new Sock Madness: lambs & chicks & bunnies, Oh My

The pattern is Lambs and Chickens and Bunnies, Oh My! by Ros Clarke. It’s been out for three days and a hundred people have already finished a pair. In my team no one has but seven already have one sock. I hope to have one sock at the end of today.

pattern pictures:

I chose different colours than most people, not picking any warm colours:

The bright yellow behind the chicks is onion dyed sock yarn from Wolop, left over from one of my favourite socks: Tears of Laughter.

The top blue and the green of the feet is also yarn from Gouda, dyed with plants by knitter friend Sasssefras. Yes, I still use this yarn after all these years.

The blue behind the bunnies is left over Wol met Verve yarn from these socks: Blattwerk WMV

I love these colours together. I thnkNow there’s new sock yarn marinating in onion skins. I’m making my socks a little brother!

 

Workshop Ecodyeing techniques at Wolop!

Yesterday I had a wonderful workshop at Wolop: three techniques of ecodyeing. I went home with a skein in a jaar, with numerous printed fabrics and with a printed shawl still in a bundle.

Outside the studio the plants are growing, this is “Stinking Goldy” (Stinkende Gouwe in Dutch and Greater Celandine or tetterwort, nipplewort or swallowwort in English), a plant which doesn’t stink in particular but has bright yellow sap that will stain your clothes (but not your wool). Gouda, the name of the city, has two canals called Gouwe 🙂
workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing
It gives beautiful prints when hammered:
workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing
These are some hammered prints I made, from violets:
workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing
I tried hammering plants before but I didn’t know what I was doing. Now I do. I’d love to do this more. Embellish shirts and skirts or use fabric for WIPbags. Anja Schik had some beautiful examples in her studio when she presented her book about Eco Dyes. Her example showed how the colours faded in time:

Lieneke was very liberating in her remark that you can always hammer a new flower on. And pre-mordanting makes a difference. As does fixating the print. All things she taught us.

The second technique we learned was about printing. These are some printing examples from Wolop:
workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeingworkshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing

After explanation and examples we got to work ourselves. Lieneke had a multitude of various plants to chose from. The one in front is mine:
workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing

Our “bundles” in the make:
workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing
Eco-printing is all about bundles.

Lieneke showed us how various you can make use of bundles. How about taking little pieces of cloth with you on a hiking trip and taking some leafs and earth from a friendly space and making a bundle right then and there? Or what about making some on holiday?
India Flint, queen of eco-printing, even brings a small cooker with her on holiday, to steam the bundles in her holiday homes. But Lieneke says: why not bring your bundle home in a ziplock and cure it there?
So many possibilities! A lovely experience to have the world open up like this.
This is the bundle that I took home:
workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing
and I’m supposed to leave it alone for a few days. Weeks if I can muster. I’m not that patient! This looks so promising.

Thirdly here is some solar dyeing in progress. The ball on top is dyed with red onion skins:
workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing
All natural plant materials: onion skin, madder, dandelion flowers, more onion skins and woad.
workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing
The dandelion is my favourite. It’s an experiment but it seems to be going well. And the yarn has sparkles!
workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing
We made a vessel of our own. Lieneke taught us how you can determine whether a plant shows promise for dyeing. It was a really good workshop!

Just when we thought we were done we got a fourth, extra technique. It was a special bundle that we have to bury in the garden and leave there for months. Months!

It was a really good workshop. I recommend it. There will be a second one in June, in Gouda, in the second studio Lieneke uses. June 17th, 45 euros all in.

workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing

You may skip this last bit, it’s about my health:
I was meant to do this workshop last year but something went wrong on the trainride to Gouda. The train broke down and we stranded in the middle of the country on a very hot day (May 28 2016). I dehydrated while trying to make it to Gouda in time, by bus. Dehydration is a danger when dealing with adrenal problems. A danger I’m prone to, I learned that day. Luckily my parents live near one of the busstops and I avoided an adrenal crisis by ringing their doorbell, heaving and shaking and crying uncontrollable, unable to speak.

Luckily my mother is not easily spooked, she put me on a day bed and brought me salted tea. Later on my husband came by car to get me and take me home. No workshop for me and it has stung for many months. Stupid health. Stupid trains!!

But now I’ve done the workshop and it was wonderful! I learned so many things! And grew so confident by seeing the examples and seeing how Lieneke does things and approaches eco dyeing.

I did get reminders that my health is not optimum. I had trouble concentrating and needed to eat Wolop’s chocolate chip cookies all the time. It is weird, not being in full control of your mind. It got a bit better when I took more and more of Hydrocortisone (which scares me because it depletes the bones of Calcium).

Still. It’s not easy not being well. It is weird, first and foremost. I suspect it gets weirder with age.

