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…


May 27, 2010

WIPs for Summer

Filed under:Crochet,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 09:00

It is starting to shape up a bit like Summer around here. We had high temperatures over the weekend – up into the low 20s – and even though the air temperature has dropped considerably to the low teens, we have had blistering sun every day this week.

I have a thing for cotton cardigans. I don’t own any, it just fits into some sort of Bridget-Bardot-post-war mental image I have of Summer on an island (which we are, even though it doesn’t feel like it most of the time). You know, warm enough for cotton but cool enough to need a cardigan. This is where Audrey in Unst comes in.

I just looked up what ‘unst’ means and it doesn’t mean anything because it’s a place – one of the islands in the Shetlands! That’s funny. Anyway, the yarn is a deliciously pale pink called Amalfi by Debbie Bliss. I got it from This is Knit. I needed to go down to a 3mm needle to get gauge so it’s fairly slow going but I’m cranking it out a little at a time.

During my spring clean, I happened upon my mountain of crochet blocks. I had maybe about thirty so at the weekend, I sat down and started joining them up. It took no length at all to get them all attached. I had about 10 large squares from 200 Crochet Blocks and a lot of smaller motifs from Beyond the Square. I crocheted the large motifs together for the centre and then used up all the smaller ones as a border. It is still not much bigger than a generous lap blanket so I have decided to work up about fifteen more large square, attach them, and then work the border in brown. I have seven after the weekend of absently working away and watching tv.

These guys are perfect for working up in warmer weather and it is very pleasant joining them all up with the blanket on your lap when it is cooler in the evening. More, please!


May 10, 2010

Si, capito…

Filed under:Crochet,Music,Stash,Zakka — Aileen @ 12:53

My father gave me this great learn-Italian set of CDs and a book from the BBC a while ago. Before I came out, I covered the first section easily enough. I had hoped to do more but was so busy working and trying to squeeze in extra preparation that it ended up taking a back seat. On the plane over I realised that the extent of my Italian was how to ask for five different types of coffee, ask where the toilet is (but alas not understand the answer!) and count up to ten. My hosts’ English is limited but when they speak clearly in Italian, I understand them quite easily. I think this is because the root of many words is similar to that in French, which I know well. Now we converse in a funny sort of Italiano-inglese. By the time I went to the market on Saturday, I felt confident enough in my phony French-with-Italian accent to buy wool. In fact, when I do this generally, I fare better. If I ask if they speak English, often people get flustered and then defensive. Easier if I’m the one who speaks poor Italian rather than the reverse, if you get me!

Anyway, this is what I came away from the market with. Cotton and linen are the most popular fibres here for obvious reasons but the guy was also selling ‘winter wool’ because the weather has been so poor here (They consider 18C and cloudy to be poor for this time of year. Yeah. My sympathy doesn’t go that far either.) I have been going through a real phase of fascination with Zakka and all things for the house. I have a nice book called Lacy Crochet which calls for fine cotton for a lot of the projects. I got these three.

100% cotton, 340m per 50g, a staggering €1.60 a ball. Of course I had to try it out straight away so I whipped up this wee doily from the book. Apologies for its crinkliness, it really needs a good blocking and perhaps some starch.

He also had heavier weight cottons but those I can get fairly easily at home so I went for some linen instead. This I bought specifically with tea-towels or a mat in mind.

I bought two of each colour. 100% linen, 105m per 50g, €3 a ball. I know the temptation is to buy a ton but this stuff is going to be pretty rugh to work with. I imagine by the time I get through 420m of it, I’ll have had enough for the time being.

The market was very interesting. It’s not a good market by my family’s estimation but really, it had everything you could think of. I enjoyed looking at the cheesemongers’ stalls and also at the vegetables. Every vegetable stall sold huge nets of… snails. Initially I thought they were oysters because they were wet and drippy. But then I thought that they couldn’t be since we’re so far inland. That’s when I noticed the many, many antennae straining and wiggling. Whose fantastic job was it to bag up all those guys? I also wonder how long they last for. You’d probably need to cook them all together. But from prior experience, you can only eat so many snails in one sitting.

Anyway, there was also a guy selling pet birds and different types of eggs. Hen eggs, fine. Tiny little white eggs I found out later that are quail eggs…. and absolutely gigantic, creamy, dimpled eggs that looked like dinosaur eggs. ‘Uovo di Struzzo’. I looked it up when I got home: ostrich eggs. I’m not kidding, they were about 20-30cm long and 15-20cm wide. Apparently you make big omelettes from them. No duck eggs, curiously enough.

I also finished up a square doily I started a few days before I came over. It’s quite large so here’s just a corner to give you an idea.

Tivoli Cruise cotton, 4ply, and the pattern is from the Lacy Crochet book I mentioned above. I used a 2mm hook. It’s to protect one side of the desk of my piano (the desk is the music stand on a grand piano, it has a shelf on either side of the stand and the whole thing can slide in or out). II’m going to make a matching one in blue for the other side.

I played this morning so now I am taking it easy. I find out tomorrow evening if I pass into the next round. I don’t expect to – I’m not being pessimistic, rather, realistic. I was happy enough with how I played, considering the overall situation. It takes courage! Especially if you follow a German lass who quite literally slashed her way through a Beethoven concerto with a sledgehammer. Oh Madonna… I did the best I could do for now. It could have been better, but also much worse. The next one I do will be better because I’ll have done this; and the one after, a bit better again. For now, espresso and a doily await!


September 11, 2009

Not much to show…

Filed under:Crochet,Music,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 13:03

…but something to tell. I’ve been pretty busy this week getting ready for my audition and putting off getting ready for my audition. This is what I was doing whilst putting things off.

Yup, another hand towel. I told you I had a lot of that cotton! It is so nice to work with and the pattern, like I said, is easy without being too mindless.

That’s all I have to show for now but I can tell you that as of next Thursday, I am a college student again! I am very excited. The course is a masters in piano accompaniment so there will be lots of playing as well as research…and knitting, of course.


September 8, 2009

FO – Handtowel #1

Filed under:Crochet,Finished Objects — Aileen @ 11:28

I knit a green sleeve up to the armhole and 45cm of blue sleeve and then I gave up. I couldn’t take it any more. But of course you can’t just do nothing, so I made one of these instead.

crochet handtowel towel cotton

Pattern: Cotton Dishcloths from the LionBrand website. I think you might have to join up to access the pattern and all their other free patterns but it is free.

Needle: 3mm hook.

Yarn: Wendy Supreme Luxury Cotton 4-ply. I bought a lot of this with the intention of making a crocheted skirt. However when I got home I realised that not only was it the wrong weight, but that I have also lost the book that the pattern is in. I think I might have lent the book to someone but I’m not sure. If I lent you my Happy Hooker book, could you let me know?!

Anyway, the yarn is really nice to work with – very smooth and soft – and I think I will make a matching set to use up my contrasting colours.

handtowel dishcloth cotton crochet shale