Author Archives: Nice Piece of Work

About Nice Piece of Work

Experimenter, screen printer, designer, maker, lino cutter, knitter, beader, crocheter, painter, gardener, reader, writer -- all the good stuff, basically (except cooking). Living in glorious Cape Town :)

scrap (belated) happy

This post was meant to have been in time to tie in with Kate’s Scraphappy, hence the ‘belated’.

A customer at Made in the Cape asked me if I ever made yoga mat bags. I said No but I’d give it a go. She liked the one I made so much she immediately asked for another one for her yoga friend. Then a friend of mine asked for one via facebook (have I ever told you how much I love facebook?)

 

In a stroke of pure genius, I added a denim jean pocket which closes with a bit of velcro, so the yoga girls can keep their keys in it while they’re doing their yoga-ery thing and keeping flexible and toned.

An aside: I tried yoga once and it didn’t go well. The guy said If you feel uncomfortable for any reason, just go into the recovery position for a few minutes. The recovery position became my default, and by the time the class was over I had to be eased up to vertical by two strong lads.

Advertisements

still afloat

Hardly a decent post from me today, but here is my stall at the Made in the Cape artisan market: I’m only there in spirit, Genevieve has managed to keep the ship (raft?) afloat for me with help from Theresa, Mary, Jasmine and Dale. Thank you so much, lovely ladies.

made in cape

Today is the Market’s last day, so I won’t have to worry about having to be away from home for the next few weeks. At home and on hand is the new normal. Now I have no excuse not to learn to make more interesting food than peanut butter on toast…. I try and keep up with my dear bloggy friends, but even if I don’t leave a comment please know I’m still here. xxx

heads above water

Yes, we’ve had a magnificently rainy June so far, it’s been one extreme to the other in the Western Cape but at least we’re no longer in official drought mode. That wasn’t what I was referring to in the title, though: we survived the house move and were slowly but surely making good progress pruning back two households of stuff and deciding whose sideboard was going to have pride of place and whose was going to be flogged on facebook, when illness got in the way. My Piano Man has been in hospital for five days already and, although he keeps insisting he’ll be home by the weekend, we’ll have to be a great deal more patient than that according to the specialist. I’m carving out small spaces for sewing and screenprinting amongst the remaining boxes, but am not really managing to be very efficient when it comes to work.

With luck, love and medical expertise, hopefully my next news will be more positive.

 

 

 

mixed berries scarf complete

Right, it’s done. The scarf that I started knitting up here with Lisa’s gorgeous yarn has just had its ends woven in.

It’s all garter stitch, and I simply cast on two stitches then increased one stitch at the beginning of every row. So wonderful just to be able to pick it up and put it down whenever I needed a little break from more strenuous activity. The longest side of the triangle measures 90cm, and I just stopped when I ran out of yarn. It’s not long enough to go round my neck on its own (unless I tuck it into the jacket or coat collar, if I’m wearing one) without being pinned at the front, but I love brooches so this suits me perfectly. You may notice the very beautiful silver, jet and mother-of-pearl gecko above, which came to me from a dear friend in Colorado (originally met through blogging). It is one of my most precious possessions, plus I have always had a soft spot for geckos. She didn’t know that when she sent it to me!

Now, somewhere in this house there is a bag with a chunky garter stitch tank top that needs to have the shoulders stitched up. I must find it soon because I can feel a necessary break coming on…  Moving day is only 5 days away – you won’t hear from me again before then, so see you on The Other Side :)

PS. The weather for tomorrow looks to be like the last perfect autumn day for Cape Town, so I’m looking very forward to the Kirstenbosch Market – the neck cushions to be given away have been allocated (via this blog) to people who became customers over six years ago. They remain customers and have always been wonderfully supportive of my various nutty ideas, but they’ve also become friends. Life is good.

 

 

neck cushions!

Oh glory you know how it goes – there’s urgent stuff that needs doing (like cleaning and packing up your house!) with a deadline built-in (gak vomit shudder) but you’re too excited by a new idea to focus on the horrible task – or is that just a euphemism for work avoidance? Well, when it comes to procrastination, I am a world expert.

second sample

This idea has been fermenting in the back of my mind for a while and, now that the approval days for the Christmas markets are imminent, I had to pull finger act fast.

The neck cushions have involved much experimenting re size, sewing, fabric, colour, design, filling, dried herbs, seeds, lavender, dried fynbos, barley, labels, velcro vs zips, etc., but I am delighted with the result. Megan, Anne’s daughter, managed to translate my terrible scribbles and rough layout into the beautiful leaf fabric and logo design, and it’s all been very exciting. Megan’s other work can be seen here.

So, I print the fabric for the cushion cover myself, and all sewing is done by moi as well. What makes my neck cushions different (and special) is the two separate inners – one with grains and herbs/flower extracts, and the other with unicurl filling. It makes the cushions really versatile and extra comfortable. Here’s my lovely screen and some fuchsia printed on dark cream,

and all the info on the back of the wrap-around label:

beleaf copy

The cushions are on facebook (I’d love you to like my page!) and there’s a website under construction.

For Cape Town readers, I’ll be at the Kirstenbosch Craft Market on Sunday. Before I start selling the neck cushions, I’m going to give away three to nice people who will be asked to send me an honest review afterwards. One has already been booked by one of my lovely customers, Simone, so there are two up for grabs. Find me at the market and, if still available, you will get your pressie!

mixed berries and garter stitch

My crafty friend and fellow trader Theresa (she’s also included as a beneficiary in my will because anyone else would simply toss my long-accumulated mountain of fabrics, trims, beads and yarns in the rubbish) saw me knitting at the market. I need to have something mindless to knit (I’m still off the crochet) and the chunky tank top I had on the needles was perfect — and almost finished, just need to sew up the shoulders and sides then will model for you. She suggested I try what a friend of her’s did – make a shawl or scarf by casting on 2 stitches then increasing one stitch at the beginning of every row until your triangle is the size you want. I’m doing it in garter stitch.

Lisa 4

and using 3.25mm needles and some very special hand-dyed “Mixed Berries” yarn sent as a gift from Lisa at Yarnchick last year. The garter stitch is perfect to show the different shades, and every row is different.

Lisa 2Lisa 3  Lisa 1

Once I’d got cracking and found my knitty sticks yesterday, I was too excited to look for my wool winder hence the loose drape over the back of the chair.  Yes yes, I know I should be working (or packing) but I’m getting such pleasure from the knitting that I keep thinking just one more row, okay okay, just three more….

In other news, plans for moving are going gaily ahead. I have ruthlessly pruned back the amount of furniture and tchotchkes I own, also sold fridge and microwave and anything else that will be duplicated on the ‘other side’. [Prince] Philip has a piano and crystal chandeliers that need special care in moving, but I’m just a happy commoner so my stuff is getting bunged into old fruit crates and supermarket boxes. My movers are called Two Men and a Truck. We are counting the days and have the champagne all lined up. Now, just to stop knitting….

display – before and after

At the beginning of May at the Made in the Cape market at Cavendish, I was fortunate enough to find myself with a neighbour I hadn’t met properly before. Her name is Hanici (pronounced like Sean Hannity but with a hard k instead of a t). She and her husband run a shop in Fishhoek and also like to travel to trade fairs and markets to promote their own products. Hanici originally trained in fine art and her husband, Barend, is a chemical engineer.

Display 1

Display 2

Cavendish Square was relatively quiet during the first two days of the market, which is never encouraging for a trader. I muttered something about feeling invisible, and Hanici jumped right into the challenge of how to fix my display. She told me about lines and frames and order, what attracts peoples’ eyes, what is distracting, and how to arrange bedspreads and cushions in such a way that a person would immediately want to riffle through them. We also had to “clean” the air by sweeping and brushing with imaginary brooms and dusters. I felt a bit silly doing this but I figured it couldn’t hurt. Hanici also offered to help Wanda on the other side of her (I forgot to take pics of Wanda’s stand but I wish I had, it was beautiful after H’s magic touch). We redid everything and cleaned the air like professionals. Within 10 minutes (not lying), Wanda had made three sales, and within an hour a customer bought the bedspread that you can see in the top pic draped over the middle of my table, and in the bottom pic folded up barely visible in the neat centred pile. Crazy, huh?!

So, for any market people out there who, like me, have no clue about the theory behind display, think on these things and have a google. And a clean sweep :)