Linen Love

An inherent quality of linen is the endless design stories it creates for living spaces and wardrobe alike. I am especially drawn to the fiber due to it's cool, fresh quality that is in stark contrast to the extreme hot weather climates I call home. This past summer stood out as one of the most brutal recorded in the Middle East, no doubt the driving force behind my continued obsession with natural fibers.  Linen is notoriously laborious to manufacture, but an affair with this ancient fiber, dating back thousands of years, is a lovestory for life! Linen is going through a revival stage with bloggers such as Beth from LocalMilk honouring the integrity, showcasing the beauty of the fiber in their daily narratives. 

The pincushion above and the broach below is by the uber talented Namolio. I was doing the happy dance when I opened my parcel to see that she has gifted me with no less than 3 skeins of 5 ply linen yarn in  3 colourways. What a wonderful gift, thank you so much! The fragrance of lavendar emanating from the pincushion transported me straight back to our summer vacation in Croatia. Ah bliss.
Find Namolio on Etsy for exquisite gifts, Flickr for incredible photography, and Instagram for daily snapshots into her life.

My fingers itched to give the linen yarn a whirl and the result is this textural piece hooked from a pattern by another very talented woman, Sandra, the driving force behind the Mobiusgirl label. She has just started her own blog on which you will find the pattern for this beautiful mandala. I have yet to decide what to do with my mandala, but see some of the options below! 

Have a great weekend, we are off to enjoy bistro style dining in a hip, relaxed atmosphere at Opal, a Gordon Ramsay restaurant where we will be celebrating my birthday that took place earlier this week. 


Norwegian Woods

The Project
~ a breathtakingly beautiful lacy blanket titled Norwegian Woods. 

The Pattern
~ tutorial on YouTube by Jachelle Stephanie. I am hoping to receive feedback from her soon confirming whether she was also the designer of the pattern. A chart is available on Jachelle's Instagram, but beware that the corners differ slightly to the YouTube tutorial I followed.

The Inspiration
~ the mood captured by @camillalboe from Norway and the beautiful black exterior houses of Scandinavia. Photo credits: Camilla 

The edge
~ improvised!

Fiber Meditations
~ I have been searching for the perfect black fiber for close to two years and was about to order black hemp string online, when my eye spotted a few sample balls produced by my friend Hester, the force behind MoYa Yarn. It was instant love and without a doubt the most suitable yarn for the project. MoYa is a high twist hand dyed organic cotton with the added benefit that it does not split, the ends do not fray and once woven in, also do not unravel. Perfect!

Black Tweed has the potential to become my signature yarn if I ever decide to take the leap and do what I really should and want to do, i.e. hook in stark non-colours. I am the bearer of bad news though, this yarn is not (yet) available for sale.    


Pretty Pieces and my dear Katja

Tinctory- I fell in Love with Eva's creations many years ago when it first started making an appearance in my Pinterest feed and finally got around to take the plunge and buy myself something from her Tinctory shop.  Czech born and British based designer, Eva, uses cues from geometry in nature and created several pleating studies over the years which she later translate into wearable jewellery. I love expats artists, you can see the depth of their lifestyle experiences in the works of art and craft they produce. Her pieces are etherial, intriguing, unique and if you page through her Flickr and Blog, you will also fall in love with her photography.  Eva hand dyes repurposed silk and then applies various techniques in her work, among others batik and shibori, knitting and smocking. She scanvenges natural organic materials from the forest floor and her colours represent the forest fodder and seasons. The jewelery exhudes space, stillness and calm. I am completely in love with the Feather I chose and love wearing it. Thank you Eva!

Swoon Lounge is a gorgeous new online shop by Susan Cropper, owner of bespoke yarn shop, Loop London in Islington, London. I had such a great time selecting yarns from the shop during a business trip to London earlier this year, that I knew Swoon Lounge would be a great choice to order a few linen dresses from.  I bought the Bud Dress and Fan dress by Manuelle Guibal  and it quickly became weekend wardrobe staples. Each piece is individually garment dyed and processed by hostoric mills in the French countryside and tailored in pure and simple shapes with sculptural volumes.

I took this picture in the Medieval Mediterranean garden of St Lawrence Monastery high up in the old town of Sibenik, Croatia during the summer holiday. These flowers remind me of delicate tutu wearing ballerinas.

Have a nice weekend, I will be posting more about my latest crochet project that I started making during a trip to Istanbul soon!  I am making a blanket titled "Sprinkles" in the gorgeous Moya, hand dyed organic cotton with a hight twist in a stunning palette of colours. I am in love!

Oh no, I just read the sad news of Katja's passing away on 13 October. RIP Katja, your Versponnenes blog has been a constant favourite of mine over the years and I will miss our bantering over "Visiting Sweden" (Ikea shopping) and me buying "Katja Colours" during one of my King Cole Cotton Bamboo shopping trips.  A recent blanket of mine has been inspired solely by one you made (photo below), I will most definitely be blogging about that next. I am so damn sorry, cancer is a bitch!


When something should but does not go right

One of my favourite restaurants in Doha is a Japanese fusion restaurant offering an eclectic choice of the world's best cuisines, taking one's tastebuds on a delivious trip of a satisfying feast! The interior is beautiful. It is all NYC industrial loft style with warm undertones and exposed brick walls; powdered coated distressed black steel frames, softened with beautiful lantern style light fittings. What I really love about the restaurant, is the tiled floor suprise in the cloakrooms. It is stunning, the Teen and I always take a few spins of happiness in this very small space whenever we lunch here.  

After hooking the fabulous #rusticlacesquare blanket that is still sweeping through IG like a storm  (see all the hashtags by various posters on IG), my eye was drawn to another similar, oversized lacy square design and I womdered whther that would be another great pattern to enjoy.  

I noticed the floor, I noticed the pattern, I gave it a go, I failed. Urghh!!! I really struggled to get the gauge right, in creasing and decresing stitches, started over a few different times and concluded that it simply was not working. As rerwarding as the first pattern was, as frustrating this one turned out to be. Idea: shelved!!

Susan named the unnamed square #rusticlacesquare after my own IG account, rawrustic (I wish I could ditch the "pigtails" moniker you see, hence a differet account name on IG)   
 Just look at this!  Mirrored wall, tiled floor, simply gorgeous.

I enjoyed playing with my failure on a photo app though!  

Teen Fashion
The Pattern - feel free to give it a go!!

 The restaurant as seen moments before it got silly busy,just after opening time

Have a nice week, cheers!


Bryce Crochet Bag

Pattern: Bryce Bag by Lakeside Loops 
Hello!  I just want to show you the lovely bag that I finished early this morning!  Yes, it is hot of the hooks and I am already putting good use to it by wearing it today! 
I used a 5mm crochet hook and two strands of yarn to hook this sturdy bag and lined it in plain black linen. This is the child sized bag, but I added a few extra rounds to make it a little longer. Once I lay my hands on a 10+ ply cotton, I will also make a striped version in the Adult size.

The Yarn
I used MoYa Yarn, a hand dyed organic cotton in a hight twist from South Africa. The excellent news is that this one of a kind yarn is available from stockists in The Netherlands, Germany, France, Russia, Namibia and Australia! If you enjoy texture, this yarn is a must try.
For contrast, the rope was hooked in a silver grey King Cole Bamboo Cotton. I also used 2 strands DK, but downsized to a 4mm hook.

The Outfit
The bag looks fantastic styled with a pure linen Kaftan style dress from Nu, Oxfords from Uterque, and neckpiece from Laardesign.  I love the simplicity of the look and the natural fabrics are most suited to the hot and humid climate of the Middle East. No doubt I enjoy fashion! I keep my wardrobe small and minimalist though and can confess that I only have a grand total of 4 lipsticks in my make up bag.  Can't make the same statement regarding my shoe obessession . . .  

Have a great week!