Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The Necklace

The zigzag necklace is done. With this kind of pattern, you get two-in-one. So if you want a stripey necklace, turn it over:

Monday, February 24, 2020


I've been crocheting  patterns with zigzags. The bottom one has zigzags on the other side as well, though the top one has stripes:
Both of them are designed to overcome the natural bias of beaded crochet rope. To do that, they shift the pattern to the right, which means that the threaded bead sequence starts in a different place on the chart for each repeat. I've found that with such patterns, it's helpful to keep a space between each bead sequence so that I can start from the bottom of the chart each time. It helps me keep my place on the chart. This will probably be gibberish to tatters, but it might be helpful to someone!

The top rope is now long enough for a bracelet, but I've decided it will look good as a necklace, so I'm going to go on with it.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Origami Market Bag

My friend Debbie showed me how to make this ingenious bag, but you can also find online tutorials, such as this one. Debbie and I have been making plain bags that our craft group members will decorate. Yesterday I decided to use my scraps of shweshwe material to make one to put a gift in, rather than use paper gift wrap.

I joined pieces of shweshwe to make a rectangle, with length three times the width, and sewed it to a lining, which hid all the seams:

Then comes the fun bit, the folding:

Triangles at the end, one up and one down, and then one more fold to turn it into a bag:

The points at the top are overlapped and covered with a fabric tube to form a handle, and voila, a very simple shopping bag. You can box the corners, but I decided not to.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020


With a pattern like this one, I can count the number of repeats to make a bracelet or a necklace. I write myself a note on the pattern so that I don't have to go through the same thought process over and over. But with a very short pattern repeat, it's not practical to count repeats. I came up with another way of measuring - comparing the string of beads with the length of my beading tray:
A key ring decoration, with a circumference of 5 beads, requires one and a half trays; a 6 bead bracelet two and a half trays and an 8 bead bracelet three and a half trays. It's not terribly exact, of course, but it gives me some idea.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020


The top bracelet is 8 beads in circumference, the one on the right is 6, while the key rings are 5. I tried earnestly to recreate the scattered pattern for the key rings, but gave up eventually and settled for stripes instead of spots. Five beads in circumference doesn't give much scope! Still, I'm happy with the result.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

A Set

The lady at the Orange Elephant shop suggested I make sets - matching necklace and bracelet. So here's a set. A set of lego? As muskaan said, the blocks and bright colours make you think of lego.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Scissor Keepers

Once a week I help with a craft group in a retirement home. It's not easy to come up with projects that everyone can manage but are 'age appropriate', ie not childish. I love the thimble and scissor keeper I made in December but it's too fiddly and  time consuming to be a suitable project. A simpler version perhaps? After a bit of thought, I came up with a version made out of felt. The bright felt flowers should make scissors (or keys or a pen perhaps) easy to find.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

A Couple More

The power has been on all day, so I ran the washing machine and vacuum cleaner this morning. It's still on, hooray, so I can show you the latest two bracelets. The one on the right was designed by Christa Kohlbauer of I do like it, I think I might make a necklace to match. It is 9 beads in circumference, which is slightly bigger than the others I've made recently.  The other one is my second 'flag' bracelet, which is my own design.

Monday, February 10, 2020


A shop called The Orange Elephant has taken some of my bracelets and necklaces to sell on consignment. I'm very excited about that. I'm making more things now so that I have some on hand. These are all bracelets with a circumference of 8 beads, which seems to be the most popular item.

My posting here is necessarily erratic because we have some very long power cuts. Yesterday the electricity was off from 6 am to 10 pm. It does mean that without the chance to do ironing, vacuuming and so on, I have plenty of time to crochet beaded rope!

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Key Rings

A friend of mine suggested I make key rings. Mmm, good idea. After much thought and a bit of experimentation, ta da, key rings it is. I found that a beaded rope with a circumference of five beads works best to make a circle small enough for a key ring. I put the rope through a ring and then do the invisible join. The ones on the right are a stylised version of the Zimbabwe flag, in case you're wondering. I made a bracelet version too, with a circumference of 8 beads:

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Going, going, gone

The mango tree outside the kitchen had become a bit overwhelming. Jack attacked it single handed and reduced it to a shadow of its former self. He had threatened to cut the tree down, so I suppose the severe 'trim' is one up on that. He picked a lot of mangoes before he started chopping, so I was able to make mango chutney:
The jars behind the chutney contain pickled onions.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020


It may be more 'Janemacbeads' for a while than 'Janemactats'. I'm hoping to be able to sell some beadwork. My cousin bought some necklaces and bracelets recently, but said she'd have bought more bracelets if I had a smaller size. Good feedback. I've avoided making small bracelets because I have very small hands and didn't want to make bracelets that would fit only me! But if smaller bracelets are wanted, smaller bracelets I shall make.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Tie A (Slip) Knot In It

After a lot of toing and froing we are now resettled in our own house. I've been AWOL from here because I've had no access to the internet. At last fibre has been put in and we are reconnected to the world.

I decided I needed a pair of pot holders for my 'new' kitchen. I've made several pairs as gifts, but never made any for myself. I don't know if it's because I was working with 4-ply cotton instead of the double knit that I usually use, but the loop left at the end of each row, when swapping to the other colour, kept disappearing. I tried various strategies, such as putting the yarn ball inside the loop, and eventually hit on the best solution. Tie a slip knot in the loop:
The knot prevents the work from unraveling, but when the time comes to use that colour again, one tug removes it. Problem solved.