Saturday, 23 April 2016

A South African CAL!



I'm usually a bit slow when it comes to picking up the newest latest greatest best thing. By the time I hear about anything it's already passed! I'm always saying to my kids " why am I the last to hear anything!" My excuse is that I'm not a mainstream sort of person. I fly around the periphery of life, darting in now and again when something bright, shiny and interesting captures my attention. Basically, I'm a Magpie. So I was actually quite surprised when this CAL was announced, on the FB page of my favourite yarn makers. It was literally minutes after they posted their BIG SURPRISE that I saw it! And not wasting a moment ( although I did have to wait an entire 24 hours before the actual announcement! ) I registered on their website HERE and downloaded the free pattern for the first square ( x 2 ) of this super pretty afghan. The thing I love about it most, is that it's local!



 I slightly changed a few things. I'm not a fan of White...it's just too...well, white! So I opted for * Ivory instead. The other colours are from the Elle Family Knit DK range and for this square, they are * Antique * Mistletoe * Gravel * Duck Egg Blue * Ivory ( Elle Pure Gold DK  ). As soon as I downloaded the pattern ( you must register on their website first to access the pattern ) I got straight to it.


Seeing as I've just about completed my Winter Cherry Blossom cushion cover, which entailed quite a bit of single crochet and crochet into front and back posts ( slightly laborious ), these squares, on the other hand, just flew off my hook! Anyhow, so I wanted to drop them here, because this little piece of Blogland is where I store my crochet adventures, just in case our home burns down ( god-forbid! ) and all is lost! Trust me to be the worry-wart. I'm really looking forward to the next square and now I completely understand why crocheters go from one CAL to the next. They are addictive!

Thank you for stopping by!
Love, always.
Jen xxx



Thursday, 7 April 2016

Cherry Blossom Square



Cherry Blossoms! My friends in the northern climes are flooding FB with images of Cherry trees, resplendent in blossoms. But, we have Cherry trees here too and even Cherry picking season and Cherry Festivals! Of course, we are sliding into Winter rather quickly ( yay ) if the weather is anything to go by. There has already been a dusting of snow here and there. Therefore...no cherry blossoms to speak of! It's a funny thing though that mostly I will crochet flowery things in Winter! Probably to brings sparks of light to the darker days?



Anyhow, back to Cherry Blossoms. Aren't they just beautiful and for some reason seem to have a more romantic, magical element than good ol' Apple blossoms, or Peach blossoms, although all blossoms are blooming fabulous! The Japanese Cherry Blossom, is seen in almost all of their handwork and Art. When I think of cherry blossoms I think of Japan!

I've been spending quite a bit of time on Pinterest looking for a simple Cherry Blossom pattern. Most of what I saw were stylised versions, usually worked into a hexie. Or, crocheted and then sewn onto scarves, mittens, hats, cushion covers and so forth. Maybe I wasn't looking long enough but I wanted to find a more classic pattern, a five-petaled cherry blossom rounded off and then squared.


So, after all this searching my mind was seriously befuddled. Information overload is real! I had to take a day or two away from Pinterest, and other random pattern-searching-forays, to quiet my mind and THINK! Well, I THUNKED up a pattern of my own.



 And after seven attempts ( no frogging , just finishing the square and using it as a template to improve on the next one ) I came up with a simple and what I think, pretty design. I'll be making nine sampler squares, each one playing with different colour combinations. Although I do want to keep the colour recipe as natural as possible. These are the first three squares using slight variations on the "background" colours.


I'll also change the petal hues, making some darker and others lighter. After this I'll join them up for a cushion cover. I'm quite excited about this project. Also, I've attempted to write out a pattern but need to pay attention to details or else no-one else will be able to follow some of the only very slightly tricky bits. Wish me luck!

Take care and keep hooking!
Love, always,
Jen
xxx

Saturday, 2 April 2016

NOT crochet related!



Well, sort of! Because, snacks! Mind you it was sort of awkward to crochet and eat these delicious treats, at the same time. They are addictive, to say the least. And absolutely no cheese is added. Honestly, they are so incredibly cheesy that I kept reading the ingredients label in case I missed something. I was sure nutritional yeast had been added, but no, not even a smidgen.



