Monday, 4 August 2008


In February I spent two days at Wingham Wool Works, which was so inspiring I didn't do anything (including this blog) but spin for several months. I just came across this photo on my computer and remembered why:


Monday, 24 March 2008

All You Knit is Love

I've just spent a week in Barcelona, which makes Belfast seem especially dull and cold. Thanks to some internet research, I found the wool shop All You Knit is Love, on Placa Llana (Llana means wool!), which is marked with this:

I like Barcelona.

The shop had lovely yarn I could have bought much more of, lots of inviting armchairs, friendly proprietors and two gorgeous little girls. If they hadn't shut for Easter I would have gone back for a third day running before we left, so it was probably just as well...

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Knitting Bricks

I've been obsessed with red brick recently. This is handy, because Belfast is full of it, so I am often to be spotted loitering around the Springfield Road taking crap photos of walls. Knitting one seems like the only sensible thing to do, so I've gone through the whole Get Knitted website looking for vaguely brickish, worsted weight wool. The dark, mottled skein is a shade of Cascade 220 Paints that made me squee in an empty house due to its worn-cement-like properties. Having measured several bricks I've gone with 9" by 3" oblongs, which I will knit in between other projects in various non-curling stitch patterns. By next winter I should have enough for either a blanket sized wall, or a wall sized blanket.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Big Bang Bag

Finished! I'm surprised how well this turned out. The only glitches were when I forgot to pay attention to the direction of the print, and when I completely ignored one step of the instructions in the mistaken belief that I could do it at a later stage. All fixable or bodgeable, and I won't do that again. The tutorial is by gloriana, at I added an extra inch of width to the straps because they looked cuter that way. The bag feels sturdy and I'm wondering how the pattern might be adapted to make a knitting bag...

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Not Knitting

My room has nearly as much sewing stuff in it as knitting stuff, though I've never been a sewer. When my granny died I inherited not only her vast haystack of knitting needles and the family button collection but two large wooden sewing boxes, full of things that are bound to come in handy at some point and things whose original meanings are too mysterious for me to ever get rid of them. The way unexpected objects (like a dried flower, a tiny photo of a round tower, a retirement card and rosary beads, to give a small sample) are scattered through all the zips and lace and spools of thread, as well as the dangerous-looking cigarette burns which adorn everything, are too characteristic of their original owner to be appreciated by anyone else, and there is no way I could chuck them out. They do take up quite a lot of precious space, though, which is annoying in something I never use. So...I started getting an unfamiliar urge to sew. I found myself amassing material, with no idea what to do with it. I think the thought of fabric you don't have to construct from scratch gains a certain appeal for knitters and spinners after a while. And with no-one else in the house, there is plenty of space for me to play with my favourite charity shop purchase ever, my Vickers hand-operated sewing machine. I do have Granny's modern one, but I can't find the cable, and it's just so much more fun working with this.

Isn't it gorgeous? It's in far from perfect condition, with lots of wear and tear to the case, but it works perfectly. These were produced in the inter-war years in Britain (copying a German firm's design, apparently) by the company better known for making the Spitfire.

It's got a draper's label on it, so it must have been used pretty heavily. I'm really impressed with how smooth and easy it is to use. I'm making a reversible tote bag from a tutorial I found on craftster. It's taking ages, partly because as a knitter I'm not used to making irreversible decisions and I have to do a lot of checking and pondering between stages. I've just got the straps and bottom to sew up. I say 'just'...yes, I will be up all night. And the 'using the sewing stuff' plan seems to have turned into an 'acquire more sewing stuff' mission. Oh well.

Sunday, 10 February 2008


I finally got a set of the Knitpicks Harmony Wood Options needles which I've been slavering over for months. They are so pretty I can't resist swatching something suitably colourful, leaving my boring black project languishing with just a few rows to go.

I can't believe that some of my yarn is the handspun fix of the week at I know they don't refuse submissions, but it seems crazy that among all those fantastic photos of incredible yarn made by people with loads of expertise is my dodgy snap of my Christmas spinning, done with more enthusiasm than skill. Yay!

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Blocking the (Pi)ney Path shawl

Over Christmas I finished the bloody great leafy lacy Pi shawl I first began a couple of years ago. Finished knitting it, that is. I'd never thought much about blocking it. I'd never made anything this big and lacy before, so it had never come to my attention that blocking pins/wires are unobtainable in Ireland and hugely expensive elsewhere. It had also never occurred to me quite what a pain in the ass the whole process could be. I don't know how much easier the proper equipment would have made it - not very, probably, given that the shawl is A) circular and B) bordered with approximately one billion little leaves. I made a trip to my parents' house, as mine doesn't have a big enough patch of carpet, and spent an evening knee deep in pins. It was not fun. It did work, just about, though I would give the border leaves a wee steam with an iron if I could be arsed.

Thursday, 31 January 2008

Yarn Party

The purple handspun has turned out as a real party yarn, with lots of sparkle, the kind of colour changes I just can't get my camera to capture, and the slight wonkiness that comes of being an inexperienced spinner but gives gorgeous textures when knitted up. I can't wait to knit this. I was about to cast on yet another scarf, but someone at Stitch 'n' Bitch suggested a wee short shrug, which would be much more appropriately festive.

Monday, 28 January 2008


I got my first carders a couple of weeks ago, and the possibilities for experimentation have been keeping me very busy. I'm using a purple merino, mixing some with mohair locks in navy, purple, pink and white, some with alpaca in blue or charcoal, and sprinkling some of all these mixtures with various sorts of angelina. I'm aiming for a 3-ply, to mix the colours up some more, and I've only got one single left to spin. The variation in fibres is keeping my fingers on their toes.

Flickr hates me

I finally got a digital camera to replace the one that was burgled in the autumn, so I've been photographing like mad to update my notebook on Ravelry. Flickr, however, has decided it doesn't recognise any of the email addresses I'm aware I have, and since passwords and usernames can be resent or changed, but the tech support people are not going to send out an email address, I have no idea why. Without access to my Flickr account I can't get any pictures on Ravelry, so I'm sticking them on here instead.

I knitted from an actual pattern for once! For the first time since the Broad Street Mittens, in fact. I made the Urchin cap from Knitty, using some wonky old handspun and some gorgeous Colinette mohair. I noticed that all the different colours in these two yarns shaded into each other beautifully, so I held the mohair alongside the handspun during the short row bumpy sections of the hat and used the handspun on its own for the rest of it, including the border. With the pinks and reds it looks more like a sea anemone than a sea urchin, I reckon.

The hat from above and below, and me laughing at the friend I roped in to play photographer. It's hard to explain to a non-knitter why the hat is the focus of the photo, not the person.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008


After a lot of experimentation, it became clear that the Christmas yarn wanted to be a round, bouncy 3-ply. This was a change from the rather stringy, worsted-ish 2-ply that I'd got used to spinning, and I'm pleased with the result, whose colours, as usual, don't really show in the photos. The fibre is a custom blend of 5 colours (greens and blues) of merino with a shot of white tencel, from Wingham Wool Work. It's begging to be knitted but I've no idea what to make, as the colour is a wee bit too harsh for me to wear near my face without looking both anaemic and jaundiced, which rules out a scarf or hat, at least for myself.

I also rustled up a hot water bottle cover while I was at home for Christmas. This has got plenty of use since, as we're having complicated problems with our oil tank, the simple upshot of which is that it's freezing in the house.