It forces me to often take stock of all the things I want to do and then choose the most important to do firstly. Because there’s not enough vitality and time to do all the things. (The stock taking itself takes energy too so got to keep that in mind too. And then there’s the need to stop doing the fun thing halfway through because there’s vitality and time needed to clean up too.)

Man. Living ain’t easy. And it’s weird. But the workshop was lovely!
workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing

hijacking someone else’s design

So I’m knitting the mystery knit-a-long in the Dutch sock knitting group on Ravelry. It’s the design by HeleenK: Streepje anders

It turns out to be a wonderful stripey sock which looks nice in many different yarns.

From the start I knew I wanted to do a version with shorter legs, because I want these to be socks for Summer. With their nice berry colours:

I did only half of the leg charts but I didn’t dare to show in the KALthread were everybody was so enthousiastic and following every clue to the lettre as it was being revealed. The designer was so happy with everyones pictures. How could I show mine, butchering her design?

But she’s such a nice woman and it felt weird not showing my progress when they all had seen my cast on post and I did try to maintain the intent of her design so I dared to post a picture, very apologeticly. It feels so intrusive, to alter someone else’s design, especially when it’s so new and part of it is still a mystery.

A leg half as high as the pattern states:

HeleenK responded in an awesome way! She said that she views it as a compliment when knitters make her design their own. It means something in the design resonates with them and they delve in and commit themselves to the thing behind the design. The motivation? The base?

She loves seeing both the actual design knitted and variations of it. Shows again how limited I am in percepting reality. It comes in way more varieties than I can imagine!

When I started the foot and didn’t enjoy the slip stitch pattern in the design much (I’m tired, I need something that doesn’t throw me off rhythm) I dared to frog it and substitute with stripes of my own, that go with the pattern (I hope) and I will show HeleenK without hesitation:

And I learned another new heel: the riverbed heel:

(heelflap on the left, toes on the right of the picture)

I did a long heelflap to accommodate my high instep.

The second sock has a heelflap too. It’s a nice, relaxing knit now, the feet.

Weird Wool Wednesday: evil stroopwafels

Stroopwafels (Dutch sirupwaffles) are the official doping of the SockMadness.

Today I learned that the small ones are more evil than the regular ones:

When I started to take this photo there were enough mini stroopwaffles to cover every part of both socks.

But you know…. it took some time and some sugared fuel to come up with this idea. And then I had to stop before I ran out of waffles.

Finished: Mod Madness socks

One sock blocked, one sock unblocked:

What a difference:

Once I get the confirmation email that these were knitted to the specifications (which they are) then I will do some modding of my own. The cuff of the first sock is too tight. I’ll hack it off and reknit it, bottom up.

Both toes are too roomy and the way the decreases sit at the side, amidst three stitches (twice) of stranded knitting, isn’t too nice. I’ll unravel them and redo them in a different stranded pattern, with less than 6 stitches between the decreases.

Overall I feel very good about them. They are stylish, functional Winter socks and I’m not afraid anymore of making socks with an overal stranded pattern. Cast on 72 stitches, knit them on 2,25 needles, choose between round plied yarns or fuzzy and any pattern is mine now!

The first sock weighs 45 grams, the second weighs 47. (probably the looser cuff and never touching the 2 mm needle on the second sock.)

“Just add a little green….”

I wanted to dye a skein of soft fingering yarn cornflower blue.

Because I’ve won the Make-A-Wish-Swap in the Dutch Karma Swap Group again and my wish was for someone to knit me a blue shawlette 🙂 because my eyes looks smashing when I wear blue next to my face but I myself don’t like to knit with blue (???).

Easy plan, easy dye. I went to the cabin yesterday, one day before my husband, and pulled the pots and pans from the wool room. Lillepoes was giving directions.

And I ended up with green instead of blue:

It won’t photograph properly. It’s a deeply saturated dark green with blue semi solid. It was a green variegated yarn to begin with and when adding blue it became VERY BLUEGREEN. The kind I don’t like at all.

Then, while trying to make it a proper green instead of a teal, I mixed too much green dye and then had to find extra things to dye green.

By then it was already getting really late. The cat kept nagging me, demanding food and attention and bed routine. But I knew I had to finish it all before bed (rinsing and spinning it all dry and putting it on the drying rack in the middle of the room) and clean everything up too because things had to be tidy for this morning or my husband and Poekie wouldn’t fit in the room.
dyeing wool
dyeing wooldyeing wool
Oh man, why do I do this to myself? Again and again? (I must secretly love it, that’s the only explanation for it. Alright, alright, the only sane explanation for it.)

Dyeing on the evening of a busy day in which I drove all the way to the cabin, by myself, with Lillepoes loudly giving directions for the full 75 minutes it takes me to drive there and with all the mad people on the road, clearly all letting their blind cats hold the wheel.

Sigh. Stuck with a cup full of extra strong green dye I found myself digging through the stashroom, late at night, frantically looking for more stuff to dye.

Here I am chucking dry fleece and dry silk into the pot with the dark skein from the first pictures:
dyeing wool
The fleece is Swifter that I had dyed too “Autumny” and too blue-green back in the Autumn. It’s such great fleece! Great staple, nice touch, nice smell. When I rooted through the stash-room I had real difficulty not to dismiss all plans I have for the next few days and start carding it right away. Lovely fleece!
This:

became that:

Now card it in with the rest of the white and I’ll spin for a lovely jumper!

Make haste! make haste! I cannot wait to spin this! No. Wait. Noooo. We are knitting the Sock Madness sock while we are at the cabin. We are also casting on for a new vest if we need to do something on bigger needles. And we have the Music Maker sock with us for easy knitting. We have an all day birthday visit on Saturday and an all morning spinning group on Tuesday and we will be travelling back on Wednesday and there were a thousand things you wanted to paint while here. Also shower. So: no. No carding.

The silk skein I threw in is the lovely mulberry silk fingering yarn. But I kept it in short because I want my silk to be lightly coloured. Like willow wisps:

Yes, succes!

Silk soaks up colour like nobody’s business, I could actually use it as “a mop” to drain the dye from the water and dye the fleece evenly and not too dark. I was lucky though, the water had not had vinegar yet which makes dye soak into silk even faster. Too fast would have been a problem here because silk needs to be presoaked for quite a while to become thoroughly saturated. Only thoroughly saturated yarn will take up dye evenly.

Otherwise it will stay on the surface and only in the places that are wet. Which is a desirable effect on its own when dyeing speckles or for a sprayed look. But not for me, this night.

I was also lucky in not overdoing it and dye the silk too intense. It’s hard to gauge a shade when the yarn is wet and when you’re dyeing in the evening. The lamp over my dyepot is a daylight lamp but still… better to dye during the daytime.

I then started the pot again. This time dyeing with just Ashford blue, on an undyed base. But I had no sheep yarn left. I did have more silk though…. not sure my well-wisher wants to knit with it. Silk is slippery, especially this mulberry silk (my favourite!). But the colour is s*m*a*s*h*i*n*g*l*y blue:

I would LOVE to wear this colour near my face.

Again I had to take care to not leave the silk in too long. It is a bit more intense than I wanted. I remember thinking: “O yes, this is just right! Or maybe a little too light?…. I’ll just leave it in the water, the water is nearly clear anyway.”

And then the silk went and soaked every bit of dye it could find and became two or three shades darker than I had wanted. Still beautiful.

For a while I had the silk parked outside the pot and threw in two bits of sparkly sock  yarn to “mop up” the extra dye in the water. When they had done so (but apparently not to the maximum extend) I put the silk back in and heated everything to dyeing temperature and added vinegar

It’s happily blue glitter yarn now 🙂
The light one used to be light green, the dark one was a multicolour. They now go well together. Perhaps for a crocheted hat?

Aw, the sparkle doesn’t show one bit in the picture. It’s very pronounced in real life though and will look great in crocheted fabric. I have 25 grams of the dark, 45 grams of the light. Enough for a pair of knitted socks for me. Enough for a crocheted hat?

Weird Wool Wednesday: knitting the cuff without end….

Mod Madness sock has an endless cuff… rows and rows of stranded knitting:

Throwing in purl stitches, never letting you get in any sort of rhythm. It’s so slow and tedious! This has taken me days:

But finally…

FINALLY

I have ended the cuff. I can proceed to the chart.

YAY! all knit stitches from now on!

First row done. Annnnnd…. thwarted by auto-pilot:

There’s no need for these purl stitches. They should be knit.

Sock Madness: Mod Madness

The new pattern for the Sock Madness is Mod Madness by Copper Blade Designs. It’s been out for 3 days and many, many people have already completed a pair. (!!) Or at least one sock.

This is where I am:

I’ve knitted flat out for days now but I’ve only just turned the heel…

(on the screen an amazing sock in solids! She did the toe wrong though, colour stripes should flow from foot into toe, and she’s asking the mods if she should redo the toe or whether this is an honest mistake and do the next one right. Socks look great in solids eh?)

This is how they will look in the end:
 pattern pics

This one is taller than the one on the screen, in red and navy. That one meets minimum requirements. I’m doing a taller sock though, because I’d love for these to be wintersocks.

One of the things slowing me down is proper stranding technique. Usually I have one strand on the left hand (continental technique) and one on the right (English throwing technique). In the cuff however we have to alternate knit and purl stitches and it takes way too long to do that with the throwing technique.

