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.


Finished: TdF glitter rolls vest

Using Debbie Vest by Aethalia O’Connor as a template. I’ve rewritten the pattern to be knit continuously, without cutting yarn too much. By now it’s a basic pattern I can use and re-use with any aran weight. Handspun is ideal! And it only takes 200 grams max.

This one too 185 grams of the green rolls I made and spun this Tour de Fleece.

Ahh, what a nice project. From the visit to wool studio Spinspul on the first day of de Tour to making more rolls at the cabin to spinning it while watching Tour de France.

Knit in just one week, handspun does knit faster!

Here are some pictures from fitting the vest. There’s a bit too much fabric at the back, I’ll need to decrease there even before I reach the underarms, on a next vest.

A next vest will certainly come. I’ve got about six finished now and two more on the needles. It’s just ideal to wear over one of the many dress shirts I surely will be sewing this year.

Just 200 grams is all I need. 430 meters. Needles 3,5 mm, gauge 19 st per 10 cm.

I’ve found some new treats to keep me going:

Shortbread! The best version of sprits-boterkoek-koekje that I can think of.

During Tour de Fleece we got a recipe (in Dutch, on Ravelry) for shortbread from Cjadam, a wonderful spinner from Amsterdam, and maker of the cardemom (!) shortbread and wonderful batts, of which I’ll soon talk more.

Before I found the shortbread this gave me a head ache:

Licorice chocolate. And whiny cat.

Both delicious but preferably enjoyed in little bits at a time. Which is impossible. With either.

TdF day 21: arrived at the cabin for a “wool-cation”

I brought the Merino and the Shetland to spin and the yarn spun from the green rolls to cast on of a sleeveless vest with a lace panel across the chest:

Lillepoes and I will be staying here for 10 days. There will be some woolly fun! On Sunday there’s a spinners’ party at a friends and on Tuesday I’ll be dyeing with indigo under supervision from Lieneke from Wolop. !!!

For the other days I have a request list as long as my arm: spinning, knitting, sewing, felting, washing fleece, carding, flicking, picking, dyeing. But first it’s relaxing and taking a walk around the property, taking in all the green.

We got chased back inside because the country side is filled with big flying stinging beasts, “dazen” in Dutch.

I’m already 30 rows into the vest! Oh, how nice it is to knit with handspun. I made good notes on my other Debbie Vest and can just follow them. Gauge is girtually the same.

Lillepoes is exstatic to be here, I just received a cuddle session that was more passionate then I’ve ever known.
It has been some time since we were here so I understand. I suspect I’ll see more signs of kitty happinness over the following week 😻😻😻

Dyeing swifter fleece with nettles (not)(nottles)

At the cabin this weekend I gathered a bunch of nettles and put them in a bucket with warm water to soak overnight. Woke up to a black tarry substance. Ew.

Added hot water and brought it to a boil, for about an hour:

In the same time I mordanted 300 grams of white, washed Swifter in warm water with alum. Then I did some more research on the net and read about someone who got nice green by using 6 times the weight of the wool in nettles. So I won’t use all the wool for this pot of nettles. I took about half.

I strained the liquid and used it to dye about 150 grams of prewashed fleece. Heated it for hours. But it wouldn’t take the colour:

At the end of the day I have greyish fleece…
. That’s what I was aiming for, that was what I was hoping to spin. I have no idea what went wrong. Perhaps the nettles I took were too mature? Or had grown too much in the shadow? Should I have added more alum?

I took the remainder of the white fleece and cooked it up with the leftover dye bath of the red onion skins:

Nice yellow 🙂 Not a trace of the green that dyed the sock yarn in the same dye bath. What a riddle this plant dyeing is!

We then had to leave nature behind and go back to the city, boohoo.
Here I have to prepare for an abdominal CT scan on Tuesday so today I can’t eat anything and I have to drink a litre of sweetened barium gooey and overall I’m feeling pretty sorry for myself. (but not as sorry as when this had been a colonoscopy, with a camera up the bum!)

To pick myself up I made some more photo’s of the onion dyed skein. The colour is beautiful and intense. And so hard to grasp! Even on these photo’s it looks a bit washed out but in reality it is not, not for one bit 🙂

owls in green and white

I’m back on track with the stranded owl vest:

I was up to the arm holes when I found out that the two white balls where a different shades and I couldn’t knit on, this was six weeks ago:

Today I found the courage to frog it all back, all the way back to the stranded part. Now I’m knitting it back up again, alternating the two white balls every row.

And I’m about to start another set of owls in green and white!

Horatio and Oren owl mittens by Barbara Gregory and the yarn is the Norwegian brand Finull.

