Saturday, December 31, 2022

Happy New Year


Thanks very much to all those who read my blog during the year, those who commented and those who started following me. I know that blogs are less popular than they used to be, but as long as writing the blog suits me, and someone is reading, that's fine. I hope that 2023 is a really good year for you all.

In case you're wondering, I thought that the lily buds on my veranda could symbolise the potential of the new year. 

Thursday, December 29, 2022

A Week?

 Goodness, I seldom go for a week without posting on my blog. Sorry about that. We have had family members here, which has been wonderful. I did make an amigarumi mouse for Annika and a tatted bookmark as a gift, but didn't take any photos. Everyone has left now, though the Australian contingent are on a nightmarish journey after a plane delay caused them to miss a connection. Now I'm busy washing sheets and getting straight and then I'll get back into crafting.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Dottier Than Ever


I made a hat using a bit of fabric left over from the polka dot dress.  Hats are always useful of course, but my main aim was to practise using a rotary cutter and ruler. It's a gift from my brother, which my daughter kindly went shopping for and carried across the ocean. 

Mmm, it's more difficult than I supposed. It looks so easy when the people in the YouTube videos do it! I'll get there, the hat is just the first step. 

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Polka Dots


It looks better worn than hanging on a hanger, so I tried to take a selfie in the mirror, but it didn't really work! I made the polka dot fabric I showed in the previous post into my favourite put-on-and-go dress. It doesn't have any zips or buttons so is easy to put on in a hurry. Not that that's the only reason I like it of course, it ticks many of my boxes. 

Jack's portulaca looks so pretty this morning that I couldn't resist taking a photo:

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Past And Future

 We had lovely weather for the market on Saturday and it went well. I sold some puppets, Christmas decorations and key rings, and spent my earnings at the other stalls! Oh yes, I sold a woolen hat too and had a long conversation with the man who bought it. The conversations are half the fun of the market. 

My daughter has been on a shopping spree for me, she brought me all sorts of sewing notions as well as these fabrics. The polka dot material is three metres in length, I'll make a dress with that. The others are two metres long, for skirts. Watch this space, as they say. 

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Towels For Market


I made five puppets yesterday morning and sold four in the afternoon! I decided that I would make the two hooded towels I want for market before I make another attempt to reach my puppet target. So here they are - unicorn and flamingo. The flamingo is from Crazy Little Projects, here.  I had a pink towel handy, so a flamingo seemed appropriate. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Waiting For Outage


Our electricity supply has been really erratic lately. It's on this morning, so I started early and have done the machine work on five puppets. I'll finish them off when there's no power. I prefer to finish a puppet completely before moving on to the next one, but needs must... I sold three puppets yesterday, which is great, but means I have to work a little harder to have enough puppets ready for Saturday's market. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

A Little Cow


My granddaughter Isabel asked if I could make a little amigurumi cow. Sure. There are hundreds of pictures of amigurumi cows on Pinterest, but finding a usable pattern proved more difficult than I expected. I settled on this one.  I printed out the pattern (these patterns are difficult to follow on a screen) and followed it meticulously. And finished up with a head that was bigger than the body!

Mmm, no. I undid a fair bit of the head and then assembled snout, ears etc. I think she's in reasonable proportion now. 

Saturday, December 3, 2022



I fiddle with pattern pieces when I'm cutting out puppets and towels to minimise wastage, but I'm necessarily left with little bits of toweling. I've thought of various ways of using them up, such as patchwork bath mats or scrubbies:

The problem is, they're all fiddly and time consuming and not cost-effective. So I"m now using the bits as disposable cleaning cloths. That is, I clean something with them before I throw them away!  

Wednesday, November 30, 2022



I'm working on puppets again. My stocks are low and I've booked a table at a market on the 10th December. I plan to make a couple of hooded towels too, since I have none in stock now. I like to make them to order, but it's as well to have a sample or two for people to see. 

