What I have been up to

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Healing love sent out into the world

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The other side

Oh, there is just not enough time in my days! Yet I believe I have never put my days to better use than I do now… 

Rare is the day on which there is not a dye pot simmering on my stove, on which I do not take thread and needle to fabric, on which I do not put pen or brush to paper or find another way to express my soul-expanding joy at having unlocked the gate to my creativity and artistic expression. I had no idea how narrow my life had become until it opened up again.

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Boro stitching on denim, using Japanese sashiko thread and a piece of eucalyptus-printed silk

I seem to have stepped into a fractal labyrinth, where every step opens up an infinite number of new paths. Trouble is, I want to follow every one of them and preferably all at the same time – but there is just one of me. Which leads to another lesson: learning to pace myself, something at which I have never been very good. I keep telling myself: You don’t have to do all this now – there is a whole life ahead of you yet, you can do this next year or the year after. After having looked backwards and inwards for so long, I see the future opening up and presenting a joyful array of opportunities once again. I may be growing older (just a little) but inside I seem to have found the fountain of youth. 

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What can I say? I love feathers.

One thing I have decided for this blog is that I will post more often but spend less time on the individual posts. I tend to brush and polish and check and double-check and I post less often because I know how much time it takes me. So: more posts, less time.

I’ll leave you with these images of an old cotton T-shirt ecoprinted with eucalyptus, which I simmered in an iron bath for a while… 

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How it came out of the dye pot. The string has since been used to make iron marks on a piece of wool.

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Unwrapping the magic…

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Glowing…

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I love how the string resist shows up in flowing white lines on the heavily iron-marked fabric. This part of the tee was in direct contact with the iron bath, unfiltered by layers of fabric. It makes me think of seaweed floating in water.

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One of the things I most love about eco printing is the huge array of colours it produces. While you can influence the outcome, you have no absolute control over the results.

It may be raining cats and dogs outside but in here the sun is still shining…

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And I have been knitting, of course

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This pretty little thing is currently on my needles. I love the combination of slinky soft bamboo with wild tussah silk, which has an extremely dry hand feel. It makes for a sensuous contrast, which is reinforced by the colours my son helped me pick: a vintage rose for the bamboo set off by the rich Merlot grape of the silk. Both came from Weldraad, an eco yarn shop in Amsterdam.

The bamboo is from Fonty, a French yarn brand. It is extremely soft and has lovely stitch definition. The label suggests 3-3.5mm needles but I went with 5mm and would knit this with even larger needles to create a lovely open-textured fabric. It has wonderful drape, too.

The Tussah Tweed, what can I say? I am in love with the Tussah Tweed. BC Garn is a Danish manufacturer of natural and ecologically sound yarns. They created a wonderfully matt, very light, tweedy yarn, almost linen-like in its apparent simplicity. At around 250 meters in each 50-gram skein, I would say this is a fingering weight yarn. Because the bamboo is a heavier (sport) weight, I decided to knit the silk holding a double strand but I think this would knit up beautifully for a light summer cardigan or top on smaller needles, for instance. The earthy colour palette makes for an almost Medieval feeling. I would definitely absolutely recommend this if you are allergic to wool (oh, such a terrible affliction) or are looking for a light summer yarn. Like I said, I am in love.

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Ssquisshy ssilk under glass

Some yarn is just so pretty, you want to look at it all day. I could not resist…

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This extraordinarily beautiful yarn is Diva Sock Silk in colourway Early Rise from Dutch Wool Diva, an online shop selling yarn dyed by the Diva herself, among other things. She also offers dyed felting and spinning wool and a range of other knitting, crocheting and spinning necessities.

Agnès runs a monthly prize drawing in her Ravelry group, where group members can submit a picture relating to a specified theme. Agnès selects her favourite picture and dyes one of her yarns to match. Isn’t it gorgeous? I just want to look at it all the time.

Today I remembered the glass cake stand I inherited from my oma. Like some others in our family (I’m not naming names but yours truly is included), my maternal grandmother was a bit of a… well… a pack rat. Having lived through WWII in what was then the Dutch East Indies and the subsequent period leading up to Indonesian independence from the Netherlands, she knew what it was to have nothing. Pretty much all they had left after the war and nationalist camps was a box of photos that had survived in an uncle’s garden shed and some jewellery she had managed to hide in an empty powder box. There are many more tales to tell about my grandmother because she was an extraordinary woman. Today, however, I wanted to tell you about the cake stand she gave me. It is mismatched and has no real value, I suppose, except for the emotional value it has to me.

So I love the cake stand but never really knew what to do with it. Looking at that lovely sun-and-sky-coloured skein with its pretty glaze, I just could not bear the thought of it sitting on my desk gathering dust. Enter the cake stand! With the wool inside, it creates a pretty picture on my desk. Just perfect! Now all I have to do is think of something I really, really want to knit with this. I am thinking a lovely lace wrap or scarf that shows off the vivid orange splashes. Suggestions, anyone?

In conclusion, I hope Agnès and Abessijn at the Dutch Wool Diva’s Ravelry Group won’t mind if I share the beautiful photograph that inspired the Early Rise colourway with you.

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Early Rise colourway inspiration © Dutch Wool Diva and Abessijn, who submitted the beautiful photograph for the November competition.