Weird Wool Wednesday: Dragon Drapey.

Remember my friend and neighbour who’s going to crochet a Lillepoes-Lalylala doll for me? She’s going to do that right after she has finished Dirk the Dragon for herself, and she has:

Beautiful! She crochets so tight and neat.

She’s using Scheepjes Stonewashed and she said it was a daring case of yarn chicken. There’s only 15 cm’s of the green left, out of two skeins at 130 m each = 2600 cm’s total.

Next project will be my Lillirocco:

But first Dirk the Dragon needs a scarf, as per pattern:

and I’m knitting it. Coz that’s how we divide and conquer the world. She crochets my crochets and I knit her knits.

It’s a boring knit: “cast on 8 stitches, make stockinette stitch for fifty-five centimeters long, cast off, add fringe.”
55 cm. That’s a bout a foot, I think? A whole dragon’s foot worth of fiddly knitting to and fro.

(at this point I’d like to deny the fiddly to and fro knitting I’m currently doing on the Fir Cowl… but I can’t… deny.)

Anyway. I was looking forward to experience Scheepjes Stonewashed yarn myself so I casted on last weekend. On needles 2,5 mm because I always need to go smaller than pattern needles.
But after a few centimeter I knew didn’t like the fabric much so I changed to 2,75 mm. You can see the transition in the fabric somewhere between my pink and ring finger:

I told myself I could get away with continuing as is. “The ends of a scarf are better when they’re a little firmer anyway.”

But then this morning I admitted I still don’t like the fabric much, it’s just not Dragon Drapy enough. The original scarf looks so comfy and drapey. Mine just doesn’t.

So I changed to 3 mm. This looked way better and after a few more centimeters I knew this is the right drape. I can’t get away with another change in gauge so I frogged the 15 cm I had and am starting anew, with the right needles:

Now I’ve got a whole foot of dragon scarf to wander through!
And it’s the last day of November and there’s no time and wouldn’t it be lovely of Dirk the Dragon also got some matching mittens for Winter? And what about a matching messenger bag, that would be awesome.

(Also I’m wondering if 3,25 mm wouldn’t even give a better dragon drapeyness to this scarf.)(drapeness)(drapiness)(drapability?)

Baking spicy cat cookies

Out for a day to Nijmegen, to visit a knitter friend who is knowledgable about cats and arts and cooking. Wearing my Bleuet dress and store bough coat:
outfit handmade dressoutfit handmade dresskoekjes bakkenkoekjes bakken
koekjes bakkenkoekjes bakkencookie cutters

Overseeing procedures is Luna,  a clever cat and very sweet. She has art for a feeding bowl:
koekjes bakkenkoekjes bakken
Luna’s roommate is Odin, a cat who’s not so smart but very lovable. He has the softest fur I ever felt on a cat!
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He’s so sweet, we could eat him up.
koekjes bakkenkoekjes bakken

My friend lend me this book:

of which I raved before. This is such an inspiration to read while preparing for the stranded knitting improvisations I’m going to do starting Thursday!

On the way back to the train station I bought a new hat, at Capello, a proper hat shop:
koekjes bakken
Ready to solve some yarny mysteries!

——————————————————————-

RECIPE for speculaaskoekjes/ gingerbread cookies.
Prepare dough the day before.

INGREDIENTS:
100 gram soft butter. (I use full fat “roomboter”)
200 gram flower (I use 150 weat, 50 rice)
75 gram sugar (I use 50 gram dark caster sugar, 1 full table spoon of gingerpasta)
3 gram baking powder
1 ei (large or otherwise add half a spoon of liquid if necessary)
salt
lots of spices + extra ginger + extra pepper + cardamom. (we have prepared “speculaaskruiden” in Holland but it needs extra pepper and ginger and cardamom)

DIRECTIONS
Mix everything together. Leave the dough to rest, for four hours or overnight.

Next day: let dough warm up to room temperature. Roll with a pin (or bottle) into a slab of 5 mm thick. Use your cookie cutters. Place cookies on a plate. No need for paper or grease, just put them on the plate but leave room between them because they will increase a bit in size. Don’t put small parts (limbs and legs) too close to the edge because the edge may get the hottest and they’ll burn.

Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Put plate into oven and bake cookies for 20 minutes. Check now and then, you might have to turn the plate a bit. Since it will take 20 to 23 minutes this is a relaxed bake, with plenty of time to check and adjust.

They’ll still be pliable when they come out of the oven. They need to evaporate their moisture and then they will get hard and brittle. I turn them upside down while they’ll still hot. I tell myself it’s to help evaporate but really, I just want to play with them. I’m not sure if they stick to the plate if you don’t play with them, I’ve never tried.