Monday, November 28, 2022

Peach Chutney


A friend gave me a big bowl of peaches last week, too many for us to eat fresh. I have plenty of jam in the cupboard, but not so much chutney, so I went on the hunt for a peach chutney recipe. I found this one  that I had most of the ingredients for. I used dried cape gooseberries instead of dried cranberries. The peaches were tasty and juicy, but too small to make peeling them viable. It didn't seem to make any difference to the final product, so I may forego peeling in future! 

I use the top of a plastic bottle when filling jars; it has a wider mouth than any funnel I've been able to buy, and helps keep the top of the jar clean:

I finished up with five full jars and a little bit for tasting:

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Lion And Tiger


It's funny that after not having towel orders for months and months, I've had three in quick succession. The latest order was for a lion and a tiger. I haven't done a tiger before, so I went back to a Crazy Little Projects tutorial.  For most of the towels, only the hood is decorated, but a tiger needs stripes:

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Silver Thread


 I bought this thread some time ago, wondering if I could tat with it. It's very slippery, so slippery that it doesn't stay wound on the ball! But it tats up fine:

I've been tatting snowflakes to sell at markets. I sold 6 on Saturday and am now making for the next market. When there are so many snowflake patterns out there, it seems a bit odd to make the same one over and over, but I want to just do it, without thinking or deciding! They're much shinier than they look in the photo, so I don't think beads are necessary. 

Monday, November 21, 2022

Three More


I finished my towel order, in spite of lengthy power outages. I'll have all 11 towels packaged and ready to be picked up on Thursday. 

I sold seven puppets at a market on Saturday, so I need to make some more of those.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Helix Hat Revisited


Remember the helix hat that I knitted in variegated yarn? Well at last I have managed to spin some wool and dye it in solid colours to try the pattern again. The stripes show  up much more clearly, with the snail shell helix on top. You can see in the bottom picture that you do get a jog where the colours change over. Since I finished knitting this, I found a video on Pinterest that promises to show how to avoid the jog on helix stripes, though I haven't had a chance to study it yet. I guess I will have to knit another helix hat! 

Monday, November 14, 2022

Rain And Towel Progress

 We're in the rainy season again and the market was rained off again. At this rate, they'll have to find an indoor venue. I was more disappointed about not being able to shop at some of the usual stalls than I was about not selling anything, because I have the towel order on the go. I have made progress:

Three rabbits and three dinosaurs!

Friday, November 11, 2022



One of the ladies at the retirement home I help at asked me for a knitted teddy bear pattern. I gave her a couple and she chose to use this one.  It's simple and clever! Rita knitted the teddies and put them together but asked me to embroider the faces, which was simple enough. Three of them will go to a charity shop that raises funds for pensioners and three to the children's ward of a hospital. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Puppets First


I had to finish some bath puppets for Saturday's market before I can get on with the towel order. I had some puppets left over from the last market, but needed a few more. I made two monkeys last week and have just finished these. That'll be fine for Saturday. I would always rather work on a definite order than  speculatively for a market, but it's no good being at the market if the table is empty!  

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Towel Orders


It's just as well I did my personal sewing when I had a gap, because suddenly I have orders for hooded towels. These two will go to their new home this afternoon. Then I have an order for 11 towels! I have two in stock but will have to make another nine. They will be collected on the 24th, so I'll have to hope there are not too many power outages between then and now. 

Monday, November 7, 2022

The Second Sock


It took me a while to get around to knitting the companion to the sock I knitted mostly on a bus trip. That was partly because I needed to research tubular cast on, so that I could make the second sock match the first one that had a tubular cast off. I used this tutorial. It was a bit fiddly, I won't be using it as my regular cast on, but I like to try different techniques. 

Thursday, November 3, 2022



There was enough of the fabric with small red flowers for another set of sleeves and pockets, so I decided to make another blouse while I was about it. The front and back are cut out of a bit left over from making this dress. Of course, the contrast is much greater than on the one in yesterday's post. If I decide it's not fit for public viewing, I can always just wear it at home. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Making A Plan


With no orders in queue at the moment, I have a chance to sew for myself.  In September I went to a sale where a few women were selling off their fabric stashes, and bought several pieces. I've already made a top and skirt, as you can see here.  I didn't mention it in that post, but the sellers were all quilters and many of the fabrics were quite short in length, intended for patchwork rather than dressmaking. I bought what I liked, without paying a great deal of attention to the length of the fabric. Mmm. Fiddle as I might, I could not cut a blouse out of either of these fabrics. Instead, I used one for the back, front and facings and the other for pockets and sleeves. I think it worked! Actually, unless someone is bored or very pernickety, they might not even notice that there are two fabrics here. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

For Stock


My yarn customer retracted her third order, she'll contact me again when she gets back from holiday. So I have a batch of yarn in stock. I'll leave it undyed so that if someone wants a specific colour, I can do the order in reasonable time. Or I may dye it before the market later in November. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Spinning Again


I got behind with yarn orders when I was sewing bags, so now I"m back to my spinning wheel. I have one more order to do and then I must spin some wool for stock. 

Thursday, October 20, 2022



 I've just shown you the end of the project, in practice it has been on the go for many weeks, and I'm glad to have it done! I think I look like a blue bag. There are 80 bags here, I delivered the first ten straight away so that the buyer could check I was on the right path. I hope they all fit the bill. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

More About The Dyeing


I've just finished dyeing the fabric for the last set of bags, though I haven't finished sewing some of the other dyed batches. (See previous post for what I'm up to.) It's a milestone anyway.

It helped that all the bags are the same colour, so I could keep reusing the dyepot, adding more salt and dye and sometimes some more water. 

The first batch I dyed was 'interesting'. It turned out that the fabric shrank in one direction but not the other. Luckily I had dyed from the middle of the list of sizes and was able to cut the shrunk bits down to the size for the smallest bag. After that I had to allow for the shrinkage when I cut the fabric. I also had to allow for the fact that when you turn the bag, you lose a little bit of width. So the distance between the side seams needs to be slightly more than the required width. 

With this cotton dye, unlike wool dye, what you see is not what you get. When I put the fabric and cord into the bath, it looked a pale lilac colour. Eek. The temptation is to put more dye powder in. But it's not necessary, because it darkens during the dye process. And then lightens a bit from wet to dry. 

I still have a lot of sewing to do, so I had better go and get on with it. 

Monday, October 17, 2022

Bags, Bags, Bags

 I'm working diligently on a sewing order. I'm making 90 drawstring bags for a lady who makes ornaments in copper and brass, in six different sizes, ranging from 33,5 cm by 17 cm to 7 cm by 6 cm. That sounds simple enough, but there's a catch. I've been given grey fabric and must dye it dark blue. I'm working in batches of ten. Here, for the record, is the process in  pictures:

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Down And Up


I knitted most of this sock on the return journey on the bus. I was so eager to get to the shadow wrap heel that I made the top of the sock much too short. Hmm. At home (not on the bus!) I unraveled the cast on part of the sock and then knitted upwards, like a toe-up sock. I largely avoid toe-up socks because I worry about the cast off. It needs to be loose enough to get the sock on, without being scruffy. I've used a tubular cast off. I need a bit more practice I think, but it'll have to do. Now to make the second sock match without going through the same process. I'm going to research tubular cast on. 

Monday, October 10, 2022

Travel Knitting


Socks are a good travel project because they're small and easy. I knitted the first sock while on a bus. I'm glad my sock-knitting yarn customer reminded me about the shadow wrap heel just before I left. I decided it would be easier than a conventional heel flap when moving along. 

The stitch used in these socks is called Broken Seed Stitch. It's very clever, looks much more difficult than it is: Round 1, in natural, knit; Round 2 with variegated knit one, purl one; Round 3 with natural, knit: Round 4 with variegated, purl one, knit one. It looks like a slip stitch pattern, but isn't, and I think more flexible than a slip stitch pattern. I've used it before, but had to remind myself how to do it.