Wednesday, December 31, 2014

stripes and stripes

This pattern is available again, for free !

With nearly all my sock yarn leftovers 
I've made this colourful infinity scarf

Alternating small stripes and large stripes gives a nice colour contrast

I can wear it long or double loop close around the neck

I even made a pair of matching knee warmers
(I really love to wear knee warmers)

This is a simple design with a very colorful result.
Made with sock yarn leftovers but it would work in most weights of yarn,

with 3,5 mm (US 4) needles in at least 9 colors,
more or less 92 meters or 100 yards of each color

The pattern/tutorial is available here

Monday, December 29, 2014

Please read, sign and share !

"At a time when the European Commission is trying to lower trade barriers for the world's largest businesses, they are putting up trade barriers for the smallest ones, thereby stifling innovation and creativity in small start-ups who could be leading the way and taking advantages of new opportunities in a growing digital market place. We need the EU to realise the impact of these new regulations before it is too late and they have completely destroyed the EU’s sole-trader and micro-business community"

"You don’t think this affects you because you aren’t a business owner? Not only will the range of products available for you to buy be greatly diminished, but the information collected by those businesses that do survive needs to be retained for 10 years - creating a huge data security risk for us all. Where currently you only have to worry about your payment provider/card handler storing your personal data, going forward millions of small businesses across the world will now have a requirement to do so."

PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION to call for THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION to unilaterally suspend the introduction of the new EU VAT laws for micro businesses and sole-traders, which if allowed to come into force will unfairly disadvantage the EU’s smallest businesses:

I'm hesitating between carry on as normal or retire and move to a tiny tropical island 
to cultivate my own avocado's

I’m a EU seller and I sell digital goods all over the world. To cover the additional VAT and the administration costs I will have to put my prices a lot higher, which I don’t want to do! So no business for me anymore. This new EU law is a very bad decision for small digital business, I’m so sad and angry right now ! January 1th 2015 will be a dark day for enterprise and innovation.

more info, to read:

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Akna's Caponcho...

...a new handknit design

I designed a warm capelet/poncho with a touch of folklore
but with a contemporary feel.

Wear this colourful caponcho whenever you want to feel like a Nordic Goddess.

The photos were taken on a cold and grey afternoon

in the dunes of De Haan aan Zee - Belgium

with a big thankyou to my lovely daughter Ingrid Anna for modeling
what would I do without her !

Ingrid Anna is wearing a dress designed by:


The knitting pattern
is available as an automatic pdf download
pattern with written and charted instructions

4,90 euros

It is knitted seamlessly from the bottom up, in the round.


DROPS Andes Garnstudio, Super Bulky 65% Wool, 35% Alpaca
circular needles size 8mm and 9mm
4 colours: Light grey, Medium grey, red and powder pink

a few knitting tips:

Weaving the yarn while you knit the stranded colourwork section

For a tidy look in the back of the work I suggest the technique of stranded weaving to avoid floats on the back . The results will look so much better.  With a little practice, you can master this technique and it will become indispensable in working with colour patterns. It looks difficult at first but once you get the hang of it you will never ever knit stranded colourwork or Fair Isle the old way.

I know I won’t ! I'm using this technique for several years now and I just love it !

I found a tutorial where everything is explained, so much better than I ever could.
Here it is:

Why Weave?
"Traditional stranded fair isle has you carry the unused yarn in the back of the work until it is time to knit with it again.  It works smoothly for section where colors change every few stitches, but does not carry well across floats.  A float is a section of knitting where one color is carried along the back for an extended period of time.  
     Most knitters agree that it is safe to carry (strand) your yarn behind the work for up to 5 stitches.  Many traditional patterns put a tiny stitch (called a peerie) into long expanses of a MC to prevent stranding for more than 5 stitches.
     This method of weaving lets you lock the unused color into the one you are using so there is no loose strands hanging behind your work.  It also allows you to work more than 5 stitches between color changes, and helps prevent bunching and tightening of the fair isle work."
Read more:

and here’s a video on how to do short rows, the turn and wrap method


Sunday, November 23, 2014

a lot of fringes

a while back I posted this Boa Scarf pattern on my older blog

Someone on Ravelry asked me if I could please make it available again,
so here it is :

This long-fringed scarf is a very easy, fun and quick project.
Resembling a boa it can be worn in several ways

You will need:

2 balls of 50g of DK wool
- I used Lang Merino Superwash colour 340034 jeans-blue
For the fringe: 5 balls of various yarns
- I used mostly green yarn from my stash, one bright-green silk-mohair blend, one petrol-blue fun-fur, one dark-green yarn mixed with shiny thread, one turquois cotton and one paper-yarn in mixed colours: Ganpi Abaka by NORO. As you can see, this scarf is an ideal stash-busting project, all it takes is finding matching colours: blue with green and blue, orange with brown and beige, red with purple and pink, white with white and gold, black with black and silver, etc...

One set of knitting needles 4,5mm or US 7, one crochet hook 4mm or US G

Cast-on 22 stitches in DK wool using both needles (this will ensure elasticity of the cast-on edge), then remove one needle.

Knit 290 rows in garter stitch, bind-off loosely

Prepare 120 mixed groups of 50cm threads for the fringe, using five different kinds of yarn
Using the crochet hook and your DK wool, crochet 1 single crochet (US) or 1 double crochet (UK) in one corner of the long edge, then attach the group of fringe-threads by folding it in half and attaching it with the crochet hook, make a loop and fasten well. Tie a knot in the fringe with your hands, fasten well. Sc 6 (US) or dc 6 (UK), then attach the next group of fringe-threads. Make sure the groups of fringe-threads are attached 2,5cm from each other.

Work both short edges and one long edge of the scarf.

Have Fun !

I will post a new knit pattern on this blog very soon !

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

...shades of Gold...

I discovered something this week:

I really, really love to dye fibers with plants !

But I knew that already

of course I did ...

some lace merino and silk-alpaca dyed with Marigolds (Calendula officinalis) , using the fermentation method

In dutch this herb is called goudsbloem - gold flower -

And the colour is exactly that: the most exquisite light apricot gold !

The actual shade is difficult to capture with a camera but you get the idea 


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

something Frida...

This beautiful yarn package came today !
I think I'm going to design something "Frida"
the notebook is a present from my lovely daughter

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


I love mist
Mist and mystery are linked
Hidden things become visible when it's foggy

I rarely take pictures lately, 
but one early morning
I went to the river with my camera
I took some random shots, just like that, without further thought
Only later in the day I looked at the pictures

To my surprise I saw this ...

The River Spirit

She said

I come in peace


Friday, August 01, 2014

There's nothing wrong with you...

I  have a tennis elbow of some sort (I don’t play) 
Epicondylitis lateralis is the name.

And that's not the name of a dye plant.

So no knitting, crochet or dyeing for me, at least for a while !
(wringing out yarn is quite painful)

I had decided to give my designing skills another try
but now...

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

For the dyers...

two interesting links today:

Riihivilla from Finland wrote a great blog post about her experiments with fermentation dyeing.
Don't miss it!

You can read it here:

and here’s a (French) film about “Couleur Garance”

Couleur Garance is a Conservatory Garden of dye plants situated in the South of France.

It is remarkable for many reasons. It is planted on the terraces of the 18th century Château de Lauris.
The gardens overlook the Durance river valley.
The gardens are very unique in Europe and are entirely dedicated to vegetable dyes, 
with over 300 different plants from all over the world!

I’ve been there three times already, I just love it, it’s a wonderful garden and I consider it an absolute must-see for all dyers who visit the South of France.

Garance is the french word for madder (Rubia tinctorum)

La Calade
84360 LAURIS
Tél. : 04 90 08 40 48

Opening times, from 08 may to 31 octobre 2014

In season: every day but Monday from 9am to 12 / 3pm to 7pm. Guided tours on Tuesdays and Saturdays at 5pm.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

crocheting with a view...

This is the view I have, right now, while crocheting my new pattern.
I'm sitting on the little beach bordering the river next to my house
I like to spend at least one hour a day here
It's the perfect place for meditation, for singing and drumming...
and to observe and listen to all life around water
to read a book or to do some knitting and crocheting...

