Tuesday 27 January 2015

Bits and Bobs on Tuesday

Hello everyone! 

Today is a bits and bobs day from me - photos from our weekend, and some pictures that you might have already seen if you follow us on Instagram (@crochetbetweenworlds) and Facebook! If you don't already follow us in those places, you totally should :P 

We went up to the lake house for the Australia Day long weekend, to give the kitchen bench a proper road test by making pasta and dumplings.

(note the duelling pasta machines :P )

We didn't get any photos of the dumplings as they got eaten much too fast. Next time!

Mostly though we lazed about crocheting and playing video games :) 

There were also some hilarious bogans elsewhere on the lake with a wonderfully unsafe contraption (that did look like heaps of fun though!). Make sure you watch this video with the sound, it really does make all the difference.

I've been working on some non-crochet projects over the last week too. Some little felt fridge magnets called to me after Spotlight had felt on sale for VIP members :)

Plus, I've started on the Sophie's Universe Crochet-a-Long by Dedri Uys. All the details can be found here. I'm really enjoying working on this project! I've been seeing the beautiful Sophie's Garden around for a while, so an organised, paced CAL seemed like an excellent opportunity. My sister is going to do it with me too, but her yarn hasn't arrived yet and she told me to get a head start and find the tricky bits ;)

This is the first 15 rows as at last night (and please excuse the terrible photo):

And this is the first 25 rows, which is all the information available so far:

What have you been up to this weekend? 

Friday 23 January 2015

2015 - Year of the crocheted WIPs?

Hello all!

Thank you for all your kind comments on my grandfather's death. It is very nice to know you have been thinking about me and my family. The funeral was this Tuesday and it was a touching service. He got buried with my blanket and his beloved playing cards. Now it is time to look forward - just like he always did.

Welcome to our new followers and all the regulars! We love to have to here on our lil' blog! I am sooo sorry I have been so bad with visiting other blogs at the moment. Life has been crazy but I hope to get back into normal routines next week :-)

I wish I could talk about lots of finished crochet projects but it looks like 2015 is the year of the WIPs so far:

1. A blanket for my dad who is really ill. The blanket is 85% finished. I need to crochet some more border rows. I used the Neat Ripple Pattern from Attic24 but instead of the rainbow version I went for a navy blue one. In the first place I wanted to add appliqués but in the end I decided against it. The blanket will be washed a lot to keep it sterile and thus any appliqués would be a hazard. I want to add a layer of fleece though to make it extra warm. Have any of you done that before? I could use some advice on how to do it!

2. A blanket for my granny. No photo yet because it's still in the beginning. It will be a Corner to Corner blanket in Navy and Dark Pink. Hopefully that will work out.

3. The poncho from Simply Crochet! I have seen lots of ponchos from this pattern around and I ordered the yarn for it just before Christmas! The lovely Alia from Little Bee gifted me with a yarn voucher because I translated her pattern and I invested in some Drops yarns! So soft and squishy! Can't wait to work with it properly! The poncho pattern starts with a chain of 84. I am not too fond of working into chain rows and thus I decided to start with a foundation stitch row. Hopefully it will work out just as well! 

For Christmas I got a "photo box", so I can take better pictures for the blog. So far it hasn't worked out very well... I reckon I might need to iron the box plus to learn how to use it. We had a good laugh at Christmas about it though. I thought it would be a small box but when it popped out of the cover it unfolded in seconds to a huge thing! 1 meter on each side! Almost knocked me and my dad off the couch...

Since a blog post about unfinished crochet stuff could be a bit boring, I will add some pictures from our trip to Hamburg last week. I was very lucky and got tickets for "The Lion King" for my birthday last year. And I loved it! So colourful and such great music! I wish I had been allowed to sing along...

Take care

Tuesday 20 January 2015

The Ups and Downs of Ramps and Stairs

Hello and welcome to our new readers, and hugs for our old friends :) 

I have something a bit special for you today. A few weeks ago my lovely blog friend Jodie at Lupey Loops wrote a tribute to an incredible Australian disability activist, Stella Young, who passed away suddenly in December 2014. She also wrote about a planned yarnbombing memorial for Stella, who was a passionate knitter, and laid out some of the many reasons why such an event was exceptionally misguided. This got me thinking about my own experiences of exclusion from public spaces when I am using my wheelchair and in particular an article one of my best friends, Matthew Dunn, wrote about it a few years ago. 

