Friday, 29 October 2010


This has absolutely nothing to do with knitting, but I’ve been asked several times recently if we celebrate Halloween here, so I thought I’d give you all a global answer. It’s pretty much no, we don’t really. There is no Samhain or Thanksgiving tradition here to speak of, so there’s nothing to work with really. They do have Carnival, which takes place anywhere from November to February depending on where you are, but it’s not really the same thing. Carnival is more about music and dancing than anything else. Yes, they do dress up in Carnival, but the date varies (I think they like dragging it out so that you always have something fun you can go do during the winter) and it lasts longer. I think it usually lasts about a week in each place instead of just one night. The atmosphere is completely different, so there’s no place for Halloween to get its foot in the door.

They have tried to get it going the last few years, but not with a whole lot of success. Mostly there have just been adult parties, but the kids pretty much just get left out of it. It’s not traditional to go from door to door, so many people feel they’d just be bothering the neighbours if they sent their kids around. Having said that, I guess my boss’ neighbourhood does have a lot of kids who do trick or treat, so he’s laid in a store of candy. I live out in the country where there are, fortunately for my grumpy, cantankerous self, few children. The village children aren’t likely to walk all the way out to our house in any case, so even if it were a tradition, I doubt we’d get many. Anyway, I haven’t actually seen any ads for parties this year, just a few decorations and costumes on sale at the supermarket. Some people do carve pumpkins, but not many. I stopped carving them a few years ago because it’s a lot of work and there’s no one around to enjoy it (I don’t have one in the house, so I don’t even get to admire my own handiwork!)

So no, no Halloween to speak of. I did all my celebrating on Monday when I brought Halloween cookies to work (Christmas cookies cut out like bats, ghosts, cats and skulls and decorated with powered sugar and lemon juice frosting dyed black, orange and white). That’s all she wrote this year I’m afraid.

Friday, 22 October 2010


I am wearing my new sweater and I love it. It's bliss. Only thing is, I've said it so much, that I can't stand the name anymore, so it shall hereforth be named Happy Sweater, because I love it and it makes me all happy and comfy like.

That's all really. Hope everyone has a nice weekend!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Just when you thought it was all over…

You betcha! More Inishmore because I can apparently not get enough of it. Actually, I have worked on a plain sock with Knit Picks Kettle Dyed in Timber, getting the first one done and the second started. This is the same yarn that caused colour havoc, with the first and most of the second being a solid colour before the variations started popping out given the pair a sort of Frankensock appearance. However, this time, they are nice and lovely and I really like the colours that come out. These are how these socks are supposed to look.

I’ve also knit a slouchy hat from a pattern called Felicity in the left over Inishmore yarn (Knit Picks Simply Cotton Envy) for bedtime wear. I’ve never worn a hat to bed, but it used to be common practice, so I figure there must be something in it. I would have waited for pictures to post about it, but we’ve not been having good photo weather so I’ll wait until we do. That might be a while if the forecast is anywhere near right.

Speaking of forecasts, it’s autumn! And I love autumn! Cool enough to be comfortable, but not cold enough to freeze. The leaves are turning and everything is beautiful. I love kicking leaves, sometimes even wading through them, while walking the dog. The squirrels are out in full force picking up nuts off the ground and taunting the pooch. Every year I swear I see them sticking their tongues out at the dog before running up the nearest tree and holding their tirades (some of those little buggers are really grumpy!). Best of all, it’s knitting season again!

Which brings me to my latest project, another Inishmore. After having seen my choice of sweater, my aunt decided she’d like one too (in KP Simply Cotton Haze), so I cast on two nights ago and finished the back border last night. I’ll be starting the body pattern this evening. I was going to do this one in the round in order to avoid having to do those twisted stitches backwards, but I learned something very valuable from the last Inishmore that made me change my mind. Usually I sew up the side seams and then set the sleeves in, trying to make the sleeves fit the hole. This rarely works well and I usually wind up bunching up fabric in the arm pit to get it to fit in. The Inishmore, however, is one of those sweaters with sleeve saddles. I’ve not done well with these in the past, so I decided to follow the instructions to the letter and actually knit in the sleeves first. In retrospect, I have been stupid. It’s now totally clear to me that sewing the sleeves in first is the way to go. If you sew the sides up first, you have a finite hole in which you must set the sleeve. If you don’t sew the sides up first, you can fudge a bit by sewing the excess sleeve onto the “side” material. Your armpit might be a little bit further down, but at least there’s no fabric bunching. This might not work for certain, very tailored sweaters, but should work well for most of those I knit. Hindsight is 20/20 they say, but somehow I really think I should have seen all this coming and changed my ways ages ago.

The new, smarter me decided to put this knowledge to good use. The sleeves of my aunt’s Reindeer Arwen wound up terribly bunched (I wasn’t following a pattern and they were really too big I suppose) so I spent two evenings picking out the sleeve and side seams and re-sewing the sleeves in using my newfound fabric fudging method, all the while cursing my inborn fear of seams coming apart, well, at the seams (forgive me, I couldn’t help it). It took untold patience not to just pick a likely looking thread and cut, but I didn’t. I held myself together and picked out the woven in threads stitch by stitch; even though I sometimes couldn’t really see where the yarn was going (I weave into the seams “for good measure”). Two evenings later, voilĂ ! I had a sweater whose sleeves looked, if not brilliant, at least acceptable. I swear on my stack of knitting references, I will never sew up the sides first again.

All of my links are in Ravelry this time. I'm sort of assuming anyone who blogs about knitting, or reads knitting blogs, is on Ravelry. If that's not the case, let me know and I'll put in real links.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Inishmore Finale

Ok, Ok, I know you’re all tired of hearing about it by now, but I’m still thrilled to death with this sweater.  Especially as a friend who has been knitting for longer than I’ve been alive looked at it and declared it one seriously fabulous sweater.  She even thought the seams look good and didn’t find any of the many mistakes.  Then she was kind enough to come into an empty office with me to take pictures of it while I was in it.  I fell in love with it all over again.  I hate pictures of myself.  Cameras automatically go to the ugly setting when I get in front of them.  It doesn’t matter how good I look in front of the mirror, take a picture and I looked washed out and bald.  However even I have to admit that I look good in this sweater, even in the pictures.  Admittedly she cut off my head in all of them because I wanted the sweater and not my face, but they still look good.  Or maybe that’s why they look good.

OK, enough self-congratulations.  Here it is!


I will eventually get some more pictures hanging and folded for my Ravelry page (ones with better stitch definition and lighting, but I won’t subject you to them here. 

Now, what to knit next…

Oh yeah, Aunt wants one of the same…

Monday, 4 October 2010


It's done!!!!  And it's lovely!  It fits like it was made for me (har, har har), it's super comfy, the yarn is soft, the pattern turned out well and I love it!  Now it just needs to get cold so I can wear it. 

I feel like doing a dance of Joy whilst singing a rousing chorus of Hallelujah. 

However, seeing as it's 11pm, I think I'll refrain.  Not only do I have downstairs neighbours who might not quite share in my enthusiasm, especially at this time of night, said neighbour is my landlord and I kind of like living here.

Pictures will follow in a day or two.  Tomorrow is out since it's supposed to rain, but the rest of the week should be nice.  I'll manage it sometime.

Sunday, 3 October 2010


IT FITS!!!!!!!!!

The sleeves are finished, the seams sewn, the ends woven in and it fits!  Not only that, but the seams look good and I think I might actually be happy with this sweater.  *happy dance*  I'm sure there are mistakes and some sloppy work, but none of that's to be found unless you really look for it with a magnifying glass, so I'm not bothered.   I can't believe it actually fits!  Now I just have to do the neck and I'll be done.  Another two, maybe three evenings work.  I might even be more motivated to work on it now since I know I'll actually be able to wear it.  I think that might be the reason I've not been knitting so much lately, because I thought it surely wouldn't turn out right.  So yay!

Pictures will follow.

Now I'm off to say a bedtime prayer that I don't find any huge mistakes in the cold light of day tomorrow.