A better armhole and nice things on the walls.

This is the new armhole:

Much better!

It may still look a bit large but in my experience it shapes up when you pick up stitches (3 for every 4 rows) and start the sleeve. Tubes always feel more narrow.

I kept the increases at the neckline the same because I will attach a shawl collar to it. It feels a bit weird, having fronts that do not close and a neckline that even runs over the apex of the bust. But my Grey Pumpkin Ale has the same neckline and wears very nicely with its shawl collar. (And this yarn is soft enough to wear next to the skin.)

Oooh, what’s that behind me, in the hallway? Is that an embroidered cat?

It is!
cabin cosy decoration cat window sill cat embroidery
This is a vintage embroidery I found at the thrift store many years ago. Somebody put lots of love and effort in this! It came with the frame too.
I often stand before it and have a little pause, appreciating it.

It hangs over my birthday calendar, right between the front door and the hooks where we keep our keys. Under it hangs a small ceramic cat hanger, bought at the x-mas market in Muenster. There used to be some glass x-mas baubles there too, all year round. A happy little hippo and a cat, but they broke in the course of time.

The first few years we had the cabin I’d go to the church thrift store in the village here. This was before thrifting gained a main interest. It was just old farmers bringing their stuff and trying to raise some money for (the roof of) the church. It was an empty building with local ladies volunteering and a table with a coffeepot and a tin with cookies for people to have a sit and chat.

I’d look for old handmades with a friendly vibe to put on the wall of the cabin. My foot treadle sewing machine is from there too. And my kitchen scales. Most of the crockery. Some hand tools.

In later years having friendly decorations became more important as I had fallen ill by then and was staying at the cabin permanently. I’d lie on the couch most of the day, not able to move or think, and it was vital to have friendly things in sight, wherever my gaze fell. This is the wall opposite my couch:
cabin cosy decoration cat window sill cat embroidery
The embroidered cats came from the thrift store, the rest are gifts from Ravelers (=people from Ravelry). All from people who understood I had to be approached softly but not tepidly. Most of them I hadn’t met in real life when they send me things. There are hummingbirds under the lamp ūüôā

Over the years family and ravelers send cards and handmades and I stuck them on my walls and they encouraged me when I felt down:
cabin cosy decoration cat window sill cat embroidery
The birdy paperclips were a birthday present.

Above my sewing machine these two hang:
cabin cosy decoration cat window sill cat embroidery
That pincushion is a handmade taking hours of love, also a present from a Raveler ūüôā Someone I’ve met maybe twice in the past 8 years! Talked to her online four times total. You don’t need to be an active presence in my life to contribute significantly to my wellbeing ūüôā

The wren I painted myself, sometime in the last century. The frame is all oak, from the church thrift store.

And this is the window sill next to my sewing machine, right over the chair Lillepoes loves to sleep on. It’s also opposite my couch so I’ve seen these cards every day all day long for the last 8 years ūüôā
cabin cosy decoration cat window sill cat embroidery
Cards from Ravelers, handmade pincushions, cats and fairytales. These are the four subjects my happiness revolved around for all the time I’ve been ill ūüôā I’d simply enjoy the colours and the sentiments if I was very brainfogged. I’d explore compositions and alternative storylines if I had two braincells to rub together.

I no longer live at the cabin. I’m a city girl now.
Times have changed here too. The thrift store has moved into a real store and is now a professional venue. They still have coffee but it’s a machine now: drink up while you shop.
The old farmers have all gone and their (grand)children have sold all their stuff online, cashing in on “vintage”.

We visit the cabin for short stays now. A weekend here, a midweek there. I slide right back into the old habits of friendliness and peace. But it is not sustaining me anymore if I stay here for longer periods. If I stay here longer than 5 days by myself, I get antsy and sad. I feel society’s progress closing in. There’s always more traffic, more people, more stuff being build around here. Time is running through my fingers.

It’s still a safe haven but it’s edges are defined now.
I wonder where the next decade will see us. Me and the cabin.

By the way,¬†I recognize this antsy-ness, the feeling of being restrained. It’s the sign of one door closing and not yet seeing which window opened. It’s the sign of new opportunities. Ones you can forge yourself, should you desire to.

It’s an uneasiness I know from points in my careers, studies, relationships, internet groups, society as a whole, you name it. So I’m not unsettled by the uneasiness itself. After all, it’s the breeding ground that brings forth the most innovative things.

It’s the possibility to determine and forge a new direction that hinders me. It feels like an obligation. Be smart. Act.

But I’m not ready to bring the cabin to a new era. I’m still very much attached to old ways, old nature and old embroidered cats on the walls.

Or other beasts:
cabin kitchen wall decoration embroidery bird gaai
(that’s the wall above my stove:)
cabin kitchen wall decoration embroidery bird gaai

Once, twice, Little Flower Cardigan

It’s happening again…

Is it a knitting law?
That whenever you knit a fitted garment you actually knit it twice. Knit once, wisen up, rip it out, knit it again, better.

