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!