Back to ZEN

I’m finally there. This past year has been a weird year in which three or four different things were moving along in a parallel and are now finally all coming together.

When I plan something I usually just jump in headfirst and I’ll come to things like problem solving when I get to the problem. This has served me very well because the biggest issues are avoided because I’ve already thought about them, and the smaller issues are just tiny hurdles you have to jump over when you get there. It’s not very usefull to let such small matters paralyze you from moving forward (just my opinion). But now we’re reaching a bigger hurdle and I’ve been focussing on this part for the better part of this year.

The three things are the shop, the house and my second pregnancy.

The shop is actually the easiest one. The first year was all about making a name and expanding a LOT. There’s a lot of ideas in my head and I have a very restricted space, but in the end I’m sure it will all work out πŸ™‚ There’s a lot of trial and error, but it keeps me busy and focussed and it’s exactly what I needed in my life πŸ™‚ Before the shop I was looking into a lot of different things, and the shop is the glue that binds all of these different endeavors and ideas and knowledge together. In a way, it’s like I’ve always had a shop my entire life. I don’t even know what I used to do before the shop.

The second one is the house. When we moved in here Ma’iq was only 4 months old. If you’ve never lived with a 4 month old baby you might not be aware of how much a baby naps. Which is quite a lot. And when you move into a new house there’s a lot of remoddeling and a lot of moving things around. So back then we just moved most of our stuff into storage and did tiny adjustments here and there when the baby was asleep. He also didn’t go do daycare because I was a SAHM. This basically meant that we couldn’t do any realy work on the house and everything kind of stayed the way it was. When he started to go to daycare (shortly after his 1st birthday, and only because I wanted to open a shop) there was a lot of work to be done in the shop, so the house, again, didn’t have the big priortiy.

So here’s where the pregnancy comes in. Before I used to work 7 – 6 days a week. I had to reduce my days because it was getting very hard to manage while being pregnant (and lousily pregnant at that.. the first 5 months were really not that comfortable). Working in an office is easier because you’re not the only one manning Β a shop and you can go to the bathroom for a few minutes until you feel better. I’ve had to reduce my days and then I found myself at home with too much time and decided to at least really organize my stuff. I remembered what I had read in Marie Kondo’s book and now it really hit me. I’ve thrown out most of the stuff we had in storage. There’s only a few boxes left and I’m probably going to throw those out as well. It’s so incredibly liberating.

I’ve been focussing on getting the baby things ready and now I finally feel like my clutter is organized. I finally have my own space (even though I share it with the washer, it’s a space with a door and I can leave my stuff and get back to it without it having to be moved. Which has resulted in the following:

It’s been a while since I last touched this thing and I’ve been feeling guilty ever since. I noticed that there’s something extremely zen about knotting rugs. There’s no design choices, there’s no thinking, caluclating or writing down. Any of it. It’s just me and the knots.

I’m a little inconsistent with the cutting, but that’s really not an issue. When it’s done I can have it “sheared” by a professional and then it’ll be nice and straight. The only thing to watch out for is cutting the knots too short.

The new knots are placed on top of the old layer and they stick out a bit. It’s generally okay, because you have to cut the ends anyway, but you do have to be mindful that you don’t make them too long. You may end up using all the color before you’re done with the rug. (It’s not really a huge concern of mine, but I am a little worried I guess.)

It’s really awesome that there’s already a bit of pattern. It’s a bit hard to see in the middle section, but this part (on the right) and another part on the left are clearly visible. (it’s a huge leaf so..)

While looking for posts about this topic (on my blog) I noticed I never posted a picture of what it’s going to look like. Or maybe I did but I couldn’t find it. So here’s the thing, because I’ve gotten a few questions about it:

there’s (I’m translating the red text here): 750 layers, 500 knots and 115 colors (you can see a few of them on the bottom of the picture). If you look at the bottom right of the image you can see the leaves that are becoming visible on the picture before the previous one. So now you know how far I am. Layer 12 of 750. This is going to take a good while.

However, the same things that goes for knitting socks also applies here: if you don’t touch it, you won’t see any progress (well.. duhh). I finished my new room last week and I’ve managed to do at least 1 row of 500 knots (that’s thick and thin weft included!), per day. So at this rate I would be able to finish it in say, 2.5 years πŸ˜› And that’s okay, because rugs aren’t made in one day. Some days I do better, some days I do a little less, and bit by bit, the rug will get finished πŸ™‚ I honestly can’t WAIT for the tiny bit of pink dress that I’m going to be reaching within the coming 5 rows πŸ˜€

I’m not sure if I’ve meantioned this before, but my parents bought me this kit a few years ago for my 29th birthday. Below you can see the whole kit with yarns and the main image). The pattern looks like the picture above. There are 500 knots but there’s a few warp threads extra on either side. You’re supposed to frame it so there’s extra on all sides so you can secure it behind the frame. So the way it’s done is by layer, by color and then the amount of knots per colour. So for example there’s layer number 1. Obviously not all colors will be used in every layer, so layer 1 starts with colour number 5. Behind this colour number there will be a few numbers between 1 and 500. Starting from left to right you’ll know where you have to place the knots. When you do this for all the colors in a layer you move onto the thick weft and then the thin weft.

The package came complete with all the yarn you’ll need for this rug and the warped frame.

The loom has a steel frame and as you can see the warp can be stretched taught, but also made loose. The reason is that the height of the frame is not the same as the height of the project. So halfway you’ll need to unscrew the bolts and beat the rug ‘down’, so it moves to the backside and the warp on the backside is added to the front. Once you’re done knotting you can reuse the loom for your next project πŸ™‚

So this is the table I placed it on. I have a nice big window on my left and 3 good lamps so I don’t have to squint.

