14/07/2014

Single Crochet Square Pattern

Single Crochet Square used in the Patchwork Blanket
USA Terminology, Hook Size 4
Yarn: Elle Premier DK in Grey and Taupe available from Woolhogs 

Hello! When Di made contact with me yesterday, inquiring about the pattern I used to make the Patchwork blanket, I decided to finally write it down and make a posting. Easier said than done though! I think I know now why I did not write it down in the first place.  It is easy to crochet, but fiddly to explain (perhaps due to my own lack of technical skills). Di and her friends living all over the world, are participating in a CAL to make a cot blanket for a friend. Their idea makes my heart sing, this is why we crochet and blog, to share ideas!  

The short version:
Ch 4 close ring. 8 sc into the ring and close. For all the rounds: sc ch2 sc to form corners, sc in sc of previous round to form sides. 

The long version

  1. Chain 4, close
  2. Round 1: ch1 to form first sc and work another 7 sc in ring = 8 sc
  3. Round 2: ch3 and then sc in same space (first corner), sc in sc of previous round (this forms a side), then sc ch2 sc (this forms a corner) in next space - continue until you have 4 corners and 4 sides and slip stitch into first sc to close round, slip into corner space.
  4. Round 3 (4&5): Ch3 and then sc in same stitch (corner), two times sc (side), sc ch2 sc (corner) in next space -  continue until you have 4 corners and 4 sides and slip stitch into first sc to close round, slip into corner space. Round 4 will have 3 sc on each side and Round 5 will have 4 sc. 
NOTE
I deliberately ignored the first sc that is somewhat hidden by the sc ch2 sc corner (as pointed out by needle in picture 2 below. It results in a first 5 rounds that has a slight curve when the square is viewed from the side. If you want a sharp, flat square right from the beginning, be sure to also add an sc in that specific stitch after each corner.

  1. Round 6: Ch3 and then sc in same stitch (corner), 6 times sc, then sc ch2,sc (corner). Why 6 times sc? 
  2. From round 6 onwards you will also be working in the first sc right next to the corner (see photo 2 above). In stead of automatically crocheting 5 sc on the sides as a continuation from the previous round, you will now have 6 sc as a result of crocheting into that almost hidden stitch. In each round it will also increase by 2 sc on each side in stead of just 1 sc. Holy moly, I hope this make sense to you! You need that extra stitch in order to flatten out the shape as the square grows bigger.  Just magnify these pics if my instructions are too fiddly/waffly and if you still do not get it, let me know and I will do a Youtube Tutorial. 
  3. Round 7 will have 8 sc on each side; Round 8 will have 10 sc on each side; Round 9 will have 12 sc on each side; Round 10 will have 14 sc on each side; Round 11 will have 16 sc on each side. 
  4. Round 12: I added a sc border with picot for styling purposes. Who knows, this might work for a lacy joining effect, but I haven't tried it out!


Meanwhile, in Doha through the lounge window:
 This is the view on a normal day above and during the sandstorm that just rolled in below!  

It is 21:34 and still hot as hell here.  The official reading is 39 degrees Celsius, but the apparent temparature (what it feels like according to Yahoo Weather) is  47 degrees due to the humidity and dust.  Unless one wants a free microdermabrasion, it is best to stay out of the sandpit and vegetate indoors!
The Teen Girl is busy vegetating crafting with Air-dry Clay. This is a ring featuring 4 teeth (don't ask, one doesn't interfere with Teen minds) and it has already received some pinkish and silver paint. I might just show you the finished evil eye broach and teeth ring next time I post. Tee hee, I love hormonal mindsets!   


09/07/2014

On top of the World!

Mom, as seen through the eyes of The Teen on paint.net


Yeehaw I am on top of the world!

Well, first of all we are still living in a glass enclosed tower with magnificent views over the city and the ocean.  I reckon we will be hauled up in a hotel for at at least another 2 and a half months.  It is quite a large apartment with plenty of space for the 4 of us and from our view and viewpoint we are on top of the world.

Secondly,  in Qatar copper networks have been replaced with fibre optic and we now have a choice of 10mbps, 50mbps or 100mbps (will you believe this!) fibre optic internet in our homes. Installation is the day after application. Pity the hotel is still providing slow internet.

