Choices, Choices

The last time I had a Choosey Tuesday I asked your opinion on which yarn I should use for my Annis (the Knitty Surprise in the Spring / Summer 2010 edition of Knitty).

I had four to chose from:

Annis Ol' Yarn, Annis Ol' Yarn, Annis Annis Annis Ol' Yarn

From the top:

and I said I’d give a prize to whoever came up with the most convincing argument for which one I should use.

I got four replies (from Deirdre, Mairead, Laura and Sinead) who – though not conclusive – gave me plenty to mull over.

  • Like Deirdre, I’ve a pro-purple tendency so we were down to three pretty quickly;
  • Plus, I love a good word play, which made me pre-disposed to Mairead’s choice of Rayon Vert;
  • But I shared Laura’s concern that the Rayon Vert would have to much contrast in the variagation for the lacework.
  • I was very taken by Sinead argument as she extolled the virtues of knitting with Dream in Color Smooshy, which also got a vote from Deirdre.

Contrary person that I am, however, it was Sinead’s argument for Dream in Color Smooshy that finally convinced me to go with the Misti Alpaca. I know… I’m ornery! You see, I’ve  realised recently that I can’t wear alpaca close to my skin – it makes me itch. So my logic was that I should keep the awesome Dream in Color Smooshy for a nice pair of socks for me (shoot me if I forget this in the future and start to make it into socks for DH; ‘mkay?).

So here it is: the finished (and finally blocked) Annis in Misti Alpaca Handpainted yarn:

Misti Alpaca Annis

I really enjoyed knitting this and – now that it’s been blocked – I’m thrilled with the finished object.

And now for the prize. All of the arguments were convincing and had their own merit. I really appreciate the time and trouble people took to offer me their opinions. (Even if I completely ignore it and go off an do my own thing anyway!) After some delibertion I’ve decided to pick a name at random and the winner is:



Were you Amused or Bemused?

Thanks to all of you who entered my Blog Treasure Hunt. The feedback I’m getting is that you all enjoyed it. Some got a little stuck but most of you muddled on through to the end. Fair Play for giving it a go and for having fun in the process. Without further ado, here are the answers and… later on… the winners:

  • Question 1: I named my blog after a phrase I associate with whom?
  • Led you to blog-post: In the Beginning
  • Answer: my mother
  • Question 2: Name one of the paramedics who saved my life.
  • Led you to blog-post: Humbled
  • Answer: Gerry O’ Sullivan or John Devereux
  • Question 3: Name the Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandmother of the “POTUS”
  • Led you to blog-post: Vote for the Irishman
  • Answer: Phoebe Donovan
  • Question 4: Other than knitting, what links “raglan”, “cardigan”, “kitchener” and “balaclava”?
  • Led you to blog-post: More U.S.A. Today
  • Answer: The Crimean War (I gave a half-point to those who said the Military / Military History)
  • Question 5: How many kilometers of yarn did I use for my first attempt at Glenvar?
  • Led you to blog-post: The Behemoth
  • Answer:1.68km
  • The tie-breaker question: How many views will I get on Easter Sunday according to my blog-stats page
  • Answer: 15 (this really surprised me since I got a whopping 357 the day before!!!)

The Winners:

1 x 100g skein each of Donegal Chunky Tweed by Debbie Bliss in Red and Blue [Super Bulky (5-6 wpi), 218yds in total] goes to Laura (3 p0ints – Laura got all the way to the end but I only got three answers?!?! Sorry if some answers didn’t get to me, Laura)

2 x 100g skeins of 100% Bamboo by South West Trading Company in colour “134″ [DK / 8 ply (11 wpi), 500yds] goes to Averil (3.5 points)

3 x 100g skeins of Rowan Colourscape Chunky by Kaffe Fassett in “Sh 432″ [Bulky / 12 ply (7 wpi), 525yds] goes to Sinead (4 points)

4 x 100g skeins of Homespun Multi by Craftspun Yarns in Colour “001″ [Bulky / 12 ply (7 wpi), 415yds approx] and 1 x 100g skein of Wool clásica by Manos del Uruguay in “8891″ [Aran / 10 ply (8 wpi), 138 yds] goes to Mazzledazzle (4.5 points, tie-breaker guess = 54)

3 x 50g skeins of Shibui Sock by ShibuiKnits in “Pebble” [Fingering / 4 ply (14 wpi), 573yds] and 1 x 50g skein of Gems Superfine / Fingering weight by Louet in “Carribean Blue” [Fingering / 4 ply (14 wpi), 185yds] goes to Clarabel (4.5 points, tie-breaker guess = 24)

Thanks again, everyone for taking part and getting into the spirit of it all. I’ll definately do this again sometime.

Launch of Easter Treasure Hunt for Egg-heads

Snappy title, huh? Hmmm…

As those of you who regularly read this blog are aware, I’m prone to having the odd give-away! This, combined with my recent wish to do some serious de-stashing, has led me to set up a Treasure Hunt for you, my readers. The idea is that I’ve hidden clues in the comments of my blog-posts for you to find. You come back to me with the correct answers and you’re in with a chance of winning some of these prizes from my stash.

This Treasure-Hunt is open to everyone; I will ship prizes to any destination. However, I want my stash to go to good homes of yarnophiles (crochetiers, knitters, weavers etc) so I’m using Ravelry private messageing service to receive your answers. You’ll find me on Ravelry as Undermeoxter. Send me a pm with your answers, ideally in the format I mention below.

Regular readers of my blog are going to have an advantage over those who have just dropped in having caught wind of this. I make no apology for that; it’s kinda the idea.

How it works:

  • Below, in this blog-post, I reveal the first “clue”.
  • As you can see “The clue” is a question and the answer can be found in another post on this blog.
  • If you find the correct blog-post take a note of the answer and then look in the comments for the next clue / question.
  • Follow the clues as far as you can; taking note of each answer as you go.
  • There will be five clues / questions plus a tie-breaker question – see below.

 How to Enter:

  • Send me a message on Ravelry with your answers – including the tie-breaker question – by 18:00GMT on Monday 5th April.
  • I’m deliberately using Ravelry because I want the winners to be yarnophiles.
  • The subject of your Ravelry message should read “Treasure Hunt Answers”
  • The format of your message should number your answers 1 to 5; give each answer its own line.
  • Don’t forget to answer the Tie-breaker question.

How to Win:

  • Getting a question correct represents passing a stage in the treasure-hunt
  • There is a prize for each stage.
  • There will only be one winner for each stage.
  • If more that one person qualifies at any stage the tie-breaker question determines who wins.
  • If you forget to answer the tie-breaker question and someone else has the same points as you – you automatically lose, I’m afraid.
  • The winners of each prize will be announced on Monday 5th April.

About the Prizes:

  • There are five prizes, which are ranked in the following order of merit:
    1. 3 x 50g skeins of Shibui Sock by ShibuiKnits in “Pebble” [Fingering / 4 ply (14 wpi), 573yds] and 1 x 50g skein of Gems Superfine / Fingering weight by Louet in “Carribean Blue” [Fingering / 4 ply (14 wpi), 185yds]
    2. 4 x 100g skeins of Homespun Multi by Craftspun Yarns in Colour “001” [Bulky / 12 ply (7 wpi), 415yds approx] and 1 x 100g skein of Wool clásica by Manos del Uruguay in “8891” [Aran / 10 ply (8 wpi), 138 yds]
    3. 3 x 100g skeins of Rowan Colourscape Chunky by Kaffe Fassett in “Sh 432” [Bulky / 12 ply (7 wpi), 525yds]
    4. 2 x 100g skeins of 100% Bamboo by South West Trading Company in colour “134” [DK / 8 ply (11 wpi), 500yds]
    5. 1 x 100g skein each of Donegal Chunky Tweed by Debbie Bliss in Red and Blue [Super Bulky (5-6 wpi), 218yds in total]
  • I can’t judge how easy or hard people will find this but all of the above prizes will be given away, regardless of what happens:
  • If very few people are coming back with correct answers I will also give out the prizes in order of who guesses the closest with the tie-breaker question.
  • If everyone is coming back with all correct answers then the prizes will be given out in the above order, depending on how close they are with the tie-breaker.
  • If I only have five people entering, each will receive a prize depending on who is closest with the tie-breaker question etc…

More Rules:

  • The use of the search facility is entirely expected
  • The use of other search engines is also allowed but while it might help you answer the question you still have to find the relevant blog-post for the next clue 😉
  • It does not matter how quickly you pm me with the answers but your first pm is the one that counts – if you realise later you made a mistake I’m sorry!
  • In all references to GMT I mean Irish Time; since the hour change I don’t know whether technically we’re now in GMT+1, to be honest.
  • I think that’s it on the rules & instructions. If anything doesn’t make sense, don’t hesitate to ask questions in the comments below.
  • Happy Hunting!

