Friday, July 13, 2007

Yarns For You, Fawkes Socks For Me, Bamboo DPNS For The LYS in the Far West!

It's been such a frantic week, what with worrying over Sophy Wackles and trying to get just a few journalistic jobs done to keep ends meeting, that I almost forgot about the commitment to sending out surprise skeins to some of you in celebration of my blogversary! Not to worry, we'll extend it for another week. The one I have chosen right now though, albeit belatedly, is Lyn, who lost her dearly loved cat at the same time as Sophy was having her operation. Lyn, I was so glad to see others came in on the comments to sympathise, and I do so too, wholeheartedly. We've all been through it. Once or twice I even wondered why I continued to have pets if it meant such heartbreak, but the joys always won out, I'm glad to say. Now I always keep spares (if that's not too slick a way of putting it - it isn't meant to be). It's just that if I have three dogs, the chances are I'll be so busy looking after the remaining ones that I'll be able to manage disposing of the un-needed collar, the blanket - oh but you know what I'm talking about. You've been there, all of you.

Anyway, Lyn (I don't have a contact for you - what do you mean you don't have a blog? - so email me on kerjoATgofreeDOTindigoDOTie), you are going to get a lucky bag of soft warm surprise yarns to ease your heart. If you make something that can carry your pet's name, that would be good.

Somebody else gets the prize next week, so keep watching. Two mystery skeins have just gone off to Ms. Knitingale for making me split my sides (and I hope the rest of you enjoyed that posting of hers too, as indeed all her postings). One of the skeins, I can reveal, is to encourage you to try Pomatomus again, Ms. K - it really isn't all that difficult when you settle down to it (and print out the pattern in HUGE scale, as I did, incidentally!)

Here's the little invalid, roosting at the top of the stairs with a pathetic expression, designed expressly to inveigle treats out of her worried Mum. I must have checked her tummy scar a dozen times today to see if it's OK. It is. But I still check again. I think she's been fairly traumatised by the whole thing, and seems to have forgotten most of her normal routine. She doesn't respond to the rattle of a food bowl, doesn't recognise a biscuit until it's put in front of her, and doesn't even come looking for cuddles - something she was insatiable about up to now. It's almost as if her memory bank was wiped, and she has to learn it all over again. But she's eating normally and looks healthy, so maybe it's just the shock. I'd be the same in her position. The other two dogs have more or less accepted her back into the fold - the vet smell must have dissipated to acceptable levels.

Elizabeth asked if my designer yarns were available for purchase. They are, they are, Elizabeth, when I get round to it. I have the colour cards from all my previous designs (Torc Waterfall, Wild Roses, Midnight on Mangerton, Connemara Twilight, etc.), so I can make any of them up for eager buyers if they nag me enough, but the next new one will be Lunasa, for the beginning of August. That will be in harvest and hayfield and late summer meadow colours. After that will come Samhain, celebrating the Celtic New Year on October 31. If I were organised enough, I'd put images up of them, but there don't seem to be enough hours in the day. Natalie of the Yarn Yard, and Ray of Knitivity, you need never fear me as a keen competitor!

Now - I need your help, especially those of you who run yarn shops on the side. My dear little Yarn Shop In The Far West, Spin A Yarn in Kenmare, is hunting for a source for bamboo dpns. Although we in Ireland are shamefully behind the rest of the world in re-embracing sock knitting, Spin A Yarn has decided to take the plunge (my nagging might have had something to do with it), and import the gorgeous Jitterbug range from Colinette, one of the divas of yarn colourways. And of course they need nice wooden dpns to go with the yarn as any well-brought-up LYS would. Gill at The Woolly Workshop was most helpful in giving advice and sources, but any others would be heartily welcome too - either via me or direct to Jo and Jean at Spin A Yarn. And no, they don't sell online yet, so they won't be in competition!

Laura, you left a message saying that your mother got married in a knitted lace wedding coat similar to that I showed on a posting last year. I don't have an email address or blogsite for you - contact me and I'll see what I can do. You'll find my address above under the message to Lyn.

[Does everyone think it's OK to put an email contact on the weblog? Does it mean even more spam? Should I? You might let me know your thoughts. It would certainly make things easier.]

Now - there are dangerous hints that a serious love affair might once again be on the horizon. Not again, you sigh. Well yes, but this is with - wait for it - NORO! Yes, yes, been there, spent that (and how!), did the marvelling (and the unravelling), but it's coming to the surface again like an old war wound or a repeat bout of malaria. It is all the fault of that aforementioned LYS in the Far West. Jo just emailed me to say that the rep from Noro will be in Kenmare the week after next and would I like to meet them in Jam (you know, you know, that cafe with the irresistible cakes) for breakfast before getting first look at the new yarns. WOULD I WHAT?

No, no, I promise. I won't buy anything. Too much stash. Too many projects. Right. That's definite then. But I'll go along. It would be impolite not to, wouldn't it? Wouldn't it?

The Pomatomus socks are progressing well, and I think the Nancy Bush Birch Leaf socks will be too, now that I've taken Dez's eminently sensible advice and got DH to photograph the chart and blow it up so that I can actually see the darn squares and symbols.

And another sock passion has taken hold as well. Angeluna, you royal pain in the skein, will you STOP sending me these links? You knew I couldn't resist a pattern with a Harry Potter theme - especially one as beautiful as this. Now some HP-inspired patterns are, to put it frankly, a bit schoolboyish, a bit dowdy, but these - well, go and look at them for yourself. Fawkes the phoenix is so stunningly beautiful anyway that a pattern bearing his name had to be too. I even got going on a dyeing session to create a colourway that would do them justice.

Doesn't look that great here, hanging to drip dry in the conservatory, next to the cowbells from the Cevennes, but it will be stunning made up. Trust me. (Do I trust me, that's the question?)

DH is out at this late hour. He has gone up to Mount Massey (you remember I posted on that magnificent old ruin a month or two ago) to watch and wait for owls. He found a nest site there recently and has gone back to see if he can get some photographs.

We've had photography sessions in our own garden too lately.

This was the scene on the last fine day we had (seems like an eternity ago, but it was probably last week).

Too distant? Try this one.

If you follow the line of the lens, you might be able to see a little dark spot in the rosebushes. That's a wren's nest.

and here's the close-up.

I was really chuffed about this. I'd bought the little woven straw nest - in Paris, I think (you know the market, Angeluna, near Notre Dame) - ages ago, and hung it up there in the bushes thinking a sparrow just might use it. But this wren came along, tucked in some soft bedding and framed the opening so prettily in moss before the eggs were laid, and tenderly hatched. It's always a privilege when the birds choose our garden to raise their families.

You know - I really have too many projects on the go. I thought just now that when I'd posted this, I'd do a few rows before bed (it's coming up to midnight here in West Cork), and couldn't decide which one to do! I must finish at least one. Pomatomus. Yes, I'll finish Pomatomus. Then the Birch Leaf. Then the interwoven wrap in Prism (can't even remember its name, and yet how excited I was about it a month or so ago!) Then and only THEN will I start the Fawkes socks...


Angeluna said...

So happy to see Miss Sophy looking a bit better. She's working you now, huh?

For the LYS, my favorites of the reasonably priced bamboo/wood needles are Chrystal Palace. They are sharper and slicker IMHO, and they come in more sizes. On the inexpensive end are the Chiao Goo, perfectly adequate.

So glad you are flirting with Noro again. It is a constant love affair chez moi.

Don't we love the Fawkes. I'm ready to knit. And Bellatrix is downright interesting, too. There is a third in her series coming out before the book. I'm watching.

And how I know the Marché aux Oiseaux in Paris!! I went most every week-end (it is only one day a week, on the other days it is the Marché aux Plantes), one to see the birds and the roosters that the French farmers brought in to show off and two to buy seed, cages, etc. for all the birds I had at home. I travelled too much to have mammals, but my concierge would feed the birds for me when I was out of town. There was an ancient Frenchman who made and sold the most marvelous and practical wooden cages for them. I left mine in Paris, which I regret. They don't collapse for carrying, so they would never make it very far with travel.

Marianne said...

I'm so glad to hear Ms.Sophy is feeling better, sometimes it just takes longer for anesthesia to get out of one's system.
Love the wren's nest with the babes.

Denise said...

I love your new sock yarn colorway, Jo. Very vibrant and happy!

The wrens look very happy in the home you put up for them. Mrs. Wren has really added a lovely touch with the moss!

I have an email link on my blogger profile and I have yet to get any spam to that address so I don't think that's much of a worry.

You're more apt to get spam from having the email in the text of a posting since the spiders/web crawler bots can read it easily. That's why you so so many folks spell out their email addresses like "my_email AT mynetwork DOT com"

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad Sophy is feeling more like herself! And I'm even gladder that you are sending comfort to Lyn - I can't - well, don't want to imagine losing a lovely little furry one. THANK YOU for the link to the sock pattern! It's fabulous, and I adore the yarn you dyed for your pair. I have the perfect yarn myself, dyed last year. I called it "Lacarnum inflamari" after one of Hermoine's spells, so it will be just right for Fawkes!

Victoria said...

i love reading your blog ...its like reading a fun novel...:-)i miss it when you are traveling lol or busy with offline life stuff lol...

Anonymous said...

Only just caught up with your blog, but had to send gentle hugs to little Sophy.

Anonymous said...

Aww, poor Sophy, she does look rather dazed. But it takes some time to recuperate. It'll get better, Sophy! How wonderful you chose Lyn! And Ms. K, of course. ;)

Thanks for including the link for Fawkes. I don't do lace yet, and usually my brain refuses to 'see' charts, but I saved that one off right quick. ;) Pretty! I'll work it out somehow. [g] As to waiting to start them - hah! I'm betting you'll be casting on as soon as the yarn is dry! (I'm keeping mum on what'll happen when you meet the Noro rep. That's a no-brainer.)

Bamboo dpns: I have an unreasonable phobia about dpns, because last time I tried them, they didn't have anything such as wooden or bamboo ones around here. And there was no 'net. And my Inox dpns just kept sliding right on out of the stitches, or persisted in acting like a rabid cactus and sticking me. However, having been sockBorged now, and thinking of possible - albeit rare - plane travel, I bit the bullet and looked for some within my limited budget. Liked the look of the Crystal Palace, but those were a bit expensive for me. The ones I settled on I still haven't actually knit with, so I can't tell you how they are in action... But I got some HiyaHiya bamboos, made in Shanghai:

They come in varying lengths - I got 5" US#0's/2mm, 'cause I have little hands; the 6" ones would been too long, I think - and have a very nice, smooth finish. They come 5 to a set, at a most reasonable price. Again, haven't used them yet, so no idea on how they feel, how yarn slides, how good the points are, how fragile they are... But they're cheap enough that even with customs duty, I should think the shop could get some samples to test out without too much pain. ;)

And goodness! I just checked out the first website, and on the Distributor page, they say they're actively looking for distributors, especially in Europe! The page says to contact:
qianer AT hiyahiya DOT com

They don't show the bamboo needles on the site, but do mention in the text at the top of the knitting needle page that they not only manufacture bamboo needles, but rosewood and ebony, too! You can see the wooden ones by going through the US distributor's site and checking out their retailers:

(Ooh, and they have 2 free sock patterns on the US site. [g])

LOL - shutting up now...

MoMo said...

Jo, I can't tell you how much I enjoy your writing style. Your blog is the first one I read in the morning. It puts me in a good mood and is just like chatting with a friend. Even though we have never met, I think I might be able to recognize your voice if your delivery in the "flesh" is much like your writing, as I suspect it is.

Thanks for the link to the pattern, it is stunning!

Sophy just needs time to recuperate. Give her special cuddles from me! Her face reminds me of my little Maltese girl.

Anonymous said...

I've been gone and missed hearing about Sophy. I'm so glad she's on the road to recovery.

I don't see anything wrong in posting an e-mail address on your blog if you want. But you might concider gettin another adress, perhaps a hotmail address, that is just used on the blog. That would keep your regular address private and you could easily get rid of it if it becomes a problem.

Lyn, I'm so sorry for your loss. Having gone through the loss of beloved furry friends many times myself, I understand how awful it is for you. Just remember, no matter how much pain the loss causes us, it's worth anything to have had them in our lives.

Charity said...

Happy to hear Sophy is eating and recovering... I'm sure all your tender care will have her back to her old self in no time!

So, now, with all these projects you have on the go, are you sure you want to hear about the Eyelet Cardi? Yes, it's from kpixie, and is being knit in Blue Sky Cotton. :0)

SueJ said...

hmm, there I was, knitting away at a little baby jacket for a friend, reading through some of my favorite blogs whilst congratulating myself on a georgous and appropriate stash hoard for our forthcoming holiday when you present Fawkes! Not content with mentions of Ganseys & diddy Ganseys...... Come to think of it, I have wanted some more Orange socks for ages!I do have Bamboo in my stash though!

Glad that Miss S is on the mend. My sisters little Daisy dog died on Thursday, which caused tears all round but when I fixed a stare on our dog & enquired if we should give him away now before he broke our hearts he brought me his frisbee to thow & informed me he was here for the long haul!

Anonymous said...

wow! that yarn is amazing. and the wren's nest is absolutely stunning.

Terrie D. (StarSpry) said...

I'm so glad Sophy is doing well. I'm sure she'll get back into her routine soon :)

Lyn, I'm very sorry for your loss. I'm really glad you'll be getting some surprise yarn! It would be wonderful to hear what you make with it.

rho said...

Per your request here is my email so everyone sees the real meaning of STASH!!!

First off - Sophie is just being sure to make you feel really guilty for sending her to the vets for the operation - once she stops feeling pulling from the incision area I am sure she will be her usual self. I remember Cocoa made us pay for a while... ;)

Now on to the stash comment -- and just in case you didn't see this blog -- this is a STASH!!!! Go ahead and be envious - I sure am LOL

Had to do it on two lines for the whole thing to come up - hope it works as a copy and paste.

rho said...

Be sure to get the second line in that address - or you just come to the main blog -- with the


it goes right to it.

Peg-woolinmysoup said...

Sophy - you keep that look on dear, the biscuits will keep coming!!
Now, Jo, it would be un-Irish to meet with the Noro representative and not buy some Noro yarn and I know you are a kind and wonderful Irish girl. Get some, Jo, and chalk it up to being charitable to a visitor!
I copied the Fawkes Phoenix pattern - my 17 and 14 year old GDs love Harry and clan!
Love the little wrens!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad puppy is feeling better.

Speaking of birds nesting, we have a robin lodged on our porch. My cat is currently meowing because she wants to eat it. Good thing she can't reach that high.

Unknown said...

aren't babies the best? I had baby rabbits in the wool on my backporch! hehe

Anonymous said...

So glad Sophie's on the mend.
As for DPNs... They don't have bamboo but Lantern Moon has the most beautiful rosewood, ebony and blonde needles... 7" length, sizes from 1-7US.

TheDrollEclectic said...

Glad to hear good news regarding Sophy. My aunt always says losing them is part of having them, but as you mentioned, they bring so much joy, comfort, companionship, and comic relief while they are with us.

I have also enjoyed my Chiao Goo needles, and I'm currently using them on MY Potomatomus, soon to be finished -- RACE YA! Sorry I'm stuck out on the left end of the state & won't get to meet you this week!

Fiberjoy said...

Whoa, You have the chance to meet the Noro Rep! Hold onto your wallet. My LYS owner is crazy about noro and buys just about every sample available. They are most imaginative for fiber/yarn content.

Poor Sophy. Coddle her well. Her brain is probably still getting rid of the fumes.

As for emails addys; don't put it in the blog post!!! There seems to be good security with putting the email in your profile.

Personally I like using brittany's 5" bamboo dpn for socks.

Knitstress Mary said...

The Sisters of the Wool are very excited about your upcoming visit. We will be waiting for you on Thursday evening.


knititch said...

your blog makes me long for ireland. i will have to do some aran knitting asap. cork is a place where i spent one of the loveliest weeks of my life.

Artis-Anne said...

So glad Miss Sophy is on the mend and that new sock yarn is zingy , I love it

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