Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Talking about cakes......

and seeing that it's tea time.
Check these out.

These are made by Fidelma Larkin of Just Devine Fine Foods which is based in Gort, Co. Galway.
If you're feeling peckish and want to try something new she can be contacted on 087 - 6506683.
The stall was so busy that it took me a wee while to take decent photos. It didn't seem quite polite to elbow customers out of the way in order to get a better angle (the thought never crossed my mind......honest).

Funnily enough, it was after taking these shots that I felt the need to go and have lunch :)

Nappy Cakes

How's that for an unusal title in a craft blog, hmmm?

I kid you not though. I've seen nappy cakes and not the kind made by an overly tired parent deluded into thinking they were together enough to bake while only having snatched 20 minutes of sleep over the course of the night. (I remember what sleep deprivation does, don't think it's not possible).

No, these are "bouquets" chock full of practical goodies for those in the family way.

I must admit, while I noticed them and thought them cute, I did pass the stall by after a somewhat cursory glance. However, my friend was not content to let these creations pass me by in such a manner (or maybe that should be the other way around). I got nigh on hauled back to the stall by my enthusiastic friend (he was actully bouncing by this point. He's about to be an uncle so that's why the mega bouncy enthusiasm. :) ).
I'm glad (if still rather bemused) that he did. The products on offer are dotey.
As their website notes, a lot of hospitals no longer allow flowers on the ward, so these bouquets make a lovely alternative option.

Lisa & Amy of The Nappy Cake Factory

For more information here are the contact details:

Lisa 087 - 6407966 Amy 087 - 9591479

E-mail: thenappycakefactory@eircom.net


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Buying Handmade Gifts

If you're like me, and less like the ever organised Marian, you may love the idea of giving handmade gifts this year, but with the best of intentions find that you can't quite handmake all of them yourself. Or you may find that the craft that you are most comfortable creating gifts with isn't quite what the recipient will be over joyed about. Some ages and stages are notoriously difficult to buy for. I am predominantly a knitter. My daughter can take or leave knitwear at this point. The dramatic layering of fabric though, accompanied by appropriate accessories including belts, bags and jewellery, now that will get her attention. Now while I can sew.....let's just say it would be more effort than the results may be worth, especially at this time of year.

So this is partly why I'm doing this string of posts. When I got to the craft fair a number of people popped into my head in terms of gifts that were just perfect for them. I would quite happily have instantaneously transported a few people there and given them free reign at the stalls knowing that they could chose something that they would be delighted with. I'm one of those folks who has no problem turning up with the cash as long as the recipient has a gift which makes them smile. I don't need the glow that comes from knowing in advance the perfect gift to get. My ego is sound enough to deal with the fact that sometimes I am just CLUELESS. Next year some folks are going to be brought with me and told to go feast their eyes and when I find that they are particularly taken with something then I'll cough up the cash. Sorted.

Now back to my daughter. My delightful Tween (not quite child and not quite teen) knows her own mind. Which is fabulous, apart from the fact that said mind is liable to change faster than a chameleon can change its colour to suit its environment. I'm a fast knitter but not even I can keep up with how her tastes change. So, it was with some relief that I was able to keep the pledge to buy handmade and side step the creating by getting her a rather nifty clutch purse from one of the vendors.

I'm also happy about the fact that I bought Irish and handmade, and in doing so am supporting an artisan who is based in the island of Ireland and who will go on to buy more materials and create more 'Made in Ireland' items. Never mind the doom and gloom about recession and the dozing Celtic Tiger. I'd much rather concentrate on the good I can do with my income. Right now I'm thinking I did good. :)

Bye for now.

Nenagh Christmas Craft Fair Part Two

As promised in my last post we now move on to the bling!

At her stall Anita let me in on the secret that her husband is also a capable jewellery maker and contibuted to the array of pieces on offer (...but ssshhh! it's a secret ;) )

The selection of jewellery available from this crafty pair runs the gamut from pieces to adorn everywhere from your earrings to your wrists and quite possibly even your ankles.

From small and understated pieces

To larger statement pieces

Anita & her husband tending to their customers

As is well known amongst those in the know, we crafters tend to indulge in more than one craft when our time and resources allow (and if they don't we've been know make them). This lovely lady also paints.

Examples of Anita's artwork

As is always the case, the best people to ask about what they do are the artisans and crafters themselves. So here's their business card for you.

What I think is a particularly cool idea is that they can arrange jewellery parties. Just picture it. You could bring that top you know needs accessories and be sure that whatever pieces you get at the jewellery party will suit your needs without any guesswork. Sweet!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Nenagh Christmas Craft Fair Part One

Hey there crafty folks,

What did I get up to over the weekend I hear you say?

Well, Saturday morning saw myself and one of my best mates boarding a bus for Nenagh, Co. Tipperary for a weekend getaway in the Abbey Court Hotel. As I'm known for my crafty inclinations by all who even slightly know me, my work colleagues gave me the head's up that there was a craft fair due to take place in the hotel on Sunday. Locals read about it here.

First thing on our to do list, once we got to Nenagh and after we sated our appetities, was to find the Abbey Court. Happy to wander and see what there was to be seen, we first, of course, went the wrong way. Happily enough a sign let us know that the 'to Dublin' direction of the N7 was tback he way we had come.

:Cue about face:

So on we strolled and another sign assured that we were now indeed travelling in the right direction. Happy days! Next thing I know I'm talking to thin air as my mate had made a beeline across the road to the below pictured Ye Olde Irish Shoppe.

Ye Olde Irish Shoppe

Blogger that I am I of course I took pictures of what had caught his interest.

Ancient Irish Flakes of Corn!

He craned his neck and squinted through the condensation to note that the closing date of the competition referred to on the Cornflakes box was February 1994!

(Well, maybe not ancient exactly, but close enough considering that both of us were about 15 years old at that point).

Vintage Cornflakes circa 1994

And yes, gentle readers, we are both easily amused.

Considering this is a craft blog I shall move swiftly along, once I make another digression and point your attention to the view we were treated to on Sunday morning.

A crisp frosty morning on the Abbey Court grounds

It's one of those views that's even better for the fact that the viewer is ensconced in a lovely warm room.

Now crafts.

Craft nerd that I am, this was actually the highlight of my weekend. Yes, I know, three star hotel, pretty grounds, friendly staff and good food notwithstanding, the craft fair is what had me up and bouncing on that cold and frosty morning.

Now keep in mind that there were around 60 stands at the craft fair and patient as my readers are with my meandering ways, I'm not going to reference all 60 in this post. That said, I really wish I'd budgeted to do my Christmas shopping at the fair because there really was something for everyone represented. From art prints to Fair Trade foods, aromatherapy to wood worked delights, jewellary to Nappy Cakes (yes, that's spelled right, more on those later) and everything in between. If it was Irish and handcrafted, you could find it here. There was also an Eastern European cross stitch and wood work stand but unfortunately (although happily for the fair) the volume of folks milling about made taking pictures & business details challenging at times.

First up I give you baskets.

There were an array of different designs and if I had snapped a sample of each this blog would have to be retitled to Basket Appreciation Head. There was the cutest Moses basket, along with pretty lamps and different sized hampers and sorters. A haven for the new householder looking for a change from plastic containers and mass produced generic.

Patsy Cahill Basketry

Patsy Cahill Basketry

I think the smaller baskets pictured above would look lovely on a kitchen countertop or (in my craft room) to hold craft notions. Patsy is in the process of getting a web page together. Until then he can be contacted on patsycahill@eircom.net .

My next post will be about Hand Crafted Jewellery.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Today I remember.....

That it's World AIDS Day.

I remember with love and affection the lovely man who was the first person I met through Rainbow Support Services.

I remember his smile and kind patience as I enthusiastically bounced around the project. So happy to finally be able to access a safe space.

I remember when he told me he wasn't feeling well and to ignore his crankiness and that it was nothing that I had said or done.

I found this here.
Thank you "Knit Happens"

I remember when he told me that he had AIDS and that he'd lived longer than he'd expected to.

I remember crying at a house party months after he had passed away.

I'm crying now because I still miss him.

I remember being questioned in a work interview about why I wear a red ribbon......in this day and age and whether I was able to keep my views to myself.

My oft washed Red Ribbon

I remember being asked what the red ribbon is for....and explaining.

If you don't know what the red ribbon symbolises and if you have questions relating to any aspect of sexual health, or have a friend you want to support or require support yourself then this is the place to go to.

Red Ribbon Project
Redwood House,
9 Cecil Street,

Opening Hours
Monday to Friday
9.30am to 5.00pm,
9.30am to 7.00pm

They also have a Bebo page.

This is still a current issue.

Check your facts and figures and remain in the loop by checking out the official:

Saturday, November 29, 2008

It's not often I admit this......

...but I GIVE UP!

I've sewn and resewn the seams on the Paris top and to no avail. I'm just not happy with my best. It's just not good enough. So.......

I give up.
Paris Stitch Yarn
This has knit up into an adorably soft fabric

So, come Monday I am going to drop by the Singer Sewing Store and (beg) ask Triona if she could pretty please sew up the garment. I'll not be surprised if she does in 5 minutes what has completely taxed my ability.

Isn't the sheer diversity of human ability just fantastic?


Anyhow, today saw the first meeting of Rainbow S'n'B since the move to the attic.

My goodness but it was toasty up there! It was really lovely to be greeted by a waft of warm air after coming in from a frosty day. There were only two of us today but we had a lot to catch up on as we hadn't been in the same space together for too long. The lovely Marian is being good to her pledge to give handmade gifts this Christmas and brought a knitted eyelash scarf to work on today. I brought my no-brainer slipover vest to work on. It's one of those knits you can have an indepth conversation over and still not go astray (which is another way of saying it's about as riveting as watching paint dry on a wet day).

Of course, I also brought not only my own blond bombshell daughter but also her friend Shauna who is my honourary daughter for the weekend. They were good albeit raucous company. Let's just say it wasn't a sedate S'n'B. Topics for conversation ranged from my, by now well documented, inability to sew a seam to Miley Cyrus's career. Divergent conversations indeed. Oh the joys! Heh heh

One of the topics of conversations was Marian's photo shoot this morning (she didn't tell me it was a secret so :shrugs: ). The photographer was Press 22's lovely and talented Emma Jervis whom I have mentioned previously in my Limerick Drag Kings blog. she is responsible for this lovely photo of Evan Kennedy's piece "Red Queen" which also features my own blond bombshell.

Of course, I only know this because Marian spotted a picture of the same talented lady giving my young show off a cuddle. Small ole world heh?

Where was I?.........Oh yes....Marian's photo shoot and the reason for same.

She's gonna be in the paper!


Watch out for an article on the recession (I know, oh such a joyful topic) which focuses on the effects it is having on how people plan for Christmas this year.

Now if only I could remember which paper it'll be in........hmmmm.

(I WAS listening......honest!).

I had said in a previous post that my current easy (in this post, referred to as riveting as watching paint dry) knit has left me with a hankering to tackle my other works in progress and to bring them to completion.

These include the following:

Alternative Baby Blanket

My only excuse is that crochet is not my main craft and sometimes it can take me a while to sit and concentrate on crochet. Marian and I are pretty much polar opposites in this regard. crochet is her baby and knitting takes effort. Methinks I shall have to bring the blanket as my S'n'B project and together Marian and I can support each other through working on our less intuitive craft. Heh heh.

Meg's top

I won't lie, it's not remotely in progress at the moment. I'll need to sit down with this and use my noodle to figure out where I went wrong. At least, I think I went wrong somewhere with it........Hmmm. At any rate, the increases confused the heck out of my Aries noodle. That's the drawback of being a public knitter becoming vexed on the bus doesn't leave one with many options. Plus, commuter knitting is best when it's straightforward. So, when I hit a snag, I tend to favour bringing a niggle free knit with me next time.....and the next time........and the next time. So the poor project, including this one, gets left in the 'I'll tend to you later pile'. Of course, as we all know only too well, in craft as in life, later can sometimes be a LONG time in coming. It's a pity too, as this is a lovely yarn and has created a gorgeous fabric. Poor Megs has had a LONG wait for her top.

Scarf In Progress

The above scarf will once more be progressing, rather than languishing, once I can get my yarn coveting hands on another ball of the requisite yarn. Alas, the last time I was in Lena's they still didn't have any more of it in and the young lady was rather vague about when they will actually have any more in.

:le sigh:

I've not given up on these projects. They will get done.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I'm doing my best


As per a previous post I'm trying to get a handle on my yet to be finished and oh so patiently waiting projects-in-progress.

One of these is is pictured above. It's at the stage where I can now mirror how the original was shot for the magazine. Scroll on back along the posts and you can find the picture if you are so inclined. Anyhow.....my stumbling block is my perfectionism, a topic I've touched on before. It should really be plain sailing at this point. Simply sew the thing up. However, I can't get the seams to look neat. I may well bring it into the Singer Sewing Store and see if the lovely Triona could sew it up for me. Yes, I may well do that. My best, in this case, isn't good enough for my liking. Especially as it's a gift for a friend.

