Saturday, 15 August 2015

Fitted Knits Review

Stephanie Japel - Fitted Knits

Dublin City Public Libraries

Now this one strikes me like French Girl Knits, the patterns are nice, not me but there are a few that would inspire me to play with them and create something else out of them that would work for me.  Being of a broad shouldered build round neck and boat neck tops don't work on me, I also end up distorting close round necks when I wear them because I spend a chunk of my wearing time tugging at them as they tend to be a wrong fit for me.  This book is mostly populated by patterns of this type.  I'm also broader at the hips (and stomach, yes I admit it) than the bust so long-ribbed jumpers do nothing for me.  She's also fond of horizontal elements that really don't add to my comfort. However this book is full of ideas that make me want to play with the designs and make my own.  I also ain't small and large sized yarn tends not to flatter either.  So maybe sometime in the future I will mesh with this style more than I do now.

This is not to say that this is a book with no redeeming factors.  There are plenty of patterns in this book that are quite good and the introduction about knitting for your build is excellent.

The patterns follow a similar aesthetic with horizontal and vertical elements created by different stitches and there's a lot of fitted styles here.  If you suit that sort of style there's a lot here for you.

It's a book with patterns for women, done from the top down with a lot of visual elements.

After some instructions on how to decide on a size and how to tweak the pattern for your own measurements the first chapter is Tubes, tanks and tees, the first pattern is a split-neckline cap-sleeved tee.  If I was making this for myself it would be a v-neck and I'd eliminate the side fastening, but then again this would change it completely.  Edged in a contrasting yarn this is a fitted tee.  Rated as simple.

Coquette Lace Tube Top, one for the braver than me.  This relies on the stretch of the Tencel/Cotton yarn for staying power, it does suggest single crochet chains for straps, or ribbon or leather lacing. Rated Medium.

Drop Stitch lace tank is a buttoned top with a drop stitch detail, careful choice of underwear needed with this one as it will be on display.  Described as very stretchy it suggests choosing a size 6" smaller than actual bust measurement. Rated Medium.

Spicy fitted v-neck tee is knitted in bulky weight yarn and has a lacy detail running from the neckline down the front and along the sides to the back. Rated medium

Crisp rectangle tunic top is worked side-to-side using short rows for shaping.  It's fastened at the top with buttons. Rated Medium

The next chapter is Shrugs, Cardigans and Wraps.

First up is a Two-tone ribbed shrug, rated simple. A fair bit of picking up of stitches is involved in this and the ribbed edging wraps around the shrug.

Bold and bulky mini-cardi is one that I really wouldn't knit for me, big yarn, big buttons, and it would stop in the wrong place for me.  However it's an interesting piece that would allow you to modify it if you wanted for length.  Rated medium.

Carie Cropped flared-sleeve cardigan, a empire line end point on this, again in a bulky yarn this one would be all sorts of bad on me.  Rated medium.

Cropped cardigan with leaf ties.  A scooped neckline for this one with picot edging this one doesn't appeal to me.

Airy wrap-around lace sweater - This is one I would like more photographs of, particulalry open.  Knit with large needles and a mohair yarn it has decorative cables below the elbows on the sleeves and a tie-front.  The diagram doesn't really tell you much about the actual construction of the garment, I don't think it would be a good look on me but it's an interesting idea.  Rated Challenge.

Puff-sleeved feminine cardigan, a variation on a theme here, the puff sleeves and high neck wouldn't make me want to knit it. Rated Challenge

Short-sleeved cardigan with ribbing. Look at the photo of this one, notice the way the last closed button on the bottom is pulling? if I was going to knit this I'd add some increases at the bottom to help this or go up another needle size for the last half of the rib.  Also I think the waist of this could do with being a little higher for the model. Your mileage may vary, I'd look at the elements of this and pick and choose where things sit.  Rated Medium.

I adore the look of the Elizabeth Bennett Cabled Cardigan, but not on me.  Sadly the photography missed out on the flare on the sleeves but I do like the slight flare in the hips.  Beautiful stuff, if I was going to knit it I would play with the neckline, but I'm not sure that that wouldn't ruin the look.  Rated Challenge.

The next chapter is Sweaters, vests and coats.

