Thursday, December 28, 2006

X-mas Knitting & a Ruined Ego

I thought I was pretty clever, designing and whipping up this shrug a day before Christmas, to match my new sleeveless dress...

And then my MIL went and showed me this....
She's making a dollhouse and everything in it herself... There's some mean knitting, lacework and embroidery going on there...!

Have you ever seen hand knit mittens this small??

And this is how she does it:

And along with all sorts of other presents she also got me this:
sock yarn!! great colors, perfect to wear with jeans. I love having a MIL that knits! Even though she's ruining my knitting ego with all her teenytinyknitwear...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Check, Check, Doublecheck!!

I should have seen it coming...
Something should've clicked when I had to use two needle sizes bigger than the suggested ones. But I got tracked sideways when I knit and re-knit, knit and re-knit and knit and re-knit the first decrease round.
I took it to my Stitch 'n Bitch group and let 'the wise ones' take a look. After letting me rattle on for a while, one of the wise ones asked me questions as if I just explained her that apples come from a tree, as if I wasn't just throwing the k2tog's and the purl stitches and markers around in an incoherent and totally chaotic way... I swear, this lady must have some sort of genius gene, like a photographic memory, but then something to do with translating one dimensional ramblings into three dimensional pictures of the problem.
Eventually, after knitting a round to show them what the problem was, there was a frown, a sigh and eventually the words: 'did you check the errata?' shut me right up. I didn't...
Luckily I'm stubborn and creative at times and I was able to make it work, insecurely checking if I made the right decision every row or two.

I knitted on and then the fact that it took me two skeins instead of one should have tipped me, right? Well, I wondered about it checked the stitches and the gauge (verhouding) and it was fine, so I ignored the signs, knitted on and cast off....

with this as a result:

You know, slouched hats are all the fashion. Wendy @ Knit & Tonic had designed a version and I'd actually love to make/ have one. But this one was intended for my grandmother and it's no where near just slouching...

IT'S A MONSTER! And it's eating me!!

this is how big my headband is compared to the beret...

I have this to say for myself:

The gauge was right, and the stitches too..... I swear!
Well, I'm off...maybe I should check those errata right?!

I do seem have a way with stitches though. The way my ribbed stitches go into the stockinette stitches is apparently an elegant one where my stitches don't lie 'on top of' the knitting... Gosh, who knew...

ps I have site feed now. The wise one also let me in on this piece of magic. Except for wise, she's also nice, look what she made the S'nB group:

I swear, if we were in Lord of the Rings she would be freackin' Gandalf!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

YKP = Young Knitting Professional

Daniel's Breipod (he came up with that name, Brei-means knit in Dutch...)
picture by himself
I've heard that the comments section of my blog didn't work... Please try again, it should now... if you see a weird comment in Dutch, it's Boyfriend Dear own charming way of double checking it.

I have a confession for you...

I've been missing the feedback.
Turns out that I've grown attached to you people and I've been missing the comments more than I think I would. Can you imagine what the
Yarn Harlot must have felt like, during the days her whole blog was offline (SHOCK &HORROR!). She gets about 200 comments a post, and I'm not exaggerating when I say this... She could have her whole self image ánd esteem based on her readers comments. She wouldn't need anything else.
Me, I'm over the moon if I get 12 comments, my personal record, and I'm not sure what that says about me. I just get the feeling I used when somebody sent me snail mail way back in the early nineties. I feel appreciated and - not like Oprah- I love surprises!
So po-lea-se, keep 'em comin'!
Kim's Bulky Bones Scarf, I can't show it completely yet,
I've sent it in and am hoping it will get published.

On knitting:
Lately I've been working on a couple of orders. Yes, orders... that's what it's called when you work for money, right? I'm a professional knitter now... hehehe! Kim wanted a scarf and Daniel and i-pod-nano-cover. "No problemo, can do", I said. Who knew you can get hunted by orders. At least I did. I felt guilty for not finishing it fast enough, I felt guilty for that one stitch that was off, I felt bad about the fact that I used my money to buy Cd's and ran out of it when I finally found the right yarn and to top it off, after all the work and emotions, I felt guilty about asking a certain amount of money for it. Not that my designs aren't worth it, with the material costs, the hours of work and the fact that they are my original designs. It just felt weird getting paid for work. (Did I just say this...? Me who always asks for a raise whenever I feel it's appropriate. Me who feels deprived when over hours have to be compensated by days off...)
Tempting II in the making, k1p1k1p1k1p1k1p1, need I say more...?

So I've figured something out. I'm not going to be a knitting entrepreneur any time soon. It just takes to much out of me. And what else... it's eating up my self-knitting-time, my-designs-in-the-making-time and my knit-for-presents-time. I hardly read books anymore since I've become an obsessive knitter but when the knitting gets in the way of the knitting, well... than you should just really stop, drop, roll over and think about what you're doing.



The Tweed Beret from this winter's issue of Interweave Knits for my grandmother, using Drea Renee's New Zealand Hummingbird 100% wool in great purple shades.
And, let me just be honest here, even though I really like a buck or two on my bank account, I'm not seduced by the dough. I ám seduced by all the possibilities of what I can knit and design in the fore coming future. I ám seduced by all the happy faces when presented with a hand knit item just because I love the recipient. Makes me wonder, does this mean good knitting karma that translates into knitting flows and creativity splashes.... Sorry, wandering off...
my second pair of socks ever (these were the first) and my first own design, knitting cables to make it look like diagonal knitting on the sides. (not sure if it will be a huge success, but no risks no glory right?!)
I'm torn now because I have about 7 assignments in back order. But it's hard to determine if they're real. Let me explain this to you. I've heard quite a lot of "Oh my gosh, that's so cute, I want that too, make me one, MAKE ME ONE PLEASE"-es the last couple of months. These exclamations might be just that, but they might be serious too. There's the guy that collects hats. He has about every sort of hat you can imagine but he'd love some (!) hand knitted ones. He has some pretty fixed ideas about what they should look like too. And then there's the guy that would love some mittens, preferably the ones where the tops flip of, but his face dropped when I gave him a slight idea of what it might cost him. There's the best friend that does an exclamation like the above about every time I show her a FO. And there are the soft and sneaky hints: "Gosh, wouldn't it be nice to have such a hat/ scarf/ sweater."

The WIP I've been working on the longest without ever frogging it out of frustration. You can tell how long it's been in the making, things grow on's this scarf by the way, great starter project for lace knitting.



There's no way that I can determine who really expects a hand knitted item presented within a certain amount of time and is willing to pay for it, which people really want it, but only when the price tag looks similar to the ones at Hennes & Mauritz, what employer was just really commenting and complimenting and doesn't expect anything, who's questions are merely just a hint and are hoping for a gift. So as flattered as I am by all these things, because all of them are really just great big huge compliments, next time I will tell them flat out: "Thank you so much, I'd love to make this thing for you, but it will take me X time and it will probably cost you about X euros. Or maybe, just maybe, you will be surprised on your birthday or at Christmas..." I will give them my biggest smile and continue knitting...



One YUP and one YKP working on a regular Saturday.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Tagged / Tikkertje

Without knowing I got "tagged" by this gal, asking me to do this:

Describe 6 strange habits about yourself.

Only 6?
Ok, here goes:

1. I'm an extreme time manager when it comes to the route and order of doing things indoors or in town. I plan out carefully where to go first, what to take with me and how to do stuff just so that it is the most (time)efficient. It gets so bad that I get confused and frustrated if it doesn't work out perfect. Other than that I'm not too anal...
2. Oh wait... I am... I make loads and loads of folders to file my emails, in my favorite list of websites and at work. But that's just because I'm so chaotic in real life, it's not so much strange as absolutely necessary...
3. I leave messages on my own voice mail whenever I have an idea I can't write down because I'm on my bike or something.
4. I eat M&M's (correction used to eat...) in logical order. That means whatever seems logical at that time.
5. I walk under ladders on purpose, not to tempt faith, but because I believe that by being self assured, nothing bad will happen. So it's reverse superstition or something...
6. I once build a nest... for myself. behind the couch with cushions and fluffy blankets, a disc man and a bunch of magazines and books. I needed to get away from the magical 'pull' of the TV... and the couch blocked it. This is not technically a habit though...

After thinking this over I figure it's more logical to ask another person what your strange habits are. I'm asking Boyfriend Dear tonight. Let's see what he comes up with...

For now, consider yourselves tagged:
Drea Renee and Miriam!

Monday, December 04, 2006

How About Them Apples?!

I've been crazy productive lately. Only not so much on the blogfront. But knit wise I have this to show for myself:

1. The Droplet Hat from Knitting Nature. The hardest thing I've done so far. It was not that hard, but those bobbles just take forever... it takes a little getting used to a round taking about triple time than it does usually, but it's really worth it. It's a fast knit and a great look.
I used dpn's 6 (mm) instead of 5 because seeing other pictures online they all seemed too small to me. And since I have a big head...

I've knit it in the round, not because I thought that would be easier or better looking, I just didn't read the pattern right. Would be nice if that big head did some thinking once in a while...

2. A hat and scarf from Garnstudio using this and this pattern. I bought the yarn at the Stitch 'n Bitch Holland day. It's Drops, Eskimo. Great stuff. It smells of sheep. Call me a weird, but I like the smell of sheep...

I'm not crazy about writing down all the things I've changed in the pattern and including the errata* but let me just tell you this; if you're knitting this hat, you don't need to make it 54cm long, that way the hat's going to be way, way to wide. (even for my great big head)

3. And also... I've been working on my own designs. Two of them. And they shall remain a big secret until I hear from the goddess herself. It's an entry for the next S'nB book full of designs for men. I have to hurt myself to stop me from saying what they are, so I won't. And then there are about 4 other designs galloping about in my head, eagerly waiting to be knitted into reality.

4. I've started Tempting II. I know it's going to be a bit boring, but it's also going to be relatively fast and easy and I know this design is perfect for my (luscious) body type. So I've got to have it. Even though my first effort with Tempting wasn't really a great success but that was mostly due to my bad yarn choice. I'm confident this will work!

5. I'm getting myself ready to start working on the Ram's Horn Jacket from Knitting Nature or A Cardigan For Arwen from the last issue of Interweave Knits. I have a gift certificate lying around for my fav yarn store and I'm letting it depend on the kind of yarns I can find to decide which one to start. At the S'nB day I fell madly in love with Klazien's Kreatie, she had a fab green tweed which is perfect for both, but I can't leave this certificate lying around now can I?

In between all this knitting I've caught myself a big big fish... I've found a new job. It's a dream job and it's fantastic. After 5 yrs of working as communication manager at several pop venues/clubs, this is it. It was great but to be honest, I can't wait to work on a computer that doesn't have a steam engine, to be invited to business trips and paid for workshops. I'm ready to move up the ladder a step or two. So as of January I'll be project leader of campaigns at an organisation that supports events and festivals. So now it's not just music, but literature, dance, theatre, sports, you name it.

On other things that might or might not interest you; I've visited the Antiques Road Show (Tussen Kunst & Kitsch) with Boyfriend Dear my SIL and my BIL. SIL & BIL are actually in the vintage design business so I expected them to be rich by the end of the day. But they brought all kinds of stuff that isn't in their direct area of expertise so to them it was as exciting as it was to me, bringing 4 miniature paintings that used to belong to my parents. To be honest... it was all a bit disappointing. SIL & BIL had nothing that was extremely valuable and even got the old: 'That would be worth as much as a fool would pay for it.' And me, well I know that my miniature paintings weren't postcards in a frame as I suspected, but actual paintings, reproductions to be precise and not worth a darn thing...

Have you seen that the winter issue of Knitty is now online? I hoped there would be more sweaters and cardigans, but there's some fun stuff there! As if I need any more projects to distract me...

best news EVER EVER EVER
My favorite grocery store now sells apples that people with an apple allergy can eat!
I haven't eaten an apple in about... ehm... about 23 years... Ever since I was a kid I've been allergic and in time my food allergies got worse and worse. You can't even begin to imagine how happy I am, I actually choked up at the store... and not in a Snow White kind of way... I love genetic manipulation! Can't wait for the other fruits and veggies and nuts to be manipulated so I can finally start eating that stuff!

How about thém apples?

* this doesn't mean that if you want to know the details I won't tell you. I'd love to, just send me an e-mail and I'll help you out!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Real Men Knit

All we need now is CUTE men who knit... ;-)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

TV killed the internet Star

Yesterday, while minding my busyness upstairs I heard a whole set of beeps coming from my mobile in the living room... Weird I thought, something's wrong. I ran down the stairs and found my wee phone, showing 5 (!) messages. I was only upstairs for a minute... what happened? Well, the messages read:
- Hahahahaha. A star!

- Moviestar! -x-
- You look hot on tv! x
- Looked great! Hehe!
I was on tv...
Remember at the Stitch 'n Bitch day the 'Jakhalzen' team from 'De Wereld Draait Door' filmed me? Well, I waited a week for them to broadcast it and when they didn't I forgot all about it. So here it is, if you're interested.

They turned me into a chipmunk, but other than that it's a fun little film. If you're not Dutch, no problem, it's almost like a comic or an animation.

Have fun laughing at me! ;-)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Much Ado About Knitting (Episode II)

Last time, in episode I, you’ve learned about the preparation, the goddess, joined in some knitting philosophy and read about my rising star on TV. Now hang on to your needles, the story continues:

Episode II:
The Autograph Girl, Baffled by the Goods and Damn Near Exhaustion
Knit a River for a good cause

After Sjoerd, Puk and I got one scene down (in which we teach him how to knit a red tie), I skipped on down the road onto the book signing where I presented D.S. (cool initials, means goddess in French… (ok, stop with the adoration stuff! I’m really starting to need a bucket!!) I presented Debbie Stoller with three of her (my) books. She gasped, said ‘wow’, and asked if I’ve used the dairy already. When presented with my humble drawings and writing, she smiled. I think she was honestly really happy to see that it was put to good use. I just whish I had it sooner so it would be full of stuff. After signing the first two, she ran out of lines to write in the third book. So I said ‘Why don’t you write; ‘I rock!’ off course she wouldn’t and wrote; ‘you rock!’ which was a bit embarrassing, to say the least…

note that my knitted skull matches her shirt (unintentionally...)

I'm such a nerd...

After finishing my skull wrist warmer that I wanted to present to Sjoerd, but he not-so-politely declined, I shopped for the goods. I planned on ‘window’ shopping before I’d start throwing money around like a madwoman. But I think that plan got lost somewhere around the third minute after coming up with it… I lost my head. I really did. Heard of the phrase: ‘kid in candy store’, pshshsh, skip that, I was Charlie, in the freaking chocolate factory (coffee factory technically ...)!! Usually at this point you’d read: ‘I didn’t know where to start’, but gosh I did, I did! ANYWHERE!!
I’m at the same time proud and a little embarrassed by all the crazyshoppingness splashed here before your eyes. I simply couldn’t help myself. But in my defence, I saved up for it! Yes, I did! And I gave myself a holy rule: Don’t buy stuff that’s easy to get in the usual stores. Did it work? You decide.


One set of vintage straight needles and three sets of vintage dpns. Beautiful stuff! What greatness could have been made with them, all those years ago? And second-hand Fair Isle ‘fishies’.

Bamboo needles. Two sets of dpns and a circular one. Not easily obtained here in ‘the low lands’.

One skein of the ultra soft Phildar Bowling in the pretty green colors. Have held it in my hands so many times, this was the time to buy it. I disobeyed the rule, I know, but it was cheaper here!!

Two skeins of organic, home dyed sockyarn (100% wool) by
Storm Op Zolder (Storm in the Attic). Color: Honey Bear. Great crazy colour combo. Pretty cool stuff at the Storm Op Zolder booth. Cool owner as well!

Two skeins of Wensleydale Sheep Shop Long wool in a powder blue and a light curry colour.
Can be felted, but I’m thinking maybe too pretty to felt….

A bunch of Drops Eskimo bulky yarn in off-white to make a scarf and hat or hat and mittens or mittens and scarf. You catch my drift. Very Dolce & Gabana, very this season!

