my special moments in the karoo- elsbeth

Those of you who has followed our blog for a while, will be familiar with our yearly crochet-getaway. If you have missed out on our previous getaways, you can go here and here to see what we were up to.

 

I spent my Karoo days knitting and crocheting.

 

 Sitting in Colesberg at a quaint coffe shop, knitting a beany for myself with cowgirlblues aran. I didnt follow a pattern and loved the result! I will share a final photo on my instagram sometime. ( It was done, pom pom and all, but my dog got hold of the beany when I got home and played with the pom-pom, and im sure you get the picture…. need to add another pom pom….)

 

At Richmond Rooms and Cafe, I had the cutest little stoep in front of my room, and fell in love with the embroidered tablecloth!

Every room had so many beautiful little corners and this was one of my favourites!

I also crocheted  hot water bottles covers and embroidered a little something on them to make them extra special.

Its a perfect project for beginners- just make a ch that is the same length as the bottom of the hot water bottle. You will then work  trs in all the chs until you get to the first ch made, turn your work and then tr in the other side of all the chs- this way the cover is all ready closed at the bottom.  Ss into the first tr you made, and then continue working in the round. When the cover is long enough you can bind off. Add a cute border and make a string to close the cover around the spout.

 

I also started knitting the marled magic shawl from Stephen West.

Thank goodness Anisa was there to guide me through this pattern- she made one a few months ago- otherwise I would not be smiling on this photo and the horns would be really sprouting from my head!

 

…dear Liesl just being her cute self.

 

This lovely Karoo break was amazing and spending time with my dearest friends just made it unforgettable, and we are all ready dreaming about where our next adventure will take us!

 

 

Have a lovely week making pretty things with yarn, plants and people,

love from Elsbeth

the Karoo and us



….and this year we did it again, but a little bit different.

Our 2017 crochet getaway* took place in the beautiful Karoo, specifically in Richmond, and to pin point our exact location…the lovely charming Richmond Cafe and Rooms

I cannot describe in words how absolutely beautiful and special the experience was.

Our hosts, Klaradyn, Nicol and their whole team, made us feel so welcome and the saying ”being spoiled” is an understatement.

We will be sharing some of our favourite moments over the next few weeks with you,

like where we sat on this couch a lot……

 

 

Cornel worked on her gorgeous African flower blanket,

 

Anisa started knitting a fun shawl pattern from Hedgehogfibers and…

 

…and I started Stephen West’s Marled magic shawl.

 

…and Liesel (who doesn’t crochet, but cheer us on from the sidelines), sitting here with her needlepoint project.

 In the coming weeks we will share what we made over the glorious 5 days and all the links to the patterns.

Wishing you a lovely day

love from Elsbeth

 

PS: Visit our instagram accounts for more of the Karoo and us

Richmond Cafe and Rooms

Cornel, Anisa, Elsbeth and Liesel

PSS: *we did a lot of knitting too!

Catwalk Inspiration

PicMonkey ImageA

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

123 PicMonkey Image2

PicMonkey Image

1234

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

anisa signature

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.

FullSizeRender (17)

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

FullSizeRender (13)

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!

 

FullSizeRender (14)

FullSizeRender (16)

I am so please with this little project.

Wishing you a creative weekend full of possibilities

love from Elsbeth

 

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.

victoria beckham

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

0d26b0addb03c7226abd08590d62b75c

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

untitled

f32233c133f28909ba1b9c0989919473 

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

128228151_00

Here are a few Emma Bell designs to inspire you

anisa

PicMonkey Collage

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

 Have a fabulous weekend creating something spectacular!

anisa signature

Life is like a Patchwork

PicMonkey Collage

Patchwork is defined as something composed of many different elements so as to appear variegated. A great analogy for the journey of life don’t you think.

I love patchwork in all forms; as upholstery, in the traditional needlework form and of course the every beautiful granny square blanket. Patchwork reminds me of our life journey, each patch representing an event in one’s life – á journey filled with spectacular turns and experiences. And when you look at a patchwork creation once its complete it holds many hours of magic – representing a point in time in the artist’s life journey.

PicMonkey Collage3

I’ve been extremely busy of late and have not had time to really crochet or knit. I’ve missed it so much. It was Friday last week I was sitting in my garden looking at how the blossoms on a jacaranda tree were unfolding. It was a patchwork of mauve hues and texture. Immediately I was inspired to do something that represents both the colour and patchwork of my blessed life. I was inspired by this beautiful flowing jersey by Daniela Gregis.

481d4e9f9a0033ed10dca2246a314a70

It’s simple, has texture and depth yet it’s all about getting back to basics. I’m using the gorgeous Malabrigo yarn I bought at I love Yarn. It drapes beautifully. I’m only a week into the project and it’s “a learn as you go” experience for me. No pattern, winging it as one would say. Loving it, the freedom to just experiment. Ill share the finished product with you soon!

