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?

Mmmmalabrigo....

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

Saturday’s Stash = U.S.A.

U.S.A. or Unexpected Stash Accumulation

Mmmmmm-Manos

Isn’t this yummy? I received it yesterday, as a present from my daughter (austensibly, at least!). DH picked it out in This Is Knit, using her strict instructions: dark puple & really nice. I don’t think she paid for it out of her savings either so – technically – I bought it for myself but isn’t this a much nicer way to go about acquiring stash?

Left to my own devices, I don’t know if I would have got this. I mean this in a good way: I’m too easily distracted by variagated yarns, which always look gorgeous in the skein but then pose such a problem when it comes to knitting them. This is a beautiful hue of semi-solid purple and I knew the minute I unwrapped it what it’s going to be. Early last year I had to throw out a shop-bought, cropped, wrap-cardigan because it had been worn to death. I threw it out, promising myself I’d replace it with a similar hand-knit. Did I? Did I, heck! Well, now I can. DH got me 4 skeins so I have 1200 yards – should be plenty. And a big “Thank You” to whoever it was in TIK that served DH – he tells me he made you dig the fourth skein out of your display. I’m glad he did & that you did – an extra 300yards makes all the difference.

I think this year – and possibly next year – our kids are at the optimal ages for Christmas. This year my daughter – off her own bat – decided she wanted to buy presents for her family with her savings. Last Saturday, this generosity of spirit produced some amazing consequences. It’s added such fun of the season to conive with her as she tries to hide the gifts and then later as she comandeers you, with all the subtlty of a starling, into another room to help her wrap them. “There’s nothing going on in here”. In addition, my eldest two are still completely steeped in Santa-lore, whereas The Earl is only beginning to become aware of “Ganka” – as he calls The Man in Red. Next year he’ll be a fully-fledged believer, whereas DD may have succumbed to skepticism by then. As long as she still has her beautifully spirit of generosity then Christmas will be safe.

To Dye For

It’s probably 18 months ago that I went to a dyeing workshop at This is Knit and I never posted about it.  The class was given by Elana (Elana on Ravelry) and Charlene and it was a blast; I couldn’t believe how quickly the time went. I was joined by some lovely people taking the class: Geraldine (Gerryberry); Mara (she’s on Ravelry, but she couldn’t remember what her name is) and Mary (Fezzik) whom I also know from the Swords Knitting Group.

We started by practicing on two small hanks of Aran-weight wool. The dyes we used are Gaywool Dyes from Austrailia, supplied by Derryaun Crafts. There was a wide seleciton of colours to choose from. For my first effort I used Iceberg (light blue), then Tomato (red) and finally Mulberry (purple). I over-painted one dye on another, to get some interesting gradations. My second effort was Wattle (lime green) and Mulberry – zing!

   

We then graduated to our sock yarn. I decided that I would attempt to do something semi-solid, in honour of how I always buy madly variegated sock yarns but yearn to do heavily patterned socks. I find it’s the knitting equivalent of “Rock, Paper, Scissors”: the colour variations kill the pattern. I used Iceberg with Meadow (light green) and Lily (dark green). I’m not sure if I was successful from the point of view of semi-solid but I absolutely LOVE what I made. I’ve decided it’s destined to be Pomatomus.

I tried to make a Calorimetry with one of my practice hanks but was halfway through the ball after only eight rows or so. DD and DS have requested butterflies – I have no idea where this notion has come from. I also have no idea of how to knit a butterfly. I have an inkling of how I might crochet one. One of these days a chrysalis may form…

Quid pro quo vs. Karma

On Friday afternoon I skived off work and headed into town on the Bus to join fellow knitters celebrate the Grand Opening of This Is Knit’s new Powerscourt Shop. I decided I had earned a half-day after putting in two months of solid, diligent work since my return from maternity leave. However, being a full-time working mother of three children such spontaneous treats take a bit of organising. On this occasion, DH agreed to take the car and pick up the kids from the crèche in the evening. So off I gambolled, pretty much guilt-free.

This isn’t the first time DH has aided and abetted my knitting obsession: at the end of August he minded all three kids for the weekend while I frolicked with fibre at Electric Picnic. And it won’t be the last: in only two weeks time he’ll do the same while I scurry off to our Knitting Retreat with 14 other fibre-freaks. I won’t say I don’t think twice about asking him to do these things for me (and my addiction). However, I don’t feel as guilty as I could because I never complain when he “abandons” me with the three kids for his week-long business trips.

I don’t see this as Quid pro quo, because I’m rubbish at keeping tally. I’m mildly conscious of there being a store of Brownie Points. Last year I made quite a number of deposits; this year I’m making some withdrawals. Generally, I tend to avoid making a “run on the bank” so that liquidity remains boyant. That’s enough topical talk! I’m more of a believer in Karma, than quid pro quo – what goes around, comes around; not something for something.

Quite often I’m on the receiving end. For example, a few weeks ago I brought some old clothes and toys to my local Vincent de Paul shop. While I was there I noticed a bag of yarn. Delving further I managed to ferret out all eight balls of this:

Charity Cache

Charity Cache

Patons “Stonewash Cotton Ribbon” – all for €3! I love the way the ball band says “The fashionable faded look” – maybe in the eighties? I have no idea what I’m going to do with it, perhaps some loose-lace, retro T-shirt next summer.

Now if the Cosmic Forces that control Karma are reading my blog, I’d like to recommend a few knitters for a healthy dollop. When I arrived at TIK2 lots of other knitters were there, knitting little hats for Innocent Smoothies BIG knit. Geraldine (aka Gerryberry on Rav) is leading the fray with over 60 hats already knitted. Go Gerry!

While I was there I got as far as I could go on my latest pair of socks (yup, October’s socks are underway; DH has named them Tornado Toes). Helen (aka HelenMc on Rav) suggested I get stuck into the hats too. TIK had little packs of yarn-ends dotted around the place, just for this purpose, but the only needles I had were my sock needles. When Tigerseye (a knitter I befriended at this year’s KIP) heard that I’d be facing a return bus journey sans knitting she leant me her set of 3.75mm DPNs – thanks Meg, you saved my sanity!

An extra-special dollop of Karma, with side order of Good Luck and Best Wishes sprinkled all over, to Lisa, Jacqui and Aileen as they open their Powerscourt branch of This Is Knit. Seeing is believing, but these three have to be the nicest, most helpful, most friendly people I’ve ever encountered in the retail business. They deserve every success. Naturally, I’ll do what I can to support them… ahem!