Back-to-School U-neck vest.  I like this one, then again I have a weakness for tank tops/vests/whatever you're calling it.  Worked from the hem up for a change. Rated Medium.

Perfect Periwinkle, a turtleneck sleeveless vest. This one has not for me written all over it, to start with I don't have shoulders that need displaying.  Rated Simple.

Keyhole-neck blouse with eyelet details. This is another no, apart from the neckline, the horizontal stripe at the bottom before the rib would fall on the widest part of my stomach, yeah, that would be flattering.  Rated Challenge.

Cozy v-neck pullover with deep ribbing.  Deep, yes, all the way from just above the waist to the bottom. Rated simple.

Boatneck Bluebell sweater, has flared sleeves and some underbust horizontal stripes with stripes at the bottom after some ribbing.  This is a lovely sweater but not my type.  Rated medium.

Textured tunic with side buttons, this one has buttons on the bottom to the side and a button on the side of the neck.  Horizontal stripes above and below the bust with textured knitting along the bust line.  This is an interesting garment, again I like it but the neckline is a problem for me and I'm not sure that I could fix it without ruining the look of the garment.  Rated Medium

Alexandra Ballerina top.  Knit in a bulky yarn this has cables running down the front and breaks up the variagated yarn nicely, the cable runs down the sleeve, though the photos don't really show it.  Rated Challenge.

Thick and thin cardian coat is an interesting use of a thick and thin yarn with contrasting edging and cuffs.  Rated medium

Long coat with chevron lace is pretty simple but the lace adds some interest, knit in a bulky yarn (9mm needles here) it's interesting and would be a quicker knit than most coats.  Rated medium

Dress-up clothes is the next chapter

First up is a skirt and jacket set, tweedy v-neck, that needs better photography, nice cardigan, I could see myself wearing it.  Rated medium.

Saturday in the park perfect dress is a dress with cables and a u-necked front, rated complex this is a nice knee-length dress. The cables wrap around the waist.

I had some frustration with the photographs, sometimes it looked like they were trying to cover up issues with the outfits or were aiming for more artistic than informative, but that's a personal gripe.  Overall not a bad book at all.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Review of the Irisn Countrywomen's Association book of Crafts

 Dublin City Public Libraries

I will admit that I have not been positive about the ICA before but I'm trying to be as positive as possible here. This is part of a series the ICA have recently published, most of which are cookbooks, this one is crafts though and it does have a few knitting patterns, none of which seem to have made it to Ravelry, yet.

The book is divided into 4 sections; Stitch and Sew; Make and Wear; Store and Keep and Celebrate and the range of skills is quite impressive. However I felt, looking through it, that it wasn't really for me, many of them felt too simple, maybe it's just my skillset.

The book starts with a short introduction to the ICA and how it has been involved with crafts, with an emphasis on how the ICA enabled women to create their own income. This did lead to women realising that they could have an independent income.

Stitch and Sew 
Entertainingly the first pattern is by a family friend. The Hairpin lace Stole that is a basic instruction on how to do this technique.  Aran weight yarn used.

Crochet Cushion cover is made using motifs which are then joined, which if you wanted could create a bigger project, like a bedspread.  The instructions are written out. No. 20 crochet cotton used.

Alsorts Patchwork Quilt very sparse instructions, quite general.

Chicken Scratching Embroidery Tea Cosy "you can check the internet for patterns"

Smocking gives basic stitches and how-tos but really doesn't enter into any depth, the created piece illustrated is beautiful.

Shadow Embroidery again a general description of how to do the technique.  No real depth.

Redwork Embroidery Cushion Cover basically using a stem stitch in red embroidery thread to create a pattern. An outline pattern is given but no notes on enlarging or anything like that.

Cross-Stitch Bookmark - using a piece of Aida and not using strips of Aida that are readily available, and glued with PVA to felt.  This made my inner Cross Stitcher twitch.

Rag Rug again quite general. Mentions a rag rugging tool but doesn't go into any specifics.

Make and Wear 
Child's Aran Jacket written in pieces, raglan sleeves.  This is written as I have seen many traditional patterns written with a pattern set between a set number of edge stitches.  Mentions Aran yarn

Crochet Hats starting from the top and working down in a shell like pattern.  DK weight yarn

Whirl Scarf using the astoundingly popular wide mesh-like yarn, this is the basic instructions on how to knit with it. The illustrations are poorly reproduced and look like multiple generation photocopies.

