Weird Wool Wednesday: Bossche Bol stitchmarkers

bossche bollen stekenmarkeerders stitchmarkers breienbossche bollen stekenmarkeerders stitchmarkers breienbossche bollen stekenmarkeerders stitchmarkers breienbossche bollen stekenmarkeerders stitchmarkers breien

After hearing me rave about them the other day Dootje knew the perfect gift for me. A set of Bossche Bol stitch markers of my own. Yay! Celebrated today with an edable Bossche Bol.

There’s also two chocolate bars and a “spekkie” stitch marker, which I will celebrate on another day.

Now to knit a lace shawl and not smear chocolate and cream all over them.

Weird Wool Wednesday: Spot the pineapple.

This mail I just received from my husband:

He mistook my cake of yarn for a pineapple for a few times now and thought it was time to notify me of this.

OK. Message received. You have not been exposed to enough yarn yet. Will remedy.

Also: look at my lamp. It’s wearing my embroidery scissors:
“ananas” for scale

It’s my Anglepoise lamp. This last century marvel of engineering depends on countering the weight of the lamp with some springs at the base. This way you can pull the lamp at least 70 cm away from its base without it toppling over. Mine is a bit off and its springs slowly pull it back up to a standing position. Maybe the springs are new and too stiff for it? More probably: it’s designed for heavier bulbs than the modern ones I use.

Anyway, I had to add some weight to the cap so I took some magnets and now my embroidery scissors live there.
Very convenient this close to my knitting chair. Only I forget they’re there so there’s another pair or scissors in the desk.

And hey, I think Roald Dahl has the same lamp! Here’s a picture of him working in his shed:

Look how comfy he has made himself! A heater, a friendly chair, a make shift desk across his knees, a sleeping bag to keep his legs warm and his feet kept of the ground by whatever was handy yes this old suitcase will do and the dog/cat/grandchild can sit on it when visiting.

And he has a good working light. He doesn’t care for optics, he cares for what works.

Weird Wool Wednesday: evil stroopwafels

Stroopwafels (Dutch sirupwaffles) are the official doping of the SockMadness.

Today I learned that the small ones are more evil than the regular ones:

When I started to take this photo there were enough mini stroopwaffles to cover every part of both socks.

But you know…. it took some time and some sugared fuel to come up with this idea. And then I had to stop before I ran out of waffles.

Weird Wool Wednesday: knitting the cuff without end….

Mod Madness sock has an endless cuff… rows and rows of stranded knitting:

Throwing in purl stitches, never letting you get in any sort of rhythm. It’s so slow and tedious! This has taken me days:

But finally…


I have ended the cuff. I can proceed to the chart.

YAY! all knit stitches from now on!

First row done. Annnnnd…. thwarted by auto-pilot:

There’s no need for these purl stitches. They should be knit.

Weird Wool Wednesday: I have more than the average number of feet.

These are my handknit socks:
handknit socks
These are about half the pair I own. These are The Fancy Ones. The others are at the cabin, the are The Funny Ones.

This is one shelf in my big book case. It’s in the front room, next to the coats and bags and shoes. These are a lot of socks. I have way more socks than I have shoes.

So please tell me why I am waiting impatiently for the new Sock Madness sock pattern to drop? It can be published any moment today! I’m checking my mail every minute.

And then please tell me why I have cast on two socks in the mean time?

One is Music Maker by Vera Thoben, a nice slip stitch colour sock with a heel inspired by the qualification sock for SM 11:
 pic by V. Thoben
This is an excellent pattern for using variegated yarn. It is very very fast compared to the Twisted Madness pattern. And it’s free.

my project in evening lamp light:

The other one is the Mystery Sock for April for the Dutch sock knitting group on Ravely:

Streepje anders by Heleen Kok. The pattern is in English, the title means “A different kind of little stripe”. It’s excellent for variegated, selfstriping or a gradient yarn.

My take on it with two semi-solids:

(I’m doing a modified version, with a shorter leg.) I knit this this morning. This too is a colour pattern with slipped stitches. The rows fly by!

And there’s still the mustard and grey striped pair on which I’m working:

This one is finished, a plain striped mate is already on the needles. Good for car knitting.

And the finished Dropped Madness socks are lingering beside my knitting chair, they are getting a shorter heel and a rounder toe. Half of them are done. Besides them is my ball of plant dyed Wolop yarn filled with presents with a cuff already on the needles. And on top of the little desk lies the striped Harry Potter yarn I’m really want to get started on.

Please tell me once more how many feet do I have?

(But please don’t tell me about how many cardigans I have on the needles at the moment!)

Weird Wool Wednesday: “What are you doing!?”

This was bellowed out by my husband on Sunday, just as I was about to learn to do my first afterthought heel ever. “What are you doing?!
He scared me!
(In Dutch we say: “I frightened myself a little hat!”. This mental image is my gift to you today.)

