Planned Pooling

Back in the magic year of 2011 I crocheted this bag:

(I was still into rainbows back then. I needed to celebrate life with bold colours.)

It’s made from a skein that is dyed in the round. Only by working this yarn in the round will you get pooling. By crocheting a few stitches more or less each round I got the pooling to wave like this. I sewed a fabric covered beer coaster on the bottom.

The Tortie Cat Yarn from Het Wolbeest is dyed differently, not in the round but mirror like:

If this yarn is worked in the round colours can be stacked, in different ways. They can also be made into an argyle pattern. And, thirdly, it can be worked to and fro and then the colours can be stacked too and end up pretty much as show in the skein above. (I like the one with the black in the middle).

I’ll be doing the latter option, the to and fro, probably with black in the middle. The result will be a rectangular shape.

I can chose the technique in which to work to and fro, it can be knitting, crocheting or weaving.

I have measured the skein. It’s 140 cm in total and when folded double like shown above it’s 70 cm from side to side. I am going to try to make each row use 70 cm of yarn. I have no idea which will be the correct number of stitches, I’ll have to find out. I do know that my gauge in garter stitch is 29 stitches per 10 cm (= 4″) when worked on needles 2 mm.

My aim is a hat made of a rectangle folded double. (Hopefully this will give me some cat ears!)

I found this awesome pattern, free and with good explanations about pooling and how to get the right number of stitches: The shallow end of the pool by Rowan Martindale
 pics by Jimiknits

I have rejoined the Ravelrygroup Pooled Knits  I was a member in 2011 too. Looking at their projects is so inspiring.

So a hat… in what technique and what stitch?

My weaving loom is occupied. And I don’t want to spend time mounting the other loom nor working with a non-elastic fabric for a hat. So no weaving this time and no crochet either. Knitting it is!

Don’t feel like garter stitch, even though it knits easily away… Or do I? Because the colours stack I don’t have to get annoyed by the purl bumps in different colours.

Hmm, I was already thinking towards an elegant stitch pattern, such as this one:
 pic by Leikna

but as I write this I realize that a stitch pattern like this requires a certain amount of attention and may yield a hat that’s not as warm as garter stitch would be. I’ll have to think about it some more.

Now I want to show you this amazing pooling hat:
 pics by spacedebra
It’s Exploding Tardis by fellow raveler Spacedebra and she used Perfectly Pooled Hat by DrawFour Designs which is a free pattern, especially written for this colour way.

The pattern doesn’t go into pooling and how to get this with other yarns, it just assumes you get a great gauge and magic happens automatically. Judging by the projects they’re not wrong.

Oh! A fourth awesome thing you can do with pooling colours is change your stitch according to colour. Look at this crochet mastery:
 pic by Vashtirama
It’s vashtirama’s Florida Peaches Handbag and she teaches Color Stacking classes in Florida.

Here’s an example of the argyle pattern that can come into existence with pooling knits:

Free Knitty pattern from 2009 on Ravelry

Well, those are the four pooling or colour stacking techniques I know:

  1. stacked in the round;
  2. stacked to and fro;
  3. stacked to and fro resulting in argyle and
  4. doing something different when you encounter a certain colour repeat.

I’ll be doing stacked to and fro, no argyle. For a hat. By now I’ve decided it’s going to be an elegant stitch. And that I probably line the hat so it will be extra warm.


workshop Sammich Stitchin’/ Broodje Breien

Yesterday I was at the workshop Broodje Breien (=”Sammich Stitchin'”) at Wolop in Gouda. It’s a monthly inspirational course of 2 hours, accompanied with a lunch.

It teaches to find inspiration and translate it into knitting. Sources of inspiration differ every month and this month it was Nature. Previous months were “Van Gogh” and “Escher”. The concept was developed by Loret Karman and a baker in Amsterdam.

Translation of the inspiration into knitting varies too. The focus can be towards colours, textures, shapes, garments, stitches, yarn characteristics, anything!
It’s very fun to do.

This was my work halfway:

I took this picture as an inspiration and although I identified many things that could be translated into “wool” such as a haloed yarn based on the animal contrasted with a more bumpy yarn based on the wood, I chose to explore its colours.

Wolop provided a mountain of colours and with my picture in hand I picked out 25 of the colours I discovered and took 1,5 m (2 yards) of each of them.

There were many more colours in the picture than I saw at first glance. I started to look at them, truely look at them, and study how they influenced each other.

This is an approach that is thoroughly done in the Sammich Stitchin’s / Broode Breien about Van Gogh -and indeed all Karman’s courses on the painter- but when it comes to colour interactions I personally prefer the work of Bridget Riley.

Most people know Riley because she excelled in Pop Art in the 1960’s. But her colour work is equally groundbreaking. She’s a methodical artist researcher and I think she takes Van Gogh’s end point of colour studies and takes it to a whole new level.
Example of Riley’s work:
Tate Modern -7 Nataraja by Riley, 1993. Pic by Allan Harris.

The trick to view these massive canvases is to look at them how you would look upon a pond in a park. Just let your eye glance over and let the colour blocks shimmer as if it was light reflecting of the pond. Than something happens in your head. Different paintings of Riley result in different effects. Just by her changing the colour palette and sometimes the shapes.

It’s amazing that she can create that effect and that sentiment in the viewer with the colours and the shapes she chooses. She does extensive research in her lab, with many assistents colouring in the shapes. She actively accounts for eye movements and peripheral sight. Oh how I wish to visit one of her exhibitions.
Or own one of her paintings… to have a shimmering “pond” indoors to visit at any time!

Yesterday I wasn’t thinking of Riley.
I had a collection of subtle colours, in little pieces of string, and was trying to combine them to show myself their interaction. The aim was to make a little note of these studies, a knitted note.
One way to collect the colours permanently is in a square of 5 x 5 colours, as is done in the Van Gogh workshops. Each colour just 5 stitches long and 7 rows high. But that was very slow knitting.
So I ripped and tried stripes because that’s quicker. This was me at the end of the 2 hours:

Broad stripes of 28 st long and 4 of 5 rows high.

But I don’t like stripes much. And these show even less the interaction between the colours than the 5×5 blocks would have done.
So 15 minutes later, seated on the train back I had this:

All stripes ripped out and ready to try something new.
Small stripes, “knitting the picture sideways”?

When I had to change trains I was making progress:

(Also making tangles.)

Later that evening I finished the piece, with only a few strands of the most contrast yarns left because honestly, they had no place in this piece:

I didn’t change colour every row, some are 2 or even 3 rows high. Sometimes I ran out of yarn midrow and then just tied a new colour. But I purposefully did not try to recreate the picture. I did not make a dark blob in the left upper corner. No expressive gestures either. In short: no saori-weaving, I dislike that about as much as I dislike neat stripes:
Climate Change Action Banner pic by saoriweaver, it’s a banner on climate change.
A stunning piece if you do like saori, check out the link.
It’s a spectrum, I admit. I did use the picture as a guideline, knitting my way from right to left, looking at colours and contrast.

This is the end result this morning, blocked and the yarn bloomed and colour corrected:

A nice exercise! Just playing with colours and stripes, talking to myself in yarn, about colour interaction and contrast and colour families. I really like the middle and the right, where the contrast is more subtle. Colour in Fair Isle was also on my mind a lot.

Yesterday, after taking the first picture I stood over it and looked at the colours some more. Then I noticed something:

Heeheehee, it’s a good week for misty, nature-y greens!

Writing this now I feel I like to think some more about stripes. Families of colour stripes. Not the two toned stripes I see in most knitted garments. Small stripes. Interacting stripes. Not too extrovert contrasts.

Just now, when I looked at the Creative Common section of Flickr for online share-able pictures of Riley’s work, I see she does stripes too. (of course she does!)

Praise I - Bridget Riley Praise 1 by Riley, pic by Brett Jordan

This painting is clearly talking about contrast (not too much, there’s no white/black) and about warmth of colours (warm yellows and red with cool blues). About repetition without repeats, although sometimes a colour gets sandwiched -heyo!- between two similar colours.

And it talks about vertical-ness very much too. The vertical stripes do something to my eyes… (don’t try to focus! You’re not supposed to focus.)

They make me consider that humans are very vertical orientated beings themselves and have a natural connection to vertical lined things. Trees, cathedrals, other humans, ostriches, giraffes, alien silhouettes in a misty scene.

I think boulders, corgis and piramids enchant us because they are very not-vertical-lines.
pic by fuzzyard

In 1999 Riley got some recognition for the giant that she is, British Post made a stamp:
Bridget Riley stamp pic by cuthbert25
Inadvertably showing that cropping a work that’s meant to be viewed as a whole communicates very different things. Here we do not get the chance to let the colours shimmer. Because their width is now significant in relation to their height we now see them as regular stripes. They now mainly talk about the colours close to them.

This could be a knitted pullover, viewed from the side. As a matter of fact I think I saw this in a shop last Summer? On a mannequin wearing a coral floppy hat and sunglasses, with a white beach bag besides her.

Quick! Let’s get back to shimmering stripes and making connections between all kinds of outlandish inspirations!

I’m starting to like stripes.

Spun half of it.

I spun half of one of my favourite rovings, that I’ve been treasuring for years:

BFL handdyed by Passe-Partout.

I unfolded the roving and tore half of it into small strips which I plied onto itself. This gave vibrant colours to a 2ply yarn:

54 grams, 137 meters

It’s lovely yarn. But it doesn’t show the many colour variations that are in the roving. The purple, the white and blue, the splashes of maroon, they’re all missing. This yarn is mainly green and chestnut brown. A great autumn yarn!

I’m going to leave the rest of the roving unspun and combine it with the yarn. I’m probably going to felt it and then embellish it with the handspun yarn.
Perhaps a cushion cover or an iPad cosy. Or wrist warmers or leg warmers. A teapot cosy?

