Sleeping in a tin foil hat

I usually sleep wearing a hat. I’m one of those people that reverts back to traditional solutions for human problems and when my head is cold I’m wearing a sleeping cap. But instead of traditional materials it’s made of modern space dyed yak down and BFL and it has a funny point. It’s a handspun hat:

The pattern is Lifestyle Top Down Hats, No Swatch Needed by Charisa Martin Cairn
This picture is from March 2010 when I was a novice knitter and an absolute beginner spinner. It was fresh of the needles.
For giggles I made a little half moon in felt. It still makes me smile every night.

This is the hat now, in 2015:

Still in use and the yarn looks good, if I do say so myself. No pilling!
The yak is on the brim, it is soft enough to touch the face. The BFL is on top and this too is soft enough. That’s modern BFL for you. Between 2010 and 2015 I learned that yak doesn’t spring back once it’s stretched.

I wear it every night during the winter. Together with my bed socks, my wristwarmers, a kidney warmer, pajamas and a longsleeve wrapped around my neck and ears. What can I say, I get cold when I go to bed and I have all this woollen gear laying about the house anyway, might as well use it.
Also, my husband still finds me attractive. Or perhaps he likes hide and seek, I don’t know.

So there I am, in my bed, wearing all these items, under three thick layers of woollen bedding. I’m laying on top of a woolen matrass covered by a layer of wool and one of cotton and I’m hogging a warm water bottle. Still my knees turn to ice as soon as I hit the covers.
It does get better during the night and somewhere around 4 o’clock in the night I have to throw everything off because I’m overheating.

But I don’t throw off the hat. The hat stays on.

It’s spun from the first yak I ever owned. I spun it before I knew yak has an extreme short staple. I spun it before I knew about Long Draw.
It was an educational lesson… I got so frustrated inch worming through the yak that I stopped when I had enough for the brim and topped it off with BFL – one of the breeds with long fibres- that is an excellent beginner spinner fibre.

It’s the BFL that was left from spinning the colour accent for this shawl, Bowmont Hug:

I had matched up the colours in two singles. But at the end one bobbin was finished but not the other. I plied the left overs together and ended up with a barberpole kind of yarn.

I love the result. The yarn is soft. Soft enough to rest against the cheek while sleeping.
I wear my hat rolled down all the way, with only my nose peeping out:

I purposefully made it in reverse stockinette stitch so the smooth stockinette stitch is on the inside, against my face.
Here it is, inside out:

The yak has such depth of colours and so many variations:

I didn’t use all the yak and I’m looking forward to creating more yarn with these colourings and richness. But this time I’m spinning it Longdraw:

So this is my sleep hat.

But there’s another one that goes with it: my “tin foil hat”:

That’s right. When I’m in the city I wear another hat over my handspun one and it’s a tin foil hat. To deter all evil radiations of modern society.

Ah, let me rephrase and sound more sensible.
My hat is made of silver lined fabric with a really fine mesh. Silver is an excellent conductor. It conducts the waves of Energetic Magnetic Fields (EMF) away from whatever it envelopes. A wearable mini cage of Faraday!

In our bedroom there are many EMFs. All the wifi networks from all our neighbours are here, besides our own. There must be at least 20. That’s how much my lazy iPad sees anyway.

To succesfully guide away the energy you need to take care that there are no holes in the fabric. Especially long holes, like seams, are a problem. That’s why this hat has a fell seam. Folded over and sewn again.

It’s the same seam I used when I sewed the cover for my kayak. It was canvas and it needs to be water tight. It’s a traditional Inuit seam. Because it’s a traditional Greenland kayak, fit to navigate the sea and the surf:

Made, many years ago, under guidance from Kayak Specialist in Norway Anders Thygesen.

I kayaked a lot on the fjords of Bergen when I stayed there in Autumn and Winter 2005. Afterwards I built this kayak but I haven’t put her to water yet, other than a 10 minute test this year. I yearn for it, truly and intensely, but I’m just not well enough. But a girl can dream. Especially when wearing a woollen cap. With silver lined conspiracy deterrent.