Take a look at some of these really gorgeous pictures of patchwork in all its forms.

PicMonkey Collagex

PicMonkey Collage6 

PicMonkey Collage2

3651a9b4cca91c07fbeada45f0677625

I found this beautiful poem and thought you would love to read it.

Beautiful handmade, Patchwork Quilts… Made over time, and precisely built.

Made with pieces of cloth, various patterns or lines. Reminds me of people’s lives, representing periods of time.

Some pieces are pretty black, with various sizes or shapes. Remind me of times in my life, when I just wanted to escape.

Other pieces are dark blue like a dark, rainy sky. Remind me of times in my life, when I would just cry and cry.

Other pieces are very red, like a big sign of danger. Reminds me of times in my life, when my ex was like a stranger.

Then some are beautiful white, very shiny and bright. Remind me of when I was saved, and finally saw the Light.

So many times in our lives, represented by a different hue. But all these times of our lives, make up a beautiful you.

For each moment in our lives, adds up like a house built. Step by step we are made, like a homemade patchwork quilt.

Though individual pieces of cloth, may not be beautiful one by one. It’s beautiful when put together, and its purpose in life has just begun.

Esther 4:14

Have a happy weekend everyone!

anisa signature

top fashion designers use knitting, crochet and embroidery for Spring/Summer 2016

ralph lauren october 2015 hellohart_com

I’m always on the look out for the latest fashion with a touch of handcrafted goodness. Fashion week in London, New York and Paris (about 3-5 weeks ago) did not disappoint me! There were MANY outfits with knitted detail, crocheted touches and free style embroidery to drool over. Here are a few of my favourite outfits (with some notes on what caught my eye) by some pretty famous designers for Spring/Summer 2016.calvin klein october 2015 hellohart_com

norma kamali october 2015 hellohart_com

lemaire october 2015 hellohart_com

prada 1 october 2015 hellohart_com

gucci 1 october 2015 hellohart_com

gucci 2 october 2015 hellohart_com

christopher kane october 2015 hellohart_com

more christopher kane october 2015 hellohart_com

dolce and gabbana 1 october 2015 hellohart_com

dolce and gabbana 2 october 2015 hellohart_com

dolce and gabbana 3 october 2015 hellohart_com

dolce and gabbana 4 october 2015 hellohart_com

Have a fantastic weekend!

CORNEL SIGNATURE

PS To explore more of the latest fashion click HERE

pretty paelas

One of my new friends are about to move back to Germany. She is expecting her first little baby, due end of January.

I feel so excited to have the opportunity to make something for the new little girl that will join their family next year (as if we need an excuse to make special little things- hehehehe).

I discovered Paelas on my Instagram feed and here are my favorite designs.

paelas collage

I love the sweet simple designs and from looking through all their patterns one can see they use beautiful high quality yarns, lovely modern colours that are not too boy/girl orientated and designs that are classical.

Paelas was established in spring 2014 by three women sharing the same dream for creating beautiful knitted baby and children clothing.

The patterns are for newborns and children both female and male, aged 0-6 years old.

You can find more about them here:

facebook

ravelry


Now I just need to decide which one of the cuties I will make!

Have a lovely week…

love from Elsbeth

Wool or Synthetic? that’s the question

PicMonkey Collage2

When I first learned to crochet and knit I used acrylic yarn and as I progressed with my craft I started sourcing what some would call the “luxury” yarns, such as pure wool etc.  Recently we celebrated granny square day and the Hellohart team decided to replicate a granny square blanket that my Grandmother Wally made.  In doing so we all three had to go back to using acrylic yarn.  It has been a very interesting and humbling experience for all of us.

Below are a few photos of Cornel’s beautiful acrylic granny square blanket

C4

C3

Yarn is made from many different fibers – animal, plant and vegetable. Animal fibers include wool, mohair, angora, silk, cashmere, llama, alpaca and qiviut (musk ox) and are made of mostly protein. Cotton, linen and ramie are vegetable fibers.  Synthetic (man-made) fibers include acrylic, nylon, polyester, metallic’s and microfibers.

Each fiber has its own qualities, and they are often blended to take advantage of the best properties of each.

And so that’s how I got thinking about the whole concept of wool versus synthetic yarns.   Immediately Dalena White came to mind.  Dalena works for Cape Wools SA and understands the finer nuances of wool and all that is luxury about yarn.

Dalena then referred me to Odette Wright who is Operations Manager at the Wool Testing Bureau of South Africa.  So that’s how I got to learn about some fascinating differences between the real deal and the synthetic yarn option, polyester.  Odette shared the following fascinating information with me.

Lets start by exploring the difference between Polyester and Acrylic yarns

both are synthetic fibers, but acrylic is more frequently spun instead of extruded, so would produce a softer “hand” or how it feels.  The material type listed on the tag really doesn’t tell you how the yarn or fiber if constructed so the most accurate answer without knowing about a specific type of yarn to compare to another specific yarn is: it depends.  Acrylics are synthetic fibers made from cellulose, and polyester is a synthetic made from petrochemicals, and if you need something to last a very long time in rough conditions, polyesters are going to hold up longer than acrylics.

Wool versus Polyester

It is difficult to make a comparison between the two fibres as wool is an animal fibre and polyester is petrochemical fibre or plastic.

PicMonkey Collage1

Wool

All animal fibres such as wool, mohair and cashmere, to name a couple, have unique properties that cannot be replicated by man.  There are many different sheep breeds and the wool from these different sheep are used for different purposes.  The coarser types of wool are used for furnishing and carpets whereas the finer types such as Merino are used for clothing.

PicMonkey Collage

(photos courtesy of Cape Wools SA)

Merino has evolved across millions of years to provide natural protection. Created by nature to protect against harsh environments and extremes of weather, Merino is the natural choice for clothing babies and young children.  It is soft, fine and smooth on sensitive skin, and is safe to wear too. And because Merino is both renewable and biodegradable, it is also gentle on the environment.

An efficient temperature regulator

Merino wool is naturally breathable making it a very efficient temperature regulator.  In particularly hot or cold situations, babies can struggle to regulate their own body temperature. Merino helps overcome this problem, making it an ideal choice for sleep and bed wear.  It works by absorbing moisture vapour next to the skin, keeping babies dry and less clammy. The vapour then moves away and evaporates, helping maintain a constant, comfortable temperature.

Healthier and safer

Parents can rest assured that Merino is one of the safest fibres for children. Merino is naturally fire resistant, won’t melt and stick to the skin, and even puts itself out when the source of the flame is removed. This makes it a safer choice for both clothing and bedding. And being a natural fibre evolved to protect against the elements, Merino provides better protection from UV radiation than most synthetics and cotton, so your whole family will be safer wearing it on sunny days.

Watch this fascinating video illustrating the natural fire resistant characteristics of wool.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKuAl_HzCjs

Synthetic bedding often prevents your baby’s skin from breathing naturally, making them feel uncomfortable.  However, thanks to wool’s natural miracle properties, wool cot bed duvets, mattress enhancers and wool pillows can all manage your baby’s personal micro-climate in bed.  This keeps your baby cosy and warm, but also ensures he or she does not overheat. It also helps give them 25% more stage 4 regenerative sleep, recharging their energy for the day ahead.

Merino has the capacity to remove large amounts (up to 35% of its own weight) of moisture from the skin surface before the fibre even begins to feel wet.  The ability to absorb moisture is an important function and attribute of Merino fibre. Equally important is its ability to release moisture. In contrast to most synthetic fibres.

Cape Wools has recently approved a sponsorship  of Cobus Oosthuizen.  Cobus is an extreme athlete and will be running in the desert in pure wool – a testament to wool

Easy to care for

Raising children can be a messy business, but keeping their Merino wool clothing clean is surprisingly easy. Every Merino fibre has a natural protective outer layer that resists dirt and prevents stains being absorbed, so clothing and bed wear is easy to clean. Merino is naturally odour resistant too, keeping your children’s clothes fresher for longer and requiring less frequent washing. And when they do need washing, many Merino clothes can be safely machine washed and tumble-dried for even more easy-care convenience.

Dalena shared some really interesting insights and reading with me.  The following links are a fascinating read:

http://wwhttp://www.coremerino.co.za/w.campaignforwool.org/about-wool/

http://nz.icebreaker.com/en/why-icebreaker-merino/what-is-icebreaker-merino.html

Some amazing studies have been done on wool and the quality of your sleep.  The facts are fascinating.  http://www.woolmark.com/globalassets/inspiration/interiors/sleep-on-wool/sleep_better_with_wool_flyer.pdf/

Cape Wools are investing in some amazing sustainability projects.  One such project is the work that they are doing with the Olive Leaf Foundation  where they are looking at rectifying the problem of over grazing in the Western Cape.  Watch this amazing Ted Talks video of Allan Savory.  He’s a grassland ecosystem pioneer who has devoted his life to stopping desertification.

Read this insightful blog post on synthetic fibres.  A gentle warning though, you may find yourself a little appalled at its content.  https://oecotextiles.wordpress.com/category/fibers/synthetic/polymer-chemistry/

Some of my very first crochet and knitted blankets were made from acrylic. I love them as much today as I did when I made them some years ago!

20150902_211456

20150902_211511

I’m of the opinion that whether you use pure wool or synthetic yarns it’s a personal preference.  I do believe each product has its place and at the end of the day it very much depends on what you are trying to achieve with the end product.  I must confess though when I am making something that I will be wearing I do prefer the luxury yarns that are so readily available to us today.  But then again my granny square blanket is truly special and beautiful in all its acrylic glory.

At the end of the day the choice remains yours!

anisa signature