Thursday, February 15, 2018

before I left Algiers ... part 1 - Artisan Fair

Before I left Algiers, I finally got to go to the artisan fair held at the Safex exhibition centre.

It was a lovely opportunity to see (and feel) locally crafted products from soft handwoven rugs to colourful mosaic-topped tables. And those heavily embroidered traditional kaftans and dresses! The items were mainly from various Algerian cities but there were some from other parts of Africa.

One of my long-standing missions, while in Algeria, was to source local, spun wool. Unfortunately, in a country full of glorious sheep, it was extremely difficult to find any. What I realised was that it's really only used for weaving rugs ... And stuffing mattresses and pillows! I am fortunate enough to have friends that humour my yarn-geekiness and so I have acquired a couple of bags of Algerian unspun, uncarded wool!

A loom used for weaving rugs
Traditional Kabyle dresses

Looking back, it was a nice experience, seeing locally made and traditional products. And from the exhibition centre, we could see the Grand Mosque, mid-construction! 


Thursday, January 11, 2018

where did 2017 go?

Seriously. It seems like yesterday, that I was at my dear friend's house, attending one of the monthly get-togethers for foreign women in Algiers. We chatted and laughed, drank copious amounts of coffee and tea ("English" tea in a country where milk and tea don't go together), feasted on snacks and cakes and conversed in English. But that was in December ... 2016! Somehow, a whole year and a bit has passed me by and I am sat here wanting to give my blog some attention. I am back in the UK, albeit in a new city. I am getting to know my surroundings once again. This time in Nottingham. I am missing friends and sensing a teeny tiny bit of reverse culture shock. After all, it has been almost 14 years since I've lived here. So I'm finding my feet again.

For now, I've kicked off this year with a finished object. A Half Moon Oracle shawl! 

It's a pattern by Kristin of Voolenvine, a wonderful yarn dyer and podcaster. I used 3 yarns that were hand dyed by 3 inspiring women. Last summer, my sister in-law met Sheena of Casual Fashion Queen in Florida and picked up yarn for me. Then, later in the year, I managed to get over to the Nottingham Yarn Expo and have a little chat with Amy Florence of Stranded Dyeworks and the Stranded Podcast. That was brilliant!  I also got to meet the dyer behind Dusty Dimples. I love that this shawl is made up of yarn from these 3 dyers! It was my first attempt at Brioche knitting. I love the squish factor!

I've started another project with my CFQ yarn. I think this shows the effect of the colourway much better.

I am having to deal with PROPER winter after quite some time. This has got to be the only way I can do that!
I was lucky enough to have a yarn wish granted over on Instagram, by a former swap partner. Once again, she spoilt me rotten!

And so my other more long-term wip is my Granny Stripe blanket using up all my mini skeins and scrap yarn.

Funny enough, I first crocheted a Granny Stripe blanket about 7 years ago!

And speaking of Instagram, I tend to post there more than anywhere else. Feel free to follow me!

I also have socks on the needles.

The Charade socks
And because I'm really appreciating hand knit socks this winter, I have cast on another pair for the Commercial Yarn-Along hosted by Amy. 

Smooth Operator socks
And if you're still reading this humble blog ... or perhaps you've just stumbled across it somehow, thank you for reading! How have YOU started this year? 


Monday, August 7, 2017

a trip to Setif province

One of the things I've been wanting to do while being here, in Algeria, is to explore more of this country. So earlier this year, we grabbed the opportunity to take a trip east of Algiers to Setif province. 

Our first stop was Hammam Soukhna, a town named after its thermal spring water. There are plenty of hotels and visitors can rent private "baths" that fill up into small pools of naturally hot water. People visit from all over the country to benefit from its healing properties ... and it is very relaxing too. 

We saw the signs and decided to make a detour to Djemila, one of the many Roman ruins in Algeria.

It's quite amazing when you think about the Romans settling and building huge towns and cities in these fertile hills, thousands of years ago. 

At the foot of the hills, is a town called El Eulma, formally known as St Arnaud. The main warehouse that stored the wheat to be sent off to Europe, still stands. And this is the train station where it would have headed out of Algeria from. Algeria was known as "the bread basket of Europe".

We also made our way up the mountains, visited some relatives and stopped in the forests to have a barbecue lunch. There are picnic tables set up in Ouelbane where they barbecue locally reared mutton and bring it over to you with sides and of course, bread. Algerians love their bread!

I'm hoping to share more of my discoveries around Algiers and Algeria as well as my usual crafting in sha Allah. Until then ...


Sunday, June 4, 2017

handmade joy exchange 2017

Back in 2012, I took part in the Handmade Joy Swap organised by Anne of the beautiful blog, My Giant Strawberry. So when I caught her blog post just in time, about hosting it again in March, this year, I had to join in. My poor blog hasn't been receiving much attention from me. First, it was due to a lack of decent internet connection and then, general busy-ness with a 1 year old and now my dear Macbook is poorly and I'm not a fan of phone blogging. But I will try, so do bear with me.

