Saturday, May 28, 2022



The craft group I'm involved with made some more cards yesterday. They were donated to a shop that raises money to help pensioners. The cards are bright and cheery, so I hope they will sell and add a tiny bit to the coffers. 

Thursday, May 26, 2022

In Jars


I'm hoping to squeeze a bit more honey from the comb, with the help of more sunshine today, but I'm very happy with the haul of honey so far!

Wednesday, May 25, 2022



And I thought I could get into a sticky mess with glue? Try honey. Jack's not feeling up to processing his honey, so I said I'd do it. Read up on the internet and off I went. It turns out that we don't have many sunny spots in the house. The veranda is sunny, but Jack was warned not to take the honey outside or the bees will reclaim it. Which is why one bowl is poised precariously above the taps. It will take a while for the honey to drain, even in a sunny spot. 

I made two more hot water bottle covers, hippo and shark, and delivered all five to the gift shop yesterday. 

Monday, May 23, 2022

A Different Sort Of Beast


The lady at the gift shop down the road asked me if I could translate my puppet animals into hot water bottle covers. Mmm, I'll give it a go. These are my efforts so far. She asked for 10, but I think I'll start with 5 and see whether there's really a demand for them and make sure they're not too this or too that. The gift shop doesn't pay me until the item is sold, so I don't want to go overboard. 

You never know how your day is going to turn out, do you? Instead of spending Friday messing with glue at the retirement home, I spent it tatting leaf braid in the hospital next to Jack's bed. Because I was well prepared, I was able to ask someone else to step in for me, so the glue was duly wielded and thank you cards made. Jack is home again now, thankfully. I was glad I could grab my 'handbag tatting' when I had to leave in a hurry. 

Thursday, May 19, 2022


We're going to make thank you cards at tomorrow's craft group meeting. A card needs an envelope, I think, and making the envelope requires glue! I found a number of tutorials on Pinterest. Oddly, they all eschew rulers in favour of folding the paper to get proportions right. The problem with that is that there are folds in the middle of the envelope that don't look good. I used a ruler. Then the glue. Because I'm so hopeless with glue, I use a glue stick whenever possible. In this case, the glue stick is not precise enough for the small areas to be glued. I tried using a brush, possible but not ideal. A glue bottle with a spout to get the glue to the right spot was the best option. 

The craft group has members of differing abilities, so I'm making some blank cards and the envelopes to go with them, and will take the materials for the more able to make their own. I'll take along various bits and bobs for decorating the cards, including glitter, which requires more glue. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

For Me


I thought that as the market was over, and there's time to prepare for the next one, I'd take the gap and make myself a blouse. I've had the idea in mind ever since the pattern was returned to me in December.

I did view 2, minus the pockets. The polka dot fabric is flimsy and see through, so I lined back and front with linen that was left over from making a skirt. I left the sleeves sheer. I could have made it a little shorter, since I plan to wear it out, rather than tucked in, but it's too difficult to alter, attached to the lining as it is, so it will stay like that. 

Monday, May 16, 2022

Morning Market


I was happy with Saturday's morning market. I sold two pairs of socks and a pair of gloves, plus all four puppets that I took along. Both pairs of socks were the lacy ones - note to self.  I didn't sell any yarn. Everyone I spoke to said they don't knit or no longer knit. I'm pretty sure there are knitters out there, so I shall persist. 

I bought some more petunia seedlings as well as pansies. And two ceramic mixing bowls that I've been looking for since mine broke. I was pretty restrained and managed to come home with more noney than I left with! 

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Preparing For Market


I'm preparing sock kits for Saturday's markets, enough yarn and a pattern to knit a pair of woman's socks. After complaining about other people's patterns, I've tried to make mine short but clear. I won't know if I've succeeded until I can get someone to try it out. 

 I found my mohair labels from a previous existence;  I've written 'wool' on top of the mohair bit, so I even have a label. My LYS (local yarn shop) says they have sock needles in stock, so I'll be able to tell people where to go when they say, 'I'd like to knit socks, but I don't have needles'! 

