Archive for the ‘Daily life in South Africa’ Category

I’ve been indulging in some quick knits lately.

This little cardigan used up deep stash. I don’t remember buying the yarn or what it was originally used for.

The pattern, as written, had a very unfinished look to it, so I crocheted an edging on the neck and bottom. Not as much as I’d like to though because I ran out of yarn.

I have a lot of pregnant friends and relatives at the moment. Here is a little hat for a friend who’s having a boy.

The yarn is left over from Gorgeous Girl’s dress.

This was also deep stash yarn – it’s left over from a blanket I made Gorgeous Girl before she was born.

I’m really pleased with how this has turned out.

I made this small scarf as a gift.

It’s from early handspun that I dyed and spun myself. The whole time I was knitting it Gorgeous Girl kept trying on and asking if it was for her, so I made a second one.

She uses it mainly for dress up play when she piles on the layers and heads off to ‘explore the Arctic’.

There are another two hats finished and on Sunday Gorgeous Girl and I sewed a toy platypus which has come out very well. I just need to find time to sit down and transfer those pictures from the camera onto the computer.

Pattern details for all knits can be found on my project page in Ravelry.com

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A few posts back I posted about the lovely owls that Gorgeous Girl and I received from my very talented sister-in-law.

I got word today that their parcel has been received and I can now show you what I sent.

First a little rabbit,

and two little owls.

These were for the kids.

For Rochelle I made this.

It’s a mug mat and my first attempt at free piecing letters.

I was very excited to see Tonya’s book for sale in our local book store. I had been debating whether to order it online or not. This was my first (but not the last) project from the book.


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Gorgeous Girl is now at the age where she can help with making things. She’s also starting to raid my stash to ‘make’ things on her own, and can operate my ball winder really well.

Recently a friend had a knitting pattern in a local South African craft magazine. I don’t normally buy the magazine but I picked up a copy and found a wonderful soft toy pattern in it.

Gorgeous Girl went through my stash of felt and fabric and picked out the ones we should use. She then selected the buttons for the eyes and I put it all together.

This was really fun and only took about an hour to do. I think it took as long to choose the materials as it did to sew the thing together. It’s lightly stuffed with wool.

I’ve been quilting. In fact I have a quilt top finished and will be dropping it off to the long-armer on Sunday. As I’ve been working on the top I’ve also been trying to use up my strips as leaders and enders.

Here is the strip box.

and some of the blocks

I’ve now got 25 blocks done, so it’s growing. Lots of left-overs in these as well as some strips from friends (Kate you should see some of your fabric in here).

I’ve been on a roll with the knitting, but have only managed to get a few things from the camera to the computer.

Here is a recent finish:

I’m a bit fond of this knit as it was with me a few months ago when Gorgeous Girl was here

having bilateral grommets inserted, and it kept me from chewing off my fingernails with nerves.

Her hearing is back to 100% and we don’t need to go and check with the ENT surgeon until December, so it’s all good.

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Thank you for all your well wishes about the fire. We really are counting our blessings. I saw a friend today who had been at our house during the night of the fire and he told me that “I really didn’t think they would be able to save your house.” So we had a very close call.

Gorgeous Man would like me to give him the credit for the fire photos in the last post.

On to more mundane things. Gorgeous  Girl has finished her first yarn.

It has already been knitted into a hat, but since it’s so fresh off the needles that she hasn’t tried it on yet (she’s napping) there is no picture of that.

Last year I made a hat for Gorgeous Man from some of my very early handspun. It got lost, and although steps were retraced it was never found. He requested a similar hat. I didn’t have quite enough of the burgundy yarn left, so I combined it with some handspun alpaca/merino.

I finished a shawl.

and a close up.

Gorgeous Girl has been very sick this week with a chest infection. The antibiotics seem to have kicked in and she is much better today.

Next week we are heading north to visit some game reserves/national parks. It will be good to get away and relax. We will have someone staying in the house to feed the cat and the chooks (chickens) and the fire is well under control now, just a few smoking spots left, but there is no real fuel left for them to burn.

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On Saturday afternoon I arrived home to find several men in uniforms pulling up vegetation from the back of my house. There were fires in the area (but a fair way away) and I asked them if, since they were making a firebreak, I needed to pack my house. I was assured that they were being overly cautious. I started making a mental list in my head of what I needed to take.

Several hours later Gorgeous Man came in and said “Start Packing”.

About 10 minutes after that we got a knock on the door officially telling us to get ready to leave.

We could only take what we could fit in the car I grabbed my knitting works in progress, some yarn, fibre, a spinning wheel, the passports, photo and stamp albums, scrapbooks and photo cds, my laptop (Gorgeous Man’s laptop was stolen last weekend while he was changing a tire on the side of the road), clothes, phones, purse, camera and toys and books for Gorgeous Girl and my handmade quilts. We got the cat cage ready but didn’t put the cat in yet.

Gorgeous Man then parked the car at a safe distance and we watched the fire fighters battle the fire as it came towards us. Our house borders bushland.

At about 6.30pm  friends convinced me that Gorgeous Girl and I should go and stay at their house. Gorgeous Man stayed to watch the house.

Our front lawn is at the left of this photo.

Our back yard.

That’s a fire truck.

Further up the hill it looked like this.

At one point I was on the phone to Gorgeous Man who said: “It looks like The Apocalypse” I asked if we were going to lose the house and he replied, “I don’t know.”  At  one point the fire was 50 metres (about 60 yards) from our house and he was hosing down embers that were landing in the yard.

10 houses over the ridge were lost in this fire. There were gale force winds which pushed it a long way very quickly.

We were able to return home on Sunday and our house is safe and sound. I know that it’s only things, but they are my things and I’m attached to them so I’m very glad they are still here.

We are counting our blessings, but it was the most worried I’ve ever been and is not an experience I want to repeat.

Hopefully my next post will be a nice mundane one featuring a finished object and Gorgeous Girl’s first yarn.  I’ve had about as much excitement as I can handle for a long time.

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I looked out of the kitchen window last week and spied this little fellow.

He is made out of leftover hand spun.

Further investigation of the yard revealed this little family hiding in the grass.

I needle felted the eyes and beaks, that’s a lot of fun (I can see great possibilities). The owls are handspun alpaca and merino.

Speaking of spinning, Gorgeous Girl can now do this:

She’s a bit short still, so I sit on the floor next to her and give the treadles an occasional push, and she’s not drafting at all, just letting the fibre wind onto the bobbin with some twist added, but she is getting the hand motions needed and is having fun. Apparently I am to knit this into a hat for her when it is finished.

I have also been spinning.

The yarn cake is superfine merino – three ply (navajo-plied) and the skein of yarn is tussah silk. This was my January fibre club selection.


This is really soft and lovely.

We’ve all been sick here, but are slowly on the mend. I had the flu and Gorgeous Man had Tick-bite fever (second time) which segued into the flu so it’s been a fun time 🙂

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When we first moved to South Africa we lived in a gated community and our next-door neighbours were a very lovely  couple. One day P visited while I had a quilt in progress spread out on the floor. A few days later she turned up with a garbage bag full of scraps from her father’s store. Given that her children were older than I am this is real vintage fabric.

I made this little guy a while ago out of some of that fabric and realised recently that he’d never been shown on the blog.

Gorgeous Girl is quite taken with him.

When I was pregnant with Gorgeous Girl I bought some yarn off e-bay. When I received it I realised that it was much bulkier than I like to knit with and the colour runs were very, very short. It sat in the stash until I found a pattern that I thought would work.

This is Ten-stitch Blanket. I really enjoyed knitting this and will probably do it again in a finer yarn.

This quilting block didn’t measure up to go with the others (there were some issues with a gaping seam and too much batting showing through on one back corner), but I didn’t want to waste the fabric, so I did a bit of top stitching and added an extra wide (at the back ) binding and now I have a mug mat next to my computer.

I knitted this hat for Gorgeous Man. I didn’t decrease as far as the pattern directed, but it still has a little pointy bit when you wear it (reminds me of German World War I helmets) so it will be my  ‘wearing inside my impossible to heat house’ winter hat.

Here is the current quilt in progress.

I picked up the red fabric when Helen took me to her quilt store in Amsterdam last year and the setting fabric is a jelly roll that I picked up when I was home in Australia in 2009. So it’s a real travel momento quilt.

Close up of a block:

Don’t look too closely at the points… There will be 12 blocks in all and I’m planning on sashing this with white. I haven’t decided on pure white sashing (both up and down) or whether I’ll add cornerstones from the red fabric. I’ll have to have a play and see.

A friend recently told me that the big fabric store in town had the Very Hungry Caterpillar fabric. So on Sunday Gorgeous Man, Gorgeous Girl and I paid it a visit.

They didn’t have very much Very Hungry Caterpillar fabric left (I was lucky to find a panel in the remnants bin) but they did have Brown Bear, Brown Bear what do you see? fabric as well as Dr Suess Fabric which is a huge favourite in our house. The black gecko fabric was Gorgeous Man and Gorgeous Girl’s contribution to the purchases.

I have a plan for the black and white Dr Suess fabric. I’m going to fussy cut the characters and frame them in black and white prints for a black and white quilt.  I’m hoping that from a distance it will read as very sophisticated and then when you get up close you see the fun centres in the squares. Guess I’d better stat collecting more black and white prints (I think there are two black and white fabrics in the stash at present). Until this fabric store expanded into selling quilting cottons it’s been very hard to get more modern fabrics so the rest of the purchases were to encourage the store 😀

And after all that I forgot to get the white sashing fabric for the quilt in progress. Guess I need to make another trip to the store…

I’ll leave you with some eye candy. My latest spin – 100% silk.

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