30 December 2009

Mobius help

Ok, so Mobius has caused a few people headaches. I just want to say thank you to the few people who contacted me about this. I hope this helps!

The crochet language I use in this is in UK. I got nervous and forgot to translate to US while filming. The "treble 10 together" I mention is a "double 10 together" in the US version of the pattern. For further translation help, I have this, which may be useful.



Also, my voice isn't normally as grumbly as this. I'm just after a cold, so I'm still a bit froggy.

A helping hand



A few people have come to me looking for a bit of help with the unorthodox method I used to finish off the Mobius pattern, and while it's fairly straight-forward, it seems it's a doozy to explain in words, so, I've recorded and uploaded a video of the method - recorded this morning while the rain and wind beat against the wndow - and will be posting it here in about an hour.

26 December 2009

Stephen's Day

The turkey is now half the size it was yesterday, the ham is tiny, there are few roasties, no gravy, the marrowfats died a death, and we're done with sprouts for another year. Paper lies in corners where it was flung with present glee and the family, my family; my Mam, Dad, little sister and two dogs all settle down to the calm after the storm.

I love Christmas Day, the work that goes into feeding 10-14 people, setting the table, peeling a mountain of spuds, greeting everyone as if I haven't seen them in a year, welcoming new people to our day, the games, the craic and above all the happiness knowing that hand-made gifts are really appreciated.

"I got a hand-made Aoibhe original!" my cousin squealed as I handed her a neck-warmer made with silk, merino and alpaca.
That, above all made my day.

I hope you all had as magical a time as I did.

13 December 2009

This is Ozzy...

Ozzy is a 7-week old Lab/Retriever cross who will grow up to be the handsomest guide dog in Ireland. (everyone say "aaaaaaw")



My parents have taken him in for a year to socialise him and teach him good doggy manners before he goes off to become a fully-fledged guide-dog-in-training. The programme is called "Puppy Walking", and over the next year my parents will be required to bring him on busses, into cafes, get him used to traffic, teach him not to jump up on people, and in general make him into a happy, well-rounded pooch.

This is him, looking all proud of himself in his puppy-sized uniform, with our other dog, Nell.



And yes, he IS named after Ozzy Osbourne.
Rock on little puppy!

11 December 2009

Teaser...

More on this gorgeous little puppy, tomorrow:

This little piggie...

So, today was market day.

My checklist was thus:
Remember bags. Yup
Remember tree for crocheted decorations: Indeed
Remember crochet: Check
Get Float: You betcha
Fairy Lights and extension lead: Acknowledged
Get a good night's sleep: hehehehehehe... sure.

Last night, my very occasional issue with insomnia became a full-blown battle, and I'm still not sure which of us won. I was due to be up at half six, to make sure I had time to eat, wake up properly, get everything into the car and drive up to Wilkinstown. By three I was tossing, turning, and despairing.

So, I got up, had a tantrum in front of the boyfriend, who stays up all hours, ate some chocolate hobnobs and a glass of milk and went back to bed. I'm not sure if it was the venting, the hugs, sedatives in the milk, or the oatey goodness, but it worked! And three-and-a-half hours later, I was up, out and driving to market a little worse for wear, but at least on the right side of a night's sleep.



That's the view I got of the sun coming up as I drove north. It helped me feel no so wretched.

So, I get in, set up my table full of:
Donegal Tweed Coasters


Ear Cozies


Felted Bowls:


Stars and Angels for kwismis twees




And a few other things I had made only one version of. With the tree lights on, it all looked very festive. Unfortunately, the day was bitterly cold, and the usually busy little market was duller than my senses at the time. So, all in all, I came out at a loss, since I bought lovely mince pies from the baking counter.

See the expression on Anna's face? Yes, it was THAT cold and quiet.



But, on the upside, I did have some bartering fun! I got some of these tiny little robins in exchange for an angel I was just finished making at my table. These little guys saved the day for me.



