Getting ready for holiday season

497CBF25-1108-4E4E-8D53-00EAAC71028FOutside it’s getting colder and more gray every day. That’s the time of the year when I snuggle up with a blanket and a cup of tea and get ready for hibernation – well this year I am starting to think about Christmas and the holiday season. Each and every year I come up with a new idea for my hubby’s advent calendar. It does not need to contain much – just some chocolate sweets.

I stumbled over this cute little advent calendar pattern from @melly.elly.crochet that was posted at Hobbycraft. It contains 24 little stockings that are large enough for small chocolates like Milka minis or similar. Just perfect and really not difficult at all. It was a quick and easy in-between project. Aren’t those little stockings cute?

BE61EC97-DCC2-4D68-8867-001B5B0AB5B5Now I am actually starting to work on some Christmas presents. Something totally different and new. Sadly they are top secret as I know that the receipients are reading this blog too. So no preview this time…

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FAL finish: Ross Poldark

This week I finished the gorgeous blanket by Catherine Bligh – the Ross Poldark. I had only the middle square left to do as well as all the joining and the border. I decided to do an alternative border as the originial one was a little bit to flimsy to suit my hubby. I went for a plain moss stitch with just some colour accent. It fits the blanket well in my opinion. However when I was finished I realized that it was way to small for my tall husband. No way he can snuggle into it when it get‘s cold – it hardly covers his legs. I am so frustrated! Not sure how I will sollve this issue – I can add to it but at the moment I don‘t have the heart for it. Maybe I just leave it like that and make another one – one that‘s big enough for him.

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Now with a project finished, I was again looking for something to do next. Even though I should continue finishing WIPs, I decided to start something new for the upcoming holiday season. I‘ll give you a sneak peek to what will be up next week.

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FAL progress – Ross Poldark

C48FE79B-7705-46CD-818B-B54DF7BA4042After cleaning up my craft space last time I really found my crojo again that got lost a little during my vacation. Also seeing my current WIPs all displayed like that made me realize that finishing them was not an unreachable goal. With only one project in my project basket again I set off to work on finishing the first one – my Ross Poldark blanket. I was actually surprised by myself – never before have I progressed so much in only one week before. I had week 4–7 still to work on – with tedious 8 squares in week 4, four rectangles in week 5 and the central big square.

E776B464-97CF-4B59-AF46-94F70D467AACI had one square of week 4 finished before my vacation and now worked the missing 7 squares in paralell. This works really great with repeating patterns as you don‘t have to read the pattern over and over again. I did week 5 once in total to get a feeling for the pattern but did all three others the same way again. Those rectangles need some serious blocking though.

I even started with the central square and got already pretty far. So hopfully next week with a public holiday coming up I am able to finish this project. Just in time for the cold season – my hubby might need his blanket pretty soon.

48C5818B-F7C5-4D55-8CEA-7FD6189C09E1There‘s also one reason why I want my WIPs finished: I got squishy mail this week! I was lucky for doing home office on Friday when the postman came. It‘s the current running Spirits of Life CAL by the amazing designer Lilla Björn. I always wanted to give one of her patterns a go – they are quite challenging even for a long time crocheter like me. I will learn C2C and her gorgeous mosaic stitch for this project. Isn‘t that something to look forward too – and the yarn is so soft and squishy *sighs happily*. But I am not allowed to start something new until something is finished ….

Storage clean-up time and preparations

IMG_0463Over the last year I collected a lot of stuff for my crafts. This year was really productive and therefore all the stuff started to spread from my craft room to the living room for easier access. Now though it might have been easier to have everything close, the solution was less than perfect. I ended up with a punch of boxes stacked next to the couch which were hard to access nevertheless.

IMG_0464Recently my hubby started. to talk about this – he was quite annoyed whenever I started something new or got additional material. This was the time where I realized that I had to do something about this. I searched for a solution and finally came up with one based on the Ikea Eket series. This can be stacked however you want and has doors to close everything in so that it does not gather dust. Now after several long minutes figuring out the instructions – who ever said that those are easy to understand? – and building the 3D-puzzle, I am now proud owner of my new craft storage in my living room. Now it’s fun to work on my WIPs again and hubby is happy too.

Speaking of WIPs – Polly Plum is hosting a Finish Along CAL where the goal is to finish as many WIPs as possible in ten weeks. In the progress of cleaning up my craft space I also made an imventory of all my current WIPs to set my goal for this CAL. Here is the list I came up with:

  1. IMG_0474the second Nuts about Squares in Earth colours
  2. my beach bag that needs some fabric added
  3. Sophie’s Universe
  4. a shawl I started quite some time ago but am not happy with the design
  5. Ross Poldark which I am currently working on tomget finished
  6. a lalylala bunny which is missing the cross-stitched roses
  7. Charlotte – 2 of 25 squares finished
  8. a gothic amigurumi doll
  9. some squares that should have become a throw for my couch but now will end up as a bag instead

Let’s see how far I can get in the next 10 weeks – especially as I have several new projects on my mind.

Getting organized: Self-made Yarn Cards

Welcome to my first “Getting organized” post. Here I will be sharing some tips and tricks I myself have collected over time. I hope those will help anyone getting started – and maybe even those that have been creative for quite some time.

I am a very visual and tangible person – when I buy yarn I prefer to touch it, see it and cuddle it. Honestly – you will have to live with the final product so you’ll want to make sure that the look and feel is exactly how you envisioned it. Now when creating a lot of projects you get to know a lot of yarn – and if you are a little bit like me it is very hard to store all the yarn information in your head. As well as to decide if a bunch of colors or different yarn brands will fit together. Memory – especially mine – is a really bad councilor. Surely you can order yarn cards from manufacturers sometimes but in my opinion they are awfully expensive and very hard to get. You cannot arrange the colors next to each other and they are never up to date anyway as manufacturers release new colors now and again. Therefore I decided to create my own yarn cards. It might take some time and they might never be complete but over time I will surely collect a lot to work with pretty well.

IMG_0440I have seen several different styles of yarn cards by other people on the internet – some use yarn pegs like Attic24, some make yarn books or yarn swatch booklets. For my own I wanted to have cards that are easy to get my hands on, can be written on and arranged well while not taking up a lot of space. Therefore I picked cards I already knew of from my cross stitching period – DMC thread cards that have actually been created to store your floss when stitching. I bought the DMC storage box to start with but you can actually take any box with the appropriate height – just don’t choose one too big, otherwise you either loose too much space or start stacking which makes the lower rows hard to access over time. The cards I ordered from Aliexpress – though it takes a long time to get here they are much cheaper there than anywhere else. You could created the cards yourself as I did for my floss about 10 years ago but honestly it is very boring work and I am too lazy today to cut hundreds of cards by hand.

So this is all you need for your new yarn cards storage:

  • a box
  • several small cardboard cards (e.g. DMC floss cards)
  • a ballpen or other permanent marker for writing on your cards
  • yarn ball

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When you have everything ready it’s time to start winding. Pick a yarn ball, thread the end through the tiny slit in the bottom and start winding the yarn around the card starting from the other end so that the area in between both ends is covered. No need to add a second layer as a nice flat surface is best for feeling the quality of the yarn. When you have covered the card, break the yarn leaving a little tail which you thread to the second slit and then duck behind the yarn on the back. So you prevent the yarn from accidentally become unraveled again.

Now add the yarn manufacturer, the brand as well as the yarn color to your card and store the finished card in your box. Fill your box with every yarn already at hand – which will be quite some yarn if you are a little bit like me. Any time you buy new yarn, before starting your project create a yarn card and add it to your storage.

IMG_0439Want to know if a color combination might work out? Pick your cards and arrange them according to your plans. Do the not work as expected? Rearrange them, add or change some – color planning was never easier. Loose the label of a yarn ball (I am the master of loosing those!) and do not know which color number that one was? Take the yarn and check against your yarn cards.

Happy yarn card making!

 

Stardust Melodies Finale

Finally I finished my Stardust Melodies CAL (makes a happy dance)! After I successfully finished all squares and joined them together it was “only” border time. I choose the paid border pattern as this looks much fancier and fits more the blanket in my head. The border pattern looked simple enough – the beginning was quite forgiving working with either even and odd numbers of stitches and afterwards it was just a repeat of two different rows. But you probably did hear all the swearing and cursing last week.

IMG_0434I was always proud of being a “mathematical girl” – I loved maths at school, I did special courses, studied banking and finance and am working in the IT of a bank. But as it seems basic mathematics such as counting to three eludes me completely. Three – yes, three! – times I had to frog one round because I made a mistake in counting. This, of course, I realized only when I was working the next round. My hubby ducked and hid – he already knows that he needs to be really quiet when that happens and let me cope with it myself. I ground my teeth, frogged and restarted – cursed, frogged, restarted – swore, frogged, restarted and prayed.

But once this round was finished successfully the rest was easy! So I proudly present the final and totally complete Stardust Melodies! Winter can come now 🙂

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Almost ready for the beach

I am getting ready for vacation which means getting ready for sun, beach, sea and lots of time to read, relax and – of course – crochet. All those years past I used a bag made of up-cycled chocolate wrappers from Rittersport to carry my stuff to the beach. But I always wanted to create a beach bag that really makes me feel all beach and sun and summer. Oh yes, ravelry has tons of bags – and I have tons of bag patterns there in my library already. But I was still looking for that one special design.

IMG_0436Then I stumbled over the flowering meadow bag by Daniela Krejčová and just knew that this was the perfect beach bag project. I decided to use the leftover yarn from my Danish mermaid Hygge kit – all sea colors of blues and greens that just make me think of vacation all the time. I added some other scrap yarn from my stash in white for contrast and happily set out to start crocheting. The pattern however is only Czech – a language that has eluded me until now. And the pattern is not written that well that I could distinguish stitch counts, stitches or anything on how I was supposed to do it. However it contained a lot of pictures so I just kind of winged it based on those. I added a personal touch to it as in my opinion the straps are too little supported to carry anything with substantial weight. Overall I am planning to carry at least a book, my crochet stuff and my gaming device.

IMG_0437Crocheting was pretty simple and straight forward though adding the little star flowers took what felt like ages. I am still not sure about the best way to secure those threads – I  just knotted them of in the back several times. Well, I still have some Catona left in case they all fall off ;). I wanted to also add some fabric with storage for scissors, crochet hooks and keys but time ran short – so this year I will still use my up-cycled bag but next year I will definitely be ready for the beach …