Vintage Throw in Bamboo Cotton

Don't you just love this?! Pattern from here and here - please do not hesitate to point me towards the origin of the pattern. I do not want to land in copyright prison where punishment is having to hook endless grannies with containers full of squeaky acrylics in garish colours . . .

This is a set of high quality carbonised bamboo hooks I bought whilst we were living in Malaysia. I have realised that quality of bamboo hooks can differ tremendously between different manufacturers. I bought three bamboo hooks (in a very light colour)  from a well known manufacturer in South Africa and I disliked hooking with it intensely. It is not nearly as smooth as these in the photo and fights against the yarn in stead of having a close, very close, relationship with it.  It's gone straight to the bin. Ooops.

King Cole Bamboo Cotton DK in color Glacier. 
This is a very soft yarn in a slight sheen in 100% natural fibers.

Yarn in Doha is available from the one and only shop that sells a few skeins of yarn, the Singer Shop! Needless to say they sell and repair Singer sewing machines but also stock a limited selection of yarn, crochet hooks, knitting needles and embroidery thread. The Singer shop is located next to Badie Music Studio and Stores in Al Muthaf Rd for those using Google Maps. There is no organised system of street names and postal addresses in Qatar. We explain directions via landmarks and not street signs e.g.  . . . across the road from the Pink Mosque next to the Iranian Cafe with the big tree near TV roundabout  . . .  We are used to this, it was the same in Dubai and a quirk of Middle Eastern living!  

A big Thank You to Kathryn from Crochet Concupiscence for  including my Star Shaped pillow in her 20 Best 2014 Crochet Patterns for the Home!  It has not gone unnoticed and it is a great honor!

Curious to see a sneak peek of the finished African Inspired Throw?  Be sure to pop over to HelloHart!  I will do a blog posting about the blanket soon, but first I need to distance myself from it. Rows one and two were hooked together during a time when someone close to our family became critically ill and even though it remains the African Inspired Blanket, those two rows have been renamed Picking up the Pieces.

You can now find me on Instagram!

Have a nice weekend! 


ByHaafner sent me straight to heaven!


Hello! I think you will agree with me that when ByHaafner made up this parcel for me, she knew EXACTLY what would send me over the moon and straight to heaven. 

I was on my way to enjoy my weekly crochet, carrot cake and cappuccino at the Bread and Bagels Cafe, when the staff at front desk (we are still living in a hotel) halted me to tell me that a parcel had just been delivered for me. I dove right in, gave the contents one look and whirled along the lobby all the way to the Cafe located a few skyscrapers away with a massive smile on my face!

It is all so beautiful, the antique wooden spool with the paper yarn from paperphine in Austria and the balls and balls (there are many more than what you  can see in this photo I will tell you!) of Paris Drops in the most gorgeous colours.

I am stoked and my mind resembles Pinterest Feed at the moment. I see patterns and possibilities, bags, baskets and blankets. Pity I had just started working on a throw in a vintage pattern, I will need to be quick with that project so that I can wrap my hands around this twine and cotton sooner rather than later.

Hop on over to ByHaafner and indulge yourself in her amazing blankets and doilies. Oh the doilies, I might just decide to sit back and make doilies by dozens with the Drops . . .

Thank you, thank you, thank you so much!


Blog Hop

Yarn: Elle Cotton On in Ash. Make-up: Vivienne Westwood

Hello!  I have been invited to participate in an Around the World Blog Hop! A Blog Hop "hops" from one blog to the next, with the aim of introducing readers to other blogs and sharing the love.  This blog hop involves four questions around the topic of "Creativity".  

I was nominated by the lovely Silvia of Tämä Pöllö. Her blog is such a happy, colourful space, she manages to revive retro crochet by using chunky yarns in fresh colour combinations. Silvia is a Plant Biology Researcher and lives in Bologna Italy. How lucky can anyone be to be living in a city that boasts one of the largest well-preserved historical centres in Italy! This month, it is exactly 10 years ago that I last traveled Italy and what a pleasure then to be nominated by someone living in Bologna. Thank you Sylvia!

Before I proceed with the hop, allow me to nominate the team behind new blog on the block namely Anisa, Cornel and Elsbeth of HelloHart to participate in the hop. They are three incredibly talented artists and their contribution to the crochet community in South Africa is second to none. I am so lucky that our paths crossed during the time I spent at the tip of Africa recently! 

Elsbeth, Anisa, Magda and Cornel enjoying wine and mezze in South Africa  - photo courtesy of Cornel.

At the moment I am working on the edge of the blanket  that I am dedicating to the Mother Continent. It is made out of 315 hexagons, 42 half hexagons and I eventually used 26 shades from 10 different yarns to create a monotone colour palette. I am grappling with the edge though, the tone of the silvery yarn I chose for the edge is too insipid to support the boldness of the blanket and I am hoping there is enough Elle Cotton On in Ash left to add the necessary punch to the edge. The Teen (she has the patience to hand wind 120gr of yarn) will frog the edge later today. It has to be perfect you see! 

I really enjoy working with natural plant fibers and am drawn by the mottled colour effects of yarn created by dye artists, but also work in factory dyed cotton and bamboo yarns. Simply thinking about the raw fibers before it is processed into yarn, is like taking my mind into a veritable Ali Baba's cave of tactile and visual delights. Imagine the possibilities working with seed fibers (cotton and kapok), bast fibers (linen, jute, nettle, hemp and ramie), hard fibers (abaca, sisal and paper) and regenerated fibers (soybean and bamboo).  I love the idea of grabbing tangled masses of cotton, bamboo, paper twine or sisal to create crochet craft with a mere little bamboo hook and imagination! 

On academic level during 2010/2011 when concluding research using the ethnographic approaches of visual analysis and sensory ethnography, I also cross academic paths with a method referred to as "Photovoice". (See papers I uploaded to another blog after concluding my research in 2011.) The method was not suitable to my academic work, but I find it most applicable to the human development work I was doing among human trafficked victims in South East Asia. "Photovoice" is a group analysis method which combines photography with grassroots social action within community development and education. Marginalized or disadvantaged participants are encouraged to generate their own photographic work in order to share live experiences and present it to the world as they see it. It is a sub-type of "Picturevoice" which also includes "Paintvoice" and "Comicvoice" and I realised craft could find a rightful place within these collaborative participatory methodologies. I found it natural to turn to crochet as the craft is widely practiced among children, women and men living in SE Asia and the Far East. Crocheting also became a personal outlet in order to cope with the often heartbreaking human conditions I was and still am faced with from time to time when involved in development and humanitarian work.

I like to weave stories around my work. Living as a global nomad and travelling the world extensively; experiencing new cultures and environments and actually embedding myself within those cultures, lead to tonnes of inspiration. I grab an idea and find the yarn; on the odd occasion I find the yarn and then look for a story. Just last week I found the yarn - it is a cotton bamboo in a colour named glazier. It reminds of duck egg blue and sea foam, just a tad more subtle. The yarn is telling me to look on the vintage side of life for inspiration. Let's see where it takes me, I think I shall pay a visit to my Pinterest boards again in order to capture the right mood!  

Phew - apologies for the lengthy answers.  I am pressed for time and am currently spending the majority of my day dashing across Doha - my fingers were flying over the keyboard with no time to edit and shorten the replies. 


Single Crochet Square Pattern

Single Crochet Square used in the Patchwork Blanket
USA Terminology, Hook Size 4
Yarn: Elle Premier DK in Grey and Taupe available from Woolhogs 

Hello! When Di made contact with me yesterday, inquiring about the pattern I used to make the Patchwork blanket, I decided to finally write it down and make a posting. Easier said than done though! I think I know now why I did not write it down in the first place.  It is easy to crochet, but fiddly to explain (perhaps due to my own lack of technical skills). Di and her friends living all over the world, are participating in a CAL to make a cot blanket for a friend. Their idea makes my heart sing, this is why we crochet and blog, to share ideas!  

The short version:
Ch 4 close ring. 8 sc into the ring and close. For all the rounds: sc ch2 sc to form corners, sc in sc of previous round to form sides. 

The long version

  1. Chain 4, close
  2. Round 1: ch1 to form first sc and work another 7 sc in ring = 8 sc
  3. Round 2: ch3 and then sc in same space (first corner), sc in sc of previous round (this forms a side), then sc ch2 sc (this forms a corner) in next space - continue until you have 4 corners and 4 sides and slip stitch into first sc to close round, slip into corner space.
  4. Round 3 (4&5): Ch3 and then sc in same stitch (corner), two times sc (side), sc ch2 sc (corner) in next space -  continue until you have 4 corners and 4 sides and slip stitch into first sc to close round, slip into corner space. Round 4 will have 3 sc on each side and Round 5 will have 4 sc. 
I deliberately ignored the first sc that is somewhat hidden by the sc ch2 sc corner (as pointed out by needle in picture 2 below. It results in a first 5 rounds that has a slight curve when the square is viewed from the side. If you want a sharp, flat square right from the beginning, be sure to also add an sc in that specific stitch after each corner.

