Needle-and-Hook Provisional Cast-On

Hello! Draped over the washing line along our beech hedge in its autumn finery is a scarf I’ve just finished. It has an interesting cast-on I’ll tell you about further on, but first a few photos and a bit about the scarf (and about something I found!).

The Polka Dot Scarf, as the design is called, has holes for ‘dots’. A knitting friend sighed, ‘Oh, so much work in such a thin yarn!’ But it wasn’t like that for me at all. For me, it represents many hours of peaceful meditation.

The Polka Dot Scarf pattern can be found here on Ravelry. It is described in two widths and I’ve made the wider version. Knit on 3.75 mm (US 5) needles, mine measures 56 cm by 1.90 m (20 by 74¾ inches) and weighs 150 g. Lightweight, yet warm and cosy.

The yarn I’ve used is Lamana ‘Milano’ (90% wool/10% cashmere; 25 g/180 m), a heavy lace-weight in a dark denim shade. The yarn manufacturer has high standards with regard to animal welfare and sustainability, which is a big plus for me.

This is a scarf that really benefits from some severe blocking. (Sorry, forgot to take pictures of the blocking process.) When it was finished I decided that it would be perfect for my grandson’s other grandmother. What do you call someone like that? A fellow nan? A co-granny? Anyway, she wears stylish, unfussy clothes in navy and grey, and I hope she’ll like it.

I photographed the Polka Dot Scarf on a blouse with raindrops and umbrellas…

… not just because they looked nice together, but also because the blouse symbolizes the very wet autumn we’re having this year. During a sunny spell on a rainy day, I found a dragonfly in front of our house. A sadly bedraggled but still beautiful creature, with blue markings on its body and head.

It is a migrant hawker, called paardenbijter (horse biter) in Dutch. Does it really bite horses?, I wondered. Will it bite me? And more important: is it alive or dead? The best policy seemed to place it in a sunny spot to dry its raindrop spangled wings and fly away if it was alive or be picked up by a bird if not.

It’s gone now, and I’ll never know whether it’s flown away of its own accord or in a bird’s stomach.

To close off, here is a step-by-step guide to the

Needle-and-Hook provisional cast-on

1 – With a length of smooth waste yarn, make a slip-knot and place it on a crochet hook.

2 – With the hook in your right hand and the knitting needle in your left, form an X. The hook should be on top. Holding the thread behind the knitting needle, wrap the yarn around the hook…

… and pull it through the loop. Now the first stitch is on your needle.

3 – Passing the yarn between the knitting needle and the hook, bring it back behind the needle and repeat step 2 until you have the required number of stitches on your needle.

4 – Crochet a few chain stitches at the end. Hang a stitch marker from the last stitch to remember where to start unravelling later on. Now, start knitting with the yarn chosen for your project.

5 – Ready to remove the cast-on? Starting at the tail with the stitch marker, carefully unravel the crochet chain and pick up the live stitches one by one. Don’t forget the half stitch at the end!

This is a really useful technique for e.g. scarves knit from the middle out to the sides. In the case of the Polka Dot Scarf, it’s used for knitting on a nice I-cord edge.

I hope I’ve explained it clearly. If all goes according to plan, I’ll take you out for walk again next week. See you then! xxx

Knitting and Walking

Driving home through the dark from yet another get-together, with the windscreen wipers working furiously and strong gusts of wind buffeting the car, I suddenly thought, Enough! The past couple of weeks have been such fun, but now I need some rest and time alone. For me, knitting and walking are the best ways to rest and recharge. Sleeping helps too, obviously, but sleep can be elusive.

So, I’ve been knitting…

…knitting until a long scarf in a fine yarn was finished. Now it only needs blocking…

…casting on and making good progress on a pair of socks for a friend…

…and knitting on a simple stocking stitch poncho until it’s the size of a nice and warm lap blanket. It’s almost ready to be seamed and then I can knit on the cowl.

I’ve also been out for a walk every day. Taking my usual walks through our village, walks with our grandson, a walk in a foggy wetland, and a walk around the nearby village of Havelte. The real reason for my visit to Havelte was a tiny Advent market. There were only six stalls, but really nice ones with good quality toys…

…handmade purses and bags, hand carved wooden spoons, watercolour greeting cards, sustainable clothes for children and adults, and semiprecious stones and fossils.

I found several lovely gifts for our December celebrations and then went for a walk. Tourist websites call Havelte ‘The Pearl’ of our part of the country. To me, it’s an ordinary village for the most part, but it does have some lovely spots and beautiful old houses.

According to the weather forecast it was going to be dry and sunny. Only they forgot to mention the sudden downpours in between the dry and sunny spells. Oh my, such beautiful golden light against the threatening skies! I didn’t do anything to enhance this photo – this is exactly the way it was:

And here is a photograph that’s almost embarrassing. A windmill with a rainbow – can it get any cheesier? But again, this is exactly the way it was:

There were hardly any people about, but I did have eye contact with two four-legged villagers. A group of Drenthe Heath sheep crowding around a feeding rack had their backs turned to me.

But two sheep had finished eating and one of them was looking straight at me. Hello there, lovely creature.

And towards the end of my walk, a cat briefly looked up to see if I was to be trusted and then, apparently satisfied that I was, continued lapping up water from a puddle.

I’ll tell you more about the patterns, techniques and yarns used for the above knitting projects soon, when they are finished. I also have some more gift knitting planned, as well as a new pattern (or two) of my own. All in all, I hope to keep you provided with inspiration for the rest of the year and beyond, and also with a place to rest and recharge. Kalm an, hè?

Visitors

Last week I was too busy to write. This week, my planner is still not exactly empty but it has enough space for a nice long chat here. So, hello! It’s good to see you!

I’d like to tell you a bit about the visitors we’ve had. The first one was non-human. We had been wondering for a while who was responsible for the holes in the grass in our back garden. Now we know – a green woodpecker digging for worms and insects with its long, strong bill.

It’s the first time we’ve seen this beautiful bird in our garden. I hope it’ll come back to visit us often.

The first human visitor was a dear friend coming on a much belated birthday visit. She is a prolific knitter and one of those invaluable friends who give honest feedback on my knitting projects. I really appreciate that, and after her visit rrrrrip went a cowl I was knitting for another friend. Knowing what I love, she gave me some of her own hand dyed yarn in 3 shades of blue and one of the latest knitting books. I’ll tell you about the yarn once I have some idea of what I’ll make with it. The book is Softly – Timeless Knits by Sari Nordlund.

It’s smaller than most knitting books, but packed with patterns: 7 pullovers, 2 vest tops, 3 hats, 3 cardigans, 3 scarves/shawls, 3 pairs of socks, and 1 pair of mitts. A few of the patterns are suitable for beginners, but most have intricate stitch patterns that experienced knitters will love.

The styling and photography are stunning. All of the designs have been photographed in neutrals with grey and cream-coloured buildings and other architectural elements in the background. Some of the photographs are in black and white. In the foreword Sari said something about Helsinki and I just assumed that the photographs were taken there, until I thought, ‘hang on, do they have an Eiffel Tower replica in Helsinki?’

Looking more closely, I noticed that there were also other familiar landmarks in the background, a Rue de Rivoli sign, and a café called La Comète. Ah, Paris! Beautiful knits, artful photography – what a gorgeous book! The first thing I’ll make from it is a pair of socks with a variety of twisted stitch cables.

Our next visitors were friends we hadn’t seen for ages. Years ago they gave up their jobs and their house to go and live on a boat and sail around the world. They had planned to come back for a visit sooner, but then Covid happened and they got stuck in New Zealand. Well, they were here now, and we were very glad that they had time in their busy schedule to come and stay with us for a while, too.

We’ve had a lot of rain lately, but were very lucky with the weather during their stay. On a day without rain we went for a long walk, enjoying each other’s company, the exercise, and the autumn colours.

Wanting to give them something personal, useful and not cumbersome, I’d knit her a cowl quite a while ago that was patiently waiting for their visit. It’s Song of the Sea designed by Louise Zass-Bangham.

Knit from Fyberspates Vivacious 4-ply in shade Deep Aqua, it is covered in waves, from wee wavelets to big breakers.

For him, I knit a Boyfriend Watch Cap from two threads of Rowan Felted Tweed held together, in the shades Seafarer and Seasalter.

Because the two shades are not too far apart the effect is not really marled, but a beautiful deep shade of blue with tweedy flecks.

The crown is shaped by decreases in three places.

The pattern said to soak the hat and leave it to dry flat, but I happened to have the perfect hat blocker – a flower vase turned upside-down.

Finally, another dear friend came for a visit bringing her 11-year-old daughter. While my friend and I were making music together, her daughter learnt to bake pull-apart rolls from my husband.

A lovely end to a wonderful visitor-filled week! With the warm and comforting smell of freshly baked bread I’m leaving you for now. (Well, I can’t really send you the smell over the internet, more’s the pity, but I hope you can imagine it.) Thank you for visiting. Bye!

Better Button Bands

Hello! Today’s post starts with a few nifty knitting tips that some of you will love. If that’s not quite your thing, perhaps you’d like to scroll on for some sightseeing.

The green cable cardigan I knit for our grandson in early summer had warned me about the quality of the patterns in the pattern booklet – there were serious errors in the instructions for the sleeves. I loved the vintage look of the baby items in it, though, and was prepared to give it another try.

Forewarned, I looked through the pattern first. What did it say about the sleeves? ‘Work as the sleeves of sweater 11, p. 57.’ But, but… this IS sweater 11 on p. 57! Ugh, I gave up, just looked at the photos and worked out a pattern myself.

On the green cable cardi, I wasn’t happy with the ends of the button and buttonhole bands – they didn’t form a straight line with the ribbing.

At the time, my friend A. sent me a link with tips for ‘Button Band Gladness’. There was a lot there about how many stitches to pick up, but I didn’t think that was my problem. For me the magic tip came at the very end. Or actually there were two:

1) Find that hard-to-find place VERY close to the edge of the cast-on (or bind-off) to pick up your first (or last) stitch.

2) The first and last stitch of ribbing always roll. So for a k1, p1 rib, instead of starting and ending with one knit stitch, start and end with two.

Especially the last tip helped me get much better button bands, both at the bottom…

… and at the top. Thank you for the link, A.!

However much I would have liked to sew a pair of trousers to go with the little cardi, I can’t do everything. So, after an appointment in a business district of Zwolle, I drove to the city centre for some shopping. The shortest route from the parking place to the shops crosses two canals. My maternal ancestors lived and worked on boats like these.

Behind the old gables some high new ones are now towering.

A long time ago, I worked in a psychologists’ practice here and often strolled through the busy shopping streets during my lunch break. I still love coming here from time to time. One of my favourite shops belongs to a Danish retail chain selling things for the home as well as great crafts materials. Wouldn’t you love to have shelves like these at home, with glass jars filled with ribbons, just to look at?

Into my shopping basket went a tin of Danish butter cookies for the hostess of the next get-together of my knitting group and a few other small gifts.

I treated myself to a lunch of pumpkin soup with bread rolls and a glass of fresh ginger-and-orange tea at the café in a big book shop.

It’s a marvellous shop in a former church building. The original vaulted ceiling and the organ are still there.

But the old familiar feeling of overwhelm came over me and I left the shop without books. I did succeed in finding a pair of soft size 98 sweat pants in forest green (not in the book shop, obviously). Don’t they look nice with the sand-coloured cardi?

Next week, we’re having friends to stay and I don’t know if I’ll be able to write a post. If not next week, I’ll be back the week after that. See you then!

Focusing on Finishing

Hello! Feeling sad, angry and worried about the terrible conflict that is causing so much suffering, I thought I wouldn’t publish a blogpost this week. But I changed my mind, realizing it’s important to keep paying attention to good, beautiful, gentle things, too. No matter how seemingly insignificant they are. So here are some words and pictures from my small corner of the world after all.

On the knitting front, I’m focusing on finishing my WIPs one by one. An 18-month-size cardigan is drying on my blocking mats. I’m not blocking it the way you’d block a lace shawl, but just laying the pieces out – not stretching them at all, only using pins in a few places and for the rest patting them flat.

I can’t sit around twiddling my thumbs while the cardi is drying of course, so alongside finishing WIPs, I’m knitting a few simple gifts. Quite a few actually, but I’ll also focus on them one by one.

This way, I’m making good progress and that feels great, I have to say. The weather is also conducive to knitting. With cooler temperatures and some dark and rainy days it’s beginning to feel a little like autumn. The wild violets are still flowering and most trees are still green, but the bracken is turning coppery brown…

… the forest floor is littered with chestnuts and acorns, and fungi in many different colours and shapes are popping up everywhere.

We’ve harvested our last tomatoes, and the last of the farmers’ markets of the year is also behind us. It was windy and rainy and very quiet. We had a chat with some of the stall holders and then it was, ‘Goodbye, see you next year!’ Only one of them said, ‘Let’s hope we’ll meet here again next year.’ He is in his eighties. Yes, let’s hope so.

We left with some groceries in our shopping bag, tea/coffee and cake in our stomachs, and a bunch of branches with tiny rosehips wrapped in a newspaper. Just imagine how many teeny tiny roses there must have been on them.

It’s been good sitting here selecting photos and quietly tapping away at my computer. Thank you for visiting and see you again next week!

Lempisukat?

Hello! I hope this finds you and your loved ones all well. First of all, sorry to the non-knitters among you. It’s very knitterly post today I’m afraid, about a pair of socks I’ve just finished – Lempi, another pair from that marvellous book 52 Weeks of Socks. Designed by Rachel Coopey, these are knit in 3 colours from the cuff down to the toe.

The photos in the book are very atmospheric, but don’t always show the details very well. These socks have a variation on k2, p2 ribbing on the cuff and another variation on it on the top of the foot.

I knit the Lempi socks on 2.0 mm (US 0) double-pointed needles and switched to 2.5 mm (US 1½) circulars for the colourwork section. At the toe of the first sock, I realized that there wouldn’t be enough of the main colour for the second sock – I’d already used more than half of it. And I was making the smallest size, too!

Unable to get another skein at short notice, I decided to switch the colours around for the second sock, ending up with an unmatched pair. After soaking I put them on my sock blockers.

Unlike with the pair of stocking stitch socks I blocked on them before, I am very happy with the result now. Blocking really makes a difference – can you see it?

It worked especially well for the colourwork section, which was rather uneven before blocking but evened out nicely.

The yarn I used (Lang Jawoll superwash) has a small spool of thinner yarn inside each skein for reinforcing heels and toes. With this extra thread and the slip-stitch pattern used, the fabric for the heels became very dense and stiff – it really feels indestructible.

Curious about the meaning of Lempi, I looked it up. Turns out it’s a Finnish word meaning love, or (in compounds) favourite. For instance, lempimusiikki means favourite music, lempiväri means favourite colour and lempisukat means favourite socks.

So, are these my new lempisukat? Not really. I would have preferred both socks to be the same, if I’m honest. Also, in my humble opinion the 3-colour design is not quite balanced. And what really bothers me about my pair is that there is not enough contrast in the colourwork of the second sock. My advice to anyone who’d like to knit a pair of these: Omit the 3rd colour and instead use two 100-gram skeins of yarn with plenty of contrast.

Lempi can be found here on Ravelry and more information about 52 Weeks of Socks here on the (Finnish) publisher’s website.

How to get your knitting mojo back

Hello! Does it happen to you, too, that you lose your knitting mojo from time to time? Over the past month or so, I seem to have lost mine. It isn’t as if there is nothing on my needles, it’s just that I’m not feeling terribly enthusiastic about any of it.

Mojo, what does the word really mean? I’ve always thought of it as a combo of motivation and joy, but is it? As a professional translator, I stopped using paper dictionaries a long time ago, but I still enjoy leafing through them.

The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary says:
Mojo – 1. Magic, voodoo; a charm or amulet; 2. Any narcotic drug, esp. morphine.

Hmm, I think I’ll stick to my own definition:
Mojo – Acronym of MOtivation and JOy.

So, how to get your knitting mojo back? Googling for help, I found lots of tips. Well, actually mostly the same ones mentioned over and over again. Selecting those that spoke to me most and adding a couple of my own I’ve made a list of 9 tips (9 is my lucky number).

1 Get enough sleep

For me, feeling blah about knitting often means that I’m just plain tired and need more sleep. Getting enough sleep is easier said than done, but I’ll do my best, i.e.: drink calming herbal teas, relax more during the daytime, try to take naps, try not to worry about things I can’t do anything about, do something about those I can, and heed tip 9. I could also knit a new Soothing Sachet and tuck it under my pillow. This is one I knit earlier:

2 Knit together

A real-life knitting group would be best. But lacking that, you could join a KAL or hang out with your favourite Ravelry group. My knitting group only meets every other month, but is always fun and inspiring. Here are a few Ravelry links to the beautiful things some of my knitting friends were making when we met last week: FF Backward, a fun sweater with an interesting construction; Kuno’s Cushion, with linen stitch stripes; Riddari, an Icelandic design with a beautiful yoke; and The Twigs, a refined sweater by a Japanese designer.

3 Visit a yarn shop

Actually, I visited two last week – one of them a small local haberdashery shop and the other one a shop I blogged about a couple of years ago. Looking at yarns and samples, and leafing through the latest books and magazines is always inspiring. If you’re unable to visit a brick-and-mortar shop, there are always online ones.

4 Browse patterns

Browsing patterns on Ravelry or Instagram, or looking at pictures in knitting mags may bring back that spark you’re missing. I came home from the above yarn shop with the latest Rowan Magazine, nr 74. It’s quite expensive, and I hesitated, but decided to get it because it’s a special about two beautiful tweed yarns and has several patterns in it that I’d love to knit. My two favourites are Himalayas, included both as a pullover and a cardigan.

And Scree, a colourwork scarf knit in the round.

5 Organize your stash

This seems like a great idea. Maybe you’ll find yarns you’d forgotten about that would make your fingers itch to knit. I’ll keep this in mind for later…

6 Knit a gift

Perhaps thinking about someone you love and how something you knit for them will keep them warm will bring your knitting mojo back. This tip made me cycle to the small haberdashery shop in our nearest town to get two skeins of yarn for a hat for a friend.

7 Sort your WIPs

With six works in progress (WIPs) on my needles that are not making a lot of progress, this may be the magical tip for me. Gathering them all together, I realized that there is something about each WIP that’s keeping me from knitting happily on. Take these socks, for instance. The first sock has taken up 30 g of the main colour, so there is only 20 g left for the second sock – uh-oh! What to do now? Buy another skein? Rip back a bit and add stripes? Something else?

8 Start something new

Starting something new is always nice, of course. Maybe you need something challenging to get your needles clicking again. Or maybe something simple. I’m choosing the latter option – a very simple poncho. This will kill two birds with one stone, because I’m also going to knit this together with my favourite group of Ravelry friends.

9 Get some exercise and fresh air

This helps to feel more motivated and joyful in general.

These tips have already made me feel more MOtivated about finishing my WIPs. And I actually feel a tiny spark of JOy about starting the hat and the poncho. I also have the feeling that I may need something more colourful and/or challenging to bring my mojo back completely.

I hope that your knitting mojo hasn’t left you, or if it has, that these tips will help you as they’re helping me. xxx

Oh, the Places Knitters Go!

Hello! It’s good to be back here. Maybe you haven’t even noticed I’ve been away, but we’ve been on a late summer holiday to Germany. We spent the first half in the Mosel region, and the second half in the Eifel. Above a photo of the view on the river Mosel from our balcony, and below our first holiday home from the outside:

In my dreams, that is. In real life this is Reichsburg Cochem. And in real life we stayed in a far humbler (but lovely) abode. In real life, this was what I looked out on when I sat knitting outside our cottage.

I didn’t knit all that much during our holiday, though. Partly because we were out walking and visiting places most of the time, and partly because it was so hot that the yarn almost felted in my hands. A few rows on a scarf here and there, and half a sock was all I knit.

Halfway through the holiday, I celebrated my birthday. We had some of the famous and delicious German Kuchen, of course. (The Germans are so much better at baking cakes than we Dutch are.) And I also got to decide what we were going to do the rest of the day. I chose a visit to another castle and… a yarn shop (what else?). This is Schloss Bürresheim.

The castle is entered through a kind of tunnel that leads to a courtyard with an outdoor summer kitchen. It’s very special, like being in a film.

Actually it is in a film. In an edited form, it is the castle where Indiana Jones’ father is held captive in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Now, let’s drive on to the yarn shop. It’s Die Kleine Wollfabrik in Kaisersesch. My guess is that tourists are a rarity in this town. It’s 30 ˚ C/86 ˚ F, with glaring sunlight and noise and dust from building activities in a colourless street. Oh, the places we knitters go! For a moment I wonder ‘what on earth am I doing here?’, and then step inside a world of colour.

There is yarn everywhere. In overflowing baskets…

… in cubbyholes, on shelves, on the floor…

… on top of storage units and in front of the windows. These skeins were dyed by the shop owner herself:

And there is also quite a bit of spinning fibre.

So, is this yarn shop worth a detour? If you’re looking for yarn for a sweater – frankly no. There is very little of that kind of yarn here. But if you’d like some yarn for socks or a shawl – absolutely. Be prepared for a kind of yarn jungle expedition, though. You’d be wise to have some kind of idea of what you’re looking for beforehand.

From all of the very colourful yarns, I chose several rather quiet ones for three pairs of socks to give away, and a variegated yarn for a pair for me. All of them yarns I haven’t knit with before – I’ll tell you more about them when I get round to knitting them up.

After all of the beautiful places we’ve been to, it’s good to be back home. In a sense, I’m a cow. Not the nicest thing to say of oneself perhaps, but what I mean is: I need time to chew things over. After ingesting lots of grass/impressions, both cows and I need some quiet time to digest everything. Sifting through my photographs and writing about my experiences helps me do that.

Thank you for reading. I hope to digest/write about a visit to another textiles-related place next week before getting back to my ordinary knitting chat. Hope to see you then!

Late Summer Knitting

It’s the first day of September today and it won’t be long before the summer is over. The hedgerows are speckled red, orange and purple with elderberries, rosehips and blackberries.

It’s that in-between time, when on the whole it still feels like summer, but with dewy early-morning spiders’ webs and clumps of fungi letting us know that autumn is on its way.

It’ll soon be time to start knitting warm and cosy sweaters or perhaps even a blanket. But for now, I’m still knitting on my small summer projects. Another cardi for our grandson, this time with a diamond pattern, is well underway.

I’ve also started another pair of socks from the 52 Weeks of Socks book. This time it’s Lempi, designed by Rachel Coopey. My first attempt became far too wide, with a very loose and open fabric.

I never swatch for socks – do you? I just start and try them on, and if I’m not happy with what I’m getting I rip them out and start anew. That’s what I did with the first Lempi sock. I went down from the suggested 2.5 mm/US 1½ to 2.0 mm/US 0. Now the fabric and fit look right.

These socks have a knit-and-purl pattern on the feet, some colourwork on the legs, and long cuffs in p2, k2 alternating with narrow bands of k2, p2. A simple but very nice rib pattern. Just a few rows to go and I can start on the colourwork section.

The yarn I’m using is Lang Jawoll in three colours. It comes in 50 gram skeins instead of the usual 100 grams, which is handy for sock patterns using multiple colours. Each skein hides a small spool of thinner yarn inside for reinforcing heels and toes.

Both the Lempi socks and the little cardi need quite a bit of attention. The cardigan isn’t very difficult, but I’m making the pattern up as I go which makes it a little more complicated. So, in need of a mindless project alongside, I’ve also swatched for another Polka Dot Scarf. I gave the first one I knit away and may (or may not) keep this one myself. I’m using a different colour for the actual scarf – dark denim instead of grey.

With these three projects on my needles, I’ll have enough to do over the coming weeks. Meanwhile I’ll be composing a to-knit-list for when the days really start getting colder. Are you still knitting summery projects, too, or do you already have larger and warmer things on your lap?

It isn’t warm enough for our cherry tomatoes to ripen on the plants anymore, this late in the summer. So some of them are ripening on a glass plate in our window sill. They’re so pretty, and very tasty, too.

Hope to see you again next week. Byeeee! xxx

The Story of the Drowned Village

Hello! Today, I’m going to tell you a story. A story about a lake that wasn’t always a lake, a path that leads nowhere, and a drowned village.

‘Show, don’t tell,’ isn’t that what aspiring writers are always taught? Well, I’ll do better than that – I’ll show AND tell. Look, this is where we start – a narrow brick path, with old reed-roofed cottages on one side…

… and a flower garden and more tiny cottages on the other.

One of the cottages is now a tearoom. Maybe we can have a cuppa there later.

This used to be the path to the village of Beulake, but now it leads nowhere. Well, not quite nowhere – it ends at the water’s edge and brings us to the boat I’ve rented especially for us today. Please hop in. To get to the lake we need to negotiate a narrow canal first.

And here we are, on the Beulakerwijde – the lake that wasn’t always a lake. We’re not the only ones enjoying a lovely day out on the water.

It’s hot and sunny today, with a gentle breeze. Very different from that fateful day in November 1776, when rain and wind lashed the countryside.

Extensive peat extraction had made the area around Beulake vulnerable and a year earlier a heavy storm had broken the sea dykes in several places, flooded the land and driven away most of the inhabitants of the village. This time the storm was even worse. Fearing for their lives, the remaining 50 villagers fled to the church. They experienced the worst 36 hours of their lives, but survived to tell the tale. The village was drowned, however, and the entire area became a lake – the lake we’re on today.

The church disappeared in another storm, fifty years later, and… But wait, what’s that there in the distance?

It looks like, no, it can’t be, yes it is a… church tower???

A church tower complete with a bell and clockwork!

Well, actually it’s an artwork approximately in the spot where the original church of Beulake was. The small, uninhabited island behind it is called Kerkhof (church yard). It’s not hard to guess why.

The story of the drowned village of Beulake is the story behind one of the two versions of my Story Lines shawl.

The photographs were taken here, and I’ve been wanting to tell you the story behind it for a long time, but somehow never got round to it.

There is also a red version with ruffles along the edge, but the watery blue version ends with a row of droplets.

Well, it’s time to head back, along the reedbeds and water lilies.

We’re lucky – the tearoom is still open. Do you have time to stay a little longer? What would you like? Coffee, fresh mint tea, an alcohol-free beer? And carrot cake, a brownie or a slice of Dutch apple pie to go with it?

The Story Lines pattern can be found here on Ravelry and the blog post about both versions of the shawl here.

Our boat trip started from Natuurmonumenten visitor centre De Wieden. (Natuurmonumenten is the nature conservation organisation that protects and manages the beautiful and vulnerable wetland area of today’s story.)