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

Turkish Delight Bolster Cushion

Hello friends, I hope you are well.

Maybe you have been able to extract yourself from lockdown in small steps, enjoying some more freedom of movements again. Maybe, like me, you are still not allowed to break free from the constraints and are meant to stay put for some time to come. Whatever the case may be, I hope you are keeping your spirits up enjoying life as best as you can.

In today’s post I would like to introduce you to my colourful crochet Bolster Cushion. Some of you might remember it from a few years ago when it was a crochet along organised by myself and a friend.

I had never really thought about putting it together as a single pattern, until recently that is. In recent weeks I have been asked repeatedly about purchasing the pattern and this got me thinking. So today is the day that I can release this cushion as a single download in both my Ravelry and Lovecrafts stores.

The bolster cushion was inspired by my love of design, architecture and colours found in North Africa and the Middle East. Having extensively travelled in those countries, taking endless photos, my work is often influenced by impressions gathered. This design shows off these influences by incorporating texture and colour in equal measure.

Bolsters are usually firm for back or arm support or for decorative application and have been in use since the 12th century. They are not a standard size or shape and commonly have a button or zip closure. A foam insert is used for additional support. Also referred to as a cushion, in western countries a bolster is usually placed at the head of one’s bed and functions as head or lower back support, or as an arm support on furniture with high rigid sides.

With this bolster cushion you have the opportunity to own a beautiful and useful homeware item inspired by the colours and designs of North Africa and the Middle East.

The cushion incorporates various crochet techniques and by choosing either bold and striking, or more subtle colours you can tailor it to suit your own home.

For my sample I used beautiful Vinnis Colours Nikkim, a soft 100% cotton yarn from South Africa. The yarn is hand-dyed and is available in a huge array of colours. You can of course substitute with any yarn of your choice, however, I recommend that you do not use acrylic yarns.

Wishing you many happy crochet or knitting hours, until soon.

Take care and be safe. xo

Elderflower Heaven

Hello friends, I hope you are doing ok.

This month it’s all about appreciating what you have and what you can do rather than feeling down about what you can’t. This means still celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, births, weddings, or any other excuses for cake.

Nature in midsummer is doing its magical thing, even if some of our own plans are on hold. Bees and ladybirds are busy, flowers are blooming and there are strawberries to eat.

There are many things to forage and one of my favourites to make as spring turns to summer is Elderflower cordial. Such a quick and easy thing to make and totally delicious. Today I share with you how I make mine.

First find your hedgerow. Elderflowers burst forth in frothy posies from straggly tree-type bushes at this time of year and it’s easy to make Elderflower cordial for a little summer-in-a-glass.

Go out early on a dry sunny morning and carefully cut about 25 Elderflower heads. Lightly shake to ditch any insects but don’t wash the flowers, just trim off the stalks. Place the flower heads in a large pot with a lid.

Add the grated zest of 3 unwaxed Lemons and 1 Orange, set aside the juice. Boil 1.5 litres water and pour over the Elderflowers and Citrus zest. Cover and leave overnight to infuse.

Strain the liquid through a piece of muslin until it runs clear of any sediments and pour into a large saucepan. Add a kilo of sugar and the juice from the lemons and the orange. Heat gently to dissolve the sugar, then bring to a simmer and gently cook for a few minutes.

Strain once more through a fresh piece of muslin and then pour into sterilised bottles and seal with lids. It will keep in the fridge for about 2 months.

Once cooled you can use. It is delicious when turned into a fizz: Just pour a small amount (about 2cm) into a glass, top up with sparkling water, add a couple of mint leaves and a slice of lime and enjoy this refreshing drink.

Enjoy, stay safe and well – until soon.

Heike xo