Spinning for a triangle shawl

This spinning fibre was given to me last Wednesday by Pukkieplanta:
 (sorry for the early gloomy Autumn Sunday picture)
It’s Dutch Wool Diva Sassy which is a soft South American wool with 20% soy silk. Soy silk does not take up colour well so the end result will have a misty appearance. This is from her Spin Fibre Club February 2016.
I love the colours! Grey, Fliederbush and ice blues. I cannot help but put it on the wheel asap.

I’m planning to make this shawl from it:
handspun handknitted green shawl
It’s Feather and Fan Comfort Shawl 
This particular one is already mine and I wear it a lot. It was made by Ribbels and is actually her first handspun. That’s pretty special and she noticed that she doesn’t wear it so she was willing to sell it to someone who’ll wear it and love it. I gave my first handspun away and have always regretted it. So I really enjoy wearing it. I’m wearing it today.

It’s a triangle shawl and this is significant for colour handling when spinning. Sara Bradberry has some really good pictures on her site which explain:
pic by Sarah Bradberry
pic by Sarah Bradberry
This shows that the first couple of rows of the project will be shorter than the later ones. I am going to build this into the spinning project because I would like a shawl that has some colours at the top but long rows of the same colour at the bottom. Just like my shawl by Ribbels has, with its distinguishable darker green rows at the bottom.

Unbraided it turns out my fibre is one sequence of four colours:
 (still 8 o’clock on a Sunday morning)
I’ll be spinning a 2-ply. If I split the roving in two, 50 grams for each single, I could do fractal spinning:
 (look, somebody turned on the lights)
On the top is one single going through the four colours once. On the bottom the second single going through the colours twice.

I don’t want a gradient shawl though, not one single going through the four colours. I want the colours to repeat at least once. And I can’t just divide them up evenly because the triangle shawl has longer rows on the bottom then at the top.
For that one single going through the colours I will not make every colour the same length. Here you see me trying things out for one single, in a small blurry picture: 25 grams in 4 colours on the left + 25 grams in 2 x 4 colours on the right:

Below is my eventual preparation. On the top is the fibre for one single. This will be the main colour transition and it will have shorter repeats on one side and longer on the other.

The ball on the top right is 25 grams, it has one knot. The middle one is 16 grams, it has two knots. The top right one is 8 grams and has three knots. They all transition through the colours once. The knots tell me which one to spin first.
 (aw a little bit of sunshine!)
On the bottom is the 50 grams for the second single. It transitions through the colours pretty fast. Although the ones on the left are a bit heavier than the ones on the right and will have longer repeats.

That card with the coloured sheep is a holiday card from Spectre. With it came 2 kilos of amazing salt! I thrive on salt, as you know, with my ridiculously low blood pressure, and good salt really is as valuable as coffee or pearls to me. Talk about a loved souvenir 😀

So that’s my day today, as we have the first cold and dark Autumn day: spinning some soft fibre in great colours and having funny sheep greetings in all the colours and having salt and coffee and a warm shawl around my neck.


getting in the mood: Advent Calendars!

Yesterday’s calendar shows that I’m getting in the mood for Advent Calendars. This year I’ve bought TWO handdyed yarn surprise boxes!

Wolop offers one with glitter yarn and one with hand dyed yarns. I bought the plant dyed one! Both will give about 10 grams each day in a soft fingering yarn with nylon. Wolop ships internationally!
Last year I had one with a different colour theme and made this stranded cowl with it:

So this year I bought the plant dyed one. Those colours will combine and harmonize with each other in an amazing way! I’m thinking stranded socks and wristwarmers or mittens. Or ànd socks ànd mitts ànd mittens. Or perhaps weaving…

The other box I bought is from Het Wolbeest, you know, the wool studio in the ceramic village in the South with the ice parlour attached.
Het Wolbeest also has two advent calendars, one Over The Top with glitter and nepps and dyed with speckles and multies. And one Soft and Mellow, with (semi)solids. Both contain 10 grams of soft sock yarn each day and this one has some little gifts in it. She’s been teasing us with sneak previews in all greytones!
I bought the Soft and Mellow one. For stranded knitting. Perhaps socks. And mitts. And mittens! Or weaving?

So much choice and opportunities!
If you too are looking for ideas what to do with 24 x 10 grams of handdyed yarn, I have a bundle with ideas on Ravelry:
adventkalender ideeen

Not that listing options makes choosing between them any easier.
Yes, the first of December is going to be very festive and chaotic and colourful woolly in my house.

To heighten the anticipation I have my wooden calendar with the stitch markers.
And this:

It’s an advent tea box from Sonnetor, bought at the market stall from knitter and spinning friend Meta from Thee-en-Kruid.
At the bottom of the tree there’s a little door and one bag of tea slides out every day during Advent. As December approaches I will put more and more things on display to mark the change of season.

Thusly I try and structure the months to come. It is a conscious effort because I am submerged in a few things that need some counter-stress-measures and I also dread the shortening of the days.

These are things that give me stress:
By the end of this month, October, I have to submit a paper to the court against the manure plant they’re still planning right next to the cabin. Over the years I have regained my abilities to concentrate, as I healed from my illness, and this is reflected in how I was able to address the court. First drafts were terrible. This year I’m finally in full swing and I’m playing with the big dogs, who now also take me seriously and sling some serious judicial mud my way. I am working at my maximum capacity and it gives a bit of dread, knowing this is it, that this is all I’ve got to give.

Of course there’s the added stress that his case involves my personal living conditions at the cabin. The cabin is under threat and things will be different there, not for the best. My adversaries are merely seated behind their work desks and pushing numbers and stamps around. They get to go home at the end of the day, to a manure free, risk free living space.
Beware _ Manure happensDanger! Manure!
Changing my frame of mind and looking at this strategically instead of personally/emotionally takes a lot of effort each time. Each time I do succeed and then I enjoy the strategic game, played within the boundaries of the law.

But then I return to the cabin and am overwhelmed again with losing the peace, the nature and the memories from the last ten years that I lived there, in harmony, healing. I find it difficult to go with the times, to accept time flowing forwards and growing populations.

That’s one court case. By the end of the year there’s a hearing in the second court case pending, about the same plant, and this one involves about 15 families in the neighbourhood of the cabin. For which I am the spokesperson and the one writing and submitting the papers. (Mind you, I have no training in this field. I’m just an urban engineer.) This case involves a lot of contact with my neighbours which I haven’t even met all personally, yet. We communicate through email and they are very nice, even though they do not understand the judicial games. I also shield them from the mud that is thrown our way. Because that judicial game… it’s not a pretty one.

In this social thing too I am coming into my own this year, having been a hermit for years, hidden in the cabin. This process however goes more abruptly, with me being bold and sociable one day and crying in my pillow fort the next. Introverts, ha! Such a fun bunch.

My neighbours accept my introvertness though and they are really nice and supportive. They gave me the flowers and the wine last week 🙂

As a third process this Fall I’m sewing my own clothes. A city wardrobe, following my own colour palette. I now have sewing lessons every week and I have that new sewing machine and things are going well. Still takes a lot of time and thinking and concentrating. Luckily no matter how “funny” or “idiosyncratic” I make something, my teacher always shows me ways to fix it. It’s a lot like spinning yarn in that regard, you can always build on top of what you have and fix it that way. (This is not the case with knitting. Knitting you have to frog and build anew).

skirt with pockets and godets, handdyed indigo linen. sewinghand sewn bottle green linen skirt fishtail pockets sewinggreen wriggle dress stretch cotton sewing
I hope to finish all the garments I need this year. Smoothly transferring into next year when I can just grab any thing from my closet and always look smart and coordinated.
If I dress nice I feel nice. If I don’t have to question myself in front of the wardrobe I have a good start of the day. That’s what the palette is for.

When I get all my sewing done this year it will become a hobby next year. For when I have time and inspiration or meet a nice piece of cloth. (Or weave a nice piece of cloth!)
That will leave a slot open next year for something nice. Something creative. Something productive. Something economically visible. Yes I hope, when the days begin to lengthen again, that I will have the calm, the health and the mental capabilities to feel truly alive again.

So I have a lot riding on a friendly unfolding of the last three months of this year. I’ve put some measures into place to achieve this.
I hope and expect the new year to be the start of new, fine thing!
It will also be 10 years, in February, that I became terribly ill from one day to the next. (I have ME/CFS/SEID, Addison’s, DNA faults, mitochondria faults, ridiculous sensitive brain chemistry, EMDR, digestive disorder, lifelong insomnia). But I seem to have fixed this.
I’m still cautious but I’m making plans to celebrate my recovery in 2018.

So now we sit and behave until the good times start:

Wall calendar by illustrator Fiep Westendorp

Weird Wool Wednesday: a knitter’s calendar

This is my Autumn Calendar, ticking off the days till Winter. I’ve put some appropriate baubles into it: candy stitchmarkers from TheWoollyDodo!

They are her spekkie and her Bossche Bol-markers. It so happens that I have an appointment with a Bossche Bol today. I will honour this knitter calendar!

(yes that’s a WIPbag in the back ground, it’s from ShopByLinda)

enjoying the great weather

Due to a rare hurricane aiming for Ireland we get warm air from the south of Europe. It’s right Summery over here!

I’m making good use of it, washing an old fleece and a newer one.

Someone has lived in the old fleece!

The newer one (Spring 2016) looks much better.

Both are organic fleeces from De Laan van Wisch.

I plan to spin them 2ply, preserving the colours and knitting a sweater from it with enough wearing ease.

not sure yet whether to make the sweater a whole gradient (“ombré”) or make random dark and light stripes. But will take care not to have one white and one dark single all the time. Sometimes there need to be two white or two dark.

I also think I will knit something from it for the organic farmers who own these sheep. But what?

The woman is thrilled with her fingerless mitts. A second pair? I don’t think she wears hats.

O well, first wash these babies. Then dry. Pick. Card. Spin. There’s plenty time to think!

Skimpy sweater knitting

I knit a bit of a cowl on the Shetland handspun boxy winter sweater and continued knitting downwards.

A bit of waist shaping, “eh, this isn’t so boxy after all” and a bind off later.

It should be longer. I should knit up all the yarn that’s left in my hand, even my husband says so.

So I’ll frog a bit and then reknit. As usual.

Yes, we’re having nice day at the cabin. The weather is warm and we needed to be here for a meeting with the neighbours about the pending court cases against the manure plant. It was a lovely meeting and they showed their appreciation for my efforts:

Today we rest.

Weird Wool Wednesday: Steek Stack Stuck!

It’s too tight!

Steeking itself was easy though. These tips from Two Strands.com helped me gathering courage.

I ran two lines of sewing on both sides of the middle steek stitch. I reduced the foot pressure for this and chose a short stitch:

Then snip down the middle. I will be picking up stitches and knitting a border.

Ahh such happy colours these mushroom dyed Shetland yarn has 🙂

But it’s too tight. I won’t wear this, not with pleasure, which means it will lay in my closet if I don’t fix this problem. So I thiiiiiink I’ll continue knitting this spencer vest all the way to the bottom, too tight as it is. Then I steek it down the middle (or perhaps down the sides) and add a strip of knitting.

Well Goldilocks? Whose sweater is this?

The new sweater in the handspun Shetland knits so nicely. I’m not quite ready to part the sleeves from the bodice but I’m getting there, just a little more dept/length:

But I thiiiiiink it’s already wide enough:

I guess I started the increases at the sides too soon.

I wonder if I could risk it and separate the sleeves from the body now, just cast on a few extra stitches and hope it stretches downwards a bit:

Also: I’m afraid I’ll run out of yarn!

Already I’m thinking of doing a block of different coloured yarn in the back, so that I can use all that soft handspun for the cowl and the front and the sleeves. A coloured block in the back? I’m already planning to do intarsia in the round! This is not relaxed knitting 🙄

Let’s approach it logically. What I have here weighs about 100 grams. There’s 50 grams left on the ball that’s attached, that will get me halfway to my bellybutton. I have another ball of 140 grams, that will get me to the bottom for sure. And there’s the piece I knitted before (I didn’t frog it but in my mind it’s frogged) and that weighs 185 grams and will make at two sleeves. Or more. Let’s see:

That’s the rub: will this thing make two sleeves AND a cowl or just two sleeves??

