Mad about Socks: the swap I sent

So in the Dutch Karma Swap Group we’re doing the Mad about Socks swap at the moment and this is the swap I send.

I secretly stalked Anneke, who is very good in knitting socks and loves happy colours. I send her this skein of sock yarn:

Handdyed by Tibbe, who loves happy and intense colours.

I also made an aquarel of her dear dog Dunya:

Using the water colours I bought in Germany and thick, smooth paper. This is actually the first aquarel I ever made. Where I knew a bit what I was doing, I mean.

This is the photo I found online in one of Anneke’s posts and it iss clear she loves Dunya very much. And Dunya her!

Dunya is an elderly Scottish Border Collie. She wears shoes when she goed outside, because of joint pains. A sweet dog wearing socks, that’s how I tied it to the swap.

Her whole family loves dogs so I also made a drawing of her daughter’s dog, who was professionally photographed by Angelique van Doorn from

dog aquarel watercolor
Sketches on the right, send image on the left.
Anneke was happy with them! She went out and bought frames the same day. I’m glowing with happiness 🙂

This is the rest of the swap I send:
swap send
Four solid miniskeins for stranded socks, a brightly coloured half cake I dyed myself when happy colours were very important to me, a mini cake in a yarn that knits up like tiger paws and a key chain of a sheep with adorable feet.

That tiger striping yarn I received myself in a swap but never knew what to do with. I used a bit to knit this pincushion:
Tiny pincushion

This is a good swap 🙂

Mine was well received.
I got to play with watercolours and I’m fortified in my hope that the joy I have when depicting a lovely animal is visible in the end result.
(If you want specifics: I used Schmincke Horadam water colours and a very smooth paper of 300 grams weight: Schut Terschelling Glad (my favourite!)).

The swap I received made me happy too 🙂
I’m looking forward to using the quality Dutch Wool Diva sock yarn. And the glass items are already in use. One holds stitch markers, the other the first flowers of Spring:

The Mad About Socks Swap: received

The Dutch Karma Swap Group has a secret mail swap going on, Mad about Socks. Emphasize on Mad:

It runs coincidentally with the SockMadness but any madness is good: Mad Head Socks (aka hats), Mad Hans Socks (aka mittens).

Over the past few weeks we had some fun in the thread, answering silly questions. And now the parcels are reaching their destinations!

When I came home from the Women’s March on Saturday my swap was waiting for me:

That’s Dutch Wool Diva Sock Star in the colour Grey Hare!

The same colour I bought for myself last year, when Dutch Wool Diva opened her brick and mortar store. I then testknitted her design, Bines socks, from it:

I wear these socks a lot. Alot! (please pet you’re alot whenever you pass it)

The pattern ia Bines by Dutch Wool Diva, knitted on 2,25 mm, used 70 grams. The remainder of the skein I used in the Wolop Advent shawl.

Now I have a second skein! A wonderful choice by my swap partner, Yarncontaminated. I’d said that silvery greys are my favourite at the moment and she had a look at my inspirational board:

Wonderful colour.

Ahh, to think what to knit with it. I’m leaning towards another pair of socks, seeing as this is the Mad about Socks swap and I love wearing my existing pair in this colourway and stitches show up very nice in this yarn and pretty soon we’ll be getting the new pattern for the Sock Madness.

I do need to finish the qualification pair first though. Deadline is Thursday night (=3AM in America). I’m knitting like mad!

My Pussy Hat

I dressed up. It’s a beautiful day. I’m going all by myself to Nijmegen.

Today I’m participating in the National Women’s March (facebook link).

It’s the first Saturday after International Women’s Day and in a few days we’re having national elections which, just like in the States, has flooded the country with extreme opinions. Polarisation.
I won’t stand for that. I stand for equality. For inclusiveness. For using some common sense and decency. We’re in this together, we are a society and we should take care of each other, all of us, for all of us.

(Been hitting the gym since September. I always planned to start lifting weight from age 40 and now, at 45 yo, I’ve started. Not bad, as I was still bed ridden only two years ago.)

