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Story Time

The latest swap in the Dutch Karma Swap group is called Story Time. It’s a long-running swap (three months) in which you read one of your swappee’s favourite books, and create something inspired by the story. There are some avid readers in the group, and each of them snuggled away on their own couch with a promising new book.

Last week I received an amazing package from my swap partner, MarvelKnits! She had chose the book Matilda (by Roald Dahl) from my list, as she had not read it before. Of course, the illustrations by Quentin Blake added to the attraction, as MarvelKnits herself is an amazing illustrator!

Foxy wrapping paper

The package contained amazing gifts. The first present I opened contained a mug that she had illustrated herself, inspired by Quentin Blake’s illustrations!

Book lover mug

On the bottom there’s a signature drawing of a cat – we both are definite cat ladies.

Reading cat

So cute!

Then I opened another package, and it contained a beautiful pyramid bag that she sewed herself! The colour is a pretty light blue, and the sewing is very precise.

Mathematically correct pyramid bag

This will definitely come in handy! It’s the perfect size for a small project, like socks or a scarf. It also has a handle, so you can carry it around while knitting! Something’s dangling from the zipper, hinting at what is inside the bag:


This is not real chocolate, even though it looks that way. It is made out of fimo clay by the talented Woolly Dodo. She makes amazing stitch markers.
So I opened the bag and inside I found my favourite chocolate!


Also inside is the lining of the bag, which is just as delicious-looking!


This is inspired by the scene in Matilda where one of her friends is forced by the principal to eat an entire chocolate cake… and succeeds!
Chocolate is important, you know.

There was another package in the box, and it contained a present for my cat Freya: three tins of fish!

Smells interesting!

Freya has eaten them all, in the proper way of course. First you lick up all the sauce, then you take a break to nap, then you return for the meat. Freya says thank you!

I was very happy with my package. Matilda is one of the books that made an impression on me when I read it. I must have been about eight years old. Matilda is so clever, but also very strong-minded and centered. She has opinions and is extremely brave. I admired her for that.

Meanwhile I was still finishing up my package for my swappee, who turned out to be… MarvelKnits! I read the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy from her list, and really enjoyed the witty humour and the limitless imagination of the writer. I had been knitting a shawl for her, Magrathea, by Martina Behm. In my stash I had found a ball of pretty yarn in royal blue that reminded me of the galaxy, the TARDIS, and of her. She looks great in blues!

The shawl pattern was inspired by the planet builder from Magrathea who specialises in coast lines. He bragged about the Norwegian coast line that was his work in the book. MarvelKnits has a special place in her heart for Norway, so that made the pattern even more suiting.


Just before I finished knitting the shawl, I found a skein of handspun yarn in my stash that was not in my Ravelry stash, so I had forgotten all about it. It was one of my earlier handspun skeins, made from fibre that I got from another Ravelry friend, and spun and plied on my wheel. I had even tried to dye it green, but something went wrong with the dye job and most of the pigment bled out during the washing. The skein was still light green in different shades – and it was actually MarvelKnits-green! So I just had to make something else for her using this skein.

I decided to knit an iPad-cover, inspired by the cover of the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It supposedly says, in big, friendly letters: “DON’T PANIC”. So I knitted a cover and embroidered it with this text. I knitted it bottom-up, in the round, added some delicate cabling, and when it was high enough to cover an iPad, I decided to add a handle instead of a flap to close it. That way it would be easier to take it with you (or to use it as a bag for other stuff).

iPad cover

I also needed to add a reference to the answer to The Question (“What is the meaning of life, the universe, and everything else?”), which is 42, according to the computer that calculated it in the book. Nice tidbit: 42 in ASCII code is the character *, which in regular expressions stands for a wildcard: it can be anything you want it to be. A great answer indeed! So I made stich markers that show the binary representation of 42 (101010).


I added one more thing: the little book Duizend dingen achter deuren, by Joke van Leeuwen. This is a children’s book in which you can visit a strange museum, either through the front door (with a guide) or through the back door (by yourself). It’s a fun and playful book, and another journey into the imagination.


I had finished the package when it was time to send it out, but I was going to see MarvelKnits in a couple of days (yesterday), so I decided to hand it to her in person. I put everything in a paper bag and drew a cat on it. Yesterday we met in The Hague and took a long walk through the Haagse Bos and Park Clingendael, and during lunch I surprised her with my package. I think she really liked it! And it was so much fun to share this book and what it means to us. Great swap!


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