Behind me is my stash, organized and, well.. stashed. I haven’t had the time to take pictures so I can upload my ravelry stash page, but that’s the next step. For now each box represents a differen type of yarn, sorted by quality and weight and whatnot. But before getting to this point I was here first:

and here…

I know it looks the same, but these are HUGE bags of different types of yarns and projects etc. The first thing I did was give them a good rest in the freezer for a week. Not that there’s anything in there (that I found), but just as a precaution, because why not. There’s a third somewhere, but you get the picture πŸ˜› It took a good few days to sort it through (and to cake some half caked/ half frogged things), but I’m really glad I did. Apparently it’s true what they say about the connection between a clear house and a clear mind. So nice.

So last time I mentioned something about sock madness and how I was going to join and the big plans I had. Apparently either I’m a quitter, too pregnant or something else, because I quit before even finishing the qualifier sock. So many twisted stitches. The moment I realized I was no longer having FUN I stopped immediately. There’s waayy too many things I like to spend time on things that don’t “Spark Joy” (thank you for that phrase Marie Kondo!).

It’s very funny because I’ve become very harsh with objects and items in my care. Some of them simply don’t spark joy, they just are. And that’s no longer good enough. I frogged this one, and I feel no shame whatsoever.

Onto the next adventure!

I started these socks after giving up on the sock madness socks. I felt disappointed in myself because I took it a bit too personally. I have issues with my wrists and I don’t take risks with them. If something hurts I stop immediately. I only have these two hands and they’re supposed to last me a lifetime, so yeah.. Paranoid much.. yes.

These socks are not just an experiment with afterthought heels (which is actually the real reason why I don’t knit toe-up socks that much. I don’t know when to start the gussed and ALWAYS knit them too short. So the idea for the Sock Ruler popped into my head. I needed a tool and I needed it to be usefull in many situations rather than just a measuring tape and some memorized numbers. So the sock ruler can be used for afterthought heels as well, but I’m still not really sure about toe-up with gusset increases. But I need to (wo-)man up and just figure it out at some point.

But because I’m not there yet, I decided to just test them out with toe-up, afterthought heel socks. I’m very pleased because the socks fit perfectly πŸ™‚

I liked them so much I cast on for a new pair of jaywalkers for myself. This one is already done, but I left it in the shop and I forget to take a picture. The yarn is socksanity (both) in Ares (DH socks) and Anhur (my socks). The pink yarn, if memory serves me correctly is named “Izanami”.

See I was going to knit the Changing Light shawl, but the colors I chose were too similar. Right now it’s in the naughty corner, but at some point I’m going to have to reknit this. πŸ˜›

For now I abandoned a lot of projects in favor of this one. The Honeybee shawl. I love stone washed, and I love simple, repetitive patterns (I can’t brain). So this proejct is exactly what I like to do when I just want to hangout and Netflix. I have a lot more of these, but I’m not counting. I need at least 49 and then I can move onto the other colors πŸ™‚

I’m going to leave you with the discovery of last month.. the belly button. Ma’iq is good friends with Bam and Zuzu (but mainly Bam) and he’s always ready to give them something nice to eat, or to pet them or to have them stiff his hands πŸ™‚ Happy knitting/ crocheting/ or other hand and yarn related stuffs πŸ™‚

Hygge CAL

It’s taken me a bit of time, but I’ve finally joined the Hygge CAL and I couldn’t be happier! I’ve heard some stories about how the bubble stitch doesn’t pop, and people who don’t get gauge and whatnot, but to be honest I haven’t had any problems so far. I’m a loose knitter, but apparently I also crochet on the loose side, so maybe that helps? I did tug on the last stitch to keep it tight, maybe that has something to do with it? I don’t know. Either way, super happy with the way it’s turning out πŸ™‚

I guess I’m either very low maintenance, lucky or just risky, because I cast on (do you say that with crochet as well?) without even so much as a gauge swatch! Oh snap! I guess I’ll see where I end up and if I have to get another ball of yarn at some point, but I don’t really mind. I like my wraps drapey and I like my stitches on the loose side (because I’m paranoid about my wrists people :P)

Look at the cuteness! I’m making mine in “Pastel” and I’m loving it! It’s not going to be mine to be honest, I’m making this one for my new baby πŸ™‚ I know a baby isn’t going to need a full sized wrap, but I probably will when I’m breastfeeding. I also plan on using it as a little blanket (just folded up).

I had a bit of a hard time choosing which one I wanted to make. Most people want the rainbow, the mermaid went like crazy, but the pastel seemed less popular. It’s funny to me because the moment I saw the pastel I fell in love with it, it’s just not really my colors. I’m a “fall” type, and pastel colors make me look.. eh.. ‘unhealthy’. On the other hand they’re absolutely perfect for a spring time baby, so I just went for it. There’s going to be a pink one as well, but I felt that one was a bit too pink for my liking.

I had never crocheted the bubble stitch before, but I honestly can’t get enough. I love how cute and adorable they are, I love how the colors look together and I love working on this thing. It’s really entertaining! I’m obviously only working on “week 1”, and I believe we’re almost in week 3, so I’m a bit behind, but I don’t mind at all πŸ™‚

So, a short and sweet little update πŸ™‚ I’m going to crochet some more! are you considering to join? you can also choose your own colors if you prefer! Go check Kirsten’sΒ blog! It’s the designers blog and she’s made a post about her favorite combinations!

happy knittingΒ crocheting!

ps: updated because I was missing a paragraph and some words πŸ™‚

Socks! Yay!

It took me so long to write this post I’m already done. No FO post today, but still a nice update πŸ™‚ I finshed the warming up socks last night and I love them! While working on these socks I learned a few very valuable lessons I’d like to share with you.

I’ve always been a lazy sock knitter. The idea of casting on more stitches and moving down a size was unthinkable. The interesting thing is how much pride I took in being a lazy sock knitter. It’s like a kid half-assing highschool and boasting about it. Which, incidentally, is exactly what I did during highschool. I half-assed everything and had the least amount of exams of anyone in the entire school, and I felt so good about myself haha.

So here’s the thing. The pattern calls for a 2,25mm needle and the last (and only) time I actually knit socks on a 2.25mm needle was when I was knitting my skew socks. I hated the process so much that I decided I’d never knit on 2.25 needles ever again. But knitting this sock was a completely different experience. Apparently I don’t like knitting socks on steel needles. They hurt my hands because they’re not as flexible as wooden needles. The tips of the needles I used when knitting Skew were too blunt. It was a real chore to knit with those needles and on top of that the yarn was handspun and too tightly plied so there was hardly any flexibility at all.

All of this gave me a good dose of hesitation every time I wanted to knit socks with 2.25mm needles.

Another thing I really learned to appreciate was the pattern. It was engaging and different than the socks I’ve knit so far. I guess now I know that the main reason I stopped knitting socks wasn’t that I didn’t have time or didn’t like to knit socks anymore, but I had unknowingly placed a limit on myself and I was just getting bored of this limit. I was only ‘allowed’ to knit with 2.5mm and I was only ‘allowed’ to knit vanilla socks. Boring!

I usually didn’t do colorwork knitting on socks either, because to me it felt like the process would take a lot longer. I think it actually happened: I became a process knitter instead of a project knitter. Who would’ve thought. I guess growth is always possible <3 Anyway, back to the knitting. I learned the Jacquard ladder technique. I think it’s not really suitable for this particular pattern of stranded knitting because the floats aren’t that big, but it was nice to practice with it anyway. The idea is that you use the double knitting technique to ‘double knit’ the floats. So you pick up an extra stitch on the inside and purl it from the right side, as you would do with double knitting. This technique is so much better than the twisting the float around the working yarn technique I used because it’s really invisible. I knit this one too tight, so you can still see indentions on the right side, but the second sock was much better already.

I still think that this pattern isn’t suitable for this technique, and in future I’ll only use it on longer floats, but a whole new world of socks just opened up to me, because honestly knitting a sock inside out kinda sucks πŸ˜›

I was going for a set of mismatched socks because they’re for DH and he always wears mismatched socks. It’s become a thing and I’m going to be knitting a lot of mismatched/ fraternal socks because I read that people who wear crazy socks are awesome (or something in those lines). Apparently it’s a trait that most creative people share. I’m personally not one of those people, but I guess I can live with fraternal socks πŸ™‚

Now I don’t know if this is true or not, but I’m going to choose to see this as an act of inner and personal growth. I’m blogging this and I don’t have perfect FO pictures. I just have the documented process on instagram and ravelry. I haven’t even washed/ blocked the second sock and I’m already doing this. 2012 me would die of shock haha.

Another thing I learned about myself is that, even though I don’t have problems with second sock syndrome, knitting fraternal socks is:
a: a lot of fun because it feels like a new sock all together.
b: is more yarn efficient, because I used 2 50 gram bals of yarn and otherwise I would’ve needed another ball of charcoal invicta extra to finish this pair. So much more efficient.

So I joined Sock Madness 11 and I can’t wait for it to begin. I don’t even care if I’m out of the race in the first round. I’m going to participate for the fun, the learning experience and to bask in my new found appreciation of the process of sock knitting. As a tribute to sock knitting we launched our first ever own handdyed sock brand: Sticks & Cups Socksanity. Why you ask? Because I want to knit socks dammit. That’s why <3

I honestly don’t mind the shameless plug, but I’m so incredibly happy with them!

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happy knitting!

goodbye 2016

Though it’s already February, and I’ve completely missed my blogiversary, I stil feel I should finish the post I started in December 2016. I started this blog 8 years ago on January 19th on blogger. It was a bit awkward and I was searching for something, anything. What I found was self acceptance, and more creative energy than I could ever dream of. I found a way to channel my inner creative being and just be. I started this blog because I felt like there was this creative monster residing in me that just wanted to be unleashed. I did everything I could find. Besides the studies in architecture and urbanism I was looking for something I could find myself in. So I tried a lot of things, airbrush, art, journaling, singing, writing, crochet, felting, sewing, knitting.

I guess knitting stuck. This blog changed who I am, made me a better version of me, a more focussed me. A me with better memories. Every time I look at this blog I remember the awesome (and not so awesome) things that have happened. It’s a reflection of my daily life, and without it, as it turns out, I actually feel rather lost.

It’s with this history in mind that, as the year was coming to an end, I heard and read a lot of people saying that 2016 was a shitty year. And, though a lot of terrible things have happened, on a personal level this was one of the better years.

Obviously 2015 was my greatest year yet, but 2016 was the year my little man turned 1 years old, when he learned to walk (run mostly… running is definitely his thing), and it’s the year where I feel that my 30s are beginning to kick in.

Obviously the new job title as yarn shop owner is helping tremendously. All of the sudden you go from couch potato to running and working 7 days a week. Looking back I see how, at the beginning of the year, I was looking desperately for structure and balance in my life. I’ve never really been one to sit at home and look at the walls all day. I need to do shit and get out of the house. But back then I didn’t have much to do and I structured my life around the naps and the time I had to blog. The time I spent ‘working’ on things was desperately measured out, and every disruptance or disturbanceΒ would actually stress me out so much a whole day would be ruined.

I’ve written about the ugly monster of depression a lot, so I’m sorry if this is repetitive and/ or boring, but he’s always hiding in the shadows. Waiting for that unguarded moment. Even though I thought I was ‘on top of things’, and happy, I was in fact lost and sinking deeper without even realizing it. I wasn’t knitting, I wasn’t blogging, I wasn’t doing the things that make me happy. I had unknowingly reduced my life to trying to control and micromanage the most insignificant little details of my life. Simply because I wasn’t in control of anything in life.

And then the yarn shop happened, or at least, the idea of the shop happened. On the 4th of april, which is also why I haven’t blogged between march and the end of June.

I saw everybody post “best nine” photos on instagram and I realized I haven’t posted anything since September and I felt really bad haha.

I’m not sure if I can actually reduce all of 2016 to the best nine, so here’s an attempt at a recap.

So here’s a list of FO’s and accomplishments of 2016. I actually forgot some of them, and some of them have already been blogged about. But since this is a 2016 recap I’m going to post them anyway.

I finished Ma’iqs blanket and he’s been sleeping on it every nap and night since it was finished.

I can’t believe this, but the shop is such a huge part of me and my life, but it feels like it’s always been there. It’s almost like having a baby, at first the baby isn’t there and you can’t imagine life with a baby, then you can’t remember what it was like without the baby. I can’t imagine life without the shop either, and seeing this picture feels like seeing a very old picture in a very old album.

My garden. I absolutely love my garden. I’ve never had a garden before and this garden was neglected like it was nobody’s business. Starting up a garden while moving to a new house, while looking for a new lifestyle and overall putting way too much pressure on myself might not have been the best way to go in hindsight. Now, a year later, I have even bigger plans, but this time I’m prepared and ready. Even though it was a bit hard at first, it absolutely worked, as the image above shows. This was a random day of plucking πŸ™‚

I had never planted broccoli and cauliflower, but it was a huge succes and they were delicious. You can see (on the top right) what the soil looks like in this area. It’s not fertile and it’s pretty much dead. When they build these new neighborhoods they cover huge areas with sand because it’s better and more stable for building, but it does mean that the soil is basically dead. It takes a few years for any life to find these gardens again, and it makes for a lot of trouble if you expect things to “just grow” in the dead sand.

So in order to be able to build a bit of quality earth I bought planting soil from the gardening store and mixed it with a bit of the sand. On top of that we’re building new soil by way of compost. We try to keep everything to rebuild the soil. We also use the bunny droppings on the compost heap.

Before I start planting this year I’m getting help building raised beds. The soil is not only very hard, it’s also covered in pebbles. I’m not sure if you remember what my garden looked like, but it was covered in plastic and layered with rocks. A very low maintenance yard, but there was less life than you’d find in the desert. When removing the pebbles and the plastic I tried to loosen the soil as much as possible, but there were a lot of ‘sunken’ rocks that I couldn’t get out of the way. As you can see my carrots had some issues with these rocks. This is the way they came out of the dirt, I haven’t cut them.

So the plan is to have raised beds on the sides of the garden and have rubber mats in the middle so Ma’iq can still play outside, without stumbling over all the veggies and fruits. This way I can allot more space for the angora bunnies and I don’t have to break my back checking on the garden. win/win/win πŸ™‚

In knitting news I had completely forgotten about this project. I was looking for a “poncho” Β for boys and I designed this for Ma’iq. It’s something between a a poncho and a body warmer, but he has a lot of freedom to move around. What I did notice is that the neck opening should be a bit roomier. I not only completely forgot about this project, it was going to be a pattern, so I’m going to have to write it down again.

I’m still happy with the way it turned out, and if I managed to design a better neck opening it’s going to be ready for testing πŸ™‚

I can’t even remember exactly when I started, worked on, or finished this thing, but apparently it happened! I really love this poncho, it’s nice and big and it’s very comfy, but for some reason not blogging about it made me completely forget about it πŸ™

The same goes for these socks. I remember what happened to them and where they went (and I’m happy they went there!) but I can’t remember knitting them. It’s so odd. I was actually confused when I saw this picture at first but when I remembered I was even more confused as to why I had forgotten about them.

Besides these projects I’ve actually only been working on shop related things. I had pretty, translucent bags made for the shops, and I’ve only been working on shop related knitting:

This is a free pattern by lionbrand, the yarn is Peru by scheepjes. I wanted to test it and see what it would look like. I mostly sell Scheepjes yarns, but it’s always nice to knit something to see what it does in different situations.

What I love most is to experiment with different yarns to see how they behave. The top picture was knit with Scheepjes Peru, the bottom hats are knit with the same needle size and the same pattern, but with Scheepjes Pittsburg held double. I have to say I like the crispness of the cables in this picture. The Peru one has a softer quality. Obviously the filter is helping too, Β but they’re a lot more crisp in real life too. This was a very interesting experiment!

This is “waiting for the rain” in einband lopi to show both the yarn and the pattern, because we also do in-store-ravelry sales and having a sample works a lot better than just printing a picture.

I love how this turned out! I stress-knit it while in France in September and I remember having to stop because my hand started to hurt. Then when I was getting better and could knit again I didn’t have enough yarn and had to stop knitting.

Of course I can’t blog without thanking my little helper for being a huge part of my inspiration. This little monster is so active I have a hard time keeping up πŸ™‚ But he looks so good in knitting <3

Here he is running around with the handspun seahorse vest I knit him in September. It took a while to finish and it’s really too big for him, but it’s okay, he looks adorable in it haha πŸ˜€

So now that we have covered the strange year of 2016, lets move forward with 2017! Happy 8th bloggiversary to me! <3

I joined the madness of Sock Madness 11 and I’ve plundered my stash for sock yarn. I’ll tell you all about it next time (because I have beads and they arrived at the shop today and I need to see them and organize them first before I can make any decisions!

Happy knitting! <3

FO: Romeo

Starting the new year with a bang! This one took forever, but now that it’s done I’m really excited about it!

I cast on for this project on December 12, 2015. I already had an image in mind, but I didn’t know how to execute the plans, so progress was slow. I wanted a traditional, but very untraditional vest for DH. Personally, I’m a big fan of argyle vests, because they’re classy and timeless, but at the same time they’re also oldfashioned and, well.. kind of ‘in-your-face’ with their argyliness.. (that’s not a word, I know).

So here I am. Ordering a tonal, dark colored yarn to make DH an argyle vest. So I went with cables instead. A very subdued and understated argyle that completely covers the vest. There’s no denying that this is an argyle vest, but it’s, at the same time, not a traditional one.

One of the problems I have to deal with when buying clothes is how tight and snug they can be, and while we’re always only focussed on ourselves, I noticed that men deal with the same issues we deal with. So I went for the opposite of what I found in the stores, a slim fit around the shoulders and arms, and a bit looser around the body.

Usually when designing something I have a clear vision in my mind of what I’d like to do with the top part, but with this project it was a total blank. This is (also) what caused this project to chill in the hibernation corner for so long. The knitting itself didn’t take any time at all, it’s the thought process behind the knitting that seemed to take forever.

There’s a lot of tiny details that I haven’t been able to capture with artificial light and my phone, but since I’m working on the pattern right now I’m not too worried.

One of the biggest issues I have with blogging is being a bit too difficult when it comes to photography. I need everything to be perfect all the time, but that’s why I can’t keep blogging. I don’t have the time to take pictures during the day (with the shop and all) and I can’t keep this not-blogging up anymore. It’s seriously giving me a headache.

Though I haven’t been posting (and honestly, I haven’t really been knitting either), I’ve never really left. I’ve always been thinking about this blog and I’ve always been feeling bad about not blogging. So I’m sorry about the phone quality photo’s, but at least there’s photos and I’ll be sharing some of the knitting projects (and other stuff) I’m working on, so bear with me πŸ™‚

Hope you all had a wonderful new year (I know I’m not allowed to say this anymore, but I’m a bit late to the party so yeah. So far, I’m having a great 2017, but I’ll have to tell you about the rest in another post. I’m trying to keep the posts organized and trying to keep the pictureless rants to a minimum πŸ™‚ Thank you for still being here and hope to see you more often πŸ™‚

drowning..

in yarn is such an awesome feeling! Now that we’re finally approaching the actual (grand) opening of the shop I feel like a huge burden is being lifted off of my shoulders. I’m a perfectionist and one of the horrible traits that come with perfectionism is that some things are never finished. I can’t just do something or it feels like I’m half-assing it. This makes things a bit harder than they have to be at times and make me feel like I’m slacking (even though I’m really not).

I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that I’m an actual workaholic. I never knew how much time I spent working until I started working in a shop (7 days a week). The first two months felt like I wasn’t working at all and nothing was getting done. Now that I’m back to “normal hours”, it feels like I’m working even less! I guess this feeling is caused by working 80+ hours a week when I’m at home, so now that I ‘only’ work 56 hours a week it feels like I’m slacking…

The biggest lesson in this realization is that my work/ home balance is shit and I need to delegate more time to other things I’m ACTUALLY half-assing and neglecting.. (like cleaning and such).

While learning new things about myself I’ve been working on some new projects and patterns as well. It took me a while to find the time and peace of mind to start knitting again (I haven’t been knitting much the past two months), but it’s back with a vengeance.. I have SO many ideas and plans I seriously don’t know how I’m going to manage them all. I started by finishing something I’ve been working on for a while:

I remember spinning this yarn during the previous Euro Cup. It was my first attempt at a fine fractal spun yarn, and I’m very happy with the way it turned out. It’s a Dutch Wool Diva fiber (something with camel, I’m not entirely sure, but I’m in France right now and I’m paying ridiculous amounts of money for mobile internet, so I’m not going to look Β it up if you don’t mind LOL). The colorway is “Jungle Night”, and I have another one waiting for me at home. I thought I could spin two of the same, but it’s really hard because my spinning has gotten SO much better since I switched to my Joy. It’s interesting because the Bliss spins faster than the Joy, but I’m less hurried because my ankle doesn’t hurt, and that apparently results in much more even spinning.

So I wanted to knit something for Ma’iq, and I’m still feeling guilty for not having knit so much for him all this time, so I decided to redeem myself and knit him a cute fall/ winter cardigan πŸ™‚ It’s a little big for him (I think) but that’s only good. I know the colourway is called Jungle Night, but I felt it could also work as a deep sea kind of thing, so I added sea horses to the yoke and waves (I’m not sure if you can actually see them, I also had to cut a section of yarn that was too light and made the pattern too difficult to see).

Here’s a close-up of the sea horses and the waves (and I think this one makes it even harder to see, but oh well). The vest was knit top down and in all the excitement I actually forgot to add short-rows beforse starting the body. Thankfully it’s a cardigan that will probably be worn during 1 fall/ winter season, so I’m not too worried. I also only remembered after steeking so there was no way I was going to be able to fix it anyway. I haven’t put it on the actual child yet, but that’s because we’re in France and it’s so hot I’m melting in a bikini. I haven’t washed it (but I’m sure it’ll be dry in minutes so it might be a good idea), and there’s no buttons on it, but for this one time I’m going to ignore it and make this an FO post regardless.

Now I don’t mean this in a bad/ arrogant way, but I was actually a little impressed when knitting this cardigan. When you look at handspun yarns they usually seem very irregular and uneven, (and obviously so did this one), but it knits up very nicely (which says more about the fiber than the spinning haha), and the fractal spun effect looks really nice. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve never been a fan of barberpole yarn. The same way that I used to hate cable knitting and fair isle felt really dull and not something I would like to wear.. oh how knitting brainwashes you.. But apparently this also works with spinning… I used to reaaally dislike barberpole in my yarns, so much so that I would avoid making “real” 3 plies because I didn’t want to end up with a barberpoled yarn. I’m still not a fan of 2 different colors spun together to make an EVEN barberpoled yarn, but fractal spinning has totally opened my eyes to all sorts of new possibilities for yarns and knitting.

I will definitely use this technique more often πŸ™‚

While we’re on the subject of fractal handspun yarns, meet Fireshadow. Another Dutch Wool Diva handdyed fiber. I spun this one during the same time I spun Jungle Night. This is a chunkier yarn compared JN and is knit using 4mm needles instead of 3mm. I’m working on another cardigan for Ma’iq (I did mention I was trying to make up for the lack of knitting right?). It’s not enough for a whole cardigan so I’m pairing this yarn with some Tosh Merino Light.

I haven’t made much progress yet, but I’m really loving this combination. It’s simple and low-contrast, and the handspun has enough space to shine πŸ™‚ I’m not using a pattern for this one, it’s a simple top-down, raglan cardigan knit back and forth. I’m switching colors every two rows. I’m thinking of keeping this cardigan nice and simple, because the handspun and the stripes will give the whole project enough character.

At first I wasn’t sure about the combination, because the handspun is a two ply and the madelinetosh is a single, but now that I’m knitting, and the yarns both have enough space because I’m working on a 4mm needle, I feel as though this is going to work out just fine πŸ™‚

Remember this project? I started (and restarted) this project in February and I’m working on it again. I really love the combination and the yarns and the colors and everything, what I’m not very fond of is how the yarns keep tangling. For some reason I keep moving this project around and everything keeps tangling. Obviously it’s the silks fault, because silk will tangle like a b*** if you even look at it the wrong way, but I’m afraid it’s just me and I’m simply not giving this project the proper amount of care.

This thing is getting big and the rows are getting long. This is one of those moments when I’m thoroughly pleased with myself for learning to knit continental style waaay back. I purl almost as fast as I knit nowadays, so I’m really not too bothered by the long rows of purling. What I do notice more and more is that it’s a very delicate project (especially the silk rows), so I’m not comfortable knitting this very often, or as an in between project. I feel I enjoy knitting this for longer periods of time (mainly because I have to stop knitting in the middle of the row and I hate leaving this project like that). The yarns are tangly (I just made up a word there, but I think this conveys the meaning well enough lol) enough as is, and leaving the project mid-row is becoming less and less appealing.

In the list of FO’s there’s two that should be added. I don’t have a better project atm, so this one will have to do, but I finished two handspun yarns. The one on the left is a single named contrast and the one on the right is a nameless chain plied yarn I started spinning when I was pregnant. I finished it a while ago but never had the time to actually wash and measure it. Now all they need is a label and they’re good to go.

The shop is mostly finished and all we need to do now is expand, expand and expand some more. There’s so many things I want to do, and so many different yarns I want to get, so many awesome workshops.. the list is endless. I’m trying to keep this blog about my personal knitting and the shops website/ blog about the shop, so if you’re curious about the shop you might want to check out the blog over here. I have been working on a new project and you can see Ma’iq wearing it in these pictures. He’s totally in love with the buttons so every time he’s in the shop he’ll go look through them (and ovbiously take them out for a walk).

I’m currently writing out the pattern, but here’s a little sneak preview of what it looks like. Here you see Ma’iq picking out the buttons he likes to play with next haha.

Now that we’re moving onto the knitting department I can also tell you about the things I’m planning and working on right now. I’m probably not the only one who does this, but when I plan for a holiday I usually take waaay too much stuff with me. You hope for nice weather and a lot of nice activities, but sometimes you end up with crap weather and you can’t do anything other than sit inside. This is why I bring too much yarn/ knitting projects with me.

I’m currently working on this project here. When I’m in the shop most people who are not familiar with Lopi yarns ask me who’d ever want to knit with lopi. I usually end up telling them how much I love Lopi yarn and how soft it becomes after washing. About the properties and the qualities but the best way to explain is to actually knit something and let them feel the difference. So here’s Β the project I’m currently working on (and I’m almost ready to finish if I don’t run out of yarn). The pattern is called “The Rain Outside” and it’s a garter rib shawl with very unique short row, lace sections in between. I think it’s a lovely pattern and it’s a very nice project to work on. The only drawback is the bleeding petrol yarn. It’s to be expected of petrol, but my hands are blue when I work on this shawl. It’s something I can live with πŸ™‚

Another project I’m planning for is a baby jacket using Scheepjes Highlands yarn. I love this yarn because it’s soft and has an amazing stitch definition. It’s also very affordable and durable, so it’s perfect for a baby jacket. My kid tends to get everything really, really dirty, so it’s nice to know I can simply throw this one in the washer without any worries.

So I can’t decide if I want to knit or crochet this, and what it wants to become. Scheepjes Luca is really soft and drapey, but it’s so hard to decide on what to do with it. For now I’m just going to pet it and listen carefully, I’m sure it will tell me what it wants to be when it grows up πŸ™‚

I haven’t even started this project, but it’s already one of my favorites. Scheepjes Silvi in two colors and Mohair Rhythm. It’s all in my head, but I’m sure it’s going to be awesome when it’s done πŸ™‚ I’m working on the design choices right now, it’s so hard to pick something and stick with it. The design part is still going all over the place, but I’m getting there πŸ™‚

Onto the design I’m currently (actually) working on. It’s a top-down something something, but I’m really not ready to talk about it yet. Yes, you are seeing this correctly, I’m knitting 2×2 ribbing in Scheepjes Mohair Rhythm on 3mm needles. I’m definitely a masochist when it comes to knitting. It can’t be insane enough, but I’m honestly starting to have doubts about my sanity. Β See this is the problem: the ribbing looks really nice in this yarn, it’s very fuzzy, but you can clearly see the ribbing. On the other hand it’s really hard to see what you’re actually knitting while knitting. The K’s look like P’s and the P’s look like K’s. It’s really very frustrating if you’re knitting this in between other things and while talking to other people. This is something you need to have good lighting for and a bit of focus (which I don’t have right now). So right now the progress on this thing is a bit slow, but that’s ok so long as there’s progress πŸ™‚

Say hello to Scheepjes Bloom. This is a pure cotton yarn that’s super airy because it’s knit. I’m going to use this to crochet an Avalon top. I started one a very long time ago, but I used the wrong kind of yarn and I wasn’t really looking forward to the project from the beginning. This yarn will look much better and have an amazing stitch definition, so I think it will be a better choice for this top.

I haven’t mentioned it on the blog yet, but there’s two amazing indie dyers from Utrecht whose yarn I’m allowed to sell in the shop. One of those indie dyers (Chestnut Cabin) has dyed two ah-ma-zing custom colors for the shop. One of which is the beautiful blues in this picture. I’m super sad because I forgot to bring the cards with me so I’m unable to write down the fiber combination, but there’s cashmere in here and it’s glorious. I’m going to use these two to rework my last pattern from 2014. I had designed a lace shawl/ cardigan but I wasn’t happy with the way it turned out. It was too big and it constantly fell off my shoulders (which sucked so much). So I reworked the charts and I’m now working on the new version. When it’s done there’s going to be kits and the pattern will (finally) be published on Ravelry as well. It totally feels like my knitting is kicking my ass to work harder haha πŸ™‚

When I met Andrea for the first time she had these two neon yellow hanks of handdyed yarn with her. I fell so hard I had to have them both. I’m combining them with mohair rhythm to knit this adorable jacket for Ma’iq. The pattern is called Antoine and it’s a double sided jacket for boys (but I guess it would work for girls as well). I’m going to knit one side held double with the mohair and the handdyed, and the other side just using the handdyed. The mohair will make it somewhat wind-proof which is what we’ll need in Dutch fall and winter seasons πŸ™‚

The last ball of yarn is a 600m light laceweight, royal alpaca, handdyed yarn (also by Chestnut Cabin). I’m going to knit myself a fall/ winter cardigan/ sweater for in the shop. I have two of them *winkwink*

So this concludes my plans and projects.. (lol as if), it only took me 3 days to write this post and I’m sure I’ve forgotten a whole lot of things, but now that most of the work is done I’m able to update more frequently again πŸ™‚

Happy knitting πŸ™‚ (also if you have any good suggestions for the Luca yarn please let me know, I’m really having a hard time deciding haha)

Tour de Fleece (and other news)

Finally! Some fiber related stuff! It’s Tour de Fleece and I’m so busy I’m making very slow progress here. I guess it’s not so much about winning but about participating this year. So many incredibly exciting things are happening right now!

We’ve been working really hard on the interior at the moment, but here’s a little preview of what the shop looks like from the outside (right now). Today we stumbled on a little issue with the power, so tomorrow morning an electricien will come by to sort it out.

Next week we’ll receive a large shipment of yarns and there’s still so much left to do!

What we’re working on right now is building up the shelves to fit the yarns in. But overall there’s so much to do I don’t even want to think about it right now haha. Obviously there’s a lot of work to be done on the shop, but there’s also a lot of work to be done for the website/ Facebook etc. So overall there’s not a lot of time left for spinning.

When I do have time for spinning I’m distracted by these two funny guys.. *le sigh* oh well πŸ™‚ back to work for me πŸ˜‰

Happy spinning! <3

new beginnings

Now that I’m back (I do love repeating myself haha) again, maybe I should tell you all about the things I’ve been working on the past few months. I know I said I was going to blog twice a week but I made a joke about something, something became an actual thing, and then I got swept away in the madness. Obviously this was the time for Ma’iq to show real signs of teething and separation anxiety and I’ve been so overwhelmed I just took some personal time to get everything back in order.

So, first things first. I’m opening a yarn shop and today I received the keys, so the fun can begin! If you’re interested: here’s some of the details, but there’s more to follow as soon as I’ve started. The shop is located in the city center of Utrecht (Netherlands), on the Telingstraat 11. We’re going to be open on monday the 18th of July, but the grand opening is going to be in October! I have so many things I want to say and do, but I think the best way is to get the website/ social media up and running, so I’ll be sure to upload some pictures soon!

