10 years of Dutch sock knitters group on Ravelry

10 years ago Ravelry was young and Beta. Moonwise, a Dutch knitter started a Dutch speaking group for sock knitters.

Nowadays Ravelry is a force to be reckoned with, world wide, and the Dutch Sock Knitters Group has over 1200 members and hosts KALs every month.

To celebrate the founder Moonwise, who is a real good sock pattern designer, designed a sock pattern that’s free:

“Wish” by Janneke Maat. It’s in Dutch, well written and features a lot of cables. It’s a birthday present for all the members.

For people who cannot or will not knit cables there are other themes to participate in this month such as mock cables and/or using your most precious sock yarn. All to celebrate Soktober Tien Fest.

I can’t knit these many tiny cables but I love mock cables. The group has a bundle with mock cabled sock patterns and they are not all koffieboontje-stitch:

I may put a mock cabled sock on the needles… I love koffieboontje and I love mock cables. You hear me waffle on about Prickly Pear Socks at least once a year!
the Prickly Pear Socks by Thayer Preece:

The group also rewards prices to people who finish their sock within two months. And whaddayaknow, these month’s sponsors are two of my favourite artists: Wolop and FiberRachel!
 Wolop Etsy   FiberRachel Etsy
Wolop will donate a skein of handdyed festive sock yarn and FiberRachel one of her birdhouse WIP bags:

Where was I 10 years ago? I didn’t even knit back then. I wasn’t ill yet. I was in Norway, building a sea kayak out of 2 by 4’s, canvas and beewaxed hemp:

using special sewing stitches to insure water tightness:

Made under guidance from Kayak Specialist in Norway Anders Thygesen.
I’ve never even taken it out to sea… I got ill and couldn’t go outside anymore and inside I got too sad to think of anything Norway related. Then this Summer I found out the canvas is rotting…
I think it is time to put away the last 10 years. Just shelve it. Ignore bad memories. They are of no use since I cannot learn from them anymore.

Live in the here and now, enjoy the sunshine on this beautiful Sunday morning. Bask in what blessings and fun there are here, now.
Such as a sock fest on Ravelry.
And this picture of an ambitious cat:

that I used to make a drawing for another month fest: Inktober 2017. (draw every day, using ink)

Also today I will be sewing on a new dress. It features gnomes in Volkswagen vans!
gnome dress volkswagen van
As it reads on my About Page:
“My name is Anna. I think wool and funny dresses make life better.”


Tour de Fleece Day 15: half a gradient pack on the bobbin.

Going from green to yellow you can’t see where one colour ends and the other begins. Much like you can’t define the colour chartreuse.

There was a magnificent squabble about just that on Ravelry, 5 years ago, in the highly competitive group called Sock Knitters Anonymous. It’s part of Ravelry’s collective history.

This group has a competition each month and they are (were?) very strict on the rules. In September 2011 the colour of the month was chartreuse, the green variety. But what is chartreuse?

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 20.33.15

It started off all nice and pleasant. People posting picture of their yarns, saying it’s chartreuse. Some defined it as ‘high lighter green’.

A mod responded:

“Now for the record, chartreuse ISN’T ‘highlighter’ green, it’s an ‘slightly olive-y, acidic green’ has a large component of yellow to it.

I have to say that while I’m seeing lots of NEON greens, I’m NOT seeing so much true chartreuse!”

People got insecure and posted more of their yarns, asking it it’s chartreuse enough. They got told:


Then the discussion started to incorporate the tone mods were using because people were feeling scolded by the use of CAPLOCKS (which indeed represents shouting on the the internet). On top of feeling rejected in their efforts to just join in the knitting fun.

Mods tried to explain they use caps lock because the group is so large and people skim over the pages for their posts. But you can’t change an internet convention.

Then people bought the special yarns that dyers were offering on Etsy, dyed just for this September competition, but once they posted them online they got told it wasn’t chartreuse at all but lime, neon, sage or any other colour green you can think of.

People got shy and tired and frustrated. And we never figured out what chartreuse is.

Yes, the first few pages of this thread are part of Ravelry’s notable history. And chartreuse still makes Ravelers a bit shifty eyes.

