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!

 

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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 …

Binge Crocheting Weekend

IMG_0432Currently I am only working on one project I really like to finish soon: my Stardust Melodies blanket. At least I am not the only participant of the CAL that struggled to keep up and failed. I would so love to have more time to crochet during the week but mostly I find time on weekends. Now I have only four squares left to join to my blanket – three of them are already on the blocking board and the fourth is waiting to be done. But after eight squares in two days my hand starts to hurt, so I need to make a short break before making a run for the border.

As well I need to get ready for vacation and need to work on my surprise – the sneak peak I recently posted. So until everything is ready here’s the current progress on my Stardust Melodies – It looks a little bit wobbly but I love how the colours come together:

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Catch-up time

IMG_0423This week I have been busy with catching up on my Stardust Melodies CAL. Actually the border patterns have been released already and I had not even finished all 24 squares once. Until  now I didn’t even know how big my blankets gonna be. It’s the first time that I actually did not have a plan layed out in detail right from the start but kind of went along with what came. Now that I have three rows already joined, I am able to get a feeling on how big it already is and how big it might be by adding my chosen border. IMG_0424

The only decision open was, if it’s going to be a blanket for one person or  if I am going to snuggle underneath it with my hubby. You have to know that my husband is quite a lot taller than me, therefore needs a longer blanket or his toes will stick out. I was not keen on adding additional squares to make it longer so I decided that I might be able to adjust the length by adding to the border instead.

IMG_0425It’s not easy for me to have the picture of the finished blanket in my head but still needing to create the second half of the squares. Luckily there are a lot of nice movies on Amazon Prime and Netflix and the weather is usually not that good on weekends. It always seems to me that there is a unknown law of nature that the weather is nice and sunny during the week when I have to work and is rainy and cold when I am off….

Stardust Update and another cake

20170812_144658Last week I still did not have much time for crocheting as there was another cake waiting for me to be made. This time it was for the mother of my best friend. This woman is a really great person and kind of “adopted” my husband and me. So there was no way I would say no when I was asked to create a cake for her 80th birthday. Sadly she has diabetes so I had to ensure that the cake did not contain too much sugar. I picked yellow sponge cake with blueberry filling and a whipped cream-mascarpone cream. Her favourite color is yellow so I added some yellow roses and blue hydrangea made of Cake Dutchess modelling paste. I love how thin this paste can be rolled out and still be workable for some time.

20170812_144710I love how easy the petals could be dusted with petal dust and how well it holds the color after steaming. I have used this cake as an excuse to buy the cake steamer I had an eye on for quite some time. It was on sale at that moment so my restrain to buy it was easily resolved 🙂 It’s so much easier to work with a professional steamer rather than the water boiler I had used before (and almost burned my fingers with). Now I have all my equipment ready to practice more flowers as roses are fairly easy as soon as you have figured them out. The hydrangea don’t look that right though – maybe it would have been better to make them in white and dust them later just as I did with the roses.

IMG_0420Now that the cake season is over again for some time, I will again have time for some CAL work. I will give you an short update on my Stardust Melodies CAL. Here you see the next six squares ready to be joined to the rest. I am still behind six squares but I am sure that I am able to catch up. I am not sure yet if I am going to add more squares or if I just use it as a lap blanket. I think it will become pretty heavy the more squares are added as it is made of cotton yarn. I am not sure if I want to give it away every time for washing as I don’t know if washing saloons have enough knowledge still so that they don’t mess it up. I would be devastated if it got ruined after having invested so much time…

In the mean time I have a sneak peak for you until next week. Something I have been working on in between flower making for my upcoming vacation…..

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Of Pillows and Cakes

I know,  I know – I am supposed to work on my Stardust Melodies CAL or my Ross Poldark CAL. But I got side-tracked a little bit  – not only because I am currently sick of working on long time projects. Those who read my blog regularly have seen the sneak peak already – so …. *dramatic drumroll*

IMG_0403Since the first time I have seen pictures of the In Bloom pillow by Johanna Lindal from Mijo Crochet, I knew that I had to make one for myself. And of course for someone who knows what my living room looks like, it should be really easy to find out which color scheme I was aiming for: Winter Rose. I did change it a little as I went for cream rather than using the harsher contrast of real white but I love the more subtle look. This pillow took much longer than expected – it’s actually a really big square that’s folded over and crocheted together in the back. It took me quite some time to figure out how this is done correctly – while trying to ignore the probably well-ment comments of my hubby such as “Are you sure that is right? It looks funny that way… “.

IMG_0404The second half of the week was dedicated to something totally different – a late-birthday cake for a good friend and dedicated running partner. She requested a Death by Chocolate so a Death by Chocolate she got. Rich chocolate cake with dark chocolate buttercream frosting and dark chocolate ganache topped with – of course – chocolate! It was 37 degrees outside and I was messing around with buttercream – not an easy feat for sure. But what really got me enoyed was, when my first patch of ganache desided to split. What a mess! No quick safe IMG_0408measure worked and I really got frustrated. It was already late on Saturday and I had to rush to the supermarket to grab some more chocolate before the market closed. The second patch worked fine though and I am happy with the result. The dripping could have been finer (will use a squeeze bottle next time) but overall it worked out as planned. And it was so moist and deliciously rich – I still try not to think of the amount of calories though …. But the party guest seemed to have loved it, so that I was able to redistribute those tiny little buggers to someone else’s hips :P. And if you want to have a good laugh, check the funny results produced in our session of “Stille Post Extreme” at my friend’s blog  – my belly still hurts from laughing so much yesterday!