Friday 28 November 2014

Herman the German Friendship Cake

Hello everyone! Welcome to all our new readers, and hugs for old friends :) 

I have been participating in a VERY exciting experiment over the last 10 days. My friend Pat received a pet cake from a friend of his, and when it was ready he passed it onto me! 

Pat's delicious baked Herman
It's called Herman the German Friendship Cake, which has been around since the 80s (at least), and you can find out more about its history here.

We fed him, and stirred him, and loved him over the last 10 days, and he bubbled and frothed and grew (blossomed?!) under our tender loving care...

...then today was baking day!

We added extra pineapple chunks to the recipe, and used tinned apple instead of fresh. It made for a lovely moist but light cake :)

Perfect with a cup of tea!

We may have eaten most of one cake already...

The remaining starter has been divided and boxed up, ready to be passed on for Herman to have new and exciting adventures with new owner Helen and pre-owner Pat. We are also keeping a bit for ourselves to feed and keep for another 10 days - I'm thinking chocolate and raspberry loaf for next time!  

If you're vaguely in my area and would love to try keeping a pet cake (I'm told it's great for kids!), let me know and I'll hook you up. If you're further afield, try and find someone with a starter, or make your own! Instructions are on the website I linked at the top of the post. 

I'm a very lucky blogger this fortnight - I get to do next Tuesday's post as well! Check back then to find out all about my birthday dinner on Saturday night - food, fun and of course a lot of laughter (I hope)!

Take care,

Tuesday 25 November 2014

New Beanies for the Winter

Hello all!

Thank you all for your wonderful comments and likes! Welcome to all new followers on Bloglovin, Google and Facebook! :-) We feel very loved and are very happy with every single new comment and follower.

Winter arrived in Germany. This morning my car was iced and the temperatures dropped. I am quite happy with that (except for the de-icing the car) because I like winter. I hope it will snow sometime soon...

My little sister ordered a beanie for the winter. And as the nice big sister I am, I promised to make her one soonish. Of course that meant ordering new yarn. After all I only had hundreds of yarn balls at home and none of them was right. Do you know that feeling? Anyway, there are certainly worse things than ordering yarn.

I got several balls of Katia Maxi Merino (55 % Merino, 45 % Acrylic) and am quite happy with it. It's soft and squishy and easy to work with. The yarn was ordered online at Wollplatz and it arrived within 24 hours - lucky me! :)

However, I wasn't quite as lucky with the pattern I bought. It's the "Mini Shells Slouchy Hat" and can be found on Ravelry. The pattern calls for chunky yarn and a 6-6,5mm and a 8 mm hook which I used. Unfortunately the adult version didn't turn out very large and thus I had to frog the whole thing :( You wonder why this happened? Well, I used the 6,5mm hook to start with instead the 8mm. Sighs. Should have read better. There is German phrase which translates to "Those who can read have a clear advantage". I reckon that fits quite well :P

So I started a second one. Instead of using the 8mm (seemed to big for my yarn), I changed the beginning. Instead of 5 starting rows, I went with 6. Plus I increased to 60 st instead of 54. Oh and I used the 6,5 mm all way through til the border (then used a 5,5 mm). 

My sister is happy with the beanie! Yay!

As mentioned before, I have several more balls of the yarn. Thus I decided to make myself a beanie too. I started with the 8mm hook but I didn't like it. As the pattern increases fast, there were huge holes between the stiches. Not my cup of tea, so I went back to the modified version. As a result the stitch patterns are a lot smaller than in the original pattern but I am fine with that. 

What are you working on at the moment?

Take care

P.S. I am sorry for the quality of the pics. I do know of course one should always take pics in broad daylight. Well... I usually get home around 4.30 pm-ish which means it is as good as dark here in Germany! I promise to take some better pictures soonish. :-)

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:



Rough Sketch



Rough Sketch:

3. Hypno-Diamonds


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


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 -

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!



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: 


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:


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:


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!


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!