Weird Wool Wednesday: working green

There was only one thing I wanted to do this Summer:

work with green wool.

Knit some green yarn.
Spin some green fibre.
Just work with lovely, misty, tranquil greens.

Then why is this still on the needles?

And why did I treadle kilometers of white yarn?

Why did I try to spin this Autumn coloured silk?

And why did this fiber blend for sock yarn arrive at my house yesterday??

(it’s aBFL, Corriedale, Nylon blend, handdyed by Dutch Wool Diva, colorway Skin Deep)

And why did I pause the Gnome yarn and is this currently on my wheel???

And why this waiting to be spun next????

Why? WHY? WHY?

is it because

(it reads: “purple is a góód green!”_

I want to work with proper greeeeeeen woooooool!

I want Tranquil green

Sophisticated green

Fairy House green

The reason I have no green wool in my hands probably has to do with it requiring that I dig out the dye pot first. I do know where it is, in theory…
And then I’d have to think about weights and ratios. Try to measure “a little dash of this” and “a fair glug of that”.
And then I’d have to cook wool. And I don’t cook much these days…

It’s much easier to grab some (purple) fiber and just sit out on the porch spinning.
Looking at all the greens in my garden:

Which are 2 m high stalks of raspberries that won’t bear fruit until November and then they’ll be all tangy because they didn’t get enough sunshine. Besides, I’m in no raspberry mood in November. Rasppberry is Summer fruit!
If I had only chopped them down last June I would have had some proper Summer raspberries in 2015…

And I’m not even showing you the brambles clogging all walking paths in our foresty patch (forest = no sun = no black berries) nor that terrible Spirea Douglasii (“Hardhack”) that’s now everywhere.
Or all the seeds I didn’t sow last Spring… and all the vegetables en flowers that didn’t grow…

Is it just me or does green really make you work for it?

Spinning for a little gnome lady

I’m spinning my little heart out, on the Finnish slanty.

I’ve got two batts that are amazingly soft and full of glim and glitter. Both have “a fairy tale connection” and that makes spinning them so much more fun.

In this post I show you my “Duif knuffelbatt”. Duif carded this one inspired by my ravatar.
My ravatar:

The batt:

I’ve looked at it for …. two years now, I think. It is that impressive!
It had a lace ribbon tied around it and with all the silk and sparkle it was a joy to look at in any season of the year. It has brought me smiles and comfort.
Finally I felt I had enough skills and courage to destroy the batt and try to make yarn from it.

I “unwrapped” it:

I divided it up by colour:

One single will have the colours one after the other. The other single will combine all the colours, just like I did when spinning for the Pop blanket: one main colour and three accent colours. The main colour will be the same as the one currently on the first bobbin.
Pictures will explain.

One the first bobbin is green:

So the second bobbin has green with accents.
Here they are plied: lively colour but green is main:

Because the red is such hard contrast with the green I used is sparcely in this sequence. I don’t like strongly contrasted singles together.
The white is quite strong in contrast too, further along I used it in smaller quantities (speckled yarn, not striping) and in thinner weight.

first skein, 48 grams, 175 meter, lace weight.

Finished yarn!

This is how 1355 gram and 503 m of sturdy rug yarn looked like late last night:

It fitted just so on the big bobbin of the Ashford Country Spinner!
The capacity is limited by the space between the core and the flyer holding the hooks. You can see there’s a little bit room left but probably for 10 meters of yarn max.

I spend the last two days just plying. Pffff!
First I plied the singles together into a yarn and then I plied that yarn with the yarn I showed you earlier. It was a lot of treadling!

Here’s me, stepping happily onto the veranda early morning on Thursday:
“Yes, finished all the singles! That whole mountain of white fluff is now gone!”

Let’s start plying!

As I needed one of these bobbins to ply the new yarn onto one of these singels had to be relocated.

I dragged my other wheel onto the veranda, the Louet S70, and treadled the yarn from the CS2 bobbin onto a Louet bobbin. It was just threadling, I added no twist.
I chose the single that had spend the most time onto the bobbin and would have lost some of its active twist already. Otherwise pulling a single with lots of active twist from a bobbin will make it twist back on itself and curl and dance and annoy me, especially on early mornings.

(Especially on this Thursday morning. The sleep psychologist encouraged me to start an experiment where I get out of bed by 6 AM. To improve the quality sleep. It’s shown to work in 80% of cases. Thursday morning was the first morning of the experiment. So no. No twisty singles for me.)

I bypassed the orifice from the Country Spinner and also removed its belt from the bobbin. This way it spun freely and I wouldn’t have to work against the friction of the orifice nor the belt. I did put the brake on firm so the flight would be stationary, not getting its hooks into my single. (past experience, lots of morning moods)

As it’s a heavy bobbin it won’t release the yarn too fast either and thus I expected a smooth threadle experience.
I did have some trouble keeping the supply even though. Sometimes the bobbin would spin too fast and if I did not speed up my treadling instantly the single would wind back up onto the bobbin the wrong way making the yarn attached to the active wheel go ZONK! when it ran out of yarn (while I had just upped the speed considerably). Luckily it never broke.
But let’s just say it was not very zen like treadling that morning.

I got there, I got all the single onto the Louet bobbin. Even though I used the lesser filled bobbin of the Country Spinner the single filled the Louet bobbin to the brim:

That’s 500 m of Heideschaap singles on a Louet bobbin. These S70 bobbins have the same dimensions as the modern S10 bobbins, only they’re made from solid oak.
Looking back I’d say there’s about 335 grams of wool on this bobbin and it could have fitted a little more. Maybe another 25 grams? Again: bulk it up until the wings of the flyer graze the wool too much.

After a little lie down and a lunch which involved chocolate ganache and whipped cream I set up for plying the two singles into a yarn.
It was to become a 3 ply yarn, adding a commercial yarn -it’s in the box-, and wrapping it with a silk thread -on the floor before the box-:

That’s truly and thoroughly Tour de Fleece Plying

It took hours… as does a day in the Tour.
More ganache and whipped cream were called for.

Halfway through I needed to use the last of the commercial yarn which was still on the skein. I brought my umbrella thingy out onto the veranda and started to wind it into a ball until I got smart:

Plying directly from the umbrella swift. It’s the chocolate that brings on the smart, I’m sure.

On the table you see the first yarn I made. It’s waiting there patiently for it’s brother to be created. They will be plied together into a cabled yarn.

hours and hours.

Then I ran out of the silk thread. I knew I must have plied about a 1000 m in total now as that’s how much was on the silk cone.
I still had some singles left but without the silk it just wouldn’t match the yarn I already made. Especially when I dye it which I plan to. The silk adds lustre.
So the rest of the Heideschaap I made into a 3ply, not adding extra twist as I had done previous. This 3 ply gets no additional plying, it’s finished yarn.

Nice round yarn, made up of my two singles and some Bergå Møbelgarn which had the same weight and was a single too.

170 grams, 138 m, 3 ply, aran weight.

Finally I got there and filled me another big bobbin of yarn! It was late at night so I didn’t take a picture.
I fell into bed. Knowing I had to get up at 6 AM the next morning.

Friday. Final plying set up:

It was the hottest day of the year. I didn’t feel like watching the tour, I just sat on the veranda and threadled.

The cat melted during the day:

that evening I was nearly done:

nearly there….. treadle treadle

the last bit of plying really tangled up my patience:

But I got there!

And this is how 1355 grams and 500 m of spun Heideschaap looks this morning:

Texture of the cabled yarn:

Weird Wool Wednesday: yarns for sleeping

It’s a week ago that I cunningly used wool to convey sublime messages to the doctors.
It worked marvelously, the psychologist took me very serious and saw I was tired but not depressed.
On to the neurologist I went. With one swoop motion he opened and closed his door and left me standing outside his office with an invitation for a neurologically monitored sleep over.
So, last night I spent at the sleep clinic, wrapped in all kinds of electro-spaghetti to measure my sleep waves and other quirks.

Our lovely model Sterny Stephen here shows where about all the electro-yarn is attached during such a monitored sleep or sleep registration:
I didn’t get the fancy pants though.

Here’s the various things they monitor: when I fall asleep (chin pieces), brain waves in various sleep stages (head pieces), eye movements for REM sleep (eye pieces), blood oxide (finger thing), restless legs syndrome (lower leg pieces), oxygen intake (nose piece), oxygen uptake (other nose piece), snoring (neck piece) and breathing rythm and volume (horizontal bands). And heart beat (blue dot).

My personal electro yarn-fest looked a little different though because I got the updated version where all wires come together in a device strapped to my chest with one central transmitter that sends all the info to the server. No need for the black shoulder bag.
It took two people a whole 45 minutes to tape and sculpt (they use clay to attach the sensors to the head) all the things to the right places. The chin pieces were glued with regular glue, straight from a class room I think, and it itched terrible. The chest bands were a little tight. As were the white tubes to keep things in place.

I felt a little miserable after that. It’s uncomfortable, I felt vulnerable in my undies, I looked like a clown and that glue made me nauseous.
I know just what to do when I feel a little miserable.

