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.

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!)

What Knitting!

Yes, there has been knitting even though there’s been no blogging.  The knitting only stopped for a short time after Christmas when my shoulder and elbow just couldn’t take it anymore.  I had to sit on the couch with ice on my elbow and heat on my shoulder and couldn’t knit a thing.  It was at that point I decided to switch to continental (aka picking) style of knitting.  I should have done it years ago.

Above is a little sweater, in 1 year old size, for lovely little Nea.  I don’t have photos of her wearing it because it’s still a little too big.  Better too big than too small!  The yarn is Madelinetosh DK in color Sequoia.  The pattern is Ziggy.  It was really fun to knit, but I was totally stressed about getting it done before Christmas Eve and was still knitting English (aka throwing) style and this was the final straw.  This little sweater broke me.

Before that, I finished a few other presents.  DB’s little hat, which looks too small, but it’s what he wanted.  I think it looks like a Popeye hat, but he likes.  Yarn was again Madelinetosh DK, in color Midnight in Manhattan.  Pattern is Mezwolam.

I also made John a hat.  I hope it’s not too big for him.  It was too big for DB.  We’ll see.  I think they only just got it in the mail the other day so I haven’t received a report back yet about fit.  The yarn is Evergreen Aran and the pattern is Turn a Square.

I also made Mandy a vest, but since it’s my own pattern and I haven’t written it up yet, I’m not going to share the photo of me wearing it.  That will have to wait.  I made both Mandy and I the size Small.  I also knit Nancy the size Large it was HUMUNGOUS.  Crazy big.  What was I thinking?  So I’ve frogged the whole thing and will have to knit it all again.  Now that I’m working a full time job, these design projects just don’t happen very fast.  Oh well.  There’s always another Fall Season, right?

So, after knitting the above things, and killing my shoulder and elbow, I took and break.  But not for long.  I decided I needed a new warm hat for winter.  Actually, given the crazy warm weather we’re having, I didn’t really need it at all.  I just wanted it.  I wanted something bright and cheerful and fun.  And I wanted to practice my new continental knitting style on something simple.  AND I wanted to make something for the Yarniacs Self Indulgent KAL that started 1 January.  All those things together produced the perfect storm of this hat.

Pretty cool selfie, right?  The yarn is, yet again, Madelinetosh Chunky in color Citrus.  The pattern is Close Cables Hat. Here’s a close up.  Nice wallpaper photo too.

So, that almost brings us up to date on the knitting.  I won’t go into the yarn buying and selling.  I’m making an effort to destash (you can see my Ravelry destash if you are interested) but every time I sell yarn I end up spending that money on more yarn.  What an addiction!

Oh yes, I’ve started a couple of other things.  I’m making something I can’t talk about because it’s a gift and I don’t want to spoil the surprise.  I also started the MKAL (Mystery Knit Along) that Ysolda has just started.  I’m using some yarn that I dyed quite a while back. It’s about time I start knitting with the yarn I’ve dyed, right!  Here’s the yarn (from August 2012):

And here’s my progress so far.  All continental of course!

This photo looks a little on the blue side, but it was taken with my phone in really terrible light.  More photos are sure to come.

And I will TRY to be more consistent about the ol’ blog.  If nothing else, it’s a nice record for me of what I’ve managed to get done!

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.