Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Slow and steady the tortoise was finished

My aunty D's tortoise potholders had to retire after a long hard-working life, and she wondered could I maybe crochet new ones?

Looking a tad 'used-up'

So I said I'd try, and trawled the net to find a similar pattern.  Surprisingly enough, I found one quickly, and then got real lucky as I could get a great colour match at I Love Yarn.

The colour is 'Guava' and it is just so beautiful

The yarn is a bamboo/cotton mix, and I decided to use double strands to insure good insulation (as I had a burn or two through a crochet potholder I've bought!).  Double-stranding does not work well for me...I don't like it, or might rather do it in rows than in motifs - I struggled a bit with the oval.  I discarded the first pattern after two or three tries and then found an amigurumi tortoise made up of that could work better!  Again, double stranding, and it actually added to the size as well, and my tortoise was growing. 

Tortoise V.2

I just added the row of Mixed Caramels singles to simulate the shell pattern, and it worked well enough.
(This was my first go at pentagons...not  my most favourite ever!  I'm sure it would be much neater with more practice and one strand only).

Amarula on ice, anyone?

At first I had grand plans of lining the inner with felt and nice printed the end, simple Mixed Caramel pentagons won out :-)  That actually also worked out well, as it makes for a nice, thick, potholder. 

Starting to resemble a tortoise shell

I must confess that I got a bit impatient here...I have accepted that amigurumis and similar might not be my strongest point.  The head and feet turned out to be very small, but still recognisable shapes, and I still need to sew on some eyes and tails, but hey, these tortoises are going to do their job of Pot Holding!

...that is, if they don't take off before then

"What are these, Mies?"

Now I must just make a date to get on the train to Jozi for a long-overdue coffee with aunty D.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

My Mzansi 14/5 - Bush camp

at the farm with the tall trees
a little boy's playground is open and wide
there's a tame buffalo calf who comes when you call
- she's a royal little thing -
golden wildebeest
a sable antelope with perfect half-moon horns
and a phantom white kudu roams the dam wall

African Buffalo - they're cute when they're small

Saturday, 17 May 2014

My crochet - Looking forward

This is the third time that I'm looking back to where I started crocheting,  what I've learnt, how my work developed, and it is always interesting. 

I've learn't that even though I make lists, I might not necessarily stick to them :-)

I've learnt that my tastes change quicker than the weather.

I've learnt my tastes stay the same. 

I'm too impatient for amigurumi.

I've learnt how to hook from a diagram!!
(Goal 2012 and 2013)

Two Japanese Crescent Moon/Mezzaluna shawls completed and gifted!

As a reward, I bought the Japanese book with the original pattern, as well as two more!
Because this pattern can be quite the frustration, I have coloured the diagram row by row and wrote a full set of notes in Afrikaans, but sit on it as I can't make contact with those holding copyright.  Quite the frustration, trying to communicate via Google Translate and I'm not getting very far with Amazon Japan in getting to the publisher to obtain permission.  Anyone who can help? 

Does this also count as "something to wear"?  Or beanies then?  Because I got a bit stuck there, on last year's nr 3 :-)
But, as always, I have Grand Plans.

My group, Ons Hekel, remains a joy. It is a closed group now due to ever increasing spamming and the like. It is growing on a weekly basis, and although numbers were never the goal, I am astounded at how the craft is growing, how many people want to learn to crochet and join up with groups meeting all over.

A few members opened shop in the last year, both in brick and online and nobody can complain about the availability of great quality yarn in South Africa. 

Alternative yarn has exploded on our group, and between Anneke (T-yarn), Ronel (T-yarn) and Hilda (T-yarn and netlon) we are SO inspired by their ideas! 

Two members are organising South Africa's first Yarn Indaba, and we are counting the days while crocheting blocks by the 100's for their Great Yarn Bomb . Crocheters from all over the country have sent in piles and piles of squares to used in blankets, which will afterwards be donated to various charities.

Many, many members of Ons Hekel are involved in various charities country-wide, delivering blankets, beanies and shawls to the aged babies, those in need, those who are sick.  We have a list of all these so members can choose where to get involved.  I wanted to pursue and promote these groups more actively, and this is a definite goal for the next year again. 

A new goal...keeping my Ravelry profile up to date.  I regularly browse around and look at patterns and ideas, but am terribly bad with uploading my own info.  After searching for months for a pattern I once saw, I finally found it, by my own queue.
Nuff said.

I'll try to slow and steady update the huge backlog, as it is a nice record of what you've done.  And of course, immediately get going with the new attemps ;-)

So here it is, then:

1. Continue developing Ons Hekel ('headquarters' will be moving, so lots of new people to meet!)
2. Ahem...something to wear, yes.
3. Complete. Those. Blankets. (Quite a few WIP's there).
4. Ravelry. Keep it UP.

It's been a great year.  Roll on April 2015!

Friday, 16 May 2014

An unexpected Malabrigo Friday!

As it sometimes goes, you wake up from a nightmare at 04:00 and after you've dropped the kids at their school, the day is already 4 hours old and you're ready for a nap.  

Too early for that.

So you settle for a great cappuccino and and orange & almond cake for breakfast.

Lucky Bread Co, Brooklyn Mall
(Images: Google)

This is my go-to for cappo in the mall.  I practise my very rudimentary, broken French greeting on Kyria and Bastien, and teach them the same in Afrikaans.  Bastien complained that the locals couldn't pronounce his name, so I told him to just say "Basjan" - they'll get it then :-)

Then I had to take a stroll through the bottomless trap that is Exclusive Books and walked out two books the richer...oh, the guilt.

A promising novel and 45 poems
(Images: Google)

Books is never a bad idea.

But I was actually after mind space, so off to I love Yarn I went, to sit down for a bit of hooking and catching up with Elaine's trip to New York, and Stephni's AfrikaBurn.  Alas, the moment I walked in, I noticed, in the corner , like a moth to a flame, north pole to south pole magnet...


Now that is not something that is easily found in South Africa (see here)  I've previously managed to get my hands on two skeins via my good sis, from a shop in Dublin. And wouldyabelieveit, we meet again!

In seconds I hand four skeins in my hands.  Don't know what I'm going to do with it; but it's soft as a cloud, and in beautiful bright colours!  Scarves/cowls, most likely.

Colours of the sea

Very fine, very soft raspberry

By now I was a bit manic, so into the basket went ...

...more blues and greens for The Great Romany Blanket V.2


...just to try out something for the future summer blankets for the boys...

and  also

...some aquas from I Love Yarn, for a planned myasthenia gravis-awareness snowflake scarf...

Feel Good Friday, they call it :-)

No guilt, no, none at all.

Monday, 12 May 2014

That day in the life of the Berry Beanie

The little Berry Beanie started as an idea, a celebration of a baby to come.

It was to be for a girl, it was to be a pretty thing, with a beautiful pattern and deep berry colour.
That it was to be a Berry Beanie was incidental and perfect, as this is their family name.

This first yarn choice of Imagine by I Love Yarn didn't work, the colours weren't right. 
Then, a great red was found amongst the beauty of Bambi by Vinnis Colours.

Vinnis Bambi, colour Coral

The texture of the yarn did't suit the pattern, so a basic beanie pattern was used, and it worked out nice, with a simple scalloped edge.

But then, one day in April, with exactly one scallop to go - the baby was to be no more.

Almost done

The little beanie is waiting now, waiting for that last scallop to be made, the end to be worked away, and will then go on to another baby, a baby who might desperately need something as simple as a beanie, for whom this might be their only pretty little thing.