Wednesday, 31 January 2018

My African Valentino!

Before I say anything else, let me just say this...January 2018 has been one of the busiest and most exciting months I have ever had! Other than when my youngest son decided to show up mid-January 1993, while I was at home and the Midwife, 70klm away, stuck in a Friday afternoon traffic jam! Suffice it to say he was delivered by my Husband! It was a sweltering Summer afternoon too. When the Midwife finally arrived, 20 minutes later, we were already celebrating with cold Apple Ciders!

Usually, I have some time to ease into a New Year, re-capping the past year's events and milestones which always seem to determine a whole bunch of New Year Resolutions ( like deadlines, I tend to watch them swishing by ). They ( the resolutions ) are completely reactive eg: I have gained 5k = I must lose 5kg or, I need to walk more often = find a previously loved treadmill. However, not this January! Anyhow...before I go off on a tangent let me focus.

As I mentioned in my previous post, a yarny Fairy Godmother has magicked some yarn all the way over from her yarny palace in a cooler faraway land, over Africa, and soon into my humble and crumbling 117-year-old abode. In Muggle lingo: the amazing Scheepjes Yarns have most generously sent me the best present any Fanatical Yarnie could wish for...YARN...and lots of it too! As soon as the packages arrive I will be eagerly/feverishly sharing the GREAT UNPACKING with you all!

In the meantime, while I wait patiently ( hahahahaa...that is SUCH a lie! I am in knots of anticipation!! ) my hands are keeping busy. There is THE SHAWL ...and it's lovely. My three Testers Of The Shawl, who are also the awesome and competent Admins on our HooksnTales Patterns Workshop Group, have almost completed their versions and as usual, theirs look so much better than mine! Which is why they are my Testers! I will be making this Shawl in Scheepjes Yarn...I chose Colour Crafter Velvet....and I CANNOT wait to get going! Here you can see Augusta ( aka Babsie ) modelling the original version. 😼

IN THE MEANTIME...I made a little stash-buster square. It's 10" x 10"/26cm x 26cm and perfect for all sorts of decorative bits and pieces or even bigger projects. My forte, I think, is components for Afghans, Throws and Cushion Covers. I might add Shawls to that list. Anyhow, before I start talking about Shawls again. This square is to celebrate a few special events in February.

 My first child and eldest Daughter was born February 17.
 My Husband and I were married February 13 ( and yes, it was a Friday! )
 It's Valentine's Day, February 14!

So, Ladies and Gents of the Yarn... welcome to My African Valentino!
To celebrate all these magical moments in February, I am offering this pattern FOR FREE until and including February 14th! So hurry up and grab it while you can! It's such a fun and easy pattern yet the outcome is quite dramatic...full of passion, I think?

When I first began to crochet in earnest in 2014 I imagined that all my projects would be personal little adventures. Yet, little did I know that a few crochet adventures would lead to bigger and better life adventures too. Life, my lovelies, is full of happy surprises...don't forget that!

Wherever you are in Crochetland, I wish you lots of happy adventures and lovely surprises.

Take care
Jen xxx

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

A little catch-up and some big Magic.

Hello, Lovelies!

It's been awhile, I know! Mind you, I always feel that it's perfectly in order to still be wishing everyone a very prosperous, peace-filled, creative and HAPPY NEW YEAR right up until the last day of January. I mean...our Christmas tree is still up!

December 2017 and January 2018, so far, have been wild weeks! Firstly, we are full on into Summer and it is hot, hot, hot! To make matters just a tad more uncomfortable, it is also humid, but wait there's more! We are also in the worst drought ever recorded. Cape Town, my fellow Yarnies, is pretty much barrelling towards receiving the dubious award of "FIRST MAJOR CITY TO ACTUALLY RUN OUT OF WATER"! Read more here and here

However, we are a city of Hipsters, Hippies, Surfers, Skateboarders, Designers, Fashionistas, Entrepreneurs, Ambitious Waldorf Moms and Upwardly Mobile Families who have no intention of giving up our morning Espresso's, Skinny Soy Lattes or Almond Milk Cappuccinos just because our main water supply, The Teewaterskloof Dam, is a paltry 23% full! Oh no, we have ALL sprung into action and this weekend, just to show you how committed we are to saving water, Mambos, Plastics For Africa and pretty much every retail outlet were SOLD OUT of all their buckets and containers! My husband was inspired to build a Compost Sawdust Loo, Ladies and Gents! Environmentally sound, waterless and might I add, completely odourless too! Read more about this here!

But nevermind that! Innovative ideas have sprung up like weeds on a wet day and I bet the email inbox at the City of Cape Town offices, is jam packed with amazing ideas! Necessity is indeed the Mother of Invention, and we are seeing that age-old wisdom come alive. So it is equally a distressing yet inspiring time!

Enough about our water-woes and let's take a look at what's happening in my little patch of Crochetland, shall we? It hasn't been complete stagnation. I did complete 12 patterns in 2017! If you remember I also hooked off three Free Xmas themed patterns before Xmas, which I see have been downloaded 100's and 100's of times! You can find them all here

The Riebeek-Kasteel Block, which I designed just before the Festive Season, has been a hit! It was designed as a Cushion Cover, quick enough to work over a weekend and such a fun square to explore. I really enjoyed the design process here.

credit: Maryke Etsebeth

Then Amanzi...WOW, what can I say? It keeps going, like a rocket! I would love to display each and every one here, but the Blog post would go on and on! You can view the growing Gallery here.  I have had to set up a Hooks 'n Tales Pattern Workshop Group and appoint actual Admins and Moderators to help. They have all been incredibly motivated, totally helpful and such a fun bunch and so far I've hardly had to do a thing!

credit: Lynn Morris

credit: Joanne Kinter

credit: Cindy van der Schee

It's funny how one thing leads to another. In 2014, all I wanted to do was Crochet to recover from acute and debilitating burnout and now I have a fabulous Team of Crocheters willing to offer their time, expertise and support! I have a dedicated Studio Space, where I can work in relative peace and quiet, where I can keep all my crochet related paraphernalia in one place, and where I can close the door and dream up new designs. It really is a dream come true.

I'm a firm believer in Big Magic. I have seen it in action in my own life and the lives of those who Dream, who show up and do the work, and who are willing to step out of their comfort zones...even just a little. If you haven't read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert I recommend it highly because I do know exactly what she means. Which brings me to the best news which is always kept for last, right?

I am proud to announce, TA DAAAA,  that I am now collaborating with the fabulous and prestigious yarn house, Scheepjes!! Take note, I am not one of their Bloggers so you won't see my mug on their website or anything. Rather, they have taken a fancy to my designs and have VERY generously offered their support in the way of Yarn!

Dear that not every Crocheters BIG MAGIC DREAM come true? I can design and crochet to my heart's content with the loveliest yarns which have been totally out of my reach so far. I have been a longtime fan of Scheepjes Yarns since I first stumbled upon Wink's ( aka the dearly departed and amazing Marinke Slump ) gorgeous website A Creative Being. Which led me to Dedri Uys ( a fellow South African now in the UK ), then Tatsiana from LillaBjorns Crochet ( I made her Circles of The Sun cushion ) and on to all the other Scheepjes Bloggers where I would drool over the lovely design offerings in amazing Scheepjes yarns...and Dream. As I write, there is a large delivery winging it's way to me from Holland, over Africa and eventually into my hot, sweaty little paws in Cape Town, South Africa!

I am SO EXCITED I cannot even express it well enough.

And so, this is where I will love and leave you, with your hook, yarn and hopefully a quiet place to dream your special dreams.

'til next time!
Take care,
Jen xxx