Bookpresentation and lecture “Eco-Dyes” by Anja Schrik

Viltworkshop Odijk has an amazing studio:

lezing Eco-verf en boekpresentatie bij Viltwerkplaats Odijk. Plant Dyes, natural dyes, ecoprintinglezing Eco-verf en boekpresentatie bij Viltwerkplaats Odijk. Plant Dyes, natural dyes, ecoprinting

The demonstration was awe-inspiring. 14 colours out of the same dye pot. Here are two dyepots, one from yellow flowers and one from cochinille. That’s 28 colours all together:

lezing Eco-verf en boekpresentatie bij Viltwerkplaats Odijk. Plant Dyes, natural dyes, ecoprinting

Another example, using dye from only one onion skins dye pot:

lezing Eco-verf en boekpresentatie bij Viltwerkplaats Odijk. Plant Dyes, natural dyes, ecoprinting

There were about 30 visitors, all women, and all “wool women”. Everyone was wearing something art-full and no one was keeping in her stomach, pretending to be prettier, and being miserable for it. They all had a technical keenness.

lezing Eco-verf en boekpresentatie bij Viltwerkplaats Odijk. Plant Dyes, natural dyes, ecoprinting

14 plants made into 14 plant dyes:

lezing Eco-verf en boekpresentatie bij Viltwerkplaats Odijk. Plant Dyes, natural dyes, ecoprinting

These dyes where then used to dye these tops:

lezing Eco-verf en boekpresentatie bij Viltwerkplaats Odijk. Plant Dyes, natural dyes, ecoprinting

Invitations for playing with stamps and tie-dying and eco printing:

lezing Eco-verf en boekpresentatie bij Viltwerkplaats Odijk. Plant Dyes, natural dyes, ecoprinting

Latvian easter egg dye technique. These were so vibrant in colour! The photos do not do it justice:

lezing Eco-verf en boekpresentatie bij Viltwerkplaats Odijk. Plant Dyes, natural dyes, ecoprinting

Another technique is hammering the dye straight into the cloth:

lezing Eco-verf en boekpresentatie bij Viltwerkplaats Odijk. Plant Dyes, natural dyes, ecoprinting

The lecture was amazing! It addressed the history of dyes, from cavemen rubbing red earth on there faces right up to the synthetic dyes of the last century. In between there was given much importance to the wearing of colour, singling out monarchs, Roman emperors and church officials as the only ones allowed to wear red and purples. Setting up guilds and keeping the recipes very secret. But only after dyers were snubbed for centuries because they stank up the place, with their buckets of fermented urine. And you couldn’t trust them anyway, with their magical powers to change the appearance of something. And their chemical knowledge… Shapeshifting stinking magicians, the lot of them!

 Tyrian, royal, purple. $4.000 per gram 5 years ago. 11.000 snails needed per gram. 1700BC-1100AD

This mistrust and the fact that dyers weren’t literate caused their dye recipes to be lost over the centuries many times. Egyptian times, Roman times, pre-ME times, Aztec knowledge, Mayan knowledge, ME-times, Neanderthalers, Peruvian recipes, Afghan recipes. All lost.

They also got researched and reinvented many times and it is something that modern dyers still do, in my opinion.

Nowadays we use bright and light fast colour in our cloths and surroundings as common as if it was sliced bread. But, much like sliced bread, the common and widespread use of it is fairly recent. Before that we had to “make do” with the traditional skills. (which I love).

And painters! We are so spoiled these days. Up until about a century ago every painter made her own paint. All through the renaissance and the Dutch Golden Age contracts were signed at the commission how much of the expensive Lapis Lazuli a painter was to use.

Those paints have faded… Only the most expensive ingredients may have survived. All tapestries and cloths and paintings have changed colour or have faded.

There was dramatic red in the sky of Turner’s painting when he made it. But he used fast fading reds and now we’re left with golden magnificence of a very different flavour. Artist’ prerogative? The link goes to an interesting article by 

Van Gogh used fading colours too. His irises were very purple when made. And his bedroom didn’t have these tasteful docile light blue walls:

They were purple! And the floorboards were maroon. Put that against the green strokes between the boards and your 19th century eyes would start to water:

Van Gogh was way more colour mad than we give him credit for today. A whole new world of Vincent’s colours is there to explore 😀

He lived in the time when for every colour a synthetic variety was searched. Between 1850 and 1925 the race was on, dear Watson. It was a chemical race. Practically all the large chemical concerns we know today started out in those times as small producers of one or two synthetic dyes.

 Today’s AkzoNobel paint testing site in Sassenheim, NL

Anyway. I imagine that through every century the farmer-women have happily indulged into colouring their wools and their eggs with the plants gathered around their stead. Playing with what are called the “little colours” because they may fade fast you can have coloured garments every day, as long as you’re willing to overdye once a year.

I did got to knit a little during the lecture, feeling every stitch blindly because my eyes were focused on the projection screen for Anja Schrik’s very interesting lecture. She will repeat this lecture in Haarlem, at Meervilt, on the 29th of October and the 1st of December. There are also workshops and all the dye stuffs from the book are for sale.

I haven’t even shown you the actual book. I’m very happy with it. For me it is very complete and clear now that I have seen the demonstration and the examples from the book. The lecture was extra information.

With the book I feel confident to start dyeing. As soon as next weekend as the indigo plants at the cabin are about to wither now that the frost is coming. Indigo is a whole different class from the plant dyes and the pigment dyes! I feel confident to address is. That’s really saying something about both the book and Anja Schrik as an instructor.

 

The book Eco-verf by Anja Schrik I compare to Eco Colour by India Flint, which is also on my shelf. Flint gives a lot of atmospheric inspiration, Schrik has more recipes and hands on. Having never done a workshop in this material I’ve always found Flint’s book intimidating. She is very good at it and I’d never be able to get her results. Schrik’s book Eco-verf is more user friendly, having a whole chapter of step-by-step guides to get easy and reliable results.

But like I said, by meeting the dyer and seeing her do a demonstration and seeing the examples from the book, the information ordered itself in my head in a way that suits me better than when just reading a book or seeing youtubes about it.

lezing Eco-verf en boekpresentatie bij Viltwerkplaats Odijk. Plant Dyes, natural dyes, ecoprinting

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Fabrics to show off my handknits

So what’s with me knitting all the cuffs? Why do I want them to be greys and purples? And why did I spend time to make a whole colourcollage of them??

Well…. I’m planning a new wardrobe.

Now that I’m living more in the city again and feel more active I want to dress up. Show off the quality yarns I’m using. With quality clothing.

This is my inspiration board:
Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 21.03.59
Clean lines, no ruffles. Functional garments. Natural fibres.
Nice details and well executed sewing.

Light coloured blouses and light coloured trousers/skirt (but not too light because I’m not planning on living a spotless life any time soon).
Wear a darker dress over it, a dress with pockets. A pinafore.
With a light shawl or collar on top, framing my face.

And!

I’m going to make all these nice clothes myself.
Boom. Yes.
Because that’s what knitting told me.
Knitting knocked on my door and said: “A good fit at the shoulders is everything. Mass produced clothes don’t fit anyone, you included. Better make things yourself. Using quality materials. You’ll love it.”

So, I’m studying sewing. Not planned in any reasonable way. I just stumbled upon a few things that interest me and now that they seem to fit so nicely together I can present it to you as if it were a well thought out plan.

It’s a two pronged approach. One prong is the fitting part: bodyshape, wearing ease, drafting patterns, altering patterns, draping fabrics, swiveling darts. The colour analysis helped in this. The knitting experiences help tremendously! I’ve been sewing some dresses the past few years and learned a lot from that.

The second prong is a subject I stumbled upon only recently: precision sewing. With that I mean tailoring techniques, haute couture techniques, pressing, hand stitching.
At this moment I’m buried into bespoke dress shirt making. This is the book I’m reading right now: Shirtmaking: Developing Skills For Fine Sewing by David Page Coffin:
51wyjnjldbl-_sx401_bo1204203200_

Besides all this self studying I’ve also been taking a pattern drafting course since September. It’s a great source of frustration, being out in the real world trying to make thoughts work. You know me: brilliant in theory but not quite as adept in conjuring reality…
As you can imagine, the course has been a good mix of thrilling theory and bonking into the reality of measurements, teaching traditions and spending time with people who need more time than me to grasp concepts and hold onto them. I, on the other hand, slow everyone down with stupid ignorant questions about sewing basics. I feel quite the clutz.

This month we finally got to draft our body block into a pattern for a shirt, a pattern with wearing ease and all that. I’m still putting it onto paper (how wide should the cuff be? What kind of collar? How to close a shirt when you don’t have button hole help on your sewing machine??)
Once I have my shirt pattern finished I can turn any fabric into a shirt that fits me nicely!
I plan to crank out one shirt after the other this Summer, all based on the same pattern with just design changes in the details.

Last Friday I was pro-active and bought a whole lot of fabrics for my new wardrobe:
buit van Stoffenspektakel. vooral linnens

These will become shirts:
buit van Stoffenspektakel. vooral linnens

On top is a grey lilac cotton that will become my first real shirt, the one I’ll be showing in the next drafting class, on May 23rd.
The light grey and the soft lilac at the bottom are linens.
The white one is silk. The silk is for the end of Summer, when I’ve got this shirt thing down and might feel like venturing into shaping and draping a garment.

Here’s four meters of mid weight linen:
buit van Stoffenspektakel. vooral linnens

It was supposed to be the colour Mauseschwanzen from my cuffs but it’s a warmer tone than that, as shown in the top picture where the cuff is resting on it.
Not sure what to do with it now. Will think about it a bit. I bought it with the plan to make a shirt and a skirt or trousers. That’s why it already has a zipper. A zipper that’s too long for trousers with a zipper at the front, which was what I was planning… Clutz alert in aisle 2 of the haberdashery!

Either way this linnen will be flowing around my legs in some form or other this Summer. Trousers with a side zipper (or at the back) or a long skirt (with a side zipper, or at the back). And its colour will go well with the socks I’ll have made from all the sock yarn that magically appeared at my doorstep this week:

DROPS yarn is having a sale!

These are some darker and stiffer fabrics:
buit van Stoffenspektakel. vooral linnens

All intended for things to wear over a shirt and a skirt.
On the bottom is a denim and it’s for a pinafore dress, with pockets, which will be useful on a daily basis.
The dark grey linen in the middle will also become such a functional garment. It’s quite heavy! I think I bought curtain fabric… in fact I’m sure I did. Not a clutz move though, curtains are excellent for skirts. They wear well. I also like to use upholstery fabric for skirts. So sturdy! Yet with fun woven in designs.
(as a side note, I just read on the web that quality bedding sheets are excellent for dress shirts. High count Egyptian cotton? Why not. Just because it’s labeled “bed linen” doesn’t mean it isn’t a piece of quality fabric.)

Sourcing fabric with the qualities the garment needs to have.
Wearing garments that are functional to your life, not just decorative.
Patterns that flatter the body shape and provide ease of movement.
Thinking about colours and contrasts that suit my own complexion.
Not paying much attention to the current fashion craze.
Paying much attention to skilled professionals who know how to create with their hands.

It’s been done for ages.

Designer and bespoke tailor Ivey Abitz looks at historic dress and translates them into her collections of wearable, functional fashion.
She designed one of my main inspiration pictures:


pic by Ivey Abitz

Isn’t it great?! You can imagine this wears like a dream, not restricting you at all. With natural white long sleeves under it… yes please!

Although I don’t want my skirts to be so frilly, I’m not into the layer upon layer look. But I love the light-darker-light sequence of the design! That is exactly what I’m doing for me too. I bloggeded about the contrast my face has and how clothing/shawls help to flatter it. I mangled some pictures halfway this post to try and show you what I mean.

