Monday, 6 December 2010

Irish Knitting History: cottages and clothing

In an article on Cottages and Farmhouses by Rosemary ffolliott mentions that "In pre-Famine days almost every house had a spinning wheel for making yarn, but this practice was largely discontinued (except in flax-growing areas) after 1850.

In Irish Ancestor Vol III No 2 (1971) in an article on Women's Dress in Ireland 1680-1880 by Rosemary ffolliott she discusses an engraving of a Girl of the County of Wicklow engraved in the 1780's she is portrayed "busily engaged knitting a sock: this was an endless female occupation, although strangely knitting was not used as a means of making other garments." (p88) the sock appears to be knit in the round and has just turned the heel, the colour seems to have changed from the foot to the heel, possibly indicating a different wool used, possibly coarser or thicker wool at that stress point.

In an article about Emigrating from the Limerick Workhouse 1848-1869 by Dr S C O'Mahony (Irish Ancestor Vol XIV no 2, 1982) discusses the fact that in 1848 some 750 inmates of Limerick Workhouse, largely girls, emigrated to several countries. There were three work schemes. One to New York (103 people, 10 male adults, 75 female adults and 18 children, where adults were anybody aged 15 or older), one to Van Diemen's Land (50 girls) and Quebec (112 girls under 25); they were bought an "outfit" having to take their own bedding and cooking utensils) this outfit consisted of "2 night caps, 1 pair of shoes, 1 gown, 2 combs, pins, needles and thread for sewing, needles and 1/2 lb cotton for knitting, 1 flannel petticoat, 2 aprons, 1 bonnet, 2 shifts, 1 wrapper, 1 shawl, 1 brush, 2 towels, 1 neck kerchief, 2 pairs of stockings, 2lbs of soap, 1 prayer book, 2yds of calico, 1 scissors, 1 canvas bag." I would say that the quantity, and the fact that this is only about 220g of yarn that this was probably fine yarn and fine needles.

In an article "Shall these Bones Live" by Rosemary ffolliott she talks about a famers wife "She too often spun yarn for sale, or got her elder daughters to do it, and she and they would knit all the socks for their menfolk, as well as turning a useful hand to the making of clothes."

In the article by Ms ffolliott Men's Clothes in Ireland 1660-1850 she briefly mentions knit stockings worn by men with knee breeches in 1783 "doubtless kntted by his wife".

From much of this it would appear that woven cloth was common and used in the main for clothing. Alice Starmores point that the Aran Knitter was a seamstress may have been as much that the woman who designed the garments was familiar with cutting and sewing garments and not that familiar with the potential of knitted garments. All of this points to Knitting being a relatively new and relatively underused skill in Ireland. A person familiar with how woven garments were put together would be inclined to think of garments as something which was designed and created in pieces and then sewn together.

The evidence also says that wool, cotton and linen thread was available fairly readily (silk would also have been available as Huguenot weavers brought in silk weaving and would have had silk thread, but this would have been beyond the price range of most people, and probably to fine for most knitters. The evidence also points at fine knitting, and while the knitted garments would only have been socks, there may have been domestic knitting as well in the form of doileys, bedspreads, and other such items.

This is an interesting topic to pursue, I would like to find more.

(edited for a minor correction)

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Irish Knitting History - 17th and 18th Century

There were also some more Quaker Inventories
Thomas Rushworth of Athy in Co Kildare in 1675 had in his shop (among other things)
Item, for wool, tips of horn and one hide

From a farmer and merchant, William Collins from 1750. He was apparently farming and trading in wool in Shinrone in Co Offaly (then King's County) with his brother.

There was a considerable list of items which included

Wool in the house in value and salt £9 15s 6d
Combed wool part in the house and part in the hands of spinners worth if to be got in £17
Spun worsted in the house worth £28 10s
Combing rings, hutch and press and wool Tub, wheel and lossett 10s
Combers Wool Tubb 4d

(his total in goods he had were £181 14s)

this indicates that he outsourced the spinning and that there only appeared to be one listing for a type of yarn suggests that there was a single weight of yarn.

In none of the listings are mentioned knitting needles, which may not have been considered of any value or may have been considered a woman's property and perhaps handed over to a daughter or friend.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Irish Knitting History - 17th Century Quaker Merchants evidence

My day job is a Inter-Library Loan Librarian, dispatching books hither, thither and yon. I recently got a request for an article from the Irish Ancestor Magazine (1). While we do have it in paper form, we also have the CD. So while I was doing work today I put the CD in the computer and did some searches while I worked. The search terms were "knit"; "crochet"; "yarn" and "wool". The magazine was twice a year and Rosemary ffolliott says in her introduction that it suffered from the rise of the internet, so she folded it up. She was preparing a book on Irish Costumes which was never published but alas died last March

Wool threw up the most results. After all wool merchants and woolworkers did throw up a number of results rather than anything about wool itself.

One of the articles is from Vol X No 1 from 1978, entitled "Inventories of Five Dublin Quaker Merchants in the Late Seventeenth Century" contributed by Olive C. Goodbody (Google doesn't give me much beyond the fact that she wrote a lot about Quakers). In it she lists wsome of the wills and deeds preserved in the Quaker Archives in Eustace Street. Abstracts of the Wills to which they are attached were printed in Quaker Records, Dublin. Abstracts of Wills in the possession of the Dublin and Wexford Monthly Meetings of the Society of Friends. Edited by P. Beryl Eustace and Olive C. Goodbody

One of these people was William Barnard of Dublin, clothier, 1684
Among the stock were:
Item: Wool 70s 1b Fustick and lumber make £3-10-00
Item. One coper, one pan one iron furnace and lead 7£ and combs and lumber in the shop 4£ make £11-00-00
Item. In worsted wool and worsted yarns and twelve stockins 272 pounds weight and 195 yarn in Spinners hands £047-07-00

John Inglefield of Dame Street, Dublin, chandler 1693 had some cotton yarn, cut, one presumes for wicks.

John Johnston of Chapelizod, Co. Dublin, weaver, 1694, had (among many other items):
Two whole packs of white Linnen yarn at 26£. pr pack £52
More Linnen Yarne 203 vallued to £15 4s 26l ditto 75l ditto broune 90l ditto 74l ditto Bobing Wolsteed Calinder & warping frame & bobing beam & scales 94l tapes 80p.l £20-5-4

However the one that caught my eye was Isachar Wilcocks of Dublin, Grocer, 1694

20 reams of paper £9
52 doz of pins £22-18-00
76 peeces Girt web £13-04-00 (not sure what this is, anyone know?)
36 pounds knitting needles at 8d p pound £1-04-00
17 doz of Wool cards at 15d per doz £12-15-00
A parcell of dye stuff val £157
A parcell of linen yarn value £25

What I find interesting is that the Knitting Needles aren't divided by size, did this indicate that there was only one size used? I also find it interesting that Linen yarn and cotton could have been used if people were so inclined. It does point out that knitting was known in 1694 in Ireland, and judging by the quantity and fact that the needles are available in a general store, indicates to me that it's relatively popular.

(1)Irish Ancestor

Needlecraft Book Review

Bookdepository Link

Types of patterns: Guide to rather than pattern book

Colour/Black & White: Colour throughout

Target Audience: Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced/mixed: more towards beginner but some guides to other methods

How to knit guide: yes, and how to crochet too. (as well as Embroidery, Needlepoint, Patchwork, Applique and Quilting)

Experimental/Classical/Modern: Pretty classical stuff

Comment: this is a manual book rather than a pattern book, it starts with a section on Knitting and then Crochet and then the other mentioned techniques (which it covers pretty much the same as the knitting and crochet, this is a knitting blog so I'm skipping the other three sections). Both sections start with tools and materials, and some of the details are almost identical. The photographs are large and clear. This is written in UK english with UK terms (i.e. stocking stitch for Stockingette, there may be differences in the US edition). After showing a few ways to cast on, it shows a few plain stitch patterns and then more complex. All are clearly photographed in a low-fuzz yarn and very clear. Then it has a few flower patterns, then cables and twists (twists it works without a cable needle) Then they give some cable stitch examples. Next up is lace with some examples of yarns for lace and some samples, both written out and charted. Then colourwork, with colourwork slip stitch patterns, and some examples. Then there's advice on following patterns and hoow to read them. Embelishment is next, embroidery, bead knitting and edging. Then circular knitting. There's a chapter on knitting toys with a knitted monkey, which is worked in the round. Felting is the next chapter and then knitting with unusual yarns.

