Weird Wool Wednesday: inside yoke

“Just sprinkle some crack on it and let’s get outa here!”

Dave Chappelle doing his stand-up routine “Killing them softly”, nearly 15 years ago. Reference starting at 7.02 min
Still going strong in the Reddit-fora. And in my head.

It gives me a little chuckle that I, a wool loving woman in her forties in some barn in the Netherlands, have these kind of urban references in my head and regard them as part of my identity.
That’s the modern age for you.

The “crack” I sprinkled was washing powder, just before chucking it into the washing machine.
Put it on a short cycle at 40 degrees celcius but I didn’t let it go to full spin cycle.

It came out great!

(Louet bobbin for scale)(It’s a little small)

It’s a little bumpy on the back, where it has taken on the shape it was folded in in the machine. Also, you see the white grey hairs of the fleece coming through the brown backing. A sign of thorough felting:

It’s also quite stiff = well felted. And it’s rather small… it will allow only one person to sit on it.

Such great colours and great locks! The locks are all free, none have been felted in. Yes, it will be a fine piece to put on the couch and sit on. Seat for one person. Me. Or, when I’m not there, the cat. Or. when I am there, the cat. What else is new.

Felting the Schoonebeker Fleece

I spread out the Schoonebeker fleece to look at it:

Lovely colour. Quite a bit of twigs unfortunately. It has lovely brown long locks and grey fluff at the shorn sides. It’s not very big though, for the price I paid I expected a large fleece, this seems to be half that size. Not big enough to put on the couch, better suited for a chair.

I turned it upside down to put Bergschaf on the back but when I poured soapy water on it the Bergschaf didn’t grab the Schoonebeker well enough. It preferred to felt onto itself and I ended up with a layer of brown Bergschaf separated from the fleece.

Any wool put on the back needs to be pretty fluffy. That’s why often merino is chosen. That’s why woolpicking works so well, it’s the way it’s done traditionally from Turkey to Mongolia.
This bergschaf is not woolpicked, it is carded fleece. Perhaps it is too coherent in its layers.

Perhaps I’m overthinking this…

Anyway, I took off the Bergschaf and started again. This time I fluffed up the bits of Bergschaf, just like a was a one woman wool picker, and put the pieces of fluff between the shorn parts, in individual creases where the fleece opens up naturally. It took about an extra hour:

Then I worked these fluffbits into the fleece a bit, digging with only my fingers. No water.

I put a layer of Bergschaf over that, reasoning that this layer would at least grab on the little bits of fluff already buried in the fleece.

Then I flipped the whole hting over in a rather impressively coordinated move that I cannot explain nor reproduce.

From the right side I checked whether all locks were positioned correctly: brown tips outward, shorn light coloured parts inward, buried in brown Bergschaf. I corrected where necessary. Then I poured warm soapy water over it.

Now I worked from the tips, digging my fingers into it. I poured more water over it. Worked it a bit, only digging downwards, not sideways. Basically I pressed out all the air and made sure the shorn bits connected to the brown fluffy bits connected to the brown carded fleece.

Then I folded the plastic sheets over, making neat folds at the sides so the water would not leak out. I rolled it tight around a rolling pin I have (also known as a bit of plumbing piping) and rolled the package to and fro for a bit.

Then I unfolded, rotated the piece 90 degrees, folded it back up, resumed rolling.

I rolled for about 2 minutes. Unfolded to check. Made repairs here and there. Rolled a bit more. Then had to go inside for a rest. And tea and cake.

That’s pretty much how I spend the afternoon.
Roll, rest, cake. Repeat.

In the evening I unfolded for the last time and watered the fleece with the garden hose to wash away the very filthy water. I drain it in a bucket that I empty in the outside sink that’s connected to the sewing system, there’s no need to pour the soapy water into the ground.

The back looks alright. Bergschaf and Schoonebeker both felt readily and the trick with the buried fluffy bits had worked very well. The back is no a unity.

Tomorrow I’ll have another look. See if it’s fulled enough.
If so then I’ll put it in the washer.

(the felting process consists of two steps: fulling and felting. Fulling is making sure all the bits are grabbing on to each other. Felting is the shrinking bit, when it becomes a dense, matted fabric. I did the fulling by hand, with the rolling. The felting will be done in the washer. It’s too hard work for me to do at the moment.)

I’ve never done that before…

On the 30 minutes program I think. And not with dish washer soap. But either washing powder or soap I use for felting.

I hope I don’t break the machine, this fleece is pretty heavy when it’s wet…

hahaha! Check out this “passive felting”! Just put the dry fulled fleece in your bed and sleep on it, you’ll felt it in your sleep.

I found it while researching online (whilst eating cake)(apple cake)( upside down oats cinnamon apple cake)(From apples from my own tree)(I eat it with sour creme or clotted cream. And there’s 125 grams of full cream butter in there, that’s more than a whole stick!)
It’s great felter’s cake!:

Monday Morning Fart: buying a Louet S30

Early this morning a friend offered her Louet S30 up for sale.

The Louet S30 is an electronic spinner (“e-spinner”) that uses a sewing machine motor that drives the bobbin. It runs on electricity and you command it with a foot pedal.

It’s ideal for plying which I regard as tedious homework most of the time. So I jumped right on the chance to buy an e-spinner!

The Louet S30 was manufactured in the ’70s of the last century but
Louet stopped making them soon after. They were not satisfied with the performance. Sewing machine motors have a tendency to burn out when they’re used at high speed for a long time.
And the foot pedal can wear out fast too, when it’s not used with the foot straight on.

But by now, in this century, all the mediocre ones have been weeded out and the S30’s you can get your hands on by now are of expected quality. Besides, you can always replace the motor, should it burn out. The same goes for the sensitive parts in the foot pedal. So don’t be afraid to buy. It’s a good product, although old.
Louet thinks so too because they still offers spare parts for the S30 in their shop, like the belts.

If you want a new product, there are many modern E-spinners out there now. Nearly all big wheel producers have one and some are outright gorgeous. However, they are costly.

Hansencraft minispinner

When I say “costly”…
this is how Hansencraft illustrate their price list:    Whoa! How much?
But so worth it! A friend of mine has one of these and she looks so content whenever I see her spinning on it. And it’s silent. Perhaps that little guy is just a spinner, dancing with glee.

The new e-spinners no longer use sewing machine motors with decades old technology. For example: they now have continious speed adaptors. And they run on motors that don’t require ventilators. They are silent.

In contrast to the S30 that’s up for sale which runs on a motor with a ventilator.
Which I realized just in time.

Because who has two thumbs and is ridiculously sensitive to sounds?

this girl

How could I forget?! I’m actually sitting here with my ear mufflers on and it’s just birds outside?!

No vintage e-spinner for me. Even though the bobbins can be used on two of my other wheels. Better stick to regular homework when it comes to plying.

And dream of some big money and a ticket to the States to go get a Hansencraft Minispinner.

Or make one myself. It’s pretty basic connecting things. Here’s a (German) video showing a well equiped home made e-spinner. She’s thought of everything!

(I also have a nagging feeling I’ve made this mistake before… nearly buying a Louet S30 and then backing out because I remember just in time I have noise considerations.)(Or it might be Monday morning, giving me deja vu as it’s happening.)

the Day of Wool in pictures

I visited the Day of Wool in Oijen. It’s a yearly event, low key and family friendly and with lots of special things especially appealing to wool people: yarn, roving, fleeces, woven shawls, carding material (boards etc.), felting and workshops for beginners and experienced.

This year we had lovely weather and we all basked in the love for sheep:

So many fleeces, raw and dyed. Here are some examples and some beautifully dyed mohair, from Wolplantage:

Skeins dyed with plants at Herbana Lana, such beautiful colours. In the back there’s a felting workshop underway.

Wecking Wool? Herbana Lana has fun with this way to dye:

100% Dutch landbreed fleeces of exceptional quality over at Wolkol. In the front for felting, in the back for spinning:

Anke from Atelier Anke is focusing on the question from a costumer. She makes beautiful things with needle felting. Check out the sheep’s head at the back! In the front soft Gottland fabric and curls.
There was such lovely atmosphere in all of her products. I bought a cookie cutter in the shape of a mushroom. It was at the beginning of the day, when I still was firm in my resolution not to buy anything wool.

A rainbow of colours at the stand of Aretta Hueff. Dyed and carded Clun Forest and many other breeds. (In the back ground there’s a stand with plant printed garments. Orange = eucalyptus leaves)
arettahueffAretta Hueff also sells lots of second hand books about plant dyeing, traditional embroidery techniques and knitting. Including a favourite of mine: Creative Knitting by Mary Walker Phillips. Such an artiste. Here’s a Rav link. We’re lucky to have a print in Dutch, the book is not so rare over here as the American version is.

