Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Lots of Christmas knitting...

Christmas started early this year... On Ravelry, I was part of a 'Glitter & glamour' exchange, which meant a whole group of grown-up women decided to send each other fun, useful or just plain beautiful gifts, simply because we want to ;) This was what hit my doormat one afternoon (well, actually, the postman had to ring the doorbell...)
And inside? A whole pile of packages, and chocolate coins. My own little helper was on hand to help...
See that look on his face? That's him begging if he can please, please, please have one of the chocolate coins...
And after we unwrapped all the gifts...
I had a desk full of yummies, a soft scarf, black soft yarn, a new circular needle and glittery body lotion... And as luck would have it, we drew each other, so while I was unwrapping (blogless) Cloudhead's package, she opened mine... She got some of the snowflakes I crocheted over the last few weeks...
Snowflakes were crocheted galore over the last few weeks, as some were also donated to Midwinterwol, and sold, with the proceeds going to the Shepherds of Balloo, who lost their sheep pen and sheep dog to fire a while ago... You can still donate money to help them make sure the new pen looks even better and will be more successful than ever.
After the crocheting was done, I focused on knitting again. I had two big Christmas deadlines this year, and made both! Although, really, the second one was finished after midnight on Christmas eve...
First, I finished my Carlina scarf on Friday... 
Blocked and relaxed, it's 160 x 50 cm and she weighs in a just under 90 grams. A beautiful scarf, which I wore to the Christmas eve children's service and to dinner at my mom's on Boxing day.
I had to fold it over, otherwise it wouldn't really fit on the bed... The colour is a gorgeous dark green, and it fits really well with the dress I finished a few weeks ago!
It's so hard to photograph yourself! ;) Anyway, it looks great, trust me :D (and no, I do not have a double chin, it's just the way I'm grinning and trying not to get my face in the photo)
The second Christmas deadlines was for these little minxes... 
 The socks from the Garnstudio Advent calendar which I saw and just HAD TO KNIT. Sometimes you get those projects that just stick in your brain...
It has a fun combo of reindeer (which seem to be eating each others droppings...) and Norse motifs, just beautiful! I knit the second sock in less than a day, starting on Saturday around 2, and finishing just after midnight...
I wore them all day Christmas, and am wearing them now. But wait, what's that wheel???
Yes, it's Tory!!! She arrived just before Christmas, and waited under the tree patiently until I got to try her out on Sunday afternoon... with the roving from Dutch Wool Diva, of course...
I just know we'll be very happy together. This is our first mutual product: Frostbite, a soft mix of Merino, BFL, Corriedale, silk & Firestar. Pure yum. What to knit from it? I don't know yet... It's just about sport weight... 
For the rest of the year, I'll be cuddling up under my sock yarn blanket, which has been neglected long enough. It's a lovely project to just while away the hours, watching kids' movies, listening to them play* and just relax... 

*Things not yarn-related:
We were faced with, literally, liters of puke over the holidays... Apart from me, everyone got a tummy bug... luckily, I can say it wasn't my cooking... ;)
Batman even puked DURING Christmas dinner.
I have now honestly washed out every bit of bedding the kids have. Washed out, I am...
We're still left with Christmas pudding and brandy butter. Luckily it'll keep for a bit ;)


Monday, December 5, 2011

Foppe

Sometimes when you make something, you can't wait to give it. This was one of those situations.
A while ago, I won some yarn spun by Annita, with a pattern for her Suusje mouse. I had knit this pattern before, so my hands were just itching to get started! The cuddly toy was knit up quickly and last week I gave it some eyes and put in the stuffing, to bring it to life.
Suus, or Foppe, was then wrapped in Sinterklaas paper....
And put into the bag with presents... Big Sister Famke got to unwrap it. See it on the floor next to Batman? It's the yellow oblong one...
Now we all just have to wait (a looooong time) before her wee brother decides to make his entrance into the world...
And guess who we ran into yesterday? We actually got to say thankyou for delivering our presents in person!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

More Doctor yarnies

I had enough of the yarn used for Mermaids gloves left to knit hubby a pair of man gloves as well. This time held double with some purple Drops alpaca.
And yes, the fingers could have been a bit longer (one will never learn...), but they're warm, they're funky and they're going to be nice and handy on the bike.
The combination of the purple alpaca and the stripey homespun gives a fun effect. Although, hubby did say he'd have preferred matching gloves...
Tssss... These are BOTH one of a kind!
Onward with other things... such as sewing... After trying on my dress, it turns out to be too WIDE in the waist, so there's some work to be done there... And Mermaid's coat is coming on leaps and bounds. I finished off the pockets yesterday, sewed on buttons and sewed the sleeves and collar. The sleeves can be put in next, then it's time for lining!
Ten of these shiny buttons for only a Euro. That was a bargain! There were similar buttons in the shop, which cost 1.50 a piece ;)
The little fake flaps on the chest are fun! They have they lining fabric on the inside.
And one more of Mermaid. We enjoyed a fun visit from Monique and here daughter on Sunday, and the moms were kept very busy, as they wanted to 'make stuff'... The stuff turned out to be a strapless dress.
The fun you can have with a scrap piece of fabric ;)
And once the sewing machine is out, these little men just come out as well... Just to get us into the holiday spirit...
I have enough fabric to make three more cushions, so they will be adorning our sofa in the winter months!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Limerick

A shivering Dutch girl in the cold,
Put all her mommy's knitting projects on hold...
Even when she was sitting
Beside the pool she was knitting
And after two days lo behold!
Pattern: Cupido Cowl
Yarn: Autumn, homespun from roving swapped at the SnB anniversary,
around 70 grams
Needles: 4mm
It's going to be just perfect for when she starts skating lessons in a few weeks' time!


Friday, November 11, 2011

Sl5wyif, or...

Slip 5 with yarn in front. Knitting lingo can be full of complicated stitch abbreviations, such as LLinc, RLinc, ktbl, k2tog, cdd, pnso and psso... And yes, if you know what all of these mean, you're a true knitter!
The sl5wyif was used for these fingerless mittens.
Seeta
If you alternate the technique, pick up the loop two rows up, you get what we Dutchies would call 'wiebertjes'. It's a very fun technique to try, especially with variegated or stripey yarn.
Beautiful Moonwise yarn
The yarn started out as a cake of roving, which I won with my Herculanean spinning effort during the Tour de Fleece. It was spun up during the Summer into a chunky-ish DK 3-ply and then the yarn found its way to my needles.
Warm hands
I just had enough to make long fingerless mittens and they are lovely to wear on my morning walks, especially now that it's getting very chilly out there... No need to say that Mermaid was very jealous, and asked why on earth I was finishing off mittens for myself while there's a coat lying about, waiting to be sewn up... Kids... ;)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Proud seamstress

The dress is done! No pictures of me in it yet... still a few pounds to lose and an underdress to buy ;) But, in its full glory!
For this dress (from Burda Style 9/2010), I used a lovely teal/turquois blue stretch fabric, which was actually quite hard to work with. Because it stretches, exactly. The back and front were also quite hard to distinguish, which resulted in me putting the entire front together, only to find out that one of the strips was back to front. Big sigh. Had to be taken out again and resewn...
There was actually quite a bit of hand-sewing to do. The piping around the arm holes and inside the sleeves all had to be fastened on by hand, to create invisible seams, and the same was true for the neck and hem line.
It was great fun to do, and I'm bitten by the sewing bug badly. I've already started cutting and basting Mermaid's winter coat, so hopefully I can start sewing that next Monday in class. Looking forward to that!
I've also joined a sewing site, similar to Ravelry, but then specifically for sewing, called My Sewing Circle. The site is still in development, but it looks fun to have a sewing portfolio as well, besides the knitting/crochet/spinning stuff.

It's quite fun to see the effect of light on the lines in the machine-knit fabric. It gives a nice shimmer and because not all the lines run straight down (as a result of how the fabric was cut and reassembled) there is some variation in colour and colour depth. A great project to get my teeth into. I learnt a lot the past few weeks!
Of course, this party dress is just begging for a nice lace shawl... So guess what will fly onto the needles this week...

Monday, November 7, 2011

And... done!

The gloves were done by midday on Sunday...
... and then Mermaid said the fingers were a bit on the short side... Mmm, should have seen that myself...
So, the fingers were extended and by the time we were surrounded by these little creatures (baby peacocks, how cute!)...
They were done. Again! This time, they fit!
Pattern: none, just based on old gloves we bought from the Hema last year
Yarn: homespun roving 'Doctor' from Dutch Wool Diva (Diva Dosis Spin Club)
Needles: 2.5mm, circular

Friday, November 4, 2011

In progress... and trying to contain my inspiration

With work being nice and 'normal' for a change, my head is overrunning with ideas. Sint Maarten, Sinterklaas and Christmas coming up don't help either... There's all these cool crafting ideas and projects fighting for attention from my fingers... The list of WIPs (work in progress) is getting longer, and the yarn I'm spinning up when my head is just too busy to knit, is also screaming out to be worked into something nice...
So, I've added a few items to my In Progress list again... and my wish list and Favorites on Ravelry...
First up... the green/grey flap gloves for Mermaid...
Mermaid has very narrow hands, but these to me look very pointy and weird...
The thumb and flap are done, half fingers still missing. Glove 1, not sure if this project will see completion...
Yarn: grey Drops alpaca and the Lana Grossa Meilenweit Wave. 
Because of these doubts, I started a new pair, from the spun up Diva Dose Spin Club from September (The Doctor).
Totally different pattern, with fingers this time. Knits up like a dream. These will be finished before the weekend is out, I guess!
Contains merino, bfl, silk and a bit of firestar. Soft soft!!!
And more knitting for Mermaid, who was complaining that I 'never knit anything for her!'
This is the cabled yoke of a tunic. Nice and warm and wintry. Hopefully done soon.
And while we're talking of Mermaid, her winter coat... is still waiting... My dress is almost ready, one more evening at sewing class or at home and I'm done! Then I'll get started on the coat...

