June 8, 2006

I heart Knitting

Filed under:News!,Secret Pal 8,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 17:56

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June 5, 2006

Tired, happy and very broke!

Filed under:News!,Secret Pal 8,Stash,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 19:39

What a great weekend! Not only did I have a great time driving about with Alb, taking photos and enjoying the magnificent weather, but I also received my first package from my secret pal! I took alot of photos of our trip to Westport and it will take time to go through them all. Hopefully I will get a few up tomorrow. I think some turned out really well :D So, I want to talk about my fab package and show pictures of the wool I bought.

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Speaking of new skills, my loom should come in the post tomorrow! My Phildar order is on its way too, thank goodness. I’m really itching to get started on that cotton-acrylic top while the weather is still warm.

Last but not least, I have decided to set up an on-line wool shop. I want to see if I can make it work. Obviously, because it’s online, the amount of investment required (compared to having a real shop) will be much less and within my tiny budget. There are a lot of online wool shops but I find it amazing that there is no online stockist of Tivoli wools. Tivoli is really the only big commerical spinner in Ireland. My Secret Pal said she was surprised when I said I was interested in seeing what Lion Brand wool was like, but really, the selection of wools and fibre over here is extremely limited. The new wave of knitting, crocheting and crafting in general has not really made an impact here. Yarn is the only shop I know of in the country that caters for the new, young knitter by stocking lovely yarns like Noro and Rowan. Everywhere else, it’s bargain basement acrylic and Tivoli in granny colours – browns and coppers. Now, Tivoli actually provides a wide range of colours in their wools but nobody stocks all their colours. They stock what people will buy, and to them, the people buying are elderly people who don’t want anything in petrol blue or shocking orange. I want to provide everything that Tivoli makes. On my travels over the weekend, I figured that I should also stock small-time spinners like Kilcara (gorgeous stuff but so hard to get hold of), and there’s a place in Kildare that do their own home spun in fab bright colours. I think there is a definite market for these yarns. I was also considering offering fleeces too. I don’t know enough about spinning yet to know what would be good to offer. Sheeps fleeces are worth nothing here; they’re being burned by farmers because there is no market. You see!!

Any feedback about this idea would be greatly appreciated.


May 16, 2006

Guess what my favourite colour is? :D

Filed under:News!,Secret Pal 8,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 13:20

I have been getting stuck into the first sleeve for Alouette. It is, thankfully, going along very quickly. I hate knitting sleeves. I have just completed the first part of shoulder shaping.

Moi, je manque un corps!

(isn’t it funny how all my WIPs speak french?) Also on the go is the crocheted shrug. Have a look at it here.

I know it just looks like a glorified place mat, but I think it will be really nice when it’s seamed up and keeping my shoulders snug. If you look really closely, you can see how it’s a little bit denser at the bottom than at the top. I did this on purpose, by starting off with a 4mm hook and then changing to 5mm, so that it wouldn’t be too floppy around my elbows. Clever, n’est pas? ;P

Lastly, we have my jaywalker that is growing very slowly. I haven’t really been in the mood for socks recently. Maybe it’s a summer-having-just-bought-sandals thing. (But sandals are great for showing off stripey socks, my inner knitter wails). Maybe it’s due to the fact that since chamber music finished up, I haven’t had to go anywhere and am thus losing out alot of commuter knitting.

Souvent, je me demande: ou sont mes orteils?

This morning, I decided to tackle my stash once and for all. My stash was unceremoniously dumped in carrier bags in the box room. It was getting all dusty, and I could never find anything, so I decided to grab my wool by the balls and get it sorted! There is a large chest of drawers in the room which housed my bulky winter jumpers. I went through them and realised that I only wear three of them, so I got a black bag and put the rest into it and will leave it out for the Clothes for Charity collection tomorrow morning. I managed to fit all my wool into the drawers, so I am really happy. It will keep it dust-free and sort of organised too (not my forte). In my rummaging, I came across an old cotton jumper I bought in Gap the first time I went to visit my sister in America. Because I didn’t have the sense to fold it up, and left it hanging on a hanger for about five years, it now stretches halfway down to my knees. It’s not machine-knitting wool, so I think I will unravel it, and use it to knit Bliss from Rowan 39. I was going to order cotton for it from Phildar but I would like to use stuff I’ve already got first.