This is my Little Flower Cardigan. The one from my handdyed sportsweight, where I start with a lace backpanel and then improvise a cardigan, inspired by Dahlia Cardigan. Two weeks ago I blocked the back panel in the cabin:

And then I spend all the time I didn’t knit on the green handspun rolls vest calculating and knitting the two front panels to the back panel. I had to figure out the rate of increases and the armhole and where to pick up the parked stitches from the back panel.

I used Grande Plage cardigan  by Claudia Geiger as my guideline since we share gauge and it has sleeves you knit after you knit the bodice:

And now I have two front panels and am at the bottom of the back panel and should start some waist decreases soon (or a bust dart) and I haven’t knit at it for a few days mainly because of distraction by thrummed earmufflers but also a bit because I was unsure about it:

These front panels are a bit skimpy. I reasoned: “I’m going to add a shawl collar, just like with Grey Pumpkin Ale. It’s going to be beautiful!”

But it’s not the front that’s the problem. It’s the sides. That armhole is very big.
“It’s allright. Your Grey Pumpkin Ale has big armholes too!”

So I showed my friends the picture and asked: “Are these arm holes too big? What would you do? Would you reknit the front panels?”
And they said: “Yes, they are too big. Reknit.”

ūüė°¬†I don’t want to go back to where I was two weeks ago. I want to wear this cardi, now.
So I said: “My Grey Pumpkin Ale has big armholes like this! I’ll just pick up stitches and start decreasing in the round before I knit the actual sleeve. Here, like this:”

And they said: “They are too big on your Grey Pumpkin Ale too. Look at all the fabric at the underarm.”

ūüė°
Stupid hobby. Stupid knitting laws. I’m bound by this gorgeous yarn. I want that nice cardigan, with a nice fit. So I will reknit. After I recalculate everything.

In the mean time I’ve cast on for a loose fitting sweater. With a boucl√© yoke. With sparkles. Without a pattern:

And I’ve bought fingering weight for another cardigan. With speckles. And stripes. (I don’t like stripes.)

And I’m ignoring the three vests and four cardigans I already have on the needles. They are in the closet.

I feel there are some more knitting laws in play here and that I’m not using any of them to my advantage.

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 one of the mitten kits from Riihivilla, mushroom dyer expert in Finland. The pattern is Snowdrop Mittens by Jouni Riihelä and Leena Riihelä, only available with the kit.
 pic by Riihivilla

I’m also looking at the free¬†Snowdrop chart by Sandra J√§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:
 wiki

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

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 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 still claim 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….??

Weird Wool Wednesday: lalala I can’t hear you, in style.

To my WIPs:

and because I like to do my ignoring in style I am going to costumize my ear mufflers today.

I’ve got a new pair of ear mufflers that I wear daily. They’re the kind that builders use. My old ones are worn out after 5+ years of daily use, so today I bought a new pair:
Untitled
They look al stern and urban and dark and a bit “Porsche” too (or is that just me?). I want to make them more friendly. (At the bottom of this post there’s a PS¬†about the peace and quiet of wearing ear mufflers and how I want to murder you if I hear you chew.)

Think “earmuffs” and you think this:

Fun fur on a crocheted base. Defining the publics idea of earmuffs since the ’80s. Free pattern from Lion Brand Yarn.

Not an option for me, I’m not 13 yo anymore nor would I want to look like one every day. Nice to have the option though. Perhaps make a series of covers and have them in rotation, change covers according to mood? Together with these perhaps, for my inner 8 yo:

Sheep Earmuffs by Joanne Loh, a free pattern.

I could knit a plain cover and costumize it:

Free pattern “Two hoots adjustable ear warmers” by Iris Wildsmith¬†but it’s not available at the moment ūüė¶

The owl and the cover it sits on are knitted. I’d go for crochet, it’s faster and you could attach the embellishment to the cover while making it, instead of having to sew it on later.

Crocheted earmuffs, with flower embellishments:

Cheerful Earmuffs by Mags Kandis, not online available, it’s published in a book.

These look nice and friendly. But all a bit childish. I don’t think I want to be this lovable every day. Half of the time when I’m wearing my ear mufflers out in public I don’t want to be approached. For example in public transport, when knitting or when in a busy establishment. These friendly flowers and animals send the wrong message.

(The other half of the time I do want to be approached when wearing mufflers, I’m only using them to dampen sounds, not social contacts. For example at fairs, festivals or when walking down the street. My new mufflers in their current look hinder this.)

