February 22, 2007

Some pain

Filed under:News!,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 22:32

Oh Thermal. Such a rich, warm colour. Such a springy, crunchy texture. Such a…. small circumference??

I had six inches knitted and paused to pet it a little. I was confident about my knitting. I had placed markers at strategic points whilst casting on. I had counted and re-counted my stitches four times before I started. Ok, the waffle pattern for the body didn’t quite match up – maybe I had two stitches too many or two few. No biggie. After six inches, I thought it would be fun to measure the width, just to see how springy this ribbed stitch is. Hmmm. It was 14″ across. I stretched it out alot: 14 and a half inches. Oh dear. Even on the best of days, I am definitely not 28″ around. I hurriedly recounted my stitches. I had ten stitches too few. Too FEW! I counted my stitches four times and consistently came up with 252 stitches, which has led me to seriously question my ability to count properly (maybe it is just as well I didn’t do higher level maths for Leaving Cert). This morning I just had to bite the bullet, rip it all out and start again. It’s not going so quickly today, maybe because I’ve got those ten extra stupid stitches that just had to make a big difference!

But it’s not all bad. The Academy has a music festival every year in February. By a festival, I mean a week of in-house competitions. It’s something to prepare for and a good opportunity to perform. This year, I entered a French Chansons competition with a singer friend of mine, as well as the Advanced Performance competition, which is just for Masters students. We were pipped at the post in the Chansons – we got 89 and the winners got 90. I played my mid-year recital programme in the Advanced competition this afternoon and surprise! I won!


This is always a busy time of the year for piano playing, but it has its rewards, some of which are not so obvious. I really enjoy the social aspect of doing competitions. This afternoon I got to catch up with some people that I haven’t seen in a few months. Being so busy with piano also makes me appreciate knitting more; it is the perfect antidote. I’ve got some patterns brewing and I’m looking forward to sitting down and talking them out with Lisa.


February 20, 2007


Filed under:News!,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 10:58

Hello! Many thanks to all of you who emailed and commented with your well-wishes for yesterday. It went pretty well. I could go on about it, but it’s over with now, so I won’t. Suffice to say that I know I didn’t fail but I didn’t play as perfectly as I know I can. I had an audience of two – my mum and a mate from my class – who both enjoyed it :)

On to the knitting! I now have three projects that are waiting on more wool to finish them – my blue raglan, my blue lace vest, and Gatsby Girl. Because I haven’t gotten around to ordering any wool yet, I figured I should cast on for something new and exciting! Behold!

It is Thermal. It was sent to warm mine bones

Not bad going for a day and a bit. My blue socks are going great too! I finished one and cast on straight away for the other. No syndrome for me.

I’m hoping for a lot of knitting this week, but there probably won’t be much blogging. This morning I have to rush off to play for a singer for their lesson and then for a competition at 1pm. Then I have to go teach from 3-7. Tomorrow, I have that euphonium exam (lol. gets me every time). Thursday, I have a competition of my own in the afternoon but there will hopefully be a few scoops afterwards with the rest of the competitors.

I must scoot, french songs about saucy birds and men in the doghouse await!


February 16, 2007

Ask not for whom the bell tolls…

Filed under:News!,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 10:55

…It tolls for thee. Well, me, really – my midyear recital exam is next Monday. I was feeling ok about it until I woke up this morning. It starts like this, with the sweaty palms and palpatations. By Monday morning, I’ll be ready to jump off a cliff, crying, I swore the last time I’d never do this again! It’s pretty entertaining (in hindsight)(by Monday there will be no sight, just blind terror).

To take the edge off (and there’s been a lot of that, I swear my knitting’s covered in edge dust), I have been hacking away at the blue raglan.

If you peer closely, you’ll see the matching cabled raglan decreases behind the cuff. I meant to take a better picture, honestly. For some reason I’d thought that putting a cable into my raglan decreases would be really messy, but it’s not, and makes the knitting much more interesting. I decided not to put cabled decreases on the back for one reason: I like to be able to tell the back from the front when I’m putting a jumper on in a hurry. What can I say, I’m easily confused. So I’m doing matching double decreases for the back instead. Here is the left-slanting one (slip 1, k2tog, psso).

And here is the matching right-slanting one. I sort of made this one up to match but I’m pretty sure it’s been done before somewhere (ssk, put the ssk back on LH needle, pass the second stitch on the needle over it, put ssk back on RH needle and continue). I thought it might be messy, and even though it is fiddly to do, the result is quite pleasing and matches the other one well.

I was really going hell for leather once I got the sleeves joined to the body, but I’ve run out of wool now so I’m going to write to Yarn and ask them to dig out some more for me. Alb is coming up the weekend after this one so I’ll ask him nicely to pick it up for me and bring it with him (*bats eyelids*).

There has been a lot of going in and out to college in bad traffic recently, as well as a lot of waiting around for singers. Waiting time is directly proportional to sock growth!

After my exam next week, I have some competitions which always involve waiting around so I’m predicting a completed pair by next Friday! I picked up some extra work (work as in moneywork) accompanying a euphonium (Go on, click it. I didn’t know what it was either), which will help speed the pair to completion too :)

In other news, I tried in vain to order in some Barbara Walker books yesterday. I was a little disappointed but not very surprised, so I ordered Stefanie Japel’s Fitted Knits instead. I’m very interested to see it because I’ve read a lot of good things about it.

Ok, I have to play in my lesson later and I want to bake up some fresh fruit scones to bring my teacher. His wife just got out of hospital and when you’re feeling poorly, there’s really nothing better than a mug of tea with a fresh scone with jam. There may also be a small pear pie, depending on the amount of fat I’ve got left. Pictures to come!


February 14, 2007

Neels, Interrupted

Filed under:News!,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 10:02

I wasn’t feeling very well yesterday so instead of teaching, I opted to stay in bed for a while. I wanted to get out of the house and just carry on as normal, but I have a mid-year exam recital next Monday and I don’t want to get properly sick before it. Of course, all bad things have an upside – in fact, yesterday had three :D

Firstly, I finished off my aran swatch. This worked up so quickly that my enthusiasm has re-awakened for knitting this. It’s the kind of thing I can see myself knitting obsessively for about a week until it is done. I think it’s mostly because of the interest of different cables.

I think I will use the honeycomb pattern you see at the bottom there as the centre panel on the back piece. I’m not sure about the moss stitch. I’m going to keep thinking about it. Hopefully, I will crunch some numbers later today and cast on a sample to check for gauge.

I decided to get as far along on my own two designs as I can before I order more wool for them, and before I do any more on Gatsby Girl. This is mostly because they are very nearly finished but as long as I keep working on GG, they won’t get finished. The first of these makey-uppy designs is the blue cotton vest I cast on for at Christmas.

This is a very quick knit, but I have been putting it down ever since I realised that I wasn’t going to have enough yarn to finish. I am nearly at the arm holes for the back piece.

Last night, I sort of came to and got going on the trickiest bit of my Blue Raglan – the joining of arms to the body. It’s been a while since I’ve done this so I had to think about it for a while but I got there in the end. I’m going to put in matching cables along the raglan decreases on the front. I’m being very, very optimistic and thinking that I might just finish it without needing more wool, but there’s a voice inside me that’s saying, you should just get some more and stop worrying about it.

It was great to get some donkey-work in on the ole knitting yesterday, but I’m being interrupted today by exam preparations. Oh well……oO{thinkofthewool thinkofthewool}


February 12, 2007

The knit goes on

Filed under:News!,Plans-Ideas- Designs,Stash,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 18:15

You can’t keep a good knit down, that’s what I always say :D First up, we’ve got that ribbed sleeve from Gatsby Girl. I brought this along to the Beginner’s Class at This is Knit yesterday. For some reason I assumed I had loads more increases to make before I could continue on knitting straight and didn’t count my stitches. I should have taken the hint when one of the girls in the class asked me, when you get good, do you stop counting your stitches? I have 91 stitches – only four too many – but because I was only increasing by two every eight rows, I’m going to have to rip out about three inches. Lesson learned!

The Blue Sock has been growing mightily! This progress is brought to you courtesy of Dublin Bus. That was it this morning. After coming into college and back with me, it is now about an inch longer and has half a heel flap. The colours make it very soothing to knit on.

Ah yes, I was at This is Knit yesterday. I cashed in my yarn credit for the teaching – you have no idea how much I enjoyed fantasizing about it. I got enough wool for two projects that get me drooling every time I think about them. Here’s a sample.

I think ‘Jaeger’ wool should be renamed ‘Yay!ger’. The colours, the texture, the thin yet solid 4-ply, the way it knits up into a springy rib or forgiving lace. It is my wool du jour. The light purple and blue are for Arisaig and the dark purple is for Thermal. I originally considered the mahogany colourway for Thermal, but it is more brown than red than I realised (which would make sense, of course; mahogany is a wood, not a strawberry). The deep purple will be perfect as I have lots of things to match.

So, yeah. I plucked up the courage and asked Lisa about writing some patterns for the shop. I have been thinking about writing patterns ever since last November. I did the aran knitting workshop in Yarn, and Ger, who looks after the knitterly side of things, asked me about doing some aran designs for the shop (this, by the way, is what all the mulling about aran designs has been about). I have been keeping a little notebook of sketches since then. I figured, there’s no harm in asking, and to my delight, they were really positive and enthusiastic about it. Excellent! Lisa also asked me if I would be up for some sample knitting for shop displays – I accepted immediately! For me, the best way to learn how a certain type of garment is constructed is to knit it. However, because I knit for myself, I limit my knitting experience because there are certain things I don’t want to wear. This is why my mother gets something juicy for Christmas and her birthday. Sample knitting is excellent because I get to try out things I may not ordinarily choose or get to try. Sweet.

Recently, my brain has been mulling over the same ideas and it was getting tiresome. Today (I don’t know whether it was because of this stuff or this stuff that we were drooling over yesterday, I woke up with something entirely new in my head. I pitched it to my mother and I think she wants one for her birthday now. I actually woke up with two things. The other was this.

The aran design is taking shape. The cabled plait there is for the centre motif of the front. The wool I’m working with is amazing, both in a good and bad way. The bad – it is the oiliest wool I have ever come across. I have to wash my hands every time I leave it down. The good – it is the springiest, make-the-cables-pop wool ever. That’s how the swatch looked this morning. I had a look at it when I came in this afternoon and the purl stitches have totally disappeared and the cable has really popped out. I must give it a wash and sees what happens. It will probably grow legs and run off.