When I put on my silver lined hat all magnetic electric currents flow over my brain, not through it.
I do notice the difference. A sort of calm comes over me and I drift away into the slumbers of sleep. And I stay there, for 7 hours.

But not these days unfortunately.
Lillepoes is staying at the vet’s these days. With full blown pneumonia on top of the upper respiratory infection. She had stopped eating and drinking and when she started breathing through her mouth I took her to the vet asap. Cats should never breathe through their mouths, if they do they are in big trouble.

They’ve got her on an IV drip now and feed her every hour.
She’s not deteriorating any further and we are waiting for her to beat the pneumonia. Then she can meet an expert who will check out her nasal cavity in detail because there’s probably something lodged up there that keeps the reaction going.

But she needs to be lots better to endure the aneastatic.
So I’m worried. All day, all night. I lie in my bed, laying awake, wearing my hats, and I surf the net looking at Brioche.


Updates on various things

There are so many loose ends to tell you about. Here are some updates about:
– shoulder injury
– knitting with shoulder impingement
– Deco Cardigan & blanket for the cabin
– knitting Brioche
– Nursery Cat
– green POP circles
– Lillepoes
– sewing
– spinning
– illustrations for knitters

Shoulder injury:

The shoulder pain I’ve now been having for over a year is indeed a regular impingement problem.
I guess laying in bed for several years and then doing handstands for an hour is not so smart… (I’m still miffed at the yoga instructor whom I asked for advice on this and who suggested Power Yoga.)

Luckily there’s no unruly calcium in the shoulder. I’ve been educating myself on this type of injury. Adjusting my posture has been doing wonders already. Now I’ve got some exercises to slowly build up the muscles and tendons and ligaments. Slowly. Carefully. (A cortisol injection is not needed since I’m not cramped up)

Knitting with shoulder impingement:

There’s still to be no knitting on small needles and no large portions of stockinette stitch. All those fingering weight cardigans on my needles will have to wait a little longer!

Aww, I miss my Ruby Town and Draakjesvest and all those plans for the stranded Woodland sweater).
I do hope to start a bit of Deco Cardigan again in a few weeks, perhaps reverting to the traditional Dutch way of knitting: throwing. It’s a relaxed (and slow) way of making stitches.

Deco Cardi and knitted blanket for the cabin:

You saw me zooming along on Deco Cardi and I was already putting in its decorative motives but then I didn’t like something and I frogged back to start the decorations anew. I don’t remember why and how or what my plans are.
Make good notes children, whenever there’s a chance a project will get abandoned for a while!
Around that time I also took this picture to show you something important. I’ve got no idea what:

Perhaps how to make a detail distinct from the sea of stockinette stitch it’s floating in (twisted stitches are your friend. Or a purl stitch for contour). Or perhaps it’s how I’m trying to make the point start crisp and how by twisting a stitch it seems like stitches are overlapping instead of starting crisp? I’ve got no idea.
I’ll look at it when I take it up again.

Not being able to knit stockinette stitch also means that the blanket I want to knit with the handspun to imitate the woollen blanket from my grandmother for the cabin is still on hold. That’s ok because I still have to magically get a light green yarn from somewhere… The green and the white are essential in the original that inspires it.

I do have thought out a design. I will knit strips with a colour sequence. The various strips will mirror each other’s sequence, a bit (not as regular in as in the blanket above). And later on I’ll seam them together.
I’m a bit worried about yardage however and wether I’ll have enough. Strips will be a solution to that: I can easily add to them. So it’ll end probably in a project with various strips in progress at the same time, trying to keep all the balls disentangled and away from Pookie.

Somehow knitting Brioche doesn’t hurt my shoulder. (??!)
As long as I enjoy the process and don’t hurry things are fine.
(It feels like there’s a life lesson in this, doesn’t it? Yes yes, very much so. I’m going with: In life it’s best to stick needles slowly and securely into delicious cake.)