Upcycled Child's skirt and Cap using very general instructions that would require basic sewing skills, and honestly would be best done with a commercial pattern as a template to help.

Clones Lace Wild Rose Medallion Necklace uses no10 and no20 crochet cotton.  A Rose medallion with a crocheted chain.  Would also look good in Pink and Green threads.  Written instructions

Irish Crochet a crochet sequare and an abstract flower

Peyote Stitch Bracelet a basic how-to on Peyote Stitch with extra instructions on adding the fixings for a bracelet.

Beaded Ring Necklace how to use some fairly basic beading and how to make rings that connect.

Tissue Paper Pompom exactly what it says.

Donegal Tweed Necklace and Ring using fabric, beads and buttons to create a ring and necklace.

Felted Bead Necklace how to use needle felting and wet felting to create beads.

Button Rings - using buttons and beads to create rings.

Store and Keep 
Lumra Rug written directions in quite a general manner, using wool tops. Sounds something that would be quite doable but I would like some illustrations to help me, it is one of those crafts that is sadly under-represented online.

Leather Bag basic instructions on how-to create a bag.  Again suggests using the internet to find patterns and leather.

Covered File Box the quite good instructions are marred by a preamble that involves getting "hubbie and his tools" to work on it.  Why not learn how to use new tools?  Apart from that the instructions seem clear.

Hedgerow Basket no-nonsense how-to with willow weaving.  I was reading this wondering if I could use some of my lavender or grape vines to make this.  I found it inspirational.

Rushwork Coil Table Mat - using bull rushes, suggests shaking off mould before using which made me worry about the instructions, granted there is varnishing afterwards but mould needs to be treated carefully.  There's no real information about joining lengths of rushes.

Hand Stamped Tea Towel using potato stamping and a Cookie Biscuit cutter

Lace Crochet Baby Bonnet and Bootees using no10 crochet cotton, this looks like the kind of heirloom project for a very special occasion like a baptism.

Iris Folding an interesting way of playing with paper, somewhat like quilting.

DIY circular disc Banner - sewn 5" paper circles,

Mr and Mrs Claus two stuffed toy figurines, lacks patterns or templates

Two little angels mostly knit figurines.

Carrickmacross Lace an embroidered lace piece, well illustrated.

Mini Wreath stuffed and plaited, interesting.

Christmas Table Runner and Place Mats again lacking patterns or outlines, this gives general outlines on how to create the runner and place mats.  Despite the lack of patterns the instructions are quite clear.

Hat Pin Cushion a lace adorned pin cushion.
DIY Ribbon Dispenser painted pasta jar with hole cut in lid... yes indeed.

Christmas Card Holder this design would also be useful as a mail holder for a family in a more plain fabric.

Knitted Easter Chick DK knitting yarn, with a stuffed head and embellishment. Cute egg cosy.

Homemade Blackboard Sign exactly that.  Painted blackboard, beading as framing glued on and then holes drilled for a cord through it.

Honestly my overriding feeling from it is that it needs more, more patterns, more information, could be so much better, sadly left me wanting.

I got this from Dublin City Public Libraries who offer me no inducement to writing these reviews other than the unlimited access I have to the book stock.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Knit to Flatter review

Knit to Flatter by Amy Herzog

1617690171 / 9781617690174

Now I have read the introduction to this before, on Amy Herzog's blog, and yes, it's packed full of useful and interesting information about fit and how to find patterns that will flatter you. And by flatter she has a set of criteria and I did like how many of the models looked in their sweaters. Your mileage may vary.

She also has an interesting piece on changing an existing pattern to make it work more for your size and what parts are easiest to change (set-in-sleeves are unsurprisingly hard to change)

She divides shapes into three basics, Top-heavy, bottom heavy and proportional with another chapter about other issues, like larger busts, smaller busts and on the straight. Curvy waists get a mentionand longer or shorter torsos get a look in. It's the kind of book you need to sit down with and work with and maybe you don't like the patterns, but the information is sound and merits application.

Starting with the Top-Heavy patterns, and all patterns have some suggestions for modifications, the First pattern is the Draper vest/cardigan is an almost waterfall style cardigan that's more fitted.

