My family and I went on a rather exciting trip last weekend up to The Netherlands. We saw the biggest tulips I've ever laid eyes on - many were taller than my toddler with blooms bigger than my hand! - a chilly North Sea beach, and more cyclists in one place than I could have imagined. Our trip was full of interesting sights like this Michael Jackson statue at a McDonald's in Best and a good deal of yarn bombing. Everything we saw was exciting, new, and memorable...especially on our trip to the yarn shop, Stephen + Penelope. First, let me advise you strongly against driving a car through Amsterdam. It's a bad idea. Oh, was that obvious to you? Well silly us thought we would save some of our precious time (we only had a little more than a day to see Holland) by driving into the city instead of taking the train for a little obligatory wool shopping. Time-saving was not what went down. Not only did it cost us 10 Euro to park for two hours, but we very nearly ended up at the bottom of a canal in a borrowed station wagon! Parallel parking a long car on a canal without a guardrail is mildly terrifying and I wasn't even the one driving. Eek! Once we parked it was time to meander through the picturesque bicycle-covered streets in search of Penelope Craft Shop. I may have squealed when I saw it. Sorry, not sorry. Even though the legendary Stephen West of West Knits wasn't there (he was in Germany! Ach, such luck that we would swap countries for the weekend) the shop was just wonderful. I got to see my first Madelinetosh in person (it's exquisite and vibrant and gorgeous) and meet the lovely lady behind A Pin A Day. Overall I was just happy to poke around in oh-so-much yarn and goodies. So what came home with me? I tried to be good but a few luxury skeins happened to hop into my basket. A skein of Madelinetosh, a skein of Malabrigo, four skeins of Icelandic Lett Lopi, some Wrapture wool wash, and two little patterns. Oh, and a shop bag! That one was suggested by Mr. Pickle who thought I had so many projects that another bag couldn't hurt. I love that man. Not many men I know would drive to Amsterdam, parallel park on a canal, and spend their only hour in the city at a yarn shop. That is love. I can't wait to show you what becomes of all these woolly goodies, but for now I have a pair of wool soakers with a deadline, and they're not going to knit themselves. Happy making!
This shawl has been a long time in the making. I started it when I saw this photo by Marian van Kooten-Stok. I absolutely love the colors! It's so bright and cheery and wonderful. And I needed something to do with all the leftover yarn from my Enchanted Castle Baby Blanket. My shawl turned out a bit smaller (I think) than the original, probably because the yarn I used is fairly thin. I feel that German worsted weight is actually much closer to DK or sport. I also ran out of the darker pink so I wasn't able to add a ruffle border, but I really like it without. It works very well as a neck scarf with all the drama and volume I crave in my winter wear (and in my wardrobe in general, ha!).
You may notice I have a passenger on my back in these pictures...sometimes the baby wants to be part of what I'm doing and we just have to make it work! Babywearing is the solution to so many of my frustrations and I think we made it work quite well!
I am so into Dutch crocheting right now. I've even seen some epic Polish and Norwegian designs that I love. Come to think of it, I've got a whacky German crochet project as well! It could just be a European thing. I think I'll be putting together an inspiration board to suss out just what it is that gets me so excited about these designs. I think it's the colors and the whimsical everyday-ness...it's been just the push I needed to bust out my colorful yarn and let loose a bit with my hooks.