Finished: cushion cover.

This is how the foot cushion cover turned out. Diagonal stripes (but not too many) and surface crochet.

Inspiration was the colour palette picture I’ve been using all along and the shapes on our coffee table:

Our coffee table is made with heavily glazed tiles. I found it at some vintage shop a few years back and really liked the swirls. Tiled tabled were a big thing in the ’60s I think? Do you know of these types of tables outside Europe? I really like the individuality of it, how you can imagine the artists’ hand, drawing the lines. And I love heavy glazing!

Please note cushion on the floor, felted slippers on feet, foxy skirt and handspun sweater. I’m right at home!

The cushion cover does still need a canvas on the underside. But it’s already in function around my couch of perpetual Only-Needs-A-Little-Finishing-projects. There’s my Karma blanket. And my cross stitches cushion cover. (I should have brought my Peabody Sweater!)

All these woolies that are not finished but already in use: I’m right at home!

Oh, look, another glazed tiled table. This one I also found at the vintage shop some years back. I fell hard for the bold blues and big blobs of glazing. It has a name scribbled on it. At first I thought someone had written on it with permanent marker. I’ve actually spend some time trying to scrub it off… but then I googled the name and found the guy is not particularly known for his permanent marker tagging…

Or actually, it may be a gal: Juliette Belarti.

Or is it the pen name of Julien de Covemaeker? I might be. But miss Belarti using her own name seems a more likely reality.

Either way, Plastic Time Kitty gives me a well deserved look of disapproval for trying to destroy a piece of art. Luckily I like my art to be functional and made out of well wearing materials such as ceramics, silk, glass, wood, shell, metal and wool.

Weird Wool Wednesday: this is how we party

Next Saturday there will be another outdoor knitters’ party. A woolly picknick. You’re all invited!

We’ll meet up near the petting zoo in the gardens of Geldrop castle, anywhen between 11 and half past 4. Just bring a chair and something small to eat. And your wool occupation of choice.

I’m bringing my spinning wheel. And cake!

The location is very close to the station, I’m thinking of taking the train.

Might as well insert some hashtags into people’s lives:





Modular cape

the POP-blanket circles weren’t working for me. First it took me a good while to actually make circles. Weirdly long. I did not understand the principle behind it and thusly had to follow the pattern exactly and that’s when things kept going wrong. Mainly because I cannot count.

Once I managed to make circles I noticed the original pattern yielded too small a circle. It was only 8 cm wide (3 inches) and it would take forever to make enough circles to knit through the 200 grams of yarn I have.

I spend a day and a night looking at other modular patterns.

Also, I looked at some of the projects of the POP-blanket and came to the conclusion I would not like circles with squares in all different colours. The strength of the pattern lies in a family of colours for the background. Or just one colour. Not all kinds of colours.

—— lost the rest of the post. I’m sorry, you’ll have to look at the pictures and write a story in your own head. I’ll be back to rewrite the original but not today, I’m beat.—–

Dying for colour

I’ve been dyeing fleeces for the last few days.

It all started with washing fleeces and once that wool is wet and you’re using your centrifuge… it’s a small step to add some colour.



I’m purposely dyeing not full saturated colours. The blue is Landscape Dye Apollo Bay, on fine Shetland in various colours. The green is the same blue dye mixed with some Ashford (lemon) yellow. It’s on a not-so-fine Dutch breed, probably Texelaar.

The orange is Jacquard Dye, in a premixed colour from Stof tot verven. It’s on my spotted organic sheep. It’s also a non-felting fleece. Mix of Hollands Bont and Jacobsheep.


Finally learned about washing fleece

This fleece is pretty clean but still has quite a bit of lanolin left in it. It was washed in cold water and wool wash detergent and rinsed with vinegar, some time ago. This got rid of the poo and the piss but not the lanolin.

It’s been in my wool room for years. Because I don’t know what to do with it. It’s too greasy to card, to spin, to knit or to wear. I should know because I made this shawl from a fleece just like this one last year:

and I never wear it. Having greasy wool touch your skin is ewww

But I visited a friend today and she explained how she washes the grease from a fleece and I came home and within the hour the porch looked like this:

Squeeky clean, truely white fleece. Inside looked like this:

The washing station.

This is the process of washing a fleece, for non-fine wools:

  1. fill the big green dyeing pan with hothotHOT water. Put it on stove, just to keep it warm.
  2. fill the small blue bucket with hothotHOT water and lots of washing up liquid.
  3. put on sturdy dishwashing gloves. The sort that allows you to put your hands in scolding water.
  4. grab a handfull of fibre. I took about the size of an A4 and 10 cm high. Dunk it in the hot soapy water. Swish around.
  5. take it out of the soapy water and wring it (this fleece doesn’t felt so I can manhandle it. But most fleeces are ok with this treatment. Not the fine fleece such as Merino and Shetland though) and put it into the clean water in the pan.
  6. Grab another piece of wool and repeat: dunk in soapy water, swish, wring, put in pan.
  7. By now the liquid in the blue vessel is too dirty to use one fresh fleece. Put it into the white bucket. Fill the blue bucket with new really hot water and soap.
  8. grab new handful of fleece and put it in the white bucket, to presoak. Swish around, wring the water from the wool and put it into the fresh soapy water of the blue bucket.
  9. Now grab a new handful of fleece and put it in the white bucket.
  10. wash the wool that’s in the blue bucket, put it in the pan.
  11. transfer wool from white into blue bucket. Put new wool in white bucket. Wash what’s in the blue bucket and transfer it to the pan. Carry on like this -remember to change the water in the blue bucket every few washes- until the pan is full enough. Its purpose is to rinse the wool so if it gets too full or the water too dirty or the water is no longer HOT stop your routine. Time for the yellow bucket.
  12. fill the yellow bucket with hothotHOT water. Its purpose is for rinsing. Transfer wool from pan to bucket and swish wool around. The water should be pretty clear. Just rinsing off the last bits of soap.
  13. Bring an empty bucket to the centrifuge and place it under its … faucet(?). Take yellow bucket of wool to the centrifuge. Put still hot wool in centrifuge. Spin till nearly dry.
  14. Put damp wool onto a rack for drying. I used the clothesthingy. Don’t handle the wool too much. It’s cooling down and prone to felting. Just spread it out and let it be.
  15. ooooh. aaah. white wool! no grease! Ready for further fiber prep (carding perhaps?) and spinning

The blue bucket with fresh soapy water. Wool is presoaking in the white bucket. Sturdy yellow gloves.

This is the pan I usually use for dyeing. The light indicates the stove top is on, on moderate heat. Just enough to keep this water 68 degrees celsius or over

And I have a cross stitch of a Gaai over the stove. It’s mandatory for living in little wooden gnome cabins.

Bringing the pan to the sink for wool transfer into the yellow bucket. That’s how dirty the blue bucket gets, it was just about time to change the water. You can see that the water in the green pan is fairly clear, you can see to the bottom. Just a bit of soap residu on top. All the grease and left over dirt stayed behind in the hot soapy water.

Transfer of the hot wet wool into the yellow bucket was successful.

17. bring extra towels for strategic placement on spontaneous occurring puddles. It happens, especially in gnome cabins.

Next, I brought the bucket with wool to the centrifuge. Put hot wool into centrifuge still wearing gloves.

The wool was so wet that the centrifuge drained even before I turned it on. (Always keep a towel near the centrifuge).

Now it’s evening and the buckets are still on the kitchen counters. In the middle of the room is the clothes drying rack, covered in wool. On the coffee table there’s wool spread out. And upstairs the guest bed is covered in wool.

It smells delicious here! Clean wool and soap, hmmmm. Smells like spinning spirit!

Knitting at Dusk

Good morning
Yesterday I started the pillow cover from the Heideschaap:

On needles 8 mm, using slipped stitches. It feels like knitting with rope, it’s a very physical thing.

This is how far I got working my way through episode two of a British detective series they’ve filmed twice: once while speaking English, once while speaking Welsh. Welsh is an interesting language to hear and Wales is a stunning country: beautiful and unsettling at the same time.
The series’s called Hinterland in English and Y Gwyll in Welsh which translates to “At Dusk”

We saw the first episode in Welsh, with English subtitles, and the second episode in English. It doesn’t sound as good in English as it does in Welsh. But it makes the knitting easier.
My husband ruined the series a bit by pondering aloud how the logistics of the filming is done, making it in two languages. Killing people twice and so on. Then he pointed out that it’s probably why in most scenes there is no talking.

What at first was an atmospheric viewing experience with lots of emphasize on landscape and textures and camera angles is now just a logistical gimmick… thanks a lot, dear.

Anyway, it is 5 o’clock in the morning here. I’m already up and about due to a Sleep Restriction Therapy I’m doing. It’s ok, it beats lying awake. But it makes for bad pictures of knitting.

The pattern is Grandma’s Favourite Dishcloth for the diagonal knitted square in garter stitch.
Then I alternated colours and slipped stitches to make a flower on a stem with a leaf. I carry the three colours up the side (the yellow I just snipped as it doesn’t feature much).

Looking at this with fresh eyes I’m thinking: “Why all the hassle of the slipped stitches for just one feature? Why not make a striped square and do surface crochet when you’re finished?

That sounds reasonable. Slipped stitches make more sense when you’re doing them every few stitches in a row. That’s when you get hats like Courtyard or socks like these:

Courtyard Hat by Melissa Thomson

You don’t need to fiddle with slipped stitches and cabled stiches when you only want a single flower. Besides, fiddling with rope on 8 mm needles (a tad too small for the yarn, for sturdy results) is tiring!

Surface crochet also makes it easier to create a stylished flower of my liking. (Oh. That no English?)
Well, what I mean to say is that for this pillow and the rug I’ll make from surplus yarn I wanted abstracted flower shapes. Like the Pullover with Ruffles by Vladimira (Cmorej) Ilkovicova:

8 o’clock in the morning, picture in clear morning light:

I had reasonably decided to leave the slipped stitches and just knit stripes from now on and do surface crochet afterwards. Then I remembered I don’t like thin stripes. One bit.
If I’m going to knit a garter stitch rectangle and add surface crochet on it, I’d rather not have it filled with tiny stripes. If I’m going to knit a rectangle it can have any colour sequence I like….
Ah, the clear voices of reason in the morning.

It’s now 9 o’clock:

Yes, it makes much more sense to start over. Even though I was already halfway, I’m sure it will be quicker if I frog the thing and start over.

Weird Wool Wednesday: it’s hip to be square

We’ve established before that I’m not hip. Still, that should have been a square.

It’s POP blanket which I’ve made before, in that yarn I spun Happy Go Lucky. Don’t hands have memory? I’ve been poking at this thing all day and I have yet to knit a square. This is attempt number four, will you believe it!
And the pattern lies right here too, in front of my eyes! I’m even wearing my reading glasses!

There are some excuses: this morning I did my knitting while there was CAKE. So I was somewhat distracted. cakecakecake
And this afternoon I knitted at the sleep clinic, waiting for the test results of my test sleep two weeks ago. You snooze you lose (the ability to count)

(the test result was mixed positive btw: they don’t know what’s causing my insomnia. The tests showed no sleep apneu, no restless leg syndrome, no snoring (HA!), no lack of oxygen and I do get all the sleep phases. Just not as often as a normal person. I get three cycli in a night, a normal person gets four to five.
“So we conclude that the cause must be psychological.”
While that’s failing in logic I’m glad we’ve ruled out some things.)

Now why won’t this round thing become a square thing?!

ah, such pretty colours…petpetpet

hacking the Louet to spin really thin

This is how I interlace my vintage Louet to spin very thin singles. Interlacing to reduce the pull of this bobbin lead wheel. Notice the usage of the first two hooks.

Yes I’m still spinning the sock yarn. Each day I place my wheel outside, under the beech. I take little breaks and sit there, spinning. The cat keeps me company.

This is a lovely coloured project. Normally I don’t go for the subdued colours but I really enjoy it. It’s very zen. Not very loud to the eyes. I’m looking forward to how the resulting yarn will be, colourwise.

This is halfway the second bobbin. The first is on the left, finished. There is to be third.

I divided the long roving in three segments. I noticed that two segments had the same colour sequence: coral reds to purple. They were dyed next to each other and identical.
One piece I spun from reds to purple and the other one from purple to red. When they are plied together I’ll have a sockyarn that’s evenly mixed in colours. I won’t end up with one red sock and one purple.

The third segment looks like this:

I’ll be spinning it from end to end: blue – pink – grey – pink – blue
That too will distribute the colours evenly over the two socks.

Unfortunately this wheel spinning is hurting my shoulder a bit. So I need to pay attention to that. It helps to do good fiber prep. That third segment needs to be fluffed up extensively so drafting will a breeze.
Very loose fiber also makes spinning thin more easy.

I’m a bit stubborn with the shoulder, I want to spin this, I want to felt that throw and I want to knit the Rockefeller. All three things hurt.
Perhaps it’s time to change it up with spindle spinning again because that doesn’t hurt my shoulder at all. And there’s some lovely silks asking to be spun…

For now I’ll just spin/felt/knit a little longer….
Good posture, relaxed shoulders and doing them only for short bursts of time go a long way.

Sunny spots under the beech tree:

in progress: Felted blanket and Rockefeller shawl

I have a try out for the felted blanket under way:

I positioned various prefelt things on the carded semi-felt from the factory.
There’s thinned out Silk Brick. And some fluffed up yellow roving covering acrylic yarn. Some spread out merino silk mix from which I cut out leaf shapes. A hankie.
All sorts of things, to find out if they will grab onto the prefelted fabric well.

I played with geometric shapes. And I made some oblong planes that I can cut out later and sew together, just like a blanket made from granny squares is sewed together. Not looking forward to the extra work though…
I hadn’t thought of cutting out shapes and just felting them onto the carded fleece. That way it may not be necessary to cut out felted squares and sew them together.

Tineke from Atelier Het Groene Schaep showed me this possibility as she’s just completed a blanket for a newborn and was showing it.

She has pictures of her try outs on her blog. Very educational! Wish I had seen these before I started my own, I see a lot I should have done differently, starting with making everything thicker.

I love her work. She once made a cushion with tree leaves that I’m still seeing in my minds eye… it started this all for me.

My trial run will show me what might work and what not. I already saw that some commercial roving bled its colour (A3an) and that the Hampshire Down is resisting grabbing onto the merino fleece. Stubborn sheep!

Halfway with the fulling, I’m pressing out all the air and having it thoroughly wet and soapy. I use thin plastic baggies around my hands to minimize friction at this early stage. Later on I’ll use my bare hands for more friction.

Over all it’s very nice to felt like this. The process:

  1. think about it and plan ahead
  2. place colours and fibres onto the base and playfull abandon plan
  3. make wet, with soap
  4. push out all the air (hands in plastic lunch bags to minimize friction)
  5. rub a bit
  6. rub more vigorously (= fulling)
  7. check the fibers grabbed onto the surface
  8. start shrinking (= felting)

in other news: I’m still knitting on my Rockefeller. I’m at the border. My balls of yarn are shrinking dangerously.