Tuesday, 12 February 2019

BAWJ2019 - Weeks 5 and 6!

Hi everyone! 

Me again! Have I blogged more than I did all of 2018 yet?? It feels a bit like it! 

This last two weeks has been a bit busier - we had a big day of youth exchange and funnily enough, having a tiny human really cuts down on the time and capacity available to recuperate properly. I'm doing ok with the day to day stuff, but an extra big event and poof, it's all over.

But, I did manage to keep up with the BAWJ2019 CAL so here are Weeks 5 and 6 for you :) 

If you want to join in on BAWJ2019, check out Julie's Facebookgroupblog and Ravelry Board for more information.

WEEK 5 - CLARISSA by HELEN SHRIMPTON 

Pattern: https://crystalsandcrochet.com/crochet/clarissa/

Yarn colours: Phosphorus, Teal, Heather, Rose 


Boy, this square was a challenge. The actual stitches were fine, the pattern was well written, but I got to the end and the square was almost two inches bigger than the next biggest square! I used the same hook and yarn, and the same tension as far as I know.  So, I undid it all (threading the little balls on a knitting needle to keep them in order, I felt so clever), and redid it with a 3mm hook and it came out perfectly sized. I know I talk about peer pressure being a powerful force in a blanket, but this wasn't fudgeable. 


The textures are really lovely, and I liked how the colour changes worked! 




WEEK 6 - ONE LOVE II by RACHELE CARMONA 

Pattern: https://cypresstextiles.net/2019/02/09/free-12-inch-crochet-motif-for-valentines-day-2019-one-love-ii/ 

Yarn colours: Sulfur and Cream


In contrast to Week 5, this square was almost too small! It was within the margin of error though, so it'll all work into the final blanket.  


I love the little hearts :) They came out really well! 

Can't wait for next week! In between the BAWJ2019 squares I've been working on a new project - stay tuned ;) 

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

BAWJ2019 - Weeks 3 and 4!

Hi everyone!

I'm doing it! So far! The first time is happenstance, the second is coincidence, so managing to blog three weeks in a row makes it tradition, right?  

It's not too late, so if you want to join in on BAWJ2019, check out Julie's Facebook groupblog and Ravelry Board for more information.

This week I have three BAWJ blocks to show you, because there was a bonus square for Week 4! I chose to do both Week 4 blocks in the same set of colours. Without further ado...

WEEK 3 - FLAME SQUARE by JESSIE RAYOT

Pattern: https://jessieathome.com/flame-square/

Yarn colours: Mercury, Mint, Lupin, Heather


It ended up a bit wonky, I think because of the hdc rounds pushing the next stitches quite far to the right. But, peer pressure is a powerful force and it'll square up nicely when surrounded by friends! The pattern was easy to follow and quite rhythmic. 


The texture of this square is lovely - I do like what post stitches do for crochet, even though I don't overly enjoy actually doing them.


WEEK 4 - IRIS TWINS by MARGARET MACINNES 

Pattern: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/iris-twins-afghan-block-square

Yarn colours: Copper, Gold, Rose and Sage 


This one was marked as advanced level, challenging even for experienced crocheters but maybe I am more advanced than I thought because it wasn't that hard? It certainly was complicated but as long as I read each step carefully and worked the stitches as I read the pattern, it worked out fine. I only had one problem moment when I couldn't figure out where to join yarn for a row, but sorted it out fairly quickly with a lot of zooming on the pictures


This is another heavily textured square, but in a completely different style to the last one. It could possibly use blocking, but since it's already a bit bigger than the other squares I will leave it and assume that the weight of the finished blanket will sort it out. 


Using standing stitches to start each row was definitely easier and neater than chains! 

WEEK 4 BONUS - BUFFLEHEAD by MARGARET MACINNES

Pattern: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/bufflehead-12-texture-afghan-block-square

Yarn colours: Copper, Gold, Rose and Sage 


This block was kindly offered by Margaret as a bonus easier option for Week 4 in case the Iris Twins was just too unmanageable. I actually ended up having more puzzled moments with this block than the other one! But, it all worked out in the end!


It's nice to have a lacy block in the mix. Again, using the stacked standing stitches to start rows rather than chains or other kinds of standing stitches made the end product neater (in my opinion) - I much recommend this technique if you haven't tried it yet!  


Phew! 4/48 blocks completed plus a bonus already! I still have plenty of Batik in the box, ready for next week :D   

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

My First Crochet Afghan

Hi everyone! 

I hope you're keeping warm or cool as the weather demands - it's so so hot in Sydney at the moment, and Anne keeps sending me pictures of snow and ice! 

I am happy to report that I am still up to date with the BAWJ2019 but I'll save that for next week and tell you about something different today :D 

Allie and I are staying at my parents' house this week because my poor husband is working four night shifts in a row, and he needs to actually get some rest during the day. BA BA BA and some light shrieking at top volume is not the delightfully soothing serenade you might think it is... 

One job we've helped Grandma with is tidying up the old blanket box. There were quite a lot of crochet and knit blankets that we either never used or don't use any more. Most of them just need a wash and maybe some light mending of old seams, and can be donated, but we also found some treasures. One of the treasures was the very first crochet blanket I ever designed and made.


It's nothing fancy - just granny squares in 6 colours, about 2 metres square. Mum thinks I was 12 when I made it, and it was my project while we were on winter holidays on Hamilton Island or somewhere like that. No ends are sewn in, just crocheted over; the tension is highly variable; some of the centres have started unravelling (due to the lack of end stitching in...); and it has no border to secure the edges. It takes something like this to make me realise just how much I've learned about crochet in the last 21 years! 


I have many newer, prettier and better made blankets so we will unstitch this one into smaller pieces that can go keep some kittens or puppies warm at the vet or RSPCA, but I wanted to memorialise it here so I'll never forget the first blanket I ever crocheted!


What was the first crochet item you ever made? How old were you? 

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Happy New Year + a new CAL!

Hi everyone!

Fwoah, 2018 was an epic year - new baby, no more housemate, new boss at work... I feel like I hardly crocheted at all :'( But Allie is growing like a weed, now nearly 8 months old and commando crawling about the place at great speed and talking up a storm. She has ba ba ba and da da da down pat - dare I hope for some ma ma ma soon? 


We are having a heatwave in Australia this week, to the point where the meteorology service had to invent a new colour to designate hot temperatures - thank goodness for air conditioning! 

I know the traditional new years blog post is a resolution to blog more regularly, but that just feels like empty words without a plan for action. So in 2019, I am going to do JulieAnny's Block a Week Crochet-A-Long and try to keep up every week. Then I have no excuse - I should be able to blog once a week about the new square and anything else that is going on! Sound like a plan? 

I did start a little late because we were still on holidays when it started, but I'm all caught up now. 

Introduction

The idea behind the CAL is that a new free square pattern is released every week, late on Monday night Sydney time. There will be 48 squares between now and November, then in December we will join and border the afghans. It's being called BAWJ2019 on Instagram so that's what I'm going to call it from now on!

I have loved Julie's designs ever since I made the Stained Glass Afghan, and had lots of fun with her 2015 Mystery CAL. I can't wait to see what Julie and her team of designers come up with over the year :D  

I am using Stylecraft Batik and Batik Elements, of which I have a surprisingly large stash! I think I way overestimated how much yarn I would need for a new design and, well, you know how these things can get out of hand. It is lovely and soft, and all the colours go well together which makes it a great stash busting yarn! I'm picking colours pretty much at random and changing colours on each square where the pattern says to.

If you want to join in on BAWJ2019, check out Julie's Facebook group, blog and Ravelry Board for more information.



WEEK 1 - POPCORN HEARTS by JULIE YEAGER

Pattern: http://julieyeagerdesigns.com/week-1-bawj2019/ 

Yarn colours: Sage, Silver & Bismuth 


So. Many. Popcorns.


So many. But such a pretty square! I like how the hearts pop up around the middle. Plus I got to learn a new stitch - the berry stitch - which is worked from the wrong side and pops out the front. I think learning new stitches is my favourite part of CALs :) 

I did have a bit of trouble stitching into "the top of the popcorn" but I think that's me overthinking things rather than it being inherently confusing... 


It's even pretty from the back! 

WEEK 2 - LOLA BEAN SQUARE by SARAH SHEA

Pattern: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lola-bean

Yarn colours: Gold, Plum, Heather and Iron


A dodecahedron to an octagon to a square? Love it!  


I got to learn TWO new stitches in this square - the bean stitch and the extended dc. The extended dc was the most interesting, as it could be a good substitute for trebles!   



This one is going to need much more blocking, but then again, peer pressure is a powerful force in afghans :P 

Phew, that's the first two weeks! Wish me luck in keeping up! 

What projects are you planning for 2019? 

Saturday, 5 January 2019

First 2019 Reflections


Happy 2019 everyone!

2018 was quite the adventure... Moving to the Netherlands, starting a new job, and so on. It was a pretty exhausting year - I felt like I was running the whole time without ever catching up or catching a breath.


