Friday, 13 December 2019

Lights on, then off, then on: Part 1

Gosh, Lovelies it's been a whole month since I last popped in here!
I hope you are all doing well in Crochetland?

It feels very much like returning to a favourite hideaway spot. I love my little Blog that was home when I first arrived in Crochetland. Back then, in 2015, it was just me, myself and I, with a suitcase of crochet ideas swirling about in my head. I had no clue that in the not too distant future I would be meeting so many other like-minded Crochetlandians. Or that some would become friends who I have come to appreciate so much. Or that I would become a citizen of Ravelrylandia and Lovecraftsia too. Mr HooksnTales always reminds me that life is full of good surprises and just this once, I'll admit that he's right.

Since I last posted, I've made several attempts to Blog but many, many unexpected things got in the way. Rolling power outages for one! There was also a Xmas Tree and decorating involved. I don't care that it is Midsummer here. Or that our traditional pastime over the Festive Season involves flip-flops, swimming pools, buckets of iced-drinks, outside BBQ's, sunscreen, salads and sunburn! I am going to well and truly water my wintery European ancestral roots. It's in my blood, literally!

While I'm on the subject of Summer Heat...this situation... pretty much with all the Fur-Babies!

Roxy and I have been enjoying our daily walks at our beloved suburban green belt, the Alphen Trail. The water is still running in the stream, which is surprising seeing as it hasn't rained in weeks.

I don't know about you but I'm a human Magpie on walks! I have to collect All. The. Things. Yesterday it was these bushy-tailed grasses! Aren't they just adorable!?

And on the subject of collecting things. I ordered two pairs of much-longed-for embroidery scissors from Be Inspired. A Christmas prezzie to myself. I had a real problem overcoming my reluctance to actually put them to use because they are so pretty! Lesson: USE THE PRETTY THINGS!

In keeping with my Summer Hygge attempts, I've been working outside on cooler mornings, under the shade of our verandah roof. Thing is, I keep getting distracted by the Birds and the Bees! I see now why office blocks and cubicles were created. As a species, we are easily distracted! out comes the Tree, and the little box of ornaments ( passed down from my late Irish Mom in Law). I light candles every night ( on gloomy days too ). I watch Christmas movies on Netflix ( last night it was Home For Christmas, in Norwegian, with subtitles of course ) and Vlogmas's ( Potter and Bloom, Nordic Stitches and Crafternoon Treats ).

At the beginning of December, I attach a festive wreath to our front door. It's this celebration especially ( and Easter ) that makes me reflect on and feel close to my mixed English, Scots, Danish and Dutch roots. I am fiercely and proudly South African and I love my country deeply, all the more for its incredible people who are woven together like a precious cloth. But it's our diversity that makes the experience of being South African so immensely rich. Especially how we celebrate our unique traditions.

I'm going to wish you a very merry Christmas in 10 of our 11 official languages:

Afrikaans: GesΓ«ende Kersfees
IsiNdebele: Ukresimusi omnandi
Sesotho: Keresemese e monate
Northern Sotho: Mahlogonolo a Keresemose
Setswana: Masego a Keresemose
SiSwati: Khisimusi lomuhle
Xitsonga: A ku ve Khisimusi lerinene
Tshivenda: D’uvha la mabebo a Murena l’avhudi
IsiXhosa: Krisimesi emnandi
IsiZulu: Ukhisimusi omuhle

Tongue twisters right? πŸ˜€

In Part 2 I'll share a little of what I've been making, what 2020 will look like, design-wise and a new GIVEAWAY!

See you then!

Thursday, 14 November 2019

At last...a Mandala ( or six ).

Happy Friday Lovelies!

Weather report from Cape Town, South Africa: drizzling, hot and overcast with a 100% chance of mosquitoes.

Not crochet weather right? However, this time 'round, I am determined to work on my relationship with Summer. I didn't think Summer Hygge was a thing but when I googled " Summer Hygge " I was quickly set right. Although, not many of the Lists resonated with me. BBQ's, for example. You'd think that would be a Hygge thing but all I can think of is smelling of BBQ smoke! And nighttime swims in a River or Lake, or worse, the Ocean. Did those people not ever see Jaws? Ok, so that's crossed off my list.

Anyhow, after an hour of reading through many Summer Hygge lists on Pinterest, I couldn't find one that really hit the sweet spot. I compiled a list of Summer Hygge living ( I could add ten more ). What makes Summer especially comfortable for you? Bear in mind we are focussing on Comfort with a capital C! Can you think of special rituals or traditions, or your own practices that make Summer a bearable experience for you?

Which brings me to smaller Summer projects. I know so many of you are big time right now but smaller projects are always Xmas appropriate right? I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying making these Mandalas! They were trending some years back but as usual, I am unfashionably late to the party. Nevermind, I'm in Summer Hygge mode and that means doing Comfort! These past two weeks have been about getting the house in order so that I can put up my little Xmas Tree on the first day of December. That's how I found the long lost embroidery hoops! As soon as I saw them I knew exactly what I was going to do. I've had fun thinking up "homey" names for them.

The new Mandala pattern, Botanica, will be released later today so keep your peepers peeled! On this note, today our GIVEAWAY will be a copy of Botanica! All you need to do is leave me YOUR Summer Hygge idea in the comments section below ( don't forget to add your Ravelry name ).

Before I sign off...I HAD to share this little video of Augusta! I'm terrible I know. Next, it will be the photo-albums!😁

And then, because we can't leave Nisha out. You have to see this little Miss doing her nails!

Roxy had to get in on the action as well. She gets very upset when I don't include her in photo-shoots.

I'm looking so forward to reading your Summer Hygge ideas.

Until next time, Yarnarinas, hope your weekend is very cosy and comfortable.
πŸ’— Jen

Thursday, 7 November 2019


Happy Friday, Lovelies!

Oh my gosh, it feels like years since the last blog post!
So much has happened in the meantime. Well, it SEEMS like so much!

There were the weeks of fostering Freya and her newborn Pups, who are now on to the next phase of solid foods! They have been moved to a "getting ready for adoption" facility where they will receive their inoculations, and their first very fancy puppy-food and have regular photo-shoots. Of course, little Freya will remain with them until they are fully weaned.

Then there was the curveball of stomach Flu which brought my former cracking pace with the Golden Tea Extension to a crashing halt and then once I felt a teeny bit better, a snail's pace! On the plus side, I lost 2kgs and I discovered that I could watch fabulous classic 1940s movies on Youtube. What a treat! Also, Roxy did not leave my side. She's honestly the Best Dog In The World ( we all say that about our furkids, I know ). That's the one advantage of being bedridden for a few days, being able to indulge in back to back Movies. Usually I just don't have that sort of free time.

Through all of this the weather played along perfectly. High winds and buckets of rain! Yum! Once my legs weren't feeling so wobbly Mr HooksnTales and I ventured out to our favourite local park with Roxy. This lovely green belt had been badly battered by the winds with some of the beloved old trees blown over! Roxy is very familiar with this walk and has an absolute ball every time! Diving into the river, rolling around in the long grass and insists on greeting every other dog just minding their own business with a high-pitched YIP, YIP, YIP! KIDS! I made a little Video which ends in me not looking where I was walking ( stubbed toe and blood everywhere! ). But Roxy stopped her high jinks immediately and walked by my side like A Very Good Girl the rest of the way. My take away from this walk? Wear appropriate shoes.

But, enough about me! I have some announcements which are actually about CROCHET!

1. If you've been making-along with us over on the Workshop Group HERE then you'll be happy to know that the final part, Part 4, of the Golden Tea Floral Block Extension is in your Ravelry library as we speak. Don't forget to delete your previous file as ALL the parts are in the latest ( and last ) file. I'm very excited to see your completed Throws! It's been a bit challenging trying to take some pics of the finished Throw though because of YOU. KNOW. WHO! Or should I say THEM?

2. I was REALLY hoping to complete all four Throws by Xmas but time is running away with me. Also, my hands are itching to make some smaller projects. I am going to leave the Green Tea Floral Throw for after Xmas. Which on the plus side. gives you ample time to finish off Golden Tea and also gather yarn for Green Tea. I absolutely love the Festive Season! Even though my five kids are all grown and living La Vie elsewhere and we very seldom have those Xmas Day gatherings like we used to when they were all living under one roof,  I still get into the Xmassy mood, BIGTIME! I can't wait for the end of November to put up our fact, why am I waiting at all?

3. I have finally caved to pressure ( teehee ) and loaded up all my patterns to Lovecrafts HERE! I did have a few of them on Etsy but Etsy is not a good fit for me.

Todays Colour Mood is Berry Beautiful! It's an oldie but still a goldie. I do love these rustic images which always make me long for a simpler life, far away from the hustle, bustle and noise of my very Urban environment ( as many of you already can attest to from my video tutorials ). Although we do have the privilege of an off-grid cottage in Riebeek-Kasteel which is technically in the country, the reality of living there permanently is still a way off. In the meantime, I dream.

I've been meaning to do reviews on all the new Crochet Books I have recently bought but just never seem to find that block of time. Funny thing is, I flip through them looking for inspiration and end up doing my own thing. But, BOOKS, I love them so much and to me, a home seems very empty without a well-stocked bookshelf ( or shelves! ). Whenever I visit someone else's home I instinctively look for "the books" and " the pets ".

Today's GIVEAWAY is a really fun pattern in a simple tapestry crochet technique! It's called Square Eyes and designed by POP Crochet! I think it's adorable and can also be made into a tote bag. To stand a chance of winning this cute GIVEAWAY all you need to do is leave your Ravelry details in the comments section below! Good Luck!

Well, that's me, done and dusted for the week. I'm going to put up our Xmas Tree now!😺

Happy Weekend, Yarnarinas!
πŸ’— Jen

PS: for all you avid Rugby Fans out there who crocheted, or worked in ends nervously through the Rugby World Finals.... πŸ’— GO BOKKE, you made us SO proud! πŸ’—

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