It all started out as a joke actually. Even though I’m very appreciative of the luxury position I’m in, I’m having a very hard time adjusting to a homebound life. I’ve always loved being at home, but I’ve always been able to just go out and do whatever I wanted. Obviously I’m not trying to be ungrateful, because, first of all, it’s all just temporary and I’m very lucky to have my sweet baby. On the other hand, since I wasn’t working I spent all my waking hours talking to somebody who only drools. I’m not a huge believer perse, but my star sign is gemini, and I’m a talker. I NEED to communicate with people. I love this blog (and it really sucked not being able to blog!!!) and I love talking to all of you, but it’s really hard not to have people to talk to, or just to listen. I missed listening haha.

Anyways, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I felt it was time for me to venture into the wild too. I need to talk to people, I need to blog and I need to *insert favorite fiber craft here*. So a yarn shop seemed like a good idea. My mom thought it was an awesome idea, so she decided to back me and here we are πŸ™‚

yaaaaarrrrnnnnn…

Guys, there’s a doodoo load of yarn coming my way and I’m so scared right now hahahaa!

So I’m currently working on the website and on the interior of the shop, but as soon as I get some of it done you can expect the first podcast to come online. I’m going to do a bi-weekly podcast, so yay!

 

So now that we’ve covered that, I’d like to show you some knitting πŸ™‚ I haven’t been knitting a great deal but I think I should show these here anyway πŸ™‚

I finished Ma’iqs little blankie! it’s actually not so little and it’s really, really warm and cozy! The center is still a little wobbly, but I didn’t block it, I just washed it. It was big enough as is, so I just let it be πŸ™‚

I’ve been working on the garden a bit, I moved a lot of pebbles around and I’ve managed to plant some things (in May)

So prior to removing the plastic I had never heard of “horsetail”, it’s a plant that’s related to the nettle and apparently it’s extremely hard to kill. I’m not really bothered by them, because it’s kind of cute I guess. I remove them when they get too big and they end up on the compost heap. The story goes that the plant will eventually die if you keep it covered for about a year or so, but I can tell you that this information is not quite accurate haha.

So here’s my cauliflower, broccoli and broad beans. I took this picture on June 19th and by now the cauliflower plants are gone. I harvested them all and I have to say they were delicious! I think it was the best cauliflower I’ve ever had πŸ™‚ Unfortunately, you can only plant them once every 4 years, so I’ll have to wait for a bit before trying again πŸ™‚ Oh well πŸ™‚

Two weeks ago Ma’iq and I both got the flu and spent two weeks cuddling and spinning. No phones, no internet, just being cozy. I got a headstart on the Tour de Fleece because I have big plans and I’m never going to be able to accomplish them (as usual lol).

Before starting on the new project I had to finish the old spinning project and it was a good fun πŸ™‚ Ma’iq has fallen in love with the springs on my wheel and he’s made a point of licking them (ew), he loves pulling on them and he’s already managed to stretch one out by grabbing onto it while falling and pulling it off the wheel. He’s so fascinated I can’t really spin when he’s around haha.

I’ve also been working on this little project here. It’s a sea horse yoke cardigan for Ma’iq and I’m now working on the sleeves. The yarn is a fractal spun 2ply and the fiber is “Jungle Night” by Dutch Wool Diva. The contrasting color is Alpaca Rhythm by Scheepjeswol. I’m going to steek the thing and add a tiny button band. This was my first fractal spun yarn and I’ve fallen in love with the technique. So much so that my latest project is also a fractal spinning project.

The past years I’ve been living for the Tour de Fleece, and last year I didn’t manage to spin because Β I had a Tour de Baby, but this year I’m working on a custom dyed fiber by Dutch Wool Diva and I’m going to spin and knit it for my new to be born nephew πŸ™‚ His arrival is expected in early August, but I’m not sure if I’m going to make it or not, but it’s okay since he’s a summer baby πŸ™‚

I have 300 grams of this amazing fiber (80% South American and 20% Soy silk), and I’m going to make a fractal spun 2ply laceweight. One of the singles is going to be a long gradient, and the other ply is going to be 3 repeats πŸ™‚

So far I’m almost halfway (this is an older picture) and I’m really excited, this stuff spins like a dream and I can’t wait to get some more spinning done. Tomorrow is the first day of the Tour and I’m soooo excited! Happy spinning πŸ™‚

The big O.N.E

Dear Ma’iq,

Let me start by saying I’m so proud of you, my cute little nini is growing up! You’re so impatient with everything, it’s almost like looking at myself haha. You want to go out, and explore the world. You want to talk to every person you meet, and you greet them with that adorable 1,5 toothed smile of yours. You’re such a huge fan of your mama it makes me feel so incredibly lucky to have you <3

Thank you for choosing us, and thank you for giving me the kick I needed to get off my butt and start doing something with my life. As corny as it sounds (and probably is), you make the BS fade away and bring the important things into the foreground. Thank you for bringing everything into perspective and showing me what’s truly important in my life.

When I think about last year, I think about the best day of my life. The day I got to meet you, and we didn’t even know each other then! I was pretty high because of the medication, but even then I was so super excited to meet you! Then a tiny, warm, wet bundle of nini (=baby) was placed on my belly and I could only see a lot of dark hairs sticking out haha.

Over the months we got to see your bubbly and awesome personality. You know what you want and how you want it, and you will make sure we all know what it is haha.

I can’t wait to see more little guy πŸ™‚ I can’t wait for all the amazing fun we’re going to have together <3 Thank you for being you πŸ™‚

Happy birthday <3