Wednesday, February 27, 2013


To recover from yesterday evening's shock (Clara fell on her chin at her friend's house and the wound had to stitched up at the ER) and to show the kids at my needlecraft class some incentives for the single crochet stitches they are learning right now ("Will we ever do anything but crochet?"), I made these:

A little bag and an egg cozy (yes, Easter is not that far away anymore). 

The kids all got the same purple and turquoise yarn from me. We'll see what they will be stitching up during the next classes. And pompoms are fun, aren't they?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Last of the Long Beanies

So far. So I think.

I made this beanie in my favourite colours. This time I had a choice. For the first beanies I just grabbed what was close to my colour preferences. Whatever was kind of pink and purple.

Like you see on the left, a beanie crocheted with myboshi yarn (I added two more light purple rows to the original version) and on the right the recent hat. Not the only difference - myboshi yarn is 70% plastic and 30% wool, the other yarn is Lana Grossa Superbingo - 100% wool. So much nicer to touch and to wear.

The new hat was also good training for crocheting the "right way". It took some concentration not to slip into my 30-year-old-wrong-way. See the difference?

Right way. Half double crochet stitches stand on 2 legs.

"Wrong" (???) way. One leg overlaps the other.

Shall I tell you the truth? I think, my old way looks better. In any case, I now know two ways to make slightly different looking crochet stitches. And on closer inspection of the myboshi book I found out that they crochet in both styles, too. See here:

I am in good company.

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Dear IKEA marketing people,

thank you for sending me a leaflet this week.

For enjoying summer outside.

When I opened the door to our patio this morning, it looked like this:

My instincts still tell me to make hats.

Couldn't we just start with spring?

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Crazy Woman has another new Hat

That's the good side of a long winter. You just can't have enough hats. They knit up quickly and add some fashion to that same old winter coat.

This is my second attempt on the Wurm pattern (the first one here), again in Lana Grossa Cool Wool, and this time in a more catcouchy colour. You can find my Ravelry notes here.

It is a light slouchy hat for the warmer March days to come.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

30 Years of Crocheting the Wrong Way

That's what I learned from teaching single crochet to the kids in my needlecraft class this week - I have been making yarn overs and therefore all the crochet stitches a slightly wrong way without even noticing it. For as long as I remember.

The funny thing is, I don't remember when and how I learned to crochet and knit or who taught me. I do remember my mother knitting in the 80s and my Russian grandmother crocheting elaborate doilies, craft books for children, different projects and half a year of needlecraft in 4th form at school (where I worked on a sweater with a lace pattern - no beginner anymore). My mother didn't teach me, she just told me recently. So as long I can remember, I can knit and crochet.

Or thought so.
OK. I can make chain stitches the right way.

While trying to demonstrate single crochet to the kids, I found it very strange that I pick the yarn with the hook on top of the yarn for the yarn overs...

... while for all the rest of the yarn overs (pullling the yarn through the loops on the hook) I have the hook under the yarn.

Back home I consulted some books and the Internet. The hook comes from under the yarn all the time (though I found one lady online doing it my way, too). Does it matter anyway?

It very slightly does. Hardly visible, but if you look at the last 4 half double crochet stitches (my way) and compare them to the 4 stitches before that (the correct way), you see that the bottom of my stitches is twisted and only one "leg" is visible while the other stitches stand on two "legs". The same applies to single crochet, half double crochet, triple crochet etc. stitches.

Nothing you would notice from the back of a galloping horse, though.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Hubby's Hat

So he also got his beanie, like promised on Sunday.
For his youthful look ;-)

And that's how it looks like when I am weaving in ends:
(photo by Clara)

A fierce and determined look.
Like nothing can stop me.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

My Beanie Week

I was happy wearing my new Rikke Hat and knitting away on a second Wurm. In the afternoon we went to musical school for Clara's recorder class. In the waiting room sat another mama wearing a cool coloured crochet long beanie. I asked her about her hat. She started making them herself this winter and also sells them to friends. They are quite popular right now, similar to those by these guys here. She said the word: myboshi.

After my craft class at Clara's school, a mother came up to me and said how great it is that I teach crochet and knitting. So the children can soon make these crochet hats, that are so trendy at the moment.

After my Kundalini yoga class I talked with a yoga student about knitted slouchy beanies. She made her husband one via a youtube tutorial.