Instead of having a separate embellishment I could use knitting or crocheting itself to make things pretty:

This is I Heart Earmuffs by Faye Kennington, a paid for pattern which uses decreases and thrums in a beautiful way. I’m impressed how technique and functionality are combined and made into a thing of beauty. This is how I want all my “things” to be!
My clothes, my WIPbags, my building, my utensils, my tools, my car, my city, my train, my station, my airport, my plane. You know, “my things”.

Ahummm, I’m getting carried away here¬†… but combining the essence of a building technique with the essence of a material and achieve good¬†functionality AND make it beautiful, that’s the summum of human creation to me and a great source of joy for me as a human being.
O my, now I have to buy this pattern, just because it’s making me write these words and show you my inner pompous! Or is it my inner architect? (Is there a difference even?)

They look like great earwarmers, don’t they? Imagine nestling your ears into those fields of thrums. Hmmm!
Another thing I found with wearing earmufflers for sound is how safe it feels when something is covering your ears. I now think of this as a separate quality worth bringing into ones life. For example¬†in the evening, when you’re sitting at home. Or when you’re out, studying somewhere. Or in your bed, sleeping.
These earmuffs would be perfect, for feeling safe.

Right, I want to make these earmuffs!
Even though I’ve never done thrums before. It’s a paid for pattern, I’m sure thrums are well explained.
I’d call my project “Earthrums” ūüėÄ

But first continue looking for ways to make my new earmufflers more friendly. Bulky thrums will only make them bigger. But thrums, in themselves, do show the heart of knitting:

Free pattern Muffy by Susan Buchanan, published in Knitty .
I like this one, with the thrums. It’s a look that can only be achieved by knitting.

I’m a little bit concerned that my version would look ratty in a short while, though. Thrums will always fluff, I think. Especially with me being a loose knitter and wearing the things every day…

Looking for a pattern with less chance of pilling:

These are¬†Pinwheel Earmuffs by Lee Meredith, one of my favourite designers. A non-free, knitting pattern. It’s written for bulky (=pilling risk) but the pattern can easily be enlarged, I guess, to accommodate smaller weights of yarn. Sock weight wouldn’t pill at all.

Now, how would I attach a round knitted or crocheted sphere to my ear mufflers? They are are all bulge-y. Crochet is easily shaped around that. But knitting stretches over it. Which one to choose and how to attach??

Let me think.

Putting on my thinking cap for a moment:

This is pattern Katamari Queen Earmuffs by Nikol Lohr, not free but fabulous!

Take something fabulous, scale it down, remove grand gestures and you’re left with something stylish:

These are¬†¬†Floral Ear Muffs by Tatsiana Kupryianchyk and it’s free too!

I’ve already added it to my library, this is a serious contender. When made in cotton I can even wash them and keep them fresh looking all the time. Still not solved how to attach them to my ear pieces but yes, I think this is the pattern.

Stylish, not childish. Not too inviting. Not rebuking either. Not pilling and even washable. Yes please!

.

.

.

O my.

A new world presents itself.

This is “overlay crochet”. A new technique, to me.

Never heard of it, love the look of it. Each round only has one colour but you grab back to a previous round and attach stitches to it. You can build layers upon layers. How quaint!

The designer is a Swedish little bear from the Czech Republic called Tatsiana Kupryianchyk. She loves the cold grey seas and the fresh wind. She has a marvelous site over at Lillabjorncrochet.com and she explains overlay crochet very well. I like good explanations.

Tatsiana send me a free pattern for a macaron pincushion when I signed up for her newsletter:

I adore little handmade pincushions… and new techniques…that are well explained…and Europeans who love the sea and Scandinavia…

I’m falling hard!

So is anybody¬†surprised to find me and my ear mufflers at¬†the Danish shop S√łstrene Grene to look at their cotton?
Untitled

Very difficult to choose colours…. not to much contrast, not too little…. the colours need to be appropriate for every day, for every occasion… difficult, difficult. I need a dark one and a light one and two middle ones and they all must work together and work with my wardrobe and my face and my hair and my glasses:
Untitled

O no! Just as I’m about to leave with my colour choice I find a box filled with little skeins of cotton! More options!
Untitled

This cotton is non-mercerized and more loosely plied than other cotton. It’s matte. I think that works well for a thing that I want to wear every day, near my face. Ravelry calls it “kitchen cotton” if that means anything to you. (it doesn’t to me, I’m a newbie in crocheting with cotton).

Ugh, my new mufflers have a terrible sharp edge. I cut myself and it bled! Needs to be covered in yarn:
Untitled
Bad design. Ugh. This is not “my thing” at all. Not yet… I can make it better.

O my god… this happened when I got home¬†with my skeins:

Trying out the technique and the colour combinations. It’s a good pattern! That are two half macarons right there.

Just a little while later and I have a whole macaron pin cushion:

It has two sides. Because the yarn is matte, soft and “collapsing” (i.e. not round or tightly plied) the typical stitches of the overlay crochet technique do not pop. But I like it that way.

I like this. I love this!
 in purple grey taupe blue.

