White wonder time.

winter canal dutch frost

These are the historic canals and harbour around my house 🙂
They illustrate nicely the “white time” that I often experience after Christmas.

white winter dutch netherlands

It’s a time for crisp morning walks, for snow sun and for looking into the skies while gazing internally. It lasts anywhere from two weeks untill the end of February, depending on the weather.

It is a winter mood but not the depressive kind. It’s the one of light and snow sparkle and cold. The time of anise and ginger drinks and light butter waffles, not the time of hot chocolate and gingerbread that go with xmas time.

These pictures I took last Thursday, when I went to get the car. I have to park a kilometre away because in historic Dutch cities there’s not much parking space.

That’s why we ride bikes:
winter canal harbour Holland Dutch Birman
This picture is from yesterday. Why dahlias? It’s winter! I don’t know. I had them last year on New Years Eve too and was just as amused by them.
winter canal harbour Holland Dutch Birmanwinter canal harbour Holland Dutch Birman
To celebrate this white time I took out all the green, red and gold ornaments of the tree. I received a glass bird from a friend and it was the perfect gift for this time of year. Years ago she gave a similar bird and it’s been over our wood stove all this time, all year round. I love glass 🙂

These days I particularly enjoy wearing my light coloured clothes. And my Wolop Advent shawl! It’s perfect for this weather and the colours are cool and light.
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And this time is about spinning, as it is Frau Holle time.
This week I spun that beautiful Tour de Fleece price I received this year: batts called “Birch”:

The ceramic bowl is Raku and holds the threads I use for securing skeins before setting the twist. It was made by Lieneke from Wolop because she commands many skills and she knows I love birches 🙂

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Are you done now? I now a cat that needs feeding.

swap received: seasonal postage swap

For seasonal greetings we have a cheaper stamp in the month of December. In the Dutch Karma Swap Group we have a fun swap of trying to send the maximum that’s allowed with the cheap stamp. One stamp allows for 50 grams in a paper envelop not thicker than 3,2 mm and not wider than 30 x 24 cm.
This is what I got today!
kerstzegelswap NKS Ravelry
All favourite things of me: a small tin, stitchmarkers, darning needles and decorative band for the project bags I am sewing one of these days…. soon…
And a lavender wool wash soap. A lavender kind. And a no rinse kind, from the good brand Eucalan. I don’t know this no rinse-washes. I’ll sure give this a try next time I wash my socks or other handknits.

Here’s a close up of the stitch markers, they have an amethyst bead on them and they are well made: totally snag free.
stekenmarkeerders met amethist, kerstzegelswap NKS ravelry

The stranded pouch is expertly knit. Even tension and all that. It’s a delight to look at and to handle.
I filled it up with some fiberfill and a bit of lavender I cut off our plants earlier this year.
stranded pincushion with lavendel in it. I love darning needles! kerstzegelswap NKS Ravelry
Using the darning needles that were in the envelope. And a piece of yarn my fellow raveler so thoughtfully send with.

It now smells so good here!
stranded pincushion with lavendel in it. I love darning needles! kerstzegelswap NKS Ravelrystranded pincushion with lavendel in it. I love darning needles! kerstzegelswap NKS Ravelry
stranded pincushion with lavendel in it. I love darning needles! kerstzegelswap NKS Ravelry
Beautifully knit.

A very thoughtful swap. Thank you.

finished: Wolop Advent Shawl!

It’s blocking and drying:

Here are some of the final motives:

Cats with Paw Peerie by Sandra Jäger and also hedgehogs from her. I didn’t have enough brown/mauve for the final row but they still look like hedgehogs to me.

My golden embroidery scissors.

The purple shirts I never sew.

A ribbon of flowing water; hedgehogs; mushrooms; something that may or may not be square eggs or daisies in the only multicolour I put in the shawl.

Cat paw prints; “Advent 2016”; new stars to replace the ones from December first and December nineteenth ; some geometric design in which I ran out of dark purple and finally: some fish (using different shades of the pastel greys. The purple one, the blue one and the lilac I dyed myself. Ran out of that one at the final fish and inserted some white.)

