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Showing posts from 2016

New Pattern: Coggalbeg Cowl

Over the past months, I have spent many hours studying, sketching, and attempting to reinterpret Shiny Gold Things* from the National Museum of Ireland. I'm particularly fascinated by the notion of taking inspirition from high-status, ceremonial and impractical objects, and applying those inspirations to everyday, comfortable and cosy woollen things.

When wandering through the exhibition of gold at Kildare St, I was rather surprised to notion that the lunalae on display featured rather similar decorations. The basic curving shape usually has simple lines along its curving edges, with a concentration of decoration near the pointed ends, featuring combinations of lines, diamond shapes & chevrons. The Coggalbeg Hoard, pictured at the following link, features one example;

Coggalbeg Cowl is the first of a number of patterns inspired by this geometric decoration. The pattern is cast on along its length; it is knit back a…

A picture paints a thousand words...

Introducing our little rainbow baby who arrived 2 weeks ago. She's sleeping & feeding well, and with the help of play school for the Small Human and paternity leave for The Mister, I am actually finding time to knit, shower, and even do a little pattern writing. After The Storm is a hat & cardigan set, sized for approximately 0-3 months and knit in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino.
The cardigan is a top-down raglan with textured stripes in 5 almost-rainbow contrast colours and with applied button bands. The hat is a bottom-up beanie, worked in the round, featuring matching stripes.
(modelled with the hem turned up on my 8lb newborn, so there is a little room for growing). The pattern is available to download for free.
download now
Ravelry page here.

Finished knits, in pairs

In spite of relative silence on the blog, I've been knitting away furiously. Quite a few of my recent knits happen to have been in pairs of some sort.
The first pattern is Blackrock by Yvonne McSwiney of Dublin Dye  These two vests are for my nephews; the elder nephew likes the idea of matching his little brother, and the little brother is too young to be bothered! The vests are knit in Malabrigo Sock yarn in Ravelry Red. I found the pattern quite wide-fitting, especially for tall, slim nephews, but was easily able to modify instructions to suit the boys' actual measurements. Using their chest sizes to select 'pattern size', I was able to then add extra length to the body and arm sections of the vests to suit. I really enjoyed knitting these vests; the pattern is clearly written. I find Yvonne's designs use cables in such an elegant & thoughtful way; in this pattern the transition from cable panel to ribbing around the neck is so pleasing.  My second project i…


Introducing my latest pattern release; Ka-Boom! This is a variation on the simple boomerang-shaped shawl. It is worked back & forth in garter stitch, with simple mesh lace short-row sections worked in complementary contrast colours.
The pattern was inspired by this wonderful hand-dyed Merino fibre from Hedgehog Fibres, which I spun during this year's Tour De Fleece spin-along. The fibre is wonderfully soft, in a wonderful subtle grey shade with little splashes of bright & bold colour highlights. I wanted to knit something super simple, to allow the colours really pop. 
I chose three shades of fibre from my stash to complement the little splashes of colour in the Hedgehog Fibres Merino. L-R cashmere/merino blend dyed by me; green-yellow hand-dyed by Hedgehog Fibres (from an Itsy Bitsy Fibre bag); two shades of blue Merino from Oliver Twist. These contrasting colours are used throughout the finished shawl in short row wedges in a super-simple mesh stitch pattern. 

While I u…

More FOs from ages ago

Thanks to the recent release of a couple of fantastic new design collections, I've some finished knits from way back to share. 
First off, Wychavon by Woolly Wormhead, from Painted Woolly Toppers for Kids This was a test knit, in Malabrigo Sock yarn in Ravelry Red, with the addition of two pink buttons previously pilfered from my mother's button tin. In spite of the face she's making, the Small Human has been delighted with this hat, insisting on wearing it on very sunny days. This cloche is a very straightforward knit with character, and the garter stitch fabric is very accommodating of growing heads; I knit the 19" size, which stretches to accommodate The Small Human's 20" head.*

I adore this collection; the hats are wonderful & inventive - full  of character while still being wearable. The photography has just the right mix of clarity (so you can see the pattern) and a sense of the wonderful models having fun. Each pattern makes wonderful use of hand-…

FO from ages ago

Knitters often put off finishing details like sewing up garments, or blocking accessories. I have a number of finished projects that just needed to be photographed for sharing.  (It's ridiculous how one can procrastinate at times)
First up,  Dark Pearl by Carol Feller, knit in Alpaca Select 4 ply. I originally knit this project as part of a KAL when it was released, (June 2014) but was unhappy with how the front sat. If I remember rightly, I think I had added some extra increases to the front section (really should have taken notes!) and found that I did not like how the gathered front sat; I'm sure the fluffy alpaca yarn did not help the lack of elegant draping as seen in the original pattern sample.
The yarn was from deep-stash; a giant cone of green alpaca with a subtle brown heathered effect, bought at the knitting & stitching show a number of years ago. I used less than half the cone for this garment; the rest has since gone to live with another knitter as I have fou…

Tour De Fleece 2016

In spite of spinning for the duration of the Tour de Fleece, I somehow forgot to share the results!
My second big project of the Tour was to spin this Extra Fine Merino from Hedgehog Fibres.  The colour way is mostly grey with little flashes of vibrant colours; mostly pink and green/yellow with some little hints of blue.  The fibre really is super soft; not at all compressed or fulled by the dyeing process, and practically spins itself. 
The finished yarn is 275 metres / 165 grammes of 3 ply, approximately DK weight yarn. 
I have had a particular project in mind before spinning this fibre & wanted to spin some complementary contrast yarns in shades close to the wee vibrant flashes of colour in the fibre. I've been rooting through small amounts of fibre in stash, and have spun a few bobbins full of singles in various shades. Some of the shades are not quite right, & have been set aside for another day.

After another dig through the fibre stash, I realised that I had the pe…

Gray-dient spinning

It's Tour de Fleece time, and I have some spinning to share!  I've been working on a gradient yarn in Shetland fibre. This fibre has been in my stash for a very long time, & I had been planning & even started spinning this project months ago (and then ignored it for a while). The Tour de Fleece was the perfect excuse to finish this project.  I started with 111 g of black fibre (the natural Black is actually a dark brown), and 84 g of the grey, & divided the fibres into five sections. 

Trying divide all the fibre in proportion broke my brain, so I chose to blend the shades in three gradient sections, and to leave the oddly numbered excess as single colours.  I spun in five sections; the fibre was weighed in grammes as follows;  Section 1 - black only - 51 g Section 2 - mostly black - 30g black & 10 g grey Section 3 - half & half - 20g each black and grey Section 4 - mostly grey - 10g black & 30 g grey Section 5 - grey only - 24g

I partially blended the …

Finished Knit: Morvarch Blanket

My latest finished project is one that I am quite proud of. It's a baby blanket, based on the simply stunning Morvarch by Lucy Hague (Ravelry page here), & is knit in Dublin Dye's Merino DK.

I knit this in a thicker yarn & larger needles than called for in the pattern; DK weight, 4.5mm needles, and at a gauge of 19 sts to 10 cm in stocking stitch before blocking. (It may have stretched a little while drying. I really should measure it properly!) The pattern begins with the centre square, knit from centre out and in the round. I really should have printed an enlarged copy of the chart for myself for this section; I tend to knit in low light in the evenings & found I sometimes had to pick the chart up to decipher it. 
For the chart B & C sections (the outer motifs), I cast on extra stitches before knitting the short row sections; roughly centred the cable motif in these stitches & omitted the lace border stitches. I finished the blanket with a garter stitch b…


In spite of a recent lack of finished knits to share, I have actually been knitting.
Test knits & sample knits, none of which can be revealed.
Swatches, some of which I have been working on for two years (!) and that are finally coming to a conclusion.
And some knits that just need ends sewing in, and maybe some wee little buttons.
All of which helps me realise that I really do dither about & put off actually getting things done.
Some of this is due to a combination of indecisiveness; poor yarn combination choices and lack of confidence.  And some of it is because I just want to knit all the time, & not do all those other things that really finish off a knitted item to perfection.

Yet somehow I have been (very easily) persuaded to join in this year's Tour de Fleece* again. I've two spinning projects in mind, & hope to share some finished yarns soon enough.

*In which one spins yarn for every active day of the Tour de France. Projects / goals are self-determined, …

Road Trip to Kerry Woollen Mills

During a recent wee holiday near Killarney,  I was delighted to discover that our accommodation was about a ten minute drive from Kerry Woollen Mills. On arrival, we were greeted ignored by a sleepy dog who showed no interest in rubs (no response to some friendly noises. I'm particularly cautious around unknown animals when the Small Human is with me)

The shop itself is packed with an array of woollen items, largely aimed at the tourist market; the usual heavily cabled sweaters, scarves etc, and some woven items too.  But I was here for the yarn...
I've only used Kerry Woollen Mills' yarn once, years ago, and while I was still in awe of the softest of soft things. Over the years I've developed more of an appreciation for coarser wools, and as far as I knew, this yarn was no longer available in Dublin shops*, so I was excited to have a good browse of the yarn in person.
The shelves were packed with Aran Wool** - different shades included solid colours, heathered shades,…

Finished Knits: Wowligan cardigan

I *finally* have some finished knits to share! * Pattern: Wee Owligan by Kate Davies Yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in Silver Beads: size 8 Japanese Seed Beads from stash (I believe I bought them in Beads & Bling - now closed - many moons ago) Buttons: from Hickey's Fabrics
The cardigan is worked from the bottom up; sleeves are worked in the round & joined to the body. The raglan yoke decreases are worked before a row of wonderful wee owl cables. 

Modifications: this cardigan was intended for a rather tall little girl. I knit the 5th size, for 4 year old, with extra length. The body was 30 cm from underarm to hem; the sleeves 29 cm from underarm to hem. I also made changes to the sleeves as I found the cuff very narrow fitting (I prefer to be able to roll back slightly too-long sleeves on new cardigans). I cast on 44 stitches; worked ribbing as described in the pattern, & knit for 4 rounds. I then worked 3 pairs of increases as described in the pattern every 10 ro…