31 December 2011

Life: Good bye 2011

2011 is almost over.

And what a year it was!

We had dark, gloomy storm clouds, heavy downpours and thunder and hail.
We had white puffy clouds, speckled with some gray and lovely sky in between.
We even had no clouds at all and bright skies, sun, moon, stars and meteors!

Allow me to wish all of us nothing but the best for 2012 and let me leave you with this:

Haste ye back, we loue you dearly,
Call again you're welcome here.
May your days be free from sorrow,
And your friends be ever near.

May the paths o'er which you wander,
Be to you a joy each day.
Haste ye back we loue you dearly,
Haste ye back on friendship's way.

19 December 2011

Dyeing: colourful adventures

So, to break up the dark and rainy days we currently have I dyed some rather colourful yarn.
It's not in the shop yet, it still needs to be washed and dried one last time.

This is Bright Meadow

Bright meadow 2

Bright meadow 3

The turqouise completely disappeared.

Bright meadow 4

And this is Blue Velvet:

Blue Velvet 2

Blue Velvet 3

Blue Velvet 4

16 December 2011

Dyeing: Dye-a-long Midwinter (microwave dyeing)

The Dutch Dyers are having a December DAL and this is what I did.
The subject is Midwinter, the colours allowed are green and red and the tool is a microwave.

- sockyarn (wool/nylon)
- SEWO colours green and a mix out of carmine and red
- vinegar
- microwave dish

Soaked the yarn in a mix of water and vinegar in the microwave dish. Left it in there.

DAL Midwinter 3

Mixed the colours with hot water. The cup for green is half-filled, the red one is full.

Pour the mix over the yarn in the water, green in one corner, red in the other.

DAL Midwinter 4

Off into the microwave. 2 minutes on highest setting to start with.
Got it out and mixed the colour-water a bit. The top was well soaking up the dye, the sides and bottom weren't.
Back into the microwave for 2x4 minutes with a 3 minute break.
Water was clear now.

This is how it looks now:

DAL Midwinter 6

Some interesting stuff going on here:

- where did the blue come from? It's not that visible in the picture, but in person there is a blue visible.
- it varies from bright to subtle, the yarn on the surface is a lot brigher/saturated than the yarn at the side or bottom of the dish.

It has to cool down now and then go through a rinse/wash and dry. Which might take days given the weather ;-)

13 December 2011

Life: Lilly in Cakeland

Hi folks,
this is Lilly! I'm taking over from Kerstin today. She has some knitting and dyeing to do. Something about UFO and sleeves and she will knit them now or never.
Let's just leave her alone.

I've got something to tell you!

We went on an adventure!
My first!

First, we took the train to the big city!

Lilly rides the train

Kerstin was going to get a new pair of denims with a gift voucher she had received. Shall I tell you what? For a girl she is extremely un-fussy when it comes to shopping, it's almost scary.

And while she was at it she went to get check out the bookstore (oh, how I love this place! I have to tell her to let me loose in there next time we hit the big city!) and the craft store.

Then we went to a wonderland!

Let's start with the shop window:

My perfect dress

I adore that dress. ADORE IT! I wish it was my size <3 Downstairs, a workshop was going on. Plenty of children making CUPCAKES! How utterly adorable. Well, we climbed upstairs - Wouter had to help me, steps too steep for my little legs. We pulled up some chairs and they even had one in my size: Lift me up!

Kerstin went off to order coffee and cupcakes. She got us O.yes.O.yes.O.R.E.O.oh (for Wouter, Oreos are his favourite cookies) and Singing in the Purple Rain (that is with blackberries inside and topped with Violet flower icing - and it had a little heart on it). I stole that one from her ;-)
It matched my dress!
It melted in my mouth. Seriously, it did! It was sooo yummy!
I will never have any cupcake that wasn't lovingly made by hand. Keep the cellophane, get me the real thing!

It matches my dress!

Then we got Pink Velvet

These were yummy!

and ‘Pick me up’ in a cup.
Oh oh!
I should have known!
With that name!

I fell through the rabbit hole!!!!

Through the rabbit hole...

This is where I came by.
What an amazing place!
I ventured around:

Great decor!
Great decor!

I got out here - because if it matches your hair colour you know it's a sign!

Look, it matches my hair

See, we made it out

We are waiting!!!

But I know how to get back there and I will be! And I will bring friends. And have more cupcakes!
You should, too!
Because it's true what they say: CUPCAKES MAKE YOU HAPPY!

I was bouncy the rest of the day! Who doesn't want that?

30 November 2011

Life: it's busy :-)

The last couple of days have been busy with dyeing, packing and shipping orders, nursing a sick husband (just a flu, he is feeling a lot better already), working on a school project with my friend's little daughter (she chose spinning as her class project subject) and all the craziness that happens before Christmas.

Today I got mail!

And I just leave you with two pictures and very little words.

Lilly proudly presents

Lilly proudly presents our new flyer and business card.
Design and layout by my fabulous sister <3 When the mailmain...

My Mom crocheted the two little bags. The idea is to fill them with little sweets, nuts or mandarins and hang them into the tree. I'm not sure where this tradition is coming from, but I love it!
They will look very nice with my knitted julekuler :-)

Tonight I raise my glass to my friends and family, near and far!

27 November 2011

Inspiration: Nature and wool

I logged onto Etsy yesterday to find myself included in this lovely treasury.

It's a stunning piece, with or without my Falkland roving. Brigita collected some wonderful and unique items from all over Etsy.

See the felted slippers?
Several years ago I got my Mom a pair just like these in red, I got them from Finland. My parents lived in a place above a huge gate and the floor was constantly cold. She is still wearing them, having replaced the worn out sole with a new one at one point.

Last year we got my Dad a pair. He grumbled. He wasn't sure he liked them or would wear them.

Well, let me tell you that he wears them. And loves them.
His style has a lower instep and different soles,but they are just as warm.
Not that they are still living in that flat - no, they moved and while the new place is warmer it's also in a part of the country where they get a lot more snow and winters are colder ;-)

My Dad appreciates hand-made, don't get me wrong. He loves it when my Mom and I are around, knitting away on some project. He even knows how a drop spindle works and how to operate it ("you roll it over your leg...") I was puzzled! He grew up on a farm as a boy and has quite some knowledge about how things worked in the past. He can cook, he can mend his stuff (though the copper wire to fix his work overalls drove my Mom mad!) and he gives good advice when I have to remove grease from an old spinning wheel.
Just don't let him near your computer...he likes to crash them ;-)

Anyway - I'm eyeing a nice pair of felted slippers for myself. Just not sure which one...

26 November 2011

Knitting: Meet my new colleague

I've been rather quiet lately, haven't I?

First of all the weather was depressing for over a week - we woke up to fog, went shopping, swimming, walking in the fog, came home to fog and started the cycle again.
Living close to a huge industrial area and the Port of Rotterdam doesn't make for best air quality and you can't imagine the smell! Fog means no wind and that was obvious.

I love fog, but it even got me slightly down after about 4 days. How can one get inspired when all you see is this gray-ish nothing? You surely don't want mud-beige yarn to knit or crochet with or watery gray batts to spin?

So I went ahead to knit.
Something just for me!
Something I haven't knit before.

Well, before that there was a little frenzy knit-action going on when all over sudden wild knitted animals were needed.

So, Put was created in a matter of hours. About six in total, I think.
The mane took the longest ;-)

Lion didn't sleep tonight

And since today Put has a new friend: Lilly Clouddreamer.
She is my new assistant and mascott.
She still needs clothes.

Mascott Lilly Clouddreamer

Lilly Clouddreamer Lilly Clouddreamer

Lilly Clouddreamer

She has buttons as eyes, a pair of lovely wood buttons, instead of the knitted eyes from the pattern. This is a loving nod towards one of my favourite books (and movies) - Coraline.
She has a blue spiral tattoo on her right arm (a nod to Terry Pratchett and the Nac MacFeegle) and she's got wonderful colourful wild hair. Again a nod towards a favourite character - Delirium, my favourite Endless.

I'm currently going through my stash to find some yarn for a dancing skirt and a nice tank top and shoes for her.

The pattern book by Arne and Carlos is currently only available in Norwegian, not necessary a language I speak, but I managed to understand the pattern quite well! The book itself is a lovely piece of work, many photographs of all sorts of dolls and their wardrobes!
I've seen the cutest creations by other knitters - a skeleton, a witch, a Jack o'Lantern...the variety is endless!

Which colour should I make the skirt....

14 November 2011

Spinning: Misty Morning Hop

Good Monday!

This captures perfectly what is going on outside my window:

Marta just found the most beautiful examples of today's colour scheme.

So, today is going to be spend crocheting a shawl, drinking coffee, enjoying a piece or two of this wonderful Norwegian cake I baked yesterday (so simple, so delicious, especially with added slices of apple), cuddle the two kitties and possibly spin some more.

I did already card two batts and listed them. Not to be used in your fireplace - PLEASE!

Dying Embers (4)

I like my Mondays to be mellow. The rest of the week holds some excitement already - fun stuff like swimming and meeting a friend over apple cake, a dentist appointment and finally a concert on Friday evening.
No, not someone you know - John Watts, formerly of Fischer-Z. Youth sentiment, you know ;-)

11 November 2011

Spinning: Music Inspired Yarn

Over on Facebook, WoolWench and I are having this little thing going on - we let ourselves get inspired by music and make yarn from that inspiration.

This one is inspired by an old Marillion song - Pseudo Silk Kimono. It was released on their "Misplaced Childhood" album, the very same that features the famous Kayleigh.