Half through the day I had to take a break and rest the nervous system and redistribute blood pressure.
Luckily I brought the knitter’s automobile and my happy new socks!

Other people took a break in the parking lot too. Just laying in the grass, enjoying the Dutch landscape, or admiring each other’s loot. It was such a lovely day!

Inside there was a courtyard, with a “frietkot”: a mobile little home where french fries are fried freshly. In front there were picknick tables to sit at. You just sit at a table whenever there’s room, next to people you do not know who are already seated. Do people do this in the States? You’re pretty much in each others’ personal space…


I guess a shared fondness for wool promotes civility. Because we share these seats in a friendly manner.

And more than that because before you know it you are chatting with the person next to you about what they bought or saw at the fair, sharing tips and showing purchases!
Or, in my case, learning about trout and fishing because my neighbour was reading a fisher’s magazine. He must be a fisher man. With a lovely, wool wielding wife. A good combination.

These are my friends from Wolop/ Fun with Wool, with their rainbow stacks of spinning wool in various breeds. They were looking into the sunlight all day and a bit knackered when I took this picture. But before you knew it we were joking and laughing again! They’re a lovely couple.

I bought one of her multicoloured BFL rovings. Usually she sells more mono tinted rovings as you can see in the picture. This is so you can combine it with a multicoloured (handspun) yarn and can make lovely combinations. But I fell for the multi coloured roving, hard.

Wolop also has knit examples on the table of each of the different breeds so you can see the handle and how it feels. The BFL had a multi coloured one that stole my heart… so I bought one just like it:

It’s no longer in its tidy braid because I couldn’t wait to pry it open and start thinking about how to spin the colours. I examined the knit example very closely to see how it was spun. It was stripped lengthwise and then spun with medium draft. So the colours did blend but were still distinguisable.
Because all the colours go so well together the resulting yarn and knitwear was varied in colour but still in harmony.

Right at the boot I opened up my roving. Then I played with it some more on my way home, when I parked the car somewhere in the Dutch landscape and had a lovely picknick for one.

For one but not alone! In the boot of the car was my new friend: a Schoonebeeker land breed fleece from Wolkol. Felts while you look at it. Much better than the Dutch Speckled 2013 that’s still waiting for me to finish it… that “Hollands Bont” just won’t felt. It takes forever. (I don’t have forever. This Schoonebeeker you can full a little and then you toss it into the washing machine. You pull out a finished rug. Or so I tell myself.)

I love the two colours all fibres have: greyish white at the base and dark brown at the tip.

Hopefully today I’ll unfold it and see wether I’ve got enough for a throw on the couch or perhaps even some cushions to go with it.

Finished: Frileuse Mitts

I gave them white borders, from Knitpicks Lace held double. Appropriately soft next to the handspun.

These are excellent computermitts, what with the cold metal of the MacBook pro (I thínk I have a MacBook pro… I’m not sure. It’s the one with the cold metal casing)
I’m wearing them right now :)

I’ll be taking them off later on though. I’m leaving for a sheep wool fair in a bit, wouldn’t want my new mitts to become greasy and dirty on their first day.
It’s Dag van de Wol (the Day of Wool) I’ll be visiting. Trucking over there all by myself, in my knitter’s automobile.

I’ll see if I can take some pictures for you. It’s a friendly, small scale event. At a farm where they breed horses (for milking I think?)

In previous years there was a guy with a harmonica…. and someone herding geese through the horse barn it’s held in. The geese feet swirled all the dust in the air, covering all the people and yarn and wool in dust.
I think they stopped with the geese.

Weird Wool Wednesday 3: socks in reverse

It’s 3 o ‘clock. The socks have been in time out for a while:

By now I have started the day: made some lunch, did some wool picking (carding), send an email. I’ve put on other socks, feet are cosy now I’m glad to report.

I gave up on the socks when this happened:

They’re too tight. Because I had decreased too soon and too fast:
Not comfortable.

One down, one to go:

I left them lying on the couch. In a handy nest with their yarns untangled, so I could sit right back down again and restart knitting any time.

Luckily someone made sure they’re kept safe and warm:

Weird Wool Wednesday 2: socks at noon?

Today has somehow become all about finishing the socks.

I haven’t showered yet, I haven’t done anything useful. (No wait, I did put out the bins)(and shared some mackerel with the cat)(and cleaned up cat vomit 20 minutes later)

I’m just sitting here knitting socks. I’ve got a bit of the sniffles, I think Autumn has started, it is cold in house. Also the old brain chemistry/hormones are a bit out of balance due to things I ate/drank/did yesterday. I know bodily movement would normalize this the quickest… but that would require getting up and starting to move, perhaps even go outside. What a weird idea. It’s cold outside.
Instead I’m obsessing over these socks.

To entertain my noodle I’m watching BBC documentairies about Vienna in 1908, Paris in 1928 and New York in 1951. “Bright Lights, Bright Minds”:

Only the Vienna one really mesmerished me. Perhaps because it’s about novel urban architecture. I like it when a whole new approach is forged.
Or because I’m really fascinated by the transition of the Victorian era into the modern world.

In each episode the narrator, dr. James Fox, makes me huff a bit, every time he gives his opinion about a piece of art. It’s so personal and he presents it as truth. Hmpf!

Also: I’ve still got bare feet. Now tucked away under me, wrapped in my grannies wool blanket. It’s handy having bare feet when knitting socks. You can try them on for size.

Noon came. I’m decreasing for the toes. Nearly there!

Then this happened:


Luckily I have friend who send me little pieces of yarn in great colours. This was send to me by an Abyssinian cat, to see if Wollmeise Twin Fuchsia would be a contender for the colour combinations I was trying out for Rockefeller Shawl.
A perfect colour for these happy socks!

Once I finish them, I can put them on and then I can go put on my hiking boots and then I can go take a walk outside and then I can normalize my neurotransmitterleves and then I can feel good about life, the universe and everything.
That’s why I’m obsessing about finishing these socks. And that’s why I cannot start my day before they’re finished.
It’s 13.11 hour now.

Weird Wool Wednesday: socks by morning

I honestly thought that I’d have finished socks in the morning when I took this knitting with me upstairs last night:

I don’t know why. I didn’t knit one stitch and I never knit in bed anyway…

They are my standard “Hiking Socks”, for wearing in my hiking boots and clogs. Knit with double yarn and on needles 3,25mm. (I knit regular fingering weight on 1,75mm since I’m such a loose knitter.

I was so confident I’d knit them, I didn’t even bring back up socks. This is me this morning:

(I feel I need to explain a little bit about this picture. The untidy white sheet, next to the mosquito net, is actually a hypo-allergenic cover which holds the mattress. Only it’s way too big for the mattress, that’s why it’s so untidy and foldy. There’s a regular, fitting, bedsheet on top of it but it’s cropped out of the picture.

The orange rope is securing the bed “floor” (“lattenbodem” in Dutch) to the sides. We fell through once…

And I’m wearing tights with the feet cut off. Nearly all my tights look like this. (are these “tights”? or are the “maillots”. They are thick and warm, with a percentage wool in them.) I cut them so I can wear handknit socks without things getting too bulky to wear my regular shoes.

About the second picture: Lillepoes has made many holes in the top bed sheet, when kneeding it with her nails out. I tried to cover the holes with stealthily placement of knitted socks and what not in the second picture. I see I missed one…

Oooh, and look how worn the sheet is! I swear I said to myself when I put it on last Monday that this was the last time I was using me, that I would bin it aend of the week. Please believe me.

And in the roof, in the top picture,… you see a… white “worm” sticking out? That’s a piece of toiletpaper, blocking a hole in the wood, you know, from where a branch once grew. (“Kwast” in Dutch.)
I had a bit of a mosquito problem the past 10 days and I thought they might be getting in this way.

Ooooh….rope and toiletpaper house fixes, worn sheets and scizzored tights, getting out of bed at half past nine … I fear I am showing you much more of real life than internet necessitates!

Wait, did I just poem?

Rope and toiletpaper house fixes,
worn sheets and scizzored tights,
getting out of bed at half past nine,
please recognize your life in mine!

Now if you’ll excuse me, my ankles are getting cold. It’s 10.25 in the morning and I haven’t had breakfast yet.)

Book about stranded knitting

This cover blows my mind…

how not only the colours but also the shapes/lines of the photo’s are captured in the knitting. What amazing work!

To me, there’s all kinds of links to the graphic arts and urban arts (graffiti). I can’t stop looking at it and thinking about my own plans for Woodland Pullover and Art Deco sweater.

It’s a book by Knitsonik that will be released in November. It is funded through Kickstarter.
Supported by many knitters.