The Cypress Cardigan has a scooped neck and lace to break up the monotony

The Eloria Turtleneck has cables and bell sleeves with some of the cabling incorporated. If I was knitting it myself I would lose the cowl neckline.

The Oceanic Skirt seems almost out of place in a book that's talking about sweaters...

 Next up Bottom Heavy patterns. The Striper wrap has some colourwork detail on the sleeve and shoulders, which makes this wrap into an interesting pattern.

The Flutter pullover has short wide sleeves with some cable detail on them, and cables down the sides.

Andies cardigan is a round necked cardigan with short sleeves.

Stoker Cowl has 3/4 length sleeves and a large cowl.

Next we have proportional shapes, the Classic Pullover is cropped with cables and has a crew neck.

The Holloway Pullover has some lace to the side and a wide collar

The Squared Cardigan features an unusual squared necklone and some textured stitches at the hem and sleeve to give it some interest. Loved the yarn too.

Coin Cable Cardigan, single button at the bust trimmed with a cabled pattern

The other issues start with the Dorica Hoodie, some minor patterning again breaks up the plainness and makes it an interesting design

The Delish cardigan has an interesting textured pattern a pattern I liked

The Dansez pullover has a lacy hem and a deep scoopneck, the lace is repeated on the 3/4 length sleeves.

The Minx Tank has a high neckline and cables along the length.

 The Chimera cardigan is a roundnecked cardigan with some cables down the sides, pattern is for both the long-sleeved and a short-sleeved version.

The Enrobed wrap would be a great pattern to use a tweedy yarn, as shown. Miles of stocking stitch tho.

Overall the book is interesting and useful and I am tempted to pick it up.

I got the copy from Wexford County Libraries via the Borrowbooks scheme, thanks to Dublin City Public Libraries where I work, but have no influence on my opinion on this book.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Film from 1924 of Aran Islanders

While doing a little spot of research, I stumbled on this film of Aran Islanders from 1924, which I will add to the main Aran FAQ later.

Notes as I was watching.
The layers they wore, with the majority sleeveless.
I wonder if they had waterproofing on those trousers, otherwise wading into the surf like that could be very cold later.
The women seemed to have fabric shawls, woven over knit or crochet.
The men appeared to be wearing gansey style jumpers, and when you think that the Irish for jumper is Geansaí... it's not a huge leap of faith
One kid was wearing a white jumper that could have cables, but it was out of focus
and then I started to look at those waistcoats and remembered another semi-forgotten Irish garment, the Bainin Coat, the one that got Pól Ó Foighil into trouble and which I can't get an image easily of. Another rabbit hole to get caught in

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Aran Islands of Legend review

Dublin City Public Libraries

Oh man, this is going to be a cranky review, he made me so annoyed with his paternalism and patronising attitude and how he regarded Christianity as the only logical choice and how there were no pagans who could have any virtue and how only with Christianity could there be honour.  I've read too many legends and stories to fully trust that attitude.

And then I have to remember that it was written in 1962, that this was the attitude of many at the time, that the paternalistic attitude of both lauding traditional societies while at the same time questioning why they modernised and left tradition behind.  Mourning the fact that people didn't embrace the past and keep things the way they were while not realising that he himself was doing the very same thing, that he was looking at a world his ancestors had lived in and had moved on from.

He also decided that Dun as not a word to use but insisted on using Doon, which wound me up a bit too. I read this in short bursts because I kept getting annoyed with him.

P A O Siochain wrote this, mostly about the myths and legends of Aran.  Mostly about the Christian legends of the islands, an easy enough topic with the proliferation of sacred spaces on the islands. I was reading it more for details of costume and mention of knitting.

So we have on page 117: "The excursionists [from A report of the Excursion of the Ethnological Section of the British Association to the Western Islands of Aran in September, 1857 by Martin Haverty] found that the costume of the people had not changed with the centuries. The men wore the costume of fishermen. The women and girls wore the characteristic red petticoats, which with their red or blue bodices, which, for the most part they then wore - "made the effect very striking in the eyes of the stranger.""

The red petticoats were also found until the early 20th century in Galway. mostly in Claddagh and Connemara.  My great-grandmother wore a red petticoat.

p120, he describes an interesting cliff-cimbing event, dating from the same time with the climber throwing himself about the cliff face with abandon, and then you think about modern ropes and the peril...

