almost done!

I’m not sure why this happens, and I’m also pretty sure I’m not the only one with this problem, but sometimes, some projects get left behind. Some of those wips become neverending wips. At the moment I have two projects I started in 2012 and one that I started in November 2013.

It’s odd because it’s not like I’ve ‘forgotten’ about them, I just can’t make the time to finish them (for some reason). There’s always something else that’s more important, and that will get finished (or not).

My granny square, stashbusting project is one of those projects. I started this project on May 2, 2012 and I’m still not done. Now I must be fair and say that this has never been a high-priority project, but 3 years is a really long time for such a (rather small) blanket. If you compare this to the huge afhgans blankets some people crochet, this one is really small in comparison.

I had already sewn a number of squares together, but I had done so with a lightweight yarn and with a tapestry needle. In the end, I didn’t like the way it turned out and now I’m redoing it in crochet and sock (cheap) brown sockyarn. I like this a lot better, so I’m glad I chose to do so, but it does take a lot more time to finish up.

There’s not much left, so I’m happy with how it’s going right now. When this step is complete I’ll only have to weave in the ends and crochet a nice edge for the blanket.

In the mean time a few things have arrived:

I had ordered two sample series by LowLandsLegacy. I saw it on Dutchwooldiva’s knitting podcast and I knew I had to buy them. They have an awesome contest for which you have to use their wool and make something out of it by the end of this year. It seemed like both a nice challenge and a nice opportunity to learn more about fibers I haven’t spun yet.

So ofcourse I also ordered a new IST Crafts Russian style spindle:

 

Sorry for the phone quality of these pictures by the way, I’m working from home right now and my camera charger is at the studio. I keep forgetting to take it with me, but I didn’t want to postpone this post, so this will have to do for now. (at least phones camera quality is getting much better than it used to be).

I ordered one with a brass tip and I’m not disappointed! I’ve just been playing with it so far, but I’m already loving it!

Here’s a bit of a close-up. I love the texture on this one! It’s both smooth and grainy at the same time! I can’t wait to start spinning :)

I’ve also ordered a jumbo freedom flyer kit for the ashford joy 2. I love how the bobbins are big and you can pack a lot of yarn on there, but I’d like to ply all the yarn in one go. Not that I actually think that this will work, but at least it’s worth a shot. This bobbin is actually a lot bigger than the original. I’ve put them side by side for you to compare.

I haven’t been spinning a lot (since I’ve been working on the blanket so much), but once the blanket is finished I’m going to finish spinning this project. I’m 34 weeks right now so I’m going to have to hurry.. (I guess I’m a bit more relaxed because he’ll already have 3 or 4 blankets by the time he’ll make his entry into this world, but there’s so much more babyknitting to be done!

I haven’t been knitting much, because I’ve been distracted by gardening for a while. I planted a lot of things (which haven’t sprouted yet so no pictures), and I’ve reorganized my plants a bit. I’ll have pictures when there’s something to see!

finishing up..

 

(edit: there’s going to  be a lot of ranting in the beginning, but there’s also knitting. If you’re not really into the talking you can just go a head and skip to the knitting part 😀 )

This may not be common knowledge but I’m a gemini. I don’t follow my daily or weekly horoscope if that’s what you were just wondering, but I do believe that there are certain things about my character that totally fit the gemini discription. Here’s what the internet says about gemini’s

  • A passion for novelty
  • A curious disposition
  • Socially outgoing
  • Witty in speech and prone to banter
  • Creative and quick to task
  • Emotionally unreachable and difficult to pin down

Well I don’t know about the last one, but the other things are totally true for me (in all the good and the bad ways).

A passion for novelty is a kinder way of saying ‘gets bored of things very quickly’. I like new things and I like to explore new options, that much is true, but I also tend do skip from one project to another and never finish what I started. I’m a generalist, not a specialist and I don’t really care. Finishing things is very difficult for me because I tend to skip the process and want to move onto the next thing. I find the daily tasks dull and as such have to really push myself to do them and finish my chores. Yuck!

I also label ‘a curious disposition’ under the aforementioned ‘gets bored easily’ group. I’m curious about all things new, because I find the existing things so boring. I hate walking down the beaten path and I always want to re-invent the wheel. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but at least it’s never boring.

Then there’s the socially outgoing and the witty in speech and prone to banter. I’m not sure if I’m witty in speech, that’s for others to decide, but I know for a fact that I can talk your ears off about just about any subject. I’m indeed socially outgoing, I can talk to any one and any type of person. I’m good at small talk in the elevators (for example) and I know how to make another person comfortable during a conversation. (I really think this is a gemini thing and not some ‘talent’ of mine, so please don’t take this the wrong way.. I’m not boasting or anything). The downside to this, is that I always feel the need to communicate with people. I think this is also what explains this blog. I can talk to you while sitting in my living room and you can decide what you’ll read (or not). For me it doesn’t change anything really because I’ve already written down what I wanted to write. It’s a one way highway in my situation. I just need a topic (and with knititng and such I have found an endless supply LOL).

