Finished socks “Streepje anders” after yarn party yesterday.



Pattern Streepje anders by Heleen Kok with modifications.

Today I finished one toe and a whole foot (plus its toe) as I took the whole day for resting and knitting after a wonderful yarn party yesterday.

At the party there was yarn and knitting and spinning and weaving and cake and bonbons and pie and quiche and taco’s and cats and “Bossche Bollen” and cat tea mugs and lots of handknit socks!
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One girl brought these stitchmarkers that she makes professionally. She made these especially for the birthday girl:
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Those are chocolate, a cookie and Bossche Bollen. With a bite out of them! The birthday girl LOVES Bossche Bollen, usually when I go visit her I have to bring some, so this was a perfect gift.
These are very well made too. It will be a happy day when the maker decides to open her online shop 🙂

Another girl, Meilindis, brought her loom! That’s a new one for me, someone chatting and weaving at a party. Go check out the wonderful patterns she can make on a rigid heddle on her site Meilindis.nl (it’s in English).
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It was great seeing her work and she explained a lot. If you have extra heddles you can do all kinds of patterns on a rigid heddle, just as if it was a loom with “schachten” (don’t know the English word. What people consider to be “a real loom”.)

She dazzled me with her colour handling and I learned a bit how a weaver can manipulate colours. Soothe them, ease them, shift them. Meilindis has a special knack for this!

(I do not. I somehow lack the imagination or the courage for it, to combine “strange” colours. It was funny to discover this “handicap” of mine. It made it much more marvellous to see Meilindis combine an try out colours with such ease and wit! But I think I may have confounded her a bit with my squeals and boggling eyes and compliments 😉 )

The birthday girl is just as fond of big cat mugs as I am:
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The one on the right is my present to her!

Here are better pictures by the maker:

It’s an handmade mug from Budapest artist Brigitta Bondar who has an Etsyshop ARTushkashop as well as a brick & mortar shop in the centre of Budapest. Near the trainstation or centre square I believe. She’s also on Facebook, in English.
Brigitta is a wonderful artist and was very fast en precise in communicating with me and then shipping fast and securely.

ARTushka also has this sheep mug in her Etsy shop:
pic by ARTushka
and more sheep in the Budapest shop:
pic by ARTushka

The birthday girl is not allowed to keep sheep in her house so she settles for cats. This is wonderful Suus, a fairly young rescue who is so friendly and curious:
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There were a lot of cat ladies at the party and Suus was adored!

Equally adored was cat Sproet who came down from the bedroom for a visit. Sproet is old and blind but made the rounds and found his way, using his whiskers.

An afternoon with yarnwomen, tea cats, real cats, cake and chocolate, made for a wonderful party 🙂

Weird Wool Wednesday 3: just regular tea.

It didn’t work, the existing LEDs are too much incorporated into the kettle. With solid solid glue. So it’ll be just regular tea for us. From a water kettle with regular old blue LEDs.

Also, my husband says I’m one to talk online about his kitchen hacks.
He just caught me making chicken stock (gelatine) using our garden scissors:
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What? If it works it ain’t stupid.

Weird Wool Wednesday 2: no tea.

A knitter was coming to tea but she had to cancel and now my husband seizes the chance to take apart the watercooker/kettle to change out the blue LEDs for multicolours that change colour over time…

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Is this where young whippersnappers use the online term “FML”? I feel it is.
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Those are my tea tins. The big one holds peppermint leaves, which are still visible in my tea mug that overtly supports my husband. No Grim seen today.

He says he knows what he’s doing…
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But I notice he’s not wearing one item of handknit clothing so I’m not sure that I trust him.
I’m going into town, to buy chocolates. BRB

Knitting in the rain.

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This wool vacation is different that I had planned. It rained all of this week and I couldn’t go outside and do all the carding and fleece washing and felting and dyeing that I came here to do. Oh my, and the gardening! The garden has run wild and I’ll never reel it back in again! I don’t want to talk about it.

I mostly stayed indoors and grumbled and my needle had broken and I went too fast on the car knitting project because its colours make me happy and I didn’t want to think too much:

But you can’t just knit away on your car knitting project. These kind of mindless socks need to be timed smartly so there’s some easy knitting for driving. The leg and the foot are such mindless knitting and need to be savoured for such needy times.

This week I finished one sock and knit the leg of the other, while ignoring the rain and the garden. But now that I’ve turned the heel I have to leave them alone because otherwise I won’t have any suitable car knitting. And I need a car project because tomorrow we’re going for a drive.

To Münster, Germany:munster germany

Look, it’s only about a cm from where I am in the Netherlands!

We love to go to Münster for a day, every year. It’s our one day together. Until now it was usually a day in November, to visit the x-mas market. But we haven’t been for the last two years because of my health. Tomorrow we’re cashing in that rain cheque! Münster is so nice. Old and cute and with little shops and nice cafés. And a botanical garden that we’re going to visit tomorrow. A good opportunity for some mindless knitting, while walking.

So I need both car knitting and walking knitting for tomorrow. I’m bringing that green Zauberball sock but I’m afraid I’ll finish it on the way over. So I’ve just cast on for the next sock:

The socks on the right are by fellow raveler Nasti, a Finnish knitting wonder who is excellent with both stripes and colours, here’s her blog.
I love her socks! And I’m shamelessly copying them.

These are two 50 gram balls and because I don’t know how far the grey will get me I did a provisional cast on off the leg and will work my way down to the heelflap. co 56 st on needle 2,25 mm. I’m doing 2 yellow stripes and 5 grey ones. Nasti did 2 and 3.

This week I did do some of the things I planned for this wool vacation. I spun some more silk for the purple(green) single and I set the twist on the spun silk and on the Passe-Partout 3 ply:

The last one will become a Rikke hat, which is easy knitting and is coming with me in the car tomorrow.

Yesterday I cast on for the second cashmere neckwarmer I’ve been wanting to knit for months now:

The pattern is Pudorosa neckwarmer by Lia Moya. Only I replaced the cables in the neck part for a mock cable (herring rib).

The yarn is a 100% Cashmere DK. The same as the pink one, which I wear all the time. Where the rose one is a neckwarmer with round shapes, the lavender one will be more pointy:

 pic by Leo

With the rain I thought it’d be a good plan to crack on with my sewing projects. But somehow I find it difficult to concentrate on them here. It’s easier in the city, where everything and everyone is productive and efficient and fuelled by coffee and urban culture.

In the cabin there’s more of a friendly vibe. “Relax, recuperate, enjoy the view.” Then I got this lovely container full of friendly sewing vibes and things clicked:
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It prompted me to do some of the hand sewing that the skirts need. Lovely!

I got something else too. A new tea mug:
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Stoneware, big (500 ml!), with big blobs of glaze on the outside and with a light interior on the inside. Handmade by Claire Benoit in the UK and bought via her shop on Etsy.

I’ve yet to test it but it meets a lot of my requirements for a Knitter’s Tea Mug. With the light interior it’s better than my dark cat-mug because I can never see if I need to take the tea egg out because its inside is black. (this is a tea egg. I love it in weird shapes.)

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So that’s me finally settled for the rain I think. I’ve now got my head around it and I can do some sewing and knitting now that I’ve got the good vibes, a new tea mug and a new needle 4mm.

Let’s see how I feel the day after tomorrow and how the weather will be.

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X-mas in June

There’s a new KAL starting next Monday, to make 12 stranded mittens, themed to the 12 days of x-mas. Free pattern 12 Days of Christmas Mitten Garland KAL by Kat Lewinski.

The look of the designs is based on wood block printing and silhouette paper cut outs. Both of which I love. Clear contrasts. Playing with shapes and lines. Just my thing.
So I’m joining in. For the first mitten at least, which looks darling:

I’m also joining for the sheer giggles it gives me to do something x-massy in Summer, amidst roses in full bloom. And finding this KAL just as I’m secretly drinking tea from the tea mug I was saving for x-mas which also has that block printing vibe.

I so like it when things unexpectedly tie together. It’s so cheerful, this way I get to giggle each day.

I’m still giggling over two rabbits I met last week!
They are a short haired breed but have magnificent side burns. It’s whitish and so fluffy!
One is smart, the other dim. Both are very happy and they pounce and race and flop about. Living the bunny life.

When I left them I caught the bus and it was driven by a chauffeur that matched the rabbits exactly: magnificent white sideburns! The sort you only know from old Western movies. The kind you never see in modern days.
You couldn’t make it up. Nobody would believe you.

Now I have rabbits tied in my head to the profession of bus chauffeur, some being smart, some being dim. All of them racing across the room, feet squeaking across the flooring boards.
Someone is snoring under the couch.

Weird Wool Wednesday: two yarns, no milk please.

Robert: “Would you like a cup of tea?”
me:        “Yes please. But the thingy needs new yarn.”
Robert: “What?”
me:        “Errr… the tea egg needs new tea.”
Robert: “I actually knew what you meant the first time…”

And just when I want to show you my tea, my Robert and my knitting:
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Lillepoes channeling her inner tea cosy.

Weird Wool Wednesday: a knitter’s tea mug

You know my sheep mug:

I use it every day, either at the cabin or in the city. I have one at both locations.
They were given to me by a friend who lives in Lüneburg, Germany:
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That’s Germany in yellow. In grey are the Netherlands, to the left of Germany. To the north is just a bit Denmark. Upper right, under the Baltic Sea, is Poland. Czech Republic underneath it. (we’re now at the grey country in the middle, right of Germany.)
Right lower border shows Austria. In the middle, under Germany, is Switzerland. Left lower border is France. The little country shown in grey at the left is Luxembourg and to the left of that is Belgium. Then we’re back at left upper corner with the Netherlands again. The blue in left upper corner is the North Sea.

Lüneburg is a beautiful city, chuck full of history and fairytales and culture. I’ve been there once, in winter, it was magical.
There’s an impressive heath nearby where a flock of sheep live with their shepherd. They’re moorland sheep of the German breed Heidschnucke:


This looks just like the picture on my mug! The heath in bloom and with those weird long trees.
Heidschnuck sheep is a very handsome breed. And also intelligent. Beautiful ewe:

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Heid = heide = heath and Schnucke = candy. Sweet heath-candy sheep 🙂

My mug supports the flock at Lüneburger Heath.
I’ve had it for years. For as long as I knit, I think…
it was one of the first “knittery” gifts I ever received. Oh, I love this mug! It’s big, it has green on it, it was a gift given at a time I was low on energy and happiness, it reminds me of Lüneburg and my friend and it’s a knitter’s mug.

Right before Advent the mug in the city fell to the floor and shattered 😦

I had to do a lot of internet wizardry to find a suitable replacement and this is it:
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from a husband and wife team in Bulgaria: Miglena & Miroslav from MMceramicdesign at Etsy.com

A knitter’s mug has to meet a few requirements:
– it needs to hold half a liter of tea (14 to 17 ounces of fluid)
– it must have a handle (we say “ear”)
– it must be higher than wide (I often forget I have tea, it mustn’t cool in a hurry)
– I prefer it to be handmade and directly support the creator
– I love porcelain, more than stoneware
– I love thick glaze
– I like particular colours
– I don’t like comically drawn sheep
– I can’t go out and visit ceramic artists and look for a mug, I’m still house bound. So internet shopping it is.
– if purchased outside of Europe it must cost less than 24 euros (26 USD) otherwise I’ll have to pay a ridiculous amount of import costs
– I don’t trust a handmade mug that costs 24 euro or less, handmades ought to get a fair price

This was the only one to fit the bill. The only one in the whole wide world! Or so it seemed to me, after days of growing a set of screen shaped eyes.

It’s not particularly knitterly but Cat Lady is a close second to Knitter and it met all the other requirements so I’m well pleased.

It’s part of a line of handmade ceramics by a husband and wife company in Bulgaria. It’s well made as judged by Lieneke from Wolop who has a degree in ceramics. The shape keeps the tea hot. It holds 500 ml easily. It’s green, handmade and has a cat.
I like it!

They even do yarn bowls!

And sheep mugs:

Comical sheep….

I’ll keep searching for another mug. A knitter should have more than one mug I feel. For when another knitter comes to visit. And for when you are in a different mood. Or for when I feel more of a spinner than a knitter.

I have one other good mug. It’s not knitterly at all but I love it. It’s my Winter mug:
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It’s a cheapo mug from a cheapo store but it’s big, brown and festive! (oh look at my scrawny claw hand in that photo! That’s my inner witch peeking out, I suppose. I DO have fairytales on the mind these days…)

At Sinterklaas Wolop got a beautiful knitter’s mug from Starbucks. A proper knitter’s mug!

