4 Jan 2018

Welcome 2018 and good bye for now

2017 has ended and 2018 is a few days old.
We have had such a lovely Christmas break with family visiting from overseas. We have had days on the beach and days spent indoors reading books and playing board games. We have had huge quantities of coffee, red wine and delicious food, and there has been time to knit and time to reflect.

I do not do new years resolutions, but instead decide on a word that symbolizes the them of the new year. The word for 2018 is FOCUS.  Focus is less procrastination, less fiddling around and less spreading my attention and multitasking. Focus is also conscious choices of what I spend my time on and where I spend my energy, and a need to reduce the number of areas requiring my attention.
Some things have to give, and I have decided to pause the Balle's Bazaar blog.

Balle's Bazaar will however continue to be very active on Instagram and on Ravelry so please check out @ballesbazaar on Instagram and ballesbazaar on Ravelry to follow me there. Here you can also find a recap of my knitting projects of 2017.

2017 was a great year. Most importantly the pattern for the Agnes shawl was released into the World. Thank you all for the positive reception. It has meant so much for me and I am truly grateful for the attention you have given Agnes. 

My goal is to release at least 2 additional designs in 2018 so please stay tuned for that.

Balle's Bazaar blog started in August 2010 and many of you have followed the blog since the early beginnings. You have followed and commented on crafty creations, personal ups and downs and you have followed our relocation from Denmark to Sydney in 2012. From the bottom of my heart I thank you for your patience, support, encouragement and most of all for being such a loving and inspiring community. 

I sincerely hope we have (or will be) reconnected via other social media channels - Instagram and Ravelry. 

Cheers, Jane

25 Oct 2017

Creative Festivals all over the place

This coming weekend the  Danish craft community will gather at the Creative Days' festival in Fredericia. While still living in Denmark I never got my act together to go. This I regret, and I wish I could be there immersing myself in plentiful creative inspiration and outlets.

I think there must be some sort of secret alliance across to Globe to run all of the creative festivals in October.  Over the last few weeks Instagram has been inundated with pictures of squishy yarn and happy faces. The Sheep and Wool show in  Rhinebeck apparently is the big thing for the yarn community in the States. All of the posts showed so much yummy yarn.

In Scandinavian the community of yarn lovers were gathered in Oslo, Norway, for Oslo StrikkefestivalWith all the social media awareness from all of you guys it felt like I was there with you. Isn't it amazing how we can share our interests and love for woolly goodness all across the world. 

In my neck of the woods, Fibrefest, a paradise for all wool folk here in Australia, was on in Hunter Valley this Sunday. I would have loved walking between the pop-up shops and put my hands on all the lovely yarn and more importantly get to meet like minded people from the Aussie craft community, but the family had other plans, but next year - for sure I will be there. 

If you hear of other creative gatherings, festivals etc here in the Sydney area, please let me know.

Back to the CreativeDays' festival in Denmark.
Everyone will be there. It is massive. The biggest creative trade show in Denmark, I think (please correct me if I'm wrong). Garnpusher.dk will also be there. Pass by their booth, and you will see all their lovely yarns and all the beautiful colors.

For my 'Agnes', a generous comfy shawl that wraps around as a warm hug, I used a combination of two of their yarns, Coast (cotton/wool blend) and Super kid mohair, in soft sandy grey tone. You will be able to purchase Agnes as a kit in this color combo, but should you fancy other colors, there are plenty to choose from and you can buy the Agnes pattern either at the stall or on Ravelry. Go check it out. The pattern is available in English and in Danish.

For those who are going, I wish you a great weekend, say HI to everyone I know, and post plenty of pictures sot we can all indulge in Danish knitting designs and be updated on what's hot among Danish knitters.

For us who do not have the opportunity, let's take out our favorite project and indulge in the lush of soft yarns running through our fingers.
Have a great week everyone. 

18 Jun 2017

Baby vests for my grand nephew

It is not that I haven't thought of you all and of this blog over the last half year. Basically it has been on my mind for at least once a week - but hey I am only human, and life gets in the way sometimes leaving too little time for the blog.

I have been knitting and I have been knitting a lot the past 6 months. One of my goals this year is to create and publish my first pattern. This has now reached the final stages and I promise to tell you much more about it soon.

Today I wanted to show you what is on its way to my grand nephew in Norway. Two baby vests, made in 100% merino wool, and they are so soft and squishy I wish I was the one they were intended to.

By the way, would you be interested in getting this pattern in English?
I am contemplating the option of translating this very popular and frequently used Danish pattern into English, but first I need to find out whether it's at all allowed? and who to ask?

On top of that, I have made two oven mitts for Magnus' parents. I have stamp printed the fabric with my beloved grand mother's stamps. I love them, and I love to think, my grand father made them for her back in the 50'ies and now they are revived in my creative adventures.

For Magnus this prints will connect him back to his great great grandmother - fascinating thought, don't you think.

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?