October 17, 2010

Autumn is for knitting

Filed under:Cardigans,Cycling,Photography,Startitis,Sweaters — Aileen @ 17:37

I think there is a good case for adding this to one of the certainties of life: death, taxes and autumn is for knitting. Peasy (Ravelry link – it doesn’t seem to exist ‘on the outside’) got finished up in the blink of an eye but has been languishing for want of buttons.

I have been trying out a few in my own collection, such as those pretty blue flower ones that I got in Knopenwinkel a few years ago. But they just don’t work. I think I need some small wooden ones to go with the tweediness of the yarn. I will keep looking.

I am being drawn towards lighter knits and knits with big collars and short sleeves because they are more practical to wear on the bike. I had been hmmming and hawwwing about the Twenty Ten cardigan since it came out last March. Then I spotted this new range of Drops Nepal chez Constant Knitter and I knew it had to be.

The button band is coming out a little… eccentric… because I keep losing track of when I should put in a buttonhole. I suppose the dark colour doesn’t help but it really is a delicious plum colour and do you see that gentle fuzz? It is positively edible. I have stalled at the underarms because I keep forgetting to go get the pattern before I sit down (yes, sorry, I am that lazy; now you see why the cycling is good for me…). I’m sure I will progress someday soon. I think the A-line shape has the potential of making me look like a sack of potatoes so I’m leaving that out and just working it straight.

And, hilariously, because I was too lazy to go get my pattern I just cast on for something else instead. This is definitely in the mindless-stockinette category. Perhaps this is just as well because the NBA pre-season has started and we are back to our rota of rationing Toronto Raptors games. Behold the glory that is the Malabrigo Sock.

The pattern is another one of Veera’s that came out this week – Folded. Like the Twenty Ten cardigan, it has a very pronounced A-line so I have decided to leave it out and work a size smaller to get a more fitted body. The drapiness suits her but I think that the 38″ inches of fabric around my hips specified for my size wouldn’t be especially flattering!

I had some work this morning in the Academy playing for two auditions. To my pleasure, they were scheduled first and I was able to capture the best of the morning riding in at 830. I leave you with this shot of the Beckett Bridge, taken from the Talbot bridge at about ten to nine, and wish you a peaceful end to your weekend.

Some other snaps in the set here.


October 5, 2010

We all fall down

Filed under:Cycling,Photography,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 10:38

Autumn has started to creep in. I know it’s no fun watching the mornings grow tangibly darker each day but really, we have been blessed with a beautiful Autumn this year. The leaves are always slow to turn in Dublin; the tree above was literally the only one without green leaves in the Botanic Gardens on Sunday!

Cool weather always makes me knit faster.

I have already nearly finished the second sleeve. It’s looking likely that I will have to rip out the first cuff and make them a good bit shorter in order to have enough yarn for the button bands. I am assuming that I have used all of my yarn… I may still have an extra skein upstairs. Though if memory serves me correctly, I cut it pretty close to the yardage specified and only got what I thought would suffice, each skein being €8 a pop!

I have been swatching, too.

This isn’t the half of it. Oh, swatching for me is so tedious. It usually takes me two or three goes to match someone else’s gauge. It’s frustrating but I don’t have the time or head space to do my own numbers these days.

Bertha is going strong. For all those folks marvelling at and/or worrying about me cycling in Dublin (there’s a depressing quote floating around that goes to the tune of, “to cycle in Dublin is to know fear!”), I should probably point out a few things. For a start, I’m lucky that I never have to cycle at peak times. And then there’s the fact that I look like a Christmas tree, whether it’s sunny or not… and by now I know that Dublin Bus drivers are actually pretty good – it’s the van drivers and women with kids in the back you have to watch out for. Van drivers are always in a hurry because the longer they’re on the road, the less money they make. And women with kids in the back are distracted. When I got knocked down a few years ago, it was by a woman with kids who “just didn’t see” me. They’re a species of driver that is most frightening for cyclists: unpredictable, tired and irritable (probably), and in a hurry. It pains me to have to say it because I, too, am a female driver. But if having kids in the car makes you so inattentive and unaware of other vehicles in your proximity, if I have kids I think I may resort to riding one of these. Doesn’t it look like more fun, though?


September 29, 2010

Actual knitting content!

Filed under:Cardigans,Cycling,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 20:25

Knitting has been slow these days as a lot of my knitting time has been replaced by cycling or reading for my thesis (riveting. I swear.), but the knitting I have been getting done has been lovely. I am working almost exclusively on Peasy – that’s a Ravelry link, it doesn’t seem to be available elsewhere.

It is really quite a simple knit, with concentration only required for the patterned bib. Worked from the top down, this is completed quickly and one can be immersed in (or be drowned by) the fields of stocking stitch that follow. I happily choose the former…

I didn’t like how my first garter hem turned out. It was very floppy and it kept turning up. So I ripped it out and changed from 3.5mm needles down to 3mm. I also worked a 10% decrease across my last right side row to prevent that flipping up. It seems to have worked.

I am on to the sleeves now and loving every stitch of it. The yarn, Harrisville Tweed, is surprisingly soft in the hand and smells divine. Maybe it is the lanolin? Either way, I love picking it up, even if it’s just for a row or two.