They have yarn?
I have yarn!
I brought some woolies to comfort me, to warm me and to make me happy:

From the far end: my felted forest princess fairy clogs, classy handknit socks, a handspun vest, joyful wrist warmers, sleepshirt, flannel shirt, woollen kidney warmer, cowl, sleeping socks and a little turkish spindle.
Everything that’s needed for a good nights’ sleep!

But not too good a sleep because I need my regular insomnia to show up and be recorded by the devices!
I was really worried I would sleep through the night, as I do about six times a year. Please, let it not be this night!

On the wall it says “Good night” in various languages. And only in Dutch it says: “Sleep Well”.

Well… you want to see the clown eh?
This is me before I went to bed, still safely wrapped in my yellow cardigan and with no nose pieces attached yet:
I was told to wash my hair before hand but not to put any product in. It shows!

Luckily I can tell you that I did lay awake at night, had my usual insomnia and it’s recorded by all the devices. On August 6 the neurologist will tell me what it all means. I’m bringing an USB stick because I love to have a recording of the notable moments.
Like the exact moment when I woke up: what’s happening in my brain? Or when the night nurse hit me on the jaw, by accident: does the brain recordings match the infrared camera data? Or when I was dancing through the room with the empty glass and a piece of paper, trying to catch a large moth. I’m not kidding! At six this morning I had opened my curtains a bit and just when I stepped back into bed a large butterfly left the safety of the curtains.
It was one of those “House Mothers” again!
The Large Yellow Underwing.
Yes, it seems yellow works well in sleep studies.

Spinning on a Scandinavian Slanty

I’ve been spinning and plying on my Finnish spinning wheel: a slanty. Or Toika. Or Rukki (“spinning wheel” in Finnish)

A big wheel, to give a lot of twist to the bobbin.
It’s also a double belted drive. It has two pulleys: one on the bobbin and one that screws onto the shaft of the flight.

The belt is one continuous loop running twice over the wheel in a double folded figure 8: one loop drives the bobbin, one drives the shaft/flight. Because the circumference of one pulley is slightly smaller than the other pulley the yarn winds onto the bobbin. But very slowly and with minimum pull. While fast twist is added while the whole wheel stays stable. Ideal for Long Draw and/or thin lace.

10 grams of singles onto the bobbin. These bobbins are small, they can hold about 40 grams maximum.


This was the first time for me plying on this wheel. I had a problem to solve.
One of the pulleys screws unto the shaft of the flight. While you spin the single you work against the direction of the threads, always securing the pulley onto the shaft.
But plying needs you to spin into the other direction. The pulley unscrews, causing all kinds of rattling and perhaps even slipping of the belt.

Here’s the solution I found:

Put both belt(halves) onto just the pulley of the bobbin. Worked like a charm.

I did have to increase the tension onto the belt, to prevent slippage. Tension in these kinds of wheels is done by turning the screw at the right side of the wheel, the one that looks like a handle. It moves the whole thing on which the bobbin is mounted to the right. And it is a wooden screw, with all wooden threads.
All these vintage and antique wheels work like this.
All the vintage European wheel too. All the wheel with that “handle” on the far right. I didn’t know but now I love it.

Oh, how I love the antique Finnish spinning wheels! My dream is to go there on holiday and find one and take it home and use it. One with history. If they let me.
In the mean time I have joy in reading the online magazine The Spinning Wheel Sleuth

All my wheels have names and this is “Grinse Finn”, meaning “Finn coming from Groningen”.

126 m, 20 grams, lace weight. Lovely and soft and shimmering.

Rockefeller shawl in progress and a Photography Project: synchroonkijken

Rockefeller is coming along nicely.

The colours are stunning!

This last picture I entered in an online photography project that’s running in the Netherlands this week: Synchroonkijken. (“looking in sync”)

Over 2000 people participate, taking a picture each day. They get pinned to a special board on Pinterest by the initiator Else Kramer. She’s a photographer who likes people to take better pictures. Especially in social media and in their professional life.
She has a Dutch site and an English one.
She shares her knowledge for free. Or you can get in dept advice for a price.
I like her attitude and approach and learned from her.

Here are the links to the daily pinterest board for each day and my picture for the topic of that day:

1. Pinterest board for “naar de knoppen kijken” = “staring at buttons” and these “bottons” include the round endpoints of pins and needles and buttons you can turn. But buttons you have on clothes are not included (those are called “knopen”, not “knoppen”).
Also in Dutch “to the buttons” is a reference to “going bust”. Putting some of the other entries into perspective for you.

