have yarn, won’t knit

Well, this is a nuisance: I’m seeing double.

It started a few months ago. Right after I got an iPad and started this blog so I claiming coolness and am calling it Gamers Vision Syndrome.

The eyedocter at the hospital mentioned a relation to my age and my grandmother having gaugloma but since I was seen at the childrens ward and had to focus at a little bear at an aeroplane (really!) I’m going like this:

For the knitting this is bad news. I should really cut back at the focusing on the distance between my nose and mu hands. Which is where all the knitting and surfing occurs. Which is also why I am no longer am mending all typos, I hope you understand.

For knitting I have to push back all my plans for fiddly things: stranded colourwork; inrtinsic lace; kitcheners stich; crochet; beading and mending socks (as if I’d do that. No. Socks with holes are behaving bad and I scold them and then they have to go in the time out zone also known as the rubbish bin.) (Unless they have nice borders, than I make them into wristwarmers.)


these socks were a gift (ultimate gift!!! handknitted socks!! hours and hours of attention) but they developed holes. The cuff with the apples I made into wristwarmers that I happily wear during ‘apple season’. I’ve just spend an hour looking for them to show you but cannot find them. It’s not aple season…

Back to knitting plans: I will have to shuffle my queue. The queue I build with so much attention! The queue that assured that I would finally knit the things I have been wanting to knit for months years now and use the yarns that are singing to me from the stash!

here’s the original: (sorry, the links won’t work)

Jan: host and knit Pippi Longstocking Lace Shawl KAL finishing 
Jan: knit owl mitts for me kit made 
Jan: design and knit mitts for a friend done 
Jan: do the spinners challenge done 
Jan: crochet one cat for the freeform Kitty Blanket done 
Jan: socks with this januari yarn started 
Jan: felt winterlights halfway 
knit a block weekly for KarmaKnusdeken 1,2,3 done 
Feb: dye Kelscott cardigan 
Feb: design and knit Woodland Creatures Stranded Sweater 
Feb: knit something with that gorgeous turkoise silk 
Feb: crochet border or cat for freeform Kitty Blanket 
March: knit mitts for aunt Aafke 
March: design and knit Metalic Lace with beads 
March: design a block for the Karmaknusdeken blanket 
March: crochet one cat for the freeform Kitty Blanket 
Spring: knit Elven Hooded Scarf 
Spring: spin Longdraw Camel Down 
Spring: crochet one cat for the freeform Kitty Blanket

There are also a few plans without a fixed date yet:

Somewhere in between: finish gothische xmas socks; finish slipped stitch Puckered socks; use Koigu yarn; use Bowmont yarn; do some felting; use lots and lots of the stash; spin; dye the FOs I don’t wear; participate in a few swaps; host and visit knitter parties

also: frog and reknit Donegal cardigan in the right size. Frog, redesign and knitJanuary Dream Shawl.. Use Loudmouth yarnBourette silk yarn and Posh Eva yarn. And re-use that Lang yarn alpaca dyed in the ball. With beads. 

there are also 2 lovely Skew wips to finish. I really like to wear those socks! Spin that yakthat camel and that other camel. 
oh, and I want to felt a complete fleece into a rug. And a long skirt, with Wensleydale locks. And a bag. And winter wonderland lights 21 Jan. And a wallet. And cushion covers. 
Brioche! also want to do brioche. Need a headcover, silk preferably. And a cowl, in Santenay yarn. 
Eta: and a pooling scarf. With that EasyKnits yarn Poppyfield. Mustmust!

sorry the links don’t work. They do on my profile page at Ravelry if you want to know more sepcifics.

That’s quiet a list! And I was well on my way for January! It gave peace of mind to know that I would eventually come around to allt he projects I’ve been wanting to make for so long. No need to keep them milling around in my head.

Now I have to shuffle. Right. I noted what I can’t do. Here are the things I CAN do without looking at my hands: garterstitch, stockinette stitch, ribbing, felting. spinning?

So for now I’ll place to the top of the queue any garterstitch shawl I’ve been wanting to make (these are shawls where the yarn will be the main element. An excellent opportunity to use up soem handspun such as:

that gnomey yarn that was too scratchy for the neck…

I have a small sweater worth of black and white handspun. Soft enough for next to skin wear. No pattern springs to mind though…

this handspun which will make an adorable yoke for a white sweater. I can do a simple sweater on big needles without looking too much at it.

this 780 m of handspun slowly transitions from purple to raspberry. I’ve been toying around with it a bit. I’de really like a thick shawl to snuggle into. It is good and soft so perhaps….