The section on crochet is largely the same, this book is in UK terms and it's not until you're into the stitch techniques portion of the section that you find this out and find the difference! There are some minor differences in the chapters, Wire crochet is included.

The end of the book has a chapter on needlework care, the patterns for the knitted monkey and crocheted dog are included on pages 388-389 at the back of the book, while I understand why this is I think it would have been better to include the patterns nearer the projects. Ravelry and some other useful sites are included as well under useful websites.

Sally Harding provides the text for the Knitting and Crochet chapters.

Buy/Borrow: for me I have everything in it but it would be a good book for someone looking to get into various needlework, the pictures are clear and well done.

Where found: Dublin City Public Libraries has several copies.

Monday, 15 November 2010

A Close-Knit Family

Ravelry Link Book Depository Link

Types of patterns: Garments

Number of Patterns

Split of patterns: Each chapter has one women's pattern, most have a man's pattern as well and they all have a child or baby pattern. 36: Jumper women (5); Jumper Men (8); Baby Jumper (2); Baby Pants (2); Jumper Child (4); Waistcoat Women (1); Cardigan Children (1); Cardigan Women (4); Dress Girl (1); Baby All in one (1); Cardigan Men (2); Waistcoat Men (1); top women(2); tank top (1); Coat Children (1)

Size Range:Women: 36-49" (101.5-124.5cm); Men 44-54" (120.5-137cm);

Colour/Black & White: Colour photographs, pretty good but sometimes details of the garments aren't clear from the photographs.

Schematics: yes, with multiple point details, particularly if shaping is involved

Target Audience: a mixture of difficulties

How to knit guide: No, has a suggested references listing.

Experimental/Classical/Modern: Most fairly classical but some are not currently fashionable

Comments: Many of the patterns are quite boxy but many could be adapted. Sleeves may need a lot of attention to adapt them. Skill levels are from the book itself.

Entwined Hearts:
Women's High-Neck Pullover, complex heart cables cover this boxy jumper. No real shot of the front but it looks interesting. Knit in worsted weight yarn. Skill level intermediate

Man's V-Neck Pullover - more heart like cables adorn this man's jumper Knit in Worsted yarn. Skill level intermediate

Baby's Pullover and Pants set - again cabled hearts cover this baby jumper. Knit in worsted weight yarn. Skill level Intermediate

Spicy Fair Isles
Women's Rolled-neck pullover: Knit in autumnal colours, this is a relatively short boxy jumper with fair isle bands, knit in heavy worsted yarn. Long plain bands that roll out on the neck, bottom and cuffs. Skill level intermediate

Men's Crew-Neck Pullover Another autumnal jumper with fairisle in a heavy worsted. Skill level intermediate

Child's Zippered Pullover: body child's jumper with a zip opening at the neck. Knit in heavy worsted with fair isle. Skill level intermediate.

Toasty Trio:
Woman's Cardigan Vest: Long-line waistcoat knit in worsted weight wool with v-neck. Listed as advanced beginner.

Man's Rugby Stripe Pullover: Worsted weight jumper with stripe and textured knit. Skill: Advanced Beginner

Child's Cardigan: Striped cardigan with fairly high v-neck, boxy, worsted weight. Listed as intermediate knit.

Pastoral Pastels
Women's Cropped CardiganLace-covered cardigan with some bobbles along cuff, hem and collar, knit in light worsted weight yarn. Shaping, length and lack of bobbles would probably make me want to knit it. Skill listed as intermediate

Child's Dress: Empire waisted dress with lace in the bodice and bobbles along hem, sleeve edge, bottom of bodice and neckline, knit in a light worsted. Skill listed as intermediate

Baby's All-in-one: lace to the waist and on the sleeves with bobbles along the cuffs and neckline. Knit in light worsted. Skill listed as intermediate

Riot of Ribs
Women's Mock Turtleneck Pullover; raglan sleeved jumper with ribbed body, short and boxy. Knit in light worsted yarn. Skill listed as intermediate

Man's V-Neck Pullover: Raglan sleeved jumper with ribbed body, v-necked. Knit in light worsted yarn. Skill listed as intermediate

Bird's-Eye Bulkies
Woman's Cardigan, round necked cardigan, knit in a bulky weight yarn, slipstitch pattern. Skill listed as intermediate

Man's Cardigan: v-necked cardigan with pockets, bulky weight yarn, slipstitch pattern, Skill listed as intermediate

Child's Crew-Neck Pullover: Bulky weight boxy jumper, slipstitch pattern. Skill listed as advanced beginner.

Harbor View Guernseys
Woman's Rolled-Neck Pullover: knit in worsted weight yarn with patterns all over the piece, bobbles along the hem and cuffs and a boxy, short look, the horizontal stripes mightn't suit everyone. Skill listed as intermediate

Man's Cardigan Vest Knit in worsted weight yarn with pockets and horizontal patterning all over the garment. boxy with dropped shoulders. Skill listed as intermediate

Child's Rolled-Neck Pullover: Knit in worsted weight yarn, patterning in the yoke, boxy. Skill listed as intermediate

Argyle Antics
Woman's Crew-Neck Pullover An interesting use of a band of argyle patterning along the top to this short-sleeved top. Knit in DK weight yarn. Skill listed as intermediate

Man's V-Neck Vest Band of argyle down the middle of this tank-top, knit in dk weight yarn. Skill listed as intermediate

Child's Color-Block Pullover same band of argyle as the man's tank-top but jumper divided in two with separate colours on each side. Skill listed as intermediate

Quick and Cozy

Woman's Shawl-Collar Cardigan
Big jacket-style cardigan with pockets, knit in a bulky weight yarn. Skill listed as advanced beginner.

Man's Crew-Neck Pullover: Another bulky weight jumper with a round neck and some contrast around the hem, cuffs and neck. Skill listed as beginner

Girl's Swing Coat again in a bulky weight wool, this is an a-line coat. Poor photography doesn't show much detail. Skill listed as beginner

Seaside Stripes
Woman's Sleeveless Pullover Two-colour blue with white horizontal stripes buttoned to the back. Skill listed as intermediate

Man's Crew-Neck Pullover: knit in sport weight yarn, horizontally striped, blocky. Skill listed as advanced beginner.

Infant's Pullover: knit in sport weight yarn, horizontally striped, blocky. Skill listed as intermediate.

Nordic Warmth
Woman's Zippered High-Neck All-over, horizontal striped, knit in heavy worsted pattern. knit in sport weight yarn, horizontally striped, blocky. Skill listed as intermediate

Man's Turtleneck: Same as the woman's only with a turtleneck, slightly different patterning.

Child's Crew-neck Pullover: Childs jumper with band of patterning along the bottom of the sleeves and body, with "lice" patterning over remainder of body. Skill listed as intermediate

The South Hadley Tweeds
Woman's Shaped Cardigan A cardigan with a round neck, shaping, cables and pockets. Knit in heavy worsted weight. Skill listed as expert.

Man's CardiganHeavy worsted weight v-necked cardigan with a cable running down the sleeve. Skill listed as intermediate

Cabled Elegance
Woman's Tunic - Complex cabled pattern tunic with a rounded neck and side slits, somewhat blocky with quite wide sleeves. Knit in a DK weight yarn. Skill listed as intermediate

Man's Crew-Neck Pullover Cabled hem and cuffs on this man's version of the woman's garment, aslo knit in a DK weight yarn. Skill listed as intermediate

Child's Medallion Crew-Neck Pullover: childrens pattern with central diamond piece and seed stitch, blocky with very wide sleeves. Knit in DK weight. Skill listed as expert

Casual Comfort
Woman's High-Neck Pullover: broad cable down the centre, knit in worsted weight, seed stitch background. Skill listed as intermediate

Man's Zippered Pullover: two cables run down the body of this one knit in worsted weight. Skill listed as intermediate

Baby's Cardigan and Pants set: cardigan has cables similar to the men's cardigan, the pants is all in seed stitch, knit in worsted weight yarn. Skill listed as intermediate

Buy/Borrow: Borrow and see if the patterns are to your taste.

Where found: Purchased, remaindered in Charlie Byrne's Bookshop

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Tweed by Nancy J. Thomas

Book Depository Link Ravelry Link

Types of patterns: mostly garments with some accessories and two throws.

