Finished: Summer Cuffs

Such friendly yarn. But it’s too hot to wear them.

We are having a heat wave in the Netherlands. We’re no longer allowed to take water from the sleats to water our plants. Holland is defined by sleats and water. We are questioning our identity.

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Weird Wool Wednesday: Poppy Toes All Around.

My secret name for Poekie is “Poppy toes”:
poppy toes poppy deed pudding pie far breton maanzaad flan taart

All toes hidden, wearing that concerned torty look that dissipates fast when petted:

poppy toes poppy deed pudding pie far breton maanzaad flan taartpoppy toes poppy deed pudding pie far breton maanzaad flan taart

I made a far breton with poppy seeds:
poppy toes poppy deed pudding pie far breton maanzaad flan taart

and I’m knitting bed socks, from happily dyed yarn from 2010:

They are tubular socks, with thread held double. Tubular socks do not have a sole or an instep. They do have increases and a wider tube where my heel will be. But it won’t matter how I wear them, they are always the right way up.

We got a 300+ page document from the lawyer of the manure plant today. Home work for the court case of next week. On top of all the documents from the past year and a half that I should study!
We put in a formal complaint, no big new documents ought to have been submitted since last Monday. But I have a nagging feeling it’s part of their strategy, that they are manipulating me and that I am doing their bidding. But to what purpose? Did they want me to put in that complaint? Do they want the hearing to be postphoned? Or do they just want to bury me in documents so I won’t be properly prepared? It’s a weird strategic game, this business.

I’ve taken up yoga. To deal with the hip bursitis and get some stress relief. Yoga…who’da tunk… Me and my nagging A personality on a yogamat, measuring me against other people and needing to be better. Me, an absolute yoga beginner! It’s laughable if it wasn’t so annoying.

Well, I’m trying to ignore that competitive side. It now seems I have another side buried inside me. A sweet, loveable side. One that doesn’t need to win. I like that side. I know it from when I was just turning the corner during my illness. I could lie on the couch in the cabin, and I didn’t need to do anything. Be anyone. I could just lie there, look outside to nature, and just enjoy the view, the sunlight, the time.

I like that side. I want to spend more time with it. I’ve given it Bikram yoga which is a hot, slow yoga where you cannot do anything else but be there and enjoy the time. It’s nice. It’s like tubular socks: it doesn’t matter which side is up, it’s all good.

Tour de Fleece

I’m not supposed to sit for long. And my hips hurt today as a result. But yesterday I did some spinning and joined into the fun of Tour de Fleece. Where we spin our wheels as the cyclists spin theirs in de Tour de France.

Wolbeest’ Rhubarb rolls. I’m spinning them back to back, which gives longer colour repeats.

I watched the etappe of the day before, which was over cobblestones to Roubaix, in very dry weather. Dust everywhere!

Dusty Dutchmen:
tour de fleece spinning wool handpspuntour de fleece spinning wool handpspuntour de fleece spinning wool handpspun

A good man won, Degenkolb.
He was very manly and showed his emotions:
tour de fleece spinning wool handpspun

Me and Lillepoes enjoyed our views:
tour de fleece spinning wool handpspun tour de fleece spinning wool handpspun

still a knitter

I did it, I did some knitting!

While watching Tour de France, which was riding over the Mur de Bretagne, twice.

And I baked a second Far Breton and it’s better than the first one:

And I put it on a great vintage ceramic cake plate. From Gouda. And it pleased me very much.
cakeschaal cake platter plateel gouda ceramics keramiekcakeschaal cake platter plateel gouda ceramics keramiek

And this is my monkey dress shirt. With an good fit. It’s fitted around my body shape yet has an armhole and sleeve that allows movement without dragging the shirt with it. The secret is to put the armhole close to the body and give it a sleeve with a shallow shoulder cap. This is opposite to most sewing patterns and pattern drafters from today, who tend to make armholes wider and propose loose fits.

Things are looking up. Yarn, cat, cake, ceramics and a nice sewing project. Have I turned a corner and have better days to look forward to?

In a minute I’ll submit the last papers to the court. Then we have a few days respite and next week preparations for the court session start. It’s the 26th. We should be ok. There’s not much left to do, you’re supposed to have submitted al your points and arguments on paper ten days before the session. The session is merely a chance for the judges to get clarification on things that are not clear yet. Of which there are few because, boy, can I write, even when under time pressure and in a field that’s not my own!

Just focus on the main points, don’t let the lawyer of the manure plant throw me off balance with her personal attacks. Plant feet firmly on the ground. Feel fortified by the clothes I’ll wear. Take some salted water halfway through. Think of cake, cats and knitting. Hey, perhaps I should bring a small knitted talisman with me. Just a little pocket friend.

 made by Amuru on Etsy.
I have this one, by Amuru

But it looks a little startled. Not a good vibe to bring with me.
Perhaps I can make one myself? … one that looks confident. Zen.
Oh I know, I have my Pippi at the cabin:
 made by the lovely Ekorre

She’ll do. She’s fierce and optimistic. 🙂

Weird Wool Wednesday: the little things (aka Girl Fortification Floofs)

I did it! I baked a far breton that was edible:
far bretonfar breton
I put it on one of my nice, vintage cake platters. Just to please myself 🙂

Lillepoes was very pleased with herself today. She managed to express her wish to me to go on safari in the little shed. And I complied! A story in pictures:
cat gets human to do her bidding. Birmancat gets human to do her bidding. Birmancat gets human to do her bidding. Birmancat gets human to do her bidding. Birmancat gets human to do her bidding. Birman

cat gets human to do her bidding. Birmancat gets human to do her bidding. Birman

I closed the door and left her there for about ten minutes. In the dark. She likes to explore and climb on top of things in the dark. But today there were not enough mystery boxes and high things. Just a couple of cushions. When I opened the door again I got complaints:
cat gets human to do her bidding. Birmancat gets human to do her bidding. Birmancat gets human to do her bidding. Birman
cat gets human to do her bidding. Birmancat gets human to do her bidding. Birman

We end the story with a cleanly finished off bowl full of Fancy Old Cat Fortification Food and a back paw stretch that predicts a wash and a nice long nap:
cat gets human to do her bidding. Birman

While Lillepoes snored on the couch I did a little more sewing. This is my sewing corner in the cabin. It’s surrounded by friendliness and loveliness:
naaien naaihoekje naaimachine Janomenaaien naaihoekje naaimachine Janome
This is where I put my waste threads and such:
naaien naaihoekje naaimachine Janome
It’s a sheepy magnet.

I wore these pins today, just to make myself giggle:
cat gets human to do her bidding. Birman

And these handspun socks:
cat gets human to do her bidding. Birman
Fancy Old Girl Fortification Floofs.

In the afternoon we were to drive back to the city. Before that I had a little walk around the property. Just say hello/goodbye to all the trees and animals. In the back, in the little patch of forest, I filled the little pond with some extra water. It has been extraordinarily dry the past couple of weeks and the water level was getting too low for all the tadpoles that live there:
natuur weide hommel zweefvlieg Achterhoeknatuur tadpoles kikkervisjes Achterhoek

A little walk in our meadow. No horseflies, no mosquitoes.
natuur weide hommel zweefvlieg Achterhoeknatuur weide hommel zweefvlieg Achterhoeknatuur weide hommel zweefvlieg Achterhoeknatuur hommel weide akkerrand koolwitje Achterhoek bramen braamnatuur hommel weide akkerrand koolwitje Achterhoek bramen braam

Now I’m back in the city. Lillepoes complained all the way here.
Now she’s sleeping on my husbands lap (he’s always so warm, the cats love him).

I just had a little bike ride into the centre and got some buttons for my monkey blouse:
naaien naaihoekje naaimachine Janome

Now I’ll go set up my sewing corner here and maybe do a little sewing. I’ll see about arranging some nice and lovely things around my sewing spot here too. At the cabin it was more important to me than I had imagined so I’d like some here too.

not knitting

I’m not knitting. I’m still at the cabin and I brought 4 WIPbags and 5 WIPs but I haven’t touched them. I haven’t been relaxing either. I had to write yet another report for court and the place here is a bit tainted because it is the spill in the court case. I cannot wander around and enjoy nature because I should really document which nature this is specifically and under which protective article from which law it falls.