Lastly, I am having so much fun with this Secret Pal 8! The girl I am secret pal to has just knocked me out with this email she sent to me. She knows nothing about me, yet longs to return to college to study Irish history! She is the personal assistant to Arthur Golden, the guy who wrote Memoirs of a Geisha. Just three weeks ago, I was in a book shop with my mum and urged her to buy the book because I’d heard great things about it. She thought it was really depressing. So I think I’ll email my secret pal and get her to tell him lol. This is working out just like my Patrick Stewart connection from SP7 (Bryony: you made my lifetime with that. I can’t wait for xmen 3! I bet I’ll never stop whispering in the cinema, my friend knows him!) Anyway, get this! she used to work in antiques! Anyone who really knows me, knows that Cash in the Attic is practically a religious ritual every day. Cup of tea, ham sandwich, knitting behind the cushion, and some Clarice Cliff plates or some Victorian furniture stealing the show. Bargain Hunt is a close second, but often the teams are swayed by what they like rather than what will make the most profit and I find it more frustrating to watch.

But seriously folks, the most pressing question of the day is: Will I get Alouette finished by Saturday (mum’s birthday)?

The 8-ball says….

Who Knows


May 13, 2006

Ding dong exams are dead!

Filed under:News!,Secret Pal 8,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 08:31

Thank God they’re over! The Poulenc was so-so, but the Mozart was better. Mary, my duet partner, and I both got an attack of nerves in the first movement, but the rest of it settled down nicely. The last movement is really tricky. There’s this awful bit in the middle where we take turns to play the same thing, and it is fiendish! Mary played it first. She panicked and stuck the pedal down for the whole thing, but she got through it fine. When it came to my turn, I thought, well, she got through it so I should just grit my teeth and do it too. And it was fine. Directly after that bit, there’s a bit where we imitate each other. Mary played a cracking wrong chord, really loudly… and the examiners started laughing. Lol, seriously, folks! Afterwards she told me that it was because she was so mad she played that hard bit badly, and I played it right, that she played the wrong chord. This made me laugh alot because I’d been practising that hard bit all year, never played it right once and was expecting it to be a mess. Oh well.

Now for some knitting. I did lots on Alouette yesterday to pass the time between exams. So much, in fact, that I completely left out the neck shaping for the front. I hate when you look back at the pattern and you see words such as at the same time as and until. I’m going to have to rip out about four inches. Here’s what I’ve got so far…

I messed up the decreases on the back piece for the arm holes, and ended up with a plain stitch edge going all the way up each side instead of the pattern. But I did it properly for the front, got the right number of stitches, and was able to carry the pattern all the way to the edge.

In other news, I still haven’t sewn the neck band onto Lucky. This is what I’ve got so far.

I was thinking about it this morning and I’d probably be better off pinning the band the other way around. The way it is now, the band is pinned to the right side so that the seam will be on the inside. However, I was thinking that if I pinned it the other way around and seamed it on the front, I would be able to gather the neckband better. I can’t tell you how tempted I am to just throw the bloody band away and crochet a neck-border and tie on instead.

Speaking of crochet! I got started on my shrug. I chained 45 stitches, double crocheted (or single crocheted if I was sitting in north america) away for about five inches. Then I got confused about gauge and ripped it all out. I re-measured everything and started again by … chaining 45 stitches. I was right the first time. Ok. Then I decided that the double crochet was turning out too dense for just a shrug. It looked like a car mat. So I ripped it out and decided to do it in trebles instead. This is much better.

I’m hoping that this will be a quick project. I like the colour, don’t you?

Yes, so Secret Pal 8 has started (woooo!) and I have been matched up with some fun people, both of whom are in the states. My own secret pal is great, we have lots in common and I’m really looking forward to getting to know her better. I’m still learning about the person I’m secret pal to, but already I think I’m going to have great fun spoiling her. I have mastered the art of secrecy by understanding how secret pal works this time lol! Since she is in the states, I am thinking up things to send her that are specific to Ireland. So far for my first package to her I’ve got:

– A tea-bag selection. I’m pretty sure she has not seen the wonder that is Lyons pyramid teabags :D Also some of my favourite Twinings herbal teas.
– A knitting magazine. Simply Knitting, Knitting or maybe Sandra.
– Butler’s dark chocolate. Noone can resist it!
– Some wool. Millions of ideas for this one.
– I want to make a booklet about lace. She doesn’t know how to knit lace but wants to learn. So I was thinking of making a sort of beginner’s guide to starting lace, with a little reference section for all the different types of decreases you can have, and some starter patterns. If it turns out well, I might put it up here on the site for everyone to have and use.

That’s about all I’ve got for now. I am so hyper and tired after yesterday. I woke up at 7:15 with my legs demanding I get out of bed, but with my eyes glued together. *Zombie Knitting*