My Seven for 2011


Peaseblossom Tunic

It’s that time again when we look back over the year that was and make plans for the year to come. At the start of 2011 I posted about Going for Seven in 2011 and even came up with a programme for the year. Time to look at how it all panned out, eh?

1. Present a pattern for publishing – DONE! I presented a pattern for a cardigan for my daughter to Knitty. It took an arduous two months of early 2011 but I did it, including all the maths for grading it to fit all sizes from toddler to teenager. Unfortunately, it was rejected and languishes still. I’m unsure of my plans for it. I still believe it’s worthy of publishing. I think I’ll get a few of the sizes test-knit – perhaps make one of the teenager sizes for one of my neices –  and take it from there.

Swirl Shawl

2. Bust my stash – NOT DONE! The year started well with the stash busting. I made my Peaseblossom Top in Fyberstpates Lace, the yarn with the highest yardage in my stash (1010m used out of 1796m). I also used Jojoland Melody Superwash in Teal Whirl, a shawl I made for Viola (744m used out of 1006m). In addition, I de-stashed ALL my cotton from Lidl  – a whopping 1.914 kilometers of  it – by making up Tunisian Crochet dishcloth kits for sale at HandmAid Craft Day in September. However, I have yet to finish my Petal Wrap using Alpaca Lace from Dublin Dye Company and I didn’t touch any other high-yardage yarn in my stash.


Stash Accumulation from Freckledpast

3. No more USA – NOT DONE! I was very strong this year. Stronger than I have been for many years. So many times this year I inhaled yarn fumes but resisted consuming. Having a steady flow of yarn from the Janel Laidman sock club seems to have helped and though there was some Stash Accumulation it was all (that I can recall) for planned projects. I’m going to stick with this strategy next year: only buy for a known project that I plan cast-on within the month. I was somewhat undone by some of my knitting friends towards the end of the year, however! BionicLaura de-stashed some gorgeous Possum Touch and two skeins of Artesano Alpaca 4ply. As part of Knitmas, Freckledpast de-stashed 4 skeins of chenille, 1 skein of Rosários 4 Loopy and a ball of Donegal Yarns Aran Tweed. Then Averil de-stashed a skein of Regia Galaxy in the Saturn colourway. They are allvery bold! but I love what they de-stashed in my direction. It’s only fair, I have de-stashed in other people’s directions too (see point 2. above!).

4. Spin more – DONE! The Skein-a-month Spin-a-long was quasi-successful. While we didn’t manage to do an actual skein a month, it certainly increased my spinning efforts and out-put. My most productive month was July, during the Tour de France. A complete lull in activity followed in August when I brought the wheel with us camping in France and didn’t take it out one night! Anyway, more importantly, I spun for a specific project and knit it up too – a small hoodie for BionicLaura’s baby girl. I learned a lot from the experience – how fractal spinning helps crazy colourways; check gauge and resize to suit; even when you don’t expect to have yarn left over, you will!

BionicLaura's Funky Bear

5. Quilting – DONE! Thanks to Elana I was hooked up with quilter-extraordinaire Mary Heseltine who lives down the road from Elana. We had an introductory session in March which led to Clarabel & I doing a five month quilting course over the Winter. I am loving it though I’m a little concerned for the new stash of fabric I am accumulating now.

6. Gifts – DONE! and NOT DONE! On the one hand, most of my knitting time in the past year seems to have been gift-knitting. On the other hand, I don’t think I managed a single gift included in my original plan! The gifts I planned for the early part of the year were scuppered by how long it took me to write the pattern (see point 1. above). Then, later in the year, planned gifts were superceded by a completely unforeseen (by me) baby-boom amongst my crafting friends. The baby-knits were fun to do thought they led to some stash accumulation. I’ve decided it’s probably a good idea to keep some baby-suitable yarn always handy in my stash in future.

7. Darn Socks – DONE! I surprised myself and actually darned some socks during the year! This coincided nicely with the Sock Exchange initiative by @futuremenders to get people back to “Make Do & Mend” mentality as part of the Absolut Fringe festival in Dublin. Unfortunately, I still have more socks to mend, however. And soooo much more sock yarn to use!

Knitting for Runners

Before you get too excited, this post will not be a pattern for these:

Though, don’t they just knock your socks off? Especially the price-tag!

Last Tuesday, when I blogged about my hat-gauge dilemma, I got a sweet reply on Twitter from @Smircher:

@undermeoxter I’ve read your post but I’m afraid it’s in an incomprehensible language. 😉

It brought home to me that my range of followers on Twitter is wider than knitting. Since running is what Smircher and I have in common, I wondered how one might explain a knitting issue in running terms.

Choose your race:

For starters, you could relate projects to race distances: so marathon-length projects could be large afghans / throws or intricate garments – anything that would take at least a month to do and involved a few kilometres of yarn. An average jumper or pair of socks for a man would equate to a 10k run; while a Woman’s hat would be 5k. Baby clothes are the 1k training runs you’d do to keep in shape.

Set your pace:

As with running, knitters range widely in speed and dexterity. We can’t all be professional athletes. As evidenced by the Flora mini-marathon, there will be those who complete the route in 35mins and most who are happy to walk it (some even stopping for a fag and a pint along the way!)
I’m similar in my approaches to both knitting and running: happy to do the odd 10k/ jumper and have huge admiration for those who regularly complete marathons/ afghans.

Choose footwear wisely:

All runners would agree that, after fitness, footwear has an impact on pace. All runners would like to get their hands on (or feet into) a pair of 10-league boots. Similarly, none would chose to run 10k in high-heels. In knitting terms footwear relates to yarn-weight. A thin, lace-weight yarn is dainty and fine like high-heels; whereas the 10-league boots of the yarn-world are called “Super-Bulky”.

My Peaseblossom top (left) was done in lace-weight and, like completing a 10k in heels, it took me a marathon-esque amount of time.

A cowl at normal running pace might take a few days but using a Super-bulky yarn, like Rowan Big Wool, I made one in a day (Leaving On The Edge cowl on the right).

Get into your stride:

All other things being equal – fitness & footwear – a runner’s race is affected by the length of their stride: how many steps does it take them to cover the distance. For knitters, this is known as their “tension” where steps are known as stitches.

If you’re still with me, we finally get to the crux of the issue I was having with the too-small hat. Because I had chosen a thinner yarn than the pattern was written for it was as though I tried to run (knit) my 5k (hat) in a pair of flip-flops instead of runners. My stride (tension) was shorter: it took me 23 steps (stitches) to cover a 100m (4 inches) instead of 17 as expected.

Since I had failed to take additional steps (add stitches), on every lap (round) I ran (knit) I wasn’t going the distance (literally).
If you want to carry the metaphor further you can imagine me taking a wee detour past the water-jump on every lap.
Eventually, I did the calculation and figured out the number of additional stitches I needed to get me around the course. When I realised my 5k/hat would need 10k/jumper quantity stitches, I opted to kick-off the flip-flops and give myself a proper run at it.

– Written using BlogPress on my iPhone

Tour: Boora Bog

On “Holy Saturday” my brother brought us to Boora Bog. The occasion was a Treasure Hunt he had organised for his kids, their friends and their cousins (i.e. my kids).

The first thing you should know about Boora Bog is this is where my Dad brought my Mum to start their romance. He was a recently graduated Engineer and his first job was with Bord na Móna. He took her all the way out to Boora Bog on a drive to show her his work place. She must have been impressed (or sufficiently filled with pity).

The first thing you should *really* know about Boora Bog is that it is the site of an ancient lake that stretched as far as Lough Ree on the Shannon. A Mesolithic settlement was uncovered in the 1970s – I was all about the Mesolithics Easter weekend, wasn’t I?

don’t these clouds just look like a piss-take?
Now, the *main* thing you need to know about Boora Bog – the reason I mention the place at all is that it is a fabulous place to visit and to walk around. Someone, more recently than my parents’ courtin’ days organised international artists to install fabulous sculptures. Here are some pictures of my favourites:

Go, check it out… it’s truly stunning and worth the drive.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Quilting: you know you want to!

Following on from the success of the quilting workshop, @MaryLD was planning to run a Short course in patchwork & quilting​

This would be a four-day course, run on one Saturday each month from 10-4p.m. starting towards the end of August/early September.

Mary has outlined the course as follows:

1. Cutting and piecing methods
starting with an overview of the main traditional types (you have to start somewhere!)
2. Starting to subvert the traditions
Create your own block for paper-foundation piecing or use a traditional method with your own “take” on fabric and colour selection
3. ​Putting it together
Adding borders -maybe; selecting backing and wadding; planning the quilting design; preparing piece for quilting; adding the quilting stitches; by hand or machine?
4. Finishing
Completing the piece; binding and finishing

​​€275.00 for the full course

Location: St Paul’s Church Hall, Adelaide Road, Glenageary. See D in the map below. This is a lovely modern building, warm, clean and spacious. We can make tea or coffee and will have a separate space to eat a packed lunch.

No on-site parking but plenty of parking in Silchester Road. For anyone coming by DART (with a sewing machine?!?! ) you can see that Glenageary station is very close.

So if you’re interested and on Twitter give @MaryLD a shout. Otherwise, drop a note in the comment box here and I’ll pass it on to Mary and pass her details on to you.

Hope to see you there.

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Fun-Fair Fun

Just to let you all know that the Fun-Fair Fund-Raiser was a huge success. It was very well supported by the whole town, who turned up in droves. Everybody seemed to have a great time and there was no trouble.

We got great feedback from people who were delighted to have something to do locally, after the parade. I’m delighted for the committee members of the Parents’ Association too. This was a huge thing to have taken on and they pulled it off. Understandably they all feel cock-of-the-walk right now. And deservedly so.

I was running around all day, doing what I could to help out. For the morning, I was working in what DH called “the Food-Court”. He was being perfectly serious, I might add!

I quickly learned that, despite my spinning knowledge and experience, candy-floss is quite a different game. I left that to others and stuck to selling crisps & sweets.

My next posting was as face-painter. I don’t know how many flags I painted on kids’ cheeks. I think I was pretty rubbish at that too and occasionally couldn’t bring myself to charge the full €2 for my efforts. I’m just glad the Irish flag is so straight-forward.

When the queue for face-painting died off, I went to help out in the coffee-shop – more normally known as “pre-fab classrooms for 5th class”. That looked like a bomb had hit it and I believe it had been heaving earlier in the afternoon.

At some point I also did “crowd-control” at this baby: the inflated caterpillar/ obstacle-course at the back.

I was helped by a team of 11 year-old girls who were managing quite well without me. They just lacked the “Mammy-voice” needed to keep the lads their own age in check. They’ll learn that in time!
The only chance I had to run-around taking photos was before the hoards arrived. I took one snap while the people were milling about:

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Get A Bit Of Irish In You

“Anyone out there with a bit of Irish in you?” shouted Phil Lynott to cheers from his packed audience. “Anyone like a little *more* Irish in you?”

And he wasn’t suggesting another helping of bacon, cabbage and spuds.

Get a bit more Irish in you, this Paddy’s Day: support Irish produce!


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Knitters’ Catwalk

So, as mentioned previously, a few knitters/knotters/knutters had a bit of a night-out. As is our wont, hand-knits were worn.
And admired…
and photographed (apologies for the poor quality photographs that follow – trust me, they don’t do justice at all to the knit-wear!):
First up, a pair of Clapotis (Clapotii?): @DianeKnits models hers, made with Silk Blend by Manos del Uruguay (Thanks for the reminder, SheKnitUpThat); while @SheKnitUpThat (a.k.a. KneeHigh) stole models @SineadR’s, done in Wollmeise:

Below, BionicLaura (left) was showing off her Giant Cowl made from Sirdar Bigga; and TeaAndCakes (right) wears her O.W.L.S. jumper in Cocoon by Rowan.

@WrapNTurn wore her test-knits of @StolenStitches designs: the shawl (left) is “Centrique” done in Scrumptious by Fyberspates; and underneath (right) “Tallamh”, in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Sport-weight.

DianeVM’s fabulous “LaneSplitter” from Knitty