Annual Spinners’ Retreat: LSD 2015 Mennorode

I just got back. It was a lovely weekend!
I’ll show you some pictures, in non-logical sequence…

This is the project I brought with me, artistically photographed in my room:

One single of fulled handspun and one Wollmeise Lacegarn in colourway Grand Mère. It’s going to be a hat with an original construction…
On its own the handspun knits up with the colours all heathered but combined like this they get a stage to shine one.

It’s that handspun I knitted a Shapeshifter from. Which I’ve never worn after I took the photos of the finished object...
I frogged it to use the yarn in -yet- something else because I adore this yarn.

This is my room. I like it! I wore my green legwarmers to show to everybody:

We had tea at arrival and I was reminded of my little black kitten:

My room is really nice! I rested there a few times during the day. I brought wool.

We spend many hours spinning together:

I did a workshop Art Yarn Spinning but I didn’t do so well. It was great fun though and the teacher was very good.

To sit more comfortably I brought my cushion to the workshop, knitted in the Freestyle way promoted by artist Mary Walker Phillips:

This approach to knitting I like very much. It’s interesting to do as it’s both technical and playful. It’s a pity I don’t have need for many lacy planes in my home…

Back in the main room it was so fun to see all the different wheels! We were with about 85 spinners on Friday and on Saturday there were 250!

The second part of the workshop was about learning to add beads to your thread, without stringing them on first. This I could do:

Even very big beads because my wheel has a delta flyer for an orifice hook and yarn hooks that are open on one side.

During the Friday and Saturday I spun and plied some of my green handdyed BFL roving:

Torn in small strips which only need a little twist but not much drafting (keeps the colours intense). Going for worsted weight yarn: spinning this way will get you from 100 gram roving to 100 gram yarn in 24 hours.

On Saturday and Sunday I did the same with my beautiful “little piglet from the hedge row”, the Hedgehog Corriedale:

 (some spinning as done in my room, before breakfast)

The plying was finished while we were drinking the last cup of tea before we all headed home again.

I don’t know about the meterage yet, I have to skein both yarns and set the twist. I think they’ll both become legwarmers. I love legwarmers.

Oh! On Saturday night my spinning wheel snare broke! I lost the option to use my gear but I could go on spinning, I just had to peddle more with my feet.
You can “glue” the band together again, with heat. I’ll do it when I get home.
Otherwise I can’t spin my Merino Silk mix from Passe-Partout! It’s still on this wheel but I didn’t bring the rocing to the weekend because I want to savour every moment of spinning those moonbeams.

Each year we get a little bit of surprise fibre from the National Spinners’ Organisation. This year it’s this interesting mix of colours:

All merino. Colour designed by Passe-Partout.
We got this colour and a dark variation, with purple and black. But I preferred this one and swapped with someone who like the purple better.

I think I’ll tear this roving in small strips also. Lengthwise.
Another way to preserve colours (through minimal drafting) is spinning from the fold. But that yields too thin a single to my taste.

This is probably the 5th year I attend this weekend now and I’ve always had to stay the night. This was the first year that I slept like a baby. Mind, I did bring some things to make my room my own:

There’s my own low light alarm clock. And the felted throw you know. I use it as an underlayer because this venue has a plastic sheet over the matras. For hygienic reasons I’m sure. But it doesn’t breathe and makes lying on it for more than a few hours very uncomfortable.
Lying on wool (felt) is VERY comfortable! (I’m also often cold in bed and this matras cover is a good help)

There’s some chocolate, my own mug, a cat magazine, my iPad and my ear mufflers. What you cannot see is the glorious beech tree right outside my window.
Behind it stands the wifi antenna, a large antenna emitting a strong Electric Magnetic Field (EMF). In previous years this EMF had me bouncing of the walls during the night, not able to settle down. That’s why I brought my EMF-shielding silver cloth this year. I slept wrapped in it, from head to toe. I wore my bed-hat (handspun yak with a tiny yellow moon for a pompom) and this keeps the EMF-cloth away from my face.
What I said: like a baby! From 23 to 6 o’clock, solid sleep.

