Saturday, 28 September 2013

Klaar! Mezzaluna No 2

The second Mezzaluna is done!

This is kind of like Attic 24's Neat Ripple so desperately want to do it, then swear continuously while frogging hooking frogging hooking, counting counting all the way, wondering why why WHY??
Then the light shines through and angels start singing and you know THIS is another pattern that you will hook and hook for the next 60 years. 

Here's my blue Mezzaluna:

Soft as a cloud

The border...I started with the first two tows of Border #38 in Edie Eckman's Around the Corner - Crochet Borders (get it!), and added another thingamajig thingey to rather make a picot, can't remember how, but here it is:

Picot in-between two 2DCtog clusters?  Maybe.

Oh, and every third row I used TR instead of DC, to add some length.

Halfway through I already knew that was also not going to be mine, lovely as it is, much as I love the colour and the softness...just wanted to try it on then:

The lenght is right :-)
(Yes, sitting at Pure Café...that green in the window is a dead giveaway)

It was going to be my aunty's.  

This blue is HER colour, and she has cold winters where she lives, and she needs a soft hug like this AND she's going to visit my sis in Ireland next year when it will still be cool!!  

So when she came for a quick visit yesterday...

... we tried it on

She loved it!


Will the next mezzaluna be mine?

Maybe third time lucky :-)

PS. I managed to find a second-hand copy of the pattern book online, yeay!
Waiting with bated breath for the journey from Japan to South Africa

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Crochet a rhino

Heidi Bears (she of the brilliant African Flower Tutorial fame) has come up with a beautiful rhino design, in African Flowers.


Find the pattern on Ravely and help in the fight to keep our rhinos safe - $1 of each and every sale goes toward the Kariega Foundation.

You might not know that the plight of rhinos in South Africa is bleak, to say the least.  They are slaughtered on an almost daily basis for their horns; 688 up to 22 September this year.  

The horns are dried and ground  and used as "aphrodisiac" or "medicinal reasons", particularly in Vietnam.  Our government has been in talk with the Vietnamese government about this, but in the meantime poaching and butchering continues.

This one month-old calf was found screaming next to the body of her mother, after she was hacked to death for her horn. Easter weekend 2012, Alma, Limpopo.

Poachers are brutal, they are armed with AK 47's  and highly organised.  They don't care who and what they kill in the process, have no respect for game reserves, with the majority of those poached in Kruger National Park. 

Rhinos are magnificent, beautiful giants.  They don't deserve this, and will be extinct sooner than we think, if poaching should continue. 

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Heritage Day 2014

Today we celebrated Heritage Day in South Africa, a day I wrote about last year as well.

Today we celebrated many aspects of our heritage:

We spent time with our chosen family: friends visiting from Cape Town, and local friends. Their girls were flabbergasted once when they realised our boys aren't their real cousins!

I had a French breakfast, remembering that some of my ancestors were Hugenotes who came to South Africa from France.

Before deciding on a Croque Madame

I sowed vegetables, like many of my ancestors who were farmers.

I crocheted, like my grandmothers did, and their mothers and grandmothers before them. 

I guerilla-planted some Afrikaner-seedlings (marigolds), because Afrikaners have always been a little rebellious and did things they shouldn't.

The black-eyed Susan was also guerilla-planted

I'm still going to read a new Afrikaans book, with a four word-title containing three languages (only in Mzansi).

We spent time outside in the sunshine; the boys rode their bikes, we ate early mulberries off the trees in the open erf next door.

I wore local-is-lekker clothing - loose linen pants by Ilse Menck, a Mongoose handbag of Design Team fabric.

I made one of Madiba's favourites dishes, sweet  chicken.

I made my mom's Marmite tea cake, a family favourite.

We made a huge fire, just because.

This what I celebrated of my heritage today.

Monday, 23 September 2013

The Summer Throw (cont.) - Plan D & E

What happened then with the Summer Throw...

I looked at one or two other possible joinings, three or four other possible squares, and then went back to one printed out almost a year ago:  the Mount Vernon Throw

Blocking away

I will combine these two, and ponder for days On What Joining To Use...

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

On figuring out a summer throw

I need some advice here.

The idea of a summer throw started brewing in my head shortly after the one of a Certain  Uncompleted Great Romany Blanket.

But it stayed there.

Slowly I began gathering a few possible patterns on Pinterest, look at possible colours in Vinnis or Bambi and then drank a coffee and forgot about it for that day.

Then winter-that-was-just-a-rumour ended, I took the winter duvet off already by the end of July, and during the three days that spring lasted I realised that I am not going to make it through summer under a summer duvet.  It's just going to be to hot.

Rewind to Summer Throw Idea and fast forward to actually start doing it.  

A day was spent roaming the net for possible square patterns.  It had to be light, lacy, open, as to not be too warm.  It had to be neutral enough so my poor husband would have to sleep under a girly throw.  Multi-coloured was going to take to long, I didn't want to work masses of ends away.

In the end, I decided on the Coral Trellis Square from the book 75 Crocheted Floral Blocks:

One done, now for joining

It came out nicely; I blocked it to make sure, so then it was onward to see how I would join, and that is where I hooked myself into a corner:


I want it open and lacy, yet not with these huge holes - fingers and toes and kids' elbows get stuck in it and it's a tear waiting to happen. 

This is how it would look following the join  recommended in the book:


A friend suggested I join it like a puzzle, e.g. a SC join into the three long picots, and extra picot joins into the SC's:

Also not quite right.  

Need to figure out what to do before I fall out of love here.  

Do I make plan C?  Or do I use another motif (Plan D, E or F?)

Or do I just use a plain and simple Granny Square, maybe doing the clusters as DC3tog, join-as-you-go, with an interesting edge?  Because the Nikkim Bambi yarn is nice enough as it is.

What to do?
What Would You Do?

PS...I'm also wondering - should I take the hook down a notch or so?  Did the above with nr 5, because I like loose work, but maybe I should try out nr 4.5.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

My favourite (Mzansi) yarns

When I took up crocheting a little more than 2 years ago, I knew very little of yarn. Didn't really notice the difference between DK and 4ply, acrylic crap and nice acrylic, not even talking about natural yarns!

The learning curve was quick, helped along by jealously looking at the beautiful yarns on overseas blogs.

But we actually don't have reason to pity ourselves any more, 'cause there's been an explosion on the South African wool* front.  So many beautiful yarns have become available, and they truly compare fantastically well with the beautiful yarns I've seen abroad.  

*Wool.  In South Africa, we call yarn "wool".  That's in Afrikaans now, because "gare" just doesn't  work, that's something you sew with, "draad" is something you mend a fence with.  So wool = yarn and it might be...real wool.  

I read and read about Stylecraft Special DK, and lusted after it, the pictures looked so beautiful, and I wánted to work with it.  Then my sisi sent me a whole pack from Ireland for my birthday, and while nice, I realised it had nothing on our own Elle Pure Gold.  

Behold - the queen of acrylics:

Elle Pure Gold, colour Mist

I encountered Gold when hooking my second ever big project, my Rainbow Ripple, and fell forever in love.  It came in a lovely range  of retro, muted colours, now supplemented by bright tropicals, and is the only acrylic I'll touch.

Then I found Vinnis. Oh, of our favourites.

There are three, the cotton:

Vinnis Colours Nikkim (Cotton), colour  Khaki

a cotton/bamboo blend:

Vinnis Colours Bambi (Cotton/Bamboo blend), colour Midnight

...and the bamboo (Serina), but the above two are my faves.  I've previously only used it for smaller projects; beanies and scarves, a stool cover, but just started with a summer throw for our bed in Bambi.

Through Ons Hekel, I met Marlene of One of a Kind yarns. 
She colours.  She lives for colour.
She also spins and knit and crochet, but. She. Colours.


One of a Kind 4ply bamboo.

This gold/bronze can't be captured on photo.  
It will become a shawl, maybe Morpho, or South Bay, or..?

One of a Kind Cotton

Another shawl?  I can't wait to see how this colourway will work up. 

One of a Kind Wool

There was only one skein of this wool.  The colours look so absolutely random and happy, I took it.  It might only be enough for one or two baby beanies, so it will go into the beanie project.

See?  No reason to complain any more.  'Specially since the OoaK wool is of the same source as Rowan...

And I haven't even mentioned the African Expressions, a whole lot of them, and the workhorse Rustica blend, also from the Elle stable...nope, our Mzansi yarns are A-okay!

The Everyday 9

This little roundabout get a new look every now and then, often linked to whatever is happening  in the city/country.
Snapped through the window while driving round and round and round...

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Happily Mezzaluna-ing

Mezzaluna V2 is well under way and speeding towards the edge!

Starting with short rows any moment now...

This time it's going much quicker (although there seem to be more counting mistakes...).

I'm using Lollipop Lambslook Aran, a supersoft acrylic, with a nr 5 hook.  I've also changed every 3rd row to tr instead of dc, to make the shawl a bit wider.  

The above picture is a bit misleading (as is the lower one) - the colour is actually a soft blue-gray.  What a difference between early morning coffee shop-light and late afternoon back-garden light!

Tr rows every 3rd row

Almost done with the short rows; I want to try and have it finished by Friday, when we go on the last family hunt of the year.  My yarn stash for The Secret Blanket Project is going along - The Dad must occupy the boys, I'm going to sit next to the fire pit the whole day, pretending to see crocodiles in the Crocodile River.

Do you know "Maddie on things"

 If you've ever had a individualist, eccentric dog, you'd totally get this.  Join Theron Humphreys and his adopted coonhound Maddie on their road trip through America, drawing attention to rescue animals and the people who help them. Love them.
Also on Facebook.