2.10.17

Weekly update: Apple picking


Yesterday we went apple picking at the Olmenhorst. Two teenagers, one naughty dog, an irritated husband and a tired me. A recipe for disaster, right? It's true the drive there didn't go very well. We got stuck in traffic (on a Sunday!) and made a huge detour. Once there it was very crowded, and muddy, we forgot our rain boots, husband got frustrated with his phone trying to get some work done (on a Sunday!), the dog ran away and one of the teenagers felt dizzy. 

But then we started walking and looking for apples on the trees. We did bring three baskets to collect apples this year. That's right we do this every year. Last year we arrived too late and husband and son grabbed what they could find... from the ground. We ended up with 5 kilos of bruised and half eaten apples.

So this time we were only allowed to 'pick' apples from the tree and we agreed we would only choose the prettiest ones. Like this one. It's either a Santana or an Elstar, can't really tell them a part. We were tasting them right there in the orchard. Both equally delicious. 


Since our oldest one was a little girl we've been picking apples here every year. A year without picking is not a good one, say my now teenagers, they are just as eager to keep up the tradition as I am, which pleases me a lot. I used to take pictures of the kids, but now my girl was taking a picture of me. How about that?


We went home each with a basket full of apples. We came home happy and refreshed and I even had energy to make this little swatch with Phildar Partner 3,5 for the cardigan that I found in Draad en Praat's new magazine Handmade Living. It's the first time I am working with this yarn and I absolutely love it. It's so soft and easy to work with, and the color is just lovely. Can't wait to start working on the cardigan.
Last week I promised you I would write about what I made on the way back from summer holiday, but I didn't, so no new promises this week. No idea about what I am going to write about next time. You'll just have to wait and see ;-)xInez


23.9.17

Weekly update: Crocheting on holiday, custom order and Etsy shop


 Last summer we spent a week in Spain. We rented this gypsy wagon on top of a hill overlooking the Mediterranean. It was warm and we were lazy, and I spent the bigger part of the day crocheting either at our dwelling or near the pool.


 Through Etsy I had received a request to make a poncho with pink pompoms for a 9-year old girl. So I brought all my Stylecraft yarn - needed an extra suitcase for it! - and started crocheting in the car on our way down south. I crocheted in Paris, in Uzès and finally in Spain. I crocheted in the car, on the couch, by pool and river and on the beach.


And before I knew it, I had two (!) poncho's. I had made a mistake in the first one - too small for a 9-year old - and by the time I found out I was too far and decided to make a second one.


So here they are, two - almost - identical crochet poncho's with pompoms. The big one is sold, but the small one can still be found in my Etsy shop. I hope it'll soon find its way to a 5/7 year old.

Next week I'll blog about what I made on the way back home.

xInez 

15.9.17

Instagram favorites | Blue Yarn


Welcome back to my weekly Instagram favorites!
Today I wanted to share some blue yarns. My favorite color in any variation: ice blue, baby blue, grey blue, royal blue... I could go on forever. I've been loving this color since I was a child. I still feel best when I am completely dressed in blue. Somehow it makes me feel safe, it helps me feel 'me.'

I want to give credit to the makers of these pictures for capturing the eerie blue that I find so soothing.
From left to right and top to bottom:
Asma Binhaider from @uaepanda
Brooklyn Tweed from @brooklyntweed
Heleen from @heleen_nl
Anique from @kleinmaarfijn_anique

Have a lovely weekend!

xInez


12.9.17

FREE PATTERN | Bunzlau Castle inspired coaster

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have picked up that I am a big fan of Bunzlau Castle potteries. They make the most amazing collection of teapots, cups, mugs, plates and what not. I've been collecting cups and such for many years now. They're not cheap so I usually treat myself to one or two pieces per year, often when we are on holiday in Twente and have tea at Theehuis Dennenoord. I love how my collection is growing and how each item comes with a special memory.

