Follow Your Arrow

I just finished my Follow Your Arrow KAL shawl. We got 5 clues and each clue had a choice between 2 different patterns to follow, giving you a possible 36 different shawls.

I chose option B first, then A, and so on, to make a BAAAA shawl.  On the group forum on Ravelry you can see all the different variations, some in 2 colors.  So fun to see all the different shawls made from this one pattern.

The yarn, you’ll remember if you’ve been following along, is some that I over-dyed a couple of years ago and I’m thrilled to finally use it! It’s not as soft as merino but that is just perfect for this kind of shawl.  You want it to have some body to it and not just flop around, which it would do with super soft yarn.

Full disclosure and true confessions – when I soaked the shawl to block it there was SO MUCH dye that washed out! I honestly don’t remember my after dyeing care of this yarn but clearly I didn’t rinse it enough. I know I wanted to make sure it would over dye completely so I must have used a lot of dye. I’m just surprised I let it dry and wound it up without completely rinsing it. I guess I shouldn’t complain about Madelinetosh yarn bleeding if I can’t even keep my own yarn from bleeding!

You can see on this blocking photo the orange from the previous shawl blocking and the green at the points of this shawl from dye bleed. This bed sheet is going to become a work of art all its own.

I’m really happy with the end result and will wear it a lot I’m sure, although I don’t have a lot of green clothes. It will go well with black and white for sure.  Now I’m off to cast on something new….


This morning I had such a need to go into the dunes and feel the trees around me. The sun was shining and the wind had died down from yesterday’s gales.

It’s been a stressful couple of days. I needed to get out and clear my head and get that peaceful feeling that only the trees and hills can give me.  I’m so thankful for the trees.

I found a new route to take, which turned out to be a fantastic loop, half in an area I’d never run before and half along the favorite well worn path.  Here’s the map of where I went, starting at the hockey fields near Santpoort Zuid, turning left off of the bike path, making my way to Volgelmeer (bird lake).  From the lake back to the hockey fields is the route we normally take.  The first half of the route, through the trees, is where I took the above photo.  As soon as I took the photo my stupid phone DIED, so I was lucky to get that one good shot!

Today I saw the highland cattle, rubbing their shaggy heads on trees.  It felt like Spring outside.  We haven’t really had a winter this year, but it’s still February and a little early to call it over.  The little birds have started to sing, and my rose bushes are starting to put out green shoots, so Spring can’t be far away.

Hup Holland

This is the small shawl I made for the Ravellenic games. It’s a Ravelry-wide KAL (knit-a-long) with events named cutely like Olympic events. Lace Luge, stuff like that.

This shawl is in a lovely Dutch orange called Citrus. The yarn is Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light.  The pattern is Frambuesa by Julia Trice.

It was a fun fast knit and actually I would recommend it for a first lace project for new lace knitters.  It looks a lot more complex than it is – which I think makes for a really special lace pattern – looks impressive while being easy to make.

I only had one skein of this yarn, but I have a fair amount left over. I could probably have made it a bit bigger but I followed the instructions exactly. It wraps twice around my neck like a very pretty cowl/scarf.  Maybe at some point I’ll have a photo of me wearing it, but with timing, weather and other priorities I just didn’t manage it.  These photos were taken with the shawl hanging on the hedges in front of my house.  At least it wasn’t raining!

Trunk Show @ Penelope Craft

Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of meeting Joji Locatelli. Joji is the knitting designer who’s pattern I used to make my Neon sweater. Her designs are clever, fun to make, fit perfectly and are beautiful as well! Joji was in the area visiting family and came to Penelope Craft to have a trunk show.

She had with her her latest designs and also those from Veera Välimäki.  The two of them joined forces to create a group of patterns, self published as “Interpretations“.  We got to see the samples and even try them on, which was really nice of her to let us do.  Joji was so friendly and I really enjoyed meeting her. I think she’d be a fun person to hang out with and talk knitting.

I couldn’t resist buying a couple of printed patterns that she had on hand.  I bought “Laneway” and “See You There”, one from each designer.

I also couldn’t resist some of Malia’s new Madelinetosh shipment. I know I KNOW! I don’t need it! But just look at it! How could I resist?

(Sorry for the lousy photos. It’s so dark and stormy today – no good light.)
The Jade and Firewood colors go so nicely together.  I think I will use them to make a shorter version of “Laneway”, with shorter sleeves too.

After hanging out for a while, four of us left and walked down the street to a Mexican restaurant and drank margaritas and ate nachos. What a great way to end the afternoon! I came home to dinner ready and Olympics on the tv. Of course, after drinking margaritas I didn’t dare try to cast on that lace shawl again. Instead I went to bed early.

This morning I was awake at 7am and decided to get up and turn on the tv to the Olympics, make some coffee and cast on the shawl.  This pattern starts at the bottom edge so you have the longest part to do first.  It gets smaller as you go along and work up.  So far so good now!  Here’s a photo.  Again, terrible light.  It really is a very bright orange, not so red as here.  It goes well with the orange everywhere on the tv while watching the ice skating! Hup Holland!


Knitting News

This week I have a lot to share since I have to catch up a little bit from the past 3 weeks. First off I have a hat to share.  This is the second hat for John that I made.  The first one was too big.  I should have known better when I had DB try it on and it was too big for him.  This hat fits much better.  It’s so warm in California that I don’t know if he’ll even have a chance to wear it!  It went off in the post yesterday.

The pattern is Tile Hat and the yarn is aran weight wool and recycled poly.

Next I have an update on the Follow Your Arrow KAL that I’m doing.  This is an interesting concept.  There are 5 clues (sets of instructions), each clue released on a Monday so you have a week to knit it before the next one is released.  In each clue are TWO sets of instructions, and you have to choose ONE to knit.  So, in total, there are 32 different possible lace shawls that can be made from the 10 sets of instructions. (You do the math)

Here is my BAAA so far.  Only 1 more clue to go!  I hope it is a long one, or has the opportunity to knit it longer than the instructions give.  I still have over 50g of yarn left!  This is yarn that I dyed myself, fingering weight.

I’m also knitting, again, the vest that I’m designing.  I’ve already knit a size Small twice and this is a size Large.  I made it once and finished it completely too and had N. try it on.  It was WAY too long and slightly too wide.  I ripped it all out and started again.  I have to say, I think my method of un-kinking the yarn was pretty handy.  I wound it into skeins with my swift and then hung it between two hanger hooks.  The bottom hanger was to hold it taught.  I then took my steam iron and steamed it really good.  The kinks just relaxed out.  I let them hang for 24 hours.  The yarn came out really nice and ready to knit again!

Here is the vest now in process again.  The yarn is Madelinetosh Vintage in color Terrarium.  I’m really happy too because I’m knitting this in continental style, which is a big change for me from my 35 years of knitting in the English or throwing style.  Look how even my tension is!  Yay!  This image is also closest to the true color.

Last night I cast on for my Ravellenics Games project.  I’m making Frambuesa in Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in color Citrus.  It requires you to COUNT.  Well, we were watching Deadwood and I was drinking whiskey.  This morning I started on row 4 and discovered that I totally fucked it up and so I just ripped it all out.  I’ll  start again today.  Without the whiskey.

Now I have a story about yarn shopping and lessons learned.  As part of the Madelinetosh yarn club of 2011 we received 3 skeins of worsted weight 80/10/10 (merino, cashmere, nylon) in color Treetops.  I feel madly in love with this color.  For the past 3+ years I’ve been asking on Ravelry for anyone to sell me their stash of this yarn.  Finally, much to my surprise, just when I was giving up and was searching for a project to use just 3 skeins of yarn, a knitter contacted me and said she had SIX of them she would sell me.  Happy days!  This would give me more than enough to make a sweater and have some left for mittens.  Yes, please! Send them to me and here’s my payment.

She sent the yarn to me about 3 weeks ago and today I went to the post office (which we don’t actually have anymore – it’s a point in a shop) to pick it up.  And on top of the cost of shipping from the U.S. which I’d already paid ($24), I had to pay another 32 EUROS (about $45) in customs, tax and handling fees.  I couldn’t believe it.  I figured that since this was sent from an individual and not from a company, I wouldn’t get charged.  She filled out the shipping form with the value of $100.  That’s what got their attention I guess.  Lesson learned.  I will never NEVER again have yarn sent to me from outside the EU unless I’m so desperate I’m willing to pay this outrageous money to the government.  And given how much yarn I have in stash, that’s not likely to happen for a very long time.

So here’s a photo of my now very expensive yarn.  I’d better make VERY good use of it.

Looking back over this blog post I realize that nearly everything is green!  I’m going through a green phase I guess.  What does that mean?

Lunchtime Walkers

Lunchtime Walkers

This is what Dutch people do at lunch time.  Go outside and walk.  Even in the rain, which luckily it wasn’t doing today.  A little chilly, and windy, but a fine Spring-like day.  I think Winter got stuck in the U.S. and never made it any further east than New York.

Windy Beach Selfie

Windy Beach Selfie

Notice anything different on the blog?  New theme (again)? If that’s all you notice then I’ve done a good job of migrating from to

Why did I bother?  Several reasons. Blogging became more of an IT chore than an enjoyable self expression exercise. I needed up upgrade myself.  And fight spam. And if I wanted to change the theme I had to worry myself about compatibility and quality of the theme. Not to mention paying for a host and worrying about backups.  All I want to do is make this blogging easy and fun.  If it’s not easy and fun I just won’t find the enthusiasm to continue.  I needed a change.

I looked into tumblr, which looks like a fantastic platform for simple blogging and the networking and social aspects look really interesting.  However, I couldn’t import my 6.5 YEARS worth of blog posts and I didn’t want to lose them or split them into two platforms. That would be stupid. Seems like I’m kind of invested now in WordPress.

So after playing around a bit yesterday with I decided to move everything over here and give this a try.  I exported and then imported all my posts and then I moved my domain name to point to this site and off we go! Easy peasy.

I’ve got this set up so that a copies is also posted at a tumblr blog for underdutchskies and also sends a tweet and Facebook post. I’m everywhere.

Let me know if you see anything strange, or anything you miss or even anything you like!

I’ve also decided that as of next weekend I’ll be posting a weekly Knitting News on Saturdays.  I might not always be specifically about knitting if I’ve been spending time sewing or other crafts, but it will be a craft focused post showing what I’ve been working on during the past week.  There is always crafty news.  I’m always crafting.

So, new year, new energy to carry on with the blog.  I hope you stick around to see how it develops!

(btw, the photo above was taken this morning at the beach (Parnassia). I’m wearing my lovely orange hat which I definitely needed!)

Windy Day at the Beach

Windy Day
Windy Day

As we often do on Sundays, we went to the beach and dunes for a run/walk.  He ran, I walked.  And I took some photos.  It was sunny and cold and very windy.

The wind made interesting relief sculptures out of small stones and shells.

wind sculptures

I haven’t seen any animals here for quite a while.  I don’t know where they are hiding! I see lots of sheep and cattle poop, but not the animals themselves.  I did find a hole in the side of a hill where I think the fox lives.  Maybe I’ll have to do a stakeout and see if he comes out.

trees in dunes
winter lake