December 28, 2009

Big freeze

Filed under:Photography — Aileen @ 22:36

Not much to report around here. There has been much feasting and sleeping! No practice and not even much knitting (although both of those were well-rectified today).

Temperatures have plummeted across the country and whilst it probably doesn’t seem like much to overseas readers, I must confess to the novelty of it all. My dad has a rainwater tank that collects run-off to supply a trough but between the thaw yesterday and the freeze last night, this is how it stood today:

We haven’t had any more snow in this part of the country – although that is supposed to change later in the week – but the hoar frost is quite dramatic in places.

It doesn’t look like it, but this is actually moss growing on a wall…

It is always fun to watch a frozen world from one’s cozy home but do bear in mind that others may not be so fortunate. Think about how much help it would be to someone if you donated some old blankets, quilts and coats to the Simon Community or St. Vincent de Paul.

Similarly, don’t forget your ole garden birds! Finches, sparrows, blackbirds, thrushes, robins and wrens are all fighting to survive out there. They will appreciate any scraps left over from your dinner. They don’t just love bread-crumbs, either: Christmas or porter cake, crumbled up potatoes and oat flakes (about 50c a bag from Lidl) will all go a long way to fill a few birdies’ bellies. Bear in mind that if everything is frozen over where you are, they probably won’t have anything to drink. A bowl of water can save lives, people! By doing these simple things, not only will you see a fantastic range of birds in your garden that you didn’t know were there, but there will also be a lot more of them around in the summer to keep you entertained and your garden bug-free.

Tomorrow, I have knitting to show!

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December 25, 2009

Nollaig Shona Dhaoibh

Filed under:News! — Aileen @ 12:34

Wishing everyone a very happy Christmas… and if you don’t celebrate Christmas, I hope you enjoy your own festivities or, at the very least, a really good day off!

Things were a bit rushed around here because on Tuesday, I realised that one sleeve and a body – decent knitting though they may be – still do not constitute a garment. So, I knit another sleeve and one button band on Tuesday on the journey home, and the other band, sewed in sleeves and ends yesterday. Phew! It was totally worth it, though, because my mum is extremely snug today and it fits her really well.

I am at home in Sligo where we have been blessed (or cursed, depending on whether you can stay in or not) with a white Christmas. Temperatures have been very low – there have been a few consecutive nights of about -10 degrees Celcius – and the few inches of snow we got is now thoroughly frozen through. We had the most beautiful winter sun yesterday so I will leave you with a few photos that I took around the house. Enjoy your day, wherever you may be!

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December 18, 2009

“Ask not for whom the bell tolls…”

Filed under:Cardigans,Crafty Sites,Spinning,Stash,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 11:38

…it tolls for knitting (well, in my house it does). It’s been a busy month for me; I have three concerts down and two more to go. There’s been a fair amount of travelling, rehearsals, page turning, taking the tempo into my own hands, reassurance of singers and thanking of audiences. Thankfully, life is not all about work so I have a few things to show you that I’ve been busy with in my down-time.

First up is a time-sensitive project. My mum has requested a Central Park Hoodie for Christmas.

Don’t worry, I have the body already knit. This is just the first sleeve but there is no hood to worry about. Isn’t that cherry red lovely? (I know what date it is, by the way.)

I am not really sure how it happened, but I got completely bitten by the spinning bug last weekend and have been going hell for leather since. I had a bag of longhaired Welsh sheep and decided to spin it up as finely and consistently as I could.

I got quite a lot out of the bag – two big skeins along with what’s wound off here and there is still about 50g left in the bag. I think there was about 200g in it. I made a 2-ply out of it in the end and it seems to be coming in as a light double knit. I love the colour of it. It has the occasional natural fleck of brown throughout so it looks very oatmealy. Delicious! I don’t think I would use it again though. See those hairs poking out? They also cover the entire sitting carpet and most other surfaces, as well as my clothes. Sweet divine, I have never come across something that shed so much. I spun my singles really fast and tight but it made no difference. On the upside, the stuff itself was lovely and easy-going to spin thanks to its long staple length.

As I neared the end of the bag of the Welsh stuff, I caught sight of Eimear’s singles spun from Ashford’s Merino and Silk. I got a pack of blue (‘Salvia’… but if you’re like me, you will constantly mis-read it as ‘Saliva’) from The Yarn Room. I had had a bad day. I was really, really unwell the week before last and needed a treat. This is definitely it! After spinning the Welsh stuff, this is just heavenly. So soft and no shedding!

I just love the colours. I’m not being very attentive about what order I spin the colours in so it’s going to be… interesting. My plan is to spin a nice sportweight 2-ply and knit Quant. The Knitty version is for an aran weight but I found a subsequent version of the pattern free on the Spin-Off website that’s for a sportweight. I think it will be a nice use of the merino silk and will probably use up the whole lot.

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