17 Apr 2015

Knitting inspiration: book with traditional Dutch fishermen's sweaters

This book has been on my wishlist for a long time. Finally it was on sale and I decided to buy it!
From 1880's until the 1950's dutch fishermen used to wear knitted sweaters (ganseys) for everyday work. The patterns were different in each village and were mainly made up from knit/purl stitches (my favorite type!). This had an economical reason: it took less yarn to knit than knitting cable patterns. The sweaters were knitted in the round up until the armholes and the sleeves were knitted from the shoulders down. This made reparations easier, the damaged underarms and cuffs could be re-knitted.
The patterns weren't written down (as many people couldn't write back in those days) the knitters memorized them as they learned from their mothers. Every village had it's 'own' patterns, probably because the women copied each others work and knitted what they liked.

The author collected old photographs of fishermen, often portrayed with their families. Based on the pictures she figured out how the original stitches looked like and reproduced the patterns. The book contains about 60 patterns from 40 different Dutch coastal villages. The book contains not only patterns to knit these sweaters but also history, stories of everyday life of the fishermen at sea and at home and a lot of old pictures.
Good news: there is a second book in the make with more fishermen's ganseys:

The wool that is used to make these traditional knits was produced again by the name 'Zuiderzee' by the dutch brand Scheepjeswol. It is a worsted/sport weight yarn:
100 grams=200 meters (metric needle 4,5-5)
19 sts and 24 rows = 10x10 cm

The original colors were blue, navy, anthracite and natural wool color.
It is easy to replace it with wool by any other brand: I'd use the drops 'Karisma' which I also used to knit my baby blankets. It has exactly the same length per 100g, though I'd knit it with a smaller needle to prevent stretching. The denim blue would make a perfect fishermen's sweater!

For more interesting information on the history of (English) ganseys click here

15 Apr 2015

My top 3 breastfeeding essentials

Well, breastfeeding was no fun in during the first weeks, I had sore, cracked nipples and we couldn't manage anything even close to a perfect latch. Using a nipple shield made things even worse. The pain remained and our little guy couldn't latch on without that thing. I tried and I we both cried but we pushed through. After 6 weeks of nursing with pain things got better and since week 8 everything goes great!
I guess when it comes to breastfeeding you have to be determined instead of just 'trying' to breastfeed your baby. Sadly, in our society is formula the new 'normal' and people often find the idea of breastfeeding something weird...
Anyway, I'm planning to go continue at least for the first year.
  • H&M nursing top
During the first weeks of nursing I was wearing a nursing bra at night and hated it (you just shouldn't sleep with a bra on). Now I wear this top instead of and it is really comfy. It comes in a 2-pack, white and black colors. Even if you aren't sure you want to continue breastfeeding these tops are a better investment than a nursing bra.
  • manual breast pump
Though I have an electric pump, I reach for this one quite often. It is really easy to use and works great! I have a second hand Philips Avent 'Isis' (this an older one, now discontinued and replaced by the 'Manual Comfort'). It is safe to buy a second hand manual pump because every part can be cleaned and sterilized.
  • reusable silicone nursing pads
I have 'Lilypadz' and wear it with a regular nursing bra instead of a padded one (somehow I'm unable to find a padded one that fits). No nipples visible under a t-shirt. Great!

13 Apr 2015

vintage crochet and knitting inspiration

A while ago I was gifted a collection of old knitting and crochet magazines. The Hungarian 'Furge Ujjak' (='Quick Vingers') magazine was the first one promoting crochet, knitting and embroidery projects in the country. The first edition appeared in march 1957.
When I was a child my grandma used to buy the magazine every month. That was back in the 80's and the main focus was on garment knitting projects and fashionable use of traditional embroidery on garments.
When the magazine started in the 50's the main focus was on crocheting: they offered countless patterns for doilies, traycloths, tablecloths, crochet gloves and edgings with an amazing variation of different techniques, like Irish crochet, Bruges crochet (like above on the first cover), clones lace crochet and many more.
Each month they included a few knitted garments as well, embroidery projects, a few short stories and recipes. There are interesting projects as well, like knitted doilies and 3d shaped crochet items stiffened with sugar-water.

Now how pretty is this one, named 'Granny's lace':

7 Apr 2015

nursery diy: crochet letter flags

I've been planning to make this one for a long time but eventually was gifted by a friend of mine. The flag-line is consisting of basic, freehand granny squares with the letters embroidered in a contrasting color. Pretty, isn't?