Thursday, 30 March 2017

The Pondoland Square is here!

Hello, Everyone! I'm really so happy to be able to squeeze in this square before April is upon us. I can't believe it has taken me all of the entire month of March to finish this block. Ok, it is quite a few more rounds than I am used to, but I wanted so much to make a piece that was big enough for a cushion cover, that when all was done, only the tails needed working in. Well, let me tell was CHALLENGING alright! Whew!!

My heartfelt deepest thanks go to my Testers, Cindy van der Schee ( Holland ), Judy Stamnes ( US of A ) and Lucia Martins ( Brazil ). I can tell you from hard experience now, that pattern writing is a Lady Dog! If you're a Virgo you'll know then that we are pretty good with the details, and finer print, but make no mistake, pattern-writing tests the limits! Imagine, EVERY single stitch must be accounted for! Anyhow, as you know, I could talk Crochetnease ALL DAY, every day, but I do want to get this square to you before the weekend. 😍

So, let me tell you a bit about the magical Kingdom of Pondoland. To be sure, until recently, I kind of vaguely knew it was in the general eastern area of South Africa. This area is also known as The Wild Coast because of its pristine natural beauty, as well as an awe-inspiring coastline. If you've ever wondered about herds of cattle on the beach, then you have to see the beach loving Bulls! of Pondoland!

No surprise where I got my colourways from! 😄

That coastline, like all the coastlines hugging the southern tip of Africa, is famous, or should I say infamous, for its hundreds of shipwrecks and dozens of Castaways!  Half of all these shipwrecks saw all souls drowned or eaten by sharks ( I mention this in The Birkenhead Square ). However, groups of sailors, officers and civilians sometimes made it to shore. Survival depended on where exactly they found themselves. The shoreline then was dotted along the way with "rest and replenish" stations but considering the distances, as well as the wild terrain between them, even landing halfway between these way-stations drastically reduced your chances of being saved. In many cases, survivors seeking sanctuary sickened and died along the way. If luck was on their side, they were rescued by peaceful tribes living along these shores.There is ample documentation of survivors integrating into local tribes, and of course, legends abound about these pale-faced people and their descendants.

Some years ago I came across a book in our local thrift shop called The Sunburnt Queen. This is a tale based on scatterings of information, about a White, or possibly a Malay girl-child, a survivor and castaway from around the mid-1700's, who was rescued and integrated into one such tribe, later becoming a Queen of Pondoland! This was a fascinating read!

Not so long ago my husband worked for a company that designed and made signage. One of their clients was a large Petroleum group. Anyhow, as luck would have it, just after a new design was implemented they asked if anyone would volunteer to take a road trip into these wild eastern hinterlands! The task: visit ALL related gas stations and check on how well the signage was displayed.

It is truly wild country still, and most people are fairly sane, so no hands went up. At lunchtime, my husband skyped me and in conversation mentioned this. Two days later we were on the road!! He didn't stand a chance! I mean come on, a FREE road trip, all expenses paid, to a part of South Africa neither of us was familiar with!? What's not to volunteer!

I won't go into the entirety of this ofttimes beserk, one-week car trip that covered a few thousand miles, but let me just say that at one point, we crawled along national roads so as not to collide with Cows, Calfs, Bulls, Sheep, Goats, Pigs, Piglets, Chickens with Chicks in tow, Roosters and Geese. At another point we were surrounded by wildfires and once we were stopped to have the car sprayed against Foot and Mouth disease!? Being Vegan ( me ) and Vegetarian ( husband ) we also pretty much starved! Mind you, the Backpackers we mostly stayed at were incredible. Really beautiful, well kitted out, almost luxurious. Our car-sore bodies were most grateful at the end of each day. And if all else failed, the views were worth it all!

South Africa, so wildly diverse, spine-tingling wonderful, full of raw energy, and colour and light... all underpinned by deep, deep soulfulness. 💗 A never-ending well of inspiration 💗

Until next time. Or as we say in Afrikaans, Tot Siens!!


With much appreciation to Carmita from Las Labores de Carmita. ❤❤

Take care, have fun!
Jen xxx