Monday, September 26, 2022

Aiming For Twenty


I set myself a target of 20 puppets for a market on Saturday, but I don't think I'm going to make it. We're getting long power outages that really curtail my sewing time! And I sold two to a neighbour yesterday. I always reckon a sale is better than a potential sale - bird in the hand and all that. But I think this bunch make quite a good show, so I won't worry too much. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Preparing For Friday


I'm in the process of making puppets for an upcoming market, but I am taking time off from that today to prepare for Friday's craft group. We're going to make food covers out of sparkly net. I'm hemming them using a fancy but not too fancy stitch on my sewing machine:

Hopefully it looks like little leaves, since I think much of the decoration will be flowers made from felt, fabric, beads, whatever. A bit of tatting perhaps. I've hemmed four so far but am aiming for eight.

By the way, I've just spent a pleasant few minutes trawling through my previous posts about food covers or tea showers. Like this one for instance. I'd forgotten that I'd made so many! 

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Another Colourway


We had a lot of power cuts last week, which meant that I had a lot of time for spinning. So I was able to fulfill a new yarn order in double quick time. My sock-knitting customer sent me a picture of a  pair of socks and asked if I could dye the colourway. I think so.  A bluey purple, grey and a bit of light. 

Monday, September 19, 2022

In Black And White


 Remember the experiment I did the other day? The customer was very happy with the result, so I went ahead and spun a batch of yarn and dyed it in the same way. My 'black' is more charcoal than true black, but I hope it'll do the trick. 

 I also had an order for a zebra hooded towel, more black and white. I made some changes from the original zebra I made. I made the snout mostly white with some black added, rather than all black, and made the mane out of felt instead of yarn. The stripes are made of felt, not fabric, which meant I could use a straight stitch instead of zig zag, which is quicker and easier. Probably neater too. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2022



A gift shop down the road sells my bath puppets on commission. I went down there last week and discovered that they had only hippos left. I'm a bit puzzled that a whole herd of them has been rejected, but there you go. I made some replacements over the weekend - lion, monkey, crocodile, frog and Fido the puppy. I took them along yesterday and did a swap. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

For Me


A couple of weeks ago, my neighbour and I went to a fabric sale. Three ladies were selling off their fabric stashes, accumulated over many years. I didn't want the fabric to just go from their stash to my stash, so I managed to sneak some time between working on orders to sew myself a blouse and long skirt. I have a couple more pieces that will have to wait until I have more time, but I certainly don't plan for them to languish for years! 

Thursday, September 8, 2022



I dyed this wool this morning for an order. It's going to be a very bright pair of socks! I used my microwave to set the dye.  I dyed the blue for the mittens in a coffee tin on the stove, but it wasn't quite big enough, so the dyeing was a bit uneven. An ice cream tub in the microwave worked better. The microwave is quicker too, which is an advantage when dyeing five different colours. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2022



I was asked if I could produce a black yarn with flecks of white.  Hmm. I'll have to give it some thought. After considering various options, I thought the best way would be to 'tie/dye' the skein.  I experimented using a skein left over from another project, rather than try on a whole batch. First I tied, quite tightly, using a thick cotton, since cotton won't take a wool dye:

And then dyed it. The colour is darker than it appears here, though not as dark as I'd like the final product to be. When the skein was dry, I took the cotton ties off:

And rolled it into a ball for knitting:

The customer says that's just what she was looking for, so that's fine. I have another order to complete and then I'll spin yarn for this order. 

Monday, September 5, 2022

Mitred Mittens

 I've been wearing these mitred square socks that I knitted in 2020 and they're really comfortable. So I thought I'd knit another pair, using wool, which should be more flexible than the cotton I used last time. But when I was following the links I'd saved on my blog, I rediscovered Melody Johnson's mittens and decided I'd knit those first.  I'm really pleased with how they turned out, though they're on the small side. I think my yarn is thinner than the yarn Melody used. 

