Please go read this post, about how Meilindis has woven a 100% silk shawl for me. It’s a thing of beauty!
Art Deco motives, 100% silk, colours from my colour palette in just the right contrast and all done on a rigid heddle loom.
Please go read this post, about how Meilindis has woven a 100% silk shawl for me. It’s a thing of beauty!
Art Deco motives, 100% silk, colours from my colour palette in just the right contrast and all done on a rigid heddle loom.
I visited with Meilindis yesterday, in our important city of The Hague. We went for a stroll in the city forest (yes they have a forest in the city, with fully grown trees and it feels like visiting a green cathedral. There’s also a royal palace in the middle. And a Japanse garden.)
After an hour we stopped for tea and cake.
And then she presented me with my swap!
A total surprise! I had only send her her own swap package the other day and now it turns out she was my return swapper all along. For our Favourite Books Swap. Rascal!
This is an iPadcover is in her own handspun:
Project page here. Adorned with large friendly letters 🙂
Such gorgeous colours. Exactly the green I adore: misty misty green.
For reference: these cat eyes always live in my mind.
Stitchmarkers in the binary code for 42: 101010
I adore mathy geekery like this. Meilindis also mentioned in the swap card that “42” in ascii code is *
And in normal/internet writing an * stand for “anything you like” which is a wonderful answer to the question about life, the universe and everything.
And she knitted a shawl in the blueest blue, which she knows I won’t knit for myself:
The pattern is Magrathea by Martina Behm. Magrathea is the planet where planets are being designed and made.
It has an genius construction: you start at the narrow end on the right and increase, incorporating the lace edge as you go. Then, at 75% of your meterage, you stop all garter stitch and start the lace edge at the left side. It looks like its sibling but is knitted in another direction.
pic by Meilindis
The famous shawl Hitchhiker is also by Martina Behm and is also inspired by the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy 🙂
Shawl Hitchhiker en Leftie, also by Behm:
Hitchhiker currently has 27698 projects on Ravelry!
The booklet in the swap is from the ’80’s and invites the reader to look at the world differently. Very suitable, both in reference to tHHGttG as in reference to me.
A wonderful swap!
After all the fawning over the goodies we had a nice lunch and then we went to the high quality local yarn shop of The Hague: Cross & Woods.
It’s “a crafting parlour”…. and they have gorgeous yarns, fabric and fibre:
That silk cotton yarn will become a Buttercup by Heidi Kirrmaier:
A lovely summer top and I’ve been wanting to knit a second one for a few years now. I knit one in Tussah silk back in 2013 and I wear it a lot, even though it has the totally wrong colour.
Six weeks ago I nearly bought 4 skeins of bright yellow linen at Spinspul but it didn’t happen. Now I’ve gotten my hands on this soft, silvery yarn, I’m sure a Buttercup will happen now!
But first knit like the wind on that lila cardigan! I’m at the sleeve now and I knit in the train towards The Hague and also on the way back. I barricaded myself with woolly things in the train. This my woolly bubble:
Meilindis send two pictures of her lovely cat Freya who always helps with blocking:
pic by Meilindis pic by Meilindis
And I just noticed she wrote a blogpost about our double swap and she takes much better pictures than me: go read it here 🙂
This means the height of the fabric was the width/4 x 1,73.
(Usually crafters will just make the width 4 times the height because math is scary and also because that can be nicely done with pre cut fat quarters, but that will not give a true pyramid: its top will not be in the middle of the ground plane. There’s a Dutch explanation on this Belgian blog.)
I chose the outer fabric to be nice and precise, both in print and in sewed lines to keep the batting inplace. Nice and precise, just like Matilda and my swappee are. (And like I am). My swappee is Meilindis from Meilindis.nl (English blog).
The zipper gives a hint to what else is important:
It’s one of The Woolly Dodo stitchmarkers, without the ring.
This is the inside: chocolate cakes! Like the one the head of the school makes one of the pupils eat in totality. Enjoy some of the marvelous illustrations by Quentin Blake here 🙂
My days are full with non-wool things. I only craft at night, when I join my husband for some TV. It’s still the same crochet so it’s not that interesting to show you:
Soon I need to lay out all the squares again, see what’s what. Think some more about the assembling composition.
