Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Crafting

Last year I made very few handmade Christmas gifts. The idea of making and sending something across the ocean in time for Christmas was really daunting. So I skipped it.

This year, I went for it. I started early and made three (count 'em) shawls for the women in my family. Mom, Mom-in-Law, and Sister-in-Law. Two of these are Swallowtails, which is a really beautiful pattern. (I actually made another one for a friend's mother, but did not have time to photograph it, so you'll just have to trust me on that.)

This one is called Saskia, and is written by a Dutch woman named Angeline de Brok. If you are a raveler, find it here.

Some time ago, I bought this little cooking pamphlet at a second hand store somewhere in the US of A. Last year when Hyland was back in the US looking through our books, he came across it and brought it back to Holland. It has a delicious recipe for Lemon Drop cookies that is out of this world. They taste kind of like the old Lemon Coolers, except without the powdery outside.
And of course, the trusty old Christmas stamps came in handy this year too. I made cards, tags, and even some wrapping paper from plain brown wrapping paper. My 7 yr old found it really really fun, and it was remarkably easy to clean up!

Oh yes, and I made this tiered cookie platter from some plates and cups I found at the secondhand store. I glued them together with 2-part epoxy, and so far they are staying together really well. I got the idea from the ladies at RESTORED.

Christmas just wouldn't be the same without crafting.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Fiber Studio

So many of you have heard that we have been putting together an atelier for housing our Penelope Craft and MatherKunst businesses. Well, it is now in the final stages of completion, and the final necessities have been coming together nicely.

This is what the studio looked like when we first acquired it:

And, after much painting, building, cleaning, and assorted labor, it is now really shaping up. (Truth be told, Hyland did most of this work himself. Thank god for handy men.)

Most of our things have been moved over, Hyland hung up some artwork, and it is really becoming homey.

We owe thanks to so many people that helped out in a variety of ways, whether by donating a counter for the kitchen, finding us great pieces of furniture, picking up a paintbrush, or just showing up to support us.

Oh yeah, and we got a stair too. These photos are a little older...

We're still a little fluid on the date of our opening party, but we'll be sure to post it everywhere we know once we're up and running.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Anything for Greenpeace

Recently I created two socks to be used as a willie warmer for an awareness campaign for Greenpeace. It was really fun and I think turned out well. Go check out the spot on the director, Daniel Bird's site here.

Fun times!

Monday, November 2, 2009

What I've been doing instead of Blogging

Working on the new Penelope Craft/Mather Kunst Atelier! Opening information coming soon..

Knitting an amazingly soft Swallowtail Shawl with Merino wool.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Talk about natural talent

So, everyone probably knows that person that can pick up anything and do it really well right off. For me, that person is Stina. She is an amazing classical sculptor. She learned how to knit, and in a week and had already made this gorgeous alpaca baby snuggly thing from a Norwegian magazine.

That's her and Maia crafting down.

So, tonight, when I was invited over for dinner and crafting at the art studio, you know what she did? She didn't have a crochet hook, and wanted to crochet. So she carved her own crochet hook out of a rod. And then proeeded to crochet a bunch of flowers with it. Unbelieveable.

And yes, she did just learn how to crochet. In a week. And then designed a hat.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Argyle Boy

Today I finished up a pattern that I have been doting over for some time. It is an argyle patterned hat designed in sizes ranging from infant to child.

I openly admit that I am not the world's best stranded knitter. (Some people incorrectly refer to this kind of colorwork as fairisle.) So far I haven't really been attracted to it. The patterns I usually like fall into the intarsia spectrum of color work, so I am not very practiced.

Argyle, however, is one of those patterns that I have always loved. So, I decided to chart out a very simple argyle pattern in two colors and make a boyish design from it. And besides, practice makes perfect, right?

You can find this lovely on my Etsy page, or on Ravelry if you're in the know.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Knit in Public Day 2009

What a great time we had on Saturday for Knit in Public Day 2009. A whole bunch of us converged upon Westerpark in Amsterdam to knit, bbq, eat, drink and carouse. Here are some photos to prove it.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Kintting for Boys

Knitting for boys can be boring. Mine seems to want something simple, not too flashy, and with plain colors or stripes (and of course skulls, but we can't adorn everything we wear with skulls now can we). This means stockinette, garter stitch, or some simple stitch pattern that is monotonous, and seemingly never-ending.

Then again, once you get something that mindless on the needles, it seems to fly off in record time. Especially if you've got a Stitch n Bitch to bring it to.

