Thursday, 27 March 2014

On the road to Ironman

We're in the final sprint towards Ironman - the last week of early swimming and evening spinning, weekend long rides and long runs.  Your man has abandoned all beer, sugar, chips and other vices, has trained on the road with his bike for the first time in years (it's a bit of a hazard - bike training on our roads) and is feeling in great shape.  Must just not get the sniffles now. 

I am preparing The Cheering Family's supporters T's for the day.

For previous years, I've done this:

Drawn a Super-F shape en let the kids colour it in with waxies, then printed on their T-shirts

When the event more or less coincided with the release of the Ironman movie:

...the boys had the same the year after

Mine, two years ago:

Turned the Ironman logo female
Bad, bad quality  - I lost some of my originals after a pc crush :-(

And this must be my favourite...I saw this cartoon on the Facebook Page of  local cartoonist Kobus Galloway

Note my husband's name???

He uses a clever play with words in his cartoons.  The Afrikaans word for "rice" is "rys", pronounced "race", hence the racing grain of rice :-)  And the speech bubble says "Come Fanie, run!".
I mean, it begged to be used!

So I contacted Kobus and paid for the rights to use the image on a supporter's T-shirt for our family, making a tiny alteration...


(Kobus has since published three books with his cartoons - brilliant, if you understand Afrikaans!)

Unfortunately, my original image also disappeared in a cyber black hole, but it looks like the backup might still print fine enough to make a new T for our athlete, while the boys and I will be going with these:

Supporter's gear 2014

All of us will have his race number on the back, and it's obvious which is whose!
The "Est. 2001" refers to his first Ironman, the Isuzu event in Cape Town.  This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Specsavers' Ironman, of which he missed one, if I remember correctly.
Our T's look a bit worse for the wear - I print on older, end of season T's, as we don't necessarily wear these again. 

So, off we go!

Ps ...this IronWife entered the IronGirl fun run for the first time, assuming that it would, as usual, be a 5km...

Not so.  

8.2 km to conquer.

Might as well be 82. 

Sunday, 23 March 2014

My Mzansi 14/3 - It's the people here

This is Anja's blanket, and her parents, Tinus & Katinka Steyn.

It will never replace a millionth of what their daughter was to them, but hopefully conveys some of the love and empathy of so many people who were touched by their loss.  

Thank you so much, lovely crocheters at Ons Hekel!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

A bunting for St Patrick's

It WAS St Patrick's Day.

Our Mondays and Tuesdays fly by in a flash, leaving me on a Wednesday, wondering how I got here.  Still sore from Monday's training, bracing myself for tonight's, and trying not to think of Friday's looming grading.  This is our February and March, on a run with school and everything else, hurtling towards Ironman (husband) in April, after which we can fall into a collective pile.

 So.  What I planned to post over the weekend:

Due to my sis being married to a Cork-man, her residing in Ireland for near 11years now, and me having visited around six times, I'm considered the local Irish representative at my youngest's preschool and as such help out with St Patrick's week each year.

Picture and book display at the circle (Montessori school)

We'll wear something green, hang the Irish flag, have Enya, U2, Van Morrison. The Cranberries and..... How about some Gary Moore? Sinéad O'Connor!  And start off with me re-telling the legend of St Patrick. I might also read about about Cú Chulainn later, and maybe Molly Malone, or The Salmon of Knowledge. And the kids usually love the story of how The Giant's Causeway came to be!

Teachers Shan & Miriam hoisting the flag

Found some clover in my garden!

As for activities, we've previously made shamrocks of playdough, baked soda bread, took a photo of us all as a giant shamrock and sent messages to the cousin's preschool on Cork. This year I have shamrock seeds to sow, we might either make Irish flags or bake shamrock cookies. about potato prints...

Little hands making playdough cookies

In the end I found a box with bright green dot-stickers that they used to make clovers, drew in stems, a rainbow and a pot of gold.  We also searched for a four-leaved clover from the tiny harvest of my garden - no joy there. And I taught them why the botanical name of clover would be Trifolium - knew the years of studying agriculture would come in handy one day ;-)

There were three cakes of Bambi to make a bigger clover with

...even Nessa (ever-patient school dog) played along!

I also hooked up a quick bunting to string at the front door -and didn't take a photo of it in situ :-(

I used double strands of Vinnis Bambi, a cotton-bamboo blend with lovely texture, in a brilliant green. The result is a bit...rustic, but hey, I've ten balls to finish off.  Impulse buy gone wrong :-0

The pattern I printed out, and it has since disappeared in the abyss of my week, but it might have been this one.  Here's another lovely version to try.

With my Africa, Ireland also has a special corner of my heart. 

Thursday, 6 March 2014

'n Erfeniskombers / A Heritage Blanket

Ek gaan nie meer my somerkombers maak nie.  Ek's nie gelukkig met die patroon nie, die hegting nie, niks nie.  Ek hou net van die kleur en die idee.  

So.  Kas toe met jou, en iets ander word gemaak.

Amper 'n somerkombers

Daar broei al lankal 'n ander idee in my kop...'n iets wat ek wil maak, maar ek sit toe nog patroonloos...

My ma se tafeldoek.

My ma het as jong bewaarster 'n paar gehekelde tafeldoeke by die Kroonstad Vrouegevangenis gekoop.  Ek het nooit besonder baie daarvan gehou nie, maar kon dit nie oor my hart kry om dit weg te maak na haar dood nie.  Een het by my gebly, een  is na my sus in Ierland, en een is in ons see-huisie.  

