Weird Wool Wednesday: a spinning confession

I love spinning on a turkish spindle.
I love spinning silk on turkish spindles.
I love winding up the single in that nitpicky pattern in gleaming silk on turkish spindles. Even if it takes forever and then another 20 minutes.

(I’m claiming human vulnerability towards nice patterns and all things shiny as an excuse. Nature makes me do this!)

Yes, I’ve bought another Enid Ashcroft spindle, it’s a Mini, one size bigger than the Midge.
Send more silk! And a bucket of time.


waiting for delivery

This is Thursday’s post. I do try to post every day for the Ravellenics. By now we’re scrambling for the finish line! But nothing happened on Thursday because I was waiting for a delivery. I knew it wouldn’t come until Friday. Still I waited… and didn’t post.

Today is Friday! This is Friday’s post!



Even chocolate-doping and a virtual witch coach promoting carbo-diets are deployed!

But it’s not here yet!

What are we all so excited about?
Well, we are waiting for delivery of some twigs:

It’s a Turkish Spindle made by Enid Ashcroft.
It’s a Midge in woods Bubinga and Indian Rosewood and you use it to spin wool with, sloooooowly. But perhaps not as slow as I think.

They’ve been talking about these EA spindles for weeks now in the Dutch Karma Group. Appearaently (adjust spelling to your preference please) they are quite something!
Great balance, long spinning time, lovely finish.
As I LOVE natural materials and good tools I was prone to succomb. But I held steady. Because I think spindles are a waste of time. It takes sooooo long to spin wool on a small piece of wood!

For spinning wool I prefer bigger pieces of wood:

Give a few kicks, spin a whole sheep.

But then my friend Meilindis came to visit…. and she brought her collection of quality Tukish spindles. In a adorable little treasure case.

Here’s a picture with the names of the various spindles. This pretty much is the top in spindle manufacturers at this moment!

She allowed me to touch some. Once I held this crafty little tools in my hand, once I felt the balance, once I could admire the skill with which these are made… once I saw those beautiful woods…I was lost.

So I ordered one. (updates on Saturday’s in Enids etsy shop)

I’ll probably change my opinion about ratio of wood to wool when it comes to spinning.
I suspect there’s something special to the activity of spinning on a quality spindle itself. It won’t be about the meterage you spin. It’ll probably be about being in the moment, about having nice materials in your hands, about transforming nice fibre into nice yarn in a slow attentive pace.
There’s also the added bonus for the precise and pattern loving people: wind up the yarn in a delightful pattern.

Well, by now it’s been noon. I’m still waiting for my spindle to arrive…
It has travelled from the UK to my country. It currently resides in a unceremonious crate in which my husband gathers stuff that needs to go to the cabin in the weekend.
Slippers, cat food, chocolate, spindles. You know, the usual.

Usually he is travelling by now. But today he isn’t. He woke up to a central heating that didn’t heat. So he is still in the city, waiting for a repairman to come and kick the central heating into submission.
Otherwise Robert would already have been here. And my spindle too.

So today his roster is: wait, kick, scramble into car, get here, play with twigs.
In the mean time I’m twiddling my thumbs.
There may be some yarn in there too.

Wait, there is!
I’ve come a long way with my Brioche Capelet since I last showed you. (Only the collar is Brioche, I worried about meterage. I shouldn’t have)

It has leaves from a pattern called Forest Nymph Capelet by Ewelina Olesinska

It’s lovely to knit (and wear) with handspun. I wish my colour transition had been a bit longer. Especially in reversed stockinette stitch the colour goes quite abruptly from pink to purple.

Well. What else can I tell you?
I’m ordering enamel powders. I’m having colours on my mind all morning. I really need another craft, don’t I.
Also: the shoulder is clearing up. Just a few more weeks and I’ll be good I think. Yay!

Sooo….. still waiting. When do these Winter Olympics finish anyway? Is it today?

Weird Wool Wednesday: Shark Nav

This is my car, the one with the woolen neccessities, in it’s natural habitat:

Most days it stands there thinking green thoughts and collecting moss and bird droppings. Sometimes I take it out on the road and then it’s my safe, glass bubble to get me where I want to go. Most often knitterly meetings.

It has a new occupant to accompany me on my travels. Someone fitting for glass bubbles:


SHARK NAV is the newest contribution of knitter’ genius to that cutting edge field of technology and feeling good. It’s a niche market often overlooked but oh so important. It may be crowded by Furbies and their offspring at the moment but knitters will soon make their mark!

It’s a hammerhead shark. With conveniently placed eyes and lovely decreases. His little fins are adorable!
He can look in all directions while you drive and the good thing is: he doesn’t comment on anything he sees!

SHARK NAV will typically navigate your vehicle to little houses where knitters live. It picks up clues about where people who love wool might reside. Clues in the wild:

and clues closer to the home:

“I think a knitter lives here… turn right, turn right”

This gem was knitted by Trude, for the good cause of Dutch Divers for Serious Request 2013.
I am very glad I could buy it! I love the whimsical of it combined with expertise skills with which it was executed. It makes me giggle every time.


mission accomplished. You’ve arrived at your destination.

Ravellenics: plying misery

So I didn’t get to go to spinning group this morning, I was just not well enough.
I got to do some navajo plying all on my lonesome. Not even Olympics to watch on the computer because I didn’t fancy any of the sports of today.

I think navajo plying is tedious work and especially I love to do this in company of my spinning friends. One of them even has a very gracious technique and her presence alone inspires me to be less arm flailing and less knotting my fingers into the yarn. (talking about you, Anouk)
Besides, it’s so much more fun to spin with others who appreciate wool!

This yarn is the second half of the green I dyed and spun for Tour de Fleece. That one I combed into rollags and made into an airy, lovely yarn. Clun Forest.
This time I thought I might get away with just spinning from the teased locks. Unfortunately when making a sample I found out that the 2ply I had planned with this didn’t match the original rollags-skein in thickness at all. It had to become a 3ply. So navajo plying it would be. Which would be excellent for spinning group.

But I didn’t get to go. I had to do “the sensible thing” again. That’s really getting old. But I’m expected to do the sensible thing for another year or four if I ever are to be healed from this rotten illness. (ME/CFS).

So I missed out on spinning group. Which upset me because we only get to see each other once a month and I have missed out on 6 of the last 7 months.
I even had everything ready, which is a small victory when your energy and clarity of brain is limited. Ishowered and picked out clothes last night and everything.

Yeah, today I had a truly rotten day, with the ME/CFS.

I think both healthy and ill people do not realize often enough how couragous and stubborn people with this illness have to be, just to hold on and get through a rotten day. The same goes for people with the illness depression.
We/they are so brave, so strong. Even though we are so utterly destroyed on days like these.

Brain chemistry gets seriously messed up, especially females with their added hormone fest (I’m due to get my period tomorrow so today is about the worst day).
(I hope).

And all the time you realize this is not you, you are not your feelings.
But of course you áre! You are how you feel.
It is maddening and crazy and makes desperate and desolate.
And there’s nothing to be done. You have to sit it out. Keep breathing until enough time has passed. Which you do not expect ever to happen. And even if it does you know it’s all in vain. Life is rotten at the core you just had a mouth full.

Which is where the stubbornness comes in. If all fails you just have to be one stubborn bastard who just keeps on breathing while crying from the deepest truths and hiding from the world and failing at life.
Breathe dammit, breathe.

And this is why everybody experiencing these illnesses deserves a hug and a cry and a medal. And a red dress.

Today I plied my yarns. I did my walk. I ate everything in sight and I sat on the couch and cried at sad pet stories on the internet and watched BBC documentaries and didn’t have the heart to bother anyone of my friends with my misery.
It should pass in a couple of days. Once I get my period estrogens will kick in. I’ll be superwoman again. I’ll see colours. I’ll think about art.
I really hope.
In the mean time I cuddle Lillepoes and want to die.

Breathe dammit, breathe. Just be stubborn and prove once more that these things pass.

Here are my skeins:

my two 3ply skeins are at the top, at the bottom is the first skein. The first one is the same weight as one of the top ones but runs twice the length! That’s Long draw for you.
I wish I had done the others too in longdraw. But combing the rollags… it was just too much to ask.

I have a lovely new fleece of Clun-Merino. I’d LOVE to spin it. But is needs to be washed. Hot. I can’t. Maybe in a day or two.

Just to be clear: this is not a pity party. I do not need your heartfelt feeling of helplessness (sorry if I make you feel that way).

I just wanted to illustrate that ME (or CFS)(and depression but they are more professional about this) comes with daily battles to preserve sanity. And that it takes a lot of courage. Energy. Stubbornness.
I would like to tell all people suffering from this that this is normal. That this is nothing to worry about. That you are marvelous. And that it will pass. Just breathe.
(oh, and pop pills if you need to. Brain chemistry needs help from outside to get into balance again. For most people this is anti depressiva. For me, after intense research, it is progesterone, Lithium, Magnesium, Selenium, Molybdelum, Zinc and a lack of anything that upsets me including insuline inducing foods. And even then no garantee. Not when hormones surge.

Well, I’m off to bed. The skeins are a great colour of green. I’ve already looked at potential patterns on Ravelry. A green cardi or pullover, with lace. For a happy forest gnome lady.

And I changed my ravatar. I’m a bit done with Ravellenics for the moment.

Ravellenics: Brioche Double Dutch

While researching that Zandloper scarf by Nancy Merchant I looked at Tricotant’s project. And her notes. She mentions that she works both yarns in every row.
It’s like a mix of stranded knitting with Brioche…

In regular Brioche you slip every other stitch, giving it a little yarny collar (YO) in the process. On the next row you knit these two togeter, slipping the alternate stitches, giving them a little yarny collar.
But all this slipping stitches…. you have to work every row twice at least…

So I puzzled and puzzled and I found a way to work both colours on a single row.
I don’t know if I do the same as Tricotant does.
But here’s a video of me working one row:

Here’s the direct link to the video, over on flickr.

I work every stitch.
And every stitch gets a YO before it’s knitted.
Some already have them from the previous row: the brown ones already have an orange YO on top of them. They get knitted with just the brown yarn. Then they get a yarn over to prepare them for the next row.

The orange (purl) stitches do not have a YO yet. They get a brown one, just before they get knitted (purlwise) with the orange yarn.

I also alternate between knitting purls and knits. And between knitting with the darker colour and the lighter.
For extra mystification I filmed it late at night, in the dark, with one colour being dark brown. How handy!

This is the row where the dark brown stitches are knit stitches.
After this row I will knit a row where the dark brown stitches are purl stitches. But every stitch gets knitted.
So this is only half a video of Brioche knittng. And I’ve just figured it out and am still fumbling a bit. But hey, Ravellenic medal worthy, I think!

I stumbled upon this by myself, after reading Tricotant’s notes. Elizabeth Zimmerman would say I “unvented” this technique. Which means that although I figured it out with my own brain and my own two hands, many people have figured this out before me.
There’s even a name for this technique: Double Dutch Brioche.

And you’ll be glad to know that the fast, flimsy cast-on I unvented based on a provisional cast-on combined with my impatience with those long-tail-will-I-have-enough-yarn-or-will-it-be-way-too-much-cast-on is known by its official name as Two Colour Italian Cast On and is Nancy Merchant’s favourite (p.78 in her book).

Ravellenics: Let them eat Brioche.

You maaaay have noticed my pictures have got a little bit better over the last week. Better composition, better colours?
It’s all thanks to Ashveen. He is the knittery mind behind

His blog is so well balanced! Composition, space, atmosphere, informative, photo quality. It reads so nice and makes the eyes so happy!
It really makes me aspire for better quality on my own blog 🙂

You go and have a look at his blog, I’ll wait.

Welcome back. That’s a nice blog, yeah?
And those pictures!

Ashveen just finished a scarf in brioche stitch.
Brioche is fun! And easy, just like he says.
Last year I did a workshop Brioche, with Nancy Marchant, mrs Brioche. Ever since I wanted to do a project.

So inspired by Ashveen, here’s what I started:

(ouch, what irregular knitting and cropping!. I’ve got a long way to go. But the composition is “interesting”, don’t you think? Weird and orthoganal… like Mondrian got into textile arts and into some wine. And really wants you to notice that bumblebee measuring tape.)

Here’s the back view:

There’s a little swatch in solid purple dangling on the bottom because this is the collar for a capelet. The capelet will be in regular knitting and it’s gauge is probably different from brioche gauge.

And it probably won’t get knitted within the timeframe of the Ravelennics because I cannot do big chunks of stockinette stitch because of shoulder. (this will be then the third big project going in hold. There’s the Ruby Town Cardi and my Little Dragon Cardi. Pfff. Let’s hope there are hours upon hours of mindlessness in my future.)

The collar is so cosy! I love brioche stitch. And in handspun or otherwise quality yarn it just zooms along! Such pleasure.
And you can do such funny things with it. Check out this scarf by Nancy Marchant:

Zandloper Scarf
it has little patches of double knitting (I think)

This one I’ve seen in real life, featuring handspun:

that was me falling for it. It’s from KoolDutchLady.

Yes, I want to knit more brioche during these games, my shoulder seems to tolerate it. I may go rummaging through the stash… what colour would look nice with my coffee table composition, you think?

Ravellenics: Composition of Indecisiveness

this is the view of my coffee table. I’ve got no idea what to do next, my shoulder still hurts.
Can’t knit, can’t crochet, can’t write,
can’t spin, can’t felt, can’t decide.

Still enjoying the mess every time I see it. What nice colours!

PS aparently I can’t laptop either, this picture is flipped left to right.
PS2 also, I can’t english. Oh well, story of my life: always barfing up the wrong tree.

Weird Wool Wednesyday 2: revenge!

remember last Summer?

Now it’s 6 months later and I finally came up with a snazzy reply:

HAHAAAA cat! Take that!

She’s on my grandmother’s chair that’s in front of my sewing machine. She’s been there all winter, close to the radiator. I have to battle and plead to sit there when I want to sew.
In the back is my spinningwheel. I want to be near the radiator too…




She triumphs over me.