Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Crochet mon amour

I am one of those who love knitting and crocheting equally.

A while ago I kept nagging my friend Angela, to give knitting a try, but not because I think knitting is better than crochet. Because I thought both has advantages, and it depends on each project which craft is better. For socks, definetly knitting.

But I cannot understand those who will not even try crochet, who are even proud that they only know how to single-crochet, and that is onéy because they wouldn't be able to finish some projects witouth it. And I cannot understand knitters who look down on crochet.

I didn't even knew such a thing exist, until I've read Olivia Goldsmith's "Whish upon a star" where she made a statement like that.

I do not think any of these crafts is more complex than the other. Chrochet is chain, single crochet, double crochet, (There is triple too, even quadrouple, but it is basicly the same pricipal), and the combination of those. But those combinations are endless.Knitting is basicly two things knit and purl and the variatons of those, also endless variation...

In fact my absolute favourite items are the ones that combine knitting and crochet. See the wrap cardi I just finished, or this turqouise one.

Why am I rambling about crochet? Probably because I just finished an other crocheted item.


The pattern is from the early summer issue of Sabrina. Not much modification, the yarn was thinner than the original, but I just kept adding rows in granny-square style, until I thought it is big enough, and I made up the straps…

The yarn is Steinbach Wolle Capri. 5 skeins, 3.5m crochet hooks


After three years of knitting and crocheting at work, the ice broke... two of my collegaues asked me to teach the to crochet... Noe asked me a couple of days ago asked me if I would crochet a cell-phone holder for her. Of course the standard answer went : "No, but I will teach you."


Here is Noemi (we call her Noe) with a crochet hook and the leftover Read Heart yarn from my world famous crocheted orange scarf... It went rather well for her. If she keeps up, she will be on her way, to some FOs. She grew up in Transylvania, and she did learned some crafts as a child, but except for emroidery she rarely used any of those skills. She did started beading (Maybe me taking beads into work has something to do with that too???) some time ago, and now hopefully she will pick up the hooks and needles. It is so good to spread some yarney goodness.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The lilac camisole

It has been ready for a week or two.

Kriszta (one of the knitting club girls) came across a bag of Rowan 4 ply cotton yarn. Rowan!!! She had the same reaction as I would have. Regardless of the color or the quantity she bought it. She started thinking only later: "OMG Lilac is sooo not my color... what a heck should I do with four ball of fingering weight lilac colored cotton yarn?" She mused at one of our meetings. Of course I jumped "I'll take it, I'll take it off your hands!". So I bought it from her. Of course even if I loved the color, the question of what to do with only four balls of thin cotton yarn remained until the July issue of Fürge Ujjak (it means Busy/Fast Fingers, the one Hungarian craft magazine, it has a considerable section on knitting and crochet) came out and in it there was this camisole. Being me, of course meant considerable rework of the pattern, but the end result turned out fine, I think.

Changes were:
Aside from the necessary recalculating the stitch-count (of course once again, I had a totally different yarn that the pattern had, this time mine was considerably thinner, and I had a very limited amount so I had to be extra careful)...

In the magazine's picture the modell already started to roll... To prevent this I started with four rows of garter stitch.

Then I used five repeats of the lace pattern, instead of the three. I put the ribbing slightly higher to give it a tiny bit more empire line, and also changed the upper edge to make it less like a tube top, more like a tank or a cami.

That also resulted using two and half repeats of lace, instead of the pattern's two.The pattern called for crocheted straps. I first tried Icords, but then thought a little bit wider thing would hide bra straps more. So I took the base of the lace pattern, and added two stitch each side (one for the edge, one garter to prevent rolling) So the strap ended up like:

1. row: knit, knit, yo, knit, k3tog, knit, yo, knit, slip.
2. row: knit, knit, purl 5, knit, slip.

The final step was giving it a crocheted picot edge. I love picot edge, I find it so feminine. This case I thought a crocheted one would give it a more solid hold, and prevent rolling. I would have done it all the way, including the straps, but my yarn wouldn't have been enough, so it only went for the upper edge of the body. At the end I had left about two meters of yarn.

Speaking of the yarn I loved using the Rowan four ply cotton. Unlike many knitters I prefer summers to winters (I actually hate winter, but that is for an other post), and I love wearing cotton and linen clothings. And I don't mind at all knitting those yarns. I loved the cotton-linen in my butterfly tunic, I loved the Rowan All season for the blue pulli, and I loved the four ply for this project. It did NOT SPLIT at all, it was light, and the end project is not too hot either. Great yarn.

Once again, I have to be greatful to Dinara for the pictures. She is so talented. She shot these (along with the wrap cardi pics) in such a hurry, still they turned out great. Thank you.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Wrap cardi

I like when knitting and crochet is combined. It gives any knitting a romantic overtone, which I love. This is from the Hungarian version of the german magazine Diana. Of course the yarn is different, my gauge is different, I had to recalculate the pattern (what else is new), and figure out the decreseases. The yarn came from the turkish company ICE (bought on e-bay). The yarn is OK, and very affordable, and they ship fast. And use a different service NOT the mail (which knowing the unreliability of the hungarian post office is a great plus). On the site they said it is 50-50 bamboo and cotton. The ball band said 100% mercerized cotton...Hmm. I sent an email asking about that though. But it does acts like it has bamboo in it.

Not that much change it this one though, except for the redrawing of the charts for the different number of stitches. I did changed the tie from a crocheted one to a knitted Icord though. I came to that point on a Sunday evening when I was at work. Very quiet afternoon, mind you. I knitted the collar, picked up the stitches for the I cord, and realized I brought the wrong DPNs with me... I had four choice:
1. I could use the bigger DPNs, but I knit loosely as it is, using bigger needles would result something that would be good for a few things, but a tie is not one of them.
2. I had a crochet hook, so I could crochet it.
3. I could wait until the evening I get home and knit the ropes then.
4. I could dash to the mall in my "lunch" break and see if the haberdashery has any DPNs. They do have a limited selection of most things, so that really is a question. Do I need an other set of 3mm DPNs? Not really.

But you know me. Yes, I did rushed out, and I did get the needles (they had it, yay), for twice as much as the wholesaler I usually get them from. But the ties were knitted.

Then I had some yarn left. Yuck. Don't everyone hates those small balls of leftover yarns, that has like only a few meters. I can't throw them away (it is YARN), but there is nothing to use them for either. I had 200 gramms more than the pattern called, but I guess cotton (or cotton+bamboo) is heavier than the silk cotton it was made in, so I had to open all eight skeins. Trying the sweater on I saw that the collar could benefit a bit more width... I (frogged) unknitted the cast off measured how much yarn it took (268 stitches loosely cast off = 7 meters of yarn) picked the stitches back and knitted until the yarn had slightly more than seven meters left, then cast off again. I ended up with about a meter of yarn left. Now, that is more like it.

BTW I did the (frogging) unknitting and picking up on the bus (waiting for it to leave). I only travel with PT in the city for short distances, so they are not my usual KIP place (doctors office are much more). I was the first on the bus, I had my choice of seats, and I realized there is at least ten minutes before it leaves the station. I was anxious to finish the sweater, so I started the (frog)unknit while he bus was empty (not many to look at me strangely, right?), and I lost, I had my mp3 player and a Stash and Burn episode in my ear When the time came and the bus started the engine and I looked up... it was almost full, and more than one passenger was looking at me "WHAT is she DOING? "

PS: Just wanted to add...Thank you Dinara, for the great pictures.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Finally got it...

I already mentioned the sales-competition and one of it's price, which is a giant snowman that gets to sit at the table of the given winner... since december of 2006 I won that thing thirteen times and three times for not only the Budapest office, but for the whole country, so the snowman is kind of glued to my workplace now... Last week when the manager of the customer service gave me the price, they decided that the snowman is now permanently mine...

Talking of work, it is one of my KIP (knitting in public) place... I am known to work and knit at the same time... OK, I don't do it when there is lots of callers, usually keep it for the times when the phonerings are few and far between, but it already happened more than once that I did sold some mobilebank servicr while working on a knit:


When I took Chris to the kid's island there was a place where they were decorating T shirts with a paint in a tube that worked like a felt pen, or something like that. So I went to a craft store I bought a tube of black paint, then in the next store I bought a plain white tank (racerback, what else)... I was thinking what if I enlarge the drawing of my tattoo, and draw/paint it on a top??? (Haven't got around to actually execute the idea yet, though)...
On the other hand...
There is this polish cartoon about the little mole. In one (the most famous) episode he wants a pair of pants (actually dungarees) with big deep pocket. at the end he finds flax on a field, waters it, then harvest it, asks the stork to break it, the hedgehog to comb it etc. Most schools even use it to tech how fabrics are made. at one point the linen gets weaved too. A couple of weeks ago I saw Chris playing with my portable clothes-dryer, imitating the weaving.... since then I did checked in a toy store if they have a toy weaver, but they didn't. On Saturday as we were in the craft-store he runs to me, "mama, there is a weaver!!!", and sure enough there was one about 30x50 cm, but had no packaging, nor users "manual", but the name of the manufacturer was on, from which I knew where do they have a store, so we jumped on the tram, and got there and I bought it for him. Chris could hardly wait to get home and try it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Good news and bad news

Good news: P. brought Chris home. We will be alone (the two of us) for the week.
Bad news: It is not forever. Besides P. "only" forgot to bring Chris's swimming trunk, shoes and raincoat home.

Good news: Chris is going to swimming day camp.
Bad news: The weather turned bad. It was raining for the past three days. Yesterday it was raining so hard they had to cancel one of the kids two-a-day swimming lessons.

Good news: the pool is at a sport center, where there is running track and different exercise rooms, etc.
Bad news: they didn't took the kids into one of the halls to have some running around/exercise time. They were watching cartoons on TV.

Good news: I bought new swimming trunks.
Bad news: The pair of shoes I found in the mall on Sunday evening costed wayyy too much. I don't spend that much on shoes for myself.

Good news: I took Chris to a shoe store, and the summer-sale was going on.
Bad news: There was NOTHING in his size. Things that I liked (and Chris agreed to try on was either too small or way too big.)

Good news: I did found a pair of shoes that is only a little bit too big. It is a "brand" name (Falcon) it is leather, and it was half price.
Bad news: It is orange. Ok, it is the darker rusty orange, but it is still orange... P. will hate it.

Good news at work: I won the sales competition again for the whole office (I did passed those down in the office in the country who work eight hours compared to my six... It is practically impossible to beat them, but I managed to do it again. Yay. It also means I will probably get the big price on the Decathlon (a competition in connection with the Olympic games. I already won a television set and a photo-camera).
Bad news at work: They officially announced that our department will be closed off in march 31th, 2009. Of course we knew about it, in fact I did even knew the date for a few weeks, but it was still so hard to face it. They did say that there will be about ten operators staying as a back up office, but I only have basic card training, besides I don't really want to be an operator anymore. I did hoped that there will be some way out before it falls down, but now...
This also pulls the rug under my plans of living without P. How can I act so sure of myself "yes I CAN do better than you ever did, look how much more I achieved in less than three years than you did all your life" if unemployment hanging over my head? How can I take care of Chris better alone, if...
Ok, I am still the best in the whole Budapest office, and also the best all of our department (including those who work in the country office), and the managers did said that they will do everything to find a place within the bank for everybody, but...
I also know that with my English, and the three years of GE and the Bank under my belt would help a lot in finding a job, but...
So many uncertainties, so many ifs and buts and whatifs...
Even though I like to think myself as a fairly flexible person, I guess I do not take change very well...

Handknit sightings

For so long the only hand knits I saw were the one Dinara was wearing, but last Friday it seemed knits and crochets were all around. I had to go my dr for some prescriptions and bloodwork (I decided to check out if there is any physical reason behind all this tiredness) and as I was coming down (she has an office in one of the hospitals in the Buda, the hilly side of the city) I saw a woman (later I heard, she spoke Italian) wearing a light blue shrug/wrap. It was made from little crocheted round blocks. It was handmade (do I know right that there is no such a thing as a crochet-machine?), sleeveless and tied in the front. Beautiful. Then I saw a girl wearing a white pullover with wide knitted ribs and a very airy crocheted body. Again I have no idea if it was homemade , but it was crochet, so there definitely was handwork involved. Then as we met with my knitting friends a woman (again, an Italian) walked in in a gorgeous white lacy wrap (or it might have been a poncho). As she was walking by us, all four of us looked like "did you see WHAT she was wearing???" LOL.

Oh, Dinara was wearing her pretty red dress, and Tania had this on:

Lovely crocheted blocks and gorgeous color! She doesn't speak English, the little communication we managed was with the help of Dinara. But she knits like me, even hold the yarn with his finger like I do! And she was knitting this:

I instantly fell in love with that yarn. It was made in Turkey and it was cotton, but with the looooooooong color repeats that is so typical of NORO and even the colorway was like one of NORO's.

I love wearing cotton (right after wearing linen) and so I like knitting with it. This was so gorgeous, I was literally drooling (and in the meanwhile damning the poor yarn selection of my country.)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Kid's Island

We had a nice weekend. P. did brought Chris home at Saturday (even if he managed to arrive only late evening) and I had a nice time taking Chris to this kids "fair" organized by the biggest telephone company.
In the Duna there is an Island called the "Ship Factory" because there was once a ship factory there (what a surprise) but there are lots of nice places, parks and such. It is most famous for the big yearly music festival that is held there in every august, people from all over Europe come there, but there are other things held too.
This weekend there were places for climbing, for solving logical dilemmas, labyrinths, and the combination of those:

There were crafts... Chris told as we were walking toward the tables "mama I don't have to make anything there, do I?". And then he got a piece of clay into his hands :

There were walls to climb:

And on the island there is a playground with huge slides:

Christopher enjoyed it tremendously. As always my feeling (that he behaves much better if he is with me than if he is with P. or the both of us) was reinforced. We got home utterly exhausted, but it was worth it.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A letter from Bing

Hi! Just read your blog. I am a female. Bing is my Chinese name. I used to have an English name Irene when I was working in a US company in China and a lot of my Chinese friends know my english name only :-). After I came to US, I found that people are open to any name so I keep my Chinese name. I couldn't image a man can knit and crochet like me. ;-) Bing

I received this letter. So now I now. She is very nice (after all she knits and crochets, how could she be not nice?) and I love to deal with her.
Thank you for letting me know.

The Budapest International Craft Club

We had a meeting again, and though every time I say this it is always such a balm to my soul, and keeps getting better. Originally it started as a meeting with an American girl who knits. By the time we organized the first meeting there was the three of us, and then we found Dinara, and Genia, and now Suad, who is actually the boss of Dinara. So the club started with knitting, but since Dinara and I crochet too, and now we found that Suad is doing jewelry and beads, and now thinking to take knitting up again, i thought why couldn't we embrace all crafts? The main thing will be always knitting, but still...
For today's meeting Suad invited us to her place. The whole evening was wonderful. I met up Dinara a bit early, so we decided to drop in one of the markets to get us some fruit, then we caught up with Kriszta, and the we went to Suad's place. Which is one of the best location of the city, the apartment (and even the house) is very, very nice. She has this wonderful balcony that looks out to the Duna, right next to the house's courtyard there is a church, it's tower is a vital part of the view.Lovely, just lovely. Suad spoiled us with wonderful snacks, bruchetta with pesto, and tomatoes, cheese, and every kind of drink one can think of. I ate so much...
The meeting of course was lovely, I knitted an inch or so of the ribbing of the cardi I am working on.
And finally Dinara shot a few picture of the blue butterfly dress:

Here are some details too. If you look closely you can see beads on the straps and at the edge, but those beads are all around the dress. Such a sucker they don't show more.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


I am back from the lake. The weekend was better than usual, but that might be because P. got a present and we had guests.
The socks were finished and the ends woven in by Friday evening, wrapped and presented on Saturday not long after I arrived. He wasn't jumping up and down of course nor did he ohh-ed and ahh-d, but he did say thank you and that they are "nice". He even put them on so I can make a few pictures:

Now, let's see if the whole thing works.