Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hello, my name is...


My name is Heather.

I am addicted to knitting. Mostly knitting socks right now, but if it's not socks, it can be anything. It doesn't matter. I can get my kicks from knitting anything.

the goofed up heel

Remember this? That was what...two weeks ago? I made my first sock. And was in the middle of my second. Here is that second sock finished.

a little better... an afterthought round heel

This one turned out better. I was happier with it. I was able to make the toe, heel and cuff a contrasting color with a stripe of white between without any problems. But the sock itself didn't fit right, so I wasn't satisfied with it in general. The heel was interesting though. If I had to wear them, the "seams" might hurt eventually. So even though this was probably the easiest heel I've done so far, I probably wouldn't use it on a sock I'm going to actually wear. Unless I don't do the seams on the bottom.

Since I wasn't satisfied (am I ever?), I tried another style.

The Heel Flap heel

By this time, I was bored with knitting so much sock. I really just wanted to test the heels. So I did just enough above and below the heel to see what it felt like when I put it on. This time it was even better. At least I keep improving, right? That's the right direction! It fit better (I finally figured out how many stitches fit around my ankles), and the yarn felt SO much better than the orange and gray yarn. The mix of fibers was much more comfortable. This was a huge leap on the satisfaction scale.

Plus, I really liked the coolo neato pattern on the heel.

Eye of the Partridge heel detail

It's a kind of criss-cross pattern, making it a little sturdier for a heel. The pattern only called for it on the bottom of the heel, but it might be handy to have it on the back of the heel too.

I probably would do a heel flap pattern again on socks I would actually wear (the entire sock, that is).

I wanted to try more. I'm an addict, remember?

So then this sock came into being.

a Fleegle Heel

Since I was bored doing plain socks all the way up, I put a pattern on the instep. That at least made it interesting enough for me to get past the heel. But not enough to make it a very tall sock! By the way, this heel is the same heel that was in the sock with the weird heel.

same Fleegle Heel

That purple sock turned out ok. I didn't have enough yarn to do a matching one, though. But that's alright. The addict in me wanted to try something new anyways. I am now working on a new heel style.

boomerang heel

This one is a little harder. I've had to retry it a number of times in an effort to improve it. It has backward yarnovers, and I keep ending up with holes along that seam. Which I don't really like. I guess that's the perfectionist in me? The red marker is where I tried different stitch techniques to try to get rid of the holes, but it still didn't really work as well as I'd hoped. Either I have to learn to live with the holes (they're small, really) or I have to try it over and over and over until I figure it out. Practice makes perfect, right?

That may be true, but "perfect" is the enemy of "done".

I heard that on a podcast I listen to regularly. Garden Fork Radio. Isn't it a great quote? Perfect is the enemy of done. Well said.

So in an effort to finally have a pair of DONE socks, I might just learn to live with the little holes.

Right after I try it just one more time.

ugh...such is the life of an addict.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Excitement for the week

I was watching tv yesterday evening when I heard a whooshing sound. I went to the window to check it out, and look what it was...


A hot air balloon! How cool is that?! It flew right between my building and the one across from us. It was very low, too. This picture was taken a couple seconds late. I had to rush for the camera and open the blinds and window and all. I don't know if it had gotten really low on purpose (or accident), or if it had just taken off from a field a block away, or what. But I could see the people in the basket. They were taking pictures of us while we were taking pictures of them. Fun!!!

That was my exciting event for the week!


Friday, August 19, 2011

Geography Lesson

I’ve had a few people ask me to explain where The Netherlands is on the map. And that’s kind of hard to do. Well, it was difficult for me to do. I had very little knowledge of European geography before I moved here. I knew where England was, and France, but that was about it. And I don’t live in those countries and not terribly close to either of them either. So in today’s post I thought I’d give a little geography lesson for those of you who haven’t looked it up yet. Or can’t be bothered to look it up.

Those of you who have looked it up already can feel free to move on to your next browsing destination if you like.

Ok, let’s get started, shall we? It’ll be a quick lesson, so no worries.

The Netherlands (officially “Kingdom of the Netherlands”) is in North-West Europe.

We’re the tiny dark green country (click to enlarge)

I borrowed that picture from Wikipedia. I have no idea how to correctly give credit for it? I’m clueless on those things. Here’s the link where it is online. They have no idea who I am, but I hope they don’t mind me borrowing it for this purpose.

You can see that we are between Germany to the East of us, and Belgium to our West. To the north of us is the North Sea. The lighter green on the map is the European Union.

To give you an idea about the size of the Netherlands, it is about 16,158 square miles (18.41% of which is water). That’s just a little bigger than Maryland. (For a long time, I thought it was about the size of New Jersey. I stand corrected!)

Population: 16,683,900 (2011 estimate). That’s 1,040.6 people per square mile. Crowded, eh?

The Netherlands is often just called “Holland”.

The Netherlands has 12 provinces, one of which is called South Holland. And another one called North Holland.

The 12 provinces of the Netherlands (also from wikipedia, here. Love that site.)

The folks who don’t live in the provinces North Holland and South Holland don’t really like it when their country is called Holland. Thems fightin’ words, mister. Because not all of The Netherlands is "Holland." See?

Ludi and I live in the capital (Maastricht) of the most southern province, Limburg. Population of Maastricht: around 118,500.

We are a Constitutional Monarchy, just like England. We have a queen, her name is Beatrix. Isn’t that a lovely name? It always reminds me of Peter Rabbit.

We have a multi-party political system, and no single party has held a majority since the 19th century. There are about 10 parties have seats in the parliament right now, and dozens more that aren't represented in the parliament.

The capital of the Netherlands is Amsterdam, though the seat of the government is in The Hague.

25% of the area and 21% of the population are located below sea level. 50% of the land is less than one meter above sea level! Yes, there have been many destructive floods in this country’s history.

We have a maritime climate, meaning coolish summers and mild winters. Average highs in the winter are around 40˚ F. Average highs in the summer are around 71˚ F. Nice!!!

The Netherlands uses the metric system for everything, so that would be about 4˚ C for winter, and 22˚ C for summer. 

We get about 31 inches (793mm) of rain per year.

The flag of Kingdom of the Netherlands:

Red White and Blue

The official language of the Netherlands is Dutch. But many people speak more languages. I’ve noticed a lot of people speak English very well. Thank goodness!

I could go on and on with facts about the country, but that probably would bore you. If you’re even still reading this post! It’s getting a little dull, so I’ll stop here. If there is anything else you would like to know, just ask.

I hope I answered your questions. Heck, I probably wrote more than you ever really wanted to know about this country!

Next lesson: How To Write a Long Boring Blog Post.
Oh, wait....we just did that! I'll have to think of something else.


p.s. I just posted a link to my blog on Facebook. Hi to all my Facebook friends!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Random Photo Wednesday

I went "eenie meanie miney mo" in my photo stash and found this one to share with you today.


Triberg Waterfalls (Germany)


Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday again!

Happy Friday everyone! How are things going? Anyone got any interesting plans for the weekend? Oooh! Those famous meteor showers are this week, aren’t they? The ones that are every August? Has anyone been scanning the skies for shooting stars? The moon is full tonight, so it will be a little hard to see anything. Assuming it isn’t cloudy. Like it probably will be here. We’ve had the most miserable summer ever, I think? Frankly, it’s alright by me since I don’t like it too hot, but most folks are pretty disappointed with the weather here. Rainy and cold. It’s more like fall than summer. We’ll hardly experience a change of seasons!  Hopefully this doesn’t mean we’re going to have another bad winter. Yuck. (Again...fine by me!!! Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.)

I cast on the socks I mentioned in the previous post the other day. I’ve finished one, and started another.

wow, that’s a weird heel on that there sock

My first sock was not quite a success. It wasn’t a complete disaster since it WILL, in fact, actually fit onto my foot, but it’s just not what I was picturing in my mind.

I always picture fanTAStic successes in my head when I first try new projects. Is that cocky? As in “Of course you’ll be able to do magical things with your talent!” Or is it just ignorance? As in “You’ve never done this pattern, but what could possibly go wrong?” Maybe a bit of both.

Anyways, I was thinking that I would be all fancy with this First Sock Ever, making the toes, heels and cuff a different color, with a white stripe seperating the two colors. But the pattern didn’t call for color changes. I figured I could just figure it out as I went along. Well, the toe went great. Easy as could be. But the heel.... yeah, you can see where it went wrong there. I started the heel flap bit with the color change, but it became too complicated. I had to either wrap and turn on each row, or carry the instep color yarn across the heel. I decided to just let go of the awesome sock that was pictured in my head, and just try to figure out the pattern and how to make a sock with a heel with no holes in it.

My next sock is a different pattern. It still doesn’t call for color changes, but the heel is knit differently (afterthought heel, for those knitters out there), so it will be MUCH easier to change the colors. When it’s done I’ll show it off show it to you.

Oh, on a side note here, I found a temporary solution to tripod problems in my photo studio (aka The Kitchen).

 bringin’ it into focus

Clever, huh? I always have empties hanging around. They do make an attachment for cameras that can be screwed to bottles (just like a lid) for just this sort of thing. I don’t have one of those. I just rest the camera on the bottle top.

Darn handy.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Another Finished Project

Even after the Great Knitting Meltdown of 2011, I am still totally hooked on knitting. I cannot seem to stop myself. As soon as I finish one project, I start another. All the while I’m looking at patterns online, thinking about The Needles I Have, The Needles I Want, and yarn too. Don’t even get me started on The Yarn I Want.

oh, the things I could make.

Anyways, here is my latest Finished Item. I showed you a sneak peak the other day. Did you guess what it was? It might have been a little hard to tell from that photo. Here, will this help?


It's a pair of mittens! Not just any ol’ pair of mittens though. HANDmade mittens. By MY not-so-little ol’ hands! With a coolo-neato thumb gusset/gore/thingie! Can you see it? Going across the palm? Ain’t she purty?

I don’t know why I am fascinated by this type of thumb treatment. It's just different. You don't see it all the time. If ever. It was amazingly easy and makes a fitted kind of mitten. I love it!

And the yarn... well...I have no idea what yarn it is. I got it in Appeldorn last year (on that stash buying trip, remember?) It was in the sale bins, three balls in a clear plastic bag, with no tags at all. I have no idea who made it, what the color’s called, what size needle I should have used for it, or what’s in it. Is it acrylic? Wool? I have no idea. Which is a shame, really. If anyone reading this recognizes it, can you let me know what it is?

So there it is. My latest project. And yes, now that this one is done, I have started my next.


I realized something while taking the picture for this post. Well, two things. First one is: the only place I can get decent lighting for a closeup picture like this is on my kitchen counter. It didn’t help that it was a little cloudy.

The second is that I need a taller tripod. I had my camera attached to the little travel tripod that we have (the only one we have, I think), and that was balanced on top of our water kettle, which was balanced on top of a wooden box that holds teas. I should have taken a photo of that set up! My college photography teacher would be ashamed. But there was so little light that I kept getting blurry pictures. I could have just upped the...what is it, the ISO? It was set to 100. I could have taken it to 1600 or something, but then I get grainy pictures. I hate grainy pictures unless that is what you’re aiming for. So I kept the ISO at 100 and assembled that makeshift tripod.

I’ll have to work on finding better camera support.

What do you think of my mittens?