workshop Sammich Stitchin’/ Broodje Breien

Yesterday I was at the workshop Broodje Breien (=”Sammich Stitchin'”) at Wolop in Gouda. It’s a monthly inspirational course of 2 hours, accompanied with a lunch.

It teaches to find inspiration and translate it into knitting. Sources of inspiration differ every month and this month it was Nature. Previous months were “Van Gogh” and “Escher”. The concept was developed by Loret Karman and a baker in Amsterdam.

Translation of the inspiration into knitting varies too. The focus can be towards colours, textures, shapes, garments, stitches, yarn characteristics, anything!
It’s very fun to do.

This was my work halfway:

I took this picture as an inspiration and although I identified many things that could be translated into “wool” such as a haloed yarn based on the animal contrasted with a more bumpy yarn based on the wood, I chose to explore its colours.

Wolop provided a mountain of colours and with my picture in hand I picked out 25 of the colours I discovered and took 1,5 m (2 yards) of each of them.

There were many more colours in the picture than I saw at first glance. I started to look at them, truely look at them, and study how they influenced each other.

This is an approach that is thoroughly done in the Sammich Stitchin’s / Broode Breien about Van Gogh -and indeed all Karman’s courses on the painter- but when it comes to colour interactions I personally prefer the work of Bridget Riley.

Most people know Riley because she excelled in Pop Art in the 1960’s. But her colour work is equally groundbreaking. She’s a methodical artist researcher and I think she takes Van Gogh’s end point of colour studies and takes it to a whole new level.
Example of Riley’s work:
Tate Modern -7 Nataraja by Riley, 1993. Pic by Allan Harris.

The trick to view these massive canvases is to look at them how you would look upon a pond in a park. Just let your eye glance over and let the colour blocks shimmer as if it was light reflecting of the pond. Than something happens in your head. Different paintings of Riley result in different effects. Just by her changing the colour palette and sometimes the shapes.

It’s amazing that she can create that effect and that sentiment in the viewer with the colours and the shapes she chooses. She does extensive research in her lab, with many assistents colouring in the shapes. She actively accounts for eye movements and peripheral sight. Oh how I wish to visit one of her exhibitions.
Or own one of her paintings… to have a shimmering “pond” indoors to visit at any time!

Yesterday I wasn’t thinking of Riley.
I had a collection of subtle colours, in little pieces of string, and was trying to combine them to show myself their interaction. The aim was to make a little note of these studies, a knitted note.
One way to collect the colours permanently is in a square of 5 x 5 colours, as is done in the Van Gogh workshops. Each colour just 5 stitches long and 7 rows high. But that was very slow knitting.
So I ripped and tried stripes because that’s quicker. This was me at the end of the 2 hours:

Broad stripes of 28 st long and 4 of 5 rows high.

But I don’t like stripes much. And these show even less the interaction between the colours than the 5×5 blocks would have done.
So 15 minutes later, seated on the train back I had this:

All stripes ripped out and ready to try something new.
Small stripes, “knitting the picture sideways”?

When I had to change trains I was making progress:

(Also making tangles.)

Later that evening I finished the piece, with only a few strands of the most contrast yarns left because honestly, they had no place in this piece:

I didn’t change colour every row, some are 2 or even 3 rows high. Sometimes I ran out of yarn midrow and then just tied a new colour. But I purposefully did not try to recreate the picture. I did not make a dark blob in the left upper corner. No expressive gestures either. In short: no saori-weaving, I dislike that about as much as I dislike neat stripes:
Climate Change Action Banner pic by saoriweaver, it’s a banner on climate change.
A stunning piece if you do like saori, check out the link.
It’s a spectrum, I admit. I did use the picture as a guideline, knitting my way from right to left, looking at colours and contrast.

This is the end result this morning, blocked and the yarn bloomed and colour corrected:

A nice exercise! Just playing with colours and stripes, talking to myself in yarn, about colour interaction and contrast and colour families. I really like the middle and the right, where the contrast is more subtle. Colour in Fair Isle was also on my mind a lot.