The stranded owl vest with the wrong shade of white is now stuffed into the back of the closet. Don’t know what to do about it at this time.
I have started another white vest in that lovely handspun:
A vest without raglans: Debbie Vest by Aethalia O’Connor.
But then I frogged it again because my similar handspun Hilja vest pills a bit (the yarn is a bit too soft for a garment) and Wolop Grey vest taught me I have more meterage than needed for a vest and I’d love to use every inch of my handspun.
So why not use the handspun for a luscious collar that doesn’t have to stand much wear?
“Inspired to knit” is the first knitting book I ever bought. I’ve never knit from it because … reasons (mostly that things aren’t knit in the round). But I always wanted a collar to tuck away in, like shown on the front. So last weekend I cast on for it. It’s Snowdrift Cardigan by Michele Rose Orne.
It was a good car ride project last Sunday:
But at home I started to doubt my knitting again. Isn’t it too wide, too many stitches? Isn’t it too variegated a colour and with what yarn will I ever combine it to make the body then?
So I’ve left it in its WIPbag since then and have been crocheting flowers instead.
Tangled Vines Cardigan is still out of the closet though. There’s only one sleeve left to do and the button bands. I’ve brought my box with buttons to the city and I just need to sit down and make a choice:
I’ll get to that as soon as I’ve finished crocheting…
I hardly knit on my sock though. Because it feels like a special knit for sophisticated moments, like there should be a candle in a silver holders nearby and there should be bonbons on little handmade plates and artistic thoughts in my head.
These days I only craft when I’m doing something else too. Watching videos at night or browsing imgur during my day rests. No sophistication at all.
Yeah, my days are full. A lot of time is spend on coaxing my body to not relapse into a chronic fatigue state. I feel like I’ve been handed a precious gem or little kitten and I don’t want to lose it. It needs time and dedication and love to prosper but I have one hand tied behind my back and an eyepatch made out of mohair and someone is whispering math problems in the back ground, demanding answers.
So there’s a lot of distraction and I absolutely want to do this right because I’d like 45 more years of good life, please. Hmm, this may be a long winded apology that this is no longer a blog with regular knitting progress reports.
Was it ever though?
Blogging takes time too and I find I want to use that time for other things. You wouldn’t say it with the elaborate posts I’ve been making the past few weeks but in my mind I have cut back on blogging. Reality may disagree as these posts each take two hours to write, at least. But my mindset has shifted. “I knit less and therefor blog less.” That’s as true as cows. (That’s a Dutch expression)
My posts may change in the future. Perhaps more pictures, less words.
Or it may progress like it does right now: more words, less wool 😉
There’s just not much time left in the day to do the things I love. I get maybe one hour twice a day? But they are spend in health now and they never were before.
When there are no interruptions such as day trips or having to buy mattresses or going in for blood tests I spend most of my precious free and health-full time sewing. I sewed a winter skirt last month:
Sturdy canvas again: curtain fabric from IKEA. Sturdy seams, pockets, lining. And godets at the side seams to give room for striding and urban power posing.
It goes wonderful with my Wolop Grey Handspun Vest as you can see. The other day I wore a ladies’ dress shirt under it and I looked smashing! That will be my Autumn and Winter garderobe: skirt, shirt, vest, cardigan (hat, wristwarmers).
This fortnight I’m sewing trousers. They are linen trousers, for Summer. This Summer. Yes, Summer 2016…
Never mind that I’m writing this wearing a hat and woolen socks. At least I’m also learning to work with loosely woven cloth, which comes in handy for when I’m going to sew with my handwovens.
Which I have planned for the end of Summer.
Which is when I will have finished weaving what I set up on my new loom.
Or will have started weaving it even.
Argh. I need more hours. I hear coffee does good things for the amount of hours in a day?
There’s still more sewing to do, with the fabrics I already have. Dress shirts. Pinafores. A jacket next month. I’m also interested in art again. I was a full time art student and also an artist before I fell ill in 2008? It’s rekindling. I’ve bought a little sketchbook for daily use… but hussshh about that because that’s another fragile kitten that needs peace and calm to grow big and playful.
Yeah I don’t have much spare time these days. All caused precisely because I have gotten a bit of spare time. I’m savouring every crumb of it. I’ll continue showing you but it may not be much interesting wool stuff for a while.
UPDATE I was meant to surf how to sew a jeans zipper, not write this blogpost!
I finished it, it looks splendid!
the pattern is Cocoberry Cowl by Meilindis.
I used 480 m of fingering weight in pure silk, on needles 2,75 mm and I enlarged the pattern, this is a size M or L.
This is a large shawl, it hangs halfway down my back. So somewhere in the middle I stopped increasing and ended the raglans with a nupp-detail.
with more flowers than the pattern states but I LOVE those flowers, with their nupps.
It closes with one flap over the other. And then buttons.
I bought buttons for it, while I was in the city. Nice purple lilac pearly accented buttons. But now I can’t find them, grrrr. I’m decluttering the cabin and that always messes up the system.
Silk has more drape and less memory than wool. So this shawl will pretty much hang from my shoulders as it is and not creep back up it, like blocked wool ones tend to do.
The collar however will not stand up on its own. That’s silk for you.
But what a nice colour! And such nice gleam!
It feels delicious. All cool and warm at the same time. And very soft.
I’ll be wearing it, without the buttons, until I find them. Nobody will think this shawl lacks buttons or luxury.
The edge in detail:
My Cocoberry Cowl, still without buttons and I made a mistake on the shoulders, the lace pattern should have continued there. But a lovely shoulder warmer. And so very soft!
Pattern by Meilindis
274 m (300 yards) of handspun Baby Camel Top, fingering weight.
needles 2,75 mm to get a gauge of 22,5 st/10cm and 15,5 rows/10 cm
I’m test knitting a pattern while I have brain fog. It’s a tad frustrating when you lose the ability to count or to read or to understand what your eyes are seeing. But the beautiful pattern, the sympathetic designer and the wonderful handspun I’m using are making up for all that.
The pattern is Cocoberry by Meilindis:
Here’s my project in progress:
I bought it at my very first Landelijke Spindag (National Spinners’ Weekend) way back when (2010)
Back then I didn’t know how to spin long draw. Which is extremely suited to the short and slippery fibers of the camel top. (I think baby camel fluff might be denatured to have it take up the dye better? Just like they do with yak. It’s basically how they make wool super wash. It’s a chemical treatment and it leaves the fibers slick and slippery.)
It was 2010 and lots of people had fallen for the beautiful fibers dyed by Mandacrafts. We had a blast at the Dutch Spinners Group where we all tried to spin this luxury fiber in the way we’re used to spin long, steady fibers: worsted. It was educational and sometime educational, with the fiber flying everywhere and people getting really frustrated (or was that just me?). (link to dutch thread)
Spinning short fibers into a smooth yarn requires a special technique called “inch worming”. Basically you are spinning with not even one inch between your hands, just to get the fibers to twist together before they break apart from each other and become fluff again.
I vowed to never spin inch worming again, it was so frustrating.
In 2011 I bought a new wheel, one that could do long draw. Unfortunately I myself could not do long draw at that moment.
NB: “top” means that the fibers are all aligned while true long draw requires the fibers to be all over the place.
Nonetheless I did something right:
I managed to get a thread:
and even a yarn:
So soft! Such gorgeous colours! But I didn’t know what to do with it.
2012 came around and I bought another bag of that Baby Camel Top. Also in Helleborus. It’s so soft you just have to have it, even if you can’t spin it. I planned to spin it and have more meterage so I could make a cardigan perhaps. But I didn’t spin it in 2012.
2013 came and went and I didn’t touch any camel.
2014 came and that camel fluff is still waiting in the box called “Gorgeous Fiber I want to Spin Right Now!”
Well, I’m not waiting any longer. I’m putting that first skein of Helleborus into my Cocoberry cowl and will worry about that other bag some other time. Cocoberry in Baby Camel is a delight!
It’s so soft! There are so many colours there, the picture can’t capture them. The pattern is extremely suited for handspun yarns.
I confessed that I am brain fogged. It is the aftermath of the National Spinners’ Weekend 2 weeks ago. Having such a thrilling weekend and eating such weird things (kroketten for lunch!) messes up my digestion and my hormones and my sleep and my brain chemistry. It is what it is. I have to sit it out and rest. Eat chicken soup a lot. Knit simple things. Rest up. (OK, OK, doing Spinzilla and eating cookies was not very smart. But hey, it was fun!)
Anyway, I’m still brain fogged and I have to redo almost every row of Cocoberry Cowl. But I don’t mind. Great pattern! Great yarn!
Hopefully the designer Meilindis doesn’t mind either, I’m really bothering her and asking all kinds of dumb questions. But I figure there’s an upside to having a brain fogged knitter as a tester: all the dumb questions get asked right now, by one person, giving her a chance to foolproof the pattern before she releases it to the public.
Now I’m off to frog my last row. Turns out M1R doesn’t mean “Cable to the Right”.
On Monday the new beads arrived. Bigger, brighter beads. They are triangle shaped (catching the light from all angles), transparent with a silver lined hole. Here are the same sort beads but in a gold version:
I got my beads and this photo them from Kralenwerk.nl, an online shop run by a very friendly and professional couple. And they love cats, especially Birmans.
Post arrived at 12.15 hours.
First bead was placed on the knitting at 12.34
Now we are 4 days further. I’ve been ill, laying on the couch, twiddling my thumbs. And here’s where that gets me:
At the final chart on the final page. Just creating those last few rows of lace… I just can’t stop!
The beads are a pleasure. They are beautiful, sparkly, very smooth (also on the inside so they don’t snag or damage the yarn), and it’s a pleasure to put them on. I use a very small crochet hook for that and I get them on a stitch before I work the stitch. The bigger size beads are such an improvement! They really bring the shawl alive. No glancing over them this time!
I’m using a Chiagoo Red Lace needle in the size 3,75mm that the pattern specifies (usually I go down a size but BooKnits is a loose knitter too) and towards the end -where I am now- it is suggested to use a 4 mm needle. This will open up the lace magnificently.
The yarn is divine too, it’s Tulp in the colour Stud by DutchKnittingDesign.com. A mix of silk and casmere, so soft, SO SOFT. And they have gorgeous colours. Silk will do that to you. This skein was a present I gave myself about 16 months ago. Been afraid to touch it ever since, except for petting it and admiring the colour. But now it just zooms away, so eager to become this beautiful shawl.
pic by DutchKnittingDesign.com
Mind you, I never cared much for lace knitting.
It’s a whole lot of work for a flimsy piece of knitting that won’t keep you warm. But this Summer my friend and knitwear designer Meilindis wore a beautiful lace shawl on her wedding day and it was soft, gorgeous and exquisite and I couldn’t stop petting it and her. That’s how I got to appreciate lace: a lovely design in a high end lace yarn, using high end beads in a design that matches the mood of the wearer.
Didn’t plan on knitting a lace design in laceweight yarn any time soon though. It’s still a lot of work. But then BooKnits had a Knitting Along (KAL) on Ravelry. And I’ve loved her designs for very long, with the half crescent shapes and the dramatic feeling to it.
I hadn’t planned on it but somehow I found myself casting on for the one design I’ve wanting to do for a long time: Temptress by BooKnits:
This is a picture from her pattern page.
I love the shapes! The holes! The points! The dramatics! The ration between yarnweight and needle size!
The magic with lace knitting is it looks all crumpled up until you block it. Then it opens up beautifully. I love her style, with the big open holes. Since starting one of her designs and reading through the many informative posts in her group, I’ve learned she gets these holes by blocking “thuggishly” as she herself puts it.
Also, this is called “true lace” when on both the right side and the wrong side you have to pay attention and use different stitches. You can see how many times there’s just a single strand visible near the holes. That’s when on both sides the knitter does a trick. When all the returning rows are just trickless knitting, the holes are defined with twisted strands, like the little X-shaped threads you see at the top of the picture, just below and to the side of the top beads.
Easier to knit, less dramatic.
I’m having much fun with my Tulip Temptress. As this design has been a favourite of mine for a long time, I’m sure I will knit it again some day. Playing with the design elements.
Next time I’ll use a yarn without memory, such as silk or bamboo (don’t like bamboo), and perhaps even bigger needles so it really opens up and resembles BooKnits shawl. I might have to spin that silk lace yarn… I’m too cheap to buy it at the moment…
But perhaps I’ll use a fuzzy lace yarn from the stash? that would be interesting too.
Yes, there’s enough flimsy holey knitting in my future to dream about. With sparklies!
Because I also bought a whole bunch of these at Kralenwerk.nl : garnet lined chartreuse triangle Miyuki size 5 beads
All the wrong colours for me, since they are warm. But who cares? These are beautiful and will make a beautiful dramatic shawl and I will wear it and it will match my mood and I will look beautiful!
The past few months I’ve made some gifts for knitter friends that have found their way to their owners in the past week. Now I can share them with you.
First up: the secret wap in the Dutch Karma Group.
when we have swaps in the Dutch Karma Group you put together a parcel for one of the other members without telling them. You have to stalk them and their projects to find out what they like. It is a stressfull and very fun activity.
Right now, we are wrapping up the Luxury Gift Swap. The goal for this swap was to actually knit/crochet something for your swappee, using a luxury yarn. Then add a small luxury item such as soap or CHOCOLATE and send it to her.
Sounds easy. Isn’t easy at all! It is very scary to make something for someone else. Especially if you want it to be GOOD. You start to doubt yourself at every step of the way. The choice of colour, the choice of yarn, the choice of pattern.
Luckily we are experienced swappers by now and we know that we have to guide the person who is going to spoil us as much as possible. Give clear instruction what you would like. Restrict the vast array of possibilities as much as possible. Nothing is worse than trying to spoil someone who says: “really, anything is fine, I like everything.” Where to start??
Like I said, we are a lucky bunch, we know that the more and clearer preferences are stated, the easier it is to combat the inner doubts. My swappee was clear fortunately. Her name is Brigiet and this is her colour choice fot this swap:
she also provided her secret spoiler -me- with a list of Wollmeise yarn colours. These are nearly a standard for identifying colours in the world of knitters, just like Panthone is in paint.
“I love most colours but for this swap I am thinking of these Wollmeise colours:
Petitie poison 5
Ein klein wenig verrucht
Chim chim chimney
One of the Wollmeise Groups over on Ravelry.com has a page listing the various colours, with pictures. So I could just go over there and browse to try and understand fully what my swappee really loves.
She also gave examples of shawls she likes. She would love a shawl that is a bit round -not triangle- to wear over her shoulders at work coming winter. She listed some examples and what she liked about them particularly. Wonderful! Ideas for the perfect luxury gift where taking shape in my mind.
Then I found the perfect yarn: a blue fingering weight by Posh Yarn with glitter: Posh Yarn Pamela in colour Bala. I could have ordered one of the Wollmeises she mentioned but then I would not have had glitter. And I really loved this colour for her. Besides, there was no Wollmeise in a right colour to be had when I wanted to start knitting. Wollmeise is hard to get and you have to be fast and confident. I have not been any of those recently.
it even has the glitter of the ice in her picture! I would not have thought so but the glitter is actually very soft. I felt it and pondered it before I decided to actually buy it. This is better then buying over the internet where colours are never certain. Nor softness!
I loved it so much, both colour and texture, that it was a real pleasure to knit with. I would have loved to have kept it myself. Which made it easier to offer it to her and garantee that if she didn’t absolutely love it too, I would gladly take it back and exchange it for something in a better colour.
It was knitted into a pattern my swappee had identified herself as a good one. I purchased it and knit it, as is. It is Marella by Knitting-Delight.com from Birgit Freyer:
I knitted it on needles 3,25mm. I did alter the increases in the ‘spine’ a bit as you see. I let them float out sideways. I do not like the ‘spiney’ look. I also did M1 for increases, by knitting in the stitch below the stitch that is to be knit (also). Sometimes I like my increases to be not ‘holey’.
Still a bit nervous but also fairly confident I wrote a nice letter on my nicest stationary, wrapped the goodies and send away my parcel. My swappee was very glad with it! And so am I.
THE SECOND GIFT:
Next I knitted a shawl for a good friend who turned 40 the other day. Her favourite colour is green. She doesn’t find much joy in knitting lace but does enjoy wearing lace shawls. And as I had just knitted Marelle which was still very much in my knitter hands memory, I casted on:
this time I played a bit with the pattern. The ‘spine’ is broader now, I increased the number of stitches between the two vertical lines of increases. I much prefer this. It yield a bit of a rounder shaped shawl. I also played with the lace part since the original pattern, Marella by Brigit Freyer, is fairly straight. Gothic if you will (architectural term, not the fashion term):
pattern page picture by triametes71
see what I mean? straight lines, triangles.
I made them into more fluent lines and a different rythme of the small ‘blobs’ in the lace. I also changed the knitting of these ‘blobs’. The pattern makes them all the same, I divided them in left leaning and right leaning double decreases. Depending on where they were in relation to the centre lines.
Still pointy pointy. But less triangles and less stacks of ‘blobs’. I really like it!
This was knitted in a lovely green yarn Dream in Color Smooshy:
of the colour way “Happy Forest”. I had received this yarn myself in a previous swap but as this is a superwash yarn I knew I would prefer to knit it for someone else to wear. This was a perfect gift, the colour is very much ‘her’. (and ‘me’. This colour is great! too warm to compliment my own colouring but hey, don’t need to look absolute gorgeous every day!)
She celebrated her birthday at her house, she baked cakes and made soup, she invited only knitters and we sat around all day eating wonderful food and chatting and being comfortable and knitting and spinning and having a really really wonderful time. It was so relaxed!
I was very proud of how the shawl looked on her. A very good gift. I knitted this on needles 3,25 mm and used 321 meters which is 351 yards. link to project page
THE THIRD GIFT:
Now let me tell you about the gift that took the longest time of these three. It is weaving.
About two years ago my friend Meilindis started spinning. I was having a rough time and as a cheer-up she send me two of her very first handspun. This is a very precious gif! Because first hand spun are like many firsts in creations: you can never repeat them and you create a little wonder without restrictions of experience.
it is the top one, the blue one. It has a myriad of colours. You can put your nose to it and keep looking, the colours keep changing. It is like a caleidoscope.
I have looked at this yarn for a year and a half. I knew knitting would mix the colours too much. Crocheting would eat up too much yarn, it is only about 30 m. Other techniques that would compliment this yarn could be Lace Crochet or knitting with elongated stitches. But I was still searching.
Then I learned weaving.
And it all came together. I wove it as one of my first weaves:
the technique showed of the ‘journey’ through colours and fibre Meilindis had made while spinning it in a great way:
I started this weaving just around the time we were talking about Colour Analysis on the Karma Group and Meilindis had her colours analysed and was determined a Summer. It was very educational, for all of us. I decided to use a Summer apropiate colour for the warp: bourette silk in dusty rose.
After a while looking and admiring the woven piece I decided to make it into a small pouch. I myself love useful things. Pretty useful things. And sewing the pouch gave me another opportunity to work with this yarn up close:
see how many colours one strand of yarn has? I LOVE it when you travel from a small scale to the big one and back and on each scale there is something interesting to see and colours to enjoy.
I wove in the ends and put a button on it:
Then I brought it with me when I went to visit her.
we had a lovely afternoon of chatting about knitting and about cats and about life and we went to a ’50s store to try on dresses and then we ate chocolate bonbons at an Italian ice cream salon.
Here’s her cat Fiona, approving of the little pouch and of the bonbons:
the red shawl she’s resting on is one of Meilindis’ own designs: Rapunzel Crescent. It has wonderful detail!
again, attention to every scale (stitchdefinition, stitch pattern, areas, shape shawl) which delights the designer/urban architect in me. I plan to make this shawl for me one day! Soon I hope. But she also has Frou Holle that I’d love to make…
The blue shawl near the back of cat Fiona is the shawl that Meilindis received from her secret spoiler in the Secret Luxury Swap. A silk shawl in an ab-so-lute perfect colour for her!!
accompanied by luxury chocolate, the remainder of the skein and a nice letter. Send by…Brigiet. The very girl I send my package too! Great Karma!