Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Identity and such



It is New Year’s Eve and as is the habit in this house (if the chance), time for oliebollen….. That real Dutch treat of deep fried yeasty dough balls sprinled with a bit of powder sugar at the end. So rewarding, so good, so Dutch….

And that is it, I am Dutch and I have some real Dutch traditions that are hard to get rid of. Some though have gone, like Sinterklaas, we actually don’t do that anymore, but that is mainly because youngest one was born just two days before, and thus it was easier to give up on that one and do Jul-afton instead.  But oliebollen on NewYear’s eve, no they are too good to be missed so...

What brings this on is the decision of my husband to apply for Swedish citizenship. We have been 20 years here so yes, it is time to do this. We are not going to move, my job is one of the most exciting ever, our children are born here and though they are blends, they are more Swedish than anything else (except for blood that is). So I should apply too, it only makes sense. Except when I do so, I will lose my Dutch citizenship and apparently that is something I still have an emotional attachment to, I am Dutch, if pressed I will cheer for team Oranje whatever sport is played. I am still proud of Dutch tolerance (but not the kind of the last 10 years) and I know more silly facts about Dutch history than Swedish. I do think Amsterdam is a grander city than Stockholm and van Leeuwenhoek was a better scientist than Ångström. Painters, there is just no competition, so in the end ? And really I was only coming here for 2 years, not 20 or even more….

And yet I live here, want my voice to be counted here, SD is a party to vote against and as I live here is it not worth to give up something?

So I will make my Oliebollen and contemplate, be practical or nostalgic…..


Sunday, December 21, 2014




The last months of the year always seem to just fly by. One reason is that when in an Academic environment the Autumn term seems always the most busy time of the year. I think it is because there is as much stuff put in this term as in the Sprin term, except that Autumn term is about 2 months shorter… So at a certain moment you just go from one settled ting to the other, no rest and everything flies by. December with all its social stuff comes then on top of that, dinners, music performances, school stuff and yes then suddenly it is Christmas break. And what a nice long one we have this year, and I took it off this time. Almost three weeks, some small things to do for work, but otherwise… some knitting, some nice food making and just get energy for the year of light, 2015! 

Anyways I did finish the stranded knitted cardigan for Marit, except for the two places where I did make a mistake in the pattern, I think it worked really nice. I am not sure whether I would use this yarn again, it is a bit splitty and while the price is absolutely right, I didn’t really like knitting with it because of that.

Marit wanted only 3/4 sleeves, which was nice since that meant that I had exactly enough and didn’t needed to get more.

Now having said all that of rest and so on, one other problem with the extreme busy December is that our house is quite in a state of chaos, so off now to decrease the entropy, which will cost some energy unfortunately….


Sunday, November 30, 2014



I have not much to write right now, the dark days of the end of the year are upon us and it is just busy busy busy, so just a photo and maybe in a week or so another item….

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Another Watson



When we were in Britain the other month, we were lucky to see Frankenstein as an encore broadcast in the cinema. It was put on as it was the Halloween season, and us being in Britain  and my oldest one is a enthralled with “Sherlock”, we thought it was just too good an opportunity to miss. It is one of these things, that since one knows what comes after (both actors playing Sherlock), the dynamics become somewhat different. I enjoyed the play very much indeed even if some bits could have been just slightly better (the terrible dialoge between the young married couple in the first act comes to mind), but the “talking” monster and the questions about whom is the bigger monster, are very fascinating indeed.

Back to Sherlock  though,  although I like it, I think it is sometimes way too clever for its own good and thus in our house that quite ends up as in discussion whether Elementary is better than Sherlock. I actually am one of those people who happens to think that Elementary is the better series. It is tighter, it has a fantastic Watson and it is clever but not " oh how well do we know the details and want to go meta" clever.  But there is quite a bit of knitwear in Sherlock and with a daughter interested in Cosplay, I do get request… So  a Christmas Sweater was the request, as seen here. I like stranded knitting, I never knitted an Icelandic Sweater like that before, so yes I can do that. But I als spotted that it was a very bulky sweater and that gave me second thoughts. After a  bit of browsing, I found the pattern Stryta and indeed it is knitted in bulky wool and rather large sizes too. S likes to wear sweaters and cardigans and she is totally worth knitting for since she does wear them a lot. But a bulky sweater , no that would be worn once and then it would just be way and way too warm to be worn. And that I didn’t really like. So I had a good look at the pattern and at Icelandic wool and it was clear that I could adapt the pattern quite easily for worsted wool instead. So I am using Létt-Lopi instead, and knitted on 4.5 mm I basically used the original pattern in the largest size. I made some small changes in the yoke, just below the pattern to compensate for the difference in row gauge, and it worked fine. A sweater in size 32” with some ease  too. It is quite an easy knit, the stranding is only a bit fiddly in the couple of raws when there are actually 3 colours to work with. Even in worsted this is a very warm sweater, so I am glad I didn’t make it in bulky.



