Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Closer Photo

It occurred to me that I wrote about grafting my scarf yesterday, but didn't really show my not very good effort. So here's another photo:

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


One of my favourite jokes goes: 'What's the difference between an eagle and a table? They both fly, except for the table'. The pattern instructions for the grafting reminded me of that joke, 'For the next 2 sts, rep steps 1-4, except work knitwise (step 1) purlwise (step 2)..... Luckily there was also a chart for the grafting. After reading articles about grafting and boggling my mind, I copied the chart out on a big piece of paper and then ticked off the steps as I did them. My grafting is far from perfect, but is more or less correct. The pattern from Interweave Press is by Daniel Yuhas.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Mint Choc Ice

 Or Camouflage? I'm knitting 'Mistake Stitch Mobius', designed by Daniel Yuhas, published by Interweave Press. Actually, I've finished knitting it, but my grafting is not up to scratch, I'm going to have to 'go around again'. I downloaded some notes from Interweave Press about grafting. I will have to study them and try to understand what I'm doing, instead of blindly trying to follow Daniel's instructions on the pattern. I've grafted toes of socks many times, but that usually involves plain knitting, unlike this off-set rib, where some of my knitwise stitches should be purlwise stitches.

Monday, July 28, 2014


3-ply in this case doesn't refer to thickness, but to the fact that the yarn consists of three strands plied together. I spun brown, green and natural wool separately onto three bobbins, with the spinning wheel moving clockwise, then plied them together with the wheel moving anticlockwise.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Spinning in Colour

 I dyed some of the wool before spinning. Brown and green. When I've finished the green, I will  have a full bobbin each of natural, brown and green and will then ply the three together to give me one multicolour yarn.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Broomstick Cowl

Broomstick crochet, handspun wool. I did consider making the cowl a moebius one, ie twisting it before joining the ends, but for that you really need a reversible fabric. Crochet definitely has a right side and wrong side. The cowl drapes well. I rather like the idea of a cowl, that keeps your neck warm without dangling in the soup as a scarf is wont to do.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

My Turn

 Yesterday it was my turn to do a demonstration for the craft group I belong to. We made bread. First I plaited dough into a loaf, and then Amanda had a go. Here are the loaves when they came out of the oven:
We all made bread rolls from scratch after that and then sat down to a meal of bread and home made jams, pates and other tasty goodies. Apparently the results were well received in homes around the district, so we may be under pressure to make bread instead of buying it!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Usha's Braid, Explained by Muskaan

 Usha Kota invented this tatted braid, after looking at a macrame video. I have to say that it boggled my mind for a while, but after rereading Muskaan's tutorial many times, I eventually had an aha moment and 'got' it. Muskaan's tutorial is in two parts. First you must learn to twist work , that is, make a reverse stitch (unflipped stitch) that has the caps on the left instead of the usual right. Then you can start on the tutorial for the braid. When I started off, I stuck labels on my 6 shuttles to help me keep track:
Once I got the hang of the pattern that was no longer necessary, but it helped at first.
Muskaan and Usha both put a  lot of work into this project. Thank you. It's one of those techniques that is easy once you know how, but difficult to explain. Muskaan created a number of different versions. Anyway, I'm here to say that the rest of us can grasp it with a bit of effort and it's well worth the trouble. I used 4-ply cotton knitting yarn, which is clear and gives a good size to the braid. I plan to make a bracelet, but need to practise a little longer to get my tension right.


The women's group I belong to tries to learn something new each month.  It's not always possible to complete a project in the two or three hours of a meeting. The theory is that we go home and finish it off. I confess that I don't always finish the project. But I have finished last month's bedsocks:
And this morning I finished the month before's rope mat:
The easiest way to explain it is to show a picture of work in progress:
A strip of material is wound around the rope, and then the rope is coiled into a mat and zig zagged with the sewing machine. It's possible to make bowls  by curving the sides, you can see a little bowl that was my first attempt. But I want a mat to put my teapot on, so I kept this one flat. My sewing machine didn't really like the task, it had a tendency to skip stitches, but I kept on regardless. Homework done.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Thanks Tally Tatty

Just in case you think I've abandoned tatting, here's a picture of  bracelets I made for Tally Tatty to say thanks for all the help she has so kindly given me as I prepare to teach tatting in Afrikaans. She has translated tatting terms into Dutch for me, and sent me pattern books/tatting instructions in Dutch. They will be very useful. Linda has already chosen a doily pattern from the Burda pattern book Chantal sent.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


I've finished my hexagon cowl. The pattern is Sweet Hexagon Cowl by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark. I had to adapt the pattern a little because I used handspun wool instead of the specified yarn. And I made mine much shorter. Mine is 110 cm long, where Mercedes' one is 162.5 cm long. I think that if I knitted it again, I'd dye all the skeins the same multicolour, so that the scarf would look like my sample. I enjoyed knitting it more than I expected to.  It's  not as difficult as I thought it would be to knit hexagons.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Broomstick Crochet

Linda and Marinda were here yesterday. Marinda doesn't want to learn to tat - she says that if she wants something tatted, she'll just ask me to do it! So Linda showed us how to do broomstick crochet. Linda does have a 'broomstick', like a very thick knitting needle, but prefers to use a ruler. The yarn is looped around the ruler and then crocheted off in groups. Hmmm. I wonder how it would look in handspun, handdyed wool? Could there be a tatted version? The very long picots part is easy, how to group them needs some thought.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Ari's Magnificent Doily

