Weird Wool Wednesday: buying a car

I bought a car! For me! To get to knitting parties! And home again! At my own convenience!

when looking for a suitable used car my list of requirements was telling.

MY NEW CAR MUST BE:

  • within budget
  • safe and reliable
  • not from a smoker
  • not too tiring to drive
  • be able to hold my spinning wheel
  • have a knitting WIP stashed somewhere for unexpected waits
  • be able to transport at least two knitter friends and their wool
  • look good with woolen accessoires such as hand felted head rest covers or a fresh fleece in the back

the rest was negotiable.

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Gifts

The past few months I’ve made some gifts for knitter friends that have found their way to their owners in the past week. Now I can share them with you.

First up: the secret wap in the Dutch Karma Group.

when we have swaps in the Dutch Karma Group you put together a parcel for one of the other members without telling them. You have to stalk them and their projects to find out what they like. It is a stressfull and very fun activity.

Right now, we are wrapping up the Luxury Gift Swap. The goal for this swap was to actually knit/crochet something for your swappee, using a luxury yarn. Then add a small luxury item such as soap or CHOCOLATE and send it to her.

Sounds easy. Isn’t easy at all! It is very scary to make something for someone else. Especially if you want it to be GOOD. You start to doubt yourself at every step of the way. The choice of colour, the choice of yarn, the choice of pattern.

Luckily we are experienced swappers by now and we know that we have to guide the person who is going to spoil us as much as possible. Give clear instruction what you would like. Restrict the vast array of possibilities as much as possible. Nothing is worse than trying to spoil someone who says: “really, anything is fine, I like everything.” Where to start??

Like I said, we are a lucky bunch, we know that the more and clearer preferences are stated, the easier it is to combat the inner doubts. My swappee was clear fortunately. Her name is Brigiet and this is her colour choice fot this swap:

she also provided her secret spoiler -me- with a list of Wollmeise yarn colours. These are nearly a standard for identifying colours in the world of knitters, just like Panthone is in paint.

“I love most colours but for this swap I am thinking of these Wollmeise colours:

Cassis
Magnolia
Petitie poison 5
Ballerina
Ein klein wenig verrucht
Chim chim chimney
Dora
Taube
Aquarius
Flaschenpost
Fritzi frizzante
Neptun
Sabrina”

One of the Wollmeise Groups over on Ravelry.com has a page listing the various colours, with pictures. So I could just go over there and browse to try and understand fully what my swappee really loves.

She also gave examples of shawls she likes. She would love a shawl that is a bit round -not triangle- to wear over her shoulders at work coming winter. She listed some examples and what she liked about them particularly. Wonderful! Ideas for the perfect luxury gift where taking shape in my mind.

Then I found the perfect yarn: a blue fingering weight by Posh Yarn with glitter: Posh Yarn Pamela in colour Bala. I could have ordered one of the Wollmeises she mentioned but then I would not have had glitter. And I really loved this colour for her. Besides, there was no Wollmeise in a right colour to be had when I wanted to start knitting. Wollmeise is hard to get and you have to be fast and confident. I have not been any of those recently.

it even has the glitter of the ice in her picture! I would not have thought so but the glitter is actually very soft. I felt it and pondered it before I decided to actually buy it. This is better then buying over the internet where colours are never certain. Nor softness!

I loved it so much,  both colour and texture, that it was a real pleasure to knit with. I would have loved to have kept it myself. Which made it easier to offer it to her and garantee that if she didn’t absolutely love it too, I would gladly take it back and exchange it for something in a better colour.

It was knitted into a pattern my swappee had identified herself as a good one. I purchased it and knit it, as is. It is Marella by Knitting-Delight.com from Birgit Freyer:

I knitted it on needles 3,25mm. I did alter the increases in the ‘spine’ a bit as you see. I let them float out sideways. I do not like the ‘spiney’ look. I also did M1 for increases, by knitting in the stitch below the stitch that is to be knit (also). Sometimes I like my increases to be not ‘holey’.

Still a bit nervous but also fairly confident I wrote a nice letter on my nicest stationary, wrapped the goodies and send away my parcel. My swappee was very glad with it! And so am I.