Close up of the side seam
(Which...erm...doesn't appear so bad in this shot)

My current project

This is made from Hayfield Bonus DK Extra Value 100g which is both machine washable and tumble dryable. Eminently practical. It's from a range of yarn I've used before, but this lot seems softer somehow and seems to have a denser quality to the fabric. And before you ask, um, no, I've not done a tension square. Yes, I know, bold crafter. It seems okay though and I'm willing to trust it to the fates (at least for this item which is something that I can measure against myself and other garments that fit me well).

Without flash
With Flash
(This shot is more representative of actual garment colour)

Have I mentioned before that I wanted to be a National Geographic photographer?


Well, I did.

The photos on this blog are, for the most part, snaps.

I will endeavour to raise the forethought put into my posts but for now, twill do.

Happy crafting folks.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

My knitting fans

Binks on the left and Princess on the right.

All tuckered out after a morning of exploring, wrestling, toy playing, falling off the couch, falling into their water bowl, climbing up my pants legs and introducing themselves to my yarn.

Binks enjoying my work in progress

Binks seeing things from my perspective

Princess, rather mesmerised by what I get up to with yarn and a darning needle

Binks is my lil fella and Princess is my blonde bombshells little ball of diva fur. Don't be deceived by the apparent serenity of this moggy in the above photo. She barely let her brother chow down from the same bowl and is well able to give him what for.

She and her owner met for the first time this evening. I've had time to get used to them since yesterday. Poor Megs and Princess have already ticked each other off and Megs bears the scratches to prove it. ]

Od dear.

As I type this Binks is exploring my desk and decided that a line of 5's blon63g.
Ahem...let's try that again now Binks is on my shoulder and off my keyboard.

Heh heh.

Right, now that the kits have been introduced I'm off to comfort my poor deflated daughter.

My next post will have less feline and more yarn.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Off yarny topic

Inspired by Joe.My.God I went to Typealyzer to check out my personality via my blog.

The following is the result.

Interesting methinks.

ESTP - The Doers
The active and play-ful type. They are especially attuned to people and things around them and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical out-door activities.

The Doers are happiest with action-filled work which craves their full attention and focus. They might be very impulsive and more keen on starting something new than following it through. They might have a problem with sitting still or remaining inactive for any period of time.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Progress :)

Man's Vee Neck Tank

Woohoo! I finally found a guys vest top that I like. It's the one pictured above and is one of a bunch of straight forward designs to be found in sirdar's "Simple Easy Knits" book.

Sirdar - Simple Easy Knits

I got this pattern in Lena's and figured that I'd skip the detail work and just use the sizings to cast on the appropriate amount of stitches. Then I had a look see in Singer Sewing Centre which is where Triona, the store assistant, brought my attention to the Sirdar book and the vest tank in that. I may well knit up the more detailed tank at a later date. It's got a lot of ease built in though. The size for a 38-40 inch chest gives an actual size of 44.5 inches and that could be a tad on the loose side for me.

Anyhow, I've cast on for the front and back of the Sirdar vest and hopefully it should be a nicely relaxing knit which will produce a wardrobe stable. It's all good.

Paton's PB N0000-02822

I plan to finish off my poor languishing UFO's as well whenever the straight forward simplicity of the vest pattern leaves me wanting more of a challenge.

My first piece of colourwork :squeeeee:
Issue No. 93 - Large Fair Isle Snowflake

I'm so glad I finally tackled colourwork. It worked out pretty well dontcha reckon? it just needs to be blocked. In future I'll remember to twist the two colours together if it's to be carried more than three stitches between swapping colours. I didn't do that this time and as a result the back is a tad messy. Still, from the front it looks grand and there aren't any gaps between the colours. Yay!

I've also completed the garter stitch square from Issue 96 of the Art of Knitting for the Shaker Style Throw. It's garter stitch so unlike some of it's jazzier cousins it's not getting the glory of a photo.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Another Square Down.....or three...

Eyelet Striped Square - Issue 75

Chevron Rib Lace Pattern - Issue 92

Basketweave Square - Issue No. 89

And seemingly zillions to go.......

I've done at least one square which will ultimately be part of the second throw in the series. I'm currently keeping the most recent squares in the respective issues in binder. Obviously, over time this is going to have to be revised, but, for the moment, twill do the job.

