Weird Wool Wednesday: “What are you doing!?”

This was bellowed out by my husband on Sunday, just as I was about to learn to do my first afterthought heel ever. “What are you doing?!
He scared me!
(In Dutch we say: “I frightened myself a little hat!”. This mental image is my gift to you today.)

From the corner of his eye he saw me taking some scissors to knitwear and he shouted out in disbelief.

It’s just an afterthought heel, dear.

My first afterthought heel ever was an adventure:

An adventure made bigger because the ball of yarn was still being used for the leg. I had the luminescence idea of turning the balls inside out in order to work from the other end of the yarn:

Easy peasy.
I did get quite a tangle but soon the yarns will be cut and the ends kitchenered in.

Now just turn the balls the right side out again.
Hm. 50% succes rate:

Still well enough to knit with and not long after this heel I finished the Dropping Madness Socks!

Now I needed to take the official pictures. One from the top, one from the side, one with the measuring tape beside it:

My turn to bellow: “What are you doing?!”

These loved ones I live with…. I may think they spend their days sleeping and snoozing but they do keep tabs on my knitting!

The socks are very comfortable. The afterthought heel makes the gradient in the stripes progress nicely AND is designed to have a striped heel. That’s some good designing right there:

Now if you’ll excuse me? I have a feeling my hairy room mate is in for a little play time.


Free style colourwork

Ahh, Spring is in the air! I have knitted my Petal Lace Cardigan towards the hem where a band of colour work will be:

Now it’s time to  decide on the colourwork and for this I’ve been playing with Stitchfiddle, the free website that lets you create knitting charts.

I’ve set out a canvas on Stitchfiddle as wide as the whole border of the cardigan and I’ve drawn vertical lines from the lace petals to the bottom. I want each line to have a petal in colourwork. Quick sketch:
Now it’s time to design the petals. Which shape? Which colour where? How to distribute the contrast? They should have little yellow accents because Lieneke has shown me they really liven up the colours:

And I need to be a bit careful with the teal because it’s also used for the button band. (Oh, the ball of teal is not in the picture). And what colour will the hem be?
Also: sleeves will have a colour band too. Use up all the remains!

So I’ve been playing around. Crudely drawing to get a feel for shapes and sizes and colour contrasts. And then I watched the new podcast by Tilly Trout (lovely podcaster, go watch here).

In it she shows a lovely bit of fair isle she’s working on. A swatch in Uradale yarn, inspired by the book Shetlandic Knitting by Marja de Haan, from Trollenwol yarnshop.
pic by Marja de Haan

Tilly Trout has added some light, mustard coloured accents.
Which are cross stitched. On knitted fabric. Because a cross stitch, in wool, gives a different “pop” than a duplicate stitch:
 still from Tilly Trout episode 33
Very interesting!

Storing this idea in my head for if I want solo yellow accents on my cardigan.

Later on Tilly talks about how embroidery nowadays is different from a few decades ago. Back then things had to be neat and tidy. Cross stitch. Count threads.

Nowadays it’s more free. Freehand. Freestyle. Go by eye, not by thread count. I feel there’s a cross pollination with the recent trend with handlettering:
 pic by Breimonster, who’s into embroidery, handlettering, sewing, knitting and the general crafty life. She’s also a Physics teacher by profession. And she’s the first Dutch person to finish the qualification sock for the Madness, she’s now in the fastest team with all the Finns and winners from previous Madnesses. She’s marvelous!!

Free style colour work? Interesting! (2)

Why should I try to make my colourwork all neat and in a 14 st repeat pattern? Stitchfiddle has already given me a chart for the whole band, should I desire so. I could knit the whole band, without a repeat, just like I sketched it!

You know, this may be just the thing I’ll do. Freehand colourwork, no rules, no symmetry! It’s what I’m staring at and thinking about on this lovely Springday, while I knit my new Dropped Madness socks very precisely to the rules.

Ah. I found my teal ball.

Spring is in the air, Spring is in the knitting:

Weird Wool Wednesday: competing in the brainfog

On the last row of the leg I see I’ve been knitting it wrong:

I did not start the pattern on the back of the leg, after I put in the waste yarn for the afterthought heel.

It’s my first after thought heel and it was all new, not having a clear bend in the sock, an end row after which you do something different. I kept the sock on magic loop and just continued what I’d been doing: stockinette stitch on one needle, pattern on the other. Aiming for the endgoal: the cuff. Because then there’s be dessert: knitting the striped heel!

Only now, after 68 rows, do I discover that my sock is WRONG. Not the sock I meant to knit. Butchering the designer’s intent.

I could cry… not because of the competition, even though I probably lost it now. But because I’ve been working so diligently, catching and correcting every mistake I make in the stitch pattern (and I make mistakes every row because of brain fog). And now I’ve made this big mistake and didn’t catch it for 68 long rows. All that concentration, all that dedication and positiveness. I feel cheated. I hate ME.


It’s now a few hours later and I’ve started a new sock, with new yarns (both Drops Fabel):

Nice in white with greenish contrast colour. I’ll see how far I’ll go. At least the pressure is of the competition now, for me.

Weird Wool Wednesday: Sock Knitting Madness

Three days of SockMadness:
knitting everywhere
knitting everywhere

Eating with wooden dpn’s, secretly knitting under the table.
knitting everywhere
It’s our wedding anniversary lunch/dinner. This is at Sushi Kyushy at the Voorstraat 66 in Utrecht, best sushi in town. Genuine Japanese.

Love is in the air:
knitting everywhereknitting everywhere
These two sat cosy together, squaking and commenting on all the human commuters.

Trainspotting 2:
knitting everywhereknitting everywhere
Only six people in the theatre!

Can’t knit with dark grey in the dark. Can’t knit during this movie anyway. Nice movie!

Some things have not changed since the ’80s: the audio is way way too loud and the adverts for local venues is still an adorable clumsy array of photographs that blend into each other with ploink ploink music. The only difference is that now it’s High Definition clumsy.

Back home, time for bed:
knitting everywhere

knitting everywhere

Travellig with friends:
knitting everywhere
We are bringing my excellent spinning wheel to its new home.

Colour choices of Dropping Madness Sock being approved by local resident:
knitting everywhere
Cat Odin is way softer than any Fabel!

My cat is mainly soft on the inside:
knitting everywhere

This morning:
knitting everywhere

I’ve been looking at this for 45 minutes worth of knitting (while knitting) and designing the stranded vest in my head:
knitting everywhere
I need to make a swatch first…. there’s no escaping a swatch. I think I will call my swatch “wristwarmer”.

But first must knit this sock.

And its mate.

There are already people finished with this pattern! They knit a pair of Dropping Madness socks in 2 days. And they knit at a leisury speed!

must knit.

must knit sock.

Round 1 of the Sock Madness

The pattern “dropped” early this morning and needles all over Europe and Australasia are being sharpened:

pattern Dropping Madness Socks by Maria Ekblad, exclusive to the Sock Madness for now.

They have lovely details such as the stripes going on and on on the heels:

It’s an afterthought heel. I’ve never done one before.

This is my yarn:

I’ve been wanting to knit stripey socks with these for some time now.

Off to cast on!
Later today I’ll have a train ride and then sushi and then the movie Trainspotting 2. Will knit at two out of these three.
(first movie at a theatre in …oh… 10 years? hahaha!)

Knit & Knot Fair Tilburg March 2017

Knit and Knot fair Tilburg breien en haken maart 2017Knit and Knot fair Tilburg breien en haken maart 2017Knit and Knot fair Tilburg breien en haken maart 2017Knit and Knot fair Tilburg breien en haken maart 2017Knit and Knot fair Tilburg breien en haken maart 2017Knit and Knot fair Tilburg breien en haken maart 2017Knit and Knot fair Tilburg breien en haken maart 2017Knit and Knot fair Tilburg breien en haken maart 2017Knit and Knot fair Tilburg breien en haken maart 2017

I bought the selfstriping Harry Potter sock yarns from Wolop:
 pic by Wolop

I did an online test and I would’ve been a Ravenclaw so this one’s mine now:

The yarn has a miniskein option so you can make the cuff, heel and toe in a solid colour:
pics by Wolop, who is a Hufflepuf.

The other thing I bought are these rolls for spinning from Schaap & Draak:

Nearly a 100 grams of Merino with Bombyx silk. An impuls buy. Because just that morning I was at the farmers’ market to get some eggs and a stranger complimented my shawl:
pic by FiberRachel.
Pattern “Follow Your Arrow 2”, designed by Ysolda Teague, knit by FiberRachel and worn by me whenever I feel berry happy.

