Weird Wool Wednesday: just fancy sleeves

You know about my tendency to knit sleeves too tight?

And you know how legwarmers are just fancy sleeves for your other limbs?

Still, I’m surprised:

This is the only knitting I managed to do the last few days. And it has to go.


a knitted housequest: Divaatje

Today I have a houseguest: Divaatje (“little Diva”), the knitted ewe:

She’s the traveling sheep from the Ravelry group around indy dyer Dutch Wool Diva.

Divaatje came to the cabin in the woods yesterday.
She had just been to Rome with a travelling gnome. The first thing she did was making friends with the gnomes on my fridge.
But they’re not as adventurous as travelling Blogbouter is. Still everybody smiled:

She then helped me sew a top from the orange cloth I wove. We had to put in a lot of work because loosely woven cloth will fray at the edges. Without a zig zag stitch or overlock machine you have to secure the edges one way or they other.
Divaatje suggested band:

We finished just in time last night. It had to be finished yesterday because today Divaatje and I will be attending the annual meeting of the Dutch National Spinners Association. There’s a short official part. And then we get to play with wool and visit a market place.

With a little bit of luck we will meet the real Dutch Wool Diva herself, Agnès, and show off our orange delightlyness. (that’s so a word!)(or it should be.)

Last night there was just time enough left to make Divaatje her own scrumptious orange shawl. Agnès is going to love it, orange is her favourite colour! (or it should be)

In the back two handmade pincushions, from two dear women. Love (2)

Finished: Orange woven cloth

4.10m x 55 cm of soft cloth.

I washed it. This brings it from “web” to “cloth”. (not sure about the name “web”, either way it’s not “cloth” untill it has touched water)

I want to sew something with it. There are some issues with that: this fabric sags if used in larges pieces. But there’s innerunderliningbacking for that.
But what would I wear in this happy orange?
It’s soft enough to wear around the face… are armless dresses with a hood acceptable these days?

First it has to stay like this for a long time. Long enough for me to understand what it wants to be.

It’s only recently that I brought out of storage that other piece of weaving, my very first piece. That happy yellow cloth that bled terribly upon washing and ruined a special gift of handdyed sockyarn. The piece where I got not a caring response from the seller of the bleeding yellow yarn.
In the end I overdyed it green and tucked it away, deep and far.

As I try to link to this project I see I’ve never even blogged about it. It was my first project, learning to weave last Spring, so happy with my new loom. I made lots of pictures to show you how I did things for the first serious time. How to set up, how to wrap things in paper, how the release-and-lock-gear works. Basically all the joy I got from this first loom.
I never did because of the disappointment. Of loosing all that colour and after the shit-happens-but-you-can’t-talk-about-it-because-I’m-a-small-company response from the seller.

after washing, with white thing for colour base line:

If the seller had shown more consideration, just some understanding really, aknowledging how heartbreaking this was for me, a first time weaver enjoying her loom and intense colours. Then this project would have made it to the blog.
I’m amazed at how powerful people (me) react to how others interact!
We shouldn’t give them that much power. They just might be having a few bad days or have their mind elsewhere. It most certainly isn’t personal. So why take it so personal?
I should have blogged about my new loom and my first weave, I was very happy with both.

Anyway, this week I brought the now green cloth to the surface and I wear it as a nice, green scarf.

Weaving in the sun

I dug out my Glimakra weaving loom …

and put it outside in the sun:

(you understand I have people for this. Robert did all the lifting. Thank you, darling.)

There’s commercial sockyarn going up and down and I weave into it a weft of handspun singles made from a very soft BFL, wrapped around that stick.

I’ve had that handspun for a while now and I didn’t know what to do with the singles. It’s 765 meters of fingering weight. Or sportsweight, since this is handspun (it will bloom a bit).
Soft and thin and a bit fragile, what was a girl to do?
(anno 2014 I’d say: Brioche! But last year I didn’t know)

I played around with the handspun a bit. I didn’t like the way it knitted up and also the knitted fabric was too fragile to stand up to wear (like in a blanket or hooded shawl (for which it is the wrong colour)). Also the colours were biting each other a bit: they were washing each other out.

However, combining them with saturated sock yarn and allowing the singles to display their colours in long lines instead of short intertwined dots (=knitting) brought out the colours and provided some strength.
Also: it is very pleasant to weave with happy coloured yarn.

This is how weaving works:

I’ve put the plastic grate with all the sockyarn that’s going up and down in the lowest position of the holder you see on the left. Now the sockyarn threads are divided and I can put the wooden stick through them, from left to right.

The stick comes out on the right side, leaving behind a trail of yarn. This thread is not pulled tight, it is left very loose. In an arc often:

Now I take the reed from its holder and pull it towards me:

I use it to push the thread into place, nice and neat against the previously woven threads. This is called “beating” I believe.

You don’t beat very hard. I leave a considerate amount of space between the previous horizontal thread and this new one. After all, this yarn will bloom. I aim for little squares of space between the threads. It’s a very open fabric at this stage… we’ll have to trust it will grow into a good fabric once it gets its final wash.

Now I place the reed back in its holder but this time in the up most position. The sockyarn is divided up and down but reverse of what it was previously.
I can now bring the stick with the handspun through again, this time from right to left.

After that I’ll beat again with the reed and replace it in the lowest position and start from left to right again.

It’s a very pleasant craft. And actually goes quiet fast.
Every now and then I release the rolled up, prethreaded sockyarn on the beam in the back. The beam has a gear that releases and locks.
I then roll up the beam in the front, it has the woven cloth on it. It too has a gear that locks.

This loom is well thought out and well designed.
It’s a scandinavian design: Glimakra. This type is called Susanna. It is a rigid heddle loom and it is very good for weaving with handspun. It fits on your table or on your lap. It has no foot peddles and is not typically used to weave patterns and such. (But it can be done, you then put a second reed behind the first one.)

I like the scandinavian connection. I like that it’s wood. I like that it’s a no-nonsense and sturdy design.
Today I got all “alternative” using it: I dug out my worn straw hat and my sheepy mug and my sandals

I really didn’t care how I looked and how easy it would be for people to put a label onto me. I’m Pippi Longstocking’s sister, I don’t care!

Almost all of my maillots have their feet cut off (how else am I going to wear them with handknit socks in shoes?).
Today I even cut off the lower parts of these: bare legs in the sun. And sandals. And a rolled up skirt with pockets, made from sturdy canvas and allowed to get dirty or ruined by a happy treadling cat.
Pippi rules!

Spring legwarmers and colourfull socks

Here’s how that happy skein of Spring that I spun is knitting up.

Two legwarmers at a time, so that increases are on the same row. I’m knitting flat because with few stitches (say less than 50) I get tired of working magic loop. Just when you’re into the groove you have to stop and pull through the cable “ear”.

For the photo I pinned them together (with yellow glass bead pins) bottom to bottom so they would lie flat.

A close up of how this 2ply knits up. Usually you end up with a needle size which causes each stitch to have one colour dominating. But here I had to go up up up in needle sizes and now each stitch shows two colours. It’s one of those things a spinner can take into consideration when choosing weight and twist. This spinner did not, this spinner was just spinning colours.

I’m messing about with gauge again, forgetting that I tend to knit tighter in the round. That’s why this third attempt is flat.
In between I forgot that I tend to asses my gauge swatches very optimistic…

Here’s another example of knitting with two colours and looking at which colour ands up in the stitch.
My purple hiking socks are knit with two sockyarns held together. I typically like 50 gram balls for this, one solid and one selfstriping.

The combination of yarn weight and needle size makes each stitch have one dominating colour. The fact that the two yarns are not twined adds to this.

For example in the yellow stripe you see either yellow or purple stitches. Barely a few have both.

I love these kind of socks. Both knitting them and wearing them. I’ve got them in a myriad of colours:

I like it when my socks have accented toes and heels.

But I could do with a few more colours, don’t you agree?
Yes, indeed.
Yellow. Green. Skyblue. Burgundy. Nightblue. Fuchsia.
I need them all.
I should go buy little balls of variegating sock yarn.
Yes I should. To celebrate Spring.

These socks only have a cast on of 36 stitches! (increase to 40 after the ribbing). On needles 3mm. Knit a sock in a (long) day!

They do require knitting in the round though…
And there’s still the delicate issue of my shoulder not wanting to knit stockinette stitch.
And none of the pairs above are worn out so I don’t really need new ones. Even though I wear them out on the porch and in my clogs and around the house. Drops Fabel really wears well. And you can toss them in the washer without a problem.
Oh, how I’d love a Spring green pair!

hmmm, Guacemole!

Fabel print colour 151 with solid 112.

or something with 111 Mustard!

Yum! Yum!

I’ve got yarn, I’ve got yarn, I’ve got yarn!

My wool room, let me show it:

There’s yarn there. Sock yarn. Solid and variegated.
More yarn then I can hope to knit for years to come!

Only they don’t match so nice, colour wise…. so I should buy yarn yeah? After all, it’s only one little ball of 50 grams. Or two if I can’t find something that matches what I have already.

I spun some Spring

On this lovely Spring day I spun 100 grams of handdyed wool from a sturdy sheep. Good for a pair of happy coloured anklewarmers.
I did that trick again where I tore it into small strips, with not much drafting so the colours would remain vibrant. On the Louet S70, adding quite a bit of twist.

