Finished: TdF glitter rolls vest

Using Debbie Vest by Aethalia O’Connor as a template. I’ve rewritten the pattern to be knit continuously, without cutting yarn too much. By now it’s a basic pattern I can use and re-use with any aran weight. Handspun is ideal! And it only takes 200 grams max.

This one too 185 grams of the green rolls I made and spun this Tour de Fleece.

Ahh, what a nice project. From the visit to wool studio Spinspul on the first day of de Tour to making more rolls at the cabin to spinning it while watching Tour de France.

Knit in just one week, handspun does knit faster!

Here are some pictures from fitting the vest. There’s a bit too much fabric at the back, I’ll need to decrease there even before I reach the underarms, on a next vest.

A next vest will certainly come. I’ve got about six finished now and two more on the needles. It’s just ideal to wear over one of the many dress shirts I surely will be sewing this year.

Just 200 grams is all I need. 430 meters. Needles 3,5 mm, gauge 19 st per 10 cm.

I’ve found some new treats to keep me going:

Shortbread! The best version of sprits-boterkoek-koekje that I can think of.

During Tour de Fleece we got a recipe (in Dutch, on Ravelry) for shortbread from Cjadam, a wonderful spinner from Amsterdam, and maker of the cardemom (!) shortbread and wonderful batts, of which I’ll soon talk more.

Before I found the shortbread this gave me a head ache:

Licorice chocolate. And whiny cat.

Both delicious but preferably enjoyed in little bits at a time. Which is impossible. With either.


Shibori dyeing as a birthday gift :)

shibori indigo dyeing Wolop pleats
For my birthday, Lieneke from Wolop offered to come make me an indigo dye vat. I’ve never dyed with indigo before! (I tried, once.)

Today she traversed the width of our country, from the far West to the furthest East, as a mobile one woman indigo dye show. She brought everything with her on the train: a dye pot, all the chemicals, scales, gloves, the indigo. I have a little stove for outdoor dyeing and there are sticks in the woods here for lifting the cloth out of the pot. And off we went!

We dyed on the veranda of the cabin. It rained most of the day. The smell was terrible! But holy moly, what magic! Lieneke knows what she’s doing and I’m in awe: indigo is a diva! The temperature needs to be juuuust right. The pot cannot have chips and cannot be iron. The indigo cannot be old. You cannot stir, you cannot swish. You have to move slow. But have to replace the lid fast. You can’t let your cloth drip in the bath. You have to show the fresh dyed cloth a lot of fresh air, fast. A million little things need to be done just right…

….and then you get the absolute right thing:
shibori indigo dyeing Wolop pleats
The results are spectacular!!! Colour by Lieneke, patterns by me.

I had never done shibori before, where you manipulate the fabric before you dye it. You fold it, you scrunch it, you tie it with string. There are many words for the different techniques. I surfed the web and found I have a preference for long, stripey patterns. So folding, pleating, stitching and clamping were the techniques I tried when I prepared the cloth in the last week.

Here are the pieces I prepared. Folding, pressing, twisting, tying, all in different sequence.
shibori indigo dyeing Wolop pleats
shibori indigo dyeing Wolop pleats
At the bottom is the last bit of stitching still in progress this afternoon: wood grain shibori/ mokume shibori.

Tightening the wood grain shibori:
shibori indigo dyeing Wolop pleats

wood grain shibori mokume indigo dyeing
Mokume shibori.

I had purchased 4 meters of bleached linen. Washed it twice at 90 degrees (as hot as the washing machine goes). I cut it in pieces of 50 x 70 cm because that’s a good size for clothing pieces such as a skirt panel or the left front panel of a top. I plan to sew with it. Garments. Little project bags. Left overs in a quilt. (a what now?! sshh. Let’s pretend I didn’t write that.) I’ve kept one piece behind, still white, it will combine nicely.

This is the result of the carefully pleated, ironed cloth with all the little multi coloured clasps:
itajimi shibori indigo dyeing Wolop pleats
Itajimi shibori.

This is the result of the neatly pleated folds that were wound around a little piece of wood (a bamboo crochet hook). I had put a little bit of cling wrap around and tightened it with elastic band. This kept the main parts white and only the edges of the pleats received dye:
shibori indigo dyeing Wolop
Suji shibori.

What is this magic of indigo anyway? It’s pale green in the pot and then you bring it out and it starts to breathe, in blue:
shibori indigo dyeing Wolop pleatsshibori indigo dyeing Wolop pleats
shibori indigo dyeing Wolop pleats Amazing. And smelly.
How and why you need to charm indigo before it will act as a dye is nicely explained on the vlog of Dünkelgrun which is hosted by Anna who has an PhD in chemistry.

By the way, I’m a bit of a travelling one woman show myself. I arrived early at the train station this morning and got a bit more stitching done. Just started the “wood grain” stitch: Mokume shibori
shibori indigo dyeing Wolop pleats

As a first entry into the world of Shibori I found this tutorial from the smart women of Beyond Canvas superb: Beyond Canvas on shibori  

So both pleating and stitching shibori give results I love best. Randomness within a grid.

Stitching is called Nui. Stitching next to a fold is called Orinui:
orinui shibori indigo dyeing Wolop

Itajimi is folding and clamping. I used some pieces of cardbord as a resist and just tied it with thin string, I didn’t have clamps that could grip it. Here you see how the top part printed, with the shape of the carton and the string:
itajimi shibori indigo dyeing Wolop

Suji is pleating. And wood grain is mokume shibori.

There’s one other technique that I love but lacked the tools for today: pole wrapping. This is called Ashari Shibori.

I’m putting all the jargon in here so I can refer back to it next year, when I dye with indigo again. Because I surely will! This was such fun and the results are so beautiful! (I will have sewn this into garments before next year yeah? Yes. Definitely.) And then I’ll dye again. But not on my own. I prefer the guidance of an expert.

This is a wonderful birthday gift. With some highly original wrapping and a very sympathetic entertainer! 🙂

TdF Finish!

I had a wonderful spinners’ party!

There were lovely people. One spinner who helps a lot at Trollenwol and had all kinds of tips for wool fairs and festivals. One spinner who works at the Louët factory!! She’s a furniture designer/spinning wheel designer. And the host has a tea and spices shop, Thee en Kruid, and we were allowed to test all the testers of the teas.

I had a blue tea and a pink tea. The pink tasted like apple pie. Oma’s apple pie. Apple pie tea! I want to make you a cup right now, you should really experience it! (unless you’re allergic to nuts).
It’s called “notendroom” and is one of the most luxurious melanges in the shop.

The blue tea is called “Blue Butterfly” and is true blue in real life. I added a bit of mint which caused it to be green blue. The blue comes from the Kittel-flower which is the Dutch name for Asian Pigeonwings or Darwin flower. Kittel is a German coureur in the Tour de France 😀

We all were spinning festive fibres! Ineke spun purple filled with glitter. Sanne plied neons and this purple yarn with her beautiful WIPbag (from Spinspul I assume). Tibbe was spinning red, a favourite colour, and was given the red WIP bag. I spun my Merino and it was even better than anticipated, especially when I flicked the other sides of the locks too.

It’s already finished. 60 grams yielded 83 meters of lofty, super soft aran thinkness Dutch Merino.

I feel like I know these sheep personally because they belong to a knitter friend of mine. They are Saxon Merino, living in Europe, so no mulesing is needed (although that practice is going out of fashion fast. All New Zealand Merino is already mulesing free and equally sympathetic Australian Merino can be found too.)

Saxon Merino’s are related to one of the other soft soft European breeds that I love: Bowmont. I’ve written about them before, both the fleece and the yarn. I visited the breeder in the UK once, Devon Fine Fibres. Incredible professional and passionate people! Natural is an entrance to their yarn, I think.

Ooh I have luxury problems! Will I flick some more locks? Make a second cup of apple pie tea (I bought some to bring home!) and spin some locks? Wash some more locks perhaps even??
Or will I lie back on the couch and see how I feel about this:

That’s the new green sparkly TdF handspun rolls vest (I love how, in English, you can just stack the property describing words nearly endlessly) and I’m looking to see if I like the look of its lace panel.

At the top is the lace part of the back panel, that one I like. It was knit bottom up. The front panel at the bottom is knit top down and I tried to mirror the back panel. Which required a bit of hotseflotsepocus. This is jargon for an educated guess Pippi Longstocking style.

Yes I think I’ll do a bit of handspun knitting now. With tea. Pippi Longstocking style: put my feet up and doing something I know little about boldly and with confidence.

p.l. What an incredible finish today 🙂

Lovely how Pippi comes around again and visits my spirits. Featuring in my TdF ravatars for years now. And my regular ravatars.

(yes that is Lillepoes. When it was her first year at the cabin, being very happy. I shopped a Pippi wig onto her and she’s been my ravatar for years.)(She’s right beside me now, on the couch, very happy to be here again.)

I think I’ll go and join her for a lie down on the couch. Right after I’ve made my cup of apple pie tea.

Love, Anna.

TdF day 21: arrived at the cabin for a “wool-cation”

I brought the Merino and the Shetland to spin and the yarn spun from the green rolls to cast on of a sleeveless vest with a lace panel across the chest:

Lillepoes and I will be staying here for 10 days. There will be some woolly fun! On Sunday there’s a spinners’ party at a friends and on Tuesday I’ll be dyeing with indigo under supervision from Lieneke from Wolop. !!!

For the other days I have a request list as long as my arm: spinning, knitting, sewing, felting, washing fleece, carding, flicking, picking, dyeing. But first it’s relaxing and taking a walk around the property, taking in all the green.

We got chased back inside because the country side is filled with big flying stinging beasts, “dazen” in Dutch.

I’m already 30 rows into the vest! Oh, how nice it is to knit with handspun. I made good notes on my other Debbie Vest and can just follow them. Gauge is girtually the same.

Lillepoes is exstatic to be here, I just received a cuddle session that was more passionate then I’ve ever known.
It has been some time since we were here so I understand. I suspect I’ll see more signs of kitty happinness over the following week 😻😻😻

Weird Wool Wednesday: Expecto better from myself.

You know that I don’t like stripes much.
Neither knitting nor wearing them.

Ravenclaw logo
Stripes with precise measure
are a knitter’s great treasure.

I recently found out I’m sorted into Ravenclaw house at Hogwarts. It’s for smart, witty people who love to learn. I celebrated by buying some beautiful Harry Potter self striping yarn from Wolop:

And I’m reading Harry Potter in Frisian, which anyone with a knack for Old English can read a bit:

Understandably I cast on for nicely striped socks and was enjoying knitting stripes.

Until I found out my stripes were too tight:


Enchanted by Ravenclaw stripes I started a marvelous hat. My own design: one part with these stripes, another part with smaller stripes and two wedges of cabled semi solid grey in between. It was going to be so precise and nice! Witty and smart too.

But yesterday I saw my stripes were uneven because when you knit to and fro your stitch count needs to be just right for the selfstriping yarn:

One stripe is 3 rows high at one end and 5 on the other. This does not do the yarn justice. Nor the pattern I was thinking up.

Aww, there goes my beautiful idea for a striped hat 😦

(Rowena Ravenclaw’s chocolate frog card)

Today is Wednesday, Weird Wool Wednesday. I don’t like stripes. I don’t care for turquoise. I don’t like knitting with blue. I do like grey. I have a lot of WIPs on the needles. I should be spinning.

This is what I’m knitting today:

A new Ravenclaw sock. On bigger needles, with more stitches.

You knów this one will be too big…
Because besides Ravenclaw I’m also a persistent Goldilocks:

Please come and save me from myself. I’m not smart at all. I don’t belong in Ravenclaw. Ravelclaw more like…

TdF day 16: a Dutch victor!

Bauke Mollema won the stage today! Well deserved, he was so good last year but didn’t get the recognition. Even lost his place in the team.

Today my collage has Bauke’s name at the top and it shows the pyramid bag I entered for the Tour de Fleece prize tombola of the Dutch Karma Swap Group:

I finished the green skein and set the twist. 465 meters in 200 grams, will it be enough for a sparkly vest? We’ll see. Tomorrow I’ll post a photo of the skein.