Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Happy knitting: Finished short row shawl

Tadah - it's finished! And believe it or not, I managed to knit it in just a little more than two days, because it was such a nice and comfortable work - and interesting to see how the colours in the variegated sock wool turned out while knitting those short rows!

I'm already thinking of knitting another one, same pattern but with a different colour scheme ..!

(German summary: Mein Schultertuch ist fertig! Ruckizucki ging das, weil das Muster so angenehm zum Stricken war - und jetzt liebäugele ich schon mit neuen Farbkombinationen ...!)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Rock carvings: A third glimpse ...

... and then this piece should be finished within short!

These are the birds - might be ravens, like Hugin and Munin - who are discussing Regin's secret intentions to kill Sigurd. Fortunately, Sigurd understands their language, as he has accidently tasted the dragon blood while roasting Fafnir's heart over the fire. (To read more, here's the link.)

(German summary: Hier noch einen dritten kleinen Blick auf die maschinengestickte Skizze, an der ich schon eine Weile arbeite; freies Maschinensticken nach einer 1000-jährigen Felsenritzung.)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Happy knitting: Short row shawl

Yes, I'm knitting on a new project again - when I saw this gorgeous short row pattern by Veera Välimäki at Ravelry; I just couldn't resist!

It's a simple, still nifty pattern, teaching you the basics of the short row technique in an easily understandable way - and although there are hundreds of stitches on the needle by now, it does neither bore me nor give me the feeling of endlessness ...

With the beautiful, handpainted sock yarn from Susa and another couple of sunny hours outside in the garden, I think this shawl will be finished in no time!

(German summary: Jawohl, ich stricke schon wieder an einem neuen Projekt - ein geniales Sockenwolle-Tuch mit verkürzten Reihen! Hört sich kompliziert an, ist es aber wirklich nicht!)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Watching the birds - playing around

When I saw what my hands had played with while exercising free motion machine embroidery, I had to laugh: somehow it made me think of the early morning arguments with my teenage son ;-)!

Using very simple outlines, a bit like childrens' drawings, makes it possible to transfer the forms into almost every material.

I liked the look of these birds and pondered upon how to make a brooch with the motif - while experimenting, I came up with this:

The bodies are cut out of discarded plastic cards (same stiffness as credit or club cards), covered with patterned washi tape. In good old malfatto manner, I just attached the broche needle and other metal wire components with duct tape.

Bits of wire - sometimes combined with scoubidou strings - and some beads for embellishments made the rest.

(German summary: Zwei Variationen von Vögel, einmal genäht/maschinengestickt, einmal als Broschen mit Recylingmaterial.)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Autumn flowers

Some autumn flowers for you for still hanging around, although I'm late again!

We have had - and occasionally still have - warm and sunny Indian summer days here in the south-east of Austria, the mornings and evenings can be chilly, though.

So I decided to crochet a flowery cape shawl, big colourful stars, using three different balls of 6-ply variegated sock yarn and a 6 mm hook, attaching the stars on the go.

I added a couple of rows for a 'neckband' and some flower buttons too, so it stays put while my hands are busy doing other things :-)!

(German summary: Diesmal habe ich einen Schalumhang gehäkelt, denn trotz der wunderbar sonnigen Spätsommertage sind die Abende doch schon ein bißchen kühl. 6-fädiges Sockengarn und eine dicke Häkelnadel (nr 6) - und mit ein paar Blumenknöpfen bleibt der Schal auch fest auf den Schultern!)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Rock carvings: A second glimpse ...

... of the rock carving 'comic strip', this picture showing Regin's horse, holding the treasure of the dragon Fafne on its back.

It takes quite a bit of concentration embroidering these small motifs on the sewing machine - this horse, for example, is only about 8 x 5 cm/3 x 2 ", and Sigurd himself (in my latest posting), was even smaller than that.

So I'm regarding this first approach as a kind of sketch, to get more acquainted with the motifs - I'm thinking of enlarging it further later on, maybe embroidering it by hand next time or even painting it on a wall ...

But I'm very happy to finally having started exercising the free motion machine embroidery - there are so many possibilites in that technique - and it's great fun!

(German summary: Hier kommt das zweite Motiv der Felsenritzung, und die Bilderchen erfordern schon einiges an Konzentration beim Nähen, weil sie so klein sind, dieses etwa 8 x 5 cm. Vielleicht werde ich die Vorlage später weiter vergrößern - ich denke da an einen handgestickten Wandbehang oder vielleicht an eine Wandmalerei ...)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Rock carvings: A small glimpse ...

... of a new project: The story of Sigurd Fafnesbane, carved about 1000 years ago - sometimes disrespectfully called 'the world's oldest comic strip' - this is a rock carving I've been wanting to translate into textile for about 30 years.

And now I've begun, with a small free-motion machine sketch - here's a first glimpse:

... and regarding the background, you can read more here at Wikipedia.

(German summary: Seit 30 Jahren liebäugele ich schon mit dem Gedanken, diese herrliche, tausendjährige Felsritzung ins Textile umzuwandeln ... und fange jetzt mit einer kleinen, frei maschinengestickten Skizze an. Zum Hintergrund gibt es hier in Wikipedia mehr darüber zu lesen.)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Joint venture: Cell phone cover

A little while ago, my friend Gabi was visiting me for the weekend - and while sitting out in the garden talking, we made a colourful cover for her new cell phone together.

First, she knitted a double overlapping strip in garter stitch, with some red crochet cotton and some variegated sock yarn, decreasing the number of stitches in the end - and then I showed her how to punch the knitting with the embellisher to densify the wool and make the cover stiffer.

At this point, we both saw the face of the snake taking form - Gabi embroidered the eyes, I punched the tongue and added a strip of punched glitzy neon fabric to the back, decorating it with a black zig-zag free-motion embroidery - she sew the cover together with the sockwool and added the glasses, which she made out of a piece of wire and some button hole stitches. Finally, we found a bit of red Velcro-tape in my stash and sew it on for closure.

It was ready in no time and we had quite some fun with this joint-venture!

(German summary: Ein kleines, buntes Handytascherl, daß meine Freundin Gabi und ich beim Plaudern im Garten eigentlich so nebenbei gemeinsam gemacht haben - witzig, oder?)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Rock carvings: The tattooed deer

And what if I was to use the pattern program on my sewing machine to do the filling up on these Wiking symbols? Although I've chosen a rather simple Bernina model, there is still quite a selection of automatic patterns available on it -

I tried out three of them on this deer, along with some free-motion sewing - and the drawing was delightfully filled in no time! (Argh! Why is there such a thing as preparing dinner and cleaning up and all those other chores - I'd rather be playing all day long!)

When tracing my drawing with the parchment paper and pencil method, I always get a reverse version as well - this time I used it on the backside of an ice-cream paper box, to get a cardboard template to use for another project -

and look, how funny it happened to turn out from the printed side - maybe you can call this some sort of 'tattoo' as well!

(German summary: Und was wäre wenn ich eines der vorgegebenen Muster der Nähmaschine zum Ausfüllen verwenden würde - auch bei meinem einfacheren Bernina-Modell gibt es da so einige zur Auswahl ...

Und als 'Nebenprodukt' habe ich beim Durchpausen auf einem Eiscreme-Karton noch ein buntes 'Tattoo' dazubekommen!)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A little leisure: Sweet mushroom

While sewing and cutting and stitching, I realize I'm suffering from a constant lack of pin cushions - not a single one in sight when I need them! The small ones I did last year always seem to have disappeared without a trace ...

And from time to time it's nice just to play around and do some little thingy, nothing serious, just a spontaneous malfatto project in between!

And so I took a break and made myself a sweet mushroom by recycling a small plastic container which had held some screws. For the filling I used a handful or two of all those threads and fabric scraps laying around on my working table, but first I did put in a couple of small pebbles from the garden as a bottom weight, as this mushroom is a bit taller than usual and I didn't want it to tumble.

Every part of this pin cushion is recycled - some small leftovers from earlier embellishing projects, which I punched together with the embellisher along with some coloured scrim (used for cleaning up while dyeing!) to get a slightly larger piece - then a bit of free motion machine stitching - and a few centimeters of a really kitschy ribbon and some plastic confetti (!) which were easy to poke a hole into with the needle and to use as flower sequins.

It even fits into my little mobile sewing kit!

(German summary: Anscheinend leide ich an ständiger Nadelkissen-Not - auf jeden Fall macht es Spaß, zwischendurch so ein kleines Dingsbums aus den Resten zu fertigen, die da am Arbeitstisch herumliegen ... Ein Plastikdöschen, ein paar Zentimeter kitschige Borte, ein paar Filzfuzelchen, am Embellisher zusammengepuncht, zur Füllung einige Steinchen aus dem Garten und eine Handvoll Woll- und Stoffschnippelchen vom Arbeitstisch - und fertig ist das Schwammerl!)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Rock carvings: The solar horse

Now I've coloured the elegant solar horse too - using simple satin stitches and broadened chain stitches - the material is darning wool and sock wool.

While working on these little pieces, I'm pondering over how to assemble them in the end. They remind me a lot of comic strips, actually - maybe I can find a way to mount them in that manner, like a pictural collage or so ...

So far, I've preferred the classic tracing and transferring method using sandwich or parchment paper and a soft pencil. I do have an iron-on-transfer pen and dressmakers' carbon paper at home too, but I find the lines which I get from these too dominant for this kind of embroidery - and as I'm not going to wash it, the lines won't wash out either.

How do you transfer your motifs from paper to cloth?

(German summary: Das Sonnenpferd ist jetzt fertig; teilweise bunt bestickt, mit einfachen Spannstichen und breitem Kettenstich - als Material habe ich teils Stopfwolle, teils Sockenwolle verwendet.

Als Paus- und Übertragungstechnik verwende ich das altbewährte Butterbrotpapier und einen weichen Bleistift - Bügelstift und Schneiderkopierpapier machen mir hier zu kräftige Linien, und waschen möchte ich die Stickerei eigentlich auch nicht. Wie macht ihr das in so einem Fall?)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Rock carvings: The majestic boat woman

And so I've filled up the empty space between the contours with some handstitches - simple ones, like satin stitch and bound threads, red and multi-coloured for the woman, black-grey-white for the boat.

To me, this is a picture of a calm, majestic person - a grown-up woman - standing upright in her boat, looking out over the sea, facing the journey she is on, whatever will come, until she reaches the shore she is heading for.

(German summary: Ich habe die maschinengenähten Konturen jetzt mit einfachen Handstichen ausgefüllt - und über diese majestätische Frau nachgedacht, die so ruhig und aufrecht in ihrem Boot steht, und nach vorne schaut.)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Re-start with rock carvings

Oh girls - it's been a while ... Not that I have been too idle, but when you once stop posting regularly - due to the heat and all those summer holiday activities, for example - it's real hard finding a good access again ... Guess this happens to us all once in a while.

I know, it's still summer, but as my blog-friend Elizabeth/Landanna is now making a new start with a whole bunch of fresh photos on Viking rock carvings from her recent holiday in Sweden, I will hang on there and join her in mutual inspiration.

Yesterday I found these two pictures in a tourist folder regarding the rock carvings in Bohuslän, which she sent me in a mail - and today I 'drew' the outlines by free-motion stitching on my sewing machine.

A 'solar horse', the text in the folder said - I think it's a very elegant design, as modern as ever!

I like this second one very much too - makes me think of a woman on her way in a boat.

I've been doing some other free-motion embroidery on the sewing machine lately, noticing that practice really is the only thing taking you further on this matter ... I'm drawing the lines with the needle in a kind of 'Navajo technique' - sewing a couple of inches, then moving backwards again, forwards - slightly more than before - backwards, a bit less - until I'm happy with the thickness of the line.

I prefer this to going round the whole piece several times - the small motions make me feel that I have the line more under control.

My thread is very thin too - normal polyester or cotton sewing thread - therefore it's even more important to sew several times to get the outlines clearly visible.

I've also discovered that it's possible to fill the under thread bobbin with cheap overlock thread from a big thread spool - just put the spool on the table, close to your sewing machine and use your fingers to lead the thread on to the usual bobbin spooling gear.

Tomorrow I will proceed giving these two rock carvings some colour - and I will be back regularly now again, it's a promise.

(German summary: Oh Mädels - wie die Zeit vergeht ... Und eigenartigerweise, wenn man einmal eine Blog-Pause eingelegt hat, ist es verflixt schwer, wieder einen Anfang zu finden - geht es euch auch so?

