Weird Wool Wednesday: Spinzilla!

My calendar:

this week = madness.

First there was yesterday’s court case. (it was OKish, very educational. Sock nearly done.)
Now prepare for Annual Spinners’ Weekend. (There’s a big To Do List and a frightening To Pack List)

next week = nothing.

Rest rest rest. More rest. Nothing. Loafing around. Resting up. Recline on sofa. Big batch of nooooooothing. No appointments. No To Do List. Just hang around, pet the cat.





Spin all you can from Sunday night until the following Sunday. Join other spinners online and share the funny wool thing hand spinners have going on!

here’s the a Ravelrygroup: Spinzilla

I never heard of Spinzilla. Or maybe I heard of it last year, the first year they ran it, and I read about it the week after it finished. Which made me pout and forget all about it. Anyway! This sounds like fun!

There’s even a Team Louët. Which I joined. The day before I was due in court. It’s a logical thing to do, just to take the mind of things.

I love Louët.
I’m so proud of my country fellow Jan Louët, who engineered these spinning wheels back when the first wave of spinning madness occurred, in the ’70’s.

And then he did it all again on this side of the centuryline, when the new wave of madness came rolling in! He catered to it with modern wheels such as the Victoria and the Julia.
Jan Louët is on Team Louet too, he’s a real Spinzillo!

During Spinzilla we’ll all be spinning together, all around the world, and showing each other progress and egging each other on online.

As Team Louët we’ll be sharing stuff here, in our team home on Ravelry.
There’s also a team Louet USA on Ravelry.

Next week Dutch Team Louët will even have a meeting in the Louët factory in Lochem, isn’t that grand! We’ll get a tour and coffee and a chance to spin with their wheel (or bring our own).

I might bake some cookies…. do I have a spinnery cookie cutter, I wonder? I used to have a dinosaur but I gave it away… hmm, let me think on it.

So yes. I signed up for a week full of spinning because I was so nervous about all the things I have going on this week. It makes sense to me. This way, the things I Need To DO this week seem not so big, because there’s more to come next week. (Haven’t washed that Merino yet either.)(Or finished Peabody Sweater)

I just spend two hours writing this post and changing my ravatar:

And still wondering of I shouldn’t take the Spinzilla sheep and Pippi-fy it…
because I’ve got time. Apparently.

I really look forward to spinning. I like spinning. So now I want to spin ALL THE WOOL.

But it needs to be prepped….

so on Monday, when I had to stop knitting my sock because otherwise there would be no more sock to knit around court, but I was still nervous about the court case, I started to card some batts. And I’ll be carding some more before Spinzilla starts on Sunday.

A whole fleece worth of batts.
Because I did not have enough to do this week.

Did I mention I’ll be leaving for the Spinners’ Weekend early on Friday Morning?

Won’t be back until Saturday Night. When I’ll crash into my bed and need some serious rest for a couple of days. It probably would be foolish to want to sit up, what with Adrenal Fatigue and all. Better to spend next week lying down a lot.

But no. Can’t do.

Need to spin. Because I love spinning. And cannot let a monster run by without trying to grab it (and spin it).

Spinzilla, come join in the fun. Team Louët Holland still has a few spots open, for Louët spinners of all nationalities. We converse in English.



Nervous knitting

Tomorrow I’m visiting a court case for the first time in my life. Even though there’s nothing I can do I’m nervous. So I find myself spending hours calming myself down and knitting socks from handspun.

I just finished one.

It was made from cleverly dyed fibre: 3 separate breeds of sheep. One sturdy, one soft, one with long shiny fibres.
You spin three singles which you then ply into a 3-ply: a nice and round yarn that combines the properties from all three breeds.

Sock roving like this is a specialty from Jeanet Koek. She dyes the three rovings in sequence too so your socks will change colour.

This was my roving. All six pieces of it (3 pieces per sock). My breeds were Wensleydale, Merino and Texelaar.

One 3 ply on the bobbin:

Two bobbins, two balls of yarn, two socks that require only a little assemblage:

I’m knitting these socks toe up so I get to use as much of the yarn as possible. It’s been a while since I knit toe-up but pattern SokBasis by Janneke Maat is a fabulous good pattern, adaptable to any gauge.
SokBasis is in Dutch but Janneke has many -free- sock designs in English

including this beauty, Aragorn:

and this one is toe up, Maeve:

Janneke knows about keeping calm. About matching your socks with colours in nature. About breathing in. Breathing out.

The plan is to have one sock on the go tomorrow, to knit while at court. I’m sure there’s waiting around to be done and I’d love to knit for a bit then.
If they allow me to take my needles into the building! I hear all kinds of things about American courts. But this is the Netherlands and this is an administrative court, I don’t expect overzealous security measures.
Any way, I’m going to risk it. If anything, I can knit a bit while waiting outside the building. Because I’m going early.

But it’s not tomorrow yet and I’ve constantly been knitting (and eating, but let’s not get into that) and now I’ve already finished the one sock. In just three days!

I quickly cast on for the second one because cast-on and initial increases requires some attention and it will probably not do to hush the courtroom just because I’m counting stitches…

I better put it down for today. Before you know it out pops another sock. And what will I occupy my fidgety hands with then? (better bring another sock on the go. Yes, good plan.)(and some bamboo needles, in case this circular needle gets confiscated)(better bring an envelope with my name on it so they can keep it at the security desk until I exit the building)

I wonder if there’s any of that curry left…

Apple Day!

Today I visited Apple Day in the far east of the Netherlands. It’s all about the apples: tasting apples, juicing apples, baking apples into pies and pancakes, roasting apples on a fire.

And felting apples.

It was all very Dutch and local and celebrating traditional ways and it was lovely!

There are so many more breeds of apples than the same old few you see at the supermarket.

Today is organized by Stichting Boerengoed, a foundation that tries to preserve and enjoy the knowledge of how things were done in the old farming days. They mainly busy themselves with old tools and machines and with food.

These ladies make the apple pancakes and the sausages according to old and tested recipes:
We Dutch folk may no longer use the traditional wood stove in the back of this picture -although it’s very posh to cook on a wood stove nowadays- but everybody has one of those orange cast iron pans banging about. New generations don’t know how to cook with it but eventually everybody learns. It’s a slow cooker avant la lettre.

Centre stage today is the Welsumse Sap Mobiel, the mobile juicing machine. Just bring your carts full of apples and they juice them up for you and put it in nice 5 litre cartons. Pasteurized and all.

The machine washes the apples, purees them and then they are put into cloth trays with something I’d describe as a “reversed vacuum cleaner”. The trays are stacked and then force is applied. Fascinating to see in action!
In the picture above the trays are in the middle of the car and are juiced to the maximum: there’s no room left between the wooden planks.

There’s also wool today! Here’s the Felting club from Winterswijk:

And here’s a friendly knitter standing next to the stand of Slow Food Germany.
They had lovely handmade apple pie to try and in the basket some great Gouden van Boskoop apples which I bought for apple pie of my own.

Look at me…. how did Robert let me leave the house like this…
so stylish!

(yes, there ís a sock on the go in that wip bag)

This sign says: “Children juicers! Make your own juice.”appeldag-kindersap
Which I can only interpret as some kind of cannibalistic invitation.
Robert may have rolled his eyes but a bystander laughed at my joke. So there: I’m funny.

In the back, in blue, a few members of local music band Concordia. The whole band is here.
Earlier they played inside the venue, while we sat at little tables and enjoyed a cup of coffee and some homemade apple pie that you could get at the counter if you traded in your entry ticket. The local baker was coming around with small bits to taste, in hopes that we’d buy an apple loaf.
It was all so friendly and fun and so not-urban!
I wore my ear plugs and pulled out the knitting, just to join in. I didn’t know back then that I looked “peculiar” enough already.

More fun outside: roasting apples.
That’s the next door neighbour’s house. Isn’t it adorable? The whole region is sprinkled with them.

This guy loves to saw pieces of wood into little puzzles. Mostly animals.
Just a lovely local with a hobby. He was so nice!

He understood completely the need to “see with ones hands”. I grabbed his puzzles without thinking about it and once I realized and apologized for touching his merchandise he was so nice about it.
As a wood loving person he understood completely. And as his puzzles are for children too, he has plenty of experience with people “seeing with their hands”.

We bought some:

His wooden toys were a delight to touch. Each one is made of one solid piece of wood. The saw is so thin and precise that the puzzle fits and that sanding down is not necessary.

