Friday, July 31, 2020

A New Lease On Life

I delivered 20  masks yesterday, so now it's time to do household tasks. When I made Jack's shirts I tried earnestly to choose fabric for the pockets and collar that would last as long as the shirts themselves. It's not always easy to tell - I failed! So today I've replaced the pockets on one of the shirts. I pondered the collar for a while.  I really didn't want to have to undo the neck seam, facings et cetera. Instead I cut one layer of the green fabric and sewed it on top of the original one. I think it'll pass muster.

There is another shirt that is wearing out before the pockets:
Of course that means I'll shortly have to make another shirt from scratch!

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Shades of Green

I'm working on a necklace for an order. The brief was 'green and purple'. I don't have any purple seed beads, so I thought I'd make beaded beads in different shades of green and then use purpley beads between them. It's going along quite slowly because I'm still making masks, but I'll get there.

Monday, July 27, 2020


I've been wanting to crochet a beaded bead in a single colour, but was worried about keeping track of where I was at. Then I remembered seeing a photo on the internet of threaded beads separated by pieces of paper.

Aha, that works fine. I can just tear the paper off the thread when I've finished the round.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

More Of The Same

I've been busy the last few days, but I don't seem to have much to show for it. Now I'm making piccalilli again and sewing masks. I'm aiming for five masks a day until I  have the second 25 done.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

With A Little Help....

Thanks for all the comments and suggestions on yesterday's post. I contemplated them for a while, looked through my stash of beads, tried a couple of alternatives and here we are. I made one more beaded bead too, I think an odd number works better than an even one. I'm keeping this one. My beaded beads got better as I went along, but they're not really expert. And besides, I like it and look forward to wearing it!

Monday, July 20, 2020

What Next?

I've crocheted 10 beaded beads, each with a felt ball inside. They don't go as far as I thought they would. Now I have to decide how to complete the necklace. Make more beaded beads? Add long strings of seed beads to each end? Attach this beaded part to ribbon? Make a bracelet instead? Hmmm.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Masks Galore

I delivered 25 masks yesterday, phew. There's a dearth of elastic in the town because of all the masks that are being made, so I had to combine the elastic I had on hand with ribbon. A better idea might be to make ties with a stretchy fabric. The pattern  suggests T-shirt material, but I have a pink knit fabric that is fairly stretchy, so I'll use that.

Some of the fabric I was given to use makes for rather ornate masks! My brother reckoned this one would look at home in a Tudor palace.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Knee Rug

Third stitch count lucky, 36 stitches was fine and I've finished the knee rug. One thing about this very thick yarn, a couple of evenings knitting and the job is done. I had to use a crochet hook to weave the ends in, I don't have a needle big enough to thread this yarn.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Masks Again

I've undertaken to make 50 masks. It seemed a rational undertaking at the time; in the cold light of day, not so much! I made ten yesterday, but that's not sustainable. I plan to make another ten today and then aim for five a day.

 I'm using the pattern from Craft Passion that I used before. I was given two curtains to use :

 To begin with, I was throwing away my scraps promptly, in the interests of keeping things tidy. But this morning I realised that the ladies who make rag rugs should be able to use them. You can see from the picture below that they utilise very small pieces:

I have today's 10 cut out, I had better start sewing:

Monday, July 13, 2020

Smaller Beaded Beads

Having learnt the secret of making beaded beads, I started experimenting to make smaller ones. I used a pattern in the amigurumi book, but felt that the ball was too squat. My thread was too thick too, so it showed too much. I added two rows and used size 40 thread. Better:

The stitch count, for the record, is 6-12-12-18-18-18-12-12-6. For a beginner, it's easier to keep track if the rows are of different colours, so I'm sticking to that for now.

I stuffed these beads with the same stuffing I use for amigurumi toys, but I wondered if a felted ball would work better. I got some wool roving out and made some felt balls. The first batch were a bit big:

Back to the hot water and soap for a smaller batch and I think it worked fine:

I've done a couple more:

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Beyond Chunky

I promised a friend I'd knit something with this very thick wool, after someone else had given up on it. My sympathies are with the lady who threw in the towel, I have to say, it's not easy to work with. I found my largest needles, bigger than 10 mm, and a pattern I have used before, Drop Stitch Scarf by Christine Vogel on Ravelry. I cast on 26 stitches, as per the pattern. Then Jack asked if I was knitting a knee rug and I thought that was a good idea, so started again with 46 stitches.

Hmm, the wool doesn't go very far; I've almost run out and the proportions are wrong. I may need to start again with 36 stitches. No, no, I'm not going to give up yet!

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Beaded Bead - The Answer!

I've been trying for months to crochet a beaded bead or beaded ball.   All over the house are strings of beads with misshapen blobs at the end. I just couldn't get it right. This week I came across a YouTube video by Erika Vondrak, Beaded Ball Tutorial Crochet with English subtitles and realised what I was doing wrong. When I crochet beaded rope, I use slip stitch, put the bead in place and pull the thread through in one movement.  But that doesn't work for the beaded ball: you have to use a double crochet stitch (UK terms, single crochet in American terms). Put the bead in place and then pull the thread through twice. Aha.

The pattern I had didn't seem quite right, so I went back to my amigurumi pattern book and used the pattern for a frog's head! It worked.  Nearly. Amazingly, it was the right size for the deodorant ball I've been saving:

My first attempt was a bit skimpy at the top:

So I undid the second half and added two more rows to the middle. Better:

This ball is a bit big for jewelry, but it could work as a Christmas tree decoration perhaps. In any case,  now I have the answer I can move forward!

Wednesday, July 8, 2020


 Jack picked vegetables and fruit from the garden and I set to work to process them. One cauliflower I blanched and packed in small packets for the deepfreeze:

The tomatoes I cooked up with onion, garlic and dried herbs, also for the freezer:

I stewed the guavas and bottled them:

And then made the rest of the vegetables into piccalilli:

Monday, July 6, 2020

Muskaan Bookmark

Muskaan's 'side-by-side' interlaced rings have been on my to-do list for some time. Muskaan has made a number of tutorials to show how it's done. I started here and used links to look at other pages too. It took me a while to get the hang of, I have to say. I had trouble getting going, until I told myself to use some logic and stop blindly trying to follow the instructions! It reminds me of waves. Think of doing it in two shades of blue.

The 'flower' at the end uses muskaan's intruding picot, a technique that is simple and clever! The beads are added to the intruding picots in each ring.

Saturday, July 4, 2020


The tie-dye curtains have been hung up.

That's 29 metres/yards of fabric I've turned into curtains! There's one more room that needs curtaining, but I think I can alter a pair I was given to make them fit.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Dyeing Curtains

I've done a lot of dyeing in my time, but not often dyed this much fabric in one go. I had thought I'd concertina fold the lengths, but that was unmanageable, so I folded all the curtains in four the same way, so that if the inner fabric was lighter, the light part would be at the top of all the curtains. Then I concertina folded, measuring the first fold so that they'd all be roughly the same:

I mixed salt and bicarb in water in a bucket and put the first two in to soak:

The brown in the water is sizing from the fabric. I went back to the sewing machine to finish the other two curtains, so these two soaked much longer than the second two, but it didn't seem to make much difference.

When I'd mixed the dyes, turquoise and grey, I poured them in stripes onto the fabric:

Each curtain was put into an oven bag, which protects the oven and stops them from drying out while they're in the oven:

They went into a cold oven, set to 120 degrees Celsius. It took 5 minutes to reach that temperature, I left them for 15 minutes and then switched the oven off. After another 15 minutes, I took them out,  washed them in the washing machine and hung them up to dry:

I'll have to iron them before I hang them up, which may not happen today. I'm happy with how they look! It doesn't seem as though the part that was folded inside is any lighter than the outer part.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020


I read an article on this morning called 'How knitting became cool'. Oddly, I can see it on my iPad, but can't find it on my computer, so I can't give a link.  Of course I'm delighted that knitting is cool. But why, I wonder, would they put a photograph of a crocheted garment in an article about knitting? Then I read this sentence and almost had apoplexy: 'crochet (a technique used with one knitting needle as opposed to two)....'. Dear BBC, crochet and knitting are two different crafts. Their only connection is that they both use thread of some sort. The interesting thing is that whenever I know a little about a subject, I realise how careless journalists can be with the details. Which makes me wonder what fallacies I absorb about the subjects I know nothing about!