Hand dyed yarn – Volcano Blue

From one thing sometimes comes the next.

Do I need to say I’m passionate about knitting? Okay, thought so …

However, there’s that one thing I keep feeling frustrated about and that’s the limited choice of hand dyed yarns in Belgium.
Some Belgian LYS have them of course but usually only in small amounts and never mind the colors.
I’ve learned to become “flexible” though on colorways because there’s a big chance I won’t find what I was looking for in the first place.
But sometimes I don’t want to be “flexible” and I’ll probably end up ordering outside Belgium after all.
Mainly in Germany and France and I’ll be paying too much on transportation costs, as usual.

I always have some bad feeling about this.

IMG_0440

There’re only a few brick and mortar LYS left in Belgium and they seem to have a hard time.
Lots of them are offering other things like fancy fabrics and that’s basically a matter of surviving.
Sewing is immensely popular here, rather than knitting.

But ME? I’m NOT a sewer and I never will be!
When it comes to yarn, Belgian LYS mainly offer manufactured yarns and loads of sock yarn.
Sock yarn – manufactured – is really all over the place.

I’ve always wondered, are Belgian knitters seriously mainly sock knitters?
Suppose we’re mainly sock knitters, then who’s wearing all these socks?
I never saw one person wearing knit socks.
Okay, Belgian people are often told to be discrete :-)
Just imagine all these little treasures hidden away in boots :-)

Don’t get me wrong.
There’s nothing wrong with manufactured yarns and I buy them too.
But I think they can’t compete with hand dyed yarns.
What’s the difference?
Without any doubt, it has to be LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!
But beware, once you go fancy, there’s no way back.

I just wished I didn’t have to order my hand dyed yarns outside Belgium so much.

Because …
What about stimulating local economy?
What about ecological footprint?
What about handmade?
What about slow?
Sigh, sigh …

IMG_0437

As I said, from one thing comes the next.

I’m a knitter, but in fact I like many other crafts.
Last year I took a workshop on spinning and two on dyeing.
Knitting, spinning, dyeing, these processes take time but that’s exactly what I like.
They are slow and relaxing.

The dyeing is absolutely fascinating and I’m experimenting with different techniques and color blends. I love it!
Wouldn’t it be nice if I was able to dye up my own yarn.
I don’t need another challenge, but too late for that I’m afraid.

This came out of my dye pot the other day and I’m really in love with it!
I’ve called it Volcano Blue.
When you look at this, can you also see the dark blues and purples from the outside of the volcano and the red and oranges from the lava?

Let me know what you think of it.

About yokes: new ones and 30 years old ones

I have a soft spot for stranded yokes and nordic designs. They often come togeter.

For some reason they always catch my eye, whether it’s on Ravelry, in a shop, on the street, I’ll NEVER miss them.

Surprisingly I’ve passed this love on to my son. When we’re out shopping, I can just tell he’ll walk straight to the stranded sweaters, preferably in traditional colors of navy blue, red, white and grey.

IMG_2572

Recently I was very pleased when he asked me to make him one of these stranded sweaters. Oh, how much I enjoyed the moment of chosing the pattern and the colors together and I was surprised to see how cooperative he was … I mean for a 17 year old … right!

So here it is, his very own Grettir worked with Cascade 220. He’s very pleased about it and I’m really pleased about how the fit looks on him.

IMG_2575

IMG_2569

Talking about stranded yokes.

About two years ago my mother gave me this sweater. I was only 15 (!) when I made this and I can still remember how excited I was about finally starting the yoke. See, I already liked these yokes then and this love has never gone away.

This is probably the very first sweater I finished completely on my own, just reading the instructions from the pattern.

IMG_3123

IMG_3122

Back and front parts were knit flat and so were the sleeves. We weren’t knitting in the round in those days, except for the yokes of course. The seams at the underarm look a bit messy, but I think the yoke looks pretty good for a total beginner.

When I look back at this now I think it’s quite unusual and impressive for a 15 year old girl. Well, of course there was much more knitting going on then than today, so perhaps it wasn’t unusual at all. In any case, I couldn’t imagine my daughter doing this now.

My mother kept it as a treasure for more than 30 years, safely wrapped in a transparent plastic bag. My mother really isn’t the kind of person who endlessly holds on to things, really she’s NOT. More often she will happily toss things as much as she can.
But she could never throw this one. Isn’t this sweet and I think it’s nice to know how much she values this too.

I’m on a massive clean-up project here, so even if I kept it (still in the same plastic bag) for another two years, it will finally have to go. But not before sharing a last picture with you guys.

Bye bye sweet sweater!

Thank you for having been around so long and for installing a never lasting love for knitting, yarn, colors and yokes in my heart.

Light grey structure

Sometimes small knitting miracles do happen.

When EVERYTHING (and you know lots can go wrong) works out the way you wanted it: the yarn, the drape, the color, the fit, the pattern, the instructions and last but not least that comfy and cozy feeling when you put in on … and again … and again.

IMG_2542 IMG_2556

I’m totally in love with it!

I used two yarns held together, Northbound knitting and Isager Alpaca 1. They made a very happy couple.

More details and pictures can be found on my Ravelry project page.

IMG_2499 IMG_2495

I admire Regina Moessmer for this design, I could not do this. I think textured sweaters must be amongst the most complicated patterns to design, because the mathematics need to be spot on! I was lucky to participate in the testknit of this beauty, so thank you Regina for making this one of my TOP favorites!!!

Goed begonnen.

Still Light Tunic

Let me put some life back in here and what could possibly be a better day for this than today :-)

I have a couple of FO’s to show you, but I’ll do one at the time.

IMG_2967 IMG_2969

First one is this dress I made for my daughter. Euuhmmm, didn’t I say (probably even in my last post!) I was going to do more S.M.A.L.L. projects??

Okay, let’s say any next project will be smaller than this one, haha!

I used DROPS Alpaca for it, just like Veera in her pattern. But when the yarn arrived I couldn’t believe I could get a dress out of this. It looked so thin and almost miserable.

I checked the pattern again because I really thought I’d made a mistake. I also checked others’ project pages having used the same yarn and their dresses all looked fine.

Never judge by the looks. This yarn knits up quite fluffy and it turned out to be just perfect for this pattern.

IMG_2981

It was a little difficult to determine a good length for this. Also, after blocking the dress had grown just a little too much, that is for my 16 year old girl who turned 17 today!

I would wear it at this length, but I guess it’s different for young girls.

The pictures still show the dress at the old length, but in the meantime I’ve shortened it and I have to agree the shorter version looks better on her.

Small projects

Here are my 2015 goals on the knitting front. It’s not a lot but I want it to be realistic, right?

1. Produce more small projects like socks, hats, slippers – check!!!
2. Practice my spinning and take an advanced workshop;
3. Try more dyeing;
4. Do more gift knitting and prepare for some Christmas knitting;
5. Keep my stash under control and only add what I take out. Right, I never said I would diminish my stash :-)
6. Think more about the wearability of my projects. In order to reach that I would like to make less shawls (I tend not to wear them) and I will try to stay true to my preferred color palette of blue, grey, golds and a tiny bit of red.

IMG_2457

IMG_2467

Wow, it seems like I’ve already fulfilled my first goal with this great pair of slippers. I think the Christmas knitting could be a bit of a struggle, but goals need to be challenging so I’ll leave it in.

It’s so rewarding to make projects you can finish in a day or two.
Very often it are also the ideal projects for using up some of your leftovers. My slippers were made with Lopi leftovers from my nordic sweater.

IMG_2436

IMG_2449

These slippers were so much fun to make. It’s a free download and you can find it here.

Happy New Year at the Mondsee

I hope you all had a very festive end of 2014! Happy New Year to all of you and I wish that life will treat you and your beloved ones kindly in 2015!

I finished my last knitting project of 2014 in that festive mood and once again the season strongly influenced my color choices. I’m quite sure I wouldn’t have picked those colors at any other time of year.

The pattern is called Mondsee and you can see more pictures and additional information on my Ravelry project page here.

IMG_2921

IMG_2924

IMG_2895

IMG_2925

This was my second testknit for Monie, better known as Iscula as Ravelry username.

When I saw Monie’s latest wonderful design, I didn’t hesitate one second!

Well, the truth is that I did.

In fact I had promised myself not to accept another testknit in 2014 because I wanted to give myself the time to finish all my WIP’s. But it was already too late – I couldn’t resist this one.

Another reason why I couldn’t resist is that I had an excellent experience with her previous testknit, called Attersee.

I like it a lot when a designer specifically says that she wants her testers to enjoy it without stress, even though I’m very punctual on deadlines. It just makes it relaxing somehow.

I also met some wonderful and very talented knitters during that first testknit and we have been following each other’s work ever since.

Thank you once again, dear Monie, for this beautiful testknit and for your relaxing flexibility!

Such a Winter’s Day

I absolutely wanted to finish all of my WIP’s before the year is over. I know, sometimes I can become a bit of a maniac.

It’s a first Heidi Kirrmaier design for me and I have never followed a pattern that was so clear and mathematically correct. The fit is absolutely perfect!

I used Holst Garn for a first time. Next time I would wash it first before using because my hands came out blue everytime and I even had to protect my clothes. When this sweater was finished I gave it a gentle soak and the water turned totally blue.

But it’s just a miracle how my sweater totally softened up after washing it.

IMG_2205

IMG_2208

My daughter is my favorite customer : she’s very grateful and she’s also critical about it.

She’s able to tell me exactly what she wants in terms of yarn, color, fit.

And last but not least she’s always a willing model :-)

Heidi Kirrmaier is such a talented designer and I love the perfectly designed details like the side slits and the shaping of the neck.

More pictures and more detailed information can be found on my Ravelry page here.

IMG_2210

IMG_2202

Holst Garn Supersoft Uld
Nld 4,5 mm