Saturday, March 25, 2017

Shirley :D

My friend Shirley came over on holiday this week :) We hadn't seen each other since the last time she came over (two years this September) as the last couple of times we've gone to the UK we've been stretched time-wise.

So it's easier for her to come and visit us! She flew into Kerry airport - our local one - so it was only just over an hour til she was down here with us.

 As you can see, we did some bits and pieces of sight-seeing -- there is just SO much to see and do here, especially when the weather cooperates. We had some really glorious days - at least one wet one too but we just sat on the sofa and knitted/crocheted and chatted away happily. I love it when you feel that comfortable with someone that you don't have to be 'doing' stuff all the time to be happy with them.

 One of the places we did go to was Ballycarberry Castle, just outside Cahirciveen (we call it 'over the water' to be specific as you have to drive over a long bridge to get there.

I hadn't been there in years and years and years - definitely not since I moved back home (over ten years ago) - I must go back again, Peter would love it too.  It's well sign posted nowadays and gets a few tourists but it wasn't exactly busy when we went and we were able to go climbing and exploring.

After that we carried on down the road to Cahergal fort for a quick visit! It was a pretty windy day but the sun was shining and it was great to get some fresh air.

 Then later that afternoon I'd a text from a friend to say that she'd found a whale and a dolphin while she was walking on the beaches over the water - so we had our second trip there in the same day..

Apologies for the pretty sad (and graphic) photo but this is my first ever dead Risso's dolphin. I'd seen a pod of them once years and years ago when we were on the way to the Skelligs but this was the closest I've ever been to one.

 Following on from that, I thought I'd take us home the scenic route, only to get us lost up a little bothrín - I thought I'd seen a ruined church in the distance so I kept going - but it turns out that it was a 'peat works' back in the 1850s
 I never even knew that such a thing existed back then, let alone there be one locally.
You can see below how stunning it is there - I'm hoping to go back some time in the warm weather (on a not so windy day) now that I know where it is, and to go exploring! 

 Shirley went back home to Stroud yesterday but her flight wasn't until the afternoon, so we went for a walk along Rinnrua beach in the morning -- yes, it was yet another perfect day.

Over a couple of days I taught Shirley how to crochet! She already had a good grasp of the basics really, just needed help with finding the best way to hold the hook and the yarn so that she could do it comfortably and get a reasonable tension.

This is her finished pair of wrist warmers....I'm so pleased with how they turned out and I'm sure they won't be the last pair that she ever makes..

 On the way to the airport we went my most favourite route - taking the Bealach Óisín rather than the well-travelled Ring of Kerry. It does take you away from the sea, but the view is still amazing and there is so little traffic that it's a lovely drive.

 This is what's been keeping me busy just lately - the hat is one of the ones for the male artists at Barbara Lively's artists' retreat this year. I really do like the colour - it's always easier working in a colour that you like yourself. 

I need to double check with her but I think she said she wants six hats for the men and six headbands for the women, that may change between now and June though.

So far I've just made three of the hats and have started on the fourth one...I think I'll get all the hats made and then decide on a pattern for the headbands - maybe ribbed ones, as they are good and stretchy...

I like to make an early start on them so that I'm not having to do a last minute rush, so I should have them all made and ready in plenty of time. 

 In between making hats I've been making wrist warmers, to try and pad out my Etsy shop a bit more -- I've still got less than 90 listings; 100 is meant to be the 'magic' number and I've found in the past that the more items I've got listed the more likely things are to sell.

I also need to start planning ahead for the summer and for having some stock in Lucy's Sea Synergy Centre (and gift shop) in the village...

Friday, March 17, 2017

Knitty City - Wool Shopping in New York City

Wow, well I thought 'Woolyn' over on Brooklyn was amazing but nothing could have prepared me for the wonder that is 'Knitty City' in Manhattan! 

This wool shop is right near the Museum of Natural History and Central Park, and we'd intended to go there on our second day in New York - well, we went to the museum first but were so overwhelmed and tired by it all that I totally forgot about the wool shop -- yes this is how good the museum was.

So 'Knitty City' had slipped down the list til the next time we would be near Central Park but I was determined not to forget it a second time: we were very fortunate that we were staying in New York for twelve days so we had plenty of time to see what we had wanted to without TOO much rushing around all the time (we still managed to clock up over 11miles of walking some days though!)

 So this is Knitty City! The shop is bigger than Woolyn is and of the two I think I'd want to go back to Knitty City - the staff were SO helpful but at the same time were happy to leave you wander round (like I did!) without breathing down your neck.