And finally, two skeins of amazingly soft Drops Alpaca. So soft you can hardly feel it. One in a powder blue again, or maybe I should say light petrol. And one in a forest green mixed with a rusty colour. Great, great stuff! Are probably morphing into wristwarmers or fingerless gloves.
And I also got quite a bit of folders, flyers and busyness cards for follow-up-shopping online.
At the end of the day it turned out that I had mysteriously missed one booth. Puk took me to see it. And oh my gosh, the lusciousness, the wonder, the sparkling prettiness… The two sisters from Klazien's Kreatie sold the perfect green tweed for my cardi-to-be, the holy grail of my knitting. See, I’m on a quest for the perfect pattern and the perfect yarn and I’ve found the latter! Insert *happydance* here. Sadly enough I ran out of money way before I stumbled upon the sisters. Then one of them said: ‘We have an ATM, you can pay with your bank card if you want.’ My knees wobbled, my breath stopped for a second and then I did the sanest thing I did all day: I walked away… (clutching their folder tightly in my hand)

It was a crazy day, a crazy and wonderful day. The craziest thing about it all was the fact that people, strange people came up to me saying; ‘you must be Sas!’. Crazy @ss sh#t! Very, very, very surreal! Those people turned out not to be so strange at all, they were some of the Dutch bloggers I read and know well from their stories! I met Lies, Saartje, Tijm
, Astrid I forgetting anyone? It was great to see them in person and hear their voices. Great lassies the bunch of them they are! (read with Scottish accent in mind) I whish I had more time to chat to them, and meet every one of those bloggers out there online, but there was so much going on, I got swept away from one location to the next the whole day through. (mental note: blogger meetingpoint on next SnB Day!) These strange meetings and my TV appearance would definitely file under: my 15 minutes of fame. As the day would file under: 6 hours of bliss and wonder.

a certain someone's loving her new yarn..

another someone is loving her siggie so much she had to go knit outside. It was the funniest thing, this woman was cursing and smoking and knitting at the same time, a true stitch bitch, pardon my french...

Finally, after 6 hours of bliss, I got back onto my bike, full bags hanging from my handlebar and rode off into the crisp, bright sunset, feeling like an exhausted but happy, happy knitter.

The End

Van Nelle Fabriek

In reaction to Much Ado About Knitting (Episode I), the previous post:

A whole bunch of lovely lassies replied to my last post, beeeing a little sad about the way I portreyed the knitters at the SnB Holland Day. Gosh girls, I wasn't talking about you!! Not in the least bit. Aren't you girls the funky online knitters that are knitting funky and hip stuff? You are! Give yourself some credit! I should have mentioned Holland when I talked about my knitting world online. You are part of it too you know. Quote: 'I’ve got in contact with young(-ish) girls and women that are on the same knitting wave-length as I am.' THAT'S YOU! Little did I know that you were older than 30-ish (as mentioned) Which, when you think of it, is proving that I réally think you're young. Haha! ;-) I do feel that in addition to that it would've been nice to see some younger knitters too, another new generation. Which certainly doesn't mean that I don't have a world of respect for the elderly knitters. That's a completely different story altogehter. Hope I've explained myself better this time. ;-)

Knit it on you frisky young things!


Much Ado About Knitting (Episode I)

An epic story starts here, today. After a fun packed day SAS Knits It Again, crawls out of her bed, behind her laptop and shares with you a tale of knit and wit of meetings and greetings of expectations and realisations and of yarn and glory.

Episode I:
La D.S., S’nB Philosophy and TV Stardom
I opened my eyes yesterday morning and a vague familiar feeling got over me. Was it my birthday today? Did I get a new outfit? Did I drastically change my haircut? There was something going on…starting slowly at first and then rushing up to consciousness like new years’ fireworks, it hit me: IT’S STITCH ‘N BITCH HOLLAND DAY!!

Boyfriend Dear looked at me with unfocussed eyes, smiled, rolled back onto his other side while muttering; ‘sometimes you’re just a little kid you know, this whole week you’ve hardly been able to sleep because of this.’
What can I say? He’s right!

So I got my stuff together, packed a UFO or three, arranged everything travel light style (yeah right…), stuffed a big empty bag in the other bag for the loot and hopped on my bike. It was a lovely crisp autumn day and up until I had to climb a pretty steep bridge it was a lovely bike ride. With every meter I got closer to the Van Nelle Fabriek(the spot marked X on the treasure map) my heart started pounding a little harder, deeper, faster. By golly, I swear it skipped a few beats!

Wait… at the pass this is going, I’ll have to write about it all, every single detail. I swear… I could…

So I’m rushing right over to about 20 minutes after meeting my Rotterdam knitting soul mate in the lobby (above picture):
Before I schlepped my stuff to the first lecture, I grabbed myself a quick cup of coffee hoping that they’d allow me to drink it in the auditorium. When I arrived I pulled up a chair, while balancing my big bag full of knitcrap, trying to haul it over to the next chair, planning to get myself real comfortable for the main, main, main, MAIN event of the day….and dropped my coffee on the floor...
After realising that this location used to be a coffee factory and formulating the excuse in my head that the coffee was now back where it came from –back home so to speak-, I acted as natural as I could and sat down to quietly check out the knitters (and what they were knitting) around me. Scanning the room my eyes got jerked back to the place in the room they just passed before… There she was, in all her knitting glory: La Stoller, the knitter of knits, the founder of greatness, the …. (I just made myself feel sick). Well, Debbie Stoller, writer of the Stitch ‘n Bitch books and founder of the first Stitch ‘n Bitch group (NYC) stood there, quietly talking.

I’m not making this long story short… not at all… Are you still reading?

While Debbie spoke, in amazingly well Dutch (her mom is Dutch), I knitted a skull wrist warmer. She was wearing a skull T-shirt and I swear it was a total coincidence. I’m sooooo in sync with Debbie…. (Gosh Sas, this is nauseating stuff, cut it out!). The story of how she started knitting, the S’nB group and writing was fun and charming and at the end we asked questions and chattered like sparrows until her time was up. My question: What are you knitting right now? Was followed by the answer: A book! It was kind of sad that she’s too busy to knit and it’s turning into work for her. I’ve sent in a design for her next book, all about patterns for men. I’ll keep you posted on that one. Oh and guess who I was sitting next too? Her mum and aunt, really lovely women and as a humble knitter I felt in the presence of history and history in the making at the same time.

I was a little disappointed at the turn up at Debbie’s lecture, it being the S’nB NL day and all, I thought we were going to be like sardines in a tin can (only less oily), but no. And then I realised something. The phrase ‘knitting is hip’ is seen a lot in Dutch media lately. But it’s not so much ‘hip’ here as it is ‘back’. Not all knitters are hip and young and frisky fresh. And by young I mean ehm twenty, thirty-ish… the kind of knitters you associate with the Stitch ‘n Bitch phenomenon. I have to say I was a bit disappointed at the amount of young, hip knitters overall this day. And then I realised something else. Something quite amazing and logical at the same time. The knitting society online is something completely different from the knitting society in 3D. It’s really bizarre realising that those are two completely different things. Online I knit with girls from the US, Ireland, Sweden, New Zeeland and Australia. I’ve got in contact with young(-ish) girls and women that are on the same knitting wave-length as I am. I surf the sites that I like, sites with modern patterns and mostly young designers and I live in a fabricated knitting world. The closest I get to this self-made-world-of-knittyness in real life is my group of knitting friends in the knit-togethers we organise at our homes (so technically not an S’nB group). But these girls aren’t NEARLY as obsessed as I am and mostly they only knit while we’re togehter in the group.
End of philosophy bit.

After that I was a little chicken running around the different halls trying to figure out where the #@#% Miss Stoller was going to be signing her books, when I ran into Sjoerd. This geezer I’ve know for a couple of years. He’s actually doing my job at one of the pop clubs/venues I worked a couple of yrs ago. But he’s also in television nowadays. In a daily talk show called ‘De Wereld Draait Door’ (loosely translated, funnily enough: ‘As The World Turns’) there’s always a couple of minutes taken over by de Jakhalzen (The Jackals). These Jackals are a group of well dressed men in black with red ties that make short films of interesting events while ‘tacking the Mickey’ out of it at the same time. Sjoerd is one of them. You know what’s coming next…
Yup, I and Puk were two of their ‘victims’. I could write a whole post on this subject, but for your sake I’ll post a link to the site where you can download the show after (and if) it’s broadcasted. If I’m not too embarrassed that is… Let's just say it all went great, but I'm thinking after the editing, it might all look very, very different...

End of episode I
Tune in next time for more funpacked adventures of SAS @ SnB Holland Day, while she Knits It Again!