Thursday, 30 May 2013

Hunting season has opened

Hunting season has opened and The Dad is on his second hunt of the year.
Our Dad is a bow hunter and keeps us in an annual supply of free-range, low-fat, organic venison. He hunts either from a hide (sits high up in a tree or in a shelter for hours in the freezing cold, or walk-and-stalk, where you literally stalk the target with your bow in hand gilly-suit on and looking like something out of Star Trek.  

We like to go with a couple of times during the season, and that means a weekend in the bush, huge campfire, testosterone and adrenaline levels of the boys up against the roof.
And it's very cold early in the morning, and evenings around the fire.

Of course we need new warm beanies!

I sussed out various yarns with variegated patterns, or combinations of yarns, until I found this one, in a camouflage patter.  How lucky!, I thought.
But it was horrible to hook with.    Have you EVER tried tried crocheting with this?  I couldn't see the stitches and holes!

It did't survive beyond the second round. 

Tried on location, wasn't good.

Out of desperation, I texted a friend, early on this Sunday morning.  The lovely Marlene of One of a Kind Yarns didn't even think twice about my plea for "maybe, if she has time, someday, to try and dye a camou pattern for me...) 

Dyed and done that very same afternoon!

Yeeeha!  I got it the next day and tried it out immediately.  This was Marlene's first go at camou, so she did a charcoal batch and the olive-rust-charcoal one.

Her DK wool is a thing of beauty, it works up like Rowan DK, and I love, love, love it.    

Put my nr 5 Prym to work

I used a basic beanie pattern, starting with 4 ch, closing the circle, 12 DC, then increasing until it was wide enough, added a cm or so in extra length to cover the ears against the cold, and learnt to do crab stitch to finish this one's edge:

I might crab stitch every second thing from now on

(And here Blogger starts buggering me around. Again)

(Why, why WHY does it rotate my pics?  I've tried every possible option in Picasa and Picture Viewer but it ends up...on the side.  Or upside down.)


So Dad gets the charcoal beanie, as it's less visible to animals that the green-rust-charcoal and he would want to use it on the actual hunt.

Dad's blackish beanie

The boys play around the fire mostly, and pretend they're on the hunt.  One got the crab stitch edge, the other just a few rows of SC:

For the boys

As for me?

I will look pretty by the fire, with condensed milk-sweetened rooibos tea, reading or hooking away, wearing my upside down girly beanie (Rowan handspun Merino, if I remember correctly)

I've since decided to frogg the last 3/4 rows, didn't like the cloche effect on this one.  

Mom's rainbowish beanie

They're ready and waiting.  

Yes, the ears will be warm!

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Getting all the WIPs in a row

Sometimes it's good to get an idea of what lies lurking in various baskets, bags and closets.  
So I bravely got out the various WIPs and PHDs to assess the damage...

First up, and most important, since winter is slowly creeping up on us: some blankets.

The Great Romany Blanket

Based on a photo I saw in a UK home decor magazine and done in pure wool, this is going to be one colourful and very warm blanket.  The DK's are not of the same thickness, so sometimes I hook with a 4.5, some with a 4, and I started without the a pattern, so the edges might be a little rough.

Pure wool is not the cheapest here, even though we are a wool-producing country! But, luckily for end of range sales, and stock clearance sales - it would seem that many hookers and knitters don't like better wool and/or are not willing to spend a bit more - and then I get 50g for R15 on a sale.

I started it last year, before the winter, didn't finish - although it might cover our feet now :-)

( Alessandra has started a similar blanket recently and posted a very nice, detailed tutorial)

For the spare bedroom...

Granny Stripe for the spare bedroom

Please have a look at this horrendous colour inferno, which only survived here for sentimental reasons.  No more time for that.  I entertained the thought of maybe using it in the whiteish spare room, but since too much white gets on my nerves and some other forms of colour was going to seep in eventually, this one had to go.  Enter the new Granny Stripe.

It started out as a stash buster, then I realised I wanted it to fit the queen-sized spare bed, so I gave the scarf-wide strip to my cleaner and promptly bought more stash at sale prices and started again. The colours are much easier on the eye, it has the retro look that I like and is a nice and easy hook when I don't want to concentrate. Done with Elle Pure Gold and a nr 5 hook to be soft and loose, and grow quickly.
 It is a long-term project though, no rush here.

Something maybe for the car?

The linen stitch stash buster
No, this is a real long term project, and a real stash buster.  All the last oddments will used here.
I saw Kristen's blanket at the Cosy Made Things, loved it, and just added the single line between bands.

And now to the PHDs and testers...

Crescent Moon, oh Crescent Moon!

(Something is happening here and I can't close this gap)

I  loved this pattern the first time I saw it.  Attempted it with high hopes with a blue alpaca - never again.  As beautiful, as soft, as utterly desirable as it is, I don't think I'll work with that again.  Too difficult, too felty, no.
So I tried other yarns, but then the wheels came off.  Didn't like it in DK.  Tried sock yarn with a small hook, sock yarn with a large hook. Currently trying two strand of bamboo DK, but it is going to either RIP or be frogged.

I might try it once more in a chunky, soft cotton plus thin tweed, as below...

The wide-neck poncho

The Graceful Shells Poncho seemed like a good idea, but it wasn't.

Once I disentangle all the tangles that come with working with two strands together, I'll give  the Crescent  Moon a chance with this combination.

And...The Rest

Rowan Ripple Cushion

The big, fat ripple cushion that was too small.  This is my Own, Personal, Soft, Snuggle Reading Cushion.

It is just too small  to fold in half :-(

So I still have to come up with a plan, maybe do a soft denim insert...I still thinking.

Yoga mat bag

The colours photogaphed very bright, very funny, but trust me that it will match the mat!  At first  it  didn't give me joy - either the sequence of the colour, or the presence of that beigeish/stoneish neutral that seemed like a good idea but. Is. Not.

But I decided to continue and finish the bag so I can use it. It's to be functional, not a showpiece :-)

Using this bolster cushion cover as pattern.

A blanket for Hartenbos Huisie

My sis suggested that we hook blankets for the two single beds in Hartenbos Huisie.  We took the colours in the pillows as starting point, and can each choose another colour or two.   The patterns will remain a secret to each until the blankets are complete - a secret small CAL!

I have a shortlist of two or so patterns, but have not decided.

A lacy, flowery curtain for Hartenbos Huisie

I saw a beautiful crocheted  window panel on Pinterest and wanted to do it for a small window in Hartenbos Huisie.  My sis had just figured out the circular pattern in one of my shop-bought scarves and we used that as a basis, with leftover yarns of the patchwork blanket.  After the holiday it went into hiding a bit, then I found the actual pattern for the panel...and had seven fits when it wouldn't work.
I couldn't get these circles attached as in the pattern!

And then I remembered ... I used another pattern for the circles...with a different stitch count...
I'll figure out the attachment still.

Flowery scarf for a dear friend

My friend Christina is moving to Germany after almost 20 years in South Africa. She loved the flowery scarves I made last year and asked that I make her one. I 'm using some leftovers from her and my stash and better get this finished before she leaves in June.

And this might Rest In Peace:


I had grand plans for four cushions covers for the outside chairs and actually finished one already, a giant granny square.  The plan was to make each in a different pattern, and I started with small patches for the second one.  The random patches didn't look nice, the colours didn't work out, I frogged and I frogged.
Then I went back to an old favourite, the Summer Garden Square, took  out a few colours to resemble a Cath Kidston combo and was more happy.  But still in no rush to finish this.

And these are the WIPs.  Actually not to bad, since some are small, and some are long term.

Let me finish the yoga bag quickly!

Apologies for the poor photos. The framework for this post was upload via the Blogger app, and today I figured out that is the reason why the photos in my last few posts were not nice at all.  Could fix the last two posts, but alas, these originals have been hidden where I might find it only again next year .

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

A Stripey Bag Update and Finale


I slipped on a cobblestone and a R500 strap broke :-(
So I took the sandal to the shoe hospital and stood chatting to the omie, when I wondered out loud...since he makes belts, wouldn't he be able to make me simple handbag straps maybe?  Really plain and simple?
Yes!, he said, does that all the time!  

Whaaaat?  Oh happy day :-)

Within minutes the buckles were selected, length determined and colour chosen.  

And today, over coffee and chocolate cake and more chocolate cake and koeksisters and in great company, I replaced Plan B.1 with Plan C, which was actually the Plan A, but I couldn't find it.
While all the time it was just a bit down the street and up the block.

(Voete Goete in Gezina Galleries, for all Pretorians reading here)  

Plain brown leather straps with bronze buckles

Looking much better

Am I chuffed or what!

(Something's not all that great with my photos this week...hope it was only a dirty lens)

Aah.  Happiness.  The bag goes over my shoulder without slipping off, the beads are now around my neck.

Joy Joy Joy.

PS...Found the problem with the photos!
One might think it's time-saving to upload photos with the Blogger app, but alas, there goes the photo quality.  So no more uploading while waiting somewhere one the kids :-)

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The Everyday 6 - All in an hour's drive

While quickly stopping at school to exchange chess party treats for a backpack, I met Gibson:

Gibson Muntandare paid a surprise visit to the school gates

Gibson is a well-known figure in the streets of Pretoria, and today he was in the right place, in the heart of Blue Bull country. Parents, kids and me surrounded him for a chat and photo.
(When The Blue Bulls rugby team is on a winning streak, everybody; mom, dad, the kids, the gardener, the gate, the car and the windows are clad in blue.  Then we draw the curtains and hide underneath the bed ;-)

Read more about this colourful man here, here and here.

Onward to pick up the little one from gymnastics...

Mounted police on the way to gymnastics

Just yesterday I read After60's visit to New York and her interesting NYPD sightings, and wouldya I ended up behind our own South African mounted  police, also in the heart of the city.  While we don't have a Central Park, we do have a farm in the middle of the city - the university's experimental farm, just a 100m up the road from where I spotted them.

Almost finished...

He was warm, so he took it off

It's autumn and our mornings are getting cool now, but the middle of the day can still warm up to 24ºC.  
Luckily he had shorts in his school bag, and stripped down to his vest.

And then we turned back, saw a police car with flashing blue lights and an alarm (excited, they're learning about emergency vehicles this week!), picked up big brother and went home.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Crochet Induced Attention Deficit

There is one place more dangerous that my LYS or bookstore and that is the hardware store.

I've been a loyal client of my hardware store since my first year at uni in 1990, when I bought a copper rod to use as a curtain rod.  Since then, through 4 suburb relocations; to another city and back; to another country and back, I still drive past many others to go to Hi-Lite Hardware.

Today I bought this:

To do what with???

Have you seen this blog post?

Brilliant idea, Carmen

Have a look at Carmen's beautiful blog at

Now, I've got tiny squares to hook.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Klaar! 'n Strepesak

Klaar! Strepesak vir daardie mobiele projekte:

Done! 'n Stripey bag for those mobile projects:

A stripey bag for stash and projects

My een wolwinkel hou sakke uitskotwol aan, growwe, harde  100%wol (moontlik tapytwol?), maar in mooie kleure.  Ek was gelukkig om 'n sakkie met verskillende kleure te kry, vir die lawwe prys van iets soos R25 vir 500g. (Ja! Kan jy glo???)

My one LYS keeps bags of loose ends, coarse 100% wool (possibly carpet), in nice muted colours. I was lucky to get a mixed bag for the silly price of about ...R25 for 500g.
(Yes! Would you believe it??) 

Dit het saamgegaan op die Desembervakansie, vir al daai ure in die lug en op treine.

It went along on the December holiday, for all those hours in the air and on trains.

Hooking away on the DB Munich - Seefeld

Ek het nie 'n spesifieke patroon gebruik nie - net begin met 'n basiese reghoek, vermeerder tot dit groot genoeg gelyk het, toe nog steeds bietjie vermeerder in die hoeke (dit was 'n fout, maar ek was nie lus vir 'n uittrek en oorbegin), en daarna reguit rye tot dit min of meer diep genoeg was.

I didn't use a specific pattern - just started with a basic rectangle, increased until looked about right, increased a bit more in the corners as I went along (that was a mistake, but I wasn't going to froggg and start again), and then just straight rows until it was more or less deep enough.

Hooking in the snow -  a new experience!

The wool was really coarse, hard on the wrists.

The more turbulence, the faster I hooked...

Die handvatsels wou ek nie hekel nie en ek het my OP gesoek na iets wat sou werk.  Dis nou weer 'n idee wat jy in die kop het, maar eers sal herken as jy dit voor jou sien.
Plan A was plastiekpypies oorgetrek met kunsleer.  As dit sou werk sou Plan A.1 regte leer wees.
Nie gewerk nie, pypies was te dik, en toe is ek te lui om dunneres te soek...

Crocheted handles wasn't going to work for me. I searched and searched for that idea in my head that I would only recognise when coming face to face with it...
Plan A was plastic pipe covered with fake leather and if that worked, Plan A.1 would be real leather.
It didn't, and I was in no mood to go back for thinner pipes..

Plan B was houtkrale by die mark, as 'n tydelike opsie.

Plan B was wooden beads from the market, as a temporary option.

Plan B lasted for a day.  Plan B.1 involved new beads strung on twine, not thread.

Intussen het ek die turkoois lussies breër gemaak en ook bietjie wyer uitmekaar.

I have since also widened the turquoise loop and placed it further apart.

Die voering kom 'n uitverkoping verlede jaar en pas toevallig toe by hierdie wol.

The lining came on sale last year and matched the wool perfectly.

I wanted red stitching, but just could'nt be happy with the way the blanket stitch turned out,
so kept it simple then 

Yeay! Nog 'n houer vir 'n mobiele projek -- kar toe, swem toe, kung fu toe, kuier toe :-)

Yeay! Another container for a mobile project - car, school, kung fu, out and abouts :-)

 Dit sal my altyd herinner aan 'n uitverkopingkoop met 'n goeie vriendin, kuier by die wolwinkel met 'n liewe tante, die vakansie van 'n leeftyd in die sneeu, glühwein by die aandmark, Seefeld-in-Tirol se bergspitse.

It will always remind me of a trip toe the sales with a dear friend, a visit to my LYS with my beloved aunt, a holiday of a lifetime in the snow, glühwein at the evening market, the the incredible mountains at Seefeld-in-Tirol.