Finished: Modular Cape Happy Go Lucky

Another shawl/cape with overlapping fronts and enough dept to keep my upper back well warm!

It’s made of virtually one continuous thread. I just added “house shapes” one after the other. Sometimes starting at the base, sometimes starting at the top of the roof. Increasing and decreasing and picking up stitches from the other shapes.
In the end I added a neck piece and then an i-cord all the way round. All in one thread.

Nearly one thread. The backside shows how:

I started at the left and knitted all the blocks, except one, and finished at the top of the little teal triangle in the bottom right.

I started with this one, when I had no idea what I was going to do:

It’s started from the tip and it’s positioned on its side on tje right side of the shawl, with its tip touching the tip of the all blue coloured house.

From there on you can pretty much follow the colours and wander through the blocks.
Let’s take a stroll!

I knitted that first house from the tip down to its base. I didn’t break yarn but turned it a bit and picked up stitches from its side. I knitted another house shape onto it, pointing upwards in the picture. From the tip of this house I started another tip and picked up stitches from the side of its “roof” as I increased. This house is 90 degrees angle with its “mother” but its not visible in the picture, it got cropped out.
It has a purple tip and a blue base.

From its side I picked up stitches and knitted the house downwards that’s visible on the photo, it ends in an orange tip. I started another orange tip and both these orange tips are connected to the roof of the very first house shape.

We are now at the bottom of the shawl as I just described the house with the orange tip and the blue base, standing up right there on the left. I picked up stitches from its side and worked to the right, a house that lies down, at the bottom of the shawl.

At the dark tip of that house I again “crossed the intersection” and started another tip. This one is not attached to any other house yet and it lies on its side.

This house ends with a pink base at the bottom right corner of the picture.
Picked up stitches and knitted upwards. Started a new tip to the left. This house is the top most right one.
From its side I picked up stitches and worked downwards, attaching both houses that were floating free with their tips on the “intersection”.
Then I cut yarn. It dangles there, on top of the little teal triangle.

I added the all blue house to tie things together. Added two triangles to make it more of a solid shape: the teal one in the bottom right and the larger one in the bottom left.

In some of the knitwear you see knots mid shape. This is because I had to frog the test knits, to keep the colours flowing.
These testknits:

All in all I’m very happy with my Modular Cape!

I love the colours. The spinning was such a freeing experience, to just go for it. That’s where the skein got its name: Happy Go Lucky.

And then to play around with modular knitting, to find the right shapes and meterage to go with the colour reports. That was fun to do, a fun puzzle to solve. That it actually worked and became a wearable garment has me chuffed to bits.

Now I have this soft shawl around my shoulders. In colours that do not particular flatter my face (although the blue and the overall darkness of them do work) but colours I love nonetheless. And my pin goes so well with it!

It’s the oak leaf pin I made and never wear because all my knits are cool colours. It’s from aluminium and I shaped and hammered it carefully, as not to break the copper coloured surface.

narrowing down for Wintertrui 2014

I made some choices:

  1. It’s going to be the minty smurf blue handspun and I don’t have enough of it to make something with sleeves so it’ll be accompagnied by the white Donegal Heather. (I can buy new. I can buy new.)
  2. I want it to be winterfairytaley. Gletsjer magic.
  3. I don’t want it frilly. It needs to be a bit plain because this garment will be supporting other focus points such as a shawl or jewellery.
  4. good wearability by choosing wearing ease. Must be wearable over a longsleev.

I’ve looked at patterns and zoomed in on these:

  • Buttercup by Heidi Kirrmaier, to be knitted with long sleeves and less bell shaping. I made this one before, it’s a good pattern.
  • Drops’ Eskimo Shrug. To be knitted with stockinette stitch back panel and elongated into a hip long vest. I’ve done this before and love the result. Could do that again, with the blue in the main body and the white in a big collar. And add sleeves.
  • Askew by Cheryl Kemp. This would be nice in blue with thin white stripes in garter stitch. Fairy tale ahoy!

All three have their challenges.

Buttercup demands a bit of lace knitting and I’m not very fond of lace knitting in big needles. It often looks bumpy and unsophisticated.