The hat used to be my Too Tired To Think hat, made in 2011:

Made from gorgeous handspun from a Norwegian batt celebrating a Norwegian fairy tale (King Polarbear) and send to me my Ullsmeden in the Fairy Tale Swap Group. In a time when I was really really sick and I hurt so much over Norway.
The colours are from February snow over a forest, touched by the sun.

Now, here, in Holland, there are some voices that the transgender community feels hurt by the overall pink colour of Pussy hats. “They reference white women with pink genitalia.”
Personally I think that’s not the case. I believe the pink comes from “blue is for boy, pink is for girls” and we’re making fun of it.
Either way I have no answer when someone questions my colours today. Shall I tell about Norway?

The March will be inclusive and supportive. I highly doubt there will be any critizing or critique. If so I may sing my conversation partner a song from when I grew up: “You, to me, are everything. The sweetest thing, I’ve ever seen, oh baby! To you, I guess I’m just a clown, who picks you up when you down, oh baby…”
And I’ll shake the bells that are on the cat ears of my hat.

Or, if my voice feels good: “It’s a beautiful day. The sun is shining! I feel good. Nothing’s gonna stop me now. Oh yeah.”

Now I hope someone talks to me. It IS a beautiful day!

swap received: seasonal postage swap

For seasonal greetings we have a cheaper stamp in the month of December. In the Dutch Karma Swap Group we have a fun swap of trying to send the maximum that’s allowed with the cheap stamp. One stamp allows for 50 grams in a paper envelop not thicker than 3,2 mm and not wider than 30 x 24 cm.
This is what I got today!
kerstzegelswap NKS Ravelry
All favourite things of me: a small tin, stitchmarkers, darning needles and decorative band for the project bags I am sewing one of these days…. soon…
And a lavender wool wash soap. A lavender kind. And a no rinse kind, from the good brand Eucalan. I don’t know this no rinse-washes. I’ll sure give this a try next time I wash my socks or other handknits.

Here’s a close up of the stitch markers, they have an amethyst bead on them and they are well made: totally snag free.
stekenmarkeerders met amethist, kerstzegelswap NKS ravelry

The stranded pouch is expertly knit. Even tension and all that. It’s a delight to look at and to handle.
I filled it up with some fiberfill and a bit of lavender I cut off our plants earlier this year.
stranded pincushion with lavendel in it. I love darning needles! kerstzegelswap NKS Ravelry
Using the darning needles that were in the envelope. And a piece of yarn my fellow raveler so thoughtfully send with.

It now smells so good here!
stranded pincushion with lavendel in it. I love darning needles! kerstzegelswap NKS Ravelrystranded pincushion with lavendel in it. I love darning needles! kerstzegelswap NKS Ravelry
stranded pincushion with lavendel in it. I love darning needles! kerstzegelswap NKS Ravelry
Beautifully knit.

A very thoughtful swap. Thank you.

swap received, cast on for Fair Isle Cuff

I’ve participated in another swap, de Decemberzegelswap.
In the Netherlands we have slightly discounted post stamps for the month of December, specially meant for x-mas cards:

Which the Dutch Karma Swap Group took as an invitation to send out cards with a little knitterly embellishment to a fellow swapper.
This this is the one I received yesterday evening (not that the post is delivered on Sundays but it was delivered to the neighbours while we were at the cabin and we didn’t see them until last night):

Miniskeins in a gorgeous colour palette! Misty, silvery greens!
In all new-to-me yarn brands, except for the Wollmeise. And a darling card with the squirrel Beatrix Potter drew 🙂
Collected and send by Little Wolf Yarns:

Who invented this swap last year! She’s brilliant.

The miniskeins and the card made me want to cast on for something stranded right then and there!
But it’s a good idea to wait for the morning light to see clearly how colours interact.

So I spend the evening browsing stranded patterns and I decided upon Fair Isle Cuffs by Julie Williams, a free pattern.
This morning:

Main colours on the left. To the left are colours for background and/or extra contrast.
On the screen one of the projects for the pattern that inspires me much, colourwise. There is another project that added extra colours to the centre of each pattern. These two projects will be helpful for mine.

Ah and there’s also my lovely little pincushion with the fox on the table. It always is near where I craft. I received in the Decemberzegelswap last year! From SylS who recently dazzled the internet with these crocheted owls:

the pattern started as Fat Little Owl African Flower by Heidi Bears and SylS has perfected it.

Back to stranded knitting: on my stranded Advent socks I noticed that where the round changes, a little jog emerges. The flow of the knitting is interrupted:
Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 12.52.14

Online I’ve found this tutorial to avoid the jog when you’re knitting stripes: after you’ve knitted one round with the new colour, knit the first stitch of that first row together with it’s mother-stitch.

I don’t have a solution yet for fair isle patterns that jog with row changes. Experienced knitters seems to just accept it as a part of stranded knitting. I’m cool with that. Casting on now.

By the way, the designer of the Fair Isle Cuffs pattern, Julie Williams, is the writer of Little Cotton Rabbits, one of the blogs I follow. What a coincidence, it’s such a heart warming blog, with tranquil colours. It’s about knitting and living with an autistic son, Toby, who in 2015 had a relatively stress free hair cut for the first time in many many years and who is very happy with his new look.

As a designer she specializes in patterns for cuddly knitted animals and their complete wardrobes:

two more thoughts on the stranded project: why does the pattern ask to cast on 66 stitches when the ribbing pattern repeat is 4 stitches and some of the patterns are too?
I don’t know yet. Perhaps 64 is not enough. Perhaps we shouldn’t aim for a perfect multiply of pattern repeats as it helps with the jog to have extra stitches.

And two: Stranded knitting using sock yarn is not “the right way” because sock yarn is a round yarn. Better to use a 2 ply woolen yarn, such as a Shetland yarn or an Estonian yarn. Then the stitches will merge a bit and this will aid the visual coherency, they won’t stand out as single v’s.

“The right way” would be to use these beautiful miniskeins for stranding in socks, where the sock yarn with its nylon content and washability has proper functionality. But I want these colours near my eyes, where I see them often. Ergo: on my wrists.
I promise I’ll use them often so I get full profit of the wearability and washability of sock yarns.

UPDATE Ravelry is unreachable, because our provider Ziggo is too skimpy to pay for a good connection across the Atlantic and its owner UPS is too hard headed to honour a preexisting free peer agreement. So I’m writing my project notes here, to be transferred to my project page on a later day:
– couldn’t do it, ribbing that wasn’t a neat repeat of 4. Fudged two extra stitches and am now working on 68 st. Will reduce to 66 when pattern repeats need it.
– errr….forgot the other thing…. Argh.
UPS and Ziggo are a bad lot!

ah. as soon as I pick up my knitting I remember what I wanted to note:
– I keep the yarn for the purl stitches over my left hand. Knit goes over right. Right hand flicks, left hand knits Continental Combined.

– my two colours for the ribbing are close together, Fabel sock yarn in white and Wolbeest Glittersok from my Midwintersokken. If there was to be a starker contrast I’d add one row of all knits (but 2 x 2 stranded) to the cast on before the currogated ribbing. To avoid the different coloured horizontal bit at the foot of the first purl row.


– working hard. Would love to have the ribbing done before the natural light fades, I want to knit with the miniskeins.

Spin a yarn, have a treat.

204 meters out of 100 grams.

It’s the BFL hand dyed by Passe-Partout that I received in the Elementary, My Dear swap:

It’s Fractal Spun:

The person who gave me this great roving is coming here today, for a lazy afternoon of knitting and sweets. No worries, just hanging out:

Screen Shot 2015-12-27 at 09.35.15
I have the sweets, you bring your knitting.

I, being the perfect host, am having breakfast at the moment by sampling the pears with custard:


(The pears were cooked with ginger and kardemom, in addition to the cinneamon (and two clovers if I had been able to find them). It adds a delicious flavour to it. The pears themselves are organic, they have more flavour than regular ones.
The custard I made myself: unwhipped cream, egg yokes, vanilla, salt and pepper. YUM!)

Madrid wrist warmers (stulpen).

I’ve struck a deal with my friend Linda, we’re doing a swap. I’m giving her a “magic ball” which is a skein wrapped around all kinds of presents that you only get access to as you knit yourself through the skein. A good way to get her to knit something for herself.

In return she agreed to knit wrist warmers for me:

The pattern is Madrid by Alexandra Brinck (free!) and she used my own handspun, the sparkly Nunoco batt.

It’s the fibre I got in the previous swap and I knew I wanted something fairy tale like from it.

And now I have!

They are so soft and warm and so well knit! Linda is an amazing knitter. Even stitches, even tension and not one fault. She knits to a very high standard and I know she’s been ripping and reknitting these quite a bit, fighting a concentration problem.

She did it and they’re amazing! A delight to wear!

She put in beads:

Besides, look how custom made the sizing is! Snug around my tiny wrists but roomy around my peddle like hands. Linda is a perfectionist.

They’re very classy city-handknits. I won’t be taking these to the cabin.

The style of these wristwarmers is called “stulpen”. I’m not sure what the word means, it’s German. To me it brings an association of tulips, which are “tulpen” in Dutch.

They do resemble the shape:

gr tulp

Stulpen are my favourite shapes for wristwarmers because they not only cover the wrist but also the base of the hand, where I get cold the easiest. But they don’t hinder the thumb by having a thumb.

Thank you Linda! I hope to finish your magic ball soon and then you can cast on for you.

Weird Wool Wednesday: a red herring

The package I send in the British Detective swap also contained a red herring. Literally:

Very nice food, herring. We Dutch people eat it “raw”. At booths in the street. With some onions and a little tooth pick with a flag:

Herring is typical North Sea country food, all the countries around this sea eat it in one form or another.

I love how this part of the swap is again a link to our heritage, to history, to the colours of the landscape that the sea faring folks around here have been seeing for centuries. Colours now caught in the Holst yarns and hopefully someday knitted by my swappee:

There’s a special light that surrounds the North Sea. People here are always looking at the skies, marvelling at light and atmosphere. Some people catch these lights and frame them, like painter Zarina Stewart-Clark:

Very much “this place I live, these parts I know”. We often stare at the sky and we breathe, just breathe.

If however a herring is red and hairy they’re more likely to be a false decoy in a detective story:

There are no onions with the knitted herring I send.
Because that’s a clue towards my identity: I don’t eat onions.

They’re bad for me although I haven’t figured out what gene/cell process is at fault here. You’d suspect CBS genes but those are fairly normal in me. As are MTHFR. Although none of them is 100% functional and a particular combination of malfunctions are together in a street gang.

Some of my MTR/MTRR genes are 100% broken and as a result I have no smart police force protecting the city. What team of friendly cops I do have can’t access the motor pool (B4, B12, folate and vit D3) which results in my cells filling up with ammonia if I eat onions.

Yeah, lots of suspects and leads in The Methylation Mystery and I ought to do some serious sleuthing to figure out the whole story. But I’d rather knit funny things and giggle:

I used pattern Great White Christmas by Kris Mimulus, a free pattern for a shark shaped x-mas bauble. Good pattern.

The red herring came with a sheet of paper. On it where lyrics to a song.

You see, my swappee likes opera, especially the one in Paris. But she hates cotton and acryl and pink and trinkets that clutter up the house.
“Trinkets” in French is “Bibelots” and in Dutch it’s “prullen” or “prullaria”.

Are you kidding? An aria-lover who hates prullaria?
That calls for a prull-aria! I started to think up lyrics right away.

As a format I chose a well known opera aria. You know this one, it’s “La Donna et mobile”. Have a look at Nicholas Cage in his underpants if you need a subtle reminder.

The original aria is written in Italian. I’m not very good with Italian. I’m a bit better with French, which my swappee speaks fluently. I threw in some Dutch and English and mixed it all up. I’m going to quote you the lyrics now. I’m sure you can understand some of it, after all, it’s the universal sound of music!

This is the Duke of Mantua’s cast-on starting on row 3 of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Rippoletto (1851):

L’ Acryl è mobile!
Qual un peut hirsuté…
Poisson ou empoisonné?
pour vous à détectiver!

Toujours un aimable,
gracieux visage,
en circulars ou en Merino
mais pas en coton rosé!

L’acrilico è mobil’.
Qual piuma rosso…
una piuma del mare?
mais pas des oignons!

Il est toujours malheureux
celui qui acquerrait ready-mades…
Glorifions les tricoteuses!
Qui créent des choses prestigieuses:

Sjaals en mutsen and warm woolen mittens,
dust gathering statues of little black kittens,
cream coloured ponies and crocheted noodles,
baubles and bibelots and toilet paper poodles!

Si le chien mord!
Si l’abeille pique!
Si je me sens triste….
Je n’ai qu’à penser aux tutti del varia!
Et je chante cèèèèètte prull-aria!

Here’s that last bit again, in English, because I know how you love your classics:
“When the dog bites!
When the bee stings!
When I’m feeling sad…
I simply remember all the things varia!
And I sing thiiiiiiiiiiis prull-aria!”

A swap received!

We’ve just had a swap in the Dutch Karma Swap Group. It was a secret one and it was called “Elementary, my dear.”
Revolving around British detective stories!

You were to send a package to your swappee without revealing your identity. Some clues should be given so that the receiver could go investigating. For the past two weeks packages have been received and people have been guessing and in the group we’ve had the most fun trying to steer them this way and that.

Look at what arrived at my house:

Wonderfully wrapped presents and clues! Done with much attention!
I love all the nice papers and labels! Such an harmonious combination but with funny details and no shying away from colours.
I think that in itself is a clue towards the identity of my anonymous sender.

There was a real treasure map/clue letter, cleverly not handwritten because that I would trace back to someone:

In rhyme!

From this letter I deduced that my swapper is a person who’s intelligent and humourous and knows her way around computers. And has a natural eye for details.

This focused me on a sub set of members of the group who are currently in higher education or are known for a high degree of finesse when it comes to crafting.
Also probably no kids or chronic illness to distract the mind.

Next was a major clue! The letter was sealed with a personal seal:

A “G”! There were no participants with ravelry-names starting with “G”… but this seal is too special to own for merely a Ravelry nickname, no, it’s probably the first letter of their real name. Something to investigate!

Also, whoever owns a seal and sealing wax and knows how to use it properly must be somewhat of a geek.
However, that does not narrow down the field particularly with the participants in this swap.

I unwrapped some more.
The four small packages contained written clues in a certain order. Each was in a lovely quirky paper. I think they come from a brand called Flow, which is a magazine and sometimes gives out nice printed pieces of paper.
I know at least two participants who revels in paper and stationary and this particular magazine…. Made a little mental note.

The two large packages contained high quality spinning fibres!

BFL, Mulberry Silk and Merino by Hilltop Cloud and BFL by Passe-Partout!
The last one I know well, the former will be an lovely exploration. By the looks of things it will be a delight to spin, it’s soft and beautiful in colouring.
Looking at the site of Hilltop Cloud I’m getting even more enthousiastic. A one woman entreprise, focussing on specifically spinning quality. Yes please!

My secret swapper had done a marvellous job, choosing these fibres for me. My favourite fibres (BFL and Mulberry Silk) and great colours.
This had been some excellent sleuthing on her behalf!

There final package contained a large bar of chocolate with hazelnuts, Tony Chocolonely, a producer that tries to deliver not only fair trade products but slave free too. Apparently there’s still a lot of slave labour in the cacao industry.
Tony C. has recently launched in the US and is now for sale at PDX, Portland International Airport.

Even though Tony produces big bars (180 grams of chocolate!) this one was already half gone by the time I was done unwrapping and petting.

Here are all the goodies!

I’m not ashamed I ate all the chocolate. As any crime writer can tell you chocolate is excellent fuel for the little grey cells.

That’s how I deduced who my generous sender was. But I didn’t say so out loud online and we made fun to and fro for the next couple of days. Especially when she herself received her package (not sent by me).

Hint/her ravatar:

This is a person who’s name starts with a G and she’s finishing up her Masters and wants to go on to get a PhD. And she has lots of humour!!