The City of Crochet

Crocheting...an escape from everyday life in Europe as I face the perils of yarn shopping in a foreign country and dealing with all of the crazy looks I get for crocheting & knitting on the public transportation system.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Broomstick Lace aka Jiffy Lace

I have been fascinated with Broomstick Lace for years. Yes, years. And yes, I've only been crocheting for just under 2 years.

My mother from time to time has ventured into the craft world. On her current plate right now is knitting. And knitting one pattern, and one pattern only. She makes slippers from time to time when she has the time. I do believe that I have a pair floating around my apartment, I'll have to take pictures! But I digress. She has in the past also sewed, knitted other objects and crocheted, although the last two well before my memory time span.

One of the objects she made was an afghan made of Broomstick lace that is light and airy. She also made a baby blanket that we used for years as a doll blanket for our Cabbage Patch Kids which my nieces are now using!

My Grandmother recently moved and cleared out her stash of yarn and patterns. I gained 4 bags of yarn (almost all acrylics) and several pattern books, including one with instructions for Jiffy lace.

Several of you have mentioned wanting to learn / try the Broomstick lace so I thought that I might list some links to Tutorials that I have in my collection! For those of you who do not want to spend the money on purchasing the large knitting needles just to try this pattern, it is possible to use a ruler (one without sharp edges that will catch the yarn), dowels or even the original broomstick.....

Here are the tutorials:

Crochet Cabana Broomstick Lace - Nice with pictures

South Bay Crochet Tutorial - written, no pictures, includes tips and tricks

Crochet By The Hook - Includes pattern for hat with instructions

While not a lot of patterns exist out there for broomstick lace, I think that the possibilities are endless!

I have a few ideas floating around in my head of finished projects - a unique finish on a sweater, edging on a hat, edging at the top of socks. Scarves as I've shown in my swatching this morning. You could easily work this into several designs for afghans.

The technique is flexible - you can use three, four, five or even six loops at a time for the pattern repeats, making sure that you have the correct multiples in the patterns. You can even change it up for variety....using multiples of 15 will allow you to switch back and forth between groups of 5 and groups of 3, multiples of 12 between 6 and 4 or even 6 and 3!

I would love to see what people can come up with using this over looked technique!

I do believe my missing Muse has been located.....

Patterns, patterns everywhere....

And of course, NOT the one I want!

I spent last night going through stacks of patterns, skimming page by page through instructions books, the Crochet bible, Knitters instructions everywhere!

I've signed up to do a Scarf Exchange. Dumb butt me. You would have thought that by now I would have stopped signing up for things like this, but of course I still do. Its not that I hate sending things to others, I hate the pressure I feel behind those gifts.

Is it something that they will like, is it the right size, the right color, the right pattern. Will they hate it? Is my crocheting skills pathetic and are they going to laugh at what I send. The pressure for perfection is on me every time. And every time I agonize over what I am sending.

Now I'm feeling the pressure to make THE perfect scarf. I've been swatching and digging through my stash. Trying to find the time to go to the yarn store to see if she has something that is going to scream "use me use me" to create the perfect scarf.

I am by no means close to a decision on final yarn type, color or pattern. The only limits I have is that it can not be wool or mohair and it has to go with a black coat, preferably red, blue or purple.

I had though something in this pattern but I can not figure out for the life of me the stitches used - anyone else? (sorry that its sideways)

I origianlly thought it might be a form of broom stick lace and started 2 swatchs of that:

Then I dug through pattern books and found this pattern, but I'm not really liking it: (sorry that its sideways)


I know that I can do the One Skein Crochet Scarf fairly quickly & nicely, but I wanted something different. I've poured through the books, looked at crochet and knit patterns. Nothing, nada, blah and drab. My creative muse is missing, if someone finds her please send her back before I start having anxiety attacks on this scarf.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

French Knitting

To start off, I am by no means an expert knitter, actually a fairly new beginner in the grand scheme of things!

With my showing the patterns in French, I thought that I could at least help those who might be interested in branching out into a whole new world of patterns!

One excellent resource that I have found on the web is Tricotin.com With their Trico-Dico which translates knitting terms from French to English and vice-versa. They also have a Yarn Dictionary which translates the yarn terms. They also offer basic instructions in French which might be helpful, including FINALLY some on-line instruction on how to use my little French Knitting Bee to make an I-cord which I have been looking for.....they say a picture is worth a thousand words and they are right!

