Chili Vanilla Socks – Free Pattern To Download

Chili Vanilla Socks

My 2017 resolution was: Design, knit and publish 12 pairs of socks this year. A pair for each month. I failed. I made it to 10 only. And two of them are no proper socks. Plans change, I guess. I am not unhappy. So, are ready for a bit of scrolling? And yes, there will be a free download of the Chili Vanilla Socks at the end as promised in the headline.


The sock year 2017 started minimalistic: A small, irregular cable meanders over the leg and top of these socks. Voilà: MinimalSockz.

Saskia from Ovis et Cetera sent me these 2 wonderful colours on her Texelaar Base. I was inspired to knit Dotz. It is the only colour work sock pattern I designed this year. I have to get back to these.

Then, I tackled my first toe-up sock – a wild knit with cables. Therefore, WildkableSockz. And from now on I was stuck to the toe-up version.

I remember that I got this yellow yarn on a day with dreary weather. The acquisition from my LYS brightened up the day. I took the wip to Edinburgh Yarn Fest, daffodils were blooming everywhere, hence the name. DaffodilzSockz are featuring lace and cables.

Liliez-of-the-Valley were next. A lacy knit in a natural colourway. My tribute to May and my own favourite design for this year.

sneaker socksI got lazy in summer, so I shortened the socks ;-). Lilaks and Daisiez are comfy sneaker socks with a picot hem and different mesh patterns.

Time to knit up some yarn leftovers. The blue-bell stitch I used for MemorySockz (a tribute to the Cosy Memory Blanket) reminds me of a crochet stitch used for granny squares.

When I visited the Alpakas from Saaralpaka, Christiane, the owner gifted me two cakes of the softest sock yarn. I knitted Walnutz and they are my favourite socks this year because they are soooo soft. In fact, I am wearing them right now, while typing this blog post…

There was still one skein of sock yarn in my stash, namely the 2nd skein of John Arbon’s Exmoor Sock I bought at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival (Above shown Liliez-of-the-Valley are actually knit with the same yarn). So I decided on another cable pattern for AvokadoSockz.

Then I had to stop sock knitting for a while, for sanity reasons. And I was a bit bored by my Instagram feed, too. Only socks showed up. But then I received this bright red sock yarn from Novita to test. So I decided to knit a plain vanilla sock with my favourite recipe. Only some mindless stockinette, a few purls. A project that I could take to my Tuesday knit night and work while chatting.

Chili Vanilla socks – recipe

This is the toe-up version I used for most of my patterns this year. Even for the sneaker socks. It starts with Judy’s Magic Cast-on and a nicely rounded toe. It features a gusset heel and a heel that is shaped with short rows. I usually end my socks with Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off. All instructions are in the pattern and there are link to tutorials I consider helpful. You can download it here.

Chili Vanilla Socks

Now I have to finish one more pair of socks for Christmas. As a gift for my dad who made me the wonderful sock blockers I am using. They cannot be show here, anyway, they are plain vanilla do. So at least I knitted 12 pair of socks in 2017.

Ah, and yes … I have a question. Can somebody tell me where the name vanilla comes from?


Blatt: A hat with leaf pattern Fairisle Style

Blatt hat

Do you love knitting colourwork as much as I do? Then here is a perfect hat for you. Blatt is the name of my new hat design. I features a leaf pattern. Blatt is the German word for leaf, so an obvious name ;-). Blatt is worked with US 7 (4.5 mm needles) and is knit in a blast.

A hat with leaf pattern – Best for a hike in Autumn

Hat with leaf pattern

Add a pompom if you like. For the hat with the red colourwork I used up yarn left overs in pink, and red.

Wool and good Co.

I had so much fun working this quick pattern, so I knitted five.

I hope you like the hat. If you want to knit your own, here is the link to my Ravelry Store. You will find a few more hats in different colours there.

Autumnal Quiche With Chestnuts And Squash

Quiche With Chestnuts And Squash

I really love cooking with friends: to open a bottle, put on some music and start. I like eating, too, of course. ;-). The first October weekend I spent time with my friend Elke. She lives in a beautiful house in the countryside near Brussels. On Saturday she invited friends over for a party. No big dinner preparation, just a casual buffet. We would just look in the fridge and create some hopefully good-tasting dishes: dips, spreads, quiches, salads. We call that creative cooking. It’s always fun, especially if it is accompanied by a nice glass of bubbly.

