Choix d’Annis

Selection Box of Treats

Last week, I was feeling very over-whelmed and I decided I needed some me-time. For many of my female colleagues “me-time” would involve getting a facial, a hair-cut or shopping for new shoes. These things would be living hell for me – especially now that the only hairdresser I’ve trusted in years has run off to Jersey to get married, the cheek of him!

No, my idea of me-time is to take out all my sock weight yarn and try to decide which pattern to make with each: heaven!

The box on the right doesn’t represent all of my sock-weight yarn – not by a long-shot! Instead, it’s a a little box of treats: a selection box of those skeins I hope to knit this year. Considering there’s 12 projects there and only six months left in the year, I’ll be doing well to get them all done!  But it will certainly be fun trying.

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

From the top:

So which one do you reckon will be best for Annis (the Knitty Surprise in the Spring / Summer 2010 edition of Knitty)… and why!

Answers in the comments here and I will give a prize to whoever comes up with the most convincing argument for any of the four yarns above.


Stash: Combination Stashing

As if my last forray into unplanned stash accumulation wasn’t enough for me, I had to go mad in TIK two weekends in a row! I was there for Annie Modesitt’s class on Combination Knitting – the high-light of my knitting calander to date. I think I was a bit giddy from all the excitement so I was very vulnerable when the yarn-fumes in the shop hit home.

Malabrigo and DDC – resistance is futile

From the left, we have:

  • Malabrigo Sock in Rayon Vert – it reminded me of pheasants, I was helpless
  • Malabrigo Worsted in Nostalgia – I was literally mid-sentence, talking to Annie Modesitt (of all people!!!) when this caught my eye on high shelf behind her head. I have no idea what happened next… I’ve no idea whether I just rudely walked away from Annie in a starry-eyed trance…(I suspect I did!) but obviously, I couldn’t resist it.
  • Alapaca Lace dyed by Dublin Dye Company – it has a fantastic 1200m! It is beautifully subtle in its colouring. The yarn has a delicate halo that I know is just going to be stunning knitted up. Now to find the perfect shawl to knit it into…

I’m not letting myself within an ass’s-roar of TIK for a while. And we’ll just ignore their most-excellent online shop, won’t we? Really?

Stash: April Spin-in

I was a whirling dervish of covetous craving in TIK at the April Spin-in and these whooshed into my life:

Blue-faced Leicester fibre "Georgia" dyed by Laura Hogan

Malabrigo Sock in "Solis" colourway

2 skeins of Manos Lace

When Clarabel clapped eyes on these she was quite literally speach-less and breath-taken. It was love at first sight. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen her – or anyone else, for that matter – react to a skein of yarn in the same way.

Such a Perfect Day

Today couldn’t have started any better. While DH and the kids were frolicking in the swimming pool I snuck off to the Post Office and collected two parcels.

The first, emblazoned in Amazon logos, was no surprise. It contained “Knitting Brioche” by Nancy Marchant, which I had pre-ordered last September after seeing some samples of her work on the Dutch Knitters Stand at the I Knit Weekender. If the contents of the parcel were no surprise the contents of the book certainly were. I’m going to dedicate Monday’s Musing post to a more detailed review of this fantastic book.

Mmmm Brioche...

 The other parcel I collected was completely unexpected and it turned out to be a present from Fourboys. I want to give this more dedicated attention, so here’s a snap-shot of the contents for now and tune in again next Friday for the full “reveal”. In the meantime: check-out the cute crocheted amiguri animals on her cards.

Mmmm Goodies...

 So, as if that was enough to have me on a high, after swimming lessons we proceeded into Dublin City Centre “en famille”, where I was dropped off for a rendez-vous with the City Centre SnB group. I spent the next two hours in the delightful company of Diane, Karen, Harriet, Bairbre, Megan, Rosemary, Bríd, Ger and Ulke (? I’m sorry, I didn’t hear your name very well, and I’m sure I’d mis-spell it even if I had – Lacedup17 on Ravelry). What a thoroughly delightful bunch of women.

We were meeting for the first time in Café Bell, which shares a courtyard with a church: turn left at the Piéta (you think I’m joking, don’t you?!). Probably because of being located adjacent to a church, it is frequented by many elderly ladies – presumeably after Mass. They were obviously fascinated at our appearance and many came over (all of them making a bee-line for Ger, for some reason) to pass comments of delight and nostalgia at our endeavours. One be-skirted individual (an Alb, I’m reliably informed) commented that we looked liked nuns, minus the veils. Thankfully, he didn’t loiter for too much longer and we could reclaim our eyebrows from the ceiling. Anyway, the group meet on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of every month. I have visions of the ladies who showed such an interest, turning up next Saturday with their WIPs, wondering where all the “young-wans” have disappeared to.

And as if I hadn’t completely over-indulged myself already today, after we all packed up our things and said our good-byes, I waddled (somewhat Jabba-the-Hut-like, from all the self-indulgence) to This is Knit for a date with a skein of Malabrigo Lace. Oh yes!

