A bit of this, and a bit of that ……

Do you sometimes find yourself bursting with ideas, eager to start new things, but at the same time having the feeling you’re not getting a whole lot done? Well….. I guess that’s me at the moment. I’m sure it has to do with the fact that the major part of the work I needed to do on my book is finally ready; everything is in the safe and capable hands of my publisher now.
Exciting times – did you know there will not only be an English version, but a Turkish AND Dutch one as well? They are all three expected to launch at the same time: the big count down has started!

Now that my book-tasks are nearly over, there comes an end to months and months of working almost 24/7 on what turned out to be a wonderful, but huge project: it’s a good thing I love crochet as much as I do……
Oh, and ……I’m so eager to show you what I’ve been working on!

Until then, let me fill you in on my current projects (some of which I cannot show you either, how hilarious is that…..:)
Alia‘s gorgeous “Sunday Shawl” has been on my wish list for a long time, and I’m happy to report I’ve finally crocheted it (I will blog about that soon).
This past week I’ve also been working on two new CraftKitchen-projects (big CraftKitchen Catch Up-blog post on past projects coming up as well).

Besides that, I’m still knitting my Ice Yarns Shawl (progress on that one is slow, very slow), ánd I’ve knitted and mailed two “pussyhats” for Stephen’s/Yarnbomber’s upcoming yarnbomb (still time for you to join!); I can’t wait to see what he’ll be making with them. I just know it’s going to be great – I love all his projects: yarn and art, what’s not to like?A new crochet shawl has been started as well.
The pattern is by a designer – Bernadette Ambergen – whose work I’ve admired for a long time.
When I found out through Atty’s thoughtful and sweet blog post (that you can read here), Bernadette is facing a difficult time in her life, and needs our support, I could not think of a better moment to buy this pattern (via Etsy or Ravelry). The incredibly beautiful and soft “Hannah” by Borgo de Pazzi is a perfect match!

And then I’d like to tell you about “Creative Life” I attended last weekend. A brand new fair on basically anything creative, and my goodness, how I loved it: the old, beautifully restored industrial venue with lovely light streaming in, the styling, the fabulously picked and all so very inspirational participants & lecturers, and even cool food trucks offering tasty food & drinks – it was amazing, and I had a blast, not in the least because my delightful companion for the day was my friend Janneke (JipbyJan).
There was such an inspiring, creative, and happy vibe, I cannot help but smile when I think of how much I enjoyed “Creative Life”. I’m already looking forward to next year’s edition (March 23/24/25, 2018).

A poignant “Creative Life” quote: “being creative is not a hobby, it’s a way of life”; I couldn’t agree more, how about you?

Love,
Marianne xx

Let’s Get Chunky

As I already told you in this blog post, a truly wonderful cooperation emerged from one of the fun crochet parties recently organized here in The Netherlands.

After the “Borgo de Pazzi”-party at “Trollenwol” the talented bloggers and instagrammers that attended immediately started crocheting, knitting, and even weaving with the beautiful Borgo-yarns. Bert Noorderijk, Borgo’s agent in The Netherlands, seeing the many projects we came up with on social media, suggested we all write down the patterns, and collect them in …… a magazine!
A very special magazine; you see, we – the 17 Borgo-babes, lol – have all donated our patterns, and in return Borgo de Pazzi is donating part of the proceeds of the magazine’s sales to a charity of our choice. Knowing how much we, the-not-so-elderly-yet, enjoy and benefit from crafting together, we quickly and unanimously picked the Dutch foundation for the elderly, Het Ouderenfonds (English: here), and more specifically the “Let’s Knit Together”/“Samen Breien”-groups, that help the elderly connect and be less lonely by getting them together in craft groups.
Since we all worked with rather robust and chunky yarns, it was not hard to – again: fast and unified – choose a name for the magazine: “Let’s get Chunky” seemed very apt right away.
There are times when you know and feel everything about a certain project is right, and this is definitely one of them! I love our awesome group of makers, our mutual passion, the fun times we had, the a-ma-zing projects that everyone came up with, the fact that so many of us invested a lot of extra time (think: coordinating/overseeing the whole project, translating patterns in English, styling and photographing the projects created, designing the layout and putting the magazine together, etc). Also, we proved everybody wrong saying women can’t work together: there was nothing but a marvelous sense of care, love, wanting to help one another, as well as humor in this group of 17 women.
I feel very, very proud to have been part of all this, and want to extend a big, warm, squishy “thank you” to my fellow “Let’s Get Chunky”-makers (whom you can all get to know better via the links under this post)!
I’m also proud of the project I made for the magazine, my “Al Paco”-blanket!
I have had my eyes on knitted mitered squares like ….. forever, and I so wanted to give them a try. To be honest, it was a bit of a challenge for me at times (I’m not a very experienced knitter), but I’m happy I persevered: the blanket turned out just the way I had envisioned and hoped. And if I can do this, anyone can!

Cat-approved ……;)
“Let’s Get Chunky” will be on the shelves at the beginning of April (through Borgo de Pazzi-retailers, check here for a store close to you). You can also order it online (shipping internationally, e.g. here). It has 37 (that’s correct: thirty-seven!!) crochet and knitting patterns, in a wide variety ranging from home-decor items to shawls/hats, all written in Dutch & English.

And guess what? All 17 contributors are running an extremely cool giveaway; we’re allowed to give away TWO magazines each: it pays to keep a close eye on everyone’s social media.
Today is my turn to give away TWO “Let’s get Chunky”-magazines!
So…. if you want a chance to win: leave a comment here, on my Facebook– and/or Instagram (sharing/reposting is always nice, but not necessary).
The give-away is open for all, I will ship your “Let’s Get Chunky”-magazine no matter where you live, that is: if you win. So, hurry up and get those comments going on all my social media channels ;)! The winners will be notified Thursday, March 30.
Good luck to all!

Love,
Marianne xx

Meet the Makers: Anique, Miriam, Lotte, Nandi, Lidy, Heleen, Joyce, Manon, Lisette, Doreen, Marlies, Katelijne, Kimberley, Caroline, Jacqueline, Frederika

edit: giveaway is closed – the winners have been notified

Orchidea Cross Stitch Bag

This project sure was a trip down memory lane, and a lovely one for that matter.
You see, when I was a little girl, I made a couple of these ↑ cross stitch cushions – they’ve adorned my parents’ couches for a long time. I think I was only 9 or 10 years old, and still vividly remember how I loved doing this.

I’ve been meaning to stitch another one of these for a long, long time, but give it a whole different twist this time around: use the cross stitch part to make a bag!
Now that I’ve finished my “Orchidea Bag” I can “cross” this off my creative list 😉
It goes without saying that the cross stitch part is pretty straightforward; no counting is necessary, your only worry is that your stitches all face the same direction.

This is exactly why this a very “mindful” project. Even though I really like any kind of creative challenge, for balancing’s sake it’s equally nice to work on a project that gets you in a carefree-just-do-flow, don’t you agree? Well, this is the one!

The only thing I dreaded, was machine sewing the cross stitch front to the fabric, but this turned out to be surprisingly easy, and was done in minutes.

The “Orchidea Bag” is my latest design for CraftKitchen, and you can find the tutorial on how to make your own here (Dutch), and here (English), or via the DIY/Tutorials-page on the blog.
Enjoy!

Love,
Marianne xx

Norwool Blanket

Crochet, geometric patterns, and a challenge….. what’s not to like?

When the lovely CraftKitchen people asked us, the blogging team, whether we thought it would be possible to crochet with Norwool sock yarn as well, my creative brain started rattling instantly.

I immediately knew I wanted a graphic pattern, and a quick search for “geometric crochet” and “houndstooth crochet” on Pinterest, gave a wealth of possibilities. I particularly loved the rather big sized pied-de-poule in this Red Heart pattern, and used that as a reference.
Color swatches were quickly made, and so was my decision to go with the bolder combination. As you can probably see, the blanket is crocheted following the “tapestry technique” – nothing to be scared off, really. In my Norwool Blanket-pattern I’ve included some links to helpful videos, as well as my own tips. One important hint is how to carefully (and easily) “manage” your working and non-working yarn.

And boy-oh-boy, I so liked everything about this project and its journey: the pattern, the colors (black is a color, right?), the softness of the blanket, the rather repetitive and thus mindful making, plus – now that it’s finished – its warmth and comfort whilst I’m working on my next CraftKitchen-project.
The mindful Norwool Blanket-making took place over the holidays, and I’m so happy I can finally share it with all of you!
You can find the – free – pattern in Dutch here, and the one in English here (or via the pattern section of my blog).
It’s already gotten heaps of love on the CraftKitchen Facebook-page, and how about this post on Instagram: @captainhook3105 started her Norwool Blanket right away, awesome!

And you know what? This coming week/weekend you can see my Norwool Blanket, and lots-and-lots of other CraftKitchen projects “live” at the “Handwerkbeurs” in Zwolle!
Two (and on Saturday even three) of The CraftKitchen bloggers will be there each day throughout the event (Feb 9 – Feb 12), and we’re all looking forward to seeing you in our creative kitchen, showing our latest projects, giving tips, etc. I’ll be there on Friday and Saturday (working on my second Norwool Blanket), please come by and say “hi”!

Love,
Marianne xx

Crochet Parties!

Energized and happy, is how I’m kicking off this new week.
It’s grey and wet outside, but definitely not in my work space, I can assure you!
Lots of wonderful yarn in delightful colors on my desk – the best way to continue this weekend’s high, a weekend filled to the brim with crochet, friends, glorious projects, and ……yarn.

Last Saturday a group of fellow bloggers/Instagrammers and I were invited by my sweet friend Lisanne for a crochet party. The location alone is swoon-worthy – “Knotten”, in beautiful historic Delft – and the yarn we were tasting this time around equally so: gorgeous “Lang Yarns”. When you see and feel their yarn, you immediately understand why Lang Yarns cannot be found in the lower price segment: all yarns not only look wonderful, but as soon as you touch them, you cannot help but go “ahhhhhh…….”; they’re extremely soft&nice. We were all given our goodie bags at the start of the afternoon, to enjoy working with the yarns we were to take home right away.
To tell you the truth: I’m not good at that….. I need the quiet of my studio to think of a nice pattern to start a new project, so my afternoon was spent catching up with crochet friends, enjoying the lovely food (thank you Lust), Francis’ hospitality, browsing her grand “Knotten” store,  and go home a very happy woman.
Oh, and I think I’ve picked just the right pattern in the meantime for this so-pretty Lang Yarns Norma; I’ll keep you posted.

A few weeks ago I attended Wolplein’s ‘New Year’s Party’, held in their “Inspiratie Centrum” in Zaltbommel.
Always a tremendous pleasure to visit, and they could not have picked a more apt name: so much yarny goodness all in one spot …. inspiration-galore! Wolplein did not let us go home empty-handed either: is it just me, or does the sight of these lovely skeins alone make you happy as well?
By the way: Wolplein’s “Koffie&Wol” captured the lively event nicely in this video.

But wait ….. there’s more!
At the beginning of last December I was at another yarn party (I know, lucky-lucky me). This one was held at new-to-me store “Trollenwol” in Driebergen (a must visit, really), and was all about also new-to-me yarns “Fonty” (French) and “Borgo de Pazzi” (Italian), both natural/eco and locally producing companies. They carry an amazing variety of lovely yarn in lots of colors, weight/ply, absolutely fantastic.
After this fun party (proof of that here) a wonderful idea was born. Almost all attendees designed and made projects – crocheted as well as knitted ones – using the Borgo-yarns. The patterns are written (English and Dutch), photos are taken, and we’re in the process of gathering them all up in a soon to be published Borgo Magazine, that will be available internationally through Borgo de Pazzi retailers. Since all makers are donating their designs, we’ve been allowed to allocate part of the proceeds to charity, which gives this venture even more shine.
                    (above a  little preview of my Borgo-contribution, a knitted blanket)

This Sunday almost all of us came together again at Miriam‘s place to hand our projects over for a last photo shoot, and of course to oh-and-ah over each other’s makings (I honestly loved everything, and I’m sure you will too!).
We’ll be able to show you more very soon – so keep your eyes peeled (and have a look at this hashtag for more sneak peeks…..).

One thought keeps popping up: simply being in the company of creative people is always, always such a joy, and a guarantee for having a fabulous time; makes you wonder…… wouldn’t the world be a nicer place with more people crocheting, knitting, being creative?

Wishing you a marvelous, creative week!

Love,
Marianne xx

Giveaway: “Haakspiratie”

Among last year’s highlights were definitely all the fabulous crochet and yarn parties that I attended, as I’m sure every creative person and yarn lover will understand.

I’m happy to report 2016 saw a lot of these wonderful gatherings of like-minded people, that strangely enough always feel a strong connection right away.
I’ve already blogged about two of these fun events (here and here), and this post is the first of my reporting on the last two, and how they were just a bit extra special.
You see, back in August my dear friend and talented colleague Janneke released her first book “Haakspiratie”, and boy…. is it beautiful!
The celebratory launch party was held in a new-to-me great yarn store: “Het Wolhuis”. If you’re ever in the eastern part of The Netherlands, make sure to pay them a visit, you’ll not be disappointed.I feel proud to have been part of Janneke’s team of testers; even before the book was out I knew how gorgeous it was going to be, having laid – quite literally – my hands on many a design. In this post you can see some of the projects I’ve made during the testing process.
How about that cute pincushion, made using an old cup found at the thrift store? One of Janneke’s great ideas! And the coaster, doily, the grey shawl, and its pretty border, the flowery cushion cover? Aren’t they all lovely?
What makes Janneke’s book rather unique, is the combination of crochet and sewing projects, and the two techniques are sometimes even used in one idea.
“Haakspiratie” is written in Dutch, but has very clear diagrams, charts and plenty of (very pretty) photos, so I’m pretty sure you non-Dutch will not have a problem either.

This is good news, because …… *insert drumroll * …… I’m giving away one copy of this fantastic book, whoop-whoop!
Simply follow this blog, leave a comment here and make sure I can get in touch with you via email.
As usual, the “random number generator” will draw a winner, this Sunday January 14, 2017 at 8:00 pm my time (=GMT+1), and I will notify him or her soon thereafter.

Good luck to all of you!

Love,
Marianne xx

PS: one more thing to show you here: the little zippered hook case I made for Janneke.
I recreated her logo with felt, and hand stitched all pieces to the front; made with love of course …….

EDIT: this giveaway is now closed; a winner has been drawn and notified via email – thank you all for participating!

CraftKitchen

One of the things that’s been high on my catch up list is CraftKitchen.
As you might know, I’m one of the 5 bloggers that design for them, and it’s a job very close to my heart, for many reasons……
First of all because of the people I get to work with: my dear maker-friends and colleagues Janneke, Lidy, Lisanne and Liza; I’m sure you’ve all seen their gorgeous and inspiring work on social media. It’s just wonderful to be part of such a group of talented, lovely, and fun ladies.
Secondly, because of the creative adventures it gets me into. When the 5 of us decided to step on board of the CraftKitchen-wagon early last year, we liked the idea of all of us trying our hands at different kinds of crafts: crocheting, sewing, knitting, diy, anything.
So even though we’re all experts in one or two areas, we committed ourselves to come up with projects in all other disciplines as well.
As we hoped, taking these crafty turns adds to the enjoyment: we all love to be challenged like this!
It’s great to step out of your comfort zone, and learn something new. Besides, there’s always 4 lovely colleagues (and the internet) to help you out when you run into a problem.

Since my last half of 2016 was all about writing my book, little time was left for anything else….. Luckily I did manage to make 5 CK-projects, but unfortunately there was no time to translate them in English, that is…. up to today! Hurray!
You’ll find the link to all Dutch versions here, and in English by clicking the links you’ll find here for my Mandala/Dream catcher, Pip-stool cover, Pip-slippers, felt Fall/Halloween bunting and fun knitted children’s scarf, fair isle style.
Of course they’re also listed in the pattern sections of my blog (here and here).

Now Janneke, Lidy, Lisanne and Liza have been very busy too, creating many fabulous CraftKitchen-projects. I know you’ll be doing yourselves a favor checking them out. Even though they’re all described in Dutch, many of them have lots of photos, and/or charts/diagrams, so I think you’ll be okay even if Dutch is abracadabra for you. And there’s always google translate……
One thing’s for sure: perusing the CraftKitchen-site will leave you inspired, and sometimes that’s all we need to spark our creative side again!
Happy – and crafty – times!

Love,

Marianne xx

Edwards Crochet Imaginarium – Giveaway

Happy New Year!
I hope this new year will bring you everything you’re hoping for, and the words love, friendship, good health – plus of course lots-and-lots of creativity – are the ones that I surely hope will play a prominent role in 2017.

I’m still in major “catch up modus” – definitely where blogging is concerned, and I hope you won’t mind my slowly, but surely working through all things that (I think) need catching up on.
First one is a real good one: a rather fabulous giveaway! Sounds good, right?

Just as I was putting the finishing touches on things concerning my own book, the wonderful people at Toft sent me their latest book, “Edward’s Crochet Imaginarium”, by Kerry Lord, along with some of the lovely Toft yarns.
I had seen Kerry’s previous books going around on social media, and always thought of them as fun, but never got my hands on one of them, so I was thrilled to receive this issue.

My enthusiasm quickly grew when I opened the book and browsed through.
Not only because the designs are one-of-a-kind and witty, but the set-up of the book is really unique as well, and I so like that. I can’t help myself, I just think the whole book is awesome.
Do you remember the interactive children’s flip books? Well, the core of this book is exactly that: with 1 standard form, you compose your very own project, by picking from designs for 23 heads, 23 arms, 23 legs, and 5 tails, enabling you to make over one million different monster creations, how cool is that?
This hashtag will give you a good impression of the endless possibilities working from “Ed’s Flip Book”. 

The instructions in “Edward’s Crochet Imaginarium” are very clear, and I had a great time making “Morris Monster”! I’m a sucker for anything cute, so that’s what I went for in my first project. I crocheted the body with DMC Natura Medium and hook 4.0 mm, and I used the yarn that came in the tote bag for a tiny little fair isle scarf for Morris, based on this image/pattern I found on Pinterest.
I just love how my little Morris fella turned out ……

And the very best part? Toft has graciously allowed me to give one copy of “Edward’s Crochet Imaginarium” away, together with the tote and 3 skeins of their yarn.
All you have to do is leave a comment and an email address here and/or on my Facebook-page before Sunday January 8, 2017 – I’ll draw a winner at 8:00 pm my time (=GMT+1), and will notify him or her immediately thereafter.
Good luck to all of you!

Love,
Marianne xx

PS: yes, that’s correct ….. you can enter twice: here and on Facebook 🙂

EDIT: this giveaway is now closed; a winner has been drawn and notified via email – thank you all for participating!

“Miriam Shawl”

Ah….. it feels good to be blogging again!
Last Friday I shipped all the projects that were crocheted for my book to the publisher, and shared the final electronic version of every pattern, chart, photo, etc. with them as well.

Quite the milestone, I’m telling you, leaving me with a mix of feelings: a bit scary and anxious (“this is it, no more major changes”, “gosh, will people like the things I’ve put my heart – and all my time – in for the past six months”), a little relieved (“time to do other things”), but mainly proud, happy, excited, and looking forward to the next steps in this truly amazing book making journey (“YAY”)!

“Time to do other things” also means there’s time for blogging again (sic), and boy-oh-boy, do I have a list of things that I need to catch up on here! Over the past months there have been several fun crochet parties, a dear friend launching her first book, lots of CraftKitchen projects (more free patterns, hurray), meeting fab international creative friends, and a lot more that I’m looking forward to sharing with you all.
How about a free pattern for a lovely shawl for starters? Miriam’s beautiful shawl, as you see above?
One of this year’s crochet parties was all about “Phildar”, and we got to try out heaps of their lovely yarn. My sweet ig-friend Miriam Catshoek treated us all to the pattern of this pretty shawl, that she had designed with the Phildar-party and yarn in mind. The shawl was an instant hit, as you can see here, and she has kindly allowed me to translate the pattern in English, for everyone to enjoy! How’s that for an early Xmas-present?
The pattern gives you plenty of options to play with color, which was exactly what I had in mind when I started crocheting mine. However, I liked the touch of the Borgo de Pazzi “Fresco” so much, I stuck with it for all of my border. I love the wintry & chic look that my “Miriam Shawl” has, and I liked crocheting this pattern so much, I just know there will be a colorful one in the near future too……

You’ll find the link to the English pattern here (or under “Crochet Patterns” in my header). The Dutch pattern can be found here – both are free patterns.Next on my catch-up list: a fun amigurumi project, book review, and fab giveaway all in one, so stay tuned 😉

Love,
Marianne xx

Exciting news!

2016-10-15-14-55-25-1Hello, you lovely people, long time no see – I sincerely hope you’re all doing well!

I can’t believe it’s been three whole months since I last wrote a blog post; I’ve honestly missed blogging, and it sure feels great to be back here.
It must not have gone unnoticed that my summer break turned out to be a rather lengthy one. The funny thing is, it was all but a “break”: I honestly don’t think I’ve ever crocheted as much as I did in these past months.marrose-ccc-dolly-dotty-cushion-02

You see…… I’ve been asked to write a crochet book, and that’s all that has been on my mind and desk this summer!
Late May I was contacted by a publisher whether I’d be interested to make a crochet book with them. Needing hardly any time to think about the fab opportunity they offered, soon enough I was on my way designing and crocheting to my heart’s content, all projects for my own book. A book that will have an isbn connected to my name: wow, how awesome is that?
marrose-colorful-crochet-granny-squares-01The book will have a nice mix of projects for the home, as well as pretties to wear, and will be released internationally (in English) next Spring.
Almost all designs are ready: crocheted, their patterns written, charts drawn, and photos taken. Right now it’s all about testing, re-testing, crocheting projects in different colors and yarn, in short: adding the ever so important finishing touches.
Even though I’m close to the finish line, I still need to pinch myself regularly to realize, that, yes, it’s true: next Spring will see the publication of my very first crochet book!
All kinds of exciting, really!

marrose-ccc-dreamcatcher-40This – of course – is the main reason why I’ve been extremely silent here and on other social media, and I’m delighted I can finally share my happy news with you.
Unfortunately I still can’t show a whole lot – a sneak peek here and there will be all, I’m afraid. But at least there’s an explanation for my absence (thank you, you sweet peeps for checking in to see whether I was okay), and the ongoing recycling of old work on my Instagram and Facebook.

Within the next couple of weeks I’ll start my “Treasury Tuesday”-posts again, and I’ll share the projects that I’ve made for CraftKitchen during the past couple of months (including the English translation of those patterns/diy’s), for instance the dream catcher you see in this post (↑), the cute knitted slippers (↓), and my latest, a felt Fall/Halloween-garland (↓marrose-craftkitchen-slofjes-17

marrose-ccc-craftkitchen-vlaggenlijn-herfst-halloween-22As I said, I’ve missed my blog (and YOU, my lovely readers) and I’m looking forward to spending time here again!
See you soon,

love,
Marianne xx