Yarn diet- my style!

Whew! It’s been a madly busy week. It started with my first photoshoot ever, with Niamh and Nessa and their mammy Breda from my knitting group, some of my first designs, and a camera in the park. Niamh was my official model, but we were having such fun that Nessa joined in too, and happily shared my Pink Heather shawl (one ball of Cushendale boucle mohair/wool, fits 2 children or one adult). The pattern has been in preparation for an embarrassingly long time, but I’m nearly there, I promise! There’s been so much family/health stuff going on for the last year, I’ve been like a headless chicken trying to juggle. Hands up, every mammy who knows that feeling!

I got a lot of knitting done in waiting rooms, and designing is good for the soul (and sanity!), but translating my pencilled notes into patterns people other than me can understand requires a non-medical ambience, so I’ve a backlog…

Still, thanks to my lovely models, you’ve an idea of what I’ve been up to!

There’s no denying it’s the time of year for woolly slippers and socks, at least in this part of the world, so this week I raided my stash for charity shop trophies and produced these two pairs of tweedy slippers. Thank you, Yuko Nakamura, for the free Ravelry pattern, it’s quick, easy and cosy! I modified the patt to fit a ladies size 39 (European)  by casting on 58 sts, and a mans size 45 (do.), 72 sts. We both have narrow feet (I prefer “slender”, myself, but the Son and Heir doesn’t….), so I left out a few rows in the soles. P.S. Used several fine, strong acrylic strands with the tweed in the soles, so they don’t wear out too quickly. Life’s too short for darning!

Just in case there’s someone out there who hasn’t yet noticed, Knitty Deep Fall 2012 is out, yay! I found these Stitch Surfer socks by Louise Robert irresistible, and my son is brave enough to wear them- what more excuse do I need? By the way, the blankie in the background is based on the Grandmother’s Garden patt in Claire Crompton’s Knitters Bible, and the edging I developed by simplifying the Great-Grandmother’s Edging in Barbara Walker’s second Treasury. Have I mentioned how much I admire BW? Let me count the ways… I have been her fan since I hit my teens, which was neither today nor yesterday.

The lavender cotton for the blankie was given to me by Eunice, a kind friend who was moving house and had to part with some of her stash (hug!). I had no stash of my own at the time, after moving back to Dublin from Germany, so I felt her pain and did my best to give it a good home…

The cockleshell swatch is a tangible result of my busiest weekend in a long time. Friday evening was Dublin Culture Night, when museums, galleries, exhibitions and buildings of historical interest fling open their doors for free until 11 or 12 pm, and half the population of Dublin takes to the streets to gallivant and absorb as much gorgeousness as possible- the craic was mighty! The patron saint of culture was doing overtime, obviously, because not one drop of rain fell- definitely a minor miracle.

I could write a guide book about the evening, but this is neither the time nor the place, so youse will just have to come and see for yourselves! However, I got a very knitterly thrill (as opposed to all the others, heehee!) in the Georgian House Museum in Fitzwilliam Street. This is one of a terrace which housed wealthy merchants (as opposed to the landed gentry in Powerscourt Townhouse) and has been renovated, complete with original contents of the period. And in the master bedroom there is a knitted openwork cotton bedspread in an interlocking cockleshell pattern, still in perfect condition!  No photos allowed, groan! In retrospect, I shouldn’t have asked first, even if it would have got me kicked out on my ear. I’m obviously too law-abiding, I’ll have to work on developing a brass neck. So when I got got home I did a sketch, slept for a few hours, then headed off for the Weekend Marathon, part II.

HandmAid Craft Day: basically, a fibre-filled craft fest for knitters, crocheters, weavers and learners, in aid of the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and I had volunteered to help with the yarn stall. Yes, I had an ulterior motive! Of course, I had an ulterior motive! Yarn was involved, and I’m a knitter, so join the dots! Culture vulture on Friday, stash vulture on Saturday: well, I’m a complex person. So yes, I swooped happily on bargains from my advantageous position on the right (i.e.uncrowded) side of the stall, until I had spent next weeks’ housekeeping money and had to stop (plus I couldn’t carry any more home on the bus). But the great thing was, there were so many donations that everyone went home with bags bursting with bargains; ” oh, I really shouldn’t, but…” was the phrase of the day, as my fellow fans caved in to the delights of everything from raw silk and hand-painted lace weight to cones of sufficient pure wool to knit a sweater for modest sums.

It was a long, busy, friendly sort of a day and I think we all limped home exhausted but happy. All I managed yesterday was the shell swatch above (in new mystery bargain yarn).  I haven’t got it right yet, but I consulted Horst Schultz’ “Patchwork Knitting” for the shape (if you don’t know his stuff yet, have a gander an Ravelry, I love his designs)- I’d love to re-engineer a Georgian bedspread….

And then there’s the cone of Donegal Aran tweed in pink, which will make a lovely Curve of Pursuit afghan (Pat Ashforth & Steve Plummer, aka Woolly Thoughts on Ravelry). The deep mauve is left over from my hooded coat (see Construction Site).

So that’s my yarn diet: spend the housekeeping on yarn, then knit instead of eating! Do you think it’ll catch on ?

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3 thoughts on “Yarn diet- my style!

  1. A wonderful post, Pauline – I can feel your enthusiasm/excitement/rush of adrenaline. I haunt the church sales all summer long in hopes of finding treasure – but your adventure makes mine pale in comparrison. Sounds like Dublin, already a big city, came alive this last weekend – wish I were there and so glad to know what else ticks around the world. Your knitting is so lovely and your models are, too. Looking forward to next week’s post. Sue

      • This weekend’s our little town’s time to shine- the Harvest Market is a giant tag/yard/thrift/craft sale hosted by a local church. It draws thousands from all across the state. I’m the secretary at that church – imagine how hard it is to smell all those wonderful cookies being baked just downstairs all day long…. sigh.
        Hope you feel better soon. See ya, Sue

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