31 Dec 2016

2016 in review

2016 is definitely approaching its end - and what a year it's been.

We started the year moving into our new home - I will never forget the feeling when we opened the front door the first time, and entered our first own Australian home.
How lucky we are to wake up to this amazing view every single morning. I still pinch myself of gratitude for our luck.

With the  boxes emptied and the family settled into our new area, I could reconnect with my knitting needles again. When looking through the pictures I realise how slack I've been over the year. Several projects haven't yet been mentioned here on the blog. They will of course be included in the 2016 year review, and maybe even be featured in special post early in the new year.

Thomas had long hassled me for a cardigan to substitute the previous brown one. Same style, slightly slimmer and in a beautiful charcoal grey wool. Simple zipped raglan, but with added details at the shoulder seems and down the sides. I thought this would become my first ever pattern, but I forgot to take proper notes during the process, so a knitting designer debut will have to wait until next time.

It is always exciting to cut open the front to insert the zip, but knitting round and cut open is so much more preferable than endless purl rows.

To knit for babies is always such a delight. Small projects and the pure joy of imagining the cute little fellars wearing the knitting is half the pleasure of knitting.
I made a 'grandpa jacket and trousers' for my niece's little Magnus and a 'Rilletroeje' and a 'djaevlehue' for Lachlan, the son of a dear colleague.
Further I knitted the babyvests for sale and sold a number of vests this year. The most popular colour combination was yellow/green.

One of my favourites this year was 'Navy Blue' from the book 'Blue Notes' by Susie Haumann. I love the beautiful lines and the simple structure yet very elegant and effective. The pattern suggest a shorter back and longer fronts, but I wanted a long cardigan so I extended the back to full length. It turned out absolutely stunning - and is of course in my favourite grey coloured light weight wool.
The cardigan is knitted back and forth and not in the round as I normally prefer. It took a while to finish, but on the other hand, this was the project teaching me to like purl knitting.
I did get the front edge sorted with blocking and ironing, although it still has a tendency to curl up.
Sky Blue by Susie Haumann. Staying in the greys and in the 'Blue Notes' universe I moved on to 'Sky Blue', a beautiful, simple raglan sweater with the two yarns defining the character. The sleeves are made with one thread silk mohair (lace weight) and are knitted on very thin needles. They took forever to finish, but I was very pleased with the result.
Much to my dismay, however I have to admit it is still stuck in the UFO basket with only one sleeve attached. This review post is a good reminder to get it finished.
Line Break by Veera Välimäki This year also brought the pleasure of knitting the Line Break shawl twice. I had this beautiful green cottonwool sitting in the stash, and I thought it would be perfect for a shawl for my Mother InLaw. There was'nt enough yarn though and the shawl became too small.
The second version is made out of a beautiful purple/grey wool - also from the stash. This time the shawl was the right size, but again the yarn didn't last, so I chose to add a different colour to the lace edge. It turned out very well, and I am very happy with the result.
The green Line Break wasn't knitted in vain though. I through it in the washing machine for a bit of felting and cut it into small triangles, added a crocheted stem, put four trees on a string and added them to my stall at the Christmas Market - and wupti a disaster turned into a huge success. 
RUBY by Lene Holme Samsoe. Another of the knitted favourites is this pink, soft and mooshie oversize raglan jumper.  It is knitted with on thread of cashmere wool and one thread silk mohair. It cannot be any softer.
I love this simple oversize jumper - so easy to take on and off as the weather changes. It is way to warm now in the middle of summer, but during winter and early spring it was perfect.
Matthews Vest by Joanna Johnson. Another gift - this time for my Father In Law - and I had decided to make him a vest. Of course I was way too late, and had to present a gift card for a hand knitted vest as make it during the three weeks they were here visiting.
Couldn't have found a better project to bring on to the roadtrip Sydney-Melbourne-Great Ocean Road-Bendigo and back to Sydney and the vest was done the day before we rolled back into our driveway.
For a long time I had wanted to gather other crafters to share the passion for knitting with. 2016 was the year the dream came into reality, and I hosted the first Craft n'Coffee during the early Aussie winter. Such a delight to meet new people and see good old friends and colleagues joined for a couple of hours chatting, sipping and knitting along. Definitely a success to be repeated in 2017.
Oven Mitts by Lutter Idyl (Danish). I love the simplicity and graphic structures of everything Lutter Idyl crochets, and I have long wanted to try to crochet the bubbles structure. These oven mitts were so fun to crochet and so rewarding to see the pattern unfold for every row. It is definitely not the last time I will be hooked :-)
Kitchen Cloths - pure carter stitch. Simple, beautiful and most importantly very practical. 100% cotton yarn and pure carter stitches. I think I've made at least 30 Kitchen cloths this year. Many of them were sold at the Balle's Bazaar stall at the Danish Christmas market and some has been presented as gifts - always with great appreciation. 

To continue the kitchen theme I made aprons and matching oven mitts. There are still a grey set and two white sets available for sale. If you are interested head over to the Balle's Bazaar Boutique page for more details.
Again this year the pouches were a big success. I have decorated them with prints made by the stamps cut out by my Grand Farther, needless to say hoe much I love to work with these treasures.
Finally I have knitted countless woollen hearts. They (and the kitchen cloths) have accompanied me on the train to and from work. I could knit two hearts on a single train ride and I've enjoyed them all. You can find the pattern at Ulla Bella (a Norwegian blog).
At the un-felted stage
The hearts look absolutely awesome on a naked branch
One of the goals for 2016 was to have my own Balle's Bazaar stall at the Danish Christmas Market in Sydney. It happened. I'm pleased, slightly impressed and very proud of how the stall turned out. Thank you to all the beautiful people stopping by for visit and chat. So happy to serve my customers hand made gifts and Christmas goodies. I'll be back next year.

2016 was a good year for me, my family and my craft. Thank you to all of you who has followed me through this and previous years. The blog has not been as active as I would have liked, but if you enter 'ballesbazaar' in the search field of Instragram you will find more frequent updates.

To all of you, my friends out there I wish 2017 will be a great year, filled with love, laughter and happiness.

All the best.

27 Nov 2016

Danish Christmas Fete 2016

Finally, after several months of preparations for the Balle's Bazaar stall at the Danish Christmas Fete the gate opened and we could say hello and welcome to the guests lined up early.
Thanks to everyone of you who came for a sneak peak, for a chat, for a feel the woolen felted hearts cozy softness, and for stocking up on Christmas decorations and early Christmas presents. It was so lovely to see you all, and I am blown away by all the positive comments, the love and support you all showed me yesterday. It warms my heart.
This year I had a bit of a kitchen theme going on. Aprons, oven mitts and kitchen cloths all held in grey, white and black - with a lime green splash of colour, and as previous years there were stamp printed purses and the very popular knitted and felted woolen hearts.
Again this year the bestsellers were the red felted hearts, closely followed by the knitted kitchen cloths in 100% cotton.

Did you miss out yesterday? No worries, I have been busy photographing and updating 'Balle's Bazaar Boutique' so you don't miss out on the goodies

Please check out the Boutique for options for a unique and handmade gift for the all the holiday celebrations which are just around the corner. Should you not find the colour you are looking for, send me an email and we'll sort something out.

Thank you for your amazing response here and on instagram (@ballesbazaar). I'm so grateful for being part of this craft loving community.

9 Oct 2016

GrandPa's Vest

I guess we all know the feeling - discovering too late we haven't sorted out the birthday present in time. With the family living overseas we always have to include delivery time or arrange for the presents to be ready for to whenever there are visitors coming here or we are going there.

We've had the pleasure of my parents in-Law visiting us over the last weeks, but the night before their arrival it suddenly dawned on me, that we were a birthday present behind. What to do? they were arriving the next morning?

Well - I can knit my Father In-Law a nice woolen vest, I said.

- and so I did.
We gave him a gift card, he chose the pattern and the yarn and I started knitting.
Luckily we had a road-trip planned and I got plenty of hours to knit while on the road (in the passenger seat of course).

So after a week it was finished.

It is a modified Matthew's Vest by Joanna Johnson.
I have chosen to knit the vest in a thinner yarn, so with the different gauge the pattern and number of stiches were recalculated. Also when starting on the cables, I didn't have the pattern at hand. Thinking I could remember the cable design I continued on. My cables are therefore slightly different to the original, but my Father (and Mother In-Law) assured me they didn't mind the alteration.

Great knit and a beautiful result.

A modification of Matthew's Vest by Joanna Johnson - from Green Gables Knits, available for purchase on Ravelry.
Yarn:  170 gram Blackhill Wool, colour 'mørk rullesten' from www.garnudsalg.dk
Needles: 2,5 and 3,25 circular needles.

As always the Blackhill Wool is a pleasure to knit with. The weight is perfect for a warm but not too bulky garment. After the first wash it is so soft and smooth. The fit and the colour is perfect for GrandPa, and a vest has the extreme advantage of NO SLEEVES!!!

Happy crafting. Jane

21 Aug 2016

Olympic knitting

The Rio Olympic games have had us captured in front of the TV for the last two weeks. We have spent many hours watching sports we've never knew existed and we have cheered on all the athletes in their attempts to achieve their goals. So inspiring to watch their dedication to their sport.

Currently my sport is knitting, and I am dedicated too.
A Danish instagrammer (and blogger) arranged a creative Olympics. You could participate in any creative discipline: sewing, crocheting, knitting, finish UFOs or whatever your heart or crafty hands desired. During the games we can follow each others' progress and achievements via #krealegene. So much fun to see what people have accomplished while enduring hours of couch sitting watching the 'real' athletes fighting it out in Rio.

