fearless crochet at de montfort university, leicester, uk







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

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.


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

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!


granny square beach tops







While on holiday in the Eastern Cape, I couldn’t resist making these granny square tops for our teenage guests.


It starts as a plain granny square with 9 rounds, then the sides are worked over 11 rows (tapers down in the granny square pattern from 6 treble groups to 1 treble group) and finished off with 6 treble-scollops around all the edges*.

Or you can buy the last one here.

Happy weekend!

CORNEL SIGNATURE* English crochet terms

craft share on friday 4 march 2016

Since 11 September 2009 I’ve had the privilege to crochet with friends on Fridays.  I call these gatherings “Craft Share”, because we make things (crafting) while we share a table, treats, coffee or tea (sometimes champagne), funny stories, sometimes heartache, just being mothers and wives, but most of all a love of making. I’ve met so many incredible woman over the years. To say that our circle of friends (who all love making and in particular crochet) have grown is an understatement. I remember one particular Friday when we met at a restaurant in Pretoria, because I didn’t have enough chairs for everyone to sit on! We were about 25 ladies crocheting, knitting, embroidering and having a good time. After about a 2 year period where I focused more on my family, home and travelling often, Adele Marais and Anneke van Heerden contacted me and asked if I could invite some of the “regulars” so we could all get in touch again. Let me introduce you to my guests:


On Friday 22 January 2010 Sonja joined Craft Share for the first time. She loves working in soothing and earthy colours. Sonja just finished a blanket for a friend’s baby. Sonja made sure we were hydrated on Friday.



Anneke fell in love with the Rustic Lace Square recently. She is methodical when it comes to colour combinations and will be joining her squares as she goes (JAYG). I met Anneke on Friday 16 July 2010.


I’ve never known a person who cares more for others than Annelize. She is always helping someone or making a contribution somewhere. I met her on Friday 11 March 2011.


I met Emsie at the primary school our children attends. She came to Craft Share for the first time on Friday 6 May 2011. She is making a cuddle blanket for a friend.


Annemarie (or Ammie as I know her) blesses her children and grand children with generously sized blankets. She loves to use soothing colours together. I’ve known Ammie about 12 years and the first time she came to Craft Share was on Friday 29 July 2011.


Jackie came to Craft Share for the first time on Friday 9 September 2011. She’s an avid knitter and is making a classic top for herself.


On Friday 9 September 2011 I met Adele Marais for the first time. Adele is a true artist when it comes to crochet. She is always busy with a beautiful blanket in the most gorgeous yarns. Click HERE for her Instagram feed.


Craft Share is where I met Elsbeth! On Friday the 13th of April 2012. It was a most auspicious day and I am so proud to call this incredible human being,  talented artist and extraordinary introvert my friend.


Marietjie is a crochet connoisseur and always takes the utmost care when she chooses yarn, patterns and crochet hooks for projects. She loves challenging items like this beautiful shawl in Buttons from One-of-a-kind Yarns. I met her on Friday 1 June 2012.


On Friday 15 June 2012 I met Amelia, who LOVES colour, especially purple. She is busy making a scatter cushion cover for her daughter’s room.


Debbie home schools her children and should get a medal for how well she does it. I met her on Friday 15 June 2012.


Marissa enjoys crocheting in strong bright colours. She is working on the Rustic Lace Square for a blanket. I met her on Friday 15 June 2012.


I met Susan on Friday 10 August 2012. She was busy crocheting a blanket for her holiday home. The blanket she’s holding is her way of getting rid of all her short ends. She bought the grey to tie it all together. How clever!zelda

Zelda is always busy working on blankets. She is almost done with this one (inspired by the American flag) for her son’s bedroom. I met her on Friday 8 November 2013.

I always feel SOOOO inspired after seeing what everyone is working on and also feel extremely proud of what my friends have made and achieved through crochet.

Crochet has so many benefits for the person who’s doing it, but also for the one that is blessed by receiving a handmade item.

If you’d like to explore a little more…….

Just have a look here on my first blog i love pom-poms 

and then there were all these photo albums on Facebook ….

Have a wonderful weekend!

from me, x


PS Im holding a crocheted beach skirt that a friend made. I’m just joining the panels and finishing it off.


buying blankets

I only wanted to buy one blanket – the one top left in the collage, but Rasta took me upstairs to the third floor where a man (I can’t remember his name) was busy weaving a white blanket with black stripes on a ‘contraption’ that was definitely home made.

Then back to Place Des Espices to buy some last gifts

and drinking some more mint tea.

Mohammed asked me if I take sugar in my tea.

He is one of thousands of Moroccans who suffer from diabetes.

mint tea

Lunch with Ingrid, Rosa and Ank at El Fenn:

ell fenn entrance
ell fenn lunch spot

ell fenn pool

ell fenn

By this time, the prayers at midday from the Koutoubia mosque seemed magical. Such an integral part of this strange and beautiful city.

Listening to it just before lunch on the rooftop at El Fenn, was extra special.

keeping up

last pics 1

saying goodbye

Flying back to South Africa via Casablanca (detail in the airport)…


It has been 3,5 months since I visited Morocco for Ingrid Jansens’ #coolcrochetworkshop.

