Weird Wool Wednesday: this again?!

I stood up to get my glasses:
omg this again? knitter problems

We’ve been here before:

This was on 14 November 2012, the first Weird Wool Wednesday post ever!

Are you judging me?
omg this again? knitter problemsomg this again? knitter problems
…………………………………………………………..Oh, shut up.

Can’t knit. Have to get up and gather tangles yarns first.omg this again? knitter problems

By the way, this is how I’m solving the lack of length in the mitten:
omg this again? knitter problems
Adding extra diamonds and bringing back the colours from the cuff, which I love.

Lillepoes draws close for comfort:
omg this again? knitter problems

omg this again? knitter problems
This again too?!


Progress Deco cardi

With the car rides from and to the city and some long movies to celebrate the holiday (Miss Marples with Joan Hickson and old Castles) I got a lot of knitting done on the Deco Cardigan. I knit the yoke, I split for the sleeves and did some bust darts in the front.

I followed pattern Viola to the lettre. Up until three rows after the sleeves were parked. Then I inserted bustdarts and thought about waist decreases, both of which do not feature in the pattern. From here on I will depart from the instructions and follow my own.

I’m now at the point where the first Art Deco decoration needs to be placed, on the back panel. So I need to figure out that first, before I can knit some more.

Already I’ve looked at the chart from the decoration I want as my inspiration, from Lauriel by Ysolda Teague. The edge is defined by cables and twisted stitches. I have to design the bottom and I have to keep in mind that my border will be *k1,p3*.

The “stem” coming from the decoration needs to be one of those k1. This means that subsequent decorations I want to add need to fall in step with the first one. I have to take into account future decreases and increases that will dictate where those k1’s will fall in the border.

This needs some thinking and some scribbling on papers. Which is why I’ve planned to do this next Sunday. Today I was running around, doing things (mostly the washing up). Tomorrow I’m visiting a knitter’s party. So Sunday is for resting and hopefully some designing on this problem.

Shoot. I just remember the laundry is still in the machine. From this morning. With all my sleeping gear. My pjamas! My woolen bed socks! The longsleeve I wrap around my head! (I’m weird). And a piece of needle felt I wanted preshrunk so I can make a bodice out of it for the felt dress in which I married, long ago.

So. gotta run. No time to add links to the patterns I mention here, they are in the blog, just click on the search tags at the bottom from this post, “Deco cardi” will probably give them.

I can’t believe I forgot the laundry. I specifically chose the 30 minutes cycle so it could be on the heater all day (don’t have a tumble dryer here).

And I’ve got to take something “wool” to do with me tomorrow…. socks? Drop spindle? Most of all I’d like to bring my spinning wheel and spin… shall I ask if there’s room?

Oh. And I’m wearing Peabody Sweater today. It’s fine! I feel very sophisticated and city woman. Tomorrow I’ll wear Wintertrui 2014 to the party, see what they say. And Cocoberry Cowl which I gave the last of its buttons.

oh oh oh the laundry


Weird Wool Wednesday: seeing the point

I spend so many hours knitting the pockets, thinking up the button band and making it just right. Binding off was a tedious task in which I had to take care to maintain the same tension. It was a long block of concentration. Afterwards I spend a good hour sewing in all the threads.
Worth it:

I was so proud when I finished it.
I sat back. Admired my work. Admired the neat button holes, the nice edge and the way the pockets had come into existence on the very last row, the bind off row.

Then I turned the collar, to admire the inside.


In Dutch we have an expression, for when you no longer see the point of something. It literally translates into “I no longer see the hole”.

Which is kind of the point. With button holes. To keep seeing the holes.
All those hours of concentration and not once did I realize I was closing the pocket shut over the button holes!

Well. After some more sighing and head shaking I used my reading glasses to find the sewn in ends and undid the bind off at the pocket. I then redid it, making the pocket close in front of the button holes. I took some spare yarn and sewed the pocket shut and then bind off. And then sewed in all the threads.

