Tag Archives: knitting

back to business :)

It looks like the most disruptive part of that messy business is behind me, so I’m back home and getting back into a productive work routine.

I’ve found knitting has helped me keep calm, especially since I am really really slow at it….  I’ve been trying out different hat patterns so my knitting ladies have samples to work from.  (I have another one on board now, and I didn’t even have to look for her, she found me!).

knitted hats

I also fitted in a pair of shark slippers for the girlfriend of a customer’s son, who is having a birthday today and is mad about sharks. Her boyfriend is treating her to a shark cage diving expedition… some people are craaaaazzzy.

shark slip 2     shark slip 1

Apparently they were all ecstatic about the slippers, but I have to say I wouldn’t make them again in a hurry. Too fiddly for my liking!!! I like more instant gratification.

I have also been sewing, which is fast becoming my preferred activity right now. I have boxes and boxes of leftover bits of fabric from Suzette (who makes cushions) and decided to make them up into patchwork bags.  I love mixing different colours and textures, but what I love most is making something useful out of someone else’s discards.

patchwork 3   patchwork 1 patchwork 2

They’ll get a lining and a bit of velcro to close but nothing fancy because I’d like to keep the price as low as possible. They’ll be coming to the Rondebosch Market with me on Saturday, so we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for another sunny winter’s day.

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Purple it is!

I tend to clam up and go all introverted in a room full of people I don’t know (parties? do people even have those any more?…dinner parties, workshops, seminars, that kind of thing), but have never found it hard to approach a total stranger and say how much I love the unusual and/or gorgeous item that she is wearing (it’s usually a she, men are pretty boring, let’s face it) and please can I photograph it. Here’s a stranger from two days ago:

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Her name is Elsabe and she was having a fresh-air break outside the building where I used to work.  She told me that she doesn’t knit herself, and bought this mini-poncho thing from someone at a market. (I love her purple hair, too, wish I could carry it off.) (And it reminds me of someone in Wichita!)

Here’s the back view:
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We figured it was basically a long rectangle stitched together at one side, at a sort of angle. It’s no surprise that I love a whole bunch of different colours and textures mixed together, and in fact have something similar coming off my crochet hook at the moment (a cowl in autumn rusts and oranges and crimsons). Nearly nearly done, just one more episode of Sewende Laan

Back soon x

Monday mish-mash

This post is going to be a bit of a mish-mash, I can feel it.

On Saturday Anne and I went to the Reformed Church in Gardens, where the Christmas market organisers set up their approval day. The xmas market runs for 3 weeks from end November at the Sea Point town hall, and this is their 11th very successful year. So please keep your fingers crossed that they liked our things and think they will be good sellers.

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It’s a relatively informal set-up, we just used half a table and our hat stand, and then you fill out your forms and leave them on the table. You pack up and leave when six judges have reviewed your range and then you wait until the end of June to hear whether you’ve been successful or not. There were lots of cushions from other people – but none that were owls – and no other hand-crocheted items (that we saw, at least). The organisers were extremely efficient and friendly, and had laid on tea and coffee and scones that you could just help yourself to.  That always helps, right?!

Jam Tarts had a message from Simone, our left-handed trainee crocheter, to say she’d found a use for the crocheted bunting that was our encouragement-gift to her after the first lesson:

simone

My guess is that this is in her baby daughter’s bedroom (the teddy bear and pink wall decor is a bit of a give-away), and I think it looks stunning.

It’s always good when something you’ve made for someone else comes back for repairs – it means the recipient really used it! I knitted this hw bottle cover for my mother some years ago, but the bottle itself has leaked and she couldn’t figure out how to get the cover off. I think I did a bit of fancy hand-stitching round the neck so will just rip it out, wash the cover, and find a new hottie for it to live on. The heart was crocheted, I like it more now than I did when I gave it to the mater.

