Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The Back

I've finished knitting the back of my cotton top. I'm only knitting in the evenings, so it's going quite slowly, but that's fine. I used Elizabeth Zimmerman's percentage method to work out how many stitches to cast off for the shoulders - one third for each shoulder and the neck. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020


 I like choosing colours, deciding which colours to put together, be it with beads or yarn or tatting thread. But I know not everyone feels the same. An article I read recently from Interweave Press gave advice to those who are anxious about choosing colours. One suggestion was to look at Nature. Good idea. A look around my garden suggests that, really, in Nature anything goes. 

Monday, September 28, 2020



I'm working on another link necklace, learning as I go. First of all, a circumference of five beads is better than one of six. It just feels less chunky. I started off with a pattern I'd been thinking about, that turned out to be a mistake. Luckily I could turn it into a key ring. The pattern is one that overcomes bias, so that the flowers are all in a line. That results in a 'double pattern', with flowers on one side and zig zags on the other. Not so good for the links. I prefer the spiraling effect. The pattern I'm using is called Flowers by SnowMirna. Here's the key ring:

Friday, September 25, 2020



The links necklace is done. It goes over my head, no problem. I have some ideas for more necklaces like this.....

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Pin Attrition


I like to use glass headed pins so that if I drop a pin, I can find it again. Nevertheless, my pins always seem to dwindle over time. Eventually I get to the stage where I don't have enough to pin out an entire dress pattern. Time to break out the reserve packet! 

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Slowly Adding Links


It takes an hour and a half to make each link, so it's a slow process. I worked out how to make a clasp, but I think that a continuous chain that goes over the head is a better option, so I still have a way to go. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

On Track


I used one ball of cotton yarn for each sleeve. I have four balls each for the back and the front, which is fine. On I go....

Monday, September 21, 2020

It's All About The Width


I bought 2 metres of fabric on Friday, the end of a roll. The shop owner looked a bit sceptical when I said I was planning to sew a dress with it. I soon saw why. The fabric was very narrow - 110 cm, 43 inches across.  When I pinned on the pattern pieces, it was clear there wasn't enough for a dress. What to do? I could make a top, but what I wanted was a put-on-and-go Summer dress. I had a look through my stash and found some Shweshwe fabric that co-ordinated well. Aha. Shweshwe fabric has a rather stiff sizing on the back, so I soaked both pieces of fabric for an hour, dried and ironed them before going back to the cutting table:

By working very carefully, I could make a short dress. It comes to just below my knees, which is fine. This is what the inside looks like:

With wide fabric, I can get a long dress from a metre and a half. With narrow fabric, I struggled to make a short dress! 

Thursday, September 17, 2020



Ever since I made key rings with small loops of beaded rope, I've been thinking of making a necklace by linking such loops together. At last I've got down to it. To start with I thought I'd do a 'black and brights' scheme:
But I soon realised that it would make serious inroads into my stock of black beads. Since I'm still at the experimental phase, I decided to use less 'precious' colours. It's going to take a while, but so far so good. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Starting With Sleeves


The traditional way to knit a garment is to start with the back, then knit the front, followed by the sleeves. But I thought that if I started with the sleeves, it would be easier to see how far one ball goes, so I know how much I have for front and back, and be a way to check the number of stitches I need. I've nearly finished the second sleeve. 

Friday, September 11, 2020

Testing, Testing


When I bought the turquoise cotton yarn, I was thinking of knitting another Drop Stitch T, like this one. But when I came across this pattern on Pinterest, I thought I might use it instead. According to this post, the pattern is called Ivy Lace and comes from Barbara Walker's  'A Third Treasury of Knitting Patterns', though I also found a chart, uploaded by Gosia. I find a chart much easier to work from than written instructions. I tried the pattern out, first with size 5 mm needles and then with size 4 mm needles. I quite like the 5 mm one, but I think a top made using the smaller needles will probably hold its shape better. Now to work out the pattern. I'll use the drop stitch top as a template to help me work out how many stitches I need. 

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Flowers and Leaves


I like Ninetta's idea of keeping handbag tatting small so that it doesn't have time to get dirty. So I thought I'd add a flower to a short length of leaf braid to make a bookmark. How to finish off the other end? I could add a tassel perhaps. But I decided to put a flower on both ends. The pattern is two layered flower from Cariad Tatting by Jennifer Williams. Both threads are Milford size 20. I'm working the leaf braid continuously, I just cut off a length and unraveled one split ring so that I had thread to sew on the flower. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Cariad Link

 Yesterday I wanted to look at Jennifer Williams's Cariad website and it turned out that the link on my page no longer works. Oops, sorry about that. I gather that Jennifer has created a new website. I deleted the link and replaced it with the new one, so the link on this page now works. Here it is again 

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

How Could I Resist?


There was no way I could resist a sign that said 'The Yarn Barn'. Up some stairs and round a corner and there was a glorious array of colours. I bought enough cotton yarn to knit myself a top. I also bought two balls of Tulip microfibre thread. I'll have a go at tatting with it, but I remember now that I've used it before for crochet and it's really very slippery, so I don't know how well it will tat. I was hoping to buy black crochet cotton for bead crochet; the Tulip may be a poor substitute. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Wedding Card


We're going to a wedding on Saturday. I thought it would be nice to make a personalised card to go with the gift. I didn't give myself much time to get it done, but done it is. The pattern comes from a book called Donna Kooler's 555 Cross-Stitch Motifs. It's quite complicated for such a small design, with four shades of yellow, four of pink and three of green. It also has a lot of half cross stitches, which is something I haven't come across before. 

We're leaving early tomorrow to travel to the town where the wedding will be held, back on Monday. I'm going to do a digital switch off while we're gone, I'll catch up on blogs when we get back.