So why am I writing all of this down?

I believe that at a certain point a person should look into him/herself and take an objective look. There are a number of things that are holding me back and they have an influence on all the things that I do. It’s not just about cleaning out my house and/ or organizing my life. Now that I’m really working on things I can see that it’s much easier to  be organized ALL THE TIME, instead of just every few years. Why not have an actual schedule and stick with it. Why not be able to blog at least once a week instead of once a month (or two).

I’ve been taking a lot of steps to become a better person and not find excuses for myself. A few years ago I wrote a post about being 29 and all the things I would’ve said to my 19 year old self. Now I’m going to make a post about being 30 and what I want to be the next 10 years.

So far being 30 has been an interesting ride. I like being 30, more than I liked being in my 20s. I’m a lot more appreciative towards all things around me and I’m not constantly looking for something I can’t name. I’ve also thrown out a lot of physical and emotional baggage, and I’m starting to like this new me to  be honest. I also feel like there’s a lot less clutter around me.

So why the whole star sign thing? Because the element of the gemini is ‘air’. It can be a breeze or a storm, but it’s always airy and light and unfortunately also fleeting. Getting and staying organized can be very easy for you perhaps, but for me it’s an immense task. I like being creative and go with the flow, and chores are too ‘earthy’ for me. They bring me down. But now that I’m 30 I want to be better for myself and for those around me. Mostly for myself, because I believe it has to come from me for me. I can’t pretend to be somebody I’m not, but I CAN be better for myself, and as such, become a better person for the ones around me.

The air brings chaos. The chaos feeds the creativity and the creativity feeds the need to start new things or else I get bored.

Since this is the last month of me being 30 I’m going to work on looking at it from another angle.

The air brings creativity. Creativity brings joy. Joy brings the need to enjoy both the process and the project. No more chaos. No more boredom.

Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but maybe it’s not. I’ve already kept to my schedule, and the house is spotless. The next project will be to clean out my clothing (but I’ll do that once the baby is born and I can remove the maternity clothing). Now I’m going to allow the organization to bleed into the rest of my life.

</rant>

Starting with the finishing of old WIPs. Meet the bf’s fingertipless gloves for pc work :)

A quick project, but it took me a week to weave in the ends and steam them. Now that they are finished I feel like I could have done that when I finished knitting them. But I got bored with them and started another project. I’m really happy that they’re done and I can focus on the other projects now.

While the gloves were hibernating, I cast on for my chocomel stockings. Now this is not really a new project, but rather me revisiting an old project that wouldn’t work out the way I wanted it to. I  originally cast on for these in november 2014, wanting to knit myself stockings (100 gram per foot instead of 50). I’ve never knit 100 gram per sock before so I wasn’t sure where I would end up. I normally knit socks cuff-down and I really didn’t want to waste any of this pretty yarn. In the end I decided to knit toe-up, failed miserably and started cuff down, and at some point I just let it be for a while.

My knitting friends knit both pairs at the same time and even though I had tried it once very early on in my sock knitting career, I never felt the need to revisit this method. My friends also knit socks t0e-up like pros and I still never dared to try it. That is until one of said friends pointed me towards this pattern. It’s a very cheap and very amazing pattern, and it helped me to knit a fitting toe-up sock for the first time. I’m really pleased with the results!

I’m normally a huge fan of the top-down, slip 1, k1, style heel flap, because it makes for a very wear&tear proof heel flap. The only problem is that it’s always a bit bulky and usually sticks out a little (when I wear my shoes). It’s also always a bit loose. Another problem is that the socks I knit never wear at the heel, there’s wear at the toes and under the foot, but never at the heel. Not even a little bit. So I wonder if its’ really important to make a heavy duty heel, rather than a heavy duty bottom. What would happen if you’d knit the whole bottom the way you knit the heel? Or at least at the spots where the sock usually wears out…

Then there’s the part where you always have to pick up the stitches along the way and decrease. Now I don’t have a problem with the process, I’ve become very good at it and I can knit a sock in 2 days (which I find acceptable :P), but this method is a lot easier to follow and a lot easier to execute. I could knit the whole sock blind, except for the heel. Now I can knit that part blindly as well!

There’s also no need to keep knitting all of my socks toe-up or two pairs at the same time. I can still use this technique while working on dpn’s, so I’m very happy indeed!

Please go and check the pattern! It will definitely be worth it! I promise!!

Well I’ll be using this method for all the socks I’ll knit from this moment on, but these princess socks will still have to be finished using the ‘old’ heel.

While we’re talking about FO’s (the gloves), it might not be a bad idea to mention the spinning. Here’s the novemberlight yarn I finished a while ago. I hadn’t washed it and I hadn’t measured it, so it wasn’t finished in my book. I ended up with 424 meters (100 grams).

This one was even a bit older. It’s a 3 ply and I ended up with 188 meters (50 grams).

