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!!

Tuesday 19 August 2014

Finally Finished... Tuesday?

It's been a wet few days in Sydney! We are just never happy here - either it buckets down with rain and we complain about the wet, or it doesn't rain for days on end and we complain about everything being too dry :P

I know it's only Tuesday, but I have been trying to clear up my WIP (works in progress) pile and fiiiiiiinally have a stack of things to show off :)

My dragon is finished! Isn't he adorable??

Plus, I managed to finish my Stained Glass Afghan last night! I used JulieAnny's Stained Glass Afghan Square pattern for the pieces, joined them with double crochet in aqua (single crochet for any American readers), and then edged it with a dc row of aqua and then back-loop-only trebles in black, to make the aqua row stand out. I'm really happy with how it came out! Plus it is so thick and warm :) 

The sun came out for just a few minutes today, especially for me to take photos for you!

All my scarf orders are up to date (so if you want to order one, now is the time). I am also experimenting with more colour options, including this one called Jewel Mix:

Isn't it dramatic?

Sunday 17 August 2014

Sunday Snippets

Hello all!

There will be more Canada posts (or posts that are somehow related to our experiences there) but for now just a short Sunday evening blog post. 

Did you have / Are you having a good Sunday? Mine has been pretty awesome so far even though the weather is just blah. Rain, grey skies and a storm. There went our planned bike tour... Still, a good, relaxed day!


Bagels! Oh, is there anything better then oven fresh bagels? I love, love, love good (!) bagels. Not entirely sure when I fell in love but I think it was during my studies in Sydney. There was a bagel shop at Macquarie Shopping Centre (which was opposite my uni) and every now and then I had a bagel there with friends. It's really tough to get good bagels in Germany. In fact, I only found good, fresh ones in a bakery once. And this was discontinued soon afterwards. 

Well, that left me with one thing to do really: Make them myself! My first ones weren't much to talk about but I think I got them hang of them now... I use this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. The bagels are kept in the fridge overnight to rise which gives them an amazing texture. True, it is a lot of work but it's totally worth it!


I am happy crocheting away the day working on my Canada Travel Blanket. I will tell you about it soon! It is pretty big already and I am kind of relieved that I am finally decreasing. As you might guess, the pattern is the Corner to Corner (again!)!

Listening to

Little Beach Street Bakery | [Jenny Colgan]
Picture from
Little Beach Street Bakery from Jennifer Colgan (read by Anne-Marie Piazza). It's a nice, light novel so far! Jennifer Colgan's novels have been made into really lovely audiobooks! I already listened to several of them while at the gym - I highly recommend them! 


Fresh Belgian waffles while snuggling under my Rainbow Blanket.

Thinking about

Making another Corner to Corner Blanket with Stylecraft Special DK. I am not sure about the colour yet. Perhaps another rainbow one (larger this time though) or a pomegranate-white one. What do you think?

Hope you enjoy your day!

Take care

Tuesday 12 August 2014

Canada 2014: Tofino


Tofino is a little town at the west coast of Vancouver Island. To get there, we hired a car in Nanaimo and drove throught the mountains! It was a rather scenic drive with some huge height inclines! 18 % decline and incline is quite a lot for someone who grew up in an area where there is just flat land... 

Fortunately the car was an automatic one which made the driving a lot easier! I had a bit of a laugh when we got the car though. It was labeled as a small car: I didn't find it that small really but I guess to all the other huge cars on the road it was small indeed. Well, it was the right size for us and I wouldn't have wanted to drive a bigger one.

On our road to Tofino we stopped at the Little Qualicum Falls. The waterfalls were so pretty! Don't you just love waterfalls? They are quite magical for me... When I was a kid my parents would stop at every single waterfall and at some point I was quite annoyed by it (another one?!) but nowadays I get their fascination with waterfalls.

Tofino is a very small town full of touristy shops. Everything is very expensive (we wished several time we had done some grocery shopping in Nanaimo)... The hostel (Whaler's Point Guesthouse) we stayed in had a nice location but wasn't very good otherwise. It was very loud, the staff had a frat-party mentality and the bathrooms weren't cleaned often enough. Oh and it was very, very expensive. Just to put it in perspective: Our nice hotel right in the middle of Paris in summer cost us less then this hostel... 

We did have a lovely time in Tofino anyway! :-) We took the Hot Spring Tour and the Bear Watching Tour from Jamie's Whaling Station and saw so much wildlife on the tours! Bears, whales, otters... So exciting! The tours weren't cheap but well worth it. Seeing whales was truly magical (so was the happy face of the boyfriend who longed to see whales for some time). 

One evening we got to see four bald eagles at once right in front of our hostel! Wow! For me, this was more exciting than seeing the whales! Eagles are such majestic animals - so sad that some people hunt them!

Of course we spent some time at the beach as well! First we thought about taking surfing lessons but in the end we didn't. The pacific ocean was really cold but nice to walk along. 

Altogether the temperatures weren't high in Tofino (only about 20 ° C) but it was sunny all the time. I prefer cooler temperatures with sun anyway, so the weather was quite alright with me!

Take care

Sunday 10 August 2014

Canada 2014: Nanaimo


We stayed on Vancouver Island for 13 days. 5 of these day we were in Nanaimo which is like the gateway to the Island. To get there, one has to take the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo which takes about 1 3/4 hours. The sky was clear, the sea mostly quiet and therefore the whole ride was quite uneventful. There isn't much one can do on the ferry (esp. when it's too cold to sit outside) but fortunately I brought some yarn and my crochet hook. 

We stayed in a lovely hostel called the Painted Turtle. It was most certainly the nicest hostel we stayed in during our holidays. I forgot to take pictures of the hostel, but I urge you to check out their homepage. They have a cozy living room / kitchen where people would meet in the evenings. The atmosphere was usually very familiar and homey. The rooms aren't large (we stayed in the private room) but big enough. Oh and the bed was a pure pleasure. For sure the best bed I ever had in a hostel (and I stayed in a few). The staff was so friendly and you could feel that the hostel was well loved and cared for. The only not so nice thing about the hostel is the pub underneath it. It was pretty loud down there some nights but nothing earplugs couldn't fix. 

There isn't much to do in Nanaimo. Sometimes we were a tad bit bored but it was a good way to slow down and get into real holiday mood. 

Only 10 minutes away by ferry there is Newcastle Island. We spent some hours over there. Due to our lack of fitness we didn't walk the whole island (as some people did) but we saw our fair share. On the island is a camping ground which looks rather nice - I reckon if I had kids, I would stay there for the holidays. Lots of beaches and forest to explore!

The hostel was close to the harbour and it was a real pleasure to just sit there and watch the sailing boats during twilight time. I might have mentioned that the boyfriend really (!) likes sailing boats, so it was a good past time. There are two restaurants right next to the boats at the pier. I recommend Troller's Fish and Chips (the Mexican Place wasn't as nice)! Very yummy fish indeed! I think I mentioned my love for salmon once or twice, didn't I? 

 One day we had our wander around Lagoon Park. It was low tide and we followed the sign "Beach Access". The result? We walked over the area were there is usually water and got stuck in the mud... Yuck! Fortunatly there was a public water tap to wash the shoes and our feet!

Altogether it was great to stay in Nanaimo though I am not sure I would stay quite that long again...

Take care

Coming Soon:
Canada 2014: Tofino
Canada 2014: The Travel Blanket

Friday 8 August 2014

Canada 2014: Vancouver

Vancouver 2014

I fell in love with the city right away. 

Truly and deeply.

It's just the right mixture of city and nature. From Downtown you could get to a beach or a mountain pretty soon and we saw some of the most beautiful sunsets. I was told that Vancouver is a very rainy city but during our time there, there was only like half a day of rain. Lucky us! Plus it probably helped me to like the city. Who know if it would have been different if it rained all the time? We'll never know...

I enjoyed the quality of life the city seems to have. Lots of smiles, lots of nature, tons of beaches and heaps to do. It was great just wandering around. In the evenings one could join the locals at the beaches where many met, had bbqs and so on. 
We ate out a lot and I was totally overwhelmed by the amount of good (!) sushi one could get. I adore sushi but it is pretty hard to get good / special ones over here in Germany. A lot of the sushi we ate had wild red salmon - W.O.W.! Amazing!

Fish was so fresh and so cheap in Vancouver! We wished more than once that we had sharp knives and a good oven to cook some wild salmon. Honestly - if I lived there, I would have fish at least 4 times a week! Or more. Probably more… 

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we also had Bison Burger. So yummy! Should you come to Vancouver I can highly recommend it. It’s not exactly cheap (18 Dollars + Tax) but worth it. The restaurant is located in Gastown which is apparently one of the oldest quarters in Vancouver. It’s a lovely place but packed with tourists and tourists’ shops. Nice but not my favourite place in the city. 


I really loved Granville Island. The market on there is always packed with people but so much great food to look at (and to eat). I especially liked the veggie and fruit displays. So much ripe fruit. The mangoes were juicy and the avocados ripe and delicious. Heaven! Don’t you just love ripe avocado and mangoes? Also the cantaloupe melons! Again, we wished for a better kitchen to prepare food. Did you ever try a salad of green lettuce, cantaloupe and feta? If not, you definitely should.

Our first hostel was close to Stanley Park and English Bay Beach . Wonderful places to have a walk – even though I felt totally unfit all the time. Why? There were always people at the beach running, doing sit-ups and so on… I didn’t but kinda felt like I should. Our hostel was close to Davie Street and there were so (!!) many health stores around and all the shops had signs with organic, gluten-free, sugar-free and so on in the windows. Made me feel like I am living really unhealthy…


The boyfriend attended a conference at UBC and I was registered as an accompanying person. That meant I got to attend the opening ceremony, the field trip and the gala dinner. 
After the opening ceremony, we went to see the sunset at one of the beaches at uni. Soo pretty! Wished we could have stayed longer but we had to catch the bus to the city.
The field trip was a bit of a disaster really… We took the trip to Grouse Mountain. They got us there in a huge bus, sat us in the gondola and left us on the mountain for 5 hours. There was nothing to do there except really really touristy stuff which I didn’t like. So we were naughty and ran off. Well, we took the gondola down early and left by public transport. Since we saw more people from the conference in town later, I guess we weren’t the only ones.
The gala dinner was really nice – very well cooked salmon was served. Hurray for salmon! 

 After spending two ways away from Vancouver, we returned for our last 2 1/2 days in Canada. And what wonderful days they were! We got to see the fireworks of the Celebrations of Lights. Our hostel was really close to the beach on the other side of the water from the fireworks. It was really great: We got to sit at the beach, see the sunset, enjoy reading a book and just after 10 pm the fireworks started. They lasted for 25 minutes and were a real treat! 

On the 3rd of August it was the annual Pride Parade. We saw bits and pieces of it which was a lot of fun. Many, many shops had rainbow coloured decorations in their windows and one could see the day was enjoyed. It was so great to see how open and lovely the city embraced their queer community.

There is so much more too tell but I don't want to bore you. So I'll end the entry here and reminisce about the holidays!

Take care