A huge chestnut tree is growing in Elke’s garden and so we decided to use the chestnuts for a dish. We discussed soup (too many chestnuts needed – they are such a pain to peel …), Marrons Glacé (too complicated and we already bought pralinés at La Cabosse d’Or nearby which should cover the craving for sweet stuff). So after studying the fridge again, we came up with the following idea.

Autumnal Quiche With Chestnuts And Squash

Here is what you need:

  • ca. 250 g chestnuts
  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 1 onion
  • 200 g cream cheese
  • 1/2 a glass of white wine
  • fresh rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper
  • a package of ready-made puff pastry (or make your own shortcrust, if you want, am sure it will be delicious as well) for a circular tart pan
  • A large spoon of olive oil to fry

Roast or boil chestnuts. I admit, we just cut them in halves and cooked them in the microwave. Peel them, cut them in pieces. Wash butternut squash, cut in half and remove seeds. Chop into little cubes. Peel onion and dice.

Sweat onions in olive oil, add squash and stir bit. Then add chestnuts, stir some more. Taste if the white wine is okay. Be thorough! Use the rest to deglaze squash, onions and chestnuts. Put a lid on the pan an simmer at a low temperature until squash is almost done. Add freshly chopped rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper and let the mix cool down a bit.

Quiche With Chestnuts And Squash

In the meantime, roll the ready-made puff pastry onto your tart pan. Then mix the cream cheese with squash and chestnuts preparation and pour the mixture evenly over puff pastry. Fold in the overlapping pastry. Let it bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes (200°C / 375 F).

The quiche with chestnuts and squash tastes best when served tepid.

Quiche With Chestnuts And Squash

Brussels Favourites

Completely unrelated to the Quiche With Chestnuts And Squash, but of course completely related to my dear friend Elke and our happy times, here are some of our Brussels classics. The Belgian capital is absolutely worth a trip. And if you happen to be there you should try:

  • Kibbeling and a glass of white wine at La Mer du Nord in Place Sainte Catherine.
  • Chocolate … oh my god, where to start? My  three favourites are: Pierre Marcolini, Sablon (looking at the windows might give you a kind of Breakfast at Tiffany’s moment, they are like jewels), Neuhaus, Galerie Royale Saint-Hubert (after all, they invented pralines) and Frederic Blondeel, Quai aux Briques (try the pralines flavoured with spices, my favourite is Earl Grey).
  • Half and Half at Le Cirio, Bourse (Half wine, half champagne, just like that).
  • A Belgian beer at La Morte Subite (I order a Kriek, Elke a Lambic) accompanied by cheese cubes or Tartine aux Fromage Blancs.
  • Burn the calories browsing Marché aux Puce at Marolles on Sunday mornings.
  • Or climb the Lion in Waterloo.
  • Do you still want to go yarn shopping? Kaleidoscope in St. Gilles is the place to go. Beware – amazing choice of yarns.

New Pattern: Knitted Hat Fair Isle Style

Muetze im Norwegermuster stricken

Look at my new hat knitted Fair Isle Style. I guess I will wear it all winter. Novita, a Finnish yarn company asked me if I wanted to test some of their yarns. I decided to go for their Nordic Wool. According to Novita, 50 % of the fibres for this yarn originates from Scandinavia, mostly Norway, the other 50% is from UK Down breeds like Shropshire, Hampshire or Dorset. Nordic Wool is a rather soft DK weight yarn that is available in a lot of beautifully muted colours. The abundant colour palette, of course, inspired me to knit a hat Fair Isle Style. I chose the shades Stone, Pomegranate, Saffran and Acqua and I am quite happy with my decision. What do you think?Hat Fair Isle Technique - wool and good company

The pattern is easy to knit: There are only three rounds where I used more than two colours at once. I consider it a good pattern for people who would like to try stranded knitting for the first time. By the way, a hat is a good project for colourwork beginners, too. My tip: For an average adult head circumference I use a cable needle that is approximately 50 cm (20 inches) long (cable plus needle). This ensures almost automatically the right tension of the strands that you carry behind your work.

Whoop whoop! I couldn’t stop, the pattern is addictive. So I knitted two more hats.For the grellow one, I only used two shades. And I used a different yarn base in a similar yarn weight from my stash as the main colour. There: Another left-over is gone! The Tofane hat pattern is now available in my Ravelry store.

Attic find: Handknitted sweaters from the 80ties

When your son, whose teenage years are almost over, wants to move into a room in the attic (before moving out forever) you don’t say no. Of course, it means cleaning up there and sorting a lot of stuff you hoarded there over the years. That’s what we did last week. My son and I opened boxes with things he, me, we remembered. Also, things we thought to have already got rid of and things we had forgotten completely. There was a lot of reminiscing and talking. Funny for example to find my old exercised books from primary school. Very touching to hear him say that there is no way I should put that on the pile with things to throw away.

Of course, we came across clothes: an old leather jacket, a Benetton jacket with large shoulder pads and a matching skirt in 100% wool I remember wearing for my first job interviews. And then, I found a pile of sweaters I handknitted in the 1980 and early 90ties. Last century stuff. Four pieces of many more I knitted when I was a student. Most of them during classes. Yes, there had been times where teachers would tolerate that.

Somehow these survived. I stored my old handknits in my parent’s basement. Except these three all my handknit sweaters are gone. Perhaps my mom gave them to charity. Or they died when a water pipe burst and flooded everything.

80ties knitwear

So, hello vintage sweaters from the past. Ugly oversized beasts with drop shoulders and wide sleeves. Without further ado, and without shame, here are the pictures of my 80ties handknits.

The first I want to show you is a very special one: It is indeed the first sweater I ever knitted. I must have been 15 or so. The yarn is a mohair acrylic blend. It is knit in the round. My mother has tucked the seams, to make it a bit tighter. I remember that she wore it, too. She is a lot smaller than me. Hm, I will try to open the seams, wash and block it. I might want to wear this one.

The next one is huge, just take a look. Stranded black and white houndstooth pattern with a turtleneck. The sweater is worked in a sport weight yarn which resulted in a thick, dense fabric. it. I did wear it in really cold and snowy winters. The yarn is probably a wool-acrylic blend. And I am quite impressed by my colourwork skills. I only learned about colour dominance a few years ago, but it seems that I did it correct intuitively. I will pass on this one to my son. He has broader shoulders than me.

Houndstooth Knitwear

The Aran below sweater has enormous sleeves, too. Geez, did we really like these in the last century? Or was it just a knitting fail? The yarn seems to contain a huge part of acrylic. What a pity, as otherwise, it would be a total wearable classic. It is a point that today I just can’t understand. So much work is going into a piece of knitwear, why bother with acrylic yarn instead of using wool.

80ties Knitwear Aranasweater

No shame, share yours, please

So that is my 80ties knitwear. Can you relate to this post? Do you have vintage treasures in your wardrobe? I would love to read your comments and see some of your works. No shame, check your closets, attics, basements for your old handknits. Share them with me: In the comments below, on Instagram or on my Facebook page. Hashtag: #80tiesknitwear.


On the road with George


I would never have imagined that I would name a car. I mean I haven’t. But I totally would have, if George were mine. Which is “he” isn’t.  But I still call him George, the name his family gave him.

George is an orange 1974 Volkswagen T2 Westfalia camping bus and belongs to my dear friend Babett. This summer George brought us from Germany through France to Spain.

Travelling with George means that you need time. And be patient. In the morning he struggles to get warm. He is strong, but not fast. Very often we made it to a mountain only in the second gear and a lot of cars had to queue behind us. But we never got angry headlights from behind. George seems to bring out the best in people :-).

This blog post is completely non-yarn related and merely to pay tribute to George. And my friend Babett. Thank you for this trip.

Old-school navigation. We got lost of Google maps on purpose to get in the slow traveling mood. And to find the small roads we wanted to use.

I have a thing for the faded advertisements you still often find in France on the houses like this one in Lorraine. (Note to self: I should take more pics and make a series before they are all gone.)

This is George’s ignition key. Believe it or not. To open the doors you actually have to use the key. There is no remote or central locking. As I said: traveling with George takes time.

You meet like-minded people everywhere 😉 This is another classic car – a Citroën. Forgive me, I do not know the exact model. If you do, let me know.

Catching the morning evening sun.

A look inside. Bright and friendly George.

Candy store in Albi.

Chapel in Saint-Chély-du-Tarn.

Under, not over: Viaduc du Millau.

Travel in style.

The obligatory shot through the side mirror. And I really do have the impression that objects are not closer than they appear in a VW T2. Also, the open window is the air conditioning.

Okay, the last picture in this post is dedicated to the yarnies. Of course, George will get his cozy 70ties granny square blanket. One day. No pressure. We are slow. And we like it.

Do you want to see more of George? We set up an Instagram account. Follow him @georgetheorangecamper


Saar Alpaka: Slowing Down With Alpacas


When I cycle the surroundings of my hometown Saarbrücken I often drive past a small farm where alpacas are grazing. Unusual animals for my region. Normally you met cows or maybe horses. Of course, as a knitter and yarn lover, I was curious. And as a blogger, you are allowed to be curious. So one day I stopped by at Saar Alpaka and asked if I could come and visit, take pictures and ask questions.

I went in May for the first time. That day the alpacas were shorn. Saar Alpaka is a rather small farm with 47 animals. The proprietors Christiane Groß and Rainer Frenkel started the farm in 2009. A farm shop was added about 6 years ago. It has a small, but exquisite selection of yarns grown mostly grown on their farm, but also a selection of other alpaca yarns.

Hey, you can see my neck! Where is yours?

Shearing day was a busy day. All 47 alpacas had to be shorn in two days. Alpacas are shorn once a year in late spring. Their fleece is thick and with good insulating qualities. It keeps them very warm, good in winter, but a no-go in the warmer months.

Tinkerbell - Saar Alpaka - Foto Sabine Frisch

The alpaca stud Tinkerbell is quite relaxed while getting a new haircut.

Alpaca Thor

An important day for little Thor. He was shorn for the first time. Afterwards, he had to say goodbye to his mother and joined the stallions at the boy’s range.

It was already really warm in May, so the animals seemed to be happy to be rid of their fleece.

While the alpacas enjoyed the new comfort of a short fleece outside on the range for Christiane and Rainer the work continued. The fleeced had to be cleaned and sorted.

Samples of each animal are sent to a laboratory in order to check the quality, i.e. micron and comfort factor of the fleece. Christine then decides, which fleeces will be spun together depending on the quality and colour.

The fleeces are sent to a mill in Southern Germany that spins also small quantities. There the fleece is washed and carded. And spun to a nice and soft, but sturdy DK-yarn.

Natural and sustainable: 50 gr cakes of undyed Saar Alpaka.

Depending on the animals the quality of the yarn is either Royal Alpaca with a micron below 19 or Baby Alpaca with a micron under 23. I can tell: it is very soft and smooth. On Saar Alpaka’s labels, you can read the names of the alpacas that are responsible for your yarn cake: Leo, Inti, Rosi, Estella, Angelo… I like this idea. If you want you can visit the animal who grew your yarn and say thank you. Maybe with a small treat?

Angelo’s fleece was abundant: 1.2 kgs of the first choice.

Close up of Angelos lustrous fleece: You can see the crimp that is considered a sign for high-quality fibre.

Tatamia’s Make over

Before the make-over, Tatamia was sporting a retro-look with a 60ties fringe.

For summer Tatamia is now wearing a short, layered fringe for a fresher look.

 Saar Alpaka – Natural and Sustainable

While the first choice is spun to yarn, the rest of the fleece is not discarded. It is used for woven rugs, as a warm filling for duvets or even for a natural soap.

School classes often visit the farm. Then Christiane explains to the kids the long but beautiful process from animal to a knitted sweater. Maybe this raises awareness that it is hardly possible to get a fair alpaca sweater at H&M or Primark for 20 Euros.

Baby Alpaca

Three days old baby alpaca Teresita

When I came back on a nice sunny Sunday in July, I wanted a quick interview with Christiane and Rainer. But I realised that when you are near alpacas nothing is quick. You immediately slow down and relax. Usually, to reach this state of relaxation, I have to take a yoga class ;-). Then Christiane offered me a sun chair to sit in the pasture with all the animals, maybe to take more pictures. Four hours later, I was still there.


Website Saar Alpaka 

Facebook Saar Alpaka


New Lanark Mill – Utopian Socialism And Yarn

Wolle aus New Lanark

2017 so far seems to be a year of spontaneous trips to Scotland. In March I was in Edinburgh at the Edinyarnfest (see photos here).  shag and this community seems to be as nerdy about dancing as us yarnies are about knitting. No way is too far to visit a nice festival with cool instructors. So we got there in the first place for the Glasgow Shag Festival. While Marilena was swinging I visited crafty places.

New Lanark is a UNESCO World Heritage Site approx. one hour train ride from Glasgow. It’s the birthplace of Utopian Socialism and cooperatives. And what is makes it even more attractive – you can watch yarn being spun. And yarn shopping is possible, too.

New Lanark Mill - Foto Sabine Frisch

New Lanark: From Utopia to Reality

New Lanark Mill is a former cotton mill, that was owned 1800 until 1825 by British Social Reformer Robert Owen. It is where he put his ideas and reforms of Utopian Socialism into practice.

New Lanark is situated in a beautiful valley of the River Clyde and is a great visit for families. A focus of the tour is the situation of the working class children in the 19th century. Before Robert Owen introduced his reforms children had a very long and hard working day in the mill, had been beaten and yelled at.

River Clyde New Lanark - Foto Sabine Frisch

The waters of the River Clyde have always been the power source for New Lanark.

Robert Owen did not allow children under 10 years in his mill. He opened a school where corporal punishment was banned and the curriculum includes art and music. He encouraged children over 10 and adults to go to school with a shortened working day.

Owen is also the founder of the cooperative movement. He bought quality groceries in bulk opened a village store where the inhabitants could buy a low prices or tokens.

Owen sold the mill in 1825 and move to the USA where he founded New Harmony that should evolve his Utopia even further. New Lanark Mill was closed in 1968 and decayed. In the 1980ties it was restored as Museum.

Visiting the Mill
New Lanark Mill - Bild: Sabine Frisch

The 19th-century spinning mule in New Lanark is powered by water turbines.

Today the mill is spinning wool instead of cotton. A traditional 19th-century spinning mule is used for the process. You can watch Aran, Chunky or DK yarns are made. New Lanark Wool and Textiles is spinning locally sourced British wool. There is also a soft tweed mixed with silk. It can be bought at the adjoining shop. Of course, I got some skeins. No way I could resist.

Yarn Cones New Lanark - Foto: Sabine Frisch

Lots of colour choices in the mill shop.

Sources and useful links: 

New Lanark Shop

Website New Lanark 
Britannica: Robert Owen

Kate Davies Blogpost on New Lanark


Take Two. Knit Sneakersocks Vintage Style.

sneaker socks

It has been a while that I posted. I made a short holiday in Scotland at the beginning of June. I still owe you a blog post on that because I visited New Lanark World Heritage Site. Needless to say: I bought yarn. I took pictures at the mill and will definitely show them here. I also visited Saar Alpaka – and took lots of beautiful pictures of gorgeous alpacas. There will be a blog post, too. I promise.  But first I have to move. If you follow me on Instagram, you know my big WIP:  I am re-decorating an old flat. So I am busy painting, instead of knitting or blogging.

Anyway, I managed to finish some small knitting projects which I wanted to show you here very quickly: Two pairs of sneakersocks.

Daisiez: Sneakersocks Vintage Style

Daisiez sneakersocks are knitted from the toe up with an easy lace pattern and a short row heel. They have ga picot edging which makes a cute finish. I also knitted some extra short rows at the back of the heel to give the socks a better fit.


Lilaks: Sneakersocks with Mesh Pattern

Lilaks sneakersocks have the same features as Daisiez: toe-up, gusset, short-row heel, picot hem. Instead of the lace, I worked a mesh pattern. There are extra rows for a higher heel in the back, too, so – no slipping down the shoes.


What’s your favourite sneaker sock? Mesh or Lace? Both patterns are available in my Ravelry store. There are quite a few project pictures already because I really had wonderful test knitters. A good occasion to thank all of them. Special thanks to Puk, a Dutch podcaster: she showed off her pair of Daisiez in her video podcast. Unfortunately, I don’t speak Dutch, so I cannot understand what she is saying. If you do, head over and translate for me.

The Little Grey Sheep: New yarn favourite!

Blozzome Beanie

When I visited the Hamburg Wollfest last year, the yarn from The Little Grey Sheep was THE discovery for me.  I took home some skeins of the incredibly soft Stein Fine Wool and recently transformed it into my Blozzom beanie. What an enjoyable knit! Reason enough to get in touch with Emma Boyles, the proprietor of The Little Grey Sheep.

Emma Boyles

Emma and her team on Well Manor Farm

Emma Boyles owns Well Manor Farm in Hampshire / UK. She bought the farm together with her husband in 2004. Along with the farm came a conservation plan that made a flock of sheep necessary. In Emma’s family crafts as weaving and spinning have a long tradition, so it did not took her too long to decide that she would use the fleece of her flock to make her own yarn. It was a flock of grey Gotland sheep which gave the yarn its name.

Today the flock has 400 sheep, 200 Gotland ewes. And 200 Stein Fine ewes. Never heard of those? Me neither!  It is Emma’s own sheep breed. She will explain more below.

The sheep are shorn by Susie, the shepherdess. She has worked with Emma since 2006 and Emma states that she runs the flocks like they are her own. Her experience is crucial for the well-being of the animals.

Emma searches for producers and artisans that are keeping alive the British tradition of wool and textiles. That is her trademark. So once the sheep are shorn, the fleeces are sent to Yorkshire for washing, to one oft he two scouring plants left in the UK. After cleaning and washing the fleece goes to Devon, where John Arbon, who, according to Emma, is a perfectionist and knows to get the best out of her fiber, spins it into yarn. Last but not least the yarn goes back to Well Manor farm where Emma hand-dyes it in her beautiful shades.


Stein Fine wool came about as we decided to crossbreed our Gotlands with Shetlands, to further reduce the micron of the wool and increase the lustre in the shetland. We then imported to superfine merino rams, sub 19 microns, to improve the breeding. We decided to trademark the name as people were starting to say they had Stein Fine Wool® sheep. As we keep a closed flock this was not possible. We now have an amazing flock of lustrous very fine wool sheep.

Susie Parish, the Sheperdess

Susie Parish, the Shepherdess


We shear between Christmas and New Year, this is when the fibre is at its best to keep the sheep warm and is full of the lovely oils and healthy and shiny. Once shorn, they are snuggled up in the barn to keep warm until they are turned out after lambing in early April. Normally sheep are shorn in the summer months, this is when their new coat is already starting to grow and they have shut off the oils to the old coat causing a break in the fibre.

Little Grey Sheep

Fine Stein Sheep all snuggled up in the barn.


I am a self-taught dyer and really I do not see working with colour as a job. I just love it, a little like a little girl in a sweetie shop. My mum always said I should go to Art College but I decided on electronics. 30 years on, I realise she was right, mums always are! I love to experiment with different methods from painting to dip dyeing. We are always looking to improve everything we do from lambing to wool quality to labelling and colour range. It is is a mission.

Fine Stein Sock

Thank you, Emma, for answering my questions.

Besides from the Gotland and Stein Fine Wool, The Little Grey Sheep produces “Hampshire” a yarn with an interesting story: The Gotland and Fein Stein fleece from Well Manor Farm is worsted spun as it has a long staple. But there was still quite a lot of short fleece left which was about 50 mm and under which would not spin worsted. Plus Susie shears also for other farmers, which were too small to get their fibre spun or did not want to. Some started bringing the fleece to Well Manor Farm for hand spinners. Emma and the team then decided it would be a great idea to produce a traditional woollen spun yarn. Hampshire was born. A yarn which is still soft and luxurious but with character. Turning what was being wasted into a yarn.

Check out all the yarns from The Little Grey Sheep here. Emma ships wordwide.

I enjoyed knitting my Blozzom beanie and mittens with Emma’s yarn very much. You can find my pattern here. I know, it is warm outside in the Northern hemisphere. But if start now, and you will have to look forward to something cosy in winter 😉

Blozzom Beanie

Blozzom Mittens

Blozzom mittens are worked with an afterthought thumb