30 March 2013

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week is almost upon us!

It is! It's almost upon us! Well, we still have until the 22nd of April, but still. That's barely 3 weeks! Are you excited yet?!

For those wondering what the hell I'm on about: click on the image for all the information you could possibly want. The wonderful Eskimimi is hosting the Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week for the fourth time already and it's such a wonderful international blogging event, I have loved it immensely so far! Every year, the posts get bigger and better and the pictures get more stunning, it's so great to read up on everyone's experiences with yarn and yarn crafting. It has certainly given me the opportunity to look at my own blog through a scrutinising lens and make improvements. Plus, if you follow either the tags on Twitter, the posts on Ravelry, or just do a google search on the tags for the posts, you're sure to find new blogs you'll love!

The topics have not been announced yet, but will be soon, so we can start preparing our posts! I'm going to have to do a lot of pre-work for this edition of the Blog Week because Tim and I are getting married on the 26th, so I'm going to make sure I finish my posts before that week so I don't have to worry about forgetting one. Look at me, talking about scheduling posts a whole week in a row, like a pro.

I can't wait! Are you joining up as well?

26 March 2013

5 random things

I got tagged by the lovely Ness of Bunnies and Bettas to tell you 5 random things about myself, and I love random things so this is right up my alley! (Does that count as 1? No? Booh!)

1) My name isn't actually Tecrin. I realised a while ago that people may think my name is Tecrin because of the blogname and because I sign most of my online stuff with that name, (trust me, I would love it to actually be Tecrin because I still lurve that name) but it's not! My real name is Stefanie. Boring, huh?
I think it's quite original, still. I haven't encountered that many other Tecrins on the internet that were not me. So if you come across a Tecrin anywhere, say hi! Good chance that it really is me!
The name Tecrin itself was something I came up with back in the day when I was still more into writing fantasy fiction. I used it for my main in World of Warcraft, Tecrin the Blood Elf Rogue, and it kind of stuck with me all these years! I don't think it actually means anything, but if it does, and you know, let me know!

2) Even though I can't stand clutter and get agitated when I'm in an obviously dusty and messy place, I am the world's messiest person. There's always piles of paperwork or books on my desk, or random stuff that really shouldn't be anywhere near my desk. And don't even get me started on the amount of crochet and knitting paraphernalia that are strewn across its surface. I want to clean the whole mess up all the time, but then never get around to actually do it. Don't get me wrong, it's not dirty, there's no empty bowls of food or leftovers or nastiness on my desk, barring the occasional empty coffee cup, and it may be slightly dusty but that's mostly because I can't reach the dust without dismantling the entire set-up. I'm just a clutter-bug.

3) My morning coffee? A white coffee, otherwise known as a normally brewed coffee with a healthy dose of 2% milk. I'd prefer a latte, but I don't have a milk steamer. I do have an electric whisk that's designed to make milk foam (you heat up milk, stick that thing in, whirr it around and voilá: milk foam! And if you're anything like me, you'll also have a kitchen covered in warm milk.). During my last two months at the bookshop, we had moved to a new place with an in-house coffee corner and my boss made a deal with the proprietors about the rent that included free coffees for the employees on the clock. My work days were often spent daydreaming about their silky-smooth, creamy lattes with the fresh-baked cinnamon biscuits, and since they were free, we often got two coffees when we were having a slow day. When I left, I got the whisk as a gift from my co-workers because now I had to make my own fancy coffee. I think I've used it twice, so far.

4) I love polka-dots. You wouldn't be able to tell now, because my wardrobe has toned down, but I have had years in my life where I would wear polka-dotted EVERYTHING. From shoes and socks to trousers and tops, to the barrettes in my hair. It turned to stripes later, and the polkadots sort of dwindled away from my day-to-day wear, but I still have several spotted items in my wardrobe that get a regular outing. In fact, I just bought a fabulous black and white spotted bra the other day, and I was looking into a tutorial earlier on how to turn normal jeans into polka-dotted jeans with fabric paint. It may be on its return... DundunDUUUUN!

5) I speak 2 languages fluently (Dutch and English), have been taught 2 more in secondary school but my knowledge of them dwindled because I went to Uni to study English, (German and French), have studied 1 more for about 10 weeks, then our study group fell apart because our teacher suddenly stopped showing up (Spanish), once thought I could really do with learning a horrendously difficult language but never actually started (Japanese), and halfway through my Master's I decided that I should invest in learning a this language to give me a better job perspective but I never got round to it (Swedish). If I were ever to make a bucket list, learning these languages to a certain level of proficiency would definitely be on it. I grew up knowing I had a knack for languages and I can intuitively get most of the grammar right, but don't ask me about the differences between all the grammatical cases in German, or to cite all parses of a verb in French, because I wouldn't know what to tell you. I have on many occasions left teachers baffled by getting perfect scores on a written exam but as soon as they tested my theoretical, grammatical knowledge of the language, I'd score the lowest of my entire class. One of the many reasons that I could never be a teacher!

Oooh, now to pass on the torch! Let's see... Which bloggers do I wish to know more about?

1) Tanya from Tanya Today!
2) Nikki from Theonlynikki, because she loves lists!
3) Leah from Good Enough!
4) Nicole from Nicole and the Bee!
5) Chrissie from Stitched Together!

(Please remember, if you are in my list but don't like lists, don't feel pressured to post, and if you aren't in my little list but do feel like you could do with some randomness, post away! Then tell me about it. I love randomness!)

22 March 2013

Spring, please? Now?

I AM SO SICK AND TIRED OF WINTER! GAH! And I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one. In fact, the fact that I am saying it now should be something of note since I love winter. And snow. And cold, cold days. Love them. Or I should say 'loved', because frankly, they've really overstayed their welcome this year and should kindly bugger off now thank you very much.

Thanks to my health being stupid and childishly stubborn, I haven't been to the gym in weeks and have to be in the hospital for treatment twice a week. (Don't worry, nothing too serious, just light therapy, which basically means I have to go to the hospital twice a week to get naked and stand in a giant microwave for a minute or two.) I really miss going to the gym, so to still get some sort of exercise, I've been taking the long way home, cycling around town and taking detours. Today, it was sunny out all morning so I had hoped it would be nicer out than it had been all week.

Nope. It was freeeeezing outside, and windy! Despite the wind in my face and the sun hiding behind a dark cloud for most of my way back home, I still took the route I had in mind. I had hoped to take a picture or two here and there of little signs of Spring peaking through the dead bushes, little flower buds peaking through the dirt, defiant of the frosty conditions, like a herald of warmer times to come. But nope. All I found, was dead, or dying, foliage. Sigh.

Still pretty, though.

19 March 2013

Pattern: Easter Egg Bunnies

A friend of mine was in need of a bit of cheering up. Last week, I sent her a care package with some tasty goodies, and, seeing as we know each other through Ravelry where we moderate the We Love Lucy group and swaps, some yarn and yarnie gifts in the form of an adorable little family of Easter egg bunnies! They're really easy to make, and surprisingly addictive because once you start you can't make just one. And seeing as we've still got little less than 2 weeks to go until Easter, you can still whip up a bunch of these cuties as random decorations!

All you need for these wobbly, egg-shaped decorations is a small amount of scrap yarn in the colour of your choice, some black yarn or other colour of choice for the eyes (or, if you want fancy, you can use plastic eyes), some peach/pink yarn for the nose, some white yarn for the fluffy tail, and some polyfill or scrap yarn to fill your bunnies with.

The size, and what size hook you need, of course depends on the yarn used. For instance, the bright green bunny was made with a 4.0 mm hook, but the yellow bunny was made with a 2.5 mm hook. I also increased once more on the brown one to really make that one tubbier than the others. Experiment with this: do you want cute, chubby little bunnies? Or tall, big bunnies?

So go ahead! Whip up some adorable bunnies for your Easter brunch table! Have fun!

Easter Egg Bunnies

- scrap yarn of your choice
- black/blue yarn for the eyes
- white yarn for the tail
- pink/peach yarn for the nose
- hook (size matching your yarn)
- polyfill or scrap yarn
- yarn needle
- a stitch marker (optional), if you think you need one.

All stitches are single crochet (sc) or a variation thereof (SCx2 means do two SC in the same stitch, SC2TOG means crochet the next two stitches together). The bunnies are worked in continuous rounds so don't join the rounds at the end. The numbers in parentheses at the end of the row are the total number of stitches that make up the row.