The other thing I bought and that invites to touch and “see with your hands”:

Finished: mitts for Francis

They are so soft!

I wrapped them up with a bow and took them with me to the organic farm shop Francis runs. But she wasn’t there, she was at the shop at her own farm De Laan van Wish.

Both my husband and the girl who does work on this farm said it would be much nicer if I gave the mitts to Francis myself, even though it might be a couple of weeks before I get to see her again. So I didn’t leave them at the shop but took them home with me again.

Pics and/or the felting didn’t happen.

The half quarter felted throw this morning:

and a little while later:

and at the moment:

At the moment it’s back at the cabin, just like we are. It’s parked in the wool room near some black holes of neeeeeearly finished projects, such as the cross stitched squirrel pillow, a felted Spring Fairy Princess dress I started putting together back in 2012 and a bag full of high quality Merino that Will Be Washed This Week.
And that’s only what’s in the picture. I’m not telling about what’s not in the picture. Because of plausible deniability.

One thing about my felted throw is finished and it is fabulous: the Wensleydale lock. Caught in a little plastic wrapper it has not felted onto the throw, only at the base where I put a little yellow merino on it. Lovely!

I’ll be back in the city in a couple of weeks. Perhaps I’ll bring a finished throw with me!
Or perhaps it’ll still be in it’s plastic bag…

Weird Wool Wednesday: WIP in style

the Works in Progress (WIPs) are coming along splendidly.

The mitts for Francis are nearly finished. On needles 4 mm and with that sympathetic handspun they practically knit themselves.

Fact: handspun knits faster than commercial yarn.

The needle felt needles arrived yesterday and I assembled them in style: with apple pie.

It yields a fierce tool!

Happy to report I only stabbed the wool, not myself.

The act of needle felting intertwins the fibres. It physically forces the fibres of the upper layer through and into the bottom layer.
In the picture above you see little specks of green and blue sticking through the white bottom layer.

In the next picture you see some prickling from the surface:

Soon I’ll aid this process with a little wet felting. And then: the washing machine.

But first I’ll have a stroll into the city.
I’m getting new glasses. After seeing double for over two years now I’ve decided the optometrist doesn’t get any more time trying to figure out what’s the problem. I’m just putting it down to age and now I want some proper glasses to quiet my vision. No more of this foggy stick on prism. And some proper reading aids too.

I want to see my knitting again. In single focus.
I’ve put off stranded knitting for two years now and I can’t bear it any longer. There’s the Woodland Sweater in my head. And those darling owl mittens!

So off to town I go!
I’m bringing a sock on the go (yarn held double, bigger needles) because you never know when you have a little waiting time. I bring it with me in my stylish WIPbag:


This one’s made by my friend Vronica, she’s so clever! It has a square bottom and you can fold the top down and than it stands on its own, like a little yarn basket.

I so love this bag and its fabric that I made a skirt to go with it. It’s just a tube with a zipper. It doesn’t even have a lining. And it’s also not sewn very sturdy: last week I burst through the side seam while trying to kick open the gate.

So this week I ran the sewing machine over the seam a couple of time, I think it’ll hold. And otherwise I’ll feign bad eyesight and deny everything. Including any wrinkles. There are none.

I gots style!


Being a lady, Colors of Kauai Cardigan

I like being in the city.
I get to wear my lady-dresses and sit up straight and drink tea. I like to do so, every once and awhile.

Today I’m wearing my dark purple dress and, for the first time, my Colors of Kuaia cardigan:

Colors of Kuaia is a pattern by Hanna Maciejewska
It’s such a lovely knit! The pattern is great, the fit is great, the designer is darling.

And I’ve never worn this cardigan since I took pictures of the finished knit two years ago:

The reason is that this cardigan is wool and tight fitting and with short sleeves. That gives me an insolvable puzzle:
– when it’s cold enough to wear wool, it’s too cold to wear short sleeves
– when it’s warm enough for short sleeves, it’s too warm for a tight fitting cardigan. Because arm pits.

I’ll just be Dutch and cut right to the essence, even though I suspect “armpit” is an unsavoury word in the United States.
Fact is people and their clothes get smelly at the arm pits. That’s why shower and washing machines and lots of advertisements to shame costumers into purchase.

