Wardrobe Jealousy: The secret of Roan Inish

March 31, 2014

The Secret of Roan Inish is a story about folk legends brought to the white screen without losing any of its endearing fairy tale quality. It is, by extend, one of my favourite childhood films. The film was released in 1994, and for the longest time I didn't even know its real name. I always used to ask my mum to watch the film of "Fiona and the seals", so later when I wanted to re-watch it as an adult I didn't exactly know what to look for. So I literary just googled "Fiona and the seals" and it took me right to its wikipedia page.

Anyway I re watched it a couple of months ago, and made a mental note to put it up on the blog.
Fiona wears the best clothes and I thought some of you might enjoy looking at some of the pictures as well since I find them inspirational. There is some great knitwear in this film(and even several people knitting on screen!) and Fiona wears the best dresses. The film is set in 1946, so that probably accounts for the style of clothing. The scenery is stunning as well. All in all if you like Irish folk stories, with a mix of childhood imagination, set in beautiful landscape you might want to give this film a shot.

Now onwards to the interesting bit:


Lace cardigan:

Fair Isle Jumper:

Fair Isle Cardigan:





Fishermen Sweater:



There you go. It's been a while since I did a post like this, and I put up quite some pictures but once I started going I wanted to make a screen shot of all the things! At uni I'm now taking a class in film adaptations (of films) and while making these screen shots my mind intuitively switched to "film critique" mode. Which one is your favourite? For me it's mostly about the knitwear, and I think, for now, the jumper wins.  



Almost there

March 24, 2014

Folks it is that time of the year again...the sun is shining, I haven't worn my winter coat the past week and I had my first few allergy hazes! Yes friends, this can only mean one thing: spring is here. Yes yes...the time of buzzing bees, budding flowers and ....exams.

 Thus, I spend this day making my Middle English exam, which was answering questions about  Middle English texts. Fun texts about Arthur and his knights of the round table, and less fun things about women who let themselves be bricked up out of Christian devotion. Anyway, I've just spend the last couple of hours revising my notes and typing on my essay. However for the next 30 minutes or so I cannot be bothered with uni stuff for I want to show you my progress on my Hermione cardigan.

As you can see it's almost finished, I've only 3/4 sleeve to go, the pockets and buttons (it is now fastened with a dpn, but I can't see that becoming a fashion trend any time soon). Keeping my fingers crossed that I have enough yarn to finish it all in one go. I had my doubts that I had enough when I started the sleeves, but I think it should be okay now... Keep your fingers crossed with me?

Ps. A couple of days ago my blog and me have been mentioned in a podcast. They say some really nice things about us and the Treehouse has been seen blushing down to the roots. It also served as a reminder that I really need to change my Ravelry username. It is something I've been meaning to do for a while, but I keep forgetting! You can find the podcast at Twin Needle Podcast. The Treehouse is mentioned around 1;05. Tini and Maria: Danke schön & Tak!


Island Yarns

March 21, 2014

Today I thought I'd show you some of the yarns I got for my birthday. If you know the Netherlands, you probably know that it's not a big country. Yet, it's not so small that everything is around the corner. I was born and raised in the southernmost tip of the country. To get Texel, you have to travel north for miles and miles, taking you almost five hours by train, and taking you to the most northern tip of the province of Holland. Then, take a boat, because Texel is an island community. If there's anything I've learned from Shetland, Fair Isle and Iceland, it's that the best wool always comes from island communities. In the case of Texel, this means the only wool made from only Dutch sheep: Noordkroon.

So far it's only available in natural, undyed sheep colours. They're currently offered in five colours and three different weights. The yarn comes in skeins of 100 grams and have a generous yardage. The wool feels slightly coarse on the skein though not as much as Istex for example. This might change with a good soak. It has more similarities with Icelandic sheep, as the island sheep from this particular yarn also stay outside for most of the year, as far as I've gathered, with the fleece protecting the sheep from wind and rain. The weather is of course a lot milder in these parts than in Iceland, so the effect on the wool is similar but less intense. I haven't completely decided what I'll make from it, probably something stranded, suggestions are welcome.

The Noordkroon is a farm that works organic. It's sheep are fed organic food and they live outside. Apart from wool, the Noordkroon tries to harness all products that a sheep provides: they make soaps and skin cream from the oils that they clean of the fleeces. During the summer months the farmer has a weekly theatre show on a nearby camp site, in which she teaches tourists about the virtue of wool and the behaviour of sheep.

Next up is the yarn you already got a peek at in my last post. It's Sirri wool, which is wool from the Faroe islands. If Texel is rather close to mainland, the Faroe Islands are as isolated as it gets. You might remember that a few posts back I mentioned that I made Faroese Wool my next goal to discover. Though I didn't speak about the yarn any more, for my birthday I was surprised with a set of it.

 If you're a fan of Danish detective the Killing (personally I'm  love Scandinavian detectives) you might already be familiar with this wool. The sweaters worn by the series' protagonist, detective Sarah Lund, have become as much of a hit as the series itself, even spawning it's own website and several fan-made patterns on Ravelry. Official statements have confirmed that most of the sweaters are made in the Faroese knitting tradition, and made with Faroese Sirri wool. The Sarah Lund sweater is made with 3 ply wool however and my wool is 2 ply, which is a sport weight.

 There's a wide range of colours, and a very decent range of undyed shades. Simular to Noordkroon, skeins of Sirri wool have a very generous yardage, depending on the weight: with only four skeins, you should have enough yarn to make a decent sweater. There's one rumour on the internet which I'm am able to confirm: the yarn smells! People have complained about the strong odours coming from the yarn. Although the dyed yarn doesn't smell at all, I cannot deny that the undyed Sirri is by far the smelliest yarn I've handled so far. When I'm handling the yarn it feels like I'm standing in a field of sheep just by holding the yarn to my nose. Though I'm happy to confirm that the smell goes away with washing the yarn!

Did you stumble (it's always stumbling!) on any nice yarn yourself? Did any of my Dutch followers go to Breidag last week? I've really enjoyed seeing everyone's yarn loot. Do tell!


In which we all wore pointed hats

March 14, 2014

The gnomes were at it again. I walked into the treehouse last Sunday, and they were prepared. The were sitting in a half-circle around the doorway, and jumped to me as soon as I entered. "You've changed", the eldest of them spoke, sounding rather accusatory.
It took me a while to figure out what they meant. My brain raced, though the thinking process wasn't helped by the fact that I was now being lifted by fifty gnomes and, quite involuntarily, transported to what looked to be a chair with some sort of manacles on it.
Did I get a haircut, I asked myself. Nope. Grow an extra toe? Definitely not! Did I accidentally conjure my first patronum, thus finally prove myself worthy for a belated start at Hogwarts? I tried to discover how I had 'changed'.

As I came closer to the menacing shape that by now I was certain was intended for torture, I wondered what had happened to the formerly peaceful civilization of Gnomes. I knew they had recently discovered iron working, but surely in usual civilizations random cruelty didn't enter the scene until the invention of social media. I now saw the chair in full light, and it appeared to be wrapped.... in balloons and garlands?

Oh. I should have remembered. It was my birthday!! I changed into a technically-a-year-older-yet-for-all-practical-purposes-still-the-same version of me. The gnomes had noticed it, and threw me an awesome surprise-party! I should have known: gnomes do not get violent. We had a lot of tea and biscuits, albeit quite small ones. Imagine getting stuffed on cheesecakes the size of sugar cubes. At the end we ate pizza with all of us gnomes of House Monkey, and played balloon volleyball. Later, my family and friends came over to celebrate as well, and we had a nice long walk in the forest near the treehouse. (I secretly suspect that the gnomes were originally a cadet branch of the much larger Gnome, Troll and Elfish confederation in that forest).

Anyway, it was a great weekend, and I'll soon be back on the blog with lot's of inspiration and new yarns (that may or may not have been part of the birthday loot)!


Woodworker's Spindle

March 03, 2014

You probably know that knitting is my favourite craft. Nevertheless, there are a lot of other crafts that I either enjoy doing or that I have a huge appreciation for. Some of them are related to knitting in an obvious way: crochet, sewing, spinning and dyeing. Others, less obviously. A friend of mine, Paul, is a excellent woodworker. Woodworking is a very beautiful craft: the way that you shape and construct things from raw materials is fascinating. Since the beginning of mankind we've used wood for our various purposes, making fire, houses ships etc. Its a material that is still vital in our society today. A little while ago, he showed that woodworking is related to knitting as well! Ask yourselves: who makes the tools that a knitter uses?

Spindles are ancient old tools.The usage of them date back at least since the neolithic times. Throughout history spindles have been extremely important. Up until the invention of the spinning wheel it was the only way to spin fibre into thread, essential for clothing, robes, sails etc. Their importance can still be seen in the prominent place spindles fulfil in art, stories and mythology. Even though spinning wheels have been around for a long time they've never been able to fully replace the spindle. In recent years the spindle has attracted lots of attention and new popularity.

This is a Navajo-spindle that Paul made for me. For the longest time I've wanted to try this type of spindle. However these type if spindles are particularly hard to find in the Netherlands. Actually no spindle apart from the standard whorl is easy to find, but the Navajo spindle, due to the cumbersome nature of it, is very hard to ship. The Navajo spindle is a supported spindle. The spinner sits on the floor or in a chair with the bottom part of the shaft resting on the ground and the top part on the thigh. The fibre is spun by rolling the spindle up the thigh.The end of the spindle sits  in a small bowl to prevent it from sliding on the floor. Historically the Navajo spindle was used by by the Navajo and Pueblo Indian nations. So far I haven't been spinning miles on this spindle, not because I don't like it but because it is a totally different way of spinning than I'm used to. I've never spun on a supported spindle before, let alone such a big one. But a bit of practise goes a long way! 

This Turkish spindle was the first spindle Paul made for me. Spinning on a Turkish spindle mostly resembles spinning on a regular low whorl spindle, which is the most commonly used spindle. The main difference with a regular one is that it's really easy to take the whorl off of the spindle, which gives the advantage that you can make a ball of your freshly spun yarn and take the whorl out easily.
Another tool that Paul made for me was a niddy-noddy. He made a travel version which you can take apart and reassemble in different sizes. A niddy-noddy is ideal for keeping freshly-spun yarn under tension, setting the twist and winding it into a skein. One very usefull aspect of the niddy-noddy is that you can measure how much yarn you've spun by counting the rotations you make while winding the skein.

These are really special gifts! Having your tools handmade by someone is always something special, but even more so when they are made by such a dear friend. Thank you Paul! They're wonderful and I'm sure these spindles and niddy-noddies will serve me well for many years to come!

By the way, did I mention Paul's birthday was last week? Happy birthday Paul, and thanks for all the help, always!


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