More Wensleydale wetfelting

I was so giddy with the wet felting skills I unlocked with ice cream the other day that I took a small piece of the grey Wensleydale fleece and made some sort of cushion/head rest from it:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

On the back I put white Bergshaf/ Mountainsheep from the Wollfabrik/ Woolfactory.

I remembered: don’t fret with the curls while they’re still wet:

tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

The Wollfabrik’s Bergschaf always has bits and pieces of vegetable matter in it:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop
It’s also not very soft. Only suitable for non-delicate felts such as rugs and bags and cat caves. Not suited for shawls or hats. But the Wensleydale curls are supersoft!

This piece of felt is meant to sit on my knitting chair.
When it’s put in the reclining position I can prop up the cushion and rest my head amidst the locks. That will be nice, especially in Winter.
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

Ahh the cat-help. Always the cat-help. Apparently I shouldn’t photograph any wool item on its own. It always needs cat enhancement.
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshoptasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshoptasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

My sock doesn’t fit

I finished the first plant dyed Blattwerk sock:

I adjusted the pattern to accomodate my high instep. I topped the leafs with a double decrease. And changed all the twisted stitches into regular ones to please my shoulder impingement. I did twist them on the cuff though, to make it different from the leg:

And then:

it didn’t fit.

The leg is too tight for my heel to pass.

I don’t understand. I had the yellow socks with me all the time, studying them and copying that.
Why won’t the leg fit?

It’s because I knitted it over 60 stitches. Like I do all my legs of all my socks.

I know this leg is patterned and this usually affects the stitch number. But I assumed that the faux rib would be a bit stretchy just like the faux rib called “koffieboontje” is but it isn’t. It actually doesn’t stretch at all. On top of that I thought the combination of knits and purls would give more give so I wasn’t worried at all. Just focusing on getting the leafs beautiful and carefully knitting all those twisted stitches in the cuff.

Mind you, the pattern does specify to knit the leg over 70 st. But because I had made modifications and knew the pattern by heart and had my example socks I didn’t reread the pattern.

As usual I fitted my sock many times during the knitting, right to the top of the heel flap. From then it was a home stretch, I thought. I have skinny ankles, I can get away with a leg and cuff of 54 st. 60 will be good.

Well, it isn’t. I’m ripping everything out and wil restart from the top of the heel flap and use 70 stitches. This yarn and these socks are too beautiful not to be made into a pair of fitting socks.

The colour, when I knit with it it’s a true grey but from the corner of your eye it’s a purple grey. And under artificial light it’s purple grey for sure, as all the photo’s show.

Plant dyed yarn is a marvel.


Knitting on the sock right now. We drove to the cabin earlier today, me and Lillepoes.

One of us was protesting all the way here:

And now she refuses to come outside even though she absolutely loves it here.

She’s beaming and meowing to me through the glass door:

Cats are weird. I better go in and pet her.

Weird Wool Wednesday: “bolletje ijs, bolletje wol”

bolletje ijs, bolletje wol. IJssalon Swalmen Wolbeest

bolletje ijs, bolletje wol. IJssalon Swalmen Wolbeest

bolletje ijs, bolletje wol. IJssalon Swalmen Wolbeest

Ice cream shop Da Giovanni in Swalmen, the Netherlands, sells both quality ice cream and quality knitting yarn. A genius combination!

Go on, how many “bolletjes” would you like to have?

“Bolletje” means “little ball” in Dutch and is typically used for yarn, ice cream, bread, a child’s head, a cat’s head and young birds.
Something dear to hold in your hand and coo at:

bolletje ijs, bolletje wol. IJssalon Swalmen Wolbeest
Awww, you’re so pretty… yes you are, you are…

Doing a workshop Bag Felting at Atelier Het Wolbeest

I felted a bag!
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshoptasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

It was a one day workshop at Atelier Het Wolbeest in Swalmen. She has a wonderful studio there:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop
This is only half of it. The other half is filled with wool in all colours and tea pots and cake.
Behind the green door there are chickens.

The front looks good too!
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop
It’s the icecream parlour!
Having a taste included in the workshop and it was gorgeous!

For the workshop I brought two pieces of fleece with me that have saddened me for years now:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop
Both are Wensleydales, one grey one white. They have nice locks but the backs were densely matted… I didn’t know what to do with them. For the white one I paid a ridiculous amount of money to a smooth talking salesman (Sikko). The grey one I got as a payment once. Both made me cringe every time I looked at them.

I really wanted the felt experts I was with this day to look at them and give me some advice. I expected their advice to be: throw them away. Leave the past behind you. Never talk to Sikko again.

tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

Look at those backs, I couldn’t do anything with them. Couldn’t separate locks to felt them into something or spin them into something. Couldn’t felt them because the backs were already so matted and I learned you should tease open the back.
But Het Wolbeest squealed with delight because these fleeces are in fact fabulous to use. “Just pour some Bergschaf on the back and you’ve practically got a bag already!”

Alright! Let’s try this.
I positioned part of my fleece on the flap of the bag. The rest of the bag will get a nice structure from Gottland-Wensleydale mix Alexandra provided:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop
(You’re not expected to bring your own fleece for this workshop, Atelier Het Wolbeest has all the materials you need at no extra cost. I just wanted to use this one straight away, to convince myself that it indeed can be done with these fleeces and that I am in fact the person who can do it.)

We got a wonderful luncheon:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

Lunch companion, willing to help with left overs:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

Het Wolbeest had a wonderful notion bag laying around. A little try-out she absentmindedly made one morning. Wonderful! I want one too!
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshoptasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

My Rikke hat had a brief visit with its origins:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

Felting went well. I learned the basics and some advanced techniques.

Got to watch experts at work:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

She’s checking for thin patches, checking against the lights. I’m laughing so hard I can’t focus.
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshoptasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshoptasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshoptasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

Nearly there, the fulling stage is done. This is the bag inside out:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

I’m going to have to check for thin patches soon too.

Part of the deal was a visit to the local leather shop Dun Hook and have leather bands cut to size and attached:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop
I love good tools, especially when made of wood and metal:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshoptasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshoptasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshoptasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

The bag is still damp. We chucked it into the centrifuge and ran to the leather shop. This means that the Wensleydale locks are a bit tangled. It’s hard not to tug at them! But you’ve got to leave them alone. Wait till they’re dry.

Result at the end of a long day:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

At my home the bag got a chance to dry out completely. The locks untangled by themselves and looked nice. Really soft.

After a few days I made a few finishing touches to the bag.
The leather band had sharp edges, from the cutting:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop
So I sanded the edges down with sandpaper in two different coarseness:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

and treated the edges with a wonderful leather cream: Urad.

Now the straps have smooth edges:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

I trimmed the flap a bit. Because my fleece was so thick it had a different shrinkrate to the rest of the bag and it looked a bit lopsided.

And I took off the sheep’s head. I specifically had wanted to make it on the bag and I’d made everyone stay 45 minutes late making it. But back in the city, looking at it, I felled it was too cutesy.
Also, its ears fell off after one day. Because I was so done with dry felting at that point.
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

All in all I now have this wonderful bag and am using it everywhere. There’s this wonderful day to look back on, we had such fun! And I feel confident I can do some more felting like this and bring out some of the good in those white and grey Wensleydale locks:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshopYay!
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop


Nurmilintu shawl in Dutch Wool Diva yarn

At the Knit & Knot fair in Tilburg I was offered a luxury yarn as part of a swap in the Dutch Karma Swap Group on Ravelry and I chose this one:
Diva Sock Donegal Nepps by Dutch Wool Diva. In colourway Statue. 400 m, 100 grams.

The Diva herself was also at the fair, with her yarns and spinning fibres. She was wearing a shawl in this yarn, in this colourway, and it looked gorgeous! I had previously seen it on her Dutch video/vlog/podcast and but virtual reality couldn’t hold a candle to tactile reality.

The Diva handed over her shawl for me to feel it, she know knitters love to “look” with their hands:

I went bold and chose that yarn and that pattern, then and there. My inner critic had already fired up for a nice round of “debating the fun out of life” but I ignored him, grabbed the yarn and ran. My inner critic doesn’t know how to live life.

The pattern is a free pattern: Nurmilintu by Heidi Alander:

And I already have my own around my shoulders today!

