Friday, 18 October 2019

Pups, Peacocks and Possibilities.

Hello, Lovelies...'tis I again, waving hello to you from sunny, humid, windy Cape Town, South Africa.

This is not crochet weather and I'm looking forward to the cooler temperatures and torrential rain forecast for ONLY NEXT weekend! Oh well, as my friend Yvonne used to say when we lived in Amsterdam, and we'd bundle up our boys in snowsuits..." it's only weather!"

Mind you, this really is perfect for Freya's Pups. I don't have to worry about whether they'll be warm enough. Speaking of which. Would you like to see how they've been coming along? Their little eyes are still shut, so I'm guessing poor Freya was rescued with newborn Pups! But that's all in the past now and Freya has certainly landed with her furry bum in the butter ( along with her babies ). Thank you so much to our Group Members who participated in our "Name The Babies" competition! Oh my word, it was really so difficult to choose names but eventually, we settled on Oscar, Nelson, Bailey and Chester for the little boys and Lily-Ren for our one little girl! I'm hoping that when they are adopted their new parents will keep those names.

This Friday's colour board is definitely sticking with the Green Theme as I gather colour swatches for the upcoming Green Tea Throw. The yarn suggestion here is Scheepjes Metropolis in glorious peacock colours, Cairo, Ankara, Colombo, Canberra, Salvador and Munich. Although, I will be making the throw in a DK weight yarn and Metropolis is a fingering yarn but you could certainly match up the colours to your favourite DK yarn. If you're following my colourway suggestions here I won't leave you in the lurch and will make sure to post my final yarn and colour choices before we begin the Green Tea Block + Extension. Watch this space, Yarnarinas!

While we're on the subject of "Throws". I was feeling very optimistic about getting Part 3 of the Golden Tea Block Extension out to all of you who are following along ( did I say 23 October? ). What was I thinking!? Puppies, my dears, need cuddles, and photoshoots, and introductions to the neighbours, to family members, not forgetting the postman and the guy who delivers our local newspaper every Thursday afternoon. These things take time. However, I am reigning in my Puppy -cuddles-showing-off time to make sure our final part ( ie: Part 3 and Part 4 ) will get squished into one file and delivered to your Ravelry Library on Halloween! For those of you still sweating over all those little squares, I'm sure you don't mind the delay?  Noelene's Teddy has been very hard at work and I can see it's paying off. But not all of us have helpful Teddy's right?

For the three lucky winners of last Friday's Giveaway CONGRATULATIONS!! You'll find your lovely Toni Lipsey Cardi pattern in your Ravelry Library!

I'm in a bit of a Cardi-Crush phase and I absolutely fell in love with this elegant, very carefully crafted Cardi from Nomad Stitches called Candelaria.  This is the Giveaway up for grabs! All you need to do is post a comment down below and don't forget to leave your Ravelry name. Next Friday I will randomly select three lucky recipients. I'm crossing fingers I win! 😊

Next week I'll be reviewing a few new Crochet books I recently acquired. It's my one weakness ( is it a weakness at all? ), Crochet Books! I hardly ever use them ( but oh the possibilities! ). There are not many things that come close to the great pleasure I experience sitting on my front porch stairs, coffee close by, with a new crochet book in hand.

On that note, Friends in Yarn...I hear the kettle whistling!
I hope your weekend is absolutely lovely,
πŸ’— Jen

Friday, 11 October 2019

Golden Tea and Life!

Hello, Lovelies and welcome to my patch of Crochetland!
I hope you are all well and happy?

Life right? It scuttles every well-laid plan and just when you look the other way, BAM...there it is, right in your face saying " Do you want a piece of this or how about this? Because you're getting it whether you want it or not!". In case you're wondering what I'm babbling on about let me make a little list of this week alone.

MONDAY: got stung on my left pinky finger by a Bee which then developed into half a swollen hand, to the point which found me at 2am on Tuesday morning scratching about in my little toolbox desperately looking for a wire cutter while my ring finger turned purple. Bye-Bye 17-year-old wedding band!

TUESDAY: found a rust hole on the roof of my car, tucked away under the beading #liveingbytheoceanproblems. This was serious enough to have me phoning around for quotes on " rust repair " and subsequently I have not had my car back since ( hopefully today because cadging lifts from the kiddos is not good for my Mom moral and besides it means they have something over me now...teehee! ).

WEDNESDAY: discovered to my horror that my favourite Yarn is being discontinued from my favourite yarn shop. The hunt was on for a replacement. On the plus side, I found Coffee Cotton. It literally contains 15% of coffee extract. YUM! I can order it locally and it arrives within two days. Whoohoo! It's also pretty well priced.

THURSDAY: over a relaxing cup of coffee and a scroll through Facebook Land, a pic from one of our local Rescue orgs leapt out at me; a Mommy dog with her litter of five newborns, tossed into an old shopping basket and abandoned in a field next to a primary school! Yep, I am now a Foster Mommy. As if I have the time but if not me, then who?

FRIDAY: * watch this space * 😏

I've called the Mommy, Freya ( Friday is derived from Freya ).

In between all the excitement of PUPPIEEEES and a very sweet and affectionate little Mommy, I am finishing off Part 2 of the Golden Tea Extension. The pattern will be available on Monday. I know many of you asked for more time to finish off all those little granny squares and I'm happy to oblige. Here's a little peek of what's in store.

Speaking of which; on our Workshop Group, our Admin-In-Chief ( aka our darling Noelene ) posted a challenge to see if you could beat my time of 45-minutes crocheting up the little squares ( from start to working in ends). Ok, fine so you all beat me! πŸ˜„ I've often thought of adding approximate time frames to each round but to date have not got around to it. I keep forgetting to watch the clock.
 Also * interruptions galore *.

But guess what!? The clever people over at  LOVECRAFTS have introduced a fabulously useful little gadget HERE called " how long will it take me to crochet this" which calculates the time it will take you to crochet a pattern. I think that's a brilliantly innovative tool for planning your projects, don't you? Especially for those of us who love to crochet gifts for the upcoming Silly Season. We always think we have enough time but we never do, right? Just yesterday I was looking for washing liquid at a new supermarket and stumbled upon the Xmas decoration aisle....OH. MY. WORD! I'm not shy to admit.... a thrill of anticipation shot through my body! I LOVE XMAS and usually keep our Tree up until Valentine's day. Now, get crafting, it's only 75 days to Xmas! 🌲
PS: I've added this handy tool to my Blog Sidebar for easy access.

For those of you who are already planning your colourways for the upcoming CAL " Green Tea " thank you for the inspiration. I've also decided to buckle down and choose my colours timeously so today's Colour Mood is all about that! The colours are Root Beer, Topaz, Camel, English Tea, Willow and Lime in Scheepjes Catona.

I'll probably add an Ivory or Walnut to these as well. I won't be using Scheepjes Catona seeing as it's super expensive here in South Africa but I think my stash of Coffee Cotton by Kartopu Yarns will work perfectly.

This Friday our GIVEAWAY is another pattern by the amazing Toni Lipsey...I am such a huge fan of her work. She's my inspiration to branch out into crochet wear ( one day ). This is such a gorgeously wearable cardigan, so tadaaaa... The French Press Cardigan! To stand a chance of winning this lovely pattern just comment on the comments section below... and don't forget to leave your Ravelry name.

For the three lucky Lovelies who entered last Friday's GIVEAWAY, you'll find your copy of the Elemental Dragon in your Ravelry Library! Congratulations!

I hope you all have a very happy and fun weekend. We could all do with a lot more fun in our lives for sure!
For me, it will be all about ( you probably already guessed ), Puppies!
πŸ’— Jen

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Golden Tea Block Extension!

Hello, Lovelies, I come to you from the future! 
Happy Friday  ( it's Friday 4 October, here in Cape Town, South Africa ). 😊

So today is the release of Part 1-Golden Tea block Extension HERE! I have to tell you that this was indeed crafty labour ( of love, for sure ). For those of you with crafty brains in that you literally eat, drink and sleep crafty ideas you'll know how the arty-crafty Muses mess with your mind, right? They don't care that it ( the idea ) is going to be more hard work than you're up for. They don't negotiate when you say but I think I'd rather do this, or that ( which is usually an easier route ).

At one point I had nothing. I just stared blankly at the Golden Tea Block and had absolutely nothing to add other than the wacky idea the Muses kept whispering into my ear about. It was truly maddening! I mean little squares? 24 of them? Sewn together? Then sewn onto the Block? Aikona, as we say here in South Africa which is a Zulu word for No! Not just any old No but rather an emphatic NO WAY! And if you extend the Aikona into Aikoooooooona and shake your head while doing it, no one is going to challenge you. That's a promise! Yet here we are looking at 24 neat little squares, sewn together, then sewn on to the Block. Those Muses do NOT back down. πŸ˜„

We've had dreadful weather in that it's been misty or cloudy for weeks on end now, here is Sunny Cape Town ( haha, NOT! ). Also, my camera and pretty much any pointy-clicky device I've tried has had a major freak out over the Claret and Empire that seem to be in competition! Let me assure you though, the colours together are gloriously lush and vibrant and I am well pleased with how Part 1 turned out after all! Literally, my arty-crafty block was removed by making little blocks because now, in my mind's eye, I can clearly see exactly how the rest of the Extension is going work out.

I'll be skipping the Colour Mood Board for today seeing as we've had quite a few contributions over on the Group HERE, so do head on over if you're looking for some gorgeous colour inspiration.

For those of you who entered our Friday Giveaway two weeks back: three Winners will find their fabulous free pattern on Ravelry! Congratulations!

This Friday our GIVEAWAY is the AMAAAAZING Elemental Air Dragon designed by Megan Lapp HERE. I think I should enter MYSELF in this Giveaway! As always all you need to do is leave a comment with your Ravelry name to stand a chance of winning this adorable little Dragon.

And so yarny Friends, that's a wrap ( heehee ).
Wishing you all a lovely, peaceful and creative weekend in Crochetland.

Monday, 30 September 2019

Testing, testing...123!

Hello, Lovelies!

Yep, it is Moi on a Tuesday with a few thoughts.
Just a reminder: THIS coming Friday is the release of Part 1 * the Extension * for the Golden Tea Floral Block. You're going to hate me! It's A LOT of repetition and A LOT of needlework *sorry, not sorry*. Unfortunately, it just had to be this ( you'll have to wait until Friday to see what "this" is ). All I can say is, the crochet Muses made me do it!

Ok, so on to my "thoughts". Firstly, this is not about me but rather my response to an outrageous "Tester Application Form" that is circulating Crochetland and which was forwarded to my email.

This has been a bugbear for me since I designed my very first pattern. Unbeknown to me at the time, in Crochetland, there lives wonderful magical creatures called Testers ( not a pretty name for such lovelies ). These "Testers" will contact you and offer their skills FOR FREE! Immediately my very first pattern was released I was swamped with messages from these amazing Folk and I jumped at the offers. However, it didn't take me long to start feeling very uncomfortable. This was free skilled labour that I was unwittingly exploiting. No matter which way I looked at it... I was exploiting the good nature of some extremely talented and experienced people and it made me squirm. Much!

Now, before you all start throwing balls of yarn at me let me say that I do understand that for many Testers there is some sort of fairy dust residue that settles over them when the person they Test for is a super-duper famous Designer! I get that! Also, some Testers are rewarded with Yarn ( at least ) for their troubles and a scant few may receive actual greenbacks for their skilled testing. All well and good. HOWEVER, many, many Testers do this for FREE, for the love of Crochet, to ride the coat-tails of celebrated Designers...and that too, if it doesn't make you feel uncomfortable, is also OK. But none of that sits well with me at all. It never has. It never will.

I have had wonderful Testers contact me over the years, who all regularly test for well-known Designers. A few I accepted but all too soon, as I said, I began to feel very uncomfortable with the exchange of labour. I wasn't in a position to offer payment to a small posse of willing Testers. A free pattern somehow didn't feel sufficient. It's actually NOT sufficient payback. Reluctantly I decided that in all good conscience, I could not continue accepting Testers without remunerating them accordingly, for their experience, their time, their yarn, their hard work! So I cut my Testers loose.

In my head, I can hear the words " but we want to, we don't mind, it's what we do, it's an honour, it's satisfying, we get something out of it too". No, none of that sits well with me. In my heart of hearts, I know it is absolutely wrong to take advantage of these generous offers without reciprocating accordingly. I am truly shocked and disheartened that many Designers are comfortable with this free labour, this unequal exchange of energy. More chilling, is that some Designers have elevated their own status to such a level that they issue lengthly "Tester Application Forms" where there is no mention of what they are willing to offer back! Testers, you need to ask what a Designer is willing to do FOR YOU! You are worth it!

To the Designers who make great efforts to concretely reward their Testers, I salute you! To the Testers who give so freely of their time and experience, you are amazing!

Your time has value!
Your experience has value!
Your work has value!
You have value, and you should always bring your value to the negotiating table.
Many Designers would be absolutely lost without their loyal Testers. It shouldn't be enough that you get a mention ( if you're lucky! ) at the bottom of a pattern.

Yes, yes I know...there will probably be many Testers ( and Designers ) throwing their hooks at me right now but so be it. Testers, I love your generous hearts. You deserve so much more!

Over and out.

Friday, 20 September 2019


Hello, Lovelies! Hope you are all well in Crochetland?

I know many of you are hanging in there for the cooler Autumn weather but here in Sunny South Africa, the temperature dial has been notched up quite a bit. And I'm not ready for the sweaty months...waaaaaa! However, I'm sure you are all SO ready for cooler weather, right?

Yesterday, I did the symbolic seasonal clothes packing away. I have one beautiful antique wardrobe that is compartmentalised in such a way that it houses all my a point.  Come Spring, I have to pack away the woolly jumpers and other bulkier winter apparel to make space for my Spring/Summer wardrobe. Sounds fancy schmancy as if I have a ton of clothes, but no, I also do a disciplined thinning out ( those impulsive retail therapy items ), pack them into bags ready for collection by Tabisa and her little son who live in an informal settlement not far from where I live. There, the women sell used clothing to support their one-parent households. I find this whole clearing out exercise very rewarding. I enjoy regularly tidying up, even while I design when there is Yarn and Yarn fluff, snipped off tails, scissors, pens and notes liberally scattered across my worktable...I stop every now and then and tidy it all up! My brain begins to feel horribly messy and tangled when my living or creating environment is cluttered and disordered. I think one of my favourite things to buy are pretty storage boxes! No, I'm not a Marie Kondo fan, because BOOKS... I love them all and will never thin them out, you hear me Marie? I don't need that kind of negativity in my bookshelves! πŸ˜„

I wanted to tell you about an absolutely lovely book I ordered online recently ( which I have been reading during coffee breaks outside on the front steps of our house ). Called "A Stash of One's Own"  penned by Clara Parkes, it's aimed at Knitters but mostly at all of us who love and own, long for or hoard YARN! Yes, that is definitely ALL OF US! The book features personal essays from twenty-two well known Yarnarinas and it makes for very relatable reading.

This Friday the Colour Mood is most definitely COOL and CALM. Say no more, it's been a drama-filled year so far, for so many of us. Shooowee, crochet therapy has been needed in abundance.
Again, I've chosen Scheepjes Catona because !!ALL.THE. COLOURS!! but also, the inspiring colour names! Here we have: Root Beer, Brick Red, Antique Mauve, Topaz, Sky Blue and Baby Blue.

Many of you will have already picked up on the Final Part for our Golden Tea Floral Block which should be in your Ravelry Libraries? I've set Friday October 4 as the start date for the Golden Tea Extension and would love to have you all join me for another yarny adventure.

Here's Noelene's colourway which as always makes me regret all my colour choices. As many of you already know, Noelene Sampey is the amazing Admin of our HooksTales Pattern Workshop Group.

I've added ( better late than never ) a Colouring In Sheet so that you can play with colourways to your heart's content before making any Yarny commitments. I'm steadily working through making Colouring In Sheets for all my designs so look out for them ( on the Ravelry page for the pattern and also in the Workshop Group ). Here's an example of the Waresa Hexie Colouring In Sheet.

Next, our Friday GIVEAWAY! Three lucky Winners from last week's pattern Giveaway will find their "winnings" in their Ravelry Library so do scoot on over and check to see if it's your lucky day!
I absolutely fell in love with the beautifully whimsical Yura Wrap by talented crocheter, Jennifer Plonk. If you'd like to stand a chance of winning this lovely pattern all you have to do is comment, with your Ravelry name, in the comments section below. Good luck!

I'm so loving these cool, calm earthy colours. Sigh.

Hopefully, we will all have a wonderfully peace-filled weekend.
See you in Crochetland!