5th of December: preparations

Wolop has knitter’s jewellery today:

It’s for knitting from a centre pulled ball. There’s a bead and a clip to secure the outer end.

I started a new habit of making a cat doodle every day, just to get into the habit of drawing again. And also: cats! They are impossible to draw. Cat fact.

This is our Sinterklaas plan for tonight:plus DIY pizza:

Things are looking good 🙂

I’m also knitting a heel, right now, very quickly, so I can knit the foot in the round when we drive back home tonight, in the dark. Knitting is planning.

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Advent box day 2

Het Wolbeest revealed a lighter colour of the first day and a wonderful stitchmarker by The Woolly Dodo:

Wolop had a second marvelous plant dyed colour, akin to the purple first one:

I’m guessing it was done with cochenille. I know Wolop has a specific dyeing technique and rinsing sequences so that the colour takes really well and will not bleed. It’s amazing what saturation she can achieve in plant dyed colours!

Even though my fingers itch to knit with these beauties I will not do so this Advent. I plan to open a gift each day and collect all the colours these two independent dyers have thought out and then look at them and pick and match for a project. For all I know the boxes are in a (rainbow) gradient and that is not something I want in my handknits.

This Advent I had in mind to do some spinning. I am more of a spinner than a knitter anyways. Spinning relaxes me. 🙂

So this morning, as I took pictures of Wolop’s yarn, I did some fiber prep:

That’s the Merino I washed this Summer. I plan to wash the second half this month. I’m combing the edges of the locks, it’s called flicking. Then you can spin straight from the lock and get a smooth yarn.

I have another fleece I can prep, a black and white ecological one. I brought it from the cabin to the city last week. (Actually I have two. Sssh, they both are in The Attic Of Denial. Time runs differently there.)

And the grey eco-fleece is on the wheel, ready for plying. (And then two more binliners worth of fleece but I may push that backwards a bit. I’d rather spin easier fibres)

Like this gorgeous sock blend:

Merino Nylon by Hedgehog Fibres.

And that’s it! This is the only “normal” spinning fibre I have!

The rest is these fleeces that need prepping, some left over long staples mulberry silk and a box full of short staples yak that needs to be carded into rolags first and then I’d need to get the special fast spinning wheel from the cabin anyway if I want to spin it. So basically besides this Hedgehog I have nothing to spin. You know how it is:

 pic by adoreyourwardrobe.com

The flicking of the Merino locks is relaxing though and I count fiber prep as spinning. I won’t have time to do all the spinning anyway but December (and January and February) are typically spinning months to me and I look forward to having a little bit of quiet time each morning and play around with the gorgeous fibres. Each morning, as I open reveal the next installments of my Advent boxes.

OK, gotta go. Sintersushi is upon us. In about two hours a poem will be read and a maki will be eat and there will be a happy cat. I’ll blog about it tomorrow.

enjoying the great weather

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

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

Someone has lived in the old fleece!

The newer one (Spring 2016) looks much better.

Both are organic fleeces from De Laan van Wisch.

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

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

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

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

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

Skimpy sweater knitting

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

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

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

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

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

Today we rest.

birthday gift: a handmade cat tea mug! And lots of cats cuddles.

So last Wednesday I met up with Dootje, from The Woolly Dodo amazing stitchmarkers, and she gave me a birthday gift:
catcafé Balthazar Nijmegen kattencafé cat café tea cakeArtushka cat tea mug ceramic ceramics handmade cuddling kittyArtushka cat tea mug ceramic ceramics handmade cuddling kittyArtushka cat tea mug ceramic ceramics handmade cuddling kitty
A big handmade cat tea mug! A wonderful, functional, cat mug!

Remember a while back when my knitter friend Spectre had her birthday and Dootje gave her stitchmarkers and I gave a cat mug from Etsy and we met her cat Suus?

Such a friendly party it was. The mug was from Budapest artist Brigitta Bondar who has an Etsyshop ARTushkashop as well as a brick & mortar shop in the centre of Budapest.

Dootje went to that knitters’ party, knows how I adore cat/tea/ceramics and in August she went to Budapest, to the amazing festival Sziget. She had contacted Brigitte and arranged to buy a mug for me. So fantastically sneaky and lovely!!

She saw her both in her shop and in her booth at the festival:
 pics by ARThuska
She took it all the way back the Netherlands (that’s across the continent of Europe) and then brought it to the cat cafĂ© Balthazar in Nijmegen to give it to me.

Balthazar is an amazing cat café, with a very nice atmosphere, no hurrying and lots of relaxed and friendly kitties. Among them Coco:
catcafé Balthazar Nijmegen kattencafé cat café tea cake
Ew, a naked cat. I’ve never seen a Sphinx cat up close. I imagine all cats have these wrinkles, only they are covered with fur.

Coco is very friendly! And intelligent. And want to play a lot. And adores the sun. She has beautifully coloured eyes but I don’t have a picture of them. Look at that thin tail:
catcafé Balthazar Nijmegen kattencafé cat café tea cake

Noor the Norwegian Forest Cat came and laid on Dootjes cat bag:
catcafé Balthazar Nijmegen kattencafé cat café tea cakecatcafé Balthazar Nijmegen kattencafé cat café tea cakecatcafé Balthazar Nijmegen kattencafé cat café tea cake
Such a beauty!

Like I said, a very friendly cafĂ©. No fixed time by which you have to go. Lots of lovely food. The best cat cafĂ© I’ve visited until now. Look what amazing cake they had that day:
catcafé Balthazar Nijmegen kattencafé cat café tea cake

This is the cat of the owner, who lives above the shop. He is huge! And very friendly.
catcafé Balthazar Nijmegen kattencafé cat café tea cake
I’ve never seen a cat that big. He was so friendly. Didn’t like to walk across the pebbles though. None of them did.

The two kittens Kiwi and Moes, always in for mischief. Or falling asleep right in your lap. Or next to Coco who is radiating warmth. And will clean your fur for you.
catcafé Balthazar Nijmegen kattencafé cat café tea cakecatcafé Balthazar Nijmegen kattencafé cat café tea cake

While we sat there I got a message from home:
catcafé Balthazar Nijmegen kattencafé cat café tea cake
“All cats relaxed and happy here too.”

When I walked to the station I encountered this plant, in one of the gardens people create spontaneously in their street, right in the public spaces:
catcafé Balthazar Nijmegen kattencafé cat café tea cake
It’s called “Cat’s Whiskers”, kattensnor.

and I made this with my Pentel Pocket Brush:
catcafé Balthazar Nijmegen kattencafé cat café tea cake

I did bring some knitting with me. The lila cardi, which has its back panel finished and now whants its sleeve reknitted. Mindless stockinette stitch, just what I needed. I knitted on it in the train, staring out the window.

Amazing mug:
Artushka cat tea mug ceramic ceramics handmade cuddling kittyArtushka cat tea mug ceramic ceramics handmade cuddling kitty

Want to hear something funny? Spectre and I share rare, handmade cat tea mugs.

I now have this new one, from the same range that Spectre has.

But a previous cat tea mug that I bought and showed here, she liked so much that she got one for herself:

I love how we appreciate the same things, while there’s a span of land and sky between us.

Thank you Dootje! You amazing gift giver.