Category Archives: Cape Town

dare I use the f word?

I was a trader at a big event in Cape Town in February. In advance of the event, I read through the list of stallholders. Two other people would be selling hats, one as a reseller of mass-produced straw hats and fedoras, and one as a crafter selling her own makes.

During setting-up time, I introduced myself to the crafter and said I’d looked for her website or facebook page to view her stuff, but couldn’t find anything. She said she doesn’t advertise at all because she’s already so swamped with orders that she wouldn’t be able to cope if more people saw her products. Knowing the kinds of difficulties that a small hand-made production business faces, as I do, I was amazed and impressed by this. I couldn’t wait to see her hats, and thought perhaps I could even learn something from her.

The event opened, and I beetled off to ‘network’ as soon as I could. As I approached the row of stalls on the other side of the park, I saw a display of animal novelty hats and hoodies that I recognised from a school event last year, which stood out for their uniformity and unmistakable mass-produced nature and low prices. They are also readily available at various pavement stalls around Cape Town and in the Chinese shops.  So, no problem – you can buy and sell what you like. Good for you (and you’ll see below, I do it myself sometimes). — but it turns out that this was my fellow crafter! I greeted her and said something along the lines of wow, you’ve got quite a range here – are these the ones you make yourself? And she said Yes. And looked away.

I’m so mad that someone does this. Claiming cheap imports as your own work is – what? fraud? or just a big fat stupid insulting lie? And I don’t understand why someone would do this. There’s nothing illegal in being a reseller of hats, after all.  For a big event, working on my own, I’m not able to produce enough stock by my own hand.  I buy in about 30% of my stock, and either modify it by adding handmade flowers or a band or a crochet trim, or resell it as it is. If I haven’t made an entire item myself, I don’t put my label on it and pretend to have made it. I don’t not put a label on an item and pretend it’s my own work.  I point out which my own handmade items are, and which are not – and, frankly, the difference is very evident !!

I wrote this post a good few weeks ago, and was going through draft posts when I came across it and got all riled up again and decided to publish it. I’m trying to work out why I actually care about this – presumably Imported-Animal-Hat Woman wants people to think she is a creative genius, and what do I care if she is or isn’t?  People are still buying my hats and asking for special orders. There’s enough work to go around. Am I so morally above reproach that someone else’s lie rocks and jolts the foundations of my innately faultless nature? Um….no, hardly!!  hahaha    Is it because she’s just stupid and thinks everyone else is as well? Aha, could be that.

Okay, rant over. F is for fraud, by the way, not the four-letter word beginning with F and ending with K. But that too.

hotting up

We are helpless in the heat here — the temperature is soaring and many of us are helplessly lethargic in its sick clammy grip.

blog

Tragically, our mountains are in flames as well. They’ve been on fire for over three days, and the firefighters and emergency services are doing incredible work.

fire

Right now, there isn’t much I wouldn’t give for some snow.

happy granny

I’ve been hoarding the pattern for Simone’s happy granny (here) for a long time and the other day, when I was looking for something else in an insanely disorganised bookmarks folder, I came across it again.  After a lot of Ellas and penguins, this looked like a perfect no-fuss quick make.

simone pattern

Simone’s hat is for a baby, but I wanted to go big.   I used a chunky Elle Timber and a 5.00mm hook, so ended up with a hat that fits Carol loosely.  I was going to follow the pattern exactly and have the same sort of beanie look but by the time I’d done the two brown rows, I realised that the wearer would have to have an unusually large noggin.  (Rob has quite a big head, actually, but I know he doesn’t like raspberry pink).

eben 1

So I just winged it after that – did 2 rows of grannies with some decreasing, then one row of dcs.  That’s given it a kind of puffy beret look instead.

We’ve had a really sharp and sudden icy spell in Cape Town- it’s much much colder than it usually gets in winter, and it’s started a lot sooner.  There’s even been SNOW on the mountains – we say that here with such genuine amazement as to suggest that the snow, surely, has picked the wrong country?

Back soon x

hats to the left of me hats to the right here i am….

Winter’s a-coming here in Cape Town and it’s getting chilly, so I’m sitting at my desk right now with A BIG FAT BRIGHT GREEN BONBON on my head! Nice and warm, and helps to keep the energy flowing (hopefully).

Just a brief update on the crochet lessons – my first lesson last Thursday went really really well, no whiskey required. I have the loveliest ladies in the world and we all got off to a good start. Tomorrow is Lesson #2, and I should be seeing some completed or almost-completed scarves, which will get jazzed up with a crocheted flower brooch. We’ll move on to the half treble and treble stitches, and get started on the fingerless mitts. Homework will be granny squares. (Yes, I give homework.) We had tea and Oreos – I didn’t have time to bake my own cookies. Who am I kidding, like that’s ever going to happen!

I had a lot of requests from people who want to learn crochet but can’t make a lesson during the working week, so I’m starting a new group on Saturday 7 June. Already fully booked! (I don’t want more than 5 learners, it’s nice to be able to give individual attention).

And in other news, I made my first delivery to A Real Shop yesterday, of penguin beanies and Ellas. I’m really hoping they do as well there as the owner seems to think.  The shop is called This Shop Rox, by the way, and it’s in the Hout Bay harbour area.

I’ve also been snowed under making hats – Mindys, Ellas, newsboys, men’s hats and caps, BonBons and stinky fish. Yip, a LOT of stinky fish. Here’s darling Kate in her new rainbow stinky, and the larger one pictured below on Carol is a special order from Kate’s mom as a birthday gift for a friend.

kate pic  wed wed 2 wed 3 wed 4

wed 5 wed 6

It’s overcast and a bit drizzly here, so Carol kept yelling at me to hurry up with the pics because I insisted on taking them outside. Consequently, some of them are rather poor. I think she forgets who pays the rent around here!!!

Back soon x

Freedom Day weekend

Busy weekend over here. On Saturday Rob and I traded at the Trenchtown market in Obs, which is a fantastic venue with a super cool vibe, but I have to say the Jam Tarts stuff didn’t make a great impression on the majority of the patrons. To be expected, I think. Crocheted newsboys and floral infinity scarves probably aren’t the items of choice for a younger, more – shall we say? – tattooed crowd. We were the only two people there who hadn’t gone for the inked and/or studded look, and we felt rather naked in comparison. And, not to say, quite old and fuddy duddy, too!

[[Market Trading 101 – make sure your products appeal to the sector that patronises the market.  By all means give a new market a try but, if you’re a huge flop,  don’t try and flog a dead horse.]]

Sunday was Kirstenbosch, being the last Sunday of the month. It was, as ever, GREAT. Here are some pics of people who make it feel like family:

Kirst x

Janet, my nextdoor neighbour, with stunning vintage clothes bargains to be had

kirst x 1

The lovely jewellery lady, Sarah, on the other side of us, with a darling puppy from the Animal Rescue guys.

kirst x 2

Steven Belknap of Whimsical Woodworks, who made my hat stands for me.

kirst x 3

Renee Dorrington, the lady with the magic hands, offering reflexology and massage

kirst x 4

Debbie and Rob, probably our two oldest market friends, from way back at the Porter Estate market in Tokai. They always have broad smiles and lekker food.

kirst x 5

Yesterday, Monday 27th,  was a day off for us ! Yay! (No sewing, no admin, no markets). We visited the Decorex exhibition  (Decorex Cape Town) at the Cape Town International Conference Centre, courtesy of free tickets from Inspired Living SA (thanks so much, Fiona, we loved it!)  — I think this was the best ever exhibition since it started.

I was particularly pleased to see that the Cape Craft and Design Institute had selected products by Baillie and Kovar Design.  Malcolm and Michelle are  a crafty couple who manage to incorporate a very ‘now’ look with functional value, from recycled materials. This is their kind of style, which speaks volumes about South African design and talent.

malcolm 3  malcolm 1

malcolm 5  malcolm2  malcolm 6

And then it was lunchtime…. my friend Shona, whom I’ve known for nearly 30 years, hosted a lunch at the Forresters Arms in Newlands.  Gotta love a pub lunch, and I’m happy to say the Irish coffees are just as good as they ever were….

jill and shona  forries

Back soon x

a random post

I like Rachel’s idea (10 Random Things) of going for a bit of randomness.  Here’s a selection of pics I’ve taken over the last few days. In no particular order. Of no particular significance. Or no more than anything else that I ever take a photo of, at least.

woman in hat 2

A nice woman who was interested in our stand at the Annual Plant Fair today. I liked her hat and asked her if I could take a pic of it for when I want to experiment with making different styles.

random 1

Going to the Milnerton Market.  Always a bargain to be found, or something you never knew you simply couldn’t live without until you laid eyes on it.

random 2

A rather sweet ensemble, I thought.  She would have kept the sun off her face far more easily with a hat, but the parasol matches her top exactly so I guess she had to use it.

random 3

Our favourite cafe, Puka, in Tamboerskloof; that’s Michael, the owner,  through the window, whipping up another dream smoothie.

random 4

The very first thing I ever crocheted – a baby blanket for Alex, 20 years ago. I guess it served its purpose but, yikes, is it ever ugly! Don’t know what I could possibly have been thinking.

random 5

The car in front of me the other morning, driving down Durban Road, Mowbray. The aFREAKa sticker made me laugh.

random 6

Autumn’s coming, but it’s taking it’s bloody time! Grape vine leaves glow like jewels when the sun streams through. I took this from the veranda of the farm where we stayed for a couple of days last week in Simondium (in the winelands between Paarl and Franschhoek).  It was a lovely, peaceful break.

random 7

Alex roasted a chicken for our supper. It was really good. We ate outside, by candlelight. She seems to prefer eating with her hands, like a monkey.

random 8

Just one more farm pic, because this chap was really handsome.  He and his cousin were in this tree in the courtyard of the Main House, and he didn’t take his eyes off me for one single second… not one. I was very glad that I am bigger than a mouse.

random 9

This man is a builder by trade but his hobby is doing things with pallets.  Slapping on two coats of paint and then smacking your pallet up on a wall is about the most casual type of upcycling intervention of all – and I hope you can see from the photo he’s stuck on the front how great it looks with a few little plant pots in it.  Like me, he likes looking for stuff – one of his favourite places is the rubbish dump off Rosmead Avenue!

random hedgehog

 

Have a wonderful week, everyone :-)

red and read

I dug out my glue gun yesterday afternoon and made an impromptu ‘moomflower’ to take to a friends’ party.

moomflower red

The flowers are mostly red but I did six in different colours to represent my two friends and the four children they have between them.

Then I got carried away and painted my nails red. Rob calls them “harlot tips”.

nails

Today, Sunday, was a day of extreme sloth.  Mostly I read: The Shining Girls by South African writer Lauren Beukes. If you like good horror fiction, you’ll love this.  I think I’ll stop reading when it gets dark.

Also, fantastically and wonderfully, the weather seems to have changed since Friday and temperatures have returned to levels at which human beings can function properly.

And for those of you who don’t know Cape Town, here’s a link to 52 Places to Go in 2014 from The New York Times – we’re numero uno! Thinking of visiting? I’ll happily volunteer to take you on a shop crawl of all the good craft and wool places :-)

Back soon x