A week in the life of a global citizen

10 ply aran cotton vs no 8 embroidery thread - such entirely different tactile experiences!

Hello! We have just entered the holy month of Ramadan (fasting from dawn until sunset) here in Doha and even though I am well acquainted with customs surrounding this month, traditions differ significantly across Muslim countries and Islamic societies. In the Gulf, non-Muslim expats have to adhere to local practices even though we are not fasting per se. It is not acceptable to eat, drink, smoke or even take medicine in public during the day and therefore restaurants, fast food outlets and cafes are all closed bar one F&B outlet in each of the hotels. Live music during the day, swearing at all times and acting like a loon is off-limits during this month of piety and  peace.

The practicalities of how Doha functions to accommodate this month, is certainly new to me. Malls, shops, banks and more are now open for about 5 hours in the morning and then close between 1 in the afternoon and 8 in the evening. From 8/9pm - 1/2am, it is business as usual, meaning it is entirely plausible to visit any of the museums or government departments or malls or even banks after midnight!  I love this month as it is also a time for strengthening ties with community. We will be visiting Ramadan tents and share in Iftar feasts with locals for the next 29 days. 

Colours of Grace Aran cotton, hand dyed

Since going anywhere in the afternoon and early evening is off-limits and the children are on their summer school holiday break from next week, I have a fair amount of time on my hands in which to indulge in reading and crocheting. I am still busy with the hexagon blanket and have finished more than 200 motifs so far. I had to put the project aside for a week though (something I don't easily do since I work on one crochet project at a time) and designed a new square for a secret project, meaning I started and frogged and pondered and re-started more than 30 efforts before I was happy with a design. I can't wait to be kicking off with that project, since I will finally get the chance to use my Colours of Grace 10 ply Aran cotton! The colours are gorgeous and working with a thicker thread is most enjoyable. It will be a piece to die for, and you will have the benefit of trying out a new pattern!

I do have an obsession with army, gold, old gold and chartreuse colours at the moment! I might just order Vinnis Serina in Army for a blanket soon, it will be perfect for a lacy motif.

The French/spool knitting necklace getting longer and longer.  I cannot wait to finish this, and work on it when my hands get tired from too much crocheting.

Grrr I honestly cannot bare the feeling of acrylic yarns, but this ball of yarn came in handy for trying out different motifs - it can handle getting frogged a few times. It is fascinating though, how an ordinary motif is transformed into something really special depending on yarn and colour.  The minute I tried these motifs in hand dyed cotton, it became something else altogether!

I have long since been fascinated by a country that is so unique that it can neither be reduced to East nor West, but has indeed been shaped by both. I am hoping this read will not disappoint!  I share a special friendship with a fellow researcher who works at the Russian State University and owe it to her to learn more about a society she was critically analyzing during our post grad studies.  I hope we get the chance in future to become research partners yet again, neither one of us are afraid of exploring progressive, interdisciplinary approaches.

Once in Kuala Lumpur I sat down at a candy store and watched the artisan create these wonderful candies.  It is a beautiful, mesmerizing process and I was in 7 heavens when I stumbled across Spanish chain Papabubble here in Doha.

Last week, a group of adults involved in global change, hosted an online, real time discussion among 14-17 year old Teens representing many different societies across the globe. We connected countries, cultures and individuals through one shared goal: to create memorable global, nurturing dialogues in order to foster learning and develop intercultural understanding.  It led to interesting discourse and one we will repeat soon with a 12-14 year old group.  I am so glad to be living life as a global citizen again as it provides me with opportunities that would otherwise not have been possible. I love connecting people and making a difference on an international level. Enjoy the rest of your week, I hope it is an equally interesting one with lots of fun!


Ideas for assembling hexagon throw

Hello!  This is just a quick posting to show you what I have been playing with today. I used about 130 hexagons to put these ideas together and I still don't know exactly which one I am most enchanted with. Whilst I really, really like the clean lines of the above photo, I am not in love with the flowers. The Husband also ruled this one out. This is visually the most striking of the three ideas though and not easily discarded!

What about the ombre effect above?  Here you will see more of the lighter colours (please ignore the shadows on the photos, these are quick working snapshots), but the final 500+ hexagon throw will contain equal parts light to gray to coal to black.  
This last idea is simply a mix of all the hexagons, meaning I can put all the hexagons in a big box, toss it and then assemble by simply picking up from the box and work with whatever I picked up. The ease of this idea appeals, but I also prefer more structured approaches as it gives me greater control over the process.

 Meanwhile, when I am not hooking up a storm, I am having a great time meeting up with people and enjoying all the fabulous food the city has to offer. I love visiting Australian Gourmet cafe Jones the Grocer located in the nearby The Gate Mall and this is what the mall public powder rooms look like.  Everything is round or ball shaped, even the mosaic tiles are not flat, but bauble shaped! 

The Teens sends her greetings too. She is hooking a slouchy in cotton and if we are lucky, she will let me take a photo and show you soon! 
Have a nice week!  


Working with embroidery thread

I recently blogged about the French knitting (also known as spool knitting) place mats my dad made as a kid some 60 years ago. I have long since harbored an idea to knit meters and meters in a fine thread in order to make an interesting neck piece to wear with anyone of my grey silk or linen dresses. After coming across his knitting, I grabbed my money and legged it to the nearest haberdashery in South Africa to buy a knitting spool and hook to slip into my luggage destined for Qatar.

I visited the Singer shop in Doha over the weekend and fell in love with Hungarian pearl cotton embroidery thread available in the most beautiful colours. I chose 6 colours and am aware that it is probably going to take me forever to knit up meters and meters as the thread is barely thicker than sewing cotton!  I specifically wanted the lacy effect to enhance both the fragility as well as the strength of the cord and am pleased with how it is turning out.

Apart from discovering all the amazing embroidery threads in Doha, I have also discovered that  sleeping in pajamas is compulsory when one lives in a glass box!  We are currently hauled up in a serviced hotel apartment in the diplomatic area of Doha and our corner apartment boasts floor to ceiling windows in the bedrooms and lounge. The working day starts early here - between 6:30 and 7:00 in the morning and The Husband opens the blackout curtains before leaving for work. 

One morning I was greeted by the window washer and I still don't know whether I was more shocked by his mere presence or actually by his precarious balancing act of sitting on a swing, washing windows! I managed to sneak out of the bed for a photo as soon as he made his way down to the floor below ours.