Saturday, September 24, 2016

Ireland part two

Outside of Dublin, Winnie's Craft Cafe.  I loved the little van. There was a metal jewelry knitting workshop involved and I learned some things.

At a little town we visited:

Galway, love Galway...

Basket demo for Irish potato basket at Joe Hogan's. Fabulous traditional and non traditional work...why did he have nothing for sale???

Possibly the best photo of the trip:

An Irish potato basket, used to serve potatoes once cooked

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Ireland Part One: Dublin Yarn Crawl

I was lucky to get to Ireland in May on a fabulous knitting tour run by IrishTourism, my friend Deb and I did the south of Ireland Tour. 

First stop: Dublin

The National Museum of Ireland, which has multiple location. This is Collins Barracks, home of the Museum of Decorative Arts and History

 The exhibit pointed out that the clothes of the wealthy tended to survive more than the clothes of the poor

Old hand cards and a shuttle

As in many places, upper class women knit or made "fancies" to keep themselves busy

20th century clothing with shawl:

Spinning wheel

Deb's back at St. Stephen's Green

The next day, a visit to the Constant Knitter

Winnie's Craft Cafe for a metal jewelry knitting workshop

Irish tourism did a fantastic job and I can highly recommend their tours!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Thoughts on Jamieson and Smith, Baby Surprise Jacket, and Circular Stranded Baby Surprise Jacket

It has been a big year for the Baby Surprise Jacket pattern (BSJ) at my house.  I completed one as a baby gift, and that started the roll.

In an attempt to use up some yarn and send more BSJ to Salaam Cultural Museum for donation to Syria, I made a decision to repurpose some yarn that I had purchased in Scotland. It wasn't much, four little skeins of Jamieson and Smith  2 ply jumper weight that I purchased AT Jamieson and Smith. The repurposing/giving away of yarn I bought ELSEWHERE is a big deal to me.

I also added in some Harrisville Shetland purchased in North Carolina. The bottom line is that it's JUST TOO HOT where I live to own a lot of wool shawls (or Fair Isle colorwork) , likely the intended use for all this yarn.  So, here are some results:

This little one I worked on while in Ireland this May....more on that trip in future posts~

The sweater below one requires some explanation:  while searching for a BSJ child size pattern (as I also have a stash of heavier weight wool around here) I found an interesting variation. Apparently Elizabeth's Grandson, Cully Swanson, has been part of the family business for a while and he is a knitter. He came up with the Circular Stranded Baby Surprise Jacket. I thought the pattern pricey, a bit over $11, but I bit. Here's my explanation from Ravelry:

I love stranded colorwork and doing the bsj in circular fashion sounded intriguing. If you love interesting construction, don’t let the three steeks put you off. Cully has made his Grandmother proud. There are notes for three sizes here plus a blank graph so you can design your own Fair Isle.
There are some things I might have changed. Where stitches are increased, after the cuffs and in the back, there is a pattern break due to the increased number of stitches. To deal with this, I lined up the center of the pattern before and after the increase on the back, so it doesn’t look bad or off, and isn’t very noticeable. I think that’s what Cully did however he does not mention it (at least I didn’t see it and I read it pretty well). However, I would suggest doing a different pattern on the cuffs, perhaps a k1p1 rib, which would contrast but not interrupt the pattern.

My other small issue is that it turned out short, so I wound up continuing on the live stitches at the hem for another 1.5 inches then I did a turned hem at the bottom, rather than the continuous garter edge.

That said, I really loved the project and will do it again.

 So the other day, My friend J (who lives in Canada and who I will meet some day) put up on Facebook that J&S is now producing "Shetland Heritage Naturals" in jumper weight.  

When in Scotland I also purchased natural color roving and  spun and knit this, my pride and joy  Hap (note to self, better label this) 

J&S, who I hope will forgive me for scooping photos from their website, also produced Shetland Heritage  which reproduces the naturally colored yarns from 19th century Fair Isles. 

I LOVE this stuff! So...yes, there will be more in my stash at some point.   Here is a photo of a sweater taken in Scotland of similar colors and tradition.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Sankt Hans - Treasure Island Shawl

Thanks to a Danish friend, I learned that  Sankt Hans (Saint John's) Day, is June 23rd. It is of course the name day for St. John.  It is conveniently timed with the summer solstice on June 21st, (and allowed early Christians to co-opt yet another pagan celebration!!).  Danes celebrate with a bonfire and a party.  Here is more information on the celebration courtesy of the Museum of Danish America.

I found this inspiring video on youtube, featuring a song sung at the midsommer bonfire, with lyrics by poet-artist Holger Drachmann, and a beautiful montage of paintings by the Skagen artists

I celebrated Sankt Hans by completing blocking of my Treasure Island Shawl. I had almost finished it two years ago when my family and I went to Denmark, it then took me two more years to complete the knit on lace edging!  I'm very pleased. 

Happy Solstice to all!!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day Bunnies and Baby Sweater

So, this is called a "haystache." 

It is a bunny nesting behavior, a way to collect hay to make a nest. Rosa thinks she's expecting (it is Mother's Day, after all). My other alert to the state of Rosa's hormones was that when I checked them this morning, there was a huge amount of matted fur in the corner of the cage (a big waste, to a spinner!)  

This all is the result of sister bunny (that would be Blanca, "the quiet one") mounting her unsuspecting sister, Rosa, two weeks ago. Blanca probably did this to establish her dominance. The mounting behavior then tricks the victimized Rosa into a series of hormonal events called "pseudopregnancy," ie ovulation. Too bad, as I would love at some point to have some kits! A few minutes after I got the haystache photo, Rosa dropped the hay and decided to eat it. A much better use!

On the knitting front, I completed a sweater for cousins who just had a baby girl. The pattern is "Helena" from Knitty. Done in some leftover Knitpicks Brava Worsted. I ran low on yarn and rather do the ties I did some button holes and added buttons.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Two Baby Sweaters

There have been thoughts of babies.

I have done in the past some knitting for Afghans for Afghans. This group has not been as active for several years. I cannot keep up well with what's going on in Afghanistan and the pullout, the not pullout, the NGO's etc etc,  but if I'm reading Ravelry right, they are now taking baby socks, mittens, and hats.   That said, I had a never worn wool baby sweater. As they are not taking sweaters, I sent this one to "Hats and More for War Torn Syria." 

It is done from Carol Bareny's classic baby sweater pattern, free online. I have done this sweater many times. And so has everyone else...there are 3100 versions out there! The wool is Jamieson and Smith, leftover from a long ago Sasha Kagan pattern.

and in the meantime, someone in my family had a baby, her name is Sophie. Here is EZ's Baby Surprise Classic. I apparently clipped the pattern from Knitter's Magazine from 1989...rather wise on my part, if I may say so... I have also done this one as a gift many times. It's from sock yarn...I keep all my ball bands but of course can't find this one...I do love it though and Sophie's Mom thinks it will fit in the autumn when she is 6 months old...

Sunday, March 27, 2016

My Easter Bunnies

Happy Easter from Blanca and Rosa. They are poor spring fertility symbols as I don't know where I would put more bunnies...but I'm working on how I might do that. 

As I have gotten better at grooming them, I have gotten better at spinning because as we know, it's all about the fiber prep!  I have two colorways: Blanca and Rosa!