From the corner of his eye he saw me taking some scissors to knitwear and he shouted out in disbelief.

It’s just an afterthought heel, dear.

My first afterthought heel ever was an adventure:

An adventure made bigger because the ball of yarn was still being used for the leg. I had the luminescence idea of turning the balls inside out in order to work from the other end of the yarn:

Easy peasy.
I did get quite a tangle but soon the yarns will be cut and the ends kitchenered in.

Now just turn the balls the right side out again.
Hm. 50% succes rate:

Still well enough to knit with and not long after this heel I finished the Dropping Madness Socks!

Now I needed to take the official pictures. One from the top, one from the side, one with the measuring tape beside it:

My turn to bellow: “What are you doing?!”

These loved ones I live with…. I may think they spend their days sleeping and snoozing but they do keep tabs on my knitting!

The socks are very comfortable. The afterthought heel makes the gradient in the stripes progress nicely AND is designed to have a striped heel. That’s some good designing right there:

Now if you’ll excuse me? I have a feeling my hairy room mate is in for a little play time.

Weird Wool Wednesday: bringing a knitter to IKEA

So last Monday my husband pleaded me to come with him to IKEA. He bribed me with the promise of a walk in the forest nearby so I said yes.

At IKEA it turned out we were there for me.

Because I need a table-lamp for my knitting chair. So I won’t turn on the overhead lights every evening. And blind the bat that I married.

I also need a new table to put the TV, with yarn storage underneath. This has nothing to do with all the cables my husband can spot from his tv-chair under our current table:
trip to IKEA
(It sags so much the drawers cannot be opened. Also very old and battered.)

I’m not particularly in need of yarn storage though because I recently bought this to put next to my knitting chair:
But I could do with a lamp, I suppose. The lamps at IKEA were too unpractical though. You can only move the light 30 cm’s from its base.

And the TV-thing, why not? We ended up with Kallax, the pick-and-mix modular cabinet used by knitters worldwide:
trip to IKEA
While we were standing there discussing doors or drawers this lady rides up in her scooter and happens to be talking to her friend about storing wool.

“Storing wool!” I cry out and pull the Twisted Madness sock out of my bird house WIP bag. She doesn’t act surprised, knitters are more common at IKEA then I realize.

She does give a fabulous tip about Kallax storage, the go-to furniture for yarn collectors: “Don’t choose the drawers. They have low sides and a low back and skeins will fall out the back and yam things up. You need more room for your yarn!”
trip to IKEA
Proof. You have more yarn than this drawer can hold.

Thank you, knitter at IKEA!

We choose baskets instead. Fabric baskets with cocos fibre glued to the sides. I spend about 20 minutes rummaging through the stock before I found four with a decent front. Twenty gruelling minutes with my husband standing over the cart, not sighing, not moving, just patiently waiting because he knows when he’s been being punished, even though he got what he wanted.

Then we said hello to the fabric section:
trip to IKEA

We said goodbye to some sad chicken:
trip to IKEA
(that’s my phone cosy)

and we had a walk in nature:
trip to IKEA

Here’s our new tv-thing with yarn baskets:
trip to IKEA
(there’s no yarn in there yet but I’m sure something will appear. Kuch! Harry Potter yarn from Wolop! Or this sparkly sock yarn! Kuch, kuch, hatsjoo! )

And a new table lamp:
pic by Beautiful Waste
Not IKEA but a vintage “architect-lamp” from last century. With a heavy base and a long arm to get the light where you need it, all the way over here.
It’s a Herbert Terry & Sons Anglepoise lamp, model 90, produced in 1973, found online at a second hand store in Friesland. Anglepoise lamps are a British invention and typically have 3 springs in the back. The company still exists and is an iconic British brand now.

For good measure I bought a second architect-lamp, for the table in our front room, where my husbands groans and squints everytime I try to draft a sewing pattern:
pic by Beautiful Waste
You know these lamps, with their cast iron foot where you can keep erasers and short pencils and a lone paperclip. But no elastic bands because the cat will eat them. The springs can make a typical twang! sound. And you can easily stretch them 70 cm or 2 foot from the base to get the light where you need it.

Who knew these kind of staple lamps from our past are now vintage and praised and not made anymore?

Here’s another picture of an era soon to be gone:
trip to IKEA
In a while no one will use iron plugs and bolts with IKEA furniture anymore. They’ve invented some wooden click-and-twist plug.

Anyway, it’s Wednesday morning now. I’m waiting for the lamps to be delivered. My husband is out buying chocolate and crab meat.
After that we’ll go vote and try to knock some sense into this country now that everybody is doing politics as if it’s an online race for fake internet points. Parties without plans! Parties that do not get their numbers verified by our national bureau for statistics! These are not professionals, these are media clowns.

But I guess that’s the new era and it’s up to the old generation X-fossils like myself to find a way to have a wholesome vision for society and explain it to the new generations in a way that they understand. Which is online. Perhaps that’s even a new place for not-so-loud people to practise politics. Based on content and heart, not on show and outrage. Intelligent Introverts Unite!