For the past two years I couldn’t solve the puzzle. Mostly I was too cold to wear this. Other days I was too untidy to keep this cardi neat. And I didn’t want to have to wash this cardigan all the time.

But today I’m shameless! Shameless and fierce and not afraid to handwash anything!

Today is Autumn, but it’s not really cold.
Today I’m wearing a flimsy dress so I’ll keep pretty cool all over and I welcome a core warming cardigan.
Today I’m slim enough to wear a tight long sleeve under it so my arms aren’t freezing.
Today I want to dress up and drink tea with my neighbour (the one from the boat, not the ones from the fancy houses)
And today is a reasonably good hair day.

(today the needle felt needles arrived and I’ll be bloody soon)

Here I am:

the smell of things….

I’ve arrived in the city. I brought with me the wetfelted throw to work on. It’s spread out in the attic, smelling terrible. Of wet moss and last week’s rain… Which is fitting since that’s exactly what it contains:

This is the first time I see it as a whole and I’m glad to see that the swirls do remind of the inspiration picture and my coffee table. I laid it out in parts, folding it away as I went and with a fairly Happy Go Lucky attitude. It was a good day back then! The sun shone, I worked and I was in gear without worrying too much about ruining wool and stash and plans for this throw.
It’s too early to say anything about the result, though. We’ll know more when this throw is finished.

On Saturday, still in the cabin, I managed to roll it for a good 30 minutes, while the storm was gathering above our heads. I was rolling at the table under the big beech tree, next to the big chestnut tree. My husband was standing amidst some sprouting chestnuts and we were talking about the urban planning for a manure factory. One of the biggest in the country, 70 trucks of manure daily!

It was a pleasant talk, mainly about how these planning procedures and court cases are like a formal dance where each party has to play its role and nobody addresses the actual issues with clear honesty. It’s a formal dance of wits, questionable debating techniques and political motives.
Not something regular folks can contribute to.

But we, normal folk, can watch and think about the essence of things. (try to ignore the fishy smell).

The sky was changing, clouds of numerous colours were taken over the golden September sun. The wind picked up and leafs were now twirling down. It was a magical half hour. And a magical talk.

The rolling I did was effective, the throw is now halfway fulled I’d say. Some bits didn’t take to the woolen base layer, they need help from dry felting techniques. From needle felting.

Needle felting is the kind of felting that requires bandages… in my house anyway.
You’re hacking away at wool with a wooden thing full of Piranha teeth!

I had anticipated the need for this technique and I brought the tool with me. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the needles that go into the tool fast enough. I ordered some online.

Here now follows a picture of another felting technique in this throw: a lock that’s only felted secure at its base. The rest is protected in a bit of plastic. In theory it will be a loose curly bit, by Friday.

Yes, I’ll needle felt some of the other bits into place. As soon as my needles arrive tomorrow. Then I’ll put warm soapy water on it (I brought my soap and “broes”) and felt it by hand a bit. I should say: “full it by hand”.
Then a bit of rolling to mash everything together.
And then the washing machine, for the felting.

It càn be done by Friday. hope hope hope
Let’s just pretend I had no other plans for this week…

In from the rain. (long post)

The week of nice weather and sunshine is over. Me and all the woolens had to come inside. The rain started yesterday and now we’re all cooped up inside, trying to get dry.

Luckily I finished some socks to wear while cocooning:

Green socks! Yarn held double, needles 3,25 mm. 44 stitches in the round.

Just let me show you some things drying around the living room at the moment:

On the back of my sewing chair is the felted fleece, it’s still drying. The long locks with their bases hidden deep in the fleece are still wet and damp, at those bases. Haven’t sat on it yet, haven’t picked out all the vegetable matter that’s still in there.

On the horizontal part of my sewing lamp hang my happy orange socks, drying. I took them into the shower the other day. (Together with the washing cloth that’s also drying on there, inside out, that’s why so untidy. It’s from Norway.)
Efficient, I say, to take your socks with you into the shower. They need to be handwashed, you’re in there having soap on you hands anyway. I’s a genius, I say.
Other times I bring my bra.

On the wall at the right hangs some organic handspun. I washed it very hot to get rid of the grease. I want to knit some mitts for Francis, the farmer who provides us with organic eggs, butter, meat and veggies. And the occasional fleece from her Hollands Bont/ Dutch speckled organic sheep.