This little number was made in approximately 4 days start to finish and the little lad wore it proudly to school on the 5th day exclaiming to his teacher "Het is net klaar!" (It is just finished!)

For the knitting nerds:
Top Down, in the round, Cascade 220, size 7/8 US size 4.5/5 mm metric. Less than 3 skeins total.


Friday, May 1, 2009

Konininnedag Fiber Score!!

Now then, here is my lovely score from Koninginnedag 2009:

The Angora is 75% Angora, 25% wool. It's lovely and luscious and will make a lovely scarf-type thing. I got it for €2 a ball. I've seen it selling commercially from between €6 and €7. Heel goedkoop!

The cones are a merino/nylon blend. Like sock yarn, I think (hope). It was so cheap, I just went ahead and threw caution to the wind. The big cone was €3 and the smaller one €2. If these turn out to be good sock yarns, I just hit the heather-gray jackpot! If not, I'll experiment with plying on the spinning wheel, or maybe they are just good for weaving. I'm pretty sure that they were used with a knitting machine.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009


For Addison's 7th birthday last week, he requested we get a pinata. In Holland. They barely know what a burrito is here. Good luck finding a pinata!

So, what does a good mother do? Find a tutorial online for making one from scratch. It was really fun, actually, and Addison helped out. None of the kids at the birthday party had ever done a pinata before, so it was really nice.

Here's the birthday boy himself holding the goods.

And here it is after a good twenty whacks with a stick.

So, next time you are thinking of having a fiesta and you don't live anywhere near Mexico, just make your own. It can be done. Thankfully, we do have Corona here...


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Woah there springtime!

Yes, I have neglected the blog in favor of the wonderful spring air. Thanks to the chiding of my friend, and consistent blogger, Andy, I have returned.

This spring I have spent my time getting better at spinning, designing new patterns and/or helping to test new designs, and, to a lesser extent, knitting for pleasure. Here are some of my new exploits.

This, friends, is my first 3-ply handspun yarn. I worked 3 separate, very thin singles and then plied them together. Why not navajo 3-ply you ask? Because I completely suck at it at this point, that's why. Yes, I will eventually get back at it and give it a go, but for the time being, I am having plenty of success doing it this way.

Now then, a few posts ago, I was all jazzed that I found an old schippertje at the tweedehands winkel. This is my baby, and she has been named Gunpowder Gertie after a famous female pirate. After I found the schippertje, Dagmar found (within her totally fiber-obsessed family) a lovely Louet wheel that she has been spinning with. Well, just after that all transpired, I found this girl sitting out in the trash area a block from my house:

In our spinning-wheel naming session, this girl was dubbed Sadie the Goat after another female pirate. She's missing the foot pedal and the flywheel, but I am hopeful that I can maybe find a Louet flywheel that will fit her and get her all up and running.

As for Dagmar's wheel, we named her Clementine. Not sure if that's a pirate name or not, it's just rad. Don't you agree?

I have also been helping Dagmar to develop the pattern for this darling little baby hat. Look out for it on Ravelry soon. It's cute and easy!

So, that just about catches us all up. Except to say that I am now totally in love with this song. It is by an artist named Chad Van Gaalen. I haven't been able to find any others of the artist's that I am so head over heels about, which is a shame. I can't stop listening to this song.

Craft On!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Katie's Cozy Craft Corner

Come and mingle with Amsterdam Craft enthousiasts of all persuasions!!! Come on out to the March edition of Katie's Cozy Craft Corner.

Fun will be had by all.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Step Right Up...

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you today, my very own handspun yarn. Take a look:

These two are handspun from white merino, and dyed with Kool Aid.

These two are handspun using two colors of wool alternately. It was good practice for joining, but turned out way knotty. The pink and white one might have enough yarn for some chunky baby legwarmers, so maybe I'll see about whipping some of those out while I'm sleeping tonight...

I am officially hooked on spinning. I can't believe this has happened to me. Here I was, happily existing with my 7 unfinished knitting projects, 5 or so designs-in-progress, 2 businesses, and a long to-do list, and a new obsession comes into my life. Unbelievable. I still have a long way to go, but I am learning a lot and having a lot of fun doing it.

This yarn was just an overdye of a horrible first go with madder and alum (I think alum anyway). It was a terribly somber brownish salmon color. Now it is this lovely orange-red. It's Knit Picks lace weight.