September 29, 2010

Actual knitting content!

Filed under:Cardigans,Cycling,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 20:25

Knitting has been slow these days as a lot of my knitting time has been replaced by cycling or reading for my thesis (riveting. I swear.), but the knitting I have been getting done has been lovely. I am working almost exclusively on Peasy – that’s a Ravelry link, it doesn’t seem to be available elsewhere.

It is really quite a simple knit, with concentration only required for the patterned bib. Worked from the top down, this is completed quickly and one can be immersed in (or be drowned by) the fields of stocking stitch that follow. I happily choose the former…

I didn’t like how my first garter hem turned out. It was very floppy and it kept turning up. So I ripped it out and changed from 3.5mm needles down to 3mm. I also worked a 10% decrease across my last right side row to prevent that flipping up. It seems to have worked.

I am on to the sleeves now and loving every stitch of it. The yarn, Harrisville Tweed, is surprisingly soft in the hand and smells divine. Maybe it is the lanolin? Either way, I love picking it up, even if it’s just for a row or two.

There have been a few requests to see Bertha for real so here’s a live action shot of her happily grazing. Check out the full set right here. For my own interest, I have been keeping a running total of potential bus fare saved and distance pedalled: €19 and 54km! 54! I never thought I’d be able to cycle that sort of distance.

Is it just me or was the light lovely today? I love this time of year!


September 26, 2010

Dublin Flea Market, September 2010

Filed under:Cycling,Market,Social — Aileen @ 15:34

The Dublin Flea Market has been running for about two years now. I have seen it advertised on the bus and always meant to go, but the weather was too bad, or I was tired, or I didn’t want to go on my own, or it felt like it was just too far… Today, I decided, no more excuses! Bertha and I, we were going to hit this place up.

It took about half an hour to cycle slowly across town, with lots of stops to take photos like this…

A gallery shopfront

…and it was such a lovely morning for a ride! Not much traffic, lots of tourists wandering around looking at maps and pointing, not too cold. The car park was pretty full by the time I got there (about 11.30) but I found a spot for Bertha right by the stalls outside.

There was a nice enclosed area here with a big mat and small chairs and wooden toys for children to come play, or be watched from a nearby stall. There are lots of clothes, shoes and accessories. These range from bits and pieces from Penny’s and Dunnes to true vintage wear to awesome designer pieces. This caught my eye.

Along the vintage lines, there were a number of retro furniture dealers. It was encouraging to see that their stuff was in mostly excellent condition. I would definitely come here to find something unusual for the house.

There was a great variety of food available inside in the main area: homemade pizza, panini, greek, falafel, lots of home-baked muffins, cakes and biscuits… as well as Italian coffee, fresh juices and smoothies. I had an excellent espresso and this vegetarian moussaka with greek salad and tzatziki.

This is the Co-op, an excellent space filled with organic, gluten-free, everything-else-free, environmentally-sound products. It’s very encouraging to see a place like this really really busy.

In fact, the whole market was packed by the time I left (about 1.30). Every stall holder was willing to cut a deal to make a sale and I found some really great things, bits and pieces I’d been looking for for ages. Here’s what Bertha had to carry home…

…And this is some it…

Posh-looking brown bag for carrying music (€4), purse from Penny’s (50c), two silk scarves (€2) and the grey sweater dress with pompoms (€2). To anyone wary of buying clothes at a flea market, it’s really not what you think. There’s a toilet close by and most stall holders are more than willing to let you go try something on. All of the clothes I was looking at smelled freshly washed and none of them looked worn at all. The shoes and leather jackets are in varying condition – sometimes this made them look cooler, sometimes not.

Whether you buy anything or not, it is a really fun, relaxed place to check out and meet up with friends. The next one is October 30th. I won’t be able to go – but why don’t you? 🙂


September 25, 2010

Glasnevin Market

Filed under:Cycling — Aileen @ 18:05

Only two things of note has happened since the Yarn Tasting: I got sick and I got a new bike! I’m not sick any more, thankfully; I think everything just caught up with me. As for the new bike, it is a second-hand Dawes Duchess.

Every now and then, you get a bit of luck out of the blue. I had my luck with this bike. I’ve had my old bike, a second-hand shop-display neon green mountain bike, for ten years. It served me admirably but gradually, my needs changed. I found myself thinking that a chain guard would be really handy. A more comfortable saddle might help me go further. And maybe if the handlebars weren’t so far forward, I would have better visibility around in traffic. I found it hard to give clear hand signals and keep control of my direction.

A few rental bikes in Belgium and the Netherlands later, I knew what kind of bike I wanted and gradually came to the conclusion that it was time for an upgrade. I stalked many second-hand sites but couldn’t find what I wanted. I did a lot of research and read a lot of reviews. Eventually I made the glum decision to buy the Dawes Duchess new for €380 and reasoned that the financial hit would pay me back in saved bus fares over the years to come.

Here’s the lucky bit! The very day I decided to buy the Duchess, I looked again on Gumtree. Just listed that morning was an as-new Duchess, recently serviced, on sale for €250 due to relocation. I immediately secured an appointment and later that evening, rode home on Bertha, complete with lights, oil and pump, and a cool €200 lighter. The lady was really very sad to sell her but is moving home to Poland (she named her: it’s perfect!).

So, Bertha and I have been touring all over this week. I haven’t got any work at the moment – I don’t start teaching until October – and even with my own practice, I figure I should enjoy the settled weather while I still have the time. The last time I cycled regularly was when I worked in This is Knit and let me tell you, there are a lot more cyclists now! Anyway, today, Bertha and I hit up the Honest2Goodness market in Glasnevin today.

It’s situated the next right turn after Lidl in the Industrial Estate. Not the most picturesque setting, true, but definitely a proper market with lots of fresh produce on sale. If you spy in the corner of the photo above, you’ll see a Blazing Salads stall selling fresh breads. Yum! They were all sold out of gluten free bread by the time I got there. I picked up some fresh steak from these guys…

…as well as some parsnips and strawberries from the vegetable ladies. There’s also a cheerful café area surrounded by a book seller, cheesemonger, lady selling jewellery… you get the idea.

It was encouraging to see it quite busy, with long lines at the butcher, fishmonger and olive guy. If you live nearby, check it out every Saturday from 10 to 5pm.


September 10, 2010

Yarn Tasting 2010

Filed under:News! — Aileen @ 12:10

Last night, I went in to the Yarn Tasting at This is Knit. You had to book your spot in advance. I was a bit slow off the mark for that and ended up second on the waiting list. Luckily, I bagged me a place! The event was in The Loft in the Powerscourt Centre. This is a big, bright area at the top of the building so there was plenty of space for everyone. I think there was probably about fifty people there. The first thing that greeted you was the refreshments table which served tea, coffee, biscuits and other nibbly things, as well as red and white wine. For all of us stumbling in after a day’s work, this was a good start!

Upon arrival, we received yarn tasting packs. This was a little scrap book where we could snip off samples of our samples and tape them in for identification later. You could sit wherever you wanted – all the tables had their own names in order to stagger the allocation of samples!

Small bags of samples were handed out in order of weight. We started with lace weight first and moved through sock, DK, aran and chunky weights, as well as two samples of spinning fibre. Here’s what the snip’n’tape table looked like.

Fabulous assistants were on hand to help with the identification process…

The general idea was to sit down and knit up and try out the samples – which I did – but there was lots of time to mill about and talk to everyone…

Mary L and R

…and there were lots of yummy cakes samples laid out…

…including this incongruous one right here lurking under a cocktail umbrella. Behold! Madeline Tosh!

I think it will be for sale in the shop very soon. It was really really nice. Other yarns that really impressed me were the Hedgehog Fibres cashmere lace and the Louisa Harding Rossetti.

All told, I think we got to sample and savour in the region of 30 yarns and fibres. It was really great getting to catch up with people that I haven’t seen in person in nearly six months as well. It was super to see such a mix of people of all ages and backgrounds having fun in the name of wool!