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Sunday, 23 March 2014

preparations....

after several days of really yucky weather with torrential rain, storms and frost at night today is a quiet sunday. earlier the sun peeped out for a bit, but we have more rain in the forecast for tomorrow and the clouds are already gathering... never mind, the weather after tomorrow is supposed to be "picking up"! hope dies last:) of course a few days of nice weather and the daffs think it must be spring. they are blooming everywhere and all nearly at the same time - and I think there'll be none left to flower around easter as it is so late this year (they are called "easter bells" translated from german - but over here they're usually gone by then!).
I love all the spring flowers, but in contrast to tulips, which only flower really strongly in the first year (unless you dig them out and replant them) daffodils increase without me doing anything about it - perfect for lazy gardeners:) pity that the muscari aren't flowering yet, the "swedish" look with yellow and blue gives the flower beds a real boost! the only downside to the long-stemmed daffs is that they break easily in our strong winds. I just spent a nice 15 minute break in the garden, collecting all the broken ones to put into a big bunch inside! they are so cheerful - even a hole in the flower from a greedy slug can't change that!  
I am also doing other flowers, the "grandmother's flower garden" kind! I checked through my stash to dig out fabric for a larger project - and couldn't resist making two smaller mug rugs first. of course eedjit me sent the finished ones off before taking a photo. I made them "egg-shaped" with a bias-taped edge in green....  I bought thermolam as wadding for potholders last year, but it worked nicely for mug rugs, too. it's heat resistant, denser than normal wadding and not too thick - I did all the sewing by hand and it was very easy to work with.
 
 this is the first step for the bigger project! I am going to need about 1100 of those for my idea! couldn't get the 0.75 "easily as pre-cut, so I took thicker paper and copied 25 pages of them... a lot of cutting involved, but luckily I don't need all of them before I can start! we have our craft meeting next saturday and I plan to have enough hexies prepared to do some sewing. I don't want to make a very orderly flower garden, I'll include some partial flowers and a lot of different greens in between (have to order more fabric for that of course....:) to make a square table cloth out of it. the first 300 are cut!
 
I also finished the baby booties - as usual knitting the base was done in an evening - fiddling about with the dogs took ages... to make them stand up nicely - I filled them with kiwi fruit:)
the green is much more yellow in reality though.... 
 ... this comes closer, esp. the upper skein. I am just spinning the last bit of the fibres, two skeins are ready to go for the baby cardie. I think I won't double the yarn up as I did for the booties though - or the sweet pea pods will look like broad beans:)
 
I didn't finish the baby alpaca cardie yet, so the sweet peas have to wait a little while longer until it's finished. no pix yet, don't want to spoil the surprise for the future owner:)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 on one of the rainy days last week I finally used up my own lemon "harvest" - I made jelly out of my 7 lemons. I gave one each of the irish bio lemons to mother and mil (as proof that there are home grown lemons available in ireland:) - and used the rest with a little bit of "help" (aka lemon juice) from 3 shop bought ones. I cut the peel into very fine strips and simmered it with a bit of water for a while. it turned a very deep yellow! then I used the peels, all the juice and slices of the smallest fruit with jam sugar to make the jelly. it's very tasty - not really very sweet, but full of aroma! perfect on a fresh buttered roll - yum!
 
and now I better get started - I have to iron a gazillion of little fabric pieces to start the patchwork! and finally get out the order for more fabric, esp. in greens....

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

one swallow....

