Isn’t life wonderful, everything in the garden is rosy. It’s a perfect world, nothing ever goes wrong for me and I’m as happy as can be.
Or so social media would have you believe.
Isn’t life wonderful, everything in the garden is rosy. It’s a perfect world, nothing ever goes wrong for me and I’m as happy as can be.
Or so social media would have you believe.
You’ll recall this beautiful braid of BFL top I’m sure?
Well I’m a firm believer in using materials you actually like when your learning something, rather than opting for a more economical choice. Yes, this does mean you may well end up throwing something into the bin, that with a little more experience under your belt, would be positively gorgeous. Then again, there’s also the chance that if you dislike the materials you’re using so much, you might actually be turned off of the idea altogether.
I’m telling you all this in order to justify using this yummy woolly goodness to try and learn a new technique, well actually two as it happens.
For the majority of my adult life I’ve been a mum
For all of my adult life I’ve been a mum, I had Dina before I was old enough to vote and if we’re being honest, I’ve grown up with my kids, the older two especially. You’d be forgiven for thinking, that I probably never had a chance to leave home before my children came along, but that’s not the case. I’d already been living ‘independently’, on and off for about two years, before I had Dina (whole different story and something akin to an Eastenders plot line).
Well it was bound to happen sooner or later I guess?
I’ve hurt my shoulder and I can tell you, it’s impacting on my life more than just a little right now. Ironically, I don’t think it’s from too much knitting, instead I’m pretty sure it’s from too much driving to woolly events. It’s sore to knit, worse to type and driving is up there in the OUCH! category at the moment, hence my conclusion.
The madness has abated round here again at least for a little while now the second issue of Olann and is out there, floating around for all to see.
I’m happy, Deirdre’s happy, we hope you’re happy too (sorry I realised I was listening to David Bowie, when I wrote this). I imagine our friends and family are slightly worried they’ll be the next to get a call to model for us. A g♥♥d friend has already been persuaded to lend us a child or two and we’re going to be looking for a volunteer or two, later at knitting group. (Ssh, don’t tell any of them yet 😉 they might decide not to come)
If you’ve seen the second issue, you’ll know I’ve been incredibly busy knitting and although I shared snippets, I wasn’t able to reveal my work before hand. I knitted the silver grey sample of Patricia Cox’s Sunset Cardigan for the photographs in the magazine. It’s actually a lovely pattern, with it’s detailed stitch panels, complimented by smooth stocking stitch. It was great to knit, the pattern has been extremely well written by Patricia, with a lot of care and attention to detail. Little things like the few rows of short row shaping around the neck, really help the whole garment sit much better.
The eagle eyed among you, will notice that I worked the decreases to create an obvious raglan line as I favour that look. Having used a solid shade in place of the beautiful Soft Donegal tweed Patricia used in her original, it also adds a little more detail.
The yarn itself, Sublime Extra Fine Merino Worsted was a pleasure to knit with. It’s smooth construction, meant it just slipped through my fingers and as you can see, it knits with great stitch definition and produces a fabric with a lovely drape and bounce to it.
The other knitting I’d been busy beavering away on, was the Turners Cross Cable Twist hat, one of my own designs. I knew what I wanted to make, having drawn some rough sketches out and armed with Barbara G. Walker’s Pattern Treasury books, I got down to some swatching.
Several samples and two and a half hats later, plus one test knit (thank you to my good friend Dr. Sock), I was satisfied with the design, except I wasn’t. Having had the shop for 10 years and spoken to literally thousands of knitters during that time, I know the majority of knitters still prefer to knit flat. However, there are a good few of us now that enjoy knitting in the round, myself included. So I re-worked the pattern to include the instructions for knitting the hat in the round using circular or double pointed needles.
Those of you that know me, know I love Tivoli Celtic Aran, see the review here if you don’t believe me. It’s an extremely underrated yarn, it’s a fantastic workhorse yarn, that is till 100% wool, doesn’t cost the earth, wears well and feels lovely. I’d love to see more colours available, but that’s only going to happen if everyone jumps on my Tivoli Celtic Aran bandwagon.
