Friday, 17 January 2014


By Shyama Nivas

As kids, we used to look forward to all the festivals, as each one brought with it a different cuisine, activity and sometimes, new clothes J

These days, sadly, even though all the festivals are still celebrated in every home, they've seem to have lost the "romance"  L

Yes, we still have the different cuisine, but its sometimes ‘bought’ or ‘made-to-order’ by some professional.. the activity is hmmm, sometimes a ‘one-up-on-the-Joneses’, and the clothing, well, it’s not like we need a ‘festival’ to give us a chance to purchase new clothes – every visit to the mall gets you that..not to mention the tantalizing word “sale sale” or the more frequent “buy one get…free” .. the ‘free’ being the extremely irresistible and tantalizing word..often in red – a colour that activates the ‘buy’ button in humans ;)

While all the above sounds critical, I should add that I too have fallen prey to the ‘bought-from-store’ category – of course my justification here is 
(a) that they are professionals, know what they’re doing, 
(b)have done it so many times that they’re bound to get it right.. whereas I will suffer through the pain and tension and probably have to throw it all out at the end,
(c)and of course, the even better justification is that all of us are now so careful with our diet(s) that it is not even cost effective making that quarter kilo ;)

The kaju katli sweetmeat is my all time favourite – I have never tried to make it at home, from scratch or otherwise – it’s way simpler and tastier to get this from the local store(s) J
This super Indian delicacy (once bought especially during Diwali, our festival of lights, that comes around Oct-Nov each year), is made from cashew nuts (kaju, in Hindi).  The original diamond shaped (topped with slivers of pure silver paper) has also gone through several changes, in shape and ingredients (as you have a Kaju-Pista ‘roll’, Kaju and almond .. etc).

Now this ain’t a blog about the great kaju katli sweetmeat, but it is this lovely delicacy that was the inspiration for my crochet creation.

My kaju katli scarf (Pronunciation : ‘ka-joo  cut-lee), is worked sideways, and after the first few lines, the pattern goes diagonally.  The increases are evenly worked on both sides, till you reach your desired width.

The gauge is not critical as both width and length of the scarf are variable, but the designer achieved a gauge of approx 4 diamond st x 2 rows in pattern = 2”.
This pattern is fairly easy, but has been marked an Advanced beginner or Intermediate Skill Level.
The scarf is worked sideways, and after the first few lines, the pattern moves diagonally.
This project has been testing using : 
1.    3-ply acrylic yarn from Oswal Mills, 100g / 570 yds, with a 4 mm crochet hook ;
2.   Drops Fabel, about 40 g (only half a scarf - width : 20 cm), with 4 mm crochet hook ; Pattern rated : Easy/Medium ;
3.   Noro Silk Garden Lite , 3.5 skeins 175 g / 476 yds / 435 m ; 4.5 mm crochet hook, Comment : Took approx 10 hrs ; Skill level : Fairly easy.
4.   Bebito by Filati Deluxe 250m /50g ; 4.5 mm crochet hook, Comments : Clear instructions, took about 6-7 hrs but depends on how wide and long you want it to be ; Skill level : Intermediate

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Ooh a 3-in-one!

Easy daily use pencil case
By Shyama Nivas

I am fortunate that most of my creations are readily used by my daughter, her friends, my nieces and their friends.. and they are also my inspirations for my creations.

Some years back when my younger niece was studying in Miami, I’d made a small pencil case for her with some yarn I’d had lying around.  It was some green and red polyester (4 ply), remainder from some Xmas project.  She loved it, and used it so extensively, and on her return home, had actually ‘given’ it as a ‘keep-sake’ to her friend in Miami.  So this pencil case was a replacement.

A really fast project that only requires the yarn, your fingers and the television – as it’s a simple one line repeat and can be totally done while watching a movie.. ok, let’s make that two movies.  What actually takes longer is the zipper, and of course if you are going to line it, then well … let’s add some more time to this project then.. else you’re done in a day – zipper and all J

the cute completed project

the polyester purse/cone yarn used

This simple pencil case is in two parts. The first part is the body done in a rectangle and then there are two round sides. This gives the finished product a nice rounded look. A quick project and a lovely gift as well.
This pattern has been tested using : 
a) Cone (Polyester / Purse / 4-ply) yarn ; 55 g (313.5 yds); 4mm (G) hook
b) Acrylic (stash) ; 4mm (G) hook, Gauge: 8 st=2”; Comment : took about 3 hrs to complete project
c) Debbie Bliss Prima ; 35g approx , 4mm (G) hook, Gauge: 9 stitches = 2 inches ; Comment : about 2 hrs to complete crochet, then lining and zipper took about 2 hrs.
You can view this project at  or

While testing a bag for Anastacia Zittel (Decommission tote), I decided to present this to my niece-in-law & nephew who’ve recently been ‘blessed’ by the ‘visiting stork’ – and thought that a ‘bottle cozy’ would be ‘just right’ with this .. ta da!
Now what started off as a bottle cozy for a water bottle (mum's always need 'regular room temp water for a zillion baby needs), has also 'doubled-up' as a neat 'wine' bottle cover, and a 'yarn stash keeper' and one of my testers even carried her yarn in this when she was out for the day!
.. and another tester has been inspired to make a 'matching mug-hug' for her constant Starbucks trips J

 so the wine-bottle is nice n cozy

and your 'water' bottle is nice and hidden

This bottle cozy has been tested for 750 ml and 1 litre bottles. It is worked from the bottom up - and easily adaptable for several sizes. Addition of contrast colour is optional.
750 ml : (L) 9” x (Circumference) 3.5” ; 
1 litre : (L) 10.5” c (Circumference) 3.5” 
Gauge : 3.5” over 8 rounds, worked in a circle
This pattern has been tested using :
  1. 4-ply acrylic from Oswal Mills ;  50 g (165 yds MC); 10-20 g each CC ;5 mm (H) crochet hook,
  2. Deborah Norville Serenity Sock Weight yarn in MC & CC, 5 mm (H) crochet hook, Gauge 3.5” in 8 rounds, Comment : Versatile usage, as it fits even slightly smaller (500 ml) juice bottles to 750 ml wine bottles ;
  3. Caron One Pound (Iris), 5 mm (H) crochet hook, 19 yards, 10 grams = 19.0 yards (17.4m) ; with Craft Smart Value Solids (Black) , 92 yards, 50 grams = 92.0 yards (84.1m) ; with Red Heart Super Saver Solids (Aqua) ; 14 yards, 8 grams = 14.0 yards (12.8m) ; & Red Heart Super Saver Solids (real teal) ; 11 yards, 6 grams = 11.0 yards (10.1m) ;
  4. Vardhaman Millenium (Red) ; 30 g (99 yds) + CC (combined approx 15 g / 49.5 yds); 5 mm (H) crochet hook
  5. Sock/4Ply Of Unknown Origin ,11.9 yards, 3 grams 0.06 skeins = 11.9 yards (10.9m) ; Debbie Bliss Rialto 4 ply, 11.9 yards, 3 grams 0.06 skeins = 11.9 yards (10.9m); & Patons UK Fairytale Dreamtime 4ply, 14.9 yards, 4 grams 0.08 skeins = 14.9 yards (13.6m) ; with a 5 mm (H) crochet hook ; Comment : Nice and easy ; the pattern is nice and fits my drinking bottle well
  6. Red Heart Super Saver Solids (Bright Green - 64 yds / Bright Red - 36 yds) ; 5 mm crochet hook, Comment : quick project for gift or personal use.
  7. Sugar ‘n’ Cream Twist (MC) 90 yds & Martha Stewart Cotton Hemp (CC) 13.5 yds ; 6 mm crochet hook, Completed in a few hours, skill level : easy Comment : another useful FO from you!
  8. Caron One Pound (MC) 83 yds & Bernat Super Value Solids (CC) 83 yds, “G” Crochet hook, Comment : Love 3rd project :)

A few days back, during a Rav-meet (“Rav-meet” being the meeting of the Mumbaites who are a part of this Ravelry ‘crochet-knitting’ group online, I mean), one of the young ladies was looking for a bag for her ma-in-law. When her ma-in-law went for her evening walks, she did not like carrying her usual purse, but needed to carry her mobile phone, house keys and maybe some cash.. so Nidhi was looking for a smallish bag that could be easily slung around & light-weight too.  We saw several, but like the story of the “3-bears”, none of them were ‘just right’. The following day, by chance I saw some super yarn – and I bought it thinking I’d fashion a small bag.. and voila! The Slim Sling Bag was born.. and presented to dear Nidhi’s ma-in-law J
If not for Nidhi, and my other (above listed) cooperative people, I’d be making stuff that ain’t goin nowhere ;)
..  and then we’d have a problem (Houston!) as then my other half could rightly ask me why I was wasting hard earned money.. so thank you all.. for indulging me… and saving me an ear-full.

 the one piece, seamless sling bag

the yarn that beckoned

You can view this project at  or

This slim bag can be made in any size that suits the user, so the time it takes varies from half a day to a day – but it’s still a quick, lovely gift. The designer has used a polyester yarn to avoid lining it, but it can also be made in acrylic or other materials as well.
Its been tested using variegated yarn(s) as well as two different coloured yarns, each giving the pattern a different look.
Gauge is not critical as the size is adjustable.
The idea came to me during our recent Mumbai rav-meet when a friend wanted to purchase a bag for her ma-in-law, but couldn’t find anything suitable. I made her this quick project, so she can now put her keys, wallet, and mobile in when she goes for her walks. 
One of my testers has made this to carry her kindle, though she added another row to ‘toughen’ the handle/strap.
This pattern has been tested using : 
1. Tahki yarns Monterey ; nearly 2 skeins ; “F” crochet hk,
  1. Sensations Bamboo & Ewe (discontinued) ; 1 1/4 oz - 155 yds, “G”/4 mm crochet hook, Skill level : Advanced beginner ; Comment : My yarn was chosen because it was handy and the right weight/thickness, but I do not recommend it as it is very stretchy and will not hold up well for this, in my opinion
  2. Polyester purse yarn (unbranded) ; 120 g ; 4 mm crochet hook, Comment : Lovely pattern ; and
  3. Polyester purse yarn (unbranded) nearly 2 skeins, & 4 mm crochet hook.

Monday, 6 January 2014



 This is a cute scarf that can easily made into a gift or just for your own little girl.  The scarf is made sideways and consists of two parts… the first is the simple scarf, and the second is the ‘cuteness’.

The cute little ‘baby doll’ faces are made separately and then attached on to the scarf.  You would need little button-like eyes that are easily available at craft stores, else you could always fashion it with a little imagination and embroidery thread.  One needs basic embroidery skills (for the eyes and the mouth).

This idea of a scarf with a pocket made like a baby doll came when I was thinking of what to make for a friends’ granddaughter – kids these days have almost everything..  so the personalized, hand-made touch has appeal (well to me at least).  I totally enjoyed making this scarf, and was well rewarded when little Diya modeled it for me, and refused to take it off.  She wanted it as an ‘accessory’ for all the other clothes she modeled for me as well, and her effusive thanks, hugs and kisses more than made up for all my worry about whether she’d like it 

She thought it was so soft and couldn't wait to get back to NY to wear it to school and show off

The pattern itself is a really simple repeat – which is totally a ‘in-front-of-tv’ activity.  I find, I am unable to ‘just’ watch TV.. so something like this would be my ‘go-to’ pattern.

The little pockets are not just someplace the little girl can stuff her hands to keep them warm, but also provide ‘activity’ as she can braid and ‘dress up’ her little doll.