Category Archives: cotton

ballet pink

A lovely new customer found me at the Somerset West Country Craft Market last Saturday, and I’m making a beret for her in Vinni’s Cotton in Ballet Pink. It’s similar to the mustard one I had on display (seems mustard isn’t a popular colour, who knew!)

It feels like a long long time since I used a 3mm hook for anything, but I’m enjoying the change:

beret pink

And I’m using this pattern by Luba Davies:


I’ll be working on this while watching Madiba’s memorial service in Johannesburg at 11h00:


Back soon x

How African is this really?

Yesterday a couple from Washington DC was keen on buying an owl beanie for one of their grandchildren.

owl hat

The woman asked if it had been made in Africa. Yes, ma’am, I replied, It was made by me. I indicated to the half-finished owl beanie I was making on the table next to me, as proof that I do indeed do all the making myself. But you’re not African, she said, I mean, how African is this really? [Take a deep breath, Jill.]
Well, I said, I’ve lived in South Africa for forty-four years, I own property here, I pay rates and taxes, I love biltong and bunny chow, I only use locally-manufactured cotton and it’s also hand-dyed in Cape Town by South Africans, and I can say “I made it myself” in Venda, Xhosa, Sotho, Ndebele, Afrikaans, Shona and Zulu. That African enough for you, lady? Okay, I didn’t actually voice the last question, but I think she heard it anyway, kubwa na ya wazi / hard en duidelik!

Back soon x

The Scarf

I made the scarf again (or “The Scarf”, as I think of it now), this time in tomato with a slate gray edge.


I would never have thought to order the tomato if it hadn’t been for Kathryn. (But I think we’d pronounce it differently, ya?) It’s pretty close to the brick red, but it’s got a nice juicy sharpness to it.

And guess what, the lovely lady in Wichita made one as well. Tamara chose blue and grey, and I think it looks stunning (and not least because she’s a damn fine crocheter!!!) She’s going to send some feedback on the pattern soon, and I know with her help the scarf kit is going to be a winner. Without her help, I think the pattern may as well have been written in Croatian for all the use it would have been to anyone. Except a Croatian, of course.

DSC_0319 DSC_0322

Back soon x

bags of progress

This is the fifth bag I’ve made now, which perhaps is significant (5 bags / pentagon = 5 sides, you know) and I’m finally happy with the pattern.

kit pics 069

I’m liking this colour combination, too – baby yellow, sunshine, burnt orange and brick red. I got some nice bricky red felt at Fabric City today, which will be perfect for the lining. The one pictured here is brown, but you can see what the shape is and get an idea of the magnetic clasp. (Both will be included in the kit, when it’s finally a “product”).

kit pics 067

So, Laura in the south of England put her hand up to test this one – thank you, Laura, I’m very grateful to you. And here’s a link to Laura’s lovely blog, Cute as a Button. She seems to be one of those people who manages to fit a greater variety of crafty stuff into her days than most people, and you know what they say – if you need something doing, give it to a busy person!

Bye for now, from a grey wintry wet windy Cape Town.

moving swiftly along

So, the pattern, instructions and cotton for the fingerless mitts kit are on their way to Colarado to be tested (not Canada, I don’t know why I kept thinking Canada, maybe I just have a small brain and two proper nouns both starting with C was too much overlap for me), and the pattern and cotton for the headbands is on its way to be tested in Melbourne, Australia. Kathryn and Sharon, thank you both in advance!

Right, next up = mesh stitch scarf, 4.00mm hook, Vinni’s dk cotton in Plum.

headband 006

I’m going to add a border to the two shorter sides, but not sure what colour yet. This is the second scarf I’m making, the first one was a complete disaster and had to be ripped out. (Amazing how quickly one can do that, hey? that ripping-out thing!)

I did most of this last night watching the first two episodes of the new Dexter (!), and hope to finish it and have the pattern knocked out sometime tomorrow. Is there anyone out there who would be willing to test this one? I’ll send you all the cotton you need (colour of your choice), the pattern, the instructions, and I’m also thinking of including a simple gold or silver pin to, well, pin it together. I’ll just need your honest comments afterwards (and hopefully before Christmas!).

Back soon x

Thursday this and that

Today’s been one of those days where I’ve been sort of busy-ish but feel like nothing really got done – so I’m trying to put that right, even though it’s getting late now and I’d prefer to be inching towards my bed and book and hottie.

I did manage to finish off the third headband which I’m thinking of using for kits.

headband 004

None of them look good on Carol, she’s got too much skin (yes, Trish, I agree), so I’ll have to try and chisel Alex out of bed 5 minutes earlier than usual tomorrow morning for some better photos.  I referred to my trusty old copy of the Knitting and Crochet Dictionary, and tried out the palm leaves stitch and the large granite stitch and think they both worked well.  I’ve often used palm leaves for blankets, and in fact I’d started another one waaaaay back at the beginning of last year before I jumped on Rachel’s CAL wagon and then got sidetracked by a thousand other things… In fact, where the hell is it, now that I think about it?

Anyway. I liked the way Mountain Mama had two rows of chain at the back of the band to hold it behind your head, so I adapted that idea for the purple one.  The lime one goes right round your head (no chain rows) so it’s quite nice and snug, and the yellow and grey one got a flower with a button.  I was reliably informed by the resident Style Police that I was wearing the headband “all wrong” in yesterday’s pic, by the way.  I fired eloquently right back:  “ag, whatever“.

headband   red mitts 001

I also managed to put together a very basic draft of a newsletter for Jam Tarts, which I’ve been meaning to do for over a year (!). It’s sitting in MailChimp ready and waiting for me to hit Send…and I have a whole three email addresses in the list of recipients – haha (one is Rob’s and one is my mother’s, so I don’t think they even count).  Anyone out there who’d like to get a Jam Tarts newsletter once or twice a month? Super short and sweet, I promise (just one pic of my hands in red mitts – please note I painted my nails specially).

Right, I think I can justify going to bed now. Night, all.