Hitchhiker it is

I asked you to vote and vote you did! Hitchhiker got 37% of the votes and as promised, this is what I will cast on Thursday at Schiphol. I’m busy packing today for my two weeks in California.

Here is the designer’s photo of this quick and easy shawl (but I like to call it a neckerchief – does that make me very old fashioned?)

Photo & pattern – Marina Behm

No, it’s not a vacation.  Well, ok, 4 days of it is a nice long weekend with my mom, but otherwise I’ll be working.  I have a lot of work travel coming up in the next 2 months.  I think between now and the 1st of June I’ll be home a total of 10 days.  I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

I’ll be posting photos of the Hitchhiker project so you can see that I really am making what you decided I should make.  And if I finish it quickly I’ll have to cast on another travel project.  Don’t worry – I’ll have lots of yarn in my suitcase to choose from.

Typically Dutch

The weather is perfect this year for flower growing. This is especially good since last year’s weather was terrible for flowers and the farmers really suffered. The fields are full of color and the air is thick with the smell.  I wish I could share the smell with you!

DB has never been to the Keukenhof.  I’ve been twice before.  I had planned to take 2 colleagues from out of town there today but they had other plans so DB and I went there by ourselves.  I was really afraid that it would be super crowded so we went early.

Along the way I insisted we stop and play tourists and take photos of flowers “in the wild” with farmers and tractors.  There are fields like this all along the western part of the country right now.  Field after field of daffodils and tulips and hyacinths.  Later there will be gladiolas and other summer flowers.  But now is the best time to visit the Keukenhof.

The park was so beautiful.  It was a little bittersweet since I had still fresh memories of being there with my parents (although the weather was much better today than that day in 2001).  It made me miss them both but especially my dad.

We actually bought bulbs too! The bulbs that are now blooming need to be planted in October, so we ordered now and they will be shipped to us in September.  We also bought some Dahlia and Anemone tubers that I will plant tomorrow.

We got there around 9:30 and by 11:30 it was definitely time to leave.  The bus loads of tourists had arrived and it was impossible to take photos without them included, or even to walk around.

It’s really a lovely park and when the flowers are in bloom you not only get to see them in the most perfect condition in the park, but the surrounding area is covered in colors as well.  If you haven’t been, you really should go!

I actually wanted to ride my bike down there, but this was one occasion when DB wanted to go by car since his bike is not in the best condition.  After we got home we discovered that my bike also has 2 low tires and we couldn’t get them pumped up with the pump we have, so we would have gone by car in any case.  Tomorrow – off to Haarlem to get my tired looked at so I can bike to the dunes on Sunday.

If you can make it through the dark winter here, the rest of the year is well worth the wait!

What Should I Make? Vote!

In 10 days I will be on a business trip that includes 2 x11 hour flights and 2 shorter flights but just as much hanging around an airport knitting time. I am looking for a perfect plane project (PPP).

I have 1 skein of Tosh Sock in Mansfield Garden Party (see above) that I want to use for a travel project. It will only be knit while in a plane or airport so I will probably finish something in this amount of time.  I can’t add extra yarn to make something bigger.  I can’t make something that has super complex lace.

BUT WHAT TO MAKE? I am spinning with the possibilities. So please, you decide for me. Whatever is voted the highest is what I will make.  You never knew you had so much power.

My criteria in coming up with the list was:
* The perfect combination of easy but not boring.
* In the case of a shawl, it must be reversible and preferably not strictly triangular.
* In the case of socks, it must make good use of highly variegated yarn.

I’ve narrowed it down to these patterns. Please vote!
I couldn’t link to the patterns directly in the Poll (thanks WP) so I’ve linked to them separately so you can look at them first and then vote:

1. Palessie shawl
2. Sheridan shawl
3. Goddess shawlette
4. Hitchhiker shawlette
5. My Hope shawl
6. Show-off Stranded Socks

Polls are open until Sunday, 13 April at 18.00 CET (9:00am PST)

 

New Plants

Wow, gardening is tiring! Just 4 hours in the garden, planting new plants, pulling weeds, cutting the front hedge, and I’m sore and tired.

I started by going to the local garden center.  It was packed, as I expected on a sunny Saturday morning in Spring.  I spent an hour wandering around, picking out what I wanted and wheeling my heavy cart around.  When my cart was full I figured I’d better get out of there.

Above is the small area just next to our front door.  It’s a place where I’ve not been able to grow anything.  It’s the sunniest place we have and it doesn’t get any rain.  Everything dies that I plant there, mostly from neglect.  I am determined this year to make it look nice.

I bought the plants and pots and rose quartz stone.  It will have to be watered every day. Every single day.  It will become a ritual.

The thing I like about having a lot of little pots is that I can change out what plants run their course and put in new ones as we go through the season.  I won’t be precious about them.

I also planted pansies on either side of the little fig tree, and put a hortensia/hydrangea in a pot.

And planted some new strawberry plants.

And I also fertilized roses and the cherry and pear trees and the blackberry bush. I’m expecting great things in the garden this year.  I make the best of my small spaces.

Picked up

I started this table cloth/doily back in November.  And then I put it down to get some Christmas knitting done.  This past week I finally picked it up again.

This is a Niebling pattern called Frühling (Spring), which is fitting to work on this time of year.  The yarn is 50/50 cotton/silk that I bought from ColourMart. Once I get through the big leaf motif that is partially knit, the pattern shifts into flowers and leaves.  What you see above is through round 117.  If I knit the entire thing, it will be 369 rounds!  It is meant to be made on even smaller needles (I’m using US0/2mm) and fits a large round table.

I think I’m going to stop after round 245, which is also organized in the chart as a good stopping point, at the top of the first group of flowers.  That will be plenty big enough.

By my reckoning, if I can manage to knit 2 rounds per day, on average, I can finish it by the end of July.  As it grows each round takes longer and longer! Even now it takes me 40 minutes to knit a pattern round.

It’s really not as complicated as it looks.  It’s just knitting after all.  Just follow the chart. Once you get the hang of the mesh pattern with its double yarn overs, the rest is a piece of cake.  Pay attention to it, and you can even predict the next stitches and how it all flows together.  I’m enjoying knitting it quite a lot!

Finland!

I’ve wanted to go to Finland for a long time.  It’s that lure of forests and snow and northern lights that gets to me every winter.  I haven’t managed to convince DB yet to leave our warm home for even colder climates in the dark days of December.

But I have booked my trip to Finland for a different but equally really good reason.  Knitting!

I’m going to the Nordic Knitting Symposium in Vörå, Finland, from 29 June – 5 July. The program looks amazing and now that I have my schedule, and everything is booked, I’m getting very excited about going.

Vörå is not the easiest place to get to from outside of Scandinavia.  I’m flying from Amsterdam to Helsinki, staying the night, then the next day flying from Helsinki to Vaasa.  We meet up there and go by bus to Vörå.  Here’s where it is:

Vörå

 

Every day of the conference is jam packed with workshops, lectures and museum visits. On the last day there’s a craft market to visit.  The organizers have arranged for lodging, meals, transportation and everything you will need in a strange far away out in the woods place.  The price for the week is not at all expensive when you consider all that you get in the package.  The only expensive part is getting there and back!

When I saw the schedule I got so excited I signed up right away without waiting to see if anyone else I know would be going.  So far, I’m the lone traveler from NL, at least that I know of.  It will be strange to be there for a week, not knowing anyone.  But, knowing knitters, I’ll have made many friends by the time I come home.

If you are interested in visiting Finland, and enjoy a week of knitting and fiber related tourism, check out the site.  It’s not sold out yet!