maandag 21 juli 2014

Arrived at last!

Yes, you read that correctly...we've finally landed in New Zealand! It was almost surreal, after so many months of dreaming, preparing and looking forward to it.

Ready for take off!

Many people at home have asked me to keep them updated - of course I will. I'm not really feeling like starting a new blog though, so I will  just proceed on this one. I hope that's okay :) I will also keep writing in English so my international friends can read it too if they want, but for all the Dutchies out there: I will post a link to an automatically translated version of the blogpost every time! Here's it for this one: Nederlandse versie.

Mark was not at all looking forward to the long flight, while I was pretty much indifferent about it. I now do totally get him though, flying to the literal other side of the world is a VERY tiring thing. My longest flight so far has been to Indonesia, but you still have to fly about 10 hours further if you want to get to New Zealand. Airplane chairs are super cramped, crying and pooping (yes...) Indian kids are no fun and don't get me started on carrying about 50 kg of luggage around. However, we made it, and that's something to be thankful for. Just before boarding in Frankfurt we heard about the Malaysian Airlines plane. With no time left to find out what exactly happened, I got on the plane quite scared, worried we would fly over Ukrain as well. I'm glad that my dad posted a message on Facebook to let everyone know that we were not on that flight, and moved by all the worried questions and relieved responses of friends and family. My heart goes out to the ones that could not be soothed at the exact same worried questions, who could not be told that their friend or family member was not on that plane. It feels unfair, that we can start our great adventure here, while that of others was horribly ended before it could even begin, leaving their loved ones behind in deep and inconceivable grief. Makes me all the more aware of how blessed I am.

Saying goodbye was hard, especially to my parents. It's so strange to realize I won't be seeing them again for a whole year, still didn't sink in completely. They're really the best... I found out that sadness and happiness can coexist. It's not the easy way, some parents might stick with the grief or even bitterness, while others are so easygoing about their child leaving that its abuts indifference. I know mine are proud of me, love me and are very enthusiastic and happy for me, while at the same time they are quite sad about not having me near and missing me lots. Both sides, the sad part ánd the happy part make me feel extremely loved and valued. What else could a child wish for?

Beside a little discomfort our trip went relatively easy and without much trouble. We were pretty worried about our shitload of luggage (especially the ski- and board bag, which we filled with all our outdoor gear - to the point were the seams just didn't tear), but with a printed email from a friendly Dutch Air India employee and a relatively small extra fee we got checked in very easily. Our luggage even got checked through right to Queenstown (even though we'd fly the last part of our trip with Jetstar) no more sweating our guts out! Really, you should have seen us with all our bags loaded on a cart. Try to get through a doorway with a ski bag lying horizontally on a cart that has no swaying's a challenge, believe me ;)

Almost 100 kg of luggage..

Our first flight went from Frankfurt to Delhi (7,5 hours). After a couple of hours at Delhi Airport (looking out over skyscrapers adjoining slums...) we flew to Melbourne (another 11 hours). The last part of the trip went from Melbourne to Queenstown (3,5 hours), leaving at around 11 in the morning. During the flights I started journaling. Just short writings, so I will always be able to track back what we've been doing. I thought it would be nice to copy bits of it in my travel blogs every now and then (the fun parts ;)). They will be in Italian font.

Mark accidentally ate a VERY hot pepper this night at the plane. He got all red with teary eyes and kept asking for water. Took about half an hour before he looked more or less normal again... Just be careful what you eat when flying with Air India.

Delhi-Melbourne takes about 11 hours of flying, which turns out to be long, to put it mildly. Every meal exists of rice and seems to be served at random times. 
Just lost a game of chess against Mark, again... 90% of the passengers is Indian and watching Bollywood movies the whole time. Very typical, those Bollywood films. Regardless the genre (action, thriller, romcom), every 5 minutes all actors suddenly burst into overly enthusiastic singing and dancing.
I watched "The Budapest Hotel" and "Hachiko - A dog's tale". First one was absolutely fabulous, second one got me crying like a baby. 

The arrival in New Zealand was breathtaking. We took off in Melbourne at around 11 am, so it was midday when we flew over Fiord Land and Mount Aspiring National Park. In between the clouds we could see the snowed tops, small and big lakes, rivers and green hills...every new part even more breathtaking then the former. Everyone says: "New Zealand is beautiful" and I've seen thousands of pics, but really? All the descriptions and photographs fall short with the real thing.

