Thursday, May 31, 2018

With Curds And Whey

The Mary Konior curds and whey edging has been in my stash for a while. Luckily it is just the right length to go around the new skirt, and the pink in the variegated thread picks up the pink of the fabric.

 I've been asked if sewing a lace decoration on is a boring job. No, not to me anyway. It does take time, but I feel rather elegant doing hand sewing - for some unknown reason my pinkie finger crooks like a Lady drinking tea!

Yesterday I bought fabric for two more skirts. Four pieces of fabric because I plan to line them. Sewing is on the agenda. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

In the Pink

I was given this fabric. The colour is fine, but the texture is horrid, an old fashioned crimpalene. Not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth, of course, I decided to use it to try out a skirt pattern I found on Pinterest. Here it is here.  I want to make a warm skirt, but warm fabric is usually expensive, so I want to be sure  the pattern will work, and  know exactly how much fabric to buy.

I traced the dimensions of the skirt out on newprint, as per the diagram. I had to sellotape a few pages together to get a big enough sheet, but it worked fine. The seams didn't need neatening, so it was a quick sew. I think it works. I'll need fabric that is at least 150 cm wide, and without a one-way pattern.  I hope I can find some in town tomorrow.

Monday, May 28, 2018


I scribbled a whole lot of calculations and worked out that I needed 54 pattern repeats. Right. So multiplied by 5, I needed 270 chain. Wrong. There should be 6 chains per pattern repeat, not 5.  Hmm. This is not my first attempt at getting the foundation row right, I'm running out of oomph. I've decided to go with the reduced number of repeats. The top won't fit me, but the proportions will probably be better. I'm carrying on regardless:

Friday, May 25, 2018


The oranges on the little tree on the front lawn are ripening rapidly.
Time to make marmalade. I don't have a really big pot for jam making, so I had to 'make a plan'. I cooked the peel until it was soft, then drained it, added sugar to the liquid, and cooked that to jell point.

 I used a digital thermometer, a first for me. Since the recipe seemed to have a few inaccuracies, I checked online that it was right about the temperature for jell point - everyone said 105 degrees Celsius, so I aimed for that. Then I mixed the two and bottled it. I finished up with 3 and a half jars. I reused jars that  originally had pepperdews in them, if anyone is wondering why it says 'hot' on the label!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Starting Over

On Tuesday afternoon I showed my crochet and beaded knitting to the competition fundi(expert). She says the pattern I'm using for a crochet top will work, but I'll have to add beads and ribbon to make sure it qualifies as 'evening wear'. Right. I decided to start over, mainly because I realised that my crochet is smaller than the pattern, so I will need to make adjustments. I'm going to use an existing top as a template. I'm doing 10 repeats on the front panel instead of 8. I've made the central 'ladder' bigger to make it easier to thread a ribbon through it. Let's hope I"m on the right path now and this is the real deal!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018


Well, my demonstration of beaded crochet yesterday was not really a success. The lady who had asked me to do it wasn't there and I lost the others early on by being over complicated. Ah well, there are a few more people in the world who know what a beaded crochet rope is.

Some knitting instead. I saw this pattern on Pinterest and I had to try it. The pattern calls it a dishcloth, but I'm sure it could be used as a pot holder or mandala or something.
The pattern said 7 repeats, but when I'd done 7, my circle was not complete, so I had to do some more. That may be because I left the 'holes' caused by turning for short rows as a decorative feature.

I used 4-ply cotton for this. I bought it thinking that it was double knit. I still haven't learnt that in the low cost yarn shop I need to check the label of every single ball, because the different thicknesses are muddled on the shelves. I do like the colour and of course I can always find a use for a ball of yarn, whatever its thickness.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

All Set

I hope I'm all set to demonstrated how to crochet beaded rope this afternoon. I've chosen a pattern that is easy but interesting, with a repeat that is not too long. I've worked several repeats and threaded some more beads. I scribbled myself a few notes to guide me, but I'll see how it goes and where ( if any!) the audience interest lies.

Monday, May 21, 2018


I made a couple of  bright bracelets to add to my stock of beaded crochet bangles. In this stocking up exercise, I've stuck to patterns that I've used before. Sometimes patterns don't work up as well in practice as they looked on paper. I'll do a couple of repeats and then decide I don't like them and abandon them. But I didn't have time for that, so I used patterns I knew would be successful.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

A Couple More

I've made a couple more beaded crochet bracelets. The one on the right is 5 beads in circumference, the other one 8. The 5-beader works up very quickly, but the 8-bead is more substantial.

Friday, May 18, 2018


I'm going to demonstrate how to make beaded crochet ropes on Tuesday. I've given away most of my beaded crochet bracelets, so I thought I'd better make a few before Tuesday. I've threaded beads for a third one:

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Shaping Up

I was a bit worried about the shaping required for my crochet top. The top is worked mostly in one piece, apart from a front panel, so the thought of getting it wrong and having to rework the top (using a 1 mm hook!) was daunting.  I decided to do a practice piece. "Spend time to save time" perhaps. Turns out it wasn't too difficult. Though I think next time I will shorten the chain that replaces the missed shell when reducing. That should make the reduction less obvious.

This little piece also serves as a sample to work out how many repeats and rows I will need. I realised that my work is much smaller than the pattern. So I checked the front panel and, sure enough, I need to do a couple more repeats to make it workable.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

One Repeat

I've finished a complete repeat of Kaffe Fassett's chart, tulips facing this way and that. I'll need at least three repeats for a clutch bag, perhaps four. I'm going to see what the 'fundis' in my craft group think before I carry on.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Another Start

I've made a start on the crochet top, using size 1 mm hook. I found the pattern on Pinterest here. The instructions are a little skimpy, I hope I can manage to follow them. It looks as though there are darts of a kind, to shape the sides. I like the shaping, but it'll require some thought!

Friday, May 11, 2018

'Just Start'

I took the advice that God's Kid gave in a comment on my previous post and made a start on my beaded knitting project. The pattern is from Family Album by Kaffe Fassett and Zoe Hunt. I followed the instructions to photostat the graph and then colour in with pencil crayons. The original is intended to show different coloured yarns, but it works for different coloured beads too.

I had a set back when a bead broke when I was doing the following plain row. Drat! Nothing for it but to undo the whole beaded row, cut the thread, add a bead and redo the row. Last week I experimented with making a join in the middle of a row, but it doesn't work. It's not possible to leave it as is either, the space glares out.
My plan is to make an entire pattern, tulips facing both ways, and then show the experts at the next meeting before going any further.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Prepare To Crochet

The brief for the crochet section of competitions for the women's organisation I belong to, is to crochet a top suitable for evening wear. Right. I managed to buy mercerised cotton when we went to Kimberley a few weeks ago. It was a bit of a mission because there were two shelves with a muddle of sizes and colours and I had to sift through them to find 10 balls in the same size and colour.
The next step was to look for a pattern. I found hundreds of crochet tops on Pinterest. Some of them didn't have patterns or charts, some of them were completely unsuitable, but even so, there was plenty of choice. After a lot of dithering, I printed out a couple of patterns and crocheted samples using a 2 mm hook. It seemed to me that the fabric was a bit too loose and loopy, so yesterday I looked for a smaller hook. I couldn't find 1.5 mm, but I did get a 1 mm hook. I worked another sample of the pattern I'm leaning towards, and I do think it looks better:
So now I have the beaded knitting project and the crochet top 'ready to roll', but a certain reluctance to get on with them! The deadline is many months away, but I don't want to leave things to the last minute and if I want to enter other sections too, I had better just dive in.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018


My do over is done. I was working with rather short lengths of wool by the time I finished, but Jack  now has a second sleeveless pullover to wear, and my spare room has fewer useless garments cluttering it! Now I just need to wash it to take the crinkles out.  Here's the post where I read that washing a garment made from previously knitted wool would smooth is out. It's really about sock blanks, an interesting concept that I haven't come across before.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Pretty Butterfly

This muskaan's pattern. I think the headline is intended to be 'make me pretty, please', but when I look at it I see 'make me, pretty please'. Make it I did, but not as pretty as Ninetta's version. There are a lot of possibilities for decorating this butterfly, but it is pretty in any case.

Saturday, May 5, 2018


I've made and given away several pairs of pot holders since Easter. These two pairs are hot off the press, ready to be gifted.  I've made them into pairs using colour, but in fact they come from two different sources. The zig zag one is a pattern on Ravelry by Nichole Cupp, who also has a tutorial here, and the squares one is by angelfire, here. The two start off in different ways. The zigzag one overlaps two sets of blocks. The squares one weaves a foundation chain in the second colour through the blocks of the first colour. I wondered if I could use the squares technique for the zigzag. I could, and I think it gives a much neater start:

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Do Over

My neighbour Dorie says if you have a knitted garment that is unsatisfactory, unravel it and knit something wearable! Sounds sensible put that way. While I'm sorting out Jack's Winter wardrobe, I thought I might apply Dorie's principle to a sleeveless pullover that hasn't been worn for years because the neck and armholes are too big and saggy. I bought the wool when we were on holiday in New Zealand in 2010.
I had some trouble undoing it, until I remembered that I knitted it downwards, starting at the shoulders and knitting in the round below the armholes, to get as much length as possible with my limited yarn. So I had to start unraveling from the bottom!
Right. I started knitting, using 'mistake rib' - an odd number of stitches, knit 3, then p2, k2 to the end, every row the same. I'm knitting it crinkles and all, after reading recently that washing the work after knitting will smooth it out.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Purse Construction

Our power was off all day yesterday, so I had to put off the assembly of my beaded-knitting purse. Thankfully it came back on about 7 pm, so today I could get on with the job.

I'm going to show how I put the purse together, step by step, as a record, so that I won't have to go through the same thought process when I make a full size bag.
Step 1 was to measure the beaded knitting, length and breadth. I then cut a piece of stiff interfacing to those measurements, and a piece of satin lining 1.5 cm bigger all round
On my first attempt, I ironed the interfacing to attach it to the satin, but that made a horrible, bubbly mess, so I cut another lot and just sewed the edging in with my sewing machine.

The next step was to make the gusset, twice the length of the small edge of the bag, and a few centimetres wide after hemming:
I folded the gussets in half and hand sewed them to the larger piece to form the bag lining:
I then attached the bead work to the outside of the lining, using quilting clips to avoid pin marks on the satin
I had to experiment to find the best way to sew the beaded knitting to the lining. Eventually I decided that back stitch with the knitting selvage showing worked best. I still have to sort a fastening out. I hope to use a magnetic clasp for the clutch bag, but for this purse I'll probably use a press stud. So that's it, I should be able to do that again with a full size bag.