Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Sorry gang! I was in such a rush, and having to wait until the sun condescended to peek out from behind a big grey cloud and all, before I could get the picture, and then getting it listed before a deadline looming for an interview, and then getting to the theatre on time to review that show, that I omitted to tick the right box on eBay. There are now more skeins of Mi na Samnha up there (id 170164645002). Congratulations to Marian who got in ahead of everyone else to scoop the very first one!

An Inspector Calls was great fun. Classic period drawing-room drama with a twist. Enjoyed it thoroughly. Can't beat J. B. Priestley for theatrecraft. Will wait until tomorrow morning to put in the pithy, to the point, constructive review.

May your Hallow-E'en be powerful and happy. Next posting, a ghost story, I promise.

Yes, I Do Need A Project Manager!

Excellent suggestion, Angeluna. Any takers? Duties light, but stern discipline required when temptation strikes chez Celtic Memory. Can offer soft damp climate ('showers giving way to rain' is the usual forecast), plenty of cloudscapes, the company of cheery if scruffy small dogs, a country where conversation rules supreme and a silence is considered catastrophe - oh, and the chance to run riot in the legendary CM stash (why do you think I never attempted to list any of it on Ravelry?)

Finally got the new yarn finished, skeined up and photographed for eBay (id 170164497606 for anyone who wants to go over and have a look. ) Here's a quick preview of Mi na Samnha:

I can tell you that this one had a mind of its own. I might have thought 'silver', it firmly said 'gold'. I went towards dark greens, it snatched at the light cobwebby greys. I think the Old Ones were working in the background there, but that's what you have to expect when you try to recreate such a powerful ancient time as Samhain. And it would only be photographed on rustling freshly-fallen beech leaves. The druids again!

And Angeluna, I will also take your advice for calming and soothing start-itis. I will indeed work diligently on the Dogi vest from Kimono Knits until I feel relaxed and detached from all those other projects.

Although I have this inspirational idea for a dark charcoal kimono which falls open to reveal brilliant poppy-red linings.... And I HAVE THE YARN!

No, no, no. The Dogi vest is really beautiful. And so is the yarn I'm using. Both are really beautiful. I don't deserve them.

(repeat three times a day, or more as necessary)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

No Way To Treat Alpaca!

Celtic Memory is hiding in a cupboard at the moment, peeking nervously out through a knot-hole. She fears that the Yarn Police may be coming after her, set on her tracks by the Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Yarn. And she hasn't a leg to stand on. It's true, it's all true.

Here is a large ball of exquisitely soft and snuggly alpaca, thoroughbred all the way through - travelling back from the frogpond. The rosewoods are there to give it support. It's had a bad time.

This was not its first trip to the frogpond. Nor the second. Nor the third.

Let me lead you back down memory lane a little way. Not that I want to. Believe me, I don't want to revisit those scenes of insanity. But it might make you understand the enormity of the crime for which the Yarn Police have put a price on my head.

THIS then is the very alpaca originally sourced at Knit & Stitch in London last year and almost immediately designated for a Norah Gaughan asymmetrical crop cardi (was it VK Fall 2006? Or Winter? Possibly). It soared up the back of the jacket beautifully, right to the armhole shaping. And then something happened. Or not. Whatever. The love of the moment retreated gently into the background to make way for a new passion. We've all had times like that (some of us rather more than others, admittedly). That was OK. It watched contentedly from the sidelines for a while.

LEAP forward now to a couple of weeks back when I was wandering round with that IK Nantucket cardigan pattern tucked in my pocket, trying to find the right yarn for such a nice project. Ah-HA! The charcoal alpaca! Of course! Now where did I leave it...?

I simply cannot understand how so many other things can superimpose themselves upon a single item which you only left down for a moment a little while ago. I searched the Repository Of All Forgotten Things (originally I believe a long bench, but it's so long since I saw the actual piece of furniture that I can't quite remember) and had no luck. Searched the stash basement. Searched the Repository again. Swore exasperatedly and tried to think of an alternative. But no. Nothing else would do now. The alpaca or nothing.

Emptied almost everything off the Repository (oh so that's where that shawl went to! Good heavens, I don't remember starting that crochet vest...) Eureka! The little plastic pouch containing the alpaca and a half-finished jacket back. To the frogpond, mes amis! Time marches on.

Simply couldn't be bothered skeining, washing, drying, rewinding. Sloppy, bad housekeeping, thoughtless, I know. I know. But I did want to cast on for that Nantucket jacket, and was already impatient with all this delay. It isn't as nice to knit with curling, twisting, just-ripped yarn, and I felt guilty, misusing such lovely fibre so callously. At least we were on our way, however!

Four rows in, it became very evident that Nantucket and I were not good bedfellows. I kept getting the patterning wrong, swearing, frogging back, trying again. Got to six rows and measured.


This would fit a giant! What happened?

(Stop snarfling! I DID swatch. I did TOO! I swatched and measured and got gauge. It meant two more sessions of ripping back for the first few yards of the already misused alpaca, but I did it. Is it coincidence that today's Knitting Daily topic from the ever-wise Sandi is about swatches and how we can still get it wrong? I think not. More like the influence of Hallow-E'en if you ask me.)

Frogged back. Rewound the by now rather tired ball (somewhere in the centre is the remaining, unused, centre-pull ball, but if you can tell me a way to get the frogged yarn back into the middle, I'd be delighted to hear from you). Cast on again.

This time I ended up with a totally crazy take on the pattern. Now Celtic Memory is reasonably capable of following clear instructions, and these are fairly clear. But something was not going right. Frogged again. Rewound again (wince, wince by all means, I'm cringing myself as I type this, balancing the laptop on my knees in this dark cupboard. That poor alpaca is like a pussycat that's losing its coat by now). Cast on again.

The fourth try didn't get past Row 2. When I found myself 20 stitches out in the pattern, I drew a deep breath and suggested to Nantucket that it walked one way, I the other.

The worst bit is that I was away from home at this particular point and had specifically chosen Nantucket and Alpaca as my companions for the journey. It seemed like such a good idea at the time - the three of us laughing over drinks, murmuring sleepily across from our separate beds during the night, breakfasting together - but some relationships are doomed. DOOMED.

Then I had a brainwave. What I really really wanted for the winter was a cuddly ribbed hug-me-tight sort of vest or cardigan or sweater-y thing which would snuggle close and keep out the chill. The alpaca would be just right for that.

Oh - I'd frogged, hadn't I? Can I remember the gauge I got? No I can't (selective memory loss, it does happen). Even if I could have remembered, it wouldn't be accurate, given the patterning I'd been following. OK, swatch again. Where's my tape measure?


Yes, the tape was sitting serenely at home, where I'd left it that morning.

No, for heaven's sake. This is Ireland, OK? You simply do not go and find the nearest Joanns and buy another tape measure. These purchases have to be PLANNED, long in advance, and an expedition mounted. You can't just pick one up like that. (Like what? Well - like the USA, I suppose.)

OK, now let's try to remember. Thumb joint one inch, right? No, middle finger first joint - I think. Thumb is inch and a half. Or is it...? Oh let's guess and go for it.

You can complete the rest of it for yourself. I really don't want to. Suffice it to say that the alpaca has been prescribed bed rest for several weeks, with light tasty meals at regular intervals and a total absence of visits from me. I feel bad. Very bad. That is no way to treat alpaca. I shouldn't wonder if I'm cold-shouldered at public events the next time I go out. If I ever do get out.

Would one of you ever ring the Yarn Police and tell them that someone's brutalising a ball of quiviut over in Nova Scotia? Then I might be able to quit this cupboard.

And then I might be able to get on with the socks.

Ah yes, the socks. When we last spoke, I was working on the Austermann Step pair in a nice sort of twisted cable pattern from More Sensational Socks. They're a bit further on.

They're not as well progressed as they should be, I admit. That's partly because of the Alpaca Scandal, but also because I got my greedy mitts on some Claudia Handpaint...

which clearly required to be started instantly. I'm doing them in a sort of 3 st cable with 1 purl in between.

These two socks ought to be the same length. They were. Until I discovered that Sock Two had four more stitches than Sock One. Four, you see, exactly the right number to keep the pattern correct, so I hadn't noticed until I'd got all the way down through three repeats.

No, I don't have an idea how it happened. Yes, I do check. Yes I do count - WILL YOU STOP LAUGHING AT ME! I don't know how it happened and let that be an END to it!

There are days when I wonder if I wouldn't be better off collecting stamps...

