Friday, 18 August 2017

Current projects

After being away in Europe for the whole month of July, I finally found time to bring my 2017 Sydney Temperature Scarf somewhat up to date. I made it to July 16th before running out of yellow yarn (for days with a maximum temperature between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius). Now I have to wait until the new yarn that I ordered online arrives...

The scarf is almost one metre long now, with 6.5 months done, so the completed scarf will be almost two metres!

Meanwhile I've also made a start on my crochet baby blanket in sea colours - here are the first two squares!

Monday, 14 August 2017

Straightforward mitts and more

My husband asked if I could make some fingerless gloves for him, so last week I spent most of my free time on this pair, so he could wear them before winter ends here!

I used Scheepjes Stonewashed yarn (cotton/acrylic) that was gifted to me in the Netherlands, and a free Ravelry pattern by Mone Drager: Straightforward Mitts. The pattern is well written, easy to follow, and I love the effect of the twisted rib!

I've also done a bit of crochet, to keep up my newfound skills:

Spotlight had a yarn sale, so I stocked up on cotton in sea colours - I'm planning to make something like this baby blanket (might be a bit ambitious...)

I've also bought a large crochet hook and dug up my t-shirt yarn:

This could become a bathroom mat... I'm enjoying making it, and actually finding it very useful, because the thick yarn makes it easy to see how the stitches are formed.
To be continued!

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Holiday impressions from Rome and the Netherlands

We're back in Sydney, after a wonderful holiday in Europe. As promised, here are some photo impressions.
We started with a 4-day city trip to Rome, where we stayed in an apartment very close to the Vatican. It was my third visit to Rome, but the boys' first, so we did all the things you have to do in Rome, like Saint Peter's Basilica (above) and the Colosseum (which they loved of course):

I remembered to look down every now and then and saw some great sewer lids - I wished I'd brought my Shiva paintsticks and some fabric!

I'd looked up places where we could find some street art, but they were far from the city centre and sadly there was no time to go there. However, I did spot a few pieces of street art:

Of course we threw some coins in the Trevi Fountain to make sure we will return to Rome. I'm looking forward to my next visit, when I will just skip all the touristy things and discover other parts of Rome!

More pics from Rome on my photo blog here, here and here!

Back in the Netherlands we stayed for a week in a holiday home near the National Park the Hoge Veluwe, where we visited the Hunting Lodge St Hubert, designed and built by the famous Dutch architect H.P. Berlage in 1914-1920. He intended it to be a gesamtkunstwerk and also designed the interior, the gardens and even the furniture - it was all part of the whole work of art.

I thought it was very impressive! More pics, also of the interior, here.

Living in Australia makes us want to see some really old buildings when we are in Europe, so we visited a few castles - the one above is Castle Doorwerth near Arnhem. Its oldest parts date from the 13th century (more pics here). And the one below is Castle Hackfort (oldest part from the 14th century):

My mother-in-law works as a volunteer in the castle gardens and took us for a walk through the gardens and the surrounding woods (more pics here):

When my husband had gone back to Sydney for work after two weeks, I took the boys to the island of Schiermonnikoog. I have often been there when I was young and really wanted to show them this beautiful part of the Netherlands:

Schiermonnikoog is a small island with only one village, where you can find beautiful old houses:

You can't bring your car to the island, but you can hire bicycles to get around!

We stayed for four days and had a great time - I wish we could have stayed for two weeks!
More pics of Schiermonnikoog here.

When we got back to the mainland I took the boys for a short visit to Appingedam, the small town where I grew up. (More pics of Appingedam here...)

Then we drove on to Groningen!

My favourite city in the whole wide world! We stayed with my BFF Hylkia and her family for a few days. It was so good to be back there!

I discovered an interesting work of street art:

We went shopping and found a yarn shop:

Hylkia took this photo of me there ;-)

And of course we had to go to the market...

We had a wonderful time in Rome and in the Netherlands, and I hope you have enjoyed these photo impressions.
Now back in Sydney I am working hard on my new crochet skills. I'll show you the results soon!

Thursday, 27 July 2017

More socks - and a granny square!

A few days ago I finished my second pair of socks! These are a belated birthday present for my sister-in-law - back in February I promised to make her a wall quilt, but I've gone off quilting a bit lately, so when she admired my first pair of socks on Facebook and casually told me her shoe size, I asked if I could knit her a pair of socks instead. That was okay, so I told her to choose her favourite yarn from Stray Cat Socks, ordered it and started knitting.
Stray Cat Socks is a yarn shop in New Zealand and they have the most gorgeous self-striping sock yarn! My sister-in-law chose Set Adrift and I ordered some Peacock yarn for myself. The yarn comes in an adorable box:

For this pair I used the same pattern as for my first pair: Kate Atherley's Basic Ribbed Socks, a free Ravelry pattern. This time I knitted the heels and toes with a matching solid colour (also available from Stray Cat Socks):

They are being modelled here by my youngest son - I will present them to their new owner tomorrow. Yes, the boys and I are still in the Netherlands (sadly hubby is already back in Sydney, he had to go back to work after two weeks), but only for two more nights - we fly back to Australia on Friday.
We've had a wonderful holiday in Europe - I will share some impressions here when we are back home, but in the meantime you can find pics from Rome and the Netherlands on my photo blog.
We are currently staying with my mother-in-law, and she has taught me how to crochet!

I've just finished my first granny square! The pattern came from this book, published in 1972:

There are some hilarious photos in it:

This is the granny square blanket (I'm not planning on making one, just wanted to learn the basics):

I'm so glad that I finally know how to crochet - there are lots of projects I want to try. To be continued...

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Oven Mitt - Tutorial

Only three more sleeps and then we are off to the Netherlands! I can't wait to be back in my home country, see family and friends again after 2.5 years, speak Dutch all the time, ride a bike everywhere without a helmet and eat lots of Dutch cheese and licorice!We will also take the boys on a city trip to Rome for a few days, that is going to be so much fun!!

We will be staying in a few different places while we are in the Netherlands. I thought that it would be nice to have some small, handmade gifts for our hosts, so decided to use some of the Australian fabrics in my stash to whip up a few oven mitts. They're quick and easy to make - I took some pictures along the way to show you how. They make great seasonal presents as you can use any fabric you like (Christmas oven mitts? why not!)

I found some Insul-Bright heat resistant batting in my fabric cupboard (from when I made a tea cosy in 2013), which of course is great for oven mitts. I added a layer of cotton batting to get nice and thick mitts. If you don't have any Insul-Bright, two layers of cotton batting will also work.

You will need: 
- two 8'' x 12'' (20 x 25 cm) rectangles of your chosen fabric
- two 8'' x 12'' (20 x 25 cm) rectangles of Insul- Bright batting
- two 8'' x 12'' (20 x 25 cm) rectangles of cotton batting
- two 8'' x 12'' (20 x 25 cm) rectangles of lining fabric
- matching or contrasting thread
- 24'' (60 cm) ribbon or double-fold bias tape
- sewing machine (a walking foot is recommended for sewing through multiple layers)
- safety pins
- binding clips

1 Use one of your oven mitts to create a template, by placing it on a piece of paper and tracing around it, adding a seam allowance of 1'' (2.5 cm). (If you don't have an oven mitt, trace around your hand with a 2'' (5 cm) seam allowance) Cut out the template.

2 Make a fabric sandwich from the following layers: the outer fabric on top, right side up; the Insul-Bright next, shiny side up; the cotton batting next, and the lining fabric at the bottom, wrong side up.

3 With the walking foot attached to your sewing machine, quilt the sandwich in horizontal and vertical lines:

4  Make a second sandwich in the same way and quilt it.

5 Pin the template to the front of one of the fabric sandwiches and cut it out.

6 Flip the template over and pin it to the front of the other sandwich. Cut it out.

7 Place both parts of the oven mitt right sides together.

8 Cut a 6'' (15 cm) piece of ribbon, fold it in half, and place it 2'' (5 cm) from the bottom edge of the mitt in the side seam between the two parts, facing inwards with the rough edges aligning.

9 Use binding clips to clip the two parts together. (pinning through so many layers is really hard!)

10. Sew all around the edges, leaving the bottom edge open. Trim the seams where necessary to reduce bulk.

11. Turn the mitt right side out. Fold the remaining ribbon around the bottom edge and sew it in place. Use one or two binding clips to keep the ribbon from moving and replace them as you go. Fold the last 1/2'' (1 cm) in for a neat finish.

12 Admire your finished oven mitt!