Finished: cowl in Autumn colours

200 grams of Lang Yarns Mille Colori
on needle 4,5 mm

a self made pattern, based on this scarf that I saw in the yarn shop in Lüneburg, Germany:

I ended up inserting 5 rows of stockinette stitch in between each part of K 4, P 4 and this resulted in lovely waves bulging up from the base:

It’s a cowl for my dear neighbour, I hope she likes it.

It was a nice knit. The acrylic gives a lovely sheen and colour. I used up all 200 grams of the skein and have 16 x 4 stitches in a row. It gives nice colour stripes but the tube is just a bit too short to wear comfortably around the neck. I assume it will stretch.


Peabody Sweater is now a cowl and wristlets.

This sweater from 2014 has been too tight from the beginning:

Not a very pleasurable wear.

So this week, 3 years later and as many wears, I washed it on 60 degrees so now it’s as small as it feels:

(I remember that it took ages to knit this!

First I fooled around way too long with the lace pattern because, of course, I knew better than the designer <insert roll-eyes>

And then I knit the thing too tight. And the sleeves had to be redone. And I didn’t know how to bring sleeves and body together nor do I understand the three needle shoulder bind off. And it illustrated my time as a very sick person (ME). The sleeves didn’t fit a second time around either so in the end I inserted a gusset at the underarm:

Probably a second reason why I do not enjoy wearing this pullover. All the memories of frustration. A third reason is that it pills quite badly.)

That’s all moot now. Because I semi-felted it and then took my scissors to it and now I have a cowl and wristlets:

The body is the cowl, one sleeve gave me two wristlets.

The yarn is Studio Donegal Soft Donegal, a 100% Merino, and it’s soft. Lovely to wear now that the Winter is making a second appearance. Or maybe that just me being bit coldish after our Germany trip. I’m still very tired from that. I went outside today for the first time since we came back but I still have to rest a lot.

Resting indoors in a 100% Merino cowl that covers half your head is not bad 🙂

3 dec: does this look like a polar bear to you?

A little study I made late last night:

This morning I thought it may look like a polar bear, especially with little black dots of embroidery thread added. So I went ahead and knitted white blobs in a sea of blue. Later I’ll add black dots for eyes and noses. I hope the blobs miraculously turn into polar bears.

It turned in quite a broad stripe, as broad as the one from the first day. I wanted to knit more blue and was about to add some more floating icebergs but then remembered I like Capomegranate’s cowl because of the small bands of colours:

And thought it’d be a good idea to just knit a small band for today’s colour:

It’s a blue, but a different blue from the polar bear blue. I knitted little diamonds with it, in a dark contrast colour:

I thought that maybe the dark brown will enhance the noses and eyes of the polar bears (not yet added).

Have a look at my very old tea set:
It’s from the 1930’s I think. Or the ’50s.
The little diamonds I knitted for today’s Advent bit remind me of the motive on the sugar bowl and milk jug. I plan to revisit the knitted diamonds later on, when I get a yellow or light green skein, and add an accent colour to the centre.

The tea set was out today because I hosted a “pepernoten-knitting-afternoon”. A spontaneous idea I had once I knew we’d be spending this weekend in the city. Six of my knitter friends came by and we had tea and traditional Sinterklaas sweets and we knitted and talked about knitting and showed each other our knitwear.
“Pepernoot” is “pepper-nut”, it’s our word for little blobs of gingerbread that are traditionally thrown into the house of well behaved children by Zwarte Piet.

Halfway the afternoon my husband and I had to step out and throw some pepernoten at the windows of one of our neighbours. Their children still believe in Sinterklaas. I also banged on the front door. The pepernoten rained on my head because their living room is on the first floor.
We had “pepernoten” and the speculaas cookies I baked and bits of marzipan “pig” and chocolate money and tangerines and mouses and frogs made of sugar and little merengues shaped like Sinterklaas: all traditional Sinterklaas foods.

It was a lovely afternoon!

Afterwards Lillepoes and I laid on the couch and enjoyed the room with all the left over sweets and the candles still alight.

Some left over cookies:

Cookies in the shapes of goat (“cashmere”), alpaca and sheep for the knitters. Four different shapes of cats for the cat lovers. And the antique steamboat Sinterklaas arrives on, filled with parcels and gifts. And a carrot for the white horse Sinterklaas rides everywhere, including on the rooftops.

At the bottom is my new cake plate. I love (LOVE!) rectangle cake plates. Especially handmade, ceramic, with hand-applied glaze. Both vintage and new. I’m also a sucker for x-massy ceramics and bought this one a few weeks ago from a shop whose owners are going to retire.

