Monday, December 31, 2018

Thanks very much!

Thanks very much to all those who have read my blog posts over the past year. I appreciate the feedback, comments and suggestions, in the comment section and via e-mail. I also appreciate those who read and nod or smile and move onto the next blog! Wishing you all the best in 2019.

Our internet has been off for a couple of days after a tower was struck by lightning. It's another reminder of how tenuous our connection to the world really is.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Jumpy's Mum

Phew, I had to keep at it to get Mrs Kangaroo ready in time to travel to Australia with Annika tomorrow. She's all set now. Annika was concerned that Mrs Kangaroo's tail was going to get in the way on their travels. She suggested leaving the tail off altogether. But a kangaroo without a tail would be a bit sad. This morning the solution came to me - make the tail without stuffing:

 So, the tail is there, but can easily be folded away.

In making the kangaroo, I used a technique I learnt in the scissor keeper pattern to count rows using a contrast thread:
It's simple and works well. Now to remember it.....

Friday, December 21, 2018


Mokala is the name of the game reserve south of Kimberley in South Africa that we visited this week. We really did see a lot of different animals in our drives around it, from rhinos to meerkats. Here are a few of them, photos that my daughter Penny took:
Four rhinoceros enjoying the shade near a waterhole.

A kudu bull. Look closely to see his magnificent horns.
Buffalo. In the middle of the day, the herd was resting underneath trees, but when we went back later in the day, they were grazing very close to the road - perfect photo opportunity!
A springbok ram, licking a salt block.

An unusual animal we saw was the quagga. A quagga was thought to be a different animal to a zebra, and had become extinct. DNA testing of quagga skins in museums showed that it was really just a zebra with a different coat pattern. So selective breeding has been used to 'resurrect' the quagga. In the photo below, you can see a 'conventional' Burchell's zebra on the left, and a quagga on the right - the quagga has fewer stripes than the zebra.
I did make a start on the body part of Annika's kangaroo, but still have a long way to go.

Monday, December 17, 2018


Right, we have a baby kangaroo. Annika has named her Jumpy. I've made a start on the mother kangaroo:
Black is not generally considered a kangaroo colour, I grant you, but it's easy to match disparate balls, so hopefully I will be able to assemble enough yarn for the whole creature. The most important point is that Annika likes the idea of a black kangaroo.  We're going away tomorrow for a few days. I'll take my crochet with me, but I'm not sure how much time I'll find to work on it.

Friday, December 14, 2018


The owl has wings at last. And eyebrows. When Isabel heard that the owl didn't have a home, she said it definitely had to go home with her. Which is fine. But of course, fair is fair, Annika wants something from the amigurumi book too. It's going to be a unique kangaroo because it has to be made from yarn that is here. Annika has approved the colours, so now I just have to crochet as quickly as possible!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

More Keepers

Since my granddaughters are here, they could choose the colours they want for their scissor and thimble keepers. Also known as Aunty Mary's Thing - you'll have to read Dedri's post to find out where that name originates. Isabel chose white with a gold thread for sparkle; Annika chose a variegated pink. Orange is for their mum Penny. They chose which thimble they want and the button. Together the keepers make a little bouquet:

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

At Last!

Monday my daughter Penny and her family arrived from Australia. Tuesday the parcel that Penny posted in June arrived! She could've saved the cost of postage.
As well as the yarn I asked her to send, Penny posted some shoes and other goodies. I will use the yarn, of course, but am thinking of knitting a top rather than crocheting one. Here's a close up of the label:

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Ice Drop Version

I tatted another of muskaan's spiral snowflakes and then wondered if I could turn it into an icedrop. I could. It did take me a couple of goes, but the idea was sound. I think there's already a spiral icedrop, so this will have to be called something else. 

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Practice Spirals

Muskaan's Spiral Snowflake is small, so I used thread left on shuttles to try it out, which is why my colour changes are a little strange. It's also why I used bare thread spaces instead of 2 ds chains for the centre of the second one. I really like the spiral, it has a wonderful sense of movement. The josephine knots and their placement are genius because they accentuate the spiral effect.

I must confess I was daunted by five pages of pattern! Then I realised that the pattern itself is only half a page. I needn't be put off by extra information.

