Knit- and Crochet festival in Nieuwpoort last Friday

We had a nice day out in the old town of Nieuwpoort where everybody had joined in the knitting madness. All houses were decorated, both inside and out, with balls of yarns and knitwear. Here’s the beautiful old town hall:
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The stand of mushroom expert Chiel Noordeloos:
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He was glad to see my projects 馃檪

It was on the first floor of the old town hall. Beautiful old atmosphere and exposition:
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brei haakfestival de Schapekop Nieuwpoort 2017

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The people from where there!
brei haakfestival de Schapekop Nieuwpoort 2017
Wonderful people 馃檪 The vest is made with their own program, the free site in which you can make charts for knitting, crochet and embroidery:聽 I use it too for my vests and mittens.

There were many vendors and I didn’t take enough pictures. Organizing vendor De Schapekop had a nice idea for trying out little balls of yarns for a stranded wrist cuff. Wolop offered something similar last year.
brei haakfestival de Schapekop Nieuwpoort 2017
brei haakfestival de Schapekop Nieuwpoort 2017聽Ooh, nice colours!

This guy…
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brei haakfestival de Schapekop Nieuwpoort 2017

For the mushroom vests I bought some extra ball of white so I definitely have enough and then I enrolled for the same workshop again, next year. (!!)

I also bought a second hand book about plant dyeing. The book by Dutch wool expert Iet van de Vrande. THE book. Heavily sought after. From 1979. Mine is in Swedish… 聽:s

I did not buy the beautiful carded fleece that was dyed with nettles in a beautiful light green…. celery green. It was suffolk. Enough for a sweater. But I did not buy it. Because we are still sleeping in the attic because I stashed all my fleeces in the main bedroom. And I prefer to spin other fleeces such as Swifter. But I loved that colour and the vendor was such a nice person.

I also did not buy a yearling fleece of Fries Melkschaap. The only breed I still have to try out! It was about two kilo’s, of skirted fleece, looked very good, not much vegetable matter or poo. But they did not offer bank card payments (pinnen) and it was too much of a hassle to try and get the cash somewhere and I was pretty worn out by then and maybe it’s for the best. I’m sure another Fries Melkschaap will trot across my pad on of these years. Let’s hope so. I’ve been yearning for this breed for 5 years now. Exactly the time spinning has become popular and prices have soared and good fleeces are hard to source.

It’s alright, it’s alright. I have the box full of blue Shetland right here next to my wheel to finish. There’s the light green Swifter waiting at the cabin to be carded. There’s half a fleece of blue Merino ready to be wool picked. The other half wants to be washed and have its locks combed (I have a date for help with this this Summer, it’s definitely going to happen). There’s the Bont Schaap yearling fleece from last year waiting to be skirted and washed… And many, many rovings in my stash and all kind of things that can be carded into batts. Breathe. Breathe. There’s plenty of years in the future to find a quality Fries Melkschaap.

I did buy some tea and got a recipe to make ice tea, unsweetened. Will be trying it out during spinning adventures this Summer. Starting next Thursday when I spin at the Sheep Shearing Fest in Lichtenvoorde聽in the east of the country, near my cabin. Tok! Tok! Tok! T么么么么么么k!

brei haakfestival de Schapekop Nieuwpoort 2017

art聽“Swedish Chef” by Paul Schipper聽for sale

Preparing to show off chopped mushrooms.

Tomorrow is the knitters’ festival in one of the tiniest an oldest cities in the country: Nieuwpoort. (yes, it means “new port” and it was a new port on the river Lek (“which means “leak” (we have no fantasy when it comes to naming places))).

The festival聽is organized by The Schapekop, the LYS where I did the workshop dyeing with mushrooms聽back in February:

I was so going to knit a stranded vest with the yarn and bring it to the festival tomorrow and be all glorious and marvelous!

