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

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

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