Tag Archives: cotton

all puffed up

No, sorry, this post is not about puff adders – although we did go for a long walk last week in Pringle Bay and, halfway along, very far from the road, Andrew casually remarked that I should keep my eyes on the ground in case of puff adders.

I immediately froze. No, keep walking, he said, they can feel you coming and will simply move away. But what if it’s asleep? I screamed, and I’m the one to wake it up??? Just back away veeeeeery slowly, he said. I reminded him that my mother had recently woken up to find a cobra in a corner of her kitchen and I was still getting over the trauma, but he just laughed. I’m not sure it’s kind to laugh at another person’s fears so I yelled SPIDER SPIDER SPIDER and did my impression of a black widow to get back at him before continuing through the fynbos, stamping as hard as I could to scare off serpents as far afield as Mpumalanga.*

But I’ve digressed. The reference to puff is my lovely new Paddington top, designed by clever Sarah-May of French Navy Designs in Cape Town. She sells her patterns on etsy but this top was a free pattern from Peppermint Magazine and, for some unknown reason – because I’ve gone off machine-sewing lately – I had the urge to make it. The big puffy sleeves were the main attraction.

I used a piece of cotton from West Africa that someone gave me years ago, and which may have previously been used as a tablecloth. I have horrible arms – bingo wings, I believe they are known as in the north of England – so am always happy to cover them up as much as possible. The design was great and I’m so pleased with the result that I’m considering making a dress from the first pattern I ever bought when I was 22 and had just got my first sewing machine. It was navy cotton with tiny white dots and I wore it until it fell apart.

* Happy to report that no snakes or spiders or even baboons were seen, just a very fat mongoose and a tortoise later that day while sitting on a bench looking out at the sea.

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coverlet

So, my bedroom desperately needs a facelift. It will have to wait a good while, however, because nothing pretty can be done until (1) the penetrative damp from outside has been dealt with, (2) the bathroom next door has been made into an en suite, and (3) the walls have been replastered and treated. Oh yes, and the floor needs sanding and polishing. Sigh.

A quick and colourful stopgap was required. And if it cost next to nothing, even better :-)

bed 1

I chopped up an old cotton tablecloth that I’d paid R20 for at the charity shop,  and used up some of the leftovers that Suzette gives me when she’s finished making her cushions, (bags and boxes of the stuff, I tell you! I love riffling through them….) to make what I think is best called a coverlet. It’s not a quilt, obviously, ‘counterpane’ is too Victorian, and ‘bedspread’ seems a step too far for a random patchworky piece of fabric with an old cotton sheet used for backing.

bed 2

bed 3

Not sure if this qualifies for Kate’s ScrapHappy, because those clever quilting ladies make very beautiful fabrics from teeny morsels of left-overs, but Kate can let me know :-)

spiralling…

I read Claire’s post about spirals the other day, and couldn’t get the image of those lovely whirly shapes out of my mind. Today I finally purchased the pattern (by Charissa Ragsdale at MadMadme.com, via Ravelry), and here we go with Number One:

spiral 1

Using Vinni’s DK cotton in burnt orange and soft grey. Colours don’t show up well because it’s evening here.  Nice and easy to work, and I love the effect of the surface chain. Thanks for the inspiration, Claire.

I’m not sure what the spirals will grow into, but I am pretty sure that they will multiply quickly. It’s like that when you have other deadlines, isn’t it?  I remember one evening about thirty years ago, at 9.30pm the night before a big exam, suddenly starting to paint my kitchen walls.

Back soon x

how to make a fabric infinity scarf (in less than 15 mins)

Here’s a dead easy something to make. All you need is some fabric, needle and thread. I used my sewing machine as well, but if you’re Amish you can stitch it by hand.

I used:
3 pieces of fabric – two were 13cm wide and one was 16cm wide, but they all need to be the same length: 180cm.

cowl 2

1. With right sides facing, and with a 1cm seam allowance, sew the long sides of the pieces together. All of them.

cowl 4

2. You’ll end up with a tube.

cowl 6

3.  Push your arm through the tube…

cowl 7

4. … and pull the end of it through to the top.

cowl 8

5. With right sides together, you’re going to sew the raw edges together, leaving a 10 to 12 cm gap.  (You haven’t turned the tube inside out yet).  It’ll look like this (the arrows are to show you where I left the gap):

cowl 9

6. Pull the cowl through the gap in the seam til it’s all right side out.  Slip stitch the seam closed.  Give it a light press, and it’s done!

cowl 12

At this length, and especially if you’ve used stretchy t-shirty fabric, you should easily be able to get it round your neck three times, if you want to. I generally wrap mine round twice, but you can also fold it in half and pull one side through the loop for a different look.

cowl 20 cowl 17

cowl 13  cowl 12

and if for some reason you don’t want anyone to know it’s you, you can flip one loop over your hair and smack on some sun gogs…. 

cowl 21

Back soon x
PS. I’m not sure about this new blog theme. Any comments?

more BonBon stuff

At the last Kirstenbosch Market, I had a customer called Marie who bought a newsboy from me in dark autumny colours with a black brim (I’d only finished sewing it the night before, so forgot to take a photo).  Then she said she also wanted a BonBon but not in any of the colours I had available. She wanted one in the Cotton-On DK I use for my slippers, in Faded Denim. I said I thought that the cotton might be too heavy for the style (because it is quite a fat hat), but she showed me how she would wear it:

1. Pull the entire hat down right over your face.

cotton bonbon 4

2.  Roll it up once.

cotton bonbon 5

3. Roll it up again.

cotton bonbon 6

4. Roll it up once more.

cotton bonbon8

I guess you now have a … what?  a baby BonBon with a sausage brim? I have to say, I’d never thought of that myself, and it looked stunning on Marie the way she did it. She assured me that she had lots of hats and knew exactly what suited her!

NB #1. She asked me to make the “welt” extra long so that she could roll it up as much as Carol has here; my other BonBons are a good 5 or 6 centimetres shorter.

NB #2. The cotton has made the whole thing a lot heavier than the ones made with acrylic, this one weighs 236g.

NB #3. I increased a few more times than usual with this one, because the cotton has less stretch than the acrylic.

I’m really pleased with the way it turned out. Hope she is, too. Now, where did I put her number…?