Tot ek geleer hekel het.  Skielik kyk ek toe met ander oë na hierdie fyn-fyn hekelwerk, en besef hoeveel moeite en detail in die tafeldoek in is.  En toe wil ek dit ook maak, maar groter. 'n Sjaal, of as ek dapper genoeg is, 'n kombers.  Is mos maklik om net die patroon af te hekel...

Een motief - kom ek werk gou die steke uit.

Dit was net, eh...bietjie klein.  Ek kon nie eens die stekies ordentlik tel nie.  Ek sou 'n foto baie groot moes vergroot, of die ding onder 'n vergrootglas kry!

Skaal - so klein is die stekies!

Amper is my Groot Plan heeltemal gekelder.

Maar so loop ek 'n paar tweedehandse hekelboeke raak, en eendag, met 'n deurblaaislag, val my oog op...

Die Tafeldoek-Patroon!!
(in die vorm van 'n deken)

O Vreugde!!

Intussen gesels ek en vriendin Ronel, en sy vertel van haar beplande projek vir 2014...'n Erfeniskombers.  'n regte "heritage blanket" soos die kwilters dit ook doen; 'n kombers wat versigtig beplan word, met 'n spesifieke patroon en simboliek/betekenis vir die maker...en is ek nie ook lus vir so iets nie?

Wel. Natuurlik!

Die begin van 'n erfeniskombers

Ek het geweet ek wil die motiewe groot en sag doen.  Vinnis Nikkim is my enigste keuse, want dit moet steeds lig en nie te warm wees.  En donkerblou, dadelik geweet dit moet donkerblou.  My pa het altyd gesê dis die mees elegante kleur (nie dat ek hier mik vir elegant nie:-)

Aanvanklik het ek begin met Vinnis Nikkim in Navy, maar na twee motiewe is daar skynbaar in die ganse Pretoria nie weer Navy te kry nie, en vriendin Maryna oorreed my om te kyk na Midnight:

Midnight vs Navy

Sy's reg.  Keuse gemaak, tien bolle Midnight later en ek is aan die gang met my erfeniskombers.  

Die patroon is nr 6062 uit "The Complete Book of Crochet (Elizabeth L. Mathieson), 19e uitg, 1972.  Amper so oud soos ek, die uitgawe.  

Ek hoop om teen die somer klaar te wees. 

I'm not going to complete the Summer Throw.
I was never happy with the pattern, the joining, nothing.  I just loved the colour and the idea.
So.  Eventually I abandoned the project and moved on to something else. 

For the longest time another idea has been brewing at the back of my mind...something I really wanted to hook, but I was patternless...

As a young warden, my mom bought three crocheted tablecloths from the Kroonstad Women's Prison.  I never really liked it, but didn't have the heart to dispose of it after her death.  I kept one, my sis took one with her to Ireland, one remained in our little beach house.  

Until I learnt to crochet.  Suddenly I understood what really went into the making of those table cloths, the detail, the very fine little stitches.  It was then I decided on a remake of some form, but in a larger format.  A shawl, or maybe a blanket?  I thought it shoiuld be easy enough to derive the pattern from the motif. 

Except that it was a bit small.  So small that I couldn't properly count the stitches.  I would have to blow up a photo or use a magnifying glass!

I almost abandoned my Grand Plan.

But then, I bought a few old, secondhand crochet books, and upon paging through them...

The Tablecloth Pattern!!
(in the form of a throw)

Oh Joy!

And THEN, friend Ronel told me about her planned project for 2014...a Heritage Blanket, like quilters do it, a carefully planned blanket, with a specific pattern and symbolism to the maker or recipient...didn't I want to join?

Of course. 

I knew I wanted to make these motifs large and floppy.  Vinnis Nikkim was my only choice,, I love the colouyrs, and the blanket would still be light and not too warm. And dark blue, navy: I knew it was going to be navy.  My dad always said it s the most elegant colour (although I'm not going for elegant here :-)

Initially I started with Vinnis Nikkim Navy, but after two motifs, not a single ball of Navy was to be found in the whole of Pretoria, it seemed.  Then my friend Maryna convinced me to look at Midnight, and I was sold. 

She was right.  The choice was made.  Ten balls of Midnight later, and I'm going full steam with my Heritage Blanket.  

The pattern is nr 6062 from "The Complete Book of Crochet (Elizabeth L. Mathieson), 19e ed, 1972.  Almost my age, this edition.

I hope to be finished by summer.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Imagine these colours

My friends at I Love Yarn released their first hand-dyed yarn yesterday!

Imagine - a 70% bamboo-30% cotton blend, hand-dyed in the most beautiful colours.

I went to get to get three balls to complete a request from my aunty, and walked out with a few more.

Clockwise: Guava, French Affair, Mixed Caramels, Rock Rose

 The  reddish-pink and yellow for aunty's project, and all four colours for me. 
Mmm...might want to add a neutral?  Will have to go back quickly!

The colours are beautiful, the yarn is sooooft and lovely to touch.  

(And they also stock Rowan Merino and Tweeds, and Pierrot...sigh, beautiful, but oh, so thin.  I'll try my hand at one little ball of La Provance first, before I attempt the grown-up silky blends...)

There goes my attention span. 

Ed. Yarn review by Beatrix here