And amid all this, have I worked a single stitch on the Dogi vest from Knit Kimono?

I have not. Beautiful the pattern is, absolutely stunning the yarn is. What am I doing, squandering my time being bad to alpaca and making socks of different sizes? I should be devoting my time to the Dogi and that gorgeous Wool in the Woods/Cherry Tree Hill yarn.

But it's almost Hallow-E'en and that means I must get moving on the new designer yarn. This one is going to be called Mi na Samnha (mee-ne-sow-na) because that is the Irish name for November. Hallow-E'en is the Eve of Samhain, the beginning of the dark month, and this is going to be a yarn to work with while cosily tucked up at home by the fire during the dark time of the year.

But it's not going to be all yellows and oranges and blacks like Hallow-E'en Trick or Treat paraphernalia this time. It's going to be a song-poem to the deep dark woods, to the tall forest trees and the branching bushes, to that magical world where animals can shelter safely and knowledgetable human travellers find soft mosses and bracken to make their bed for the night, clear water to drink and nuts to eat. Think greens of every shade from pale lichens caught by a stray ray of sunlight through glossy holly leaves to rich dark fir boughs. Glints of silver too, from a tiny twisting stream or a dew-spangled cobweb - or maybe even one of the Good People hastening to a gathering of the Sidhe.

I know what it should be - but the making of it is always a frantic struggle to create in yarn what is so clear in the mind. Nevertheless, it must be listed on eBay tomorrow night before the clock strikes twelve.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Old Road

There are a great many traditions in Ireland relating to 'the old road'. Some of them even refer to genuine roads that once took their winding way through the quiet countryside, but have now softened back into grass and overhanging trees. Roads like that over the Leaca Ban between Cork and Kerry, which in my father's time was (just) navigable in a lively car with a sense of adventure, but which is now for hikers only.

Most, however, refer to other-worldly roads, routes to strange places which only appear at certain times of year, when the moon is full, approaching Hallow-E'en or the summer solstice. Roads which, if taken, lead to the camp of the Fianna or the court of the High Kings, or even to Tir na n'Og itself.

A particular favourite of mine is The Secret Road, which, it is said, can be seen on moonlit nights leading across the Bog of Allen in the centre of Ireland. The warriors of old stride along this road with their wolfhounds padding alongside. They won't harm you if you meet them - but it's as well to keep a hold of a crust of bread in your pocket to link you to your own world.

I was reminded of all these legends yesterday when we discovered that the Gearagh had become dry once more and was revealing its secrets. We are fortunate enough to live alongside this wonderful place, which is a flooded river valley and the remains of a very rare type of habitat, an alluvial forest. It's now an international Ramsar site of much importance, but to tell you the truth, I still mourn for what it once was. When I was very young indeed, it was still an unflooded river valley and a place full of magic and secrets. At this wide point, the river Lee spread across half a mile or more of the low-lying landscape and created tiny tree-covered islands, meandering river channels, a fairy world. My father used to tell me that the moonshiners made their brew on these tiny islands and I imagine they did - I can remember seeing rickety handmade bridges linking one to another. But there were communities living in this river valley too, who made their way around and to firm ground by the use of little flat-bottomed boats.

Then, it was decided to flood the valley. Electricity was the cry, wonderful progress. Young as I was, I was horrified. What would happen to the trees, the little houses, the farm where we always got our Christmas tree, the ruined castle? Would the animals be saved? I was reassured on all these points, but it didn't help to be told that they would blow up the castle before flooding the valley. My father, being an adventurous sort, made several sallies out on to the increasing lake, painting a pole red and white so that anyone who saw him would think he had a right to be there. I stayed home and mourned the loss of a lovely valley.

That was a long time ago. Today the Gearagh is lauded as a beautiful scenic spot and indeed it is.

That's one of the old roads, crossing the original river, although it is now just a track leading nowhere. Those aren't birds in the foreground - they're the tips of tree stumps, all that remains of the original forest. (And we're talking ORIGINAL forest here, the last remnants of the ancient woodlands which covered Ireland in prehistoric times.)

It looks rather lovely at dusk too. That pointed peak on the left in the background is Shehy, a real fairy mountain if ever there was one. The King of the Cats lives up there - Balgeary is his name.

