Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Hello again!

So long since I blogged, I really have missed you.   The long and short of it is I have been quite poorly for some weeks, firstly an infection in both eyes ... a real bummer since that meant no crochet work at all for what felt like ages! Then a throat infection set in for which I got an antibiotic .. yay I thought, a few days from now I should be feeling much better .. Ha! not.   I now find I am allergic to sulphur based meds, after all these years of not having a problem!  So I started over again with a penicillin based med, and and I am happy to say that I feel am beating the bug.

Some really exciting news now!  My son living in Guildford UK is getting married and I am flying from OR Tambo Johannesburg South Africa on Friday evening September 30th.  The nuptials take place on October 8th.   So I have been getting a capsule wardrobe together to take with me, and also an outfit for the wedding.  Since I am short and about 5kgs overweight, this has been no easy task.  I trolled Pinterest for hours, Mother of the Bride/Groom sites, the malls in my area, you name it, I trolled it!  During my cyber travelling, I came across some excellent fashion blogs aimed at the over 50's, the ladies all have varying but normal shapes, no stick insect thin bodies  ... here are some of my favourites ....

Fake Fabulous ... Samantha is short so that for me is a bonus.  She has a dash of the slightly quirky and fun!

Not Dressed as Lamb.. Catherine is an award winning fashion blogger and describes herself as 'eclectic, erring on the side of preppy-with-a-twist'!!
Style at a Certain Age ... Beth Djalali .. I love her chic style
Susan After 60 .... Susan Street .. a fabulous blog
50 is not old ... Tania has a great sense of colour and her accessories are OTT and fabulous.

I found these Dont's :  

Don't wear matchy-matchy jewellery .. now I am one to wear my little pearl bracelet with my pearl studs .. I feel that is not overdoing it .. maybe? perhaps?
Stop wearing boxy clothing
No head to toe pastels
No matching sets of anykind

Not sure I totally agree with all of them, but I am excited to know that if I wear my new black shoes and a turquoise clutch to the wedding, the look is OK.  Since exploring these blogs I must admit to looking at my 'too big' denims and thinking 'this is where I am going wrong to start with'.  So I have bought two new pairs, a black and a dark blue, slim leg but nice and stretchy, length to just on my ankles, I am amazed how I look by just changing the style of my denims .. I love them!

During the past weeks I completed an order for a poncho for my one grand-niece Tyla. There are a few similar styled patterns on the net, this is my adaptation, in Elle DK Duck Egg, quite pleased with the finished garment.  A simple concept, but a lot of puzzling out stitch counts and such.  I will be posting a complete pattern after I return from the UK in October.

Other little projects I have enjoyed are some pairs of gorgeous little baby shoes, many thanks to Hopeful Honey and One Dog Woof, and Pinterest for ideas.  These are the first shoes I have made that the soles match left and right .. many a shoe has been abandoned due to one sole bigger than the other, I just couldn't master it, until, with huge determination and concentration, I made these cute pairs.

I have been doing quite a bit of sewing too, and the one item I have been promising myself is a big pincushion that I could not loose, or not find quickly.  So I made up these two, the pink one for me and the bright colour one for my daughter.  Pattern idea comes from this lovely blog, not in English but with good pictures.

I will be away until mid October.  I am staying with very old and dear friends whom I can't wait to see and catch up with, you know the kind of friends I mean where you live far apart and when you get to reconnecting, it's as if you saw them last week, and nothing has changed, you almost pick up the conversation and carry on, those kind of old and dear friends.  We have been friends for going on 53 years!  So that part of my visit is also going to be wonderful, as is the main event. My son is marrying his dear Samantha, whom I have not yet met, and so looking forward to doing so.  She is Italian and beautiful and very kind and generous and good, what more could I want for my eldest!  So an exciting few weeks coming up, getting to know my soon to be new daughter in law, spending time with her and of course reconnecting with my beloved son, who I miss so much.  Also hoping to spend a day in London, and exploring the Surrey countryside as time and the weather allows!
Till mid October, I send much love and hugs and happiness to you all
Pat xxxxx

ps:  I would appreciate any comments and suggestions re crochet hooks in carry-on luggage .. I really do not like wooden or bamboo hooks, and am hoping I can use my KnitPro hook.



Sunday, 29 May 2016

The Juliette Mandala

Hidyhi dear lovely ladies!
I have a new mandala pattern for you ~
Ta-dahh!  presenting the Juliette Mandala!

Pattern terms:  US.  
Here is a little chart to use for conversion if necessary.

Materials:  Stylecraft Special DK and US F .. 4mm hook for the Mandala below and the diameter is 35cm ...  and Raeesah DK 100% Cotton and US G ..  4.5mm hook for the Mandala in yellow and green with a diameter of 40cm. 

Start with either a magic circle or 3ch and slip stitch into first chain.