He has agreed to allow me to republish his article here for you, and I encourage you to share his story with your friends and family - the more people who are able to notice the ways in which we set up our world to exclude those of us who do not have equal ability, the more chance there is that we, as society, can do something about it. As Stella herself said, "No amount of smiling at a flight of stairs has ever made it turn into a ramp". 

The Ups and Downs of Ramps and Stairs
by Matthew Dunn
first published in Voiceworks Magazine Issue 92

When Michie got her wheelchair everyone wanted a ride. That may sound callous, but with her condition a temporary one, and being amongst the young at heart, my friends and I were eager to take it for a spin. Like crutches passed around the schoolyard after a hurt ankle, the wheelchair did the rounds. We wanted to see how fast we could go, how hard it was to turn. But the real lessons resulted from seeing a previously invisible illness take physical form. Suddenly, a poorly understood and often ill-diagnosed condition was given a symbol so insistently recognisable that it could not be ignored. In some circumstances this made life easier, drawing a nebulous collection of symptoms into their most essential point: restricted movement. But it also exposed Mich to discrimination systemic of a society that functions on the assumption of equal ability.

In many ways Michie was extremely lucky. Though her chronic fatigue restricted her to the wheelchair for long trips, she was able to walk around the house and even climb a step or two with assistance. The cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is not yet understood, but it’s basically what it says on the tin: tiredness way out of proportion with the things you do. Not just lifting heavy things or running, but mental exertion as well. In Australia, over 180,000 people are believed to be affected by chronic fatigue, so it’s likely you know someone with the syndrome.

Of course, you may not realise. As with many disabilities, a casual glance will not convey the seriousness of the condition or the challenges it creates. Like fibromyalgia, depression or dozens of other invisible illnesses, chronic fatigue doesn’t flag its presence to passersby. As a consequence, people are remarkably adept at marginalising and ignoring the sufferers of such conditions. Even with full knowledge of what was happening, it was not until the permit appeared in her car that I realised Michie could be classified as disabled. The word hadn’t occurred to me. To accept her condition as a disability meant a whole new level of seriousness. But what other word could there be for a chronic illness that hinders movement, made everyday chores a challenge and full-time employment all but impossible?

Mich had experienced all of the above, losing her job as a lawyer when her sick days ran out and becoming heavily reliant on her husband to keep the household running. But if there was one thing she was not going to lose, it was our pilgrimage to the temples of comedy. Each year Mich and I, accompanied by about a dozen other friends, make the trip down to Melbourne for the comedy festival. We rent an enormous house, criss-cross the city in search of delicious food, collect geeky paraphernalia and, of course, we laugh ourselves silly at some of the best comedy the world has to offer. Developing chronic fatigue syndrome was never going to stop Michie from this yearly tradition. However no amount of enthusiasm could alter the fact that she would have to approach that year differently. We found accommodation as close to the city as we could afford and allowed extra time for getting between venues. And for the first time Mich hired a wheelchair.

Without the chair, the trip wouldn’t have been possible, but it presented a whole new range of challenges both expected and previously obscured. Public transport, naturally, was no easy feat. Our adopted home was situated on a tram line, so we made a few attempts to catch it into the city. Whilst Mich was strong enough to climb the few steps aboard, the task required military precision. After arriving early at the tram stop, we would spread our group across multiple entrances to avoid jams. When the doors opened one person would help Mich up the stairs as another folded the wheelchair and hauled it aboard. After everyone’s personal space had been violated we would finally arrive in the city, only to do it all in reverse, this time with twice as many other passengers. In the end, it was hardly worthwhile struggling with public transport. Even taking into account the occasional narrow, tree-root-cracked footpath, most of the time it was easier for one of us to roll out early with Mich rather than waiting for the tram.

Of course, accessible trams do exist in Melbourne. With lowered floors and specially designed stops, they allow easier access for the mobility impaired as well as the elderly and parents with prams. Just under one hundred of Melbourne’s trams are accessible by design, but coming from the largest operating tram network in the world, this represents a mere fifth of their total fleet. For the able-bodied these accessible trams are indistinguishable from their traditional counterparts. Indeed, it was only when Mich got her wheelchair that I realised they existed, despite having taken one to St Kilda the year before. But in our adopted suburb the trams were tall and merciless. It was a small difference of design, but a powerful symbol of institutional priorities. Seeing how easily this hardship could be averted made me realise just how much the practical impact of disability was socially constructed. It was not just Michie’s illness that made it difficult, but the expectations of youth and health we had built in to our infrastructure. This was echoed in the buildings themselves. After years of visits, many of the venues were now familiar, but this year we often needed to navigate our way down unmarked corridors to infrequently used elevators. These difficulties followed us home. Despite having carefully chosen a place with a kitchen, bathroom and bedroom on the ground level we arrived to find an unfortunately placed table blocking the hallway. This became more than merely unfortunate when we discovered that it was, in fact, bolted to the floor. Enough room for walking, but definitely not for wheeling. Had Michie been fully confined to her wheelchair she wouldn’t have made it past the front room.

