Terrific Tuesday

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On a Monday I can still remember the fun I had over the weekend, Wednesday is the middle of the work week, on Thursday I start getting hopeful and on a Friday I can taste the weekend. But what about a Tuesday? It’s so…. just there. Weekend memories are too far away and the upcoming weekend might as well be a year away.

What we need is a bit of colourful inspiration to get us going on a Tuesday, don’t you think? A pretty picture, beautiful scenery or colourful imagery. Yup, that’ll liven up Tuesdays and turn it into a terrific day!

From now on I will go through my photos and Pinterest likes every Tuesday and find us a pretty picture to add colour and joy to the day.

xxxxxx

relax and dream up a good life quote
I created this InstaQuote after watching Jim Carrey’s commencement address at Maharishi University in Iowa. It will blow your mind. Watch it here.

Wishing you all a Terrific Tuesday.

Natasja

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Granny square bunting with the help of great books

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A friend at work recently asked me to make crochet bunting for her garden. There’s a lot of patterns around for crochet bunting but they are either to frilly or to plain for me. What I wanted was a basic triangle that could be made with at least four colours. Something like a granny square, but not square. I found the perfect solution in Crochet, a hard cover book by DK. The book was sent to me by the publishers to review a couple of months ago. I’m ashamed that it took me so long to do the review, but in my defence I don’t want to review a book unless I could use of the book’s patterns. The bunting order was the perfect opportunity to do my review, so here it is.

Crochet is a step-by-step guide with clear photographic technique instructions and over 80 crochet designs. Beginners wishing to learn how to crochet will find all the stitches and techniques twinned with beautiful projects to build up confidence, whilst experienced crocheters can choose between classic and modern crochet makes. Projects cover items for the home, to wear, toys and bags. The book also contains handy info on crochet terms, symbols and abbreviations and teaches how to follow crochet patterns.

The projects are beautifully photographed and you will love the big A4 pages of prettiness.

 

Crochet can easily become the crochet go-to compendium. The book really teaches everything there is to know about crochet, has beautiful projects to make and the photography and styling is just lovely.

DK also sent me a copy of A Little Course In Crochet. It’s part of a popular series of learning guides from DK that explain everything and assume nothing.

The two books are very similar, with A Little Course In Crochet being a more concise version of Crochet using the same photos and teaching the same techniques and stitches, only in a smaller format.


Don’t think that the smaller book is any less useful, or not worth buying. It’s just as beautifully laid out and teaches you almost everything that Crochet does, just with less projects and less of the “fancy” crochet techniques like broomstick or Tunisian crochet for instance. DK managed to squeeze in everything you need to know into a smaller book by writing a lot of the instructions on the photo itself, as opposed to writing it out as text next to the photo like in Crochet. You can see this in the example below for fastening off stitches. (I laid A Little Course In Crochet on top of Crochet.)

Fastening off

Just like Crochet the project photos also fill a whole page, so it’s just as visually pleasing.

project basket

I feel very grateful that DK sent me these two beautiful books. I won’t ever have to buy an instructional crochet book ever again. If I had to pick which one I prefer, I would say bigger is better, and go for Crochet. It’s just so beautiful to page through and there are quite a few projects that I would want to get my hooks into. If you want to know all about crochet, you may as well get the book that really teaches absolutely everything.

As for my granny bunting, I made it by combining the Party Bunting pattern with the triangle granny from the Tools & Techniques section.

This string of seven bunting flags will be given to my work colleague tomorrow. She asked for “easter colours” so I used a combination of Vinnis Nikkim and Stylecraft Cotton Classique. I enjoyed making these bunting flags and found it very easy to follow the patterns in Crochet.

IMG_7111 Granny square bunting IMG_7118 granny bunting flags

Bunting flag

Crochet is currently on sale on Amazon for £15 (RRP £25), and A Little Course In Crochet is £4 on Amazon (RRP £9.99).

*These books were sent to me by the publisher. I did not receive payment for doing the reviews. The opinions are my own. There are affiliate links in this post, which help me run my blog.