Anyway, it worked up just lovely for the hat, the stitches look great, especially the slipped stitch cable, which sits raised up proudly on the knitted fabric. It’s warm, woolly, easy to wear and will keep your head nice and snug.
In case you’re wondering about the name?
It’s because the handsome fellow (Shane), wearing it in the photographs for the magazine is from Turners Cross in Cork City of course 🙂
There has also been more knitting….
New socks, that I finished yesterday evening. What a great way to round off a very good day ♥♥♥
I’m hoping to get a little weaving in today, after some more work. Hope you get to spend some time doing what you love too.
I do hope your houses are all still standing and that you and yours are safe and warm after the battering of storm Frank? I’ve just heard that Gertrude is on her way now and we all know there’s nothing worse than an angry woman (maybe that’s just me?)
I’ve been busy trying to do a spot of research for this post, but am sad to say I’ve drawn a blank. I wanted to tell you all about our trip to Dublin to see Mrs Brown’s Boys at the 3 Arena and how it was for charity, but I can’t find anything specific to quote, so I’m hoping what I’ve been told isn’t too far off the mark.
I’ve never been to Dublin to see the Christmas Lights before and can safely say, I’ll be back. The city wasn’t as crazy as we’d expected, sure there were queues for parking, but they weren’t too bad and yes there was more traffic on the roads than usual, but I’m a Londoner and that never phases me anyway.
Love it or hate it, most people have a very definite opinion of Brendan O’Carroll’s Mrs Brown show. I’m a child of the 70’s, a Londoner (as previously mentioned), SE1 to be precise, the cheapest place on the Monopoly Board to be exact. Despite moving away, I would return weekly, even as an adult to spend time with my grandparents.
My regular visits always consisted of Pie and Mash from Manze’s (still there and the oldest eel house in London now I think) and tales from when they were younger. As two of the most important people in my life they influenced me with a diet of Carry on Films, Hancock’s Half Hour, Norman Wisdom and that silly, slightly naughty humour that was around at the time. I was never allowed to watch Benny Hill though and having seen it now I’m older, I can see why.
Mrs Brown’s Boys taps into that genre in a way that others have tried and failed to do. It has a feel of a program from the 70’s or early 80’s and it works. I can’t say I’d go out of my way to watch it ordinarily, but in the main it makes me laugh and my son Kye, like many others his age loves it, so as a ‘Christmas Treat’, why not?
We left Lismore bright and early on Saturday 19th to be in Dublin for the 2pm matinee show of How Now Mrs Brown Cow. Of course, no trip to Dublin is complete without a stop off at Avoca for tea and cake though. I wouldn’t mind a large slice of that ow actually.
The 3 Arena was packed and parking was a bit of a nightmare, but we had a great time. The show was laugh out loud funny and it was obvious from the uncontrollable laughter of some of the cast members, that the performance went ‘off script’ on more than one occasion. There were lots of families in the audience and I guess for the most part all they see is a man dressed up as a woman, using bad language and personally, I don’t see the harm although I know it offends some people.
The thing I didn’t know about the Mrs Browns Boys Live Show and what I’ve been trying to research, is the money it raises for charity. I was unaware when I booked the tickets, that the cast and crew take no wages for their Dublin matinee performance and the 3Arena doesn’t charge for the show either. I’m not sure if Ticketmaster donate their fee (I imagine not), but all in all, the Saturday Matinee performance raised approximately €250,000 for Irish Charities. I think there were three mentioned, but can only remember Crumlin Hospital and Irish Autism Action and haven’t been able to confirm the third (I’m actually hoping those two are correct too). If you know I’d love to hear from you.
Like it or loathe it, there’s no denying the good it’s doing and 15million fans worldwide can’t be wrong can they? I for one will be keeping an eye out for when the show returns in the hope that we can go again.
All the Christmas running around also meant I was able to get a little knitting done in between Magazine projects, including these two hats.
This is Barley from Tin Can Knits, one of those quick knits that really shows of the beauty of multicoloured yarns. This Rainbow Drops looking yarn is Genie from Hedgehog Fibres, that I purchased on my recent visit to attend Stephen West’s Colour Workshop. It was for Dina and she loves it.
This is another Striped Hat (even though it’s not actually striped) from Erika Knight’s Mens Knits book. It’s the hat my son Du loves, so both Dina and I have knitted him quite a few. They’ve tended to be in more muted colours, so the red is a bit of a break from the norm. I used Studio Donegal Soft Donegal and can honestly say it was a pleasure to knit with. The yarn has a lovely handle to it and forms a soft, warm fabric, with good stitch definition Fortunately, he likes the red, so I’m thinking of knitting the next few hats in brighter shades too.
Currently I’m working on a test knit for the magazine, so can’t show you much, except for the colour, which you can see in my little swatch here. It’s a beautiful silvery grey, which I know Dina will be pleased to discover as I’ve promised her the garment when we’re finished with it.
I’ve also been trying to finish the crochet blanket for Kye, but the yarn is never ending. Despite having to crack on with the test knit, I’m sorely tempted to continue on with the blanket, so it’s finished for the end of 2015.
What would you do?
Happy December Crafting!
The Olann and Warm + Woolly Campaign for The Simon Community is in full swing. There are shops and businesses getting involved and signing up to be ‘Drop Off Points’, there are library’s up and down the country popping up campaign posters and we’ve even been on the radio. Not that I managed to hear it though, as my broadband was awful on the day 😦
Anyway, as some of you probably already know, I’ve been involved in the odd charity knitting campaign in the past and as a result have written a few, easy knit patterns, that are listed on the pattern page here. (must tidy them up now and make them all uniformly me as Leftfootdaisy).
One of them, The Quick Chunky Hat, was originally used for our Chernobyl Children’t Trust collection. I opted for a standard chunky yarn, for a couple of reasons. The first – it’s mighty cold in Belarus and chunky hats tend to be cosier. Secondly, double knit yarn tends to be the most popular weight here in Ireland and if you hold two strands together when knitting, it makes a chunky = Great for using up your ends.
Going back to my original pattern with fresh eyes, so to speak, it occurred to me that the addition of a longer band, might be more beneficial when it comes to keeping out the cold. Ears are more delicate and therefore sensitive to the cold, so a folded band would add extra warmth, where it’s needed. The longer band also gives the individual a couple of options on how to wear the hat, depending on what they find most comfortable.
Those lovely people over at Thomas B. Ramsden (they distribute the yarns from Robin, Wendy, Twilleys and Erika Knight), gave me a couple of balls of Evolve Chunky from Wendy in different shades, for the magazine and I wanted to make good use of the remaining yarn.
Each 100g ball of Evolve Chunky contains a generous 180 metres/197 yards of yarn. The fibre composition is 10% Alpaca, 50% Wool, 40% Acrylic, which when knitted to the recommended tension of 14 stitches to 20 rows on 6.5mm needles, produces a lovely, light, warm fabric ideal for most projects. There are 10 shades of Evolve Chunky available, each with it’s own subtle changing tones and should you want to investigate further there are some lovely patterns available to support the yarn too.
I’ll update the pattern when I get a minute, but if you do want to knit this hat in the meantime. It’s the largest size and everything is the same except at the beginning I ribbed for 21 rows instead of 7, which then means you have to work until the hat measures 9 inches before you begin to work the crown shaping.
I’m pretty sure I have enough left to knit a second hat too, maybe I’ll stripe it with some of the blue?
Before I go…..
Did you notice that my URL has changed?
I’m now officially fibrestrumpet.com on the interweb (thanks to Shane, Dina’s beau).
Come and have a look at what you missed if you couldn’t join us and if you were there it’s time to see the photos.
It was all hands on deck to set up between the shop closing at 5 and the launch starting at 7.30pm but we managed and it was lovely to be able to see the design samples knitted up.
The Happy Out Mitts that Sara had knitted up looked fab in the the Cinnabar shade of Smudge Yarns 4ply.