I competed (and is still competing) in the discipline #shawlknitting and #blanketcrochet. My goal is to finish the shawl, and it is approaching the finish line, but with only a couple of days left there is a risk I will be disqualified for not meeting the minimum time line.

I knit the beautiful shawl Line break designed by  Veera Välmäki (link to ravelry). It is so simple and yet so beautiful with its asymmetrical shape. For this project I use Geilsk 100% pure wool in a lovely purple colour. Three balls of yarn left over from the Lady Marple cardigan I knitted a few years back, and I thought they would work perfectly with this pattern  - and they do. Love this shawl and love the knitting so much that the knitting needles have poked a small hole in the tip of my right index finger. Even though I carefully try to avoid the wound the needle unavoidably finds the little hole in the skin - and it hurts.

That's when the second discipline #blanketcrochet comes in handy, but more on that later.

What have you been doing while spending all your evenings and spare time on the couch watching athletes around the World achieving amazing victories?

13 Jul 2016

Balle's Bazaar Boutique - now open

We probably all daydream once in while. I have a confession to make - I daydream a lot. In those dreams I am full-time creative. I run workshops, create and publish online knitting courses, design a jumper or two and sell my creations in a tiny little boutique.

Daydreams have the tendency to remain a fantasy and mine (mines, as I have several) is likely to have the same destiny. One actual achievement though is Balle's Bazaar Boutique, and you can find it right here on the blog by choosing the second tab.

The first products available in the boutique are a series of colorful baby vests sizes 3, 6, 12-18 and 24 months. They are all hand knitted (by me) in a lovely 100% super wash merino wool - machine washable at 40C. Have a look. I ship worldwide and if you want different color combinations or sizes, let me know, and I can make one for you.

If (when) I manage to turn my daydreams into reality there will more products available in the boutique. I fantasize of kitchen accessories like dish cloths, oven mittens, tea towels, aprons etc. or something completely different.  Let's see how it all turns out.

What would spark your interest? I would love to hear.

All the best. Jane

19 Jun 2016

Sky Blue turning grey

Sometimes you just cant wait to finish a project - either because you are so excited with the delightful anticipation of wearing it - or because you simply can't get the project done fast enough so you can get on to something else.

I can't wait to finish this jumper - for both reasons.

 I love that different light weight yarns are used for body and sleeves, and I love the lightness of the jumper. The yarns are beautiful and so light and soft that it feels like wearing nothing at all.

The sleeves are knitted in a thin one threaded alpaca, which proved to be tricky almost impossible to knit evenly and I must admit that fiddling with the thin smooth yarn on double pointed needles have made me silently swear. Nothing wrong with the yarn though. It's my own decision to use this delicate yarn on its own even though it's meant to be the extra thread to spice up your knitting.  

This is also the jumper with three sleeves. Almost done with the first sleeve I tried it on, and it fitted perfectly, actually it was too perfect - it was too tight. Such a thin and delicate fabric looks better if there is bit more fluffiness and room for the elbow to bend.

Happy World Wide Knit in Public Day everyone. I hope you had a fabulous day bringing your passion out in the open. I stayed at home yesterday - not feeling at my best, but I enjoyed the couch, a couple of films on the iPad and hours of delicate sleeve knitting.

How did you celebrate WWKP day? I would love to hear.

Sleeves: Blackhill Alpaca (lace) colour: 'lys rullesten' -
Body: Wool and cashmere (2 ply) coulour: 'antracit' - both from www.garnudsalg.dk

Pattern: (in Danish)
Sky Blue from the book 'Blue notes' by Susie Haumann.
The original is knitted in beautiful baby blue grey tones. My version is made up of two shades of grey.

23 May 2016

Thoughts after the first Craft n' Coffee

So the first Craft n' Coffee event was a success.

In the days leading up to the event I suddenly felt nervous of whether anybody would come, whether this was a good idea after all, and why I had been so stupid to publically announce 'my certain route to failure'.

Of course I had no reason to worry. 3 lovely ladies, a collegue, a fellow Dane and a local Mum, joined me in the crafty spirit. A first time knitter, who had taught herself the art of knitting by watching YouTube videos, and a couple of experienced knitters who could help her with advice, tips and tricks.

We had such a great evening with lots of chatter and laughs - buckets of tea - and no coffee - despite the evening title. All appreciated the initiative and definitely wanted to meet again. For sure I said.

So the next Craft n’ Coffee will be Thursday 9 June 7:30pm AEST.

This is one of my (many) ideas and dreams: to promote hand crafting, gather beautiful crafters to share inspiration and passion. Maybe the Craft n' Coffee events could be the pre-cursor for 'learn to knit' workshops. That would be a dream comes true!!!

My obstacle though is to learn all the knitting specific vocabulary in English.
Do you have any good recommendations for the best way to acquire that expertise?

I wish you a lovely night - or day - wherever you are. Cheers, Jane