I feel like I'm really blessed and lucky to have this wonderful spot nearby
It's not a quiet place, as the river makes quite some noise
but it has this wonderful rhythm, this strange humming.
This place has a magical atmosphere
I love it here...

Though I have to admit I needed some time after the flood to learn to live with River again.
to accept everything about her anew.

We'll see what the future will bring, the world today is in such a mess
Earth is trying to survive just like all of her creatures,
I believe we need to learn the old ways again and work together with Nature
to rediscover Oneness,

otherwise we're lost....

The colours I'm working with are grey and green like the stones and the plants surrounding me.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

mellow yellow

This morning I decided it was a good day to harverst yellow dyes
en so I did...

the one on the left is feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) which I'm going to test now to see if it's a good dyeplant using the fermentation method

the other two are: dyer's chamomile (Anthemis tinctoria) and dyer's broom (Genista tinctoria)

My dye garden with bright yellow flowers: dyer's broom and dyer's chamomile

starting a fermentation vat with the Dyer's broom flowers and stems 


It's really important for me as a natural dyer to only use plants which grow abundantly in my own garden.
It's the case with these three plants but there are a lot of other plants you can use, as yellow is the most common natural dye

Some other yellow dyes can be made with:
weld (one of the best), goldenrod,  marigold, evening primrose, mullein, dandelion, yarrow, birch leaves... and many more


to read:

“Dyer's broom has been used for dyeing since Roman times and makes a good yellow similar to that of weld, bright and fast.
Harvest the flowering tops and either use them right away or dry them and save them until you want to dye something; they'll retain their strength for about a year. Kendal green, a greyish green named for the town of Kendal in Westmoreland where it was first created, was made from woad and dyer's broom;
The flowers are also a traditional Easter egg dye in the Carpathian Mountains, so give the flowers a try for egg dyeing for Ostara”

Monday, July 14, 2014

enjoying the sunset...

Enjoying the sunset with a glass of homemade Dandelion wine 
while testing some crochet motifs for a new design.

I'm working on several new designs actually, 
can't tell much about it for now
but I will, as soon as I can  ...

I also have a new Tumblr blog, you can find it here:

--- (((:o:))) ---

Friday, March 07, 2014

bleu de Nimes...

Some pictures I've made a few years ago when I first dyed with woad (Isatis tinctoria)

just for inspiration


bleu de Nimes - denim - pays de Cocagne 
woad - wede - waid - waide - guède - pastel
Isatis - blues - indigo

different yarns dyed with woad

close up

fine silk dyed with woad

the blues

extracting woad pigment

 fermenting woad

"boules de cocagne"
(Dried balls obtained from crushed woad leaves)

the making of a "boule de cocagne"
notice the "pictish blue" on my hand   :)


to read:


flowering woad plants with sheep - Drôme, France

- : : ) ) )-( ( ( : : -

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Alena's Camille

Just wanted to show you Alena's version of my Camille shawl
(A-Ko on Ravelry)

Isn't it gorgeous ???

Well, I just LOVE it !
Thank you Alena...


photos copyright A studio

: ) ) ) o ( ( ( :

Friday, February 28, 2014

Spirit Dolls...

Hi, I'm back. The last two months have been very wet here in Brittany, with lots of storms and heavy rainfall but me and my place are quite safe now.

So, it's time for a new energy, a new spring, a new beginning
Feel like blogging again...

but first I'm sharing this post from my other blog, it's about Spirit Dolls:


I just love these "dolls"
I'm going to make some myself someday

In Touch With Her Intuition - Barb Kobe

"Recently the definition of what a doll is has been scrutinized by western doll artists and collectors, whose criteria are based only on aesthetic appeal. But others understand that a doll should not only follow the rules and concepts for what is pleasing to the eye, but that it should also have the ability to cure, to instruct and even to protect."   Christopher Mahoney


Brigid Wheat Corn Dolly


“The doll is symbolic homunculi, little life. It is the symbol of what lies buried in humans that is numinous. It is a small and glowing facsimile of the original Self. Superficially, it is just a doll. But inversely, it represents a little piece of soul that carries all the knowledge of the larger soul-Self. In the doll is the voice, in diminutive, of old La Que Sabe, The One Who Knows...the psyche works even when we sleep, most especially when we sleep, even when we are not fully conscious of what we are enacting.
In this way the doll represents the inner spirit of us as women; the voice of inner reason, inner knowing, and inner consciousness"
Clarissa Pinkola Estés


Catherine Hearse -Tree woman


Wolf Spirit by Gretchen Lima

Artist is Gretchen Lima. Gretchen creates the most magical and unique dolls. 
Every doll is one of a kind, and a great work of art. 
Gretchen starts by hand sculpting each face, 
then she decorates each doll with wool, fabric, feathers and beads.


