Finished: Oak Grove MITTS

I finished the mitts for which I got the yarn and the pattern in the swap I mentioned earlier.

I like them a lot. The yarn is wonderfully soft and gleams with the silk.
I did make two different mitts…

on the left is the mitt that mostly followed the pattern, except for the ribbing which I mistook for 2×2 in stead of 1×2. And I moved the leaf higher up the hand (on both mitts).

On the right is my own design. Because I thought that most of the mitts made from the pattern had quite a bulge where the ribbing of the wrist went into the hand. Because ribbing alternates knit and purl stitches there is a thread running from back to front of the knitting all the time. This provides lots of extra stretch. That’s why when knitwear transfers from ribbing into (reversed) stockinette stitch a knitter normally decreases 10% of the stitches. For example at hems of sweaters and cuffs of cardigans.

In this picture my own design is on the left. On the right lots of bulge.

Overall very pleased. A very nice way to make a gift my own and to enjoy in the colours someone else has as her favourite.


Oak Grove Cardi: half a back panel

I’m knitting from the Center Back line outward to the side seam. The CB lies parallel to the window sill and the radiator.
On the left there’s an armhole, it’s the back part of my right shoulder. And I sprinkled oak leafs.
There are also some short rows, both from the left side and from the right side. The middle gets knit less than the edges, this provides waist shaping.

I like knitting this cardigan. But I keep tripping up over the leafs, forgetting to increase or decrease. Luckily they do not need to be precise. Fudge-fixing them works fine.

I also have to remind myself regurlarly that washing will soften up the knitted fabric. Right now it’s harder and stiffer than I’d prefer.

Here’s the cast-on, two days ago:

It’s not easy, having half the stitches on one circular and trying to knit the other half. But I got there.

It’s a provisional cast-on, by method of figure 8. It is done on two needles, one of them smaller than the other.

I am knitting pretty fast at the moment because I have to rest in bed for hours. Normally a cardigan on this size needles (3,25mm) is not knit so fast.

Designing a Wrap Cardigan: Oak Grove

Based on the oak leaf from Oak Grove Mitts and a tweedy yarn in beautiful chestnut red I wanted to knit a cardigan, with oak leafs going sideways.

leaf = Mitt Oak Grove by Alana Dakos
yarn = Lang Yarns Donegal, a slightly felted DK single. 100% merino. Thin and thick but sturdy enough.

As I couldn’t find a pattern that was exactly as I wanted it I decided to design my own. Pretty soon I had an idea for a sideways fitted cardigan with leafs at the bottom and at the sleeves.

That’s when I swatched the yarn. To find out its needle size and to have a first look at how the leafs would show up.

The swatch showed me more than I wanted. It showed I didn’t like the reverse stockinette in this yarn. It showed the leaf would have a deplorable big hole at its base. And it showed my intended needle size, 3,5 mm, would give a flimsy thin fabric.

I like the stockinette stitch side much better in this yarn…

But the real problem is that the yarn yields a thin fabric, no matter what needle size. I had a warm winter cardi in mind. A thin cardigan required a whole other approach.
The fabric would be more drapey. The cardigan not as warm. A fitted look would look weird probably, accentuating rolls on my belly or stretching over my bossom. Not to mention how the closing would look: gaping between the buttons and formless button holes.

This yarn was destined to become a whole other kind of cardigan. A more ‘flappy’ cardi. With more ease. Layers perhaps.

The kind of cardi I would wear when meeting my knitter friends at one of the domestic wool parties we organize. Where the room temperature is higher than in my own home and where everybody is wearing something nice.
It took a full day to wrap my head around this new direction, all the while fondling the swatch to remind my hands and eyes of its characteristics.

I spend a day looking at cardigans in Ravelry’s database, cardigans with my gauge.

I really liked Old Town by Carol Sunday, Flaming June by Cheryl Niamath, Geodesic Gardican by Connie Chang Chinchio, and I stared a long time at Koukla by Hilary Smith Callis.
I plan to make all these in the future! (and some others too)

With all patterns I looked at construction, shaping, how they look when not closed and at how I could incorporate the leafs and which direction they would flow. I wouldn’t want them to point down, giving me a depressing Autumn falling leafs cardigan.

All the while I had the swatch nearby. Wearing it on my lapel. Twirling it around my fingers. After some time I found I didn’t dislike the reversed stockinette stitch anymore, as long as I saw it sideways. It has some of that vertical stripey look that I like in the Stockinette Stitch. Showing off its nepps nicely.
Now a sideways cardigan was an option again. That means swirling leafs!

That’s when I went back to an intriguing pattern I stumbled upon earlier, when looking at patterns for linen or silk yarns.
Meet a wrapping cardigan in linen by DROPS. Meant to be a Summer garment.

It’s weird, it’s quirky, it’s layered, the front parts are sideways, it goes well with a nice button on the shoulder or one of my oak leaf shawl pins. And it welcomes drapey fabric.

It looks great on many of the knitters that have made it, they rave about the fit. (Even if some of them are grumpy about DROPS pattern descriptions. These are always boiled down and dense, not very elaborate.)
They make me want to have one and swirl its front flaps around me, sending oak leafs every which way!

So I made a decision. This pattern is getting a try.

Here’s how I set it up, the design:
– “Old Town” cardigan and Carol Sunday’s fun with construction rubbed off on me: I’m planning to do a provisional caston at the Centre Back Seam and work the back panel sideways too.
– Sprinkle some oak leafs here and there, work my way to the front.
– Work it seamless, back to front. Add some crocheted seams afterwards if the cardigan ends up too formless and shapeless.
– Decide on edge/hem: took advice from Techknitter who says that a rolled hem wears very well. It fits this design too.
– Decide on edge stitch: slip every first stitch. I like it that way (and I’m a loose knitter)
– Long sleeves, with a bit of a flare near the wrist. Band of sideways leafs there too. Or leafs flowing up the sleeve (will need some kitchenering)

still to be determined:
– which edge stitch to use in the armhole? Picking up stitches when the first stitch has been slipped gives me ugly big holes.
– waist shaping? by ways of shortrows.
– definitive shape of the front panels.

Weird Wool Wednesday: Hatbox trick



this is Louets vintage spinning wheel from the 1970’s-1980’s
Louet S40, lovingly called the Hatbox.

Smartly engineered.
Back in those days mr. Louet and mr. Wernekinck were engineers in Delft (the city of painter Johannes Vermeer and also where the technical university is where I went to myself in the 1990’s)
They designed spinning wheels, modern wheels.

Their designs are still around and so are the two engineers, both with their own companies in the world of wool:

mr. Louet went to the east of Holland and set up his factory of spinningwheels, weaving looms and kitchens that still produces novel designs today.


mr. Wernekinck is still in Delft and specializes in felt fabrics and carding fleeces. There’s a big machine in his store! He caters to retail and fashion designers world wide.

The hats are all mine. I used to collect them and wear them. It takes a special kind of courage to wear a hat, especially a ‘weird’ designer hat. I used to have that courage. Nowadays I just wear weird handknits.

a swap received

In the Dutch Karma Swap Group we have a swap going on that has its crescendo this week. Today was my turn, I received my swap in the post! I did not know from whom it was and the theme this swap was “All about Me”. The person who send the swap got the change to show something about herself: her favourite wool, her favourite pattern, her favourite food. Anything.
Look what I got!

my parcel came from Imknits who has the most marvellous colour moodboard on her profile page. I often visit this moodboard just to dream away at its colours and its atmosphere:

this is what she send me:

a handmade wrath from knitted leafs and wooden buttons, mounted on intertwined twigs. Speaking about our shared love of nature and her skills as a florist.

A skein of Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend and the pattern Oak Grove for some great mitts with oak leaves on them. My favourite leafs!

A handmade quilt, made really well, in all great Autumnal pieces of fabric. I keep looking at the different patterns. I have no affinity with quilting but this piece I love. It’s so precise and so diverse.

the back

tells about a great story Imknits experiences while in Sweden, involving lots of magical nature and moose.

Three skeins of Shetland Lambswool for some great stranded knitting.

A little tin with an illustration from Dane Mads Stage. Love little tins! Love illustrators! Love gnomes and nature!

All in all a marvelous package that has me in awe and happiness.
I’ve had all the colours and goodies spread out around me all day and have casted on for those oak leaf mitts:

It’s not like I had any felting to do or s’thing…

ps. a perfect lunch: blue cheese with rocket salad. And dark chocolate. With a knitter friend 🙂

pattern page for the mitts
Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend, needles 3,25mm
mods: cast on 4 less stitches because I’m such a loose knitter. Make longer ribbing at the wrist, place leaf higher up on the back of the hand, add a thumb gusset.

Weird Wool Wednesday: wet sheep in the city

So I brought back the fleece-to-be-felted in a hurry last week. I packed it up in plastic, still wet, planning to finish felting it in the next few days.

Today I am leaving for a 10 day stay in the city….


I guess I’m bringing a wet sheep with me. And finish felting it in the next few days. Hope so because I don’t know how long a wet fleece will hold, it’s already starting to smell a bit mossy.


This will so ruin the image of sophisticated lady I still have with my city neighbours.
I even wear shoes and make up in the city!

Finished: Bluebird Cardigan!

I’m proud!
And a little tilted.

Can’t tell if it’s me or wether the cardigan has hung on the chair askew but it sits right when I stand up straight and pull it a bit down on one side. As it was knitted in the round it has exactly the same rows left and right. Must’ve been the chair then.

It sits perfect! The cables gather exactly at my waist. The collar is nice and high. Sleeves are long enough.

It only used 1000m of yarn, 2,5 skeins of that wonderful Donegal Yarns Irish Heather 1.16 nm
I used needles 5,5 mm

Weird Wool Wednesday: one, two, SURPRISE!

In knitting, there are basically only two stitches. There’s the knit stitch. And there’s the purl stitch. Everything else is a variation on one of these two.

Today I discovered I still mix them up, even in their simplest form… and I’m surprised at that.

I am working on the second version of Donegal cardi, after I so painfully knitted half a sweater before discovering I had done the math wrong. This time everything is going well! I did the math right. Made the cables fall in my waist, providing extra waist shaping. I crossed all the cables right. Placed increases and decreases at their proper places. Invented a collar while I was at it. Things were going well and I had a bodice with a collar on it.
hard work was done!
Only two sleeves left to knit.

I know how I like my sleeves: knit shortrows at the shoulder cap, picking up one stitch from the armhole with each turn. Add a little room in the back, gather a little at the front.

I even remembered to knit the first sleeve with enough ease as I have a tendency to knit my sleeves too tight.

Smooth sailing! Look: no holes where I picked up the stitches.  Even tension. No bulk at the front (that’s no bulk, that’s me not laying the cardi flat properly. Trust me, there’s no bulk.)

It wasn’t until I had to think about the cuff that I noticed I had forgot to count to two. There are TWO basic stitches of knitting. This cardigan relies on the PURL stitch.

That should be a sleeve in PURL stitches. Reversed stockinette stitch. Just like the body, where it gives a nice stage for the cables to shine on.

I can’t believe I knitted 3 days worth of sleeve without noticing this. Or even thinking about it. I must have used up all my thinking capacity with the body!
I’m so surprised I made this mistake. Are you? Or have you come to expect this of me? nowaitdon’tanwerthat

Well. The sleeve has to be reknit. As it is it distracts too much from the body, there is not enough uniformity.

here is the projectpage

Cardigan knitted bottom-up, set in sleeves knitted top down

Autumn’s here: *hello!* now RUN!

Yesterday I was enjoying the wonderful Summers weather rolling the fleece rug, to make the locks attach to the backing better:

In the morning I had drained some of the water of the previous night. Just hang the wool over the edge of the tabel, gravity and wool characteristics will do the rest. I even watered the fleece with the garden …howdoyoucallit?” the bucket with the snout”… we say gieter meaning “pourer”

anyway, one of these:

Very dirty water drained from the fleece. Sheep just pee and poo all over themselves. I throw this water in the sewer, if you leave it out too long all kind of flies drown it it, high on pheromones.

I then added new warm soapy water, stuck a pin to roll with in it and started rolling. It needs a couple of hours rolling to get the fibers to properly intertwine. In between I have to check now and then that the locks do not felt among themselves, only to the backing. I prey them apart, making sure their backs start to attach firmly into the Bergschaf.

Slowly the rolling will traverse into felting rolling, where the wool will start to shrink and the size of the rug will shrink. This is when the intetwined fibres really become so gripped they cannot be pried loose again. This is felting.

But that is many hours away from this stage. For now it is the initial rolling for fulling: a gentle and lengthy process. There’s sun, wool, soapy water. GO!


Because suddenly the skies darkened, everything got green and hazy and a big thunderstorm was travelling over the Netherlands.

I’m in the red dot. It was not there 5 minutes ago.


We had just a few minutes to gather two spinning wheels, six garden chair cushions, one table cloth, two cats and six skeins of yarn that were drying before the downpour started.

I just threw some plastic over the felting roll, shoved the bucket with dirty water under the table and RAN.

We forgot about the coffee cups and table cloth and my shirt and the hedge row scissors that were left at the table at the far end of our patch of forest. But when it comes to Autumn wool and cats take priority!

the skeins that are trying to dry inside now.
I set the twist and I was sure it would dry in the sun, taking on that marvelous Summer’s smell.
(ooooh, I need to knit faster!!)

Today it’s cold and wet outside. I don’t feel like rolling stinky fleece…

I wonder how long I can leave it out there before it starts moving on its own.

Processing the last fleeces of 2013

We have the last few days of Summer here. A gift of September. I used it to process the last fleeces of 2013.
Yesterday I scoured two fleeces I want to spin but that were too greasy after washing with the cool method.

You can wash fleeces in two manners:
1. washing which removes dirt
2. scouring which removes the wool grease (lanoline)

Washing can be done with cold water. Scouring needs hot water as lanolin melts at a temperature of 48 degrees celsius. (or some such)

Yesterdays scouring means lots of buckets in my kitchen and me walking to and from the garden with hands full of warm wool. It was fun and I look forward to spinning this. One fleece is South Down which means Longdraw!

But today I did not feel like washing the one dirty fleece still remaining in my garage. It was too warm and this fleece wasn’t even skirted yet (this means: getting rid of the pooped parts and second cuts)
So I decided to felt it. Reluctantly. Because felting is quite intensive and I am a weak pancake on a good day. And I failed at felting a fleece last year (I still have the smelly old thing wrapped up somewhere under the porch)

But it was a lovely Summer day, the cat was happy, everything smelled nice so I just went for it.
Here are pictures!

Jacobsheep fleece. Organic.

From a local farm that we get our eggs and meat from once a week. And glorious full fat butter!

It was the biggest ewe in the flock.

I took half of it. Just a gut decision. Because I saw a nice circle in it. A circle rug. To sit on. And because half a fleece may be doable in these few days of opportunity.

I laid the fleece upside down on a big piece of plastic on my crooked garden table.

I started to lay a thin layer of German Mountain Sheep on it. Bergschaf.

A second layer of Bergschaf and some silk hankies to provide backing.

A third layer to capture the silk and then first step of felting: Make thoroughly wet and press all the air out of it.

this is as far as I got today:

Tomorrow step two: rub it so that the Bergschaf catches the back of all the Jacobs locks.

now I’m tired. I hope to sleep well. After I shower. Because sheep poo.