finished: pooling cat hat

using just 40 grams of that delicious sock yarn in colourway Loesje, handdyed by Het Wolbeest.

Blocked vigourisly. Sewes the sides together and it fit my head.

Sewed the tops closed after I put in some fleece and hey presto, cat ears.

I’ll get some better photos on Saturday, as I will be taking both my cat yarn hats to a knitters’ party at Het Wolbeest.


finished: tuxedo cat hat!

Amazing pattern! For all weights and gauges.

I used 60 grams of sock yarn and, because I like a double brim over my ears, knitted until part 1 of the pattern was very long.

The hat is far more sophisticated than I can show you here, on these “charming cabin” pictures. Even my husband said it’s a chique city hat.

Now I want to use the same technique for a pair of matching self striping wrist warmers. Quickly, before the next installment comes from Wolbeest January Cat Sock Yarn Club.

Weird Wool Wednesday: compliment from a knitter.

At the knitters’ party last Saturday I told about the stranger I met that day who didn’t want my compliment on her handknit.

It was a young woman at the station, passing me by. She wore a fun hat that looked handknitted. It was clearly a statement accessoire. I loved her for wearing it! So I wanted to compliment her. It’s so nice when you’ve made an effort on your outfit and somebody else notices it.
As she walked by I said very loudly: “Hey! Cool hat!”
But she didn’t say a word and just kept walking, purposefully ignoring me.
Leaving me confused.

This story I told my knitting friends and at one time I shouted my compliment over the table filled with pies and knitting.
“Hey! Mooie muts!”
My friends roared.
They laughed harder than the story merited and they were not so much laughing with me, they were laughing at me.
It took a moment and then it clicked. I had actually insulted the stranger…

The Dutch word for “knitted hat” is “muts”. But “muts” is also a very condescending and well known slang word meaning “dumb lady”… (it has to do with unshaved regions of the body)… and I had bellowed it at the young woman on the platform.




I feel so bad. I so hope she gave me the benefit of the doubt, eventually. I so wish it didn’t harm her self esteem. I’m so dumb at times.

Yes, I may be something of a muts myself.
But at least I make knitters laugh.

Incidentally, this is the hat I want to knit soon:

Neon Ski Bonnet by Lacey Volk, a free pattern based on Elizabeth Zimmerman’s work. Double layer over the ears for warmth.

You can compliment me on it in any way you like.

Sleeping in a tin foil hat

I usually sleep wearing a hat. I’m one of those people that reverts back to traditional solutions for human problems and when my head is cold I’m wearing a sleeping cap. But instead of traditional materials it’s made of modern space dyed yak down and BFL and it has a funny point. It’s a handspun hat:

The pattern is Lifestyle Top Down Hats, No Swatch Needed by Charisa Martin Cairn
This picture is from March 2010 when I was a novice knitter and an absolute beginner spinner. It was fresh of the needles.
For giggles I made a little half moon in felt. It still makes me smile every night.

This is the hat now, in 2015:

Still in use and the yarn looks good, if I do say so myself. No pilling!
The yak is on the brim, it is soft enough to touch the face. The BFL is on top and this too is soft enough. That’s modern BFL for you. Between 2010 and 2015 I learned that yak doesn’t spring back once it’s stretched.

I wear it every night during the winter. Together with my bed socks, my wristwarmers, a kidney warmer, pajamas and a longsleeve wrapped around my neck and ears. What can I say, I get cold when I go to bed and I have all this woollen gear laying about the house anyway, might as well use it.
Also, my husband still finds me attractive. Or perhaps he likes hide and seek, I don’t know.

So there I am, in my bed, wearing all these items, under three thick layers of woollen bedding. I’m laying on top of a woolen matrass covered by a layer of wool and one of cotton and I’m hogging a warm water bottle. Still my knees turn to ice as soon as I hit the covers.
It does get better during the night and somewhere around 4 o’clock in the night I have to throw everything off because I’m overheating.

But I don’t throw off the hat. The hat stays on.

It’s spun from the first yak I ever owned. I spun it before I knew yak has an extreme short staple. I spun it before I knew about Long Draw.
It was an educational lesson… I got so frustrated inch worming through the yak that I stopped when I had enough for the brim and topped it off with BFL – one of the breeds with long fibres- that is an excellent beginner spinner fibre.

It’s the BFL that was left from spinning the colour accent for this shawl, Bowmont Hug:

I had matched up the colours in two singles. But at the end one bobbin was finished but not the other. I plied the left overs together and ended up with a barberpole kind of yarn.

I love the result. The yarn is soft. Soft enough to rest against the cheek while sleeping.
I wear my hat rolled down all the way, with only my nose peeping out:

I purposefully made it in reverse stockinette stitch so the smooth stockinette stitch is on the inside, against my face.
Here it is, inside out:

The yak has such depth of colours and so many variations:

I didn’t use all the yak and I’m looking forward to creating more yarn with these colourings and richness. But this time I’m spinning it Longdraw:

So this is my sleep hat.

But there’s another one that goes with it: my “tin foil hat”:

That’s right. When I’m in the city I wear another hat over my handspun one and it’s a tin foil hat. To deter all evil radiations of modern society.

Ah, let me rephrase and sound more sensible.
My hat is made of silver lined fabric with a really fine mesh. Silver is an excellent conductor. It conducts the waves of Energetic Magnetic Fields (EMF) away from whatever it envelopes. A wearable mini cage of Faraday!

In our bedroom there are many EMFs. All the wifi networks from all our neighbours are here, besides our own. There must be at least 20. That’s how much my lazy iPad sees anyway.

To succesfully guide away the energy you need to take care that there are no holes in the fabric. Especially long holes, like seams, are a problem. That’s why this hat has a fell seam. Folded over and sewn again.

It’s the same seam I used when I sewed the cover for my kayak. It was canvas and it needs to be water tight. It’s a traditional Inuit seam. Because it’s a traditional Greenland kayak, fit to navigate the sea and the surf:

Made, many years ago, under guidance from Kayak Specialist in Norway Anders Thygesen.

I kayaked a lot on the fjords of Bergen when I stayed there in Autumn and Winter 2005. Afterwards I built this kayak but I haven’t put her to water yet, other than a 10 minute test this year. I yearn for it, truly and intensely, but I’m just not well enough. But a girl can dream. Especially when wearing a woollen cap. With silver lined conspiracy deterrent.

When I put on my silver lined hat all magnetic electric currents flow over my brain, not through it.
I do notice the difference. A sort of calm comes over me and I drift away into the slumbers of sleep. And I stay there, for 7 hours.

But not these days unfortunately.
Lillepoes is staying at the vet’s these days. With full blown pneumonia on top of the upper respiratory infection. She had stopped eating and drinking and when she started breathing through her mouth I took her to the vet asap. Cats should never breathe through their mouths, if they do they are in big trouble.

They’ve got her on an IV drip now and feed her every hour.
She’s not deteriorating any further and we are waiting for her to beat the pneumonia. Then she can meet an expert who will check out her nasal cavity in detail because there’s probably something lodged up there that keeps the reaction going.

But she needs to be lots better to endure the aneastatic.
So I’m worried. All day, all night. I lie in my bed, laying awake, wearing my hats, and I surf the net looking at Brioche.

Finished: Brioche Hat

I’m really pleased how the brim turned out. With the changing of the colours.

The only thing is that with all the brioche going on I forgot to do the shaping to make it into a Frileuse hat. Now it’s just a straight forward hat.

But with a nice random pattern on it, reminiscent of patterns in nature.

It took 50 grams of sock weight on needles 2,75 mm.
Because I worked Double Dutch technique with the white as the “trailing” yarn it took 30 grams of white and only 20 grams of the sparkling blue.
The yarn on my right finger takes 50% more length than the one on my left finger. This is because the one on the left never does a yarn over, it just gets picked up. It’s the other one that moves back and forth and over the needle all the time.

Bind off was a Kitcheners stitch on Brioche stitch. I did it on one needle because I live dangerously. Take about 3 times the length of the row before cutting the yarn and threading it on a needle. I choose to bind off with the white yarn so the blue lines reside more.

I’ll be making a matching cowl and wristwarmers.

Finished: Proizd hat


and finished!

I used 2 x 33 grams of sportsweight wool, on needles 3 mm.

Pattern soon to be released by Jasna Kaludjerovic

She has designed a hat in cabled brioche before. And then made it into a dress!

Lilynet Dress by Jasna Kaludjerovic
I’m sure in her hands Proizd hat will become a Proizd dress too.

This hat is so comfy, with its thick double knitted fabric. And I love the colours!
The Noro changing and the bold Finnish Veta setting it off.

I’d love to make another one, with a light colour doing the cabling. But other things must be made first.
Love my new hat.

a hat for a picker

I now have my own woolpicker:

(and a sewing pattern, I’m trying to sew neck facings at the moment)(the flowery things are kitchen towels, playing the role of ironing board)

Wool picker has teeth:

A wool picker is an instrument to pick apart fleece fast. It doesn’t matter how matted the fleece is, the picker will make it fluffy. It can then be put through the drum carder right away without any more preparation. And one go through the drumcarder is enough. I did so with the smurfy mint fluff here.

Instead of drumcardig the fluff one could felt with it right away (where it not that the eco fleeces I mostly process do not felt).
This technique of loosening up the fleece is done in every culture that has a felting tradition.

For me, it’s now a delight to be able to process a fleece faster.
Before I could maybe spin up one fleece a year, due to having to put it through the drum carder slowly and multiple times. But with the wool picking as a preparation I can prepare as much as 5 fleeces a year, if not more!

Pity I can’t spin that many fleeces in a year…
Or knit more than one fleece in a year.

What’s this logic talk? What’s this sensibility? Surely I can pick, card, spin and knit 5 fleeces in a year!

(I like to live in the Nile)
(‘coz I’m a fibre crocodile!)

(that’s right, I’m a croc made of African Flowers,)
(Stomping into this blog to be wiled for hours!)
pattern and pics by Nnattalli M.

(Couldn’t it just be a nephew from that Happy Hippo by Heidi Bears?)

(I so wanted to make this Happypotatamus before my shoulder said no!)

(My shoulder still hurts now and then. Especially now that I’m doing cables in brioche for that test knit Proizd hat... Stupid cables. Stupid shoulder. I should know better but…)

(me and my shoulder…. we’re just bobbing in the Nile, being all cool and croco.)
(ooohooo, that reminds me of one of my favourite bags!
HelloCrocheted Alligator Handbag by Marleen Hartog. Isn’t it marvellous?
I love funny bags. I don’t mind walking around looking “interesting”. But you know this.)
(of the 7 bags on my Pinterest Board Bags I Definitely Want To Own 3 are animal shaped:
great bags
(I already own 3 of these 7 bags.)
(One is chicken shaped)
(Am I doing things right or what!)

(uhmmm, where was I?)
(I am procrastinating because of those neck facings, of course.)

The wool picker was made by Dolf, a carpenter. He is very precise.

And I am very grateful he made it. Of course I paid the man but it is like with all hand mades: the money doesn’t even cover half of the hours put into it.

So I made him a hat:

I used some handspun Texelaar

38 grams, it covered the top.
The brim I made of Irish Donegal Heather yarn, leftover from my Bluebird cardigan. I used about 10 grams and that would be about 16 m. I’m not sure my numbers are correct.

I gave it a cable, to match the mitts my friend is knitting for Dolf. She’s the one that introduced us and brokered the deal for the wool picker.

She chose Coler Mitts by Stephen West

A nice, manly pattern. Also made of handspun, to show Dolf how his skills will further ours.

When I finished the hat it was a white and dark grey hat and although I loved it I knew a man would probably love something with less contrast. So I dyed the whole hat, with blue and black.

I hope he likes it. My friend sure did and she knows Dolf so I’m confident.
I really like my new tool. I love well made tools. I’m going to wax the wood or perhaps give it a wash with cooked flaxseed oil.
And then I’m picking the fleeces in my wool room!

(once I participated in a swap with the theme Eddy Izzard. I received this pattern:

pattern Eddie Lizzard by cheezombie)

testknit: cabled brioche hat Proizd

Now that I can see my knitting up close again I’ve fallen straight into another testknit: Proizd hat. A pattern by Jasna Kaludjerovic, who’s also the stunning model in this picture:

It’s a hat with brioche stitch and cabling intertwined to make that intriguing pattern like a stained glass window.
Even though there are never more than 3 stitches involved in a cable crossing it’s obviously a pattern that requires attention. Jasmin is a mathematician and I love these kind of intelligent patterns.

I’m glad I knitted Frost on Leaves hat earlier in the year, to get the hang of Brioche in cables:

In Poizd hat, gauge is very important states the pattern. It says you should use yarns that usually give you 24 st and 32 rows in a 10×10 cm square. So I, being a very loose knitter, grabbed some light fingering handspun and needles 2,5 mm.
“Normal” people would take sportsweight and 3,5 mm needles.

first try:

These are my handspun. They’re a delight to knit with.

But the colours do not work very well together, they could do with more contrast. Also, I made a glaring mistake and started the cabling too late. And this is too tight to fit round my head.

So I chose thicker yarn: white sock yarn (Drops Fabel) and another handspun in light fingering. Have gone up in needle size for better fit. (2,75 mm)

Try number two:

Colours have enough contrast. And it does fit.
But it requires the fabric to be stretched as much as the photo shows. Creating holes in the fabric and the orange yarn is so thin and flimsy… it looks pathetic. You can see right through the fabric and the orange just doesn’t have enough body to carry this design.

So, on to thicker yarn and again thicker needles.

That’s why third try:

This time in proper, commercial spun, sportsweight. And needles 3 mm. Lana Grossa Cool Merino in red and Frankengarn Socke with silk in green.

Fit’s ok. But this is how much the fabric needs to be stretched to fit my head.
Gaps are gone. But the green “feathers” have a clear red horizontal stripe in between their legs. It’s not very pretty. The designer certainly doesn’t have that much dark blue horizontal stripes between the upward lines in the light blue feathers.

But that may be because she’s framing her feathers with a dark colour. I’m using a bright red.

I’m not too worried about gauge anymore, it may very well be that my gauge in Cabled Brioche differs from the designer’s, even though our gauge in Stockinette Stitch is the same. Either way my head circumference and the amount of stitches to be cast on comes to a gauge of about 17 – 18 stitches per 10 cm which is what my red/green is (and the orange/white combination too).

This gauge leads to stretched fabric. A gauge of 17 – 18 stitches per 10 cm will lead to a fabric that’s this stretched. This is the look the hat will get. And, looking at the designer’s hat, she too has this stretched look at the brim.


Higher up the hat may grow more tight, when more cables occur. Cables tighten knitwear. But Brioche is extremely stretchy so they might negate each other. Jasmin says everything is going to be alright and I believe her.

So if I want to change the look of my knitted fabric my only variable now is the yarn I use. I’m now looking for a yarn that fills up the gaps between the stitches a bit more. A woolen yarn would do just that…. but then the clear defined pattern would be obscured. And I very much like the feather or tree branche diagonal stripes.

For my fourth, and last, cast on I’m changing yarn once again.
This time I’m going to use Noro Silk Garden Sock, a yarn that can bloom when it’s washed and beaten. It will fill up the gaps.
I’m going to frame it in a dark purple sportsweight. A worsted, round yarn from Finland: Veto.
And my needle of choice will be a 3,25 mm.