23/11/2014

Staying calm….

I plan to knit a few presents this year so I must…

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I will reveal that I will be knitting my favourite things…mittens, scarves and toques.

21/11/2014

Stitchmas is coming….

Christmas crafting with The DKC…

Keep an eye on my pop up Stitchmas sessions from now until Christmas.

Check out the Events Page for announcements

16/11/2014

Urban Spinning

When you hear the phrase, “I am spinning…”

Do you think I am exercising?

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or do you think I am sitting on my front porch spinning sheep’s fleece into wool?

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Actually, I am spinning fibre with a drop spindle…

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As of today, I am now calling myself an urban spinner.

What is urban spinning, you ask? Well, here is my personal definition:

A fiberista who handspins commercially prepared fibre into roving or slivers and is usually hand dyed or painted by an indie dyer.

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I’ve declared myself an urban spinner because I am a city slicker at heart. I do not like the smell or texture of raw fleece. I have a history of developing allergic reactions to manually processing alpaca and sheep fleece.

This is why I exclusively spin with fibre that has been processed and dyed into roving. It lessens the amount of times I need to use a salbutamol inhaler and take an anti-histamine tablet.

Also, I like the convenience of having fleece and fibre commercially prepared into roving.

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The drop spindle is an ancient spinning tool, however, there are modern and traditional versions of this portable spinning tool for the urban spinner like myself.

I can toss it in my handbag and take it just about anywhere.

Just like knitworking,, I love the social aspect of spin-ins. The Eastern Region (ER) Section of the IGSWD Meet monthly where like minded fiberistas can socialise over a spinning or weaving project.

At one ER Meets in Dublin, as chatty as I am, I remained quiet when the discussion focused on bobbins, lazy kates and ratios. I’m totally clueless when it comes to naming the parts of a spinning wheel. Nor do I have the hand-foot coordination to operate a spinning wheel. As a drop spindle spinner I feel small and insignificant to the wheel spinner who can produce 100g skeins of plyed 400m fingerweight.

Some people may read thus far and say, “she has a bad case of wheel envy.” That may have been that case up until last month’s ER Meet when, Cathy showed off her new birthday present, a Golding Drop Spindle….

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copyright Cathy

Now I have Golding spindle envy (big milestone birthday coming up ; )

Follow the Urban Spinner as I unleash the urban spinning movement in Dublin.

13/11/2014

Bake Knit Sew…all rolled into one

I first met  Evin O’Keeffe in 2011 at a Fibre Feis weekend in Macroom, Co. Cork and again in 2012.

Our virtual friendship has flourished the last couple of years through Ravelry and Twitter . My readers will remember Evin as a guest blogger in 2012 when I was out of commission having eye surgery. She wrote two blogposts, here and here.

I followed Evin’s trials and tribulations as she worked on her first book, Bake Knit Sew.

Bake Knit Sew cover copyright Evin O’Keeffe

I was absolutely delighted for Evin when her book was completed, and more so honoured when she asked me if the Dublin Knit Collective could be a scheduled stop on her first book blog tour.

When Evin announced the schedule for the book blog tour, I was ever so slightly intimidated and terrified that I was included with amazing bloggers who are eloquent and savvy at chronicling their lives online.

Liz was the first to kick off the Blog Tour this week, followed by fellow Dublin Knitter, Cathy. This blog tour post follows, food blogger Jen.

I received Bake Knit Sew in the e-book format and immediately downloaded it onto my tablet. As I flicked through the pages on the touch screen, I savoured the crisp and sharp images of cakes, cookies and pies while mentally taking note of a few knitting patterns that were going to be added to my Ravelry queue.

The book is cleverly organised into twelve months with one baking recipe and a knitting or sewing pattern for each month of the year.

Baking cakes and pies are not my forte, however, cookies are my favourite things to bake in the kitchen.

imagecopyright Evin O’Keeffe

The book includes two cookie recipes, Snickerdoodles and Cookie Monsters that stir up memories of my childhood. Images of Sesame Street and the children’s rhyming game, “who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?” flashes through my mind and evokes a giggle whenever I say snickerdoodle…

I’ve decided that the Monster Cookies recipe will be my first baking project. I am drawn to this is collaborative approach between Sesame Street’s beloved cookie loving character and my favourite ingredients in creating coookkkkiiieeessss!!!

The knitting patterns are simple and quick. Perfect for that instant gratification feeling when I’ve lost my knitting mojo or need a diversion from a long standing wip

Last Friday afternoon, I decided to abandon my current lace project (temporarily of course), while I foraged through my yarn stash and found a skein of Fleece Artist BFL in aran weight.

