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 :P

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 :P

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 :D

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!

sock stash #2 and (the never ending) organization of yadda yadda..

I knew I had posted something about socks and how much I like them (many times actually), but there was this post where I had listed a few of my failed attempts at socks. I couldn’t find it (what else is new..) and I spent too much time finding it (actually it only took me about 5 or 6 minutes; which is still too long when you consider the keyword ‘sock’ did not turn up this post). For the people who are interested: it’s this post. Don’t worry, I’ll wait ;)

I wanted to do a recap of the process of learning to knit socks. Looking back, I realize that most of the issues I had with socks is that I didn’t understand how elastic a sock should be, fearing that my socks would become too loose (like nylon socks can get after too many washes). I didn’t realize that woolen, hand knitted socks really behave differently (you also wash them differently, so that may have something to do with it as well). it has come to my understanding that elastane tends to lose it’s stretchy properties when you wash it with fabric softener, which is why you should never use it when you wash your undies and/ or bikini’s. This, I believe, also holds true for socks, as there is elastane in them too. (I could be wrong tho, I haven’t done any scientific research ;) ) But I digress..

I learned that it was much easier for me to just knit socks top-down, starting with the cuff and ending with a grafted toe. The most important thing I had to learn was the importance of yarn. I obviously understand that it’s not always possible to buy the ‘best’ yarn for a project, because, in all honesty there is no ‘best yarn’ anyway. If you have a lot of socks, it’ll take longer for a sock to wear out. Simply because they won’t be used as intensely as when you only own 2 pairs of socks.

The socks I wore until they were threadbare were my first Jaywalkers. I absolutely love this pattern and I’ve knit a pair for my opa, using my own handspun yarns.  It’s not that I’m too good to darn my socks, it’s just that I noticed when I had a huge cold patch under my foot one day. I hadn’t noticed it at all until there was a hole the size of a tennis ball under my foot (either I have no feeling in my foot, or I’m stupid). I choose to believe that I was so incredibly in love with these socks that I subconsciously chose to ignore it until it was too late, not a great move in hindsight.

I know they don’t really match (the colors) but I didn’t care! These socks were so incredibly comfy, and they never sagged! So why did this happen? Well you might have guessed that I used to wear these socks nearly every day. I washed them and dried them of course, but once they were dry I’d put them on my feet and go. I don’t think these socks have ever really seen the inside of my sock drawer.

Yeah, don’t do that to your socks. Socks need little vacations too! My poor Jaywalkers were overworked. Another reason (also very important) is that, because I’ve been a poor student for a long time, I didn’t have the means to buy ‘good’ sock yarn. Not to be judgmental about yarn, but a sock yarn should be tightly spun, and this yarn was not (even though it was advertised as sock yarn). I know it sounds like I am, but I’m not complaining. This sock yarn cost me 1 euro per 50 grams. Considering how much I paid for this yarn, it was very good.

Another yarn that won’t make a good sock yarn is drops alpaca. It’s not advertised as sock yarn anywhere, so I’m just sharing this information for no good reason. It’s ok if you’re going for bed socks, but if you’re planning to actually wear these socks while walking around, it might not be a great success.

Your second handspun yarn ever will not make good sock yarn either. As you can see it will be too ‘imperfect’. It will start out thin at the toes and end up bulky at the cuff. You’ll kill your fingers and wrists trying to move the 2.25mm pens you needed at the beginning. It’s not going to be pretty. Just don’t do it. Use that yarn for a project that won’t be abused as badly as socks.

Don’t use a yarn that tends to shrink/ felt. I needed something heavier than the yarn I had so I used some cheap (but nice!) sockyarn and held it together with some leftover malabrigo lace in oceanos. It was gorgeous (maybe I’m biased but I still love this picture!). My Kalajoki socks were my favorite! Unfortunately, they were not to last. Within a year (of not even hardcore abuse, wearing) they shrunk. The malabrigo is not made for sweaty sock syndrome, so it shrunk and felted. Bye bye Kalajoki. I still need to knit another pair of these socks.

 

Here’s my Leyburn socks, made of the same cheap 1 euro yarn I used on my Jaywalkers. So what’s the difference? Why mention the same yarn twice? This sock was knit for the BF, while the other sock was knit for me. My sock was worn nearly every day for more than a year, and this sock has only been worn by him for 2 week every winter. There’s some fluff and it’s gotten a bit fuzzy in the back, but so far it’s holding up very well. The sock is intact, shows no sign of any wear and tear (on the bottom, toes or the heel), and is still in use (by me, I’m ashamed to admit lol).

