28/07/2013

Vessel in the making

Vessel:
Yarn: Vinnis Nikkim in Old Gold (lattice) and Midnight (sc) 
Hooksize:  The bottom in hook size 3,75mm and the top in hook size 5,5mm




Hello, we are still on holiday and this is another of those scheduled blogger postings! I will be doing a lot of blog visiting once back to be catching up with all the latest news on the hooking front. I owe someone a lovely parcel stuffed with yarn and another great hooker some interviewing answers - it will be reaching you soon!  Apologies, but I got into holiday mood a while before we left time ran out on me.

Today I want to share with you the awesome work of Enhabiten.  She creates in those exact shades of grey that I just absolutely love and her work reminds me of how as a student, I changed all the buttons on every piece of clothing I bought and then dipped everything in dye to get that raw look I have always liked. I felt so inspired by Enhabiten's work that I started hooking the above vessel! 

If you have any recommendations about the best way to achieve stiffness in order to hold the vessel without compromising the integrity of the yarn - please let me know. I am a newbie at stiffening household and decorative items and advice would be highly appreciated!
xxxx

25/07/2013

What a nerve!

Bonjour! April 2012 I endured a couple of hours micro surgery on my ulnar nerve to reposition it after it was compressed and damaged due to an old bicycle accident, years of elbow abuse in front of a pottery wheel, years of computer work and finally some crazy crocheting. I spent a good few weeks in a cast which proved to be a real challenge given the tropical heat and humidity that came along with living in Malaysia.


Left to right: Straight after surgery; after the second injury back into a cast; lastly the show must go on, arm at that time still unhappy. 


The operation was a huge success and then . . . . . I did something very, very stupid. I picked up a heavy 20 liter water bottle to change the empty one on the dispenser (at the time the husband was working in Mumbai with the kids and I based in Penang, me driving an automatic vehicle with one arm and us having food delivered to the villa every day).  

I hurt myself and put my arm straight back into a cast for the next 6 weeks grrrrr.  By the time we stepped foot in South Africa, I could not even put my fingers in my own mouth due to a frozen shoulder, torn muscle and so forth. (Imagine the stress of arranging first our move to Mumbai, then at the last minute our move to South Africa with only the availability of one arm.) 

The kids dressed me, the hairdressers "quiffed" me and visits to the massage parlour kept me sane.  After weeks of intense physio therapy and a shot to treat the resulting bursitis in my upper arm that nearly pushed me over the edge, I picked up a crochet hook and started hooking again! That was about 11 months ago.

I still have only 90-95% feeling in the left side of the left hand and keep on breaking too many glasses and plates at times of weakness, but I hope by the time you are reading this I have overcome my fear of further injury and am para-sailing over the Indian Ocean!  Cheers!




24/07/2013

Necklace and Mauritius!



Hello!  By the time this posting is published via the blogger scheduling option, we are enjoying a two week tropical island holiday - snorkeling, exploring lesser known roads on scooters, enjoying street food, scouting for interesting photo opportunities and so forth. Ah bliss. We felt like a simple holiday in the sun, a short flight away and found ourselves booking a trip to Mauritius for the third time. Mauritius is highly commercial, let's hope that the back streets of Port Louis deliver on the street photography front! 

The kids are on a two month Summer Holiday due to them doing an International Curriculum and we are therefore not bound by South African school years and terms. Even though it is currently winter in South Africa, the atmosphere of Summer Holidays prevails at the Pigtails Residence.  


Necklace:
Yarn: Vinnis Nikkim Colours
Hook Size: 3mm


I will be wearing this necklace with either one of three dresses in charcoal, dove grey and teal I picked up from The Space. Wardrobe wise I seem to enjoy simple, well cut dresses at the moment but sadly decent clothing shops in South Africa offering a well cut garment in great fabric is a bit thin on the ground. I used to love shopping for almost all my wardrobe needs from Nu Women or when in need for something special I favour Ann Demeulemeester, none of which is available here. I don't like shopping online so that option is out. Oh, and I will give anything to step foot into Sephora for make up shopping again!  
 


Please Note:

This necklace was inspired by the work of another hooker. I found the photo on Pinterest and the link led me here.  I am struggling to trace the original source as it has been uploaded by a pinner without reference. Please let me know if anyone recognizes the necklace which was originally hooked in grey and mustard. Stet:  The garland was originally hooked by Kaati Rockett and featured in a Holiday Crafts Magazine published by Better Homes and Gardens as per Kaati's blog.  

Thank you so much Jeanette for your reply.  I use a slightly different method to trace photos but your recommendation is much better.  Thank you for the link to the original source. 

19/07/2013

More doilies and Marrakesh

Hello, a warm welcome to all my new followers via Friend Connect as well as Bloglovin!  I too am discovering new blogs all the time, wow what a creative bunch we are. This week I visited for the first time the lovely blogs of Loved Handmade (Mel's blog and work oozes soul and emotion), Kvalitid (the Danes are masters at minimalist simplicity) and How Sweet to be a cloud (Sweet French blog, need I say more!) Perhaps you have already visited these blogs, if not be sure to pop over. 

On the hooking front I am still playing with doilies and am also juggling the throw inspired by my beaded bracelets which I should have finished ages ago will be finished soon. I have finished hooking the 140 squares, but the huge task is now to sew those squares together. I have this idea to edge the throw in the same type of  beads that inspired the design in the first place, but still need to think more about exactly how I am going to execute my idea.   

Oh, I don't qualify as a master doily hooker yet, but I am trying.  Something went wrong in the third last row of the large doily (which measures 45cm in diameter to give you an idea of sizes here). That something is my chart reading skills of course - I hooked 2 doubles in stead of 1 dc2tog, hence the curly (urgh) edge. Blocking helped somewhat but is not the fix it all in this case. I will be frogging those last three rows and hook it all over again, the perfectionist me won't live the curly bits down otherwise.  