I’m going to cover my ear mufflers with overlay crochet and my WIPs can live in the closet for a while longer.

(Except for my sportsweight Serra cardigan.¬†That one I’m knitting like the good cat that I am.)

—————————————————————————————————–

PS: Here’s a bit about wearing ear mufflers and relaxing and recovering from ME and filtering out impulses and also: misophonia.
 Dog noise protection.

I wear my mufflers in the city, at wool fairs, during felting workshops and when I take my daily rest on my day bed. I wear them just about anywhere where I can do with a bit of peace and quiet after an hour of noise.

It’s a good thing, muffling sounds. It helps resetting the nervous system into a relaxed state. It’s good for people who are wired by nature; for people who are sensitive; people who feel overwhelmed and just about anybody else who recharges in a world of calm instead of action.

Don’t get me started on continuous noises such as building noises, traffic, waves at the sea, planes and helicopters going overhead, a washing machine rumbling or music in the city. The hum of electronic devices! Dog whistles. Humming airco units on buildings. Some truck parked and running stationary. Especially cooling trucks sporting a Thermoking!
All these siphon away my energy.
Untitled pic by Zena C, of a Thermoking truck.

I like my ear mufflers, my old ones. I had bend them so they’re not that tight. They are truly mine, after months of wearing they shape into a left one and a right one. I put¬†foam stickers on them, covering the neon brand sign. There’s a giraffe on the left and an elephant on the right. That way I could¬†feel which way the mufflers ought to go, without looking. And they look friendly.

I also wear them when my husband is eating his dinner. Because I have the charming affliction called misophonia where you get all murderous when you hear someone gulping or munching nearby. It’s a neurological thing, it’s nothing personal. It’s like nails on a black board, there’s no defence to it nor a possibility to prevent the reaction. *chomp chomp* = instant hate.

The sounds tap straight into the nervous system responsible for Fight or Flight (the sympathetic nervous system). In this case triggering the FIGHT response:

We can give it a fancy name:

And there are triggers everywhere if you open yourself up to them:

But it’s just one of those things. Don’t sweat over it. Don’t make it bigger than it is.

My mysophonia isn’t triggered over people eating carrots or apples or chips. It’s when I hear the wet sounds of masticating or the gullllp of a swallowed fluid that I get enraged. Truly enraged. I indeed fantasize about¬†planting a fist into someones face.

But that’s all it is. It’s just a bout of rage. It passes. It’s just an emotion, a fleeting emotion. I’m mature enough to not associate it with the person initiating this reaction.

My husband is mature enough too. He just hands me my mufflers when he brings his food and we enjoy peace while he eats. There are more important things in life. The fact that¬†he is considerate enough to bring me my mufflers -or check whether I’m wearing ear plugs before he operates the coffee bean grinder- makes me love him every time he does so. I so appreciate his consideration ūüôā

There are some tricks to ease the misophonia, for example it’s less¬†if we’re both eating or if we’re talking while eating or when there’s some noise masking the chewing¬†like a movie on tv or music. Distraction works. I can even force myself to zone out but, honestly, that’s so much work that it’s easier to wear the mufflers and not take it personal.

So. Having a pair of mufflers just to make life easier when that life includes continuous sounds and noises and misophonia works very well for me. I can still talk while wearing them and I can still hear what people say. It does take a bit of practise though, especially speaking when you can’t hear yourself.
If I want total quiet I put in earplugs before putting on my mufflers.
The downside of ear mufflers is I can’t wear my glasses.

Also: I married a fidgeter. He’ll click a pen; play with the zipper of his hoodie;¬†move his foot over the hocker up down up down up down; frunnik frunnik frunnik!

A fidgeter and a precision hearer, we are clearly matched to put a chuckle into life ūüėÄ

(If only he would fidget with a hook and some yarn! But noooo.)

Preparing for Advent

This year I’m going to enjoy the month of December in the city. By now my health is well enough that I can make an effort and keep my home tidy and pleasant on a daily (ok, ok, weekly) basis.
advent
This December I’m really going to keep it up and enjoy my home life.

I want to mark every day. With yarn. Enter the Wolop Advent Calendar!
It is a mystery box with 24 miniskeins of soft, fingering yarn in unknown colours.
Wolop Adventsbox Adventskalender 2016 breiwolWolop Adventsbox Adventskalender 2016 breiwol
The colours are a surprise! Every day is a secret. I don’t do well with surprises at all but I’ve decided to enjoy this. I want to knit with a new skein every day although I won’t know what colour I’ll get.

So I’ve been looking for ideas¬†to use yarn every day, regardless of the colours you get:
tinekepin1
These are just a few ideas from the many on this pinterest board, all gathered by Tineke from Atelier The Green Sheep.
I made a bundle on Ravelry with pattern ideas.

