Yarns Apart is Open!

My very own web shop is now open!  Yarns Apart has opened on 30 April and the entire country is celebrating!  OK, it also happens to be Queen’s Day, but hey, any excuse for a party.

My shop specializes in unique yarns that you can’t find in the Netherlands at other shops.  I have Possum/Merino wool from New Zealand.  I have organic cotton from the US.  I have hand dyed yarns from Madelinetosh and Pigeonroof Studios.  I will also soon have some lovely HanDuos from Handu in Finland.

At the moment the only products available are O-Wool organic cotton/wool and Supreme Possum Merino.  However, I’ve gotten word from TNT Post that several boxes are being delivered to me any day so I’m hoping to see some of that tomorrow and have it in the shop Sunday.

As a Grand Opening celebration, I’m offering free shipping on any orders placed this weekend.

I hope you like what you see in the shop.  If you have suggestions please let me know.  From now on, on this blog, you’ll not only get knitting updates, but shop updates too!

Happy Koninginnedag allemaal.

Bloemencorso in Haarlem

This afternoon DB and I went into Haarlem city center to see the flower floats that were part of the parade yesterday.  This is called the Bloemencorso in Dutch.  Yesterday the parade route took these floats all through the main flower bulb growing areas of western Holland.  It’s high season for flower watchers.  Today the floats were parked along the Gedempte Oude Gracht with railings around them to keep the riff-raff off.  The only people I saw going under the railings and touching things were foreign tourists.  The nerve of some people!

The weather was warm and the streets were crowded.  There’s also a kermis going on at the Grotemarkt, so it felt very festive in the city.  We wandered around and I took some photos of the floats.  The first photo below is of the winning float.

There were also bulbs, flowers and plants for sale.

After walking around and eating a tasty donerkabab, we sat at a terrace at the Botermarkt and listened to a Swing band playing.

It was a really nice afternoon wandering around Haarlem.  It was equally nice to be home again in early afternoon, away from the crowds, and enjoy our newly finished back garden.  Bas likes the new garden too.

At this moment, Sunday evening, it is lightly raining outside.  It was a lovely warm weekend and a little light rain is welcome.  The garden will be happier for it.

Just Ducky FO

Aren’t these baby socks just ducky?  I finished them today and I’m so happy with them.  The pattern is HERE on Knitty.  They are actually pretty tricky to make but the results are well worth it.

I made them using some Drops Alpaca that I had in my stash.  They took about 2/3 of one 50g skein.  I think they would actually work out better in stiffer yarn.  Wollmeise would be perfect.  But this is what I had and I didn’t have time to mess around – the baby is almost here!

You have to do a lot of applied icord on these things.  On the sides of the feet there’s icord knit on, and over the top center, around the tip of the toe and all the way under the foot is applied icord.  It makes them super cute and ducky looking.

I think I might make another pair later on.  But now I’m on to making little baby brioche booties!  It’s certainly Spring!

Knitting Quiz

Image from Craftzine.com

No, the above tat is not from anyone I know.  I put it here because I’m just so tired of people thinking knitting is for grannies or boring people.  And I needed an image to put in the blog post where I’m only talking about a QUIZ without a photo of people taking said QUIZ.

I know you are dying to know what the knitting quiz questions are and what the answers are.  There are 5 questions plus a bonus tie break question, which I did have to use in the end.  Are you ready?  Pencils in hand?  Here we go……

  1. The first knitted items were made only of knit stitches.  When did the first purl stitch appear in knitted items?
  2. Where do these fibers come from?  Angora?  Mohair?  Qiviut?  Silk?  Linen?
  3. True or false – In the early 20th century, a drown fisherman from Ireland could be identified by the patterns in his hand knit Aran sweater.
  4. If you want to knit a sweater that is 100cm around, and you have a gauge swatch that is 20 stitches to 10cm, how many stitches will you cast on to start the back if you are knitting the front and back separately?
  5. For English speakers:  what is the Dutch word for “cast off”?  For Dutch speakers:  what is the English word for “nop”?

I read these questions aloud and the quiz takers had pieces of paper to write down their answers.  I then gathered up all the papers and checked them while everyone had drinks and snacks.

There were 2 people who got 4 of the 5 questions correct so I had to use my tie break question.  The first person who called out the correct answer won.  Tie break question….

Most knitters already know that the earliest knitted item ever found was a sock, found in Egypt, dated about the year 1,000.  But what is the name of the earlier technique, often confused for knitting, and previously thought to be the earliest knitting?  THAT precurser of knitting was called….

Who won and what did they win?  You’ll see at the bottom of the page!

Now I will show you some yarn pr0n so that you will have to scroll down to the very bottom of the page to find the answers.

mtfjord-sock

prs_roisin

balance_6324_lg

Now, are you ready for the answers?  Here they are……

  1. mid 1500’s
  2. rabbits; goats; muskox; silk moths; flax plant
  3. FALSE – this is just an old wives tale
  4. 100
  5. afkanten; bobble

And the tie break question answer?  nalbinding

How many did you get right?

Ingrid was the winner and she won 2 skeins of Supreme Possum Merino yarn in denim and dusky pink colors.

4ply_denim_lg

4ply_rosepink_lg

Don’t you wish you were there?  🙂  Do you know of any other knitting quiz questions?  I’ve seen some on the internet but they were all aimed at people who knew very little about knitting and were mostly stitch questions or technique questions.  I knew that all the people at the swap party would find them way too easy.  What questions can you come up with?

    Look Who Grew UP

    Stella has flowered into a lovely young tree.  I’m a proud caretaker.

    Stella arrived at our house in December 2008.  That winter she looked so forlorn and miserable that I knit her a sweater.  Her first summer here she had only leaves and no flowers at all.  She was too young.

    Now, a little over a year after being planted in front of our house, she has flowers covering her little branches.  Hopefully these flowers will turn into cherries.  There are so many things that can go wrong before that can happen that I’m really not counting on a cherry crop this year.  I’m just happy she is flowering and growing.

    It is still pretty chilly around here.  It could even still freeze at night.  We could have hard rain and hail that could knock her flowers or small cherries off.  Even if the weather cooperates, it’s possible there won’t be enough bees around to pollinate the flowers.  We have a serious shortage of bees here.  Stella is a self-pollinating cherry tree, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t need help from somewhere.  Self-pollinating just means we don’t need two cherry trees that have to cross-pollinate each other’s flowers.  Sounds nasty doesn’t it.  But Stella can do it all by herself, with a little bee help.  Even if everything goes perfectly and cherries appear in place of flowers, it could still happen that one afternoon, while I’m away at work, a flock of those horrible big black birds show up and eat all the fruit in one quick sitting.  It could happen.  In Amsterdam those birds spent an afternoon perched in a tree just above where my car was parked.  I seriously couldn’t recognize my car after that one day.  It looked like someone had made a mud/crap cave out of it.  I can’t remember now what those birds are called, but they are horrible.

    So, cross your fingers that the gods are with Stella and I and that we will have a small cherry crop this year.  And more every year after that.

    Yarn Swap Party!

    This afternoon was the Yarn Swap Party in Amsterdam, sponsored by the EFN.  It was a great time!  There were quite a few people who I hadn’t met before and some people who I had only “met” on Ravelry.  It was so fun to meet other knitters and play the game.

    And what a game it was!  Nancy really spiced things up with a new twist – CARDS in the middle of the floor.  Roll a 4 and draw a card.  The cards were deadly.

    What a great pile of stash, right?  After round 1 everything had been picked from the middle and we took a break for drinks and food.

    Then back to the game and packages were opened and passed around.  Some yarn was really loved.

    Oh!  I almost forgot!  We had a quiz.  The quiz had 5 questions plus a tie breaker.  I made up the quiz.  The prize was 2 skeins of Superior Merino Possum fingering weight yarn.  Now THAT is some special yarn.  Ingrid won.  I wonder what she will make with it.  The quiz was sponsored by ….. well, you’ll have to wait another week to find out!

    Do you want to know what the quiz questions were?  I’ll make that another blog post, ok?

    What did I come home with?

    Only this.  It’s perfect.  Marjan came today with socks she’s working on for her boys, using this yarn, especially for the World Cup coming up in June.  Football world cup.  Soccer for you Americans.  This is the Netherlands color way.  If you are in NL, you can buy this stuff from Wolhalla here.  They also have colors for Argentina, Brazil, France, Italy, Germany and England.  I want World Cup socks too!  Of course if you are American you can just as well use the French color way.  You could knit little white stars into the blue section (or duplicate stitch them in).  I’m making Dutch socks and will wear them for the Dutch games.  Hup Holland Hup!

    Some people today brought, and others took home, some really nice stuff!  Some silk.  Some nice sock yarn.  Lots of green.  And then there were the yarns from “op zolder” that no one wanted. It was hilarious to see that stuff passed around from person to person.

    The whole afternoon was full of laughing and yarn and very nice people I hope to see again very soon.  The next time we do this you will have to come along.

    p.s. (Thanks Ginni)

    Beauty and the Beach

    As you can see, it was a beautiful sunny calm day today.  We left the house around 9am this morning to head to the beach for a short run.  It was so lovely outside!  And at this time of the morning there’s hardly anyone around.

    This time we ran (2 min run, 2 min walk) x 6.  The plan was to only repeat 5 times but it felt good to run and I could easily add another repeat, so why not?  I plan to do the same routine on Wednesday and Friday this week.

    After the run I really just wanted to stay at the beach and enjoy the weather and the quiet.  I could have sat out there for a long time.  BUT, there was a busy afternoon planned so home we came.  I sure hope we have a nice summer like last summer.  Global warming has some advantages!

    Green is the Garden, and the Mail

    Look what came in the mail today!  Actually, what came in the mail was twice what I was expecting.  The above is a cone of 50/50 cashmere/cotton, in lace weight, which I bought from ColourMart in the UK.  It’s a 150g cone of 2/28, which means that it has about 2,300 yards.  I bought 2 cones.  I ordered them on 21 March.  After a few weeks I contacted them saying that the order never arrived.  OK, said Richard, I’ll send it to you again.  This afternoon, as I was working in the front garden, a guy came to the door with 2 packages.  TWO.  The first order and the second.

    Well, it’s really beautiful yarn and I figure there’s no point paying the postage to send the extra cones back.  I’ll pay for them and keep them and maybe dyethe extra 2 a darker shade of green.  I have a really special project in mind for these green skeins.  I’m not telling you yet!

    If you are wondering about ordering from Colour Mart, wonder no further.  Their customer service can’t be beat, the prices are good, and the yarn is really really nice.

    Well, you can see here that I’ve started again on the summer top, and I’ve made it past 2 pattern repeats.  It’s going really quick and easy.  Making this top out of this yarn is making such a different fabric than the first one I made.  It’s so much lighter and stretchier!  I’m liking this a lot.  The yarn is O-Wool.  You will find out from me where to buy it in next weekend’s blog post.  Oooo the suspense is growing!

    By the way, the above is a fair representation of the color.  My previous post photo was taken in the train and no matter what I tried on the computer I just couldn’t get it to look right.  It’s not orange.  It’s this lovely candy stripe red.  This is my official train project for the month.  At home I’m working on finishing up the little duck socks.  I should have an FO photo of those next weekend.

    I spent the entire morning today working in the garden.  I can hardly move.  My back is killing me.  I dug up a lot of ivy from the front garden, plus pulled weeds, and then planted 5 tomato plants, 12 phlox plants, repotted some irises from last year and planted a black iris I bought yesterday.  I also repotted the poor camellia that is still struggling to find a spot she likes at our new house.  Last but not least I put a new house plant in a pot.

    The garden is now DONE.  At least for now.  We still need to get a table and chairs for the back garden.  Maybe next weekend.  But now I can relax and enjoy it, and the weather this weekend is actually cooperating.  It’s a glorious sunny day, and now I’m going to stop sitting behind my computer and go out and enjoy it!

    Not THAT Big

    I started a new project Sunday night.  Monday night after SnB I was this far.  Lovely, right?  Notice anything?  There are no knitting needles in the photo.  That’s right, I pulled out the needle when I got on the train last night.  It was just too big.

    You see, I made this sweater about 19 years ago.  The pattern is from Vogue Knitting Summer 1991.  Here’s my original version, made is size S.

    I really want to make it again, with this lovely O-Wool Balance (50/50 wool/cotton).  I even swatched!  I thought that a size M this time around would be better.  The above piece measured 21″ (53cm) for just the back, which equals 42″ for the whole thing.  Good grief.  Now I know I’ve gained weight since August when I stopped running, but I’m never going to fill out a 42″ top.

    Last night at SnB I was debating what to do about it.  I told everyone I would sleep on it and decide in the morning whether to start over or forge ahead.  I got on the train heading to Haarlem and had that thing frogged before we even got to Sloterdijk!  I had cast on for the smaller version before we got to Haarlem.

    Heck, it was only 1 day’s worth of knitting that I had done.  Better to have something that fits, right?

    Running, yes you heard me right

    This morning DB and I went running on the beach.  Yes, you heard me right.  RUNNING.  OK, it wasn’t a lot of running, but still.  We did  (1 min run, 2 min walk) x 5.  My knee, and the rest of me, felt great.  The only thing that kept me from doing more was some sense of caution and also this nagging cold that just won’t go away.  I’m still coughing crud from my lungs and my nose is still red from blowing it constantly.  I figured some cold salt air would do me good.  It certainly wouldn’t do me any harm.  The plan now is to increase this routine so that next week I’ll do (2 min run, 2 min walk) x 5.  And so on from there.  I don’t go back to the physical therapist for 3 weeks.

    The above photo was not taken today.  I didn’t take any photos today.  But the skies looked about like this and there were about this many people around.  I would have taken a photo with my iPhone except that it takes really lousy photos.  I was talking to DB this morning about phones.  Since I was one of those people camped out in front of T-Mobile nearly 2 years ago to get my iPhone, my 2 year contract is nearly up.  Will I go for the new iPhone this summer?  Or get a Blackberry?  I can’t see myself with an Android phone somehow.  But why not a Blackberry?  What do I actually use my iPhone for?  Not nearly what it is capable of, that’s what.

    I have to say, though, that the iPhone is my favorite mobile phone ever.  I’m pretty picky when it comes to phones.  I’m never satisfied.  The iPhone has been the best so far.  The interface is great, the screen is beautiful, the speed is just acceptable, it plays music and video, shows me when the trains will be late, when it will rain, educates and entertains.  What more do you want?  A decent camera and a keyboard, that’s what.  I miss a keyboard I can really type on.  And I miss a decent camera on a phone.  You know what?  If this thing had a decent camera, and a keyboard, I would blog more often.  I would take a photo, write some snappy text, and use the WordPress app to get it here in a jif.  My iPhone has become my excuse for NOT blogging?  That’s pretty pathetic!

    What do you think of the iPad?  Laying in bed yesterday morning, finishing reading “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, DB said I’d be the perfect candidate for an eBook reader.  He’s always teasing me about the space my books take up.  I said, “sure, buy me an iPad for my birthday.”  I’m not completely convinced though.  I’m sitting here writing this on my trusty MBP and wouldn’t have it any other way.  Spending 500 bucks on a glorified book reader and movie player is something I just can’t justify right now.  We have enough toys and besides I’m just not sure I’d really use it.  What do you think?  Are you buying one?

    Oh yeah!  Speaking of toys…. a guy sitting with us a Vapiano Friday night mentioned you can buy original VW bugs here, well restored, for around 10,000 euros.  Or less.  Oh man.  My first car was a ’68 VW Bug.  Would I want one again?  It has a certain appeal…..