Keep Practicing

In between the crocheting, I have been practicing my fair isle knitting. It’s quite a thing to knit with 2 threads of yarn at a time, but I think I’m getting the hang of it.

On my recent trip to Europe, we stopped in a little town in Austria called Melk, here I found a little yarn shop as we were walking back to the boat. As we only had an hour before the boat sailed and everyone was cold and needed a coffee, I had to do my shopping fast, very fast, so I asked the shop owner to show me all her local yarns. I chose Seide made by Ferner Wolle, it’s a 50% blend of wool and silk, so I bought two balls of each colour she had.

Got home and looked at my purchase and wondered what on earth am I going to do with 16 balls of wool! Then it came to me, a few years ago, I bought a book with the most amazing patterns and ideas called “Color by Kristin” written by Kirstin Nicholas. Looking though the book I found a Child’s Sampler Scarf that said “Keep Practicing”As. I don’t have children living in South Africa in need of a scarf, but I do have a daughter in the making, my eldest is getting married to a girly that lives in New York, and she can make use of it.

I adapted the pattern from 40 to 80 stiches and managed to knit it in the round on a 61cm/24”circle needles using designs that can be divided by 2, 4, 5, 8, 10 and 20. At present the scarf is 124cm/49” long x 23cm/9” wide.

I did send her a picture of the scarf asking if she thought it too “bright”. Her reply “Nikki – its beautiful!! Really, I love bright!. They need color in winter.” I can see why my son love it there!

Have an amazing week, till next time.



Crochet part II
As I was writing last week’s post I started crocheting a little poncho for my husband secretary daughter whom will be turning 2 soon. Can you believe it? It feels like yesterday that she was born, check this post.

I found this quick and easy crochet poncho pattern from a blog “Le Monde de Sucrette”. It’s a really easy pattern and it crocheted up in no time. Using various colours from the Special and Wonder Soft double knit yarns from Stylecraft that I found in my stash.
Using a 4mm ( 8UK / US6) crochet hook, using my first colour, I started with 72 chain, the head I was crocheting for measures 45cm (18”), with 8 of 3 set double crochet on either side of the 6 set corner cluster. I crochet 26 rows including my base and border row. For the border I crochet 5 double crochet in the chain and 1 slip stitch in to the middle chain of the 3 set double crochet to form the loopy border and 8 double crochet in the 2 corner cluster.

Crocheting is so confusing what means one thing on this side of the world is something different on the other side of the world. Women, we can never make up our minds or maybe we want to make sure we always use our brains!? In the pattern she uses tr (treble stitch) UK, I know it as a dc (double crochet) US.

Alissa is a Steiff teddy bear and we adopted her in Nuremburg on our recent trip to Europe.

Happy hooking!


Meet Bella

Crocheting part I
While I was nursing my injured shoulder I crocheted a little bit. On my last trip to the States we visited a town called Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Here I found this lovely toyshop, they had these crochet dolls for sale made from cotton, I decided I was going to make one.

Back home I found this book “Crochet your own dolls & accessories” by Sally Byrne I crochet the girly on the front page without the stripy legs using Elle Premier natural cotton 4 ply and a number 3mm (US D/3, UK10) crocheting hook using the following colours:
046 Peach – arms, legs, shoulders, neck and head
001 White – panty and vest, this forms part of the body
050 Denim – skirt and shoes
029 Coral – jacket, the button I just cut off one of my shirts I was wearing at the time I was crocheting the jacket.
044 Brown – hair, I couldn’t understand the instructions for the hair so I did my own thing.

I used “Silky Soft “ 100% Premium polyester fiber to stuff with and started the stuffing process from the beginning.
For those of you that are new at this, like I am, this kind of crocheting is called amigurumi and you can find “hundreds” of free patterns on the internet and you tube videos, showing you how to do this kind of crocheting and really good advice.

Lots of fun was had while bringing Bella to life, I think she needs pink cheeks, I just haven’t had the courage to put them on. Maybe I must take her for a makeover at the beautician!

Next time I will share with you another crochet item I’m busy with at the moment.


More fabric …..

In Hungary outside Budapest, about a 45 minute train ride on a Russian built train through the country side is a town called Szentendre. Here I found this shop that sells blue-dyed products called Kovács Kékfestő. The fabric and products that are sold here are made according to traditional methods. It was started by the Kovács family in 1878 in Hungary. Through the years each member of the family has been awarded the title of “Folk Art Master”, the workshop is situated at Kőrösi Street 9 in Tiszakécske and the equipment they use is from the turn of the century. Blue-print material is considered very ordinary in Hungary.

The original blue-dying was a cold indigo dye done in a large in-ground, dyeing tub. Since 1932 the family wrote down the instructions and it now is an indanthrene warm dye. Mária Kovás now runs the shop and she uses blue-dying patterns originating from the beginning of the last century and she added a few of her own designs.

All though it’s not a fabric shop it does sell the fabrics that the items are made of, in the shop. If you plan to visit the shop, just ask the shop assistant to show you the fabrics suitable to use to make a quilt. They also have the fabric you can use to make tablecloths and other house hold items. All the fabrics are 100% cotton and therefore very suitable for quilt making.

I was first introduced to Hungarian blue-dyed quilts at The Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England in 2008. Guess what, they had a Dear Jane quilt made from the blue-dyed fabric, I don’t seem to find any photos, I have a feeling that we were not allowed to take any photographs.

Much More fabric was added to my stash! What can I say! Maybe another Dear Jane in blue-dyed fabrics? No ways!!!

Happy crafting.


I’m back!

Well I’m back from an amazing holiday. I will give you a quick overview of my European holiday or my “white Christmas”.

Our holiday started a few days before Christmas when we drove up to Johannesburg, this is a 5hr drive to our international airport were we met up with friends that were joining us, here we got on to a big plane to fly to Budapest. We spent a few days there including Christmas, I got my “white Christmas” a day after Christmas. I found some blue and white Hungarian fabric here, I will tell you about this on another post.

Here we got on a boat to sail the river Danube up to Nuremburg, Germany via Austria. We stopped in Vienna, Passau, Melk, the, I found a little yarn shop here and guess what, I got my friend to start knitting. The ship then did a funny loop onto one of the side canals and stopped in a town called Regensburg, this reminded me a lot of the movie “The Grand Budapest Hotel“.

Our last stop on our 8 day Viking cruise was Nuremburg. Here I found 2 wonderful yarn shops in a 1 mile (1.6 km) radius of each other. As you all know walking for yarn shops is not a problem for me, remember this post.

We spent 2 days in Nuremburg, hopped onto a train to Stuttgart, for those whom have car loving husbands you will understand it, it has the Porsche and Mercedes Benz Museums. We then rented a car to drive to Munich, well the boys loved this one, the autobahn has no speed limit. Sounds fun if you’re a boy! What did my friend and I do? We sat in the back, knitting, now and again my eye would glance over what speed we were doing, 125 miles/hr (202 km/hr) and other cars were passing us.

Munich has another car museum. Can you guess which one? BMW of course! We did do other things off course. Here we hopped onto an overnight train to Amsterdam. I love Amsterdam and had to go back to the quilt shop, that I visited last year on this post.

How was the weather? Cold, wet, no sun but amazing! I’m back home and getting used to this hot weather 89˚F or 32˚C.

Back home, I’m nursing an injured shoulder and having treatment at the moment feeling very sorry for myself been knitting and crocheting a little bit.

Glad to be back in blog land for those who follow me and for those that I follow you will see a few likes and comments.

Happy crafting.


Buzy Day 2014


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