Kitchener stitched everything together, with the fish right underneath the polar bears:

The geometric design is a prelude to next year’s project. I want to do another one of these Adventsboxes!

Next time I’d love an overall design flowing through the whole cowl, with only the colours changing, following the wisdom of Fair Isle knitting when it comes to colours, colour families and contrast.

For the pattern I’m leaning towards Art Nouveau. Leaves. Curls. Smoke rings. A pattern which I’ll probably design myself, using StitchFiddle, the free online charting tool.

Advent shawl 2016 was made entirely on Stitchfiddle. It took two charts of 200 rows high each. I’ll clean them up and share them publicly. In a post with pictures of me wearing the cowl. Right now it’s still wet.

xmas day: an 11 hour shawl and Lilleroco (Lalylala)

It’s xmas day. We spend the day watching movies, cuddling the cats and knitting. I finished a shawlette I started only yesterday:

This shawl I knit in exactly 11 hours. It’s
25 cm wide and 190 cm long and made from my own handspun: the Passe-partout Merino Silk mix I spun during Tour de Fleece last Summer.
 I took out some of the darker parts as I wanted a light coloured yarn. It’s soft enough to wear around the neck. That’s Merino Silk for you. I need soft things (yarn and fibre) to wear around my neck. I’ve been wearing my Nurmilintu all the time but by now the yarn (Merino with nylon nepps) is starting to irritate my skin.

Merino Silk would be ideal. I like the look of stockinette stitch and this pattern uses its tendency to roll.

The pattern is Pip by Mona Schmidt and it states that blocking is not necessary as it favourites a rustic look. I prefer a neater look, the handspun provides character enough already, so I will block it once I’m at the cabin again. (the centrifuge is there)

In the mean time I’m wearing it and I really like it! I think I’ll knit more like these. It’s a great mindless knit and a good use of luxury handspun.

Now have a look at the xmas surprise that arrived:
Lalylala roco birman cat crochet gehaakt raskatLalylala roco birman cat crochet gehaakt raskatLalylala roco birman cat crochet gehaakt raskatLalylala roco birman cat crochet gehaakt raskatLalylala roco birman cat crochet gehaakt raskatLalylala roco birman cat crochet gehaakt raskat
Lalylala roco birman cat crochet gehaakt raskat

It’s Lilleroco!

A pattern by Lalylala: Roco the racoon. Crocheted by my very talented neighbour in Scheepjes Stonewashed yarn. In Lillepoes colours of my design.

A great finished object! It’s about the one doll that I find not creepy and the way my friend executed it is amazing. So much handmade love and skill!
Lalylala roco birman cat crochet gehaakt raskat

This was the rest of our day: Beef Wellington and Rene Russo in Lethal Weapon 3:
xmas 2016 beef wellington René Russo Lethal Weapon 3
We also saw Lethal Weapon 1 and 2 partly. The scenery and hair and women roles were hilarious. Lethal Weapon 3 has always been my favourite but nowaday the charm of Martin Riggs has worn off.

Still very fun to watch. And to say the lines before they come. Delores Hall is iconic!
 “Oooh sugar!”

Lalylala roco birman cat crochet gehaakt raskat

24 dec: chunk of knitting and a friendly reminder

The last colour of the Wolop Advent box is a beautiful icy blue:

I used it for a secret kind of bird house/WIP bag that I will receive next week. The bag is greenish with ice blue top/roof. Can’t say much more about it 🙂

Underneath I knitted the purple anti gobble food bowl. Our cats have one too now. It works really well.

Underneath that is a ribbon of sea gulls. They are always near, making strange noises over the harbour.

These birds are from a chart by Sandra Jäger. It’s free. I love how there’s a darker blue middle section. Lots of Fair Isle patterns have that. I should play more with that.

This is what I knitted yesterday. I wanted to do a large chunk:

Do you like those fox faces? I designed them myself, on Stitchfiddle.com. I wanted to incorporate foxes in my shawl because Wolop Lieneke loves foxes and this particular colour of yarn is beautiful for foxes and next week I will also receive a bag with foxes on it ….*eyebrow wiggle*

The next few days I’m trying to knit as much as possible so that the shawl can go around my neck twice. I want it finished before the new year begins.

I’ll end this post with the x-mas card our cats received:

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A personal card, from the vet!

It had an PS.
“Remember that it’s about time to renew your vaccinations.”

Have a nice x-mas evening.

23 dec: digging it.

Once upon a time I had a great afternoon:

And today my new x-mas cookie cutter arrived:
digger cookie cutter
Ahh, it’s the season to be joyous!

X-mas cookies and bombyx x-mas balls:
digger cookie cutter

Me in the digger was about ten years ago, when we had just bought the cabin. We were clearing the rich top soil of the meadow next to it. In the poorer under-soil native herbs have more of a chance to grow. The rich soil got shoveled into man-high ridges, on top of which we planted apple trees.

In between the ridges there are now sheltered micro climates and the amount of dragon flies is absurd. Lots of herbs too, with lots of different bees and bumble bees on them.

Diggers made it into my Advent shawl:

And I learned that in plain rows I should knit a little tighter because ruffles.

Today’s colour is a green blue:

It’s in a small band above the diggers.

22 dec: gnomes in StitchFiddle and rebellious hotdogs in nativity play.

Today’s Wolop Advent colour for me is some sort of coral:

I’m going to knit it into gnome’s faces:

knitting chart gnome

These three I sketched in Stitchfiddle. I really like this program. By now I’ve added all the particular colours of my box to the palet:

stitchfiddle.com It works really neat. If I change the shade of one colour in this palet, for example because I didn’t value it well enough next to a new colour I receive, than the colour in the chart changes with it.

The program is filled with all these neat things. I read about some of them in the Ravelry group but most of them I discovered myself, StitchFiddle’s desingers are really big on intuitive usage of the site.
If I ever do have a question the programmer, Sander, is very fast to answer in the Rav group.

I’m ready for some gnomes now:

I put in some abstract version of “herring”, as I didn’t manage to design a nice fish. I like the blue and white, it talks to me of Holland and Delft and of Delft pottery. I studied architecture in Delft and did some ceramics there 🙂

On top of it is a band of what was supposed to be mistletoe but as I changed the back ground colour from grey to this purple, nearly Wollmeise Fliederbusch purple, it now reminds me of the Elderberry and of Frau Holle.

A knitter friend of mine, Tineke from Atelier Het Groene Schaep, is also thinking of Frau Holle today. She’s performing as a hot dog in a x-mas play as we speak.

The play is a Frau Holle story for children and I think Tineke is a hot dog that doesn’t want to leave the oven because the girl is not doing her best. Although I’m not sure if these kind of moral messages are still advocated to children nowadays. Tineke might just be a rebel hotdog in its own right. She’s a rebel in real life, a proper wool rebel.

 Fritz Kunz

I’m gearing up for Frau Holle too. Soon I’ll be spinning.

21 dec: “Stop inhaling pickled herring.”

My husband suggested that I stop inhaling pickled herring salad.
Bietensalade van Marja pic and recipe by SoulSoup

It’s my end of year food and it’s a traditional Dutch dish, what with us being North Sea folk and herring mad.
But I couldn’t wait for the end of the year so I made some. Chopped up pickled herring, red beets, creme fraiche, vinegar, little pickles, little onions, salt and pepper. Usually I can’t have vinegar or onions but now that I have fixed my daily uptake of vit B12 and folate (by taking pre-methylated forms called mB12 and Metafolate) I can have a little bit now and then.

Unfortunately, “a little bit” is not in my herring eating vocabulary.
I gulf it down (“wolf it down”?) and food goes down the wrong pipe and I get a terrible coughing fit and tears are running down my cheeks and Robert is banging on my back and we’re all sure I’m going to die, stinking of herring.
Lillepoes comes running, worried.

