Wednesday 27 November 2019

BAWJ2019 - Weeks 31-35!

Hi everyone!

Back again, as promised, with Squares 31 to 35 of the BAWJ2019! 

Have you seen our 2019 Advent Meditation CAL? It starts on 1 December 2019, and the first episode is already recorded, tested and waiting for you!

If you want to join in on BAWJ2019 and see the squares we've been working over the year, check out Julie's Facebookgroupblog and Ravelry Board for more information.



Yarn colours: Sage, Rose, Copper 

Oh, it was so nice to have a relatively simple pattern this week! The clean lines made it the perfect opportunity to show off the Stylecraft Batik Elements in the centre section. 



Yarn colours: Olive (no longer available), Plum and Coral

I enjoyed playing with the colours on this incredible textured square. It uses a lot of yarn, with rows layered over one another! Felted Button writes beautifully clear patterns that are easy to follow. 

Look at all that texture!



Yarn colours: Gold, Raspberry, Mint, Silver

I'm not sure where the fauna are in this square, but I do love it! It worked up pretty square, and the textures are lovely. 

These rich colours in the Stylecraft Batik made the design sing, in my opinion :) 



Yarn colours: Lupin, Cream

As advertised, this square worked up quickly and easily. I followed the colour change directions in the pattern, and it came out quite nicely! 



Yarn colours: Mint, Plum, Heather

Hoo boy. No amount of blocking is going for make this look straight. I don't know how Julie did it in her test version!

The techniques were interesting to learn, and the design is fascinating but I think I'd need to change directions each row to get it to any semblance of straight. Overall it is square though!

PHEW. Next instalment: Squares 36-40! 

Saturday 23 November 2019

BAWJ2019 - Weeks 26-30!

Hi everyone!

It's time for a BAWJ2019 update - I'm up to date, but to keep you all sane I'll still keep reporting on 5 squares at a time. This time, so that I don't get caught up in other things, I've scheduled 3 posts over the next week or two :D We're nearly finished, then my Christmas project will be joining them up into blankets to donate to charity. 

Have you seen our 2019 Advent Meditation CAL? It starts on 1 December 2019, and the first episode is already recorded, tested and waiting for you!

If you want to join in on BAWJ2019 and see the squares we've been working over the year, check out Julie's Facebookgroupblog and Ravelry Board for more information.



Yarn colours: Cherry, Cream and Sulfur

This was a very clever square - each row of stitches represented a different province of Canada!

While sampler things are not always my favourite style of work, it was fun to work lots of different stitches, and learn a bit more about Canadian geography. 

The little maple leaves in the corner are so clever! 



Yarn colours: Storm, Coral and Gold

The repeating stitch pattern was quite cute, but it irritated me that the square struggled to be, well, square. I'm sure peer pressure will sort it out once the blankets are put together, but it's always a risk with layered post stitches. 

I also found the pattern quite complicated to follow, and there was a reasonable amount of frogging and cursing. Once I got the hang of it, it was fine though!



Yarn colours: Plum, Sage, Gold and Cream

Despite the popcorns, I loved this square! The design is just gorgeous, the instructions were straightforward and clear, and it sits pretty much square and flat!

I love the detail of the spikes around the central circle. The colour options for this square were endless, but I'm very happy with my choice of the cream as a background colour including the popcorn texture, and highlighting the surface crochet with bright colours.



Yarn colours: Plum, Iron, Coral, Rose, Cherry, Graphite

You know me, I love a square square. The way that the lily petals are secured to the square pulls each side into the middle... 

But, the texture and design of the centre circle is lovely - I wonder if I could use this motif in another way? 



Yarn colours: Teal, Cream, Heather, Platinum, Mint, Gold

Another beautifully written and designed square by Pam Knighton-Haener! The textures are simply lovely, and such clear instructions for a relatively complicated pattern. 

That daisy in the centre is so cute, and my only complaint is the number of ends after changing colour every single row :P 

PHEW. Coming in a few days: Squares 30-35! 

Friday 15 November 2019

CBW Advent Meditation Crochet Along 2019 - Overview

Hi everyone,

Two years ago we ran an advent meditation crochet along through our blog. We got a lot of positive feedback, and several people asked us if we would do it again. 2018 was too busy for the two of us (Michelle welcomed her first child into the world, and Anne moved country); however, in 2019 we are game again.

We love Advent, the time before Christmas, but we do know that it can be a very hectic and stressful time. So why add something to do during this time, you might ask. Well, we had the idea that because life is so hectic during these days, it is all the more important to take some time to calm down and to focus. So, the idea of the Advent Meditation was born.

For us, crochet can be like a meditation, that is, a time where you live in the moment because you focus on the task at hand and don't let your mind wander. However, when one follows a written pattern, it is very easy to get distracted (hello phone, hello family, hello housework... you get the picture). It is also easy to skip ahead, to read ahead, and thus not focus on the task at hand (in this case, the row or round you are working on). While thinking about this dilemma, Michelle had the idea of a crochet meditation podcast, that is, a pattern that can only be heard but not read.

In the meditation podcast, each pattern is read out, and one has to crochet the rows/rounds as one listens to the instructions. No worries, it is not read at super speed but at a decent crochet time (we had it tested). 

We will post the links and extra information for each meditation here on the blog, so make sure to come back by the 1st of December!

This post is not the start of the CAL; it is designed to answer frequently asked questions and to offer an overview of the overall setup.

Two small personal notes beforehand

(1)   Please note that we are offering this crochet meditation CAL for free in our spare time. We will not be able to answer your questions at any time of the day. Living in two different time zones (Australia and Europe) means that we cover a decent chunk of the days; however, we also have a life and will definitely not always be online or available even if we are awake. Furthermore, there is a chance that technical difficulties might occur (they did last time). We ask you to notify us if they do, but we also ask you to be patient with us. To be honest, people complaining in pretty mean words is not a big motivation to set these kinds of things up for free (and it has happened in the past).

(2)   We are Stylecraft Blogstars, which means that Stylecraft sent us the yarn we used for this CAL for free. We are under no obligation to say anything nice about their yarns or use their yarns. If we do so (and we do), it is because it is our own opinion. Furthermore, we will be active in the Stylecraft Make-Along Group on Facebook. Feel free to join, but it is not an obligation to do so if you want to participate in this CAL.


What will we crochet?
We will crochet a set of 4 different Christmas tree decorations. So there is a nice side effect aside from taking some time for yourself to relax: you will crochet a Christmas tree decoration set which you could give away as a Christmas present!

Will there be a written pattern or a graph?

There will be no written pattern. There will be no graph. There will be nothing which you can see. Nada. You will have to listen to create the pattern. For anything other than the basic stitches (chain, slipstitch, single crochet, double crochet, treble crochet) we will have a stitch guide in the blog post too.

How do I participate?
Every week, we will post the YouTube link in a separate post on the CBW blog.

Once you get the link, you will have to find the time to listen and crochet as you listen to the meditation.

Where can I get the file?
We don’t own/rent file storage space for the file. Last time, we tried googledrive (which maxed out after too many downloads within the first 30 minutes) and a free file sharer (which had a lot of advertisement, not all of it on topics we were comfortable with “promoting”). So this time, we will upload the file to YouTube only.

We do know that YouTube is a mild inconvenience to some of you as you cannot download the file. However, you have to understand that we don’t have the funds to rent proper file storage space as we offer this CAL for free and in our spare time.

Do I have to pay something to participate?
No! However, you have probably read/heard about the devastating bushfires in Australia this year. If you have something to give, we ask you to donate for the bushfire victims of the bushfires east of Armidale in Australia (know as the Bees Nest Fires). The donations are managed by Rotary Australia World Community Service, an organisation we trust. Plus, if you're Australian, donations over $2 are tax deductible. 

What do I need?
About 50gr of DK/8 ply yarn.

We have crocheted the patterns with cotton yarn (using Stylecraft Classique Cotton DK) and acrylic yarn (Stylecraft Stardust). Both work, but the “end product” looks a bit different. Cotton results in a bit more texture, whereas acrylic was a bit prettier in regards to the colours.

If you are in a festive mood, you might want to choose Christmas-y colours. We used Stylecraft Classique Cotton DK in Poppy, Ivory and Leaf, and Stylecraft Stardust in Holly and Poppy. The Stardust yarn sparkles!

You will also need a 4.5mm crochet hook, scissors and a yarn needle. 

How many meditation podcasts will there be?
Four. One in each week of Advent.

How long is each podcast?
Each podcast is less than 30 minutes long - Michelle can make three or four of each decoration in that time, so we are confident you will be able to make one! 

When will the meditation podcasts be published?

Each Sunday of Advent: 1 December, 8 December, 15 December and 22 December

Will there be pictures of the decorations available beforehand?

No. We want you to focus on the process and not to think ahead what might come next. We fear that a picture might be a distraction. We will probably publish pictures one or two days after the podcast episode was released. 

Can I post pictures of my finished items?

Of course! In fact, please do - we looovvee to see what you made with our patterns. If you're on Instagram or Facebook, please use the hashtag #cbwadvent, so we can find your pictures easily.

Furthermore, we will be active in the Stylecraft Make-Along group. We do, however, ask you to post your pictures in the assigned post only (it will have SPOILER in the text), so that others are not “spoilered” by your pictures. 

Are the patterns hard to follow?

No, at least we don't think so. They are suitable for intermediate beginners, but not for total beginners. That is, you need to know how to crochet specific stitches and be able to crochet at a steady pace. Don't forget you can always pause the podcast to catch up, or rewind and listen again. We will also post a list of the stitches used beforehand and we will include links to tutorials, so you can check them out beforehand.

For those of you who participated in 2017, please note that the patterns are a bit more difficult than last time.

If you want to want to work on slightly easier patterns, you can also check out the 2017 meditation as well.

Which crochet terms will you use?

U.S. crochet terms. 

What if I find a mistake in the pattern?

Please contact us right away, so we can start an errata list. We try very, very hard not to have any mistakes in the pattern, but oh well, it might happen – we are only humans after all.