Weird Wool Wednesday: the shrimp that went on holiday with knitters.

Meet Herman, the blue “shrimp”:

Back in 2011 Herman lived with the neighbour of a Dutch knitter called Kreakakel. He had a nice water tank together with some other sea creatures, in the middle of the neighbour’s living room. He was the blue pride and joy of the family! We know he’s a crayfish but we don’t have a nice small word for those in Dutch: “zoetwaterkreeft”. So he was named a “garnaal”, a shrimp.

One day the neighbour told Kreakakel that Herman had vanished! Gone from the aquarium. Nowhere to be found. He had looked under leafs and rubble but Herman had disappeared.
The neighbour was very sad…. for days and days. His wife told Kreakakel every day how sad her husband was.

Then one day Herman re-appeared! No one knew how or why. They had searched the aquarium thoroughly when he was gone but here he was again, happy as a clam. (We now think that he was deep under the gravel, changing his skin…)
In 2011 it was still a mystery. Oh, the neighbour was so happy again! Chuckling to herself Kreakakel thought Herman must have been on holidays for a few days. She then went home and she secretly rustled up the knitters from the Dutch Random Act of Kindness Group who then started to send holiday postcards, from Herman, to the neighbour from all the places Herman had supposedly visited.
From all parts of Holland cards started to come in!

I send one too, it read:
“I had a fine time riding my bike near Snorrepot’s place! Signed, Herman.”

The neighbour didn’t know what to think!
He could not figure out who was behind all this and who all these people were, sending him cards from places he’d never been. He shared his perplexity daily with Kreakakel who nodded with big eyes of empathy.

As the days progressed and holiday cards kept pouring in he started his investigations and hung a sign over his desk lettered “CSI”. On the desk he kept papers with hints and clues. Who knew about Herman. Who knows his address. Are handwritings similar yes/no.

He suspected his daughter but she denied fiercely. He shared his mystery with the postman and he was stumped too and started to read the envelops for clues before he pushed them through the letterbox.
Eventually, after ten days and after having recuperated from the flu, the wife solved the case and pointed at Kreakakel as the culprit. “Kreakakel is part of a knitters’ guild, she knows people all over Holland! They may be just a weird enough bunch to do such a thing!”

Kreakakel looked guilty and the wife of the neighbour started to laugh so hard she rolled from the couch. ROFL Literally! 😀

It was such a fun, fun story to be part of! Such fun that I immediately casted on for ‘Herman, the little Spring sweater’ in eyewatering blue:

It’s Lang Yarns Alpaca Superlight. Light, warm and soft. The only alpaca that doesn’t make me sneeze.

With only 3,3 balls of yarn (at 200 m per ball so that’s 660 m) I knitted this light pullover:

It’s very warm. Second foto shows detail of fabric with needles 5mm. Cast on 142 st.
The colour is correct in first pictures. It’s an eye-watering Herman-blue!

I giggled all the way while knitting this and I still do whenever I see the picture on my projects page. (I don’t use the yarn anymore, I don’t like knitting with halo yarn. Perfect for core-spinning though.)

Herman went on to live a happy “shrimp” life. He got a totally redecorated tank and befriended a female and made baby shrimp with her. Over the years he has repeated his disappearing act a few times but he never went on holiday again.

planning a cardi when you have to combine yarns

At the Spinners’ Weekend I was given this handspun Blue Texel. It’s from the same batch that I’m still busy spinning mine. The person who had spun this did not enjoy knitting with it and gave it to me as a present. Wow!

 pic by Moonwise

It’s 575 meters in aran weight. A beautiful round yarn which will have great stitch definition.
We both think that 575 meters is not enough for a cardigan or pullover.

I think it will combine well with the Shetland I spun in five natural colours. Remember how I spend a whole day and a whole post on what I could do with those five little skeins?

These two yarns go so well together:

I’ve positioned all the skeins at the end of the table so they’re in my view all day. I added the green Gjestal garn that’s left from my legwarmers. Perhaps as an accent? And to provide some extra meters should I run short?

