Saturday, 20 June 2015

Spice up my hooks!

When I started crocheting I used some old crochet hooks my grandmother and my mother-in-law had given me a long time ago. I didn't think about 'good' or 'bad' hooks. It was just a hook, wasn't it? But one day I needed a hook size I didn't have in my stock and so I went to our local yarn shop to buy a new hook. It was a Clover with a soft grip. 


I couldn't believe how easy it suddenly was to crochet even for several hours. The next day I searched the Internet getting more information about the world of crochet hooks. You can get very cheap ones and ones that cost more than the yarn you need for a blanket. I immediately fell in love with these wooden hooks.
Last year my siblings gave me this set as a birthday present. I was so happy! It is very comfortable to crochet with them, I enjoy it a lot but sometimes I just need a thicker handle. But I have so many crochet hooks already, I don't really want to buy more of them. I just can't throw things away that are still usable. I love to repair, to renovate and to find a different usage for something no longer suitable. I wear trousers, shoes and shirts that are more that 15 years old, our furniture is a mixture of old family heirloom and flea market finds.  We always keep things that might be used otherwise. And things we do not keep, we try to give to someone who still could use it.
 I just don't want to be part of the throwaway society though I am aware that it is not possible to escape entirely from it. 

Back to the hooks... What to do with the simple metal hooks that do not feel comfortable to work with? Do you also have quite a few of them lying around?
The lovely lady in my local yarn shop told me about the possibility to make a handle for hooks using polymer clay, here in Germany called Fimo. You can get it in all different kinds of colours and I chose red and white just to start with. My daughter was enthusiastic about helping me and she couldn't wait to start.
First we put some white Fimo onto the hook. You have to knead it a little until it is soft.
We decided to mix the white and the red to get some kind of polka dots.

You really have to roll it for a long time to get it soft and smooth. Finally we were able to cut pieces. But I already realised that the inner circle was not really round. So maybe no polka dots?
But we put the pieces enthusiastically around the white handle until it was completely covered.
Once the hook was covered, we use our hands to gently roll the hook, squidging all the clay so it sat evenly around without any seams. No, no, no, no round polka dots, but we didn't mind, just taking the next hooks to try. 
 That afternoon we made four handles, trying different methods. When we finished them they had to be baked in the oven. I put them into a mug filled with black La Gomera sand (oh holidays, where art thou...) and put the hooks head down in the sand.

That's how they looked like after baking. The left one was our first. The next one is a polka dot hook now. We just put little white dots on the red clay. The other two were made by my daughter. Very creative indeed! And she got hooked on spicing up even more hooks! A couple of days later I had to buy green and blue clay and we started again. 

This is the result:
Three more hooks that are wonderful to work with and they look wonderful, don't they? I really love to crochet with them! All in all we embellished seven hooks, here you can see them in all their beauty!

 And though it is just 13 degrees above zero, no flip-flop weather, no homemade ice tea and sunbathing in the garden, we still enjoy German strawberries that I have bought on the market. The ones in our garden are still far from getting red...


Dark chocolate brownies topped with mascarpone cream and strawberries is a treat you can enjoy in all weathers.  

I hope you also have something to enjoy this weekend. 
Back to crochet!


Sunday, 14 June 2015

A new long-term project ...and a second?

Ripple blankets, granny square blankets, flower blankets, v-stitch blankets, granny stripe blankets, mandala square blankets...


I have tasted blood. My first ripple blanket is finished and I already dream of having handmade blankets all over the house. We are a proper blanket family.We all four love to spend time on the sofa reading books and it doesn't matter if it is cold or not a cosy blanket is the icing on the cake.

We love 'Gemütlichkeit' (cosiness?).
 I think that this is one of the most wonderful words in German, Gemütlichkeit is one of these rare all-embracing words that evoke so many positive connotations. 'Gemütlichkeit' is a warm and friendly atmosphere in which everyone feels fine. It is characterised by equilibrium, security, jauntiness and absence of any conflicts. 'Gemütlichkeit' does not like hectic rush, it tolerates no excitement, no quarrel, no worries. 'Gemütlichkeit' doesn't get along with coldness, rigidity and diet :-).

So in short, if you want to feel 'gemütlich' you need a blanket!

That's why I started a second blanket and a third on top. I know I shoot for the moon starting two blankets at a time but I just couldn't decide with which blanket to begin with. The first blanket I want to talk about today is a really easy pattern. Just teeny-tiny colourful granny squares sewn together by the 'join-as-you-go-method'. 
My table is loaded with happy, happy colourful and heartwarming little squares. It is so much fun to make them!
I started crocheting 10 small circles of each colour of DK yarn I had in my stock. All in all 350 circles. I don't know if it will be enough for a big blanket - I believe that blanket have to be big - but that's at least a good start.
It so so nice to play with all these tiny circles that will become small squares when growing up!
I decided to collect all loose ends in a glass just to see how much it will be when I am finished. And I also decided to sew in these annoying ends right from the beginning so that I will not get a nervous breakdown when the crocheting part of the blanket is finished. How are you dealing with all those ends? Do you sew them in directly or do you wait until the end? 

Sometimes I think that I should stop sewing, the blanket could grow much faster just doing the crocheting part but who will be there to look after all those ends?

I already crocheted 350 small circles, each granny square will have 6 ends, that will make 2100 ends!!! How could I possibly deal with so many ends in the end?

I am totally in love with this project and even my daughter likes to play with all those colours. Today she sat next to me discussing which colour to choose for the next granny square I wanted to join. It was fun to talk with her about soft and bright or complementary colours, about which combination we liked or disliked. 

I already know that this blanket will be loved and cared for in our family. That we will use it daily and hopefully it will accompany us for a long time.

It is cold again here in Northern Germany. We all hope that the summer will come back soon. But the weather is perfect for a evening on the sofa joining more granny squares to my wonderful blanket. 
I hope that you will also  have a peaceful Sunday evening. 


Saturday, 6 June 2015

A little piece of happiness...

has come to live with me! Have you seen all the Nordic Shawls (pattern by Anette) that are displayed on so many crochet blogs? As soon as I had seen all these beauties I knew one day I would try this beautiful pattern. 

Well, I am a true shawl person. Considered by many an old ladies garment or something you only set eyes on in some old Jane Austen films, I just see cosiness, warmth and femininity. And it is a very functional garment, as well. I often take a shawl with me when leaving the house. You can use it as a pillow in the car, you can sit on it on the beach, you can put it around your head when a strong wind is suddenly blowing. And it is a good cover for children when they start freezing (after having an ice cream, for example). 
I was reaaally excited when I bought the yarn for this shawl. I have a soft spot for the Drops Cotton Merino yarn and it was no question for me that this yarn would be the right one for the pattern. The colour choice was quickly made, I love the beige shade of that yarn, especially combined with different shades of blue and green.

 It was not all easy going though. The time I spent ripping the colour block all back, I could have made two Nordic Shawls. But it was all my own fault I have to admit, for I couldn't make up my mind on the colour block. In my first try I used too much green, my second try was much too dark (too much marine).
 But I am glad I unpicked it two times because now I am really happy with the colours and how it turned out. 


 I do LOVE it!!!!

  I do wear this shawl as often as I can. It really looks good with jeans and a white tunic. It is too warm to wear it these days but in the evenings I am very happy to get it on my shoulders again.

I am really in love with this piece of crochet happiness and I can only say thanks a lot to Anette for such a nice pattern! 

Last but not least I want to say a warm welcome to all new followers. I am so happy that you like my little blog and the things I create. I really love to read your comments and as soon as the weather is getting worse again, I will have a look at all your blogs, as well. 

I hope you have a nice weekend with lots of sun and fun!