I can't tell you how delighted I am that Ari has not only used my pattern Under An African Sky but has put her own twist on it. Ari used different shades of green in the trees and made a variety of animals! Considering that Ari had not done block tatting before, or interlocking rings, it's amazing. Ari says she learnt a lot while tatting the doily - she learnt it well. The thread Ari used is No.10 Italian Grignasco 2-ply cotton thread. Well done Ari, I think it's magnificent. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

How to Knit a Hexagon

 I'm knitting Sweet Hexagon Cowl by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark, published by Interweave Press. One hexagon is knitted like this:
K knit, K2tog, knit 2 together, SSK, slip 2 stitches, put left hand needle back into them and knit them together

48 stitches, divided between 3 needles, 16 stitches on each needle.
Round 1, K 16 on each needle
Round 2,[ K2tog, K4, SSK] twice on each needle
Round 3, K 12 on each needle
Round 4,[ K2tog, K2, SSK,] twice on each needle
Round 5 K 8 on each needle
Round 6. [K2tog, SSK] twice on each needle
Round 7, K4 on each needle
Round 8, [K2tog]twice on each needle
2 stitches are left on each needle. Cut yarn,  thread through the 6 stitches and fasten off.

To join hexagons, just pick up stitches instead of casting them on where appropriate.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Hexagons Galore

 Well, not as many as in the original pattern. When I used needles that gave the correct gauge of the pattern, the fabric felt a bit stiff. So I decided to use bigger needles and make fewer hexagons. The original cowl is very long - 162 cm, which seems like overkill to me. I'm making my cowl a lot shorter. So, where Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark's cowl has 140 hexagons, mine will have 54. I've done 28 so far, so am just over half way.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Procrastinate Not!

I thought I'd be knitting hexagons by now, but just when I finished procrastinating yesterday and decided how I would dye my wool, the electricity went off! It was off for the rest of the day, so that put paid to that. I did the dyeing this morning. I decided to make each skein a different combination of colours,  keeping green constant. I dyed one skein just green. I will use it for hexagons and for the edging of the scarf. Here's a picture of the pink skein in progress:

Friday, July 11, 2014


This is a sample for 'Sweet Hexagon Cowl', designed by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark, published by Interweave Press. I've spun the yarn for the cowl. Now I'm dithering about the dyeing. I'm thinking in terms of pinks/green/blue colours. I could dye all the skeins in the same combination of these colours, so it would look like the sample. Or I could dye each skein in a different combination of colours, keeping one colour constant throughout. Or I could make each skein one colour, not too evenly dyed to enhance the hexagon structure, similar to the original pattern.  Hmmm. Decisions, decisions.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Cattle Sale

I went to a cattle sale yesterday. These are weaner steers in the auction ring for buyers to bid on. I do often take sock knitting or tatting with me to sales, but I'm spinning at the moment, which isn't portable. The weather was so cold  that I sat with my hands under my jacket to keep them warm!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Museum Tatting

My daughter was excited to spot these tatted pieces in a museum in Queenstown, South Africa, in April. I'd forgotten that I had taken these photographs until yesterday when I was showing my son my holiday snaps. He's visiting from Zimbabwe.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


I dithered even as I picked up stitches around the bottom, but then decided that the obvious answer is often best and knitted downwards in K1, P1 rib for 6 cm before casting off. The top is a better length for me now. Actually, the original Sandra pattern is very short, so it's stupidity on my part not to have knitted more before adding stitches for the sleeves.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Not Done Yet

I finished my top this morning, yay. I tried it on and was happy with the result, except that it's a bit short. I have some wool left over, so I'll pick up stitches around the bottom with a circular needle and knit downwards. Ribbing came to mind immediately, but there are other possibilities, so I may contemplate for a bit.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Finishing The Row

Years ago, I was knitting at my grandparents' house, and when my husband said it was time to go, I said, 'Okay, I'll just finish knitting this row'. My grandfather did laugh and said he wondered how many times he'd heard that phrase from my grandmother. I think of him when I have a very long row to finish. With the sleeves added in, there are  now 186 stitches in a row. It's not always possible to complete a row before going off to do something else, but I do try.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Colour Pooling

 There are ways to eliminate colour pooling, eg knitting with two balls at once, but I rather like the effect, so I just knitted as normal. When I added the stitches for the sleeves, the wool used in one row must've coincided with the length of the skein.

I have to say that the pattern instructions for decreasing were bizarre. As an experienced knitter, I could work out what they should be, but a new knitter might've been stumped.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Sandra Swatches

I'm knitting myself a top from a pattern in a magazine called Sandra. It's taking longer than I intended, for this reason and that, but I do  hope to be able to wear it this winter. First I spun enough wool, I hope, and dyed it.
I rolled the wool into balls and then knitted some swatches.
The bottom swatch is knitted with a 4 mm needle, and follows the pattern. I liked the diamond pattern, but I felt that the other one was too complicated, especially for a multicoloured yarn. So I simplified it for the second swatch. I also used a 4.5 mm needle. I liked the simpler lace panel, but the needle was too big for the yarn thickness. So I started knitting with a 4 mm needle and the simpler stitch version.