Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Making Christmas


This year, I've laid off the gift knitting, but the cookie cutters are getting a work out. I'm looking forward to spending time with family & friends. (And to my mammy's roast spuds.) I hope you all have a peaceful festive season.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Buttons


I love buttons. I can easily spend quite a while sorting through the button jar to find the right button, and if nothing seems right I'll happily get extra sets of buttons becauseI can't be sure of the colour under artificial shop lighting. I seem to recall rifling through my mother's button tin as a child, just for the pleasure of looking at all the different colours & shapes, and still rather enjoy arranging them by colour, size etc.

Which is all a rather long winded way of saying that I probably have a rather excessive button collection. But as long as they fit in the button jar....

(I'm pretty sure I said the same when all my yarn fit into one plastic tub.)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Happy Camper

I am delighted to announce that I have just published instructions for Tír Chonaill* - the Baby Wearing Edition (project originally blogged here). The instructions are available to download here on Ravelry
You will also need to purchase a copy of Kate Davies' original Tír Chonaill pattern available here.

This blanket has been getting plenty of use as I tend to bring the little one for a walk every day. There have been no more little gasps from her when a sudden gust of wind hits, so I assume its doing its job well. I've been pleasantly surprised by the positive feedback I've received for this project. I really enjoyed knitting it, & hope that by sharing instructions, I can encourage other baby-wearers to show off their knitting too.

*I am also rather happy that I have learned how to type vowels with fadas on the Mac; as a pedant with a c úpla focail as Gaeilge the lack of that wee slanty line was really bothering me. It changes how the words are pronounced, you know!?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Conspicuous Knitting

I'm sure you can imagine my gleeful grin as I write this post. I simply loved knitting this project; the excitement of watching a  the colour work pattern emerge, the thrill of cutting a steek (or two) and the satisfaction of a lengthy i-cord bind off... sigh. I will readily admit that I am thrilled to be showing off this particular piece of knitting; there's no way you can miss this big piece of lovely wool buttoned around the little one as she sits in the carrier. 

This is a modified version of Kate Davies' gorgeous blanket pattern Tir Chonaill. I made this to keep the little one extra snug as I carry her about in the Beco Soleil. Stranded colour work creates an extra warm fabric due to the carried strands of the non-working yarn on the wrong side of the fabric.  
The blanket is knit in Studio Donegal's Donegal Tweed (blue) and Soft Donegal (off-white), with a little bit of Malabrigo Lace to line the hood. 
Admittedly, the hood is a little big at the moment, but she will grow into it!



I used:
240 yards of Studio Donegal Soft Donegal in Bainin for the main colour (apologies for the lack of fadas to any Irish speakers)
176 yards of Studio Donegal Aran Tweed in blue for the contrast
56.4 yards of Malabrigo lace to line the hood
5 toggles
4.5 mm interchangeable needles, plus many spare cables & stoppers

I'm so happy with this knit that I refuse to distract from its woollen goodness by having visible buttons on its front; i-cord loops and wooden toggles, on the wrong side of the knitting, connect it to my coat buttons & button holes.
See? Gleeful knitter indeed.

Thanks to Tom for taking the photos of me prancing about with the little one attached. They are both rather tolerant of my ways. I am lucky to have them!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

On the needles

I'm so excited about my current project that I fee the need to share it in its unfinished state. 
It's a modified version of Kate Davies' Tir Chonaill blanket.
There is something so very very satisfying about knitting this gorgeous colourwork pattern: about working two separate strands of proper woollen wool (the sort that itches if worn about the neck); about cutting the steek; about picking up & knitting on edges and icords.

I originally gave myself one week to finish this project, but have ripped out & re-worked a few parts of the piece. I'm on to the very last few steps now & look forward to showing this off... for this is going to be something to be worn & displayed prominently. I am a knitter & I want everyone to know it!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Baby-wearing Blanket

 I've been a busy bee over the weekend, completing a few projects that have been on the go a while. I have also managed to publish this pattern over the weekend; a baby-wearing blanket intended for use over a soft structured carrier. The blanket buttons on to my coat, and can easily be removed or replaced without disturbing baby - handy when ducking on & off warm public transport in the cool weather.

It is knit in aran-weight yarn. The main section is knit in Fisherman's ribbing, resulting in a very stretchy, cushy fabric that will stretch to accommodate growing baby. The moss stitch button bands offer some structure for holding it in place over a coat. 

The pattern also includes instructions for fixing the blanket directly to the carrier, so that it can be used with a zipped jacket, or an extra weather proof layer, or for back carries.
It is available to download on Ravelry here. One step closer to ensuring my child is covered by wool at all times!


EDIT: because I am a little forgetful & didn't think to mention the yarn the first time!
I used 4 balls of King Cole Merino Blend Aran for this project with just a couple of grammes left over.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Free Range Legwarmers

There's not much point in being a knitter if I can't keep my own little rugrat warm. She loves wriggling about on the floor without her nappy, but (typical of all first time mums) I worry about her little legs getting cold. So I've knit her some legwarmers, with drawstrings to avoid the almost inevitable escape. 

It's a very simple design, and the pattern is available as a download on Ravelry now


The striped version is knit in Debbie Bliss Rialto, using 80 metres of the main colour and 34 metres of the contrast colour. The ribbed version is knit in about 112 metres of Malabrigo Rios.

I've found that the drawstrings work best when tied at the ankles (most narrow part of her leg). I also use these when out for a walk with the little one in the baby carrier on cold days. These examples are knit in soft yarns for wearing next to skin. I intend to knit another pair in a coarser wool specifically as an outer layer - I am finding that coarser yarns stay in place a little better on wriggling feet.

Babies vary so much, and grow quickly, but these have plenty of room for growing, & will do as ankle warmers when she's a little older too.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Passing the Torch

I'm pretty sure that most of my crafty tendencies have developed from being around my mother & grandmother as they sewed & stitched & darned. Here's to passing on the torch to another generation. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Multiples

Recently, I've been knitting from the same patterns over & over. I find the millions of miles of stocking stitch soothing, & as my knitting time has been drastically reduced over the last 6 months or so I enjoy not having to focus on reading a pattern. 

The below tops are all based on a combination of Tama & Beyond Puerperium by Kelly Brooker. 
Both patterns are available in the Button Lovers eBook. (I used the stitch count for fingering/4 ply weight from Beyond Puerperium & the joined in the round as in Tama.) Both patterns are written in a variety of weights of yarn; perfect for using up yarn that has long been languishing in the depths of the yarn stash.




Project 1: Fyberspates BFL Dream Sock, purchased in 2009. (The colourway is 'Naughty Girl'. Yes, I am keeping this one for my little girl!) Buttons from This is Knit
Project 2: Colinette Jitterbug, purchased in 2008. Buttons from This is Knit
Project 3: Jaeger Matchmaker Merino 4ply, also purchased in 2008. Buttons from Hickey's.

Some of this yarn is 5 years old! I suppose this should be a lesson to just knit faster....

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Group efforts

I can't believe I've yet to share this project; it was finished a couple of months ago. It's a blanket, for my little one, knit by her mom, aunties and grannies. Each knitter started with a ball of yarn & the same size needles; they cast on the same number of stitches and knit in garter stitch. The finished strips really show the difference in each knitters' tension.


The blanket is now keeping a very small human cosy warm. There's something really satisfying knowing that 3 lapsed knitters picked up the needles again for this project. Even better to know that my tiny baby is wrapped in a woollen hug made by the women in her family.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Finished baby knits

I've been working my way through a pile of almost-finished baby cardigans & have made progress!
Some of these projects have been languishing for years, literally, so it feels good to have completed them finally.

Yarn; Debbie Bliss Rialto 4 ply (blue & orange) and Schoppel Wolle Admiral Ombre (barely visible yellow). 
Button from This is Knit
This one has been months in the making - I made a few errors & had to rip sections due to simply not paying attention to the pattern. I may have fudged it a bit in the end but am happy enough with the finished result. I would make this again, but actually pay attention!! 

Pattern; Classic Cardigan by Debbie Bliss
Yarn - Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino
Button from stash - I suspect from Studio 54 in Blackrock
I cast this on probably about 2 years ago & it has been languishing for want of a lot of sewing in ends. The pattern is unnecessarily complicated - it has you knit the front & back sections separately, from bottom to underarm, & then join & complete the top. I am convinced, based on patterns from her Essential Baby book, that Debbie Bliss creates her patterns based on sewn garment shapes rather than taking full advantage of knitting techniques. This time I knit from the bottom to underarms in one piece. If I am to make this again, I will re-work the numbers & work it from the top down in one piece with added-on button bands.

