Sunday, April 29, 2007
Friday, April 27, 2007
Monday, April 23, 2007
Enter Sock Madness, stage left, cackling. Exit all sense and reason.
Here's the first sock, working up the foot. I must say this starting at the toe is rather fun. No grafting to dread at the end, just work away until you see that the ball of yarn is almost finished, and then cast off. Thought the top of the foot looked a bit plain, so added in a few Celtic twists to perk it up. The yarn is my current favourite, Crystal Palace Panda Cotton, a blend of bamboo and cotton, in a nice oatmeal shade.
Well a good bit of the road had certainly collapsed a few hundred feet into the sea, which wasn't too hopeful. But - and here's the amazing bit - everybody had rallied round, including the local farmer landowners, agreements had been thrashed out, and a new stretch of road laid out across an adjoining field in a shorter time than you could believe possible - a few days in fact. Now normally Kerry isn't noted for getting things done quickly, but this they did achieve. And well done to them. Denise and Deb, all is well: you won't miss out on the Dingle Peninsula and the Slea Head drive.
These pictures were taken when the mist lifted slightly. When it was really down, you couldn't see more than a couple of yards.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Here's a side view, showcasing both the cunning little cable down the side (a devil to work, I can tell you) and the lurid colour (oh it was nothing, really, just a dab of this, a dab of that...)
There is some of that wool/angora blend there, in the orange and yellow colourway, with a silk/cashmere green variegation next to it, then some lambswool fingering in pinks and greens, and finally a fine wool boucle in Raspberry Ripple. All rather jolly.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Dez, I know how much you like moss and trees. These aren't a patch on the magnificent specimens of Louisiana, I know, but they're for you anyway.
Saturday, April 07, 2007
It was supposed to come anytime between noon and whenever Irish time on Wednesday, and by 11am the tension was rising - so much so that DH was dragged away from a fascinating browse through a hardware shop and told to hurry up, we needed to get home.
(I probably shouldn't record this, but in the interests of full disclosure I will reveal that DH said two inadvisable things. The first was, 'It's only knitting, for heaven's sake!' and the second was, 'Does it matter all that much when you get this pattern?')
It finally arrived around 3.30 pm West Cork time, and although the intention had genuinely been to use either Yarn Yard's Mango Sorbet or Cherry Tree Hill's emerald Brights, it so happened that about three hours prior to Pattern Lift-Off, postie brought a package from Lisa Souza with three yummy yarns.
On my left, Elektra, on my right Emerald City, and in the middle, what's left of Can't-Elope! once the Painted Madness socks had been finished. Well could you have resisted it? And in fact this gorgeous, almost eatable colourway was ideal for the pattern so beautifully created by Tricia Weatherston especially for Sock Madness.
The socks were started almost immediately since once again it was just one against one, not the somewhat more relaxing group dash for the finishing tape. Thank heaven Celtic Memory is in the Novices group, aka Wendy's Toe-Up Division, since there are a couple of heavyweights out there in the Senior Classes who can turn around a pair of socks in less than twelve hours. Twelve hours, I ask you! Of course that's without comfort stops, sleep, food, unnecessary delaying tactics like those. Here in West Cork we gave up around midnight but woke at 6 am and somehow couldn't get back to sleep, thinking of an almost-finished sock waiting patiently on the windowsill. It was nice, though, to see the sun rise and the baby rabbits come out to play in the field beyond while working unending rounds of stocking stitch on the foot.
Here is Painted Madness Sock One completed and chatting with some early violets. This is a really nice design with a pleasant slipstitch heel, but oh does that double cuff take extra time!
No time to waste, though, so the second sock was dashed at forthwith (had actually done the garter stitch points for the cuff the night before when it became downright impossible to do any more stocking stitch on the first one due to bad temper and the need to vary movement somewhat). DH, having remembered that yes, knitting did matter, rather a lot, was adorable, bringing cups of tea, coffee, chocolate biscuits (very useful those in times of crisis) and generally keeping the dogs out of the way. Muffy was very keen to get in on the sock knitting, insisting she could help, really she could, JUST LET ME TRY, THAT'S ALL!
(It's OK, I bought her off with a pig's ear to chew. Hadn't come across this delicacy before, but found them in a local shop and got one for each of the girls.)
Finally fastened off the toe on Sock Two at 2.30 pm Friday and shrieked for DH to get the camera QUICK!
So much depends in this competition, not only on how quickly you get the socks finished, but also on how speedily they can be transferred to Flickr and thence to the Sock Madness section of Flickr.
You don't realise how much the stress takes out of you until it's all over. Finished an entire packet of chocolate biscuits, crashed out, went to bed early. Feel wonderful today.
Before the Round Three pattern was released, something had to be done to break the tension. Chez Celtic Memory when life is trying, one starts an Aran sweater. There is something incredibly relaxing, satisfying about the mathematical precision of stitches, numbers, rows - yet at the same time you most certainly do not get bored.
This is on 4mm (US 6) Colonial Rosewoods and the yarn my favourite silk/cashmere - you remember, the one that has the aroma of a cesspit when first washed but is fine thereafter. It has beautiful stitch definition and a soft silky feel - well it should have, shouldn't it? The pattern is for a raglan sleeve cardigan, which is the most useful design for Celtic Memory's wardrobe since it can be worn open or buttoned up, sleeves pushed up or down, over casuals or dressies, and can go to the opera more or less as well as the farm. It's calling me to come back to it right now. Nice relaxing stuff after all that heel-turning.
So what was being knitted this fine Easter Saturday if not the Aran? Well, strangely enough, socks...
These are the Mad Pink Cows, the second made from Round One of the contest. Liked the yarn and the pattern so much, went back and got more Crystal Palace Panda Cotton (with bamboo). Started Mad Pink Cow while in So Cal, but then left them to one side while other matters were dealt with. Nearly finished. Still got Mad Green Cow to go, and then all three colours can be mixed and matched with gay abandon.
Must go skein up some yarns to list on eBay. It's been far too long and there have been queries about that nice linen/cotton as well as the finer silk/cashmere. It must be the spring. I'll have those up tomorrow sometime.
As it's Easter, I wanted to give you a specially happy picture, and here DH and I had one of our rare disagreements. I thought you would like a robin gathering moss for its nest. He thought you would prefer Muffy the Yarnslayer chewing on her pig's ear. Which of us was right? You be the judge.
Joy at Easter to everyone. Bring greenery into your home and listen to the voices on the breeze.
Monday, April 02, 2007
Unfortunately, years of spinning coarser wool 'in the grease', i.e. not washed beforehand, had ill fitted Celtic Memory for the elegance of merino silk roving. Greasy wool is very forgiving indeed to the spinner, allowing long draws and any amount of distraction. With this classy roving, however, you had to have your full concentration in the tips of your fingers the whole time or a broken thread was the result. Which it was, rather too many times. Felt like bundling the whole lot into a bag and forgetting about it, but soldiered on and got a small amount spun eventually.