Monday, 20 February 2017

The Birkenhead Beach Comber Bag!




Hi, Everyone! Wow, it's been so crazy (in a lovely way) all the interest in my little squares! It's a thrilling feeling to LOVE what you do, and then find out others love them too! Thank you!

I have some exciting news! The Colourful CAL's /KAL's projects Group on Ravelry have organised a CAL...for my squares! I confess that this has made me in equal parts VERY excited, yet terrified! Suddenly my squares will be scrutinised from all angles to see exactly how "useful" they are in various projects. Well. I did design them for "projects" in mind. I'm not sure what sort of projects, but you know. PROJECTS! I am 100% confident that everyone who has ( and will still ) join the CAL are going to surprise my socks off! I CAN'T WAIT! I'M SO EXCITED. Yes. I know I keep saying that but 1 MAY does seem so far away when you're anticipating surprises and pleasant ones at that.




Anyhow, because I have an excitement Ants in my Pants sort of energy. I decided to just get stuck in and "create" an actual useful object from one of my squares. For ages, I've been wanting to make a little bag I can take to the beach because, in reality, I am a Magpie. Oh, my hooks, I can't stop myself! I have COLLECTIONS people! Twigs, sea glass, crockery shards, small stones, large stones, river stones, mountain top stones, stones from places we've visited. Then there's old bottles and shells, and bits of lace, dried petals and teacups, biscuit tins...! πŸ˜ƒ



I thought I'd use The Birkenhead Square to make this little Beach Combers bag because of its suitable nautical theme.




  1.  I added an extra round of DC's to increase it's size a little. 
  2. Then I used a Flat Braid technique to join 2 ends together.
  3. Laying out the 2 joined squares, I hand-sewed in a polyester waterproof lining. I added an inner pouch to the lining as well, for smaller collectables. I left two small sections open to add the rope handle.
  4. Then I joined the sides together using the Flat Braid technique.
  5. Then the rope strap was attached. I hand-sewed it in, between the square and the lining, making sure to go through the rope as well as around it to make sure it was well secured.
  6. I made 2 little Puff flowers ( 6 x Puffs into a Magic Ring ) and attached them to the outside spot where the rope strap was sewn in. Just to finish off this part neatly.
  7. Finally, I made tassels ( 6 x strands of yarn measuring 8" or 21cm, doubled over and attached slip knot style to the bottom Braids. 12 in all. ). 
  8. Then I trimmed the tassels and went to the beach to collect something! 😎


I might add that trying to take a pic of this bag, on my person was challenging! πŸ˜ƒ

I hope you join our fun CAL, and that my little bag has given you some big inspiration? 


See you there! 
πŸ’“ Jen

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

The Birkenhead Square


Hello All, and I hope this finds you in good spirits! 😊 Last week was quite a rough one for me, seeing as our ongoing renovations seem to never end. It's becoming a tad tedious I must say. Thankfully, amidst all this tedium there is always a bit of hooky to look forward to. This latest piece has, in part, been staring at me since I published The Darling Dahlia Square last year. I really am in love with the central flower and every time I look at it, my mind begins ravelling out all sorts of designs.




The trouble is, how do you pick just one? One of the designs that came from this was the extended version of the Dahlia square which was the Dahlia Mandala.  So many have asked about a pattern and in fact, I do have one written down and will shortly begin work on it. Here I am waffling on again...I could speak Crochetnease all day long given the chance.πŸ˜ƒ



Onto The Birkenhead. Many of you may already know about the famous story of  HMS Birkenhead?And about its ill-fated sinking just off the coast of Gansbaai, South Africa. I don't think it was called Gansbaai ( Goose Bay ) then, seeing as this happened in February 1852. What has captured my imagination about this event is the incredibly gallant behaviour of all the men on board. I've read that the phrase " women and children first" was first uttered on this beleaguered vessel!




I wanted to create a square in honour of these valiant men. Almost all of them died at sea that day, either drowned or eaten by sharks which, it is reported, swarmed in their hundreds around the helpless Officers and Sailors. At the subsequent investigation into the sinking of HMS Birkenhead, survivors spoke of the incredible calm, and quiet discipline displayed by the entire crew who probably knew already that their fate was sealed. Such courage!



Also, a little nod at the name, is that our house is 116 years old, and it's called The Birkenhead Cottages ( there are two attached cottages, a large one and a smaller one ). We have a framed limited edition print of an artist's rendition of The Birkenhead. on our wall! I can see it from my tiny craft room, and the colours are the ones I chose for one of the colourways. Although this is a tragic story, it is also one that garners much admiration and respect for the best qualities in human beings often displayed under incredibly trying times.




In a way, I see this also as a metaphor for our lives.We are all in our little ships, chartering our courses through life's storms, doldrums, or clear and sparkling seas, yet even our best course sometimes hits a hidden rock and we learn so much about ourselves by the way we cope with these hidden pitfalls. I like to think that like the flower in the centre of this square, surrounded by churning waves,  somehow our spirit shines through, even in the darkest of times. 
Oh, look at me, waxing all philosophical now! πŸ˜ƒ



Hope your day is filled with all sorts of good things. 😍

πŸ’– Jen




























Monday, 6 February 2017

Frida's Flowers Colourway Video




Hi Everyone, I hope this post finds you well after the weekend! Hopefully, you managed to find some time to play a little hooky?

Last year after the Frida's Flowers CAL, designed by the amazingly talented Jane Crowfoot, and hosted by Stylecraft Yarns, I posted my version to social media along with all the other spectacular Frida's and for some reason, my Frida, with its soft vintage colours, was a big hit! Since then I still get asked about the colours I used and which colours replaced the CAL's suggested colours. I used about half the colours recommended. Well, I had a brainwave this morning and decided a good way to answer everyone's questions would be to make a video. So I did!





Hope this answers all the queries. I have no idea how many skeins I used because I never thought there would be so much interest in this version. A bit of each colour...is about an accurate guesstimate. πŸ˜„




Friday, 3 February 2017

Welcome to Sunrise Beach!




Hello All, and I hope you have been well considering all the anxiety-inducing happenings across our globe? More than ever, crochet is coming to the rescue! After all, it could also be listed under a post-apocalyptic life skill, so keep those hooks, yarn, and needles close! 



This latest Square is one I've wanted to do for ages. It's a tribute to one of my beloved beaches. Sunrise Beach, in Muizenberg! I've lost count of the early morning walks we have taken on this amazing stretch of heaven on earth. I've fond memories which I will treasure forever of our rescue dogs, so timid, so terrified of water, eventually becoming " water surfing" furry bundles of confident
joy!





This beach is terrific any time of the day (except when the South-Easter is blowing!), but more so especially in the very early morning or late afternoon. Then the light takes on a special luminescence which can only be described as celestial! Renaissance blues, blushing pinks flecked with gold. Truly, if Botticelli's Venus herself sailed in on her shell, rowed across the placid "wine-dark" waves by a chorus of angelic Cherubin, I would not be at all surprised! It's no wonder that Cape Town is favourited as a paradise for photographers and film-makers. It's "something" about the light! Well, I could wax lyrical about this special spot for ages! Put this on your bucket list of absolutely FAB places to visit and see for yourself. 😍

Wishing you buckets of happy crochet hours!
πŸ’“ Jen xxx




πŸ’–FREE PDF PATTERN HEREπŸ’–

NOTE: The pattern has been updated, and hopefully all typos and minor errors are now sorted out! :-)
Thanks to my awesome Tester, Cindy van der Schee and a few eagle-eyed crocheters. You guys rock!


Saturday, 28 January 2017

Video Tutorial for * Snowdrops and Butterflies * !

Nadia Fuad, from YARNutopia has made a great video tutorial of my " Snowdrops and Butterflies" Square, for her 365 Days of Granny Squares! She's done a fantastic job of this complex pattern, walking ( or is that crocheting? ) you carefully through every step. I'm thrilled! It makes my πŸ’– so happy to see other crocheters enjoying my Squares!

Have a wonderfully peaceful weekend, and wishing you many contented hours of crochet! 😊