Thursday, August 30, 2012

WIP Wednesday - again!

Wow, looks like I finished a lot of projects and gifts! The first one was a cute shirt for my daughter with matching bracelet and scrunchy:

Next up was a little package for a cute new baby boy:

And I had cool new idea (everybody probably does this, but for me it was an epiphany): Instead of writing some washing instructions on a tag, as I used to, I just put part of the yarn label on it! Love this idea, looks so much more professional.

The next package was for my Papa, whose birthday we forgot...

and, of course, the whole ordeal with Zoe's slipper... read about that in the slipper post!

And yesterday I finally got started on a bigger project again: my winter skirt! It is crocheted from side to side, but I want a horizontal color blending effect... so I planned the color changes very carefully:

I'm using four different shades of blue and they kind of create an ombre effect, what I was going for. I recently found a better method for that, but now that I have the yarn...
So, this is how far I've gotten. Sooooo many strands of yarn everywhere... it's a hassle and I'm still undecided, if I'll just switch to vertical stripes.

Okay, and now head on over, see what everyone else is working on!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Slippery Project

My daughter has been in need of new slippers for a while now. But thankfully it's been very warm so she just jumped about barefoot. Now the summer is drawing to a close and I've finally finished her Granny Slippers (free Pattern from Bernat)! I wanted something a bit more fun and colorful... This is my yarn: Drops Nepal (65% wool, 35% alpaca)

It's so soft and wonderful to work with! At a very reasonable price, I might add...

The size seemed to be a problem, though. The children's size given in the pattern is supposed to fit a 6-7 year old. Zoë is 3 1/2. "Luckily" her feet are enormous; she wears a size 11. So I read a couple of different size/age charts and afterword I was just as confused as before. The differences were huge! 

So I just got started. Only the slippers do not start at the sole, like most slipper patterns. I thought I might still try my luck and just went on to crocheting the hexagons.

Additionally, I tried out some new (to me!) crochet techniques. For the slipper on the left I joined the hexagons by slip stitching through both loops of the final round (right sides held together), for the one on the right hand side I only slip stitched through the outside loops. The outside loops are a winner!

I did the almost the same for the soles; on the left hand side I slip stitched through both loops of the final round and on the right hand side through the outside loops only. And again the outside loops win!

I also tried out starting a new round with a standing stitch, instead of the usual chains. I forgot to make little arrows, but on right hand slipper you can easily see the ch3 of the cluster round in off-white. On the left hand slipper you should be able to spot one cluster that looks a little knottier at the top than all the others. That's the beginning without the chain. Cool, huh?! Btw, here is the tutorial for the standing stitch...

Applying the latex took forever, because the tip kept clogging up on me all the time. And it takes 10 hours to dry...

And then... these extra cute slippers are too small!! 

So I improvised and blocked them over a pair of boots (one size too small for Zoe).

Now they seem to fit. But Littles remembers how weird they felt when they were too small and won't wear them... :-( 

Oh, yeah, and I think I'll have to add a button; the top is kinda wide now...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

WIP Wednesday

I think I mentioned last week that one of my husband's old friends had a baby without giving us prior notice of the event... How dare he... ;-) Now the little guy is already two weeks old and hasn't yet received his gift! I'm almost done, though. Part one of his gift is this awesome Aviator Hat, designed by Bailee Wellisch (available via Ravelry).

By the way, this is Jolanda modeling the hat for us. Her head is more of a preemie size and yes, she does have some clothes... Well, they would only distract from the cute hat, right?

Part two of the gift are these Boy Striders by CrochetDreamz and they are almost finished, just need to sew on three more buttons. 

 The soft wool (it's a wool-alpaca blend) makes it hard to see the shape, but I'll stuff them with newspaper for the final pictures.

Once these are on their way, I'll make some much needed slippers for my daughter. I even bought the latex for the soles! These are going to be the colors:

And after that I'll make a quick gift for my Dad, whose birthday I forgot... But I have lots of red cotton and likes to relax in the tub, so it'll be something bath-related.

But what I'm really truly itching to get started on is my new woolen skirt for the coming fall/winter! More on that next time, but here are the colors:

Visit Kristine's WIP post and check out what everyone else is working on:

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

My Newfound Passion for Recycling

I live in Germany and recycling is big here, really big. I do the basics, like recycle my trash in the prescribed categories. But other than that I'm just really lazy and others seem to have a much bigger heart for our planet than me...

But now I have found that I can recycle old things by turning them into some kind of yarn and crochet with them! Awesome! And here is a tour of my experiments:

1. T-Shirt yarn

I learned how to make it from a video like this one. There are too many out there, I couldn't even find the one... Unfortunately most of my old t-shirts have seams at the sides, which makes the yarn less even. And no, I haven't made anything from T-Shirt yarn yet, I'm still gathering my old stuff and making the yarn. But I'm thinking boxes, organizers... I just don't want to use it for anything decorative, I think. This is some of my T-shirt yarn:

Hm, actually only the pink is T-Shirt yarn, the other two are...

2. Fabric yarn

And I don't stop at t-shirts. I rip the seams of pretty much any garment I want to make into yarn and cut it into one long stripe like this:

Then I roll it into a ball and move on to the next scrap of fabric. 

I'm kinda lazy, so I just use this simple method. But I also came Eva Eichhorn's blog and she has a great tutorial on how you can actually spin yarn out of fabric scraps!

3. Sweater yarn

The last time I visited my parents my Mom gave my an old sweater my grandmother had knit for me at least 15 years ago. Needless to say it was huge and just plain gross! But it might make some cute Christmas-y things... 

So I found myself a nice little tutorial and unraveled the whole thing. Ashley created this one and taught me to make sweater yarn!

4. Tape yarn

Finally! A use for my old cassette tapes! (I had my parents ditch the video tapes recently...) My current stash in tapes is somewhat limited...

... so I'll have to keep bugging my sweet husband for some of his... I know, he'll never... But Michelle has a nifty little tutorial on crocheting with tape. Apparently, you don't even need to roll it into a ball!

5. Plarn

This is the one things I won't ever make! Because, on principle, I always bring my own grocery bags. Always. I only use store bags if really don't have any other means of carrying my purchases. Start doing this NOW! Seriously, it's such a big deal! But now you have to get rid of the bags you already have, right? Okay, so here's one of better tutorials on plarn by Jennifer. Have fun. And then crochet some nice grocery totes so you won't ever have to get plastic bags!

6. Use snippets of yarn

And lastly, what to do with all the tiny little snippets of yarn. Like that very last bit of the skein or what you cut off after weaving in the ends. I just sort them into light and dark...

and use them to stuff amigurumi. So I get safe a little on the polyfill, cool.
But Susan has a way cooler idea: She puts it all into a bird feeder and has them use it for their nests!

And yes, she checked with the experts, it won't harm the birds.

7. Newspaper Yarn

And just when I thought I had exhausted the possibilities... I find this one! I don't read any physical newspapers, but what a cool idea! This is Doug's tutorial on how to make newspaper yarn.

A very unique look! But am the only one with slight doubts about the durability about items crocheted with newspaper...?

Okay, now I think I have covered all fronts, have I!? Next question: What to make with these yarns? 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

WIP Wednesday

Feels like I haven't done this in ages!

But I've been busy... soooooo busy... and even crochet busy!

I've been working on a short sleeved sweater for Zoë.

It's pretty much done, except for the crown I'm embroidering on the front. I found a free image and traced it with a children's felt tip pen. Comes off in warm wash, absolutely perfect! The yarn is superwash merino wool, so I'm not concerned. Yeah, and I'll block it after washing to add some length (I was stingy on the yarn...). But I think I'll have to stitch around the crown again, it's not as visible as I'd like it to be... oh, but the matching scrunchy and bracelet are done:

Also, I am crazy busy designing my own patterns. My head is full of ideas and I plan staring selling my patterns by January... The first one is pretty much finished, just working on the photography and getting it written up all nice and proper. Here's a little peak:

AND: An old friend of my husband's just became a father and we only found out today, after the baby boy has already been born. So I'e absolutely got to up with something really quickly! And make it a bit bigger, probably...

So, I'm too lazy to link to all the places I can think of. This means I'm just linking to my favorite crochet-person in the world: Kristine! ;-)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Elbe River Boat Trip

My husband's bosses love to sail. And this year marks the 10th anniversary of the company. So they decided to take everyone on a little boat trip on the Elbe river. It was a really long and stressful day for the parents of a very lively 3 year old, but I suppose everyone else got to relax... Still, it was an adventure for Littles and the weather was perfect. Here are the pictures:

They even had us solve some navigational quiz with a compass and everything. Way out of our league...

a huge freighter passing us with ease

sailing past the homes of the rich and famous of Hamburg

passing the Airbus plant

if you look closely, you can see the plane (or part of a plane...) inside
This was our second boat trip with the company and even if it was stressful for us as parents, sailing is really special and it has the power to take you away from everything else. I wish we had the funds to do something like this more often... I know, it wouldn't be as special anymore...