Flying over Mount Aspiring National Park...

...and the Queenstown rural area (already pretty low here). 

Stepping out of the Queenstown airport, we took a deep breath of fresh air with a faint smell of wood burners, forming little clouds in front of our mouths when exhaling again. We'd arrived.

A taxi took us to our hostel, this is where we stay: Bungi Hostel. The taxi ride went by like in a dream, even though we drove past the most amazing sceneries...seriously, I don't believe I've ever been this tired in my life before. Lightheadedly and spinning on my legs, I could barely keep myself together. I think I now know what a real jetlag feels like - it's no fun. About 12 hours of sleep later (in a real bed...oh the pleasure!) we were more or less able to have coherent conversations again. Time for action!

At lake Wakatipu.

It's around zero degrees Celsius here, while back at home it's been over 35 the last few days..what a difference! Finally I can wear my new gear, keeping me warm and toasty :) Today we bought New Zealand sim cards for our Iphones (easypeasy!) and did some grocery shopping (would've been 40 or 50 euro's max at home, here it was 'only' 140 NZD. Seriously?!). After that we walked through Queenstown Gardens. Continuous amazement, words fall short to describe the views. People play frisbee here, just like the French play Jeu de Boule. They even have holes and scoring cards! Have to try it out sometime. Tomorrow we will start our car hunt. 

Disc Golf (or 'frisbee', as we'd call it in Dutch :))

Biiig trees...

Queenstown Gardens

That sums up more or less what we've been doing our first full day in Queenstown! It's pretty expensive, but véry beautiful...and that's still an understatement, believe me. Queenstown lies directly at the side of Lake Wakatipu and is surrounded by snowy mountains (among which the Remarkables). The town centre is compact, everything's at a walking distance, which is nice if you don't own a car just yet. The hostel's alright as well, there's an adorable and stubborn little red cat living here who likes to pay the guests a visit every now and then :) I always feel happier when there are pets around. The cat's purring on our bed sounded so much like home!

Like you could already read, today (21/7) we started our car hunt. Had a look at 3 vans, took some test drives and found out more about registration and such. Most vehicles are sold just alongside the road here (instead of at a car dealer). Taking a long walk through town, stopping by at the supermarket to have a look at the community board and checking the local newspaper will get you a long way! Most vans are just a bit too small for our taste though...that's fine if you use it for work, or short (weekend) trips, or maybe even traveling around for a couple of months. But we plan on living in it for probably longer than half a year, so a little bit of space will be nice. We hope we can get it all settled before moving to Wanaka (Lake Hawea) next thursday.

Well..I guess that's it for now, a complete update! Oh, there's one last thing I'd like to say: the Kiwi's have been very friendly so far. Several strangers showed condolence to what happened with the passengers of MH17, some people I've only met online so far sent worried messages, and warm welcoming texts after they heard we were safe. Heartwarming!

woensdag 25 juni 2014

Mudflat hiking

Last weekend I went mudflat hiking. I always wanted to do so and now - just before leaving the Netherlands - seemed like the perfect time.
Since mudflat hiking is a typical Dutch activity, I thought it would be nice to write a little blogpost about it, to give my international readers an idea of this recreation :)

Ready for take-off! You have to admit that my purple
raincoat is the pretties one you've ever seen...

In the sea that adjoins the north side Netherlands lie 5 inhabited islands; the Dutch Wadden islands (named on the picture below). These islands consist mostly of sand dunes and are (compared to the rest of the Netherlands) relatively quiet. Most of them have a couple of small towns, but that's it.
The Wadden islands form the border between the North Sea and the Wadden Sea, which lies south of the islands (between the islands and the Dutch main land).

There's something special about the Wadden's a so-called intertidal zone (yup, I'm getting a bit nerdy here ;) Don't worry though, this won't become a geography class!). An intertidal zone is the area that is above water at low tide, and under water at high tide. At low tide, when mud is deposited and the sea draws back, muddy flats will form. These are also called tidal flats or 'mudflats'...and you know what? Dutch people like to walk on these flats, all the way from the mainland coast to the Wadden islands! Now this is called 'mudflat hiking'.

Clean shoes...but not for long!

