Recent Projects & Yarny Goodness

Recent Projects from Jaarn Magazine

I realised I hadn’t shared my recently published projects with you. Frida the Frog from Jaarn Magazine Issue Three, Petals and Posts Scarf and Gloves, and Finn’s Blanket from Jaarn Magazine Issue Four. Better late than never, and all that. The magazine is available in digital format from the Jaarn Shop and Ravelry.

Petals and Posts image courtesy Bren Grobler @hookybren

Meet Olive the Guardian Angel

Olive is the prototype for a design I’m busy working on. Testing has been completed, so it’s really getting there. Olive is made from Vinnis Nikkim (DK, 100% cotton) and a 3.0mm hook. I’m toying with the yarn and hook combination to get a tighter finish without it being too stiff. I want to make several in differing skin tones for a nice variety.

I often use a 2mm hook with DK yarn for amigurumi, but it can be slightly uncomfortable as it is extremely tight, and tension can be tricky. Generally speaking I like yarns with a high twist for ami, such as Nurturing Fibres Eco-Cotton and Colourspun cotton. Both are very comfortable on the hands as the high twist has a bit more of a springiness, and stretch. Yarns with a low twist, like Vinnis Nikkim, can be trickier, but it is still a gorgeous yarn and comes in incredible colours.

While you can, technically speaking, use just about any yarn for amigurumi, I do recommend cotton as it washes and wears very well. My grandson’s toys are testament to that! It gives a smooth and durable finish. If you do want a fluffy finish then wool or acrylic might suit, especially if you brush it. As with anything I recommend going with the right yarn for the right application, and that you buy the best you can afford. I always feel that you put so much heart and soul into a project, why would you want it falling to pieces or pilling? It would be wasting all those hours you spent on it.

Playing with yarn

Winter is pretty much here, and so the evenings grow dark earlier. I find myself snuggled in bed with the pooches embarrassingly early, crochet in hand. I’ve always love African Expressions yarns, my favourite being Harmony. I decided that I wanted to try Joy. Joy is a 15% mohair, 40% wool, 45% acrylic yarn. It is wonderfully soft, with a lustrous sheen. It took a long time for me to work with real wool as I have incredibly sensitive skin. It took even longer for me to pick up mohair. This yarn is truly lovely, and I’ve recently completed a design with it.

I made some test squares with Joy, and this is what they looked like before blocking. I do recommend blocking this type of yarn. It will give a professional and smooth finish, and ensure even shaping. You can refer back to my tutorial on spray blocking if you need a refresher.

I’m glad it’s winter. I miss the Eastern Free State, crackling fires, and comfort food when it’s icy outside. Pretoria really is much milder, but as we hurtle through May I’m really getting that hankering for making blankets and comforting projects with squishy, soft yarns. I have recently destashed my yarns, but daresay I’m itching for another round. It also gives me a chance to go through the not insubstantial stash (even after about five rounds of decluttering), and remind myself of some of the amazing yarns that are in there.

Watch this space.

For those of you in the Southern Hemisphere enjoy the cooler days and nights, and those in the Northern Hemisphere, I hope the flowers and warmer days bring you much joy.

Cheers for now.

Making a granny border lie flat

Hi everyone. I hope you are all well. I have left my beloved Eastern Free State and am in Pretoria. Getting used to the city again, but it has its perks. Will be in Pretoria for a while before I can go to the UK to join Matt.

I thought I would share with you my tip for making a border on a granny blanket lie flat. It works for other types of blankets where motifs are used too. All too often you will see borders on granny blankets ruffled and the reason for this is that there are simply too many stitches. This is very simple to resolve.

First join all motifs for your granny blanket. You can refer back to previous posts on this topic for joining granny squares as you go.

The following steps are explained using UK terms.

Once you have your blanket all neatly joined and the ends worked away ensure that the right side of the blanket faces you. Begin in a corner, as you normally would, by joining your yarn, working a corner and then three trebles (UK) into the next chain spaces until the point where you have two motifs intersect.

For row two onward simply work as normal. By working a tr2tog on row one you have created a total of 3 stitches across each intersection where normally one might make 6. This will help your border lie flat.

Here you can see that as subsequent rows / rounds are worked they lie nice and flat.

And that’s it. A simple trick that really makes a huge difference.

Wishing all a wonderful weekend filled with crochet.

Well, didn’t see that coming!

Soooooooo, 2021 is off to a great start, isn’t it? With the COVID situation British Airways has cancelled my flight for Feb, so I will remain in South Africa until I can fly in April. It was a bit of a shock, but also not a great surprise. I will be leaving my beloved Rosendal next weekend, and will be staying with a very dear friend in Pretoria. It’s going to be interesting to leave this quiet and tranquility for the frantic pace of the city. I miss Matt like crazy (he’s already in the UK), and can’t wait to see him.

It has been a tremendously productive rainy season, and the garden is bursting with flowers. For me flowers bring so much joy. One thing I’m looking forward to in the UK is a garden full of flowers without the water challenges we have here.

Lots of crochet happening, but can’t share with you just yet. The patterns will be for the next issue of Jaarn magazine, and can’t wait to show you. With everything going on, and first the move to Pretoria and getting ready for the move to the UK, I just don’t have as much time as I’d like. I try for at least an hour in the evenings, and when I get up in the morning. I’m up at around 3am. Very early here in the platteland.

Will chat again soon.

Into the future, and beyond.

I have to say, and I think agreement is unanimous, that 2020 has been a heck of a year. I’m not too keen to assume 2021 will be any better, in case it says “hold my beer!”

For our family this has been a year of tremendous change. A few months ago my hubby and I decided that it was time to relocate our little family to the UK. It was a hard decision to make, but once it was a definite we started putting events in motion that will change our lives permanently. M is already in England (he is a British citizen, so it was very straightforward for him) and I am getting everything concluded that I need for my visa, our cube has been packed and sealed with the contents we will be taking, and the dogs’ documents are also underway. Presently I am so busy with paperwork that I haven’t yet had time to be fully excited, and I am experiencing a sense of loss too. I don’t think you leave this country, or this continent, without experiencing big feelings. Every day is a whirlwind of getting things done. I’m totally focused on that.

I have a few other things happening too. I’ve decided to start officially designing my own patterns. I’m always working on something, so I have tons of ideas. My first official pattern was published in Issue Two of Jaarn Magazine, which is the brainchild of the multitalented Bren Grobler. I was proud of my work being published and well received. The first official pattern was a simple market bag.

Fisherman’s Net Market Bag

Get the pattern in Jaarn Magazine, Issue Two

My next pattern will be a cute amigurumi pattern coming out in the next issue. I’m also working on documenting my patterns so I can sell them on Etsy and Ravelry. Keep any eye out for these coming soon.

Well, admin waits for no woman, so I best get on with it. Chat again soon.