Number of Patterns: Hat (3); Scarf (4); Bag (2); pullover (4); Cushion (1); Waistcoat (2); Cardigan (3); Jacket (2); throw (2)

Split of patterns: men, women and unisex patterns

Size Range: women 34-54" (86-137cm) men 37.5-52.5" (95-133.5cm)

Colour/Black & White: Plenty of colour photos, black and white charts with colour highlights.

Schematics: for the garments

Target Audience: Chapters divided into Beginners, Advanced Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced

How to knit guide: Not really, a discussion of tweed yarns and most of the information comes from a spinner in Kilcar. There's also a brief piece on some tweed suitable patterns.

Experimental/Classical/Modern: Classical with some modern twists.

Comments: While the listed yarns aren't readily available in Ireland the yarn is spun in Donegal in Kilcar, so careful substitution should be possible with Irish available yarns. There is an interesting article about Tweed yarn,

From the Beginners Chapter:

North Sea Hat & Scarf Set the scarf is in a double broken rib and the hat can be knit flat or in the round. Each end of the scarf has contrast colours and the hat has three broad stripes of colour too. This is a good beginners piece. Knit in a Superbulky weight yarn.

Lichen Ribbed Garter Scarf - knit in an aran weight yarn with a random stripe this has wide ends and ribbed middle, calls for 100g of the yarn and as most of the visible part is garter stitch this could be useful for busy yarns.

Kilt Knitting Bag
a bag using 1 skein (or less) for each colour this could be useful for aran weight pure wool leftovers, it has a bit pocket on the front, uses webbing for the strap but old belts could be also useful.

Highlands felted bag and Beret - using a bulky pure wool this has an stylised almost paisley pattern on the bag and dots on the hat, the patterning is appliqued after knitting.

Gaelic Hat - big stocking hat, knit in bulky yarn, with a big pom-pom this is kinda rasta style.

Tweed River Pullover A pretty basic, knit in bulky yarn, jumper with a round neck. The original yarn is quite busy. Pretty unisex pattern, though most men would probably like a little more length.

Advanced Beginners Chapter

Coastal Cabled Scarf Moss stitch on the edges and a plaited cable down the middle, knit in a bulky yarn.

Kilcar Felted Pillow - this takes a Kilim style pattern and puts it in the centre of the piece, this would be a good introduction to inartasia, most mistakes would be ironed out with the felting. Knit in Aran weight yarn, again one skien of most colours it might be good for leftovers, two of the colours use very little of the yarn.

Carrick PulloverA ribbed jumper with a roll neck knit in a bulky yarn, this is again a unisex pattern. Length should possibly be revised for most as it comes just to mid-stomach on the model.

Stornaway Vest
the rib of this is in a different colour and the body in another, the edging is also in another colour. It's knit in an Aran weight yarn. (and yes, I just added this pattern to Ravelry as I'm knitting it on commission for an aunt. I'm knitting it in one colour)

Galway Tie-Front Cardigan Knit in an aran weight yarn, this is a v-necked cardigan that I hope to knit some day with buttons or toggle closure instead of ties. The sleeves are knit in a slightly different shade to the body but I didn't notice until I was reading the promo. It also has pockets.

Intermedite Knitter Chapter

Moss Cabled Cardigan The moss is in reference to the colour this was knit in rather than the stitch. Knit in aran weight yarn this attracted some commentary at the Fiber Fun Friday because the rib looks a bit wrong. Possibly needs picking up fewer stitches for a less gathered look. A button front cardigan that has a high neck.

Scottish Isles Pullover a collared jumper knit in Aran weight yarn with shaping and cables, this is a fairly classic piece.

Ulst Mitered Scarf Knit in Aran yarn this again uses 1 ball of five colours for a fairly large scarf that's almost a stole.

Dublin Cabled Vest interesting cabled v-necked waistcoat this would probably suit a woman with a bit of shaping added, which should probably be easy enough after the lower set of cables.

Harris-Style Sampler Cardigan - with a mixture of stitches and horizontal colours in Aran weight yarn, along with fringing along the buttonband this doesn't appeal, I would like to see it without fringing and in a single colour.

Advanced Knitter Chapter

Isle of Skye Jacket an oversized jacket knit with a complex cable (it's 26 rows long) it's pretty unisex, knit in an aran weight yarn.

Chanel Style Tweed Jacket - knit in an aran weight yarn with the body in a slipstitch pattern and with contrast edging along the bottom, edges, pockets and cuffs, this is very dependent on careful colour choice.

Northern Ireland Peplum Pullover there was some disagreement about the bottom of this one, it might not be flattering to all. Knit in Aran weight yarn with some nice detailing around the neck but the photograph has hair in the way of a lot of the detail.

Outer Hebredies Sampler Throw - a sampler with 8 different single skeins of aran weight yarn, this could have more or less colours worked into it, it's worked in number of blocks and stripes.

Lake District Throw - Five skiens of one aran weight yarn and 1 skein of 17 more colours, this is a complex piece with a lot of flowers.

Overall not a bad book with a variety of uses of tweed style yarns without being too twee.

Buy/Borrow: the Libraries got copies and based on my viewing of it I bought my own copy, there are some pieces that I would be inclined to adapt a little but a few that I liked on first look.

Where found: I originally borrowed a copy from Dublin City Public Libraries.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Coffee Press Quest

I got me a new coffee press from Lidl and thought idly of making a coffee press cover, so that in times like this, I could make a batch and drink it over several hours.

Now I have to wonder about these (ravelry Link, login required) now yes, I'm searching for a french press cosy, but several of these lack something in the practicality aspect.
Lets' eliminate the Fleur de Lys "cozy"; scarves belong on people not as useful beverage warming items, I'd say the spillage aspect for this one is high. I could imagine it would be easy to put down on the trailing edges of this scarf. Very "Tish" making, shattered glass mixed with coffee is not a good beverage.
In my mind a French press cosy should have a number of useful aspects, the ability to keep pot warm while brewing, so the ones with the top with no space for the press mechanism are out immediately, vide: Midnightsky's Ribbed French Press Cozy and the felted press cozy; and the Oo la la French press cozy, no matter how pretty and the felted eggplant cozy.
Spout space is also good, along with handle space, eliminating the cozy by Adrian Bazilla.
Heat rises, and maximising coverage is good. Thus eliminating the ones by Lynne Anne Banks, Gillie Parsons; Jen Price; and Jane D
Larissa Brown's one is cute but lacing the damned thing up in a half-awake state? No!
There's fluffy yarn involved in this one

I think I need to go make myself a cup of coffee and swear a little before doing anything else. I may have to design something myself. Looking at some of the ones charging for their designs, I have no qualm about charging if I do design something!

Gods but theres a space for a well-designed caffietiere cozy. The project pages are also a "how not to shoot" an item. There's a few with no action shots, or where you can't see the full caffietiere.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Mental Health Knitting

I've been working on some complicated pieces recently and decided I needed something easy, simple, quick. I'm off sick at the moment and my current projects are going very sloooooooly. Also when I'm ill I tend to be a little scattered, antibiotics do not help me to be completely compos mentis. (thank you Firefox for the spellcheck that's saving my blushes)

I decided first that I'd try to knit a waistcoat or tank top, in the US both seem to be termed vests, a term that doesn't distinguish enough about the two types of garment. Entertainingly Vest is an older term while waistcoat is newer. Another example of UK/Irish English and American English being divided by more than an ocean. It even goes deeper, as tanks in the US can be tops on their own, while in my mind a tank top is a closed waistcoat, often with a deep U or V neck. A vest to me is a garment you wear under a blouse, shirt or t-shirt as a warming layer.

I found a yarn I wanted to knit in and a pattern I liked and cast on, an realised that the yarn and the pattern were maybe a missmatch.
The yarn is proving to be a bit splitty and not helping my antibiotics addled brain. So I'm not sure if I should stop and try again when I come off or abandon this pattern with this yarn. I'm not sure it's crisp enough for the pattern.

So I decided that it would be a good thing to do some simple projects, to somewhat cleanse the palette and to make me feel a bit productive.
So I took some of the yarn from the socks I just finished and made this
Coffee Cozy 1 this is the Cabled Coffee Cuff (Ravelry Link)

Sunday, 31 October 2010


Or my likes and dislikes.

