Thursday, August 31, 2017


I hope I have this right. Now I'm going to turn clockwise and complete the square.

Quick Try

I'll have to put in some practice to get this right, but I like the idea of muskaan's floating bead. I wonder if I could use it for my cascade earrings? Clear instructions for the the technique are here.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


I'm half way through Robin Perfetti's schematic for a magic square created from Mary Konior's patchwork pattern. I'm a little tempted to turn anti-clockwise instead of clockwise to make an even bigger square. It would mean leaving Robin's path through the maze and working on principle. I guess I could try it and if I don't get it right, I could go back to Robin's path.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017


Remember the lilac fabric? I want to make a pencil skirt and a top with it. I looked through my meagre collection of patterns and decided on this Simplicity pattern. It has a lot of options for different necklines, sleeves and so on, as well as multi sizes. I decided on the square neckline and short sleeves, sorted out the right pattern pieces and got going. The first part was fine. But on Sunday I spent many, many hours trying to get the neck right. I'm an experienced sewer, I should have been able to figure it out. But I do think that the pattern markings and instructions are less than helpful. It shouldn't be possible to join things incorrectly! At one point, the instructions say, sew to the outer dot. Is that 'outer' when it's pinned or 'outer' once the seam has been joined and the piece turned in? Large dot and small dot would solve that problem very simply.  I thought I had it right yesterday, but when I came to the next stage today, it turns out there is still something wrong! I think I'll put it aside for now and work on the skirt.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Making Magic

When I finished the curds and whey edging I thought, I must tat more Mary Konior patterns. I've also been wanting to tat a larger magic square. So when I was browsing through my bookmarks on Saturday and came across Robin Perfetti's pattern for a magic square made from Mary Konior's patchwork pattern, I knew it was just what I was looking for.

I started working with one shuttle and a ball, but that really wasn't going to work for a pattern that has chains and rings facing this way and that. When I made a mistake I took the opportunity to start again using two shuttles. It's much easier to keep the tensions correct and the whole piece lies flatter, even before blocking.
Now I hope I can find my way through the magic maze, following Robin's diagram.

Saturday, August 26, 2017


I hope I have enough contrast between the colours for my beret and scarf. I spun another three skeins after these ones and then pondered how many skeins to dye of each colour. I used half a skein of the light colour in my original sample, so I figured 2 skeins should cover it.  I dyed the rest dark. The peach dyeing is even, but I forgot to throw out the water with vinegar in it before I dyed the dark wool, so it's a bit uneven. I'll choose the more uneven skeins for the beret and the better ones for the scarf.

Friday, August 25, 2017


Rusks are a traditional South African food, a yeast bread that is cut up and dried overnight in an oven. (I think that to be absolutely traditional, the dough is rolled into balls, packed closely into a pan and then broken apart before drying.) I'm not fond of rusks myself, but my husband Jack likes to have rusks to dunk into his early morning tea. He's very particular about the rusks. He disdains the modern tendency to make 'health rusks' with seeds, fruit etc added. The rusks must not disintegrate when put into tea or coffee. He found a family-run shop in town that sold the perfect rusk, until the lady who made them decided it was too much work for her. He persuaded her family to give him the recipe she used. That was about a year ago and ever since I've been trying to emulate her rusks. Fingers crossed that this batch passes the dunk test!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Journey's End

The only tatting I did on my recent trip was one ring to show a fellow passenger that tatting is not the same as crochet. But it would be a shame to have Mary Konior's Curds and Whey lurking until the next trip, so I've been working on it since I came home. I've finished the ball of Olympus thread, so that's it. I love the frothy look of this edging and am very happy with it.

Of course it's not really the end of the journey because I need to attach the edging to something. I was given a piece of material a few months ago that should work well with it. A skirt perhaps....

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Spin A Fine Yarn

I finished spinning a batch of yarn before I went away. I'm not sure how much yarn I'm going to need for a beret and scarf and I can't even think how to work out an estimation. I'll have to be generous though because dye lots are very difficult to match. So I think I'll spin some more before I dye.

Monday, August 21, 2017

I'm Back

I had a really good trip down to Langebaan for the VLV Congress. I traveled with a group that made light of the long journey there and back. The conference had some interesting speakers and I saw a part of South Africa I haven't seen before, the West Coast just north of Cape Town.  My competition articles? They were also-rans. The cushion did get good comments from the judges which I'm happy about. The judges really didn't like my socks!! So be it. Here are some photos:
The winning cushion.
All the cushions.
The winning socks.
All the socks.
Best on show was a machine sewing entry, a blanket for a child to play on.

Oh, and I spotted some tatting! Bessie, who was sitting next to me in the conference hall, had a piece of tatting underneath the badges that show how long she has been a member of the VLV - 55 years! She kindly let me take a photo:

I don't know what my blog has been up to while I've been away - my blog list has lost its thumbnails and the links are not working. What's that about?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Travel Tatting Again

I'm going to Langebaan, near Cape Town, for the national congress of the women's group I belong to (VLVK - Vroue Landbou Vereeniging Kaap). I'm going to take Mary Konior's Curds and Whey with me, in case there are times I can tat. I'm not a person who can tat in the car ( I wish I was!) but I hope to make some progress. It's time I got on with this braid, that I started in February last year.

My cushion and socks are in Langebaan ahead of me. I don't expect them to do any good at national level, but it's good to have something to look out for in the competition room, and I look forward to seeing other people's work.

I won't be writing my blog or reading other blogs until next week,

Monday, August 14, 2017

Good Advice

One of the things about blogging that I really enjoy is getting comments and feedback. When I wrote last week about my bead experiment that was too short for a necklace, Pop Maria from Maryshandmade blog suggested combining it with other beads to make it long enough. Aha. I have used handmade glass beads, created by my sister-in-law, Clare Gaylard to make a necklace that is unique and wearable. Here's a closer look at Clare's beads:

Friday, August 11, 2017

Tatting Cousin

My cousin and her husband are visiting us for a few days from Johannesburg. Kathy brought her Pony shuttle along and asked me to give her a lesson. She has the flip down pat. She's trying to get the slip and slide movement a bit smoother.

I should take down the out-of-date calendar, shouldn't I? It has a relevant calendar over the top of the upper half, which is why I didn't notice how obsolete it is until I took the photo.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

One Bag Full

A shop in town sells seed beads in small, cellophane packets. I wanted to see how far one bag of beads goes. I used a simple pattern that I've used before and used up the whole packet of blue beads. The resulting rope is 33 cm long - too long for a bracelet and too short for a necklace! I can either undo part of it to make a bracelet or make it into a necklace for a little girl. But now I know that for a necklace I would need more than one bag of beads.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Plan C

I took my samples for beret and scarf to the last craft group meeting I went to. The gurus liked the beret, but gave the hexagon scarf idea the thumbs down. They felt that it would be too 'busy'. They suggested having the flower motif just at the ends of the scarf with something plainer in between. I undid the outer row of the hexagons and reconfigured them:
I sent a photo off to the group and they liked this, so forward I go with spinning. The spinning will take a while because I'm spinning it quite fine. Corlie also suggested that I make the contrast between the two colours greater so that the flower motif will show up better on beret and scarf. I think that's a good idea, I'll remember it when I do the dyeing. The stitch I've used for the 'plain' part of the scarf is the stitch from the first beret, which goes to show that my testing and experimenting doesn't go to waste!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Easy Zigzag

This longitudinal zigzag bracelet is way easier than the round and round one I had to work so hard on. The pattern is by a Russian designer. Here's a link to the pinterest entry.  It has all the necessary charts and components. It has 6 bead circumference. At one stage, I thought I would learn on a 6 circumference and then 'move up' to bigger circumferences, but actually I like the 6. It's substantial enough for a bracelet and is more flexible than bigger ones. Design is more limited, but there are plenty of designs out there.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

25 Squares

I ran out of medium blue after crocheting 25 squares. I'll have to wait until I see Carien again before we can continue our collaboration. I'll see her at the next craft group meeting, if not before. We live 50 km apart, so collaboration isn't easy!

Friday, August 4, 2017

In The Pink

I had no sewing machine for a couple of months, while it was in for repairs and a service. I'm glad to have it back, I feel a bit lost without a sewing machine handy! I saw a picture on Pinterest here that I thought I might be able to use to convert a wide scarf into a blouse. I followed it back to Posie Gets Cozy blog, where it turned out to be a dress for a little girl rather than a woman's blouse. It also used a commercial pattern. Oh well, for the record, it's the inspiration for my idea. A rather experimental idea that I didn't want to try out on a valuable scarf. But I had a pink sarong that I was given as a freebie at a conference. It had the donor's name painted across it, I wasn't going to use it as a sarong. So I cut it up and made this top. I'm not sure if it works.  I'll have to wear it a couple of times before deciding whether to make another one.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Circle

I finished the circle consisting of 6 of muskaan's rings-only triangles.  Do the white parts look like skulls now? I had to keep my wits about me, I joined wrongly at one stage and had to start the triangle again. I figured that would be quicker than untatting and fixing the mistake.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Look Ma, No Chains

Muskaan has been working on single shuttle motifs. The first pattern in what is to be a series is the triangle.  It's really a building block. I thought I'd start by joining 6 triangles to make a circle. I'm half way. It's taking me longer that I thought it would - these things always do! I should've thought ahead a bit and made the central picot longer, but as this is a first attempt, I will keep going and try to remember all the things I can do better next time. The central rings make me think of the tumbling blocks pattern, they have a mildly 3-D effect.