As I’ll be knitting brioche then, for the foreseeable future, it means that the green on green Wollmeise shawl I’m eager to start will be redesigned into a Brioche pattern. It will be my next project and it’s tugging so hard that I’m tempted to abandon the sparkly mitts shown above…

Two things are stopping me from stuffing the mitt out of sight: this is the time of year I very much want to wear “snowy things” on my arms and I forgot my other snowy mitts at spingroup the other week:

I’m without snowy mitts at the moment! We can’t enter February like this! So I’ll want to finish this mitt. And start the other. (But nothing is stopping me from assigning these mitts “TV-knit” status and starting that green shawl during my daily rests, when my body needs to lie flat but my mind is active. However, I think they may need to be knitted on the same needle size… I only brought one with me, the one that holds the mitt. We’ll see wether it can hold its own if I finish the mitt… will it get the other mitt straight away? Or will there be a little green detour…)

As a side note, it’s really nice to knit Brioche with round spun yarns. These are tight spun, luxury fingering weights and it makes the knitting even nicer. I could easily see a whole cardigan in nice round fingering yarn…

As it happens I have some fingering weight in the stash that’s in need of a goal… It’s a German Merino Silk mix for which the sheep didn’t suffer and the wool isn’t treated chemically. Quite sympathetic!
Two years ago I tried to dye it in light blue green and that went horribly wrong. That adventure actually inspired the first Weird Wool Wednesday post!

The yarn is now a sparkly dark green. But not the right kind of sparkly, like the blue of my hat/cowl/mitt. This green turned out more gleaming, like acryl:

It has a terrible x-massy look about it. Even though round spun yarns are excellent for stitch definition this try out of a textured knit made me shudder. (the reason for the strange colour result is that the silk somehow didn’t take up any dye. And as silk usually is very greedy for dye I had put in rather a lot. It was very surprising and I even went so far as to suspect the producer of having put in Soy instead of Silk. But that was silly. It is silk. Just a stupid kind of silk.)

Anyway, wrong colour and cheap look when knitted in textured stitches? It’s been “maturing” in the stash for a reasons.

But in Brioche with a white yarn it would look smashy! hmmm, tempting.

Also still in my WIP basket is Nursery Cat. I told you about spinning yarn for its KAL, back in September.
From that one fleece that was totally unreasonable, as far as wool goes.

But I never told you I actually joined that KAL and knitted a big Nursery cat. But it never got a tail or legs or face:

Because I ran out of yarn. I’ve still got some fleece left, even though I stuffed him with it too, but I really don’t feel like spinning more of it. So I’ve collected all the bulky handspun in natural colours that I’ve got and have brought yarn and cat with me to the city. Now I’m hoping this leads to something…

But I’ve thought up some hurdles: Nursery Cat has a tendency to topple forward. Shouldn’t I insert some weight in his bum before adding the tail and legs? (the hole for the tail is the only access point remaining, I can’t delay the decision until after knitting the tail). I don’t even know I have enough yarn for legs and tail, should I start with the tail and skimp on legs? Or vice versa?
Until I’ve made up my mind I cannot proceed. Naturally.

Also, it creeps me out now and then, to see a dark cat sitting in the living room when I know for a fact that our own dark cat is at the other house. So there’s that too.

The other thing in my WIP basket are the green round circles, the souvenir from Zeeland and joyeus POP knitting.

I’ve now knit nearly all the green wool into circles. It really scratched that knitting green itch that I’ve been having for a while now, thankfully.

Now it’s time to decide upon a colour and a yarn to catch the POP circles in.
But I’m stalling… I have no idea how to proceed. I don’t know what these circles want to become. A blanket? A shawl? A hood? A laptop bag?

Also, there’s no suitable yarn in the stash that volunteers for the job. There’s some Donegal yarn that would fit the bill nicely (doesn’t D. yarn always do so?) but I’m reluctant because of the difference in wool content and in pill potential. I don’t want one yarn to do the other injustice. And since I cannot predict the end result of this combination I’m stumbling to a halt.

The best solution would be to buy the same yarn in a different colour. Purple? Browns? But I’m not willing to go out and buy new yarn, not while the stash bins are piled to the ceiling.
So it’s probably on hold. With the excuse that knitting POP circles hurts my shoulder. But you now know the real reason: indecisiveness.

