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

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."