Now that my shuttles are empty, I'll make another spiral in one colour.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Enough For Two More

I had enough of the wildlife fabric left for two more market bags, so I bought another metre of lining material in town on Wednesday. I've cut both out. That'll give me eight market bags and three small bags, from five metres of the main fabric.  Now to see how far I can sew before the power goes off again!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Thimble and Scissor Keeper

I've wanted to make this ever since I saw it on Dedri Uys's Look At What I Made blog. At last I got around to it. Here's a link to the pattern. I think my thimble must be smaller than Dedri's, I had to adapt the pattern a little, but it was pretty straight forward. This is for me. I'm hoping it will help me keep track of my scissors, which are forever disappearing down the side of the chair, or falling on the floor. But I may make a few more for gifts.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018


I made these pot holders in black and white as a house warming gift for a friend. I was glad I looked up my previous post about pot holders because it not only had the links to the patterns, it had a reminder that I'd found a better way of starting the zig zag pattern. Aha, I'd forgotten that.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Mouse in Purple

I crocheted another mouse, with a purple dress this time. I had just enough pink for the inside of her ears, phew. Here she is with the owl (who still has no wings):
I had planned to write earlier in the day, but our electricity was off all morning. South Africa is experiencing 'rolling blackouts' - the state power supplier is switching different areas off for four hours at a time to conserve power. The Afrikaans term 'beurtkrag', meaning taking turns to have power, is more positive than blackout or load shedding, but whatever you call it, it's annoying! My plans to sew this morning went out the window. On the plus side, that window is now clean.

Friday, November 30, 2018

More Upcycling

We had a gift exchange at a meeting last week, and I received this bag made by Wilna from an old pair of jeans! She has appliqued fruit from a tablecloth on to brighten the bag up. And a neat touch is that pockets have been left on:

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Smaller Version

I thought the children would prefer zippy bags to the more open market bags I have been making. These are smaller than the market bags, with an outside zipped pocket, inside zipped pocket and a zipped opening on top. Each one has a different lining:

I had to juggle a bit to get the lining out. It made me think of my mum, who used to by less fabric than stipulated on the pattern envelope and then spend hours moving pattern pieces around to get the garment out!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018


Owl comes from the same book as the little mouse. I still have his wings to make, but otherwise he's done. He's much larger than mouse.  I think he may be too big for a small baby, and not easy to post. I may have to make another mouse. That's fine, the right home for owl will come along sooner or later.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Julie's Angel

I'm not big on angels, but I really like Nicola Bowersox's patterns. When I saw this angel on Craftree, I just had to try it. It has Nicola's signature 'doodle look', like her Kiss Curl Heart. I'm thinking of sending it to Linda with yesterday's crosses, as a bonus for her order.

Monday, November 26, 2018


Our wifi internet connection was off for a week. It's a little disconcerting to realise how much we've come to rely on it. Anyway, I'm glad I don't have to use a very slow phone signal now to connect to the world.
I guess I underpriced the crosses I made for an order, because Linda promptly ordered five more! Luckily I enjoy tatting this pattern, so I was quite happy to make another five. There's a link to Grace Tan's pattern on the right side bar.

Sunday, November 18, 2018


One of the towers that enables us to connect to the internet has been damaged. Apparently it will take several days to sort out, we'll be offline until then. I'm writing this on my phone, but that's impractical for proper posts.

Friday, November 16, 2018


I decided to go with the cap sleeve. I've spent way too much time and energy on this project, enough now. I hope that the shiny red cotton will mean it qualifies as an 'evening top' without the addition of beads or ribbons. I found the pattern on Pinterest. I don't know if this link will take you to it or only takes me there! I had to adapt the stitch count because my cotton was finer, but I pretty well followed the pattern.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018


Phew, it's been hot here, the thermometer on our veranda registered 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) yesterday. It's hard to be productive and enthusiastic in the heat, but I did make a start on a smaller bag with zip pockets. I had to make the pattern first, ruler and pen to the ready,  newspaper and a lot of  measuring.
Here's a close up of the box on the table, which my grandchildren sent to me:
I like the sentiment! I have reels of cotton and bobbins in there.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Coming Along

I've been working away slowly on my crochet top. I had to redo the upper back because it was too narrow. I felt like Penelope as I undid it and started again. I'm working on the bottom edge, will neaten the neck edge, and then decide whether to make the cap sleeves a bit longer. I was worried that I'd run out of thread, but it looks as though I'll have enough for longer sleeves. It'll mean doing another Penelope and unravelling the ones I've already made.

Monday, November 12, 2018

A Few More

I made a few more market bags over the weekend. The lining fabric is much narrower than the animal print one, I have to cut very carefully to get the lining for two bags out of a metre.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Little Brown Mouse

I made Little Brown Mouse for a neighbour's newborn granddaughter. This is the second mouse I've made. A lot of counting is required. I write myself markers in pencil on the pattern, so I could just rub them out and start over. 

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Simpler Still

When I went to the fabric shop recently, I saw this wonderful fabric with African animals printed on it - kudu, zebra and springbok:
 Since I'm currently in bag-sewing mode, I went back this week to buy some to make bags for gifts. It'll work well for bags because it's cotton drill. I also bought an array of bright cottons for linings, so that I can make the bags different to each other:
I used the same pattern as for the bag in the previous post, minus the pockets. I thought a simpler market bag would fit well with the current trend for reusable shopping bags. And be quicker to make! I did put a plastic pocket on the inside, but no zips. Here's the first one:

And inside: