Some new WIP bags

This is my new bag:
birdhouse WIPbag design and made by FiberRachel on Etsy, knitting bag pursebirdhouse WIPbag design and made by FiberRachel on Etsy, knitting bag purse

It’s a birdhouse bag, an original design by FiberRachel, especially for knitters. She sells them in her Etsy shop called FiberRachel.


pics by FiberRachel

They are ideal for walking and knitting. The yarn goes through the hole and because the hole can open at the top you can free the project any time.  She makes them in various fabrics, all fully lined and well made. They are very spatious.

Mine fits the fabric of my skirt very well:

birdhouse WIPbag design and made by FiberRachel on Etsy, knitting bag purse

I’ve got two! The blue one is a prototype but other than changing the dimension of the hole a bit she had it all figured out right from the start. That’s some impressive engineering, creating a neat and fully functioning prototype.

birdhouse WIPbag design and made by FiberRachel on Etsy, knitting bag purse

They have excellent dimensions and I use them as my regular bag.

I was always stuffing my wallet and keys and pills into my little WIP bags and they were bursting at the seams or so heavy that their handles were cutting into my wrist when walking and knitting.

Now it’s the other way around: this is my bag and it also holds easily my knitting and I can knit whenever I want to and the bag is still secure.

I also got another new bag which I fancy walking around town with. This one is from Etsy ShopByLinda:

wip bag fox Anijswip bag fox Anijs
This is more a bag for regular use but I can easily see what kind of skirt I need to sew to take this one out for a stylish stroll.


Weird Wool Wednesday: it’s a stupid hobby anyway.

Grrrr! All my WIPs are misbehaving!

Take for example my Snow Birch Hat. I had this idea of creating a fold so it would be more of a cloche hat, my favourite shape of city hat.

Birch hat won’t play. Fabric too bulky. This is not sophisticated at all.

I should lose the brim, perhaps make it into a Rikke hat. But I spend hours and hours on that ribbed brim! It’s double knit too. Hours I say!

I wanted it to offset the rustic character of the handspun and also use the commercial colour to show how much nuances the white handspun has. That works really well. I don’t want to loose the brim. But I also don’t want to wear this hat….

Talk about Rikke hat, this one made from Passe-Partout Silk Merino handspun has been finished for days now…. but I haven’t cut the yarn yet. Because I don’t like the overall colour much. Actually…. I think the heathered look is just ugly:

What to do, what to do… Frog it and use it for weaving? I’m not going to wear this hat, not in the city anyway.

Then why don’t I do something that I know is going to work? Like knit the thumbs on these mittens:

I was so stoked to knit these mittens from my Frau Holle handspun! All they need is a little pair of thumbs. Brainless knit. Just one hour work I estimate.
Why don’t I just finish the thumbs then? I’ve got no clue! I’ve been carrying them around with me for weeks. Have even lost the needle by now.

The contigious top down cardigan in the blue Irish wool has received a nice sleeve detail a few weeks ago. Designing that was the thing that prevented me from knitting on it for a year but I designed it in december and I knitted it and it looks nice:

This was all I needed to get me into motion again on this cardi and I thought I’d have it finished in a matter of days.

But alas. As soon as I made some serious progress on the second sleeve every round started to chant that I won’t have enough yarn left to knit the body. And it’s true that that ball in the picture is all that’s left. But my other cardigan from this yarn is also 500 grams of the wool and is long enough, Deco Cardi. This cardigan should be fine. Except it isn’t. Is it the cables that eat up all the yarn? Is it a tighter gauge? Or perhaps there will be enough yarn??

In the end I just couldn’t stand the suspicion so I stopped knitting on it altogether. Which is ridiculous because
A. it won’t solve the riddle whether there is enough yarn or not.
B. I’m cold. I need this cardi!

One possible solution is to shorten the sleeves. But I hesitate to frogging the one I finished. I’ll loose the detail and may not be able to reproduce it…

(Mind, by now it’s been several weeks since I knit the detail. I’ve already forgotten mostly how to do it and I’m at the point in the second sleeve that I need to start it anyway. Hopefully I can read my knitting.)

Another solution is to buy more yarn. But the price has gone up and I have plenty of other yarn left and if I buy this again I’d buy another kilo and I don’t need four cardigans in this colour and there’s going to be a difference in colour.

There is one knit that delights me and that I wear, it’s this hat:

I didn’t knit it myself but it is my yarn. A friend knitted it for me as part of a swap 🙂

The pattern is mont-royal by tshep, just like my hat from Zazu yarns. The blue yarn is Dutch Wool Diva Sock Twist in colourway Twilight:

On my request my friend didn’t block it (so I could get it asap), I was going to block it myself. Which I haven’t done yet:

Shoulda coulda woulda. Why don’t I do this yet?? The stitches will even out and it will look even more gorgeous than it does already.

Instead I’ve been wearing the hat as is and started a set of matching wristwarmers with the remainder of the skein:

And then I abandoned those because I thought I should wear this gorgeous colour near my face. This yarn should become a cowl!

So I started pattern Ahomansikat Cowl by Pirio Brax:

It only takes 230 m of fingering weight (sock yarn weight). Top down pattern. Free!

And then I left it unknitted because I grew doubts over the lace part. Surely this yarn looks better in a stockinette stitch, with small details in the knitting itself such as eyelets or purl stitches? Besides, a cowl with the fabric held double will be much better for me then a cowl with just a single layer, I should do the top part in a double layer and the lace part single.

Thinking I know essential improvements to the pattern and consequently already worrying about running out if yarn I’ve now not knitted on this project for several days.

Instead I’m knitting on my sportsweight Serra cardigan. I got really far after weeks and weeks of knitting on it:

before discovering I’d been doing all kinds of stupid:

Way way too wide and ugly ruffle.

To make it even more bitter: there was reasoning behind the stupid.
“I need an FBA, a Full Bust Adjustment. Let’s cast on a lot more stitches at the underarm. And put in some increases at the sideseam. Don’t be shy. My gauge is different from the pattern anyway so I better put in some more. Ah yes, some bust darts too.”

Yeah… sigh.
The thing is I cannot continue on Serra and fix it later on because now I won’t have enough yarn for a normal length cardigan and long sleeves.

All these WIPs I knit into trainwrecks…. I need an intervention. Or a simpler hobby.

Well, there’s always the sewing I’ve planned for today:
How hard can it be?

Wolop Adventshawl pictures and charts

chart 1:
chart 2:

All charts made in free online tool StitchFiddle. A friendly site for intuitive chart making for knitting and crochet and cross-stitch. Both colour charts and symbol charts. You can also upload a picture and it’s automatically converted to a chart for stranded knitting. I played with that a year ago, for the Elementary My Dear Swap:

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 16.50.52

This year was all about patterns in small strips with the colour I was given that day of the Wolop Advent Box. Here’s my shawl this morning, after a month of wearing:

I’m not that relaxed when posing for pictures:

Then Robert says: “Smile for the cat!” and things get better:

I’m wearing my Peabody pullover in Soft Donegal, a 100% Merino in a ply with nubbs. I don’t wear it often. I knitted the pullover in 2013/2014 and knitted it too short, I’m always pulling it down. The yarn pills a lot (I’m a loose knitter and it’s merino) and the pattern is not high enough in the back of my neck causing me a chill.

Really, I should chuck this sweater out, it takes up too much space for the one time a year I wear it. But it was soooo much effort to knit it. Two years it took. With many brainfogged struggles.

But I think I’ll wear it another day today. It looks great with the Advent Shawl.

Weird Wool Wednesday: mordanting for plant dyeing workshop

Last weekend I had to let the mordanted skeins drip out like this:

Because the wooden beads should no longer touch the wet wool. Those are the wooden beads I use to mark my skeins, to tell them apart from the skeins from the other dyers at the workshop.

They are wood. Oak.

Which has tannin.

Which is a dye.

Which I know.

Which I also have read in various natural dyeing books and on numerous sites.

Which I even used to my advantage when printing oak leaves on that little flower vase, only a few weeks ago.

But which I completely forgot when I was focused on dyeing with mushrooms.

Now all my skeins have a brown stain. Securely set with heat and all.

I think I’ll need to change to different beads before the workshop, otherwise I’ll dye with oak again.

Also that day, there was a man standing in his undies in my garden. A deer-man:

peeping Tom deer meneer in onderbroek in de tuin Here he is again, just jumping onto the earthen wall:peeping Tom deer meneer in onderbroek in de tuin

It was a weird day overall.

