Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The Sydney Royal Arts & Crafts Competition - Bring It On!

Hi everyone! 

Apologies again for the blog silence over the last few weeks - Anne and Alex have been visiting me here in Australia (!!) and I've also been super busy with Days for Girls, work and... preparing my items for the Sydney Royal Arts and Crafts Competition! Anne will be posting soon about their Australian adventures with Captain Poprocks, but today is all about my Easter Show entries :D 

All 6 entries are now finished, and with days to spare (I know, what is wrong with me...), and I'm so excited to share them with you! 

1. Stole or Shawl, 4 ply or thicker - Mine Once More

I made this beautiful shawl/scarf last year for my mother - fortunately she has not worn it yet, so I can enter it in the Show! The yarn is Wolltraum My Melodyy in colourway Atemlos, and the pattern is by the ever amazing Michelle duNaier http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/mine-once-more. Here it is modelled by my beautiful sister-friend Jess <3 



2. Stole or Shawl, finer than 4 ply - the Raspberry Borealis Shawl

Using Fyberspates Gleem Lace in Mixed Magentas and the Borealis Shawl pattern by Cal Patch (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/borealis-shawl), it worked up beautifully! Much blocking was required to get the lace to actually show up - but I'm so happy with the interesting geometry of this shawl. Modelled here by Anne (!!) when we went up to the lake house a few weeks ago <3




3. Pram or Cot Cover or Bunny Rug, unlined - the Rainbow Cloud Baby Wrap

You probably recognise this pattern - it's the Virus Blanket! Worked in Wolltraum My Melodyy in colourway Mamma Mia, it almost looks like the colour changes are deliberate. Crocheting this pattern was like meditating; I can't wait to make another :D




4. Travel, Knee or Afghan Rug, wool or wool blend - the Lotus Moon Tiles Afghan

You heard all about this one a few weeks ago (http://crochetbetweentwoworlds.blogspot.com.au/2017/02/ta-dah-lotus-moon-tiles-afghan.html) - I'm so happy with how it came out, but still hoping someone buys it at the show...



5. Adult Crocheted Accessories - Dragon Scale Boots

I LOVE Bonita Designs' gorgeous Crocodile Stitch Booties, and have made many pairs now in all sorts of sizes! These ones are ladies size 7-8, and I used Stylecraft Special DK in Turquoise for hardy soles, and Moda Vera Fayette in Frenzy for the rest. They are so comfortable - maybe I should hope that they don't get sold at the show? Getting the colour changes to be roughly the same on each boot was an interesting challenge for sure!




6. Creative Crochet - Fiesta! 

As soon as I came up with this idea, I knew it had to be my Creative Crochet entry for the show. It's all Stylecraft Special DK, in Black, Turquoise, Empire, Grass Green, Fuchsia Purple, Spice and Citron, lined with charcoal Vilene, and with snaps to finish! It doesn't sit quite straight or flat because of the freeform slipstitching, but hopefully it's good enough. The bag is the perfect size for one Hobbit ;)





So, wish me luck! I'll find out the results on Tuesday 4 April, and will definitely let you know! :D 

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Ta-Dah! The Lotus Moon Tiles Afghan!

Hey everyone!

It's been a bit quiet here at CBWHQ because... Anne is here in Australia to visit!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's been 5.5 years since we've seen each other in person, and we've just been having too much fun catching up... and of course crocheting ;) There's more regular photos on our Instagram feed @crochetbetweenworlds - if you're not following us there, you definitely should!



Today however is all about the Lotus Moon Tiles Afghan :D I finally finished the second version of this stunning design from Polly Plum (go, get it here and make one!) in 100% Australian Wool to enter into the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Anne, Alex, Kiah and I took lots of photos of it while we were up at the lake house last weekend - it was lots of fun to work together in person for once!



I am sensitive to wool, it makes me itch like crazy and loose fibres make me cough and sneeze. But, the Show category demanded wool, so wool they are getting. Next time I will definitely consider shelling out more money for better quality wool - the $4/50g balls from Spotlight were awful to work with! Full of straw and twigs (!?), knots all over the place (I got very good at felting ends together), and even more scratchy and horrible than wool usually feels to me. But now, it's DONE, and blocked, and I hardly have to touch it anymore. 



The flowers are in 3 different colours - pink, red/orange and purple. It was lovely to work this design again - I didn't even mind the ends (too much)! 




I researched online how we could make this scratchy horrid wool a little bit nicer, and came across this article from The Tricksy Knitter advising to soak the blanket in a gentle Wool Wash and warm water for several hours, and then after rinsing, soak it in warm water with hair conditioner in it! It was somewhat bizarre to do (and my husband whisking Herbal Essences into the laundry sink just made it weirder), but... it worked! The wool is so much softer; I am more comfortable selling it to someone now as I don't think it'll scrub the hairs off their legs anymore! We rinsed and rinsed, and squeezed the water out in some bath towels, and then used a million pins (possibly less, but I did have to send Kiah to the supermarket to buy more) to block it out - including every single flower petal...



The Schülers (Anne and her husband) are now off exploring Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road with Captain Poprocks as tour guide (since he's been there before). They'll be back in Sydney in a few weeks, to spend one more week here before heading home. 

In the meantime I better get cracking on my last few Easter Show entries! Wish me luck!



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.