Turns out raspberry pink is the stranger’s favourite colour. He grows them and makes all kinds of delicious things with it: he runs Raspberry Maxx, an organic farm just south of Eindhoven.

He has weekly booths at organic farmers’ markets in Amsterdam, Utrecht and Den Bosch.

pic by biojournaal

We had a lovely talk. He spoke of growing and selling raspberries, I spoke of spinning and knitting fleece from organic farmers. I plan to visit their orchyard in the Summer, they have all kinds of festivities and lunch and high tea there.

I then bought some raspberry cheesecake and raspberry blondies from him. (I didn’t know what blondies were but a wonderful knitter at my catlady knitters’ party brought some and educated me: they are like brownies but without the chocolate.)

This morning I had raspberry cheesecake and merino-silk rolls for breakfast:

Two rolls missing: already on the wheel.

The Knit & Knot fair is today and tomorrow. They like raspberry too.

Breaking News! Cat on lap.

Poekie is on my lap for the first time ever:
Poekie op schoot, voor t eerst! Lillepoes moest er ook bij natuurlijk. :)

We’ve had her for … oh, seven years now?
It’s only been a year and a half now that I’ve been living in the city more permanent. In that time she slowly allowed me to share my husband with her.

Particularly the last two months she’s becoming more and more friendly towards me. Not allowed to pick her up but am allowed to cuddle her when she stands close.

And there’s the chair. I think it’s my knitting chair. But she feels it’s hers. Today she’s big enough to share it with me, for the first time ever.

Of course Lillepoes had to join too. And she needs to be some distance from The Big Mean Tortie so my chest it was.

Finished: Sock Madnes Qualification Sock

With only a few hours until the deadline:

We have to present the sock in a certain way, so the moderators of the competition can see you did enough rows and did the heel gusset a certain way and that the foot is at least 8″ long:

I wore them and find them very warm. But they also twist around the foot. They may be better suited as bed socks. We’ll see 🙂

I’ve send an email to the moderators with the link to my project page. They had a look and approved my socks. They replied and now I will be placed on a team. In a few days the teams are formed and we’ll each have a thread in the SockMadness group on Ravelry.
Soon after that the new pattern will “drop” and the first round of competition will begin.

For now I relax. I’m knitting on my grey Pumpkin Ale cardigan. Tomorrow there’s the Knit & Knot fair in Tilburg.
There may be some yarn there that wants to come live with me in the baskets in the IKEA TV-thingamajig.

Weird Wool Wednesday: bringing a knitter to IKEA

So last Monday my husband pleaded me to come with him to IKEA. He bribed me with the promise of a walk in the forest nearby so I said yes.

At IKEA it turned out we were there for me.

Because I need a table-lamp for my knitting chair. So I won’t turn on the overhead lights every evening. And blind the bat that I married.

I also need a new table to put the TV, with yarn storage underneath. This has nothing to do with all the cables my husband can spot from his tv-chair under our current table:
trip to IKEA
(It sags so much the drawers cannot be opened. Also very old and battered.)

I’m not particularly in need of yarn storage though because I recently bought this to put next to my knitting chair:
But I could do with a lamp, I suppose. The lamps at IKEA were too unpractical though. You can only move the light 30 cm’s from its base.

And the TV-thing, why not? We ended up with Kallax, the pick-and-mix modular cabinet used by knitters worldwide:
trip to IKEA
While we were standing there discussing doors or drawers this lady rides up in her scooter and happens to be talking to her friend about storing wool.

“Storing wool!” I cry out and pull the Twisted Madness sock out of my bird house WIP bag. She doesn’t act surprised, knitters are more common at IKEA then I realize.

She does give a fabulous tip about Kallax storage, the go-to furniture for yarn collectors: “Don’t choose the drawers. They have low sides and a low back and skeins will fall out the back and yam things up. You need more room for your yarn!”
trip to IKEA
Proof. You have more yarn than this drawer can hold.

Thank you, knitter at IKEA!

We choose baskets instead. Fabric baskets with cocos fibre glued to the sides. I spend about 20 minutes rummaging through the stock before I found four with a decent front. Twenty gruelling minutes with my husband standing over the cart, not sighing, not moving, just patiently waiting because he knows when he’s been being punished, even though he got what he wanted.

