Sunday, 12 February 2017

Tadahh! Winter in Spiekeroog Blanket

Hihi!

Hope you are all doing well!

I... finished my Winter in Spiekeroog blanket!! I am so happy with the result and can't wait to cuddle under the blanket and remember the stormy days at the Northern Sea in January. Actually, I finished the blanket almost a month ago but I kept waiting for the right photo weather. Guess what? It did not happen! So, even though my inner perfectionist hoped for the perfect photo, I couldn't take it. The blanket is huge and thus the only way I could photograph it in its proper glory would be to go outside. With the snow, rain and darkness of these days... well, it is not going to happen anytime soon. So you get to see my blanket in imperfect photos but in summer I will take new ones (I promised myself)!


As you can see, I modified the pattern at the top of the blanket. I wish I could say that it was my plan all along, but in truth, it was the result of me forgetting the rows in "sage". But as they say, some mistakes are supposed to happen and I simply love the sunset I crocheted on top of the sky to make the blanket longer.


I used four different shades of red to crochet the sunset. As I wasn't the calmest person while crocheting this part (I was worried I had "destroyed" the blanket by forgetting that one color), I didn't keep note of the way I made the rows. Should anyone be interested in how I made the sunset, I can probably reconstruct it though. Just drop me a note!


As mentioned in my last post I didn't use Colorcrafter but Special DK instead. Changing from Colourcrafter to Special DK was really easy as they use the same numbers/color codes for the colors. Of course the colors look slightly different but that doesn't bother me at all. 

It didn't take too long to make the blanket. I started at the 29/12/16 and finished on the 22/1/17.  So about 3 1/2 weeks with some days without crochet in between.

My least favorite part was sewing the huts and triangles together. Sewing and I just don't mix. At all. Oh well, I guess it is like a necessary evil, right? Because the beach huts were crocheted differently than the sand/waves/sky, the blanketed tugged in after the huts and had to have a nice, strong blocking. I needed around 400 pins to pin it down. Eh as you can guess, I pricked my fingers more than once!


The pattern is very well written and has photos for all the tricky parts. So even if you are a beginner, this is the blanket for you! :) I am sure I will make another one someday - different colors of the beach houses perhaps to make it more fitting to the Northern Sea here in Germany? We will see. :)

Blanket details
Pattern: Summer in Swanage from LookWhatIMade
Yarn: Stylecraft Special DK
Hooks: 5,5 mm & 6 mm
Time: 3 1/2 weeks

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Lace Shawls - Pattern Roundup!

Hey everyone! 

I've had cause recently to go drooling over Ravelry's extensive collection of lace-weight crochet shawls and... oh man, there are some beauties out there! I am going to need more lace weight yarn to make more of these. 

I picked one to make for the Sydney Royal Easter Show this year, but I also wanted to share all the stunning shawls with you!! I hope you love them as much as I do :D 

They are in no particular order, and all pictures are from the pattern pages and belong to their respective owners. 


Oswin
by Bernadette Ambergen

Cost: €5.50
Link: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/oswin




Torc
by Aoibhe Ni

Cost: €6.00
Link: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/torc-2


Cape Cod Shawl
by Maria Bittner

Cost: US$5.00
Link: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cape-cod-shawl-pdf12-121



Basket Case Wrap
by Jarta Jasmine Designs

Cost: US$5.58
Link: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/basket-case-wrap



Midsummer Night's Shawl
by Lisa Naskrent

Cost: $5.50
Link: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/midsummer-nights-shawl


Borealis Shawl
by Cal Patch

Cost: US$6.00
Link: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/borealis-shawl


Wednesday, 25 January 2017

The Story of Des

This is a short story, about a creature who is very special to me. 

In the last week we were talking with our future exchange students about embracing the things that go wrong, the mistakes, and the embarrassments, as these are the moments that provide not only the best learning experiences, but the best and most memorable stories. I've been thinking about this story for months, and now I think I have the right words :) 

Meet Des.


Des came into this world with some misfortune. My nan and aunt were doing a lot of ceramics work at the time of his creation, and after being slipcast, Des's pieces went into the kiln for firing. Something went wrong in that violent heat, and he fell over, sustaining terrible, project-ending injuries. 


My aunt assumed he would be heading into the broken pottery bin, which is fair enough - he wasn't as perfect as their work usually was. But my nan saved him. He was still perfect to her, even with his imperfections.

So she repaired Des's broken foot with a cast. 


She painted him beautifully (as always), picking out his cuts and scrapes with red paint, and even made some miniature bandaids to cover his wounds. 


She sewed him some tiny warm stripey flannelette pyjamas. My Pa, a talented woodworker, made Des this special stand, with a built-in crutch since he had a broken foot. 


And then Nan named him Des. Why Des? Because he had a Des-aster Day. 

My nan and pa have now both passed away. We still all have things that they created in their busy, crafty lives - a stamped copper coffee table; a snoozing cow on the door lintel; miniature dresses for dolls the same as we children wore; beautifully turned spare toilet roll holders; crochet blankets ... 

But I think the most precious thing I have of theirs is Des. He sits up on my piano, maybe getting a little dusty, but always smiling. 

He is always here to remind me that no matter what: 

everyone, everything, every moment, 

has a place, a value, a use, and a beauty, 

even if it's a bit broken.


- Michelle xx

Friday, 20 January 2017

Ta-dah! Winter Solstice blanket

Hello Hello!

I hope you are all doing well and you enjoy crafty times during this winter days (or summer days depending on which side of the world you are on). 

In December I finished another star blanket and man, I am so much in love with it! It will be a gift for my cousin's baby which will be born in April. 


The colors just happed - I saw them in my stash and it just clicked. I have to confess I asked my husband if they actually really fitted together before I started though... I don't always have the best eye for colors which fit together (as long as they are a great mix of colors, I don't mind so much if they fit in a aesthetic color point of view). Someone on instagram suggestes that the blanket looks like the Winter Solstice so I used that as the blanket name. Seemed really fitting considering the colors and the time of the year.


The blanket was a true yarn eater! I started to crochet on it in November and had to take a longish break because I had to order the last two colors again. That said, I won't order with Deramores again. The price for the yarn was good but first it took ages for the yarn to arrive in Germany - no wonder when one considers that it was sent to Sweden first and then to Germany. Oh my. Second, the yarn arrived damanged. They send the yarn in simple plastic bags and one was cut during the delivery - the cut of the bag also cut one skein into pieces. They offered to replace the skein but so far nothing has arrived. I had a read through the comments on their facebook page and it seems I am not the only one with problems. Such a pity as they used to be such a good company to order yarn from!


I used Stylecraft Special DK for the blanket and the Rainbow Ripple pattern from Celeste Young. I have make this blanket a couple of times before but this time I didn't use a single color to divide the other colors. I wasn't sure it would work at first, but it really did in the end.


Obviously the blanket will need blocking soon. I am not sure about it's size but it's at least 120 cm from one side to the other...

What are you busy making at the moment?

Take care
Anne

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Work in Progress: Winter on Spiekeroog Blanket



Hello!

Happy new year! I hope you all have an amazing 2017 ahead of you!

If you are following us on instagram, you know that I currently working on the Summer in Swanage blanket from LookatwhatImade! I started while we were on holidays on Spiekeroog over new years - Spiekeroog is an island in the North Sea (where we got married in 2015). That is why I call this blanket Winter on Spiekeroog instead of Summer in Swanage. :)


It is a joy to see the blanket grow as it changes its look with each new color. On the same hand, it makes me doubt my abilites... 

I hate sewing crochet pieces together - granny squares are alright but different forms... oh my. I am never happy with the way it looks like in the end. I have to confess I had a couple of angry fits while sewing the beach houses together. It's probably just me who sees that the sewing isn't too pretty but still. A test of my patience and my love for perfection...

Last night I realized that I forgot a color altogether. There was a greenish-blue in the middle of the waves and I simply didn't see it in the pattern. As you can imagine, I wasn't happy when I discovered it... It is very hard to undo parts of the blanket as there are always two strands of yarn used at the same time and every six rows these strands are of different colors. If I undid it, it would result in yarn vomit with heaps of yarn loose. I asked the collective brain of instagram crocheters and there were so many good ideas! Many called for undoing it, but as I said, I don't think it would work. Other suggested a longer sky part but I don't have any sky blue left. As Special DK isn't sold in the shops here, it would have ages for the new yarn to arrive from the UK (plus postage for just one or two skeins would be soo expensive compared to the price of the yarn itself). So I went for the third suggestion and crocheted a sunset on top! 



The sunset is made of four different reds and looks pretty cool. I am still getting used to the look of the blanket (the sunset changed the look of the blanket completely - it is a really different blanket than the one the original pattern would have made). 

At the moment I am busy sewing in ends before I will move onto the border. When it is done, I will take the blanket outside to take better pictures. It is really hard to take good pictures at the moment as the weather here in Dortmund results in overcast and darkish days. Thus the pictures don't really to the colors justice!


What are you working on atm?

Take care
Anne

P.S. In case you are wondering: I am not using the intended yarn but Stylecraft Special DK instead.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Wrap With Love - Caring for "Cold Humanity"

Welcome back! We've had a lovely restful Christmas break, refreshed and rejuvenated, and ready for another great year of blogging. I have so much to tell you about! But, I'll have to break it up over a few weeks :P To start with, here's one of the projects we worked on over the holidays!

For years my Mum has supported an Australian charity called Wrap with Love, which makes blankets for cold people around the world. She has a team of knitters who make squares and drop them off, and then Mum sews them up into blankets and sends them on :)



I... can't knit. Well, I can knit simple garter stitch very badly, but I don't enjoy it - attempts at knitting usually end with sweaty, red, cranky me in a great tangle of yarn. Maybe one day I'll get the hang of knitting!

Image (c) http://www.wrapwithlove.org/knitting-patterns/
But I can crochet! I tried quite a lot of different patterns to make 25cm/10" squares out of my fave Stylecraft Special DK, and finally settled on the Blanket Stitch (also called Sedge Stitch - thanks to Jodie from Lupey Loops!!). By doing them all the same, and adding a simple sc edging row to each square, they were super quick to make and even easier to put together. My mum has now decided she's not knitting anymore because the crochet version works up faster!! Together we made a whole blanket (crocheting in front of the tennis, when we felt like it) over the last two weeks, which I joined with slip stitch in the back loops to frame each of the squares.


The texture of the blanket stitch is beautiful - it is solid (no holes!) and the gentle bobbliness makes for a very cosy feeling blanket. It is also a very rhythmic pattern - after making 76 squares, I can also read the subtitles while watching Turkish soap operas on Netflix while crocheting!

I used a 4mm hook for mine, but Mum found that she needed a 3.5mm hook to get the same tension; so I suggest make one with a 4mm and measure it - it should be about 25cm/10". If it needs to be more than 1.5cm/0.5" smaller go down a hook size, or go up a hook size if it's too small. Don't worry about variations between the square sizes smaller than that; peer pressure is a powerful force in a blanket ;) 

Making these blankets are a great stashbuster, or way of clearing out your yarn box at the end of a project. Just join your next yarn on with a Russian join or magic knot, and keep on going! I made 21 squares out of the leftovers from my Carousel kit! You can see in the blanket photos in this post the colour changes. 



If you would like to make squares or blankets for Wrap With Love, or a charity closer to your home, here is my pattern. You can also find, favourite or queue it on Ravelry here:


--------------------------------------------------------------------
WRAP WITH LOVE - CROCHET BLANKET STITCH SQUARES
-------------------------------------------------------------------- 

Materials:
4mm hook (or hook size to achieve desired square size)
~50g DK Yarn
Scissors
Yarn Needle

All stitches are in US terminology
sl st = slip stitchch = chain stitchsc = single crochetdc = double crochet


Square:

Row 1: 
Ch 48. In 3rd ch from hook, 2dc. *skip 2 ch, (1sc, 2dc) in next ch*. Repeat * to * to the last chain; in the last ch, 1sc. Ch2, turn.




Row 2:
2dc in first sc (that is, the last sc you made in the previous row). *skip 2 stitches, (1sc, 2dc) in next st (which will be the sc from the previous row)*. Repeat * to * to the end of the row; 1sc into space between 2ch and 2dc on the previous row (not into a stitch or into the chains). Ch2, turn. 



Rows 3-30:
Repeat Row 2. Do not fasten off. 

Tip: The easy way to count rows is to count the "bobbles" that poke out the wrong side of each row - you'll have 15 across, and 15 up on each side once you have 30 rows! You also finish in the opposite corner to the starting tail.



Edging:

Note: I've worked the edging in a different colour so you can see the stitches more easily. It's easier (and fewer ends) to just keep working with the same colour!

Ch1 and turn your work 90 degrees clockwise (not over! you're still working in the same direction as you were when you finished row 30). 




sc into the side of the last sc you made in Row 3. *2sc into 2ch sp, 1sc into side of next sc*. Repeat to end of row. In the last ch2 space, 3sc.



Turn 90 degrees again so you're now working along the other side of your Row 1 chains, and sc into the first ch (the same one you did the first two dc into). *2sc into 2ch sp, 1sc into next ch*. Repeat to end of row. In the last ch2 space, 3sc.

Turn 90 degrees again, and sc into the side of the first sc. *2sc into 2ch sp, 1sc into side of next sc*. Repeat to end of row. In the last ch2 space, 3sc.

Turn 90 degrees again - we're back to the top! sc in each stitch, and 2sc in the last stitch. slst to the first sc, cut your yarn and weave in the ends.


Joining

You need 28 squares to make a blanket - 4 wide and 7 long. Join however you like! Whip stitch, mattress stitch, sc, sc or slst in the back look - the choice is yours. 

Once joined and your ends are all woven in, work a simple sc border around the edge of the blanket to support the seams and stop the squares stretching too much. You can do a more elaborate border if you wish, but that's yarn that could be making another whole square! 


Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Star Blanket Love


Hihi!

How are you doing today? Guess what? I was down with a nasty cold again. Nothing new I know. Ugh, I feel like I can't catch a breath this year (or rather the last three years?). If any of you knows a great trick on how to avoid these colds, any advice is greatly appreciated!!

Since I have been feeling unwell, I haven't crocheted quite as much as I wanted to but still there was some good hooking time! I wish we had an open fire oven - that would make the crochet time so much more cozy, don't you think? My parents always had fireplace so I kinda miss it. Someday we shall have one too - I will make sure of this! :)


Lately I have been addicted to the star blanket pattern! It is so relaxing and the end result is stunning. This blanket is still a work in progress because I ran out of yarn. I sure wasn't expecting for one color to take more than 100gr of yarn but the last two colors do! I put in my order with Deramores some days back and it finally arrived after over three weeks. The parcels were sent to Sweden first (no idea why!), plus one of the parcels ripped and killed a skein. I am not to happy with the delivery and the packing - not sure I will order with them in the foreseeable future. It kind of depends on how long the replacement skein takes to get here...


Oh in case you are wondering: I am using Stylecraft Special DK and the blanket will have 8 colors in total. It will be a gift to a little boy/girl who will be born in April.



Oh and look at this adorable pic! The little boy was born in November and his mum send me this picture (which I am allowed to share). :) I love, love getting pics of my blankets in use!



I also finished this little charmer. The pattern is from Isabelle Kessedjian and very well written. I changed bit though as I hate to sew the head onto the body. Instead I worked the head pattern backwards, so I could continue crocheting from the body part. 



I hope you have a wonderful advent time!

Take care
Anne