Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Yarn Along

Happily joining Ginny and the gang over at Small Things for this week's Yarn Along.
I'm working on a pattern called Captain Tank from Sublime, this is the back. I love the combination of stocking stitch and garter stitch on a knitted garment, in that old fashioned simple kind of way...so this garter stitch waistband makes a lovely change from the double ribbing I've done on almost everything else I've made so far. I've gotta say I'm missing my Noro yarn! This Wool Alpaca mix is gorgeously warm and soft, but I'm finding I do favour aran weight yarn and I love variegated. The dk weight goes much more slowly and I've no colour changes to keep me entertained as I knit ; ) but it is nice to knit something with finer stitch work. It should make a really handy jumper for smallie, to take the chill off on school walks. He seems like such a greens and browns kind of laddie. The photo doesn't do justice to the lovely natural green colour. The pattern is for a one colour plain. I can't seem to do plain. So I'm planning a simple band of colour design across the chest and wish I'd wrapped it around the back too, but I missed my opportunity as I was so busy concentrating on the decreases for the armhole shaping..; ) No ripping it back now, knitting time's too precious.

I'm luxuriating in a back issue of  Irish Arts Review. It's a wonderful publication, a treat as it's the price of a book. It's issued quarterly and I buy it if I like the cover ; ) and manage to make it out of the bog and into a big bookshop (rare). I don't make it to galleries and exhibitions much anymore and it keeps me in touch with at least some of whats happening in the Irish art world. I found this one in a second hand bookshop and it seems all the more poignant now as Freud passed away just recently. He was a huge inspiration to me in my art student years. I remember sitting in the college library, almost two decades ago now (what?) turning the pages and poring over his work. His portrait of an Irish boy, featured on this cover is one of my favourites. 

Looking forward to checking out what y'all are knitting and reading out there. Thank you for stopping by and for all your lovely comments last week, great to read. M

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Yarn Along

It's lovely to be joining Ginny and the gang over at Small Things for this week's Yarn Along. 
At last I've finished my small boy's jumper : ) It sat abandoned in my knitting basket all summer. And finally, to the query 'Is my jumper finished yet Mommy?' and 'can I wear it to school tomorrow..?' I can say 'YES!'

I wrote about this project before, here. Can I tell you that knitting totally lost its charm for me when I was struggling to make this V-neckband. It drove me around the twist! In other words I'd no idea what 'pick up and knit 100 stitches' meant on a pattern that assumed greater knowledge of such things. A mere rookie, I knit it, ripped out and re-knit improvising the number of stitches, then it worked although not perfectly. I'm delighted that I more or less understand how this part works now and next time I'd know what to do.

I was two stitches short on my tension initially and far too casual about the fact (ha!) and that seems to have resulted in a boxy shape. Duly noted ; ) But in the main, I am thrilled to have completed my first jumper and smallie is leapin about in it, very excited with his 'Autumn rainbow' cosy layer. Small victory!
If there's one thing the practise of knitting is teaching me (actually there are many things, but I want to talk about that in an upcoming post) it is patience, and to : : WAIT : : something I find very hard to do when I'm ready to embark on a new project and have a precious window of time to get stuck in. Waiting 'til you've got the tension exactly right, or waiting til you've got the right yarn for the pattern is a very.good.idea.indeed.
Gladly, knitting is once again restored to me as a happy thing and I'm well on my way with a second jumper : )

On the reading front, dare I say that Debbie Bliss's 'Tips for knitters' is the only book I'm dipping into these days. It covers the basics, and I have learned a thing or two from it but I have to say the content and diagrams do leave me wanting. Smallie's read of the moment is far less dull. Elsa Beskow's 'The Sun Egg' is delightful from the first page to the last...both in terms of concept and the enthralling illustrations. When your child's bedtime story captivates you both equally, that's magic : )

Monday, 5 September 2011

a sprinkling of gold 

As I write, it is the eve of a new school year. Bittersweet. Trying to squeeze every last drop of sunshine and of freedom from these last days!
 My small boy has been asking me to make him a golden crown for some time now, its been on my summer list of 'luxury tasks' I wanted to make time for. He chose all the colours and shapes/symbols and I worked from his simple drawing. He waited impatiently, I stitched while he slept and while he ran wild with the cousins long after bedtime...it seems to celebrate the elusive sun of an Irish summer  : )

I would've loved some golden thread to weave in here and there but alas, I was on the road with limited supplies though I did find copper in my small box of tricks. I worked with pure wool felt, next time I'd favour my own handmade felt... I keep seeing a sunset crown in my mind's eye : )
 I've been lucky enough to be around some other crafty mamas who've inspired a creativity different to the kind I've come from. Thanks to Liz and our school Craft Group, projects like this are an ease and a pleasure now where I totally shyed away from stitching before.

Speaking of the promise of gold, heres a silk we dyed with onion skins. Still fantasising about how I could use it as a panel in a nuno felted garment... maybe. It's subtle hues are lost in translation here. I've been told the colour shines through more beautifully when the silk is ironed, somehow the use of an iron just doesn't seem to be in my nature ; )

Another fun thing to be borne of this summer were a few sweet hogs. It all started when my lovely niece and I sat up late one night crafting pom poms (hers was gorgeous). Next day I thought 'what to do with a pom pom..?' hmmmn and wondered if I could needle felt wool into it. I'm constantly amazed with how wool wants to fuse with wool in all kinds of felting contexts. This works! 

Children seem to really fall for these little guys, their softly spiked and rounded bodies feel delightful in the hand. I was thinking it would be an ideal handwork project where wool is used for its therapuetic properties. And it makes a really warm toy. 
Amazed to find conkers on our local river walk when it's barely September, smallie filled his pockets and once home carefully left them for the hedgehogs to nibble on. I happened upon this scene on the living room rug : )

Autumn has indeed crept up on us this year. Welcome!