Yarn - Malabrigo Rios.
Buttons from This is Knit
I knit this at the tightest recommended tension for the yarn - 22 st per 10 cm. 
This was my first time using the yarn & it is lovely & squishy. However, the garment seems to have grown wider after a wash. I attempted to knit a 9 months size, but this seems wider than my almost-3-year-old niece. It's intended for my own bump in progress & will do as an outer layer in the winter months, I hope!

Pattern; Offset Wraplan by Sara Morris
Yarn; Debbie Bliss Rialto DK
Buttons from stash
The pattern as written seems very short in the body, so I just kept knitting for an extra inch or so.

Pattern; Beyond Puerperium by Kelly Brooker
Yarn; Louisa Harding Kashmir DK
Buttons from Hickeys
Another one started a very long time ago & abandoned in the UFO box for the longest time. This finished cardigan is about a 3 months size, so I'll likely keep it for my own. I tend to give gifts in bigger baby sizes to allow room to grow.
This brings my finished baby cardigan count for the year so far to 13 (including languishing UFOs). Now I just have to make sure they all get to their intended recipients in a timely manner - before the child grows too big!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

UFO progress

I've been making some progress in actually finishing some knits recently. The stash of baby gift knitting has been growing.
 
 This doesn't mean that I have cleared the entire mess of unfinished objects from the work basket though. Still plenty of ends to weave in & last little bits of sewing to finish...

Better get a move on; these babies are being born whether or not my knits are finished!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sewing for small people

 

I've been sewing some bits for a certain small human; I've made two slings from instructions based on this tutorial by Jan Andrea. The first sling was made using blue & lime green cotton fabrics from Murphy Sheehy. I was reluctant to entrust a child's safety to one measly layer of fabric, so used a thin lining with thicker cotton fabric. As a result, the pleats were very thick & my sewing just a bit messy. I also suspect that I cut the fabric a bit wider than the recommended 30''.

My second attempt, on the right, is sewn in grey & blue finer weight cottons. As the fabric is lighter, there was not as much bulk to sew through at the pleats. I'm happy with my attempts to sew some practical items, but am still waiting for the little one to arrive, so have yet to test these out. It is my intention to use these slings while pottering about the house etc, as little ones like to be held, and I like to have my hands free to do stuff!

I've also been working on my first attempt at a patchwork quilt; cot-sized. I was a bit overwhelmed by proper instructions & patterns in quilting instruction books, & decided to just jump in & sew. As a result, it's not the most aesthetically pleasing or planned quilt, but I am satisfied with this as a first attempt at patchwork. I used various cottons in aqua greens & blues collected over the last few years, & arranged square-ish shapes in offset rows, a bit like a brick wall. My sewing is not properly squared, and my assembly of the wadding & backing layers is far from perfect, but I don't think a small human will really mind too much.

I do intend to attempt more patchwork quilting, but will actually follow instructions & a plan next time, instead of making it up as I go along! 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Nesting

I'm anticipating a new arrival, and seem to think that the only way to prepare for this small human is to knit all the things. I would usually stick to 6 months plus when knitting for other people's babies, as they grow so quickly, but have made a few cardigans intended to be suitable up to about 3 months for my own.

Yarn; main colour - Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino
contrast colour; Schoppel Wolle Zauberball, plied before use
Buttons; from Hickeys Fabrics
Modifications; I cast on using the MC before changing to the contrast; I increased by an extra 8 stitches before separating for sleeves. Instead of making the button holes as part of the main garment, I knit on button bands afterwards. I did not use the contrast colour at the cuffs or end of cardigan as written in the pattern.

Yarn; Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino
Buttons; from Hickeys Fabrics
Modifications; I knit this in 'sport' weight tension rather than the DK weight tension recommended in the pattern, with the aim of making a garment suitable for approx 3 month old size. I added extra length to the hood, by knitting an extra 8 garter ridges. I picked up & knit stitches all around the edges & knit for 2 garter ridges in the main yarn; then one garter ridge in the contrast colour, and then finished the garment with icord bind off & icord button holes.

Pattern; Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmerman
Yarn; Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino
Buttons; from stash
Modifications; I added an icord edging around the neck & front of the cardigan

Ends

Trying to work my way through some of the very many unfinished knits in the pile is proving to be very tedious. I love striped things, but there is a disadvantage; twice the ends to sew in. This may take some time...

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Decisions, decisions...

 I do love my button jar, but sometimes find that it leads to having to make tough decisions.
After much deliberation, may I present some new finished objects - a range of baby cardigans.

