January 17, 2013

Knitting on a cloud

Filed under:Shawls,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 16:16

Literally. Still battling a cold which so far had only manifested itself in an intense desire to sleep 15+ hours a day, a runny nose and an occasional cough. Perfect conditions for knitting on my cloud.

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I was digging around in my stash yesterday and I found remnants from my wedding shawl, enough to finish the edging, so on I went. I am about half way.

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I held it up to Alb with my usual, isn’t it nice? (to which there is only one answer) and he said that it liked like a lot of knitting. It is… But I’m really looking forward to seeing what it’s like when it’s finished. I bet that I, too, will own a cabin in the woods within which I shall walk around with my shawl on just so, just like the model in the picture…

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June 21, 2012

Mostly about knitting

Spurred on by our chilly weather, I finished up my Bedford sweater at long last.

Such is today’s gloom, modelled photos are unfortunately out of the question :( I can’t really complain though as I know other parts of the country have seen torrential rain whereas we have only had clouds. Grey, suffocating clouds but dry ones nonetheless.

I was pottering about with the camera when I realised that I had never shown this shawl properly. I don’t really remember when I knit this, though it must have been after Christmas. I knit a cream version for my teacher and liked it so much that I made one for myself afterwards.

I used 1 skein of the delicious Studio Donegal Soft Merino (which you can peruse here) and something like 4.5mm needles. They were a bit small. I think 5.5mm would have resulted in a loftier fabric and a bigger shawl. That said, I love it dearly, wear it often and have another skein in the light blue for another on the bigger needles. You might spy the silver shawl pin there – it was a souvenir from Cafayate in Argentina, locally made by a lady silversmith. It was about €10. We were very picky about what we bought to put in our suitcases as we were travelling for nearly 5 weeks but this, I regret not one jot. Every time I use it, I think of the woman who made it, of our wonderful holiday and am reminded that here, we have absolutely no concept of what the middle of nowhere is.

What else? Oh, I really wanted to try out the Jamieson and Smith Jumper Weight yarn that This is Knit has started carrying so I knit up a beret using my own pattern (Beret Easy… I’m feeling a bit old right now). Quick and easy, it was perfect for watching basketball during the week. All that remains is for the inner band to be sewn down.

It’s a very nice yarn. A bit scratchy perhaps but I expect it will soften up a lot when I wash it. It is lovely and sticky, making it perfect for colourwork. Have you seen Kate Davies’ Sheep Carousel yet? I believe the digital pattern will go for sale in a few days. This is the point where I think we abandon all other notions and cast on for it immediately!

I should probably explain why I haven’t been knitting in the last year or so – I have had tension problems with my left arm and shoulder. I am pretty much cured for now, which explains the recent surge in production! It was a combination of a number of things, such as sitting more for teaching, being stressed and playing a LOT from February to April. I had a number of days where I was sitting and playing for more than five hours (for competitions or rehearsals). Days where I sight-read a lot tend to leave me very stiff. Anyway, I started taking more breaks, stretching more, doing some yoga and just stopped working so much, and it’s healed by itself. I knit and spun very little because it aggravated it a lot: I am happy to be back to my old self. I really missed it and oddly, found myself not wanting to be interested because I wasn’t able to pursue it. Sewing is great but really, it’s not knitting!

Speaking of which – you may have already heard about the big debacle concerning the Ravelympics? (If you don’t know about the Ravelympics, it’s basically a big worldwide knit/crochet/spin-a-long to the Olympics, with most communication going through Ravelry) Well, the commission for the US sent a cease and desist letter to Ravelry because the Ravelympics use the Olympics brand or logo or something. I don’t think they do exactly, but it’s enough to cause rancour. Not just that – by running such a harmless event, we are disrespecting what it stands for and the athletes that participate. I’m sure you can find out all the details on Ravelry. Whilst they probably do have some sort of legal point, I don’t really understand their point generally. It’s free, it doesn’t generate profit… mostly, it just stinks of one group of people saying, this other minor, insignificant group of hobbyists is not taking this seriously enough! they’re having FUN! you can’t have FUN at the Olympics! Also, isn’t the whole point of the Olympics to be inclusive, international and for-the-fun-of-participation?

Well, whatever the outcome, I’ll be knitting along to the Olympics like I always do. I haven’t joined a team yet but I think I will participate in two events regardless: the frogging trampoline and the sweater triathlon. I’m going to rip out my Pole sweater and the sweater I want to knit is Amy Christoffer’s Larch cardigan. I have the yarn, I want the cardigan, I have marathons that need watching. And those races where they’re not outside the stadium but they go round and round and eventually they ring a bell and they all run faster? I love those. Regarding the Pole, I love it and adored knitting it, but I never wear it. I think it will live a happier life reincarnated as Heidi Kirrmaier’s Nanook.

I will probably get sucked into the Sock Put and quite possibly the Hat Dash – and the Mitten Medley is far too tempting! What will I do! A month is not nearly long enough to decide!

PS: Have also been sewing but too dark for modelled photos – the Lisette Market skirt (here), yet another pair of shorts but longer this time (here) and working on an Amy Butler top and a pencil skirt for my mum (here). I have been practising, too, I swear – there’s always time for the fun stuff.

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May 15, 2012

In the background

Believe it or not, I still knit. The funny thing is that when people say, oh, you’ve stopped knitting, I tend to agree – even though I have knitting in my bag, I knit on the bus, the train and in the evenings…! My knitting has slowed down to pretty much the most mindless projects. This is indicative of my life generally; I’ve been in some sort of post-wedding fuzz for the last six months and am only now waking up properly. Anyway, this is what I’ve been working on.

Some crochet kitchen things – a towel and some cloths.

I made these mostly to just try out a new crochet cotton This is Knit has started carrying, DMC Perla. I got the medium weight one, I think it’s ‘3’ and used a 3.25mm hook. It’s really nice to work with – not too shiny – and can you believe I got all of these items from just one ball? I came across a really pretty crochet scarf here and am thinking about using the lighter weight (‘8′ I think) to make it. Scary as Japanese patterns may seem, the crochet diagrams are usually extremely clear.

Another yarn I wanted to try out, though it’s not very new by this stage, was the Rialto 4-ply lace. What better than yet another Kiri shawl. I pretty much have it memorised by now so it’s about as close to mindless lace as I’m going to get. The yarn is lovely, good value for money, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it blocks out.

I have been very, very slowly chipping away at Bedford. Lately I’ve stalled out because I need to look at the instructions for the neckline.

I wouldn’t mind but it is about 3″ from being completely finished. I’m not even waiting to knit sleeves or anything. I should just finish it.

What else? Oh yes, I found this when I was tidying up.

Handspun! Really nice, consistent handspun that I obviously made but have no recollection of whatsoever. I found other handspun, too, that I know I must have made in the last six months but don’t remember at all. It’s kind of depressing but on the upside, it’s all new again to me! The mittens are kind of important because my old ones finally bit the dust.

Aaaaannndd… I’ve been sewing. Sewing, even when it seems slow, is pretty quick. Here are two Wiksten tank tops. The first is out of some soft voile cotton that I found in the bargain bin in Hickey’s a few months ago.

It is quite light so I had my usual problem of a ‘lippy’ neckline.

Considering that I will probably just end up using this as a pyjama top, I don’t mind too much. I’m not getting any hopes up for a hot summer, let me put it that way. But it was a fun and quick pattern to make so I made another!

This time using the beautiful quilting cotton I picked up at Pippa Blue. Love!

Again, a bit lippy but it will have to do. I even followed a tutorial to avoid such a result. Other sewing has included a pair of Clover pants – sort of a wearable muslin as the material is very light and was extremely cheap, a Violet blouse, and fixing the hem on my failed proper attire skirt. I have had just about the WORST luck on all three of these projects and they all involve making a hole. The one on the blouse was spectacular. I won’t lie: there were tears. I’ll tell you about it again sometime…

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January 23, 2012

Kiri Shawl IV

Filed under:Finished Objects,Shawls,Stash Down — Aileen @ 12:17

There has been an awful lot of mindless knitting the last few months. I knit almost constantly when we watch tv but unfortunately for you guys, most of it is pretty bland stuff. I’m starting to break out of my funk, though, starting with this.

I finished it on Saturday but it’s not blocked out yet. It’s pretty huge.

Pattern: Kiri shawl (my fourth now, I think).

Needles: 4.5mm. I used those new Cubix needles from Knitpicks that have edges like a pencil. I find them very comfortable but not necessarily for every project.

Yarn: 3 balls of Drops Kid Silk. I got mine at Love to Knit in Bray but I see that The Constant Knitter has lots of colours too.

I’d never used this yarn before so I was interested to see how it would compare to the seemingly incomparable Rowan Kidsilk Haze. Overall, very well. It is constructed a bit differently, so the strand of silk is apparent. This is quite nice, actually, and gives a nice pearlescent sheen.

And, of course, costing about half of what the Rowan usually is, the price was right – I just wanted the colour. I’ll post more photos when it’s blocked.

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January 8, 2012

Bits and bobs

Soon after my last post, I ran into some trouble with my sewing machine. In short, it ground to a halt and no amount of jigging about would fix it. I opened it up to find a cog had partially disintegrated so off to the repair shop it went. I’ve been busy with other things!

These tray cloths were started in November some time. I finished these fruits and wanted to stitch another before I sat down to hem them.

Pictures like these remind me that it won’t always be winter, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

The fruits were taken from a Sublime Stitching book and the others, from Doodle Stitching (motifs collection). I return to both of these resources time and time again. The motifs collection particularly is cute and interesting to stitch in equal measure.

I finished my hap shawl also. What a giant this turned out to be!

I ended up using the whole skein of tan and about two-thirds of brown. I’m not sure what I’ll use the rest of the brown for. I might make some felted coasters. The shawl is very scratchy and hairy, but it’s unbelievably warm. I find something very comforting about its sheepy smell when I pull it around me. The pattern is an oldie-but-a-goodie, this one, one I imagine I will make yet again in the future.

And here’s something that I acquired over the holidays.

Both are from etsy. I went searching initially for a simple sleeveless dress pattern – something I could use a few times over and embellish differently. In the course of my searching, I came upon the blouse pattern. I love pintucking in blouses and haven’t been able to find one in the shops that fits well enough to part money for. I love the short-sleeved version, too. Nice to wear when you want to wear a t-shirt but need to be a bit more dressed up. I am really looking forward to sewing all of these up!

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