Tuesday, 21 October 2014

PATTERN: Saggy Daggy Crochet Baggy

I used the practice and tutorial Solid Spiral Granny Squares to make up a Saggy Daggy Crochet Baggy for a friend to use as a project bag :P What do you think? 

Instructions for how to make this bag for yourself are below :)  

Instructions for how to make your very own Saggy Daggy Crochet Baggy:

1. Make 5 Solid Spiral Granny Squares with two full rounds of each colour (so {step 4, step 5} x 3. You can use other square patterns, just make sure you end up with 30 stitches on each side. 

2. Join Colour E (edging colour) in any dc and sc around each square. In the corners, do two sc in the last stitch of a row, and 3sc over the dc at the start of the next row.

4. Using Colour E and sc, join 4 of the squares into a line, then join the first square to the last one to make a circle (or box). 

5. Using Colour E and sc, join the 5th square to the edges of your circle. Don't forget to do 3 sc in each corner to keep it square! Now you have a cube with no top :) 

6. Join Colour E in one corner of the top of the bag and sc all the way around, using slip stitch to join. Don't cut off Colour E.

7. On the next round with Colour E, ch 1 (does not count as a stitch), then sc in the next 10 stitches. For the handles, you can either use 20 chain stitches, or 20 foundation sc stitches. Skip 12 stitches on the previous round, then sc 10 to the corner. Repeat for all four sides, then cut off Colour E.

8. Do one round each of sc in Colour A, then B, then C, then D, then E to finish. 
If you did chain stitch for the handles, do the first round (with Colour A) into the stitches to make it nice and strong :) In the picture below, I've used foundation sc to make a more defined handle hole.

9. Weave in all your ends securely.

Ta-dah! Your very own Saggy Daggy Crochet Baggy :) 

If you have any problems with these instructions (which were written up very quickly, and not tested), let me know in the comments!

Monday, 20 October 2014

Pattern: Solid Spiral Granny Square (translated from Patty Crochète)

In my hunt for something to do with my beyoooootiful Stylecraft Special DK yarns, I have scoured the internet for ideas, patterns, inspiration - something that will show off this yarn to its fullest. 

I love rainbows, and in my travels around the web the same picture kept coming up for rainbow granny spirals: The Granny Spiral by Patty Crochète. This was it, the one. It was calling me.  

One small problem - the pattern is written in French (although with an excellent photo tutorial) and I could not find a proper English translation anywhere! Google Translate helped a bit, as did some excellent Googlefu (and proper reading) from the ladies in the Creative Crochet Crew group on Facebook. I really believed there was a market for this pattern in the English speaking world, especially as I had seen it in so many places, on so many Pinterest boards and inspiration boards.

The incredible designer of this square, Patricia Damême, can be found on her blog here, her Facebook page here, and on Pinterest here, and I absolutely recommending checking her out in all of those places as her work is just amazing.

With her permission, the English translation of the Solid Granny Spiral Square :D

Translated from: The Granny Spiral by Patty Crochète
Ravelry Link: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/solid-spiral-granny-square

Abbreviations (US terms):
ch = chain stitch
dc = double crochet
tr = treble crochet
sl st = slip stitch

You'll need 4 colours of the same weight yarn.


* All stitches are worked in the top of each stitch of the previous row, not between the stitches, unless otherwise specified. You could do an interesting variation with using back loops only, or both loops for a smooth finish.

* I don't recommend using the Magic Circle to start this square, as it makes the square rows twist a bit. 

* As you stop working with each yarn, pull up a nice big loop or use stitch markers so you don't accidentally undo all your lovely work

* To stop your yarns getting tangled, at the end of each sequence of four colours turn your work ANTI CLOCKWISE to get back to the first colour. If you keep turning the same direction, you'll get an awful mess.

* If you get lost in the Steps 4 and 5 repeats, just remember that in each colour, the (dc, tr) (tr, 2dc) and (2dc, tr) (tr, dc) sequences alternate - just check what you did last corner! The current corner should also be the opposite to the one directly underneath.

With Colour A, ch 5, sl st into 1st ch to form a ring. Ch 3, 2dc into ring. The 3 chain of each colour is the loop you'll need in Step 3.

With Colour B, **join to ring. Ch3, 2dc into ring.** Repeat ** to ** for Colours C and D. 

With Colour A, **(dc, 2tr, dc) into 3ch loop of next colour.** Repeat ** to ** for Colours B, C and D. 

With Colour A, **dc into each dc of the previous row. In 1st tr of previous row, (dc, tr). In 2nd tr of previous row, (tr, 2dc).** Repeat ** to ** for Colours B, C and D.

With Colour A, **dc into each dc of the previous row. In 1st tr of previous row, (2dc, tr). In 2nd tr of previous row, (tr, dc).** Repeat ** to ** for Colours B, C and D.

Repeats Steps 4 and 5 until you get to one row short of your desired size.

To Finish: With Colour A, **dc in each dc, dc in 1st treble, dc in 2nd treble. Cut your yarn, leaving a tail for darning in, and pull through the loop on your hook. Weave in end.** Repeat ** to ** for Colours B, C and D.

And that's it! Ta-dah!

Update: I used the practice and tutorial squares to make up a Saggy Daggy Crochet Baggy - check out the photos here

Friday, 17 October 2014

Thoughts On Creativity

Hello from Dortmund!

As you know, the boyfriend and I had an awesome vacation in Canada about two months ago (pictures can be found here, here and here). Two days before we left we wandered along W 4th Ave and found Banyen Bookshop. There was a lot of esoteric stuff I am not fond of but they also had a few nice books on creativity and such. I got myself a book and as you can see I started to read it the same night at the beach. The book is called "Living Artfully" and was written by Sandra Magsamen. It's a good read and the author has some very lovely ideas.

Next to being a good and inspiring read, the book got me thinking about creativity in general as well as my journey to become more creative.

The word creativity or Kreativtät goes back to the Latin verb "creare". "Creare" translates into "to make something" or "to invent something". In some contents it also means "to choose". All of these translations relate to my understanding of creativity quite well.

Some day ago I talked to Michelle about creativity and she assumed she wasn't very creative because she mostly follows patterns instead of making up her own patterns. I disagree with her sentiments. According to my understanding of creativity, Michelle is very creative indeed because she makes new creations with her hands. That is, she creates something and even if she does indeed follow a pattern, the process of creation is a still an act of creativity.

Until recently I never considered myself a very creative person. Even worse: I told myself I wasn't creative at all! I liked to make things but hardly dared to actually tackle new skills (telling me I will be bad at it anyway) or didn't like the results (they weren't perfect!). As you know I really got into crochet when I lived in Australia 2008/2009. When I returned to Germany, I still made a lot of Granny Squares but that was it.

About two years that changed. I wish I could pinpoint one special event but I really can't remember. I wanted to make something different to Granny Squares and I think I started with an amigurumi teddy bear. I tried to follow the pattern and the result looked close to a teddy. It still sits on the bookshelf even though I have made some far prettier stuff since then. This teddy reminds me that I can tackle new skills even if the (first) result isn't perfect. You might think, that it is pretty normal that first tries don't work out perfectly but for me accepting this has been a HUGE step.

Since then my creativity tries to go into overload... Of course Facebook and Pinterest don't help with that. There is so much to try and so much to do! I find myself wandering out of my comfort zone these days: Even though crochet is still my first (and strongest) craft love, I like to work with paper these days. The last couple of days I spent making Lucky Stars and I really enjoy the calm I reach when I fold them.

Altogether I have found peace in doing crafts. It helps me to focus and to relax. And since I noticed that about myself, I made sure to embrace creativity. Of course I am not perfect, of course I don't manage everything and of course I don't have the time to try everything. But that's okay. I am happy.

So nowadays I proudly call myself a creative person! 
What about you?

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

WIP Wednesday - Projects update

Hello everyone! 

Wow, what a birthday week! Thank you to everyone who read, participated, entered the giveaway, commented and followed our little blog :) We have a great time writing it for you!

Today I'm just doing a quick update on my current works in progress (WIPs) as it has been a crazy week around here. Not only was it blog birthday week, but... 

Over the long weekend we went up and stayed at the new house at Lake Macquarie for the first time. It was amazing and awesome, and I can't wait for it to be properly finished so I can unpack the kitchen properly ;) My sister has done an amazing job with the design of the house, particularly the interior features like this tiled wall:

Plus the view from the balcony is pretty good ;)

Then, Kiah ended up in hospital last Tuesday having his appendix out! It was caught early which is good, but still required nearly 3 days in hospital, and lots of running around and helping from me. He is still very sore, but the three little holes in his belly seem to be healing up nicely. 

As a result, I am pretty much completely exhausted, which has really slowed down the crochet production (and everything else, but that's less important). Fortunately my parents are back from their conference now, so they are helping with shopping and driving, and the wonderful Beccy, our housemate is helping with housekeeping. Couldn't do it without you all! 

On the good news front, I received my Stylecraft Special DK Packs from Deramores. How will I ever use any other acrylic 8ply again!? This yarn is incredible, and the price I can get from Deramores is about $2.80/100g - just about cheaper than any low quality yarn I can get here. I have started using one colour pack already (see Project 2 below), but I am still musing and plotting over how to make something amazing with the other one.  

Because my brain has been all over the place, my WIPs have been all over the place too. Usually I don't like having more than one or two WIPs as it gets me all fuddled, but these are special times.

Project 1 (a, b, c, d,... so many animals)

Animal orders - so far I have pieces for two candy hippos, one blue and yellow stegosaurus and one black and red dragon! The dragon pieces in particular are very dramatic - I think he's going to be one amazing beastie when put together :) Since I enjoy joining more than I enjoy making the little African Flowers, I am collecting up little baggie sets to relax and join later! 

Project 2

Cosmos Fields Shawl, pattern by Zooty Owl. I am loving this yarn, and these colours! Reminds me of lavender fields in Provence :) It is for our housemate Beccy to keep at work for when she gets chilly about the shoulders. The pink workbasket (for details go here) is just the perfect size for this project! 

Project 3

I was inspired by Atty's Woven Crochet Block to create this prototype heat pad for the new house, to protect the tables from hot saucepans and trays. Maybe next week I'll write up how I did it, so you can have a try too! Or maybe the week after. 

(excuse the ends not tucked in yet...)

What are you working on this week?

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Anndd The WINNERS!


Our give away ended last night and now it is time to announce the winners! 

We are very happy with the number of entries and will surely have another one sometime! 133 entries in total!

And the winners are...

Viola Weiss: Drops Cotton Merino plus the Wrist Warmer Pattern
Jennifer Dinsmore: Scarf
Angela Armstrong: Captain Poprocks
Caroline Simmons: Surprise Yarn Parcel


Please remember:

The winners need to contact us within three days with their shipping details. If no contact is made, we will give the prize to someone else.

Please E-Mail us at crochetbetweenworlds AT gmail.com

Hope you enjoyed our little give away and will continue to read our blog! There is more exciting stuff to come... 

Take care
Michelle & Anne

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

The Adventures of Captain Poprocks: Melanesian Magic

I know this post has been a very long time coming - since we arrived back in Sydney from Vanuatu in mid July, I have been super busy with various projects, and also a little bit afraid of having to choose from our many many photos of the trip! 

But now, at long last, I present...

The Adventures of Captain Poprocks: Melanesian Magic 

This was our first family overseas holiday in quite a few years! We needed to get my dad and sister away from work for a few weeks so that they could actually have a holiday, and where better than a warm tropical island like Vanuatu :) 

We stayed in resorts around the capital city, Port Vila, which is on one of the main islands, Efate.

Captain Poprocks didn't really enjoy the food on the plane, but the view wasn't too bad :P 

We arrived on Kiah's birthday, and in the evening went out to the restaurant at the resort next door to celebrate! He got some nifty presents, and we enjoyed delicious cocktails and even more delicious food! 

The first resort we stayed, Surfside at Breakas Beach was on the southern coast of the island, right on the beach. The villa even had its own plunge pool, although it was mostly a bit cool to swim in. We did lots and lots of crochet, reading, playing games, and eating amazing food at the restaurant next door.

We also discovered that the best way to get around Vila was by bus! The buses didn't have timetables or destinations - you just flagged down a passing minibus with a "B" number plate, climbed on, and they took you wherever you wanted in the city for about 100 vatu (about AU$1)! Some of the buses looked pretty dodgy (I imagine there aren't very strict road safety laws in Vanuatu), but we lived to tell the tale :) 

In our explorations of Port Vila, one thing that really struck me was the immense poverty. There were many people who didn't seem to have jobs, and the local people mostly lived in little villages or communities, where the roofs were made of canvas or corrugated iron, and often there were no walls. My dad and sister who are Rotarians went to visit the local Rotary Club meeting, and learned about the charity and support projects in the area. Definitely a very different kind of place to Sydney!

On one day out in Vila, we went to a "Steak house", and James ordered the Monster Burger. When it came, it was a bit more monster than we expected... Turned out ok, Captain Poprocks did his share as well ;)

Our second resort, Poppy's on the Lagoon was, perhaps not surprisingly, on the south side of the lagoon which is a little bit inland. Again, our villa was only a metre or so from the beach, and right next to the multipurpose hut where meals were served and there were tables and chairs for sitting around on :) There were also some very cute resident cats who we made friends with - after a week without our furry friends, it was very nice to find some little bodies to cuddle.

One night there was an earthquake! At midnight, only for about 15 seconds, but it felt like the villa was swaying from side to side! So scary! I have never experienced an earthquake before. The next morning we asked the staff if there had been an earthquake, and they laughed and said "Yes, just a little one - only 6.5 on the Richter scale." I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound like a little earthquake to me.

The resort offered a special event to guests - "Melanesian Night"! We had traditional island food, accompanied by talks from the local people about culture, fashion, traditions, and food. We also got to try the local favourite beverage, kava. It was... horrible. I can only assume that the effect of drinking a lot is so desirable that it's worth the taste! The Captain tried some too, and perhaps went a little overboard?

On our last day, Kiah, my sister, my brother and my Dad went to Mele Bay for some adventures! They went abseiling down a waterfall, and then rolling down hills in Zorb balls. Sounds like lots of fun for them, but not really my style... 

Captain Poprocks also got to meet some of the locals :) 

In the evening, Mum and I met the others at the Beach Bar at Mele Bay, for dinner and to watch the Vanuafire Fire Show! It was absolutely amazing, and if you ever go to Vanuatu, I absolutely totally and definitely recommend seeing this show :) 

After all of these adventures - some super relaxing, some totally crazy, Captain Poprocks was ready to come home. For such a young beastie, he has certainly racked up a decent number of frequent flyer miles! The view of the moonrise over the Gold Coast and Sydney as we flew home at sunset was pretty special :)