Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tree idea?

Why not just decorate a tree with sweaters? As seen in Coleraine...
We loved Coleraine! We've found a few nice areas where we would love to go and live, so, providing our house here gets sold soon, we could be there this Summer and hopefully next year our Xmas tree will be put up in a new house!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Some lace and a Spoke

It's already been a week ago, but only now have I got some time to blog about the Estonian lace workshop I took last weekend. In the meantime we've been working hard at removing wallpaper... and then sticking new wallpaper on the walls. It does look a lot better now, and we hope it will make the house a bit more sellable!
Back to the workshop! On invitation of Wereldwol, the two Dutch Knitters came to Leeuwarden to tell and teach us all there is to know about Estonian lace knitting (in a day!). The morning started off with a cup of coffee and Madeira cake, while Hilly and Carla told us more about the history of the shawls and showed us some beautiful examples they knit themselves or bought in Estonia.
The tools, the explanation and the business card... Ready, set, go!
Hilly and Carla, our teachers, who (I suspect) know more about Estonian lace than the Estonians themselves...
Our knitting table, in the lovely airy and light upstairs room of Pitch 'n Putt in Zuiderburen (Leeuwarden).  A keeper for workshops, according to Marieke (Wereldwol, bottomright)

We got to work knitting several stitches which are often used in Estonian laces, including nupps of different kinds. After a sumptuous lunch we had a look at the spreadsheet with formulas to calculate sizes, stitches and borders (yes, some IT comes in handy!) and then started knitting the lace border. When the light started to fade outside, we finally got to the point where that border was sewn on to the shawl. The result was only a small sample, but it did teach us the basic technique.
More piccies of the day (with me in them too ;) on Breimiek's blog.

Standing around the laptop, looking with amazement at the spreadsheet (developed by Carla, a former IT expert) 
Nupps and crosses... It's great to learn some new techniques!
The lace middle and border, before sewing them together...
... and after. It's actually a lot more complicated than it looks!
Some of the samples knit during the workshop

And it tastes of more! Several of us ordered the Haapsalu shawl book and I can't wait until it arrives. In the meantime, I will be starting a little pattern from the Nancy Bush book on Estonian lace knitting with the Manos Lace (left over from my Haruni).
As knit by AlliKnit (Ravelry)

Coming home, having all this inspiration and desire to start knitting something new, gave me the final push to finish my Spoke. I finished the sleeves over the weekend and then sewed up the entire sweater on Tuesday and Wednesday, having it finished just in time for SnB night. It's a lovely tight fit, but the sleeves are mighty short. I thought they would be fine, as I have quite short extremities (although a bit wide). But they're more 3/4 sleeves at the moment... I have enough yarn left to actuall make them long enough, so now I'm deciding whether the sleeves are fine like this or whether I will cut the yarn just above the cast-on edge and then just knit them longer until they are as long as I'd really want them. In the meantime, I'll just keep wearing it, so we'll see what my decision will be...
My Spoke, in lovely Drops Alpaca and Drops Delight
A great addition to my wardrobe!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Simply Stockinette

It's been. It's been busy the last year. And it's not really letting off... Work, getting the house ready to be sold; it's busy in my head, in our house, in my diary.
So, small projects are best! Preferably projects in stockinette, which are relaxing and not too demanding. Spoke is slowly but surely getting finished (knitting the sleeves now), while the second hatheel sock is also getting there, but at the moment, I'm knitting these:
Yup, hats. Lots of hats. Very tiny little hats for tiny little babies in India. Save the Children has a great project on at the moment, with a lovely informative website to go with it: Brei voor India. Using the very easy instructions and pattern, we have set to work. Yes, WE! The idea of our SnB group trying to knit enough hats to fill a huge box to send to the organization in time for Sinterklaas was met with a lot of enthusiasm. With me, around 20 other moms and grandmoms are now knitting these tiny hats. I hope to show you the entire collection at the beginning of December, but now it's time to knit a few more...
If you want to knit along, please do!!! If you can't read the pattern, mail me. If you can't knit, donate.