Patchwork blanket hanging from the hooks

This year has certainly kicked off with a big bang and I can't believe how busy January has been!  
I just crossed out this coming Monday morning in my diary and will either sleep in or spend the morning at the beauty parlour, depending on whether I can actually haul myself out of bed for a pampering session.  

We have been shopping (cardigans, shrugs and leggings to transform our minis and sleeveless tops since the official dress code in Qatar requires shoulders and knees to be covered) and entertaining relocation agents; applied for all sorts of clearance certificates and submitted those to Foreign Affairs for Legalisation after the Attorney took it via the High Court for Authentication.  A final stamp from the Embassy and The Husband's work visa is in place and he is off to Qatar tomorrow.  Let's hope that they don't take their sweet time processing our residency permits since we will only join him after all of those are in place. 

The fight to locate a misplaced/missing unabridged birth certificate here at Home affairs is also in full swing.  For goodness sake, when will this country's Home Affairs Department actually get their own affairs in order? The absence of proper systems and the volume of missing documentation boggles the mind. We just laugh, it is part of the experience of living the way we do.

Meanwhile I take time out at night to work on my patchwork crochet blanket. This is a sneak peek of the squares and colours, but you might be interested in knowing that I am also using stronger colours such as red and purple in the design. I have a soft spot for the simplicity of single crochet stitches and the blanket consists of 100 squares all hooked in the same pattern. Single crochet also seems to be a clever solution to a yarn that splits just by the eye staring at it.  I am using Reaasah by Kismet yarns, a 100% cotton worked up in a hook size 5mm.  I find it interesting that the cream/natural does not split at all.  Hmm perhaps the splitting can be attributed to the dyeing process? 

This is all for now, enjoy your weekend! 

Oh, I couldn't resist -  this is what the more vibrant squares look like.



Sending Ripples


Two years ago the children and I lived in a gorgeous villa in the middle of the rainforest on the tropical island of Penang, Malaysia and frequently traveled via taxi, ferry, train and plane to our apartment near Lumpini Park in Bangkok, Thailand where The Husband was working. I loved those train trips as I spent many hours crocheting away listening to the clickety clack of the train on a track. Bangkok was a 1 hour and 50 minute flight away from Penang Island; a 22 hour slow train trip covered the same distance!

A year and a half ago, we all packed up to continue our adventures in Mumbai, India and two weeks before the container with our belongings was to be shipped to India, the company's sister office in South Africa requested The Husband to join them in Johannesburg. Aaaaack! I arrived in South Africa kicking and screaming since I had to withdrew myself from a highly interesting ethnographic research I had just committed to in Asia. 

Today we are packing up house once again. Just because you were born somewhere, doesn't mean you belong there. We don't belong in South Africa, we are Global Nomads feeling at ease where East meets West. We are returning to our beloved Middle East where we raised our family for 8 years prior to living in South East Asia. We experienced Dubai rising from the desert, we are off to Qatar to experience the same all over again. We are beyond excited, we love living in the middle of the world where a 2-3 hour flight takes one to the most amazing destinations imaginable! Iran, India, Turkey and Tibet; the world is my oyster.

Talking about oysters - I used to love wearing neutral shades of oyster, blush, nude and peach, and especially like the combination of these with silvery grey.  I have this major urge to  revamp not only my wardrobe to incorporate more of these lighter colours, but am thinking of hooking a throw for our new abode in the desert in neutrals too.  

This scarf (hmm, yip another scarf!) is hooked in Vinnis Nikkim 100% cotton yarn in Peach-558. I absolutely fell in love with the Vintage Fan Ripple stitch by Janis Cortese and might use the same stitch for a blanket in a vintage colour scheme in the future.  


The pattern diagram on Ravelry indicates hdc as the foundation stitches of the fans - it should in fact be sc (US terminology).  Even though the symbols are incorrect, Janis describes the stitches correctly.

Drawings source links on Pinterest  


Star-shaped Pillow


I grabbed a 5 mm crochet hook and white cotton yarn last week and hooked this scatter cushion (12 pentagons) to show you I can also make something that is neither scarf nor throw!  I am finally enjoying the pure joy of hooking in monochrome but have to admit that I started a throw resembling a patchwork blanket a few days ago.  I am still keeping it under wraps to see whether I like the way it is turning out, but so far so good! 

What are you working on?  I see many bloggers are participating in the Crochet Mood Blanket CAL and it is interesting to see what associations all the bloggers are making between colour, design and emotion.  What a spectacular idea!

