Thursday, September 28, 2023

Done At Last


I've been working rather intermittently on the half-finger gloves, mainly because other deadlines were more urgent. But the time to deliver the gloves is fast approaching, so I thought I'd better get on with it. The pattern is Tipsy, by AndreSueKnits. They look a bit strange when unoccupied, but fit well when you put them on! 

I've been having difficulty commenting on some blogs in the last few days. I just get a message that an error has occurred. This morning I tried writing on the laptop instead of the iPad and it worked fine, so there you go, the problem must be something to do with the iPad. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2023



I'm going to a market on Saturday. Not my usual one, that's on the 7th. I have some puppets in my basket, but there weren't any monkeys, so I thought I'd better rustle some up. Monkeys are definitely the most popular puppets. 

Monday, September 25, 2023



A friend gave me some beads recently to make her a bracelet with. I thought now would be a good time, since all my bead crochet supplies are out. When I looked at the beads, it turned out they're tiny, size 11 where I usually use size 8. I have used that size for crochet before, so it wasn't a great problem, but I thought I'd better choose a simple pattern. I used Flowers, by SnowMirna. First of all I crocheted a sample, as per the pattern:

Mmm, a bit skinny for a bracelet. The pattern is easily adapted, I just used 5 lilac beads on each row instead of 3. I had to do 30 repeats of the pattern instead of the 24 I usually do. The bracelet is not smoothly round, I think that may be because I used different sized beads. But I like the way the daisies stand out, and I don't think the odd kink will be noticeable when the bracelet is worn.

I played thread chicken with my Olympus thread:

One reason I end up with cardboard rolls with tiny amounts of thread on them is that I like to be sure there's enough for a project when I start. I decided to risk it, though it would have been a nuisance if I'd had to rethread beads! 

Saturday, September 23, 2023



I finished crocheting the necklace. Yesterday I delivered it to the gift shop, along with the bracelets and a few necklaces from stock. The gift shop is next door to the coffee shop where we hold the knit and natter on Fridays, so I went to show the ladies the beadwork before I went to the gift shop. Maria was very excited, says that's just the craft she's been looking for. She's going to go to the bead shop today and get supplies. I'm happy to help her if I can, though all the information needed is on the internet. 

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Working On A Necklace


I hope to finish the necklace today. It's difficult to keep track of where the patterns come from, especially once I've printed them out. Thanks to the designers! Not many of them put their names on the patterns.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Two More


Thanks for all the encouraging comments on the previous post. I am gradually getting back into beaded crochet and speeding up. I made a mistake on the left hand one in threading the beads. It was tempting to leave it because it was just two beads transposed, but it's amazing how the eye picks that up, especially on such a simple pattern. I had to cut the thread and rejoin, but that's not difficult, so it was best to sort it out. 

Monday, September 18, 2023



Well, I've crocheted two bracelets, but it  took way longer than I anticipated. I am out of practice! 

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Back To Beads


I was surprised when the lady from the gift shop down the road asked for some more bracelets and necklaces. It's a long time since I did any beaded crochet rope! This morning I dug out my beads and equipment and made a start. I had a bit of a battle to find the 2mm crochet hook, but find it I did. I thought I might have forgotten the process, but it soon came back. So far so good. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2023



I'm having to work hard to keep up with Jack's garden at the moment. The tomato crop is almost finished.  I cooked a lot of them up with onion and bell peppers for the freezer. I made naartjie marmalade, that crop is finished now and the tree flowering again.  The strawberry crop is just starting, but it doesn't look to be as good as last year's crop, so I'm not sure how much jam I'm going to be able to make. Cape gooseberries are ripening apace, I've made several batches of jam. 

Yesterday I made two bottles of gooseberry jam before breakfast and four and a half big bottles of tree tomato chutney in the afternoon. The top picture shows the gooseberries and tree tomatoes (tamarillos) before cooking. There is also a paw paw in the photo. I don't know of any way of preserving them, we just eat them and share them with the birds. The birds often get there first!

Jack also has huge bunches of bananas ripening:

There are way too many for me to deal with, but we don't want them to go to waste, so we've been giving them to an organisation that helps elderly people in need. 

Sunday, September 10, 2023

King and Prince


The would be teacher who wants puppets sent me a picture of the princess and frog, but not the king and prince, so I had to wing it. How to distinguish the monarch from his offspring? I thought a beard and wider crown would do it. Here are all the puppets for the story together:

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Another Story


I'm working on another set of puppets to illustrate a story for a trainee teacher. I think this one is the story about the princess who kissed a frog that then turned into a prince. Not very 21st Century, I wonder if the modern version has a twist in the tale? The lady who wants them asked me to make a flat felt ball, but I think a real ball works better, it can be held by the princess:

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

More Lavender


Last week didn't go according to plan and I didn't have a chance to finish the order for tatted lavender. I've made a concerted effort and finished it now. I like to think that it takes me an hour to do a 'bunch' but that is only if the shuttles are wound, the butterfly already made and I make no mistakes! 

Monday, September 4, 2023


 I sold the fingerless gloves that I showed in the previous post, just as well I finished them in time for the market. I also got an order for a pair of gloves, those ones with half fingers - fingertip-less gloves? I'll have to see if I can find a pattern, or adapt one. I was wondering if Jane Eborall's top down gloves would work. The gloves will be delivered at the next market, so I have a month. I must do the rest of the tatted lavender before I start spinning.

 I sold a puppet and some jam, and spent a pleasant Spring morning at the market. 

Friday, September 1, 2023

Just In Time


 I finished the fingerless gloves in 'spearmint' wool this afternoon, just in time for tomorrow's market. The weather has suddenly warmed up, so knitwear is not likely to be a best seller, but you never know. I'll have puppets and towels on my table, as well as jams and pickles. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Book Two


I've finished the set of puppets for the second trainee teacher. Left to right we have Scout the shark, Silas the sea otter, Sadie the sealion and Eric the elephant seal. The teacher is going to collect them from me at the market on Saturday. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

This Is Where I Came In

 Two years ago, I was asked by a trainee teacher to make puppets for a story telling project. Following that, I started making my bath puppets that have been so successful! Last week I was contacted by two more would-be teachers. One of them also wants puppets, specific ones to illustrate her story. The other one wanted a monkey puppet and a story board with felt animals that would stick to the board. She needed hers promptly, so I made it over the weekend. Luckily I already had a monkey puppet in stock.

It was quite good fun to create. I'm hopeless at drawing, so I looked online for a cartoon version of each animal and then printed it out to use as a pattern. Of course, even I can manage a snake and a spider! 

PS My photo resizer stopped working, so I downloaded another one. I haven't altogether got the hang of it and haven't been able to put my name on the photos. I'll get there eventually. 

Saturday, August 26, 2023



I was given a bunch of fabric pieces and a pattern to make Pierrot dolls, for the  craft group. The donor asked that one doll be returned to her. Step one was to make a sample. Well, after many hours and much fiddling, I can safely say that it's not a project that is suitable for the craft group. Even without the nine pom poms the doll is meant to sport. We're grateful for all the donations we're given, but sometimes they're just not appropriate. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2023



One of the craft group members suggested we make milk jug covers out of net remaining from making food covers. Good idea. I'm happy when suggestions come 'from the floor'. Traditionally, milk jug covers have beads around the edge to hold them in place. I thought I'd subvert tradition a bit by using buttons instead of beads. Whether the group members do the same is up to them! 

Tuesday, August 22, 2023



Phew, winter seems to have disappeared. The weather is suddenly much too hot for scarves! Good thing I had fun making it. I was knitting it at the knit'n'natter session last week. Is this long enough? I asked. No came the answer, loudly and in unison. So I knitted another ball. Good thing I have fellow knitters to keep me on the straight and narrow. They're right, it was too short. 

Monday, August 21, 2023



I've done ten 'bunches of lavender' for the order. I still have five to do. I've made a start by tatting the butterflies:

I've put a link to the lavender pattern on the side bar, on the right hand side of my page. The butterfly is on Jane Eborall's pattern site, under doodles. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2023



I need a new nightie. Surely there's enough of the pale yellow fabric to make a nightie?  I tried this pattern and that pattern, this way and that. Nope. I used the same solution I used here and cut the sleeves out of a different fabric, in this case a lace fabric. Hopefully it gives the nightie the right sort of lingerie look! 

I also got around to making the second blue skirt at last. No, I'm not going to put tatting on this one, which is going to the lady who gave me the fabric. She also gave me some lining fabric last week, so I used some of it to line the skirt. The colour in the photo is way off - the lining is actually a paler version of the outside blue. I hope this skirt will fit.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023



It has taken me a while to spin up the green wool that I dyed last week, because I've just been spinning in the evenings. I have a number of projects on the go at the moment, so I've been allocating them different time slots - tat in the morning, sew in the afternoon, spin in the evening! The green is much paler than in looked in the dye bath and probably looks paler too when combined with a thread of natural wool, but I do like the look of it. 

Monday, August 14, 2023

More Lavender


I have an order for another 15 'bunches' of lavender. I had a quick look at my pattern and began. I've used all the butterflies I had, so I'll need to tat some more of Jane Eborall's very small butterfly before I continue with the flowers. 

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Cleaning X Rays


The butterfly project went well yesterday. These are some of them.

There were quite a few comments on the previous post, thanks, so I thought I'd write more about the cleaning of x-rays. I was advised to soak them in a bath of water with dishwashing liquid and bleach added. Apparently, on some of them the ink will just float off, some need rubbing and some won't come clean at all. Mine required rubbing with a sponge. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Butterfly Sample


I was given some used x-rays recently to use for the craft group. I knew that some of the other groups had used x-rays to make butterflies, so I picked some brains and learnt how to remove the image from the x-ray. I was pondering how to display the butterflies when I saw this post - scroll down to see the stained glass butterfly. Jack bent some wire into shape for me and I think it'll work. I'll cut some butterflies out of x-ray for the less dexterous and make templates for the more capable to cut out their own. Everyone can decorate as much or as little as they fancy. 

Monday, August 7, 2023


 The market on Saturday went much better for me than last month's market, so that's good. I took along my spinning wheel and some of the multicoloured carded batts, because they're so eye catching, and indeed they did start conversations. Since then I've spun the batts, so that I can finish knitting the scarf.

I've sold all the fingerless gloves, so I need to make some more. A yarn customer said she's keen to see solid colours plyed together, so I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone, spin some 'barber pole' yarn to show her and knit gloves with it too. First step is to dye the solid colour, jade in this case:

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Puppet Parade


It's been a while since I made a new puppet design. I hereby introduce Miss Mouse. 

After a few days at the sewing machine, I think I've filled the puppet basket enough for Saturday's market table

Monday, July 31, 2023

Puppets In Progress


 I've booked a table at a market on Saturday. I sold four puppets last week, so my puppet basket is rather empty and I need to whizz some up this week. 

Saturday, July 29, 2023



It's sensible to finish all the spinning before starting knitting, but I wanted something to do at yesterday's knit and natter session, so I started knitting a scarf before the spinning is done. I visualised a lacy scarf, so I started with this pattern from The Sweater Book, edited by Amy Carroll. I chose it because it's reversible - I think a scarf should be completely reversible. But the result is too muddled. It doesn't show the pattern or the yarn to best advantage. I unravelled it and started again in mistake rib - that's knit 2, purl 2 rib over an uneven number of stitches. I think it shows the colour variations better. 

Thursday, July 27, 2023



Mmm, yes, the plain thread is too light a shade. The 'barber pole effect' detracts from the multicolour effect. No matter, I'll finish this batch and do the next one differently.