  1. Round 6: Ch3 and then sc in same stitch (corner), 6 times sc, then sc ch2,sc (corner). Why 6 times sc? 
  2. From round 6 onwards you will also be working in the first sc right next to the corner (see photo 2 above). In stead of automatically crocheting 5 sc on the sides as a continuation from the previous round, you will now have 6 sc as a result of crocheting into that almost hidden stitch. In each round it will also increase by 2 sc on each side in stead of just 1 sc. Holy moly, I hope this make sense to you! You need that extra stitch in order to flatten out the shape as the square grows bigger.  Just magnify these pics if my instructions are too fiddly/waffly and if you still do not get it, let me know and I will do a Youtube Tutorial. 
  3. Round 7 will have 8 sc on each side; Round 8 will have 10 sc on each side; Round 9 will have 12 sc on each side; Round 10 will have 14 sc on each side; Round 11 will have 16 sc on each side. 
  4. Round 12: I added a sc border with picot for styling purposes. Who knows, this might work for a lacy joining effect, but I haven't tried it out!

Meanwhile, in Doha through the lounge window:
 This is the view on a normal day above and during the sandstorm that just rolled in below!  

It is 21:34 and still hot as hell here.  The official reading is 39 degrees Celsius, but the apparent temparature (what it feels like according to Yahoo Weather) is  47 degrees due to the humidity and dust.  Unless one wants a free microdermabrasion, it is best to stay out of the sandpit and vegetate indoors!
The Teen Girl is busy vegetating crafting with Air-dry Clay. This is a ring featuring 4 teeth (don't ask, one doesn't interfere with Teen minds) and it has already received some pinkish and silver paint. I might just show you the finished evil eye broach and teeth ring next time I post. Tee hee, I love hormonal mindsets!   


On top of the World!

Mom, as seen through the eyes of The Teen on paint.net

Yeehaw I am on top of the world!

Well, first of all we are still living in a glass enclosed tower with magnificent views over the city and the ocean.  I reckon we will be hauled up in a hotel for at at least another 2 and a half months.  It is quite a large apartment with plenty of space for the 4 of us and from our view and viewpoint we are on top of the world.

Secondly,  in Qatar copper networks have been replaced with fibre optic and we now have a choice of 10mbps, 50mbps or 100mbps (will you believe this!) fibre optic internet in our homes. Installation is the day after application. Pity the hotel is still providing slow internet.

Thirdly, The Teen scored the highest level and mark possible for her English exams last week and she was offered a place at one of only 4 schools functioning under the Outstanding Schools Initiative started by Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al Missned and implemented by the Supreme Education Council here in Qatar. It is back to the MYP/IB curriculum for her and we are all on top of the world, especially since waiting lists for schools are often up to 2 years here.

Last, but not least, I have just finished a throw in 5 days - hook in one hand, muscle ointment in the other. Wow, there was some furious crocheting involved, but tomorrow the couriers will arrive to whisk it away and I will be hanging out in the pool to soothe my aching muscles. It is a secret project, one I will be telling you about later, but for now I can say it is gorgeous.

When an idea for a new colour palette formed in my mind many months ago, I never realised how satisfying the whole process from selecting colours to executing the project was going to be.  I bought the yarn in Africa, hooked the project in Asia and the final destination for the item is Europe from where it will be shared with the whole world!  I had this idea to capture two of my favourite cities, Paris and Istanbul, in a project. When I was asked to design and hook something, I couldn't be happier that I decided to pack this yarn in my son's suitcase in stead of leaving it to sail the 7 seas in a container later. 

I will explain the process of choosing colours in a few pictures below:

Photo: Désaccord blog

The first time I visited the Désaccord blog, I was smitten by the colours in every single picture. I selected a few of the photos from the blog and uploaded it to some online sites that create palettes from pictures in order to get an idea of all the colours involved in the complete image opposed to just looking at the crocheted and knitted items.

Below are palettes generated by Palette FX and Colr, pictures from the Désaccord blog:

I decided to put mood boards together (see previous posting) to capture my idea of a woman working and living in cities such as Paris and Istanbul.  What would her wardrobe and space look like?

I  forwarded these mood boards to crochet guru Beatrix who sells hand dyed yarns in South Africa (See posting about yarn) and she put the colours together for me from the Colours of Grace collection. I approved and paid. Below are some of the colours:

I had the time of my life working with this yarn and am dying to share the completed item with you - but alas, we will have to wait!  I am just very glad that there are a teeny weeny bit of each colour left over, I plan to turn these into brooches over the next few days and will at least be able to show you those. 

Hope you are enjoying your short winter holidays (Southern Hemisphere) and loooooong summer holidays (Northern Hemisphere)