Sunday, 24 November 2013

My "Hand woven" crochet scarf

My 'hand-woven' crochet scarf

Crochet is a really versatile craft.. you start with a few simple chains, put together a few interesting stitches, and half a day, you could've created something lovely!

I was watching a football match and was fascinated by the unity of teams, with their colours and their chants. Of course this happens in every sport, and its a sports fan will wonder why I even 'comment' on it - its a done deal!

On a totally different note, I was also thinking about the lovely 'dot' (or pottu, which means 'dots' in Tamil) kolam (oops another Tamil word, which is a form of 'painting' drawn using rice powder, chalk powder or rock powder) 

so thanks to the fantastic internet, I've got pottu kolam designs here to explain my thought process.  Above are all 4 x 4 dot combination designs.. each one different, but all start with the same 16 dots!

and here are some more pottu kolams - and I love how the same combination of dots can give you such varied designs.

So now maybe you're getting my flow of thought ?? hmmm

I decided to take this idea forward.. use a pottu kolam combination to make several simple scarves.
And though this did not work out exactly, I would like to think that my Plaited scarf and this Hand-Woven crochet scarf are 'pottu kolam'-like, as they have similar 'ideas' - start with a ch /fsc, then few dc, few ch, and then play with the 'chains' and 'design' the scarf.

The hand woven scarf offers you a host of possibilities...
It can be made in the colours of your favourite pennant team flag;
It is a great idea for Valentine's day (with the lovely red n white inter-twined);
It can make a great Christmas gift in the reds, whites and greens;
It makes a great I-day scarf, with colours of your flag..

and it gives you the chance to explore your creative side!

Do remember, as always, that I'd appreciate if you link your project(s) with mine  and if you do like the pattern, do 'favourite' it on Ravelry.

Happy Thanksgiving 

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

My Diagonal Shells Cowl

My diagonal shells cowl

I recently visited Brisbane (Australia) to spend (our) summer vacations with family.  Brisbane is beautiful.. there is so much to see, so much to do.. our days started early, was packed with interesting activities and ended with a lovely glass o' wine! ;-)

Maya, the lovely dingo kept us busy and on our toes all the time .. and gosh
doesn't she look so innocent and cute and ...and oh, I miss her!
She, believe it or not, was a stray at a pound where my sister in law and nieces helped out - and the minute they say Maya, they knew and now Maya (of course) runs not only their lives, but their home too!
I jokingly told my sis that when the aliens looked down on us, they too would know who was the boss ! Maya would decide which route to take for her walk, she'd stop,do her stuff.. we'd pick it up and dispose of it.. she'd wait (im)patiently and then strut off again behind the next smell and we'd (obediently) follow!  That said, I must also  add that Maya is an extremely well behaved dingo and my nieces have done a splendid job in training her.

One such outing included a trip to the beach - which are oh, so pristine.. and so beautiful.  Maya, who loves the beach, bounded off (in that part of the beach where dogs are allowed 'off-collar'), and I meandered off to take a dekho at shells.  As usual, they tantalise, these silly shells,.. they do! They wink at you wickedly as they lie there, half stuck in sand, with the sun picking out the colours, and the water running over them and adding to the rainbow of colours and shapes.. Oh, I did give in, and pick up my share...only to take a good look at them, and then put them right back! :-(.  I'm sure I took photos .. but just can't find this is almost what I saw (pic taken from the web tho)
beautiful blue skies, crystal blue water, light brown sand..and oh the shells!

A germ of an idea.. a shelled creation in crochet.. a scarf.. a shawl..nope a cowl!
So I present to you my Diagonal Shells Cowl.  

The cowl, thought not very popular in Mumbai, is a very versatile accessory.  I also love that it does not come in the neatly wraps around the neck, can be as long or "drapey" as you (or the person for whom it is intended) wishes.. and looks so beautiful and chic.

Cowls are fun accessories – easy to make, great to wear. This diagonal shells cowl is great as it has shells that are in diagonals! Looks complicated … isn’t.
This cowl has been tested in The Testing Pool.
Here, with DK-ply, its been made in circumferences of 24”, 45” and 60”, with a common width of 9”
This cowl uses the basic stitches : ch, sc, and dc.
Its a quick four-line repeat.
It has been tested using :
  1. 4-ply acrylic Oswal Mills (fingering weight yarn) ; 90 g/380 yds ; 4mm (G) hook;
  2. Ice Yarns, fingering weight, 95% Acrylic, 5% Lurex, Brown Gold ; 416yd / 380m ; H/8 hook;
  3. Hobby Lobby I Love This Yarn! Solids; 355 yards, 198 grams 1 skein = 355.0 yards (324.6m); 4mm (G) hook ; 4.Filati Deluxe Bebito ; 300 meters, 60 grams 1.2 skeins = 328.1 yards (300.0m) ; 4mm (G) hook;
  4. Vardhaman 4-ply (fingering) ; 4 mm (G) hook, 200 grams
  5. Super Yarn Mart! Ice Yarn ; 5mm (H)
  6. Gala (from Big Lots) ; 100g - 2 skeins
  7. D.K (8-ply) acrylic - varying from 45 g - 85 g (145 - 280 yds)