This week Wolop started her own group on Ravelry and it too has a bundle with patterns for the adventsbox.

I’m looking for a daily thing to knit, crochet, weave.
Specifically things to weave intrigue me. I love this shawl by Dreamersplace!

Absolutely love it. There are accent wefts, in the colour of the warp. And she divides mini skeins so she can use that colour again a second time.

This cloth was woven last year, using the Opal Advents box (which had 20 gram skeins):

How about making a little square each day on potholder looms?

Here too, I’d reserve parts of the daily skein and use it on a later day, to bring coherence in the end product.
A project like this would really show off the colours Wolop chose… which I don’t know… which is driving me bonkers… because I really like to be in control when it comes to colours! ūüėÄ

Making a little finished item each day is also very nice. I looked for items that only take 10 grams (40 m) of fingering yarn:

These patterns can be found in the Wolop Adventsbundle, I put them there.
But I don’t think I need 24 little cats or elephants. I’m too hung up on usefulness. It’s ingrained into me. I’m culturally and historically burdened! Calvinism! “Thou shalt be useful.” Calvinism everywhere! Without a playful tiger¬†paws from Hobbe….

…oooh….

I only now see what Bill Watterson did. That clever man!

“Calvin and Hobbes follows the humorous antics of Calvin, a precocious, mischievous, and adventurous six-year-old boy, and Hobbes, his sardonic stuffed tiger. The pair is named after John Calvin, a 16th-century French Reformation theologian, and Thomas Hobbes, a 17th-century English political philosopher.” wikipedia

Love it. I already admire him for his art work (that brush virtuosity!) and compositions. Now this. Clever man.

Ah. Well. Not trying to fight my ingrained tendencies I’ve also been looking at combining unknown colours and usefulness.

Which logically leads to stranded knitting:


That last one is Lorix5’s Favourite Things shawl.

The pattern is¬†‘My Favourite Things’ Infinity Scarf by Jill McGee and it is free. It basically says: “cast on 72 stitches, choose a motif each day that makes you happy, continue knitting until reaching desired length, kitchener together.”

Yes please!

This enhances what I want for December: live and mark each day individually. Each day I’ll open one of the mystery packs from the Wolop Advent Calendar, see what colour it is, get inspired towards a certain subject or motive and knit that. Perhaps even make a little drawing to accompany the occasion. Salute mr. Waterson ūüėČ

I won’t fret about colours not being to my taste. This shawl will not be about my colour palette, it will be about the experience of December 2016. Marking each day and, hopefully, being a testament to a month in which I again leap forward in health and mental robustness. Or have a fun month regardless.

I can save a bit of the colour du jour to use it later, as an accent or to bring more coherence into the shawl. I’ll also can knit a bit of “bland” stockinette stitch and go back to it later and duplicate stitch onto it with a colour that is released later in the calendar.

I’ll cast on 211 stitches (or something). The 72 mentioned above is for bulky yarn.

And I’ll have a few basic colours standby from the start so I can knit stranded from day one. I have a bit of white, grey and blue so I’ll have enough options to knit in desired contrasts.

Yes, really looking forward to December and I’m already preparing the house.
The first few days are about this guy:
advent
Sinterklaas, which we celebrate on the 5th.

Around the 16th of December I’ll assist at Winterwol fair again, with Wolop, in the very north of the country.

21st is the shortest day which marks the start of the lengthening of the day.

24th is Christmas, which for me is the start of the “12 days of x-mas” which is the “time outside time”. From 24 until 6th of January (or perhaps 12th) I’ll be spinning. Together with Frau Holle, or Hulda, the pre-celtic goddess of nature, farming, spinning and cats. I mentioned this winter = spinning = weird time a few years ago. I’m glad to give it some attention in my life again.

But that’s all for later. Today I’m putting together¬†the DIY Advent star:
advent

It’s an antique design, by religious group the Hernhutters. Just carton and split pins (cotter pins). The Hernhutters are do-gooders from 18th century Germany, they are also known as Moravians. I have no affiliation with them but grew up near their settlement in the Netherlands and their goodwill towards people permeated the whole town.advent adventsster hernhutters

Sitting comfortably on fibre stories.

This is the chair I sit on when I make art:
Untitled
It’s a vintage stool from my youth. Sturdy, wood and a bit hard on the buttocks. At the moment my childhood blanky is on there, haha, because I only just got back to doing art a month ago and I needed something to sit on right then and there.
This stool needs a soft cushion and I am thinking wool.

I have another stool,¬†my spinning stool, which has the same problem. Its cushion I made many years ago and it’s no longer comfortabel, it’s grown¬†too flat:
UntitledUntitled

I really like this little cushion, I embellished it with some sort of free style knitting, following instructions from a book by knitting artist Mary Walker Phillips:
link to amazon
Her pattern on Ravelry Fantasy Yarn Over only has my projects as projects :s
I long to knit more of this pattern of her every year ūüôā but sadly I never do, because I cannot think of a usable end project.

