Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Summer Break! (Not really...)

That's it - all my bags are packed, I'm ready to go...

On Thursday, June 28, John and I will be flying from Nuremberg via Amsterdam to Detroit, where we'll spend two weeks with John's family in Royal Oak, Michigan. On July 12, we'll leave for California to spend another two weeks there, travelling from San Diego to San Francisco. On July 26, we'll fly back to Detroit, and three days later back home to Germany. I'm dying of excitement!!! :)

Michigan 2010: Woodward Dream Cruise, Detroit Tigers, Mr. B's Pub, Great Lakes Crossing Mall, Henry Ford Museum, and Mackinac Island

Though I'll be gone til the end of July, it doesn't mean that you won't hear from me:

First of all, you're invited to visit our travel-diary it's 5 o'clock somewhere. But be warned: I'm writing this blog in German for our family and friends at home, and although it's got a translate-button it might be tricky to read (Using my mother tongue, I'm a fan of complex sentences, absurd phrases, and sometimes even typically franconian slang expressions). Nevertheless you can look at the pictures and guess what we're doing - that is, only if you want to, of course :)

I've also pre-scheduled lots of new motifs for the Challenge that will be posted automatically here on my crochet-blog (there's still a long way to go to reach my goal of 100+ this year, and the next month is a great opportunity to get ahead).

Last but not least, there's still The Crochet Boulevard as a place for you to play while the cat's away :)

That's it for now. Thanks for all the good wishes you've already left at some previous posts! Take care and be good, and see you soon in k-town (or somewhere else at 5 o'clock *gg*),


PS: I'll leave this notice as a sticky post at the top of this blog.

Beyond the Square: Motif # 58

Motif # 58

Category: Triangles

Progress: 53 of 100+

A triangle gone wild: this one features lots of front post dc's, the last round is worked with reverse sc's. Interesting look!

Shared Gallery: link up your motifs!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Beyond the Square: Motif # 6

Motif # 6

Category: Circles

Progress: 52 of 100+

This one is made with double treble crochet stitches (dtr), i.e. with yarn over three times. This stitch is explained in almost any crochet book I've ever seen, and I always wondered what to use this huge stitch for. Now I know :)

Shared Gallery: link up your motifs!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Another Gift for Another Girl

Happy Sunday!

In my last post I've showed you the gifts I've made for John's Mom and his sister, and I've made another little gift this week-end:

One of our trainees, Simone, will finish her apprenticeship and leave the company while we're away, so I made her a little farewell-gift. This is a very small stone, embellished with a butterfly (you can find the pattern for the butterfly at marie's making). Simone knows that I'm making this stones, and last year she brought me some little rocks from her vacation, so I thought this would be a nice gift.

John also asked me to get a cup for her, because he broke the handle of Simone's coffee-cup just a few weeks ago. So yesterday I've bought a really cool one: it says "goodbye kitty" and it's got a hello-kitty-style comic-cat on it, wearing a dynamite belt. I especially love the drop of sweat on the cat's forehead :) Simone's got a cool sense of humor, so I think this is the perfect farewell-gift for her!

And after preparing those gifts the last days, I received another gift myself this week-end: Craftgirl78 has passed One Lovely Blog Award on to me. Thank you so much! I'm feeling really lucky and honored to be on your list!

Since I've already blogged about the Sunshine Awards last week-end, answered the questions and passed the award on to some other great blogs, please allow me to skip this part for now - I'll come back to this when I'm back from vacation!

Have a great day everyone,


Friday, June 22, 2012

Gifts for the Girls

Thank God it's Friday!! :)

Another working week has gone by, Germany has won the quarter-final match against Greece just a few minutes ago, and is now in the semi-finals of the Euro Cup. Our next match will either be against England or Italy, so in any case it'll be a tough battle. The match will be on Thursday night, which is really a pity, because right then we'll be sitting in the plane from Amsterdam to Detroit, and I don't think that they have live television on board. Maybe I'll wear my fanshirt during the flight, that's the least I can do for our boys :)

It's really not long until our vacations now, but don't worry, this isn't the farewell-post yet. What I wanted to show you today are the gifts I've made for John's Mom and his sister:

Some weeks ago, I've asked for your opinion whether I should make little crochet gifts for them or not, and most of you said I should. I think/hope that they'll appreciate the handmade gift, even if they're not much into crochet (which I'm not sure about, maybe they'll love it?)

So, here's what I made for John's Mom:

I've made two of those little potholder dresses that I had already made for my Mom on Mother's Day. Here are a few more pictures (I've discovered a new software, PhotoScape, and I love making those gorgeous mosaics with just a few clicks):

The crucial thing about these dresses is to pick the right button :)

For John's sister I've made a crochet covered stone:

I don't think that she's the type to collect handmade potholders or dishcloths, so I've picked this decorative item. I still think that crochet stones are quite unusual and unique, and you don't have to be a crochet maniac to love those stones.

I wanted this stone to be one of my best stones ever and so I've put a lot of time and effort in it, doing and re-doing the closing net lots of time until I liked the result. For the center motif I've used the starburst hotpad pattern, which I had already used for one of my stones before. It takes some time to make it and to weave in all those ends (it's made of five separate pieces that have to be joined), but I think it's worth the effort. I've attached the tiniest little flower button to the middle and really love how it turned out!

I'll let you know how the girls liked the gifts!

There are still a few more motifs for the Challenge that I want to post before I leave, and maybe some of you would like to join us on our vacation, so I will post the link to our travel diary next time.

Have a great week-end everybody!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Beyond the Square: Motif #140

Motif #140

Category: Unusual Shapes

Progress: 51 of 100+

This is another motif from the "unusual shapes" section in the book, and it's probably the most unusual motif of them all, because it's the only 3-dimensional one. It was very easy to make, but honestly: I have no idea what to make with a motif like this :)

Shared Gallery: link up your motifs!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Beyond the Square: Motif # 109

Motif # 109
Category: Squares

Progress: 50 of 100+

Half of the Challenge is accomplished! This square is special in many ways: First of all, it features the so-called "Leaning Tower Stitch", something that I had never heard or seen before. At first sight it might look like an ordinary granny pattern, but have a closer look at the dc-clusters: of the 3 dc's, there's only the base of one stitch that is worked into the ch-space of the previous round! This stitch is an "extended double crochet" (I hadn't heard of this one either), the other two dc's are worked into the base of this stitch, and together they form the Leaning Tower Stitch I mentioned above. Awesome!!
Another thing that makes this square special: this is the first motif of the "white collection", (i.e. motifs that are photographed on a white background). When I started this Challenge back in January, I had very bad lighting conditions in our apartment, so I used artificial light and a black background (because I thought the colors looked prettier on a dark background). Now it's summer and I've started to use natural light, and I've found that with natural light the motifs look better on a white background! Oh boy! In fact, I like the new pictures so much, that I have already started to take new pictures of the old motifs on a white background. That means, 49 posts to edit - let's see how long my enthusiasm lasts! :)

Shared Gallery: link up your motifs!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Sunshine Awards

What a great week! Germany has won their first two matches in the European Soccer Championships (which means I may not wash my brandnew fanshirt again until our guys have won the title *gg*), and I've received the Sunshine Award to brighten up this rainy week! Obviously this award comes in two different shapes, and I love both of them!

On Tuesday, Barbina from Little things made with love has passed her award on to me. Danke Barbina - Du weißt, dass ich ein großer Fan von Deinem Blog bin! :)

I've also received this Sunshine Award from homeschooljewelrymom at Stitches, Scraps and Sparkles in the Sun, from Helen (Sweet Seahorse) at 26 Minutes Past, and from Olga (Soleil) at There where is Soleil...

Thank you so much ladies, those awards have really brightened up my week! And Congratulation again on winning this award yourself!

And now the rules of this award:

1. Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you. (Done)
2. Answer the 10 questions on your favorite things.
3. Nominate 10 blogs to receive the Sunshine Award and let them know they've been nominated.

Here are the 10 questions (hey, this is so much easier than conjuring up interesting facts about oneself out of thin air!)

1. Favorite Animal: my cat Mucki was an awesome little bitch beast. I miss her.
2. Favorite Number: I don't really have a special number, but when it comes to Poker, 9/10 of spades is my lucky starting hand in Texas Hold'em
3. Favorite Non-Alcoholic Drink: Wait, there was this great slogan I've pinned on Pinterest recently: "Given enough Diet Coke I could rule the world!" So true! :)
4. Facebook or Twitter? I'm on facebook, but you could call it a love-hate relationship
5. My Passion: I think my passion is passion per se. When I'm interested in something, I'm investing 100% of my heart and time (with fluctuations though). To name a few: Crochet, Poker, Football (no.1 right now), Music, Dancing and many more!
6. Getting or Giving: Depends on who's giving or who's receiving. I think generally the best gifts (getting or giving) are those without special reasons.
7. Favorite Pattern: changes all the time. Right now I'm a little bit bored of the traditional granny square, but at the end of my life I'll probably say "hey girls, wasn't that the best pattern ever?" :)
8. Favorite Day of the Week: Saturday. Especially when all the work is done the day before.
9. Favorite Flower: "The Rose" from Bette Midler :) I'm not so much the flower type (and hope you don't hate me for this confession)
10. Favorite Country: I think Germany is a great place to live and work (health system, social benefits, holidays, pensions etc.), but I lost my heart to an American and his home :)