I was asked to review this product and for my troubles ( ha, ha ) a box containing six packets was delivered to my front door. I'm no fan of Kale, which is weird. seeing as it's considered the holy grail of non-meat eaters. Well, not by me. So it was with a small amount of trepidation that I agreed. I thought that if this doesn't sell me on Kale, then nothing will. And seriously, baked Kale is every bit as delicious as everyone else said it was. They were perfectly spicy, salty and cheezy.  Also, no soy, wheat, GMO's or dairy. Oh cripes, just looking at the pics I took, and my mouth is watering. Literally! :-)


Friday, 1 April 2016

A big basket of Easter!

Hello Everyone ( my three fans, tee, hee ). Well, Easter is over-ish and I hope no-one is nursing a too-much-chocolate hangover? It's been a quiet few days for me, mostly imposed, because of Flu. Mind you, the weather played along all rainy and blustery like so I feel I didn't miss a thing ( except crochet ). My head and eyes, and sinus's, and just about every other part of my body were involved and in spite of my best efforts, I could not put a hook to yarn. Mr T and I headed out of the city to our tiny off-grid cabin in the country ( only an hour outside the city! ) and sniffled and coughed our way through two seasons of Modern Family, snuggled deep under a warm duvet.


And then,we wobbled down to the shops ( only two blocks down the road ) for important supplies, like the latest Ideas magazine, and as I casually spoiler-flipped the pages...well! It had slipped my mind completely that I'd emailed them a fan mail months before! And there it was, with the image I'd submitted. I'm famous now so I'll probs have to get an agent, and an office, and some assistants. Hee, hee! It is a funny feeling seeing your own work in your favourite mag though!

 
Also, I'd been gathering some yarn together for a day-dreamed project and look, it almost exactly matched the colour co-ordinations on the cover! Patterns. I keep saying. :-)



Since finishing the Married Harmony blankie, I've felt a little lost, as we all do, right? My Water For Trees blanket is coming along, haltingly, but there's no feeling of urgency there seeing as it's for me. It's interesting, to me at least, that I will crochet by the light of the midnight oil for someone else, but my personal projects are waiting in line...usually right at the back of the queue. Again, I see patterns in this, and questions, and answers too. Although, I'm not a total loser here because I did crochet up a few satisfying little side-projects. Yes, Crochet is a perceptive therapist, when we know where to look. But here I go again, waffling all philosophical again.




You know, well maybe not, but I'm a huge fan of The Patchwork Heart. I just love her simple yet exquisitely beautiful work. And her palettes, or as she calls them "colour recipes" are faultless! Anyhow, I was inspired as I am, always, when I peruse her Blog and FB page, to crochet a cosy cover for me ol' hot water bottle. Since the Big M ( yes, Menopause ) I have experienced the excruciating discomfort of several UTIs! Anyone who relates, and that's almost all women, knows that our trusty hot water bottle helps so much! Even just hugging its soft warmth is comforting during this stressful time. I've never owned a hot water bottle "before this time" but when my dear Irish mom-in-law passed on I found that I had inherited one! Thank you!!

I chose a few soft Autumn tones from my usual good quality acrylic pick, Elle Pure Gold DK ( Suede, Blush, Plum and Amethyst)  and Elle Family Knit DK ( Coral Rose ) and a traditional granny square with a Cosmos blossom centre. Cosmos are a much loved floral show here at the onset of Autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. Although mostly on the "highveld" where I grew up. I would pick arm-fulls and fill buckets with these enchanting, cheerful wildflowers and not mind a bit that they would quickly, abundantly, scatter pollen and petals all over the floors, carpets and table tops. The *divine mess* I call it. I tried out a Lazy Waves design for the back which worked in my favour when it came to securing the bottom with buttons.




There was also a lot of mucking about in the garden and coffee-drinking at local cafes. I absolutely love it when Mr T has days off from work! The weather, so far, has remained right up my alley! Cool, rainy... and those Cape of Storms cloudscapes are back! EVERYTHING, has been absolutely parched here and to say we need rain is an understatement. So, here's to inclement weather, the oft under-appreciated ally of all crocheters and knitters. Bring. It. On!



Wishing you the best crochet weather, wherever you are in the world!
Love, always,
Jen
xoxoxo