Thursday, 1 October 2020

Hello October!

 Lovelies, I bet you didn't expect a Thursday blog post, right? But I had to catch the first day of October! Not like in August and September where I couldn't seem to catch up with the days. I feel very accomplished now! πŸ˜†


It's a funny thing, but we are experiencing just about the same weather here in Cape Town as in the Autumnal northern hemisphere right now. It's still blinkin' cold, there is snow on the mountain tops and the wind is blowing things about! I love it. Although only this morning I did complain to Noelene that it's "getting a bit much" and "I'm tired of feeling cold". Of course, if you don't know, Noelene lives in Western Australia and she complains that there isn't enough rain. Our dams are already 100% capacity, and that's worth a celebration! But I'm hoping the rains will veer towards Noelene's patch of crochetland soon and allow me to hang the laundry outdoors for a change. 

But enough about the weather! I have been very productive ( to keep warm! ). I made another cosy cowl, because, let's face it Winter is NOT yet over from where I am sitting. I'm still making comfort food most nights. Waterblommetjie Bredie ( little water flower stew ) is an absolute down to earth traditional food here in Cape Town. It's basically a hearty stew made with meat, and the " waterblommetjies " are added in abundance. They are known as "pondweed" or more romantically, " water hawthorn ". In the past, they'd form part of a foraging expedition but these days you can buy them from vendors or in stores. 




THANKFULLY, for me, there are vegetarian and vegan recipe versions.

1. Vegetarian Version of Waterblommetjie Bredie HERE.

2. Vegan Version ( add veg stock ) HERE

2. Non-Vegetarian Version HERE


But I digress....πŸ˜†



These little cowls are quick and easy to make and I've got so much pleasure seeing all the colourways used for the Nomad Cowl and the Duchess Cowl. They work up quickly and can be upsized or downsized very easily. As always, there are video instructions, so even if you are a beginner crocheter you should be able to manage. You can find the pattern HERE!

Also ( and I am so relieved ), I finally organised a Tester Group! Hooks 'n Tales officially has proper Testers! I'm very excited about working with these wonderful crocheters and it's going to relieve a lot of the angst I experience every time I put a pattern together. Especially since I am incubating another blanket idea.



The lovely Tanya is away again to help take care of her newborn Nephew so supermodel Roxy has once again agreed to take the gig. She is a total natural at this, don't you think? She stays absolutely still and gives me side views and front views without any prompting either. What a little poser!

Our Giveaway this week is another one of Noelene's adorable Tassels! This time it's the intricate and beautiful Clematis Cottage Tassel HERE
To stand a chance of having your name drawn from the Lucky Winners Hat, don't forget to add your Ravelry name to your comment.

I know things are still very crazy out there so I'm sending you all lots of good vibes, in buckets!
Stay calm, stay safe, and crochet on.

Happy weekend ( soon! ).
πŸ’— Jen






Friday, 25 September 2020

Incubation time again!

 Happy Friday, Lovelies!

Miss Augusta has the right idea this chilly morning! 


It's absolutely bucketing down here in Cape Town today. Winter is lingering. I'm trying not to complain. I know how much I will miss these cool, moody, cloudy days once the African Sun is blazing down on us again, drying out all the lovely lush greenery and sending the Winter birds away to cooler climes. I will miss them so! I absolutely love the Cape in the Winter months. The colours, the wind, the clouds, the ocean...sigh.






I'm working on two more cosy cowl designs. I need to get those out of my system but also, working these simple, quick cowl patterns helps me to unravel all the ideas incubating in my head for a new blanket design! As the ideas swirl about the challenge then is to get them into some sort of order that makes it possible to manifest into something tangible. Usually, I like to picture the completed design in my head. It's simultaneously exciting but nervewracking! 

By the way, I'm loving some of the beautiful colourways you Lovelies have chosen for your Nomad cowls!

NOMAD πŸ’—Made by Urooj Umar

NOMAD πŸ’—Made by Marilyn Warczak



THANK YOU, so much to all of you Lovelies who left a comment on last week's post. I just want you to know that even if I don't reply I do read through them all and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE all your comments and snippets of news from your patch of Crochetland. Our Giveaway last week was the Duchess Cowl...and then I forgot...and made both the Nomad and the Duchess Cowl freebies for our Heritage Day! I hope you all took advantage of that? If not, let me know?

Today, our Giveaway is another of Noelene's adorable tassel designs. This time, the Passionflower Tassel HERE! Don't forget to leave your Ravelry name if you do comment.

Wishing you a fun and leisurely weekend filled with all good things!

πŸ’— Jen

PS: this made me laugh so much. Nisha completely fixated on my current screen saver! πŸ˜†









Friday, 18 September 2020

Duchess, another cosy cowl!

 First things first...THANK YOU SO MUCH for all the comments on last week's Nomad Cosy Cowl post. I really tried to answer each one of you but ran out of steam! I love it so much that you all are so keen to participate in the Friday Giveaways! Instead of 5 Winners, I picked 12! It's always a lot of fun.

Lovelies, I made another cowl! I'm hooked, I'm addicted, I'm already making another one and have a few more sketched out! Help!

Why didn't anyone tell me that cowls are a fun quick project and that they look fabulous worn? Roxy agrees, and can you tell that she was definitely a supermodel in a previous life? That look! I was laughing so hard I couldn't keep the camera perfectly still. πŸ˜„




If you remember, last week I was a bit short of images for the Nomad Cosy Cowl HERE as seen in situ because the lovely Tanya was otherwise occupied? Well, here it is, on a neck so that you can get an idea of sizing on an adult human being. Although Roxy is humanlike in so many ways, and I treat her as such, she's not quite the model I'm looking for.


Today is a special one in the Hooks 'n Tales household. Mr Hooks'nTales has returned to the office after six months of enforced work-from-home due to you-know-what. The house is unusually quiet, the furry-kids are fast asleep on the couch. I can hear the comforting hum of the washing machine and soon I'll make a salad for lunch and enjoy it out in the garden, followed by a spot of crochet in a warm patch and possibly a leisurely walk at my favourite green belt. On the way back I may even stop at the local coffee station for a takeout almond milk cappuccino. Can you tell I love having " my space " back?

I've released the Duchess Cosy Cowl pattern HERE on Ravelry this morning! It's a quick and fairly simple design which, like Nomad, can be easily adapted for all sorts of other makes! I wanted to keep the pattern fairly basic leaving the options to bling it up, to the scope of your imagination! I've added pom-poms but I also wanted to add little flowers, leaves or bees...or tassels! I've just binge-watched the entire first season of The Duchess on Netflix HERE Can you tell I'm a huge Katherine Ryan fan? She is adorably outrageous ( albeit not everyone's cup of tea ). This cowl is a tribute to her. 





The weather here in Cape Town has not been Springy at all. It's rained every second day making thick socks, boots, woolly jumpers and hot chocolate very much the order of the day, so far. I'm not complaining. Ok, maybe a teeny bit. It would be nice to have a nice, warm, sunny day. Just to warm up the old, old, old, bones. Once a week would be fine.πŸ˜„ 

Other than the weather report...nothing much happening in my world ( a good sign ) other than crocheting cowls, typing out patterns, ORDERING YARN ONLINE ( teehee, as if I need more, which I don't! )... and everyday walks in splendid, magical Nature. Interspersed, however, with the homely duties that come with having a work-from-home husband chained to his desk up until yesterday! Oh, speaking of magical Nature, have you watched My Octopus Teacher on Netflix!? If you haven't yet...you really must! It's BEAUTIFUL!




This week I'll be giving away 5 x Duchess Cosy Cowls,  picked randomly from the Lucky WinnerS Hat. Winners from last week's Giveaway will find their Nomad Cosy Cowl pattern in their Ravelry inbox! Enjoy!

So, with hot chocolate in mind, also the washing machine tune just released to tell me I can remove the washload, this is a good time to wish you all a VERY lovely and relaxing weekend! I hope you are all staying safe and sane and crocheting yourselves through what has been an incredibly challenging year so far. Keep it up!

πŸ’— Jen xx













Friday, 11 September 2020

Nomad: a cosy cowl!

 Happy Friday, Lovely Yarnarinnas!

I had no intention of making a Cowl. I blame it on my wayward hook! My lovely model Tanya ( youngest son's longtime GF ) is unfortunately away at the moment assisting at her sister-in-law's birth so we'll just have to imagine this cosy cowl around a cold neck. However, she did model the first sample I made which I will share even though the patterns are not entirely the same. Also, it's upside down...but no matter. πŸ˜†



We're moving towards our very windy season here in Cape Town. It's also not quite Spring yet so the breezes have a certain chill to them, just enough so that a cosy cowl becomes a useful item of walking gear. As you know, I am BIG on walking and if I do happen to miss a day my body berates me until I pull on a pair of boots, leash up those naughty girls, Roxy and Lally, and head for the woods. I don't know if any of you Lovelies have read Walking In This World HERE by Julia Cameron ( who wrote The Artists Way ) but if you haven't, please do!

Recently, one of my new favourite authors, Tom Cox HERE  shared some background information and inspiration behind his new book 21-Century Yokel HERE  about walking the length and breadth of the UK! Humans love to walk and run, and I imagine it's because, at heart and soul, we are Nomadic. And so it was, with all these walks and thoughts swirling about in my mind, that a crochet hook jumped into my hand, a few balls of yarn rolled closer and this cosy little cowl happened HERE.

