Saturday 31 March 2012

Y.A.R.N. Give Away!

Hello lovely people!

As promised we're giving you the chance to win some of our favourite yarn!
We have 6 gorgeous cones of luxurious merino wool to give away as a set.

We have picked six of our favourite shades, each one weighing 200 grams.
Certainly that's enough to make something pretty FABULOUS!!! Perhaps a throw? some shawls?........or a gazzilion colourful flowers!

If that wasn't enough, we also have a selection of bright rainbow shades of 'Universal Cotton' by Wolle Rodel.  Which we will be giving away to our second place winner.

We decided to share this cotton with you, because it's one of our favourite "go to" yarns, that we use for small and colourful projects around the house. Isn't it divine?!

This cotton is perfect for bright cheery amigurumi or quick projects, such as these pretty flowers Dennis made using the pattern by Lucy at Attic24.

We have seven vibrant shades of this glorious cotton to share with you, and we cant wait to see what you will dream up and make with it!

Sooo....What do you have to do to win this yummy yarn?

Now we've come up with the idea that to win this yarn, all you have to do is come up with a little poem or a collection of words. The only rule is you have to use the letters Y, A, R and N. It doesn't have to be anything big or crazy, just a little something creative and fun.
So for example:
You could just write four words that relate to your passion for crafting:

Or maybe a little rhyming poem:

Or perhaps something that describes just how much of a crafting obsession you have:
It can be as long or a short as you like. As silly or serious as you like......however and whatever you like! 
You can even get REALLY creative and make your poem/words into a drawing or maybe fashion it out of yarn. You can then send us a photo of it.

Remember though......this is just for FUN!!

Once you have your little Y.A.R.N poem/words/project, you can either leave it in the comments box below or email it to us at:
(If you leave it in the comment box below, please make sure that we have a way of contacting you. Either a link to your blog or to your blogger profile).
We will mail the yarn to anywhere in the world and are quite excited to see where it may end up!
The closing date for your Y.A.R.N entries, will be Sunday 15th April. 
We will announce the winner on the following Monday, once we have chosen our favourite.

The 1st prize winner will win the luxurious Merino cones and the 2nd place winner will receive the playful Universal Cotton.
We are very excited to see what you may come up with! 
We hope you have fun!!!!!!

Matt and Dennis xxx

edit: After a couple of comments about our email address not working, we've changed the link. Sorry for the inconvenience!
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Monday 26 March 2012

Wool Factory SALE!

We've been a little bit excited about this for the last week and today it was finally the big day! The Wool Factory in Hamburg, where we buy a lot of our yarn, started their sale! This happens twice a year and lasts for a week. We did not know what to expect since we had never visited one of their sales before.

As we were on the bus towards the factory we noticed a lot of women with big empty shopping bags and trolleys. We joked that they were all on their way to the factory to stock up on cheap wool! As it turned out, they all were! We figured it was going to be busy and laughed at the thought of us all fighting over the same yarn. It turned out to be very civilized and they even had coffee and cake!

The Yarn Factory is normally one (quite small) shop, but because of the big sale they opened up a part of the warehouse to the public. Five hundred square meters of yarn on sale! Amazing!
Shopping at the Factory normally works by picking out a yarn type and color. You than have them wind it on a cone in the desired amount of ply's and weight. This normally takes some time, and as it was sale week, this was not possible. Instead all of the sale-cones were already wound into a certain thickness and a set weight. This was a little disappointing as we were hoping to get our yarn in the thickness we like to work with. With the sale being this big, it was however understandable and they still had loads to choose from!

The yarn was still plied quite thin so that it's easy to go up a hook/needle size by buying a second one or even a third one (this means you just work from 2 or 3 cones at the same time). The suggested needle sizes were all written on each box of cones.

We sort of expected a chaos of yarn, but it was organized so very very efficiently! Neatly stacked boxes, all labeled with: price per 50 grams, type of yarn (or blend) and recommended needle sizes for 1, 2 or 3 cones. It made it very clear to find what you were looking for!

There was cotton, merino, pure wool, linen, alpaca, lamb, silk, cashmere, and all possible combinations of these. The color choices per type of yarn were not as vast as we hoped for. But if you were planning to work on projects that don't need more than one or two colors, it was easy picking! 

We managed to find some great bargains! Most yarns were priced down to 1 euro per 50 grams! We also got a great deal on some angora/merino blend for 1.20 euro per 50 grams.

Once we filled our trolley with all of the sale yarn we desired, we then had to go to the main store to pay. The main store is where all the normal prized yarn is being sold. As normal there was much more choice of color and the possibility of choosing ply and weight. As you can see, a lot more (vibrant) colors to choose from!

Want to see what we bought at the sale?

Not all yarns were labeled, as they were one of a kind so we ended up buying a couple of cones of which we have no clue what type of yarn it is. But does it really matter... :-)?
The cones above are about 1 kg each.

Another 800 grams of a very delicate green!

1 kg of lovely faded pink and 2 kg's (1 cone is not in the picture) of white (can you ever have enough?) Both pure wool!
 Matt chose 4 cones of a very soft and warm rose. It's pure merino!

We really went a little bit crazy buying all this yarn, but it made sense to take advantage of the ridiculously low prices!

Do you want to see what we bought in the expensive part of the store?

Six bright and gorgeous colors of fabulous yarn! It's 90% wool and 10% nylon! So very very soft and squishy! Wouldn't you like to get your hands on that?

Many of you have expressed an interest in the yarn cones we use and have mentioned how they're not available in your areas, so we have decided to buy this yarn for... YOU!!!

Over the next week we will explain how you could be the new owner of 1200 grams (200 grams per color) of this lovely yarn! We're very excited to be giving this away, and can't wait to share HOW very soon!

If you have any crazy yarn sale experiences, we would love to hear them!
Hope you are all having a lovely start of the week!

Matt & Dennis xxx
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Friday 23 March 2012

Sunny Pictures (Part 2)

What a gloriously sunny day it’s been in Hamburg!!

Its amazing just how much the sun influences my mood. I went to German class and had such a lovely lesson, learning all sorts of new things.  The sun was shining through the open classroom windows and a breeze was lightly blowing on my face, as I did my best to take in all that the teacher was saying.
German finished and I walked through the city wearing just a t-shirt (first time this year) and enjoyed the warm sun shining on my arms.  I couldn’t help but notice that I wasn’t the only one to be energized by the perfect weather.

Making the most of my afternoon before work starts, I came home and gave the apartment a good and thorough clean up. Scrubbing every little nook and cranny. With the windows wide open and my music playing, it almost seemed like I wasn’t doing chores. I really quite enjoyed myself (first time for everything!) 

I’m now sat at a cafe writing this blog post whilst our washing dries at the launderette.
I notice that I've been on the go all day, but somehow the sun makes me forget how hectic the day has been. And things really don’t seem that chaotic at all.
Yesterday whilst at the supermarket I picked up some nice new colouring pencils, and for the bargain price of 1 euro!

I put my new pencils straight to use, working on a bright and cheery picture. I forgot just how much I love to draw. Making happy places come to life with bright colours is a true passion of mine.
I remebered all of the pictures I had drawn last year and decided that I wanted to share them with you once again.
Now I’ve shared these pictures with you all before, but since the blog makeover at the end of last year the picutes are no longer on the blog. I thought today I would share them again with my blog friends. So if you've seen my "SUNNY PICTURES" before....... I'm SORRY :-/ If your seeing them for the first time, then I really hope you enjoy them!!

If you haven't been lucky enough to have the  gorgeous weather we've had, then I do hope that my pictures bring a little bit of sunshine into your homes!

I hope you have a fabulous weekend!!!!!
Matt xx
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Tuesday 20 March 2012

'Sew' Organized!

Since I started knitting, I have built up quite a collection of knitting needles: DPN's, Cables, Screw on needles, stitch markers, etc... All over the last 2 months actually. My collection got so big, that I didn't know how to organize them anymore. They were all stashed together in a drawer, and it took me forever to match the right sizes when I needed some. I love the KnitPro Harmony wood needles, which have the sizes written on them, but don't be fooled, after a couple hours of knitting, the writing on them magically disappears! So this was a little bit of 'drama'!

Where to store all these needles and tools? I'm going on board soon, and would like to take everything with me in an organized way! My dear friend made me a lovely sewn 'crochet hook' case for my hooks which I still love and use a lot, but I couldn't fit all my knitting needles in there as well. But I did LOVE the idea of having a 'roll'. But sewing? Another scary thing to discover! 
Wonky stitching, 'sew' what? ;-)

Matt and I bought the cheapest sewing machine we could find about a year ago, because I had to sew a pillow case which was just plain and easy. But this was going to be a little more tricky.

I found a great tutorial on the internet. It's a beautifully designed 'knitting needle roll'. I was going to take the challenge, no matter if it would turn out horribly! I bought myself some lovely colorful fabrics, which didn't all match, but I wanted something playful!

What I didn't quite realize whilst making this case, was that it was meant for long knitting needles, and not necessarily for small ones. I don't really own big needles since I love working on circulars and dpn's. I already had this suspicous feeling that my case was going to turn out big, but I figured that I hadn't gotten to the part in the pattern yet where you would have to fold something over so it would get smaller. But no, I rechecked the pattern and the pictures and it was definitely meant for big needles. But I had gotten so far, that I didn't mind, I kept on going.

And how about that! It's not perfect, I don't really like the red stitching on the inside, it's a bit big, but... I LOVE it! I love that I made it! I love that it does exactly what it needs to! I love the crazy colors together on the inside! And you know what, the top flap of the case might be sticking out, but it perfectly folds over, so the needles are still not going anywhere! I actually like the effect that it has on the finished look when I fold it up. The ribbon around it is now above the center and I think it looks lovely!

I still have to learn a lot about sewing, first of all I should have a little more patience. I don't really care that much about perfect cutting, or measuring, or even and straight stitches. But it's just for me, and I'm very happy with it! I can store my scissors, my 'needle size measure thingamajig', cables, needles, stitchmarkers, tape measure and all that in such a compact little 'case'. What a joy to have completed this!

How and where do you store your needles or crochet hooks?

Have a lovely week everybody!

Dennis xxx
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Sunday 18 March 2012

The Little Things.

This week, finding time to write a blog post has proven a little tricky. I've wanted to come speak with you all for days, but just haven't had the time.
My sudden lack of free time is mainly down to the fact that I've gone back to school...... well kind of! I've enrolled in a German course that will last for the next six months. Its German for me each morning, Monday to Friday from 8.45 until 1.00.
I started it last Monday, hence the urge to get my Granny Square Blanket finished and out of the way!
My days are proving to be long and I'm feeling pretty tired by the time the day is through. Getting up early and going to school, then straight to the theatre for work, is proving challenging.
My tired brain and body are somewhat rewarded by the fact that I really feel like I'm doing something productive each day. I'm loving the feeling of learning and also the discipline that school brings. Step by step my German is improving and I'm feeling much more confident having interactions with the people I encounter here in Hamburg.

With settling into my new routine, I feel like I've found  a new appreciation for the moments when I can slow down and relax......take a breath ....... before it all starts again! I've noticed it's the little things that are keeping me sane and stopping me from drowning in a haze of tiredness.
It's the little things that are making me feel happy and content. It's the little things that are really making a difference to the routine of each day.

Its the little things that I want to share with you all today! So... Go grab yourself a soothing hot drink and a treat yourself to some scrummy biscuits....... I'm going to share a few of the little things that are making a BIG difference to me :-)

You would have to have been completely oblivious to have not noticed the quite dramatic change of seasons. The air is not quite so bitterly cold. The sun is peeping through the clouds, I just love it!!!
The thing I adore most, is seeing the little sprouts of 'soon to be' flowers poking out of the ground. Tiny little buds on trees and glimpses of colour breaking up the wintery city.
Spring is also gracing our apartment, our little daffodils have blossomed (quite suddenly). They sit vibrant and beautiful in there pot looking out across the bedroom soaking up the early Spring sunshine.


Our orchids are also in full bloom and are looking completely and utterly stunning! What a gorgeous pinky violet they are!! Flowers around the apartment really elevate my sometimes deflated mood.

It was a very pleasant surprise to arrive at work last Friday and see that I had received a big parcel from somebody!
It was from my lovely Mum (Happy Mothers Day MUM!!!!) and couldn't have arrived at a better time! I had been feeling the need to go home and visit my family, to just be connected with them and experience some of the things I miss whilst living away form England. Receiving this parcel definitely made me feel very loved by my family.
Mum had done a great job of sending me all of the things I miss and crave. Not only that, but she had packed it all in this gorgeously fun and bright box. A box that will certainly be at home in our apartment!

