Thursday, 24 August 2017

Get this book - Hallo, Crochet! / Hallo, Hekel!

What is brilliant?

When three of your hooky friends publish a big, fat crochet book, full of beautiful patterns, that is brilliant.

Hello, welcome and thank you for Hello, Crochet! / Hallo, Hekel! by Cornel Strydom, Elsbeth Eksteen and Anisa Fielding, three beautiful, creative hookers, each with a very unique style.  The result resembles all of them: contemporary neutral, romantic arty and bright, bohemian quirky. 

Hello Cornel, Elsbeth & Anisa!

The book is divided into four main sections: Contemporary, Arty, Romantic and Bohemian, each showcasing this specific style in terms of colour and styling.  

Contents (Afrikaans version)

A variety of patterns are included, eg. a tea cosy, 2 blankets, scarf, wrist warmers, shawl, toy, three different bags, a skirt, a placemat, a children's jumper, a dress, a hat and top in the Contemporary section.  Paging through Arty, you'll find similar, but different, plus a beanie, a coat, a doilie and mini-shawl, and this continues through Romantic and Bohemian, a total of 64 patterns (yes, there's enough patterns!).

Then you realise that these 64 patterns are made up of 11 motifs, 4 written patterns and 2 diagrams...that's the cleverness of this book! One diagram can be interpreted as a neutral, basic shawl; a chunky mini-shawl/neckerchief; a romantic summer shawl in pastels and a bright, gypsy-like shawl with pom poms - and they all look different. 

The layout is clean and fresh without being clinical.  Each pattern has an information box that includes an indication of the skill level required, recommended yarn (used in the example), hook size, completed size, special abbreviations and tools needed.  Some also included diagrams of joins, pattern repetitions or simple motifs to to include, or instructions for assembly, all hand-drawn by Elsbeth (as is the pattern diagrams in the back of the book).

A Bohemian baby cardigan

I quickly tested the Amber mini-shawl in both Karoo Moon handspun and Malabrigo Silky Merino. It worked up easily to a nice neckerchief size.  I did prefer the softer Silky Merino that also drapes better, but a bigger hook size might have served the Karoo Moon well.  

Blocking the Karoo Moon mini shawl

Done in Silky Merino, it came out a bit bigger, with better drape:

One can almost see the softness of this yarn!

I thoroughly enjoyed making these quick projects and look forward  to working through more of the book (8 yellow Post It Notes mark those that required earliest attention!).  I can really recommend this book as a versatile pattern book for the intermediate hooker, showcasing the best of South African yarns (this is such a bonus - we now have beautiful yarns available and patterns were designed with these in mind).  Even just reading through it takes  me back to the good old Craft Share days at Cornel's dining table!

Well done,  ladies.  There was a gap in the market and it was waiting for you!

(Next up: Review of Beatrix Snyman's Afrikaans book "Raak Hekelslim", soon to be available in English as well)

Monday, 17 April 2017

Create - a new yarncraft mag on the block!

What is great?

Welcoming a new yarncraft magazine, that is great!

Create Magazine is a new digital offering, fantastic in a time where beloved magazines close down one after the other, where print magazines are often so frustrating (try to decipher the index?  I dare you.  If I have to page through the whole bloody magazine because I cannot determine from the index what is knit/crochet/mosaic/clay/paint/rubbish...then I just don't even buy it).

Available online at , Create Mag is a collaboration between some of the most talented ladies on the South African scene and is edited by Lauren Redman.

Issue 1 (76 pp) contains ...

- a review of 8 local and international yarns, dye and a Scheepjes pattern bookazine.
- an interview with Carlé Dehning, creative mind behind Nurturing Fibres
- an overview on recent and future yarn related retreats


- a whole TEN patterns: knitting, crochet and Tunisian with really wearable/usuable projects.

Get it now!   It really is worth your R100.

(R100 = €7= £6 = $7.5 = AUS$ 10 at This Moment's exchange rate)

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

What I'm working on in March


Oh my soul, this is horrid.  

Well, almost nothing.

Just when I thought that all busyness would come to a stop, that knitting is good for the trigger finger and I could knit away at speed, I woke to the fact that March is the month of all kinds of orals and assessments at school for the little one, a public holiday and long weekend with no knitting, countdown for the husband's Ironman this weekend and Test Cycle for the eldest..and some more in between. And suddenly my myasthenia eyes kicked in after years of no symptoms, so I've been cross-eyed with double vision for a week now.  Back to meds, realised I'm actually over-medicating and it's happily slowly returning to normal.  

I worked up to Section 7 of the Find My Fade.  

Had to balance on the couch to get this photot!  It will be enormous, I'm just past halfway. 

You know, this pattern...isn't a difficult pattern, but it could have been written better.  Very simple issues makes it very frustrating at times and more experienced knitters have thrown it down.  I do love how the colour melting is developing and think I should have added the greyish colour I discarded, but all is working out fine.  There might be a small yarn stash growing in similar colours, for myself...and there might even be another pile being assembled...for myself :-D  I saved Malabrigo sock for almost three years now, waiting for the perfect pattern!

Fearlessly frogging.  Weekly.  

There was some simple sewing.  That familiar story of buying the fabric, taking the old cushion covers off...waiting three years to take the next step and then completing the job in half a morning!

The back of a curtain panel for the landing window - No other photos :-(  So marvel at my neat folding and ironing, and behold: no pins ;-)

And this year we happily subcontracted our Ironman supporter's t-shirts to a friend whose business is branding...I might have driven them slightly mad with changing font size and spacing until I was happy!I love the pow they added and we'll be some very visible supporters on race day Sunday.

The lime green ones - that's us :-D

I have no hope that April might be sis is coming to visit for three weeks! We WILL get to visit Linda's Treehouse, a lovely local dyer, during which more yarn might be acquired...we WILL find time to sit down ;-)

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

What I'm working on in February

...except that February is already a thing of 7 days past!

The month is too short.  And hot.  A filled with athletic meets and swimming galas and school outings.  

But I did progress with a few items!

The Parallelogram is done!  Except for the ends.

Progress on the cowl - I'll need one more round.

I started to practise to Find Any assured, this was version 3 or 4 of maybe 37

The Fade started to resemble a sheep's scull.  Or a bovine uterus.

I'm actually getting somewhere!

Well, there is progress...and I decided that life is too short to attain perfection on this project, so I'll live with the imperfections, such as the dropped stitch (I rescued it in some way), the colour change that happened too early, Lace Play 2 and 3 that Do Not resemble Lace Play 1...but it's laceish.  And the shape is following the plan, sort of :-D

When I finish this, I'll redo it in Proper Yarn!

(I also sewed a skirt for a friend who's even more challenged that I am, sewing-wise...but we did it.  It looks like she planned it, it can be worn in public :-D  )

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

What I'm working on in January

Down here we are veeeery slow coming out of a summer holiday Christmas...we must have had the best weather ever, making these bodies and minds so lazy and full of sun and sand we didn't want to go back to school and work and life  :-D

But the new school year tends to get you from 0 to 100  in a few seconds and here we are in the second week of school and getting back to choosing extra-murals and prefect-challenge duties and what not!

I had grand plans of finishing a project or two during December, but having spent half my time at the lagoon and the other half in the waves, there was little hooking done.  I did start with a neutrals stash buster in the form of Yuli Nilssen's Moon Tide Scarf - except that it's a cowl, not a scarf,and my second take on this pattern.  

 Ever since I've seen this pattern the first time, I wanted to make an ocean-inspired scarf with it, in the colour of the sea as you take the slow turn at Die Bakke just before Mossel Bay. The water there has so many blues and greens and turquoise and silver like you can't believe...and Vinnis Serina has the colour, in Java Jade.

Except that the pattern then got lost in the colours :-(

That was then...

And two panels through a 3-panel scarf, I called it An End and frogged the lot.  

So, hence the neutrals stash buster, trying to use the basic scarf instruction and just joining into the start to create a cowl.  I'm aiming for five bands of colours, as I like an uneven number, but I'll see how it goes.

...this is now!

I am going very slow, as I'm sitting with a troubled right hand and stubborn trigger finger that might have to undergo surgery, so I'm alternating with The Dark Side and finally turned to my Voolenvine Smitten DK Outlander, of which I have One Skein, al the way from NY via Ireland, to the Garden Route!  I really want to be really sure of what I'm going to make with this, so surfed patterns for ages on Instagram, Ravelry and Pinterest.  This was narrowed down to Something Knitted, more specifically a scarf, either shallow or asymmetric triangle, in colour blocks of stripes.

Easy, eh?

Except that my top 5 choices seemed to be in Finnish with no English translation to be found On This Planet.  

But then I found the Different Lines pattern, oh yes! Except I've now also visited Linda's Treehouse just around the corner, and there are so many temptations lurking, so there's two colours more to be added to the Outlander and the cowgirlblues Airforce I planned to use with it...So now I'm on Parallelogram with five colourblocks and 724 false starts until I figured out what a yo.x is (newish knitter) and that I would actually like to do it in stocking stitch :-D

The play of these three yarns with each other!

And the Different Lines has another set of special yarns already waiting in the wings...

