#IrishArrowKAL

We’re one week into the Follow Your Arrow KAL and I have literally just finished clue 1 as clue 2 was released this morning. By the way the hashtag in the title is the hastag the Irish knitters are using on Twitter for the KAL. I had planned on being very good and not peeking at any spoilers before I started but that went pretty much straight out the window. Clue 1A is a kite shape, with clue 1B being semi-circular. I opted for A because it was something new to me, while I already have some semi-circular shaped shawls.

IrisharrowKAL 014I’m trying to blend two yarns so I’m doing the colour changes as written. You can kind of see the stripes in the picture above but I don’t think you’ll see it from a distance.

On to clue 2, the first option (A) involves lace and option B involves short rows. I’ve taken a peak at the spoilers again and I think I’m going to do the lace. Hopefully I’ll have a bit more time for knitting this week and I’ll get finished the clue in plenty of time.

A beautiful yarn bowl

This yarn bowl was hand turned by my father-in-law for my mum’s birthday. Isn’t it a thing of beauty?

Yarn bowl 004My father-in-law started wood turning, maybe 5 years ago. At some point after I started knitting I spotted some ceramic yarn bowls online and I asked if he could try to make one out of wood for me. He kindly obliged and I use my yarn bowl almost daily (when it’s not full of other balls of yarn and notions). I absolutely love my yarn bowl, my yarn doesn’t bounce all over the floor and when I’m finished knitting I can just pop the project into the bowl until it’s time to pick it up again.

Yarn bowl 022 Yarn bowl 021

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With my mum’s birthday coming up I asked my father-in-law to make a yarn bowl for my mum. And he really surpassed himself this time. This bowl is a piece of art and I have to admit, as much as I love my own yarn bowl, I now have serious yarn bowl envy.

Yarn bowl 030The rest of this post is really just an excuse to share more photos of this exquisite bowl.

Yarn bowl 040

A New Year Knit-A-Long

Happy New Year everyone and I hope you had a lovely Christmas. I had a wonderful two and a bit weeks off, eating and drinking and relaxing and eating and drinking some more. I spent some lovely evenings with my family and with my friends and I slept, a lot. It was wonderful.

Just before heading back to work there was some chatter on Twitter about a new mystery knit-a-long (KAL) run by Ysolda Teague. I really enjoyed last year’s Colour Affection KAL, it was fun to be working on the same project as my knitter friends, but I’m sceptical of mystery KALs. What if I don’t like the pattern? But the twist to this one is that for each of the five clues there are two options, making 32 different options, so I’m sure I’ll knit a shawl I’m happy with. And I know Ysolda’s patterns are really well written. So I gave into (the nice kind of) peer pressure and signed up for the KAL.

followyourarrow_square_medium2So with the pattern purchased it was time to turn to yarn options. The pattern requires 622m of fingering weight yarn, which means two skeins of most yarns. I bought some delicious Coolree merino/silk at the Knitting and Stitching show in a colour called Baltic. It’s a divine blue green depending on what light you look at it in, but there was no more of this colour on the Coolree website. So I headed into  This Is Knit today to look at some options.

HokusaiI ended up picking up some more Coolree merino/silk in a colour called Hokusai’s Wave, which I already had a skein of at home having ripped out my Renita shawl. But when I got home I realised that it’s actually the same as the Baltic rather than my other skein of Hokusai’s Wave, which I bought over a year ago now. So yay! I’m delighted because it really has the most amazing teals as well as blues in the yarn, it’s really beautiful. I won’t be at home in the daylight again until Saturday (goddamn you January) so the photo above is from the Coolree website. Even this photo doesn’t show off the beautiful teal-y blues of the yarn.

I’m really looking forward to casting on next Monday and I’ll try to keep my blog updated with my progress. Is anyone else joining the KAL? What yarn have you chosen?

Cute baby stuff

The title of this post is fairly self explanatory. I finally finished my  the bulk of my Christmas knitting and it only took me until January 2nd to get it all done. I didn’t even have that much to do but it seemed to take longer than I expected.

First up is a cardigan I began at the beginning of November. This was knit for a friend’s sister who had a baby at the end of November, but before I managed to finish it I was distracted by the Santa coat for Mia. I finally finished it last night. It seems quite small so I hope it will fit the little boy in question. The Baby Sophisticate cardigan wasn’t meant as a Christmas present, it just ended up that way. I love the collar on it, as the name suggests it looks so sophisticated.

Baby stuff 004Baby stuff 001The second project is a pair of mittens for a toddler. These were knit using leftovers from my own mittens and knit at a pretty tight gauge. I had hoped I’d have enough yarn left to do an icord string that could connect the two mittens but I barely had enough to finish the mittens themselves. They look so small and I really have no concept of how small a toddler’s hand is so, again, I really hope they fit.Baby stuff 019

Lastly is a hat for a newborn. I had seen this pattern on Ravelry many times, but wasn’t sure I liked this pattern until I saw it on a baby’s head. Then it looked so cosy and cute. The hat is designed using short rows to create the curved shape of the head. It’s really clever and very effective. It’s also designed to cover the ears and there are a few options for fastening it. I chose icord strings and I wasn’t mad about the button to the side option. It’s also really tiny but I got to see it on the recipient this afternoon and it fit her snugly. I’m not sure how long it will fit for, but she’ll be a super cosy baby while it does.Baby stuff 023Phew, after all that I’m knitting only for me for the whole of January at least.

Happy Christmas from CraftyTails!

Are you ready for this? The cuteness that is my gorgeous girl Mia in her new Christmas jumper (even if I do say so myself) ? Christmas jumper are *everywhere* this year so it’s only right that Mia has one of her very own. I intend on knitting one for Ollie too but he hates wearing clothes, absolutely hates it. Mia is such a little girl though, she loves dressing up.Santa Coat 009The pattern is from Debbie Bliss Fall/Winter 2013 magazine. The instant I saw the pattern I knew I was destined to make at least one of them. The yarn is Garnstudio DROPS Nepal that I bought at the Knitting and Stitching show from Winnie’s Wool Wagon. It was on sale and cost less than €2 per ball from memory. In the end I bought enough for about 4 coats I’d say, I ended up needing far less yarn that the pattern suggested, less than one ball of each colour for Mia’s coat (she’s a Yorkie/Chihuahua cross, so pretty small).

Santa Coat 020This pattern is great as it’s very easy to tailor to your own dog, I just had to keep measuring it against Mia as I was knitting. The cables felt like they were taking FOREVER, but in the end they add great stability around the neck, and also on the belt. You can barley see the cabling on the belt because it’s black but it’s a lot more structured than garter stitch would be. I love it, and Mia loves it. She gets so much attention when she’s wearing it and she loves that too.

Happy Christmas everyone!!

Icord jewellery

Necklaces 001*taps screen* Is there anyone out there? Hello? I know I haven’t been here for a while but I hope there are still a few people reading.

The last few week seem to have flown by and all of a sudden it’s nearly Christmas. As I’m currently working as a Library Intern and disposable income is somewhat scarce, I decided to put my thinking cap on and come up with a gift idea that would be economical, quick and easy but with a bit of a wow-factor.

Necklaces 004My LYS started stocking Embellish Knit which allows me to knit icord really quickly and an idea was born. I had already played with icord necklaces but I wanted to try something a bit more complex. I can’t claim this design as my own because I’m using tutorials written by someone else, but I would like to think I put my own spin on them.

Necklaces 009For the necklace I used a little under three metres of icord and this tutorial for a knotted necklace from Operation DIY. For the bracelet I used about a metre of icord and this tutorial for a knotted cord bracelet from Katrinshine, except that I used one continuous piece of cord rather than two separate pieces. Both necklace and bracelet are secured at the back using a crimp clasp with a lobster clasp. The teeth on the crimp clasps grip the yarn well and feel very secure. I then put a few stitches in the knots to hold them in place and buried the ends on the icord.

Necklaces 007I’ve experimented with different types of yarn and have discovered that not all work. I thought this would be a great way to use up ends of my precious Coolree fingering weight yarns, but alas the resulting icord is too slinky and won’t hold it’s shape. One yarn that works really well is Louisa Harding Orielle. I suspect the 3% Metallic Polymide gives a bit of extra stability (and a gorgeous sparkle to the jewellery too). The necklace and bracelets in the photos are knit in Ice.

I also had some Zettle Panda yarn from Lidl, which works well too. This yarn also had a lovely sheen to it, I have some deep pink and a lovely cornflower blue, but I think I’ll be picking some more up the next time my local Lidl have it in stock. Right, now I’m off to what feels like miles of icord to get all my Christmas presents made.

Are you doing any Christmas knitting? If so what have you chosen and why?

In Threes Take Two

Wow, I have really been neglecting my blog recently. I’m putting it down to having started an internship recently (more on that in a later blog post, if I get around to it). It’s also getting more wintery by the day here so trying to get daylight photographs is difficult, even on the weekends, gah.

In Threes Two 011But I’ve been knitting up a storm even if I haven’t been writing about my projects. At some point I’ll have three hats, a pair of mittens, another baby cardigan, a shawl that is destined to be ripped out any day now and some knitted jewellery to share with you. I also need a new notebook, but I want a pretty one so I’m working on an idea for that.

In Threes Two 013But today I have a baby cardie to share with you. This is the second time I’ve knitted this pattern and I’m still as much in love with it as the first version. There are no sleeves to be knitted, it’s top down and seamless and the button band is knitted as you go so once you’re finished, you’re finished. All I had to do was sew on these cute buttons and it’s ready to send off to the latest member of my extended family.

In Threes Two 015This is now officially my go-to pattern [In Threes by Kelly Herdrich], but I would love to know what baby pattern you find yourself knitting over and over again. Let me know in the comments!

First Stitches in Shetland Lace

Last weekend, my local yarn shop This Is Knit, organised a workshop on Shetland Lace with Gudrun Johnson. The class was really interesting. Gudrun began by explaining the construction used in Shetland lace, and then as we began work on our garter triangle, explained the history behind it. I found this really fascinating, it’s such an integral part of their heritage. I found some photos on the Shetland museum and archives website if you’re interested in seeing some historical examples. I love learning more about the history of knitting, it helps me feel connected to the past and particularly to the generations of my family who would have knitted to supplement their income.

As the workshop progressed we added to the body of our shawls and then added an edging. This is a mini version of Gudrun’s design Flukra and it’s really beautiful, with lace losenges. She recommended a pure wool yarn so I chose Shetland 2ply Jumper Weight in pink. Hmm, I don’t think I’ll be knitting with pure wool again, I’m all about the soft yarns, mmmm alpaca. But anyway….

MiaI didn’t get my shawl finished during the class but decided to finish it at home. Initially I thought I might frame it, as a piece of yarny art (and I think I’ll still do that with another lace swatch). But when it was blocked I realised it was the perfect size for my dog Mia. She loves dressing up. So now it’s her shawl and she loves it.

I hope Gudrun doesn’t mind me putting her beautiful design on my dog. I think it’s super cute on Mia and she got so much attention in the park today wearing it. I’m still going to knit some Shetland lace for myself. I’ve chosen Loren, especially after seeing this beautiful version on the This Is Knit blog. Isn’t it beautiful?

Have you ever knit a Shetland lace shawl? Or have a knitting tradition where you come from?

We have a winner!!

Thank you so much to everyone who entered the giveaway, I was blown away by the response and all the nice comments.

100th post 002There were two prizes so there will be two winners. So without further ado…..

The winner of the skein of Coolree is BionicLaura.

… and …

the winner of Contemporary Irish Knits is lesquenouilles.

I will be contacting each of them to arrange for delivery of their prize.

Crafters and Makers

I read a great blog post recently from Lorna at Knits for Life about her innovative yarn storage solution. You should really go and check it out, she mounted her stash on the wall so it functions as a piece of art as well as storage. It’s pretty fab.BottlesLorna said something else in her post that really got me thinking. She referred to ‘makers’ as “those people us crafters date and marry”. Bingo. This is something I have been mulling over for quite some time. In my circle of crafty friends there are several pairs of knitter and home-brewers. This seemed to be more than a coincidence but I couldn’t quite figure out the connection until I read the sentence above.

Crafters and makers are attracted to each other it seems. Myself and R both have a love of creating but do it in very different ways. R is very practical in his making and doesn’t have any emotional connection to the materials he uses. He’s much more practical. He’ll grab a drill, some nails and some wood and make something useful with it. Everything can be re-purposed and he can see potential in any piece of ‘junk’ (my word).

Whereas for me the process and the materials are just as important as the finished object. I love using beautiful materials, yarn, fabric, beads, wire, to create something even more beautiful. For me the process is as important as the final product. I love colour and texture and the aesthetic of the what I craft, Maybe crafters are makers with a bit of added creative flair. Or maybe that’s unfair.

Is this a pattern you recognise in your own life? Do you think crafters and makers are a good combination?

And don’t forget there is another week left in my 100th post giveaway.

100th post 002