So… are you ready to go?

On your marks…

Get set…

1st Clue:

I named my blog after a phrase I associate with whom?

Don’t forget to include th tie-breaker question in your answers:

Tie-breaker question:

How many views will I get on Easter Sunday according to my blog-stats page.

To give you a ball-park, my all-time busiest day to date was Tuesday 23rd March with 73 views. This question is complete guesswork – even I don’t know the answer. You don’t have to guess the exact figure; whoever is closest, wins.


Thanks everyone who wrote a Limerick for my Bit-of-a Give-Away.

Karen, Bridget, Meg – who entered twice – as Meg and as Tigerseye, Averil and Deirdre.

Drum roll please!.............

And the winner (picked out by DH with his eyes closed) is…


Her winning entry is worth re-printing here:

There was a young knitter named Karen
who only knew one type of cast-on.
Siobhan got involved
and all her problems were solved
until she misunderstood “Twisted German”.

Congratulations, Karen! Look out for an email from me later (you may need to check your spam folders because I’m finding it hard to give the subject as something non-spam-oriented!) Be ready to give me your details (as in address, not bank account or anything!) and let me know your preference for the music CDs.

I hope you all had a great St. Patrick’s Day. Here’s a photo from the parade yesterday in Bray.

You Choose

Remember these goodies?

Bit-of-a Give-Away Prizes

And “je member” how to be in with a chance to win them?

Write a Limerick in the comments of A Bit-of-a Give-away! blog-post before 12 noon GMT on 17th March 2010, St. Patrick’s Day. That’s tomorrow! To be honest, I meant to post this reminder much earlier – or even mention it last Sunday – but I didn’t so you have until 12 noon GMT on Thursday 18th March before I make the random selection (names in a hat!) and announce the winner that evening.

So go on, give it a go – you know you want to!

And… the winner gets to choose which of these two CDs they would prefer (coz I couldn’t decide!):

Do romha / Your Choice

a) Ceol ’10 ***Súil Siar***: featuring Bell X1, Gemma Hayes, The Walls, The Coronas, The Saw Doctors, Mundy and many more but all songs are “as Gaeilge”. I haven’t heard any of these songs before, but I would like a lot of the artists that are featured.


b) “The Bests Irish Power Ballads In The World …Ever!” : This is a double CD with (as it says) 39 Driving Anthems, including Thin Lizzy, Van Morrison, Sinéad O’Connor, The Frames, Aslan, Horslips, David Gray, The Divine Comedy, Johnny Logan and many more. The “many more” would be quite a range of modern Irish music – a few I wouldn’t normally have in my CD collection, such as Linda Martin say but most I would consider essential listening.

So… if you are the lucky winner announced on Thursday evening you can let me know which CD you would prefer me to include with your prize.

Until then “Lá Fhéile Pádraig Shona Dhaoibh, mo Chairde go léir!”

Bit-of-a Give-away!

I finally got my act together – and my niddy-noddy into gear – and finished three of the four Aerial Unwind events that I had planned.

From left to right: Argosy, Meters of Miter and Origami Hat are no more:

I still haven’t tackled the truly challenging one. I’m hoping that when I finally over-come inertia and open that fateful bag of alpaca-mess that it won’t seem as bad as my mental block tells me it is. Starting is half the battle – isn’t it? Tell me it is…

As I mentioned last Saturday, I have a cunning plan on how to keep my my overall stash levels under control, despite the boost that the Aerial Unwind events bring: I’m going to run another give-away on my blog. Similar to the Ban-zai Bonanza, you’ve got to write some poetry in the comments of this post and the winner will be selected by random number generator – or names out of a hat.

A bit-of-a Birthday Give-away:

I’m launching this give-away tonight in honour of the fact that tomorrow – thirty-nine years ago – I was born in a hospital in Limerick. And in honour of the fact that the give-away will run until St. Patrick’s Day – 17th March 2010, the prizes have an Irish theme.  I will make the draw at 12 noon GMT on St. Patrick’s Day.

The Prize:

How to Win:

Have you guessed yet? In honour of my being born in Limerick, to be in with a chance to win you must write a Limerick in the comments below. Your theme can be anything or anyone you like (though I reserve the right not to publish any I don’t consider appropriate!).

This is open to everyone: you don’t have to be a knitter or crochetier (though you might like the prize better if you are!); you don’t have to be living in Ireland – I will ship internationally; you do have to write a Limerick, however; and they have a very fixed format.

To start the ball rolling, and to give those of you unfamiliar with the “genre” an idea of what we’re talking about, I’ll go first:

A canny old knitter in Swords
swore Fair-isle was for the birds.
So when she got stranded,
she knit double-handed
and flew off to see the Fjords.

Bemuse A Muse and Amuse


We had an odd experience in Dublin City Centre last Saturday, while doing our Christmas Shopping. We went into Oxfam for more Christmas Cards and in the hope of getting a  present for my sister. DD decided that she wanted to get a set of building blocks for The Earl. She had brought with her a bag of miscellaneous coins that she’d recouped from her piggy-bank. There were Japanese yen, Chinese yuan, English sterling mixed in with the Euro and cent. The building blocks cost €21 so we sorted through the money and counted it all out. Dutiful mother that I am, I chastised her a little that she hadn’t counted it, let alone sorted it, beforehand and I also expressed concern that she was spending most of her savings on this one toy – rather than looking at buying lots of things; but she was adamant. In the end, she had just enough without having to start counting out the coppers, thankfully. We queued up – her holding the toy, me with both hands completely full of change; and she was delighted to have bought her littlest brother a Christmas present from her savings.

Shortly afterwards, while I was still browsing in the hopes of being inspired for my sister’s present, a lady approached me and asked if we’d got the toy. I was completely bemused and quite guarded – I have to admit that I worried this was some distraction technique. Then she started to press a card into my hand. I wondered if she wanted to buy the toy off me. When she kept insisting “It’s a gift – I want them to have this”, I began to realise that she wanted to give my kids something. After protesting with her for a while, I relented – after all, she was making it seem rude not to. I opened the card, expecting to find money inside – it’s an old tradition in Ireland to give luck-money to children. Instead of the €5 I expected (this being the smallest denomination of “paper-money” in Ireland, has led to a ridiculous level of inflation for this tradition) there was €50! I was in shock. I was speechless. The woman had disappeared.

Our trip to Oxfam was our last thing before we went to get the train home. On our way to the station, we passed by the Moving Crib so we decided to drop by. All the time, I was going over in my head what had just happened: on the one hand it was meant as a gift for my kids; on the other hand there are many people more hard-up than we are this Christmas, it doesn’t seem right that we should be benefactors. Okay, so we were counting out change in Oxfam, to make enough for a present; but I didn’t think we looked that hopeless – I thought it was a “teachable moment” for DD! Then, while all this debate was raging in my head, we noticed the contribution box for the Mansion House Fuel Fund. It’s a charity that supports those suffering distress in Ireland and contributions go towards the Simon Community, ALONE and the St Vincent de Paul. DH quickly assuaged all of my anxieties by putting €50 – of our own money – into the box. This way, we pass on the Christmas spirit to those that we judge need it more than us; and DD keeps her luck-money and remains the beneficiary of the kindness of a  stranger at Christmas.

A Muse?

Anyway, back to some silliness after all that hubris.

While searching for and reviewing books on Amazon recently I came across this title: “Haiku Knits – Serenely Beautiful Patterns Inspired by Japanese Design“. Once bitten, twice shy – as they say – so I have to admit I went straight for the more negative reviews to get a baseline for what the issues were. Reading the following comments, I knew to pass this one by:

“I was looking for some interesting project, new ideas and creative garment construction above all. I should have looked elsewhere. … 
A couple of the projects looked to me like plain reproduction of some Vogue Knitting patterns….. (legal?).
A couple of projects would only work with a very specific, expensive and hard to find sounding (metallic yarn…?). …
And can anyone find anything Japanese looking in these patterns?”

“This book has to be one of the most disappointing knitting books of the decade, it wasn’t worth the wait nor the money. “


This comment made me laugh:

“The “Japanese flavor” is provided by five haikus strewn in the book, and that’s it. I guess somebody along the book production chain wanted to cash in on the current popularity of haikus.”

I had no idea, honestly, that the haiku was currently popular. So, if you also want to “cash in on the current popularity of haikus” go take a look at my Give-aways page! Write a Haiku in the comments of my post Ban-zai and be in with a chance to win!

And while we’re speaking of Haiku (though not in Haiku!) I also came across this website, which you might enjoy: The Torah in Haiku.

“No way! ”