The one with the cookies on it is very special. It’s Plateel, from Gouda, and was a birthday gift from Lieneke, from Wolop, who knows pottery and is from Gouda 🙂
cakeschaal cake platter plateel gouda ceramics keramiekcakeschaal cake platter plateel gouda ceramics keramiek

Last Thursday it was amazing how Sinterklaas-minded Gouda is. Burlap sacks with wrapped gifts everywhere. Lights in the shape of the Saint’s staff (a golden shepherds crook). Art and music. Wrapped gifts in every shop window. I even saw some in a little boat on the canal.

this morning I went out to buy some more tea and I wore my hat and took my bag and looked the part again:

Spending a day indoors with a lovely goat.

I spend all yesterday playing with this ball of cashmere yarn:

It’s 100% cashmere, 50 grams, about 170 m DK weight. It is SOFT. It is beautiful.

And it was the whole day! From the morning till the evening.
At 9 o’clock I settled at my table, yarn and tea nearby, and browsed the Ravelry pattern database for patterns. I already knew what I wanted: a narrow cowl with a delicate textured stitch and some colour accents from a second ball of this cashmere in lavender.

These are the patterns I bundled up:
Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 08.27.15

Little Green Elf Cowl and HRH, The Queen can be knit the same way: a lace edging is knit sideways and when it encircles the neck you pick up stitches and work a tube upwards.

Lace Luxe Cowl and Podcaster are just tubes worked upwards, perhaps decrease a bit as you go. Mind that circumference and bind-off are loose enough too fit around your head.

Papyrus is a tube too but knitted sideways and then grafted together, like a snake biting itself in the tail. Very warm if I were to knit it in 100% cashmere.

I decided upon a lace edging with a tube on top of it. Little Green Elf Cowl was the pattern but I wanted more the look of HRH, The Queen but not leaves. Something scallopy.

I browsed the database for lace edgings that have round shapes. Lots of them are leaf-shaped. I found a few that are mere round. I also looked in my grandmother’s knitting book because a 100 years ago decorative knitting was en vogue.

I settled upon Wide English Lace, a pattern from 1891:

I spend a few hours trying to work out how to only use the bottom row of shapes and end up with a straight top, just like Green Elf Cowl uses bottom shapes with a straight top:

The little squares have triangles on top that make for a straight edge.

I had to chart the round shape and put in triangles which I borrowed from Little Green Elf Cowl. Top edge is to the right, bottom scallopy edge to the left:

At around 11 o’clock I began testknitting. In the mean time finding out about the right size needles:

By now it’s noon. Time for more tea. And ordering new needles because how can there be a shortage of 2,25 mm in my house? I know I’ve ordered some in december. And then again in January. There should be heaps of them lying around here??

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 08.47.21

Ah. I see…. Maybe I should finish some WIPs?

Or I could just order new needles and have them by Tuesday.

Borrowing the mitten needles in the mean time. 2,25 mm IS the size I need:

Now begins the tweaking stage of the testknitting. Making the thing just the way you like it, playing around a bit looking what this will do or that. I played around with making the round shapes a bit longer. Also loosing the top edge because it was too much, I was afraid I’d run out of yarn. (The original edge, with the YO row, does make a good ridge for where the neck warmer changes direction, from a collar that lies flat on the shoulder to a tube that encloses the neck. I think it will work with just picking up stitches too.)

I don’t like the open triangles much, I’m experimenting with closed ones.

Charting my changes in the mean time. I’ve indicated with a “stairs-like line” how the pattern divides in the triangles making the straight edge; the round shape and the thin outer edge that follows those round shapes. Understanding these three aspects took a long time. Two hours maybe? Lots of scribble on previous papers but I’m not showing those because I prefer you to think I’m all smart and organized 😉

Getting there! I like how the shape is visible/defined by the YO. The hole in the middle is not overwhelming. The shape doesn’t turn into a leave-shape. The triangles are in proportion to the round shapes.

The top scallop fixes one last thing: a fault in the YO column on the left. Where the scallop is thickest Wide English Lace pattern has a little hickup in the lacey bit, you can see it in the second from the top. It is when you go from increasing to decreasing and has to do with where you place the decrease according to the YO. It’s like skipping, when you change rhythm. The change is visible in knitting unless you fix it.

By now it’s 2 o’clock in the afternoon and I’ve got this thing down. I really enjoyed finding my way through this puzzle. Understanding the patterns, understanding knitting and then commanding it. The yarn is a delight. The colours are so beautiful and they change with the changing light: cool February overcast and then suddenly sun. Gorgeous.