Ich packe jetzt auf jeden Fall die Gelegenheit beim Schopf, da meine Blogfreundin Elizabeth/Landanna einen Neustart mit frischen Fotos von Felsenbildern aus dem Schweden-Urlaub wagt, und schließe mich gleich an.

Ich habe mit vielen Vor- und Zurückstichen, mit einem dünnen, schwarzen Faden freie Maschinenstickerei ausprobiert - und dazu den Unterfaden gleich mit günstigem Overlock-Garn gefüllt.

Und noch etwas: ab jetzt schreib' ich wieder öfter - versprochen.)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Challenge Navajo/chain plying

In order to maintain the beautiful colour separations which come with spinning a handpainted fleece or roving, I always wanted to know how to Navajo/chain ply. Still, as rather a newbie, this is not exactly the first thing you're giving a try at ...

Well, now I felt ready to deal with this challenge - and thanks to YouTube ;-), it wasn't even that difficult!

What you need is a slightly overtwisted single, three times the length you wish your yarn to be, and if you don't want the final yarn to bee too bulky, try spinning the single quite thin.

Set your whorl on big and slow, select a strong uptake, put your single on a lazy kate, make a loop with the single and the leader on your bobbin. Then it's basically just 'finger-crocheting' your single through the loop with your left hand - making real big loops -, while your right hand is pinching the three strands to form the twist.

Sounds more complicated than it actually is - just take a look at that video and I guess it will come perfectly clear!

Another funny little thing which I found at YouTube was an i-cord earphone wrapping tutorial, showing how to knit a colourful i-cord around the cables of your earphones, to prevent them from tangling. Of course I couldn't resist, these are mine:

(German summary: Jetzt habe ich mich ans Navajo/chain-Verzwirnen gewagt - und mit Hilfe des YouTube tutorials, war es gar nicht einmal so schwer. Der große Vorteil ist natürlich, daß die Farbsequenzen vom handgefärbten Vlies oder Kammzug viel besser erhalten bleiben.

Bei YouTube habe ich auch das lustige Einstricken der Kabeln gefunden - jetzt ist kein Kabel mehr vor diesem privaten 'guerilla-knitting' sicher!)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Challenge knitting complicated patterns

Another challenge for me was to dig into new, rounded patchwork knitting à la Horst Schulz - I had tried to understand one of his more intriguing patterns - 'An African Adventure' (here's the free pattern pdF - in English) - a couple of years before, but had failed - and now I gave it a new try - and suddenly it came all clear!

I also found this new book by of on his 'scholars', showing further variations on this adventurous knitting technique: ('Patchworkstricken' by Liane Schommertz - in German).

A funny thing about these patterns is that you only have to deal with one or at the most two colours at the same time, and that you (except for the borders) only hold very few stitches on your needles for every patch, which are even decreased constantly while working.

It's also a splendid opportunity to use up lots of yarns from your stash, awakening the pattern to life without the feeling of producing a 'patchy' look.

So I started two new projects, the first one maybe turning out to become an afghan in the end, with 5 mm needles -

- the second project with 4 mm needles and double 4-ply sockyarn, aimed to result in a sleeveless vest some day (although at the moment, it looks more like a frog to me :-) -

At Ravelry, there is even a 'Horst Schulz Fan Group' where you can find more information on the patterns.

(German summary: Meine neue Herausforderung sind die gerundeten Patchworkformen à la Horst Schulz - so langsam begreife ich endlich das Prinzip und erfreue mich an dieser witzigen Stricktechnik!)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Challenge core-spinning

I love spinning - for so many reasons - and even if I still very much enjoy the very plain spinning of a simple roving into a normal single, then plying it into a basic balanced two-ply yarn, I can now feel tempted trying out new challenges, like core-spinning, f.e.

A short while ago I suddenly held a beautifully hand-dyed fleece in my hands with the hint, that it is quite possible to spin directly from the fleece, without carding or preparing it much further, and at about the same time, I had also seen a sequence regarding core-spinning in Jacey Boggs' book and DVD 'Spin Art'.

So I tried it out with this Polwarth fleece and BFL locks -

- and with this Romney fleece -

- and it was great fun!

Normal spinning from the fleece (below showing milksheep fleece, still a bit greasy) - was fun too, somehow it made me feel much 'closer to the sheep' than with the carded roving.

But back to core-spinning: it's such a pleasure spinning and creating this fluffy, delicate yarn, it's just a feast to the eye and a wonderful feeling for your hands ... but what do you do with it? How can you work with it and use it, without destroying the lightness of its texture? And the small amount of yarn I had - just a bobbin full - limited the range of projects furthermore ...

I guess you can either first choose a project and then design your handspun yarn to fit in - or you can choose to have your fun while spinning and must then use your imagination finding a project suitable for your fancy yarn ...

Anyway, I realized this yarn needed an uncomplicated pattern and really big needles or hook to perform well - and was very happy to pick out my crochet hook 19 mm (!) for it, my absolutely biggest one -

and after some experimenting, I decided to crochet a moebius scarf, just single crochets in a twisted loop ...

- I used the yarn up to the very last inch, and had great pleasure in crocheting with it too!

What would you use your core-spun or bulky art yarn for? Any ideas or experiences to share?

(German summary: Ich spinne so gern - auch ein ganz normales Garn - aber diesmal wollte ich etwas neues probieren, core-spinning, direkt aus dem gefärbten Vlies heraus.

Eine reine Wonne, sowohl das Spinnen an sich als auch das Ergebnis! Aber was macht man daraus, so daß auch das Flauschige, Leichte erhalten bleibt?

Ich habe einen einfachen Möbius-Schal gehäkelt, mit Häkelnadel Nr 19 und normale feste Maschen - aber ich würde gerne mehr Vorschläge und Ideen sammeln! Was macht ihr mit eurem Artyarn?)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Going green

Ah - gardening season is here!

Although I keep spinning in the evenings, there isn't too much to show there yet - I keep exercising, trying to get it up on the next level ...

And preparing the garden for the season to come takes its time.

If you are running out of seed starting pots for your plants - like I was - you can always make some yourself by recycling old newspaper.

Here you will find a YouTube tutorial on how to make your own seed pots.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

True colours

Although the mornings are still chilly, spring is in the air. Maybe that's why there is a lot of talk about colours in different blogs on the net.

In one of her recent postings, my friend Elizabeth/Landanna introduced me to a great vocal group I'd never heard before: 'Perpetuum Jazzile' - and thinking about colours, I'd like to share this with you today:

And I have decided I will have another try on some dyeing myself again.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Easter!

I just wanted to pop in and wish you Happy Easter!

The kids and I spent the last week in Stockholm with their Swedish grandparents, so there wasn't much time for Easter preparations this year - but for the eggs I grabbed the small green bowl, which I crocheted some weeks ago.

Crocheting bowls out of small amounts of yarn which aren't good for anything else is a great idea, by the way - for this I used some self-dyed green wool together with a green cotton yarn and decorated it with a beaded flower.

(German summary: Frohe Ostern wünsche ich euch! Für das Eierkörbchen habe ich einen kleinen Rest Wolle und etwas BW-Garn verarbeitet - kleine Körbchen kann man doch immer gut brauchen!)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Blue mohair wrist warmers

When I stumbled upon this beautiful handpainted blue mohair roving at Etsy, I just couldn't resist it ... I had never spun mohair before, but it's so silky and long-fibered that it almost span itself into a very thin and shiny yarn.

To make the luxury complete, I plied it with a hand-dyed royal baby alpaca lace yarn (from Susa) and decided to knit myself a pair of super-soft - and very warm! - wrist warmers. Yes, I know, spring is here, but my wrists still do ache for a lot of warmth.

As this gorgeous yarn reminds me so much of water and of the sea, I crocheted a row of 'shells' with the thin alpaca as a side border. And what would be more suitable for decoration than a couple of those miniature shells, which Elizabeth/Landanna had collected on her Danish seashore and sent to me as a gift last Christmas?

I'm so happy with these, they warm up my wrists and my heart!

(German summary: Ich habe zum ersten mal wunderbar weiche, handgefärbte Mohairwolle versponnen und mir daraus sehr luxuriöse Handgelenkswärmer gestrickt. Als Krönung habe ich noch - mit Hilfe einer Drahtschlinge - einige der winzigen Muscheln draufgenäht, die mir meine Blogfreundin Elizabeth/Landanna zu Weihnachten geschickt hat.)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Blue batts and a 'denim' yarn

One of the best things about our blogworld is the mutual inspiration - how one idea leads to another, like in a relay ...

My dear blog friend Elizabeth/Landanna is working on a big jeans project, where she is unseaming piles of worn jeans and then handsewing them together for new shapes with a bright red thread. This combination of faded blue shades and the red stitches is really awesome, and I just adore the fresh and beautiful look of it.

Having had these pictures in mind, I've been pondering over how to integrate these colours in a project of my own.

And a few days ago I found what I've been searching for - the 'Shizuku' scarf pattern by Angela Tong (free Ravelry download). Shizuku means drops of water, I've learned, and so I think these shades of blue will be a perfect match.

(I admit I'm not really the only one loving this pattern - if you go visit Lavendelblau or MelinoLiesl f.e., you will see other beautiful versions of it.)

To create the feeling of worn jeans, I carded the different blues I had stashed - a little green and white too - together with some red sheep locks I've dyed myself.

I carded the wool quite roughly and only once, then spun the batts into an irregular and a bit bumpy worsted yarn. I decided to ply with a ball of the new Noro Sekku (yes, also stashed!), a very thin cotton/wool/nylon/silk blend, which emphazises the casual denim look quite well, I think.

(German summary: Seit einiger Zeit folge ich meiner Freundin Elizabeth's Jeansprojekt und überlege, wie ich die schöne Kombination ihrer blauen Jeanstöne mit leuchtendem Rot auf ein Strickprojekt übertragen kann. Das nette 'Shizuku'-Muster von Angela Tong gab mir dann den Anstoß zum Kardieren, Spinnen und Stricken ...)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spinning for leisure, felting for pleasure

This orange flower just had to be made, celebrating the first warm and sunny spring days!

I added a couple of beads and French knots for embellishment and a safety pin on the back - a brooch for a spring jacket or as a closure for a shawl or a wrap. It's a small present for a friend of mine.

I've been spinning a little too - just for the fun of it, no special project in mind. 'Spinning is good for the soul' - Anke at WolleNaturFarben often reminds me of that in her blog postings - and yes, spinning is like meditating, it soothens your mind and calms your thoughts - and at the same time, your hands produce a lovely yarn out of the soft wool on your lap.

I still had a roving left of the New Zealand wool I dyed myself two summers ago - not a very spectacular one, but I did like the red dots in between:

It's funny, how serendipity often decides how a yarn will turn out - sometimes a most beautiful roving turns out to become a quite regular yarn, sometimes it's just the other way round ...

You make your decisions about the wool, the blending, to card or not to card, about the thickness and the whorl when spinning, how and with which material to ply - and still there is a randomness which keeps surprising you until the end.

Even if I have been spinning enthusiastically for a couple of years and know that I can control the handling a lot more now than in the beginning, I still feel there's a lot left to be learned. I remain a seeker and beginner in my experiments.

It seems every new yarn teaches me something I didn't observe before - in this case, it was the colour of the plying. When plying with a thin thread, I usually try 'hiding' it by choosing the dominant colour of the roving - this time, I took a shiny blue silk thread instead and a dark red woolen one, referring to the red spots on the wool -

and in my opinion, this was exactly what made this yarn arise. (Meeting the colours with the camera would need improved skills though, I'm afraid - the first photo above, with the felt flower in the front, shows the 'glow' better ...)

(German summary: Eine gefilzte Blumenbrosche zum Einläuten des Frühlings - und einige Gedanken darüber, wie jedes handgesponnene Garn mir neue Erkenntnisse und Aha-Erlebnisse bringt - diesmal war es die farbliche Akzentuierung beim Verzwirnen.)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Still crocheting like mad ...

Octagon flowers - aren't they nice? Quite unusual, still easy to make - so I had to try them out ...

... with some scraps of cotton yarn - but I reckon they would look interesting with variegated sock yarn as well ;-).

I found them in the latest issue of 'Marie Claire Idees', a great French craft and decoration magazine, que j'adore - it comes six times a year and is a real treasure box of ideas and inspiration.

A couple of weeks ago I also finally managed to get hold of my preferred crochet hooks (at Amazon UK), the ones which are completely made out of metal - I just don't like the ones with soft grip or full plastic.

To celebrate this, I sew myself a brand new hook case too,

open -

- and closed:

(German summary: Ich finde diese achteckigen Blumen recht apart, und doch sind sie sehr einfach zu häkeln, Stäbchen und Luftmaschen im Wechsel, jede Reihe in einer anderen Farbe - das Muster habe ich in 'Marie Claire Idees gefunden'.

Und dann habe ich mir noch ein Häkelnadeletui genäht, denn im Moment bin ich ganz versessen aufs Häkeln ...)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sustainable everyday favourites

As I'm always looking for sustainable everyday items myself, I thought I'd share some of the things I've found and use in everyday life with you. And I would love to learn about your favourites!

Almost every evening, I light my recycling candle - it has a permanent glass fiber wick and is fed with scraps of wax and candle leftovers. (Here is the link to the manufacturer.)

The soap foam pump is another one of my favourites: with only a very small amount of any liquid soap - and a lot of water from your cold water-tap - it produces soft soap foam, nice to your skin, nice to the environment and nice to your wallet.

Two months ago I stumbled upon this link and this other link and decided to try out sewing and wearing my own fabric panty liners. I admit I was a bit sceptical at first, but now - after several weeks of use - I sure am a believer: wonderful to wear, easy to sew, and a very good, sustainable alternative to the disposables ones.

(If you don't want to sew yourself, there are several sellers at Etsy who'll do the job for you - here's the link.)

While recycling your old flannel sheets and shirts for the panty liners, you can use the fabric scraps for making your own cotton rounds as well - when used, I simply throw them in a small laundry bag hanging in a corner of the bathroom, and wash them together with the towel and bed linen laundry.

(Of course there are sellers for these things too at Etsy, if you don't feel like sewing and recycling yourself.)

(German summary: Da ich immer selber auf der Suche nach nachhaltigen und umweltfreundlichen Alltagsdingen bin, wollte ich hier meine Favoriten vorstellen - welche sind Deine?)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Hibernating in a pile of sockwool ...

Oh dear, this year seems to run even faster than the last one ... and although hibernating regarding my postings (and I'm sorry for that!), I haven't been idle at all, but quite industrious -

So where shall I begin?

Well, it started with me finding an on-line provider of high-quality and non-expensive sock wool ... and as you know I love making anything but socks with that interesting, variegated yarn, I was tempted enough to buy a couple of kilos ...

As I had bought packages of unspecified colours, it was an even bigger challenge to find suitable projects - pink/rosé isn't really what I use to wear, but in combination with that green ...

anyway, it turned out to become a vest, a very comfortable one, which I'm already wearing.

The pattern, which is actually a kind of 'granny square' with distinct 'holes' at the corners, not only shows the colour variegation well but also produces a diagonal pattern which I find quite attractive. I found it in 'Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders' by Judith Durant, where it's originally used for a shoulder bag.

Then I had some of that greenish 6-ply wool left - and together with some scraps of Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn from my stash, I decided to crochet a little neck bag, using Lucy's 'Granny Wheel' at Attic24.

My bag is about 14 x 13 cm, and I can use it both sides.

The next thing I want to show you is the second version of the 'Japanese Flower Shawl' - exactly the same pattern as in my previous posting, still very different-looking as I used a 4-ply sock wool with very long colour sequences this time (found at a local shop) and a smaller hook. I also deliberately made a colour change for each round to get a more distinct appearance.

Here you have another picture featuring the Noro shawl to the left, the sock wool shawl to the right, for comparison.

As you can see, I've become really hooked on crocheting with variegated sock yarn - both the 4-ply and the 6-ply yarns are very comfortable for that purpose, and choosing smaller and bigger hooks makes the work pieces sturdy or soft, whatever intended.

And of course I started more projects than these just presented ... but I will show them later on, when accomplished.

Finally just another triangle shawl which I've just finished - knitted with a multi-coloured yarn I spun myself - a dear friend of mine will receive it as a birthday present.

(German summary: Es tut mir leid, daß ich wieder einmal so lange gebraucht habe, um aus dem 'Blog-Winterschlaf' zu finden - gefaulenzt habe ich trotzdem nicht, sondern mich vor allem mit Sockenwolle und verschiedenen Häkelprojekten beschäftigt: eine Weste, eine kleine Häkeltasche und noch eine zweite Version des Blumenschals - ja, und ein gestricktes Tuch aus selbstgesponnener Wolle ist auch noch dabei.)