Mikkemus has knitted it for me, from my own yarn, as part of another swap in the same Dutch Karma Swap Group. I’m so glad she did! My knitting is all over the place at the moment, I’m not finishing anything (apart from cuffs) and I really want to wear this shawl this Summer as it fits my colour scheme so beautiful. Your knitting time/skills is a luxury gift to give someone.

Here’s my Nurmilintu shawl in DWD Donegal neps, colourway Statue:

Nurmilintu shawl Dutch Wool Diva yarn

Mikkemus made a modification and knitted the “trees” in stockinette stitch instead of garter:
Nurmilintu shawl Dutch Wool Diva uarn

I love my shawl. It wears lovely: soft and good colour and with the long ends it wraps around the neck well. Yet it still has some dept so it isn’t a scarf. And it’s done. Finished. Currently in use. No (t much) time wasted pondering and scheming and worrying and doubting. It’s here and it’s good!

For the photo it’s hanging on my fig tree. Such an exotic tree to have in the middle of a farmer’s field in a North Sea country…
I got the tree for my birthday last year and we managed to nurse it through the Winter. I might have figs this year!

Nurmilintu shawl Dutch Wool Diva uarn

It’s good to be at the cabin again this weekend. Nature has exploded in abundance:
Nurmilintu shawl Dutch Wool Diva uarn

My inner critic is hoarse from rattling of a list at high speed and high pitch of all the things that need to be weeded, pruned, chopped, tidied, composted in our patch of woodland.
But frankly: we’ve already lost the battle. As we do each year. So why worry?

My inner critic would do well to chill out and listen to the resident Mindfulness Master:

Are you coming inside or what?
Nurmilintu shawl Dutch Wool Diva uarn
We must go sleep on the sofa.

500th project: mauve socks with leaves.

This morning I cast on with the plant dyed sock yarn I purchased from Wolop last Wednesday. The pattern is my take on Blattwerk by Stephanie van der Linden.

I’ve given the base of the leafs a slip-over-stitch so it has a distinctive beginning. And I’m finishing the tops with a double decrease, for the same visual clarity.

The leafs won’t be sharing stitches and I do a cable crossing to avoid decreasing a stitch that I later need as a purl framing for the textured stitches.

I’m keeping a gusset for longer than the pattern states and also won’t be decreasing it right after I turn the heel. That’s way too tight for my highish instep.

The toe was finished on the card drive to the cabin and now we’re here, amidst the green.

I have a second lettre scale. So much more sympathetic than those electric scales that are always hungry for more batteries and take long seconds to make up their mind when you switch them on: “do I want to weigh something today? Or shall I just pretend the battery died already?”

Weird Wool Wednesday: knitting one sock.

I finished one sock:

The one with my most-beautiful-skein-but-what-will-I-do-with-it?
The skein is gone. The colours in the knitting are ok. Close up there’s lots to see:

But I miss the skein a bit…. And it’s all so dark! Would I wear dark socks?
I’ve been talking a lot about LIGHT colours lately. (Talking about some glinstering charcoal, true, but mostly light colours.)

I’ve been petting my new yarns, the ones I used for the cuffs. One is perfectly light coloured. And I’m wearing these socks all the time:

So, naturally:

And this morning:

This is the Wol met Verve yarn that I knitted some cuffs from. Pattern Blattwerk with modifications.

And now I’m worried I don’t have enough yarn for a whole pair of socks… That’s why there’s already a different coloured toe in this one. Which bugs me to no end, since my green yellow onion ones are so beautiful and in one piece.


This makes not for relaxed sock knitting proces. Not much fun. I worry all the time. Running to the scales all the time to see if I need to start the second sock or not. Which will need a different coloured toe. Which I don’t want to knit. Pondering knitting one whole sock in this yarn and leave it at that.
But what will I knit today? I’m travelling today. Can’t bring the scales. I need a fun, relaxed project!

So I ordered new yarn. A whole 100 grams skein for whole socks. From Wolop.

It’s the same yarn as my onion green yellow Blattwerk socks above, the yarn that makes me so happy because it reminds me of the wonderful time we had at Midwinterwol Fair:

The new yarn is dyed with …. “Blauwhout”. Woad?
It’s Mauve! I don’t have a good picture yet. Here’s a casual phone picture by Wolop (she has such photo-skills!):

She’s bringing it today. We meet up in the train to travel together to another place, she with skein, me with needles. Shall I bring my wool winder or will we do old school and wind by hand?

I want to start a new, light coloured sock today.

Done with cuffs! Or am I?

I’m done knitting cuffs! This is the lot:

Nine pairs.

And one lonesome Dutch Knitting Design silver Krokus cuff hiding behind my cup of tea. It’s solo because I haven’t run into one of the many balls I know I have of this yarn. They must all be at the cabin.

These are the “spikkelcuffs”, from the miniskeins from indydyer Wol met Verve:

Such nice, round yarn. It’s 100% Merino, no nylon addition and not suitable for socks.

Each has one knitted top down (on the left) and one bottom up (the ones on the right). Done because I was afraid I’d run out of yarn. The difference shows in the top edging. I prefer the look of the ones that go top down.

There’s one handspun pair. That’s also knitted bottom up, because I wasn’t sure about the gauge:

It’s from Dutch Wool Diva sockfibre, left over from my nice handspun socks:

These ones are from one of the newly arrived Fabel sockyarn:

Which I chose for its colours. They are not so nice…. the yarn is scratchy. Not like the yarn I know as Fabel. The thread is not as round nor plied as it used to be. This yarn is more scratchy, more hairy and more loose. Fabel must have changed supplier or something. I don’t think I’ll wear these much…

Now these are a delight to wear:

Wol met Verve sock yarn. A nice, round, well plied and soft yarn. Even though it has 20% polyamide it’s still so soft you could knit a shawl from this and wear it next to your skin. Many people do.

The handdyed yarn from Chasing Clouds. The one I was failing to knit with dark brown into stranded cuffs. I frogged them and let the yarn shine on its own:

It’s out of my colour palette but it will be a nice pair or when I feel treehugging natur-y in the end of Summer/ begin of Autumn. They’re also a bit sturdy, being a sock yarn. But not scratchy, luckily.

I’ve changed the pattern slightly: in most of my cuffs I have knitted all knit stitches untwisted and have substituted all purl stitched for a slipped stitch column. For faster knitting.  In the top parts I’ve added a few rows so “the fan” runs a little higher.

In some variegated yarn I’ve knitted the wrist part in plain stockinette.

Then there’s this one:

Glittery grey purple yarn!

From Het Wolbeest. The skein I brought home from Kerkrade and shook at angry football supporters. Again nice soft yarn, a delight to knit with. Suitable for socks and next to skin wear.

It’s mate is having a bath:

Just finished. Ready for blocking. I love this colour. (It’s just warm water, not actually tea.)

And the Wollmeise cuffs that started this all, in colour Mauseschwanzchen, knitted per original pattern:

The ones that were on hiatus for so long because I was so bothered by the puzzle of one column of purl stitches being wider than the other:

Pattern picture from Narcissus pseudo-narcissus Cuff by Hunter Hammersen.

A puzzle that turned out to be:

  1. just one of those things when a twisted stitch is next to purl stitch and twists one way but not the other.
  2. just part of the pattern.
  3. something all projects have and nobody else is bothered by.
  4. not important. At all. Go live your life mrs. M.

I haven’t noticed the different sized columns at all while wearing my Wollmeise cuffs. Nor do I notice it when I see someone else wearing them.

Ha! The goats one can chose to burden oneself with…

What I DO notice when I see other people wearing this pattern is that a quality yarn shows. Posh. Wollmeise. The cuffs look simply splendid in quality yarns!

I’m a fool knitting this in scratchy sockyarn such as Regia or Fabel. I should toss those.
The three speckled pairs are not the right colours and are just for fun, as is the Dutch Wool Diva handspun pair.

That leaves me with these:

The sparkly greypurple Wolbeest; the seafoam Wol met Verve; the silvery Dutch Knitting Design -once I’ve found more yarn and knit its partner- and the greypurple Wollmeise.
That’s four (3,5) pair of cuffs to wear this Summer.

That’s not enough.
Not enough at all. I need more cuffs! In quality yarns. In (semi)solid colours.
These (semi)solid colours:

palette textures

Ohoo, I should like some charcoal cuffs! I wish I could grab that charred coal from the screen and wrap it around my wrist.
And lavender ones.
And steel blue ones. Light sky blue ones too?
At least one pair in a greenish grey for sure!
And how gorgeous is that soft lilac of cherish blossom?? With the Fabel gone I have no rose tones…
And more silver greys, definitely more silver greys.

I was pondering pearl white ones and had actually cast on with an offwhite silk I’ve had for years. But I think white cuffs won’t be wise. Not practical for actual living which is what I do. My hands will grabbing at fresh shorn fleece or strawberries this Summer. If the past (week) is anything to go by I’ll be dragging my sleeves through curry and cat hair. White cuffs are a mistake.

Not done knitting cuffs!
But done with cuffs in unpleasant yarn.

From now on I’ll be on the lookout for 20 gram remnants of quality yarns.
Perhaps I can swap some with friends. Even offer to knit us both a pair if they give me 45 grams of yarn? Now that’s a deal to explore over a nice cup of wool tea:

Finished: Weaving Manos Silk Blend

I finished the silk scarf:

But let me start from the beginning:

I warped the loom with Manos del Uruquay Silk Blend, colour Abalone or Europa. I’ll use one skein for the warp and one for the weft. Each skein has 150 yards on it, it’s a DK weight made of 80% Merino and 20% silk.

My skeins have knots!

It’s ok if it’s in the skein for the weft but in the warp it presents problems. The knot will not go through the heddle and it messes with tension:

Both skeins had knots in them. I’m not impressed at all, this yarn is expensive!

Anyway. All things tight in the appropriate ways to my rigid heddle loom, by Glimakra. Ready for weaving:

I had calculated how wide and how long it could be, given the yardage on the skeins. But reality is always different. In the end I just went with how wide I wanted my scarf to be: not wider than 25 cm. Not smaller than 20 m. And at least a m long.

Weaving now! Oh, it looks so pretty:

I’m trying to “make squares”. My warp/heddle has 4 threads per 1 cm. But when weaving I find I like to beat the threads a bit more closer together. 5 or even 6 threads per cm. I try to refrain from doing so, remembering that the warp here is still under tension. When it’s finished and has had a bath it will look different. It will stack the woven threads more together, I’m guessing.

So there I was, weaving, weaving. Enjoying the colours, the material. Trying not to scratch the tabletop with my loom (put a plastic coaster in between)

Then: “Oh! I’ve woven the whole skein in the weft already! I’m done?”

Haha, no I’m not! I’m being smart: there’s still quite a bit of warp left, why not cut some off and use the leftovers as weft?

Hahah! That’s right, use the luxury yarn baby! Just tie the warp that’s left at the back of the heddle and you’re good to go:

I’m brilliant in theory, once again. In reality not so much: with the warp knotted like this you cannot use the heddle to separate every other thread from its neighbour. Instead I have to guide the weft thread under and over every separate thread. Like weaving with a darning needel.

How smart am I? Well, about as smart as I am patient. “This scarf is long enough as is. I’m not knotting any more threads and certainly not weaving by hand and needle.”

Finishing now with a hem stitch, via tutorial from Purl Soho:

The only difference is that I go three downwards and three to the left instead of four (after I’ve wrapped around four strands). I poke the needle through the third and fourth wrapped warp thread instead of after the fourth and before the first from the new wrap. I like it that way.

Now it’s had a bath. Letting it dry in the sun as I write this:

Woosh! Wind! As shown by some frogged project yarn that’s also had a bath:

Silk scarf now intimately entangled with rose thorns from Austin rose Glamis Castle. Gotta love nature.

The fabric has filled up nicely with the bath and the release from the loom’s tension. It’s a beautiful fabric:

The silk gleams! The weaving has “squared up” nicely.

There is pooling going on and the shawl is way more variegated than the example I saw on Ravelry and love so much. This is in the shade:

But it’s a lovely, luxury item that will go well with all my new colours. I’m sure it has a place in my wardrobe. Wear it with a handmade silver coloured shawl pin…. beautiful!

Heehee! It already goes well with what I’m wearing at the moment: olive coloured linnen trousers and Wollmeise Mauseschwanzen:

Nice to know I can tone down the pooling or the contrast.