So I'm busy with those two, mainly.  And reading...reading off  my challenge list, of which I finished two Theme books:

1 - Antarctica - Die sneeu bly altyd wit (Morkel van Tonder) - short, but intense description of Scott's doomed race to get to the South Pole first.
2. Poetry - Katalekte (Breyten Breytenbach - not you typical beach read, as I did; a melancholic, self-depreciating collection of poems by this ex-exiled poet looking at his place in South Africa as he's ageing. 
3. A (younger) classic - That was then, this is now (S.E. Hinton) - I missed the age-rating of this move, when it was released, and because The Outsiders was always one of my favourite books, I was really happy to find this one lurking in a second hand store.

I think that's enough for January.  Together with moving furniture around and throwing things out (my equivalent of spring cleaning usually happens between Christmas and New Year!) and general decluttering/re-arranging/putting up shelving etc.

Knitting happens every second or third day and from now most likely while waiting for a school sport to finish!

And reading sometimes on the beach :-)

Sunday, 8 January 2017

i(shall)Read 2017

Ek lees wel baie (mos) (nie net eenmaal in 5 jaar nie ) (iRead 2011)

Ek skryf net nie (altyd) (alles) op nie.

Maar ek hou wel van die uitdagings wat ons die laaste paar op Lekkerlees Boekrak gehad het - Nuwe Skrywers/Nuwe Genres in 2015, 6 Lande/6Skrywers in 2016 - daar het ek by Maleisië, Malawi, Ierland en Australië uitgekom.

Die nuwe uitdaging vir 2017 - 7 Style/7 Dekades.  Of 'n kombinasie van die twee.

Dis maklik, ek het 'n groot boekrak wat vol is.  Daar's een hele rak in die kamer wat nét ongeleesde boeke het, so ek moet eers daar gaan 'koop'.

So gesê, so gedaan, maar die stapel raak effe hoog en dit begin groeperings kry en die uiteinde is my eie uitdaging: My 5's.

So lyk dit:

Verskillende hopies van 5.  Net om afwisseling te behou! En al wat 'n nuwe en maklike boek is tussenin.

5 (Outo)biografieë
1. Ek's g'n Slams - Fatima
2. Native Nostalgia - Jacob Dlamini
3. Let my people go - Albert Luthuli
4. Good morning, Mr Mandela - Zelda la Grange
5. Verwoerd, Mandela & me - Marianne Thamm

En wat ek ook moet kry...My land van hoop - die lewe van Beyers Naudé

5 Afrika-stemme
1. Radiance of tomorrow - Ishmael Beah
2. Coconut - Kopano Matlwa
3. Tjhaka/Chaka - Thomas Mofolo (ooooou Afrikaanse en nuwe Engelse weergawes)
4. Americana - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
5. Black Diamond - Zakes Mda

5 Klassieke boeke
1. This is my God - Herman Wouk
2. All is quiet on the western front - Erich Maria Remarque
3. Polfyntjies vir die proe - C Louis Leipoldt
4. Iliad - Homerus
5. That was then, this is now - S E Hinton
6. The man from Snowy River - Elyne Mitchell

Eeh...dis meer as 5.

5 Engelse Suid-Afrikaanse stories
1. London Cape Town Joburg - Zukiswa Wanner
2. The adonna of Excelsior - Zakes Mda
3. Spilt Milk - Kopano Matlwa
4. Recipes of Love and Murder - Sally Andrew

Mmm...hier kort een

5 Sosio/polities/geskiedenisboeke
1. Of warriors, lovers and prophets - Max du Preez
2. Die VOC aan die Kaap - De Wet, Hattingh & Visagie
3. Imperiale Somer - Karel Schoeman
4. Soos Familie - Ena Jansen
5. Die geskiedenis van Boerekos - HW Claassens

5 Temas
1. 'n Boek wat afspeel in my dorp: Die Sideboard - Simon Bruinders
2. Kortverhale: Fools & other stories - Njabulo S Ndebele
3. 'n Struggle-boek: I write what I like - Steve Biko
4. 'n Reisverhaal: Suid van die wind - Elsa Joubert
5. Poësie: Katalekte - Breyten Breytenbach
6. 'n Boek oor Antarktika - Die sneeu bly altyd wit - Morkel van Tonder
(7. Kaaps: Hammie - Ronelda Kamfer)
(8 Resepteboek: Eet saam met Leipoldt - Peter Veldsman)
(9 'n Onlangs oorlede skrywer : Watership Down - Richard Adams)
(10 - 'n Voorheen verbanne boek: Kennis van die aand - André P Brink)


En 5 van die Seun se Boekrak
Vier Assasin's Creeds
En die eerste Lafras Kuyper

Gelukkig wag daar ook afwisseling in die vorm van Chanette Paul en Isa Konrad!

En daar is genoeg ander afleiding:

Hef aan lê voor.  Party van hierdie boeke lê al vyf jaar in daai rak!