I spend another hour, playing. Trying to insert some stockinette stitch because this yarn looks beautiful in it. And just garter stitch doesn’t look so sophisticated to me. Not very lady-like. But you can’t put in too much stockinette stitch because it will make the knitting curl up.

This is the last before last shape I testknitted. It looks great. A bit like a peacock’s feather. A bit too much like a feather perhaps? Knitted feathers turn into leaves easily. For the last shape I’ll wait another WS row before starting the stockinette stitch. It will start right before the hole and be only the two centre stitches at that.

I changed up the decreases next to the centre hole, I mirrored them. / and \ instead of one side having a k3tog as per original Wide Lace chart. The /\ at the bottom is the fix that helps with the skipping hickup.

The picture above shows the true colours of the yarn. Scrumtious!

At 4 o’clock I started my Cashmere Neckwarmer for real:

At 5 o’clock I had ripped it all out again because the top edge is too broad. I casted on again with fewer stitches at the top.

By 8 o’clock I had my lace collar:

After two scallops I had started to insert short rows to get the collar to bend. After another two scallops I had learned I needed to put in 3 shortrows in every part where the round shape is thinnest. Otherwise the outer edge will not stretch enough, as can be seen at the left where it already curls up.

But this lace edge doesn’t bend enough. This will not lie flat on my shoulders. I suspected this at 6 o’clock, 7 o’clock and a quarter to 8. But I couldn’t insert any more shortrows at the point where I was putting them, And I couldn’t bring myself to stop and rethink the whole project. I was pretty done with solving knitting puzzles, I just wanted to knit. So I finished and at 8 o’clock put a stop to it.

Leave it for the morning. I know it’s not good enough. Not for what I want it to be. Perhaps I invent a new use for it in the morning? It does look lovely. Feels lovely too.

Now I have mixed feelings. I’m a bit disappointed but it’s kind of a sweet one. I spend a whole day playing with patterns and yarn and it was fun. I hadn’t planned on a day like this, I was going to do all kinds of Useful Things. But I also needed to rest and this was a lovely way to spend the day. But not having a usable collar feels strange. But but but.

Butt Butt Butt!

Cashmere kids playing outdoors.

a WIP! WOP! the WIPpit!

the WIPpit to the WIP WIP WOP:

an enchanting mystery by Wenche Roald

and you DON’T stop:

Winter Snows MKAL by Kat Lewinski

and ROCK it:

Rikke Hat by Sarah Young in Het Wolbeest fractal handspun

to the BANG BANG boogie:

Socks Perusviuhkat/Standard Fans by Iida in multicoloured Regia that I wanted to intersperce with mono coloured yarn.

say UP!  Jump the boogie:

socks Perusviuhkat/Standard Fans by Iida in Crazy Zauberball. This time knitted toe-up and using the colour repeats to determine when to place the fans. And they’re not fans, they’ll be arrows.

to the rhythm of the boogie, the BEAT:

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 12.54.25

looking for a cowl pattern in this Malabrigo lace, held double.

it goes ON’n’n’ON’n’ON ON’n’ON:

Finished: Willow Trace Cowl

It’s not extra long…

but it’s extra luscious!

It’s the Willow Trace that I mentioned earlier.
I used up all the handspun Pimmie spun, in lovely BFL. 319 m on needles 3 mm.

It’s both a cowl and a wimple. The two items I wear the most because I’m often cold. No scratch that, I’m often cool. Chill. That’s me. The cool need cowls.

Willow Trees Cowl

I’ve got a new WIP on the needles, Willow Trace cowl:

It’s a free pattern by Puk Vossen, named Trees, which is a Dutch women’s name derived from Therèse and I like how the written word refers to trees. In Dutch, Trees is pronounced like the English “trace”.

Trees by Puk Vossen

It’s originally meant for lace weight yarn and it’s a long narrow tube that you can drape in various ways. As a cowl, a shawl, a hat. Or a wimple. I love wimples. They are long cowls that you can pull up until they cover your head.

I’m knitting it in handspun fingering weight in that lovely BFL that Pimmie gave me last year and that I’ve been wearing as is around my neck:

sorry for the tired look, I feel better today

I’m combining the construction of pattern Trees with a lace pattern from another cowl pattern: Willow Cowl by Amelia Lyon:

 pic by Amelia Lyon

This gives the ridges. As a design Willow Cowl starts fairly wide at the bottom and narrows to the top but it doesn’t sit high up the neck like Trees does, so I’m not doing that, I’m just knitting straight ahead.

