Sunday, 31 August 2014

A Fairisle Autumn Cowl plus more Finnish Granny Squares

Hello everyone!

Did you have a busy weekend? Where did the time go? I'm curious what everyone else has been up to! Unfortunately I haven't been able to read all my favourite blogs because I have been away! (We went to a gig in Germany last night and drove back to Belgium following the scenic route through Germany and then Holland! I forget how many rainshowers we had in one day, quite a few!!) We only got back this evening and I need an early night!

Mystery WIP

Remember when I showed you a Mystery WIP in my last post? Here is the picture:

Mystery WIP
(Something on size 9mm knitting needles)

A Fairisle Autumn Cowl 

Well this is the finished project - I knitted a chunky Fairisle Cowl!

Knitted over this weekend, mostly in the car. Luckily I drew my own chart on squared paper, taped it to the dashboard and I followed that. However, in the beginning I had a few miscounts which immediately became apparent in the next row, so I knitted backwards until I got back on track!

Once the pattern was emerging, it got easier and easier! I love Fairisle! It is such a cool way of making patterns by using colour.

Have you ever tried knitting in the round and/or knitting Fairisle?

Fairisle Autumn Cowl in Ochre and Dark Green
The wrong side of the Cowl
Me modelling my new Fairisle Autumn Cowl
The colours in the last photo as a bit brighter due to using a flash.

I had no tape measure with me, but it worked out 28.5 cm wide as well as high when laid flat!

Light weight, yet cosy!!!

More Finnish Granny Squares

On my car journey today I crocheted some more Finnish Granny Squares which is my current WIP.

I am only using 3 colours: A Silver Grey (Crystal Quartz), Lime Yellow (Lemon Quartz) and Purple (Deep Amethyst) of Scheepjeswol Stone Washed.

So far I have made 10 squares, but I'm going to make a few more. Initially I thought about making a cushion cover, but now I'm working towards a light scarf.

I love this pattern. The middle part looks almost like a sunflower!

Finnish Granny Squares WIP

Well, my plan for an early night is not working, but I wanted to share my latest makes with you. :)

From next week onwards it will also mean back to a different routine as I will return to evening classes for Dutch, starting tomorrow (Monday) night. Wish me luck!

Hope everyone is slowly getting back to their usual routine, and maybe, just maybe (I'm hoping) we will get that promised spell of a few more glorious summer days!!! And I hope it will reach you all, no matter where in the world you are living! We all deserve some rays of sunshine!

Happy crafting! And don't forget to leave me a little comment, you know I love reading them! :)

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Single Motif Doily by Emma Lamb and some knitting WIP

Hello, welcome back, hope you are having a good week so far?

Time has been flying by, it seems, so I thought I do a quick update on what I have been doing and making!

But first I want to thank all of you reading this blog for your kind support and lovely comments! Also, I want to welcome some new readers! Happy that you managed to find me amongst a huge number of blogs! I really appreciate you taking the time to take a look here and I do hope you will find some little nuggets of interesting things!

Single Motif Doily by Emma Lamb

I have to thank Mirjam (or Stins, as she likes to be known) for giving me a little challenge! (You can read her lovely blog here! She even has got crafty cats!) You see, I was admiring her colourful doilies and she thought that I should give it a go!

Turns out the pattern is by the talented  Emma Lamb, published in Mollie Makes Crochet (book).

The original pattern is made with just 3 colours, but you know me, I love colours, so I managed to squeeze in an extra one!

The pattern and how I made it
Made with DMC Natura Just Cotton
Single Motif Doily - Finished!!!

I started this last night, managed to make it to the Turquoise ring and then gave it some rest. This morning I went back to it, and once I could see how the lacy bits were going, continued, at snails' pace or so it seemed to me. The trouble was not the pattern (I'm still learning this skill, so far I hardly followed patterns!), but the yarn iself. Natura is a lovely looking Cotton, very thin (use 2.5-3.5 mm hook, I used a 3mm) and apparently available in 60 colours by now. I bought a few balls only a year ago, but never made much with it. My problem is that the yarn always splits, practically with every stitch, which to me is no fun at all. Anyway, I got there in the end! And I really love how it looks! However, I shelved the plan to make a whole family of them... That is for another day!!!


The thick and squishy Scarf that I started knitting with Boston  (the yarn I bought on Monday) is coming along nicely, by now I'm on the 5th ball of yarn, so it will be finished soon. I'm using a single rib stich (k1, p1). I love the feeling of it, so thick and soft. I hope my son will love wearing it! I think this would also make the most amazing warm blanket, but who knows how much yarn it would require!!!

The thick Scarf I started knitting since Monday


I finish with a short glimpse of my latest project, which I started early evening (tonight). I spent ages working out a design on little squared paper. I couldn't wait to get started! All this drawing was making me itching to turn it into reality! Can you guess what I'm making?

Mystery WIP
And that's all for now! Over to you.... just leave a little comment, you know you want to! (And I love reading them!) Are you ready for the weekend? (Have a lovely one!) Now I must go and catch up reading your entertaining and interesting blogs in return, where did the time go!!!

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Maybelle Flower Crochet Garlands

Hello all!

