Sunday, November 22, 2009

In Which Thanks Are Given For Good Knitting Friends, And Floodwaters Continue To Rise.

I've said it before but it bears reiterating yet again - you lot are the absolute best.

I was in despair, total despair, over that blue cabled jacket where a cable cross had been omitted. I thought there was nothing for it but the Black Hole of Failed Projects. But you came through. Did you EVER come through, bearing not only comfort and consolation, but reviving hope and finally hugely practical suggestions. Heidi's advice on using a larger needle to reknit was invaluable. Katie K (sorry, can't find your blog address, Katie) rowed in with the most practical advice re using lifelines for the top needles, pinning down the working area, counting odd and even rows, and more. Helen emphasised working s-l-o-w-l-y, and not even thinking of a stiff drink until it was done (how well you knew I needed that advice, Helen!) My dear long-time blogging friend Pacalaga assured me that any uneven tight/loose bits would sort themselves out over time. And everybody else was so supportive and encouraging it almost made me cry. But I didn't. I resolved to be worthy of all this support and get down to the job.


You would never know anything had gone wrong. It just needed time and care, not my usual lightning-smash-grab-with-the-nearest-crochet-hook-and-if-it-isn't-sorted-in-ten-seconds-I'm-giving-up approach.

It's done, it's beautiful. But... I'm not sure after all about the side and back slits. They make it a bit too floaty. Designer catwalk stuff, possibly, everyday use, no. So I tried sewing them up.

What do you think? Vents or no vents? Cuddle factor or floaty effect? Still undecided. But grateful, so very grateful, that you were THERE. Take a huge collective bow and make yourselves individual mugs of hot chocolate.

That second picture of the jacket was taken indoors. This is because it hasn't stopped raining for more than half an hour for the last two weeks. I had to time it to the second to dash out with my latest Celtic Memory Shawl Kit and take photographs.

This neat little kit is the Mermaid's Garden colourway, with fourteen different 50yd skeins so that you can create your own work of art.

One of Jane Thornley's vest designs would look wonderful in these. They're up on eBay now. The next one, Forest Magic, with all the greens and greys and soft shades of the deep woods, will be up at the beginning of December.

That same constant rain, allied to the successful completion of the crop cable jacket, led to an uncontrollable desire to START SOMETHING NEW. And as chance would have it, Ruth had just started a gansey KAL on the Pennyroses group in Ravelry. And it was just a week before Thanksgiving, she happened to mention. So of course Celtic Memory, who has no sense WHATSOEVER, decided she'd try to make a gansey. In one week. And wear it at Thanksgiving (we don't actually celebrate that particular event here, preferring to wait until late December, but I've been observing it since blogging and Ravelry opened up such a wonderful world of friends in every corner of the globe).

Now I'm not completely daft, only partially, so clearly a sweater knitted with thread on toothpicks wasn't appropriate for this particular deadline. No, Polperro, from Country Weekend Knits (and included in a few other books too, I think) was the ideal choice, worked as it is with chunky yarn on large needles.

Here it is so far. A chunky 50/50 merino and baby alpaca blend, hand-dyed by me, on 6.5mm circular. Pockets are inset, I'm almost up to the armhole divisions. Will we make it? Read the next instalment.

(No, I don't need reminding about the book deadline. I'm trying to forget it.)

The constant rain, allied to quite frightening gales, has brought disaster to a great deal of West Cork, and DH has been out and about at all hours, recording the floods and flood damage.

This is a little road I often drive when going to Cork city. The water rose to a point where it simply poured across with immense force, and broke down the wall at the other side. No going that way for a while, then.

This view, taken from the bridge by the Angler's Rest country pub, should show sweeping green fields, with the winding River Lee way over to the left, where you can just see a white dot on what was the river bank. It's now a raging Amazon of a river.

This rather expensive hotel on the outskirts of the city was having a bad time, but DH couldn't resist the car park notices.

Guests were being evacuated to the backs of lorries with all their bags. Some Americans that DH met were being exceptionally good natured and amused about it all. Another Cork hotel (on higher ground) took them in and looked after them. Shouldn't be surprised at all if hot toddies and Irish coffees were in demand.

These houses look so beautiful, seeming to float on the tranquil water. However, this isn't Venice, and their ground floors don't bear thinking about.
Now I realise, of course I do, that other parts of the world get far far worse flooding and indeed far harsher weather conditions than we do in Cork. It's just a shock when it happens here. It's not uncommon to get some flooding in a wet winter - a deep pool or two on a country road, maybe even a street or two under some inches of water in the city. But to this extent, never. To make things even more worrying, the gales and torrential rain are set to continue for at least the next week. Fortunately we're safe and snug on our hillside here, but others are not so fortunate. Ironic though it might seem, thousands are without water supplies and don't seem likely to get it back for some time.
It will come around. It always does. The soft wind will replace the gales, and the water will fall back to its usual path. The fields - Irish fields are most competent sponges - will regain their normal green grass in no time at all. While it's here though, it does make you feel more at one with those who live in, for example, New Orleans. (You OK there, Dez?)
Incidentally, does anyone else have current problems with placing pictures on their posts? For some reason, Blogger no longer lets me move images around the page to put them in the right spot. Is it something I've clicked or failed to click? One of life's reminders that nothing stays the same? Advice welcomed. As it is, I have to put all the pictures on first, in reverse order, and then add the text between the images. Which is adequate, but not particularly conducive to stream-of-consciousness writing. (I had a student once who called that 'steam of consciousness'. Love it!)
And while I think of it, the Hit Counter has put itself back almost to 0. Well to just a few thousands anyway, nowhere near what the actual total was. No way of sorting that, I imagine. Ah well, these things are sent to try us.
Strewth, it's raining again. I was almost certain it had stopped for two whole minutes there...

Here is a view from my study window this morning, as I type. I'm surprised those russet beech leaves have hung on with the high winds we've been having. Glad I topped the eucalyptus last year though - they're as high as they used to be, but it's only light branches rather than heavy trunk, and they'll be fine.
And to finish, a nice warm little story. For this hopeless romantic anyway. We were at the local recycling centre, bringing in all our glass and plastic and cardboard and such, and DH suddenly pointed out a tiny object at the top of a heap in a lorry, about to be tipped into an enormous container about fifteen feet below on another level.
'Isn't that a little waggon? See its red wheels?'
I was over there like a streak of lightning and grasped its pull handle just as the small object was about to fall into oblivion. The man looked surprised. 'Don't know where that came from. D'you want it?'
It was wet and full of decaying leaves. The tyres on its little red wheels were in a pretty bad way. But it was solid, and sturdy. And it came home with us. It's drying out slowly and carefully right now, in the garage. Not too quickly, in case it damages the wood. And then it will come into its own at Christmas, piled with presents or yarns or other lovely things.

But I took it down to the grove first, and placed it in the very centre of a fairy ring under the crabapple tree, to have its picture taken.
Ta failte romhat, a leanbhain. You are welcome, littlest one.
Anybody know where I might get some spare tyres for a little wooden waggon?


Puddytat purr said...


I've been reading your blog for a while now and I love it - especially the photos.

Regarding posting pictures, I do all the writing, then add my pictures then click a pic, ctrl+x to cut, go to where I want the pic to be and paste it in.

GrannyPurple said...

Re the celtic cardi--maybe just have the back slit open. It's a lot of slits otherwise with those on the sleeves but the back one gives it a jacket feel.
Do you have a new operating system, or some sort of update/upgrade recently downloaded? As a non-technical user, I find that these often play havoc with existing software, leading me to dub them "upf--ks"

Anonymous said...

First, I think I like the vents open. It is more eccentric, and looks like it would lay properly when one sat a horse or such.

Glad you rescued the wagon. The hardware stores in Louisiana sell replacement red wheels. Perhaps you can get them online, by diameter? I think they are sold for the purpose of all sorts of carts/tools/manly things, but they work quite well on wagons.

Yes, we know the miseries of floods quite well. Even if you are high and dry it disrupts travel and supply chains more than you might guess.

Windybrook Spinner said...

I'm so happy you were able to fix your sweater! It's beautiful. I hope the flood water receed soon.

Mady said...

I'll be the odd woman out here and vote for closed vents. I think if they're stitched to look like vents that are behaving and falling straight, you'll get the same effect without the cables pulling in the fabric and making it look like you knit it too small to fit properly and had to leave these large vents for ease. Or as a compromise, sew them halfway closed. Great job on the cable repair!
Having lived in Texas, I gained a whole new perspective on the power of water. It's a true concern.

Sea said...

The only problem with constant rain is poor light levels, making knitting or working on anything too dark very difficult. I know there are daylight bulbs available, but I find real daylight is much better.
I prefer the jacket with the slits, but that is just my opinion, and when I put photos on my blogs, especially my "Fidgetty Fingers" one, Blogger randomly uploads them, so I tend to upload first, then write.

bfree2read said...

When I explain blogs to people I often mention yours as a great example. Not only knitting, but travel as well and the photos are always great.

I work around Blogger's odd relationship with photos by posting them and then switching to HTML view to place them where I want.

knitski said...

I agree I like the back vent open, but I would leave the others closed. What wonderful sweater--I love the cable work!

Flooding Yikes, I hope folks are ok! We just had minor flooding here and it was horrible. We had high seas, winds, some snow, and the river broke up meaning the ice in it was out causing problems and moving about land and sea and now it looks like a giant ice puzzle here.

Mary Burke said...

I am sorry about the rain - the West Coast of North America is in the same state, my sister in Vancouver is in despair. However, Vancouver, like Ireland, is used to the wet and has coping mechanisms.

I'm hoping that the rain will be over by April, when we're planning a visit. Our guidebook says April is the driest month. Any chance your book will be out by then?

LinDragon said...

Well done with the repairs on the Celtic cardi! When I saw the previous post, I just had to run away-what disaster! (All too easily come to, though).
Fingers crossed for the folk caught up in the floods.

Katie K said...

I'm so glad my advice helped you. Although I don't have a blog, I'm on ravelry as, of course, Katie K. If only I could get into designing as much as I do problem solving...

SusanLayne said...

Beautiful work on the cable jacket, Jo. So glad you worked it out. I'm not sure I'd have had the strength so soon -- I usually have to let them 'stew' for a while before I can approach repair of a massive error. (I'm for trying just the back slit and closing the sides... vote without standing.)

Over here you can buy replacement wheels for little wagons, though you do have to seek a bit. What a cutie it is!

Keep your brolly handy!

PS. For some reason,I am not allowed by usual Wordpress link to Skepweaver in the comment field. I am not really Anonymous!

Nancy said...

My vote is for closed vents since it looks like it shrank and belongs ona child as a coat, otherwise, IMHO. On the flooding, I had seen a few pics on The Weather Channel, but yours are amazing. I wonder if any hardware stores or toy stores or second hand stores would have some little red wheels lying about?

marit said...

Great post, as always!
You've certainly had some bad weather lately! I hope it dries up soon...

The jacket is beautiful! I think I would have put loops and toggles on those vents...

Sally said...

Oh, Jo! That jacket is lovely. I, too, vote for suggests just a bit of whimsy, I think.

As to the wheels for the little wagon, do you want me to search for some for you? Let me know the diameter so I can get the right ones.

Hoping all those who've been displaced by the floods find their way to safer ground...and that the flood waters recede so once again, Ireland can be green and lovely.

danielle said...

1. I personally do not like all those slits either. I like it better with them sewn up.

2. I hope the weather changes soon for the better! I feel sorry for all those with floors and all underwater...

3. Love the wagon! What a lovely find! And filling it full of presents for Christmas sounds lovely - and then you can fill it with different yarns during the different seasons!

Melissa said...

I'm so glad you stuck with the cabled cardigan and were able to fix it! I personally like it with all the vents sewn up. There seemed to be a few too many for my liking. It makes it look a little more polished now (in my opinion).

I can sympathize with the rain/flooding. About 2 months ago we had record rains blow through Georgia in about 2 weeks time and we ended up with some major flooding, something that hasn't happened here in most people's lifetimes. But, like you said, time goes on and things eventually get back to normal...though right now I'm watching a very cold rain fall.

lilymarlene said...

I like them closed too! Lovely jacket!

And I'm so pleased that you have set up the Mermaid packs on one!

Glad the floods haven't got you yet. We're ok here on IOW as we live at the top of a very steep hill. But we have had a lot of rain.

heidi said...

you really did an awesome job when you fixed those twisted cables!

it really looks great!

I vote for open vents, the way the cables flow down the sweater into the vents are simply stunning:)

sorry to hear about the weaterh:( I really do hope that it will improve fast!

Jean said...

Congrats on the sweater, I am so proud of you. It is a pity about the flooding, hope things can be easily put to right again.

Linda B said...

I am in the closed vent camp, though I think it's just plain gorgeous regardless.

We have recently been through a month of heavy rains here in East Texas, leading to the worst flooding I have ever seen here. Entire parks were under water. Thank goodness it's finally begun to go down. I hope you start to dry out soon too!

vickie said...

wow that flooding really looks scary i love the picture of the wagon so cute. it will definitely make a nice present transporter where i live in bakersfield ca we have a risk of flood because the dam at lake isabella is old anf if there an earthquake we would be under 30 feet or more of water and well it would be heck to get out of here

Anonymous said...

It's good to know that you're above the flood levels. You've been on my mind since seeing reports of major flooding (12" rain in a day!) in West Cork.

Hurray for finishing the cardi! I prefer it closed. But then, I'm certainly not the runway sort.

You are amazing tackling the Gansy.

Your woes with blogger is exactly why I switched to Wordpress although it too has its bugs, just not as looming annoying.

Anonymous said...

A vote for closed vents...

Dympna said...

Beautiful jacket.
I'll leave you with my Mother's words about rain.
"Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink".

Quesselchen said...

Love that cardi! My vote is for closed vents - just maybe a little slit (about half the length?) in the back.

And that wagon is just adorable. :)

Regarding blogger and pictures - I have no advice other than count yourself lucky, I can't upload pics here at all anymore, I have to paste in flickr links... lol
But then my blogging has been rather slow anyway. So it is somehow fitting.

All the best from wet and windy Wales!

Ruth said...

Wow, are you soggy! You should be knitting a rain proof poncho, one down to your knees instead of the gansey! And where are you on said gansey? Thanksgiving is only 3 days away. Ack, I need to clean.

EGunn said...

I love the colors in your yarns! Blues and greens are always my favorites. I'm so glad that the cabled cardigan came out well after all.

I hope the flood waters have stopped rising, and that the little red wagon finds new wheels soon!

Anonymous said...

And we're in like the tenth year of a drought. Our well is sucking sand.

I had to leave Blogger due to photo issues.

Debra in Seattle said...

Greetings Jo,
The cardi came out lovely. I like it without vents. Perhaps leaving the back vent. Look forward to seeing your finished 'Thanksgiving' garmet. My knitting time has been limited lately though I did finish a beautiful Nancy Bush scarf from Knitted Gifts for my friend Heather. It was in a merino/angora yarn from Toots Le Blanc. It was exquisite.

Angeluna said...

The Celtic Cardi is lovely and I vote for the slits, unless warmth is a necessary factor. Absolutely knew you could do it.

I'm having the same problem with blogger phootos. Annoying. I'm going to try Puddytat's suggestion.

I didn't realize the problems you were having with flooding. Hope it is soon settled back down with minimal residual damage. We've had a lot of rain and some flooding in Texas, but I'm also safely on top of a hill.

Love your little wagon. I'm sure it will bloom with the love you show it. Could find you wheels here, but not sure where there. A little charm laid on your local hardware store proprietor should do the trick.

Evelyn said...

I like the vents closed up.

And mostly, I just like it!

Anonymous said...

I like your cardi both ways, but if you were planning to wear it with your velvet skirt then definitely open vents. If you would get more use from it casually, probably closed vents. I'm partial to open vents I think - love the effect, quite chic.

Anonymous said...

Because of the vents on the sleeves, I think at least the back vent would continue the theme. Lovely sweater.

Best thoughts for the flood situation. We have another wildfire in southern California, if it's not one thing it's another...

Beverly near Yosemite CA

Gail in Seattle said...

Happy dancing going on in Seattle to celebrate your knitting success! (So sorry about the horrible flooding, though.)

Since I've fallen in love with the Scottish series "Doctor Finlay" I'm in love with the 40s look. (Great home-made knitting going on in that series, especially the children's jumpers.) A back vent might just herald the return of the kick-pleat. Just the ticket.

Helen said...

I think I prefer the vents sewn up, maybe a wee vent at the back? I am biased though, I find vents make my backside look ENORMOUS but I don't think you have this problem!!!

Nancy Fletcher said...

The sweater is beautiful!

My vote would be for no vents -- I like it better sewn up. If it were longer, so the vents were around the hips it would look good, but with the vents around the waist area -- not to my taste.

Too bad about your flooding. I hope it goes down soon!

Dianne MacDonald said...

Beautiful sweater. I think the vents are a little distracting, but I can see from all the previous comments that there are plenty of opinions amongst us! Just do what seems most flattering to you.

Anonymous said...

We haven't heard from you in a while, I hope you are just busy and not under water. We actually had some real rain the other day so I'm no longer quite so worried about fire.

Vicki in So. Cal.

Roggey said...

Oh, that sweater is gorgeous, and so glad more experienced hands than mine were able to help you!

And adore that wagon in the fairy circle photo...

Dez Crawford said...

Dearest Jo, water in one's home is devastating whether it is six inches or six feet, it's just the degree of loss that changes. My heart goes out to those in the path of this miserable mess. Do take care on flooded roads, as moving water only inches deep can sweep you off your feet and over a weir before you know it.

We are being inundated here in South Louisiana by winter rains which started with snow flurries and sleet last Friday. We have about four inches of standing water in our driveway and back yard and nothing is draining; the creeks are full and the ground is saturated. More rain expected tonight.

As for the vents on the sweater, I'd be inclined to compromise and make them only the length of the vents on the sleeve. That way they sit pretty when you are seated or astride a horse or a scooter, but also sit low enough to keep your lower back warm.

I usually make short vents on a tunic type sweater and usually on a gansey as well. And as soon as I finish Mom's epic beaded lace tunic sweater for Christmas, I plan to knock myself out a gansey in time for my own birthday two weeks later in Philosopher's Wool, in their lovely Denim Blue.

Like meezermeowmy said, you can get replacement wagon wheels here in Louisiana at old-time neighborhood hardware stores. Only the wheel diameter is needed.

I have to do the same thing with Blogger -- load the photos in reverse order and write around that. Indeed it does interfere with the stream of consciousnesss.

Always delighted to see your posts!

Anonymous said...

Season's greetings and hoping all is well your way. Like your many readers, I enjoy your blog so very much.

Wishing you and yours a happy and magical season and New Year.

Melody (in Georgia, USA)