Hopefully, 2019 will be better. So far, the first couple of days have been good. I knew I was sleep deprived, but man, until now, I didn't know how much... I feel like a whole new person after a couple of well-rested nights! Fingers crossed, the feeling will stay. 


I didn't finish the crochet projects I planned as Christmas presents. There were lots of tears involved when I realized I couldn't make it. There was too much going on, and I was plainly exhausted. Looking back, I feel sad how much I was beating myself up mentally for not being able to finish the projects. It did suck the joy out of crocheting, and I don't think that is something I want to happen again. 



At the moment, I have just one blanket on the hook, and I think it will take quite a few more days to finish it. I am using the Hydrangea Stripe Blanket pattern from Attic 24, and I really like the relaxing nature of the pattern flow. Oh, and I am even a good girl and am weaving in the ends after finishing each color! Woohoo! 



Don't the colors work well together? I am sure I mentioned this before, but I love the Belissima Yarn from Stylecraft. It has such a beautiful stitch definition, is so soft, and just flows from the hook. I hope they will add more colors in the future. For this blanket, I underestimated the yarn usage, so, I will need to get more yarn soonish.  I would love a stronger yellow for example. 



This blanket was supposed to be finished in December as a gift to a dear friend of mine. As mentioned, I didn't complete any of the intended projects last months, AND I am sure this blanket won't even be finished in January. I am still coming to terms with it, but in the end, I am sure it won't matter that the gift arrives late. My friend lives in Australia which means she couldn't use the blanket now anyway (too hot!)...

How is your 2019 going so far?

Take care, Anne

P.S. Stylecraft Yarns send the yarn I am using for the blanket mentioned above last summer, but I am not in any way obliged to say anything nice about the yarn. Thus, all sentiments expressed above a 100% mine! :)


Sunday, 4 November 2018

A visit to Zwolle (Breidagen)

Hi all!

It's November already... Man, these last weeks flew by! We now live in the Netherlands for a little over a month. It feels longer and shorter at the same time. There is still so much to do, to organize, but we are getting there. Step by step.



Two weeks ago I had a little break from all the moving chaos and travelled to Zwolle to attend the Breidagen Yarn Festival. A couple of the Stylecraft Blogstars taught workshops there and since I had never met any of the other Blogstars in person, this seemed as a good opportunity.



So, I jumped onto the train, changed trains two times (in Eindhoven and Utrecht) annndd arrived in Zwolle after about 2,5 hours. Fortunately, the Dutch trains seems to be pretty reliable, so there were no delays (I am used to German Bahn delays...). It was quite easy to find the hall where the festival was hold, because there was quite the pilgrimage going there. I guess, I was not the only one attracted to yarn. ;-)


I found the Stylecraft Yarns table right away (well, I knew where to look) and spent some time chatting there (and crocheting). I also brought our Hexagon Stacking Baskets and popped them on the display table with the other Blogstars projects.


Just after lunch, I got the change to attend Emma's amigurumi workshop. We crocheted up her Billy Bear pattern (which is really easy to follow btw) and talked and talked! I had so much fun! Thank you, Emma, for letting me attend the class. :) I finished my little bear a couple of days after the festival and I think I will make another one soon. 




There was so much amazing yarn at the festival - I am still quite surprised that I managed NOT to buy anything. I told myself that I have far too much yarn already, but man, staying "abstinent" was haarrddd!





Take care,
Anne


Monday, 29 October 2018

Mini-potamus!

Hey everyone!

You know how, sometimes, you just have to do something a little bit mad? Last week I needed to do something a little bit mad. 

Work is busy, Allie is growing like a weed (such a cheerful little weed!) and Kiah is going back to work this week (gulp). I have crochet orders to fill, about 5 other projects in various stages of completion including two brand new patterns... so of course I had to start something new.  

(excuse my squinty eyes, it was very windy at the park and I still have bloody conjunctivitis)

Meet the Mini-potamus! Kiah asked me ages ago to make a hippo for Allie in the pastel patchwork colourway, but I just hadn't got to it yet. Then I wondered if it would work to make an itty bitty one, which is much more Allie's size at the moment! 


I used Heidi Bears' amazing Happypotamus pattern (which I can almost make in my sleep now!) and just made two row solid pieces instead of African flowers. 

It's 5.5"/14cm long from nose to butt, and 2.5"/6cm tall. 


I stayed up wayyy too late on Saturday night finishing it off, but it was worth it to give Allie a new little friend to snuggle with on Sunday <3 

 

Now I wonder if I can make a mini-Captain? A travel sized Captain!