Hope you had a good start to your new week - the last week of August! It seems like this summer has simply flown by and that Autumn is almost here! This has inspired me in various ways:

Summer's last Glow

I made a pretty Autumn Treasury List (Rust) here on Etsy!
I bought some new yarn in Autumn colours - Veritas Laura in Ochre, Terracotta and Olive Green. 

Veritas Laura (80% Acrylic, 20% Wool)
I fell in love with this pretty Scarf that I saw in Zara...
Zara - printed Scarf

And also last weekend I've been busy making more* crochet flowers, and then laid them out like this:

Autumn - My initial colour sequence
A Rainbow of Flowers
My Autumn Garland on the Balcony
Here is what the wall to the kitchen looked like before!

Before: My Neon Pompom Garland
And this is what it looks like now!
My Autumn Maybelle Flower Garland
My Blue Eyed Boy Maybelle Flower Garland

Both Garlands next to each other
You can find the free pattern here! And there is also a detailed tutorial on this blog!

I have been making these flowers for quite a while, especially with Scheepjeswol Stone Washed!
Crocheting Maybelle Flowers whilst driving in England this Summer
Recently, whilst in England, I made 2 special Garlands for friends who commissioned me.
Purple Flower Garland (Commission 1)
Pink and Yellow Garland (Commission 2)
Making the flowers for this Garland on the way from England back to Belgium
*I've been making Maybelles all summer long, in various incarnations! Some were made as little coasters and given as presents, this one (also given as a present!) was large enough to fit under a big vase.

This is a Maybelle Doily made from thick Zpagetti T-Shirt yarn
I think below were the very first Maybelles I must have made, starting in June!
I decided that I liked them so much I embarked on making a whole bunch (64) and then went through the prolonged agony of sewing them to one another (also made with Ezra yarn which is really pretty). This is still a WIP, because then suddenly at that time I happened upon a great pattern, the South Bay Shawlette! The rest was history as I developed a great enthusiasm for this new pattern (as you can read in a previous blog post). So sometime timing can play a crucial role, too!

WIP alert! A Maybelle Shawl started in beginning of June 14 (so far 64 flowers + some tiny leaves designed by me!)
I leave you with a glimpse of my table today:

On my table this morning (including some new 2 coloured Maybelles)
Yesterday afternoon I started knitting a scarf with Schachenmayer original Boston (more of that another time), approx. half way through now, I have been doodling with the Maybelle by making 2 coloured versions...
Learning something new! Trying out the V-Stitch and a Finnish Granny Square
And due to my calling to try out/learn something new, this morning I have been practising the crochet V-Stitch which looks even better in contrasting colours and a Finnish Granny Square (Dutch instructions!) which I'm starting to love!

I'm hoping for a few more sunny days. Wishing you all a productive week and looking forward to your comments!

Sunday, 24 August 2014

My Granny Square Crochet Bag, plus: A lucky find

My Granny Square Crochet Bag

I wanted to tell you a bit more about how I made my bag. I began this project in June/July 2014 when I first managed to find Scheepjeswol Stone Washed at one of the local markets here in Antwerp. Initially only 8 colours were released (now there are 16). I chose the following colours:

RED - Red Jasper (807) *
BLUE - Blue Apatite (805)
YELLOW/SAND - Yellow Jasper (809) *
PINK - Corundum Ruby (808)
LIGHT GREEN - Canada Jasper (806)*

* I didn't choose them because they were named after one of our cats!!! (Of course, Jasper deserves to have yarn named after him!!)

I love using this yarn, it is great, no, actually my favourite, of this summer! Made of a white strand of Cotton (78%) and surrounded by a fine fuzzy outer coloured layer of Acrylic (22%). This is what creates the Stone Washed effect, it has great stitch definition! I have been using it with a 3mm hook.

My initial idea was to make a bag out of Granny Squares, possibly buying a set of handles for it. Then I discovered that there were people who used a jute bag and crocheted around it. I saw this on some Dutch blogs I was reading. By the time I came across this bag, I had already managed to crochet my 56 squares!
(Here is another lovely bag I like!) (These ladies have lovely blogs!)

As you were reading previously, this summer I was pretty busy making shawls, so this project took a little break. Meanwhile the idea of also using an inner bag took hold, but I could not find a suitable one, until a recent trip to England. (Thank you, Sainsbury's!!!) Thus equipped, I set to work and realized that by attaching the squares to each other (with the green yarn), they did not cover all the edges of the bag. So I added more green to the edges.

Laying out the granny squares in the right order
The front panel featuring 20 joined up squares
Then I ran out of green yarn, but I wanted to carry on! I started crocheting a base in black, since I reasoned that nobody would see the bottom of the bag and it might get dirty anyhow. I had made about 2/3 of it, and realized that did not make me happy. Well, I had to wait for the next market day and get some more green. Meanwhile I started again making more little squares. I worked out that I needed to make 10 more! However, I decided that they could be random squares.

Crocheting extra squares for the bottom of the bag
Finally all the pieces were finished.

Laying out the joined up panel pieces
Attaching the panels to one another

Once I had made my 'outer crochet shell', I tried it on! Then all I had to do was to sew it onto the bag using a tough and long darning needle which managed to get through all the layers! This took quite a while, but I persisted until it was complete! Ta-da!!!

The finished project! The panels had to be sewn to the bag

The happy bag posing on the sunny balcony!
Side Panel
Bottom panel
In the end I was glad that I made the bottom panel to match the rest of the bag and I felt extremely pleased. I love my new bag!!! You can fit a nice lot of yarn into it, that's for sure!

Initially I wanted to start my blog about my bag, but then I decided otherwise. You can see that my way of working is quite flexible and involves trial and error. I love to try things out and I tend to do them the way that seems best to me at that time. I do not plan every detail, but I let the project grow by itself! I did not google hundreds of images to decide what to make, I just followed my own calling!

A lucky find!

Today, we went to have a quick look at Het Kunstige Marktje in Borgerhout, Antwerpen. This was a yearly outdoor craft market. As we got there, the heavens opened and it started to rain quite heavily. Luckily I found a new friend at one of the very first stalls! What a happy purchase! He even has got a tiny badge saying 'made with love'! I had seen the pattern online (In Dutch here, and in English there!) and had saved it in my mountain of online patterns for the day when I would have the time to make it!

Henry the dachshund
Always support homemade crochet!
I love it that he has got 2 different coloured ears, so cute!

I regret that due to the weather we did not get to see everything at leisure, there were many handmade things, such as crocheted items, blankets even, sewn cushions, candles, jewellery, cards and much more. Some of the people had packed up their things as they didn't have some sort of cover. I would definitely love to go back there next time.

Later that day the rain cleared up again and we went for a nice family walk in the Kempen area of Belgium. Our walk took us across the countryside, along corn fields (I noticed how tall the plants were!), through woods, along heath, passing several small lakes. We saw 4 pheasants in an open field, dragonflies, horses grazing along a lake, so peaceful, and I discovered some frogs in standing water even! It was an enjoyable walk (and of course there was a spot of crocheting in the car!)

I hope you all had a relaxing weekend and that you have renewed energy for what the next week may bring!

Please feel free to leave me some comments, I love reading them!

Saturday, 23 August 2014

My Summer Shawl is finished and all about the South Bay Shawlette

Yesterday I finished my pretty Summer Shawl (from the book PUUR Haken)!

Well, the main part was finished thursday evening, including sewing in all the little ends. Friday I played about with adding a border in Purple. The pattern showed a border which went all the way around the 3 sides of the shawl, but I didn't like the idea.

This is what my finished Shawl looks like now:

Do the Butterfly!

Here you can see the pattern really well

Laid out flat (168 x 58 cm)

My own custom border in Purple

In fact, you could say for me this summer was the summer of shawls! 
Up to then, I had never tried to crochet a shawl before. (I made my own crochet Poncho in Primary school, but this is something else!)

Then I came across this pattern and I thought I would give it a go:
The South Bay Shawlette. (In fact, since then I started to collect their many free patterns!)

The South Bay Shawlette - this was my first attempt:
Made with Apilou Acrylic in Coral (164 x 80 cm)

Then came this:

The smallest - crocheted with a 1.5mm hook and turned into a necklace! (16 x 8 cm)

 And a Chunky version or two!

In Charcoal Chunky Merino Wool (92 x 40 cm)

In Deep Purple Chunky Merino Wool with added Border at the point and 2 little yoyos as ties (115 x 54cm)

Ok, I think I got it now, let's get serious! (The largest!)

With the most luxurious yarn: Silky Merino by Malabrigo in colour Indiecita (210 x 92 cm)

Each of the 8 balls of yarn was individually hand dyed and unique
 And one more with a different yarn - thick Cotton!

Yes, you saw this before! Here! (132 x 61 cm)

All together now!

Layering the shawls
All 7 close up
The blue one is my favourite, it feels so soft and I often shrug it on and off whenever I feel a bit cold. It lives on the back of my chair!

The two shorter chunky ones I will wear facing frontwards around my neck for the cold weather.

I also love the idea that you can use a pattern like this to make a necklace, because I love making necklaces from yarn. My upcycling idea is to use this as a piece of lace and sew it to a plain top or jumper, instantly adding new interest!

It has been fun making all of these! At the beginning of the year I decided that I wanted to learn and try out new things with my crafting, trying to push back some boundaries, and I believe that I am doing that. I also come to realize that a lot of being good at something is just practice, practice and more practice. Using one pattern and then trying it with different yarns, colours and ideas is so much fun! I know that I am not finished with this pattern, it has an easy going rhythm. If you have not tried it yet, download the free instructions and save it until you are in the mood for something new.

Do you have a favourite shawl pattern (preferably a free one), that you would like to share here?
(Please remember to link to the original site where it came from)

I hope I have given you all a bit of new inspiration here! It does not take long to make a shawl and soon you could be wearing it as the weather is getting cooler!

And hello to everyone who has recently started reading my blog, thanks for all your lovely comments, I enjoy reading them and hearing from you!

Wishing you all a relaxing weekend, and for my readers in the UK, enjoy your special Bank Holiday!