Shetland and Blue Texel WIP

Yay, we’re at the cabin!

The multi natural coloured Shetland + Blue Texel handspun cardi is becoming something else….

A wrap perhaps. Or a little blanket. Or a shrug.
All I know is I made a panel of the Shetland little zigzags and wanted to start knitting with that beautiful Blue Texel handspun from Moonwise. Having a garment with that zigzaggy panel on the back didn’t feel right anymore. Too foreign.
I saw something else in my mind, some kind of Blue Texel hug, interspersed with lines of Shetland.

I’m inspired by three things:
1. the non-stranded knitting of The Great Missowski by Julia Trice:

2. the optic pleasure of blanket Horizon by Grace Anna Farrow:

3. and the gorgeous wrap Hansel from Ribbels that looks so comfortable on her:

Ribbels is a big fan of Shetland yarns and knits the most beautiful pieces with it. Her project page is one of the pages on Ravelry that I like to visit and wander aimlessly and admire.

With these three projects dancing in front of my mental edit: mind’s eye I’m now knitting “freehand”. Without a pattern. Yes, I’ve bolted free and am just galloping the meadows of knit!
But not scaring the sheep obviously. Because that would be mean.
Not so much galloping either… more like skipping along. Humming happily. Stopping and waving whenever an animal raising its head in wonder.
Just going where the wool takes me.

For technical matters and to understand chevron knitting I’ve looked closely at a free chevron blanket pattern (Chevron Baby Blanket by Espace Tricot) and now I’m just winging it.
I’m playing with colours, playing with proportions. Playing with intarsia even, you can’t see clearly but the triangle in the middle now has an all brown part at the top while it’s neighbours just progress in grey. They are knit simultaneously:

Later on I’ll sew the “missowksi”-strip to the side of the chevron-bit and I plan to add another piece of chevrons to the other side. I might elongate the little zigzags if I think I need more acreage.

Aran weight, knit on needle 5 mm. (Normal knitters would probably use 7 mm)
I want to use this in the city so please don’t let the cabin’s clumsiness and friendly awkwardness seep into this knit. It’s got to stay fresh, sharp and stylish.


Weird Wool Wednesday: best plans

I’ve been itching to continue knitting on the green handspun vest. Knitting with handspun is such a delight! It goes faster than knitting with commercial yarn too.  And I love the green handspun. Can’t wait to wear my vest! With a handmade blouse.

I did the math and the designing to figure out how to knit up the second shoulder strap. All I need to do now is to sit down, have a cup of tea and enjoy that lovely knit. It will be time lovely spent!

So made a cup of tea, sat down, took up the needles and….

cast on for the planned handspun Shetland and Blue Texel garment instead!

Why? I want my green vest!

yeah, but, you see, ahh… this is such a lovely knit too! I’ve been looking forward to try out the things I studied in the swatch. And this lovely yarn has been sitting on my table and it’s so nice.

Actually, once I started I couldn’t put it down. This was knitted in one night, last night, long after my husband went to bed and I had said: “just let me knit a few rows fast, to see how these colours work together.”
It’s a lofty bouncy yarn, needles 5 mm, change colours every 5 rows.

A little bit of stranding, or slipped stitches rather. It’s not getting bulky.

I can’t explain why I’m knitting this instead of the green vest…
I suspect it may have to do something with the city. In the city I want to knit other things than I’ve planned and prepared for in the cabin. The green handspun is very much “cabin”.

The same with my wheel. I brought it to the city because I was having a delightful time in the cabin, spinning that silken moonlight by Passe-Partout. I bought extra roving at the Annual Spinners’ Retreat, just to prolong that lovely experience.

Hauled the wheel to the city, that day when I drove myself, Lillepoes and the kitten with all their extra luggage to the city. Unloaded the car, parked the wheel in the front room. And haven’t touched it since:


It’s true that I do need to fix it first, the snare broke:

But truth is I haven’t even thought about it in the last couple of weeks. And I’ve been in the city for weeks now! It’s like this part of the room has a blind spot, a wheel shaped blind spot.

Other things I haven’t touched are the Contiguous Blue cardigan and Arlene cardi. And Holle Cardi! That one only needs some buttons and then is ready to wear, it’s already been blocked! It’s all there too, neatly arranged in a WIP bag. Cardi, buttons and a friendly tin with all the notions needed.