I used 4 shades of Vinnis Nikkim 100% cotton yarn namely Peach, Ruby Grapefruit, Nomvulas Tangerine and Tomato. I found the pattern for the large doily on giftjap and the three smaller doilies from a book full of Japanese doily diagrams that Haafner gifted me. I will be hooking the next round of doilies in Elle Premier, another 100% cotton with a slight sheen I also enjoy working with. 

Colour inspiration for the doilies was drawn from Marrakesh, a city we visited back in 2006 with the eye on buying property in the Medina (old pics OK, they are not the best).  We decided against investing after the visit - at the time we were expecting a space a tad more tranquil, a Medina similar to the parts of the Old Town in Damascus. Tranquil? Marrakech? No, not in a million years, it is a crazy city where one has to bargain really hard for purchases and display one's knowledge of French and Arabic as much as possible! These are a few of the photos I took at the time.  Have a great weekend, cheers! 

 
  
 



12/07/2013

Mandala and Paris



Hook Size: 4mm
Yarn: Vinnis Nikkim in Green Slate, Slate, Stone, Sea Green, Aluminium and Grey
Pattern: Stool cover pattern by the lovely Karin aan de Haak with the last 3 rounds my own improvisation.

I love Paris, these are photos I took during our last trip.  We have been to France so many times, but always during Spring, Winter and Autumn. Somehow a Summer vacation to this beautiful city and lovely country has never materialized.  I certainly rate Paris along Istanbul, Damascus, Hanoi and Rome some of my favorite cities to visit!

Hope you are having a great holiday and are visiting nice places - we are off on a trip soon and I am looking forward to indulging in street food once again. Cheers!




08/07/2013

Doilies and Mandalas


Hello! I have seen the most beautiful doilies in blogland recently, but realised that maybe, just maybe I should be investing in a book. I find that I am either too stupid to make sense of some of the stitches or challenged by all the different languages patterns are written in. Many of the patterns are in languages I struggle to understand, even with Google Translate switched on (Bing translate is rubbish!) I am able to hook in Afrikaans, English, Swedish, German, French and Dutch - anything else becomes challenging! Please feel free to recommend a doily/mandala/potholder crochet book.

These doilies/mandalas are hooked in basic patterns, but it gave me an idea of how much yarn and time these type of projects consume. I like the result, but certainly want to do more intricate doily hooky work.  I love reading Haafner's fabulous blog - she always has a drool-worthy doily on the hooks! Busy Fingers Busy Life's Rosetta is also something I want to cast on my hooks soon.

I will post pictures of another bigger and colourful mandala later.  We will be travelling overseas later this month and next month and I need to ensure that I have posts lined up to keep my Pigtails space active whilst we will be away. 

Have a great week, cheers!

Patterns: 
Aunt Aggie's Trivets as found on Ravelry; Little Spring Mandala by Barbara Langer also found on Ravelry and Lacy Doily as Published in the Ideas Magazine 
Hook-size: 4mm
Yarn: Vinnis Nikkim 100% hand dyed cotton in Grey 511



Doily photos my own. Other pics from Pinterest

02/07/2013

Squaring the Treble Circle



Hello!  I have been playing around with US Treble/Triple crochet stitches over the past few weeks and whilst I a still figuring out how to increase the rows beyond row 5 in order to create a beautiful flat circle of about cushion size, I managed to square 2 different sizes last night and thought I'd share with you how I did this. Perhaps instructions already exist, but I haven't come across it yet. (Ah - correction - I just came across Retro Circles which albeit hooked in DC, was squared similarly.) 

I also realised how beautiful a throw would be in the smaller square - perhaps each square also edged in one row of SC in a contrasting colour? I bought yarn in natural, peach, grapefruit and raspberry recently and now wonder whether I should be ditching the naturals and pick up cherry red and purple to create a funky doodle donkey vibrant scarf/bag/throw/potholder/doily?  Hmm I will mull over it and perhaps I should just get into my car and visit the yarn store? I also fell in love with the latest circles by Little Woollie and am most definitely hooking something in that pattern soon.

Cheers!




Thank you to all those who subscribed and are flipping pages on Pigtails Crochet Mag (Flipboard)!



01/07/2013

Loot!



Hello! Yesterday we enjoyed breakfast and roamed the streets of charming Cullinan, the small town famous for the mining of diamonds, more specifically the Cullinan diamond here in South Africa. I stumbled upon a treasure trove of a shop - Rust in White - and boy, did I shop! Mind you, I did not shop nearly enough and even though I will display my loot in two different postings, I will be back to pick up some more! 

First of all this shop sells a lot of scrummy contemporary as well as vintage hooky goodies and I picked up the most beautiful vintage item that blew me away with it's fine work and the simplicity of the design. I used a skein of my Vinnis Nikkim in the photo (above) to give you an idea of how delicate the piece is.


The shop also sells an array of new and rusty enamel items and I spotted a yellow "box thing" sitting outside in the backyard that I just knew would be perfect to hang on a wall in our house in order to display some of the husband's sculptures in a completely new way. I added the skeins of yarn to the photo for the sake of scale.


I also have my eye on figurines from the Cameroon in West Central Africa that I know would look fabulous displayed on top of the yellow "box thing". A visit to the African market is thus on the to-do list this month as well (especially since I also collect wooden bowls for the kitchen from Grace who sells these at the market).  I asked the owner of the shop in Cullinan whether they knew what the yellow box was used for, but nope, they had no idea.  I picked it up for less than 6$ (USD) woop woop! 

The below collages are photos taken at the shop (not my loot!!) 




Have a great week, cheers!