Now the hard part again, passing this award on to 10 other blogs. Many of my favorite blogs have already been nominated, but on the other hand my ever-growing blogroll is so long, that it was still a tough job to select 10 outstanding blogs - here we go, I pass The Sunshine Award on to:

I don't know, if you all participate in award games, but I just want to thank all of you for writing those amazing blogs!

And off to bother you know... :)

Have a great and sunny week-end everybody!

PS: If you're missing the monthly theme-party, please check out my earlier post from this morning, or head over to my new party-blog The Crochet Boulevard right away! (Wow, that's the first time I've written two posts on one day...)

Important Party News!!

Hey girls, are you here because of our monthly theme-party that's supposed to be today? Great, because I've got exciting news for you: I've moved the parties to another site, The Crochet Boulevard: It's my new party-place, where we won't be disturbed by all the other stuff I'm posting :)

Today's topic is Free Crochet Patterns, so hop over to share your designs! What do you say, are you ready for a looooooooong party? Then follow me to The Crochet Boulevard, let's go! :)

PS: maybe you've noticed that I've started to re-design this site as well. The big changes (template and header) are already done, but I'm still working on the details. So don't be confused if the design changes back and forth over the next few days. Hope you like it so far :)


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Spiral Coaster/Potholder Pattern

Pattern: Made in K-Town by Barbara 
Please respect my rights as designer: do not sell, share, translate, or publish any parts of this pattern (including pictures) online or elsewhere without my permission. Do not claim this pattern as your own. Feel free to sell the finished items you’ve made from my pattern! If you do, a link-back to my blog www.made-in-k-town.blogspot.de would be great.
Thank you!

Again, I used small amounts of Catania by Schachenmayer (cotton yarn) and a 2.5mm hook. My coasters measure 8.5cm in diameter (3.3") but the size will vary depending on the yarn you use.

Some general notes:
This pattern is written in US crochet terms. We’ll need the following stitches: chain stitch (ch), single crochet (sc), half double crochet (hdc), double crochet (dc), and surface stitches (these will be explained below).
The most important thing: remember this is a spiral coaster, so do not join rounds, but work in a spiral! Use a stitch-marker, a contrasting thread or a paper clip to mark the first stitch of the round, and move the marker after each round.
1st Round: Start with a magic ring, ch1, then work 1sc, 1hdc, and 12dc into the ring (14 stitches)

2nd Round: Work 2dc in each stitch of the previous round (28 dc’s)
3rd Round: Repeat *dc in the next dc, 2dc in the next dc* around (42 dc's)

4th Round: Repeat *dc in the next 2 dc’s, 2dc in the next dc* around (56 dc’s)

5th Round: 1hdc in the next dc, (sc, ch6, sc) in the next dc (this will be the hanger), then repeat *skip one dc, work (sc, ch3, sc) in the next dc* around. If your stitch-count is right, your last sc-ch3-sc-group should be worked into the last dc of round 4.

Finishing the spiral: skip the hdc, sc in the next sc, work 8 sc’s into the ch6-space of the previous round, and finish with a slip-stitch to the next sc. Finish off.

Adding the surface stitches: hold your contrasting yarn at the back of your work, insert hook in between the hdc and the first dc in the middle of your spiral, yo, pull loop through the gap. Now you’ve got a loose loop on your hook (hold the end of your yarn tight for the first stitch!). *Insert hook in between the next two dc’s, yo, pull loop through the gap and through the loop on your hook*. It’s like working slip stitches. Work this way around, the spiral will form all by itself. Work your last stitch between the hdc and the sc at the end of the spiral, cut thread, yo, pull thread through the gap and through your loop and finish off (use your hook or a needle to pull the lose end through to the back again)

Weave in the lose ends and your first spiral coaster is finished - quick and easy, right? :)

This basic pattern offers some possibilities to be creative: e.g. you could use variegated yarn for a more interesting effect, and/or use a different color for the last round of the spiral, and/or work a larger spiral to make a potholder. I've combined those ideas to make this quick potholder:

Here's how I did it:
With variegated yarn (same quality as Catania) I worked the first 4 rounds as described above and continued in this style for 4 more rounds: *3 dc's, 1 increase* in the next round (70 dc's), then *4 dc's, 1 increase* in the next round (84 dc's), then *5 dc's, 1 increase* in the next round (98 dc's), then *6 dc's, 1 increase* in the next round (112 dc's).

Then I switched to another yarn for the last round, which is the 5th round of the coaster pattern above: the only difference is, that I made ch-8 for the hanger (instead of ch-6), and worked 10 sc's inside the hanger (instead of 8 sc's).

I've added the contrasting surface spiral exactly as described above, using the same color as I used for the border (off-white).

I hope you like this pattern! If you've got any questions, or find errors, please let me know! And if you've been here before, you know that I always love to see your finished coasters and potholders, too - so please feel free to leave a comment with a link to your blog or flickr picture :)

Want to see more Spiral Coasters? Check out the Project Gallery on Ravelry!


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Beyond the Square: Motif # 33

Motif # 33

Category: Hexagons

Progress: 49 of 100+

Easy hexagon, again with a round of sc - ch1, which I love! I used a very light shade of green for this row in between the two white rows, so unfortunately it doesn't look as striking as it could have. Next time :)

Shared Gallery: link up your motifs!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Spiral Coasters Preview

 Good morning lovely people! :)

Today I just want to show you a few pictures of the spiral coasters I've been making recently.

Again I've tried to use lots of different Catania colors, I just love the way they look all together, just like a colorful rainbow :) As you might notice, the coasters got little hangers - which is not necessary for the coasters to serve their purpose of course, but I think it's a nice extra, and - moreover - it makes the end of the spiral look less conspicuous. You might also notice that I've used surface stitches again (which I've done before in my Spring Mandala) - I'm quite addicted to those stitches right now, for they can create an interesting effect on any piece of crochet. I think you might see them more often in my projects now :)

Do you like my spiral coasters so far? They're very quick and easy to make, and I had so much fun taking the pictures and preparing them for posting. If you're interested in the pattern, please stop by again, I'm working on it!

Have a great week-end,


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Who Loves Buttons?

Stupid question actually, just take a look at this picture:

Honestly, who could NOT fall in love with those beauties? I did, when I opened the parcels that arrived last week. One of the parcels was from China, I ordered the buttons via Ebay:

The other parcel came all the way from the USA, from Shelly's Buttons and More Online Store:

These are all Jesse James "Dress it up" buttons, most of them are "Color Me" collections (different shaped buttons of the same color theme), I've ordered blue, red, plum, green, and "Tropical Escape" (that's the pink/yellow/green/orange collection in the middle). The six big flower buttons (top middle) are from the "Sew Fun" series (style 13 retro flowers).

The colors, the shapes, aren't those buttons just amazing? I'm so happy with them, so I thought you might enjoy them, too - would you like to have a few of them? I'd love to share my happiness with you, so let's just make a quick little giveaway, shall we? Here's your prize (left side):

It's a goodie bag, filled with lots of buttons. Some of them are from the new collections I've showed you above, and some of them are buttons that I already had in my box - let me surprise you :)

All you have to do is leave one comment here (and only one, please), telling me why you love buttons. Or what you would do with new ones. Just tell me something :) The one who writes the 10th comment to this post will win the bag - easy, isn't it? Of course I'll change the settings of the comments for this game, so you don't see the comments at once and won't know if you're the first, 5th or 10th person. I'll release the comments as soon as we've got a winner (that is - if I'm online at that time, maybe you have to wait until tomorrow *gg*).

Good luck to you all: be quick - but not too quick! :)

edit 10:40pm: hold your horses girls, we've already got a winner! This has probably been the quickest giveaway in the history of giveaways ever! The 10th comment was written by Annaboo about 90 minutes after I've published this post, she wrote:

"Aw, well I'll be the first then!
I love buttons because they can transform any bag, cushion, jumper, cardigan, blanket, scarf, hat (and about another bazillion things) into something individual and original.
Lovely giveaway idea!

That's cute, you thought you were the first - but indeed you're the winner! :) And you're so right about the buttons transforming anything into something individual - I'm looking forward to seeing what you're doing with the buttons I'll send you, I hope you enjoy them!!

To all the others: thanks for playing, and even if this giveaway is closed now - I still love reading your thoughts! :)


Monday, June 4, 2012

Beyond the Square: Motif # 5

Motif # 5

Category: Circles

Progress: 48 of 100+

Oh cool, something like a round granny basic pattern. Always good to have!

Shared Gallery: link up your motifs!
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