Sunday, 31 July 2016

The Good Things

Hi ladies and gents!

I hope you are having a brilliant Sunday! I get to pick my husband up after a weeklong conference in two hours, so my Sunday is pretty good. Plus there is talk of Sushi for dinner this evening... Yum!

When I decided to write this post, I was going to talk about things that annoy me - the the headache, my poor health at the moment, the cleaning and so on. Then I stopped and realized that I don't have to talk about bad stuff: I have the choice to talk about the good stuff and therefore... here is a Sunday post about the Good Things! On thing I learnt over the last years is that we can't choose what happens to us, but we can choose how we cope with it and how we act on it. So basically reframing seemly bad things into good experiences! I try to do that as much as possible and focus on the good things: It brings so much joy and makes my life better in general!

So with much further ado, here come the good things of the last couple of days!

- We have a new washing machine! The old one broke and our savings aren't too fond of the new machine BUT my, I am! One, it now stands in our flat and not in the basement (we live on the fifth floor). So washing became so much easier! Second, it cleans better than the old machine and the washing smells a lot better now! Hurray! Oh and third, it was a wool program, so I see machine washes for my crochet works!

- The hexagon baby blanket is 60 % sewn together! I hate the sewing BUT I love that I can give the blanket to a little baby boy who will be born in December! The blanket will be well loved and this makes me happy - even if I curse all the sides which need to be sewn together!

- I can't help in the refugee home as I wish I could BUT I could donate a whole bag of yarn and several Cross your Heart and Heart Teddies! They have a weekly crochet and sewing date for the women in the home and they always need yarn! I am very happy I could do something at last and also happy that my spare yarn found a good new home!

- My health is not as good as it should be and I cannot do as much sport as I would like too BUT we got a juicer a week ago and so I can make myself yummy and fresh fruit and veggie juices which are good for my health too. I rediscovered my childhood love for carrot juice... my mum told me she had to buy carrot juice in palettes when I was a baby/toddler because I loved it so much! I certainly remembered why the last week. Yum, yum, yum!

- My life doesn't allow we much crochet time BUT it allows me some time and that is good! I got new yarn (with the pound being so weak, who could resist some new Special DK from Stylecraft Yarns? Certainly not me). I don't know exactly what I will make with the new yarn but I have several pregnant friends and of course I want to give all the coming babies a blanket! 

So you see: Life is good!! :D

Hope your life is good as well and you have many wonderful moments!

Take care and enjoy life

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Winter Set

Hi you!

Now that the Stylecraft CAL is over, I finally have time for more crochet. Translating ate lots of my free time and thus I didn't hook as much over the last weeks as I hoped I would! Plus I really need to catch up with all your blog posts!

I went for a quick project this week: Anca brought home yarn from Iceland and asked me to make something with it. There were 4 balls of Lettlopi Yarn. 100 % wool (and found little bits of hay inside the yarn!) and aran weight. 

There were two balls of blue, one green and one yellow. It made finding a pattern a bit difficult because most pattern I had in mind asked for either more yarn or more than one ball of a color. I found two patterns in the end though!

This is the Little Wings Shawlette from Crochet Uncut. It worked up nicely and I think it had a decent size. In the end I realized I could have made it bigger (as I had no idea how the yarn worked up, I went for the safe option) but on the other hand, this sizes is pretty perfect, of you ask me. 

The other pattern I used was the Everly Head Wrap from Mamachee. I added 10 extra ch to the starting row as it looked too small before (and I was right!) plus I only did 9 rows because while it would have been very tight if I had gone for the original stitch count, the head band would have been far too big in height if I had stuck with the original 12 rows.  I am happy with how it turned out, but I hope the yarn won't be too scratchy to wear!

What is on your hook today?

Take care

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Frida's Flowers CAL - Edging and TA-DAH!

Congratulations on reaching the end of the Frida's Flowers CAL! The edging instructions have just been uploaded to the Stylecraft website in English (UK and US), Dutch and German - head over there to download now: Thank you all so much for coming on this adventure with us! We have had a great time, learned a lot, and can't wait for the next Stylecraft CAL :D

I didn't record yarn usage for the edging, as there was no need to see how much was left! I came very close to using up all the black, but did not run out of anything. 

Here's a closeup of the finished edging:

Our top tips for the finishing off are:

1. Don't be afraid to join the pieces in a different colour to black! 

I joined my central flower in Greek Blue, and totally love the effect. I would have had enough black to do it, but as usual totally overestimated how much yarn I would need.

2. In Round 1 of the edging, where you do 3sc together in the dip of the zigzag edge, don't work into the joined stitches, just in the join. 

Hopefully the picture below will make this clearer :P If you are just more confused, ignore me!

3. There's a bit of fudging required in Round 2. My counts up to this point matched Jane's perfectly, and I still had to do some stitch-skipping to get the scs to land in the right places! Don't worry about the exact stitch count - after Round 2 everything will work fine.

4. Blocking. You don't necessarily need to block your Frida, but it does help the flower petals sit neater if you're working in the cotton or life dk (for 100% acrylic yarns, I find blocking is less effective). I just washed mine in the washing machine on a very gentle cycle with woolwash, pinned it out on my foam blocking boards and let it dry over a few days out of the sun. A bit of a wash helps the cotton soften up as well!

For our tips from previous weeks, visit:

Inspired by some of Frida Kahlo's artwork with lavish jungle/forest scenes in the background, I tracked down some urban jungle of my own to take some more photos! 

- Michelle & Anne xx

Friday, 1 July 2016

The Joy of Imperfection

Hi there!

How are you doing these days?

Whenever I can find a free minute, I am crocheting ghosts. I am not sure how many I have made by now but it must be around ten (it feels like more). I need to finish another 3 but after that I am going to take a break from ghosts. As cute as they are, making them gets a bit boring after hooking so many of them! After that I will move onto baby blankets: Several friends of mine are pregnant and due later this year. I haven't decided on a pattern yet but I want to something colourful yet an easy pattern. Nothing too complicated, that is something I can easily hook after long days at work. Any suggestions?

I started writing this blog post some days ago and then stopped because it got me thinking. I was going to write about my clumsy fingers as I have troubles sewing on fiddly pieces onto amigurumi. It was going to be a self shaming post mixed with a bit of humour. As mentioned before, I stopped writing because it didn't feel right. I didn't know why I was feeling like that until I was at my mum's house and came across the first amigurumis I ever made. You can see pictures of them in this posts... They are far from perfect but still my mum kept them on display in the downstairs bathroom. Sometimes I felt ashamed about them but nowadays I don't anymore. 

When I stood in the bathroom, all of a sudden I realized how far I have come and that I really shouldn't engage in self-shaming. I can't do fiddly stuff? Oh well, so what? I will learn. Or I won't. And both is okay. 

All my life I have been a kind of perfectionist. I say a kind of because I am not one of these people who try and try until something is perfect. Instead, I want it to be perfect right from the beginning. As in NOW. That's not a very healthy way of thinking and it has hindered my in my life a lot. Over the last couple of years, I started to change my thinking moving towards a mindset which believes in growing. I am getting better in allowing myself to grow and to give myself time. It is still a long way but one that is worth while. 

Craft helped me a lot on the way. At first I wanted to be perfect but had to realize I had to learn and it would take time. Along with learning this came the realization that the way, that is the way of learning or making something, is what brings most of the fun. Not the finished project but the process of making it. Now quite a few of you will probably roll your eyes because this realization/this knowledge is so obvious. Well it wasn't for me. Some days I still struggle because I am unhappy with how my projects turn out or because I can't master a new stitch right away. But it is getting better. And some day, I hope to allow myself "imperfection" and "failure" without feeling bad about it!

How are you dealing when you can't master something new right away? I am happy about all kinds of advice!

Hope you are having a wonderful crafty weekend!

Take care

 P.S. As you can see, I worked with bulky yarn at first, so that I could see the stitches... 

P.S. If you are following us on Instagram, you probably saw that I already started on a baby blanket.. This post was written before I caught the summer flu and forgot to post it!