Friday, 8 October 2021

Blogtober... post#2!

 Happy Friday, Lovelies!🌸

As many of you already know...we have our lovely group back on FB. It took eight days and countless protest forms to FB from so many of you Lovelies ( THANK YOU x millions )! Finally, the powers that be ruled in our favour. You know that feeling when you've had a close call with some random nasty event? That feeling afterwards of GREAT relief? The feeling of joy, appreciation and gratitude to have what seemed lost forever, come back to you? Ok, well all those feelings descended on me in bucketloads. It felt like I'd won the Lottery and simultaneously found the item I was looking for in the supermarket after they had changed all of the shelves around!


It's sooooo silly I know, and Mr H&T's keeps sayings "it's ONLY the internet" but to me, each and every person I interact with in Internetland is a very real flesh and blood person ( no, not YOU, Trolls!! ) with lives being lived, heartbreaks being experienced, illness being fought, families being nurtured, furry-kids being walked and pampered, trials and tribulations being met and overcome...or not. In my mind's eye, I see you on the other end of our communication. Our lovely Group is "home" to 1000's of real people and losing it, even for only eight days, was devastating to us ( the Admining Team + me ). Judging from all the emails and messages... to so many of you too! We all need a GROUP HUUUUUG!πŸ˜†


Anyway....before I start getting way too mushy let's chat crochet! It's been a month since I have been without yarn to continue with the Extension for the Harvest Moon Throw. Finally, my yarn arrived! Yippeeeee! All the lockdowns and restrictions meant that Styecraft Special DK was having to labour through MANY hiccups to get to our local South African yarn suppliers. For some odd reason...EVERYONE loves the same colours as I do for whichever design I'm currently working on. Murphies Law? But * happy dance * I'm finally back at " work " and hope to have the Throw done and dusted ASAP! Keep those hooks warm!

The weather has warmed up gradually over the past week. It's still fresh and crisp in the mornings, which is lovely. I've been walking the girls early before "work" and seeing as we're fortunate to live within spitting distance of several lush "greenbelts", it's been an absolute delight! The rivers are still gurgling, the wildflowers are still twinkling... little pops and stars of joy amongst the still-green foliage. But, I can already feel the dry edge on the wind. Our Cape Doctor is good for blowing away colds and flu but does nothing for the landscape. In a few short weeks, we'll be parched. And HOT ( not in a good way though ). I'm trying to not think about that and live in the moment.

While we're still betwixt seasons indoor sun patches are fought over. 

Miss Augusta won this one and is making sure she takes up ALL the space.

Tadaa! GIVEAWAY time ( finally! ): I just loved this festive throw HERE and of course, who doesn't love a man in a kilt. It's also a bit of a nod to my Scots DNA ( my paternal grandmother was a, NOT the crisps! The Pringles originated from the southern parts of Scotland and have their own tartan. Blue and Green just happen to be my favourite colour combo. I should design something, right? πŸ˜†

Should you feel inclined to comment, don't forget to leave your RAVELRY NAME if you'd like a chance to be the one to win the fabulous Sholach Throw.

And on that clannish note...please do everything you can to have a fabulous weekend!
In Yarn,
πŸ’› Jen

PS: Just look at this gorgeous Delft blue bag made by Johanna Cornelia using the Chrysalis Block HERE for the frontispiece and the Chrysalis Square for the sides! 

Sunday, 3 October 2021

Blogtober...a bit of a late start!

 Dearest Lovelies,

As usual, I'm unfashionably late to the Blogtober party. To compensate, this will be a three-day's worth blog post and then I'll be all caught up, right? So grab a cup or a glass of your fav beverage, curl up in a comfortable spot and let's catch up?

I can't believe it's been almost two months to the day that I last posted a little catch-up. I rambled on last time about taking a winter break...which I totally did. August was also my B'day month and as always I like to slow right down and take stock of the past year. I do this because, and I'm sure you would agree, THE DAYS WHIZZZZZZ by so quickly. It feels as if nothing of any importance was achieved. Yet, when you sit down and actually have thinky thoughts about the year, it turns out lots and lots of all sorts of things did occur which you can confidently slap a  " progress " label to. I've always been progress-orientated which has historically driven my nearest and dearest MAD! Is there no rest in you, Mother, shout my kids. Oh Lawdy, not another " bright idea ", groans Mr H&T. Sorry ( not really ) it's in my genes!

Speaking of which; I've always wanted to do one of those DNA Ancestry kit thingies and finally a full bells and whistles test became available at an affordable price tag. So, spontaneously, as a B'day prezzie to myself, I purchased the 9-in-One kit, did the early morning mouth swab routine ( first the inside of one cheek then the inside of the other cheek ) with the giant earbuds provided, then popped my questionable DNA into a huge test tube! A short while later a courier arrived to collect the sample then sped off with what felt like a very personal piece of me for analysis at Stellenbosch University. I had flashes of being cloned and got very excited at the thought of having a few extra arms to crochet with. Every crocheters dream, right? After a longish wait ( close to eight weeks ) the results are in! As you know, I'm always banging on about how much I hate the long, hot, humid African summer months? Well, it's all the fault of my DNA! Turns out, 60% of my DNA is a mash-up of Scottish, from the Orkney Islands specifically, Dutch, French and British ancestry ( no surprise there ). The next bit was a surprise though, wait for it....30% FINNISH ( what!? no wonder I pine for the icy tundras and frozen fjords!! ). But here's a laugh; 10% Italian, specifically from the island of Sardinia. Made sense, as anyone can tell by the way I expertly and in record time polish off a bowl of linguine. My oldest son on learning this, quipped, NO surprise there at all, Mumsie ( I have no idea what he's talking about ). My !!!!!! could be a dead giveaway though? Of course, I'm rounding off the %'s here. The remaining 2% DNA involved Northern Pakistan, an ancient nomadic tribe situated in the region between The Black Sea and The Baltic Sea, the bleak vast plains of Siberia and lastly, a horticultural tribe deep in the Amazonian forest of South America ( what WERE my distant ancestors up to? ). The kit went into loads more detail which included a handy meal plan for my specific DNA make-up. In all, fun, revealing and quite helpful.

Mr H&T and I have been escaping the city almost every other weekend for the past eight weeks. Always to our off-grid "pandokkie" ( aka the hovel ) in Riebeek Kasteel. I took full advantage of these escapes while the snow still sparkled on the surrounding mountain ranges and the valley temperatures plummeted to zero degrees Celcius overnight.  Mostly, the little village is quiet throughout the deep Winter months. Even so, because it's only an hour and a half's drive from the centre of Cape Town, there are just enough visitors to keep the Hotel, Bakery and Restaurants open for business. We're early diners so we'd have our usual favourite spot to ourselves ( and the roaring fireplace ) at The Bay Leaf and Thyme. Which felt deliciously luxurious. We've both been twice-vaxxed, but we're still cautious around crowded spaces ( we pointedly avoid them ). Also, just to up the fun-factor on our trips, Mr H&T researched all the scenic back roads, many of them dirt roads, which make our journeys seem longer and definitely more adventurous. With plenty of rain over the season every farm dam, duck pond, winding river and roadside ditch was filled to capacity. Which contributed generously, at the beginning of Spring, to the spectacular display of myriad wildflowers for which the Cape is world famously known. Every now and again we'd get a bit lost but we always seemed to end up at some quaint little eatery that just happened to serve excellent snacks and coffee! It's always a delightful surprise! This prompts us to high-five each other every time, like two weirdos. Two pretty happy weirdos!πŸ˜†

Wild Pear Trees in bloom!

Unspectacular wildflowers in a roadside ditch. 

We always stop along the way so that the doggies can smell the flowers. The fields were covered in yellow canola blooms. My phone camera does this scene no justice.

Inspired by two early morning cappuccinos and icy temperatures, crawling up the side of a mountain above the mist shrouded village. I'm getting too old for these challenges. πŸ˜‚

Oooo'd and aaaaaaa'd over this gorgeous Camelia "tree" blooming on the main street of Riebeek Kasteel.

On another note altogether, but to keep everyone in the loop; recently, in between all the galavanting around the countryside, there's been a bit more drama-related goings-on in my social-media "space ". Remember all the hullabaloo in May around the sudden closure of the original HooksnTales Pattern Workshop Group? Well since then, this Blog has been hacked eight times! Less dramatically, Google blocked eight attempts. Inexplicably, I find this hilarious that anyone would think I'm worth a hack! It's a backhand compliment, right? Heehee. Then a few days ago, Facebook mysteriously disabled our lovely "new" HooksnTales Group. The thot plickens ( or it could just be Mercury in Retrograde? ). The reason sited was that we had violated several of its Community Standard Rules, repeatedly, relating specifically to...wait for it..." nudity and soliciting 53X "! Oh, I can tell you the Admin Team and I laughed our heads off between the inevitable "Hooker" jokes, and so on. However, this dragged on for three days with dozens of our Members protesting to Facebook via a handy complaints form that is not readily available ( you have to hunt it down ). This made us sad. Finally an email from FB ruling ( tentatively ) in our favour. However, an investigation is now underway as it appears several "culprits"  falsely ( maliciously I'd say ) fingered ( sorry, LOL! ) our lovely, friendly, helpful and fun Group! To those of you Lovelies who find yourselves "Groupless", we can't say for sure when we might get our Group back. To accommodate everyone, the Admin Team and I quickly set up an "emergency" Group HERE.  I fear we may, for some reason or the other known only to untouchable FB, never get back our lovely crochet group. But, no worries...we will keep going. It's the darndest thing though. Since all this uncalled for drama, I've been filling my art journal with sketches of design after design. I close my eyes and literally see new designs dancing across my mind. Strange, right? One thing, for sure, the Universe works in mysterious ways. It's a universal law that Creation is an inevitable by product of Destruction. There's a very strong feeling of being in a deeply regenerative space. I know, sounds artsy fartsy but, I have a HUGE smile on my face.

Finally, I'm getting around to crochet-speak! My LYS ran out of several Stylecraft Special DK colours that I'm using ( specifically Sage, Gold and Denim ) to continue on with the final two sections of the Harvest Moon Thow. As many of you already know. I live at the bottom end of Africa. Sometimes we have to wait a loooong time for things to reach us. But good news, my colours are already at the courier warehouse and, fingers crossed, their arrival at my front door is imminent! I'm SO excited to get back to this project! Mostly because there are other designs in my head clamouring to materialise. It's getting crowded "upstairs ". Below are some gorgeous colouways of where the Throw is at right now.

By Kris Price

By Nana Razpoush

By Urooj Umar

By Marjolijn Zweeren

THANK YOU all so much for your support, for your encouragement and your kind, kind words through yet another HooksnTales drama. I'm positive we will get back to a place where no one gives us a second thought as far as false reporting or other silly shennanigans are concerned.

To get properly back on track, it's GIVEAWAY time again! As usual, we'll randomly choose five lucky Lovelies to win this beautiful free pattern, The Blooming Moss Scarf HERE by Dutch designer Christina Hadderingh. So, don't forget to leave your Ravelry name if you do comment!

See you in crochetland and please stay safe but make sure to have loads of fun time too.

Hugs as always,

πŸ’› Jen

PS: Miss Augusta makes me smile every single day. She's such a funny old girl!

Thursday, 5 August 2021

Midwinter break!

   Lovelies, I'm on a mid-winter break ( JOKING! You know I'm crocheting up a new pattern and designing the extension for Harvest Moon! ). 

  August is my birthday month and since way back, I've ritualised this month to do all sorts of  "taking stock" exercises. For example, clearing out my clothing cupboard and sorting through all the bits and bobs that accumulate over the year. You know, drawers, the tops of shelves, book stacks, the sock nook, sewing baskets, mending, make-up bag, unused or half-used toiletries, and so on. All of that wants a going-through! The good stuff is parcelled up and set aside for our gardener's wife. I know that sounds posh but Archie comes around twice a month to beat our garden into submission and without him, Mr H&T and I would have long ago been gobbled up and absorbed into the foliage never to be found again! And then who would make the patterns some of you have told me you're addicted to?

  I've always loved the month of August. Summer turns to face its demise, Winter puts up less of a fight and graciously allows sneak-peeks of what's ahead. It's a month of harvest, dusting off abandoned cobwebs and opening an optimistic window. Whether you're in the Northern or Southern hemisphere, August brings relief in the form of quiet promise. Have you noticed how the light changes in August? ANYWAY...let's move on to important things!πŸ˜† PART 2 of the Harvest Moon Block ( HERE ) is done and dusted! For those of you Lovelies who already have the pattern, you'll find PART 2 in your Ravelry Library today. PART 3, the Extension will be available in September. Through August, GIVEAWAYS here will be on hold. HOWEVER, if you're a Member of our FAB pattern workshop group ( HERE ) then you'll know we're running bi-weekly  "Buy 1 Get 1 Free" pattern combos! These will continue through the month of August, so do scoot on over and join in the fun?

So, without further ado...I have drawers to tidy up and now that I think of it, Mr H&T sauntered out into the garden this morning and I haven't seen him since. Better ring up Archie!😁

Lovelies, it's still pretty wild out there so please do take extra care and stay safe!

Wishing everyone a relaxing, peaceful, creative weekend.

πŸ’— Jen

Friday, 23 July 2021

Reality bites!

 Happy Friday, Lovelies! 🌸

Tadaa, today is the release of the new pattern Harvest Moon Block! Yep, I've just launched straight into my "big" news before asking " how are you ?"  HOW ARE YOU!!? Once again thank you for all your lovely comments. I absolutely love reading through them even though I quickly run out of typing finger strength to reply to all of you Lovelies.

It's been a bit mad here in the H&T studio. Also, things got very real, as they say. If you're wondering howso, let me explain one of life's two certainties. Death and Taxes! Seeing as I'm writing this I'm sure you can guess what I've had to deal with recently? I mean, seriously now, not even in my most daydreamy daydreams did I EVER think my little crochet corner of the entire world would be fingered for taxes! 

Ok, that was a bit dramatic but how it happened was that I was happily daydreaming, while washing dishes. As one does. You know, just gazing over the rooftop of the neighbouring house at a tall Eucalyptus tree waving it's branches about, like an artists paintbrush, imagining that it was painting the clouds scudding across the stormy sky when suddenly this faint Gollum sounding voice began floating up from a darker corner of my daydream ( maybe the shelves under the kitchen sink that badly need sorting? ). It whispered,  " taxes, you will have to pay taaaxessss noooow "! Good grief, I kid you not; I stopped washing those fertile dishes, headed straight to my computer, typed in "local Accountants ", immediately sent out an email SOS to a few names that looked legitimate and accountanty. I won't bore you with the sordid details of what next transpired. Tears were involved. At one point I was seriously discussing with Mr H&T my plan to divorce him, dye my hair ( or purchase a blonde wig! ) and move to the tax haven of Mauritius!

HOWEVER! While searching for a nondescript suitcase I discovered my big girl panties ( ok fine, tummy tuckers! ), pulled them on, all the way up to my chin, made a pot of calming Rooibos tea, then sat down at my desk to begin daydreaming about knocking this challenge on the head. No way out but through it, right? If you're on our lovely, friendly, helpful group you'll have noticed me posting several " buy 1 get 1 free " specials? Seeing as I've never done that before, having the proclivity to rather give patterns away for free, perhaps you may have been a little surprised? Also, a brand new pattern appeared without warning? Well, now you know!πŸ˜†

This brings me to the next part. YOU, and YOU, YOU, YOU, YOU and YOU x 100's and 100's of YOU, helped me knock this tax boogeyman smartly on the head! All of you Lovelies have contributed towards making me a Designer who now pays taxes BUT, you all contributed towards helping me pay those taxes! And I cannot THANK YOU enough for your ongoing kind encouragement and generous support. None of this, good and bad, would be possible without all of you. So saying...don't forget to check out the new " buy 1 get 1 free weekend special "! πŸ˜‚

Honestly, my heart was in my throat the whole time seeing as I've never had debt! Being raised by super old fashioned working class stock, nothing could be a worse than the day-nightmare of owing the Taxman! Or anyone, for that matter. So, this is my life now, making sure I never do! LOL! Sigh...I did say life got very real, very quickly! But enough about "real life"...let's talk crochet! As many of you may already know, I ran a "special" for the Harvest Moon Block? As in, "buy the block get the extension for free"?  Many of you may already have the Block? I'm going to randomly pick winners from the last comments section and if you have already purchased the Block...please let me know and I will send you any other pattern you like. Deal?

If you don't yet have the Harvest Moon Block in your collection, you can find it HERE. The Harvest Moon pattern is a Throw pattern in 3 x PARTS. Let me explain.

🌸PART 1 ( The Square 12" x 12"/ 30cm x 30cm ).

🌸PART 2 ( The Block 20" x 20" / 50cm x 50cm ). The Square is upsized to the Block size.

PART 1 and PART 2 are included in one price. If you already have PART 1 you'll automatically receive PART 2.

🌸PART 3 ( The Extension ). The Block is upsized to a Throw size ( 47" x 47" / 1.20m x 1.20m ). The Extension is a separate pattern that can be used to upsize any of my other Blocks ( eg: the "Tea" series ). The Extension will be available in September. For those of you who grabbed the launch special, you'll automatically receive the Extension.

In between all this madness I did manage a few soul repairing walks with the Girls and Mr H&T who is working from home while we plough through yet another heavy lockdown. Oh, nature, how you nurture! 😊

Today our GIVEAWAY is a gorgeous pattern called Letitia's Garden by one of my favourite designers, Rosina Plane. Five lucky Lovelies will receive a copy in our draw on Friday 6 September. Don't forget to leave your Ravelry name if you do comment. Ten Lovelies will be today's lucky recipients of the Harvest Moon Block ( check your Ravelry notifications ).

And that's me for now! Hope your weekend is warm and cosy if you're in the southern-hemisphere and cool and breezy if you're further north. Anyway, stay hydrated Friends! 😁

Take care and stay safe!

πŸ’› Jen xx

PS: on the plus side...Princess Nisha makes sure I never get to make the bed. She's taken to burrowing into the blankets every morning until lunchtime.

PPS: For those of you shivering in your booties this winter, I discovered a great hot chocolate recipe!

πŸ’— Add a cup of milk to a saucepan ( I used almond milk ).

πŸ’—To your milk add: 2-3 heaped tsps raw cocoa powder, 1 level tsp turmeric powder, 1 level tsp ground cinnamon, 1 level tsp ground ginger, a twist of ground black pepper. Bring your milk to a gentle simmer while whisking in your other ingredients.

πŸ’— Pour your hot chocolate into a mug, stir in sweetener of your choice ( I used Vegan Honey made from apples ).

SOOOOOOOO delicious, oh, my word!

Friday, 9 July 2021

Let's catch up!