To distract myself I have been sewing:

A monkey fitted dress shirt. With an arm hole and sleeve that allows maximum freedom! I am very very close to getting the perfect pattern for me.

I brought more fabric with me and right now I have a new shirt underway. It’s grey with circus fun:

Yesterday I had a day out and bought even more fabrics for three more shirts:
stoffen-woven
Love that green one! The fabric one on the right will become a sheath dress 😀

And these three jersey fabrics for fast shirts:
stofjes-tricot

The other thing I distract myself with is looking at tea pottery and cake platters. I adore the rectangle ones, from vintage ceramics. I’m trying to buy these two:

Tomorrow me and Lillepoes will travel back to the city. I have one afternoon and evening left for relaxation, sewing and nature 🙂

PS haven’t been drawing either. I did get new ear mufflers, these are 3M Peltors and silence up to 35 dB

I drew mr. Wolf

I arrived at the cabin 🙂 With Lillepoes. I brought my knitting and look forward to knit some here. It’s lovely weather here! Everything is green and the birds are cheering and there’s enough of a breeze so there are no musquito’s or horse flies.

Lillepoes and I have spend some time on the porch 🙂
I made a fun drawing and thought I share the proces with you. This is the end result, this is mr. Wolf:

I used a pentel pocket brush which is a marker but with a brush like tip. I can make thick and thin lines with it, as if it was a Japanese brush.

Drawing is a weird thing for me. It’s the thing I enjoy most! Still I am very reluctant to start. To put a pen to paper. It really feels like homework. I now know many artists have this.

My initial plan was to draw a cool, modern grandma. Gaming, wearing a hoody and ear mufflers:
4-juli-mr-wolf-studie1
But I couldn’t. I can’t draw people and how do gamers hold their hands and what’s a cool console anyway? So I studied the picture on the right instead, it’s by artist Scotty Young, because I wanted to change it into a wolf and also into a grandma and then into Little Red herself. I like Young’s style because it’s so spontaneous yet scruffy, with thick and many thin lines.

You see my studies. The first one is on the far left. Slightly above it is the second one, which has already much better proportions. Mr. Young is really really good.

Below I took my study and tried turning it into a wolf, first with a large snout, the one on the bottom, then with a short snout, the one at the top. Then on the right… I tried to work it without a beard, tried to make it Little Red…
4-juli-mr-wolf-studie2

Yeah, I gave up. What a mess. That idea is so not going to work. Young drew the absolute best version of that image and what was I thinking anyways.

So I gave up and just looked at my pinterest for a bit and thought “maybe draw a wolf in a silly dog outfit?”

So I image searched for “dog dress” but that didn’t give good results so next I searched for “dapper dog” and came across:

A familiar picture! In nice contrast, I could easily just mimic in all the dark shapes with my black brush pen and it would automatically look like clothes. So I took my brush pen and without a pencil sketch I just drew the clothes as I saw them, quickly, without thinking and with the Young picture still fresh in my muscle memory.

Then I looked up the picture of a wolf half facing the viewer and put it in. It wasn’t this one but something similar:

I then messed up by enjoying brushing in the fur on one side of its head too much: it went all black! I sighed and put the picture away. When I came back to it I saw that my mistake now looks like a genius artist considered where the sources of light are. An important step in most drawing. You have to consider composition; how shapes interact with each other and with the space (negative space). And light, you have to consider light.

I usually forget. I’m so invested in jotting down an idea or illustrating a look on a (dragon’s) face or expressing a motion that I forget about light. I just give the main movement a thick, black brush stroke and forget all about the light.

But not this time. This time an error makes me look good. Which is another reason not to judge  your own drawings.


So that’s how it is for me. I’m trying this and trying that and failing and bumbling about and there’s quite a bit of despair going on but by now I have learned to push through the feeling of “home work” and just put the pen to paper and don’t pay attention to all the critiques in my head.

Luckily I do have some skill with the brush and I so very much enjoy a good brush stroke. I learned to make a single brush stroke go thin and thick. In the previous century I got a bit of education in sumi-e:

sumi-e blue heron by Anna snorrepot sumie

sumi-e blue heron by Anna snorrepot sumie

sumi-e cat by Anna snorrepot sumie

sumi-e cat by Anna snorrepot sumie

Sumie is also form of art where you stop thinking and just exist. These strokes are done in one breath. The heron is famous on the google 😀 if you look for sumie heron it’s always there.

The piece itself is in Australia, in Tasmania, with my family. It was done on rice paper, with ink that was rubbed from an ink stick with just a few drops of water. In a sumi-e studio in the Netherlands. I made it in the beginning of this century and this is the only picture I have of it. I was just trying out where to put my stamp.

I still remember making it. The feel of the brush in my hand, the friction of the paper, how the bristles in the brush moved. It was marvelous. I made this one and another. Only two exist. The second one is in my living room.

The cat was done last year, with the pentel pocket brush pen, if I recall correct. It’s quite small and so is the brush pen so that’s fitting. You can see a slight hesitation in the lower left corner. That’s when a though fluttered through my mind. “this gonna be good!”

And then it wasn’t. But is still is because it shows a human made it. In that respect it’s more personal than the heron. The heron shows mastery. Everything came together perfectly. The quality of the ink, of the brush, my skilled hands, my quiet mind.

The cat shows me, personal. Which is true sumie.

Weird Wool Wednesday: “Why grandmother, how tired you look!”

I haven’t touched my knitting since I came back from the cabin on Sunday. And I will be going back tomorrow, with the same bunch of knitting. Untouched.

In the mean time I’ve been sewing a bit (the block for my dress shirt is neeeeearly perfect now) and sleeping a lot. Apparently I need to, I’m really really tired. I finished the big legal report last week and I had another deep tissue massage yesterday and whenever I take my rest during the day I just fall asleep for an hour.

I’ve also not been sleeping well. Due to the stress and the warm weather and working men starting work outside my house at half past seven in the morning and me with my usual insomnia from 3 to 6 AM.

And I’ve been drawing Little Red Riding Hood. Now that the legal writing is done I want to get back to drawing. I’ve set myself the task to draw LRRH every week day of July. And just like with every home work you get assigned, I have a healthy reluctance to start… even though I enjoy drawing so very very much.

So instead of starting my drawing of today I’ve been writing this blog post to you, using much more words than necessary for a Weird Wool Wednesday post. I also just went out and got myself an Italian ice cream and the girl gave me smaller scoops than everybody before me. I didn’t dare to say anything so I nervously jabbered on about how the last time there was a big air pocket under the ice cream. “Ah but this time I pressed it all down!” she said. So I smiled and left. But as I unlocked my bicycle I discovered this ice cream too had an air pocket near the bottom and even less ice cream then it appeared to have. So I went back in, all nervous and apologetic. She wasn’t pleased but she gave me another half scoop. And now I can never go back again and get an ice cream.

At home I discovered at the bottom there’s only syrup, no ice cream. Ugly sweet syrup (mango citrus. The ice cream itself is yoghurt. It’s delicious! In the right combination.) I put the remainder in the fridge but the happiness has gone out of my treat.

I don’t know why it got to me so much, must have been all the stresses from last weeks, but tears welled in my eyes. Did you know Tour de Fleece starts this weekend? I can’t spin with my hip bursitis so I am extra extra to be pitied. And there’s also a western jackdaw outside our house that misses a foot. But still has a family and doesn’t seem to mind so why am I crying?

My husband held me for a bit. And now I’m writing this. And now I will show you my drawings and they will cheer me up and then I will start today’s drawing. Cheers!

like a Goddess in France

it’s a saying we have, when life is good.

I baked something based on the Far Breton, which is a dried prune custard flan from Bretagne. I think it is the thing I love to eat most in the whole world.

But you have to get it from an authentic Breton baker and you have to eat it outside, in Bretagne.

I made a Far From Breton because these are with brambles and blueberries and I don’t know how to bake properly.

Still, I’m outside knitting and eating pie. Life is good 👍👍👍