Back in 2011 I used it to embellish this round cushion and two rectangular ones. Snoring critics inform me that the square ones are still comfy:
Untitled

I’d like to upgrade my spinning stool cushion. Not replace it. So I ripped open the seam: wow, the stuffing is all flat and felted. It’s some fleece I didn’t want to proces or spin of felt at the time but didn’t want to throw out either because it was organic fleece and of a special colour:
Untitled
Made in 2011 my project notes say! Been in use ever since.
I’m going to add stuffing and keep on using it.

Now for my crafting stool…
If I can find some sort of felt cover and stuff it with old fleece I’ll have a cushion that works. I could even add some of the freestyle knitting.

Looking around the cabin for a sturdy piece of felt I found my felted sheep bag, the one I made in 2012:

In 2016 it’s not so beautiful anymore as it was in this picture. It’s worn down.¬†Withered. Bald in places. The locks have matted in other. This is no longer a nice bag.
But I find it hard to¬†throw away something that’s handmade, something that reminds me of that awesome day of workshop we had at Wolbeest. Something wooly.

Now I can reuse it. It will become a cushion. I ripped the seams that held the straps:
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Then I plucked off the little sheeps head. This will get a special place in my house.
Then I turned the bag inside out, the sturdy felted side now sits on the outside:
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I’m stuffing it with the green Clun Forest¬†that was¬†left over from a handspun dress¬†in 2013:
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That’s the Clun Forest Lillepoes has shown some love in every step of the processing back in 2013: dyeing, carding, spinning.



I love her little face ūüôā I cannot look at this fleece and not see that happy face inside the paper bag. It was one of the hottest days of that year and there she was, my little cat, stealthily snuck into a bag of wool while I was carding it into rollags, happy as punch.

The spun yarn was scratchy though¬†and I seldom wear the finished garment. I certainly didn’t feel like processing and spinning the rest of the fleece. But I couldn’t throw it away either. Apart from it being good, functional fleece and the happy Lillepoes’ face it also was a gift from a couple who own a small fibre dye business, as a thank you for me being me and being enthousiastic even when I was very ill and inviting them to get a booth at¬†the Country Fair. I can’t throw away wool with that kind of heritage. There are stories in these fibres!

So I used all the remaining Clun Forest to stuff the bag and my spin stool cushion:
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The bag is now a cushion for my crafting stool.

The spinning¬†cushion needs to be sewn shut but I’ll do that¬†next time because right now my sewing chair is in use:
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PS
Now I long again to “play with knitting” and do that free style sort of thing Mary Walker Phillips promotes!

If I can just think of a usable item that can handle a plain of freestyle knitting…
MWP “only” made wall hangings and I have no need for those.
There’s cushions but it’s not really practical because the embellishment needs to be handsewn to the cover, preferably all over, to remain in place and resist knitting needles and cat claws.
There’s this cardigan that could be an example:

It’s Middlemarch by Miranda Davies, free from Knitty. But I have many other cardigans I want to knit first.
I tried a hat and a scarf once but it wasn’t a happy match with the yarn:

And I did another cushion cover, with a halo-yarn. Which I hate to knit. What was I thinking.

I cannot think of something useful to make and I’m not the kind of person who just sits down to tinker with yarn, without a useful endproject in mind. I think I’ll end up sitting on this one for another year. Or do you perhaps have ideas?

the 12 days of x-mas KAL started

Today the first installment for the 12 Days of Christmas Mitten Garland KAL by Kat Lewinski was released. We have two weeks to knit one mitten. This is the first design:

 pic by Kat Lewinski

You can find everything and more about this design at her great site Just Craftsy Enough.

I love this design very much! I adore wood block printing (think linocut prints if you need further mental images) and art with high contrast and/or colour blocks.

Cast on is 48 stitches and gauge is 40 st per 10 cm (4 inches) which I never get. I can do 32 at best, sock gauge. That’s already on my smallest needles (2 mm or even 1,75 mm).
This has the consequence that the mitten knits up to a functional size. My size!

It already fits me and I love the colours I’m using:

That’s the light green from the Mosaic Mittens. With dark brown.

I’d love to wear this mitten! Its partner would be the next mitten design. Or any of the other days of x-mas mittens. If I have enough yarn to prolong this colour scheme…

Knitting a wearable mitten has a consequence of its own though: I’d like to have the picture right side up. So I can see the partridge while wearing the mitten. Here’s a quick sketch next to the original picture of¬†how that might look:

12days-of-xmas-kal1

I just flipped the image in Photoshop and did some hotseflotsepocus.

But flipping the image has further consequences. As you can see I preserved the holly on the cuff of the mitten, I feel it should stay there. (This is a design choice. As is elongating the cuff a bit.) But how to go from there to the base of the “picture” that’s predominantly dark? And what colour thumb goes well with that?

