Finished: grey Pumpkin Ale cardigan

It’s finished but it’s not: the pockets need to be cut out and sewn in. But the knitting is done!

Pattern Pumpkin Ale by Ysolda Teague

Cabled back panel from free pattern 123-9 Lady Love by DROPS design

The yarn is Chester Wool Superwash merino 300m/100gr and I used 4,35 balls. That’s about 1300 meters.
It’s wonderfully soft and very suited to wear against my skin. Like the collar in my neck.
I look forward to finding out how well it wears. I expect pilling with this softness.

Knit on needles 2,25 mm getting a gauge of a-smidge-under-20-stitches-in-10-centimetres. Except on the sleeves where I knitted with a gauge of 26 stitches per 10 centimetres. That is why I write in bold on all my project notes: knit sleeves on bigger needles!
If only I learned to read and follow instructions…

The back panel is so beautiful!


Finished: pockets in Pumpkin Ale cardigan

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:

Blocking two tops today but they’re not finished.

I’m blocking two of my knittings today: Petrie Shell and Pumpkin Ale Cardigan.

Ooh, nice yarn bowl! I’m such a colour coordinated knitter. Today.

Both have been partially blocked before, to check gauge and ease my mind during the knitting. Pumpkin Ale needs its sleeves blocked:

I’m quite surprised to be blocking these, today. It was only yesterday I was knitting on them and the end was nowhere in sight!

Blocking feels like the last stage in a project. After it’s dry it’s finished and you get to wear it.
Not with these two. The Petrie Shell needs some sort of band to be inserted in the front collar, to give it more stiffness. For this I’ll use gross grain band from about one inch wide.
I have none in the house, I’ll have to go out and get it. It’s why I didn’t bind off at the front:

The Pumpkin Ale isn’t finished after knitting either. The pockets have holes in them:

You’re supposed to attach a fabric lining. We’ll see how that goes. I’ve got no fabric and no sewing skills in the house in the city.
But I guess when I’m out buying gross grain ribbon I’ll do it at a place that sells fabric.

I’m also rinsing out these yarns:

I’ll tell you about them in a later post but I dyed these myself over the weekend and they’re dyed with plants! With the flowers of common reed. The different greens depend on whether they are the first skeins to go in or the last ones and on dipping them into diluted ammonia afterwards or in rusty water.

They’re small skeins of Norwegian handspun. They’re very dear to me. They also smell of Norway (pine, salt, wooden cabin, sheep).

Progress on Pumpkin Ale Cardigan

This morning I got pinned down so I couldn’t do anything but knit Pumpkin Ale Cardigan:

Once I got the sleeve done I tossed the cat (slowly and gently into the blue catbed on the left, the one with the white cover with squirrels) and took some pictures:

(these pictures I took and uploaded with my phone, I didn’t have a change to crop them. We’ve got tooth brushes.)

The bodice has been blocked but the sleeves have not. I blocked the bodice before I started the sleeves because I grew increasinly worried that gauge would bite me in the behind again and the Wollmeise Twin wouldn’t relax enough to cover my back.

Luckily it did relax. However, with wear this cardi rides up the back. It almost looks like a cropped cardigan. This is the pattern in combination with my different yarn. Not gauge, that’s the same as the pattern. But I did shorten the back a bit, just like I have to do with any sewing pattern. I have a size “petite” meaning my torso is a bit shortish.

The sleeves still look frumpy but they will relax with blocking. The shoulder seam is supposed to be positioned in front of my shoulder. Which would start the lace stripe on the sleeve right at mid-shoulder. I should have tucked a bit more before taking this picture.

A lovely summery cardigan! Great with a skirt that bellows in the wind. (Do skirts bellow? Or is that just dogs? When they waft up, like jellyfish in the ocean. The skirts I mean, not the dogs. Although I guess seadogs can waft pretty nicely too. That’s “sea lions” to English speaking folk.)(Sorry, had chocolate, will ramble.)

The pocket gapes considerably. I won’t be able to make the pocket in the way the pattern describes. But I expected as much so I’ve brought some buttons with me to solve this problem:

How are the cardigans doing?

Currently I’m working on three cardigans. Here’s an update.

Pumpkin Ale in Wollmeise twin:

I finished the collar. Repaired any wonky stitches before I bound off.
The pattern says to use an i-cord bind off. That’s a nice and sturdy bind off but it does take a long time to knit on such a long piece.

Besides cumbersomeness the icord also presents this problem: because my rowgauge is so different from my/the pattern’s stitchgauge I’d have to work really loose (byebye sturdiness) or work in some shortrows (hellohello more cumbersomeness).

I explored it a bit but I opted for another solution: work 2 rows in stockinette stitch then do a stretchy bind off from the Wrong Side.
It’s neat. It’s sturdy. And it was fast.

Never mind that I had to unpick a whole row because I was working it on the Right Side first, because I did 3 rows of st. st. because I thought it would better roll.

Here’s a try out from the right side (bottom) and confirmation that binding off from the other side works better (top):

Now I’m ready to take on the sleeves. But this requires a bit of study and thinking because there’s a lace pattern involved. So I’m distracting myself with the sleeves of Holle Cardi:

Yes I finished the body. With a lot of twisted stitches. They seemed to go on forever!

Luckily the sleeve is easy. Just basic pick up stitches and short row down.
Only it wasn’t that easy. (Is it ever?)
I wanted a neat pick up line so I picked up in every stitch. Then I had to decrease 25% which is ugly when combined with the short rows so I did one row before starting with the short rows. Which is ok because Holle Cardi is a bit snug in the shoulders. And in the back. And the left front panel. And the right front panel.

It makes me a bit nervous, all this snugness. I’m not very good with wearing ease. But I know Wollmeise relaxes significantly with blocking. I’m counting on that. Still a bit nervous though because you never know…
I think I’ll block the bodice first before I pick up stitches for the button bands.

But first the sleeves: just round and round and round downwards. I will have to think about how long I want the sleeves to be. And I want a lace detail at the bottom, just like in the cardi that inspired me, this one by Jettshin:.

The third cardigan in progress is Contiguous Blue:

I only had a certain amount of yarn left so I started on the sleeve. I was to knit the sleeves first and then throw everything I had at the body and hope it would knit up long enough.

But then I found an extra ball of yarn!
Seeing that Donegal yarn comes in sweet little balls of 250 grams now I have enough. I could make this a calf length cardi, should I desire so.

I desire it not.

Splitty Wollmeise (Pumpkin Ale Cardi)

I’m knitting away on the collar:

I’m also watching the men’s semi-final of Wimbledon, Federer vs. Murray. One of the most beautiful tennis I’ve seen for years!
I watched the final too but the semi-final was superior. The men placing their balls precisely. Beautiful rally’s.
I watched on a delayed stream so that I could stop any time I wanted.

As a result not every stitch is right. Wollmeise yarn consists of many strands -nine or something- and it’s easy to poke into the thread instead of under it.

Today I examined what I’d knitted and identified mistakes. I mark the columns with a safety pin so I cannot miss them while I knit the row. When I reach a pin I drop the stitch until the point where it’s gone wrong and than I work it right back up to the top.

Close up with pinpoints to the mistakes I saw:

Idle mind, idle hands.

I’m too ill to sit upright or even think. It’s quite annoying.
No spinning today but I’m knitting away on Pumpkin Ale. WM Mauseschwanzchen, such a nice colour!

I’m knitting the left side panel now, I’m about to cast on for the pocket I think.

I’m also watching a fun Australian ’20’s female detective series. Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. But I have to pause often because I lose the plot, all these white folk look so much the same, especially when they change clothes.
Except for the lead detective, she’s very distinguishable. And fun! Imagine a cross between Pippi Longstocking and Dame Joan Collins.

In the mean time there’re also a few new theories about “vague” chronic illnesses for me to consider. I find these very interesting but cannot get my brain cells lined up properly to do constructive thinking.

one is Fibromyalgia where now is proven that people with this have significant more nerve endings in their blood vessels.. ?? … I don’t remember. It was on my Facebook feed. And in Dutch.
It explains why they experience so much more pain than other, regular people.

second is ME as a infection of particularly the Nervus Vagus cells which are the very cells that signal the brain when a body wide response to ilness is required (fever, fatigue, the works. It’s known as the “Sickness Behaviour Response” and is needed when you need to stay in bed to battle a sickness.)
The theory is that the infection prompts this response because the wiring is attacked, not the whole body.
This theory explains why antibiotics can restore health in some people with ME instantly, before an infection can theoretically be cleared up. Because we’re talking nerves here, nerves and restoring their function.

Thirdly an infection of the endothelial cells which line all blood vessels and control dilation. Malfunctioning of these cells causes typical ME symptoms such as low blood pressure and whatnot.
This theory explain why drugs that promote blood flow give health to certain people with ME.

I myself am prone to seeing the body as an ecosystem, not unlike a coral reef. All kinds of critters live in the nooks and grannies. No: crannies.

 pic by Vincenzo Piazza

There’s all kinds of bacteria and viruses living about our bodies. We co-exist and there’s no reason to get all panicky about their existence within our body.

The immune system picks out the obvious offenders but that happens pretty much in an old Wild West habit where bad boys run and hide and the killer cells hunt them down. Remember that awesome little movie of that white bloodcell gunning for a lone bacterium?
That’s how they get them, one at the time.

Unless there’s a full invasion going on, then the whole body response is needed and the place is set afire (fever) to asphyxiate the culprits. With considerable damage to the existing furnishings but hey, the goal justifies the means.

Tonight I had 3 theories of ME/CFS floating in my mind, building upon this image:

  1. infection makes it literally impossible for the ecosystem to function normally. It’s overrun and bodily processes are severely hindered. Solution = eradicate the infection.
  2. infection induces the body wide Sickness Behaviour Response not because it’s a body wide infection but because it bugs the very wiring that tells the brain to engage in the body wide response. This could be via the Nervus Vagus, its cells infected by a particular invader and thus thinking the whole body is under attack. But also other sites. Solution = get rid of bugs OR block this signalling to the brain
  3. this constant battling against invaders tires and strains the system so much that the very stress of the situation hinders its function overall. Since the ecosystem cannot be rid of its occupants a solution could be to teach the system to learn to live with it without assigning stress to it. Probably live a less intense level of life then advertised.
    Solution: stress management aimed at the CNS and its brain components in particular. And learning to live with disappointment (a basic life skill I think)

but this morning I lost my train of thought and have not regained it yet. If I could just hammer out a clear picture and the interesting leads it’d provide!

The frustration of not being able to tires me extra… it’s very VERY annoying when the brain won’t function and the body is so overwhelmed it just wants to crawl away and deny the rest of the world.
But still there’s food that needs preparing. And eaten. Lillepoes who needs medications. A toilet that needs to be visited.
I just had a bit of a cry because I’ve been making custard since 10 o’clock this morning and have only managed to crack the eggs and pour the cream.

So this is how I spend my day today. Thinking in circles but not able to think at all.
Luckily the pattern for Pumpkin Ale cardi is clearly written, line by line, and I only have to follow instructions. Something beautiful is growing out of this chaos.

 pic by Mark Morcom

PS I hope this is not whining or fishing for your sympathy. It’s just how my day to day life is. I’m frustrated that everything is so mediocre when I give it my best. Getting D’s (or a 6 minus) is all I can hope for.
Doing laundry? forget some important items and give everything a nice shade of pink to boot. But at least things are clean. Better be thankful for that. Because things could have end up worse (forget the laundry’s in the machine, grow mold, flood the place).
That kind of thing. In every thing, all day. Getting D’s while giving it my full effort.
Like I said: hopefully not whining, not fishing, hopefully just illustrating.

my solutions for this kind of life is:
– minimal requirements regarding the logistics of daily life (all clothes match all other clothes; always have broth standing by; don’t panick over dust bunnies)
– surround yourself with lovely items. Handmades from friends; use luxury materials when knitting or lying on the couch; the best organic foods and supplements. Take time to pick up an item and admire it.
– mental hygiene. Don’t dwell on negative things; actively steer your thoughts towards positive things; avoid news channels and toxic people; allow for “lost time” such as leisurable surfing or just mindlessly petting the cat.
– be surprised often that the value of a life is not measured by economic output, by getting fame or by achieving things. Take note when life does have value: when you hold someone dear; when you experience beauty; as you add your own personal colour to the palette of human life just by being you.

where the WIPs at?

Let me check the state of all the WIPs I have going on at the moment.

Nothing was done at Spring Brioche Shawl. I know where it is though.
For Deco Cardi I did the necessary research. It’s now time to apply theory to the wool.
All of the socks are pretty much where they were when I photographed them on Wednesday.

Pumpkin Ale saw some serious progress in two days:

I’m knitting in Fingering weight while the pattern states Worsted. (There are two sizes between those: Sport and DK. It’s absolute ridiculous that I get a worsted gauge (21 st/10 cm) in a fingering yarn. On sock needles.)

My row gauge differs from the pattern though, so I’ll probably work way more rows than the pattern says. This is 12 cm long and twice as dense as the examples of others.

This week I’m spending many hours lying flat on the couch, (I’m having a relapse in health), and knitting on an interesting project prevents me from going out of my mind with boredom. This Ale Cardi is perfect.

Lots of strange things happening this week. Somehow the mirror in the cabin refused to function any longer unless I did something about the WIPs that I’ve been claiming to love so much. I couldn’t look myself in the eye anymore!

So I picked up Sprig pullover and within a few hours had completed the body:

Ahh, knitting with handspun is such a nice craft to perform.

When ill it’s also good to have a project that does not require attention, where you can just knit in the round and the round, while your brain marinates in whatever juices this stupid illness produces. (ME/CFS/SEID)
But now the marinating is done because the next step is working on the yoke, which is done sideways and features a branch:

detail from pattern Sprig by Alana Dakos

Here too I’m working at a different gauge so I have to understand the pattern thoroughly before knitting it in my yarn and on these needles.
For the numb brain knitting I have my various Skews.

When I was able to sit upright for a while I did some further spinning. I’ve now spun away two of the three boxes of Hollands Spotted Sheep, the organic sheep from organic farm Laan van Wisch:

This is one half of the white on the bobbin. There’s already a skein of half white/half brown and two smaller skeins.

This needs a few more hours of spinning white and then I can attach a new leader to an empty bobbin for the dark brown. The dark brown will take longer than the white because its staple is shorter. That means I have to do much more hand gestures per inch than with the white. And it’s way more fiddly to make the fleece grab onto the thread and cover it completely. I’m not looking forward to it, to be honest.

The next picture gives some clues of how much I’m not looking forward to starting the brown fleece… (or for how often I got to sit up and spin this week). That’s all the Skews and the Coexist sock right there. Conveniently at reaching distance from the couch.

Weird Wool Wednesday: some poiple you cannot trust

Perhaps if I photograph it fuzzy artyfarty…. perhaps it will make some sense…


Flax Skew. Striped Lammy Skew. Softspoken green Skew. Spicy striped green Skew. Mystery sock Coexist. **Something Poiple??**

Making the best of four needles 2 mm. One Skew is parked. One Skew is not cast on. Mystery sock are two on one needle, waiting for the next cue. That leaves… **something poiple??**


Yes. Something in a beautiful pale purple. On needles 2mm.
I cast on for Pumpkin Ale cardigan. I was without defenses.

This cardigan I want to wear this Summer. The Harry Potter leg on the mystery sock made me want to do some more cabling right away and the back panel of Pumpkin Ale has just the right amount of cabling. So you’ll agree, it makes sense. Somewhat.


Whipped, I’m utterly whipped. (Don’t tell the WIPs)