Once again, I can see the hole of things.

Weird Wool Wednesday: one, two, SURPRISE!

In knitting, there are basically only two stitches. There’s the knit stitch. And there’s the purl stitch. Everything else is a variation on one of these two.

Today I discovered I still mix them up, even in their simplest form… and I’m surprised at that.

I am working on the second version of Donegal cardi, after I so painfully knitted half a sweater before discovering I had done the math wrong. This time everything is going well! I did the math right. Made the cables fall in my waist, providing extra waist shaping. I crossed all the cables right. Placed increases and decreases at their proper places. Invented a collar while I was at it. Things were going well and I had a bodice with a collar on it.
hard work was done!
Only two sleeves left to knit.

I know how I like my sleeves: knit shortrows at the shoulder cap, picking up one stitch from the armhole with each turn. Add a little room in the back, gather a little at the front.

I even remembered to knit the first sleeve with enough ease as I have a tendency to knit my sleeves too tight.

Smooth sailing! Look: no holes where I picked up the stitches.  Even tension. No bulk at the front (that’s no bulk, that’s me not laying the cardi flat properly. Trust me, there’s no bulk.)

It wasn’t until I had to think about the cuff that I noticed I had forgot to count to two. There are TWO basic stitches of knitting. This cardigan relies on the PURL stitch.

That should be a sleeve in PURL stitches. Reversed stockinette stitch. Just like the body, where it gives a nice stage for the cables to shine on.

I can’t believe I knitted 3 days worth of sleeve without noticing this. Or even thinking about it. I must have used up all my thinking capacity with the body!
I’m so surprised I made this mistake. Are you? Or have you come to expect this of me? nowaitdon’tanwerthat

Well. The sleeve has to be reknit. As it is it distracts too much from the body, there is not enough uniformity.

here is the projectpage

Cardigan knitted bottom-up, set in sleeves knitted top down

Weird Wool Wednesday: dressed for the party

I had this wool party last week, it was a wonderful party!

We sat in the shade, spinning wool, talking, eating cake. We gave wool and yarn to the birthday girl. We shared stories. Our wheels kept spinning. One person was spindling and had the most beautiful wooden accessoires which we all admired. We talked about wool, silk and life.

A lovely day.

I had managed to do everything right: drove myself safely to her house; brought a nice gift; brought food; brought spinning wheel, wool and back up knitting; knew the names of all the people who were there; didn’t trip over my toes when I walked to her door; didn’t say anything silly while participating in the conversation. I was doing fine!

It only took me one hour to realize I was wearing my felted dress inside out.

Weird Wool Wednesday: being dumber than linen

I have this cone of linen. Dark blue. From Flandres. It is a cobweb weight and I want a top out of it to wear this Summer. But I don’t want to knit with cobweb weight. Luckily I’m smart: I will ‘navajo’ ply it while I knit it. This will tripple the thickness.

I made a swatch on needles 2,75mm. Washed, it, wacked it, stomped on it. Linen is strong, it can take it. As a matter of fact, the more you wear linen, the softer it gets.

This swatch revealed a beautiful sheen and is now soft enough to wear against the skin. All I have to do is remember it is kind of see through and pick a pattern.

If only it didn’t skew…. which it does. This linen has bias. I washed it again, tugged at it, ironed it but still:

This is as straight as it gets.

It is caused by the way flax grows. Flax is the tall ‘grass’ that supplies the fibre for linen. Because it is so tall and thin it twists the fibers in its stem while growing it. Twist gives strength, ask any spinner. Traditionally flax fibres are spun to only one side, to honour this inherent twist and strength. That is also why linen is often a one ply. As is this cone of yarn. And that is why it slants.

Ok. Nothing a smart knitter cannot find a solution to. I’ll just think of a pattern that uses this bias to its advantage… Something like:

An asymmetrical top that starts at the left shoulder, works its way down, skewing all it wants, even increasing stitches at the left side seam and decreasing some at the right to make it even more asymmetrical. Then make it into a point at the bottom right. Just where all the bias wants to go anyway.

