Hygge Midtime (Sheepjes CAL 2017)


IMG_0283Today I am feeling a little bit sentimental. It’s kind of weird how much I came to love the time I spent on my Hygge. And it is sad that this time is pretty close to reaching an end. I am now more than halfway done and have been working very hard on the middle panel of the shawl. I am not a noob concerning cross stitch but this panel really had it in for me.

It was worked in two parts – therefore after the first week I left some threads for the second part. A couple less ends to weave in. Honestly, I was glad about even the tiniest amount of that! It felt like I was weaving in one million ends and it was driving me crazy.  But the final result was so worth the effort. Those tiny details work so well together and make the otherwise quite heavy wrap visually light.

IMG_0282Look at all those tiny details – even a sweet little bird is hidden in the design. I was worried that the light colors would make it blend in too much but it’s perfect.

When I prepared my canvas I was risky enough to already do the separator at the end. I was spot on – not even the slightest mistake in counting on that one!

Now next time there will be smaller parts again and I am happy about that as Nuts about Squares really takes a lot time.  Two big projects at a time is more than enough for me at the moment and that really means something 😜.

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Sophie meets Nuts about Roses

IMG_0259This week was really busy. It all started with preparing my happy crafty space on my balcony. I cleaned it up and set up a bunch of nice new flowers which will look lovely as soon as they bloom. Of course my balcony is also providing some fruit and veggies – I love to harvest them every year. Now I will have strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cherries and tomatos to look forward to. Now I can sit in the sun and watch everything grow while I enjoy working on my projects.

IMG_0263As Hygge usually does not take all time every week I started another project in between. It’s Sophie’s Universe – a pattern I fell in love with when seeing all those gorgeous finished projects on facebook. I just wanted to look if I could do it, so I didn’t want to buy new yarn. I found a long forgotten stash of old yarn – so old that it is actually discontinued – and decided that it would do for practicing. I only have two colours but I like how it works out. The whool actually has a little sparkle which doesn’t show in the picture and is super soft. I hope that I have enough yarn for a suitable size but at the moment I still have a lot left.

On Friday it then happened – the Nuts about Squares CAL started! My friends Amigurumi_crazeiiim and I got together in real life and had fun with the first square while chatting and sipping a lot of prosecco. Maybe the later was the reason why we actually didn’t get far with our square that evening. I finished mine this weekend – I just needed to see if my colour choice for Nuts about Roses worked out. I am a little concerned with the heavy usage of the bright pink in the third square but I’ll wait and see how it all looks in the end.

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On Saturday I was in for something totally different but nevertheless so creative that I really need to share it with you. My hubby has gifted me with VIP tickets for the currently presented Cirque de Solei show Amaluna. He knows that I love Cirque de Solei since the first time I have seen it and really tries to get tickets every time it comes to town. I so ❤️ him for that. This year the seats where so perfect – right in front of the stage and next to the aisle where the artist passed by (and overhead 😍). The show was so fantastic – the story, the costumes, the music ..  and the artists were so amazing, I could not stop smiling in awe the whole time. But the best situation was when in the end the artists received a standing ovation. In the minute they realized that people started to stand up, their faces lit up so much and there was this special sparkle in their eyes – this was one of those tears-in-my-eyes moments, as I was so happy for them too. That’s exactly why we are creating things – do make  others happy. And to see that you actually achieved that and that others value your work – that’s the greatest moment in the whole creative process.

Preparing the canvas on my Hygge (Sheepjes CAL 2017)

IMG_0241One thing is for sure – each week a new part of the hygge pattern is released and then we are all happily crocheting along around the world 🌎 – some faster, some slower, some following the pattern, some doing their own thing. I am still sticking to the original and loving the design so far.

This week we started off with a nice band of clover-like flowers which this time really pop. I now do not regret picking this colour scheme because it all starts to fit together well. After that part however came the bad part.

IMG_0248For me its quite hard to only do single crochet stitches. I find it quite boring for my mind and therefore have a tendency to loose stitches. But the middle part of the Hygge is approaching which means quite a lot of cross stitching is coming my way. I am so looking forward to this – however preparing the canvas with 50 rows of plain and simple single crochet gave me the fright. In order to prevent myself from loosing focus on my stitch counts, I decided to use a trick I had learned a long time ago for repeating patterns of doilies – I carry a bright yarn with my stitches at a certain frequence and therefore always know exactly where I am. Even when my lovely hubby disturbes my counting 🙂

As you can see it worked well and was much easier than counting the whole row every time. Now half of the canvas is prepared – sadly I need to make the second half too. So I am off for the next 50 rows of single crochet.

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Spring is in the air

Spring is the season I love most – colors are brightening and everywhere you see new life appearing. Each year, when the weather gets warmer and the sun comes out to play, I feel my spirit rising and find much more power to do my projects.

So it’s also no wonder that in spring I am prone to finding new projects I want to start. And sad to say, it seems that this year I have become a CALoholic. As you all know for the Hygge shawl I joined the corresponding Facebook group. All of a sudden there popped up a posting about the Nuts about Squares CAL that’s supposed to start end of March. The minute I saw the pictures I was lost. So terribly beautiful – I really struggled hard not to join. But then I made the biggest mistake EVER! I joined the corresponding CAL-Facebook-Group. It’s actually only partly related to the CAL – it’s more like a group of creative crochet crazies which have a lot of fun together sharing their newest finished projects. I was so DOOMED! It’s like you tangle the drug right in front of the drug addict saying “come and get it”. 100 million new ideas! So no wonder I ordered a kit for Nuts about Squares – I just couldn’t help it. Okay, okay, I actually ordered two – one with the suggested color scheme Earth and one of my own making. IMG_0253In order to soothe my conscience afterwards I finished one of my WIP projects. You might remember the project amigurumi_craze and I where working on during our interview? It was half finished until now as I worked on other stuff in the meantime. It took me less than 2 hours to finish it and I am happy with the result. It’s Titus from lalylala’s spring minis. I so love this designer and I will definitely also do Bjoern and Carla soon.

I got distracted however by this crazy new group and after seeing all those really gorgeous Mandala Madnesses and Sophie’s Universes I wanted to do something similar. But maybe not that big and time consuming. However I am in love with mandala crochet and I asked Dr. Google who burped up really a lot. I probably now have mandala designs ready for the next millennium 🙂 I picked a really simple one – I wanted something soothing and relaxing, not another challenge. It’s a free design by Arne & Carlos and can be found on the website of the yarn manufacturer Schachenmayr. It was nice working on something simple for a moment and I love how the colors brighten everything. I use it as cover of an old pillow for my balcony garden. I’d love to sit outside as soon as it gets warm …

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More Hygge time (Scheepjes Cal 2017)

Time flies by quickly and I have another two weeks progress on my Danish Mermaid Hygge shawl.

This time it started with the first new technique for me: surface crochet. It’s really not that difficult –  but have you tried a zick-zack pattern freehand before? I thought that I could just wing it and how cool was it that I ended up with ten peaks just as I was supposed to have. I was so proud of myself – until I started the second line of the separator. What laugh I had when I realized that in order to have ten peaks in the end, I should have five peaks for each line. Frogging time!

IMG_0211The next section was stitching and this was pretty simple for me. It’s quite easy to stitch on crochet fabric – it just takes a little bit of concentration in order to ensure ecen stitches. I was not sure of the colour choice however – I still believe that this section lacks a bit concerning the colours as the stars just don’t show that well against the dark base colour.

IMG_0234Some participants crochet in advance what they think they will need the next week but I had other things to do anyway – such as working on the birthday cake I posted last week – that I was glad that I had a little break in between the weekly pattern releases. And guess what – my beloved separator had a come back. You might think that as soon as you had done it once it would be easier to do it again. Well, not with the separator – that’s for sure. I messed it up again and had to unravel the first line too as I found I had somehow lost a stitch on the base crochet. It’s kind of wierd that even though it’s just single stiches, sometime you just loose a stitch.  And Sheepjes Stonewash is terrible to unravel. I got a lot of practicing this time. I love how the cross stitched hearts ended up however – those really make you forget all the pain you suffered from till you got this far.

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Now I have already a piece that slightly starts to look like a wrap. Just can’t wait for the next weeks – though more cross stitch will be coming up for sure and I need to calculate enough time for that.  Now in between the weeks I will get a little bit into spring feeling – so look forward to what’s coming up next week!

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Let them eat cake!

Every year in March it happens again and again – just like the famous Groundhog day and dreaded similarly: my birthday. So in order to fight the depressing feeling that another year has passed and still so much time is needed to finish all my projects, I usually throw a party for my closest friends.

img_0217One constant is me creating my own birthday cake. I really LOVE decorating cakes and it is so much fun to come up with an idea and follow it through till the end. It will not come as a big surprise that this years theme was yarn addiction related. And as I am a huge fan of Cake Duchess Modelling Paste, I also needed to incorporate some modelling using it.  The design I had worked out all in my head pretty fast. I am terrible in getting ideas on paper, so it just stayed there. Okay, to be honest it was a little bit of a blurry design – a cup, some yarn, some mice, some fabric – mix and arrange. But that’s just my chaotic way of designing.

img_0219I have some firsts in this cake: first time working with a core of Styrofoam for the yarn balls and first time of using modelling chocolate to cover the cake. We are all not really fond of fondant, so I decided that it would be best to use chocolate instead. As I wanted to go for a basket weave in the beginning, modelling chocolate was best anyway as it does not dry out that fast giving me more time to work with. But as a first is was so much more difficult to work with than with fondant – I adapted the design as I went along. I made all the decorating elements in advance – as they will not be eaten anyway they can dry properly until added to the cake. As a full time worker it’s just better to split a huge projects into smaller sub-projects and not to finish all in one day.

img_0218Every time I use CD Modelling Paste I fall in love with it again. It’s so easy to work with and even paste I had colored and wrapped in cling film a month ago was still pliable. I never was able to secure gum paste or fondant so that it did not dry out – no matter how tight I wrapped and packed it.

The initial design only had mice in it – tiny little mice helpers for my crafty stuff. But then I stumbled over a design in the book The Art of Modelling Chocolate by Nadia Flecha Guazo and I just had to add it. So the figure I now love most is my own little wool provider which I really enjoyed making.

And you know what? Mice have a tendency to rise in population size quickly. Well those two are actually not mice but rats but we don’t want to be picky. When I invited a friend of mine to the party, she commissioned those two for her kids. I actually had given her one as a Christmas present last year but her two boys kept fighting over it. They even did a reading battle as the one reading would get to use it. How funny is that! I strongly believe in the power of books – I have a huge library at home myself – and therefore really enjoy it when youngsters learn to love them. So as those two rascals have birthday in March too, I set out to get them some more books and provided them each with a rat of their own. Maybe next time I’ll add some more of Supergurumis cool bookmark designs – and this time I will make two right from the start 😉

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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 ❤