maandag 30 september 2013

~ Monday Music ~

I can't believe I almost forgot about this song and how awesome it is!

I hope it will put a smile on your face this Monday!

vrijdag 27 september 2013

How To Read Crochet Charts

In the world of crocheters (and knitters) you can find two types of crocheters: those who love to read words and those who love to “read” pictures!

Because of the difference in taste there are two types of patterns. There are the ones completely written out or with abbreviations (as you probably use the most) and the patterns that are only a chart. Or a combination of the both of them.

The last one is the best option to attracht both types of crocheters but for most indie designers writing out a pattern is the simplest and fastest method of publishing patterns.

The designers who create charts for their designs are in a minority because there are only a few options to make a chart digitally with a home computer and basic software (and you have to be a bit computer savvy). There are requests for charted patterns as I have noticed on Ravelry but they are hard to find. The biggest chance of finding a chart is in a magazine, probably lace and/or doily patterns. These type of patterns are sometimes very complex to write down in crochet terms, so they aid in visualizing what you are doing with your hook and yarn. In Western world crochet they are simply not popular enough. On the other hand, Japanese crochet books are filled with charts so you can imagine they are quite popular world wide. Crochet charts are made of an international language.

I thought it was a good thing for me, as a designer, to learn how to make charts and add them to my patterns. A few months ago I was hopping over to Mrs Micawbers blog and she wrote “when I see a written pattern my mind just doesn’t grab it, it’s becoming jibberish” or something like that and this note really stuck with me.

I started wondering what all those dyslexic crocheters would feel like, or those who really need to rely on pictorials to grasp a pattern.

And then I started searching for software and found “StitchWorks”. This computer program is actually the only option if you want to create professional charts independently. Yes you can use Paint and a crochet font (Adriprints has one) or draw a chart from scratch in Inkscape, but this is at the moment the best option. I am not completely in 7th heaven with this program because it is still being tested and not perfect/easy to use but it is a start. The designer of the software is still making adjustments and hopefully will update it a few times in the nearby future.

But how do you read charts? I am going to give you a few examples of some stitches and how to read a basic chart in this tutorial.


First of all, you need to know your stitch dictionary. Surely you know that a double crochet is a dc and a back post double crochet is a bpdc but how is it visualized?
There are a few chart dictionaries on the net which cover the basic stitches. Here is an example.

Crochet chart symbols 

The stitches are very simple put together logically. For example the double crochet is a T shaped symbol with a slanted line over it. This visualizes your yarn over your crochet hook. Logically, a treble crochet has two slanted Lines over the stick and a triple treble has four over the same stick.

I really do not know the origin of these symbols, I cannot find any info! But every stitch has its own symbol (some even have a few variations such as extended stitches) and for example shells or other lace stitches are made of grouping basic stitches.

If you are going to read a chart always read the legend that is put next to the chart or is in the index of a magazin. There are quite a few variations of all stitches so always make sure you know what each symbol represents.

I am going to give you an example chart to show you what I mean. . In the chart below I have the most common known motif in crochet history: The Granny Square. Compare the symbol for a dc in the symbol list and in the chart. In the list it is a T shaped symbol, but in the chart below it is a sort of a cross with a longer vertical line. This is why you need to check if there is a legend or explanation on what the charted symbols mean. Unfortunately there are no rules or really common symbols in charting crochet patterns among indie designers!


How to read a chart?
If we are going to use above chart as an example you can see easily it is made up of five rounds, with each round in a different colour. The circles are your chains and the crosses are your dc's. Your round starts with a ch3 and your groups of dc's are made in the ch1 sp of previous round. Can you see it?
This is a very basic chart.

How about crocheting in rows?

crochet chart for papillon scarf 
Source: Bynumber19

This is a chart for crocheting flat. It is a pattern for the Papillion Scarf by Birgit who is actually a very professional designer (she has published her patterns in books!). She has the pattern both in chart and in text. Just click on the link. But what do we see in this chart? There are dc stitches, chains and very large X's which indicate a single crochet but because it is done over two other rows she enlarged it. But she has a legend next to it on her site so it is very easy to understand. The numbers next to the rows indicate on which row you are working on.

How about working in the round and adding more intricate stitch repeats?

Source: Crochet Art

Ah, now we're talking!
This is a chart you will commonly find in crochet magazines, especially the filet and doily type of magazines.
Here you can see that there is little information showed, but enough to give you an idea how the doily has been made. 
You start in the middle  and as you can see the first round is made of single crochet's (x's) made into a circle of eight chains (the oval shapes in the centre). After that you see that on the right of each ch 3 a number indicates the start of the new round. Round number one isn't indicated (which is the sc crochet round) but the start of round 2 is. Every number above that indicates the starts of the next round. And so you progress through your chart.
But what does it not tell you? Wether or not to turn your work. That is why I think patterns need both a chart and a written pattern!
What it does tell you is a very nice visualization of how your doily is supposed to look. That is the great thing about charts.

I hope you found this tutorial useful, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask!

I am going to put you to the test in a couple of days ;)

donderdag 26 september 2013

Busy Fingers Showing Off! #16

To be completely honest with you, I don't know what to do for this week's Link Party.
In terms of featuring someone. I signed in to my Inlinkz dashboard to find out that only 6 projects got one click.
There were more than 60 views for the Link Party in itself, but maybe one or two people clicked to visit someone else's lovely project.
I am sorry if this sounds a bit negative, but I really do hope if you are reading this, dear reader, you will consider visiting another blogger if they link up in this week's Link Party!
So here's what I did, I put number 1 to 6 in the random number generator ( and got number 2.
From the top of my list here is the featured project from this week!

Brooches made by Mie @ Moois van 'M(i)e'

Great project Mie!

A little request from me to you, my dear reader:
Would you please be so kind to link up your beautiful projects or grab a button?
And would you please visit the lovely bloggers who come over here to link up their crafty things?

Thank you so much!

Here are the basic rules for my Busy Fingers Showing Off Party:
Please post the link to your actual blog post, not your homepage. Any project page is allowed, so Flickr/Yahoo Groups/Tumblr, it does not matter as long as it shows a project that has been made by you.
Please follow me on my blog or Facebook and grab the link party button and post it on your website/blog. I will gladly follow you back!
Please visit the two or three links above your link and leave a comment. Let’s party together!
Please no Etsy Stores, advertizing or other link parties.

Let's show the world what you made!


woensdag 25 september 2013

Guest Post: Making a DIY bridal bouquet

Today I'd like to welcome my little sister Elly on my blog! I blogged about her wedding a month ago, and she made a lovely DIY touch to her wedding outfit. She made her own bridal bouquet out of old brooches! We sat down for an afternoon of crafting and turned the brooches into a lovely "flowery" bouquet.

Here's how she did it!

Mijn bruidsboeket
My bridal bouquet

Zoekend op internet naar een mooi boeket in blauw- en paarstinten, kwam ik weinig tegen wat me echt aansprak. De kleuren waren het vaak net niet, en je zit met het probleem dat niet alle bloemen elk seizoen te verkrijgen zijn.
Op een gegeven moment stuitte ik op een brocheboeket en was meteen verkocht! Een boeket gemaakt van broches, maar ook andere sieraden en onderdelen kan je gebruiken.
I was searching on the internet for a lovely bouquet in shades of blue and purple (my favorite colours) but I could not find anything suitable to my taste. The colours were not the right shade, or if I wanted real flowers in my bouquet not all colours were available during a particular season.
After a while I found a pictures of brooch bouquets and thought it was a marvelous idea! 

En sieraden…. Dat is wel mijn ding! Al sinds kinds af aan maak ik sieraden. Begonnen met kralen rijgen, inmiddels werk ik met rocailles (kleine kraaltjes) waarmee ik rijgpatronen maak en bead-embroidery. Dit alles is hobby, maar ook mijn werk bestaat uit sieraden. Ik heb de opleiding gedaan tot goudsmid, en werk nu in de sieradenbranche.

Het idee van een brocheboeket kreeg ik niet meer uit mijn hoofd en toen begon uit uitzoeken; hoe maak je nu eigenlijk zoiets?
Jewellery is really my thing! I started making jewellery during my childhood years. I started off with beading, and at the moment I work mostly with rocailles (little beads) stringing them in patterns and doing bead-embroidery. In both my working life and private life I work with jewellery so this idea of a brooch bouquet would reflect important aspects of my life.

Ik kwam twee manieren tegen, één waarbij je geen basis gebruikt, maar alle broches aan elkaar maakt. En één waarbij je bosjes nep-hortensia’s gebruikt. Dit laatste leek mij het makkelijst, en op zoek ernaar kwam ik de perfecte tegen bij de V&D, in paars-blauw!
There seem to be two ways to make these kind of bouquets: the first one is attaching all the brooches to eachother without a base and the second one is using a base and alternating brooches with fake hydrangea flowers.

Aangezien dit een crea-blog is, deel ik graag hoe ik het boeket gemaakt heb.
Here's how I did it!

Je hebt nodig:
Een stuk of 40/50 mooie broches
Breed stevig tape
Organzalint 4cm breed met metaaldraad in de randen
Organzalint met satijnrand
You will need:
About 40-50 brooches to your taste
Metal wire
Fake hydrangea
Flower tape
All purpose tape (the silver coloured kind)
Pincers to cut and bend metal wire 
Very small pins
Organza ribbon (about 4 cm wide)
Organza ribbin with satin border
Satin ribbon

De broches:

Begin op tijd met het verzamelen van de broches, je hebt er aardig wat van nodig. Ik heb het meeste op Ebay gescoord. Verder zitten er een paar familiestukken in, en een paar gekraalde ringen.
Start collecting your brooches. Most of them I bought on Ebay but there are a few brooches given by family and a few beaded rings.

Knip een stuk draad af van welke de dubbele lengte heeft van je gewenste bloemsteel lengte, en vouw deze dubbel. Steek hem door een zijkant van de clip onder de broche.
Cut off a piece of metal wire making sure it is the double length of the height of your desired bouquet height. Fold in tow. Stick it through a side of the clasp of the brooch. You will need two pieces of metal wire per brooch.

Zet een tang op het draad en draai met je andere hand de twee metaaldraden om elkaar heen.
Hold your metal wire with a pincer and twist both metal wires around eachother

 Draai het metaaldraad ook strak tegen de broche aan. Draai vervolgens de rest van de twee draden geheel om elkaar heen.
Herhaal de stappen van foto’s 7,8 en 9 aan de andere kant van de broche.
Twist the metal wire closely to the clasp of the brooch and twist both wires completely around eachother. Repeat steps 7-9 on the other side of the brooch with the second length of metal wire.

Kruis de twee metaaldraden over elkaar heen en draai ze om elkaar heen, net zoals met de eerste draden.
Cross both pieces of metal wire and twist them tightly around eachother.

Tape het metaaldraad af met bloementape. 
Wind some flower tape around the ends of the metal wire.

Neem de tijd voor de voorgaande stappen, want dit gaat pijn doen aan je handen. Ik heb er elke dag een paar gedaan, dan is het goed te doen.
Take your time making these "flowers" because it will hurt your hands. I did a few each day.

Vervolgens de leukste stap, het in elkaar zetten van het boeket! Dit heb ik samen gedaan met mijn zus, want op sommige momenten is het wel handig meer dan twee handen paraat te hebben.
When you are done making the "flowers" you can start making the bouquet. I did this together with my sister because you will definatetely need more hands than your own during this process!

We hebben als basis 4 takken van de hortensia in een vaas gezet, en zijn de broches gaan ‘bloemschikken’.
Firstly we made start with four branches of fake hydrangea in a vase and started arranging the brooches around them.

Vervolgens het geheel opgetild en de stelen strak omwikkeld met tape.
After this you need to pull out the whole thing gently and wind all purpose tape very tightly around it to keep it all in place.

Qua afwerking kan je van alles kiezen. Ikzelf heb ervoor gekozen om eerst aan de onderkant van de bolling van het boeket een rand te maken van breed organzalint. Dit zijn dubbelgeslagen stukjes, welke zijn vast getapet. Doordat er metaaldraad in de randen van het lint zit, blijft het lint mooi opzij staan.
Het handvat van het boeket is omwikkeld met satijnlint. Hier overheen smaller organzalint met satijnrand kruislings op vastgezet met parelspelden. Omdat ik geen mooie kleine parelspelden kon vinden, heb ik zelf kleine donkerblauwe glasparels geregen op normale spelden. Nu passen ze mooi bij de rest!
To really finish your bouquet you can choose anything you want. For this bouquet I used organza ribbon, starting at the bottom of the bouquet and taped to the sides. I used satin ribbon for the whole handle part as a base and on top of it organza ribbon which is fastened with tiny pins.

En dan, het eindresultaat:
Here is the endresult:

In het boeket zitten mijn ‘something old’: de broches van mijn moeder (familiestukken), ‘something new’ en ‘something blue’: de broches. En de sixpence is er ook aangemaakt. Het muntje is geslagen in het geboortejaar van mijn, helaas overleden, schoonmoeder. Ik vond dit wel een bijzondere manier om haar er een beetje bij te betrekken. 
I wanted to use some traditions so in the bouquet there is something old, something new and something blue. A tiny sixpence was attached to the organza ribbon. The sixpence is from the birth year of my mother-in-law who sadly passed away. In this way she was in thoughts at our wedding.

En het boeket in actie natuurlijk:
And of course, some pictures of the bouquet during our wedding:

In de corsage van mijn man heb ik een metalen bloemetje laten verwerken om het bij elkaar passend te laten zijn.
In the corsage of my husband there was also a little metal flower:
Ps. Uiteraard zijn de ketting en armband ook zelfgemaakt ;)
P.S. The bracelet and necklace are ofcourse DIY ;)

dinsdag 24 september 2013


Still going strong: Pensioner David Latimer from Cranleigh, Surrey, with his bottle garden that was first planted 53 years ago and has not been watered since 1972 - yet continues to thrive in its sealed environment 
(source: Daily Mail)

Quite a few months ago Big Man sent me a  link about a closed terrarium. A plant that has been growing for over 40 years sealed shut in a bottle. The story is awesome, and the whole idea seemed a very nice one to experiment with together with some students but somehow it slipped out of my mind. Really, how could I have forgot? A whole ecosystem in a glass bottle!

Until Monday when I saw a lovely pin of a closed terrarium on my Pinterest wall. The whole idea came back but it still seems a bit too adventuruous at the moment. You need quite a bit of special equipment for it and those beautiful big glass bottles aren't cheap. Maybe one day...

So I decided to try an open terrarium! They look nice and simple, and they should be low maintenance because they retain moisture more than in open pots if you pick a container that is several inches higher than your plants.

This is what you need:
Glass jar/container
Small pebbles
Baby plants

I bought some pebbles at the local gardening centre and used a glass container which was doing nothing on a bookshelf. I also bought three little baby plants, but if I ever am going to make a closed terrarium, these plants will really need to be baby baby plants. The little plant on the right was too big!

Meanwhile, I was busy anyway, I also transferred another very sad plant to a bigger pot and I really hope that he will flourish a bit. I am not terribly good with plants as I always forget to water them or give them plant food.... Maybe he will forgive me and grow a bit taller and wider!


Two out of three baby plants got into the open container but I have to tell you, it was quite an adventure to position them correctly. I really need to figure out how to get them into a big bottle.....

Doesn't it look lovely? I hope they will grow slowly (as they should be doing) and will not need much water. I am so pleased with how it looks!

The third baby plant got its own glass yar with some pebbles and soil and we'll see how he does.


I also completely cleaned out my kitchen window and here's how it looks! I threw out my old watering can and am now using a thrifted coffee can. I love love love it. I don't know why I thought of this sooner!

If I have sparked your interest, I have collected more information on my Flora board on my Pinterest wall!


maandag 23 september 2013

~ Monday Music ~

Besides being a huge metal fan, Big Man is a huge fan of Bon Jovi!

Enjoy :)

zondag 22 september 2013


Bright, crisp skies.
Fading leaves.
Lots of spiders.
The urge to bake in the afternoon and make hot chocolate.
Projects that are trying to lure you to the couch and just sit and hook...
We are definately not in Summer anymore!

donderdag 19 september 2013

Busy Fingers Showing Off! #15

It was a bit quiet last week wasn't it?

Let's see if we can rock the party a bit more this week. I think everyone is in work mode and adjusting to a new work-private life balance at the moment. Me included!

Here is the top 3 from last week:

Number 1

Cute cowgirl boots made by Liz @ Howling at the Moon

Number 2

Renate's Garage sale (look at it all!!) @ Renate's haken enzo

Number 3

Regula's beautiful South Bay Shawlette @ Babajeza's Wundertute

Lovely projects! You deserve to be featured :)

Want to get some views and/or want to be featured? Share your crafty projects in the new link party!

P.S. It's open until 26th of September!


dinsdag 17 september 2013

It's gettin' colder!


It is starting to feel like Autumn. It is starting to get cold and the rain is pouring and pouring. We had and have very unpredicting weather at the moment!
After a few days of very heavy rain we watched the weather forecasts very very closely and decided Sunday would be the perfect day to go to the Efteling. The Efteling is quite an old themepark (since 1952) and is very fairytale like. The heart of the Efteling is the "Sprookjesbos" which is designed after the drawings of Anton Pieck, a Dutch pencil artist. You can walk in the woods and everywhere there are scenes from Grimm's fairytales. It is very lovely and Little Man really starts to know all the fairytales and after every tale he pointed to the map and told us what tale he wanted to see next. He had a great time! (In the pictures are Hansl and Gretl, Frau Holle and the Frog King).
It was marvelous.
With the temperatures dropping we are playing more indoors and getting a bit cozy. Little Man already cuddles up on the couch with his Lego magazine and a blanket!
The onset of Autumn also makes me look more to winter crochet. Cozy thick yarn projects! I am wondering if I get everything done what I want to do. If so, I am going to do some major stashbusting!


Last but not least I am so happy to say the whole pattern testing of my latest design is coming to an end! I have learned a lot and will let others test my (paid) patterns with pleasure. It is a great thing to do and the Ravelers that are aiding me are very very helpful. I am so pleased.

Have a great evening!

maandag 16 september 2013

~ Monday Music ~

Like last week, a song I haven't heard in a very long time! ( you probably have noticed by now that my taste in music is very very diverse!)

I actually saw Bush live once , on the famous Pinkpop festival in the Netherlands.

I enjoyed their show immensely!

zaterdag 14 september 2013

Weekend plans and my favorite things!

Life is gone hectic again, but in a good way.

I was exhausted last night after my first full week filled with teaching, bringing and picking up Little Man at school and trying to squeeze in some time for prepping lessons, helping out my pattern testers and a little bit of cleaning!
You can imagine how I felt last night!
And after almost a week of no running because of the pouring rain, it finally stopped yesterday evening! So I also went for a run. I almost stumbled over my own feet at the end of my run.....
I was tired both mentally and physically when I climbed into bed.
This weekend is a weekend of both relaxation and family time (we are going to the Efteling tomorrow) and trying to catch up with blog life and my hard working pattern testers! I had absolutely no idea testing a pattern would be this intense, but I am learning a lot and I hope with all my heart to have a superb pattern in a few weeks.

On another note, I got new glasses!


I am so so happy with my new pretty! I got some serious headaches during the last week of summer vacation and I decided to make a trip to the opticien. After some measuring my new glasses didn't match my old glasses at all!! I already thought my eye sight was getting worse, but now it was confirmed. After having black glasses I decided to pick a light colourful new one. I am so happy with all the colours in this one! 

I am also still sorting out stuff. Here and there little piles are lying around the house, with stuff I either want to throw away or want to sell. I only need some time to put everything on Marktplaats (Dutch version of Craigslist)!

I sorted out my books:

And I sorted out my hooks:

And finally put everything into my thrifted camera bag. Everything is neat! But this is after, here is before!:

A Dutch lady and fellow crocheter I like asked for a picture after I mentioned I probably had more hooks in my possession than she had in her picture. She needed proof :)
All of my favorites are in there: Tulip Etimo, Clover Amour and Soft Touch, my japanese hooks, my Tunisian hooks..... I am glad I took the time to make a nice picture of my favorite tools!

And since I was busy anyway I decided to pick my favorite yarns (at the moment):


These are the brands I am working with the most during the last year: Wibra Saskia ( a cheap sturdy acrylic comparable to Red Heart Super Saver), Wibra Nova (a lovely cheap dk cotton), my beloved Phildar No 3 I used in quite some projects such as the Rosetta, and my favorite sock yarn I almost always use for my shawls: Regia Sock yarn!

Both yarns and hooks make my crochet life very very happy!

So, what are your favorites?