Monday, October 31, 2011

Hats off!

The latest request from the brood was hats and scarves. The hats were a definite yes, as Batman had outgrown his hat and Mermaid had been wearing one of mine, but with regard to the scarves, I said no to Mermaid. She still has about 5 hanging in the hallway! Of which one, the mini Annis, was quite haggard looking... and on closer inspection showed signs of rabbit damage (sigh...). So, instead of knitting a winter scarf, I promised I'd 'fix' her Annis...
First up are the hat and scarf for Batman, knit from a similar yarn as his idiot mittens, Lana Grossa Paddy (no idea why they decide to call it Paddy instead of Teddy though...), and they are super soft...
It took ages to sew in all the ends for the scarf though... I again realize why people like selfstriping yarn so much... Hereby: dear Lana Grossa, can you make self-striping Paddy with a long and nicely varied rapport? Thank you!
Then Mermaids hat. Same principe, but two more increase rows before the k1p1.
And yes, of course they wanted pompoms. Need to improve my pompom skills though (i.e. a bigger whole in the middle and MORE YARN) because these look, ahum, slightly c.r.a.p. The kids love them though, and that's what counts. Hats, scarf and mittens were immediately given a trial run on the way to the zoo...
And yes! It is Halloween! We had our party yesterday (and Saturday, why party only once when you can do it twice), and it was the perfect opportunity to crochet up these yarnies...
I'd spun these wools up last week. They were in the gift bag from the National Spinning Day, and are, from left to right: white shetland, orange merino and black alpaca. The alpaca feels the worst and actually quite disappointing to spin with. I'll give it another go, because it just feels divine, usually... The orange spun like a dream! And the shetland was, well, just shetland ;)
I spun quite thinly and ended up with n-ply sock yarn.
And then the fun began... I first made a small skull, as my plan was to crochet up little animals for bunting. However, I soon realized I would have nowhere near enough for that...
This is Skull Decoration, a pattern that can be found on Ravelry... Quick and easy, but a bit lobsided ;)
I then decided to just start crocheting some grannies and within an hour and a bit, I had this...
And after neatifying it and putting some ghostly ghosts on top... We had the beginning of a Halloween party!

Hope you're having a great Halloween and that tomorrow, we will all light a candle for those we have lost... Such as #kanjerguusje, who lost her battle with cancer yesterday... For more: http://guusje-lowie.blogspot.com/

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fairytale swap

I'm a member of the SwapLicious group on Ravelry, where we organize yarn and knitting- related swaps, but also Secret Santa swaps. The last swap was the Fairytale swap, where you had to choose a fairytale and then buy and make little presents to send to your 'swappie'.
I had very early on decided I was going to go for the Vrouw Holle fairytale, and had great fun trying to find things in the store to go with the fairytale and make some items as well...

My swap partner, Tineke, received some tea (apple and liquorice), a apple-shaped notice board, popcorn, snowy Christmas cards and bread mix (if you know the fairytale, you might know where in the story they fit) and I also made some stuff...
First up, some sock blockers with flowers (the Dutch name of the fairytale is 'Vlijtig Liesje', which is also a type of flower).
A never-ending spindle... which I had painted, stamped, and which was then ruined because the paint just wouldn't dry... Luckily, I could get another wheel, restamp and send it off before the swap was over ;) With the spindle, I sent her some white merino and Gotland locks. I hopes she tries it out and becomes an avid spinner like me!
My 'piece de resistance', and the gift I had to hide from the kids, as I knew they would want to keep it otherwise, was the rooster. Tineke can hang it from the loop attached, either wearing it on her bag or just to have it decoration.

It is quite big, and it was super fun to make! Even though I did burn my pinkie with the glue gun... ;)
Of course, I also received a package... Mine was themed Rapunzel! The card with the package was super cool.
And what did Rebbeltje, my Rapunzel swappie, have in store for me? A whole box full of goodies!
When I had finished unwrapping them all, I had six tealights and holders (lamps), colouring pencils, a notebook, scissors, bird stickers, a lovely ball of blue sock yarn, the fairy tale as a book and the movie on cd...

...and an amazing crocheted Pascal!
Within 2 minutes, World War 3 broke out between the kids about who was going to get it. And the answer: ME!
Thanks Rebbeltje!
I have already signed up for the next swap, which is themed 'Glitter & Glamour'...
And to end the fairytale, I felted Hannahs Lapwing... It fits now (it was too big), but still, we are slightly mourning the loss of a lovely garment... :( My own little Rapunzel has already requested the knitting of something new...