But I love that neckline! It’s so feminine and fairy tale. I made it before and took care to position the neckline lace precisely, making it into some sort of a sweet heart neckline:

I’ve made it before and it looks smashing on me. I don’t have a picture of me wearing it but this picture gives some idea of the shaping I’d put into it again, both at the bust and at the waist. and you can imagine how it would look. Smashing!

But how to incorporate both yarns? I don’t like stripes very much. I think I’d go for colour blocks. The top in blue. The bottom half in white.

Or the top in white since the lace will look good in the round 3 ply Donegal Heather.

Eskimo Shrug wants you to know the gauge up front. And I don’t know it. But I guess I could find my way around this. It starts with a panel for the back and I could make that to size by starting in the middle and just knitting until I reach the desired width, just like Concrete Shrug does:

pattern: Concrete by Nicole Feller-Johnson

But not exactly like Concrete does because these squares don’t say “Snow Princess Fairy Tale knitted pullover” to me. More “Urban chick”.
There are other options though, to knit a panel to size, such as a flower. Or even a snowflake design:

A hat with a crocheted snow flake that I made for my brother. The pattern is Let it Snow Snowflake Hat by Alison Shuman

But here you see my objection to lace in big needles illustrated. It’s bumpy. And not very warm with all those big holes. (Oh! I could make it a double layer of fabric: one snow flake on one plain block. That would be warm! Would it be too bumpy? would I still sit comfortably against a chair with snow flake bumps on my back?)

Askew has been made by quite a few people who report problems with the sizing. It runs too small and relies too heavy on severe blocking. So I need to swatch and find out my gauge and then interpret the pattern so I can guess which size is best…

But you’ve got to be careful. You can’t just go and enlarge a design in bias. It will result in a big flappy point in the front and still not enough fabric in the back to cover the top and the bottom (which is where I feel the cold). I’ve experienced this in Petra, which I do not wear for warmth (or pleasure). Bias knitwear keeps creeping up. You can’t block it to shape.

pattern: Petra by Julie Weisenberger

Askew relies heavily on blocking as negative ease is needed for a form hugging shape. The design itself also relies on certain proportions. The front piece has vertical on the sides: these are sideseams. But at the top it curves to the front to make for the arm hole (without shaping I’m guessing). If you enlarge it without planning these points will come higher, throwing off the overall design. You’d have too high side seams in your arm pits and too much fabric folding over the breasts.

And I’d need adjustments at the back to make sure that’s wide enough and meets the side seams at both ends. And high enough because people wearing it show it doesn’t cover the back very much.

Besides, the efficiënt knitter in me would want to knit the front in one piece. Preferably with the back attached immediately. That’s a lot of knitting gamble in one chunk. Chances of having to frog and restart are high. And I’d have to know gauge for that one…. gauge is tricky in bias design… Chances of frogging increased.

I love bias. I love the point at the front and the neckline it brings at the top. It would make a marvellous fairy tale like garment. But I’m a bit weary of all the variables… I just want to knit, I don’t want to knit and learn and frog and reknit.


* Eskimo Shrug would knit the easiest, as you can add fabric as you go.
The vest I made from this pattern before is very much a Frankenstein-knit-as-you-go garment. The armholes were too big in the back and I had to “shortrow” them closed. The vest didn’t close in the front so I just kept adding borders to the collar. In elongated stitches because I was running out of yarn. In the end these big yarny holes turned out to be very good button holes so that was nice.

It’s a great vest. I wear it with pleasure.

Knitting Police haven’t bonked on my door, demanding answers. I could do this again I guess.

Issues to ponder:

  • how to insure a Princess Snowy image in this vest? (embellish the white collar with cable thingies? Snowdrops perhaps?)
  • how to make that back panel? (snowflake?)
  • is the Donegal soft enough to be made into the collar and be worn next to the skin in the neck?  (not really…)
  • how to colour the sleeves? will there be enough yarn left from the body to have some mint in the sleeves?
  • what border to choose at the bottom, to prevent flipping up? (it should be in accordance with the border of the collar)
  • button holes?

I’m sitting here writing, with one of the balls of Donegar tucked into the neckband of the sweater I’m wearing at the moment. To check for next-to-skin-softness.

It’s not. Not really.

