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

 

 

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at the cabin

My husband send me to the cabin, with the cat, to try and get me out of Fight or Flight modus.

We’re trying hard, but the trick is to stop trying.

The light is beautiful! The green so intense. My onion dyed socks complement the garden.

Lillepoes helping:

Internalizing the scenery:

Weird Wool Wednesday: bad notes, bad memory

I needed to make a decision about the end of the sleeve.
Same as the border at the bottom of the bodice?
Lace like the back panel?

While I was thinking I thought I’d get a new ball and start at the second sleeve:

Only…. I don’t remember how much stitches I picked up. I didn’t write it down! There’s nothing sensible on my Ravelry project page! I fact there’s gibberish on my page.

I made notes. I must have done. I always do. I know it’s important. Somewhere there must be a sleazy piece of paper lying around with my notes on it.

And I remember I talked about puff sleeves…. there’s a bit of puff sleeve going on here. But how?? I probably did my usual 3 stitches for every 4 rows. But what then?

I’m still not alright, I cannot concentrate and I cannot read my knitting:

Wut???
.
.
.
.
.
.
oh bother!

Imma start a new sweater:

Boxy, easy, Wintery.

Out of this freshly spun, nearly half a kilo Shetland, 1065 m, worsted/aran weight. Without too much demands on my cognitive skills.

Keramisto 2017 ceramics fair: buying tea accessoires.

This weekend I visited Keramisto again, the yearly ceramics fair in the east of the Netherlands. Last year I went for the first time, eager to get some unique tea mugs. This year I returned for more things. I went with my neighbour who is a ceramist herself, and her mother.

We arrived early and it was cold and wet:
Keramisto 2017

But never mind because within 5 minutes I had bought these two big tea mugs by Ute Böhm from Müritz Ceramics in Germany:
Keramisto 2017 ceramics keramiekKeramisto 2017 ceramics keramiek
I bought two of salt oven tea mugs from her husband Markus Böhm last year:

This year I bought a matching plate:
Keramisto 2017 ceramics keramiek

Then we found a stall showing work from Joop Crompvoets. He’s a man from Swalmen (yes, the small village in Limburg where The Wolbeest has her wool studio and runs the best ice cream shop in the country. This village is magic.) and he is a master potter. He can plan a thing and then make the thing!

He makes tea things in wonderful salt oven techniques:
 pic by Crompvoets

I bought a tea thing!
Keramisto 2017Keramisto 2017 ceramics keramiek
Yes, that’s a real handmade tea pot, at my house now. Mine! Wow!
It’s amazing at the touch, so smooth but with many textures and colours to marvel at.

You can imagine that after that purchase I was giddy and thrilled and satisfied and beaming and exhausted all at the same time. We’d only been at the fair for 15 minutes and already I was done!
We spend the next two hours slowly making our way through the ailes, admiring all the work. There is such variety at Keramisto!

Unfortunately it was very very cold and I was not suitably clothed. I went back to the car for some back up wools I keep there….
Not sure I fitted in with sophisticated ceramic aficionados after that:
Keramisto 2017
But only one person laughed, the rest behaved and let me look at ceramics in peace:
Keramisto 2017
This was at the stand of Thierry et Christiane Dupuy Joly where I bought a small bowl with big glaze:
Keramisto 2017 ceramics keramiek

At the next stand I saw these small porcelain bowls by Sylvie Gorde:
Keramisto 2017 ceramics keramiekKeramisto 2017
These are ideal to hold water when painting. Let’s see me try tipping over these babies!
They are so fine and translucent. It will be a pleasure to dip my brushes in these.

It was still very cold but the sun came through a bit:
Keramisto 2017

What’s that?
Keramisto 2017
Keramisto 2017 Ah yes. Obviously. A meerkat checking his phone.

We spend a lot of time looking at the wonderful work by Lina Bekeriene (facebook link) from Litouwen:
Keramisto 2017
It’s raku fired, meaning in a fire pit outside and then while the work is still piping hot it is placed in a vat with saw dust. That’s when the clay becomes black and that’s when the glaze cracks and the cracks become black.
Now note how the moon in this work is made from typical Raku glaze (=cracked) while the other glazes are non-crackling glazes. That is amazingly use of techniques.

My neighbour explained all this to me and made me marvel.
And then she made me smell the work….
It smells of firewood! It is amazing.

 pic by Keramisto
All Lina Bekeriene’s lidded pots and containers and tea pots have secret glazing stories on the inside. Like in the middle of the container or on the inside of the lid. This is an amazing artist and one day I am going to buy something from her.

