A sudden urge to braid

I don’t know what comes over me, I have the sudden urge to braid.
And by urge I do mean URGE.

I did some braiding four years ago:

This are traditional flat braids. Like the kind you do with 3 strands, taking the outer strand and placing it in the middle, from the left, from the right, from the left, from the right.
Only this one has more strands and you play around with over and under.

It’s a traditional braiding pattern and I don’t know its name. I saw it in an old magazine and I just grabbed some yarn and started.

I couldn’t believe that the same “pattern” yields four different braids like this. The pattern is the same, only the colours and their starting positions vary.

It blew my little mind.

And today I feel that same storm building. So I will braid again. Flat braids only.

I’m going against the grain because these days making round braids is a big thing. Especially the Japanese way of kumihimo. It uses a round disc and produces not-flat braids. From wikipedia:

It is possible to make flat kumihimo braids but it’s still a 3D braid, in my opinion. Just a squashed one. Like double weaving, it’s still two layers.

The other kind of “braiding” that’s hot again is inkle weaving (and tablet weaving and backstrap weaving).
With weaving you have one set of strings going cross ways and another set going perpendicular. You can make all kinds of patterns. And it’s flat.

This is Jo Anslow’s first inkle project, impressive!
My first Inkle loom project
That’s clearly weaving.

As I’m still boggled by plain old flat braids that’s what I’ll be doing.


Weird Wool Wednesday: Designer is King

I put the Birds of a Feather Mystery knit on some needles, to see its size:

It’s huge!

We had to cast on 572 stitches… for the small size:

We knitted two “legs” of the shawl, these are two outer borders. Now we’ll knit inwards, filling in the space between the two “legs”. With shortrows.

The design will result a triangle shawl worn sideways and it will also be non-symmetrical.

The reason the design is build up like this?
The reason we have to cast on so many stitches and started with two outer borders?

Because it will result in just a few stitches at the end, to bind off. And that’s what the designer hates as a knitter: binding off stitches.

Looking smug at the petting zoo

I took my green lace tunic to the source: the shearing of sheep at the petting zoo.
I brought my handcarders and some Hampshire Down and what do yo know, the same sheep that gave the washed fleece I had in hand was being shorn right at the spot!

Dutch Wool Diva blogged a post with pictures and you see me, my carders, that Hampshire Down sheep and it’s fleece in a bag. It came home with me!
And chickens. There are chickens. And a little goat.

Head over to her blog to see the post, it is in Dutch but the pictures tell the tale.

There’s one picture with my face and I am looking smug!
note to self: wear your glasses if you want to see something

PS the Diva wants two chickens.

Blocking: the sweaterdress/pinafore

My friend knitted the dress according to the pattern I wrote and send it back to me.
Today I wanted to block it -I have a stand alone centrifuge at the cabin, it’s perfect for bigger projects- and take pictures of it.

But it was not a case of: make wet, centrifuge and block.
I’ve spend all day washing it 😦
The dye kept on bleeding. Turqoise does so, it is a colour notorious for it.

All day long I had to dance: soak one hour, rinse the dress. Soak another hour, rinse the dress again.
After the 7th soak I remembered to take a picture for you. *I’m slow when frustration builds*
The water still wasn’t clear in that 7th rinse but I’m so done.
My nerves are gnawed to the core now, I want this dress dry. I want to wear it and I want to show pictures. To you. To my friend who knitted it.

So ready or not, it is now blocking on the veranda, with an ingenious construction involving clothespins and a bottle of water and more clothespins (I love clothes pins, I use them for everything.)

Night is falling, I’m an hour past my bed time.
I don’t like to keep wool out of doors at night, there are butterflies here which love wool. They are called “Home mothers” in Dutch. No idea why!

I once kept a fleece out on the veranda and next morning there were a lot of house mothers sitting on it.
This caused some confusion on Ravelry. People imagining local mothers roaming around these farmer’ lands, finding my fleece and camping out on it. Picknicking.

It’s Noctua Pronuba when it uses its fancy name and drinks wine. There “Noctua” in its name. Something to do with “night”?
(I;m so tired I’m rambling)
In Englis it’s called the Large Yellow Underwing. Very practical naming. You get what you see.

There are moths here too.

But I’m making an exception.
I’ve waited all day for this dress. And I am done. Done rinsing. Done waiting. Done with turqoise. Starting to hate that colours.
I want this dress. I want to show you proper pictures tomorrow. They have to be taken in the morning because I’m leaving at noon. So this dress has to stay outdoors tonight. Come house mothers or moths or damp air. I’m wearing it tomorrow! (unless I have a lie in)

I’m done rambling now. Here are the pictures of the last rinse and my blocking genius. Sorry if I omitted night goggles on my iPad. There should be an app for that. Probably is.

Good night! Don’t let any mothers sit on you. (unless you’re married to her. In which case you should not let your children read this.)

Weird Wool Wednesday: City Idylle

So I’m in the city now. I installed myself in the little garden, to spin the Hampshire Down:

(do you see Lillepoes sitting there?)

I’m very proud of this little garden. It is small (3×4 m/yd) and it is at the back of the house at a crossroad where people leaving the city by foot pass a lot and try to look in from two sides. It faces north and is under two big chestnut trees. And it’s on top of our cellar so there’s no soil on the ground.

I designed it myself: a dense hedge and raised plant boxes in varying height. Different places to sit. The plant species are suitable for shade: Fern, Anemone, Aquilegia, Geranium, Ribes, Digitalis. And roses who reach for the sun.

There are always greens to be seen and nearly always something in bloom. I played a lot with varying shapes of leaves.

This is my view at the moment:

(the carton box holds batts to be carded into rolags. It sits on top of my box with handcarders.)

Ahhh, city idylle.

It’s a good thing my garden looks good because over here the neighbours value appearances. In this street, you need to wear heels and make up when you leave your house. Even if it’s just to sit in your little back garden because people will peer through the hedge or through the curtains.

You need to especially look superior when spinning wool.
doing what now?
Hey honey, come have a look! What’s that strange girl from next door doing over there?

And what are those swampy things hanging from the rose arbor?!!

Those would be my Lingerie Socks, the ones I overdyed green. I wear them all the time now! They need a little wash now and again. Sorry, neighbours. I can hear the house prices plummeting.

(PS. the white rose is a Clamis Castle Rose by David Austen. I brought it from our previous house with a south facing big garden. It finally feels at home now after years of pampering in my little northern city garden.) (proud you say? don’t know what you mean… I’m sorry, English is not my frist language… olooksocks!)

Diverted plans and alternatives

Things I’ve put on hold now that my shoulder hurts with Shoulder Bursitis again are:
a two toned shawl that just had it’s Mystery Knit A-Long start last Friday. I cast on Saturday:

It’s Birds of a Feather by Erica Jackofsky (Fiddle Knits) and I’m knitting it together with the girl that gave me the blue Brioche cloche. We’ve been talking about colour combinations for weeks now. Months even!

She’s such a sweet bunny!
I’m a bit of a squirrel.
We’re knitting this shawl together with a frog and an Abyssinian cat.
This all makes sense.

The other WIP on hold is the spinning of the Happy Go Lucky singles.
I need to pinch the roving just a bit too much to my liking.
But I’d already decided to give the second roving all the freedom: just spin the colours as they come and see how they’ll ply with the first one! I was enjoying that Happy Go Lucky attitude and will return to it.

The one concession to just plain leaping was planning to end this second roving with only half a colour repeat. That way, when I start plying from both ends, the colour might change colour in the second single in a different pace as the first. It will for the first couple of meters and hopefully for the rest of the skein.

I also stopped all carding of fleeces.
Luckily I had just finished carding the Hampshire Down:

This is half of it, about 300 grams. The rest is in the city, near the wheel that is suitable for spinning it Long Draw.

Such delightful airy fluff! 600 grams of Long Draw will yield a sweaters’ worth I’d think.

I had just started carding a Heideschaap fleece I washed last week. To have to abandon that is a pity because I’m itching to throw it on the wheel and next weekend presents a wonderful opportunity as I’ll probably be spinning in public at a petting zoo.
Children love to see fleece go to yarn, while the sheep are walking around.

Anyway, we’ll see.

For now I’ll give my right shoulder a weeks’ rest while I’m in the city. There’s the Zauberball Brioche Cowl to quietly tinker away at. I have some knitters coming over so there’ll be plenty of wool talk anyway.
And I do Long Draw spinning with my left hand anyway…