Sunday, 29 April 2012

3KCBWDAY7 - The Unbalanced Crafter

My husband likes to say that I have the attention span of a squirrel.
(it's true!)

And then I'm also a Gemini - so it's either this or that, seemingly incompatible likes/interestes.

Same with crafting. First I learnt to knit.  My first FO was a hideous purple and yellow snake that had to be done in my std 2 needlework class. Unfortunately that little piece of evidence disappeared, but I still have the green and brown clown from the  next year.

Mmm...might need some cosmetic surgery around the lips.

I then knitted on and off.

Every 5 yrs or so, I'd annouce with great fanfare that I Am Going To Knit something, be it a scarve or very veeeeery verrrrrry simple jersey with which my mother or somebody would have to help in the end. I loved it, because I could read while doing it...maybe that's why I also struggled a little bit.

In std 7, I learned to cross stitch.  Never touched it again until almost 15 yrs later, when I exploded into cross stitching: towel border for new babies and Christmas presents, a collage type thingy depicting my sisi's travels while doing her 2 year working holiday in London -  nothing for myself. I loved it because you could easily do it in the car, and so I finished many projects.

First attempt at cross stitch - turned out to like it, despite Miss Mitchell's best attempts to instill an intense dislike in all things domestical in our group of std 7 girls

And now I crochet. I have been doing it for a year now and it's the craft I like most (although, I realised almost immediately - no simultaneous reading & hooking :-(  But happily, it's a great travelling hobby.  When I look back at the past year, I can't believe what I have already finished, and there's an ever-changing neverending-list of things I want to hook!

(But I do want to try out knitting this cardigan, as seen at the Cozy Things blog).
(I am a total Cozy Things groupie).

((And sometimes I sew - but only straight lines - so there will be some cushions in the making :-))

And so we come to the end of blog week.  Thanks so much to Eskimimi Makes for hosting this, to all who participated and provided interesting reads and chuckles, and all who read and enjoyed with us.
Roll on 4KCBW!

Saturday, 28 April 2012

3KCBWDAY6- Improving My Skillset

One year ago, I took up my mom's old 4.5 mm crochet hook, some DK I had in the house, and proceeded to learn how to crochet.

Three days later , I gained muscle control over my fingers and the crochet hook.

At one stage I sat with The Happy Hooker on my lap, You Tube open in front of me, and my sister on the line from Ireland, to try and figure out how to make a DC.

Since then, I proceeded to successfully make one square.

Hot on its heels followed various simple cowls, a baby blanket, a vintage stripe blanket -gone-wrong-gone-wrap, two mug warmers, some coasters (actually testers),  two cushions for our beach house, a giant granny for my boy, flowers to mark my new suitcase, part of my aunty's to-be African Flower blanket, a Rainbow Ripple, another baby ripple still to be revealed here, some simple Christmas decorations, two winter scarves for my sisi, a flower scarf for me, some potholders, two amigurumi, a vintage brooch, a cushion for my cousin, a cushion and hearty garland for a Curly Girl, and a monster pouch for my iPhone. And a beanie. And a superlovely MyPicot scarve for me.

On holiday in Swakopmund, Namibia, April 2011, trying to figure out this DC thing

I learnt about British and American crochet language. Now, just for fun, throw Afrikaans into the mix - the terms are totally unrelated to the English counterparts. And for more fun, try Dutch, 'cause that where Afrikaans comes from, and no one can blame you if you want to throw your hands into the air and run away.

I learnt that crochet has a back and front :-D

I started blogging about my adventure, and in the process learnt so much from great ladies around the world, who are generous with their patterns and advice, not to mention inspiration.

And with online friend and fellow South African-based-in-London, Natasja King,  I started a crochet group on Facebook, that is now 1120 members strong.  What a joy that is!  At "Ons Hekel" I have seen the most beautiful ideas, met up fellow hookers and learn more every day.

So, in the next year, I Will:
  1. learn to hook from a diagram
  2. complete a Japanese flower scarve adapting from an existing doilie type pattern
  3. learn to hook from a diagram
  4. go beyond simple amigurumi
  5. learn to hook from a diagram.
  6. continue meeting new hookers at Ons Hekel and meet up with them where possible.
Did I mention I want to learn to hook from a diagram?

Then I'll order One Japanese Book for myself, as reward :-)

Friday, 27 April 2012

Wave your flag! KCBWDAY5

(This is the original, there was a great video adaption for SWC 1020, but I can't find it under all the different versions on You Tube today)

Today is Freedom Day in South Africa.

Today we celebrate 18 years of democracy, 18 years since we had our first democratic elections.

I was a student then, having voted in two previous referendums, but that day stood in line for the first time with everybody who wanted to vote.

What a day it was!  People queued from early in the morning, and stood for hours, awaiting their turn. And what a joy it was, to see an 80-something, casting their vote for the first time in their life.

Now that has nothing to do with hooking or knitting, does it?

Except that that now we have such a nice flag. And I actually found some images of a knitted and crocheted one! The previous one was ok, but now we really celebrate it, we wave, wear it, paint it on our faces, cuddle under it and wrap it around our necks :-)

My country is behaving like a true 18 yr old, think it is all grown up and adult now, but actually still have so much to learn. We've come a long way.

So happy Freedom Day to all! 

We will enjoy the

in our airspace, as we live right behind the Union Buildings, where there will be some huge form of ceremony today, the jets have been practising a few days now. 

(Ed. And would you know, one jet was painted as the flag :-) 

(Most images found on Google Images, sparkly flag T-shirt is mine)

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

My Crochet Heroes - K&C Blogweek 3KCBWDAY3

I was never particularly taken with my mom's crocheted tablecloths.

Too beige (or white).  Too rough.  Too...crocheted.

But then she passed away and these were amongst the things we felt most sentimental about.

And I grew older, and learnt to crochet myself, and for the first time understood the massive work that went into these tablecloths.

My mom bought it as a young warden, from the Kroonstad Women's Prison.  It was made by prisoners as part of the training programmes offered to inmates. The women worked for hours, doing exquisitly fine work, and could never keep wat they produced. 

I am now a very proud owner of one such tablecloth, and truly appreciate the dedication that went into it.

These women are crochet heroes.

- 0 -

I have heroes in blogland too.  Oh, there are many whose work I admire, and Kristen of Cozy Made Things must surely be my blanket guru.


Last year, this time, as I ventured into my first baby blanket, it was Jacqui of Bunny Mummy who told me, discreetly, that Crochet Has A Back And Front Side.


I never knew!

(Okay, I was SUCH a beginner then :-D

I posted a photo where I laid out my squares, trying to figure out how to combine it, when she kindly pointed that out).

Thank you so much, and since then I have learnt such a lot, from you and many others.

Jacqui is my crochet hero.

- 0 -

I grew up with the memory of a crocheted blanket on the back seat of the car: darkish green and old gold.  My grandmother made it for my dad when he was promoted to officer in the Department of Prison Services, in the colours of DPS.  She also crochet many baby doll blankets for me and my sister, and clothes for our Baby Love dolls - and sadly, we have nothing left of those. 

I do have have a batch of doilies, made by her, my Ouma Vlaggie, and my husband's Ouma Alkie. These will (one day) be stitched around the edge of an old vintage tablecloth that I have:

From my Ouma Nettie I have three of these pot stands, crocheted from cotton twine when she was younger and wool wasn't readily available to her.  I use them every day in my kitchen (and she also still uses similar!).

And from my husband's Ouma Corrie, I received this lovely blanket as a gift when my youngest was born. It is also in daily use on his bed.  Ouma Corrie turns 90 in two weeks time, and I hope to finish a cowl scarve for her. She has stopped crocheting last year, but still knits daily, and can do the most complicated pattern, from memory, while chattering away in company.

All the grannies are my crochet heroes, for the very fine work they did, sometimes with the cheapest and simplest yearn available, which we can treasure today.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

BK Photography Challenge 3KCBWDAY2

I was browsing through my hooky photo's, looking for inspiration for the photo challenge, when I realised some themes keep repeating themselves...

Next to my hooky work - my feet in the air, on the garden table, next to a camp fire, while the boys are fishing, on the rocks by the seaside, in the park, beside the morning fire on a hunt, on the beach...

But also:

Alarmingly often next to a cappuccino from Pure Café; sometimes another coffee shop, or take away...

But that's how it should be, isn't it!  Put your feet up, have something nice to drink, and hook/knit away :-)

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

A wedding quilt for my sisi

Yesterday was my sister's 5th wedding anniversary. 

They live in Ireland, but got married here in South Africa, and is currently on holiday here again, with us in Pretoria, but mostly in Hartenbos, where we spent a lovely 10 days by the sea. 

On April 9, 2007, I had the bittersweet privilege to give her away:

I wanted to make them a nice cross-stitched quilt as a wedding gift, but as usual, time was against me and I ended up combining cross-stitch, some photos of them, and remnant fabric that would have some link to her:

Some lines from her favourite songs/poems.
Reddish fabric from an old table cloth of my mom.
Blue check fabric from curtains when she lived with us for a while.
Photo of them, me and our gran on their wedding day.
Photo of the two of them on Table Mountain.
Embroidered their initials, first names, something symbolising their names, and birth dates.
Can see a bit of the church they were married (NG Groot Brak) and their rings.

A photo of her husband's first visit to Africa, when my husband took him all the way up to Beit Bridge and the Limpopo River.  They stopped by a nice baobab on the N1 route.
Port Natal is our little beach house in Hartenbos.
A photo of my boy (now almost  8!) sitting next to her in the car on a road trip in Aus, when we lived there for a while.
Floral fabric of a new table cloth for my kitchen when we returned to RSA.

Excerpt from the "I am an African"-speech by Thabo Mbeki, then president of South Africa:


"Southern Cross" by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

Also visible here - I embroidered their house in Cork (blue).
Photo of my boy's hand on her arm, same road trip as above.
Small white and blue check - cut-off from the table cloth at our little beach house.
Blue chambric - cut-offs from my boy's bed linen when he was a baby.


I loved making this. It is now a wall hanging in their house.  

Happy 5th, Gerlene and Ken :-)

Friday, 6 April 2012

On holiday

I am enjoying a holiday by the sea, with my sisi, all the way from Ireland, looking at the full moon over Hartenbos.

Loving my new Malabrigo, on the beach:

Loving my new Malabrigo, over a latte and Israeli platter at Baruch coffee shop:

Got to feed the elephants at Botlierskop!