1: Make a magic circle and make 6 SC in the magic circle. (6)
2: (SCx2) in all 6 stitches. (12)
3: (SC, SCx2) 6 times. (18)
4, 5: SC around. (18)
6: (SC, SC, SCx2) 6 times. (24)
7, 8: SC around. (24)
9: (SC, SC, SC, SC, SC, SC, SC (that's 7 SC), SCx2) 3 times. (27) (this slight increase is to ensure your egg-shape is actually egg-shaped. If it doesn't look much like an egg yet, don't worry! It will!)
10, 11, 12: SC around (27)
13: (SC, SC, SC2TOG) 6 times, SC, SC2TOG. (20)
14: SC around. (20)
15: (SC, SC2TOG) 6 times. (14)
16: SC around. (14)
At this point, you want to fill your egg up. Grab your polyfill or your scrap yarn and stuff your egg. Not too tightly, you don't want it to spill out through the stitches, but not too light either, otherwise your egg-shape won't hold up.
17: (SC2TOG)  7 times. (7)
18: SC2TOG until closed.

Weave in your ends.

Ears (make 2):
1. Make a magic circle and make 6 SC in the magic circle. (6)
2. (SC, SCx2) 3 times. (9)
3, 4, 5, 6, 7: SC around. (9)
8: (SC, SC2TOG) 3 times (6)
9: SC around (6)
Finish off, leave a long tail. With the tail from the magic circle (the top of your bunny ear), weave through the ear from one side to the other a few times to ensure it stays flat, though don't pull too tightly or your ear will be bumpy.

Using the tails from your ears, sew the ears to the top of your egg shape (the top is your magic circle). I found it easiest to take the first round of 6 stitches as a guide and sew the ear to stitches opposite of one another on that circle .I thought it looked slightly better if the ears were at a slight angle, but do whatever floats your boat!

Once your ears have been sewn on, take some pink or peach yarn and pick a stitch that's roughly in the centre between the two ears, at about 1/3 from the top of the ear. Push your needle through the egg from the back to the selected stitch at the front and make a few stitches over the top of the selected stitch. To finish off, simply stick your needle through the egg again to  the other side and cut off the yarn as close to the egg as you can (you can pull on it or push the egg down, it'll bounce back).
Now take your black yarn and pick two stitches next to the nose, only one row above it. These two stitches will become your eyes! Follow the same method we used for the eyes: feed your needle through the back to one of the two stitches and embroider around it a few times, then feed it (through the inside of the egg) to the other stitch and repeat. To finish off, simply push your needle through the egg again after your last stitch and snip off the yarn as close to the edge as you can.

Make a pompom out of the white yarn and fluff it up nicely. Make a straight line from between the ears down the back of the bunny and attach it close to the bottom of your bunny egg.

Voilá! Little Easter Egg Bunnies!

10 March 2013

FO: quick little purse

Instant gratification. That's what I missed when I was knitting. Instant gratification. To be able to start and finish a project in less than 2 hours, not having to worry about cast-on methods too much, or if your stitches will slip off the needles, or whether you're even doing it right... Just sit down, stick your hook in a loop, and start crocheting. Ah....

I made this little purse out of necessity: I needed something to keep my heart rate monitor stuff in, because it was constantly floating around in my backpack and I kept losing the little monitor and my watch in the abyssal depth that is my backpack. So I grabbed some green and grey cotton yarn I had lying around, chained 20 stitches, following this pattern very loosely, and switched up single and half-double crochet to keep things interesting.

I added a small flap and a button I found lying around my desk (I'm guessing it came off my old winter coat, but I'm not even sure! And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a glimpse into the black hole that is my desk.) to ensure that it wouldn't be too bulky but would still close.

And that's it! Took me 2 hours, tops, spread out over 2 lunch breaks. Now I can carry my heart rate monitor and all its accessories and my little lock for the lockers in one handy little bag! (all I need to remember now is to take it all out of the bag and put the empty bag in my backpack before I stick that in my locker. I always end up with all my kit on and my gear all set to go and then have to go back into my locker to put this bag away...)