knitters’ party at Wolbeest (the ice cream parlour LYS)

Yesterday there was a knitters’ party at Het Wolbeest, the LYS plus ice cream parlour I’ve told you about before:

Wool studio Het Wolbeest and Italian handmade ice cream parlour Da Giovanni in Swalmen. Such a splendid combination!

In the back there’s a big wool studio for (felting) workshops and outside there’s a rest area where we sat knitting and eating cake:

Sock madness in the wild:

That Fabel sock at the bottom is a Symphony Socks competing for the last two spots on its team. Knit knit knit!

Het Wolbeest dyes some spectacular self striping yarn and makes a mean “arretjescake“, a typical Dutch, no-bake chocolate cake:

Another one of her self striping yarns, with a solid mini for cuffs, heels and toes. This one is called Cheshire cat:

I chose a non-striping yarn in colours that made me drool for ice cream with cherries and forest berries:

Wolbeest’ amazing felted teapot cosy!

It was a lovely day and my skein is already on the skein holder to become a Shelly Cloche by Devon Finney:

Yes, a lovely day. The ice cream was delicious! I ate it with such attention that I forgot to take a picture for you. Will have to return and try again.


8 december: prpl!

Glitter Fir Cowl finished!

Can be worn with either side out. Just need to weave in the ends. Earlier this week, Sinterklaas evening to be precise, I was working on it while wearing the cuffs made of the same purple glitter yarn 🙂

Love this colour! Well done, Wool Atelier Het Wolbeest. They are the ones with the ice cream parlour at the front and the yarn at the back. And where I felted sheep bags, both of them.

My Fir Cowl is knit on needles 2,25 mm with fingering weight yarn, using 80 grams in total.

The Wolop Advent box this morning:

Wolop Advent shawl this evening:

Birds in prpl and a little decorative stripe using the lilac leftovers from my Sock Blank. Are these birds? I made up a pattern. They’ll probably look better once blocked.

Purple anti-gobble art object:

cat food bowl helpcat food bowl helpcat food bowl help
“I object to this art.”

Everybody is an art critic…

Weird Wool Wednesday: “bolletje ijs, bolletje wol”

bolletje ijs, bolletje wol. IJssalon Swalmen Wolbeest

bolletje ijs, bolletje wol. IJssalon Swalmen Wolbeest

bolletje ijs, bolletje wol. IJssalon Swalmen Wolbeest

Ice cream shop Da Giovanni in Swalmen, the Netherlands, sells both quality ice cream and quality knitting yarn. A genius combination!

Go on, how many “bolletjes” would you like to have?

“Bolletje” means “little ball” in Dutch and is typically used for yarn, ice cream, bread, a child’s head, a cat’s head and young birds.
Something dear to hold in your hand and coo at:

bolletje ijs, bolletje wol. IJssalon Swalmen Wolbeest
Awww, you’re so pretty… yes you are, you are…

I went to town! (and the Knit&Knot fair)

buit wol Knit en Knot beurs Tilburg

This I bought during the first half of the day. Then it grew really crowded and I sat with my friends at the long tables and knitted and talked and ate my brownie and tried to cast on for my vest:


Then the crowds went home and it grew lovely and quiet and there was time to stand at a booth and talk to the indie dyer and I realized I had missed so much wonderful products the first time I walked around. So this happened:
buit wol Knit en Knot beurs Tilburg

Very happy 🙂

Finished: midwintersokken

Knit on needles 2 mm. Pattern Moonwise’ SokBasis (Dutch) with lace cuff from Blattwerk.

77 grams of yarn used, yarn handdyed by Het Wolbeest, it’s “glittersok”, it has sparkly stellina in it.

Today I’m wearing my festive sparkly wetfelted princess dress even though I’m not leaving the house today. Just for me, since I’m not having the best of days.

We just saw a king fisher bird in the canal in front of the house. I had seen one once before, just a flash of blue. Now it was sitting on the dock and we got to watch it with our binoculars through one of the upper windows for a full 5 minutes. Marvellous colours. I hope to feel better soon and properly enjoy the memory of that experience.

For now I’m going to make myself a cup of tea and spin that sparkly BFL Silk.


Midwinter Sock

At the fair I bought glittery sock yarn from Het Wolbeest:

420 m of well plied, round yarn.

I started winding by hand right then and there:

Our neighbour from Wolinhuis spotted me and handed me a skeinwinder and a container to keep the half ball in:

(We were standing on this plastic, it had cardboard boxes underneath, to keep our boots from the cold sand of the horse paddock)

much better idea, a yarn cake will knit up more comfortably:

cast on at the fair: a figure 8 cast on and knitting all stitches twisted in the first round. I cast on 2 x 14 stitches:

I got a little bit of knitting done that Saturday.

And a little bit of knitting at a rest stop on our way home on Sunday:

A little bit of knitting at Wolop’s house, before I travelled on to my own:

First I needed to free it from the WIPbag though:

sparkly sparkly!
I’m using the free pattern Sokbasis from Janneke Maat , a well edited pattern in Dutch detailing toe up socks.

At home:

Two days of resting and knitting et voilá!

One sock done!

The cuff is from sock pattern Blattwerk by Stephanie van der Linden:

This paid for pattern was released in online magazine Twist Collective in 2009. I only bought it yesterday and I was very annoyed to find that the pattern did not have the errata incorporated into it, after all this time and still at full price.

As a result I knitted the cuff wrong, the lower leafs are not leafs but diamonds.
It’s mentioned on the pattern page on Ravelry that there are errata but it’s a rather inconspicuous remark and I’d think it a small effort to amend the chart in the pattern somewhere in the past 6 years.

I love the pattern though, with its leaves and its mock cable. That’s my favourite mock cable, the “koffieboontje” I think!

The sock is festive, with all the colours and the sparkle. It’s also more green overall than the picture shows. I love the glitter and how round the yarn is! Casting on for the second sock now.

stranded hat: Estonian braided cast on

I’m still so filled with impressions from the fair! I want to show you a thousand things but I don’t know where to start. Also want to knit knit knit with things instead of writing about it. How am I supposed to write about it sensibly? Hang on, I’ll just show you what I’m doing RIGHT NOW. That’s a good place as any to start.

JUST NOW the post arrived and it brought a needle size 2,25 mm that Trude is borrowing me when she read I was knitting multiple projects on just the one needle. Thank you Trude! You are very smart.

I am less smart so instead of spreading my existing projects over the two needles I now have I took the new needle and cast on a new project:

That’s a braided cast on that is. Vikkelbraid? Kihnu braid.

Let me tell things chronologically, in an attempt to sound logical.

Alexandra from Atelier Het Wolbeest was wearing a marvellous hat at the fair, in handspun pink and grey:
It’s dolls holding hands! The pattern is Dollheid by Kate Davies (A title that makes me giggle because the Dutch word “dolheid” means “madness”)

Alexandra’s hat had me in awe, with the contrast and the happy pink colour and the special ribbing at the edge. It’s currogated ribbing, where you alternate colours but also knit and purl stitches. (I think, I haven’t read thus far in my pattern yet)

The booth next to Wolop was manned by Lidaholm, a woman with a passion for Swedish yarns. She goes there every Summer and visits small farms and spinning factories and imports their yarns to the Netherlands to spread the joy.

Sweden has some special breeds, some of them particular for wool quality.

I had to pass these yarns multiple times per day. They caught my eye because they were ridiculously soft and spun just the way I like to spin my own yarn: soft, lofty but yet a well plied yarn that looks like a string of pearls.
I got talking to Lida and she told about this small independent Swedish yarn manufacturer who have everything under one roof. They spin their own lambs fleeces on machines that are tuned to handle them particularly softly. They sell yarns but also finished products and their own designs.
Lida has so much enthousiasme and such technical knowledge it was a delight to talk to her.

things came together and I wanted a stranded hat like Alexandra, knitted in these yarns that are so sympathetic.
A hat to celebrate our successful weekend at the fair, a souvenir.
I felt the urge to perform an act of pure joy and not be tight with spending money on myself and later on regret it because a chance was there and now lost.

SO I WENT BOLDLY and bought yarn for a hat I hadn’t planned.
I even went out of my comfort zone, colour wise:

Salmon pink? That makes me look green or grey. I must have lost it.
I’m lost in giggles, that’s true. All these ice-pastels are making me so happy! The dark grey will set them off nicely and together they’ll have the same values of contrast that I have in my own face, with my darkish eye brows and hair and light eyes and fair skin. In theory this hat should make me look good.

They were in the skies too, these ice pastel colours, when we were driving back south on Sunday morning, a clear winter morning with a crisp sun. A perfect compliment to the timing and the colours of this yarn purchase.

I spend Monday relaxing and admiring Alexandra’s hat online and looking at other stranded hats and deciding that whatever pattern I chose it should have a pompom because Wolop is wearing pompoms on all her hats.

I knew which patterns I wanted to combine. Plus pompom.
It’s going to be the base of Simply Harika by Renee Burton

Simply Hakira offers different edges. I’ll do the braided edge and currogated ribbing (which I’ve never done before).

On top will feature pattern As The Leaves Begin To Fall by Eliza Jarvi. Plus pompom.

Leaves in light colours, back ground in dark.

As the Leaves begin to Fall really needs a new name…. all day today the ear worm in my head has been alternating Jingle Bells with that song by Jermaine Jackson & Pia Zadora:

31 years after the release of this song is still too soon, apparently.
(you’re welcome. Sharing ear worms is my secret hobby.)

I was putting the laundry in the attic for drying and had to stop for a bit. It’s part of this therapy I’m doing to keep the nervous system out of Fight or Flight and thusly without the need to exasperate ME symptoms. Get bored? Feel symptoms rising? Stop what you’re doing and go do something fun. Endorphines, baby!
So I stopped midway and was just standing around for a bit thinking “now what?” (because I’m very new to this therapy).

And that’s the story.
So here I am, casting on with endorphine yarns for an endorphine hat in interesting, endorphine creating, techniques.

Starting with the Kihnu braided cast on.

Kihnu is an island in the Baltic Sea with a proclaimed cultural heritage and a matriarchal nature.
“The most visible emblems of Kihnu culture are the woollen handicrafts worn by the women. Using traditional looms and local wool, the women weave and knit mittens, stockings, skirts and blouses which often feature bright colours, vivid stripes and intricate embroidery. Many of the symbolic forms and colours are rooted in ancient legends. Unlike Kihnu men, the women wear their national costumes in everyday life.”
What? Splendid!

You know that’s us!
This is also the place where Pippi Longstocking’s mum must be from.

The Kihnu cast on has a braid on both the inside and the outside of the outer edge. That’s a bit different from the braided cast on I know from Latvian mitts.
Skeincharmer on Ravelry has this picture:

The braid looks the same on the inside too.

I learned Kihnu braided cast on from this video, as the patterns suggests.
The designer of the Simply Harika hat says it’s best to follow it up with a purl row as it has a tendency to curl a bit otherwise.

I’m doing size Adult Medium for Fingering Weight gauge. Even though I’m knitting with sport but I’m on a 2,25 mm needle instead of my fingering weight needle size (2 mm).

Now I’m going to knit some more. Cast on isn’t done yet.
I’ll tell you more about other things I brought home from the fair a next time. I’ve bought other wonderful things. And there were so many wonderful people! Both sellers and buyers. Such a wealth of knowledge too. How was I ever to gain some knowledge of these wonderful soft Swedish yarns? Or of a life that involves going to Scandinavia often?

Come to think of it, Östergötlands Ullspinneri that makes these wonderful yarns is right between Denmark and Stockholm. Not that far away really.
I was practically halfway there, when I was at Midwinterwol.

I felt courageous and cheerful driving cross country and being so comfortable doing it. Now that I’m back home I’ve started dreaming of going on holiday. I haven’t been on an adventure out of the country for years now. Stockholm seems doable. Especially when there’s gorgeous yarn along the way and lovely wool people.


That cast on video is not very efficient. Lots of extra movements. I’ve found this video and am doing the rest of the cast on this way. Without a crochet hook, I’m just using my needle. It’s easier to keep the tension even.

It’s a yarn over combined with a knit stitch. The knit stitch stays on the right hand needle, the yarn over happens on the left hand needle. The yarn over really is the casted on stitch, the knitting on the right hand needle is just “to keep me busy”. Or to anchor the yarn/new colour.

It all happens at the left hand needle, the one with the yarn overs. That’s where you twist the yarns around, keeping track which one goes over and which one goes under.


The last bit is done this way, the tension is more even and more tight than the bit on the right. I’ll be frogging it all and starting anew, keeping it all even.


Second day at Midwinterwolfair

We spend a second day at our booth full of the colours that Wolop dyed. She also had x-mas cards and note books and lots of spindles and all kind of other things. All handmade by her.

Spinning fibres and spindles are her main thing:

In the front are the skeins of sock yarn that were dyed with plants.
Indigo and also onions and madder. Those last two may not be light fast but Lieneke has a wonderful philosphy about that: should your socks lose their colour, just redye them. Pop them in a jar of water with some onions and put it in your window sill for a couple of weeks. Like new!

Just like the people have been doing all those centuries (millenia!) when all the dyes we had were plant based and not so much light fast.
I suspect we still carry the bug from the ’80s when we all got obsessed with light fastness.

Lots of lovely customers!
So many people were wearing their hand knits and woolen accessoiries. Everybody was showing off our shared passion, in the good way, and we were all enjoying and complimenting each other.

Wolop has some sublime handmade turkish spindles. Light, fast and embedded with brass or silver! Here are three German customers trying them out:
Midwinterwol 2015

There are also the drop spindles in happy colours and on the right handmade niddy noddies and hand printed tea towels. With sheep, balls of yarn or birds. One of our friends took two and is going to use them for spinning: have the light one on your lap when you’re spinning a dark thread or the dark one when you’re spinning a light thread.
With the contrast you can see the thickness of the single while you’re spinning it. Briljant.

Ah, another briljant handmade product. For parking your sock dpns and the project!
Midwinterwol 2015
What do you think of that? Park them and put that WIP in your bag. It will stay put. Also works with circulars. All handmade by Lieneke.

Bad picture of the lovely hat she wore, in handspun BFL and Mulberry Silk:
Midwinterwol 2015
Pattern Rikke, a free pattern by Sarah Young
The pompom she added makes it a great hat! The colour makes her eyes sparkle… it really is a great hat.

I’ve bought BFL Mulberry Silk to just copy the idea exactly. That’s a compliment right?

Fibre from Atelier het Wolbeest, where I once learned to felt a bag from fleece. I plan to make or buy another one the coming year:

Het Wolbeest has a marvelous wool crafting studio behind their home. And at the front of their home: an ice cream parlour. With the best handmade ice cream you can imagine!
Yes, that’s on my agenda for next year: go visit, felt a bag, have icecream.

This was my view most of the day:
Midwinterwol 2015

Lieneke taught our backdoor neighbour to spindle, behind the stands:
This guy works with elderly people and is the only one at the team that knows how to knit. Which the elderly appreciate very much because he can help them with casting on which is hard to the elderly eyes.

After the second day we slept one more night at the B&B and the next day we drove all the way back home. Lieneke’s cat, a Turkish Van named Mimi, was very happy to see us:
After a little cat cuddle, a cup of tea, some “pepernoten” (gingerbread drops) and a little knit I drove to my own home and repeated the procedure.

We had a lovely time!!!

On with the knitting!

I’ve finished my two blouses. I’m ready to wear some vests over it!

I’ve been wearing my black and white vest over them. The vest in the first organic sheep from Laan van Wisch I ever spun. Lovely vest, I wear it often.

But I’m ready for my handspun green one. I’ve figured out how to work it further, how to work upwards and make the second shoulder strap. Pick up stitches from the i-cord that I attached. (I-cord is in a different handspun that will also be used to make up sidepanels).

Knitting this is next on the list as soon as I decide to sit down to knit and only knit. Like on a lovely Sunday morning.

But before it got to today it was Thursday and we were to travel to the cabin the next day. I needed a knitting project to work on in the car. No counting, no looking, no trying on for fit.
So the night before the trip I casted on a toe for bed socks. Bed socks are on my list of things that I need this winter. Bed socks are just tube socks (no heel) and I wanted to knit these out of some lovely sock yarns I have. Yarn held double:

It was too lovely!
The colours, the lovely mindless knitting.
That Thursday evening the toe became a foot and then I was worried I still had to count for the increasements so I knit those too. Than suddenly one foot was all done and I had run out of the two variegated yarns for one sock:

In search for another colour to combine with the blue semi solid I found a sock half finished and had a car project after all.
Hiking boot socks with yarn held double:

The yarn is handdyed by Chasing Clouds in a colour I named “City in Dust”.
Our traditional cities are build with red clay baked stones, bricks, from all the iron rich clay that aligns our rivers. It’s a rich piece of industrial history that has shaped our landscapes, our cities, our houses and our surnames. This yarn colourway talks to me about that.

 Brick plant in Delfzijl, still producing.

Friday rolled around and I didn’t need my car knitting because Robert had fallen ill and preferred to stay in the city where we have a bath and a comfortable chair and fast internet.

We’ve just come out of a couple of months of stress and whenever that happens and we hit the smooth patch again, Robert gets ill. It’s quite sweet really, because during the stress he’s holding up and being all supportive and caring for me and offering cups of tea. Then as soon as the stress is done with and he sees that I’m (going to be) fine he crumbles.
But only for a few days, luckily.

Though, if he doesn’t attend to it, he’ll get ill for weeks, because he carries the Epstein-Barr virus which always lurks in the body. Last time he even got a lung infection.
This time he was worried it would come to that again and he was already preparing for lung problems when all he had was a cold and a soar throat. He didn’t even go to bed.

So when I went to the local liquorice store to get him some sweets I may have mentioned “man flu” …
Sweer shop De Bossche Suikeroom, in a historical handformed red brick building:

pic by Tante Loe

The owner is very friendly! And she knows how to value funny remarks from knitters who in truth are a bit worried about their spouses.

This is the second weekend we’re not going to the cabin…
By now I’ve run into a little stash trouble. The coming week we’re supposed to ship out a swap I’m participating in. There’s one more thingy I wanted to knit for my swappee and the yarn is in the cabin.
So I made the most of my unplanned city dwelling and took a train to Eindhoven to visit yarn shop Bij Tante Betsy. (“At Aunty Betsy”)
I met up with some of my knitter friends and we had a lovely afternoon! And I totally forgot to take pictures until I was at the train station heading back home:

Eindhoven station… not a single red clay brick in sight.

This is how a Dutch train looks like:

Eindhoven is the city of Philips, the technical manufacturer. Technical stuff is big in this city, both in education (Technical University, The Design Academy) and in industry (Philips, the High Tech Campus, Brainport).

Last year the Financial Times ranked Eindhoven 3rd city of the future, after London and Helsinki.

This is how I looked, waiting at the station, wearing the bag I once felted myself, at a workshop with Het Wolbeest whom I dearly recommend.

I can’t show you everything I bought at the LYS because the swap is a secret one. But I did buy this lovely muted sock yarn. For mindless knitting.
And that’s my monster phone case, crocheted by a lovely British woman, one of the first knitting friends I made on Ravelry and we tried to shower each other with little handmade attentions. Unfortunately we’re no longer in contact, somehow online friendships dance to a different beat than real life ones do.

The train was very overcrowded. I had my head in the armpits of two different people who were trying to keep upright but had nothing to grap hold of except the wall above me.

This is the intercity running the length of the country, from the south to Schiphol Airport! The train service is way too skimpy with the number of carriages they provide.

The guys standing next to me were looking at my knitting (I knitted a bit on the secret thing) and I think they were a bit drunk. Nonetheless they were impressed by circular needles which they first assumed were attached so I wouldn’t lose them. I told them about some of the innovations in both needles and yarns (having Eindhoven Tech on my mind) and then one of the guys made a “check” movement in the air. He said he had just checked the box “interested”.

Then we arrived at Den Bosch which has a modern station:

Where Eindhoven banks on high tech, Den Bosch is more fairy tales and art. Jeronimus Bosch was born here after all and there’s an art academy.

This city was much less bombed during the Second World War than Eindhoven. Old brick buildings survived, with their frilly fronts.

The dragon that lived in the swamps around here when the city was founded:

That concluded my Saturday afternoon.

Now it’s Sunday morning, I’m looking forward to do some knitting. Just sit down and knit. As soon as I post this blog post.

And do some cat-extraction:

ah, I notice I’m doing product placement for Sanature, a female hygiene product with cotton instead of plastics (which all the Always products use). Well, it wasn’t planned but I do endorse this product very much. These are thin ultra pads, just like all the Always and similar products. But made with cotton. Cotton makes the body feel much more relaxed than all those plastic products do. And the same functionality. Try it, you’ll see. Buy in the Netherlands at Etos, DA or Dhio or ask me and I’ll give you one.