I made some yarns.

One more silk ball spun into yarn:

74 meters out of 20 grams, fingering weight. Worsted spun.

The “bunny batts” that Gwen the Random Knitter gave me at the Knit&Knot Wool fair:
 Two skeins of 68 meters, each in a gradiënt.

I dyed 500 grams of a Merino sport in a nice cool light grey:

(Cake for white value.)

It’s for a Pumpkin Ale cardigan which will have a different cable motif on the back panel, I’m leaning towards the cables from A Floral Affair, by Hanna Maciejewska:

The dyed yarn is beautifully soft and bouncy. And round plied. Very good for cables. I dyed it in my big pot. 5 skeins of 100 grams can be swished around in it comfortably, ensuring a reasonably even dye.

The skeins for the workshop Mushroom Dyeing are properly mordanted now:

The wool bloomed beautifully. No spinoil residu. But they do feel a bit sticky because of the alum.

And I just finished plying this Merino Silk blend:

Dyed by Passe-Partout, spun into aran weight, 80 grams, 180 meters

This roving was fractal spun:

I took out some of the bright pink and also some of the bordeaux on the single with the short colour repeats. Because I wanted a yarn with a little less contrast.

The idea is to knit another Rikke hat, in a more greenish colourway:

Right, I’m off to set some twist.


being a Knitter on a Winter’s Day

knitter in the snow2
We made a little tour through the woods. I wore my Rikke hat, my Wolop Advent shawl, my handsewn owl skirt, my handspun legwarmers and my cardi-with-the-uneven-hem, Wintertrui 2014.

The handspun Birch hat has a brim now, in factory yarn, to offset the handspun:

But it’s not finished yet. I want to add additional shaping, to have it be a non-slouchy hat. The handspun is beautiful snowy:

I’m plying two of Iboy’s Bombyx silk spheres into these wintery yarns:

There’s a cake in progress:
Banana, ginger, lemon peel and kardemom seeds.

There’s furniture full of mordanted Shetland:
mordanted yarn
There’s cat-help:

And there are weird ME symptoms that still crop up now and then. Today: difficulty keeping balance.
knitter in the snow4

Preparing to dye with mushrooms.

Just before the sun hits the snow this morning:

I’m at the cabin for six days of rest and crafting. Yesterday I arrived here with Lillepoes and about 19 projects to work on. Knitting, sewing, spinning, embroidery.

Instead I’ve been doing some homework for a workshop Dyeing with Mushrooms I’ll attend at the beginning of February. This is Shetland Lambswool from LYS and wool studio De Schapekop:

I need to make these into 14 skeins of 25 grams and 5 of 10 grams. Then they need to be mordanted with alum. It has to happen this week because I won’t be seeing my dyeing pan or the alum after that. So here I was last night, skeining up the cakes, counting the rotations of my Louet winder.

The workshop at De Schapekop will be fun and interesting. This is the picture they show:
Lots of colours possible with mushrooms!

It’s a two day workshop, with mycologist (= professional mushroom-o-logist) Chiel Noordeloos. A mushroom expert who happens to love knitting and has brought these two fields together.

The first day we’ll dye yellow, green and orange-reds. The second day greys, purple and browns. At the end I’ll have 350 grams of dyed yarns. That’s a stranded vest!

I knew of dyeing yarn with mushrooms from Finnish dyer Leena Riihelä from webshop Riihivilla. They have locally spun Finnsheep yarns, all dyed with plants and mushrooms. Their mitten kitts are excellence! I’ve knitted three (and a half) of them.
 pic by Riihivilla

In Summer time they sell them on the market Kauppatori of Helsinki:
Willow Herb Mittens

My mittens, the first I ever knit:

They put so many yarn in one kit that I knit three mittens. The first one was too tight, you can see the difference in the first picture. There was enough yarn to knit two extra mittens. It was my first stranded project.

Here are some pictures of the finished product, I only took these last year, after 7 years of wear:

Still look good eh? I wear them often. When I made them I put the year on it, as it was the year I learned to knit.  Since then I wanted to date a knit each year but it’s only now that I did it again: the Wolop Advent-shawl has “2016” on it.