Another thing that'll need tackling is getting the oodles of issues which I've managed to miss. I am hoping that they can still be back ordered. :fingers crossed:

I've found that the Eyelet Striped Square and the Chevron Rib Lace Pattern took more attention than I'm used to giving my knitting. This gave no small amount of amusement to onlooking friends and some folks trying to talk to me found that I was talking (mildly cursing) to my knitting! Heh heh. I've been forgiven I think.

I think people get the idea that I'm patient from the fact that most of my knitting projects involve vast swatches of repetitive pattern which I find both lulling and easy to speed through. It also doesn't diminish my ability to listen and my yarn remains innocent of certain choice adjectives. Methinks tis high time, now that I have a comfy, cosy space to knit in peace at home, that I need to have some home-based projects which require more focused attention from me to complement those more portable projects that I mainly favour.

I'm too tired at the moment to vent my full ire on the topic of not finding a pattern straightforward slipover vest for men. Believe me though, there is ire. I think it is going to be the motivator for finally utilising Debbie Abraham's "Design Your Own Knits" book. There's a slipover design lesson in it, but it requires the foundation of the predating pages in order to be doable. I think designing my simple vest top will be my focus required project and I'll find something else for my portable knitting fix.

...oh....and then there are the handful of Unfinished Projects that I've yet to get around to.

Um...I may well be focused on finishing for the next wee while it would seem.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Retail Therapy

I had a headache and felt yucky so when feeling down.......hit the yarn store!


100g Hayfield bonus DK Extra Value €2.60
Colourway 013 SH964 Dye Lot 90181

I like the colour. Normally, as is my fiery Aries nature, I tend to go for, well, colourful colours. Shades that zing and make the viewer go, "oh cool!" Thing is, you can only wear a signature colour piece so many times before it becomes 'that' top. Plus, impactful colours limit what can be worn with them (unless you're into and have the confidence for crazy colour clashing). So, I plan on knitting up a few wardrobe stables for myself in colours that I can mix with almost anything. This particular colourway is most likely gonna become a vest top. However, as always with these things, I am open to influence and shall have to see.

The very lovely store assistant, Triona, iof the Singer Sewing Centre, kindly stashed all 9 balls of this colourway for me while I make up my mind as to how much I'll actually require. While they're strictly speaking only meant to keep stock aside for one week, she'll keep it for me for two.

Cool heh?

Singer's rocks. :)

My art of knitting shaker style throw is also progressing, as below.

The Art of Knitting Issue 70

Stocking Stitch with Vertical Cables Square

That's all for now folks. I've still got a headache and am waiting for the paracetamol to kick in.

Happy crafting.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Productive insomnia

While I'm not quite suffering from insomnia I am still dealing the with effects wrought on my sleeping pattterns by quite a long lie-in on Sunday. I blame it on new bed. Sooo comfy in comparision to prior sleeping arrangement. Seldom have the terms Medium Orthopaedic Mattress ever cultivated such a deep state of relaxation in a person of my age. Bliss.


Except for now being wide awake past my usual hitting the hay time......I'm putting this wide awake state to good use by watching The Mighty Boosh....well, more accurately by knitting up the squares for the Art of Knitting throw, while Boosh plays in the background. The two activities mesh quite well as it happens.

Issue No. 68

Woven Pattern Square worked in Indigo yarn which gives a basketweave effect

While I do enjoy being productive, I'd much rather that it was alertly at work, rather than alertly at home knitting.

...well until alertly knitting can be transposed to my own yarn store that is :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Retail Therapy

Attempt No. 1

Attempt No. 2

The vageries of indoor photography and accurate colour representation. Sheesh!

In my humble opinion the second photo down better captures the colour intensity. Which of course means I chose the wrong one to upload to Flickr and shall have to do it over again :face palm:

My blond bombshell enquired none too subtly yesterday what I might like for Christmas this year. I have an answer now.....

A Pro Flickr account!!! :)

I am truly sick of seeing my Ravelry stash photos state that they are no longer currently available. Who knew 200 free digital photos wouldn't be enough to show all my yarn adventures????

Monday, November 10, 2008

More photos

Textured Square with Rope Cables from Issue 72 of The Art of Knitting Series

Detail of the Rainbow scarf I knit up from a Ravelry pattern.
Rainbow Pride Scarf by Debbie Spranza
Published as a free Ravelry download
Here's the link for those of you with Ravelry membership

Artistically draped on my new mirror

My variegated 2 skein scarf