Mudflat walking should be done with the aid of a tide table and preferably under supervision of a guide. The guide will lead you onto organized routes on which you are allowed to traverse the seabed (mudflats are important ecosystems, our guide even called it the 'birthing room' for a whole bunch of sea creatures!). But beside the possible dangers for wildlife, there are also other risks. Even though the tides change in very regular cycles, without a licensed guide it's quite easy to misjudge the situation and you might find yourself quickly surrounded by rising water on all sides, far away from the beaches., thank you!

So, last weekend was my own very first mudflat hiking experience (something that usually takes place in the childhood of every Dutch, dad, did you miss something here?). Mark and I went for the full deal (there are many different hikes offered by the guides, some of them relatively short and easy, others a bit longer and tougher) and signed up for a route of 13 km starting in Holwerd going all the way to Ameland, the fourth Wadden islands. The map above shows how we walked. You might wonder why there's such a silly curve in our track...well, that has to do with the deeper tidal trenches (or 'tidal creeks') you will come across. Not all parts of the Wadden Sea become dry when the tide is low, it's called 'wetlands' for a reason. Some areas are still relatively deep under water, not suitable for walking!


Still, even though we didn't swim...we had to wade through water that came up to our belly buttons (as you can see on the little video above...please ignore my stupid grin!). Backpacks high everyone!

Tiny shrimps!

Other areas we crossed were formed of mud cracks, salt pans and zones with lots of crabs and mollusks. Our guide picked up all kinds of slimy sea-creatures to show us (yikes!) the things that live there and tell us about the environment. These little pauses were perfect to catch a quick snack and drink some water...the 13 km route took us almost 4 hours!

Expect to get dirty when going mud walking...

The last part of the hike was definitely the hardest. You think you're almost there, the island is clearly in sight and seems to be oh-so-close...but it's kinda misleading actually, and hard to estimate the real distance. To make it worse, the last 2-3 km's (more or less) we had to walk through clayey silt in which our feet sunk 30 cm deep with every step! Believe me, that's hard on your muscles (and pretty strange when you finally reach the shore and walk on normal ground again!). By the way, you need to wear tight-fitting shoes when you go mud walking, otherwise there's a chance they will be sucked into the mud and slip off your feet. You really don't want to have to dig them up again...let alone trying to put them back on, standing on one feet in the slimy silt!

Arrived at last!

Once on Ameland, we had to walk another short distance to a farm, where we could wash our feet and legs and put on clean and dry clothes, that we brought with us in our backpacks (all safely sealed in plastic bags!). After that, it was time for a bit of island exploration. It was my first time on one of the Wadden islands and I really loved that 'island-feeling'. It was so quiet compared to the rest of the Netherlands! It's not the high season yet though; in just a couple of weeks the number of people on the island will rise from 4000 to 40.000(!)...I guess the Dutchies just have some kind of talent to make small places crowded.

Many sheep live on the Wadden islands.

At one point, Ameland made me ponder about New Zealand. Which is wáy bigger of course, but also quiet and calm and with lots of nature. I have no idea if my comparison makes sense at all, maybe it will sound totally ridiculous once I've really arrived in New Zealand. But I think it's safe to state that Ameland at least shares more resemblances with New Zealand than the Dutch mainland. And you can't blame me for my current habit of constantly incorporating of New Zealand in everything I think and say and do :P

Mark and I explored a small part of the island by bikes. We went to Nes (one of the four villages on the island), where I saw houses that were built back in goodness, can you imagine?! We went to the beach on the north side of the island (facing the North Sea) where we had a beer and 'bitterballen' (a typical Dutch snack). At the end of the afternoon it was time to head back to the mainland again, luckily not by feet again (pfew!). A ferry goes back an forth between Holwerd and Ameland several times a day, so this time we had a relaxed transition in the shining sun with our heads in the wind.

It was a lovely day, for sure. I believe there are many things I won't miss about the Netherlands...but this day I saw one of its beautiful sides :)

maandag 12 mei 2014

New Zealand here we come!

Things have been rather hectic (and quite stressful) lately. Work-related circumstances sucked up almost all energy, leaving me grumpy and often not-so-much-fun to be around. But things happen for a reason and my boyfriend and I found possibilities to make a big dream come true: we'll be heading to New Zealand this july!

Yep, New of the hobbits, maoris, kiwis and thousands of sheep. Land of mountains and beaches and lakes and volcanos, all together on two relatively small islands. A perfect destination for two outdoorsy and adventurous types, if you ask me!

We've both been dreaming and talking about this for a very long time, and now the moment finally seems to be there. And you know what, I can't even explain how excited and thankful I am because of this forthcoming trip. Seriously, tears can spontaneously well up in my eyes if I think about it (yeah, I know...I'm way too sensitive :P).
It wasn't too long ago when traveling far away seemed like something out of my league. Even though I've always been quite curious and adventurous (as a little girl I even used to say I wanted to be a missionary developmental worker when I'd grow up!), there were many things I thought I would never be able to undertake anyway because, hell, I'm just a scared little chicken.

But somehow in the past couple of years it has miraculously become possible, both financially as well as practically and above all emotionally. Sure, we worked hard to make things possible...but still I feel so incredibly blessed, so thankful for how this has become real. I'm still scared and overly sensitive and just my plain old self, but I'm also brave and not alone. I have a boyfriend who supports me no matter what and always manages to make me giggle (and who has way more experience in traveling than I have!). I have parents and family and friends who encourage me and helped me getting this far. I have my lessons learned and skills obtained. Time for this little chicken to spread her wings!

Enough emotional babble...what's the plan? We will leave in july, after Blythecon EU (a yearly European Blythe fair where I'll be a stall holder. This year it's held in Amsterdam, of course I couldn't resist!). Because New Zealand is on the southern hemisphere, the seasons are opposite, so we will arrive in mid-winter. Which is just perfect, because New Zealand seems to be a perfect place to go skiing/snowboarding! We've signed up for a 4-day backcountry skiing course in which we will learn how to safely explore, well...the backcountry (everything outside the groomed slopes). After the course we hope to head out on our own, discovering the powder that New Zealand has to offer and practicing our skills. It will probably be quite a new experience, but I can't wait to be on the mountains again!

We will fly in to the backcountry (yeah, fly! With a helicopter! Can you imagine?!) from Wanaka (near Queenstown), which is probably the area where we will stay for the first couple of months as well. It's a good central point to visit different ski areas, plus Wanaka seems to be just an amazing place to be (check the picture below, it's on a beautiful lake!). 

We don't really have much plans yet regarding what we will do after winter. We will probably have to work at some point, which is totally fine. We have the time, our working-holiday visas will allow us to stay for a year. We hope to buy a van and turn it into a campervan, so we can easily move ourselves from one place to another...hopefully visiting many rock climbing areas. Yes, that's something else that you can do in New Zealand! Finally more outdoor climbing (why oh why were we born in a flat country?)!

So...I guess it's out in the open now :) Man, I feel like a spoilt girl. For how many people is traveling not just an unattainable luxury? I'm part of a minority, I belong to that small part of the world population with a crooked amount of funds and chances. Whatever I do, I'll try not to forget that. I will do my best to keep it real, to be an honest and respectful traveler, not purely hedonistically oriented, but open minded. Eager to learn, eager to contribute.
That's a promise I make!

(Ps. I also promise to spin New Zealand wool. And you know what, I even want to shear it myself..ha, let's see if we can make thát happen!)

Wool!!! Eh...I mean: sheep!

maandag 21 april 2014

Wool - The Silo Saga

Hey folks! Up for a new book (a trilogy actually)?! I warn you: this one's addictive and you will probably close your eyes at night way later than you planned to.

Let's travel into the future. Fifty, maybe hundred years from now...maybe even later. Try to imagine a silo, a húge silo. Not only huge in diameter, but also in height...or actually depth.
Depth, you ask? Yes, because this silo sits under the ground. Only half of the top floor rises above the ground, all other 133 floors are buried deep in the earth. Stairs spiral down through the center of the silo, all the way from the top floor to the very bottom. It's the main transport system for the inhabitants of the the silo; the people use it to travel from their apartment floors to the floors where they work. Think of schools, nursery departments, an IT-section, food-growing floors and the mechanical area at the bottom of the silo. There's an endless traffic between all these parts of the silo, but the inhabiting colony never leaves the thing itself. They can't, because the air outside is toxic. Five minutes in this poisonous atmosphere and they'd choke to death.

Got the image? This is the setting of 'Wool', the first part of the 'Silo Saga', written by Hugh Howey.

I've only read this first part so far, but I'm very enthusiastic and couldn't keep my excitement to myself. The book obviously falls in the 'sci-fi' category, but it's not like the story is completely impossible. Who knows what kind of dystopian world the human race will eventually inhabit in the future? Some of the concepts used in this book are obviously based on events that did truly happen in history. The fact that the humans in this story themselves are very real and easy to emphasize with, displaying recognizable thoughts, feelings and behavior makes it all the more believable.