Ok, one note for me: when I decide to knit with handspun: use a bigger needle than you think. I have a tendency to knit handspun planks.

for felting there are a few wishes:

– finish the small thingies to put x-mas lights into

– felt some cushion covers for the forest cabin (in dark orange. or perhaps triangles echoing gnome hats?)

– a dress or a skirt. No, that would be too much of a project right now. Keep it simple.

Other knit projects: a sideways scarf in ribbing or garter stitch. My friend Marleen from DutchKnittingDesign.com has a lovely design Vlinder (‘Butterfly’ in Dutch). This shawl has shaping so it will sit on your shoulders. Not like a triangle shawl that will slip off easily.

only takes one skein of sockyarn (400 m in sock or fingering weight) and has my favorite stitch at the border: koffieboontje (‘little coffee bean’). there is a bit of kitchener in the middle, so the front panels will look exactly the same. I will have to think about an alternative: either do a figure 8 cast on and start in the middle and work to the fronts (one at the time). Or work from side to side and accept that the frontpanels will not look exactly the same. Which might be a problem since they will lay neatly side by side at the front. (no shawl pin needed)

that reminds me, I shall not be able to bend shawlpins either! …bummer. I have a bit of green wire I want to make into a sheep for a dear friend.

but a thing I can do without looking too hard is wind skeins into balls. And dye. And talk a walk outside. There’s still snow here so it’s lovely. I’;; start with that one.


Pippi KAL: elastic finish

the Pippi shawl is neeeeeearly finished. We encountered some elastic time so we didn’t finish on Thursday but we’ll all be finishing in our own pace. Pippi-style!


for my progress: scroll at your own pace

this is how far I am now. It’s about 1 m long. Just a few more blocks and than the edge. It’s quite comfortable and oh so soft. That’s my third ball there, at 25 grams per ball. So a very lightweight shawl.

the yarn is Lang Yarn Alpaca Superlight on needles 4,5 mm

and my project can be found here on Ravelry


It’s such a nice pattern! the whimsical way in which you can decide which block to do next and how all the blocks fit together. I love the shapes it gives: I see tulips and hearts. And double winged bugs and beetles.

Snow Sweater is finished! No more bananas.

I finished it today! Blocked and all! It wears great. I can breathe. My arms can move. No yellow so this has not become a banana sweater after all but it is my Snow Sweater.

I reknitted the sleeves to a more comfortable size. I made them extra long too.

here you can see I knitted the dark, than the stranded part and then the white. Then I went back and added a few white specks in the dark part. You can see them when you follow the witches hand, the apple, the sleeve: 3 white stitches in the dark. Later on I added some dark specks in the white part.

It makes for a more ‘snowy’ transition in the colours but it saves me from stranded yarn along when it’s only used for a few stitches here and there. I did the same with the yoke. But I refrained from it for the lower border because I felt it would look too busy on my tummy.

this was also when I tried it on to see if the border would look all right. It does not. The stranded part is waaaaay too tight. Had to frog and reknit. I added 10% stitches before I redid the stranded part.

Strangely enough my gauge when stranding is tighter than without. I have to go up a needle size. This was done on needles 3,5mm but the white parts -without stranding- where done on 2,5mm or even less. To get a nice fabric. Did not have to decrease stitches either.

the borders on the sleeve and bottom of the pullover are done with a hem and a picot edge.

you knit the length you want the part to be, than do one row of *k2tog, YO*

then knit the length you want the hem to be.

fold over and sew together. Not too tight because you you want the fabric to be able to stretch.

with blocking the stitches become much more even an the endresult is great. The picots are rumoured to withstand wear better than just an odd row of purls to make the fold. In the Netherlands we call the picot edge “little mouse teeth”. It was used a lot in the old days, because of its sturdiness.

The grey wool is my own handspun, using the fleece of an organic sheep from organic farm De Laan van Wisch. Spun in 2ply, fingering weight.

Now please, can I go inside, out of the cold?

still life with yarn

this is my new pie plate showing of yarn in just the same colours!

oooh, how orange puts a spring in my step. (the cloth is my January-sparkly-snow-time-new-plans-clear-mind-cloth. It is draped over my vintage threadle sewing machine that stands before the window/door. In the morning the sun shines through this window and it looks out on a bird bath.)

the yarn is Novita Nalle Marjaretki, a Finnish sportsweight yarn for socks. It has the colours of berries, this is Cloudberry, from the northern lands and full of vitamin C. wiki info

The nice thing is that the skein itself from Finland too. It arrived like this:

I claimed it in the Dutch Karma Swap Group on Ravelry from one of our members who lives in Finland. She send it as a skein because then it fits into an envelope and postage costs are less. It is our habit to send yarn like this. Or hand deliver it at one of our meets.

She also send the sheep key chain and a lovely card that echos the colours of the skein and my spirit of the cabin I live in at the moment. Such a careful hello! We are very close in the group and we truly care for each other.

Have another look at my yarn! I wound it by hand, from my swift around a carton roll. I like it that way, even if it does not make a very neat cake.

I can’t wait to knit with it. Even though orange doesn’t look very good near my face, it looks excellent on my feet. I like to knit with it. I like to wear it. Yes, orange really makes my day.

The only thing stopping me from casting on right now is that it looks so good on this plate. And that I have some other things on the needles… And that I want to knit another set of fingerless mitts for my aunt the photographer and she might like these colours very much but I want to ask first to be sure. She might prefer a more woolen kind.

Did you notice the things in the back? there’s my dpn-tin, it originally held tea and shows orange trees. Trees and orange, what could go wrong? then there’s the foot of my owl lamp. It’s so tacky and ’70s that it becomes ‘hyggelig‘! There’s my sparkly January glass reindeer bulb. I love glass seasonal ornaments, especially nordic ones. And….

a lovely little Jule Elf!

here’s a better picture by it’s makerIris Francissen from www.glaskralen.eu:

Yes, it is a glass bead from Iris Francissen, an artisan from the Netherlands. She has an etsy shop in English too. She makes glass beads and I think they are marvellous! There are elfs, sea mermaids, baby angels, gothic angels, lucky charms and jewelry. Check it out!

go to Etsy to buy this fairy (25,78 euro/ 33.50 USD)

I have another one, a yellow September flowery girl. It stands next to my bed and makes me smile 🙂

following: knitting, diet, blogs, yarn

I’ve knitted the second sleeve a bit wider. It is much better:

here you see the two sleeves on top of each other. Just a little bit wider to the eye but all the difference to the arm. I went with 56 stitches. (well, with 54 to be honest. Untill I reached the stranded bit and realised 54 is not in the table of 8)

I notice the picture looks a bit of a liar near the white part but if you look at the dark parts you see the sleeves are right on top of each other. That is not a shadow peaking from under the upper sleeve.

talking about shadows….I’ve been knitting for days on end now. Watching video’s (Eureka, The Best Marigold Hotel and Downton Abbey). I am not well you see.


 Somehow winter depression and my adrenal insufficiency have teamed up and for the last few days I’m feeble, weak, confused and nauseated. I’ve been crying a lot and am very afraid I’ll slip into a long depression.

Hence the knitting and the video’s. Keep yourself distracted, keep the body healthy and soldier through the coming weeks before drawing any conclusions.

what would the Dowager Countess do?

“Knitter, dear, you’re a woman with a brain, and reasonable ability, so:

that’s what I thought.

The despair is one thing. The lack of concentration is something else: I loose my balance when I walk; I cannot decide on simple matters and this morning I came down to the living room finding the patio doors were wide open. I didn’t close them properly before locking them. It’s kind of scary, not being able to trust yourself. Luckily I have a lot of routines to check and doublecheck these kind of things. (last night I consciously decided against checking the patio doors because I feel a bit paranoid and compulsary and ‘mousey’ (not ‘liony’) when I do the routines. Guess I’ll be a good little mouse tonight 😉

yes, I’ll be following the rules I have drawn up over the last few years for just these kind of episodes: check for safety. Wear woolens. Keep feet warm. Drink warm tea, eat warm dinner. And eat healthy. That’s why I just made muffins.

But since the thought of scooping 12 spoons of batter into their little cups wiped me out (can you imagine nearly crushing to the floor just thinking about something as silly as that? I really have it bad this week) I decided to make one big ‘muffin’ in the lasagna tray:

It is delicious! With Danish Blue cheese and organic bacon and Demeter full cream butter and organic eggs. (do you know Demeter? It is organic but with extra consideration for the seasonal and circadian rythmes.) I think its taste resembles macaroni and cheese but without the fluten. No gluten neither.

Another kind of following that fortifies me is you. Yes you. The people who read this blog. Who follow this blog even, that is such a compliment, to have followers! You really make my day.

I’d never thought these posts might be interesting enough for anyone to bother to find the blog a second time. Not with my weird English and less than elegant sentences. And the hop scotch kind of posts I seem to write. I like it very much that there are people who like the posts and the blog. I hope you keep liking it. Feel free to leave a comment, I welcome it.

this is the fourth following I want to mention today. I follow where the yarn leads.

I want to make some kind of sweater, a stranded fingerweight pullover with a woodland theme. I’m starting in February -oh! I really should tell you about the to do list I made for this year! It’s ridiculous…and assumes 31 hours in every day. And that was before I started the freeform Kitty Blanket (that wasn’t even on the list).-

but this sweater…. all I knew was: darkbrownorange. It’s a colour I love, it soothes me. I had chosen this Evilla yarn in brown and white and had gotten this marvellous orange handspun that goes with it. I myself had spun another brownorange that would go with it too and I really want to use.

So the last few days I stared at these yarns, through the mist of tears. I calculated meters/yardage. I pulled some more yarns from the stash. Combined. Held them to the light. At night I held them above the sink -the only decent light in the house.

I sketched some squirrels. Browsed other peoples projects with these yarns. Browsed brown sweaters. Browsed ‘woodland’ projects. Queued some of those. Almost bought some Autumn coloured yarn.

The thing is: I have too much of a good thing here. I had to reduce. I had to follow the rules.

I took all the yarns to the bathroommirror and held them to my face. The browns made me look even more ill. So there’s decision nr. 1: no browns near the face. No matter how much I love them.

from there follows design decision nr.2: that leaves white near the face.

That makes me think of the Banana sweater in the beginning of this post -which I renamed Snow Sweater this morning btw- and I don’t want two sweaters that look pretty much the same. So decision nr. 3: differ from Snow Sweater.

nr 3: no stranded yoke. That’s a good idea anyway since stranded yokes make big busted girls look even more butch. Let me just pocket that decision as nr. 4: no more stranded jokes for me, just to make myself feel good about myself.

on I trotted, wondering where this all would lead. I have not enough yarn to make a one-coloured pullover so there must be a colour transition somewhere in the body. I have to think about how that transition will take place: gradually or more abrupt?

I like gradually and I played around with brown frilly oak leaves increasing in numbers as you progress top down. It looks nice but I rather like my oak leaves to be green, not old and brown.

Squirrels are brown! As are hedgehogs. Owls. Deer. Acorns.

pattern on Ravelry here

pattern here on Ravelry

(I’ll be making this mittens for myself this month. Which better has 7 weeks, at last)

pattern here on Ravelry

pattern here on Ravelry

I scattered some of those around, increasing in number when going down. But it did look a bit childish, on paper. A grown women in a sweater covered with cute animals…. I was afraid it would echo those dreadfull sweaters adult women wore in the ’80’s whilst they were trying to express their cuddly sides: the one with bears on them….

………….buy it here……………………………………….buy it here

they did wear them in those days, right? I’m not imagining things, am I?

it wasn’t just Care Bears, it wasn’t just x-mas sweaters, it was all kind of bears for years and years. Preferably with plaids or hearts.

So here’s my final decision: some kind of stylistic woodland stranded pullover. A design that withstands time. I’ve already started sketching and if the papers weren’t upstairs I’d go and show them to you.

is this stylistic enough?

pattern on ravelry

I made an oak leaf-pattern where one half is brown and one half is white. The brown half can be in the white part of the sweater and vice versa, right where the colours border.

much like this logo, come to think of it:


But that would make quite a sudden transition of colours, somewhere on the body (have to place it carefully. Not on the breasts, for instance. Ah, decision nr. 6)

We’ll see. I’ll let you know more about the designing process. It keeps me wonderfully distracted when I lie awake or when my mind has found something non-constructive to fret about.

well, thank you for reading. This has been an enjoyable distraction, writing here. Now I will continue with the knitting and the video. That sleeve… the white part has to be knit on needles more 2 (4) sizes down from the stranded part! I’m doing it on 2,5 mm whereas the whole sweater is done on 3,5 mm. I’ve got no idea why but that’s what the knitting told me after I made two attempts resulting in flaring wrist parts. That’s a whole other era in time I do not wish to echo.

new sweater, old mistake

in between I’m knitting the sleeves for the Banana sweater

I’m afraid I have not enough grey yarn. Which is why the body is on hold so I can first finish the sleeves. After that I can see whether the body will need a white border or not. I prefer a grey one.

I already have the fleece dug out and can spin more of necessary. But that would make this a very long term project.

So instead, I opted for knitting the first sleeve too tight.

which will ensure I will not wear this sweater gladly thus making me not care whether the border is grey or white. Very smart.

Of course I fitted the sweater plus it sleeves numerous times. Right here on winter evenings I flung away sweaters, mitts, cowls and hats I was wearing and fitted it, many times. Took it to the bathroom mirror. Frogged a bit, reknit a bit. It fitted good in the end.

When I was confident about the fit I did the stranding part, made sure it was loose. Had to do it twice because when I do stranding I have to increase the stitchcount, not decrease it. I learned.

I fitted this morning, after the stranding was done. The stranding fits. It looks great!

The sleeve however does not fit any longer. I must have grown muscles overnight. Or I have, again, knitted a sleeve too tight. Forgetting that the longer you make a tube, the more room you’ll need.

32 stitches was enough for my forearm without stranding. It had to be frogged and go up to 40 stitches when there was stranding involved.

but 50 to 40 st is not enough for my elbow or my upperarm…. which is weird.

Before frogging and reknitting this whole sleeve -yes, it has to be done, even if it means spinning more yarn- I started on the second sleeve. Just to pick up my mood. I’m wondering how much stitches I’ll take for this one on the forearm. 48? Or 54…

am also thinking about embroidering a saying to put on prominent display here: “knit your sleeves with lots of ease, you’ll like your sweater better”

pacing the joy, the joy of cats

this Knitting A-Long really works for me. Each day a little bit. Before it becomes a chore you (have to) stop. Before you get too bored you’re done for the day.

ok well, sometimes you have to stop just when you’re getting the hang of it. So I don’t mind doing two installments in one day when I’m on a roll. But the pressure, the need to finish, is not here. I love it!

So I have joined a few other KALs. I had already made a ridiculous list of projects I want to do this year and yarns I want to use and I just strolled across Ravelry to see if there were KALs I could tag along with.

there are.

So let me introduce to you my first entry for a Blanket A-Long:

it’s the Freeform Crochet Blanket by Kirsti Hallamaa. ravelry page here

Kirsti is a remarkably nice woman from Finland. She’s also the designer of this funny little badger purse:

When I first wanted to make this I did not have a fast internet connection -I live in a cabin in the woods- and I could not download the instructions which are full of photographs for extra clarity. I contacted Kirsti and asked for a file without pictures but she said the pictures really tell a thousand words. And than she printed out both designs, on heavy duty stock paper, and send them to me! All the way from Finland!

she’s right, the pictures do tell the story. The patterns are good and convey fun.

I have made the badger purse and the Blanket has been on my list for very long. I love that ’70s graphic way of depicting animals! So when looking for a project and a KAL to combine I laughed out loud when the Dutch Karma Group on Ravelry decided to do a blanket KAL.

So here’s my very first block for my very first blanket for me, myself and I:

a freeform crocheted cat. In sock yarn, with hook 3 mm.

it will get a border of the beige shetlandmohair I made the Kelmscott cardigan with. One about every month, give or take. Next winter I’ll have a kitty blanket to warm my knees!

I started with the eyes

and just frutseled them together while thinking of cats

it was a solid 1,5 day work, about 16 hours.

Pippi KAL on its way

I am knitting away 🙂

here’s my projectpage

I’m not using the dice to decide which block comes next, I’m using common sense. I read the knitting I’ve done, I estimate the chart of the blocks that could come next and I make a decision.

I may take a look at the cowl swatch I did in Noro yarn last month, when I just could not wait any longer:

this cowl swatch helped me to decide which block to do next. I saw a bit of a FLY starting to emerge in the white shawl….

do you see it?

here it is:

don’t want it. So I won’t chose a block that converges to a point, like it’s a head. So any block but nr.6!

otherwise it’s looking really nice, eh? quite flowery and leafy. 🙂

the yarn is Lang Yarn Alpca. The only alpaca I like to knit with. Spin with. Felt with. Share a heap of hay with. I really don’t like alpaca….. I feel no connection with the species. It’s yarn usually itches, even if it’s supposed to be very soft. It’s way too dirty to spin with. And when I knit with it, for example with Drops Alpaca, a great yarn for a great price, I sneeze all the time because small hairs are flying everywhere.

But this Lang Yarn Alpaca, it’s great. Light, warm, fluffy.

Pippi Lace Kal Day 1

Welcome in the New Year!

your task for today, should you care to accept it is to

Chose A Yarn:


get out a dice:

or unleash your inner Pippi Longstocking:


and join in the fun! Come over to the Pippi Longstocking Group on Ravelry where we will make a lace shawl in a very Pippi-esque way.

It’s really quite marvelous, Unikatissima, the designer of the Advent Shawl 2012 Poinsettia, designed another shawl, this one more ‘leafy’ and less ‘zigzag-y’. It was the Advent Shawl 2011. A free pattern, also.

Now I’ve got to go be busy so come to the Pippi Group to get an idea why I’m so enthousiastic about this design.  I’m there too, I’m snorrepot, and I’m kneedeep in yarn, trying to make a choice.