Wednesday, 24 April 2019

New projects

Last week I whipped up this basket, made from a cheap and colourful ball of yarn that I found at the dollar shop. It was a good project to work on during a long car trip, to a house in rural Northern New South Wales, where we stayed with friends during the Easter weekend. I'm using the basket to keep all my chargers and cords (for mobile phone, iPad, camera, wireless headphones etc) in one place.

At the house, with no wifi or mobile phone reception, I finally started on another amiguruME doll. This is going to be my eldest son ;-)

It was a lovely long weekend, in the middle of nowhere. This was the view from the backyard:

A lot of chatting, eating and drinking, walking with the dogs, playing games and reading was done, and a little bit of running.

I've decided to start a new blog for my running adventures: Run, Read, Create.
Besides the running stuff, there will also be book reviews and the occasional crafty show and tell (which will also appear here). Do come and have a look!

Sunday, 31 March 2019

Panda Glasses Holder

A while ago I spotted some funny crocheted Muppet and Smurf eyeglasses holders. I decided to make one, but going through my yarn stash the only suitable yarn I could find was some chunky black and white. I didn't want to buy more yarn, so had to think of something that is black and white and has a round head...

A panda!

The holder would be even better if the ears were placed a bit lower, but hey, panda ears are situated at the top of the head, not the side...
Anyway, it works and I like it!

Sunday, 24 March 2019


It's been very quiet here on the blog, because I didn't really have anything to share. But last week the quarterly magazine of the Dutch Quilters' Guild arrived, and it was a nice surprise to see two of my Lone Star quilts featured in an article about traditional blocks used in modern ways.

I made some more diamonds for my Lone Star Blanket, and also started a new crochet project that I hope to share here soon!

And other than that I have been working, reading a lot (you can see the books I read in My Bookshelf in the side bar), and running of course. Together with my eldest son and a friend I did the International Women's Day Fun Run 10km in Brisbane on March 3rd:

I also ran my 50th parkrun in February (in a tutu! See pic in sidebar) and brought my 5 km PB down by 2 seconds to 31:43. It's still very hot and humid here in Queensland, so I hope to bring it down further when it finally gets a bit cooler.

I have started training for my first half marathon (21.1 km) in July and am up to 14 km now! If you had told me three years ago that I would ever run that far, I would not have believed you...

Saty tuned for more crafty stuff soon!

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Lone Star Blanket Revisited

After more than seven months I have finally picked up the Lone Star Blanket again and started making more diamonds.
This is what the blanket looked like the last time I worked on it, in July 2018:

I've crocheted 22 diamonds in the last two weeks, so only 138 more to go!

And then a lot of sewing them together... Not my favourite part of the job.

But it will look so good when it's finished!

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Café Wall Illusion Cushion - free crochet pattern

A few years ago, I made a series of optical illusions quilts. One optical illusion I always wanted to turn into a quilt is the Café Wall Illusion. In this one all the horizontal lines are parallel, even though they appear to be sloped. There's a building in Melbourne featuring this illusion - I discovered it during my sixth visit to Melbourne in May 2017 and took this photo from the SkyBus:

When we were in Canberra in December 2017, we also saw the illusion: it was, very appropriately, on the wall in the café of Questacon, the National Science and Technology Centre:

The quilt never got made by me (other quilters did make it - here is an example), but after another trip to Melbourne in May last year I decided to try and crochet a Café Wall Illusion Cushion. And voilà!

I crocheted the front panel of the cushion in the Café Wall pattern (read on for the instructions), then crocheted a plain red back, and sewed them together:

To create a crochet pattern in multiple colours, I used a technique that was new to me: tapestry crochet. It isn't difficult, as you only use one crochet stitch throughout: the single crochet (sc) in US terms (double crochet (dc) in UK terms).When changing colours in a row, you carry the first colour along and 'hide' it in the stiches of the new colour.  If you're new to tapestry crochet too, I recommend having a look at a this step-by-step photo tutorial by Lilla Bjorn Crochet.

Tapestry crochet is often done in the round, but can be done back and forth in rows as well, as I have done here. I have written out the instructions for every row, but looking at the graph will help you understand the pattern. It's pretty simple!

I cut the red yarn after each red row, and the black and white yarn after each block of black and white squares, but you could also carry them over to the next row/block.

Café Wall Illusion Cushion
Finished size: 41 cm / 16 in square

Yarn: I used Bendigo Woollen Mills Cotton 8 ply (DK) in red, black and white. This yarn comes in 200 g (484 metres / 529 yards) balls - I used about 100 g of each colour.
Hook: 4mm (G)
16 inch / 41 cm pillow insert
Tapestry needle

Gauge: 22 stitches and 20 rows = 10 cm

Abbreviations used
ch = chain
sc = single crochet (UK dc)
st = stitch

Directions for front panel - see graph below.
With red, ch 91.
R1: sc in the second ch from hook and in each st across, ch 1, turn. (90)
R2: *change to black, sc 9. Change to white, sc 9. Repeat from * until end of round. Ch 1, turn. (90)
R3: *sc 9 in white, sc 9 in black. Repeat from * until end of round. Ch 1, turn. (90)
R4: repeat R2
R5: repeat R3
R6: repeat R2
R7: repeat R3
R8: repeat R2
R9: repeat R3
R10: repeat R2
R11: change to red, sc in each st across, ch 1, turn. (90)
R12: change to white, sc 4. *Change to black, sc 9. Change to white, sc 9. Repeat from * 3 times. Change to black, sc 9. Change to white, sc 5, ch 1, turn. (90)
R13: sc 5 in white, *sc 9 in black, sc 9 in white. Repeat from * 3 times. Sc in 9 in black, sc 4 in white, ch 1, turn. (90)
R14: repeat R12
R15: repeat R13
R16: repeat R12
R17: repeat R13
R18: repeat R12
R19: repeat R13
R20: repeat R12
R21-80: repeat R1-20 4 times
R81: change to red, sc in each st across. Fasten off and weave in ends.

(many thanks to Meghan from Meghan Makes Do for the tutorial on how to create these charts!)

Directions for back panel
With red, ch 91.
R1: sc in the second ch from hook and in each st across, ch 1, turn. (90)
R2-80: sc in each st across, ch 1, turn. (90)
R81: sc in each st across. Fasten off and leave a long tail to sew front and back panels together.

Place the front and back panel wrong sides together and sew 3 sides together. Place the pillow insert inside and sew the remaining side closed.

Sit back and admire your Café Wall Illusion Cushion!

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Guitar boy

May I present my fourth amiguruME doll: my middle son Ernst with his beloved guitar.

Like the other three dolls, this one is based on the patterns in the book AmiguruME by Alison Hoffman.

Here we are together. His doll is larger than mine, but IRL I am still 0.5 cm taller! (not much longer, I know)

And here I am with two of my boys. A Hugo doll will be next, of course...

Here are Ernst and his doll side by side. Well, there is a bit of a likeness, isn't there?

Anyway, he's happy with it and so am I!

Friday, 18 January 2019


When I was a little girl, I had a blue budgie called Tweetweet that I loved very much. So when I found this pattern by TNGiftsUA on Etsy, I had to make it.

This was a quick holiday project - it took me only a few days to finish it, while watching the Australian Open.

Isn't it cute?

Something else I found on Etsy is this gorgeous copper shawl pin from Crafty Cat Knitty Bits:

Perfect for my Happy Whirl shawl!

Friday, 11 January 2019

Looking back on 2018

At the end of the year I usually look back at what's happened, but with the New Zealand holiday in the last weeks of December I didn't get around to that. So let's do it now...
A new year in yet another new house, in a new city, and most importantly: with a new family member - our beloved Barney, surely the best thing that happened to us in 2018!
Apart from that it wasn't the best year for us: my oldest son tore his ACL at the National Gymnastics Championships, had knee surgery, and is still not able to do gymnastics - although he can run again and joins us for parkrun most Saturdays. My middle son broke his left wrist (for the second time); a bad break that required surgery too. It has healed well, but he will need another operation this year to remove some hardware from the arm. And last but not least, I had to go to the Netherlands urgently in November to deal with a family health crisis.
But there were good things as well: my youngest son found a new dance school and a lovely partner, and together they danced  and danced, in the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, and brought home lots of medals and trophies. We can't wait to see what 2019 will bring for them!

My husband is happy in his new position, the kids have made new friends, and I have found a part time job that I love. We are happy in the house we currently live in, though we may look into buying a house of our own this year.
Looking back at my creative endeavours in 2018, I thought that for the first time in at least 15 years I didn't quilt or sew anything, and was quite surprised - but then I remembered that I made covers for our new dining table set. But that really was the only time I used my sewing machine this year...

I signed up for a pottery class, something I have been wanting to try for a long time. I enjoyed it and made a few nice pieces, but was happy to leave it at that.

Crochet was what I did most last year, and what I will continue to do this year. Here is a collage of my finished projects:

There's one project missing: a cushion that I designed myself. I still have to write down the pattern - once that is done I will show it here on the blog.
I also have to finish this Lone Star blanket. I started and worked on it very enthousiastically in the first half of 2018, and then forgot all about it when I discovered amigurumi...

The other thing I did a lot of in 2018 was running. Here is a collage of my running highlights:

In 2018:
- I ran 30 parkruns at 14 different locations in 2 countries, and volunteered 8 times, for a total of 40 parkruns and 9 times volunteering;
- I ran my first events: the Gold Run (5 km) at the Commonweatlh Games, the Gold Coast Airport Fun Run (5.7 km), and the Bridge to Brisbane (10 km);
- I ran my furthest distance so far (11 km);
- I brought my 5 km personal best down from 34:39 in 2017 to 31:45.

Aims for 2019:
- Complete 50 parkruns and 25 times volunteering;
- Run my first half marathon (at the Gold Coast Marathon Festival in July);
- Bring my 5 km time down to sub-30 minutes...

Something else that I did in 2018 was singing. I joined a local choir in September and very much enjoyed the rehearsals and the Christmas concert we did at the Gold Coast Airport in December. Looking forward to more singing in 2019!

And of course a big highlight in 2018 was our holiday in New Zealand - I've shared some pics of that in the previous posting. Here is another one of Hobbiton (more on my photo blog):

For this year, a family holiday in the Netherlands is planned for Christmas - it will be 2.5 years then since all of us were there.

Although this quilting blog has morphed into a crochet and running blog, I hope you will continue to follow my adventures in 2019!

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

First finish of 2019

My Happy Whirl shawl is finished!

I love it so much. These really are my colours.

Thanks to my youngest son for taking these pictures!

The details:
Happy Whirl Shawl
Pattern: Happy Whirl Shawl by Atty van Norel
Yarn: Scheepjes Whirl Brambleberry
Hook: 4mm

Monday, 31 December 2018

New Zealand

Two days ago we arrived home after a fantastic holiday in New Zealand. Here are a few pics of some highlights: an early morning run in Auckland (above).
A visit to Hobbiton:

Walking in an ancient forest:

Sightseeing in Napier, a city full of art deco buildings and street art - what more could you wish for? (they also have jacarandas!)

And last but not least, spending a few days near majestic Mount Ruapehu, hiking and moutainbiking in Tongariro National Park:

I brought my Happy Whirl shawl and got quite a few rows done. This project is nearing its end!

We also did two parkruns in New Zealand, which brought my total this year to 30, and overall to 40!

With only two hours to go here in Queensland until the start of 2019, I would like to wish you a happy and healthy New Year!