But of course I spend weeks fiddling with the chart and never getting it exactly right so there’s no vest to show. I do have聽one wristwarmer though:

The colours are beautiful and exactly as I want them for a cool, February-kind of vest I have in mind. It’s a good swatch telling me about gauge, colours and contrast. Especially that last one needs a lot more chart fiddling in!

The past two weeks I felt bad about bragging about a vest to the people who organized the workshop and then knowing I’ll show up tomorrow with nothing or just that one meager wristwarmer… Yes聽I felt so bad that I contemplated not going at all and spare myself the embarrassment. Which is ridiculous!

In fact, so ridiculous that I snapped right out of it and casted on for a stranded vest in totally different colours last Tuesday. Look at these colours!

So happy 馃檪 So sunny 馃檪

They are all dyed with mushrooms, apart from the blue which is a commercial colour and the white.

This vest and these聽colours I don’t need to get precisely right. It’s just bands and bands of motives, some borrowed and some made up as I go along. There’s a little bit of teeth gnashing when I get my contrasts imperfect聽but I give myself a pass for that. Overall I’m just knitting happy colours, straight under the radar of my perfectionism, and I’m just making metres聽and I already have something nice to show tomorrow.

Just聽now I had to聽stop knitting for聽a bit and learn about shaping and steeks. It seems you cannot just knit a tube and then cut holes in it for arms and head. Or can you?
I don’t know, I’ve never done a stranded, shaped garment nor have I ever intentionally steeked.

For this vest I did a provisional cast on (to bypass the ribbing at the bottom because I didn’t have much time to get to the good part and I don’t know yet which colours I’ll have left for the borders). Then I knitted a tube that fits my stomach.

At the level where my bossom starts I now have to decide whether to increase (how would that go in a chart?) or to insert a steek (cast on about 8 stitched which will be cut later on). Also there needs to given some consideration to arm holes I guess. I don’t know yet if they need decreases and a steek, I’ll be reading the pattern聽Great Horn-Rimmed by Mary Scott Huff for that:

pic by聽Mary Scott Huff 聽pic by聽Interweave Knits

I’m using various patterns. The stranded聽Ivy League Vest by Eunny Jang for looks and the聽Great Horn-Rimmed by Mary Scott Huff for shaping and steeking. That last vest is free, from Knitty, and I understand what it says 馃檪

Ooh, setting up for a steek is easier than I thought. Just park one stitch, cast on 8 new ones using both yarns and knit those eight in stripes. Decreasing for the front panels occurs on the side of this steek-flap.

I’ve started the set up right away. Pretty soon I’ll add two at the sides too, for the arm holes. Must not forget to add shaping.

After I have completed the toppart I’ll undo the provisional cast on and knit down wards. My tube is not that high yet and there’s room to add waist decreases right at the bottom.

So that’s the plan! Now I have two nice things to show the mushroom guy tomorrow so he knows his first workshop ever was very much appreciated.

Weird Wool Wednesday: Bossche Bol stitchmarkers

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After hearing me rave about them the other day Dootje knew the perfect gift for me. A set of Bossche Bol stitch markers of my own. Yay! Celebrated today with an edable Bossche Bol.

There’s also two chocolate bars and a “spekkie” stitch marker, which I will celebrate on another day.

Now to knit a lace shawl and not smear chocolate and cream all over them.

knitters’ party at Wolbeest (the ice cream parlour LYS)

Yesterday there was a knitters’ party at Het Wolbeest, the LYS plus聽ice cream parlour I’ve told you about before:

Wool studio Het Wolbeest and Italian handmade ice cream parlour Da Giovanni in Swalmen. Such a splendid combination!

In the back there’s a big wool studio for (felting) workshops and outside there’s a rest area where we sat knitting and eating cake:

Sock madness in the wild:

That Fabel sock at the bottom is a Symphony Socks competing for the last two spots on its team. Knit knit knit!

