Just a little illustration I made. I don’t have much knitting time at the moment.
Which knitter do you know that loves to draw cats? That’s right, I made the sketch for the PR above!
It’s for a yarn club in January from Het Wolbeest, the indie dyer with the ice cream parlour and the wonderful cats and dogs I visited two weeks ago. It will consist of four instalments of handdyed fingering yarn based on four cats!
I’m going to make another drawing to promote this. And I’m getting this box! I love cats and handdyed yarn.
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-é cats, one of which I send to Spectre:
So last Wednesday I met up with Dootje, from The Woolly Dodo amazing stitchmarkers, and she gave me a birthday gift:
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 café 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:
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.
This is the cat of the owner, who lives above the shop. He is huge! And very friendly.
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.
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.
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.
We’ve had her for … oh, seven years now?
It’s only been a year and a half now that I’ve been living in the city more permanent. In that time she slowly allowed me to share my husband with her.
Particularly the last two months she’s becoming more and more friendly towards me. Not allowed to pick her up but am allowed to cuddle her when she stands close.
And there’s the chair. I think it’s my knitting chair. But she feels it’s hers. Today she’s big enough to share it with me, for the first time ever.
Of course Lillepoes had to join too. And she needs to be some distance from The Big Mean Tortie so my chest it was.
This is the snow leopard I made for my nephew yesterday:
With this gift:
Turned out he got the exact same LEGO StarWars Advent Calendar from his mum!
This is a lovely little knitted cat I got on Saturday from Tineke from Atelier Het Groene Schaep:
Isn’t it darling? It’s a pattern by Tiny Owl knits
Today the post arrived with gifts for the cats:
A new scratching post and the purple anti gobble food bowl Luna showed off last week when we baked spiced cat cookies at her house.
If you think this looks like a wooden shoe….
you’d be right. It’s a wooden shoe you can hang on the wall outside and fill with peanuts. It’s a bird feeder, Dutch style. It’s a gift for the husband of Lieneke. This one needs a poem desperately!
This is the colour I got from the Wolop Adventbox: purple!
I’m going to combine it with my supporting grey:
I’m inspired to use a pattern from this book:
This book I got from Sinterklaas a couple of years ago, when Lieneke from Wolop had travelled to Japan with her husband. Japan! Where they love knitting and the Scandinavian style of living.
Cats in cowls! You are kitten me and I love it.
Today the window cleaner is here AND the lady that cleans our house every other week. Naturally Lillepoes and I are hiding in the attic:
Our attic is a great place. It has high beams which are just peeled tree trunks, really. Great wooden structure, all put together with pegs and joints. Not a nail or drop of glue anywhere. Here I keep my art supplies (I used to be an artist before I fell ill in 2008) and a lot of my arty books and inspirations are here.
Over the past few months I’ve put my boxes with fabric here. And some wool. And a wheel or two. I hadn’t been up here for ages because for years I lived in the cabin and there’s a lot of city noise up here. Even when I was still creating art it wasn’t very nice up here, with all the noise. Always have to wear ear mufflers which means I cannot wear my glasses.
But today I’m here and I love it. Over the past year I’ve grown more resilient towards noise. And this is Lillepoes’ and my special place. When she first came to live with us we put her here, to make her feel safe. (She came from a bad home, at 4 yo.) I slept here for a couple of nights and she grew to love me and this attic very quickly.
All these years later she still enjoys being up here and she’s always inviting me up here and spend some time with her.
It’s a mess but it’s all right. I’m watching a podcast and crocheting on my blanket until it’s safe to go downstairs again. The curtains are drawn because it’s a whopping 30 degrees out there today!
Talking about crochet: a friend of mine offered to crochet me this:
A lalylala pattern called ROCO the raccoon, designed by Lydia Tresselt
I’ve been wanting a Roco for a long time now! It’s been in my queue for a couple of years but I knew I couldn’t make it because you have to crochet these kind of stuffies really tight and I can’t do that with my shoulder impingement. But I kept it in my queue because maybe I could do it in smalls steps or something?
I also wanted to change to colours to mimic Lillepoes’ colours:
Lalylala is a very well known designer and she has a distinctive style. The patterns are offered in many languages. Her website is here.
There’s a community of crocheters who adore her style and make moderations to her designs, such as mini-versions, which the designer then shares on her site. With the pattern that particular crocheter has made!
My friend didn’t know I’ve been adoring Lalylala’s designs for some time now. She just mentioned she is crocheting a lamb by her at the moment and that she has several of her patterns.
I told her about Roco in my queue and then she offered to make him for me. To which I said “NO thank you” immediately. As a member of the “Selfish Knitters and Crocheters Ravelry Group” (Meaning I create what I want for whom I want. Not because of x-mas or social obligation or because some pedestrian thinks yarn creations are cheap or fast or because some mermaid/hot dog blanket is doing the rounds on Facebook.) I know how much work this is and I feared that just because we were talking about it and just because she’s able to make it and I am not she felt obliged to offer.
We talked on about these patterns and she said that for herself she will be making Dirk the Dragon:
DIRK the dragon / dinosaur by Lydia Tresselt
But the next day she brought Roco up again. She insisted she’d like to make one for me. I started to talk about payment then (150 euros/dollars would be a good starting point for one stuffie) but she wasn’t having it. She then explained, in small words so I would understand, that she crochets for relaxation and that she really wants something to crochet in order to relax. She would like to crochet more of Lalylala’s designs but she has no use for the products, she wants the process. It’s not like I would do her a favour by granting her to crochet for me, no, but she would like to crochet something and then give it to me, especially seeing that I love the design and the work involved. Win-win, so to say.
I got off my high horse and understood and thankfully accepted her gift. And now I’m all excited! I had already the yarn in mind I’d want “Lilleroco” made from and I knew I had to do some study to figure out which colour goes where. But before that we had to figure out which yarn would be good for Dirk the Dragon. (We did agree that I buy the wool for both stuffies.)
colourway 285, pic by Eki
So I studied the pattern for Dirk and it’s made with Trekking sock yarn with neps. Not cotton, which is usually used for stuffies and amugurimi, but wool containing sock yarn. She loves the colour and the nepps but this particular colour is no longer on the market: Zitron Trekking XXL colour 285. I did find a couple of Ravelers who still have a ball and was thinking about asking them to sell it to me (kind of a social no-no on Ravelry, asking people about stash items which are not marked “for sale” but I was willing to do it).
But first I showed her the various sock yarns that are on the market, including the Trekking XXL, and asked her to crochet a little swatch with some of them. Just to find out if wool yarn will work for her.
We’re both glad she did because she found out she doesn’t like it one bit!
The wool stretches where cotton does not. And Trekking is not soft, it’s kind of scratchy (just like all the sock yarns made from wool such as Opal, Fabel, Regia and the lot).
However I do have some high end sock yarns which are way softer, including one with nepps:
Dutch Wool Diva Diva Sock Donegal Nepps in colourway Statue, I still have some left from my Nurmulito shawl and I could perhaps have some dyed up in a good Dirk colour. But my friend flat out refused to try this out. To her 8 euros for a ball of yarn is expensive. 17 euros is plainly ridiculous!
I don’t think it would have worked anyway. This yarn is a two ply (not round) and the nepps are in brown, white and black where my friend fell for the brightly coloured ones in the Trekking. Plus it’s still wool and stretches.
With all the sock yarns out it was clear there’s not a good yarn, with nepps, in a good colour for her Dirk. In cotton yarns nepps don’t even seem to exist. This cotton, however, does exist:
Scheepjes Stonewashed, 130 m per 50 grams, cotton with a touch of acrylic, shown here in only some of the colours.
For Roco/Lilleroco I had already settled on this yarn because I like the semi-solidness of the colour. When I saw the yarn at Sticks & Cups in Utrecht a couple of weeks ago again I noticed how good it looks and how soft it is. The only reason my blanket is not made from this is that cotton is tougher to crochet with than the Scheepjes Crafter I’m using. And the price.
After our week of searching for good Dirk yarn -I even contemplated spinning some- my friend now thinks that Scheepjes Stonewashed will be good for her Dirk too. The examples others made look promising:
Dirk and pic by Lezelie
So that will be it then. In a few weeks I will visit Sticks & Cups in Utrecht again and then I will buy the yarn for both Dirk and Lilleroco.
This gives me the time to figure out which colours should go where to make Raccoon Roco into Lilleroco:
Lillepoes has a black face and black ears. Blue eyes which I’m thinking might be fun to indicate with the little mask Roco is wearing in blue. Her white toes ask for faster transition of the colour changes. The one on the left is the one I’m currently at.
I’m playing with colours again, in my attic, it is lovely 🙂
STOP! PLAYTIME OVER!
THIS JUST IN!
“CAT DISCOVERS CLOSED DOOR”
THIS IS NOT RIGHT!
These two pictures are permanent on my desk top:
I don’t remember where I got the first one from but the second one is a Moebius Cowl by Cat Bordhi, knit by Csteekjes for her cat Genki.
I love the expression of bliss on their little faces! These pictures make me happy 🙂
Because I may have a thing for cats in cowls this came in the mail today:
A felt creation by Amuru on Etsy.
It’s a little pocket friend. To carry with you, as a secret supporter when you have to face the world.
We’re not the best of friends yet…because I don’t like its cowl. It’s a piece of cut off knitwear, no cast on, no bind off, and it’s sewn together. Handsewn though, so that’s love.
I also think its crocheted flower is too brightly coloured to my taste and compared to the shop example:
Such beautiful, tranquil colours! Just like the colour palette that makes me happy at the moment.
My felt cat has a hot pink flower and much blue in its cowl. The contrast between these two is not very tranquil and it distracts me from its lovely face…
This is all a matter of personal preference of course plus limited resources of the creator (she reuses knit fabric) plus monitor display. So I confess readily to being nitpicky and perfectionist.
That’s why my complaints should not be taken too seriously.
That’s also why my compliments on the other hand weigh heavily: The cat is very well made and I’m impressed how Amuru manages to repeat the same cat over and over, of equal quality. My cat looks exactly as the example, same expression.
