Sunday, 28 September 2014

Sneak Peek: New Corner to Corner Blanket

Hello and happy Sunday!

How is your Sunday so far? Mine has been pretty relaxing and (of course) involved crochet. Some posts ago I mentioned that I am working on a new blanket for my grandmother (christmas presents). I am getting along well and am only 14 rows away from decreasing. 

Some of you asked to have a sneak peek, so here it is! 

Pattern is the corner to corner throw from Red Heart. Not sure how big it will turn out in the end... But pretty big that's for sure. Enough to be used as a blanket when my granny falls asleep on her couch chair!

Yarn is Stylecraft Special DK in pomegranate and cream. Oh, how much I love the pomegranate! Makes me drool with happiness...


I hope I can finish the blanket within the next two weeks... What are you working on at the moment?

Saturday, 27 September 2014

A Saturday in Oldenburg

Oldenburg ...

I lived in Oldenburg between 2004 and 2013 (with a year break in Sydney/Australia in 2008/2009). I got two of my uni degrees from the uni there and also undertook my teacher-training in the area. Over the years I lived in three different flats and saw the city grow from a sleepy students town to a rich (sometimes snobby), booming town. Altogether I loved Oldenburg even though it was a bit too small for me in the end. I longed to live in a bigger town again (return from Sydney to Oldenburg was a bit of a shock).

As you might know we moved to Dortmund last year (and love it here). Last weekend we drove up north to visit my parents, my grandparents and some friends. We ended up spending half a day in Oldenburg. The weather was lovely and thus we had a good stroll through the city. Some things changed, some things didn't. I thought I would become homesick but it didn't happen. I had a good time living in Oldenburg but now Dortmund is home! :-)

We had coffee and cakes in a lovely café and I even managed to do some crochet (testing Michelle's new pattern).

The weather was great, so we could walk through the town and marvel at the great old buildings.

We also visited my granny the next day and I finally got a picture of the wreath I made for her birthday! :-)




Thursday, 25 September 2014

Round and round in circles - Mandala time!

I've been a little bit naughty today - supposed to be working on the order list, and hunting down kitchen equipment for the new house at the lake, testing a pattern for a friend... but instead all I wanted to do is play with my new cotton supplies that arrived yesterday! 


It's Red Heart Miami, 4 ply 100% cotton, from loveknitting.com. Such vibrant colours and reasonable prices! 

This colourful cotton is to make pretty and useful coasters and heat mats for the house my parents are building at Lake Macquarie. My mission sent me hunting for good coaster patterns that show off the lovely colours, while also being the right size and shape. It took me ages to find one that I actually liked, and when I tried the pattern, I just couldn't get it to look neat :( 

But then... hunting through Zooty Owl's blog for other things, I saw some of the amazing mandalas she has designed. I haven't really been interested in mandalas before - I like the things I make to be practical, useful or good to cuddle, and the contexts I had seen mandalas in before was as art or just being beautiful. Mandalas are round though - could they make good coasters and heat mats? 


Absolutely!! Above is Zooty Owl's Sunny Flower Mini Mandala in two sizes - 10.5cm for coasters, and 21cm for heat mats. The coasters are made with a 1.5mm hook and one strand of the cotton yarn, and the heat mats are made with a 3.5mm hook and two strands of the yarn. I also washed and blocked the heat mat to make it sit nice and even :) 


Sadly, as you can see in the photo above, the orange dye ran a little bit being washed and ironed. I am a bit reluctant to wash the pink yarn now. Any ideas on how to stop the colour running in the finished piece?


I'm really looking forward to making a whole stack of the little coasters and some more heat mats in this pattern. Plus, I discovered Zooty Owl has a table runner pattern using the same mandala! House decoration solved :D 

Have you ever tried making mandalas? What have you used them for? 

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Captain Poprocks Helps Days for Girls

Recently my mother and sister came across the charity Days for Girls, an international organisation who provides women around the world with washable sanitary pad kits.  

From their website:
"What if not having sanitary supplies meant DAYS without school, DAYS without income, DAYS without leaving the house? Girls use leaves, mattress stuffing, newspaper, corn husks, rocks, anything they can find...but still miss up to 2 months of school every year. It turns out this issue is a surprising but instrumental key to social change for women all over the world. The poverty cycle can be broken when girls stay in school."
I can't even imagine not having access to safe, reliable sanitary supplies, for something that happens every month! 

Over the last few months, we have been working on sewing the components of the kits - shields (which look like normal panty liners with wings, and have a waterproof layer in them), liners (flannelette squares to be folded and inserted into the shields for absorption), and drawstring bags for the whole kit to go into. We have also been buying and collecting underpants, face washers and hotel soaps for the kits. Here is a pinboard showing what goes into each kit. 


Yesterday we had a working bee with 20 wonderful volunteers to make a mountain of liners for the sanitary kits. We finished over 600 liners start to finish, as well as completing 100 liners that were already partway through the pipeline, and have another 500 started. 

Of course, Captain Poprocks came to lend a hand, and had a very interesting afternoon... 

...hiding under piles of flannelette... 



...learning how to use the overlocker and the sewing machine...



...and crowing over the stacks of finished liners! 


It was an incredibly successful working bee, and we are so very grateful to the wonderful volunteers who came with donations of underpants and time :) 

If you are interested in finding out more about Days for Girls or making a donation of money or materials, visit their website or send me a message! 

There will be a special Global Sew-a-thon on 11 October 2014 to celebrate the International Day of the Girl.  We are still working out what we might be able to do to celebrate this occasion and help this wonderful charity even more! 

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

I lovve Baby Blankets!

Hello all!

I love to crochet baby blankets. Why? Well, there are several reasons:

1. They are quicker to finish than a full adult sized blanket.
2. There are so many different patterns to use. Baby blankets are perfect for trying out new stitches.
 3. I adore giving these blankets to newborn babies. So much more personal than bought gifts!
4. They are small enough to take with you when you are traveling/on the road.
5. Did I mention they are a lot of fun to make?!

Over the last years I made several blankets and gave them to newborns. One blanket even went to the son of my friend Afifa in Australia. Glad it got through customs without problems. :-)

The last 12 months have been full of new babies! I didn't take pictures of all the blankets (oh no!) but the following two will go to new homes soon. One to a little girl and one to a little boy. Hope they like it! They both took a long time (so 1. doesn't really apply here) because the yarn was very thin. It is baby yarn and so cuddly! Unfortunately, thin yarn seems to hurt my elbow, so I wasn't as quick with these blankets as I intended to be. I wonder if I hold the yarn differently or if I use a different tension, because I don't seem to have problems with thicker yarn.

Both of the blankets use the corner to corner pattern. Both are very light and therefore good for a snuggle underneath. The peppermint coloured one has a white stripe too by the way.


Sometime late last year, I was really fond of this pattern from Modern Grace Design. I made some blankets with it but most went to new homes already. 


I also made some with a rather easy but fancy looking stitch pattern. Unfortunately I can't remember where I found it. If you recognize the pattern, please comment, so that I can add the name of the designer!


Right now, I am done with baby blankets... I am now working on a large one as a Christmas present for my granny. 

What are you working on at the moment?

Take care
Anne

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 :)