Het Wolbeest dyes some spectacular self striping yarn and makes a mean “arretjescake“, a typical Dutch, no-bake chocolate cake:

Another one of her self striping yarns, with a solid mini for cuffs, heels and toes. This one is called Cheshire cat:

I chose a non-striping yarn in colours that made me drool for ice cream with cherries and forest berries:

Wolbeest’ amazing聽felted teapot cosy!

It was a lovely day and my skein is already on the skein holder to become a Shelly Cloche by Devon Finney:

Yes, a lovely day. The ice cream was delicious! I ate it with such attention that I forgot to take a picture for you. Will have to return and try again.

more WIPs

The new Sock Madness pattern dropped and it’s聽Symphony Socks by Elisabeth White:

Beads! Twisted stitches! Lots of little cables!

It’s a lovely pattern but pretty much from the start I knew I’d better be sensible and stop racing. Allow myself to become a cheerleader in the Sock Madness competition. A sock like this, with little cables and a deadline, would ignite my RSI. The same thing that knocked me out in the first round of the competition last year.

It’s not too bad to bow out. I had so many things I wanted to knit on instead. The startitus was raging and now I got to do something about it.



This flew off the needles.
It’s my continuous version of聽Debbie Vest by Aethalia O’Connor. Provisional cast on at the back, only need to cut yarn once before the body is cast off.

This part took 150 grams of handspun, about 340 metres on needle 3,75 mm. Getting pattern gauge which is 19 st /10 cm
The ribbing on the neckline and arm holes is done on needles 3,25 mm. Which means my 3,75 mm needles are free to cast on another Continuous Debbie vest in the green yarn I bought at Midwinterwol for a Spring vest.

I’ve also started on my mushroom dyed stranded project:
It will be a wristwarmer. So much more sensible than trying out for a vest.

This way I can try out the pattern I made on Stitchfidle and find out the gauge. I was tempted to cast on for a steeked vest but that’s really too ambitious if you don’t know your gauge, if you don’t know how much yarn the stranded parts take, if you aren’t sure about the design you made anyway and if you have never steeked before.
Also: next week there’s a woolfest in Nieuwpoort, organized by De Schapekop, and I promised to show my stranded mushroom thingie there. Knitting a stranded vest in fingering weight in the coming 7 days is ludicrous.

The yarn knits very nice and the pattern makes me want to do one more round, one more round, just one more round 馃檪
I’m knitting on 2,25 mm and my gauge seems to be 26 stitches in 10 cm. The colour work is done over 60 stitches, the ribbing over 54 st.

In between I’m knitting away on my magic ball:

Here’s me this morning, having a bit of quality time by myself 馃檪

The yarn is聽indigo dyed sock yarn from Wolop and I’m making it into Blattwerk pattern socks top down. The magic ball unravels while I聽knit and reveals little presents. This one was made by Lieneke from Wolop.
I’ve nearly finished one leg and the first little present is in sight!

On my plate i聽a Dutch pastry called a Bokkepootje. This one is huge! Usually they are about the size of a finger:
聽pic by cliokchia
It consists of two almond merengues, glued together with buttercream and both ends are dipped in chocolate. With almonds sprinkled on top. Here’s a recipe.

The name means something like “Billygoat-feetsie” and originates from a baker in the very old dike-hamlet of Tuitjenhorn. In this God loving community there was an annual gathering to commemorate all the local people who had died. Eating pastry was part of that event. Eating little devil-feet shows wished victory over evil influences in the hereafter.
(I did not know. Eating “bokkepootjes” no longer has this connotation but it does explain where the name comes from.)

Two vests, a sock and a stranded cuff can be added to the WIPs I’m already working on.

Weird Wool Wednesday: Spot the pineapple.

This mail I just received聽from my husband:

He mistook聽my cake of yarn for a pineapple for a few times now and thought it was time to notify me of this.

OK. Message received. You have not been exposed to enough yarn yet. Will remedy.

Also: look at my聽lamp. It’s wearing my embroidery scissors:
“ananas” for scale

It’s my Anglepoise lamp. This last century聽marvel of engineering depends on countering the weight of the lamp with some springs at the base. This way you can pull the lamp at least 70 cm away from its base without it toppling over. Mine is a bit off and its springs slowly pull it back up to a standing position. Maybe the springs are new and too stiff for it? More probably:聽it’s designed for heavier bulbs than the modern ones I use.

Anyway, I had to add some weight to the cap so I took some magnets and now my embroidery scissors live there.
Very convenient this close to my knitting chair. Only I forget they’re聽there so there’s another pair or scissors in the desk.

And hey, I think Roald Dahl has the same lamp! Here’s a picture of him working in his shed:

Look how comfy he has made himself! A heater, a friendly chair, a make shift desk across his knees, a sleeping bag to keep his legs warm and his feet kept of the ground by whatever was handy yes this old suitcase will do and the dog/cat/grandchild can sit on it when visiting.

And he has a good working light. He doesn’t care for optics, he cares for what works.

some WIPs in more detail

Thursday evening I started the Wolop self striping Harry Potter sock because I wanted some easy stockinette stitch:

I couldn’t find the little grey mini that goes along with this skein for cuffs, heels and toes. So I just casted on with the main yarn, directly for the leg, and will attach the cuff later.

I got some mindless knitting done while my husband celebrated my being downstairs again by watching his bloody series together. Not swearing, we watched bloody series. There was Elementary and Lucifer and this new series we tried out with a mr. Wednesday who used to run a brothel saloon in Broken Wood but now is followed by a filmmaker who is enamoured with聽the series Hannibal but does not have the same restraints and finesse. We’re not sure what we think of it yet.

After 3 x 45 minutes of visual murder I was tired and went to bed. But knitted I had.

Remember snowdrift cardigan? The one I was going to attach onto this lovely handspun collar portrayed here? The cabled collar I so expertly knit on car trip?

Yeah, I frogged that and am using the yarn for this, the plan I always had for it: a gorgeous vest to wear over all my handsewn dress shirts.

The pattern is聽Debbie Vest by Aethalia O’Connor, it’s free and sensible. I modified it a bit to be able to start with a provisional cast on at the mid back and then work upwards, into the first one shoulderstrap. I love it! I love the pattern, I love the yarn, I love the gauge (needle 4,5 mm).

This is how I want vest patterns to be: top down, without raglans and with as less “breaking yarn” as possible.
Which is why I’ll steaming right ahead to the two other vests I have wanted to make ever since I got hold of their yarns. The green Welsh yarn and the orange handspun.

I also picked up the lilac cardigan, with just the lace flower backpanel, inspired by聽Dahlia Cardigan聽by Heather Zoppetti:

This was my panel on Friday:

and this is my panel now:

It’s聽The Little Flower Doily by Andrea Jurgrau and I managed to make a square out of a circle! I’m pretty proud of that. I know in order to get a flat surface, when knitting from the centre, you have to increase 4 stitches every row. Doesn’t matter which needle or which yarn you use. For a circle you place those 4 stitches ad random. For a square you place them in four corners. For easy knitting most people increase 8 stitches every other row, which comes down to the same.

With the doily I examined the chart and identified which YO was paired to which /, \ or ^ decrease. That told me which YO was surplus in which row: the increases. These I took and placed at four corners.

Soooo are all my WIPs ongoing, planned or ignored?

No, I transferred one WIP into an FO.
This one:

The lovely wintery Birch handspun that became a stupid hat back in January. The shaping idea I had for it didn’t work out and it sat stupidly on my head and I didn’t know what to do with it.
Eventually I just started wearing it without shaping it any further.. With the unwoven ends stuck under. I asked a few people and apparently it doesn’t look so stupid on me when I wear it like this, just plain, without folds.

So this is a finished WIP without any effort. I changed its status to “finished” on the project page and took this photo’s. 聽Then it’s official and true. This hat is finished! (Haven’t sewn in the ends of the hat yet, though.)

