Good morning! Well it is morning here in Ireland, all bright and washed and clean after last night's rain. So many new ideas buzzing around waiting to be started, so many projects on the go. I really must try to fit a WIP section in my sidebar - I have no excuse, Rho sent me all the details, all I lack is the courage - and then see about putting in cunning little pictures of each project like some really techie knitters have done.
Until that happy condition is achieved, here's a brief run down on what's knitting, what's projected, what's still in the fantasy stage. The shepherd's vest is coming along delightfully. This Sirdar Denim chunky may not be pure wool but the blend of wool, cotton and some acrylic makes for a lovely feel and perfect stitch definition as well as QUICK WORK.
It's my own pattern, made up as I go along. What do you think about just increasing a few stitches either side at the sleeve stage, to give a bit of a cap effect? And I have this great idea for creating a tiny outline sheep in relief stitches in one plain panel on the front - of course I want to try it out now, not wait until I get there!
And, so enamoured am I of my glorious Interlacement socks (on my feet as I type and never have I worn a more comfortable snuggle) that I've cast on for the first of a new pair, in the bright Cherry Tree Hill Glitz yarn which will make the loveliest winter socks. Will, as before, work both at the same time on two sets of dpns - grateful acknowledgements once more to Grouchywif for that hint which avoids the risk of contracting the dreaded Second Sock Syndrome entirely.
I have to express a great big thank you to everyone who poured balm on my very hurt feelings after that fiasco at the weekend. It was so lovely to get all those messages of support that I felt tearful all day Monday. It was a very small petty affair, and I shouldn't have got so upset, but the love and friendship I got made me almost glad it happened. I think this weblogging comradeship must be a lifesaver for people with real worries challenging them and from now on I'm going to be in there with the rest of you, handing out strength and support to anyone in need. You can all get up RIGHT NOW and take a big bow (OK,Angie you can curtsey gracefully, I know you prefer the old-fashioned ways!) You are a collective sky of stars.
As if to emphasise the message that sunshine follows rain, Monday morning brought a couple more treats beside all your messages. I got a lovely new circular needle from Jenkins Woodworking plus Wanda's irresistible pattern for a spinner's walking pouch to be knitted from roving (never tried that) and then felted (never tried that either).
Two new craft methods to try - can't wait! And although you mightn't be able to make it out, Ed has put my name, Jo, on the top needle in the picture. Isn't that lovely and personal?
Every time I read someone else's weblog I discover yet another new wonderland, another temptation to indulge in serious retail therapy. This time it was an unbelievable range of handpainted sock yarns from Lisa Souza (thanks Cindy, did you have to throw in such a divine distraction for the rest of us in that deceptively casual way?). I mean, just look at these two:
This one's Electra
and this one is Earth Birth.
My credit card is already trying to crawl into a dark corner and hide.
And speaking of socks, did you see those beautiful grey knee -highs on Lene's site? Stunning. I think we're all moving back to the natural colours instinctively. I'd been longing for soft greys and browns and naturals for a little while and then realised from reading other weblogs that others felt the same too. And so I ordered sample cards from that great old Shetland firm, Jameson & Smith - can't wait for them to arrive. Have you seen the patterns they have on their website? I just lust after the Sheepsaver
And their shawls - you have to see them! Lovely to think of an old firm still surviving up there in Lerwick, facing into the Atlantic gales and buying up all the clip from tough little Shetland sheep. And speaking of sheep, I was furious to discover recently that there is a very rare and tiny breed on the island of Ouessant or Ushant off the northern French coast. Furious because I was actually on Ouessant a few years ago and didn't know at the time - I MISSED them. Will just have to go back. Not a particularly easy place to visit - the boat tosses and bounces quite a bit in the rough water and you can be marooned for weeks if the weather changes. Beautifully tranquil there, though - I have a lovely picture clipped from a magazine years ago of an old woman spinning fleece on a drop spindle - if I can find it I'll put it up for you to enjoy too.
Mary, I can't believe that you actually OWN a square foot of land in my neighbouring town of Macroom! Get in contact with me right away (you can do it easily by going to Knitter's Review Forum, joining up (it's a great place anyway and I've learned so much from it) and then sending me an email (I'm Celtic Memory there too). And you actually stayed on Dunmanus Bay. That is one of the most beautiful places on earth. I even designed a yarn colourway inspired by its sunsets. Here's a picture to remind you, and show everyone else (no, no, the bay, not the yarn!)
Cindy, Joanne and everyone else who asked: you can find that Ukrainian laceweight yarn from the very helpful Oleh on eBay. Let's see, I'll just check where. It's in yarn, obviously, and Lace-Weight Fine Wool Yarn is the description. He has an online shop called nicholas_progg and you can search for it that way too. If you can't find it, email me as above via Knitter's Review Forum .
Abby, you CAN get Irish bainin to knit a traditional Aran: Kerry Woollen Mills spins its own pure wool bainin and now at last you can buy it online (although it is admittedly more fun to bounce down potholed muddy lanes to the mill itself). You can get Tivoli Aran through online stores, but it isn't pure wool.
And everybody who wants to try knitting that Elann lace crop cardi, GO FOR IT! It's actually a free pattern downloadable from the Elann site. (Heavens above, just looked it up to check and the patterns available there at the click of a button - those shawls... those tops... WHOA!). It's not really that difficult - lace knitting isn't anything more demanding than yo's and k 2 togs - but keeping track of the increases does require shovelsful of stitch markers so be prepared! (And keeping the chocolate biscuits and coffee handy doesn't hurt either. Thornton's have just brought out a delectably sinful confection here, involving praline, soft sponge and layers of thick chocolate - but I'm dreadfully sorry, you certainly don't want to hear any more of that.)