Silo Saga's author Hugh Howey probably never expected his star to rise so fast. It all began in 2011, when mister Howey wrote a novella (that now forms the first part of Wool) which he independently published through's Kindle Direct Publishing system. It was conceived unexpectedly well by the Amazon reviewers, who begged him to continue the story. So, even though 'part 1' was originally just meant as a short standalone story, parts 2-5 followed, together forming the Wool-omnibus that is now published as the first book of the Silo Saga trilogy.

Mister Howey himself...

Since the appearance of the first part of the Silo Saga, the popularity of the series has only grown. I remember seeing 'Wool' in an advertorial on my Kindle, those ones that appear on your screen when you turn it off. The short description caught my attention, and I put my Kindle back on to find out more about it. Normally I'm not such a model customer, perfectly responding to every ad that I'm being served up (yikes!), but I never regretted doing so this time. Hugh could count a new member to his ever growing fan base. I'm often sceptic when it comes to things that are just way too popular (too many people jumping the bandwagon just because it's the next big thing, no matter its quality), but the Silo Saga's popularity is well-deserved, if you ask me. 

At times, it remembered me a bit of the Hunger Games. If you liked that series, I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy these books too! Both stories take place in post-apocalyptical worlds, where suppression, lies and control are an important part of life without many people realizing it. In both series, the main characters start to ask questions, something that is actually being tried to prevent from happening. Still, you can't help yourself starting to wonder about these same questions too: where is this silo? How did the outside atmosphere become toxic? Who built the silo's anyway? And, why are things the way they are and do all inhabitants seem to accept it that way? Topics like group-mentality, controlling techniques and questioning authority are some of the very interesting themes I came across in Wool. And even though these are quite serious subjects, the book is incredibly easy to read. 

The characters are well developed, I became particularly fond of the protagonist: Juliette. Her tough behavior, analytical mind and heart full of questions and understandable emotions are quite easy to relate too. I like the fact that the author didn't come up with too many persons and story lines, something that seems to be the case with many books and series these days. Don't get me wrong, I definitely value and respect the work and craftsmanship that are required to create stories with complex interrelations and connections (in time and person)... But well, sometimes we just want to crawl under our blankets with a good and exciting book, without having to think too hard or browse back all the time, right? 

Almost every chapter ends with a cliffhanger, which makes in pretty hard to put the book down when you really have to go to sleep ;) Hugh manages to make you sense the suffocating atmosphere of the silo like you are actually there yourself, to get dizzy from the endlessly spiraling chairs, to feel the tension among the people rising, slowly but surely escalating... I can't wait to start on Shift and Dust, the next two parts of the trilogy! And the fun doesn't stop there: film rights to the series were sold to 20th Century Fox. If (and when) a movie will be made isn't sure yet, but it definitely would not surprise me. Where The Hunger Games were originally meant as young-adult books, the Silo Saga might attract a larger audience due to its older main characters. Hugh already proposed Lost-actress Evangeline Lilly on his website to play Juliette's role. Perfect casting, if you ask me!

Well, I think that's enough rambling about the Silo Saga. Go grab your own copy and just start reading it yourself. I challenge you: try to sleep in on time ;).

donderdag 10 april 2014

Blythe reroot tutorial - part 2: the lock-loop method

In my previous tutorial we ended with a scalp that is ready to be rerooted. If you followed the instructions, your scalp has a whole bunch of little holes and optionally a thatchline. For darker reroots, you might have decided to dye your scalp...and now you're ready for the real work!

Here's a picture of the final result, a little teaser to get you going ;)

The first thing you'll need, is a batch of mohair, alpaca or saran/nylon. The hair you see on the pictures in this tutorial is huacaya alpaca. I think I'll write another blogpost about the different hair possibilities for Blythe reroots later (I actually started typing it down here, but there's so much to tell about this topic that it's probably better to spend a whole post on it). 

How much hair you need depends a bit on the type of hair, but with 2 oz you will definitely have enough. 
Some other things to keep at hand when working on your reroot are a cup or bowl of water and a comb. The next step is to start dividing the hair into small plugs!

Plugs, you say...and how thick should they be? Well, I tried to picture this for you together with the crochet needle you'll be using to root the plugs as a reference. The crochet needle was already mentioned in part 1 of the tutorial; I use a 1.00 mm. However, a 1.25 or 0.75 will work as well, whatever your prefer or have at hand. Just keep in mind that the picture below shows a 1.00 mm crochet needle, so you will get a correct idea of the size. 

The plug you see on the left is way too thin, it will slip too easily through the holes, for example when you comb your Blythe's hair. The plug in the middle is too thick, you will have trouble pulling it through the hole of the scalp, half of it will slip off the crochet needle and things will become a mess on the inside of the scalp. The plug on the right side has a good thickness, that's what you should be aiming for. Of course this is also a matter of personal taste and preference, I've seen reroots with thicker plugs than I'm used to work with. Some people go for less holes in the scalp in combination with thick plugs. This will naturally result in the same amount of hair, but also in an increased risk of seeing the scalp through the final hairs...something I just like to avoid. But less holes and thicker plugs are a quicker method, so if you're not very patient, it might be the way to go for you! 

Usually I draw quite a bunch of plugs from my batch of hair before I start to root them. I never draw áll of them beforehand though, I tend to get a bit bored after a while so I like to switch between the plug-drawing and the rooting every now and then. This is totally up to you though. You can draw all the plugs first (count the holes!) or even do completely the opposite: draw one plug, root it, draw the next plug, etc.

I like to dip my fingers into a bowl of water when forming the plugs. The water will make the hairs stick together so your workspace won't get too messy with loose hairs everywhere ;)

Next I will try to explain the rooting process. We're making a lock-loop method, so first thing you need to do is fold the plug in half. Now punch your crochet needle through the centre hole in the scalp (punch from the inside, see 1), and hook the folded plug around your crochet needle (2). Now pull the plug gently through the hole (3). 

Allow the loop to go through at least one centimeter, especially when you're a beginner. Let it stay loosely around your crochet needle, which you'll have to punch into the second hole now (4). Repeat steps 2 and 3, you will end up with something that looks like picture 5. Now draw that second loop thróugh the first one (which will be easier when you pulled it trough at least one centimeter or more, this gives you enough space and will prevent a mess). Again, pull it through at least one centimeter (6). Now you can pull on the first strand from the outside, tightening it on the inside around the second loop. 

When you repeat those steps, a little spiral of tightened loops will start to form!
You can imagine that when your plugs are too thin, it's quite easy to accidentally pull them out while combing the hair, especially when knots have formed over time. On the other hand, thicker loops won't result in such a neat spiral.

Now, about the thatch. If you decided to make a thatch, it doesn't really matter if it's a middle thatch or a side thatch. There are several options: you can treat the thatch as a different, separate rerooting pathway or you can include it as a kind of 'sideway' in your spiral pathway used on the rest of the scalp. 

When you treat it as a separate pathway, you can create it before or after the main spiral. I prefer doing it before, because I find the thatch a bit more difficult/tricky to work on and I like a bit of clean working-space for that part. When the main spiral is already done, the fondling with the scalp while working on the thatch might make a mess of the already rooted plugs, on the inside as well as on the outside. If you're working with mohair, there's also a risk of felting!

The other option is to just start in the middle of the scalp, work the first few rounds of your spiral until you meet the first holes of the thatch, and then root the thatch as a 'sideway'. There are four lines to follow: first toward the edge of the scalp, back towards the middle, to the edge again and then eventually back to the centre, where you can pick up your main spiral again. With this method, you won't have too many plugs rooted on your scalp already when starting on the thatch, so you don't need to worry too much about messing things up. 

In the thatch lines, the holes are much closer to each other than on the rest of the spiral. You don't want to see any 'skin' showing through the finished thatch! You can use the exact same rerooting method as described above for the spiral. Be careful though when pulling plugs through these holes, if you're too aggressive tears may form (2 or more holes becoming one big longitudinal hole)! You might even decide on creating a separate bunch of slightly thinner plugs for the thatch line. 

Mistakes happen, don't panic if you do something wrong. Be gentle on yourself when it's your first lock-loop reroot, it's quite a challenge to get a neat spiral and your final result might not look at all like those perfect ones you've seen on Flickr or elsewhere. Practice makes perfect, and by the way...nobody will see the inside once the scalp is attached on your girl! What doés matter though, is that the plugs are well secured. I admit that I use a tiny drop of glue every now and then, when I notice one plug is a bit slippery for example. 

