Grab Some Tea and Let’s Catch Up

Grab Some Tea and Let’s Catch Up

     Hello lovelies! I know it’s been a long time so I’m dusting off the blog and getting it going again. Better late then never or so the old saying goes! Where do we start? Since we last talked, Alex and I have gotten married, we’ve  adopted two new fur children into our family, I’ve gained official residency here in The Netherlands, and had we’ve just recently come home from a lovely vacation in London. My how the months have flown by… It’s about time that I get back to my chit chatting to the lovely yarny community that I’m happy to be a part of! Let’s dive in with a bit more detail shall we?
     On July 4th, 2016 I married my companion, my confidant, my best friend. We did not have a huge event, Alexander didn’t wear a suit and tie nor did I wear a dress. It’s just not us. We broke away from the typical wedding scene and did a small ceremony in jeans and it was everything we wanted and in the end, that’s what really matters. Two people who love each other through good times and bad. Two people working together as a team to overcome any obstacle life throws our way. To us, our wedding was not for status, it was to fully commit to each other. 

     Shortly after our wedding, we adopted two wee kittens, although they aren’t so small any more! They’re Ragdoll mixed with Maine Coon and normal house cat. At first our two older cats were not so thrilled but after some time, they’ve all adjusted to each other and we live in one happy, fur filled household. 

Jyn 

Rey

     Now onto London! London was a fantastic time. We met up with a close friend and packed as much into our week as we possibly could. The highlights would definitely have to be the 4 West End shows we saw. We kicked the week off with Wicked followed by Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, and ended with Jersey Boys. I cannot express how amazing they all were. Each had their own specific style and I loved every moment of every show. Definitely need to see them again someday! If I had to pick a favorite it would have to have been Phantom of the Opera. I’ve always been closely tied to music and I’ve wanted to see the live show since I was a small child and to have seen it in Her Majesty’s Theater, where it debuted over 30 years ago was a dream come true! 



     On top of all that there was tons of sight seeing including The British Museum, The Science Museum, The London Dungeons, The London Tower, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and countless others. I could go on forever but I’ll save you all from an incredibly long read and just show off some highlight photos instead! 



     I think I’m done babbling about all the goings on since we’ve last talked now so let’s get into yarny goodness and talk knitting! Sadly, I don’t have a whole lot of things I’ve made to show off since I’ve had some trouble with my eyesight. A few months ago I developed a blood clot in my right eye which reduced my vision to next to nothing. Thankfully, after seeing some great doctors and a few rounds of injections into my eye, my sight is returning and I’m happily knitting away again. Here’s a few of the things I have done since my last post. 

The Favorite Knit Slouchy by a Jamie Sande

Cathedral Grove by Moira Engel


The Force Awakens Hat by Mrs. Luedeke (I changed the lettering section to say “May the Force be With You”)

Barley by Tin Can Knits

Lake Reed by Asita Crebs

     As you can see, my love for hat making has not faded! I know I said I was done blabbering about London but it’s yarn related I swear! I couldn’t come back with out a yarny acquisition, so I popped into I Knit London. What a cute little shop with a gorgeous selection of yarn, including yarn dyed by the owner himself! After some internet researching they ship to The Netherlands making me one happy returning customer. 

All yarns here are I Knit or Dye

     Back home, on my hunt for 9″ circular needles, I Came across a Dutch yarn shop had to order this gorgeous color way with a special project in mind. 

Colorway Free Spirit

     I paired the Dutch Wool Diva sock yarn with the solid gray I purchased at I Knit London and am making a Sizzle Pop shawl. My first brioche project! I hope to have this done by the end of March or sooner so I can participate in the Colorful Brioche KAL going on in Carolien’s Ravelry group for Colorful Creativity Podcast. 


Sizzle Pop by Lesley Ann Robinson
     My other current WIPs consist of a sock and a hat. I really like having multiple projects going to switch back and forth between depending on my current focus level and mood. Lately I’ve been pretty determined to figure out this whole sock knitting thing! This time on 9″ circulars. 

Vanilla Late Socks by Virginia Rose-Jeanes

Tamarugo by Anna Saskia

     I think I’ve covered just about everything. As always, thanks for reading and taking some time out of your day to catch up with me! Feel free to follow me on Instagram where I’m most active. Have a great week all, we’ll talk again soon! 

All the Things

All the Things

Fijne Hemelvaartsdag and Bevrijdingsdag fellow Dutchies! (Ascension day and Liberation Day). What a beautiful day it is for the celebration and festivities in the Netherlands! Alex and I went to the Bevrijdingsfestival (Kind of like a 4th of July) here in Den Bosch. We listened to the live music from various bands (Moonshine Brigade was my favorite) and sat around reading and sunbathing and knitting at the lake for the rest of the afternoon. A day well spent. Bring on summer!

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-The sea of bikes outside the festival.

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image-“Everything that’s truly great and inspiring was created by an individual that could work in freedom.” -Albert Einstein

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-Moonshine Brigade

 

I finished the “Lazy Hiker” shawl while binging episodes of Salem with Alex. I got to the last panel and just couldn’t stop. It was the final stretch and rows were getting shorter and shorter. I had to finish it and I was so ready to be done and at 2 o’clock in the morning, it was done and steam blocked. I could not be more happy with how it turned out. Easily the most beautiful thing I’ve ever with these sticks and string.

 

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I look at it and I just feel so proud. That’s the best part of knitting and crocheting for me. The feeling you get when you finish something wonderful with your own two hands. Not to mention that knitting and crocheting helps me cope with anxiety and has been proven to improve your motor skills, promotes a healthy brain AND helps prevent arthritis. Alright, alright,  I’ll cut the science lecture. Still, with everything considered, nothing lifts my spirits quite like a hand crafted garment.

After a fairly long project and mainly working on the same thing, I had several empty needles and now I want to make all the things. I’ve started another shawl,  a lightweight summer hat for Alex, a just barely cast on beach bag and something with granny squares. Haven’t quite decided where I’m going with the squares but they’re pretty to look at so I just keep making them!

 

IMG_20160503_195455-Shawl (Pattern Name “Reyna” on Ravelry)

IMG_20160505_210057-Lightweight Summer Hat for Alex.

IMG_20160505_211906-Pretty Granny Squares for a mystery to me project.

As you can see I most definitely have my hands full! Not to mention I was gifted a knitting loom set from the local Stitch & Bitch a few weeks ago. (Thanks Franna!) I love learning new techniques so I’m curious to try to make a hat from one of the looms. So many projects so little time.

More to come, hopefully with FO’s to show off!

-Wol Harpy

The Bright Side

The Bright Side

What a week it has been. From being without internet for days to the weather making the Dutch holiday “Konings Dag” (Kings Day) a weary and wet event and not to mention I locked myself out of our apartment…again… I think its time to curl up with a cup of tea and knit away.

IMG_20160428_215841Boschebollen in the spirit of Konings Dag! Look at that orange chocolate!

Alex and I have two beautiful, cuddly and immensely curious cats. I love them dearly and they are my house companions but as a knitter, I’m constantly  on the battle of keeping them from laying all over my projects! Their favorite spot as of late is to sleep in my basket I keep my current projects in. While it is adorable and I’m sure it is quite comfortable, they shed horribly all over my WIPs. Solution? Remake the basket into a smaller basket with a lid. Sorry kittyfurs, I’m sure you’ll find another favorite spot to sleep in!

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Whilst binging YouTube videos earlier, I learned a new technique! A lot of my knitting and crochet projects are done with acrylic yarns. I use acrylic for a multitude of reasons. The colors range is wide and vibrant, its durable and can be washed  and lasts for ages. It holds its shape well and the colors never fade, but acrylic yarn does have its drawbacks too. You can’t simply put it in a wool wash and pin it flat and leave it to dry and call it a day. Soon after you unpin it from drying the edges will begin to curl and the piece will go back to its original shape before you blocked it, defeating the whole purpose of blocking. All any knitter wants is a nice finished project that lays how its supposed to lay and drapes how it is meant to drape.

Steam blocking is the solution to all your acrylic yarn problems. Its a permanent solution and with careful manipulation of your project, you can bend the acrylic fiber to your will and have a nice finished look and a project that looks just how you want it. So off I went to dust off the iron that has been sitting in a bag taking up space in our closet for…longer than I’d like to admit. I don’t iron clothes…Ever. For those of you gasping “But what about the wrinkles?!”, where’s your sense of adventure? Adds character.

So I’ve dusted off my iron, grabbed an acrylic swatch that was all sorts of mangled from being stuffed in a box for reference at later times, and gave it a shot. It was like magic. A few puffs of steam and the fabric swatch just seemed to let out a big sigh. All the stitches relaxed and made the fabric very drapey, the corners laid flat, it looked like a perfect rectangle instead of the previously indistinguishable shape.  Best of all, what truly blew me away was how SOFT the fabric became after a 3 minute steam blocking. Acrylics are not known to be the softest yarn but after some steam I just want to snuggle with this tiny swatch.

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Excited by the results of my test swatch, I immediately went to my yarn cabinet and dug out a table center piece I crocheted months ago but the way the edges curled up drove me bonkers so I tucked it away in a shelf in project time out until I figured out a way to fix it. I laid it out on a tea towel and steamed away, pinching and smoothing and making it the shape it was supposed to be. Now it sits proudly on the coffee table in its glorious state of flatness. I really should have taken a before photo to show the true magic of the before and after but I was maybe a pinch skeptical and it didn’t come to mind in the spur of the moment experiment. If you’d like to see the video I watched, here’s a link! Steam Blocking Acrylic Yarn

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Now that I’ve shared my excitement on a new technique, a certain lazy hiker shawl is almost done and requesting my attention to finish it up!

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Until next time dearies.

-Wol Harpy

 

 

 

 

Rooted

Rooted

Spring in The Netherlands is a fickle and wet season. If you’re lucky though, there are peaks of sunshine to go out and get some fresh air and what better way to do so than by bike! Having grown up in rural areas and usually always by water, living in the downtown of a busy city is quite a change. I love this country and it’s bustling streets, historic buildings, charming canals and bikes as far as the eye can see, but it’s always nice to find peaceful and secluded areas to touch back to familiarity. Places where you can center yourself and feel at ease.

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The “Lazy Hiker” shawl is well underway. I was originally going carry on throughout the whole piece with cream and the denim blue variegated colors but I reached the roman striping and it just needed…a touch of excitement. So in goes some hot pink and it instantly comes to life! I’m really happy with how this piece is going and I’m excited for it to be finished so it can be worn.

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     Also, startitus (a wave of uncontrollable desire to start a new project) washed over me and I have cast on and got through a cable repeat on a sweater for Alex. I realized a little too late I was reading the cable chart upside down so my cables will be in the incorrect order, but that adds charm! And personality! (I’m really just too lazy to tink back 8 rows to correct it). I think I’ll blame the sudden bout of startitus on Ravelry for having such a large collection of patterns instantly available. My library is well on its way to 500 different patterns…I think it’s safe to say that I won’t be running out of project ideas in my lifetime!

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     I ventured out of my comfort zone this week and went to a local knitting café. My Dutch is not exactly the best but I get around and if all else fails me, most people here understand English very well. Sometimes, since a large part of the population here speaks English, I feel a bit hindered at learning the Dutch language. Most people hear my accent and immediately speak English with me. It’s a blessing and a curse depending on the day but I digress.
     I was looking around online for a yarn shop to go and scope out and I happened across Breigaren-Den Bosch. It’s a cozy little yarn shop not far from my home (that could be dangerous…my stash always wants for more) and on Thursday evenings you can go there and drink coffee or tea and talk about what brings us all together, love for knitting and crochet. I met many friendly people there, got a little practice speaking Dutch, learned a few new tips on knitting and had an all around lovely time. It was a wonderful atmosphere (“Gezellig” as the Dutch say) and needless to say I’ll be going again fully armed to finally learn sock knitting (Thanks Ilse!).
    
     When was the last time you did something for the first time?

Until next time dears,
     – Wol Harpy

Catching Up

Catching Up

After an unexpected move to a new city and all of the challenges that came with it, I’m happy to say that I’m back and ready to get started again! Moving is always such a process. Packing, moving, unpacking, settling. Familiarizing yourself in new territory. I’ll share some of the beautiful areas of ‘s-Hertogenbosch along with some of the things we’ve been up to the last months.

IMG_20151227_143953-Sint Jan Cathedral in downtown s’Hertogenbosch

 

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hdr-New additions to our family! We adopted these beautiful ladies in late December. They’re young sisters named Padmè (left) and Sabè (right).

 

IMG_20160222_201149-Golf cap I crocheted for Alex.

 

Aviary Photo_131050213633513838-Yet another Rip-Tide slouch hat in blue/green/cream colorways. One of my absolute favorite hat patterns!

 

As first order of business, it’s time to sort and organize the mess that is my yarn cabinet. The dreaded process of going through projects that are cast on, figuring out what they were intended to be, ripping out projects that got lost along the way. The payoff being starting projects anew with recent inspiration. Spring has sprung and its time for color and light textured fabrics and I have a list a mile long (what else is new) of project ideas that I want to bring to life!

IMG_20160413_140234-Oooooh boy…What a mess!

 

IMG_20160413_140018-“Lazy Hiker” shawl I cast on before we moved. It’s going to get finished! Will be perfect for spring weather!

 

The blog has been given a facelift! Be sure to check out my Facebook page and Instagram. You can now get email notifications too so be sure to follow me and never miss out on a new post!

Now that I’ve given myself a direction, its time for coffee and knitting. Feels so good to be back. Thank you for stopping by  lovelies! Hear more from me soon!

-Wol Harpy

 

 

 

Ah ha!

Ah ha!

I’ve had the light bulb moment. I’ve found the answer to the baby blanket conundrum. Double stranded knitting. Still get to use the same yarn, only on bigger needles and it goes multitudes faster and is twice as squishy. Sometimes you just have to keep trying everything until something works on projects. Finally, I’m getting somewhere!

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In preparation for future projects, I’ve gone to any knitters favorite place, the yarn shop. I have empty needles and it’s time to start some secret gift knitting along with some fun side projects.

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I broke down and bought DPNs to teach myself sock knitting. I’ve evaded them for months now, using the magic loop method on circulars for hats and mitts. Now is the time to learn a new technique and what better way to learn using DPNs than socks? I’ve started my first sock adventure with worsted yarn and larger needles. I’ve ended up nearly impaling myself on multiple accounts and it feels at times like fighting an aluminum porcupine, but it’s not nearly as scary as I thought and what I’m wrestling is beginning to resemble a sock! It’s exciting and good fun.

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I’ve finished the shawl I was working on last week. It’s thick and squishy and warm, perfect for winter. I still need to block it, but here she is!

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On a bike trip to the cinema over the weekend, Alex and I saw some beautiful fall colors. We cycled a total of 40 miles this weekend and I’m beat! Time to sit back, relax, sip some coffee and knit.

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Time

Time

Time is a funny thing. It goes sluggish when you want it to go fast and goes incredibly fast when you need it to go slow. The holidays are coming and for a crafter, Christmas is approaching at an alarming rate. How does a day that doesn’t move manage to sneak up on me every year? I’ll never figure that out. Life’s mysteries. File that away along with why I can never find a matching pair of socks and why all of my bobby pins disappear.

A few days ago I took a fall walk here in the nature of Zaltbommel. Despite being heavily overcast, it was beautiful. The leaves are just starting to turn making the woods look mysterious in the rain that is Autumn in The Netherlands.

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Of course I had to take a project with me which ended up being the shawl WIP in the baby stages.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be doing a lot of secretive knitting. I just need to finish up what’s on my needles now and then start casting on gift projects. Tis the season!

Here’s my current WIPs :

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This is a shawl in progress. Look at the gradient! I am in love with it. It’s much larger now, although I won’t get another decent photo of it until it is off the needles and blocked. The pattern is “Lala’s Simple Shawl” and as always, can be found on Ravelry.

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This is one finished fingerless mitt. I’m having second mitt syndrome and the other is casted on but in my project bag. I plan to finish that up and free the needle this week. These will match my striped and slouchy hat I’ve finished. This pattern is “Across the Street and to the Bar Fingerless Mitts” (found on Ravelry) and it is a KAL (Knit-Along) for a group I’m in. Fun knit and very customizable!

My lonely finished object of the week :

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I love this hat. It reminds me of the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. The pattern on Ravelry is “Striped and Slouchy Hat”.

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The baby blanket is in project time out again. Going down a needle size didn’t seem to help much. In fact, somehow it managed to make it worse with the way it was laying and ended up to be a million stitches to a row. Some things blocking just can’t fix. If I stick with it, it might be done once Alex retires. I have decided I don’t like the specific yarn and how it is laying and coming together in the big picture. So off to the yarn shop to find something else and the current yarn will be rewound and put back in the stash. Time only knows what it’s destiny is now.