July 16, 2009

Soft landing

Filed under:Crafty Sites,News!,Spinning,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 13:20

I’ve been feeling pretty pooped lately, what with all my coming and going, so I took yesterday off to potter about. All the talk about Le Tour de Fleece enticed me to get my wheel out and before I knew it, I had this!

It is New Zealand alpaca (white) plied with Irish sheep (brown). I initially intended just plying the alpaca with itself but got a bit carried away spinning the singles on to one bobbin. I am very pleased that not only was I able to keep the consistency of my alpaca singles even, but I was able to spin the brown stuff to a similar consistency. The plied result is a double knit – and quite a lot of it, by the look of it!

I have had a lonesome mitten, NHM #8, waiting to be finished off and join its mate for a few months now. I started on the thumb last night. YAWN! Thumbs are irritating! At least they are small… and at least I will have a pair of mittens for Autumn once I have them done. People seem to have a funny attitude towards mittens: they are passé, old-fashioned, cumbersome. And yet whenever someone tries on a handknit mitten, they want to keep them!

I have been following mitten discussions over on Ravelry and am seriously intrigued by the mention of two books that are due for republication very soon – Magnificent Mittens and Mostly Mittens. However, the one that really tipped me over the edge is Sata Kansanomaista Kuviokudinmallia. I have no idea what it means but it is Finnish and concerns mittens. Many mittens. Many fabulous mittens. I found a knit-along blog here. It is in Finnish but the pictures are pretty!

I have also been chipping away at Branching Out using the Secondo I picked up in Mannheim last week (still no word, by the way)…

…and I couldn’t let the release of the penultimate Harry Potter film pass without some form of related knitting yesterday!

In other Harry Potter-related activities I have also started reading The Philosopher’s Stone… in German. The fact that I am able to get through it is a nice sign how much I’m getting out of my evening classes. It’s hard work, though!

Still no buttons for Amelia, unfortunately. This was mostly due to the inclement weather and the aforementioned poopedness… I never thought it could happen, but it seems there are days when you just don’t want to go buy buttons! Thankfully, today isn’t one of them. I haven’t been to Trimmings on the Quays in ages. Let’s see what I come back with!


August 18, 2008

Snails, elephants and welts.

Filed under:Crafty Sites,News!,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 14:31

There have been a LOT of fibre related activities going on recently. Here’s some of what I spun yesterday and finished off plying today.

On the left is some brown fluffy stuff I got from Craftspun at the last Knitting and Stitching Show and on the right is some of the light coopworth I brought to class yesterday. It’s quite ropey but it’ll be nice together in a hat I think. Now, I never blogged about it but Laura gave me some very pretty pencil roving for my birthday and I got stuck into spinning it after breakfast.

These are my singles. I split the roving in two and spun two batches of two different colours. Then, I plied them together so that the colours would have good contrast.

There’s not a huge amount there but I was really happy with how I was able to keep the thickness mostly consistent. Yay!

I have also been knitting… snail mittens with some Bolivian alpaca I picked up in Vermont…

Right now I want snails on every thing. Snails and elephants. See those green and white bits on the cuff? They are welts. I had never knit one before so now I want welts on everything, too. Snails, elephants and welts.

The palm.

After a struggle with my Schaefer Elaine (I spent about an hour trying to find the end of it so that I could just wind it up – Lisa came to my rescue), I cast on for a really, really difficult…

…garter stitch scarf!

For some reason I can never trust my initial instincts when it comes to sleeve caps. Last night, I struggled through five more sleeve caps before striking as close as I could to perfection for this guy. Sometimes I think that we must work through purgatory whilst living – or something! – because reknitting sleeve caps is about as close as I come to writing old Dante a letter re: one’s circles of hell. Anyway, this is the Sampa tunic that I put to one side for reasons unknown. All it needs are two sleeves and a pattern.

It was worth it, though

Last but by no means least, I received this charming little pin in the post a week or so ago.

Marian made up some of these crocheted pins for any readers that wanted them. Isn’t that sweet? Mine currently resides on my summer jacket. Marian is one seriously crafty girl! Check out her blog and see what she’s up to these days.

Elephants to follow in next post!


May 29, 2007

Charmed Knits Review

Filed under:Books,Crafty Sites,News!,Reviews — Aileen @ 09:27

Charmed Knits is written by our very own Alison Hansel, author of the Blue Blog. Tagged as Projects for fans of Harry Potter, this book does not disappoint! I ordered it, sight unseen, partially to support Alison and partially out of curiosity. I expected it to be full of kids knits and not much else. Thankfully, I was wrong.

The thirty projects cover a very broad spectrum. The first chapter, Weasley Knits, includes Alison’s signature design the Weasley Sweater, a lovely bag called Mrs. Weasley’s Bag of Stitch Witchery, a pretty dodgy looking housecoat, a pattern for Errol (the Weasley’s owl) and a clock blanket. Personally, I love the Stitch Witchery bag.

Then comes Diagon Alley which covers your basic wizard wear. Here you’ll find patterns for a wizard cap, robe, an Invisibility Shawl, wand cozies (!), and Quidditch sweaters and socks.

If only every teenager could have an Invisibility Shawl…
but then we wouldn’t be able to see them sulk

I must confess a love for the Quidditch socks.

My favourite chapter in the book is House Colours. There are patterns for house scarves, hats, mittens, socks, sweaters (the grey V-neck with house-colour stripes featured in the films), as well as Alison’s Hip Scarf and the little Bookscarves that first emerged over on the Livejournal Harry Potter knitting communities.

Guess what I’m making next!

The penultimate chapter, The Magic of Giving is a little weak. Put forth as gift ideas, they come across as the left-overs that didn’t fit into the other chapters. There’s another knitting bag, some Christmas ornaments, two baby ‘elf’ hats, a scarf, and my favourite…

Dobby Socks!
L – R: Harry’s sock, Dobby’s own sock, Broomsticks sock and Snitch sock

Home at Hogwarts finishes the book off well. This chapter includes some of the projects Harry, Ron and Hermione wore in the films – Harry’s red cable sweater, Hermione’s bobble hat and mittens, Ron’s animal cracker hat and Ron’s Raglan. I was hoping that Ginnie’s cardigan from the Goblet of Fire movie would be included but it wasn’t.

The patterns are clear and well written with larger-than-normal text. Pattern difficulty is rated from First Year (easy), OWL level (moderate) to NEWT (difficult). What I like most about the book is the versatility of the patterns. Sizes for most garments are given from a small child’s right up to an adult’s XXL. If you’re not a big fan of Harry Potter, but you have children, grandchildren, cousins or nieces and nephews that are, then you’ll never be stuck for something to knit for them. There are quite a few costume patterns throughout the book which could be knit up for childrens’ Hallowe’en costumes, for dressing up games, or for the more dedicated adult fan!

If Harry Potter knitting is your thing, join the Knit-a-long for the book. There is a free pattern for house-colour hats available from the book on the KAL site.

Also worthy of inclusion here are some other Harry Potter related patterns that I found on other blogs last week. If you’re more of a Slytherin knitter, these might appeal to you! I really love this Dark Mark Illusion Scarf. You don’t see many illusion scarf patterns around – the only other one I can think of is from the first Stitch’n’Bitch book. This is excellent! If you’re more of a bag knitter, have a look here for a Dark Mark Bag.

Happy knitting!


May 19, 2007

In it for the money

Filed under:Crafty Sites,News! — Aileen @ 11:27

No knitting to show today, and I will probably give Knitting Group in town a miss today too. How come? Well, yesterday I played in a piano competition and won a five-figure sum :D Today I am going to wallow in the glory and, to be honest, relief of having won. If I hadn’t won the money I doubt I could have continued my piano studies. But at least now I’m sorted out for the next few years. I’m one step closer to being Dr. Knitting Neels!

Instead of knitting I have been looking at other peoples’ knitting! I came across two interesting looking vintage patterns. Here’s one of a halter top and another of a groovy cardigan. I’m having trouble containing a fresh wave of startitis.


May 18, 2007

The perils of sitting down

Filed under:Crafty Sites,Finished Objects,News!,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 11:24

No comment.

My schedule is always crazy. I have two days where I potter about doing my own thing, blissful peace, and then I have a few days where it’s the musical equivalent of being in Vietnam.

I have finished two very unfraternal socks. First up, it’s numero uno of the Twisted Flowers.

I am particularly pleased with how this turned out, and I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the next one. The nice thing about it is that it looks unbelievably intricate – but knitted row by row, is very manageable. I particularly like how the pattern continues down the heel flap (Yet Another Reason to knit a heel flap!).

Next up, it’s numbero uno of the Mint Jitterbugs. Let me just say two words: soft socks. This stuff is gorgeous.

I’m pretty happy with the length of the leg bit, and it looks like I’ll have enough to make the other one. I suppose that’s the joy of having tiny feet (well, that and getting to wear the sparkly sandals from the childrens’ shoes in Dunnes)!

Ever hear of Knitting School Dropout? I enjoy her blog a lot. I have just come across a pattern that she wrote some time ago for a little leaf-lace t-shirt. I think it is the nicest little summer knit, and is the perfect excuse to buy some Debbie Bliss Cathay. I have been drooling over it in TIK for months now but couldn’t think up what to knit from it. Problem solved!