I spend some time playing around on Photoshop to check out various options. And now I feel bad. Changing this design is not very respectful towards the designer, it feels.
She did host a KAL earlier this year teaching us to design our own mittens to our own measurements and own gauge so she might not feel offended but it doesn’t feel right.¬†All her work and intentions and here I go scrambling things up… it doesn’t feel good.

Besides, I’ve now -finally- learned¬†to be weary of knitting projects where I try and do a smart thing… I usually overthink things and then I get annoyed that I don’t get it perfect or I worry all the time while knitting that it won’t work out and I rob myself of the joy of knitting. I should be weary of such projects. This feels very much like such a¬†project, where I to alter the design.

But I’m so confused! Because playing with contrast colours and their positions is a part of the (wood) block print designing that I love. LOVE. Not a chore at all. Always an interesting designing stage. Never malintended towards anyone.¬†I cannot rhyme it with the hesitation I feel.

So I’m not knitting further on the mitten at the moment, nor designing on it. I’m going to let it rest for a few days, see if some preference surfaces.

Here are the sketches I made up, trying out dark and light details:

12days-of-xmas-kal212days-of-xmas-kal312days-of-xmas-kal4

The role of the details is to support the main feature: the partridge and its elegant pear. I’m inclined to think the last one best for that. That’s when I realized how much I had butchered the picture of the designer, Kat Lewinksi. A picture I have no rights to. And that’s when I realized how I much I was enjoying the¬†ride on the design-train and was solely focusing on solving a (graphic) design puzzle and had forgotten about¬†everything else.
And that is when I applied the break.

Now I don’t know what to do so I’m going to bed. Always a sensible thing to do. Sleep on it.

Not finished with Temptress Shawl yet…

I’ve bound her off. Lots and lots of picots.

Haven’t blocked yet. Because…. I’m thinking that the edge might be too frilly.

I have been wearing it around the house today though ūüôā

For this shawl pattern, Temptress by Boo Knits, this picture has always been my inspiration picture:

It’s Booknits’ own shawl, “thuggisly” blocked, as she likes to put it.

Looking at the edge I now realize that that blocking evens out the picots.

And somehow I also always thought there were beads worked into the bind off too. One in every “icicle” (I’d love that), but there aren’t.

In the pattern Booknits gives some pointers to how she binds off: co 2 stitches not too loose. Bind them off a little tight too. The third bind off  is loose.

I think I cast on and bound off too loose. I’ve got frills. And they will stay, if my first Temptress is anything to go by.

My first Temptress in blue was blocked when finished a few years ago and has been worn and thrown about since then. The frilly picots are still there.

So I’m wearing my unblocked Temptress and looking at it from time to time trying to make up my mind. Block it and live with the frills? Or undo the bindoff and redo it?

In the mean time I’m basking in the beauty of it. It’s so soft and gleamy and I LOVE the colour and the beads!

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I don’t want the frills.

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I’m going to redo the bind off.

But not right away. I want to wear this colour for a bit, think of nightly coloured Aquilegias and Spring:

Spending a day indoors with a lovely goat.

I spend all yesterday playing with this ball of cashmere yarn:

It’s 100% cashmere, 50 grams, about 170 m DK weight. It is SOFT. It is beautiful.

And it was the whole day! From the morning till the evening.
At 9 o’clock I settled at my table, yarn and tea nearby, and browsed the Ravelry pattern database for patterns. I already knew what I wanted: a narrow cowl with a delicate textured stitch and some colour accents from a second ball of this cashmere in lavender.

These are the patterns I bundled up:
Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 08.27.15http://www.ravelry.com/bundles/cashmere-colletje

Little Green Elf Cowl and HRH, The Queen can be knit the same way: a lace edging is knit sideways and when it encircles the neck you pick up stitches and work a tube upwards.

Lace Luxe Cowl and Podcaster are just tubes worked upwards, perhaps decrease a bit as you go. Mind that circumference and bind-off are loose enough too fit around your head.

Papyrus is a tube too but knitted sideways and then grafted together, like a snake biting itself in the tail. Very warm if I were to knit it in 100% cashmere.

I decided upon a lace edging with a tube on top of it. Little Green Elf Cowl was the pattern but I wanted more the look of HRH, The Queen but not leaves. Something scallopy.

I browsed the database for lace edgings that have round shapes. Lots of them are leaf-shaped. I found a few that are mere round. I also looked in my grandmother’s knitting book because a 100 years ago decorative knitting was en vogue.

I settled upon Wide English Lace, a pattern from 1891:

I spend a few hours trying to work out how to only use the bottom row of shapes and end up with a straight top, just like Green Elf Cowl uses bottom shapes with a straight top:

The little squares have triangles on top that make for a straight edge.

