Friday, April 28, 2017

My Switzerland in April







I pedal in rythm with the music in my ears. I breath in the sweet intense fragrance from the gorgeous rape fields. I look around. See a few cows. A farmer who is driving his tractor somewhere. A man mowing the lawn under the apple trees.

To ride my bike through the Swiss countryside makes me happy. Not only do I feel safe on these small curvy roads along the mountain chain of Jura, but they are also often flat and rather meditative to roads to ride. I feel closer to nature as I through my saddle can observe each and every step of spring... Every time I get out there, I spot something new. First the pink cherry tree blossoms and dandelions, some Anemone's and Primroses. Then the pear trees in bloom followed by golden rape fields and apple tree blossoms. Tulips and daffodils, crocus and snow drops in gardens. Now Lilacs and soon also Irises...

A barn construction goes from foundation to a building with walls and a roof in just 3 days!!! Someone's garden make the same type of progress over the weekend transforming from a garden of weeds to pretty perfect growing beds ready to welcome some vegetable seeds and plants for the season to come.

I seldom stop. I like to keep a steady tempo, but at times the beauty overwhelms me. And I just have to stop. Take it all in. Smell it. Feel it. And share it with you. Because nature is a magic place to be. Especially here in my beautiful Switzerland in April.




Kärlek
Annette


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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Egg Cozy Pattern




Happy Easter my lovelies! Easter is in full swing in my house. We've eaten so much candy and chocolate lately that even my kids have begged for some healthy food days ahead... Today is the last day of total indulgence in sugary sweets and bakery goods. Tomorrow we start fresh with vegetables on the plate and fruit snacks.

To be honest, I'm not a big Easter celebration girl. But saying that, we still have a few traditions that we follow. We have an egg hunt in the garden (done in 4 minutes this year!!!). We paint eggs and we lay puzzles.

I decorate my home with some colorful flowers, a few Easter decorations and in the last minute this year, I had this urge to make an Easter Egg Cozy. I saw something similar somewhere a while ago, unfortunately I can't recall where... I had a vague memory of how it looked so I improvised. And it is gorgeous!!! I love it. I have whipped up a quick Easter Egg Cozy Tutorial below if you fancy a try. Such a quick and fun make. Done in no time. I want to make another one for Midsummer in blue and white... And one in red and white for Christmas...

Now we will paint the eggs... And put them all back into the cozy... I'll show you on my Instagram. I would love to see yours too. Share with me @myrosevalley tagging #crocheteggcozy



EASTER EGG COZY TUTORIAL

Material:

4ply or 5ply cotton, work with double strands. I used Catania 5ply, you can buy it here.
40-50 g base color (Rosa 00246)
20-25 g second color (Jade 00253)
10-15 g edge color (Sonne 00208)
5mm hook
Scissors
Darning needle

How to:

Work a long strip which will be folded in half lengthwise. Sew pockets for the eggs, either by hand with a darning needle or on a machine, or with a crochet hook doing slip stitches.

Gauge and measurements:

Every pocket should measure about 6-7 cm/≈ 2,5 inches wide to fit a medium sized egg. I calculated 7 trebles (UK)/double crochet (US) between seams. Make a swatch to get the right measurement before starting on your foundation chain.

Calculation:

The calculation I use for my foundation chain is:
7 chains x 13 eggs and then I multiply this by 2 as I am folding the strip in half = 182 chains. Then I add another 3 chains for turning, a total of 185 chains. (7 x 13 x 2 + 3 = 185). I was winging it and I think it ended up slightly to long. Next time I will adjust it to fit only 10 eggs, a total of 143 chains (7 x 10 x 2 + 3 = 143).

FOUNDATION:
To fit 13 eggs, I made 185 chains for my foundation chain.
To fit 10 eggs, make a foundation chain of 143 chains.

ROW 1:
Make a treble (UK)/double crochet (US) in the fourth chain from your hook and in every stitch until end of row. Chain 3 and turn your work.

ROW 2:
Skip stitch at the base of your 3 chains made and make treble (UK)/double crochet (US) in the next stitch and in every stitch until end of row. Cut yarn and fasten off.

ROW 3:
Join new yarn, chain 2 (counts as first half treble (UK)/half double crochet (US), make half treble (UK)/half double crochet (US) in every stitch until end of row. Cut yarn and fasten off.

ROW 4: 
Join new yarn, chain 2 (counts as first double crochet (UK)/single crochet (US) and 1 chain). Make a double crochet (UK)/single crochet (US) followed by 1 chain in every stitch until end of row. Cut yarn and fasten off.




Happy Hooking!



Kärlek
Annette


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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Granny Cardigan - I quit!


Hello my lovelies. As I have mentioned before in this post, my Granny Cardigan project has not been as successful and easy going as I wished it to be. I started this project with such great excitement and really really loved the yarn and the colors I chose for it. The fact that some of my closest and dearest blog buddies, Sandra from Cherry Heart and Maaike from CreJJtion,  jumped on the Granny Cardigan train made it even more exciting. We talked about getting together in our finished Granny Cardigans in Real Life one day... How cool wouldn't that be?

I had some Ideal yarn from Bergere De France in my stash that was my perfect choice for this project. It is one of my favorite yarns to work with and I adore the colors. I imagined myself wearing my cardigan this summer in Sweden, but... It was clearly not meant to be. No matter how hard I tried, I kept on bumping into one problem after another. Not because of the pattern, I should add. No, I made some mistakes and I only have myself to blame.


Mistake number one was that I chose to use another yarn weight than the pattern recommended. Ok, so that wasn't very smart as this was my first attempt to make a garment. And we all know how important it is to get the size right for a garment...

Bergere de France Ideal 5ply (50g/125m) is heavier than the recommended King Cole Merino Blend 4ply (50g/180m), however, it wouldn't be as heavy as a DK weight... I would just adjust the pattern to it. I ordered some extra Ideal yarn at LoveCrochet to be on the safe side of not running out and I was ready to go!

Mistake number two was that I didn't swatch before starting, bad idea! I went for a size 12-14 regarding to the pattern and it turned out waaay too big. And of course I didn't measure or pay attention in all the excitement of starting this project (duuuuh!) and frogging it was the only way to go. This time I was going to do it right...

I took out my favorite cardigan, measured it and used those numbers as a guide. Then I made swatches and after some brain twisting calculations (see all facts at the end of the post) I came up with a winning formula to get the size I wanted. It seemed to work and I was hooking away once more (in excitement), but I didn't have a color theme in mind (mistake number three) and 20 rows in I didn't like the random color way... I unraveled again.


I started my project for the third time and came up with a repeat of colors that I enjoyed, a repeat of: lilas - figue - danseuse - cendre - pinede - olivine - everest - linaire, persan. I also used Persan as the base color for borders and edgings.

Mistake number four was me using a 3,5 mm hook for both the border/edging and the clusters. I guess I did so out of convenience (I have no other excuse I'm afraid...) and of course I shouldn't have. I realized I wanted the border/edging to be slightly more snug than the body... Ok. What did I do? I frogged it of course.

At this point, after frogging this project three times, I was ready to give up, but encouraged by pictures on Instagram and with that excitement in the back of my head of accomplishing this, I gave it another go. I started a foundation chain for  the fourth time... with hook 3mm. And so finally I got it right! YES!!! I got the flow. I added a few extra rows to the border as I wanted it to be wider and it all felt so good. How beautiful it all evolved in my hands. I was in heaven. I really got it right. The measurement was right, the color theme felt great. Up until mistake number five appeared...

I ran out of the figue color and went to my newly ordered parcel of extras and took out a new ball... And the dye lot was completely different! I mean, I'm talking pickled red beets v. darkest almost black aubergine here... I was crushed. 30+ rows in, almost at the stage of starting the shaping...

I would not, could not frog it one more time. I could not, would not start over with this cardigan of mine... I do not like my Granny Cardigan no more, I do not like it... yes I'm sure!


So, right there and then I quit. I'm sorry, but when you start a project that cause you so much frustration and problems, I just don't think it is meant to be. I'm frogging it one last time and turning it into something as far away as possible from a cardigan. Something simple and beautiful. Straight without and need of gauge. A blanket, shawl or cushion cover. Stripes or blocks. I have some great ideas. And although this has been a bit of a disappointing crochet journey for me, I've learned my lessons well.

 .............................................................................................................................................

GRANNY CARDIGAN PROJECT FACTS
COLOURS: Persan (greyish blue), lilas (lilac beige), figue (red wine), danseuse (light pink), cendre (light grey), pinede (teal), olivine (olive green), everest (white), linaire (light blue).

HOOK: 3mm for start rows (border/edging) and 3,5 mm for cluster rows 

GAUGE:17 tr (dc US) x 8 rows ≈ 10cm/4inch square

FOUNDATION: 166 + 2 +1. (56 clusters across incl. the 2tr-clusters at the beginning and end of row)
SIZE: Approx. 94cm/37inches across




Kärlek
Annette


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