A Would-Like-To-Do List

Are you a list maker? I certainly am. Lists help me navigate through life, but I need to be careful that they don’t take over. It’s all about finding the right balance between getting things done and being realistic and gentle. For 2023, I wrote this wish list in my knitting notebook:

  1. Norwegian knitting
  2. Making things for our grandson
  3. Knitting challenging socks
  4. Designing

Some categories received more time and attention than others, and that’s fine. It wasn’t a have-to-do list after all, but a wish list. The list helped me bring some focus to my knitting.

For 2024 I’m recycling this list – keeping, adding, removing and modifying a few things. For the year ahead, my would-like-to-do list is:

  1. Norwegian knitting
  2. Make everyday things for my family and myself
  3. Be a little more creative
  4. Be generous with my knitting

The ‘be a little more creative’ item is still a big question mark. For the rest, my knitting baskets are filling up, with some Norwegian knitting…

…everyday knitting…

…and knitting for a community project:

More about the contents of these baskets over the coming weeks.

The poncho I’ve just finished definitely belongs in the ‘everyday knits’ category. It’ll be a nice and warm extra layer indoors in winter and an easy-to-throw-on outdoor item for the rest of the year.

It’s a simple rectangle that makes an asymmetrical poncho and starts with a crochet provisional cast-on. I was going to take pictures and talk about the how and why of that but forgot. I did take a quick picture of the blocking stage, but that doesn’t tell us much except that I blocked it:

I’ll try to do better with recording the process this year.

After seaming part of one side, stitches are picked up for a wonderfully cosy knit-in-the-round ribbed cowl. All in all, a lovely soft, simple, soothing project.

Well, I’m off to do a few things that will never belong on any would-like-to-do list but just need to get done – that’s life. I’ll reward myself with a few rows of knitting afterwards.

Have a lovely weekend!

PS The Easy Folded Poncho can be found here on Ravelry, and the ribbed cowl adaptation here on the designer’s website. The yarn I used is Rowan’s Fine Tweed Haze in shade ‘Deep’, a dark tealy blue with tweed nepps in pink, orange and white (the first photo captures the colour best). If you’re going to use this yarn, do swatch! I’m a fairly average knitter but needed to go down several needle sizes to get the gauge specified by both manufacturer and pattern designer.

New Year’s Wishes

Just a brief note from me today to wish you and yours a very happy 2024. Along with my general good wishes, I’m sending a Lüsterweibchen for you to personalize them. Make your own wish for the New Year while you rub her belly and it will come true. Shh, don’t tell or it won’t work.

The muscular Lüsterweibchen above, with antlers for wings and a mermaid’s tail, lives in Cochem Castle, Germany. Judging by the peeling red paint on her belly, many people have rubbed it to make a wish. I am quite sure it will work just as well via your screen.

I’m spending the rest of this week weaving in ends and planning new projects, and hope to be back with my regular posts as of next week. See you then!


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!

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!


Hello there! Here, in the Netherlands, many people take some time off work in the last week of April and the first week of May. With most schools closed, King’s Day on April 27th and Liberation Day on May 5th, it is a time for going to festivals or travelling. While everybody seemed to be having a great time, I was feeling grumpy. Like, everybody is having fun but me. Was I envious?

Well, yes and no. When I saw the crowds in the cities and at the airport on tv, I was happy I wasn’t among them. I didn’t mind missing out on the big events and didn’t particularly want to travel either. What I did want was some time to unwind, though. Only on a much smaller scale. So that’s what I’ve been doing over the past couple of weeks, and I’d like to share some of it with you.

One thing I’ve been doing is literally unwinding and re-winding yarn using my nøstepinne.

It’s a totally unnecessary thing to do, but for me very relaxing. Seeing a mini-skein or an unattractive looking leftover bit of sock yarn transform into a perfect little ball with a hole in the middle is just so satisfying.

Going for a walk or cycling are other great ways for me to unwind. (Thank you for joining me on last week’s wood anemone walk – I really appreciate your comments. Knowing that you are there and enjoy some of the same things inspires me to keep blogging.) We are very fortunate in where we live. Hopping onto my bicycle, I’m here in three minutes:

And even closer to home, I’ve been pottering around the garden, doing some weeding and taking a few photographs. In our herb patch, I found a blackbird’s egg – unfortunately not hatched.

(We’ve also found shells of eggs that did hatch, so not to worry.) Looking at flowers through the lens of my camera, I forget everything else.

Most of the things I did to unwind were close to home (or even at home) and took just a few minutes to an hour at most. But we also took an entire day off to visit a fair at Middachten Castle.

My husband lived close to the castle as a child and our daughter lived almost next-door for several years, so it feels a bit like home to us. Although it is a beautiful place, I’m glad it isn’t really our home, to be honest. I’d feel totally lost in a big place like this, and think of all the work involved! The house and gardens are closed until June, but just looking at them from the outside was still enjoyable.

The fair we’d come for was rather disappointing. I’d hoped to be able to buy a few gifts at the stalls, but didn’t see anything special. Apart from some spectacular bulbs of different varieties of garlic, that is.

But a bunch of garlic as a gift for a 20-year-old niece? Not, not quite what I was looking for. Fortunately we had enough time left to visit a few shops in nearby Zutphen. Ah, it’s such a lovely city – I’ll take you there for a longer visit again some other time. (An earlier post about it can be read here.)

I also spent quite a bit of time unwinding with my Seventh Heaven Scarf. It’s growing much faster than I thought. After the greens, I’m now deep into the blues (literally – after all the unwinding any figurative blues have lifted), knitting up some of my small nøstepinne-wound balls of yarn.

Well, that’s it for today. I hope you can find some time to unwind in your days, too, and hope to see you again next week!

Floored by Flu

Just popping in here to say hello and to tell you that I’ve been floored by flu. I didn’t want to just go off the radar for weeks on end. I’m on the mend and back to some knitting, but not up to much else yet. I hope you are healthy and well, and hope to be back with a real blog post next week. Bye for now!

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


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!

Baby Things, Worries and Hope


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!

What Can We Do?


I really wanted to write a warm and fuzzy post about knitting, but with everything that’s going on I can’t. My heart goes out to the people of Ukraine, I’m holding my breath and my mind is working overtime. Some of the things that popped up in my mind were images from an earlier visit to the Dutch Open Air Museum. What have they got to do with anything? Please bear with me.

The photo above shows the interior of a 1950s/1960s post office in the museum. Stepping inside, I’m a child again, queueing for I-don’t-know-what with Mum, looking up in awe at the high, high ceiling.

Oh, how I’d love to work here later, using those wonderful stamps all day – pomPOM, pomPOM!

It was an unexpected wave of nostalgia – I had all but forgotten about this childhood ambition.

The Open Air Museum is an amazing place. The old houses and other buildings are lovely.

And it’s very interesting to look at household utensils and tools from different periods.

But it’s the things from more recent times that really evoke strong feelings of nostalgia for me, like the living-room from the 1970s. The photo isn’t great because it was taken through a window, but it gives an impression: A woman in a maxi dress, that special seventies design style, and everything in brown and orange.

This No Nukes poster was the most unexpected item to push my nostalgia button. It whooshed me right back to the huge peace protests of the early 1980s. We were dreaming of a peaceful world without nuclear weapons.

And look at where we are now, in 2022. I feel shocked and abhorred by what is happening in Ukraine, and the return of nuclear threat.

I heard a Ukrainian woman living in the Netherlands say on the news, ‘We don’t need your concern, we need your help.’ I never got to work in a post office, but I didn’t become a world leader either. What can we, ordinary citizens, do?

The Open Air Museum houses a small exhibition about knitting for the war effort in 1914. Nobody in their right mind would feel nostalgic about WWI, but at least knitters could make a real difference. The newspaper article below calls on the women and girls of the town of Zeist to knit socks for soldiers, preferably dark grey.

From what I’ve read, I know that these socks and other knitted items were not just a great comfort, but a real help too. Woollen socks could even help prevent a serious condition like trench foot.

In the US literally millions of items were knit and shipped to Europe under the auspices of the Red Cross (interesting article here).

Now, again, the Red Cross is asking us to help – this time not by knitting, but by donating to them or other reliable organizations giving medical and humanitarian aid. More information can be found on the websites of the Dutch Red Cross, the international Red Cross or the Dutch Cooperating Aid Organizations at Giro 555.

Let’s do(nate) what we can. And let’s not forget to breathe and to appreciate the good things in life.

Take care, dear friends.