The most unanticipated challenge had nothing to do with narrow halls and everything to do with narrow minds. Despite Michie being the brains of the whole operation — coordinating accommodation and shows, aligning the flight plans of friends from four different cities — she was often overlooked. I was slow to notice, being the unobservant oaf that I can sometimes be, but after a few nights of wheeling her around Melbourne, she pointed it out. The way people’s eyes would slide straight past hers, smiling in understanding at me, not her. No doubt many felt much the same way I did before sharing this experience with Mich, terrified that they would blunder onto sacred ground, expose their ignorance and cause insult. They thought, perhaps, that it was better to stay silent, to avoid contact. Of course, it bettered nothing. Such unofficial, unspoken segregation does more harm than any well-meaning fumble ever could. It sends a message that disability is something that should cause shame or fear — that it is a cross to bear silently and individually. But disability is not simply an isolated affliction. It is only through dialogue that there is any hope of remedy.

It’s now over a year since Michie was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and sadly, she hasn’t yet recovered. I spent the majority of last week acting as arms for hire, helping her pack her belongings for a shift to a new apartment. Her old place featured a bathroom and a kitchen separated by an insurmountable staircase. For Michie, that flight of stairs was a mountain. When I arrived to help with the packing she made the trek to the lower level and looked as unfamiliar with her surroundings as I did. She hadn’t been downstairs in months. Whilst having your man cook for you probably sounds like a dream to many a reader, for a foodie like Mich, having to choose a bathroom over the kitchen was heartbreaking.

So when Michie gave me the tour of her new, single-level place, complete with lift and nearby supermarket, she couldn’t have been happier. Armed with a single crutch and a handful of grocery bags she farewelled her husband and I and left for her first solo shopping expedition in a year. Half an hour later she returned, tired as f***, but utterly triumphant. It was a small step, to be sure, but as anyone who has ever used a wheelchair knows, mounting one small step can be one hell of an achievement. While Michie was able to conquer some of the most pressing difficulties of her situation, no single person is capable of effecting the kind of change necessary to improve the situation of chronic fatigue sufferers. Like many other invisible illnesses, it can often be ignored until the glaring sight of a wheelchair brings it into focus, but this need not, and indeed should not, be the case. Whether it be public transport or public perception, the only way to end discrimination is for people to take the challenging, but far more rewarding approach of engaging with sufferers of such conditions. By reading more, talking more and demanding change, we can all help to reduce the stigma and complications of these invisible illnesses.

Friday 16 January 2015

A Tribute to my Granddad

Hello you!

Thanks for your lovely thoughts on my granddad's passing. I felt very touched and it's nice to know you are thinking about me and my family! This blog post will be rather short as life is pretty busy at the moment... The funeral will be next week. 

My Granddad on his 100th birthday
I was going to talk about the new blanket I am making but the weather is soo off, I couldn't take decent pictures. So you will get to see the new blanket next week. Fingers crossed for better weather.

I hope you won't mind that I will talk about my Opa - my granddad - instead. He died this Tuesday aged 101 years. 101! Can you believe it? He was very lucky and got to live at home with my granny until about three months ago when he couldn't walk anymore and needed more help. He was pretty fit until his 100th birthday - lucky him! And lucky me because I got to have him as my granddad for so long.

He was very strong minded and loved his family a lot. Married to my granny for 66 years... I was close to him because we both enjoyed to travel and see the world. That, and we shared the same kind of humour. :-) I will miss him a lot but he was at peace in the end and I am glad, he didn't have to suffer long.

As you might remember I made him a lap blanket for his 100th birthday. The blanket got used daily because it seemed to be the perfect size! I was glad to hear that because I was worried it would be to small at first. The blanket will be buried with him and I am happy with that. Makes me feel honoured and close to him. That said - I had to promise my granny to make her another blanket because apparently she became quite attached to it too!

So 2015 will be a year of blankets... I will finish my dad's blanket soon, need to start on my granny's one plus I have three pregnant friends whom I promised a blanket. Any suggestions for patterns? I would like to make different ones, so I won't get bored...

