Saturday, December 14, 2013

Ta daaaaaah!

This week I finished a project that has been in my WIP bucket for about 5 months.
Here it is:

I am so happy with it!
The pattern is called Lantern Pullover by Cristina Mershon and appeared in Crochet! Today in the March/April edition of 2012.
It's a great pattern, very easy to follow and at the same time pretty.
The pattern calls for Sport / 5 ply yarn but I used King Cole Mirage DK. I've used this yarn before and I think it's thinner than the average DK / 8 ply so I thought I'd give it a try and it turned out just fine.
It's a lovely yarn to work with pretty stripes that appear as you work. It's 50% wool and 50% acrylic and really warm and snugly.
The Christmas tree in the town where we live has been lit this weekend:
I love the mix of blue with the white stars.
How is your weekend going so far?
I have got one more Christmas present to finish and I am trying to finish my WIPS. I am going to make a New Year's resolution to keep my WIPs under control next year so I am desperately trying to finish all my current projects before the end of the year :)
Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas: coffee, cookies and angels

Christmas really is getting close now.
Are you enjoying this time of year? Everywhere is looking beautiful right now with pretty decorations.
We decorated our home at the weekend and I have made a little crochet decoration:
A cute little angel!
This is from a Drops pattern. As with all Drops patterns, it is really easy to follow and the outcome is exactly as I had hoped :)
I used craft cotton and a 4mm hook for this project.
Remember the christmas cookies I wrote about last week?
Well, they were so delicious I went back for some more!
They are so beautifully decorated. Next week I am going to make a birthday cake and I'm thinking of making a plain sponge cake and trying some really special decoration with colours and edible decorations :)
Another typical Christmas treat I like to enjoy at this time of year is a Starbucks Christmas coffee.
They are really sweet and a little bit sickly but I love to have one while walking around Madrid admiring the decorations.
I had an orange moccha coffee. I love the christmas cups. Can you see my name on mine? :) 
Look how pretty the advertising board is:
And here is the centre square in Madrid all ready for christmas :
I LOVE this time of year!
Are you nearly ready for Christmas?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Cookies, coasters and cushions

Yesterday it snowed for the first time in Madrid this season. It's feeling very festive and I love to wrap up warm in crochet and winter boots and go for walks in the evening.
Yesterday we stopped by a bakery that sells the most delicious, home made cakes and bought some Christmas cookies.
When it's cold out there is nothing nicer than being at home with a cup of something hot and some sweet treats :)
Can you see the coaster under my mug of coffee?
It was one my mom made for me a while ago:
It's so pretty. She had a hard time following the pattern but I think it was worth the effort. It is shaped like a lily and she made it in the colours of the Spanish flag especially for us!
I'm not a big magazine reader...apart from crochet ones of course :) But my mom reads a lot and often cuts things out of them for me.
A while back she gave me this cut out:
It is a step by step guide to making a pin cushion.
I've seen a few of these on craft blogs that I visit and always thought how pretty they were so I just had to give it a go!
I got the materials together :
Technically this is an upcycling project because the fabric I used it from an old t shirt. I have a new craft related addition to add to the ever growing list
1. Yarn
2. Hooks
3. Buttons
4. Beads
5. Fabric
and now
6. a huge stash of old clothes
I look at them and think that the fabric would be great for an upcyling project so I put them to one side and now I have a huge  mountain of old clothes!
I told my dad about this and he added to my stash with 47 of his old silk ties! 47!!! They are really nice and I want to use them for something specially so I am searching pinterest for a great idea to use them with.
Anyway, back to the pin cushion....
The pattern called for a perfect circle and I am terrible at drawing on fabric so I came up with a solution:
I used a huge mug as the template!
Sewed the pieces together with my machine and then by hand added some purple thread to finish it off:
Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The winner is.....

It is time to draw the winner of my giveaway :)
 I took my yarn bucket that I made in June which is full to the brim of WIPs and yarn:
Wrote the name of everyone who had entered on a piece of paper.
And put the pieces of paper in my bucket:
This was so much fun because it reminded me so much of taking part in raffles when I was little :)
I pulled out a piece of paper and the winner is......

