Wrapped in Stocking Stitch

Hello!

After the red tweedy stocking stitch cardigan I wrote about two weeks ago, I’ve finished another cardigan, again in stocking stitch (stockinette stitch in the US). The design is called Modern Wrapper Fine. According to Barbara G. Walker it is all wrong.

In the introduction to A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns she writes:

“All-over plain stockinette stitch is dull to look at and boring to work, even for the beginner. Though it may be done entirely by hand, it lacks the inimitable flavor of hand-knitting. A machine can make it very nicely, but the hand-knitter is not a machine and should not try to imitate one.”

“This being so, there is no reason to spend the time and care of hand-knitting on a garment of stockinette stitch. It is a waste of both. The finished garment, which ought to display the knitter’s taste and skill, displays nothing but poverty of invention.” (p. xx)

Oh dear! Was my cardigan a waste of time? Does it display a lack of taste and skill? Let’s take a closer look.

The Modern Wrapper Fine is worked completely in stocking/stockinette stitch, apart from the wide front bands in garter stitch. Back and fronts are knit from the bottom up. It does not have buttons and can be worn open or closed with a nice pin.

It is oversized, with sloping shoulders that are joined with a 3-needle bind-off. Instead of armholes that curve inwards, the fronts and back taper outwards at the top. This means that the sleeves hang very low. In my case they start halfway on the upper arm.

The sleeves are knit from the top to the cuff, from stitches picked up at the ‘armholes’. Sleeve and side seams are closed with mattress stitch. The hems and the sleeve cuff have a small band of reverse stocking stitch.

The best feature of the Modern Wrapper Fine, in my opinion, is hidden at the back of the neck. There are a few clever short rows there that make the neck band sit perfectly. It doesn’t show very well in the fuzzy yarn I’ve used this time, so here is a picture of the MWF I knit years ago in a different yarn combo.

The details:

  • Pattern: Modern Wrapper Fine (here on Ravelry). It is a finer variation on the original Modern Wrapper, which is even more oversized (here on Ravelry).
  • Size made: XS/S. I usually wear size M or L. This garment is really, really oversized. The finished bust in this size is 137 cm/64”. For me that means it has 46 cm/18” of positive ease.
  • Yarn: 7 balls of Rowan Kidsilk Haze (shade 582 ‘Trance’) and 4 balls of Rowan Fine Lace (shade 933 ‘Aged’) held together. There was quite a bit of yarn left over; my MWF weighs approx. 300 grams.
  • Needles: 3.25 mm (US 3) and 3.75 mm (US 5)

This project took me over a year from start to finish. Not because it was so time-consuming, but for the silly reason that I made a mistake in the front band and didn’t notice it until I’d finished the entire front.

Kidsilk Haze is notoriously difficult to unravel, and it took me a long time to pluck up the courage to fix the mistake. In the end, the combo of these two yarns wasn’t hard to unravel at all.

So, was this project a waste of time? All I’ll say is that for me, knitting big panels of stocking stitch in these two lightweight yarns was like meditating. For the rest I’ll let the pictures speak.

Now that I’m taking up sewing again and am looking for suitable projects to make, I find descriptions on other maker’s blogs very helpful. And also pictures of the finished items worn by ordinary people (not photo models.) I hope my descriptions and pictures will be helpful in the same way.

The yellow-flowering plant in the background is woad, the dye plant I grew as part of a community project. I was going to write about it, too, today, but on second thoughts I’ve wittered on long enough already and it really deserves a post of its own. I hope to come back to it soon.

Bye for now! Xxx

May 2022 Miscellany

Hello!

The other day, a friend wrote that it is like Mayvember in her part of the world, the Pacific Northwest of the US (waving at you P!). In the Netherlands it is more like Maygust – warm and very dry. Here are a few unconnected things I’ve seen and done this month so far. No, wait, not entirely unconnected. The common denominator seems to be wool – what else?

Lambing Season
The Sunday before last we were lucky. On our walk we happened to pass the sheep fold at the very moment the shepherd was gathering the flock for a walk. The ewes with the youngest lambs were staying at home, with several daring lambs high up on a bale of hay.

The rest of the flock was peacefully grazing in the field where they spend the night.

But in a matter of minutes the shepherd and his dogs had gathered them all together and were driving them towards the corner where the gate is.

Here they are all ready to go out for their day job:

Well done, boy!

The flock’s job is eating grass and young trees. Without them, the heathland would soon become a forest. Thanks to the sheep, we can keep enjoying this beautiful open landscape.

It is not just about the landscape, but also about the reptiles, birds and plant species depending on this habitat. I love gazing around at the open space, and also getting on my knees looking for special plants. This is one of them:

We call it Heidekartelblad. I looked it up and found out that it is called common lousewort in English – rather a lousy name for this far from common plant, don’t you think?

Blackbird Tragedy
The blackbirds have been flying off and on with worms and trying very hard to chase the magpies away, but alas… On Sunday morning we found the nest empty, bar one unhatched egg.

Magpies and their chicks need to eat, too, but still rather sad. It’s early enough in the season for the blackbirds to build another nest. Let’s hope they’ll hide it better the second time around.

Spinning Wheel Extension
My husband has made an extension for my spinning wheel to accommodate a second bobbin rack. Unfortunately the block I bought at the manufacturer’s a while ago didn’t fit onto my particular model. Fortunately my DH has two right hands and this is what he came up with.

The aluminium strips of the new extension slide around the lower bar of the spinning wheel. So there was no need to drill into my precious wheel and the extension can easily be removed when not in use. Now I can make 3-ply and even 4-ply yarns.

Knit leaves
I have been knitting leaf prototypes for a small project I have in mind.

They’re all different: Stocking stitch, garter stitch, different increases and decreases, long or short vein, different sizes and shapes. There is one among them that is exactly what I was looking for. (To be continued…)

Farmers Market
After a 6-month winter break the Farmers Market was back last weekend. It’s was so nice, chatting with the stall holders again, looking at the fresh produce and young plants for vegetable gardens…

… and trying (and buying) some homemade chutneys and dressings.

There is also a spinner and knitter selling her hand spun yarns and her colourful hand knit socks in children’s and adult’s sizes, each pair unique.

I wonder if other people realize how many hours of knitting and spinning the wares displayed on her racks and in her baskets represent. I do, and I’m in awe.

Well, that’s all for today. Back to my own knitting and spinning now. Bye!

Finishing Time

My knitting is out of sync with the seasons – again. The garden is bursting into flower and the blackbirds’ eggs have hatched.

Don’t those naked little chicks look vulnerable? I hope they’re going to make it. Their nest isn’t very well hidden and there are magpies about.

With spring well on its way and warmer weather around the corner, I’m finishing some warm and woolly knits. It has happened before, my knitting being out of sync with the seasons, but this time I have a very good excuse: Several months ago I dropped everything else to knit baby things. Now our grandson has more than enough to keep him warm for the time being, and there’s finally time to finish other projects.

The first one I’m tackling is a red tweedy cardigan. All parts are knit separately, including the button bands. That means a LOT of seaming, and I’ve done it in stages. Before I started the actual seaming, I pressed the individual parts, covered by a damp tea towel.

As I hope you can see in this picture the edges of the stocking stitch fabric roll inwards terribly. Pressing them flattens them out and makes seaming easier and neater.

As you can probably also see in this picture, there is something in the oven. It’s a batch of my Very Healthy Oat Squares (recipe in this older post; please scroll down).

Over the course of several days, I meticulously sewed on the button bands using mattress stitch. It’s a time-consuming job and I did a little every day.

Then I realized that it was going to take ages this way. So on a day when I had a to-do-list from here to Tokyo, I decided to take a different approach and alternate my chores with bursts of seaming. It looked something like this:

Clean bathroom and sink, sew right sleeve cap.
Replace light bulb, empty wastepaper baskets, water plants, fold laundry, sew left sleeve cap.

For a knitting connoisseur, the sleeve caps are lovely, by the way. Due to a special way of binding off using slipped stitches, the slope isn’t stepped as usual, but nice and smooth.

Dust and hoover downstairs, sew right underarm seam.
Catch up with e-mails and admin, sew right side seam, etc.

Granted, it wasn’t the most exciting day of my life, but at the end of it I had tackled many items on my list and finished the seaming of the entire cardigan. Time for a bubble bath…

… for the cardigan. (Should have taken one myself, too, instead of a quick shower.) And then, after drying flat, the final touch: buttons. And here it is, my simple but sophisticated tweedy cardi:

Entirely in stocking stitch, it looks very simple. What makes it sophisticated is the attention to detail: A-line shaping, sloping shoulder seams moved a little forward, smooth sleeve cap, customized sleeve length, side vents, a few short rows above the hem so that the cardigan ‘hangs’ better, and the careful finishing, of course. The cardigan is also knit at a looser gauge than normal for the yarn, which gives it a nice drape.

I’m particularly happy with the neatly sewn on button bands.

And also with the perfect sleeve length and the way the cardi fits around the shoulders.

The pattern’s name Go-To Cardigan is well chosen – it really is a cardigan to wear every day. Because of the A-line shaping, it is particularly flattering for pear-shaped people like me. The pattern can be found here on Ravelry and here on the designer’s website. The yarn I’ve used is Rowan Felted Tweed, shade 150 Rage. The pattern range goes from XS to XL. I’ve made size S, while my usual clothes size is M/L, EU 40/42 (UK 12/14).

To close off, I’d like to show you our ‘orchard’,  where these pictures were taken. It hardly deserves to be called an orchard, with just one apple and one pear tree, but it sounds nice. The pear blossomed early in spring and we’re now enjoying the apple blossoms.

Under the fruit trees in our tiny orchard, we’ve created a wildflower meadow with native plant species. Our meadow is also tiny (just a few square metres), but from spring into autumn there is always something flowering. This is what it looks like at the moment (click on images to enlarge):

Enjoy your weekend and hope to see you again next week! I don’t know if I’ll have another project finished by then, but we’ll see.

Sewing with Double Gauze

Hello!

I’m in the finishing stage of several knitting projects and hope to write about them here soon. Meanwhile, I thought I’d share a simple sewing project with you. I used to sew quite a lot, but what with one thing and another I have hardly sewn anything for ages.

It’s so nice, having my sewing machine and basket of sewing tools out again. I’ve treated myself to some new, nice and sharp glass headed pins. A simple pleasure.

Out of practice, I’ve decided to start with something super easy: some double gauze squares for our grandson (who is thriving!), to be used as towels, changing mats, swaddle blankets etc.

I only knew double gauze fabric in the form of white diapers. You know, the old-fashioned ones with the woven-in squares. But when I started looking at fabrics again, I discovered that double gauze is hugely popular and comes in lots of lovely prints now. I chose three leaf prints. Here is a close-up of one of them:

Now that I’m on to the subject of leaves, look what’s hidden between the leaves of our honeysuckle – a nest with five beautiful blue blackbird’s eggs.

Well, back to double gauze fabric. As the term indicates, it is made up of two gauzy layers of cotton fabric. I don’t know how it’s done, but they look sort of basted together with small stitches.

Before starting to sew, I first zigzagged the edges of the fabrics to prevent them from fraying, washed them at 40 ˚C, put them in the dryer and ironed them. I expected them to shrink considerably, but to my surprise they hardly shrank at all. (I measured them before and after.)

Double gauze does look shrunk when it comes out of the dryer, and all shrivelled up, but it straightens out when ironed. In it’s shrivelled-up state it looks really nice, too, actually, so it’s not absolutely necessary to iron it.

I experimented with scissors and rotary cutter and found the rotary cutter easiest for cutting this fabric.

I made my double gauze squares 1 m x 1 m, adding a 2 cm seam allowance on all sides, i.e. cutting out 1.04 m x 1.04 m squares. I folded the fabric 1 cm to the wrong side, then folded it over once more and ironed the seams,

pinned them, and then sewed all seams at a foot’s width from the sides.

And here they are, three simple squares:

I really enjoyed sewing with double gauze fabric. It is very soft, light, squishy. Squares like the ones I made are not just suitable for babies – they’ll also make wonderful lightweight, quick-drying travel towels. A large rectangle would be great for a beach towel and/or sarong. And I think double gauze will be lovely for summer dresses, skirts and tops, too.

But my next project will be something for our little grandson again: a set of sheets for his pram from an adorable double gauze fabric with a woodland animal print.

I hope to be back with a post about some knitting next week. Bye for now and take care!

The Sewing Machine

Hello!

This is the sewing machine I inherited from my mum, a Singer, above with its wooden case and below without it.

I have happy memories, sitting side by side with mum, with me turning the crank and her sewing.

My mum was also a knitter, but she loved sewing even more. She sewed many, many dresses, skirts, blouses, trousers, jackets, curtains and other items for her family and home.

I love sewing, too, but am first and foremost a knitter. My daughter is like her grandmother, and sews more than she knits. I have had the old Singer serviced and am passing it on to her, but for the time being it still lives in our house.

One of the reasons I’m writing about this now is that I’ve lost my knitting mojo for a bit and don’t have anything interesting to show you. Another is that I’ve recently re-read The Sewing Machine by Natalie Fergie.

The novel is set in southern Scotland and spans over a century. It starts with the mass strike at the Singer factory in 1911, moves through the 1950s/1960s, briefly visits 1980 and ends in 2016. There are several protagonists. What binds these people together are family ties (with interesting twists) and the fact that sewing machines play an important role in their lives in one way or another.

One of the things I loved about The Sewing Machine, apart from the sympathetic cast of characters, is that it is filled with period details, like descriptions of interiors (especially kitchens), clothing, and what people did for a living. The author must have done an enormous amount of research. This doesn’t make it into a dry history book, though. Not at all! The details are cleverly woven into the fabric of the story.

If you love sewing, I think you’ll enjoy reading The Sewing Machine. I certainly have. And it wasn’t just a great read – it also made me look up the serial number of my mum’s sewing machine: H 957 200.

I’d never thought of doing that before. I know that my mum bought it in the late 1950s or early 1960s, and had always just assumed that it was from that period. Turns out it is from 1906!!! I could have known that she would never have bought a new one, but that it was so old – I had no idea!

My own sewing machine is a modern one…

… with extra feet for various purposes, lots of different stitches and three buttonhole options.

It can do far more and is much faster than my mum’s old machine. But I wonder if it will still be sewing in 116 years’ time. For me, my mum’s old Singer will always remain THE sewing machine.

I know that many of you are knitters, but do you sew, too? What type of machine do you have? What do you do with it: sew clothes or other things, embroider, quilt? Do you have special sewing-machine related memories you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them!

If you happen to have an old Singer sewing machine, too, and would like to find out how old it is, there is a list of serial numbers on the website of the International Sewing Machine Collectors’ Society here. If you have a different brand, visiting the website of the ISMACS may be worthwhile, too – it contains loads of interesting information.

A Walk, Some Talk and Chocolate Eggs

Hello! And how are you all doing? Gliding along tranquilly, like this swan? Paddling frantically to stay afloat? Or something in between? For me, it’s something in between at the moment – rather busy, but there is still time to write a blog post. And we’ve also been for a relaxing walk on Sunday.

This time in the wetlands of Weerribben-Wieden National Park. On the whole, the area is more suitable for canoeing or cycling, but there are a few lovely walking routes.

Later in the year, there will be orchids, butterflies, waterlilies and dragonflies to admire. Now, it is mainly the landscape itself that draws the eye…

… although the lily leaves are starting to surface.

It’s also a great place for bird watching. My camera isn’t really suitable for bird pics, but I did get a nice one of a group of greylag geese with goslings. Can you see the fluffy little things?

While we’re strolling along, there is something I need to get off my chest. I hope last week’s post wasn’t painful for any of you. I realize that some of you may have longed for children or grandchildren, but didn’t get them and will never have them. Please know that I never take these things for granted. I’ll write about our grandson and the things I make for him from time to time, because he is part of my life now. But I promise not to bombard you with baby stuff, and to continue writing about walks and cycle tours, nature and gardens, all kinds of other things that may be of interest, and last but not least knitting.

Speaking of knitting, there isn’t a lot to show you right now. Just the start of my pink Morbihan. It colour-coordinates nicely with the book I’m reading.

Disappearing into a fantasy world for a while now and then helps me cope with the real one better. I love Juliet Marillier’s books because of the interesting characters and plots, the fascinating worlds the author creates, and the fact that these novels are nice and fat and often part of a series good for many hours of reading. (Veel van haar boeken zijn ook in het NL vertaald; zie hier.)

My week has been extra busy because I have been helping out at our daughter’s place after the maternity nurse left – a real privilege.

The new parents had an unwelcome visitor during this special time – Covid-19. They’ve been so careful to avoid infection, and then, on the morning of the delivery our SIL tested positive, and several days later our DD did, too. He probably caught it at work. Fortunately he was allowed to be present at the birth, fortunately they both had hardly any symptoms, and fortunately we have all had our jabs and boosters.

But in spite of all that, for some people the virus still isn’t cat’s piss, to use an elegant Dutch expression. So the professionals around them wore protective clothing from head to toe. And we need to keep a safe distance and wear face masks. To be on the safe side, I take a test before meeting other people. So far, I’ve tested negative – that’s positive.

Now, time for some chocolate eggs. What flavour would you like? I can recommend the dark chocolate ones with advocaat (my favourites with Dutch egg liqueur), but there is also toffee coffee, chai crisp, chocolate mousse, butterscotch, caramel…

Whether you’re celebrating Easter or not, I wish you a lovely weekend!

The Stork has Landed

Hello!

Good news! The stork has landed and brought our daughter and her husband a sweet little baby boy.

First and foremost, I’m immensely grateful that, apart from a few start-up problems, mother and baby are doing well. I’m also flooded with tenderness for this tiny human being, very happy for his mum and dad, looking forward to getting to know my grandson, worried about his future, hopeful that he’ll have a good life and determined to be the best grandmother I can.

Where do the storks get the babies from, I wonder. Fish them up?

Thanks to a reintroduction program, these graceful birds have become a common sight around here. And sometimes even a nuisance. It isn’t because they deliver too many babies, certainly not in our family. It’s to do with the places they choose to build their nests.

Last week I was at the library when suddenly the lights went out, together with the computer terminals, the electric doors and, as it turned out, electricity in the entire town and surrounding villages. After rummaging around in the dark for a while the librarian found the key to the emergency exit (!?!) and we were able to get out (phew!). What had caused this power cut? Storks building a nest on a power pylon and setting it on fire!

Photo: Steenwijker Courant

We’ve already had the privilege of paying the new earthling a brief visit, bearing gifts for his first 10 days (they didn’t all fit into this basket).

The first one will have been unwrapped by now, so I think I can safely show it here – a nice and warm coat knit with much love for our grandson…

… with buttons with the best ever message for a baby coat: Welkom kleine ukkepuk (welcome little one). (Excellent pattern here.)

It will come in handy in a month that is like spring one day…

…and like winter the next.

I feel a bit bad about the stork story above, because it isn’t doing our daughter justice. Supported by the baby’s father, she has done all the hard work. But I think they know how proud I am of them and will be able to appreciate a bit of folklore.

Well, that was my news for this week. Thanks for reading and lots of love!

Cherry Blossom and Magnolia

Hello!

Thinking about a simple, portable knitting project I could start straightaway, I remembered a bag of mini-skeins stashed away for just such a thing. Lovely 25-gram skeins in a gradient of pinks, from a deep rose to the palest of petal pinks.

It’s too early in the year to find the darker shades of pink in gardens and parks. This is the season of the paler pinks. Most trees are still bare around here, but many ornamental cherries around our village are in full bloom. Very romantic with their frothy cloud of blossoms.

From close up the flowers look almost white, while the buds are a lovely shade of pink.

And then there are the magnolias. Oh, so utterly beautiful. There are all kinds of fancy varieties around, including pure white ones, but for me the most beautiful magnolias of all, are the ‘ordinary’ ones with the pink-and-white flowers. From a distance the general impression is pale pink.

But from close up – Oh la la, what a beautiful magnolia!

Well, back to the yarn of the mini-skeins. That’s what started all this talk about shades of pink, after all. It is John Arbon’s Knit By Numbers yarn, organically farmed 4-ply Merino. Each of the colours of this yarn is available in 6 shades, from dark to light, and there are over 100 shades in total.

The interesting thing about this yarn is that it is not dyed in these shades, but blended. Coloured top is blended with increasing percentages of white wool to make lighter and lighter shades.

Taking the palest of my mini-skeins as an example, it is just as with looking at the blossoming trees. The general impression is pale pink, but looking more closely you can see the marled effect: there is pink, white and even some grey in it.

John Arbon Textiles is a small-scale spinning mill using refurbished old machinery, located close to Exmoor in North Devon. Apart from yarns, they also produce tops for spinning. And once a year, they publish their informative and funny Annual.

It is filled with information about their yarns and tops, patterns, stories, cartoons and puzzles.

I always feel slightly uncomfortable talking about yarn brands, shops etc. It’s as if I’ve been hired to promote them, which I’m not. I just want to share information that may be of interest to other knitters and spinners. Several years ago, we spent a summer holiday in Devon and camped close to John Arbon Textiles without knowing they were there! I wish someone had shared the information with me so I could have visited them.

Fortunately there is always the internet. I’ll give you a link to their website at the end of this post. But before you zap away from my blog, I’ll quickly show you what I’m going to knit from the pink mini-skeins. A pink version of Morbihan, a shawl I first designed for a different yarn in a gradient of blues. This is the original.

The pattern can be found here on Ravelry. I’ll show you what it looks like in pink when I’ve made some progress. Finally, as promised, here is the link to the John Arbon Textiles website.

Enjoy your weekend!

Squirrel Nutkin

Hello!

“This is a tale about a tail—a tail that belonged to a little red squirrel, and his name was Nutkin.” That is how Beatrix Potter began The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin. It was what I thought of when choosing yarn for a baby set in a colour called… Nutkin!

It really is the same warm reddish brown as a red squirrel’s coat. The other reason for choosing this colour was that the parents-to-be have indicated a preference for natural/undyed, green and brown for baby things.

During the weekend and every evening, I knit, knit, knit… and finished the complete set within a week. These are only wee things after all.

Some of the things I’m making will remain a surprise until after the baby is born, but I’m giving them this set beforehand. It looks deceptively easy all in stocking and garter stitch, but certainly isn’t for novice knitters.

I had some trouble keeping track of the different increases and the button holes at the same time. I also had some difficulty with the place where the sleeves meet the fronts and back. To be honest, I was unable to prevent fairly large holes from appearing no matter how hard I tried and had to cheat a little to close them. The ears on the hat were not easy to get right, and the bootees were a bit fiddly.

The patterns ask for double pointed needles in three different sizes. I didn’t have all of those, so used circular needles and the magic loop method for the hat and bootees.

They take some patience and concentration, but all in all, these are very nice little projects. (All of them can be found here on Ravelry.) What I like most of all are the small pointy ears on the hat – they really look a lot like Squirrel Nutkin’s ears.

Last autumn, a red squirrel visited our garden every day. We have lots of hazel bushes bordering our garden, and we watched it burying hazel nuts all through our garden and our neighbours’ for weeks on end. Now, when it is time to dig them up and eat them, we don’t so much as catch a glimpse of the squirrel. But we do see the empty nutshells it leaves behind.

Not all of the nuts were eaten by the squirrel, though. I’ve collected some and tried to find out who made which holes. These halved ones were 100% certain cracked open by an adult squirrel:

At first I thought that the ones with the oval holes were all left behind by the great spotted woodpecker:

But looking more closely, I’m not so certain anymore. Some of them look pecked out with a sharp beak, but others (like the one on the right) clearly have tooth marks around them. Hmmm… A young squirrel perhaps? How long does it take for a squirrel to become an adult? Or could it have been a mouse?

And then there are those with small round holes drilled into them:

I haven’t been able to find out whose marks these are yet. Some kind of insect? There is so much I don’t know.

Red squirrels have become fairly rare in our surroundings over the years. We do not see them very often. But last week, my husband was lucky and saw no less than four of them on one walk, twice two together. This is one of the pictures he took:

In appearance it looks a lot like the squirrels in Beatrix Potter’s lovely pictures, but in behaviour not so much. I can’t see this one carrying hazelnuts in sacks, or rafting on a lake using its tail as a sail.

I only discovered Beatrix Potter’s delightful tales as a teenager. Did you grow up with her stories? Which one is your favourite?

Baby Things, Worries and Hope

Hello!

March is giving us many gloriously sunshiny days this year. The weather seems very much at odds with the world news. But the sun will shine, regardless of what we’re up to down here on Planet Earth.

I’ve used some of these sunny days to wash baby things. I’ve given most of our daughter’s clothes and other stuff away, but kept some, too. After nearly three decades in the attic they’d become rather musty. Now, after a wash and a day in the sun and the wind, all sweet-smelling and neatly folded, they are ready and waiting for her baby.

I’ve been busy knitting, as well. When I first thought of publishing some of my designs on Ravelry, I had a conversation with myself that went something like this:

‘But if I become a Ravelry designer, does that mean that I can never knit from a pattern anymore? In that case, I’d rather not.’ ‘Don’t be silly. Of course you can continue knitting from patterns!’ ‘Oh, that’s a relief! Because, you know, there are so many beautiful designs around. And it’s just so nice when someone else does all the thinking, swatching and maths for you.’

At the moment, I’m knitting from this booklet – Bloom at Rowan:

It contains 11 designs by Erika Knight – baby things, garments for mums-to-be, a crochet blanket and a simple shawl. I’m knitting a cardigan called Little Lamb, and have even chosen the same yarn and colour used in the pattern.

Terribly uncreative, but so very nice and relaxing. I’m going to knit the matching hat (with ears!) and bootees as well.

Meanwhile I’m also working on a baby design of my own. Here is a peek. More about it when it’s finished (which may take a while.)

While I’m knitting for our first grandchild, I’m beset with worries. No need to spell them out, I think.

A group of Ukrainian refugees is now staying in a holiday accommodation near us. (Interestingly, the same accommodation housed a group of Russian refugees from 1945-1947.) There is a special fund to provide them with everything they need, and we are asked to contribute by buying some of these ‘drops’:

A donation often feels like a drop in the ocean, but in this case I know it really helps. I hope these people will feel safe and welcome here. More information about this small initiative here.

Speaking of hope – I’m reading this:

The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times by Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams. (NL titel: Het boek van hoop: levenslessen voor een mooiere toekomst)

I haven’t finished reading it, so can’t write review, but here are a few quotes:

  • ‘Hope is often misunderstood. People tend to think that it is simply passive wishful thinking: I hope something will happen but I’m not going to do anything about it. This is indeed the opposite of real hope, which requires action and engagement.’
  • ‘Hope is contagious. Your actions will inspire others.’
  • ‘…millions of drops actually make the ocean.’

Hope to see you again next week!