Progress: The Mud and Dust, the Soil and Sands of Africa

I am completely mesmerised by the variations of white in the palette for the throw inspired by the Mother continent. It is gorgeous, even if I have to say so myself! The textures and changing sheens of the different yarns I am using offer such a positive tactile experience that I have struggled to put my hook down since I started working with the light neutrals.

These whites and off-whites act as a brilliant accent to the mid tone greys making up the rest of the palette. A quality of white is that it allows the mind to be open, clear and receptive. It also signifies strength. At this moment working in variations of white provides me with an escape and respite from the madness that comes along with moving between different continents. (It is the madness of being in transition, of finding myself among foreign cultures, of living in crazy urban environments that makes me tick, but one needs neutral space too!!)

I am also once again acutely aware how different environments impact on my colour preferences.  I enjoy lighter neutrals when living in desert environments, it simply suits the warmer skies and prevalence of marble and sandstone. When we lived in tropical Penang I find myself leaning towards colours that pack punch, the Tropics are all about hot colours and tall cool drinks. 

Knowing that I was saying goodbye to Africa, reminiscing over my childhood not only led me to the inspiration and colour choices behind this project, but it actually provided me with a link to my beloved Arabia.  Whilst Africa is my home on paper, I have long since adopted the Middle East as the place where I belong. I like that this throw represents Mother Africa and that it serves as a vehicle to integrate back into Gulf living. 

On that note, please feel free to also peruse my MadameX and Raw Rustic Pinterest boards in addition to the Pigtails one.  You will see my love for neutrals reflected in the first two!

Images of yarn: own; all other images: Raw Rustic Pinterest

Enjoy a lovely weekend. Friday and Saturday is weekend in the Middle East and Sunday is a normal working/school day here. 


This Week

Hello!  This week I received a lovely surprise when the postman delivered this parcel from the Netherlands. Woo hoo thank you Jenn, the Teen and I will enjoy everything this book has to offer during the two month summer holidays!  Be sure to visit Jenn's blog Color 'n Cream to see what the work of a color wizard looks like. I love her unusual but refreshing combinations and she now sells not only completed items in her shop, but also Yarn Colour Combos. And postcards.  Jenn regularly runs competitions and Mr Funky is my scoop after winning one of her competitions!

Mochi!  The Teen is studying Japanese as her 6th (yip, that's right!) language and is totally enthralled by anything and everything Japanese.  She has been driving me nuts over the past two years in her yearning to eat Mochi and wow, how lucky can one be. There are a few Mochi shops here in Doha and even though it is not quite a cheap eat, she is having the time of her life indulging in her favourite sweet. 

This is a Mexican Coffee Bun also known as Roti Boy Buns or Buns from Papparoti.  It is lip licking good! This treat originates from Malaysia and is a light aromatic bun with a buttery center and crispy coffee outer layer. This one is topped with caramel (other toppings include chocolate, toffee, cheese etc). No doubt we are frequent visitors to one of the many Papparoti shops here in Doha - t'is the new Cinnabon in my opinion! 

Katara Pigeon Towers (it houses pigeons!) constructed in indigenous mud-brick style. 
Pigeons, camels, horses and falcons are important animals in Arabia.  Pigeons, unlike camels, horses & falcons taken along by nomadic tribes during their wanderings, are associated with settlement and domesticity and are often kept in dovecotes at family compounds.  Pigeons are also prized because their cooing is said to be similar to the phrase "udhkur Allah" which means "remember God".  The three pigeon towers by Katara Mosque are a beautiful tribute to this tradition and provides an air of tranquility and calmness to the general area.

 Katara - I have almost no words to describe this mind blowing project and space.  It is a Cultural Village, an exceptional project of hope for human interaction through art and cultural exchange. Keeping pace with the emerging global culture that emphasises the importance of diversity in human development, Katara is a place of gathering and features theaters, concert halls, exhibition galleries, museums, restaurants, a beach with water sports, art cinemas, a childhood cultural center, an amphitheater and opera house and even career advise centers and a mall for children.

According to the Katara website "the village shall be a glimpse of the future of a world where people of different cultural backgrounds overcome their national boundaries and embrace common causes to promote a united humanity.  Katara is where the grace of the past meets the splendour of the future" 

This is a space where one can either visit for specific reasons or simply wander around and soak up the atmosphere.  

 The 3275 sqm amphitheater at Katara seats 5000 people.  I completely forgot to take a photo from the top of the theater, it overlooks the ocean and the views are epic to say the least.

Fancy shopping in Italy?  You can do this right here in Doha. This mall features mostly shops from Germany, the UK, US and Italy and even boasts a 150 meter long indoor canal with gondolas. After being shopping deprived in South Africa, we are finally in heaven once again. The few international brands available in South Africa sadly sells old stock from seasons past.

We enjoy going to this mall as it features a fabulous indoor theme park, a go kart track (the husband is a fan and raced competitively in the UAE and also won against 150 racers at Kyalami in South Africa last year), an Olympic size ice rink which is home to the Qatar Ice Hockey League, ten pin bowling center and roller coaster. 

No doubt we enjoyed hanging out at the mall this past weekend since we saw outside temperatures rising to 54 degrees Celsius (that is 129,2 degrees fahrenheit!). I managed to capture the reading at 53 degrees.  It is hot, very hot. Hot. As. Hell. At 9:30 in the evening it was still 40 degrees Celsius.  We love it though, the entire family dislike winter and we hope to only ever experience winter again when we go skiing, never again as a living experience.

Have a nice week!  I am joining my first craft share soon and hope to tell you more about the one and only yarn store available to us in Qatar!


Thank You

The Women of the Afghanistan War

Thank you to everybody who takes an interest in my blog and crochet projects!  It is highly appreciated, my blog is certainly not a little corner of the web I created for myself, but it is a space that allows me to connect with other crocheters on a level that transcends geographical barriers.

To find out why an image such as the above of women in Kandahar, Afghanistan is an example of what crocheting means to me, be sure to visit the lovely Little Things Blogged Blog by Tanya who interviewed me for her Untangling Yarn series of articles.  Thank you for including me in your wonderful series Tanya!

On an academic/professional level I have been itching to do a visual- as well as discourse analysis of the poignant image by Majid Saeedi depicting women attending a crocheting workshop by the Malaysian NGO Mercy and will do so as soon as I receive permission from Saeedi to do so. 

Enjoy your weekend, we are still very busy with our new lives here in Doha, Qatar and I barely have time to blog and crochet at the moment, let alone blog hop. I am hoping for quieter times soon, but first we are off to explore even more of what this society has to offer.  


The mud and dust, the soil and sands of Africa

Yarn Elle Cotton On DK print 051 Ash, Photo of Rhino by Christine & Michel Denis Huot

Hello!  The kids and I arrived in Doha with a suitcase and one piece of cabin luggage each. We are light travelers and since I am the boss did the packing, I distributed 4 kg yarn between the suitcases before I even considered how many pairs of shoes we have space for. 

I have just started working on a new blanket using my lovely yarn from South Africa. I initially planned a colour palette in rich reds and purples, but I reconsidered and settled on a palette of white, beige, taupe, grey and coal in 25 different shades, featuring no less than 9 different types of yarns! The palette is stunning, inspired by the mud and dust, the soil and sands of Mother Africa.
Images: Pinterest Raw Rustic

When I think of my childhood, vivid images of digging my hands through the cool earth, sinking my feet into the soft soil, boring with my big toe through the cracks of dried mud prevail. The picture of a White Rhino charging through dusty plains, cemented the idea for using a palette that represents the Mother Continent.

I am deviating from the initial idea and pattern, but decided to do a separate posting later in which I will be discussing crocheting techniques and personal likes/dislikes. 

Pattern: Hexagon from loopknits
Hook size: 5mm

Vinnis Colours Bambi Bamboo/Cotton mix in White, Natural, Clouds and Midnight
Vinnis Nikkim Colours Cotton in Blue-Grey, Aluminium, Steel Grey and Midnight
Vinnis Serina Bamboo in Natural and Silver
Imagine Bamboo/Cotton mix by I Love Yarn  in Windswept, Abyss and Monet
Elle Premier Mercerised Cotton in Grey and Taupe
Elle Rustica Wool/Acrylic/Tweed mix in Charcoal, Aran and Natural
Elle Marco Cotton/Tweed/Wool/Acrylic/Nylon mix in Charcoal and Aran 
Elle Cotton On in Ash
Elle Pure Gold Acrylic in Pepper, Ivory, Silver and Titanium 

All the yarn is available from I Love Yarn in South Africa. They also ship internationally.

Thank you for visiting and enjoy the rest of your week!


Assalamu Alaykum!

We now live in Doha, Qatar and wow, does it feel good to be back in Asia and the Middle East again! 
We arrived a week ago and life has since been a whirlwind of frenzied activity. We are indulging in Asian cuisine once more and are enjoying pancakes with crispy Peking duck, laksa, chicken satay, manakeesh, dried and chocolate covered fruit and nuts, Lebanese nougat and malban, Umm Ali, shish tawook and shawarma. One of our favourite spaces at the moment is Souq Waqif. The Souq is a popular and bustling destination, it offers a vibrant shopping scene, many art galleries and a multitude of atmospheric restaurants and cafes.
Souq Waqif literally translates to "the standing market". 
These police men on horseback is dressed to suit the traditional environment.

Lanterns at the Souq photographed from below. 

West Bay Doha -  Photo by Daniel Cheong

This is home, we are living on the 14th floor of a serviced hotel apartment in the Diplomatic Area. West Bay is a newly developed neighborhood and is considered one of the most prominent districts in Doha. Oh I am enjoying the pampering and luxuries that accompanies this lifestyle for a change. Our apartment boasts floor to ceiling windows with fabulous ocean views. A free shuttle service was launched to reduce traffic in the area, otherwise taxis or limo drivers are freely available. I really love, love, love being back in a city which never sleeps. It is fantastic to be able to step out any time of the day and night without having to worry about safety every step of the way. The speed and efficiency of services from the beautician at the nail bar to the shop assistants are a reminder yet again about why Asia holds the edge over Africa. 

I have, however, not forgotten about Africa and will be posting about my blanket inspired by African Mud, Soil and Sand soon. I am using 25 shades in 9 different yarns and it is a project that will keep me busy for many weeks, possibly months to come.

It is Thursday today, meaning the end of the week in the Middle East. We are off to enjoy dinner with people I actually met in South Africa prior to relocating to Qatar. They arrived some 3 weeks ago. Tomorrow we will enjoy lunch with an Egyptian family. Have a great weekend!