Hi guys! We have been back in the UK for two weeks and things are finally starting to settle down again. Our trip to South Africa was absolutely amazing! Although the flights were a bit stressful, the trip itself was relaxing and rejuvenating!
We divided our time in South Africa between Stellenbosch, Piketberg, and Humansdorp. One of the best days in Stellenbosch was our first Sunday in South Africa. We started the day by going for a walk in Paradyskloof with Christiaan’s sister, her husband, their son, and all 4 their dogs. Our walk was abruptly cut short when we had to scurry down a very steep embankment to get away from a large troop of Baboons!
After recovering from the adrenaline rush of our hurried departure, we went to the Blaauwklippen Family Market where the boys spent their afternoon jumping on jumping castles while the grownups sat around on the grass. I had the most amazing gin and rose geranium cocktail there. If you ever go to Blaauwklippen, make sure you try one! We loved the market so much that we went back there again on our last Sunday in South Africa, this time with even more family members in tow.
From Stellenbosch we went to Piketberg. My parents-in-law live on a beautiful farm on top of a mountain near Piketberg. Not only do they manage the farm, but they also run a very successful guest house. Because the guest house is the only place on the farm with wifi, and there were no guests while we were there, I would sit on the ‘stoep’ at either end of the day to check my email.
I wish I could describe the tranquillity of sitting in that outdoor office, listening to the kids and the hadidas, and taking in the beautiful plants and scenery.
I spent two entire days sitting outside, reading endless magazines and chatting with my parents-in-law while I worked on my new Colour Crafter Sophie.
After Piketberg, we went to Humansdorp. This part of our trip was the busiest. It reminded me most of Christmas as a child, which was always a huge family gathering. Both my grannies, 3 of my aunts, and both my brothers came to stay as well, and at one point we had more than 20 grown-ups and 10 children running around in my parents’ house! Absolute chaos and total bliss.
These are my two gorgeous nieces: Lienke, who’s obsessed with being a princess, and Daleen (cutest thing ever)! You might remember me sharing photos of Lienke when I made the Autumn Clusters Square for the Block a Week CAL 2014. I also designed Lienke’s Lovie for her.
I tried to find one tranquil moment every day. This was usually at sunset, when I could walk down to a gate in the corner of the lawn to look at the sunset, or late at night when I would walk a little way away from the house, find the darkest spot, and look up at the wonderful star-filled sky. We don’t see many stars here in London…
During the day, I would try to snatch little moments to work on growing Charlotte. I don’t think I made more than 10 stitches in any one sitting, because we were way too busy chatting and running after all the kids!
One of the many highlights of the trip was getting to sit on the ‘stoep’ with my Ouma Ancè for yarny time. As she is the person who taught me to crochet in the first place, it felt like we were concluding something we started when I was 7 years old. I took this photo of my ouma while I was busy doing the photos for Part 14 of the Wonder CAL.
If you have read my About Me, you will have seen that the reason behind my website’s name is the absolute joy I get from showing my mom (or anyone else) what I have made. It throws me back into childhood and I am 6,7,8…running up to my mom and going: ‘Look at what I made!’
Having the privilege of showing the women in my family what I have been up to these last 2 years was the best ‘Look at What I Made’ moment ever. Being able to sit with them while they knit/crochet/talk/laugh… what a blessing!
Be Inspired Crochet Workshops
Not only did we fit 8 weeks’ worth of family and friends into 4 weeks, but I also spent 8 of those days doing crochet workshops with Be Inspired. While Christiaan and the boys headed back to Piketberg, the Be Inspired girls and I ran workshops in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Humansdorp, and Stellenbosch. I will be doing a series of posts about the workshops, because each day really deserves its own post. It was an amazing experience filled with wonderful people!
This photo is my favourite photo from all of the workshops, because I think it sums the workshops up perfectly. There is no bigger drug than being in a room full of women who are buzzing with happiness and pride. Every time someone shared something they had created, their faces would light up with pride and it is hard for me to describe how happy it made me to watch them.
I especially loved seeing the exciting ways in which these ladies applied their own personality to patterns by tweaking them. Sometimes the ‘innovation’ was as simple and striking as recognizing the potential of a stitch, like with this blanket that Elmarie Botha showed me at one of the workshops.
There were so many stories, so many lives I had been a part of without knowing it, and that fact was huge and humbling. I will forever be grateful to Chantal and Julie (the Be Inspired girls) for organising this tour.
I am working on a tour memory blanket in the same Noorse Wol I used for Joy’s Journey. The blanket will be called ‘Nonyaka’, which is Xhosa for ‘this year’.
At the start of each workshop, I supplied every participant with a pattern and enough yarn to create one simple flower. We then used these flowers to check and discuss gauge, explore the double magic loop, and as a gentle introduction into chart-reading. Now I have a bag full of beautiful flowers, each with a name and a note attached to it. I am especially pleased to count among the flowers one made by my other granny, Ouma Erika. These precious little flowers will form my memory blanket.
The tour ended with a yarn dyeing workshop by Carle’ Dehning from Nurturing Fibres. Carle’ is such an inspirational, nurturing woman. Meeting her was definitely another highlight for me.
I also got to meet (and dye yarns with) Gina Ross from Natural Yarns and Vinni Nielsen from Vinnis! Spending time with these three women, who actively work at building each other up, was so refreshing. I have always felt that it is incredibly important to support people in the same industry as yourself; that their growth does not take away from yours but enhances it. Carle’, Gina, and Vinni are a testament to that.
And the cherry on the cake? I got to share it all with my beautiful mom!!
I would love to tell you about all the other inspiring people I met, but I think this post is long enough now, so we will leave that for another day.
After the workshops, we spent one more week oscillating between Stellenbosch and Piketberg. This last week was the most relaxing (for me, anyway), but also the most poignant. It felt like we spent all week saying ‘goodbye’.
Coming ‘home’ this time was not nearly as hard as it usually is. This trip was filled with so many amazing moments and memories; so many natural conclusions and resolutions. I am sad that it is over, but so very grateful that we had the chance to go!
This blog post contains affiliate links. I only link to products I personally use or would use. All opinions are my own.