it was the year 1886

Writing a crochet book is not for the fainthearted let me tell you.

Cornel told Anisa and myself that writing a crochet book is A LOT OF WORK, but I must confess I didn’t really believe her…..crochet, work? How is that even possible.

*Cornel has written a crochet book for Ideas Magazine a while ago (so she knows what she is talking about and we have all loved making some of the special patterns in it.) By the way….. if you subscribe for the electronic Ideas Magazine/ Idees Tydskrif  you can get the crochet book for free!!!! )

So, after a few months of working on the book I agree…. it is A LOT OF WORK!

It is also such an interesting experience…I am loving the creative side of looking at the amazing yarn our sponsors donated, thinking of lovely things to crochet, letting my imagination go wild, starting 20 times, frogging 21 times to get something right while writing everything down too!!!!

I really admire all the knitting and crochet designers out there for creating wonderful patterns for all of us to make. The small amount of money that we pay for a well written pattern that was tested is really not that much and I applaud the ladies who support designers by buying patterns and not just copying them from friends……

I have been going through many of my old crochet and knitting files and found this adorable book. I only have the scans of these pages and maybe someone knows where it can be found online?

It was edited by Jenny June in 1886 and I want to share the introduction with you. It made me feel so close to these lovely ancient ladies who made things, lovely and practical, with their hands.

(Thanks to my dear daughter Amber, who kindly typed the Introduction so that it can be read easily)


whole intro



Have a lovely weekend making lovely things!

love from Elsbeth

fearless crochet at de montfort university, leicester, uk







De Montfort University’s graduate ready-to-wear collection Spring/Summer 2015 as featured by

These crocheted creations can be described as ‘fearless” and “adventurous”.

It pushes the boundaries of “what-to-wear” and “what-not-to-wear”

and just shows how versatile and visually extravagant dc’s, trebles, bobble stitches and loopy crochet stitches can be.

I am definitely left inspired after seeing this,

although I would tone down the colour palette if I had to make something similar for myself.


Catwalk Inspiration

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Co-authoring a crochet book with my friends Cornel and Elsbeth is an experience in every sense of the word. It’s scary, challenging, exciting and exhilarating all at the same time. There are days of sheer frustration. Days when I question why I ever agreed to do this. But ultimately, when I stand back and reflect, I know that this experience is cementing friendships, creating proof of a craft we all love dearly, building character and stretching our dreams.

This process has taught me to seek inspiration in everything around me.

The three of us have created secret boards on Pinterest which reflects our own individual style.   We refer to these boards on a daily basis while creating and crafting new patters for our book.

The catwalk has been a source of great inspiration, from Valentino, to Chanel, Tommy Hilfiger, Chanel, Francis Montesinos to name but a few.

I know the designs below will inspire you to create your own yarn magic!  Have fun while exploring…

Frances Montesino

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Looking forward to sharing our really interesting crochet designs that will be published in our book early in 2017.

For more inspiration follow me on Instagram!

Have a fabulous week

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happy holiday hat pattern

happy holiday hat cover

I wrote this pattern in December 2010 and it’s still one of my favourites to make up if I need a handmade gift for a friend.

Click HERE for the edited version of this pattern in PDF.

It’s written in English crochet terms.


PS THIS was my original blog post on I Love Pom-poms

on-the-go in handmade style

On a recent vintage shopping spree at Provance Vintage fair, I found this lovely basket….. perfect for my on-the-go crochet and knitting projects.

FullSizeRender (6)I love the wooden beaded handles, but I had some plans for the boring grey lining and knew that I will find something in my fabric stash that I can use to take the inside from boring to fab!.

This floral fabric is also from a secondhand shop and I really like how this very busy floral fabric blends in with the natural  basket colour.

The crochet butterfly pin cushion on the fabric was my first attempt at making a butterfly brooch. I crocheted a bit too loose so the butterfly is really far too big for a brooch, but makes a lovely pin cushion. Here is my butterfly brooch if you are curious.

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The fabric was cut to follow the shape of the basket. After sewing it together I stitched it into the basket and voila….

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A little fabric pocket for scissors and notions make it very practical.

The first project to enjoy this cosy new basket is the Maddermade Cardigan.

I am busy knitting one for my husband in the most glorious Alpaca yarn from Quenti Alpacas. I highly recommend this pattern if you want to knit a cardigan. The best part is that you can decide how long, fitted or straight the cardigan should be, so you design the pattern with the help of Carrie’s clear instructions. I am not an experienced knitter by the way, so trust me on this!


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I am so please with this little project.

Wishing you a creative weekend full of possibilities

love from Elsbeth


my butterfly brooch


I had so much fun making this! A cute little butterfly brooch…..

It has two sides. The fun speckled yarn side……..

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….and another side with flowers

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the collection yarns

I used an arty speckled yarn from one of a kind yarns, black vinnis nikkim to crochet the two sides together and to crochet the middle of the butterfly’s body and to embroider 2 small flowers.

The other side of the butterfly was crocheted with some delicious natural merino dk yarn, and cowgirlblues merino lace was used for the little french knots and flowers.

If you would like to see it in action on my jersey you can pop over to my instagram account. Winter is here and its time for jerseys, sweaters, scarves, beanies and mittens…and of course, my cute little butterfly brooch!

Have a lovely weekend

love from Elsbeth

ps: this is the pattern that I used.

Crochet Olympics 2016

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This was our fourth Crochet adventure in St Frances (or as we like to call it the Crochet Olympics). It’s a time we all cherish! It’s here that we get to cook wonderful creative meals while sipping on bubbles and wine. We crochet (Liesel embroiders) and talk about our daily lives, we discover new topics such as square foot gardening, the joys and benefits of eating only organic and everything about permaculture and so much more…

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It really is a time to restore one’s soul and reflect on the exciting adventures we all have ahead of us. Each year we go back home feeling fulfilled and blessed in the knowledge that life is so much better when its filled with happiness, creativity and the many exciting ventures that lay ahead.

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Cornel has the most beautiful home in St Frances and this year our weather was amazing, Melanie and I went for a walk on the beach every morning. It’s during these walks that we re-discovered the beauty of St Frances.

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Each one of us got a turn to dish up something delectable. Most of the time it’s a group effort with Liezel (our official food photographer) snapping away at every morsel created. What made this year so special is the fact that all our food was organic, sourced from a local supplier. We all agreed that the food was soulful, colorful and so much more sumptuous as a result.

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Of course our visit would not have been complete without a trip to the wonderful Nomvulas. We tend to spend all our money in this store (without any regrets). It’s filled with the most beautiful yarn and we find ourselves spending hours just exploring. Liesel even bought a ball of yarn this year and Cornel made her some awesome mittens for the Winter.

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Cornel, Elsbeth and I are busy working on our crochet book, which is scary, exciting and rewarding all at the same time. We can’t share too many photos of what we crochet on our trip. But I can tell you that we are working with some of the most fantastic South African yarns available. For a sneak peak in the months ahead you should follow us on Instagram. Anisa, Cornel, Elsbeth

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The poem below sums up how the Crochet Olympics team feel about our life passion… crochet, food, conversations and a happy ever after.


have a fantastic fun filled weekend!

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tierlantynkies and the african flower motif


As you know Elsbeth and I have a small business called Empty Nest.

Well, between 27 April and 3 May this year our nest was CERTAINLY not empty!


We held crochet workshops at the Tierlantynkies Market in Pretoria,


And on the side we sold some lovely yarn from I Love Yarn


and Moya Yarn.


From the very young


to the more mature ladies discovered the magic of crochet in our beginners workshops.


And for everyone else who just wanted to spend 2 hours crocheting something new,


spending time with friends,


drinking wine, laughing and relaxing, we introduced them to these 3 motifs…


The humble Granny Square, the popular Rustic Lace Square and



Needless to say, I got a little carried away…


Over the course of 7 days I progressed from one


to more


and more


to many.


Until I had a small ‘roll’


of African Flowers,


And ultimately this half-finished beautiful blanket made with left-over “kakriel” yarns.

But acrylic blankets last forever and who wouldn’t want to play with so many colours at the same time.

As you might have noticed our blog posts have been few and far between.

I can explain. This is also the reason why I have to move my Happy African Blanket to the side (sad face emoji).

Anisa, Elsbeth and I am working on a wonderful, packed-to-the-brim crochet book with something in it for everyone.

And there’s only 3 months left.

Elsbeth and I have even postponed all our crochet classes (The Gentle Art of Crochet) until November 2016 by which time we hope the  ‘crochet dust’ will have settled.

Please join me on MY INSTAGRAM to keep up with happenings.

Although I can’t show you exactly what I’m making for our book, you’ll get glimpses of the beautiful yarns I’m working with.

We have THE MOST amazing yarn sponsors!

Thank you for following our blog.

Have a wonderful week!


Bell Sleeve Revival

I loved wearing vintage clothing in my teens. I used to scour the local vintage stores and visit Rocky Street in Johannesburg to find the most beautiful vintage items. My favorite was any item that had either bell bottoms or bell sleeves. So it was to my absolute delight that I discovered that the bell sleeve is experiencing a revival. From Victoria Beckham to Rosetta Getty – two of the worlds renowned designers have included the bell sleeve in their collections.

Victoria Beckham always a trend setter, launched her version of the bell sleeve jersey in 2015.

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Take a look at Rosetta Getty’s  fall 2016 collection where she showcases her beautiful knitted bell sleeve jersey.


And just because I could not resist, take a look at some of Rosetta Getty’s beautiful crochet items



Gigi Hadid looks super chic in one of Rosetta’s designs


Here are a few Emma Bell designs to inspire you


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There are some interesting bell sleeve knitting and crochet patterns to be found on

 Have a fabulous weekend creating something spectacular!

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