Before doing this blog post I had to check my photo stream to see what we actually did on the last day in Marrakech, because frankly, the exact dates and details have faded,

but the memories have not and this place will forever be in my heart.

Ingrid recently did a blog post with beautiful photos of Marrakech about the April #coolcrochetworkshop HERE.

There’s only one room left!

making plans

On the second day back in South Africa, I had lunch with Elsbeth and Anisa at Moroccan House in Menlopark, Pretoria, to tell them about the flower of Morocco … Marrakech,

how amazing Ingrid is,

how generous Ank was,

how many other beautiful woman from around the world just love to crochet

and how we HAD to experience the October 2016 #coolcrochetworkshop together!

But before then,

the 3 of us will write a crochet book together (yes, seriously!!!)

and Elsbeth and I will teach about 100 women how to crochet on Wednesdays (SEE DETAIL HERE)

and at Tierlantynkies Koop en Kuier Fees from 27 April to 3 May in Saal street, Pretoria.

Have a lovely week,


cool crochet workshop october 2015 day 4

fourth day 1

There is no better word to describe Fellah Hotel other than SWANKY.

As one of my fellow travelers remarked: “This hotel could have been anywhere, even in Miami”.

fourth day 3

Its 13 kilometers from Marrakech, on the way to Ourika. Ank (bless her) wanted to show us what it looked like, so we stopped here for refreshments.

Vogue recently selected Fellah as one of their 5 top family getaways.

It’s all about protecting the environment, sustainable living, gardening, yoga …

fourth day 2

Fellah Hotel’s website HERE.

fourth day 5

We would spend the rest of the day at the Kasbah Bab Ourika.

fourth day 6

What a view! Turn around and you’d see this:

fourth day 4

fourth day 7

fourth day 8

Just to give you an idea: “Constructed principally from Pise (rammed earth), the traditional Berber building technique, it blends easily with rock and earth around it. Thick walls provide natural insulation in the heat and along with solar panels ensure a balanced temperature. All water at the Kasbah is recycled and used in the garden. An innovative biodigester system is used to produce electricity and also compost for the garden; the village below also benefits” (from here)

fourth day second last

But, we were here for a reason.

fourth day 9

As I see it you have one of 2 choices: you could either

join Ingrid in Morocco for a #coolcrochetworkshop


you could order your own loopy cushion crocheted by Ingrid from her Etsy shop. It’s up to you!

fourth day last

We stayed until dark, when it started to rain.

Another beautiful day spent with new friends.

Ingrid has shown our October 2015 #coolcrochetworkshop from a completely other FRESH angle. Visit her blog for posts HERE.


cool crochet workshop october 2015 day 3

third day 1

By day 3 we settled into a routine of waking up (not too early), sharing breakfast on the roof terrace of Hotel Chambres d’Amis and then meeting in the courtyard or the salon before going out to explore Marrakech.

In the photo above Ingrid chooses crochet hooks for our lesson of the day. I wanted to make her something to show my appreciation for her, and started working on a South Bay Shawl.

The yarn is Moroccan, very thin and ‘lumpy’ (like a bouclé) and I’m using a 4mm hook.

third day 2

A very emotional meeting with Aisha on the Place Des Espices. She doesn’t speak English, but she was VERY generous in teaching us her authentic Moroccan way of crochet.

third day aisha by ingrid

Rosa asked Aisha a year earlier to show her what she looked like. She simply took out her passport and showed Rosa her photo.


I’m convinced that you do not have to know what a person looks like on the outside, to see the purity in their heart.

third day crochet with aisha by ingrid

(2 photos above by Ingrid; thank you!)

third day 3

I’m wearing sunglasses because I couldn’t stop crying while sitting with Aisha.

Between the 13 of us (Ingrid and Ank included) we bought 40 of Aisha’s beanies. You should have seen the untidy beanie-mess when we left.

Aisha’s eyes were smiling.
third day 4

Ank (owner of Hotel Chambres d’Amis and our guide to the city) really made sure we experienced the essence of Marrakech.

We visited a contemporary Moroccan gallery where most of the items were up-cycled and given a new funky purpose…


Think Coca-Cola crates, empty oil cans, flour sacks, plastic carpets etc…

third day 5

From a very narrow but busy street, you step through a small door into this place!

Le Jardin’s INSTAGRAM account is HERE.

third day 6

third day le jardin by ingrid

(photo above by Ingrid)

third day norya by ellen grave

I couldn’t resist buying one of Norya Ayron’s dresses. The fabric is Moroccan and it’s made in Marrakech. The little label in the back says: “AFRICA IS NOW”.

I agree.

Norya’s INSTAGRAM account is HERE.

third day me at le jardin by ellen grave

This is me, in my new dress, looking at Le Jardin’s terrace. Thanks to Ellen Grave for the photo.

Ellen’s INSTAGRAM account is HERE.

third day 7

third day silk and motorcycles

On our way back to the riad Ellen and I passed a small open area where the motorcycles are parked next to a red-and-white raw silk curtain hanging on a wire! ONLY IN MARRAKECH.

third day 8

One of many highlights of the day was seeing this beautifully faded thick cotton throw on a sofa in a shop in the souk. I didn’t want to buy it (immediately thinking I could figure the pattern out for myself), but nevertheless asked the shop manager about it’s origin.

“From Mexico”, he replied.


This city is full of surprises.