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Knitmas Pt 2 - being spoiled

I was the very lucky recipient of my own Knitmas swap parcel. My very generous secret elf sent me a variety of gifts including yarn, different chocolate, tea, notions and the most amazing cabled snowman. Please excuse the dodgy artificial light in these photos; winter is not my favourite time for photography!
This needle gauge and KPI tool are made of bamboo, and I just love the wee sheep illustrations.
The cabled snowman has been living on the mantel since he arrived at his new home. Sadly still nameless, but definitely creating a festive vibe. I adore the cables!

The amazing C even went to the trouble of knitting me a pair of socks. They are comfy, cheerful & they even fit!! I am saving them for slouching about the house; they are too lovely to hide under winter boots.


My wonderful parcel also included a cross stitch kit, an owl-covered diary, two types of yarn, some polka-dot bun cases and four different types of chocolate!
I feel so spoiled; thank you not-so-secret-anymore-el…

Knitmas pt 1 - making Knitmas

While planning for the following projects, I may have been imagining a knitting & textile themed version of this song.
This year, I used the Irish-based Knitmas gift swap on Twitter as an excuse to exercise my sewing muscles. I've been intending to make some bunting for a while.
I used a pattern from 'Quilting in No Time' as a basis, and enjoyed making the bunting, but vow I will never again do anything as unnecessarily fiddley as turning in the raw edges for bunting. I do enjoy sewing but sometimes find it frustrating that I seem to spend ten times as long pressing the fabric as sewing or cutting it. In spite of this I have intentions to make more bunting.

I also used this as a perfect opportunity to make a new project bag, based on this tutorial. I enjoyed matching the fabrics & would love to make more similar bags, eventually, when the 48 hour day kicks in....

Of course the bunting didn't quite fill the project bag so I had to fill it up with some yarn, a w…

Oops

So much for the de-stash plans... But it's okay, I have plans for all of it. Lovely stranded colourful plans...



In my garden

There's something so very satisfying about walking into a big pile of crunchy Autumn leaves...
And about digging up spuds in your own back garden. Pity I planted these so late in the year & only got a minimal crop though.

Repetition

In spite of my of-late befuddled brain, I've managed to finish some baby knits. These have already made their way to the recipient. 
Pattern; Offset Wraplan, with some modifications to the stitch distribution in the front & back of the garment.  Yarn; Debbie Bliss Rialto DK.  Buttons; I may have picked these up in Hickey's on Henry St - my memory fails me.
Pattern; Devil's Cap - Purl Free finished off with a knotted i-cord.  Yarn; Debbie Bliss Rialto DK True to my recent form, I wasn't bothered putting any thought or preparation into recent knits, and so just kept working on more of the same - though these remain unfinished.  It won't go to waste though - I already know of 4 babies due next year!!

Road trip!!!

I recently took a few days off & headed over to Galway & Clare with the other half.  I only took a few photos and they don't do justice to the pure wonder of the landscape.   Poulabrone Dolmen; if it was part of the leaving cert art history course it's stuck in my brain for good.

 Cliffs of Moher; the photos don't really give you the sense of scale ... these cliffs are enormous. Spot the teeny wee cows in the distance. Not small, but far away.

We also visited Ailwee cave, aka the 'Very Dark Caves' of Father Ted fame. It's difficult to get a photo of darkness. I refrained from singing 'Bohemian Rhapsody' in Father Noel style... just.

Spinning (eye candy)

I've been so disorganised & distracted of late that I've forgotten to show off my pretties. I've also neglected to calculate the length or weight of the finished yarn, so this post really is all about the fluffy eye candy. Batts from Hedgehog fibres; different batts spun as separate singles & later plied together.
And some rainbow coloured 3 ply; I picked up the fibre at last year's HandmAid Craft Day.
This will probably become socks.

More importantly, HandmAid Craft Day is happening again this year. I've been rooting through stash for suitable donations. Last year's fundraising was very successful, so I hope this year's event lives up to expectations too.

Tour de Fleece 2012; C'est fin!

Considering everything else that I've been up to over the last weeks, I'm quite happy with my spinning output over this years' Tour de Fleece. Since my last post I have finished spinning...

Merino/gotland batt from LHogan
84 metres of 2ply light & fluffy yarn.


Alpaca Merino batt blended by bioniclaura
111 metres of 2 ply light & fluffy yarn





Humbug Jacob from World of Wool. 204 grammes, 415 metres of 3 ply yarn intended for socks

Tour de Fleece, and a big ole garden

I have yet to spin today, but made progress yesterday; so far, I have filled 2 laceweight bobbins with fine singles. 
The reason for not spinning today? Well, it barely rained today, which was a nice change from the recent days of constant drizzle. I made the most of it & spent a good portion of the day outside in the wilderness that is my garden. We just moved in 3 weeks ago; I've never had this big a garden before, and the previous tennants let it get quite overgrown, so there is a lot of work to do.
Any attempts to cut the grass or trim back trees & bushes have been marred by brambles, so most of my energy has been spent clearing those thorny f**kers. I am now convinced that if I ever had to defend a castle*, a bramble patch would me more effective than a moat.
However it's not all hard work; I have been getting to meet some of my garden's inhabitants.  Though I've yet to capture the little robin that follows me around the back garden on camera.
*I've be…

Tour de Fleece; temptation

Earlier in the week, I finished spinning singles from the Grey Massam fibre I was using, and decided to move on to the next batch of yarn immediately.  I had intended to move on to spinning the humbug jacob fibre here, in very fine singles, using the new lace bobbins I recently received for my spinning wheel. 
The centre part of the bobbin is thicker than the standard bobbin. The further your yarn is winding on from the centre of the bobbin, the less tension / pull you feel on the yarn as you spin it, so wider bobbins make it easier to spin finer yarn. I have notions of spinning the strands with a high twist, and then plying multiple strands to make a strong sock yarn.

