swap received: pincushion squirrel!

pincushion squirrel knittedpincushion squirrel knittedpincushion squirrel knitted
Wonderfully crafted. All knit!

I’m meant to prop up his tail and then sew him into his green cushion. That’s where the pins go, because the maker knew I didn’t want to stick pins in an animal or human figure.
So thoughtful and absolutely lovely 🙂

Made by a lovely woman, who got married just last week! Where did she find the time and the calmness to craft so delicately? She’s a superwoman indeed.

It’s Jannetta from StitchFiddle.com, the free online program to make knit- and embroidery charts.


swap send for the pincushion swap!

I told you about the secret swap for little pincushions and how much I adore small pincushions. My house is sprinkled with little pincushions and I use all of them. And I need more of them!

Luckily there was this swap. As I always make a dummy for a swap to try out the project I end up with a little project for myself too. I was so stoked to make a pincushion for my swappee and me, had all kinds of plans and inspiration too.

So trust me to get the one person in the swap who is way happier with a needle book than with a pin cushion!

A needle book it is! I made a trial and then I made the real thing and this is what I send:

 pic by Pippi

In her specific colours, with a cat because she adores cats and with cocktails because she has a holiday coming up soon. It’s a needle book for Pippi Spectre! Pictures above are by her.

You know Spectre, she loves cat tea mugs and she loves cat Suus and also these colours:

She too has a wardrobe in her own palette and she too can choose anything to wear and it will match whatever else she’s wearing. It’s a very relaxed way of dressing, we both recommend it.

Where my clothes are all a little subdued, like the surface of a mountain, Spectre’s clothes all have things to make her smile. Every individual thing is remarkable! Be it the print or the texture or the handmade details or the buttons. Everywhere you look there’s something remarkable and happy making. When I see her we spend the first 15 minutes with me squealing and touching her clothes and pointing out all the lovely details.

So I put extra effort in getting the colours right and getting a little party going on. The fabric at the front I made myself, with a new to me technique on my new sewing machine: scrap quilting, for which I found an awesome tutorial at 15minutesplay.com.

This is the dummy I made for me, to try out the technique. In the self dyed Indigo linen because I am mountain:

As you see I had to learn a lot:

Spectre’s needle book is way better than this one. Especially the edge binding and the choice of batting and the closing of the needle case. It’s good I did a trial run.

Unfortunately this fabric making has now smitten me with the quilting virus …

In other news:

yesterday I finally relaxed at the cabin. I am now calm again. It took 4 days for me to wind down. Hm.

I enjoy being outside, it smells so wonderful and the little robins are singing 🙂

In the evening me and Lillepoes sit on the couch knitting:

I even made a drawing, a few sumi-Ă© cats, one of which I send to Spectre:

sumi-e cats brushwork painting black white



a new swap: mini pin-cushions!

A new swap is starting in the Dutch Karma Swap Group.

A little handmade pincushion.
I LOVE pincushions, especially handmade ones and especially small ones!

BeFunky Collagepincushion
These are some elaborate examples from the photo pool of the Ravelry Handmade Pincushion Swap Group I participated in gladly a few years back. It was a lovely and generous group and they fortified me so much as I was still very ill back then. The group is no longer active as times have changed.

Here is my pinterest board with pincushions I either made or received, in that group or in the Dutch Karma Group:
BeFunky Collage my pincushions
So many techniques…. So much inspiration! I would gladly make any of these again for this new swap.

I have a few rules for my pincushions:
– I love small.
– it must function as a pincushion. I actually use all my pincushions!
– I won’t stick pins in an animal figure. I solve this by having all animal pincushions keep something in their paws and I stick the pins in that. The cat above holds a felted ball and the squirrel got a felted acorn to hold.
– If I make one for a swap I’ll make two: one for me and one for my swappee. This way I get to try out my idea before I make it for real AND I have a pincushion for myself at the end too 🙂

Oooh, I’m already gearing up for this swap! I would love to try a new one for this swap too. Either new in shape or a new technique. Isn’t this one marvelous?
knitting tuffet loaded by tesseresa
I think it is this pattern: Pin Cushion or Knitting Doo-dads Cushion by Carol Ann Dubrow. The pattern is no longer online but she found it in a webarchive. (Would have to improvise the embellishments myself.)