  • give the collar a soft lining?


planning a winter trui

I’m toying around with the purple bouclé I spun at Tour de Fleece this year. It wants to be the yoke of a sweater.
It goes best with a white yarn. The purple would be the yoke, transitioning from white to dark purple. It would be a comfy yet glorious winter sweater (“trui” in Dutch), with the sparkles and the warmness and the dark and the light!

I’ve got the right yarn for it, it’s the white Donegal yarn. Donegal Irish Heather, from native Irish sheep, not tortured Merino’s. Aran weight.

The same yarn I used for my Bluebird Cardigan, and there’s still a bit left from thatin dark:

(the dark grey doesn’t do anything for the handspun.)

The other handspun that wants to become a wintertrui is that minty smurf fluff.
It’s about 700 m of aran weight. I don’t think it’s enough for a sweater…. if I look through Ravelry’s database most sweaters with a yarn of this thickness are either cropped or with short sleeves.

So I’m looking for a yarn to accompagny it.
The dark donegal works:

But the white donegal works better, it brings out the white whips of silk:

But I had plans for that white donegal…. I was dreaming of a hiplong cardigan, with lots of cable-details. I even designed it last year. Snowdrop Cardigan!

I’m not ready to abandon that project….
even though I can make two (if not three) sweaters out of that yarn when combined with other yarns. (the purple bouclé, the minty handspun and the dark grey Donegal)

But will I ever pick up this hibernating project again and knit it?
It’s bottom up with all the things going on simultaneously: the cables, the decreases, the lace edging, the button band and the button holes … It takes a bit of concentration.

But I’d love a white, long cardigan! And I’ve got 1600 meters of the stuff, the luxury of having plenty! To knit a long cardigan in one go, in one yarn. And it’d be my own design! And this wool would be perfect because it’s so round (3ply) so all the cables etc. will pop up splendidly.
Snow drops!

pic by cseilerde

But I did abandon that project… for that blasted Oak Grove Cardigan. Which is still in time out because it still makes me angry.

I don’t think I’ll pick it up soon, my Snowdrop Cardigan. Right now I want to knit with the bouclé. And with the smurfy mint. Simple top down sweaters with round yokes. Try it on as you knit. Stop increasing when it fits. Bind off when it’s long enough.
No hassle.

But sweaters like that do not benefit from round yarns like the Donegal. Round yarns like that shine in cabled knitwear, where they can emphasize the stitches.
It would be a pity to use it for simple stockinette… I so like Snowdrop, I’m petting it now… I could pick it up, try and get it going again? It’s so nice. But so much work, I’d have to drop all the other things. No bouclé. No smurf.

This yarn would be excellent for the bouclé! It does knit up beautiful in stockinette stitch. And I have it here, now, this yarn is in my hand!

I guess I could buy new yarn if I ever decide to knit a Snowdrop again… Springwools in Ireland still carries the stuff. And delivery is still only 3 euro… Perhaps I should I buy it already? Just to be sure I have it?

Although I did heard a rumour that sheep are growing more wool as we speak…

Finished: Cocoberry Cowl in silk

I finished it, it looks splendid!

the pattern is Cocoberry Cowl by Meilindis.
I used 480 m of fingering weight in pure silk, on needles 2,75 mm and I enlarged the pattern, this is a size M or L.

Shoulder detail:

This is a large shawl, it hangs halfway down my back. So somewhere in the middle I stopped increasing and ended the raglans with a nupp-detail.

The back:

with more flowers than the pattern states but I LOVE those flowers, with their nupps.

The front:

It closes with one flap over the other. And then buttons.

I bought buttons for it, while I was in the city. Nice purple lilac pearly accented buttons. But now I can’t find them, grrrr. I’m decluttering the cabin and that always messes up the system.

Silk has more drape and less memory than wool. So this shawl will pretty much hang from my shoulders as it is and not creep back up it, like blocked wool ones tend to do.
The collar however will not stand up on its own. That’s silk for you.

But what a nice colour! And such nice gleam!
It feels delicious. All cool and warm at the same time. And very soft.

I’ll be wearing it, without the buttons, until I find them. Nobody will think this shawl lacks buttons or luxury.

The edge in detail:

Finished: Proizd hat


and finished!

I used 2 x 33 grams of sportsweight wool, on needles 3 mm.

Pattern soon to be released by Jasna Kaludjerovic

She has designed a hat in cabled brioche before. And then made it into a dress!

