Quote of the day

In the rhythm of the needles

there is music for the soul.

Breiclub in Oostende : elke woensdagavond van 19 u - 21 u !

zaterdag 6 augustus 2016

la Compagnie des Laines

Traveling to the Ardennes, we went all across our little country.  From where I live (in the middle of our North Sea coast) to the furthest point is 350 km.  That is the province of Luxemburg, not the same as the neighboring Grand Duchesse de Luxembourg, which is an entirely different country.
The Ardennes are also well know for the Ardennes offensive by General Patton, when in WWII the American soldiers tried (successfully) to liberate us from occupying Germans. It is known as 'the battle of the Bulge'.

the hills of the Ardennes

From Oostende to Arlon is about 350 km

In my part of Belgium (called Flanders) we speak Flemish, a language very similar to Dutch. The other half of my country is called Wallonië, and people there speak French.  Our capital city Brussels is right in the middle.

Flanders is a flat country, Jacques Brel made such a beautiful song about it : Mon plat pays.

My flat country...

Wallonië has forests, hills, little villages, and a more relaxed way of living. Ideal for a holiday.
In Virton, a quiet sleepy village far away in the forests, there is a yarn shop.  Not just an ordinary yarn shop, but a hidden cave of gems.  

It is called 'la Compgnie des Laines'.  They have a website and webshop HERE.
My husband sat quietly waiting for me - I had to choose among so many awesome yarns.  And they had a great collection of needles (hyahya !) bags, pins to put on a scarf...

There were still a bit of sales too....   like 4 euros for a 100 gr skein of Kauni....  

Books Books Books..... 

that one was still missing from my collection....

Some very very nice knit scarfs too.  I bought 2 patterns and the yarn to knit both scarves : the loop-stich Frida by Hiroko Fukatsu and the beautiful Tamdou by Melanie Berg - one of my favorite scarf designers.

Tamdou by Melanie Berg

For the Tamdou I could choose among the many colours available of their own label. 

My husband came to help an I went home with Amarante red, Etain grey and Sahara yellow of the 'Assemblage 1' line.  It's a 50 gr cake of 250 meters of 80% merinos and 20% linen.  So I will have the softness of the merino and the flow of the linnen combined for this project.

sooo much to choose from

drool drool

For the Frida I might use the Kauni.  And I still have some silk from Bart&Francis at home that may turn into one of these scarves....

I bought a kit to knit wrist warmers with a pattern of rocailles knit into them. 

and last but not least a kit with everything in it to make myself some Sanquehar gloves....   with needles 0.7 mm.....   How adventurous is that ?

Back at the hotel, I enjoyed just looking at it.

and now for some time to make all these beauties.....

zondag 17 juli 2016

workshop Loret Karman

I'm a teacher. It's my profession, it's what I do.
I trained to be a teacher.  Whether it's teaching children about languages, or adults about knitting, you need to be prepared.  And focused. And attentive to the needs of the pupils.  And never loose your sense of humor.

That is why I like other teachers. I like to learn from others, I am in awe of those who can teach me new things. New ways. Other points of view.  People like Franklin Habit, who are so graciously willing to share their knowledge on the web.   All the anonymous men/women who put together great YouTube movies, explaining patiently over and over again how to make those intricate stitches. I very much appreciate well structured classes on craftsy.  A nice voice.  Positive people.

What I don't like is when lessons are ill-prepared.  When wrong or incomplete information is given.  When chaos rules. When you are requested to 'just do what you like - because that's 'artistic'.  When I regret the money I spent.

So, sometimes I treat myself to a workshop by 'a big name'.  When I pay a lot of money for a workshop, my expectations are really high.

Usually I enjoy this very much.  I like meeting other - like-minded - people, share information and absorb the classes.

But not always.

The latest workshop I followed can easily be compared to an episode of Fawlty Towers. It took me some time to digest it.  I went from being angry (spent soo much money for nothing! ) to being upset (how can you mess up a workshop) to 'try and think positive'  (met some very nice knitters) to finally see the humor of it all.

Let me share this with you.

We got a long list of 'items' to bring to the class.  Did we use any of it ?  No.

We received instructions to knit a homework.  It took me a lot of time to knit quite an intricate lace swatch in 5 different colours.  Did we discuss it ?  No.

the 1st part of the class was all about pooling.  That's what you get when knitting with hand dyed wool.  When the dye changes after a certain amount of cm, and you knit swatches with it, the effect can change dramatically from stripes to diamond shapes. The reason can be the pattern you knit, or the amount of stitches you cast on.

pooling explained : same wool, different result

 Knitters who knit with pre-dyed sock wool will have experienced this.  It would have been very interesting if we would've received tips and tricks how to manipulate this.  Sadly, we didn't...

In stead, we had to knit a swatch.... in the wrong wool....   and all the swatches looked the same : stripes.  Nobody had the diamond-effect.  The teacher explained that it was because the wool was dyed at too long colourchanges.   Oops.  Would that be like ordering lobster and receiving a hamburger instead ?  That's what I felt... Also came to mind : preparation is the key to succes.

we all had the same stripey effect
luckily, teacher had her own swatches with the pooling effect.

Next, we were going to knit a swatch in ribbed intarsia : colour blocking.  Not many of the knitters were familiar with this technique.  In stead of taking time to explain, the teacher suddenly abandonned this - let's all do something completely different !

That something completely different was dying a machine knitted natural swatch with very intense blues and oranges.  When you pay for a workshop 'KNITTING with hand dyed yarn' you somehow don't expect to be DYEING it yourself.  I wouldn't have taken the workshop it I had known it was about dyeing.  I'm not interested in dyeing.  I'm a knitter who buys her wool  - thank you.
And btw : I wasn't dressed to dye.  I was wearing white.  There were no aprons available.  Again, thank you !

ready to paint.
The swatch was machine knitted in double thread - when you unravel this, you should obtain 2 equally neatly dyed threads of wool, and be able to knit 2 similar tiny little socks.  That is, if you take your time to dye both layers of thread with enough moisture, so that the bottom layer can soak up enough dye.  If you're not careful, you will end up with one dark sock, and one light sock.  Logic.  Only, she didn't tell us when we were painting à gogo.  She told us afterwards.  Yep.
And to my humble opinion, the swatches were knit at a much too tight tension.  It may have been easier to dye both layers when they are loosely knit. But, hey - who am I ?  Just getting a bit frustrated.... turning into a grumpy old woman here ?

While we were waiting for that swatch to dry (a tiny little remark : when making your pupils dye, do it in the morning : then the swatches might be dry by the time they go home. If you make them dye in the late afternoon, the chances are that the paint is still wet when goodbyes are said, and people might find it difficult to wrap them in a plastic container and put it into a handbag).

Because not everybody could paint at the same time, the others members of the knitting-turned-dying workshop were handed a few little skeins of wool and a pattern to knit.  Ah - finally - knitting.  Only to find that it was just copying written instructions, knitting with short rows, again, some kind of swatch. ok, nothing wrong with that.  Only some of us were handed nice bright colours, others were handed more demure and dark colours.  At the end of the day, half an hour was spend discussing these swatches.  Apparently, some of the swatches looked very shy.  Others were considered dull.  When handed 5 shades of grey (pun not intended) it's difficult to knit a bright and happy swatch !   Half an hour of judging, criticizing and lamenting about these swatches.  Was it because we were all ready at 16.00 hrs, and the workshop was supposed to end at 16.30 hrs ? Tssss.

Mrs. Loret Karman is an amazing hand dyer.  She makes wools that are gorgeous. Especially the ones inspired by the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh.  She knows about colours, and how they interact.  Her knowledge is great.  Her teaching skills are not.  Maybe she had an off day. Maybe I'm too critical. Anyways, this is one workshop I will remember, and have a lot to talk and think about.

Notes to self.

Ok.  What did I learn today ?  Not a lot.
Did I meet nice people ?  Yes.
Does everything always need to be perfect ?  No.
Will you take one of her classes again ?  Never ever ever.

donderdag 16 juni 2016

breien in Houtave kunstdorp

Houtave wordt zondag 3 juli voor de vijfde keer al omgedoopt tot het Montmartre van de polders. Meer dan veertig kunstenaars strijken er voor één dag neer op een gezellige -autovrije - kunstmarkt. Nieuw is dat dit jaar ook enkele Houtavenaars letterlijk een kunstenaar onderdak zullen geven in een garage, tuin of vrije kamer. 

landelijk en authentiek, de perfecte locatie

Ook in het nieuwe Patchworkatelier van Sophie Van Driessche bent u welkom ! 

Op zondag 3 juli tijdens het evenement Houtave Kunstdorp stelt het Patchwork Atelier graag haar toekomstige locatie aan je voor.  

Die dag kan je eveneens kennismaken met Rozemie en Martine.

Rozemie is de gast docente die vanaf september brei- en haaklessen zal verzorgen.
Martine zorgt voor een extra creatieve toets met haar Noordveldberen.
Kom eens langs en doe inspiratie op bij de tentoongestelde werken : prachtige quilts, patchwork tassen en andere projecten,  haakwerk en breiwerk, en lieve handgemaakte beren. 

Lang geleden dat u nog eens de breipennen vastnam ?  Ga de uitdaging aan en leer werken met rondbreinaalden tijdens de tentoonstelling.  Ook een spinnewiel staat er om uit te proberen - voor de durvers ! 

De najaarsagenda met alle cursussen en workshops  zal eveneens beschikbaar zijn.
Je kan je die dag reeds inschrijven voor de diverse workshops.

We hopen jullie te mogen verwelkomen op deze fun-tastische dag.  Het hele dorp feest mee : er is gezellige volksmuziek en swingende rhythm&blues, een heus wagenspel 'de klucht van 3 dagen heere' en ander vrolijk straattheater. 

Gedetailleerde info vind je op de link van de gemeente houtave-kunstdorp

Creatieve groeten,
Sophie, Rozemie en Martine
Kerkhofstraat 24
8377 Houtave

zondag 12 juni 2016

Zomer Workshops !

Ik werk al een tijdje als brei-coach :  ik geef avondles, workshops, organiseer breinamidagen en heb ook een eigen breiclub.  Dat betekent dat er erg veel gebreid wordt, en dat mijn huis vol ligt met WIP's en KAL's en af en toe een UFO. 

(WIP = work in progress - KAL = Knit along - UFO = unfinished object)
Je ziet, ook mijn (brei) Engels maakt vorderingen.

 Maar af en toe krijg ik er genoeg van.  Het getik van de naalden werkt niet langer verzachtend - maar eerder op de zenuwen.  Dan weet ik : tijd voor wat afwisseling !

Gelukkig is er dan die andere techniek met wol : haken.

Een schitterende techniek die beter past bij koele katoentjes, felle kleurtjes, kleine projectjes.  Prima voor tijdens de warme zomerdagen, toch ?

Toen Veerle van Framalo me vroeg om een workshop haken te geven, was ik onmiddellijk enthousiast. Wat kon ik geven ? Het moet lukken voor zowel beginners als gevorderden.  Het moet snel klaar zijn.  Het moet liefst ook een projectje zijn.  

De keuze viel op mijn all time favourite : granny squares.

Dat kan namelijk zowel voor beginners (je moet alleen maar stokjes haken), voor gevorderden (er zijn zoveel leuke mogelijkheden met kleuren, vormen, steken, zelfs met bloemen), het gaat echt wel vlot, en met enkele granny's maak je al een leuk tasje.  of kussenovertrek. Of pennenzakje.  of sjaaltje... De mogelijkheden zijn eindeloos.  Ook de verschillende technieken voor het aaneenzetten van de vierkantjes komt aan bod. 

met een schulpje afgewerkt

Of een Afrikaanse bloem ?

maak er een kleurrijke tas van
Alle info en inschrijvingen verlopen via  Framalo.  De data zijn : Woensdag 6 juli (opstart) en woensdag 24 augustus (afwerking) 2016, telkens van 14-17u.
Framalo ligt in Merkem, vlakbij Diksmuide in West-Vlaanderen. 

dinsdag 3 mei 2016

Engelse afkortingen

Deze lijst met Engelse/Amerikaanse afkortingen kan een hulpje zijn voor de Vlaamse en Nederlandse breisters ! Veel plezier ermee !

maandag 18 april 2016

crochet summer hat

I made myself a new summer hat.  It's made in phildar 100 % cotton, crochet hook nr 3.5
I chose the off-white and pink combination.

The pattern is in the Femma book (inspiratie voor creatie) but it's roughly based on a free pattern on Ravelry that you can find HERE

it's romantic, isn't it ?

the little flower is a nice touch

You can fold the brim any way that pleases you.

zaterdag 26 maart 2016

knitting a teddy bear

In the latest book from Femma you can find a pattern for a lovely knitted teddy bear.

I couldn't resist to knit one, just for the fun of it. 
He's a super cute cuddly bear, with a little green jacket.  I added a little piece of felt under the buttons for the eyes. Those buttons are old leather buttons from a sofa we had a long time ago. 

The button on the jacket has an anchor on it, so I guess the bear used to sail the seas before ending up with us.  I'm sure he has many interesting stories to tell from all his travels. 

it says 'hand knitted' on this little wooden heart.

 I used the Scheepjes Stone wash XL, knitted with 4mm needles.  The green jacket is on 3.5 needles.

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