Sunday, 14 September 2014

Upcycled Yarn - Workbaskets

Today I finally got my paws on some larger size hooks to work with the tshirt yarn that I won :D 

They are just a tad bigger than what I'm used to working with... 

For scale, my 1.5mm hook that I use for animals is at the top; the 12mm hooks are the grey and blue ones in the middle...

Using the Chunky Crocheted Basket pattern from Crochet in Color, I made myself two work baskets - one big and one small - that I can keep things tidy around my chair, and also easily take with me if I need a project to go on the road (or visit others!). 

The blue one is about 11" diameter and 10" tall. It is the perfect size for my collection of candy yarn for animal making - it fits the 10 balls quite comfortably, with room for a little bag of pieces and the hook! 

The pink one is about 8" diameter and 6" tall :) It fits two balls of Fayette (enough to make a Road Trip Scarf). 

I did make a few little changes to the Crochet in Color pattern - I made the last row crab stitch (or reverse double crochet) instead of a plain double crochet row, and added a button under one handle so I can close the basket a bit for carrying :) 

I love them! And my workspace is already looking tidier :P 

One last shot with extra drama: I accidentally had a filter on and didn't notice...

Friday, 12 September 2014

We're all about length here...

My Opa Slippers (pattern from Mamachee) have been a raging success recently - warm, comfy and snuggly, just like a second pair of socks :) 

However, we have been having some difficulty getting them sized correctly! The pattern sizes are based on the length of the foot, and measuring your foot length correctly is everything.

Here's a little infographic about how to get an accurate foot measurement:

Measuring your foot length this way means that the slippers can be accurately sized, and therefore fit you much better :) 

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Tutorial: Foundation Half Double Crochet Stitch

In the last week I have been dipping my toes in the exciting world of crochet pattern design! There will be more news about that in the future :) 

While creating this pattern, I wanted to start it with a foundation half double crochet stitch (half treble for UK readers). This way of starting a project is almost magic - no acre-long chains, no fiddly trying to crochet into chains... perfect for me!  

But I just couldn't do it! I watched videos on youtube, looked at photo tutorials, read descriptions... and it still took me about 2 hours to get a row of it done correctly! I can only assume that there are others in the same boat as me, so here is my first ever crochet stitch photo tutorial!



1. With your hook and yarn, start with a slip knot.

2. Do 3 chain stitch. 

3. Now, look carefully at your first chain stitch (3rd from your hook). There are three threads - the "chain loops" and the "third loop" - I've marked them on this photo for you. You need to yarn over hook, then insert your hook from front to back through the "chain loops".

4. Yarn over hook, and pull it back to the front - now you have three loops on your hook. 

5. Now the magic begins! Yarn over hook, and bring it through ONLY THE FIRST LOOP, like the photo below. This creates the chains to mimic a foundation chain starting row. 

6. The next step is to make the half double crochet stitch - yarn over hook again, and pull through ALL THREE LOOPS. Tada! You've made your first foundation hdc stitch! 

7. This is the part where I was coming undone in other tutorials - where do you put your hook through to start the next stitch? Well, here you go! If you turn the work over so you are looking at the underneath (the "chain" part), you'll see a group of loops. I've labelled with blue arrows which are the "chain loops" that you need to stick your hook through.

Yarn over hook, put your hook through those loops from front to back.

Now yarn over hook, and pull through the "chain loops". You'll have three loops on your hook again.  

8. Just like the first time, yarn over hook and pull through the FIRST LOOP only, to create the "chain" section of the stitch.   

9. Then, pull through all three loops to create foundation hdc #2!

10. Turn you work over again to look at the "chain" side of things. See the next two chain loops that you need to put your hook through to start the next stitch? I've labelled them with blue arrows below :) They look a little twisted - that is ok, it's because I twisted the hook to get a better photo! In the second photo, you can see that the loops aren't actually twisted at all ;)

When you are looking for the next chain loops, make sure you don't pick up the "third loop" by accident! I've spread the threads out a bit and labelled them below. If you start using the "third loop", your chain side will look a bit strange!

Once you've got the hang of it, continue on in the same way: 


STEP 1:  Yarn over hook, insert hook front to back through chain loops of last stitch, yarn over hook, pull back through chain loops (3 loops on hook). 

STEP 2:  Yarn over hook, pull through 1 loop ("chain") (3 loops on hook). 

STEP 3: Yarn over hook, pull through 3 loops ("hdc"). 

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Connected through Crochet


This post is long overdue... I wanted to make it perfect and put it to the next day all the time. Well, now you have to read my unperfect blog post about a perfect meeting!

As you know, I was on holidays in Canada for three weeks this summer. Just before I left, I posted about my house slippers which I was going to take to Canada with me (they were absolutely perfect for the hostels btw) and asked if anyone from the Vancouver area would like to meet for coffee/tea. And guess what! Darrah from the ButtonBuffalo does actually live close to Vancouver and agreed to meet with me!

Man, I was so nervous to meet her and her husband! After all... Would we like each other? Would we have something to talk about? And so on. I shouldn't have worried! It was as if we knew each other forever and time passed by in a second!

We met at Thierry, a chocolate café close to my hostel. They have amazing chocolate cakes - if you live anywhere around there, I recommend you give it a try! We talked for over two hours about everything and nothing really! Darrah is an amazing American who moved to Canada some years ago. To tell the truth - I envy her a lot for being able to live in the Vancouver area! My fingers are crossed that she will get her permanent visa soon! Did you hear anything new about that yet Darrah?

Darrah gave me this really beautiful little bird! It traveled with us for the rest of the journey and now lives in our flat in Germany! Isn't he cute (I reckon he is a boy... not sure about the name yet. Any ideas?)? What a thoughtful gift which will always remind me about our wonderful meeting! I can't wait to meet Darrah and her family again!

 When I started this blog almost a year ago, I didn't know how much it would help me to connect with people all over the world! I met so many great people through our and other blogs already whom I wouldn't want to miss! I adore reading their blogs and therefore becoming a part of their life, just as they become part of mine through the comments they leave for Michelle and me. THANK YOU!

I have noticed that we have some new followers on Bloglovin and here on blogger! Wow! I always squeal with excitement when there is a new follower! Thanks a lot for becoming part of our little world!

Take care

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Tah-Dah: Canada Blanket

Hello all!

Sorry I have been too quiet during the last two weeks! There are lots of things I wanted to write about but life got into the way. We had a wedding to go to (and handicraft the present beforehand), a lovely girl from Australia stayed with us for about 10 days and there was a lot of paperwork to be done. The latter is not finished yet but I'll get there. Paperwork can be so annoying, can't it? I changed our electricity contract for example. We now have "green power" which means all our electricity from from renewable energy sources. I feel good that I finally got the change done but of course there are lots of letters to write and tonight I will have to wander downstairs and note down the current meter reading. 

Still, I found some time to crochet and finally finish my "Canada Blanket". Half of the blanket was crafted during our stay in Canada, the other half here in Germany after our return. It took about five weeks which is great for a blanket this size!

So let me tell you the story of the blanket...

I have heard a lot about Red Heart Super Saver Yarn, so I wanted to try it. However you can't get it here in Germany and ordering it from the US is expensive. So when we stayed in Vancouver I went to a Michael's Craft Store and sure they had the yarn (Great store btw! So many craftsy ideas!). I bought two skeins only at first but quickly went back and got more.

Of course I spent a lot of time in the yarn section trying to decide on two colours. I ended up with "Aran" and a brownish one. Can't remember the name of the later one - sorry! Does any of you have an idea what the darker colour is called? I tossed the paper with the name on it unfortunately. 

The colours go together really well and it looks a bit like a cappuccino, doesn't it? The pattern is the lovely Corner to Corner Throw one which I have used many time. I reckon I might be slightly addicted to the pattern. 

The yarn suggests a 5,0 mm hook but I used a 4 mm one instead. I brought some hooks with me to Canada but my 4 mm one wasn't good. So I got myself a maple wood one in Nanaimo from Mad about Eve which is a great store hidden in a small arcade. That hooked perfectly and I treasure it quite a bit!

I started on the blanket when I was still in Vancouver. As I mentioned before the boyfriend had a conference, so I had time on my own. In the mornings I liked to sit in coffee shops, have a good coffee and crochet. Oh and talk to people. One meets so many interesting people sitting in a coffee shop!

After that I crocheted in the evenings in the hostels. A good converstation starter really! Some people thought I was making a scarf and quite a few called it knitting... It was rather large already by the time we arrived in Tofino and couldn't be carried around in my handbag anymore! :-) I planned to get some crochet done on the plane but I fell asleep instead :P 

Oh, I really love this blanket! Reminds me of the good times in Canada and all the wonderful places I crocheted it at! The beach in Vancouver during the sunset for example... So, yeah, I think I will keep the blanket. I was going to give it away, since I have the Rainbow Blanket and my Australia Blanket already but I need to keep this one too. For the memories...

Do you ever feel like that you just can't give something away?!

Details: Canada Blanket

Seize: 130cmx160cm
Rows: 180 (Clusters of 10 rows)
Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver

Crochet Time: July-August 2014

Take care

P.S. Sorry for the dark pictures! The weather here in Dortmund is rainy and stormy. Not a good time to take pictures really but it looks like the weather will stay like this for some more time!

Friday, 29 August 2014

Experiments with Tshirt yarn!

Last week, something AMAZING happened to me. I usually never win competitions or raffles or anything like that (I figure I've used all my luck up on amazing family and friends). 


My lovely friend Angela Armstrong from Get Knotted Yarn Crafts entered me in a yarn giveaway competition on the Upcycled Yarns Facebook page. And I won! 4 x 400g rolls of pink and blue tshirt yarn :D :D :D They arrived in the post this morning.

The very first thing I had to do is make a caddy for my hooks. In the past I've only had one or two hooks in rotation at a time, so never needed something on my table for hooks. But now, with road trip scarves, slippers, toys and afghans on the go, the pile of scattered hooks has been getting a bit out of hand! 

I took inspiration from Anne's Zpagetti container pattern, this Chunky Crochet Basket pattern and a knotless finishing idea from Crochet in Color. The biggest hook I have is a 6.5mm, and it was really a bit too small - looks like I need to buy more hooks! I alternated rows of dc (US sc) and htr (US hdc) to get up to the height I wanted.

What do you think?

(excuse Gerald and Steve the giraffes there in the background, they refused to get out of shot even when I asked nicely) 

What should I make with the rest of this gorgeous yarn? I am thinking a workbasket with handles. Does anyone have a favourite pattern? Hook size? Ideas?

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Opa House Shoes!

I am not usually one for crochet clothing - to me there's something very naff and '70s about crocheted stuff to wear :P 

A few weeks ago, the amazing Tara Murray (Mamachee) had a special offer to celebrate a milestone - a free pattern from her Ravelry store! I know Anne raves about her patterns, so I just had to look through the list and pick something. That was when I found out she mostly designs hats and slippers! Gorgeous hats and slippers, but still... not my usual fare. 

But, reading through the list of patterns, I just fell in love with the look of her Opa House Shoes. I had to have it.

It took me a few goes to get the right combination of yarn and hook, and understand the pattern, but I got there. Phew!

That's my bizarre electric orange and grey mismatched pair for me - they are a bit wonky and strange where I was figuring out the pattern, but they are super warm and comfortable (that photo was taken last weekend, but I am also wearing them as I write this). 

Tonight, I did my first proper make of this pattern, in blue and black!  I ended up figuring out that for standard 8ply acrylic yarn, I needed to use 2 strands and a 5mm hook, and they came out pretty good (at least I think so!). I also added a tightening stitch around the heel to help them stay on better, and I left the "tongue" part off as I couldn't get it to sit straight rather than curly. I think it still looks ok! 

What do you think? If you've tried to make these slippers, I'd love to see them!!