Wednesday, May 30, 2007

a compliment...

My son and daughter were telling how low-maintenance they are, and that they don't cost me much, because they don't wear designer clothes... But of course, added my 18year old son, it would add up if you counted the value of all those uniqe, handknitted socks I have. And he continued about how much he loves those socks, warm in winter and surprisingly cool in summer... How could I deny him these pleasures ? All it takes is a stash-dive, and some mindless knitting evenings in front of the TV (lots of political debates with elections coming up here in Belgium). Those socks may look boring, but it feels good to know they are appreciated....

specifications :
yarns used :
the black/white speckled one is one skein of Regia (my LYS), and toes and heels in a left-over bit of Meilenweit tweed (bought in Berlin in 2006).
the brown and grey speckled yarn is Annell super extra. It's a Belgian brand of sock yarn I use regularly, because it is cheap, hard-wearing and comes in a lot of colors (variegated too). I bought this ball in a very small yarn shop in the centre of Brussels. It used to be kept open by an older, knowleadgable lady. She retired, and a young, less knowleadgable lady took over. The shop was reduced to half it's size, and the choice of yarns was limited. The last time I went to Brussels, I noticed the shop doesn't exist any longer.
I have used some brown knitpicks 'essential' sock yarn for the heels and toes, a gift from Jane in Texas
pattern :
my own basic sock recipe. I knit a cuff for 15 rows, a leg part for 30 rows, knit a standard Dutch heel and finish of with a star toe. Usually I don't bother grafting the toe, I just knit until 8 stitches left and draw yarn through all stitches. I have heard referr to this as a 'cats arse' finishing. I wish I remember where I heard that one, but haven't told my son yet !

Friday, May 25, 2007

SP 10 questions

I am participating in the SP10 swap, and our host Bobbi asked us to answer some questions about traveling and knitting.

1) What do you pack to knit?

On a short trip I always pack something mindless, mostly socks. On a longer trip, I would pack socks and something more complicated, but still light-weight. Lace qualifies for this. In the summer 2005 I spent 2 weeks in Stockholm, and I knitted the Mystery Stole 1. Last summer, we went camping in the south of France, and I knitted Mystery Stole 2 - with yarn I bought in Stockholm the summer before that. When I was in France, I had to find an internet access to download the next clue of the Mystery stole. There was this teenager at the campsite that helped me download and print the pattern. I have never really explained what I was printing exactly. Just told him it was 'très important'.

(you can still buy the Mystery Stoles patterns from Melanie at

2) What do you hope to shop for?

I would have said 'sock yarn' before. It makes a nice souvenir, and you don't have to buy lots. And in a next face I would have said 'lace yarn', something that is very hard to get here locally. But the thing is, I am not sure that I am a true lace knitter. Now I would say 'something unique' - and by that I mean 'something I cannot get in Belgium'. I love yarns from local spinners, or something really luxurious, like one ball of cashmere or silk.

3) Assume that you will be gone for ten days to someplace "foreign" that is known for having great knitting locations. (Bonus: Where would you go on a "knitting holiday"?)

I guess I have already answered that in my previous post : Scandinavia ! There are so many knitting traditions there, and knitting is still very much alive. I am looking forward to my trip this summer, where I will visit all Scandinavian capitals. You can read more about it at Tips for meeting up with local knitters, or good yarn shopping are still welcome !

Monday, May 21, 2007


this is a test, to see if my 'comments' mode works again

Friday, May 18, 2007

knitting in scandinavia

This is a test - somehow my 'post comments' mode is not functioning. I am not sure tough, because what I see is the 'editing mode'.
So I am writing a short post today, to see tomorrow on a different computer if it's possible to comment.
I am taking a trip to Scandinavia this summer. I will be in Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, Oslo, Aarhus, Talinn and St-Petersburg.
I visited Stockholm before, but am looking to find more about opportunities to meet up with knitters in these cities. When I was in Stockholm, I met some knitters at the STHML knitting café (see my september 06 entries). I loved sharing tips about yarn shopping with local knitters. Any hints for the other Scandinvian capitals ? Blogs from knitters in these cities ?
Just let me know ! (if you can't comment, you can send me a mail)
I will write in more detail about the upcoming trip soon !

Even testen : blijkbaar werkt mijn 'commentaar' functie niet op de blog. Ik weet het niet 100%, want ik zie alles in editeermodus. Dus schrijf ik nu een kort stukje, en kan ik morgen op een andere computer checken of commentaar mogelijk is. Deze zomer doe ik een reis langs de Scandinavische hoofdsteden. Ik zal in Kopenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, Oslo, Aarhus, Talinn en St-Petersburg komen. Ik was al eens in Stockholm, en daar bezocht ik het breicafé van de STHML-knitters. Ik vond het heel leuk om met plaatselijke breisters tips uit te wisselen om op shopping toer te gaan. Iemand tips om plaatselijke mensen te ontmoeten in deze steden ? Of kent iemand blogs van plaatselijke breisters ? Laat maar horen ! als het niet via commentaar kan, dan misschien een mailtje ? Ik schrijf nog wel meer over deze reis binnenkort!

knitters treat exchange

Good news ! My knitters treat package arrived, and I am absolutely loving everything. Lots of thought went into assembling this package. Wendee in Seatle has really spoiled me.

In it was :
- a skein of alpaca-silk blend, together with a pattern to knit a lavender sachet and of course, some lavender.
- a skein of Mountain colors Goat in the 'ruby river' colorway (will make a nice hat !)
- stitch markers, made by Wendee
- chocolates in a little box, and a bar of dark chocolate (with the strange but tasty combination of 'french breadcrumbs'
- a recipy for a yoghurt cake with citrus glazing (went out to do the groceries today, and made sure to put everything I need on my shopping list)
Not in the picture - a bottle of soap liquid, and a magazine (blueprint - Martha Stewart group)

Wendee carefully attached little notes on everything, with a word about the object and why she had selected that one.

I must say that this package has opened my eyes on US retail. I always imagine the US as big chain stores, not much in the way of individual, personal retail shops (can't express this exactly, I hope you know what I mean).
Of course, I have only been once to the US, and that was in Kentucky. We used to do home exchange for holidays, and we went were they wanted us (Belgium is not really big on the list of desirable holiday destinations). In Lexington, KY, it was just too hot to go outside much. We visited the mall, and drove around a bit. The people were very nice, but as I didn't like the climate, it was not a great holiday. On top of that, my DH broke his wrist. I want to visit the states again one time, but DH is not much in favor of it. And then, I would like to visit more northern states. Anyhow, it won't be the next years, because our kids will start their universitary studies, and that will cut in the budget.

The chocolate was divine (emphasis on was). DD and I shared it together. Now we live in a country with very good chocolate, and this one could compare with Belgian chocolate. Dark and lots of flavor, without being overly sweet.

This was really a treat exchange ! thanks again Wendee

And I am glad to say that the package I sent to Sarah, was equally received enthousiastically. It's a nice feeling to spoil somebody, and to be spoiled. That's what these exchanges are all about for me. I know it doesn't always end up this good, and I feel double lucky to have such nice exchange partners

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

back on-line

This blog has been very quiet - the computer died. It left us for repairs, and it took 10 days to return ... They had to replace the grafic card, but as it was still under garanty - so no costs involved (fortunately).
I won't write much, just catch up with some pictures ...

I received a first package from my SP10 - sock yarn, tea, a candle and candy. Thanks SP !
No sign of my knitters treat exchange package yet, but she left me a message, so I know it's on it's way.

I have been swatching with the Bergère de France yarns. I didn't like knitting with the green and white linen-acrylic blend, so that one is out.

Then I swatched with some Phildar bambou that I bought on my trip to the seaside. I swatched for the 'ruffled surplice' - Interweave spring 07 issue. Beautifull yarn, nice pattern. BUT - I would have to buy a lot extra to knit this cardigan.
I really was in the mood for summer knitting, but would like to use up some stash. May has been an expensive month untill now, with a sister marrying and other stuff.
I'll dig out some more stash yarn, and see what I can make with that.
So, I really am between projects now.

I tried finding a good way to finish the lizard ridge - crocheting it together makes a rather lumpy finish. I'll have to undo that. I hate finishing. I knit a lot in the couch, watching (or listening) to the TV. To sew up an afghan, I need a lot of space, and the right mindset.
So - to sum it up : I swatched - no result yet. I tried to finish the afghan - I'll have to restart that. Deeply in need of some tangible results, I knitted socks.

I finished 2 pairs for DS - these are black and whites, knitted with leftovers of Lang 'jawoll', and Schoeller stahl 'sockina'. He likes short cuffs, so I always have leftovers. I also finished grumperina's 'Roza's socks' (no picture yet), started another pair for DS, and started 'spiral boot socks' - Interweave summer 07 issue. More pictures to come!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

looking for the perfect summer knitting

I received a nice package from my SP10, with some sock yarn, tea and candy. And my knitters treat exchange partner anounced a package is on it's way too ! I feel spoiled.

The computer died, that is, I can only start it in 'safe mode' - so no pictures to show.

Ik ontving een pakje van mijn SP10, met een bolletje sokkenwol, thee en snoep. Ik dacht al dat ze in Duitsland woonde, en mijn voorgevoel bleek juist. En mijn KTE partner heeft ook aangekondigd dat er iets onderweg is. Jammer genoeg kan ik geen foto's laten zien, wegens computerproblemen.

I am in between projects so to speak. I still need to sew up and finish the Lizard ridge afghan, but the weather has been too nice to work on a big woolen project. And my HF 'ballerina' sweater becomes to big and warm to work on with this weather also.

I am longing to knit something summery. It's unseasonably warm for April, but still a bit chilly in the morning. A nice lace cardigan in a neutral color would come in handy. So I went to my Bergère de France yarn store, and selected 3 possible projects. I bought a ball of each yarn, and decided to do some swatching.

Ik zit zo'n beetje tussen projecten in. 't Is veel te warm om aan mijn wollen projecten te werken (de lizard rigde deken en Hanne Falkenbergs Ballerina).

Ik heb zo'n zin in zomerbreien. 't Is wel warm, maar 's morgens kan het nog wel frisjes zijn. Een mooi ajour vestje in een neutrale kleur is juist wat ik nodig heb. Ik ging naar mijn BdF winkel, en selecteerde 3 mogelijke projecten. Ik kocht een bolletje van elk soort garen, en besloot een paar proeflapjes te breien.

One is called 'gilet à nouer' (knotted cardigan ?). It's knitted in a yarn called 'Flammé Lin', a linen/acrylic/cotton blend. The cardigan is finished of with a crochet scalloped border (I love a little bit of crochet). So this seemed just the ticket. I started swatching, and became confused about the lace part really fast. The nature of the yarn makes it difficult to 'read' my knitting. The yarn consists of a strand of thick and thin fiber, sometimes really loosely spun (acrylic? cotton ?). There is another strand of shiny stuff, sometimes hard strawlike fiber pokes out (maybe the linen part of the yarn). I didn't like knitting much with this yarn, so I decided this would not be my favorite summer knit. I gave up. I did try to swatch the lace pattern in some cotton I had in my stash, and that worked well (I could read the lace). Unfortunately, I don't have enough of this cotton.

Deze noemt 'geknoopt vestje' (geen fantasievolle namen bij BdF!). Gebreid in 'Flammé Lin', een linnen/acrylic/katoen mengeling. Onderaan is er een gehaakte boord. Ik hou wel van een beetje haakwerk, dus dit leek me een leuk project. Ik begon met een proeflapje, en raakte al gauw verstrikt in het ajourpatroon. Deze kwaliteit laat niet goed toe om mijn werk te lezen, ik zie niet echt waar ik mee bezig ben. Frustrerend ! Het garen bestaat uit een matte dun-dikke draad (acrylic of katoen ?), die ook nog heel los gesponnen is. Daarnaast is er nog een blinkende draad, waar harde, stro-achtige deeltjes uitsteken (linnen?). Aangezien ik niet echt genoot van het breien met deze draad, gaf ik het maar op. Dit wordt niet mijn favoriet zomerbreien.

Daarna heb ik het ajourpatroon nog in een gladde katoen geprobeerd, en dat werkte wel goed. Jammer genoeg heb ik er niet genoeg van in voorraad (en geen mogelijkheid om bij te bestellen). Ik laat nog wel een foto's zien van mijn proeflapjes als de computer weer in orde is.

I still have 2 more yarns to try out - BdF 'Esterelle' to knit this :

not really a cardigan, I know

Ik heb ook nog BdF 'Esterelle' gekocht, voor dit leuke truitje dat eigenlijk niet voldoet aan de criteria (geen vestje om ergens over aan te trekken 's morgens).

and BdF 'Aquarelle' to knit this :

Also called 'gilet à nouer'. Aquarelle is a cotton/acrylic ribbon tape. Not sure if I will like knitting with it, but they had this sweater as a shop sample, and it looked good on me. I took the pattern at hand, and was immediately discouraged. It involves very complicated crossed stitches (digging down in your knitting 2 rows below). Or maybe it's just the way the BdF patterns are written.

Dit is een katoen/acrylic lintje. Ik weet niet zeker of ik het leuk vind om een lintje te breien, maar ze hadden dit vestje in de winkel. Ik heb het aangepast, en 't is een heel mooi model. Maar toen ik het patroon bekeek zonk de moed me helemaal in de schoenen. Er komen 'gekruiste steken' aan te pas, die je moet maken door 2 rijen naar beneden een steek op te halen en die te kruisen. Het ziet er heel ingewikkeld uit, of misschien is het gewoon de manier waarop BdF patronen schrijft.

So far for summer knitting. My DS needs new socks, and that's what I knitted the past few days. Black socks in European size 46. Mindless knitting, but I have something finished.

Dat was het dus wat betreft zomers breien. Zoonlief had dringend nieuwe sokken nodig, en die heb ik dus gebreid de vorige dagen. Zwarte sokken in maat 46.