Just sit down, have a cup of tea and sew on that buttons. And this is a real city-knit! It has style and grace and I can wear it and nobody will make remarks about how “home knitted” I look.

Yes, this is a good city knit. Just the thing for a leisurely hour in my stylish living room.

So I made myself a cup of tea, sat down, picked up the needles and:

knitted a x-mas ornamental owl instead.


The pattern is Oisin owl by Pauline Gallagher. I used a yarn that’s not in the Ravelry database yet, DMC Frida, a single spun aran weight with bamboo and silk. I’ll go add it now.

When we return to the cabin and I become forest-Anna again I’ll be shaking my head in disbelief at city-Anna.
And probably, hopefully, finally knit on my green handspun vest.

Finished socks and a visit to Pip.


Yarn held double, needles 3 mm. In a colourway that looks like old fashioned bricks.

I knit on them yesterday, when I visited Pip/Zorro in yet another lustrious Dutch city: Utrecht. A city with a long history of academia a lots of red brick buildings and canals and bikes:

They have this one tower they really love… the Dom.

I came well prepared. In my bag I had my felted clogs, a lace wimple, bag of cat food and a WIPbag with black cats on it.

I also brought this:

Two felted cat toys and a sock needle protection case. All hand made by Wolop.

Pip aka Zorro didn’t display much emotions when I came through the door. He didn’t seem to recognize me, he was more interested in whether I was able to make food appear in his bowl.

Later on he did give me a cuddle and touched my nose with his like he used to do. But soon he went to pester his room mate, Pancha, whom he adores. He clearly doesn’t pine for me, life has moved on. That’s ok, that’ll make it easier for me.

Even the cats have to put up with the ever present Dom!

When I left the city I made sure my bag was well stocked again:

Chocolate bonbons and marzipan!

On the way back home the landscape was very Dutch: flat and green with high waters. And again the train had not enough seats and I had to stand again! Dutch train service is terrible in that respect.

I did manage to knit some more on my bed sock, standing in the train.
I’d love to show you but I can’t:

(the chocolate bonbons are already nearly gone… I bought too many flavoured with cardemom….nomnomnom)

On with the knitting!

I’ve finished my two blouses. I’m ready to wear some vests over it!

I’ve been wearing my black and white vest over them. The vest in the first organic sheep from Laan van Wisch I ever spun. Lovely vest, I wear it often.

But I’m ready for my handspun green one. I’ve figured out how to work it further, how to work upwards and make the second shoulder strap. Pick up stitches from the i-cord that I attached. (I-cord is in a different handspun that will also be used to make up sidepanels).

Knitting this is next on the list as soon as I decide to sit down to knit and only knit. Like on a lovely Sunday morning.

But before it got to today it was Thursday and we were to travel to the cabin the next day. I needed a knitting project to work on in the car. No counting, no looking, no trying on for fit.
So the night before the trip I casted on a toe for bed socks. Bed socks are on my list of things that I need this winter. Bed socks are just tube socks (no heel) and I wanted to knit these out of some lovely sock yarns I have. Yarn held double:

It was too lovely!
The colours, the lovely mindless knitting.
That Thursday evening the toe became a foot and then I was worried I still had to count for the increasements so I knit those too. Than suddenly one foot was all done and I had run out of the two variegated yarns for one sock:

In search for another colour to combine with the blue semi solid I found a sock half finished and had a car project after all.
Hiking boot socks with yarn held double:

The yarn is handdyed by Chasing Clouds in a colour I named “City in Dust”.
Our traditional cities are build with red clay baked stones, bricks, from all the iron rich clay that aligns our rivers. It’s a rich piece of industrial history that has shaped our landscapes, our cities, our houses and our surnames. This yarn colourway talks to me about that.

 Brick plant in Delfzijl, still producing.

Friday rolled around and I didn’t need my car knitting because Robert had fallen ill and preferred to stay in the city where we have a bath and a comfortable chair and fast internet.

We’ve just come out of a couple of months of stress and whenever that happens and we hit the smooth patch again, Robert gets ill. It’s quite sweet really, because during the stress he’s holding up and being all supportive and caring for me and offering cups of tea. Then as soon as the stress is done with and he sees that I’m (going to be) fine he crumbles.
But only for a few days, luckily.

