So whatcha doin’?

Well….. I’m knitting a sock waiting at the doctor’s office:

A new pair of SlipStripeSpiral socks by Mylene Pijpers. I want something to complement that gorgeous blue green purple ball. And I’m all into greyish purples at the moment so I expect great things from this 50 gram ball of Regia.

The doctor is running late:

Apparently it takes me one hour to knit a toe.
How I pitied the other people waiting! They have nothing else to do but delve into their phones or leaf through germ ridden magazines filled with soul-eroding advertisements.

The dr. appointment went well. I got the OK to officially self manage my adrenal insufficiency from now on and he will tell his successor so.
The way he said that last part was: “Are you on my list of difficult patients?”
I am now.

Then we talked about DNA and Methylation and he concluded our visit with: “Every time you’re sitting here I think: what will you teach me today?”
That got me all flustered. I don’t feel like an expert at all, more like stumbling and good at choosing which pits to avoid.

I walked home and had a little cry. It has been so scary to go up against a mysterious illness that no doctor can explain and had me near death in my bed. Then tweak things a bit and get a foot hold here and there and eventually recover a bit and develop a working theory that makes sense but I cannot comprehend in its totality. My GP agrees on my theory and supports the drugs and tests I want to take. But now I take these dangerous hormones and I have to be smart and cautious at the same time and I’m scared all over again. Scared because now I have a chance at health but now I also know there’s so much (medicine/biology) that I don’t know and there’s so much in a body that can go faulty. That I can actively cause to go faulty. I know we all have to die of something in the end but I’m actively stirring the pot of options.

After my little cry and a big hug from Robert, Lillepoes and some chocolate, we packed up and travelled to the cabin. Estimated travel time: one toe.

Seeing the two yarn together I decided I didn’t like the colour combination. The bluegreen is such a happy and vibrant and smooth yarn (Trekking) while the grey purple is muted and kinda fuzzy (Regia). No, neither colourway profits from this combination. So I put the one toe aside and cast on a second toe in the greypurple colour, from the inside of the ball:

It was done by the time we got to the cabin. Now I have to wait the long weekend before I return to the city to chose a better sock yarn to go with these toes and another yarn to go with that green blue yarn.
I’ll confess that I’m looking for options to buy some 50 grams balls of yarn tomorrow. Because I don’t have good colours in the stash, I already know.

This is the other project I forgot to take with me:

That’s right, it’s the mitten design that I’m making into a vest and I finished the stranded part yesterday! Now follows a bit of plain knitting, starting with the decreases for the waist. An excellent knit for a car ride. If I had thought to bring it with me…

But I didn’t forget everything. I brought the Rose and Thorn Sock Madness sock that now goes under the new name Purple Sock. That’s good for mindless knitting. And I brought some lace shawls. I’ll tell you about two of them in a next post, right now I want to show you the one that I finished knitting:

It’s the I Believe shawl. For World Wide Autism Awareness Day come April 2nd.

The cabin has a centrifuge, a top loader, excellent for wool projects. So now the I Believe shawl is blocking, upstairs on the spare bed in the little attic.

It’s so pretty! It’s already night time now but I have a torch.

My trusted critic:

I used a semisolid yarn to bring out the Holding Hands lace motif:

Battery in the flash light died:

Hopefully it’s dry tomorrow and I can take daylight pictures. I’m also very curious to see whether the edge will roll, because it’s all stockinette stitch. But it’s 100% silk so I may get lucky. An interesting experiment.

I used exactly 100 grams of yarn for the shawl, both yarns together. But I thought people wouldn’t trust that round number so I put 99 grams into the Ravelry database.

A bit like when Mount Everest was measured and it came to exactly 29,000 feet (8,839 m) in height. The story is they added 2 feet [0.6 m] to make it look more believable.

Can’t fudge 2 feet in a Dutch landscape though. Holland is flat:

Like a green pancake.


Blocking two tops today but they’re not finished.

I’m blocking two of my knittings today: Petrie Shell and Pumpkin Ale Cardigan.

Ooh, nice yarn bowl! I’m such a colour coordinated knitter. Today.

Both have been partially blocked before, to check gauge and ease my mind during the knitting. Pumpkin Ale needs its sleeves blocked:

I’m quite surprised to be blocking these, today. It was only yesterday I was knitting on them and the end was nowhere in sight!

Blocking feels like the last stage in a project. After it’s dry it’s finished and you get to wear it.
Not with these two. The Petrie Shell needs some sort of band to be inserted in the front collar, to give it more stiffness. For this I’ll use gross grain band from about one inch wide.
I have none in the house, I’ll have to go out and get it. It’s why I didn’t bind off at the front:

The Pumpkin Ale isn’t finished after knitting either. The pockets have holes in them:

You’re supposed to attach a fabric lining. We’ll see how that goes. I’ve got no fabric and no sewing skills in the house in the city.
But I guess when I’m out buying gross grain ribbon I’ll do it at a place that sells fabric.

I’m also rinsing out these yarns:

I’ll tell you about them in a later post but I dyed these myself over the weekend and they’re dyed with plants! With the flowers of common reed. The different greens depend on whether they are the first skeins to go in or the last ones and on dipping them into diluted ammonia afterwards or in rusty water.

They’re small skeins of Norwegian handspun. They’re very dear to me. They also smell of Norway (pine, salt, wooden cabin, sheep).

the miracle of blocking: Sprig and Wolgelukkig mitts and bunting.

Well what do you know, blocking made the Sprig pullover fit!

Lovely neck detail:

Here now some pictures showing me, my Sprig and my living room in all our disorganized mess. I could claim that an outward disarray merely points towards an organized mind?

But the truth is that I’ve spend a whole week on the couch, recuperating from three weeks in the city, and that I just cannot do any better than this. I haven’t washed, I haven’t cooked and I certainly haven’t tidied up. But I have rested, I remembered to take all my pills and I have recovered to an acceptable level of functionality in just one week.

Today I’m up and about for the first time. I stuck my nose outside and smelled the Spring. Lovely!
I was also well enough to block Sprig. And well enough to have some pictures taken. Not well enough to remember to stand in the light. Ah well!

Sprig is not too tight at all. It rides up a bit, but handknit Long Draw handspun tends to do that with me. No idea why.

The asymmetrical neck sits good:

Not too tight at the bust either. I can breathe comfortably. Gauge did turn out to be as advertised. I’m shocked.

The sleeves have a nice detail too. Not visible here. I attached a button. Barely visible here. I think I’ll change it for something else, it’s so obscure. Having a button at the inside of the forearm is not too pleasant so I might take it off altogether.

Blocking also worked well for the Wolgelukkig wristwarmers.

Unfortunately my camera didn’t want to play. I’ll have to redo these pictures but I cannot muster that today so I’m showing you these in the mean time:

The bind off at the wrist still curls a bit and is too wide. But the handspun Shetland is a dream to process and wear. I cannot wait to spin the colour assorted combed top I have.

The third approved blocking experience was with these two little flags I crocheted:

They both feature my handspun. They are meant for bunting for a knitting in public picknick we’re doing with the Dutch Karma Swap Group. It’s also our anniversary. We’ll be going to a park, somewhere in June, when it’s international Knit in Public Day and we’ll have cake and we’ll knit.

Update finished Februari Sweater 2013

Oooooh, it’s blocked!

Guess who made time yesterday to weave in all the ends?
Guess who made soup yesterday and afterwards had a bucket of warm water in which the pot cooled, begging to be used?

Guess who remembered she’s tired of keeping her hydrocortisone pills in her bra?

That would be the knitter with an all finished sweater and a snoring cat. I’m going to wear it now, the heating in the cabin is out.

Blocking: the sweaterdress/pinafore

My friend knitted the dress according to the pattern I wrote and send it back to me.
Today I wanted to block it -I have a stand alone centrifuge at the cabin, it’s perfect for bigger projects- and take pictures of it.

But it was not a case of: make wet, centrifuge and block.
I’ve spend all day washing it 😦
The dye kept on bleeding. Turqoise does so, it is a colour notorious for it.

All day long I had to dance: soak one hour, rinse the dress. Soak another hour, rinse the dress again.
After the 7th soak I remembered to take a picture for you. *I’m slow when frustration builds*
The water still wasn’t clear in that 7th rinse but I’m so done.
My nerves are gnawed to the core now, I want this dress dry. I want to wear it and I want to show pictures. To you. To my friend who knitted it.

So ready or not, it is now blocking on the veranda, with an ingenious construction involving clothespins and a bottle of water and more clothespins (I love clothes pins, I use them for everything.)

Night is falling, I’m an hour past my bed time.
I don’t like to keep wool out of doors at night, there are butterflies here which love wool. They are called “Home mothers” in Dutch. No idea why!

I once kept a fleece out on the veranda and next morning there were a lot of house mothers sitting on it.
This caused some confusion on Ravelry. People imagining local mothers roaming around these farmer’ lands, finding my fleece and camping out on it. Picknicking.

It’s Noctua Pronuba when it uses its fancy name and drinks wine. There “Noctua” in its name. Something to do with “night”?
(I;m so tired I’m rambling)
In Englis it’s called the Large Yellow Underwing. Very practical naming. You get what you see.

There are moths here too.

But I’m making an exception.
I’ve waited all day for this dress. And I am done. Done rinsing. Done waiting. Done with turqoise. Starting to hate that colours.
I want this dress. I want to show you proper pictures tomorrow. They have to be taken in the morning because I’m leaving at noon. So this dress has to stay outdoors tonight. Come house mothers or moths or damp air. I’m wearing it tomorrow! (unless I have a lie in)

I’m done rambling now. Here are the pictures of the last rinse and my blocking genius. Sorry if I omitted night goggles on my iPad. There should be an app for that. Probably is.

Good night! Don’t let any mothers sit on you. (unless you’re married to her. In which case you should not let your children read this.)

Oak Grove Cardi: 5 balls gone

Decreasing for the left front flap.

I am getting more and more doubts about the pattern. At the moment the back panel isn’t long enough and hangs awkward… I’m hoping blocking will fix it… but I know from previous experiences that blocking seldom does. Blocking only fixes lace.

I wish I had done this pattern on bigger needles with bigger yarn, to try it out. To do this on 3,25mm… might have been a time consuming mistake.

I do have gauge and do follow the pattern precisely. But it sits awkward…

I wonder if I should block it first, before I pick up stitches for the sleeves. Just to try out the shape. But blocking might distort the armholes and thus the sleeves…

Weird Wool Wednesday: holding on to an ugly duckling

Temptress is finished. I love this shawl so much! It may well be one of the greatest shawls I ever knit. My favourite designer, high end yarn (half silk, half cashmere!) in the colour that flatters me most and with sparkly, quality beads for which I had to wait a few days.

The shawl itself I knit in just six days which is a record for lace, with beading. That’s how much I enjoyed it!

Here it is, pre-blocking:

All it needs is a gentle soak, a surface to be spread upon and 500 pins to stretch it into shape. Then it will become a most beautiful swan! I can’t wait!

Blocking makes lace. It’s a real nice thing to see, lace preblocked and after blocking.

Ravelry as a whole thread with pictures of lace before and after blocking.

Then why have I not blocked my shawl????

I’ve been carrying my duckling shawl and 500 pins with me everywhere I go for 12 days now. I have not blocked (or worn) it. Apparently I can wait… for a swan…


The goods on Stientje

here are some of the details about February Sweater Stientje.

I used a different white yarn, this was much softer, soft enough to wear next to the skin. It’s also a thinner one than the yarn for the body (that was knitted on 7mm). It was even thinner than the coloured yarn (that was knitted on 4mm).

Looking at the white yarn I estimated I’d use needles 3,25 mm. Just an educated guess, based on experience. Every knitter has a hand of her own. The more various thicknesses you use, the easier you can look at a yarn and guess which needle will give a good result.

I knitted upwards, decreasing 8 stitches every other row. This is de rate at which knitting in the round makes a flat, round circle.

Trying on the yoke to see how it’s getting along:

Going well. Keep on knitting.

Kept on knitting, kept on decreasing. I tried to place the decreases randomly. But when I took a closer look I saw ugly lines of decreases stacking on top of each other.

This will be close to my face, getting attention. It will not do.

So I frogged, picked up 72 stitches, increased to 85 and started to knit riggs. Roughly 3 rows of all knit and than 4 rows of all purls. I hid the decreases in the knit rows.

I say ‘roughly’ 3 rows of all knits because I put short rows in the back to raise it and use mostly the knit rows for that. Most humans like that: a little extra warmth in the back of your neck and not a raised front that chokes you a bit. I fudged it, alternating purl and knit rows, working in one direction or the other. I did not stack the short rows on top of each other, they are interperced with normal rows going all around.

Ahh, nice shaping! You can see the waist and the hips. I rolled back the lower edge so you can see that the front is a bit lower than the back. This is due to the bust darts. A little extra fabric was inserted to follow the curves of my breasts and still make for a horizontal even line at the bottom when I wear the sweater:

I reknit the border too. For the second time. First I didn’t like the look of the ribbing. Then I just binded off because that worked so well with the sleeves. But at the body it made the border flip upwards. Large pieces of stockinette stitches do that, they want to roll. Also, being worried I’d run out of yarn I had binded off not using all the yarn and it made the sweater just a little bit too short.

So I frogged, knitted 2 rows of all purls (negating the tendency of the fabric to roll upwards) and than bind off with Judy’s Stretchy Bind Off that adds a thicker row to the knitting than just regular bind off. The border now looks like it has a total of 3 purl rows + bind off. I like it.

The sleeve bind off after blocking. The stitches have evened out. The fabric doesn’t roll.

project page on here

It’s really thick and soft(ish) and perfect February colours and for a Bright Winter type and it also reminds me of humming birds which we call Kolibri