So many possibilities now that I’ll have characteristics of both fabrics: the warmth and colours of felting and the stretchiness of knitting.
Both can be worked into 3D shapes which broadens the possibilities only more.

A hat and matching neck thing? I may need to wait until Autumn is in full swing to know what this is going to be.

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.


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.

Ravellenics: Composition of Indecisiveness

this is the view of my coffee table. I’ve got no idea what to do next, my shoulder still hurts.
Can’t knit, can’t crochet, can’t write,
can’t spin, can’t felt, can’t decide.

Still enjoying the mess every time I see it. What nice colours!

PS aparently I can’t laptop either, this picture is flipped left to right.
PS2 also, I can’t english. Oh well, story of my life: always barfing up the wrong tree.

Ravellenics: doubting colours

in daylight I’m not convinced by the colours if the handspun:

the yellow is too tame.
warmer yellow would be better:

but still it doesn’t sing to me….
The blue might be too overpowering for the orange. I don’t want yellow-red-blue or something that hints to that.
And crocheting is still not very smart for my shoulder.

All in all I’m having a doubtful Tuesday.
(working with the handspun is definitely a nice thing!)

Ravellenics: purring hippo

I am so smitten with the yellow, white and green I chose for the Happy Hippo that turns out too rough to the touch. They remind me of Dick Bruna, the children’s book illustrator and creator of Miffy:

I love her flowers!

I crocheted another few flowers, hoping it would be alright anyway. But the little voice inside was not humming happily.
I played around with hook sizes but still no humming… that’s a sign.
I looked for thicker yarns in these colours: white, warm yellow and green. Couldn’t find them. Not willing to buy (I have a room full of wool!)

So I abandoned the idea altogether. After the initial sniffle this gave room to new interpretations and options: here are three of my favourite handspun yarns! (to be honest: virtual all handspun is my favourite 😉

Let me show you in one of my trademark badly coloured photo’s:

The yellow is a citrony yellow I dyed myself with plants. They typical dye this colour yellow. Or beige. This yarn is the first and only yarn I dyed with plants. It’s a stinky business, dyeing with plants. Do it outside. Put the dyestuff into an old panty or you’ll be picking stuff out of your wool for ever. Just saying.
The orange I spun just the other day, from the rolls delivered by owls and Josanne.
The blue is handspun by Meilindis and nice and soft.

Knitting with handspun goes faster than with commercial wool (scientific fact! Has to do with sheep contently humming while they grow wool and the spinner incorporating the humming into the yarn, making it knit up faster. Something to do with twist and rotation speed, I don’t know, all very hush hush).

I wonder if the same goes for crocheting… let’s experiment!

This Hippo is now a scientific guinea pig! A humming one.
And you know the other word for humming right?

PS on second thought: just keep the image of a content purring hippo wearing handknits in your mind. Don’t google when or why hippo’s purr in real life.

Found other yarns: Remnant Stripe Cardigan

I round up some yarns of similar weight with colours that play nice together:


I’m thinking of starting Remnant Stripe Cardigan, a pattern by Boadicea Binnerts:


I like the long sleeves and the collar! The collar solves any problems with not-perfect-gauge or fit and sits nice and high in the neck. I’d knit it in one colour, a solid dark blue.

I like the closing with the button too. It’s a free pattern. What’s not to like?

Well, it has raglan shoulders. That I don’t like. But since it’s bottom up I can change that to my standard set-in sleeve method.

Now I’m just a bit unsure about using single plied yarns in this… a bit unsure that might pill too  much when wearing… But I might step over my doubts because I want to cast on. Now!

An Accidental and Sunny Shadow

I started a project by accident: Shadow by Veera Välimäki

design by  by Veera Välimäki

And I started it in a multi coloured yarn with all the colours of the rainbow. I don’t particularly like rainbow yarn. I love it in the skein and I love the colours as they progress through my hands. But in finished items I prefer my colours to not be there all at once.

Still, this yarn I liked instantly:

handdyed sockyarn by Dutch indie dyer Wol met Verve

I proceeded to combine it with a yarn that is yellow, warm yellow, cold yellow and brown (beige really):

Big Boy yarn from Easy Knits in colour Bananasplit

which are all the wrong colours for a wintertype. And it combines a smooth round superwash sockyarn with a lofty 2-ply which is weird. But I love working on it!

It’s simple knitting, it’s funny colours, it’s happy colours. I like it!

weird choice of colours and textures, but I like it

I casted on at a wonderful wool party with my knitter friends. We were at a knitters house that was a treasure: wool and yarn everywhere. Felted objects, artyarns hanging from the window, spinning wheels in the living room, nice comfy rugs and cushions. Lovely place, created by a lovely person!

It was there that I unexpectedly finished the project that I had brought with me and also the back up project I brought along just in case.

Being surrounded by lovely wool people there was one who said: “go on, look in my bag and see if there’s a yarn in there you like!”


here’s me, loving it

and weinding it into a skein on a wooden wool winder made in Estland:

picture from manufacturer. 65 euro before shipping.