These fleeces are magic. They don’t felt. And this one in particular is ridiculously soft. You can see it in the white parts of the yarn in the close up.
I’m asking for another fleece next year, especially now that I’ve tried out a woolpicker. That tool makes processing a fleece so much easier! And I love spinning fleece. Especially from a sympathetic source.

Here’s the sympathetic source in this case, with her two lambs:

The good thing about organic farm De laan van Wisch, by the way, is that they do not sell meat from young animals. All animals get to live to full adulthood before slaughtering or selling is even an option.
And they chose breeds and animals that are healthy and can deliver their own babies without much risk or need for assistance, which is getting unusual in industrial farming. I love that. Healthy animals, happy animals.

Look at their cows, the have the most amazing colour variations! It seems like the farmer decided to collect them all. All kinds of greys and blues and reds. Wonderful!
And: all with horns.

None have the perpetual surprised face expression that all industrial raised cows sport:

pic by Patrick Nijhuis

(This high fore head is caused when the horn is burned at the base to stop it from growing. That somehow causes build up of bone under the skin, giving industrial raised cows high foreheads and surprised looks.
They are prevented from having horns because the farmer doesn’t want them to figure out their social rank using their horns and perhaps damaging each other. Industrial cows are kept too close together for them to be able to move out of horns’ way. Unhappy cows not allowed to be cows.)

Knitting mitts for Francis will be a lovely project for the coming week. It’s on fairly big needles, 4,0 mm, and the wool is soft and a delight to work with. The pattern doesn’t require much thinking and the sheep provides all the colour changes.
I’ll be knitting it in the city, where I’ll spend next week.

Also drying under the lamp is a small skein I made from these rolls:

27 grams, 66,5 meters. I started it years ago and picked it up and finished it at Spin Group last Tuesday. I’m finishing and gathering all kinds of little handspun skeins to combine in one project.

Maybe something like this:

Petal Cowl by Xandy Peters

Yarns with more texture, like the one drying right now, invite me to weave them.

Ahh, so many wonderful plans I have!

For example a plan for the brown orangy throw for the couch here in the cabin. And the blue green one for the couch in the city. Which I’ve actually started.
The fleece that felted so readily in the washing machine made me felt-confident. All I had to do was lay out the felt, full it a bit and let the machine do the hard work!
So I spend all Wednesday laying out the throw I want to felt for the living room in the city.

Laying out all the bits and bobs took a full day. I wasn’t expecting that but it was a lovely day, with the sunshine and birds and mice running around the undergrowth, so I thorougly enjoyed it. Truely a lovely day. Albeit not very efficient, wool wise.
I managed just about to lay everything out, sprinkle it with soapy water and roll it up in plastic before nightfall.

The rolling to and fro, to get the bits to stick to the wool base layer, would have to be done the next day.

So on Thursday I rolled it a bit. But it was a weird day, Thursday. Everything went wrong. I had been chasing sleep and mosquitos all night and first thing in the morning I broke the coffee vessel which I needed to make coffee for my parents who were about to visit. Usually this vessels holds the whipped cream I have for lunch every day (with chocolate ganache, hmmm!) so both my parents and I had a problem.
Later on I tried to bake an apple pie but had no eggs which I only discovered when all the apples, batter and oven where ready and done. And in the afternoon I burned some wool while dyeing and it smelled awfull. I lost my grip on a glass full of dye in the panic of trying to stop the burning wool from smelling so bad that the smoke detector would get involved and scream its head off. So I tie-dyed the kitchen and burned wool and missed out on pie and whipped cream and got my period 5 days early.

That’s when the blogging halted, as you probably noticed, and that’s when I also didn’t feel like rolling a 2 m sausage of wet felt around very much. But I did roll a bit because I knew that all I have to do is roll. After the rolling comes the washing machine, doing all the hard work.
And it was still a day of good weather. Excellent for working outside and enjoying nature.
So I rolled a bit, lied on the couch a bit. Ate a bit of chocolate and yearned for apple pie and whipped cream. Got up and rolled a bit more.
A weird day it was.