Pentagon Amigurumi Pattern:

Row 1: Ch4, close to form ring
Row 2: Ch1 to form first sc, 9 sc = 10 sc
Row 3: ch2, sc in same space (first corner), sc in next st, *sc, ch1, sc in next st to form second corner; sc in next st* repeat 4 times
Row 4: ch2, sc in same space (first corner), sc in next 2 st, *sc, ch1, sc in next st to form second corner; sc in next 2 st* repeat 4 times
Row 5: ch2, sc in same space (first corner), sc in next 3 st, *sc, ch1, sc in next st to form second corner; sc in next 3 st* repeat 4 times
Repeat until desired size, in this case 12 rounds with a 5 mm hook in Raeesah Cotton Yarn

12 Pentagons assembled as per above images result in a round ball. 
 In order to achieve a star, place the two halves to fit exactly on one another, point to point, side to side.


iPad: Create Control and Present Projects

Last week I bought new summer cotton yarn and selected colours at random, for the first time not thinking about actual colour combinations at all! I bought it to tease the Teen away from my beloved Vinnis Cotton and Bamboo hand dyed yarns, especially since she hardly ever finishes a project we have different hooky needs and Vinnis is quite precious. The colours are Lime Green, Peach, Aqua, Lavender, Soft Grey, White, Baby Pink & Pink. (Some hookers here in South Africa are reporting splitting issues, but I am nearly finished with a cushion in all white in a hook size 5mm and had minimum splitting problems - relax the wrists girls!)

I decided to play with these colours on both the Granny Squares Pattern Generator by Melissa Avery-Weir as well as the Random Stripe Generator by Biscuits and Jam in order to demonstrate how useful these generators can be as part of the crochet project planning process. The combinations are a bit rough for my taste, but demonstrate quite nicely what we are not always able to visualise.

I really like the endless colour combinations available on the Granny Squares Pattern Generator and quickly came up with these patterns to get a idea of whether these random colours can actually work as a throw.

The Random Stripe Generator offers 92 colours and 20 different width stripes.  Once 1 or more widths as well as the colours have been selected, simply click "generate my stripes"and refresh as many times as you would like to for an infinite number of combinations. Below is an examples of what a ripple, granny stripes or fantasy blanket could potentially look like:

What if I want to join the squares in white? The generator does not allow for a joining option, but this is why I love my iPad so much!  It is possible to tweak the picture via an interactive whiteboard.  I am not by any means a master at using the Doceri app, but the kids use it daily for school projects and assist whenever I yell for help. I love this app, it offers endless possibilities to create, control and present projects. I simply drew in white lines with my finger in order to alter the image as can be seen in the top part of the image:

i have used this app before as well in order to plan a Babette type blanket and to distinguish rows in a pattern for a mohair scarf.  For more about the functions of the app, take a look at http://doceri.com/videos.php; for a presentation on how to crochet a lace scallop trim, see the Doceri created tutorial by Gwen Fisher.

I will speak more about how the iPad can be utilized for crafting purposes over the next few weeks!


Indigo scarf in an Indian box

2014 kicked of with a big bang here at the Pigtails Palace! The energy in the house is insane and we are all swimming in adrenaline at the moment, living life to the fullest.  I will tell you all about this interesting year in another few weeks.

Meanwhile, I took one look at my blog content and decided to spruce up the postings or else we may just all start yawning in boredom soon, I am working on a few postings in advance and please do come back as I will be sharing tips on utilising new media for crafting purposes, photo editing ideas, hooking across borders, iPad ideas and many more. 

New cotton yarn is peeking out of a shopping bag, looking at me with weeping eyes, begging me NOT to turn it into scarves. Oh well, apart from this Indigo gorgeousness, I have finished another erm 3 scarves!!! but will start on a cushion cover or a doily or a toy or anything else today, simply to break this vicious addiction.
Hooking the Indigo scarf was pure pleasure, I loved the repetition of the pattern as well as the absence of ends to weave in due to using the awesome Invisible Double Knot (see Youtube) when I joined a new skein.

I have to say good bye to the Indigo Scarf in an Indigo Box now - Happy Birthday Mareli!

Pattern: The Double Crochet Five Together Bobble Scarf

Row 1. Ch 30 
Row 2. Ch 2 to form first hdc, then 29 hdc
Row 3. Ch 3, bobble, ch, skip 1, *bobble, ch, skip one* repeat, there will be 15 bobbles in total
Row 4. Ch 2, 29 hdc
Repeat rows 3 and 4 to desired length

For a video tutorial on how to hook the bobble stitch:  New Stitch a Day 

Hook Size: 4mm
Yarn: 6x50gr Vinnis Serina 100% bamboo, hand dyed in colour Indigo


Handmade just for you

Hello!  Yesterday I prepared myself to search furiously for a special birthday gift for a friend, when I stumbled upon this lovely box from India mere minutes into my shopping expedition. I bought the box and knew straight away that it was to hold a surprise from my hooks as well. I legged it to the nearest yarn store to find the perfect yarn that would portray the essence of my friend. On numerous occasions she seemed bowled over by the soft and luxurious bamboo yarn I sometimes work with and when my eye spotted the gorgeous Indigo, I was sold. Mission completed. 

Common Connotations
loyalty, religion, spirituality, intuition

Please curb the curiosity be patient  whilst I work my way through 6 skeins of yarn, using the gorgeous bobble stitch for the gift. Meantime, enjoy my new blog template, a New Years gift to myself. DO you like it?  Suzana from This Girl Design not only designed the template, but also took care of the installation.  Thank you Suzana, you gave me the best service I have enjoyed in years. 

Happy New Year!