Thursday, May 5, 2022

A Diversion


The little fellow who comes to me for sewing lessons is turning 8 next week. With the weather getting colder, I thought he might like a cap and mittens. I used a pattern from The Ashford Book of Spinning by Anne Field. I didn't use handspun yarn though. I thought acrylic would be more practical, so I used yarn left over from other projects. The pattern works them flat, but I knitted the hat with a circular needle and mittens with double pointed needles. I think they're neater that way. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2022


 Remember the tree that split under the weight of its fruit? One section fell down altogether, when the  fuit was still very green. We hoped the fruit would ripen, but it didn't and had to be discarded - four buckets full. The fruit on the rest of the tree is starting to ripen now.

 On Sunday I found enough ripe naartjies (tangerines) for a batch of marmalade. I used this recipe.

It came out really well. There were four bottles, but I gave one to my neighbour before I took a photo. There are plenty more naartjies on the tree, so I will be making more as they ripen. Jack might have to replace the tree, which would mean a few years before I can make naartjie marmalade again. 

Monday, May 2, 2022

Another Pair Of Socks


After a bit of a diversion to knit a hat for an order, I've finished knitting these socks in handspun wool. The next market is on 14th May, so I might have time for another pair. Though there are always diversions to be had! 

Saturday, April 30, 2022



Our paper flowers and boxes project went very well yesterday.  We managed to finish in one session, which was good because we had two little school girls with us who will be back at school next week. One of the girls is the great granddaughter of one of our craft group members and the other her neighbour. Hearts, beads, glitter, there was more bling than on my original sample! 

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Chaos Reigns


One of the ladies in the craft group I am now running (eek!) in a retirement home, told me recently that she only wants to do sewing projects, not paper projects. She has my sympathy, I'd choose fabric over paper any day of the week, but it's impractical to exclude paper altogether. I'm preparing tomorrow's project. 

I came across this gerbera type paper flower on Pinterest here. It's pretty simple to make, everyone in the group should manage it. But what to do with the flowers? 

I thought I'd make use of these boxes I was given. The box is sturdy, but covered in writing. I tried painting over the writing, but that didn't work, so I turned a box inside out and then painted it. I know the group members will decorate the boxes much more elaborately than I have, but I've made a sample to give them the idea. Now to assemble anything and everything that could be used for the job, from paper and templates to beads and ribbons. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

And A Hat


I know I criticised the Cloudburst Pattern in my previous post, but the gloves have turned out really well. 

Sarah, my fellow market stall holder, put pictures of my socks and gloves on her mailing group on Saturday evening and I got an immediate response, which was gratifying! Some one wants the Leaves gloves and asked for a hat to go with them. I sent her photos of various patterns I found and she plumped for Fishtail Hat Pattern, by Gail Bable. 

I spun the wool on Sunday and should finish knitting today. I spent all yesterday morning in the kitchen, making jam and helping a small boy make biscuits, otherwise it would be done already. 

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Longer Isn't Better


When it comes to patterns that is. This pattern is Cloudburst by Arienne Grey. It's six pages long and very garbled. There's no way I was going to print out six pages, much of which was unnecessary. I printed the page with the chart on it and, on the other side, the page with a picture of the finished gloves and then scribbled notes for myself. I made the gloves a bit shorter than the pattern, both before and after the thumb shaping. 

Nalu, on the other hand, was concise and clear. Hats off to Sparrowhawk. Leaves was somewhere inbetween. 

Thursday, April 21, 2022



This pattern is called Leaves and is by ValKnitting. I printed it out years ago, so I'm not sure where it came from. Ravelry? Probably. They're knitted on 5mm needles, which is a bit big for my handspun wool. Next time I might adjust the stitch count and use smaller needles. Of course I could spin thicker wool.... 

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Another Batch


I finished spinning and plying another batch of wool yesterday and dyed it this morning. As usual, I poured the colours over and then put the wool in the oven to set the dyes:

My plan is to knit a pair of socks with half of it and sell the other half as yarn. It's not very drying weather today, but I have a couple of pairs of fingerless gloves to finish first, so that's not a problem. 

Monday, April 18, 2022



Nalu is the name of the pattern. Apparently it's a Hawaian word meaning wave. The pattern is by Sparrowhawk and is a free download on Ravelry. Of course I used my own handspun wool instead of the recommended yarn. 