There have been a few requests to see Bertha for real so here’s a live action shot of her happily grazing. Check out the full set right here. For my own interest, I have been keeping a running total of potential bus fare saved and distance pedalled: €19 and 54km! 54! I never thought I’d be able to cycle that sort of distance.

Is it just me or was the light lovely today? I love this time of year!


September 26, 2010

Dublin Flea Market, September 2010

Filed under:Cycling,Market,Social — Aileen @ 15:34

The Dublin Flea Market has been running for about two years now. I have seen it advertised on the bus and always meant to go, but the weather was too bad, or I was tired, or I didn’t want to go on my own, or it felt like it was just too far… Today, I decided, no more excuses! Bertha and I, we were going to hit this place up.

It took about half an hour to cycle slowly across town, with lots of stops to take photos like this…

A gallery shopfront

…and it was such a lovely morning for a ride! Not much traffic, lots of tourists wandering around looking at maps and pointing, not too cold. The car park was pretty full by the time I got there (about 11.30) but I found a spot for Bertha right by the stalls outside.

There was a nice enclosed area here with a big mat and small chairs and wooden toys for children to come play, or be watched from a nearby stall. There are lots of clothes, shoes and accessories. These range from bits and pieces from Penny’s and Dunnes to true vintage wear to awesome designer pieces. This caught my eye.

Along the vintage lines, there were a number of retro furniture dealers. It was encouraging to see that their stuff was in mostly excellent condition. I would definitely come here to find something unusual for the house.

There was a great variety of food available inside in the main area: homemade pizza, panini, greek, falafel, lots of home-baked muffins, cakes and biscuits… as well as Italian coffee, fresh juices and smoothies. I had an excellent espresso and this vegetarian moussaka with greek salad and tzatziki.

This is the Co-op, an excellent space filled with organic, gluten-free, everything-else-free, environmentally-sound products. It’s very encouraging to see a place like this really really busy.

In fact, the whole market was packed by the time I left (about 1.30). Every stall holder was willing to cut a deal to make a sale and I found some really great things, bits and pieces I’d been looking for for ages. Here’s what Bertha had to carry home…

…And this is some it…

Posh-looking brown bag for carrying music (€4), purse from Penny’s (50c), two silk scarves (€2) and the grey sweater dress with pompoms (€2). To anyone wary of buying clothes at a flea market, it’s really not what you think. There’s a toilet close by and most stall holders are more than willing to let you go try something on. All of the clothes I was looking at smelled freshly washed and none of them looked worn at all. The shoes and leather jackets are in varying condition – sometimes this made them look cooler, sometimes not.

Whether you buy anything or not, it is a really fun, relaxed place to check out and meet up with friends. The next one is October 30th. I won’t be able to go – but why don’t you? :)


September 25, 2010

Glasnevin Market

Filed under:Cycling — Aileen @ 18:05

Only two things of note has happened since the Yarn Tasting: I got sick and I got a new bike! I’m not sick any more, thankfully; I think everything just caught up with me. As for the new bike, it is a second-hand Dawes Duchess.

Every now and then, you get a bit of luck out of the blue. I had my luck with this bike. I’ve had my old bike, a second-hand shop-display neon green mountain bike, for ten years. It served me admirably but gradually, my needs changed. I found myself thinking that a chain guard would be really handy. A more comfortable saddle might help me go further. And maybe if the handlebars weren’t so far forward, I would have better visibility around in traffic. I found it hard to give clear hand signals and keep control of my direction.

A few rental bikes in Belgium and the Netherlands later, I knew what kind of bike I wanted and gradually came to the conclusion that it was time for an upgrade. I stalked many second-hand sites but couldn’t find what I wanted. I did a lot of research and read a lot of reviews. Eventually I made the glum decision to buy the Dawes Duchess new for €380 and reasoned that the financial hit would pay me back in saved bus fares over the years to come.

Here’s the lucky bit! The very day I decided to buy the Duchess, I looked again on Gumtree. Just listed that morning was an as-new Duchess, recently serviced, on sale for €250 due to relocation. I immediately secured an appointment and later that evening, rode home on Bertha, complete with lights, oil and pump, and a cool €200 lighter. The lady was really very sad to sell her but is moving home to Poland (she named her: it’s perfect!).

So, Bertha and I have been touring all over this week. I haven’t got any work at the moment – I don’t start teaching until October – and even with my own practice, I figure I should enjoy the settled weather while I still have the time. The last time I cycled regularly was when I worked in This is Knit and let me tell you, there are a lot more cyclists now! Anyway, today, Bertha and I hit up the Honest2Goodness market in Glasnevin today.

It’s situated the next right turn after Lidl in the Industrial Estate. Not the most picturesque setting, true, but definitely a proper market with lots of fresh produce on sale. If you spy in the corner of the photo above, you’ll see a Blazing Salads stall selling fresh breads. Yum! They were all sold out of gluten free bread by the time I got there. I picked up some fresh steak from these guys…

…as well as some parsnips and strawberries from the vegetable ladies. There’s also a cheerful café area surrounded by a book seller, cheesemonger, lady selling jewellery… you get the idea.

It was encouraging to see it quite busy, with long lines at the butcher, fishmonger and olive guy. If you live nearby, check it out every Saturday from 10 to 5pm.