I’m a sheep

I give in and follow the crowd so easily! I’m joining in for the Follow your Arrow 2 MKAL. I just need to pick a yarn. I’ve narrowed it down to Icicle or Black Cherry.

arrowYarn: Dublin Dye Swing Sock in Icicle, Merino Sock in Black Cherry

I really enjoyed being part of the MKAL last year, but once I was done I gave away the shawl to my mother… I don’t actually wear a lot of lace. After I reviewed everyone’s finished arrows, I realised I liked the one with the least lace most. So this year my strategy is knit the clue with the least lace. My first problem is that neither of the first two clues has lace. I need another criteria I think! Any suggestions?

Why do we do it?

Knitters buy beautiful yarn, search for the right pattern, spend hours and hours knitting, and then stop, just before it’s finshed. We all have projects sitting around, nearly finished; needing seams, buttons, or just a few more days of concentrated effort. Why do we do it?

I decided that the two projects annoying me most from my unfinished pile needed looking at. The first is Mossy Bells. A cute kids cardigan I started back in May. However I’d torn out the sleeves several times because the short rows made me want to cry, the sleeves always ended up looking awful. So last week I pulled back the front and knit the sleeves as set in sleeves. I still don’t like them, but it’s done.

mossy bells

It doesn’t quite fit the little girl (too big across the shoulders mainly) but she says she likes it so I won’t throw it out like I’d kinda like to. It’s long too, so she may grow into it yet. The yarn is Noro Silk Garden 4 ply I bought years and years ago from This is Knit when they were in Blackrock.

Second we have a pair of socks I started for the husband. He sails occasionally and warm wool socks come in handy sometimes. I don’t know when I cast on these socks but I bought the yarn at HandmAid 2013, and apparently I was knitting them the same time as the sweater, based on the post from last year.  One and a half socks in I got really bored of them and put them down. The fact that the yarn (Wendy Roam) is ‘sturdy’ and a bit rough didn’t help. But three days of effort and they’re done too.

manly socks

I used the basic toe up heel flap pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks for these. A useful book to have around for basic sock instructions.

You all know what two finished projects means, don’t you? I get to cast on something new.

sock yarnYarn: Dublin Dye Swing Sock in Water Sprite

Looking forward

2014 was a great year for Dublin Dye. Lots of things going on, lots of yarn dyed, even a few patterns published.  It went from being a teeny, tiny spec of a ‘company’ to something with a bit of a presence. Personally, I feel I’ve accomplished something and am proud of that.

As for 2015, it is already looking even bigger and better.  There are lots of things planned, and I’m looking forward to new challenges. The year is starting out with the Irish Yarn Club, I’m currently neck deep in a new base and a new colour which will be going out to club members soon. Then in March I’m heading to Edinburgh Yarn Festival for my first ever yarn show.  This is huge and it terrifies me, but you’ve got to do things that terrify you sometimes, right? If I’m going to Edinburgh, then I’ve got no excuse not to do the Knitting and Stitching Show in the RDS. There are more patterns in the works by me and some other Irish designers. And I’m sponsoring a month in the Solid Socks Ravelry group. There will be prizes 🙂

I finished off 2014 at home (two small kids, babysitters aren’t worth it for a night out) trying to finish off a project. No reason for the rush to finish it other than I wanted it off the needles. It was annoying me. I’m still not entirely happy with it but I’ll share it anyway once it’s dry. I hope everyone else had a lovely New Year as well, and is looking forward to a great year to come!

Handmade Christmas

tree.

No, I’m nowhere near a handmade Christmas. I didn’t knit anything for under the tree this year. I did think about making Christmas handknits a part of the kids present, but just didn’t have the time.

But I love handmade ornaments on the Christmas tree. Many ornaments on my tree have a history and a story behind them, whether they are handmade or gifts from friends and loved ones. I’m not ever going to have a perfect tree, but I love it in it’s imperfection. To me Christmas trees are about the stories.

handmade ornaments

The red felt ornament was a gift from Crafty Tails as a part of this year’s Knitmas exchange.  I’m not sure if she knew I was an ornament lover, but it is perfect, handmade and a story behind it.

At the top of the photo there’s a beaded candy cane made by my son the other day. He’s 2, so colour and patterns aren’t his thing yet but it’s sweet partly because of that. Then there’s a hand painted gingerbread man and a painted glass bauble. I made those two for my first tree after I moved out of my parents house (hard to believe that was almost 15 years ago). I guess most people buy ornaments for their new tree, but I couldn’t just do that, and at the time my mother worked in a craft shop so supplies were cheap to come by.

But with all the ornaments on my tree with stories, there’s nothing there that’s been knitted. I think sometime in the next year I will have to change that.

I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas full of good food and good company and a little something special under the tree. Merry Christmas!

Estuary

It’s that time of year again, time for Knitmas! I didn’t take many photos of the parcel I sent out this year… I should have been more observant of the blogging opportunity. I did take some of the shawl I knit, but they’re not great.

knitmas shawl3

The  photo doesn’t deserve to be any bigger than that, trust me. The lack of light didn’t help.

The pattern is a modified version of Estuary, by Tin Can Knits. My Knitmas recipient is a fan of lace shawls, but I’m not great at following through on lace patterns. I thought a compromise was in order, as the deadline for this one was pretty fixed. Lace on just one side of the shawl worked for us both, I hope.

knitmas shawl

The yarn is Dublin Dye Merino Sock, in a Pewter I dyed for myself but repurposed for Knitmas. Which reminds me, I must dye more yarn. I want to knit Wheaten for myself, when I find the time.

I did like the pattern on this shawl, but I think the lace could have been slightly better planned.  It’s full of ssk stitches, with the odd section of k2togs instead. I eventually stopped doing the k2togs as they didn’t sit the way I thought they should, but I think if the lace were reworked slightly, you’d be able to use k2togs all the way through, which I find easier when they’re every second stitch. And obviously I worked to the first marker and then left the second half plain stocking stitch.

For the rest of the package, I used the title of Evin O’Keefe’s book as a bit of inspiration. There was Baking (Gingerbread), Knitting (the Shawl) and Sewing (a box bag) involved in my parcel… But nothing else got photographed!

Help! (or: wool felts)

I know, I’m a knitter, don’t I know wool felts? Last year I bought a sweater I really liked. It was a lovely soft red wool with cables and 3/4 dolmen sleeves. Comfy and warm, one of my favourites.

I put it in the washer. It was an accident, I swear. I know better.

I don’t have a lovely cabled dolman sleeved sweater anymore.
dolman

But hopefully I will again.  I’m not entirely sure it will turn out and I’ve never knit a dolman sweater before.  I don’t have a pattern. I have an idea and a hope, really.

Although there’s only one half done sleeve here, I’m actually on sleeve 3 now, and there will probably be a 4.  I’m not happy with the neckline (again, one sleeve has already been ripped), so I started the other sleeve since taking the photo, and I like it better. Which means I’ll have to redo the first one. Sigh.

But really, I’m posting here for a bit of help. Do I or do I not cable the back of the sweater? Should I cable the sleeves even? What would you do from here?

Guild Dyeing Workshop

Dyeing process

On Sunday I ran a dye workshop for the Irish Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. I think a good time was had by all, certainly some beautiful yarn was painted… I almost asked a few people to write down what they’d done so I could repeat it for the shop 🙂

Dye workshop 047

The wonderful Jenny at Crafty Tails declared herself dye photographer, and kindly let me use her photos since I took none of my own.

Dye workshop 081

Everyone got two skeins of yarn each, one the Swing Sock base (75% merino, 25% nylon) and the other Merino DK.  They had a selection of primaries to mix and play with, and come up with whatever colour they could think of. I helped where needed but mostly they played with colour and yarn. And they came up with some beautiful colours, don’t you think?

Dye workshop 064

They all went home happy with yarn dyed by their own hands, I can’t wait to see what they look like knit up!

And since today is cyber Monday (and I’m feeling a bit of pre-Christmas cheer) I’ve put FREE SHIPPING on everything in the Etsy shop. Just for 24 hours!

Elfbaby Hat

After I knit all those hats for HandmAid Craft Day, I had a request from the little girl for a hat for her. I usually knit some new hats this time of year anyway, since they’ve probably outgrown the old ones, but this year it wasn’t strictly necessary… they’ve stopped growing quite so fast, and I knit the hats a bit big last year. But who am I to say no when a 4 year old asks me to knit for her?

elfbabyIt was only this week though I got a chance to take a photo. I decided to make a non-elf ElfBaby (from Studio Miranda) for her. The yarn is Dublin Dye Merino Sock left over from last year’s Irish Yarn Club with Carol Feller.  As you can tell by the great match to her coat, she is a fan of pink.

elfbaby2For the top of the hat I did 6 decreases every second row until I had half the stitches left, then I did 12 increases. I *thought* this is what Roseanne had done on the top of the hat she made her little boy, and copied it. I’m not sure it’s actually what she did though 🙂 Either way, I’ve been using it on hats ever since!

Handspun Hat

I picked up some fibre at the Weave Spin Dye Guild meeting a few weeks ago in This is Knit, and I’ve been working away on it ever since.

handspunI spun four little 25g skeins on the drop spindle I got from Hilltop Cloud, and plied them to themselves.  My father had been complaining about his inability to find a hat big enough for his head, so a Christmas present was cast on.

handspun hat2Just a basic, straightforward hat based on my Dad’s head and my tension. I ended up having to go up to a 5mm needle with the handspun, it was thicker than I expected. The hat is pretty dense, the fibre probably slightly overspun.  But that should be good for a snowy Canadian winter, right?

handspun hatI took a lot of time with the spinning, working hard for some consistency. It’s nowhere near perfect, but I’m pretty happy with it. And I know my Dad will appreciate the amount of work that went into it. Now I just hope it fits.

Oh, and I know photos of hats flat on the table are a bit boring, but it just doesn’t fit my little model 🙂 Next time I’ll blog about a hat more her size!

DSC_1839

Shop Update

You might have noticed that there was a bit of a shop update over the weekend. Particularly some new laceweight colours, and DK Merino as well (ok, that’s been up for a week or so but I didn’t mention it here, so it doesn’t count)

laceweight

The laceweights include some Sparkle Lace I found hiding in a corner. The new Merino DK is the same fibre as our Merino Sock, lovely and soft to knit with. I’ve already gifted a little baby sweater in this yarn (without taking photos, bad blogger) and hope to knit something more with it, as soon as I get through the current queue of projects!

Don’t forgot the sale continutes til then end of the month, just use the coupon code WINTERWARMUP!