Every day I am having a coffee at my wooden desk and I noticed a need for a coaster as the surface is looking a little shabby at the moment, so I came up with the crochet coaster below that is inspired by one of my favorite Bunzlau designs. I made a step by step tutorial if you want to give it a try too. Let me know what yours looks like by using the tag #bunzlaucoasterbygoedid.

BUNZLAU INSPIRED CROCHET COASTER


You need:
byClaire cotton 002 Ivory
byClaire cotton 024 Navy
crochet needle 3 mm
darning needle
scissors


With Ivory make a magic ring and chain 3.


Crochet 20 trebles in magic ring.


Close with slip stitch in 3rd chain and pull magic ring tight.
Weave in loose ends.


With Navy attach standing double crochet (dc) to any stitch.


Dc in next stitch, chain 3, in the next 2 stitches dc 2 together, chain 3, repeat.


Join with slip stitch in first dc. Weave in ends.


With Ivory attach in any 3-chain space with standing dc and make a 3-dc cluster, chain 3, 3-dc cluster in same space.


In next space 3-dc cluster, chain 3, 3-dc cluster in same space. Repeat. Close round with slip stitch in first 3-dc cluster. Weave in ends.


With Navy attach standing single crochet to 'space' between clusters (not in the actual 3-chain space).


In 3-chain space, make 7 dc. Single crochet in between shells. Weave in ends.


With Ivory attach standing single crochet in any stitch. 


Make one single crochet in each stitch. Join with slip stitch in first single crochet.
Weave in remaining ends et voilà, your Bunzlau inspired coaster is ready for use!


Enjoy your coaster and your coffee (or tea)!

xInez

21.7.17

Curating Instagram Crochet Favorites | Natural crochet


Those of you who follow me on Instagram know that I have been having a big neutral crush. There's something so soothing about it. Is is the calm I crave after 6 months of non stop crazy?

Lately I've been working too much without taking proper breaks. My husband's voice went viral in January and work requests have tripled (I do his management), my youngest kid needed daily tutoring to get through his first year of high school and I sacrificed one entire school break to fixing up the house all by myself. Summer break is starting extremely late this year in Amsterdam, so it is actually no wonder I am seeing dark and light spots of and on. It's just my body's way of telling me it's been enough.

So this is my last blogpost before we head off to the South of France for that well deserved break. I leave you with these four talented makers, from left to right and from top to bottom:
Nicole @naturally_nora_crochet
Susanna Bauer @susanna_bauer
Boho Things Homewares @boho_things
Abigail Rose @abigailrose.crochets

I'll be back with lots of new inspiration at the end of August.
Have a lovely Summer!

xInez

18.7.17

Week update: My favorite project


You might have guessed that making ponchos for kids is one of my favorite projects. I've already made quite a few baby ponchos in merino wool. This week I used some of my cotton stash to work on a poncho designed by Marianne Roos-Dekker for her book Colorful Crochet/Eindeloos Haken.


The design of Poncho Sem starts with 10 granny squares. Who doesn't love granny's? I forgot to join them as you go, so after I took this picture I had to unweave the ends and frog the third round. I definitely could have done it more efficiently, but I didn't...


As you can see, my way of crocheting involves lots of loose ends. I so often start a project to abandon it half way. In Dutch we say "twee keer lol van dezelfde bol" which means something like twice the fun with one skein. I've used this yarn for at least two previous projects that didn't make it.


But I never give up once I find the right pattern, and this one definitely does the trick for me. I love it!


It is such a happy project! Although I am sure it would work in any color combination.


This one is going straight to my Etsy shop. It's perfect for a 4-6 year old. Let me know if you want me to make you one in a different size or in different colors. It takes me less than a week.


And last but not least, this is my puppy Olive - who is technically not a puppy because she's almost 2 years old, but who still behaves likes she's only 6 months - on one of our many walks in my neighborhood in Amsterdam Old-West.

Next week we're going on holiday for a month so I am not sure if I can write a blog before we leave because I'll have to pack for the whole family. I'll be posting holiday pics on Instagram though, so be sure to follow me there if you don't want to miss out ;-)

xInez

15.7.17

Curating Instagram Crochet Favorites | Bright flowers


This week I collected flowers on Instagram. Bright ones, in abundance. As much as I love seeing every single image pop up in my feed, I especially love assembling them in a little collage. They enhance each other and give a real boost to my inspiration.

When I picked up crochet after almost 30 years (gosh that makes me seem old!) I started with flowers. I made lots of hair clips and brooches that I gave away. I even taught how-to-crochet-flowers at my son's school for awhile. I almost forgot. That was actually quite fun to do. Maybe I should dust off that skill...

Anyway, all credits for these four pictures go to (from left to right and top to bottom):
Annemarie from @annemariescrochetblog
Kaisha from @whimsyhen
Mandy from @crochetbyredagape
Marianne from @marretjeroos

Hope you enjoyed my little collection this week!
Happy weekend!
xInez

10.7.17

Week update: Finishing another project


Last week I finished the Monsoon shawl, this week I worked on Marretjeroos' Sunshine Blanket Quinn. The pattern is featured in her book Colorful Crochet and easy and fun to make. I used about 19 skeins of DMC Natura Medium in the color Tagliatelle. It's 100% cotton, so it makes a nice heavy blanket.


On Thursday evening my daughter Ila and I went to Dansers van Morgen (Dancers of Tomorrow), a ballet performance by the students of the National Ballet Academy at the Nationale Opera & Ballet. It was an amazing evening. The students are so talented and so very skilled and all were performing at their very best, even the little ones. My daughter used to be one of them until she decided to go to grammar school. She's still dancing, now at amateur level, but it still looks pretty real to me. This is her dancing the Rose in The Little Prince.


The next day I was so tired from going to bed too late, all I wanted was to lie in bed and work on my blanket. I had so many ends to weave in. Why don't I do this after every square joined?


I hope you're getting an idea of the beautiful texture of the yarn and the pattern of course. I am very happy with the color as I am totally in my neutral phase right now, but I can imagine it looks stunning in every color.


Next I am going to think about what I am going to bring along on my Summer vacation. A big part of my suitcase is always reserved for yarn. I already bought some new yarn and there's still plenty in my stash to work with. I will show you next week!

xInez

7.7.17

Curating Instagram Crochet Favorites | Blankets


Looking for some blanket inspiration? I did some research for you. You're welcome!
Aren't these absolute beauties? My favorite color is blue, so my eye is always scanning for that color.

From left to right and top to bottom: the #jackiescrappy from Magda @rawrustic (yes I am a big fan of Magda's work!), the hexagon blanket with my name (because I tested the pattern) from Marianne @marretjeroos, Shelly's blanket @spincushions and Atty's diamonds @attysloveforcrochet.

But I also can't resist any shade of pink, so here's some extra inspiration for this week.


From left to right and top to bottom: Sandra's Sampler Blanket @sandracherryheart, @twolandshandmade, Caroline's baby blanket @carolineseignette and Rachele's Moon Landing Blanket @cypresstextiles.

Have a lovely weekend y'all!
xInez



3.7.17

Week update: Mostly Monsoon Shawl


This week I went back to the Monsoon Shawl I once started with these colors. The Monsoon Shawl is a design by Alia from The Little Bee NZ. She's an amazing designer. I wrote about her other famous pattern, Sunday Shawl, before. You can read it here.


I am using gorgeous organic cotton by BC Garn, a Danish producer of organic yarns. The Alba that I am using here is soft and delicate. It tends the split a little, but so many yarns do, so I don't mind. It encourages me to take it slow and enjoy the art of crochet.


Working with these vibrant colors has been so energizing though, it was hard to stop and before I knew it I got to the end of the pattern. Now I only have to block the shawl as the tension is a little uneven. It is drying as I am writing this blogpost, so you'll have to be a little patient to see the result.


This the yarn I have left. What shall I make with it? Another shawl perhaps. I would really appreciate if you would leave a suggestion in the comments section below.

 

On Friday I had my girlfriends over for a healthy lunch. Not pictured are the lentil soup with caramelized onions, the crustless quiche and mixed greens with toasted tamari seeds. And we had clafoutis (Friend cherry tart) for dessert. It was all so good! We weren't able to sit in the garden as it was pouring cats and dogs in Amsterdam, so I brought the garden inside (notice the ivy?).


We've been friends since our little ones were in Waldorf pre-school and we were on the board together. So we go back at least 13 years. Two of us became Waldorf pre-school teachers themselves and two of us moved on, but we still have lunch or dinner twice a year.


And last but not least, I finished the shawl for my friend who turned 50 this year. She'll be celebrating with a big party in September so I am pretty happy I am on schedule with her gift ;-)

Hope I inspired you a little today with my crochet choices for this week. See you next week!

xInez

30.6.17

Curating Instagram crochet favorites | Yarn


As a fiber artist I am always drawn to the materials I work with. I love wool, linnen and cotton, fabric, prints, texture and tools. But most of all I love yarn. I like to feel it, with my hands and with my face. I like to smell it. I adore the smell of sheep! And I like to look at it. Especially when the yarn is arranged and styled in an attractive way. For me that means simplicity and use of natural colors. I absolutely love the choices that were made in the above pictures.

From left to right and top to bottom: my crochet heroine Magda at @rawrustic, yarn heaven Quince &Co at @quinceandco, other yarn heaven Kokon Yarn at @kokonyarn and my other crochet guru Maaike at @crejjtion. I have included the links so you can easily check out their feeds.

Hope you feel just as inspired as I do.

xInez



26.6.17

Week update: Crochet party with the Terrific Testers


The highlight of last week was a get together in my hometown Amsterdam with Marianne Dekker-Roos's tester team, aka the Terrific Testers. That's the name Marianne gave us when we were testing patterns for her new book Colorful Crochet/Eindeloos Haken. And it's an honor!


We met at Petit Gateaux on the Haarlemmerstraat and started the day with lots of tea and two little cakes each. Absolutely delicious! It's a lovely place to sample a few of the delicate flavors right above the bakery. Very inspiring.


After tea and cakes, we walked to the end of the street where you can find one of the better yarn shops of Amsterdam, Weldraad. They have a nice selection of Fonty and BC Garn, to name just a few of my favorite yarns. There are a lot of knitted examples hanging on the walls. As a crocheter, I wouldn't mind to see more crocheted items. But it seems there are more knitters in the world than hookers!


Here, we're getting more info about learning how to knit. The owner of the store is telling us about a knitting week on the island of Texel, which sounds divine, or even a custom made workshop she can organise just for us. It all sounds quite lovely (not sure if we can all be persuaded to trade our hook for a pair of needles!).


More variations of color and texture. I wish I could bring it all home.



Then we went to Stephen & Penelope in de Nieuwe Hoogstraat on the other side of the city center. Another yarn heaven. I always call it the yarn jewelry store. I am in love with Madeline Tosh yarn, but I didn't buy anything because I still have some lying around. There is a great sale of Cascade Yarn going on, but I didn't have a specific pattern in mind, so I also passed on that one. 


I also discovered Undercover Otter, an Amsterdam based indie dyer. Next time I find a pattern I will definitely buy a skein or two.

 

From left to right: me, Lotte from Lotte Haakt, Marianne from Marrose Colorful Craft & Crochet, Ingrid from Studio 92 Designs en Heleen from Vol van Wol


After yarn shopping we were so hungry and tired, we went for a nice lunch at Dauphine. Of course our date wasn't complete without some crocheting. We had a great time sharing stories. It was almost 7 pm before we went home.



I am already looking forward to the next time we see each other!

xInez