.... doesn't make a summer! not sure if there's a saying like that in english, but one nice day in march doesn't make it spring either - that's definitely true! we had two quite nice days yesterday and the day before - but today we were back to grey, drizzle and wind:( the crocus flowers look sad and droopy and everything is dripping wet:( everybody seems to be waiting for spring to arrive and I hope it doesn't stay cold for as long as it did last year!
I should really be working in the garden, but apart from the occasional hour or two I haven't been getting anywhere - the ground is soggy and with only 8 to 10 deg. C sowing seems to be a bit early. luckily I still have many textile jobs to do inside. I did finish the mice potholders - but I still think that the design would have looked better with less "rain" above the mouse and more leaves etc. below.
I have to say though that the pattern is far clearer in the photo than in reality. when you look more closely it's harder to see the separate colours, even though the contrast between black and pink should be clear enough.  the next potholders (another gift) will be black and white  and of course double-knitting - but I am not sure about the pattern yet. black and white should go well with graphic patterns, but somehow they all look rather "cold" to me. maybe I should do a contrast - black and white plus some ornamental pattern? or irregular lines and shapes? still in the thinking stage with that one....
I also made a set of dishcloths with the same yarn, partner look in the kitchen:) with the pink one I followed the pattern and didn't wrap the stitches for the short rows. in the black one I wrapped the short row stitches, which gave it a neater look without the "holes" in the separating rows. when I put both of them together, they looked like a nice flower and the recipient was rather reluctant to see them as dishcloths - she thought they're supposed to be a brooch:)  
while I  worked out the patterns for the next two larger projects I finished another pair of slouch socks. this time I used only 2 stitches and two rows: 2 rows of 2 k, 2 p. 2 rows k. 2 rows of 2p and 2 k, followed by 2 rows of p. I like the crinkling the patterns forms, very comfy for slippers (maybe not so much in shoes - not nice when the leg slips down). I call them flowerpower, because they remind me of greenery in the garden with flecks of colour for blossoms.... and just now, while I am writing, I thought of all the sock charms I bought - maybe I should attach two of them to these new socks? hm, ladybirds? bees? are there dragons in a flowery garden?:)
 
this is one of the gauges I made. it's the horseshoe pattern I mentioned in the last entry, simple to knit, and it forms a nice lower edge. I changed the middle stitch to make it less prominent (actually I just follow the original walker pattern in the project, I had changed that stitch for the gauge!) and I'll finish the bottom with a narrow i-cord; for that I started with a provisional cast-on. it'll be a short cardie, but with long sleeves.
of course I also spun some more yarn (I think I love knitting - but I couldn't be without spinning for long). this is a sample (100 g) of polwarth, which I ordered with the angora/silk top. spins nicely, very soft, but not as cottony as fine merino; it has a bit more "grip" to it. I plied it with fine commercial silk - not sure if I'll eventually dye it or not. for now I leave it as it is.  I didn't  measure, but it's quite fine; I'd say lace weight - and weighs 125 g now. should be enough for a smaller lace project?
I also started to spin the superwash wool I dyed light green with gaywool dyes. it's not my favourite fibre to spin, but I have to admit that the finished yarn is very soft and squishy - and washable, too! perfect for the "sweet pea" cardigan, but first I have to spin some more. I did use part of the first skein to make baby booties though, couldn't resist it. anyway, I have to hurry with those - once the kids are up and running the booties are quite obsolete....  
and then there was the "purple" dyeing. I had spun up about 800 g of grey wool/silk blend and plied it with a fine pink viscose yarn. but somehow I didn't like the contrast of grey with pink once I had finished. so I "brewed" a blend up blue and red - looked a nice purple in the pot to me. it still looked purple on the yarn while in the pot - but turned out to be more blue than purple, when the yarn was finished. only a few spots had take the purple... odd, but I still like the look of it.  
the weird thing happened, when I added two more skeins (one baby alpaka, right, one merino/silk, left). expecting them to turn out like the above - I was rather surprised to not see a hint of purple - and neither any blue - but red! I have no idea what happened in that dye bath - and people say natural dyes are unpredictable:) both these lots were in the same bath as the purple superwash I showed in my last post!
but luckily all the colours turned out nice, so I am happy. I have a skein of fine soy silk that would go perfectly with this, and I am thinking about making a three-ring cowl with it. not sure if I should really take three similar shades - or the two reds - and one contrasting colour? first I have to finish the two cardies though - and there's a big birthday gift "in the making" as well. or rather in the planning stage, but I don't have endless time to finish, so I'll better get going with that one!
 

P.S. I added a recipe on my recipe page - is it normal that there's no empty open comment form on the "pages", so that I have to add the new recipe below the older entries???

