Saturday, October 31, 2015

More Sheets

I'm working on another set of sheets and pillowcases. This time I have a better idea of how long the job will take.

Working with great swathes of fabric is a bit daunting. But whizzing along a very long seam is quite satisfying.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Tortoise Socks

The tortoises are ready to set off!

I contemplated making the bottom of the shell (plastron is the technical term) more realistic, but I decided that would be overkill. So this is just a vague representation.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Felt Meeting

I took along all the felt-making requirements yesterday and everyone made a square of felt. We ran out of time, so we distributed the coloured felt I'd made and everyone will make felt flowers at home.

When I came home I had a go at making embellished felt. I manipulated yarn to make 'pictures' on top of the fleece before I began felting it:

Monday, October 26, 2015


I promised to show the craft group I belong to how to make felt. It's years since I made felt so I had to give myself a refresher course. The wool I've been spinning for socks has been treated so that it doesn't felt, but I have some wool that hasn't been treated and felts easily.

I layered the wool on top of bubblewrap and sheeting, four layers, this way and that:
Sprayed it with warm, soapy water:

Covered it with another piece of sheeting to make a sandwich:
Then for five minutes I patted it with my hands, a hairbrush and a rolling pin to get the felting process started:
I rolled the sandwich up tightly, with the bubblewrap included. I found that the tighter it is rolled the better, otherwise the felt finishes up very wrinkly:
For another five minutes, I rolled the parcel back and forth on my draining board:
Peeled the layers apart:
To reveal the felt:
After rinsing the soap out,  I dyed it:
Rinsed it, and hung it up to dry:
I plan for the craft group to make felt, but it won't be ready to use for a while, so I have dyed felt in an array of colours:
My plan is to use it to make flowers like these:

Yellow vs Yellow

I didn't want my tortoise socks too be too neon, so I spun some more wool and dyed a paler yellow. It's actually easier to dye a saturated colour, the wool absorbs as much as possible and it will probably be even. It's more difficult to get an even dye with less dye powder. I put the skein dry into cold water and slowly raised the temperature in the microwave, and it seemed to do the trick.

I'm working on the first tortoise sock:

Saturday, October 24, 2015

More Tortoisey?

Maureen was the first to comment on yesterday's post and she gave me pause for thought. Sure, the bottom swatch is technically correct, but it's not classic tortoise. Is this better? I dyed some wool yesterday but fear I was a bit heavy handed with the yellow, it's very bright. I think I must spin and dye another skein and aim for a paler yellow.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Tortoise Doodles

How about tortoise shell socks?(Sounds like a tongue twister!) First of all I had a look at a book that's on our shelves, 'Field Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa' by Bill Branch.
Some of my ideas fell at paper stage:
Some at swatching:
I think the bottom one might work, though it's not what I originally visualised.

Making My Bed.....

I wonder why on earth I thought I could 'just quickly' hem sheets and make pillowcases before breakfast. Most of the morning later.... I had 'cheated' by asking the man in the fabric shop to cut the fabric into the correct lengths for me. He has a large table with lengths marked, so the job was much easier for him than it would be for me. Even so, these sort of jobs always take me much longer than I imagine they will.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

And Gloves

Fingerless gloves. I think fingerless gloves will be more practical when sailing than the usual kind. I adapted my favourite pattern, Leaves from ValKnitting. As with the socks, I twisted the cables left on one glove and right on the other. The palm is plain stocking stitch on both.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Sailing Socks

I've finished knitting both socks. Sailing socks because the person who commissioned them intends to give them to her husband to wear when he goes sailing.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Left and Right

On the first sock, I put the cable needle to the front of the work so that the cables twists left. On the second sock I'm putting the cable needle to the back so that the cables twist to the right. I like the idea of socks that are related but not identical.

One Sock

Hot off the press. Or the needles.

 Thank goodness my camera and computer are talking to each other again. I think I get a truer colour with the camera than with my cell phone camera that I've had to use for a few weeks, and photos are easier to download.