Mobile and smart phones

Mobiles and smart phones

Now this will sound grandmother-ish.. but hey, when you get words that you can double entendre, then I guess its just calling out to you, right?

so .. in 'our' time (oops.. grandmothery!) a 'mobile' was that lovely hanging object that you hung atop the baby's bed to keep the little thing entertained for hours.. and of course the lovely 'mobile' ice-cream vehicle (ting ting..lets go!) .. and then the more sensible mobile 'animal clinics' (my favourite) that brought help to strays along the way.. but of course, these days we stay 'mobile' and 'in touch' all the time, with our hand held 'mobile' phone.
Connectivity is the key.

Now sadly, just having a mobile phone ain't good enough.. its gotten smart - and as a friend said 'phone is smarter than I am'! (and all the young 'uns reading this may agree that smart phones should be banned for people over a certain age ;-)

Even sadder is that this 'smart' phone is actually tying you down - as it now gives you a second by second ping on activities of everyone else .. and commands you too to update your status and report and like and LOL!

But all that apart, I thank the mobile and smart phone companies to come up with their varied ideas and designs and differently sized instruments, as it gives me yet another chance to design.. so at the end of the day, hey, I ain't complainin'! :-)

Most of my designs are for the new lot of phones in the market.

My first was the Braided mobile Pouch which is a quick one-line repeat pattern, which can be made in half an hour.  I've used a medium worsted acrylic as I wanted a quick project, which I did not want to line and which would still be soft and protect the phone.  This project is a great stash buster as well as it needs barely 50 yds. 

This pouch will fit most of the Blackberry series, HTC Desire Series (U,V,X and C) and some of the Nokia Lumia series. 

As I was completing this, my daughter thought of a friend who would love a pouch - and she has a Blackberry Flip..
so my next idea / project was this simple two line repeat pattern, using just ch, sc and dc. 

This simple mobile pouch can be made in half an hour, and fits the Blackberry Pearl Flip 8220 & 8230, 8130, 8120, 8110 & 8100. 

This pattern has also been tested to fit the Samsung Galaxy S3, done with Bernat Super Value Solids (New) and a 4mm hook by one of my testers.

In keeping with the name of the Blackberry series this pouch has been tailor made for, the pattern too can be ‘flipped’ to be used either side. 

Choose the pattern you like, and finish accordingly. 

Note : This pattern is to be folded along the breadth. (i.e Row 1 should be the length of your smart phone)

While this pattern has been made with a polyester cone yarn, it will work well with any fingering acrylic or wool.
This cute pouch can be made in a few hours and is an ideal gift for any occasion.
This pattern has been tested on the Happy Hookers Hangout using
  1. Polyester cone yarn 4-ply (fingering weight yarn) - half cone; 4mm (G) hook ;
  2. Bernat Super Value Yarn in Burgundy; 4mm (G) hook  Thanks to my rav-testers Jessica and Rita.
  3. Sock Yarn Walk Away (Hobby Lobby brand) ; 4 mm (G) hook

My next pouch pattern was made using the lovely trinity stitch, which is a beautiful trinity of three sc, again a one line repeat pattern, using just fsc, sc and ch. 

This project too, can be made in under an hour, and fits most of the Blackberry series, HTC Desire series (U, V, X and C), and some of the Nokia Lumia series. It is also a good fit for the LG G2. 

Due to the mild complexity of st, it has been rated Advanced Beginner or Intermediate skill level and can be found at or 
This pattern has been extensively tested in The Happy Hookers Hangout using 
1. 4-ply (medium worsted) acrylic yarn from Oswal Mills, 4.5 mm (US 7) hook , approx 20 g (60 yds);
2. Universal Bella, DK weigh, 4 mm (G) hook , approx 0.80 oz - Gauge: 4 trinity st 1 1/2” wide x 1 1/2” long;
3. 4-ply acrylic/wool blend , 4mm (G) hook , approx 10g - Gauge: Start 16 fsc = 9.5 cm in pattern st
4. 4-ply (medium worsted) unbranded acrylic, 50 g (285 yds), 3 mm hook
5. Lion Brand Pound of Love (worsted), approx 51 yards (by weight) , 4.0mm hook, Gauge: 7 Trinity st across and 7 rows down = 3 inches x 3 inches
6.Bernat Softee Baby #3 weight yarn, small H (4.25) hook, Gauge: 3 Trinity st across and 3 rows down = 1.375 inches x 1.375 inches ; approx 18.5 g (about 47)
7. RedHeart Super Saver (#4/worsted weight) , small H (4.25) hook, Gauge: 3 Trinity st across and 3 rows down = 1.3125 inches x 1.5 inches ; approx. 20 gm (37 yards)
8. Jo-Ann Sensations Truly Solids, 4mm (G) hook , 62.9 yards, 14 grams 0.24 skeins = 62.9 yards (57.5m); Gauge : 3 trinity stitches across x 5 rows = 1” square
9. Bernat Super Value -just under 50 g, G/6-4.25mm hook ,Gauge : fsc (16 sts )= 4”

I hope you enjoy making several gifts for  your family and friends for the festive season.

Happy Holidays

Sunday, 10 November 2013

My Bow Scarf

My bow scarf

I've been fascinated with this seemingly complicated light lacy knot for .. well forever.. and I've always wanted to make something similarly seemingly complicated, but actually not complicated at all.. and here's what I designed!

The hardest thing in this scarf is not the Solomon's (Lover's) knot but getting them all to be equal sized and neat - and after a few lines, its actually a breeze.
The cute combination looks like a cute little bow - so hey.. that's the name explained!

I was keen on adding it to my "collection" well in time for the festive season. I am huge on 'making a gift' for any season/occasion/any time.  Off late, gifts at weddings and engagements are also becoming a thing of the past - the smart(er) young gen prefer to get their own gifts and decorate their new homes their way (and who can blame them, eh?)
But a hand-made (especially for you with love) .. aah, who can resist that?

So here's hoping this scarf too brings on many a smile to both the gifter and 'giftee' :-)

Friday, 8 November 2013

An easy Risotto recipe

An easy mushroom risotto 

The regular recipes call for Arborio rice.  Today my daughter had friends over and  out of the blue, one of them asked if I could make the 'same yummy risotto you'd made the last time, aunty'.. oh oh.. like in that ole nursery rhyme of old mother hubbard, slightly changed, the cupboard was 'bare' of arborio!  But I'd just bought some superb basmati - and hey, risotto basically calls for a 'high-starch' rice.. so I decided to 'substitute' - and yaay! It was soooooooooperb (if my young taste specialists opinions count!) They do to me, and so here goes with my recipe for an easy Mushroom risotto

About 3/4 glass (approx 80g) good quality Basmati rice
2+ glasses stock , and 2+ glasses plain water
1 packet mushrooms
1 big carrot
2 baby corn
1 medium sized onion
3-4 cloves garlic
10 - 15 ml olive oil
about 15-20 g butter
cheese - chop into small cubes about 50g and grate some more for the topping
(original recipe calls for Parmesan, but I've substituted with available good quality, local available cheese.  (I also used a small bit of smoked processed cheese)
one handful finely chopped coriander leaves
salt and pepper to taste

1. Slice onions, grate (or chop fine) garlic.  Set aside.
2. Wash thoroughly and thickly slice mushrooms
3. Wash and soak your rice in a little water from the measured 'plain water' glass.
4. Diagonally slice carrots and baby corn (thick) 
5. Cube some cheese, and grate some separately
6. Heat your pan, olive oil in, garlic followed onions - saute till light
7. Toss in the mushrooms, a pinch of salt, and allow them to sweat.
8. Take part cooked mushrooms out into serving bowl. (Just so you save a wash-up)
9. The carrots and baby corn go into the watery mushroom left-overs in the pan.  Another pinch of salt and pepper
10. Put in 2 and a half glasses of water and half the coriander leaves.  Gas on high, allow it to come to a quick boil. Let it boil down a little bit. Carefully take out 2/3rds of this stock and keep aside.
11. Put the basmati rice into the stock in the pan and bring the gas back up on high. Once it starts to boil, bring gas down to medium. Slowly stirring, keep adding small quantities of stock alternating with water. You will see the rice cooking through, and it becoming slowly creamy at the same time
12.  When your liquids are nearly done or the rice is cooked and creamy, put in the mushrooms you've kept aside with the last of the coriander, butter and the chopped cheese.
13. Adjust the salt and pepper.
14. When you are ready to serve, top with cheese and grill (the grilling is just so that all the cheese melts and the young ones go 'ummmmmmmmmmmm')

