. It was lovely. Although since yesterday evening it has rained non stop so no eating outside today! Typical Irish weather. :(
Hopefully that's the end of the house purchases, we have to save money for our holidays in October!

Last night I finished the first gnome mitten:

I'm pleased enough with the results, although the fingertip decreases were really strange. I think they could have been written much better.
The thumb is very narrow too, it's a tight fit. The stranding is un-typical too. There are float carries of up to 7 stitches at a time. Too long in my book. But, they are gnomes, and I love them. Definitely to big for Alice though! Still, I can use the chart and make her a pair of mittens that fit.
EDIT: She has nabbed the mitten as is. It's a little big, but she refuses to give it up.
Plenty of ends to weave in, too!

I said last post that Alice & I were cardmaking for the big C. Well, here's a slideshow of the cards we made the other day. 9 in total:

I think they're great, and Alice loves them. They should make nice cards for family.
That's about it for now, I'm determined to enjoy this last week off, it will involve some relaxation for sure. We haven't had a day where we've done nothing, such as a movie day. That's a must. Other than that, I'm just going to try and ignore the impending return to the job as much as possible!
Good knitting!

Friday 20 August 2010

The Laughing Gnome

I'll explain the blog post title in a mo. Let's just get the first item of business out of the way.
Card making seems to have become another hobby here. I know Alice loves it, and I originally was helping under the pretenses of helping her do them, but if I'm really honest, I kinda enjoy it too now. It's grown on me.
My niece got her Leaving Cert results (final school exams that decide college entry etc) the other day, and she did very well. So, Alice & I decided to make her a Congratulations card:

I think it turned out pretty well, no?
We also spent ages yesterday afternoon making cards for the big C. Y'know that winter religious holiday? I hate talking about it beforehand, there's enough crap in the shops for the months leading up to it as it is. But, card makers seem to get started on this really early, and all the shops have their magazines out with the big C stuff in them already. So we made 8 or 9 yesterday. Pics next post if you like, they turned out great!
On the card making thing, let me know if you mind seeing them on the blog or not. I know this is primarily a knitting blog and will remain so, but if you don't want to see the cards, that's ok.

Now, on to the title!
The other night, BionicLaura tweeted about a blog she'd found, SpillyJane, and the cool mitten patterns she had.
I looked, and I fell in love. They're so cool! Little pints of beer, flamingos etc.
I decided to investigate further and checked her out on Ravelry, here. I absolutely love her designs, I think they're great.
So I was browsing and I found, GNOMES! I love gnomes. Mischievous & cute little guys. I couldn't resist. Right then & there, all knitting was suspended. I had to make these. I bought the pattern within about 5 minutes, ran upstairs and to my delight, I had the yarn in my stash! Yipee!
Now Alice has begged for these, but I think they're going to be too big. I may have to make these for myself and another pair smaller for her. Naturally I'm devastated that I'll have to wear them. Did that sound sincere? Excellent :D

So here you go, the gnome so far:

The cuteness! Squee!

I was in bed last night and I couldn't stop thinking about my cute little gnomes. Then I remembered these songs and suddenly things weren't so cute any more.
I blame these two videos on the 60s, 70s and drugs. Lots of drugs.
Watch at your peril!

There's no official video for this one, but the song is just mad. The Laughing Gnome by David Bowie:

This next one is just insane. It's Bilbo Baggins by Leonard Nimoy. I know Bilbo Baggins was a hobbit, before you all comment, but I think the link is tenuous enough to justify it. It's such a mental song & video.
WTF was Spock thinking???

Oh my.

Good knitting this weekend!

Sunday 15 August 2010

Posting from my iPad

Well here goes, I'm attempting to post from my iPad. It's all very complicated, I tried using email, but it reformatted all the pictures to put them at the top of the post.
So I gave in and downloaded BlogPress from the App store. Not too pricey at €2.39, so we'll see how it goes.

Right, on to the post! I went shopping with Alice today and I snapped up a new school bag for her. Only €6! how could I resist it when I saw the picture on it:

It's not a school bag, it's a school baa-g :)

When I was out with my aunt & parents earlier in the week, she handed me a bag of yarn & a pattern and asked me to knit two hats for her grandson. She said she'd tried to make them & failed. Ok, I said and took it home. Oh dear. With all respect to my aunt, this pattern is hideous! No way would I give this to someone, but she liked it so what the hey.
I'm calling this the Evil Baby Hat. Having no baby of my own to model, Alice pimped up Ben (one of her teddies) for me to use.
The blue version:

And the grey version:


I kinda only knit these this week as I wanted them out of the way so I could get going on Alice's version of the sooper seekrit cardigan, so not much other progress.
I am, however, ready to start the heel on the Baby Fern Sock:

I think they look very big. The pattern said to cast on 72 stitches for my gauge, but I don't know. I'm usually a 64 stitch gal. Sure we'll see how they go.

In other sooper seekrit news, the call for designs for the winter Knitty went out this week, so I'm currently trying to figure out the math to make the pattern work. Wish me luck!

I dispatched Mam & Dad off to Galway on their holidays this morning. I hope they have a good time. I feel guilty for not going too, but I couldn't justify the cost.
Unless I was to go down for their last night so I could drive them home. Hmm.
Still, I'm going to enjoy the few days rest.

So there you have it. A blog post, from my iPad. Woo!

Good knitting!

Wednesday 11 August 2010

My Craft Room

Well we've finally finished decorating. For now. Alice's bedroom looks great, but you're not here to see that!
We hit Ikea on Tuesday and spent the day yesterday and today assembling flat pack furniture and sorting everything out.

Here's my new craft room. This will also become John's music room, but for now it's all mine. And I love it.

This was just some of my pile of yarn that I needed to store away. It was just a small fraction. Until I put it all together in one place, I honestly never knew I had so much! It was a bit scary to be honest!

Here's the room now:
Isn't it lovely and restful? You'd never know this had been a sugar plum pink little girls room until last Saturday.
This is my knitting book shelf. There's two drawers underneath for all my needles & notions.

All my magazines so far are on the bottom. And my iPad with Pirate Sam the puppet. Have to get the gratuitous iPad shot in :)
Looks like an inocuous wardrobe door, no?
Boom! Storage galore! I love it. All my yummy yarns in nice boxes. The two hanging shoe racks weren't in the earlier picture of the yarn on the floor, but they were in the wardrobe in the other room. On top of what you can see is another pile. They are all my acrylics.
Basically the whole wardrobe is stuffed full of my yummy yummy yarn. This can now definitely be called a woolrobe!

I absolutely adore my new room. I can see myself spending many a lovely evening in here, knitting away or flicking through all of my books. I think I'll have to get a docking station for my iPad or iPod so I can listen to podcasts while I knit.
I can't wipe the smile off my face, I have a craft room!
In knitty news, I decided to make a childs version of the sooper seekrit vest I made Dad. I think it might be a good idea if I send in a childs version as well as the adult one. I'm going to make this one a cardigan with a steek all the way down the front. Since I steeked the vest, I'm loving steeking!
This is the yarn I'm going to use, it's the recycled yarn from the disastrous Flutter Sleeve Cardigan I made myself before. It's Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece.

My sheep has come home. He rests on the windowsill of my craft room, overseeing all my crafty endeavours.

On Monday I brought my Mam, Dad & Aunt out for a spin. We ended up in Howth and had a lovely time wandering along the seafront.
While we were there, we came across a gang of seals begging at the dockside.
Aren't they cute?

I hope you're all feeling inspired to go and organise your stashes!
Good knitting!

Sunday 8 August 2010

Production Halt

Due to technical difficulties chez KnitInc, production has ground to a halt.

I blame it all on the decorating bug that seems to have struck. Yesterday we painted the bedroom that used to be Alice's. That's two bedrooms in one week.
That and the stupid café curtains I decided to knit for Alice in a moment of madness.

Take a look:

That represents, what, a week of knitting? Whenever my last post was. I hate it. The lace pattern is lovely, but the yarn I was using was crap and it frustrated the life out of me. There were 295 sts in a row, and almost every patterned row was off by at least one stitch when I got to the end. Invariably the mistake was at the beginning of the row, so I had to rip back almost all the way and do it again. Every second row. Gah.
Too much like hard work. I decided this morning it had to go. I frogged and then decided I'd wind it into a ball to use again later. I dug out the swift and proceeded to wind it back on. Yeah. Crappy yarn struck again, and all that came out of the centre was lump after lump after lump.
I ended up with this by the time I lost the head:
It has now found a new home in the bin. I hope it will be very happy with the peach stones (from a peach cobbler I made last night NOM), hair from hairbrushes and assorted other items of garbage that are really too good to associate with this lump of evil yarn. Buh bye, don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!
So I now need to decide if I want to knit the damn curtains at all or go out and buy some. I feel like my mojo has taken a right beating this week. I need something to make me feel warm and fuzzy inside again. Ideas?
Nothing else has been knit this week. Except for about two 6 row repeats of this sock:
This is my Baby Fern Sock using the Wollmeise Pfefferminz Prinz that was rescued from the clutches of my nemesis, the evil Pomatomus sock pattern.
Although, I'm not sure I like the Nike-type arrow of green that seems to be emerging. Hmm. I doubt I'll dislike it enough to rip it back, though, I've had quite enough of frogs for one day.
Hubby's mother was taken in to hospital last weekend and hasn't been very well. More hospital dramaz! I feel like I should have a free parking pass in all Dublin hospitals at this stage. I know the inside of them by heart!
Anyway, Alice & I made her a card this morning:

Not bad, eh? In fairness I did more of the making while she did the important job of "Handing me stuff & making sure I cut straight". Sigh.
I went on a knitty outing this week too. I decided to go into the Wednesday morning meetup in Powerscourt Shopping Centre as A. was home from Spain for a week and had tweeted she was going to pop in. I haven't seen her since UK Ravelry Day in Coventry, UK, last year. So I packed my Fern Sock & Alice into the car & off we went. SheKnitUpThatBall & GaietyGirl (who had a big box of her lovely hand dyed yarn ready for delivery to ThisIsKnit. You can check her yarn out here)were there, too & we had a great chat about anything & everything as well as some yummy scones & coffee.
Of course I had to trade off with Alice. I ended up in H&M and buying her Hello Kitty clothes. A small price to pay for an hour or so of knitty fun. I really enjoyed it.

So, that's about it. Oh, one last thing I'm sure will give you a giggle.
I was trying to see if there were any other suitable yarns in my stash to re-commence the café curtains this morning when hubby came in to the kitchen.
"Whatcha doin?" he asked.
"Looking for replacement yarn" sez I.
"Oh, can I hel- WTF you have 169 stashed yarns???? And you want to buy more in the States this year? No way José!!!"
Shit. I've been rumbled.

Tuesday 3 August 2010

The Lesser Spotted Blogger

Yes, it's me, the blogger formerly known as Sinéad. I haven't been around for a while, so I'm not surprised if you all have forgotten me!
It's amazing, I thought being off work for a few weeks would mean I had loads of time for things like knitting & blogging. Not so!
I'm busier than ever!

I've loads to report in this post, so settle down with a coffee and read on.

First item of big news, I bought an iPad!

I couldn't help myself. They went on sale here in Ireland on July 23rd, and somehow I ended up at the store at 11 that morning. Before I knew it, I was walking out with one in my bag. I love it. I haven't put it down since!

It came in especially handy on my trip to London last weekend. I downloaded an app for the London Underground that saved my bacon on several occasions!

So I was at Knit Nation last weekend. I had the best time!

I took a full day class with Cookie A on Top Down Design your own socks. It was absolutely brilliant! I learned so much. She's a great teacher, really enthusiastic. You can tell she used to be a math teacher, she's so into maths that it shines through. We went through the elements of sock design, how to put them all together, and then she passed out Japanese stitch pattern books & we got to work picking a stitch pattern & working out our own socks.
I hope to get going on them again, so watch this space for my Cookie A class socks!
BTW, the Japanese Stitch Pattern books are just gorgeous. Some really unusual stitches. I may have to invest in some, but it'll have to be later in the year, I'm completely broke after this weekend in London!
Look what Cookie had with her for the class:
All her sample socks! The original ones! I couldn't believe it. She passed them round the class all the time. I couldn't keep my hands off them. The original Monkey!! It was great.
I brought my copy of Sock Innovation with me and she kindly signed it:

I didn't get a photo with her though :(
During the lunch break from the class, I scooted down to the marketplace to nab myself some goodies. First up was the Wollmeise stall. I had done my homework and knew exactly where the stall was in the hall, so I made a beeline for it first...
And I wasn't disappointed.
These pictures don't do it justice. It was HUGE!
I've never seen the like before. All that Wollmiese. *sigh* It was gorgeous. It was a bit of a scrum, but I managed to get some. I could only buy three, as she wouldn't take credit cards. I was quite annoyed by this, to be honest. Every other stall I purchased something at took it. Why was she so special? I think it was because she knew people would make the effort to bring the cash because of the yarn. Bad business practice IMO. She doesn't have to pay any credit card fees, and I have to pay to convert sterling. Plus, I would have bought more from her if I could have used my card. I didn't want to be carrying too much cash around with me.
OK, rant over, here's what I bought:

I got a Knit Nation tshirt, which I love. It's really comfy.
The Wollmeise I bought:
One skein of 80/20 twin in Amethyst 2. The purple is so rich! It's gorgeous.
One skein of Lacegarn in Pesto. 1717 yards of the most gorgeous green lace!

One skein of 100% Merino Superwash in Tandoori Masala. I had to buy this as I love Indian food, and the shade of reddish brown is the most wonderful hue:
At lunchtime there was a prize draw. This is a sample of the gathering:
Not surprisingly, I didn't win anything. :(
Here's some more stash enhancement:
At long last, I have a skein of Handmaiden Casbah sock yarn:
This yarn is so smooshy! I love it.
I also nabbed some Fyberspates:
This stuff is fabulous. It's called Sparkle. It's sock yarn with real silver in it. It's 65% Merino, 20% Silk, 15% Nylon & 2% Silver. Ooh! BionicLaura rightly predicted that Alice would snap this up for a pair of socks for her. I'll see. I don't know the yardage of this skein yet.
I also bought this:
This is The Natural Dye Studio Blue Faced Leicester sock yarn called Dazzle HT. I fell in love with the colour and the feel of it. Plus, I've never tried Blue Faced Leicester before.
Finally, I got my hands on some Madeline Tosh!
I'm reminded of a blog post title that WendyKnits once used, "Good golly, good gosh, it's Madeline Tosh!" I was so excited to get some of this yarn.
So, that's my haul! To be honest, I think I was very restrained. Although I still managed to spend a fortune. Ah well, what can you do!
I met up with two knitters, BionicLaura and Viola afterwards and we went out for a meal which descended into a few pints too. A great night was had.
I also managed to fit in some sightseeing. I tramped London for the weekend. Every night I was very very footsore but also very happy.
A sample of what I did:
My hotel was literally round the corner from the V&A and the Natural History Museum. How could I not go? I had heard about the knitted artifacts in the V&A so I decided to hit there. Unfortunately, there were none on display. I was told to make an appt to come back and see the samples they had in the archives. Yeah right, like I had the time to do that. I was very disappointed. I decided not to let it get to me, and headed elsewhere.
Off to Westminster with me:
Big Ben. Yipee! I was there when it chimed too. So loud! Plus, check out the guy in the bowler hat. Very like the Dad in Mary Poppins :)
The Houses of Parliament. Gorgeous building. The stonework is amazing.
I also got pics of the Milennium Eye etc, but I figure these are enough pics!
On the Thursday night, I went to Avenue Q. I heart musicals, so I was really excited!
It was absolutely brilliant! So funny! The actors were terrific too. I had great seats, 5 rows from the front., so the view was perfect and I could hear everything perfectly. I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was great.
On Saturday I went to the matinée of Wicked.

Oh. My. GOD. It was brilliant, amazing, breathtaking, insert other descriptive term here. I can't describe how fabulous it was. Even now thinking of the singers & songs, the hairs on my arms are rising up. Rachel Tucker who played Elphaba was incredible. Her voice! Oh! I was in the second row for this one and I can't tell you how much I enjoyed it. I was in tears watching it. I'm like that, music makes me cry. I'm such a wimp. But this was probably the best musical performance I've ever seen. If I lived in London I'd be going to this again and again. I'm already trying to get John & Alice to come over with me to see it. They'd love it. If you're ever in London, GO. You have to.
So that's the deets of my trip. I had an absolute ball and came back totally refreshed and feeling like a new woman. Exactly what I needed.
I've finished the sooper seekrit vest too. No pics, I'm going to chance submitting it to a magazine.
I've also started a new design, some café curtains for Alice's new room. We decided to move Alice into the bigger bedroom as I think she's of the age where she needs more space. John spent the weekend painting as I gallivanted in London (heh) and it looks great. We bought carpet on Sunday and it's being laid this morning. I hung new curtains yesterday. I think she needs some privacy without drawing the curtains though, and I don't like net curtains or roller blinds, so café curtains it is. These are half height lacy curtains. I've picked out a stitch pattern and cast on last night. They're 55" wide and 22" long, so I figure I'll be well sick of them by the time they're done, but so far so good!
That's all for now, I think. Sorry about the absence, I'll try harder next time!
Good knitting!