Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Double hook needles or double end crochet hooks – are long afghan crochet hooks with the same size hook on each end designed to produce a firm, double faced fabric usually in 2 different colours. Cro-hooking, cro-knitting, double hook crochet, crochet on the double are all names given to this technique. You will notice that if worked in 2 colours one side will be predominately colour A and the other side will be predominately colour B.

 Maria Olma was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1920 and learned to crochet at a very young age. She immigrated to the US in 1943 and became Mary Middleton. In 1970 a friend showed her a baby afghan she had made with a double hook needle. Mary was intrigued and realised the technique was similar to the afghan stitch she learnt as a girl. She showed a number of others; who wanted to learn the technique. A craft shop asked her to give lessons and booked the classes – one lady cancelled because she didn’t want to buy a hook and pay for a lesson to learn just one stitch. This prompted Mary to develop more stitches and start a company called Crochenit. This is now the popular term for work done on a double hook needle.

 This block is worked in basic Crochenit stitch. You will notice that the technique is very similar to Tunisian Crochet.
Start with a foundation chain using colour A.
The first row will be a pick up row – still using colour A.
Turn your work and slide along to end – join new colour (you will now have yarn on both ends of your work)
The second row will be a cast off row – using colour B
The third row will be a pick up row – using colour B
Turn your work and cast off with colour A.

 You will need:
2 balls of yarn in different colours –colour A and colour B
1 double hook needle in a size to suit your yarn (Note- you will need a bigger size hook than knitting needle to produce a soft fabric)

Start with a crochet foundation chain of 20 + 1 – 21 chain using colour A

Row 1:
Cast on row: Insert hook into the second chain from the hook, *wrap the yarn (from back to front) over the hook and pull through leaving the new loop on the hook; insert the hook into the next chain* repeat from *to* to end
Turn work and slide to end of needle, using colour B make a slip knot and place on needle
Cast off row: pull the slip knot through the first loop on the hook;* wrap the yarn over the hook and pull through the first 2 loops on the hook* repeat from *to* until there is only one loop left on the hook.

Row 2:
Cast on row: Insert the hook into the second vertical bar of the previous row, *wrap the yarn over the hook and pull the loop through leaving the new loop on the hook; insert the hook into the next vertical bar* repeat from *to* to end
Turn work and slide to the end of needle; take up colour A
Cast off row: wrap the yarn over the hook and pull through the first loop on the hook;* wrap the yarn over the hook and pull through the first 2 loops on the hook* repeat from *to* until there is only one loop left on the hook.

Row 3:
Cast on row: Insert the hook into the second vertical bar of the previous row, *wrap the yarn over the hook and pull the loop through leaving the new loop on the hook; insert the hook into the next vertical bar* repeat from *to* to end
Turn work and slide to the end of needle; take up colour B
Cast off row: wrap the yarn over the hook and pull through the first loop on the hook;* wrap the yarn over the hook and pull through the first 2 loops on the hook* repeat from *to* until there is only one loop left on the hook.

 Repeating Rows 2 and 3; work 16 more rows then work a row of single crochet and end off.


Darn in ends.


There is nothing stopping you from using only one colour or a different colour at every turn or even for each cast on and each cast off row – use your imagination and have fun!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A New Year :)

It's such a long time since I last posted. Last year went by in a blur and I feel like I was really only functioning on the surface. It was a rollercoaster year with very happy and very sad times and so I have decided that 2014, although it's already a run off my feet busy year, is going to be  a calmer, quieter, even keeled, happy year.

As I sit here, I can hardly hear myself think. Yesterday while I was out, a water pipe burst in my studio. If you don't know my studio, it is divided into a top section with one step down into the bottom section. My sink is in the bottom section and it is there that the pipe burst. Thank goodness Anna was there so we could start sorting the problem immediately or I would have had a much bigger disaster! Having said that it still took us about 30 - 40 minutes to get the water turned off. I couldn't get through to the plumber on the phone, Chris was out of town... I called our insurance broker for a number for an emergency plumber (knowing that was a long shot since we live so far out of the city)eventually I managed to get 2 very kind men from the factory to go turn the mains off and seal the pipe. By then the whole bottom section was filled with and inch + of water. Anna, bless her, even in the panic had thought to lift everything electrical off the floor and when I got home was scooping water out with a bucket.  The plumbers arrived and fixed the pipe and we moved all the furniture, carpets, spinning wheels, bags of wool etc out onto the lawn. I thought I was going to be soaking up water all night when the phone rang, it was our insurance broker who had organised a company called Dryforce to come and help. At just after 4:00 in the afternoon they left Jo'burg in peak hour traffic to come all the way out to Heidelberg! In no time they had vacuumed up the remaining water - a lot! - and have left 3 machines here that are removing all the remaining moisture and that is why I can't hear myself think!.. but, let's face it, it couldn't have ended better :) I've already put everything except the couches back.

One of the machines removing the moisture

I started this year busy. Usually the summer months are very quiet on the yarn front but I have steadily kept going, even receiving an order on Christmas day! There are 6 exhibitions in the 1st half of this year to make work for, 2 that I'll be curating,  and 6 issues of Stitches to be completed by the end of the year. I will also be teaching at Quilt in Clarens again this year but decided that that will be the only teaching and that I'm going to attend workshops instead.

The first workshop for this year is already done. I spent last weekend in Klerksdorp at a wonderful felting workshop presented by Charity vd Meer. I'll tell more about that in another post. If you ever come across Charity, I encourage you to attend one of her workshops. The next one I'm looking forward to is a Wild Knitting workshop in my studio with Linda Tacke.

One of the exhibitions at IQCA this year is Sculptural Fibre Art. I've been working on my part of a collaborative  piece since December. It's working out beautifully but I have exhausted the supply of stuffing locally so it will have to wait to be completed. Look out for more about this in the weeks and months to come. I'm not telling what it is until after the exhibition opens in the last week of July but here's a little peek ;)

I had decided to make a flamingo for my other piece because I thought it would be different and all of a sudden, in the last few days, I'm seeing them everywhere so I've changed my mind about that one.

The work for the other exhibitions is all still in the planning stage but I do already know what I'm doing for each one (unless I change my mind ;) ) and I've started getting the materials for each one together.

Look out for more in the days. weeks and months to come.. and have a wonderful 2014!

Monday, July 29, 2013

IQCA - Newsletter Number 3

We have now hit the "40 days" mark and everything seems to be moving faster!
 The clock hands are spinning, the printing is stacking up and the emails are
arriving non-stop. Full pre-IQCAfrica 2013 mode.
This week we focus on Patti Hempen's workshops. Patti hails from Texas and specialises
 in Kaleidoscope techniques. She will be offering these three one-day workshops at IQCAfrica 2013:
Free-form Symmetry (Fri 6 Sept). Free-Form Symmetry is a new concept that lends itself to
beautiful self-design. It takes away the “fear factor” of creating an original piece and is
 time-efficient, uncomplicated and simple enough that anyone can do it with beautiful,
pleasing, self-gratifying results. The photo shown below is the premise for the class;
 however, each student's work will be unique. Great fun for the beginner to experienced quilters.
Join author of the book "Free-Form Symmetry" as she shows you how to create your own
 quilt using her fun method.
Floral Kaleidoscopes (Sat 7 Sept). Let Patti teach you to design, cut out, stitch, fuse, and machine
appliqué your OWN kaleidoscopic flower garden. Every “bloom” will be a wonderfully random
explosion of colour and surprise! There will be no two flowers alike!  You will also see other
 samples of her quilts and discuss the possibilities of using this technique for other sized quilts
if desired.  The ultimate goal of this workshop is for all students to have fun, enjoy the process
 and take home a wonderful piece of fabric art.
Serendipity Wedges (Sun 8 Sept). Indulge yourself in a fascinating learning experience which
will result in a maze of beautifully-collected octagonal kaleidoscopes. You will learn to turn a
 piece of fabric into this stunning and most colourful quilt. Patti also will show other examples
 to inspire you. The results are dazzling and addictive!
Then, in the Exhibition Hall we will have "Yesterday, today, tomorrow" - a collection of 35
competition quilts (32 entries plus 1 from each the judges) coming to us from the 18th European
Patchwork Meeting in Alsace, France. This international collection represents the work of some
 of the finest art quilters in the world, including Libby Lehman, Linda Colsch, and Linda Kemshall.
We have had many requests for directions to IQCAfrica. Here are all the possibilities:
  • AIR: Fly in to OR Tambo Airport. Walk through to the International Arrivals Hall,
         then cross the road and follow the directions to the BUS terminus. Catch a free       
         Emperors Palace shuttle bus which runs every 20 minutes.
  • GAUTRAIN: Change at Marlboro Station for the Rhodesfield line. Get off at Rhodesfield,
          then catch the RF2 bus to Emperors Palace.
  • ROAD: Take the R21 highway and exit at the Griffiths Rd off-ramp. Turn left into
          Jones Rd and then left again into Emperors Palace. 
  • GPS co-ordinates: S: 26° 08' 55.10" E: 28° 13' 20.17"
For more information about workshops and Ricky Tims seminars and also to book your seat, go to www.bookings.iqcafrica.com
We'll chat again next week about more things to do and see at IQCAfrica 2013!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

IQCA 2013 - News letter 2

As mentioned in our newsletter last week, the workshops and seminars this year are a full-day-package
affair. That includes snacks with every tea break plus a solid lunch. If you enroll for a workshop or
 Ricky Tims Seminar, the catering staff at Emperors palace will make sure that you are so well looked
after that you will not need to eat again for the next week!
_ _ _
This week we focus on the workshops presented by Lisa Walton from Australia.
This travelling teacher is continually on the move, presenting workshops all over
 the world. At this moment she is in Taupo , New Zealand, then before she heads
 our way in September she will first be teaching at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham.  
A busy lady indeed!
Crystallization (Fri 6 Sept). You will use your coordinated scraps of interesting
 textures and colours.  This creative combination will easily turn from random strips
 into a beautiful work of art.
Cutout Magic (Sat 7 Sept). This workshop is designed to let you experiment with
 an expanded square technique. Paper versions will be trialed first and then fabric
 will be cut and fused to create a unique wall-hanging.  
NO SEWING WILL BE DONE DURING WORKSHOP as we will be concentrating
 on the design and layout. Simple machine piecing will be demonstrated to enable
 students to finish off the quilt at home.
Luscious Landscapes (Sun 8 Sept). Do you have that favourite landscape image
that you would love to turn into a tactile textile work of art? This workshop will give
 you the skills to recreate your image using a variety of textiles including cottons, silks,
 velvets and sheers sandwiched with water soluble stabiliser. Your stitching skills will be
enhanced with free motion quilting, couching and bobbin work.
Final embellishment with beads will create a small unique work of art.
In the Exhibition Hall you will find a very special exhibition which has been specially
 selected for us and sponsored by the Danish Patchwork Guild. These 27 quilts comprising
 the Scandinavian Collection which come to us from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland
and Iceland represent some of the finest quilting talent in these Scandinavian countries.
 The exhibition will be curated by Winnie Egefjord, who will be on hand to tell us more
 about quilting in Scandinavia.
For more information about workshops and Ricky Tims seminars and also to book
 your seat, go to www.bookings.iqcafrica.com
As promised, we'll chat again next week about more things to do and see!
The IQCAfrica Team

Friday, July 12, 2013

Spinning - Wheeeee!

While I was away at Quilt in Clarens and then at the National Quilt Festival in Bloemfontein, my new spinning wheels arrived at home. That's Murphy's idea of fun - I had to wait two weeks before I could get my hands on them! The little e-spinner is so that I can spin more quickly and easily without Dexta having a field day in the wool ;) it will sit on a counter with the tops next to it while I spin miles and miles of yarn.

But it's the Country Spinner 2 that I'm really excited about.
With a bobbin that a friend described as a rolling pin and 2 fish plates and a huge orifice, I am going to be spinning all manner of art yarn.
Here's the start of it :)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

IQCA International Quilt Convention Africa 2013

ColourSpun will be at IQCA with Wool n Weave, Imcomparable Buttons and a huge range of
 books from the 3 leading South African distributors.
Looking forward to seeing you there :)
Until then, I'll be posting a copy of the IQCA weekly newsletter here on my blog. Here's the first one:
With less than 60 days to go to IQCAfrica 2013, you can look forward to weekly newsletters  to keep
 you fully informed of all the things to do and see at this year's event.
We are thrilled to confirm that
FIBER REVOLUTION, a group of professional
 fibre artists in the USA, has put together an
exhibition of 22 artworks specially for our event!
This exhibition will be one of NINE exhibitions
(containing more than 280 individual quilts and
 fibre artworks) on display at IQCAfrica this year.
More about the others in our next newsletter ...
This year our workshops are offered as FULL DAY PACKAGES, which means that you will be
 treated like royalty for the entire day! A six-hour workshop, 3 x tea/coffee/ snacks/refreshments,
a delicious sit-down lunch, plus free entry to the vendors and exhibition halls!  VIP treatment all the
Let's take a closer look at some of the workshops available.  International teacher Barbara Olson
from Montana, USA will be presenting three one-day workshops. Best known for her bold and vibrant
 award-winning quilts, Barbara will be teaching these fun-filled classes:
Prismatic Flowers (Fri 6 Sept). Create something beautiful as you learn a new technique! Play with
 colour, texture, depth and shading as you create an exquisite 3D flower filled with light and energy.
   Choosing from one of Barbara's flower drawings eliminates the drafting and allows you to go
 straight to designing with fabric. These gorgeous flowers can be used to enhance your own quilts.
Cosmic Spirals (Sat 7 Sept). Spirals can be a challenge for most of us. Learn the techniques Barbara
 uses in her award winning quilts for designing and constructing  magical spirals!  You will begin a
 small wall hanging containing one 18” block.  Foundation piecing is used to achieve precise points
 for the geometric black and white spiral.  Color is then added to the next round of the spiral with
 strips to complete the block.
Jump Start Your Creativity (Sun 8 Sept). Are you ready to break out of the box and experience a
 playful way of creating? Too much thinking or fear often stops quilters from trying new designs and
  fabrics. A simple flower pattern is the first ingredient, a wide array of wild, powerful & playful
novelty fabrics (polka dots, geometrics, florals, etc.) a few solid fabrics is the second ingredient and
willing spirit is the third ingredient. 
For more information about these and other workshops available and also to book your seat,
 go to www.bookings.iqcafrica.com
Kindly note that all workshops MUST be pre-booked.
We'll chat again next week about more things to do and see!
The IQCAfrica Team

Visit IQCAfrica at: http://www.iqcafrica.com/?xg_source=msg_mes_network

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Happy Birthday TAFA

It's TAFA's (the Textile and Fibre Art List) 3rd birthday today and in honour of all of us, Rachel, who created TAFA, has made a video featuring work from all our members. It's well worth watching!

and when you're done, pop over to TAFA for more happiness!