Saturday, January 21, 2012

Forgotten knits

I have somehow forgotten to show off these finished knits, in spite of the fact that I wear them on an almost constant basis. 

My Handspun Hat;
Yarn; spindle-spun 3 ply yarn, using mixed-fibre batts from LHogan. This particular batt was named 'School Uniform' & I picked it up at the 2010 Knitting & Stitching Show. I dunno about you but my school uniform was never this interesting!  The batt was 100g; I did not use all the yarn to make the hat.
Needles; 4mm (taking my slightly loose tension into account.
Pattern; Made up. Based on many social occasions when surrounded by fellow knitters, I have come to the conclusion that I have an abnormally large head. Seriously, no grown woman that I have encountered has beat my 23.5 inch circumference. More room for brains?! So your typical woman's hat pattern is usually too small for me. 
I cast on 96 stitches & worked in 2 x 2 ribbing for about 2 inches, and then worked the rest of the hat in stocking stitches. The crown decreases are a combination of left-leaning & right-leaning decreases. 

I'm reasonably happy with the finished knit; it is slightly but not overly slouchy & very warm. However in extremely windy conditions I can feel it beginning to slip off my head. I do intend to re-knit the ribbing with a few stitch decreases for a little negative ease and a more secure fit.

Stocking Stitch Cowl:
Yarn; Malabrigo Lace, less than one skein, in 'Tuareg' colourway. Which amuses me as there is also a 'Tuareg' tea in the Tea Garden
Needles; 3.5 mm needles
Pattern; Another makey-uppey knit; this cowl is super cosy & super simple to knit. I cast on 140 stitches and knit in stocking stitch until I got fed up / a cold neck. This cowl is very light weight & thin but very cosy. It is long enough to cover my neck and the lower part of my head; for colder days I would have it tucked under a scarf and up under my hat just to make sure there are no gaps allowing in the cold. I've pulled it up over my face when walking into a cold wind, & have it slouching around my neck on not-so-cold days for just a little warmth. While malabrigo lace wears very badly, this simple cowl will still be useful & cosy even if pilled & fuzzy.

It's been very useful for some recent windswept hillwalking excursions.

Photos by Tom (aka 'The Fella')


In the past few months I have been doodling again. In my previous life as an art & design student it was something I did every day in every spare moment, but up until very recently I had been lacking in motivation. A couple of months ago I was asked to do some design work...
 ... And this week, I got to see a finished object based on my doodles; these shawl pins were delivered to This is Knit, made by NovaSteel & designed by yours truly.
The design was inspired by the annular & penannular brooches in the National Museum of Ireland - for example, the Tara Brooch - though it's been simplified both to suit modern tastes & the materials. Besides, no knitter would want their beautiful lace shawl outshone by a piece of jewellery! I am delighted with the finished piece; it looks even better than I had imagined. More than anything, I am honoured that the lovely Lisa from This is Knit put her faith in my doodle abilities when commissioning this design. It's given me a boost & I have since been experimenting on paper for some knitted designs... watch this space!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Giving gifts

This winter I was adamant that I was not going to knit gifts for Christmas; I did not want the self-imposed pressure, especially after all the baby knits of the year.
However, I did cave every so slightly...

For the other knitter in my family, I spun up some roving from LHogan; this was a recent installment from Laura's delicious fibre club. I did not take process photos and did not take note of the finished length, but the recipient made the appropriate happy noises and yarn-squishing gestures.

And then, with about 2 weeks to go before Christmas, I decided to knit one single gift... or rather a pair, for my dear Nana. I couldn't bear to think of her having cold hands!

Pattern; Borough by Veronica O'Neil
Yarn; Mirasol Kutama from This is Knit
Buttons; from Studio 54, Blackrock.

Based on the recommended yarn (Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted) I assumed, in my last minute Christmas gift rush that an aran weight yarn would suit & sent the other half into my 'third home' (he works practically next door) to pick up some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran - a safe bet when knitting for others. The fabric was far too loose for the pattern. Cue an in-person visit to peruse yarn tags & recommended tension information; I settled on the Mirasol Kutama because it just seemed right.
Modifications; I knit the top of thumb in reverse stocking stitch (the garter stitch thumb would have been too thick). I also made the wrist length shorter; I only knit 3 inches of garter stitch for both yarn saving purposes & for ease of wearing with a full sleeved winter coat. I also added partial lining at the wrist in leftover malabrigo lace, as the yarn could be slightly prickly to very sensitive skin.
The mittens were well received, even if the weather has gotten warmer since the end of December. But mittens don't go off!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Newgrange in Autumn

Ooh look. Photos I took ages ago & never shared.  These pics are from a fairly recent trip to Newgrange with The Fella. It was a lovely clear autumn day.
I love this tree; it looks like it's about to come to life like something from Lord of The Rings.
Near the foot of that tree... lots and lots of spider webs on the grass glistening in the sun.  I've never seen anything like it before!
Inside the Newgrange visitors centre, there's a display that includes clothing from back in the olden days - flax & nettle fibres...
and some dog hair - turns out 'Chiengora' is far from a new concept!