Size - newborn (with room to spare)
Yarn; Debbie Bliss Rialto DK - I used just a fraction under 2 balls.
Buttons - from the stash. Probably from Hickey's from a while ago.

This pattern has you provisionally cast on many times, just to use some special cast off. I didn't bother with the cast off, but unfortunately, didn't read ahead, so ended up otherwise knitting as directed. It seems unnecessarily complicated, though I have yet to sit down & figure out the sensible way of knitting this. I'm happy with the finished garment but will likely avoid the pattern in future.

Size 3 - 6 months
Yarn; Hedgehog Fibres sock in Hunter
Buttons - from the stash. Probably from Studio 54 in Blackrock.

I've knit this pattern several times already. It's a simple pattern, but the assymmetry is just a bit different enough that I think every knitworthy child should have one. The fact that it is written in a variety of yarn weights adds to the appeal. As per previous projects using this pattern, I omitted the button band stitches while knitting the body of the cardigan, & picked up & knit the button bands later; this time in the form of garter stitch ridges.

Size; the pattern is written for 6 - 12 months, and in DK weight tension (22 st / inch). I knit it as written, but in an aran weight yarn. I'd estimate the size at 9 - 12 months
Yarn; Rico Design Essentials Soft Merino Aran
Buttons; another lot in the stash; from Studio 54 in Blackrock

I quite enjoyed knitting this & am satisfied with the end result. The pattern gives a few options for the button bands. I knit 3 garter stitch ridges & then used an iCord bind off (incorporating button holes in the icord).

Of course, all these new cardigans, started & finished since the end of January do mean that I have been neglecting pre-existing works in progress. Time to lash into the WIP basket & get some projects finished!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Yarn Sale


I've come to the conclusion that I am utterly at a loss for quite a number of yarn items in my stash; I have no idea what to make with these skeins, and feel somewhat burdened by their presence. It's time to let them go to a better home. If you're interested in any of the yarns please email me at eimearee(at)gmail(dot)com ; I am open to offers on multiple purchases & accept payment by paypal. Prices do not include P&P, and I may be available to meet up in Dublin city centre.

These yarns are also visible on my Ravelry stash page here.







Wensleydale Longwool - Sheep Shop DK
3 skeins - colour 411 Grey (total 705 metres)
price e10 for 3

**HELD**
Wagtail Yarns - Fine Kid Mohair 4 ply
375 metres
price e10 
Manos Del Uruguay silk bend DK
300 metres
colourway; 6958 pink - original label lost
price e9










Garnstudio Drops Alpaca
(sport weight) - 2 skeins (total 360 m)
price e6 for the pair









King Cole Baby Alpaca DK
2 skeins - 1 dark grey, 1 light grey
100 m each
price e4 each
Brown Sheep Wildfoote luxury sock
colour -SY 150 acappella / 196 metres
price e4
Malabrigo Baby Merino Lace
50 g / 430 metres each
L-R;
Verde Esperaza x 1 **GONE**
SFO sky x 1 **GONE**
Azul Profundo x 2
price e8.50 each

Juno Fibre Arts Alice Lace
70% Alpaca, 20% Silk, 10% Cashmere
colourway - Raisin, 800m / 100g
price e20




Hedgehog Fibres sock
colourway; 350 m
price e19



















The Natural Dye Studio Angel Lace
Colour - Aqua 2211
800 m / 70% Alpaca, 20% silk, 10% cashmere
price e20
Handspun - Cocktails 
Mixed fibre batts blended by LHogan
Merino, Angelina & recycled Sari Silk
Chain plied & approx aran weight
124 metres
price e15
Handspun - Corriedale
mix of charcoal & teal blue
2 ply; approx sport weight
approx 160 metres
price e12 
Handspun - Merino
Hand-dyed by Hedgehog Fibres
Chain plied; approx DK weight
130 metres
price e15

(very soft & squishey)

Handspun Merino-silk blend (semi woollen)
2 ply yarn - varies from sport -DK weight
160 metres

(soft & fluffy)

Handspun - mixed fibre batts
Blended by Hedgehog Fibres; 
containing Merino & Angelina
spun 2 ply - approx sport - DK weight
Total of 368 m in 4 skeins
price e30





Handspun Go Go Gidget 
Mixed fibre batts blended by LHogan
Merino, Silk & Angelina
Spun 2-ply, approx dk - aran weight
approx 163 metres
priced e15