Okay, I'm opinionated about what I like and dislike in pattern books, and sometimes I get a little sarky, this being said I do try to be as balanced as I can. I try to point out good points in books, and often when I re-read posts I try to clarify that maybe it wasn't that bad, that maybe it was an overwhelming ugh that got to me. There are some things that will always get to me.

Lack of detailed pictures. I'm am guaranteed to get a little snippy if the model is more in focus than the knitted object, it's also guaranteed to make me a little sceptical about the garment. Lack of front views when there's details there? Garment unworn, particularly if other garments in the book are worn? Collar covered by a scarf? Closure not clearly shown? Repeated photographs, just with a little more focus on a random portion, or the worst sin of all, repeated photograph flipped? Oh yeah, colour me sceptical.

Lack of Schematics that actually tell you something. If the details in the introduction piece tell me that the garment is x inches or cm long and the sleeves are y inches long, I don't see why your schematics shouldn't tell me more. Useful details often include depth of neckline, width of waist, depth to waist if you have a fitted waist, the details that can help a person change things for the better. Your pattern will never be perfect for everyone, live with it.

Repeating patterns within the same book with no more a significant change than yarn or colour.

Online patterns, go to our website to get this pattern often means a year later it's gone and I have no hope of getting it.

The words funky or edgy fill me with dread. They usually actually mean this is an unholy mess.

I have to admit to a dislike of fun fur and other novelty yarns of most sorts, particularly when they're used for a whole garment, writers who insist that this style suits all women and other such absolutes. I also admit to a certain impatience with books that don't include mm needle sizes, or at least a quick guide to mm, but thats a bit of a personal preference.

What do I like? Well written patterns that allow me to adapt them to my 40" chest, 5'1" stature, I like classically styled pieces with some slightly unusual or different quirks. Yarns that aren't difficult to source or extremely expensive. Books that also make me think or inspire me will get my vote.

Another Pair of socks

My eleventh pair of socks this year! I am on track to knit 12 this year, particularly as I've cast on for the twelfth already and am into the first repeat of the ankle.

These are my George R R Martin socks


Why George R R Martin? The first sock was completed while listening to George R R Martin's Guest of Honour Speech at Octocon this year. Yes I'm a geek.

I love how Autumnal this colourway is, I think it may have originally been bought to make a pair of socks for my husband but they're mine now. They're quite apt for wearing today, which I am doing.

ETA: These are Hermoine's Everyday Socks which definitely lok more complicated than they are, a nice pattern that breaks up possible pooling on the yarn.

Simple Stylish Knits Review

Also known as So Simple Knits
Book Depository Link Ravelry Link

Types of patterns: Garments

Number of Patterns: 24; Coat/Jacket (6); Hat (2); Cardigan (5); Top (1); Cape (2); Poncho (1); throw (1); Jumper (3); tank-top (1); Headband (1)

Split of patterns: Men/women/children - Womens only.

Colour/Black & White: Colour photographs

Schematics: Yes, for most, however they're a bit thin on detail, often only mentioning length, no mention of the various widths.

Target Audience: beginner to intermediate

How to knit guide: Much of the basics are covered quite quickly.

Experimental/Classical/Modern: some classical pieces but it's mostly fairly modern.

Comments: A mixed bunch of patterns
The first chapter is "Classic"
Long Asymmetrical Coat - the photographs aren't clear about how it's asymmetrical but it's got a pointed front that fastens with a buckle, this is knit on 7 & 12mm needles so it's big and bulky. The bulky yarn brings down the shoulders and the sleeves look quite baggy on the model, classed as Easy.

Basketweave Coat and Hat are knit in Sirdar Bigga in 15mm needles. This is HUGE. and I have to wonder about the needs some experience for the Basketweave pattern, if you can do a neat rib you can do a Basketweave pattern. Rated as easy.

Long Shawl-Collared Coat this one is knit in Rowan Ribbon Twist on 12mm needles and comes across as being less bulky and not as heavy as the other two, this is designed to go down below your knees and may need some modification for the short. Rated as Easy.

Striped Sweater, it's a pretty standard stocking stitch and it appears to have waist shaping, although that's not evident from the pictures. The schematics aren't clear about the sleeve width but they look quite wide on the sleeve, rated as very easy.

Cardigan with Loop stitch Collar: stripes, loop stitch collar, ribbon tie and buttons. It doesn't appeal to me. Rated as easy.

Moss Stitch Jacket and top. The Jacket is knitted in moss stitch and knit on 6.5mm needles; the top in 3.25 and 4mm needles, there's pockets and fringing, the top is sleeveless. They're rated as Easy

Two-Colour Jacket is a high necked jacket; designed to be knit in a yarn with a long colour variation this would be a good piece for someone who liked a high neck jacket. If I was to knit it myself I would be tempted to knit it in the round to the underarm, and would possibly attempt steeks for the piece above the underarms in order to keep the colour moving smoothly. Rated as very easy.

Two-Colour Cape is knit in two contrast colours. Rated as very easy this has some textured stitches. The schematic isn't very clear, the only photograph on the page is the back the only clue about how it's constructed is the making up.

The second chapter is Weekend

Hooded Cardigan with Embroidery. It's a nicely designed hooded cardigan with a zip and applied cross stitch in a contrast yarn. It would still be a nice piece even without the cross stitch. It's knit in a relatively thick yarn, Rowan Cork and knit with 7 & 8mm needles, the hood is knit flat and seamed. This is the garment on the cover of the book. Rated as Easy.

Jacket with Funky Collar where funky collar is Sirdar New Fizz or a "novelty yarn" that knits to a large gauge, the body is in Sirdar Bigga. The whole thing is knit on 12mm and 15mm needles and is quite a large looking jacket and I don't think it would suit larger sizes. Rated as very easy

Patchwork Coat is knit four shades of yarn on 5.5 and 6.5mm needles big rectangles and the ribbed edge goes in. I would be inclined to add a hem instead. Though again it's not a piece I'd actually knit, the ribbed collar with fringing is an added reason not to. It's a very bulky piece and again lacks a full front picture. Rated as Medium.

Poncho and hat with earflaps: Knit in Rowan Big Wool Tuft which I'm sure you would be gutted to know is discontinued. It's knit on 15 and 20mm needles. The hat is seamed and the poncho has fringing. I think this classifies as my second least favourite piece Rated as very easy.

Sweater with Fringing - Knit in Rowan chunky print, with 7mm and 8mm needles, this has a slight point to the front, fringing and a cabled pattern down the front and back and a cowl neck

Throw-over wrap, knit with 15 and 20mm needles this is a fairly plain wrap you could possibly avoid seaming by knitting until the cast on for the neck and then knitting the other side and then knitting both together. There's no schematic for this one. Rated as very easy.

Third chapter is Casual
Cardigan with Ribbon ties - this has some contrast on the wrists and bottom of the cardigan and a slight shawl collar, The contrast is worked with a chevron knit pattern. There's some waist shaping. If I was to knit this I would leave off the ribbon decoration. Knit with 3.25 and 4mm needles. Rated as easy

Cardigan with Beads, high collared with a bead detailing around the collar. This is a pretty plain boxy cardigan. Knit on 7&8mm needles. The beads around the collar are quite bulky, I would be quite tempted to use them as buttons instead or as well. Rated as very easy

Sweater with frilled hem and cuffs. This is knit in Rowan Summer Tweed with 5mm needles. I'd be tempted to knit this with a different edging, if I was to knit it. The textured knit complements the yarn well, you could also do the centre piece in a contrast yarn. Rated as easy.

Scoop-necked top with lacy edging - knit on 5.5 and 6.5mm needles this has a leaf and bobble edge on the bottom, most of the body is knit in stocking stitch in the main, this is a wide-necked piece; almost off the shoulder. Has some waist shaping but the photographs are unhelpful. Rated easy.

Striped Sleeveless Top is knit in a chunky chenille, a standard v-necked tank top this one, it could be knit easily in a single colour, this has some waist shaping. Again the photographs reveal little. Rated easy.

Silky Mohair Cardigan is in Kidsilk Haze which some people like and some people dislike. Knit with 3&3.75mm needles. The original uses heart-shaped buttons. Boxy and knit mostly in stocking stitch it rates as very easy.

Chapter 4 is titled Glamorous.
Cape and Headband: Knit with 7&8mm needles (surely this is what everyone wants, a headband in big chunky wool) This is semi-circular shaped. Rated as very easy.

Sweater with Lace Collar and Cuffs, this is what it says, knit in lurex with 2.75; 3.25 and 4mm needles, this reminds me a little of work by White Lies designs not a lot of lace but enough to take this piece from mundane to a little exciting. Most of the body is knit in stocking stitch. Rated as easy.

Bolero Jacket - knit in 7mm needles this is a blocky piece but as chenille it's not too bad, it's cropped.

Last and definitely least in my book Wrapover Cardigan. This has frilled edge and piece on the cuffs. The body is knit on 8mm needles and the edging in 3.25mm. This one just makes me shudder and I can't say anything good about it. There's no shot of the front, it bags in the front at the waist, taking a garment that could be flattering and making it quite ugly. Rated as easy.

This book depends a lot on big yarns and blocky shapes, while there are a few very nice pieces they are also a few dogs, only if you like a few of the patterns would I get this one. While I'm interested in one or two of them overall I'm unimpressed by the whole thing of it.

Buy/Borrow: Borrow it, honestly if you want a look ask me. If you like it you should probably buy it but I could probably imagine that most who like it would be thinner types, bulkier yarns are often not flattering to larger women as they add bulk

Where Found: I own a copy, bought it second-hand.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Knitting And Stitching Show

It's the weekend of the Knitting and Stitching show and I'm not there. The why is a little complicated.

For starters I'm broke, broke as a broke thing in Brokestown. It was not helped by my having to visit a doctor or pay out on medication, I mean, I'm not destitute but I don't have a lot of spare money

Secondly: last year I wasn't all that impressed and didn't really buy an awful lot, to pay a relatively high entry fee and then not find things I wanted to buy is kinda annoying.

Thirdly: I have kilometers of yarn to knit. My stash needs reduction not increase! This is the main reason to stay away.

Hope everyone who visited enjoyed themselves.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Slightly Pink Socks

So these are technically September socks because I finished them last week.
pinkish socks
I knit the first two repeats on 2.75mm and the remaining sock on 2.5 and I could possibly have gone with 2.5 and 2.25 to be honest but the yarn has a lot of cotton in it and I predict that there will be some shrinkage over time. I still like them a lot.

And no, the colour and the style has nothing to do with the fact that October is Breast Cancer Month. Please support your local cancer support services, please know what's normal for you and realise that if you feel like you're wasting your doctor's time maybe you need to change your doctor, and also remember, women don't only get Breast Cancer, I didn't.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Knitting your own Designs for a perfect fit

Knitting your own designs for a perfect fitKnitting: Your Own Designs for a Perfect Fit
No Ravelry Link

Types of patterns: Garments

Number of Patterns: Jumper (7); Waistcoat (2); Top (3); Baby (3); Child jumper (3); Cardigan (8); Child's Cardigan (2); Skirt (2): Child's Coat (1); Coat (1); Tank top (1); Dungarees (1)

Split of patterns: Men/women/children mostly women, but many patterns are unisex.
Size Range:

Colour/Black & White: Colour photographic plates but black& white otherwise

Schematics: yes and no, there are a lot of schematics scattered around the book but not attached to the garments, however if you read the guidelines for the pattern it would tell you where to go for the garment

Target Audience: Intermediate to advanced, beginners would probably not be well served by this, it requires some basic knowledge.

How to knit guide: yes, this is mostly what the book is about

Experimental/Classical/Modern: Classical mostly

Comments: This is not the book with a tonne of cast-ons and cast offs and a lot of detail about knitting, the garments are of their time, but under some of the strange styling and rather suspect colourwork many of the patterns are pretty classic, but this isn't what the book is about, scratch a little deeper than the pictures and the cover and you will find a comprehensive book that lists almost every possible shape and style, how to alter already knit garments to fit better and other detail besides. While there are no schematics for the garments listed there is a listing of shapes, which would allow to check what the choices would be. It's comprehensive and most possible ideas are listed and comments about advantages and disadvantages involved. She also works on ideas for optical effects, colourwork, knitting direction and motifs. All illustrated in line drawings. While most of the garments suffer badly from age some are quite classic, or could be adapted to be more up-to-date. The patterns are also more guidelines than actual patterns, the detail is described and the sizing and other details left to the knitter.

Polo-neck jumper with cevron design: Today's style would probably suggest a different neckline, and it has no shaping, still it's a pretty classic style that would probably suit men, or with some adaptations to remove some of the bulk most women

Alpaca Waistcoat, - pretty plain waistcoat with no shaping and ties, could be easily modernised or again, with plain buttons could be quite successful for men.

Maroon Poloneck with Chevrons on Sleeves:L Interesting use of colourwork on the sleeves this also has a saddle shoulder.

Blue/grey Tweed Collared Jumper: Big ribbed mens' jumper with a collar, pretty classic stuff here

Baby Briefs and Matinee Jacket - babies stuff tends to be the most classic and this isn't an exception

Toddler's Chenille Top: this suffers badly from age, drawstring bottom, laced boxy sleeves, it's just not that appealing, though some of the ideas could be used.

Camisole Evening Top : Interesting use of colourwork which is well placed and not too busy, could do with wider straps but otherwise not a bad piece

Mohair Cardigan: Shetland Shell Stitch ornaments this v-necked cardigan with pockets, could probably be translated into another yarn without too much trouble for an interesting piece, would probably lend itself well to self-striped yarn

Camel-Coloured v-neck with striped borders - sleeves are knit along the yoke and the body grafted to the yoke, the stripes along the ribs would be an interesting place to use left-overs or busy yarns

Green Cotton twin-set: mosaic patterning along the body of this square necked top with only a small amount of detail on the sleeves of the cardigan, unfortunately the body of the cardigan is obscured by the styling/photography

Peach Mohair Jacket - fastened to the front with a bow it does look dated, though lose the bow and the mohair and it turns into a relatively decent garment with a little stitch detailing along the edges and yoke.

Bouchle Cardigan with eyelets is an interesting pattern, v-necked cardigan with a scattered eyelet pattern to keep interest going, has potential.

Girls cardigan in blue and white uses a few different colours of blue and is pretty classic, you might have to change the neckline for a more modern look

Boy's Jumper with diagonal stripes on front - a change of colour for this would modernise it.

Purple tunic with Jacquard Design: gathered at the waist and then flaring out the patterning is interesting, patterning along the sleeves to match

Man's grey waistcoat; Square bottomed with pockets and some stitch detail.

Pompom Skirt in hand-spun wool: this is one o the greatest crimes this book commits and almost unforgivable, it features on the cover as well and honestly I can't see a reason to make it, ever.

Little Girl's Red Coat: has an integrated scarf, stitch detail and is quite cute

Boys Bomber Jacket: Colourwork down the side and arms, this is a pretty classic style and shape

Girl's Square-necked striped top: modernise the colours, it would work now

The Heavy Winter Coat is not my style but I can imagine it updated and not looking all that dated, features the current large collar style

Thick Jumper in three shades of blue: Knit in Double-Double yarn this looks about aran weight, or maybe a little heavier, actually would look quite well in cotton I'd say, tweed sttich along the bottom and top, it's a nice use of three shades of blue in a garment

Sleeveless blue v-necked top: ribbing detail tank top.

Off-white summer suit in slk noil: skirt and short-sleeved loose cardigan make up this ensemble, skirt looks kneelenght, but it's hard to say from the photograph what shape it is.

Linen top: Colour stipes adorn the top and bottom of this garment, ooh look, horizontal stripes. along the body it has diagonal stitch detail. Photography is poor with this garment but I don't really hold up much hope for it being all that good a plan

Navy blue cardigan : pretty plain with some interesting rib detail, v-necked cardigan in a tweedy yarn, the pattern actually does show off the yarn.

V-necked jumper with Jacquard Bands - on a man this has the jaquard bands along the bottom of the body and the top of the sleeves, however it's not well photographed, so it's overall look is hidden.

Green Chenille Bomber Jacket - Pretty plain bomber jacket with pockets, again the photography obscures the garment

Tweed and chenille Bomber Jacket, buttoned and collared with contrasting details, this could probably be modernised and made into an intersting garment.

Baby's Travelling Bag - not for carrying items for a baby but a swaddling coverup with a hood. buttoned in the bottom this might work today but I have my suspicions.

Young Child's Dungarees _ stripes adorn this but the photography doesn't really show the garment well.

All of this being said this isn't a bad book, dated yes, and the garments certainly show age but overall it's not a bad book, in fact it's packed with information and occaisonally more than is usually given by a lot of designers. I could imagine an updated edition that would be more interactive, this would lend itself well to becoming an interactive text.

Buy/Borrow: if you're thinking about going into design this would be a good buy, if you can find it, I have my own copy that I look at occasionally. You need to ignore the surface of the book and dig a little to find the meat.

Where found: Dublin City Public Libraries has a copy, I have one myself, I went hunting for the books by Montose Stanley in the system and this is the only one still in circulation.


See the competition here that was me that won, that was.

Today the postie rang and it was my prize


it's a cute tin box, three skeins of Artesano Alpaca, two plastic needles, stitch markers and slide-on stitch counters. It's all pretty and cool and I'm so chuffed!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

New waistcoat

So I finally sewed on the buttons, I finished that on the 1st of this month and have been looking at it for a while thinking about sewing them on, finally today I did it.


the pattern is Hawaii from Manos del Uruguay in the colourway Pisces in their Silk Blend this is the third pattern I've knit in it.

Color Style Book Review

BookDepository LinkOn Ravelry

Types of patterns: Garments and Accessories

Number of Patterns: 17 Pullover (6); Fingerless gloves (1); Socks (1); Cardigan (3); Scarf (1); Gloves (1); Cushion (1); Tank Top (1); Mittens (1); Bag (1)

Split of patterns: Women but see comments.

Size Range: 33-50, most patterns have a reasonable stretch of sizes

Colour/Black & White: colour photographs and colour charts

Schematics: yes for all patterns it really matters for

Target Audience: Intermeditate to advanced.

How to knit guide: some of the basics in the regular Interweave Knits Glossary

Experimental/Classical/Modern: Mostly classical stuff with some modern thrown in

It's an interesting mix of patterns

Gee's Bend Pullover by Mary Jane Mucklestone. For people who like sewing, you make a back centre panel, a front centre panel and two side panels and sleeves and you sew them all up. There's no real shaping, it doesn't appeal to me from the pictures but it might be an interesting men's pattern. It's staggered stripes that breaks up the horizontal lines. Intereseting but not impressive.

Holi Mitts by Jaya Srikrishnan, a slip stitch pair of fingerless mittens. would be an interesting use of leftovers. One plain yarn and two variagated yarns make this interesting and fun.

Mohair Fair Isle by Mari Lynn Patrick, worked in the flat to the bodice and then half the sleeves and the front or back worked to the neck, has bell sleeves with a colour stripe along the end and a colourwork yoke. It isn't my style.

Faux-Embroidery yoke Sweater by Robin Melanson. the sweater is worked from the neck down with floats that make it look like emboridery and a mostly plain body, if I was to knit a roundnecked jumper this would be high on the list of jumpers to knit.

Honeycomb Turtleneck by Deborah Newton is interesting, you work cuffs horizontally and then pick up stitches to the armholes and then a colourwork yoke and a turtleneck to finish, you could possibly finish earlier and it would still be an impressive piece, not on my list of patterns to try due to it being not my kind of shape, the honeycomb breaks up the horizontal lines to make it more body friendly.

Bohus Style Knee Highs by Chrissy Gardiner Colourful cuff, and a little colour on the toes with shaping for the legs, worked in a k2p2 rib would make it comfortable and it would be a good introduction to colourwork on socks as it's not much colourwork over the whole design.

The Harvest Cardigan
by Robin Melanson is a beautiful cardigan worked in a few contrasting colours with some embroidery to enhance it. I'd be tempted to make it more v-necked, and I'd love this cardigan, as it stands I really would love it for me. There are five colours involved.

Hooded Scarf by Kristin Nicholas - has the Nicholas trademarked bright colours, this is a hooded scarf, worked in the round it's then cut and ravelled to form the fringe. I'm not the biggest fan of Nicholas' work, this isn't changing my mind

Funky Fair Isle Bag by Pam Allen - work circular base on dpns, keep increasing until it's too big for dpns and change to circulars work fair isle to to, end with striped garter rib, sounding funky yet? No? Neither to me. It's a Fair Isle deep bag with a couple of colours, would be good fair isle practice as bags are pretty forgiving of mistakes. Could possibly also do with lining.

Mosaic Yoke Jacket by Veronik Avery. This has vertical striping along the body and 3/4 length sleeves and mosaic yoke with shawl style collar, the designer fastens it with a leather belt but buttons (and buttonholes) could be added if wished. I liked this one, enough colour but not too much horizontal colour

Cunningsburgh Star Jacket by Shirley Paden is one of my favourite patterns. The top of the jacket has a quite simple colourwork pattern but the bottom has a more complicated look, the tie-string is not my style and I'd probably ditch it and I love the fact that the inside collar has the same pattern as the yoke. I'm not sure how it would look with a dark, rather than light background, but I suppose Ravelry would inform me on this.

Peace and Love Gloves by Veronik Avery would be a good place to start with applied embroidery on a piece, as gloves there wouldn't be much work and if it went wrong you could easily fix it. These have a houndstooth pattern on the body, the words Peace and Love on the wrissts and a flower embroidered on the Love glove. The fingers are worked plain. A pattern that would lend itself to adaptation

Retro Andean Pullover by Mary Jane Mucklestone is one of my least gavourite patterns. A cropped pattern with horizontal stripes this is just not something that I would think would look good on me. Plus added Steaking ARGHness.

The Argyle Vest by Ann Budd takes the Argyle pattern and plays with it a bit. Working it in a patch along the chest and in several colours (with an added note from the author to feel free to add in more, this is a clever use of leftovers. It's got a ribbed sides and back to give it movement and some fitted effect, however I'd look at the armholes, from the slight bunching in the photograph they might benefit from lengthening.

Floral Pillow by Marta McCall is a felted cushion with an abstract flower and leaves pattern, some needlefelting is involved to add some details and to make it look more stitched. Different.

Striped Raglan by Cecily Glowik. Horizontal stripes in a think and thin self-striping yarn make for an interesting garment, still self-striping doesn't inspire me and there's bunching under the arms on the model so maybe some extra length in the arms might be a good idea.

Fun Flower Mittens, decorated with beads and embroidery these mittens are knit in the flat and seamed, not my sort of thing but still interesting.

The book continues with some commentary and some advice on playing with colour and it's a good section on the various ways of incorporating colour into a pattern. Some of the added ideas could be used to modify the patterns in the book. Overall it's an interesting book about using colour. I mightn't use the same colours myself but many of the colours aren't bad at all. I have some biases towards some of the patterns but they all have certain things going for them in terms of ideas and inspiration

Buy/Borrow: I borrowed it from Cork County Libraries to take a better look at it and intend to buy it sometime soon. It's not just that there are two cardigans that I really want to knit in the book but there's also a lot of very interesting ideas and inspirations in the book.

Where found: Cork County Libraries via the Borrowbooks scheme

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Oddball Knitting

Book Depository Link there are no links on Ravelry for the designer

Types of patterns: Garments
Number of Patterns: technically 21, though many are just size; pattern and gender changes; Jumper Men (3); Jumper Women (5); Jumper Child (3); Cardigan Men (3); Cardigan women (3); Cardigan Child (3)

Split of patterns: Men/women/children

Size Range: Women 95-115cm; Child 67-89cm; Men 110-130cm; 2 jumpers sized for 16/18 or 20/22

Colour/Black & White: Black and white graphs; colour photographs with added illustrations

Schematics: No

Target Audience: Intermediate, has a lot of colourwork

How to knit guide: Some basics but not a comprehensive guide, more for general work

Experimental/Classical/Modern: Most of the patterns are classic but there are two that are just plain horrible.

Comments: This is an interesting book, by using non-straight-line patterns to use up yarn, this would be a useful book to use for people with too much yarn and not enough patterns, though you might want to knit sections of the patterns for each piece in order to continue the patterns. The pattern repeats could be used in other garments to repeat the same concept on another garment. Possibly in combination with Budd's Handy book of Garments or Sweaters. Just ignore the last two patterns and the styling of the garments. By the fact that the lines are broken and not straight it's a better look than horizontal lines on most people. I'd also like to see the diamond pattern done in a variegated yarn in the centres. This one made me want to swatch up something and get rummaging in my yarn pile.

Buy/Borrow: It's one that I would buy if I could get one, but it's out of print and expensive on Amazon, thankfully Dublin City Public Libraries has a copy (or two)

Where found: Dublin City Public Libraries

Knitting Survey

found at IrishElk via someone on twitter Have a knitting-meme

Bold for stuff you’ve done, italics for stuff you plan to do one day, and normal for stuff you’re not planning on doing.

Garter stitch
Knitting with metal wire
Stockinette stitch or as I'd say Stocking Stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down (not sure about this one, not really a mitten fan)
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Sweater Or in English - Jumper
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Domino knitting (=modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Baby items

Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Graffitti knitting: knitting items on, or to be left on the street – possibly ninja knitting. Or pirate knitting.
Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns
Lace patterns

Publishing a knitting book - not sure about this, interesting possibility some day
Teaching a child to knit
Knitting to make money
Button holes
Knitting with alpaca - actually I'm not sure about this one, I may have
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting
Household items: dishcloths, washcloths, tea cosies…
knitting socks- or other small tubular items- on two circulars

Dying with plant colours
Knitting items for a wedding
Olympic knitting Ravelympics yes
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
Knitting with dpns
Holiday related knitting

Teaching a male how to knit (if anyone wanted to learn from me I'd teach them, no
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn

Knitting art
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO
Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO
Entrelac Knitting and purling backwards

Machine knitting
Knitting with selfpatterning/selfstriping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys

Knitting with cashmere
JewelryKnitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern

Knitting with linen

Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting

Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/armwarmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine

Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets

Knitting with dog/cat hair
Hair accessories
Knitting in public

Wow, not a lot of things I really want to try but a lot of things I want to keep working on to make better.

Some links

How Gauge works with a simple jumper example

Fit to Flatter series linked at episode 8 because I find it the one I need to re-read regularly, but it's all good.

A Size Survey I should try to fill out.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Baby Cardigan

And it's finished,
February Cardigan

I have to say it was a bit of a trial occasionally and is a prime example of having to read the pattern several times before launching yourself at it. Buttonholes are necessaryand you need to be thinking of them almost from the off. I used Weezalana's notes a lot while knitting and did knit the sleeves in the round as well. Once you get into the swing of the pattern it is relatively easy.

This is for my cousin's baby who was born this week. It's knit in James C Bret's Pure Merino, a machine washable yarn, the buttons are from my stash.

Monday, 13 September 2010


So I was just listening to a podcast and the knitter was talking about working out how to increase evenly over x stitches and they were saying that you just divide over the number of stitches and do that, but that's not exactly even (unless you're working in the round, for this I'm talking in the flat)

with 4 increases over 20 stitches, - is a stitch V is an increase, in this instance a lifted increase

-----V-----V-----V-----V with an increase at the end of the stitches

now if you divide by five, or number of increases+1 you will have

----V----V----V----V---- still with four increases but this time you have nice, evenly placed across things without an awkward stitch to sew up later!

But, you say, what about awkward numbers of stitches like six increases over 30?

30/7 is 4.2857.... or four stitches and two remaining so I would put five stitches either end and then four between increases


or put the two extra in the middle


or offset


though the thing to remember this is all dependent on the type of increase you do. If the increase involves the previous stitch, Kf&b for example, the top one would have been k3k1f&b etc.

So how do you cope with increases, with that wonderfully vague increase evenly over the row instructions?

Sunday, 12 September 2010


I've finished the Ribwarmer from Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitting Workshop. It was an interesting project and it does meet at the back, When knitting it I knit one row before changing colours on the opposite side which meant that it lined up properly, otherwise I would have had the reverse of the fabric to the front for the second half. I think it would look even better in a heavily variegated yarn with a plain dark yarn. Still this was in some leftovers I had around, I'm sure Elizabeth would be proud! It now needs some washing.
Ribwarmer finished

crossposted to Knitting Elizabeth

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Bad Knitter but I'm trying

I have finished an item but no photographs yet.
I've been neglecting my knitting in favour of helping to get an Irish Knitting Blog up and running. Apparently people don't see Irish Knitters so we don't exist and this is causing strange ideas about knitting in Ireland.

Judging from some of the designs, blogs and other stuff out there there's nothing of the sort. Some of them are wonderful and my Ravelry Queue has suffered from some additions.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Ribwarmer Start

So before the schoolkids went back this week, it was starting to get cool and my mind drifted to waistcoats and other relatively warm stuff. Travelling to work daily on a motorbike means that season changes are pretty obvious stuff.

I saw the Ribwarmer Waistcoat(Ravelry Link) in Knitting Workshop (one of the four Elizabeth books I have and one of the three I can currently find) and thought it would be a good thing to start with

Earlier today I took a shot of my progress

ribhugger start

it's all in garter stitch and I'm starting to wonder how I'll get the reverse side working. It's also strange as I'm finding that I have to keep bringing my attention back to the knitting and making sure I don't accidentally do the wrong thing, I'm reminded of Tara Jon Manning and her discussions of Mindful Knitting and how being mindful of what your're doing is a good thing. I'm powering along with this and I'm on the back stretch of it. I'm enjoying it. I'm also finding myself having to avoid thinking about the next project because I want to enjoy what I'm doing. I love the simplicity of the pattern, you knit straight, then turn, straight, turn, straight and cast off, and then you have half of it knit, you knit a second and sew them up the back.

However the next project has to have something other than garter stitch, between this and a piece of test knitting I'm doing I need something more.

I'm using some leftover aran yarn from some other projects, the white is quite old and the blue is leftover from my Mr Greenjeans. It's quite old and old-style yarn. I think Elizabeth might approve.

Crossposted with Knitting Elizabeth

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Patons: a story of handknitting

Patons: A Story of Handknitting

Name of Book: Patons: A story of Handknitting
Author: Michael Harvey
Any other info: 0862541174, Springwood Books, 1985

Comments: this is a joint history of Patons the company and knitting in general, looking at some histories and trends, particularly as it impacts the company. It was comissioned by the company so it does have a tendency to emphasise the role of Patons in the industry. Now under the umbrella of Coats Crafts (a merger that dates back to 1961 and was formerly Coats Patons Ltd.) which also includes Viyella; Tootal; William Briggs; Rowan and Jaeger; Regia; Gedifra; Prym and Anchor are some of the other titles falling under this umbrella group but much of this later mergers aren't part of this book, as they post-date this book.

The original companies of Baldwin and Patons had been going since the 1770's and built themselves up until they merged. Forming a worldwide group spinning wool and making items from it.

While written by an academic it is dependent on available research so it's short piece about Aran knitting is infected by the Kiewe virus the author also notes that "It is interesting to note that some authentic Aran ganseys have horizontal bands of pattern, but though there are many variations in complexity and stitch arrangement, traditional Aran design has a unique and distinct flavour."p 110

Chapter 11 on knitting around the coastline and traditional knitted garments was an interesting read. The photographs are also interesting.

The postscript also makes for interesting reading. Writing at a time knitting was somewhat on the wane, when there were still people knitting as a way of saving, rather than today where pre-made goods are cheaper than hand-knitting and it's more a hobby than a necessity. In a pre-internet world he talks about using Teletext to transmit patterns and how it's an unexplored territory with potential. He also talks about television and knitting, something that is only really being re-explored in the US. His identification of Women's magazines as a staple of knitting pattern highlighting is no longer as valid as it was though recent flurries in the Letters Pages of the Irish-based Women's Way about the removal of the Knitting pages shows how essential it is to some people.

He also talks about how well entrenched the woolshop had become, something that over the next decade or so waned and how mail order was important, something that the internet also changed greatly.

He also states "Moving on to the social aspect, knitting equipment can be carried in a small bag and knitting can take place anywhere with little inconvenience - knitting is mobile. It is socially acceptable to do almost anywhere in non-formal, and even in some formal, gatherings. People can chat and knit, listen and knit, and travel and knit. Women's organisations give an impetus to knitting. People will knit for charity, blankets for the deprived in developing countries, sponsored 'knit-ins' - the satisfaction in all this is great and at the same time others are being helped." (p144) Sometimes even as things change they stay the same.

He also says "Concerning psychological factors, knitting is said to have a therapeutic effect. It is soothing and can help one relax, assuming the knitter does not select too complicated a set of instructions to follow. Above all there is the need many have to create, and knitting is creative. Choice of design, colour selection, knitting the fabric and the final product are the creation of the knitter, which leads to a great satisfaction being obtained from the completed garment." You only need to look at some projects on Ravelry, or indeed on the Knitting Elizabeth project to see how different people play with the same concept and how most of them produce something with variations, no matter how subtle. The concept that knitting is creative needs more emphasis!