My latest spinning FO is the skein with the minibatts. It’s been spun on two russian style spindles and plied on the ashford joy2. I ended up with 505 meters, 3 ply, but I don’t know how much it weighs. I think it’s about 100 grams but I’m not really sure.

In other news, the bunnies only want to be outside. For now I don’t mind because they’re nice and furry and I’m reassured that they won’t be cold. But I have to trim them next week and then they won’t be able to go outside for a bit (unless it gets warmer).

I’ll leave you with the picture I just took (when the bunnies returned). This picture was taken right before the storm hit and it embodies what I love about spring. The almost neon glow of the green leaves against the dark sky. <3

Happy knitting :)

 

I still can’t brain..

I’m not going to say that I have the stupid, but it sure feels that way! I can’t seem to hold a single thought in my head for a few seconds, and I keep forgetting words and things. I know that this is all normal and it will pass, so I’m trying to enjoy myself and just go with it. The past few weeks we’ve been organizing our lives and we’ve been throwing out a LOT of stuff. Isn’t it amazing how much stuff you can accumulate in a few years? There’s so much stuff to throw out/ give to charity! Thankfully, most of the work is now behind us and we can focus on the fun stuff! Buying cute baby things. Did I mention I haven’t bought a single thing yet? I’m very blessed to have a large family, and we’ve been lucky to receive a lot of baby things already. So we don’t have to buy a lot, but there’s things you really need to buy yourself. Like that ubercute little onesie, or those cute booties. (or you can just knit/ crochet them yourself.. which I also haven’t even done yet).

So here’s the thing. I cancelled everything in my schedule to immerse myself into baby mode. Because I’ve been so busy I haven’t even begun dipping my big toe in it.. The past few weeks have been hectic so I decided that it would be best if I just kept to spinning. I took my spindles with me wherever I went, and spent a lot of time just relaxing and spinning on my supported spindles.

When I realized that spinning worked (and knitting did not), I decided to order some extra fiber just to be sure. Because, honestly, you can never have enough fiber to spin!

So this was my last order with Dutch Wool Diva. I’ve been spinning her mini batts for a while and I really like the quick changes in color. You’re not spinning 100 grams of the same fiber/ colorway, instead there’s a bit of each color and you keep alternating. It’s also very pretty on your spindle because of the different colors. I noticed that I get bored very easily at the moment, and these mini batts really work!

It’s really funny because the knitting wip bag I ordered was supposed to be my second (and my BIG) wip bag, but a few days after receiving it I was gifted the floral wip bag on the right, by my friends :) I am now the proud owner of 3 awesome wip bags and I’m very happy with all of them :) It’s one of those things that I never thought I’d miss before I had them, but now that I have them I can’t imagine living without them.. I should really sew me some more!

Before I start talking about the spinning I’d like to mention something first. Last time I already said something about not completely getting the pattern and wanting to try again. It’s been a few weeks and I’ve managed to talk to some of my friends who have also attempted to knit this pattern. Unfortunately, it’s not just me not getting the pattern. I’ve been reworking the pattern because it was driving me insane (because you end up with extra stitches or too few to finish a repeat). Now that I’ve re-adjusted all the increases and decreases I understand why the pattern is written the way it is. I just wish there would’ve been a little explanation. Anyway. I’m currently blaming it on my pregnancy brain and I’m going to just follow the pattern blindly until the end. It will either work (or not), but I’m not going to care. I’m going to stop thinking about it. In all honesty: I just want to have these mittens so I can gift them to my cousin. It was supposed to be her birthday present (november 2014….).

You know, I had actually forgotten how awesome spindles are! A while ago I had bought the book (digital) “Respect the spindle” via Interweave. I had already read it, but I re-read the book because I had re-discovered it while organizing my computer stuff. It amazes me how much spinning you can do while ‘on-the-go’. The past few weeks were rather busy and I didn’t have the time (or the space and/ or the patience) to bring out the wheel. I have been spinning on my spindles though and I’ve been enjoying every moment. I now have three different spindles and different spinning projects to choose from. When my new IST Crafts Russian style spindle arrives I’ll have one more spindle to play with. I used to think that spinning a lot of fine yarn was best on a wheel, now I know that this is not necessarily true. Like with all things, it’s the amount of time that is the key ingredient. The better you get, the faster you can spin. I don’t want to say that my spindle spinning is faster than my wheel spinning per se, but there has been a lot more spindle spinning than wheel spinning, so guess which one ended up with more meters of single :)

Another thing I noticed is the following. It’s really important to have the right tools and equipment. Though I really love my first IST Crafts spindle, it’s not the fastest spindle I own. It spins nicely, but there’s just a little too much friction, so you end up straining your hand/ fingers more and more to get the same amount of twist. The one with the glass tip has a lot less friction, so you can spin for much longer periods of time.

 

Because.. well I don’t know.. here’s a picture of me spinning. Actually I’m not spinning here, I’m wrapping the freshly spun singles on my hand in a figure 8, so I can wind it back on the spindle. Let’s all ignore the hair though..

