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...


Sunday, October 23, 2011

The one in which she just buys loads of yarn...

Sometimes yarn buying is just like a box of Pringles: once you pop, you can't stop...
Over the last few weeks, I've bought a lot of yarn. And have been gifted lots too, like during our SnB party. So, a quick run-down of the new yarnsies living at Chez Amy:
Bought during the National Spinning Convention, 3 cakes of merino/tencel roving, called Damiane, 300 grams in total, bought from the love Dutch Wool Diva. This will be spun up and knit into a sweater or something else swish.
Then four balls of Lana Grossa Paddy, to knit a hat (done) and scarf to fit the idiot mittens for Batman, and a skein of some unknown yarn from the Sale bin. It was pink, it was fluffy, I liked it, so I bought it (if only all things were so simple). These five come from Het Zwarte Schaap (no website) in Burgum, where we were because we had a voucher ánd because we (me and Marieke from Wereldwol) had paid a visit to Monique from Kantwerk, who celebrated her birthday last week. Yes, 21 again!
Five balls of Drops Eskimo Print, to make a felted hand bag to go with my new grey winter coat. Every coat deserves a hand bag...
Four balls of Drops Baby Alpaca, two blue and two natural. I tried knitting these Winterland mittens, but they turned out giant-sized, so I'm trying the pattern with yarn that is slightly thinner.
And this one is not for me, but for Mermaid. She had her eyes on it last time we were at Breiparadijs, and now she's finally got it.
A ginormous bag of Gotland curls, gifted by Marieke, as she has decided not to pursue her spinning career. I haven't weighed it, but it is definitely more than a kilo and enough for a nice long cardigan. I haven't decided yet whether I'm going to use them like this or dye the (very variegated) locks teal after spinning.
And even more from Marieke... Some of the woollies will be gifted away in a swap I'm doing, but most will be spun up into some delicious yarn - and then find their way back to Marieke in knit form... Still thinking about what and how ;)
Apart from the yarn, I also bought the new Sandra Mode magazine.
It had a purple cardi on the front, I got a 25% discount... what more can I say. There's a few nice blokes' sweathers and one sweater with a motif I want to use in a cardigan. Plus some more things I might knit.
All this is definitely enough to keep me busy!!! The number of WIPs has dramatically increased from 2 active (and several sleeper) projects to about 10, anyway... And I have some roving for Halloween to spin up, better hurry. But more about that in a next post!
I'm off, I've got knitting/spinning to do!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A day with spinners... and some knitting

It's been a while already, but with birthdays, lots of work and some nice and extremely bad weather to boot (which meant we were either outside walking or inside cleaning up), it's taken a bit longer than usual to get to posting.. But I still wanted to write a wee blog about the Spinning Day. In a few words: it was soooo cool! It was almost like coming out, so hilariously thrilling and exciting, scary and fun all at the same time.
I had already been broken into spinning meetings a bit with our new spinning group, which meets up every month, but to be honest, 10 spinners or 200; there is a bit of a difference...
So when we walked into the room with all those chairs, I first wondered how on earth they would all be filled...

But they were (well, nearly)! Over 200 spinners from all over the country had converged on Mennorode. Some for the entire weekend, some (like me) for just the one day. And nearly all of them had a companion.
Photo courtesy of Passepartout
Look at all of them go! We even had a five minute 'spinning song' where you could just hear the wind pass through all the wheels and the corresponding squeeks and noises. Super fun!
There was a fashion show (see, there's me to the left in the pink spaghetti top - it was HOT):
Photo courtesy of Alpaca_Brown
I wore my own home-spun, home-dyed and home-knit creation, but didn't enter the fashion show. And thinking about it, have I blogged this???
This is Astilbe, a lovely, purple short-sleeved top I knit up during the Summer! 
There was spinning outside:
Photo courtesy of Spintessa

And there were shops. With lots of goodies. I was very good and only bought 300 grams of spinning yarn. Picture still to follow, same with the picture of the spinning yarn I got yesterday from Wereldwol. She's giving up her spinning adventures and had lots of wool and roving for me. Hooray! Thank yououou!!!!
I do have my eyes on a new spinning wheel though... The spinning wheel with the pink wheel above is my current fave, the Schacht Ladybug. I'll be saving up and am currently in contact with a 'dealer' who has one available for me. Hopefully I will be able to welcome her into our home in the coming months...

And besides the spinning there was knitting too. I finished my Alwar

To say it's pink would be an understatement ;)

It's VERY pink. And I love it. No modifications necessary. I knit the Small version, as my gauge was slightly on the big side. Yum yum, a super cardi to wear over long-sleeve tops in winter and over short-sleeve or spaghetti tops when it's warmer. Wearing it right now. Love <3
Other than pink, I've been knitting mittens. The first idiot mittens for Batman have rolled off the needles.

Mittens for me and Mermaid are still on the needles and I bought extra teddy-like yarn for a matching hat and scarf for Batman. Enough to keep me busy!!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mermaid's new coat...

Remember when I cut up my old winter coat and wanted to turn it into a new winter coat for Mermaid? And it wouldn't work? A solution has been found!
With some help from my wallet, a helpful blogless Judith from SnB and lots of stalls at the Stoffenspektakel, I finally collected all the necessary fabric and notions to sew up one kick-ass winter coat for Mermaid.
I had been given specific instructions about this coat. It was supposed to be red and have a fake-fur collar. So I came home with grey/pink fabrics and shiny dark pink buttons. Of course. Mermaid was elated however, and said that I had actually bought fabric which was way cooler than she could have imagined. Now the only thing left for me is to make it. I still have the minor thing of my own dress to sort out and then I hope I can get started next week. Should be fun!

Is it Christmas yet?

Not quite... but last week it certainly did feel very Christmassy - despite the fact that we were (and are still) able to sunbathe outside in our bikinis... The reason? A night of bauble knitting with an insane number of enthusiastic women.
I couldn't even get everyone in the picture!
Siem's hubby took one from the other angle...

And the reason for us being here, on the top floor of a book shop, knitting Christmas baubles, was the publication and promotion of one weird knitting book, which has taken the Dutch knitting world by storm: Kerstballen breien met Arne en Carlos. Many of our SnB group had already purchased the book and had started knitting some balls weeks ago, which meant that when we were invited to give a workshop and just have one cool, crazy evening with lots of short needles, giggling women and coffee and cookies/chocolates, we had a nicely decorated Christmas tree:
A nicely decorated Tijm:
Lots of big and small balls on the table:
Resulting in the utmost concentration...
It was great fun! What did strike me was that there were two distinct groups of people: the experienced (slightly older) knitters, who picked up the needles and were eager to knit some nostalgic looking balls, who totally turned into themselves and were zennnn incarnate; and the inexperienced (slightly younger) knitters, who thought that just be being there, they would learn how to knit (as if by osmosis) on 5 needles and with 2 colours and end up with a finished ball in 1 hour. Guess which ones I sat next to ;)
And yes, I did get to knit a bauble too; however, I had knit two mini-Christmas stockings first (you can see the green-white one in the tree above). It hasn't really grabbed me personally... I'm more of a snowflake crochet person... But, who knows, it can still happen! Maybe, as soon as the wind is howling through the leafless trees, when the kids are jumping in and out of puddles, and I have finally found (or made) that winter coat, the Christmas spirit will finally catch on...
For now... other things...