On Friday I didn’t feel like rolling at all.
And then the rain started…

So now I have this woolen thing in my garden. It’s been wet since Wednesday and is already starting to smell “compositional”…

Today I had a look at it… it doesn’t full so quickly. As in: not at all. There needs to be a whole lot of rolling before I can give it to the washing machine!
I might have to resort to fulling by hand, with real hot water. I rolled a bit today, in between showers. The rainy kind.

So here it is, late Saturday afternoon:

it’s draining it’s soapy water in a bucket, so I can fold it up, put it in a bag and bring it with me to the city tomorrow. Where I’m sure I have no time to full it at all … but I keep hoping. There ís a washing machine in the city. And it ís destined to go on the couch in the city.
Those are two of reasons why this throw could be ready by end of coming week. In theory.

There’s one more thing drying in the cabin today and that’s a new spinningwheel!
It’s an old one. A Louet S70 I found abandoned at the thrift store. It’s in a bad shape:

The foot connector is broken and it has been left out in the rain by its previous owner(s child): lots of water stains on the old oak.

But it was once purchased and used with much love. There’s still wool on the bobbins and it’s spun craftily. It’s greasy wool, probably dating back from when this was all the rage: in the ’70s and ’80s of last century. It was bought back then (and it was an expensive wheel then) by someone who desired it and saved up for it and loved it. And then used it a lot.
Afterwards it was taken by someone who knows nothing about wheels and probably stored in a shed somewhere. But it’s still a S70.

The S70 is a solid oak wheel and was produced by Louet as a festive commemoration between 1983 and 1985.
I have a healthy version myself and it’s my favourite wheel. I can spin anything on it, except Longdraw rollags. But lace or bulky are no problem. (Just interlace the leader for spinning lace, just like the way I hacked the Ashford Country Spinner🙂

I’m glad to have found another S70 and I’ll see wether I can nurse it back to purring.

I have no idea when I’m going to do this though. Next week I’m in the city and the week after that I’m preparing for the Annual Spinners’ Weekend.

Besides not fixing up the wheel and not fulling and felting the throw I’ll also not be able to spin the yarn for the brown orangy throw I want to knit for the living room in the cabin.

I dyed all the wool.
I woolpicked it all.
I put it into bags and boxes according to colour. It’s all so fluffy!

I did a little spinning test and it’s better if this wool is carded first. For that, I have no time….

But I need to make time because the various colours are hogging up all kinds of containers. Including my paper tape model (I bought two pieces of fabric 2 weeks ago, for skirts. I can sew a skirt in two days. I only need two days. Twice.)
And the bag I need to take with me on the Annual Spinners’ Weekend. So I’m hoping against reasonability’s advise here that somehow in the next two weeks I get to at least card the wool that’s in the bag so I can bring the bag to the Weekend. And preferable bring the wool too so I have something to spin.

The sunshine of the past two weeks gave me so much confidence and optimism. About what I can do, woolwise, in an amount of time.
But it seems Summer is now over. Autumn is here. The rain has come.

It’s raining so hard, it’s raining sideways. We all need to shape up, face probabilities and make contingency plans. You too, Lillepoes. Probability is creeping up on you:

(under the chair a box with hazelnuts. I gathered them on a parking lot in the village. They will make the squirrel here very happy, come Winter)

Weird Wool Wednesday: inside yoke

“Just sprinkle some crack on it and let’s get outa here!”

Dave Chappelle doing his stand-up routine “Killing them softly”, nearly 15 years ago. Reference starting at 7.02 min
Still going strong in the Reddit-fora. And in my head.

It gives me a little chuckle that I, a wool loving woman in her forties in some barn in the Netherlands, have these kind of urban references in my head and regard them as part of my identity.
That’s the modern age for you.

The “crack” I sprinkled was washing powder, just before chucking it into the washing machine.
Put it on a short cycle at 40 degrees celcius but I didn’t let it go to full spin cycle.

It came out great!

(Louet bobbin for scale)(It’s a little small)

It’s a little bumpy on the back, where it has taken on the shape it was folded in in the machine. Also, you see the white grey hairs of the fleece coming through the brown backing. A sign of thorough felting:

It’s also quite stiff = well felted. And it’s rather small… it will allow only one person to sit on it.

Such great colours and great locks! The locks are all free, none have been felted in. Yes, it will be a fine piece to put on the couch and sit on. Seat for one person. Me. Or, when I’m not there, the cat. Or. when I am there, the cat. What else is new.