There are many more possibilities. Here’s a Ravelry database search for “pincushion”.

Do I want to knit? To crochet? Felt, embroider, sew, quilt? So many nice and diverse examples!
Pinnies :) pic by Maria Johnson

Ooooh, now I’m thinking of having a little get together in September, where we can craft on our pincushions together!
mushroom pincushion pic by LoRi

That will be nice. 🙂

Swap sent: Matilda by Roald Dahl

For the recent swap in the Dutch Karma Swap Group on Ravelry I read Matilda by Roald Dahl and made a handmade inspired by the book:
boekenswap Matilda swap WIP bag reading books
It’s a pyramid WIP bag, with 4 equally exact triangles.

This means the height of the fabric was the width/4 x 1,73.
(Usually crafters will just make the width 4 times the height because math is scary and also because that can be nicely done with pre cut fat quarters, but that will not give a true pyramid: its top will not be in the middle of the ground plane. There’s a Dutch explanation on this Belgian blog.)

I chose the outer fabric to be nice and precise, both in print and in sewed lines to keep the batting inplace. Nice and precise, just like Matilda and my swappee are. (And like I am). My swappee is Meilindis from Meilindis.nl (English blog).

The zipper gives a hint to what else is important:
boekenswap Matilda swap WIP bag reading books
It’s one of The Woolly Dodo stitchmarkers, without the ring.

This is the inside: chocolate cakes! Like the one the head of the school makes one of the pupils eat in totality. Enjoy some of the marvelous illustrations by Quentin Blake here 🙂

The lining of the bag:
boekenswap Matilda swap WIP bag reading books

And the content of the bag:
boekenswap Matilda swap WIP bag reading books
These are her two favourite chocolates and a coupon to get some more.

Then I painted this mug, to bring some more “book” to the swap:
boekenswap Matilda swap WIP bag reading books
boekenswap Matilda swap WIP bag reading books
boekenswap Matilda swap WIP bag reading books
Again I looked at Quentin Blake’s illustrations and let them inspire me.

This is at the bottom, because Meilindis and I both love cats:
boekenswap Matilda swap WIP bag reading books
I also included three tins of cat food for her cat 🙂

Mad about Socks: the swap I sent

So in the Dutch Karma Swap Group we’re doing the Mad about Socks swap at the moment and this is the swap I send.

I secretly stalked Anneke, who is very good in knitting socks and loves happy colours. I send her this skein of sock yarn:

Handdyed by Tibbe, who loves happy and intense colours.

I also made an aquarel of her dear dog Dunya:

Using the water colours I bought in Germany and thick, smooth paper. This is actually the first aquarel I ever made. Where I knew a bit what I was doing, I mean.

This is the photo I found online in one of Anneke’s posts and it iss clear she loves Dunya very much. And Dunya her!

Dunya is an elderly Scottish Border Collie. She wears shoes when she goed outside, because of joint pains. A sweet dog wearing socks, that’s how I tied it to the swap.

Her whole family loves dogs so I also made a drawing of her daughter’s dog, who was professionally photographed by Angelique van Doorn from AngeliquevanDoornfotografie.nl:

dog aquarel watercolor
Sketches on the right, send image on the left.
Anneke was happy with them! She went out and bought frames the same day. I’m glowing with happiness 🙂

This is the rest of the swap I send:
swap send
Four solid miniskeins for stranded socks, a brightly coloured half cake I dyed myself when happy colours were very important to me, a mini cake in a yarn that knits up like tiger paws and a key chain of a sheep with adorable feet.

That tiger striping yarn I received myself in a swap but never knew what to do with. I used a bit to knit this pincushion:
Tiny pincushion

This is a good swap 🙂

Mine was well received.
I got to play with watercolours and I’m fortified in my hope that the joy I have when depicting a lovely animal is visible in the end result.
(If you want specifics: I used Schmincke Horadam water colours and a very smooth paper of 300 grams weight: Schut Terschelling Glad (my favourite!)).