(I’m not better yet and I’m stupid cold, I’m wearing聽my handspun snow sweater from 2013)
So these are the current WIPs, the sock, the vest an the cardigan. Better knit on because the new Sock Madness pattern is about to drop any moment. (I forgot all my beads at the cabin!) Oh and I designed some more on the stranded mushroom vest. Slow going though. I’m never going to make it before the deadline of 19 May. Might bring the swatch with me for show and tell.

Knitter in Duplo… which WIP to knit?

These are the WIPs I so desperately wanted to start聽last Wednesday:
yarn works in progress
That’s three vests, one sock (slightly knitted since yesterday) and a crocheted hat. Laying them out here make me desperate again. So much startitus!

Yesterday, at the end of the day, I was well enough to get out of bed and have a little supper and do a little knitting. I needed mindless knitting so I started a new sock in blue-grey self striping yarn. It’s Wolop selfstriping Harry Potter yarn in the colour Ravelclaw. It’s very nice yarn! Beautifully plied and round and soft. The silver almost gleams. Very soothing to knit with.

I can’t wait to cast on of the other projects but I really shouldn’t start any at all. Not while these are the WIPs I’m currently actively working on:
yarn works in progress
That’s a vest, a cardigan and two pairs of socks.

There’s also this spinning project. Jeansblue Shetland, started about a week ago:

It already speaks to me, of an easy wearing pullover with a large cowl. This fleece is so soft…

I love sitting in front of the doors to the garden. It catches light in the second half of the day, as the cat will tell you. This is about half the fleece, carded in batts:

Hello. This is where the sun shines. Always.

Then there are these WIPs which all live near my knitting chair because I cannot wait to get back to them:
yarn works in progressyarn works in progressyarn works in progress
That’s three cardigans. Spring wearables.

For each one I just need to reread my notes or do some re-assessing聽before I can dive back in. But jus now, touching these, laying them out here, makes me want to knit themmmm! Because I want to wear themmmm! Spring will be here soon, maybe even next week! Especially the grey one and the rose one I’d love to wear next week. Better get knitting!

Oh and I also want to work on this project very very much:
yarn works in progressyarn works in progress
This is my view every morning when I get out of bed and it almost hurts.

Yes, I want to work on all of these! Any! Now! But which one first?

I’m so in Duplo…

Ak. New models. All cartoonesque. With easily projected personalities.
Is this the way forward? Should I put googley eyes on my projects and stash and see which one has the highest PR properties?

(Lets not mention the other WIPs, the ones in the closet. With the way things are going I’m afraid if I take them out to photograph聽them聽I fall in love with them all over again too and want to knit them instead.)
(Let also conveniently deny any knowledge of sewing. There’s just not enough time in the day.)

Weird Wool Wednesday: startitus interruptus

Today I wanted to cast on three vests, a sock and one hat. Seriously.

I was going to show you funny pictures too.
A picture of these new WIPs-to-be (5) and the WIPS I’m currently working on (3 socks and 1 vest and 1 cardigan and 1 spinning project) and the WIPS I very much want to work on (3 cardigans and 1 weaving project and 2 knitting related sewing projects) and the WIPs I don’t want to work on and stuffed in the back of the closet but that I ought to get back to (3 cardigans and 1 shawl at least).
It would be funny, taking stock of the WIPs and I would knit like the wind all Weird Wool Wednesday long!

But here I am. Sick in bed. With a sore throat and or lungs. All day.
This is my third cold in seven years I think…
I’m never ill because I have this low cortisol level. It makes for a mean and reactive immune system 馃檪 You could say I have a diva warrior defending me. “Everything is a threat and they must BURN!”

It seems I’ve crippled my warrior at the wool party, taking perhaps too much of my cortisol Hormone Replacement Therapy. There has also been some stress the past couple of weeks, with the planned manure plant next to the cabin (I’m still fighting them in court). And yesterday I had to manage a doctor at the hospital into getting me the exam I need. Not an easy thing to do since they are very overworked at that department and the times are still not ripe for patients who are competent discussion partners in their treatment. But we’re getting there. Luckily less and less doctors feel threatened by patients asking questions and giving suggestions. But it takes some grace and social skills, both of which take me a lot of energy to muster and apply.

Anyway, stress ups cortisol levels and cortisol surpresses the imune system but you have no time to be ill so you soldier on.
Untill you do have time. And that’s why you get ill at the beginning of your holidays or after you’ve done the doctor thing or done the legal thing. The stress has lessened overnight but the cortisol rages on for a while, it being a slow train of an anti-stress hormone.
You finally have time to be ill and so you are.

I’ve been in bed all day. Coughing and sleeping. Lillepoes likes it a lot. Not the coughing bit but the sleeping bit. It’s nice 馃檪

I thought I just pop in here and talk to you, from my iPad. Hopefully tomorrow I can take those photo’s. But honestly, the magic moment has gone. Tomorrow looks to be just plain old regular Thursday.

But we’ll see. Haven’t touched wool today. Might be a decisive factor on magic.

Charting snowdrops for the mushroom dyed vest (spencer)

I want to have my stranded spencer on the way for the wool fair on 19 and 20 May in Nieuwport. I’d love to show the tutor then some results of his dyeing workshop.

I’ve determined I need to cast on about 250 stitches, on needles 2,5 mm, aiming for a gauge of 30 st/10 cm. I need to redo the math before I cast on but it’s good enough to start charting in Stitchfiddle.

My inspiration for the bottom of the spencer is聽one of the mitten kits from Riihivilla, mushroom dyer expert in Finland. The pattern is聽Snowdrop Mittens by Jouni Riihel盲 and Leena Riihel盲, only available with the kit.
聽pic by Riihivilla

I’m also looking at the free聽Snowdrop chart by Sandra J盲ger which was nicely modified by Tribpot in her Snowdrop Square.

But both are not the snowdrops that are my favourites. These designs have their snowdrops open and well in bloom:

The ones on the cuff of the mittens even look to be a double hybrid:

This is how I love my snowdrops:
Untitled pic by me

A closed, white drop, like a little bell, with a little green hat and blueish slender leafs. I should be able to chart these. Even though I don’t have a dark green in my palette of mushroom dyed yarns.

I’ve set some other parameters for the spencer: Jugendstil feel instead of Fair Isle. (Fair Isle has small ribbons of repetitive patterns). No diamond shapes but rather flowing lines. But not too large/high.

Eeek, I’m still nervous to start serious charting so I wasted some precious time making this collage to get in the mood:
snow drop collage art nouveau

Not sorry I wasted time. It has beautiful pictures and lines!
And, after all, humans are eye-loving animals. (That’s crooked language, it sounds like we love to have them for dinner. Should it be “visual creature”? “Sight addicts”? Don’t know. We love patterns and colours and seeing things.)(In that vein: I love how cats learn to tolerate our adoring gazes. To them, staring is rude and threatening. But nearly all pets learn that their humans are eye-addicts and they allow us to stare at them and adore them. I love when life serendips like that.)(What? Should totally be a word.)

The collage has some embroidered snowdrops and those translate well onto knitting charting paper. As long as you modify them a bit because聽a knitted stitch is not square.

Eventually I did get to work. Here’s my work in progress:

Each row only has two colours. Where there are 3 colours on the chart, that one stitch will be slipped from the previous row, thusly stretching it a bit up to the current row. It’s not an extra stitch or third colour in that row.

Sooo. Wasted some more hours writing this post. Did you notice my detours or was I stealthily enough to聽still claim聽efficiency?

Yeah, I thought so too.

Alright, I’ll do some more charting now. Those leafs don’t look very “Art Nouveau” to me and I need something “curly” on the top to make the transition to the next thing above. Which will be….ermm….??