Top 10

top of the dike this morning

A friend asked on Facebook “Why am I not knitting?”. She’s an avid knitter and a knitting designer. It was totally out of character for her to not be knitting. I ask myself, “Why am I not writing in the blog after a good start and lots to write about?”.

The answers are probably about the same – these are strange days that give us emotions we aren’t used to feeling and energy that moves in different directions than we are used to. Every day I think about what to write here but I don’t have the mental energy to actually do it. I think going forward even if I don’t write something I will at least post a photo a day. I do take at least 1 photo every day. That is a habit that hasn’t been broken by this virus situation.

Today marks 2 weeks and 1 day since I arrived in the Netherlands, living in my in-law’s small house, in a small bedroom, in a small town. It feels like a lot longer mostly because every day is a new reality. News from the government every day. A message from the King. Yesterday complaints from mayors because they have no power to enforce the “social distancing” without stronger rules from the government and stupid young people still gather in groups (MOSTLY young people – some older ones too).

In light of all the negative news, here are my top 10 reasons I am happy to be where I am:

  1. I can walk 30 minutes from the house and be in (albeit a small piece of) nature. The beach. The dunes. Some wild animals.
  2. I can walk 10 minutes from the house and watch boats on the North Sea come and go and hear and watch sea birds fly.
  3. The air is super clean which is good for my lungs.
  4. I don’t have to worry (so far) about being well taken care of medically if I get really sick and it won’t cost me any more than my 300euro deductible. No matter what.
  5. While there was a little hoarding going on here a week ago, that has settled down and we can buy whatever we need from the grocery stores in town. Which are walking distance away.
  6. Even though we are cramped in this small house, we are saving money until our own home purchase is final.
  7. DB has a good job and is not in danger of losing it due to this crisis. He can work from home easily. This was not our situation in California where my job could have been terminated at a moments notice.
  8. I can catch my breath from the past 3 years of stressful life. This virus crisis is stressful, but in a very different way. I have no control over how this will play out and so my stress about it is less. My stress level from commuting long hours on SoCal highways and working in a crappy job and being the main wage earner was far more stressful. I’m knitting 2 sweaters and a pair of socks – all at the same time!
  9. The political leaders in the Netherlands are much smarter and level headed than those in the U.S. They don’t make nonsense statements or make such outrageous lies that the population doesn’t trust them anymore. In fact Rutter’s ratings as a leader have never been higher.
  10. I never, ever, feel afraid that some idiot in Walmart is going to start shooting.

DB and I do go out every day for a walk. Yesterday, Sunday, we walked for 2 hours which I’m not used to and had sore muscles afterwards and still today feel it. We walked 50 minutes to the beach, then walked along the beach northwards to Huisduinen and then through housing areas to home. Here is a photo from the beach yesterday.

Ketchup

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Oh I have so much to catch up on! I’ve finished a lot of stuff since I last posted here.

Let’s start with the above shawl. Done! What a project – from the dyeing to fiber blending to spinning then knitting. It was a 6 month labor of love.  The end result is really lovely but I was very glad to be finished with it.  I was tired of looking at those colors every day for so long.

Then I made a hat for a precocious 5 year old.  This was a quick and easy off the top of my head knit using Wolmeise in color Red Hot Chili.  Perfect.

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Then I made a baby blanket and romper that I had to get done before we went to the Netherlands so we could give it to the new parents-to-be. They are scuba divers so I thought the sea turtle was better than a teddy bear.

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And THEN I made a sweater for myself.  I decided I had so much yarn in stash that I had to start knitting sweaters – maybe even a sweater a month! If you are going to make such a bold statement like that it’s best to start with a sure success, which meant knitting with bulky yarn to get it done quickly.  I really love this sweater and wore it almost every day during our vacation and even the past few cold days here in SoCal.  It’s knit with Cascade Eco+ Wool which is a lot softer than I imagined it would be.  The patten is from Vogue Knitting Fall 1994.  Some things just don’t go out of style.

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And of course I had to knit a couple of gifts for my friends who I miss so much.  It was so great to see them, even if just for a short evening.

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Last but not least, I finally finished these socks.  I started them in February 2017! OMG what a bad case of second-sock-syndrome.  I only really finished the second one because it was the only plane knitting project I had going on to take with me.  I worked on it a lot during our layover in Toronto on the way back from Amsterdam, and also on the plane until they turned the lights out.  I do have a light with me, but I always feel a bit guilty turning on lights on a flight when so many are trying to sleep or watch movies.  I am pretty good at knitting without looking, but with this patterning on the legs I didn’t trust myself to do it.  But they are DONE and I love them!

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PHEW! That’s a lot of knitting.  But there is also spinning!  I just finished spinning 108 grams of 2-ply lace weight, gradient from dark turquoise to light green, BFL/silk.  This is a gift for a friend who has given me many hours of podcasting joy.

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Lastly, I’m almost finished with a worsted weight lace cardigan for myself, but I don’t have a good photo of it yet.  I hope to have it done this weekend.

My next projects will be hats for charity.  I’m going to make hats for the Camp fire victims and most likely take them up to Chico at Christmas time.  I’ll keep you posted.

And that is my project catch up post for today.

I have been seriously considering starting a second blog, that is not at all fiber or knitting related.  Since moving from the Netherlands to the US I have a lot of stuff in my head that needs to get out into words and into the world.  I am afraid of alienating any blog readers I might still have, or would attract, who are only interested in the crafting posts.  What if I had buttons at the top that said “click here for only craft related topics” and “click here for NON-craft topics” and “click here to see everything”.  That seems easier than creating a whole new blog.  Stay tuned.

To Blog or Not to Blog

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Hi. It’s me again.
The post previous to this one is dated about 18 months ago, and life and situations have changed again. The web shop is on hold and I’m thinking maybe this blog should come off of hold.

The web shop is on hold because I’m saving my inventory for local markets. I’m not dyeing fiber like I used to. Since moving to the U.S., and now working 40+ hours a week, and commuting a crazy number of hours in SoCal traffic, I just don’t have the energy to also dye enough fiber to keep a decent shop going. So I’m scaling back. We’ll see how this goes and what happens after the Fall 2018.

Meanwhile, I feel like I’d still like to document my fiber and craft adventures somewhere and Facebook just isn’t a place I like to hang out. And I do have this lovely blog that I’ve spent hours creating. I went back and read some of the very first posts in 2006, from my earlier days in the Netherlands. It made me so homesick for NL! Why don’t I post some thoughts about what it’s like to move back to the U.S. after 25 years abroad? I have plenty of thoughts about THAT!

So here’s post number 1 of a new year, a new life, a new country, city, house. Same old me and same patient and understanding DappereBas. Stay tuned.

(The photo was taken on Terschelling in 2008.)

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 WordPress.org to WordPress.com.

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 WordPress.com 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!)

Let’s Start With Socks

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Clearly I have abandoned the blog for a while.  Like a lot of blog writers, I’ve run into the old “why am I doing this?” question.  So many people who are better writers than me, or who have much more interesting lives than me, have started and stopped blogs.  I’ve been keeping this thing up for 6 years!  Who does that?  Not many.

Anyway, I have not given it up entirely.  I’m in the middle of re-thinking it.  And while I’m re-thinking, I’ll just keep showing you some knitting.  Earlier I teased you with a piece of lace I’ve started.  There will be more on that soon.

Two days ago I finished these socks.  They couldn’t be more simple.  No pattern.  Just toe up socks, my usual 2.25mm needles, 64 stitches, k3,p1 rib with plain gussets.  I just wanted socks this color to wear so I knit them up.

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I’ve kind of decided that writing this blog is something I need to do for myself, regardless of readers.  At the same time, I always write as if I DO have readers, and I talk directly to my readers quite often.

Have you read “A Tale for the Time Being”?  Beautiful book.  I loved it.  The writer of the diary talks to her reader, assuming at some point there will be someone reading her diary.  I could relate to that.  I feel the same way.  Even though this is a diary, and a very public one, I figure that there will be someone reading it, sometime.  Even if I only get spam comments that are caught and filtered out.  Even if my blog statistics stagnate down to nothing more than random people accidentally clicking on and then out of my site.  I write for myself, but with readers in mind.

…And…We’re Back

After being away from home for 3 weeks (except for a short day in between trips), it’s taking me a while to get everything organized at home and back in some kind of normal order. I’m still doing piles of laundry and sorting through piles of photos. Today I’m fighting with the “new” Flickr and still haven’t managed to upload my 400+ photos from my travels.

The photo above was taken in my mom’s garden. She has lots of beautiful flowers with birds and bees and butterflies zooming around through the plants. We had fantastic weather the 2 weeks we were there. It was so nice to get warmed up from the never ending winter in the Netherlands.

While in sunny CA we went to Chico to see my niece and her husband, to Yosemite National Park for Sunday Brunch at the Awahnee Hotel, and to Santa Cruz to meet some knitting friends and put my toes in the cold Pacific waters. Of course all during this time I was busy knitting away on my “Twice Born” shawl that is part of Mad May on Ravelry.  I have photos of all these events, but you’ll have to be patient. I’m trying to be patient with flickr.

I also spent 5 glorious days in Estonia for a conference on Traditional Knitted Sweaters Around the Baltic Sea. This was a fantastic experience that was over far too quickly. The weather was perfect, the people so friendly, the knitting and handwork beautiful and inspiring. Add good music and food and you have a little bit of perfection in 5 days. I would love to go back to Estonia to see more and learn more. Of course I have hundreds of photos of this event, but you’ll have to hold on and be satisfied with just this one, that I’ve taken from J.’s FB page.

I’m heading back to flickr now to see how things are progressing with my photo uploads.  More exciting stories and photos will be posted here in a day or so.

And… We’re Back!

My blog had a meltdown and I’ve spent the last 3 hours working to get it back up and running.

What happened?  My web host (A Small Orange) upgraded their database software and my old version of WordPress and my Theme were not compatible with this upgrade.  First of all, I highly recommend A Small Orange as a web host.  I can send them help requests any time of day or night and I get a reply in a matter of minutes.  You can’t ask for more than that!

Second, I should have kept my software up to date.  If I had, this would not have happened.  My bad.

Now I have a new theme and upgraded software.  I’ll probably spend the next days tweaking the theme and writing some posts about our last week in California.  Change is good!  I like this new theme.  It looks fresh and clean and I’m ready for that.

Check back soon for new news!

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…..

I Made It

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Well here we are on the 4th of December and I’m only now getting around to congratulating myself on NaBloPoMo ’09.  Yes, I managed 30 posts in the 30 days of November.  Posting every day is very challenging.  It was not easy.  I made it!

Posting every day takes determination and stubbornness and only just a little bit of creativity.  I nearly always have something to say, but it takes discipline to sit down and write it.

This is the second year I’ve participated in NaBloPoMo and I’m sure I’ll do it again next year.  It’s really a kick in the ol’ blogging butt that I need sometimes.

You will notice, however, that as soon as November was over I took 3 days off from blogging.  It’s been a busy week at work and I came home late every night.  Even today, Friday, I was at work early, ate lunch at my desk, and didn’t leave until after 6pm.  Ugh.  And I have to do some more work over the weekend.

We did take a little time for fun this afternoon.  We played this geography game.  It’s addicting.  Give it a try!

Wishing for a Sandbox

This blog runs on WordPress.  WordPress.org that is, meaning that I’m hosted by a company of my choice and I have total control over all my files.  This is not the same as Blogger or even WordPress.com.

Since this is a new computer (brought back from the U.S., saving me a load of money), I still have to install a “sand box” WordPress on this computer.  Those helpful people at apache friends have created xampp, which is an automatic install of MySQL, PHP and Perl.  When that is done I can install WordPress on my laptop and simulate an internet blog on my own laptop.  That way, you can experiment and try different things with your blog and no one will see it until you replicate these changes on your real blog, hosted and open to the world.

I want to try some things to make this a more interesting blog.  Maybe a survey.  Maybe something more interesting on the side bars.  At a minimum I will clean up the links you see on the left of the page since the list is very outdated.  Some of those blogs are not updated by their owners anymore.  They are orphans.  So sad.

I hope you will enjoy the upcoming changes.  Stay tuned.

Oh, by the way, remember a couple of weeks ago I told you about the photographer who wanted to come take my photo in my home, of me knitting?  She came today and took my photo.  Lots of photos.  She was so friendly, and open, and really a pleasure to have in my house.  She will email a photo or 2 to me when they are done, and I have the a-ok to post them on the blog.  So I will.