The weather got better.
Keramisto 2017

This is the stand of Hubert Eller from Germany, where I bought two little bowls last year which I use every day, sometime even cleaning it out with that fat finger of mine:
Keramisto 2017

This is work by Ewelina Suchanek, who wants to bring the magic and tactile pleasure of nature to urban people:
Keramisto 2017
It’s raku fired and there are lichen growing in it. She also has jewellery like this. And many containers and bowls. I bought this wonderful “stone” which lies in the hand so friendly and confirming that I held it in my hand for the rest of the fair:
Keramisto 2017 (I didn’t put the lid on right here, it fits perfectly.)

This lady makes fine porcelain for sophisticated tea parties:
Keramisto 2017Keramisto 2017
Maranke Thunig

Potter’s fun: throw raw clay at a display of wooden shoes (clomps) and if it sticks or gets into the clomp you get a prize. A freshly turned plant pot. No idea how you’re supposed to bring a wet piece of clay home, let alone fire it in a kiln!
Keramisto 2017

When we were about to leave I ran across the stand of Shrusko Ceramics, whom I had identified previously on the list of participants to pay a visit. You can see why:
Keramisto 2017 ceramics keramiek
Such friendly and fun work! I love the handpainting, the spontanity of the lines.

They have such eye for detail. They wrapped up my purchases in a really nice way:
Keramisto 2017 ceramics keramiek

Then we drove away, through wonderful Dutch landscapes, crossing the river by ferry:
Keramisto 2017
Keramisto 2017Keramisto 2017Keramisto 2017Keramisto 2017Keramisto 2017

And then we had tea at the inlaws of my neighbour and their pets are as lovely as their people:
hond op schoothond op schoothond op schoothond op schoothond op schoot
I’ve never had a dog sit in my lap!

Weird Wool Wednesday: Late for Summer

skirt with pockets and godets, handdyed indigo linen. sewing

Summer’s gone and I finished my skirt from Wolop indigo dyed shibori linen today!
skirt with pockets and godets, handdyed indigo linen. sewingskirt with pockets and godets, handdyed indigo linen. sewing

It has godets for walking ease and the yoke made of that nice piece of Wokume Shibori (wood grain):
skirt with pockets and godets, handdyed indigo linen. sewing
Nice pockets too:
skirt with pockets and godets, handdyed indigo linen. sewing
I’m wearing it today, Summer linen in the rain, with knee high knitted tights. And a woolen jumper.

This one I finished yesterday:

So conveniently!

I drafted the pattern myself. Somewhere in May…
Perhaps I can tweak it to a thicker Winter fabric for a nice Winter dress?
Which will likely be finished somewhere next Spring…

Which is when my Lilac Summer Cardi will have its two sleeves finished:

The same for my Buttercup Summer top:

I’m not late, I’m planning early. Summer 2018 is looking good.

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.

Weird Wool Wednesday: a little Karma Dragon in the house.

Joris by ZijMaaktHet gebreide knuffel draakjeJoris knitted stuffy pattern by ZijMaaktHet dragon gargoyleJoris knitted stuffy pattern by ZijMaaktHet dragon gargoyle
Pattern Joris by Annita Wilschut.

Knit by a member of the Dutch Karma Swap Group, Daphiedaph, out of what looks to be Arne & Carlos selfstriping sock yarn. She gave it to me and now it keeps me company every day. Mostly in the attic, where he oversees my efforts to draw cats on paper. Which is impossible. Cats cannot be drawn.

Sometimes Joris comes downstairs to say hi to Lillepoes:
Joris knitted stuffy pattern by ZijMaaktHet dragon gargoyleJoris knitted stuffy pattern by ZijMaaktHet dragon gargoyle
Hi.

That’ll block right out. Hopefully.

I don’t have much of a mind for knitting these days. There’s perhaps one hour in the evening to knit and then I work on Buttercup. It’s nice and straightforward:

I think I’ve made it too tight though….

but I’m telling myself it will block out. It’s cotton after all.

OMG what have I done? I don’t know what I’m doing, honestly! I fit it every 5 rows and keep thinking: “Ho. Hum. It’s a bit tight.” And then I knit on.

Because blocking is magic. And I don’t want to think about knitting too much at the moment. I start the border now. We’ll know soon.

 

day three of course Ecodyeing (Tuingeheimen) at Viltwerkplaats Odijk

So this is that we did on the third and final day of the course Garden Secrets, which is all about extracting colours from plants and fixing it on cloth.

We made mordants in various strengths from alum, iron and a mix of the two. We worked very precise. With drug dealer scales and mililiter injection syringes.

We made technical reference pieces with dots in every mordant which we hung in various dye pots. We had five pots on the boil. In Dutch: gele ui, duizendblad, rabarberwortel, guldenroede en blauwhout. (Yellow onion, Achillea millefolium, Rhubarb root, Solidago and Campeche)
We had prepared the dye pots earlier that day or the day before. (So that’s a skill I now also have, yay!)

Then we chose various mordants within one colour bath and painted with that. We fixated the mordant on the cloth. Then the cloth could be put into the dyebath and the dye grabbed onto the cloth but only where the mordant was. We were painting with mordants. The results are the flower paintings below.

In the afternoon I did one classic eco print (just plain old iron water, with an unknown strength, probably STRONK, and some Rhus leaves) because I want to master making clear contoured leaves in heavy iron. The Rhus coloured purple which was a surprise.

I also worked with the various strength mordants and painted them all on one piece of cloth, in narrow stripes. I chose to add colour from leaves, not from a dye bath, and arranged various leaved. The result is stripy with leave prints. Very interesting.

My course mate did the same but with broader stripes and one, big leave, again Rhus, and her print is amazing. It’s the last picture.

(We both opted to play with mordants and leaves. Other course mates chose to explore batik techniques and prevent either mordant or dye to touch the cloth. This way you can work in layers.)

workshop Tuingeheimen Viltwerkplaats Odijk natural dyeing Eco verf

workshop Tuingeheimen Viltwerkplaats Odijk natural dyeing Eco verf


workshop Tuingeheimen Viltwerkplaats Odijk natural dyeing Eco verf

workshop Tuingeheimen Viltwerkplaats Odijk natural dyeing Eco verf

CONCLUSION:

We learned to extract colour from plants and we learned about mordants to fixate the colour to cloth (cotton, linen, silk) and also shift the colours with these mordants.

on Day 1 we did Ecoprinting and Hapazone. Ecoprinting takes colours from leaves and puts them on premordanted cloth. Hapazone is hammering colour from flowers directly onto cloth or paper. This is without mordant and the colours are fleeting.

on Day 2 we made dye or paint from plant materials. Chop them up, soak them overnight, boil them, extract the colour and put it into little viles. Thicken them, add mordant to them. Can be kept for a long time. We painted with them on cloth and paper and we thickened them to use them for stamps.

In the afternoon we learned to shift the colours with iron and lemon. I’m looking forward to making my own paints and using them for water colour/ aquarel.

on Day 3 we prepared sophisticated mordants. They are used first and then colour is applied (either by dye bath or leaf printing). This way the colour can be determined far more precisely.

In the afternoon batik pastas were taught (but not the wax ones! Clay or flour batik paste instead, the African batiks). I opted for exploring sophisticated mordants with leaf printing instead.

All in all it was a very good course. Anja Schrik from Viltwerkplaats Odijk knows her stuff. She’s also a good course instructor who keeps impeccable timing so no one stands around being bored but also no one misses out on information just because they had to take a little rest. Also: the course doesn’t run late. That’s quite unique, isn’t it.

And it’s filled to the brim with information! Just like I hoped when I visited the studio for the presentation of the book and saw the sophisticated mordants for the first time being done.

It’s also all in the book, Eco Verven (39 euros). Which is being translated in German at the moment.

I’m very glad to have the book. I’m looking forward to work with my new knowledge. I bought some cochinelle because the colours that can be obtained from that are marvelous! They would be such a nice complementary parter to the indigo dyed linen I have at the sewing machine at the moment.

Lastly: the location of the course. A studio near three houses surrounded with one great garden filled with trees and green houses and crops and fruit and chickens and cats 🙂

The kitten is called Sjakie and the adult cat is Obelix 🙂
Obelix was adopted from the shelter and handed over in a bundle of towels because it was supposed to be “such an aggressive, hostile cat. Best to be kept outdoors. Pray you never have to take him to the vet because he will fight you nail and tooth.”

He’s the sweetest thing you ever saw! Basking in the sunlit garden, comes trotting when called because he LOVES the cuddles. Interested in what you’re doing. Turns out some cats just can’t stand the shelter. They want peace and freedom and then they their love for humans flourishes.
obelix the catobelix the cat