Friday, 29 April 2016

Ta-dah! Rainbow Cozy Stripes Blanket

Hello everyone!

Finally a new blog post from me. Somehow I have troubles getting back into a good blogging habit this year. I shall try to do better from now on (as I love blogging)!


You might remember I have been working on the blanket which shall be a wedding present for my honoary aunt for quite a few weeks now. I think I started in February and guess what - it is finally finished!


The finished blanket is about 170 cm x 190 cm and weights over 2kg. I used 24 colours and tried (...) to use them in the same order all the time. It worked out more or less but in the end the skipped colors don't matter much. The yarn is Stylecraft Special DK - man, I am in love with this yarn! So soft and great to work with! Instead of buying new yarn, I used yarn from my stash - I wasn't aware I had that much (and there is more in the stash!).

Altogether the blanket is huge! And just right for some people to cuddle under :) As the blanket is so big, I wasn't able to take a picture of the whole blanket yet. I hope to be able to spread it on grass outside sometime the next week but at the moment it is too rainy outside. 



The pattern is from Lucy from Attic24 which I followed for the blanket body but not the border. The border is a linen-stitch-repreat with all the colors I used for the body (except one as I ran out of yarn). I adore the border so much! Next time I would go up a hook size for the border though as it is a bit to tight for the blanket to lay flat.

I am in love with this blanket! It was a pleasure to have in the living room while I was working on it because it was so rainbow-ish! I hope the new owners will love it as much as I do! It will be a wedding present. 
  



What are you working on at the moment? Now that I have finished the cozy stripes blanket, I will start on the Stylecraft CAL. :)

Take care
Anne

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Frida's Flowers CAL - Block 2 - Dahlia Bud

The Second Instalment of the Frida's Flowers Blanket Crochet-Along, designed by Jane Crowfoot and hosted by Stylecraft Yarns has just been posted, and is available to download NOW from the Stylecraft website, in English (US and UK), German and Dutch.

If you haven't set up a Ravelry project yet, the pattern page can be found here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/fridas-flowers-blanket
I'll be working the CAL along with you all (in the Classique Cotton, provided by the wonderful Stylecraft team), and I'll post my tips and tricks for each part at the same time as the pattern is published over at the Stylecraft website. If you have any questions or need help, there are Facebook groups (English: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1555519964767343/ , German: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1039765272753087/ and Dutch: https://www.facebook.com/groups/145851979128898/ ),

and you are always welcome to leave a comment here or ask us on Facebook. As you know, Anne is doing the German translations for the CAL, so ask away in German too!

So, Block 2 - the Dahlia Bud.






You'll need to make 4 hexagons and 4 half hexagons, the same as Part 1 :)

Yarn usage:
129g Nocturne (238m)
4g Sunflower (8m)
14g Ivory (26m)

Remember: I'm using the Classique Cotton, so use the meterage above if you are making Frida in another DK yarn.

Here's a little spreadsheet tool that I am using to track yarn usage - just enter your start and finish weights for your yarns, and then the weight and meterage used will be automatically calculated! 




My top tips for the Dahlia Bud block:

1. When joining Round 1 (Ivory), slip stitch to the first dc, which is now hiding around the back in the middle of the popcorn.


2. Do all your Dahlia flowers at the same time, and then weave in ends before continuing!

Once I filled in behind the flower, it got much harder to manoeuvre around and get the ends securely stitched in.

3. Use the stacked standing dc instead of ch3 to start a round - this will give you neater edges, more even stitches, and the stacked dc is much easier to work into on the next round!


Stacked Standing Double Crochet - sc into target stitch. Insert hook under two leftmost strands of sc, yarn over hook to do a second sc.


NB: When you do a stacked standing dc instead of 3 ch, you can make a "true" dc2tog to start a row - just work the second dc of dc2tog after you've pulled through the loop to do the second sc (i.e. stop after picture 3 above), and then pull through all three loops to finish!

4. When the pattern asks you to start with 2ch pretending to be an hdc, do the 2ch THEN the correct number of stitches. If you have to join into that stitch when you come back around, skip the 2ch and join direct to the first hdc, and don't work into the 2ch if you're going back and forth.

I find real hdcs much nicer to work into and the extra few chain is barely noticeable.


5. On the last round, the 3sc goes into the third hdc of previous round - the top of the stitch sits to the right of the post for hdc.
I had a little argument with the pattern, because it seemed to be asking me to do the 3sc into the second hdc of the previous round, which looked wonky. Make sure your 3sc group goes into the third hdc, and you have 17 single sc on each side, and all will be hunky dory.




I hope you are having a fantastic time with this gorgeous CAL, and don't hesitate to comment, visit a Facebook group or ask us on Facebook if you need any help :D

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Ta-dah! Rainbow Unicorns!

Hi everyone! 


Unicorns! I've just finished up two unique little rainbow unicorn buddies, using the Fatty Lumpkin the Brave African Flower Pony pattern by the incredible HeidiBears, and adding a horn (because, unicorns are really just ponies with horns :P ) 

I had a lot of fun on Sunday night, live-instagramming making the manes for these babies - 

Neatly lined up bundles of coloured threads (right before the cat jumped up on my knee and made a mess of everything):



Threads all knotted onto the base chain for the tail:


And, of course I needed to keep the mane out of the way whilst stitching on the ears and horn so... check out the hipster unicorn with his manbun!



All the Heidi Bears toys are different because they're handmade - I don't have a machine to just stamp them out identically. But, these two unicorns are a bit more different - I've used slightly different colours and layouts for the body of the beast :)

This one is pink, blue, yellow and green:



And this one has purple added in too! 



I could not convince the Heidi Bears horn pattern to work for me, so I made up my own, and added some silver thread embroidery. 

Hairdressing is not one of my best skills (as you can probably see from the uneven ends of the manes and tails), but I can only assume that their new owners will be as enthusiastic about scissors as I was when I was little so it won't really matter. So many bald Barbie dolls...

I can't wait to send these boys off to their little girls! 

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Frida's Flowers CAL - Block 1 - White Cosmos

TODAY begins the Frida's Flowers Blanket Crochet-Along, designed by Jane Crowfoot and hosted by Stylecraft Yarns :D The first pattern is available to download NOW from the Stylecraft website, in English (US and UK), German and Dutch. The patterns will be published at that link once a fortnight for 14 weeks, so 8 patterns in total. The Getting Ready document has been up for a few weeks now, and I definitely recommend having a read through that to learn about the idea behind the design, and what to expect! 


If you haven't set up a Ravelry project yet, the pattern page can be found here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/fridas-flowers-blanket 

I'll be working the CAL along with you all (in the Classique Cotton, provided by the wonderful Stylecraft team), and I'll post my tips and tricks for each part at the same time as the pattern is published over at the Stylecraft website. If you have any questions or need help, there are Facebook groups (English: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1555519964767343/ , German: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1039765272753087/ and Dutch: https://www.facebook.com/groups/145851979128898/ ), and you are always welcome to leave a comment here or ask us on Facebook. As you know, Anne is doing the German translations for the CAL, so ask away in German too!

A quick note about tension swatches: For this project, the tension testing is only really required if you're terrified of running out of yarn. From past experience my tension is fairly similar to Jane's, so I will let you know how much yarn I use for each block to give you an idea of what to expect!

So, Block 1 - the White Cosmos.


Front
Back
This pattern is a nice, straightforward one to ease us into the CAL. You'll need to make 4 hexagon and 4 half-hexagon blocks this fortnight. 

Yarn usage:
145g Plum (267m)
7g Leaf (13m)
9g Ivory (17m)

Remember: I'm using the Classique Cotton, so use the meterage above if you are making Frida in another DK yarn.

My top tips for the White Cosmos block:

1. Change hook when the pattern tells you to! 

It might seem a bit silly to those of us (like me) who really only use one hook size per project, but it really does make a difference - I forgot to change back to the 3.5mm for one hexagon, and it ended up quite a lot larger than the others and needed to be frogged and redone!! 

2. The corner 3sc (US) on the last row needs to be worked on the central stitch of the 3dc (US) of the previous row.

I'm sure it will only be me who stuffs this up the first time, but just in case :P

3. Yes, the half hexagon will look a bit bigger than half, and that's ok.



As my mother always tells me, peer pressure is an amazing force in a crochet blanket - the edges will come out square in the end!


I hope you have a fantastic time with this gorgeous CAL, and don't hesitate to comment, visit a Facebook group or ask Anne or Michelle on Facebook if you need any help :D

Monday, 4 April 2016

Days for Girls - Ryde Area Team!

A quick photo post from me today - we had our first workshop yesterday as an official Days for Girls Team! There were 33 in attendance over the afternoon (including 5 kids who did running around, unpinning, and entertaining the cat), and we made 1500 liners! That's enough for 187 kits :D And, still had enough time for tea and scones :) 














If you want to find out more about Days for Girls, comment below, send an email to rydensw@daysforgirls.org, or check out their website www.daysforgirls.org 

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Yarn Love! International Trade Fair for Handcrafts and Hobbies

Happy Easter Weekend everyone! 

I hope you have wonderful days with your loved ones ahead of you (and some time for crochet!).

The last weekend was spent in Cologne at the International Trade Fair for Handcrafts and Hobbies. You might recall my blog post about it from last year. This year, I wasn't a visitor. Instead I worked for Stylecraft as a translator (German to English). 


I arrived on Friday morning and fortunately the wonderful ladies from Stylecraft spotted me straight away. The show opened at 9am but we could go in earlier. It was quite lovely to walk past the stalls without visitors there. The Stylecraft ladies took me into their team straight away and I had such a lovely time! Plus as a yarn addict it is very cool to see the new yarns and colors (not just from Stylecraft) ahead of their release. Ladies and Gents - I can tell you: Some wonderful yarn-y goodness is on its way to us! Can't wait!


Just as last year, there was soo much too see! Yarns, fabric, buttons... A crafters wonderland really. I kinda wish, I could have stayed there over night and play with all these things!! On the other hand... I wasn't too sad to put my feet up in the evenings either. ;-)

There were a lot of interested retailer at the Stylecraft stall and I really hope that some German retailers will stock the yarn as well soonish! I wish there was a store in Dortmund which stocked it, so I could just pop in whenever I need yarn instead of ordering online and waiting for the delivery! Oh well... till then I should use up my stash I guess (Hello, I am Anne and I am a yarn hoarder/yarn addict).


What really caught peoples eyes was the Frida's Flowers Blanket. Or rather blankets. There were 3 (!) Frida's Blankets on the stall. One in each recommend yarn. They each look wonderful but also very different depending on the yarn. The stitch definition is best with the cotton but the lightest version is the Special DK. I will crochet the blanket with cotton myself.

While waiting for retailers to come (they came in waves!), I managed to crochet two quick Elise Shawls with the Stylecraft Cabaret yarn. I am no big fan of glitter but the sparkle in this yarn is actually quite nice and great to work with! There was quite a bit of frogging involved though because it seems I made mistakes whenever I put the work down to do something else :P I finished the two shawls by Sunday evening though.  


I kinda hope that Stylecraft needs a translator again next year... :D I had great fun!

So now off to get some pattern translating going!

What is on your hook this weekend?

Take care
Anne


Tuesday, 15 March 2016

2016 Sydney Royal Easter Show

Hi everyone! 

Just a quick post from me, as tonight was the big preview of the Sydney Royal Easter Show Arts & Crafts Competition! My whole family, plus my friend Cate came with me to the exhibition. It was very noisy and busy, and there were so many absent-minded wanderers (always dangerous when travelling in a wheelchair), but lots of fun, and we got to go out for dinner afterwards too. 

I entered 7 sections this year, and all of them made it into the displays :D 

A trio of flower doilies
Starry Evening Stole
The Slow Rainbow Zig Zag Tote
PLUS! I got a highly commended ribbon:

Tumbling Blocks Baby Afghan

And THREE Third Place ribbons!! 

Starwirbeln Cowl

Persian Tiles Afghan

Nellie the Elephant

I am so thrilled with the outcome - now I need to start planning my entries for next year!