Though, if he doesn’t attend to it, he’ll get ill for weeks, because he carries the Epstein-Barr virus which always lurks in the body. Last time he even got a lung infection.
This time he was worried it would come to that again and he was already preparing for lung problems when all he had was a cold and a soar throat. He didn’t even go to bed.

So when I went to the local liquorice store to get him some sweets I may have mentioned “man flu” …
Sweer shop De Bossche Suikeroom, in a historical handformed red brick building:

pic by Tante Loe

The owner is very friendly! And she knows how to value funny remarks from knitters who in truth are a bit worried about their spouses.

This is the second weekend we’re not going to the cabin…
By now I’ve run into a little stash trouble. The coming week we’re supposed to ship out a swap I’m participating in. There’s one more thingy I wanted to knit for my swappee and the yarn is in the cabin.
So I made the most of my unplanned city dwelling and took a train to Eindhoven to visit yarn shop Bij Tante Betsy. (“At Aunty Betsy”)
I met up with some of my knitter friends and we had a lovely afternoon! And I totally forgot to take pictures until I was at the train station heading back home:

Eindhoven station… not a single red clay brick in sight.

This is how a Dutch train looks like:

Eindhoven is the city of Philips, the technical manufacturer. Technical stuff is big in this city, both in education (Technical University, The Design Academy) and in industry (Philips, the High Tech Campus, Brainport).

Last year the Financial Times ranked Eindhoven 3rd city of the future, after London and Helsinki.

This is how I looked, waiting at the station, wearing the bag I once felted myself, at a workshop with Het Wolbeest whom I dearly recommend.

I can’t show you everything I bought at the LYS because the swap is a secret one. But I did buy this lovely muted sock yarn. For mindless knitting.
And that’s my monster phone case, crocheted by a lovely British woman, one of the first knitting friends I made on Ravelry and we tried to shower each other with little handmade attentions. Unfortunately we’re no longer in contact, somehow online friendships dance to a different beat than real life ones do.

The train was very overcrowded. I had my head in the armpits of two different people who were trying to keep upright but had nothing to grap hold of except the wall above me.

This is the intercity running the length of the country, from the south to Schiphol Airport! The train service is way too skimpy with the number of carriages they provide.

The guys standing next to me were looking at my knitting (I knitted a bit on the secret thing) and I think they were a bit drunk. Nonetheless they were impressed by circular needles which they first assumed were attached so I wouldn’t lose them. I told them about some of the innovations in both needles and yarns (having Eindhoven Tech on my mind) and then one of the guys made a “check” movement in the air. He said he had just checked the box “interested”.

Then we arrived at Den Bosch which has a modern station:

Where Eindhoven banks on high tech, Den Bosch is more fairy tales and art. Jeronimus Bosch was born here after all and there’s an art academy.

This city was much less bombed during the Second World War than Eindhoven. Old brick buildings survived, with their frilly fronts.

The dragon that lived in the swamps around here when the city was founded:

That concluded my Saturday afternoon.

Now it’s Sunday morning, I’m looking forward to do some knitting. Just sit down and knit. As soon as I post this blog post.

And do some cat-extraction:

ah, I notice I’m doing product placement for Sanature, a female hygiene product with cotton instead of plastics (which all the Always products use). Well, it wasn’t planned but I do endorse this product very much. These are thin ultra pads, just like all the Always and similar products. But made with cotton. Cotton makes the body feel much more relaxed than all those plastic products do. And the same functionality. Try it, you’ll see. Buy in the Netherlands at Etos, DA or Dhio or ask me and I’ll give you one.

No knitting, no Zorro. Housetour, cats.

I’m barely knitting this week now that I’ve got my dress form and silly fabrics to play with.
Sewing patterns are covering the knitting:

I’m also enjoying some serious down time now that I delivered the final engineers’ report for the court case, last week. That took an unexpected 1,5 extra days of stress I had not counted on. As you know I have to allocate my energy very precisely and this extra stress has taken its toll.
I’m glad to report I’m bouncing back already but I’m not knitting or blogging much.