To hone in on the garment I want to make I’ve browsed through the Ravelry database, to sharpen my preferences. I made a bundle collecting patterns and projects that might bring me something. A certain way of constructing; or where to place the patches of colour; or how to combine colours.

This is my bundle for adding colours to a cardigan.

After studying my bundle these are the things I want in this cardigan. The design-parameters:

  • no stranding or Fair Isle. I need the meters.
  • no colours in the yoke. I like to frame my face with a shawl or hat, not with a yoke.
  • recurrence of the colour detail in the sleeve cuffs would be funny
  • a cardigan, rather than pullover, it gets more use
  • I prefer the front in solid grey so the colours go at the back (but not growing from a centre stitch/ bulls’ eye). Or shall I do colours at the waste, perhaps as a sideways knit band?
  • stripes or mittered squares or slipped stitches are possible. Stripes could have lace to make waves. Can make zig zags with stripes, either by slipping stitches or by chevron knitting.
  • no double decrease stitches, that is too bulky.
  • modular knitting is great because then I don’t need to make a (lying) swatch. (pick up 3 stitches for every 4 rows.)
  • the handspun blue Texel ought to be in stockinette stitch, not in garter stitch, it’s so beautiful
  • needle 4,5 mm, just like my Donegal cardi’s (which I should probably finish first, to free up that needle)

After mulling this over a bit I think I’ll start with a multi colour panel at the mid back. Bottom up (not sideways. Nor without shoulder seams, that Wintertrui 2014 cardigan is a bit shapeless when I wear it.)

I found a technique that makes zig zaggy patterns without stranding. Or does it?

This is a little study I made.

It’s based on this sweater pattern I found, The Great Missowski by Julia Trice:

 pic and cardi by Glennea

This is the back, there IS a little stranding:

Technically it’s just slipped stitches but it takes up yarn just as much as stranding would, making a kind of double knit fabric. O well, it’s ok I guess. It’s not much.

Also unavoidable immediate cat attention.

In the study I played around with how much rows to stack of each colour; how to make that lowest stitch dip deep enough (I tried slipped stitches but also knitting a stitch and then knitting it again straight away. With or without knitting through the back. Those try outs are at the top of the piece, near the red pencil. I don’t think twisted stitched are called for here:

In the beginning I had difficulty keeping check of where I was in the pattern, at which column of stitches. I hopped repeats at about the blue pencil, unintentionally creating diamonds instead of zig zags.

Good to know. Should I ever want to knit diamonds with a slipped stitch technique.

I think I’m ready to start the back panel now. I am very grateful to Moonwise for giving me the yarn, it inspired me to design and knit this straight away. As a little thank you gesture I gave her some of my handdyed reed cotton fabric, with pounded Indigo leaves.

Finished the tranquil handspun for a vest

170 grams, 490 m sportsweight.
A yarn with a little bit of character, both in colour and smoothness. This will give a lovely knit fabric. I’m looking forward to wearing the vest made from this.

Ravelry has a few patterns for vests in this weight and meterage.
But patterns use a range of meterage and sizes. To find out if a vest in my size with this meterage is possible I need to look at projects people made with similar yarns. How well thought out is the site Ravelry, to have a database that shows all these possibilities!

Vests actually knitted with this kind of yarn.
These are predominately children’s vests. I have not enough meterage to make one for me.

Good to know.
I’ll do what I did with Sprookjesvest: knit front and back panel in the handspun and add edges in another yarn. No worries.
Edging in a smoother, solid coloured yarn will make my vest look and wear even better.

The twist is set and it’s now drying in the golden autumn sun:

More of a DK weight now, I’d say. Things are looking up, more vests are made for adults in DK.

Weird Wool Wednesday: no Ravelry!

Ravelry cannot be reached today.

It’s been down for a few hours already. Casey has smartly set up a Twitter account where he keeps people updated. Hopefully it stops them from sending numerous requests or messages about glitches in the world wide network.

Latest news:

It’s ok, to have a morning without Ravelry. Ravelry usually keeps me from being productive with wool anyway. What with all the scrolling.