Peter is intently listening in to the shop assistant teaching a lady about tension and how to figure out the right size needles for her project! I wish that big mound of yarn on the table was mine but that's mine in the bag on the chair next to P :) 

While Peter sat happily at the table I wandered round, trying to take it all in - and wishing that I'd won the lottery so that I could buy it all...sigh...

I think sock yarn is one of my favourites - especially in self-striping colours - I love using it for the crocodile stitch wrist warmers....

They just had SO much choice!

These were super soft and almost edible...

I fell in love with this one...but it was over $60 for 80g and I just couldn't afford it so I gave it a little cuddle and set it back on the shelf. I'm sure I heard Peter sigh with relief!

They had just about every colour that you could imagine but I am always drawn to the blues, sea greens and these lovely inky purples...

I hadn't known this but they were heavily involved in making the 'pussy hat's for the women's march!

...and look they even have Icelandic wool! I didn't buy any as I still haven't used the same ones that I bought in the wool shop in Reykjavik last year...I will get round to it!

They gave me this great big re-usable shopping bag for my purchases and a discount on what I'd bought - which I really appreciated!  :)

 So this is what I chose from Knitty City - like I said I could have easily bought just about the whole shop. I'll take better photos as I work my way through them...but these will all be hats and wrist warmers I think.

Bits and Pieces

 I bought two packs of blank greetings cards when we were in New York - and also these cute stickers - I'm a sucker for pretty stationery. The shops we went to were much could easily spend €€€€ in them...shortly I'll write up about my second wool-shopping experience but I wanted to post these photos first.

This is my order for Jaye, my lovely customer (& friend) in England - five matching hats (all made in Rowan's superfine merino dk) and then also two cotton shower mitts and a pair of crocodile stitch wrist warmers. :) 

I brought over some wool and my hooks to America but I didn't get much crochet done at all - just the flowers for Jaye's hat order and a tiny part of these wrist warmers (above) -- we were either on the go so much or else I was too tired to crochet! I had brought along my felt-tip pens and a colouring book that my sister had given me for Christmas, so that kept me occupied on the plane (when it wasn't bumpy!) and in the hotel in the evenings.

Right now I'm working my way through some of my more fine yarns - these two pairs are made in Schoppel's 'Zauberball 100' which is 100% merino wool and is a sock yarn.

I'm half way through a pair in shades of blues and purples too (sneak peek photo!)

 and then after that I've got a green yarn lined up, it's also Schoppel's 'Zauberball' but this one is 75% merino and 25% nylon.

 I quite often go through 'phases' of using similar yarns or making the same items over and over (e.g. how I was just making hats last month) - I think you get used to the feel of the same size hook -- it always kinds of disorientates me when I switch from using, say, a 3mm hook on a pair of wrist warmers, to then using a 6mm hook for a hat.

Barbara the artist has very kindly commissioned me to make the hats for her annual artists' retreat again - so I've ordered a great big 2kg of Studio Donegal's aran tweed wool from Springwools.

This is the colour she's selected for this year - it's rather unimaginatively called 'black/grey/beige' but it's gorgeous. I really love the depth of colour that they put in their aran wool through the little tweedy flecks.

The artists' retreat isn't til the middle of June so I have plenty of time yet - I've got to wind out the wool from the cone first. At the moment the order is for 7 hats for the male artists and 6 flower headbands for the female artists...I'm looking forward to doing the headbands, it'll be a nice change and I always like making crochet flowers :)

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Wool Shopping!

Apologies for not keeping my blog updated in a while - it's already nearly half-way through March and this is my first post in a few weeks.

We're just back from our holiday in New York! Peter turned 60 in December and the trip to New York was his big birthday present!

We were there for twelve days and just got back on Wednesday: I'm experiencing jet lag for the first time and I don't like it, but it was worth it for the wonderful holiday that we both had.

I'm in the middle of sifting through the 2100+ photos that I took while we were here, but I thought I'd start off with 'wool shopping in New York'

One afternoon we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and went exploring in Brooklyn -- we went to a very expensive antique/flea market held in an old bank, then a wonderful graveyard (I love old graveyards) and then finally a wool shop!

Woolyn was one of the two wool shops that were on my 'list' for New York- isn't their window display gorgeous? It was for Valentine's day but I loved the rainbow colours :)

The interior was equally colourful...

You really need to click on the photos individually to see the colours properly...I was in heaven!

They mostly sold independently produced luxury yarns - many hand-dyed. I could easily have spend hundreds and hundreds there.

These are the yarns that I bought from there; the shop assistant kindly gave me a discount so all this 'only' came to $184 (if you say it quickly it's less painful!) - like I said, I could so easily have spent ten times this!