The smaller piece of olive green grey linen is intended to become an exact copy of this vest:
a design by Marcy Tilton, to show off her quality fabrics.

So many precision sewing details! How the back seam is bound with stripey band. How the inner collar differs in colour. Its shape! The round bib-shaped stitching. How the stitching in the side seam matches the bib-stitching. The button holes. How the vertical seams for shaping in the lower part are hardly noticable.

This is a garment very suiting for my body type.
If the “bib” shape is made stiff with underlining and topstitching it won’t present the breasts so readily to any pedestrian. Instead it will guide away the eye from them, upwards.
Below the bib there’s lots of inconspicuous shaping happening, right at the underbust, where I need it, without the pedestrian noticing.

The bib covers the bust and sets the stage for the neckline which in turn makes a perfect frame for whatever I’ve got going on there: a blouse with an interesting collar detail; a sparkling necklace orrrrr….a handknitted shawl!

There we are.
All this sewing plans with a particular goal of show off flattering (and functional!) handknits that I’ll wear around my neck and my wrists. In quality yarns. In the right colours.
Because I love it.

Dying for colour

I’ve been dyeing fleeces for the last few days.

It all started with washing fleeces and once that wool is wet and you’re using your centrifuge… it’s a small step to add some colour.


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I’m purposely dyeing not full saturated colours. The blue is Landscape Dye Apollo Bay, on fine Shetland in various colours. The green is the same blue dye mixed with some Ashford (lemon) yellow. It’s on a not-so-fine Dutch breed, probably Texelaar.

The orange is Jacquard Dye, in a premixed colour from Stof tot verven. It’s on my spotted organic sheep. It’s also a non-felting fleece. Mix of Hollands Bont and Jacobsheep.

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Spinning for a little gnome lady

I’m spinning my little heart out, on the Finnish slanty.

I’ve got two batts that are amazingly soft and full of glim and glitter. Both have “a fairy tale connection” and that makes spinning them so much more fun.

In this post I show you my “Duif knuffelbatt”. Duif carded this one inspired by my ravatar.
My ravatar:

The batt:

I’ve looked at it for …. two years now, I think. It is that impressive!
It had a lace ribbon tied around it and with all the silk and sparkle it was a joy to look at in any season of the year. It has brought me smiles and comfort.
Finally I felt I had enough skills and courage to destroy the batt and try to make yarn from it.

I “unwrapped” it:

I divided it up by colour:

One single will have the colours one after the other. The other single will combine all the colours, just like I did when spinning for the Pop blanket: one main colour and three accent colours. The main colour will be the same as the one currently on the first bobbin.
Pictures will explain.

One the first bobbin is green:

So the second bobbin has green with accents.
Here they are plied: lively colour but green is main:

Because the red is such hard contrast with the green I used is sparcely in this sequence. I don’t like strongly contrasted singles together.
The white is quite strong in contrast too, further along I used it in smaller quantities (speckled yarn, not striping) and in thinner weight.

first skein, 48 grams, 175 meter, lace weight.

cutting the blue wire

I started a Rockefeller shawl, one of the two-toned shawls I’ve been looking forward to for ages now.

Beforehand I did a lot of colour mixing and matching to find the two yarns I wanted to put into this shawl.
There was contrast and saturation and hue to consider. But in the end it all comes down to: properly framing this handspun:

It’s 466 m handspun from 140 grams of BFL/Silk batts I got as a birthday present from Kooldutchlady.

Pretty soon after spinning the yarn I knew I wanted this yarn in a Rockefeller Shawl.
And it needs a well chosen second yarn to play with.

So about 6 months ago I forced half of the Dutch Karma Group to help me choose the second colour.
My main inspiration is this shawl of one of my Karma friends:

Rockefeller Shawl by Kooldutchlady. (there are no coincidences)

Amazing colour choices! And some clever modifications to the pattern such as the continuation of the borders and smoothness between Clue 1 and 4.
But the colours! To choose that yellow to go with an aqua handspun? genius!

In return for my nagging for advice the Karma Group forced invited me to articulate precisely what it is about Kooldutchlady’s colours that I find so amazing. If I could analyze the colour thingies going on here I could perhaps apply the same thing to my handspun.

I tried. (links to Dutch conversation. Stay here if you want to get the gist in English)
Here’s a close up of her shawl, to really show you the colours:

The yellow brings something entirely new to the table!
It takes the handspun into an unexpected direction. Without upstaging it. How come?

How did Kooldutchlady arrive at this particular yellow?

The handspun is mainly blues and turqoise. There are some hints of yellow in it but also hints of purple.
The yellows are not nearly as saturated as the solid skein is…
Is it the saturated turquoize that allows for such a saturated yellow?

And to put it next to the purple… that takes some guts! The Yellow makes the purple pop:

In terms of darkness there is not much contrast between the two yarns. One is not darker than the other.
I went as far as to look at the shawl in grey tones:

And at our yarns:

Left Kooldutchlady’s handspun, mine is on the right.
My skein looks like it has more contrast…

After these thoughts me and my friends tried to think about my handspun in a similar fashion.
We thought about purples, about pinks and even greens and yellows. But mostly we thought about silvery greys or blues. These were eye openers for me. Clear cold morning blues… they would work beautifully with my yarn!

If it’s true that my handspun has quite a bit of contrast within itself I need to address that. There’re pronounced dark bits and light bits. To play with the light bits seemed like fun and it would provide a clear contrast to the dark bits.

I put some light colours next to the skein. Grey colours, blue colours, dusty pink colours.
Some made the light parts of the yarn speak loudly. Some made them recede. Some made them grey.

After a thorough discussion with my friends and much holding yarns together I decided upon a pale blue colour to frame the handspun. It’s a laceweight I have in my stash and keeping it triple would still give me the yardage I need.
Yesterday I casted on:

The yarn is greyish blue. Much grey.

meh.

It yields a very floppy fabric, perhaps because I’m holding a thin lace weight triple.

But the blue. This is such a meh blue!
It makes me sigh looking at it, never mind knitting it. I would knit with it because in the end it would give a smashing shawl.
Only it doesn’t.

This particular muted greyish blue does not grab the handspun by the hands and takes it for a swirl. Instead it just lays there snoozing, shedding, expecting the stripes to do their magic all by themselves.
pic by Adrian Denegar

This is not going to be a shawl with any of the vitality Kooldutchlady’s shawl has.
Chosing a colour that is both lighter than the handspun ánd less saturated than most of the handspun probably was a mistake. Especially in a design where that yarn’s role is as a framework for the the handspun. I should have thought more of Tiffany lamps and less about … I dunno… using what’s in my stash.

Should I have gone for a brighter, fresher light blue like the ones a lot of my friends suggested? There were pictures of crisp icy mornings in Finland….

Or should I remember that I don’t like to knit with blues anyway?

A real dark colour could also work:

This is a charcoal silk (which I’ll definitely will not be using because it’s one of a pair destined for a Summers Top and also silk is too drapey for this shawl. It needs a round yarn with nice round garter stitch knitting. Yarn like Wollmeise.)

Six months ago we did ponder dark colours. We had some concerns that it would result in a shawl that’s too flashy. A shawl that would wear me and not the other way around.
It’s when people notice your garment first and then you. They should see you first, notice how healthy and radiant you look (which is aided by the colours and contrasts you wear).
Too dark a colour may overwhelm me?

Still I love (to knit with) the dark colours. Charcoal, dark green, Dark Purple.
Some of which happen to lie on my table in WIPform: Charcoal Summer Top; Dark Blue Peabody Sweater and Fliederbush Purple Tunic. Let’s combine:

Each colour brings out something different in the handspun. Of course I’m showing you terrible pictures here. None of these colours are true to the colourthings I see happening here on my table.

The Charcoal makes the light bits of the handspun pop.
The Peabody brings out the grey in them.
The Purple connects with the intense purples of the skein and emphazises the blues. It also makes all the light bits light blue, nothing grey to see.
The Fuchsia brings the middle tones of both the blues and the pinks to the front and makes the light bits a whitish blue.

Looking at it I conclude that the Purple makes all the colours in this skein pop. Yes, I’m going with purple.

Purple in a nice round yarn that will make the garter stitch rows look like little strings of pearls. A nice round yarn that will keep the shawl together both colourwise and shapewise. Yes, I’ll need a purple round yarn in a yardage that matches that of my handspun.

So please meet 100% pure Wollmeise in the colourway Fliederbusch.
The colour is pretty close to the handspun I’m using for my lace tunic and it’s the kind of purple that we in Holland call “pimpelpaars”.
It’s as purple as purple gets.

Colourway Fliederbusch on the various yarn bases of Wollmeise. Picture from the German Wollmeise Fan Group on Ravelry

When in doubt, go pimpelpurple.

Spring legwarmers and colourfull socks

Here’s how that happy skein of Spring that I spun is knitting up.

Two legwarmers at a time, so that increases are on the same row. I’m knitting flat because with few stitches (say less than 50) I get tired of working magic loop. Just when you’re into the groove you have to stop and pull through the cable “ear”.

For the photo I pinned them together (with yellow glass bead pins) bottom to bottom so they would lie flat.

A close up of how this 2ply knits up. Usually you end up with a needle size which causes each stitch to have one colour dominating. But here I had to go up up up in needle sizes and now each stitch shows two colours. It’s one of those things a spinner can take into consideration when choosing weight and twist. This spinner did not, this spinner was just spinning colours.

I’m messing about with gauge again, forgetting that I tend to knit tighter in the round. That’s why this third attempt is flat.
In between I forgot that I tend to asses my gauge swatches very optimistic…

Here’s another example of knitting with two colours and looking at which colour ands up in the stitch.
My purple hiking socks are knit with two sockyarns held together. I typically like 50 gram balls for this, one solid and one selfstriping.

The combination of yarn weight and needle size makes each stitch have one dominating colour. The fact that the two yarns are not twined adds to this.

For example in the yellow stripe you see either yellow or purple stitches. Barely a few have both.

I love these kind of socks. Both knitting them and wearing them. I’ve got them in a myriad of colours:

I like it when my socks have accented toes and heels.

But I could do with a few more colours, don’t you agree?
Yes, indeed.
Yellow. Green. Skyblue. Burgundy. Nightblue. Fuchsia.
I need them all.
I should go buy little balls of variegating sock yarn.
Yes I should. To celebrate Spring.

These socks only have a cast on of 36 stitches! (increase to 40 after the ribbing). On needles 3mm. Knit a sock in a (long) day!

They do require knitting in the round though…
And there’s still the delicate issue of my shoulder not wanting to knit stockinette stitch.
And none of the pairs above are worn out so I don’t really need new ones. Even though I wear them out on the porch and in my clogs and around the house. Drops Fabel really wears well. And you can toss them in the washer without a problem.
Oh, how I’d love a Spring green pair!

hmmm, Guacemole!

Fabel print colour 151 with solid 112.

or something with 111 Mustard!

Yum! Yum!

I’ve got yarn, I’ve got yarn, I’ve got yarn!

My wool room, let me show it:

There’s yarn there. Sock yarn. Solid and variegated.
More yarn then I can hope to knit for years to come!

Only they don’t match so nice, colour wise…. so I should buy yarn yeah? After all, it’s only one little ball of 50 grams. Or two if I can’t find something that matches what I have already.
Yes.

waiting for delivery

This is Thursday’s post. I do try to post every day for the Ravellenics. By now we’re scrambling for the finish line! But nothing happened on Thursday because I was waiting for a delivery. I knew it wouldn’t come until Friday. Still I waited… and didn’t post.

Today is Friday! This is Friday’s post!

Scramble!

Hurry!

Even chocolate-doping and a virtual witch coach promoting carbo-diets are deployed!

But it’s not here yet!

What are we all so excited about?
Well, we are waiting for delivery of some twigs:

It’s a Turkish Spindle made by Enid Ashcroft.
It’s a Midge in woods Bubinga and Indian Rosewood and you use it to spin wool with, sloooooowly. But perhaps not as slow as I think.

They’ve been talking about these EA spindles for weeks now in the Dutch Karma Group. Appearaently (adjust spelling to your preference please) they are quite something!
Great balance, long spinning time, lovely finish.
As I LOVE natural materials and good tools I was prone to succomb. But I held steady. Because I think spindles are a waste of time. It takes sooooo long to spin wool on a small piece of wood!

For spinning wool I prefer bigger pieces of wood:

Give a few kicks, spin a whole sheep.

But then my friend Meilindis came to visit…. and she brought her collection of quality Tukish spindles. In a adorable little treasure case.

Here’s a picture with the names of the various spindles. This pretty much is the top in spindle manufacturers at this moment!

She allowed me to touch some. Once I held this crafty little tools in my hand, once I felt the balance, once I could admire the skill with which these are made… once I saw those beautiful woods…I was lost.

So I ordered one. (updates on Saturday’s in Enids etsy shop)

I’ll probably change my opinion about ratio of wood to wool when it comes to spinning.
I suspect there’s something special to the activity of spinning on a quality spindle itself. It won’t be about the meterage you spin. It’ll probably be about being in the moment, about having nice materials in your hands, about transforming nice fibre into nice yarn in a slow attentive pace.
There’s also the added bonus for the precise and pattern loving people: wind up the yarn in a delightful pattern.

Well, by now it’s been noon. I’m still waiting for my spindle to arrive…
It has travelled from the UK to my country. It currently resides in a unceremonious crate in which my husband gathers stuff that needs to go to the cabin in the weekend.
Slippers, cat food, chocolate, spindles. You know, the usual.

Usually he is travelling by now. But today he isn’t. He woke up to a central heating that didn’t heat. So he is still in the city, waiting for a repairman to come and kick the central heating into submission.
Otherwise Robert would already have been here. And my spindle too.

So today his roster is: wait, kick, scramble into car, get here, play with twigs.
In the mean time I’m twiddling my thumbs.
There may be some yarn in there too.

Wait, there is!
I’ve come a long way with my Brioche Capelet since I last showed you. (Only the collar is Brioche, I worried about meterage. I shouldn’t have)

It has leaves from a pattern called Forest Nymph Capelet by Ewelina Olesinska

It’s lovely to knit (and wear) with handspun. I wish my colour transition had been a bit longer. Especially in reversed stockinette stitch the colour goes quite abruptly from pink to purple.

Well. What else can I tell you?
I’m ordering enamel powders. I’m having colours on my mind all morning. I really need another craft, don’t I.
Also: the shoulder is clearing up. Just a few more weeks and I’ll be good I think. Yay!

Sooo….. still waiting. When do these Winter Olympics finish anyway? Is it today?

Weird Wool Wednesday: Squirrel hoards wool of Owls!

I needed some training for the Woodland sweater. What better training partners than owls?

Yes, I casted on for the owl mitts that I’ve been looking forward to knit for nearly a year now! First I couldn’t knit because I was seeing double. Then I couldn’t knit because I had no good yarn. Then I couldn’t knit because I was spinning. But now I finally had all things working for me so I cast on.

The good yarn I chose: the Zwartbles handspun that didn’t get spun in time for a KALshawl. Together with a Shetland type of white this will be a smashing contrast:


High contrast Snow Owls! With large snowy eyes! (and have you seen its butt? so cute!)

I casted on immediately, even though it was late in the evening and I was already in bed.
After a while I could no longer ignore the muttering and mumblings of the cats and my husband. Reluctantly I put it on the side table, put out the light and went to sleep. I dreamed a solid five hours about knitting those owls!

In my following customary two hour window of insomnia I surfed the net for stranded woodland creatures for the pullover. I found lots of squirrels!

Squirrels hat by Signe S. Simonsen and Squirrels mittens by Adrian Bizilia and Squirrels in love by Marnel Verstegen

I really look forward to design some squirrels into the Woodland cardigan. But first: owls!

After the insomnia I had another 2 hours of sleep and dreamed weird things, not knitting related. (I caused a huge pine tree to fall over in the middle of the city, just missing my neighbours’ 15yo who has Asperger and wasn’t phased one bit with the tree rustling by, inches from his body. Then well dressed bad guys got away after a heist and explosion, by helicopter from the roof of a tiny little bistro around the corner while I rode my bike on the wrong side of the street and shouted at 11 year olds to stop messing about in the street and use the sidewalk. You know, the usual.)
Then I woke up, quickly forgot about the weird things and rushed down to get started on those owls! Just a little more of cuff knitting and then: cute owl butt!

I set up my morning routine at the table: lap top, tea, owl mitts-to-be and in the back ground all the yarns and my two owl notebooks for the Woodland cardi, for constant peripheral inspiration.

And that’s when I saw it:

My handspun Zwartbles would be a very good contrast colour for the pullover…

It would be an excellent colour for beading squirrel eyes or nosey fox noses and also provide a much needed contrast in the dark brown of hedgehogs without making the overall resulting knitted fabric too light in colour. (which that other contrast colour, white, would do).

The Woodland cardi wanted the Zwartbles…

The Woodland cardi will get the Zwartbles.

SMALL ASIDE: OVERALL COLOUR
If that part about the overall resulting colour ending up too light in colour mistifies you, this is the site I had been reading that night’s insomnia time, it’s about colour in knitting. I found it via the knowlegde gathered in the pages of the Ravelry Group about stranding.

Suzyn Jackson shows this in Knitty Fall 2004 issue:
receding colours by Suzyn Jackson in knitty.com
Interesting, hein?

So. No owl mitts for me. No cute snowy butts. No Zwartbles. Because the squirrels have cast their beaded eyes on my yarn!

And now you know why I started the pink bird mittens last week instead. Because pink doesn’t go well with squirrels.

Those bird mittens go well, btw. One mitten is done and only needs a thumb. But it’s too small for my hand, gauge messed again with me. But I think I will make the other mitten nonetheless and sell them to someone who needs a nice x-mas present for their daughter. I love knitting the bird mittens.
And in my future there will be owl mitts. Perhaps in green? Something non-squirrely.

SMALL ASIDE THE SECOND:
Btw, the yarns for the cardi in the picture above is arranged by contrast. The white, Zwartbles, dark brown and orange are all high contrast. They go well together, they pop.
The white, dark brown and the two lighter browns form a harmonious contrast by themselves.
I plan to use this in the sweater: pop where it’s needed, mellow where it’s not. All the while keeping in mind what Suzyn teaches.

Let’s end with a picture from when I was spinning the Zwartbles, back when I still had faith in the wooly generosity of squirrels:

chocolate helps

For the KarmaKnusDeken blanket this was the design for the block called Chocolates! :

We love chocolates on the Dutch Karma Swap Group over on Ravelry.com where this blanket comes from. We are empowered by chocolates. I myself am fortified by chocolate. Especially by these dark chocolate bonbons I buy from a Dutch tea and coffee entrepeneur called Simon Lévelt. They sell artisan chocolates that only contain good ingrediënts. With real vanilla! (my brain chemistry is thankful.) I always have the “CacaoKernen”, I eat one every day:

or two…

about 2,5 cm x 2,5 cm (one inch by one inch and half an inch high. Full of dark rich chocolate!)

they are made by the small but fine chocolaterier Visser Chocolade. They are a good company: focused on quality, organic, fair trade. And taste, above all. Proof that good will get you ahead.

I just love how the block and my Visser chocolates echo each other. Better start knitting:

1

The block is a combination of knits and purls ánd of two colours stranded knitting. A new technique for me. I believe Bohus knitting works this way too? It’s a very nice way of using one colour to catch the light with the purl bumps.

first I tried the light colour in combination with the purls because I thought they would catch the light. But that did not look right:

2

then I tried the dark colour in combination with the purls, much better:

3

 

finished. unblocked. have a chocolate.