So this morning I’ve been plying some Blue Texel while watching a lovely knitting podcast by Tilly Trout

British, friendly, sincere and so funny. I love it!
She has a group on Ravelry, called Trout Mail. I’d link if I could 😉

Another podcast I love to watch is from LYS Knit Nottingham. That woman is a hoot! She always makes me smile 🙂

heehee, a previous tweet shows Casey is only human and such a funny one at that!

Skew Sneaking In + Bobmas Day

I have entered the danger zone by casting on for a new project…

It’s Skew sock pattern.
In a lovely Danish yarn that I received as a gift yesterday. Couldn’t help myself. Had to cast on with the yarn. And I love the Skew pattern.

Skew is a weirdly lovely pattern, a free pattern by Lana Holden:

It starts at the toe and skews selfstriping yarn before it works up to a swirly heel. It’s been translated in many languages and knit many times.
My project is actually the 4901st project of it on Ravelry!

I need some modifications from the original pattern to accommodate my broad feet and high instep so I was browsing the Ravelry database for notes that other people made for this pattern. It’s so very handy! The idea of a knitting database, filled and kept up to date by knitters, was a stroke of brilliance.

A stroke of brilliance that sparked exactly 10 years ago today, on the 11th of April 2005:

rav screenshot from the blog of Jess in 2005. She’s the knitter girlfriend of Casey, now her husband, and together they developed Ravelry.com into the multimillion user site it is today.

That means that today is Bobmas Day! Go friend Bob, the Boston Terrier of Jess and Casey, and have a cupcake to celebrate.

Taking full advantage of the database I found my own Paprika Skew sock amongst the projects that people found helpful. That makes me happy, thank you!
It was my very first Skew, in yarn I dyed myself:

I only ever made the left sock because I had this other, more beautiful yarn, that I wanted to make Skews with asap. Here’s Lente Skew in progress:

It was finished quickly -and had different notes than Paprika Skew, no idea why- and it looks wonderful in this yarn! I wear it often.
Only the one though because the left Lente Skew sock was a victim of Second Sock Syndrome. It’s half finished and I keep it as a WIP, carefully kept together, including needles, in a tote. I often see it in the stash or in my book cabinet and I fondly think of finishing it. But somehow I haven’t. For years now.

That’s right, I’ve been wearing my sole beautiful right Lente Skew sock for about 4 years now and I love it. I wear it often. Either together with the Paprika Skew left sock. Or with the left sock of these Spring socks:

They match somewhat in colours. Or they’re both stripey. That’s what I tell people confidently anyway, when they remark upon my socks not matching.

I really like the Skew pattern. And now I’ve casted on for it again. In more subdued colours which happens to be my mood this Winter, Spring and probably Summer too.
Most of my socks are eye watering bright because those yarns are fun to knit but wearing them is not very practical, not when you want to be all sophisticated and ethereal.

This yarn is a Danish yarn called Hjertegarn. “Heart yarn”, from Denmark. I like it! 🙂
These particular colourways are called “snake” and my colourway is 7715, the green variety.

 pic from artyarn.co.uk who sells this yarn

So these are to be my “Snake Skews”.
Yes, I plan to make both a left sock and a right sock this time.
I’m starting with the left one though so when I do get thwarted by second sock syndrome again I’ll at least have another mate for my one right Lente Skew.
Knitting is just like life: enjoy it but do provide for predictable eventualities.

Yesterday evening I cast on. And this morning I’ve been knitting merrily for a few hours. And now I’ve made it too big. My feet are not thát broad, thankyouverymuch!
I don’t know what happened. I followed my pattern notes from my two previous Skews, even though the notes don’t match up. But both of those socks fit beautifully so ball park would work.

But at this moment I find I have 16 stitches worth too much of fabric. On a 76 total stitch count. Yeah, that’s a lot. A lot alot.
Let’s just say it was a slow Saturday morning and I was sleepy. It did take me some time to register reality didn’t adhere to theory. Again (2)

(again #1 = that reality doesn’t follow sound theory)
(again #2 = that I take my sweet time to realize this.)

This afternoon I need to rip back to where it was in the first picture and start again from there.
But that’s ok. There is not much else to do today but rest and knit. The plan was to knit on Spring Brioche (and I will!) and in the evening light knit on my green handspun Sprig (and I will!). In between, when I’m too tired to pay attention to brioche, I’ll knit Skew.