The Hip Hop Hat sample shown here is knitted in Smudge Yarns double Knit. The beautiful blue shade is Cairn, whilst the lime green is Fuggles, a name you just can’t say without smiling 🙂
Confession time now, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the Crosshatched Cowl, it didn’t really appeal to me. However, I’m a convert, seeing the knitted sample in the shop last night really changed my mind about this piece. The colours in the Pencil Roving really pop with the Herringbone Stitch, it tempted quite a few people too, judging by how much of it was sold.
As I mentioned in the previous post about the book launch. There were kits for the Beaker Shawl Knit Along available last night (I also have a few available here in the shop). Much discussion was given over to choosing the complimentary colour for the KAL and as you can see from the photo, the choice was a made harder by the sheer scrumminess of shades available in the lace weight.
Don’t forget that if you ‘cast on’ your shawl via Ravelry by Sunday you’ll automatically be entered into a draw to win a hank of Smudge Yarns Laceweight yarn. (I’ll pop up a quick post later today on how to this for those of you that haven’t ever done this before.)
I kicked things off with my usual chit chat, minding my p’s and q’s a little and then handed things over to Sara so she could share with us how the book came about.
Sara handed the gauntlet over to Evin to tell us a bit more about the book and the ethos behind the yarns used, before we moved on to the socialising, laughing and general merriment.
The turnout for the launch was fantastic, it’s great to see fibre folk coming out to offer their support and better still when it’s for local knitterly people.
Dina my lovely and ever suffering daughter, went round with the camera gently persuading everybody to smile. Having reviewed the photos, it evidently meant she wasn’t in front of it at any time. Does anyone have photographic evidence that she was there?
See those smiles. Fiona, Rachele, Sadie and Lee Ann seem to be enjoying themselves.
Hilda and Catherina posing for the camera (I think I spy a KAL kit there). Isn’t Catherina’s crochet Granny shawl beautiful?
Smiles all round from Joan, Erin, Sara and Carol.
Clare and Michelle doing a great job of enjoying themselves and plugging the book at the same time.
I managed to get in on the action too, laughing of course with Orela and Edwina.
How lucky am I? My best friend Snadra was over from England too.
I know some of you will be eager to hear about the raffle prize, but I’m not quite ready to tell you yet.
It wouldn’t be a book launch, without a book signing or two as demonstrated here by Sara and Evin.
Having roped the lovely Carol Feller in to draw the winner I’m really happy to say Noreen won the hamper of goodies, can’t wait to see what she makes with the ‘special edition’ yarns.
I know you’re probably wondering…..
It’s all been confirmed, we’ve sat down, deliberated, cogitated and digested and I am now happily able to announce that the These Islands book launch will take place on Thursday 9th April from 7.30 to 9.30pm
These Islands includes eight never before published patterns for hats, a cowl, shawls, fingerless gloves, and boot cuffs using locally-processed wool made from the fleece of Irish, Scottish, or British sheep with names. The patterns are designed by Sara Breitenfeldt, Suzanne McEndoo, and Evin Bail O’Keeffe.
Suzanne currently lives in Edinburgh so won’t be able to make the launch however, both Evin and Sara will be available for book signing, laughter and fun.
A Cork resident, Evin is the author of the 2014 Blog Awards Ireland award-winning craft blog EvinOK.com. In addition to being a busy mum and her blog, Evin also managed to find the time to write and release her book Bake Knit Sew, which showcases a year of creativity in baking, knitting, and sewing. The book offers a complete year of projects! With over 50 full-color photographs shot on location here in scenic Cork. To find out more about Bake Knit Sew or to order your copy head over to the Anchor & Bee website here.
Many of you will already have heard of Sara, now a Midleton resident too, as is the creator and owner of the hand dyed yarn company Smudge Yarns. Sara’s beautiful yarns are available to purchase via her website or in a handful of shops around Ireland, including mine 🙂 There is also a Smudge Yarns Facebook Page here and a Ravelry Group too for you to join should you want to show you’re appreciation.
The gates open at 7.30pm for the book launch, with everything kicking off ♥ proper ♥ at 8pm. This will be a ticketed event due to the size of the shop, so spaces are limited. There will be refreshments, book signing and all ticket holders will be automatically entered into the craft hamper raffle (more details to follow later, watch this space).