These are the Finsheep mittens I knit for my husband and my mother. All Riihivilla kits and they both still use them too.
robertmittsroz mitts

And here’s the kit I bought in 2011 and have knitted a bit on since then:

The light orange is mushroom dyed for sure! Since I bought this kit my colour preference has switched away from orange and I don’t think I’ll ever finish it. Which is something I feel guilty over because I’d really like another pair of Riihivilla mittens. Wonderful company, wonderful yarn. Finnsheep is in my top 3 of favourite breeds.

I wish I had bought the kit for this colourway instead:

Shipping costs are preventing me from ordering them now and have done so for years…
Instead I’m dreaming of visiting Finland one day. Buy the kit in person, on the market. Also see Finnish wool people. And try to find an old Finnish spinning wheel to take home, restore and use. I already have a Finnish slanty wheel and would love to have an old one. One used by a Finnish wool woman.

Back to dyeing with mushrooms. All colours above are done with plants and mushroom. The grey-green in my rose mitts is from mushroom. And the orange and pink in my mother’s mitts too, if I remember correctly.

Leena of Riihivilla keeps a very interesting blog about her dyeing:

Annakika is a dyer in Sweden with a beautiful Flickr account:

dagens skördResultat av svampfärgningen / Mushroom dyeing 16 juli 2012
Pics by AnnaKika who dyed these skeins with mushrooms (notes in Swedish)

Now I’m off to tie up some more skeins. Tea is gone, cake is gone. Let’s get to it.
The tying needs to be done in a certain way, so the dye fluid can reach every part of the yarn. For this dyers tie a string in a repeated figure 8 across the strands of the skeins.

Every skein has to be marked too, so I’ve put a wooden bead on them. And tied two knots in a string, should the bead break and go missing.

Lastly I’ve used a knot that is more easily loosened than a straight forward knot. Before putting the ends through the loop I run them once behind the “root”.

Here’s everything together: bead, figure 8 across the skein and a slightly modified knot at the end:

Also: this yarn contains spinning oil and I must be careful not to rub it on my face. I think I did it anyway because I had insomnia last night and I’ve not yet shaken off the brackish feeling that comes with that. A little walk outside first, I think. Than a snort of cat tummy. And then wool homework. Then wash hands and yarn and hopefully tonight peaceful dreaming of mushrooms.

Mushroom Garden pic by Nelo Hotsuma

Weird Wool Wednesday: good resolutions.

  1. I am going to finish all my WIPs.
  2. I am going to knit from stash.
  3. I want my stash to fit in two boxes instead of two rooms. (ahum! cough*two houses*cough)

This is my outfit for today:
outfit handmade Sewing knitting lace shawl cardigan
A handsewn dress, my Pumkin Ale cardigan in Wollmeise Mauseschwanzchen. Wristwarmers and my slouchy hat in quality sock yarn. Bines sock at my feet and the legwarmers from Latvia. The lace shawl is a Boo knits (my Temptress) with big heavy crystal beads and knit in 100% silk.
Oh how I love silk for lacy shawls!

And how I love cardigans that drape! This Pumpkin Ale is my favourite cardigan at the moment. So stylish! Mine serves the curve in the small of my back to well:


Yes, a cardigan in a thinner yarn such as sport or fingering weight. (300 to 420 m per 100 grams). That’s why I’ve started a cardigan, in sportsweight. I need a grey one for my palette:

The pattern is Serra by Laura Aylor, a paid for pattern that follows Barbara G. Walker’s recipe for a seamless top-down cardigan with set in sleeves. It’s from her book Knitting from the Top, published in 1972. Ravelry entry here.

Colors of Kauai by Hanna Maciejewska follows the same recipe.

My new cardigan is knit from stash in a mid grey sportsweight: Lana Grossa Cool Wool Merino Superfein. It’s going to get a shawl collar.

I also want to knit another Pumpkin Ale. And another Old Town cardi. And Danshui . And something with a saddle shoulder, perhaps in a contigious technique such as Grand Coquelicot . This one has an intriguing shoulderdetail and has been in my queue for years: Cyouchin Sleeve Cardigan . And how about this one, from the same designer as Cool Wool Serra and my Devonshire Cream Cowl (which I seem to have misplaced?!):

Stillwater  and my Devonshire Cream Cowl.