Thirdly, The Teen scored the highest level and mark possible for her English exams last week and she was offered a place at one of only 4 schools functioning under the Outstanding Schools Initiative started by Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al Missned and implemented by the Supreme Education Council here in Qatar. It is back to the MYP/IB curriculum for her and we are all on top of the world, especially since waiting lists for schools are often up to 2 years here.

Last, but not least, I have just finished a throw in 5 days - hook in one hand, muscle ointment in the other. Wow, there was some furious crocheting involved, but tomorrow the couriers will arrive to whisk it away and I will be hanging out in the pool to soothe my aching muscles. It is a secret project, one I will be telling you about later, but for now I can say it is gorgeous.

When an idea for a new colour palette formed in my mind many months ago, I never realised how satisfying the whole process from selecting colours to executing the project was going to be.  I bought the yarn in Africa, hooked the project in Asia and the final destination for the item is Europe from where it will be shared with the whole world!  I had this idea to capture two of my favourite cities, Paris and Istanbul, in a project. When I was asked to design and hook something, I couldn't be happier that I decided to pack this yarn in my son's suitcase in stead of leaving it to sail the 7 seas in a container later. 

I will explain the process of choosing colours in a few pictures below:

Photo: Désaccord blog

The first time I visited the Désaccord blog, I was smitten by the colours in every single picture. I selected a few of the photos from the blog and uploaded it to some online sites that create palettes from pictures in order to get an idea of all the colours involved in the complete image opposed to just looking at the crocheted and knitted items.

Below are palettes generated by Palette FX and Colr, pictures from the Désaccord blog:







I decided to put mood boards together (see previous posting) to capture my idea of a woman working and living in cities such as Paris and Istanbul.  What would her wardrobe and space look like?


I  forwarded these mood boards to crochet guru Beatrix who sells hand dyed yarns in South Africa (See posting about yarn) and she put the colours together for me from the Colours of Grace collection. I approved and paid. Below are some of the colours:


I had the time of my life working with this yarn and am dying to share the completed item with you - but alas, we will have to wait!  I am just very glad that there are a teeny weeny bit of each colour left over, I plan to turn these into brooches over the next few days and will at least be able to show you those. 


Hope you are enjoying your short winter holidays (Southern Hemisphere) and loooooong summer holidays (Northern Hemisphere)
xxxxx


29/06/2014

A week in the life of a global citizen

10 ply aran cotton vs no 8 embroidery thread - such entirely different tactile experiences!

Hello! We have just entered the holy month of Ramadan (fasting from dawn until sunset) here in Doha and even though I am well acquainted with customs surrounding this month, traditions differ significantly across Muslim countries and Islamic societies. In the Gulf, non-Muslim expats have to adhere to local practices even though we are not fasting per se. It is not acceptable to eat, drink, smoke or even take medicine in public during the day and therefore restaurants, fast food outlets and cafes are all closed bar one F&B outlet in each of the hotels. Live music during the day, swearing at all times and acting like a loon is off-limits during this month of piety and  peace.

The practicalities of how Doha functions to accommodate this month, is certainly new to me. Malls, shops, banks and more are now open for about 5 hours in the morning and then close between 1 in the afternoon and 8 in the evening. From 8/9pm - 1/2am, it is business as usual, meaning it is entirely plausible to visit any of the museums or government departments or malls or even banks after midnight!  I love this month as it is also a time for strengthening ties with community. We will be visiting Ramadan tents and share in Iftar feasts with locals for the next 29 days. 


Colours of Grace Aran cotton, hand dyed

Since going anywhere in the afternoon and early evening is off-limits and the children are on their summer school holiday break from next week, I have a fair amount of time on my hands in which to indulge in reading and crocheting. I am still busy with the hexagon blanket and have finished more than 200 motifs so far. I had to put the project aside for a week though (something I don't easily do since I work on one crochet project at a time) and designed a new square for a secret project, meaning I started and frogged and pondered and re-started more than 30 efforts before I was happy with a design. I can't wait to be kicking off with that project, since I will finally get the chance to use my Colours of Grace 10 ply Aran cotton! The colours are gorgeous and working with a thicker thread is most enjoyable. It will be a piece to die for, and you will have the benefit of trying out a new pattern!



I do have an obsession with army, gold, old gold and chartreuse colours at the moment! I might just order Vinnis Serina in Army for a blanket soon, it will be perfect for a lacy motif.

The French/spool knitting necklace getting longer and longer.  I cannot wait to finish this, and work on it when my hands get tired from too much crocheting.


Grrr I honestly cannot bare the feeling of acrylic yarns, but this ball of yarn came in handy for trying out different motifs - it can handle getting frogged a few times. It is fascinating though, how an ordinary motif is transformed into something really special depending on yarn and colour.  The minute I tried these motifs in hand dyed cotton, it became something else altogether!


I have long since been fascinated by a country that is so unique that it can neither be reduced to East nor West, but has indeed been shaped by both. I am hoping this read will not disappoint!  I share a special friendship with a fellow researcher who works at the Russian State University and owe it to her to learn more about a society she was critically analyzing during our post grad studies.  I hope we get the chance in future to become research partners yet again, neither one of us are afraid of exploring progressive, interdisciplinary approaches.


Once in Kuala Lumpur I sat down at a candy store and watched the artisan create these wonderful candies.  It is a beautiful, mesmerizing process and I was in 7 heavens when I stumbled across Spanish chain Papabubble here in Doha.

Last week, a group of adults involved in global change, hosted an online, real time discussion among 14-17 year old Teens representing many different societies across the globe. We connected countries, cultures and individuals through one shared goal: to create memorable global, nurturing dialogues in order to foster learning and develop intercultural understanding.  It led to interesting discourse and one we will repeat soon with a 12-14 year old group.  I am so glad to be living life as a global citizen again as it provides me with opportunities that would otherwise not have been possible. I love connecting people and making a difference on an international level. Enjoy the rest of your week, I hope it is an equally interesting one with lots of fun!



22/06/2014

Ideas for assembling hexagon throw

  
Hello!  This is just a quick posting to show you what I have been playing with today. I used about 130 hexagons to put these ideas together and I still don't know exactly which one I am most enchanted with. Whilst I really, really like the clean lines of the above photo, I am not in love with the flowers. The Husband also ruled this one out. This is visually the most striking of the three ideas though and not easily discarded!

What about the ombre effect above?  Here you will see more of the lighter colours (please ignore the shadows on the photos, these are quick working snapshots), but the final 500+ hexagon throw will contain equal parts light to gray to coal to black.  
This last idea is simply a mix of all the hexagons, meaning I can put all the hexagons in a big box, toss it and then assemble by simply picking up from the box and work with whatever I picked up. The ease of this idea appeals, but I also prefer more structured approaches as it gives me greater control over the process.

 Meanwhile, when I am not hooking up a storm, I am having a great time meeting up with people and enjoying all the fabulous food the city has to offer. I love visiting Australian Gourmet cafe Jones the Grocer located in the nearby The Gate Mall and this is what the mall public powder rooms look like.  Everything is round or ball shaped, even the mosaic tiles are not flat, but bauble shaped! 

The Teens sends her greetings too. She is hooking a slouchy in cotton and if we are lucky, she will let me take a photo and show you soon! 
Have a nice week!  


09/06/2014

Working with embroidery thread


I recently blogged about the French knitting (also known as spool knitting) place mats my dad made as a kid some 60 years ago. I have long since harbored an idea to knit meters and meters in a fine thread in order to make an interesting neck piece to wear with anyone of my grey silk or linen dresses. After coming across his knitting, I grabbed my money and legged it to the nearest haberdashery in South Africa to buy a knitting spool and hook to slip into my luggage destined for Qatar.

I visited the Singer shop in Doha over the weekend and fell in love with Hungarian pearl cotton embroidery thread available in the most beautiful colours. I chose 6 colours and am aware that it is probably going to take me forever to knit up meters and meters as the thread is barely thicker than sewing cotton!  I specifically wanted the lacy effect to enhance both the fragility as well as the strength of the cord and am pleased with how it is turning out.




Apart from discovering all the amazing embroidery threads in Doha, I have also discovered that  sleeping in pajamas is compulsory when one lives in a glass box!  We are currently hauled up in a serviced hotel apartment in the diplomatic area of Doha and our corner apartment boasts floor to ceiling windows in the bedrooms and lounge. The working day starts early here - between 6:30 and 7:00 in the morning and The Husband opens the blackout curtains before leaving for work. 

One morning I was greeted by the window washer and I still don't know whether I was more shocked by his mere presence or actually by his precarious balancing act of sitting on a swing, washing windows! I managed to sneak out of the bed for a photo as soon as he made his way down to the floor below ours.