V-neck knitted sweater ta-daaaah

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On 6 April 2014 I picked up a pair of knitting needles and took up knitting again after 10 years. Almost exactly two months later, my first knitted sweater is done!

Stylecraft ladies sweater 8948

The last thing I had knitted, was a cream, pink and grey scarf back in 2004. I was bored out of my mind and didn’t do any crafting after that. That was until August 2009 of course when the crochet bug bit me. I guess the confidence I have after years of crochet, seeing pretty knitting on Ravelry, starting the craft group at work where I am surrounded by knitters and reading every now and then on a crochet blog that a crocheter has taken up knitting, wore me down. I wanted to knit something. Not a scarf mind you! I wanted something to wear but the pattern had to be easy, not too fussy yet with a something special, v-neck and something I would want to wear. I found the perfect pattern on Loveknitting.com – Stylecraft Stars 8948.

When I bought the pattern pamphlet I also bought 4.5 mm Pony aluminium needles. I didn’t need any yarn, as the Vinnis Nikkim that I wanted to use, is the exact gauge and yardage as Stylecraft Stars. What a great stroke of luck! When I saw that, I knew this was going to be a goooood pattern for my first knitted sweater attempt!

When my needles and pattern arrived, I decanted myself onto my spot on the couch, ready to do some knitting. Only problem was I didn’t know how to do the very first instruction of the pattern: Cast on with the thumb method. The what?! Thank goodness for my laptop and Youtube. I found the perfect  instructional video on the Deramores website. The thumb method turned out to be very easy. Hurdle 1 overcome.

As I was knitting the ribbing I soon realised that I made a mistake. Not with the knitting, but with the knitting needles. My cotton yarn was slipping all over the place and I was gripping my knitting needles so tightly to try and keep the stitches from dropping, that I developed knitters-cramp very quickly. Back to the Loveknitting.com website for bamboo needles, (and stitch holder and row counters – in for a penny in for pound).

Those bamboo needles were a godsend! Everything was so much easier once I switched to bamboo.

Everything went swimmingly from there. Bearing in mind that the fancy bit of my sweater happened right after the ribbing, I kinda had thrown myself into the deep end right from the beginning, but I loved it. I got a thrill when I did a stitch count and was spot on!

I have to say that the finishing of the sweater was my biggest fear. To me there’s nothing worse than a handmade piece of clothing that looks…well, handmade. No matter how hard you worked on knitting, crocheting or sewing your pieces, it can all so easily look “cheap” if the finishing isn’t spot on. Thank goodness for another Deramores video where I learned to do the mattress stitch. I couldn’t believe how neat the join (or lack thereof) looked! I also found the Vogue Knitting website helpful when it came to inserting the sleeves into the body.

I did have a little flurry of upset when the sleeve opening on the front of the sweater seemed to be much larger than the sleeve. Thankfully, after a bit of Google-ing, I realised that that’s normal. I just had to ease the sleeve into the opening. Easier said than done. Then I had a brainwave: if the knitting was designed this way, it means they probably did it because a lady’s bust will fill out the front so I had to replicate this “filling out” when I sewed my sleeve into the opening. That means I shouldn’t try to sew it together with the pieces lying on a flat surface, I need something curved. My knee!! And it worked!

Sewing the sleeve into body of knitting

This is how the two sleeves of my sweater was inserted using a mattress stitch. I didn’t even notice the extra fabric at the body when I did it this way. For a first attempt, I am very happy with the way my sleeve sits in the opening. (Please excuse my penguin pajamas…)

After sewing everything together I just had the ends to weave away. For this I found this blog post on The Purl Bee very helpful. I used the diagonal on the wrong side method.

The very last thing to do was to block my sweater. This is the only part that I would do differently next time. The pattern says to block the sweater right at the very end, whereas I think I would have had an easier time sewing all the pieces together, had I blocked the pieces beforehand. What do you knitters think? Do you block your knitting when it’s all sewn up, or do you block the pieces before sewing?