I specifically researched this skill because I’m always weary when a seller uses the same picture for multiple items. Luckily some people who bought one of her foxes showed their picture and it looked exactly like the shop example. Shop picture and received item:
That’s truely skilfull artisanship and this gave me the confidence to order.
Of course I’m thinking of knitting a new cowl for my new friend. As a knitter, how could I not? And with those lovely examples on my desktop.
Upside down back to front?
But I love the gradient in grey in the cowl it has and it’s made of a nice soft yarn. I won’t be able to find or make anything comparable. If I knit it another cowl it will have to be different and not refer to this one in any way because it will fall short. That means no handknit gradient soft grey cowl for my kitty…
So I’m playing with this one. Seeing if I can find another way to make it work for me.
You know my sheep mug:
That’s Germany in yellow. In grey are the Netherlands, to the left of Germany. To the north is just a bit Denmark. Upper right, under the Baltic Sea, is Poland. Czech Republic underneath it. (we’re now at the grey country in the middle, right of Germany.)
Right lower border shows Austria. In the middle, under Germany, is Switzerland. Left lower border is France. The little country shown in grey at the left is Luxembourg and to the left of that is Belgium. Then we’re back at left upper corner with the Netherlands again. The blue in left upper corner is the North Sea.
Lüneburg is a beautiful city, chuck full of history and fairytales and culture. I’ve been there once, in winter, it was magical.
There’s an impressive heath nearby where a flock of sheep live with their shepherd. They’re moorland sheep of the German breed Heidschnucke:
This looks just like the picture on my mug! The heath in bloom and with those weird long trees.
Heidschnuck sheep is a very handsome breed. And also intelligent. Beautiful ewe:
Heid = heide = heath and Schnucke = candy. Sweet heath-candy sheep 🙂
My mug supports the flock at Lüneburger Heath.
I’ve had it for years. For as long as I knit, I think…
it was one of the first “knittery” gifts I ever received. Oh, I love this mug! It’s big, it has green on it, it was a gift given at a time I was low on energy and happiness, it reminds me of Lüneburg and my friend and it’s a knitter’s mug.
Right before Advent the mug in the city fell to the floor and shattered 😦
I had to do a lot of internet wizardry to find a suitable replacement and this is it:
from a husband and wife team in Bulgaria: Miglena & Miroslav from MMceramicdesign at Etsy.com
A knitter’s mug has to meet a few requirements:
– it needs to hold half a liter of tea (14 to 17 ounces of fluid)
– it must have a handle (we say “ear”)
– it must be higher than wide (I often forget I have tea, it mustn’t cool in a hurry)
– I prefer it to be handmade and directly support the creator
– I love porcelain, more than stoneware
– I love thick glaze
– I like particular colours
– I don’t like comically drawn sheep
– I can’t go out and visit ceramic artists and look for a mug, I’m still house bound. So internet shopping it is.
– if purchased outside of Europe it must cost less than 24 euros (26 USD) otherwise I’ll have to pay a ridiculous amount of import costs
– I don’t trust a handmade mug that costs 24 euro or less, handmades ought to get a fair price
This was the only one to fit the bill. The only one in the whole wide world! Or so it seemed to me, after days of growing a set of screen shaped eyes.
It’s not particularly knitterly but Cat Lady is a close second to Knitter and it met all the other requirements so I’m well pleased.
It’s part of a line of handmade ceramics by a husband and wife company in Bulgaria. It’s well made as judged by Lieneke from Wolop who has a degree in ceramics. The shape keeps the tea hot. It holds 500 ml easily. It’s green, handmade and has a cat.
I like it!
They even do yarn bowls!
And sheep mugs:
I’ll keep searching for another mug. A knitter should have more than one mug I feel. For when another knitter comes to visit. And for when you are in a different mood. Or for when I feel more of a spinner than a knitter.
I have one other good mug. It’s not knitterly at all but I love it. It’s my Winter mug:
It’s a cheapo mug from a cheapo store but it’s big, brown and festive! (oh look at my scrawny claw hand in that photo! That’s my inner witch peeking out, I suppose. I DO have fairytales on the mind these days…)
At Sinterklaas Wolop got a beautiful knitter’s mug from Starbucks. A proper knitter’s mug!
A cat with a golden collar, playing with green yarn. Lots of volume. High mug. Porcelain, I believe. What a beauty!
I wanted to steal it. Very much.
I didn’t steal it.
Now my New Years Resolution is to steal less (I love resolutions that don’t require any change of behaviour but still give cause to self congratulations) and to go out of the house and meet ceramic artists in real life instead of online. See their products. Find myself another knitter’s mug.
There are some ceramic fairs throughout the year and in 2016 I plan to visit at least one of them. There’s one in Gouda, the city where Lieneke lives. Gouda is traditionally known for it’s ceramics. And cheese. I wonder if it shows functional ceramics or more arty statement things.
There’s another fair in a piece of grassland in the north of the most southern province, Limburg. Someone in the know will enlighten me.
So there we are. One new knitter’s mug and some beautiful New Year Resolutions. Congratulations all around!