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

My 100th Post (and a giveaway)!!!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED, THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERED.

Whoop whoop, it’s hard to believe this is my 100th blog post!!! And last week WordPress kindly informed me it was my two year anniversary with the platform. So that’s 100 posts in 2 years, That’s roughly one post a week for the last two years.

I never would have guessed when I started blogging that I would get this far. A lot in my life has changed since I started blogging – I got married, I left my job and I went back to college to retrained as a librarian. And my knitting has evolved over those two years now, I’ve learned new techniques and discovered a love of knitting lace. So I feel that’s its a good time to mark all that has been going on with a little giveaway.

100th post 002As an Irish crafter it makes sense to me to include some Irish prizes, so I have chosen two great prizes. The first prize is a skein of Coolree Fingering Weight Alpaca/Silk/Cashmere in colourway Byzantium. I have knit three shawls with this yarn already, Blight, Sunflower and Renita, and promise you that it is beautiful to knit with.

The second prize is a copy of Carol Feller‘s beautiful book Contemporary Irish Knits which “celebrates the rich tradition of Irish knitting”. So that’s a chance to win one of two great prizes!!

So all you have to do to win is:

  • Follow my blog through WordPress (when logged in to WordPress click the follow button on the top left of your screen)
  • Follow my blog via email (link at the bottom right of the homepage)
  • And/or ‘like’ my Facebook Page
  • (If you already follow my blog/like my Facebook page let me know in the comments and I’ll include you too 😉 )

Each of these actions is one entry in the giveaway.

The giveaway ends Midnight GMT, Friday 5th August. I’ll choose the winner using a random number generator and announce it in two weeks time, so check back on Saturday October 5th. I’ll contact the winner via email/Facebook to arrange to post them their prize (I’ll post to anywhere). And feel free to share this post with anyone you think would enjoy these prizes.

And most of all thank you for reading my blog over the last two years and 100 posts!

A Chevron Baby Blanet

At some point after I started knitting again I decided that I would knit a blanket for any close friends having a baby.  Having just found out that a very close friend is pregnant, I couldn’t resist browsing Ravelry for possible patterns.Chevron Blanket 002And of course, once I had found a pattern I had to cast on immediately. When I find a pattern I’m very excited about I have no patience. Chevron patterns are very popular at the moment, and it turns out it’s a very easy effect to create just using increases and decreases. So here is my Baby Baby Blanket.

Chevron Blanket 013As my friend won’t be finding out in advance whether she’s having a boy or a girl (and I don’t like the traditional pink/blue anyway) I decided to go for some really bright, but gender-neutral, colours. I also wanted something soft and machine washable so cotton was a perfect choice. I decided on Katia Mali as the colours are so vibrant, and it’s relatively cheap so didn’t break the bank. When knitting something as large as a blanket the cost can soon add up.

I chose two balls each of beige, bright blue, yellow, coral and one of green. I actually don’t like the green in the blanket, so I only used one ball of it. Each ball produced about 22 rows so each stripe is 22 rows long. I really love the result, although I’ll have to wait a few months to meet the recipient.

**This is my 99th post, eek. To celebrate my 100th post I’m having a knitty giveaway, so be sure to check back Saturday morning for details**

Documentation Discoveries

MayoAug13 010As mentioned in a previous post, our trip to Mayo coincided with Heritage Week. I’m really interested in our Heritage so I quickly scoured the Heritage Week website and booklet to see what would be on in and around Westport. One event immediately caught my interest. The National Museum of Country Life at Turlough was inviting members of the public to “tour behind the scenes, see and hear about some of the exciting and puzzling discoveries uncovered in the Museum’s collections.”

I think this was made for me, having just finished a Masters of Library and Information Studies and being fascinated by our heritage. The date and timing also meant that this was the perfect event to finish our week away on the way home. Before the tour kicked off we had a good look around the Museum as we had never visited before. The exhibits focus on the traditional way of life in Ireland and I am very pleased to say that knitting featured, but more on that in a further post.

As part of the tour the group of around 20 of us were taken into the back of the Museum to see where all the objects are stored. It was absolutely fascinating. The Documentation Officer who showed us around explained that they were finishing a stock take of all their objects, creating an online catalogue that would then be made available to the public.  It was great to be able to ask about cataloguing standards used, the collection development and acquisitions policy and their preservation policy.

The Documentation Officer said that they use a museum cataloguing standard, that they actively seek objects where there is a gap in the collection and accept donations based on the age and rarity of the object. He also described how objects are deep frozen when they arrive on site to kill any potential insects/mites/bacteria. He described how preservation is carried out where necessary but that objects are not restored. They are kept in the condition they arrive in, unless they are likely to deteriorate.

He also described how they put exhibitions together, linking objects that are interesting or come with an interesting story. They were in the planning stages of an exhibition of the history of the police in Ireland and we got to see close up some of the objects that would be displayed. We also got to see a selection of sliotars and hurleys from the Museum’s collection that are going to be used in an exhibition of sport.

The Museum are considering running similar tours in the future and I certainly hope they do, as for me, it was absolutely fascinating to get to see behind the scenes. And if you happen to be passing Turlough I highly recommend you pop in to the museum as the exhibitions are really beautiful (and it’s free!).

In Threes

I think this may be my new favourite baby cardigan pattern. It’s supposed to be knit using Aran weight yarn, and I suspect that makes it an incredibly quick knit. I had some lovely yellow DK (machine washable) yarn in my stash, so although I was knitting for a two year old I chose the 3T size.

DSC_0269This is the perfect pattern because it’s super cute (!!!!) and it’s knit all in one piece. The cap sleeves mean you don’t need to use DPNs for the sleeves, you simply cast off the stitches and you’re done. And the button band is also knit as you go along, so there’s no need to pick up any stitches. Plus, did I mention how cute the garter ridges are? Very, very cute.

DSC_0278I used a bit over two balls of the Jaeger Baby Merino, so I just have just under two balls left. I can definitely see another of these yellow cardigans (in a smaller size) in my future. I’ts a really quick knit and will make another great gift for someone in the future.