This is my current project for when I want my hands to be busy but my mind absented. All the other WIPs require some degree of thinking or decision making at the moment so Willow Trees is very welcome.

Accidental handspun cowl ‘n mitts

I’m working on tea cosies and Deco Cardi and felt dress and other things but somehow also this happened:

A cowl/neckwarmer and two mitts. The mitts in my head are called: “tulips” for the wrist and for the part of the hand that rests on the computer keyboard. They are often in my line of sight so they need to look nice.

Knit in Brioche stitch on needles 4,5 mm. I used 157 m of aran weight yarn.

The yarn I spun myself, last October, on that annual Spinners’ Retreat. The roving is handdyed by Wolop and was bought at the annual Day of Wool & Fibres. Back then the roving reminded me of sun on snow and I wanted it dearly, even though I’m no fan of pastels or of roving with lots of white in it. But the pastels that could come from this roving… these would make me happy, I knew. I love the sun on snow, especially on a small contained scale (just your backyard, just a snow drop peaking through, just a snowflake in a macro photo. Small scale and smaller scale.)

But when I spun it it was glorious weather. We were walking barefoot in the grass.

It’s soft BFL wool. And ever since I spun it I’ve been thinking what to do with it.

The last few days my neck was cold and my aching shoulder prefers my knitting to be Brioche (why does that not hurt? Am I slower? More relaxed? I enjoy it a lot, the moment of knitting, I’m not thinking so much of the end product as I am when knitting stockinette stitch. Perhaps it’s that.).

And it’s January. The sun has become a little more bright than a few weeks back. Snow is a possibility. The skies are swept clear by winds. The land lays bare and I can look all the way to the horizon. All this makes me think of snow and mountains and little streams flowing under ice and caves with sparkling ice

I was rummaging through the stash in search of thickish yarn to make tea cosies from. And all of the above was going through my head and then I came across that beautiful skein if sunlit snowflake BFL …. so I yanked the 4,5 mm circular out of the Deco Cardigan and just started knitting. In that Double Dutch Brioche technique I unvented. I knit from both the outside and the inside of the ball and I weighed the yarn carefully when I was making the mitts, so they both would be about the same size. I started with the cowl though, estimating the amount of stitches I had to cast on.

This is how I thought: well, it’s basically akin to ribbing. So I’ll just do the thing I do for ribbing which is circumference x gauge – 10%.

Because I’m knitting with aran weight and my 4,5 mm needles so much I knew the gauge pretty well. (14 st/10 cm). For the cowl I cast on 4 x 14 = 56 – 5 = 50 (I needed it to be even). The cowl is worked top down and I increases + 8 once and + 16 on the second time.

For the mitts I cast on 20 st. (15 cm x 14 st = 21 – 1 = 20 st) and increases 4 once and then 8.

Ahh, so happy with this!

The colours, the softness, the brioche squishyness, the warmth. Yes, a fine in between project that gives fast results that are functional.

(note to self: I need to buy more 4,5 mm Red Lace circulars. It’s services both my default spinning thickness and all the Irish aran that keeps appearing in my house. One is just not enough.)(also: buy some more erasers. They keep disappearing.)

Fluff Brained Testknitting

I’m test knitting a pattern while I have brain fog. It’s a tad frustrating when you lose the ability to count or to read or to understand what your eyes are seeing. But the beautiful pattern, the sympathetic designer and the wonderful handspun I’m using are making up for all that.

The pattern is Cocoberry by Meilindis:

The revised and test knit pattern will be available in the beginning of November. 

Here’s my project in progress:

I’m using a baby camel top handspun mix in the colour Helleborus. It was dyed by Mandacrafts from the UK.

I bought it at my very first Landelijke Spindag (National Spinners’ Weekend) way back when (2010)

Back then I didn’t know how to spin long draw. Which is extremely suited to the short and slippery fibers of the camel top. (I think baby camel fluff might be denatured to have it take up the dye better? Just like they do with yak. It’s basically how they make wool super wash. It’s a chemical treatment and it leaves the fibers slick and slippery.)

It was 2010 and lots of people had fallen for the beautiful fibers dyed by Mandacrafts. We had a blast at the Dutch Spinners Group where we all tried to spin this luxury fiber in the way we’re used to spin long, steady fibers: worsted. It was  educational and sometime educational, with the fiber flying everywhere and people getting really frustrated (or was that just me?). (link to dutch thread)

Spinning short fibers into a smooth yarn requires a special technique called “inch worming”. Basically you are spinning with not even one inch between your hands, just to get the fibers to twist together before they break apart from each other and become fluff again.