Then emphasize that it is asymmetrical by giving the right shoulder band a different texture: woven or braided linen. It looks in the sketch like I’ve got a viking woman’s hair braid but that’s the shoulder strap. (Hey, it was quite difficult to sketch with those hands. And missing breasts. And no pants. And a squirrel hat!)

Right, that’s the front part of my top figured out.

Now it needs a back.

The linnen will bias so I cannot knit the pattern of the front top down like I would with wool because it will slant the other way. So I could work in the opposite direction: from bottom to top? Or could I just make two identical pieces and put them right side to wrong side so I have reverse stockinette show at the back?

No wait. Reverse stockinette!

If I knit the whole back piece in reverse stockinette it will bias the other way! Right? Right! I can use the pattern as is: shoulder band, increase, make it into a point. Easypeasy! Let’s swatch!



How can it not slant the other way? I knitted reverse stockinette! If I knit like this the back will still slant the wrong way… ???

No really! Why does it slant in the same direction as the stockinette swatch at the bottom?

Hey you!

Yeah you, with the squirrel hat and the funny thumbs!

Remind us, what’s the difference between stockinette stitch and reverse stockinette stitch when you’re knitting flat?

Thought so.

You áre dumber than linen.


How tight ís that hat of yours, anyway?

Sweater Stientje: stop typing, start frogging.

so, I felt friendly towards Stientje again. I’d really like to finish this sweater in February. This is on big needles and I knit best under pressure so it is do-able. (Normally a sweater will take at least 40 hours of straight, simple knitting with 80 hours being more common. And that’s even without cables or colourwork or having to reknit because you think wishing will make a sweater fit.)

I measured the gauge of my knitting at various places and it comes at about 10,75 st per 10 cm, overall.

I then put the measuring tape around my body and my upperarms, it’s where a yokes sweater would separate for the sleeves. It reads at about 130 cms, sitting comfortably around me.

13 x 10,75 = 140 stitches will do the trick at that point. I counted what I knitted and my stitchcount at that place is about 180…..

no wonder it’s sitting verrrrry comfortably around my body, there’s about 16,5 centimeters of positive ease! Normally 5 centimeters is considered generous.

no wonder I had to decrease like crazy to create the illusion of a waist…. which I did not succeed in, by the way. The sweater is now down to my hips and still has not got any suggestion of waist shaping.

look, bustdarts and waist decreases but still: plenty of space.

so. Best thing to do is rip back to the coloured part (again) and adjust the change from the coloured part to the white part and make it so that there are 140 stitches before I start to knit seriously with the white yarn. The way to do that is: knit one white stitch into each coloured one (to make the transition smooth) and in the next row: decrease as many as necessary.

here’s one more picture showing the principle of a yoked sweater: you increase at a steady rate of 4 stitches every row. This is the rate at which knitting forms a circle.

It really is quite an elegant way of making a sweater.

Once the circle is wide enough you put some stitches one a piece of thread, these will become the sleeves. You then carry on but without increasing, you make a tube which will become the body of the sweater.

(of course there are things that require tweaking, if you are into the higher art of knitting a well fitting sweater. With me, for example, I have to increase enough in the front and in the back due to a glorious bossom and a broad back to carry it. But I do not need those increases in the sleeves since I do not have very big upper arms. So I place my increases accordingly)

(There’s also the risk of having a bulk of fabric at the front, right where the underarm start. A busty gal would continue increasing to cover up her bossom but would end up with way too much fabric, even if she kept a lot of the increases away from the sleeve part, that will accumulate at that underarm divide. With a yoke sweater you have to place those increases with thought and you have to adjust the rate of increases once you about 7 inches from the neck line.)

(With a raglan sweater -that has the same rate of increases as a yoke sweater but places them at a fixed point namely along a line that points straight to your armpits- busty gals have to think twice because raglans will nearly always create a bulge of fabric at the armside, near the armpit. That’s why I prefer set in sleeves myself.)

(Besides, a busty woman really does not need a broad horizontal line form shoulder to shoulder emphasizing how broad they are and the two curves that add to the broadness. Well, rules are to be broken as long as you know what you are doing. I know that by wearing a yoked sweater, I emphasize my bossom and broad shoulders.)

anyway. stop typing, start frogging.

weird wool Wednesday

  1. my bright licht peacock blue green dyeing pot got lost in the woods.
  2. mr. Gauge is lying again. Normally I need to go down 1 size (sometimes two) to get gauge. But today I don’t get how people get 24 stitches in 10 cm (4″) with a DK yarn without knitting it on 2,5 mm needles (US 2)
  3. I have an enormous urge to buy more wool for sweaters! I already have four storebought stashes for sweaters in this house but I am just one click away of buying another four mountains of yarn. I really want to!

the peacock colour I aimed for:


my result:

a hunters green, pine. Lovely colour! but not quiet the bright teal I want to make a February sweater in, nów.

The yarn is Frankengarn Sock with Silk.

Here now is my swatch with Frankengarn DK:

needles used from top to bottom: 3,75mm; 4mm; 3,5mm; 3,25mm; 3mm

gauge in 10 cm after washing: 16,4st; 15,2st; 18,75st; 18,5st; 19st.

in case you see too much numbers: normal people knit this on 4mm (or 4,5mm) and get 24 st/10cm. I knit on 3 mm and do not even reach 20. And I knit more loose on 3,25mm than on 3,5mm. What’s wrong with me?

don’t dye when drunk: Kelmscott cardigan.

well, I wasn’t drunk…. I just couldn’t think straight. It’s that damned illness I have, some weeks I have brainfog without realizing it.

remember Kelmscott cardigan? lovely cardi, made it extra long. First time seaming. Great project, great fit. Only the colour was kind of mehhhhh:

projectpage on Raverly can be found here

yeah, that colour is definitely not good. But not to worry because I can dye wool! Been doing that for years.

Dyeing a garment requires a bit more skill than dyeing an odd skein of yarn or spinning fibre because most times you want the dye to distribute evenly on a garment. In order to avoid blotches of colour you have to time the dye and the acids and the temps carefully.

well, stand aside, because I know what I’m doing!

A nice dark plum colour. And almost evenly dyed. There’s a bit of a darker patch at the label/revers on the right there but otherwise: even. The dark streaks at the middle are just tricks of the light (honestly)

Basically what I did was: presoak the garment. Push out all the air, stretch the knitting with your hands, make sure every little bit is thoroughly wet.

Make the dye but preferable with as little acid as possible. Make sure all the dye is properly dissolved. I myself have problems with dissolving Ashford Dyes, there allways remain grains. (next time I should do it like I make hot cocao or Japanese Sumi-é Ink: add two drops to the dry stuff, mix, add another two drops etc.)

I like to use Landscape Dyes, I can get them to dissolve pretty good. Only they have the acid incorporated into the grains and that’s not ideal for garment dyeing. So for garment dyeing I often resort to food colouring, liquid.

Put the dye in cold water in pan. Add garment. Stirr and let it soak up as much as possible. Stretch the garment to make sure the dye gets to hard places such as the inside of stitches and seams. (for this I wear hardwearing kitchen gloves, not the light latex gloves. Also kitchen gloves cover my wrists who have a tendency to scoop up water whenever I wear short gloves.)

then and only then start adding heat. Slowly.

stirr a bit but only a bit. Be very weary because heat+stirring = felting.

when you are confident the dye is touching the yarn everywhere you can add vinegar. Timing the acid is especially tricky when dyeing blue (turquoise is notorious for this!)

I cannot explain it any better without you come standing next to me in the kitchen and looking what I do. Bring scones.

hmmmm. In the mean time I’m not very happy with the colour. The grayness of the yarn is still coming through. I used too little dyestuff. I prefer more saturated colours. People I meet prefer them too, seeing how they keep asking me whether I’m ill if I wear warm greys or pastels.

stand aside! I’ll throw it into the dye pot again to add more colour!


the colour is right. Magnificent even. A nice dark saturated plum. I managed to stretch the collar into shape. But the cardi….has felted. It shrunk. All the lace details have gone. Unsolvable.

I cried.

I know what I did wrong. I stirred too much while raising the temperature to get an even colour. I reused the water from last time and it still had all the vinegar in it so the process when quicker than when starting with plain water. Because of this I stirred a lot more to try to get an even colour because I knew the dye would attach more quickly this time around.

Then, at rinsing, I was not gentle enough. Temperatures differed too much. I handled it too roughly because I was sick and tired of spending days dyeing. And when I noticed things going wrong (they still went wrong gradually with me adding the heat gradually and observing closely) I did not have the clearity of brain to stop or at least to reconsider. It was one of those days that any task was too much really and I was too stubborn to give in and take it easy. Too proud too. Because then I’d have to admit this illness is kicking my butt and I cannot even do the things I really want to do.

the truth is: I am ill and I cannot do the things I want to do. However I am coping and doing a lot of fun things. So when I have an off day there is no reason for me to postphone things a day (or two) when I don’t feel up to it.

I hope I learned my lesson and will take regularly breaks to check in with myself.

After crying for a bit I took a deep breath and flexed my optimism-muscle. There was still a lot of dye left in the pan and I used it to create some Sugar Plum Fairy Goodness for felting or spinning:

Here’s some silk chiffon; 100 grams of Merino Silk roving and a whole lot of Wensleydale locks. Together they can become a felted dress.

This time I did not stir at all. I just tossed it all in, one atop the other. If I would have stirred the various wools would have blended and it would have been a nightmare  to get them out of the pot to rinse without them matting together.

Without stirring the dyes ‘broke’. The plum became pink in some places, blueish in other. It is a lovely palette and everything goes well together. I can even use the felted Kelmscott when making something with this because it shares the same colours. Now that I have cried and with that have left the disappointment I can view upon the felted cardi as just a piece of lovely coloured felt (having a cardi shape for now). Basically it’s just a piece of cloth and can be used with this sugar plum fairy.

Also: I bought enough wool to knit another sweater. This time it has already has the right colour.

It’s Donegal Soft, the 2ply Merino aran weight by Donegal Yarns in a lovely midnight colour, here’s the (not so well coloured) picture from its seller in Dublin

1 sells yarn from Donegal Yarns and I have ordered with them before.

I bought the 3ply Irish Wool for that cardi that I messed up so dearly with fog brained math. I will reknit that some day, the yarn is frogged and doesn’t show it.

I’m betting the 2ply shown above will show of cables or lacework in a pretty way too.

The Lang Yarns Alpaca Superlight I made the Pippi Lace KAL Shawl with was also form Springwools. And now I’m trying out the Donegal Yarns Merino and I have ordered a few balls of the Donegal Yarns Aran Tweed which is a single. Just to see what it’s like.

But first I am redyeing a batch of yarns from Germany: Frankengarn. I want to start a simple sweater later this week (actually: tomorrow) and I dyed it not saturated enough.

not blue enough. You see a few spots, that’s because this dye is a combination of Landschape Dyes Elements Apollo Bay (well dissolved) and Ashford Dyes Blue (grainy). But in yarn it’s not much of a problem, it will give a lively effect to the knitting.

the problem is this is not yet blue enough. The other problem is that evening is falling and then I cannot see what I am doing well. A pro with dyeing at night is that it is easier to leave the dyepot along while the yarn cools. Nothing will felt your wool faster than an impatient dyer checking her pots.