I went to our local supermarket and saw a woman in the fruit & veg section. Wearing a crochet long beanie in cool colours. I asked her about her hat (I am totally uninhibited about that now). Yeah, a friend makes and sells them (not the mama from musical school) and actually EVERYBODY is making them this winter. When I asked her about the pattern, she contacted her friend on the phone and gave me the website of those girls.

I think about the two boys in my craft class and want to show them male crochet role models and order this book (good marketing). Plus children-sized beanie patterns inside.

I put Carolina in a warm suit and we head downtown for wool. At the yarn shop I ask for a thick yarn. They know what I want. They have the book I ordered yesterday on the counter and copy a handwritten crochet instruction for a beanie with their fax machine for me. Like a whirlwind. Before I even ask for it. I also check the needle craft section at the department store. Not to be overlooked - they sell myboshi-wool (very good marketing). OMG.

I cast on.

Carolina is feverish and sleeps an usual lot. On my lap while I am crocheting. I make two hats. There are tutorials online like this German one here (in English here) or this pattern here. Half double crochet. With thick wool. There is hardly a faster way to make a hat.

In my prenatal yoga class one student talks about making beanies for her kids and after class another student asks about my new hat - made this morning. How to make it. She has a friend (this time it is a male friend) who also crochets these beanies and sells them online.

I make a quick hat from stash yarn to suit my coat.

Breathe out - I take the Wurm back into my hands.

This is not the end. Hubby also wants a cool beanie now.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day

... is knitting his sweater.

Hope, you are having a lovely day, too.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Clara's Crochet

Clara (sometimes also Carolina) comes to my new job, the craft class at her school with me. After making friendship bracelets last week, we dived straight into crochet this week, starting with chain stitches.

One hour with 11 kids (and a baby) is not enough for everybody to get it right straight away, also considering the fact that the children are aged between six and nine. So after being somewhat discouraged in class, Clara had the advantage of having her own personal craft teacher at home afterwards.

And it clicked.

She worked with full concentration for over an hour and after it she looked outside the window and said: "Oh, it has snowed. I haven't noticed it at all."

For me, looking at Clara crocheting away was like looking into a mirror.

Mama & daughter knitting & crochet. 
Side by side. 
Love. Love. Love.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Cat's Rikke Hat

It's hat season for me (remember, you can still win that Wurm hat here).

The Rikke Hat - this time a hat in a colour that I personally like. Until last year I didn't think I was beanie person, but as experience showed me, I wear my New House, New Hat a lot. Funnily, this Rikke Hat continues like the former ended - with purple garter stitch. Garter stitch in the round is a funny thing, too, because the place where the rounds meet looks like this:

Like a seam.

It doesn't matter, because that faux seam stays underneath. One cool thing I learned from this hat is the German twisted cast on (you can find a great video tutorial by verypinkknits here). It is fun to execute (loved the thumb twist) and creates an edge that is both firm and elastic.

And it mimics a garter stitch row (see those little bumps in the bottom?).

Living in Germany I never met anybody casting on that way. It is also called Old Norwegian cast on - I prefer that name. Sounds romantic and cold.

Before I start boring you, I'll show what the hat looks like on my head.

And from behind.

The hat is snuggy around the ears and is slouchy enough if I choose to put my hair under it. I love it! The shape, the colour, the whole hat. Makes winter so much more fun. My Ravelry notes.

With that Rikke hat I owe you one last story - I kind of  promised to tell it two years ago in that post. I once met the original Rikke the hat was named after. The pattern says: "For those of you wondering, Rikke is a wonderful globe-trotting customer of ours who was the first one to test knit the silver sample for Sarah, and the hat is named in her honor."

Globetrotting as she is, I met her at the German Yoga Conference in Cologne in May 2010. There were just the two of us in a room waiting for a yoga class with Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa (I did my Kundalini Yoga teacher training with her in India). There we were, in different corners of the room - and both knitting. Rikke was knitting her Multnomah shawl (Ravelry link here) and I was working on a pink Baby Surprise Jacket (here). Of course, we started talking, about yoga, knitting, yarn shops in Cologne. Yoga and knitting - it's a great combination.

Saturday, February 9, 2013


How wonderful is that, I got another gift from a yoga student this week! And they know what I like. After Cat's Cradle last week, this week's gift fuels my sewing passion (which is hibernating right now - the last sewed pieces were the matching pants for the girls for Christmas). Look at that:

A whole lotta thread!

My yoga student inherited these thread bobbins from her grandma, and as she doesn't know that many people that sew these days (her words), my generous yoga student thought of me. Thank you!