The nitty-gritty of my first knitted sweater:

Pattern: Ladies Sweater in Stylecraft Stars 8948

Yarn: 8 balls of Vinnis Nikkim DK cotton in Avocado

Needles: Pony bamboo 4.5mm and Pony aluminium 3.5mm for the rib

All in all, I’m very happy with my first sweater and kinda proud of myself. I mastered a fancy pattern, managed to do a v-neck (which included a very intimidating s1 knit2tog psso combo) and learned to do mattress stitch to join all the pieces together. Credit should go to Stylecraft Yarns for writing a pattern this pretty, yet easy enough that a newbie knitter can master it.

 

Being so happy with the outcome of my first foray into wearable knitting, I already bought the pattern for sweater number 2!

I may have to think about changing my blog name to crochetandabitofknittingTime…. it doesn’t have the same ring to it, but it’s accurate :)

 

 

Terrific Tuesday

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On a Monday I can still remember the fun I had over the weekend, Wednesday is the middle of the work week, on Thursday I start getting hopeful and on a Friday I can taste the weekend. But what about a Tuesday? It’s so…. just there. Weekend memories are too far away and the upcoming weekend might as well be a year away.

What we need is a bit of colourful inspiration to get us going on a Tuesday, don’t you think? A pretty picture, beautiful scenery or colourful imagery. Yup, that’ll liven up Tuesdays and turn it into a terrific day!

From now on I will go through my photos and Pinterest likes every Tuesday and find us a pretty picture to add colour and joy to the day.

xxxxxx

 20140608-150456-54296109.jpg

This is the main motif of this Japanese pattern for a crochet top. I adore it! Unfortunately, I won’t be making more of these pretty square lacy motifs because I need 18 50g balls of yarn for top! I only have 10 balls and seriously can’t justify having to buy eight more at almost £5 a ball – on top of the 10 I already bought! So, the yarn will be used for a knitted sweater which only needs 8 balls and this motif will beautify my bedside table. Once I worked away the two tail ends of course.

Wishing you all a Terrific Tuesday.

Natasja

Terrific Tuesday

Tags

On a Monday I can still remember the fun I had over the weekend, Wednesday is the middle of the work week, on Thursday I start getting hopeful and on a Friday I can taste the weekend. But what about a Tuesday? It’s so…. just there. Weekend memories are too far away and the upcoming weekend might as well be a year away.

What we need is a bit of colourful inspiration to get us going on a Tuesday, don’t you think? A pretty picture, beautiful scenery or colourful imagery. Yup, that’ll liven up Tuesdays and turn it into a terrific day!

From now on I will go through my photos and Pinterest likes every Tuesday and find us a pretty picture to add colour and joy to the day.

xxxxxx

yarn and flowers on patio table

I took my toys outside to play on Saturday.

Wishing you all a Terrific Tuesday!

Natasja

Progress on my Crochet Mood Blanket 2014

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It’s been a long time since I showed you any photos of my Mood Blanket. I made an initial summary of my colour choices and I gave you a glimpse into A Day In The Life of a Crochet Mood Blanket, but no photos.

On Saturday morning I took advantage of the hour of sunshine and lay the blanket out on the patio table to take photos for you.

In case you’re wondering, I’m using Hayfield Bonus DK and Baby DK, and the pattern for my squares is Lacy Cross from Jan Eaton’s book 200 Crochet Squares.

crochet mood blanket 2014 in progress

 

Being 6 months in, I can truly say, hand on heart, that my moods are

all

over

the

place.

More so, around the middle of the month – I blame hormones. On the up side, I don’t have a lot of red squares which is a good thing – red is the colour I allocated to stress.

Are you taking part in Crochet Mood Blanket 2014? Have you learned anything about yourself in the process of documenting your daily moodswings?

Striped crochet coaster for Fathers Day

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I was chatting to my mom yesterday and she reminded me that Fathers Day was on the 15th of June. Living in the UK, with parents living in South Africa I always have to plan far ahead to get presents and cards to them in time. (Mothers Days is even more of a planning mission because Mothers Day in South Africa is on a different day than Mothers Day in the UK. Very confusing and easy to forget about!) Thank goodness for Moms who remind us about Fathers Day, making it possible to crochet a gift for Dad in time.

I whipped up this easy striped coaster with DAD embroidered in cross stitch in an afternoon.

striped crochet coaster for Dad striped crochet coaster for Dad
striped crochet coaster for dad

With this quick pattern and two weeks to go to Fathers Day you won’t have any excuse not to make him a crocheted gift. And if, like me, you need to post the gift, the coaster is ideal to pop inside a greeting card.

Here is the pattern:

Yarn: Rowan Handknit Cotton in three shades. Ecru (colour A), Ice Water (colour B) and Linen (colour C). The cross stitch is done in Rico Creative Cotton Dark Blue

Crochet hook: 3.5 mm

The pattern is written in UK crochet terms. For US readers, the DC is SC.

Using colour A, chain 20.

Row 1: DC in 2nd chain from the hook, DC to end (19 DC).

Continue working in DC as follows:

Row 2 – 4: colour B

Row 5: colour A

Row 6: colour C

Row 7: colour B

Row 8 – 9: colour C

Row 10: colour A

Row 11 – 12: colour B

Row 13: colour A

Row 14: colour B

Row 15 – 17: colour C

Row 18 – 19: colour A

Row 20: colour B

Block the square using the wet block technique. Use dark blue to cross stitch DAD down the left side of the coaster. Leave two rows unworked at the top and bottom, and one DC stitch unworked on the side.

cross stitch pattern for DAD

If you want to know more about cross stitching onto crochet, I explain it more fully in this post.

I hope you enjoy making this striped coaster for Dad. The pattern is listed on Ravelry, so please link your projects so that I can see your coasters!

 

Terrific Tuesday

Tags

,

On a Monday I can still remember the fun I had over the weekend, Wednesday is the middle of the work week, on Thursday I start getting hopeful and on a Friday I can taste the weekend. But what about a Tuesday? It’s so…. just there. Weekend memories are too far away and the upcoming weekend might as well be a year away.

What we need is a bit of colourful inspiration to get us going on a Tuesday, don’t you think? A pretty picture, beautiful scenery or colourful imagery. Yup, that’ll liven up Tuesdays and turn it into a terrific day!

From now on I will go through my photos and Pinterest likes every Tuesday and find us a pretty picture to add colour and joy to the day.

xxxxxx

This bright granny square jacket is sure to make you smile.
Wishing you all a Terrific Tuesday.

Natasja

Fantastic magazine subscriptions offer

Here is an offer that’s just too good not to share with my lovely readers.

From today to 27 May, you can get 30% off any of My Favourite Magazine subscriptions of over £15. That’s 30% off yearly subscriptions for amazing craft magazines like Simply Crochet, Simply Knitting, Mollie Makes and The Knitter, or buy a couple of the one-off magazines like Your Crochet Home and Irresistible Gifts To Crochet Volume 2. I’m pointing out the knitting and crochet theme magazines, but there are many more crafty magazines to choose from.

With Fathers Day coming up you could also use this offer to buy Dad or Hubby a manly magazine subscription as a gift. Share the love, right?

For your 30% off, follow this link and use voucher code: MAYBH14.

Happy shopping, and happy reading, friends.

 

Terrific Tuesday

Tags

,

On a Monday I can still remember the fun I had over the weekend, Wednesday is the middle of the work week, on Thursday I start getting hopeful and on a Friday I can taste the weekend. But what about a Tuesday? It’s so…. just there. Weekend memories are too far away and the upcoming weekend might as well be a year away.

What we need is a bit of colourful inspiration to get us going on a Tuesday, don’t you think? A pretty picture, beautiful scenery or colourful imagery. Yup, that’ll liven up Tuesdays and turn it into a terrific day!

From now on I will go through my photos and Pinterest likes every Tuesday and find us a pretty picture to add colour and joy to the day.

xxxxxx

Small soft sage green squishy succulents surrounded by hot pink aquarium pebbles. This photo is all about contrast, and I love it!

Wishing you all a Terrific Tuesday.

Natasja

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