rope. tree. fan. spear. snake. wall.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Finished the hats!

... and here's one of them! Mr. Husband's hat is also done, but I can't get him to hold still for a photo. His hat does have the button holes, just in case he decides later to go with the beard option, but so far he's pretty adamantly against it. Let's hope Mr. Secondborn is more open-minded.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Insert Title Here

 Right, so if I didn't have time to blog, it must be because I was KNITTING, right!? Yeah, sort of. Here is the final photo of Space Princess. I love how it turned out. And an old high school acquaintance (I wouldn't say we were friends in high school, because I wasn't really anybody's friend. I was kind of a bitch back then, and it's really nice of a lot of PTHS alumni to forgive me for that, I must say) has a nearly-two-year-old daughter who is hilarious and adorable. And while I was working on the dress it frequently mentioned that it would like to go live with Eleanor, so I wrote to her mom and asked if that'd be okay and she was all, OMG YES! Because she's a handknitter too, and therefore Gets It. It took me several weeks to get it mailed off, but it's finally out of my house and en route to my old home town - my old home street, even - to a very good home. This makes me happy.

You may also recall that the acquisition of a skein of Wollmeise DK weight made me happy as well, and I wondered aloud if I'd actually make the Flinders vest I was intending for it. Lo, less than a month later, here it is, and I am just so pleased with it. I was worried about running out of yarn, so I could have made it a bit wider, maybe - in the event, it was well long enough. The pattern, I'd give it an A and a B-. That is, the garment is fa-habulous and I love it a lot. The instructions are a bit ambiguous in places and I had to make a few guesses, but hey it was free, so one can't complain too much. This was also my first finished garment with bust darts, so there's another skill to add to my list, that's never a bad thing.

And then! Well, the inimitable, the amazing, the fantastic The Fat Squirrel did a particularly hilarious podcast featuring Faye Kennington's Lumberjack Hat, and I may have watched it a couple-three times because it was so fun. Not long after that, the Sniglet, away at boarding school, mentioned that it had started snowing in Bavaria, and I said "oh, yayfun?" and he said not really, his face got cold. And I said, almost with a straight face, "I think I may have a solution for that..."

Even better, Mr Husband grew a beard for Movember, spent a month clawing at his face and complaining about the itch, and finally shaved it off at the beginning of December, to my clearly stated disappointment. A week or so later, he asked me to make him a hat! He didn't actually ask for a hat with a beard, but it was clearly implied. So! Matching father-son beardy hats! There's no way that could go wrong, but I will make the beards detachable, just in case.

And finally, a pair of gloves, because I'm using the Sniglet's fingerless gloves and it's getting really cold on the bike. The pattern is Knotty, a free pattern by Julia Müller aka Laris (LOVE her work, LOVE. IT), and the yarn is a black/purple/turquoise Versuchskaninchen (a colorway she tested and ultimately decided not to keep, I'm pretty sure) from Wollmeise which I have dubbed Nachtfee/Nightfairy because I have a lot of Versuchskaninchen yarns, and I need some way to differentiate them.

No word from Interweave on my proposal yet. To be fair, I did kind of ignore their mood-board, so they may be wondering how to fit this into the issue - but it is a holiday gifts issue, and it was a very holiday-ish proposal. We'll see what happens.

Meanwhile, I'm putting another proposal together, this one for Twist Collective. Well, technically, at the moment I'm thinking of ways to distract myself from the proposal I should be putting together. I should probably get to work on that...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Space Princess!

I know I said I'd wash, block and properly photograph this, and I did the first two, but it's November in the Netherlands, and though the weather has occasionally been surprisingly nice, those were not occasions when I had the dress and the camera to hand. So here are some photographs. They're pretty close to the truth, except the truth is a lot more awesome.

And it's called Space Princess because I knit it while watching a lot of science fiction (well, Star Trek) and reading about things like asteroid belts and orphan planets and such, so that's on my mind lately. I don't know why the princess, maybe that's just because I'm not used to knitting for girls.

