January 22, 2007

The Beginners Class

Filed under:News! — Aileen @ 16:23

It’s all coming back to me!

Yes! So I helped out at the Beginner’s Class at This is Knit last Saturday morning. I didn’t really know what to expect because even though I teach piano, teaching a class is something I’d never done before. As it turned out, it was more just giving everyone a hand when they got stuck, and talking lots about knitting. They all started off on a garter stitch scarf, but instructions for a ruffled spiral flower to dickey up their scarf were also included for those looking for an extra challenge. They were great beginners because they asked lots of questions and were inquisitive about things like lace and the tyrant of all knitting: socks.

I’m going to have a problem with the pictures because I only remember three names and I’m not even sure they’re the right ones. If you see yourself here without a name, don’t take it personally, I just can’t remember names! First up is Heidi, on the right, who made a great start on a scarf for her boyfriend, and another lady with whom I had a good laugh about the civil service.

Here is Charlene, on the left, and Lynsey, on the right. Charlene was the one asking me about lace knitting and I tried to make what looks complicated but is actually easy, sound easy. She was really intrigued by the whole idea of creating a holey pattern while keeping everything constant, and she signed up for the first lace class afterwards. I feel like a missionary!

Here’s someone else whose name I can’t remember on the left, and Mica on the right. These guys are well on their way to being pros. Mica knitted a little ruffled flower to decorate the end of her scarf during the class.

There was much natter about patterns, work, and funny stories, as well as the general petting of yarn. There is something about cashmerino yarn that stops every knitter in their tracks. It’s funny how choice of fibre can really influence a beginner. I bet that had they all started their projects on some horrible squeaky, scratchy acrylic they wouldn’t have been nearly as enthusiastic about things.

I think everybody had a great time, and hopefully I’ll be helping out at another class soon. Horray!


January 21, 2007

Le Weekend

Filed under:Finished Objects,News!,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 17:09

Usually, my weekends are not the most newsworthy. However this one has just flown by and I’ve been so busy! I’m turning into such a socialite… On Friday, I met La Glitz for a coffee and a ramble around town. We went in search of that great button shop off Grafton street but failed to find. I finally splashed out on a retractable measuring tape in Trimmings and Helen picked up some yummy Twilley’s Spirit for a beret. Mmmm I’m spreading the beret fever.

Yesterday, I was up bright and early for the Beginner’s Class in This is Knit in Blackrock. It was so much fun! There were seven taking the class, all of varying skill levels, so it was very interesting to help out and get people started. I have lots of pictures to show, so I’m going to wait and post about it tomorrow in better detail. Suffice to say, it was a great day and I think everyone enjoyed it.

Alb is up this weekend and after the knitting class, we met up in Eason’s for a bite to eat before we headed to the cinema. While I was looking for him in the basement, I just ‘happened’ to wander by the knitting section and was delighted to find that they have just gotten in a whole pile of Spin to Knit, Shannon Okey’s new book. I was planning on ordering it during the week but never got around to it. For the book’s safety, I decided it would best I brought it home with me. Who knows what dangers lie in Eason’s basement when I’m not around! It is an excellent book and I’m looking forward to reading it in more detail.

There was no missing football highlights on TV yesterday evening so I got my One Skein Wonder on and got it finished up! To recap, I made it out of a ball and a half of Sublime Mohair.

I kept picking this up and putting it down again, but despite that, it was a really quick knit. You could easily knit it in a weekend. The body was knitted on 5mm needles, and the borders were knitted on 3.5mm needles. Here’s a look at the seed stitch border of the sleeves. I used a 5mm needle to bind off for the sleeves.

For the ribbed border, I worked most of it in 3.5mm needles, and then did the last two rounds on 5mm needles, and cast on on 5mm. I learned from my Kid Classic shrug that this gives it a little flare around the edge and stops it from looking a bit pulled across the back. It worked out perfectly.

The Pastille socks have been just partying their way along! I can’t stop them from being knitted up; it’s like a rhumba in my lap every time I take them up. The first one was finished on Friday night and fits like a dream. I cast on for the second one yesterday evening and really rattled along this morning with it.

Much as I would love to say my Blue Raglan is speeding along, it just isn’t. I have been cranking out that sleeve all week. But I love how I give the impression of speed! 😉 The million dollar question is when will the matching sleeve appear?

So lonely…

And of course, I couldn’t come away from TIK without a little stash enhancement… this is actually very necessary wool (isn’t it all, though) and the sooner I get this stuff knitted up, the better. I got four balls of black and one of cream Debbie Bliss Merino Aran. Soft, warm, and practical.

They shall hopefully appear as a pair of mitred mittens and a matching hat – black with stripes. Phew! I must rush off and squeeze in some practice before I head out tonight. More about the class tomorrow!


January 17, 2007

Stalker Sleeves

Filed under:News!,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 21:23

For some reason, reading about EZ’s mitred mittens (more about them in a minute) spurred me on to attack that sleeve for my blue raglan. I started it over Christmas and really got into a knot about how much I hate knitting sleeves. They do, however, need to be knitted, so today I decided to just pretend it was a hat for… a snake, or Beaker from the Muppets, and kept knitting really quickly. Hey! Presto! 14 inches of sleeve!

I count the stitches until you and I will be together forever

Something desperate came over me yesterday. A need for colour. A need for socks.

It really reminds me of Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles. The only way I can explain the crazy progress I’ve made on this since yesterday is the fact that I’m hiding the ball from myself as I knit, so I don’t know what colour is coming next (Look. It’s January). I never thought it would have this effect. God knows what will happen when I branch into a colour knitting phase.

Today I got an attack of unfinished-project-panic-syndrome (forget imminent ‘flu pandemic, I think I caught it from Cheryl’s blog) and resurrected two projects that have been on my mind. The first is my One Skein Wonder, started just before I went to the States in November. I got as far as finishing the whole body piece, and then I left it down.

I sorted it out today and put one of the sleeve borders on – a quick jobbie – and I hope to finish it up soon. No rush on it, though, considering the arctic weather we’re having right now (I don’t want to sound like a total IceWoman or anything, but I’m glad. 15 degrees C in January is not right. Have you heard about the bears coming out of hibernation in Moscow zoo? And the cold killing off the fruit crops in California?). I also cast on for the back piece of my blue cotton vest. Again, no rush on this, but I wanted to cast on for it so that I wouldn’t forget about it.

It’s funny. I remember buying the Design Journal out at This is Knit a few months ago and thinking, I’ll probably never use this! Initially, I used it to jot down yarn shop details, like phone numbers and opening hours. But I’m finding it really useful for jotting down shapes and keeping numbers together, and for copying out fair isle patterns I’ve been thinking of using.

Although it seems like I’ve been doing an inordinate amount of knitting, much of this was accomplished yesterday evening. There’s alot to be said for the inspirational power of EZ! Every time I return to her books (I hope I’m not the only person out there who reads them all together), I find something new and intriguing. These days, my brain is mulling over the Bog Jacket, which is a really simple, kimono-style jacket, that she knits in garter stitch. Also grabbing my attention are the Mitred Mittens and Ganomy Hat (both from Knitter’s Almanac). Both of these projects use mitring, or a giant chevon, for shaping. Intriguing! Since I am mittenless these days (don’t tuck mittens under your elbow while fishing for bus change in the dark and rain) and it’s starting to turn into real mitten weather, I think some Mitred Mittens are in order.


January 16, 2007

Bonjour, mon chapeau

Filed under:Finished Objects,News!,Plans-Ideas- Designs — Aileen @ 12:15

Another beret! Finished last night… A wonderfully quick knit, and a great pattern, too.

Pattern: Beret pattern, from the Twilley’s Freedom Spirit pattern book.

Yarn: Twilley’s ‘Spirit’ in colour 507, ‘Essence’.

Verdict: A great beret pattern! The pattern asked for 2 balls, but I honestly thought I was going to make it on just the one… I had to crack open the second for just the last ten rows. I think I might knit and felt some matching corsages out of the left overs.

Here’s how the top of it looks.

Many thanks to Lucy (sadly blogless) for pointing me towards Get Knitted – they have the Angora Merino book I was going mental about a few days ago. Check it out here. See the jumper on the front? MMM!

Recently, I’ve gotten lots of things sorted out that have been on my mind – niggly things that take time, like setting up Internet Banking, getting a billpay phone set up, getting paper work sorted out. Now I’m all set up to concentrate on the next batch of things, like designing that aran jumper, preparing some pieces to play next week and looking forward to the Beginner’s Class on Saturday. Horray!


January 14, 2007

Progress Report

Filed under:News!,Plans-Ideas- Designs,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 13:56

I have been completely swept away by the Beret Phenomenon and cast on for another. You can never have too many!

The yarn is Twilley’s Spirit – love love love the stuff – and the pattern is the beret from the pattern book which supports the yarn. The construction is somewhat different to the EZ tam that I knitted from the Colinette Mohair – after a short garter stitch border, it starts to increase immediately. Only a few plain rows are knitted before you decrease, at the same rate as you increased, for the centre. See the increases?

I have just reached the plain rows. This should block out very nicely. Next up? I have some fantastico Rowan DK Tweed in green that would be perfect for the beret from IK’s Winter 06. I’m unstoppable.

I have been flying through my second Hedera sock, mostly because I am dying to cast on for a new pair. I’m sick of the pattern. I just want a plain sock where I can go round and round and round without thinking. The Hedera’s are pretty, though, and the wool is just so soft. I can’t wait to wear them.

Last up, this is the beginning of a sleeve for my blue raglan, which is currently on hold. I just lost all will to knit on this over Christmas. I like the cable detail, though. It’s not on needles because I stole them to finish off my beret :}

I need to get my knitting back in order! I need to finish the blue raglan – and the Gatsby Girl, which has been sitting on the piano gathering dust ever since I got back from America. It was the Christmas knitting that put me off kilter, but God knows, there wasn’t that much of it! Anyway.

In other news, I have been doing some research regarding my impending move to Galway. I would like to a part-time course in something interesting. I don’t enjoy playing the piano anymore, mostly because I need to do something else. Although I looked at courses in GMIT, the art campus of which is *right beside* Alb’s house, I’d prefer not to get into something with a high commitment, like a degree or a masters! So, I have been poking about and I came across the GTI, which run both full-time and part-time evening courses. Among their evening classes are Pattern Draughting, Intermediate and Advanced Sewing, and French and German classes. They also have a full-time, one-year design course which involves building a good portfolio, pattern draughting, lots of learning, and work experience. It’s just a certificate course and the aim of it is to prepare you for entry into more intensive design courses, like in the Grafton Academy or NCAD. I have zero interest in going into Fashion, but I would love to start an evening course to learn properly and see if sewing still made me want to set a match to all puckered fabric. I also have a yen to learn proper tailoring because I think, aside from anything else, would really benefit my knitting. The best part is that they have a School of Music there, so I’m going to ask them for a job 😀