Using the Trico Dico I have been able to read my way through several of the patterns in the Explications Tricot.....I am still not 100% sure if I will be able to actually knit them. I am going to start with a basic childs scarf pattern and go from there. No promises on when I'll be able to give feedback on this as I am a little bit behind on other projects right now.....before Christmas at least! =)

I'm going to start searching out other french knitting sites and patterns which I'll post as I find anything of note.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Bergere de France

I was sooooooo excited at work to get the most recent catalog from Bergere de France. Along with the catalog I got their Explications Tricot in both paper format AND CD Rom format. The catalog is fun because it includes samples of all of their yarns for this season and the different colors! The Explications Tricot because it has the patterns for ALL of the samples in the book! And as a bonus the CD Rom has even more patterns from the past few catalogs that Bergere has sent out! In all, 277 patterns for under 10 Euros!!!!!!

I will say that a lot of the items in the book are way out of my skill level and others I would never even consider making.

Here are a few of the items that caught my eye:



I really like that white tank top, although it would need to be done in a color other than white for me! And I doubt if I would wear it at my current weight.

I love the sleeve ends on the Grey sweater - the little flare out bell is tres chic, and the ribbon is a wonderful touch.

The turquoise would need to be without the belt and without the hand warmers. i love the classic rib sweater, and that neckline is my favorite....well, along with turtlenecks on a sweater.



Not sure what my fascination with the kids clothes is, but the dress is adorable as is the little sweater. I am actually thinking of trying the dress. If I do it in a size 12 months, I might have it finished in time for my niece to wear it.

Did I fail to mention that there is one catch with the patterns in the book?

They are all in French! Yeah, I'm not sure if I have my head on straight when I think about trying one of these as I can barely knit in English! I have a co-worker who is a native French speaker who knits, so I figure that she'll be able to help me should I get really stuck on the directions.

Off to peruse the catalog and dream about the yarn I would order if only I had enough money!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Nephew conversation = Stash Fears

As I've mentioned, I am very close to my 6 year old nephew even though he lives in the US. Hes my Little Man. We talk on the phone several times a week with updates and the usual 'When are you coming home again' questions.

He had his birthday Sept 12th, and I had totally forgotten to buy him a present when I was home in August and leave it for him to open. I called him 2 weeks before his birthday and gave him the option of my sending him a present in the mail or waiting until Christmas and we'd go shopping together to buy it. The shopping (to Toys R Us) won out over a present now.

While talking on the phone yesterday we had an interesting convesation that shows he listens to me and remembers everything.

Me - What we doing when I come home for Christmas?
Andrew - Going Shopping. To toys R Us.
Me - Really? What are we going to buy there?
Andrew - My birthday present....We can buy something for you too Aunt Kim.
Me - We're going to buy me a toy?
Andrew - No, we can go buy you yarn!
Me - Why yarn?
Andrew - Because your favorite thing is yarn, yarn, yarn and more yarn.
Me - And how do you know that?
Andrew - Because I know. You really like it. We can buy you what you like if you give me the money.
Me - We'll see.
Andrew - You have lots of secret yarn in Grandmas basement that you never use, you can get some there.

LOL - even my nephew knows where my stash is hidden - its really not safe at all! And hes a boy whos not remotely interested in yarn at all.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Miscellaneous Turtle Parts, Flakes and more....

Well, I have been a productive little bee here lately at the Maison de Kimberly!

My serving tray has become a Turtle Factory...or perhaps a Turtle Hospital!

I have rounded up all of the miscellaneous turtle parts that I could find, and these.....




have become these.....



I am hoping that I can continue to make at least 3 a week until I go back to the US. I finished the 2 yesterday and sewed the ends in today along with crocheting up some replacement parts for those I used. I still need to do the eyes on these little guys, but I'll wait and do all of the eyes at one time.

I've also been getting ready for Christmas! I finished the first 4 flakes of the season. I've not had time to block them yet - will wait and do a mass blocking of them!

  


Here is a picture finally of my first green One Skein scarf and the second one that I finished yesterday for my College Roommate Ashley. Ash is 6 feet tall, so she asked for an extra long one....I think that I went a bit overboard on the extra long part, but she'll like it!



I finished after work tonight my next Garterlac - this pattern is so much fun!



And finally, a look at one of my next projects.......



I cleaned out my wardrobes and these jeans have been casulties of time, washing and fashion trends to be turned into a free form of yarn as I will attempt to make the Injeanius Bag! I've not figured out yet if I'll go with jeans about the same color or mix it up with those that are lighter and darker. Any one made this bag have any feedback?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

My crocheting niece, Bekky

I don't think I mentioned that while I was home in the US that I started to teach my younger sister's step daughter Bekky to crochet. We first attempted last year when I was home in June and I did not do a very good job.! Bekky asked my sister if I would show her how again when I was home this summer, and of course I said YES!!!!!

This time I came home with some colored plastic hooks in different sizes and I bought a Children's Crochet book which had pictures for both right and left handers since Bekky is left handed.

We sat down one day together and I showed Bekky the basics of chaining and a simple single crochet in a loop so that she could finish the first item in the book, loopy flowers. We ended up teaching her right handed as that was more comfortable for her!

Here is a picture of Bekky and her FIRST finished item:



Being a creative and resourceful child, she quickly saw that she could attach the starting and closing ends and create a necklace! Sorry that the picture is not the best of the flower - it actually turned out very well, but in the picture its fallen partially closed.

Bekky left me a comment on my Lighthouse Cloth that she has been practicing the flowers! Keep up the practice Bekky and when I am home for Christmas we will sit down again and go farther in the book!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Sarcelle Pattern...first glance

Several of you have been wondering on the Sarcelle pattern that I bought yesterday.

I've looked through the pattern, and while the stitches used are fairly straight, here is where I think that I am going to be challenged:

The first note references that is worked on the bias - ummm, I might be a little bit obtuse here but can someone explain this statement to me? I know what a bias is...As in you have a bias against something, but what is it referring to in this usage?

The pattern instructions were written using a combination of written instructions and a chart - the instructions refer you to knit specific rows of the chart. I am not that comfortable with charts, although a knit chart for me is a lot easier than a Crochet chart!

Overall, from my first glance I would say that a beginner / easy knitter would struggle with this pattern...I feel that I am going to!

I'll try to get it on my needles relatively soon and give an update on my opinion once I start to take a stab at it!

Swapna - what is your opinion on the pattern? I think that you are a bit more advanced in the knitting front than me, so you might have a different opinion!

Saturday morning jaunt...

Lets first start off with saying that I normally HATE IKEA here in Brussels. Long lines, tons of people, children running amok, carts blocking every conceivable aisle and pathway as their owners walk away for what seems like hours causing long traffic jams and fierce tempers.

Well, when I was awake at 8 am on a Saturday with nothing to do, I decided that I would head to the grocery store. On my way out to Carrefour I decided to run around to Ikea and deal with the chaos to buy some new pillows and odds and ends I've been needing.

I get there, the parking lot is almost empty - as in I got a front row right at the door spot without having to fight for it and basically being able to choose one of multiple different spots. Cooooool!

I take a deep breath, walk toward the big massive doors, and prepare myself to enter hell. The doors slide open and silence reaches my ears...wheres the noise from the screaming kids in the play land? I slowly ventured into the building, riding the escalator up to the show floor where I expected to be greeted with the sight of children running around, playing tag, hide-n-go-seek and other assorted mayhem.....nothing. A few people my age wandering around looking at furniture.

This continues as I wandered the pathway, weaving my way in and out. I finally hit the stairs down to the section where the fun begins and I start buying. Empty. Yet again a few folks looking about. I grab a cart from the full to overflowing cart corral and begin weaving my way through the shelves like a Roman Chariot Race driver. I go straight, I go left, turn back around, head right, another right, around the bins, grab the pillows, dodging displays not people. I see the exit and slide my cart in sideways to the cashiere...woo hoo!! No bad tempers, no screaming, no crying kids.....shopping at its best!

I pay the bill...after cringing at the total...it seems with the lack of crowds I was able to see more things, hence I was able to throw more things into the cart. Like I really needed that bread baking pan! I rush to my car....wait a minute, this is not the same parking lot. Every spot is filled, people are honking, I can taste the bad tempers of folks as a steady stream of bodies head toward the doors.

Success was mine. I relinquish my parking spot to another, and head off down the road....thanking the powers that be for a shopping experience at Ikea that I am sure will never be repeated!

Friday, September 15, 2006

You oughta know whatcha gonna get in me!

What's new Buenos Aires?
I'm new, I wanna say I'm just a little stuck on you
You'll be on me too

Hello, Buenos Aires
Get this, just look at me dressed up, somewhere to go
We'll put on a show

Stand back, Buenos Aires
Because you oughta know whatcha gonna get in me
Just a little touch of
Just a little touch of
Just a little touch of star quality


I do believe I am going to be singing this song for the next 86 days.....

And this is because, in exactly 86 days I will be landing in Buenos Aires for a quick 6 days visit before going to Michigan for Christmas!

You can not believe how happy this has made me. I went from barely able to put together a coherent statement while talking on the phone today from sheer exhaustion and mental overload to bouncing around the office and totally excited.

VIK - are you ready to go shopping with me and Zori?????????? I'm not sure yet what Zori is going to be planning (she has a ton of ideas for the 6 days) but I've told her that I need time to visit you and she said of course! Aside from the shopping she is thinking dinner one night at her home perhaps.

Enablement at its best....

Swapna posted about the Sarcelle pattern today on her blog.

I of course had to go check it out!

And not only check it out, but buy not one, but two! Two you ask? Of course! How could I buy one for myself and not buy one for my favorite friend in India?

On other crafty fronts, I am well on my way finished with the second Garterlac dishcloth. I have been working on it on and off at work today while waiting for files to run / open / refresh. So its literally do one or two rows of 8, put it down....type....type...type.....do one or two rows, put it down....type and so on and so forth.

I finished one snowflake last night using the Anchor White with Silver metallic thread that I bought from Mimi. I love how it turned out! It seems to sparkle like all good star should! I have to get it (and the other flakes I've made recently) starched and blocked!

Well, my report is finished running, I am off to finish some work for the day!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Merci Beaucoup!!

A giant thank you goes out to the wonderful person who sent me a box full of Skittles!!

They are going to come in VERY handy during this upcoming busy period that I will have at work!

Merci Beaucoup!!!

A shameful disgrace and abuse of power

WARNING - SLIGHTLY POLITCAL RANT AHEAD - I am not asking you to agree or disagree - just stating my opinion and take on a speech given yesterday, September 11th by George W. Bush, President of the United States. I rarely talk about politics and country leaders as I believe that we all have a right to our own opinions and that as an American living in Europe, my views and outlooks have changed dramatically from when I was a sheltered Midwestern girl growing up. I no longer believe what I hear on the news, nor what words come from the mouths of "Leaders". I've lost my innocence and faith in my fellow humans, and I find that to be a good thing.
____________________________________

I am appalled at the speech that the President of The United States gave yesterday to commemorate the attacks on September 11th. Instead of using the speech to remember those fallen and that day, Mister President sued his speech to defend his foreign policy and current actions. That speech should NOT have been about that in any way shape or form!

Two minutes were a tribute to the fallen victims, and the rest was mainly an attempt to link Sept 11th to why we are still involved in Iraq. Mister President has said that Sept 11th had no links to Baghdad and Saddam, and yet he spends the majority of the speech referring to the War in Iraq. Why not focus on Sept 11th, the changes to Afghanistan, to National Security, to the American way of life now versus before the attacks. There are other times and places to defend his actions and the actions of his staff, yesterday was not that time nor place.

I found a quote by Senator Kennedy to be fitting:
The president should be ashamed of using a national day of mourning to commandeer the airwaves to give a speech that was designed not to unite the country and commemorate the fallen but to seek support for a war in Iraq that he has admitted had nothing to do with 9/11. There will be time to debate this president's policies in Iraq. September 11th is not that time.

KALs and CALs Galore

I have been bitten again by the urge to do what everyone else is doing, so I've joined several CALs and KALs recently and plan on joining a few more. I always am a glutton for punishment.....those long forgotten WIPs are doing just fine in those Rubbermaid containers...honest, they are! =) So I am going to show you several *gasp* finished item. Yes, it is amazing that I actually finished something, but as they say proof is in the pictures, here you go!

First up is my first finished dishcloth of a Dishcloth KAL I am participating in. It is the Lighthouse Dishcloth designed by Rhonda K. White. I worked this one up over a few days a little bit at a time - the pattern worked up quickly, I just was not able to dedicate that much time to it.

Next is my One Skein Scarf in white. I also did this in Green but for some reason the picture that I took of it corrupted and will not post.....very bizarre! The white one as I mentioned has walked out my door already with Sandi, and the next one I am making in Green will be sent to Ashley. I worked on the green one some yesterday during a conference call I was on - finished the first two rows - one more row to go and then the border!

There you go folks - some finished items!

I am still working diligently on the cross stitch sampler, as well as the baby blanket. I am having some guilt about the Princess Frog, which I will get around to finishing someday. I am still mad about the mistake I made on her foot so I am putting off frogging that mistake since it involves the one foot that I actually finished, sewed and stuffed! Argh!!!!!!!

Monday, September 11, 2006

A surprise visit!

I had a wonderful surprise last night when my college room mate was able to stop in Brussels for the evening on her way from Amsterdam to London! It was wonderful to see Ashley and her friend Sandy.

I picked them up at the train station and treated them to a mini sight seeing your of Brussels - I drove them around the main sites and walked them around the Grand Place - I of course introduced them to the glorious taste of the Belgian Waffles - yummy!

We ended up back at my place where they stayed the night with me. They were amazed by my yarn stash....I wonder why *grin*

They both loved my One Skein Crochet Scarves that I've been working on. I gave Sandy my white one, and am now in the process of making Ashley a green one - the green one that I had made was too short for her. I'll hopefully have it completed in time to meet them in Paris towards the end of their visit.....always assuming that I can get out of work to head over there!

I was thrilled to have someone I know visiting in Brussels, even if it was only for a night - excluding family, Ashley and Sandy would be my first visitors! My other visitors have been my Aunt and my parents.

They were also able to call and talk to their family from my place. I have downloaded the new Yahoo Messenger with voice and added some credit to the phone calling. With this tool, I am able to call the US for the low price of 1 cent per minute! I tested it with my family and it works extremely well and is extremely clear sounding as well as very much same time. The old phone via computer was often slow and had major delays so you would end up talking over each other! I would highly suggest this if you are on a fast connection to the internet.

The Belgian Beer Festival Pictures!

Here we go folks.....I finally got the pictures downloaded off my phone. My cord is still MIA so I beamed them over using the infra-red port...lets talk about a sllllooooooowwwwwww process that one was!

As my public service announcement:

The gang from the first night:

Me and Russ:

Glasses of all shapes and sizes:

You are not seeing things on that last glass! It has finger grips and is shaped for a perfect pour into your mouth! Called Le Meme Chose in French, in English it is The Same Again!

See you there next year!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

I ate Burger King!!!

You would not believe how excited I was to eat at Burger King in the Zürich airport last night! Its not even been a month since I was back in the US, but I made the realization that I did not eat a single hamburger the whole time I was there! So when deciding last night between pizza or a whopper meal, the answer was easy to make!

I actually think that I might like travelling to Zurich if I can get a whopper every time I leave to return to Belgium! All that we have here in Belgium is McDonalds, so I'll often go months without a burger! I'm a BK girl through and through - can not eat at McDs except for Breakfast!

I worked at BK for around 6 years through high school and college - they were great for working around my class schedule and giving me hours whenever I wanted! I think I could walk into any of the stores owned by the chain I worked for and have a job without question!

I am back in Belgium, and I have a lot of catching up to do! My friend Kim is flying in tonight so we will go for dinner and drinks once again - I'm pushing for us to go for mojitos this week!

Will work on catching up on my blog reading!

Friday, September 01, 2006

C'est la rentrée!!

Its September, so that means school is back in session here in Belgium.....idiot students are walking randomly across roads, dodging cars, attempting to get run over by trams and buses.....what fun it is to be driving a car here!

I slightly modified my goal of having 50% of my WIPs done before I start my CAL and KALs for September. Instead I have joined Wendy in a challenge to have ALL WIPS done by the end of Sept! I can do it!! Well, perhaps! It is budget season here for me in bean counting land so that means lots of hours and travels to Zürich.

I did finish 3 snowflakes, one turtle (parts done, needs to be assembled) two repeats on the afghan and more work done on the cross stitch! The flakes still need to be blocked, I've decided to wait until I have a god number of them and do them all at one time. I will try the sugar water again as it seemed to work wonderfully last year.

This weekend is the Belgian Beer Weekend (here is last years pics and my summary about Belgian Beer) - what fun!! My friend Russ is coming in from the UK for it, and a large group of us from work will be there. Should be once again an interesting weekend!

I fly to Zürich on the Monday morning 7:30am flight - my boss said that we would have a whisper only Monday and that sunglasses would be allowed to be worn! =) I just might need the sunglasses and the whispering for the first part of the day!

Have a great weekend everyone! I will try to take pics to share with everyone! Happy crocheting, Knitting and whatever else you may be doing!