Monthly Archives: May 2011

Turning my back on Sin

So yes I have been bitten by the lace bug. While Holden is still blocking I decided to cast on for another shawl. On my list to do in the next while are Milkweed, Travelling Woman Shawl & Centrique. After a chat with some of the Twitter knitterati, I decided Carol Feller’s beautiful Centrique should be next. I’m taking part in a June Clapotis knit-a-long so thought I’d sneak Centrique in first.

Next decision was what yarn to use. I had a few different colourways in Malabrigo Sock to consider but the beauty of my skein of Hedgehog Fibres Sock in “Sin” was hard to resist. Very aptly named so.


Even on the swift it looked positively sinful


I love the pattern & love the yarn but they just didn’t seem to gel. I didn’t feel the love for my new project. After humming & hawing and knitting the first few rows….


…I bit the bullet & frogged. No point wasting days of knitting when my gut reaction is “Meh!”.

So on to the next skein. Malabrigo Sock in Persia has stepped up to the mark & I’m hoping that this relationship lasts a little longer than my last.


So, yes, I have turned my back on Sin (Sr. Máire, my old Dominican school Principal, would be so proud of me) but only briefly. I can see that gorgeous Sin on my feet in the near future.


Welding meets Lace

I was fascinated with Rubysasha’s blocking wires & MacGyver (aka my long-suffering husband) was very impressed with the lace pattern when he saw it blocked. Prior to this, my knitting prowess & “show & tell” moments received a nod and “very nice” but he was genuinely interested when he saw the blocked Ishbel, going back to it several times & commenting on it. When he realised that welding rods could be used as blocking wires he was intrigued so, this morning, he rang every engineering company he had in his business card list and eventually found one that had stainless steel TIG welding rods. He headed off to fetch them and came back with 16 1m rods for a very modest fee.



I just adore Malabrigo Sock. I think I could happily exist with it as the sole yarn available to me. This skein, in Indiecita, was picked up in This Is Knit some time in 2010 and was a beautiful mix of colours.


After some deliberation, I settled on Holden as the pattern that my lovely skein would grow up to become. Ishbel was still blocking when I cast on & due to a re-scheduled paediatrician appointment for son #3 the following day I got a lot of the stockinette section knit in Cavan General Hospital while waiting. The 5 year old whom the appointment was for was kept busy with a Lego sticker book.

The shawl took on a life of its own & was finished in just over a week. The picot cast-off took ages and set the finish date back a little but it’s very pretty & effective. So, today, once I had the welding rods here I started blocking Holden.

I left the shawl steeping for 15 minutes…


…then after gently easing out any excess liquid, I rolled it in a towel…


..and then set to blocking. It turned out a good bit bigger than Ishbel, needing more playmats, but I had anticipated that as there was far less yarn left over with Holden.


Not sure if I am as expert a blocker as other locally-based lace knitters 🙂 but I think it’s ok.


Now for some gratuitous yarn drool shots.




I’m willing it to dry fast. My parents recently converted our playroom to a sitting room for themselves & then had the attic converted as a bedroom for my 8 year old twin boys. The fireplace only went in last week & the inaugural lighting of the wood-burning stove is tonight. I’m sure if I leave the blocked Holden in the room with it overnight it’ll be well dry by morning.


Blocking à la Rubysasha

A few people asked me to take some snaps of the blocking process of my recently completed Ishbel. The incomparable lace knitter extraordinaire, Rubysasha, brought her blocking wires to knit night & we showed the ladies how effective blocking is. They’re all fabulous knitters but wouldn’t block or use “new-fangled” techniques like mattress stitch.

This was Ishbel pre-blocking


I had brought some Soak along to assist.


First step was to let Ishbel steep for 15 minutes in some tepid water with a little Soak added. The Tiziano Red shade of the gorgeous Malabrigo Sock really was beautiful when wet.


We forgot to bring towels which are great for pressing the excess liquid from the garment so Rubysasha used her vice-like grip to show Ishbel who was boss.

Next, the wires were put through the lace openings along the edges of the shawl and then held in place with pins on my blocking mats. These mats are usually in my 8 year old twins’ bedroom and they’re used as an “ocean” for their Lego boats (the four boys are HUGE Lego fans here) but are commandeered occasionally for blocking now as that’s what I had in mind when I bought them.


The knitnight ladies couldn’t get over how the lace just popped out upon blocking.


Not sure if we have any new blocking converts from knitnight but my husband was so impressed that he rang around several local engineering companies to source stainless steel TIG welding rods which apparently are great for blocking. He’s gone for them as I type so I’ll block my newest shawl, Holden, when he gets back.

Not sure if I love lace knitting more than Malabrigo Sock or vice versa but it’s a marriage made in heaven.

A spark re-ignited

Going to try to keep this updated at least a couple of times a month. Have recently re-found my knitting mojo. I took out a neglected Ishbel that had been thrown to one side when the pattern went against me (albeit only a tiny bit against me) & with encouragement from Rubysasha I flew through it.


I took photos to blog my first venture with blocking wires so will write on that later.

I’m enjoying this newly-found enthusiasm.