My customer sent me a photo to show how the yarn I showed in the previous post is knitting up:

Looks good, doesn't it? 

Thursday, September 1, 2022

To Order


I spun and dyed this wool for an order. The customer wanted a sock wool, ie quite finely spun, dyed in long stretches of three colours - pink, blue and purple. I was a little disappointed that I got some colour contamination, didn't manage to get the colours absolutely distinct, but the customer is happy with the result, so that's fine. 

Monday, August 29, 2022

A Crowd Of Critters


I've been working on an order for 15 puppets, 3 each of 5 different critters. I finished the last one on Saturday and they were collected today. I'm pleased to have found a good lion/giraffe coloured towel. The warehouse place I usually go to buy towels is inexpensive, but they have a limited range of colours. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Helix Hat


I was meandering through Pinterest and came across this post and pattern for a hat using a new to me knitting technique. Say you're using four colours. Knit a quarter of the stitches in each colour and then on the next round, knit the first section in the same colour as the last section of the previous round. This shifts all the colours over one and results in a stripey hat without having all the colour changes in one spot. Of course, it should be done in solid colours to show properly. I just wanted to try the technique using yarn I had on hand. I like the way the colours have come out, but it's not obviously in narrow stripes. I'll make another one using solid colours. The top was a bit tricky, with four needles and four yarns, but I'm sure it would get easier with practice. The article shows how the top is a really interesting helix pattern. 

Monday, August 22, 2022

Using Teiko Fujito Motifs

 In 2016, I worked my way through the Tatted Artistry of Teiko Fujito, tatting all the patterns from beginning to end of the book. You can read here what I learnt in the process. I've given away and used some of the motifs, have a few on display,  but most of them are in a packet in my kist. I took the packet along on Friday as one of many possible ways of decorating milk jug covers, like my sample one. Well, the members of the craft group latched on to them with alacrity and put them to use. Here are some examples

Friday, August 19, 2022



I reached my target and have ten bath puppets ready for tomorrow's morning market. It was a self-imposed target, you understand. At one stage I was thinking of leaving it at eight. But I have an order for 15 puppets, so I thought that if I made puppets that will work for the order if they're not sold tomorrow, I'd be killing two birds with one stone. 

Thursday, August 18, 2022

I Learnt Something


A few weeks ago, we made these mug rugs in the craft group, using a pattern from another group. The pattern came with instructions on hemming the round part of the rug, the part that forms the back of the mug rug and is folded over to the front. I used the same method to hem the milk jug cover yesterday. 

Sew a running stitch right round, close to the edge of the fabric. Put a circle of paper in the centre and then pull the running stitch up so that the fabric gathers around the paper:

Press it and then remove the paper:

Aha. I remember struggling to hem the milk jug covers neatly when I made them in 2013. (See previous post for links)  I sewed beads onto the hem to hold it down, and then trimmed the hem. 

With the addition of the Endrucks-derived hearts, the milk jug cover is complete:

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Two Birds


I'm a big fan of the Endrucks project. I think it's wonderful that many people around the world are collaborating to modernise and publicise the work of a designer who worked a century ago.  Muskaan and Ninetta have put in a tremendous amount of work. I'm not participating in the project, mostly because I'm busy with a number of other things at the moment, but also because the Endrucks style doesn't really float my boat. But to show my appreciation of the project, I thought I'd participate in muskaan's pretty me heart fun. 

The timing is good because I was thinking of tatting something small for the next project for the craft group I run. My plan is for us to make milk jug covers. I made some elaborate ones in 2013, and these. The group will do something much easier, but I thought that a bit of tatting on my sample wouldn't go amiss. I've added beads to the hearts to pretty them up and to add weight to the edge of the milk jug cover to keep it in place. I'll be making at least two more before putting it all together. 

Monday, August 15, 2022

Puppet Progress


I've made five puppets. My plan is to make five more before Friday. I think that's doable, assuming there are not too many interruptions. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Changing Gear


 It amazes me how ponderous it is to change from one craft to another. When I was making a lot of bath puppets, I was pretty slick and could whizz them out. But after a few months of not making them, the felt was stored in two different places, the pencil had gone to write grocery lists and I couldn't remember what settings to use on the sewing machine ! Anyway, I gathered everything together again, read the notes I'd written on machine settings and here we are, a crocodile. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Time Off

 It's a long weekend here. I haven't done much crafting, barely made a start on the sock I dyed wool for during the week. We watched some sport - rugby on a big screen and horse jumping for real. On Saturday I helped man a stall at a market to raise funds to support seniors in the community. We didn't sell much but it was good publicity. The raffle was very successful. Looks like a good route to people's pockets! I read a library book on Sunday, Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler. Anne Tyler is one of my favourite authors. I was really lazy on Sunday because we had a braai in the afternoon and Jack did all the cooking. Yesterday I cooked up tomatoes with onion for the freezer. Today I've made date loaf and coffee biscuits to fill the tins. But this afternoon I must get back to my sewing machine and make some bath puppets. The next market is on the 20th. I have no puppets in stock and need to make 10 or so before then. 

What's a post without pictures?  This is the date loaf, cooling after coming out of the oven. 

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Melon And Ginger Jam


 A friend asked me to get her a melon to make jam with. I bought two and thought I'd have a go myself at making jam. The size and hardness of the skin were a bit daunting, but Jack offered to cut it up for me. Yesterday he cut half of it up. That seemed like enough to start with! I left it all overnight and cooked it this morning.

I hope I've reached the magic jell point. It took quite a while, so I may just have  reached the '...that'll do" point. 

When I was at boarding school, a long time ago, we called melon and ginger jam 'chameleon's guts'! We had all sorts of names for our food, from frogs' eggs to Zambezi mud. My jam looks a little less lumpy than the jam I remember. Perhaps I should have put more of the inner rind of the melon in. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Dyeing For Socks


I've just spun a double batch of wool, ten skeins altogether. I've left most of it unwashed until I know what it's going to become. I just washed and dyed these skeins - two full skeins and two half skeins - for socks. The sun is shining, so they should dry pretty quickly. 

I'm busy preparing cards and envelopes for the craft group to decorate on Friday. I was a bit shocked at how I'd forgotten how to make the envelopes! I had to consult Pinterest again. Admittedly, I did grasp the details much quicker than when I made them a couple of months ago. 

Monday, August 1, 2022



I finished another pair of fingerless gloves yesterday, to replace gloves I sold at the market. I managed to buy some pink wool dye locally. It's not the same brand as the dye I usually use, so I wasn't sure I could use it together with my usual dye. But it worked fine. I read the label carefully and learnt that the acid and spreader are already mixed with the dye. So I added vinegar and dishwashing liquid to the blue dye as usual, but just added water to the pink. I set the dye in oven as usual, ignoring the instructions for boiling on the pink label! A customer at the last market asked if I had anything in pink. Now I can say yes. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

From The Garden


We got the first egg yesterday.  Hopefully it'll be the first of many from our five little hens. 

The pansies that I bought at the market a couple of months ago are flowering beautifully. They turn out to be difficult to photograph, but here are a few attempts:

The petunias are still flowering madly too. 

Jack has a good crop of cherry tomatoes. I wasn't sure what to do with them, other than put them in salads, so I had a look on Pinterest. I found several recipes for roasted cherry tomatoes that are bottled in oil. I read all the recipes and took bits from them to create my own. 

There was a bit more than one jar, so I put the excess onto toast for lunch. The roasting really concentrates the flavour of the tomatoes - delicious. 

I made gooseberry jam this morning, using Cape gooseberries from the garden. It is still hot, so I haven't yet labelled the jars. 

And we had strawberries on our porridge for breakfast.