zaterdag 25 augustus 2007

Kleine jongens worden groot / Little Boy, Big Boy

Mijn zoontje is pas twee geworden -- ongelooflijk hoe de tijd vliegt! En eigenlijk heb ik nog niet veel spullen voor hem gebreid; daar wil ik snel verandering in brengen!
Tijdens een gesprekje op één van de Stitch 'n Bitch-avonden hoorde ik van een aantal medebreisters hoezeer hun zoons/kinderen aan hun handgebreide dekentjes gehecht zijn. En dat gaf me heel veel zin om ook zelf een dekentje te gaan breien.

My toddler son has just turned two. It's incredible how time flies! In fact, I haven't knit many things for him yet and I intend to change that.
During a conversation on one of our Stitch 'n Bitch evenings, a few fellow knitters told how much their boys/kids love their handknit blankies. This inspired me to knit a blanket for my own curly-haired sweet boy!

Ik zit al een tijdje rond te kijken, op zoek naar mooie patronen voor dekentjes -- liefst een patroon dat stoer en eenvoudig is (want dat is ook mijn eigen stijl :-), niet te baby/kinderachtig, groot genoeg. Een dekentje dat een jongen op zijn achtste of twaalfde verjaardag nog steeds mooi zou kunnen vinden.

I've been looking around for lovely blanket patterns; preferably one that is slightly "rough" and simple, not too babyish or childish, and large enough. A blanket that a 8-year-old or even 12-year-old boy would still like.

Big Boy Blanket Inspiration

De (gehaakte) Babette Blanket vind ik prachtig, maar die is misschien eerder meisjesachtig. Verder was de Log Cabin Blanket (o.a. bij Mason-Dixon Knitting) me al snel opgevallen. En de Circle of Friends Blanket uit Last Minute Knitted Gifts is prachtig in z'n geometrische eenvoud. Maar mijn hart ging vooral sneller slaan toen ik dit hele mooie dekentje zag dat Mustaa Villaa voor haar zoon gemaakt heeft. Prachtige kleuren; geen wild palet maar ton-sur-ton. En ondanks de ribbelsteek zit er toch heel veel lijnenspel en structuur in. Het leek me leuk om iets gelijkaardigs te maken; in elk geval met ribbelsteek en bij voorkeur met "mitered squares" (... de Nederlandse vertaling hiervan ken ik niet, maar het gaat om een gebreid vierkant dat via de diagonaal "de hoek omgaat").

I love the (crocheted) Babette Blanket, but it's rather girly. Further, I've always liked the Log Cabin Blanket (o.a. from Mason-Dixon Knitting). And the Circle of Friends Blanket from Last Minute Knitted Gifts is lovely because of its geometric simplicity. My heart especially started to beat faster when I saw this fabulous blankie made by Mustaa Villaa for her son. Great color palette in ton-sur-ton blue. And despite the garter stitch it has a very rich and complex structure. I wanted to make something similar; using garter stitch and, why not, mitered squares.

Big Boy Blanket

En toen ben ik aan 't ontwerpen geslagen. Na veel puzzelen en uittesten in Excel kwam ik tot het volgende resultaat:

I started designing in Excel, and this is the schematic that I came up with.

Big Boy Blanket Schematic

Ik heb pas een hele grote lading dikke wol (opnieuw Lana Grossa Due) gekocht en de kleuren worden lichtgroen, donkergroen en blauw -- alle drie zowel in "pure" als chiné versie.

I recently bought an enormous load of bulky yarn (Lana Grossa Due again); the colors for the blanket will be light green, dark green and blue -- all in solid and "chiné" (marled?) version.

Big Boy Blanket

maandag 20 augustus 2007

Tas & Omslagdoek / Bag & Shawl

He he. Een nieuwe baan, zoontje pas 2 geworden (dat hebben we in stijl gevierd!) en net terug van een lang weekend Kassel (documenta 12 en een heel fijn weerzien met oude vrienden uit België). En voor je 't weet heb je al bijna drie weken niet meer geblogd.

Phew. New job; my son has just turned 2 (which we celebrated in style!); and we've just returned from a long weekend in Kassel (visiting documenta 12 and, generally, having fun with old Belgian friends). And before you know it, you haven't blogged for about three weeks. Duh.

En dat terwijl ik ook de volgende award ontvangen heb! Dank je wel, Maijamirjami! Verdien ik 'm wel? ;-)

And in the meanwhile, ironically, I received this award! Thank you, Maijamirjami! Not sure if I deserve it ;-)

Er zijn een heleboel bloggers die ik graag wil nomineren; maar ik heb ook deze award al op vele blogs gezien, dus ik kom hier nogal laat mee. Ik dacht in eerste instantie aan de fijne bloggende dames van Stitch 'n Bitch Rotterdam: knittingajour, Saskia, Storm op Zolder, Haakpoes en onze, intussen geëmigreerde Knitting Frog (we miss you!). Ik hoop dat ik niemand vergeten ben!!! Maar verder lees (en geniet ik van) nog een heleboel andere blogs, en daaraan wil ik graag ooit een apart postje wijden. Later meer, dus :-)

There are many bloggers whom I'd love to nominate, but I've seen this award on many blogs already. I'm a bit late to the party, I guess! So, at first I thought about the nice blogging ladies of Stitch 'n Bitch Rotterdam: knittingajour, Saskia, Storm op Zolder, Haakpoes and Knitting Frog (who has left NL in the meanwhile...) (we miss you!). I hope I didn't forget anyone!!!
I actually read (and thoroughly enjoy) many other blogs as well, but I'm planning to devote a separate post to that. More to come, therefore :-)

Verder is het me in de voorbije weken warempel gelukt om twee Objecten te Finishen. Eén is de gehaakte boodschappentas (Reduction Tote Bag uit Crochet me Magazine) met mooi katoengaren gekregen van knittingajour. Het diepblauw is eigenlijk veel mooier dan op de foto, mijn camera had er moeite mee.

Ik ben er best tevreden mee. Het tasje kan klein opgevouwen worden en past in een zakje (de granny square tussen de handvatten). Er kunnen veel boodschappen in en de tas wordt bij voorkeur over een schouder gedragen. Volgens mij is dit patroon ook erg geschikt voor sokkengaren, maar je hebt best een flinke hoeveelheid nodig (ik schat toch zo'n 50 gram, misschien zelfs meer).

Blue-green meshwork bag = finished

During the past few weeks, I miraculously did manage to Finish two Objects. The first is a crocheted shopping bag: the Reduction Tote Bag from Crochet me Magazine. Made with crochet cotton, kindly donated by knittingajour! The deep blue color is actually much nicer than in the photograph; it's very difficult to capture.

Blue-green meshwork bag = finished

I like the bag. It folds into a very small square and can be stored into its own pocket (the beige granny square between the handles); it can hold many groceries and is intended to be worn over one shoulder. I think this pattern is also very appropriate for sock yarn, although you need quite a bit of it (I'd say 50 grams or more).

Een tweede -- en supersnel -- project: een hele warme dikke omslagdoek voor mijn moeder. Via had ik erg goedkoop 10 bollen Lana Grossa Due op de kop getikt, een merino-acrylmengeling voor 6 of 7 mm naalden. En na enig zoekwerk (heel makkelijk via Ravelry!) kwam ik terecht bij een leuk patroon voor een Feather and Fan Comfort Shawl. Perfect!

Bulky Feather & Fan Shawl

A second -- and ultra-quick -- project: a very warm and thick shawl for my mom. Via (the very popular Dutch eBay clone) I had bought 10 balls of Lana Grossa Due for a very low price. It's a nice bulky yarn that comes in lovely colors; a merino-acrylic mix. After some detective work (long live Ravelry!) I happened upon a nice pattern for a Feather and Fan Comfort Shawl.

Bulky Feather & Fan Shawl

Het resultaat is een ... euh ... eigenzinnig grove rode omslagdoek. Vooral lekker warm, wat de bedoeling was! Ik vind 'm zelf best grappig (meestal worden omslagdoeken in priegelkantmotiefjes gebreid, dit is echt anders...) en hoop dat mijn mama er veel plezier aan zal beleven.

The result is an, ehm, peculiar bulky red shawl. Very warm, which was my intention. I think it's funny and eccentric (as most shawls are knit in teeny weeny detailed lace patterns; this is different!) and I hope my mom will enjoy it very much.

maandag 6 augustus 2007

Secret Pal 11 Questionnaire (eng)

Hi there, new Secret Pal! Nice to meet you... I hope we'll have fun together :-) To start, here's my questionnaire. It's different from my Secret Pal 10 questionnaire... this means that I've evolved as a knitter (I like to grow and learn!) and that you definitely do not have to take everything in this questionnaire very literally.

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

There are very few fibers that I don't like. I can appreciate good-quality, cheap, sturdy 100% acrylic for kids, and I can appreciate lovely and exclusive 100% silks or alpacas or cashmeres. If the yarn is well-made, interesting and of good quality, I will probably like it.

I don't mind synthetics; my clothes usually get dirty rather quickly (I have a toddler son) and I like my handknits to be low-maintenance. When I knit for myself, I usually go for synthetic and wool or cotton mixes. Every now and then I spoil myself (or someone else) with something luxurious too.

I'm always interested in local yarn brands, so sending me something from your own country will always make me happy!

That said, I'm usually not a very big fan of crazy novelty yarns. A bit of glimmer can be cool, but I'm not into eyelash yarns or crazy effects. And I deeply hate yarn that pills. Ugh!!

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

I have a simple, 40 cm long plastic needle bag for my long straight needles and two simple pouches for my dpns and my crochet hooks. Nothing fancy, but they're handy and organized enough.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I learned to knit and crochet when I was 8, at my Belgian catholic girls' school. Haven't done it continuously, though. I consider myself a good intermediate and I'm willing to try and undertake complex projects.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

I have an Amazon wish list which is not up-to-date anymore. If you like, I can update it and send you the URL.

5. What's your favorite scent?

My favorite perfume, since my teenage years, has been Eau d'Issey by Issey Miyake: very light and fresh (luckily it's a classic that won't go out of the market).
I love many natural smells; my favorites are probably lime and orange tree blossoms. I also adore the smell of any good food that is on the stove or in the oven, the smell of fresh coffee, of the sea, of freshly-mown grass, of rain and springtime and autumn leaves... mmm... so many good smells.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

I love to eat, and I love sweets (probably a bit too much as I tend to being a bit overweight :-). I like good cookies, pastry and chocolate but am not very fond of licorice.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?

I also crochet (love it!), but not often enough. I can do cross-stitch embroidery, macrame, beadwork. I'm handy and creative with computers in general and I consider myself a decent amateur photographer. I would love to learn to spin with a simple drop spindle and I want to learn to sew. I already own a sewing machine (an old simple Singer that my Mom gave to me) and want to get started with it this Autumn.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

I can appreciate almost anything that is good in its own genre and I like to discover new things. I tend to prefer to listen to world music, funk, disco, soul, indie rock (the more experimental kind), electronic music (IDM) and contemporary classical.
My computer does play mp3s.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?

I prefer darker, saturated and bright colors and am not a very big fan of white, beiges and pastels (these don't flatter me very much, I find).
Some of my favorite colors are petrol blue (saturated dark blue-green), purple, dark and bright blue, dark and bright green, brown, gray, deep orange and "old pink". I wear a lot of black.

I'm usually not a big fan of variegated yarns (although exceptions are possible). I usually buy and knit with solids and semi-solids.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

I live together with my boyfriend and our sweet and adorable two-year-old son. We are very much cat lovers, but at this moment we don't have a cat because of our small house and the probable toddler&cat incompatibility.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

Yes to everything, except ponchos.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

Same as with yarn: I can appreciate a lot of different things. Like many people, I enjoy knitting socks, but I also find it fun to make larger projects such as sweaters and shawls. These take forever, though; my attention span is rather short :-)

13. What are you knitting right now?

On the needles now: a Hanami Stole, a crocheted Reduction Tote Bag, one Pomatomus sock (Second Sock Syndrome!), a bulky Feather and Fan Comfort Shawl and a brown cotton Stargazer summer top.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

Yes, absolutely!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

It all depends on the project; I knit with straight or circular needles equally. I own all kinds of needles, but my favorite ones seem to be very slippery metal ones: Addi Turbo circulars and vintage Atan straight needles.
I'm not very fond of coated aluminum needles; I don't like how they feel when they rub against each other.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

I own both. I thought I wouldn't need them, but I was wrong :-)

17. How old is your oldest UFO?

Almost a year: a pile of crocheted hexagons that are destined to become an afghan (or maybe not).

18. What is your favorite holiday?

The Belgian national holiday: 21 July. The weather is usually superb and summery then and I often go to the Gentse Feesten (a fantastic city festival in Ghent, Belgium) around that time.

19. Is there anything that you collect?

Shoes and clothing :-)
I'm also very much a fan of beautiful modernist and vintage glass, furniture and tableware (especially Dutch and Scandinavian), but I don't actively collect that.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

I only have a subscription to Rowan Magazine and I usually buy the very nice Dutch craft magazine Handwerken Zonder Grenzen. I intend to get a subscription to Interweave Knits as well.
I'd like to buy the Barbara Walker stitch pattern books and some more books by Nancy Bush (haven't decided yet which ones).

If you would have old issues of Interweave Knits or Crochet, then I'd be very interested in photocopies of the following patterns (only if you have them!):
- the Union Square Market Pullover by Kate Gilbert, Interweave Knits, Fall 2005
- the Babette Blanket by Kathy Merrick, Interweave Crochet, Spring 2006

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

- Intarsia / fair isle
- A moebius wrap
- Spinning with a drop spindle
- And I want to start designing patterns.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

Yes! My feet are European size 39; exactly 25 cm long. I like it when my socks are snug-fitting, I usually make them 23 to 24 cms long when I knit them for myself.

23. When is your birthday?

16 April.

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID?

I'm If you are on Ravelry too: my stash will give you a very good idea of the kinds of colors that I like.

zaterdag 4 augustus 2007


Het is eindelijk zomer, mensen! Na dit postje ga ik me weer op ons balkonnetje installeren, met een fris glaasje witte wijn. Heerlijk!

Finally, Summer has arrived in the Low Countries! After writing this blog post I'll return to our balcony with a glass of fresh white wine. Mmmm!

Op het UFO-front weinig nieuws. Ik ben met een paar grote projecten bezig waar ik al eerder over schreef; er zijn weinig vorderingen te melden want de voorbije week heb ik mijn vrije tijd vooral aan Harry Potter, familie en gezin besteed. Ook niet slecht :-)

No news on the UFO front. I'm working on several larger projects that I've written about earlier; I can report very few developments because I spent last week's free hours mostly in the company of Harry Potter and my family and loved ones. Not too bad either :-)

Of misschien toch. Op vond ik vorige week, erg goedkoop, een tiental bollen Lana Grosse Due (50% merinowol, 50% acryl in bulky dikte) in een heel mooi bordeaux-steenrood. En daarmee maak ik nu aan een sneltreintempo een grove en warme feather-and-fan-omslagdoek. De sjaal/doek moet 150 cm breed worden en is bedoeld als kadootje voor mijn moeder, die begin dit jaar een stevige hartoperatie ondergaan heeft. Ze is nu (na heftige complicaties) eindelijk goed herstellende, maar om een onduidelijke reden heeft ze het altijd erg koud. Een hele warme, knusse en zachte omslagdoek zal haar hopelijk goed van pas komen.

UFO: Bulky Feather and Fan Shawl

Or, maybe there is a bit of news. On (the very popular Dutch ebay clone) I found 10 balls of Lana Grossa Due: bulky yarn in a 50% merino / 50% acrylic mix. For a very low price, and in a lovely deep dark red color. Great find! With this yarn, I'm now making a bulky, soft and warm feather and fan shawl. It is destined to become 150 cm broad; a gift for my mom, who had major heart surgery in the beginning of this year. Finally, after some worrying complications, she is slowly recovering. But for some unclear reason she's always cold; I hope this shawl will help her stay warm.

En dan zijn er ook mijn recyclage-avonturen. Ik volg al een tijdje de blog Cosymakes, van Cosette, een erg interessante breister die theologie gestudeerd heeft en die o.a. erg mooie mutsen maakt van gerecycleerde wol en knopen. Ze legt een heel interessante link tussen theologie en textiel"kunst" -- respect voor materialen, voor het handgemaakte, en het idee dat je "levenloze", massa-geproduceerde kledingstukken een tweede leven kan geven. Ik kan me hier erg in vinden; ik brei zelf o.a. omdat ik erg kritisch sta tegenover de mode- en kledingindustrie, en het idee van recyclage past daar erg goed in.
Dankzij Cosette's blog heb ik dus zelf ook veel zin gekregen om de wol van tweedehands truien te gaan recycleren. Een tijdje geleden heb ik een oude katoen-acryltrui van Mexx uitgehaald; ik droeg de trui niet meer maar kon er ook moeilijk afscheid van nemen. Naden losgetornd, en de uithaal-actie is goed geslaagd: 600 g zacht en licht "worsted weight" zwart garen. Misschien maak ik er wel een Rusted Root mee... wie weet?

Recycled yarn on our balcony

And then: my recycling adventures. For some time now, I've been following Cosymakes, a blog by Cosette, a knitter who studied theology and who (among other things) makes beautiful hats from recycled wool and thrifted buttons. She makes a very interesting connection between theology and textiles -- respect for materials, for the handmade, and the idea that "lifeless", mass-produced garments can receive a second life through thrifting and re-use. I knit, among other things, because I'm very critical of the clothing and fashion industry; recycling and re-use fit very well into this picture.
By reading Cosette's blog, therefore, I really started to dig the idea to start recycling thrifted and second-hand wool and sweaters as well. Some time ago, I experimented with an old cotton-acrylic Mexx sweater that I didn't wear anymore (it was never very flattering). I found it difficult to dispose of it, and therefore I undid the seams and ripped it entirely. Result: 600g of very soft and light worsted weight black yarn which may, for example, become a beautiful Rusted Root for myself... who knows?