Yesterday, after taking the first picture I stood over it and looked at the colours some more. Then I noticed something:

Heeheehee, it’s a good week for misty, nature-y greens!

Writing this now I feel I like to think some more about stripes. Families of colour stripes. Not the two toned stripes I see in most knitted garments. Small stripes. Interacting stripes. Not too extrovert contrasts.

Just now, when I looked at the Creative Common section of Flickr for online share-able pictures of Riley’s work, I see she does stripes too. (of course she does!)

Praise I - Bridget Riley Praise 1 by Riley, pic by Brett Jordan

This painting is clearly talking about contrast (not too much, there’s no white/black) and about warmth of colours (warm yellows and red with cool blues). About repetition without repeats, although sometimes a colour gets sandwiched -heyo!- between two similar colours.

And it talks about vertical-ness very much too. The vertical stripes do something to my eyes… (don’t try to focus! You’re not supposed to focus.)

They make me consider that humans are very vertical orientated beings themselves and have a natural connection to vertical lined things. Trees, cathedrals, other humans, ostriches, giraffes, alien silhouettes in a misty scene.

I think boulders, corgis and piramids enchant us because they are very not-vertical-lines.
pic by fuzzyard

In 1999 Riley got some recognition for the giant that she is, British Post made a stamp:
Bridget Riley stamp pic by cuthbert25
Inadvertably showing that cropping a work that’s meant to be viewed as a whole communicates very different things. Here we do not get the chance to let the colours shimmer. Because their width is now significant in relation to their height we now see them as regular stripes. They now mainly talk about the colours close to them.

This could be a knitted pullover, viewed from the side. As a matter of fact I think I saw this in a shop last Summer? On a mannequin wearing a coral floppy hat and sunglasses, with a white beach bag besides her.

Quick! Let’s get back to shimmering stripes and making connections between all kinds of outlandish inspirations!

I’m starting to like stripes.

Bunny fun: The Random Knitter Podcast Anniversary Party

Gwen is The Random Knitter and a friend of mine. She’s Spaceinvaders on Ravelry.
Yesterday she celebrated the one year anniversary from her podcast and she invited some of her friends around to help celebrate. Gwen loves knitting, Bram, black and bunnies.

She made a wonderful party with excellent homebaked goods and teas:
randomknitter yarn party bunniesrandomknitter yarn party bunnies
Bunnies were there too, meet Axl and Ozzy:
BeFunky Collage
Axl has a paprika and a personal playground blanket on the floos, Ozzy is too smart to be let out of the cage when there’s a knitters’ party. Ozzy got paprika too.

There were lots of WIP bags present!
Gwen has hers on permanent display:
wip bags project bag bird house bag FiberRachel projecttasjes Wolbeest

We brought our own. Several:
wip bags project bag bird house bag FiberRachel projecttasjes Wolbeestwip bags project bag bird house bag FiberRachel projecttasjes Wolbeestwip bags project bag bird house bag FiberRachel projecttasjes Wolbeestwip bags project bag bird house bag FiberRachel projecttasjes Wolbeestwip bags project bag bird house bag FiberRachel projecttasjes Wolbeestwip bags project bag bird house bag FiberRachel projecttasjes Wolbeest
You, of course, recognise a few Bird House Bags by FiberRachel and a hand felted bag by Wolbeest.

I brought a bag too, as a present for Gwen. While traveling it was a glamorous Sorting Hat:
randomknitter yarn party bunnies
But the end result was more…. poo emoji:
wip bags project bag bird house bag FiberRachel projecttasjes Wolbeestrandomknitter yarn party bunnies
💩💩💩!
She laughed 😂😂😂

Gwen is a bad ass knitter:
randomknitter yarn party bunnies

Gwen is also famous! Here she is in the current edition of Handwerken zonder Grenzen, a magazine about handcrafts:
randomknitter yarn party bunnies
Handwerken-zonder-grenzen-aug-2017
A celebrity! I know a celebrity!
She hasn’t changed one bit since she became famous.

There was an other celebrity present. “Somebody” was sampling one of her beautiful handprinted sock blanks! An eco printed one!
randomknitter yarn party bunnies
Such great colours. And the way it knits up!  Yes, it’s a sneak preview of what’s to come from Wolop.

All in all we had a lovely party and RandomGwen made a new podcast to celebrate one year of vlogging about knitting and yarn. Go check it out here:

Shibori dyeing as a birthday gift :)

shibori indigo dyeing Wolop pleats
For my birthday, Lieneke from Wolop offered to come make me an indigo dye vat. I’ve never dyed with indigo before! (I tried, once.)

Today she traversed the width of our country, from the far West to the furthest East, as a mobile one woman indigo dye show. She brought everything with her on the train: a dye pot, all the chemicals, scales, gloves, the indigo. I have a little stove for outdoor dyeing and there are sticks in the woods here for lifting the cloth out of the pot. And off we went!

We dyed on the veranda of the cabin. It rained most of the day. The smell was terrible! But holy moly, what magic! Lieneke knows what she’s doing and I’m in awe: indigo is a diva! The temperature needs to be juuuust right. The pot cannot have chips and cannot be iron. The indigo cannot be old. You cannot stir, you cannot swish. You have to move slow. But have to replace the lid fast. You can’t let your cloth drip in the bath. You have to show the fresh dyed cloth a lot of fresh air, fast. A million little things need to be done just right…

….and then you get the absolute right thing:
shibori indigo dyeing Wolop pleats
The results are spectacular!!! Colour by Lieneke, patterns by me.

I had never done shibori before, where you manipulate the fabric before you dye it. You fold it, you scrunch it, you tie it with string. There are many words for the different techniques. I surfed the web and found I have a preference for long, stripey patterns. So folding, pleating, stitching and clamping were the techniques I tried when I prepared the cloth in the last week.

Here are the pieces I prepared. Folding, pressing, twisting, tying, all in different sequence.
shibori indigo dyeing Wolop pleats
shibori indigo dyeing Wolop pleats
At the bottom is the last bit of stitching still in progress this afternoon: wood grain shibori/ mokume shibori.

Tightening the wood grain shibori:
shibori indigo dyeing Wolop pleats

Rrrrrrrresult!
wood grain shibori mokume indigo dyeing
Mokume shibori.

I had purchased 4 meters of bleached linen. Washed it twice at 90 degrees (as hot as the washing machine goes). I cut it in pieces of 50 x 70 cm because that’s a good size for clothing pieces such as a skirt panel or the left front panel of a top. I plan to sew with it. Garments. Little project bags. Left overs in a quilt. (a what now?! sshh. Let’s pretend I didn’t write that.) I’ve kept one piece behind, still white, it will combine nicely.

This is the result of the carefully pleated, ironed cloth with all the little multi coloured clasps:
itajimi shibori indigo dyeing Wolop pleats
Itajimi shibori.

This is the result of the neatly pleated folds that were wound around a little piece of wood (a bamboo crochet hook). I had put a little bit of cling wrap around and tightened it with elastic band. This kept the main parts white and only the edges of the pleats received dye:
shibori indigo dyeing Wolop
Suji shibori.

What is this magic of indigo anyway? It’s pale green in the pot and then you bring it out and it starts to breathe, in blue:
shibori indigo dyeing Wolop pleatsshibori indigo dyeing Wolop pleats
shibori indigo dyeing Wolop pleats Amazing. And smelly.
How and why you need to charm indigo before it will act as a dye is nicely explained on the vlog of Dünkelgrun which is hosted by Anna who has an PhD in chemistry.

By the way, I’m a bit of a travelling one woman show myself. I arrived early at the train station this morning and got a bit more stitching done. Just started the “wood grain” stitch: Mokume shibori
shibori indigo dyeing Wolop pleats

As a first entry into the world of Shibori I found this tutorial from the smart women of Beyond Canvas superb: Beyond Canvas on shibori  

So both pleating and stitching shibori give results I love best. Randomness within a grid.

Stitching is called Nui. Stitching next to a fold is called Orinui:
orinui shibori indigo dyeing Wolop

Itajimi is folding and clamping. I used some pieces of cardbord as a resist and just tied it with thin string, I didn’t have clamps that could grip it. Here you see how the top part printed, with the shape of the carton and the string:
itajimi shibori indigo dyeing Wolop

Suji is pleating. And wood grain is mokume shibori.

There’s one other technique that I love but lacked the tools for today: pole wrapping. This is called Ashari Shibori.

I’m putting all the jargon in here so I can refer back to it next year, when I dye with indigo again. Because I surely will! This was such fun and the results are so beautiful! (I will have sewn this into garments before next year yeah? Yes. Definitely.) And then I’ll dye again. But not on my own. I prefer the guidance of an expert.

This is a wonderful birthday gift. With some highly original wrapping and a very sympathetic entertainer! 🙂

Weird Wool Wednesday: Expecto better from myself.

You know that I don’t like stripes much.
Neither knitting nor wearing them.

However:
Ravenclaw logo
Stripes with precise measure
are a knitter’s great treasure.

I recently found out I’m sorted into Ravenclaw house at Hogwarts. It’s for smart, witty people who love to learn. I celebrated by buying some beautiful Harry Potter self striping yarn from Wolop:

And I’m reading Harry Potter in Frisian, which anyone with a knack for Old English can read a bit:

Understandably I cast on for nicely striped socks and was enjoying knitting stripes.

Until I found out my stripes were too tight:

Soooo:

Enchanted by Ravenclaw stripes I started a marvelous hat. My own design: one part with these stripes, another part with smaller stripes and two wedges of cabled semi solid grey in between. It was going to be so precise and nice! Witty and smart too.

But yesterday I saw my stripes were uneven because when you knit to and fro your stitch count needs to be just right for the selfstriping yarn:

One stripe is 3 rows high at one end and 5 on the other. This does not do the yarn justice. Nor the pattern I was thinking up.

Aww, there goes my beautiful idea for a striped hat 😦

(Rowena Ravenclaw’s chocolate frog card)

Today is Wednesday, Weird Wool Wednesday. I don’t like stripes. I don’t care for turquoise. I don’t like knitting with blue. I do like grey. I have a lot of WIPs on the needles. I should be spinning.

This is what I’m knitting today:

A new Ravenclaw sock. On bigger needles, with more stitches.

You knów this one will be too big…
Because besides Ravenclaw I’m also a persistent Goldilocks:

Please come and save me from myself. I’m not smart at all. I don’t belong in Ravenclaw. Ravelclaw more like…

Finished Indigo socks. And it was a snowman!

I changed the direction of the leaves in the cuff:

There’s a neat little leaf in the cuff, adding to the decreases there:

It’s my own addition. Just like how I changed the heel flap:

I used 85 grams of Wolop Basis Sok plantaardig, handdyed indigo sock yarn. Mock cable. Only twisted stitches on the cuff because they are hard on my rsi. I’d prefer the look of twisted stitches on the leg but I prefer painfree shoulders more.

And these are the gifts that were hidden in the ball of yarn. I LOVE knitting up a magic yarn ball!
magic yarn ball knitter gifts
Buttons and stitch markers and a seam ripping tool for sewing (much appreciated) and a cat shaped pinch thingy annnnnd indeed a snowman! Thank you Lieneke!! 😘 You have given me Sinterklaas in the middle of Summer!

magic yarn ball knitter gifts
The packaging was neat too. Little bags with polkadots and owl tape 🙂

Look at the owls! They have opinions, I think:
magic yarn ball knitter gifts
And that mushroom stitchmarker haha! I gave these mushroom beads to Lieneke for our first Sinterklaas because she loves mushroom (just not for dinner thanks). And she has the skills to make these amazing stitchmarkers (that won’t snag on your knitting for example) but I didn’t know she had and now I have one!

I freed up the owl marker before the mushroom and it’s already been in use:

On my Old Town cardigan. Yes I am dutifully knitting on my WIPs now that SockMadness is over! Nice place holders make it all the more enjoyable 🙂

Happily knitting a blue sock.

You know I don’t like to knit with blue yarn.
But I make an exception for the hand dyed indigo yarn from Wolop. This is great to knit with!

I’ve already finished one sock.

The pattern is a pattern with leaves that I’ve used for plant dyed yarns from Wolop before and I LOVE those socks. They remain beautiful and wear so well.

Woad and Red onion:

The pattern used to be Blattwerk by Stephanie van der Linden but there’s an error in the charts and I’ve changed the mock cable and the heel and other things. Also this time I’m knitting it top down.

The back:

The toe:

(I still cannot kitchener toes without them getting pointy edges. Don’t know the solution. Do you? I tried pulling the yarn through the last three stitches but that didn’t work.)

This is where I am now, about to turn the heel on the second sock:

There’s an extra incentive to knit with blue: this yarn is wound into a Magic Ball!

As I knit little presents fall out:

As part of a swap Lieneke filled it with little gifts that are are freed when I knit up the yarn. This was freed already:

🙂

Now that makes me knit with blue yarn!

This is still waiting for me:

Poke poke to get a peek peek:

Hmm. Suspicious shape… I know this shape…

Could this be…. a snow man?…. as a cookie cutter?

What do you think, Lillepoes?

Ponder….

Yes, definitely a cookie cutter. Knit on and make me some salmon flavoured cookies!

Knit on, human!

Workshop Ecodyeing techniques at Wolop!

Yesterday I had a wonderful workshop at Wolop: three techniques of ecodyeing. I went home with a skein in a jaar, with numerous printed fabrics and with a printed shawl still in a bundle.

Outside the studio the plants are growing, this is “Stinking Goldy” (Stinkende Gouwe in Dutch and Greater Celandine or tetterwort, nipplewort or swallowwort in English), a plant which doesn’t stink in particular but has bright yellow sap that will stain your clothes (but not your wool). Gouda, the name of the city, has two canals called Gouwe 🙂
workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing
It gives beautiful prints when hammered:
workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing
These are some hammered prints I made, from violets:
workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing
I tried hammering plants before but I didn’t know what I was doing. Now I do. I’d love to do this more. Embellish shirts and skirts or use fabric for WIPbags. Anja Schik had some beautiful examples in her studio when she presented her book about Eco Dyes. Her example showed how the colours faded in time:

Lieneke was very liberating in her remark that you can always hammer a new flower on. And pre-mordanting makes a difference. As does fixating the print. All things she taught us.

The second technique we learned was about printing. These are some printing examples from Wolop:
workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeingworkshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing

After explanation and examples we got to work ourselves. Lieneke had a multitude of various plants to chose from. The one in front is mine:
workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing

Our “bundles” in the make:
workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing
Eco-printing is all about bundles.

Lieneke showed us how various you can make use of bundles. How about taking little pieces of cloth with you on a hiking trip and taking some leafs and earth from a friendly space and making a bundle right then and there? Or what about making some on holiday?
India Flint, queen of eco-printing, even brings a small cooker with her on holiday, to steam the bundles in her holiday homes. But Lieneke says: why not bring your bundle home in a ziplock and cure it there?
So many possibilities! A lovely experience to have the world open up like this.
This is the bundle that I took home:
workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing
and I’m supposed to leave it alone for a few days. Weeks if I can muster. I’m not that patient! This looks so promising.

Thirdly here is some solar dyeing in progress. The ball on top is dyed with red onion skins:
workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing
All natural plant materials: onion skin, madder, dandelion flowers, more onion skins and woad.
workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing
The dandelion is my favourite. It’s an experiment but it seems to be going well. And the yarn has sparkles!
workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing
We made a vessel of our own. Lieneke taught us how you can determine whether a plant shows promise for dyeing. It was a really good workshop!

Just when we thought we were done we got a fourth, extra technique. It was a special bundle that we have to bury in the garden and leave there for months. Months!

It was a really good workshop. I recommend it. There will be a second one in June, in Gouda, in the second studio Lieneke uses. June 17th, 45 euros all in.

workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing

You may skip this last bit, it’s about my health:
I was meant to do this workshop last year but something went wrong on the trainride to Gouda. The train broke down and we stranded in the middle of the country on a very hot day (May 28 2016). I dehydrated while trying to make it to Gouda in time, by bus. Dehydration is a danger when dealing with adrenal problems. A danger I’m prone to, I learned that day. Luckily my parents live near one of the busstops and I avoided an adrenal crisis by ringing their doorbell, heaving and shaking and crying uncontrollable, unable to speak.

Luckily my mother is not easily spooked, she put me on a day bed and brought me salted tea. Later on my husband came by car to get me and take me home. No workshop for me and it has stung for many months. Stupid health. Stupid trains!!

But now I’ve done the workshop and it was wonderful! I learned so many things! And grew so confident by seeing the examples and seeing how Lieneke does things and approaches eco dyeing.

I did get reminders that my health is not optimum. I had trouble concentrating and needed to eat Wolop’s chocolate chip cookies all the time. It is weird, not being in full control of your mind. It got a bit better when I took more and more of Hydrocortisone (which scares me because it depletes the bones of Calcium).

Still. It’s not easy not being well. It is weird, first and foremost. I suspect it gets weirder with age.

It forces me to often take stock of all the things I want to do and then choose the most important to do firstly. Because there’s not enough vitality and time to do all the things. (The stock taking itself takes energy too so got to keep that in mind too. And then there’s the need to stop doing the fun thing halfway through because there’s vitality and time needed to clean up too.)

Man. Living ain’t easy. And it’s weird. But the workshop was lovely!
workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing

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.

First of December: celebrating Wolop and its Advent Calendar

December the first!
Day one of the Wolop Advent Calendar. AND I went and visited Wolop because today it is one year that the company is in business.

I wore my city outfit. With this fantastic vintage bag.
UntitledUntitled

It had knitting in it. And felted clogs. People on the train must have chuckled.
Untitled
I got several compliments while walking through the old city of Gouda though 🙂

But first: the Wolop Advent Box! This is how it looked this morning:

I’ve added some basic colours in the same yarn baseL white, blue, dark brown, grey and the left over of my light purple sock blanket. This way I can combine whatever colour I get into a piece of stranded knitting with enough contrast.

First colour of my Advent Calendar: PINK!
UntitledUntitled

Happy Birthday Wolop!
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Afterwards I had a little wander around. The whole city of Gouda was decorated for Saint Nicholas. It was a delight to look at the lights and the old buildings. I also did a little shopping:
Untitled

Preparing for Advent

This year I’m going to enjoy the month of December in the city. By now my health is well enough that I can make an effort and keep my home tidy and pleasant on a daily (ok, ok, weekly) basis.
advent
This December I’m really going to keep it up and enjoy my home life.

I want to mark every day. With yarn. Enter the Wolop Advent Calendar!
It is a mystery box with 24 miniskeins of soft, fingering yarn in unknown colours.
Wolop Adventsbox Adventskalender 2016 breiwolWolop Adventsbox Adventskalender 2016 breiwol
The colours are a surprise! Every day is a secret. I don’t do well with surprises at all but I’ve decided to enjoy this. I want to knit with a new skein every day although I won’t know what colour I’ll get.

So I’ve been looking for ideas to use yarn every day, regardless of the colours you get:
tinekepin1
These are just a few ideas from the many on this pinterest board, all gathered by Tineke from Atelier The Green Sheep.
I made a bundle on Ravelry with pattern ideas.

This week Wolop started her own group on Ravelry and it too has a bundle with patterns for the adventsbox.

I’m looking for a daily thing to knit, crochet, weave.
Specifically things to weave intrigue me. I love this shawl by Dreamersplace!

Absolutely love it. There are accent wefts, in the colour of the warp. And she divides mini skeins so she can use that colour again a second time.

This cloth was woven last year, using the Opal Advents box (which had 20 gram skeins):

How about making a little square each day on potholder looms?

Here too, I’d reserve parts of the daily skein and use it on a later day, to bring coherence in the end product.
A project like this would really show off the colours Wolop chose… which I don’t know… which is driving me bonkers… because I really like to be in control when it comes to colours! 😀

Making a little finished item each day is also very nice. I looked for items that only take 10 grams (40 m) of fingering yarn:

These patterns can be found in the Wolop Adventsbundle, I put them there.
But I don’t think I need 24 little cats or elephants. I’m too hung up on usefulness. It’s ingrained into me. I’m culturally and historically burdened! Calvinism! “Thou shalt be useful.” Calvinism everywhere! Without a playful tiger paws from Hobbe….

…oooh….

I only now see what Bill Watterson did. That clever man!

“Calvin and Hobbes follows the humorous antics of Calvin, a precocious, mischievous, and adventurous six-year-old boy, and Hobbes, his sardonic stuffed tiger. The pair is named after John Calvin, a 16th-century French Reformation theologian, and Thomas Hobbes, a 17th-century English political philosopher.” wikipedia

Love it. I already admire him for his art work (that brush virtuosity!) and compositions. Now this. Clever man.

Ah. Well. Not trying to fight my ingrained tendencies I’ve also been looking at combining unknown colours and usefulness.

Which logically leads to stranded knitting:


That last one is Lorix5’s Favourite Things shawl.

The pattern is ‘My Favourite Things’ Infinity Scarf by Jill McGee and it is free. It basically says: “cast on 72 stitches, choose a motif each day that makes you happy, continue knitting until reaching desired length, kitchener together.”

Yes please!

This enhances what I want for December: live and mark each day individually. Each day I’ll open one of the mystery packs from the Wolop Advent Calendar, see what colour it is, get inspired towards a certain subject or motive and knit that. Perhaps even make a little drawing to accompany the occasion. Salute mr. Waterson 😉

I won’t fret about colours not being to my taste. This shawl will not be about my colour palette, it will be about the experience of December 2016. Marking each day and, hopefully, being a testament to a month in which I again leap forward in health and mental robustness. Or have a fun month regardless.

I can save a bit of the colour du jour to use it later, as an accent or to bring more coherence into the shawl. I’ll also can knit a bit of “bland” stockinette stitch and go back to it later and duplicate stitch onto it with a colour that is released later in the calendar.

I’ll cast on 211 stitches (or something). The 72 mentioned above is for bulky yarn.

And I’ll have a few basic colours standby from the start so I can knit stranded from day one. I have a bit of white, grey and blue so I’ll have enough options to knit in desired contrasts.

Yes, really looking forward to December and I’m already preparing the house.
The first few days are about this guy:
advent
Sinterklaas, which we celebrate on the 5th.

Around the 16th of December I’ll assist at Winterwol fair again, with Wolop, in the very north of the country.

21st is the shortest day which marks the start of the lengthening of the day.

24th is Christmas, which for me is the start of the “12 days of x-mas” which is the “time outside time”. From 24 until 6th of January (or perhaps 12th) I’ll be spinning. Together with Frau Holle, or Hulda, the pre-celtic goddess of nature, farming, spinning and cats. I mentioned this winter = spinning = weird time a few years ago. I’m glad to give it some attention in my life again.

But that’s all for later. Today I’m putting together the DIY Advent star:
advent

It’s an antique design, by religious group the Hernhutters. Just carton and split pins (cotter pins). The Hernhutters are do-gooders from 18th century Germany, they are also known as Moravians. I have no affiliation with them but grew up near their settlement in the Netherlands and their goodwill towards people permeated the whole town.advent adventsster hernhutters