It is stormy here and I think it will be worn to school tomorrow, so yes not only a Christmas Sweater... 

Saturday, November 8, 2014



I am  a cardigan person, maybe it is living in Sweden where the temperature outside and inside can be so wildly different, so a layering item is just what one needs, or for any old other reason but I rather wear a cardigan over any pullover… So it is no strange thing that I rather knit cardigans over pullovers too… I do knit the odd pullover, but what I am drawn to is Cardigans, especially ones that are quite simple but with a small twist. I also like to knit with lighter yarns, fingering, sport that’s what I like most, occasionally worsted but that is really as heavy as I go.  

So the Galvanised Cardigan was really one that I needed to make. It has been in my queue since forever, I even bough yarn for it since forever… But my queue is large and (hum so is my stash) but it always feels so very very good when something from the queue is gone and year lingering in stash has been used. So I am happy with a wearable cardigan…. I did not make any big changes, I made the body a tad longer, but for the rest it is really as simple as cardigans come. No shaping, straight up and raglan sleeves. But those corrugated borders do make it, and are a hell to knit, it probably took much longer time to knit those borders than the whole rest of the cardigan. That’s what you get if you go for the details...


Monday, November 3, 2014

Some more small things


On some weekends I get a lot of knitting done…. We were visiting family in the UK over the last couple of days, and while travelling and such I did a lot of knitting. For instance I did finish my galvanised cardigan, but I was not able to get any decent pictures yet, so that has to wait for maybe in the weekend. I started a Christmas Sweater for S, but on a later day, a separate post will appear.

I also did some gift knitting, a small bonnet for a new baby of a colleague of mine. The pattern is called Lilacs for Lila and it makes a cute little bonnet for a girl-baby. Got some nice soft yarn Sublime Yarns Baby Cashmere Merino Silk DK in a non-baby colour, a nice strong vivid purple. This was a supereasy fast knit (basically one evening and it was done), so very good for baby gift knitting!

When I was in the UK, I also stumbled over Rowan Fazed Tweed, which has a very interesting construction. I had read about it on Ravelry but seeing it in real life made me want to knit with it. It consists out of a kind of nylon net, in which the rest of the fibres (wool and alpaca) are held. The result is a very lofty yarn which is very very soft. The colours are speckled and it is not a true tweed, in the scene that there are earnest of colour, but it is quite pleasing nevertheless. And oh so soft...


 I did not have any project in my mind, so I bought three skeins, in Oak, Elderberry and Bay and then started to think what to make with it. I decided upon a scarf or cowl in an interesting slipped stitch pattern. I am a bit concerned how well the yarn will stand up for extended wear, so a scarf seems a good item to make with this yarn. Also a slip-stitch will prevent hopefully some major pilling, but we will see over time what happens. The photograph below doesn’t really show the stitch very clearly, but it works quite well. It makes a nice cushy fabric for even more warmth and cosiness. My neck will be pleased with this. Whether it will be a cowl or a scarf, I cannot say right away. I do realise that for either of them I don’t have enough yarn, but I am not going to buy more than 2 skeins of each colour, so we will see how far that brings me...



Sunday, October 26, 2014

A small item


Today the clocks went to wintertime and although I like the hour of extra sleep in the morning, I don’t like the change. I like summertime, I like the long days and I love the light. Now Swedish winter is upon us and although I don’t hate it as much as I used to (first year in Sweden was very hard in that respect), I don’t really like it either. It is a goos thing that I am quite busy these days, almost to busy to really noticed. One thing that I noticed is that although it has been very very wet, it is also warmer than a usual year. Many trees still have leaves, the grass still needs to be mowed and we haven’t gotten night frost either. I start to wonder whether it will come this year, no sign yet of cold.

But it has been wet, so much rain and although I finished the little item about a week ago, there was simply no way to have decent light for a good picture. So here is Warble, a small cowl, knitted in Quince & Co. Tern. Very good as an assessoire, nice to keep my neck warm…. because this is also the time of year when draughty houses and offices are most noticeable. And as my house is old, and my office in a weird place in the lab, I suffer on windy days.

 Also quite an easy knit, I did change the pattern slightly, to make it more symmetric and a good commuting project when I needed it. 


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Freyja uncut


Finished and happy….

The yarn was worth the experiment. What was quite odd. was that the light coloured yarn was much softer and easier to break than the blue yarn, which was quite sturdy in comparison. For the stranded knitting at the to it meant that I had to work quite carefully and it took a bit longer. I added 4 sets of short rows, 3 below and 1 above the stranded knitted band. For the closure bands, I picked up and knitted stitches and used simple garter, 4 ridges. Nice rustic wooden buttons for the finish.

If only the patter had been a bit more consistent, I would probably have sung its graces, as it is, no...

Now of course we are in the middle of an Indian Summer, so it will be a while before I truly can appreciate its warmth….


Thursday, September 25, 2014



Ever since reading Elizabeth Zimmerman I have been intrigued by unspun icelandic wool. For some reason or another I never did anything about it, but as things go, there is a moment that curiosity takes over and one dives in. I bought some plötulopi to make a warm cardigan for myself now the autumn is there. When reading the yarn page for plötulopi on Ravelry, I got a bot concerned, best to knit with continental style, very loose tension required… I am an “English knitter" with a very average tension, which is very nice as I come often very close to what recommended gauge is on the skein-band, so continental with loose tension would require some learning, and while I am all for learning (that’s part of my job after all), sometimes it is also difficult to obtain new tricks. So I thought, well why not simply try with my own method, and as it is, it is fine :-) 

Yes I have broken the yarn a couple of times, but this is the easiest yarn to reconnect as well, so it is not a big problem. The fabric is nice and airy, it is not "next to the skin wear” wool, as it is a bit prickly. But not too much either and with  T-shirt it will be absolutely fine. It has very nice drape and the colour is great, blue with a hint of black, lovely and lively.

I am knitting Freya, but I am knitting the cardigan “flat”. I all will not do the crocheted button bands, they look very wobbly in many of the projects and I think normal knitted bands in garter will be nicer. The pattern is a bit oddly written, overly descriptive in some parts and absolutely no information in other places, so I am going my own way here.


One thing this project isn’t, is portable. An that is mainly due to the unspun yarn. You need to thread it with some care, mainly in how you pull the yarn from the wheel. The slightest friction then, and it breaks, so I put the yarn so it is unobstructed and wind it of carefully, not something you do in a bus or car.And as I like to knit on my 2 x 45 minutes commutes everyday, I need a portable project. 

So I started Warble, a nice cowl/shawl which is going to be very useful in my sometimes draughty house. For this project, the fact that I am a crystallographer, very aware of symmetry, kicks in. I had to make the pattern more symmetric, so I changed the direction of the cables ad the twisted stitches in one half of the pattern, so there is mirror symmetry… I couldn’t help it….just had to be done.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

When things don't work


Last year I had bought some lovely organic cotton (Alba from BC garn) that I felt could really work with a nice little short-sleeved  cardigan that I had spotted on Ravelry. Since I always think I can knit much more than I actually do, the yarn had simmered in my stash until August when I really thought, one more summer project before the dark part of the year starts… So I downloaded the (free) pattern and started it. It was an usual construction that just didn’t work. I should have browsed the project pages on Ravelry a bit more thorough since more people had this problem and in the end I just gave up. Just a very nice idea but a yielding garment with wrong dimensions….

But i still wanted to knit something and the year crept forward and it rained and rained and then some, so I got in the mood for a cardigan with long sleeves instead and it was also clear it did need to have pockets. I ordered some more yarn, with a contrast colour too. I like stripes in garter stitch and got an idea of having the pockets behind a very deep border of garter stitch strips. 

So that is how this one came about, it is knitted top-down, with raglan sleeves. No shaping in the body for a loose fit, finished with striped garter button bands going along the whole front and neck


I am practising though as I think I would like to make this one again, but in a DK wool just a bit more fitted for the winter. I do have the yarn already, so I think later this autumn...

But practise is good of course….


Saturday, September 6, 2014



Sometimes one just has luck. S wanted a sweater in yellow with a bit of texture and after a browse through Ravelry, Bedford was chosen. Now sometimes I can write  lot about a pattern or the wool, but this one was straight-forward. No changes to the pattern, a simple super wash wool (Cascade 220 super wash) and voila, a good sweater for a teenager. Just one thing, the stitch pattern makes this lovely squishy fabric, when knitting it I kept squeezing it as it was so nice and bouncy. Which is of course good, as winter is coming, autumn is almost here…. And S remarked, oh I hope it is going to get cold soon as this is one warm sweater, butt for me, it can stay warm for just a wee while longer…...


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Not about



Next week school will start again… It has been a long holiday for them (I have been back at work for a bit more than 2 weeks now), so it is kind of mixed feelings. On the whole I think both of them are ready to start again, S will have her last year at ground-school, so she needs to make “decisions” this year…what Gymnasium and what line to choose… M will start middle school officially, unofficially she already has been doing quite some topics at middle school level, but it is still a bit different

Just these last weekends of the holidays have been spent by both of them, sewing… M made her first dress. I helped a bit but she did a lot of the work. She also choose the pattern and the fabric, so hamming it up is allowed:


S made a cosplay costume, a “Captain America” inspired  "school uniform”. There is a “con” next weekend in the town we live, so that’s what it is for. We bought a pattern book while in Japan and the blouse is based on a pattern from that book. Japanese craft books are just so great. As they contain so many schemes one can actually recreate things even if one cannot read the language. I have a number of knitting books that I really like, but the sewing books are maybe even better. I think it is also the styling that really works for me. In any case, S could figure it out, so that was very nice indeed. The skirt is “own” design.

 Good work for both of them, me thinks!



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

and it worked


I am so happy that I did frog that first attempt at making Perkins cove. The new attempt, with modifying it into a cardigan is so  much more me… I used the smalls size, redid the neckline, made it into a cardigan and that’s it… No shaping either, I felt that the drape of the fibre would be enough for shaping this cardigan and it is. It is meant as a throw over a summer dress or skirt on a not that warm day, and I think that is what it does now. so happy me, starting again can be so very worthwhile! I guess it just shows that it is good to know what one likes and would wear, since even though I knit fast, I still rather make things I wear than ones that are nice but not worn.

II finished the edges at the bottom again with an i-cord, such a good bind-off for linen. Also for the neckline I used an i-cord, for the edges at the front, a bit of garter was used knitted with smaller needles to get a good solid edge. Small black shaft buttons finish it of.



Sunday, August 3, 2014

Rip it up and start again



Just like most people I do not like to undo knitting. So when I make a mistake I always try to see whether a) is it really bad and would I be bothered by it and b) is there a fix. I have learned however that if I am bothered by it, it is much much better to face it and work back to the mistake and redo it. Fixes can be things like a dropped stitch which can be amended with the help of a crochet hook, a cable can be reknitted and so on. But the real bad ones are those where you realise that you have to go back a long long way…. Strangeley enough I rather rip than tink back, but that is just me I guess.   And that was what I did with the pullover above. It is a Perkins Cove Pullover and I do like the dropped stitch pattern with the linen very much. However allready when I was casting on I had my doubts about the fit. On the project pages of Ravelry for this design, somebody mentioned that this pattern runs big, and yes running big is what it does. I thought well, that can be nice, a big slouchy linen pullover can be a good thing a bit of shaping maybe and it will work fine. But after knitting about half of it, I realised that it is really not me. So Rip it Up and Start Again it is… I am remaking it as a cardigan in a smaller size….

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

You gotta have that swing


Just at the start of the summer, S asked me if I could make a type of waterfall cardigan for her. One of those cardigans that you could wrap yourself in and feel good, but for the summer and to go with a summer dress or so. We did a bit of browsing suitable patterns on Ravelry and she choose the Hitofude Cardigan which was kind of unexpected. Unexpected since I had it in my queue for myself, basically from the first time I saw that pattern. I have even some Madelinetosh merino light in a nice light-brown colour reserved for it, but it had been in that queue for some time…. I am one of these people whose queue gets longer and longer and never any smaller. And then there are also ideas popping up in my head, so, queue reduction, it will not happen. So I thought, OK then, I’ll make a Hitofude for S. Now she asked for a summer version, if possible not wool. When Sparrow was introduced I bought quite a bit of it, 19 skeins I had at a moment. I still had 7 left, and as it is a lovely 4-ply linen in a neutral colour that goes very well for this pattern, I felt that those last skeins could go for this cardigan. 

Roko, the designer of the pattern, has a summer version in which the lace repeats for the body are slightly different and I did like that very much. So I used that modification. I did one extra repeat at the end to make the cardigan a bit longer. The original pattern ends with a 1k,1p border, but I felt that might make the swing actually less, so I decided to use an I-cord finish instead. Linen is very nice in the sense that when blocked it keeps shape very very well, so just the I-cord in combination with the lace pattern and the yarn would prevent curling. It was quite a finish (boring and time taking) but it proved out to work. So I am happy with it. S as well, and for once I wished she wasn’t since then I could have it after all….

Maybe that TML will be used for a 2nd one…. as it was actually a very fast knit (apart from that I-cord).


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Very Cool Crochet


Brilliant art installation in an open air museum in Hakone. And it is interactive , hands on for the under twelve year's old. The teenager was "annoyed" since she fancied a swing and climb too, but no....




Thursday, June 26, 2014

Ins Blaue hinein....


Some words or sentences can only be uttered in one language. “Schadenfreude” is of course well known, ins Blaue hinein (maybe best translated as “into the wild blue yonder"), is maybe only a dutch germanism. But summer time is also the time of the year that one more than ever wants to have some freedom to go towards blue yonder. For me knitting can be the same. Sometimes I do like to use a pattern, sometimes I just knit almost on the fly, see where I will end up. This cardigan was a little bit like that, I knew what I wanted, but not entirely and just going forward and see where it ends up. I knew I wanted top-down and set-in sleeves. Barbara Walker’s simultaneous sleeves basically, and texture... So in the end it is mostly good, some small improvements could be made and I arrived somewhere nice.

I like the result, maybe the neckline should have been a bit higher and more narrow (next time) but the shoulder fit is good and I do like the change in texture between the purl ridges and the very simple almost mesh like lace. And it is linen so it is nicely fluent. M does like it, just the kind of thing she likes to wear.


We had fun making the pictures too, pulling faces and looking very annoyed


but just some seconds later….




Wednesday, June 18, 2014



Last weekend I was “up north” in the middle of the most Swedish part of Sweden, Dalarna. It was for work not for pleasure but it was still a pleasant visit. I have been there many times now ( we have a yearly meeting there) and almost always very close to midsommar and each time I am again struck about the light. The photo above was taken at about 23:00…. and yes there is that much light still present.. It was very nice weather, not very warm but as there was hardly any wind and it was very sunny it was very nice indeed. And green so very green, with perfect blue skies above..

On the way back I travelled all the way back to Skåne by train, about 700 km….straight down south. I have been travelling a lot this month (and still have some to do) and it was actually nice to take a slower way of transport than a plane. I would only have gained a couple of hours by flying down as I would have needed to go to Stockholm, wait a couple of hours for the connecting flight and then…. The train was nice, I could do some work, could do some knitting and could see Sweden passing by...

The cardigan I am knitting at the moment is  linen cardigan for M. Barbara Walker again, top down simultaneous set-in sleeves, ribs by purl rows at the top, lace by rows of simple yarn-overs at the bottom. And blue or blauw in dutch, proper summer stuff. The yarn is sparrow an favourite of mine. One of the nicest linen yarn around!



Thursday, June 12, 2014





In my too big stash I had some Classic Elite Firefly that really needed to be used. As it is summer now, a top with a bit of Mesh lace is a goo thing for warm days, so I improvised this one. gentle round hems, waist shaping and mesh lace at top. Finished with attached I-cord, and voila warm days can come...


Sunday, June 1, 2014


I have been away on a tour (that how it is feeling right now….) giving two talks at a conference in the US and another one at Brookhaven, I am tired and jet legged, but… just some photos:


One of the commercial exhibitioners at the meeting had a raffle and for the first time in my life I actually won…. There were two lots drawn each day, and on the last day mine was up!  The price was a hot balloon trip over the Rio Grande, and sorry to post these pictures but it was just grand. 

But just assure that I also have been doing work, this is also a picture of something that excites me:



This is the inner workings of a synchrotron, in this case Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island (yes I travelled a bit too, from New Mexico to New York), which is a brand new synchrotron under development. It is impressive to see the machine and colourful too...

Since I was on long plane rides, I finished Angie too…. And as is often the case with Kim Hargreaves, no modifications whatsoever. I found the vintage button in a second hand shop in Malmö and they go very well with tho little summer cardigan, which is really a breeze to make!