The other thing about this cowl, other than being cosy that is, is that it's an incredibly easy pattern to just keep replicating until you have a larger wraparound cowl, or worked flat ( mine is made in the round ), a ginormous blanket! I like patterns that are versatile and this one definitely is.


Of course, our GIVEAWAY today is ...yep, you guessed it! πŸ˜€ I'll pick 5 names out of our LUCKY GIVEAWAY HAT next week Friday! Don't forget to leave your Ravelry name. 

Wishing you all a very happy, relaxed and peace-filled weekend.

πŸ’— Jen


Friday, 4 September 2020

Hello, September!

Happy Friday, Lovelies!🌼

I hope you are all keeping well in your corner of crochetland? It's been a very wild and unsettling six months, hasn't it? For one thing, I am exhausted! We've been bombarded with new information and a different crisis, daily! I don't know about you but I'm struggling to absorb it all. At the moment my brain feels as if all tabs are open. I am bookmarking ( in my mind ) like crazy so that at some point ( when life takes on some semblance of normality again ) I can attempt to properly process 2020. This might take years and sometimes I think that the best way forward would be to forget 2020 altogether. But your body doesn't lie, does it? We will all need to find some way to make sense of it all. I know many of my American friends are on tenterhooks for other reasons too, and to you, I send massive hugs and buckets of courage. To all of you who may have lost beloved family or friends, I am lost for words but my heart is with you. A beautifully written article HERE landed in my email this week. It's heart-wrenchingly poignant, profound, yet gently empowering too.

On my side of the world, hibernating in my little craft room while it's stormed and blustered outside seems the sanest thing to do. Although I do love Winter so much...at some point, it does get a BIT MUCH, right? 😊



Even so, every day I've pulled on boots around noon and with two VERY excited doggies in tow, headed out for our daily walk. Princess Laie is now an experienced water baby ( thanks to Roxy's encouraging example ). Everything is green and lush and as we head closer to Spring, wildflowers, especially the wild arum lily are popping up. For some reason, they remind me of ballerinas! This still delights me so much because where I grew up, much further north, you'd only ever see these in suburban gardens or florists! 


With record rainfall this season there is water, water everywhere! I could happily sit here all day watching Roxy and Leia play. I'd need my iPad though because I've recently become addicted to Pinterest. For years I resisted going down that glorious wormhole. Why, Jen, I ask myself? It's a tonic! If you feel like it, you can follow my addiction HERE. My boards are not crochet related, but they are crochet related if you know what I mean?




The greenbelt where I walk is part of a very long trail that begins at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens HERE, wending its way through incredibly diverse Flora, linking the Brommersvlei Trail and Alphen Trail, along the Diep River which widens into Zandvlei in Muizenberg HERE and flows out into False Bay which of course is on the Indian Ocean side of Cape Town. You're probably wondering why I've turned Tourist Guide but really, all of this beauty on my doorstep, is what fills me with brimming crochet inspiration. I never get tired of or jaded by glorious Nature. And for this, I am eternally grateful. If you ever visit Cape Town, don't forget to look me up so that I can show you all the best spots off the beaten touristy track. 😊


I've been literally under the weather  ( storm clouds, buckets of rain, and snow! ) for a few weeks now. Nothing serious but I'm in my PJ's at 6pm and fast asleep by 8pm! I think I'm an expert hibernator now. When I lived in the Netherlands people there called it " voorjaarsmoeheid ". I'm sure I have the spelling wrong but it's the same words in Afrikaans and means roughly " before the new year tiredness " which I understand as; that the "new year" begins in Spring after a long cold and dark Winter? My Dutch friends will set me right on this. But anyway... it perfectly describes my aches and pains, tiredness, and low enthusiasm. Nothing a few days in the warming Sun can't fix. HOWEVER, there is a new design on my hook which I will share soon! Let me add; I'm absolutely LOVING all the gorgeous Moonflowers popping up in our lovely Hooks 'n Tales Pattern Workshop Group HERE. Keep 'em coming, Lovelies, your adventurous colourways warm me to the bone!


Made by Turkan Usta Turgut


Made by Rebekah Kingston



Now that I've cheered myself up it's time for our Friday GIVEAWAY and this week it's Noelene's adorable Tea Time Tassel! Don't forget to add your Ravelry name if you do comment. I'll pick 3 winners randomly from the Lucky Winners Hat! Best of luck!

Lovelies, as always, stay safe, stay calm, seek joy, and peace and only the best coffee ( or tea ).
May your yarn basket remain full and your hook warm!

πŸ’— Jen