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Fleece Artist BFL

I cast on Cobblestone Boot Toppers, which are knit in the round.

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Photo taken at The DKC HQ

By the evening, I had a pair of the trendiest accessory on this side of the pond.

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Photo taken at The Hopsack

So, I’ve been sporting them in and around the local cafes this past weekend.

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Photo taken at Two Fifty Square

Photo taken at Martcade

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There are five sewing projects for anyone venturing into the world of fabric. The patterns are very simple, and will inspire any crafter to personalise their own project.

The Princes Street Market Tote would make a perfect project bag as a carry all for all my knitting gear.

20141111-234320.jpgcopyright Evin O’Keeffe

As for fabric stash busting…I’m going to try my hand at some bunting for Christmas : )

20141111-232331.jpgcopyright Evin O’Keeffe

This inspiring craft/recipe eBook edition is available through Ravelry and SIGNED Paperback edition is available from Anchor and Bee.

Also, exclusive to readers of The Dublin Knit Collective is a discount code when purchasing a copy of Bake Knit Sew, just enter BLOGTOUR for 10% off your entire order.

For a bit of fun, I have one e-book version of Bake Knit Sew to giveaway to one of my blog readers.

All you need to do is leave a comment below by 4:00 p.m. GMT Sunday 23rd November 2014, telling me if you are a baker, knitter or sewer or a combination of all three to be in a chance to win a copy of the ebook. Good luck! No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Winner must have a valid email address or Ravelry account. Value of the prize is $16.00. No cash equivalent will be offered.

Note: Thank you to Evin O’Keeffe for including me in her first blog tour, and donating an e-copy of Bake Knit Sew

09/11/2014

BlogTour: Bake Knit Sew

I am delighted that The Dublin knit Collective is on the book blog tour schedule of Bake Knit Sew by Evin Bail O’Keeffe

I am a newbie to the concept of blog tours.

A book blog tour is a virtual tour to help the author promote their book through the blogsphere. It is the same concept as going to a book launch but instead of bricks and mortar shop, the author is going from blog to blog during the time frame of the tour.

Evin’s blog tour starts tomorrow with a stop with fellow fibre friend, Liz

My excitement is gaining momentum so watch this space on Thursday 13th November when Evin’s Bake Knit Sew stops in at The DKC.

08/11/2014

CrAFTERnoon Tea….

Save the date:   Sunday 23rd November

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05/11/2014

Live tweeting…

As most of you already know,  I tweet as @TheDKC  on Twitter.  Lately,  I’ve taken Twitter with me to a couple of knitting related events in Dublin – #unravel and #knitnstitch

I absolutely enjoyed this type of social networking. It was a great opportunity to meet so many knitters and I would like to believe I was able to entertain followers in 140 characters or less with a few posted pics.

Live tweeting at this year’s Knitting and Stitching Show was not easy. Walking ,  talking, tweeting, taking photos and selfies…exhausting but I loved every minute of it.

There were a few noticeable gaps when all was quiet…. One in particular  was on the Sunday afternoon when I spent 45 minutes at bead stand. I can’t wait to reveal my latest beading project.

27/10/2014

judging a book by its cover…

An interesting book on Irish craft, arrived at The DKC HQ a few weeks ago. It’s been a busy time for me, so I’m just getting around to posting my review of The Irish Countrywomen’s Association Book of Crafts 40 Projects to Make at Home published by the Cork based publishing company, Mercier Press this year.

This hardcover book is a collaborative project from members of The Irish Countrywomen’s Association (ICA). Their aim is to “showcase the best of the crafts that are still taught and used by ICA members today.” Liz Wall, National President mentioned in her introduction, that ICA were “overwhelmed with submissions from members who wanted to share the many skills and expert knowledge on their interpretation of the tradition and comtemporary Irish craft.” The introduction gave me a look into the history of the ICA, and as a point of interest, I learned that there are active ICA Guilds in every corner of Ireland.

“judging a book by it’s cover”…

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The cover depicts the comforts of crafting…yarn, tea, and books. The book photography by Joanne Murphy conveys the cosiness and warmth of crafting and immediately wants the crafter to pick up the book and peruse through it with a cup of hot chocolate.

The book is divided into four sections:

Stitch and Sew
Make and Wear
Store and Keep
Celebrate

with a total of 40 craft projects submitted by members of the ICA.

The layout of each project chapter is simplistic with a bold title, underneath is the name of the ICA member, and the Guild she is associated with. Each project has a list of supples needed for each project and organised with sub-headings, making it an easy read.

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The first project in the Stitch and Sew section is the Hairpin Crochet Stole by Nora Keady from the Moycullen Guild in Galway. Hairpin crochet, also known as hairpin lace caught my attention on You Tube, and to my delight, I was able to purchased a hairpin loom from The Constant Knitter.

This project looks to be a worthy stashbusting project. The instructions are detailed with simple illustrations, and as a non-crocheter, I can manage a chain and a double crochet by using this loom to create strips of crocheted lace and then sew them together into a unique stole.

The second project that caught my eye was the Chicken Scratching Embroidery Tea Cosy, submitted by Margaret Clince from the Garristown Guild in Dublin.

The teacosy in the photograph was in the background, and the details of the needlework were very much blurred out, making it very difficult to appreciate this craft.

As unfamiliar and very curious to this type of embroidery using gingham, I dropped into my local fabric and haberdashery shop, Sew The proprietor gave me a quick introduction to chicken scratching embroidery and it is now on my learning list and I’ll be back in her shop looking through her bolts gingham fabric and embroidery threads.

As knitter, I was curious to read through the knit submissions. So, I moved on to page 58 to find a Child’s Aran Jacket by Helen O’Sullivan from the Derryquay Guild in Kerry.

What I found was an aran cardigan fit for a 3 to 4 year old child. The pattern is written out, knitted in pieces then sewn together. It is a traditional pattern in every sense of the word. It is a pattern to keep any level of knitter interested by cabling patterns, aran stitches, increasing, decreasing, shaping and buttonholing.

If you are a knitter who has an adversion to sewing pieces together, This is Knit offers a finishing class which I took several years ago. As a result, I am no longer afraid sew things together and my knitted garments are seamed quite neatly. If you can’t get into town, Winnie’s Craft Cafe also offers a finishing techniques workshop in Booterstown.

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The Lumra Bag by Réiltín MacCana from the Dun Laoghaire Guild is a interesting project using carded fleece, then drawing up loops through rug canvas. The instructions are organised in chronicalogical order started from preparing your carded wool, preparation of the rug canvas, and the actual instructions using the traditional and a more contemporary method to create an Irish inspired handbag.

There are also a few smaller projects, perfect for Christmas, such as mini-wreaths, table runners, and a Christmas card holder. I receive very few Christmas cards, and if I made one, it would hang empty on my wall, unless, you my readers wish to send me a Card this year ; ) you know I’m joking, right?

Overall, The Irish Countrywomen’s Association Book of Crafts is a very pretty craft book. It has lovely photographs and the pages itself has a lovely feel to it (very difficult to provide a tactile description).

The projects itself are not to complicated, however, I do find some of the instructions a bit vague since I may not be familiar with a particular skill or technique. The accessibility of instructional videos on You Tube and other crafting sites will provide that bridge to learning. I also had to call on a few of my Irish crafty colleagues and specifically ask questions like, “what is gingham? what is a rag rugger? What is rug canvas?” Of course, it is a great way to stimulate crafting conversation…

I personally would use this book to inspire my creativity in Irish crafting in which the ICA has proudly presented.

On an interesting note:

I am delighted that Mercier Press is offering an online promotional price for the Dublin Knit Collective.

Use this Link to purchase The Irish Countrywomen’s Association Book of Crafts

When you checkout, use the PROMO code: DKC ….

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…. and your discounted offer will appear. Also, shipping is free within Ireland.

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23/10/2014

Come see it Unravel….into awesomeness

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I am absolutely delighted that I was invited to take part in the first ever Unravel event organised by an enthusiastic  team behind the New in the Old City project.

There will be fiberistic activities for the family to enjoy.

I will be leading Learn to Knit sessions on Saturday and Sunday from 2pm to 4pm.

Follow @TheDKC as I’ll be unravelling the awesomeness at Cow’s Lane.

09/10/2014

I <3 Ravelry

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I love Ravelry.  It is an online resource for knitters and crocheters.  From organising projects and yarn stash to researching patterns and yarn from an awesome database, I am sometimes overwhelmed by the Ravelry experience.

For social networking, the site has forums, groups, and friend-related features that give people ways to interact with other knitters and crocheters.

Let your Ravelry journey begin here, to set up your Ravelry account and username.

Feel free to look me up under the People tab and search for my username TheDKC

As I am a frequent user of the Ravelry forums, please join The Dublin Knit Collective group. This is where you’ll find updated information about knitting events.

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