Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Frivolity Ice Drop

This is Diane's latest Ice Drop. The pattern is on her blog here , scroll down a bit. It's also on the Facebook Ice Drop Addicts page. I'm pleased with it, thanks Diane.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A Pair

I've finished knitting the second sock. I like knitting the second sock because all the decisions, such as how wide to make the cuff, have been made, so just do it. And  I want to see how the pair looks. I think I'll be able to make a couple more pairs like this to use up my sock wool stash.

Monday, August 13, 2018

It's Complicated!

This is one of the most complicated things I've ever sewn, on a par with the lined velvet jackets I once made for my daughter and myself.   I had to read parts of the pattern several times before I grasped them. That's not a criticism of Maria Wallin's Biabag tutorial, you understand, just a reflection of my own inexperience at this type of construction. Don't panic, don't panic, I kept muttering the catch phrase from Dad's Army. Anyway, I have completed it and I have learnt how to insert zippered pockets into a bag, which was the object of the exercise.

Friday, August 10, 2018


The tulip beaded bag must have a zippered pocket in it, so I thought it would be a good idea to practice making zippered pockets in a bag. I did some sleuthing and found Maria Wallin's The Bia Bag as a free download from Craftsy. The bag is a little smaller than I was visualising, but it has three zips and a very detailed tutorial, so I decided it would do the trick. I had to buy zips, but found the three lots of fabric needed in my stash:
The pattern has a lot of pieces - I think it could only have been designed by a quilter!
I'm following the detailed tutorial step by step, very slowly and painstakingly.  At the moment I have a mish mash of half-completed elements, hopefully it will all come together eventually.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Glasses Case

A friend of mine has bought the recommended thread for the competition embroidery for me, but I thought I'd make a glasses case as I originally planned, for practice. I'm sure there's always a home for a pretty glasses case!

One thing I like about keeping a blog is that I can look back to find links I need. I looked up the link to the tutorial I used for the peg bag. 
This one was a bit trickier than the peg bag because the top is so small. I think next time I'll do the top stitching at the top by hand rather than machine. It was hard to keep it neat.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

One By One

I have a number of odd balls of sock wool left over from projects. I peer at them every now and then, but they're not colours that 'go' well together, I couldn't think how to combine them to make them usable. Then I saw this pattern, Broken seed stitch or moss stitch socks from FitzBirch. I saw it on Pinterest and followed the links. This is the kind of pattern that is really up my street - it looks complicated but is very simple. No slipping or stranding or complicated repeats. The original has a light coloured solid yarn with a variegated, but I realised that black would also work. It has an interesting texture

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Two In One

I don't really suffer from second sock syndrome, where you knit one sock and then don't get around to knitting the other, but I am always up for learning a new knitting technique, so when I came across this post on, I had to try it.

It's a sort of double knitting, where you knit one sock inside the other, a stitch for the outside sock and then a stitch for the inside sock. I see the principle, but it seems an unnecessary complication to me. I'd rather just knit sock one and then sock two. Now I know!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Skirting The Issue

Or not. I've finished embroidering a border on my pencil skirt. I took a deep breath before I ironed it on the wrong side, but nothing alarming happened! I think the skirt looks a lot more interesting now and I've learnt several things that I can apply when I embroider a glasses case.

PS my sister-in-law tells me it doesn't matter that my blog says not secure, seeing as I am not collecting money nor personal information. She sent me this link to read. The blogger part, where I write blogs and have comments etc says that it is secure, so that's alright, Best Beloved.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

The Boys

I'm still working on the embroidery, there's not much change from yesterday, so I thought I'd show the puppies who have been part of the establishment for a month. It's difficult to catch them all together at once, apart from when they're eating, so eating it is. Their mum Fay is an Australian Heeler and dad Rag is a Border Collie.

PS Can anyone tell me why my blog page now says it is 'Not Secure' and what I must do to change that?

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Room For One More

I thought the sixth repeat of the edging was going to complete the circle, but it turns out there's room for one more - or two-thirds of one anyway. I think it must be because I measured the pattern with the final twiddle and then decided the continuous pattern would look better without it:
Goes to show that even a small mistake in measuring can make a big difference when repeated. Luckily it doesn't matter much in this case.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Skipping Along

I've worked on the Mary Konior skipping ropes braid in odd moments and it's beginning to look like something.  My shuttle still looks full, so there's a long way to go!

Friday, July 27, 2018


Embroidery, like tatting, is not done in a hurry, as Mary Corbet points out in this post. But keep at it and progress is made. I'm over half way on my skirt.

Thanks to advice from Margaret, I'm not using a ball point pen to trace the pattern. I experimented with different pencils until I found one that showed up better than the first one I used. I trace out one complete pattern repeat at a time.  I'm on the fourth one out of six.

I don't know if there's such a term a 'embroiderer's finger, but I have it
It's on my left hand, not from pushing the needle through, but from taking too deep a 'scoop' when I make a stitch.  I guess a thimble or superglue might help, but it doesn't bother me that much.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

I Won!

There's a give away over at Umi and Tsuru blog and I won a pearl bracelet. Thanks very much. The give away is ongoing, three bracelets altogether, so have a look.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018


Nalu is the name of this pattern by sparrowhawk on Ravelry. Apparently Nalu is the Hawaian word for wave, so it perfectly describes the pattern on the back of the fingerless gloves. I enjoyed knitting these as a break from embroidery, using a skein of handspun left over from my hooded scarf project.

Practical Practice

I need plenty of practice before I embroider the glasses case for competition, but the thought of randomly embroidering flowers and leaves isn't appealing. So I'm working the design around the bottom of a rather boring pencil skirt. The embroidery at the end should (I hope!) be better than that at the beginning, but I don't think anyone is going to peer closely enough at a skirt hem to notice. It's very much a work-in-progress, so I haven't yet ironed out the marks of the sewing hoop. 

Friday, July 20, 2018


I was  hoping for some sort of epiphany about which stitch to use for the flowers, like yesterday's one for the leaves, but no. I tried long and short stitch (or short and very short stitch perhaps) but it was just a mess. I made even more of a mess when I tried to undo it. I think the chain stitch outline works better. The centre of the flower is worked in buttonhole stitch. So there are four different stitches in the little flower - chain stitch, buttonhole stitch, straight stitch and French knots.


I'm very excited about my leaves in fishbone stitch. In the past I've struggled with satin stitch, fishbone stitch seems to go better. Of course I'll need more practice, but I think this will work well.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

A New Journey

I'm hoping to enter items in four categories in next year's competition - knitting, crochet, beaded knitting and beginner embroidery. That's a lot of work, which is why I've had to start early. I'm still waiting for the postal service to deliver my daughter's parcel with thread for a new version of the crochet top and a magnetic clasp for the beaded bag, so I'm making a start on the embroidery.

The brief is to make a glasses case (brilhuisie in Afrikaans, literally a little house for glasses) decorated with surface embroidery. What is surface embroidery? Mary Corbet explains much better than I can in this article  on NeedlenThread. Basically it is 'free style' embroidery, as opposed to a counted thread technique like cross stitch.

 NeedlenThread is my go-to resource for this project, beginning with the pattern. I scrolled through the pattern section until I found a design that was the right size and 'from nature' as per the brief. It was easy to print out.

I looked through my fabric stash and I think this lilac linen will work. With surface embroidery, the fabric is going to show, so it's important that it is attractive. I have plenty of it, so I can use it for practising as well as the finished piece.
Now to get the printed design onto the linen. I rigged up a rather Heath Robinson arrangement so that I can trace the pattern onto the fabric on my glass table:
On my first attempt I used a pencil, but it was so faint that I was a bit dubious when I was stitching. Second time I used a ball point pen. I think I must get one with a fine nib, to be sure that the lines won't show once they're embroidered over.

The thread. At the information day last month we were advised to use perle cotton number 8. But I don't have a range of colours in that thread. I do have a lot of stranded embroidery thread. I'm going to use three strands, being sure to strip them, that is, separate them and then put them together again. I experimented with a thread that I have for tatting bookmarks, but I think the three strands of embroidery thread works better.

Now to experiment with different stitches and put in plenty of practice before I attempt the final article.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Another Collaboration

Carien asked me to help her with another 'comfort blanket', to be given to a family whose daughter has died. Carien had done the white and medium blue rounds. Since the outer rounds had still to be done, I decided to take the opportunity to try out the Coco Bellas way of joining as you go.
I'm pleased with it. Sewing the squares together would probably be neater, but this goes quickly and gets the job done. I've joined all the squares Carien gave me, which is three quarters of the blanket.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Double Dyed

The hooded scarf is not easy to photograph - I roped in the broomstick as a model, but the result is faintly sinister! I finished knitting the hooded scarf and then did the dyeing. I put the whole thing into a pale blue dyebath. with the i-cord and a skein of wool to make the pom poms with:
After half an hour, I mixed a darker blue dye bath, and then suspended the garment, cord and skein over the bucket so that part of them was in the dye bath:
After another half an hour, I removed some of the dye water and added more plain water, without disturbing the coat hanger, to get a medium blue. I could have had a deeper layer of medium blue, but it worked more or less as I hoped:
It's a while since I made pom poms. I wound the first one rather tightly and then had trouble cutting the cardboard rings apart. Two and three were easier, I wound more gently:

Friday, July 13, 2018

Wrong Choice

I like the look of this stitch, but it's difficult to knit it without pulling in a bit. As a result, the hood of my hooded scarf looked skimpy and ungenerous:
Ah well, if you experiment, you have to expect that some experiments don't work. I undid most of it and am reknitting the hood in moss stitch
I left the pick up stitches the same, but made a row of eyelets above them and then increased the number of stitches. Hopefully the hood will be snuggly and capacious! When it's done, I'm going to dye the whole garment. Let's hope that's more successful than my choice of stitches, it won't be as easy to undo.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


While I was waiting for my spun wool to dry, I had a go at Ninetta's treble tatting. Hmm, I'll need a lot more practice before I have anything worth taking a picture of.

I'm knitting a hooded scarf for my youngest granddaughter. I saw a picture of a crocheted  hooded scarf on Pinterest and liked the look of it. I couldn't get the pattern, but looked at similar garments on Ravelry until I could see how they were structured. I decided I was in the mood for knitting, rather than crocheting, and that I'd use the project to try out various stitches I have saved to Pinterest. After some sampling and experimenting, I decided to use this stitch from, but I modified it, doing two rows of knit instead of 3 so that the fabric looks the same both sides. I had a 'leaf edging' saved that I've been wanting to try. It didn't work as well as I hoped, I think my yarn is too thick. So I experimented with different edgings until I found one I liked, which is here, number 1866 on Free Vintage Knitting. I'm going to use a different stitch for the hood part, I think the hood should be more solid than the scarf part needs to be. Watch this space.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Change Of Pace

I enjoyed knitting with beads, but it's good to turn to the more relaxed occupation of spinning wool - no peering at charts or checking bead sequences. Ideally, I'd have liked to do the two projects simultaneously, knit during the day and spin in the evening. But wool fibres have a nasty habit of finding their way into everything, and I couldn't risk having a fuzzy beaded bag. So I finished the knitting and put it away carefully before getting my spinningwheel out. It's so long since I did any spinning that it was covered with cobwebs, like something from a fairytale!

Monday, July 9, 2018

Tulips Mark Two

I've finished the second version of the beaded knitting tulips. Here it is alongside the first one:
And both folded:
The second one, on the right, looks better not only because the tulips are the right way up, but because of the extra white rows between pairs of flower rows.

I eventually found that the most efficient way of working the beaded knitting was to thread a row of beads, following the chart, then check it by looking at it differently - check all the flower colours and then the leaf colours, say, rather than checking it beginning to end. When knitting, I'd slide the beads for one row up and knit without looking at the chart - all being well, the beads and the end of the row coincided. This 'count twice, knit once' method worked better than my original way of threading beads and then checking the chart as I knitted a row.

Statistics - the chart is from Family Album by Kaffe Fassett and Zoe Hunt; the knitting measures 22 cm by 36 cm; there are 3696 beads knitted in! I won't make the clutch bag itself until I get the right clasp.