Winding yarn is a wonky affair!

Hello! This is the start of a dainty scarf in lacy Merino yarns from Madeline Tosh and Eden Cottage. After many evenings of winding yarn before I could put hook to project, I have to admit that it is a dreadful task for impatient peoples like me. I still have so many skeins to wind from hank to cake and even though the Girl Teen is assisting, it remains a huge task when the yarn is slighter thicker than cotton thread and over 600 meters long! 

I am using two strands together to create the colourful flowers and one strand in neutral to join it all together. After many trials and errors with regard to the pattern, I have come to realise that frogging and these delicate yarns are clearly also not the best of friends. That said, now that I have settled on a pattern and understand where to join the squares together, it is an enjoyable, beautiful project.

Don't you just love Instagram?  I really enjoy sitting back from time to time to take a look at all the photos I have liked.  That in itself is a great indication of what one likes with regard to photography, styling, craft, mood, travelling, food and many more. These are some of the beautiful images I have liked over the past month.

Have a great weekend, I will spent mine with the family at a beach club here in Doha and also finalise itineraries for our summer holiday to be spent travelling Croatia extensively. At first we were going to travel Sweden and the Netherlands, but when the Teens mentioned the beach word, I told them to identify a must visit place with the help of Google Earth. The result was Croatia after they saw the islands, the beaches, the national parks and the beautiful towns and cities. The country has been on my bucket list too, so all in all we will have a whale of a time! Have you been to Croatia? 


Loop London!

Hello!  The Afrikaans word for walk is "loop". I literally did a Loop London two weeks ago when I not only walked and walked, exploring the city on foot, but I also shopped and shopped - at Loop yarn store! I arrived back home with no less than 23 hanks of yarn in Lace (Merino, Silk and Linen) and Worsted Merino by Madeline Tosh, Artisan Yarns, Eden Cottage and The Uncommon Thread.  

I visited the shop twice, the first time to buy the Worsted Merino (6 hanks in purple and green) and linen (oops also 6 hanks in purple and green). What was that all about? Oh wait, I also got married in lilac and mint, those colours must have stuck with me after all these years! At the same time I picked up a few hooks, a pin for a shawl and the glorious Sophie Digard scarf in the above photo.

Once a back at the swanky hotel in Knightsbridge next to Harrods I called home for a few nights, I realised that I shunned the opportunity to buy the most amazing lace-weight yarns.  I have long since admired the work of Alice on Instagram & on her blog.  Right there and then I decided to return to Loop for more shopping as I would like to try my hand at something more delicate in the spirit of Alice's work and needed those lace yarns.  

I then invested in the most beautiful mushroom, stone and greige colours, a yellow, pink and charcoal too and am plotting and planning the next project for these yarns and am already whipping up sample squares to see where it will take me. Of course as I was about to exit the door, I spotted the Sophie Digard necklaces and promptly bought two of those too, one for myself and one for Anisa from Hellohart who introduced me to Editor Dala Watts, leading to an article of my work in the South African Ideas magazine!  I wanted to say thank you in a special way and have been keeping my eyes peeled for that special item that turned out to be the Sophie necklace!

The great thing about the Loop yarn store is also the location (not reflected in the above photo!) They are located in Camden Passage Islington. Camden Passage is world famous for its vintage and contemporary shops, markets and arcades. Be sure to pop into the leather handbag shops near Loop. I dislike the majority of women's bags on sale and much rather buy from markets or independent shops where simplistic styles are crafted by hand. This shop delivered a glorious green leather bag with a huge flap that disguises Ipad and wallet alike.

Just pho you! Finally, just before you hit the Underground, walk across the road where you will find a delectable bowl of Pho in a cafe serving Vietnamese street food. I have had a need for hot, brothy, salty, soothing beef noodle soup ever since we left South East Asia! There are few things better than a tangle of slick rice noodles in a rich, crystal clear, intensely beefy broth; the warm aroma of cinnamon, cloves and star anise rising up in a cloud of steam, balanced by a squeeze of lime and a handful of fresh herbs and chilies. Ah hell, I entered heaven!

Have a great week!


The Garden

Hello, I am just popping in to wish you a Happy New Year! Please accept my apologies for not participating in Instagram and blogging initiatives at the moment. As mentioned in the last posting, I am snowed under with professional projects, research work and business travelling.  

The photo above is an update of The Garden throw, the most beautiful pattern I blogged about previously.  I have finished about forty 25x25cm squares to date.  It is gorgeous, I cannot wait to see it in all it's full glory once finished.

We made time to visit a great new souq/bazaar here in Qatar, located in a town with the name Al Wakra, just south from Doha.  The maize of buildings stretches for 3 kilometers along the Arabian Sea with an esplanade running down the open beach side. It is build to reflect the town's fishing village heritage and features aged walls and brightly painted wooden doors. The souq will eventually be home to hundreds of shops and eateries. Only a handful are open at the moment and judging by the beautiful cafe in which we enjoyed coffee and cakes, we can look forward to atmospheric and quint eateries. Magical, I love Arabia!

