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StashDown / Lacealong2012


Summer Affair Blocking

My cake of Malabrigo Yarn Lace currently weighs 27.5g, which means I have knit 98.9m in the past week. I finished all three repeats of the leaf lace chart for Summer Affairand blocked it out to the dimensions in the schematic. It took some serious stretching of the fabric to get the correct height. I expected stitches to break and a great big hole to arrive in the centre of my work. The next stage is to graft up the seams for the sleeves and knit the edging. Hopefully this evening, depending on how quickly I can get this blog post finished, to be honest.


The WIP-count is mounting:

  • First up, as I posted last Thursday, I’ve been knitting a Uterus. I made a mistake on the Fallopian tubes (I didn’t read the pattern and didn’t realise that I was meant to put decreases in). This pattern is incredibly quick and I could probably knit a uterus a night. I intend to make a few of them before posting them off to the “expectant” knitter in Texas.
  • While Summer Affair was blocking – and my womb was recuperating – I succumbed to a little startitis and cast on for Multnomah in Artesano Hummingbird 4ply that @bioniclaura gave me towards the end of last year. This is on my list for the 12 Shawls in 12 but I’d intended on getting to it much later in the year. I could give you all sorts of arguments about needing something portable, or yarn that didn’t need to be wound into cakes, or mindless knitting but when it comes down to it I just wanted to cast-on so I did! Let’s just gloss over the fact that I could have progressed…
  • GlenvArgh! and
  • Petals



Laura Hogan Falkland in Joan colourway

I went to the Sunday Spin-in today and met @Cathyqtpi, @Whirl123 and @SheKnitUpThat in Accents Lounge on Lower Stephen’s Street. While there, I nav-plied my LHogan’s Hand-dyed Falkland in the “Joan” colourway. My plan for this is 198 yds. of Heaven. This was my first time to nav-ply a whole skein of yarn. It went well, then really badly and then well again.
My first bobbin was nav-plied with really long loops. I encountered a problem when my single wasn’t robust enough for all the friction involved in going through a loop for ages so I switched to small loops for my second bobbin. The two resulting skeins are very different from each other and I hope some soaking and thwacking will sort them out.

Mainly, though, I’m delighted at having finally plied the yarn. It’s only been sitting there since last September or so! Now I can take part in #spin5 – a twitter thing that gets you to spin for at least five minutes a day. If I do I’ll make that a new heading here instead of #twilting.

Nike+ GPS

I’ve been pathetic about getting out running lately. I could claim it’s mainly because I’ve been worrying about my knee but really I’ve been less inclined to get out. I’ll try to tackle this next week.

Gems from the Web

Tina Murphy, founder of Run With Tina, posted this fantastic photograph yesterday. She was driving through the Wicklow Mountains with her family and they passed this scene and knew they had to drive back to capture it on camera.
I have to agree with another commenter that it looks like a painting. Definitely, this was the high-light of my week on the web.
Well done, Tina!


Sheep on a hillside in Co. Wicklow Photographed by Tina Murphy used with kind permission of Tina Murphy


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!

FO: Kingfisher Blues

A spinning FO for you this time, which people on the Irish Spinners group have already seen.

It’s my February skein in the Skein-a-month Spin-a-long that I only finished the other day. It’s impossible to capture the colours properly, though I did make several attempts. It’s looking very blue in these shots whereas there’s  a lot of green in reality. I’m calling it Kingfisher Blues because it has those blues and greens. Plus it gave me the blues!

I started spinning this (on my Ashfird Student spindle) last Summer as part if the Tour de France; and made a haimes of it by not drafting the fibres out at all. 

I undid that, before I went too far and started againg on the spindle. I got on much better the second time around but then got distracted by other projects… and probably my wheel too. I took it up again in early February and spun the other ball of Louet Top on the wheel.
Hope Springs Eternal
I continued spindling the first ball of top but was finding it very slow. In an attempt to be finished by the end of February, I spooled it onto a bobbin and spun the rest of it – that was a fun excercise!
I learned a lot while making this skein. I had a lot of breaks, both while spinning and while plying. My spinning ability improved, especially my spindling. I “made a break for it” and tried spindling without park & draft. But I don’t like the feel of the finished yarn and I’m blaming the fibre I started with. I don’t think I’ll get Louet top again.

However, I *am* going to knit with this – and possibly very soon. I think I’ll make another golf-club cover for my mum. The colours are perfect and it should last a bit better than the Malabrigo one I just gave her.

February Round-up

I have very little to report for this month. In fact, checking back on my post for my January Round-up, the situation has hardly changed at all!

  • FOs = 0
  • WIPs = 2

GlenvArgh! is languishing while I focus on pattern-writing and knitting my design.
While I don’t have an FO to show for it, pattern-writing has been a fascinating & thoroughly rewarding process. Having read a few timely tweets from other designers, I was prompted to work out the Maths first. I did this as far as I could visualise but then *had* to pick up the needles to test it out. It was just as well I did because I had made some classic, newbie mistakes.

It took at least 3 attempts at the sleeve & shoulder shaping before I got it “right”. I also suffered two needle fatalities: one Denise cable and on of my Knit-pro cables.

  • Frogged = 1… several times!

Meanwhile, I did get a pair of socks into circulation, by darning a hole on one toe. These are my favourite socks, ever! They’re Embossed Leaves from Favorite Socks by InterWeave Press.

There was stash enhancement but it was of the controlled, long-awaited variety; and therefore completely acceptable. It was the first instalment of Janel Laidman’s “Illuminations” sock-club: two skeins of Staccato Sock by ShibuiKnits.

I also didn’t complete my February skein for the SkAM-SpAL. I was reviving a spindle of Louet Northern Top that I had started last Summer. Though I enjoyed the spindling – and became quite good at it after practicing so frequently – it really is much slower.

  • Yarn in = 175(103-Green)+175(105-Blue) = 350m
  • Yarn out = still indeterminate, but probably more than yarn in!… //for once!//
  • Meet ups = one, #twillting aka the Quilting workshop given by @MaryLD at the beginning of February.
  • I had to bow-out of the February Spin-in because I was enjoying a weekend away in Inchydoney Hotel and Spa. It was a treat for my fortieth birthday.

    – Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

    Spinning WIP: Hope Springs Eternal

    A new month, a new theme for our Skein-a-month Spin-a-long: Hope Springs Eternal.

    I like this theme  – it could relate to the start of spring on 1st February (Irish / Celtic Calendar) and the Hope that Spring brings.

    Or… it could be a spring of water, bursting forth with promises of eternal hope.

    Or – as in my case – it could be the eternal optimism that springs from an ability to Hope! Hope that one day… I may be able to produce a skein of consistent yarn.

    I bought these two “balls” of Louet Corriedale Top in TIK last summer; and started the first on my spindle. I had *hopes* that because it was pencil roving that I wouldn’t have to do as much drafting; thereby letting me focus on the other aspects of spinning I was struggling with… like the spinning bit… and the “adding twist”… and the “making yarn”!

    That didn’t work out so super-fantastic and the whole thing got shelved. So with the Hope that Springs from this month’s theme this poor little project is being shown the light of day again. I *hope* to continue the first “ball” on the spindle but to spin the second on the wheel. Then ply the two (this should be interesting, to say the least!)

    This was the project I brought with me to the January Spin-in last Sunday. I started off the wheel-spun single and did a fine impersonation of someone who hadn’t a clue what they were doing with a wheel in front of them. Yes, this was the morning after the night before and my over-indulgence played havoc with my abiltity to draft and treadle at the same time.

    I switched to the spindle and was quite pleased with myself for trying to draft without parking. I had been watching BionicLaura and DubSpinner as they were doing this and had a little epiphany. Then my spindle decided to fall out with me too (possibly something to do with me over-spinning the yarn – what-evahz!) so I gave up and switched to knitting!

    The Spin-in was periodically visited by the enthusiastic students of Aoibhe’s wheel-spinning workshop: SusyMcQ, KneeHigh and two others that I didn’t get the name of. Susan now reports that she can spin from the fold and Navajo ply. I haz the mad jealous! But also… HOPE!

    If someone can spin from the fold and Nav-ply after an afternoon spinning workshop why can’t I? Step one is that I tell myself “there’s no reason why not!”; Step two is that I grasp the hope that this realisation brings and just get on with it. So thank you, Aoibhe and Susan – even though I wasn’t taught how by the former or shown by the later – just the fact that I know this is possible instils *HOPE* that I can!

    Spinning FO: Eyjafjallajokull

    I did it!!! I have made YAAARRRNNNN!!!

    Fire and Ice: Eyjafjallajokull

    It was a bit of a struggle at times and really enjoyable at times. The plying was much easier than I expected. I read  – properly, this time – the instructions that Maggie Casey gives in her book “Start Spinning” and it was waaay easier than spinning.

    I did have “fun” when one bobbin finished several meters before the other. In the future, I’m going to have Navajo plying for dealing with this situation. In the meantime, I consulted the Oracle that is Twitter and thanks to @Deimne, @Dianeknits and @BionicLaura for their advice and @cathyqtpi and @WrapNTurn for their encouragement.

    I did I bit of a quasi-scientific endeavour with weighing scales to try to find the centre-point of  the remaining single. Of course, this really only works with commercial yarn that has a consistent “density” throughout.

    I missed the centre point by a few meters so one bobbin ran out again. This time, I took a trip down the hall to find the centre point.

    I didn’t quite get it then either so when I was left with a meter or so of one single I tried a few chains of Navajo.

    So after soaking and snapping and hanging to dry, I did some measuring. (I immediately realised I would have been better off doing the measuring before I had fastened ties around the skein. *sigh!* I live and learn!)

    I’ve got 3oo meters of yarn (give or take) and it’s turning out as (on average) 11 or 13 WPI. Kinda, sorta, DK weight (with sections of super-bulky!)

    I’m now dreaming of all the possible things I could make with it…

    Spinning WIP: Fire and Ice

    As I mentioned, we started a SkAM-SpAL (Skein-a-month Spin-a-long, in case you didn’t know!) over on the Irish Spinners Group on Ravelry. The idea is to help motivate each other (me!) to make a dint in our roving stash by at least spinning on skein each month – on spindle or wheel.
    We’ve got very loose rules after that. And while we’ve hit upon a theme for the month: “Fire and Ice” we reckon you would satisy the theme if you said “Here’s what I spun while sitting by the Fire, drinking Bailey’s on Ice”!

    So, with apologies to those who’ve already seen this on the thread, here’s my planned skein for this month:


    It’s Hand-dyed Merino Roving from Ivy Brambles. The colourway is called “Volcano” and I bought it online from the Yarn & Fiber Trading Company after my husband got stuck in San Fransisco in April when that volcano in Iceland erupted. When he didn’t bring home a single scrap of compensatory yarn or fiber for me I went on a bit of a shopping spree and couldn’t resist including this in my haul!

    I started this last November, after I got my wheel at Rhinebeck and am thrilled with the first bobbin:

    Volcano-1st bobbin

    I divided the whole length of fibre down the centre length-ways and I’m nearly finished the second bobbin in the same direction.

    I’m hoping that the finished plied yarn will be mainly long stipes of both singles in the same colour but with some transitions where one single takes up the next colour sooner than the other – if you follow me?

    Edited to add: This evening I completed the 2nd bobbin. I’m dreading the next stage: to – gasp! – ply them.