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Then I had a mail from a lady who had ordered 3 pairs of slippers from me, to say that the recipients loved them. It’s so nice when people think to do that. She sent this pic:

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Nearly five years ago I was lucky enough to meet Rob. The day after our first date, I was so taken with him (!) that I started knitting him a scarf.  He looked like the kind of man who would wear a handmade scarf (just the kind of man I like!) – and he also looked like a man who had never had a scarf handmade for him in his life.

As you can see, the old one has become a bit shabby-looking so I felt he deserved a new one. He has, after all, been obedient and useful over the years. For the most part.

rob scarf

Old scarf, garter stitch, variegated wool

I’m kidding. Rob is the best man ever: he encourages me in everything I do, helps where he can, looks after all my IT needs, cooks, picks me up when I don’t have a car, picks me up when I do have a car,  won’t let me drive alone at night, takes me out for sushi, looks after my daughter and her friends when they are partying in Camps Bay, has a great (and occasionally black enough) sense of humour (like mine), is an amazingly patient and caring father to his own sons, treats his parents like gold, underestimates his own talents and abilities, and is very generous and loving and considerate in general. I’ve been extremely lucky. And no, sorry, he doesn’t have a brother. He’s OOAK.

JillandRob2  Rob and Jill

Both these pics were taken at other people’s weddings, the first one was on the way to Megan (Anne’s daughter) and Jeremy’s wedding two years ago, and the second one is at Katie (my stepsister) and Peter’s wedding in Johannesburg last year.

So, yes, Rob deserves a new scarf. We went to Roger at Orion to choose the yarn and, after much debate (because I’m allergic to yellow!), he picked the dark navy in the Pure Gold DK, and he’s asked for three narrow rows of slate grey on either end.  I’m knitting it double for a nice chunky look, but he wanted loose and soft as well, so I’m using 7mm needles.

rob new scarf

 

It’s nice to knit for someone you love, isn’t it?

Back soon x

dragon ribs **

To compensate for the hell of knitting with the wet hairy seaweed, I finished a hat in a chunky yarn last night. The (free) pattern is Dragon Ribs from Crystal Palace (easy hat), and I have a feeling I’ll be using it again and again.

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I used Elle Pure Gold in chunky (black), a bit of something else colourful and chunky-ish that has lost its label, and 5.5mm needles.

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It might still get a button or a tassel or some other type of decoration (two words, both the same, hyphenated, begins with p).

Back soon x

** Hope you didn’t think this was something exotic you’d regularly find on the menu in a grill house in South Africa? Warthog ribs are common, yes, but dragon, not so much.

PS. I’m really trying to take better photos, I promise.

Too sensual for me!

Fun yarns are supposed to add tons of extra joy to knitting.
fun yarns

It’s not that I don’t think they do – the finished product usually looks amazing – but it’s working with the damn stuff that can make you want to fling down your needles and grab the peanut butter.
I fell in love with a furry little shawl on display in WoolWorld last week, and the assistant assured me she’d knitted it herself “chop-chop” with just 3 balls of Elle Sensual and a fat pair of needles.

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The shawl should have had a warning pinned to it: Extreme knitting! Do not attempt to make this at home!

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The woman lied. Through her teeth.  There is no chop-chop about knitting with this stuff, it’s like strings of limp hairy seaweed that knots just from being looked at, and if you don’t pay 120% attention and drop a stitch, then you are well and truly …well, you know what you are! I’d better not start swearing on this blog otherwise I’ll never stop.  (Sheep wanted to get involved so I had to swaddle him up to keep him out of the way.)

I’ve finished the $%^& thing now, much to my relief, but battled to get a decent photo this morning. This will have to do.
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And just in case you have some suggestions as to what it may resemble and feel tempted to share them with me? – please don’t. All I can hope is that it will look better on.

And FYI – Elle Sensual has been discontinued. Gosh, I wonder why!!!

Moving on – you will notice that I included my WeighLess binder in a photo above. This is because I have an update for you : I have lost 2 kgs, and Rob has lost 7 kgs.  I got a gold star at yesterday’s weigh-in, and Rob got a big yellow smiley sticker. It hasn’t always been easy but it hasn’t been horribly hard either.  It’s really all about common-sense eating habits and trying to make healthier food choices. Every day. Or for as much a part of every day as you can manage.  Sometimes the Milo bars all break into song when I’m in the fresh fruit aisle (pick me tra la la pick me la la), and then it’s hard to resist them because they sing so seductively. Sometimes I think, Mmmmm healthy veggie and barley soup, how disciplined I am to just have 1 bowl for supper, but then some fresh rye bread falls into the toaster and butters itself and before you know it…

Back soon x

Friday update

So, I was right about the size of Jono’s head – the Jayne hat was way too tight, so I knitted him another one and he gave the first one to his eldest son, Max.  (Two Firefly fans in one family, what are the odds!?)

Here I am wearing Jayne hat #2.  jayne two

And you don’t have to say it – when it comes to photography, I’m a natural, I know. Thank you.

Then I made more hats.  Autumn, here, remember? I guess they look pretty stupid just lying there like this, but I didn’t want to hit you with two pics of me in a hat in one post.

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I made these patterns up. Sort of. The brown and maroon stripey one is a larger variation on the CrossStitch slouch that I’ve made many times before, and I don’t often do stripes but the recipient loved it! She has dreads, and wanted something big enough to accommodate them but not so big around the brim that the whole thing would slip off.  When I’d finished it, it looked humungous so I did a red one. It fits me very nicely, not like the black one below that was made last year, which will possibly be turned into a bag.

too big  (Oops, sorry, that’s two after all.)

Another hat but this one with little bear ears for a baby. Anne is officially our Chief Baby Beanie Maker but I suddenly got the urge to try one myself.  I’m not big on faces so, hey, could be anything you want – meerkat, squirrel, pug? Heh.

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In other news, I’ve been whipping up as many pairs of house slippers as I can for the Kirstenbosch Market on Sunday. We have a new spot there (I did mention that Jam Tarts is now a Permanent Vendor, hey?) and I’ve just taken delivery of five stunning wooden crates made for me by Colin at the Carpenter’s Workshop; these will be used in our new-look display, which we’ve been working hard on. Will post a pic after Sunday. Very excited.

I’ll leave the other makes for my next post, don’t want to overwhelm you and think I never do any ‘real’ work…

Back soon x

this, that and the other

The stepping stones have had their first layer of grout, and now that it’s dry they get one more layer and then a slick of sealer. (I know I was aiming for Finished Object Friday – but I didn’t say which Friday, did I?)

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Alex’s knitting continues. She’s finished the rib and is on the stocking stitch rows, and this evening we’ll change colour. Excitement!

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I’ve been making some beanies for Cupcake Mummy’s Pay it Forward idea. I pledged 5 but I’ve already nearly finished the fifth one and I’m enjoying them so much I should probably be able to get a couple more finished in time.

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Just as well they can be all different sizes – all of these were done with the same size hook but I used different thicknesses of wool. The turquoise one would fit Conan the Barbarian!

I’ve also been busy with my cotton house slippers. I’ve come up with the incredibly brilliant idea (at least I think so) of sewing on a non-slip undersole.  It’s easy to slip on tiles or wood, which so many people have in their homes, and I would be horrified if my slippers were the cause of anyone’s accident.

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At our last Kirstenbosch Market on 31 March, the slippers were a really hot item so I’m going to be making loads more and am also thinking it might be a good idea to list them on etsy as well.

Even better, Jam Tarts has just been made a permanent vendor at this particular craft market, which is completely wonderful and fabulous for us.  It has been running for over 20 years, and really offers an incredible and comprehensive range of art and craft, all handmade South African stuff – no imports, nothing mass-produced! The market is on the last Sunday of every month, excluding June, July and August, so the next one is on 28 April. Try not to miss it.  Unless you live in Wichita or Perth, obviously…

Back soon x