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Irish Spring - and other mayhem

I've been meaning to blog for ages - but somehow the last month has been kind of hectic and chaotic. Not only inside - but outside, too! I remember an ad on tv years back, still in Germany. I think it was for a shampoo, called "Irish Spring". a gurgling small current, everything green and sunny, lovely flowers... if only! look at the header - that's irish spring weather today. and yes, I know, elsewhere spring starts in march - but over here it's supposed to start in february! honestly!
we didn't have much of a winter so far, practically no snow, very little frost - and you can see it in the garden. the snowdrops are in full bloom, the first crocusses are peeking out and the daffodils show fat buds already. what we did have in abundance though was wind. and rain. lots of it - so much in fact, that the coasts in the west and south are all flooded and there has been huge damage all along the coastline, due to storms together with very high tides. luckily we are quite far away from the coast and the small river at the bottom of the bog might be higher than usual, but no danger for us up here. and we had no storm damage in the garden, but the electricity went off several times. not for very long, 90 min. max., but funnily enough always in the dark! but it seems to me that the weather is doing weird things all over Europe (and not only there!) - so maybe we should count ourselves lucky that we haven't had 6 feet of snow or arctic temperatures?

on the textile line I've been busy, too. the christmas gift production is always followed by urgent birthday gift works here. I think birthdays should be forbidden after christmas at least until end of march:) no luck here, I've become a great aunt - in january! and of course there are others to work for already. so far I've managed all of them in time. apart from one, but that wasn't a gift, so it didn't matter. I did foolishly join the Christmas KAL on ravelry again this year. I started only in the 2nd week, so there wasn't a realistic hope for me to finish in time, but never mind. I did finish - by mid january:)
 I bought quite a few balls of Austermann Lace two years ago (special offer). they are pure merino and very fine. aubergine, I couldn't resist:) there is nothing wrong with the yarn, but when I worked several very open lace patterns, some with double yo's, I realized that the yarn isn't perfect for that. some of the patterns do look lovely in the yarn, but others are simply too open and loose. and after blocking the shawl it became obvious that some of the patterns will pull together more than others - permanently. well, it's wearable, soft and light, too - but I wouldn't give it away like this. teaches me a lesson about using the right yarn for the right project:)
this one however turned out very nicely, I think. it's handspun yarn, a blend of 50 % angora with 50 % silk, both undyed. in some places the silk is more visible than in other, but it looks and feels very nice. I was worried that the angora will shed a lot, but after spinning it with a little too much twist and plying it quite tightly it turned out very well. it bloomed a bit after washing, even more after knitting, but it doesn't shed - or at least not much. the recipient isn't going to spit out angora all the time, when wearing the shawl. the pattern is available free on ravelry here. frost flowers is a very nice name for the pattern; in germany it is called "bear paws" instead, not quite as pretty? I choose to knit only 3/4 of the chart in width, because I wanted a scarf, not a shawl. 

the pattern looks quite complicated, but it really isn't! no odd stitch combinations, no bent needles after trying to p5tbl etc... after one repeat I practically had it in my head, no need to look at the chart or count all the time, because the stitches have a very logical built-up.
the whole scarf only weighs 150 g, and because I bought 300 g of it - I could do a second one. I did finish spinning all of the fibres (I am famous for doing only as much as I need to just now - and end up with bags half full of fibre leftovers) for once - so I can think up another snuggly project. not for me though - I'd probably die of heatstroke in this scarf!
 I also dyed a few things. I finished spinning the baby alpaca - and dyed it with gaywool dyes; the colour is called mushroom. this I will knit up into a short cardie - a real longterm project:) I gave away a voucher for a "hanson" shawl, but the recipient prefers a short cardie instead. then it took a while to think up a colour and of course, I had to spin the yarn. and dye it. but now it's ready to go, the gauge is done and I will use a "horseshoe" pattern for the cardie. the yarn is very soft and fine and feels really nice - so I hope the cardigan turns out well.
the new baby in the family has to be dressed as well - the plan is to make a cardie like this. I thought about using angora or baby alpaca, but I think it's too hairy for a small baby. instead I dyed some superwash merino in a slightly variegated green. I dotted some blue on first and put everything into gaywool "ivy" after. when spun up it should be only very slighly mottled. the plan is to make it for 12-18 months of age, so that gives me a bit of time for the actual job! I have to say though that the superwash top was no fun to dye - it falls apart when wet, and leaves a right mess on the drying rack!
all in all I dyed about 400 g in green - which left me with about 150 g of undyed superwash top. I first did an acid dye bath in blue with a bit of red (leftovers from last summer) to dye a grey wool/silk blend. the intention was a purplish tone, but it came out pretty much all blue! two odd skeins that I didn't like the colour of came out pretty much all red in the next dye bath. and the superwash? turned out to be the colour I wanted for the grey skeins! very odd, not sure why this happened, but I suppose it had to do with the age of the dye.... the adventures of diy dyeing:) and I couldn't take pix of the overdyed grey yet - because the skeins took ages to dry...and the weather has been yucky ever since!
 
knitting is on the menu as well. I started something mousy again - a potholder in double knitting. the pattern is on ravelry - but it turned out as a flat rectangle, not the square I needed! this is only half of the potholder, but already more than 3/4 of the pattern! I had to add a lot of raindrops on top to make it square - but I think it looks alright. no. 1 is done, no. 2 on the needles.
 
when we went to the mill in Donegal I wanted to buy some aran yarn, too. somehow it got delayed and delayed (not that I urgently need more yarn:) until january, but now I finally have the yarns here that I wanted. this pic shows more detail, but the colours are way to light!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
this is closer to the original. the colours are dark and saturated. the right cone is 2 kg of donegal tweed aran, for needles size 4 to 4.5. I plan to make a simple long cardie, maybe with a basketweave pattern, for me.
the cone on the right is a newer addition to the range, called soft donegal. it's available in fine single ply (like here) or in 2ply, on 2 kg kones. I didn't really have a plan for the 2 kg I ordered, but when I checked it closer I thought it might be suitable to knit a long coat in double knitting? I'd have to buy a 2nd colour of course, but that shouldn't be a problem. and I have to make a sample, because the single yarn might come out biased when knitted up! I don't want to invest time and money into a rhomboid coat!
the dark green skein on top is "donegal heather", chunkier than the rest and a 3ply for DH's new sweater...
 
of course there are a few small "side projects" coming up here and there. just now I have to sew in the threads on a set of gloves with cropped fingers - will be used as a valentine gift! and yesterday I plied 100 g of polwarth, which I ordered as a sample. I wanted to finish it before starting the sweet pea green - so I plied it with fine commercial silk. no idea if I leave it as a lace yarn for a small project - or put it into a dye pot during the next session.
 
off to make a mug of tea - just the thing on a cold evening in front of the spinning wheel! I just hope that the snow will be gone by tomorrow....

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Happy Holidays!

over here we are still saying "happy christmas" though, despite political correctness etc. when you go outside today the country seems to be asleep. apart from the occasional car far away and the rain on the roof there are hardly any sounds outside. in germany we celebrate mainly on christmas eve, but over here everybody celebrates on christmas day! it's a family day, no visiting neighbours or trips to the pub! 
luckily the weather was alright today - last week we had one day of snow in the morning, which came as a surprise - just a day after I said that I had to upload a snow photo from last year:) it looked ominously grey and threatening, but it calmed down in the afternoon and we went back to rain and wind over night! we seem to be stuck in that pattern - there's another hefty storm in the forecast for tomorrow night - and more heavy rain, too:( is this our punishment for a fairly dry autumn now?

I am not sure that all the presents made it to their intended recipients in time, but I think I can safely show these pix, as most of my family members either don't own a computer or they don't look at blogs...
a little while back I ordered some charms and added a few bookmarks to my order - those oddly shaped hooks. I also found some funny little pewter bits at our september group meeting - a hippo in two parts and a frog. the middle can be a large bead, a felt ball - or little crochet tummies in green and pink. my mother collects hippos and she likes to read - I hope she likes the pot-bellied pink hippo girl:) the frog is for my MIL. the owl bookmarks were a bit easier to work - the beads are easy to put on wire, whereas I nearly broke my fingers, when I crocheted and filled the hollow crochet beads. but of course owls are a bit more sedate than frogs:) not sure about hippos....

the background behind the bookmarks is this:
I spun some of the donegal tweed pencil roving and chainplied it to knit three round covers for kitchen stools for my parents. I chose three slightly different "patterns", just different ways of increasing really. the back is made from two layers of dark green fleece, which is nice and soft - and easily washable. as an edge I knitted attached i-cords all around. they are between 33 and 35 cm in diameter...



...and all have different colours. this is still drying after blocking.
the first two gave no problems, but with the third one I ran into trouble. this only has 5 points of regular increases, but can be blocked to a circle. the problem was that the middle bobbled upwards! I had to block it really hard, which shows in more open knitting at the outer edges. eventually I managed to steam the middle down - and the rest out, but the other two turned out nicer. lesson learned: more increase points apparently make smoother circles?!









a few days ago I received a small needle book as a present - and I liked the idea so much that I "stole" it:) mine is a bit bigger though and I added two layers of felt for needles. the hexagons measure 4 cm on each side - so that I can put quite a few needles inside, but it's not as big as my normal one, which is old, rectangular and quite ugly by now:) this one is going to be a present though - but I plan to make one for myself - eventually.
it's big enough even for my largest pins, which I use all the time. I cut the inner felt a bit smaller than the outer one, so that it's easier to see, which needles are where.

it's closed with a button and a small loop, which I crocheted out of stranded cotton. a small gift and easy to make - perfect for leftover patchwork fabrics and the odd single button?
 the last 3 days before christmas I did nothing much but baking. a lot of baking:) and I still have one lump of dough in the fridge, but I ran out of time yesterday afternoon or the presents would have been unwrapped after midnight! and I just couldn't bring myself to bake them today - but I guess I have to do the vanilla crescents tomorrow! we finished the plate quite quickly, but in my experience the rate of munching slows down with every day that passes after christmas eve.... still plenty in the tins though! the one covered in chocolate is the odd one out. I saw the "top hats" somewhere on pinterest. they are just bought oreo cookies, a marshmallow glued on top (with melted choc) and covered in dark chocolate and a few sprinkles. I have to admit that they do taste nice - but I only made 14 - that's all there was in the roll of oreos:)
 
I also started to "make" chocolates - which is a bit of a misnomer. I don't make my own chocolate from scratch, I just melt it, blend several together (dark, medium, milk, white etc.) and add whatever I think might work, I made coconut (with desicated coconut and coconut oil), peppermint, mixed spice - and some "ice praline" (the ice is a bit misleading. it's not kept in the fridge, but the melting point of coconut oil is lower than that of the chocolate - which leads to a cool feeling in the mouth.) - with mocca flavour. I also made pecan-marcipan and marzipan-nougat pralines - the rest is bought - but that plate is also nearly finished:)

I hope everybody had/still has a nice christmas - to be honest I am rather glad that the rush is over for another year. I am going to finish a few projects now that I started quite some time ago, but didn't finish because I had to work on christmassy stuff . the first in line is the christmas kal shawl - where I am doodling about on day 12 - instead of wearing it proudly already:)  and tomorrow I'll do some spinning - which I haven't done in weeks - withdrawal symptoms have set in days ago:) see you soon!
 

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

I lied....

... about the blogging:) I nearly forgot to tell you about a new book I received. unfortunately I didn't have time yet to really read it through, but I usually spend a lot of time reading during the holidays, so I expect to finish it next week! so here it goes:
the book is by Leigh Tate, a fellow blogger I've been following for quite some time now. she (and her husband) bought a smallholding to live the dream of self-sufficiency.
I am not going to go down the same road; we don't own nearly enough land to keep animals other than a few chickens. goats/sheep etc. simply need too much land - and they also need a lot of time and dedication! but even though I don't have exactly the same life goals, I do find her writing very interesting. I live in a very different country with a different climate and surroundings - but basic principles apply here, too. and I like her style of writing, very informative, but not "dry". realistic, not the dreamy "I wish I was" or "if only" reading of others. but not heartless either, you can see how much both of them care for their animals and how sad it is to loose one of them.
there are even a few cooking recipes to try - but I still think that Leigh should publish those and more in a special "smallholding" cook book:)
 
if you are interested - you can find more information (and even a special offer for a few days) here. I got mine from amazon uk, but it's listed elsewhere, too - or you could order directly from Leigh. happy reading!

Monday, 16 December 2013

this is...

.... a photo from last year. no snow this year, not even the smallest speck! it's grey, windy, sometimes wet, but not really terribly cold either. which I don't really mind, it's just that I've lost my christmassy feeling by now - and the weather isn't helping:)
 
I suppose it's down to the usual "getting-everything-done-in-time" at this time of the year. I do listen to carols, I light candles, I even eat stollen and cookies - but the feeling is gone. which happens to me every year  - by the time I've done all the jobs I wouldn't mind moving on into spring - or at least to the time right after christmas. I think my head just moves on - after concentrating on all the things I need to do, have to do, should be doing - my mind is ready to try something else (typical gemini really?) - I am just a bit too early to start.
 
anyway, I have finished nearly all the gifts (just a bit of sewing to do on one batch), now it's down to the rest of the christmas cards, packing everything up, baking more cookies and getting the deco in. not too bad really, considering! I might even manage to frame the x-stitched christmas market and hang it up (of course, it wasn't a present, so it hasn't been finished yet:). sometimes I wonder how it would feel if I didn't do any gifts at all - would I miss it?
this is a hat, knitted from the dewdrop yarn I spun up last year. difficult to see the beads, but they do look a bit like water droplets. they don't dangle much, because I spun them into the yarn instead of plying with a fine yarn with strung beads. I found the pattern on ravelry, but I added one more repeat, because I wanted the hat to cover the ears! 
 the top forms automatically from the decreases - it looks a bit like a chunky snowflake.... I had so much yarn that I actually made two hats, the same apart from the rib. one will travel to germany, the other was a "secret santa" exchange gift.
after making two hats there was still yarn left, so I made a pair of wrist warmers in circular tunisian crochet - just by changing the hole into which to crochet the fabric looks very different!  


 
 
 
 
these are made in exactly the same way - but with the different yarn (black merino with pink cochineal-dyed silk) and a different stitch (the basic tun. crochet stitch) they look quite different. I added some skeletons and skull and bones for decoration:)  






I also knitted a lace moebius, called chameleon, from a handspun white merino that I plied with handspun, handdyed (alderbuckthorn berries) viscose. the colours are an icy blue and a slightly greener tinge - like a glacier, that's why I call the colour glacialis:) it's soft and warm, but rather difficult to photograph, due to the "bulge" and knot of a moebius. same for blocking, I had to do it in stages to manage....  
this is my latest "haul" - I found a supplier for charms in the uk. I splashed out on harry potter utensils - bolts, owls, books, snakes and
something like the deathly hallows sign. then there are the skulls and skeletons, snowflakes, bees with honeypots - and snowflakes and teacups. I want to use some in hp themed art yarns and some... for the stash for now:) but I am sure I'll find a use for them.  I see a prof. trelawney and her teapots - yarn coming up:)
 this is the gift I received at the secret santa exchange. a mug with a... hm, an "apron" in it? it even has the same shape, just no ties. it's very practical, standing on the table where I usually work at - and keeps all the bits and bobs handy that usually end up under a heap of paper or knitting or stitching etc... I like useful gifts:) and there's even some "purple" in the fabric!
 this is how the fabric part is shaped - it's folded in half and fixed with a velcro strip, when in use.
when I received one of my first christmas cards - from canada - I was rather surprised to the the picture on the stamp - I had the one with the christmas tree on it (I took the photo with all three from the internet). it's actually done in cross stitch! haven't seen any textile themed stamps in ireland - or in germany, come to that! I don't usually collect myself, but I am going to keep this one.
of course it's not all work - it's also food sometimes:) DS has been pestering me for a long time to make donuts again. well, they are not "real" donuts, there's no jam filling in mine. but they were nice and fresh anyway. not really a christmas treat, but because of the deep frying I wouldn't do something like that in summer. they were "inhaled" in one sitting - even worse than christmas cookies:) 
not much to show from the garden - but my lemons are finally ripening. they do take a very long time - haven't been growing in size for months, but not changing colour either. I'll wait with the picking until all 8 (one more than the last crop - and larger:) are yellow - and then I am going to make another batch miniscule amount of jelly with them - I think! they're so much more precious when homegrown!  
this is it for now - I doubt I'll find the time for another entry before christmas. I hope you're all going to have a wonderful christmas with lots of fun, a few fullfilled wishes and surrounded by friends and family - with or without snow:)
 

Thursday, 14 November 2013

it's creeping up....

... christmas I mean. of course there are several gifts in the works, but I cannot show any of them... there's also material on the wheel for one - but I cannot show.... you get the drift:)
but there are also lots of smaller projects, some of them are cards:
 
one of them has to be a mouse - every year (for the woman, who loves everything with mice:). this year I liked the embroidery better than last year! a few back stitches, but no half crosses - I don't like half crosses, esp. not on aida fabric! now I just have to find (or make) a card with a circular aperture in the right size.....
 
 



 
stars are easier to fit - the red is more burgundy in reality (flash colours:(). and the blue and white is similar to the one from last year, an easy motif, not much to count:) both are freebies from the Stickeule....

 

 
as is this SAL, which I finished a few days ago. the frame (patchwork fabric) is still missing, which means that I have to sew on the first stripe by hand - maybe I should have thought about that before I attached the small green seed beads? but I am not taking them off again now! the original has no beads in it, but I made a mistake with the second house on the left, which has a different roof colour in the pattern. I didn't fancy taking all the white stitches out, so I decided to add some beads instead of stitching the yellow "lights". and while I had the beads out, I put in some golden and red ones in instead of the rest of the christmas tree lights etc. and added a bit of glitz.... it's a christkindl market after all:) now all that's missing is some music and the scent of mulled wine! I also used some multicoloured green and blue embroidery yarns. no problem for the greenery - but the sky was a bit fussy to do. to end up with a more realistic pattern for the sky I had to work mostly single rows, otherwise the hole thing ends up quite patchy!
 
another christmas project is this - looks like homemade cabbages from the top?
they're not - they are christmas trees:) crocheted ones.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
and they look better like this, I think. the first one was done with one thread of yarn, for the second one I doubled it up for the base, but the leaves looked to rough and chunky for my taste, so I took them out again and worked them with a single strand, too. all that's missing now is a nice golden chain, some "baubles" (beads?) and maybe a star for the tip? the pattern is available free on ravelry. thank you to the designer:)
I've also been trying out a few things in the kitchen. I found 3 silicone chocolate moulds during the summer and tried them out now. on the left the pralines are medium dark chocolate, filled with some peanut butter. the hearts on the left are dark chocolate on top and homemade coconut choc for the bottom - yummeeh! unfortunately - because they vanish all by themselves somehow:) I see a few more sessions of chocolate messing coming up!
 
just to show that there really is peanut butter filling in them:) I think if I kept the chocolate a bit hotter (i.e. runnier), filled the mould first, swished the chocolate around a bit - I might be able to add more filling?
 
 
of course I've done a few fibrey things, too. those are some wrist warmers out of wool/silk blend. ever since I took part in the demo about tunisian crochet in the round - I've become "hooked":) so much so, that I ordered myself a set of 8 double- hooked needles to work faster... and yes, I changed the colours on purpose, that wasn't accidental...
 
 
the garden on the other hand doesn't have all that much to offer anymore - no wonder, with the grey and wet weather we've had. but I picked all the tomatoes in the tunnel - and most seem to ripen quite well inside now. the funny brownish looking ones in the middle are actually ripe - they are green with dark green stripes when unripe and turn this odd colour with red tinges once they're ready to eat! I do like making tomato salad with all those colours, it looks very inviting to eat!  
 
and now it's time for kitchen duty - see you in a while!
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