Seeking Inspriation

I’ve been trying to write a blog post for some time now. But I seem to be lacking inspiration. Or perhaps motivation. I’m not sure. I’ve also been feeling some blog envy recently, there are some beautiful sites out there. But rather than being inspired by them, I feel instead a bit dejected that I don’t have the skills to make my blog what I would like it to be. Or maybe I just haven’t given it enough attention yet. Whatever the reason, blog posts have been started but none finished.

But I have been knitting.In the last week or so I have finally put the finishing touches to two dog jumpers and one human hat. But the weather has been too warm recently to ask the dogs to model warm jumpers for my amusement so I don’t have any FOs to show off at the moment.

Yarn 001I am still working away on my Winnow and I’m on to the border now. This is going to take forever. Forever. But it will be beautiful and it will be worth it.

Yarn 031And finally I had a good root through my stash to put together a donation to HandmAid. This is a fabulous craft day in aid of Laura Lynn Hospice. As well as being for a worthy cause it’s also a really fun day out. I’d encourage anyone in the Dublin area on September 27th 2014 to pop along.

I’ll get my blogging mojo back soon I hope. Is this something you have experienced as a blogger?

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Knitspiration: Winnowing

I’ve been neglecting my blog recently, but not neglecting my knitting. So I should have several projects to share over the next little while. (That reminds me I have several projects that need less than half an hour of finishing each before they are actually finished, a job for this weekend…)

Anyway, I suspect I’m not alone in spending waaay too much time browsing patterns and projects on Ravelry before I choose my next project. So I thought why not share those projects which have inspired me on my blog? I think I’m going to make this a regular feature on my blog.

I’m currently working my way (slowly) through Winnowing by Bristol Ivy.I’m knitting it in Coolree Alpaca/Silk/Cashmere 4ply in Camelia.Here are some of the projects that inspired me to knit my own Winnowing.

luminen's winnowingI love the light shining through the knitted fabric in this photo. [luminen’s winnowing]

leighsideknits' A Straw ShawlI just love the colour of this shawl, I’m going through an ochre/mustard phase at the moment. [leighsideknits’ A Straw Shawl]

sarahbird22's WinnowingOne of the things I love about this shawl is that it looks so wearable, I’ll be able to wear it around my shoulders for a bit of extra warmth when the temperature drops.[sarahbird22’s Winnowing]

alfanhui14's Winnowing WheatSee how wearable this shawl is? And I’ve just realised I’ve chosen two yellow and two grey projects which are both colours I’m drawn to at the moment. [alfanhui14’s Winnowing Wheat]

Where do you go for knitting inspiration?

(Permission has kindly been granted by each of the knitters to share their project)

Following my own arrow

I’m just back from an exciting trip to New York where I got to walk in the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade with Finglas Concert and Marching Band. As well as the parade we visited the New York Public Library and two gorgeous yarn shops. But more on those in a later blog post.

Before we headed away I finished my Follow your arrow mystery kal by Ysolda Teague.

NYC2014 028The experience of a ‘mystery’ knit along was new to me and I learned a lot in the process. First of all the mystery part of it was more difficult than I expected. I found myself peeking at the pictures in the spoilers threads on Ravelry before deciding which clue to choose. And in the case of Clue 4 I didn’t cheat, but ended up ripping back the clue and starting it again as I wasn’t happy with the result.

I did enjoy the knit along aspect of the project, watching all the photos of the different option – how the different clues interacted and the colour and clue choices that other knitters where opting for. I don’t know if I’ll do a mystery knit along again but I did like having options in the pattern.

NYC2014 041I ended up with an AABBA shawl and I really love it. It blocked huge but with some wear the Coolree has unblocked somewhat and it’s very wearable. It’s also big enough to throw over my shoulders if I need a bit more warmth. Despite my inability to stick to the mystery part of the pattern, I’m really happy with the final shawl.

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?

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!

Sunshine on a Sunny Day

I was about to type we’ve been having some unseasonably warm weather. However, it’s exactly the weather you might expect for early June, except it’s been a few years since we’ve had such a good stretch of sunny weather. Or at least that’s how it feels.

Sunflower shawl 055As I mentioned in a previous post I treated myself to some Coolree Merino Silk fingering weight in Sienna Yellows. Sunflowers have always been one of my favourite flowers. I’m also slightly obsessed with chevron patterns at the moment. And, ochre yellow is my current favourite colour, so this Sunflower Shawl pattern felt like fate. I love the yarn, I love the colour and I love the pattern.

Sunflower shawl 037The pattern is really well written and lovely to knit. The designer gives instruction for lace weight, fingering weight and DK, in two different sizes. The pattern said I would need 550 yards of fingering, while I only had about 440 yards. But I felt I could skip a few pattern repeats and not run out of yarn. So I carefully measured my remaining yarn after each repeat.

Beginning 105g
A+B (1)=98g
A+B (2)=93g
A+B (3)=86g
C=77g
D (1-18) x1=60g
D (19-26)=52g
D (1-18) x2=30g
E=17g

Sunflower shawl 032I repeated chart B three times instead of four. When I realised I was going to have enough yarn to do the fourth repeat I was tempted to rip back and add in the fourth repeat, however as I was about to start chart E I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. So I would have had enough yarn despite the fact that the the pattern suggested I needed a lot more.

Ah well, I’m still so happy with the finished shawl. It’s perfect for this glorious weather and I hope when the clouds inevitably return it will be lovely to be able to inject a bit of sunshine into an outfit.

And breathe

Semester 2 is now over and I feel like I can breathe again. Those last few weeks were really tough and I’ve now had my first few days off in months. I’ve actually finished a few projects recently that I haven’t blogged about yet. I was so busy working on assignments I couldn’t bear to keep working at the computer writing for my blog but I did have time for knitting in the evenings.

Blight 127In fact I gave myself a few hours dispensation every evening to relax and unwind before bed to help me sleep. So I’ve finished three shawls in the last few months, as well as my Colour Affection. I’ve been on a bit of a shawl buzz recently, but I’m not sure why. This is the most recent finished shawl. The photo below is courtesy of my hubby who was very patient and trekked around the park with me today trying to avoid the rain showers.

Blight 011The pattern is Blight by Deborah Frank and the yarn is Coolree Alpaca/Silk/Cashmere 4ply in the colourway Byzantium, which is a beautiful purple. I wanted a pattern that would be a bit of a challenge and when I spotted this one on Ravelry I was hooked. I enjoyed the pattern itself, although it took me a while to get used to the fact that only one half of the shawl was charted, as both sides are mirror images of each other. But once I got into it, that shawl has a lovely rhythm to it. I actually finished it surprisingly quickly.

Blight 145The yarn is delicious, so soft and smushy. The alpace, silk, cashmere blend is so soft and so lovely to work with. It has blocked quite well but I suspect it’s so soft I suspect it might need to be regularly blocked to keep the lace crisp. Summers in Ireland are never really summers so a light, delicate shawl like this one will be a great accessory to have.

Sunflower 002Oh, and I treated myself to something tasty as a reward for surviving the semester. More Coolree, I’ve become a bit obsessed with ochre recently. I don’t know what it’s going to be, I just really wanted to have it. The next project on my needles is a bag in grey with an ochre fabric lining. Lord knows how I’m going to actually line it but I’ll figure that out later.