Thursday, April 18, 2013


 I made some stitch-markers for someone this week. They didn't take long to make and I made them from materials I had lying about. I normally use washers, key-rings, anything round that is lying about as stitch-markers, thinking there really is no point investing time in making stitch-markers - I mean, life's too short to make everything look nice, eh? Yet, when I made these ones I made a couple for myself which put a smile on my face each time I notice them nestling in my knitting, and remind me why it's good to make decorative things, even when you really don't need them to look nice - a washer would've done the job just as well, it just wouldn't look so pretty. I think I might be sold on home-made stitch-markers now.

While I was making them however I felt depressed at how none of the materials had come from anywhere near here. (Wire stripped from electrical cables, wooden and glass beads, cotton thread and even the wool for the felt balls - perhaps the only part likely to have been produced in Ireland - none of these made in this country.) Perhaps it is particularly in my mind because we have been watching DVDs of old craftsmen rented from the local library (from the Leitrim Genealogy Society -  DVDs mentioned at the bottom of this page)  - a Leitrim farmer using horses to plough his land, a Roscommon Wheelwright making exquisite carts and a Cavan Cooper (our favourite) making a tub. All these men knew their materials so well, and mostly knew exactly where they came from - local sawmills producing wood for wheels and Irish foundries producing the metal pieces. The Cooper in particular was talking about all the things he would've made - barrels and churns and tubs and such, and about how we use to pickle things in Ireland and export it in barrels before the war. It made me think about how little we know about where the things we use every day come from, what a different feeling it must've been to know where the majority of objects in your home came from, for the majority to be handmade too...anyway, enough wittering...back to the stitch-markers. If you'd like to make some, they are quite simple.


You need:
Wire. I used copper wire I had stripped from old electrical cable, but you could use any type of wire.
A few beads with a big enough hole to get two widths of your wire into.
A few felt balls or beads and some string and a needle.

1. Bend a few inches of wire around a thick pen or something similar to make a loop and use your pliers to twist the ends together, leaving one end long and cutting the other short.
2. Put a bead on.
3. Bend the end of your wire (cutting it shorter if necessary). Curl it up and tuck the end into the hole in your bead to create a little loop. (4.)
5. Use your needle and thread to thread a few beads on and tie off.

Monday, April 8, 2013

In other news...

The sheep have finally been en-coated. And yes, we are now officially the laughing stock of Roscommon. It's a good thing we don't have any roadside fields, so the large volume of passing traffic* can't ridicule us as they drive past. 

Here are some before and after shots. (And yes, you spotted it - even more ridiculous, we bring them around on leads and occasionally for walks down the lane.) (And yes, those coats are silver. Thankfully they've got a bit mucky now and don't show up as being silver anymore.
If I'd had more time I was going to decorate the coats with appliqued lightning bolts and other such sheepy type things. Might as well just go for it. It would also be easier to tell them all apart at any rate.)

Ah but sure look at them there in their wee coats. Aren't they just lovely?

We have only had a few minor mishaps since. One of the girls managed to somehow get the rear end of her coat off and was wearing it like an apron, tripping over the front of it until we sorted her out. And then we found the probable cause as Jake headbutted Tinkerbell** in the arse and managed to get his horns caught in the strap of her coat, thus entangling the two of the them together. There was a lot of amusing jumping about until they managed to unhook themselves a minute or two later. 

Anyway, there have been no incidents since then and judging by the amount of crap they have managed to get mashed into the wool around their necks since then, the coats will hopefully be doing a great job of protecting all that lovely wool. Ummm...roll on June and shearing time!

For anyone interested, they are Matilda brand sheep coats, and I got them from these guys in Australia.

* alright then, the three cars that pass daily. 
** Yes her name is Tinkerbell. But you can't blame that one on us.