Knitting the cowl now first would be the best thing to do. Also because it may shift everything upwards, making it way too soo to separate for the sleeves now.

Stupid bears with their magic yarn maths. I’m going to knit on my sock now.

reasoned my way into a top-down sweater with inset sleeves

The handspun Shetland is becoming a sweater again! One that fits.

I “unvented” a way of knitting a top-down sweater with inset sleeves using one continuous thread. Not breaking yarn, not attaching new balls.

It’s not contiguous or ziggurat technique either. I can’t really explain it this late at night but cast on is at the width of the shoulders, at the start of the sleeve cap. It’s just about where the dark line is, above the green thread that has the neck line stitches parked.

Then I knitted towards the neckline, decreased on one side and knit the shoulder flap. Then picked up stitches on the side for the sleeve, then knit along the cast on across the back and picked up a few stitches on the other side for the sleeve, then knit along the live stitches of the second shoulder flap, decreased a few at the neckline and knitted the second shoulder flap. Then picked up stitches on its side for the second sleeve and then I was ready for the first round.

It’s a bit fiddly. But it worked in the end.

Didn’t work in the beginning though:

So yay, I’m on my way again! A nice, roomy winter sweater. With a cast-on the width of my shoulders, which is the most important width for fitting a knitted sweater (or a sewn dress). My shoulders are fairly square so I don’t need to incorporate short rows and shape them.

Knit on needles 5 mm, it ought to be going fast.

PS “unventing” is what Elizabeth Zimmerman calls when you invent or discover a way of knitting that has surely been invented or discovered by someone before you. I thought of this on my own but surely I’m not the first to do so.

Here, see if you can make head and tail out of my method. Second picture is the main picture. Top picture just shows the problem: a shoulder seam right in the middle of where you want your shoulder flaps to be (you want to pick up stitches along the whole of the shoulder flap to knit a sleeve)

Taken when I’ve picked up all the stitches and am officially at the beginning of the first round:

Those few stitches at the bottom of the side of the shoulder flap where picked up before the shoulder flap was knitted.

End result after knitting from the previous picture downwards, to the left and upwards again. Ready to start the ordinary knitting of a top down set in sleeve sweater pattern. I’m calling this the beginning of the round now:

Below an illustration of why you can’t just cast on and knit two shoulder flaps:

Cast on, one flap knitted and stitches picked up around it. Knitted along the cast on to the second shoulder flap but something’s wrong: cast on determines where the top part of the sleeve ends. This sleeve will sit too much to the front of the sweater.

Weird Wool Wednesday: “no sweaters for you!”

That nice handspun Shetland was going to be a big comfy boxy winter sweater, with a thick cowl. Lots of wearing ease and promises of hot chocolate and hiding a cat underneath. That’s why I brought the wool with me to the cabin last week and knitted on it for hours and hours. I knitted up one big ball, attached the second one. Couldn’t find the third one.

Searched everywhere. No yarn. Must have left it in the city? My husband couldn’t find it there and he looked everywhere. O no! Did I lose it somewhere?? It could have been in the car which I took to the market and it might have tumbled out!

Can’t make more yarn… Hush hush, it’s very improbable that you lost it. Just knit on. You have enough yarn as it is anyway. Probably…

Turns out my knitting was more worried about yarn shortage than I was:

Too tight for comfort.

We returned home and straight away I saw the missing ball of yarn, on display in the middle of the room. If only my husband had grown a pair of functional eyes!

I couldn’t bring myself to frogging the sweater, undoing all those hours of knitting. And the happy memories of my time at the cabin. Perhaps I could salvage it, cut it open and knit additional pieces onto it?

My friend scoffed. “Anna! That will be at least as much work as reknitting it. Just frog it!”
Ah, the famous Dutch directness. Where well meant advice is said only once and it is up to you to take it or not.
I’m taking it. She’s right.

I’ve been getting ready to frog the past week. In that time I tried to knit on other sweaters. I wasn’t up to continuing with the purple Flower Cardigan because I still don’t know how to make a second puff sleeve. Didn’t work on Old Town cardigan because IDon’tKnowWhy. Denied all knowledge of other sweaters that may or may not live in my closet.

I worked on the mushroom dyed vest. This was happy knitting! I even had some little friends to keep me company:

And then the knitting wasn’t happy anymore:

There’s more diamonds on the left front panel than on the right front panel.

The steek in the middle is off centre?!? After all the spaghetti-wrangling I did earlier this year?!


That’s why, yesterday, I casted on for something I’ve been looking forward to for months now. A sweater that mimics the sun on snow in February:
Pattern crazy stripes tee by atelier alfa

I knitted on it all day yesterday. Trying to see the Wintersun in the colours (instead of clown confetti…. does this look like clown confetti…. I’m afraid this is clown confetti…. please don’t be clown confetti)

Will be marvelous, right?


That shoulder width is way too small. My gauge is 26 st/10 cm instead of pattern gauge of 24 st/10 cm and even though I’m knitting a size L (because it was going to be a Winter garment, to be worn over something) this doesn’t fit me, not even as a Spring garment with only underwear beneath it.

This time I’m not knitting on in the hopes it will turn out allright. I will cut the yarn and start anew. (clown confetti)(clown confetti)

I may have to have a little think about it first. Nudge the colourwork more towards the sun on sparkling snow (instead of clown confetti, clown confetti).

Which is why I cast on a sock that doesn’t require thinking:

Free Impossible Girl Socks by Madeline Gannon in Sticks & Cups Sockstravagance in a liquorice colourway.

(clown spaghetti)


10 years of Dutch sock knitters group on Ravelry

10 years ago Ravelry was young and Beta. Moonwise, a Dutch knitter started a Dutch speaking group for sock knitters.

Nowadays Ravelry is a force to be reckoned with, world wide, and the Dutch Sock Knitters Group has over 1200 members and hosts KALs every month.

To celebrate the founder Moonwise, who is a real good sock pattern designer, designed a sock pattern that’s free:

“Wish” by Janneke Maat. It’s in Dutch, well written and features a lot of cables. It’s a birthday present for all the members.

For people who cannot or will not knit cables there are other themes to participate in this month such as mock cables and/or using your most precious sock yarn. All to celebrate Soktober Tien Fest.

I can’t knit these many tiny cables but I love mock cables. The group has a bundle with mock cabled sock patterns and they are not all koffieboontje-stitch:

I may put a mock cabled sock on the needles… I love koffieboontje and I love mock cables. You hear me waffle on about Prickly Pear Socks at least once a year!
the Prickly Pear Socks by Thayer Preece:

The group also rewards prices to people who finish their sock within two months. And whaddayaknow, these month’s sponsors are two of my favourite artists: Wolop and FiberRachel!
 Wolop Etsy   FiberRachel Etsy
Wolop will donate a skein of handdyed festive sock yarn and FiberRachel one of her birdhouse WIP bags:

Where was I 10 years ago? I didn’t even knit back then. I wasn’t ill yet. I was in Norway, building a sea kayak out of 2 by 4’s, canvas and beewaxed hemp:

using special sewing stitches to insure water tightness:

Made under guidance from Kayak Specialist in Norway Anders Thygesen.
I’ve never even taken it out to sea… I got ill and couldn’t go outside anymore and inside I got too sad to think of anything Norway related. Then this Summer I found out the canvas is rotting…
I think it is time to put away the last 10 years. Just shelve it. Ignore bad memories. They are of no use since I cannot learn from them anymore.

Live in the here and now, enjoy the sunshine on this beautiful Sunday morning. Bask in what blessings and fun there are here, now.
Such as a sock fest on Ravelry.
And this picture of an ambitious cat:

that I used to make a drawing for another month fest: Inktober 2017. (draw every day, using ink)

Also today I will be sewing on a new dress. It features gnomes in Volkswagen vans!
gnome dress volkswagen van
As it reads on my About Page:
“My name is Anna. I think wool and funny dresses make life better.”