November 27, 2014

Coup de Coeur

Filed under:Blouses/Tops,Hats,Knitting,Sewing,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 21:13

I recently developed an inexplicable but undeniable urge to knit a red hat. It had to have ear flaps and it had to be Malabrigo. Do you ever get these fixations? And the immense, trivial, satisfaction when you find all of these things condensed into one item?

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This was taken a few days. It’s since been finished and graced with a white pompom. I have enough left for mitts. I think they might need to have matching pompoms too!

On the sewing front, this has been happening:

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I rejected a bow thanks to adequate floweriness but there are gathers. Finished soon, I hope.

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March 13, 2013

Stitching in general

Filed under:Hats,Knitting,Sewing,Stash Down,Sweaters,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 10:58

I love learning new things. Of course, part of this is making a lot of mistakes, getting stuck and having to figure it out.

Fitting. Lots of fitting.

Basting and re-basting. Discovering that my hand-stitching does not hold up under the weight of the fabric. I could probably persist but I think some plain old top-stitching will sort this out.

It is difficult to learn new things about the same things – therein lies the challenge.

Searching for a better way to work decreases in an uneven rib. Still not perfect but better than it was.

A birthday hat for a friend. Challenged myself to learn a new cast-on for rib and I love it. Challenged myself to do something a bit different for her with a honeycomb texture. It didn’t quite work out but now I know what will work and it’s better than what I imagined initially.

I’ve been living in this since the weekend. Yes, it’s a small blanket. Yes, it’s the dreamy cloud that is Malabrigo Lace and yes, it has already started to felt into itself! The pattern is Quill. I wear it doubled over with a shawl pin and then open it out over my knees when I’m sitting in the evening.

Over the last few years, I have become increasingly aware of people saying the same thing to me: That’s amazing! Do you sell what you make? I have had many conversations about this with people in different areas – dress designers and tailors, fellow knitters, non-crafty friends and strangers alike. On one hand, it is difficult to price attractively that rewards your time, skill and materials. On the other, there will always be a market for high end, hand made, well made, unique things. So, I suppose it’s about balance, marketing properly and being aware of the value of what I make. I am thinking about these things an increasing amount as I move into a new phase of my life. I am finished my music studies and I have music work that I love and that is about as secure as it can be right now. Alb encourages me to consider all the things that I can do and not get boxed in by doing just one thing. The more things I can do to make a little money, the better. It sounds like the perfect summer project if you ask me.

What do you think?

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February 12, 2013

An FO, a WIP and a review

Filed under:Finished Objects,Hats,Reviews,Sweaters,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 12:42

The FO! A quick garter stitch hat using a basic $2 pattern I found on Ravelry for worsted weight. I used up old cashmerino aran leftovers (grey) and some essentials soft merino (orange).

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I had about 10 cm of grey at the end so that’s a win. Still have 2.5 balls of the orange though.

The WIP! It’s navy, it’s big… It can only mean one thing: a jumper for my Dad.

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Considering I only casted this on yesterday, I’m doing ok. The yarn is Tivoli Celtic Aran super wash. They’ve changed this yarn so it’s not quite as Brillo-pad as before. Only another 12″ of body to go…

The review is of a neat little book I got the other week. It’s called ‘Cast on, Bind off: 54 step-by-step methods’, by Leslie Ann Bestor.

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It’s a neat, square book that would fit in most handbags. The inside covers have a really quick and clear index – cast ons inside the front, cast offs inside the back. And, as you can see, it’s spiral bound!

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Each cast on and off is divided into a section, such as all-propose, ribbing, decorative, temporary, etc. each section has a nice preamble and illustration for possible uses.

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Each method is clearly described with photos for each step.

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I paid about €13 for it from the Book Depository. It’s a really good, concise reference that has made me reconsider my beginnings and endings!

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October 3, 2012

Autumn pursuits

Filed under:Crochet,Finished Objects,Hats,Mittens,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 13:37

It’s been unseasonably cool here recently. There’s nothing better to kick-start one’s knitting.

Mittens for Alb.

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New hat for Alb.

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Wool for a new jumper…for Alb.

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Someone’s been putting on the squeeze. Wool for the above projects was leftovers from his last jumper, knit from Drops Karisma. It’s a superwash and I can testify that it is perfect for anything a guy can throw at knitting: food, drink, beer, repeated snagging on door handles, countless machine washes. It’s trojan. He has requested another exactly the same.

As satisfying as it is to keep my guy warm, man knitting can only sustain me for so long.

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It’s a small motif for a lace collar. There are five of these, surrounded by four larger motifs. Like the last lace project, I downloaded this from a Japanese website which was a project in itself. It is sooo pretty, I’m really enjoying it. My next task is to figure out how I can wear it…

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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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