The swap I received made me happy too 🙂
I’m looking forward to using the quality Dutch Wool Diva sock yarn. And the glass items are already in use. One holds stitch markers, the other the first flowers of Spring:

The Mad About Socks Swap: received

The Dutch Karma Swap Group has a secret mail swap going on, Mad about Socks. Emphasize on Mad:

It runs coincidentally with the SockMadness but any madness is good: Mad Head Socks (aka hats), Mad Hans Socks (aka mittens).

Over the past few weeks we had some fun in the thread, answering silly questions. And now the parcels are reaching their destinations!

When I came home from the Women’s March on Saturday my swap was waiting for me:

That’s Dutch Wool Diva Sock Star in the colour Grey Hare!

The same colour I bought for myself last year, when Dutch Wool Diva opened her brick and mortar store. I then testknitted her design, Bines socks, from it:

I wear these socks a lot. Alot! (please pet you’re alot whenever you pass it)

The pattern ia Bines by Dutch Wool Diva, knitted on 2,25 mm, used 70 grams. The remainder of the skein I used in the Wolop Advent shawl.

Now I have a second skein! A wonderful choice by my swap partner, Yarncontaminated. I’d said that silvery greys are my favourite at the moment and she had a look at my inspirational board:

Wonderful colour.

Ahh, to think what to knit with it. I’m leaning towards another pair of socks, seeing as this is the Mad about Socks swap and I love wearing my existing pair in this colourway and stitches show up very nice in this yarn and pretty soon we’ll be getting the new pattern for the Sock Madness.

I do need to finish the qualification pair first though. Deadline is Thursday night (=3AM in America). I’m knitting like mad!

swap received: seasonal postage swap

For seasonal greetings we have a cheaper stamp in the month of December. In the Dutch Karma Swap Group we have a fun swap of trying to send the maximum that’s allowed with the cheap stamp. One stamp allows for 50 grams in a paper envelop not thicker than 3,2 mm and not wider than 30 x 24 cm.
This is what I got today!
kerstzegelswap NKS Ravelry
All favourite things of me: a small tin, stitchmarkers, darning needles and decorative band for the project bags I am sewing one of these days…. soon…
And a lavender wool wash soap. A lavender kind. And a no rinse kind, from the good brand Eucalan. I don’t know this no rinse-washes. I’ll sure give this a try next time I wash my socks or other handknits.

Here’s a close up of the stitch markers, they have an amethyst bead on them and they are well made: totally snag free.
stekenmarkeerders met amethist, kerstzegelswap NKS ravelry

The stranded pouch is expertly knit. Even tension and all that. It’s a delight to look at and to handle.
I filled it up with some fiberfill and a bit of lavender I cut off our plants earlier this year.
stranded pincushion with lavendel in it. I love darning needles! kerstzegelswap NKS Ravelry
Using the darning needles that were in the envelope. And a piece of yarn my fellow raveler so thoughtfully send with.

It now smells so good here!
stranded pincushion with lavendel in it. I love darning needles! kerstzegelswap NKS Ravelrystranded pincushion with lavendel in it. I love darning needles! kerstzegelswap NKS Ravelry
stranded pincushion with lavendel in it. I love darning needles! kerstzegelswap NKS Ravelry
Beautifully knit.

A very thoughtful swap. Thank you.

a swap send

This is the package I send in the secret swap Elementary, my Dear. It was send to a raveler who enjoys high quality yarns and playing with colours. She adores Paris and culture and ballet and the opera and good wines.

This is the yarn I send her, Holst Garn Noble:

Holst is a one woman company in Denmark, specializing in yarns in various coordinated shades.
Two of her bases, Coast and Supersoft, are in shops in this country but his particular yarn, Noble, is not available in the Netherlands. I thought it might be just the thing for my swappee.

I had it shipped from Denmark (and since I was paying for shipping costs anyway, I had them add a little something for myself to the package.)

The colour I chose is Shade Bag no.7 which has the colours Noble Blue Stone, Loch, Peacock, Larch and Honeydew:
shade bag no. 7 pic by Holst Garn.dk

Noble is a mix of Extra Fine Geelong (?? a Scottish fleece) and Cashmere and it grows wonderfully soft after washing. I had felt this in a big gorgeous shawl of a knitter friend who invited a bunch of internet knitters to her house two months ago. It was such a treasure of a day! Her hospitality, her beautiful house, wool everywhere and then that shawl in this yarn.

Holst yarns come in colour palettes that fit the North Sea countries. A bit subdued but with lots of character under the surface.

Based on the colours that suit the face of my swappee I choose shade bag no. 7 , which gives 5 x 10 grams in different colours, and added 50 grams of Almond as a base colour.

I chose the colour Almond instead of the white or wool white colour Whisper because that would be too harsh against the harmonious colours of shade bag no. 7.

Here’s Almond next to small skein of Whisper (the whiter of the two) and a skein of Durable Glanskatoen (cotton) in colour 87, “ecru”, and the bottom of an elderly Birman cat:

At first I had chosen a dark grey to go with the shade bag. To make the colours pop.

But when the yarns arrived I saw that this cool grey colour was overpowering the harmonious colours of the shade bag.
I had to put in a second order and chose the Almond and a small skein of the Whisper in case my estimation of internet colours was way off. But it was not, Almond looks perfect with the colours of the shade bag.

The little skein of white Whisper is for me, to go with the small skein of dark grey (Qyarry) and a skein of dark cassis (Elderberry) and soft rose (Cinder Rose):

I’m thinking a stranded hat and mittens.

That was the main part of the swap taken care of. Now on to the various other lovelies.

My swappee is someone who likes to make things herself. Especially tatting is a technique she likes to try out. We call it “frivolitĂ©” over here. I found The Website about this technique and it recommended shuttles with a little hook. So I ordered one and an extra bobbin. And a little project to get her started: red x-massy earrings. They came with a pattern and thread. In one of her favourite colours:

I got some tatting advice from my very skilled friend FiberRachel and saw that a bobbin without a hook actually might be much better for tatting. It allows for a continuous motion, in and out. It was a wonderful thing to see, such souplesse. Made me want to try too.

My swappee mentioned in another group that she’d lost all her x-mas decoration in a fire in the storage unit last year. She had just started to replace things and had knitted a little bird for herself. She vowed it would be the last bird she ever knitted, such fiddly business!

So I knit her a bird:

This is free pattern Love Bird by Angela Mobley and I used Durable Cotton nr.10 (which I bought when I visited the city of Utrecht, with the big tower and Pip the Zorro Kitten)

The bird was knit on needles 3mm and was fiddly indeed! I knit a prototype in green cotton to learn the pattern and that bird will hang in my own tree. The pattern is that good. The shaping is really great. But I doubt I’ll ever knit a fiddly thing like that again.

Since it was a swap about British Detective stories and my name on Ravelry, snorrepot, invokes moustache associations I knit some great Poirot moustaches for my swappee:

Free pattern It’s a moustache, for your fingers! by Megan Death, knit in Holst Garn Noble, on needles 2mm.

Not only a little joke but also a way to show her how soft the Noble gets when washed. Only it didn’t! My swatch didn’t get nearly as soft as the great shawl that inspired my love for this yarn. I don’t know why. Perhaps the water was not warm enough, perhaps I should have used soap.

It was also a way to get to know the yarn, as a knitter. I found that in single stockinette stitch the fabric is way too thin and souple for my liking. I really want this stranded. Which will work out great because it’s a light fingering weight so the resulting fabric will not be thick nor stiff.

Excellent deductions, my cher Hastings!

Another DIY present for my swappee: x-mas angle. Resembling something I found on her Pinterest boards.

Then I send her a bag of our own apples, freshly picked from our little apple tree near the cabin. They are a breed called Pinot Noir which suits a wine lover I’d think.

Here’s a bad pictures of the apples I plucked some weeks ago:

They grow to be so dark red it’s almost black. When you make apple sauce and keep the skins in the sauce turns pink and red.

For my final trick I zoomed in on her love for Paris and especially park Jardin du Luxembourg.

In a free pattern maker called Stitchfiddle I made several charts of typical things from the park. The Orangerie, the boats at the fountain, the chairs, the palm trees, the great vases and the music kiosk with its typical ornaments.

Stitchfiddle really is something!
It makes charts for knitting and embroidery. Both lace knitting and coloured charts for stranded knitting are possible. You can upload photo’s and it makes it into a chart, all automatically. Or you can design a chart yourself. I heartedly recommend it.

Here’s an overview of the charts I made of typical things in the park:
Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 14.31.16 It tied nicely in with her love for stranded knitting. But it didn’t tie in with the Holst Yarn because Jardin du Luxembourgh has vibrant colouring, even when it rains. Nothing of the misty, salty colours of the North Sea.

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 16.50.52

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 16.51.26

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 16.51.34Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 16.50.19

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 16.51.45Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 16.51.11

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 16.50.28 and more.

She really liked the package I think 🙂

A swap received!

We’ve just had a swap in the Dutch Karma Swap Group. It was a secret one and it was called “Elementary, my dear.”
Revolving around British detective stories!

You were to send a package to your swappee without revealing your identity. Some clues should be given so that the receiver could go investigating. For the past two weeks packages have been received and people have been guessing and in the group we’ve had the most fun trying to steer them this way and that.

Look at what arrived at my house:

Wonderfully wrapped presents and clues! Done with much attention!
I love all the nice papers and labels! Such an harmonious combination but with funny details and no shying away from colours.
I think that in itself is a clue towards the identity of my anonymous sender.

There was a real treasure map/clue letter, cleverly not handwritten because that I would trace back to someone:

In rhyme!

From this letter I deduced that my swapper is a person who’s intelligent and humourous and knows her way around computers. And has a natural eye for details.

This focused me on a sub set of members of the group who are currently in higher education or are known for a high degree of finesse when it comes to crafting.
Also probably no kids or chronic illness to distract the mind.

Next was a major clue! The letter was sealed with a personal seal:

A “G”! There were no participants with ravelry-names starting with “G”… but this seal is too special to own for merely a Ravelry nickname, no, it’s probably the first letter of their real name. Something to investigate!

Also, whoever owns a seal and sealing wax and knows how to use it properly must be somewhat of a geek.
However, that does not narrow down the field particularly with the participants in this swap.

I unwrapped some more.
The four small packages contained written clues in a certain order. Each was in a lovely quirky paper. I think they come from a brand called Flow, which is a magazine and sometimes gives out nice printed pieces of paper.
I know at least two participants who revels in paper and stationary and this particular magazine…. Made a little mental note.

The two large packages contained high quality spinning fibres!

BFL, Mulberry Silk and Merino by Hilltop Cloud and BFL by Passe-Partout!
The last one I know well, the former will be an lovely exploration. By the looks of things it will be a delight to spin, it’s soft and beautiful in colouring.
Looking at the site of Hilltop Cloud I’m getting even more enthousiastic. A one woman entreprise, focussing on specifically spinning quality. Yes please!

My secret swapper had done a marvellous job, choosing these fibres for me. My favourite fibres (BFL and Mulberry Silk) and great colours.
This had been some excellent sleuthing on her behalf!

There final package contained a large bar of chocolate with hazelnuts, Tony Chocolonely, a producer that tries to deliver not only fair trade products but slave free too. Apparently there’s still a lot of slave labour in the cacao industry.
Tony C. has recently launched in the US and is now for sale at PDX, Portland International Airport.

Even though Tony produces big bars (180 grams of chocolate!) this one was already half gone by the time I was done unwrapping and petting.

Here are all the goodies!

I’m not ashamed I ate all the chocolate. As any crime writer can tell you chocolate is excellent fuel for the little grey cells.

That’s how I deduced who my generous sender was. But I didn’t say so out loud online and we made fun to and fro for the next couple of days. Especially when she herself received her package (not sent by me).

Hint/her ravatar:

This is a person who’s name starts with a G and she’s finishing up her Masters and wants to go on to get a PhD. And she has lots of humour!!