Now we haven't had much rain for a while but I think there was more to it than that. Perhaps they decided to open the sluices down at the dam and drain more water out for some reason. Whatever. The Gearagh was almost dry, and as we went down to the old bridge, we could see the shape of the original fields, walls, lanes which had once been lined by trees.

The shapes of the little islands that I remembered from childhood were there once again, still holding their own despite so long underneath the dark water. The trees had been brutally hewn in advance of the flooding, but their stumps remained sturdily there. A tree does not forget.

Imagine what it was like when all these tiny islets were covered with a thick canopy of scrub and hazel trees and brambles and bushes. You can see how difficult it would have been to find your way between them. No wonder the police tended to leave the moonshiners strictly alone - it was said that only a Gearagh man born and bred could lead you safely through, by boat or otherwise.

The old road down through the midst of what was once a thriving community still survives (that bridge you saw is part of it). In places you can still even see remains of the tarmacadam which covered it.

But mostly it's a quiet long-ago lane, running on and on in a green tunnel to Fairyland.
'They closed the road through the woods
So many years ago
Weather and rain have undone it again
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods...'
(Thanks, Kipling!)

And then we came to the crossroads -

- where once the lane forked left to go across firm and slightly higher ground towards where we now live. It has been deep underwater for many years of course -

- but on this day (and it wasn't the full moon, it wasn't even midnight, we aren't at Hallow-E'en yet) it had miraculously returned to the air and the light and the sun.
I have not walked on this road since I was a tiny child. It was a strange and very moving experience. How did the little boreen feel, being once more in the sunlight, and feeling feet walking on its surface, and hearing voices? I talked to it, of course I talked to it. There was a lump in my throat but I talked to it. Wouldn't you have?

In case all this is getting a bit too emotional, let's air a harsh practical fact. To wit:

It is NOT a good idea to bring a small white dog into a recently flooded area for a walk.

Even if -

- she thinks -

- it's the greatest fun in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD!
Yes, she got dunked good and proper in a briskly flowing stream before being allowed back in the car. Damp patches were infinitely preferable to Eau de Rotting Weed.

It was hard to leave The Old Road. 'Stay a little longer,' it seemed to plead. 'Talk a little more. It's so long since I've heard a human voice.' But it was getting late...

so we turned for home.

And it rained that night. And next day all had disappeared back under the water. I know it's still there. I want to go down, tell it it's not forgotten, tell it it is still mourned. Maybe it will hear me from up here. If I whisper with all my heart?

Here is another lovely picture of the flooded scene as it usually appears. People flock here to take pictures. It's mentioned in tourist guides. But I still feel a lump in my throat every time I look at it.

Thank you, dearest of companions, for your amazing gift of photography. No-one but you could have done it justice.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Too Much Yarn Stimulation!

I'm back, I'm back from the Knit & Stitch Show at Ally Pally, more dead than alive! Did the trip in one day there and back - the alternative being to stay overnight in some crowded and expensive hotel. Much nicer to leave damp West Cork in the dim light of dawn, fly across to London, dive in head first, extricate myself, and arrive home in the soft darkness of evening. But it was pretty exhausting. Hence no blog until today. Lecturing this morning (to journalism students), and now, at last, in front of the computer to take you all on a virtual tour of the show. Anyone, therefore, who couldn't make it down from Lancashire, across the Atlantic, up from the West Country, or even out from Ireland, hop on my blog bus and let's go

Oh - before you get on board - look, look, I finished the Halfobi jacket in time! What do you think?

There were times when it was not at all certain that it would be done before the day. That second side took forever, not least because of that confounded moss-stitch panel about which I'd been so excited. But at last we were on to the second sleeve and then down to the cuff, and finally, DONE!

Here it is being blocked. You might not be able to make out the moss stitch detail (try clicking on the picture and bringing it up a little larger), but as I said before, it's there, believe me it's there!

OK, enough delay. Off to Cork Airport, on to the Ryanair flight to Stansted. Thank heaven for low-fare airlines, even if they do rather resemble a crowded public bus. Off at Stansted, down to the train for London. Quick, we hop off here at Tottenham Hale instead of going right into the centre - it's much quicker to catch the Tube from here to Alexandra Palace.

