First Snow

DS Irish Cottage Model

How do you like the holiday home I got for Christmas? Well, the scale model designed and constructed by my DS, based on a traditional Irish cottage but with added 21st century mod. cons. This is not to be confused with my main house, you understand, which he designed a year P.B. (preBlog) but won’t allow me to show off now because he’s improved on the original blueprints several times since then! That one’s positively palatial, with a studio, office, Japanese garden…. now all he needs are a couple more degrees (architecture’s like medicine, it seems to take forever), and all I need is to get rich- anyone got a lonely single millionaire uncle who loves handknits?

Ah well, it was worth trying.

Seriously, folks, I think I’m getting the hang of writing my patterns so that non-mindreaders can follow them, but it’s certainly more difficult than I expected. Still, as my war wounds continue to calm down, my concentration’s getting better, so fingers crossed!

DS Cottage Model Interior

See, inside are living room and two bedrooms, as well as scullery, bathroom and tiny stairs up to the attic- isn’t it sweet? I prefer to start the New Year with a goal, rather than a fistful of resolutions- it’s more motivating. Did you recognise the boucle scarf from last week doubling as one of Ireland’s famous green fields? By the way, they’re still green- a first bit of snow may have fallen, but it’s only sticking in the mountains and not affecting us coastal dwellers (yet!).

I was feeling an urge to take a break from lace knitting this week, probably due to the sudden drop in temperature, so I’ve been playing around with 2-colour patterns. I’m not a great fan of Fairisle knitting (although I’ll always make an exception for a really good pattern),  but when I discovered Barbara Walker’s 1st Treasury of Knitting Patterns in Terenure library as a child, I was immediately charmed by her chapter on slip-stitch colour patterns, and I think I’m about to go through another phase of exploring them.

Swatch close-up

These two balls of (I think) sock-weight alpaca were another happy find at the HandmaidCraft sale last year. Together they weigh 120g, so I thought “snug shawlette”, and set out merrily. However, it would appear I’ve become so accustomed to lace knitting that I need to work on getting the proportions right in firmer fabrics…..

Two colour swatch

because even though I love the look and feel of this….

Huge Swatch

it has turned out completely the wrong shape and is currently my largest swatch ever! I’ll have to rip it eventually, but I’m keeping it to fondle and admire a while longer.

This was not the only hiccup this week- I’m finding it quite difficult to teach the schoolchildren. Their attention spans are pretty short, and some of them seem to find it impossible to sit down and/or stop talking while they’re being shown something. I’ve never had this problem before, and I’ve taught all sorts of people, but at this stage I’m open to suggestions, people…

My Wed. evening with the knitting group in the library was a great pick-me-up, though- so chatty and relaxing, with the usual laughs and being the last to be practically pushed out at closing time- we’d happily stay much later, if only we could. For New Year, the library even organised a surprise party for us, and one of the librarians baked us a cake, with sweeties on it for the children- it’s great to be appreciated!

Speaking of appreciation:

Facade, The Constant Knitter

this is The Constant Knitter, a lovely wool shop in Francis Street, just around the corner from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which I’ll show you when it’s defrosted.

Felt Dolls in the Constant Knitter

It’s run by Rosemary Murphy, who is the Constant Knitter, but wasn’t feeling photogenic (I disagree!), so you’ll just have to drop in and meet her yourselves. This Aladdin’s Cave is full of lovely natural fibres (synthetics only where they serve a purpose, such as percentages in sockwool), and there are many inspiring projects on display- felted dolls, lacy shawls, decorations…

Display in The Constant Knitter

I found the perfect yarn and needles for the kiddies here, and at least they all like them, so I suppose there’s hope yet!

Stairs, The Constant Knitter

That’s me in the background, investigating a new yarn containing several percent of steel. I suppose that’s only a natural fibre in the same sense that viscose is, but that’s good enough for me, I have to try it. It’s a geek magnet, so watch this space.

Up those stairs we find a spacious workroom covering the entire first floor.

Multi-purpose workshop, The Constant Knitter

Dressmaking and -designing classes take place here, as well as spinning lessons and courses in knitting and crochet.

Workshop, The Constant Knitter

And there’s still room for a knitting group to relax and enjoy a cup of tea- the pot is of course dressed in style, in a rosy cosy!

Knitting Corner, the Constant Knitter

One last peek from the top of the stairs (there’s a great selection of Donegal Soft tweed by the front door for souvenir hunters) – I know where my next yarn diet treat is coming from….

View from the stairs, The Constant Knitter

Right now, I’ve started into Frankie Brown’s Applecore Blanket (see Ravelry). Yes, another blanket, but this one is Aran-weight Donegal tweed, like my Windfall blanket, which is what is needed to combat current weather conditions (Arctic gales, horizontal sleet). Camilla G’s sock-weight Happy Blanket, though beautiful, will have to wait a little. Anyway, I’m stashbusting, and that’s virtuous, right? Not to mention reducing fuel consumption.

And anyway, why am I justifying it? It’s fun!

Noro apple-core patches, Frankie Brown

I’m using up a half-dozen assorted balls of Noro, each acquired during sales for their lovely colours, but to be honest, not sufficient for a proper project (even I don’t need that many gloves). I’ve nowhere near enough to make a blanket on their own (and that stuff is much too expensive to buy a sufficiency), so I’m going to embed the Noro patches in a matrix of the Donegal tweed colours that have  seduced me over the years (yes, I’m a slave to my passions, but you knew that anyway).And I’m going to knit, rather than sew, them all together so I don’t go demented.

Operation Slipstitch Colour Patterns will resume once I’m warm again!

27 thoughts on “First Snow

  1. You are a busy, and oh-so-cheerful lady! I love that yarn shop – wish I were rich so I could fly to Ireland and buy up some of this yummy stuff. I finished the scarf from you-know-what yesterday. Gotta get the girls to pose and then I’ll do a post.
    Right now I’m knitting up some hand bands – using “robe” and lovin it.
    Cheers, Pauline. Glad your continent is joining the rest of us in this Arctic chill. Misery does so love company.

    • You win this one- I bet you’re at least 10 degrees colder than we are. Mind you, I’m impressed how quick off the mark you are, for a popsicle- I’m ahead of schedule, this week!

      • Gotta move quick-like when it’s this cold. Tomorrow? Way below zero all day. Yuck – where’s my danged remote, I want to fast-forward to Spring.

      • thank goodness for the internet. Can you imagine life without it? I love arm chair traveling (and thank you for taking me to such wonderful places in Ireland), I love meeting new people (especially snappy red heads with quick come-backs) and discovering the amazing gifts of others (like the astounding lace creations from a snappy red head in Ireland).
        Now, onto work. But first, my car has to start.

  2. I love your oversized swatch – but I say keep going with it all the way around and make it a table covering – or a circular shawl. It is too beautiful not to continue to exist. Wallhanging? Wonderful yarn combination. And the cottage looks lovely!!

    • I love my swatch too, but I’ve only 120g (4 oz.) of yarn, so I think a skinny crescent is probably my best bet, if I want to wear it. And the cottage is destined for the Atlantic coast, lucky me!

  3. I love the way the colours work together in your “snug shawlette” that obviously isn’t so terribly deserving of the “ette” part of its name! Stay warm, I can’t bear the cold and I don’t envy you your weather one little bit. It’s a lovely, balmy 31 degrees here today. Bliss.

    • No sooner than I posted this, it started snowing down here, and it’s stuck -first time in 2 years. This is the first snow small children from the school next door can remember, and I’m enjoying their thrilled faces. So I’m hardly envious of your 31 degrees.
      P.S. Have you by any chance got a guest room?

  4. you are an inspiration – I must buy some Alpaca and the steel wool sounds very interesting. One of my projects at the moment is crochetting a chess set – and I’ve been investigating magnets so steel wool could be useful. As to pattern writing easy to say but not so easy to do! But worth the effort especially for your beautiful designs.

    • I think the brand with the steel in was Lang (I’ve read that Habu do that kind of yarn, too, and wanted to tr it, but they seemed much more pricey…)
      Thanks for the encouragement!

  5. The colors in the slip stitch swatch are totally delicious!
    If you make up a silly song to go with whatever knitting motions you are trying to teach the kiddies, that they sing while moving needles and yarn, it may help hold their attention. However, I think children in Western countries are now so bombarded with rapidly emitted and changing photons from electronics’ screens, that the typical child brain cannot focus more than a couple of seconds before it craves new stimulation. And educational settings seem to have given up on training children to be quiet and still for any lengths of time. But then, I was schooled by the Sisters of unMercy.
    Loved the yarn shop tour! And your future Irish cottage will be quite cozy.

  6. Did you get lucky with finding a lonely single millionaire who loves handknits 😉 If not you may want to try finding someone who has made a shrinking machine like the one in ‘Honey I Shrunk The Kids’…haa…anyway, that yarn shop looks really nice!!

  7. That yarn shop is my idea of heaven! Lucky you! 🙂 What a lovely blog, it’s great to discover others who are blanketeers at heart. I just can’t seem to stop producing them..

    • My “Applecore” patches are now arranged in islands all over the livingroom floor, while I slowly but surely knit them together.. Luckily, my DS is very patient!

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