On top of that there’s Pip.
Our two other cats couldn’t adjust to the presence of the kitten. They weren’t coping very well. Especially Poekie is too old for changes, she ended up being one tense ball of anger, positioned on her pillow in the middle of the room, growling and batting at anything that moved.
Which is such a shame because all Pip wants is to make friends and cuddle fellow cats. He’s such a happy chap! It was hurtful to see him trying and longing and getting nowhere with the two old cats who like their solitude.

He turned to me and we cuddled and played all the time. But I’m no cat and Pip’s too active for me too, especially when I have things to do. I was barely getting a chance to catch my breath and I really needed to, with the engineer thing and all.
My husband wasn’t his relaxed self either. He got anxious every time the cats were trying to sort things amongst themselves. He couldn’t do what cats do: forget about the ruckus we just had a moment ago and live in this moment, here, now.
Maybe we, the humans, are too old for this kitten too…

So we brought him to my brother. He and his wife have a cat who’s used to a little black and white chatter box. After a few days things seem to go well there:

We/they are trying for a few more days but the kitten already’s got a new name: Zorro! 😀

I miss the little bugger tremendously.
He had promoted me to MamaCat, he was chirping to me all the time, cuddling. Awww. I miss him so much!
It’s a very weird sensation, experiencing this tugging in the heart area, just thinking about him. I’m hoping to go visit next week. Not sure that’s wise though.

The past few days have been good for us. For me, my husband, Poekie, Lillepoes. Everybody has had a chance to sleep in, to loaf about, to eat without distraction, to play favourite games just the way you like them best and to generally bask in peace and quiet.

I’ve been playing with fabric. This is my sewing spot:

On the wall is the first wood block print I ever made, from a Cat agenda I had when I was… 14 years old?
On the computer there’s an audio book. Agatha Christie. And yes, I sew on an old foot treadle machine. Just the running stitch. It’s great though. Very precise and calming. Can’t do button holes though.

I changed an existing pattern for a blouse and now I’m trying out my new design in that funny x-massy deer fabric. Keeping it all playful, after all the stressy times:

There’s my personalized tape measure, made by a cat loving friend. Her cat was missing for a week, we were all so worried. And last night he turned up! Hungry, thin but oh so happy!
This cat is a shy, cross eyed, Snow Shoe (?). Such a beauty:

So glad he’s home!!

What’s it with cats today? I’m welling up again.

Next to my sewing table is the wool closet.
I so love nice furnitures, especially made of wood. I enjoy my surroundings every day. The materials, the craftmanship, how they look, feel.

My circular holder, with needle gauge little diver:

I’ve been planning to make a new circ holder for years now… sigh. One that’s more natural coloured. With the numbers of the needles on it.
Such as this pattern, Lobster, by Norah Gaughan:

Oh mannn, I now see I had this fav’ed more than 5 years ago. With note: “I want one like this, with numbers on it”.

I was thinking of just sewing a slab of felt to another slab of felt. I don’t see the point of knitting it and then felting it.
I’ve been designing on it a bit, over the years. Thinking what would be a nice shape to incorporate all these hanging circulars. I thought they may look like cat’s whiskers. But I couldn’t figure out how to give a cat a long stack of whiskers without it looking weird. Because I wanted the needle gauges on it. At least <2-2-2,25-2,5-2,75-3-3,25-3,5-3,75-4-5-6->6
For this year I put it WITH BIG LETTERS on my calendar. Alas, I didn’t make one. Perhaps try bold letters next year.

Inside the wool-closet:

They all seem to be sleeping.

Here’s the little table next to the door. Oof, that picture has a nasty yellow tint, the walls are green in real life.
Besides the colour this is me in a nutshell!

A painting I made of a very nice birch I know in the park where I used to walk. A calendar from Bergen I got from a friend. (Giving me heart tugs… Norway. Hopefully I’ll be able to return one day.)
Chocolate bonbons, in a crystal container because I like to pretend I’m a lady when I eat chocolates in private (I also enjoy the colour sparkles that the crystal gives on the wall). An empty tea mug ready for transport to the kitchen. Our phone called “nootje” (peanut I don’t know why… even though I was the one naming it.). Lillepoes’ yellow hair brush (the best!). The “click-clack” because we’re lazy/efficient when it comes to switching lights on/off. And the large glass heir loom vase that usually stands on my sewing table. With handy pincushion made by a dear friend.