Now to knit another sock.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Uneven Twist

I read an article from Interweave Press the other day about cables. One of the possibilities suggested was twisting cables at uneven intervals. Good idea, I thought. I'm twisting on row 3 and then the following 7th row.  I think it creates an interesting effect. Cables make for well fitting socks and add interest.


This is wool I'm spinning for a sock commission. I dyed fleece blue and grey. Spun one thread blue, one thread grey. I could've smoothed the colours out on carders, but I rather like the uneven look. Then I plyed the two threads together. Wound the yarn into skeins on a niddy noddy. I have five skeins ready for washing.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Springbok Socks

A Springbok is a small South African antelope. Here's a picture in Farmers' Weekly magazine of 2nd October 2015 that I used to help me with the design:
In centuries past, great numbers of them used to suddenly migrate over huge areas, destroying everything in their path. That doesn't happen any more, which is probably just as well, but small numbers of them do come and go on this farm.

The Springbok is also the emblem of the South African rugby team. For an American's view of rugby, see Kristen's post here.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Trial and Error

These earrings are much more sparkly in real life than they appear in the photos and hang better too.  It took me an awful lot of trial and error to get anything like what I was imagining. So, lest I have to go through the whole process again, I'm going to write down what I did:

Ring Only Earring
Load 9 beads onto the shuttle. I used a starlit shuttle that comfortably holds the beads.
NB : when working a ring(R), the bead is put onto the back of the hand before starting. When working a single shuttle split ring (SSSR), the bead is not put onto the core thread but moved into position from the shuttle thread at the right time.

R 1 (with bead on core thread): 8 ds, picot, 8 ds cl (close) [hide the beginning thread inside the first half of the ring]

SSSR 2: 8, move bead from shuttle to top of ring, finger tat rest of the ring, 4 very small picot (vsp) 4, cl.

R 3 (bead on hand): 4 join (+) to vsp, 4, + (R1, next to bead) 8, cl.

SSSR 4: 8, move bead into position, finger tat 4, vsp, 4, cl.

R 5 (bead on hand): 4 + (vsp) 4 + (space between R2 and R3), 4 vsp 4, cl.

R 6 (bead on hand) 4 +(vsp) 4 + (loop of thread over bead in R 3) 8 cl.

+ join the shuttle thread to the space between R6 and R5.

SSSR 7: 8, move bead into position, finger tat 4, vsp, 4 cl.

R 8 (bead on hand) 4 + (vsp) 4 + (space between R5 and R4) 8 cl.

+ join shuttle thread to space between R7 and R8.

SSSR 9: 8, move bead into position, finger tat 8, cl.

+ join the shuttle thread to the middle of the thread over the last bead.

R10 (earring hook on hand): 8, picot with earring hook, 8, cl.

Make another one the same!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Crystals and Torch Glass

This necklace looks better in the photo than it does in real life. I'm not really sure about the combination of crystals and the lampwork glass beads. The crystals possibly sparkle too much. I like the rings only pattern though. A starlit shuttle worked perfectly to hold enough beads:
The lampwork glass beads were made by my sister-in-law, Clare Gaylard. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Computer Woes

My computer has been misbehaving, so I've been AWOL, sorry. I think (hope!) it has been sorted out today. I have some catching up to do, so will post again  tomorrow.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Zebra Socks

I've finished knitting the zebra socks, using the same structure as the leopard skin socks. I think that knitting the pattern all over the socks would be a bit overpowering.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Another Pattern (updated)

Sorry about yesterday's strange post. The computer wasn't working, so I thought I'd create a post on my phone. Mmm, no, that was a mistake. Here is the chart for the sock pattern I'm working on now. And here is the inspiration for it, a zebra who was once part of our family. The top picture shows her outside the sitting room window with her friend the steer; the bottom one shows her with her first foal. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015


I thought I'd turn my weaving into a pouch for my cell phone. Turns out, it's a bit too snug to be practical. A shuttle or two might fit perhaps. Here's how it looked before I took it off the 'loom':