So I’m teaching myself continental with both yarns over the left index finger. Just pick the one you need for this stitch.

This is how youtube says I should hold the yarns. Finger raised for tension and easy picking:

However, I knit Continental Combined, meaning I have a quick way of purling and picking. I run my yarn on the very tip of my finger, using my finger as a working surface. It makes for very speedy knitting, with minimum hand movements.

But with two yarns… they are too close together:

For the cuff I’ve learned to strand the yarns differently to keep them well apart on my working surface. That the tension got very different between the two was no issue.

(Gardening fingers. It’s lovely in the cabin this weekend! I’m rooting though the earth, getting rid of the long roots of Spiraea Douglasii, a.k.a. Hardhock. Such a nasty plant! Our lot is covered with it. I can manage to dig it out in the dry forest ground but in the wet, lumped together soil of the meadow and draining ditches it’s undoable. This year I’m happy if I get it out of the forest. Next year the grassland… perhaps rent a small digger and sift through all the soil.)
 Grrrr.
I can weed for about half an hour, then it’s back inside and rest and knit. All the birds are out and singing while I dig with my hands through the earth. Sun is shining. Not a bad way to spend some time 🙂

Also: gauge issues. I started the cuff at 1.75 mm because it was ribbing and I can do my colour work very loose. But it was too tight so I went up to 2 mm. Looked better. But still a bit too tight. Went up to 2,25 mm. Cuff fitted comfortably over my foot. But once the leg portion started the knitting looked way too loose.

So here  you see part of my leg, switching half way from 2,25 mm back to 2 mm:

The knitting on top looks much better now. (This picture is read bottom to top, just like knitting charts.)

Now that I’ve done the heel and am being passed by knitters left and right I’m tensioning up. Might have to go back to 2,25 mm.

I’m still knitting continental combined with two strands over left index finger. The knitting is now smooth and regular. But I’m still so slow! I knit like a child, giving attention to every stitch. I tried going back to one strand left, one strand right but I feel that’s slower now than this new technique.

As others have unlocked speed in this skill, this may be the sock that puts me out of the competition. Might just as well be, my body is starting to ache. Shoulder, hands, fingers. I’m not doing this right. So I guess I’ll be slowing down now. Taking more breaks. Remember to drop my shoulders when knitting.

Luckily I’ve been put on the right team, we are the slower knitters and in my team not too many people have already finished a sock. I can still make it… if I hurry. Which I shouldn’t. Won’t. Probably.

My sock does turn out lovely though. The grey is blueish, it’s Grey Hare by Dutch Wool Diva. The white is just regular Drops Fabel. A bit more fuzzy thread than the Diva. Should have brought one of the smoother yarns. But the combination is beautiful!

Here’s a picture from last week, when I was trying to learn stranded with two yarns on the left:

I knitted my finger to the project, took the wrong end of the strand to work with. Knitting ain’t easy.

Weird Wool Wednesday: I have more than the average number of feet.

These are my handknit socks:
handknit socks
These are about half the pair I own. These are The Fancy Ones. The others are at the cabin, the are The Funny Ones.

This is one shelf in my big book case. It’s in the front room, next to the coats and bags and shoes. These are a lot of socks. I have way more socks than I have shoes.

So please tell me why I am waiting impatiently for the new Sock Madness sock pattern to drop? It can be published any moment today! I’m checking my mail every minute.

And then please tell me why I have cast on two socks in the mean time?

One is Music Maker by Vera Thoben, a nice slip stitch colour sock with a heel inspired by the qualification sock for SM 11:
 pic by V. Thoben
This is an excellent pattern for using variegated yarn. It is very very fast compared to the Twisted Madness pattern. And it’s free.

my project in evening lamp light:

The other one is the Mystery Sock for April for the Dutch sock knitting group on Ravely:

Streepje anders by Heleen Kok. The pattern is in English, the title means “A different kind of little stripe”. It’s excellent for variegated, selfstriping or a gradient yarn.

My take on it with two semi-solids:

(I’m doing a modified version, with a shorter leg.) I knit this this morning. This too is a colour pattern with slipped stitches. The rows fly by!

And there’s still the mustard and grey striped pair on which I’m working:

This one is finished, a plain striped mate is already on the needles. Good for car knitting.

And the finished Dropped Madness socks are lingering beside my knitting chair, they are getting a shorter heel and a rounder toe. Half of them are done. Besides them is my ball of plant dyed Wolop yarn filled with presents with a cuff already on the needles. And on top of the little desk lies the striped Harry Potter yarn I’m really want to get started on.

Please tell me once more how many feet do I have?

(But please don’t tell me about how many cardigans I have on the needles at the moment!)