Histories I - Art doll by Charla Khanna

“These are not, for me, little people,” explains American artist Charla Khanna of the dolls she creates. “They are manifestations of the human psyche, the human spirit.” With the record set straight and any suspicion of fluff moved aside, I ask Khanna about the utterly convincing androgyny her dolls display. “They are manifestations of states of being,” she explains, “so they need to be androgynous.” Themes of such magnitude do not normally find their way into the world of doll making, but in Khanna’s creations one senses a thirst for something far more profound than entertainment value.


Our layered lives - Kate Fitzharris

She writes:
'My work is very much inspired by my environment, of my experiences of living in this diverse world, exploring people's relationships with other animals.
My work stimulates feelings; of wildness, and domesticity, nostalgia. A sense of something almost articulated, nearly, and yet, not quite. I want my work to speak to the body of the person looking at or holding it, reminding them of the physicality of this world, to touch them.'


Borrowed Tribe - Laura Castellanos

"Borrowed Tribe" wraps around your body when you go into the gallery. Its walls are lined with dolls, their hands close enough to link together, and you’re in the middle. Look closer and they break into specific selves, each made of sacred hand-me-downs and discarded socks given to Seattle artist Laura Castellanos, who tethers the unwanted to the cherished. Walking back into the center of the room, the group closes ranks again, a reminder of the condition of being on the inside or on the outside, part of the group or all alone and made of different stuff, as comforting and scary as either can be."- 
Jen Graves, The Stranger


Cynthia Whitehawk - Apache Grandmother Spirit Keeper


Flame Goddess - Camara Meri Rajabari

“After a dark period in my life, I started to create art as a way to help me through my transition. I made a doll one day after showing some neighborhood youth how to do paper mache’. The doll was so beautiful and healing – she was dressed in all white and held a clear crystal quartz. I would often speak my fears to her and meditate on her peaceful image. Whenever a friend or even stranger saw the doll they would request for me to make another. I tried to duplicate her but each time I made a doll it would turn out very unique to the recipient–who I call a “living muse”. Many times the dolls spoke to something was taking place in their living muse’s life (things I had no prior knowledge of…). What I understand now is that the dolls are oracles – they have messages for me(the artisan) and for their living muse. They are now an intricate part of the healing work that I do.” Camara Meri Rajabari


Paper Sculptural Spirit Dolls by Barbara Bussolari

"I believe that every plant and animal possesses a unique essence, which is interrelated with the lives and spirits of others. Each of my one-of-a-kind pieces embodies fragments of the spirit of the clan of mankind.
Using found objects, I am embedding memories of the past in the present. Holding these pieces, you are connected to all cultures, back to the beginning of time. Having lived in the Far East and Europe much of my childhood and having traveled extensively since, I have gathered an appreciation for multi-cultural images, colors and design." 
Barbara Bussolari


How to make a spirit doll - free ebook
by Joanna Powell Colbert

:-) ::: (-:

Saturday, January 04, 2014

No Happy New Year !

Not a happy New Year for me right now, more like nightmare time. My house and place here in Brittany, which I love so much, has changed in a few hours from paradise to hell.

Due to a storm, on 23 December, the level of the adjacent river rose two meters within a few hours. The dike that was supposed to protect us did not held, the house was completely flooded ! The damage on the ground floor is huge!

Words fail to describe what we went through this past thirteen days. The shock and distress are not easy to cope with. And it is not over yet because it continues to rain.

I don’t know what I will do in the future, I love this place but the fear I feel right now for another flood is very strong!

Maybe, later, when everything has calmed down, I will be able to put this event into perspective, but for now I'm speechless. It will therefore be very quiet on this blog for a while...