But then I had a quick dig through the fibre stash and revealed some very very tempting pieces of fluff, in delicious colours and with delicious mixed fibres...  Just look at all the wee fibre inclusions in this batt from LHogan!!  I have decided, however, that unless I have a finished goal in mind for the fluff, I am …

Tour de Fleece 2012

I've been busy with 'other things' over the last couple of weeks, so am barely getting to participate in this years' Tour de Fleece; so far I have only been able to put in about 20 mins a day at most. I've been working away at this Grey Massam fibre from World of Wool, spinning a fairly fine single, fairly tightly. It is slightly rough to touch  - well, rougher than merino - but drafts surprisingly smoothly considering the texture. It also smells wonderful; my old favourite 'sheepy without the poo'.


I've had a bit of a wander through the fibre stash, to try decide what to spin next. Top contenders are jacob tops (humbug & grey colours), a fabulous sparkley batt (blue) or some hand-dyed tops from LHogan (pink). Think I'll choose the fibre based on a specific finished knit object. Time to hit the ravelry-queue for inspiration!

Drumroll....

I'm happy to announce that I survived the Flora Women's Mini Marathon. By the time it came around, I had already decided to mostly walk the 10k route.  I was hoping to complete it within 100 minutes, and was delighted that my finish time was 92.5 minutes. With a little luck and a lot of discipline I hope to improve on that speed by next year.  Thank you to everyone who shared words of encouragement, to everyone who donated to my collection in any form, and anyone who listened to me whinging about a sore arse for several days after the event.
I'm utterly delighted to announce that, through sponsorship, a bake sale in work, and the yarn sale, I exceeded my target of 500 euro and managed to raise a whopping e681.96 for the Irish Cancer Society.
I'm utterly chuffed. It's amazing what you can achieve when you put your mind to it.

Finished knit; new hat for me!

I decided to completely ignore the almost-completed baby knits in favour of knitting a hat for myself, as, up until about 3 days ago, the weather was still cold enough to warrant a hat. So a lovely skein of delicious Malabrigo Finito found it's way home with me to become my newest head-warmer.
Pattern; Slouched Tuva Hat my Turvid Needles; 3 mm modifications; I cast on extra stitches - total of 136 st to allow for the smaller tension & for my larger than average head. I used just over a skein of yarn & intend to use the remainder for mitts.
During recent walks on our local mountain trails I have found that my ears are painfully cold without a hat, but that my head is uncomfortably warm with a hat on. The relatively fine yarn & yarn-overs of the stitch pattern means this hat has just enough ventilation to maintain a comfortable temperature balance.  Though even with comfortably warm ears I still didn't pay attention to some puddles on our trail & ended with mud-…

In defence of Lyons..

In response to this here blog post, I feel the need to share the following;

A tea mug with an owl called Tom. From Lyons. I rest my case.
In case anyone is wondering, I prefer Lyons, with a minimal drop of milk, or sometimes even black. It must be a mug, because a wee cup is just too small. The tea bag must be removed before adding the milk (otherwise, I can tell from the taste). It tastes better if you call it tae (pronounced 'tay'), and often the tea is a bit too wet to have without a yummy digestive biscuit.

Languishing

At the moment, my home is a bit of a disorganised mess, and I've recently been going on about my good intentions to tidy it & clear out unwanted & unnecessary stuff.
In the midst of all that mess, I've rediscovered a couple of knitting projects that are so very nearly finished.
Small knitted things, that just need a bit of sewing.
Things.... for babies.
As though I didn't knit enough baby things last year, in evidence hereherehere & here....
Yep. That's right. While I was busy making things for babies last year, other people were off making more babies. And in the last couple of weeks those babies have been arriving!  So I really should get out the needles & the buttons & finish these off..

However, I have been distracted by other knitting, lovely other knitting involving steeks *...
 ... and cables. 
*yes, that is a sample knit for Kate Davies' new Blaithin Junior pattern. (the sooner I figure out how to insert fadas on a Mac laptop the bet…

Thank you

Thank you to everyone who supported my yarn sale fundraiser this past week. Thank you to everyone who shared & promoted a link to the sale, to everyone who purchased some yarn &  to everyone donated extra funds. 
So far, the sale has raised a whopping e239 euro, with a couple of items still left to sell.  I'm utterly delighted with the amount raised; some of you have new yarns, and some of my underappreciated handspun yarn is going to a new home to become new, exciting & unexpected finished objects. I look forward to seeing many project pages. 
Most of all, it's cheered me on greatly during a time of uncertainty in my workplace,  & encouraged me to keep the training up after a couple of lazy weeks. It's given me a reason to be as happy as a puppy with a stick.

Yarn sale fundraiser!

cue drumroll....
The yarn sale is open!
I offer, for your perusal, several items of handspun & deepest stash yarn. All proceeds generated by this yarn sale will be donated to the Irish Cancer Society.
If you would like to purchase any of the yarn items listed please mail me at eimeareeATgmailDOTcom (replacing the AT & DOT as necessary), & with 'Yarn Sale' in the subject bar. Please include the requested yarn, your name & contact details in the body of the mail. Please also let me know if you are in the Dublin area.
I will reserve items on a first-come-first-served basis and contact you to make arrangements for payment & delivery. I will also hand deliver if anyone wishes to attend the Fibre Fun Friday meetings (next one due May 4th), or otherwise arrange to meet in person for anyone in the Dublin area.
As this is a fund raiser, I'm asking that any online payments can be made through my online charity page, as I would rather that every single penny go tow…