11 November 2010

OOoh, I hate the sound of my own voice.

I sound so strange when I record How-Tos!
Coming soon, a Video How-To explaining how I created the linked-treble/tunisian-simple-stitch part of my free sock pattern, Tullow.

The video is not very professional-looking, though that is as much my fault as my equipment. I mean, look what I have to work with!?

Only the best masking-tape for my readers!

09 November 2010

The Vitruvian Scarf.

"The Arts" and Crafts combine

Last Christmas, I gave the boyfriend a scarf made out of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, which exacty matched the stitch-pattern I had used to make him a hat a few months previously. He was delighted, and proudly wore it to out work... for about a week. Then, it started to curl in on itself, curl, curl, curl into a tube which owed more to a shoelace than a sharf. It was not cozy, it was not long and wide, it was not a scarf anymore, so I took it back and started on it again, with a different, but complimentary stitch pattern. Instead of using front-loop doubles, I used linked double-trebles. This preserved the line across it and it was going great! But, scarves are not easy, and having finished the first one, my brain was ill-prepared to start into a second, using the same yarn, for the same person, producing practically the same look. No, not prepared at all, and so, it languished, ignored, unloved, forgotten. Until Now.

Having taken it out of the WIP chest, dusted it off and examined my work so far, I got to thinking just how long an "average" scarf was. I mentioned this to a friend, who gave me a wonderfully elegant and succinct answer. A scarf should be as long as the wearer's armspan, or put another way, as long as they are tall.

That got me thinking a bit. Leonardo's famous sketch of The Vitruvian Man could have been an artistic comment of just this principle. Armspan = Height = scarf-length.

And, when you think on it further, who in the world could possibly do with a scarf more than that poor guy...

So, have you started into your winter scarves yet? Do you have a favourite pattern?

06 November 2010

FFFFirst Birthday Party

Well, last night was fantastic, and once again thank you to EVERYONE who came along, donated prizes and brought baked goods, tasty sweets and cake. Thanks also should go to the staff of The Tea Gardens who put up with our noise and demands for fancy tea every fortnight.

What started out as a dreary trip into town, with lashing rain, bad traffic, and a cold bus, transformed my mood as I neared the Tea Garden entrance.

In I went, one of the first to arrive, but before I knew it, the room was filling up fast with regulars and new people. The prize mound grew as lovely yarns were added. Even Lisa in This Is Knit dropped in on a flying visit to wish us a good night and to present a raffle prize. (the big, squooshy blue one in the middle)

There was a lot of tea:

A load of laughing and shouting:

And even some actual making of things between mouthfuls of delicious rice-crispie buns, brownies and cookies:

Sorry about the strange blurry quality. The lighting is enough to work comfortably by in there, but photos are hard to get...

And, we were even tweeted about by The Electric Sheep!, here.

Once Karen made her appearance, the prize giving began. I was very, very happy to discover that I was a competition winner and came away with some Malabrigo Lace, thanks to Dave Grohl and some Malabrigo Sock, thanks to a very, very nasty looking sun-suit. There were actually so many prizes on the night that almost everyone came away with something! That's a real birthday party...

So now, we're into our second year of Fibre Funning every Fortnight and I for one, can't wait to see what brilliant madness this year brings.

04 November 2010

Fibre Fun Friday Celebrates its 1st Birthday!

With cake, and fancy tea and a mountain of prizes!

So, this time last year, my friend E and I were sitting in a relatively new establishment on the Quays in Dublin. It was a Tea Garden, an idea hitherto unknown to us in Ireland but, which, apparently is a well-established concept around Eastern Europe. Basically, it's a cozy, calmly-lit space in which to drink fancy teas from around the world, relax and chat.

At one point in the evening, we agreed that it'd be an ideal place for a fibre group to meet, and so, Fibre Fun Friday was born. It's hard to believe at this stage that a whole year has past since the thought presented itself, but it is so.

Of course, it wasn't as easy as all that. It took us a while to settle on a name:

Friday Fibrey Fun and Frolics, was mentioned
Friday Tea
Friday Fun Fibre Frolicking For Freedom From ... we gave up on the mass of alliteration soon after this!

But! Whatever it be called, it's an awesome group, populated by awesome people who are loud, funny as hell, wonderfully brazen, knowledgeable and kind.

Now, if all this is news to you, I suggest you check out the two competitions currently being run in the FFF Ravelry Group (Join us, too! We love new people!), and gawp over the delicious mountain of yarn on offer in the raffle. All three bunches of prizes will be given out on the night, so if you want a chance to win something delicious to fondle with your tea, then join in fun!

I look forward to see everyone there tomorrow night, from 6.30 until we're kicked out around 12-ish.

03 November 2010

What to do?

Have yarn, will crochet

I bought these at the Knitting and Stitching Show last week, with the encouragement of fellow Irish blogger, Laura.

Aren't they gorgeous?
The colours are muted but still so rich, they compliment each other well enough that I think my self-imposed ban on most types of crochet colourwork may have to be broken, but I'm having a problem and it is this:

I don't know what to make out of them. I have been carrying these two skeins around for the last few days, moving them from room-to-room as I work, settling them down beside me on the couch in the evenings, resting them on the bedside locker at night, petting them, smelling them and generally doting over them. This may seem like odd behaviour, but it's not. This stuff is gorgeous. 50% Silk, 50% Alpaca, DK (thanks, R for pointing out it's not 4-ply as I thought!). I honestly believe the only way Blue Sky could have made their Alpaca Silk yarn nicer is if they somehow, mathematically, managed to get 60% Silk and 60% Alpaca into it.

So, what would you do?
Big items, small items, quantity isn't a huge issue; I can always get more down the line. Help me use this lovely yarn!

02 November 2010

Christmas Crackers

Out with the old, in with the new

Hallowe'en is over (sadly), so we're on to the Christmas Season, now.

It may seem early for most people to be thinking seriously about Christmas, but for us crafters, planning is all important. Starting early means that come Christmas Eve, we're not knee-deep in sock yarn, trying to remember who you're making what for and when you'll see them ("I won't see Uncle Mick until Stephen's Day, so I'll finish his gloves later, but Mary will be there first thing in the morning, so I should start her hat first...") Sound familiar?

So, to help with the Stress of Christmas, I suggest the following:
Start Now! (I may even take my own advise)

There are a few things in my pattern collection which may help. Some are free, and some are quite inexpensive, all are relatively easy to make, don't take up too much time, and if started now, should leave you with plenty of time to enjoy giving the pudding a stir, mulling the wine and bickering over whose turn it is to put the angel on top of the tree...

First in my Gift Suggestion Series is Malin, a simple coaster which looks great with company.

Tied up in a big bow, these little coasters will brighten up any coffee table and 5 of them only take 70 metres of yarn. Bargain!

I'd love to know what you think, how you're planning for Christmas, and what you are going to make, so comment below!


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