Weird Wool Wednesday: throw cookies at dragons when they misbehave.

I met a dragon yesterday!
dragon castle Heeswijk the Netherlands

I was on a solo outing to enjoy the Summer weather. I had some tea and cookies at Castle Heeswijk:
kasteel Heeswijk paaltjekasteel Heeswijk paaltje

I also met a bit of timber:
kasteel Heeswijk paaltje
kasteel Heeswijk paaltjekasteel Heeswijk paaltje
Aiie!
The drivers door got jammed, I had to crawl in through the passenger’s door. Have I mentioned I have bursitis in both hips? These antics are not welcome.

At home the dragon on my sock got all huffy and messed up its stitch count. Lillepoes roared in disapproval.

And then lead by example: always ignore tantrum dragons.


(Does anybody else’s cat show affection and communication by stretching a hind leg? Lillepoes does.)

Today I brought the car to a garage run by and for women. It was a pleasant experience.
damesgarage ladies car shop vrouwengarage de dames van hurkmans den bosch dedamesvanhurkmans
My cat fabric WIP bag matched the decor. There was tea and cookies! They fixed the door and the paint while I waited for a very reasonable price. Vakgarage The Ladies of Hurkmans

I haven’t looked at the sock today. But I did sew a shirt at sewing lessons in cat fabric with a fish shaped pocket:
cat help catfabric fabric sewingcat help catfabric fabric sewing
Ofcourse. Cat-help needed when taking pictures.

A fun pocket on my cat shirt:
cat help catfabric fabric sewing

I also thought of sewing a little fish and attach it to the sleeve. A little snack/ companion:
cat help catfabric fabric sewing I will redo it in handsewing, this is not neat enough.

cat help catfabric fabric sewingcat help catfabric fabric sewing
Yes, thank you. Buzz off.

Omg, where there’s one there’s bound to be another:
cat help catfabric fabric sewing

More inspection needed ofcourse. Sigh.
cat help catfabric fabric sewing
They don’t like each other much, can you tell? Lillepoes is intimidated by Poekie and Poekie is annoyed because Lillepoes does not speak proper cat. And tortitude, obviously.

Well that’s all the time I have for photo’s today.  There’s half an hour left in the day before bed, I’ll go wrangle that sock dragon. I’m ready to frog 6 rounds and I have something to sweeten that pain:
cat help catfabric fabric sewing

For purling sake!
cat help catfabric fabric sewing

LATER:

Well, this is where we ended up this last half hour of Weird Wool Wednesday. Shedding on my fabric, making my hips hurt, not knitting a dragon. But what a sweet face she has:
lillepoeslillepoes
So happy. 🙂 We hadn’t seen each other properly all day. And now we have .

Sleep well!

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a day of Spring at the cabin

It is lovely here! We’re outside, working on the land.

I love Ribes. “Now,which way does the camera work again?”

We have some particular jobs to do. In the last winter storm two trees collapsed into a third three. Last week a couple of workmen have chopped up the two trees and repositioned the third one. It is now secured with a metal rope to a big birch. The root system of the tilted tree will take hold again and in a few years it will be safe to take away the security band.

The floor is littered with the chopped up pieces of tree. In other places there are the many many branches that came off, they are in piles scattered around the site. It’s a chance for us to rethink the configuration of our piece of woodland. Where paths are. Where secluded areas are. Where the sun hits the ground and where shaded areas are. Areas with untidy walls of stacked branches, which are a haven for many birds, mammals and amphibians.

Funny how this type of “gardening” deals in decades, not seasons.

Part of caring for a piece of woodland is dealing with other people’s trash:

Can’t leave it all to rot. Gotta pick it up and put it in our trash bins.

In this country the government makes us separate trash. Every week a different kind of trash is collected: paper; plastics; compostables and residu. They’ve made the residu-trash container the smallest.

A victim of schlepping bits of pointy tree around:

My handspun vest! Will have to repair. It does show that sideways knitting, on a loose gauge, makes for vulnerable fabric. I should have used a more tighter plied yarn.

Spring socks are coming along nicely. Great colour, the onion dyed yarn from Wolop!
First try of the cables leg part turned out way too tight:

I was doing size S which has the ribbed part of the cuff on 60 stitches, which is plenty for me. Fits comfortable over my foot and heel.

The leg part has three cables each turning 3 over 3 stitches. But it does not increase the total stitch count to accommodate for these cables. Normally you’d add 1 extra stitch for every 1 over 2. So in my case that would be 3 x (6/2) = 9 additional stitches. Pattern should be over 69 stitches.

But the pattern has some ribbing in the cables part and the designer probably thought this would offset the tightness of the cables. It did not for me. You see how much further the leg has to stretch to get to my instep and heel. I tried to wear it as a wristwarmer and it was even too tight for that. Which is shocking because I have tiny twig like wrists.

I have now frogged and am knitting the leg part on 72 stitches, which is size L. It’s a shame of the two hours of concentrated knitting I did yesterday evening. But it’s nice to knit this part again with this yarn and this wonderful Spring like colour.

72 stitches fit alright:

Lillepoes is so very very happy to be here on this Spring day:


Weeeeeeeeeeh!

Advent Wool Bliss

This is how my daily 30 minutes of Advent spinning looks like:
advent spinningwheel spinning wool merino cat
Prepping and spinning beautiful Saxon Merino for example. I’ve spun two skeins now:

Sigh…:

First snow on the roofs today!

Remember how I always call our new car the red bauble? Oh, I’m not sure you know actually…. Well my husband got himself a new car a couple of years back. A NEW one, instead of the used ones we usually have. It’s shiny, it’s red and he still smiles every time he drives it.
insert vol 116 mazda 3 pic by Insert Magazine
(Also he hacked it. Inserted a camera in the back and adjusted the dashboard graphics and swapped the CDplayer for a USB thingie and got a 3Dprinted front for it.)
Anyway, I call it the x-mas bauble.

For Sinterklaas I got a bauble of my own:
advent spinningwheel spinning wool merino cat

I don’t have the energy to decorate the tree this year. But it decorates itself! Wolbeest Advent Calendar and gifts from Wolop:
advent spinningwheel spinning wool merino cat

Under the tree, next to my knitting chair, is my little table for tea and knitting. On it: Wolop’s Plant Dyed Advent Calendar!

Such gorgeous shades.

Look who are getting a bit older these days:
advent spinningwheel spinning wool merino cat

Both still cuddly:
advent spinningwheel spinning wool merino cat

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:
knitting everywhereknitting everywhere
These two sat cosy together, squaking and commenting on all the human commuters.

Trainspotting 2:
knitting everywhereknitting everywhere
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:
knitting everywhere
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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