finished: Wolop Advent Shawl!

It’s blocking and drying:

Here are some of the final motives:

Cats with Paw Peerie by Sandra Jäger and also hedgehogs from her. I didn’t have enough brown/mauve for the final row but they still look like hedgehogs to me.

My golden embroidery scissors.

The purple shirts I never sew.

A ribbon of flowing water; hedgehogs; mushrooms; something that may or may not be square eggs or daisies in the only multicolour I put in the shawl.

Cat paw prints; “Advent 2016”; new stars to replace the ones from December first and December nineteenth ; some geometric design in which I ran out of dark purple and finally: some fish (using different shades of the pastel greys. The purple one, the blue one and the lilac I dyed myself. Ran out of that one at the final fish and inserted some white.)

Kitchener stitched everything together, with the fish right underneath the polar bears:

The geometric design is a prelude to next year’s project. I want to do another one of these Adventsboxes!

Next time I’d love an overall design flowing through the whole cowl, with only the colours changing, following the wisdom of Fair Isle knitting when it comes to colours, colour families and contrast.

For the pattern I’m leaning towards Art Nouveau. Leaves. Curls. Smoke rings. A pattern which I’ll probably design myself, using StitchFiddle, the free online charting tool.

Advent shawl 2016 was made entirely on Stitchfiddle. It took two charts of 200 rows high each. I’ll clean them up and share them publicly. In a post with pictures of me wearing the cowl. Right now it’s still wet.


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.

Not finished with Temptress Shawl yet…

I’ve bound her off. Lots and lots of picots.

Haven’t blocked yet. Because…. I’m thinking that the edge might be too frilly.

I have been wearing it around the house today though 🙂

For this shawl pattern, Temptress by Boo Knits, this picture has always been my inspiration picture:

It’s Booknits’ own shawl, “thuggisly” blocked, as she likes to put it.

Looking at the edge I now realize that that blocking evens out the picots.

And somehow I also always thought there were beads worked into the bind off too. One in every “icicle” (I’d love that), but there aren’t.

In the pattern Booknits gives some pointers to how she binds off: co 2 stitches not too loose. Bind them off a little tight too. The third bind off  is loose.

I think I cast on and bound off too loose. I’ve got frills. And they will stay, if my first Temptress is anything to go by.

My first Temptress in blue was blocked when finished a few years ago and has been worn and thrown about since then. The frilly picots are still there.

So I’m wearing my unblocked Temptress and looking at it from time to time trying to make up my mind. Block it and live with the frills? Or undo the bindoff and redo it?

In the mean time I’m basking in the beauty of it. It’s so soft and gleamy and I LOVE the colour and the beads!






I don’t want the frills.





I’m going to redo the bind off.

But not right away. I want to wear this colour for a bit, think of nightly coloured Aquilegias and Spring:

Weird Wool Wednesday: the endless bind off

I’m binding off my Temptress shawl, the pattern Temptress by Boo Knits that I’ve knit before and will knit again. It’s a nice bind off: make two stitches, bind off three. The result is picots:

But it takes forever. I’ve been binding off the Temptress Shawl for two days now. And I’m not even half way!

It also invokes some kind of Fibonacci sequence. With cat hair.

Not even half way…

Finished: Spring Brioche Shawl!

It’s lovely and large. Sits around the shoulders really well and nice and warm in the neck.
The brioche is really comfortable: squishy and warm but not so warm or thick as double knit fabric.

I’ll be making a shawl pin from hammered aluminium to keep the fronts together.

The collar collapses more than I anticipated, I have to fold it down a bit. Extra warmth.

I planned to end the fronts with a unifying icord but in the end I just couldn’t muster the will.
I now take full advantage of having made sure I had a nice edging during knitting. The striped parts have light green edges that are neat.

I used up 320 grams of Wollmeise. The skeins come in 150 grams, officially, but they are always overdimensioned. I still have 7 grams of the light green left and 13 of the dark green.

My Spring Shawl is finished, Summer is now officially here!

The plants to the right of the tree stump are indigo plants. For dyeing! A new adventure for later this year. Summer runs until November I’ve heard.

Progress Spring Brioche Shawl

I finished the collar:

The shawl now weighs 240 grams and I have 50 grams left of the dark green Wollmeise Twin.

I want to add a lace border at the bottom. I’ve been looking at several options. I want something with “leafs”. And it has to compliment the brioche, so not too open lace. Not true lace either (this has lace stitches on both the Right Side and the Wrong Side).

These are some examples I found in the Ravelry database, searching for “lace edging”, “fabric characteristics: lace”, “photo”, “knitting”, “top-down”, “in my library or free”:

Rosina Pullover – Rosina sweater

Rose Leaf in Four Triangles :

Sea Leaves


pic by Edith58

Hey, two patterns by FadenStille 🙂

I probably also want to make something nice at the edges. To frame the whole shawl.

Brioching hard.

This is how far the Brioche shawl was:

I’m working on the top part in two colour stockinette stitch brioche, knitted in Double Dutch technique. With decreases for some shoulder and neck shaping.
The shoulder shaping is no longer visible because I frogged it. I made mistakes that could not be remedied. Better to frog it and reknit.

Which I’ve done. It was a drag to pick up all the stitches in brioche but I did it. I’ve knitted a few rows now, remembering to put in those back decreases.
But now I’ve forgotten to put in the shoulder decreases…

Shaping at the neck:

In the front I decrease one stitch every row at each end. This gives this shape, vertical fronts:

But this was how it was. Not only had I forgotten to start the shoulder decreases, the decreases at the neck are not positioned right, they are not centred. They are two dark green lines off centre. I couldn’t fudge it, I would always see it.
So I’ve frogged half the top part to reknit it. And place the decreases in the middle. And remember to start shoulder decreases.

This is the second time I have to reknit the top. I have a hard time counting correctly the past few weeks…

Final studies for Spring Brioche Shawl and cast on.

Last weekend, as I was running out the door to go to that cat/wool party, I grabbed my silly little suitcase:

It looks terribly childish, especially next to the red Deer&Doe dress I was wearing, but I realized at the very last second that it contained what I wanted to study in the two hour train trip:

My swatch for the Spring Brioche Shawl! The one I’ve been harping on about for months now.

Luckily, one of my knitter friends travelled on the same train as I and she agreed to sit next to all my childishness and we had a little study group going on. Showing and explaining my swatches made it easy to see what I like and what not. Even though my swatches always look messy and unorganized my friend could see every little change and its significance. A knitter friend is a wonderful gift! She advised me to stick to what I like and not try to force things that do not work.
When I got of the train I was ready for the final stretch.

So last Wednesday I put my suitcase on the table and made a thorough study of all the Brioche colour work that I would actually consider for this shawl:

(I once read this marvellous insult: “I neither have the time nor the crayons to explain it to you.” This is pretty much how I feel treated when the cat “helps” me like this. She has no regard for my work. Nor for my crayons.)

A clear plan emerged. The shawl is going to start out with a wide strip that’s knitted sideways. It will feature diamond shapes through travelling stitches all in one colour. At the top it will have two coloured brioche in stockinette stitch stripes (they are so neat!). Later on stitches will be picked up at one long side for a neck detail in the dark colour and at the other long side for an interesting edge in two colours. (We’re thinking stockinette stitched stripes again because they are so crisp but we have to consider curling too.)
I started the final swatch:

It’s at the bottom of the picture. The light green part has diamond shaped details by ways of travelling stitches. This was going to be the Art Deco part of the shawl, after all.
The two coloured part has stockinette stripes in it.

At the top is the long thin part you’ve seen before, in which I studied various two colour brioche combinations and searched for the right needle size.

But the travelling stitches… they don’t look nice. In fact they look horrible.
I played around a bit more, trying various variables, to get them better. I failed.
But now I don’t think it’s possible to make angular lines with travelling stitches on brioche, at all. They are all more flowing and round than angular. (And I cannot get the travelling stitches to be consistent in tension anyway).

On Ravelry this is the only project I’ve found that looks decently angular and is in travelling stitches, and with all the reclining on the couch I’ve been doing I think I’ve seen every brioche/fishermen’s rib project out there.

Celtish by Joshua Carlson a.k.a. The Bearded Knitter
Wonderful scarf and a free pattern too! But still quite flowy, more “Celtic” than “Art Deco”.

So I switched tactics. Travelling stitches were out. All those beautiful shawls that had inspired me to start this project had to be put out of my mind. I had to go another way. Fly free, mind, fly free.

One avenue that Brioche offers is to use the characteristic striped texture it possesses to make diamond shapes. Make lines with increases and decreases. Use lines to define shapes.
I studied a few examples on Ravelry. The best one is Windmolen jacket by Nancy Merchant:

But I didn’t have the book with me in the city so I couldn’t study it in detail. I tried a bit on my own in the swatch but I quickly saw I couldn’t make it work.

Another thing in the swatch that bugged me was the amount of stripes going on at the left. I don’t need 7 dark stripes. I’m reluctant towards stripes to begin with.
So I bound off a few of the stripes, to see how 5 dark stripes would look. Better. Much better. Pretty soon I bound off all of them, so I could focus on the light green part and study shaping through increasing and decreasing.

That was disastrous. Conclusion: I can’t make diamond shapes that way. And I don’t want to wait till the weekend to study Windmolen Jacket. And this is just another swatch.

So I changed course once more and “settled” for just textured stripes to hint at Art Deco. No diamond shapes this time. Only stripes. And not coloured stripes either, no, just the stripey texture Brioche has all on its own. Especially knit on a small needle and in good round yarn (hello Wollmeise) it can look very crisp.
Design plan: monocoloured stripes and a few multicoloured details…

Looking once more at the Brioche patterns I favourited on Ravelry and the sketches I made on my notepad I decided upon three stitch combinations I wanted to use in this sideways panel:

  1. a small band of two coloured stockinette stripes. Only 5 dark ones. (remember edge stitch)
  2. a slightly wider band with dark leaflike shapes on light background, all done with increases and decreases
  3. a wide band in only light green that has stripes feathering out. (remember edge stitch)

On paper I sketched the final decisions, determined that the increases would make a nice beginning and decided on the final number for cast on.
Then I ripped out all the swatches I’d made. Wound the yarn into balls again and casted on for the real thing:

Beginning of my shawl.

That’s the solid part on the right, with the increases fanning out and the yarn ends laying in the way. In the middle is the colour work, there are already two dark leaves finished and I already messed up how decreases must be done (change around the colour sequence to avoid light green lines in a dark green detail) and the leaves sport between them a rather pronounced light green column of burp-stitches. At the left is the stockinette stitch stripe part. There are 5 dark stripes there and only in the last 4 rows I realized that one light green column ought to be burps not knits.

This is as far as I got with this version of Spring Brioche Shawl.

Apart from the faults I mentioned above the main problem is the combination of a solid part with a two coloured part. Because of how Brioche works I had to work the solid part twice as many times as the coloured part. In between I had to twirl the yarns around each other to anchor the light part to the other part. And I had to push stitches around on needles all the time to work one part on one colour while the other colour was waiting half way the needle. It was driving me nuts. But I was probably willing to put up with it, even as the shawl would grow much wider, if the bridge between the two coloured and mono coloured part hadn’t looked so awful. It looks like I knotted each row together. While wearing mittens. Thrummed mittens.

 Family Thrummed Mittens by Catherine Vardy

I put it in its suitcase for the night.

The next day I looked at it with fresh eyes. And I knew what had to be done: the solid colour has to be worked separate from the two coloured part. This means working a wide sideways strip in one colour, then pick up stitches at the long side and then work a second, two coloured, strip alongside it. This strip will have the “leaves” and the five (or three?) dark green bands.
(Adding a sideways knitted strip to any piece of knitwear is usually a thing I avoid but in this case it’s really the best thing to do.)
After that pick up stitches once again for neck detail and edging all around.

So here we are. Spring Brioche Shawl has started! This is two days of knitting:

A sideways knit band of Brioche increasing. Brioche is so stripey already that it doesn’t need anything else, less is indeed more. The top side is smaller than the bottom side. But overall it’s not deep/high at all, not even 15 cm. This doesn’t feel wide enough but I don’t know how Wollmeise brioche will behave when finished. Will it stretch? Will it bounce back?

Needles are small: 2 mm. The yarn is Wollmeise Twin which is a tightly spun, round yarn, and the colourway is Zarte Knopse. To be combined with Spinaci.

I really like how crisp the brioche looks on 2 mm needles! I like the feel of the fabric. For now it’s very bouncy. I already suspect I won’t have enough yarn for the shawl I have planned, this is knitting up yarn so fast. But I won’t mind buying more. It’s a good thing this is a repeatable colourway. But will a 600 grams shawl be usable?

When I’m buying more, I wouldn’t mind buying some extra for a pullover in Wollmeise Brioche either, mind. Probably in Lace since that’s a little bit smaller in gauge. The ease would be amazing. A fitted look without the need for not-breathing. Excellent.

But that’s for later, today I’m knitting my brioche shawl and as we’re travelling between city and cabin a few times I’m working from a little suitcase. I feel so organized!

(Suitcases also works to keep the yarn snobby cat Poekie out of my project)

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

Today is a day for rest. I’m making soup. And I’m going to design the feature for my Deco Cardigan.

But somehow all kinds of other wool things happen today. Unplanned wool things.

It started with two skeins Wollmeise that came up for adoption yesterday and I willingly took home with me. They make such a great combination!

They are Wollmeise Twin Spinaci and Twin Zarte Knopse. Pictures are from the Wollmeise website because these colours are non-fotographable.
(If I had to describe them I’d say it in -rude- Dutch: “doodgekookte diepvriesspinazie” en “aspergepis” 😉 ) A marvellous combination!

Last evening, last night and this morning was spend looking at multicoloured shawls and thinking up elements I certainly want in mine.

Here are the shawls that each have an element I want to incorporate:

Catkin Shawl by Carina Spencer, with those great catkins, is the main inspiration. Have a (link) look at how they are used in this sweater by Pattepoilue!

Cindy Garland did all kinds of clever design things in her Summer Travels shawl. There’s the shape of the slipped stitches and how they travel into the solid coloured areas. The use of solid coloured areas. With beads. Ooh and Aah! Well done. If I didn’t insisted on some sort of “buds” or “leave” shape in my shawl I would have knitted Summer Travels. Oh, and I want a cowl or high neck of some sort, for warmth. But otherwise I would have knitted this pattern.

Cypri by Amanda Scheuzger also has traveling stitches and uses solid coloured blocks with striped sections. And shawl Family Tree by Fiddle Knits sits high in the neck and uses colour blocks and different directions. And has a fun stitch to enliven a coloured stripe.

Then there’s Corrina Ferguson who does something great with stripes and elongated stitches in her blue and green shawl Belliese. (I call this stitch butterflies but that’s not the right name)

The cable goodness from Golden Dreams Scarf by Katya Wilsher has been a favourite of mine for a long time now. Perhaps combined with corrugated ribbing? Such as shown in Nightshade in Amber shawl by Lynette Meek. Or it could be brioche! There’s still Frost on Leaves, by Midori Hirose on my mind…

and then Sprig sweater by Alana Dakos, the sweater I’m currently spinning the green eco-sheep for but which sideswept leaf-detail would be marvellous in stripes and slipped stitches.

So there we are. Me pouring over shawls, petting yarn. Not designing that thing for Deco Cardigan. Mainly because I cannot find checkered paper in this house, you see.

I also unexpectedly spun 50 grams of this freshly coloured BFL and would love to spin the other half too. Preferably now so that I can ply it right after and soak it in the hot water that will be left from cooling the chicken soup later this evening (but I might just wash some socks in it. Spinning and plying takes hours):

And then, when I had my noon rest on the couch, I found myself weaving in ends. We’re all shocked!

A year after finishing the Karma blanket it seemed like a good time to do so. The blanket has “matured” enough, I say.

Or maybe not:

Well. I’ll go and have a second look for checkered paper.

Finished: Cocoberry Cowl

My Cocoberry Cowl, still without buttons and I made a mistake on the shoulders, the lace pattern should have continued there. But a lovely shoulder warmer. And so very soft!
Pattern by Meilindis

274 m (300 yards) of handspun Baby Camel Top, fingering weight.
needles 2,75 mm to get a gauge of 22,5 st/10cm and 15,5 rows/10 cm