Oh how I love top down cardigans!

With set in sleeves.

In thin, round yarns in which you can knit a cable or something.

It’s the second week of January. And this happened. A 2,5 kilo stash enhancement:


In fingering and sportsweight undyed yarns. Some of them silk.

The silk isn’t even the kind of yarn I want for a shawl. So I’ll probably have to weave with it. And buy other silk lace for shawls.

Enjoying and dyeing colour in Winter.

colour winter 2016 2017

Last week I watched two friends dye colourful yarn:
colour winter 2016 2017

Both are knitters who particularly use colours to enjoy themselves and to enhance life.

Their x-mas trees illustrate this beautifully 🙂
One friend always has seven peaks in her tree. And glass robots:
colour winter 2016 2017colour winter 2016 2017colour winter 2016 2017
The tree of the other friend, The Random Knitter, has miniskeins in it, the Wolop Advent Calendar:
colour winter 2016 2017

They both wanted a yarn that knits up a certain way: a basic colour with little bursts of multicolour. If you knit those multicolours purl wise you get something like this:

The Lemonade Shop Sparkle Sock (Stormy Day; no DL)

Yarn dyed by independent dyer Lemonade Shop yarn on etsy, colour Stormy Day.

Here are the results of our dyeing day, still wet:

dyeing Yarn party

And dry with better lighting:

 pic by Spectre120

They really knew what they were doing!

I’m going to just post the photos and let those do the talking.
I was just sitting there anyway, spinning and eating all the sweets and pastry. I’d brought some Bossche Bollen and I had two! At one time I needed a little lie down (possible bol-related) and the lovely old genteman cat Guus spotted the opportunity immediately.
Colour, knitters, pastries and cat cuddles? Perfect day.
dyeing Yarn partydyeing Yarn party
dyeing Yarn partydyeing Yarn partydyeing Yarn partydyeing Yarn partydyeing Yarn partydyeing Yarn partydyeing Yarn partydyeing Yarn partydyeing Yarn partydyeing Yarn partydyeing Yarn party

dyeing Yarn partydyeing Yarn partydyeing Yarn partyUntitleddyeing Yarn party
dyeing Yarn party
dyeing Yarn partyUntitleddyeing Yarn party

And a hike in the woods yesterday, wearing my red Bleuet dress and Wolop Advent shawl. This too was with a knitter and there was beautiful sunlight and we did knitting and pastry afterwards 🙂

colour winter 2016 2017

Winterwalk Mittens in progress

I started these yesterday:

The pattern is Winterwalk Mittens by Simone Kereit, a paid for pattern. It’s top down and especially good for handspun. And it has a thumb gusset!
pattern picture

Thumb gussets are good. Especially when you have hands in the shape of a meat shovel on a meat twig. They are very good hands, make no mistake.

I’m using handspun that is very dear to me. Spun in the magical winter of 2010-2011, from batts I received in the Folklore and Fairytale Swap februari 2010 from the wonderful Norwegian Ullsmeden (“wool-smith”).

Among the many things she send were five batts that follow the story of King Polarbear:

I spun these in the winternights around Winter Solstice 2010. I was alone, in my cabin in the woods, thick with snow. It was magical.

This batt became a yarn called Winternights:

This batt became a yarn called “Lady of Darkness” and it’s about Frau Holle in Winter.

“In Winter Frau Holle rides in the night, with all the unborns under her cape. She looks for people to let them born with in the New Year. After the 12 holy nights of x-mas she retreats into the Underworld (a joyeus place), keeping the souls safe and happy, until her magic 12 nights return the next Winter

In the Summer she rides again as a dark lady, in black, collecting the spirit of corn and flax while they are being harvested by mankind. Mankind keeps the goods, Frau Holle takes the spirits and keeps them safe until the new year, when new crops will spring into life.

This darkside of Frau Holle is not something to be feared or something to be condemmed. Even if she is called ‘Hel’ in this form. ‘Hel’ means ‘bright’.
It is about that circle: born, love, die, resurrection.

This spinning is about the dying part. Black. Tears. Grief. But also: a glimmer of something… beauty? life.”

The batts are full of sparkle and colour nuances. I spun them as a single which I then fulled.

I am very very happy to have found a project in which these yarns can show their many nuances and sparkle and memories: