Saturday, 22 February 2014

Making scratchy yarn soft

Last year I crocheted the Japanese flower scarf inspired by Lucy's blogpost. I ordered my first ever Japanese crochet book from Japan in Japanese and surprised myself in being able to follow the stitch pattern. It was quick and easy going and such a joy. I used the beautiful yarn Lucy recommended: Debbie Bliss Andes, which consists of 65% baby Alpaca and 35% mulberry silk. Very soft and fluffy yarn. What I least expected of this yarn was that it was scratchy to my skin. What a disappointment! Still I loved the scarf very much and only used it when wearing a polo-neck jumper. Then I came across Kat's blogpost about how to make yarn less scratchy. It sounded quite simple and worth a try. You just need a teaspoon of lanolin, a teaspoon of dish detergent and some hot water. Stir lanolin with dish detergent in a container with hot water until lanolin has dissolved, let the soapy water cool down a bit and add your wooly item. Fill in some more water until wooly item is covered and let soak for a few hours. I let my scarf soak for six hours and rolled it into a big towl to drain. (No rinse with clear water) Then I let the scarf dry flatly on a towel.
And miraculously the scarf was less scratchy afterwards! In the tutorial it is recommended to repeat this treatment until the wooly item is soft enough. Well, for me it was already an improvement even though it is still a tiny bit scratchy.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Tiny indoor greenhouse - diy

As spring seems to be beginning soon I thought it would be a good time to plant herbs. I love fresh herbs in my cooking, it gives meals a special flavour, fresh and full of taste. So I usually have frozen herbs in the freezer and a pot of basil on our kitchen window sill. Most herb plants in a pot I bought in the supermarket though don't survive, so the idea of cultivating herbs myself came into my mind. There is also a plant which is used in Korean dishes, called perilla leafs (sesame leafs), that I really love but cannot buy freshly here. I would love to grow this plant myself and got some perilla seeds to try it out. As I have no experience as a gardener I was not sure which way would be best to start growing plants from seeds. So I surfed the net and found an easy and simple idea to build a tiny indoor greenhouse here.
All you need are eggshells, an egg container, some soil and a plastic bag. Well, why not trying it out?
Just fill the eggshells with a little soil and scatter the seeds on top, fill it up with a little more soil and pour some water. Additionally to the perilla seeds I did some eggshells with oregano and thyme seeds. Those herb seeds are sooooo tiny it was impossible to scatter them evenly. If they would all germinate it will get very crowded in the eggshell.
Then place the filled eggshell into the egg container and cover it with a plastic bag with some holes for air. I placed my mini greenhouse on the window sill and hope that I will see plants growing.
When they have developped leaves and roots they can be repotted into a bigger container, the eggshell can be broken softly without damaging the delicate roots. Well, this is theory right now.
I tried to grow perilla last year in a little glass jar with kitchen tissue as underground. They germinated and developped tiny leaves and roots but when repotting them into soil I damaged the roots that got stuck in the kitchen tissue. I planted them with kitchen tissue still on the roots into soil but the tissue would never dissolve and the roots did not grow further. So that was the first planting experience disaster. Hope this one will work out better!

Friday, 14 February 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

This our chocolaty chocolate cake with red sugar hearts we had for breakfast this morning. Well, not the whole cake but the slice that is missing in the picture. It's a very soft and moist chocolate cake that we love a lot. So today was the right occasion. I will share the recipe in a later post.
And a bunch of red tulips to make it a perfect Valentine's breakfast. Happy Valentine's Day for you too!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Two little owls and the beginning of a new blanket

The companion for the first owl is finished! I blogged about the first one here. Now there are two happy fellows who already found a new home. A friend of mine who came over to our place loved them so much I gave them to her.
So there is room for more amigurumi projects :-)
But first I am working on a new blanket project. It is a mixed pattern, stripy blanket. There are great tutorials out in the net and I am following the ones from the talented crocheters HannahJules and Carina and Jessica. And my first few rows are looking like this:
I am using my stash of Schachenmayr Original Bravo that I blogged about earlier. I love working with this acrylic yarn as it is easy to crochet with, stitches are clearly defined, it is soft and machine washable. I chained 241 stitches using a 4 mm hook and doing the rows back and forth. Having so many colours to choose from I hope they will go together nicely.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Winter moments

The last couple of weeks I took pictures for my blog posts. Having various topics to blog about in my mind I just find myself assembling pictures and typing text only now. So here are some winter moments:
This is what it looked like two weeks ago when looking out of my office window. Snow, snow, snow
Then a few day later: Even more snow!
While we in the North were under a heavy blanket of snow, the western part where my sister lives had no snow at all. At times the temperature gap was 16 degrees Celsius and we are only 330 km apart. Fortunately the snow melted away after a week. As I am dependent on using my car I was very happy about that.
Here are the colours of our winter walk in the forest: grey skies, green conifers and and brownish soil. I am actually more an indoor type of person, especially when it's cold and grey outside.

And so are the ragdoll cats of my sister, indoor cats! I helped her moving places. Her cats found it all very exciting and adventurous. They are so gorgeous, their fur is very fine and soft and winter coloured - and is sticking to all of your clothes too ;-)
To bring some bright colours in here is a curry dish I cooked together with dear friends of mine:
chicken curry with coconut milk and coriander, cucumber salad in a joghurt-ginger dressing and some chapati bread.
So this were my winter moments of the last weeks. As you can see, it all ends with something to eat :-)