Saturday, 29 January 2011

knit 1, purl 1, lose 1

Another knitting exercise in colour-mixing.

This graph from my last blackwork experiment was still lying around, so I used it as a knitting pattern. With mixed results. The colour changing goes ok but I struggle to keep the tension consistent, especially right at the change-over.

And I dropped a stitch. Now I am wondering whether it is worth retrieving it or just abandon the exercise or start over?

In the mean time I will go and have some tea.

Friday, 28 January 2011

knit 1, purl 1

I learned to knit as a child. My knitting was always very tight and a few rows in my mother or my teacher always had to redo everything as it was just to constricted to continue. I don't want to say I gave up, but I moved on to other things. My mother is a master knitter and she has at least one project going at all times, so I guess it was inevitable for me to come around to knitting again. Maybe I am old enough to turn into my mother now!

I've had a project in the back of my mind for quite a while now, and I decided that 2011 is the year I am going to make it. But it involves knitting, so I bought myself a pair of knitting needles and set to work.

This is what I am capable of without any instruction. Three different stitches. And the tension is not to bad. My project involves blocks of different colours and textures, so I tried my hand at mixing the colours.

So far, so good. All the mistakes I made were counting mistakes and not knitting mistakes, except for a bit of variation in the tension... I didn't weave the back as it was to time consuming, but I can see anything more than 3 or 4 stitches difference will need weaving.

This time I worked with seperate spools of yarn, and it does look better than the previous one. Again, the colour changes went well, but the counting didn't. And the tension is still not consistent.

Lastly I tried to not only vary the colour but also the stitch. It works ok, except for the tension.
Let's see where this leads...

Blackwork project finished

Sometime last year I decided to try my hand at blackwork. I studied a few books and online tutorials, then I picked this tried and tested picture to start with.

I turned it into a grid using KG Chart LE for Cross Stitch and played around with a few designs. After a few trials I decided to use one continuous pattern building it up in layers instead of using different patterns. The picture had too many small corners to make this workable.

I made a sample grid to test the pattern first.

First I did the outline. I lost track of my counting a few times and had to undo. I must admit I found the Holbein stitch very slow-going, and the going back and forth added to the confusion.

Then I started to fill in the layers. The first two was relatively easy and hassle free,

but as the layers became more dense it was difficult to keep track of the outlines.

(Sorry about the blurry pic - I am still getting to grips with my camera's macro-function...)

With the last layer it was difficult to still see the little holes for the needle to go through, fortunately it was just a small area.

So, that's blackwork done. Now I am off to something new. (All the time while I was working on this I was asked 'why do you only do his face? When will you do mine? So I guess the next experiment will have a new face...)

Thursday, 20 January 2011

I'm on Flickr!

After six years in Dubai, I am finally able to use Flickr! The site has always been blocked (yes, we are being sensored) but has now misteriously been unblocked... I don't want to ask to many questions in case someone decides to block it again.

I have loaded a few images but it is still a work in progress...

I tried to join a couple of groups, but alas the group option is still blocked

Maybe in another six years...

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Dear Diary

Having a schedule and sticking to it, has never been one of my strong points! As anyone who lives in my house will testify - I am not Little Miss Organised...

I am not into New Year's Resolutions but I do try to have a few goals for each year. One of my goals for this year is to be more organised and to be better at planning - and actually executing my plans. (I'm sure my husband will be happy to hear this!)

I am a paper and pencil person. I am not into all these electronic PDA's, smartphones and other small handheld electronic devices. I like to write with a pencil on a piece of paper. It's tactile. I can feel and hear the pencil against the paper. I can make little side notes and comments. I can add business cards and sticky notes. I can doodle. I like that.

The problem is my filofax and all other diaries on the market has a Monday - Friday work week and a Saturday - Sunday weekend. In the UAE we have a Sunday to Thursday work week and a Friday - Saturday weekend. That means I get a half-page Sunday when I need a full-page Sunday and I get a full-page Friday when I only need a half-page Friday. Frustrating!

I tried to print my own pages, but that was just to much hassle and in the end I never had a good working diary. But now all has changed! The UAE now has it's own custom made diary,printed by Explorer Publishing, just for us. It has the local Public Holidays and othe Useful Information in the front. It has the weekends in the right place. It has everything written in English and Arabic. It's perfect.

And it has nice pictures of the UAE.
This year I will be organised.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011


A South African friend of mine gave me a big bag full of 'stuff' she found in her late grandmother's belongings. She told me she thinks it is rubbish but maybe I would find some of it interesting. The bag contained a pile of old magazine clippings and pull-out patterns.

Crochet borders

and patterns

The Sarie Marais is/was an Afrikaans women's magazine. Today it is known as SARIE

STER (star) was a very popular family magazine when I was a child. I couldn't find any reference of it online, but I remember my dad worked for them when I was still small.

The bag also contained this biscuit tin.

Inside the tin I found lots of old recipe booklets,

Some embroidery remnants,

and lots of leftover yarn. It was a great find and definitely not rubbish by my standards!
Thanks Linda!

Sorting through everything and photographing all the interesting bits was a big job. Fortunately I had an assistant!

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Leaving 2010 with a bang!

Before 2011 runs away with us, let me show you how we spent our Christmas and New Year holiday.

We had a house full of South African family visiting us in Dubai. How wonderful to have a family Christmas holiday at home! Yes, after 6 years in Dubai, this is home. It was really special to share all the wonders of this city and country with our family.

we spoiled my in-laws (and ourselves) with a night at Bab Al Shams

and then when the rest of the family (my sister-in-law with her husband and 2 children and my brother) arrived, we spent 2 absolutely awesome days on a dhow in the Arabian Gulf

Christmas lunch around our dining room table was a heart-warming affair. It was the first time our dining room table was surrounded by 12 family members!

On the 26th we decided to reach new heights on the 124th floor of the Burj Khalifa,

after which we had an al fresco dinner on the promenade facing the fountain...

My in-laws left the next day, so the younger generation spend the day at Atlantis, the Palm

The day ended tired but happy with a beautiful view of Dubai from the Palm crescent.

And of course the year had to end away from all the glitz and glamour in the desert.

New Year's eve in the desert, around a camp-fire, with family. Can it get any better?

Only if you can watch the Burj Khalifa fireworks from the desert...

Happy New Year!!
May 2011 be a blessed and joyful affair