2. Pinterest board for “Frustration”

3. Pinterest board for “Orange” (on this day the Netherlands played the semi-finals in the world games of football. (“soccer” to Americans”)

4. Pinterest board for “Beauty”
Lots of cats where submitted for this topic. I tried to have a bit of an uncommon picture. I like the shapes and outline. And Lillepoes’ white toes!

5. pinterest board for day 5: “the backside”

6. pinterest board for “Stripes”
We were asked to zoom in and only show the stripes.

7. Today, the final, Pinterest board for “your favourite ingrediënt”
I chose the ganache with whipped cream I ate today. This is soooo good! I eat it every day. Twice.

Weird Wool Wednesday: Clothes’ language

Remember that time when I wore my yellow cardi on purpose so it would make my face all pale and green? Because the doctor could do with a visual reminder while I went all excited engineer on him about my illness?

Well, today I need to look ill again:

Today I’m visiting the Insomnia Clinic and a psychologist will assess wether I’m sufficiently tired during the day to make my case worth their time. If so I get to see the neurologist.
I need my yellow cardigan to dampen my excitement and my corticosteroid high.

But the doctor will also be on the look out for signs of worry, stress and depression.
Because those play a major role in most insomnia cases. If they don’t cause the insomnia itself they’ll certainly worsen it.
My insomnia is either genetically caused (inherited neurotransmitter party mix) or because of sleep apnea. I have no worries about laying awake. But I am worried he won’t believe me.

So that’s why today my clothes need to speak for me.
I need to look calm, receptive and not depressed. While tired.
Now there’s a challenge!

The questionnaire I had to fill out revealed that this package will be judged by its cover: “Do you pay less attention to your appearance since your insomnia?”
I don’t know, I wear what I want. I just wear what’s fun and practical and wool.
How does a sane woman of 42 years old dress nowadays?
No, the right question is: what does a sane 42 year old have to wear to be perceived normal?

I felt I had to counter the yellow cardigan somewhat. And that it’d be smart to tone down the Happy Go Knitting vibe. Not everybody can see past the woolies, not even psycho-experts.
So I’m not wearing knitted headwear or happy legwarmers or funny skirt with foxes. Not outside of the car anyways.

Today my sickening yellow cardigan will be worn by a smart, optimistic lady:



  • Curse the white cat that I found sleeping on my dress this morning!
  • I’m glad I’m wearing my yellow cardi. Wool is comforting. The shrink knows.
  • I spend some time snipping away the pills on it. I know pilling looks unkempt to non-knitters. I hope he doesn’t notice the stains…

my wardrobe was successful, the psychologist took me serious and send me on to the neurologist. Next week I’ll participate in sleep registration.
They both did warn me though: as I’ve had this sleep pattern all my life they don’t think I’ll be able to change it. But the quality of the sleep might be improved.

Frileuse Mitts and Plying Skills

I started some mitts to go with the Frileuse Hat:

This pattern is Sand Dollar Mitts by Ulrike Fawns. It starts with a nice flowery star. Afterwards you knit across the palm of the hand sideways. Then a thumb:

For Tour de Fleece 2014 things are going well.
Yesterday and today I plied the singles of the Heideschaap. I plied them with a commercial lace yarn and a silk cobweb.
It involved some impressive hand coördination:

I did an experiment of spinning two singles onto the same bobbin and then plying them simultaneously.
There still was some discrepancy between the speed/circumference the two threads were released from the bobbin meaning I had to keep one under tension with my right hand while I plied four threads with my left.
I won’t repeat this experiment.

Here are the two halves onto the same bobbin. With a Louet S10 bobbin held close for scale:

Glad it’s done!
This yarn is about half of the white mountain of carded Heideschaap. It’s about 600 m of nice round aran yarn. I think I’ll ply it again, cabling it. But then I’ll wind it into a center pull ball first so I can ply from the outside and inside.

Any next singles will be spun onto the bobbin and wound into a center pull ball first before plying.

The yarn is really nice, with the three different fibres going on. It will dye splendid I think.

Tour de Fleece 2014

Tour de Fleece has started!
During the Tour de France spinners world wide will let their wheels spin too. And their spindles.
Each night we’ll come together in some virtual place on Ravelry or Twitter and post pictured from our wooly accomplishments of that day.

Pip the wooden spinning horse is purring, while the cat’s snoring. I’m wearing ear mufflers because the Dutch commentary is annoying. That’s why, as soon as I post this, we’ll switch over to Belgian TV. Belgium knows cycling!

During the first few hours of the tour I filled one bobbin with around 250 grams of Heideschaap: