Friday, 4 January 2019

Monday, 31 December 2018

Rounding up 2018!

Hello, Lovelies!
Hope you are all well and happy in your patch of Crochetland?

Oh, my goodness, it's been one incredible year for me. At one point, early on, there was so much excitement whizzing around inside of me that I felt I'd glugged down an entire bottle of Frobskottle!

All to do with Scheepjes Yarns contacting me to ask if I'd be willing to collaborate! Um, yaaaaha,  yes, oh, YES, OH, YES I would indeed, and THANK YOU very much! 😂 Then Scheepjes sent me THAT wall of Yarn...seriously what you see on those shelves was just the half of it! Do you remember how crazy excited I was? I still pinch myself.

With the buzz still bubbling inside of me, I was contacted by a UK Publishing company to work on a book but I was so full of Scheepjes Frobskottle that I couldn't actually answer them in anything but goo, goo, ga, ga, ga's. To this day! Sometimes all your wishes come true, all at once, and all on a Tuesday. In future, I'll try to wish upon a star but only every six months or so.

Clearly long overdue, I started a Group and had great fun choosing fabulous Admins to help me help YOU. It's called the Hooks'Tales Pattern Workshops. If you need any help with my patterns or want to show us your progress or finished pieces then do please scoot on over and join us. We'd love to see you there! Just click the link to take you directly there.

Finally  I opened an INSTAGRAM account! I'm cool now, officially. Although not totally cool seeing as I'm still treating IG as an old-style photo-album, just throwing in images willy-nilly. I troll my IG heroes, noticing how careful and creative they are with their compositions and colour profiles. WOW. GOALS! Much!! I am "following" some fabulous Creators so please feel free to troll my IG! 😃

Between all this excitement, L.I.F.E meandered its way through it all... as it invariably does. My eldest son returned home ( yay ) from a six-month work stint in New York, USA and moved into our little rental cottage next door while he got himself settled back in Cape Town. Then there was Kai! Remember Kai? Kai eventually attended Puppy Playschool and became A Very Good Boy! A few months later my son and Kai moved to a new house closer to work and Kai's Puppy Playschool so it's been very quiet next door, until last weekend!

My youngest son moved in with his longtime GF, their three adorable rescued Rats, a rescued Albino Hedgehog, and a rescued Tortoise!  So far, this is child #3 passing through the rental cottage! The thing is, it is adorable and perfect for a young couple who, so far, have ticked all the "perfect tenants" boxes. They may also have unintentionally become Sooty's ( aka Beghara, Mr. Parker, Blackie ) next cuddle dash snack bar seeing as he's not yet settled on one family in our road but takes turns being everyone's favourite feral. I am happy to report that he's been fully vetted, neutered and had two minor operations, all for gratis, courtesy of our local Vet! As you can see he is purrrfectly at home in my little studio.

We also acquired a new rescue kitty called Nisha-Li. Not technically a rescue but taken over from her owner who emigrated to the UK. Like all fur-babies who have lost their loving families she really took it very badly. Nothing more heart wrenching than watching an Animal mourn!  She lost weight, she lost her purr! It's been a long road but with oodles of TLC she is finally happy again although still not quite sure of our little dog Roxy ( who is very good around Cats).  She is also skittish with Augusta and chases poor ol' Sooty when he pops in for a visit. I'm sure the situation will settle down given some patience and time.

Renovations inside and outside of our almost 117-year-old house continued throughout the year but we have definitely progressed and the house is taking on a shape and feel that is pleasing and comfortable to us. I enjoy it now more than I have in many a year gone past. I've realised how important it is to make your house a home and a sanctuary, a buffer against the harshness of urban living. It seems the more comfortable I feel in my home, and in my garden, the less I am bothered by the noises of urban living....trucks, traffic, sirens, noisy neighbours! For a long time, I didn't want to invest further in our home. I wanted to flee into the country! Just get away from it all.

Then, very early one morning, I was lying in bed listening to the myriad birds we have chattering, chirping and flitting about our neighbourhood hedges and I thought " you know what! If they can adjust, if they can be so happy regardless of all the hustle, bustle and noise, then so can I" and just like that, everything changed. If you can't change your situation then change your attitude to it....really worked for me! This is my biggest takeaway from 2018. I didn't go into the new year with any resolutions or a power word but I knew I needed to deal with the issues of urban living and really threw myself into analysing the pro's and con's of city life v country life. I feel a weight has been lifted since I made the decision to embrace urban life and see it's potential and gifts. I bought a birdbath and perched it outside my studio window...this makes me SO HAPPY!!

Of course, there was also CROCHET and PATTERNS!

I started off the year with My African Valentino.

Followed by the Let It Rain Blanket Wrap.

Then Equinox!

Next was Wildflower! . I was amazed at all your amazing colourways!!

After that, another cushion block, FynBos-Protea....

...which evolved into the FynBos BoHo Throw!

I needed a smaller project after that and also a Beanie! Tadaaa, the Cape Agulhas Fisherman's Beanie!

... and finally, continuing my Scheepjes Stone Washed XL crush... the Port Isaac Reversible Bathroom Mat! A big nod to my favourite series on Netflix, Doc Martin! I use this daily in my own shower room! I LOVE IT! It's really the perfect, lush and squishy bathroom mat! I have enjoyed all the Scheepjes yarns I've worked with this year and my plan is to continue exploring the many gorgeous yarns they produce.

Between all the patterns I and my lovely Admins, also ran a few really fun Giveaways, our last one being the SILLY QUESTIONS 12-DAYS OF CHRISTMAS GIVEAWAY! Sometimes I wonder if I crochet just so that I can do Giveaways...they are always such fun and make me so happy, because I know they also make you happy. Win-Win right?

What do I have in store for 2019? Well, there is one pattern on the hook as we speak...just a little something to ease us into the New Year and then...well, I'll just have to see where the hook takes me. Definitely another Mystery-Along...I do love a good mystery!😍

Just FYI before I go. I have "retired" seven of the older patterns because they really do need a rework after which I will re-release them but with videos this time, and extra bits, in 2019. So watch this space for updates! 😊 On Ravelry, you will find them with this Officially Retired sticker.

And so, dear Friends, may the New Year bring you much joy, continual prosperity, lasting peace, bags of creativity oodles of inspiration, and many many happy hours of crochet. May your hook be busy and your yarn basket ever full. Take care out there!

Much love, always.
Jen xx

Monday, 5 November 2018

Hello Monday!

Happy Monday, Yarnarinnas!

It's been a deliciously wet and cool weekend here in Cape Town! Perfect crochet weather right? Augusta always gets a little moody and likes to sit on our bed gazing out at the rain. I watched her for ages while she sat like this. Funny Cat. :-)

I did spend some of my weekend crochet time helping to install another water tank and adjust gutters to make sure water actually flows into the tank! Not always a given when your house is 116 years old! There are very few exact straight lines!😃

What a joy to hear rain pour into the tank! Music to my ears and insurance for my Summer garden and it's survival into our rainy Winter season. Yes, we are a teensy bit obsessed with water here seeing as our City came precariously close to running out of water last Summer due to the ongoing drought! I'm sure Capetonians will never, ever take their water for granted. A lesson well learned in conserving this precious resource.

HOWEVER, I made the most of all the minutes in between and can finally see the end approaching the Fynbos-Protea extension. I'm starting to get excited...although I keep talking myself down because in reality there is still quite a lot to do before my Tadaaa moment. Mind you, it's not big ( like Karoo Vintage! ) but there is A LOT  going on. Also, seeing as it's very BoHo/Folk looking ( my favourite look ) a name change was in order " The FynBos BoHo Throw "!

For those of you Lovelies who already have the pattern for the FynBos Cushion Block...don't panic! The extension is included in your original purchase price and will be added to the existing File ( I will send out an Update ).

Here's a teeny sneak peek...I don't want to give too much away or it won't be a surprise! 😄 XXX

Thursday, 11 October 2018

From Cushion to Throw!

Hello, Lovelies! I hope you are all well in your patch of Crochetland?

You may have already heard... the Fynbos Protea 3-in-One Pattern ( Hexie, Circle, Square ) is upsizing to a rectangle shaped Throw! It has been sitting there, in my comfy wingback rocking chair... looking at me as if to say " really, a Square, a mere Cushion, a measly part of a larger design? How could you, Jen!" My aim is to extend the Block to 1m x 1.2m, the perfect size for throwing over your legs on a hot chocolate and fireplace Winter's night while watching four entire seasons of  "Grand Designs" on Netflix ( oops! 😄 ).

Just as my Animals speak to me and I answer, just as I talk to the flowers in my garden and listen to their response, well...I do also talk to my patterns! Some patterns are very happy and satisfied at 10cm x 10cm or smaller. They are quiet, they look content anyway, while others seem to squirm for attention from me...they want to grooooow! I'm a good crochet Mama...I oblige. Fynbos Protea will be a 4 -in-One pattern!

The reason for this post is to let you know that I will continue using the fabulous Stone Washed by Scheepjes Yarns. You may be happy when I tell you that I will do this extension in one pattern file as opposed to multiple Parts. Everyone who has already purchased the pattern ( THANK YOU!!! ) will receive an update ( no extra cost! ) as soon as this extension is complete. For those of you who have yet to purchase the pattern, perhaps you may want to wait, or...get stuck into Part One in the meantime?

I can't say EXACTLY how soon Part Two will be completed...but I am on it like Cream on Strawberries!

Watch this space!

Friday, 5 October 2018

A little catch up!

Hello, Lovelies!

Oh my hook, I can't quite believe that it is almost 3 months since I last updated my Blog! I have a good excuse though...Karoo Vintage... which took pretty much every waking minute designing, correcting, typing up the pattern, taking all the tutorial pics, making the videos, then all the final work of uploading videos to Youtube, getting the Parts to Ravelry, updating Social Media...I felt like Shiva of the many arms!? Talk about brain drain! A huge  THANK YOU goes to my Group Admins who fielded and still are fielding questions, who are posting up lovely pictures, creating Albums and generally running the Group while I get on with wiggling a stick about in balls of delicious Award Winning Yarn!  (  isn't it fantastic and so well deserved that Scheepjes won the British Award for Best Luxury Yarn!? )

I had every intention of keeping the Blog updated and correctly corresponding each post with each Part of Karoo as it was released. know what they say about roads, good intentions, and Hell! At some point ( the one that keeps receding into the horizon ) I will complete the Karoo journey because I really cannot ever rest properly knowing I didn't take you with me to visit some of the most interesting and lovely little "dorpies" ( = Villages ). If you would like to see some of the AMAAAAZZZIIINNG colourways that Karoo is sporting you can visit HERE and HERE. I will keep updating as they are completed.

I am in a celebratory mood and have been since I wove in the very last yarn end on Karoo! Just in time too seeing as Summer is almost on our doorstep. Already the Sun seems to shine brighter and definitely hotter, the days are lengthening and I am wearing my favourite pair of red flip flops! As you can see, they are a little threadbare in places because I have worn them almost constantly through two Summers so far. My aim is to wear them until there's nothing left but the uppers. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH!

Believe it or not but I am not right in the head. I was looking forward to some downtime in the garden, not crocheting, just relaxing and pulling up the weeds that have taken over my little garden while I had my head bent over Karoo for the past 3.5 months. This is what was on my mind, other than designing the next Part for Karoo...the entire time. So what do I do immediately Karoo was washed, carefully folded up and put into storage for next Winter's use? Yep... get stuck right into designing a cushion cover. It's official name is Jen Tyler and I am a crochet addict.

If you'd like to take a squiz at the latest pattern them please head on over to Ravelry

I hope you Lovelies have a fabulous weekend wherever you are in Crochetland, I'm off to weed the garden ( code for crochet, crochet, and more crochet! ).