Have a great week.  Cheers!


Flower Power

See Floral for links to the origins of the non crochet floral images

Hello!  Over the years, I have seen this pretty pattern appear in my Pinterest feed many times and always thought it would make a gorgeous blanket.  I absolutely love making this square, it is fun to be working with so many different colours and to be mixing cotton and bamboo yarns to reach the desired effect. You definitely want to stroll over to Instagram and take a look at the gorgeous projects featuring this square by Cornel and Elsbeth and also read Cornel's posting on the HelloHart blog. 

Hook size: 4mm. These stunning squares are about 25cm x 25cm unblocked in size each! 
Patten: The pattern was published in the magazine Para Ti - guia de puntos but I have no idea which edition. Please feel free to enlighten me!

It is a very busy time here in the Pigtails Palace and I am slightly overwhelmed by the volume of activities I am faced with on a daily basis (including working full time!) I will also be blogging about the progress in hunting down beautiful pieces for the Girl Teen's room soon, show some pictures of what the interesting Doha Downtown area looks like, finally blog about the African Inspired Blanket (hijacked by the Dude Teen) and so forth!

Have a great week, we are celebrating Qatar National day this week and from what I can see, it certainly is a massive event here every year. Until next time, cheers!


Liebster Award!

Last week I was awarded a Liebster by the ebullient and vivacious Beatrix Snyman of Btrix Dsigns. Thank you so much Beatrix, I really miss connecting with you over a cup of coffee and a ball of yarn! I also miss seeing your sales skills in action, no-one I know can close a deal quite in the way you do! Somehow I always spent more money than intended with you around, but I ended up loving the yarn so much, it didn't matter you rascal! In fact, the Istanbul inspired blanket published in Simply Crochet is the result of one such dealing between Beatrix and I. To any South African readers - if you live near Beatrix in South Africa and you haven't met her yet (whether to buy yarn or to attend a workshop) you are losing out! 

1. Why did you start a blog and what do you mainly blog about?  Blogging to me is a hobby as much as crocheting is. I blog to stay connected with other bloggers and observe patterns and trends with regard to craft and social media alike. I blog about crocheting and living life as a global nomad.

2. Did you realize that crochet is becoming the new black? Why do you think it is becoming so popular? Li Edelkoort in Trend Tablet nailed it when she spoke about crocheting, knitting and other textiles "In reaction to our virtual existence, we will need more real emotions and unknown surprising scenarios: tactility and dimension to compensate the flat screens in our lives, to give pleasure to our fingers."

3. What is your biggest reason for crocheting/knitting? Connecting with people and hearing, seeing their stories as told through craft.

4. Do you prefer working from a pattern or do you make up your own pattern as you go? Why? I do one of three things - design my own simple pattern; adapt an existing pattern or use an existing pattern. I always learn new techniques and manipulate yarn in either one of these three scenarios.

5. Who is your favorite crochet/knitting designer. Why? I really prefer the work by all the unknown women of Africa and Asia - those who produce the visions of designers such as Sophie Digard and Anne Claire Petit. These women are hugely talented and almost no one is telling their stories!

6. What is your favorite fiber to work with? Why? Any natural plant fibers because it is most suitable to the climate in the Middle East and South East Asia. I have a great passion for raw, natural materials opposed to man made ones.

7. Which is your favorite yarn brand and why? I have a great love affair with Vinnis Nikkim, Bambi and Serina as well as Colours of Grace. These yarns define my style and everything I make in either of these stand head and shoulders above any other yarns I use.

8. In short, give an overview of your craft journey since it started. One word: hooked!

9. I assume you have a few WIP’s. Who doesn’t? So what inspired your current WIP’s? Yes, name all of them! Ah, never assume! I work on one project at a time and at this very moment I do not have a single WIP to my name since I am awaiting delivery of a special hand dyed yarn order to start a special project!

10. Where is the most unexpected place you ever crochet/knitted?  I have enjoyed hooking in many interesting places - from the overnight train between Penang and Bangkok to the beach in Teluk Bahang National Park overlooking a village build in the ocean. I also kept yarn and a hook in my lap whilst driving in the very slow moving Penang traffic, crocheting a few rows or rounds at red traffic lights or when stuck in traffic.

11. Which project/design/pattern was your biggest challenge up to now and why?  The Barcelona jacket/bolero because it is a poorly written pattern and I am also not an expert in making wearables, meaning I couldn't improvise!

The Questions for my nominees:
1. Animal fiber, plant fiber or other fiber? 
2. Variegated or solid?
3. Colours or textures?
4. Pattern or plain?
5. How do you organise your stash?
6. Favourite projects to make?
7. How many WIPs are you working on?
8. Where is your favourite hooky place?
9. What three words best describe you?
10. Which travelling destination is on top of your bucket list?

My nominees are:
Andree, About Crochet
Sylvia, Tama Pollo
Ingrid, Little Birdy
Chrissie, Chrissie Crafts

Congratulations, you have just been awarded a Liebster!