Sheepshearing festival in Lichtenvoorde

schaapscheerdersfeest Lichtenvoorde Hemelvaart 2017 schaapskudde Oost-Achterhoek
Sheepshearing festival today and it was a lovely day and there were so many friendly people. 350 sheep were ready, it’s the flock of shepherd Roelof Kuiper and Tessa Engelhard. Here’s the site of the foundation that supports the flock.

Tessa had organized a route for children to discover the whole process from sheep to sweater.
schaapscheerdersfeest Lichtenvoorde Hemelvaart 2017 schaapskudde Oost-Achterhoek

We were number 6: the spinners.
schaapscheerdersfeest Lichtenvoorde Hemelvaart 2017 schaapskudde Oost-Achterhoek
(I always talk when my picture is taken..)

My spinning friend is Meta, who loves colours and once dyed this wonderful sock roving. She sells tea and herbs at the local market and online.

I brought some stuff to decorate the stand with. Felted and knitted garments, my carding machine, picked fleece, some giant yarn I want to handweave with. It interested a lot of people which was nice.
schaapscheerdersfeest Lichtenvoorde Hemelvaart 2017 schaapskudde Oost-Achterhoekschaapscheerdersfeest Lichtenvoorde Hemelvaart 2017 schaapskudde Oost-Achterhoek

Meta explaining spindle spinning to an eager girl. She was smart and really attentive 🙂
schaapscheerdersfeest Lichtenvoorde Hemelvaart 2017 schaapskudde Oost-Achterhoek

Our neighbours were selling jars with everything you need to bake a cake:
schaapscheerdersfeest Lichtenvoorde Hemelvaart 2017 schaapskudde Oost-Achterhoek

Their neighbours were lovely Syrian ladies who had the most appetising treats! Both savour and sweet:
schaapscheerdersfeest Lichtenvoorde Hemelvaart 2017 schaapskudde Oost-Achterhoek

Tessa brought a handmade woolpicker you can sit on!
schaapscheerdersfeest Lichtenvoorde Hemelvaart 2017 schaapskudde Oost-Achterhoekschaapscheerdersfeest Lichtenvoorde Hemelvaart 2017 schaapskudde Oost-Achterhoek
schaapscheerdersfeest Lichtenvoorde Hemelvaart 2017 schaapskudde Oost-Achterhoek

Bluegrass band the Cowpokes walked around and they stopped and serenaded us! I love blues and funky country and skilled musicians. Their first song was without lyrics and their guitar picking was something to behold. It had excellent spinning rhythm too.
schaapscheerdersfeest Lichtenvoorde Hemelvaart 2017 schaapskudde Oost-Achterhoek
schaapscheerdersfeest Lichtenvoorde Hemelvaart 2017 schaapskudde Oost-Achterhoek

They walked on, but only after three full numbers! The rhythm and energy really got to me. So I mentioned to Meta that if I had a second life I would’ve learned slap-bass guitar. A nearby visitor stopped dead in his tracks and turned around, smiling and beaming. He plays the guitar and hearing some odd spinner passionately mentioning slap bass made his day 😀

We talked for a bit, I tried to remember the name of funky slap bass guitarist Davi504 but failed. We had a lovely talk nonetheless and he convinced me there’s still time to play the bass in this life. So when I hit 60 or 65 I’m going to learn it and then we’ll perform at sheep festivals. Me being the funk slap bass granny and him doing the guitar solo’s. He also told me that you can combine bass guitar with singing, as long as you can do one of them blind and without thinking about it. (I can sing already)
Look who cannot shut up when a picture is taken:
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Oh look, I can shut something when a picture is taken. My eyes:
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Musical entertainment: “two strenge men”
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Very “strenge” indeed. That’s their leg. Pull it.

Lots of humour on site:
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I really can’t translate. This is farmers’ country. This is farmers’ humour. You get the idea.

The whole day Meta and me were partners in crime, making metres and explaining to the public:
schaapscheerdersfeest Lichtenvoorde Hemelvaart 2017 schaapskudde Oost-Achterhoek
It was interesting the things people wanted to know. “How can you make a thread from fluff?” “How does the yarn wind onto the wheel?” “Where did Sleeping Beauty prick herself?”

Also interesting is that Meta spins on a Rose, the Rolls Royce amongst wheels. And she treats it like it’s an object to be used. Put it in the grass. Spin with your shoes on. Have the dog nuzzle it. Put it in your car without protecting blankets. Just use it!.

The Rose is made with soft woods but Meta’s not spending her days worrying about scratches or dents. She’s using this wheel and enjoying every moment of it. Yeah!
She got it as a birthday present for her 50th birthday and it was the best present ever.

Here’s Roelof the shepherd looking very shepherd-y with his wild locks and working pants. He was selling some hides:
schaapscheerdersfeest Lichtenvoorde Hemelvaart 2017 schaapskudde Oost-Achterhoek

And here he is interested in ice cream at our other neighbour:
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A neighbour well worth knowing. Meta treated us to icecream:
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Vanilla ice “steeked” from the innards of a self made bicycle.
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Someone finding shade under our booth:
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At the end of the day, all sheep shorn:
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Nine huge bales of fleece:
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And a tired goat enjoying some dinner:
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schaapscheerdersfeest Lichtenvoorde Hemelvaart 2017 schaapskudde Oost-Achterhoek

It was a lovely day and I got to spin a lot of my Shetland batts. Not enough but a nice start. And lots of motivation to spin more! Maybe tomorrow 🙂 Although I also have some spaghetti to steek.

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

Yesterday there was a knitters’ party at Het Wolbeest, the LYS plus 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 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.

Finished socks “Streepje anders” after yarn party yesterday.



Pattern Streepje anders by Heleen Kok with modifications.

Today I finished one toe and a whole foot (plus its toe) as I took the whole day for resting and knitting after a wonderful yarn party yesterday.

At the party there was yarn and knitting and spinning and weaving and cake and bonbons and pie and quiche and taco’s and cats and “Bossche Bollen” and cat tea mugs and lots of handknit socks!
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One girl brought these stitchmarkers that she makes professionally. She made these especially for the birthday girl:
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Those are chocolate, a cookie and Bossche Bollen. With a bite out of them! The birthday girl LOVES Bossche Bollen, usually when I go visit her I have to bring some, so this was a perfect gift.
These are very well made too. It will be a happy day when the maker decides to open her online shop 🙂

Another girl, Meilindis, brought her loom! That’s a new one for me, someone chatting and weaving at a party. Go check out the wonderful patterns she can make on a rigid heddle on her site Meilindis.nl (it’s in English).
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It was great seeing her work and she explained a lot. If you have extra heddles you can do all kinds of patterns on a rigid heddle, just as if it was a loom with “schachten” (don’t know the English word. What people consider to be “a real loom”.)

She dazzled me with her colour handling and I learned a bit how a weaver can manipulate colours. Soothe them, ease them, shift them. Meilindis has a special knack for this!

(I do not. I somehow lack the imagination or the courage for it, to combine “strange” colours. It was funny to discover this “handicap” of mine. It made it much more marvellous to see Meilindis combine an try out colours with such ease and wit! But I think I may have confounded her a bit with my squeals and boggling eyes and compliments 😉 )

The birthday girl is just as fond of big cat mugs as I am:
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The one on the right is my present to her!

Here are better pictures by the maker:

It’s an handmade mug from Budapest artist Brigitta Bondar who has an Etsyshop ARTushkashop as well as a brick & mortar shop in the centre of Budapest. Near the trainstation or centre square I believe. She’s also on Facebook, in English.
Brigitta is a wonderful artist and was very fast en precise in communicating with me and then shipping fast and securely.

ARTushka also has this sheep mug in her Etsy shop:
pic by ARTushka
and more sheep in the Budapest shop:
pic by ARTushka

The birthday girl is not allowed to keep sheep in her house so she settles for cats. This is wonderful Suus, a fairly young rescue who is so friendly and curious:
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There were a lot of cat ladies at the party and Suus was adored!

Equally adored was cat Sproet who came down from the bedroom for a visit. Sproet is old and blind but made the rounds and found his way, using his whiskers.

An afternoon with yarnwomen, tea cats, real cats, cake and chocolate, made for a wonderful party 🙂

How sock knitters party.

The knitters’ party last Saturday was a blast!
Sorry to say that I only took these three pictures:

More people love the bird house bags from FiberRachel!

A lot of us were knitting on the Sockmadness qualification sock: Twisted Madness by Gina Meyer.

It’s a pattern with a specific stitch, a 1×1 cable Ktbl that makes for a twisting fabric:

It’s a slow stitch. I will definitely need the full two weeks that are given for this sock. One row takes me about three and half minutes and that’s fast compared to a lot of other knitters. Lots of people get aching fingers, hands, elbows and shoulders and a few people have quit. I too can feel it and must take breaks and knit on other things.

But it’s still Sockmadness. Stroopwafels are involved!
lillepoes
Stroopwafels (sirup-waffles) are the secret doping of Dutch knitters. Well, not so secret anymore since everybody in the Sock Madness Group seems to know about them now.

On the morning of the party I cast on for the Twisted Madness socks, while watching a special video with Lillepoes:

We are watching a sock knitter! This is Plien. (pronounced “Pleen” and may be short for Pauline).

Plien is famous in the Dutch Karma Swap Group and has brought about a new word to the knitting vocabulary: Plienspinning or Plienknitting. It’s when you craft solely for pleasure and refuse to be bothered by deadlines or the nagging of should-have-demons.

Plien has recently started living on an antique Dutch ship, with husband and cats. Here she’s being interviewed by the local TV and talks about knitting, in the local dialect: West-Fries.

Did you know Frisian is the second official language of the Netherlands, besides Dutch? It’s akin to Old English and the Scandinavian languages. West-Fries is different from Frisian but not very much.

It’s a delight to watch. The man wears wooden clogs. The cat is moping because the door doesn’t open and/or nobody feeds it. And there’s knitting!
Plien talks about the Sock Madness and the man just can’t believe it, so many people all over the globe going nuts for socks. Plien has some examples and kindly shows that it’s not “just socks”, it’s higher level socks.

Enjoying and dyeing colour in Winter.

Hello!
colour winter 2016 2017

Last week I watched two friends dye colourful yarn:
colour winter 2016 2017

Both are knitters who particularly use colours to enjoy themselves and to enhance life.

Their x-mas trees illustrate this beautifully 🙂
One friend always has seven peaks in her tree. And glass robots:
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The tree of the other friend, The Random Knitter, has miniskeins in it, the Wolop Advent Calendar:
colour winter 2016 2017

They both wanted a yarn that knits up a certain way: a basic colour with little bursts of multicolour. If you knit those multicolours purl wise you get something like this:

The Lemonade Shop Sparkle Sock (Stormy Day; no DL)

Yarn dyed by independent dyer Lemonade Shop yarn on etsy, colour Stormy Day.

Here are the results of our dyeing day, still wet:

dyeing Yarn party

And dry with better lighting:

 pic by Spectre120

They really knew what they were doing!

I’m going to just post the photos and let those do the talking.
I was just sitting there anyway, spinning and eating all the sweets and pastry. I’d brought some Bossche Bollen and I had two! At one time I needed a little lie down (possible bol-related) and the lovely old genteman cat Guus spotted the opportunity immediately.
Colour, knitters, pastries and cat cuddles? Perfect day.
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And a hike in the woods yesterday, wearing my red Bleuet dress and Wolop Advent shawl. This too was with a knitter and there was beautiful sunlight and we did knitting and pastry afterwards 🙂

colour winter 2016 2017

Brick & mortar store by Dutch Wool Diva

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Today Dutch Wool Diva opened a LYS in Zevenaar!

Rows and rows of handdyed skeins, with knitted examples above it (shawls, scarfs, cowls, mitts, socks). A separate room for workshops. Lots of handspun, lots of fibre. Two wheels, one loom.

In the back there’s an office and a dyer’s kitchen. All in a historic building (modernly outfitted), just behind the church of Zevenaar, near the train station.

Two lovely skeins of fingering weight nestling in my bag:
Dutch Wool Diva winkel opening Zevenaar wolwinkel breien

It’s Sock Star in Grey Hare and Diva Twist in colourway Twilight. Both for cuffs! And then grey hare socks and something in beautiful mysterious blue near my face, with excellent stitch definition.

no Countryfair for me today , no Countryfair for anybody yesterday

This weekend the Countryfair is held in a village nearby that I visit every year. It’s one of the highlights of my wool year! I host the cosy SnB table where we knit all day and eat lovely things and people can sit down and join us.

It’s a huge event with sheep and cows and brocante and food samples and a Steampunk popcorn maker and vintage and antique farm equipment and garments and prams and a adventure forest for children and dancing sheep and chicken football and hamsters and professional fencing companies and quad dealers and outragous horse breeds and cows to cuddle and reindeer and sheep dog shows and birds of prey shows and lots of felting art and supplies and lots of fleeces and so much more.

Last year I collapsed and couldn’t participate in the last two days. I brought my stretcher but it was no good:

This year I decided to go to the Organic Farm last week instead and skip the Fair. It’s just too massive and too intense for me this year. But now that the Fair is actually happening I’m quite blue and sad.

The Fair is such a lovely event! Every year I drive to the venue early in the morning. In my wool car, filled to the brim with wool examples and knits and fun things. And every year I get stuck behind an antique thresher and its antique tractor filled with hay.

It fills me with giggles as we slowly wind our way through the lovely, small scale landscape, with this High Summer atmosphere cast over the landscape. Golden grain and swallows everywhere.

The Wool-tent is a delight. I bring a nostalgic table cloth and flowers and food and glass bottles filled with water and slices of lemon and orange and mint (and salt) to make it through the hot humid day.

2012 or 2011, my very first fair:

2014:

I splurge on unsuspected wool purchases that make me happy the rest of the year.

2015:

Not this year.

I’m so sad. (I need to actively distract myself and knit and enjoy my own garden and eat lovely things at home. We’re going into the vilage and get an organic ginger ice-cream and I prepared a pinapple with whipped cream. Planning to enjoy my garden. Perhaps do some spinning outside? I made a list of things to choose from but still it’s plan B.

Then something else happened this year at the Countryfair! It got flooded. There was terrible rain all night long and the venue flooded and booths collapsed and drifted away. Lots of damage and an unsuitable terrain.

They had to cancel the first day of the three day event, something that happened only once in the decades it’s been on.

Look at this pictures of yesterday morning:

pictures by Omroep Gelderland, Gelrenieuws and Gelderlander.nl

They worked very hard all day yesterday, with help from the local Fire Departments, lots of volunteers and friends and the official water management institutions that are sprinkled all over my country (we’ve been battling water for 400 years over here, what with the country being below sea level AND receiving water from major rivers from all over Europe.)

They did it! Here’s yesterday morning and last night photo:
countryfair-2016

Visitors and vendors and hosts are advised to wear wellies and enjoy the day. Anybody with a useless ticket for yesterday is admitted freely today and tomorrow.

Please do so and have a lovely day!

Open Day at the organic farm.

This Sunday the organic farm where I get my eggs and meat and the occasional fleece was open to the public, to celebrate organic farming.

I was there with some wools and tools to show the visitors how I process the fleeces from the organic sheep and what useful things I make out of it.

It was a lovely day. Next to me were people preparing a Nepalese food called momo, using the various meats from the farm. Momo are delicious! They are steamed and sometimes fried too. The nice lady was so hospitable, she kept offering them. She was also very fast and skilled folding the momo in various shapes, to keep track of which flavour it was.

Here’s me eating a chicken one:

The farm is Laan van Wisch in Hengelo, Gelderland. It’s run by a husband and wife team and for them quality of life is the first priority. For themselves and for the animals. That’s a very refreshing business model! Rewarding too.

All animals have enough space and plenty of diversity to make for happy lives. This makes it easy for the cows to keep their horns: they have the space to figure out their hierarchy without wounding their herd fellows.

The cows at Laan van Wisch live in a herd with adults and “teens” so the teens can learn from their elders how to be a cow and not try and rear themselves and invent all kind of weird behaviour. It makes for relaxed and confident cows.

On Sunday they all gathered at the meadow gate closest to the farmyard, because of the music!

Another example is that the chickens get to keep their beaks because they are not bored or put in such close quarters that they turn on each other as is the case in farms focussing on large production instead of quality.

The chickens at Laan van Wisch have a large piece of land with a part made of gravel (to strengthen their feet), a part with sand (to scratch around in and take dust baths), a part with grass and herbs (to look for bugs) and a part forest (to go on adventure). And their coop of course, where every chicken has a separate sleeping/laying boot. The temporary farm hand, Thijs, explained all this to us. He was so knowledgable and enthousiastic!

There’s one rooster and he’s constantly calling the chickens to point out something tasty here or there. He has magnificent plumage.

Next to the chickens are the pigs. They live the good life too! Two sows and they had their piglets earlier this Spring:

This is them last Sunday:

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All animals on the farm get to live to adulthood before slaughtering is even thought about. For some animals slaughtering is never thought about and they get to die of old age.

The farmer gave tours on Sunday and spoke about one of his favourite cows who lived to be 21 years old. He got teary eyed just talking about her.

There was an artisan making bread in a wood stoked oven: Ben from Ben’s Houtovenbrood:

People could climb the large apple tree, aided by professionals:

It was a grand day!

Living a life of quality instead of the constant want for upscaling just might be the smartest business move of all.

most pictures in this blogpost are copyright Laan van Wisch

Wolspektakel Kerkrade

Yesterday I took a train and went to the south of the country and visit a new wool fest: Wolspektakel in the town of Kerkrade.

The weather was glorious, I took a first class upgrade and brought a cuff (or two) on the needles. Pleasant travels!

First I passed the city of Eindhoven just as I cast off the first of my cuffs, made in Drops Fabel:
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Then I passed Weert and was working on my second cuff:
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As the train travelled through the province of Limburg strange things appeared in the landscape:
Wolspektakel kerkrade
“A hill.”

The landscape in Limburg is remarkable! Lots of things happening at a small scale: small fields, small patches of wood, unregulated nature. So much to see!
Lots of history too such as Catholic cloisters, mine worker buildings and beautiful old farm houses, with brick fences.
Wolspektakel kerkrade

The fair was held in Kerkrade town square:
Wolspektakel kerkrade
Wolspektakel kerkrade
Wolspektakel kerkrade

Mr. Vossen was clipping his Limburg landbreed; Oost Mergelland Schaap:
Wolspektakel kerkrade

Mergel is the calcium rich soil for which the region is known, I think it’s called “Marl” in English. It hosts all kinds of unique flora. And the unique fauna that follows:
 two pics from the Breeding Mergelland Sheep Association
Wolspektakel kerkrade
Mr. Vossen loved explaining everything. He was so friendly! He clipped these sheep by hand, with clippers. A low impact, relatively stress free and silent way of shearing.

Atelier Het Wolbeest had a booth:
Wolspektakel kerkrade
Wolspektakel kerkrade
Kerkrade is very close to their headquarters. (Headquarters which involve an Italian Icecream parlour!!)
In June there’s a workshop to learn and felt one of these handpuppets in one day. Icecream included.

I brought my hat which I had given appropriate decoration:
Wolspektakel kerkrade
It looks like handspun but it’s actually a commercial yarn, a souvenir from Argentina, from my parents.

Having read yesterday’s post my friend gave me a lovely stitchmarker which came in handy right away:
Wolspektakel kerkrade
Accessory for the Knitting Cat Lady!

After such lovely day of leisure I went back en route to Brabant.
I worked on my cuff and petted a skein of yarn that Het Wolbeest had custom dyed for me:
Wolspektakel kerkrade
Greyish purple. With glitter! I had given her a ball of Wollmeise Mauzenschwanzen as inspiration and she did a wonderful job!

Passing Weert again, showing it how far I got with the new wrist cuff that I cast on in Kerkrade:
Wolspektakel kerkrade

Then passing Eindhoven showing it my new skein:
Wolspektakel kerkrade

While I was in Limburg the Eindhoven football team PSV -Philips Sport Association, the same Philips you know from electrical appliances and light elements- won the national championship in the final minutes of the game.


Somehow this was tied to another game that was played by the proposed champion Ajax, the Amsterdam football club. They were supposed to win but then they didn’t and PSV won.

PSV hometown Eindhoven went mad with celebrations:

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So then supporters from the Amsterdam football club Ajax travelled to Eindhoven, by train, to go yell at them and stir things up.

But authorities noticed them in the 75 minutes it takes to travel from Amsterdam to Eindhoven. Arriving at the station they then were contained at the train platform, with a cordon of police between them and the city. You can see all the yellow police bobble heads in the distance:

Wolspektakel kerkrade

Yeah, that’s how we rebel over here: travel by train to another city to yell at people who are celebrating far away in the town centre.

I shook my new yarn at them.

 

I went to town! (and the Knit&Knot fair)

buit wol Knit en Knot beurs Tilburg

This I bought during the first half of the day. Then it grew really crowded and I sat with my friends at the long tables and knitted and talked and ate my brownie and tried to cast on for my vest:
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Then the crowds went home and it grew lovely and quiet and there was time to stand at a booth and talk to the indie dyer and I realized I had missed so much wonderful products the first time I walked around. So this happened:
buit wol Knit en Knot beurs Tilburg

Very happy 🙂