Sunday, November 05, 2006

Time Must Be Made For Knitting - This Is An Order.

Heavens to Betsy, four days since the last posting! The pressure of work has meant that there simply hasn't been time to do more than check email on the dash. Even knitting has barely got a look-in. Now, however, it's a beautiful Sunday afternoon here, and before Sophie gets taken for a walk in the woods, we'll catch up on things.

Went to the Knit & Stitch Show in Dublin on Thursday, which necessitated a very early rising to drive to Cork for the 7 am train. Unusually cold night meant frosted windscreens and icy conditions - most irregular for West Cork in early November, I can tell you! Lene, I imagine wouldn't even have considered it other than balmy at a mere -2, would you Lene? For us, though, it was quite a shock to the system and I had to hunt for the ice scraper before I could even get going. Still it was worth it, seeing the first shaft of sunlight come across the dark sleeping fields as the train slid by.

and then the light growing stronger and giving colour to the sky.

The exigencies of public transport meant getting to the Knit & Stitch Show at the Royal Dublin Society a full half hour late, but there was Julia patiently waiting to meet me! Isn't it marvellous when you finally meet up with someone whose weblog you've been reading and with whom you've been corresponding for so long? First Peg, and now Julia - this is getting to be great fun! We settled down immediately for a restoring coffee and muffin in the cafe at the RDS.

Here's Julia looking lovely as we exchanged packages in the cafe, showing each other our travel projects (mine the never-ending ribbing on the Eriskay, hers a lovely pair of husband-destined socks), oohing and aahing as we opened each other's bags of goodies. I think we were both hoping to lighten our loads, but in fact we exchanged almost exactly the same weight! I brought her some dark and light fleece, plus a book and some chocolate, and she brought me the most glorious range of dyes and an instruction book.

Look at these! A sample pack, and two separate packs for Autumn and Winter shades respectively! I can't wait to get started on experimenting. Julia's quite an expert on spinning and dyeing, and she gave me lots of advice (actually I kept on asking and asking - grab the opportunity when it offers!) as we roamed around the aisles at the show.

I know you don't believe me, but actually I didn't buy any yarn. I didn't need to, for heaven's sake! This was the same show as London but on a far reduced scale since a lot of exhibitors didn't bother to come across. It was manna from heaven for the yarn-starved Irish knitters generally, who were besieging the stalls and spending next year's income on bulk purchases, but I'd already bought so much in London that I'm still recovering - or at least my credit card is, so I refrained. In any case I had my dyes, and you know what it's like when you have the one thing you wanted safely tucked in your bag - you feel quite cosy and safe and ready to go home and try it out right away! It was the same for Julia, in fact - she had come there hell bent on finding some Irish roving (from an Irish Rover?) and happily she found it.

Having purchased this great big ball for €10, she was sorely tempted to buy as much again, but was worried about how to fit it in her suitcase.

It was a lovely day and really nice to meet up with Julia who is by now in London and probably playing merry hell with the fleece and yarn sources there. Safe trip home, Julia, and thanks again for taking the trouble to bring over the dyes. You have no idea how much it meant!

This morning, in a bid to make reparation for the aforementioned damage to credit card, listed a bundle of stash yarns on eBay under the Celtic Memory label - mostly skeins from the coned treasure I bought from Muckross Weavers. One, which I thought was an ordinary lavender lambswool, actually turned out to be that glorious creation known as 'cashwool' which is a supersoft Italian merino. It feels like silk when you stroke it and I'm going to make a shawl in it myself when I have half a spare minute. But not before I try out two irresistible temptations sent to me by dear dear Angeluna.

Sorry for the colours - I'm still a bit of a novice with adjustments in PhotoShop. But she's a pet and a half. I've been yearning for Socks That Rock yarn for so long and now I've got some! And look at the Elann Esprit - charcoal and stripy, so I can make socks with exciting toes and heels! BIG WUVS YOUR WAY, ANGELUNA!

It really seems to be about time for one of those unpleasant audits chez Celtic Memory, viz just how many flippin' WIPs there actually are within open view, let alone tucked away temporarily underneath a pile of ironing or last week's newspapers (we won't go, literally or metaphorically, into the closet where languish uncounted thousands...) What started this was a meek little letter in one of the English knitting magazines from a dear sweet lady who worried that she had a whole wardrobe almost full of stash yarn and wondered if anyone was as wicked as she? The editor asked for contributions on the topic but no way, they're not trapping me like that. One measly little wardrobe, forsooth? The girl doesn't know she's alive yet!

However, the impending audit didn't stop me falling in love at first sight with a Moda Dea design I saw in a tiny image in, I think, Vogue Knitting. I looked it up and managed to download this jpeg.

Super Moda Dea pattern J18.0124 in Tweedle Dee Knit: Split-FrontSweater.

I wouldn't make it in that colour - but I would - I MUST - make it in my Muckross cashmere silk. That's if I have enough of that yarn left - the skeins I listed sold so fast on eBay I nearly caught a cold from the draught! OK, so it helped with the overdraft, but I still hated to see it go. I'll have to check how much I have left.

But I can't get the pattern! Apparently it's 'available from your local yarn store' just for the asking, but we don't have that kind of yarn store here. Probably in Joann's, I shouldn't wonder. And I won't be there this side of next year! This is one of those occasions when you would sacrifice all the green and gold beauty of a fine November afternoon in Ireland for a good session on a shopping mall!

Oh well, truth be told it wouldn't be that difficult to copy just from the picture - the only thing I don't know is whether the back is split as well, but then, that's just a matter of deciding for oneself, isn't it? Take ownership of your life, girl! Stop waiting for someone else to tell you the right way to do it!

Tomorrow I must go to Co. Waterford to interview Ireland's greatest living travel writer (probably our greatest travel writer ever, if you except St. Brendan) Dervla Murphy. She is something else. Or why don't you look her up in the meantime so you know why I'm so excited? She doesn't like being interviewed and says no to most people but fortunately I know her from way back. I'll tell you all about it when I get home. Which won't be too early, now I come to think of it, because a John B. Keane play opens at the Opera House tomorrow night, The Year of the Hiker, a particular favourite of mine. What was it the Yarn Harlot said about knitting at the theatre? Dare I? Well dare I not, given that there has been precious little quality knitting time lately?


Fiberjoy said...

The first picture captures the stark beauty of a winter dawn.

Aren't you just dying to rip into the packages of dyes and start playing with colors?

rho said...

It sounds like you had a ball in Dublin. We have had a couple of those frosty mornings this week but luckily I haven't had to go out until the sun did its job and cleared off the windows.

Can't wait to hear your take on Dervla Murphy I read some on her after you mentioned your interview - she sounds fascinating.

Ok, I give up - it is almost noon and my brain hasn't kicked into gear yet - time for another cup of coffee I think. Although I am so comfy here in my chair with my shawl/shrug on along with a blanket over my lap and my laptop on top of the blanket that I hate to get up. Tells you what kind of day I will be having doesn't it. :D I am going to just futz around the house today - maybe in the kitchen - it needs a bit of straightening up.

Peg-woolinmysoup said...

Beautiful dawn photos, but the photo of Julia is wonderful. Now I have another blog to read! Lucky girl - you will have so much fun with the dyes!
I will be thinking of you spending time with Dervla Murphy and am curious how to say her first name!
Will see if I can find the Moda Dea pattern you show!

Lene said...

In the morning I looked at the thermometer and saw that it was only (really only!) -8 C instead of almost -20 C which has been the case in the mornings last week...
But to speak the truth here, I rather have it -10 C than around zero because the roads are less slippery the colder it it. Little under zero is the worst temperature for driving.

LaurieM said...

I buy very few pattern books these days because I also have this idea that I can just recreate a design I love. Most of the times, I look at a design and think "oh, but it should be a cardigan, and the neck should be more open..." and so on.

It looks like Julia gave you a big stash of yarn dyes! That's just awesome. I don't blame you for picking her brains while you had the chance.

As for the theatre knitting, I say go for it. No one will even notice. I night through a piano recital once and that's how I know. :-)

Anonymous said...

Dervla Murphy, WOW! One of my idols. A secret addiction of mine is travel writing, and she is a goddess of the genre. Intrepid! The journey is the message. I'm adventurous, but she is made of much stronger stuff. Can't wait to read that interview.

Congrats (I think) on making it through a yarn show and buying no yarn. The dyes will keep you busy for a while. Looking forward to the results.

Will also give a look for the pattern next I'm in JoAnns and Hobby Lobby.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful photos, loving them greatly.
Looking forward to seeing how your playing with dyes comes out.

Anonymous said...

That mad woman Dervla Murphy inspired my to set off on several mad trips of my own. Do enjoy playing with your dyes. I seem to recall seeing a fair amount of undyed wool on those occasions when you've flashed your stash. Have Fun!

Fiberjoy said...

I can't believe I didn't recognize Devrla Murphy's name. I knew it looked familiar but was to lazy to think.

Wow! You're so fortunate. This honor shows you've done well with your writing. :-)

I've recommended her book, "Full Tilt Ireland to India with a Bicycle" to many people, especially
following the mess we got into with Afghanistan. Which breaks my heart having read of the gentle compassionate people she encountered. What a woman!!! I'd never have that type of courage. (Another woman I greatly admire rode alone from the top of Mongolia to Vietnam on her bicycle. Erika Warmbrunn, "Where the Pavement Ends" 2001).

Rhonda the Stitchingnut said...

I loved reading your blog. I'm a newbie here from Julia's blog. In fact, I would just LOVE to have Julia or any of my blogger friends say they're stopping in Salem, MA and ask if we can meet & spend the day exploring. Of course, the 1st place to explore would be my favorite fine yarn shop!

Happy spinning!

Lynn said...

Jo / Angeluna,

I'm making a run to JoAnn's this afternoon and will look for the pattern.

Am on a roll, finishing objects, and the current one is a jacket I cut out in June, and would you believe that I have no hem tape or lace? Will post or email you both if I score a copy of the pattern while I'm out.

Lynn said...

Scoured my local JoAnn's. Pattern not to be found. Maybe Angeluna will have better luck in Cowtown.