If You’re Not Dutch, You’re Not Much*

‘He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.’
-Louis Nizer

Let me start this post out by saying, dayuuuuum, you guys are good. As in, I am consistently blown away by the knitters I meet on a daily basis and the extreme thought and detail and love that goes into every knitting project you meticulously plan. I mean, Liz and I stay up until all hours swatching, scrolling IG, reading comments and reviews on Rav and Knitter’s Review, ordering the PERFECT yarn in the middle of the night on Etsy, so really, it shouldn’t surprise us that you do, too.

Tami designed this spectacular colorwork sweater last year for the Tin Can Knits’ Strange Brew KAL and it’s everything a colorwork sweater should be. Tami lives in Holland, MI–just a few hours from the shop–and is Dutch to the core. She’s currently making her Dutch dancer costume for this year’s Tulip Time parade—I mean, just look at this embroidery:

(Orange, as perhaps you can tell, is Tami’s favorite color.)

Each of the motifs Tami incorporated into this sweater represent an aspect of the Dutch tradition—its bicycles, windmills, architecture, Amsterdam’s canals and of course, tulips. She used traditional Dutch colors, as well: in Quince & Co. Chickadee, she chose Carrie’s Yellow (yellow), Nasturtium (orange), Delft (blue), Peak’s Ferry (red), Peacock (dark green) and Iceland for the body. I don’t have a drop of Dutch blood in my body, but as a Hope College grad (class of ‘02) my fondness for the Netherlands’ folklore runs disproportionately high. (Yet I only have two pair of decorative clogs….) I absolutely adore this sweater.

Seeing this beautiful sweater last weekend—and Tami’s beaming face in it—gave me such a little zing of vitamin D, exactly when I needed it. I’m inspired to roll up my sleeves and try a Strange Brew of my own, perhaps with Lake Michigan as muse.

What about you, friends? What inspires you creatively? And how do your other passions inform your knitting?

*And just to be clear, ‘if you’re not Dutch, you’re not much’ is a silly catch phrase tossed around West Michigan, which stems primarily from the staggering numbers of fifth and sixth generation Timmers and Vanderkolks attending their great-great grandparents’ (on both sides!) alma mater—and then staying on in Holland or GR to carve out a life long after graduation. I really have no idea if the VanAndels say this to each other around the dinner table, but I do know that Italian-Americans find this statement exceedingly hilarious at the end of an evening, particularly around the time they’re calling last call. Ahem.