"After the banquet, the party were to witness a remarkable exhibition of cliff climbing and searching for sea fowl and their eggs. From the top of a three hundred foot cliff, three Islanders, one after another descended the sheer cliff. The end of a great length of rope was tied under their armpits. Fifteen to twenty men then paid it out as the Islander stepped backward off the cliff. Gripping the rope with one hand, and using the other to keep his balance, the Islander descended in a series of leaps. Striking the rock with one foot after another he propelled himself out into space. He then "flew, as it were, outward and downwards, his feet constantly moving like paddles in the air."
Haverty described the return ascent as "graceful movement". As the cliff searcher gained momentum, the men at the top pulled in the rope at such speed that he was able to make fifty foot leaps up the cliff face.  When he reached a point thirty feet from the top, he ran up it with his body laying out horizontally from the cliff face.  Not only the daring but the incredible skill of the feat made deep impression on the party."
He records the last of the Ailleadoiri, the cliff climbers, died 30 years ago, so in the 1930s.

 p177. "Synge noted the various accomplishments of the Islandmen, but he did not note the many accomplishments of of the Islandwomen who are expert seamstresses, tailors [I sometimes wonder what the distinction between these two is] shirtmakers and knitters, fish-curers, bakers and cooks. They assist generally on the little farms. The cows and calves, pigs and hens are usually their particular care."

p183-184. "Tourism has undoubtedly put a lot into the pockets of the people of Inis Mor, particularly in Kilronan and Kilmurvey, but it has taken away a lot of their old independence and pride, to leave a drab nondescript character in parts. This is not, of course, true of the real Islander on Inish Mor, and in the parts away from the tourist trade they still retain their old character.
"More than all the rest of Ireland, bochtanas, poverty, was something of which they knew the real meaning in the unhappy past. It was in the long long ago that they learned to help those in need."
 and he wonders why they embraced tourism as a way of getting out of the poverty trap.

"Unique folk art.
"Aran Knitting has long been known to the experts but, until recent years, to very few others outside of Ireland.  It is a creative folk-art of exquisite beauty and quality, and is the only one of its kind in the world. It has been defined as sculpture in wool. Some of the imitations are often quite wrongly described as "Aran" ganseys, so it is essential to ascertain that a garment styled as "Aran" has actually been made on the Islands. The number of genuine Aran ganseys available in any one year is limited.
"The style of knitting is that known as traditional. On the Islands it is distinguished by the fact that each knitter has her own particular pattern or patterns of stitches. Some, even, change the pattern at will and today with its development on an organised basis, full scope is given to them to create not only changing patters of stitches but new stitches and new forms and varieties of stitches.
"Many of the stitches in use are exclusive to the Islands. Many of them, in form, have been copied in imitations. But no matter how good the quality of the imitation it can never equal an original garment, with its everchanging and incredible variety and combination of stitches and patterns.
"The speed of the Islandwomen's knitting is another feature of their accomplishment. To watch them is to wonder at this rare gift. Even the simplest pattern of traditional stitches involves constant changes in each successive "line" across.
"This art has been handed down for untold generations from mother to daughter. One sad feature has always been associated with the Aran gansey: it has always been an unfailing source of identification of Islandmen at sea.
"The most famous of these traditional Aran stitches are as follows:
"The Tree of Life: Crann na Beatha. This is sometimes known as the Fern Stitch.
"The Crooked Road: An Bothar Cam. It is also known as the Marriage Lines.
"The Carrageen Moss Stitch: Lub an Charraigin. This is named after the edible seaweed.
"The Tobacco Stitch: Casadh an Tobac. This is a form of the Cable or Rope.
"The Castle Stich: Lub an Chaisleain. An unusual stitch, not unlike another stitch known as the Anchor Stitch named after an unique type of anchor used on the Islands.
"Other stitches in general use are well known, such as the Diamond, the Net, the Honeycomb, Figure of Eight, the Tree, the Ladder.  Finally, the Bobaleen, the Bobble, is popular with a number of knitters. This is a little ball of wool introduced into the pattern. [I love his descriptions, sadly there are no illustrations]
"Some of these stitches in miniature form are incorporated into wool caps of distinctive character.
"Another form of this folk-art exclusive to the Islands is the handcrocheted multicoloured shawl so favoured by the Islandwomen.
"A third distinctive folk-art on the Islands is the hand-weaving of the belts, known as crios (plural criosa), worn by the Islandmen instead of braces. They are multicoloured but always in an unceasing and lovely variety of designs and colour combinations.
"Their sense of colour is unfailing, as is their natural talent for design. They can create a design in colour in their heads in a moment, which would take an industrial artist upwards of a week to work out.*

