Places to Sit and Knit 3

Hello, and welcome to the 3rd episode in the irregular series Places to Sit and Knit. For this Christmas special, I’m inviting you into our home. You’ll recognize it by the paper stars on the window.

What better place to sit and knit at Christmas than at home? Especially this Christmas. I don’t know what it’s like in your part of the world, but here in the Netherlands we’re in a strict lockdown again. Everything is closed, except essential shops (unfortunately the powers that be don’t count yarn shops among them) and other essential facilities. Let’s hope it’s enough to prevent black scenarios early in the New Year.

We’re only allowed 2 visitors a day (4 at Christmas) in real life. Fortunately the number of virtual visitors is unlimited, so come on in! Would you like a cup of coffee or tea?

I was given a box of Austrian Advent Calendar Tea at the end of November, filled with green, black, white and herbal teas. It started with Gute Laune (Good Mood) tea on December the 1st.

Today, the last offering is Heavenly Christmas Delight, a spicy blend with cinnamon, orange peel, apple and clove. It sounds delicious, don’t you think? Please take a seat while I make our drinks.

This is the sofa where I sit and knit at this time of the year.

My knitting chair by the window was moved away to make room for the Christmas tree.

Apart from finishing several pairs of socks, I have finished the body of a roomy cardigan knit from two lace yarns held together. I have even blocked it before starting on the sleeves, which are knit from the shoulder down. It looks a dark grey in the photo below, but actually is a lovely teal.

I have also made a start on the socks for my friend, the ones from the yarn with nettle in it instead of nylon. This yarn (Onion Nettle sock yarn) knits up differently compared to the yarns I’m used to. Here it is next to a sock from a traditional sock yarn that I’ve just finished.

Using the same number of stitches I usually cast on, the cuff turns out much wider. The yarn is also less elastic. Knitting on like this, I wouldn’t be happy with the end result.

So what am I going to do: cast on fewer stitches, start anew with smaller needles and/or use a different stitch pattern? Twisted stitches in the ribbing, perhaps? Hmmm, need to give that some thought.

For the time being, I’m putting all my WIPs on hold to focus on two special Christmas Break projects. (There is that word again: focus, my word of the year 2021. Did I make any progress on that? Well, yes and no. I’ll try to write about that in January.)

The yarn for these projects is already in the baskets beside the sofa. The first is a simple, oversized, comfy sweater in a lofty yarn – Lang Cloud – in many shades of red, burgundy, pink, purple etc. I’ve photographed it outside to do the colours justice.

And my other Christmas Break project is knitting swatches. I’ve collected quite a few interesting yarns in undyed or neutral shades over the past couple of years. Somehow I never got round to them, and it feels like a real treat to finally get to try them out. My plan is to knit stocking stitch swatches on different needle sizes and try the yarns out in different stitch patterns as well, hoping that this will give me new ideas for things to design and make.

But that’s me nattering on. How are you doing? What is life like for you at the moment? Have you planned any special celebrations? Or are you working over the holidays, in health care or another essential job? Are you struggling to stay positive, like me? How do you keep your worries at bay? Do you have something nice on your needles? Any special knitting plans? I’d love to hear about them. Please leave a comment if you feel like sharing. It’s also perfectly fine if you don’t feel like it. I understand – I often feel too shy to leave comments, too.

Now, how about some fresh air? Let’s go for a walk. (We can only go for walks in ‘groups’ of 2 at the moment IRL, but again, the numbers for virtual walks are unlimited.)  It’s often dark and dreary here at the end of December, but this year it’s been a true Winter Wonderland on some days. So far, it’s only been hoar frost, but we may even get some snow over the coming days.

I’ve planted the pots around the house up with some mini conifers, ivy and checkerberry.

Almost every day, all year long, I take a stroll around our village. At this time of the year I love looking at other people’s Christmas trees.

But on clear, frosty days it’s nicer to head out of the village. This is the view a two-minute-walk from our home.

We are very fortunate to live here, and I never take it for granted. It’s not all idyllic, of course. But on some days even the local factory gets a magical quality, mirrored in a stream.

A little further on a blue heron is mirrored in the same stream.

Father Frost has covered the plants with icy needles.

Truly magical.

Well, I think it’s time to head back home and light a few candles. Thank you so much for stopping by – I really, really appreciate your spending some time with me here. Apart from all of you, we’re expecting very few real-life visitors over the coming days and weeks. Only two, in fact. And we won’t be going anywhere either. We love seeing friends and family and spreading good cheer, but we’d hate to spread the virus, so we’re keeping ourselves to ourselves this year.

I’m taking a break from my blog for a while, to just sit and knit (and read, go for walks, eat some delicious things prepared by my other half, and watch The Lord of the Rings for the umpteenth time).

All the best for a safe and peaceful festive season and I hope to see you here again in the New Year!

The other episodes in this series:

16 thoughts on “Places to Sit and Knit 3”

  1. What a lovely Christmas gift your writing and pictures are to all of us! So cozy and beautiful and perfect for today in so many ways.

    I discovered you mostly by accident but I look forward to your January post.

    Merry Christmas!

    • Hi, how lovely to ‘meet’ you here. Thank you so much for your kind words! Merry Christmas to you, too. And I hope to see you again in January.

  2. Merry Christmas Marijke! It’s the morning of Christmas Eve here in Bend, Oregon. I think that we will have a white Christmas as it started snowing this morning about 7:30am and the temperature is 29 degrees F. From what has been said, I think we will get anywhere from 1 – 4 inches. Our numbers here are growing due to Omicron. We will be celebrating with our youngest, her husband, and the 2 grandkids – ages 3 and almost 7. Don’t need any more festivity than that.

    Thanks for the tour and walk. I love seeing pictures from your neck of the woods.

    Enjoy the tranquility of the season this year – and keep on knitting.

    • Hi Kathie, Oh, a white Christmas, how lovely! Thank you for your impression of what this Christmas time is like in Oregon. Enjoy your time with your daughter and her family. And I wish you some quiet time with your knitting, too!

  3. Merry Christmas! Thank you so much for sharing life in your part of the world. I hope the New Year will be a safe & healthy one for you and your family.(jhknittin)

    • And the same to you and your loved ones, Julie. Thank you for all those small moments of contact over the past year.

  4. Merry Christmas!
    When I feel like it I try to make this time of the year extra special with a dedicated knitting project. I started this new tradition three years ago by collecting scraps, buying a few mini skeins to accompany them and knitting an Advent pattern by Ambah O’Brien.

    This year I bought the pattern for Corbis by Natasja Hornby and at Het Ryahuis in Zuidlaren I bought beautiful merino yarn for it in a deep teal color. Unfortunately the combination of this time of the year, dark colored yarn and my old eyes was not a succes. The pattern isn’t difficult but does require attention and knowing for sure whether a stitch is a knit or a purl one. So last Saturday, 45 minutes before we went into lockdown, I headed over to Wolverhalen and bought some non superwash merino yarn in a lovely, eye friendly caramel color called Sticky Toffee.

    Since this is a high twist yarn, it’s also a bit straining on my fingers (Winter is always a challenge to the skin on my hands, and rough yarns can really hurt my skin), I also cast on a Clapotis with some Rosy Green yarn from stash, that is very soft and bouncy. I was reminded of the pattern when I saw Gawy knit one with Frida Kahlo inspired yarn a while ago.

    My holiday goals are knitting, watching speed skating on tv and sleeping in!

    • Corbis looks like a rather compicated pattern to me, with all those bobbles and the special basket weave stitch pattern. Very interesting to knit, I should think. Personally I’d leave off the tassels. I’ve had some of that non-superwash yarn in my hands, too, and it’s really attractive. The Sticky Toffee shade is a wonderfully warm shade and will suit the pattern very well. Hand cream, hand cream, hand cream, but even then, with the low humidity we’re having at the moment my skin is still rough, too. I’ve knit three Clapotises (not sure about the plural) and think it’s a great design to knit and wear. Thanks for your story, I’ve loved reading about your plans. We’ll be watching the speed skating too (can Sven still compete?). Enjoy your time off!

      • Yes, no tassels for me! There are also instructions for a picot bind-off, or I might opt for a bobble bind-off.

        ‘Clapotis’ is French and means something like rippling, small waves. I once asked the designer in an email, after a discussion we had about the pronunciation. She explained that she designed the shawl when she lived in Paris and the pronunciation should be the French one. She said that the shape of the ridges on the shawl, between the ladders, reminded her of the little waves or ripples that emerge when you throw a small stone into the water. The French word for that effect is clapotis. It’s ‘le clapotis’, so in French the plural form would be just clapotis I presume?

  5. Dear Marijke,
    Your photographs are wonderful… It’s so interesting to view the lovely countryside and environment in which you live, breathe and knit!
    As I grow older, the more I dream about, and actually plan knitting projects with yarns along with their patterns separated into separate plastic, gallon-sized food storage bags.One of the projects on my needles at the moment is the Three-Color Cashmere Cowl, although I’m not using cashmere, but rather Finito fingering. The pattern is a great one for playing with color combinations. My choices are Pearl Ten, Paloma, Chispas, and finally, Jupiter (for the pop)… yes, I’m using four colors instead of three.
    the other project on my needles is Another Flower Headband for my granddaughter. It’s a really quick knit, and the flower adds some pizzaz to the FO, although I won’t be making it as large as shown in the pattern.
    Many thanks for your most interesting blog posts. i missed your last two, so I’ll have to catch up. Please know that I very much look forward to seeing them in my inbox.
    Merry Christmas, Marijke,

    • Hi Lorraine, It’s good to hear that you’re enjoying my words and pictures, thank you. And it’s also lovely to read about you knitting projects. The 3-color cashmere cowl looks like a great project, interesting with all those different stitch patterns, very cosy to wear, and the colours you’ve chosen sound fabulous. The headband is fun, too. It’s nice to have some smaller projects that are finished quickly. Enjoy all your projects and see you again in the New Year!

  6. I’m a bit behind, so I’m reading this on 1/14, but belated Merry Christmas! Your knitting spot looks wonderfully cozy, and your home is in such a lovely location. I look forward to seeing what you decide to do with all those pretty creamy little skeins of yarn. Happy New Year too!

    • It’s never too late to get back to earlier posts. I hope you’ve had a good start to 2022. My plan is to write a bit about what I’ve done with those creamy skeins so far next week.

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