October 18, 2007


Filed under:News! — Aileen @ 10:51

I was supposed to teach a Custom Fitting your Knits class out at This is Knit this Saturday but unfortunately have to reschedule (it’s a long story and entirely my fault). A Beginner’s class has taken its place. It is a perfect class if you’re a complete beginner or if you’re looking for some guidance on the basics. Having helped out with these classes before, I feel I should add that they are really great fun and an excellent way to meet other knitters.

Custom Fitting Your Knits will deal with adding shaping to your knitting and show how to customise boxy knits to your shape. It will take place on Saturday, November 24th at 10.30am. Don’t hesitate to book your place early because these classes book out really quickly! (Seriously… there are waiting lists for some classes!)



Filed under:News!,Stash,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 10:34

Yesterday, I knitted nearly an entire sleeve. Unbelievable, I hear you cry. Inconceivable! I assure you, I speak the truth!

sweater top down debbie bliss rialto

…If the truth is a sleeve that denies one’s hand of blood. Let this be a lesson to fellow knitters not to compute figures late at night. For some reason, I decided the amount of stitches I wanted for the cuff was 8% of my body stitches and not 25% (anybody who has knit according to the Zimmermann percentage system will see where I was going wrong). So I ended up with 20 stitches and not the 60 I needed!… which is totally correct if I were knitting a sweater for a hamster. Sigh. Back to the drawing board. I must ring up Paddy Power and see what the odds are for me finishing this sweater on time for Saturday’s birthday.

All this wonderfully incorrect knitting was accomplished on a spontaneous trip out to TIK. Resistance is futile… more so than ever since Dublin Bus started running a service across town from my front door to their front door (meant to be maybe? That, or there’s definitely a Ballymun knitter controlling north side buses). Anyway, it was so nice to catch up with the girls and drool over all their new stuff. Have you heard of these things called yarn magnets? They naturally repose in knitters’ shopping bags and lure yarn inside when you’re not looking…

fyberspates blue faced leicester
Fyberspates Blue Faced Leicester

This stuff is the business. It is a gorgeous 100% blue faced leicester wool and at €4.50 for a 112m skein, you really can’t go wrong. This will soon be my new winter hat – a tam, actually, from Knitting Nature that I very deliberately gave into. What a wonderful book! Most ‘wonderful books’ just have some decent patterns and nice photography. This is something far, far better. Not only are the patterns and photography good but Gaughan’s premise for the book is thoroughly explored. Each chapter is devoted to a specific shape or form that occurs naturally. Gaughan discusses the scientific whys and hows at the start and then shows how the shape influenced each design in the section. It is completely nerdy and I love it!

I have frequently complained to Alb that the application of maths in the real world is never properly taught at school. It is really inspiring to see Gaughan’s take on certain aspects and has prompted me to explore further into Koch curves, stacking forms and all the rest of it. Intrigued? There are still some copies left!


October 15, 2007


Filed under:Cooking,News! — Aileen @ 13:37

I’ve noticed Irish gourmet foods really starting to take off here in the last few years. I think there have been a lot of factors involved – we all have more money, for instance, and are more willing than ever to part with it. But I think the age where we were agriculturally competitive has passed and the Irish food market is gradually evolving to offer not quantity, but quality gourmet foods. It is a great thing and I support this evolution for a few different reasons. Firstly, I love to buy Irish. Secondly, I love to buy locally, too. There are less fuel miles. I’m supporting a local business and keeping employment in the area. And, as with any local business, there’s the rapport with the owner that you just don’t get in Tesco or Lidl. I’m supporting my community. Thirdly, I try to buy ‘gourmet’ or locally produced organic foods. I’m not a posh food person. I’m an equal opportunities eater. But I love to support little local businesses that are out there doing something different…

…Which brings me to my lunch!

I discovered Sheridan’s Cheesemongers last July when searching for a present to give to my parents for their anniversary. I had never been in a cheesemongers before and was completely overwhelmed by the vast array of cheese and other gourmet products, and, let’s face it, the smell. Holy cow (it’s not a bad smell. It’s just very strong. But if you’re like me and associate smells with things, then you’ll come to associate the smell with something yummy for later). I asked for some advice and emerged with a mild cheddar, a little round of soft cheese and a type of Cashel blue made out of goat’s milk. This time around, I went with the same soft cheese and a similar cheddar. The soft cheese is the wrinkly orange one on the left above. What a surprise that something so unbelievably ugly could be so delicious!

As for the apple, I believe all cheeses should be eaten on slices of apple. It was a common supper for us when we were kids and it tastes so good! The apple is really bland compared to the cheese and balances it out. I know it sounds weird but give it a go the next time you’re peckish. You don’t even need posh cheese. And think of the benefits: strong teeth, strong bones and good skin!


It’s Monday, I can’t think of a good title

Filed under:News!,Stash,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 08:51

I am very, very nearly finished the body of the jumper. It is impossible to get a good photo, I’m afraid. It’s like trying to photograph a black hole.

sweater top down debbie bliss rialto
Behold my neat, squidgy ribbing!

I’m going to use a sewn bind-off for the ribbing. I highly recommend it for any ribbed bind-off because it is amazingly stretchy and doesn’t interfere with the ribbing. I first found out about it through Elizabeth Zimmermann, but you can read all about it here.

It is rare that I return from Galway without spoils and this weekend was no exception.

tivoli superwash 100% wool

Anthony Ryan’s were selling off piles of discontinued Tivoli stuff. Most of it was pretty horrendous but I scored six balls of 100% wool superwash at €2.95 a ball. They have upgraded their superwash to a much softer version – still 100% wool – with some nicer colours. This is destined to be a zip-up jacket for my mum for Christmas. I’m thinking of some cable details, such as a cabled placket to cover the zip and cables on the button bands at the cuffs. Oh, and a soft furry inside to the collar. Should be nice.


October 13, 2007

The knit goes on

Filed under:News!,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 11:27

Thanks to everyone who shared their views about my Guild idea. I’d love to hear more thoughts on the subject because there are pros and cons to everything. I am waiting for more information to come through from the Crafts Council so until then, I am mulling things over.

I find that knitting and mulling really go well together! I have made great strides on my dad’s jumper and just started the ribbing for the body this morning.

top down sweater rialto

Time is really of the essence with this thing as his birthday is next Saturday. The good thing is, though, that I have all the measurements I need and should get the ribbing finished tomorrow. Then it’s just the sleeves and the collar ribbing. I’m on to my last ball of wool though! Rang Lisa in a panic on Friday and arranged for more to be airlifted to my needles. Phew! I’ll be glad to get this sweater done because I have three other things I am dying to get started on. I’m finding that the more I knit from my own specs, the less drawn I am to other peoples’ patterns (with the exception of every pattern from Knitting Nature… I am really holding out on that book because if I buy it I won’t design anything for about another two years).

As enthralling as knitting endlessly in the round is, Argosy is providing a colourful contrast. Love this yarn – Noro Silk Garden Lite.

argosy scarf noro

It’s getting pretty long. This, too, needs to be finished by next weekend. I realised after about ten repeats of the pattern that I hadn’t decided on what to give my sister for her birthday, which falls very close to my dad’s. I figured with Argosy I kill two birds with one stone (is that not the most violent saying ever?). I love the Noro but don’t think I’d actually wear the scarf. I am very attached to my Clapotis. So soft. Matches everything. Has had three drinks spilled on it and countless bits of fluff and grass picked out of it and still smells good.

I’m finding my new schedule a little irritating. Because I’m preparing to audition for the doctorate, I still have the workload of a full-time student. But I’m not a full-time student. I need to work, too (this is as much for my own sanity as for money… not having a regular job isn’t good for the wool. The little balls all cry when I can’t take them home). So my practice is feeling a little compromised these days because when I get time off – for example, I teach all day Thursday and then have Friday off – I’m pretty wrecked. Some days I struggle with abandoning everything for either A. showing up on Norah Gaughan’s doorstep with fresh scones and throw myself at her feet, begging her to teach me everything she knows (typical day dream on bus), or B. joining the civil service (very bad day). Most days though I try not to think about it and keep knitting.

Oh! The holiday issue of Vogue Knitting showed up yesterday. I can never understand why they put so much effort into producing patterns for such bizarre garments! Does anyone actually knit those things?!