Thursday, August 31, 2006

It Is Finished!!

So many things have come to a finish today. I love a list, most of the time. It also can make me nervous looking at all the tasks. I usually get great satisfaction from checking off the items and giving a good sigh.

First off the list is the Aqua Blue Cheviot Fleece.
I ended up with 9 - 100ish gram balls and 1 in a darker shade that I will use for edging. I noticed darker bits and put them together to form a large bat of darker colour. It's a little course, but I rinsed it in hair conditioner and it softened it up quite a bit. Now to choose the right pattern. Not to fadish, not to granny, something cool that will last a few seasons or more. AHHH!

Second would be the Prison Workshops. They ended with a bang (not gunfire), but had a good turnout and the ladies seemed to enjoy it. They had a completion ceremony and display of all the things that had been done over the summer. Nice to seem them so proud of creating beautiful things. I really enjoyed it more than I thought I would. AHHH!

Third is SUMMER. It officially ends for my children today. Tomorrow at 8:00 we begin the year long walk to school every morning. They are excited to catch up with their friends, meet new teachers and start new after school activities. We'll have to wait on how happy they are to see homework.

Fourth are the mittens. (no photo) Both have a matching set now.

And although the list is getting smaller by four, it does continue on the other side of the paper. I am choosing to ignore that bit for now. One check at a time for now

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Winter is upon us in Ireland. Well not winter, but it's in the 50's and 60's. The days are getting shorter and the feel is in the air. I love the autumn.
My hands and feet are always cold. I love mittens, gloves, hats and scarves. Really anything that will keep me warm. I saw the Target Wave Mittens in the most recent Interweave, so I got started. They are for children, but the large size fits me. Just adjusted the length a bit before the decrease and added a few rows to the thumb. Really easy and fast. Started the blue/brown and finished within a couple hours, making changes as I went. The other took less time as I knew what to do. Now I have a non-matching set. Will continue to work on the other identical set. Really fun. Not sure how many pairs of mittens I will have this year. Hate to think of it.

Spinning Llama

I got this fibre when I was back in the US in May. I had never spun much but wool, so it took a bit of practice. Slick stuff. Shifts easy. I really love the way it turned out though. Darker brown twists with the white llama. It is beautifully soft. Can't wait to knit something with this.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Making Felted Soap

After a couple requests for directions, I though I'd do one up. The first is for 1 bar at a time. Great for gifts with the holidays coming and it simple for kids to do.

Basic Materials - Few ounces of Fibre, Ziplock bag, knee high stocking and a bar of soap.

Moisten the bar with water. Wrap bar of soap in fibre as tightly as possible. Don't exert yourself. Spritz with water as you go. Helps the fibre hold on to the soap better.

Insert covered bar into stocking and tie loose knot. You can reuse (not rewear) the socks for another bar.

Put soap and sock into Ziplock and put a few inches of warm water in. Enough to mostly cover the soap. Squeeze out as much air as you can from the bag. Rub between your hands for 10-15 minutes. To much and it will felt to the sock. Yikes!
Untie the sock, rub any areas that appear loose and rinse the bar, squeezing out excess water. There you go. Felted Soap.

Multiple soaps - Must have top loading clothes washer. Cut leg off of a pair of panty hose. Do the same process with wrapping the fibre. Place one bar in, tie, place the next one in, tie and so one. You can get 6-10 soaps per leg. It will look like an Genetically Modified Sausage!
Place on Delicate cycle, HOT water wash and COLD rinse. Put in with a towel or pair of jeans. You may need to rerun cycle depending on the feel of the fibre. To loose, run it again.
Happy Felting

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Soap, coin purses and so on

Well tomorrow will be the 3rd of 4 Felting Workshops that I'm helping with. The Feltmaker's Ireland have for the past 2 years been doing workshops in the summer for the Women's Prison in Dublin. It's a low security place that helps the ladies to sort out issues and gives them another chance. They have great summer programs and courses for them to participate in.

This is one of the projects we've done. When I was back in the US in May, I went to a Fiber Show with my mother. We found these great soaps. I bought one for myself. Then I found kits for the same price $4.00. Really cute. Really easy. So my mom has become the soap making machine. Queen on the Kool Aid. We made dozens. I showed the ladies at the Guild and they thought it would be a great project for the prison. Compact, contained, easy and they could take it with them that day.
So we're making felted soaps every week. It's a great beginner project with quick results. Looks cool too! We've moved on to small coin purses, mobile (cell) phone bags, wall hangings and coasters. I really enjoy the ladies that have come for the course and those that volunteer with me each week.


Can you be to tired to blog? I think so. I've been busy. Not on completing anything wooly and nice, but getting ready for school to start, having guests over (which I enjoy, but the house, the food, the bathroom), baking pies, spinning the aqua, washing and hanging yarn, washing more fleece. Oh yeah, sleepovers. Just the thought of that makes me know I'll be tired.
I feel the need to have the fleece washed before we get into those days when you think the sun is coming up, but, no it's going down. 7 or 8 hours of light (subjective) is all you get. Damp, grey, misty, cold kind of light. So, if there may be sun or not pouring rain, I wash and hope for a breeze to dry.

This is the Jacobs fleece that I got from my friend Sara. Can't wait to card it, spin it and then dye it. I like the heathered bits that
appear from time to time in the fleece. I think it will look good provided I choose the right colour to overdye it.

I think a mental nap is in order. Stop making lists in my head at night. Listless Sleep. AAAHHH!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Mama Mia

Pepperoni, Mushroom or Cheese. What's your pleasure? Mine is knitted food at the moment. This to will pass, like indigestion. All in preparation for the Electric Picnic. It's a massive concert. Think Woodstockish with hundreds lesser known bands playing for 3 days straight. Tents, Campers, Caravans, blankets... You name it, it will be there.
Sharon has been invited to organize the Knitted Picnic to be at the Electric Picnic. Bit of a display of what can be done with more time than you know what to do with. We're also putting together a knitted picnic blanket done by knitters in Ireland to be donated or auctioned off for charity. See more at
All for a good cause and a bit of fun. Some of the girls will be hanging out knitting and teaching anyone who's interested or just needs a break, to knit. I won't be able to make it. I'm doing a spinning demo at the Decorative Arts Museum on Sunday and have a Guild meeting Saturday, but the pizza will be there enjoying the day.

Crocs that Roc

Yesterday I got a box, and in that box were crocs, to wear with my hand knit socks. I know, a bit of Dr. Seuss is always good. Anyway, the box is from my mom with lots of goodies including a pair of crocs. Lighter than air, water proof aside from the holes and as comfy as your slippers. I'd been admiring my mom's and she went off and bought me a pair. The true test. Could I walk into City Centre without pain or blisters??? YES!! It was even raining, so the water thing is also true. Thanks a million mom!!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Brown and Red

I love Strawberries. Now I love Wexford strawberries! We used to go berry picking in Indiana in May at The Picken' Patch. Pick one, eat 5, pick one, eat 5 more. Yum!! Autumn was Blueberry season, Summer was Corn season. You name it, you could pick it. We spent a lot of time blanching, freezing, canning and making jam for the off seasons to come. I still love the idea of that, but don't have the space or I would.
Saturday, Sara, Isobel, Sharron, Chery and I got together for a bit of Social Knitting and Chewing. All the girls decided to take pics of the Brownies and Strawberries (hence the name Brown and Red) and post them on their blogs. Since I wasn't eating the Brown (not a big Chocolate fan) I just had Red and not many at that. So I tried to sneak in a shot of someone elses plate and was BLOCKED from the shot! I was never good at basketball either. Did get a good one of her hand. Don't you think?

Hey! We got Fleece

I'll start from the short beginning. Mid May I was back in the US for a short visit. Went to an amazing fibre show. Small, but quality. Bought some felted soap. Wanted to make some while home. Put the call or email out to the local Fibre Arts Guild for anyone with wool in the area to email me. Got an email. Well several. Lovely people. But Lisa, whom I had met years ago under very different circumstances emailed me and lives close to Mom and Dad. She's a shearer, breeder, farmer... What a woman. Anyway, was up to her farm several times and got to talking about Irish fleece. Galway to be specific. I told her I'd look into it for her. Shouldn't be tough. HA!!! Three months later, still no fleece. I've tried everything to get a Galway fleece. As I spread the word that I was looking for some, the interest grew. "I'd like one too, if you find some" OK.
Well 2 days before we left for our holiday in Galway, I found a wool merchant. In Wicklow no less. Not far from Dublin. "I'll be down as soon as I get back. Oh, do you have Galway fleece?" Yes he does. Great! Finally! Amazing!!
Cheryl and I piled into the car and drove over the mountains as it was closer to go that way from her temporary residence. Unsure of where it was, we followed the map for a while, then went by instinct. On the way I discovered I forgot the camera. Cheryl said she had one in her bag. We made it. No cameras!! Photos are off her phone. Pretty good huh??

These are the boys loading fleece into a baler. Yes, the hay type. Most of the wool goes into insulation and anti-squeak mats for under wooden floors. I have never seen so much wool in my life. They seemed a bit surprised that I wanted them for spinning. Getting yarn the hard way. This is Christy pulling out the best Galway fleeces he could find.
The smell of one fleece in the tub is one thing, but thousands and thousands of fleeces is well..... Strong!! I guess you get used to it.

I finally have Galway fleece. 14 Kilos or 30.8 lbs of fleece for about $50.00 One for Lisa, one for Juliet, and two for me (1 Galway, 1 Superfine blend) Superfine is washed and dried and the Galway for Lisa is half on the drying racks and half in the tub. Can't send fleece back to US in it's current state. Doesn't pass Agriculture rules.

Oh yeah. Also came home with 2 Jacob fleeces from Sara
They're the black and white ones.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Works in Progress and a completion

Well the seed stitch/moss stitch scarf if done for Kole. Didn't start out for him, but he's the new owner. It seems to be cold enough for a scarf the last 2 days. We built a fire in the fireplace tonight. Mid August!! It's just not right.
Next is the sock from the self-striping sock yarn. I'm washing a sample to see how much it will shrink before I get to far. I really like the Twisted Sisters Sock Book. Really good.

The piece for the Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Exibit is nearly done. I don't like the natural dye colours that everyone had to use, but it's almost done. Not overly inspiring. That's it for the moment. Frogged the Sage Green Mohair cardigan that I was working on. I've spent to many hours knitting and frogging that yarn. It will find a new home somewhere else.

Into the Garden

The estate comes with a huge walled garden. 12-15 feet high, stone walls with several entrances in. Fruit trees, a shell of a greenhouse from years gone by, vegetable plants, and lovely little pathways throughout. This is the side gate in from the road up to the house.

Artichokes and loganberries fresh every day.

Big hedges, old glass greenhouses, fruit trees and secret pathways. The kids loved it. Who wouldn't.

We had a bonfire one night with all the collected wood and burnables. The flames were at least 15 feet high. It was to hot to get close to for toasting marshmellows, but we were patient.
Batteries died out, so not fire pics, but we got the start up.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Pieces of a Dream

Well something happened and I'm not sure what, but some of the pictures were able to be published thanks to Cheryl

This is our lovely hostess Juliet. She invited us up to Donegal in exchange for some help with a couple of knitting pattern projects for a Master Spinners degree in the UK. Ok, no problem. I had no idea what was in store when she said it was a bit rustic. Hmmm?? This is Trabinia the horse that comes and goes with her from Dublin. Juliet is an expert rider and jumper. Olympics and everything!

This is the main house. Four large bedrooms, six bathrooms, elevator, grand staircase, two wine cellars, amazing kitchen..... I could go on, but on to the next part.

House 2 and 3. The converted carriage house. Two identical residence with the community great room over the large blue doors. Sleeps 6 on each side and has a large granite fireplace in the center room. We stayed here.

House 4 is the Annex. It's separate from the main house and has this lovely glass room that looks out on both front and back gardens. You also have an ocean view from the glass room.


The Gate House is just in side the property. It sleeps 4-6. Didn't get to peak inside that one. The drive hides the main house until you come around a curve and there it is. This is not my idea of rustic. Did I mention there is a Dance Hall. You go along a little path and up some well grown over stairs. You must have the huge old skeleton key to open the door. This room in it's day was I'm sure amazing. It all was. You can imagine, with a little TLC, what the possibilities could be. End of part one.

Error on Page

Error on Page. That's what it says every time I go to post a picture. Ok, after 4 days of being unable to post pictures of our holiday I might as well let you know we're back. After 6 loads of laundry, I know we're back. I'm still trying to figure out the problem, but until then I won't bore you with the details. Thanks for tuning in...