Foggy Sunset

Foggy Sunset
Photo by Aisling Doonan

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Glendalough, Perseverance & a Summer Garden

My hay fever has gone bananas today. I have antihistamine tablets, but they knock me out for about three days if I take them, so I don't know which is worse. Vicious sneezing, eyeballs filled with ants or not being able to lift my arm without having to concentrate really really hard. It might sound funny, but it is like trudging through a meter of molasses while your brain is sieved and you can't put it back together again.

Mr RS swears by a nasal spray but I haven't been brave enough yet. I imagine it would make the sniffing worse, hehe! I am surrounded by fields, trees and wild growth, even folding the washing brought in from the line can trigger an explosion of sneezes. Anyone else suffer? Any tips?

 A little while ago we spent the weekend in Killiney in a lovely airbnb (our very first time using airbnb, I'm impressed it was a lovely house and it was perfect for our needs.) Mr RS was taking part in the Wicklow 200, a 200 km cycle around Wicklow, taking in some rather large hills and possibly a mountain as well. He finished without falling off or breaking anything, and was still able to walk (I wouldn't have been!) so we took a spin out to Glendalough to have a look since the weather was still nice.

The last time I was there, I have no real memories of it, so I think I must have been very young. All I know is that we had a small ornament on a shelf in the kitchen, a bog oak round tower, just like the Glendalough one.

There are lots of lovely walks and treks around the two lakes (Gleann Dá Loch, meaning "Valley of two lakes") but as somebodies legs were a little tender, we did the gentlest one.  

The views are spectacular and it is a photographer's paradise. I can't wait to go back and bring the mini me's this time.

I have finished a few small projects lately. I don't know what it is, but I am gravitating towards projects with little commitment. I do have a fine lace shawl started but I have made no progress with it at all, all I want to do is make small colourful things. I won a vintage Steiff teddy bear on ebay recently and when the darling chap arrived in the post, I just knew that I wanted to make it a lovely jumper or cardigan. In fair isle. Of my own design. Sort of a taster if I was to make a grown up version. 

So the Summer Garden Cardigan was born! Isn't it delicious? The colours just all sort of jumped into my hands and demanded to be used. I think it is the prettiest combination I have ever put together. 

I knit the cardigan in the round, with steeks for the front opening and the sleeves. I grafted the shoulders together and knit the collar in corrugated rib, the same as the button bands. I knit the sleeves on from the body and decreased a little towards the cuff. All in all it was a quick, satisfying and adorable knit from start to finish. And the one thing I love about steeks on cardigans, is that there is no ends to sew in when you are finished from the colour changes. Win, win.

So Beans (yes the bear is called Beans. I do have a larger version called Toast, and the kids thought it was only right if the smaller one had a matching name), is now the best dressed bear on the block. 

Pattern: Summer Garden Cardigan by Aisling M Doonan
Yarn: Jamieson and Smith 2ply jumper weight 
Needle: 3mm
Yardage: 200 yards approx 

Another, slightly larger project that I'm working on, is my own design again, my Perseverance Poncho. It's a simple top down poncho, knit in the round, and will use various sock yarn speckled colours fading into each other.

So far I'm enjoying it, but worrying a little about my colour choices. I'm completely winging it. 

I was hoping to have it finished before the Summer holidays, but we'll see. I think I'm about halfway there.

Anyway, that's all for now

Happy knitting


Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Little Lace

I love to read, I read everyday and even though I own and use a kindle at night, I still love the feel of a physical book.

 But I never seem to have a bookmark on hand. I have had the usual gift shop type with the synthetic ribbon at the end that frays and disintegrates over time. I have also had one that I adored, it was a laminated affair with a stylised capital letter A on the front, from the Book of Kells. Sadly, I think I must have left it in a library book and sent it back without realising. 

That is the problem with bookmarks. they are flat and hide quite neatly within the leaves of your book. Unless your ribbon or tassel survives the rigour of reading, they are easy to lose. 

I also know that knitted lace bookmarks are a popular small project to crochet or knit, there are currently 398 patterns to choose from on Ravelry for them. I was asked to teach a class in the local library and I needed a small project that could possibly be completed with 2 hours. I thought of my poor books, with random receipts tucked inside the pages as markers and decided it was going to be my next project.

Needle: 3mm
Yards Needed: 30 yards approx

The bookmark isn't overly difficult to make, it does however look like a curled up mess until you are finished. A quick blast of the steam iron sorts that out and everything is beautiful, neat and flat and ready to use in a few seconds. They are quick to make and would make wonderful gifts for the book lovers in your life. The pattern is free, so head on over to Ravelry (follow the link) and download it now!

I have also been busy with other small lace projects. These socks are from Stephanie van der Linden's book Around the World in Knitted Socks: 26 Inspired Designs. The book has fabulous socks in it and each pair is as delightful as the next. I have a high instep and a long foot, so some of her designs don't fit me that well if they are knit to pattern. This pair fits well and look so delicate and feminine that I almost can't believe it's my feet in them! I did go up a needle size, and probably didn't need to in the end, they fit with room to spare.

I usually prefer to knit vanilla socks and never stray much from what I know is a perfect fit. These were too pretty to ignore, especially when I had a ball of Cornflower from the West Yorkshire Spinners Florist Collection just staring mournfully at me from my stash. A plain stockinette pair just wouldn't have done the gorgeous blue any justice at all.

I love the lace. I love socks. But I can't see myself knitting every skein of sock wool I own into a patterned lace or cable sock. Even though I could spend months working on a large shawl, the thought of a concentrated sock makes my teeth hurt. I think it's because I think of socks as my palette cleanser project, the one I cast one when I want some mindless round and round action. Fighting with lace repeats on four needles make me frown a lot. As a once off project they were immense fun.

Needles: 2.5mm
Yardage: 298 yards approx

Apart from lots of small projects and lots of thinking about larger ones, I am getting ready for the kids to finish school until September. 9 whole weeks at home with no TV (sadly my granny's television that I inherited from her, died a few months ago and we haven't replaced it yet. I am too sentimental and too sad about it) and probably very mixed weather. I need a battle plan. One for keeping me sane and them amused. I am thinking of giving them projects of their own to be finished before school starts again. And for us all to collaborate and write a small book, we have talked about it lots but we haven't organised ourselves yet. I have a feeling that the laptop will need a rota for fair usage from all parties and will be smoking from exertion by August 31st, hehe!

I will keep you all updated on project Vortex of Doom!

Until next time

Happy knitting