Ooooohooooo!

A cat with a golden collar, playing with green yarn. Lots of volume. High mug. Porcelain, I believe. What a beauty!

I wanted to steal it. Very much.

I didn’t steal it.

Now my New Years Resolution is to steal less (I love resolutions that don’t require any change of behaviour but still give cause to self congratulations) and to go out of the house and meet ceramic artists in real life instead of online. See their products. Find myself another knitter’s mug.
There are some ceramic fairs throughout the year and in 2016 I plan to visit at least one of them. There’s one in Gouda, the city where Lieneke lives. Gouda is traditionally known for it’s ceramics. And cheese. I wonder if it shows functional ceramics or more arty statement things.
There’s another fair in a piece of grassland in the north of the most southern province, Limburg. Someone in the know will enlighten me.

Here’s another knitters’ or spinners’ mug I once had:
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(I gave it away. I saw straight away that it’s too wide to keep my tea hot for the time it takes me to remember I made a cup.)

So there we are. One new knitter’s mug and some beautiful New Year Resolutions. Congratulations all around!

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:

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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:

Approved.

(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!)

knitting the vest at the party

I went to the knitter’s party by train and I brought my knitting. Cast on at the platform, first row in the carriage:

I was all dressed up for the occassion, colourmatching my skirt to my shawl. That’s a new shawl pin being prominent, I had made just it the day before. (another sign I’m doing better. Haven’t made a shawl pin in over a year)

I love taking the train. It feels like you step into the machine that is current society. You get to watch how all the cogs turn and how everything’s coordinated, without any demands made on yourself, other than being “the paying costumer”.
People and trains are scheduled to meet at a certain place and most of them show up and the people make the train run and I get to board it and enjoy the service and look out the window where other people are meeting in buildings or working the land and together we are all making society.

I sat back and enjoyed the ride:

Then I arrived at the party and it was great!

Nothing loud or extrovert. I was planted at the table, got a big piece of pie put in front of me and a hot drink in an appropriate drinking vessel:

Commence the knitting and the talking and the laughter and the occasional silence and more pie and more knitting and more laughter!

The table was filled with tea, coffee, pies and yarn cakes.
That enamel pan is a yarn bowl:

My neighbour brought an Addi knitting machine:

With this thing you can make tubes which is basically a sweater without arms and collar.
Or you can knit to and fro like she is doing and make a rectangle. Here with a double threaded sock yarn: a sock blanket. You dye it, you roll it into two balls and knit two identical socks from it. It’s great fun!

The mechanical knitting of the sock blanket took quite a long time. Not as long as actual handknitting of course! That might have taken 8 hours, with the Addi machine she was done in one.
And the operator had to be careful. Whenever the thread miss one of the teeth a whole would appear in the blanket. She was careful and no holes were made. But it took quite some time and it convinced me I do not need one of these.

I knitted on my vest and after binding off for the neck hole I followed the pattern but did just not understand how these shoulder straps were to transit into straps at the front.
Was I to increase there and somehow sew the two sloping bits together?
As you would with the shoulder seams of a cardigan or pullover (to accommodate sloping shoulders).

Turns out this is wrong:

This is right:

The extra decreases after binding off the middle part, go near that middle part, not at the far edges. They’re use to shape the neck hole.

It’s great to knit in the company of real life knitters, who can just look over your work and suggest solutions! They didn’t even laugh at me.
Not then anyway 😉

I had a wonderful day! 🙂

Weird Wool Wednesday: nutty knitter PR

This picture is currently being used for PR for the Farm- and Countryfair in IJzerlo:

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that’s me!
I’m knitting! I’m wearing hand knits! I’m using an impractical yarn bowl!

The picture was taken on my very first Countryfair, a few years back.
2011 perhaps?
Let’s see, I’m knitting a cap to go with the shawl I’m wearing and it’s not finished and not dyed purple yet. A bit of Ravelry project sleuthing… ah yes, 2011!

The PR people from the Countryfair also use another picture of our knitting table, this one’s from last year:

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I’m famous! I wear that green pixie hat way too often! I’m reversing in age!

Do come and visit during the fair. It’s great fun and I’ll bring cookies to go with my “yarn bowl”: