Thursday, December 4, 2014


I've been feeling rather guilty about neglecting the blog lately, so I'm sharing a spinning project from some weeks ago. This was an experiment in blending colours using hand carders.
Originally, I wanted to mix some flashes of bright colours (pinks & reds) in with some greys - something I've admired in mixed fibre batts from LHogan, that grew up to become a hat.
In practise, the grey gotland fibre I selected was far too slippery for my liking. It did not blend at all with the brightly dyed merino.
The resulting yarn was somewhat marled & uneven in thickness & texture.
I came to the realisation that I could introduce the grey as a separate yarn in the finished knit object, whatever that may be, and carded the bright colours together in varying proportions. Some mini batts were dominated by deep purples, some pinks, and some red. I've also come to the conclusion that there is a place in my fibre stash for neon pink - it looks wonderful as a highlight with red fibre. 
The finished yarn is 135 metres, 110 grammes of chain-plied yarn, of about dk - aran weight. The colours are just calling to me in these short dull days... but I must get on with knitting some winter gifts first!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Gratuitous cake photo

I haven't been in much of a sharing mood lately due to a combination of factors. We've just moved house, and most of my knitting has involved swatches, and ongoing projects. December is quickly approaching though, so I really ought to get finishing some gift knits. 

Until then, I leave you with an oreo cupcake. I didn't share this either. I regret nothing. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Sculpture in Context 2014

The Sculpture in Context exhibition is on at the Dublin Botanic Gardens now, until October 17th.
I quite enjoy wandering about the Botanic Gardens any day of the year, but really enjoy keeping an eye out for the sculptures - especially the almost-hidden ones on a stroll through the garden. 

Of course, the textile works have an extra special place in my heart. 
Prophecy by Mette Sofie Roche

 Uproot by Marika Miklosi Manning

I managed to wander through the Palm House when the sprinkler system had just been switched on. The beautiful light  on a sunny day was worth the soaking.

Small Breaths by Margaret Tuffy

I'm hoping to make another leisurely trip around the gardens before the exhibition closes, as I've only seen a fraction of the works on display.

Monday, September 8, 2014

New pattern: Dapple Cowl

A number of weeks ago, I was presented with a skein of Juniper Moon Farm Herriot Heathers, and a challenge to knit something 'cowl like' in less than two weeks. 
The yarn is beautifully cosy, drapes wonderfully, and has the most wonderful subtle heathered appearance - too subtle to capture successfully on camera (unless you actually know what you're doing with a camera!). After some experimentation with this baby alpaca yarn, I realised that a little lace would show it off nicely. Existing patterns on Ravelry were not speaking to me, and so the Dapple Cowl was born! 

The cowl is knit in the round and features a lace panel surrounded by stocking stitch. It uses one skein of the Herriot Heathers and is long enough to wear as a hood over your head too, for particularly chilly days.

The lace panel is inspired by the dappled light through late summer trees - something that I've often stopped to admire on walks through my neighbourhood. Our trees are still full of green leaves, but there is a slight chill in the air in the evenings, and there's a hint of red and gold on some leaves. A reminder that colder weather is on the way (music to a knitter's ears!). The lace motif is borrowed from Barbara Walker's 'A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns', and is easy enough to memorise.

The pattern is available to download now for free.

The yarn should be available in This is Knit in the coming weeks!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sewing - Little Summer Dress

During the recent warm weather I've mostly been dressing the small human in loose light dresses & leggings. I picked up this little frock in H&M recently, and figured the construction was simple enough to imitate; raglan sleeves with an a-line body and a little bit of elastic at the neck & sleeve to gather. No buttons, no zippers.
All of the cottons I had in fabric stash seemed a little too heavy for the humid weather. I used lighter cotton fabric from an old blouse of mine (it had a hole in one sleeve and a wee tea stain in the front that wouldn't wash out) and some cord elastic I had lying about the house. I won't show off the internal seams, as I was up to my usual tricks of just lashing things together haphazardly. Must do better next time. (for the record, the dress is not as wonky as it appears in this photo. Must also play closer attention when taking photos!)

There were pleats & darts on the front of the original blouse that I kept in the fabric; it's extra room for air to circulate on warm days. Though, now that the dress is done the weather has turned cooler! I'm delighted to make something useful out of damaged clothing; I've still got some scraps of the fabric left that may become bunting or patchwork eventually. 

I haven't posted about knitting in a while; I'm working away on quite a few too many things at once, as usual. I've just picked up Rialto 4ply for my next planned project; Hansel by Gudrun Johnston.  I'll be combining existing stash with the new yarn, and joining in with This is Knit's Hap-along... once I get a couple of other ongoing projects out of the way.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Finished project ; Reversible Hooded Play Cape

My niece has just turned four.  Her most favourite thing at the moment is to 'be' Elsa from Frozen. So I thought she might appreciate an Elsa-coloured cape to swirl and flounce in. 
I used the Reversible Hooded Play Cape from Growing up; Sew Liberated by Meg McElwee.

I thought long & hard, & dragged out most of the fabric stash before settling on a red corduroy bought years ago combined with an aqua blue satin-ish fabric from Murphy Sheehy's, convinced that shiny fabric would be more 'princessy' in the mind of a 4 year old. 

I am a very inexperienced sewer; I have never actually used a commercial pattern before, but I found both the pattern and written instructions clear & thorough.

 I did learn a valuable lesson about fabric choices in this project. That shiny blue fabric slipped & moved like crazy during every stage of the project; the red corduroy also slipped in an entirely different direction. I've never been hugely accurate at cutting and sewing fabric, and as a result I ended up trimming off quite a bit of fabric from the edges.
Luckily, the fit of the project is not critical and I ended with a wearable cape. Though the only available model was far from impressed with being asked to sit or stand still....

For the record, I did try it on, and I am tempted to sew an adult sized version. I look forward to making dressing up clothes for my own little one when she is a little older. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Finished knit - Pippi Longstocking

''She was the strangest girl that Tommy and Annika had ever seen. It was Pippi Longstocking, going out for her morning walk. 
This is what she looked like: 
Her hair was the colour of a carrot and it was plaited in two tight plaits that stuck straight out. Her nose was the shape of a very small potato, and it was completely covered with freckles...
Her dress was quite odd. Pippi had made it herself. It was supposed to have been blue, but there hadn't been enough blue material, so Pippi had decided to sew on little red patches here and there. ''

The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking, by Astrid Lindgrin.

My lovely little niece has has just turned one. To celebrate the occasion, I wanted to give her a classic book with appropriate toy*.  In spite of never actually reading the book, I have always had a soft spot for Pippi Longstocking. She's independent, generous, and the strongest girl in the world - what's not to love?! Plus the red hair is just a bonus.
Pattern; Poppy by Ysolda TeagueYarn; Patons UK fab DK for the body; Sirdar Snuggly DK for the hair & dress; DK weight scraps for patches on dress, and sock leftovers for stockings & boots.

Unlike many toy patterns, this doll is knitted in the round, in one piece, with stitches for arms held on spare yarn, much like say a top down raglan jumper. Brilliant for someone who doesn't enjoy seaming about a million little pieces of knitting!

My only deviations from the pattern were for the surface details;
I stitched & knotted individual strands for the hair **to allow plaiting, and added a few freckles across the face. I also added a couple of duplicate stitch patches, and knit separate long stockings with boots (I had knit stockings as part of the legs but they were much too short).

As often happens after I finish a toy, I want to make another; with added clothes, and accessories like Mr Nilsson. And I really want to get another copy of the book just so I can read it myself to my own Small Human.

*My Small Human received two knitted bunny toys and The Velveteen Rabbit for her first birthday from her auntie; I admit to stealing the book + matching toy idea. 

**Massive thanks to Sue for providing the perfect orange yarn from stash for that!