In the mean time I’ve been ‘gardening’. Now that the weather is cooperating I can put my plants outside of the greenhouse (I’m standing in it, can you see?), so they can get used to the weather a bit. In the evenings I put them back inside and close the zippers on the door. Our apartment may be a bit (ahem) ‘cozy’, the balcony makes up for everything. There’s sun between 12.00 and 20.00, and there’s hardly any wind (in spring/ summer). So even though it’s colder out in the open, it’s always sunny and warm on our balcony. This means that everything grows nicely :)

You can actually see the difference between inside the greenhouse and outside by looking at the grape vines. The one that remains outside is only just sprouting tiny little buds and leaves. This is a grape that is used to the colder climates (himrod), the other one however (pictured below) is a syrah, a grapevine that is used to much warmer and dryer climates than we have in NL.

I bought this one last year (may 1st 2014) and I’m very happy to say that it’s already so much farther along than the other grapevine. I only bring it out on sunny (warmer) days, and keep in in the greenhouse during the colder days. I measure the warmth in there, so if it gets really hot I’ll be sure to open up a ‘window’ to keep the temperature somewhat regulated. Last year, I had a bit of a bug infestation, so this year I’m really paying close attention to the plants. I still don’t want to buy any chemical and agressive, so I’m going to experiment with some anti-bug recipes I found on the internet.

In other news: the website where I buy most of my plants from (Bakker-Hillegom) had something new: the TomTato, which is exactly what it sounds like. A tomato plant and a potato  plant combined into one single plant. So here’s the thing, you’re supposed to plant it in a 40L pot and you’ll have a whole season of cute and pretty cherry tomatoes. In the early fall you cut off the top part and a few weeks later you dig out your potatoes. No garden needed! So this was exactly what I needed because I absolutely love tomatoes (and cherry tomatoes are even better), but I also love potatoes. It’s so bad I can eat potato all day, every day. I’m weird like that, I know.

I haven’t repotted them yet, so as soon as I’ve found some nice pots I’ll be sure to plant them and I’ll be sure to keep you updated on the whole thing.

I’ve given strawberries another shot. Now that I have a greenhouse, I don’t have to worry about them blowing away in the wind, or freezing off. These straberries are more fragile than the ones you can buy in the stores it seems (because they are shipped at a much earlier stage). But I really love planting my own stuff and buying them fully grown seems like cheating to me :(

Because I rally like fruit plants/ trees I bought these raspberry plants. Two of them are yellow raspberries and the other two are red (one is not pictured). They’re not going to give any fruit just yet (and that’s okay because the environment isn’t really nice anyway), but I like to grow them already. You never know what the future holds, there might be a garden in there for me yet :) A girl can dream right 😉

These past few weeks have been about finishing up and organizing my life (how many times are you going to hear that….. :P). I’ve felt lost and confused in my own home and I haven’t been able to keep a thought in my brain for more than 10 seconds. But I’m getting better again and with that comes knitting. These are the modded knotty gloves I’m knitting for the BF. By now I’ve already finished one and I’m working on the second one. I’ll be sure to post them next time.

One of the things I’ve been organizing was my tax folder and my VAT stuff. April is always fun like that. I now have a system so I don’t have to do it all at once, I can actually keep everything neatly in place and just enter the numbers whenever I need to do my taxes. Which is a huge improvement :) Hope you’re not tired of me talking about reorganizing stuff for the thousanth time This too shall pass 😉

 

Pregnancy brain

Oh yeah.. it’s happening to me. I can’t keep a single thought in my head and I even forget to write things down so I won’t forget them. I’ve heard its temporary and I’m just going with it, but it can be a bit of a pain. I feel so incredibly disorganized and chaotic. In the mean time I also started using the new ‘camera roll’ function in Flickr and I uploaded about 17.000 pictures. Now all I have to do is sort through all of them (by now more than 20.000 relevant pictures of the past 12 years of my life), organize them, label them, album them, tag them and whatnot.

I may have mentioned it already (but I can’t remember, see what I mean..) but I bought a ‘glasshouse’ for my balcony. It’s not that huge but it’s big enough for a lot of plants that need that extra bit of warmth and protection in our cold climate. I’ve also ordered some cotton seeds to plant, so I can give cotton planting another go.

 

In the mean time I’ve been spinning on my wheel. By now I’ve already started working on the teal so this picture is already a bit old. I’m spinning on the fastest ratio and lowered the tension as much as possible. So the yarn will sometimes twist back onto itself, but that’s ok.

I rediscovered this sock and I’m going to finish it as soon as possible. I still have to knit the other one, but since I love both the yarn and the pattern, that’s not going to be an issue at all :)

I’ve filled one spindle and I’m working on the second. I’ve ordered another IST Crafts spindle, but this time with a brass tip. I was hoping the lady who made the glindle was still in business, but alas. No more glindles for me. I’m hoping that at some point she’ll pick it up again (or somebody else will), but at least I have this pretty spindle in case she doesn’t.

The fiber is from these minibatts by Dutch Wool Diva:

I’ve spun 6 and I’m currently working on the seventh. I thought I had 2 more but I had completely forgotten about the green minibatt I’d been spinning using my roodborstje turkish spindle.

The yarn is actually turning out the same weight the singles spun on the supported spindles, so I’m very happy :)

In the mean time I’ve been spending some time in my new ‘glasshouse’ and having a lot of fun with my new plants. I bought a fruit tree (which can grow to be max 3 meters tall) that produces ‘doughnut peaches’. This plant has the loveliest pink blossoms and I love sitting next to it while spinning.

Another tree I bought is a sour cherry tree. One of my biggest nostalgic moments is eating sour cherries in Iran when I was only 2 or 3 years old. There are such vivid memories connected to this tree and fruit that I knew I had to buy it the moment I laid eyes on it in the lidl (of all places…). The sour cherry needs a warmer climate that we have in the Netherlands, so I’m hoping that it might give me some cherries if I keep it in the glasshouse during the colder moments (and at nights). So far there’s cute little blossoms so I’m already very happy!

This is a picture of my mini lemon tree. It’s supposed to give very nice smelling blossoms, so I can’t wait to see what happens. I don’t think it’s visible in this picture, but there’s very tiny sprouts coming from the stems. It also grew a little brother:

In all honesty, I have no idea what this thing is, but it looks like it could be sprouting from the roots of the lemon tree. The leaves look different for now, but I’ve seen many leaves that change shapes once they’re fully grown, so I’m not pulling it out just yet! If it turns out to be a weed I might have to pull it, but for now it can live there :)

I usually buy my plants from Bakker-Hillegom. If you don’t know them, they are the official dealer for the Keukenhof. Bakker-Hillegom is a huge (and old) company with a lot of gardening stuff. When you order something, you usually get a little present as well. This time my present was 9 strawberry plants. I was in a bit of a rush and I didn’t plant them right, so I’ll have to move them again, but I decided to wait until they were a little bit bigger. I think I’ll move them around this week because they’ll need their space soon enough. It’s a hanging strawberry plant and it’s supposed to give a lot of fruits. Since I have a net around my balcony (so my cats can’t get out) there’s no way any birds or other animals can get it. So no fruit thieves here!

Hope you’re having a great day :)

Where to begin?!

Before I start I’d like to wish you al a wonderful Nowrooz! I think I mention this each year, but I think it’s worth mentioning, so just scroll past this part if you’re getting bored 😉 Nowrooz is the Iranian new year in which we celebrate the arrival of spring. Nowrooz is the exact time of the spring equinox, which according to the wikipedia article means that the poles of the earth are not tilted away or towards the sun. So you could say that every part of the earth is getting an equal amount of sun. If you’re interested in reading about it you can do so here on this wikipedia page.

Nowrooz means New Day, and we celebrate the spring and everything it brings. Of course Nowrooz is not only celebrated in Iran, but in many countries in the region. We celebrate for 12 days (and visit family) and on the 13th day we go out and make sure we’re not in the house. We usually go for a picknick, no matter what kind of weather we’re having, but we don’t stay in the house :)

So you can imagine I’ve had my hands full with the preparations and the cleaning that comes with it. I’m still busy because we have a lot of family to visit :)

To keep my sanity I’ve been knitting and spinning a bit :)

At the handwerkbeurs I bought this cute little batt from Dutch Wool Diva. It’s 100% Falkland, and I absolutely love the colors. I wasn’t sure what to do with it, but I didn’t want to make a gradient. So I decided to spin one long single and make a 2ply out of it. This way you’d get a barberpole, but the colors would come together in the middle.

I decided to to separate the colors and spin them in a gradient so I would end up with a barberpoled 2 ply.

From there on I made faux lags and spun them up one by one. I started out with the yellow and ended up with the dark greys/ black.

I don’t mind having some dramatic effects in yarns, but this time I wanted something cheerful, and I believe I got it. Overall it’s a muted yarn, but it has a lot of happiness and I’m very happy with the results. I haven’t had the time to wash it or to even measure it, so I have no idea how much yarn I have here, but it’s ok. I can wait :)

I also spun and finished these rolags. I also haven’t washed and measured that yarn, so I can’t write down the specifics, but I can tell you that it was great to spin this yarn. It became a chain plied yarn, and I’ve put it away so that it can be washed.

These projects helped me to get used to the new wheel and to see what I can and can’t to with it. So far I haven’t noticed any ‘can’t do’s’ so I’m very happy. At some point I’ll have to buy the huge bobbin and flyer set, because I seriously dislike cutting my handspun yarns.

I noticed that there’s definitely a learning curve when you switch to double treadle wheels. This is my first double treadle wheel and at first I constantly felt as though I was going way too fast and I wasn’t getting enough spin for the speed I was going for. Then I realized that I was taking the rhythm I usually spun on and I was cutting it by half. I usually ‘count’ the times my right foot goes up and down, and now I was counting double.

So this yarn was rather underspun and at some points underplied. I decided to let it rest for a while, but I might give it a little extra spin if I see it needs it. I learned that it’s okay to feel as though you’re spinning twice as fast, because you’re really not 😛

I almost forgot! I gave Bam and Zuzu their bi-montly haircuts. Isn’t it amazing how a ‘big’ bunny turns into a ‘tiny’ bunny after a haircut.. it seems like they shrink to half their size after a haircut. I usually put them on the ironing board, but they had too much space to move around, and it wasn’t very comfortable for my back. This new position is much better. Obviously I can’t be hanging over them anymore for the good hour and half it sometimes takes to trim their hair. This little bunny weighs less than 1,5 kg and can be a huge pain in the butt, but this time it seemed like she was okay with getting it over with :)

So here’s the thing. I’ve had cats for a while and I know that temperature is very important. When it’s very hot outside they lie down and generally stop being active, but my cats’ fur doesn’t grow. These bunnies can go from very hyperactive to not doing anything all day because they’re hot. But because it happens gradually over a period of 2-3 months you won’t notice right away. Once’ they’ve had their haircuts though, it’s like you have new pets altogether. Zuzu is incredibly naughty. Bam isn’t at all. He’ll try to chew on something that is not a toy and you’ll reprimand him and he’ll go play with something else. But Zuzu is a different story. Tell me I’m crazy but she KNOWS she’s not allowed to do something, and she’ll do it when you’re not looking. Then she’ll gnaw on something very slowly so you won’t hear her. But the couch is the biggest issue. She’s already mauled the couch and she’s no longer allowed near it. But every time she thinks you’re not looking, she’ll sneak underneath there and wait until she gets kicked out again. Which happens a lot 😛

She has a lot of other things to play with and a lot of other places to hide under, but she gnaws on the couch and we find pink pieces of textile everywhere…

Whenever that happens I put her back in her house and she’ll go upstairs to munch on some sticks. Usually I just keep the door closed for a few minutes and open it up again, but sometimes she doesn’t come down anymore. They really like their new home :)

I’ve spun silk hankies before, but I’ve never just pulled them apart and knit with them, so I was going to try this out. I had found a beautiful handwarmer pattern for my cousin Sara (because I had promised her a pair for her birthday in November………), so I started knitting.

At first it was a bit wonky and uneven, but after a while I got the hang of it and was actually very happy with the results. Unfortunately I frogged the project because of one reason. The pattern I was following isn’t really great. I usually look at my own work for mistakes, so when I found out that the pattern wasn’t adding up, I thought I misread the pattern and restarted. Twice. After the third time I went searching on ravelry. The pattern gets a 5 star rating, surely it had to be my fault. Well no.. almost everybody mentions that the math is completely wrong and they all redid it. Some of those didn’t work out for me and I decided to give it a little break. I still don’t understand why such a pattern gets a 5 star rating.. I’m not going to link to the pattern, because I don’t want to give it a bad name, and I might still have misunderstood something. But seriously??

It’s a free pattern, and I’m very happy to have found it, because it’s absolutely gorgeous, but I’m going to email the designer with some questions (this is why I’m not linking to the pattern yet). Once I’ve resolved the issue I’ll post my work and I’ll link to the pattern :) I don’t want to spread negativity and/ or hate :)

The good news is that I really liked knitting with silk hankies, and I’m going to do this more often!

Even though I’m nearly 7 months pregnant, I haven’t been paying much attention to the fact that I’m nearly 7 months pregnant.. dear God.. what am I going to do.. In 3-4 months I’m going to have a baby and THERE’S NOT ENOUGH KNITTING…. *pant pant*

You may remember the baby blanket I knit for my little niece Yara last year. I bought 300 grams of nunoco fiber and spun it into a fine 2ply. Then I knit this into a garter stitch blanket, that was done when she was about 3-4 months old..

I bought two batts in apple blossom and one in hazelnut. This is a merino silk blend with silk nepps and it was an absolute joy to spin.

I tried to keep the colors together for a little gradient fading in and out of green. In this picture you can also see the effect of the light pink nepps in the green areas. It made for a very textured yarn.

In the end it became a big, but very lightweight blanket for an adorable little baby. The blocks underneath are about 60cm wide, so the blanket was about 1,20 x 1,40 meters.

At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to do it, but halfway through February I decided to place an order at Nunoco. They had an amazing batt named Bayou, which is a merino firestar mix. I fell in love immediately. I didn’t want any soft pastels, so I chose some bold blue, teal, green and olive. I ordered 300 grams and they custom made 2 extra batts for me and shipped it within a day or two. Unfortunately the poor parcel got lost and a month later I sent them an email. I got a reply immediately and they shipped another parcel the next day, which thankfully arrived a few days later. I feel so sad for the lost parcel, I hope it turns up eventually, so I can ship it back to Nunoco HQ.

I made litte faux lags to keep the colors together and started spinning. Because this yarn doesn’t have any nepps I can probably make a much finer yarn. I’m going for a chain plied, light fingering weight yarn to keep all the colors together. I’m trying to make one huge, lacey blanket without a separate edge and I want a nice gradient for this blanket.

So one end will be olive, the other will be blue.

I don’t mind if the yarn isn’t completely even or if the colors do blend a little. As you can see there’s some specks of lighter green and teal in there as well. I’m going to chain ply it so it doesn’t matter, it’ll probably add to the effect.

By now I’m almost done with the olive part, but I had to take a little break as I had forgotten one little faux lag at my moms’ in Utrecht. So I’m going to pick it up and finish the spinning. I’m afraid I’ll have to buy a bulky ply set before I get to the plying part, because something tells me this is going to be a LOT of yarn…

I’m pretty sure I won’t make it before he is born, but I don’t really mind. My due date is June 28th, so I honestly don’t think it’ll matter if he’ll have a wool blanket by then. I’m hoping to having it finished by September or October, when it gets a little chilly. I’m also working on the other projects I’m trying to finish. Obviously I need to get some work related things in order, and then I’m going to work on some baby knitting. The good thing is that baby knitting is easy to finish, the only problem is that you’ll actually have to knit to finish them :)

While organizing some stuff I also decided to frog a few projects. I worked on this project, but in the end it’s been hibernating since november, and I’m not crazy about it.

I also decided to frog this project. I absolutely love the yarn, but I think there’s better things to do with it. I love the low-contrast project, but other thoughts are growing in my head.

I’d like to leave you with a question. I know cats like yarn, but does yours eat yarn as well? My cat Noodles (Kiwi doesn’t do this) loves to munch on yarn. She’ll just swallow it like she’s in lady and the tramp and my yarn is the spaghetti… I usually end up pulling large amounts of yarn out of my cat.. this time though she had left me a little present on the treadle of my spinning wheel. Nice..

Happy knitting!

 

 

New spinning wheel

I bought a new spinning wheel! I am SO excited about it! You’ve probably seen my Bliss show up on this blog a lot and I’ve done some spinning (and loving) on that wheel. So what’s wrong with it..? Well, nothing. There is nothing wrong with the Bliss. There’s something wrong with the amount of space I have and the addition to our family.

I love my bliss because it taught me a lot about spinning. Just like the wheel I had a lot of fun spinning on it and going to my happy place. While the first wheel taught me how to spin yarn altogether, the bliss taught me how to control the process of spinning. I can make thin yarns and thick yarns (or thick and thin) and it will have been my choice, not an accident. I’ve mainly focussed on the thinner side of the spectrum, but after the TdF14 I also focussed on some thicker spinning. I usually spin like the way I use my bicycle: superspeedy. I enjoy spinning fine yarns, so I treadle a LOT, and one thing I’ve noticed is that I get pains in my ankles because the Bliss treadles a bit heavier on the fastest ratio.

No problem if you only spin for an hour a day, but when I spin, I spin for entire days, several days in a row. So I tend to get a lot of pain in my ankles and sometimes in my knees. I think this may be a physical issue with my body, because I also know that my wrists are very weak and I’m very likely to get carpal tunnel within the next 20 years. My entire family has had it (also surgery). So I’m extra careful when it comes to my weird joints and body connections.

Anyways, my lovely little bliss is up for sale, and I’ve already bought a replacement wheel to play with :) I can’t have any current wips on the bliss if I’m going to look for a better home for it now can I 😉

I feel like it’s some kind of lame excuse, but I also feel like I really need to defend my bliss. Truth be told: I loved it and I still do. The design is awesome, the way you can have 5 bobbins on your lazy kate is fantastic and the whole thing is very easy and pleasant to use. In a way, I’m sad to see it go, and I’d much rather just keep it for myself, but that brings us to the whole point of why I’m forced to sell it. I don’t have any space in this house.

I bought an Ashford Joy 2 from these people. I ordered it on (I think) a thursday night and on saturday morning it was sitting in my home (while I was at my moms in Utrecht). I had to wait for two whole days before I could play with it! Can you imagine…

As you may (or may not) know, the Joy is a foldable wheel. Which is the most important reason for me to buy a new wheel. I have angora bunnies and cats, and soon I’ll have a baby running around in this house. A spinning wheel is an (expensive) piece of equipment and I’d rather not leave it lying around anywhere in the house. It needs to be protected against kitty claws and bunny teeth. It also needs to be protected against babies, mostly because babies can hurt themselves with it (spinning parts etc.).

This is the closest I could come to an unboxing (because I had used it a little bit before taking pictures), but this is what it looks like all folded up. It’s really not that heavy (only about 6 kgs, which is 2 more than the bliss), but the bag and the folding makes it totally worth it.

As you can see the flyer and bobbin can be unscrewed and stored vertically, and the treadles can be folded up. This way it can be lifted by the ‘handle’ (see the shape?) and it can be lifted either in or out of the bag.

All you have to do in order to use it is to screw the flyer in place and open up the treadles. Now it looks like a ‘normal’ spinning wheel. What I love about it is that it’s so incredibly compact! I usually spin using a longdraw technique, so I don’t mind at all that it’s a tiny spinning wheel. I’m usually sitting straight and holding my hand sideways anyway, so my hand and the orifice hardly ever meet.

From the side it looks like this. Imagine the flyer and treadles folded up and you can see how small it actually is. I have to say that I’m really impressed with the whole double treadle business. This is my first time using a double treadle wheel and it’s much easier than I had imagined it to be. I don’t feel it in my ankles at all (maybe because I sit differently..?)

Also: the freedom flyer is really awesome! It takes some getting used to because I’ve really only worked with hooks, but it’s awesome to see that you can fill the bobbin more evenly than you can with hooks.

I hope to do some serious spinning on this wheel, and as a bonus: take it with me anywhere I go!

In the mean time I’ve been working on a secret project..

I’ll show you some more (and tell) in the next post :)

 

FO: Dryad

I promised myself I would finish the wip’s I had lying around. For some reason the projects kept piling up and nothing was getting finished. To make matters even worse, I had a severe case of startitis and ended up promising/ casting on for more. Now that I’m back to organizing (and blogging again) I’m happy to say that my efforts are paying off, and that there’s actual progress to be shown!

Dryad is a pattern by BT’s Jared Flood. I think he’s an amazing designer and I’ve knit a few of is patterns already. I really like the way he makes knitting and cables look. I’m only a simple blogger but I tried to do it justice by taking (hopefully) nice pictures. I’d normally just take simple pictures to show the project, but this one just asked for a little more effort :)

This project started out as a bag of 500 grams of Manx Loaghtan roving I bought at Wol met Verve. I was going to spin it with my golding spindle and see how much yarn I could pack on there. Let me take you back to 2013 for a minute 😉

I started spinning in 2009, but I still consider myself a new spinner. I think you’re never too old to learn, and sticking to vanilla merino just isn’t my style. I want to expand my knowledge and try out new things, so when I found out I could buy Manx Loaghtan in roving I knew I had to try some. So I decided to buy 500 grams, because my life’s philosophy is ‘go big or go home’. Also: what’s the worst that could happen? The fiber was really cheap (compared to the fine merinos and such) and it’s not like it’s going to get spoiled or anything. If I didn’t like it, I’d just give it to another spinner who might appreciate it more that I would.

So with nothing to lose I tried to spin it. I fell in love after the first try. This stuff almost spins itself. You really don’t have to do anything. It’s almost as if it was made to be spun on my golding. I’d just hold it in my hand and let the weight of the spindle take care of the rest.

Look at it go :) I really love this spindle 😀

During the 2013 Tour de Fleece, I spun 100 grams and ended up with 891m of singles.

I made faux lags for this fiber because it made the spinning that much easier and faster. So I’d prep 100 grams and put it in a freezer bag and slowly spin it up faux lag by faux lag. It was great. During the Tour I’m the most productive, but after the tour I’m not nearly as productive when it comes to spinning. I think it’s because I don’t take enough time or haven’t planned a special spinning day. I’m thinking about introducing a special day only for spinning in my life. Herein I see the great advantage to supported spindles. I don’t spin during the day, but I like to have a special time for spinning so I can dream away and focus mainly on what I’m doing. So drop spindles are difficult because I don’t travel enough (I can always take my wheel with me). My wheel is nice but after a long day of work I sometimes lie down rather than sit down. I sit on a chair most of my day so I’d rather put my feet up after a day of working. Here’s where supported spindles reap the benefits. I can put my feet up and put my arm on the armrest and just happily spin away while lying down.

I’m drifting off, back to the story:

Next June (2014) it was all plied up, using my old wheel because it has huge, bulky spools. I know I measured the yarn, but I can’t find the exact data right now (how surprising..).

In the end I’m really pleased with the way it turned out!  I think the cable pattern and the yarn are a great match. Manx Loaghtan has a micron count of 28 – 37 and has a staple lenght of 3″-5″ (8-13cm), so it’s not really soft, but I think it’s okay for a scarf. I don’t mind the scratchiness, I think it’s actually very nice.

I’ve spun a few yarns now, and I’ve knit some things with my own handspun, but I have to say that this was by far the most pleasant experience. The yarn was so extremely bouncy, it almost felt store-bought. I don’t say this to toot my own horn, I see it as a great thing about the fiber. I believe that all the spinning in the world can’t make a crap fiber look and feel good. I do believe that crappy spinning can make amazing fiber feel like crap. So I think the fiber is amazing :)

I had to add the buttons because I ran out of yarn before the scarf was long enough to function as a scarf. But now I can close up the buttons and use it as an oversized (double held) cowl, or I can wear it as a sort of bolero, crossed over my torso. I found these cute buttons in my moms button collection, so thank you mom!

And so I finished my second FO of 2015. I hope to have my life organized again so I can keep track of my FO’s. Or at least produce more of them :)

Happy knitting!