Another Traveling Shawl

Last week, after coming back from Berlin, I finished this little shawl.  It was my travel project and was supposed to last me another month! I guess I’ve been traveling too much.

The pattern is from Joji Locatelli, called “Imagine When”.  It uses ~150g of fingering weight yarn.  I used a skein of Wollmeise in color Digitessa.  It weighs 154g and I had 6g leftover.  Just enough!

I knit this as part of the Yarniacs Colors of Fall KAL and as part of that KAL you had to “style” your project.  Well, it’s just too hot right now to even think about wearing wool around your neck.  So I put some clothes together on a hanger and that would have to do.

This color is so specific I think I can only wear it with black or grey or brown.  I really like the fact that it is reversible and I don’t have to think about right or wrong sides, and it was very simple to make.  And of course the Wollmeise yarn is fabulous.  Looking for a good travel project? Pick this one!

Speaking of the hot weather, here’s a photo I took this morning when I went out for a run.  I managed to run for 1k and walked another 4.6k.  It was just too muggy and warm.

Berlin with Bowie

Last weekend DB and I and 2 friends took the train to Berlin, mainly to see the David Bowie exhibition. P. is a maniac Bowie fan and this was his birthday present from K.  DB and I just went along for gezelligheid.

We left Amsterdam at 7am Friday morning and rode the train for 6 hours.  We talked, ate snacks, and I knit my travel project.  We checked in to rooms in a really nice small hotel in the North-Center of the city. Already Friday afternoon DB had bought an album (on vinyl), I had bought chocolate and we drank beer.

Saturday morning we were up early because we had tickets for a particular time slot at the museum.  Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take photos of the Bowie exhibition.  On the one hand that made me a little sad, but on the other hand it freed me from thinking about taking photos and to enjoy the event instead, and also freed me from annoying people putting their cameras/phones in the way.

The exhibition was mainly about his costumes, but was a full emersion experience with headphones with music and voiceover, videos, and pictures and artifacts from Bowie’s life.

The costumes were just amazing. They were all exquisitely made down to every detail.  Here is a photo from the V&A web page.  I just loved this exhibit.  It made me feel nostalgic, and in awe of this creative genius.  The exhibit will be in the Netherlands, in Groningen, at the end of 2015.  We’ll be going back!

We also saw, on another floor in the museum, an exhibit by WeiWei, the Chinese dissident artist. After seeing Bowie, this was so different and kind of a let down.  I understand that the topic was to demonstrate the way that he has been dealt with by the Chinese government, but both DB and I asked ourselves, if he wasn’t treated in this way, would he still be a famous artist?

I really like Berlin. This was the 3rd time I’ve been there.  If I had to live in a city, this is one I could live in.  We spent most of our time in the old East Berlin.  There are so many great shops and cafes!  And markets.  We were there last time in January and it was ice cold and snowy.  What a difference the weather makes!  There were no people out and about in January.  In July the city is humming with people, outside at cafes, beer gardens, shopping. It has a nice buzz going.

I didn’t take a lot of photos during the weekend (compared to my usual clicking habit) but here are some of the best.

The above photo was taken at a flea market Sunday morning.  They are boxes full of old black and white photos.  I couldn’t stop myself from looking through them, wondering, who are these people? are they still alive? what were their lives like? why are their photos here in this box?

Weversmarkt

Today was the yearly Weversmarkt in Hoorn (weavers market).  There were, at last count, 140 vendors selling everything from weaving looms and supplies, to knitting yarn, to felting stuff, buttons, spinning supplies and more.  We were 7 and stayed all day.  Luckily it was sunny and very warm all day!

I bought a few things.

Two skeins of Kauni in blues, purples and greens and a skein of grey to go with it.  I’m going to make a “swing knitting” shawl with that.  I bought 2 skeins of undyed sock yarn for, well, dying.  I bought a pair of felted baby shoes my hair dresser (her baby of course).  And buttons.  Just look at how fabulous these buttons are!

And I bought a hat.  I don’t wear hats, but this hat is just perfect.

Here are some photos from the day….

You can see all my photos from the day here.  I will definitely go again next year. This was the best market I’ve been to in the Netherlands, for what I’m interested in anyway.  I didn’t get to try any spinning on a wheel, but I did get to see a few, which was also pretty interesting.  I’m still thinking about getting a wheel.  Yes, I need a new hobby like a need a hole in my head, but that’s never stopped me before!

Best Kept Secret 2014 – Fashion Backward

Last weekend we went to Best Kept Secret – the music festival that began last year (we were there) and had an expanded version this year.

We showed up Friday afternoon with our tent, 7 friends and their tents, and 15,000 of our other closest friends.  We left on Monday morning, exhausted but happy and ready to do it again next year.

Of course there were bands and lots of good food, all of which you can see and hear through the very nice movies that the event themselves made. The official site is here, their youtube channel here, and you can always like them on FB.

What I want to tell you about, which I always report on from festivals, is fashion.  At festivals I spend my time listening to music and observing the crowd.  There’s always a fashion trend.  Always.  And every year it’s different.  One year at LowLands it was the huge variety of rain boots.  Last year at BKS it was jeans shorts with black tights (for girls) and long hair wore up in a top knot (for boys). Thank god those trends were hardly to be seen this year. Ugh.

Now, based on this little video, the festival itself would have you believe that the fashion trend was flowered shirts (for both sexes) and while I agree they were certainly to be seen, by far the most popular pattern was this….

Just look at this guy.  He’s the trifecta of plaids – shirt, shirt lining and backpack.  Plaid, folks, is the new festival fashion of 2014.  Back to the ’70′s of my youth, or back to the ’90′s of many other festival goer’s youth.  Be it Neil Young or Seattle grunge, plaid is hot once again.

Plaid shirts…

Plaid shorts…

Plaid accessories…

And not only plaid for boys, also plaid for girls…

And of course, plaid in the band…

I put 30 of my favorite plaid photos into an album here.  I took at least 50 photos of plaid. And then I just got tired of it and stopped.  There was too much!  Neil would have been proud.

 

In Other News

This morning DB and I left the house at 8am to bike to the beach.  It was cool and a little drizzly when we left but the drizzle didn’t last long.

We biked our usual route to Parnassia beach, 10k door to door, through the dunes.  This year, because of the very mild winter, we see so many bunnies in the dunes! We must have seen 16-18 of them, without even trying, which is 10x more than usual.

The plan was to have drinks and croissants at the beach restaurant, then head back home right away.  We had a busy day ahead.  But we got there at 8:40 and they weren’t open yet.  So we went down to the beach and kicked a ball around for a while.  We found the ball on the beach.

It was so quiet! There were only dog people there, and us.  And even then only about a dozen people in total and just as many dogs.  The clouds were dark and impressive.

When we left, our bikes were still the only bikes in the parking area.  I’ve never seen it so quiet, even in the winter!

This afternoon we started getting ready for the big kitchen rebuilding.  We took everything out of the cabinets and put it all in plastic tubs and on the dining table.  Tomorrow we’ll empty the fridge and cover everything in plastic.  Monday morning begins two weeks of camping upstairs.  It’s going to be annoying, but the final result will be so worth it.  I’ll be sure to take in process photos during the 2 weeks.

Good-bye red kitchen! I won’t miss you at all!

Dye Day

I need the perfect storm in order to dye yarn: money for un-dyed yarn, time to spend dyeing yarn, and good weather to be able to rinse and hang dyed yarn outside.  This past Saturday was one of those perfect days.

I had on hand 4 skeins of BFL lace weight yarn (400g total), non-superwash.  And the last time I was in the U.S. I bought a bag of 10 100g skeins of BFL/Silk (55%/45%), DK weight (super wash).  And I have still 9 jars of various colors of Dharma Trading acid dyes.  AND clear blue skies and warm temps.  Perfect!

First of all, I have to tell you that this DK weight BFL/silk IS TO DIE FOR (to DYE for? haha :-P).  It has a nice even twist to it and shines like silk ought to.  It feels like butta in my hands.  I was a little bit afraid of dyeing it – what if I ruined it? It would be a pretty big investment to f-up.  Oh, by the way, I bought it from wool2dye4.

First into the pot though was the lace weight.  I was going for dark fuchsia blending to light fuchsia/pink.  I thought I’d be clever and mix dyes based on CMYK color percentages in Photoshop.  I had magenta and cyan (fuchsia and true turquoise) dyes on hand.  I decided to do 2% DOS, which was, in hindsight, probably too much.  I mixed 85% fuchsia and 15% turquoise in a jar with very hot water.

I let it sit a few minutes, then stirred again and added more water.  It seemed to be mixing really well.  I filled my big dye pot with hot water and citric acid and stirred that til dissolved.  Then in went the dye solution.  I only ever dye a certain weight of yarn so always mix dye for just that batch of yarn.  I only dye yarn 2-3 times a year so there’s no point mixing up dye solution and storing it.  I mix what I need on the day and that’s it.

When I put the yarn into the pot I held the 4 skeins together at the top and slowly lowered them into the pot, a couple of inches, then wait a couple of minutes, repeat.  The last bit of yarn that went into the pot got the least amount of dye.  Now, this is non-superwash yarn but man did it soak up the dye!

While it cooked, the turquoise started to foam up! That was a surprise. Was it separating? Was it soaking in at all? Or crocking?

After 40 minutes I took the pot outside and gently poured out the skeins into a sieve to cool off.  Then I hung them up on my nifty yarn draining bar.

At this point I was disappointed.  They were a lot darker than I wanted.  But also still wet. I let them cool off and drain a bit, then took them down and rinsed them out.  I lost none of the magenta in the rinse water but indeed, turquoise washed out a little bit!

On to the blue.  I decided to dye just 7 of the 10 skeins – enough for a sweater but not committing myself completely to a new dye method and yarn base.  I used Sapphire blue dye at 2% DOS.  I already had really nice results with this dye at this DOS so decided to do this again.  And besides, from experience I knew that silk takes more dye than wool to get the same saturated color.  I also mixed up a separate pot of black – a very weak solution, just 2 grams of black dye powder.  This time I put the damp skeins in the pot all at once and gave them a little stir.  I didn’t want completely even color, but not the huge variation like the purple either.  Since this yarn contained silk I cooked it at a lower temp, about 80 degrees C, for 30 minutes.  Then I took the pot outside where the hot black dye pot was waiting.  I dunked the skeins into the black (wearing heavy rubber gloves), dunking in and out a few times.  I had no idea how black the yarn would become or how it would take up the dye.  It was great! All the dye was soaked up after 4 dunks.  Back into the now exhausted blue dye pot to cook for another 20 minutes.

When I hung the blue skeins up I realized two things – 1. I should not have depended on the skein ties that came with the yarn.  I have 7 tangled messy skeins to deal with now. I should have tied my own separating ties.  and 2. I have about 50 different shades of blue in these skeins! Amazing!  See the top photo for a close up of a section of the skeins laying on a table, all dry.

Here is my morning’s work hanging to dry.  Oh, and when I rinsed the blue no color at all rinsed out.  Perfect uptake of color.

And here are the finished skeins, all dry.  First the purple/pink.

The 3 on the right are pretty even in the amount and brightness of the pink section.  The outlier on the left has very little pink.  Oh well.  I only need 3 to make a nice sweater and the 4th can be a shawl. :-)  You can see that they did lighten up after they dried.  I’m pretty happy with the results, although I was aiming for less variation in the color and not such a deep purple at the other end of the skein.

Here is the blue while still damp.  You can see what a tangled mess I have on my hands.

And now dried and laying out on a table.  The color is as true to real life as possible and looks pretty correct.

Look how many different blues there are! I’m really amazed at the lighter areas.  Why didn’t that get more blue dye? It will be hard to tell how well they match each other until I either skein them up nicely or wind them into cakes.  I find that comparing cakes of yarn is the best way to see matching or not matching colors.  Better even than comparing skeins.

I’m so happy with the blue that I’m itching to knit something with it right away.  Probably a cardigan.  But first I have to finish my green lace pullover (more about that in a few days).

My NEXT dyeing experiment is already in the planning.  I’m going to try yet another completely different technique – something I’ve never done before.  DB had the brilliant idea of testing it on a swatch first.  Smarty pants.  I would have just jumped in with a whole skein or a sweater’s worth of yarn!  But he’s the sensible one and so I will try first with a swatch.  But first I need some spray bottles….