Having greens on the mind.

I’ve been crocheting like a mad woman:

pattern Princess Daisy’s Flower Blanket by Sherry L. Farley, hook size 4.0 mm (G), yarn Scheepjes Colour Crafter.

I’m not even half way. I’m trying to be done before I run out of steam so crochet it is, every day, every spare minute. I love the greys! And the greens! I kind of wish I crocheted with thicker yarn so I would have a thicker blanket (and also a faster one). Doubts are setting in. I’m trying to out-crochet them.

There are two balls that didn’t make it to the picture: the cool grey and the accent purple. Only the purple grey made it to the picture and (the remnants of) the warm grey and the three greens. Love those greens!

I’ve run out of the warm grey, the main colour. I do have another ball but it’s in the city and I’m still at the cabin for another whole day. I’ll be making flowers today and tomorrow I guess. Endless variants of green hearts and green petals.

I wonder why I am so drawn to these three greens….

can it be that I’m echoing SEPTEMBER 2015:

When I dyed yarns with flowers of the common reed and got these same kind of greens? Such glorious greens the reed gave!
So today I’m doing it again. I found a little patch of reed yesterday and cut some flowers. Earlier I bought basic T-shirts and today I’m dyeing them!

Plant dyes are so illusive. Here’s the same pot under lamp light and a day light lamp:
dyeing with reed plantsdyeing with reed plants

I’m putting in two cotton t-shirt, HEMA brand, Ladies’ Basic Shirt, non-stretch, size S. It’s about 300 grams of cotton, 200 grams of reed flowers and 45 grams of Alum. I’m aiming for a light green colour, non army-green:
dyeing with reed plants
This colour is a bit too light. It’s more “I spilled my tea” than “Dyed with reed flowers”. Perhaps because these reeds are different from last year? These reeds grow in the shadow of trees, not in the full sun like the ones from last year did.

I want to go back to the spot that I picked flowers last year but it’s the weekend now and there are a lot of people there. I’m a bit shy, doing something in public that not many people understand. I’ll crochet a few more petals while I ponder.

finished: second pair of SlipStripeSpiral socks

(I’m keeping the Ranunculus flowers as long as possible, in various vases depending on their vitality. So beautiful. Delicate flowers, faceted cut glass and chocolate bonbons, those are my city dwelling luxuries)

The socks did knit up kinda similar:

Here’s the first pair again:

It took exactly 50 grams of the green Meilenweit. 70 grams of the purple Opal and about 20 grams of the solid blue Trekking.

The deadline for this pattern is tonight, 12 o’clock USA time.
Then, in about five days, the new round will start. It will again have two weeks competition time but I’ll need to knit faster because I’ll be competing with other people for a limited number of places.

If the new pattern is as entertaining qua techniques and colours as this SlipStripeSpiral pattern I’ll probably knit this fast again. I mean, I knit this two pair in exactly two weeks, that’s so fast!

If the new pattern has cables or twisted stitches I’ll have to pace myself very much, in order to relief my shoulder. I plan to set myself a fixed number of rounds each day. Just thought of it, while writing this paragraph. Good plan.

As far as this pattern goes, I’m going to knit it again. With only 1,5 heelwedges and a small gusset for my high instep (increase 4 stitches on each side). Knitting the heel over 40 stitches. Less ribbing on the cuff, I detest knitting rib.

It’s such a great pattern for a self striping yarn in combination with a solid one. Especially ugly self striping yarn gets a magical make over in this pattern.

Some of the luxuries in my living room:
No bonbons though. Not for unscheduled photos. Unsurprisingly.

a 3D printed spindle

This is a gift box set from New Age Spinning etsy shop.

The spindle spins really well and it didn’t mind at all when I dropped it a few times yesterday. This will be perfect to bring with me to woolly gatherings where nobody blinks an eye when you spindle or when you drop things. (There are, however, always quite a few people who love green at these sort of meetings so I might have to keep an eye on things!)

It’s so handy, with its own little cute box. And so colour-coordinated! This is the very first gift box that the shop owner put together. She wanted it to be a present and she chose green as a colour for me. Well chosen. In the shop you can choose your own colour. However, I advise all of you to choose green so I can bring mine to gatherings and we won’t have to “test our friendship”.

It comes with a cup so you can use the spindle both as a drop spindle and as a supported spindle. I haven’t mastered supported spinning yet. Which is probably a good thing because I’ve seen people fall in that rabbit hole only to emerge with arms full of beautiful twigs and the dreamy look of satisfaction in their eyes.

Two adorable sheep charms and twenty stitch markers: