official advent post

IMG_2787Before you are thinking : No, please not another posting advent calendar this year! don’t worry I won’t be doing that again. Not that I would not have enough to say to post on a daily basis 🙂 but I really haven’t got enough time for this at the moment,

But I would still like to officially switch to Christmas mode. I guess when you have children it is easy to go back to the excitement of this particular time of the year.

How do you celebrate Christmas and the time before?

We have our advent calendar hanging from the railings of the stair. I guess I should make new bags. (Every year, it annoys me that actually I haven’t got as many green as red ones.) Each morning, they can open one bag from the bottom. When we have reached the top of the stairs it will be Christmas 🙂

IMG_2784Each morning we light a candle on our advent wreath and sing a few songs. Usually rather Christmassy ones. But my three year old sees a candle and sings Happy Birthday 🙂

For those who are not familiar with this tradition: There are four candles (sometimes one has a different colour), and each sunday in advent (waiting time before Christmas) you can light one more. Yesterday was the first sunday,  so we will always light just one, until next Sunday, when the second one will join.

We will now be waiting for two things to happen, on the 6th, Nikolaus (much more bishop looking than Santa Claus) might be passing with a few tangerines, gingerbread and nuts. In Austria he would probably pass in person and talk to the children about their behavior in the past year, here in England he is just passing very early in the morning and leaves his presents on the balcony. (I guess, as he has to rush to Austria, visiting everyone there 🙂 )

And the second thing to wait for is obviously Christmas. We will get presents on Christmas eve already. Brought by Christkind (baby jesus but not baby looking, rather like an angel, I think. I have never seen it, really. It is very shy and flies off with all the presents if you would ever make an attempt to see it).

To make this waiting time more exciting, I have started to decorate the house, starting with the window display. Remember I used to have flowers in there and lately I was wondering what to do with them as they get damp now in Winter. (I must admit, on the first morning with a wet window I tried to give them a blow dry). They would not have survived the whole winter. So the christmas posts by the twisted yarn came in handy and I stole adapted her idea of a knitted wreath.

IMG_2771I used two green wools held together to get a more “real” variegated tone for the actual wreath. As you can see (if you look closely), I had to cheat, I did not join the ends as it would be far too small (I was running out of the super chunky yarn). The red ribbon has been knitted by my daughter using her knitting fork and the bow is made by me. I am very pleased that we have finally been able to make a project together.

I love all of thetwistedyarn’s ideas for Christmas knits (and they are all perfect Scrap Sunday projects too 🙂 ) so I might make a few other things, depending on my time really. But that wreath looks a bit lonely, doesn’t it. So we will see what time brings. In the meantime, enjoy your Christmas preparations.

I am done

No more knitting. I am done with it.

Vase 09sOk, ok, there might me the occasional addition to my window display in the future, maybe a hungry caterpillar maybe another flower but for now I am done.

After the octopus flowers I was a bit unproductive and only managed to make a few more flowers and a few lovely mini beasts.

The improvised bee, as requested by my daughter:

bee 02

And two butterflies.

butterfly both sI was looking for patterns and could not quite decide which one of these two I prefer. The small and simple knitted one from Spud and Chloe or the crochet one following a video tutorial by nadelspiel.

I think the simple knitted one corresponds maybe more to my generally rather childish style and I have already gotten a firm request to make one of these to be fixed on a hair clip 🙂

The crochet one is beautiful (just as butterflies are) and it was another good crochet experience for me.

From a linguists point of view it is really interesting how much easier it is for me to refresh my almost inexisting crochet skills in German rather than English. Even though I do not remember how to make the different stitches, hearing the familiar words Staebchen and feste Masche has a very comforting effect. And I guess, following a very clear video tutorial is helpful too.

I decided to arrange two of the mini beasts rather close to the flowers.

bee and flowers s

butterfly knit window sThey might not be spotted from far away or from people just passing but they will be the fun little surprise for those who actually look at it properly. I really think having them there makes a lot of difference. The flowers are nice and people might even admire the knitting skills (if they can not knit at all) but discovering bee and butterfly will hopefully make them smile. Especially if they are on their way to the dentist next door 🙂

And just for those who think that I am always overcritical with myself: I think I should have planned the arrangement in advance rather than just putting them up when knitted up. They are not very well mixed colourwise nor specieswise. And as all tulips and roses are rather high up it is difficult to actually see the difference between them when standing on the pavement which is a bit of a shame because they are both made from very good and accurate patterns. But don’t worry, I am very pleased with the finished display. I just don’t know what to knit next… HELP!!!!



How to crochet an octopus

Yes, I said “crochet”.

I thought my flower window display is the perfect opportunity to brush up my crochet skills dating from primary school days. And since I was unable to knit the beautiful Gerbera on oddknit I looked for a crochet pattern and found lovely flower patterns on the Meli Bondre blog and because of the rather deadly combination of crochet skills dating from primary school and trying to understand a pattern in a foreign language, I looked up all the strange letter combinations in Cherry Hearts Crochet Corner, an incredibly useful and also pretty site for anybody who wants to know about crochet with great tutorials to all sort of crochet stitches.

But back the Octopus – tutorial:

Choose a Gerbera pattern, ignore completely yarn and hook suggestions, take the one hook that you have and ideally too thick yarn for that hook.

Don’t bother counting the stitches when creating the inner circle. It is late and the yarn is dark. It will be roughly enough.

Continue until there is no more space to add any more petals legs. I know, from a marine biologist point of view, an octopus should have rather 8 legs (and probably that same marine biologist would not necessarily call them legs) rather than a good 30 but the crocheted octopus looks good with that many legs or arms or whatever.

Gerbera A1

(As my daughter has pointed out, it clearly isn’t an octopus because it doesn’t have eyes.)

If you like it but still want to crochet a Gerbera, just do the same again, maybe with different yarn, but don’t be surprised to get another octopus.

Gerbera B1

The octopus tutorial finishes here.

After a bit of ironing the seafood actually turns into something more flowery

Gerbera C2but size wise they are not quite at the same scale than my lovely knitted roses and tulips.

Vase 07A little overpowering I guess and not recognisable as Gerberas next to the smaller flowers, maybe weirdly dyed sunflowers? But then it helped a lot to make the bouquet much fuller quickly. And they work well to attract views from further away which was the point of the whole window display anyway.





on the other side…

Just a quick picturesque update on the window yarn bombing. Somehow I am not as quick as I thought, slowed down by all sorts of things, visitors staying, possible bronchitis in combination with stiff neck, children refusing both to cook or going to nursery by themselves,….

Anyway, there is still lots to do but this is how far I got:Vase 01

Vase 02

Vase 03

Vase 04

Vase 05

I put the vase up first and left it empty for a couple of days so people passing and eventually noticing it could wonder what on earth that thing would mean.

The initial plan was to add one or two flowers each day but as I said, I am producing them much slower and I am nowhere near the end. There is still lots of space for more….

And as my daughter suggested, there should also be a bee and maybe a butterfly. I really like that idea and will definitely add them.

Some of the flower pattern I found at oddknits, others are variations of something that I had seen in a book ages ago.

I also want to pick up crochet again and add some crocheted flowers, so far only some of the stems and leaves are. I kind of used the tutorial at the twisted yarn but without actually knowing English crochet vocabulary … so I might have gotten it totally wrong. They still look like leaves though.

I am very pleased with it so far, and I hope it cheers up people who pass, especially those who continuously mistake our house for the dentist next door 🙂

but considering the slow pace I wonder if I will ever get to do the two other, much bigger, windows.