I vowed to never spin inch worming again, it was so frustrating.

In 2011 I bought a new wheel, one that could do long draw. Unfortunately I myself could not do long draw at that moment.

NB: “top” means that the fibers are all aligned while true long draw requires the fibers to be all over the place.

Nonetheless I did something right:

I managed to get a thread:

and even a yarn:

So soft! Such gorgeous colours! But I didn’t know what to do with it.

2012 came around and I bought another bag of that Baby Camel Top. Also in Helleborus. It’s so soft you just have to have it, even if you can’t spin it. I planned to spin it and have more meterage so I could make a cardigan perhaps. But I didn’t spin it in 2012.

2013 came and went and I didn’t touch any camel.

2014 came and that camel fluff is still waiting in the box called “Gorgeous Fiber I want to Spin Right Now!”

Well, I’m not waiting any longer. I’m putting that first skein of Helleborus into my Cocoberry cowl and will worry about that other bag some other time. Cocoberry in Baby Camel is a delight!

It’s so soft! There are so many colours there, the picture can’t capture them. The pattern is extremely suited for handspun yarns.

I confessed that I am brain fogged. It is the aftermath of the National Spinners’ Weekend 2 weeks ago. Having such a thrilling weekend and eating such weird things (kroketten for lunch!) messes up my digestion and my hormones and my sleep and my brain chemistry. It is what it is. I have to sit it out and rest. Eat chicken soup a lot. Knit simple things. Rest up. (OK, OK, doing Spinzilla and eating cookies was not very smart. But hey, it was fun!)

Anyway, I’m still brain fogged and I have to redo almost every row of Cocoberry Cowl. But I don’t mind. Great pattern! Great yarn!

Hopefully the designer Meilindis doesn’t mind either, I’m really bothering her and asking all kinds of dumb questions. But I figure there’s an upside to having a brain fogged knitter as a tester: all the dumb questions get asked right now, by one person, giving her a chance to foolproof the pattern before she releases it to the public.

Now I’m off to frog my last row. Turns out M1R doesn’t mean “Cable to the Right”.

Finished: Blumen in Brioche Cowl! And my drooping eye.

I’m very pleased with it!
The colours, the technique. Very pleased. It was great yarn to get, it knit up nicely, the colours made me happy and so does the Brioche stitch.

About that last picture: I look tired. Worn.
That’s accurate because I’m very tired and worn these days. This picture is actually the best of the lot. I don’t mind that I look the way I do, it’s an honest picture. And you know that tiredness does not prevent silliness. Or happiness.

I’m still tired from attending the Countryfair last weekend and the Knitters’ Picknick the weekend before that. I’ve been in bed and on the couch for every day since. My tummy is out of commission too, which always complicates things.
Yes, I’ve still got ME/CFS. I don’t mind showing it.

But the one thing I want to remark upon is my drooping eye… that’s not a wrongly timed shutter click. It’s there. And it’s worse when I’m tired.
The optometrist wants to test me for Myasthenia Gravis. It’s likely I have something from that particular potpourri of afflictions, what with the sudden double vision I acquired two years ago and all the holes I discovered in my production of hormones and neurotransmitters.
But I cancelled the appointment I had with the eye dr. back in February. Back then I was depressed which was more acute than a wonky eye and whatever it may indicate.

Then in May I suddenly got a foothold on my ME/CFS. (I’m actually healing from ME/CFS. Yes! Did I tell you? Probably not, I’m still scared I’ll loose it all again. But I’m also proud of how I solved the puzzle. Here’re some ramblings how I did it. ME is a personal puzzle though, I’m not sure my solution would help any other sufferer. Apart from digestion, stress levels and insulin. Those are turning points for all of us. ME or not.)

The thing is, I want to explore and enjoy my newfound health. While I do so, I don’t want to deal with eye medicine. I don’t want to think about it, research it, test out theories and project scenarios into the future.
I just want to enjoy life for a bit.

I think this is a reasonable approach. I’m not shying away from medical information. It’s that I find it more important to spread thin the stress in my life. I try to have only one thing to fuss about at any time.

May was “I cannot believe this!”
June was “Meet happy knitters”.
July is for spinning. Tour de Fleece!
August is for making things. Artisan things like shawl spelds. Emaille, enamel. Paper arts.
September is back to adult responsibilities. I’ll go see the doctor then.

(btw, I think fully healing of ME/CFS will take me a year. At least.)

So today: Summer!
Summer with wool!

This was me, checking if the previous picture was any good:

That’s when it hit me:

Happy EWOK in Brioche!