Weird Wool Wednesday: Sock Knitting Madness

Three days of SockMadness:
knitting everywhere
knitting everywhere

Eating with wooden dpn’s, secretly knitting under the table.
knitting everywhere
It’s our wedding anniversary lunch/dinner. This is at Sushi Kyushy at the Voorstraat 66 in Utrecht, best sushi in town. Genuine Japanese.

Love is in the air:
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These two sat cosy together, squaking and commenting on all the human commuters.

Trainspotting 2:
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Only six people in the theatre!

Can’t knit with dark grey in the dark. Can’t knit during this movie anyway. Nice movie!

Some things have not changed since the ’80s: the audio is way way too loud and the adverts for local venues is still an adorable clumsy array of photographs that blend into each other with ploink ploink music. The only difference is that now it’s High Definition clumsy.

Back home, time for bed:
knitting everywhere

Yesterday:
knitting everywhere

Travellig with friends:
knitting everywhere
We are bringing my excellent spinning wheel to its new home.

Colour choices of Dropping Madness Sock being approved by local resident:
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Cat Odin is way softer than any Fabel!

My cat is mainly soft on the inside:
knitting everywhere

This morning:
knitting everywhere

I’ve been looking at this for 45 minutes worth of knitting (while knitting) and designing the stranded vest in my head:
knitting everywhere
I need to make a swatch first…. there’s no escaping a swatch. I think I will call my swatch “wristwarmer”.

But first must knit this sock.

And its mate.

There are already people finished with this pattern! They knit a pair of Dropping Madness socks in 2 days. And they knit at a leisury speed!

must knit.

must knit sock.

Breaking News! Cat on lap.

Poekie is on my lap for the first time ever:
Poekie op schoot, voor t eerst! Lillepoes moest er ook bij natuurlijk. :)

We’ve had her for … oh, seven years now?
It’s only been a year and a half now that I’ve been living in the city more permanent. In that time she slowly allowed me to share my husband with her.

Particularly the last two months she’s becoming more and more friendly towards me. Not allowed to pick her up but am allowed to cuddle her when she stands close.

And there’s the chair. I think it’s my knitting chair. But she feels it’s hers. Today she’s big enough to share it with me, for the first time ever.

Of course Lillepoes had to join too. And she needs to be some distance from The Big Mean Tortie so my chest it was.

Hiding from cleaners with Lillepoes, not crocheting.

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Today the window cleaner is here AND the lady that cleans our house every other week. Naturally Lillepoes and I are hiding in the attic:

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Our attic is a great place. It has high beams which are just peeled tree trunks, really. Great wooden structure, all put together with pegs and joints. Not a nail or drop of glue anywhere. Here I keep my art supplies (I used to be an artist before I fell ill in 2008) and a lot of my arty books and inspirations are here.

Over the past few months I’ve put my boxes with fabric here. And some wool. And a wheel or two. I hadn’t been up here for ages because for years I lived in the cabin and there’s a lot of city noise up here. Even when I was still creating art it wasn’t very nice up here, with all the noise. Always have to wear ear mufflers which means I cannot wear my glasses.

But today I’m here and I love it. Over the past year I’ve grown more resilient towards noise. And this is Lillepoes’ and my special place. When she first came to live with us we put her here, to make her feel safe. (She came from a bad home, at 4 yo.) I slept here for a couple of nights and she grew to love me and this attic very quickly.
All these years later she still enjoys being up here and she’s always inviting me up here and spend some time with her.

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It’s a mess but it’s all right. I’m watching a podcast and crocheting on my blanket until it’s safe to go downstairs again. The curtains are drawn because it’s a whopping 30 degrees out there today!

Talking about crochet: a friend of mine offered to crochet me this:

A lalylala pattern called ROCO the raccoon, designed by Lydia Tresselt

I’ve been wanting a Roco for a long time now! It’s been in my queue for a couple of years but I knew I couldn’t make it because you have to crochet these kind of stuffies really tight and I can’t do that with my shoulder impingement. But I kept it in my queue because maybe I could do it in smalls steps or something?

I also wanted to change to colours to mimic Lillepoes’ colours:

hiding

Lalylala is a very well known designer and she has a distinctive style. The patterns are offered in many languages. Her website is here.

There’s a community of crocheters who adore her style and make moderations to her designs, such as mini-versions, which the designer then shares on her site. With the pattern that particular crocheter has made!

My friend didn’t know I’ve been adoring Lalylala’s designs for some time now. She just mentioned she is crocheting a lamb by her at the moment and that she has several of her patterns.

I told her about Roco in my queue and then she offered to make him for me. To which I said “NO thank you” immediately. As a member of the “Selfish Knitters and Crocheters Ravelry Group” (Meaning I create what I want for whom I want. Not because of x-mas or social obligation or because some pedestrian thinks yarn creations are cheap or fast or because some mermaid/hot dog blanket is doing the rounds on Facebook.) I know how much work this is and I feared that just because we were talking about it and just because she’s able to make it and I am not she felt obliged to offer.

We talked on about these patterns and she said that for herself she will be making Dirk the Dragon:

DIRK the dragon / dinosaur by Lydia Tresselt

But the next day she brought Roco up again. She insisted she’d like to make one for me. I started to talk about payment then (150 euros/dollars would be a good starting point for one stuffie) but she wasn’t having it. She then explained, in small words so I would understand, that she crochets for relaxation and that she really wants something to crochet in order to relax. She would like to crochet more of Lalylala’s designs but she has no use for the products, she wants the process. It’s not like I would do her a favour by granting her to crochet for me, no, but she would like to crochet something and then give it to me, especially seeing that I love the design and the work involved. Win-win, so to say.

I got off my high horse and understood and thankfully accepted her gift. And now I’m all excited! I had already the yarn in mind I’d want “Lilleroco” made from and I knew I had to do some study to figure out which colour goes where. But before that we had to figure out which yarn would be good for Dirk the Dragon. (We did agree that I buy the wool for both stuffies.)

 colourway 285, pic by Eki

So I studied the pattern for Dirk and it’s made with Trekking sock yarn with neps. Not cotton, which is usually used for stuffies and amugurimi, but wool containing sock yarn. She loves the colour and the nepps but this particular colour is no longer on the market: Zitron Trekking XXL colour 285. I did find a couple of Ravelers who still have a ball and was thinking about asking them to sell it to me (kind of a social no-no on Ravelry, asking people about stash items which are not marked “for sale” but I was willing to do it).

But first I showed her the various sock yarns that are on the market, including the Trekking XXL, and asked her to crochet a little swatch with some of them. Just to find out if wool yarn will work for her.
We’re both glad she did because she found out she doesn’t like it one bit!

The wool stretches where cotton does not. And Trekking is not soft, it’s kind of scratchy (just like all the sock yarns made from wool such as Opal, Fabel, Regia and the lot).
However I do have some high end sock yarns which are way softer, including one with nepps:

Dutch Wool Diva Diva Sock Donegal Nepps in colourway Statue, I still have some left from my Nurmulito shawl and I could perhaps have some dyed up in a good Dirk colour. But my friend flat out refused to try this out. To her 8 euros for a ball of yarn is expensive. 17 euros is plainly ridiculous!

I don’t think it would have worked anyway. This yarn is a two ply (not round) and the nepps are in brown, white and black where my friend fell for the brightly coloured ones in the Trekking. Plus it’s still wool and stretches.

With all the sock yarns out it was clear there’s not a good yarn, with nepps, in a good colour for her Dirk. In cotton yarns nepps don’t even seem to exist. This cotton, however, does exist:

Scheepjes Stonewashed, 130 m per 50 grams, cotton with a touch of acrylic, shown here in only some of the colours.

For Roco/Lilleroco I had already settled on this yarn because I like the semi-solidness of the colour. When I saw the yarn at Sticks & Cups in Utrecht a couple of weeks ago again I noticed how good it looks and how soft it is. The only reason my blanket is not made from this is that cotton is tougher to crochet with than the Scheepjes Crafter I’m using. And the price.

After our week of searching for good Dirk yarn -I even contemplated spinning some- my friend now thinks that Scheepjes Stonewashed will be good for her Dirk too. The examples others made look promising:

 Dirk and pic by Lezelie

So that will be it then. In a few weeks I will visit Sticks & Cups in Utrecht again and then I will buy the yarn for both Dirk and Lilleroco.

This gives me the time to figure out which colours should go where to make Raccoon Roco into Lilleroco:

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Lillepoes has a black face and black ears. Blue eyes which I’m thinking might be fun to indicate with the little mask Roco is wearing in blue. Her white toes ask for faster transition of the colour changes. The one on the left is the one I’m currently at.

I’m playing with colours again, in my attic, it is lovely  🙂

STOP! PLAYTIME OVER!
THIS JUST IN!

“CAT DISCOVERS CLOSED DOOR”
THIS IS NOT RIGHT!

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THE HUMAN MUST FIX THIS!
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THANK YOU. BYE.

Hello?
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I want to come in again. There’s too much noise and weird cleaning smells downstairs.

Frankly, I’m disappointed in you and the house you keep.
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Weird Wool Wednesday: “this is taking too long!”

I’ve carried the 200grams skein of grey Wolop handspun to so many places to show it to people that it’s now all tangled up. I’ve already spend two hours winding it into a ball, having to weave the ball through loops and knots.

A certain someone is running a live stream comment as I do so.

I filmed her on my phone which I then invited to talk to Flickr. Which it did, for a solid 40 minutes because connection in the forest isn’t as fast as cityfolk are used to.

Only for it to show up sideways and in a small screen too. Oh bother. I’m not spending any more time trying to fix this, I’m going to fix the yarn instead.
lillepoes
Click on the picture to go to the Flickr site and watch Lillepoes help me not wind yarn, singing me soft songs with her delightfully delicate little chirp of a voice.
It’s the sound of pearls and dew drops and fairy giggles on a serene Summer morning!

It makes you want to take your time and not have a hurry in the world.

Finished: pockets in Pumpkin Ale cardigan

Finally!
I knitted the pockets on Pumpkin Ale Cardigan because it was evident that I was never going to sew them with fabric.

Just a few evenings of knitting and it was done.
I used sock weight yarn, it’s just a tad bit smaller than Wollmeise Twin from which the cardi is knitted. Still a bit more bulky than fabric would have been.

I think my new Crazy-Catlady-blouse-to-be goes nicely with it:

All it took was just a few evenings of knitting:

Knitting was seriously delayed because of having to cuddle and enjoy cats and take pictures and be happy:

Weird Wool Wednesday: an 8 minute wool fool

Today I have something special for you!
I turned on the camera of my computer and I recorded 8 minutes of spontaneous podcast for you. Yes I did. You get to see me in motion!

Thanks to Dutch Wool Diva who has hourly podcasts (in Dutch) and makes it look so easy.

I hope you enjoy! Please leave comments here, I won’t be reading them over on YouTube. Please beware of some nasty noise when I move the camera around. This happens twice.

Here we go!

I’ll never record another podcast like this again. It’s great fun to do! But I’m sure I don’t want this kind of presence on the internet. You cannot just upload something, you have to log on and log in and share all kinds of private information. There’re a lot of Google-Facebook-Twitter-interconnecteness-unrequested-services from Big Internet. Who knows where they spill all their info?

And I have a weird face.
(really?! Is this what the world sees when they look back at me, looking out from my eyes!? What a …. peculiar face I have. And it moves so much…)
(I hope you enjoy it, my face, because from this side of the skin I wouldn’t have guessed that this is what I look like.)
(I feel like someone from the 1800’s now. Never seen my own face in motion. Is this me?)

Anyway, this was fun to do!
All I did was:

  1. flip on the camera
  2. stammer for a few minutes
  3. try and make iMovie talk to YouTube
  4. wait 1.5 hours for this little thing to upload (I’m at the cabin, internetsquirrels are slow here)

(Do I really look like this?!)
also: you’ll see how I tire after just a few minutes. I lose words. That’s the illness. It’s a drag but it is what it is.

Spinning and purring

We’ve all arrived at the cabin and we are all purring and spinning and relaxing and leaving all the stresses behind us.

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I made the cat on the mug in the background, do you like it? I don’t but I’ve come to accept that feeling as a natural companion to anything I draw. I do see that it’s a nice start however. And I’ve got more mugs!

Lillepoes has gotten grey on her nose and chin in the previous two weeks…

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She’s still weak and sleeps a lot. This episode has taken one of her nine lives I think.

I’ve fallen ill too, in the good tradition that owners should resemble their pets. Grey, weak, sleeping? Check, check, check.
For me it’s back to only doing two things a day, with an inflamed liver. It’s a classic after-stress-reaction, as described by dr. Selye.
There’s nothing I can do except rest and heal. But I’m pretty annoyed because of all the plans I cannot execute at the moment. One of them drawing cats on mugs. But again, there’s nothing to be done. Eat, sleep, spin.

Poekie is a big help and advocates snacks to help counter the stress:

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Weird Wool Wednesday: Lillepoes Purrito

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She’s going to be fine 🙂
She needs a lot of sleep and a lot of quality food and lots and lots of cuddles, but she’s going to be fine.

We’ve spend a few nights apart, while she was at the vets’ hooked up on saline and oxygen. Being apart was as much stressing for her as all the sickness was. Now that she’s back home she wants to know we are all together again all the time. She sleeps near us, calls us when we are not close and needs to be hugged a lot.

Also, a few times she has cried out desperately in her sleep 😦
Probably a way of dealing with the stress she/her body has experienced. I’m sure it will pass but it unsettles her humans.

Btw, the same goes for me, I too need lots of sleep, good food and cuddles to recover from the stresses of the past ten days. I know I shouldn’t be but I am surprised by how long an aftermath the body needs to repair itself when the mind has already put things behind her and is looking to the future. Today is day 2 of recovery, I wonder how many more I need.

(UPDATE: well, as it turned out, I needed several months. It was well into October before my body learned to relax again and I got back to an acceptable level of health. In the mean time I had gone grey considerably, as had Lillepoes. But she was just one shedding away from having a dark face again. Me, not so much. But that’s OK. Turning grey is not a thing I give much thought to.)

This morning we spend in bed together, covered in wool:

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That’s my sleeping hat. Made from the first Yak I ever spun, with a brim in reverse stockinette stitch so I can roll it down all the way to my chin and be comfortable.

It has a little felted moon on the top.

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.

Brioche cowl finished and mitts in progress.

With all that laying on the couch the last couple of days I finished the Brioche cowl. And have one mitt nearly finished:

These too I prefer to wear it inside out:

It’s so much more cushy this way. It has to do with the way I knit Brioche. The Double Dutch technique takes more yarn for the colour that’s on the inside, making the stitches more pronounced. And more squishy.

Another thing with this difference in tension between the two yarns is that it gets some curl tendency. It curls to the outside, again because the inside has looser stitches:

Here I positioned the mitt with the right side out on top of the cowl that has the inside out. You can see the difference in how tight the knit stitches are.

On my next project I’m going to remedy this difference in tension because I like the rich, luxurious feel of proper Brioche. It will be a case of loosening up the tension in my Eastern Combined way of picking up the yarn over my left finger.

But it’s nice to use the discovered difference as a feature in this project.

Btw, I’m not the only one resting on the couch these days: Lillepoes has a fever. Poor kittems! She’s been laying on the couch, under layers of wool. She’s been sneezing and grew more and more lethargic over the weekend. Had me properly spooked!

Yesterday she had to endure an anaesthetic while the vet checked her airways. We were sure she had inhaled a piece of grass or hair or something. But he couldn’t find anything.

So now we think it’s a bacteria. Here are some knitted ones:

a free pattern by Beth Skwarecki.

A bacterial infection would be logical because we’ve been suppressing her immune system with prednison for the last two weeks. Because she was licking like mad at her tail for the last few months. Licking it bald, because it itched so much. Because she’s grown allergic to something and we could not determine what in those months.

An unfortunate but logical course of events.

The good news today is that the anti-biotics are working. She’s already purring again.

The other good news is that we now know for certain the licking is caused by an allergy and not by mental stress. I was worried and felt guilty because I’m always dragging her from her beloved cabin to the city and back and I know she doesn’t like that. I do my best to cuddle her and play with here and take her for little walks while we’re in the city. But it’s never enough of course.

But since the prednison works it’s far more likely it’s an allergy than stress. We cannot guess what’s causing the allergic reaction. In the last few months we excluded the main treatable culprits (fleas, worms, food, dust mites) and now there are so many other possibilities. It may even be something she’s known all her life that built up and has now passed the threshold. We hope this course of cortisol (which we are stopping now -slowly- because the anti-biotics need her immune system in full swing to get rid of the bug) has helped her out of a viscious circle of reacting.

The itching may return in a couple of months and the vet proposes we then suppress it again. But will it make her susceptible to bacteria again, I wonder? I don’t want to see the kitty sick again, it was not nice. Not nice at all.

But this morning she turned the corner. Here she is while I’m typing this: