6 Knitting Baskets

Hello!

A Ravelry friend of mine is trying out being a monogamous knitter, i.e. working on just one knitting project at a time until it is completely finished. She used to be a multi-project knitter like me, and is now finishing one beautiful project after the next. That made me stop in my tracks: could I be a monogamous knitter, too? It sounds attractively simple.

But what if, for instance, I’m in the seaming stage of a sweater and need something small to take along to knit on a trip? Or what if I’m knitting something intricate, am tired in the evening and would benefit from some restful mindless knitting?

At the moment I have 6 projects on the go, and they all live in separate baskets. There is nothing spectacular inside any of these baskets, but perhaps you’d like to take a look?

Basket 1:

This is the project I want to finish first – a jacket for our grandson. He has almost outgrown the jacket I knit for him before and will need a new one soon. The sleeves are almost finished and then all it needs is a hood.

Basket 2:

This vest is even closer to being finished. All I need to do is knit ribbings for the pockets, sew the pocket linings in place and sew on buttons.

Basket 3:

This is my sock knitting basket. It holds all kinds of knitting paraphernalia, a pair of striped socks that only need their ends woven in, and a ball of beautiful pink sock yarn. Both of these lovely yarns (one with yak down and one with silk!) were a gift from a friend. I’d like to make a very special pair from the solid pink yarn, perhaps something with cables or twisted stitches, or a bit of lace…

Basket 4:

This may look like knitted bunting, but is in fact part of a series of swatches for a new design of my own. These three mini-swatches are all about increases. M1L, M1R, kfb or kfbf? I’m puzzling out which increases to use where.

Basket 5:

This is a simple cardigan for myself, knit from a very soft wool and alpaca blend. It is hard to capture the colour – it’s a deep navy blue IRL. I’m keeping track of where to knit in the button holes by looking deep into the eyes of this panda:

It’s a fun but unreliable row counter. The problem is that its lock doesn’t function, which means I need to be very careful with it or it’ll jump from 19 to 29 or 39 rows and then where would I be?

Basket 6:

Sorry, I can’t show you what’s inside the last basket. It’s a surprise gift in the making. Well, okay, I can tell you that it’s going to be a pair of mittens. I’ll be able to show you after they’ve been unwrapped, towards the end of December or early in the New Year.

More about my progress with the contents of the other baskets soon, I hope, including details about the patterns, the yarns etc. Six baskets is about the maximum I can handle, I think. And I’d really like to reduce the number to three or four. Or shall I try reducing them to just one? How about you? How many projects do you feel comfortable juggling? And how do you organize them?

Gables

Hello!

Today, I thought I’d treat you to some knitted gables as well as some real ones. From three skeins of fingering-weight merino non-superwash yarn I’ve knit another Thús 2. Casting on 119 stitches, I made it wider than in the pattern. Then I knit, knit, knit, and knit, row after row of houses, making it longer than the original too, ending up with a 51cm/20” by 2.14m/84¼” wrap. Here you can see how big it is:

I like wearing it like this, with the ends criss-crossed:

Or wrapped around my neck once and knotted:

The gables in my wrap are very simple, rather like the gable of our own home only with an extra pair of windows.

Far simpler than the many beautiful and interesting gables we saw during a visit to the Frisian city of Bolsward in August. There were stepped gables, like this one with its decorative anchor plates and a man’s and a woman’s head above the first-floor windows:

The stepped gable from 1741 below, with a pair of scissors in the centre, must have belonged to a tailor once.

There were simple bell gables:

And ornate ones, with swags and frills everywhere:

As well as interesting and fancy gables that seem more modern to me (but I am not knowledgeable enough to tell you from what period or style this one is) :

It was fun walking along the canals wearing how-many-different-gables-can-I-find glasses.

Well, back to my own simple, hand knit gables. If you’d like to copy them, my Ravelry notes can be found here.

There are other knits on my needles now – a simple navy blue cardigan for everyday wear, a jacket for our grandson, swatches for a new design of my own and a pair of mittens for a gift. More about those when I’m a little further along. I hope you have enough to occupy your hands, too. Because, what can be nicer than spending the darkening evenings knitting?

Two Klømpelømpe Hats

Hello!

Our grandson is 6 months old now. He cries from time to time to indicate that he needs something, of course, but on the whole he is a cheerful little chap. He is growing fast and it will not be long before he has outgrown his pram.

He lives in a quiet neighbourhood with lots of green space. The bicycle tracks meandering through it are perfect for pram walks.

Often he falls asleep as soon as we set off, but when he lies awake, I can see him looking at the sky, and listening to the singing of birds and the rustling of leaves.

I wonder if he is also aware of that special scent of autumn in the air.

How fortunate we are to be able to enjoy our strolls in this peaceful part of the world.

He has suddenly outgrown all of the hats I knit for him, too. So I quickly knit up two new ones, both from patterns in the first Klømpelømpe book.

The first baby cardigan I knit from this book was not a success – the instructions were unclear, the stitch pattern didn’t match up around the raglan armholes, and it turned out far too small. So, I ripped it out and put the book aside disappointed and frustrated.

A visit to a dear cousin of mine made me pick it up again, though. She is mother to 7 and grandmother to the same number, and the proud owner of a stack of Klømpelømpe books. She has knit many items from them for her grandchildren and is very enthusiastic about them.

Her enthusiasm was infectious, so I got the book out again, dug up the yarn left over from a jacket I knit for our grandson, and made the Henry hat.

I was still a bit puzzled by the instructions, but was able to work things out. Based on my earlier experience I made the size for 1-2 years and it fits perfectly.

I also had lots of yarn left over from the Pyrus Blanket I designed myself.

Some of that became the dots in the Henry hat and I had more than enough left for the Knot hat. The Knot hat has two weird antennae knit on to the top that are transformed into an adorable set of knots.

For anyone who hasn’t heard of the Klømpelømpe books yet, they are a series of knitting books from Norway that have been translated into many languages. According to the website Booksfromnorway ‘Klømpelømpe is a Norwegian dialect word from the Western region where the authors come from, and simply is an expression for describing a sweet, little child – a sweetheart.’

The book I’ve knit the hats from has ‘knitting for babies and children’ as its subtitle, and most of the patterns in it are for this age group. But it also contains a few simple accessories for adults as well.

I’m glad these hats turned out well, because everything in the Klømpelømpe books looks incredibly attractive and I’d like to make more from them.

Useful info:

  • The authors’ website can be found here in Norwegian. And a complete list of all the books in Norwegian here. (There is an English website, too, but it’s very limited.)
  • If you’re looking for translations of the books in your own language – the English translations all have ‘Knitting for Little Sweethearts’ in their titles, while most other translations retain the word Klømpelømpe or Klompelompe somewhere in the title.
  • The yarn I used is Drops Merino Extra Fine in colours 01 and 07.
  • The Pyrus Blanket can be found here on Ravelry.

Dahlia Socks

Hello! And how are you all doing? I’ve been busy, busy, busy. And also knitting quite a bit, trying to finish all of my WIPs before starting something new.

The designer of the socks that have just slid off my needles calls them Garia Socks. She explains that in Basque, her mother tongue, garia means wheat. She chose this name for her design because of the row of wheat ears along the top of the socks.

I’m calling them Dahlia Socks, however, because that is what the motif reminds me of in the shade I’ve used.

Part of the beautiful garden in Germany that we were allowed to call our own for a week in September, was a mixed vegetable and flower plot.

At this time of year, the dahlias were the star of the show there. Single-flowered dahlias, but also many of those spiky pompom-flowered ones, big and small (click on images to enlarge).

The Garia/Dahlia Socks were fairly easy to knit (from the toe up). Only the wheat ears/dahlia flowers were quite a challenge, and from what I’ve read on Ravelry I’m not the only one who struggled. So I thought it might be helpful for others who’d like to knit these socks to show how I knit the ‘spikelet motif’, as it is called in the pattern.

Notes:

  • This explanation can only be understood in combination with the Garia Socks pattern designed by Erika Lopez A. It can be found in the book 52 Weeks of Socks or here on Ravelry.
  • I usually prefer charts, but in this case the written instructions worked better for me.
  • The yarn should always be held at the back of the work, except when purling sts.
  • Instead of my knitting needle, I used a crochet needle the same size (in my case 2.5 mm) to pull up the ‘long stitches’.

First of all: Set aside an hour or so for the spikelet motif and hang a ‘Do Not Disturb!!!’ sign on your door.

Round 1: After a purl st, bring the yarn to the back, insert your crochet needle into the 4th stitch down…

…pull up a loop…

place it on left needle without twisting, then transfer the stitch to right needle. (It doesn’t have to be placed on the left needle first, but doing so does make things easier.)

The next loop, to the left of the column of knit sts, is pulled up in the same way, in the same hole as before. Don’t pull the loops too tight. The left one tends to pull tighter. Aim at making them the same length.

Round 2: The ‘cdd’ can be confusing, because the ‘long’ stitches do not always stay in place. At least on my sock, some of them wandered along the needle and changed places with the purl stitches beside them.

So this is how it goes: Sl. 2 sts purlwise. The first of these 2 sts should be a long st, the second is a purl st. Knit the next st (this is again a long st). Pass the 2 slipped sts over the knit st. Now it looks like this:

The long sts in rounds 2 and 3 are pulled up 1 round above the ones in the previous round:

After round 3 it looks like this:

Do not despair – there are no more long sts to pull up after this, and everything is going to be fine.

Round 4 shouldn’t be a problem – just one small tip:
K2tog = 1 long st + 1 purl st
K2togtbl = 1 purl st + 1 long st

There! You can breathe out now – you did it!

Is this an enjoyable pair of socks to knit? Absolutely, especially with a good quality yarn in a lovely colour. The only thing I wasn’t totally happy with was the heel. It is on the small side. And no matter how hard I tried to prevent them, holes appeared on either side. I closed them by doing some darning on the inside afterwards. The German short rows require some experience, and the ‘spikelet motif’ is a great technique for anyone who likes a challenge.

PS: My blog post about the toes, foot and heel can be read here. The yarn I used was one 100-gram skein of hand-dyed Enkeltje Sock in a unique shade that is never dyed twice.

Featherweight Finished

Hello!

Autumn has well and truly arrived here, and with it the need for warm and woolly sweaters, scarves, socks etcetera. And I’ve just finished a light and airy summer cardi! I don’t know how other people do it. I mean, summer is the time for knitting with cool and summery yarns, but that means that summer knits are always finished after the season you’d want to wear them.

The summer cardi I’m talking about is the famous Featherweight Cardigan, designed by Hannah Fettig. It is knit from the top down.

I am the ten-thousand-two-hundred-and-fifty-first knitter to post her Featherweight on Ravelry. And there probably are thousands more who knit it. That’s mind-boggling. Why is it so popular? I can’t speak for others, but for me it’s the elegant silhouette and the use of fine yarn. And most of all the utter simplicity, which makes knitting it into a wonderfully meditative experience.

The only slightly tricky part of Featherweight is picking up the underarm stitches. To prevent large holes, I used the technique explained clearly by The Chilly Dog in this YouTube video. Here is a close-up of the end result – pretty neat, isn’t it?

After I’d finished knitting it, my Featherweight looked terribly frumpy. I was especially worried about the bottom edges of the front bands. So, I soaked it in a non-rinse detergent, laid it out flat on blocking mats, pinned the front bands into place using multi-pronged KnitBlockers, and left it to dry.

That did the trick as you can see on these before-and-after pictures (click on them to enlarge), although the edges are not quite as neat as I would have liked them:

How could I make them neater next time?

The original is very short, almost like a bolero. I lengthened the body by 11.5 cm/4.5” and made the sleeves a little longer, too. Knit in a fine fingering-weight yarn on 3.5 mm/US 4 needles, the knitted fabric is slightly transparent. Here is my Featherweight all finished:

The yarn I used is Knitting for Olive ‘Pure Silk’ in a shade called Ballerina. It is a 100% Bourette Silk (raw silk) yarn with a meterage/yardage of 250 m/273 yds to a 50 gram skein. A big plus is that it’s a butterfly-friendly yarn – the fibres are collected after the silk moths have left the cocoons.

It isn’t the sleek and slithery kind of silk, but matte with a cottony feel. The thread is composed of three very loosely plied strands and is rather splitty. I love the look and feel of this yarn, but its splitty-ness makes it a little harder to knit with.

My cardi isn’t exactly featherweight, but at 203 g it is pretty lightweight. All in all, I’m very happy with it. Only if I were to knit this again, I’d make the armholes slightly larger and try to do something about the edges of the ribbing. Or I’d use a different stitch pattern instead of the ribbing. Perhaps a pretty lace pattern?

I was also going to sew a summer dress to go with it, from the cherry blossom fabric I photographed the skein of yarn on, but, alas, I didn’t get round to it. A sensible person might sew it now, so that it would be finished in time for next summer, but I don’t know if I’m sensible enough for that.

I do know that I feel a sudden urge to knit lots of warm and woolly sweaters, scarves, socks etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. I’ll keep you posted about those. Bye for now! xxx

Lilla Ull Huset

Hello!

Sit down and enjoy the moment, the wooden sign at the top says in German. It was placed behind a stone bench along a hiking trail in Das Bergische Land, an area about 45 km east of Köln/Cologne. We’ve just spent a week there, and I have so much to show and tell, especially for the knitters among you. I hope you have some time to sit down and enjoy this moment at your computer, or in a lazy chair with your tablet or mobile.

The people we rented our apartment from had the most amazing garden. It was private…

… but we were allowed to spend as much time in it as we liked. This is a view of the garden from the veranda at the top:

There was a woodland walk, a vegetable and herb garden, fruit trees, roses, herbaceous borders and several photogenic summerhouses and sheds.

So romantic! We didn’t spend the entire week in that beautiful garden, though. Part of our week was spent visiting friends and relatives, chatting and sampling some utterly delicious cakes.

And to burn all those calories off, we also spent several days hiking. Compared to our flat Dutch country, it’s quite a mountainous area, although it doesn’t show much in this picture.

One of our walks was a themed one around Fachwerkhäuser. How I love those beautiful timber-framed buildings. I could fill an entire post with the pictures I’ve taken of them alone and have had a hard time choosing just one.

The first couple of days were warm and sunny, but then the weather changed (sneaking in one more Fachwerkhaus here).

And on a very, very wet day, we decided to go shopping in the town of Gummersbach.

I’d googled a bit beforehand and discovered a yarn shop there called Lilla Ull Huset, specializing in Scandinavian knitting yarns.

It is a veritable Valhalla for knitters, with yarns from Danish Isager, Holst and Geilsk, Norwegian Sandnes, Swedish Ullcentrum Öland, Islandic Istex Lopi and more. I’m adding as many links as I can, so that anyone who wants to can spend even more time drooling over lovely yarns and patterns.

This is a close-up of the Isager section:

And this simple yet stylish striped scarf was knit from a combination of their yarns.

There were quite a few knitted sweaters, scarves and shawls to inspire visitors. This is a soft and cosy Sandnes one – isn’t it fun how they styled it with those over-the-top pearl necklaces?

Below right is Christel Seyfarth’s Mongolia Shawl. And left Isager’s sweater Clouds of Sils Maria.

The sweater is a wonderful Scandinavian amalgam, designed by Danish Marianne Isager, with an Icelandic yoke, and knit for the most part in Geilsk Tweed. I’d love to knit it, especially in this tweedy yarn.

There was also a great selection of books. The entire series of those beautiful Norwegian Kofteboken, many Isager books and also books by designers I’d never heard of, like Susie Haumann, Ditte Larsen and Annette Danielsen.

So, did we drive home with a boot filled with enough yarn to cover all my loved ones in knitting from head to toe? It was tempting, but I’ve been prudent and ‘only’ came home with 3 skeins of yarn, matching buttons and two books. The books are by Annette Danielsen:

Wintertage (left) is a thinnish booklet in German, containing several easy-to-make recipes as well as 7 sweater patterns. And Fynsk Forår (right) is in Danish and contains patterns for many beautiful pullovers and cardigans, as well as fabulous photographs of Danish landscapes, buildings and art.

The designs all look very wearable and have interesting design details, like this horizontal cable along the top of vertical ones on the back of a cardigan.

And last but not least, I found a pattern, yarn and the cutest buttons for a jacket for our grandson.

More about that when I get to it.

Perhaps I should create a map with all the yarn shops I’ve blogged about – that might be useful. Until I find out how and can find the time for that, Lilla Ull Huset and all of the other ones I’ve visited can be found by clicking on ‘shopping’ in the list of tags in the right-hand column on your computer screen (below the ‘Search’ window) or via this link. The only ‘problem’ is that you’ll also need to scroll past a quilt shop, book shop and farmers’ market here and there.

Hope to see you again next week! (I’ll try to behave and keep things shorter then.) xxx

Raspberry Ripple

Hello!

The long, very hot and very dry summer finally seems to be coming to an end here. I’m ever so grateful for the rain we’ve had the past couple of days, and am hoping for lots more as everything is parched. The only thing that has done well in our garden this year are our grapes.

My summer knitting projects are also nearing completion – more about those soon, I hope. But today, it’s Raspberry Ripple day!

First of all, here is a shawl I finished knitting quite some time ago and have finally blocked. The shawl pattern is called Morbihan, but I’m calling this version Raspberry Ripple.

The yarn I’ve used for it is John Arbon’s Knit by Numbers 4-ply. It’s a 100% organically farmed Falklands merino, and each colour is available in a gradient of 6 shades. The colour shown here is called Raspberry (what else?), and in total I’ve used eight 25-gram mini skeins – 3 of the darkest shade and 1 each of the other 5 shades.

This is what my Raspberry Ripple Shawl looks like spread out:

I like wearing triangular shawls scrunched up and wrapped around my neck like this:

Morbihan was first published in English only, but now I’ve also translated into Dutch. The pattern can be found here on Ravelry in both languages.

Morbihan was eerst alleen in het Engels beschikbaar, maar ik heb het patroon nu ook in het Nederlands vertaald. Het is hier op Ravelry te vinden.

Raspberries, how I love them. Not just their colour, but their taste, too. If I want some for a dessert, I need to make a trip to the supermarket. We do have wild raspberries around here, but they are rare.

It’ll soon be woolly-shawl-weather again, but at the moment it’s still warm enough to be ice-cream-weather. So here is my simple (no ice cream maker needed) recipe for Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream.

Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream

(makes approx. 1 litre)

Ingredients:

  • 250 g raspberries
  • 130 g caster sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 250 ml milk
  • 250 ml double cream

1) Place the raspberries in a small saucepan with 30 g of the sugar. Cook on medium heat, stirring from time to time and squashing the raspberries with a wooden spoon. Simmer for about 5 mins without the lid on. Push through a sieve with your wooden spoon. Discard the seeds and the last bit of pulp left in the sieve. Leave to cool.

2) Whisk the egg yolks and the remaining sugar together. Pour the milk in a pan and bring to boiling point. Pour the hot milk on the egg-and-sugar mixture, whisking all the time. Return the eggy milk to the pan and heat slowly, stirring until it has thickened slightly (make sure it doesn’t boil!). Leave this to cool as well.

3) When the raspberry sauce and the custard have cooled completely, whip the double cream until it forms soft peaks. Gently fold the cream into the custard. Pour the creamy custard into a container (holding at least 1 litre).

4) Pour in the raspberry sauce and make swirls and ripples using the handle of a wooden spoon. Cover, place in the freezer, and freeze overnight.

Enjoy!

PS: More details of my Raspberry Ripple Shawl can be found here in my Ravelry project notes.

Non-Superwash

Hello!

From the 1970s I remember something new appearing on the yarn market: Superwash Wool! It was considered a blessing. Garments knit from superwash wool were so much easier to care for – they didn’t felt, they didn’t shrink and all in all they were more durable.

For the blanket I knit for our grandson, I deliberately chose a superwash merino wool to make life easier for his parents. And now, recently, I read ‘…I have stopped purchasing superwash wools…’ in this book:

Why? I thought.

And then I came across a yarn explicitly marketed as non-superwash. Again I thought, Why? (Uh-huh, I have deep thoughts from time to time.)

Intrigued, I bought a few hand-dyed non-superwash skeins. They are now an almost finished Thús 2, that I’ll finish as soon as the weather gets cooler:

‘But’, I asked the indie dyer selling this yarn, ‘does that mean that your other yarns are superwash, even though the labels don’t say so?’ ‘Not all of them, but some of them are,’ she said. I was flabbergasted.

Apparently I’d been using superwash yarns all along without being aware of it! I’d always thought that all yarns were non-superwash, unless specifically labelled as superwash. And what’s wrong with superwash yarns anyway?

Always happy with an excuse to do some research, I dived into an online sea of opinions and information about superwash versus non-superwash wool, almost drowning in it. Here is a summary of what I found out:

Why would wool need superwash treatment at all?
Wool fibres have tiny open scales that interlock when friction is applied or when they come into contact with quickly changing water temperatures, leading to felting and shrinking. Superwash treatment can prevent that.

A controversial superwash treatment
The most commonly used method for shrink/felt-proofing wool by far is the chlorine-Hercosett process. After washing, but before spinning, the wool goes into a bath of diluted chlorine to dull the scales. And after that the scales are coated with a synthetic (polymer) resin to make them even smoother and prevent the wool from felting/shrinking. There is a lot of debate about this method:

  • On the one hand: The chlorine-Hercosett method requires large quantities of water and produces an environmentally hazardous effluent. In some parts of the world this may lead to water pollution.
  • On the other hand: Because of the strict waste water legislation in the EU and some other countries the effluent is treated to such an extent that only very clean water leaves the factory.
  • Positive: This treatment prolongs the lifespan of items made from the wool.
  • Question mark: Does the resin coating release micro pollutants when the wool is washed? Some producers say that the resin used is biodegradable and does not, but somehow I do not feel completely assured.

More environmentally friendly alternatives

  • EXP, which stands for EX-Pollution, was developed by Schoeller. This method avoids pollutants altogether, but still uses extra water.
  • Naturetexx Plasma, a treatment not using any water at all, but just air and electricity. The drawback is that it uses lots of electricity and there are questions about the durability of the wool treated in this way.

So, what is an environmentally conscious knitter to do?
It’s complicated – sigh! The labels don’t tell us much. They sometimes tell us that a yarn has been superwash treated, but not always. And they don’t tell us which treatment process was used. What we can do is this:

  • Visit yarn manufacturers’ websites. Some of them give useful information about their production process.
  • Look for yarns with the GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) label. Chlorine cannot be used in any stage of the production of these yarns.
  • Remember that any superwash treatment makes knitted garments last longer, which is also sustainable, and may be necessary for items that need to be washed often, like baby things.
  • Choose non-superwash yarns for items that do not need frequent washing. Some people say that non-superwash yarns have less saturated colours than superwash ones, but I find that hard to believe looking at these yarns from my nearest indie dyer.

Magic Toes and Flowers

Hello!

Later on, I’ll take you to the place that has this milk pail saying ‘Open, Welkom’ at its entrance, but first of all some sock talk.

Unlike most of the socks I knit, the Garia Socks I started last weekend are knit from the toe up. I cast on for the toe using Judy’s Magic Cast-On, a technique someone in my knitting group taught me years ago. Most of the sock knitters among you will be familiar with it, but in case you aren’t here is a video with Judy herself explaining it clearly. It’s very simple, really, once you get the hang of it.

After the toe, the sock is turned inside out and is worked that way to just below the cuff. Why? Well, this way most of the stitches in the knit-and-purl stitch pattern are knit instead of purled, which makes for easier and more enjoyable knitting. Such a clever idea!

This is what the sock looks like while I am knitting it:

And this is what it will look like turned right-side-out later:

The magic is not just in the toes and in knitting the socks inside out. It’s also in the magic loop method I’m using, worked on a long circular needle.

The heel uses German short rows, also knit inside out.

A very enjoyable and cheerful summer knitting project, these socks. I’ve taken some of the pictures with a summery bunch of flowers as a backdrop…

… picked from the pick-your-own flower garden I’ve taken you along to before. It’s just a short bicycle ride from our home.

And it’s always such a joy to visit, especially towards the end of summer, when our own garden is looking rather tired. Everything is still growing and flowering so abundantly that the paths are hardly visible anymore.

I’ve composed a small gallery of flowers in the colours of my sock yarn (click on images to enlarge).

Like a butterfly, I fluttered from flower to flower, collecting pictures instead of nectar (but that’s where my likeness to a butterfly ends 😉).

Thank you for reading and have a lovely weekend! xxx

Quiet Summer Days

Hello!

With many of our friends and neighbours away on holiday, it’s quiet. We have planned a short break later on, but for the time being we’re at home, quietly working, gardening, caring for our grandson, decluttering and DIY-ing. It’s quiet in my inbox, quiet on Ravelry, and even quiet in our chicken coop, as our old cock Floris has died.

He was a magnificent bird and his presence and even his crowing are sorely missed (by us, perhaps not so much by our neighbours.) Floris’ death was followed by that of the last of our old hens. Now we have only four hens of a younger generation left. This is a photo of them I took earlier.

At the moment they are moulting, which means that they look scruffy, are rather subdued and are having a break from laying eggs.

It’s quiet in the forest, too.

We’re in the middle of a heatwave. Adapting our pace to the temperature during our walks gives us the time to notice things that we may otherwise just have walked past. Unassuming brown butterflies on blackberry blooms.

The veins on the wings of a bumble bee.

And this:

Some kind of fungus covered in droplets. Could it be dew? Beads of perspiration? It is very hot, after all, but a perspiring fungus…?

Looking it up, we found out that it is called zwetende kaaszwam in Dutch, which literally means sweating cheese fungus. Seriously! (I haven’t been able to find the English name; in Latin it is postia guttulata.) A saucer-shaped older one had droplets along its rim (click on pictures to enlarge).

Okay, I realize this may be getting a tad nerdy. For everyone who isn’t all that into sweaty fungi, the heather is also in bloom:

I wonder why it is so quiet in the forest, with all of the campsites and holiday parks around here fully booked. Can you see the tent and caravans on the edge of the wood, looking out on the sheep? I think they have some of the loveliest camping spots around.

What are the tourists all doing, if they are not out walking? Maybe they are sitting in front of their tents, caravans or cottages knitting? That wouldn’t be a bad way to spend these quiet, hot days, if you ask me.

It is, in fact, how I am spending part of these quiet summer days, and my Featherweight Cardigan, knit from the top down, is growing nicely.

While I’m writing this, there are 10.2k Featherweight Cardigans on Ravelry. Over 10.000! And that is just the ones posted on Ravelry. There must be thousands more who knit it without posting theirs. I wonder why this simple little cardi is so immensely popular. Knitting on, I hope to find out.

I have also wound my cheerful pink-and-orange sock yarn and decided on a sock pattern. My friend and fellow-translator Angelique suggested 2 patterns from the book 52 Weeks of Socks (scroll down to see all of the 52 sock designs). She has finished translating it into Dutch, but the Dutch version won’t be published until January 2023.

I’ve chosen Garia by Erika Lopez A – socks knit from the toe up with an interesting detail at the cuff. I’m looking forward to starting them.

If you’re in a heatwave, too: kalm an, hè?

PS: Angelique is also a knitting pattern designer – her designs can be found here on Ravelry.