May 26, 2006

How could you be so crewel?

Filed under:News! — Aileen @ 08:28

Last night brought me on a journey of discovery. It started off with a shawl mum got for her birthday. It is decorated in very beautiful crewelwork, which is just embroidery with wool. The minute I saw the shawl I thought, I have to learn how to do this. Later last night, I checked out Knitty.com’s surprises. One is a very strange sort of skirt that belongs in Alice in Wonderland, another is a baby top (yawn) and the last is a felted tea-cosy. I have a real thing for tea-cosies. Now, I don’t normally use a tea-pot or a tea-cosy, nor do I even own a tea-cosy. But ever since I saw a girl at Witnness festival a few years back wearing a tea-cosy on her head, I have been captivated by its sheer versatility!

Now, I probably won’t get around to making the tea-cosy for at least another year. But what caught my attention was the crewelwork embellishments on the cosy. It turns out that the designer is big into crewelwork, and I followed the link at the bottom of the page to here where you can check out all her designs. She has many very attractive crewelwork kits you can buy. Bright colours, retro designs, my kind of thing.

I woke up this morning mulling over this crewelwork. I enjoy embroidery and cross-stitch but to be frank, (it’s Aileen on the weekends only) they’re too fiddly for me to really go to town with them. It takes ages to fill any kind of space with embroidery, and I’m not really the kind of person who gets a kick out of embellished collars and hankies. So I went downstairs and got out my Embroidery Stitch Bible and looked up crewelwork. Turns out I can use the same stitches from regular embroidery, only I use wool instead, and a heavier fabric like linen. Here is my decision: I will go and buy some tapestry thread, some linen or cushion-cover-type material, and just give it a go with some flowers or maybe a dog. Then if I really like it, I might splash out on a kit. I think this is the best compromise.

Ps: my mum loves Alouette but it is still damp so I still don’t know if it fits… and Salina is growing steadily.

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May 25, 2006

Finito!

Filed under:News!,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 17:40

Horray! Alouette is finished! It is currently drying on a hanger (I’ll explain). I finished off the neck last night, expecting to have to rip it out and do it all over again. But you know, it actually looks ok! Even though I didn’t pick up nearly the right amount of stitches, place my markers in the right place or anything. So I pulled it on and… it’s too short. It looks just fine on me, it’s like a regular t-shirt. But this is for my mum, and she will not like it to be so short. I started thinking about how cotton really stretches out when you hang it up (I have a cotton jumper to prove it – it comes half way down to my knees). So, I dunked it in the sink for a bit, wrung it out and hung it up on a hanger. My plan is that gravity will do my blocking for me. I tell thee solemnly – cotton is heavy as bricks when wet.

With that out of the way, I reswatched for Salina, this time on 4mm needles. It’s not too holey and my gauge was spot on. Woo! So I spent a happy evening doing the moss stitch base and now I have progressed on to the waist shaping. St st kills me. I love knitting with the Felted Tweed, but st st is just the pits. Already I am planning something lacey and complicated. I hear a big ball of mohair calling to me. It wants to be made into a summer wrap. I hear you, mohair!

Pour quoi le lack de pictures, I hear you ask. Well, I left the camera at home when I was down for mum’s birthday party. I’m hoping someone will bring it up to me this weekend. Then I will post lots of pictures of Salina, Alouette (hopefully on its intended!), oh and of my Jaywalker too, which is snailing its way to the toes.

Ordered my loom this evening. Well, I emailed the woman at the shop in Dundee saying, please can I buy that loom now. The problem with my 3v card is that I have to use up all the money on it because you have to pay to get your cash back off it. Now, I was going to end up with about e5 left on it, so I spent ages hunting around on the loom site looking for something to buy. I finally plumped for a ball of Noro Silk Garden. I figure it’ll make a nice cravat. If I did my sums correctly, I should have about 20c left over on the card, which I think I can live with.

In other news, I accepted a job offer as a civil servant temp in Sligo for the summer. I start on June 26th. I expect to spend ten weeks processing Pension forms (be still, my wildly beating heart). How I’m going to work full time and practice for my recital in September, I have no idea. My plan is to get as much done before I start working and just hope for the best. The good news is that it pays pretty well, so I’ll be able to put a good amount towards my fees for next year, and have some holiday and wool money left over. Alb and I are planning on heading to Berlin in August. I’m bringing an extra bag for ggh mohair and Rebecca back issues!!!

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May 24, 2006

A Quick One

Filed under:News!,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 07:51

I have been pretty busy since last week – my mum’s birthday party was great! But no, I didn’t get Alouette finished on time. I started on the neck when I was coming back to Dublin on the train on Monday, but I think I’m really making a hames of it.

I’ve gotten some extra work this week accompanying exams and examining so unfortunately there isn’t much time for knitting. That doesn’t stop me though! I am finally on the foot portion of my first Jaywalker. Last night, too, I swatched for Salina, which is another jumper out of the Rowan Vintage Knitting book. It was seeing this on other peoples’ blogs that convinced me to knit this: it is a really nice fitted jumper, so I hope it turns out ok. At the moment, I’m not quite getting gauge. I hadn’t expected the felted tweed I got to be so … skinny … the fabric is quite light and drapey. I’m afraid that if I go up to 4mm needles it will get a little holey.

In other news, my wool still hasn’t been shipped from Phildar. And – random tidbit – I think I have finally figured out how to sew on the neckband for Lucky. It came to me when I was setting the sleeves for Alouette: it needs to be like a set in sleeve. This is a problem because I don’t have a mannequin to put it on and pin out properly. What I might do is put it on myself, pin on the neck band around it as best I can, and then tack it. Then I can see if it’s lying properly before I sew it up completely. Man, it sounds like a lot of work just for a stupid band that I probably should have crocheted on in the first place.

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May 20, 2006

Events!

Filed under:News!,Secret Pal 7 — Aileen @ 06:45

Look what came in the post yesterday! It’s a package from Bryony!

Check out the groovy wrapping paper and card. I think I’ll keep the paper and use it for a collage or something. What you see are two gorgeous balls of 100% Alpaca wool from Garnstudio. I’m really excited about using this for something… I’m actually thinking a little felted bag. Also included, but not present, is a fantastic bar of green & black’s fruit and nut bar. Well done on the detective work Bryony ;) It was rather a lovely end to a fairly crappy week.

After I took the picture above, something caught hold of me and commanded me to have a go at recording a podcast. So I ended up talking to myself for nearly two hours, between one thing and another, and ended up not making the post until this morning. And why am I up so early, I hear you ask? My sister and her family were banging on the door at 7am to be let it, that’s why! They are asleep now. My nephew is funny. (from upstairs) David: Liam, take off your pants and get into bed! Liam: I don’t wanna take off my pants! *pout* He’s my nephew alright.

I gotta get the train home later this morning but I just wanted to say a big thank you to Bryony for her thoughtful present. Ok, must go and pack some clothes and get some practice done.

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May 19, 2006

Oh, rain

Filed under:News!,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 07:09

It’s been a tough week, no? The weather is acting crazy, and from what I can gather from blogs across the pond, it’s nutty over there too. There are no less than three depressions lined up in the Atlantic ready to pass over us during the weekend and next week. All these depressions can be very depressing! I made a bit of a mental turn around yesterday evening. I have been sort of waiting for something to happen regarding my practice (don’t ask me what) but yesterday I realised that it’s time to get back to work. I also figured that if I spend absolutely no money until August, I will have *just* enough to get through June and July. I have to do well in my concerto (June) and my recital (September). It’s not all bad though! I get to look after the garden, train for the Streets of Galway, knit the (at least) ten projects I have lined up as well as get my serious practice on.

So, Alouette has been keeping me sane these days. I was a bit zonky yesterday when I was knitting the second sleeve though. I looked at the pattern – always a good idea – and it said to keep knitting until it’s 4 and a half inches, and then do the decreases. I read through the decreases to prepare ahead. Then I picked up the needles and got stuck right in to about twenty rows of decreases. I measured it against the other sleeve to see how well I was doing and was stumped to see that it was about two inches too short on the bottom. Reason? I didn’t knit until it was 4 and a half inches. *sigh*Apart from that, I should get seaming it up tonight and will probably be knitting the neck band on the train home tomorrow lol. Always at the last minute.

I have made no progress on my other projects. However, I put some money on my 3v card, and had a little retail therapy. I got two patterns from Amelia Raitte’s site: Pippa for me and Jemimia for Bryony. I always intended getting it for her, but didn’t have the means. The Pippa cardigan isn’t the most suave, as cardigans go, but I have one very similar to it in black, and I wear it with everything. It’s just a cheap one from Dunnes, so it’s going to wimp out eventually. I have ordered some dark red 100% wool from Phildar to knit it up in. I went for dark red because it won’t look as office-like as black with white blouse and black pants.

I also jumped in and got a pattern for two scarves, a lace leaf and a bobble one, from Loop-d-Loop. I have Teva Durham’s book and intend to make a number of projects from it. Whilst reading about the lace leaf sweater, she mentioned that the inspiration came from her very popular Lace Leaf scarf, which was featured in Interweave Knits. I googled it and was very impressed with what I found, so I went ahead and bought it. They are in a lovely autumn-spring cravat style.

Last but not least, I was listening to Pixie Purls podcast yesterday. She was gloating over her new ipod, which has a colour screen and play videos. She wanted to put .pdf files on to it so that she could bring patterns with her, but that’s not possible. However (and I knew this already), you can put textfiles into the little Notebook feature it has. Now, every time I go home, I end up writing out the bit of pattern I’ll need on an envelope or bit of paper, and of course I always lose it. I always bring my ipony with me, so why not just put stick the pattern on it instead? I can’t believe I never thought of it.

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