 

THE SECOND GIFT:

Next I knitted a shawl for a good friend who turned 40 the other day. Her favourite colour is green. She doesn’t find much joy in knitting lace but does enjoy wearing lace shawls. And as I had just knitted Marelle which was still very much in my knitter hands memory, I casted on:

this time I played a bit with the pattern. The ‘spine’ is broader now, I increased the number of stitches between the two vertical lines of increases. I much prefer this. It yield a bit of a rounder shaped shawl. I also played with the lace part since the original pattern, Marella by Brigit Freyer, is fairly straight. Gothic if you will (architectural term, not the fashion term): 

pattern page picture by triametes71

see what I mean? straight lines, triangles.

I made them into more fluent lines and a different rythme of the small ‘blobs’ in the lace. I also changed the knitting of these ‘blobs’. The pattern makes them all the same, I divided them in left leaning and right leaning double decreases. Depending on where they were in relation to the centre lines.

Still pointy pointy. But less triangles and less stacks of ‘blobs’. I really like it!

This was knitted in a lovely green yarn Dream in Color Smooshy:

of the colour way “Happy Forest”. I had received this yarn myself in a previous swap but as this is a superwash yarn I knew I would prefer to knit it for someone else to wear. This was a perfect gift, the colour is very much ‘her’. (and ‘me’. This colour is great! too warm to compliment my own colouring but hey, don’t need to look absolute gorgeous every day!)

She celebrated her birthday at her house, she baked cakes and made soup, she invited only knitters and we sat around all day eating wonderful food and chatting and being comfortable and knitting and spinning and having a really really wonderful time. It was so relaxed!

I was very proud of how the shawl looked on her. A very good  gift. I knitted this on needles 3,25 mm and used 321 meters which is 351 yards. link to project page

THE THIRD GIFT:

Now let me tell you about the gift that took the longest time of these three. It is weaving.

About two years ago my friend Meilindis started spinning. I was having a rough time and as a cheer-up she send me two of her very first handspun. This is a very precious gif! Because first hand spun are like many firsts in creations: you can never repeat them and you create a little wonder without restrictions of experience.

it is the top one, the blue one. It has a myriad of colours. You can put your nose to it and keep looking, the colours keep changing. It is like a caleidoscope.

I have looked at this yarn for a year and a half. I knew knitting would mix the colours too much. Crocheting would eat up too much yarn, it is only about 30 m. Other techniques that would compliment this yarn could be Lace Crochet or knitting with elongated stitches. But I was still searching.

Then I learned weaving.

And it all came together. I wove it as one of my first weaves:

the technique showed of the ‘journey’ through colours and fibre Meilindis had made while spinning it in a great way:

I started this weaving just around the time we were talking about Colour Analysis on the Karma Group and Meilindis had her colours analysed and was determined a Summer. It was very educational, for all of us. I decided to use a Summer apropiate colour for the warp: bourette silk in dusty rose.

After a while looking and admiring the woven piece I decided to make it into a small pouch. I myself love useful things. Pretty useful things. And sewing the pouch gave me another opportunity to work with this yarn up close:

see how many colours one strand of yarn has? I LOVE it when you travel from a small scale to the big one and back and on each scale there is something interesting to see and colours to enjoy.

I wove in the ends and put a button on it:

Then I brought it with me when I went to visit her.

we had a lovely afternoon of chatting about knitting and about cats and about life and we went to a ’50s store to try on dresses and then we ate chocolate bonbons at an Italian ice cream salon.

Here’s her cat Fiona, approving of the little pouch and of the bonbons:

the red shawl she’s resting on is one of Meilindis’ own designs: Rapunzel Crescent. It has wonderful detail!

again, attention to every scale (stitchdefinition, stitch pattern, areas, shape shawl) which delights the designer/urban architect in me. I plan to make this shawl for me one day! Soon I hope. But she also has Frou Holle that I’d love to make…

The blue shawl near the back of cat Fiona is the shawl that Meilindis received from her secret spoiler in the Secret Luxury Swap. A silk shawl in an ab-so-lute perfect colour for her!!

accompanied by luxury chocolate, the remainder of the skein and a nice letter. Send by…Brigiet. The very girl I send my package too! Great Karma!

Weird Wool Wednesday: matching socks

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These socks match.

To a knitter.

I seldom knit a pair of socks of the other matching kind, the kind non-knitters appreciate. Because when you finish knitting one sock the fun is over. Making the second sock, identical, is just homework. Boring.

A solution would be to make two socks at the same time, on a long circular needle. But this takes a long time. But not twice as much as making one sock after the other however.

 

Another solution is to channel Pippi Longstocking.

Or insist they match anyway. These do!

ps. I dyed both yarns myself

Weird Wool Wednesday: I don’t like blue

I really have no pleasure in knitting with blue yarn. Don’t know why.

It’s boring. Even though the colour looks smashing on me, knitting with blue yarn is a drag. Spinning blue too.

Orange! I love to knit with orange! But blue? meh.

 

which makes my current projects page a bit peculiar…

1

 

 

(or perhaps an explanation why these are mainly WIPs and not FOs?)

 

WIP = Work In Progress

FO = Finished Object

Finished: Little Blue Riding Hood

 

pattern Pauline by Hanley Cardozo, the Knitting Ninja. Pauline is one of her free patterns, found here

I made mine with Lang Yarn Seta Tweed, a DK yarn. Leftover from my Silk Summer Top.

on 2 mm needles to get gauge: 18 st per 10 cm/4″

the i-cord I did on smaller needles, 1,5 mm. The leaves and roses on bigger: 3 mm.

I knitted until the piece was 7,5 inches long before I turned the corner. Previously I had followed the pattern and turned at inches but that turned out too short, it wouldn’t fit my head.

It’s a nice little thing, I enjoy wearing it. It’s a bit chilly out here and having something on your head helps. It is also a kind of hug of some sorts, especially as it covers my ears. Sensitive people probably know what I’m talking about. It’s like you’re walking around with your hands covering your ears, a very nice feeling.

update: Karma Blanket

I had to stay in the city, away from the stash, and this prompted me to do my “yarnie homework”. I knitted blocks on the Karma Blanket. I had gotten behind because…. I don’t know. It worked very well, concentrating for a few days on blocks. I might do it again, in a couple of weeks.

Here they are:

ADDITIONAL VALUE: (only needs four little buttons)

HAPPINESS:

ONE FOR ALL, ALL FOR ONE:

LITTLE CROWNS: (we got a new king in our country last week)

ON THE WAVES OF LIFE:

HOPPING WITH ANTICIPATION:

BEE HIVE:

SMILEY: (only I made a squirrel, not a smiley)(I don’t like faces on things)(unless kitty faces)

aren’t they GREAT?! Each designer has given it her own interpretation and association, it is wonderful! Together all blocks do describe the group, the Dutch Karma Swap Group over on Ravelry.com! Here’s a compilation of all blocks that were designed untill now:

finished: Silk Summer Top

I finished a Summer Top in Silk:

the pattern is Buttercup by Heidi Kirrmaier. A very well written pattern, free.

it asks for a DK yarn on needles 3,25 or 3,5 mm (US 3 or US 4) to get a gauge of 22 st to the 10 cm (4″)

I used a proper DK yarn: Lang Yarn Seta Tweed but I had to use needles 2 mm to get that gauge. I’m funny that way.

Because of the silk it has a lovely vibrant colour. It is spun from silk waste I think, it has short fibres. Normally silk has long smooth fibres, because the cocon that the caterpillar has spun around itself in one continuing thread is carefully unwinded.

In theory, silk made from short fibres such as this Seta Tweed could be made from cocons from which the caterpillar was allowed to live and eat its way out. But in practice it’s more likely the long fibres were used for high end yarn and the small fluff was spun into this yarn. Which is a good yarn too. It does break easily when put under pressure. Not good for weaving I guess. Or cats’ play. But lovely colour and very soft and allround luxury yarn.

I am very pleased with this top. It has a lot of bust darts, yes. I deviated from the pattern and also gave it a lot of waist shaping, I went down to an x-small because I suspect that’s my size. This is a fitted top now and it looks smashing. I’ll take a picture of me wearing it as soon as there’s a bit of Summer in this country. Right now, it’s raining.

projectpage on Ravelry

Weird Wool Wednesday: have yarn, will travel

I found myself in the train rather a lot the last week.

I went to visit a friend for an afternoon of knitting and eating sweets on the couch:
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travelling back, very tired and happy and stuffed with homemade appeltaart:
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(my feet are resting on my jacket, not on the couch)

Then I had to travel to the north because my grandmother passed away:

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Long hours in the train, interspersed with long breaks for tea to prepare for the next stint. Lots of time to think about grandmother, who knitted for food in the War and who gave me the knitting book that she got from her own mother:

Het breien a book from 1896!!

Yesterday I returned home, bringing with me one of her cups:

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we both love watching and feeding birds and doing needle work. I spend a lovely couple of days with my two ants sharing stories.

On this trip I bound off the shawl I was working on. It is now finished.

Knitting is a wonderful way of travel. The repetitive motion soothes and it occupies the hands while you are looking out and pondering.