It is rumoured they have their best taste the day after baking. But I’ve never tested this.

I really like cookie cutters but somehow I never bake cookies. Today, in Nijmegen, was only the second time ever that I baked them. Still I have about ten cookie cutter shapes, I collect them. I love unusual shapes such as cats and unicorns and would love to have some more.

As it happens, right across from the hat shop is a cooking shop. Bingo!

cookie cutterscookie cutters
I bought some more! But not the owl, that one is too complicated for me. You’d need two colours dough or something.

There’s already a new batch of dough resting in the kitchen, ready to become cookies tomorrow.

First Advent Sunday

The Advent star looks good in the front room and we have a second one up in the attic:
advent first dayUntitled

I watched the Random Knitter podcast together with Lillepoes. Random Gwen is showing off Wolop yarns. We are fascinated.

I’m knitting an unexpected knit:

Fir Cowl by Ursa Major Knits. I saw it yesterday and casted on. Don’t know why. Cannot justify.

It has an interesting crocheted cast on where you crochet around your knitting needle:

The yarn is the custom dyed grey purple glitter yarn from Het Wolbeest that I used for cuffs:

I’m combining it with undyed yarn of the same base: a tightly twisted two ply sock yarn (fingering weight) that some people find too pronounced to use at the soles of their socks. It’s good shawl yarn though.

I’m knitting on needles 2,25 mm to get a gauge of 28 st per 10 cm. I’ve got two purple “trees” and now I’m to knit them together using a white “tree”. Fir Cowl is a modular knit.

Of course:
advent first dayadvent first day
Yeah, yeah, yeah, put a sock in it.

I finished and soaked some cuffs made from the left over of the Slush Sock Blank Yarn. The colour washed right out of the last picture but here it is before and after blocking:

It didn’t block as well as I hoped. Stitches still look a bit unregular. They only used 15 grams of this soft fingering yarn.

And I made panna cotta! A new well loved recipe and my vintage ceramic pudding mold:
advent first day
advent first day
Yeah, yeah, yeah…

 

Preparing for Advent

This year I’m going to enjoy the month of December in the city. By now my health is well enough that I can make an effort and keep my home tidy and pleasant on a daily (ok, ok, weekly) basis.
advent
This December I’m really going to keep it up and enjoy my home life.

I want to mark every day. With yarn. Enter the Wolop Advent Calendar!
It is a mystery box with 24 miniskeins of soft, fingering yarn in unknown colours.
Wolop Adventsbox Adventskalender 2016 breiwolWolop Adventsbox Adventskalender 2016 breiwol
The colours are a surprise! Every day is a secret. I don’t do well with surprises at all but I’ve decided to enjoy this. I want to knit with a new skein every day although I won’t know what colour I’ll get.

So I’ve been looking for ideas to use yarn every day, regardless of the colours you get:
tinekepin1
These are just a few ideas from the many on this pinterest board, all gathered by Tineke from Atelier The Green Sheep.
I made a bundle on Ravelry with pattern ideas.

This week Wolop started her own group on Ravelry and it too has a bundle with patterns for the adventsbox.

I’m looking for a daily thing to knit, crochet, weave.
Specifically things to weave intrigue me. I love this shawl by Dreamersplace!

Absolutely love it. There are accent wefts, in the colour of the warp. And she divides mini skeins so she can use that colour again a second time.

This cloth was woven last year, using the Opal Advents box (which had 20 gram skeins):

How about making a little square each day on potholder looms?

Here too, I’d reserve parts of the daily skein and use it on a later day, to bring coherence in the end product.
A project like this would really show off the colours Wolop chose… which I don’t know… which is driving me bonkers… because I really like to be in control when it comes to colours! 😀

Making a little finished item each day is also very nice. I looked for items that only take 10 grams (40 m) of fingering yarn:

These patterns can be found in the Wolop Adventsbundle, I put them there.
But I don’t think I need 24 little cats or elephants. I’m too hung up on usefulness. It’s ingrained into me. I’m culturally and historically burdened! Calvinism! “Thou shalt be useful.” Calvinism everywhere! Without a playful tiger paws from Hobbe….

…oooh….

I only now see what Bill Watterson did. That clever man!

“Calvin and Hobbes follows the humorous antics of Calvin, a precocious, mischievous, and adventurous six-year-old boy, and Hobbes, his sardonic stuffed tiger. The pair is named after John Calvin, a 16th-century French Reformation theologian, and Thomas Hobbes, a 17th-century English political philosopher.” wikipedia

Love it. I already admire him for his art work (that brush virtuosity!) and compositions. Now this. Clever man.

Ah. Well. Not trying to fight my ingrained tendencies I’ve also been looking at combining unknown colours and usefulness.

Which logically leads to stranded knitting:


That last one is Lorix5’s Favourite Things shawl.

The pattern is ‘My Favourite Things’ Infinity Scarf by Jill McGee and it is free. It basically says: “cast on 72 stitches, choose a motif each day that makes you happy, continue knitting until reaching desired length, kitchener together.”

Yes please!

This enhances what I want for December: live and mark each day individually. Each day I’ll open one of the mystery packs from the Wolop Advent Calendar, see what colour it is, get inspired towards a certain subject or motive and knit that. Perhaps even make a little drawing to accompany the occasion. Salute mr. Waterson 😉

I won’t fret about colours not being to my taste. This shawl will not be about my colour palette, it will be about the experience of December 2016. Marking each day and, hopefully, being a testament to a month in which I again leap forward in health and mental robustness. Or have a fun month regardless.

I can save a bit of the colour du jour to use it later, as an accent or to bring more coherence into the shawl. I’ll also can knit a bit of “bland” stockinette stitch and go back to it later and duplicate stitch onto it with a colour that is released later in the calendar.

I’ll cast on 211 stitches (or something). The 72 mentioned above is for bulky yarn.

And I’ll have a few basic colours standby from the start so I can knit stranded from day one. I have a bit of white, grey and blue so I’ll have enough options to knit in desired contrasts.

Yes, really looking forward to December and I’m already preparing the house.
The first few days are about this guy:
advent
Sinterklaas, which we celebrate on the 5th.

Around the 16th of December I’ll assist at Winterwol fair again, with Wolop, in the very north of the country.

21st is the shortest day which marks the start of the lengthening of the day.

24th is Christmas, which for me is the start of the “12 days of x-mas” which is the “time outside time”. From 24 until 6th of January (or perhaps 12th) I’ll be spinning. Together with Frau Holle, or Hulda, the pre-celtic goddess of nature, farming, spinning and cats. I mentioned this winter = spinning = weird time a few years ago. I’m glad to give it some attention in my life again.

But that’s all for later. Today I’m putting together the DIY Advent star:
advent

It’s an antique design, by religious group the Hernhutters. Just carton and split pins (cotter pins). The Hernhutters are do-gooders from 18th century Germany, they are also known as Moravians. I have no affiliation with them but grew up near their settlement in the Netherlands and their goodwill towards people permeated the whole town.advent adventsster hernhutters

Weird Wool Wednesday: goldilocks mittens

There once was a little knitter’s hand called Goldilocks who had gotten herself in a mitten that was way too tight:
goldilockwanttoosmall

She then spend a whole day designing a bigger mitten, with snowflakes instead of leafs, because she was a spesiul one herself.
But when she tried it on…
goldilockmittstoolarge
It was way too big. And the snowflakes looked awful.

So she threw a tantrum and dunked a mountain of spiced December cookies in her tea and felt sorry for herself and binge watched the British sci-fi series “Humans“.

The next day she decided to not try and be more clever than an owl mitten and just knit the darn thing on a slightly larger needle. As is, with leaves.
goldilockmittsjustright
And it fitted perfectly.

All she needed now was a small bucket of time to knit this mitten and then its partner and then little Goldilocks and all her friends would be warm and cosy for the Winter.

But alas, this is no Disney fairytale.

This is a European tale in which the fridge door just broke off its hinges (?!) and Goldilocks best friend demands attention all the time because she’s bored or wants food or whatever:
goldilockklierbeest

Finished: Sock Blank Socks

I don’t know why one foot is longer than the other. I tried them on both for fit, during knitting, and they both fit.


They used 85 grams of yarn, on needle 2,25 mm.
With the remainder I’m knitting cuffs. They look terrible before soaking and blocking.

This will all even out.

UPDATE

Oh, I know why the feet are different. One sock was knit toe up, the other cuff down. I’m not good at toe up, always guessing where the heel should go.

Cuff down I understand better:

Finished and repaired: flower socks


This is knitted darning. Or Swiss darning. I inserted white thread as guidelines (I should have made them double, I should have read my own blog post about it) then made rows of knitting stitches with yarn on a darning needle.

Not too bad. All the burned ends are on the inside. I made sure to catch only whole loops with the white thread. I guess I could take it out now, the thread, because all the knitted stitches are interlocked.




Knit & Knot Woolfair Tilburg

Wolop stand before opening:
Knit & Knot beurs Tilburg november 2016Knit & Knot beurs Tilburg november 2016

I found this sock blank an intriguing colour. Very far from my blue-grey-white-lilacs but so very inviting to knit. I long to see the socks (or hat!) that comes from this blank:
Knit & Knot beurs Tilburg november 2016Knit & Knot beurs Tilburg november 2016
It comes with a little sheep progress marker, to mark when you’re halfway the blank 🙂

These handprinted sockblanks are packaged as a milk shake, the Slush Sock Blank:
Knit & Knot beurs Tilburg november 2016
The makers of StitchFiddle were there:
Knit & Knot beurs Tilburg november 2016Knit & Knot beurs Tilburg november 2016
With StitchFiddle you can make your own charts, both colour and stitch charts. For knitting and embroidery and more. It’s free!

The makers of the program are just the nicest people. She knitted him this vest, using their own program to design the fair isle motives and the letters. There are 14 colours in there and she didn’t even steek! That’s a lot of ends to weave in. The vest looked spectacular, both on the right side and on the wrong side.

I didn’t take any more pictures but here’s an 8 minute vlog by Random Gwen with a nice impression of the fair. You may see a familiar face  😉

On the train home I examine my loot. I bought out of my comfortzone:
Knit & Knot beurs Tilburg november 2016
Out of my comfortzone with sparkles:
Knit & Knot beurs Tilburg november 2016
This is how a similar dyed skein is knitting up. Stripey without pooling. That looks promising.
Knit & Knot beurs Tilburg november 2016

Beautiful soothing colour, firmly in my comfort zone, dyed with logwood. Will be socks that are similar to my onion socks and my other logwood socks. This one is dyed darker and more blue.
Knit & Knot beurs Tilburg november 2016Knit & Knot beurs Tilburg november 2016

This yarn amazes me. It’s 100% wool yet I’ve been wearing these socks all the time and they do not pill nor wear. In fact, I yanked them out of the cupboard this morning and put them on display in the stand. They look that good.

The yarn is not typically round plied nor is it super soft or super smooth (it is superwash though). It isn’t the soft sock yarn that comes from the UK nowadays and is used by all the indy dyers. But it isn’t scratchy either, the way commercial German sock yarns are (Opal, Regia, the Danish DROPS Fabel)

Yes this is a strange yarn. I was more than willing to scoff at but there just isn’t any reason to. And the socks from it are beautiful. I’ll have another pair please.

Then there’s this lovely gift I got from Random Gwen, author of the Random Knitter Podcast:
Knit & Knot beurs Tilburg november 2016
Great colours! Supersoft. Sparkles. Smelled of sheep haha! People were looking…
What’s in it? Everything!
Knit & Knot beurs Tilburg november 2016
And it is bunny approved 😀

All this I took home plus the Advent surprise box from Wolop. Come december I will be unwrapping and knitting a miniskein of luxury yarn every day.
Knit & Knot beurs Tilburg november 2016

Before I went to bed:
Untitled

This morning, watching Gwen’s vlog and casting on for a pair of wildly coloured socks:random knitter podcast Knit en Knot beurs Tilburg 2016random knitter podcast Knit en Knot beurs Tilburg 2016

 

Weird Wool Wednesday: knitting by candle light

Ooh, aah, knitting in Winter:

Such idyll…. let me just pop downstairs and make a cup of tea to go with this peaceful moment.

Came back and someone had taken a bite out of my finished sock:

Even adorned with a candle and crystal, fire remains a hungry beast.

No, I didn’t plop my sock into the flame. I put it on top of the yarnbowl and it leaned over while I was downstairs. (The yarnbowl was closer to the candle than in the photo.) Nor did I leave the candle unattended, my husband was in the room but he didn’t notice. But he is used to a certain “wooly bric à brac” around my chair and I think his nose is growing “deaf”.

Luckily sheep wool doesn’t ignite, it just kind of smouldered. The 25% polyamide/ nylon did melt and it stank. I’ve now broken off the black pieces and the sock has camped outside for a night to get rid of the smell. Now I will repair it, somehow.

Lesson learned.

owls in green and white

I’m back on track with the stranded owl vest:

I was up to the arm holes when I found out that the two white balls where a different shades and I couldn’t knit on, this was six weeks ago:

Today I found the courage to frog it all back, all the way back to the stranded part. Now I’m knitting it back up again, alternating the two white balls every row.

And I’m about to start another set of owls in green and white!

Horatio and Oren owl mittens by Barbara Gregory and the yarn is the Norwegian brand Finull.