Hannapat from the blog Cosmos and Cotton!
So, Hannapat please let me know you address so I can get this on it's way to you:
And today is Thanksgiving so I want to say a very Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers! I hope you all have a wonderful day with your loved ones.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Snowflakes and spindles

It's starting to feel very wintry here. I honestly really like this time of year and prefer colder days to hot ones. I am a total homebody and love nothing more than being at home with  my husband on a cold night :)
The change in weather has reminded me that Christmas is just around the corner. I've made two crochet gifts so far shawl one and shawl two :) But now I've started to make some decorations:
This is the first one.
A little snowflake taken from the book Beyond the square crochet motifs by Edie Eckman. This book is so great. There are so many great motifs to chose from, perfect to make a unique afghan. You've still got time to put in on your Christmas list for this year and hope Santa brings you a copy :)
I added some plastic beads to the snowflake to give it a bit more shine. The yarn is light blue cotton crochet thread size 5 with a thread of silver lurex running through it.
Does any one use any antique hooks for their work? I haven't crocheted with one but my mom showed me these 3 on my last trip home:
They belonged to her grandma.
The first two are retractable:

I'd never seen hooks like them before, They are so thin and delicate.

And here is my next project:
I was given a spindle and some beautiful roving. It is the perfect colour for me isn't it? My aunt chose it for me and she definitely knows what I like :)
It'll be the first time I use a drop spindle and I've been watching YouTube videos to get an idea of how they work but I would really appreciate it if anyone could give me some advice or hints? I keep taking the roving out and wanting to start to make my own yarn with it but at the same time I don't want to mess it up!

Don't forget to stop by my giveaway! There are 5 days to go before I draw the winner of these 3 gifts:
Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

From the heart

My newest project really is one straight from the heart:
 When I was at my grandad's house while visiting England in the summer I saw a doily on the window sill that I remembered seeing when I was little and I asked him if my grandma had made it. He told me she had and went over to a drawer and pulled out another, identical one. He told me to I could have it as a reminder of my grandma.
The original doily had seen better days:
It had lost its shape after years of use, part of it had been ripped and it also had a big tea stain on it.
The first part of this Project was restoration. I started by washing the doily and rubbing at that stain. It didn't want to go to start with but eventually I got it to fade quite a bit.
Then I blocked it. When I block my own work I spin the project first in the washing machine and then really pull at the yarn to get the stitches to open up.
This time I was so scared of ruining it that I carefully dried the doily with a nice, soft towel and then very gently pinned it onto the blocking board hoping for the best.
Here you can see it before, during and after:

Now it is back to its original splendor. Here is my grandma's doily:
After I saw the doily I decided I would love to make one too and keep it with my grandmas.
Here you have my version:
My plan was to try and replicate the pattern counting the stitches and working from the original doily to try and make an identical one. But I decided to have a look online to see if there were any similar patterns anywhere.

I couldn't believe my luck when I clicked on one of the photos and saw it was the same doily and there was a link to the pattern! 
The pattern is called Irish rose doily and is from 1949. It's vintage now and you find the free pattern here.
I used a 1.75mm hook and size 6 anchor crochet thread in white. The thread is quite old. My mom had it in her stash for years and years until I caught a glimpse of it back in August and offered to put it to good use :)
The flowers and leaves are made with size 10 Puppets Eldorado crochet thread
The main doily is made first and that you alternate making roses and leaves and join each on to the doily and previous rose/leaf as you go.
My grandma's doily is bigger in so much as it  has more rounds and more flowers on the edge. Mine has the same number of rounds the original pattern states. I was going to increase it to make the same number of roses but it would have been enormous, so I kept it smaller. 
Now, I LOVE making doilies. I got the doily bug earlier this year and really enjoy looking at patterns, admiring other peoples doilies and making them myself. But, I'm not one for having many doilies out on display.
But I wanted to find a way to enjoy these two every day. I gave it a little thought and came up with what I think is the perfect solution. My yarn stash is out of control. I have it in plastic boxes, a whole set of drawers set aside for stash controlage :) and also two baskets.
They are wicker baskets that have been painted white and have a linen bag inside them. They are perfect for keeping my yarn neat and organised. They are right next to my desk and I use them almost everyday so I decided to use the doilies to decorate them:
This way I am reminded of my grandma each time I look at my yarn basket and I made the baskets a little bit prettier at the same time :)
I used some thread and sewed the doilies to the lids of the baskets so that they won't fall off. 
What do you think of my idea? Have you got any handmade items decorating your home that have a special sentimental value to you?
When I was working on the centre of the doily I thought how pretty the design was. It reminded me of a snowflake.
I'm thinking of making just the centre of the doily, adding some beads and using it as a decoration this Christmas.
Aside from crochet, I've really been enjoying the autumn sights this week. This is my favourite time of year to enjoy nature.
The colours of the leaves I see everywhere are beautiful.
In true autumn style it's been a bit breezy and some pine cones have dropped off trees:
 And the olives are nearly ready for picking:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

My biggest project ever!

Hi everyone!
Today I can finally reveal the afghan that I've been working on: 


This really is the biggest project I've ever made and I have to say I am in love with it!
This weekend I spent an afternoon snuggled under the blanket crocheting next to my husband. It was bliss <3
I've done lace weight shawls that have taken longer to finish that this, but the size and weight of this afghan means it is much bigger than anything I've done before.
I wanted to make it big enough to completely cover a double bed but I didn't have quite enough yarn and it came in a bit short:
It's a real mismatch of squares of different sizes. Some I made up myself, some I found in books and some I found online.
I used 100% acrylic aran weight yarn in 3 different colours. I joined the squares with a mixture of reverse single crochet and slip stitches and added a border with the left over white yarn.

As I was getting close to finishing it, I couldn't wait to finally weave in all the ends and pop it in the washing machine! When it came out all soft and smelling of fabric softener I loved it even more :)
This is my first afghan but I will definitely be making more in the future!
Don't forget to stop by my giveaway. There are still two more weeks to go before I draw the winner :)
Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

1st blogiversary...and giveaway!

Today my blog is one year old!
I am so happy I took that first step, opened my blog and started writing. I have met some amazing, creative people through blogging and I am so grateful for that.
As a thank you to everyone who reads my blog, comments and encourages me and as a celebration I'm hosting my first giveaway:
There is a crochet brooch:
A pair of handmade (by me of course!) earrings:
And a 3mm KnitPro crochet hook:
The hook has the adaptable end so it can be used with a cable for tunisian crochet.
To enter you need to follow my blog and leave a comment on this post and I'll draw the winner on the 27th of November :)
Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Remember, remember

Hi everyone!
My post today has 3 parts to it.
Part 1
Christmas gift number 2:
Following on from my first christmas gift post last week, here is another one.
This one was made to order. I got a request to make a shawl for the friend of a family member and this is what I made.
It's the Elise pattern again and the yarn is merino angora. The softest yarn in the world!
Part 2
I've been winding up some skeins of yarn into balls....and taking photos of it :)
I can't wait to start making something with this yarn.
It's a silk dk blend and the colours are so bright. I've got 200g of it and I'm thinking about making a scarf with it. What would you suggest?
Today (or tonight) is Bonfire Night. Guy Fawkes night is commemorated in the UK to remember the failed plot to kill King James in the House of Lords.
Remember, remember the 5th of November.
I have always loved the celebration of Bonfire Night and it is the one day of the year I really miss 'home'.
This made me start to look  through some photos i took when visiting England this summer and have made a few flower montages to show you:
All of the photos were taken in my parents garden.
Tomorrow my blog will be one year old! I can't believe how quickly the time has flown since I started blogging.
I will be holding my first ever giveaway to celebrate my blogiversary, so check back tomorrow so see what the prize will be!
Have a lovely day!

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