Tickets are €5 each and can be purchased in the shop with me or via the Smudge Yarns website here
In addition to the book, Sara hopes to have some of her yummy yarn on sale to tempt you, she will also officially launch her Beaker Folk Shawl Knit A Long on the night. Kits will be available to purchase at the launch and we hope to get as many of you casting on for the KAL as possible.
As a special incentive to get involved, everyone who “Casts On” the project on Ravelry before midnight on Sunday 12th April will be entered in a draw for a special limited edition skein of yarn.
The shawl can be knitted in one of two sizes, either as a smaller shawlette, or as a larger wrap. The photographs shown here have been taken from the book and have been knitted using Smudge Yarns Hand Dyed Lace Yarn and 5.5mm needles. The featured colourway if you’re interested, is the beautiful denim hues of 💙 Beara 💙
If you’d like to have a closer look at the Beaker Folk Shawl, we’ve a sample garment on display in the shop at the moment.
I’m really excited to be able to showcase this brilliant book and hope some of you will be able to join us on what promises to be a great, fibre related evening.
Since 2015 began I’ve been inundated with questions about our next charity knitting campaign, what it is and how you can get involved. With lots of you eager to get to work I’m conscious that for now at least, I don’t really have anything in particular planned.
In part it’s because the Knit Happens Campaign still needs to be completely wrapped up before moving forward. The ECCR have given me a rough total of the money they have from the campaign and I can happily report that I have lodged €2157.23 in the Knit Happens Credit Union account 🌟 🌟🌟 I hope to be able to pop up a post in the near future with the total amount of money raised, how many stockings we still have left and what we’re going to do with them.
Then there’s all the other stuff to contend with, including my biggest enemy at the moment time ⏰
As it’s unlikely that little ol’ me is going to master the dimensions of time when it will in itself take time, I can do my best to give you some ideas so you can put your needles and hooks to work.
I had heard recently that The Girls Club Cork were after chemo hats and have spoken to Caroline at the service to confirm this. The Girls Club Cork is a cancer support centre that offers advice, assistance and a good night out to members and their families. If you’d like to know more about the service and what they do, pop over to their website here.
So Where do you start?
Having typed ‘free knitting patterns for chemotherapy patients’ into the Google search bar, I can happily confirm that there are dozens of them out there for hats. Many of them on sites dedicated to knitting for charity.
Here are just a few of the ones I’ve discovered.
All Free Knitting – knitting
Headhuggers – Knitting & Crochet
Bevscountrycottage – knitting & Crochet
Ravelry – knitting & Crochet
There are a few things you need to bare in mind when making hats for chemotherapy patients.
You can drop your finished hats off to the centre which is at 26 St. Paul’s Avenue, off Lavitts Quay, Cork (near the entrance to Paul Street Car park). It’s best to give them a ring to check if they’ll be open, the phone number is 021-4949090.
In addition to the chemo hats, The Girls Club Cork are also running the Blankets of Hope Campaign. Their Facebook Page is here and to be honest the poster says everything you need to know so I won’t rattle on. Having run a similar project in 2013, I can testify that knitting squares an blankets are an ideal way to get involved and to use up your stash.
I’ve had a look around for other campaigns and haven’t really found any that are running at the moment, other than the ones where the deadlines are this month like Knit a Daffodil for Daffodil Day and Age Action Shamrock’s Appeal, so if you know of any please be sure to let me know.
Something worth mentioning is setting up and running your own project for charity. You could organise a coffee morning and sell knitted and crochet goods, giving the money raised to your chosen appeal. Another option is to encourage the people in your local area to get involved and organise a community art project. Ideas including yarn bombing a school, park, street lamp-posts or an event and collecting donations, the possibilities are endless.
I’ve loads of ideas for small, easy knits that are great to get people knitting and small enough to encourage people to part with a Euro or two. I’ll try and get some time to run up a couple of them and post here, so you can see what I’m on about.
Be sure to let me know if you hear of any other charity in need of bits and bobs.