I know the sewing urge will come back with melting snow and rising temperatures, taking over the knitting needles. Good to be well equipped then. And I can also think of a thing or two to sew with the children in my craft class. Another thank you goes out to those, who equipped me with ideas for this new job of mine this week. Danke!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Leftover Wurm

The first snowdrops have come out this week (a bit every year earlier than in 2011 and 2012). But it is still winter around here and you still need to wear a hat. That's a good thing. When I saw yarnharlot's Wurm Hat on her blog two weeks ago, I wanted to knit one, too (by the way, it's hilarious what she wrote about her first Wurm on February 10 2011).

The original Austrian pattern used Lana Grossa Cool Wool, and as I am on a kind of "yarn diet 2013" (just buy wool if you really, really need it for a project), I remembered that I have some of it in my stash. Leftovers from baby knits for friends (legwarmers, socks) and gifts from yoga students. As those knits and gifts were for and from people with other tastes, I wouldn't have chosen the colours of the yarn myself. But, you know, "yarn diet 2013" and stuff, I gave it a try instead of rushing to the next yarn shop.

Before I show the result, I have to tell you, that Clara has a game,

where you put different-coloured pieces together to form a worm.

The finished Wurm hat reminded me very much of the game.

Wurm in German translates as nothing else but worm in English.

I like the pattern (my Ravelry notes here), but I still don't like the colours. But maybe someone else does. The colours of the coming spring - green, red and sand.

Maybe somewhere out there needs a spring hat. So I am having a Wurm Giveaway today - if you would like win the Wurm, enter a comment. And it's not the early bird that catches the worm - comments close on Sunday, February 17. The hat is a bit on the large side, for a head circumference 57-59cm. Good luck!

PS: I rushed to the yarn shop again - I am knitting two more hats right now (really, really need them).

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

My New Job

Yes, I am still a full-time mama and a part-time Kundalini Yoga teacher.
But from this week on I am also a once-a-week-needlecraft-teacher at Clara's school.


11 kids, lots of yarn.

We started out making friendship bracelets.

Only mine looks like this.

If you have any suggestions for suitable needlecraft projects for the little ones, I would love to hear from you in the comment section. I could need some inspiration. Thank you.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Pink Moment of the Week

Let's be honest. 
More purple and chocolate-y.
But sooo good that it felt like pink.

Vegan chocolate cookies (recipe from Veganomicon, you can find it here). You can put chocolate chips in them, walnuts, raisins, dried cherries, whatever you like. We had pecans in them, but even plain they are great. Even with "healthy" whole-wheat flour and whole cane sugar they are a treat. Ready in 15 minutes (5 minutes assembling, 8-10 minutes in the oven). For the moments, when only a chocolate cookie will do.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Papa's Socks

Christmas 2010 (yes, that's three Christmases ago...) Hubby got these hand-knitted vouchers for hand-knits from me. Umpteen pink projects later and the renewal of the vouchers that-not-so-long-ago-last Christmas, I was determined to turn the little socks and sweater into man-sized reality.

So starting off February with fresh-from-the needles New Year Sock Resolution Pair number 2:

Yes, these are long boats, socks, for Hubby is a tall man with long feet. Note, not with broad feet. This fact of his anatomy made my first attempt of knitting him socks three years ago a failure - I knitted a cuff-down sock with the number of stitches allocated for this shoe size. And after that blue-grey monster slipped off my needles - it was too wide. 

So this time, to save me from disappointment, I learned to knit a toe-up sock. On less stitches than the usual sock chart states (64 is a good number for him, because Mama's Mojos fit him). Toe-up socks mean that I learned an exciting Figure 8 cast on, turned the heel with short rows,

and learned Jssbo (Jeny's surprisingly stretchy bind off) for an elastic k1p1 cuff edge.

Knitting these socks was quite interesting this way and it had to be, because the colour of Hubby's socks was really boring classic for me, colour-therapy-wise. But you know, with love in every stitch, that felt good.

I did some manly k2 p2 ribbing on the instep of the sock which I could carry around the leg after the heel.

 (my foot modelling)

Sock voucher redeemed. 
And it's still winter, so Hubby can wear them and be warmed around the bottom ends.

What, you ask about the sweater?

I went to the yarn shop and got wool. A lot of it. 16 balls.
And back at home I realized that sweater colour looked familiar.

On the left side sock yarn, on the right side sweater yarn.

And the knitting?

 Has started.

Hubby said, sweater completion by Christmas 2013 will be OK.
He is a patient man.