Overall it's an interesting read, a slice of history of knitting in the UK and actually well complimented by No Idle hands which has a deeper look at knitting from a US point of view.

Buy/Borrow: If you're interested in history, read this one, it's available second hand in places, I got the copy I read from Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown libraries, and I have a sneaking suspicion that it's the only copy I could find in Borrowbooks. A slice of the knitting world that's quite interesting but focused on one company/supplier rather than several.

Where found: Dun Laoghaire Rathdown should have got their copy back ages ago from me, I've been bold. It's going back now.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Knitting Guild

While reading Patons a story of Handknitting and being without internet at the moment I came across the fact that St Fiacre or St Fiachra was the patron saint of the Paris Guild of Knitters (though he appears to have been a bit of a mysoginist) and also came across Knitting Neels discussion on the topic and wondered again about it.

Any ideas?

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Oh my darlings, oh my darlings

Oh my darlings Clementine

Purple Clementine front and side

Newly finished socks, only took me a day over 2 weeks (started them the day of the last Fiber Fun Friday - i.e. two weeks ago- and finished them today). I did a good chunk of the work on them during both Fiber Fun Fridays that I attended. I did another chunk of them while role-playing this evening, though there was a fair amount of distraction during combat and some ripping happened.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Betty's Tee

With some changes
Ravelry Link Interweave Knits Link


Taken from Interweave Knits Spring 2010, the Darkest yarn is from Jenners in Edinburgh, the two pink blocks were from a sale in This is Knit and the rest from The Yarn Room.

Base Blocks took all bar 2g of the 1st hank of yarn
Body Blocks took almost a full hank of yarn each (all bar 3.5g each approx.)

I filled in the back using the oats colourway up to the reverse stocking stitch portion on the shoulders k2tog or p2 depending on the patterning each end of the row. I tried a variant that was in an email from Interweave knits but it was too big. I did a rib edging along the neck that was 6 rows long with a mitered centre. I also used the oats colourway for the sleeve and bottom edging. If I was doing it again I would crochet along the edges instead of picking up and knitting one row before casting off.

I like how my variant shows the construction. I wore it to last weeks Fiber Fun Friday(1) and the wonderful Elven too a photo of me. Man my hair is a mess.

(1) can be seen here under Fridays

Friday, 20 August 2010

Podcasts - not all knitting content

All podcasts are divided into several portions.

First are those which have lapsed and are no longer available. Sometimes you get a lot of noise about these but these things happen, for a variety of reasons.

Second are those who are incompatable with my player, I have a Nokia N63 which is what I use, it enables me to subscribe to podcasts which is quite convenient and I can download the episodes using wireless and this is an excellent thing. Can't play on this? Sorry I'm not listening. Associated with this are podcasts that can only be accessed through the apple store, sorry, not going there. I could probably play around with several of these and import them through my computer but life is way too short!

Last are those that can be used with my player. These are the only podcasts I'm going to review. Some I've been able to play one or two episodes of and then nothing more, alas.

These podcasts can be divided into two. Knitting and non-knitting. Why yes, I listen to a few non-knitting podcasts.

They also divide down into podcasts that are under 30 minutes, 30 minutes to 1 hour, and then over 1 hour, this is something I don't see often enough in the information about the podcasts on my screen so I have done a spreadsheet that I've filled an average length in (why yes sometimes I get too organised!) The lengths are a bit random, based on a few episodes and this can vary widely

So now for the list - this was typed up about 3 weeks ago and some have changed since but I just wanted to get this up and done. I plan to do some review of some of the podcasts following an old, new and non-knitting format. For reference Knitting Podcast is quite useful for tracking current podcasts.

Current - Knitting

under 30 minutes

Caithness Craft Collective - 20 minutes
Cloudy with a chance of Fiber - 25 minutes
Here's to ewe - 15 minutes
It's a purl man - 24 minutes
Knit a Journey - 25 minutes
Knit Picks Podcast - 22 minutes
Knit Wit - 15 minutes
Knitters Wading Pool - 25 minutes
Ready Set Knit - 28 minutes
Sidders Knit - 20 minutes
Sweaters for Dragons - 15 minutes

30-59 minutes
Brass Needles
Belle of the Ball - 35 minutes
Cast On
Crafty Lit - 40 minutes
Fiber beat - 30 minutes
Doubleknit - 50 minutes
Electric Sheep - 35 minutes
Knit Cast - 35 minutes
Knit Obsession - 46 minutes
Knit Pod - 40 minutes
Knitting History
Knitting Rose - 35 minutes
Must Stash Yo - 53 minutes
Manic Purl - 35 minutes
Never Not Knitting - 38 minutes
She Knits - 30 minutes
Spin control - 30 minutes
Stash and Burn - 53 minutes
Sticks & Strings - 35 minutes
Savvy Girls - 53 Minutes
Sassy Pants Knitter - 30 minutes
Yarns from the Plain - 35 minutes
Yarnspinners tales - 35 minutes
Yarnthing - 35 minutes
Lixie Knits - 33 minutes

60 plus minutes
Avocado Knits - 60 minutes
Craft Culture - 60 minutes (note this is in stereo)
Crafternoon tea with Granny G - 120 minutes
Craft sanity - 75 minutes
Knit Misadventures - 70 minutes - varies
Stitch It - 73 minutes (appears to be an issue with the page at this time)

Current - Non-Knitting

under 30 minutes
Coopette - 6 minutes (gone on Haitus since July 2010)
A History of the world in 100 objects - 20 minutes
Celiac Disease - 10 minutes
Harmonias Early Music - 5 minutes
History of Rome - note some episodes loaded on my device out of sequence - 16 minutes
Savage Love - 25 minutes

30-59 minutes
Coverville - 50 minutes - music covers
A Way with Words - 50 minutes - words and wordplay
RTE Playback - 45 minutes - Weekly broadcast where get the funniest and most newsworthy, or newsquoted stuff in Ireland are replayed, a good intro to modern Ireland
Slice of Sci-Fi - varies - I don't recommend listening to this where you can't laugh, I often cry with laughter with this show, particularly as I'm a geek, also be aware that it's an adult show and occasionally you won't want kids to listen, unless you want to explain some stuff.

60 plus minutes
Renaissance Festival Podcast - 60 minutes - music heavy
Secret World Chronicle - 72 minutes - one of my favourite authors does a podcast novel
Signal - 60 minutes - Can't Stop the Signal (and if you understand that you'll know what it's about)
Billibub Baddings and the Case of the Singing Sword - a dwarf detective in 1920's US.
Babylon Podcast - you all knew I was a geek, right?
Metamor City Podcast - a series of stories set in a kinda fantasy world with some tech. I like.

Podfaded, loosely defined as over 150 days since the last episode. However there are still episodes available.

under 30 minutes

Justify your Pod - 10 minutes
Bean Knits and Spins
Gives Good Knit - 20 minutes
Just Linda Online - 15 minutes
Knit Science - 24 minutes
Knitting Time together - 25 minutes
Knitting at Night - 20 minutes
Medieval Podcast - only 5 episodes and they're about 15 minutes each
Pixie Purls - 20 minutes
Purl Diving - 11 minutes
Socks in the City - 27 minutes
Stephen Fry's Podgrams - 25 minutes
Stitch Stud - 26 minutes
Whiskers in a twisted stitch - 25 minutes
Y Knit - 27 minutes

30-59 minutes
Brown Eyed Mom - 35 minutes
Crafty Woman - 30 minutes
Film and Fiber - 30 minutes
Knitters Uncensored - 45 minutes
Knitty Noras Knitting Natter - 43 minutes
Miss Flip Knits - 52 minutes
Trueyarns - 32 minutes Geeksguide - 58 minutes - recent but cancellation announced
Tor dot stories - 50 minutes- recent but cancellation announced

60 plus minutes
High Fiber Diet - 70 minutes
Pointy Sticks - 75 minutes
RTE Lyric FM Best of - varies but about 90 minutes
Squeakys Stuff - 60 minutes


Math 4 Knitters has moved to a site I can't use but has a fair number of online episodes
Yarncraft has had a format change and I can't use the new format