Lilynet Dress by Jasna Kaludjerovic
I’m sure in her hands Proizd hat will become a Proizd dress too.

This hat is so comfy, with its thick double knitted fabric. And I love the colours!
The Noro changing and the bold Finnish Veta setting it off.

I’d love to make another one, with a light colour doing the cabling. But other things must be made first.
Love my new hat.

Weird Wool Wednesday: cat helps cables

I’m having trouble wrapping my head around the cables of Proizd hat. There’s no chart, just written instructions. I’m better with a visual aid…

…so this morning, even before I had my tea, I sketched something myself. Now I want to hold it next to my hat, to compare.

But catbutt!

“I approve of your sketch. And your cushy cabled cat cushion.”

Luckily I speak “cat”. taps on lap.
Out of nowhere interval music starts playing.

more interval music, with lots of twirls and pirouettes, prompting cat to express itself in a similar fashion

interval music whines on and on and on… cat can’t make up its mind. Right side down first or left side down first? hmmm…

Then, after we’ve all aged considerably, I finally get to see my hat and my sketch simultaneously:

Ah yes. I can see clearly now.

There’s a mistake at the bottom. But I’m not going to fix it. And I need to keep track of the repeats because I’ve nearing the top of the hat. Soon I’ll be leaving Brioche and go into Double Knitting and decreasing.
I like some tea now.

….I’m all ’bout that base, ’bout that basezzzz…


a hat for a picker

I now have my own woolpicker:

(and a sewing pattern, I’m trying to sew neck facings at the moment)(the flowery things are kitchen towels, playing the role of ironing board)

Wool picker has teeth:

A wool picker is an instrument to pick apart fleece fast. It doesn’t matter how matted the fleece is, the picker will make it fluffy. It can then be put through the drum carder right away without any more preparation. And one go through the drumcarder is enough. I did so with the smurfy mint fluff here.

Instead of drumcardig the fluff one could felt with it right away (where it not that the eco fleeces I mostly process do not felt).
This technique of loosening up the fleece is done in every culture that has a felting tradition.

For me, it’s now a delight to be able to process a fleece faster.
Before I could maybe spin up one fleece a year, due to having to put it through the drum carder slowly and multiple times. But with the wool picking as a preparation I can prepare as much as 5 fleeces a year, if not more!

Pity I can’t spin that many fleeces in a year…
Or knit more than one fleece in a year.

What’s this logic talk? What’s this sensibility? Surely I can pick, card, spin and knit 5 fleeces in a year!

(I like to live in the Nile)
(‘coz I’m a fibre crocodile!)

(that’s right, I’m a croc made of African Flowers,)
(Stomping into this blog to be wiled for hours!)
pattern and pics by Nnattalli M.

(Couldn’t it just be a nephew from that Happy Hippo by Heidi Bears?)

(I so wanted to make this Happypotatamus before my shoulder said no!)

(My shoulder still hurts now and then. Especially now that I’m doing cables in brioche for that test knit Proizd hat... Stupid cables. Stupid shoulder. I should know better but…)

(me and my shoulder…. we’re just bobbing in the Nile, being all cool and croco.)
(ooohooo, that reminds me of one of my favourite bags!
HelloCrocheted Alligator Handbag by Marleen Hartog. Isn’t it marvellous?
I love funny bags. I don’t mind walking around looking “interesting”. But you know this.)
(of the 7 bags on my Pinterest Board Bags I Definitely Want To Own 3 are animal shaped:
great bags
(I already own 3 of these 7 bags.)
(One is chicken shaped)
(Am I doing things right or what!)

(uhmmm, where was I?)
(I am procrastinating because of those neck facings, of course.)

The wool picker was made by Dolf, a carpenter. He is very precise.

And I am very grateful he made it. Of course I paid the man but it is like with all hand mades: the money doesn’t even cover half of the hours put into it.

So I made him a hat:

I used some handspun Texelaar

38 grams, it covered the top.
The brim I made of Irish Donegal Heather yarn, leftover from my Bluebird cardigan. I used about 10 grams and that would be about 16 m. I’m not sure my numbers are correct.

I gave it a cable, to match the mitts my friend is knitting for Dolf. She’s the one that introduced us and brokered the deal for the wool picker.

She chose Coler Mitts by Stephen West

A nice, manly pattern. Also made of handspun, to show Dolf how his skills will further ours.