My mum must have heard my cravings for all things English. She had sent Dennis and me a large selection of goodies from Marks and Spencers, as well as a big supply of Cadbury's chocolate!

Cadbury's whole nut, Fruit and nut.....mmmmmmmmm.

And my favourite! Cadbury's CRUNCHIE!!!!!!! 
Now obviously its always nice to receive gifts. But it wasn't so much the fact the I had received this package, It was more the realization that the people I love and miss and think of often,  were also loving, missing and thinking of me. It really mad me happy and made me feel very VERY loved.

Finding a moment to get messy always brings me endless amounts of joy! Having my paints, glue-gun, pens and pencils scattered all over the kitchen table as I make a crafty chaotic mess, gives me such a great feeling! It's my favourite outlet and is quite simply a moment of ME time.

As I frantically left the apartment early one morning, I ran out of the door and did my usual quick mailbox check to see if we had any post. I laughed out loud as I saw the words " Bogey face and Poo Head" peeping through the gaps of our mailbox.
It was a postcard for Dennis, from one of his friends. What a lovely surprise!
I just loved how very childish and naughty it was. It really makes me smile every time I read the rainbow of cheeky words. I feel like it really reminded me to lighten up and and not be so frantic and serious as I headed to school.
Try reading it with out smiling, it's hard! It's the 'PLOP' at the end that really tickles me :-)

The final thing that has given me endless amounts of joy throughout my busy week, is our blog.
At the moment our blog tops the list of my 'favourite things' to do. I love the community of enthusiasts that I can connect with and share our work and love for crafting.  I love working on projects with the thought of sharing them with you all. I am also very grateful for the kind and generous messages we have received from each one of you!

So once again Dennis and I are sending a massive THANK YOU for the super encouraging feedback we have received in regards to our work and our blog.
It's these little things that keep me motivated and keep my creative clock ticking along when my mind feels tired. What 'little things' keep you plodding along?
Its the small things that make all the difference.

Matt xxx

P.S It's Mothers Day in the UK, so a Happy Mothers Day to all of the Mums out there! Enjoy YOUR day!

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Thursday 15 March 2012

Oops! I knitted again...

I think I've got the knitting fever! Let me rephrase that, I know I have the knitting fever! I haven't been crocheting much recently, since there have been so many things I wanted to learn about knitting! Don't worry, I still love to crochet, and I will keep on crocheting!

My latest project is again a Stephen West pattern, it's called Earth & Sky.

The yarn I used for this project is Golden Eagle Alpaca, which is a 100% Alpaca, fingering weight. I love how vibrant the turquoise is next to the black and gray! I've only recently discovered how much I love turquoise! I think it works great in this color combination! 

It was a little bit scary to start such a big project (I started with 3 stitches and ended up with almost 500) especially since the yarn is so very very thin! I worked the shawl with size 4mm knitting needles.
I loved working on this project, but I did put it aside sometimes. I'm not the best 'purler' and it really slows me down! I'm telling you, rows of 500 purl stitches aren't that much fun! I'm chuffed with the results though!
Because of the fingering weight yarn, and a bit bigger needles, there is a lot of drape! It's incredibly soft (I love alpaca) and even though it looks very thin, when wrapped around my neck, it keeps me perfectly warm! 

The colorwork is very clever in this pattern. It's called 'Intarsia knitting' which scared me when I first heard it. However, I love a good challenge! It turned out very easy, you just twist the working yarn over the new color of yarn before you start knitting with that new color, and on your way back you do the same. This way you don't have to carry the colors at the backside of your work (which wouldn't have looked so nice on this scarf). In the picture below you can see the intarsia quite clear, but I think it looks very neat!

I couldn't help taking my scarf out for a little photo shoot at a lovely location around the corner! It is such a beautiful and sunny day today!

Here's a shot of the same place but from a distance. I walk past this everyday on my way to work, and always love how pretty it looks! In winter it was even more beautiful, everything was covered in snow and ice! 

It's a lovely day here in Hamburg! I'm very lucky because I have two days off now. I can enjoy the beautiful weather and spend time doing the things I love! These two days were very welcome because my head is overloaded with information with all the rehearsals I'm doing. I only started less than 2 weeks ago and we've already learned 5 shows. I will elaborate a little bit more about my job in another post and when I'm a little less busy ;-)

Have a beautiful day everybody!

Dennis xxx

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