Back again, next Friday. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

08 December 2009

Christmas Market

My aunt is one of the organisers of a lovely little market on the outskirts of Navan, in Co. Meath, in a village called Wilkinstown. I've always loved visiting her. The area is covered in nature, fields brim with potatoes, wheat, horses, and, at the moment, floods. It's peaceful, remote, heaven for me, really, so when she asked if I'd be interested in opening up a stall at the local market in the run-up to Christmas, I jumped at the chance.



My first week was last Friday, and I sold out of neck-warmers, and a fair few crochet christmas decorations found new homes, too. I have no photos for the exact same reaosn that I forgot to bring a float of change, and paper bags: rookie nerves.

But, I'm back again this Friday, looking forward to selling some felted bowls (well shorn...), ear-warmers, and other lovelies.

If you happen to be in the area, the market's open in the town hall (indoor, don't ya know...) between 9 and 1. Hope to see you there!

27 November 2009

I've heard of "Shaving Bowls", but I'm not sure this is what it means!

I've been having a lovely relaxing morning. I got two invitations to birthday parties, got a reminder from my aunt about next week's Navan Christmas Market, which I will be having a crochet stall in (more on that in the coming week...), and spent most of the morning working on flowers to use as embellishments...



I have also been working on some lovely felted bowls for sale, which I expect to be used for holding keys on hall tables, or hair clips in bathrooms. I have made each one simply, using Noro Kureyon, letting the gradual colour changes do the work for me. I know, looking at other projects done in this yarn, that is felts really well, but after the first run in the washing machine (I have a front-loader), they looked good, but it became clear that a second run would be more than necessary.

So, in they were bunged...

..and they came out fuzzier than a newly coiffed poodle!

I can't sell furry bowls! The fluff would get everywhere! The downy layer hid the beautiful, subtle tweedy bits in the yarn! "This won't do!" I exclaimed to no-one in particular "I'll have to shave them!"

You have no idea, until you try, how much fuzz comes off a shaved bowl.

25 November 2009

And introducing: Dragon Skin - left hand correction

Well, the boyfriend is deep in bowls of Assasins Creed II, on the X-box, so these images took a bit longer than I'd like to upload. I'm going to go ahead and blame him for the delay... it has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with my need to eat muffins this morning.

Muffins, we had none.

So, they had, just haaaad to be baked.

Anyway, without further ado:

Left hand:

24 November 2009

Dragon Skin - Right thumb

To be honest, I'm not sure if the slip-up was mine, of the editors, either way; my apologies. The chart below works up the start of the RIGHT HAND thumb hole. The left will be with you tomorrow.

The omission was the last two ch and the tr [not a dtr...] at the end of row 11. These keep the line straight, and give you something to work from for the next row of dtr fans back.

Any questions, please feel free to grab me here, or on Ravelry.



The thumbhole is on a slight diagonal, so if that happens, worry not.

Dragon Skin Gauntlets - correction prediction

A few people on Ravelry have been good enough to point out a few small faults in the pattern published. What I'm going to do, hopefully this evening, is draw out a chart of the thumb section of both right and left gauntlets, so you can all see exactly what needs to be done to keep both sides of the thumb straight.

I really am very sorry for the confusion!

19 November 2009

The things they have to deal with...

There are people in this world who love yarn, and then there are people who love the people who love yarn. It's a complicated relationship.

Last night, as I sat beside my boyfriend, as he played on his X-box, I took a moment to admire the work I had put into a crochet coaster I was just finished making. I had used, lovely, vibrant Kilcarra Aran Tweed in red, trimmed with the charcoal grey. A simple project, but a nice one nonetheless.

Then, I lifted the coaster to my face and took a deep sniff. Aaaah, that's the stuff! Crocheter's crack; Sheepy smell.

The boyfriend happened to look around just as my eyes closed, bliss clearly visible on all the parts of my face not covered with coaster. When I opened my eyes again, I could see his eyebrow was raised and I realised I was being strange.

