By now you probably know that Dana from misssBerlin is my favorite Amigurumi Designer. She has designed all the little Dudes you see here on this site. Unfortunately it’s been a while since I last tested for her, the Carnival Treat Dudes in April 2021.
Now she has created a brand new series, the Mellow Fellows and asked me at the end of April if I was able test them. Fortunately I could test at least two of the first four patterns that will be released over the next few weeks.
First were the Mushrooms. Aren’t they cute?
The pattern includes the instructions to make these little mushrooms in two different sizes – about 8,5 and 10 cm tall. There is only little sewing as they are made more or less in one piece. As always Dana’s pattern is very detailed and easy to follow.
The pattern is written for a level 2 mercerized cotton yarn but I think you can also use any other yarn you like. I made my mushrooms with Schachenmayr Catania and a 2,5 mm hook. The colours I used are Natur and Red. I used the same colour to embroider the little dots on the Cap and a leftover of Black for the eyes.
They are really fun to make and I am absolutely happy how they turned out!
The trees pattern contains the instructions for an approx. 8.5 cm high Pine Tree and a Fruit Tree which is about 10 cm tall. Only the arms are sewn on for these two as well, the rest is crocheted in one piece.
I used Schachenmayr Catania in the colour Teddy for the bodies / trunks of both. The treetop of the Pine Tree is made with Khaki. The crown of the fruit tree can be varied depending on which fruit it is to bear. I made mine with Scheepjes Catona in the colour Forest Green, combined with Woll Butt Camilla (a German brand) in Hellgrün. It is an apple tree with green apples.
Sorbet is the latest pattern from Ana Morais Soares. I had the pleasure to test this beauty during May. The original blanket is made with a colour changing yarn. Ana used Hobbii Twister, a Cotton / Acrylic mix in sport weight.
Since I had to use up a bit of my stash, my blanket is made with DK yarn. Actually I wanted to make the same size with my thicker yarn as Ana did with her Twister (90 x 130 cm) but I guess I miscalculated. To achieve this, I would have needed 2 more repeats in the width. So my blanket is now only 80 cm wide and therefore I have also reduced the length a bit. Anyway for me it is a perfect lap blanket to sit on the couch. The colours fit perfectly in my living room and they will also look great with my – äh hubby‘s – Midnight Snowflakes (when it will be finished some day). I am happy!
I am very sorry it has been so quite here for quite a while. Life really got very busy! Since testing the Hello Spring pattern I finished – or better nearly finished – 6 other tests. Although most of them were smaller ones it was quite though. Besides we renovated a room and I painted walls and assembled furnitures. In the middle of May I ended up feeling pretty drained and desperately needed a holiday. Now I am just trying to get back to a normal rhythm!
Unfortunately I can’t show you most of my works yet because the patterns are not yet published. What I will show you soon are the two squares I tested for Pam Knighton-Haener. And one of Ana‘s new patterns will also be released these days. So stay tuned!
But first, here are a few pictures from our holiday. We were in the Black Forest for a few days to celebrate my birthday.
Surrounded by forest, birdsong and flowering meadows
Finally I can show you the project I worked on from the mid December last year until mid January: Talavera!
Talavera is a design by my friend Ana Morais Soares from One Skein of Love. She was asked by the Simply Crochet Magazine to design a blanket for a Cal. The Cal has just started and part 1 is published. For further information either have a look at issue 122 of the Simply Crochet Magazine, their Ravelry page or website.
It was quite a challenge to finish this beauty in more or less 4 weeks! But so worth the effort!
For her design Ana used Caron Simply Soft, an Aran weight. As you might know Aran is not my favorite yarn weight. So I went for Stylecraft Special DK.
I already showed my colour scheme a few days ago, which – again- was inspired by a mood board of Pipin Poppycrock.
I mainly followed Ana’s colour placement but – partly by accident and partly on purpose – I have made some colour changes. So here my notes:
Hello Spring Cal comes to an end now, only the border to be done.
If you follow my blog you already know that I made a wall hanging working over 5 pattern repeats. When it came to the border I finally had to decide how I wanted to hang it up. I have seen quite complicated looking constructions for hanging wall decorations but I had no idea how to make them. At first I thought about attaching loops to it like you would for a quilt but there too I was unsure how best to attach them. Then I had another idea, a very easy one:
I worked the border as normal. In the final joining round I left a piece open on the upper side edges. On the last 7 stitches on both upper sides I worked the slip stitches only on the front layer without joining the two layers. The corner is worked as normal. This has created a kind of tunnel through which you can push a rod. It works perfectly!
How do you choose colours for a new project? Do you like to go to a yarn shop and hold the balls to each other? Do you have colour samples of your favorite yarns?
I love shopping in yarn shops but unfortunately the DK yarns I like to use for my blankets are not available in my local shop. So I mostly order my yarn online. But ordering online means that you never know how close the colours you see on the screen come to reality. Especially when ordering yarn for a specific project it is more than annoying when the colours are not as you imagined them. I often went wrong!
After several failures I got myself shade cards of my favorite yarns. They helped me a lot! I can now see the colours in reality! And above all I can now better assess how close – or far – the representations on the various websites are to reality. The disadvantage of shade cards is that they quickly can become outdated as new colours are added (and others discontinued).
And unfortunately you cannot place the colours on a shade card next to each other like you would in a yarn shop. My imagination often doesn’t go so far that I can put several colours together in my head and say whether they look good together or not. With 2 or 3 colours it works quite well, but with 5 or more it is usually difficult.
Virtual yarn balls
With the help of my shade cards I found out that for example the display of colours of Stylecraft yarns is very good on their website (at least on my devices). This has opened up new possibilities for me. I downloaded the Special DK color swatches from there and am now combining them in an app which I also use for collages.
It is great to play around with. You can easily try out colour combinations, move the patterns around, add or change colours. I love it.
This sample was inspired by a mood board of Pipin Poppycock. I used this combination of Stylecraft Special DK for a – still top secret – project and am very happy of how it turned out.
Stylecraft Yarns has kindly allowed me to publish these swatches, mentioning the brand.
Unfortunately, it is not to be underestimated how some colours change in certain combinations. Silver, for example. In my Winter Wonderland blanket, in combination with white and other greys, it really looks silver. In the combination shown above, with different shades of apricot and rose, it looks more bluish. At least for me, these effects are difficult to perceive on the screen. I have a better idea of them when I actually have the colours in front of me, in reality … My lack of imagination again …
Therefore I looked around for other options.
Actually I am keen on those beautiful yarn pegs you see all over the internet. But all the ones I have found so far are quite expensive, not for the pegs but for shipping costs to my country. So I had the idea of making some swatches of my own – starting with the colours from my stash.
First I got myself little plastic cards. They are about 3 x 4 cm . I like them, especially as they came in a small box where they can be safely stored. Unfortunately they only offer little space for labelling. It is difficult to put all the necessary information such as brand, colour number and name on it. I therefore had to use abbreviations for the yarn brand. As my list of shortcuts grew longer and longer I decided to use them only for my thinner cotton yarn.
One day I saw a post by a lady who creates beautiful scrapbooks for her projects. I have unfortunately forgotten her name, otherwise I would credit her here. She had made little crochet squares that she could pin back and forth as she wished. This gave me the idea to do the same to put my colours together. They are also just great to play around with, take pictures of colour choices and so on. Without having a scrapbook the only problem is the allocation of details such as brand and colour code. At first I thought of putting a little label on each square so that I could write down all the important details. But somehow it was too uncomfortable for me.
So I switched to wooden sticks. I label them with shade number and name and wrap the thread around them. This is done in no time and on the backside of the stick is enough space to note the brand. To some people this will seem “duplicated”, but for me it works perfectly so far.
My pile is growing but I still have a long way to go. I was not aware that I have already so many colours in my stash. And every time I order yarn I take an extra ball of one or two colours that I don‘t own so far but might use in one of my future projects. I am on a good way to create my own collection!
It is already week 3 of the Hello Spring Cal. The time flies! However, I just felt thrown back a few weeks. We haven’t had that much snow for years. This is our old pine tree on Saturday morning, 02.April 2022. Hello Spring!