Hela Hola!

Today I’m frogging projects that nag me. It’s part of tradition in the Dutch Karma Swap Group on Ravelry where we encourage each other to free ourselves:

Rockefeller shawl went from this:

to this:

because I cannot figure out a nice way to knit the two “wings” without it becoming a very nautical blue white striped thing. Which I wasn’t going to wear.

Now it will become a sweater. Because that’s half a yoke right there! Add another half to it, pick up stitches at the icord and start knitting downwards. Before you know it you’re separateing for the sleeves!

Luckily I knit the blue part of the back all in one thread, without breaking the yarn. All I have to do is soak the yarn and I have a brand new skein to knit with.

Summer cardigan Emma Arlene lost her empire lace part:

I had chosen a tedious stitch for that part and it has kept me from knitting on it for xx years now. Time to frog! (it was Echo Flower Stitch, a beautiful stitch).

I’m going to reknit the lace part in an easier stitch.This is Wollmeise Lace yarn and should knit up easy. Do have to soak the yarn first to get the crinkles out.

And I frogged the Wolbeest Cat Sock Blank, to de-crinkle the yarn, so I can knit with it. Here’s the blank front and back:

which explains why the yarn looks speckled like this:

The black dye didn’t soak through the thread in places which will result in varying dark contrast in the knitted fabric. It makes me think that this yarn will look very good in a sock pattern with a stitch pattern in it. Looking forward to start.

So that’s a third skein of yarn that needs to be soaked. I also have some skeins from the spinning wheel from the past two months that need soaking. And knitting! As soon as I feel like it I will have a soak and centrifuge session in the basement.

Lastly I cleaned up some more in my ravelry project page. Changed statussen to “frogged” or “finished” for projects I know I’ll never use, not even their yarn, or will frog at a later date.

Ravelry automatically reverts meterage of yarn back to your stash when you frog a project. Omg I have so much yarn now…. let’s just see if Ravelry also tallies the totals.

The total meters in my stash are:

125777,3 meter!!!

125 kilometers 78 miles of yarn!

Ding! Ding! Ding!
Typical Dutch Street Organ pic by Marielle Plomp
Better start knitting.


Thoughts about the Rockefeller shawl pattern.

Rockefeller is a pattern by knitting pop star Stephen West:

It was a mystery knit-a-long in July 2012. It had four clues:

  1. the neck part with the short row wedges
  2. the lower part with the solid coloured part and the little YO’s
  3. the outer border with the stacks of short strokes
  4. the striped wing tips

 pic by FiberRachel

I’ve knitted my own back in 2014, with some changes:

The borders run the length of the shawl, both at the top end and the bottom end. That last one is done when you knit clue 4 (the wing tips) before clue 3 (the outer border).

I also decreased faster than the pattern says in the wingtips. And between the main body part and the striped wing bits I made sure I didn’t knit a double stripe. I did this by using a prov. cast-on and prov. cast-of at begin and end of clue 1 and by starting clue 4 in sequence with clue 1 instead of just following the pattern.

Today I’m knitting a second Rockefeller. In blue and white:

The blue is Dutch Knitting Design Krokus, a lovely yarn consisting of 65% Merino, 20% Bamboo and 15% Silk. It’s a soft and draping yarn and I’m knitting it on small needles, 2,25 mm, with a firm hand.

The white is a round plied fingering weight which I knit with a slightly gentler hand. Still the white pops up and the blue drapes.

In this Rockefeller I will do the same things as I did in the purple one. The border-thing and the shorter wing tips. But this time I’m also doing lots of other tweaks to please my inner nit picker. For instance, I experimented with different Wrap & Turns:

At the bottom is a standard shadow W&T. Because the blue yarn is knitted with more tension (?) the white stitch that knits together the blue stitch and its shadow is pulled down.

In the wedge on top I knitted the shadow together not with its own stitch but with the previous stitch. I don’t know why but it worked: no more white V’s out of line.

Of course I then had to frog everything and start anew, to have consistency. Another thing I did was not picking up stitches at the outer most ends of the i-cord and also begin and end clue 1 with half a white ridge. These things will come in handy later when I want the i-cord to lie between the garter ridges and not break through it. See at the bottom right:

I’m now in clue 2 and here I don’t cut the yarns but carry them up the sides. I’m also changing the pace of the blue-white because I’m a bit weary of too neat blue-white stripes…. they soon become “Breton”…

From Breton you get to “nautical” too easy. In the Netherlands we have this nautical boasting which grew from our sea faring history, our traditional sail manufacturers, the sailing cloth that’s visible in our daily clothing and the high money sailing events that occur nowadays. It’s very much a clique.

Or perhaps I have too many fashion clique memories of the ’80s to see dark blue and white stripes just for what they are…

 Gaastra sailing clothes and experience

But also! Each Summer wannabe skippers stroll the canals around my house, wearing these shirts and a ridiculous skipper cap. I hear them loudly proclaiming all kinds of nonsense about the harbour and the weather and even my house. Go back to your plastic floatable, you ridiculous man!

 pic by passantenhaven WV de Waterpoort

How different are these tourists from the other guys that dress the same: the shanty choir singers. Now these are boating characters who know not to take themselves so seriously and to make life fun:

'Stuurloos' pic by fritscdejong

Navy blue stripes… probably unfair but I’m not a fan.

Since I have way more yarn of the blue than the white I thought to put in lots more rows of blue in clue 2 before doing a white stripe. Which I also make half as high as the pattern states.

I’m also changing the shape of the shawl. I increase far less than the pattern does because this time I don’t want a circular shawl, I want a shawl that hangs flat on my back. The pattern increases 24 stitches on each of the five increase rows. My increase rows are further apart and have maybe 16 increases, if that.

If you want, here’s my project page of the finished purple shawl, with English notes.

Paperboat by Hamlet&Heimer, a free pattern.

A Saturdaynight in with Rockefeller

I’ve started a Rockefeller shawl last week. This was my Saturday night excitement:

Grrr, one wrong stitch in the garter section. This will bug me. I’ll have to fix it.

Eep! What’s that?! A dropped stitch right at the Wrap & Turn! This is not an aesthethic problem, this is constructional!

Constructional problems need to be fixed. In this case by frogging three wedges:

Now for aesthetics… sssshh…concentrating:



in progress: Felted blanket and Rockefeller shawl

I have a try out for the felted blanket under way:

I positioned various prefelt things on the carded semi-felt from the factory.
There’s thinned out Silk Brick. And some fluffed up yellow roving covering acrylic yarn. Some spread out merino silk mix from which I cut out leaf shapes. A hankie.
All sorts of things, to find out if they will grab onto the prefelted fabric well.

I played with geometric shapes. And I made some oblong planes that I can cut out later and sew together, just like a blanket made from granny squares is sewed together. Not looking forward to the extra work though…
I hadn’t thought of cutting out shapes and just felting them onto the carded fleece. That way it may not be necessary to cut out felted squares and sew them together.

Tineke from Atelier Het Groene Schaep showed me this possibility as she’s just completed a blanket for a newborn and was showing it.

She has pictures of her try outs on her blog. Very educational! Wish I had seen these before I started my own, I see a lot I should have done differently, starting with making everything thicker.

I love her work. She once made a cushion with tree leaves that I’m still seeing in my minds eye… it started this all for me.

My trial run will show me what might work and what not. I already saw that some commercial roving bled its colour (A3an) and that the Hampshire Down is resisting grabbing onto the merino fleece. Stubborn sheep!

Halfway with the fulling, I’m pressing out all the air and having it thoroughly wet and soapy. I use thin plastic baggies around my hands to minimize friction at this early stage. Later on I’ll use my bare hands for more friction.

Over all it’s very nice to felt like this. The process:

  1. think about it and plan ahead
  2. place colours and fibres onto the base and playfull abandon plan
  3. make wet, with soap
  4. push out all the air (hands in plastic lunch bags to minimize friction)
  5. rub a bit
  6. rub more vigorously (= fulling)
  7. check the fibers grabbed onto the surface
  8. start shrinking (= felting)

in other news: I’m still knitting on my Rockefeller. I’m at the border. My balls of yarn are shrinking dangerously.

