Upcoming Changes

Well, the past month has been rather interesting to say the least.

Conrad (the hubby) and I are working on some big changes in our life, that will hopefully free us up to spend more time together as well as new business ideas.
One of the major changes that I am working on even as I am writing this is the move from abagfullofcrochet.wordpress.com to my very own URL. I wasn’t going to do this so soon but the constant emails and Facebook messages asking about where you can buy my elephant string have hastened things along just a bit.
So, I am going to be moving my blog to http://abagfullofcrochet.co.za YAY! Oops, I just noticed a spelling mistake in the blog name. The link should still take you to the right page though.
You can have a look at it already, as it is live and it won’t look much different to this blog except that I’ve added a PinIt button and changed the links in the right hand menu a bit. You will now connect with me via mail, RSS feed, twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and even Ravelry right from the right hand side menu.
You’ll also notice that there is no Follow via email option in the right hand menu anymore. Don’t despair though, you can still follow me via email and receive the free Spring is Sprung Granny Square pattern. All you need to do is comment on a post or page and then click the ‘Notify me of new posts via email’ option. You can start following the new blog now already, if you like. Ok, so I fixed that, the Follow via email box is back in the right hand menu 🙂
Another new feature will be a shop YAY 🙂

I will be selling pre-made items such as the elephant string, overlay heart mobiles and other decorations as well as patterns.

I still have to finalise everything and make sure that everything works properly before I open the shop but it will be happening soon YAY YAY 🙂

On Tension and the Use of Wooden Hooks (among other things)

Good morning!

The last few days have been fabulously warm and sunny again, I am hoping it will remain like this.

Today’s post is a bit sporadic but I wanted to share a few things with you.

I’ve been working on a number of projects simultaneously lately.
I don’t know about you but working on one project at a time becomes entirely boring to me (especially when it’s just a repetition of SC or HDC), which is not good when you have orders to complete. I have started to break the monotony by working on several projects at the same time.

Here’s a selection:
I’m making a blanket for my daughter using some lovely vintage yarn left to me by my gran. I had to go and buy some new yarn for it though because I don’t have enough of the vintage yarn, so I bought a few balls of Vinnis Colour cotton and cotton/bamboo blend to match the blanket.
I made some lovely Nadja lace using a skein of 100% wool, hand-painted, merlot coloured  Montana Moments yarn I received in a yarn swap. It’s one of the few times I’ve used fingering because it’s a bit hard to get here.
I’m also working on some more overlay hearts, this time for the nursing room at my church. I love the colour combination.
Then I’m working on a ball mobile, some heart mobiles, newborn mittens and an overlay star mobile and whipped up a couple of Christmas hats to use for photo shoots somewhere in between all of this.

I also made a cowl with a lovely skein of 50% baby Alpaca, 40% fine merino wool and 10% silk blend Ashton yarn, again from the yarn swap.
I had originally planned on making a scarf but the Raya Clover pattern I used makes it a bit difficult to judge how much yarn you need, and you have to complete two rows for one motif, so the cowl was a better option in the end.

I love how soft the yarn is and am so grateful to my swap partner for spoiling me 🙂

The Nadja Lace and Raya Clover patterns can be found in Robyn Chachula’s book Crochet Stitches Visual Encyclopedia. I highly recommend writing it down on your Christmas list, if you don’t own it already!

Now for something a little different.
A few weeks ago I received this lovely email from the very talented Guillermina of Crochetinas.

‘Hi Stephanie,

I am a beginner crocheter from Argentina. I make little crochet dolls that I like to call “Crochetinas” 😀
I love popcorn stitch, and I used to think popcorn, puff and bobble were different names of the same stitch, till I read your really useful post “demystifying” them 🙂
Well, I am not very good writing and explaining myself in English, so I won’t write much more. I just wanted to show you two dolls with different “clustered hair”:

I made these dolls with popcorn stitch hair.

And this doll has puff stitch hair.

Thanks a lot for your help 🙂

Cheers,
Guillermina.”

I think these dolls are fabulous, and beginner crocheter?
Well, Guillermina, if you’re a beginner then you’re a natural at crochet!
Well done and I’m glad I could help you 🙂

You may be wondering about the title of this post and here’s the story:

I’m sure most of you have a favourite hook, or hooks.
For me it is my wooden KnitPro Symfonie hooks (My hubby spoiled me with a whole set for my birthday last year! Yay me!)

They are gorgeous, multi-coloured, light, slender and best of all have a metal end that you can screw a nylon cable into to turn them into Tunisian hooks. I don’t like the long Tunisian hooks, they always seem to get in the way and the nylon cable makes these hooks nice and flexible.

I love them because I can crochet for hours without my hands getting sore (how many of you have that problem?)
They are also a perfect way of keeping my tension loose, because I don’t tend to grip them too tightly because of a certain incident.
The incident!
Shortly after I received the hooks I was using the 3.5mm hook for a project. I was used to metal hooks and so my tension was quite tight and like a fool I tried to force the hook through the stitch and snapped the tip off!
I promised myself that I would be more careful when using the hooks and have not broken any more… until last week, when, like a total fool I did the same thing again!
It was totally my fault, there was a certain moment before I felt the snap when I was thinking, ‘ You should not be doing this!’
Well,  it’s been over a year since the last break so I guess I’m not doing too badly. I was so upset though, especially since I have so much to do at the moment and the 4mm hook I broke is my go-to hook for almost every project 😦

Now I’m stuck with the horrible aluminum hook on the right because my local yarn shop is out of stock!
I hate that hook, not only does it look ugly, but it is also uncomfortable, makes my hand cramp and starts to slip in my hand after a while.
All I can say is that I cannot wait for the phone to ring and let me know that the hooks have arrived!

Since I don’t want to end on such a depressing note I thought I’d share some of my culinary efforts with you.

I love cooking and baking and started making my own bread a few months ago, which is even more enjoyable  now with my new hob and oven 🙂
Top left is a huge loaf of beer bread, it was very yummy! The Recipe is from Jamie Oliver’s The Naked Chef.
Top right is a peanut butter-filled Chocolate cake (supposed to be cupcakes but I didn’t have  any cupcake tins. this recipe is from Martha Stewart’s book Cupcakes,
Then there’s some brownies bottom left. The recipe was clipped out of a magazine so I don’t have a link and bottom right is Jamie Oliver’s Aloo Gobi, which I absolutely love with garlic and nutmeg rice. It’s in the book Ministry of Food. If you don’t like cooking or don’t know how to it’s an excellent buy. The instructions are very easy to follow.

Well, that’s it for today, don’t forget to send your photos to stephanie@radiate.co.za or to post them on Instagram and tag them #loveabagfullofcrochet and @stephaniedavies or post them on my Facebook fan page.