Lillepoes is worse. We had to go back to the vet today because she can hardly breathe and we were up half the night monitoring her. But there’s nothing we can do. She has to beat this bug on her own.
We keep her well rested, well fed and hydrated and she shows appreciation by wanting to be near us. Poor kitty.

I’m too worried to think up a Weird Wool Wednesday today.

I showed you that felt dress I’m sprucing up, the other week. I’t was a fairly straight forward job. Take off silly bodice, sew on better one.

Still I managed to sew “backwards”. The more I do, the less it becomes a whole dress.

I did attach the bodice and fitted the existing zipper to it. Then I found thatI had not enough breathing ease and that the skirt itself had to be laid out a bit (is this English?  I mean “made wider”).
So I fudged around with the skirt seam allowance along the zipper (the seam edge was nicely treated with the overlocker, because felt frays like mad).

To get access I had to detach the lining from the skirt. I found out the interlining that was fused to fortify the untreated felt was not attached all the way to the zipper. Making the felt drift apart, especially when I was breathing in.

So I had to fuse some interlining to it myself. (it hurt my woollen heart, fixating felt like this instead of, you know, actually felting it. But I could not afford the shrinkage since the skirt is all premade and needs to fit the lining and zipper).
The lining had to come loose. It had to be reattached and for that the bodice had to come loose.

So now there’s a loose skirt with the lining dangling all but loose from it, a zipper only attached by a shred and a bodice that still needs to be reattached and be fitted into the pre-existing zipper.

While I tried to magic this all together, with the help of a bazillion pins, the underthread from the sewing machine ran out. But it didn’t tell me this until I painstakingly had arrived at the back, carefully following the seam, the edge, the lining and had taken out all those pins, one by one. I had sewn a perfect seam but was left with all the loose bits dangling.

So… I have to do that particular exercise again. One day soon.
In the mean time I’m also sewing a dress with fabric woven wool in a beautiful dark purple colour. I’d love to wear this asap, please!

Again I’ve created hurdles for myself by trying to line it with silk and not really knowing what I’m doing, using woven fabric that’s not sturdy cotton. So it’s at the stage where I’m fixing things by sewing long seams by hand. Slow long seams.

Also guess what loves dark purple woollen fabric? White cat fluff. White wool fluff. White silk fluff. The cut of the dress is one of sophistaction. But with my handsewing and with all the white fluffs in my life I’m fooling nobody.

I’ve still got two Long Draw projects on the wheels. One is the green, for Sprig sweater by Alana Dakos.

I’m impatient to start it (even though it’s stockinette stitch). I’m impatient to finish the spinning. It seems to take sooooo long! It will take a whole morning to spin away barely two rolags.

It doesn’t help that I only spin at monthly spinning group… so I’m trying to do some in the weekends, at the cabin.

This is also the exact good green for the cabin blanket that still needs some green. Actually it’s why I dyed this fleece this particular shade of green. But then I loved it so much I wanted to have a sweater of it.

And now I’m worried I won’t have enough yarn for a sweater were I to spin this green for the blanket. So I spin for the sweater instead, anxiously counting meters, slow by slow meter, and worrying my little head off. Thinking up Sprig sweaters in two colours.

And don’t even get me started on the white Long Draw project on the other wheel. It’s the Hampshire Down and I brought that one in August May to the city so I could spin there. I haven’t touched it since August. And I need the wheel because I’m itching to wash, comb and spin that excellent Saxon Merino I’ve got!

Yeah, I really know how to take the fun out of my hobbies.

So what better time to start a new hobby?

I’m making doodles spinners and knitters might like:

I’m playing around with this amazing brush pen I’ve bought, the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen.
They keyword is playing…
it ain’t easy.

Brioche cowl finished and mitts in progress.

With all that laying on the couch the last couple of days I finished the Brioche cowl. And have one mitt nearly finished:

These too I prefer to wear it inside out:

It’s so much more cushy this way. It has to do with the way I knit Brioche. The Double Dutch technique takes more yarn for the colour that’s on the inside, making the stitches more pronounced. And more squishy.

Another thing with this difference in tension between the two yarns is that it gets some curl tendency. It curls to the outside, again because the inside has looser stitches:

Here I positioned the mitt with the right side out on top of the cowl that has the inside out. You can see the difference in how tight the knit stitches are.

On my next project I’m going to remedy this difference in tension because I like the rich, luxurious feel of proper Brioche. It will be a case of loosening up the tension in my Eastern Combined way of picking up the yarn over my left finger.

But it’s nice to use the discovered difference as a feature in this project.

Btw, I’m not the only one resting on the couch these days: Lillepoes has a fever. Poor kittems! She’s been laying on the couch, under layers of wool. She’s been sneezing and grew more and more lethargic over the weekend. Had me properly spooked!

Yesterday she had to endure an anaesthetic while the vet checked her airways. We were sure she had inhaled a piece of grass or hair or something. But he couldn’t find anything.

So now we think it’s a bacteria. Here are some knitted ones:

a free pattern by Beth Skwarecki.

A bacterial infection would be logical because we’ve been suppressing her immune system with prednison for the last two weeks. Because she was licking like mad at her tail for the last few months. Licking it bald, because it itched so much. Because she’s grown allergic to something and we could not determine what in those months.

An unfortunate but logical course of events.

The good news today is that the anti-biotics are working. She’s already purring again.

The other good news is that we now know for certain the licking is caused by an allergy and not by mental stress. I was worried and felt guilty because I’m always dragging her from her beloved cabin to the city and back and I know she doesn’t like that. I do my best to cuddle her and play with here and take her for little walks while we’re in the city. But it’s never enough of course.

But since the prednison works it’s far more likely it’s an allergy than stress. We cannot guess what’s causing the allergic reaction. In the last few months we excluded the main treatable culprits (fleas, worms, food, dust mites) and now there are so many other possibilities. It may even be something she’s known all her life that built up and has now passed the threshold. We hope this course of cortisol (which we are stopping now -slowly- because the anti-biotics need her immune system in full swing to get rid of the bug) has helped her out of a viscious circle of reacting.

The itching may return in a couple of months and the vet proposes we then suppress it again. But will it make her susceptible to bacteria again, I wonder? I don’t want to see the kitty sick again, it was not nice. Not nice at all.

But this morning she turned the corner. Here she is while I’m typing this:

Finished: Brioche Hat

I’m really pleased how the brim turned out. With the changing of the colours.

The only thing is that with all the brioche going on I forgot to do the shaping to make it into a Frileuse hat. Now it’s just a straight forward hat.

But with a nice random pattern on it, reminiscent of patterns in nature.

It took 50 grams of sock weight on needles 2,75 mm.
Because I worked Double Dutch technique with the white as the “trailing” yarn it took 30 grams of white and only 20 grams of the sparkling blue.
The yarn on my right finger takes 50% more length than the one on my left finger. This is because the one on the left never does a yarn over, it just gets picked up. It’s the other one that moves back and forth and over the needle all the time.

Bind off was a Kitcheners stitch on Brioche stitch. I did it on one needle because I live dangerously. Take about 3 times the length of the row before cutting the yarn and threading it on a needle. I choose to bind off with the white yarn so the blue lines reside more.

I’ll be making a matching cowl and wristwarmers.

Finding my way to the brim of Frileuse Brioche Hat

Yesterday I had thought up a nice detail for the hat: a row of leaves all ending at the same row. Progressing into a brim in reversed double coloured Brioche stitch.

Changing the pace of the colours would make a nice ending to a leave and if I were to wear the hat with the brim turned up it would show the same colours as the cap.
So I spend all day knitting this:

At the bottom the leaves all end at the same row and their tips flow into a column of white knit stitches. The blue is now the purl column.

But this idea had altered the shape of the hat in a negative way. It was now weird and bulky at the leaves and they didn’t show up too well because they had so much ease.
Below the leaves it turned out that the brim would be too tight. (I had not increases to enough stitches at the crown.)