 Happy Friday, Lovelies!🌸

Before anything else...! I finally got my first Pfizer jab! It doesn't seem like such a big thing but for someone who has High anxiety ( with a capital "H" ) I had to overcome an international Gymkhana's worth of anxiety generated hurdles. If you're in the same basket of over-thinkers as I am, you'll know exactly what I mean. Endless spiralling, repetitive thoughts ( the OCD part of anxiety ), all the bells and whistles, trumpets and foghorns of imagination, on full blast. It's exhausting, right? Actually, I got sick and tired of my own fearfulness. Also, my youngest son insisted on accompanying me on this vax journey, even standing outside the window of the vaccination room ( only the vaxee and vaxer allowed ), pulling faces and waving to keep my morale from flagging. Also, this gentleman sitting next to me with a classic Scandinavian knitted beanie, exactly the day after I received my copy of 150 Scandinavian Knitting Designs by Mary Jane Mucklestone. A welcome sign of sorts?πŸ˜†

Mr Hooks'nTales is really inspired when it comes to afterwards there were chocolates, dinner in bed, a happy movie as well as a tiny cute plush bunny, as a reward you know? Mind you...I didn't feel so great...a REALLY sore arm and tiredness for about 24hrs, so it's not like I was taking advantage or anything, right? My second jab is coming up in August and I have my eye on an adorable vintage teddy bear.πŸ˜‚

The weather has kept us all indoors most days but when the Sun peeps out for a few hours we head to the greenbelt for walks. or the beach! If you turn your sound up you can hear the wind whistling through the window gaps in my little studio! These days I'm a bit nervous about walking in the forest when there are high winds, especially after a falling branch missed me by inches a few weeks ago! 

So far, on our daily walk, we've been caught out with a random shower each time and ended up soaked through! The Dogs couldn't care less about rain. They LOVE the water...rivers, streams, ponds, the's all a playground to those two. Because Mr Hooks'nTales and I are both working from home ( seeing as we're back to Level 4 Lockdown restrictions ) AND because walking in mud and pouring rain isn't our most favourite activity, we hired a dog-walker for the worst days. Makes us sound posh but no...we found an unbeatable "winter special". The dog walker, Carl, has a dog called Paul Anka...and our Girls are IN LOVE. Carl takes the three of them on a madcap trail 2 x a week ( he sends short video clips to the Dog moms and dads ). When he drops the Girls back home...they run after his car a little way! So much for loyalty towards the hands that feed them!

Ok, let's chat crochet! 😁

I'm working on a brand new Throw design! It's all pretty much between me and the yarn at the moment but I'm hoping to have Part 1 ( The Block ) ready sometime in August! It's the most exciting thing ever, beginning a new design. It's really the only time I feel completely myself if I have returned home. Everything in-between feels like a waiting room. Do you know what I mean? After Chrysalis, for a few days, I wondered where inspiration would come from for another Throw. Not in a worried way but more a curiosity. I never really plan things out. Between loading the washing machine, and preparing a meal I'll just suddenly sit down and begin. The process seems random but I was thinking that it's a bit like being a Surfer, I imagine? The way they sit on the beach, gazing out over the ocean towards the horizon, or on their board bobbing on the water, waiting, waiting, waiting patiently...and suddenly...SURF'S UP! 

The divine chaos

On our most recent visit to our favourite little beach, there was this. It did feel a bit like a sign to begin a new design. I mean, it was as if the Universe was sending me a colourway? πŸ˜† I'm one of those people who see signs everywhere.

As always, I like to end things off on a party note! Yep, another GIVEAWAY! So don't forget to leave your Ravelry name if you do decide to comment. You could be one of 5 Lovelies ( bi-monthly and randomly generated ), so please do check your notifications to see if you are a lucky recipient of our last GIVEAWAY? For the next draw, 5 Lovelies will get a copy of my latest block pattern ( it might not be exactly in two weeks time, but very close! ). I DO have a name for it, but for now, it's still under yarny wraps. πŸ˜‰

Wishing you a marvellous and magical Friday and Weekend with lots of self-care, a happy yarn basket and fun projects to hook. THANK YOU as always for all your lovely comments ( I read them all! ) as well as your ongoing kindness, encouragement and support.

Take care, please stay safe!
πŸ’— Jen