In recognition of the panic-buying that was evident on the TIK thread on Ravelry – dedicated to the arrival of Malabrigo – I pm’d the Lovely Lisa of TIK and asked her to set aside a skein of (say it with hushed tones, in a gravel-ly voice) Amoroso. Terrible enabler that I am, I bought a skein for each of my knitting buddies too: Applewood for Bootie; and Emerald Blue for Clarabel (unless she prefers the Amoroso – I’m easy!) I kinda fell in love with the Emerald Blue when I saw it too. Post-rationalisation, anyone?


I also made the acquaintance of Kneehigh, Timiat and Iontach (Ravelry names), while I was loitering (yabbering) in TIK. I have no idea what it is like to take mind-altering drugs but the mental image I have of myself in TIK is similar to Spud from Trainspotting during his Interview. Blame it on the Malabrigo fumes and the confluence of so many fantastic knitterly things happening to me in one day.

Now before you start to sympathise with poor, long-suffering DH please note that he spent the time indulging on his own stash enhancement expedition… at a wine ware-house:

Mmmm Wine

 And on top of all of that, I made fantastic progress on his GlenvarAgin Cardigan over the course of the day – no wonder he induldges me!

“Oh, it’s such a perfect day
I’m glad I spend it with you”


from “Perfect Day” by Lou Reed, 1972

Treats and Temptations

Well… it’s been a while. You’ve been on my mind dear Reader. Initially, back in November, it was organising the Irish Knitters Secret Pal Swap that took up all my online time. Then, after the Swap – which was a great success & well worth all the effort involved – time wore on; and as 2008 morphed into 2009 I realised that when I did finally come back to you it would have to be with a fabulous, super-dooper post to make things up to you. Of course, the thought of sitting down to write such a post is very daunting; where-upon one ends up in a spiral of avoiding an ever-increasing task. So here I am, with tail between legs and a whole morning off to try to make it up to you for your patience. If Flickr behaves itself there’ll be visual treats too, to make it all worthwhile.

When 2009 had scarcely drawn breath I had a little Epiphany of my own: a snuggling-down-to-sleep brainwave that had me completely wired for hours! What about going to London for a weekend, around the mid-term break, with a few of my knitting friends? So it was that Heather (Nearlythere), Caroline (Bootie), Claire (Clarabel) and I headed off for an Adventure in London. The itinerary was meticulously researched by Claire and we got lots of advice from the very friendly & helpful Ravelers on one of the UK groups.

We arrived on Friday, checked in (to the London Hilton, no less – they had a sale on!) and with only a scant glance at our rooms headed out again to IKnit in Waterloo. Oh, the fun we had: the yarn we fondled; the skeins we wound (badly and spent 40 mins de-tangling); the beer we consumed (it’s a licensed yarn-shop = dangerous); the money we spent! Feast your eyes on the loot accumulated by yours-truly alone.

May I introduce you to three new pairs of socks that are destined to be mine…

From left to right we have:

2 DI 4 Duo DK – Superwash Merino; Indie Dyer Mini Fingering – Superwash Merino in the colour Dad’s Den and Cherry Tree Hill Possum Sock – Superwash Merino with 20% Possum in the colour Winterberry.

We met Craig, one of the owners, who shamelessly plied us with drink! Canny man, naturally this meant our inhibitions were lowered and we bought more yarn. In my case, I discovered Debbie Bliss and her book Unexpected Knits and even though I’d only had one beer a brief glance inside her book and my head was spinning.

After all our indulgences (and a second drink!) we traipsed over to the Tapas bar that Craig recommended to us. We shall now draw a veil over the rest of the evening and merely say that 5n divided into 4x is not a healthy sum (where n= wine bottles and 4 is the number of reckless consumers).

The following morning we made our way to Loop. Or at least 3 & ½ of us did. The rest of me didn’t make it to the land of the living until sometime in the afternoon. Loop is lovely. The decor is cool, soothing – a bastion of calming comfort with a soft armchair. Just what I needed. I’m afraid all I bought was Norah Gaughan’s Vol 3 and Claire had to make the purchase for me.

We went from there on cross-town buses, in glorious and healing sunshine, to Putney and Stash – the high-light of our weekend, I think. First we popped into the Crimson Cafe a few doors down where we happened to meet Jasmine (Jaasmania on Rav) who came over to join us when she saw us pull out our knitting. We had a lovely chat with her while we ate delicious lunch and before we headed down to Stash. There we met one of the owners, Michelle, and one of the teachers, Nick; both of whom were warm, friendly and welcoming. I’m glad I had recovered at this stage because it would have been a shame to miss all the wonderful treats on offer.

Clockwise from the top:

Malabrigo Worsted in Velvet Grapes – destined to be a cabled hooded top of yumminess;

Malabrigo Silky Merino in Indicita – 3 skeins bought in Stash to go with two given to me at Christmas by Mary (Fezzik);

Koigu Mori Merino and Mulberry Silk – destined to be a lacy shrug of delight;

Shi Bui Sock Superwash Merino in Pebble – destined to be Argosy to match a skein of Manos de Uraguay Wool blend that is destined to be a modularly knit hat;

Two Flat Feet just for the hell of it. One of them unfurls to reveal a blue-dyed Union Jack – couldn’t resist such a souvenir of our London Adenture.

Somehow I managed to get all this in my carry-on bag and home without going over my weight allowance.