When I finished the hat it was a white and dark grey hat and although I loved it I knew a man would probably love something with less contrast. So I dyed the whole hat, with blue and black.

I hope he likes it. My friend sure did and she knows Dolf so I’m confident.
I really like my new tool. I love well made tools. I’m going to wax the wood or perhaps give it a wash with cooked flaxseed oil.
And then I’m picking the fleeces in my wool room!

(once I participated in a swap with the theme Eddy Izzard. I received this pattern:

pattern Eddie Lizzard by cheezombie)

In Progress: Proizd hat

going well. With Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn and purple Finnish Veto. The Veto is proper sportsweight, the Noro will fluff up to more than sports. The yarn now fills up the gaps nicely.
On needles 2,75 mm.

gauge still 18 st per 10 cm, as it should be.

testknit: cabled brioche hat Proizd

Now that I can see my knitting up close again I’ve fallen straight into another testknit: Proizd hat. A pattern by Jasna Kaludjerovic, who’s also the stunning model in this picture:

It’s a hat with brioche stitch and cabling intertwined to make that intriguing pattern like a stained glass window.
Even though there are never more than 3 stitches involved in a cable crossing it’s obviously a pattern that requires attention. Jasmin is a mathematician and I love these kind of intelligent patterns.

I’m glad I knitted Frost on Leaves hat earlier in the year, to get the hang of Brioche in cables:

In Poizd hat, gauge is very important states the pattern. It says you should use yarns that usually give you 24 st and 32 rows in a 10×10 cm square. So I, being a very loose knitter, grabbed some light fingering handspun and needles 2,5 mm.
“Normal” people would take sportsweight and 3,5 mm needles.

first try:

These are my handspun. They’re a delight to knit with.

But the colours do not work very well together, they could do with more contrast. Also, I made a glaring mistake and started the cabling too late. And this is too tight to fit round my head.

So I chose thicker yarn: white sock yarn (Drops Fabel) and another handspun in light fingering. Have gone up in needle size for better fit. (2,75 mm)

Try number two:

Colours have enough contrast. And it does fit.
But it requires the fabric to be stretched as much as the photo shows. Creating holes in the fabric and the orange yarn is so thin and flimsy… it looks pathetic. You can see right through the fabric and the orange just doesn’t have enough body to carry this design.

So, on to thicker yarn and again thicker needles.

That’s why third try:

This time in proper, commercial spun, sportsweight. And needles 3 mm. Lana Grossa Cool Merino in red and Frankengarn Socke with silk in green.

Fit’s ok. But this is how much the fabric needs to be stretched to fit my head.
Gaps are gone. But the green “feathers” have a clear red horizontal stripe in between their legs. It’s not very pretty. The designer certainly doesn’t have that much dark blue horizontal stripes between the upward lines in the light blue feathers.

But that may be because she’s framing her feathers with a dark colour. I’m using a bright red.

I’m not too worried about gauge anymore, it may very well be that my gauge in Cabled Brioche differs from the designer’s, even though our gauge in Stockinette Stitch is the same. Either way my head circumference and the amount of stitches to be cast on comes to a gauge of about 17 – 18 stitches per 10 cm which is what my red/green is (and the orange/white combination too).

This gauge leads to stretched fabric. A gauge of 17 – 18 stitches per 10 cm will lead to a fabric that’s this stretched. This is the look the hat will get. And, looking at the designer’s hat, she too has this stretched look at the brim.


Higher up the hat may grow more tight, when more cables occur. Cables tighten knitwear. But Brioche is extremely stretchy so they might negate each other. Jasmin says everything is going to be alright and I believe her.

So if I want to change the look of my knitted fabric my only variable now is the yarn I use. I’m now looking for a yarn that fills up the gaps between the stitches a bit more. A woolen yarn would do just that…. but then the clear defined pattern would be obscured. And I very much like the feather or tree branche diagonal stripes.

For my fourth, and last, cast on I’m changing yarn once again.
This time I’m going to use Noro Silk Garden Sock, a yarn that can bloom when it’s washed and beaten. It will fill up the gaps.
I’m going to frame it in a dark purple sportsweight. A worsted, round yarn from Finland: Veto.
And my needle of choice will be a 3,25 mm.