Friday, 16 December 2016

And Life Goes On...

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Namaste friends. Feels good to get back to blogging. I know it has been a while. 
Thankfully, this time my absence was due to happy reasons. 

Birdie has flown the nest:

My little birdie, has flown all the way across the seven seas. Sonny boy  joined the college of his choice in the US, in the first week of September. We are so proud and thrilled. And now we are left with our empty nest.

When people tell you that their child has gone to US/Canada/Germany/Australia for higher studies, it all seems so simple. But now I know how exhausting it can be! Uff, the running around for the transcripts, visa, bank loan, followed by the shopping. Also the feeling of being emotionally drained. Being separated  from your only child is tough! Especially because sonny is my confidante, my best friend and also partner in crime when it comes to demolishing pizzas and ice cream. Not to mention wolfing down yummy vada-pavs before Dad got home from work, to escape the lecture about junk food and obesity.  ;)

My dreams about being a free bird in my "empty nest" came to nought. While I thought that I will now be crocheting and blogging to my heart's content, that was far from the real scene. For the first few weeks I lost all interest in blogging, Etsy, internet and even crochet (!!). There was a little bit of joy in the second week of September but very little.

Celebrating the Half Century Mark:

On the tenth of September I celebrated my Fiftieth Birthday
Yes, the big Five Oh! 
The half century mark!
I was thrilled, excited and scared at the same time, if that's even possible :)
Thrilled that I had made it so far. An achievement in itself!
Excited about  what the future might bring.
Scared, and also a bit sad that the downhill journey had begun, and that the wear and tear on the body will now begin to show.
But then again, why worry. After all Age is only a number. And Life Begins at Fifty, right!?
(What? Life begins at Forty...never heard that one....LOL)

The fact that sonny was so far away did dampen my spirit, but hubby took me to Patang - a revolving restaurant in Ahmedabad, and that did help to lift my mood. It was a lovely experience and the food was good. We took a lot of pics, unfortunately Ahmedabad does not have any spectacular views/vistas to capture from above.  A wonderful experience, nevertheless.

I got a ton of goodies as gifts, but my camera needs servicing, so I'll be sharing them with you at a later date.

A blog post without a pic is a strict no-no. So here is a collage of the mandalas I made, once I finally got over myself and picked up my hook (Thank God!). Details about the mandala will follow later.

crochet lotus mandala crochetkari


Usually I don't share personal photos, but I cannot resist sharing this one (this pic was supposed to accompany the big Birthday post which never got written). 
So go ahead and please take a slice of my birthday cake. Don't worry its a virtual slice, so its still fresh :)

crochetkari fifty


Are you shopping for Christmas gifts, or making them yourself? Do let me know.








Thursday, 14 July 2016

Instant gratification and a cross-country trip

Namaste friends, did 2016 have a month called June? Well, it whizzed by so fast I couldn't catch a glimpse of it! :)

Instant gratification:
In an earlier post, I shared all the large crochet projects that I had started inspired by the CAL calender. If you have not had a look at the crochet calender, I urge you to do so as you will definitely find something you will like. Just hop down to my previous post.

While large projects are fine, sometimes you have a craving for seeing a project reach completion and that too...fast. So here is a project I managed to squeeze in, in between working on my huge blankets.

Crochet Newborn coat.

crochetkari newborn coat

Isn't it super cute?! 

Maybe it is nature taking its course. Or, menopausal grandmotherly hormones kicking in. Or, maybe just the desire to leave some little thing for the new generation yet to come, I suddenly find myself wanting to make lots of items "for my grandchildren".

My family thinks I am crazy, but what is the harm I say. Life is unpredictable after all.

This item is one of the many I am working on and of course I will be sharing those too, upon completion. :) 

The free pattern for this coat is available at www.justcrochet.com, where you can also get dozens of more kiddie patterns.
The yarn is called Shining Star and I have used a 4mm hook.

From Mumbai to Meghalaya:
I was away from home for almost two weeks in the month of June, which may be the reason it seemed like a very short month to me. (No internet, no crochet...boohoo)
I was on a crazy errand which took me and sonny boy right from the west coast of the country to the North East! A totally unplanned and may I say a totally unnecessary trip :(

My son completed his Bachelors last year, with distinction, may I add, (feeling so proud), and expressed a desire to pursue a Masters in his subject. So we applied for a transcript and then we waited...and waited... and waited!! With the transcript showing no signs of arriving even after three months, and our phone calls to the Univ going unanswered, hubby decided that sonny boy and I should go and collect it from the University personally. Except, there was a small problem. The University was only 2500 Kms away... in Meghalaya (North East India)!   

I was unhappy about the trip as we had never visited that part of the country. Also I was worried that the University may be closed for the holidays. Fortunately, all went well and we got the transcript, phew! Silly people, if only they had sent it on time. We would have saved the ton of money spent on flight tickets and hotel rooms.

On the last day of the trip I blackmailed cajoled my son into accompanying me to the Kamakhya temple (Guwahati, Assam). This temple has great religious significance and is one of the 51 Shakti Pithas.

Here are a couple of pics from the outside of the temple. Photography is not allowed inside most Indian temples.

Kamakhya temple Guwahati



Kamakhya temple Guwahati


On my Telly: Madame Secretary and Masterchef Australia. What about you?

See you soon.




Tuesday, 10 May 2016

The Ultimate Crochet Calendar

Namaste friends. How are you today?

If it is vacation time for your kiddies I hope you are enjoying the vacation. Summer holidays mean picnics, movies, water parks and best of all ice cream...loads of it! Can you tell I am a big fan of ice cream ;)

On the other hand, for us mums it also means more cooking, more laundry and more cleaning-up, right? Nevertheless it is still fun. Holidays are all about the kids which means very little time for crafting for the mums. So here is something just for you.

CAL Calendar 2016
I was browsing the net to make a list of the CALs going on, when I came across this fantastic calendar. It is chock full of crochet projects for the whole year! It is a CAL calendar for 2016. While I have no idea who has filled in the details or even how it is done, a million thanks and hugs to the person/s who has done this. It lists all the crochet-along projects for the year and clicking on the name will take you to the relevant page or blog post where you can get all the details. 

HERE is the link to the Calendar. 

crochet CAL calendar 2016


A few pointers;
  • Most of the time the crochet-along patterns are free forever, but sometimes the patterns are free only for the duration of the CAL, after which they are listed as Paid patterns on Ravelry or the websites. So if you like a project be sure to download the pattern right now and keep it for future use.
  • Go through all the details of the project carefully. Some projects require purchase of the pattern or a magazine, or may be available only as a kit.
  • For my Indian readers:- While we cannot get the yarn brands mentioned in the project (sometimes we cannot get any kind of branded yarn!!...terrible, I know) pay attention to the hook size mentioned in the project and just find a yarn that is suitable for that hook size. 
  • Gauge is not  important for items like blankets, scarves or cowls etc, but if making a wearable item like sweaters, gloves or hats, buy a small quantity of yarn first to test the gauge using the hook size mentioned in the pattern. It will save you a lot of time, lots of frogging and heartache. :)
  • Bookmark the main project page on the blog so that you can easily visit the page and download the updates as and when they are released.
  • Use the "Week" view on the calendar to get a complete list of projects for that week - day-wise, especially when there are more than 3 projects on that particular day.
  • The events are listed as per Eastern time (US) so consider the time difference with your time zone when looking for updates. I usually visit the sites on the day after the CAL update, as we are around 10 hours ahead.
  • If you missed any project in 2015 you can also find them via this calendar.
I am sure you will find a project to your liking and this calendar ensures that you will have something to work on all through the year.

I am extremely delighted to have found this CAL calendar and I hope you benefit from it too. Do let me know if you find anything exciting.

I have started one more project - Mandala Madness which is simply fantastic. If you want to take your crochet to a totally new and advanced level this project is for you. More details and pics in my next post.

Until then, Happy crafting.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Have you found your CALing?

Namaste friends, so have you found your calling yet? Don't worry I am not asking about any deep life calling or purpose of life etc. :) What I mean is crochet CALs.

My crochet Word of the Year 2016 is CAL and there seem to be so many just CALing (ahem) I mean calling out to me. I am having a tough time making up my mind and choosing between them. Some of the projects are from 2015 and some are new while some are yet to be released but definitely scheduled for 2016. So here goes;

This one is not exactly a CAL but a new pattern just released by the lovely Dedri at Lookatwhatimade. It is a gorgeous granny square blanket and the rose border is to die for. I am in love with the border and i suspect that is what is spurring me on. 

crochet lydia blanket

This is an amazing project once again by the very talented Dedri. It is huge and will be the largest project I have ever attempted and completing it will be a challenge. I am not sure about my colour choices but I am also on a stash busting spree.

crochet sophies universe

3. Queen Mandala
This CAL is a gorgeous mandala for which you have to join THIS Facebook group. New instructions are released every week and the CAL is on week 10. I have just reached week 4. What do you think, do the colours go together?

crochet/hekel mandala cal 2016

Yarn: For all the above projects I have used a yarn brand called Ruby from Ludhiana. The yarn comes in gorgeous colours and has a mohair like feel but the yarn is thicker than DK weight.

Hook: I am using a 5.00 mm hook for all these projects.

Some more CALs I hope to do this year:
Sunny Log Cabin blanket by Attic24. I plan on busting my Stylecraft yarn stash for this blanket. You can see my stash HERE.

Lily Pond Blanket - Beautiful blanket by Jane Crowfoot, with huge gorgeous flowers. May have to order yarn for this one. Yay!...an excuse to buy more yarn. (Happy dance...happy dance)

AND a few more that are soon to be revealed!!
Frida's Flowers - once again by Jane Crowfoot, from 5th April. Once again with ginormous flowers and I am sure lots of new techniques. I am so curious about this one!
FRAN Mystery CAL - a manghan. Part 1 was revealed on 7th March. Maybe something special for sonny boy.
Mandala Madness CAL - a circular blanket with 18 weekly parts, beginning on 17th March '16.

In my next post I am going to list some more CALs 2016, which I came across while doing research for this post. So if you are tempted to start one but none of the above appeal to you, worry not. But do start something after all it is NatCroMo!  :D

Until then, ciao.


Tuesday, 8 March 2016

How to follow crochet patterns and charts (Videos)

Namaste friends,

NatCroMo

Let's celebrate the glory, beauty and strength of being a woman. The celebrations don't end here as it is also National Crochet Month (NatCroMo).  Okay I know it is not NatCroMo in India but as they say "it is 5 o'clock somewhere in the world", so it is NatCroMo in the US and that is good enough for a celebration :) I am hoping to keep my posts crochet related this month, fingers crossed. 

Are you aware of "Word of the Year", this is something I discovered in 2016. On the personal front my word is Declutter and I have been pretty successful so far. You have no idea how difficult it has been as I am an extreme hoarder. Yes, I never throw away Anything! Which means I have all the greeting cards I have ever received, penpal letters, patterns saved from magazines etc., the smallest scrap of remnant yarn, CDs we don't listen to anymore, favorite clothes which don't fit my "slim" form and may never will, and everything in my kitchen has to be in multiples!! But I am very pleased that I am making good progress and I hope this continues till the end of the year.

In my crochet life, the word of the year 2016 is CAL (Crochet-Along). I have already started a few and more are on my list. Hopefully I should complete them all this year. More details about the CALs in another post.

Let us get on with celebrating NatCroMo. How about starting at the very beginning? So, tell me; 
  •  When did you learn to crochet? 
  •  Who taught you to crochet?  
  •  Do you dabble in any other crafts? 
I am a self taught crocheter and I bought my very first crochet books at the age of 15 and I have never kept my hook down ever since. Initially I followed written patterns and it was after I bought a Spanish crochet leaflet that I learned to follow crochet symbol charts. Today I am surprised that I managed it all on my own! Must be the spirit of youth. :)
Are you comfortable with written crochet patterns or do you find it easier to follow crochet symbol charts?
I found two wonderful videos that are going to solve the problem for both groups. The first video is by crochet designer Marly Bird, where she explains how to follow crochet symbol charts in great detail putting an end to any guesswork.
 

 Click HERE if you have any problem watching the video above.
The next video is by Kristen at GoodKnit Kisses where she explains crochet pattern reading in wonderful detail literally reading it word by word.
 

Click HERE  in case the video above does not play.

I hope you enjoy both the videos. While I am addicted to crochet, I also like to knit, paint and dabble a bit in embroidery, sewing and macramé. What about you? Are you multicraftual? (Yes, it is a word...haha)

See you soon. Keep crafting and revel in being a woman.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Vintage Car Museum, Ahmedabad

Namaste friends, How is the weather in your neck of the woods? In Ahmedabad, winter is on the way out and temperatures are rising. Which means we have very weird conditions like very hot afternoons, cool nights and freezing early mornings. And that means getting up many times at night to adjust the fan speed. So as you imagine, sleep is not restful and I am groggy most of the day. 

Not much has been accomplished on the crochet front. My yarn stash which was packed away for my sister-in-law's visit last month is still kept packed as my mother-in-law is visiting us along with my son, from Mumbai. Today is my son's birthday and since we could got go to Mumbai we asked them to come to Ahmedabad. Staying away from your kids is really so difficult, but I guess I have to get used to this as he now wants to pursue his Masters which means he will be away for some more time. 

A bit of good news is that sonny has cleared his Bachelors in Animation and Multimedia with distinction. So there are two good reasons for celebrations today. :)

Auto World - Vintage Car Museum, Ahmedabad.

As promised earlier here the pics from our visit to The Vintage Car Museum. It is situated in Kathwada at Dastan Farm.

Vintage car museum

Vintage car museum ahmedabad

Vintage car museum crochetkari

 The entry charges are Rs. 50/- per person (less than $1) and you have to pay Rs. 100/- more for your camera.  The cars belong to Mr. Pranlal Bhogilal and the collection is wonderful and very well maintained. 



Vintage car museum

Vintage car museum kathwada

Vintage car museum auto world


The museum is spread out over a large area as you can imagine from the sizes of these cars. There is a placard on the ground next to each car describing its model and whether it belonged to any royal family before being added to this collection.

Vintage car museum

Vintage car museum

Vintage car museum ahmedabad

One of the museum employees followed us around narrating little anecdotes about the cars, or pointing out the special features or custom details on some of the models. It is a gorgeous collection and even though I have zero knowledge about cars, I was awestruck.

Vintage car museum auto world

Vintage car museum

Vintage car museum

One can admire the cars only from a distance which helps in keeping fingerprints away and maintaining the mirror finish. As I mentioned earlier the collection is well maintained and transports you to a lovely bygone era. Long velvet gowns, white gloves, high heels, dainty hand held fans, little golden purses, movie premieres, gala dinners, valets, chauffeurs, debutante balls, wishful suitors......Ahem! Okay, okay, just give me a second to float back to earth :)

Vintage car museum
Some bikes for a change.

Vintage car museum ahmedabad
And some horse drawn carriages. (Love those puppet horses).

Vintage car museum


Vintage car collection



I hope you enjoyed the pics of these gorgeous beauties. All I can say is that there's more where that came from! So if you plan to visit Ahmedabad or India do add this place to your to-visit list. You will be delighted.

At Dastan Farm, the Auto World is  on one  side and on the other side is Vintage Village where they have alfresco dining arrangements (both lunch and dinner are available). Traditionally dressed waiters serve you an unlimited Gujarati Thali, constantly refilling your bowls of dal, kadhi, sabji, farsan, jalebi, and many other items. The setting is rustic and you have a choice of seating arrangements - traditional sitting cross legged on the floor or the usual table and chair. Privacy is afforded by bamboo mats separating the groups. Charges for lunch are Rs. 240/- per person, while dinner costs Rs. 340/- as there is folk music and dance as well as a traditional puppet show at night. As it was a weekday we chose to go for dinner. The place is lit with antique lanterns and lamps so my photos of the village and the dinner were not very clear...alas.

Did you enjoy this post? Please write and let me know. I will be back with some crochet news next time. 

If you have not yet downloaded the FREE Slant n Stripe scarf pattern hop over right now and get it. 


 


Friday, 5 February 2016

Waffle Stitch Scarf - First pattern of 2016

Namaste friends. January has flown by so fast. I am not really on the dot with my goals for 2016, but there are eleven months to go and I am sure I will bring things up to date by the year end. :)

January saw a visit by my sister-in-law with her husband, for ten days. We had a very good time with sightseeing, karaoke singing and eating out. One of the places we visited was the Auto World Vintage Car Museum at Kathwada, Ahmedabad. It boasts an awesome collection of more than 100 cars such as Bentleys, Chryslers, Daimlers, Rolls Royce, Mercedes, Cadillacs, Buicks and many more. I will share the pics in my next post.

Now on to my first project of 2016 - the Waffle Stitch Scarf with Ribbed Border. The waffle stitch is one of my favourite crochet stitches and I just love the texture it produces. This scarf pattern was a custom request and I am quite happy with the finished product.

Crochet waffle stitch scarf pattern



The texture makes it an ideal unisex pattern. The ribbed border looks lovely, don't you think so?

Crochet waffle stitch scarf border


The pattern for this scarf is available on ETSY and CRAFTSY

A few more pics:

Crochet waffle stitch pattern

The scarf is made with DK wt yarn and a 4 mm crochet hook. The scarf measure 60 inches by 6.5 inches and I have included instructions to change the length and the width of the scarf. 

Crochet waffle scarf pattern

I think I will make one more scarf with this pattern and attach a fringe at the shorter ends for a different look.

Which is your first project for 2016? I am eager to know.
See you soon in the next post. Happy Crafting.


Rolls-Rocyces, Bentleys, Daimlers, Langondas, Mercedeces, Maybach, Packards, Cadillacs, Buicks, Auburns, Cord, Lancias, Lincolns, Chryslers - See more at: http://www.vccci.com/vintage-car-museum#sthash.u3p55xba.dpuf
Rolls-Rocyces - See more at: http://www.vccci.com/vintage-car-museum#sthash.u3p55xba.dpuf

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Hello 2016!

Namaste friends. I hope 2016 has begun in a wonderful way for you. Time seems to be flying and I cannot believe we are already on to the sixth day of the new year!

I am going to open Blog 2016 on a beautiful note, or maybe I should say floral note :)
On Sunday hubby and I visited the Ahmedabad Flower Show which is an annual event. In spite of the fact that we have been in this city for five years this is the first time we went to the flower show. It was a wonderful experience and we are going to make it a point to attend it in future.

Please note this post is heavily laden with photos and may take a while to open. On the bright side, I let the pictures do the talking which means very little jibber jabber from me...haha. (Okay, okay...I heard that sigh of relief.)

Ahmedabad flower show

Ahmedabad flower show

Ahmedabad flower show

Ahmedabad flower show

Ahmedabad flower show

Ahmedabad flower show

Ahmedabad flower show

 flower show

Ahmedabad flower show

Ahmedabad flower show Beetle car

The highlight of the show - a Beetle decorated with exotic orchids, carnations and chrysanthemums.

Ahmedabad flower show

The Beetle turned out to be the favourite of the kids participating in an on the spot painting competition :)

Ahmedabad flower show

Ahmedabad flower show

Pots and vases for sale.

Ahmedabad flower show

Succulents and cactii.

Ahmedabad flower show

Ahmedabad flower show

Ahmedabad flower show

Ahmedabad flower show

Ahmedabad flower show

Ahmedabad flower show black petunia

Black Petunia - now that seems to be rare. First time for me.

Ahmedabad flower show

Ahmedabad flower show Red chillies

Red chilli plants for sale.
Ahmedabad flower show

Bonsai and miniature gardens.

Ahmedabad flower show bonsai

Ahmedabad flower show

Ahmedabad flower show

Ahmedabad flower show bonsai

Ahmedabad flower show miniature garden

I hope you enjoyed these pictures. Hoping to be back soon with some crochet goodies. Until then...Bye and keep crafting.  :)




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