Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Mad Hatters' Link Party + free pattern

Well, the first month of 2018 is almost over. It wasn't the easiest month for me to keep knitting, but I did, despite travelling, tropical temperatures, a very limited stash and other obstacles.

I am on track with my challenge to make a hat each week, so that's going great.

These are the four hats I made in Januari:

1 :: True Blue

2 :: Gray Slouch

3 :: a Field of Tulips

4 :: Bobble Top

My personal favorite is the Bobble Top, and now you can knit that one too. I tried to write down my notes as clear as I possibly could. Download PDF here (204.4K).

If you find any mistakes, or have any questions, contact me in the comments or via e-mail (adres is on the pdf)

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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

52 hats :: 4 - Bobble Top (free pattern)

Well, this one was a bit of a struggle (my notes were all wrong and I was short on knitting time), but I think I do like what I ended up with. It's actually the same as this one (I gave it away before I could take any good pictures):

Want to make one too? You can download the free pattern here.

If you find any mistakes, or have any questions, contact me in the comments or via e-mail (adres is on the pdf)

I'll be hosting my first monthly "Mad Hatters' Link Party" tomorrow (feel free to link up any hats you made the past month, wether or not you're doing a 52 hats challenge).

What have you been up to these days? Hats? Or bigger projects?
I'm feeling a bit of an urge to start something bigger or at least other than a hat coming up, but I've to find a place to buy yarn first...

Linking up with Frontier Dreams' Crafting on and Ginx Craft's Woolly Linx Party

Monday, January 29, 2018

Making, right now

Right now I'm making...

:: progress on the more boring tasks in my life. End of year bookkeeping, taxes and annual accounts for six (small) bussinesses. I always have to kick myself to start and then I remember how easy it is. Actually, I even like doing this. I should remember that next year.

:; plans and decisions about the rest of my work. I feel like I bit off more than I can chew, trying to maintain (and grow) three blogs and hoping to write another book. I need to prioritize.

:: a swatch. So exciting, right? Well, actually I can't really remember ever having done that before. I must have, because my reason for not doing it is that even after swatching and calculating and making things hard, I tend to end up with something wider or narrower than I intended. Oh, that's right. I swatched before knitting my husband a sweater that somehow ended up big enough to house two men his size (realized that about half way in). Anyway, since I want to share a real pattern for my last hat, I thought I'd try to state the gauge I'm knitting in.

Linking up with Jeannie Gray Knits' Makers' Monday.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

A little trip to Bonaire

Oh Bonaire! Even though we've only been there one night, there's a lot to say. But I'll try to limit myself to three things (linking up with Carole Knits' Three Things on Thursday)
  1. It feels good to have seen it. My goals is to visit all six Dutch Caribbean islands in the future (this may take a few years). Bonaire was the second one. Aruba, St. Maarten, Saba and St. Eustacius are still on the list. Visiting the other islands too would be even better, but I have to admit that I don't even know how many there are...

    --- Oh, did a bit of googling. There are over 7000 islands. So maybe I should just focus on the bigger ones for now ;-)

  2. What did I think of Bonaire?

    Well, if you're into diving or snorkling it's a wonderful place. Really. So many diving spots and I hear they're all lovely.
    But if you're not, like us, well...
    We had one day to explore and were done exploring by noon. Granted, we both weren't feeling too well, but still. It's small (only 19.000 people), the city is crowded (two cruiseships, adding approx. 6000 people to a tiny place) and it just didn't feel as welcoming as Curaçao. But maybe I'm biased.
    I don't want to be too negative though: the hotel was beautiful (Marriott Courtyard), the food we had was great (we had lunch at Boudoir twice and diner at Cuba Compagnie).The sea is just as blue as on Curaçao. We didn't really find a beach where we could swim, but maybe we didn't look close enough. We did have fun exploring the salt pans in the south and the hills in the north. You can easily drive around in a rental car (the traffic certainly isn't as crazy as in Curaçao) and we also saw lots op people in golfcarts and even on bikes (it's quite flat)

  3. The flight from here to Bonaire is only 20 minutes, but due to cancellations and delays, we spent 5 hours at the airport until we finally got on our flight back to Curaçao. They told us delays are normal, but this was an extreme. The airline has only three planes and two of them needed repair. Oh well, we made it home safe, that's what matters.

Only three pictures? Nope, can't do that.


 The hotel

 Our room

 Bonaire is much flatter than Curaçao

Salt pans in the south

 Hills and lots of cactuses in the north

Ancient indian drawings

 Old buildings in Kralendijk

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Knitting and reading

(this post contains affiliate links)


Well, that fourth hat takes a long time. I couldn't take it with me on our little trip to Bonaire (didn't want to risk having to throw one of the two sets of needles I brought with me to Curacao in the bin at the airport), so it's been on hold for two days. I'm looking forward to picking up my knitting this afternoon, after I do some more important things first.


The good news is that I could take my e-reader with me, so I've been reading a lot. I also found ou that with my e-reader t I can knit and read at the same time.I used to be against multi-tasking (I don't think it's productive at all), but doing two things I love at the same time can't be wrong, so I'm rolling with it.

If the cats don't bother me, that is. They're very interested in both my knitting and my reading.

I'm working my way through the Matchmaker Mysteries series by Elise Sax. when I took this picture I was halfway book 4, but we spent a lot of time on the airport yesterday and now I'm halfway book 5. I'm loving every one of them.

Linking up with As Kat Knits' Unraveled Wednesday

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

52 hats :: 3 - a Field of Tulips

Last week I was in for something that required a bit more thinking than a simple slouchy hat. I was looking through a magazine with all sorts of stitch patterns (didn't bring my grandmother's book - was afraid it would fall apart) and found one that looked interesting. Then I thought: "those blocks look like tulips" and it sort of started growing wild from there.

The finished hat has no resemblance to the pattern that started the idea, but I kind of like what I did. It does need some tweaking (if i'ts too big to really show the pattern on my giant head it will be too big on most heads) before I'd call it a pattern (as far as patterns go when I'm trying to write them), but I am definitely going to make more of these.

Linking up with Frontier Dreams' Crafting on

Monday, January 22, 2018

Making, right now

Yesterday I found out I lost track of the date. That may not sound alarming to you, but it's really not like me.
I tend to be an obsessive planner. I even wrote a blog about planners for a while, until my husband kindly (well, as kindly as he could muster up to his very stressed out and worked up planner wife) asked me to quit being so fanatic about it.

Anyway, we found out yesterday that we're not flying to Bonaire (a neighboring island) on Tuesday, like I thought, but today. Ahem. I remembered the date correctly, but lost track of what date we were actually on. I guess that's a good sign. I'm finally relaxing a bit.

I will be sharing the third hat tomorrow (hurray for being able to schedule posts), but I don't know yet if I'll be able to get online until Wednesday. Well, so be it. (See? Relaxed!)

The fourth hat is not coming along as fast as the others.I kept wondering why it didn't look like the first version I made at all. I thought it had to do with using a different type of yarn and figured maybe it was trying to teach me a lesson about gauge and pattern writing.
Hey, I don't cook from recipes (and have a hard time telling people how exactly I made something), hardly ever use a pattern for knitting or sewing and write books by typing whatever comes to mind without any plotting. So why was I thinking I could write very precise patterns that other people would like to use and maybe even pay for?

But then it dawned to me that maybe my notes were wrong. The stitch pattern comes from my grandmother's knitting book and was designed to be knit flat. What if I simply copied the original pattern but forgot I had to purl instead of knit and knit where it said purl? I dug up the original photo of the first version of this hat (the third photo in this post) and enlarged it until it was clear that indeed I had been mixing up knits and purls. So I frogged back to the brim and started over. This time it does look like the green hat. So I will be sharing my notes or maybe even a real (free) pattern after I finish it.

That could take a little while though, since I do have a bit of a problem with the cats here. I love having them around but I never really expected them to paly with my yarn. The last cat we owned was old. Ancient for a cat. We don't know exactly since we got him from a shelter, but he was at least 21 when he died. He was constantly on my lap when I was knitting (I guess because that usually meant I wasn't going to jump up to do something else for a while) and just slept through it.
These cats though... well. I will get there eventually, but I have to put my knitting away when they're around.

Linking up with Jeanny Gray Knits' Makers' Monday.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Three things

I've been seeing a few of these "Three on Thursday" posts around, read them and went my merry way, but yesterday it finally hit me. Three. I can do that!
You see, I love blogging, but I tend to set my goals too high, fail miserably and usually quit blogging altogether. I was thinking about doing a ten things or a right now post each Friday and share 7 pictures (one for each day) in the same post. But it already started weighing on me. But three. I can do three. Three random things, three pictures. Totally doable. (still trying to relax about stuff like this)
Also... I love linkups. Since I started participating in those I found so many fun blogs and nice people. Oh, and nice people finding me and my blog is wonderful too.
Three things.

1. This view. I'm sorry if these pictures of our view are boring you, but I just can't get enough of it.

2. This cat. He decided to be ours during our stay. He's a funny little fellow. We would take him home with us (the owners have too many cats and would happily part with this one) if only we knew where our home will be. We may be travelling a lot in the years ahead and we can't do that to him (or any other pet we considered giving a home lately).

3. We went for a swim last Sunday. I actually forgot how good that feels. So silly. The lists of pros (it's a mental list for now, but I'm considering writing down all the pros and cons of living on this island) is growing.

You can find more people sharing three things on Carole Knits

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Knitting and reading

Knitting: I just finished the third hat and need a little time away from it. Ha! I tried to design something different and though I think it's not that bad, it does need some tweaking. I will post a picture of it next week.

Right now I'm trying to decide what hat to knit next with what yarn. So many possibilities...

Reading: An Affair to dismember by Elise Sax.

I recently found out I can access over 700 (!) English cozy mysteries from my Dutch e-book subscription. It's silly, I was about to cancel the subscription since none of the books I wanted to read were in it, when I digged a little deeper and found this. I love cozy mysteries, but very few of them are translated in Dutch or even available in the English version in the Netherlands.

I'm in reader's heaven now.

Joining As Kat Knits' Unraveled Wednesday and Small Things' Yarn Along

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

52 hats :: 2 - Gray Slouch

I have all kinds of ideas for more intrigate patterns, but I kept it simple for my second hat, since I had a lot going on (like packing for a  two month stay on a Caribbean Island)

I personally don't like wearing slouchy hats, but my future son-in-law (who took a slouchy hat I knit a few months ago home with him last Christmas) insures me these are very popular and that I could easily sell them.So, maybe I'll make more, since "designing" (I just make things up as I go) and knitting them is easy and fun.

I did a simple, wide, brim (k4 p2 k2 p2) and knit the rest in stockinette stitch.

(excuse the not so good pictures - I was in a hurry when I took them)

Linking up with Frontier Dreams' Crafting On

Monday, January 15, 2018

I took my knitting to the Caribbean

So this "thing" I've been hinting about for a while now... I have been writing blogposts in my mind for days now and I'm not sure what exactly to tell about it.

The good stuff is simple.

The good part goes like this: hey, we've temporarily moved to a tropical island to live and work there until the end of March. And we're probably going to move here permanently within a few years.

Yes. We're back on our lovely island in the Dutch Caribbean, Curaçao. (If you're new here and curious about previous visits, you can read about them here - if you're wondering how Curacao is on the other side of the world but still sort of in our own country; I found this wonderful and funny video explaining it all (and also the difference between Hollanders and Dutch - I'm both)

So what's the bad part, you ask? To make a long story short: I'm worried about my husband's health (though he does feel better in the tropics) and I feel guilty about being 8000 kilometers away from my family. I have to admit though, being here again feels good. It's hard to describe. It's a sense of belonging, feeling home.

People say about this island you either love it or you hate it. I''ve loved it and all it's quirks and faults since I first set foot on it five years ago. I always cry when we leave and I teared up when I saw the first glimpses of it from the plane just before landing (our last visit was a very short week in May 2015).

Anyway. We're here now and we're trying to work out the kinks. Meanwhile I try to enjoy our time here as much as I can. We're staying with friends in the most luxury apartment we've ever stayed in and the view from our porch is stunning. I plan to enjoy the much simpler housekeeping here and to write a lot, figure out where to go with my blogs, my novel writing and my dreams of earning some money with that (since we'd love to buy a house here).

One more important issue: can one knit here? The answer is simple: yes! I did that before. I also knew I'd go crazy here without knitting since I tried that a few years ago. That time I didn't bring any knitting and I found out buying yarn here is a challenge, so this time I packed 11 skeins, at least enough to make a hat a week. I'm going to look around to see if I can buy yarn somewhere. I guess wool is too hot, but cotton could be nice. My husband promised me to find a way to import yarn if we end up living here permanently.

I have to be careful what yarn to bring, since 100% synthetic tends to melt a bit, which makes it hard to work with. Wool, wool blends and cotton work fine though.

I'm working on the third hat right now.

 (linking up with Jeannie Gray Knits' Maker's Monday)

Friday, January 12, 2018

Right now

Right now I am...

:: thinking I should not be writing a right now post a few days ahead of time

:: trying to accept that I have to do it this way to prevent myself from stressing out

:: smiling at myself for knowing that my word for 2018 "Relax" is chosen so well

:: feeling sad that the last two weeks were far from relaxed, but trying to accept that I'm a work in progress and that's alright. I'm only human

:: still feeling a bit uneasy about the things happening in my life right now, but also feeling excited about it.

:: promising to talk about these things next week. I'm not trying to be secretive, I'm just having a hard time with some changes around here and need to work things out before telling the whole wide world about it ;-)

:: finishing my second hat

:: looking forward to casting on for the next one

:: reading a cozy mysterie (The Patchwork Puzzler) and enjoying it very much

:: not even able to remember how many times I tried to take a picture every day. I never made it through a whole year. But it's fun to try.

Here's my first week.

I was going to pick a favorite, but I can't. I like the one of my glasses on my planner, but I also think the one from my parent's church is quite nice. And that leaf on my honeysuckle (way too early!) isn't too bad either. What's your favorite?

:: wishing you all a wonderful weekend!