fabric bead necklace : make it yourself!

I’ve been quiet on social media lately, trying to cut down on the amount of time on which my brain is exposed to the world’s hogwash. It’s not all hogwash, I know, but I get sidetracked very easily so I try to stick to crochet pages and news sites (and have limited the latter to precisely two, because my view is that it’s almost impossible to tell who is telling the truth these days anyway). It’s all just become overwhelming and I’m sick of it.

I’ve been spending my creative time on fabric beads and crocheting another Granny Go Round jersey, and trying to get back into my books in the evenings instead of too much netflix or britbox (although I have to say I’m hooked right now on The Bay – those west Lancashire accents take me right back! I love them).

And I’ve also spent some time writing up a tutorial on making fabric beads from straws and using them in a necklace. It’s available on etsy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/1115954156 and is priced at US$4 (the equivalent of South African R65). My friend Kathryn proofed it for me and made some very useful suggestions. I make these beads all the time now and find it both enjoyable and relaxing, and of course it’s a brilliant stashbuster for fabric scraps as well as threads.

I’d be delighted if you took a look :)

ScrapHappy November 2021

It’s been a loooong time since I made anything with papier machè. And in this last week, I’ve been reminded of the reason for that: it’s a bugger. And I have no patience. But I had volunteered to make a pinata for a friend’s grandson, who has his sixth birthday party this coming weekend, so I had to stick with it.

My first two attempts were thwarted by shoddy balloons. They just don’t make them like they used to. A balloon covered in newspaper and drying glue that bursts at 7.30 in the evening right outside your back door isn’t funny. I thought it was bad people firing a warning shot. The second attempt was a less dramatic fail – the balloon simply detumesced overnight and I woke up to a shrivelled mess.

My third attempt was more successful because I followed my friend Kathryn’s advice: make two halves then machè them together. As you will know, the shape gets a little trapdoor cut into it so that sweets can be shoved in. I bought nine packets of sweeties – only 95% of which actually made it into the pinata. I had to be sure they were good enough, obviously.

I had no idea how many layers of paper I should use – I didn’t want it to be so flimsy that it collapsed before Quenton had a chance to give it a good couple of bashes, but I also didn’t want it to be so rock hard that he couldn’t break it at all. All I can do is hope it’s right. By the time I’d given it a coat of white paint, I hated the damn thing. I’ve made some odd stuff in my life but this would probably win first prize. I couldn’t face doing anything much about the general unevenness of the surface so decided my best option would be to glue on some long scraps of fabric.

Technically, the only non-scrappy things used to make this were the balloons. And of course, the sweets. I doubt this will inspire anyone to make a pinata but I hope it gives you a good laugh!

I’ve been inspired to write a ScrapHappy post by Kate at Tall Tales from Chiconia. Other people who often publish a ScrapHappy post on the 15th of every month are:

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda, Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Tracy, Jill (me),  Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlysKerryClaireJeanJon, Hayley, DawnGwen, Bekki,SueL, Sunny, Kjerstin, Vera, NanetteAnn, Dawn2BearCarolNoreenPreeti
EdithJule and Esther

Testing times

Not crochet this time, but a lot of fun if you like beads and threads and fiddling around with bits of scrap fabric. I’ve written up instructions on how to make a necklace with fabric and handmade beads – and a couple of testers would be very helpful at this stage.

Once you’ve assembled all the necessary materials, it’s a relatively quick make. I think two testers would be sufficient – if anyone wants to put their hand up, please email me at jamtartssa@gmail.com and I’ll send you the pdf. Thanks in advance!

ScrapHappy October 2021

I have more than one project on the go at the same time, as most of us do – it’s a blessing and a curse, isn’t it?! Sometimes it’s good to switch from machine-sewing to crocheting, for instance, or from beading to hand-stitching, but sometimes my brain wants to work on all the things at once. Result = chaotic mind (not to mention work space). I’m trying to focus on one thing at a time, make lists, plan my days, be more productive.

In the meantime, here’s my contribution to this month’s ScrapHappy initiative. I needed to shorten a jumpsuit (why are they called that? no jumping is going to happen around here, that’s for certain!) so I kept the pieces I chopped off from the bottom of each leg and turned them into little balls of fabric-stuffed beads and made them up into a necklace.

It was a bit overcast when I took these pics, my apologies. Over the last 30 years I’ve built up a goodly collection of embroidery and crochet threads, so they’re perfect for the wrapping part.

ScrapHappy is hosted by Kate in Australia and Gun in Sweden; it’s a day for showing something made from scraps every month. Here are the links for everyone who joins from time to time:

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
ClaireJeanJon, DawnJuleGwen,
Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera,
NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Bear, Carol,
Preeti, EdithDebbierose and Esther

revised crochet scarf pattern – anyone willing to test?

Many years ago I wrote a pattern for a triangular crocheted scarf. I made it in cotton and used a contrasting colour for the edging. One of my lovely neighbours, Lindsay, modelled it for me at the time.

The plan was to make up a kit, including the cotton and hook, but it petered out – as so many of my plans are wont to do! I forgot all about it until yesterday when I was going through old files on my laptop and it seemed like a good idea to revise the pattern using acrylic instead of cotton for a change. It works up really quickly and I’ve already finished it (it’s being blocked right now).

Before I think about what next to do with it, I’d really like to find two people who would be prepared to make it. I’ve amended the instructions here and there, and may well have overlooked some things. If you make it using the same yarn for the scarf and the edging, it uses approximately 80g altogether (of acrylic, that is – I used Stylecraft DK). It might also lend itself to a scrappy look, I’m not sure. You’d also need a 4mm crochet hook.

If anyone is interested please email me at jamtartssa@gmail.com and I’ll send the instructions as a pdf. TIA!