What also might happen, is that one plug is accidentally pulled out while combing the hair (I recommend combing the hair thoroughly before putting it back on your doll, íf there are plugs at risk of being pulled through, it's easier to repair them when you can still reach the inside of the scalp!).
When one plug is accidentally pulled out, first thing you want to prevent from happening is that the previous plug will also pull through (which happens easily, because it's no longer secured), and the next, and the's a bit like a crocheted chain actually! This is also why you want to make sure (véry sure!) that all plugs are in place and secure when you reattach the scalp to your Blythe's head.

Now you ended up with a gap in your rooted row of plugs. Like I already said earlier: don't panic and stay calm (I remember my own first reroots, and the frustration and 'almost-throwing-the-scalp-through-the-room' that came with them ;)). Grab the loop of the previous plug, pull your crochet needle through that loop and through the scalp, and pull a new plug through, just like you can see on pictures 4-6. Now there are 2 things you can do:

  • Glue the loose loop very tightly to the scalp. This is not a very secure method, as you can imagine. You can try to make a knot in that loop (but make sure that the previous loop is still firmly around it, some extra glue might help here!) to make it safer. 
  • Try to repair the original rerooted row. This method is a bit trickier...but it's definitely doable if you have some patience and fine motor skills (which you will probably have anyway, people without these traits won't start a reroot :P). After you've pulled through a new plug (picture 6), hold only one end of the folded plug on the outside of the scalp and pull the other half completely through. Glide your crochet needle under the first loop after the gap (actually, under the two 'legs' of this loop, between the first two holes). Hook the plug hanging inside the scalp behind your crochet needle, and pull it through under these two 'legs'. Now, pinch your crochet needle through the hole again (the hole from the plug you're repairing), only this time from the outside to the inside. Hook the loose plug behind your crochet needle again, and pull it through the hole to the outer side of the scalp. Now, you've repaired the row :) I hope my explanation makes sense!

Above you can see the finished reroot! The most outer row exists of many holes with less space in between them, just like the thatch. The same principles count here: be careful not to create tears, and maybe use slightly thinner plugs. Because I used Huacaya alpaca for this reroot, it's a bit fuzzy here and there...but it's secure and full. Oh, before I forget...what to do when you've rooted your last hole?! Well, you just make a knot in your last plug (like I suggested when repairing a gap), make sure the previous loop is tightly around it and add a drop of glue for extra security. 

After you've made sure all plugs are secure and in place, maybe added a couple more drops of glue at some points (or even a complete layer of glue, if you want to go for 100% security!), you're ready to glue the scalp back on your girl. This can be a daunting task, you might have seen these pics of girls with a bunch of elastics around their head (these pictures look more like they belong in a horror movie, if you ask!). That's one way to go, but through the years I found out that I like to work with very quick drying superglue. I work my way around the scalp in about 4 or 5 steps: every time I put some glue on a couple of cm's on the scalp's edge, put it on the place I want (on the upper edge of the faceplates and over the dome), hold it there for some seconds and voila! It sticks like nothing else! Then I go on to the next couple of cm's, until I've worked all my way through. Be careful though, sometimes the scalp is just a little bit larger in diameter than your Blythe's head, and you might want to divide the extra space evenly over the back side of your Blythe's head (under the hair), instead of ending up with a big 'lump' in the last cm.

The last thing that we haven't done yet, is create a neat thatch. To do this, put al the hairs away in a tight ponytail, except for the middle two of the (four) thatch lines. Now, grab your crochet needle one more time, to create a pretty little zig-zag system. Start at the edge of the scalp: pick up the first plug on the left row, and pull it to the right. Now pick up the first plug on the right row, and pull it to the left. Pick up the second plug of the left row, and pull it to the right, etc. Repeating this alternating pattern until the end of the thatch will result in a miniature zigzag that won't show any scalp between the middle two thatch lines.

I hope this tutorial provided you with the information you were looking for! Don't hesitate to comment or ask me questions, I'm here to share what I know. I can always edit the tutorial if you think some information is missing or wrong. 

Like I mentioned earlier, I wanted to give some information about the several hair possibilities (like mohair, saran, alpaca, etc.), but I ended up writing down so much stuff that I decided it'd be better to spend a whole blogpost on that topic. So stay tuned if that's something else you're interested in ;)

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