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.

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


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...


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