At the cabin with Lillepoes

I’ve been at the cabin all week, with Lillepoes. She has been utterly delighted to be here, I’ve never received so much cuddles, head butts and chirping.

I have not done much knitting. I expected that to go differently and I brought a ton of knitting along but it’s all still here, ready to go home with me tomorrow:

All week I’ve been outside, chopping wood. A few trees had come down with the storm a month ago. The weather has been fabulous, sunny with crisp clear skies.

In between chopping wood I’ve been going inside, making notes for the upcoming court cases against the manure plant they are planning in this adjacent field:

The management of the plant have upped the pressure on me over the past few weeks, to get me to drop the court cases, and it’s not been easy. But we manage: I reset my “easy there now honey” button many times a day, invoking the Relaxation Response that gets the Central Nervous System out of Fight or Flight and into Rest & Digest.
Lovely nature helps:

Today is our last day here. Tomorrow Lillepoes and I go back to the city. I’m planning to return here soon though, it’s lovely just being out and about.

A while ago I finished the new foot on these socks :

I’ll be wearing them a lot I suspect, there’s a bout of cold temperatures coming to Europe.

I have knitted some more on the Sun on February Snow cardigan and I’m ready to fit it this Sunday morning, to see where we are for length of yoke and separating of sleeves:

I’d love to insert stripes with this colourway and I like how my stitchmarker matches this anticipation:

Yesterday we visited the organic farm I get my eggs and fleeces from, Laan van Wisch. Farmer Francis was wearing the wrist warmers I knit from her own flock:

They were well worn! She uses them every day, she says, and is ever so careful with them. But I could see there were getting smaller and thinner. A little end at the thumb had come loose and she was worried. I fixed it then and there, it was just a woven end that had come undone. But she really needs to get new ones!

Secretly I resolved to knit her new ones and in the mean time I gave her the ones I happened to have with me:

I love this mitts! Handspun from happy colours dyed by knitting tea and herbes merchant Tibbe:

It’s soft merino with sparkly nylon.

They were a replacement for another set of happy coloured mitts that I wore until they fall apart:

Susie’s Reading Mitts (Archived) by Dancing Ewe Yarns.

Knitted in 2010, in two days if my project page is to be believed: 29th and 30th of March, 2010. Back then I was very ill and very cold. I wore these indoors and the happy colours lifted my mood 🙂

They were spun from this roving, in 2009, and that’s probably one of the first rovings I spun:

The replacement mitts from Tibbe-roving have made me happy, both spinning them and knitting them. I remember loving the roving 🙂 Ha! These mitts were also knit in two days! July 4 and 5, 2013. Started the day I finished spinning the yarn. I was probably willing the yarn to dry. Probably hung it outside, in a bush, right here at the cabin.

These mitts I’ve never worn. Their thumbs were knitted too tight in 2013 and apparently I waited a full year before giving them new thumbs. By then I’d pretty much stopped wearing mitts with thumbs, I now prefer cuffs or full sized mittens and gloves. I’ve also stopped wearing bright colours so these mitts have not seen much use at all.

Now they will make Francis happy!
I hope she wears them vigorously and that they are full of holes by the time I see her next and hand her new mittens from her own spun fleece:

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Finished: handspun Feather and Fan shawl


My plan for larger stripes at the bottom did not work out as well as I thought. I’m also not convinced about the obvious “stripeyness” of this shawl, I prefer the more toned down green one.

Still, I’m wearing it today. It’s nice and soft and just as functional as my green one. I think when worn the colours may blend in with each other, conveying a greyish purply shawl. Definitely less contrast then the green one.

It’s the same size as the shawl Ribbels made:

I used up all the 100 grams and all the 357 m. I think I got 1 m left of the Dutch Wool Diva Sassy.

Weird Wool Wednesday: thrums

Today I celebrate my birthday and the lovely Sokkenmuis gave me this pattern as a birthday gift:

It’s I Heart Earmuffs by Faye Kennington. You’ve heard me talking about it before, enamoured as I am by the beautiful increasing and the idea of covered ears (= safety and security. Dutch word “geborgenheid” which associates to being held, physically, in a safe enclosure. “Borg” = “burcht” = castle.)

It is first time thrums for me. I may have gotten too enthousiastic about thrums…

More so at the second ear muff:

Knitting with thrums is a bit of a challenge but the pattern explains it well:

 

The yarn is the handspun that I made a Rikke hat from which was too tight and then I was deflated or at least my motivation was deflated. But getting this lovely pattern from Sokkenmuis made me rip out the hat right then and there and re use the yarn right away. On needles 2,75 mm.

Hmmm, knitting with handspun. HMMMM, CAKE!

Love thrums all:

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.

Winterwalk Mittens in progress

I started these yesterday:

The pattern is Winterwalk Mittens by Simone Kereit, a paid for pattern. It’s top down and especially good for handspun. And it has a thumb gusset!
pattern picture

Thumb gussets are good. Especially when you have hands in the shape of a meat shovel on a meat twig. They are very good hands, make no mistake.

I’m using handspun that is very dear to me. Spun in the magical winter of 2010-2011, from batts I received in the Folklore and Fairytale Swap februari 2010 from the wonderful Norwegian Ullsmeden (“wool-smith”).

Among the many things she send were five batts that follow the story of King Polarbear:

I spun these in the winternights around Winter Solstice 2010. I was alone, in my cabin in the woods, thick with snow. It was magical.

This batt became a yarn called Winternights:

This batt became a yarn called “Lady of Darkness” and it’s about Frau Holle in Winter.

“In Winter Frau Holle rides in the night, with all the unborns under her cape. She looks for people to let them born with in the New Year. After the 12 holy nights of x-mas she retreats into the Underworld (a joyeus place), keeping the souls safe and happy, until her magic 12 nights return the next Winter

In the Summer she rides again as a dark lady, in black, collecting the spirit of corn and flax while they are being harvested by mankind. Mankind keeps the goods, Frau Holle takes the spirits and keeps them safe until the new year, when new crops will spring into life.

This darkside of Frau Holle is not something to be feared or something to be condemmed. Even if she is called ‘Hel’ in this form. ‘Hel’ means ‘bright’.
It is about that circle: born, love, die, resurrection.

This spinning is about the dying part. Black. Tears. Grief. But also: a glimmer of something…..love? beauty? life.”

The batts are full of sparkle and colour nuances. I spun them as a single which I then fulled.

I am very very happy to have found a project in which these yarns can show their many nuances and sparkle and memories:

Finished: grey handspun Flinders vest

So much gets done when you don’t take your crochet with you to the cabin.
I also finished Grey Flinders Vest while I was there:

Top-down vest pattern with raglan at the shoulders:

Before I started the ribbed hem I added a few shortrows at the front because it was considerable higher than the back. Three pairs in total, that’s six extra rows.

pattern: Flinders Sweater Vest by Linda from clickertyclick

yarn: 170 grams of handspun Wolop hollands grijs on needles 4 mm. Ribbing on 3,5 mm. DK weight, 411 m used.

It’s really nice! Now that we’re back in the city I want to make dress shirts asap to wear under it. Like the ones I’ve been planning since last Noveber. But first I have to sew a pair of trousers. Linen Summer trousers. For Summer 2016.

Ofcourse this happened:

A simple mathematical conclusion.

a new needle 4 mm arrived, to continue Tangled Vines cardigan with.

PLUS

still waiting for the purple(green) handspun to dry and start Flinders Vest with it.

EQUALS

casting on Flinders Vest with Wolop Grey on said needle 4 mm:

and I’m already down to the underbust decreases!

The pattern is a tiny bit difficult to follow because it doesn’t explicitly say when to join the back to the fronts and it also increases a bit fast to my taste at the vertical arm hole edges. Thirdly, some increases right at the bind off for the neck edge feel counter intuitive since they happen at one raglan but not the other. I just trusted the pattern and thought that I could always fudge a stitch +/- if I felt it would be needed.

With any stretch of knitting of more than a handful of stitches making one stitch more or less isn’t going to be a problem. Knitting is approximate.

Soon I’ll be breaking the yarn and add the ribbing at the neck and arm holes first, before knitting downwards again to the hem.

There will be a few stripes in blue at the hip line, I expect. That blue Wolop roving has been spun already. It’s Leicester, which is a breed akin to Blue Faced Leicester, and it spun up so fast! Nice long staple and soft. 10/10, will spin again.


The twist hasn’t been set yet. 193 meters, 100 grams, same weight as the Wolop Grey (sport/worsted)

 

“the twist hasn’t been set”…. I better do that right away, otherwise it may not be dry before I need it.

Our day in Münster

We drove to Münster and both of us did our favourite thing in the car:
"Dont stop believin' " Anakin Skywalker... just another emo teenager on a weekend night.
I knitted and Mr Marvel got angry at every other driver on the road.

He was positively fuming and spitting on the steering wheel at times. I’ve come to the conclusion it’s a hobby of his.

I took it as an opportunity to practise to leave it all with him. After all, I know he forgets about his anger a mere 500 m further down the road. It’s of no use that I carry all the charged negativity for another two hours.
Seeing all his anger as a mere hobby of agitated song & dance helps me to disregard it for sure!

The landscape just over the border is already foreign and I enjoyed it very much. Hills! Mysterious bits of forest. Little see throughs and exotic cottages. And: not every inch of land is as neatly suffocated as it is in my country.
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There are also many fields of rye (not the golden wheat) which is a staple in the German diet.
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Lovely old landscapes that weren’t bombarded during the war:

pics by www.wehrbauten.de and muensterland.de

To me these landscapes refer to the European area where the main fairy tales are from: Germany, Central Europe, Eastern Europe.

We arrived in Münster and started with a coffee and some fortifications. Look how much knitting I got done on the way over:

We then walked in the city and it was lovely. Many interesting building and people. Münster is a university city with many young people, many bicycles and many idealistic causes.
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We got caught in a very heavy shower. I didn’t mind waiting it out under some shelter:

At the end of the day we visited the botanical garden just behind the city castle. It’s one of the best I’ve ever visited!
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Yes, they also have indoor green houses with many tropical plants. I showed the hat a chocolate tree in blossom:

Nice thistle:
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Being here in Summer means many plants were in bloom. So many happy bumble bees! Again not everything was neatly groomed, there were many hidden places and nooks where plants and nature just grew free. But the garden is very well organized and this basic structure makes that it’s never chaos or nasty. And every plant has a label. It’s such a photographer’s paradise.

They had 50 kinds of mint… and most of them smelled awful.
Then, on our way out, we discovered a whole section of dyer’s plants!

I learned some new things and I really want to try some out.
For example, Lily of the Valley (Lelietje van dalen) dyes green:
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Comfrey (smeerwortel) voor dyeing red?!
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Red is one of the illusive colours in the natural dyer’s palette.

These are all the dye plants that are in the garden:
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I have some Lily of the Valley in the wood behind the cabin, I really want to try it out.

We then left Münster and on the way back we stopped at a large supermarket to do some shopping. They had lots of Lindt chocolate! Their 85% chocolate has been my favourite chocolate for years (but not anymore).
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???
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Strawberry spaghetti eis chocolate?

I picked some that I fancied:
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and had a piece (or two) before we drove the last leg back to the cabin.

Major sugar bomb alert!

(now I know for certain that Swiss Chocolat Stella 75% is my all time favourite)

Sitting in the car with my tooth enamel crackling and my brain rattling in my skull I found a new car knitting hobby… at every traffic light I showed my knitting to the car waiting next to us:

Then I showed what it was meant to be:

I got many laughs and thumbs up. Happy people! Knit in public ambassador! More chocolate!

Robert also found a new driving hobby: racing away from every traffic light as fast as he could and loudly praying that the next one would be green and he’d never have to see these laughing drivers again.

At home we relaxed a bit by watching olympic cycling:

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and I discovered sugary chocolate brings out my old frenemy of stockinette knit:

Progress on Handspun Green Vest

I’ve finished the body of Hilja sweater vest. It’s such a happy knit!
I’ve got stitchmarkers, my favourite ones, that go perfectly with the yarn and now every stitch is a joy to look at:

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Sometimes I think that knitting (and spinning) is all about the colours and only about the colours.

That that’s why knitting and spinning fits us, colour crazed beings; in the same wondrous way that cat companionship fits humankind.
Cats identify with their fur, they like it washed, touched, stroked. And we, humans, like to “watch” with our hands. We love to touch things, we have sensitive finger tips, we revel in tactiles/touchables.

Put these two characteristics together in a room and you’ve got two species reinforcing each others’ coincidental happiness.

Throw in a bit of cod for dinner and you’ve got best friends for life who allow all the petting and cuddling you like, as long as there’s a snack at the end of it:
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As humankind is an eye-species as much as it’s a touch-things-species I think that’s why we breed cats in such various shapes and colours, just to please our eyes while we indulge our hands. It’s not something I favour because it does not benefit the cats… but I see how it plays into our eye-addiction.

As far as the knitting goes, my colour indulgence is over, the body is finished. I went on to the ribbing at the neck and arms.
I picked up stitches at the neck and did a 1×1 ribbing (on a smaller needle, 3 mm instead of the 3,75mm):

But I didn’t like how it looked. It’s too…. crude. Too scruffy. Not refined enough to wear amongst city folk.

I thought that a commercial yarn would look better. It would show deliberate contraposition between the handspun and the commercial yarn.

I chose a colour with quite a bit of contrast. I can handle contrast because my darkish hair has quite a bit of contrast with my fair skin and when I mirror this in clothing it makes me look healthy. (Although in 2014 I’ve grown grey from the stress and the contrast in the vest will now be a bit harsher than my own but that’s ok, it may make me look a bit more stern but I’m ok with that. Besides, I don’t have any other good yarn and this is a really nice one, it has some cashmere in it.)

I knitted 2 cm of 2×2 ribbing on the first arm hole and it looks very nice:

So tidy!
And just the contrast in texture with the handspun I was looking for. It seems to say what I want it to say, that its companion, the bodice, is made with a designed yarn. Yarn of a chosen, deliberate texture. Not something a well willing amateur made who couldn’t do any better.

The bind off is Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off done from the wrong side so it gives a nice edge on the right side.

I’m a bit sorry the knitting part is over for the handspun. I really enjoyed it, both in colour and tactiles. Soft wool, silk and vintage glass beads, that’s a high for me.
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