So I guess I’d have to say that the yarn was not the problem. I was the problem :D

Blackrose, another pattern i’d like to reknit because I ‘lost’ the sock to my poor choice of yarn. Drops delight is NOT a sock yarn. I know most of you sock knitters already knew that the moment you touched it or even laid eyes on the yarn. I was not experienced enough to realize this, so I’m sharing this with you, the internet, in case you are as inexperienced as I was. Drops delight, or any kind of pretty SINGLE (unplied) is NOT a good yarn to choose for your socks. Again, it’s ok if you just want to use them as bed socks, but this yarn was not made for abuse.Don’t get me wrong, I’m very careful with my socks, but they will get abused. They’re worn in shoes, stepped on, rubbed and often have to deal with sweaty feet. Imagine treating your beautiful lace shawl that way and imagine the horror. Drops delight is pretty, squishy and nice for everything BUT socks :P

I’m working on organizing all of my Flickr photo’s, my Ravelry projects/ stash/ handspun and my blog. Apparently Flickr either heard me or read my blog because they added some new features that make editing pictures a whole lot easier. When I started out blogging, 6 years ago, I was very good with tagging and using keywords, at some point during the process I just stopped and everything went to ….

I now need to organize about 10.000 photo’s on my computer (because some of them are on flickr and some of them are on rav, but I don’t have everything tagged and I can never find anything). I need to organize my blog, because if you scroll down until you reach 2012 you’ll see that all of the pictures are missing. I used a flickr plugin, because I thought it’d be easier than the wordpress version (silly me), but later on I learned that the plugin was adding extra code into my blogs that added x rated tags. So I deleted the plugin, but now I have to re-add and edit all the older pictures in all the old posts.

This is why I started writing about how long it took me to find something. Last week I was visiting my mom and I had brought my little granny squares so I could finish my kirby blanket (picture is in the previous post). I had laid out all the squares and took a picture a while ago, and then all of the squares had become disorganized and I had ‘lost’ the picture of my blanket. I spent 2 days (no joke) looking for this picture, because I *knew* I had it somewhere but it wasn’t on flickr and I couldn’t find it in my pictures.

I finally found it because I remembered it had been saved on my old macbook and I had made a backup of all the pictures. After 2 days. I realized that this was only going to get worse. A few years from now this laptop will become obsolete as well and I’ll have another backup and then another and another and in a few decades my life will be a jumbled mess of hundreds, maybe thousands of memories that I can’t find. And make no mistake. I’m a blogger, and as such I take a LOT of pictures. You don’t get to see most of them, because most of these pictures either don’t turn out the way I like them, or whatever, but I keep all of those pictures because I might need them some day. Maybe not to blog, but for myself. To see how a project or pattern is progressing, notes for myself if I ever want to reknit this project again. There’s also a lot of personal pictures, a LOT of cat and bunny pictures I’m not going to torture you with. So I need to get this stuff organized because I’m not spending another 2 days looking for some obscure CURRENT WIP project picture.

</rant>

I hope your life is much better organized than mine!

Happy knitting my friends :)

VAT, Fairs and FO’s (also: wips and stash stuff)

So here’s a rather late notification from me. You’ve probably been bombarded with the whole #VATmess thing on twitter, Ravelry and on many other boards and forums etc etc. I just wanted to say that even though I understand that it’s necessary for the government and the tax departments to get their due, it’s rather unfair to pick on teeny tiny microbusinesses. That being said. I’m already paying my VAT, and I just want to say that my prices will NOT go up. I’m already paying VAT over them (which is why I charge 5 euros in the first place. I pay 1 euro VAT per pattern I sell, no matter who buys it, so there you have it).

So let me say this again: I don’t make a distinction between the location of my buyers. I pay my taxes and try not to go bankrupt in the process. But in the end, you, my dear customer, will not feel any difference. I realize I’m a bit late, but I only have 2 for sale patterns, and I’m not famous, so I don’t think anybody has freaked out over my patterns haha ;)

Thank you for reading this important notice. Now we move on to the interesting stuff: TEH knitting!

I went to the Handwerkbeurs in Zwolle (which roughy translated means Handicraft Fair) this year. It was my first time and it was absolutely awesome! I always go with my mom because she’s the one who exposed me to handicrafts from a very young age, and as such is now obliged to come with me whenever I go to these things and pretend she likes it. I think she actually enjoys it. I’m pretty sure she does haha :D

My mom and I are very much the same when it comes to buying stuff. We don’t always agree on color choices, but I’ve noticed that I’m beginning to like colors a lot more. I guess I’m really over my ‘all black’ years (finally!).

I look tired because I’m still sick (have been for 18 days now.. nice), but it was great! This picture was taken during our second break. Let me explain what we do during such fairs. We first came in and drank a cup of coffee, because I’m still a bit sick and I wasn’t feeling that great in the beginning. Then we walked around and checked out the awesome goods. This is what the fair looked like:

Isn’t is cute and cozy? We had such a great time that day! The next event is the Breidagen during the 20th and 21st of March. I hope I can go but I might not make it because it’s the Persian new year (we celebrate the beginning of the spring).

So let me share some of the awesomeness I took with me :) I feel like such a lucky person! I actually found this little thing! I’ve been looking for it everywhere! I’ve been wanting a little knitting mill for ages because I think it’s an amazing add on to a lot of stuff. You can make awesome decorations with it, but it takes too long to do it all by hand. I found an awesome tutorial on youtube. It’s in Italian so I don’t understand what she’s actually saying, but it’s very easy to understand anyway :)

I absolutely love these yarns! I’m so bummed that I forgot to take a picture, it was sooo pretty to see all these yarns hanging on the wall in so many different colors. I’m having a boy so I’m going for the cooler colors. I’m not necessarily going for blue or anything, but I just really liked these colors. There’s a lot of purple and teal in there as well. I have two balls of the variegated yarn and one of the solid. I was thinking granny square baby blanket :)

I loved this one when I saw it on Rav, but I new I had to have it when I saw it in real life. I love these colors! And the picture! It’s amazing!

These were calling out to me. Go ahead and tell me that you’d be strong enough to leave these beauties behind, and I’ll tell you that I don’t believe you :P I’m so in love with these, and I have no idea what I’m going to do with them. So far I’ve only sniffed them a bit, but maybe they’ll whisper to me when we’re alone at night.

To be honest, I don’t really know why exactly I bought this. It was extremely soft and I love baby alpaca. But it’s un-dyed, so I’d have to dye it. Maybe I’ll dye this in a solid yellow and combine it with the misti alpaca variegated yarns I bought at Trollenwol a while ago. I don’t know yet, but it feels so good!

Another one in the long list of “I have no idea what I’m going to do with these, but I had to have them nonetheless”. I love these. The colors are so pretty!

And these….. They’re sooo dramatic! There’s something I’ve noticed that I think is really interesting. My hair is very dark, it’s a very dark shade of dark brown, but it’s not black. In the sunlight you can clearly see that there’s a lot of red in there, but it’s really really dark. My eyebrows and eyes are very dark as well. But my skin is rather pale-ish. So color usually is way too much contrast for me (because I enjoy growing out my hair and keeping it loose, because I really like my hair). Since I bleached my hair I noticed I can wear a lot of different colors! The harsh contrast is now gone and I can actually wear lighter colors without looking unbalanced. Have you seen somebody with very pale skin and light colord hair and eyes wear the very harsh liquid black eyeliner (not just a line but a very goth line..?) That’s what it looks like when I have my very dark hair around me and wear something pink. Of course, maybe that’s just the way I see myself, all I know is that I feel a lot happier now that my hair is a bit lighter and I feel like I want to wear pink :)

 

So pink it is! Aren’t these lovely?! I’m sorry to say I forgot what was in them, it’s a blend with linnen, but I don’t have them here with me so I’ll have to check when I’m in my studio.

After breaking my Knit Pro 3.0mm symphony wood knitting needles, I had to try these new to me karbonz. I haven’t had the pleasure to try them yet, but I’ll be sure to update as soon as I have!

I also bought two of these! I love these and I always have trouble keeping my shawls and scarves in place. Mayble I’ll wear them more often now that I have these pins!

When shopping rounds one and two were over we went to Diva to collect the yarns we had picked out earlier. I think she likes us LOL. It’s only good, because we like her too :D

While shopping around we saw these AWESOME ladies with there AWESOME backpacks!! They told me that they make a new backpack for each fair, because they love it and because they want to attract people for their tutorials and courses. So if you like to learn to make these bags be sure to google Jonny Bears (by Marion de Bruijne). I couldn’t find a website, but I think google can help you if you want to contact them :)

We arrived at about 11 or 12 and we stayed until they kicked us out and the stalls were closing. We had so much fun that day and we acquired quite the stash in that day. We put everything on the table once we got home and were pleasantly surprised. And not ashamed at all ;)

Here’s me enjoying some creepy quality time with my new yarns :)

Now let me tell you about the next topic. As you may (or may not) know I have a little etsy shop where I put up my handspun yarns. My mom, being a typical mom, bought some of my handspun because she’s the most supportive person I know ;) One of these yarns was the yarn I spun from the godiva batt I bought from Dutch Wool Diva.

She knit these cute mittens out of this yarn and they’re adorable!

In other, but related news, I finished my second pair of Maelstrom socks. I used Hedgehog Fibers sock yarn in the colorway Pod. I absolutely love these socks but they’re not mine. I’m giving them away gladly to somebody very special. She’s awesome and she’s helping me out so much, and I just like to do something in return for her being awesome. Knitting special socks might keep her liking me :) I’m really not above bribing people. Knitting is love.

I’ve never owned actual sock blockers. I’ve had the DIY placemat ones (which work just fine), but I lost them somewhere along the way, so no blocking for me until I’ve made new ones. I’ve tried them on a few times (to see if they fit) and I fell in love. The yarn is pure epicness. Worth every cent of it. My hands did turn greenish during the (long) knitting sessions, but it wouldn’t be the first time, so I really didn’t mind. I did give the socks a little bath in vinegar to be sure though.

Please ignore the phone quality of this picture. The colors are much better shown in the previous photographs but I just love how the socks look in this picture :)

In the mean time I’m having a crochet revival. I’m really starting to love crochet. It’s different from knitting, mainly in that there are hardly any limits. Yes I know you can make a lot of things with knitting needles, but with knitting you always work in surfaces. If you have two or more stitches, you are working on a surface and not a point. Crochet is like working from point to point. There’s no surface because you (almost) always work with one stitch at a time. So a three dimensional object is much more rounded than the same object in knitting. Now I’m really not trying to diss anything here. I’m just trying to explain why I think that a lot of knitting people find crochet hard to adapt to. Us knitters are used to think in multiple stitches and surfaces. Even when you knit in the round you’re always working on a cylinder shaped surface instead of a flat surface. Going from that to thinking only in single points can feel as though all the rules are being thrown out of the window. That’s how it felt for me, and that’s how freeform crochet still feels for me. I’m wildly intrigued by it, but also terrified of it :P I would love to be able to make something like a dress out of freeform crochet, I just don’t have enough control over the process yet.

Babysteps!

So in order to understand and master crochet I need to immerse myself in it. I start by making granny squares (the building blocks of basic crochet) and finishing the crochet destash blanket I was making a while ago (years..)

I started out with the previous picture, but felt that it had too many holes, and it worked against the variegated nature of the yarn. I like this block better (but the edges are too rounded). I’ll fix that later though, for now it’s going to serve as an example for the rest of the squares :)

According to my Rav project page I started making granny squares for this project on May 2, 2012. Now I’m finally going to finish this project. I noticed two little mistakes along the way, but I’ll fix those when I’ve sewn the whole thing together. In case you’re wondering: it’s Kirby!

When I started sewing the blanket together I started with a tapestry needle and some blue yarn. Now I can see that this leaves a blue sewing edge between all the blocks, and I really don’t like this effect as much as I thought. So now I’m using a crochet edge to ‘sew’ the blocks together. I’ve also noticed two mistakes in the middle of the blanket, so I’ll have to redo the whole blanket anyway. First I’m going to finish sewing all the blocks though, I don’t want to have to lay them all out again.

I’ve been so smart to string them all on a knitting cable to keep them in place. I made a U shape with the cable so I can only take them off from one side (the left side), and then closed them off with the little caps. So I won’t lose any of the squares. Last time I got them all jumbled and got frustrated, so I put it aside for ‘another time’.

In bunny related news: we bought them a new apartment. Our bunnies now live in a three story, luxurious flat. They no longer have to share a space with us (because they now choose to sit in their home even when the door is open. They don’t even have to share a floor with each other (but they do, because they like each other).

They can walk around freely during the day (and usually most of the night, until the last one of the humans goes to bed). They can hop around as much as they want and one of their favorite hobbies is to follow us around.

Unfortunately though we have to be present at all times when they walk around. As you may be able to see, there’s a piece of furniture hanging from zuzu’s mouth. Yes. This little bunny loves Ikea couches and nothing will keep her from her daily snack. I don’t really have the heart, but I might actually show you a picture of my couch. I love my bunny, but I also love my couch. Sometimes, she needs to be in her home when I can’t be there to watch her. The good thing is that she reaaally loves her new house.

 

It took them a while to discover that there was another floor. They didn’t want to use the steps because they were afraid, but after a few weeks they went to the second floor. The third floor was harder to find (even though there’s a lovely place to hide (zuzu is sitting on it in these pictures). Now the third floor appears to be their favorite floor to relax. They’re always upstairs :) It’s so entertaining to watch them! :D

Happy knitting! :)

Oh.. the epicness of this tale..

Let me tell you an epic tale of battles, of many defeats and victories…

This picture is taken on July 14, 2011. It was during the Tour the Fleece that I decided to plan a huge spinning project. I had dyed fiber before, but I had never blended any fiber. I had used my handcards for making rolags, but I wanted more. I wanted to create color and fluffiness. Batts. Made with handcards.

So I ordered 300 grams of merino and 100 grams of silk. Most of it remained white, a part became yellow. The silk was dyed with reds and yellows (I used food coloring and a microwave).

I was going for a soft peach with mild gradients in color.

I spun up a rolag and made a little swatch to see if it was to my liking. The swatch is made with very fine yarn, the final product was going to be a bit heavier in weight.

 

During the Tour I spent a lot of time carding and blending. Because I only had handcards I was (for some reason) obsessed with making batts. I have to say it was easier than you would think, and I really learned a lot about the process. I became pretty good at blending with, and using my hand cards.

 

I started out spinning on my spindle. Some of the yarn has been spun on my Russian spindle. I was going for a sock weight yarn so I could knit something fine on 3.0mm needles. Insanity now that I look back on it, but I’m glad I did it. I learned so much during this process!

 

In the end, I decided that the process was taking quite a lot time as it was, so I decided to move to wheel spinning instead. The thing about spinning wheels, however, is that the Irish tension wheel is not well suited for fine, laceweight singles. The picture above will show you how it’s NOT done. By lacing the single over the hooks the pull of the wheel will be reduced dramatically. If you own an Irish tension wheel and you’d like to spin finer yarns, be mindful of the fact that the way I did it puts a lot of strain on the single. Try to keep the angle at 90 degrees instead of 30 (meaning: put the single around two hooks on each side, instead of just one). I had a lot of trouble with snapping singles while I used this method. Once I kept the angles at 90 degrees this problem nearly disappeared.

 

My summer holiday was spent on this rug, listening to audio books and blending away. This was the final batch.

 

Somewhere in May 2012 I started knitting Brunhilde. I absolutely fell in love with the pattern. The cables are amazing!

In June 2012, a year later, I finished all the spinning. The blending and spinning of 400 grams took me two whole Tours. It’s funny how you can get used to things. At the moment I can spin 100 grams a day, but back then it was really hard. The spinning wheel, of course, was only part of the issue. I was still learning (I don’t think you ever stop learning). Also: Scotch tension is amazing.

 

This picture was taken in November 2012. See what I mean about the cables? Aren’t they gorgeous?! This pattern is really awesome!

By the time March 29th 2013 came around I was still no further. I think I had bound of the sleeves by this point. I don’t really wear long sleeved things, and I wanted to make this a tunic instead of just a pullover.

Tour de Fleece 2014 came around and wanted to use this wip as a background for newly spun yarns. I tried to knit on this project as much as possible, but to be very honest.. it was hard. Early handspun is not the most even yarn you’ll produce. Silk and merino aren’t the most elastic fibers out there. Endless rows of cables on 3.0mm needles can drive a woman mad. Let me firmly state that this had absolutely nothing to do with the pattern. It’s nice, it’s well-written and I really love it.

Working with my own (rather uneven and differently spun) handspun.. meh.. not so much. I’m glad I have a new wheel. I’m glad I’ve had so much more experience spinning yarns. I’m glad I can now actually create even yarns.

 

I didn’t do any waist shaping, and that’s a very good thing. I’m starting to grow a little bump… I really like the way it turned out in the end, even though it took me 2.5 years from start till finish.

 

When I started out I was going for something peachy with mellow gradients. I think that’s exactly what I got. There’s some uneven parts, and there’s some oopsies in the cable pattern. But I’m really happy that this project is done. I’ve been wearing it for two days straight. I think I’ll be wearing this until I can’t fit in it anymore!

 

Happy knitting!

“Volksverhuizing…”

I’m really sorry, but there’s only one way I can describe the past two weeks. “Volksverhuizing” means “mass migration”. When a large number of people move to another place to settle. I’m just one person, but I have enough stuff to earn the title. I have proof!

So this (rather dark picture) shows the area. The studio is owned by a painter and I’m renting a part of his space. He’s incredibly talented and I’m really happy to be able to work there (even though I’ve only really worked there for one day). But anyway, back to the story. He is kind enough to let me use one of his huge tables for my sewing so I’m very happy!

Here’s a better picture. The room is incredibly well lit, but during the day it’s absolutely amazing!

The move itself wasn’t that horrible, but the packing before the move was intense. I had a ‘working space’ in the house, but we had placed a lot of other things in front of all my stuff, so I couldn’t reach it. Clearing out that room was really intense. I’m so glad that’s over. I can finally find my stuff again now that it’s completely reorganized. So this is part of how we moved, and I’m very grateful for these shopping carts! Otherwise it would’ve taken forever!

I still don’t understand why Ikea discontinued the Expedit 5×5. In my opinion it’s one of the BEST things they ever made! I can’t believe the amount of stuff I can put in this thing. Building it up was also very easy (probably because it was the second time)

I know, it doesn’t look like much when there’s nothing in it. Just wait for the next picture :)

Tadaahh! And guess what… really need replace those ‘empty’ shelves with boxes. I can still put 5 50L boxes in this thing. I’m not even done yet though… I still have stuff in my basement, but that will have to wait for a while.

I love this table! There’s so much space to work on awesome new projects! I’m REALLY excited about this studio!

I got so excited that I decided I had to start working on something. So I made felted booties. Aren’t they adorable? :) I’m trying out some new patterns and working on some new designs.

I made a furry one as well! This one has a little surprise on the bottom :)

I’m not a big fan of lots of explosive colors used together, but I like how the soles are rainbow-ish and the rest is simple and plain :)

Anyway, I’m really excited and I’m hoping to work there a lot more from now on! All that remains is clearing out the rest of the clutter in the house and make it an actual home again :)

I normally don’t bother, and I’m not sure if this one actually counts or not, but I have a new years resolution! I’m going to do something new with my hair everyday. And so far I have really tried! Well, not something new every single day, because sometimes it’s very hard to find a new hairstyle. But I’ll try to at least do something with it.

So let me say three things about this picture. 1. My hair has become very dry because of the bleaching. I’m working on it and it’s gotten MUCH better over the past few days. 2. I obviously can’t bleach my hair anymore and this is one of the reasons I needed to do something, because it’s starting to look bad if it just hangs around my face… 3. Please don’t mind the mess, these pictures were taken in the middle of the packing and moving.

So anyway, my first attempt didn’t really work out so well. My hair is still a bit too short on top, so I couldn’t get the bun working. I also (seriously) forgot how to braid my own hair. This really took me way too long. I used to braid my hair a lot when I was a kid, but I haven’t done that for at least 15 years. I’m relearning…

Here’s another hairstyle. I wanted a ‘headband braid’, but you can’t really see the braid because half of it is black and the other half is blonde. So it looks very narrow on the top and wider on the bottom. I kind of like it I guess. The bun worked out much better so there’s that! I also noticed that I braid my hair a bit too loose, but I guess that’s not really a big deal.

Third style. I was going for a very loose French braid, but I didn’t divide my hair equally and one of the strands became very thin. Not really a big deal, because I still like it, but this is exactly what I mean with relearning the braiding :P

The same hairstyle from the side. I really like the way the braid is affected by the colors :)

Today’s hairstyle is a Dutch braid rolled up in a bun. I usually braid my hair French style, so it really took me a few attempts to work out the Dutch braid style. I know how to do it, but my hands automatically went for the French style so I kept messing it up. The balance is much better though, so I’m actually really pleased.

I put my hair through some heavy pampering mask sessions and now the tips are much better. In case you’re wondering about my super mask: two eggs + 2 tbls of olive oil. Mix well and put in your (unwashed) hair. Let it sit there for 20 minutes and wash your hair with COLD water! (please use cold water unless you like hair omelette). If your hair is badly damaged like my hair you can repeat this step 2 or 3 and it should feel much nicer :) (also: real mayonaise also works, but I’m a snob)

thank you for reading! :)