Have a wonderful weekend with lots of yarn and love!

Take care

Tuesday 13 January 2015

Little Tuesday Update!

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

Wow! The response to my Rainbow Twist and Turn Bargello Afghan has been phenomenal - 1300 views of the pattern, 280 favourites on Ravelry and two projects started already :D  

Mine is all safely washed and dried and photographed and rolled up in plastic, ready for its next outing at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. I entered the Show for the first time this year, in 3 categories:

1. Adult Accessories - I'm going to submit a Road Trip Scarf to this category;

2. Soft Toys - A candy hippo, my favourite; and

3. Creative Crochet (Exhibitor's Own Design) - the Bargello Afghan.

Unfortunately I couldn't enter the afghan into the afghan category as that requires the blankets to be made from wool or wool blend, not 100% acrylic :( Oh well, now I know for next time!

There'll be a brand new afghan design coming soon - here is a sneak peek for you!

I've been stuck at home with terrible fatigue, bored off my nut for the last few days. I have been slowly getting through some scarves, and trying to clear my WIP pile so I can start new projects with a clear conscience.  Here are three more scarves, in some different yarn to my usual Moda Vera Fayette!

James C Brett - Woodlander (5)

King Cole Riot (414)

Yarn Bee Aurora Borealis (Fruit Punch)

As I am writing this, I have received some very bad news. Anne's grandfather passed away today at the grand age of 101. As you all know, Anne was very close to her grandfather, and he used the blanket that she made for him every day. 

Please send her lots of love and hugs and support in this difficult time. 

Thursday 8 January 2015

PATTERN: Twist and Turn Bargello Afghan

Ta dah! My Rainbow Twist and Turn Bargello Afghan is finished! 

I loved making it so much - the small squares and join-as-you-go technique meant that I felt like I was working very fast! Plus, only two ends to weave in for each square, and no growing pile of little squares to join at the end. Overall it took me 16 days of holidays when I was doing very little else (other than watching Downton Abbey). This project would be very easy to do a little and then pack away with the chart and pick up again later.

I am full of dreams about my next bargello-style afghan now... watch this space!

You can bookmark or favourite this pattern on Ravelry for later here:



Finished Size: 125cm x 125 cm / 49" x 49"

This pattern uses simple 2 row granny squares, joined with slip stitches during the second row in place of chains. It is very simple to make - the beauty is in the arrangement of colours to imitate the well-known patchwork bargello pattern, Twist and Turn. 



2 x 100g balls of Stylecraft Special DK in each of:

Matador (red)
Jaffa (orange)
Saffron (light orange)
Citron (yellow)
Spring Green (pale green)
Green (dark green)
Petrol (dark blue)
Cloud Blue (light blue)
Lavender (blue-purple)
Violet (red-purple)

(total: 20 balls)

3.5mm/E hook

Yarn needle



This pattern uses US terminology. 

sl st = slip stitch
ch = chain stitch
sc = single crochet
dc = double crochet

Special stitches:

Stacked Standing Double Crochet - sc into target stitch. Insert hook under two leftmost strands of sc, yarn over hook to do a second sc.

I prefer this stitch to other forms of standing dc, and it looks much better than chains. Replace with 3ch if you prefer not to use this stitch.

No Slip Magic Circle - I prefer this double loop to a single loop magic circle as I found I was weaving ends in with an extra circle before doubling back with the single loop - this cuts out one extra weaving step! Nerdifacts has an excellent picture tutorial on the No Slip Magic Circle :)


Work from the top left corner in rows from left to right. I recommend stopping to weave in the ends every 10 squares or so. 


First square:

1. Start with a No-Slip Magic Circle. 

2. Do a stacked standing double crochet into the magic circle, then (2dc, 2ch), (3dc, 2ch)x3 all into the magic circle, and join into standing dc with a slip stitch. Tighten up the circle so there is no visible hole in the centre.

3. In the 2ch space you just made, do another stacked standing double crochet followed by 1ch, then (3dc, 2ch, 3dc, 1ch) into each of next three 2ch spaces. In the final 2ch space, do (3dc, 2ch, 2dc) and then join with a slip stitch to the standing dc. Finish off.  

Joining squares on one side only:

1. Complete steps 1 and 2 as for the first square. 

2. Do another stacked standing double crochet followed by 1ch, then (3dc, 2ch, 3dc, 1ch) into the next two corner 2ch spaces. In the next 2ch space, do 3dc, 1ch. In place of the second corner chain, slip stitch into a 2ch space of the square you want to join to (the red square in the picture). 

