Sunday 27 September 2015

Crafternoons - Chatter, Craft and Company!

Hi everyone!

Today we had one of our (very irregular) Crafternoons - an opportunity for friends to come, share some afternoon tea, and have some quiet social time for craft or even learn a new one :) 

I had two projects on the go today. First, I finished off my little kangaroo and joey! This pattern was super cute and much easier on the ol' fingers than Captain America was :) 

Zara the cat was highly suspicious though...

I also finished another project - a scarf using this glorious merino mohair yarn that my mum bought for me in New Zealand last year. It's been waiting around for the perfect project, but since I am somewhat allergic to wool (not really allergic, but it makes me very itchy to have it on my skin), it was always going to be a gift for someone else.

I found (and was also linked to by the lovely Anneke of Crochet in Paternoster) this Starwirbel pattern for a cowl or capelet. I loved the stitch pattern, but wasn't confident enough in sizing to make a cowl. So, I adapted the pattern a bit and made long rows of stars! 

A lovely friend on Instagram said it reminded her of Monet, so I have named it my Impressionist Scarf :) It will keep my sister lovely and toasty warm in her early mornings and late nights at work! 

There were 10 of us at Crafternoons today, sitting around and chatting together while working on a variety of different crafts. We had cutting out for Days for Girls shields... 

...and cooking - these were delicious Strawberry Tarts from a recipe by Heston Blumenthal! 

There was also a fair bit of crochet, including: 

Thor's legs! 

A Corner-to-Corner blanket! 

A small mountain of granny squares! 

We had lots of fun, as much with the company and chatter (and delicious afternoon tea) as the relaxing time crafting. I'm looking forward to the next one - a Christmas Crafternoon in December! 

Do you crochet/craft with others? 

Tuesday 22 September 2015

My first Heart Teddy Bear

Hey there!

How are you today? My life is incredible busy at the moment and sometimes I have the feeling my life is a mile ahead of me and I am trying to catch up. Oh well. It shall get better I guess!

I finished my first Heart Teddy Bear yesterday. :) He turned out quite big: about 30 cm in height I would guess. Very huggable! It didn't take too long to complete the teddy. I started on the 12th of September and finished it last night. With lots of crochet breaks in-between that is - I would say in total the teddy took about 3-4 nights. I used this pattern by the way.

The sewing together was a bit of a pain in the butt. I am not very good with the fiddly thing but I think it turned out alright (I had to undo one of the legs though... sewed it on the wrong way. ooppss). Practice, practice... I love making amigurumi but the sewing... Eeek. I wish I was better at it!

The teddy went into a box with lots of sweets and shall be delivered tomorrow. It will go to an organization which will hand out the gifts to refugee children this weekend. It is the biggest family celebration of the Muslim calendar (Eid-ul-Adha) and traditionally children get gifts on this day. I hope it will lighten up a little one's day!!

The new refugee home near out house will open next month. I hope to finish more teddies by then. :) Fingers crossed everything goes as planned... This week they found some old world war II bombs in the ground next to the new home. They were deactivated by specialist. There are so many bombs in the ground here in Dortmund! They are left overs from World War II and as Dortmund was one of the major industrial towns a lot of bombs fell down here. 

What is on your hook at the moment?

Take care

Sunday 20 September 2015

Captain America - "Avengers, Assemble!"

Hello everyone!

We've had a pretty busy week here at Casa del Westlund. We have been back and forth to the lake to help out our neighbours, and it was monthly Committee Meeting week for Rotary Youth Exchange. Fortunately I can type fast enough to take the minutes during the meeting, and was able to send them out without much more effort. 

This week I managed to finished off one of my greatest crochet achievements so far - Patriotic Buddy (Captain America) Kid Hero by Made By Mary! Amigurumi is not my favourite style of crochet, as I find it very hard on my hands. Plus, all that counting...

I won't lie, this doll took me several weeks to complete. It was my first time working with worsted weight yarn. The pattern is so incredibly detailed, and there were so many pieces to be made separately and then stitched together! His mask/helmet and shield can be removed (and he has lovely blond hair underneath)...

...there is a tiny button for securing his mask/helmet...

...the shield helpfully has a strap for ease of positioning and removal...

...the belt pockets even have buttons, so secret things can be stored in them (!!)...

... and he has proper 5-fingered hands!

Captain America came out so very cute, and he is about 18" tall. He will be off to his forever-home next month sometime :) 

Thank you to Mary Smith for such an incredible pattern! I highly recommend Mary's patterns - you can find them all on Ravelry here

Do you love working amigurumi creatures? What are your favourite patterns? Link them in the comments!

Saturday 12 September 2015

Ta-Dah! JulieAnny's Summer Mosaic Mystery CAL

It's done! It's finished! And I absolutely love it :D We took advantage of the glorious spring sunshine and went downstairs to our apartment courtyard to get some photos :)

I've been having such a wonderful time with JulieAnny's Summer Mosaic Mystery CAL - it's my first big project using 100% cotton yarn, and the Moda Vera Portsea Cotton from Spotlight has worked up excellently! The finished afghan is quite light weight, and I can see it being just perfect for when the breeze comes up on the balcony at the lake on summer evenings. 

I joined the pieces using slip stitch in the back loops, from the reverse side. This made nice even joined with the little front loop ridges on the front, and only low ridges on the back (as opposed to chunky single crochet ridges, which I don't like the feel of). It came together pretty quickly!

I chose to leave the corner pieces off - they were "optional" in the pattern, and I quite like the octagonal shape without them :) The border took a little bit of adaptation, but really it was very simple and straightforward.

And, it really does look like a tiled mosaic! Such a talented designer - if you haven't checked out Julie Yeager's designs on Ravelry yet, I thoroughly recommend her work :) 

Have you made any of Julie Yeager's patterns before? Link to your photos/blog/Ravelry project page in the comments and we can all have a look!!

Wednesday 9 September 2015

Heart Teddy Bear / Herzensbär


Over the last couple of weeks more and more refugees have arrived in Germany (and other European countries). The pictures shown in the media are heartbreaking: Adults, children and babies - so many people who lost everything and are looking for a safe place to stay where they can live without their lives in danger all the time. Yet there is so much resistance everywhere to take them in; it makes me very sad and disgusted with mankind.

Fortunately there is a huge wave of people who want and try to help. Here in Dortmund where over 5000 refugees arrived just over the last week, lots of people waited at the train station to welcome the newcomers and offer them food and the first basic things. In Munich the police had to ask people to stop bringing donated goods as they couldn't store them anymore. Of course all the help is not enough as the refugees will need help for far longer than just for that one moment. They need help learning German, finding their place here and so on.

I planned to teach German in one of the refugee camps/homes here in Dortmund but at the moment I just can't see myself doing it. Not because I don't want to but because I don't have the energy. Like so many of you out there, I am a Spoonie. Plus I have mentioned my dad is really, really ill and we try to  cherish as much time together as we have left. So I can't commit to something (at the moment) where I don't know if I could teach each week/every couple of days. It just wouldn't be fair plus it would add a lot of stress to myself, stress I am not sure my body can cope with at the moment.

Still. I want to do something. At first I thought about making blankets but while I was talking with Michelle, we came up with the idea to make teddy bears for the kids. Crocheted ones of course. They work up quickly (compared to a blanket) and I imagine they would be well loved and close to heart. 

Would you like to join me in making Heart Teddy Bears? :) 

If all of us just make one, there will be heaps of happy children. Plus you can take it to any refugee place close to your house (if there is none, you can also send them to me), so there is little logistic effort.

I browsed the internet and found many lovely free crochet teddy bear patterns. Here is just a short selection of the ones I really like (the pics are from the Ravelry pages of the patterns):

I will add a little heart to the breast of the teddy to show it is very close to my heart. A heart teddy bear that is :)

If you want to join me, I made little labels to add to the teddy bear:

I will try to finish my first teddy bear over the weekend (if I can decide which pattern to use). Pictures should be online soon! 

Take care and happy crochet

Sunday 6 September 2015

Summer Mosaic & Around the Bases CALs - Update #4

Hello everyone! 

What a week! Both of us have been dealing with some bad health stuff this week - Anne's dad is unwell again, and Kiah and I have been up at the Lake helping out our next door neighbour who has brain cancer :(  

However, I did manage to get up to date on my CALs last week, so let's see how they're going at the moment :) 

Week 3 was a block stitch, and I chose to use tropical colours for the blocks and cream/white for the chain stitches in between. 

Week 4 was star stitch - a new one to me! It took a bit to get the hang of it, but I got there in the end! I have no idea if my stitch count is correct, I guess we'll find out next week :P

JulieAnny's Summer Mosaic Mystery CAL

Clue 4 was growing the circles even bigger! I think I got the post stitches in the right place... 

Clue 5 was making 6 triangles :) So many ends! I know logically there weren't any more ends than making the squares, but (1) there were six of them, not two and (2) they hung down like a giant fringe from the long edge, which was just miserable to look at. I did get them all stitched in eventually though, but my poor index finger was sore typing at work the next day from pushing the needle through!

The pile is growing now :) This week we will be making the circles into octagons (with millions of popcorns) - my prediction was correct!