156 m of sunshine!

roving dyed to order by Wolop

Giving away what you don’t wear

(I’m still finishing the blanket, I’m at the border…)

Yesterday there was a Dutch Karma Knitters Group meeting at someones house because one of our dear members, who usually lives in Finland, was in Holland. All knitters flocked together to say hello to her and to knit together and to eat cake.

A lot of us couldn’t go, for various reasons, and usually we then flock together on the internet and talk in the Ravelry-group. Egging on the ones who áre at the party to post pictures.

Lately, the virtual meetings have grown more and more into virtual events. We organize a lottery or simultan knitting challengesb. Yesterday one of our member initiated a swap. A swap for one day. Offering things you made but do not use.

For a whole day we offered the shawls we laboured over but never take out of the closet. The gloves we loved knitting but don’t wear with our coat.
Felted clogs that were put on display instead of on feet.
All kind of handmades swapped ownership. It was really freeing.

We had a lovely day, in our virtual meeting room. Interspersed with news and pictures of the people who were at the actual meeting.

I offered this shawl up for swapping:

It’s my Victory in Orange, an Echo Flower Shawlette. The Echo Flower Shawl is a free pattern by Jenny Johnson Johnen

It’s made of handspun, on my first real wheel, bought 4 years ago:

That’s a Louet Victoria, I júst got it through the mail on the day I took this photo. It folds so small you can take it as cabin luggage in a plane. (You might have to explain the steel rod that shows up on the x-rays, it holds the bobbin)

I had just gotten the wheel and this orange was the very first thing I spun on it.
Back then there were the Winter Olympics 2010. Ravelry ran an event simultaneously, back then it was still called the “Ravelympics”. In later years we got a nasty cease-and-desist-lettre from the Olympic Committee that nothing even resembling “Olympic” was allowed to be used by anybody else than someone paying them money.
They were condesending towards knitters. Which taught them quickly that knitters nowadays are no harmless “little old ladies”. These little old ladies are technical savvy and know how to wield the harpoons of social media very well.
But that’s another story.

Back then: Olympic games, knitting event. I decided to take this handspun and make it into a shawl. Just a few days before the closing ceremony.
I knit all day and finished this shawl before the Olympics closed. It was very nice.

The pattern is amended, the original pattern is more triangle shaped. I prefer semi-circles or these shapes (“faraose”?)

This is the handspun:

made from these singles:

(that’s our fireplace in the city, one of our fireplaces… it holds a vintage wood stove, on a red brick floor. See how high the ceiling is? With solid oak beams. Yes, my city house is old and quirky, it’s the result from 1642 when somehow a castle and an old wooden ship made love and had a child)(1642, that’s Rembrandt age!)(anyway: warm yellow because we’re funny, not snooty)

It was a lovely project. The new wheel, the handspun, the colour, the technical challenge of amending the pattern, the nubbs that where new for me, as was making 1 stitch into 9, the team effort of knitting shawls during Olympic times. Lovely lovely project.
But I never wore it.

Now it will go to a friend and she will make someone else happy with it.
The wheel is gone too, making someone else happy.
And we had a lovely day yesterday, even if we could not attend the actual meeting to greet our Finnish friend and all our Karma friends.

Weird Wool Wednesday: wearing the wrong colours

I had a doctors appointment the other day and I wore my yellow cardi. A warm woolen to fortify me on the visit. It’s colour a warm sunny yellow to make my face as grey and hollow as possible. On purpose.

I chose this colour on purpose because the doctor needs reminding that I’m actually pretty ill.

While I sit there reading to him my symptoms and requests I’m all businesslike and strong and confident. But just because I planned my energy peak, my food and my pills so that I am coherent and efficient for precisely the ten minutes I meet him, there should not be traitorous coloured wools giving my face a healthy glow.

That and I love this colour yellow, it always makes me happy.

Weird Wool Wednesday: my needles make my yarn bite.

This month I want to knit some fingerless mitts. I have a pattern I like and I did before. So I grabbed some yarn, grabbed the same size needles I used before, casted on the same number of stitches and started knitting:

ooh, aah, 2×2 ribbing and the start of a cable….nice.

Don’t be fooled!


This is not a nice mitten. It is not soft at all. It bites your wrists. The mitt is like sandpaper and it will eat your skin and any sleeve it can grab. It will make squirrels hide and quiver in their nests.


It’s not the yarn, the yarn is soft. It’s from Finland, it likes berries. It is orange. This yarn is good yarn.

It is not the pattern. The pattern hugs your wrists, it loves them. It wants to keep them warm. It has cables. My cat likes it. It is a good pattern.

Must be the needles then. Those pointy pointy sticks of torture!

I have knitted a little swatch with other needles and now the yarn is soft. It was the needles! Naughty naughty needles!

So there you have it:










okok, so the new needles are a tad bigger than the old needles and that makes all the difference.