WIP Around

Thinking Cap On!

It’s official: I AM insane!

I’m about to cast-on 490sts for a tea-cosy.

I’ve done me Sums (readers in the US would call this Math); I’ve measured me tea-pot. I’m about to start me Mad Hatter’s Tea-party. (Readers in the US should not read too much into my use of *that* phrase!)

See if this makes sense to you: C = no. of sts in Crown height; R = no. of rows, inc. bind off; R = no. of sts in Crown top, also. So overall no. of sts for a half-crown = C+R.

Follow? Yes? Good.

R is – thirdly – the no. of rows in each lobe section – there’s 14 lobes in all; so R is determined by measuring the head – by which I mean tea-pot – circumference; dividing by 14 and using a gauge swatch to determine how many rows I need to make the resulting dimension.

Still with me? No? Me neither.

Anyway, unless I’ve mis-calculated – which is entirely possible – C=24, R=6 and my cast-on row goes something like this:

[CO: 1+C+R/2, PM, 1+R/2+R/2, PM, 1+R/2+R/2, PM, 1+R/2+C, PM] 7 times. OR…

[CO 29, PM; CO 7, PM; CO 7, PM; CO 29, PM] x 7. The first round will involve pouring a stiff drink, me-thinks! The beauty is, five rounds later and I’m binding-off!!!

As for other insanity I’ve been indulging in lately, I ran the Women’s Mini-Marathon last week. I actually ran it – and survived! – much to my own surprise.  Even more surprising for me, my time was just under 80mins – 1hr 19mins 48secs, to be precise. Before the event, the longest I’d run non-stop in training was 25mins. I decided I would follow two pod-casts for the C25K programme back-to-back, to keep me going. So I started with a 5 minute walk and easily ran 25 minutes without stopping. The hard part was negotiating around all the walkers; they were spread out and there wasn’t a lot of room to manoeuvre. Then I walked for 10 minutes before starting the next 25 minute run. The funny thing was, when I started to run again I found I had to over-take many of the same walkers all over again! Obviously my walking pace was a lot slower than theirs.

I felt great after the run; really thrilled with my achievement and my time. More importantly, I’ve been out running since. I think I’ve really caught the bug: I’m thinking of trying the “Bridge to 10K” programme next. I’m not sure when I’ll get time to run 10k in the morning, however; as it is I get up at 6 and the 5k run takes 40minutes or so.

It’s not too late to support the worthy cause that I was running to raise money for: CMRF stands for Crumlin Medical Research Fund and is the Fund-raising vehicle for Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin, Dublin, Ireland. They’re the people who fixed my fab nephew when he was only a few days old and set him on a path to life-long health and happiness. They have amazing staff at that hospital and it is woefully under-resourced and under-funded by Central Government. They *need* all the fund-raising they can get to keep doing what they do so well.

So if you’ll pardon me having a Whip-around (see what I did there) please donate a skein’s worth to a worth cause by clicking on this link: http://tinyurl.com/32fmuzu

The money goes straight to CMRF; nothing goes to me but self-righteous Pride! And you all know how well I thrive on that!

FO on Friday = Nollaig

The Big Day has finally arrived!

Nollaig is not just the Irish word for Christmas. It is also the word for the whole month of December. Considering how December gets swallowed up in preparations for today, it’s entirely appropriate, isn’t it?

After all your hard work through-out this month – knitting, shopping, cooking, baking – in preparation for today, I hope you’re getting to put your feet up finally and do whatever it is you do to relax. And if that includes “Read my blog” then good on you! Raise a glass and cheer: “Here’s to lots-more-of-this in 2010!” (Don’t worry: I scheduled this post days ago! I’m relaxing and spending time with my family today)

Nollaig Shona dhaoibh go léir agus gach dea-ghui i 2010

The Knitted Crib you see in the photo was knitted by two members of staff in the Planning Department of the Local Authority I work for . They made it and donated it to be a prize in the Raffle for the Sale-of-Work Charity Fund-raiser earlier this month. It’s fantastic, isn’t it? I didn’t win it – despite spending €10 on Raffle tickets – but the Librarian in my town did, so I’m sure I’ll get to see more of it. My guess is she’ll put it on display in our local Library the next time Nollaig comes around.

Stash on Saturday

Donations for Le Grá, Fingal

Le Grá, Fingal

One of my work colleagues came up with the idea that we could have a Sale-of-Work of items all Hand-made and donated by staff of the Council I work for. 100% of the proceeds would go towards the Crumlin Medical Research Fund, which is attached to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin – the same charity I ran the Mini-Marathon for in June. She called the venture “Le Grá Fingal” which means “With Love, Fingal” in Irish.   

It was astonishing to see the volume and the quality of the work that poured in. In our department alone, two of my colleagues do lino-cut and drypoint printing and sell their work through Etsy. Another makes homeopathic balms and essences. Yet another made cards using photographs she’d made and another made chutneys and preserves with produce from her allotment. From the other departments, there was hand-made jewelery; framed water-colours and photographs, hand-knitted and crocheted scarves and baby clothes; a carpenter in the depot made bird-boxes; someone else’s mother made candle-holders from hole-y limestone pieces.   

This was the reason behind making the Advent Wreaths that I said I’d explain later. I also donated “Mole”, some Christmas Fiddle-Faddle from Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Almanac; and my Wine Bottle Gift Bag. I made the gift bag two Christmases ago and gave it to DH, but he agreed he didn’t really want or need and would be happy to donate it.   

Tree from EZ's Almanac

Who needs a Wine Cozy, it's a Gift Bag

The Sale took place last Tuesday, 15th December, and the original idea was that they would be selling to staff only. By 10:30 they had already made €1,000. When they’d whittled down the number of items to one small table’s worth they moved the display to the reception atrium and managed to clear everything by the end of lunch-time.   

In total they raised €2,083. This includes ticket sales for a Raffle, which was drawn by the County Architect on Thursday. One of the prizes in the raffle was a fabulous knitted crib. It was made by two talented knitters in the Planning Department that I’ve been lucky to get to know recently, through the Nimble Fingers Crafting Club that one of them set up.  

Star from EZ's Almanac

I’m delighted to know that Mole has finally found a new home – he was bought to be given to a baby who’s due in January. Two of my closest friends in work bought two wreaths each. I didn’t hear who bought the gift bag but I hope they enjoyed the bottle of Mulled Berry Punch, that I bought in The Hopsack last Saturday. I bought back the Fiddle-Faddle myself and put it into my Secret Swap Parcel. [Aside: I like to include a little bit of hand-knitting in my Secret Pal Parcel for the Irish Knitters Swap. In 2007, I made some wash-cloths for Sue (SusyMcQ) and last year Heather (Nearlythere) got a Moebius Cowl. It’s very conceited of me, really; but this year’s theme was The Seven Deadly Sins so “Pride” it’s totally allowed. Anyway, I can report that Mairead (Fourboys) received her package yesterday and was genuinely thrilled with its contents. Yeay! + Phew!]

In the Charity Sale-of-Work I also bought:   

  • a jumper for DS#1, knit by a member of the Nimble Fingers Crafting Club;
  • a hand-pulled lino-cut print of Bosbok Strand in South Africa, made by a colleague in our Department;
  • a jar of Green Tomato Chutney – made by another colleague of mine;
  • a jar of mincemeat, made with plums and Calvados by a friend of the organiser;
  • four cards made by three different colleagues – three of which I’ve already sent off;
  • a combination pack of lavender barrier cream and clove oil balm – made by the organiser.
  • two decorated gingerbread biscuits
  • a sachet of “Magic Reindeer Dust” – basically porridge oats mixed with glitter and edible confetti. You leave it out for Rudolf to eat – the glitter is the magic dust that helps him fly.

So the stash I’m letting you know about today is not yarn but lots of hand-made goodies, made by talented members of staff in my place of work. 

Goodies Le Grá

I did it! I did it!

Any Dora The Explorer Fans among you?

I realised the other day that I never let you know that I ran the Women’s Mini Marathon. And here’s the photographic proof, that I took on my phone, just before we started in a throng. Yes, that taller person in the middle is a man dressed “in drag” if you can call a Nun’s habit “drag”.

And We're Off...

I collected €175 for Crumlin’s Medical Research Fund – as you can see on my charity page. But the main thing for me was that I actually did it this year. At the end, I felt as though I could keep running. I will definately do it again next year.