"It's the smell" I explained. "It's lovely".
His expression clearly showed he didn't think it could possibly be THAT lovely, so I handed the coaster over, and insisted he take a deep whiff. Sniffing it gingerly, he handed it back.
"No, big deep breath... do you detect the dried grassy smell? And a hint of something nutty" I asked, like some sort of yarny connoisseur"...that's called Sheepy Smell. It's lovely"
He obliged, handed it back and commented "I detect something nutty, but it's not the wool..."

Ah, poor normals. The things that have to put up with.

18 November 2009

A Crochet Christmas

I'm lucky in that most of my family don't bother to read this blog; in fact, apart from my Mam, who has occasional flashes of craftiness, and who, years ago, introduced me to crochet, none of my family craft. So, I'm blissfully free to talk about Christmas presents I'm making.

So far, this year, I have plans.
In fact, I have more than plans. I've well started at this stage. I know what I'm making, for who, and what yarn to use. I have even started into a few of them. I'm being smart (I hope), and not over-doing it with anyone's gifts this year. Everyone is getting beautifully made, personality-specific presents, but ones that won't take months to make.

I reckon the trick to present-making at this time of the year is to keep it fast and easy. Much like a bag of chips.

So, this list is as follows:

Mam: There is some absolutely lovely Wag Tail mohair in This Is Knit at the moment, and it is incredibly soft, which surprised me greatly. Mam wears scarves. I just have to be sneaky and find out if she's OK with mohair...



Dad: a felted toiletry bag. He travels a fair bit with his job, and I know his current toiletry bag is so old it's fit for retirement. I'm working on this at the moment on my 3.5 mm hook, with 4 balls of Noro Kuryon, using that time-honoured ball-swappy every two rows thing that makes Noro look so gorgeous. I'm keeping the stitch pattern simple, just using the "manly" stitch that is front-loop double crochet, and I'm going to line it รก la Marly's Cosmic Cosmetic Bag, so spillages won't be as much of a problem.



Ciara, my sister: Well, after the tragedy of The Beyond The Sea Hat, I'm inclined to spin up some more of that yarn, and make another for her. I have the pattern, I have the roving.



Emer, my aunt: She got Emer's Rose Garden last year, so a scarf is out of the question. I'll have to ponder this.

Nana: Took a liking to my Spring Picnic Hat and it looked awesome on her, so that's her nicely sorted.



Lorraine, my cousin: We always exchange little things, so I'm thinking crocheted coasters, made out of good, honest, Kilcarra - no, it's called Donegal Tweed, now, isn't it? - in multi colours would be nice.



Brian and Marion, my cousin and his wife: I reckon would get a kick out of felted bowls, with flower embelishment. She's European, and has a great, colourful sense of taste, and he's happy to let her decorate as it always comes out looking lovely. Plus, they have two, huge, rowdy dogs, so a bowl that can't be broken might just be the ticket.


As for my friends, well, they're all computer literate, and some occasionally visit here, so I'm not adding them to the list. Suckers! You'll have to find out some other way.

13 November 2009

I am a make-a-holic

I have a confession to make, I'm afraid.
I am an addict.
I'm completely addicted to make-a-hol.

Oh, yes. Make-a-hol. It gets me out of bed in the morning, puts a spring in my step, it's my raison d'etre. Basically, without it, I have nothing.

But, what IS make-a-hol? I hear you ask.

It's an invisible substance, lacking smell, taste, substance, but still, despite these obvious failings, make-a-hol is a powerful thing. It can be a force for good, like when we create new and beautiful things for friends and family that show them how much we care; but it can also be a force for extreme evil; it's the voice in our head that tells us that yes, we DO need more yarn; that 4 pairs of 3mm hooks are not enough; sure you should make all your Christmas presents this year; or... worse still... the urge to pass on your make-a-holism to others, so you have 'making' buddies.

You can try to give up, oh you can try, if you like, but your fingers will twitch ceaselessly, your mind will wander, you'll start to dream about lovely, sheepy wool, smooth, cool silk, wooden crochet hooks that shine with polished use, Noro, Rowan, felting, spinning, crochet, knitting... and before you know it, you'll be back in your LYS where you belong.

All you can do is turn your addiction to good, so this year, I beg you, all of you... when making your Christmas presents, no crocheting with self-patterning sock yarn.
Please!

12 November 2009

I'm having a great day!

You know when you have one of those days where everything seems to go right, even if it's full of little hiccups? Yea, one of those perfect days that just has you thinking "that was nice" from one end to the next? Yea, I'm having one of those.

I woke up early, had a lovely shower (which we already had hot water for, meaning I didn't have to wait for it to heat up...which was nice), taught a very fun crochet class inside in This Is Knit with three naturally talented beginners (who made teaching them very easy...which was nice), bought some lovely Noro Kureyon, for playing with (which is ALWAYS nice), gave directions and then brought a foreign gentlemen to the train station (which was nice...of me), got home on a bus that was just waiting for me to step on at my bus stop (which was nice), found a €20 note all alone with no owner in sight on the path (...you guessed it, it was nice), stepped in the door, checked Ravelry's Inside Crochet Magazine Group to see that the preview photos for the upcoming issue had been posted, and that my Dragon Skin Gauntlets looked particularly nice in the photo.




Well done photographer!

I'm so looking forward to seeing these in print. The issue will be in shops in the UK around the 20th November, but it's also going to be available by post by contacting Inside Crochet (I think), and here digitally.

This is the second pattern I've had published by Inside Crochet, the first being Rapunzel, in the summer issue.


07 November 2009

A completely unrelated rant

I love autumn, I love winter.
These things are not in dispute, nor will they ever be. My love of these seasons has been strong since I was tiny. I'd always be jumping in puddles when it rained, and hiding under trees in sunny weather.



But, like the fly in the ointment, there is always something that ruins my love of a "good, soft day". You people!

Yes, that's right, I'm talking to all you louts with the golf umbrellas! Seriously, how much rainless air do you really need around you to ensure you avoid the damp? Is the whole path enough? Would you like me to walk on the road to give you more space? Do you even realise how many people have to swerve around your gigantic frame. Those spikes are dangerous, you know? Should you really be wielding them with such abandon?

Golf umbrellas, used anywhere but on a golf course (and even then, sometimes...) are obnoxious. They're huge, loud and and not, not, not suitable to Dublin's streets.

Thank you for your time.

04 November 2009

Travelling with crafts.

I find it increasingly funny the lengths one has to go to these days to ensure admission onto a plane. You'd think, really, when it all boils down to it, that the aeroplane people should literally be strewing petals at our feet as we board, as, essentially, we're stepping into a huge, metal tube with bits out the sides, filled to the brim with highly flammable liquid which they then intend to set alight and fling us into the sky, against the express wishes of gravity.

Really, that we should be willing to pay for this is one of life's great mysteries.

Couple that with the fact that, of all the ethnic groups in the world (and yes, I do class knitters and crocheters as ethnic groups...) we crafters are the least likely to cause drama while being flung half way across the world, it comes as even more of a surprise that we have to resort to crazy plots and schemes to ensure our busy fingers need not be forced to rest.

I have flown often with crochet hooks, even getting a few steel and aluminium ones past the guards, and so I have compiled a list of all the ways that have worked for me (but maybe I'm just sneaky). This isn't an inexhaustable list, and indeed, if you have found other ways, please let me know!

1. The Long Hair Sneaky Bun:
Take a few crochet hooks, the ones most likely to be used in-flight, and make a messy bun with your long hair. The longer the hair and messier the bun the better, to hide any likely glints of metal. If stopped, just explain it's your hair clip.

2. The Make-Up Bag Stowaway:
Popping a few hooks into your make-up bag, along with a few make-up brushes will ensure they get past with ease.

3. Wooden Wonders:
Knit Pro (bless 'em) do a gorgeous range of wooden hooks, the smallest of which is a 3mm. I'd suggest grabbing a few of these for flights as they'll never set off the metal detector, and look harmless wherever you put them. The 3mm does seem a bit flimsy to me, though, so I tend only to use the 3.5mm and upwards.

