Sunday 27 May 2012

A stripe a day, keeps the grannies away!

Hello Lovelies!! Hope your all having a colourful weekend?!
Look at what the post man delivered earlier in the week!

17 scrummy balls of Stylecraft DK!! I ordered it from Masons last week and was very surprised to have it delivered three days later!!! VERY SPEEDY INDEED!!!
I love to order these Stylecraft assorted packs. Not only are they full of great colours, but they are also amazing value! This bundle of 17 different colours cost me only £25.50 (plus postage), If that isn't a bargain I don't know what is?!

Now I don't want to sound like a 'Yarn Snob', but I don't usually go for acrylic yarns.
My favourite yarns include a nice Cashmere or Merino, so soft and snuggly. The problem with always using fancy yarn.... is the price. It's soooo damn expensive.
So when the budget is a little tight, I find myself looking for cheaper alternatives. Acrylic yarn tends to tick the boxes in terms of price.
The problem I have with SOME acrylic yarns is that quite often  I find them to be just a little too plasticy for my liking. I want my yarn to feel luxuriously soft and not scrunchy and cheap.
For me Stylecraft fits the medium perfectly. Its great value but it doesn't feel like I've dropped down in quality. Its feels lovely and soft. There is such large selection of colours that you can't help but be drawn to it.
This is why I've used Stylecraft for many projects, Its acrylic that doesn't feel like acrylic. Look how wonderfully colourful it is when worked up!:

I ordered my Stylecraft with the intention of making another Granny Stripe Blanket (using the Attic24 pattern). A colleague of mine (Dani) had seen my crochet work and was so smitten with the Granny Stripe, that she asked me to make her one. I'm not usually so keen on making items for people when they know about it. I feel under pressure to get the project finished fast. Instead I like to make a project secretly and give it as a surprise, that way I'm under no obligation to get the project finished by a certain time.
This was different, It was for Dani!
Dani works at the theatre and is part of the wigs and make-up department. She is such a lovely woman! Always has a smile on her face and is so fun and crazy.
Dani and I help each other with our language learning. She speaks to me in English and I'll correct her when she gets stuck. Then she does the same for me in German, it's a win win Situation!
So of course when Dani asked me for a bright (like her personality) blanket, I got straight to work.

Dennis and I have both made granny stripes before. I made mine with Merino the first time around:

Dennis made his with the Stylecraft pack:

As I've just bought the Stylecraft pack, I'm going for a Granny Stripe similar to Dennis'.
Dani told me that there is no rush for the blanket so I'm making this a sideline project. A project that I'm always working on, but that doesn't always have to be my main focus. I hope that this way I won't get bored of it and will have time to work on other projects. :-)

With that in mind I've decided to do just one stripe a day. A stripe is taking only about 20 minutes to complete, so I should be able to fit easily one per day.
With the amount of stripes I'm hoping this blanket will be finished around early September. I'm thinking that's perfect! It will be finished in time for Autumn. So Dani will have a bright and gorgeous blanket to snuggle in during the cold Autumn and Winter months. I cant wait to give it to her!!

There we have it!! Day seven and I'm mid row on my 7th stripe. I'm giving the random colour approach a try, let's see how that turns out!

Have a glorious Sunday!!
Matt xxx
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Monday 21 May 2012

I'm going to the zoo, zooo, can come too, tooo, toooo...

I've had a full day today and my energy doesn't seem to be dwindling! I know I only have one thing to thank for my energy boost....SUNSHINE!!
The sun is well and truly out here in Hamburg and We've had two glorious days off it!!!! It's sooo revitalising having the bright warmth of a sunny day break what's been a mainly dull month. I am very thankful for it!!!
I've had some free time from work and have been making the most of  the glorious change in weather. I thought I would use the opportunity to get outside and see the sunny side of Hamburg.  Some time spent in the park "Planten en Blomen", plus a trip to the zoo doesn't sound like such a bad way to spend free time :-)
I'm not going to bore you with describing every picture, Instead I thought I'd just lay them here on the blog (Can you tell I want to go outside and enjoy the last of the evening sunshine?).  You can glance at them as you feel fit........or just skip to the end as there does seem so be a lot of pictures! :-)

I love that we have such a luscious green park here in the middle of the city. It almost feels like we could be in the country side.

I'm always mesmerized by the flowers in the park. Pretty pastel colours....

Or bold and striking statements!

Delicate and magical!....... Make a wish!!!!!!

I find it interesting to see the softness of nature up against the harsher man-made objects. Somehow they fit together.

I like to go to the park, but I LOVE to go to the zoo.............It's FREAKIN AWSOME!!!!!!

I got to feed the elephants! Look a that BIG smile!!!


Mummy Alpaca:

Baby Alpaca:

"Cluck Cluck!"

"Tweet Tweet"

I'm thinking of growing a goatee?



Take the plunge?

One of my favourite ways to spend a free day!!!
I hope you are all having a lovely start to the week....make it a good one!

Matt xxx
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Monday 7 May 2012

Granny Square Button Cushion!

Guess who spent a lovely Friday afternoon with Dennis?.......MEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!
Dennis' cruise ship was in Hamburg for the day, so we had a chance to catch up. We spent a lovely afternoon sharing stories and enjoying each others company, it was sooooo  great to see him!
He is doing fine and is rather enjoying his current contract. He promises that once rehearsals are finished he will pop by 'the blog' and say hello to you all!

Friday really was a lovely day! Not only did I see Dennis in the afternoon, I also took the evening off form work and had a little time to myself. I spent some time working on my current WIP and made some scrummy home cooked food.

I also took a venture up the road to explore the local yarn cafe, they were having a 'Knit Night'.
Knit night happens twice a month at this store and I was extremely curious to see what it was all about.
I have to be honest, not only was I curious..... I was also a little nervous. Nervous about the fact I would probably be the only guy and nervous about the thought of having to speak German! 
I didn't have to worry about a thing! The ladies were extremely accommodating, they spoke to me slowly and were patient as I sometimes struggled to find the correct German words.  We spoke about our projects and worked on them whilst having a laugh and drinking good coffee. I didn't always understand everything that was said but I laughed along all the same! :-)

On the way home, I stopped off at a bar and listened to some live music whilst sipping a beer. It was a perfect way to end an evening free from work.

Would you like to see what I was working on at the knit cafe?
I started this project last week, It's made using the leftover yarn from my blanket.

This project had two purposes. The first was to be quick and easy and the second was to use up the last of this yarn. It fulfilled both!
I planned on making a cushion that would match my blanket. I decided to keep to a similar theme and made the pillow out of Granny Squares.
49 squares in total.

I made 24 colourful squares
 Then I added 25 white squares to the equation.

I stitched the squares together using single crochet. I wanted to create the same raised ridges that my blanket also has.

I rummaged the 'bits and bobs' box for all of the left over buttons we had. Some buttons I had bought, some I had found and some were salvaged from old clothing. 

I'm totally fascinated with buttons at the moment. I love the endless amount of colours and sizes. I love that  randomly you may see one whilst walking to work or find one down the back of the sofa. I think they're rather enchanting!

I sewed the buttons to the white Granny squares. 

Once the front of the cushion was complete I got to work on the back.
I simply made a large granny square out of my left over yarn. Changing colour for each round.

Isn't that just so stunningly sunny! I'm loving the back of the pillow almost as much as the front!
Once the back was finished I stitched the front to the back (cushion in the middle) also using single crochet. I finished it off with a simple picot border.
Wanna have a look?

 I'm very pleased with it! The buttons add a rather playful touch!
 Here's the back:

I'm not sure which side a love most?

It compliments the blanket nicely and sits fittingly with its sibling cushions!

With this cheery cushion it really doesn't matter that its so gloomy outside!
Apparently these days, sunshine comes in the form of granny squares and buttons!

Matt xxx
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