Monday, April 21, 2014

Toatie Hottie

Remember my care-package from a couple of weeks ago? I didn't get around to post the result!

Pattern: Toatie Hottie
Designer: Kate Davies
Yarn: Jamieson & Smith Shetland Heritage
Soundtrack: Atlantic City by Bruce Springsteen

This project makes me gleefully happy. The colourwork was great fun to knit, and it works up incredibility fast. I think it took me about two or three days to finish. It's not something I planned on making a couple of months ago, but sometimes it's good to change plans and make something just for the sheer fun of it. In short, this was exactly what I needed!

This yarn needs some more attention: It is Jamieson & Smith Shetland Heritage yarn as provided by Kate Davies in the kit. The Heritage yarn was developed recently in a collaboration between Jamieson and Smith and the Shetland museum. They wanted to recreate the yarn that was historically used in Shetland to make garments and used garments found in the museums archive as a guide.

The Heritage yarn is very different from the 2ply jumper weight, which is the Jamieson & Smith flagship yarn. It's much softer, and smoother than the 2ply jumper.The Heritage is also slightly thinner than the jumper weight, probably due to its smoother nature. The fact that it's a worsted spun instead of woollen spun also sets it apart and probably accounts for most of the differences. Though this was only a small project, I'm looking forward to make a sweater with this yarn, the softness must make it a real pleasure to wear.

This pattern has also taught me the Turkish cast-on. It a lovely technique, a bit fiddly at first but real magic once you get the hang of it.

I hope you had a lovely Easter, however you spend it.
Thanks for reading,


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Swish & Flick: the fanfiction

If I would have been able to go to Hogwarts, I know for sure that Hermione and  I would have been great friends. I mean, I'm pretty sure my parents are muggles, just like hers. We also both love cats. Whereas other wizzards let their owls, toads and rats run amok, Hermione owns a cat. Remember SPEW, the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare? I'm down with that. End the oppression! Together, Hermione and I could have staged some serious direct action against institutionalized elf-hatred.

Being grounded for that wouldn't be a problem. Both she and I could spend hours reading and talking about books. I would teach her all about gnomes, and we would play hide and seek with them in my treehouse (which would have to be magically transported to hogwarts in a blue box upon my invitation there). And, of course, we would swap knitting patterns for elf-hats. Perhaps Dumbledore could join to. Also I think that my knitting would really benefit from befriending someone who knows how to handle a timeturner! 

Oh's such a shame you didn't send me that Hogwarts letter, but at least I can still play-pretend in my Hermione cardigan.

Name: Swish & Flick
Designer: Megan Murray
Song: What else?
Yarn: Drops Lima

The fit for this pattern runs on the large size. I read that some people had had issues with the fit on ravelry and therefore I already went down a size, from what I normally would knit, but the fit is still a bit baggy. The yoke pattern continues a bit further then the it does in the film version of the cardigan, but I do not mind that to much. If I were to do it again I would go down another size, shorten the stranded yoke and definitely make the sleeves slimmer. I didn't steek the buttonholes, but knitted them in instead, as I think that steeked buttonholes are just too much of a fuss. The result is a very warm and comfy cardigan, just in time for...

oh..... that spring I see on the horizon?


Friday, April 4, 2014

Work in progress: care-package

Phew, my exams are over. Even though they lasted two weeks, it feels as if I've had a study-marathon of two months. To illustrate how bad it got, my friends caught me to referring to an exam that happened two days before as 'last week'.  So, thankfully, there's the care-package.

This is Kate Davies' Toatie Hottie, a hot water bottle with a knitted cosy for protection. I got it as a kit a while ago, and the J&S Heritage yarn that comes with the kit is a real treat to knit with, it's super soft. Luckily, the hot water bottle itself was included in the kit as well, so this comfort knit can be turned into an item of comfort as soon as the last stitch is cast off.

Though it feels weird not knitting on a big project now (Hermoine cardigan is finished, yay!), I'm quite satisfied for the moment.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Wardrobe Jealousy: The secret of Roan Inish

The Secret of Roan Inish is a story about folk legends brought to the white screen without losing any of its endearing fairy tale quality. It is, by extend, one of my favourite childhood films. The film was released in 1994, and for the longest time I didn't even know its real name. I always used to ask my mum to watch the film of "Fiona and the seals", so later when I wanted to re-watch it as an adult I didn't exactly know what to look for. So I literary just googled "Fiona and the seals" and it took me right to its wikipedia page.

Anyway I re watched it a couple of months ago, and made a mental note to put it up on the blog.
Fiona wears the best clothes and I thought some of you might enjoy looking at some of the pictures as well since I find them inspirational. There is some great knitwear in this film(and even several people knitting on screen!) and Fiona wears the best dresses. The film is set in 1946, so that probably accounts for the style of clothing. The scenery is stunning as well. All in all if you like Irish folk stories, with a mix of childhood imagination, set in beautiful landscape you might want to give this film a shot.

Now onwards to the interesting bit:


Lace cardigan:

Fair Isle Jumper:

Fair Isle Cardigan:





Fishermen Sweater:



There you go. It's been a while since I did a post like this, and I put up quite some pictures but once I started going I wanted to make a screen shot of all the things! At uni I'm now taking a class in film adaptations (of films) and while making these screen shots my mind intuitively switched to "film critique" mode. Which one is your favourite? For me it's mostly about the knitwear, and I think, for now, the jumper wins.  


Monday, March 24, 2014

Almost there

Folks it is that time of the year again...the sun is shining, I haven't worn my winter coat the past week and I had my first few allergy hazes! Yes friends, this can only mean one thing: spring is here. Yes yes...the time of buzzing bees, budding flowers and ....exams.

 Thus, I spend this day making my Middle English exam, which was answering questions about  Middle English texts. Fun texts about Arthur and his knights of the round table, and less fun things about women who let themselves be bricked up out of Christian devotion. Anyway, I've just spend the last couple of hours revising my notes and typing on my essay. However for the next 30 minutes or so I cannot be bothered with uni stuff for I want to show you my progress on my Hermione cardigan.

As you can see it's almost finished, I've only 3/4 sleeve to go, the pockets and buttons (it is now fastened with a dpn, but I can't see that becoming a fashion trend any time soon). Keeping my fingers crossed that I have enough yarn to finish it all in one go. I had my doubts that I had enough when I started the sleeves, but I think it should be okay now... Keep your fingers crossed with me?

Ps. A couple of days ago my blog and me have been mentioned in a podcast. They say some really nice things about us and the Treehouse has been seen blushing down to the roots. It also served as a reminder that I really need to change my Ravelry username. It is something I've been meaning to do for a while, but I keep forgetting! You can find the podcast at Twin Needle Podcast. The Treehouse is mentioned around 1;05. Tini and Maria: Danke schön & Tak!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Island Yarns

Today I thought I'd show you some of the yarns I got for my birthday. If you know the Netherlands, you probably know that it's not a big country. Yet, it's not so small that everything is around the corner. I was born and raised in the southernmost tip of the country. To get Texel, you have to travel north for miles and miles, taking you almost five hours by train, and taking you to the most northern tip of the province of Holland. Then, take a boat, because Texel is an island community. If there's anything I've learned from Shetland, Fair Isle and Iceland, it's that the best wool always comes from island communities. In the case of Texel, this means the only wool made from only Dutch sheep: Noordkroon.

So far it's only available in natural, undyed sheep colours. They're currently offered in five colours and three different weights. The yarn comes in skeins of 100 grams and have a generous yardage. The wool feels slightly coarse on the skein though not as much as Istex for example. This might change with a good soak. It has more similarities with Icelandic sheep, as the island sheep from this particular yarn also stay outside for most of the year, as far as I've gathered, with the fleece protecting the sheep from wind and rain. The weather is of course a lot milder in these parts than in Iceland, so the effect on the wool is similar but less intense. I haven't completely decided what I'll make from it, probably something stranded, suggestions are welcome.

The Noordkroon is a farm that works organic. It's sheep are fed organic food and they live outside. Apart from wool, the Noordkroon tries to harness all products that a sheep provides: they make soaps and skin cream from the oils that they clean of the fleeces. During the summer months the farmer has a weekly theatre show on a nearby camp site, in which she teaches tourists about the virtue of wool and the behaviour of sheep.

Next up is the yarn you already got a peek at in my last post. It's Sirri wool, which is wool from the Faroe islands. If Texel is rather close to mainland, the Faroe Islands are as isolated as it gets. You might remember that a few posts back I mentioned that I made Faroese Wool my next goal to discover. Though I didn't speak about the yarn any more, for my birthday I was surprised with a set of it.

 If you're a fan of Danish detective the Killing (personally I'm  love Scandinavian detectives) you might already be familiar with this wool. The sweaters worn by the series' protagonist, detective Sarah Lund, have become as much of a hit as the series itself, even spawning it's own website and several fan-made patterns on Ravelry. Official statements have confirmed that most of the sweaters are made in the Faroese knitting tradition, and made with Faroese Sirri wool. The Sarah Lund sweater is made with 3 ply wool however and my wool is 2 ply, which is a sport weight.

 There's a wide range of colours, and a very decent range of undyed shades. Simular to Noordkroon, skeins of Sirri wool have a very generous yardage, depending on the weight: with only four skeins, you should have enough yarn to make a decent sweater. There's one rumour on the internet which I'm am able to confirm: the yarn smells! People have complained about the strong odours coming from the yarn. Although the dyed yarn doesn't smell at all, I cannot deny that the undyed Sirri is by far the smelliest yarn I've handled so far. When I'm handling the yarn it feels like I'm standing in a field of sheep just by holding the yarn to my nose. Though I'm happy to confirm that the smell goes away with washing the yarn!

Did you stumble (it's always stumbling!) on any nice yarn yourself? Did any of my Dutch followers go to Breidag last week? I've really enjoyed seeing everyone's yarn loot. Do tell!


Friday, March 14, 2014

In which we all wore pointed hats

The gnomes were at it again. I walked into the treehouse last Sunday, and they were prepared. The were sitting in a half-circle around the doorway, and jumped to me as soon as I entered. "You've changed", the eldest of them spoke, sounding rather accusatory.
It took me a while to figure out what they meant. My brain raced, though the thinking process wasn't helped by the fact that I was now being lifted by fifty gnomes and, quite involuntarily, transported to what looked to be a chair with some sort of manacles on it.
Did I get a haircut, I asked myself. Nope. Grow an extra toe? Definitely not! Did I accidentally conjure my first patronum, thus finally prove myself worthy for a belated start at Hogwarts? I tried to discover how I had 'changed'.

As I came closer to the menacing shape that by now I was certain was intended for torture, I wondered what had happened to the formerly peaceful civilization of Gnomes. I knew they had recently discovered iron working, but surely in usual civilizations random cruelty didn't enter the scene until the invention of social media. I now saw the chair in full light, and it appeared to be wrapped.... in balloons and garlands?

Oh. I should have remembered. It was my birthday!! I changed into a technically-a-year-older-yet-for-all-practical-purposes-still-the-same version of me. The gnomes had noticed it, and threw me an awesome surprise-party! I should have known: gnomes do not get violent. We had a lot of tea and biscuits, albeit quite small ones. Imagine getting stuffed on cheesecakes the size of sugar cubes. At the end we ate pizza with all of us gnomes of House Monkey, and played balloon volleyball. Later, my family and friends came over to celebrate as well, and we had a nice long walk in the forest near the treehouse. (I secretly suspect that the gnomes were originally a cadet branch of the much larger Gnome, Troll and Elfish confederation in that forest).

Anyway, it was a great weekend, and I'll soon be back on the blog with lot's of inspiration and new yarns (that may or may not have been part of the birthday loot)!