A view to the front room. The door opens straight onto the street. To the left is Mina the dress form. I’ve given her my woolen jacket to wear, she seemed a little bare in just a bra stuffed with socks.

Here’s what I’m wearing myself:

That’s one blouse finished, in Stylish Cat Lady fabric. No buttons. I ought to put it on Mina and take pictures. But I’m too laze/busy with deer.
I am covered in handknits. I love beautiful, useful things.

Weird Wool Wednesday: Put a sock in it!

— early edition because I’m exited —

I got myself a mannequin. A dress form. It just got delivered:

It’s the adjustable dress form Prymadonna by Prym. Adjustable at bust, waist and hips, independently from each other.

That way I was able to set the bust at my upper bust measurement of EU 40 (92 cm); my waist to EU 38 (78 cm) and my hip to EU 36 (90 cm):

Hey, this is me, this is my frame!

I checked with a measuring tape and they all match: the shoulders, the upper bust, the waist, the hips, the width of the shoulder and the length of the torso (all adjustable).
It’s all pretty squarish… yes, I’m shaped like a door: no waist, no hips.

All it needs now is a crocheted grocery bag containing two melons…

pic by RedGrouse
Crochet Grocery Bag by Haley Waxberg, a free pattern.

Oh. Forgot my crochet hook. Have to work with what I have. Here we are:

Hmm, that shape DOES look familiar.

Let’s use some handknits to check:

Hey, that’s me. That’s totally me!

How good I look in handknits.
Yes, handknits make life look good.

Life without handknits…. is so deflated:

Finished: pockets in Pumpkin Ale cardigan

I knitted the pockets on Pumpkin Ale Cardigan because it was evident that I was never going to sew them with fabric.

Just a few evenings of knitting and it was done.
I used sock weight yarn, it’s just a tad bit smaller than Wollmeise Twin from which the cardi is knitted. Still a bit more bulky than fabric would have been.

I think my new Crazy-Catlady-blouse-to-be goes nicely with it:

All it took was just a few evenings of knitting:

Knitting was seriously delayed because of having to cuddle and enjoy cats and take pictures and be happy:

Sewing before knitting.

I’m really looking forward to wearing my handspun vest!

That’s why I’ve put the actual knitting of said vest aside (??) to sew two blouses (dress shirts) to wear underneath it:

These two fabrics I bought today.

One colour is called “I’m such a STYLISH cat lady”.

The little deers in the other one are made of gold glitter! So that colour is probably called “Glittery Winter Lady and totally not knitting a x-mas sweater”.

I haven’t knit all day…

planning a cardi when you have to combine yarns

At the Spinners’ Weekend I was given this handspun Blue Texel. It’s from the same batch that I’m still busy spinning mine. The person who had spun this did not enjoy knitting with it and gave it to me as a present. Wow!

 pic by Moonwise

It’s 575 meters in aran weight. A beautiful round yarn which will have great stitch definition.
We both think that 575 meters is not enough for a cardigan or pullover.

I think it will combine well with the Shetland I spun in five natural colours. Remember how I spend a whole day and a whole post on what I could do with those five little skeins?

These two yarns go so well together:

I’ve positioned all the skeins at the end of the table so they’re in my view all day. I added the green Gjestal garn that’s left from my legwarmers. Perhaps as an accent? And to provide some extra meters should I run short?

To hone in on the garment I want to make I’ve browsed through the Ravelry database, to sharpen my preferences. I made a bundle collecting patterns and projects that might bring me something. A certain way of constructing; or where to place the patches of colour; or how to combine colours.

This is my bundle for adding colours to a cardigan.

