No, not really – I just made it up, but I like how it sounds. I think I’ll keep it. Who gets to pick which things get national or international days, and which days those should be, anyway? I know the biggies are all taken, and lots of them are completely noble causes worthy of both our awareness and whatever we have left over from our monthly disposable income packs — but what about the smaller things? International Chocolate Day. National Blanket Day (ie. stay in bed). National Junk Day (ie. turn an empty jar of Marmite into a work of art with 3 buttons and a dried mango pip). International Zap-Sign-Bad-Drivers-Day (ie. obvious). International Chocolate Week. Oh yes.
Back to where I was. Pincushions. I made a very superficial garage run yesterday (I need to have my own National Garage-Clear-Out Day), and found these girls: I forgot how much I liked them once. And now that they’re going to be famous, I like them all over again.
I was into needlepoint and cross-stitch in an overwhelmingly obsessive way a few years ago. Thank heavens the phase passed – I’d never get any crochet done if it hadn’t. The little needlepoint ones were stitched with 6 strands of DMC embroidery floss on 18-count canvas. I used to kit them up and sell them. Gosh, must have raised enough money from those to pay for a trip all the way to Mowbray and back.
And here are some other pincushions, the real live leucospermum kind:
Spotted at my local nursery earlier today while shopping for compost. And at the prices they’re charging now for that shit stuff, you’d think it was International Compost Day.
I have just put together a little needlepoint kit for an old customer of mine; she saw a photo of the ellie bag and decided it would be a good project to take with on her overseas trip to the states, as a large part of her time will be spent with her mom in a frail care centre. Always nice to keep one’s hands busy.
When I got back home yesterday from work and the supermarket (all so boring boring boring), I sat myself down to start and finish the idea that was in my head for that circle of foam. Yes, it was foam – Dawn and Janet were both right but in slightly different ways, and Janet gets the box of smarties for wry humour (“a foam rubber circle – you could make one of those cushions you get to sit on after the episiotomy”) !!!
It’s the inner foam ring that gives wool doughnuts their shape. See above. The wool is Elle Elite double knit and it has a lovely texture but it’s quite a thin double knit so I end up using it with something else for extra substance. Anyhow, I got it into my head that a knitted bangle would be just the latest trendy thing, so I knitted up a storm while watching my soap, and here is the finished product:
I call it the knangle (KN-itted b-ANGLE). I used a chunky Elle Timber in a dark red with light flecks, and 5.5mm needles; c/on 34, worked 22 rows stocking stitch, and bob’s your uncle. It’s really nice and snug and soft, and makes a change from the collection of jangly metal bangles I usually wear and that makes such a clatter and racket when I type.
Wow, I’ve never published a gallery before, that was quite cool! Reason I did, I got a phone call yesterday out of the blue from someone who used to give embroidery lessons in my old shop. She has a friend who wants to make a needlepoint cushion but only likes African designs and can’t find one anywhere. Since designing and painting canvases used to be my favourite thing to do, Jane thought of me. Her phone call led me to scuffle through the boxes of stuff in my garage, where I found three canvases that her pal might like. I’m not sure what I’d saved them for, perhaps I thought I might take needlepoint up again some day – but it’s been over 7 years and I haven’t felt the urge yet! I did so much in the past that I’m completely stitched out.
Anyhow, after finding the canvases, I embarked on a long walk down memory lane. I dug out the finished cushions I’d made; they used to live on an old oak bench in the shop, all 24 or 25 of them, to inspire my customers. Here are some pictures, not great quality, but you get the idea.
So, what I’m now wondering is – are there still lots of people out there still needlepointing away (despite the high cost of the tapestry wool)? I had a look for handpainted canvases on Etsy, and there is very little available (that isn’t ribboned lavender posies and bluebells, at least) . Might it be time for me to look for my paints and brushes and stencils again…? Any comments from you crafty lot?
I hope you didn’t think from the heading that today’s blog was going to be about anything other than these wonderful chameleons, indigenous to the western Cape. Anne took this photo in her garden in Mowbray this morning, and it reminded me of two cushions I designed and stitched many years ago, and which now live in Rob’s lounge.
I have the occasional chameleon visitor in my garden but my neighbour Isabella tells me that they used to be much more regular and frequent. I suppose cats and birds go for them, seeing through their clever disguise, but they are also vulnerable to the insect and snail poisons that people use these days. I haven’t used snail bait for ages and put out a saucer of beer every now and then instead, which does the trick, and I’ve also been known to prowl around the garden at night with a torch when it looks like they’re really taking over. Boy, have I got off the track here!
Before I had a cell phone, this would have been my version of a text message.
I don’t think I have the patience to stitch a whole needlepoint cushion cover any more, I’m more into crafts that give me a quicker return on my creative investment and what little energy I have left over after a day in the office. But if I did, and if I still had canvas and tapestry wool packed away somewhere, and if the mood took me, I would make a cushion for Alex that says “Love many, trust few. Learn to row your own canoe.” I can’t remember who wrote that but it has stuck with me ever since I came across it in a design book by Candace Bahouth.
Years ago, in a different life, I had a little needlecraft shop in Rondebosch. One of the things I did was design and paint tapestry canvases, and I used to stitch up my own samples to encourage people to buy them. I think I made about 30 or 35 cushion covers in the end, and all except one are currently packed away at the top of my wardrobe. Yesterday I found the photos that I was going to use to set up a website, but this was shortly before I closed the shop so I didn’t use them in the end.
I particularly liked stitching this elephant with his little dancing feet, because I could add lots of glittery shiny thread to his howdah blankie. I also used some thin silver cord to make stars. I remember we called him Geoffrey, because it seemed like a good name at the time, but I think he is more of a Phillip.