March 31, 2007

Spring Break!

Filed under:News!,Stash — Aileen @ 17:55

Well, we don’t get a Spring Break here – especially not in my college – but I decided to really kick back and treat myself this weekend. I came down to Galway yesterday afternoon and had a few hours to myself to catch up on some shopping. Mostly, I bought clothes. I rarely have the time to shop for clothes and tend to save up my money and buy a whole pile of things together. I have learned, too, to always be on the look out during these clothes sessions for things that I will definitely need – a unique pair of shoes, a well-fitting skirt or a stunning dress. They are things that you can never find when you’re at the last minute before a concert and always good to have in the wardrobe. I didn’t find anything spectacular yesterday but it’s always good to look.

I did find some wool though :D Yarn have a great new selection of Colinette in and I had a good time looking through it. In the end predictable old me went for some mohair.

It’s pretty, though, isn’t it? I love the colours. I have been hankering after a spring shawl for a long time and I think with some big needles, this could make a very satisfying knit.

Along with the usual chunky, fabulously coloured Colinette yarns, I found some Jitterbug, a sock-weight yarn. Again, it was really the colours that swayed it for me! I suppose at e13.90, it is a little dear, but considering there is about 270m per skein, you could easily get a decent pair of socks out of one skein. So a little more pricey than Opal, but a little more special, too.


Boogie-woogie or what!

I got the blue yesterday and having thought about it for a while, I returned and got the purple-pink stuff today. You don’t come across Colinette easily here, and it is more than likely I won’t be back in Galway for at least a month or two. I may not make socks out of the purple stuff. It is a lovely weight to do something small and lacy with for summer.

And, of course, the main purpose of my visit was to hunt down some more of that Donegal Tweed to finish the Blue Raglan. I was a bit worried when I couldn’t find any on the shelves, but lo! there were some balls in the bargain bin. I got 4 for a tenner!

I can’t imagine that I’ll need more than one to finish the jumper, but you can never tell. I’m not taking any chances!

I forgot to take knitting progress pictures while I had the camera out. The Fruit Pastille Jaywalker is getting funner and funner as I go on! I did alot on it on the way down on the train. I also got started on something that has been bugging me all winter. My Salina jumper is just too short. It’s not awfully short, but short enough for me to keep giving it the occasional tug. I had some Felted Tweed left over from it – almost a full ball – so I threw it into my bag. It was warm enough on the train for me to take off my jumper and work on adding extra to the hem. I thought it might look terrible but so far, it’s not looking all that obvious. Ok, you can see a little seam if you look closely, but from afar it doesn’t stick out. Hopefully it will turn out nicely and I’ll get more wear out of the jumper because otherwise, it’s a lovely little thing.

Have you all been out to the new shop at This is Knit yet? From the look of the photos on Lisa’s blog, it looks really amazing. I can’t wait to visit myself. Lisa was telling me that they’ve got an extra room now to run their classes and have their mid-week knitting group. I’m delighted about this because both of the mid-week knitting groups in Rathmines and Santry are really out of my way. Blackrock, despite being a bit further out, is far more convenient because the bus route not only goes right by my college, but overlaps with my own bus route home too. And, often, there are times when I would love to call out for an odd ball or just a chat, but can’t make it out at weekends because I’ve got something on. So it’s all good. Best of luck to Lisa and Jacqui in their bigger’n’better venture!

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March 29, 2007

Wordy

Filed under:News! — Aileen @ 23:03

I wab struck down in the pribe of by youth wib a cold. But I’m feeling much better tonight, thankfully, and my typing (and sinuses) has returned to normal :D On Tuesday I was pretending I wasn’t sick. On Wednesday I nearly cried when I asked my dad to get me some Benilyn (you know when you’re all limp and weepy). Today, I must have blown the equivalent of the Nile into a roll of kitchen towel and snoozed and snoozed and snoozed. I wouldn’t have cared … heck, I might have even rejoiced in getting to stay and knit in bed … but I had to play in a bursary competition tonight (ie money prize – e2,000). If you win a competition, you get to play your programme in the bursary competition at the end of the Feis. I don’t think I ever concentrated so hard on being well. It seems to have mostly worked. I didn’t win, though. Usually for a bursary competition, there’s just a winner and no second or third places. I’ve never seen it done otherwise. But tonight, the adjudicator singled me out as nearly-nearly-won, second-place.

Now I have no problem not winning. The money would have been nice but that’s the way things go. What bothers me is that if you’re going to say something like you NEARLY won, please tell me why I didn’t! She said really nice things about my playing but it’s not much good to me in a way if I don’t know why I didn’t do it for her. It’s a lot like the last night I played, when the adjudicator said I was the best of the group but gave the prize to some other guy. I just don’t understand. The problem with these competitions is that it’s just one person’s opinion at the end of it all. She seemed to really love her Chopin and Bach – the guy who won played Bach. Maybe she just doesn’t dig Beethoven as much as I do, in which case, I was never going to win. You can see how these things can drive a person crazy. Sometimes I just want to throw my music at them and say, for Christ’s sake, what more do you want? But I don’t. I have a packet of Rolos on the way home instead.

Ah, yes, there was knitting today. I have started another Fruit Pastille sock but this time it’s in chevron! Or to put it simply – another Jaywalker :) It’s turning out fantastic. Two words for you: simple pleasure. I have also reached the underarm for my first Thermal sleeve. All I have to do is knit the sleeve cap and I’ll be on to the second one.

I’m travelling down to Galway tomorrow to visit with Alb. I love visiting Alb because it means I get to do all the things I love all together! I get to spend time with him, knit loads on the journey and when he’s watching football, visit Yarn (totally the best wool shop in the West), and sample the fun cuisine like Charcoal Grill (turkish kebabs… best. ever.) and Couch Potatoes (everything served with a baked spud. fab.). I need to pick up some more of that Kilcara Tweed to finish off that blue raglan from a million years ago. Who knows what else I’ll emerge with :D

Pictures tomorrow! But for now, I’m off to bed.

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March 26, 2007

Shrugalicious!

Filed under:Finished Objects,News!,Plans-Ideas- Designs — Aileen @ 23:15

Guess what I finished!

I didn’t realise I looked so smug when I took the photo this morning, but it’s too late now! I popped it straight in the post to Lisa and all going well, you will be able to see it in person next weekend!

I honestly hoped to get an entire shrug out of one ball of Kidsilk Night. This is how much I had left out of two balls.

…But this is because I made the sample pretty long in the arms and I made the ribbing for the body really long too – about six inches. I have been typing up the pattern on and off all afternoon and evening. I’m trying to make it as clear as possible! All going well, the pattern will be available to download from This is Knit soon, and available to buy in paper form directly from the shop too.

So things have been really mad, but in a good way. I was really happy with the way I played on Saturday night (another competition) – I came second. Because I won my competition on Thursday, I get to play in the piano bursary final this Thursday coming. Even though there is a prize at the end of it (e2,000), it feels more like a celebration concert of good piano playing. It’s an achievement to get that far. That’s how I look at it anyway. I figured some woolliness was definitely in order, though, yesterday, so I headed out to TIK to show my very-nearly-completed shrug and pick up some goodies.

I have been drooling over this particular wool ever since it came in. It is Lorna’s Laces Worsted in Mixed Berries, and is destined to be a spring moebius. Yum. It is so soft.

The sock yarn on the left I had planned to buy (chevon socks!) but the cashmerino was a surprise. Such a wonderful teal colour! I couldn’t leave it behind. It will make something beautiful. I have earrings that match it perfectly.

Lots of new things in the shop, like the Laines du Nord Cashsilk (must been seen to be believed!) and the new Debbie Bliss Rialto. The Rialto is a 100% merino wool but actually looks like a cashmere-silk blend. I kid you not. There is a lovely sheen off it and is as smooth as anything. And the colours! Fantastic browns, greens, oranges, creams, blues… I think it would make a really funky 70s style vest.

And of course, the great news that the shop is moving to a bigger premises in the market which means extended opening (like during the week!) and more room for even more yarn! Yay!

Once I got the shrug in the post this morning, I got cracking on my Thermal sleeve. I have already reached the armhole and I hope to get the other sleeve finished before I finish off the body, so that I have two sleeves ready to go when I do! No pictures, but I’m pretty sure you know what a purple sleeve looks like.

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March 24, 2007

Every cup needs a shrug, right?

Filed under:News!,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 00:15

Sorry about the lack of posts. See above for the reason why! It’s not that I have been really busy – I’ve had much worse years than this one – but I have been concentrating really hard on my two competition programmes. I have this one piece that I am refusing to get the better of me. I’m playing it tomorrow night and on one hand, I’m feeling a little apprehensive about it because I haven’t played it in public before, and on the other hand, I want to do myself justice and at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter at all.

There hasn’t been much knitting :( The ribbing on the shrug is done, all I have to do is cast off! I have been doing a little work on a Thermal sleeve too. I’ve finished the increases and am now working straight.

If it appears to you to be a little on the narrow side, then you’d be right. It is extremely close fitting (I tried it on). I didn’t think I’d like such a snug fit for a sleeve, but for this one, I do!

I’ve taken part in a pen-pal swap over at Swap-Bot. I’ve been into pen pals since forever. I remember getting involved in this european ‘bank’ of penpals. You’d send in your details along with a pound or two and your preferred country of origin for your penpal, and you’d get back these little slips of paper with addresses on them. Off went some letters and stickers and if you were lucky, you got some back. I had a great penpal in Sweden when I was about 12 called Camilla. We wrote back and forth a lot. I wonder where she’s at now! Anyway, for this swap, you send a letter to two different people, and you receive a letter from two other people, so in all you end up with four contacts. I read the profiles of the two people I wrote to and I’m not sure how we will get on. During the week, I received my two letters and they’re from two very different but very cool people! I’m looking forward to seeing if a long-term penpalship will develop from any of them.

So tomorrow I think I’ll write some letters back, get some knitting done and prepare for my competition in the evening. I can’t wait to get back to my knitting! I go one whole day without knitting something and I’m in bits. Bits, I tell ya.

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March 19, 2007

The best laid plans gang aft astray

Filed under:News!,Plans-Ideas- Designs,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 22:22

And astray did they gang! I had it all planned out – do my work in the morning and then nip out to This is Knit to pick up a few odds and ends I need, drop off the Rosy shrug, have a squeeze/rub/smell of the new Laines du Nord Cashsilk (I can’t be the only one who smells wool? Errrrr… and in case I’m alarming Lisa and all other wool shop owners in the country, by smelling I mean just the inhaling bit)… you know, replenishing my yarniness.

Unfortunately some things happened that I hadn’t counted on. One was the weather. When I came downstairs at 9 o’clock it was snowing, and although the snow did stop, it didn’t warm up at all. I don’t mind the cold per se but with a gale force wind coming straight from the north pole (no, really) I really didn’t want to go out in it. Then, I actually didn’t bank on feeling pretty tired today! Yesterday was a bit nutty with the travelling and the stress and the falling asleep in Rathgar church and nearly being late for my piano lesson and the running down the Garville road (I need some tea just from typing that). And of course, once I got stuck into my work today, I realised that I had a lot I needed to do.

But there’s always knitting and I’ve been really ploughing through Thermal. I’m nearly finished the increases on my first sleeve.

For some reason it doesn’t feel like such a curse, this sleeve knitting. I think I’ve managed to trick myself because I haven’t finished the body yet. I am amusing myself, too, by fitting the increases into the pattern.

I am very nearly finished the back of the body. Here it is with two strategically-placed cards in lieu of boobs.

This is my way of showing you two fairly boring things together! The cards are for Dublin Feis Ceoil. It is an annual classical music festival with lots of competitions. Most counties have their own feiseanna (and fleadhs too, but a Fleadh Ceoil is for trad music), and they’re a great way to meet new people. Complain as I do about playing the piano, it’s good to do well in the Feis, and this week I’ll be abandoning everything else for my two competitions. It’s an intense time. I’m going to have a lesson every day this week, including Saturday, so you’ll have to excuse me today for being more piano and less knitting.

That said though, I am *very* nearly finished my little Rosy shrug.

This is the ribbing around the body. I’m going to make it fairly long…. I’m really looking forward to finishing this up! I would love to get the whole thing finished by Wednesday – photos, pattern and the finished item. We’ll see!

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