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!


Shawl Love

Hello!  I hooked this beautiful lacy shawl for The Teen over the past week using a yarn that I have been eager to try out for months since I bought a few balls prior to leaving South Africa earlier this year. African Expressions Soul is a 4 ply/sock weight yarn in merino wool, mulberry silk and kid mohair. According to their website - 

"African Expressions was born from the desire for Africa to share her natural beauty with the rest of the world. Through our unique range of yarns we express the essence of that which makes Africa magical. Our range of select colours is inspired by the landscapes of South Africa - from sunrise to sunset. Each colour represents one small element that makes Africa, Africa. Our heart and soul is knitted firmly into Africa and would like to invite you to join us in this “African Expressions” Experience."

Brenda Grobler designed the most beautiful pull over for African Expressions. It is a great pity that I only brought 6 balls along, but i have bookmarked her pattern and really want to try it out!

The Teen is in seven heavens and has already worn her shawl with an off-the shoulder velvet top and a maxi skirt in a sheer fabric with the "above the knee" part lined but the rest of the skirt left flowy and see through. The complete look is utterly stunning and I am so sorry for not posting a picture, but I you can help me catch a Teen for a photo op . . . . 

Images :RawRustic and Own

Pattern: Eva's Shawl by Milobo available for free from Ravelry
Hook Size: 5mm in  order to achieve this lacy effect with a sock weight yarn
Yarn: Soul from African Expressions in two colourways. Body is worked in a solid army green/grey colour code 7289 and I then edged in a stripey version where this army green/grey is combined with blue code 7042M  The effect of this yarn is quite mesmerizing! 
Hook Size: 5mm in  order to achieve this lacy effect with a sock weight yarn

Images: RawRustic and Own


Problematic Painful Pedantic Patterns

"Melancholy". The gloomy state of mind here at the Pigtails Palace after I failed to decipher a pattern that is described as problematic on Ravelry.
Image created with the Intuos Pen and Touch and computer by The Teen who recently turned 15 years old. She reminds everybody that copyright belongs to her.

Pattern: The beautiful Barcelona Jacket
Bodice: King Cole Bamboo Cotton DK
Hook Size: 4mm
Problem: Pattern riddled with mistakes and perhaps also a project best suited to advanced crocheters rather than the intermediate level mentioned. Some Ravelry members either frogged or hibernated this project. Others commented that they heavily modified the pattern, found it frustrating or even undecipherable. I am thinking that the few who enjoyed the pattern are experienced hookers! To quote a member on Ravelry:
Nice yarn + completely undecipherable pattern instructions + approx. 4 months wasted on this bad boy = crappy, frustrating project ==> unhappy crocheter (me!) UGH!!!PS -- Dear Caron pattern editors: this is the second Caron crochet pattern that has driven me nuts and according to both designers it is because you apparently change/alter/edit their original instructions. PLEASE reconsider your editing strategy!!! Thank you.
Personally, I am stuck on row 3 of the sleeves and cannot proceed until I understand what needs to be done. My frustration levels hit red on the "frustratometer".  The Teen is most disappointed too. She needs something pretty to wear with a long sleeved velvet top that leaves her shoulders bare since the official dress code in Qatar demands shoulders be covered.

The pattern reads like an Escher staircase as I also mentioned on Instagram e.g. (not actual pattern) rows 118-129 (6 pattern repeats) repeat rows 58-69  (6 pattern repeats) and when I get to those rows, it says to repeat rows 8-19 (5 pattern repeats) except for row 10 (increase) and rows 8-19 is in fact a repeat of rows 2-5 which forms the base of the pattern . . .  

Last night I started hooking a pretty wrap instead and decided to use a sock yarn in silk, mohair and wool with hook size 5 to create a lacy effect. As soon as she saw it, The Teen demanded to know who that was for. I said whoever wants it. Turns out she wants it. The mood is a happy one once again!   

Have a great week and do let me know whether you have hibernated or frogged an item before due to poorly written patterns rather than personal preferences!


Indian Cotton Mattresses (gaadi)

Hello!  Our furniture has at long last arrived last week and I have been crazy busy organizing the Pigtails Palace ever since. Ah hell, I am clearly not 20 or 30 or even 40 years old anymore. My muscles are aching, my knees buckling. Three story palaces are really most suitable to the young and restless, not the middle aged! As soon as I unpacked my beautiful Vinnis Colours yarn though, I was feeling young and dandy again! 

 Friday morning I took a respite from unpacking to enjoy breakfast at Souq Waqif and stumbled upon the most interesting little street in downtown Doha. In fact, Doha is packed with interesting streets and I just love being able to finally explore the city now that the weather has cooled down significantly. This street is home to a few Indian Cotton Mattress (also known as gaadi) makers and traders.

Such shops are common in the towns of cities of India and it was a surprise to also stumble upon the same in Doha. Production of cotton mattresses (pillows and quilts too) is a labour intensive activity since it is all hand stitched. This YouTube video demonstrates the beautiful process, it is well worth watching to see how they pack the cotton sleeves, hand stitch it closed  (referred to as knitting in this video), flatten and compact the cotton with a stick before finally adding the edging to both sides and sewing the quilt like stitches. Indians are masters with scissors, thread and needles! These mattresses are very comfortable and suitable to hot and humid climates, however, it also loses shape quickly and the cotton needs to be treated and re-packed after a few years.

Two men recount how changes in the bedding industry in India, is affecting their craft:
Anser Basha Mattress Maker from Chennai
Khurban, Mattress Maker from Bangalore

I fell in love with some of the fabrics used to create these mattresses, not to mention that the mattresses and pillows are gorgeous items in its own right. My mind is spinning, I am thinking that this offers the perfect solution with regard to seating, or rather lounging, here at the Pigtails Palace. We have two great outdoor spaces, the one an L-shaped courtyard which also features a build in plant bedding on ground level and the other an entire rooftop area with beautiful wooden lattice shutters dividing space between the water tank and the rest of the rooftop. The space is accessible from a door on the third floor. It is the perfect weather now to develop the full potential of these spaces with the help of  Indian cotton mattresses don't you think?!

Have a great week!


Toothpicks and a Cardboard Box

Doily + toothpicks + cardboard box = blocking with minimal resources

I already have a plan to crochet a throw resembling Islamic design
Vinnis Serina in Dark Army or Army + Amanda Perkins pattern in either Clementine or Jonquil = Islamic inspired throw

Our new abode
This is the view from the l-shaped courtyard on the ground floor
There is also a rooftop patio leading from the third floor
T's a happy feeling home
We have a pink, yes a PINK kitchen for goodness sake!
Dusky pink and stone coloured tiles . . . 


Loving the Linen Stitch!

 Pattern: Woven Stitch/Linen Stitch
Yarn: Drops Paris in 6 different colours
Hook Size: 5mm
Thank you once again for my gorgeous yarn Haafner, I have doilies hanging from the hooks at the moment and hope my effort to create gorgeous doily bowls does not disappoint! 

 A while back I spotted these hand-size butterfly beauties from the 1920's in an antique store and instantly fell in love with it. When The Teen gave me an idea of what she would like her new room to look like, I realised that these would make for a perfect start to execute her vision. I was doing the happy dance when my eye also spotted the brass mirror, it is solid and heavy and I wish I had more information about the origin of this standing mirror. The glass was broken, but life is endlessly surprising and a glass & mirror shop trades right across the road from the antique shop. Within 5 minutes, I had a hand cut mirror fitted. 

The Champs Elysees Palace (yes, that is the name of this antique shop!) is owned by a Hindi, Arabic, English and Farsi speaking Iranian. The shop is located on Al Mirqab Al Jadeed Street, Doha, Qatar.

Meanwhile Ikea didn't disappoint either! We bought the full length mirror and clothing rack as can be seen in the above picture, with the hat & coat stand and carpet to follow soon.  Looks like the Teen is not interested in this particular throw, but I really like it and think it will be a great item for the master bedroom. 

I have also spotted a gorgeous velvet single bed throw trimmed in faux fur at another one of my favourite stores in the Middle East, namely THE One. Invented by a Swede, the stores are referred to as Theaters: "We don't sell products. We sell feelings. Because we believe that it's not what you buy that's important, it's what you feel after you have bought it."  Apart from ethical sourcing, they make a difference by employing challenged people, do a lot of local volunteering and is involved in a sustainable village community programme. It is easy to see why THE One has been rated the top local employer to work for by global research and management consultancies for the 4th year running.  I am almost feeling guilty for not making that purchase yet!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend. Today is the last day of what was a wonderful Eid holiday here. 


Vintage Throw Finished

Yarn: King Cole Bamboo Cotton in Glacier, 13 x 100gr
Hook Size: 4mm
Pattern from here and here
Images for mood boards below from my Raw Rustic Duck Egg Blue and For Me Pinterest boards

I hope you like my throw as much as I do!
It was such a great and rewarding pattern to hook that I am quite disappointed it came to an end.  I wanted to finish it though, so that I could still photograph it against the wallpapered wall here in the hotel where I also took the pictures for the previous posting.  We are at long last relocating to a villa tomorrow after 5 months of hotel apartment living. T's a busy time for me eeeeeek!
Have a nice week! 


Simply Crochet Issue 23

"Issue 23 officially goes on sale tomorrow, so we thought we'd treat you to one last preview. This stunning blanket was designed by Magda de Lange. Inspired by her travels to Istanbul, the mood reflects the energy and colours of the city. We're captivated."   - Simply Crochet Facebook Page

Would you like to hook this blanket?

Simply buy the Magazine!
Simply Crochet Magazine Digital Version

Thank you Tanya Kalyan and the team for inviting me to contribute to your stunning magazine and thank you for being very friendly, professional people throughout this project.

The Inspiration/Design Process - links below
Istanbul Inspiration
Process of Choosing Colours
Choosing the Yarn

The Yarn -  links below:
34x50gr Colours of Grace Hand Dyed Aran Cotton Available locally in South Africa from Beatrix Snyman and locally as well as internationally from Hilda Steyn
Colours used to create this blanket: Lime Light, Melon, Orange, Moss, Grey, Lilac, Pink dust, Jade, Denim, Baby Blue, Olive, Sand, Champagne, Mustard, Candy, Mudpie (4 balls of this brown), two balls each of all the others.



Teen Vision

Our furniture is at long last sailing the seven seas en route to Doha via a stop over in Jebel Ali Port, Dubai!
The Teen is dreaming of a new room and I am scouting for pieces to add to her current furniture.
She selected these images from the Pinterest accounts of Amy and Anya to share her ideas with me.

I am eager to make something for her room, but let's wait first and see whether the mauve/puce palette is still the preferred one in another week or two. Just last week it was seafoam and duck egg blue, perhaps next week she will fancy grey and green . . .  

Have a nice week


Crocheting at the Cafe

Pattern: Inspiration from Sophie Digard, I just winged it as I went along
Pom Pom Edge Pattern from Once Upon A Pink Moon
Yarn: Pierrot Pont du Gard 100% French Linen manufactured in Japan and bought in South Africa from I Love Yarn and previously blogged about here

Pattern: An adaptation of Connect the Dots, one of 25 crochet patterns designed by the talented Cornel Strydom for Ideas Crochet magazine. Available for downloading from Zinio
Yarn:  Pierrot Pont Du Gard as per Crochet Pearls above

The Venue: The famous Istanbul Cafe Mado, now open in Ezdan Mall, Al Gharafa, Doha
The menu: Menemen and Cappuccino for breakfast followed by Turkish Tea, Kunafeh and Turkish Ice cream after an hour of furious crocheting!

To give you an idea of the ice cream that sang and danced on my palate  " . . .  Mado’s Maraş-style ice cream, which originates from Turkey’s Kahramanmaraş region, is made, entirely from natural ingredients. The milk used to create this delicious treat is obtained from goats that are on a strict diet of thyme, wild liquorice and wild orchids. Salep (a creamy drink made from wild salep orchids) is also used to lend a unique taste to the ice cream" - Time out Istanbul 

Photos edited in the car en route back home after The Driver picked me up from the mall. I used Snapseed and then created these collages via the magazine part of the Moldiv app.