Well, here I am, five years later, on another continent, with two more children but with the same love of handmade goodness.

I was to create something for Cindy, a talented artist from the US. I decided on a little print, using fairly bold colours and some humour. Along with this I added a handmade notebook with her name on it, in Arabic. Seeing as I was sending it from an Arabic-speaking country (with French being the second language of Algeria), I thought it would add an unusual twist to the items. It took me back a bit. With all the knitting I've been doing, it has been quite some time since I've created any crochet-embellished stationery. 
It took a little while for my package to reach Cindy. She had a little waiting game going on. I was just so relieved that f2f it finally got there. I got my beautiful swap package from Karen in Connecticut. It reached me about two and a half months later (Algerian postal issues!) but it most certainly brought me joy when it got here. 
I received this cute little card with a beautiful stitch holder inside. It was pinned to a piece of vintage linen that had been hand dyed in indigo! 
And the star of the show was a gorgeous project bag, perfect for a sock project! Karen, a fellow knitter, had noticed my knitting projects on instagram and sent me something she thought I could use. She was right!
I love the vintage style of the entire bag, from the fabric to the zipper and it is just beautifully stitched. She also added some extra little goodies! Do check out Karen's etsy shop where she sells lovely naturally dyed pouches, beautiful tote bags and the cutest of needle books!

I think it's just amazing that packages of joy travelled to various parts of the world through this exchange. 

Are you creating a little joy for yourself or someone else? See Anne's Handmade Joy Exchange celebration post here.


Monday, March 6, 2017

just before spring springs

... and because this winter did seem to drag on a bit, I managed to knit up a couple of cardigans.

My gift to you
I started with one for baby. I find myself extremely drawn to the offset button-band and anything geometrically straying from the norm.

And then the 3 year old wanted a "princess sweater" too. So I knit this. Yes, another offset!

Leaf Love
As it happened, once they were both blocked, the girls ended up swapping cardis! Due to the weight of the cotton stretching it slightly and the wool being more "clingy", they fit better the other way around ... and sisters can share clothes anyway! 

And here's another one of those button-shots! 
This time last year, I was waiting for my baby to turn up. Oh how time flies! Subhan Allah.
I had knit these up while I was waiting. And now one just about fits!

Autumn Leaves
Jeudi and Hurricane Hat
I just had to share my outtakes or what REALLY happens when a mum tries to take photos of her knits!

This goes out to all the mums that try to get their yarny thing going ... and then try to take pics of them! 
Happy knitting, crocheting, general yarniness with kids! 
And those without little monsters around, ENJOY! :)
Alhamdulillah <3 font="">


Tuesday, February 7, 2017


I've spent so many years away from you
Just catching rare glimpses here and there,
And now you are in my life once more
But I am still caught unaware

I mean not to be ungrateful
For your refreshing gusts of wind,
Your showers of rain and biting cold
And the change in temperature you bring

The sniffles and coughs and other ills
Do often get me down,
As does the limited warm sunshine
Whenever you're in town

But then, I get to indulge a bit more
In soups and various hot drinks,
Creamy custards and piping-hot puddings
And lemons, oranges and mandarins

Cozy crocheted blankets and various hand-knits,
I love, as they really are the best -
Thing about you being here and
Make you a welcomed guest!

Chrea National Park - the snow up there, brought us a whole load of cold down here!


Monday, January 9, 2017


After seeing the taking stock post on Meet Me At Mikes, I thought a quick capture of where I am right now would be fun (and a nice way of getting back in to blogging). I've used some of Pip's prompts but not all, so if you'd like to take part, check out her post for the full list.

Making: things to keep little ones warm

Cooking: stuffed peppers with tomato sauce
Drinking: herbal tea - This is really good!

Reading: Daring Greatly by Brene Brown - an eye-opener to say the least
Trawling: paleo sites - no matter how far I stray, I love going back!
Wanting: to get everything done
Looking: forward
Deciding: on which way to go
Wishing: peace to all
Enjoying: Sherlock 
Waiting: for things to pan out
Wondering: when the water company will turn the water back on :(
Loving: The Year Compass 
Watching: my baby take dramatics to another level!
Marvelling: at my friend's stairs

Needing: more hours in the day?
Smelling: a scented candle from a beautiful friend
Wearing: hand-knit socks 
Noticing: composition - for a little photography club I've joined
Knowing: that I don't know what's best for my family ... only Allah (God) does 
Admiring: the efforts of so many regarding the Syrian crisis
Celebrating: community and friendship

Embracing: winter - well, trying to!


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