Then we said hello to the fabric section:
trip to IKEA

We said goodbye to some sad chicken:
trip to IKEA
(that’s my phone cosy)

and we had a walk in nature:
trip to IKEA

Here’s our new tv-thing with yarn baskets:
trip to IKEA
(there’s no yarn in there yet but I’m sure something will appear. Kuch! Harry Potter yarn from Wolop! Or this sparkly sock yarn! Kuch, kuch, hatsjoo! )

And a new table lamp:
pic by Beautiful Waste
Not IKEA but a vintage “architect-lamp” from last century. With a heavy base and a long arm to get the light where you need it, all the way over here.
It’s a Herbert Terry & Sons Anglepoise lamp, model 90, produced in 1973, found online at a second hand store in Friesland. Anglepoise lamps are a British invention and typically have 3 springs in the back. The company still exists and is an iconic British brand now.

For good measure I bought a second architect-lamp, for the table in our front room, where my husbands groans and squints everytime I try to draft a sewing pattern:
pic by Beautiful Waste
You know these lamps, with their cast iron foot where you can keep erasers and short pencils and a lone paperclip. But no elastic bands because the cat will eat them. The springs can make a typical twang! sound. And you can easily stretch them 70 cm or 2 foot from the base to get the light where you need it.

Who knew these kind of staple lamps from our past are now vintage and praised and not made anymore?

Here’s another picture of an era soon to be gone:
trip to IKEA
In a while no one will use iron plugs and bolts with IKEA furniture anymore. They’ve invented some wooden click-and-twist plug.

Anyway, it’s Wednesday morning now. I’m waiting for the lamps to be delivered. My husband is out buying chocolate and crab meat.
After that we’ll go vote and try to knock some sense into this country now that everybody is doing politics as if it’s an online race for fake internet points. Parties without plans! Parties that do not get their numbers verified by our national bureau for statistics! These are not professionals, these are media clowns.

But I guess that’s the new era and it’s up to the old generation X-fossils like myself to find a way to have a wholesome vision for society and explain it to the new generations in a way that they understand. Which is online. Perhaps that’s even a new place for not-so-loud people to practise politics. Based on content and heart, not on show and outrage. Intelligent Introverts Unite!

Mad about Socks: the swap I sent

So in the Dutch Karma Swap Group we’re doing the Mad about Socks swap at the moment and this is the swap I send.

I secretly stalked Anneke, who is very good in knitting socks and loves happy colours. I send her this skein of sock yarn:

Handdyed by Tibbe, who loves happy and intense colours.

I also made an aquarel of her dear dog Dunya:

Using the water colours I bought in Germany and thick, smooth paper. This is actually the first aquarel I ever made. Where I knew a bit what I was doing, I mean.

This is the photo I found online in one of Anneke’s posts and it iss clear she loves Dunya very much. And Dunya her!

Dunya is an elderly Scottish Border Collie. She wears shoes when she goed outside, because of joint pains. A sweet dog wearing socks, that’s how I tied it to the swap.

Her whole family loves dogs so I also made a drawing of her daughter’s dog, who was professionally photographed by Angelique van Doorn from

dog aquarel watercolor
Sketches on the right, send image on the left.
Anneke was happy with them! She went out and bought frames the same day. I’m glowing with happiness 🙂

This is the rest of the swap I send:
swap send
Four solid miniskeins for stranded socks, a brightly coloured half cake I dyed myself when happy colours were very important to me, a mini cake in a yarn that knits up like tiger paws and a key chain of a sheep with adorable feet.

That tiger striping yarn I received myself in a swap but never knew what to do with. I used a bit to knit this pincushion:
Tiny pincushion

This is a good swap 🙂

Mine was well received.
I got to play with watercolours and I’m fortified in my hope that the joy I have when depicting a lovely animal is visible in the end result.
(If you want specifics: I used Schmincke Horadam water colours and a very smooth paper of 300 grams weight: Schut Terschelling Glad (my favourite!)).

The swap I received made me happy too 🙂
I’m looking forward to using the quality Dutch Wool Diva sock yarn. And the glass items are already in use. One holds stitch markers, the other the first flowers of Spring: