October 24, 2010


Filed under:Cycling,Photography — Aileen @ 17:01

If there’s anything that knitting has taught me, it’s to have patience. Riding around on my bike, I see that this is sometimes a rare skill indeed. When you think about it, it’s sort of funny because it’s a false state in a way. It doesn’t change anything, it’s just how you perceive things and usually makes matters worse, instead of better. Sometimes it’s nice to forget about all the things you are hurrying to and enjoy today, whatever the weather or circumstance.

Taken on Grattan Bridge

(In the distance you can see the new-ish pedestrian bridge and in the foreground, those lovely cast iron lamps that are dotted around the city. I love them, I wish there were more. Great sky, huh?)

Anyway, zen cycling aside, I have had to be very patient with my knitting this week because of this:

By the time I get through it, I am too tired to knit more than a few rows but still, I persist. The above is a terrifyingly long list:

Brahms (op. 118), Bach (prelude and fugue, book I), Rachmaninov (an étude tableaux), Prokofiev (7th piano sonata), Gerschwin (preludes) – all for a solo recital in the spring. This is unrelated to my Masters and is just something I want to do for myself.

Bizet (Jeux d’Enfants) and the Fauré (Dolly Suite) are both incredibly fun piano duets and do not take a lot of practice. Martinu (1st flute sonata), Brahms (3rd violin sonata), Franck (violin sonata), Schnittke (1st violin sonata). The Brahms is a work I played all last year and is only for a concert next weekend. The rest of the duo sonatas don’t need to be ready until May but should be well under way by Christmas. When I look at it all together, it’s a bit overwhelming. It’s not as bad as it looks, though. Little by little, right?


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 16, 2010

An early outing

Filed under:Photography — Aileen @ 13:31

It has been a most interesting and uneventful month. College and my own work has very slowly been getting underway. Ordinarily I would be more fretful about how quiet my phone has been (ok, I have been doing a little fretting over that) but mostly I have been trying to enjoy the lovely autumn we’re having.

Since getting Bertha, the way I live has subtly changed. I no longer run for buses, miss buses or wait shivering for the next one. For the first time in my life, I am usually on time. I find myself considering popping out more often – maybe to the market on Saturday, down to the library to browse their magazines or over to the Co-Op if I’m feeling energetic. And I’ve gotten into the habit of popping a camera in my basket and snapping as I go.

I now spend more time looking at these snaps and sorting them out. I have spent a lot of time since getting back to Dublin going through my holiday snaps. I love experiencing new places and looking through my photos has got me thinking about what I liked and disliked about them, what I could bring to my home and life from being there. For example, visiting Finland brought me a whole new appreciation for interior design. It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy, rather functional, pleasing and uncluttered. Something handmade is even better.

Anyway, I have been haunting the Botanic Gardens a lot recently, waiting for the leaves to change. Finally getting the photos I have been waiting all autumn for is bittersweet; my breath plumed around me this morning and there is no denying winter is in the offing.

It was definitely worth getting up that bit earlier to beat the morning-coffee crowd this morning. Nothing like some chilly air to appreciate getting home to one’s own coffee and knitting. Speaking of which, there is MUCH knitting to show! Stay tuned. Hope you guys don’t mind my non-knitting-related photo posts.

Have a great weekend.


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?


June 26, 2010

Summer holidays

Filed under:Knitting World Cup,News!,Photography,Travel — Aileen @ 22:43

It feels a bit dull to say that, yet again, the last few weeks have been very hectic… but they have. I had six end of BA or MA degree recitals in NUIM (Maynooth university) to practice for, rehearse and get through. I also had my own FLCM exam. The London College of Music (LCM) is one of the main examining boards in the British Isles. They provide a number of different standard performance diplomas. The Fellowship diploma (the F bit) is the highest standard of diploma you can do and is the equivalent of a postgraduate diploma. I did mine in piano accompaniment because it will make me eligible to apply for more third-level work next year, without having to wait to graduate from my masters. Happily, all of my students did very well in their exams – some were truly exceptional – and I passed my own exam, too. So you know what that means: summer holidays!

Alb had Friday off so on Thursday, we took off for Cork. We found a cheap hotel on Lidl breaks. It’s been really fantastic – big, comfortable room; broad, varied breakfast and superb service (if you’re interested, it’s the Carrigaline Court Hotel. It’s not near anything but it’s only about a ten minute drive from the city if that’s where you want to go. It’s also beside the bus stop if you want to go that way, too). Anyway, Friday wasn’t so good weather-wise so I hit up the shops and while I was at it, picked up some 4-ply wool in a lovely blue-grey for an Austin hoodie. The afternoon brightened up considerably and we headed out for Kinsale. I’d been a few years ago with my mum and I’m happy to say that it exceeded my memories upon return.

Kinsale is a small, colourful, vibrant town with a busy harbour. We had a great time walking around in the sun and taking photos. It was a perfect day.

Today, we headed in the other direction to Youghal. Like Kinsale, it too has a busy harbour. However, the town is more spread out and is built into the steep moutain beside the sea. It is a very old town that built up in medieval times thanks to rich trade from the continent and much of the town still reflects its origin. This is the clock tower.

…and the lighthouse at the other end of the town.

We walked up to the old town walls and St. Coleman’s church. It was built in the 13th century and can boast its continuous use since. It was impressive but next to impossible to photograph, unfortunately.

An ice-cream in the sun and onwards then to Cobh, another harbour village. Cobh was the last port of call for the Titanic and is still a busy port for ferries to France and fishermen. It is unusual, though, for the truly gigantic cathedral looming down above the village. This is a tiny portion of it.

Like Youghal, much of the town is cut into the mountain with very steep streets. It is definitely worth the climb up to the cathedral for the wonderful views across the bay. The sun was strong today and the sky was quite grey and hazy so my photos aren’t very interesting-looking. I am sure Alb will come up with something a bit better soon enough!

Tomorrow we hope to strike out for St. Finbar’s hut before heading home. I have a few things lined up for the summer but mostly I plan to stay at home in my sweatpants and catch up with you guys. You know the Tour de Fleece (ravelry link) is starting soon? And I don’t know about you, but I am knitting away to the World Cup. Let’s catch up again soon!