Or should I say: “reknit Skew…”

not knitting: playing Olympic Games!

Today the Winter Olympic Games start in Sochi, Russia.

Inspired by this there’s a knitting event on Ravelry called the Ravellenics. During the Games we knit (or crochet, spin, weave, dye, unravel) and we try to accomplish something in the same time that the Games run.

So that’s Feb 7th through Feb 23rd.

We are Ravthletes!

You set yourself a challenge and you share progress with people who have set themselves the same challenge. This can be: knit socks or crochet a shawl or take a raw fleece, process it and make it into something or one of the many more challenges feasible in wool.

There are various events in which you can compete. These are organized around finished items or techniques used:

We are organized in teams which really are just bunches of people who thought of something that connects them. Can be you like to do Brioche Stitch and there’s a team for that. Or that you’re all Norwegian and want to join a Norsk team. Or that you are drawn to Team Hopelessly Overcommitted (which doesn’t compete this year, unfortunately)
Anyone can join any team, it’s all very inviting.

I’m sticking to the team of the Dutch Karma Swap Group. We are playing our own game this Ravellenics. We just do what we feel like, without the hassle of rules and must-do’s. We just want to enjoy our wool and chat about it 🙂

For the duration of the Games most people change their ravatar to a team-ravatar. It gets all very confusing because you identify persons mostly by the picture they have with their name. When everybody changes their ravatar to similar pictures it’s a big kaboodle.

In our case: a noodle kaboodle!

During the Olympic Games in London, 2012, Ravelry had to change the name of their event. It used to be called Ravelympics. But that was too close to the trademark words the Olympic Committee uses.
Ravelry got a condescending legal lettre and was ordered to change the name. But not after we, the online knitters, fixed the condescending attitude of both the legal team and the Olympic Committee. It was a fun thing to be part of, using the social media to show we’re not a bunch of little old ladies you can push around. We are techsavy ladies with plenty pride and we do not knit for free or because we have nothing else to do.

That’s how “ravellenics” got its name. There were suggestions for a new name and votes were cast and it was all very mature.
But we, the Dutch Karma Group, didn’t like the name that won very much nor the overall attitude of rules-rules-rules. We prefer more playful games and names. So we came up with the name “Raveoly”.

So that’s how we call this event in our group. It suits our approach. We are just having fun and cheering each other on.
This is our ravatar template for this year:

So in the official group everything was being set up for a fun time. Teams were formed, rules were explained about how long an unfinished project had to have been in your closet before it was considered to be elligable for the WIP-event and there were many questions about when a scarf is more a shawl or when a shawl ought to be called a scarf. Nice if you’re into that sort of thing.

pic by Noche

But then it went all pear shaped, internet forum style.
It started with talks about the gay bashings in Russia. Then there was the unfortunality of a moderator determining that talking about that equalled talking about politics which is a no-no in most groups on Ravelry because it always leads to hotheaded arguments and people feeling hurt.

But because sexual orientation itself is nót politics and people feel upset by what’s happening in Russia and want to talk about it this caused discussion. The moderator was not very subtle socially and the moderator team was not very clear on the rules. Then people were being put on time out and prevented from posting. This of course caused friction. Friction lead to heat. Heat to smoke. Smoke to fire. Kaboom.
The group exploded. All moderators resigned. People were insulted. Didn’t want to play anymore. Typical internet drama.

New beginnings:
In a short time a new group was formed for the Ravellenics. With fewer rules. New moderators. It’s all ready to go now and the new group is now full of rainbows! 🙂
Both in team ravatars and in projects. There are even two rainbow events now.

Our group made an alternative team ravatar which celebrates equality:

My ravatar does not have a rainbow. I’m all for equality and freedom to enjoy your sex life -as long as it involves only adults- but I just reaaaally hate rainbows. And I think the template is full enough as it is.
So this is mine, to scale:


At the end of the games, if you’ve played by the official rules and have completed your challenge, you get called to the podium in the official group. Bobicus Maximus will grant you your medal. (Bob is the Boston terrier dog of the owners of Ravelry. He’s a lovely part of the site and pops up on many designs)

This afternoon, at 5 o’clock, the opening ceremony starts and so do the Ravellenics 2014!

Prepping happy coloured fibre

In one of the photo’s in the previous post you could see a beautiful braid of spinning fibre. It’s a BFL/Nylon mix handdyed by Tibbe. Tibbe loves colour!

Here’s a picture that might give the impression the braid is a soft spoken fan of Spring:

It is not!
It’s more a 13 year old loving ’80s disco! It has hot pink, it has neon green, it has sparkles!

Last evening I unbraided the braid:

then I opened up the roving, I kind of ‘unfolded’ it.

It shows colour repeats of a length that would muddle the colours if I were to draft it without any further preparation. The green would mix into the pink would mix into the orange.

One method is to strip it lengthwise and only add twist, no drafting. I learned that when I first started spinning, with this yarn (link to Ravelry stash entry):

It had colour repeats SHORTER than the fibre staple. I teared it up in strips the thickness of the yarn I was after and plied it with lilac sewing thread.
I also had to think about how it would end up knitted:

So just splitting the roving lenghtwise in small strips will keep the colours very intense. But the resulting knitwear would be mottled, with all the different colours close to each other.
(but I could decide to weave the yarn, that would give another look)(it also depends on how thick I am going to spin this) (whether or not to ply it) (so much decisions!)

Today the roving is a feature on the table so I can think about how I will approach it.

There may be other additional fiber preps I can do. Card it by colour? Card it into rolags? The nylon fibres are short enough for that. But is the BFL?

There’s some bright neon yellow in there (is there any other kind of neon yellow?) and I’m pondering if I want that to show up in the knitwear or rather blend it in while spinning…

I could read some spinning books for inspiration. I could look at other people’s yarn. Or browse the new feature Ravelry has where you can keep notes on how you process a fibre into yarn. A special handspinning projectpage.
Notes on method of fibre preperation, method of spinning, the amount of twist, the method of plying. Very nice. Here’s mine for this fibre. To make notes in if and when I make decisions…

Oh, look at that nylon sparkling!

Tibbe also has a shop on Etsy. There may be new fibres to find in the new year.

the tearing in narrow strips is now a standard prep in my spinning projects. When you then full the single (no plying needed and don’t ever use sewing thread again) it becomes very sturdy and you get even more options on how to display the colours in the resulting fabric.

Tour de Fleece: finish line


the last week of the Tour de Fleece I made these collages:

“carding”……………………”needs combing”……….”cat castle”…………..”where you at with your string?”



On Day 21 I didn’t spin but went to a wedding at the beach. It was lovely!



and that concludes the Tour de Fleece. I spun nearly every day and it was really fun, in a relaxed way. No feverish goals or gnashing teeth trying to accomplish them. Instead I sat under the tree and carded and spun or I sat inside and watched the Tour on TV and spun or combed wool.

A lovely time.

Besides this being its own reward I got three bonusses out of this:

1. I’m still spinning. The Tour has ended but I’m still carding rollags and spinning Long Draw

2. I got a prize!! The international Tour de Fleece crowd on Ravelry.com awards random prizes every day and one day I won! I was free to chose a prize from the impressing mountain of prizes that shops or individuals had offered. Including international shipping!

I chose a sheep mug by Rivers Edge Fiber Arts


3. I won another prize!! The Dutch people of the Dutch Karma Group over on Ravelry are a tight and generous bunch. We all participated in Team Karma and we all offered a prize.

I offered this Sock Wool Spinners Parcel, by Jeanet Koek. These are three breeds of roving (Texel, LaPlata and Wensleydale). You get two rovings of each. All six rovings are dyed the same.

As you spin it and later ply them into a 3ply you get a sockyarn that transits through all the colours, giving you socks that have yellow toes, purple heels and blue cuffs.

My team mate Meta from Kleurvol won and chose this prize. Tomorrow I am going to bring it to her.

I myself chose an offer made by Pimmie who loves Long Draw spinning as much as I do. She will dye wool and some of her bunny fluff (angora rabbit) and card them into rolags for me. All I have to do is spin it! A great prize 🙂