During the weekend my husband kept me up to date how he was juggling the three cats in the cabin:

On Saturday morning there was a market at which we could by wool and tools and books and trinkets. For my birthday I had gotten a sealed envelope, addressed to me and Passe-Partout. It contained the means to buy these:

More moonbeams!

Wonderful Merino / Mulberry Silk mix, handdyed by Passe-Partout.
What a treat!

There was a little money left and I bought some Mulberry silk balls, handdyed by Iboy from Iboy’s Mohair:

That right one, isn’t it just like Labradorite?! I’ve been wearing my necklace all weekend, feeling very stylish AND in touch with mountains and water.

At dinner we had to wait a bit for our food… what’s a girl to do? I know what knitters do:

I send this picture to my husband who promptly replied that someone else was waiting for their food too:

On Sunday Morning I joined the nature walk with someone from the protective council. It was a lovely misty morning:

We saw rare things like marter’s poo and this sponge mushroom. It’s edible but a lot of grit nestles into the folds.

Wild boars had roamed and plowed the ground everywhere. We even found a muddy patch where they bathe. You could see the indentations of their bodies. These are big beasts!

Ink-mushrooms, used to make ink in earlier times:

This forest is beautiful. So many small tableaux of nature:

And the big displays of nature, with large trees and miles of tranquil nature:

It was a Sunday in a religious part of the country so it was also nice and quiet. Except from that one person taking a brisk walk through the mist, singing the Lord’s praises. We couldn’t see him but we surely heard him.

Who knew a dung beetle had this gorgeous colour?

More gorgeous colours and textures:

A purple mushroom, probably a Clitocybe nuda but is has a bit of a weird shape. Our guide had his pockets filled with paper field guides and a little mirror and all sorts of things but he said he had left his biggest mushroom book at home, which contains 50.000 species, so he couldn’t say for sure.

In Dutch this mushroom is called “paarse schijnridderzwam” and I’m not sure how that translates. “Purple shining knight toadstool”? The word “schijn” is both “shine” and “mimic” in English. So who knows, is this a purple knight in disguise or is he beaming on the forest floor? He looks velvet-y.

This boring white mushroom is filled with arsenic. You eat this one, you die:

The Medici family in Renaissance Italy used these to feed their enemies, our guide said.

After the walk there was time for a little bit more spinning, we were with 50 people now I think. Most of them had already gone to lunch:

What a beauty!

When I came home I was greeted by cats. One hadn’t been fed all weekend, or so he said.

Morning mist in the forest:

Finished the tranquil handspun for a vest

170 grams, 490 m sportsweight.
A yarn with a little bit of character, both in colour and smoothness. This will give a lovely knit fabric. I’m looking forward to wearing the vest made from this.

Ravelry has a few patterns for vests in this weight and meterage.
But patterns use a range of meterage and sizes. To find out if a vest in my size with this meterage is possible I need to look at projects people made with similar yarns. How well thought out is the site Ravelry, to have a database that shows all these possibilities!

Vests actually knitted with this kind of yarn.
These are predominately children’s vests. I have not enough meterage to make one for me.

Good to know.
I’ll do what I did with Sprookjesvest: knit front and back panel in the handspun and add edges in another yarn. No worries.
Edging in a smoother, solid coloured yarn will make my vest look and wear even better.

The twist is set and it’s now drying in the golden autumn sun:

More of a DK weight now, I’d say. Things are looking up, more vests are made for adults in DK.

Bright socks parked till x-mas

The handspun socks that I wanted to wear next weekend were getting way too roomy:

A good 16 stitches too many on a total of 59 stitches.

I hadn’t decreased after I finished the heel, thinking it’d be all right because I have a high instep that actually needed more stitches than I had.
But it’s too tight at the front and too loose at the back.
Knitting is so 3D, y’all.

This had to go. On both socks. (And look how stretched the fabric is over my instep, ouch)

After the mandatory grumpy time I frogged them both and picked up stitches at the row that combines blue and red. I was not prepared to reknit the heel.
In the red I increased another 5 stitches immediately. In the back I decreased 5 stitches twice. 54 stitches total.

I started knitting again, checking for fit regularly, and this time it sits pleasant around my ankle and my instep has a little more room.
I knitted fast, to try and finish them before next weekend. But I also want to use up all the yarn and there’s still a lot of fuchsia, then purple and then blue. These socks will be reaching for my knees!
Then I got distracted by the arrival of the kitten.

Now Pip’s here and things are busy and I want all other areas of my life to be tranquil. This goes double for the colours I’m resting my eyes upon for hours each day.

So I enjoy looking outside, to the garden with the see-through to the meadow. There’s the mist on the grass. Butterflies and cows in the distance. The beautiful moonlight this week.

That’s why I love spinning the greenish white batts for a handspun vest at the moment, if Pip allows me some spinning time. As well as the gleaming silk-mix from Passe-Partout (which I haven’t touched since last time I showed you).

I want to be submerged in whites and greys and soft touches of colours, like this gorgeous photograph by Brooke Ryan:

 pic by Brooke Ryan

Any one of these colours! Any one of the greys, the cool greens, the lilac-whites. Or any combination of them!
Oh, how I love to do a bit of colour work again. I think my shoulder’s up to it… love to find out ;)

These bright colours I rather knit in the dark days in December:

So I’m putting these away until then. I have a special tin that comes out in December. It has candles and paper napkins and glass ornaments and nice yarn. Through the year I fill it with things that give a knitter a hug in the dark days of December.
Here it is in 2011, the first year I started this:

I’ll put the socks in there. In a nice WIP bag.
Perhaps add some nice fabric to make my own bag. And some nice buttons? I never take the time to use my nice buttons for myself. Yes, I think I’ll sneak in some fabric and my favourite buttons. I’ll make it a little ready-to-start package: fabric, thread, buttons, embroidery needles (you never know, I feel like embroidering) and sneak it in. (I don’t open the tin and look what’s already inside, I like to be surprised in the holidays.)
That’s how I make sure my x-mas time is always good.


got food?

We were at the vet yesterday, for vaccination, and he explained that a well fed kitten poos twice a day. If he goes three times he’s getting too much food. Good to know.

I’ll be counting your #2’s to 2, mister!

Weird Wool Wednesday: L and R

I don’t know if you noticed yesterday:

When I start a sock toe-up I often forget where the beginning of the row is. Which is important at the start because I increase more at the side of the little toe than at the side of the big toe.

So I tied a piece of yarn in these when I had just begun them. A piece of Red yarn and once I started the other toe a piece of bLue yarn.
Once the socks were finished I didn’t take them out because lazy.
Now I think it’s nifty.

Red = Right sock.

bLue = Left sock.

Finished: Noro Legwarmers

Each is about 79 cm long. They weigh 130 grams together so that suggests 540 m or 600 yards for the both of them. Knitted on needles 3 mm.

I changed colours every two rows.
At the ribbing at the top I changed every three rows because, with the purling visible at the right side, there’s no solid row of one colour if you change every second row. Looks very heathered otherwise.

I only got to take the one picture and then:

Pip is very present. You see the papers and boxes on the floor, we’re playing in and around them all the time. Lillepoes too!
The three of us watch how “a suspicious creature” (a knitting needle) creeps along the edges of a box. Sometimes a cat pounces. More often I’m sitting there like a fool, moving needles but no yarn.
Yes, I’m pretty much the cat entertainment section at our house now.

To be honest, it takes a toll on me. I have difficulty remaining relaxed and at ease which is so important for my health recovery. My shoulders are tensing up all the time. I worry about Lillepoes. I forget to take my pills.

Whenever I go to the kitchen counter, for my pills or to make a cup of tea, Pip zooms after me like a knitter after Qiviut.
Ack, such whining for food! How much does a kitten eat anyway!? I’m sure he’s about to burst but he keeps insisting there’s room for more.

I spend much time giving Lillepoes one-on-one attention. She needs it, since she doesn’t speak “cat” very well and she hasn’t put Pip in his place. Who is now walking all over her, trying to engage her in play. (This may be a deal-breaker. The rest of this week we’ll see if they both can thrive in the same house. I’m correcting Pip for her when we play, the three of us. I do this in a cat-like manner and hope that Pip associates it with her. Yesterday went ok. But this morning it was kadooph, kadooph, kadooph! all up and down the stairs again. I’m not sure Lillepoes doesn’t mind. She ìs very happy when I tend to her though. And she dóes invite me to play more than before Pip was here. We’ll see. A lot rides on these first few days.)

We had a quiet half hour yesterday evening. She’s wearing her winter coat already. I swear she was watching TV!

Wip en Pip. (many photos)

I filled one bobbin and am spinning the second one:

I knitted quite a bit on Emma cardigan. I did choose the Estonian knitting stitch Echo Flower or Laminaria:

I think it will be beautiful but it does take a while.

On the second Noro legwarmer I knitted a lot:

A friend gave me this lovely WIP-bag to put it in:

Expertly made by Fiberrachel. The colours have washed out a bit on the picture but it’s a lovely shade of green. I love it!

These are my WIPs.
Now meet my Pip:

Last weekend we noticed a scared kitten out in the patch of forest around my cabin. He was scared and he was hungry. So I fed him a bit. After a few days he started to meow back to me and raised his tail in greeting. I felt myself upgrading to MamaCat.
But it was still too scared to come near.

By Thursday morning I’d learned him he’d be fed on the veranda and that it was safe and I’d be in the cabin:

Slowly it grew bolder and bolder. Hunger is such a powerful motivator.

Thursday around noon I was laying on my knees in front of the cat flap and repeatingly offering a few kibbles in a little bowl to him, through the cat flat. Gradually he dared to snatch them from the bowl while my hand was so dangerously close by.

One hour later I had the door open and was kneeling on the threshold (ouch), having my arm stretched out, laying it casually next to the little bowl of food and my clogs.

A little later he found enough courage to press its little wet nose against my hand, turn around and sprinted off into the woods.
First friendly contact was made!
I closed the door and wept a little. So much impressed by its courage to overwin its fear because of a desire for friendliness.

To be recognized as a friendly force by such a scared tiny creature is touching.

Then it went fast.
I again opened the door, still kneeling, and started breaking up the big dental kibble Lillepoes eats into smaller pieces to try and handfeed the kitten.
Apparently I did not produce food fast enough. Kitten stepped over the treshold to help itself to the kibble directly.
I didn’t grab it, I just started stroking it. It seemed to like that! It was friendly. We were having a friendly moment.
Then before I knew it it had ventured into the cabin. It was in the living room!

Flabbergasted I closed the front door. The wild, scared kitten had come in!

Me and some more kibble sat on the ground and we proceeded feeding and petting. The kitten lost more and more of its fear:

Then it surrendered completely, letting go of all the fear and worries it had known for the week or longer it had lived outside:

The fluids welling in my eyes must have been my melted heart :D
Then it fell asleep on top my feet:


I was allowed to remove the ticks from its face, there were seven! Including one on its eye lid.

Later on we moved to the couch where he slept for an hour. The kitten started purring and hasn’t stopped since:


Introduction to Lillepoes went ok. Lillepoes is shy and doesn’t speak “cat” very well. But the kitten was polite and didn’t push. Later on they were both interested in a game of catch-the-knitting-needle-under-the-sheep’s-rug.

In the evening the kitten went unto the litter box and produced a little bit of poo with an odour that left Lillepoes and myself stunned. It was terrible!

That night the kitten slept on the couch, by its own choice, while me and Lillepoes slept upstairs as we are wont to. I went downstairs to check a few times but everything was all right.

In the morning, while Lillepoes talked me through getting up and dressed, Pip came upstairs to say hello. He was again so overjoyed to be indoors and with friendly people, he just does not stop purring.

We went down, all three, with me doing the kitten shuffle where you don’t lift your feet and are very careful. Because hungry kitten is trying to trip you and eat you!

I had not slept much that night, worried as I was, but the early morning was filled with purrs:

Friday morning was spent getting to know the household a bit. Pip already figured out that the kitchen counter is where all the magic happens. And we learned about not biting the hand that feeds you and where the scratching post is.

Then Robert and Poekie arrived. At first Robert was a scary giant but he was loved within minutes of kneeling down. The courage of such a little kitten when meeting creatures of such sizes amazes me!

But Poekie was highly insulted!
She glared at him constantly, cursing like a sailor. Deep growls and hissing snarls. There’s an “aa” sound in them: “hhhiaaaaaaaowrrrr”
I’ve never heard a cat curse out another cat! She had some colourful opinions on Pips existence, the purpose of the air he breaths and the marital state of all his ancestors. It was truly impressive.
The kitten stayed at a distance, politely looking away.


Later on we noticed her eyes were not so black anymore. She keeps growling and snarling whenever the kitten moves but she’s been blinking when he wasn’t looking so we’re not too impressed by her theatrics:

It’s going to be fine, we think.

Last night, everybody slept upstairs and it was fine. This morning more growling and purring but it’ll be fine.


It’s still such a baby:

We did take it to the vet, to have it looked over. It’s healthy. It’s male. It’s 12 weeks old and it weighs 1150 grams.
After the visit he had some little bits of spaghetti stuck to its fur and I grabbed them and showed Robert. He then said the magic word and I did a little song and dance with interesting arm movements and also a little bit of howling of my own.
(the magic word is “tapeworm”)

Now the kitten belly is not so bloated anymore.

Because the kitten is clearly socialized we thought somebody must be missing hem. So we’ve reported it to the national services that deal with lost and found pets (amivedi) and to the animal health services. We also looked at Facebook and Marktplaats (an online market place such as Greggs list) but nobody seems to miss this little dude.

Robert’s been around all the neighbours to ask. And they told the tale that is the most probably thing that happened:  kittens get dumped around here all the time. Multiple times per year. At the industry park in the vicinity.

This enrages us. Pip has been fending for himself for at least a week now and was not doing well at all. Young cats who were raised in a house cannot survive outdoors and they are not socially equipped enough to get people to help them. It takes a true cat lady like myself with days of free time on her hands to get one to trust her and to rescue it. Or it takes observing people like the one horse-owner down the road to notice the kitten and ring the services who will try and catch it to bring it to a shelter. (we only have no-kill shelters in this country)

That’s only two cat-minded-people in multiple square kilometres of lands where busy roads are and water ways and buzzards and owls and martens (“steenmarter”) and ticks and no food and 20 houses with farm dogs and people who do not notice a kitten in distress.
Anybody who needs to get rid of a kitten should just bring it to a shelter. It’s 15 minutes of feeling like an ass, bringing a kitten there, but you leave with 15 years of confidence ahead that the cat is living safe and healthy.

After we heard this story, about kittens being dumped near here often, we allowed ourselves to grow more attached to the kitten. Changes are slim anybody is coming for him. And Lillepoes and Poekie seem to be ok with it, soon. Lillepoes is already taking on the roll of big sister.
That’s when we named him. Only an hour ago, to be truthfully. Because once you name a cat you’re his.

Pip’s already a true cat:

Pip, Purrr in Progress:

Weird Wool Wednesday: hearing a yarn’s voice.

I’ve looked at and talked to the yarn for days now but it still hasn’t responded to me. This is some weird yarn:

Clearly this is not mine.

Is this yours?  Update: this give-away has closed. You are welcome to comment but the yarn has found a new home.

It could be…

It is entirely possible I spun your yarn for you without either of us realizing!

It’s chain plied, 68 grams, 176 meters, a light DK weight. Merino, silk and a bit of sparkle.

(this picture was taken while a musquito was biting me on the leg)

Is this yarn speaking your language?

Tell me what the yarn says to you in the comments.

Leave me a comment under this post (or via Ravelry if you’d rather do so) about what this yarn says to you. In a week’s time I’ll ask one of you to send me your snail mail address and I will send you your yarn. I’ll send anywhere in the world!

It’s ready to leave my gate and go on the road:


or left:

Preparing to wear green.

Being in a very green mood from the Travelling Stitch Legwarmers and the lovely Late Summer days I’m having at the cabin I’m “greening up” my garderobe.

I washed the shirts I dyed with reed flowers. They’ve had a few weeks to cure, now it was time to give them a proper hand wash. The rinse water was very dirty but a lot of colour remained on the cotton fabric:
reed green rinsed

Next I started spinning my green TdF prize batts because I can SO see a little handspun vest in it, just like Sprookjesvest which I’m wearing a lot these days.

Yes, I see here a lovely white greenish vest, to wear over those reed dyes shirts, on top of a skirt with my green Travelling Stitch Legwarmers under it:

The batts together are 150 grams. I added 75 grams of white Falkland top to make more meterage and to make the overall colour a touch more white.

I didn’t card the white in with the batts. The batts are perfect as they are, carding them again would ruin them: creating nepps and/or mixing all the colours into a boring lifeless blend.

To spin both fibres I just keep them together in one hand and draw from them simultaneously. The “feed”  to the wheel travels from side to side and I move my hand sideways to give it more white or more colour. I also twist my hand around to make sure the colour wraps around the white and sometimes to make the white wrap around the colour when there’s a bit coming up that’s particularly bright and could do with a toning down.

The single is a mix of the two fibres and often there’s a bit of barber pole going on as though it were a two ply. Individual specks of colour are well visible in the single.

Once it’s plied and knit up I expect the prominent specks of colour to have melted into the background. Here’s an impression how my vest will look, colour wise:

A calm colour with subtle variations. A very good colour as a backdrop for my face or jewellery or a shawl.

The lovely spinner’s delight will be that up close the specks of colour will still be visible. The purple, the bright green, a white nubb, it will all be there for the observant eye.
Yes, it will be an ongoing interesting fabric to have right under my nose. Which is where I wear my vests. How cleverly planned!

Green Travelling Stitch Legwarmers for me!

Dutch Karma Swap Group friend Wolhobby knit a pair of legwarmers for me in one of the swaps:

The pattern is Traveling Stitch Legwarmers
by Lisa R. Myers

pattern photo

Made from my own grass green Norwegian yarn:

Gjestal Selbu Husflidgarn is an all wool sportsweight with 200 m to the 100 grams. It’s not very soft but not coarse either.

Wolhobby used about 150 grams, 300 m, on needles 3 mm. (project page here)
She adapted the stitch count a bit to fit around my legs and also added an extra purl stitch to frame the cabeling sections. The rest of the leg was knitted in stockinette stitch.
They are beautiful!

Oof… umpfh!… creak… crackle…. I can’t show you the back properly… and it’s so beautiful… oomph!

Wolhobby knows a better model than me to show these beauties:

pic by Wolhobby

pic by Wolhobby


Isn’t that some top notch knitting? Every cable crossing is correct. It’s totally tailor-made to my measurements. It really is a piece of art!

I’m very happy with them.