Finishing that gave me permission to cast on Clickertyclick's Flinders Sweater Vest, of which I do not yet have a picture but it looks fab on the pattern page and I really like it when I try it on. This is in the Wollmeise DK that I bought, and it's top-down and sleeveless, so I figure I can just knit until I'm out of yarn and then call it long enough. I'm loving this yarn, and! I may have knit my first-ever successful bust darts! Very pleased, somewhat bemused: this is a lot simpler than all those charts and tutorials make it look. And now that I've finished with the increases and sleeve shaping and bust darts, it's just miles of plain stockinette in the round, which makes it perfect for my upcoming trip to Munich. 

Yep, Munich. Again. Just a weekend, to visit the Boy and go to a job interview. No Wollmeise visits this trip, but if I get the job I'll be a lot closer to the shop... I'd better ask for a very big salary.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mid-November knitting update

So! Where are we this week...


... I begin to see that the green-pink-blue-purple may have been a poor choice of colorway, because even though I planned my color progression to avoid winding up at the same color on both skeins at the same time, I didn't notice that the purple is indistinguishable from the pink-transition-to-blue, so the pattern became invisible at some point and I had to rip back and re-calculate. And since I don't take this traveling and have to pack it up every time a potential buyer comes to look at the house, it's spent a lot of time in time-out, so while I've done a fair bit of knitting on it, I'm not actually much further (not much = about 5 rounds) than I was the last time I blogged about it. So, no new pictures. And much grumpiness. 


Karbonz, y'all! Size 1.5mm, smaller than any needles I have ever owned because if you made DPNs this thin out of wood they'd break, and if you made 'em out of metal they'd bend and stay bent. These are carbon fiber, the stuff used to make space ships! I have space needles! Aren't they snazzy? 

Nearly Finished

The Space Princess Dress! It actually began with Georgie Hallam's Oriental Lily Dress pattern, with the usual minor modifications that I can never resist making, like the channel-island cast-on, and I don't like garter stitch so that waistband had to change. I used leftover yarn from the Kiila Baby sweater and started with texture stripes - a dark purl ridge (which requires 1 knit round and 1 purl round) alternating with a light knit round, and then widened the knit stripes as I started to run out of the darker color. This needed a fair bit of ripping back to get it just right, but I'm finally binding off the hem for what I hope is the last time - turns out, the picot bind-off needs even more yarn than you think it will! Huh. So I've gone and modified that and once it's finally done I'll wash, block, and properly photograph it. 

And then I can finally start some thing new! I've decided to use my Wollmeise DK weight to make a Flinders. Be interesting to see if that actually happens.

Oh, and! I submitted a pattern proposal to Interweave Knits! I am not nervous, I am not nervous, I am not nervous...

Thursday, November 01, 2012

My Precious...

Acquired Wednesday, October 24th, via Harlequin Yarns, they are even more beautiful in real! I already have my first project planned for the 4.0mms, but I think the first project on every size will be a Life Event. And look! The cables are black instead of purple! I love purple, I have no idea why I'm so thrilled about this, but I am.

Monday, October 15, 2012


Right, so I said I'd post Namarië pics when I got some light, and day did eventually arrive, but of course I haven't made a whole lot of progress because this is really a stitch-by-stitch pattern. Essentially, I'm trying to combine this:

... with this.

... only I have slightly different yarn, more green and blue, no yellow and orange. As you can imagine, it's very time- and attention-consuming, but so far I'm liking the way it looks.

I have no idea how long it will take me to get this done. Here's my progress so far. I haven't decided what I'm going to put on the sleeves yet, but at this point I'm thinking not of poetry, but of something decorative, simple, and very, very repetitive.

Meanwhile I'm working on the Flinders Sweater Vest in parallel, to satisfy my occasional (TV, public transit, stitch n bitch) need for miles of plain stockinette.

There. I've posted about Namarië. Now I'm committed.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

various and sundry

Wow, I didn't realize it'd been so long since I'd written anything! I didn't have anything to blog about for what seemed like ages, and now I find myself up to my ears in FOs!

Here's one of the things I made - Adriprints's Orange Blossom Camisole, which in my size uses exactly one skein of Fyberspates 4-ply, and when I say exactly I mean I had to cannibalize the swatch. I loved the yarn, loved the pattern - I followed the instructions to the letter (erm, except for the provisional cast-on and knitting the waist ribbing downward, because I was (rightly) worried about having enough yarn) because it was a test-knit, but for myself I think I'd've made wider straps.

Another test-knit, also for Adriprints, was this Amaranth Shawl, written as a two-color shawl but she did ask for one tester to do it in one color with beads and I jumped. The yarn is Wollmeise Twin, and I actually had beads of the right size in exactly this color, but they disappeared right into the yarn, so I decided to use the blue-lined clear beads, hoping they'd look like water droplets. I think they do.

Aaaand while I was finishing up Amaranth, a friend had a baby girl! And I have this project I've been sitting on while my friends kept having boys, so I threw that together over my trip to Bavaria last weekend. This is Violet Green Socrates, which I understand is discontinued, and the pattern is actually a Yarnissima sock pattern called Kiila. I applied the cable to a 5-hour baby sweater. I blocked it yesterday and dried it overnight.

While I was in Bavaria, I made it over to the Wollmeise store in Pfaffenhofen, which was a nice way to spend a nice day. She has a new DK weight, which makes me happy happy joy joy! because I really do prefer heavier yarn so I can finish a project in, oh, less than a year, but my favorite dyers seem to favor finer weights. So I bought a skein of DK in the Nautilus colorway and swatched it today. It's superbouncyfun to work with, but I'm not sure what to make with it - okay, actually I am pretty sure I want to knit Anney, but that needs two skeins and I only have one and I'm not sure I want it in Nautilus anyway so I have to go back for more yarn. Oh, the hardship...

So, ergo and therefore! All these done projects, plus this not-yet project, have freed me up to work on Namarië, which I have finally picked up again. Stranded knitting has always been a challenge for me, and my first attempt (in 2008) was altogether too tight and rumpled-looking because I couldn't keep my floats loose enough. I think I've gotten better at that. The color progression in the first draft looked FAB, at least the ribbing and the first few rows, but when I dug the project out I found a HOLE in it! No idea why, but that (and the fact that I re-did the numbers and re-jigged the pattern) meant I needed to start over.

That's where I am right now. It's raining today, but I'll post Namarië pictures when the light's better - so, you know, April or so.

Sunday, September 09, 2012


Original Dunegrass Socks with
short-row heel
Dunegrass Socks with
gusset-and-flap heel
So Portugal was fun and relaxing and had lots of knitting, but all on the same project: the Sniglet says the socks I knit him fall down a lot, and I think it's because my favorite short-row heel (favorite because it's so simple) isn't right for his foot. And I've been meaning to update my Dunegrass Socks pattern for lo, these several years, so I'm redesigning that with a gusset-and-flap heel (the republished pattern will include both options). Snig will get the prototypes when they're done, but I've been doing a lot of knitting, ripping, re-knitting and scribbling. I really do need to start the pattern re-write soon, but I'm very not looking forward to unscrambling my notes, so having a bit of drempelvrees (Dutch: sort of a fear of getting started). Which is probably why it took so long to get back on the blog, right? Just didn't feel like writing, and the longer you don't do it, the more you don't feel like it.

Anyway. Yesterday the brilliant Jonna organized what she called a Textielruil (Textile Trade), wherein we all went to her house with old clothes and yarn and swapped it all around - AND! The stuff that had no takers, she's going to donate to... something. And you know I'm moving, and I just organized my stash, so I know exactly what I have. There's so much that I can't throw away because it's good stuff, I just don't have a plan for it, and I'd be fine with not having it, as long as it went to someone who could use it. 

This is one of the ways I let my inner control freak out to play - throwing stuff away? Is a SCIENCE. I don't just chuck stuff in the trash can, ever. There's this whole process...I should make a flow-chart. Nothing like a visualization of the crazy. But I digress.

Where was I? Oh. Jonna's. I took many yarns, and returned with none. I did get some clothes (but didn't take any, because I buy really, really simple stuff and then wear it to death (and beyond!) before donating it to charity even though it's no longer wearable, because I know that they know fabric shredder/recyclers and the clothes will end up shredded and stuffed in couch cushions and therefore still useful and not in a landfill, see above re garbage science).

So anyway. Successful stashdown weekend. Yay.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

In Lisbon there is yarn.

Bom dia! We're headed up the coast today, but we did get one day in Lisbon, so of course I had to check out the yarn shop, right? I had to, it's right around the corner from the AirBnB flat Mr Husband found without any help from me and that's too big a coincidence not to be fate, right? The universe wanted me to go there.

Kismet notwithstanding, it was a tad tricky to find. #61 is not an imposing doorway, and the shop is in fact in an apartment up two flights of stairs and you have to ring the doorbell. But once you get inside, it's so pretty, all wood and light and fabric and yarn and books! Plus there's a little playroom to park the kids in while you look around. Too bad they didn't have one for husbands...

I didn't buy yarn, because I really am trying to use up what I have and only buy new yarn if I have a specific project in mind, but they did have some super local yarn and a lot of Schoppel Wolle. I did buy 5 alfinetes de peito, knitting pins for Portuguese-style knitting, which I learned how to do from a YouTube video before I left Utrecht - when I travel I really get into it, what can I say. Actually, I can say that sometimes I get pain in my right elbow when I knit a lot, but I haven't had that since I started knitting this way, so it's quite useful for giving certain muscles a break without giving up knitting altogether. Because we all know that's out of the question.

So. The shop is called Retrosaria, do check it out if you're ever in Lisbon, you won't be sorry. Wish I'd had time for a workshop...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

a follow-up on the Dutch Wool (Wol) story

 So, if you read my post on the search for wool from Dutch sheep, you know that they don't tend to use it for knitting wool, so much. The Saturday before last, Andrea (from Chestnut Cabin) brought along some fleece to Stitch n Bitch to show me. The Dutch fleece, dyed yellow with chamomile (looks like a cheese, doesn't it!) was quite scratchy, and she also brought a fleece from a German sheep which was much softer and finer. It was really interesting and neato to see the contrast in person.

So then I went to The Fat Squirrel's Ravelry group to report on the results of my research, and someone else had posted on Ravelry's Events feature, which of course I immediately had to try out and the first thing I found? A Wool-Day at an Alpaca-Farm in South Holland! It's called Alpaca Milestones, and ZOMG! Look at their little FACES! So now I can totally join Amy Beth's Lo-KAL, or I could, if I had time.

I really don't have time for a KAL.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

when two minor annoyances come together

You know how, sometimes when you're knitting a sock you get about halfway up the foot and you don't like the gauge or you didn't start increasing soon enough, and you don't feel like frogging for whatever reason so you just break the yarn and start over so you have this half-sock lying around?

And you know how, sometimes on a hot day you want some ice water but the glass sweats and you're afraid of getting a ring on your cheap wooden IKEA desk because even though it's cheap it's still wood and you have traumatic early childhood memories of leaving a glass on a more important furniture, so the sweating glass causes a sort of minor niggling anxiety that makes it hard to concentrate on your Lego Mars Rover YouTube video?


Friday, August 10, 2012

Empty nest = closet space!

So hi! I've been storing my yarn in the attic (in my luggage) since we moved here, but now that the kids have fled  ahem, launched, I find I have lots of storage space! So I thought I'd immortalize this moment (because y'all know it's not gonna last): Behold, the organized stash. (Cue choirs of angels)

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Can I get a squee?

Here is my most recent FO, a shawl called Laminaria which appeared in Knitty in 2008 and has been in my Ravelry queue since then. Yes, it only takes me four years to go from inspiration to bind-off. I have to say, there's not a lot to report since the pattern worked just like it said it would. So let's get right to the pictures!

(click to embiggen)

The Fyberspates Scrumptious laceweight was fantastic to work with, so nice that I'm already planning my next project with it.

And, I finished it in time for my trip to Portugal! I am going to look so snazzy on the beach...

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

a Lo-Kal (<- ha!)

So here in the Netherlands - wait, gotta back up.

So there's this KAL - no wait, gotta back up more.

So there's this video podcast, called The Fat Squirrel Speaks, that I stumbled across a little over a month ago. I generally don't like video podcasts, because I want to look at my knitting while I listen, at least that's nominally the reason although now that I think of it, the real problem is that I'm incredibly picky and there are only two podcasts that I've stuck with for more than a few months, and those both happened to be audio podcasts. And lo, a prejudice is born without me even noticing. And is hereby discarded, poof!

So anyway, Cast On and Sticks and String are fab, but somewhat infrequent of update, which I totally understand (not quite understanding why S&S's latest is only available in iTunes, grr, because I hate iTunes and therefore do not have it), which is why I was superduper happy to stumble across this podcast which I love so much that I'm now going through back episodes. She makes me laugh, and talk to the screen, and want to know more about lots and lots of things! Love it!

Sheep with water
Sheep with windmill
Sheep with tulips
Amy Beth, aka the Fat Squirrel, is running a KAL soon wherein you knit something with locally sourced yarn. And I'm all, hey my friend has a yarn shop but no that's not what she means. No, it should be from local animals (or, um, plants, I guess), spun, processed and dyed at a place near you. And I was all, easy-peasey, the Netherlands is all over grass, and you see sheep everywhere, and they are so cute which is perhaps not relevant here. But Google searches, even in Dutch, turned up useless information like "how to say 'wool' in Dutch" (it's wol, if you're interested). So of course I asked my knitting group (breigroep - don't try to pronounce that unless you have a degree in Klingon) and of course they had the answer!

Andrea said that in a colder climate you tend to get sheep with coarser wool, which is not suitable for clothing. So it's used for carpets and duvet covers said Hilde, which I would think would need to be soft but maybe I'm wrong. And that wool production is not big here, the sheep are mainly for meat (ew!) and milk, they even make hand cream from sheep's milk, Vera told me! And those fleecy slippers. And probably a lot of cheese because this country is BIG on cheese - there were whole lessons about cheese in both of my Dutch language courses. Isn't that interesting! I think it's awesome. Also Andrea and Patricia have offered to bring actual wool from actual real Dutch-speaking sheep* to our Saturday group so that'll be yayfun.

*I'm pretty sure they say "BAAAGGHKXKGXH."

Another interesting Dutch factoid: breeding is "fokken," so sheep breeders are "schapen fokkers."

Saturday, July 28, 2012

miss me?

Right, y'all, I'm going to clean this space up too, and start using it. It seems Ravelry has replaced this blog, and Facebook has replaced my other blog, and I'm barely able to keep up with them, so I don't know why I'm doing this, but whatever. It's awesome that so many other bloggers are still going strong and I feel like a hosebag for giving up, not that I really, formally, you know, officially abdicated from my blogs or anything, I just sort of saw something shiny and wandered off. For two years.


What happened this week is I got yarn! Not a lot, because I already had enough to last longer than I am expecting to live before a close friend opened a yarn shop, and since that happened I've had to get rid of my kids to make more space for yarn. But Wollmeise was having a SALE! And it started the day after I left Germany so I sent the superbificent Adriana on my behalf (and that of a few friends), so even though four skeins showed up on my doorstep the other day, I only get to keep one of them. But I got to pet and hug and smell the others before I had to give them to their new owners, so that's okay. And I will get to go to the Wollmeise shop in September. And soon after that we will move into a bigger house. You see how neatly things work out?