Sheepjes CAL 2017: Hygge – the first two weeks

Are you up for more Hygge time? Well, I have definitely had my share in the last two weeks.

It all began a little bit before the official start with a kind of teaser. We were supposed to work on a gauge square to assess if the suggested crochet hook size would lead to the expected result of the real product. I have never done a gauge square before as I was always telling myself “What do I need that for? What will come out of it will be fine with me. No need to be all perfectionist about the size…”  But then people started to complain or worry about their square sizes and I began wondering how mine would end up. I was just curious from a scientific point of view – really, I did not fall victim to peer pressure …

So I “watched” the video instructions – which was mainly skipping through to the trouble shooting part. It’s not that I am new to crochet and need to see what a single crochet looks like … However I really did learn something even though I consider myself to be a crochet veteran:

  • There’s a difference between UK terms and US terms. A US single crochet (sc) is a UK double crochet (dc), whereas a US double crochet (dc) is a UK treble (tr). A US triple crochet (trc) – which would sound almost like a treble – is a UK double treble (dtr) instead. Confusing, I know, and you really have to make sure to know where your instructions are coming from or you might actually crochet wrong! Luckily the pictographs are the same all around the world though. Seems that I have always worked with US style patterns until now.
  • In case you are lacking in width or are too wide, you need to adjust your hook size.  I had to go down from the recommended 4,5 to a 4 in order to get the width correct. This will not help with a difference in height though!
  • Difference in height comes from the so called “golden loop” which is the last loop of a crochet stitch and defines the way you crochet. Crocheters are either yankers (golden loop too tight), riders (golden loop just right) or lifters (golden loop to loose). In case you are a yanker or a lifter you might need to work more focused on loosen up or tightening your golden loop for the needed height. Luckily I am a rider and therefore have gotten a perfect square.

img_0199We also had to stitch a heart on our gauge square which was easy for me as I am stitching for over 25 years now. Stitching on crochet is just like stitching on Aida fabric – you only have a certain way where the stitches have to go. I really love how easily the ends can be woven in so that they are hidden completely in the crochet stitches. I pimped up the square in the end in order to use it as a coaster – otherwise it would have been a waste of yarn and I would hate that 😉

After a short wait the real race was off – and how off it was! You would have thought that the survival of mankind was depending on how fast the part of the first week was finished. The instructions were hardly posted, the first finished pieces appeared on Facebook. Some people have definitely way too much time :P.  What even surprised me more was the number of perfectionists and the effects of peer pressure – it was like watching as social compatibility study taking place right before your eyes.

It was all about bobbles – and the first part contained a lot of those. The instructions were pretty clear but soon people started to complain about non-popping bobbles. The number of “I’m not happy with what I created” people really increased fast – and most really had nothing to complain about because their work looked great. Then someone started to experiment with different ways of doing bobbles and it felt like everyone jumped right in. It actually mostly ended up in not making bobble stitches as designed but other stitches instead. Don’t get me wrong – everyone has a right to crochet their work as they like it but it felt weird that they didn’t stuck with what the designer intended. I mean there’s a difference between a popcorn stitch and a bobble/puff stitch. The designer intended it to be a little bit puffy, not popping. Some added additional stitches to the bobbles to make them bigger, some added more rows to the design. I really wonder why so16831061_1262985983754631_4894572479788695305_nmeone participates in a CAL when in the end they are designing their own piece anyway? I am a little bit torn between seeing it as being creative or as a slap in the face of the designer.

Well, I for my part stuck with the original design and I am really happy with the result. I love the texture of the bobbles – if you stroke them they really feel great. And I for sure enjoyed the process. In the end that’s really what matters – it’s all about the joy during the process of creation and of the final result. Don’t let group pressure ever ruin that for you!

Now enough rambling – I’m off to work on part 2 of the pattern ❤

Spot on: amigurumi_craze

Welcome to my first “Spot on” – interviews and stories of people that are amazingly creative! There will be designers, crafters, innovators, dealers, backers, miniature painting heroes and many, many more – people that you really should keep an eye on.

I am lucky to know amigurumi_craze in person and even fear I am an ezzy-bizzy tiny bit responsible for her amigurumi craziness. Okay, maybe not that tiny…. I am always so impressed by how fast she is creating her critters. She really has a hand for adding those tiny little special details that fit perfectly and make each amigurumi something totally unique. And she is always finding the perfect shooting scenery for her woolly friends.

So spotlight on! I proudly present you – amigurumi_craze!

So tell us, when did you first learn to crochet? 

Actually, back in school. Or we were supposed to learn it, at least. I used to bring everything back home to my mom, who then kindly finished the unwanted job.
But, since you always seem to meet twice in life, along came a good friend and gave me an amigurumi snail, and I loved it at first sight and wanted to create my own. Fun aside, actually it was all your fault, really. You gave me the snail, and next came a crochet set for an oven cloth for Xmas – and I have been hooked ever since.

What is the number one reason that you crochet?

I read a quote recently: I crochet not to kill anybody 😊 It actually calmes me, helps me relax after a hard day at the office, plus I love that you create something.

img_0204What are your preferred projects?

My preferred projects are still amigurumi, even though I try the odd granny square bag or blanket once in a while. I like small projects, though, a big one would have me bored easily.

Do you have a favorite designer?

I love all the amigurumi creations by Miss Hook and lalylala. They have a lot of personality in my mind, and every piece teaches you some new trick.

img_0202Which of your projects are you most proud of?

I love all my amigurumi children of course 😊 but since I have to pick one, it would be Alpen Resi by Miss Hook. She was the first more complex Amigurumi I made, and I love how she turned out.

What would you love to learn concerning crochet that you have not had time for yet?

Well, I still cast a dreamy eye upon crochet clothing, pullovers or tops. But I am a little scared of the measurements plus I am worried to get bored before finished.

What is the most important thing you would tell a crochet-newbie?

To just crochet along. Take it stitch by stitch, even though the pattern might be confusing at first. Never give up!

How many UFOs are currently in your to do basket?

What a torturous question. Let’s see…half a cotton granny square blanket, a Marilyn Monroe amigurumi without legs, a Miss Hook amigurumi with legs but no upper body, the simply crochet pick’n mix CAL blanket and – thanks to you my dear – the lalylala spring bird we just started… so this makes 5 UFOs. I really try to avoid them but they just keep popping up…too many projects, too little time…

Is there any other creative spark in you life?

I love everything creative, I used to draw, paint, make clay figures, I love make-up art and nail-art. But at the moment I stick to my one love – the crochet hook 😊

Where can we sneak in and take a look at your projects?

Best to visit me on Instagram – as Amigurumi_craze.

Thanks very much, amigurumi_craze, for sharing your story! Want to know what amigurumi_craze was working on while being interviewed? Check out her accounts for the amazing results!

Want to be in the spotlight and share your story, too? Drop me a line and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible!

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Sheepjes CAL 2017: Hygge

I know, I know – I had this new year’s resolution to not start too many new projects but focus on finishing all those UFOs in my to do bag. Well, I have been doing pretty well already this year, so my resolution started to waver when I first heard about Hygge, the 2017 crochet-along organized by Sheepjes. Hygge is the danish word for “coziness” – the one like sitting next to the fireplace with a nice warm blanket, a cup of tea, a good book and some creative project right at hand while chatting with one or two very good friends.

Therefore the result of this CAL is going to be a wrap designed by Kirsten Ballering and isn’t it beautiful? Not only is it using techniques I have not tried before like crocheting with different colors or cross stitch on crochet, but the color choices are also lovely. Actually it has four different color sets which can be bought as a package – with some nice little add-ons. And you can also just pick your own set of colors and hop on directly.

I struggled hard – really hard – not to give it a go but then I just had to give in. I picked the limited edition Danish Mermaid package because of those lovely blues and greens and ordered it at the wool dealer of my choice, Lesandria. Then followed a really hard time: I joined the Facebook group and saw all those crazily beautiful packages showing up. I was so envious! Though it was also fun to watch people almost fighting over available kits – it had such a stereotypical black Friday sale feeling 🙂

img_0179But then, guess what – I finally received my own shiny package! See this beauty – isn’t she one pretty mermaid? Can’t wait for the CAL to start, as we are a bunch of totally crazy crochet geeks (some have even bought all four sets, can you believe that!) from all around the world who will have lots of fun together for sure. Now I need to get prepared – the CAL will already start on February 15th!

You will definitely will see much more of Hygge soon – it’s set up to run for 14 weeks at least 😉

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51 Shades of Grey

When I was much younger – yes, that was quite some time ago – I loved to play games like Heroquest. To stroll through a dungeon with your heroes – be it fighter, mage, rogue or elf. Slaying orcs and goblins and other badies. Coming out in the end dead or alive – that took quite some amount of my spare time. Luckily I have found a husband who also liked to join me in my adventures – in the end it is always more fun if you actually have a living opponent :).

So I was more than happy when last year Games Workshop published a new and shiny version of Warhammer Quest, a game similar to Heroquest but with Games Workshop miniatures. Games Workshop boxes are never cheap but on the other hand the company has increased the quality of their miniatures over the years considerably. The details are amazing and their designers create stunning new creatures every year.

So when I saw Warhammer Quest Silver Tower in the shop and after having read several reviews which were very positive overall, it just joined our board game hoard (which actually is not as big as that of one of our friends but this is another story and should be told another day).

img_0165It’s always fun to open boxes – you never know what you gonna find. But this time there was not a very bright future shown to me when I opened the box. Do you know what it looks like to see 51 miniatures all in bits and pieces? No? Take a look ….

Discouraging, isn’t it? Well, you might say, I brought that on to myself and you are right. So no time for moping around. Push up your sleeves and get to work! It took me one evening and a considerably amount of the weekend to put them all together. But then, finally, my army was ready to fight – and so were the bad guys too. Well, they were mostly ready, as I left attaching the bases for later. I just want to have certain freedom in base creation. Silver Tower is a two player board game – so if you are lucky to know where another board game geek lives or if you can force someone to play with you in order to get some dinner, you could start to play right after assembly.

But of course it’s only half the fun. The second half is painting the miniatures with as much intricate design as possible. Especially if you want to brag with them on the internet. But only if you do not get totally ashamed of your work after taking a peek at some really amazingly crazy artistic paint jobs like this Chaos Warrior or this Gaunt Summoner.

So I will be starting with the most annoying work of all soon – priming. This means painting all figures with a thin layer of black primer to which further layers of paint stick more easily. So in case I play at night with my lights turned off, this little fellows will be well hidden and can easily sneak in and out of the dungeon 😛