Rockefeller shawl in progress and a Photography Project: synchroonkijken

Rockefeller is coming along nicely.

The colours are stunning!

This last picture I entered in an online photography project that’s running in the Netherlands this week: Synchroonkijken. (“looking in sync”)

Over 2000 people participate, taking a picture each day. They get pinned to a special board on Pinterest by the initiator Else Kramer. She’s a photographer who likes people to take better pictures. Especially in social media and in their professional life.
She has a Dutch site and an English one.
She shares her knowledge for free. Or you can get in dept advice for a price.
I like her attitude and approach and learned from her.

Here are the links to the daily pinterest board for each day and my picture for the topic of that day:

1. Pinterest board for “naar de knoppen kijken” = “staring at buttons” and these “bottons” include the round endpoints of pins and needles and buttons you can turn. But buttons you have on clothes are not included (those are called “knopen”, not “knoppen”).
Also in Dutch “to the buttons” is a reference to “going bust”. Putting some of the other entries into perspective for you.

2. Pinterest board for “Frustration”

3. Pinterest board for “Orange” (on this day the Netherlands played the semi-finals in the world games of football. (“soccer” to Americans”)

4. Pinterest board for “Beauty”
Lots of cats where submitted for this topic. I tried to have a bit of an uncommon picture. I like the shapes and outline. And Lillepoes’ white toes!

5. pinterest board for day 5: “the backside”

6. pinterest board for “Stripes”
We were asked to zoom in and only show the stripes.

7. Today, the final, Pinterest board for “your favourite ingrediënt”
I chose the ganache with whipped cream I ate today. This is soooo good! I eat it every day. Twice.

Rockefeller in progress

This thing knits itself!

We don’t mind at all that we haVE to spend a lot of time on the couch, recuperating from that knitters’ picknick last weekend.

To wash out the cat’s snoring I’m watching selected BBC interviews from the last century: Richard Feynman, Buckminster Fuller, Dali, David Nevin and Jacob Bronowski.
It’s wonderful to look back and recognize points of view, ways of thinking and era atmospheres.

All the while stopping the video to count stitches or to think or to just admire my knitting. Here I am, halfway trough cue 2.
The colours are amazing!

A finished skein, a purple shawl and a Little Yellow Duck

Without further ado:

The finished skein Happy Go Lucky. 512 m of DK weight, 200 grams. (512 m = 600 yards)
2 ply in soft BFL/Silk mix.

It took a bit of “Andean Plying” to use up all the singles.

Technically it’s not really finished. It needs to soak in water first, to set the twist. But I postphone this a bit. You see, I got this roving at half price off because the turqoise dye did not grab the wool very well. It will bleed.

Turqoise is notorious for doing so. I think this is because the dye particles are rather big and the woolfibre needs to open up and let the particle in before closing up again (due to cold and acid). Which is a bother, often.

Anyway. As soon as I soak this skein it will loose some of its brilliance so better admire it a bit longer before I do so.

Thing the second: got my skein of intense purple yesterday!

Wollmeise 100% Pure Fliederbusch, one of the most sought after colourways.

I cast on Rockefeller and this knits like a dream!
I was watching some Firefly and suddenly I had 10 wedges done. The yarns are great together! Both in feel and in colour. (btw: love Firefly! watching it for the first time.)

With this project I do have to pace myself because this is shoulder-endangering-knitting.
A nice chance to practice absolute relaxing while knitting 🙂
And stop as soon as something tingles or tightens up or starts to nag. There are too many people I know who have sore wrists or shoulders… we are doing something wrong. We are too persistent or take on too much worries or grabbing the needles too hard. I don’t know. Be careful.

Thing the third: The Little Yellow Duck Project.

I am crocheting some little yellow ducks for The Little Yellow Duck Project.org.

These ducks are to be left in public places with a little tag attached, inviting people to take home the duck and go online and pin the place they found it on a large virtual map.
Doing this the project hopes to raise awareness of the importance of donating blood and organs to help other people. To help kids.

A worthy cause. Donating stuff you can miss and that will save the life of someone else is a good thing to do in ones life.
It’s a random act of kindness.
As is making these ducks and giving them away.

As a woman with skills I usually don’t participate in these kind of events. Too often people think too casually about the time, effort and skills that are involved into making things for free. Not too mention the cost of yarn.
For example, making one duck takes me 2 to 3 hours. And that’s crocheting, which is a lot quicker than knitting. It’s also very fiddly and makes my hands (and shoulder) hurt.

Usually people assume it takes a whole of ten minutes to whip something up. Anything from a little duck to a hat to a sweater.
And it is always cheap because: “you have the yarn lying about anyway!”
Or: “You’re always knitting, your house must be full with things now. Time to give stuff away! Don’t be selfish!”
I could go on.
But I leave that to Ravelry group Selfish Knitters and Crocheters, they have many many examples of people not understanding or appreciating how we chose to spend our time and skills. We also learn collectively to say no to requests. Because “no” is a legitimate answer to a request. And it needs no justification.

The Little yellow Duck project understands that making a duck and giving it away is a random act of kindness, an act that takes some investment from the crafter.
As does donating blood, bone marrow or organ parts. That takes a (considerable) investment from a person and it gets donated to a stranger. Pure acts of kindness.

That’s why I’m participating for one reason, because I want to give a little bit of kindness to show appreciation for the big bit of kindness donors give.

There are other objections though. One is about efficiency.
One crafter = one duck = one finder who will maybe go online and maybe read the site and maybe get more aware of how much difference a donation of blood or tissue makes in life.

That’s a lot of maybe’s for a crafted project that only reaches one person or family. Not’s a very efficient use of my time.

The third objection is that my ducks will lead people to an American site. Should they get interested and wanting to know more about donating themselves they have to do additional searches to find my national organizations. Assuming they are comfortable in English to begin with.

Overall this seems this whole project is more about the volunteers and crafters feeling better than about actually getting new donors…

but that’s ok. That’s worthy too, in a way.

It may not be efficient nor effective but I’m making a couple of ducks to show support anyway.
In doing so I march to the battle cry of the Selfish Knitters and Crocheters Group:
“We make what we want, when we want and for whom we want!”
I’ve put the Dutch organizations’ url’s on the back of the ducks’ tags, should people want to know more.

The pattern I use is Crochet Duck by Frankie Brown. She’s an inventive designer! I’ve enjoyed her patterns before.
She makes her designs free and in return asks you to consider to donate to another worthy cause: the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation. I’m trying too. As soon as I have figured out how to do so without a credit card (I don’t have one). The site says they accept Paypal but I can’t find a button…
update: I talked to Frankie, the designer. The site only accepts Paypal from within the UK.

cutting the blue wire

I started a Rockefeller shawl, one of the two-toned shawls I’ve been looking forward to for ages now.

Beforehand I did a lot of colour mixing and matching to find the two yarns I wanted to put into this shawl.
There was contrast and saturation and hue to consider. But in the end it all comes down to: properly framing this handspun:

It’s 466 m handspun from 140 grams of BFL/Silk batts I got as a birthday present from Kooldutchlady.

Pretty soon after spinning the yarn I knew I wanted this yarn in a Rockefeller Shawl.
And it needs a well chosen second yarn to play with.

So about 6 months ago I forced half of the Dutch Karma Group to help me choose the second colour.
My main inspiration is this shawl of one of my Karma friends:

Rockefeller Shawl by Kooldutchlady. (there are no coincidences)

Amazing colour choices! And some clever modifications to the pattern such as the continuation of the borders and smoothness between Clue 1 and 4.
But the colours! To choose that yellow to go with an aqua handspun? genius!

In return for my nagging for advice the Karma Group forced invited me to articulate precisely what it is about Kooldutchlady’s colours that I find so amazing. If I could analyze the colour thingies going on here I could perhaps apply the same thing to my handspun.

I tried. (links to Dutch conversation. Stay here if you want to get the gist in English)
Here’s a close up of her shawl, to really show you the colours:

The yellow brings something entirely new to the table!
It takes the handspun into an unexpected direction. Without upstaging it. How come?

How did Kooldutchlady arrive at this particular yellow?

The handspun is mainly blues and turqoise. There are some hints of yellow in it but also hints of purple.
The yellows are not nearly as saturated as the solid skein is…
Is it the saturated turquoize that allows for such a saturated yellow?

And to put it next to the purple… that takes some guts! The Yellow makes the purple pop:

In terms of darkness there is not much contrast between the two yarns. One is not darker than the other.
I went as far as to look at the shawl in grey tones:

And at our yarns:

Left Kooldutchlady’s handspun, mine is on the right.
My skein looks like it has more contrast…

After these thoughts me and my friends tried to think about my handspun in a similar fashion.
We thought about purples, about pinks and even greens and yellows. But mostly we thought about silvery greys or blues. These were eye openers for me. Clear cold morning blues… they would work beautifully with my yarn!

If it’s true that my handspun has quite a bit of contrast within itself I need to address that. There’re pronounced dark bits and light bits. To play with the light bits seemed like fun and it would provide a clear contrast to the dark bits.

I put some light colours next to the skein. Grey colours, blue colours, dusty pink colours.
Some made the light parts of the yarn speak loudly. Some made them recede. Some made them grey.

After a thorough discussion with my friends and much holding yarns together I decided upon a pale blue colour to frame the handspun. It’s a laceweight I have in my stash and keeping it triple would still give me the yardage I need.
Yesterday I casted on:

The yarn is greyish blue. Much grey.


It yields a very floppy fabric, perhaps because I’m holding a thin lace weight triple.

But the blue. This is such a meh blue!
It makes me sigh looking at it, never mind knitting it. I would knit with it because in the end it would give a smashing shawl.
Only it doesn’t.

This particular muted greyish blue does not grab the handspun by the hands and takes it for a swirl. Instead it just lays there snoozing, shedding, expecting the stripes to do their magic all by themselves.
pic by Adrian Denegar

This is not going to be a shawl with any of the vitality Kooldutchlady’s shawl has.
Chosing a colour that is both lighter than the handspun ánd less saturated than most of the handspun probably was a mistake. Especially in a design where that yarn’s role is as a framework for the the handspun. I should have thought more of Tiffany lamps and less about … I dunno… using what’s in my stash.

Should I have gone for a brighter, fresher light blue like the ones a lot of my friends suggested? There were pictures of crisp icy mornings in Finland….

Or should I remember that I don’t like to knit with blues anyway?

A real dark colour could also work:

This is a charcoal silk (which I’ll definitely will not be using because it’s one of a pair destined for a Summers Top and also silk is too drapey for this shawl. It needs a round yarn with nice round garter stitch knitting. Yarn like Wollmeise.)

Six months ago we did ponder dark colours. We had some concerns that it would result in a shawl that’s too flashy. A shawl that would wear me and not the other way around.
It’s when people notice your garment first and then you. They should see you first, notice how healthy and radiant you look (which is aided by the colours and contrasts you wear).
Too dark a colour may overwhelm me?

Still I love (to knit with) the dark colours. Charcoal, dark green, Dark Purple.
Some of which happen to lie on my table in WIPform: Charcoal Summer Top; Dark Blue Peabody Sweater and Fliederbush Purple Tunic. Let’s combine:

Each colour brings out something different in the handspun. Of course I’m showing you terrible pictures here. None of these colours are true to the colourthings I see happening here on my table.

The Charcoal makes the light bits of the handspun pop.
The Peabody brings out the grey in them.
The Purple connects with the intense purples of the skein and emphazises the blues. It also makes all the light bits light blue, nothing grey to see.
The Fuchsia brings the middle tones of both the blues and the pinks to the front and makes the light bits a whitish blue.

Looking at it I conclude that the Purple makes all the colours in this skein pop. Yes, I’m going with purple.

Purple in a nice round yarn that will make the garter stitch rows look like little strings of pearls. A nice round yarn that will keep the shawl together both colourwise and shapewise. Yes, I’ll need a purple round yarn in a yardage that matches that of my handspun.

So please meet 100% pure Wollmeise in the colourway Fliederbusch.
The colour is pretty close to the handspun I’m using for my lace tunic and it’s the kind of purple that we in Holland call “pimpelpaars”.
It’s as purple as purple gets.

Colourway Fliederbusch on the various yarn bases of Wollmeise. Picture from the German Wollmeise Fan Group on Ravelry

When in doubt, go pimpelpurple.

Two toned shawls

You can knit a shawl out of one skein of fingering yarn (sock yarn weight but mostly softer than sockyarn). Such a skein is 100 grams and has about 400 m of yarn on it.

Many shawls at the moment combine two skeins, just to make the shawl more wrappable. A bit more yardage, a bit more warmth.
I love colour contrast and it suits my face so I love these kind of shawls. This week I made a trade with someone and she is going to knit a shawl for me, out of two skeins from my stash.

The pattern is Me and You…and you and me from Fiddleknits
pic by hummingbirdtx
pic by knitcrazycpa

So I spend some time “tossing the stash” to chose which yarns to send. I found some lovely combinations.
Now I want all these shawls!

This is the combination my friend is going to knit:

A Merino Lace from 100%wool -the one I tried to make into Brioche with a white lace– and a OOAK handdyed silk single from Bart&Francis from Belgium.

Both are boldy coloured skeins but the striping in the pattern will tone them down, perhaps even give the illusion of green (I lóve green).

Fiddleknits has another shawl pattern coming out next month, it’s a sister design to the one above.
I chose these colours for it:
A Seasons and Elements from Moonwise in Cassis with a dark silvery Krokus from Dutch Knitting Design.
You wouldn’t believe how soft these yarns are!

Then I found an orange The Sanguine Gryphon Skinny Bugga! with a OOAK handdyed silk merino mix from Dutch Knitting Design:

I have no pattern in mind for this one but I love how the combination is way out of my comfort zone or my habits in combining colours.
A Rhubarb green and red with orange? Go me!

In my queue is still the Rockefeller for which I chose the colours months ago. My handspun with a pale blue lace from Colourmart held triple.

pic by IgnorantBliss
Some of my friends have made this design and added some intelligent tweaks, to make it perfect and neat in all its details. I’ve been impatiently waiting for my shoulder to heal because I cannot wait to follow the trail along the pattern and their technical tweaks! And I get to knit it with my handspun, such a treat.

Digging through the stash I ran into plenty single skeins I’ve planned to turn into shawls for a while now.
Like this Drops Kid Silk into a Boo Knits Temptress shawl, with big old beads.

pic by Boo-knits

Yes, I made a Temptress before

I need another one! A fluffy one!

And this steel colours tencel that needs just a little bit encouragement to become a finished Spikey Gothic Neckwarmer. It has steel coloured Miyuki beads…

And then there’s this wonder of a skein, handdyed sock yarn by Wol met Verve:

Its colours are very much out of my comfort zone (just like the Rabarber skein up top, the one I’m going to combine with the orange Skinny Bugga).
But I love it and have been admiring this skein for a year now. There are so many colours and nuances in it!

It requires a clever approach, colour wise, because a skein like this will pool and flash and might loose a lot of its subtleties if the colours are not mounted right.
So I’m thinking knitting in the round, stacking the colours. Then perhaps steeking? Or weaving. Or crocheting freeform and let the colours guide. Or using elongated stitches.

I’m going to have a long hard think about it to find out how to make this gorgeous skein into a gorgeous piece of fabric.
Might just as well because I still cannot knit a stitch… I tried some knitting the other day -on those blasted leg warmers- and my shoulder pain came back. Together with tingling in my fingers. Even a whip like sting.
I’d better play by the rules and stick to playing with yarn and colours in my head.