Look, even here in the London Underground you can sense that something big and exciting is afoot. Hundreds of women in groups or alone, all clutching big holdalls or shopping trolleys, all heading for Ally Pally. Funnily enough though, given the surely strong link of crafts and stitching, nobody speaking to anybody else. Me I'm knitting away merrily, but although women glance, they look away again immediately. Don't worry, I haven't forgotten last year. Keeping my eyes down and not inviting rejections. But if it were the States, or Ireland, or any other part of Europe, the whole train would be talking, I'm sure of it.

Hmm? Oh, the Baby Bolero from the One Skein book. I'm making it in that ropelike cashmere/silk and it really is a delightful little project for a short trip. I got the whole body finished and one sleeve just on the outward journey.

OK, we're at Wood Green. Everybody off! Up that endless escalator to the street. Gosh, what crowds of women - and how silent. No chaffing, no calling out to each other, no excited babbling. Very restrained, the London crowds.

Oh help, just look at the queues for the courtesy bus. They're already stretching way way down the road. We'll never get there!

Silly me, I'd forgotten - got a London Transport day ticket along with the train ticket from Stansted Airport, so why don't we just jump the next bus to come along, and forget the courtesy service? There's one - quick!

Here we are at last, on a beautiful crisp autumn morning. Look at the crowds pouring in - will there be any room for us at all? Let's go! There's stash diving to do!

You know it really is rather a splendid location for the show. Just look at that soaring roof and the light pouring in. Like a gigantic conservatory. OK, OK, OK, I'm coming! Wait for me!

Oh my!

Oh gosh!

Ooooh, ALPACA!

Knitting books! Those of you who live right down the road from Borders and Barnes & Noble and all the book-heavy LYSs may not realise what a jolt of adrenalin such a sight gives to someone from the Emerald Isle where if a bookshop has a craft section (by no means a given), it will just have something on DIY household repairs. Oh there's that one on Knitting Cuff to Cuff. Must get that. And Knit Kimono! Angeluna, you have that, don't you? Is it a good one to buy? OK, I will then.

Just look at the colours on the Colinette stand! No, Ambermoggie, you have quite enough already! You said you had and specifically asked me to hold you back! Didn't she, Artis-Anne?

Oh and here are some of my old friends, tried and trusted purveyors of yarn by post to West Cork.

Texere Yarns from Bradford -

And Uppingham Yarns from the tiny county of Rutland. It's always good to see these people in person, because no matter how good a website, it doesn't show those one-off unusual little cones of something exotic or strange which was lurking at the back of the shelf.
Oh Angie, Angie, come over here quick, look who I've found!

It's Gill from The Woolly Workshop, where you get all your lovely yarn! And who has she got with her but the legendary Cheryl from Cherry Tree Hill. They're working as a team for this show.

Cheryl tells me that Cherry Tree Hill has bought out Wool in the Woods which is exciting news. Yes, they'll be keeping that evocative name, and also many of the colourways. She just asked me to tell you that Wool in the Woods Lottery colors are now available on Cherry Tree Hill sock yarns for the first time - check out her website.
And look, they've got some of that divine Wool Twist on special OFFER!

Cheryl knows exactly how to get under my guard.

'Jo, these are the last EVER five skeins of the Wool Twist in that Tropical Storm colourway you love. Grab them while you can. If you don't use them all, you'll be able to sell them on eBay - they're collector's items now!'

Well what would you have done?
Ah, at last - THERE is Andy of H. W. Hammand, one of the last spinning mills in Yorkshire and indeed probably all of England (I said ENGLAND, Starmore, not Scotland. ENGLAND! Please don't start stirring up that cauldron...)

Not surprised to find him chatting up the glamour girls - in this case Jeni of Fyberspates, and aren't her handpainted skeins divine?

Wanda, WANDA, where are you? I've found her! I've found Robynn of Purlescence for you!

I hoped I 'd see her. She's got Ed's beautiful knitting needles and crochet hooks perfectly displayed at the front there.

Robynn was actually trying to cast on for a sock on one of Ed's circulars, but business was booming so much she hadn't got past the first few stitches. Such beautiful things she sells. Go check her website and see.

The place was jam packed. This was the first day and I can't imagine what it will be like this weekend. There were workshops and casual get-togethers all over the place, tucked in between the trade stands.

Good heavens, do you see that vest over there? How on earth is it made? Think she'll notice if we get a bit closer?

Looks like.... bits of knitting, linked together with i-cord - I think... If this were the USA I'd just tap her on the back and ask, but in London that's not considered polite.

Now here's something interesting.


Tracy from Hipknits (Kerrie wasn't there on the stand right then) explained that they felt there was a need in the UK for a really good magazine, on the lines of IK or VK, and I have to agree with them. The English publications are - well - sort of mumsy, a bit old-fashioned to my way of thinking, certainly not cutting-edge creative. All good luck to them with this venture - if I can do anything to help them I will. Go look at the Yarn Forward website and see what you think.

Listen, gang, I don't know about you but I'm exhausted and this bag is getting heavier by the minute. Anyone had enough? How's about we head for the Champagne Bar and then for the bus?

I bet Andy Hammand is inside there right now, with the London Stitch n Bitch gang.

Just look at this poster on the way in - The Chronicles of Yarnia. LOVE that!

It's kind of fun, this champagne bar for knitting. And it gives me an idea too. Something I think we could all do... No no, not necessarily fizz with the frogging or Veuve Cliquot with the vest, but a novel approach... Not now, though. Too tired. Talk about it next time. Let's look over the loot on the way home.

Yes, this is all the yarn I bought. I know, I know - but you don't realise the extent of the current Celtic Memory stash. Perhaps not quite visible from space, as Steph suggests, but getting close. How do you think I got on such good terms with all those wholesalers? Heck, I've put their kids through both school and college by this time! Besides which, I've gone beyond the individual ball concept and really prefer BIG cones or bundles these days. Can't be doing with deciding on three balls or four and then finding one more is needed - drives you mad. But isn't this Wool in the Woods beautiful? It's going to make that absolutely stunning vest from Knit Kimono - is it Dogi?

Speaking of which... It was purchases like these which weighed down my bag (thanks for helping me to carry it to the plane, Roggey, I know you feel the same about books).

Plus all three issues to date of Yarn Forward, which will provide bedside perusal for the next week or so.

And Elizabeth Zimmermann's Opinionated Knitter and her Almanac. I really enjoy EZ's writing - she reminds me of Virginia Woolf in full cry, a woman with that enviable possession, a free mind, well able to express her own views and opinions and consider them worth voicing.

Oh and these -

Lene, you've just finished making this baby jacket, haven't you? I didn't want to get a kit (see observations on Celtic Memory stash above), so was glad to find the pattern for sale on its own. And the ebony circular from Susanne is, as far as I know, the famed Holz & Stein under another name - made from the leftover scraps after grand pianos are crafted in Germany. The circular, by the way, is lying on 3 metres of embroidered fine cotton lawn, which I got, all 3 metres, for €5. How could I miss an offer like that. It will make a dramatic Russian high-necked blouse - Russian fashion is going to be big this winter, I prophesy.

Enough, enough. We're home. Let's kick off our shoes and have some cocoa. It was a great day out, but isn't it nice to be home again? And so many new ideas - so much fuel to add to the bonfire of ideas!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Oh, Oh, Oh, Celtic Memory Is A Calendar Girl!

Some rather exciting news that I'm allowed to share with you. I'm so thrilled I can hardly believe I'm typing this! Sorry, I really do have to shout.


Yes, yes, YESSS. Back last August I remembered that the closing date was nigh and hauled my friend Eileen off into the woods of Gougane Barra for a photo shoot. DH was much amused but understood that this was something in which he couldn't be involved, and waved us away with lots of good advice.

Well, if I didn't know it before, I sure know it now - it is not all that easy to take stunning pictures of socks. Especially when you have half a dozen dogs romping around (Eileen runs a brilliant kennels where our lot stay when we're away, and they regard it as their home from home. It means several dogs always accompany her on trips, and since mine demand to come too, it gets a bit lively.) We clambered up and down rocks, into mossy damp forests, splashed through streams. At one point I got what I thought was a good picture of Eileen balancing precariously on an ancient moss-covered stone wall - only to fall backwards myself down a concealed rabbit hole. When we were both thoroughly soaked and muddy and hysterical, we came home, changed into dry clothes, went out and did it all over again.

But it was worth it. One of the pictures was deemed worthy of inclusion. Can't show it to you since I've been asked not to, prior to the official announcement (it was OK to tell you, though!) but am absolutely dying for the big day when the whole calendar is launched.

I'm trying to be offhand and casual but I can't. SQUEEEEEE!!!!!

OK, moment of self-indulgence over. To other matters. The new Atlantis yarn has been listed on eBay. Moiraeknittoo asked in my last posting if I could email a link - would have, gladly, but you didn't give me an address. Here is the id number: that may bring it up.


If not, go into Crafts, Knitting, Yarns, and then type in Celtic Memory. Listed some of that covetable cashmere/silk too (although not in the natural shade, all that is being kept for my Starmore St. Enda, go away, you can't have it!), and a couple of mohairs. Gotta make space prior to Ally Pally!

Found some wonderful cabled kneesocks on the Drops site:

which were promptly downloaded for future use (the desktop folder marked 'Socks' is getting a little full...)

And a nifty cabled scarf -

I mean, a girl has to have a few projects in the pipeline, doesn't she? Would be too too dreadful for words if a rainy afternooon came along and one had the rocking chair, the pack of biscuits (US=cookies) - and NO NEW PROJECT. What a ghastly thought!

Both of these were entirely the fault, once more, of the always-elegant Angeluna, who, having read of my wild desire for a new jacket, suggested I might like to look at a Drops design for one. I did, it was ideal -

- and I should have stopped surfing right there. But I didn't, hence the accompanying scarf and socks.

Speaking of Angeluna, just look what arrived in the post for me the other day.

Some of that amazing Kraemer Silk & Silver - how will I ever have the courage to dye that? And a skein of Some Assembly Required merino/tencel, especially hand-dyed for me to Angeluna's strict instructions! Was any Celtic Memory ever so spoiled? A, you're a star.

I somehow forgot to mention a few more additions to the stash lately, some via the Net (it's all the fault of the Net, it can hardly be my weak will), and some via the Little Yarn Shop in the Far West, aka Spin a Yarn.

I'd called in to see Jo and Jean at Spin a Yarn and they had the new Araucania sock yarn in. Well, how could I leave that mossy green behind? And then I saw this lovely pale-green Stella silk/cotton from Debbie Bliss and remembered I'd seen a girl in a supermarket wearing the simplest of short sweater/shrugs in just that shade over a white top, and looking spectacular. So some of that had to come home too. You know, for the rainy afternoon.

And so pleasant to work with am I finding the Austermann Step that I broke down and ordered two more shades from my nice friends at Paradise Fibers.

Good heavens, how did that Misti Pima Cotton get in there? Must have been an error - somebody else's order perhaps? Oh well, it's here now...

Thank you so much for the advice on US size O wooden circulars for plane trips. Searched everywhere, but can't find anyone admitting to stocking (or even manufacturing) this size in that material in a circular. Further guidance and directions much welcomed. I'll hunt at the Knit & Stitch Show but don't have much hope.

Rho, thank you so much for suggesting that I offload my Knit & Stitch stash at the nearest DHL or FedEx and let them take the strain of shipping it back to West Cork. Oh if only those were possible options in the frantic crowded surroundings of a North London suburb with only minutes to spare before dashing to the airport! My mind reverts longingly to wide, sunny shopping malls in Florida or California, where you alight from your car, stroll into the welcoming coolness of a centre dedicated entirely to the purpose of helping you offload your onward-travelling items, and let them look after everything. (I remember so well that one in San Diego whither I dashed on the very first morning of Sock Madness, to get my Mad Cow pattern printed out, and they refused to charge me even a cent for it, what lovely people!) Oh they do have DHL and FedEx and everything else in London, I have no doubt. We have them in Cork. But it takes time, travel, a lot of searching and an AWFUL lot of hassle, even when you have a day to spare. Might check for a local post office in the area between Ally Pally and the Tube, but inner-city London is definitely not super-convenient and spacious America! And before you ask, yes, to my eyes even New York appears far less crowded and hassled than London.

Still working furiously on the Noro Halfobi (despite whispered endearments from adorable charcoal Shetland, as well as its close but somewhat more aristocratic charcoal cousin, a cone of 90% lambswool, 10% cashmere...) and piteous glances from the Austermann Step Faggot & Cable Socks. No no, I cry resolutely, onward and upward to wearing the Halfobi at the Knit & Stitch Show.

(They say that if you visualise the happy result, it encourages you to put in the preliminary donkey work. Hope they're right.)