Thursday, 4 December 2014

This year I crocheted teacher gifts

I'm not much of a teacher gift giver.

For the preschool yes, and during the Foundation Phase I thought up tiny gifts that didn't break the bank.  But this year, we finished at the preschool, after six years of  being part of a great community - fundraising, PTA-ing, bring-and-share-lunching, wondering what greeting we'll learn this year (the kids greeted each in other in circle time in ALL the languages spoken...they could colour in the globe).

It was a great six years, and the school contributed so much to my boys' education.

And so, putting no pressure whatsoever on myself, no, not at the end of the year, with one child writing exam, and a house being build elsewhere, and a move to plan and coordinate, and a training program that leaves me with jelly limbs twice a week...I decided that I would crochet them each a scarf.  

A Chick Summer Scarf (or, I think the Little Lacy Scarf, in the English pattern book) - designed by fellow SA hooker Cornel Strydom for Ideas Crochet Magazine, available here.

The scarf promised to be quick and easy, to finished within a day or two.

That bit I struggled with...but it was done.
Five scarves.
One polka-dot neck piece.
One set of Nordic Wrist Warmers.

I only have energy to show the pics today.  Plus the packers are breathing in my neck to get into the study with their boxes and plastic tape...

For Irene - to contrast with her dark Zulu skin: raspberry and pink Rowan merino, label long lost.

For Meryl, who wears cerise to warm up winter: this one in Vinnis Nikkim

For Shan, whose blue eyes lights up when she wears blue - a soft,heavy, 100% bamboo, label also long lost

Blue-eyed, silver-blonde Heather got this soft one in Rico Baby Cotton

I Love Yarn's Imagine was Sheila's from the beginning.
She also taught Stephni's boys in in their early pre-school years
and somehow the duck-egg blue-green hues drew on her Scottish heritage. 

Eritrean Adiam often wears white linen and loved her neck piece in steelgrey Vinnis Serina,
 old gold Vinnis Nikkim and ivory Drops Cotton Light.

Miriam is a bright and colourful Zimbabwean, whose first Afrikaans word was "handskoene"
(literally hand shoes, for gloves). So the Nordic Wrist Warmers got an African twist for her.

Cook Kate got two balls of red Netlon and a nr 16 hook, which had her grinning from ear to ear.  She saw me starting on a giant doily with black Netlon, and was overwhelmed. Crochet is also popular in her Zulu culture, but she's never seen the oversized hooks and yarn.

That is it.  I think this was the fastest I've ever crocheted. They all loved their gifts - happy about that. 

Now, I'm moving house.  Next time I sit down to type will be from the shade of the Outeniquas, can't wait!

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Projek Bohemia...Trial Version

The end of the year is rushing up to me and I realised I'd quite forgotten to report on a few of my FO's!

In August, I started a trial version for my summer throw (at LAST I decided on something).  I absolutely loved the Sorbet & Lace square Cornel designed for Ideas magazine, and immediately all my other ideas for the summer throw flew out of the window.  First I tried it out a Elle Pure Gold, my favouite local acrylic (I had a ton of stash, and I had another idea for my own blanket...but first I had to master the pattern).

The pattern hooks up quickly and makes a nice, large square - great if you want to make a quick blanket :-) I wanted to try out some new colour combinations - bright, contrasting edges to each square, and also wanted to figure out the layout, which had to be seemingly random but not, ordered, but not.  That's the Gemini brain speaking.  Even when trying to work totally random, I'll still order around colours, as the lights and dark, cools and warms must balance.

Almost at the end, I made such an epic mistake, I still laugh at myself for it :-D  

But it was easily corrected and I could lay the blanket out, work away the ends and declared myself satisfied. 

A nicely sized lapghan

I used a different joining technique as I didn't want the large gaps of the original pattern, so used granny clusters of four stitches where I joined in the clusters as well as in the chains.  A friend and I sat over a coffee one day to look at the options, and decided that joining with SC's would look better than slip stitches, as it just give that tiny little bit of extra space to allow the join to lie flat.  

I don't try to block or even steam block acrylics, just gave it a quick wash, shake-out and let it hang to dry.  

This blanket was then donated to a hooky friend's charity group and will be donated to an elderly or wheelchair-bound recipient next winter.  

--- X --- the back of my mind...was this, all along:

Colours of Grace, a 10 ply cotton, in the most beautiful colours. I bought more than a bag full and quickly had to try out a first square in this dusky pink:

It might be one of the most beautiful colours on earth.  And I'm not even a pink person.

It is available online from Beatrix at Btrix Designs or Hilda at Yarn in a Barn.  The autumn blanket by Pigtails in Simply Crochet 23 was also hooked up in this yarn.

I've made a decent pile of squares, but had to put it aside to quickly finish a few year-end projects, but come December, after unpacking in my new hometown, this is one of the first projects to pick up!

--- X ---

PS - a friend at Ons Hekel is using the same principle to make up a Bohemian Blanket, with a square of her own design, but also the colourful, contrasting joins, and it looks stunning so far.  She's using Vinnis Nikkim.

Look. At. This:

Gina's Bohemian Blanket.
I'm jealous.