Friday, December 31, 2010

Craft inspiration December 2010

Here's a preview of the craft projects that have caught my attention in December. Click here to see the pin board, and then click on the images to see their original sources.

I wish you all a very happy New Year, with lots of fun crafty projects!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Knitted leaf & lace squares

The holidays are a perfect time to learn something new, and I really wanted to learn how to knit lace & leaf squares. I first came across this pattern when I bought a Thérèse de Dillmont DMC Knitting album:

Die Strickarbeit, 1er Serie, for bibliographical data, see image. I couldn't find a publication date in the album.

Each of these designs is beautiful, but I really love the one in the left corner below! I'm glad I found a Dutch translation of this design in this book:

De techniek van het kunstbreien. Kanten en patronen. H. Van der Klift-Tellegen, 1984, Cantecleer, De Bilt.

You can also find something similar in this book in English.

This is my first attempt, knitted with 4,5 mm needles in Laluca Cotton. I'm halfway now, so the final square will be around 40*40 cm. I would love to knit a throw like this in soft light army green :-) Actually, I thought I had bought green, but I should have known shop lights can be deceiving...

ps: The reason I'm writing about it now, is that I was reminded of this pattern when I saw pictures of similar designs made by the Dutch company Molitli. Take a look at their beautiful work here.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Winter comfort

Today, it was very cold, but also very beautiful. The sun was shining and the world was covered in a thick layer of snow. A perfect day for a bowl of hot chocolate and a slice of homemade chocolate-vanilla cake. Although I have to confess that after eating and drinking what's in the picture, I did feel a little shaky. The combination of hot chocolate+chocolate cake might be a little bit too much ... Next time, I'll combine the cake with tea instead :-)

Here's the recipe (I combined several, this was what seemed to work for my oven).

200g sugar

200g butter
200g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
3 sachets of vanilla sugar

for the chocolate dough: mix 4 tablespoons cacao powder and 4 tablespoons sugar with a little boiling water

Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Then add the milk, the baking powder, the vanilla sugar and the flour. Pour half of the dough in a buttered cake tin. Mix the cacao/sugar mixture with th rest of the dough and pour this in the cake tin.

Put in the oven for about 60 minutes at 175o C.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Werner's "Nomenclature of Colours", 1814

Image from Werner's Nomenclature of Colours (1814), via Saatchi Gallery

It's the darkest time of the year, but in a few days, the light will slowly come back, the days will be a little longer, and at the end of January, we will have one more hour of daylight :-) Even though the snow was beautiful today, I'm really much more of a spring/summer person. To celebrate the "return of the light", I'm posting a beautiful color chart from Werner's Nomenclature of Colours . He made up beautiful, poetic names for each color, such as "yellow parts of a large dragonfly", or "wild primrose". (Click on the image to enlarge and read). I really love these shades, and the way they're combined in the chart.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Work in progress

Taking pictures of my crocheted throw is becoming a bit of a creative challenge: How many different pictures of a blanket can I possibly take? Enter my "new" vintage enamelware bread bin :-) I've also discovered another setting on my camera, that's why the color tones in this picture are slightly different, again.

By the way, this will be my motto during the Christmas Holidays: "Keep calm and carry yarn".
And if you'd like to give granny squares a try, do take a look at the Purl Bee basic tutorial here.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A midwinter color palette

For me, these are midwinter colors: light blue, soft gray and the shades of brown paper and whithered leafs and flowers. I experimented with my camera's color tone settings, so that's why the blue in the images is a little crisper than the blue in real life.

Th painting of the woman taking a bath is by Alfred Stevens, and the image of the table with the glass of water is from ATLITW studio, published in Ariadne at Home magazine.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A paper hearts garland

This morning, we unwrapped our Sinterklaas presents. I really liked some of the wrapping paper: a classic brown envelop and gold paper used to wrap up rose scented bath oil (one of the gifts I received :-). That's why I decided to use it to make this paper hearts garland.

Ps: one of my New Year's resolutions will be to re-use pretty wrapping paper :-)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Aran sweater finished

In September, I started with an aran sweater for my daughter, and I finished it just in time! It's cold here now, with a lot of snow :-) I took the pattern from Ariadne Baby & Peuter, issue 1, 1991, and changed the cables a little. It's a Dutch size 86 (i.e. for a child of about 86 cm tall). The yarn is Botter IJsselmuiden/Oslo.

Monday, November 29, 2010

November colors

Shades of frosted light blue and light green, shades of brown verging on purple. And, of course, a little splash of fuchsia/red!! My husband and my daughther on a frosty morning, taking a walk in a parc in Brussels.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pinterest board: Craft inspiration November

This is a sneek peek of the craft inspiration I collected in November. You can find my Pinterest board here. Click on the image to go to the original source of each image. Most images link back to tutorials :-)

Friday, November 26, 2010

A snowflake garland

There are lots of examples of crocheted garlands in the blogosphere, and I wanted to make one for my own home too :-) This garland is for my Christmas tree, but as a Dutch girl, I will wait till after Sinterklaas to buy one .

I was inspired by Emma Lamb's beautiful garlands, such as this one. I also liked the examples of paper snowflakes in Gifted Magazine, an e-craftmagazine which you will really enjoy! (I would love to contribute to such a magazine, or write one myself :-)

I took the patterns from my collection of seventies craftbooks. You can find similar patterns here. This book is in Japanese (?), but the crochet templates are universal. And, each pattern is crocheted in beautiful winter white yarn!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Felt hearts, part 2

Here are some more felt hearts I made as Christmas decorations. I decided not to buy new supplies, but to use materials from my (ever growing) stash instead. As a result, I'm out of mother-of-pearl buttons now... Luckily, I found an old blouse with cute white buttons in the back of my wardrobe :-)

ps: I'm playing around with the color tone settings on my camera. In real life, these hearts are bright red, but somehow I like the fuchsia tones in this image too :-)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

An on-line needlework book from 1899

For obvious reasons (perfect shade of blue, flowing art nouveau lines!), I love this cover. It belongs to a book by a silk manufacturer and it offers embroidery, knitting and crochet projects:

Ford, Anna Grayson, ed., et al., Treatise on Embroidery, Crochet and Knitting with Illustrations, adapted to the use of M. Heminway & Sons’ Wash Silks (Oriental Dyes). New York, M. Heminway & Sons Silk Co., 1899.

You can browse and/or download it for free here. Here are some of my personal favorites:

Embroidered strawberries

Crochet designs for trims and edgings (yes, I'm still into crochet trims!)

Crocheted wristlets.

I'm seeing a lot of wristlets in the blogosphere these days, such as these. (or try searching for wrist warmers on Etsy). Yesterday I even tried some on in Accesorize. I think I definitely want to make some... (and it's a great reason to try a new lace knitting pattern!)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Crocheted throw, work in progress

This is my granny square throw so far. It may look like it's finished, but it's not:-) I made two rows of three “giant” blocks each, and I think I need four or five rows to cover the whole bed... This is the result of half a year of crocheting, so, maybe, Christmas 2011...

If I ever make another throw, I'll probably use a different hook size. This one is made with a 2,5 mm crochet hook. And I know now that it takes ages with such a small hook :-) I really love this example of giant granny squares in really thick yarn, it looks so cozy! (scroll down for a better image).

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Felt hearts

I'm making "toddler friendly" Christmas decorations this year. My 1,5 year old daughter is very curious and playful, so glass bulbs are not a good choice right now... :-) I'm having a lot of fun making these. Usually, when I start a new craft project, I want to learn something new/complicated or make something "big". I forgot how much fun it is to make something that is ready in one hour!

ps: If you want more inspiration for homemade "toddler friendly" Christmas decorations, take a look at my pinterest board here.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Crochet trims on pillowcases, 1915 and now

Sometimes, something grabs my attention, and then I can't help seeing it everywhere. These past few weeks, I couldn't stop noticing crochet trims on pillowcases :-) (yes, I'd really like to make a set of this type of pillowcases, and no, I really don't have the time for it..)

Here are some cute examples from 1915. The one with the little violets is probably my favorite. They're taken from the book "Valeire, Anna. Crochet & Tatting Craft Book No. 1, Edgings Medallions & Insertions, with full instructions on over sixty pieces for use in lingerie & the home. St. Louis, Missouri, E.C.Spueler, c. 1915" , which you can download and/or browse for free here.

Here are some modern examples (warning: they will make you want to start crocheting right away :-):
Rose hip's flickr folder

Sunday, October 24, 2010

October colors II

I like the way flowers mark the change of the seasons. That's why, for me, one of the fun things of autumn/winter is growing flower bulbs indoors. This is my first amaryllis of the season (I haven't seen hyacinths or narcissus yet). The stem couldn't support the flowers anymore, so I had to cut it and put in in a vase.

Friday, October 22, 2010

ca 1900 embroidered dresses at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

I love browsing on line museum collections, and that's how I found these gorgeous dresses. I can totally picture myself wearing each one of them :-) Click on the link below each dress to read more about it in the Met database.

ps: I'm typing away a lot of deadlines these days. I've decided to spare my arms by taking a little crochet and knitting break.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Columbia Book of Yarns, 1915

The Columbia Book of Yarns (1915) is a charming collection of knitted and crocheted clothes for men, women and children. The cover really speaks to me, which must be because this is one of my favorite shades of red:

I would really like to try some of the crochet patterns (my list of things I'd love to make one day is growing longer and longer...), such as this scalloped, shell- like border:

I also love this jacket. The book doesn't give directions for sizes, which makes me wonder what size this might be. I'm quite tall, so it may not fit me..

All images are taken from The Columbia Book of Yarns. You can browse and/or download this book for free here.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Floral prints and Pinterest

Last week, I found this vintage tin in my local thrift store. A friend told me she owns the exact same one, which once belonged to her boyfriend's grandmother. So, it's probably from ca 1930, and not very rare. I just love its flower print: it was a great excuse to play around with some floral fabrics from my stash :-)

And something completely different: Finally, I have a Pinterest account! I'm addicted to sites where you can collect and store images, and I'm really happy with Pinterest (so many beautiful moodboards!) . You can find me here, and if you happen to be on Pinterest too, I'd love to hear from you.

Friday, October 1, 2010

New type of granny squares

Last week, I decided to change my crocheted throw a little, because I thought it was way too much for a quiet bedroom. This is my new type of granny square, and I think they will make a much nicer throw :-)

ps: this image was featured on Emma Lamb's blog here :-)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

September colors III

The last hollyhocks of this season, in shades of pale pink and green. I also love the little touches of yellow in the back ...

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Darks brown is one of my favorite colors, and of course, chocolate is always a good idea! Each week, when he comes back home from Brussels, my husband brings a different bar of Galler chocolate :-) Great with a cup of very strong Earl Grey tea!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Crocheted throw, work in progress

Now that I'm seeing my crocheted throw from a distance, I decided to change it a little: bright & colorful is good, but this is a bit too much for my daughter's room... I'm going to take some of the grannies apart, reshuffle them and make blocks of 4 by 4 grannies each. Then, I'll crochet these toghether with a band of soft pink yarn... That will probably tone it down a bit … :-)

I took these images at Herma's Garden and Nijendal Nature Reserve. I go there often with my husband and my daughter, both places are small, quiet and wonderful. If you happen to be in the neighborhood of Deventer and you're looking for some peace, go there, and afterwards, have a drink at Havezathe De Haere (that's what I did today :-).

Btw: I was inspired to try photocollages after seeing the collages by the lovely ladies of Thé Dansant. The collages are made with Big Huge Labs.

Monday, September 20, 2010

September colors II

These hydrangea flowers used to be white, but now they turn to a pinkish red. I love this color in combination with the pale green.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Early autumn comfy knitting

Craft-wise, I'm a bit of a multi-tasker, working on various projects at the same time... But this is my “priority project” for now: a woolen cable knit sweater for my daughter. I love cable knitting, and when I found a vintage Ariadne with a beautiful sweater, I knew I just had to make it! (I can't find it right now, I will give the reference later). I can really picture her wearing this when it's cold outside :-)

I also discovered that there are a lot of cable knitting video tutorials on youtube, for example this one. If you want to give it a try, just take a look!

Friday, September 10, 2010

September colors

I picked this rose from my garden this morning, and I just love the pinkish red spots :-)

Sunday, September 5, 2010


One of the things that really make me happy is working with sumptuous yarns in gorgeous colors: pink silk yarn and fabric, gold thread, a little white linen... These are the ingredients of my “girly” 14th century pouch. I've been working on it for quite some time now, and it's still not finished, but I'm enjoying every step on the way :-)

The embroidery pattern can be downloaded from Wymarc. If you like this type of embroidery, take a look at his site for more!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Handmade comfort

Now that the cold season is coming back, it's time to fluff up throws and pillows! These are some of the things my mother and I made over the years. From top to bottom:

- a wool knitted pillow I made last winter
- a quilt made of my parents' and my brother's faded jeans. I made this when I was 15 :-)
- a crocheted throw made by my mother

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

August colors (3)

Just when I thought autumn was coming, I found myself picking these roses and hibiscus from my garden. August is both summer and autumn, and today, it's definitely summer :-) The background is a panel of 1950's wallpaper I kept when we were renovating our house.

ps: this image is also part of a beautiful collage by The Dansant

Monday, August 23, 2010

Designs for needlework, ca 1900

This designs are from a ca 1900 needlework book, that can be downloaded for free here. I would love to make cushion with one of these square flower designs :-). The image of the lady with the lion is a real fairytale too!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Crocheted throw, work in progress

The crocheted throw for my daughter is getting bigger and bigger :-) I also discovered that crocheting squares is something that I can easily do on the train. So, instead of reading magazines, I'll be doing some crochet now.

I also found the wonderful crocheting blog by Sarah London. If you like colorful, funky crochet, you should definitely take a look!

ps: this image was featured on Sarah London's blog here :-)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Swedish summer colors

Last week I was on a holiday in Gotland, Sweden. I brought back some souvenirs: replica's of 14th century glassware, a wooden heart, a book about summer houses on Gotland (I'd love to own one!). For me, they reflect the colors of a summer on a Swedish island: light green, light blue, light wood.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

August colors II

And today we picked the first brambles from our garden :-)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

August colors

With a new season approaching, I find myself drawn to different colors, such as this shade of dark cherry red. This is one of the first dahlia's from my garden :-)

Monday, August 2, 2010

French metal embroidery thread

Last week, I bought this French metal embroidery thread at the Apeldoorn Antiques Fair for only 8 euro :-) I'll probably use it to finish the seams of a medieval purse, like this.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hydrangea season

"It is strange how deeply colours seem to penetrate one, like scent"
George Elliot, Middlemarch

I still can't do anything craft-related, so I started reading Middlemarch: 900 pages of romance and intrigue in the Victorian Age. I'm giving my arms some more rest, so it will be a while before I can show progress of my crocheted throw :-)

It's hydrangea season in my garden now, a great reason to combine lilac, green and blue!