Thursday, 30 April 2020

Of Lumps and Wishes.

Dear Lovelies, and here we are at day one hundred and eleventy of lockdown in South Africa!




 How are you all doing? I've been reading through all your comments and very happy to hear that so many of you are simply appreciating all the lovely little things: clouds, sunlight through overhead branches and leaves, weeding the garden, growing veggies, watching flowers bloom, baking, ironing ( stop that at once! πŸ˜† ), the children and furbabies, birds in hedgerows or at their feeders, a quiet predawn coffee... regardless of where in the world you are experiencing the restrictions placed upon you and your loved ones during these surreal times. The human spirit is a beautiful thing that appears to show itself fully under duress.

 We all seem to be going back to basics. Strangely, I feel that we have all had a massive collective wish granted! It's that wish we generally keep in the back of our minds as we beaver away through our incredibly busy "normal" lives, that if we could complete this, or finish that, then eventually we could grant ourselves some downtime to enjoy all the things we are doing now under our enforced quarantine! I'm not suggesting our collective consciousness created a pandemic but sometimes if you can't stop the treadmill then something comes along to put, as they say, a spanner in the works. On the big plus side, I'm sure our natural world is heaving an earthy sigh of relief that we are, albeit enforced, giving ourselves and our beloved home Earth, a long-overdue break.
Food for thought ( seeing as we're all baking again! )?

 Here at number 6, you'd think that living in what is effectively sanitised hibernation nothing much would be going on in our daily lives that anyone could call dramatic. After all, the drama is "out there" not in our fairly predictable and controlled personal environments. But no. It found us nevertheless!

1. Exactly 16 days ago I woke up feeling off and by the end of the day had a mild temperature and upset tum. Later in the day, the lymph nodes under my right ear swell to golf ball size...painful much! Every time I chew on that side it sends a shock of pain through my cheek and jaw ( hurriedly googles *that which we shall not name* symptoms ). Slight headache. I put it down to a blocked salivary gland and drink litres of water.

2. Then, 2 days later Mr HooksnTales begins with exactly the same symptoms but slightly worse. He has chills and both lymph nodes swell. We panic and call our lovely GP who examines us both telephonically ( she compliments me on doing such a sterling examination πŸ˜€ ). She reassures us that it's highly unlikely we have contracted * that which we shall not name * but cannot pinpoint what it is seeing as our symptoms do not match mumps, lupus, mono or any other viral infection she can think of. Although later I read that Influenza viruses including Para-Influenzas can infect the salivary glands too!

3. After exactly 14 days we both fully recover.

4. The very next day, my youngest son, who lives next door, develops a very high fever ( 41c ). We all panic. He's perfectly fine 2 days later. MY NERVES by this stage, are shot to pieces!

 I would like to know how any virus could make its way through all the sanitising protocols and barriers we created! In "normal" times we avoid seasonal flu and colds without taking any special precautions. Life is full of mystery... which is very annoying!

 Through the worst of Lumparella, as we now call our mysterious viral infection, I happened upon this lovely young duo who call themselves Emerger. They are local, as in Capetonians, and their latest composition Urban Wilderness has been playing itself in my head all day long ( and literally in my first waking thoughts too). As always, in tough times, we turn to the arts for solace and strength. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.


 However, besides all the uncalled-for drama of Lumparella, we did have some fun even though it was vicariously through Roxy! We sent her on an outing with Super Woof to a farm in picture-postcard pretty, Franschhoek.  This super-affordable service was impressive, especially considering they collected and dropped off as well ( Franschoek is at least an hours drive away ). An added bonus was sending us pics and videos throughout the day! To say the least, Roxy had a ball and came home bright-eyed and bushy-tailed then flaked out completely and slept for 6 hours straight!











 I'm sure you're wondering if I am ever going to talk crochet? Yes, I am, but it's not good news so I'm prattling on about other things. First, Part 4 of the Green Tea Extension is slightly delayed seeing as I simply could not concentrate while I panicked over Lumparella. I'm all over it now but I did lose a few days. Keep those hooks warm. Secondly, I did a poll a few months back on our Group. and asked about which methods you preferred I use when making the extensions. I think the least favourite was making lots of squares and then having to attach them. Guess what? SORRRYYYY, but I can't help what my mind is forcing me to do! It will be worth all the work, and besides, we're all in lockdown to one degree or the other. I'm just making sure you keep those hands and hooks busy. It's a public service, you can thank me later. πŸ˜†


 By now, those of you randomly picked to receive last weeks free pattern giveaway will find your gift in your Ravelry library! Tadaaa! Enjoy! Today's Freebie Pattern is the SAFE AT HOME BLANKET by Margaret Holzmann. This is the crochet version of her knitted design. I think it's brilliant and such a fun stash-busting project. If you don't already know, our HooksnTales Workshop Group is running a fab competition. We're making crochet houses ( any format! ) and there are CASH prizes to be won so head on over....you still have four weeks to make your crochet house! We've had the most fabulously creative entries so far! Here's a little peek at some of them. If you'd like to win a free pattern leave a comment below about your favourite spot at home. Is it your bathtub, your bed, a favourite chair or couch, or spot in the garden? Don't forget to include your Ravelry name!



Made by Iman Van Der Kraan



Made by Sonya Holland and the House Mandala below.



Steam Punk Housie made by Dona Lock.


Interactive Chicken Coop made by Sam Austin.


Adorable Snail House by Catherine Pousserot


Hansel and Gretel Masterpiece made by Katerina Russo Efthimiadu.

🌼


 In conclusion: It's a Public Holiday here today. HAPPY WORKERS DAY to all our incredible frontline Hero's and Heroines. Words fail me how to express my gratitude for their ongoing service. The pennies I am earning during lockdown via pattern sales have been channelled to food banks and supporting small businesses through vouchers and donations. Every time you support me, please rest assured that I am paying it forward. We are all in this together! THANK YOU SO MUCH! πŸ’—

Dear Friends, I hope you are all staying safe as houses, staying well, staying calm and shining on!
Happy weekend!
πŸ’— Jen











37 comments:

  1. Hi Jen
    Thanks for the real nice blog.
    Loved to see your dog running so happy.
    Real glad you’re all well.
    We , me and my husband, been ill have also been sick for two weeks. No fever. Now it is fine again. Fortunately I can go out so I can take nice walks in nature with my dog.
    Can’t wait to see part 4 and I don’t mind making lots of squares. At the moment I am busy with my house it’s almost finished. Was quite a challenge. Stay safe and have a happy weekend πŸ₯°πŸŒΌπŸŒΈπŸŒΊπŸŒ·πŸŒΉ

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    1. Oh my goodness, sorry to hear you have both been sick! Very happy that you are feeling bestter. Enjoy your nature walks and happy weekend! I'm glad you don't mind squares...I love making them. :D Stay well, stay safe! xx

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  2. Hi. Its always a joy to read your blogpost. I am going smoothly through this quarantaine. My house is like a yarn fault. Every room (2 craftrooms and the attic) stagged with boxes of yarn. Ill think i will manage another few weeks of crochetting. I really love the competetion photos. Now to figure out what i will be crafting for this competition. Rav name MirjamAnnaars

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    1. I hope you join our Safely Home Competition. Mirjam! Your house sounds like a yarn lover's dream home! Happy weekend, stay well and stay safe! xx

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  3. Awww, your pupster looks so happy!The dogs in my little neighbourhood were going berserk this morning - people were finally allowed to go out for a run/jog so the poochies finally had something legitimate to bark at. It was a tad early to be honest (I was snuggled up in bed crocheting like a normal person - ha ha!) Sorry you had to experience Lumparella and I'm glad you are over it. Some microbes can lie dormant in and around your house for ages just waiting for a change of season to activate.

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    1. Shame, our Roxy is an old Lady and I think all the youngsters were a bit overwhelming for her. But nevertheless, what a fab outing for her! :D Yep, I mean 6 to 9am have never seen me without my PJ's. I'll jog around the garden later. Maybe. :D This house is 118 years old...Lumparella lurks, I just know it! Happy weekend! xox

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  4. Oh my - that must have been so scary to go through. I'd be holding my breath all the way through. Glad you're doing ok now. You do wonder how anything could get through your sanitary barrier. That's a neat thing you were able to send Roxy out like that.
    I'm not sure where the favorite place in our house is. It would vary depending on if I'm hungry (kitchen) or sleepy (bedroom) or wanting to relax (livingroom). Most time is spent on couch with my yarn and our kitty cat when she decides to be social :) Stay safe and stay well!!
    https://www.ravelry.com/people/RobWillson

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    1. I was a total wreck for 7 days worrying. Thankfully we're both recovered but the mystery remains. Couch, Yarn, Kitty sounds like the perfect place to be. It's definitely mine. Happy weekend, stay safe and well! xox

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  5. Hi Jen, I really enjoy reading your blog. Happy to hear you & your family are feeling better. My husband & I & our dog were traveling full-time in our motorhome when the “shelter in place” orders came. Luckily we were already checked into an rv campground in the Sierra Mts in central California, so we have been able to stay here. My favorite place to crochet now is outside on our patio, enjoying the beautiful scenery. My Ravelry name is KimEllie

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    1. That sounds like a wonderful place to have landed for lockdown! What a pleasure! Happy weekend, stay safe and healthy! xox

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  6. Oh dear, lymphe nodes are the first to defend what comes in.They did the work of defending well.Don't worry, we'll survive more blocks and squares. What a talented house designers are on the H&T site are they. <3

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    1. Yep, that's also what we thought and what our Dr said. But no one can figure out what we were being defended against! :D Any ideas? :D Happy weekend...I hope you're still having lovely Spring weather! :D xox

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  7. Hi Jen Thanx for another lovely blog. I cannot imagine how scared you must have been, thinking you might have ‘that what we shall not name’. Happy you turned out well. My favourite spot at home is sitting on My douch with My crochet piece and eventually the t v with My favourite comedy. Looking lots of newssites nowadays. My tav name is liahartman. Hope you stay healthy and safe. Love ������

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    1. I was SO scared! Oh my goodness so relieved it passed through us, whatever it was, and we are both ok again. Yes the couch, comedy combo...you can't go wrong! :D I hope you have a lovely weekend, Lia and thanks for stopping by. xox

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  8. Thank you Jen for a lovely note today. It was the pick-me-up i needed on this dreary day. LOVE your designs, and even though i have been crocheting for 50+ years, i have not tackled any of your masterpieces yet. Never knew what one could do with such beautiful designs.I have been looking at the patterns and color combinations and i am a bit intimidated by them. Can you suggest something that would not scramble my mind? I have loads of Catonia, and i love that cotton thread. I am particular to pinks,blues and bright colors. I like the High Tea with the flower square extensions. I don't think i would have a problem with the flower square extensions but the other parts? Thank you for brightening my day!

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    1. Hi Janet! Thank you so much for your kind words! I'm not sure where I could start in suggesting which pattern to try first but my mind does jump to the Amanzi Block or Pondoland. The Amanzi comes with an extension too and I think it's a lot more straight forward than High Tea. Of course there are detailed videos throughout which I think are super helpful. And don't forget the Workshop Group on Facebook. Our wonderfully helpful Members are always there to encourage. Happy weekend! xox

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    2. Thank you so much! Love and hugs from America and PLEASE stay healthy and safe. I will look at the Amanzi Block and Pondoland,

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  9. I'm so happy to hear that you've all recovered from the mystery illness and that Roxy was able to run around and have such a great time.Aren't the Making Houses Competition entries amazing so far, there is so much awesome talent in our wonderful group and every entry I've seen so far is deserving of a prize.I can't wait to work on some more beautiful granny squares so I'd better get a hurry on and catch up soon.Thanks for inviting us into your world once again and be happy and safe Xx

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    1. Hi dear Noelene! We are going to STRUGGLE with a capital S trying to choose our Winners, that is for sure!! Stay safe, stay well, stay CALM and crochet on! Happy weekend! :D xox

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  10. Hi Jen! I am so glad you and yours are feeling better. It is such an increased stress during these days of COVID. Fortunately our family is well and hunkered down, but we miss our granddaughters (2 &4) so much , especially as we were spoiled by having them most days and watching them blossom.

    As it has been such a cold and rainy April here, my favourite place has been on the sofa surrounded by crochet fun. But today we had a lovely sunny warm day, and the garden will be our new favourite spot. We felt as elated as Roxy romping with her friends ( thank you for sharing her fun with us all).

    After the wonderful bread recipe last week, I am sure I am not alone in wondering what other goodies reside in your recipe box (hint,hint).

    Stay well, and thank you again for all you do for your fans.

    Eva ( kotenzemom on Ravelry)

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    1. Hello Eva! Awww, I feel for the grandparents who can't see their grandbabies! I watched a video of a little girl crying outside the window of her grandparents house because she couldn't kiss Nana...oh my heart, I cried with her!! Hahaha...same here...finally we are able to go out for some walkies...I wanted to do exactly what Roxy did! Happy weekend on your comfy sofa but hopefully the weather remains lovely so you can take your crochet fun outside? Take care, stay safe!! xox

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  11. In my bedroom I have a very nice rocking chair next to the window. It's a great place to crochet.
    -LunarMaria

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    1. Ah, that's sounds wonderfully relaxing and peaceful. Enjoy, and happy weekend to you, Maria! Stay safe! xox

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  12. I'm with you Jen on 'how do we still get viruses when we are in hygiene lockdown?!' Glad you and yours are recovered. Working on Green Tea at the moment, alongside my Amanzi with the high tea extension (with a few mistakes and modifications!). Thanks, your designs are total inspiration, love them. Also, love the way you formatted the Green tea instructions, very easy to follow.

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    1. Thank you so much for the comment about the instructions. I'm always trying to find ways to simplify them and any further suggestions are most welcome. I'm so relieved we recovered but what a mystery! Stay safe and happy weekend! xox

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  13. My DH had all the same symptoms you described for yourself … after several round of meds and visit to ENT - doctors told him to suck on lemons … seems there it was an impacted gland … after several lemon sucking episodes, whatever it was dislodged & he was good to go …. hope yours was as simple as that … take good care & be well...
    Pupster's outing was a brilliant idea!! Love that

    Love the safe at home blanket
    doco5256 (Rav)

    finally finished a commissioned blanket - so now I get to play with Green Tea

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    1. Hi Donnalee! That's exactly what I thought it was...until my husband developed exactly the same symptoms 2 days later! So we know it was most probably viral. It's a mystery! :D Happy weekend, stay safe! xox

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  14. Oh Jen! Lumparella sounds positively awful! Glad you all survived it and are feeling better! I had a lovely surprise in my Ravelry inbox yesterday, thank you so much!!
    Wow your dog looks like he had an awesome time :) we received a new furkid on Thursday - Presley (funny name for a girl) the Bull Terrier came to make a new home with us... then there were 5 πŸ˜²πŸ™Š but I struggle to say no to a dog in need and she is REALLY sweet!! Anyway...I have no lumps, but have had tummy trouble the past three days and ja, lets just agree that it sucks to feel under the weather at a time like this!!! Have a fabulous weekend - looking forward to seeing the next phase of the Green Tea! Lots of love xxx

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    1. Hello Charmaine, so happy you like the pattern! Aw, Presley is a very lucky girl! Our Roxy is a girl too but lots of people think she's a boy. Of course we don't see it. Lol! Enjoy your weekend...the Green Tea Throw is a few rounds away from finish and klaar! :D xox

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  15. Hi Jen,

    I just wanted to share something with you that I hope encourages you. I’ve dealt with clinical depression for 50 years. Right now I’m having one of the more difficult times. I was working on the green tea block and got a few rows past the corners when I decided that I didn’t like the color I had chosen for the corners. I set it aside and worked on another project. I have struggled to focus even just a few minutes on anything the last week until finally I gave up and went back to my tea block. I’ve been working for a solid hour just undoing what I want to change and I realized, even this part brings me joy. Joy that is often hard to find. Your patterns are healing for me and your videos are great company when I’m lonely. Yes I respond to you when you say “ok?”, I say ok, and such.πŸ˜‚ I just wanted you to know that you and your creations make a noticeable difference in my life. Thank you so much!

    Love and hugs, Kim

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    1. Oh my goodness, Kim, that means the world to me that you shqred this. I can't express how much. Thank you! Many hearts and hugs winging their way to you. Take care! <3

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  16. Hi Jen! I am so glad you are well! How very scary Lumparella was! I was struggling with a colorway for Green Tea and then saw Keren Hopkins version on Ravelry and knew my colorway! Lockdown has been okay for me since I love my home, my yard, my chickens and Gizmo. The hardest thing has been not being able to be with my family. So when I feel blue, I pick up my crochet project which is almost always one of your designs and get lost in the pattern! Stay well, stay safe, we will get thru this together! Smote it be!

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  17. Jen, did your husband and you had Scarlet fever as a child? Looks like a case of Scarlet fever.

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  19. As Texas is reopening, I feel blessed to have been able to help out at a local garden center for the entire time!! The garden centers are regarded as essential businesses, so it was business as usual--or not so usual!! Plants have been in short supply, we were getting daily deliveries, some of our best growers were shut down because their entire state was locked down--on and on.
    In the meantime, I started The Karoo--wow, what an adventure!! I am using Lion Brand Heartland yarn since I am on the wrong side of the pond! It is working up great and keeping me busy at night. Now that business is slowing down a bit, I can leave early and clean house/crochet (guess which one will be done the most!!) Everybody stay well! Lynn

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