Friday, April 15, 2022

Socks And Mitts


I finished knitting the socks I showed in this post and spun and dyed the blue before last week's market. I even found some labels from my previous incarnation.  I didn't sell any socks or yarn at the market, but there was a lot of interest, which is a good start. Now I'm working on fingerless gloves. I started with undyed yarn so I can see exactly how much yarn they need. Half the yarn of a sock, so that's handy! 

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Cushion Covers


When I was cleaning on Monday I came across the fabric left over from making curtains and remembered that I promised to make some cushion covers with it. Oops, better get on with it. My head boggled a bit and I couldn't work out how to fold the fabric to get the flap on the outside, as opposed to a pillowcase, where the flap is on the inside. Pinterest to the rescue, I looked it up and found this tutorial to help me. Easy when you know how! 

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Didn't Work


Right, now I know why knitters don't finish off necklines with cables. When I finished Jack's pullover, I thought the cable finish looked good. But it stretched, so the pullover looked saggy and horrible. Not a good look. I did mean to correct it in the middle of summer, when the pullover was languishing in the cupboard, but of course I didn't get around to it until the weather turned cool and winter was definitely on its way. I used a circular needle to pick up stitches around the neck and work a more conventional ribbed neckline, without undoing the cables or anything else. It has worked fine and the pullover looks a whole lot better.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Morning Market


The weather on Saturday morning was cold and windy, not pleasant, so the morning market was a bit subdued, but it did go ahead. I sold the dinosaur towel and four bath puppets, so I it was worth my while to go. 

Of course I didn't just sell things at the market. there are always interesting things to buy. The trick is to bring in more than you spend, which I did manage this time.  I bought a jar of rasberry jam and 8 petunia plants from one lady; pitted dates from another; and handmade soap from Sarah, my fellow stall holder:

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Mock Pepperdews


The story of pepperdews is quite interesting, as you can read in this article.  They're a pickled pepper that are heavily trade mark protected in South Africa. The peppers I pickled this morning are not pepperdews, they're a mild chilli pepper called grandmother's bonnet. (I wonder if that's a nod to Scotch bonnets, a similar looking but very fiery chilli?) A friend gave me a packet of them  yesterday. I followed the recipe in the article to pickle them. It's a copycat recipe, the author's version of how she thinks it was done. These will have to mature for a few weeks before we start eating them. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

A New Gang


I'm working on a new bunch of bath puppets for Saturday's market. 

Monday, April 4, 2022

More Socks


 I managed to do some spinning last week, in between sewing monkeys and frogs, mainly in the evenings. On Saturday I finished plying the batch and then dyed the four skeins. My plan is to knit two of the skeins into a pair of socks and offer the other two as yarn at the next market. I'd like to do one more batch before the market, but I'll see how it goes. 

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Troop and Army


I finished the troop of monkeys yesterday. The collective noun for frogs is army, I'm told. I've heard of a chorus of frogs, but apparently that's only applied to a group of male frogs. I wouldn't like to be so dogmatic! The troop and army have already gone off to their new home, together with a crocodile:

Wednesday, March 30, 2022


 What a difference a day makes, as they say.  When the market was cancelled, I put a note on a local Facebook group and received two orders, after the note from the shop wanting puppets on commission. One order is for 11 puppets - 5 monkeys, 5 frogs and a crocodile. The other order is for a monkey and a rabbit. So I only delivered 6 puppets to the shop yesterday, because a definite sale trumps on-commission-not-sure-when-we'll-pay-you. And yesterday I heard that there will be another market on the 9th April. Usually they're only held on the last Saturday of the month. 

Yesterday afternoon I made two monkeys in tandem and now I"m making four frogs:

The main advantage of working this way is that there are fewer changes of thread colour. I didn't do all the monkeys at once though because they're more complicated than the frogs and I didn't want to end up with a whole bunch of half-made monkeys.

But eventually I'll have a troupe of monkeys. I'm not sure of the collective noun for frogs, I'll have to look it up.

Next week I'll have to make more puppets for the market. 

Monday, March 28, 2022

Rain Again


Considering how mediocre this rainy season has been, it's really a swizz that the market on Saturday was rained off again! It was beautiful rain, and we really need it, so no one dare complain.

 I'm sending the bath puppets to a gift shop down the road on consignment. I'm not sure that's a good idea, I'd much rather sell them direct at the market, but plan B was required and I had a message from the shop owner asking for them. 

Mr Giraffe is the tenth puppet in the group.