Tag Archives: shawl

the knitted shawl to beat all knitted shawls

There really is something enormously special about having something made just for you, isn’t there? This was made for me by Kathryn, and got flown over from the States to South Africa as part of my big surprise parcel. Back in April, she cunningly initiated a discussion about the three colours I would choose were I to knit up the Drachenfels pattern, which she had her eye on making.  I chose sagebrush, claret heather and tumeric, not realising she was purchasing them for me.

And that’s how come I now have this gorgeous item in my wardrobe….


shawl-1  shawl-five

It’s large and wide, so can be worn in different ways depending on the temperature. Cape Town evenings are still cool so I’ve been draped in Drachenfels quite often lately, but it will get it’s best airing come next winter :-)

Kathryn, xxx





Last week I received a huge box packed with surprises all the way from Grand Junction, Colorado. I think it was a combination housewarming/ early birthday present :-)  How lucky, right?! Each gift merits its own post, so I’ll start with the wool.


I haven’t seen this available in any of the wool shops I visit (and know so well). But even if it was, I wouldn’t be treating myself to any – it would be way out of my yarn budget!  Made in Germanland, it’s 75% wool and 25% polysomething. Slides through my fingers smooth as silk.

I’ve decided to use it for a shawl (there’s 150g of it) and there are some mighty fine knitting and crochet patterns out there. I started one, didn’t like it, ripped it out. Started another, didn’t like it, ripped it out. I was about to start on a third pattern when my Inner Voice said, This wool doesn’t need a fancy pattern, the colours are magnificent all by themselves, make up your own shawl, birdbrain!


So that’s what I’m doing. It’s going to be one of those wide shawls with a shortish point, like the triangular shape below. I started with a chain (didn’t count, just made it as long as felt right), worked 2 rows dc and the rest will be trebles. Maybe with a ch st in between alternate ones on alternate rows. Or not. I don’t know yet, I’ll make it up as I go along. triangle

And how perfectly it goes with my beaded bowl! Plus, opal is also my birthstone. Such synchronicity! Thank you again, Kathryn, it’ll soon be finished and I’ll think of you every time I wear it.

more bolero

A friend said she couldn’t work out how to make the bolero from the tutorial I used the other day, so I’ve put a few pics together for her. Not my most professional work, please note — this has been a very hasty exercise!





And that’s it, folks!!! Easy peasy lemon squeezy!!! Here are a couple of pics of one of my colleagues, Delene, wearing the one I made for the tutorial. As you can see, the length gives it a drapey, shawl-y sort of look. If you don’t want it to be like this, you’d probably use a rectangle measuring approx 100 x 80cm.

delene4 delene3 delene6

Here’s a different one.  The fabric has a lovely stretch to it, so it’s still comfy to wear even though it’s smaller than the other two.

delene1  delene 2

My recommendation would be to do a test run using an old bit of sheeting or some very cheap fabric, just to make sure you get the look you want, before you go using anything expensive.

Back soon x

sewing up a storm

I’ve become totally manic about sewing lately, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to end any time soon. It started with the newsboys (hereand here….

carol      newsboy

carol newsboy 2     hats celeste

and now I’ve moved on, largely inspired by the receipt of a whole bunch of fabric samples from an awesome guy who runs a textile agency down the road from me …. thanks, Peter. Again.

So, I found a brilliant tutorial on how to make a simple shrug-type bolero here, and that’s what I did last night.


I used a much thinner and silkier type of fabric to the woolly one, and I also fiddled with the measurements a bit (my first effort was too tight over the bust).  But I’ve ended up with something that perfectly satisfies my three basic sewing requirements:  1. user-friendly 2. cheap and cheerful; 3. pretty damn quick to put together.

bolero 2

And yes, it IS very hot and sunshine-y in Cape Town again today.

Back soon x



summer shoulder wrap

There are eight variegated shades in Vinni’s Nikkim cotton range (here’s her website if you want to see die hele reeks:

teals mixaubergine mix autumn mix blues mix greens mix greys mix purple mix summer mix

and here are some things I’ve made with them:

bangle   flower frame

skinny blue  skinny two

anne blanket

and here’s the latest, this time with the Summer Mix:

cover 1

wrap back         lindsay and jessie

The colours look better in the pic below, but it was very kind of my upstairs neighbour, Lindsay, to model my wrap for me this morning.  Jessie got a bit jealous though.

wrap 006

Back soon x

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:


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:

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

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.


100_7351      100_7352

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


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.

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