This happens every year. Every time I have pickled herring salad. This time my husband noticed the pattern and said I should I eat my pickled herring salad more slowly. Stop inhaling it. “I can’t.” I said. “It’s too good.”

Lieneke, from Wolop, heard about this and had a suggestion:
 An anti-gobble food bowl like Luna’s, Hello Luna 🙂

Today’s Wolop Advent Box colour is blue:

I think I’ll chart some herring into my shawl:
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And I charted Poekie, with her green lamp like eyes.

She was worried too. But only that I was eating something good without sharing.

Sinterklaas hats done and a necklace of little bits of beet:

20 december: little weaving boats in the sunfilled harbour

Last weekend I bought a weaving thing at Midwinterwol. In Dutch it’s called “a little weaving ship”. A “weefschuitje”. (as you know by now you can just glue “je” or “tje” right after any noun and it instantly becomes an endearing little version of itself. “Beertje” (bear-tje), “autootje” (car-tje), “breistertje” (knitter-tje).)
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Our bedroom was filled with sunlight, overlooking the harbour, and I wove for quite some time:
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I love that this is called a weaving boat and outside are the big boats:
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In other news: today’s Wolop Advent colour is a nice pink:

And making x-mas cards was unsuccessful.
I’ve now released myself of the obligation.
These are the sketches. I was thinking a cat under a handknit hat, all cosy. Cat feet! Little cat toes!
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But it didn’t work. The ease wasn’t there. The chuckle while thinking of cat feet just wasn’t coming. Perhaps scared away because of my plans to paint 16 cards:
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I gave up and just doodled a bit:
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That was fun! Chances are I will doodle for a bit some time this week, just for my own fun, and then a nice thing is the result and I can share it.

A late Sinterklaas gift I gave myself:
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Purry chop stick holders hold pencils gladly!

I hope tomorrow is another sunny day.
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19 dec: petting the goodies.

Here are some of the goodies I petted today. Like these 4 balls of Mulberry silk, 20 grams each, by Iboy’s Mohair:


I call this colourway Midwinterwol. I want to start spinning this starting Midwinter. Eeps! That’s in two days!

Earlier this year I bought this yarn at Sticks ‘n Cups in Utrecht. It’s by Zazu yarns, an indipendent dyer also from Utrecht:

Raveler Nifelster knitted it into a beautiful hat and send me it in a swap:

That card!

And how about that hat? It’s wonderful! I’ve been wearing it a lot already. It’s the first real slouchy hat I’ve ever had. I’ve been uncertain about that shape for years but now I think it may suit me after all:
 The pattern is mont-royal by tshep (free) and Nifelster used 50 grams on needles 2,5 and 3 mm.

At midwinterwol a nice lady reached over the stand and gave me some free wool and tea. This is how I met Alita Kramer from Atelier Aolt. She’s from former island Urk. What a nice way to introduce yourself!

Today’s Wolop Advent’s colour is sunny yellow:

I’m thinking Sinterklaas hats, together with the red and the sand colour from this weekend:
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But first I took out the very first colour I knitted on the shawl, the white with pink snow flakes, to reknit it with the thinner white. But things are not looking good:

Because of the way I stranded the previous row(s) the horizontal piece with 5 pink stitches doesn’t look good. It skews the whole flake.

The original is so much better:

It has to do with when and where I catch the pink thread in the previous row. I haven’t got a clue and I’m lacking brain cells at the moment to try and figure it out.

I just took out the needle and inserted them on top, knitting Sinterklaas hats now.

This isn’t even all the goodies yet! There’s a weaving thingy. And I also wanted to dream with the Östergötlands Ullspinneri Visjögarn that I bought from Lida Holm at Midwinterwol. Put it next to the colours I already have in stash and peruse the stranded cardi’s I have in my favourites. But I’m too tired now. Besides I have a cat on my lap.

Lillepoes really missed me 🙂

This morning I was her favourite x-mas present all over again. I got cuddled and head butted and softly bitten. I’m not allowed to leave ever again. 🙂
cat love    cat love