I wish I could say that this is as easy as 1-2-3.. but umm, if you are willing to go a few more .. lets say its as easy as 1 - 14 ?? ;-)


Flip-It Mobile Pouch

Seeing the 'braided mobile pouch' I'd designed for my daughter, her friend wanted one for her mobile phone.. now who am I to deny someone who's giving me not just a chance to create, but keep me out of mischief?  
And I thought (hah!) that I'd use the stash I had in hand, but then got to know that it was this young lady's birthday (or we just missed it?), so hey! that totally deserves a new yarn (yes, yes! of course its any excuse to buy new yarn.. but one must acknowledge that a birthday does call for 'new', right? .. and for all the nay-sayers.. well.. we'll agree to disagree)

This extremely simple two line repeat looks good from both ends.. and as this is a Blackberry flip phone, we can 'flip' the pattern around, and get a two-in-one.  Of course, the 'ribbing' and textured effect run either vertical or horizontal -  but you could actually make two out of one (pattern) as well now, can't  you ... hmmm, something to be said about the 'free , free.. buy-one-get-one-free' excitement, right?

A simple two line repeat pattern, using just ch, sc and dc. 
This simple mobile pouch can be made in half an hour, and fits the Blackberry Pearl Flip 8220 & 8230. 
8130, 8120, 8110 & 8100. 

While this pattern has been made with a polyester cone yarn, it will work well with any fingering acrylic or wool.
This is a free download on ravelry 

Do enjoy making the pouch, and please do let me know how it turns out.  I'd love to link your projects to my page :-)

This, I think, is a super all-time gift for any occasion, but with the festive season around the corner, I am sure you can find someone who would love this.  
This pouch has been made for size 101.1 mm x 50 mm x 17.5 mm (3.98” x 1.97” x 0.69”).

Monday, 4 November 2013

Peek-a-boo Infinity Cowl

Peek-a-boo Infinity Cowl

The Chevron stitch is such a fascinating stitch.  When I first tried it (years back), I started with a certain number of stitches, (obviously mis-read instructions), allowed my 'creation' to GROW (literally), watched tv and flew along with this oh-so-simple stitch that only involves dc and ch (how easy is that??).. and way way way later realised.. OOPS !! this has grown! in length AND width!

So besides that happening (which basically can happen with any knit or crochet pattern, by the way!), the Chevron is SUCH a superb stitch.

Using this simple stitch that is a fantastic combination of just dc (or sc) and ch, you can basically make a whole wardrobe!
(hint taken?? Ok.. so I'll spell it're going to see more "Chevron-inspired" creations on my pages!)

Here I must thank Tamara Kelly of Moogly for her superb Chevron Wrap, which is also a free ravelry download... and taking a leaf from her book (or blog ;-)), I too am keeping my creation as a free ravelry download (links below)

This pattern has been tested on The Testing Pool. I’d like to thank my lovely Rav-testers Tammy, Tina, Wendy, Ritha and Laurie

Feel free to make as many of these as you like for gifting, local craft fairs, auctions, raffles, bazaars, but please do not sell finished items online. The pattern itself is not for sale. If making for charity, please let me know the name of the charity & include my contact info with the item ( or  on Ravelry

© Copyright 2013, Shyama Nivas, All Rights Reserved. For personal use only.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

My Braided Mobile Pouch

My Braided Mobile Pouch

The smart phones these days are all super touch and super smart.. and super expensive... so yes, you could go ahead and get yourself a good ole leather pouch - or quickly make a series of these lovely pouches in half an hour, use up all those loose bits of yarn that you just cannot throw away, and yet don't really know what to use for.. and make a super duper gift all at the same time.

Diwali, is the festival of lights, in India.  It is also the festival of gifting and good will. So what could be better than making one of these little pouches to gift your loved one who has just bought (or been gifted) a smart phone.

This is a really quick one-line repeat pattern, using just sc and dc. It can be made in half an hour.  The simple alternation between sc and dc gives a lovely textured, almost braided effect.

This mobile pouch is a super "first timer" crochet project. 

This has been made here with DK acrylic, only because I did not want to line it, but yet wanted a ‘soft’ pouch to protect the phone. 

Gauge is not important - but thickness of yarn is.. so I’d suggest you use a thicker / bulkier yarn to prevent your lovely new smart phone from scratches and nicks.

This is a great stash buster, and a super gift for all time!

This pouch will fit most of the Blackberry series, HTC desire series (U,V,X and C), and some of the Nokia Lumia series.

Happy Diwali :)

Feel free to make as many of these as you wish for gifting, though I'd appreciate if you do not sell your product(s) online, or use this for pattern for sale.

This project is copyright © Shyama Nivas