Dyeing Days

There has been an explosion of color chez UDS.  Above is 2kg of fiber dyed during one day.  The day before I dyed 2kg of rainbows.

I’m being very systematic about this – dyeing with only one method and one or two types of fiber in one day.  Before dyeing I’ve pulled off 105g pieces to dye and soaked them overnight in water.  I’ve also bought a small centrifuge machine to spin all the water out of the fiber before laying it to dry.  That makes a huge difference in drying time!

This might sound like work but I really love doing it.  I love seeing the colors emerge and how the fiber feels after dyeing (SOFT!).

I’ve also been busy spinning up 150g of Blend A to make a shawl.  I finished the spinning and plying last Wednesday, gave it a good soak and let it dry. It’s not perfect spinning, but pretty darn good for a beginner.

I’m going to make “Love on the Edge”, a shawl pattern by Monique Boonstra.  (Ravelry link) I don’t know if I will have it finished in time for MidWinterWol, but I will do my best to have it on display.  Here is Monique’s version.

Meanwhile, the dyeing continues.  More color will be posted in the coming weeks.

Also in the meanwhile, Fall has arrived and I’ve taken a few photos of local color.

Say Goodbye

I expect that today was the last day of warm beach weather this year.  Tomorrow will be cloudy, maybe rainy, definitely cooler.  And it’s probably downhill from there.  So right after work today I drove directly to the beach, to Zandvoort.  It’s only about 35 minutes from office parking lot to beach parking lot.

There were lots of cars and people still enjoying the last of the sun.

I walked for almost an hour, north and then south, and by the time I was back to where I started it was getting a little hazy. The sun was heading down like the final curtain on summer’s stage.

Goodbye summer. I’ll miss you.

In Other News

This morning DB and I left the house at 8am to bike to the beach.  It was cool and a little drizzly when we left but the drizzle didn’t last long.

We biked our usual route to Parnassia beach, 10k door to door, through the dunes.  This year, because of the very mild winter, we see so many bunnies in the dunes! We must have seen 16-18 of them, without even trying, which is 10x more than usual.

The plan was to have drinks and croissants at the beach restaurant, then head back home right away.  We had a busy day ahead.  But we got there at 8:40 and they weren’t open yet.  So we went down to the beach and kicked a ball around for a while.  We found the ball on the beach.

It was so quiet! There were only dog people there, and us.  And even then only about a dozen people in total and just as many dogs.  The clouds were dark and impressive.

When we left, our bikes were still the only bikes in the parking area.  I’ve never seen it so quiet, even in the winter!

This afternoon we started getting ready for the big kitchen rebuilding.  We took everything out of the cabinets and put it all in plastic tubs and on the dining table.  Tomorrow we’ll empty the fridge and cover everything in plastic.  Monday morning begins two weeks of camping upstairs.  It’s going to be annoying, but the final result will be so worth it.  I’ll be sure to take in process photos during the 2 weeks.

Good-bye red kitchen! I won’t miss you at all!

Parnassia in May

We were at the beach before the crowds today.  Actually we were surprised at how quiet it was.  I went for a 5k run and DB sat at a table at Parnassia strandtent as he was recovering from a night with friends in Haarlem.  And his long run will be tomorrow.  Anyway, it was a lovely sunny day in the dunes and at the beach.

I did the usual 5k loop and even in that small distance I saw bunnies (too fast to photograph), 3 groups of highland cattle, 2 groups of wild horses, a shetland pony, lots of furry caterpillars, lots of birds and waterfowl.

I’m sure that tomorrow, Sunday, there will be traffic jams getting to the beach and back.  It’s a lovely place to come hang out or walk around or just sit and read or knit and drink coffee.  But come early or come by bike or train.  But definitely come.

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!

Spring in Haarlem

This morning I went for a walk around our neighborhood.  In the middle of the night last night I had to get up and take a migraine pill, which meant that I really didn’t feel like running this morning.  But I did want to get out and walk.

The above photo was taken in a small park about 3 blocks from our house.  Daffodils are in bloom everywhere right now.  The crocuses have already come and gone.  It was a chilly but sunny morning and the only people out walking were people with dogs, or small kids, and me – the only single walker! People don’t walk on Sunday mornings it seems unless they have a dog or kid – or a camera.

I walked through the park, then along the canal next to the Jan Gijzekade.  I was looking for the black swans.  Every winter they disappear and I don’t know where they go, and then in Spring they are back along the canal.  This year there are 4! When we first moved here I only ever saw 2.  Then for a few years there were 3 – a pair and a singleton that I think is one of the pair’s offspring.  Now 4!  The pair are always swimming together.  The 3rd one hangs around with the pair but is not a partner with either of them.  The 4th one that I saw today was hanging out within site of the group of 3, but didn’t seem welcome or interested in swimming with them.

the pair

Last winter (2012-13) was so very cold and lasted well into June, and I don’t think any of the pair’s cygnets survived.  I didn’t see any anyway.  We’ve had a very mild winter this year and Spring has really started nicely, so maybe the pair will have young that will survive.  Maybe the 2 singles will soon have mates.  It’s just nice to see them back each year.