Friday, 21 November 2014

Rainbow Afghan Sketches

Hello and welcome to our lovely readers, new faces and old friends :)

A few days ago, I discovered that Deramores is having 20% off all DK yarn until midnight Sunday. This of course includes the Stylecraft Special DK (my new favourite yarn as you all probably know by now), so my brain started ticking over on bigger projects I could potentially do to justify purchasing more of the delicious stuff. 

After reviewing what felt like the entire internet, I decided I wanted to do something pixelly and rainbow and bargello-style - so I can do little squares and JAYG, and pick up and put down between orders :) We also will actually need a few lap blankets for the new house at the lake for next winter, so large lap size was probably the way to go. Of course, bargello style is not easy to translate into a pieced work as it asks for different widths of piece whilst maintaining height.

Today I actually picked up some grid paper (which printed not square - just imagine they are square please!), coloured pens and my inspiration pictures and came up with these:

1. IRREGULAR WAVE

Inspiration:


Rough Sketch


2. TWIST AND TURN

Inspiration:


Rough Sketch:


3. Hypno-Diamonds

Inspiration:



Rough Sketch:


What do you think? Which one should I try to make first? 

If you're interested, I could also do up proper graphs so you could use these layouts too :) 

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Liebster Blog Award

Hello!

First of all: Welcome to our new followers! Good to see you here!

This week something really exciting happened.

1. What is the name of your blog? And what does the name mean?

Crochet Between Worlds - crochetbetweenworlds.blogspot.com.au

This blog is shared by us, that is Michelle and Anne. The name is meant to reflect this and also the fact that we are connected through crochet even though we live on different continents.


2. How much time per week do you spend on your blog?

Michelle - about 4 hours all up, depending on what kind of post I'm doing. If it's a pattern with lots of photos, it takes longer!

Anne - About 4-5 hours too. As Michelle said: It really depends on the kind of post. I like to take my time with the pictures and edit them (most of the time) before I put them on the blog. That is fun but it also takes quite some time. Plus it takes more time if I do layout changes and such.

3. What is your favourite colour?

Michelle - If it's not related to crochet, I love teal and indigo. For crochet, I adore rainbows and variegated yarns - hard to pick just one favourite colour!


Anne - Red. Navy Blue is a close second though. If you ask for yarn colours though: Pomegranate  from Stylecraft Special DK. I could spent hours drooling over this colour.
 
4. What is your favourite craft activity?

Michelle - I think crochet is my favourite, but I also love doing cross-stitch and patchwork.
Anne - Without any doubt: Crochet! I like to work with paper too though (be prepared to see some of my current paper projects on the blog soonish!)

5. How many blogs do you follow?

Michelle - I'm not sure! There are about 20 that I read semi-regularly, but I am terrible at keeping up :P


Anne - Uh, good question? I follow between 40 and 50 regularly and quite a few more semi-regularly. Woah. That is quite a huge number. I didn't realize it were thhhatt many. Still, every single one is worth the reading time!

6. Have you a creative soul?

Michelle - Until recently I would have said no, but I think I do! I love to make things that are useful, practical, and above all, actually used!


Anne - I mused about that topic a couple of weeks ago in this post. I do indeed consider myself a creative being but it took some time to realize that.

7. Do you have a specific material that you like to work with?

Michelle - I usually stick to acrylic yarns as I get terribly itchy when working with pure wool. For my animals, I particularly like an acrylic/nylon blend (lovely and smooth), but for scarves and slippers, 100% acrylic or 50/50 wool acrylic blend is my favourite :)


Anne - I adore Merino Blend yarns. Like Cotton Merino or Acrylic/Merino. I really like the feel of Merino yarn (and also the sound of the word... I am such a word-lady).

8. Yarn and you ....

Michelle - It's accumulating at an alarming rate, along with my dream project list. I'm going to have to live a very long time!
Anne - ... are in love! Other women buy shoes, I buy yarn!

9. At what age did you learn to crochet or knit?

Michelle - I learned to crochet at 4 or 5 years old, and had to learn to knit for school when I was 8. However, I never really enjoyed knitting - it took too long to get anything done and crochet is much faster.
Anne - I learned to crochet in primary school, so I must have been around 7-8 years old. I only got back into it when I was 23. As for knitting, I was taught when I was 24 but never really got into it.

10. Who taught you?

Michelle - my Nan taught me how to do most crafts - she was a dressmaker and always had a houseful of projects and fabric and yarn and ideas!


Anne - my mum. Apparently she was really into crochet when she was a teenager. She doesn't crochet anymore though (which is sad)

11. What are your future projects?

Michelle - In the short term, I have a whole zoo-ful of animals to finish for Christmas. After that, I am hoping to have time to build up some stock for my market stall next June! 


Anne - Well, I need to finish  a whole basket of crochet fruit and veggies til christmas. Plus there is a beanie on my hook. I would also like to make some christmas decorations. Oh and I need more time... My head is full of ideas and I could easily crochet every day for about two years and wouldn't be finished. 

Now, on with the nominations!

Lucie from Vivre au Crochet
 Alison from Farmhouse Traditions
Angela from Get Knotted
Andrea from Kokopelli Design
Helen from Woollybluebells
Ingrid from FunkyCrochet
Jodi from Lupey Loops
Darrah from Button Buffalo


And we would love to have the following questions answered...

1. What is the name of your blog? And what does the name mean?
2. How many blogs do you follow?
3. Do you have a creative soul? 
4. At what age did you learn to crochet or knit?
5. What are your future projects?
6. Why do you blog?
7. What will your Christmas look like this year?
8. What are your plans for 2015?
9. If you could travel anywhere, which 3 places would you visit and why? 
10.What made you smile today?
11. What do you do on a rainy Sunday?

Looking forward to read your answers!
Take care! 

P.S. Pictures were taken at the Zeche Zollern (Old Coal Mining Plant)
 

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Top 5 Crochet Techniques and Tricks

Although I've had a very long crochet career, learning how to do chains almost as soon as I could hold a hook, for most of that time my repertoire has been limited to granny squares. These poor old afghans are now coming apart due to bad knots, wonky joins and of course heavy use.

In the last year or so, my crochet capacity has exploded! I can do all sorts of crazy things, and with the help of the internet, I can make my crocheted items look neater and last longer :) For today's blog post, here is a roundup of my 5 top Crochet Techniques and Tricks (in no particular order) that have made all the difference to my work over the last year!

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TOP 5 CROCHET TECHNIQUES AND TRICKS
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#1

Standing Stitches for Starting New Colours

Hate that "Join new colour, 3ch (counts as first dc)" instruction? Me too. Discovering the Standing Stitch technique has made my work so much neater and with fewer knots, and it can be adapted to ANY stitch! Need to start with a triple treble crochet? No problem! 


Here's an excellent tutorial from Moogly on how to do a standing dc stitch: 


#2

Invisible Join for Crochet in the Round

To me, the obvious "slip stitch into first dc, cut yarn and pull through" joining in work just looks so ugly now that I've learned how to do an invisible join. I still do that where a piece might come under strain (and when I'm too lazy to finish off ends properly and securely), but for anything on display? This is the way to go!


Dedri at Look What I Made has an excellent tutorial:


#3

Invisible Decrease

I'm sensing a theme here... but the invisible decrease is just so wonderful for anything amigurumi (including the little giraffe ears and horns for my Heidi Bears animals)! No more weird stretchy holes for me!



For a fantastic tutorial (pictures, words, videos, right handed and left handed), head over to Planet June:


#4

Zipped Ladder Stitch Join

If you're looking for a way to join squares for an afghan (or anything else really) where you want to almost pretend that they are joined by magic, this is the join to use! I use this for my Chunky Fitted Wristwarmers pattern, as it makes the join look so neat, and it's reversible! 


Linda Davie has an excellent free tutorial available on Ravelry, and it even covers how to cope with corners!


#5

Chainless Foundation Stitches

I know this is my tutorial, but this way of starting a project was just such a revelation and improvement on trying to work in tiny chains, and managing tension, and blah blah blah. You can do any stitch using the same method, and even irregular starting rows such as for a ripple afghan!



I have a tutorial for half double crochet, but as I said above, the same technique can be used for any starting row stitch!


Do you have any crochet techniques that you just couldn't live without? Let us know in the comments!

Friday, 7 November 2014

Recipe: Apple Strudel (My favorite!)

Hello you lot!

Again, welcome our new readers! And welcome back our regulars! We love your comments - thanks you so much for taking the time! :-) 

I had a busy week... Only some crochet fitted in (see the pic of the fruits below) and thus I figured I should give you the recipe Michelle has been trying to get from me for some time ;-) 

What is your favorite winter/autuum treat? Mine is most certainly apple strudel. I usually get it instead of cake when we go out for coffee (and am disappointed if the strudel isn't great). But that occacional apple strudel wasn't enough for me and so I decided to make some at home. Over the years I became pretty good with it and thus I want to share my recipe with you.
 

By the way... I am lazy. Thus I am not making strudel dough myself. I buy frozen pastry sheets instead.

I wish I could share pictures with you buttt the last time I made a strudel and had my camera in reach, it (... the strudel not the camera) was eaten too fast. Oh well. I will add pics the next time I make one!


Ingredients
Pastry sheets (Puff Pastry)
6 apples
200 grams chopped almonds
2 Tablespoons of sugar
1 Tablespoon of honey
2 Teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon cardamom 
1-2 cups of sultanas (to your liking)

Preparation

Take the pastry out of the freezer. Preheat the oven to 175 ° C.

1. Cut three apples in pieces and cook them in hot water til they are soft (Add the sugar to the cooking water). Take them out of the water and puree them. 

2. Cut the other three apples in small pieces and mix them with the sultanas, almonds, honey and spices. Add the apple puree and mix well.  


3. Make one large piece out of the pastry sheets. Like a paper, one side should be longer than the other. The longer side is the one which will get folded over. Put the filling in the middle of the pastry (see picture!). Make sure to leave some space at each of the sides of the short side. Fold the long sides over the filling. Close the sides by folding the short sides in. Make sure there are no open spaces anywhere...

4. Bake for 30 minutes.

5. Eat with whipped cream and ice cream!


 

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Pattern: Woven Hot Pad / Trivet

About a month ago I was looking for patterns to make pretty, functional heat protection for our brand new, beautiful blackwood dining table at the lake house.  I was settling in my mind on finding something that was double layered for extra heat protection, and possibly some kind of woven pattern. 

A lovely friend linked to Atty's blog where she makes a braided/woven crochet stool cover, and in a later post a pattern for an afghan square using the same technique. I was hooked! So, I took inspiration from Atty's ideas, and changed it (of course) to suit my, er, more quick and dirty method of crocheting. Here is my pattern for a Woven Heat Pad / Trivet, with due credit to Atty for the inspiration :) 



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PATTERN : WOVEN HEAT PAD / TRIVET
Inspired by Atty of http://atty-s.blogspot.nl/
---------------------------------------------------------

MATERIALS:

50g each of two colours 8 ply cotton (or a double strand of 4 ply cotton)
3.5mm hook
Darning needle

In the photo tutorial below, Colour A is Pink, and Colour B is Black.

STRIPS:

Start with 30 Chainless Foundation dc. 

If you're not confident with chainless foundations, either check out my tutorial (for hdc, but you can easily do dc instead) or do 32 chain, dc into 3rd chain from hook, dc into each chain (30 dc).


3 ch, turn. dc into each dc (30 dc). Make sure your first dc is in your last dc from the previous row - the 3ch does not count as a dc. Pull through end and cut yarn. 



Repeats Steps 1 and 2 until you have 12 strips - 6 in colour A and 6 in Colour B. Weave in all your ends.


JOINING

Now to start putting it together! First, have a look at the ends of each strip. You need to get 5 sc into the end of each strip, and these arrows show you where you should be sticking your hook in :P 


Pick up a strip of colour A, and one of colour B. Place them perpendicular to one another, crossing over in the corner. sc through the corner of both strips.


Now, continue on, making sure you get 5sc (matching up with the first 5 dc of colour A and the 5 spots at the end of strip in colour B as shown above). 


See how colour B strip is on the front of your colour A strip? The next colour B strip is going to be attached to the BACK of the colour A strip.


Keep working along, 5sc in each strip, alternating your colour B strips from front to back. At each corner, do 3 sc into the corner stitch instead of 1 :) 


When you get around the corner, continue adding strips, this time of colour A. Make sure you alternate attaching them on the front or back. Don't worry about weaving the strips together at this point - just get them all joined!


Now is when the weaving comes in. 


As you work your way along the long edge of colour A (on the left hand side of the above picture), continue using the same method - 5sc in each added strip, alternating front and back.

Turn the corner again with 3sc and work your way along the bottom, locking the colour A strips into position. In the final corner, do two more sc where you did your sc to start. Slip stitch into that first sc, and it should look like this:



Now, you just need to add whatever border you like! The sky is the limit for borders, do whatever you like :) I did a simple *hdc, ch1, sk1* border on this one, to match the boxy shapes of the woven trivet.


But, you could do shells!


Or even just another row of sc all the way around to finish it off :)


I really enjoyed making these heat pads, and I think they will be VERY useful for the new house at the lake! 

As always, if anything doesn't make sense just leave a comment or message me through our Facebook page. I am here to help you, and this pattern hasn't been tested by anyone other than me!

Let me know if you try making it - I'd love to see your creations and post them on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/crochetbetweenworlds