Weird Wool Wednesday: weird socks and things

One Mad sock finished:

With this I am eligible to become “a cheerleader” and receive all the patterns from the competition. If I manage to finish both socks I’ll become an official contender. That’s my goal.

It’s a weird sock… it twists around the foot. Not a comfortable fabric to walk on.

But it’s fun to knit. Online we share progress and woes of wrong stitches and wrong increases and it’s marvelous to see how the different yarns knit up! I could make you a collage but I’m not sure I should share other people’s photo’s. Here’s the link to the ravelry page with all the socks, you may want to have a look for yourself.

Finishing one sock and being part of the Dutch chatter really eggs me on to start the second sock. I want to partake in the competition!

The chatter in the Dutch sock group is such fun. One of the moderators is also an official Sock Madness moderator and gets tons of questions in both the official Sock Madness group and the Dutch group. They have shifts there, to answer questions. One in the States, one in Europe, one in Australasia. No matter when a sock-knitter gets the heebiejeebies, there’s always a moderator to look at her sock and answer.

The Dutch moderator’s shift finished yesterday evening and she said she would finally do some knitting. But she couldn’t show us because it was secret knitting! (they have to test out the Madness patterns in order to give good answers).

That inspired me to draw this for her:

Here ravatar is often the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland and her name is Haastje-Repje which is Dutch for “hurry hurry!”.

The rabbit is a pun because “haast-je” means “hurry-you” but “haasje” means “little hare”. Us Dutchies put “-je” behind any word to make it small or adorable. We can even make millions small and adorable: “miljoentje”.

When her shift ended and she said she finally got to knit some for herself, I just saw Haastjerepje at home, knitting on secret projects and  still us knitters keeping on asking questions and approval.

She laughed 🙂 and then she used it as her ravatar! Yay!

More mad sock knitting:

This is a “Magic ball”. It’s the skein of plant dyed sock yarn, from Wolop. Indigo! I already started knitting socks with it but then I won a swap and she reskeined the ball and hid all kinds of presents in it. As I knit the presents will become available. Talk about motivation to knit!

No SSS here. Second Sock Syndrome.

No SCS either, second cardi syndrome. I just cast on for another one. I’ve got about 6 on the needles now (7? 8?) of which 4 are active.

And now for something completely different: a Zorro update! Pip the kitten has settled down and is now an absolute happy cat:

Zorro cat update
He lives in Amsterdam and he’s a big brother now. He has become even more relaxed. And he doesn’t scramble for his food anymore. I didn’t know that was possible!
So happy 🙂

The last bit of news is that my house is at the dentist:
Orly Endevoets voegherstel Den Bosch
Men are drilling away all day, replacing the bits of mortar between the bricks. I’ve fled to the cabin for a few day because I couldn’t stand the noise anymore. Lillepoes is with me. We’ve been here two nights and right now we’re packing up to move back. I’ve been told today is the last day of noise.
Lillepoes has been very happy, to have me here to herself 🙂
We’ve done a lot of cat-on-lap and knitting-on-cat.

Weird Wool Wednesday: Sockmadness 2017!

Today the Sock Madness begins.

It’s an international, online, world wide, sock knitting competition on Ravelry.
Loosely based on a basketball competition known as March Madness, teams of knitters compete in 7 rounds with a brand new sock pattern each round. Everybody tries to knit the pattern as fast as possible and only a limited number from each team is allowed to proceed to the next round. People are roughly put into teams with knitters of similar capacity so the first few rounds you compete with people of the same capacity, not with the fastest knitters in the world.

As the rounds progress the patterns become increasingly more complex in design. The most difficult pattern to date must be the final pattern for Sock Madness 7: Labyrinthine by Leslie Comstock:

Here’s the five colour cast on. I’ve never seen anything like this:

This took the fastest knitter in the world four hours, just the cast-on.

In the 7th round each team will only have one member left and the teams are competing with each other. When that round starts there’s no time for anything but knitting. Husbands and children support the knitters with food and quiet. Usually a Finnish knitter coughs up a pair of competition socks within a day and we all marvel and celebrate Finnish people:

Today the first round of Sock Madness 11 starts and this year things are a bit different. This first round is a qualification round. Only the people who manage to knit a pair of socks in two weeks are put into a team. Anybody who makes a reasonable effort but didn’t finish a pair will become a cheerleader and will receive all the patterns as the rounds go by.

This is the only round of which we know the length: two weeks. Following rounds take as long as it takes for all the slots of all the teams to be filled. The slower teams will take longer to fill their slots than the faster teams. To make the waiting fun there will be bonus patterns released.

Finnish knitters don’t mind. They are good in waiting. They have beautiful things to wait for:
Colors of Finland Colours of Finland, pic by Mariano Mantel