Music inspired yarn: Pseudo Silk Kimono

One of the threads that went into the final yarn - sari silk!
And this is the final yarn:

Music inspired yarn: Pseudo Silk Kimono

I had some silk thread over on the bobbin, so I got creative:

Music inspired yarn: leftovers make jewellery

Next I dyed some yarn for my shop and City in Dust and Another Brick in the Wall were born:

Another brick in the wall (5) City in Dust (5)

And right now I'm inspired by Mike Oldfield's song The Lake!

Underwater Love

spinning Underwater Love

It's hand dyed by yours truly with only green and marine, being spun into a single for plying with beads <3

What inspires you?

07 November 2011

Knitting: Movember!

November is also known as Movember.

What, you have never heard of it? You might want to check out Movember, (the month formerly known as November) a moustache growing charity event held during November each year that raises funds and awareness for men's health.

I have in-laws that suffered and are suffering from prostate cancer, so inspired by the Christmas ball designs of Arne and Carlos I came up with this:

Moustache Ball

This ball is going to be donated to a local initiative called Serious Request, who this year are supporting mothers affected by war.

06 November 2011

Elle Aime: Giveaway!

Elle Aime: Giveaway!: Hi! - sorry! This giveaway is only in Dutch, but if you live in Holland, but you don't speak Dutch and you like to win a free spot for on...

Knitting on public television

Well, that is something to add to your resume.

Let me begin at the beginning.
And let me begin with saying that I never saw the latest Paul de Leeuw show Pau!l before.

So, on Wednesday afternoon I received a message on Twitter by my friend Marja from Nordic Wool that she needed knitters for Saturday.
For the above mentioned show. To knit Julekuler, Norwegian Christmas balls. You know - Arne and Carlos.
And to set up about 450 of those for the audience.
Joh, I thought, that sounds like absolutely fun and totally crazy. I'm in!
Then I got nervous! What to wear, what to expect, what what aaarrrgghhh!

Thanks to a wonderful friend back in Germany, a camera man and book lover by trade I got some tips and tricks and an "all will be well". Sounds weak, but it really helped.

On Friday I got all the information I needed.

The road to fame is a long one and so I got up on Saturday before crack of dawn, did a shortened version of my usual morning routine (skipped coffee, did the whole bathroom thing, got dressed, had some crackers) and went off to catch the first bus leaving this place.

Three hours later I arrived and was happily greeted by Marja and some fellow knitters!

Got some instructions and sat down to start working. Well, AFTER I got my first coffee of the day, otherwise this whole thing would have been a useless adventure.

Some of the knitters had never cast on on DPNs or knit in the round on DPNs and I briefly interrupted my routine to show how to cast on and how to increase according to the pattern. One of the knitters became my buddy - she would cast on and I would knit. I lost count of how many project I cast on in those three hours before the taping of the show, but it was...plenty. Many plenty. Look at the table behind me - one ball of wool is one project:




Little disasters happened and were solved (where is the box with the white balls???? Nowhere to be found! Oh, we split the existing balls into two - those who don't knit wind balls now!).
Great catering was offered with too little time to eat - with less experienced knitters available we had to hurry up and cast on those 450 projects...

We didn't manage, but we got really close!
All the bags were placed in the studio and then we were let in. Shortly afterwards the audience also came in and quickly after all settled in the taping started!


It was a hoot!

Part of the show is the Kiss Cam - people from the audience could write in projects they want to do with a certain amount of money offered by the show. In order to get this money or at least part of it the camera crew would zoom in on people and they would have to kiss. Paul de Leeuw would then award a certain amount of money to that kiss.

Yes, you guessed it! I had to kiss a fellow knitter - worth 20 Euro ;-)

Kiss cam

Almost at the end of the show the part we had prepared and were part of came: Arne and Carlos, my two new knitting heros!
As you know from this blog I have knitted balls before. And I did it again in the audience as part of the show. Paul gave the instructions in his usually comic way and the audience pulled out the bags and examined them. It was hilarious to see some of the faces later on TV, especially of the gentlemen...priceless.

For the rest of the show the middle part of the front row happily knitted away, swayed to the music and increased in pattern.


The taping took about 2 hours.

After that we got to meet Arne and Carlos!
You know what? They are super nice! Really! Chatting, encouraging ("you can do that" - "I know, I will") and very calm.
What a great experience! I'm already looking forward to their new pattern book about DOLLS! I love knitted dolls, I used to have two when I was little, one made by my Mom and one by an aunt. I loved them, soft and cuddly as they were.


I thought I wouldn't cast on any more balls for a while, but guess what?
I have to! Because I have to design this little robot for one of the balls for my husband!

01 November 2011

New Pattern; Whole Lotta Love

I got Whole Lotta Love ready - the pattern, that is.
The shawlette is already ready for ages and has seen a lot of wear and love!
I love the way it's knitted - cables, mesh, eyelets, feminine, but not overly frilly. Just the way I like it.
And I hope you like it, too!

29 October 2011

Pattern: Puka

Here it finally is - the pattern for Puka, my shape shifting cowl:

Me wearing one combination:

Puka Cowl

Group shot:

Puka Cowl