Projects, projects everywhere!

I’m back! And still insanely busy… In between the holidays, a very busy time at work, getting sick a couple times, and having my birthday, I’ve been working on loads of little projects that just didn’t seem to want to be made into a blog post. Thus, I’ve decided to try and put them all in one.

So here’s a quick overview of what I’ve been up to:
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I made a bunch of stuff to sell with Tegendraads at Gamepitcon last January.
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Finished work on the blanket I started back in October/November (still need to somehow attach the fleece that I bought for the back)
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Made some cute felt owls with a kit I bought way back at the Kreadoe
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Went to the Haakathon for the Dutch leprosy relief and made a couple ‘red cats’
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Went to the opening of a new Crochet store by the girls behind Briljant Crochet (they seem to really be living the dream!)
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Made some cards with a kit I got for my birthday.

And together with my friend Doretta, we taught two more people to crochet ^_^ I hope they enjoyed it and are still working on their skills.

Right now, I’m working on Vlad the vampire bat by Lalylala. Using this:
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A ball of awesome ‘magic swing’ yarn from Briljant Crochet. It’s got a little sparkle mixed in it ❤ but I have to work it together with my normal yarn, which made for some hard work. Thankfully it's almost done now!
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Magic swing in action, it’s a lot of fun to watch the balls of yarn taking shape.

After Vlad is finished, I’ve got a couple projects lined up already (african flower crocodile, a froggy coin purse, actually really finishing the blanket, maybe even start on another blanket with the Stylecraft CAL in April) I hope to be making more blog posts again in the future! I’ll probably elaborate a bit on the Haakathon in a later post ^_^

Plus, something totally not crochet or craft related, I got a new fish tank!

What have you guys been up to?
Cheers, Lydia

Kreadoe 2014

Last Saturday, Doretta and I went to the Kreadoe. This is a huge arts and crafts fair in the Netherlands, with tonnes of stands promoting different crafts and selling the materials you need.

We went last year as well, but didn’t really enjoy ourselves as much as we would’ve hoped. So this year, we weren’t sure if we would go at all. Eventually, we both decided that we deserved to have a nice “girl’s day out” and went anyway. Luckily, this time we knew what to expect and we came prepared. I’d checked out the site already, and found a couple workshops that I wanted to attend. On the day itself, I ended up doing other things, which were just as much fun nonetheless.

My yarn wish-list was pretty big, since I had a couple of projects that I wanted to get started on, or was in the middle of when I ran out of the right yarn. I ended up buying loads of different things, but hardly anything from my wish-list. That’s the fun bit about this kind of fair. Since it’s not focused on crocheting alone, you can get into contact with some other crafts that you might like just as much (or maybe even more)

As for the workshops, the two that I attended were the following: covering a Styrofoam heart with moss and other natural materials, and making an origami Christmas ornament. And here are the results:

The paper is kind of shiny, so pretty <3

The paper is kind of shiny, so pretty ❤

I made a number plate for our house ^_^

I made a number plate for our house ^_^

Like I said, I bought loads of different things, so here are some pictures of my haul:

Everything put out on the table

Everything put out on the table

The yarn I bought. I ended up buying two versions of almost the same colour to start on a flamingo pattern I'd wanted to make for a while now. Turns out I can now make a small army of flamingos if I want to... I really love the multicolour yarn, and I'm rather glad that I didn't know the price until I went to the register (man, pretty multicolour yarn is expensive!)

The yarn I bought. I ended up buying two versions of almost the same colour to start on a flamingo pattern I’d wanted to make for a while now. Turns out I can now make a small army of flamingos if I want to… I really love the multicolour yarn, and I’m rather glad that I didn’t know the price until I went to the register (man, pretty multicolour yarn is expensive!)

Of course, I couldn't resist to buy a package that lets me make a cute owl out of felt <3

Of course, I couldn’t resist to buy a package that lets me make a cute owl out of felt ❤

A set to make a Styrofoam fish. I loved the finished ones they had at their stand and couldn't let myself walk away without a set to make one of my own

A set to make a Styrofoam fish. I loved the finished ones they had at their stand and couldn’t let myself walk away without a set to make one of my own

Little tiles to make a mosaic with

Little tiles to make a mosaic with

And lastly, a set of three cute little vases

And lastly, a set of three cute little vases

I already made the mosaic inside a little tray. I just need to fill the spaces between the tiles. And the flamingo is halfway done. I ran into a little problem with the way the feathers are crocheted, but thanks to the lovely crochet community, I got some helpful tips and should soon be well on my way to finish it. Other than that, my head is brimming with ideas and inspiration. Let’s just hope I don’t lose it before everything is finished up.

Do you enjoy looking at other crafts, or do you prefer to stick to what you know? I love to experiment a little bit (or else, I would have never started to crochet!)

Cheers, Lydia

Sorting the ‘stash’

I’m sure you all know the feeling. You need that one particular colour, but your stash is so messy that you end up spending endless amounts of time digging through it all to find what you’re looking for.

A while back, I got a nice big trunk to store my yarn in and I figured if I kept the colours together, I wouldn’t have to spend too much time looking for anything. Man, was I ever wrong. Eventually, my stash ended up looking like this:
DSC05987I decided that I needed to do something, or I would have to keep buying more and more yarn because I couldn’t find that one skein that’s hidden all the way at the bottom. The perfect idea came to me when I read a post from All About Ami about making a DIY Yarn Storage. I needed compartments in the trunk to sort my skeins. I thought I’d found some at Ikea, but as it turned out, they didn’t fit. (They did fit perfectly in the drawers of our new wardrobe, so our socks and stuff are sorted as well)
That’s when I realised, I could just as easily make something myself.

And today, I finally set myself to work on it.

Everything I used: a piece of foamboard, two big pieces of cardboard, a pencil, scissors, box cutter, measuring tape, hot glue gun and something that helps you draw straight lines

Everything you need: a piece of foamboard, two big pieces of cardboard, a pencil, scissors, box cutter, measuring tape, hot glue gun and something that helps you draw straight lines

Plus, of course: a cup of tea. (optional)

Plus, of course: a cup of tea. (optional)

I cut the foamboard in two pieces that fit inside the trunk when laid flat. These make the base of the compartments, so I could fit multiple layers inside that were easy to lift up. It’s important that the underside is nice and sturdy, to that it doesn’t bend or break under the weight of the yarn. The dividers don’t need to be as sturdy, so I used the thinner cardboard. It’s actually pretty nice that they give way a little bit, so you can squeeze in that last skein. I think it’s easiest (for me to type and less text for you), if I just show you in pictures how I made the compartments.

First, I divided the foamboard in two fitting pieces

First, I divided the foamboard in two fitting pieces

Then, I measured the strips to make the dividers

Then, I measured the strips to make the dividers

Cut them all and then used the hot glue gun to attach four of them around the bottom

Cut them all and then used the hot glue gun to attach four of them around the bottom

After glueing, you get this

After glueing, you get this

Time for another cup of tea!

Time for another cup of tea!

Cutting notches so that the dividers can be placed together

Cutting notches so that the dividers can be placed together

The dividers put together

The dividers put together

They can also be folded if I ever decide I don't need them for a while

They can also be folded if I ever decide I don’t need them for a while

The complete compartment. The dividers are loose, so they can be taken out or replaced if need be

The complete compartment. The dividers are loose, so they can be taken out or replaced if need be

Time to cuddle with the cats before I start on the sorting

Time to cuddle with the cats before I start on the sorting (they look totally happy to see me in this picture :P)

The bottom holds a couple skeins that I don't use very often, since it's bigger yarn, plus some tiny skeins, needle felting materials and a little bit of stuffing.

The bottom holds a couple skeins that I don’t use very often, since it’s bigger yarn, plus some tiny skeins, needle felting materials and a little bit of stuffing.

The second layer holds one of the compartments

The second layer holds one of the compartments

And then there's the top layer with the second compartment

And then there’s the top layer with the second compartment

A sorted stash is a happy stash! Hopefully it will stay neat this time ^_~

How do you sort your stash? Is it sorted at all? And did you find this little post of mine to be helpful? Feel free to let me know in a comment! ^_^

Cheers, Lydia

Confessions of a Shopaholic

I love shopping, especially if it means getting some new stuff for my ever growing crochet collection. Last week was spent spending money ^_^

I bought more yarn to work on Boyfriend’s scarf. Yarn to make the Elephant Snuggle. Yarn I needed for the patterns I have in mind. Yarn for the baskets I want to make. Folders to sort the printed out patterns I have. And a box to store and sort the buttons I bought some time ago. Next to that, I got a big bag of yarn from a friend, I still need to sort it. So yeah, I probably won’t run out of yarn anytime soon ^_^”

Yarn for the scarf

Yarn for the scarf

Yarn for the baskets, with one already done (I couldn't help myself and they're rather quick to work up)

Yarn for the baskets, with one already done (I couldn’t help myself and they’re rather quick to work up)

Yarn for the Elephant Snuggle (I also bought a skein of off-white)

Yarn for the Elephant Snuggle (I also bought a skein of off-white)

Folders! I now have four with various categories of patterns

Folders! I now have four with various categories of patterns

A box with loads of compartments to store the buttons

A box with loads of compartments to store the buttons

Sorted on one side

Sorted on one side

And the other

And the other

BIG bag of yarn ^_^

BIG bag of yarn ^_^

The yarn for the snuggle (Scheepjes Softfun) and the baskets (Lammy Hawai) has a lovely soft feel to it. I really enjoy working with it. It only takes one skein to make a small basket, so I bought two of the grey and blue to try and make some larger ones. Maybe play with the dimensions a little bit ^_^

I wanted to ask if you guys enjoy your shopping trips for your crochet projects, but that’s a rather silly question I think ^_~

Cheers, Lydia

Yarnsale

Hey everyone!

This weekend, there was a sale at the Echtstudio store. You know, the one I went to a week and a half ago ^_^ This time I went with two other friends and had a blast once again. One of my friends is just starting to crochet, so she really had some hardcore shopping to do. As for me, I kept it light with just some stuff I needed and had been looking for.

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I’ve had my eye on the pattern for a bag for a while now, so I decided to go ahead and try to make something other than little stuffed toys. I needed a special type of yarn for it, RibbonXL, which is basically a kind of band with which you crochet. Plus, I needed a hook to go with that, 10mm! Seems huge to me and I wonder how well I will do. Of course, I couldn’t decide on a colour, so I took two different ones, just in case I do well with the first try and decide to make another.

Also, my boyfriend asked me if I could make a goat for him. It’s kind of a running gag between us, so I decided to see what I could do. So when I came across the new book from Christel Krukkert “Crochetparty on the farm” (loosely translated) and saw the pattern for a cute little goat in there, I knew I had to get it. Add a little sound box to make a sheep/goatish sound, some white yarn and I am good to go!

Other than that, I stocked up on some eyes and got myself some really strong magnets. There’s a pattern I’ve been meaning to make, it’s of little monkeys that you can put together and stick on all things metal with magnets. I already bought some magnets a long time ago, but found out they lose their sticking ability once they need to go through yarn. So now, I should be able to fix that ^_^

To finish this post off, here’s a picture of what I’ve been working on: a little Easter Bunny. I just need to make some eggs for her to hide and I’m good to go for Easter.

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Cheers, Lydia

PS: Catbus is done! Pictures will come in a later post and I even managed to jot down the pattern, so I should be putting that up also pretty soon.

It’s so fluffeh!

Today, I’d like to talk a bit about materials.
Normally, I use plain and simple yarn for my projects. Here in the Netherlands, the brands that are the easiest to get are Katia and Phildar. These brands come in all kinds of colours and thicknesses, which make them perfect choices for anything you need to make. Phildar is usually a bit shiny and more rugged, with bright and bold colours. Katia is softer and can thread apart a bit easier, but this brand has softer colours. So both have their strong and weak points.

But sometimes, you feel in need for a real eye-catcher. And that’s when I usually turn to fuzzy yarn.

It can be a downright disaster to work with, but once you get the hang of it and aren’t focussing too much on whether or not you have the right amount of stitches, it is one of the most wonderful materials to make amigurumi with. At first you really have to experiment with the yarn. Try out different hook sizes and make sure you have enough light. If you normally work on you crochet in the evenings, make sure you have a strong lamp right on your work or I can guarantee quite a bit of frustration. I prefer natural light when it comes to this type of yarn, since it makes it much easier to see your stitches. Also, it is important to work ‘inside-out’ with this yarn, since most of the fuzzies end up inside you work otherwise. Luckily, with this yarn you can’t really tell which side is which, so it’s pretty much invisible if you just turn your work ‘wrong-side out’ in the end. There really isn’t a definite wrong or right side with this stuff! Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, to be honest, it really is. But it does take a lot more time and effort to make a full project with this yarn, so I usually just use it as a detail.

I have used different brands of fuzzy yarn, but I have to admit that I don’t really have a favourite yet. It all depends on what look you are trying to achieve.
The brands I have used so far are: Katia Brazilia, Katia Coral, Schachenmayr Nomotta Bravo Color, Phildar Phil Douce and the house-brand of a local store (Zeeman).
Brazilia and the house-brand are the hairiest of the brands I’ve used. These can be hard to use, since all the fluff gets in the way of your stitches. But at the same time, this gives a really nice effect, almost as if you didn’t crochet the work at all!
Coral and Bravo Color have shorter, quite stiff fluff, which does give the fuzzy effect, but isn’t nearly as huggable as with the first two. These brands are easier to work with though, because they aren’t so fluffy that you can’t see your stitches anymore.
Phil Douce was awesome to work with, since it’s so very soft and doesn’t have long fluff at all. It is easier to see your stitches, but not as clearly as you would with regular yarn. It does come out a bit different than other yarns, so it’s important to keep an eye on your work and how it is supposed to look when it’s finished. Sometimes, you need to adjust the pattern a little to get the shape you want. Also, this yarn just makes your work very, very soft. It doesn’t really have that furr-look that the others have.

I’m sure by this time, you are all tired of my rambling and want to give your eyes a rest. But before you do, I’d like to share some pictures of a couple of stuffed animals I made with the fuzzy yarns. Picture time!

My first attempt at using fuzzy yarn.

My first attempt at using fuzzy yarn.

The camel was supposed to have two humps, but I really lost count of my stitches with this one. So, it became a dromedary camel ^_^

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Funky Sheep

The head of this sheep is made with the house brand, but it didn’t really come out the way I wanted it to. So I made the body using Bravo Color and that looked a bit better. I never got around to make a new head for the poor thing, so it has to make do with two types of yarn. (my apologies for the blurry picture)

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a Zebra, obviously

The manes for this zebra are made with the house brand. They did come out a bit bigger than they should have, but this is because I kept following the pattern with a bigger hook than the one I used for the body. With these types of things, it’s important to keep an eye on your work and simply quit when it is big enough to go with the rest.

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Awesome Lion

This one really made me happy, since you use the fuzzy yarn for the last part of the head. So it’s a simple case of decreasing your stitches until the hole is small enough to be sewn closed. It is important to keep an eye on the head and make sure that you don’t decrease too fast, otherwise, the head becomes quite flat. For this one I used Katia Brazilia.

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SQUIRREL!

The tail came out a bit too big at first and then, I couldn’t get the shape exactly right, but I still think it looks really cute on him!  It is made using Katia Brazilia.

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Another sheep

This one is made with Katia Coral. It’s a bit easier since you can see your stitches, but then again, I think this would look a lot cuter with a bit more fluff to it.

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Frog and Dog, I don’t have a picture of the dog on its own…

The dogs ears are made using Katia Brazilia. They did come out a bit small. This is due to the fact that I had to ration my yarn, since I only had a little less than one skein for this project.

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Little polar teddy bear

This one is (almost) entirely made of Phildar Douce. It doesn’t have that long furry look, but it is so amazingly soft. It was an absolute horror to make though, since the shape didn’t exactly come out when I followed the pattern. So it took quite a bit of tweeking to get this one right. It’s still one of my favourite fuzzy works though!

There are a lot of other fuzzy yarns for sale all over the internet and I’m sure you can find it in your local craft or yarn store. Be sure to give it a try, it’s a great challenge that comes with some wonderful results!

Cheers, Lydia