Staffin Socks – a new pattern

Hello lovely Peeps, how are you all?

I hope you are enjoying these last days of summer before we will all have to settle into our autumn/winter routines (well, Northern Hemisphere that is).

Why not start the journey into autumn and the colder time of year with a lovely pair of new cosy socks – hand-knitted of course!

Now is a great time to start preparing for cooler times ahead. With evenings drawing in and getting cooler, what better time to start thinking about cosy evenings knitting, either for yourself or gifts for friends.

September 15th – “This is the month of quiet days, crimson creepers and blackberries; of mellow afternoons in the ripening garden; of tea under the acacias instead of the too shady beaches; of wood-fires in the library in the chilly evenings.” (Elizabeth von Arnim 1866-1941 taken from the book Elizabeth and her German Garden first published in 1898 )

With all of this in mind, I have designed my Staffin Socks, a new pattern released this week.

Inspired by the sloping buttresses of the Trotternish escarpment on the Isle of Skye, especially the weirdly shaped rock pinnacles of the Old Man of Storr, the pattern is a mix of simple knit, purl and twisted stitches. The heel, using German short rows, and wedged toe shape with a gathered tip, fit the foot perfectly. Add to this Shilsdair’s beautifully hand-dyed yarn using local plants, the finished item does not disappoint, and you will have a super comfy pair of socks you won’t want to take off.

The pattern is available to purchase via my usual channels – you find links in the menu on the right.

I hope you feel inspired to make a pair and if you do, please tag me on social media @madewithloops or #staffinsocks.

Until soon, stay safe! xo.

September (enjoy a free pattern)

September stands for fresh beginnings and usually gives me a sense of purpose and a zeal for getting things done; this year it’s OK to not know what happens next. Living in the moment has been forced upon us but it’s something we can embrace.

The best thing about late summer is being outdoors whenever I can, but especially at the end of the day. Those unadopted hours as the sun goes down seem to stretch time – practically beckoning me to go for a walk or simply to sit on a bench with my knitting in hand and appreciate the season, accompanied by the dusk chorus.

Were you lucky enough to get some well-deserved cooling off with a few rain showers? At least that was the case in North Wales. Immediately there was this magic that all knitters know: The sky is overcast, rain is pounding on the window and this amazing cosy feeling sets in. The favourite knitting place is calling out loud and would like a new project on the needles. It doesn’t matter whether you are longingly looking towards autumn or would prefer to have summer knitwear on your needles, one can always find a reason to cast on something new.

Enter a yarn parcel from Berlin/Germany…

Antje, yarn enabler and fast becoming good friend, of Wool the World sent a gorgeous little something for me to try as we are planning some beautiful things together for the coming Autumn/Winter season.

Meet Lotte in Draco…

…and Fritzi in Virgo!

Both are part of the Frauen Berlin’s collection of Yarn’s which are exclusively dyed for Wool the World by Sabrina of Das Mondschaf.

Finger’s twitching I lost no time, wound my two beauties into lovely yarn cakes and started knitting.

Et Voila … a cosy little Neck-Poncho to keep the chill off during these early autumn days. What do you think? Would you like to make one too?

Here is how:

Approx. 50g Draco and 20g Virgo (held together throughout)

5.5mm needle – darning needle for sewing up – stitch marker

K – knit

Kf+b – knit first into the front and then into the back of same stitch

Sl1wyif – slip 1 stitch with yarn held in front

RS – right side/ WS – wrong side

St – stitch

Leaving a long tail for sewing up later, cast on 10sts and knit one row.

Row 1 (RS): K1, kf+b, k to last st, sl1wyif

Row 2 (WS): K to last st, sl1wyif

Place a marker to indicate RS.

Repeat these 2 rows until the straight left edge measures 40cm and the continue in garter stitch without increasing for a further 5cm.

Cast off on a RS row and weave in the end.

Seam the cast on edge (A) to the seaming edge (B) and then weave in the tail.

You are all done!

One hank each of Draco and Virgo make two neck-poncho’s, perfect gift for a friend in need of cosiness too.

Happy knitting and enjoy!

Until very soon, take care.

Heike xo.

Lazy Summer

Almost two months of no writing…how did that happen?

It’s not because I haven’t done anything or made anything or generally had nothing to say, the last few weeks have just gone by so quickly.

I finally finished my toe-up socks…

…and even though I loved the yarn (Hedgerow Yarns), I didn’t really enjoy the experience of knitting from the toe up.

Sock knitting has always been my go-to relaxing project – when I am in between projects and not sure what to start next, or when I just want to chill in front of the TV. Socks also make the best in-car knitting projects…ever! Toe-up didn’t really do this for me as I constantly needed to look at the pattern. I know I could memorise this over time, but I just don’t want to spend time doing this and even though I really love the way the socks have turned out…

…it’s back to my trusted Oma’s Socks 🙂

I have already started a new pair!

This is a pattern by my sister (Buntes Schaf) and it is available in both German and English via Ravelry and Lovecrafts. Ellen (my little sis) gifted me the yarn from Germany and I am already loving the gentle rhythm of the pattern.

In other news – I have recently been to the French Alps with one of my best friends. Just as soon as we were allowed, we booked a shuttle ticket and drove across. We were sooooo ready for a change of scenery after the long lockdown period. The weather was fabulous, we hiked every day, had boat rides on Lake Geneva and spent lazy evenings chilling with a glass or two and our knitting.

I hope your summer is full of loveliness too and you are keeping well!

Until soon…I am off for some more chillin’! xx

Confession of a Sock Knitter

My dear friends, how have you been? I hope you are all keeping well in these uncertain times, finding things to do that you love and having lot’s of ‘Me’ time too.

For me that usually involves knitting socks. I am not totally sure when this love of sock knitting started, but one of my earliest knitting memories is about socks and they are a true love of mine.

I just keep making socks. It’s just so much fun.

Especially during stressful and uncertain times they are my go-to project and I can’t seem to stop, chain-knitting my way from sock to sock, starting a new one just as soon as one is finished.

I just keep going and having a completely shameless Netflix binge helps no end, it’s almost like the sock-making reinforces the binge-watching, and vice versa. It also helps to have a large stash of sock yarn nearby, feeding my curiosity about what will happen with a skein of variegated or self-striping sock yarn.

Socks are super portable and the perfect small project to try out new stitch patterns. A simple sock is pretty straight forward to knit, not too difficult to learn and many have done so in my workshops following my trusted ‘Oma’s Sock’s’ pattern (here).

Family and friends are happy recipients of my cosy socks, with fifteen pairs of my knitted socks in hubby’s sock drawer alone and many more pairs having been gifted over the years.

Having knitted top-down socks only up to now, I wanted to spice things up a little and have started my first pair of toe-up socks. I only started last night but like it so far…

They won’t be done quite as quickly as I have to follow instructions, but with lock-down continuing I have plenty of time. Wish me luck!

Are you using this crazy time to learn something new? Please share, I’d love to know.

Stay safe my friends and remember to laugh, to sit in sunshine and dream, be kind and thoughtful and to be gentle and mindful with yourself.

Heartfelt wishes,

Heike xo

Friesland – a gansey shawl

The coastal path is closed, the car parks are closed – this is the current situation all around our coast lines.

Is your heart yearning to hear the sound of the waves, to walk along the shore, quietly just with your own thoughts?

Sea, sky and wind can free our minds, refresh with the salty lightness of the air and soothing uniformity of the waves. New horizons open up, perspectives for now and later.

In my memory I see the Sea in front of me, smooth as glass or agitated and angry. I see the endless expanse, smell the salty air, feel the wind in my hair and hear cheeky seagulls screech.

In all this uncertainty, one thing is certain: The Sea has always been there and will be there when the current situation has calmed down. The Sea teaches us to switch between chaos and order, between retreat and community.

The ebb and flow, the sea, sand and shore are here, doing what they do – All is quiet.

Today I want to introduce my latest shawl design – Friesland Shawl.

I designed this shawl to coincide with a knitting retreat hosted by my sister ( Buntes Schaf) on the German Island of Norderney before the world shut down due to Covid-19. Eleven knitters from Germany, Belgium and the UK got together for a few days, enjoying beautiful scenery, good food and knitting, broadening their knowledge on traditional Gansey/Fishermen patterns and their history.

We were so lucky to have this special time together before the world shut down. Feeling the wind in our hair, breathing in fresh salty air having a wonderful time with like minded souls learning about the rich history of these amazing patterns.

The shawl is knitted all in one piece from one tip to the other forming a long shallow triangle. A few stitches are cast on and then the body of the shawl is worked in a variety of traditional Gansey/Fishermen patterns found along the shores of the North Sea and Atlantic coasts. Increases on one side create a long triangular shape and a nifty slip stitch technique at the end of each row creates a neat I-cord edge. After the centre pattern is completed, decreases on one side edge shape the shawl into a long flat triangle.

This is a true homage to the rich history and variety of these patterns and has been a total pleasure and labour of love to create. The pattern is available in both English and German from my Ravelry and Lovecrafts stores.

Hopefully it won’t be too long before we can return and walk along a beach feeling the sand between our toes and the wind in our hair.

Stay safe my friends xo