After studying my bundle these are the things I want in this cardigan. The design-parameters:

  • no stranding or Fair Isle. I need the meters.
  • no colours in the yoke. I like to frame my face with a shawl or hat, not with a yoke.
  • recurrence of the colour detail in the sleeve cuffs would be funny
  • a cardigan, rather than pullover, it gets more use
  • I prefer the front in solid grey so the colours go at the back (but not growing from a centre stitch/ bulls’ eye). Or shall I do colours at the waste, perhaps as a sideways knit band?
  • stripes or mittered squares or slipped stitches are possible. Stripes could have lace to make waves. Can make zig zags with stripes, either by slipping stitches or by chevron knitting.
  • no double decrease stitches, that is too bulky.
  • modular knitting is great because then I don’t need to make a (lying) swatch. (pick up 3 stitches for every 4 rows.)
  • the handspun blue Texel ought to be in stockinette stitch, not in garter stitch, it’s so beautiful
  • needle 4,5 mm, just like my Donegal cardi’s (which I should probably finish first, to free up that needle)

After mulling this over a bit I think I’ll start with a multi colour panel at the mid back. Bottom up (not sideways. Nor without shoulder seams, that Wintertrui 2014 cardigan is a bit shapeless when I wear it.)

I found a technique that makes zig zaggy patterns without stranding. Or does it?

This is a little study I made.

It’s based on this sweater pattern I found, The Great Missowski by Julia Trice:

 pic and cardi by Glennea

This is the back, there IS a little stranding:

Technically it’s just slipped stitches but it takes up yarn just as much as stranding would, making a kind of double knit fabric. O well, it’s ok I guess. It’s not much.

Also unavoidable immediate cat attention.

In the study I played around with how much rows to stack of each colour; how to make that lowest stitch dip deep enough (I tried slipped stitches but also knitting a stitch and then knitting it again straight away. With or without knitting through the back. Those try outs are at the top of the piece, near the red pencil. I don’t think twisted stitched are called for here:

In the beginning I had difficulty keeping check of where I was in the pattern, at which column of stitches. I hopped repeats at about the blue pencil, unintentionally creating diamonds instead of zig zags.

Good to know. Should I ever want to knit diamonds with a slipped stitch technique.

I think I’m ready to start the back panel now. I am very grateful to Moonwise for giving me the yarn, it inspired me to design and knit this straight away. As a little thank you gesture I gave her some of my handdyed reed cotton fabric, with pounded Indigo leaves.

Knitting a weird hat.

I don’t know why but I’ve been knitting a hat for the last 10 days.
A hat is not at the top of my To-Do list. But I wanted to use that handspun I’ve used before that doesn’t look so good just knitted on its own. I happened to have a ball of Wollmeise Lace yarn in a glorious deep purple (Gran Mère) that would be a great combination. I wanted to knit these yarns so casted on.

I alternate the two skeins and I knit the Wollmeise in stockinette stitch and the handspun in garter. The colours of the handspun finally look splendid.

Contemplating hat shapes, I was toying with the idea of a sideways crescent shape, to cover my ears, from which you pick up stitches on one side to form the back.
Mainly because I didn’t want to knit a swatch, I wanted to start right away and that sideways part you can just knit until it’s long enough.

As I was forming my thoughts I was roaming through the Ravelry database and sure enough I had just “unvented” a hat that already exists. Lee Meredith, a fun and good designer, already has a hat pattern very much like my idea:

Gentle on my Mind by Lee Meredith

Now I had a bit of a dilemma.
If I look close enough at the pattern pictures I can reverse-engineer this design. Knit it without buying it? That doesn’t feel right…

So I ventured to create my own pattern from scratch but I was pleased to see that it could be done. It still didn’t feel quite right, to knit a hat that looks very much like a designed one. Especially with a designer that’s so skilled and writes such good patterns as Lee Meredith does, you really want to support them.
I seriously contemplated buying this design, just to feel good about myself, but at 7 US dollars I thought it a bit expensive for just that purpose. It seems the price of my quilt maxes out at 4 euros. I’m not proud.

I did my best to make my hat differ from Lee’s design. My decreases at the back are different, creating a different shape and rhythm in stripes. I don’t know what Lee did with the short rows in the back, I did my own thing.

And now I’ve ended up with a weird hat:

I doubt I’ll wear this in the city. It’s more of a Renaissance fair look…

Fit is perfect though and it does keep my ears warm…

I’ve got no idea how to bring this hat around. The bottom needs to be finished. And perhaps it needs some kind of trim at the front, to make it more sophisticated. But what and how?

No idea. It’ll be parked for a while while I hatch a new thought.
Neat stripe work. The colours work well and the fabric handles well too. That’s some problems solved. Now to un-weird it. Because it’d be a shame not to wear this.