4. Medication:
Are you lucky enough to require medication? Anything requiring a letter for your doctor to carry needles, etc on board a plane? I'm diabetic, and I have never had trouble when my steel hooks were in with my insulin.

5. Cry?
Well, I've never used this one, but if in doubt, turn on the waterworks...

02 November 2009

Atonement?

When one project goes completely bust, there is nothing better in life than to pick up the hooks, have a rummage in the stash and create something new and beautiful, breathing life back into a mind that had become completely fugged with despair.



This is exactly what I did today. Still low, frustrated and feeling sorry for myself after the failure of Clothgate, I set about to make my third crochet glove pattern this season.

After some fiddling with cuff motifs last night, I hit upon a simple, easy and very cozy pattern idea, and today, I give you Oxidise, using my much-loved Twilley's Freedom Spirit yarn, in their most gorgeous rusty-red colour.



The ribbing is very springy and hugs my arms with just the right amount of strength. I can be sure no draughts will go sneaking up my sleeves with these babies on!

As usual, this pattern will be available for a fiddly $2.00 on Ravelry and on Etsy, too.

And now, with the life breathed back into my mind, perhaps it's time I unpacked...

Clothgate: Part III

Like every movie trilogy, the last installment usually sucks. And so is the case with Clothgate.
Life, I'm sorry to say got in the way very fast. About three days before my scheduled flight dtate, I get a call from a friend, who had recommended my graphic design skills to her friend. He needed some things done, pronto... and as I liked the idea of having a few bob to my name over in New York, I took the job.

As I should have expected, the work took a lot longer than expected, and I now kneel before you, the public, a failure. The tablecloth is exactly where it was at the end of Part II, and I have run out of steam.

Still, everyone needs a nice bit of Galway crystal in their new home...

17 October 2009

Clothgate : Part II

Previously, on Clothgate:

"I have loads of time!" squealed the over-confident crocheter, blissfully unaware of her inability to make time fluid, and force it to flow in the opposite direction. "Sure, I'm fast!", she added, equally ignorant to the fact that her fingers and wrists may have something to say about that down the line...

And now, the continuation:

So, I've been crocheting like a fiend, and I'm doing quite well. As this crappy photo proves; before panic started to set in, I was at Point 1; two days ago, I had all but reached Point 2; and thanks for last night's Fibre Fun Friday, I have reached the end, wherein all the bits have been connected.



You may notice the conspicuous addition of orange on one side. Let me explain before you judge me as tasteless in the ways of soft furnishings, your honour:

I have almost run out of white cotton, a white cotton for which I am most certainly guilty of losing the band (but really, high judge of the supreme court of taste and decency, after 7 or 8 years, who among us wouldn't have lost it?), and am pretty sure no matte, cotton thread of a similar weight exists in Ireland anymore, so I had two choices; Use a similar weight white thread, that's shiny, making it look exactly like the mistake I admit I had made, or use a different colour and make it look intentional.

And, I mean, really, would you have done differently, under the circumstances?

So, here I am. I have two of the bigger motives, and three of the smaller ones left to do. Once they're safely in their new homes, I'll be tacking the edging onto some nice tablecloth material. Thereafter, any time I may (hah! funny) have left, will be used to add an edging to the whole shebang. The edging will necessarily be in the orange, thus tying all the orange motives together in one, long, solid-colour band.

This... I hope... will look spectacular.


Current Clothgate-related stress level:
I never wanna see my 2mm hook again.

13 October 2009

Under Construction

Please bear (sic) with me while I tinker around with my blog's format.
I'm just moving the furniture around.

Clothgate

As I have previously mentioned, I come from a big family. Big.
As I may also have mentioned in the past, I'm no longer working for the man, but for myself, freelance, as a graphic and clothes designer, with all the taxes and bills and headaches to go with it. This has left me, well... strapped.

With a family this large, and the large family being rather close-knit, it seemed inevitable that at some stage, a family member would get engaged and I would happily accept the invitation to the wedding, because, as previously mentioned, my family is close. Cousins are brothers and sisters we just don't see that often, but when we do: whooo. It's great fun!

With this thought firmly entrenched in the mind, I have the pleasure to announce that way back, near the start of the year, I was told that my beautiful American cousin, Heather was engaged, and that the wedding was planned for the autumn. In New York. With all the family in attendance.

"Great!" the little voice in my head goes. "An Irish wedding in New York! This is going to kick-ass!" I started figuring out what to wear, what to get the happy couple, how I could ensure I could afford the flights, and then it struck me; that wave of fresh, new inspiration that comes to us crafters. "I'm going to make them their wedding present!"

"I have ages", I mused. Months and months to plan, prepare, crochet something timeless, something beautiful, original, and made just for them. It had to be useful, and not-too-fussy. My family, in general, don't go in for flounce. But, it had to be Irish, and it had to speak to me. I set about making plans to put together a simple Irish Crochet Lace motif, to edge a small table cloth. And the best bit of all, I had enough crochet cotton to wrap around the world several times over, and probably to take in the moon, too. I'd had it for years and years. It wasn't shiny or hard, and would make a beautiful addition to any new home.

And so, in earnest, I began to make little daisies with five dainty little petals, linking them petal-to-petal as I went until I had a short, garland-type thing going on. "This is great", I mused, feeling very smug.

"This'll take no time at all..."



Current Clothgate-related stress level:
I think I'll be ok...

10 October 2009

Our Time Has Come!

I'm delighted, thrilled, ecstatic, and yes, chilled to the bone.

Autumn, ladies and gentlemen of the fibre persuasion. Autumn. The season we've all been working towards for the past six months or so. Finally, all our hard graft, all those hours squinting at needles, hooks, spindles will pay off. Now, at last, we can be truly, un-equivocally... smug.

Our feet will stay warm, our necks will not suffer stiff breezes, our ears will not be numbed by biting chills, our fingers will remain rozy no matter how long we wait for the bus on a crisp morning, clutching a half-demolished umbrella against the worst Ireland can throw at us!

Now, is the time to truly show off our skills.
Now, we are kings!

07 October 2009

Meet Patrick - Crochet Thread Bear Pattern

I took a few days off from working as a graphic designer, recently, to relax and enjoy the end of the summer. In the evenings, I decided to take up my lace-weight hooks again, and create a traditional teddy bear, miniature.



First his body was made, then his head. I added his nose and smile, and I knew I had a special little guys on my hands. I had christened him Patrick before he even had ears, because, let's face it, an Irish bear couldn't really be called anything else! He's a full 13cms tall, making him teeny tiny, and dead fast to crochet for those last-minute gifts we all forget about on occasion!



His pattern is easy to follow, comes with full assembly instructions, and is available here and here.

He's a little show-off.

Friday Fibre Fun

So, Friday saw the inaugural meet-up of the Friday Fibre Fun group, in the Tea Garden on Ormond Quay in Dublin, and I was delighted with the turnout.

Most of the evening was spent discussing this book, that Deirdre kindly brought along.


The cover alone is enough to make any modern knitter wince, but it just got worse and worse the more pages we turned. I can only imagine that these were fashoinable at some stage, but I have to thank the powers that be that I never spent the time, nor begged anyone to spend the time making these for me.

I have never been so glad to have been unfashionable in the 80's!

We have decided to run another meet-up on Friday week, that's the 16th of October, again at half six.

We hope to see you there for fancy tea and yummy fibre!

01 October 2009

Thread Bear's Fool-Proof Guide to Crochet Stitch Names

It seems there are some things in the world that fall into the category of "too much fun, so we have to make it a teeny bit frustrating". Chocolate adds weight, in sunny weather we have to cover up, Christmas is expensive... and crochet doesn't use universal stitch names.

I know, I know. It's the US v's UK thing again.
It is "color" or "colour"?
Should we drive on the right side of the road, or the left?
Is it a double crochet, or a single crochet stitch?

It's enough to drive anyone to chocolate at times!

So, I have compiled a quick guide, below for those of us who can't translate these things in our sleep. Save it, print it out (I've made it A6, so it'll fit easily inside most pattern books out there for quick reference)



As for who's right? I have no idea. I have tried to get an answer, but no-one seems to know. As for me? I learnt to crochet from a library book that used UK terms, and after 15 years, I have started teaching using UK terms. Part of me thinks I refuse to us US terms in free patterns because I'm rooting for the underdog.

In a world of US-lead fibre revolutions, at the very cusp of which are books like Stitch N Bitch, The Happy Hooker, there are more and more people coming to crochet all over the world who are only going to be familiar with the US names. I guess it's just in my natuure to try and preserve what will likely be lost sooner or later, but still, when I teach someone who is new to the craft, using UK terms, but make them aware of US ones, I can't help but feel I'm holding that tide back a tiny bit.

28 September 2009

A Quick Knit Note

For any of you lucky enough to live in the Dublin area, myself and playing with fi(b)re have decided to start a knitting group in the city centre. The plan for the inaugural meet-up is to meet at the Tea Garden at half six, for fibre, tea and a lovely atmosphere!

The place itself is very unique - though I believe there are many similar places on the continent - and serves the finest teas from around the world in an array of pots, glasses and gourds.

The place itself doesn't close until around midnight, so it very much has the advantage of not rushing us out of there early.

If you fancy attending, why not drop us a line, or if you just happen to be passing by, pop in and say hello. We'd love to see you!


Edit, thanks for Aileen:

Err, yes, I am an idiot...
This Friday, the 2nd of October...

...2009.

23 September 2009

Update

September in Ireland is gorgeous to witness.
The sun shines, the rain pours and the two combined leave the land clean, crisp and verdant. It's like the island's last party before autumn finally takes over. And this atmosphere always has an effect on the amount of activity I get into a day.

The last week or so have seen a lot of crochet fall off my hooks.

I have made this wonderful little lemming, from Planet June.

I'd certainly recommend it as a gift for any retro-game loving friends you may have. It's clearly written, well illustrated and fast to make up. It went down a treat.

On top of that, I have written two glove patterns, in preparation for the colder weather.




The first, Signal Lights is a versatile mitten pattern in ladies' sizes small, medium and large, mostly using a clever little crochet stitch that isn't too thick, but will certainly keep the freezing gusts away from the fingers. It's also easily adaptable to larger or smaller sizes.

And the second is called Penny Feather:




I love this pattern. I used super-soft Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino yarn that just fluffs up a little when you work with it, making a cozy, lacy glove that looks elegant to boot!




Both and available on Ravelry, and in my Etsy shop, too.

I've been busy.

14 September 2009

Free Super-Simple Sock Pattern



For the organised crafters of the world, it's now the time of the year to start thinking about Christmas crafting. The presents need to be planned, the craft fairs need to be populated, and the pre-Christmas personal knitting will soon be started. There really is nothing like the first crispy-gold leaf underfoot to ge a knitter's fingers itching to make a nice, cozy jumper, or to start into a pair of thick, chunky socks. There's nothing like the first chill breeze on the neck to get crocheters to put down that lace and pick up their trusty 5mm hooks, to make scarves, or to start into that winter's granny-square blanket.

Yes, autumn is all but upon us in all its schitzophrenic glory. And I love it! For me, autumn means winter is just around the corner. Cold fingers, face lashed with icy rain, winds that won't leave your hood alone? There really is no better way to ensure you'll appreciate the warmth of your home at the end of the day.

I've had a lot on lately in terms of crochet; most of which I can't speak about just yet, but I took a rest from the break-neck speed I've been hooking at the last while, to make something very different. On my wheel, I spun up some of this:


...into lace-weight yarn, which I then navajo-plyed into this:


...and test knit into a small sample, which grew, and grew and grew... into this:


It's a light 4-ply, knit up on what I think are 3mm needles, so it's a light sock, but would work great as the outer layer of double-socked feet in winter. It's a super simple pattern:

Thread Bear's Super-Simple Sock.
This makes a UK Size 5.

Cast on 8, pick up 8 on bottom of sts and spread over 4 needles on the round, increase at ends every second row, until you have 14sts on each of four needles on the round, then continue knitting for about 50 rows. On two of the needles, work back and forth, reducing every knit row at the edges (slip-knit-slip at start of row, k2tog at end of row), until you are left with 10 sts in total on the two needles, then start to pick up the sts at the edge of each row, to create the heel. (This is my way of doing a short row heel, as wrapped stitches still confuse me). Once you have regained all your stitches, continue knitting on the round until you run out of yarn, or get bored. Add a few lines of ribbed stitches to the cuff to stop it from rolling.

Lovely!

02 September 2009

The floodgates will open, now...



My family is your typical Irish-sized family; I have relations coming out my ears. My Dad has 10 siblings, my Mam has 4, I have a total of 45 first cousins (at last count) and way, way too many second cousins to try and do a census. I went to the same secondary school as my grandmother, three of my aunts, 4 of my older cousins and my younger sister and the same primary school as my 7 uncles, 3 aunts, 7 cousins, my father and my little sister. Everywhere I go in Ireland, saying I'm an O'Sullivan from Meath invariably gets "Oh! Are you any relation to Murty Matt?" Yup, my family is so big we don't use our surname; just the name of our fathers. I'm Aoibhe Ger, my Dad is Gerard Matt, his Dad was Matthew Murt (well, he was Murty Matt, but his name got jumbled 'cause it was easier to say...).



So, when I say I'm making a bithday present for my aunt, you can see how big a deal this may become. If my aunty Ella gets a home-made present, the flood-gates will open.

I'm a sucker for punishment, it seems.

This is a self-designed neck scarf, made in the laciest crochet I could think up. It's made out of my own lace-weight homespun, the fluff of which was gifted to me earlier this year. Man, I hop eshe likes it!

19 August 2009

My little bit of heaven



There are times, dear reader, when this bear is proud of her green-fingeredness. In truth, she comes from a family of farmers and gardeners, so her ability to keep her chlorophyll-filled friends (try saying that three times fast) alive is not so much a talent as a family trait... But, alas, this poor bear now lives not in the countryside of her upbringing, but in an apartment, with nerry a scrap of grass to spit on and call her own, and so, she has spent a large proportion of her time bringing the countryside, in all its diversity, to her!

May I introduce you to my moderately successful balcony paradise! All year round something is growing, something is finished for the year, and something, somewhere is being eaten by greenfly, slugs, snails, catterpillars and the occasional weevel. I'm a tolerant paradise keeper; as long as these pests don't end up taking over any one species, I let them be. It's not just my little paradise afterall. The slugs get flicked off the balcony into the bushes below, but I'm pretty sure I end up, every few days, flicking the same slugs off again.



On my 3 metre squared balcony I have: (deep breath)
rhubarb,
an ash bonsai,
rocket lettuce,
carrots,
potatoes (more on them a little later),
woad (oh...yes... someday, I will use this to dye things blue... and will stink up the whole east coast doing it!),
foxgloves,
daffodils,
tulips,
sparaxis,
anemomies,
pumpkins,
sunflowers,
a gargoyle,
violas,
bizzy lizzies,
pansies,
an asparagus fern,
lilies,
green beans,
sweet pea,
heather,
wild strawberries,
bleeding-hearts,
bay,
parsley,
chives,
cyclamin,
spurge,
some blow-in grassy thing,
leeks,
em...

oh! and this:



A pupa. My very own baby butterfly (or moth, I don't know which) But, still. How cool is that!

Still, despite this seeming success, I fail at feeding myself. Fail terribly. My poor tomatoes caught a wilting virus and died overnight, my chilli peppers followed a few days later...and this is this year's potato "harvest". The largest potato I produced in this fine year is three inches long. : )

I'd fail at being an Irish peasant.


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