Row 1:  14 sc into circle, sl st to close (14 sc)

Row 2:  5ch (counts as 1 tr and 1ch), 1 tr into next stitch, 2ch, 1tr into next st, 1 ch, 1 tr into next stitch, 2ch.  Continue all round ending with 2ch and sl st into 4th chain of starting 5 chain.
(14 x trs, 7 x 2ch gaps and 7 x 1ch gaps) 

Row 3:  Join new colour (pink for reference) into any 1ch space.  1sc into same space, 5 dc into 2ch space, sc into 1ch space. Continue all round, finishing with 5dc into last 2ch space and sl st into first sc.
(7 x 5dc groups and 7 x sc)

Row 4:  In same colour, and in same st as sl st,  work 1hdc, 3ch, 1hdc into 3rd dc of 5dc group, 3ch, 1hdc into next sc.  Continue all round,  ending with 3ch and sl st into first hdc.
(14 x 3ch and 14 x hdc) 

Row 5:  Join in new colour (lilac) into any 3ch space.  3ch (counts as first dc) and a further 3dc into space (4dc group).  Continue working 4 dc into each 3ch space. Sl st into 3rd chain of starting 3ch. (14 x 4 dc groups)

Row 6:  Join new colour (blue).  We will work the next three rows in the same colour. Join yarn into first dc in any 4dc group.  2sc into same stitch, 1sc into next 3 sts, 2sc into next st, 1sc into next 3 sts.  Continue to end, finishing with sl st into 1st of 2sc at start.

Row 7:  5ch (counts as first dc + 2ch), miss 1 sc, 1 dc into next st. 2ch, miss 1st, 1dc into next st, 2ch, miss 1st, 1dc into next st, 2ch.  Continue to end, as per photo, and after last 2ch, sl st into 3rd of 5ch at beginning. (35 spaces and 35 x dc 'legs')

Row 8:  Sl st into first 2ch space. 2sc, 1ch, 2sc into next 2ch space, 1ch.  Continue all round, finishing with 1ch and sl st into first sc. 

Row 6

Row 7

Row 8
Row 9:  Join new colour into any 1ch space (red).  4 ch (counts for 1dc + 1ch).  1dc into same st. Miss 2 sts.  Work 1dc-1ch-1dc (forming a V) into next 1ch space.  Miss 2 sts and work a V into next 1ch space.  Continue all round with the row of V's.  End with sl st into 3rd ch of 4ch at start of work. (35 x V's)

Row 10:  Join new colour (lilac) into top of any V .. see photo.  3ch and 2dc (counts as 3dc group) into space.  Continue all round finishing with sl st into top of 3ch at start of work. The picture also shows where to start the surface chain if you should wish to add it now. A short description for this is at the end of the pattern.

Rows 6, 7, 8 in blue; row 9 in red; row 10 in lilac

Row 11:  Join new colour (purple) to any space between 3dc groups.  1sc into same space. 2ch, 1sc into next space between groups, 2ch.  Continue to end, finishing with 2ch and sl st into starting sc.

Row 11
Row 12:  Join new colour (blue) to any 2ch space.  3ch (counts for 1dc), 3dc into same space (4dc group).  Continue working a 4dc group into each 2ch space, finishing with sl st into top of starting 3ch.

Row 12

Rows 13, 14 and 15
Rows 13, 14, and 15 work in the same colour(purple).

Row 13:  Join new colour to any st.  1sc in same st, 1sc into each st all round, sl st to first sc to close round.

Row 14:  Repeat Row 7.

Row 15:  Repeat Row 8.

Row 16:  Join new colour (pink) into any 1ch space and repeat Row 9,  the V's row.

Row 17:  Join new colour (lilac) to any 1ch space (in the centre of V).  3ch, 1dc into same space (2dc group), 3dc into next 1ch space (3dc group), 2dc into next 1ch space. Continue working one 2dc group alternating with one 3dc group into each 1ch space to end, finishing with sl st into top of starting 3ch.

Row 17

Row: 18: Join new colour (blue) to any stitch.  1sc into same st, 1sc into next 3 sts. Now we will work a picot as follows:

1 ~ 1sc into next st, 1ch
2 ~ Sl st into loop behind sc, as I have pointed to with my needle
3 ~ yarn over hook and pull loop through 
4 ~ sl st through 1ch

Then sc into same st.  And so there is the little picot finished.

Surface chain pattern:
Here is a group of photos showing how to do the simple surface chain pattern.  You can see where I have positioned the chains.

I have crocheted a surface chain between rows 9 and 10, and again between rows 16 and 17. Your loops must be loose as you pull the yarn through from the back to the front of the mandala, so as not to pucker up your work. Once you have completed the surface chain row and sewn the yarn to the back of your work (photo 8) securely stitch the ends in neatly.

Love the colours of the yellow and green Juliette mandala too.

Hope you enjoy making the Juliette mandala .. 
this being my first pattern in simply ages. I had forgotten how much time (and pleasure!) go into the creative process .. I really enjoyed challenging the brain cells again!

  Please feel free to post your beautiful creations, and I think no mandala can possible not be beautiful .. to my Facebook page!

With much love to all
Pat xxxx

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Happy Flower Blanket

Good afternoon dear readers!
  I really love making blankets, especially the kind with squares and a beautiful border .. and so, it was with great delight I came across a lovely easy square called the Happy Flower Block, that I could see making up into a gorgeous knee rug.
  Find it here on Annie's Place blog.

Here is my version made up with Stylecraft Special DK in colours Raspberry, Magenta, Bluebell, Wisteria, Fordant and Parma Violet, with joining rows and border in Parma Violet. It is a super colour to use as the base colour in a blanket that has blues and purples, not quite grey, not quite lavender, just a good mid colour.  I used a solid method of joining the squares from the  Patchwork HeartHook size 4mm. I made 80 squares.. 8 squares across by 10 squares long ..  of 11cm x 11cm each and the border including the row of single crochet in blue is about 5.5cm. Final measurements are 120cm x 100cm. 

The border is made up of two rows of shells, with a final row of single crochet
The how-to will follow in the coming weeks.

The reverse side is really neat, and I am very disciplined in sewing threads in as each square is completed, millions of threads to take care of is not my thing!

The reverse side

The Happy Flower blanket has a new home with a dear friend of mine,
 Delia .. a lovely and gracious lady.

So happy you have stopped by, thank you!
Much love to all, Pat xxxxxxxx

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Our week on the South Coast

It seemed like forever since we had been to the seaside, so as April 9 approached I was feeling especially excited.  We set off on a crisp Saturday morning quite early, driving out of the city and out into the country.  We have had a devastating drought over the last several months here in South Africa, and so it was lovely to see the recent rains had brought some velvety green to the mountains and fields.  

We stopped for breakfast, and then carried on our journey until, after some eight hours we reached our cottage at Ramsgate on the KZN South Coast.  This is the view from the verandah, just beautiful!

The Cow Shed near Leisure Bay is our most favourite daytime eatery, and is always our first stop on our first day!  We sit on the covered verahdah which overlooks the Macadamia Nut trees farmed by the local owner.

I always have the Fresh Vegetable Quiche with salad and tomato relish, it is my favourite lunch, and my David had a Spicy Chicken Salad on Homemade Seed Loaf, very delish!

He opted for a sweet treat to follow, lovely Cheesecake with Berry Coulis!

We tend to eat out often when on holiday, so that we both are free of the usual household chores .. like dishes!  One hot afternoon we stopped at a new little shop called Coffee on the Square in Southbroom for a lunch .. on the right of the pic, the bougainvillea looking beautiful drapped over the patio ..

...  I had a yummy very thick vanilla milkshake 

and David had a very more'ish French Toast with bacon, banana and maple syrup!

Later we went down to Southbroom Beach and sat in the shade just gazing out at the shimmery ocean.

The deep blue ocean was competing with the bright blue skies, each trying to look more beautiful, impossible of course .. each breathtaking!

One morning we went for a long walk, all the way down the hill onto a pretty stone step path .....

and then on down to Ramsgate beach.
Our cottage is right near the top of the hill, to the left and just beneath the first tall tree!

Ramsgate Beach is a Blue Flag beach, very beautiful ..

Ramsgate is famous for The Waffle Den .... the most decadent waffles for every taste .. be it savoury or sweet, quite the most amazing eatery! 
My choice was an Orange Mousse with Chilli Chocolate Sauce .... does that not make your mouth water?

A shady spot with a comfy bench on the pathway from the Waffle Den towards the beach

where the very talented ladies of the area sell their wares, from beautiful beadwork to hats and bags and placemats, shell bracelets and necklaces.

A pathway along the beach took us to another small cove just along from Ramsgate.

After a few lazy days doing nothing much of anything, nice long walks, very yummy food, reading, doing crossword puzzles, and some crochet fitted in as well, time was approaching to leave our sunny seaside abode.  A post coming up soon with my seaside makes!  Here is one of the hats I made .. and wow! the Batman emblem was quite a challenge, but perseverance paid off!

I saved this photo for last, it was so very special an occasion!  Down at the Waffle Den, I met up with my my wonderful bloggie friend and fellow countrywoman, Zelna Olivier of Zooty Owl Blog!  As all our friends in Blogland might have now read, Zelna and her lovely husband Andre have relocated to the South Coast, and we could not pass up on the opportunity to meet!  We had waffles and chatted on and on .. so much to talk about .. and only an afternoon!  We will be sure to meet again when on our next visit to the fabulous KZN South Coast.

And so by far the sweetest Cherries on the Cheesecake were:

Zelna and me!

Thank you for popping by, always such a pleasure!
Pat xxxxxxxx