Continue with 3 dc. In place of the next chain, slip stitch into the corresponding 1ch space of the red square. 

Do another 3dc. Slip stitch into the corner 2ch space of the red square. 

Ch1, then 2dc and slip stitch into the top of the standing dc. Finish off.

Joining squares on two sides.

1. Complete steps 1 and 2 as for the first square. 

2. Do another stacked standing double crochet followed by 1ch, then (3dc, 2ch, 3dc, 1ch) into the next corner 2ch space. In the next 2ch space, do 3dc, 1ch. In place of the second corner chain, slip stitch into the adjacent 2ch corner space of the first square you want to join to (orange square A in the picture). 

Continue with 3 dc. In place of the next chain, slip stitch into the 1ch space of the orange square. 

Do another 3dc. Slip stitch into the corner 2ch space of the orange square A, and then slip stitch into the corner 2ch space of the green square B. Ignore the red square B altogether! 

Continue with 3 dc. In place of the next chain, slip stitch into the 1ch space of the green square. 

Do another 3dc. Slip stitch into the corner 2ch space of the green square. Ch1, then 2dc and slip stitch into the top of the standing dc. Finish off.


The border is a simple tweed stitch (1sc, 1ch). I did a row of each of the rainbow colours, starting with Matador and ending with Violet (10 rows).

Row 1: The first row is all worked into the tops of the stitches and chains of the squares below. Start by joining the yarn with an sc on any corner into the second corner chain.

*Ch1, skip one stitch and sc into the next stitch*. Repeat until you get to the next corner. You should end up with 5sc in one square and 4sc in the next, repeating along the row. 

After you sc into the second corner chain, 2ch and sc into the same stitch. Then continue along as before. Repeat until you get back to the stitch where you first joined the yarn. 2ch, sl st into top of the first sc. Finish off and weave in ends.

Subsequent rows:

Join yarn with an sc into any ch1 space. *ch1, skip sc and sc into the next ch1 space*. Repeat until you get to a corner. In the corner ch2 space, do 1sc, 2ch, 1sc. Continue to repeat * * until you get back to your starting stitch. Ch1, sl st into the first sc. Finish off and weave in ends.

We'd love to see your finished blankets, and answer questions you have on our Facebook page!

Tuesday 6 January 2015

Snippets of a Lake Holiday

Hello everyone! I'm finally back from Christmas holidays at the new lake house :) While I haven't had very good internet access, I've very much enjoyed reading all your lovely comments on Anne's posts - she's definitely been picking up the slack for me over the break.

I'm afraid it's mostly a picture post from me today, as I am madly hooking up the border to my Rainbow Bargello Twist and Turn Afghan so I can bring you a full pattern, instructions and (correct) graph on Friday! 

If you follow my Wrapped with Love page on Facebook, or on Instagram, you'll have seen this riot of colour growing over the last two weeks! I met my goal of finishing the body of the blanket before the end of the holiday, now I have just three more rows of border to go before washing, blocking and loads of photos :) I had a pretty good spot to work on it while on holidays though.

Since you've all seen photos of the lake house already as part of my birthday shenanigans, I thought today I'd share with you some of my favourite things about the house, that I have particularly appreciated on this holiday! In no particular order, I love:

1. The spectacular view, and all the comfortable places to sit :) 

2. We still managed that great Aussie tradition of backyard cricket, but the outfield was a little damp.

3. The artwork we commissioned in Vanuatu is up on the wall, in the perfect place.

4. The kitchen is enormous and wonderful and I love it, even when my Dad is being a cheeseball :P Plus there's plenty of space on the main level for us to keep out of each others' way - after two weeks together this was very important! 

(Apologies for the mess, we were starting to pack up to go home)

5. My very clever sister organised a cool entry feature panel, with handprints of us and our friends who have come to stay at the house.

6. Actually, this one might be a favourite. On the original plans, the front door looked straight into the bathroom - hardly good feng shui, or even nice to look at. My sister amended the plans to move the door around the corner, and then hid it in the panelling. How to tell whether it's occupied or not? Just look at the lock! It says "Vacant" or "Engaged" just like a public toilet :) This might sound silly, but when we have a houseful of people who all have different conventions at home for bathroom door open or closed when not in use, it is MUCH easier than there being a queue formed and people potty-dancing about the place, and then discovering that there was noone in there all along...

Happy New Year everyone! 
And make sure to check back Friday for the 
Rainbow Bargello ta-dah and pattern :)