"*Note: Full particulars regarding the handcraft products of the Islands can be obtained from Galway Bay Products Ltd., 102 Sraid Grafton, Dubhlinn, Ireland, through whom they are marketed at home and abroad."

These are a few passages that struck me, and that add to the legends and also what was being said in the 60s about the Islands and their heritage.  I didn't enjoy his writing and I really wish there had been some more detail about the knitting.

This book made me want to do more research on the crocheted shawls of the Islandwomen.  I also have a deep-seated urge to learn how to make the crios too.

Forgive missing accents, I keep poking my computer and hoping I will make it do them but failing to make it happen.

This copy was got in Dublin City Public Libraries who provide me with no incentive to do this other than a generous lending policy to staff and access to too many books and provide me with a wage.  

Monday, 15 December 2014

Review of Complete Guide to Spinning Yarn

The US version is the copy I got from a remainder bookshop; the UK from the Library

These are the same book but the title comes up slightly differently, the inside is identical, down to same page numbers. Eling Chang gets a consultant credit on the US cover.

Dublin City Public Libraries

A comprehensive guide to spinning, including history, tools, preparation, techniques and a few projects, along with some inspiration pieces.

The projects are pretty straighforward, a woven cushion (pillow in the US version) cover; Knitted Hat and Mittens in a couple of colours, you could use a commercial yarn and a handspun for this; tassels and a knitted slipcase. The patterns aren't the centerpiece of the book, the book is more about the spinning and the instructions look both straighforward and comprehensive.

 I'm glad I bought it.

 While Dublin City Public Libraries provided me with a copy they offer me no inducement to write these other than my salary and access.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Blog tour & review: Knit, Bake, Sew

Taking part in the Blog tour for Knit Bake Sew by Evin Bail O'Keeffe, a recipe and craft project annual. In the interests of full disclosure Evin and I follow each other on Twitter and I knit her an Owls once, discovering that we are approximately the same size.  Also in the interest of full disclosure, this being the first time that this has arisen, I am Gluten Intolerant, so I will be glossing over recipes that would be poorly adaptable.

First impressions are good, beautiful pictures.

First recipe is for pastry crust, the idea of incorporating spices into a crust sounds interesting and I should try it sometime.

The Long-tail cast on is detailed in some very clear photographs, that I might use for reference if I was to use it (it's not my default cast-on, but it does have it's uses.  Then there's the Icelandic Bindoff, which looks like something interesting to try and to add to my cast-off repertoire.

Cleverly she has some basic terms and conventions used in the book.  And some sewing conventions and a clear how-to on Blanket stitch, that's one that I always have to check on how to start it, and this is clear.

The first section is Winter

Mugwump Oatmeal pie looks interesting, but not one for me.

The Keating Hat is an interesting slightly loose hat, knit in DK.

The White Chocolate Cheesecake looks good and should be easily substituted (Aldi's Gluten Free Range has some nice digestives by the way)

Cupid's Arrow Cowl is a pretty, loose cowl that would use up a ball or two of treat-me Aran Yarn.

Next section is spring.

Starting with Lime Poppy-seed scones, that looks sadly lovely.

I have been tempted recently to make myself some boot toppers to hold my jeans down during the chillier weather (trust me you start to understand the use when you ride the back of a motorbike in the cooler weather) and the Cobblestone ones tempt me.

The Strawberry Mascarpone tart tempts me too.

The Falling Petals Shawl is another deceptively simple but beautiful pattern.

Next recipe is Snickerdoodles.

Smudge's Handspun Headband is a lovely showcase for a small amount of DK yarn, possibly a use for a first handspun or some beautiful dk leftovers.

And it's into Summer with Aunt Nell's Blondies.

Mary's Hostess Apron is a half-apron copied form an old favourite.  Classic apron.

Buttery Cheddar Biscuits look delicious.

Another sewn pattern with the On the Green Picnic Mat.  An oilcloth backed pattern, very practical for a knit in public day!

Lemon Drizzle Cake makes me want it, on-screen photographs are so clear you can almost smell the lemons. (I did resist licking the screen, just)

Princes Street market tote is lovely, and very practical here in Ireland where we are charged for plastic bags.

Autumn again teases with some Orange and Honey Loaf cake.

Love the Honeycomb Tea Cozy, the colours are perfect for it too, warm and autumnal.

Monster cookies look lush.

Festive bunting is a sewn pattern here.

Grandma's Pumpkin Pie sounds delicious and doesn't start with a tin of pumpkin but with a whole pumpkin... starts to plot possibilities, it's been simply ages since I had a decent pumpkin pie, shush, I had it, in the 80s courtesy of an American neighbour, in Galway.

The Sugar Maple Vest would not be my kind of top, but a very useful, versatile top it would be for many people.

Chocolate Cardamon Tart sounds intriguing.

Upcycled Felt mittens sound like a good use for those jumpers that have had a laundry incident.

Thanks and an index round things out.

It's beautiful, well produced and with something for nearly everyone.  I'm just sad I can't just use some of the recipes straight from the tin but some of them have me plotting and heading for my gluten-free recipe books.  Well done Evin.

Order Bake Knit Sew through the Anchor and Bee (publisher) online store or herRavelry shop during the blog tour to take advantage of a special 10% discount on your entire purchase! Discount code: BLOGTOUR until November 27, 2014 at 23:59 EST.

And one commenter will get a free ebook copy of the book (delivered via Ravelry) Of all the commenters on the blog tour blog posts, one will receive a paperback copy of the book including shipping.

.  So get commenting.

Monday, November 10 – Reckless Knitting
Tuesday, November 11 – Fibre Friends
Wednesday, November 12 – Jen’s Kitchen
Thursday, November 13 – The Dublin Knit Collective
Friday, November 14 – Crafty Tails
Saturday, November 15 – The Writer’s Journey
Sunday, November 16 – Lisa Bogart Thoughts
Monday, November 17 – Moonstruck Quaint previously Glass of Win
Tuesday, November 18 –  TanisKnits
Wednesday, November 19 – Fenns Quay and then some
Friday, November 21 – By Eline
Saturday, November 22 – Yarn Poetry
Sunday, November 23 – Live and Let Pie
Monday, November 24 – Wyvernfriend Knits
Tuesday, November 25 – Cork Billy and This Is Knit
Wednesday, November 26 – EvinOK
Thursday, November 27 –  Lilly Higgins

And the winner, with the help of is Lise

Sunday, 2 November 2014

ICA and modern Ireland

Now in the interest of full disclosure I have to admit that my mum had issues with the local chapter of this group, something to do with them not respecting her training as a domestic science teacher, I have no idea what the truth of the story was and I have I'm not going to really comment, but there was no real friendliness for them in my household but I thought, a few years ago that it could be something for me to join, I mean I'm a multi-crafter, maybe it would be somewhere that I could find likeminded people.

So I went to the desk at the Knitting & Stitching show, and was ignored, people talked around me.  Now I'm actually a pretty shy person and I find it hard to approach new people, I do a good job sometimes of pretending to be a confident outgoing person, but that takes a lot of effort and, to be honest, I found the women there intimidating.  I mean, I often wonder how good I am really at many of these things, I know I have only scraped the top of many of the crafts I do, and I'm always looking to try new skills, to try something different.

On Friday the Late Late Show had three older knitters racing against the show to produce three items during the production.  There were lots of comments from a lot of people about granny knitting, it's a problem many of us in the discipline have, people don't see younger knitters so they don't think that younger people knit, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Looking at some of the crafts I'm impressed at them, others I'm underwhelmed.  I picked up their new book in work, which wasn't mentioned by the way on the Late Late Show, it was their tea book The Irish Countrywomen's Association Book of Tea and Company: Recipes and Reflections for Every Daythat  was mentioned

I hadn't really looked at the book before last night. I wasn't really paying attention to it, it was part of a pile of books that I have to deal with a bundle I've been ignoring for the last few months, trying to do too much again.  Plus my life has been a bit overwhelming recently.  Yesterday I opened it and looked at it, and to be honest I was underwhelmed.  There were a few that piqued my interest, and I was vastly entertained that the first project was designed by someone whose daughter went to school with me.  And it's important than many of the skills that people of that age have are passed on.  

Maybe what it needs is a better and more open pricing structure.  A site like Craftsy to pass on the skills and an interaction with something like Ravelry, where many of the younger crafters gather, creating a virtual meeting group might help too.  Change is going to be needed if the ICA is going to stay relevant into the future, they have done so much good in the past with water and electricity to rural Ireland, to stay relevant they have to carve out spaces that modern Irish women will use.

They should also be campaigning for domestic science classes in primary and secondary schools, cookery and basic mending etc., skills both boys and girls should have, and basic cleaning skills.  Maybe even some courses in conjunction with marriage courses in how to share domestic chores, particularly in this day and age of dual income houses.  Skills badly needed these days.  They should be leading campaigns for equality, these days they appear to have settled into the regular run of things rather than rocking the boat and maybe they need to go back to being a bit less part of the mainstream and a little more questioning.

And we seriously need more acceptance of other ages of knitters.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Review of Home Made SImple

Dublin City Public Library

This is a book about using a variety of items which would otherwise be waste or redecorating items to enhance them.  A lot of it is quite easy to do and looks easy enough to do with minimal fuss.  It also includes some knitting patterns.

It's divided into three main sections; Home; Giving and Celebrations.  Some very easy projects some harder; all well-illustrated and with plenty of illustrations for how-to where necessary.

Home has such projects as Pinlight Canvas - where a string of LED bulbs are used with canvas to create an image, simple but effective.  Wine Crate Desk is a good crafting desk, not heavy duty; Wine Crate Desk Tidy - a corral for papers; Fabric-covered desk tidy; Pallet Coffee Table; Posh Pallet Table, fabric covered; Fabric Cable Lights; Basic Upholstery; Wall-hung Bookcases;  Magnetic Spice-jar Space Savers; Whitewashed Wood offcut chopping boards; Ironing Board Cover; Tree branch Pegs; Tennis Ball Door Block; Tassel Pulls; Foaming Pump Dispenser; Photo Key Box; Photo Box; Cross-body Utility Sack; Oversized Oilcloth Shopping Bag.

Giving has Clay Tea Light Shades; Simple Candles.

Knitting: with basic instructions, including advice on buying wool; the first pattern is a chunky patternscarf that she suggests fastening with  a kilt pin.

Knitted Wrist warmers are also in chunky yarn in a moss stitch pattern knit in the flat.

E-book reader/notebook cover - knit in a chunky wool held double.

Mobile Phone pouch knit in chunky wool held double

Glasses Case is knit with chunky wool held double as well.

There's also how-to on finger knitting.

The chapter continues with a Simple Gift Bag; a Bottle Gift Bag; a pretty lined purse; Reversible Ribbon-Handled Bag; A simple charm bracelet; Leather Card Case; Peppermint and Lime Lip Balm; Rose and Mardarin Bath Oil; How to melt Chocolate; Chocolate Peanuts, Pumpkin seeds and Raisins; Chocolate honeycomb; Breakfast in Bed tray; Engagement Ring Gloves; Personalised Picnic Blanket; Bike-seat cover

Golden Chocolate Eggs; Speckled Ganache Eggs; No-stress Pancakes; Lily of the Valley Eggs; Baklava; Hanging Firefly Glass Lanterns; Rangoli Lace Cake and Cards; Patterned Divas; Peg Hanukkiyah; Sufganiyot; Lucky Envelopes; Fabric-covered lanterns; Furoshiki Wrapping; a Thanksgiving book; The Tree; Whitewashed Pine Cones; Golden Apples; Wire COathanger Centrepiece; Clay/Salt Dough Star Garland; Chunky Paper Chains; Sky Lanterns

Overall an interesting book for someone of a crafty bent, which assumes that you're willing to try.  Many of them are quite doable without too much complications or effort.  I liked it and would consider buying it.

I borrowed it from the libraries and would seriously consider buying it for myself.  Dublin City Public Libraries offered me no inducement to review this book other than my salary and access to the books.