Saturday, September 29, 2007

Queen' s Day (including crochet tip!)

One great way of getting great cheap stuff is visiting one of the 'Freemarkets' held in most big cities (Amsterdam, Utrecht, Den Haag, Rotterdam among others) in Holland on the day we celebrate the birthday of our Queen, Beatrix. It's held on April 30, but that's not her actual birthday, but her mother's (Juliana). Beatrix' birthday is January 31, but we Dutch like outdoor parties, so when she ascended the throne in 1980, she decided not to change the date of our national celebration, simply because of the weather conditions.

There are all sorts of happenings all over the country, but the 'freemarkets' are traditionally the biggest attractions.

What happens? The centres of the cities change into one giant flea market, where anybody can sell whatever he wants, as long as it's not foods that could decay. It's our way of having a yard sale, only the whole country does it on the same day. Some people plan the whole year for it. Only commercial sellers have stalls or booths, private sellers who live nearby carry old tables out to the curb, others just display their stuff on a blanket or sheet.

The main park of Amsterdam (Vondelpark) is reserved for children only. See more pictures of Queensday in Amsterdam here. All US thriftshoppers who read this, believe me, you'd have the day of your life. I've come home with great buys and I've sat there myself and sold stuff too.

But I don't do either anymore. I can't stand the crowds nowadays and I don't have the energy anymore to get organized to sell. If it's a nice day, my BF and I go to our local park and sit there with friends and neighbours. But between five and six, when the market starts to close up, we go to the streets that are nearest to our neighbourhood to pick up stuff that sellers who have already closed up left behind. It sounds a bit unfair or just too stingy, doesn't it? But the thing is, a lot of sellers really don't care to take their unsold stuff back home. And at seven the city cleaners come to shove it all in the big trucks. So, here we come to rescue it...

It's usually a quick tour through only one and a half street that results in four big plastic bags full of books and clothing. I'm sitting here right now in a Kappa sweater that I got that way. For my BF we once found a brandnew black jeans jacket. And it's not that I just want free stuff. Two years ago a guy was just packing up, but understanding what we were doing told me I could take anything I wanted if I gave him two Euro's. He had some interesting yarn that was worth that alone, beautiful turquise mohair and thick strong cotton) but we also ended up with loads of books, a lamp, a fruit bowl and more. I haven't done anything with the lamp yet, but it turned out that there was a working energy saving bulb still in it. Those cost between four and ten Euro's!

This is what I made with some of the yarn I got that day. These potholders are for sale in my Etsy Shop if you're interested.

To end I want to reveal to you how I make these perfect flat rounds. It's maybe not a secret but I made some alterations to the patterns I found in books. Please read the whole thing before you start, as there are several options.

You start with a chain of 4 which you close with a ss.
First row 6 sc.
Second row double those to 12.
Third row a double sc in every second stitch. You get 18 stitches.

Then you keep adding 6 stitches every row, but to avoid getting a hexagonal shape, just must alternate the places where you put the doubles.
That means: forth row, a double in every third stitch, but you put the first double in the FIRST stitch.
Fifth row: a double in every fourth stich, as normal.
Sixth row, a double in every fifth stitch, but you start in the SECOND.

Seventh row, a double in every sixth stitch, as normal.
Eighth row, a double in every seventh stitch, but start in the THIRD.
Got it? And so on.
Of course if you do want a hexagonal form, put all the doubles on top of each other.
If you work in a spiral, make sure you have the starting point marked.
If you work in circles (which I do), here's a trick to make the seam less visible:
Closing the row, you normally make a ss sticking the needle under the chain stitch which started the row. Instead, stick your needle through the loop, not under it. This way you get a flat seam, otherwise it will lay on the work as a thick line. Don't forget to start every row with that cs if you want to work in closed circles.
If the work doesn't get flat enough to your liking and gets a slight cone shape, try starting with 9 stitches, which you then double at once to get 18. The rest is the same. Note that working in a spiral or not may make the difference to this, as the seam in fact adds one stitch to the row. My advice: spiral start with 9, circles start with 6.
But it also depends on the material you use and your personal 'handwriting', so it's a matter of trial and error.

My favourite decorative border is a sc worked from left to right. Literally translated from Dutch it would be the 'lobsterstitch'. If anyone knows the proper name for it in English, please let me know! To finish the potholders off I make a loop from 10 cs, with 16-18 sc worked around it.

sc: single crochet, ss: slip stitch, cs: chain stitch


stanaxe said...

Crafters sound the same all over,rather carry money back home than the stuff,especially if you have a good day,or a very BAD ONE!Went to a car boot sale, I dont know if dutch is the same (kattebak). Wrong market for our stuff, but still sold and enjoyed ourselves. Enjoying it that is important.

Le-Chat said...

Yeah, I sold my hand crafted pieces for bargain prices too, which is a bit of a shame, but at the time I just started and it was to see if people liked my work at all. At the same time I made money on trash, so we had a good laugh at that.

I knew what 'kattebak' means in Suidafrikaans, but no, in Dutch it really is a litterbox. For a car boot we say 'kofferbak' or more neatly: 'bagageruimte' :)

Cats-Rockin-Crochet said...

The lobster st you are using for the border is called a reverse sc.

Anonymous said...

The edging stitch is also sometimes called the "crab" stitch in English... so still a crustacean.