I had to chart the round shape and put in triangles which I borrowed from Little Green Elf Cowl. Top edge is to the right, bottom scallopy edge to the left:

At around 11 o’clock I began testknitting. In the mean time finding out about the right size needles:

By now it’s noon. Time for more tea. And ordering new needles because how can there be a shortage of 2,25 mm in my house? I know I’ve ordered some in december. And then again in January. There should be heaps of them lying around here??

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 08.47.21

Ah. I see…. Maybe I should finish some WIPs?

Or I could just order new needles and have them by Tuesday.

Borrowing the mitten needles in the mean time. 2,25 mm IS the size I need:

Now begins the tweaking stage of the testknitting. Making the thing just the way you like it, playing around a bit looking what this will do or that. I played around with making the round shapes a bit longer. Also loosing the top edge because it was too much, I was afraid I’d run out of yarn. (The original edge, with the YO row, does make a good ridge for where the neck warmer changes direction, from a collar that lies flat on the shoulder to a tube that encloses the neck. I think it will work with just picking up stitches too.)

I don’t like the open triangles much, I’m experimenting with closed ones.

Charting my changes in the mean time. I’ve indicated with a “stairs-like line” how the pattern divides in the triangles making the straight edge; the round shape and the thin outer edge that follows those round shapes. Understanding these three aspects took a long time. Two hours maybe? Lots of scribble on previous papers but I’m not showing those because I prefer you to think I’m all smart and organized ūüėČ

Getting there! I like how the shape is visible/defined by the YO. The hole in the middle is not overwhelming. The shape doesn’t turn into a leave-shape. The triangles are in proportion to the round shapes.

The top scallop fixes one last thing: a fault in the YO column on the left. Where the scallop is thickest Wide English Lace pattern has a little hickup in the lacey bit, you can see it in the second from the top. It is when you go from increasing to decreasing and has to do with where you place the decrease according to the YO. It’s like skipping, when you change rhythm. The change is visible in knitting unless you fix it.

By now it’s 2 o’clock in the afternoon and I’ve got this thing down. I really enjoyed finding my way through this puzzle. Understanding the patterns, understanding knitting and then commanding it. The yarn is a delight. The colours are so beautiful and they change with the changing light: cool February overcast and then suddenly sun. Gorgeous.

I spend another hour, playing. Trying¬†to insert some stockinette stitch because this yarn looks beautiful in it. And just garter stitch doesn’t look so sophisticated to me. Not very lady-like. But you can’t put in too much stockinette stitch because it will make the knitting curl up.

This is the last before last shape I testknitted. It looks great. A bit like a peacock’s feather. A bit too much like a feather perhaps? Knitted feathers turn into leaves easily. For the last shape I’ll wait another WS row before starting the stockinette stitch. It will start right before the hole and be only the two centre stitches at that.

I changed up the decreases next to the centre hole, I mirrored them. / and \ instead of one side having a k3tog as per original Wide Lace chart. The /\ at the bottom is the fix that helps with the skipping hickup.

The picture above shows the true colours of the yarn. Scrumtious!

At 4 o’clock I started my Cashmere Neckwarmer for real:

At 5 o’clock I had ripped it all out again because the top edge is too broad. I casted on again with fewer stitches at the top.

By 8 o’clock I had my lace collar:

After two scallops I had started to insert short rows to get the collar to bend. After another two scallops I had learned I needed to put in 3 shortrows in every part where the round shape is thinnest. Otherwise the outer edge will not stretch enough, as can be seen at the left where it already curls up.

But this lace edge doesn’t bend enough. This will not lie flat on my shoulders. I suspected this at 6 o’clock, 7 o’clock and a quarter to 8. But I couldn’t insert any more shortrows at the point where I was putting them, And I couldn’t bring myself to stop and rethink the whole project. I was pretty done with solving knitting puzzles, I just wanted to knit. So I finished and at 8 o’clock put a stop to it.

Leave it for the morning. I know it’s not good enough. Not for what I want it to be. Perhaps I invent a new use for it in the morning? It does look lovely. Feels lovely too.

Now I have mixed feelings. I’m a bit disappointed but it’s kind of a sweet one. I spend a whole day playing with patterns and yarn and it was fun. I hadn’t planned on a day like this, I was going to do all kinds of Useful Things. But I also needed to rest and this was a lovely way to spend¬†the day. But not having a usable collar feels strange. But but but.

Butt Butt Butt!

Cashmere kids playing outdoors.

Weird Wool Wednesday: a bird? a plane?

 

It’s¬†Super Grover!

pic from muppet wiki

This is the chart I made and used:

I lengthened the arms and the legs by one stitch. And I gave him a “chem trail”.

Here’s a different version, I’m just playing around:

Both charts made using StitchFiddle, the free online application that lets you make charts for stranded knitting, embroidery and lace knitting. You can save, download and share anything you make.