So: ripripripriprip

away with all those hours and hours of knitting! All episodes of Father Brown and Homeland Security that we’d watched on the couch in the cabin, covered in wool and cats, to celebrate our weekend. All gone.

(which is just as well because Homeland Security really is a dreadful series. It’s badly written, it’s full of cheap emotional tv drama and generalizing oversimplifying bwurk.
If you want to read an intelligent view on violence in name of Islam I applaud this Reddit poster who is an Arab Muslim himself and really went out on a limb to give some context to us, people who come from countries whose history is saturated with Christianity. His post gave me lots to think about. I think it’s actually the high light of this month to me.)

The hat I ripped back to the part were I could change two prongs of a leave into an increase.

So today I spend knitting it better. Hours and hours. Various pisodes of Elementary and Longmire saw me increasing, inserting new leaves in prongs of previous leaves, trying it on, guessing its circumference.

And this is where I am now, not quite as far as where I was yesterday evening but with more stitches on the needles:

I’ve already finished up some of the leaves and am gradually introducing that idea of changing the colours so the brim will have opposite colours. It’s quite fiddly, two colour Brioche that changes colours every now and then. But I’ve found a rythm.

To conclude this post I want to show (off) how I close a leave.
Normally in this Brioche each blue stitch has a white yarn over wrapped around it. Where I to knit three stitches together in a regular way those white YO would show in the resulting stitch.

But now I rearrange the 5 yarn loops on my needle that make up for three stitches in a way that the two blue loops will show up at the front and the three white ones at the back.

I’ve done so in both the leaves where the blue line continues and in the leaves where the leaves “stop” and the gathering stitch is a white one.
Here’s a close up of both such leaves:

cast on for Brioche Frileuse Hat

I’ve started another Frileuse hat, in Brioche, in the Double Dutch technique (link to page with 45 s video explaining this). Using soft merino in fingering weight. The white one is from Stof tot Verven. The dreamy bluegreen one is handdyed by Chasing Clouds.

Pattern = Frileuse Hat by Oxhy Dryle. Link to my first Frileuse hat here.

I’ve cast on just 4 stitches and increases 8 every other row. By now I’ve increased enough and should now just knit 10 cm straight on to make the hat.

Shoulda, coulda. It would get me “simple” brioche hat in just stripes. I’m having too much fun with making little leaflike shapes!

So every now and then I increase 3 stitches and decrease 3 stitches near each other.

I like how Brioche is reversable. No leaves but snow trails going down a mountain:

I plan to make an accompagnying cowl. And some wristcuffs too. I’m wearing the handspun ones (cuffs and cowl) all the time and it would be lovely to have another set, in pretty brioche made from round spun yarn, with clear stitch definition.

Also: sparkles! I’m in a snowy mood this time of the year.

A nice pompom on Padova Hat

I finished Padova Hat. It doesn’t fit so well because there’s one row of back to back cables (4×4) that draws in so much that it doesn’t stretch over my head any more.
But not to worry. This was a testknit so this kind of information is important for the designer.

As a bonis I learned to make glorious pompoms and I’m going to show you how I did it.

I took the carton that’s in a roll of toilet paper and wrapped yarn around it. Lots and lots of yarn! Almost as much yarn as the hat weighs.
Then I dropped a separate piece of yarn through the carton roll, I pushed the yarn from the carton and tied a really tight knot in the piece of string. (On the right is the first pompom I made using this method, it’s the tea cosy)

It’s really a lot of yarn, 32 grams. The rest of the hat weighs about 38 grams.

Then I started to cut all the loops:

This results in a loopy droopy pompom:

Before I made this one I made another one. Or tried to. It used only 20 grams before trimming. You see how floppy it is. This will not become a nice pompom. Not unless I trim it to the size of a marble…
Here it is, on the scale. Next to the one that weighs 32 grams:

I took the heavier droopompom and started trimming. *snipsnipsnipsnipsnip* Apparently, you trim A LOT. A third of the weight I had to cut away to get this pompom, only 24 grams left from the 32 I started with.

But how nice it is! All firm and squishy and round.

Put it on the hat! Glory!